Let's Study Games - Redemption Mechanics

For large social games such as Survivor where the primary mechanic is social interaction.
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Post Post #50  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:33 pm

In post 48, zoraster wrote:
In post 44, D3f3nd3r wrote:I think I'd be happy with, as a solution, an explicit disclaimer made that Advanced/Complex games may have returnees in them without notice. And still specify that Vanilla/Standard games can announce beforehand that they have returnees (obviously making sure that this is done in a way that doesn't turn their games Advanced/Complex), or that Advanced/Complex games can explicitly declare that they don't have returnees if they so desire. I don't think explicitly banning returnees after a certain point is the right solution, since I'm sure there are things that can be thought of that would make it both legitimate and interesting to do a late returnee.

I'd hope Vanilla games shouldn't have returnees at all. While I think it's fair to add more "twists" if you reveal them in "Standard" games, I think Vanilla should be a category that a lazy idiot could play without reading any rules whatsoever and not be surprised by what they find.


FTR, I largely agree with this. More details when I feel up to it.
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Post Post #51  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 5:57 pm

In post 45, Shrek wrote:also hey i was the returnee with a vendetta yay. i think survivor civ was what forced people to start using the classification system in the first place?

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Post Post #52  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:12 pm

Looking at the “scoring” rules I think it’s vaguely a judgement call, but under my interpretation an unannounced returnee can’t happen in a Vanilla game. Maybe if it’s strictly a Redemption Island as implemented the first time it showed up in the actual show.
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Post Post #53  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:17 pm

In post 39, D3f3nd3r wrote:
GameGame TimeReturnee Entry TimeReturnee MechanicAnnounced publicly?
Destiny IslandsFall 201111/14; Unclear (I'll keep looking into this later)The winner of a challenge between the eliminated players returned to the game; UnclearNo
Seafoam IslandsWinter 2012UnclearA group of eliminated players competed in a challenge against the living ones; if they won, they were allowed to vote one of their own back into the game.No
Mass EffectSpring 2013Start of MergeA special opt-in challenge occurred where the winner could choose any eliminated player to bring back (and the last-place player was eliminated).No
Arkham AsylumFall 2011Final 12 (two rounds into a fake Merge)Living players voted for an eliminated player to bring back; the top two vote-getters returned to the game.No
GreeceFall 2013F11 (one round into Merge) and F5Standard Redemption Island.Yes
HogwartsSummer 2014Start of MergeSee Mass Effect, but the player choosing a returnee was the winner of a publicly announced item in an auction challenge.No
Doctor WhoFall 2014Any time until the F4 Immunity challengeAny player could return to a previous round of the game to alter their vote; by changing their vote to change the result of the TC, the eliminated player would return to the game.Yes
Arkham CitySummer 2015Final 10 (Pre-merge)Rounds of Tribal Councils occurred among the eliminated players; the two remaining players returned to the game.No
CivilizationSummer 2017Start of MergeSee Arkham City. Additionally, the last non-returnee became a Juror.No
Reverse the CurseSummer 2018Start of MergeStandard Redemption Island.Yes
Killing School SemesterFall 2018Final 19The winner of a single challenge returned to the game.No
EquestriaSpring 2019Final 17The six eliminated players competed in a challenge; the remaining players voted in one returnee from the top three.No
Power vs. Courage vs. WisdomSpring 2020Start of Merge and F8Redemption Island; players that did not win the re-entry challenge at Merge were still eligible to return at F8.No
Barely SurvivorWinter 2021Final 12 (Hole); Final 8 (Flat)Hole: Series of standard Survivor and Big Brother rounds (where the last eliminated player was HoH); six player remaining at F12 returned.
Flat: Series of Immunity challenges where the winner got the sole vote to eliminate; the last round had one player eliminated by a living challenge winner and then they could drag another player.
No
Survivor of the FittestSpring 2021Final 4Edge of Extinction with occasional challenges and TCs; the winner of a final challenge returned to the game. Began with the player eliminated at F13.No

Please let me know if there's anything incorrect here or if you remember how the Destiny/Seafoam Islands games' returnees worked!



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Post Post #54  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:27 pm

In post 51, D3f3nd3r wrote:
In post 45, Shrek wrote:also hey i was the returnee with a vendetta yay. i think survivor civ was what forced people to start using the classification system in the first place?

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Post Post #55  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:33 pm

@Vash Fixed!
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Post Post #56  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:07 pm

I don't think the discussion of whether or not players should be informed about returnees is unique to this twist, so I'd like to see that as its own topic at some point.

I also do want to state that it isn't the case for me at least that I would never vote for a returnee. I just think it would take more convincing and their game would need to have significant strengths which outweighed the major weakness of having been voted out. That to me is a reasonable position. I'm against the returnee mechanic on principle, but as a Juror I would do my best not to hold that against the individual player other than acknowledging the extent to which doing things which cause you to get voted out is indicative of poor play.

