B2. Ramp Challenge Gradually

“The game feels balanced and fair as I progress. As I become more skilled, the game increases in challenge appropriately.”

As the player masters skills, the game equally ramps up challenge to keep player engaged. Also, the game is paced in a way that players can master skills before they are expected to use them at an advanced level.

A sense of challenge keeps players immersed and active in their experience. When the pace and difficulty equally ramps up with player skill level, the game feels balanced. This balancing of the game gives players the sense that the game is pushing them to become better player without the player feeling as though the game is working against them.

Examples (adhered):

  • Arizona Sunshine: For the first few shooting scenes, the player has only one gun, but he is able to deal with the zombies that attack him because they generally only come one or two at a time. Later on, he gets a second gun. At this point, he can dual-wield his guns – enabling him to fight zombies more effectively – but the number of zombies he has to fight also increases. Thus, the player's capabilities and the game's difficulty increase at a similar place.
  • Edge of Nowhere: The player must sneak past a large enemy through a few different sections. In the first section, he can hide between boulders for as long as he likes, but in the next section, the large enemy smashes the ground, breaking obstacles. The player has to be able to quickly move and hide between different ice structures to stay alive and out of sight. The next section features more enemies he has to deal with while running out of sight. The game assumes that the player has learned ways to sneak around and therefore throws more obstacles at the player to ramp up the challenge.
  • I Expect You to Die: The player must neutralize the nuke that is preparing for lift-off by quickly grabbing the correct chemicals to create a mixture that will open the nuke’s outer shell and deactivate the nuke. The player is already familiar with the controls and actions necessary to create this chemical mixture, but now must do it again under time pressure.
  • House of the Dying Sun: After finishing the game, players can return to old missions and play them on a harder difficulty with their unlocked weapons, creating a different experience even though the maps are the same.

Examples (violated):

  • Tilt Brush: When the player toggled the right controller for the first time, they were taken aback by the multitude of tools at their disposal. Capabilities were presented to the player all at once rather than introduced gradually over time, making the player feel overwhelmed.