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Minimal Effort Gameplay: Good Enough is Good Enough

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This won't be so much a as guide on specific cheesing strategies for contract missions and such, but rather a discussion on the philosophy of expending bare minimum effort and time to satisfy whatever requirements or goals you may have. Contract missions and BP stuff will be used for examples because of their high applicability, but they are by no means the only candidates for minimal effort gameplay.

I shall define minimal effort gameplay as a playstyle, in which the goal of playing is to satisfy specific requirements that do not demand continuous effort or contribution throughout the full length of games. This usually goes against the common philosophies of playing to win or playing as best as you can, assuming winning or high performance gameplay are not your goals. It will take far too many words to explain this in detail, so I'll start by using an example from the previous BP:

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Here, my goal is to achieve 6000 assist damage in 10 battles. There are no other requirements, nor are there any bonuses for achieving beyond the goal of 6000 assist damage. I do not earn extra progress towards the mission for farming more than 6000 assist damage per battle, and I have to do this 10 times.

Why then, should I bother to stay any longer in that particular battle after I am certain that I have hit the required 6000 assist damage? It is not time efficient for me to waste time to continue the battle, I could have simply died and went into another battle to progress through the 10 battles faster. For tasks of which I am limited by time (either through mechanics or real life), time itself becomes a limited resource and a metric for efficiency. My goal becomes not only to satisfy whatever requirements I may have, but also to spend as little time as possible to complete the tasks. For example, in order to farm 2000 infantry damage for 10 batles as fast as possible, I can use the method of not staying in my battles any longer than it takes for my infantry to rack up 2000 damage. I can pile in 10 battles and complete the mission within an hour this way.

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Average active playtime in each battle: less than 3 minutes.

 

The most common rebuttal to my minimal effort gameplay tends to be that you are not being a team player, or that you don't support other players in your battles. While that may be true, the mission requirements of which I'm exerting minimum effort to satisfy do not require any sort of teamplay. As I said above, the goal is time efficiency and not actual gameplay performance, there are no incentives or duty to carry others if it means allocating more time in each battle, time that could be spent finishing missions faster.

Another argument is that minimal effort gameplay is against the rules... somehow. This one is easy to refute: there is no rule mandating anyone to play at any competency level. If playing poorly is against the rules somehow then over 90% of the playerbase would be liable to punishment. The goal and execution of minimal effort gameplay also isn't intended to grief other players, so anti-griefing rules also don't apply. In a nutshell, there are no rules against playing poorly intentionally or otherwise.

The biggest challenge to minimal effort gameplay is that you are not playing as well as you can, and that your stats will suffer as a result. This argument is easy to address as long as you don't fall into the trap of assuming stats reflect personal performance. Stats don't matter, there is no competition in the game and the stats can easily be rigged, all that matters is how well you can perform when you are required to perform at high skill levels. As long as you can play well when you are needed, who cares if you play like crap when you don't have to play well? You may feel bad for not playing as well as you could, but remember the goal here is about time efficiency not gameplay performance. Playing well doesn't mean squat if you have to spend more time than it is necessary to complete your missions.

There is one subjective factor in minimal effort gameplay, that is how much fun you get out of it. Minimal effort gameplay is grindy and not really fun, but neither is having to spend a lot of time to complete grindy missions like doing repetitive tasks for 10 battles. Sometimes the game feels like a chore and hardly fun at all in any way, you may want to complete your tasks as fast as possible so you can spend extra time doing other things you truly enjoy. The fun factor is something players have to address by themselves: how much fun or suffering do you want while grinding through tasks that are hardly fun? How much time are you willing to invest into the game as opposed to doing something else, potentially more fun than the game?

 

I for one, prefer to exert the bare minimum effort required to complete my tasks as fast as possible, so I can get on with doing other things that I actually enjoy. If I have to grind out 10 games of 10000 damage each, then I will do exactly that and no more. This apply to contract missions, BP missions, anything that require repetitive grinding where I don't progress faster by playing better.

 

TL;DR: play smarter, not harder.