I also don't think that knowing there was a possibility of a returnee would make it less likely for me to sign up for a game that I otherwise wanted to play, just because most often this twist is a flop with zero effect on the actual outcome of the game. The only exception is if I knew that I returnee would be entering the game late like we saw in SotF, but after the negative reception that received, I'm hopeful that no more games will do that. If you're returning someone to the game after, say, final nine, I think it's too late and you should be prepared for significant criticism from the players. Those single digits rounds are the culmination of meticulous planning, and it'd be extremely disheartening to have your plans disrupted by a returning player. I don't like returnees, but if you must have them, they should be in the early-mid merge at the latest.

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Post Post #57  (ISO)  » Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:50 pm

I feel like if a game managed to classify as standard with a returnee twist, it definitely needs revealed at the start of the game.
I would not expect one to ever occur in a vanilla game.
I also assume for the most part complex games just automatically have a hidden one.
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Post Post #58  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:48 pm

This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

I just don't think players are going to ever take this mechanic seriously so maybe we just let it die. Now doing variations of it with the fittest challenge isn't bad because the player who gets voted out isn't missing out on gameplay. It's akin to being sent to exile.

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.
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Post Post #59  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:59 pm

In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

I just don't think players are going to ever take this mechanic seriously so maybe we just let it die. Now doing variations of it with the fittest challenge isn't bad because the player who gets voted out isn't missing out on gameplay. It's akin to being sent to exile.

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.


This seems like a pretty good analysis.

I do think the earlier you use redemption mechanics the better though, especially if you can incorporate it into a tribe swap or something. I also think people who come back in that scenario are a lot less likely to be at a disadvantage for getting votes at FTC. The downside to THAT is that the reality is our earliest votes are often for those who are basically inactive in the game. That's actually a kind of an important mechanism. While it's possible someone who was inactive at the start might given a wake up call and another chance might become more active, I suspect all that happens is they stay inactive.
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Post Post #60  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:12 pm

Also, if you can expect someone to return early and a lot of early boots are inactive, that discourages early big moves since the target will probably come back
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Post Post #61  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:16 pm

In post 60, Cephrir wrote:Also, if you can expect someone to return early and a lot of early boots are inactive, that discourages early big moves since the target will probably come back


Really any time you expect someone to come back prevents big moves. It's one of the big flaws of it.
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Post Post #62  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:51 pm

In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

...

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.



I think these are two opposite problems? If people view returning to the game as being a valid win route, then returnees have a massive target on their back coming in, combined with being at a huge disadvantage given they've been away from all the players who have been bonding, so they're very likely to get revolving door'd. If people view returning to the game as not being a feasible way to win, then the returnees can more easily dodge the target and have significant ability to play their way to the end, but don't stand a chance when they get to FTC.

The fact that normal returnees return premerge and don't get to spend time with the Jury is quite important, imo. It means they have substantially less of a target on their back coming back in, so narrows the problem more to just being about whether people will actually vote for a returnee at the end.
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Post Post #63  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:42 pm

In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

I just don't think players are going to ever take this mechanic seriously so maybe we just let it die. Now doing variations of it with the fittest challenge isn't bad because the player who gets voted out isn't missing out on gameplay. It's akin to being sent to exile.

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.


Both of your returns were also being voted out early merge and then returning late merge. I wonder if things might have been different had you been voted out premerge and then returned at the beginning of merge.

But yeah I mostly agree with you. Returnees have no respect from the players in the game or the Jurors and they often don't even respect themselves and feel like they're in an unwinnable situation. Who is it serving to continue putting people through that, other than mods' whims?

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Post Post #64  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:44 pm

In post 62, CaptainMeme wrote:
In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

...

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.



I think these are two opposite problems? If people view returning to the game as being a valid win route, then returnees have a massive target on their back coming in, combined with being at a huge disadvantage given they've been away from all the players who have been bonding, so they're very likely to get revolving door'd. If people view returning to the game as not being a feasible way to win, then the returnees can more easily dodge the target and have significant ability to play their way to the end, but don't stand a chance when they get to FTC.

The fact that normal returnees return premerge and don't get to spend time with the Jury is quite important, imo. It means they have substantially less of a target on their back coming back in, so narrows the problem more to just being about whether people will actually vote for a returnee at the end.


Maybe we haven't had enough late game returnees to know, but I think the idea that returnees have a huge advantage from spending time with the Jury might be more true on the show than it is on MS. Our Juries aren't quite as active, and many of us do at least make an attempt to vote for who played the best game. That seems more like an argument people make to justify voting returnees out immediately than an actual problem.

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Post Post #65  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:02 am

In post 62, CaptainMeme wrote:
In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

...

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.



I think these are two opposite problems? If people view returning to the game as being a valid win route, then returnees have a massive target on their back coming in, combined with being at a huge disadvantage given they've been away from all the players who have been bonding, so they're very likely to get revolving door'd. If people view returning to the game as not being a feasible way to win, then the returnees can more easily dodge the target and have significant ability to play their way to the end, but don't stand a chance when they get to FTC.

