Hi, I am Kjartan Pierre Emilsson, CEO of Sólfar but also responsible for the online development of In Death. I am happy to present a new online asynchronous multiplayer feature that we have been working on these last couple of months. We hope you like it but we are also looking forward for suggestions for improvements.
As many mortal players might have noticed, getting a seat in the Pantheon of the All-time leaderboards can seem like an insurmountable endeavor and even the 24h board is difficult except for the most seasoned players. Showing your own global ranking is meaningless when you are lost within the masses, as it changes rapidly and gives you little sense on how you compare to your peers. This got us to think how we could make the crossing of the Styx a more enjoyable and social ride.
As it currently is, the leaderboard is based on gold collected within a run and the run itself is affected by the achievement profile of the player and the randomness of the level played. This means that using gold collected as the absolute measure of skill between two players is not completely fair, or it would only be so in a perfectly balanced game. A more fair assessment of the relative merits of two players is how they would compare in running the exact same run using the exact same achievement profiles. In that scenario we at least factor out some important starting conditions, leaving only player abilities to affect the result. This is why we are now introducing an additional leaderboard to the game which we call The Ladder.
To reach ultimate glory, you must climb The Ladder which is divided into several terraces. You start at the bottom terrace, called The Proud, working your way up until you finally reach your ultimate goal called The Lustful. Within each ladder you will be accompanied by a cohort of dozen other players that will stay with you while you dwell there. At any time, you can challenge other players by choosing them from the Ladder.
A challenge is basically a contest between two players where they both will need to finish a run using the same random seed and the same achievement profile. The achievement profile used is always the one of the challengee. This means that if you challenge someone that has progressed more than you, you will be able to make a run using unlocks not normally available to you, but you will also face the steeper difficulty curve of enemies.
Once both parties have finished their run, the system determines the winner by choosing the better of the two runs and updates their relative ranking accordingly.
When you look at the ladder, you will sometimes see red blinking entries. These are pending challenges from other players that you need to respond to.
The small colored notches by each player in the ladder is a relative measure of their strength. Three red notches means that this is probably a player you will have a tough time beating, but the reward if you do is proportionally much bigger (and their loss as well). The same goes with green notches, meaning that they should be relatively easy for you, but you won't gain much in challenging them. The little icon next to the terrace name gives you a list of recent challenge activity so you can see what happened while you were away.
At regular dates (Friday and Monday) we have Reckonings, where the overall progress of players in the ladder will be reassessed which for some will mean moving up a terrace, while other might fall back down. As you climb up to higher and higher terraces, the total number of players competing gets smaller and smaller until you reach the ultimate terrace of The Lustful, where only 12 compete globally for the heavenly throne.
Within such a reckoning period you can only challenge each user in your cohort exactly once (and they can of course challenge you back). If you don't respond to a challenge within the period, you will be considered the loser of the challenge, so there is no rest for the wicked. At most you might be forced to play 11 runs (challenges from others) and you can then play an additional 11 (challenges to other). Note that challenges issued less than 24 hours before end of period will not result in loss if not responded to. This it to avoid players challenging others just before the end of a period, leaving them with no option to respond.
Systems like these that involve interaction between players take time to polish so we kindly ask for your patience while we find out the right balance of fun and difficulty along with better presentation of data and results.