 

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Cancerous, it may be smart for you but it IS against ToS and I'm surprised nobody bothered to report that. I do consider you a friend (and I may say a rather old time one at that by now), but I definitely do not agree with this crap behaviour, I'd rather have someone toxic (like me :classic_biggrin:) who helps me win a battle rather than someone who is selfish to the point of not even giving a damn about the battle itself and leaves it.

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It's against the rules to grief, yes. It's NOT against the rules to play poorly, big difference.

:derpiseal:


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You're doing it on purpose, so it IS griefing, you're willingly and deliberately playing badly just to complete an objective, when you know this will probably hurt your team and the battle outcome. Leaving the battle early because you've done your shitty mission is also griefing. Like... 3k with a Bradley? Seriously?

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Would it make any difference if I'm inherently a poor player? Are there quantifiable differences between intentionally and unintentionally playing poorly? Playing poorly isn't necessarily griefing, nor is it against the rules. Like I said, if playing poorly is punishable then over 90% of the playerbase would have to be punished.

I can equally say by having poor players on my teams, they are hurting me since I have to compensate for their shortcomings. Or perhaps by ignoring secondary objectives they are also griefing everyone by denying them the bonus credits (which I don't need). It's a slippery slope to claim that it is against the rules for good players to play poorly, but not if poor players are playing poorly.

Yes, it's probably scummy that I'm playing way below my expected skill level. But again playing poorly isn't griefing since I'm not aiming to grief, I'm simply playing under different expectations than others. The biggest thing is that the outcome of the battles literally do not matter as long as the task requirements don't require me to win.


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Well but Flavio, in the end he is playing that way because he wants the final price and doing it the most efficient way, not because he is in a hurry to get it, but because the missions are that way, with no incentive to stay on the mission. To me the problem are the actual missions, even the easiest like the one Haswell showed here, is the most unteamplay mission ever, not only because after you have 2k you can leave, but I saw ppl spending time to deploy well their troops to do the dmg and not shoting because they want their troops to do the 2k and leave, and dying in the process. Sometimes struggling to do the dmg because everyone is killing faster than troops can do the dmg.

I would like to have more real teamplay missions, not those absurd ones that force you to rig them. Maybe missions that let you complete them while you are doing those things on the game that are fun, like Haswell said (even though fun is subjective). As a personal opinion, I dont care if we have grindy missions as log as they dont have those nitpicking or anti teamplay requeriments. Maybe because of warframe and my 5k hours in a grindy and endless game, Im more used to the grind and I dont care if we had simple dmg, spot or kill missions but with long requeriment. Probably not everyone will agree because thats boring in the end and repetitive, but its a way to keep playing at 100% without having to leave or do nothing.

Sorry if I had grammar mistakes, as always its not my native language.

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If somebody really needs to score these missions, please do it within full platoons, PvE platoons is the place where all kind of agreements happen. AW promotes such behavior quite  actively, either because devs used to do in their childhood and no one banned them for it, or they simply want to discredit PvE.

 

 

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The problem with platoons is that not everybody have a big enough network to find people available and willing to help out, even more so now when people are burning out from the game and actually try to avoid playing if they don't have to. I for one am seriously burnt out, I wouldn't want to spend any more time in the game than the minimum necessary to complete my tasks, and I certainly don't have the heart to ask others to waste their time with me.


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The problem is with the core game play loop. AW is only a capture the flag game but with tanks. You are the attacker or defender. You either go to the point and capture the flag or you go to the point and defend the flag. Rinse and repeat 1million times. All these tasks do is give you something to do extra while going for the flag.

The AW dev team needs to add more game play loops.

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For me, the do X 10x I tend to do tier 1/2 PvP battles.  Spotting at that stage or dealing damage is relatively easy as you have tricked out commanders and retrofits so farming 2k damage or 1.5k spotting is relatively easy once you know bot paths and can designate targets or spot for the other bots on your team.

