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Seriously? (Destiny)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 12:20 (12 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

For me, it's a thought experiment that demonstrates what a worthless and loaded phrase "skill gap" is.


Skill gap is a useful tool for game design, but I don't think it's really being discussed correctly here. Skill gap is the distance between the best and worst players of your game, given a set of players who understand the rules.

Skill gaps are not narrowed by making 'easier' mechanics. Believe it or not, something like the Blue Shell in Mario Kart doesn't itself narrow skills gaps. Generally, small skill gaps are created by:

1. Randomness. High degrees of randomness lower skill gaps because player skill is no longer dictating the outcome.
2. Simple Mechanics. Mechanics which are simple, or lack complex interacting rules tend to create narrow skill gaps. This is because there is only so far you can go in mastering them. The skill gap in checkers is far less than chess. Why? Because it's harder to master chess due to the larger complexity of the rules.

That's really it. If you make a non random game with complex mechanics, it's going to have a large skill gap. Even if you have 'easy kill' moves or buttons!


These are some good points, but still... I have personally played many Mario kart races where I’ve been in the lead the entire time, right up until the end of the last lap when I get hit by a blue shell and end up finishing 5th. Setting aside any questions about whether or not that’s a good thing, how is it not artificially bringing the lead player down?

The specifics of the implementation matter. On Mario Kart 64, you know exactly who has and can fire a blue shell. You know exactly when they fire it. So you can either get far enough ahead, or dip into 2nd place really quick.

Online it might be a different story because you can’t screenlook and lack the information to counter the shell.


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