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There is a simple word game, where players score points for each game they play. It creates a global chart, ranking players by their score.

The problem is that when a new player comes into the game, there are already old players occupying the chart top. Even if they are no longer active players.

To smooth this inequity, we introduced a super game that happens once a day and is stuffed with multiple bonuses like easier extra time, score x5 multiplication, and some others. It offers upward mobility, allowing players to get to the top if they play long enough.

Now I am thinking of another mechanism. What if all scores are subject to a little inflation, like 0.1% a day? It will affect the "poor" just a little bit and "score-fat cats" are going to be stripped of their score a bit harder. But not too much also.

I am trying to think forward on how such a mechanism could affect players' motivation, and if there some commonly used alternatives to fighting the issue?

P.S. Another idea is to reset the leaderboard at midnight on New Year's Eve, keeping a global all-time leaderboard available but just for historical purposes.

Deleting players after a certain long enough period of inactivity (like a year) is also a considered option. Another option is to reset a score if a player is inactive for a certain period of time (like half a year), but keep their profile. If the player decides to resume playing, all new games are bound to the same existing profile, but the score is counted only for games after a date when activity is restored.

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A good way to do this would be having separate leaderboards that reset daily/weekly/monthly/yearly/all time. That way, regardless of when they started, they still have an equal chance of getting up each leaderboard when it resets. The all-time leaderboard can be used to keep track of everyone's score ever.

The system you mentioned for deleting player scores after x inactivity is a good option for keeping everything smooth and refreshed, even if they aren't ever coming back.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds great. In my personal game design experience, there should be exactly one main type of leaderboard that players focus on and get notified when they move around it. It's also that one that is visible all the time. Other charts are interesting, but not that important. Introducing many different scores into the game proves irritating to the players and leads to them losing motivation. Simplicity is the key here. \$\endgroup\$ May 10 at 7:53

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