I wish that they would complete some 'over completion' mechanics so you could one shot them (like raid missions) to take away some of the repetitive nature of missions, but I suspect this won't be picked up because, the more missions you have to do, the more players in game for longer.  I mean, if the mission was to get 6k spotting, but if you got 10x that amount it completed it one, it would be great (not sure if you physically could get 60k spotting damage in most maps)

 

I do disagree with the playstyle of getting your mission completed and then just dying and going again, but that's personal choice. 

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3 hours ago, JintoLin said:

The problem is with the core game play loop. AW is only a capture the flag game but with tanks. You are the attacker or defender. You either go to the point and capture the flag or you go to the point and defend the flag. Rinse and repeat 1million times. All these tasks do is give you something to do extra while going for the flag.

The AW dev team needs to add more game play loops.

To their credit, the devs did try this with the escort mechanics of Arabian Nights and the delivery mechanics of Moscow Calling. However, it turned out that escorting an AI that is dumber than a bag of bricks is more rage-inducing than it is fun, and that only having a single delivery item that could result in mission failure was prone to griefing. 

Personally, I think the delivery mechanic is salvageable if they increased the number of items that could be in transit at the same time to prevent one or more players running off with delivery items and throwing the match (e.g. infinite ammo drops for the turrets in MC4, the team only needs to deliver 1 to each turret).

2 hours ago, Azdule said:

I wish that they would complete some 'over completion' mechanics so you could one shot them (like raid missions) to take away some of the repetitive nature of missions, but I suspect this won't be picked up because, the more missions you have to do, the more players in game for longer.  I mean, if the mission was to get 6k spotting, but if you got 10x that amount it completed it one, it would be great (not sure if you physically could get 60k spotting damage in most maps)

An "over completion" mechanic for the daily "do X 10 times" mission would be welcome. However, given that the goal of these missions seems to be to get players to play more matches, I could see the "over completion" requirements actually requiring a point total that's about 50% higher. Several possibilities include:

  • Get 3 times more of the specified value (e.g. 6000 spotting damage instead of 2000), but you only need to do it 5 times
  • Get 5 times more of the specified value (e.g. 10000 spotting damage instead of 2000), but you only need to do it 3 times
  • Get 7.5 times more of the specified value (e.g. 15000 spotting damage instead of 2000), but you only need to do it twice
  • Get 15 times more of the specified value (e.g. 30000 spotting damage instead of 2000), but you only need to do it once

The higher point totals for the over completion would (at least in theory) give players an incentive to actively participate in several matches rather than just brute-force the completion requirements before abandoning their teammates in 10 different matches. High quality gameplay is less likely to get players to burn out than high quantity gameplay.

Another possibility would be allow players to have a single match count as multiple matches towards completing the missions based on how much they went over the minimum required amount. For example:

  • 2000 spotting damage gives you 1 match worth of completion
  • 6000 spotting damage gives you 2 matches worth of completion
  • 10000 spotting damage gives you 3 matches worth of completion
  • 14000 spotting damage gives you 4 matches worth of completion
  • etc...

Again, the idea here is to encourage players to be an active participant in a smaller number of matches rather than a passive participant in a larger number of matches. Quality, not quantity.

 

On a side note, the Semper Fi contract is absolutely terrible. It is the only daily contract that forces you to use a game mechanic that is unavailable to most of the vehicles in the game. Every other daily contract can theoretically be completed by any vehicle in the game (every vehicle in the game can at the very minimum proximity spot and deflect 7.62mm MG ammo if it hits at the wrong angle or from far enough away), which gives players absolute freedom of choice in the vehicle they use without making the mission impossible to complete (maybe improbable or extremely difficult, but not impossible). I absolutely despise this contract because it forces me to use specific vehicles and sacrifice useful active abilities (speed boost, designate target, super APS, etc...) for a game mechanic that requires me to alter my playstyle for minimal (if any) gain. 

Edited by MK_Regular (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, MK_Regular said:

On a side note, the Semper Fi contract is absolutely terrible.

Agreed.  But honestly, its opposite (the one where you have to kill infantry) is worse because there aren't enemy infantry in PvE.  This mission was put in when they first put enemy infantry into Spec Ops, but it still shows up in rotation even though there aren't any enemy infantry to kill anymore (and never have been in PvE).

