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Do you feel things like medals and grades based on mission performance, could actually be counterproductive to the idea of encouraging replays?

Gamingtodaynews1f - Do you feel things like medals and grades based on mission performance, could actually be counterproductive to the idea of encouraging replays?
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In lots of games with missions, they might grade you for how you did on them. I'm guessing this is supposed to be a way to encourage the player to want to go back and do better on the mission, but I personally don't really see the point.

For one, I feel like players that had a good time and want to fine-tune their performance on a mission, will end up doing it anyway. Players that don't inherently want to do it, but end up doing it because of the possibility of the highest grade, it somewhat seems like it's manipulating players into getting better, without offering an inherent reason to get better.

Like, for the most part, things like S ranks and gold medals, they don't really do anything upon getting them. They're entirely just there to collect for the Hell of it, so it makes me wonder what's even the point of requesting the player do better than they have to.

If they won the mission, they won the mission. Mission completion is based on the minimal amount of efforts to complete it, and if they only did a D grade performance while still passing it, it just means that the game will let the player get away with only putting in D effort. In cases like these, I feel like the only motivation here for the player to be better, is that carrot of a high grade. (Unless the player is replaying it anyway because they found it fun and want to see how well they can do, but at that point where does the grade even come into play?)

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Weirdly enough, in my experience, games that don't grade you and just allow you to play freely, I've played them so many times and inherently had fun. On the other hand, there's games I've played where I tried going for as many of the highest grades as possible (which, is what they're there for, they're there to be completed like this), I never wanted to go back to missions that I got the highest grade on. Platinum medal for that mission? Well, never have to replay that again.

I feel like the best way to encourage replayability and higher skill requirements, is with difficulty settings. If the player wants to play the game with a low skill requirement, picking easy will allow them to pass missions with a minimal D grade requirements, but increasing that difficulty will influence the game world enough to where now they might need to put in an effort of what would be a B grade, just to merely pass the mission. Maybe there's now tighter windows to do things and more danger that demands precision.

Inherent difficulty modes allow the player to pick their level of skill, and seeing more difficult modes might encourage them to try a more strict mode once they've mastered the lower ends first. With medals and grades, I feel it's more-or-less pawning the game design off on the player, essentially saying "here, YOU make it harder on yourself" (but don't forget about dominant strategy).

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