Originally posted by katun24
Sorry for being late on the topic (found the thread just now) but I felt like leaving my two cents here in case it's still welcome.
First off, I am greatly in favour of 'Kaizo: Light' hacks being clearly separated from hacks that were intended to be played with savestates in the middle of a level or with TAS scripts or frame advance (currently Kaizo: Hard and Kaizo: Pit), since the differences in their level design styles typically lead to them feeling like completely different sub-types of the 2D platformer genre in general. Moderators are currently doing a great job at separating Kaizo: Light from Kaizo: Hard/Pit (and 'Standard') hacks, however these moderation standards have not always been the same in the past and as a result we currently have roughly about 15 (old) hacks listed as Kaizo: Light that would definitely not have been listed as such with todays moderation standards. I know this is being worked on by the moderation team and I know this is not the exact issue of this thread, but I do like to stress that relabeling these hacks under Standard: Hard or Very Hard (and perhaps a new 'Puzzle' category) should go before any potential future difficulty relabeling of kaizo hacks.
I feel that the majority of the kaizo community is unhappy with with current labeling of 'light' vs 'hard' in kaizo. 'Light' vs 'hard' are labels that most people associate with difficulty, rather than what it really is - a genre distinction. 'Kaizo: RTA' vs 'Kaizo: Tools' would be a much clearer distinction.
This I agree with 100%
Originally posted by katun24
As for difficulty ratings within the current Kaizo: Light category, I am against any further subcategorization here. As you stated, this is highly subjective. Everyone would agree that Robfather World is easier than Elephants and Snakes and Crocodiles, but if we want to clearly distinguish between difficulty categories, we need clear guidelines on how to do so, and I can only see a bigger debate arising as a result of this than the one we're having now. Moderators would be the most objective agents to analyze hacks in this regard since they've played many different hacks, but then again they might be biased because of their long-time experience with them and overall high skill level as a result of that. The alternative would be a community-based difficulty rating system similar to the 5-star one we currently have to rate the quality of the hack. However, this 5-star system is currently not being used much at all, with the great majority of hacks having 0 up to less than a handful of ratings (while in the meantime their download counts aren't low at all). If somehow a difficulty rating would be magically much more popular than the quality rating system, it would still be greatly skewed towards the expectations and therefore skill level of the player. A player who would try Akogare Mario World as their second hack after Quickie World 2 would rate it much higher in difficulty than someone who has played Elephants, Search For Salmon and Precision86 would rate it. I think the hack descriptions on this site as well as people's stories on Discord/Twitch etc. should provide adequate information for new players on roughly how difficult a hack is.
Please don't stress yourself working on this, but I'm looking forward to this issue being resolved some time in the future; hopefully we can reach some sort of consensus in the community.
Now I think you've got some solid points here, but I have to disagree for two main reasons. The first is that looking at non-kaizo hack difficulty categories (easy, normal, hard, and very-hard) shows that moderators are in fact capable of distinguishing between hacks with varying difficulty, which certainly takes a degree of subjective reasoning, and I'm sure the same could be done for kaizo.
I think the skill of a player can be disregarded when we look at playtime comparisons. For example, I'm way worse at kaizo than ldad. Let's say I take 20 minutes to beat a quickie world 1 level, 50 minutes to beat an Akogare level, and 5 hours to beat an Elephants level. Then at the same time, ldad beats the same quickie world 1 level in 5 minutes, the same Akogare level in 25 minutes, and the Elephants level in 2 hours. He's better than me, and the levels were easier for him, but the bias doesn't matter because the time comparisons still stand. Each hack falls into a nice category of kaizo: easy kaizo, regular kaizo, and hard kaizo.
Second point is that dode has already managed to rank many kaizo hacks with a difficulty rating and didn't seem to have too much difficulty, so we know it's possible already. It's just a matter of translating it successfully into the site's smw hack section scheme.
I also want to make the point that this work wouldn't just be to satisfy our collective OCD when viewing the hack section. There is a real problem with difficulty not being portrayed in the slightest for kaizo hacks. Every day, there is at least 1 person (either on twitch or discord, or sometimes in the forums) asking for an "easy" kaizo hack to practice their skills. They have to ask because it's extremely unclear from the hack section. There's a massive amount of kaizo hacks and no one knows if they're about to play a baby kaizo or a storks unless they ask around. Sometimes, the description will state the difficulty, but that's quite rare.
It goes the other way as well. Experienced players appreciate the difficulty rankings because it lets them sift through the hundreds of hacks on the site to play the hard and very-hard hacks they enjoy. With kaizo, you can't do that. Again, you gotta ask around.
The rankings exist to help players navigate the site and download the hacks that they want to play and will suit them best, so I think it's worth making the system better.