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On 11/16/2020 at 2:18 AM, Flavio93Zena said:

Cancerous, it may be smart for you but it IS against ToS and I'm surprised nobody bothered to report that. I do consider you a friend (and I may say a rather old time one at that by now), but I definitely do not agree with this crap behaviour, I'd rather have someone toxic (like me :classic_biggrin:) who helps me win a battle rather than someone who is selfish to the point of not even giving a damn about the battle itself and leaves it.

Sometimes having at least 1 shitter on the team is a good thing, more dmg to farm, but if you have a couple of shitters as well as Haswell (who pulls out b4 your finished leaving you hanging lol) on his reduced game timeframe then it's gonna be a crappy battle, but then performing an orsm carry is a good feeling,  against TOS? that's for lawyers to decide not me, and what are the chances of getting on the same team as Has?   maybe a requirement to the missions should be surviving? but it isn't,  so i think it's a case of Blame the game not the player,   



 

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22 hours ago, MK_Regular said:

Another possibility would be allow players to have a single match count as multiple matches towards completing the missions based on how much they went over the minimum required amount. For example:

  • 2000 spotting damage gives you 1 match worth of completion
  • 6000 spotting damage gives you 2 matches worth of completion
  • 10000 spotting damage gives you 3 matches worth of completion
  • 14000 spotting damage gives you 4 matches worth of completion
  • etc...

Again, the idea here is to encourage players to be an active participant in a smaller number of matches rather than a passive participant in a larger number of matches. Quality, not quantity.

The more I think about this the more I like it.  In a way it would be just an aggregate total (i.e. get 50,000 spotting damage), but the amount of credit you would receive for a single match would be logarithmic.  Laying it out like you've done would make that logarithmic progression transparent and easier to understand.

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On 11/15/2020 at 10:05 AM, Haswell said:

Why then, should I bother to stay any longer in that particular battle after I am certain that I have hit the required 6000 assist damage? It is not time efficient for me to waste time to continue the battle, I could have simply died and went into another battle to progress through the 10 battles faster.

 

On 11/15/2020 at 10:05 AM, Haswell said:

The most common rebuttal to my minimal effort gameplay tends to be that you are not being a team player, or that you don't support other players in your battles. While that may be true, the mission requirements of which I'm exerting minimum effort to satisfy do not require any sort of teamplay.

 

So what you are saying is that for those of us that want to do well, be team players and strive to be better/improve over the last match or just overall, you are exerting the minimal amount of effort to support yourself at the expense of us??

I understand things like the phone rings and it is the significant other.  I understand things like "OMG! My kids just did something stupid gotta go!".  I understand that every now and then I have to pick up my pace when others are having bad nights, and likewise others have to pick up my slack when I am having one.  Life happens.

What you are suggesting is so fundamentally wrong at the core of it that it is hard to fathom that someone would suggest doing this, much less actually doing it.

 

On 11/16/2020 at 10:25 AM, Haswell said:

I for one am seriously burnt out,

If you are suffering from burn out like I have with AW, find something else other than AW.  Burnout right now in this screwed up world is not healthy.


 

"If you were not birthed with claws or fangs, store bought will do just fine."

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11 minutes ago, Katsumoto said:

So what you are saying is that for those of us that want to do well, be team players and strive to be better/improve over the last match or just overall, you are exerting the minimal amount of effort to support yourself at the expense of us??

Whatever gave you that idea?

Most PvE missions can be soloed by a good player, or at worst duoed by a couple of reasonably competent players.  The ones that can't be soloed/duoed require only the barest minimum of input from some other teammate to complete.

He's helping you in your quest to become a self-reliant PvE player. :classic_ninja:

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Let's look at it from another stand point:

You have a new player that is dealing with trying to grind out a vehicle that sucks.  They are just 1 win away from having the XP needed to upgrade something or get out of  it completely.  Then insert into that last match someone with this mentality.  About a third of the time with a new player and someone with this mentality in a match yeah you get by but its rough.  Add in one of those horrible maps and another player and it turns into a loss.  A loss results in hardly enough XP for them to advance.