The fact that normal returnees return premerge and don't get to spend time with the Jury is quite important, imo. It means they have substantially less of a target on their back coming back in, so narrows the problem more to just being about whether people will actually vote for a returnee at the end.


I get what you are trying to say but it just isn't inherently true based on how people in our Meta treat returnees. There isn't a worry that they are a threat in any way and are normally voted out because it's an easy vote despite your inclinations last game that Owl was a threat in some way.

Returning to the game isn't seen as a valid way to win and players who return aren't respected.
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Post Post #66  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:14 am

@skelda

I would also argue that Mipha return wasn't that big of a gap. I missed I think 3 or 4 rounds? I felt like I played a majority of the merge still.
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Post Post #67  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:35 am

I do agree that if people were insistent on putting returnees into the game, then it should be early merge and we should probably know about it when the game starts so we can plan around it. Players tend to lean into their own bias, especially if you make it to late game. I honestly don't think that's the worst thing though, if you reach final 5 then you probably did good work to get there. Being a "goat" isn't as common as people make it out to be.
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Post Post #68  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:54 pm

i dont have any really solid input here but i just wanted to say that from the perspective of someone who played 5 out of 10 survivor games with returnees it feels like this twist has been really oversaturated and has not produced any notable results besides in barely survivor where there were 8 returnees. i will agree with deathnote and say that it's easy to say you would give a returnee your vote in the end, but from the perspective of weighing them against someone who hasn't been voted out it's almost always just going to come down to 'oh x didnt get voted out i guess i'll vote him'. and yes if i were on the jury with a returnee in the end i think that i would have that state of mind too, because they're just easy votes for the most part and even if they do make the end it's unlikely i'll reward being voted out under any circumstances unless it were due to something out of their control.

so yeah, it would take a very specific set of circumstances for me to vote for a returnee and in my honest opinion they should just be set aside for a while. like i really cant think of any immediate major advantages or shakeups that come from them beyond extending the game a bit.

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Post Post #69  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:50 pm

In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

I just don't think players are going to ever take this mechanic seriously so maybe we just let it die. Now doing variations of it with the fittest challenge isn't bad because the player who gets voted out isn't missing out on gameplay. It's akin to being sent to exile.

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.


This might be jaded Malkon talking, but I see zero lies in this post and this was the point I was trying to make earlier. I think until we can shift our mindset on how we view "survivor" and "returnees" that having the mechanic in LSGs is essentially pointless going forward. It's been tried and has produced nothing positive for anyone. Returnees struggle just to end up being dismissed. People complain about the mechanic.

There's no win with the current mindset of MS.

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Post Post #70  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:55 pm

I should add that there is one positive to this mechanic and it's that it feels fucking great to get back into the game. For a brief day or two, you feel kind of unstoppable as if you accomplished something amazing. Short of idoling out your rival or flat out winning the game, I can't think of very few highs as high as returning.
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Post Post #71  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:30 pm

In post 23, Haschel Cedricson wrote:I'll say what I was going for with the two returnee twists I designed.

Terra Incognito from Survivor Civilization was ripped off wholesale from Arkham City's Death Row. In the latter game, I as Clock King got my ass handed to me because I didn't know what to do anymore. Death Row served as a wakeup call and if it had not been for the worst Riddler ever I think I would have improved. I wanted to recreate that experience in a game that I knew was going to cast a number of new/nearly-new players.


I forgot you were Clock King. Best ghost partner ever until you got radja voted out on me behind my back lol.

Although Aronis was also a pretty good ghost partner to Snakes leaking literally everything Snakes said to us xD

To keep this on topic, I liked Death Row and gave all the early boots a pretty cool arc. Returnees came back before merge so the endgame didn't get affected that much.

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Post Post #72  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:40 pm

In post 58, DeathNote wrote:This site can't handle returnees as a concept so they probably shouldn't exist. I've returned to games twice now and both times felt like hitting a brick wall when you come back. Players alive have no respect for this mechanic and normally that's because people feel safe in their own gameplay so there isn't an attempt to use the mechanic to help themselves.

I just don't think players are going to ever take this mechanic seriously so maybe we just let it die. Now doing variations of it with the fittest challenge isn't bad because the player who gets voted out isn't missing out on gameplay. It's akin to being sent to exile.

Bottom line though, in order for this to work, we have to have a majority of players being willing to accept it as a feasible way to win and I don't think we are there.

I'm way out of the loop on recent MS history, but is this actually true? Has a returnee made it to the end and lost because they were a returnee before?

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Post Post #73  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:52 pm

In post 71, Fluminator wrote:Returnees came back before merge so the endgame didn't get affected that much.

wow, spit on poison ivy's memory!
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Post Post #74  (ISO)  » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:55 pm

Underrated moment was Cephrir surviving a tribe specifically designed to kill him. Poison Ivy was not as fortunate.

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