I’m designing a round-based game with multiple game modes but I’ve run into a dilemma regarding how the game modes are actually selected. I have a few ideas but none of them are ideal, and I’m curious if there’s a best-of-both-worlds scenario I’m missing. There are two primary factors I’m considering:
- Player choice: players should be able to play the game modes they like as often as possible
- Friction: if there is any input from the player, it should be as frictionless as possible. Matches will only be a couple minutes long at most, so reducing menu usage is critical.
Here are the selection methods I’ve come up with:
- Game mode selection is completely random. Pros: zero friction. Cons: no player choice, they get stuck with whatever is chosen.
- Game mode is voted on while the map is loading. Pros: players can influence the game mode that gets selected, but not control it outright. Cons: adds a small amount of friction, increases time between matches (instructions on how to play can’t be shown until after map voting is complete), and majorly popular modes may always get selected to the detriment of players who prefer less popular modes.
- Each game mode has its own matchmaking queue and players can join any queue they want. Pros: maximum player choice. Cons: adds the most amount of friction, and also during non-peak hours, some queues will take an especially long time to make matches.
As a player I’ve always preferred having the most amount of choice possible, but I also recognize that increased complexity caused by more choices can be detrimental to the first-time user experience. I’d like to know the following:
a) As a player, which option is most enjoyable?
b) As a developer, which option is best for gaining and retaining users?
c) Is there another option I’m missing? Can I tweak one of the options to get an optimal result?