So now you have a new player that didn't get the XP needed and has to do that "one last match" all over again.

That closed minded mentality of "good enough is good enough" can have a trickle affect.  Now that new player is hating life a hair bit more because maybe they don't have time, and then and then and then.  Sometimes it might be good for you but what about the others around you?  How far does this attitude carry down the line with other people and impact them?

I have intentionally tanked matches before to get even with someone for being "unsportsmanlike".  How did I do it?  Just like Haswell suggested.


 

"If you were not birthed with claws or fangs, store bought will do just fine."

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But you could make the same argument about the player that's just trying to grind out a vehicle to get it done:

They're intentionally taking a sub-par vehicle into a match - which affects everyone else in that match - simply to complete an objective that only matters to them.  And if they do that in a match where Haswell is just trying to get this stupid 10x mission done as quickly as possible, that may result in a loss and that means Haswell didn't get his objective completed.

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On 11/18/2020 at 1:35 AM, knutliott said:

The more I think about this the more I like it.  In a way it would be just an aggregate total (i.e. get 50,000 spotting damage), but the amount of credit you would receive for a single match would be logarithmic.  Laying it out like you've done would make that logarithmic progression transparent and easier to understand.

I would rather the credit curve be flat and 1:1, but with possibly higher requirements such as 70k assist damage instead of 5k x10. This way the "challenge" will still be present but skilled players can get it done faster regardless. Moreover this makes it easier for less skilled players to progress if they can't reliably hit the requirement threshold.

On 11/18/2020 at 8:48 AM, Katsumoto said:

So what you are saying is that for those of us that want to do well, be team players and strive to be better/improve over the last match or just overall, you are exerting the minimal amount of effort to support yourself at the expense of us??

Performing better is an individual skill that is agnostic to what other players do. If you want to get better at farming damage or kills or wins, you can't really rely on others giving you the breathing space to do so at your leisure or carrrying you. Winning because you got carried doesn't mean you played well, it just means you got carried and your contribution didn't really matter.

5 hours ago, Katsumoto said:

You have a new player that is dealing with trying to grind out a vehicle that sucks.  They are just 1 win away from having the XP needed to upgrade something or get out of  it completely.  Then insert into that last match someone with this mentality.  About a third of the time with a new player and someone with this mentality in a match yeah you get by but its rough.  Add in one of those horrible maps and another player and it turns into a loss.  A loss results in hardly enough XP for them to advance.

So now you have a new player that didn't get the XP needed and has to do that "one last match" all over again.

I pity players still working to grind out their vehicles, the grind is long and tedious and simply not fun. I've been there, we have all been there.

On the other side of the coin, if I were to stay in their match I will very likely outperform them by considerable margins, to the point where they have to do another "one last match" because they can't get enough XP due to me completing objectives and killing bots too fast. I'll use the York as an extreme example, they can't really compete with my damage output and mechanical knowledge. Is it better to win by being carried and not able to contribute much, or failing even after giving maximum effort?

Don't ignore the cries of "my daily win bonus got ruined because skilled players won't let me do anything", the concept of griefing others by playing too well has considerable merits.

4 hours ago, knutliott said:

But you could make the same argument about the player that's just trying to grind out a vehicle to get it done:

They're intentionally taking a sub-par vehicle into a match - which affects everyone else in that match - simply to complete an objective that only matters to them.  And if they do that in a match where Haswell is just trying to get this stupid 10x mission done as quickly as possible, that may result in a loss and that means Haswell didn't get his objective completed.

Short of objectives that demand pubbie participation such as assist damage, most of the tasks are easily soloable and don't require specific match outcomes.

On the other hand, there are plenty of tasks that can be made far easier if pubbies do nothing. 30 kill/assists or all shots dealing damage comes to mind, even Blue Stars (top XP) can only be obtained if nobody else perform better than you do.

 

As a compromise, I do ask if people mind me playing with minimal effort, and almost always agree to assist if others ask for help on anything that require my presence.


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