Easy Should Be Easy

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Easy Should Be Easy

Before we can increase the accessibility of games, we first have to admit how awesome we gamers are.

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I think this a very friendly and nurturing way of handling the casual gamer crowd. However, every one of these ideas have been implemented before and, more often than not, are either completely worthless or unable to be turned off. This trend towards reward for not doing anything is not going to help gamers as a whole. Sure, more people will be able to finish the game, but there is no sense of accomplishment. We're past the age of "Godmode." Let people succeed or fail by their own merits.

Those are some decent ideas, but how would the game know if the player is a first-timer? There were times in games where I got stuck for hours, but I would have been pissed if the game just let me waltz by undaunted. It would be hard to implement intermittent invincibility without ruining it for those who actually do know what they are doing.

I know this seems silly and possibly elementary, but a lot of the game play mechanics can be learned simply by reading the manual. Health bars and all that jazz are explained in painfully drawn out detail. Not to say that will solve all the problems a first-timer may face, but it's definately a start.

I'm glad this article wasn't about just making things even easier, but also about addressing the other side to it.

I remember picking up a ball and looking at the hoop stuck on my garage. It took effort and practice to get the ball in there, but I thought I had the gist of it down till someone elaborated on some things I didn't know about basketball. (dribbling?)

Susan Arendt:
A new player is almost instantly overwhelmed by what he or she doesn't know. It's a daunting and sometimes humiliating experience. Nobody enjoys feeling stupid or inadequate and all too often, that's exactly how games make new players feel, even on the supposedly Easy setting.

I've seen the blushing that some newcomers do at times, but in many of the different circles I've been to, with all their different consoles, gamers are a tolerant and welcoming bunch for the most part. So I don't really see this being too big of a problem, unless a newcomer is one of those people who are naturally the shy type...

Why just last week I watched some gamers who thrive on "expert" in Rock Band put up with the considerably slower speed that the introduction of a single "easy" player brought to them. Its understandable that you gotta walk before you can run, and if that comes at the expense of their own gameplay, plenty of gamers are willing to do just that to bring another member into their fold...

in fact...a good addition to this article would be...

4) Play With A Pro - It's tough learning the ropes, so why not have an experienced veteran help you along the way.

A lot of gamers have no problem doing just that. And its not uncommon either. If you know someone who plays video games, ask to play sometime. A lot of newcomers on WoW find plenty of people willing to give tips when they start out...I've seen forums where people ask for a help in a particularly difficult level...and people reply back, sometimes offering co-op assistance...

(I know I would have had an easier time learning basketball...of course, I was six or seven when I first started learning, and no one around my age really knew the finer rules of things then....)

paypuh:
Those are some decent ideas, but how would the game know if the player is a first-timer? There were times in games where I got stuck for hours, but I would have been pissed if the game just let me waltz by undaunted. It would be hard to implement intermittent invincibility without ruining it for those who actually do know what they are doing.

I know this seems silly and possibly elementary, but a lot of the game play mechanics can be learned simply by reading the manual. Health bars and all that jazz are explained in painfully drawn out detail. Not to say that will solve all the problems a first-timer may face, but it's definately a start.

A good manual is a big help, of course, but let's be honest -- people hate reading manuals.

It would also be assumed that these settings are optional. Perhaps there's a setting called "First Timers" or maybe we just actually make Easy easy. The goal isn't to detract from a skilled player's experience, it's to help a less skilled player experience the game.

As for people succeeding or failing on their own merits, I'm not trying to take away challenge or accomplishment, I'm merely trying to alleviate the astronomical amount of information a new player has to deal with.

It's kind of like reading the book versus watching the movie. Should people read the book? Yeah, ideally, that would be great, but if we're being honest, we have to admit that not everyone is going to be willing or able to do that. Should they never have access to those stories, then? Of course not. So they get to see the movie.

To address the Play With a Pro -- absolutely, having a guide right there helping you is, without doubt, one of the best ways new players can acclimate. But that's just not always an option. Even if you're fortunate enough to have gamer friends, schedules don't always permit someone to be at your side at all times when you're getting your feet wet.

I do appreciate games that have recap logs, they tend to make your objectives much clearer and generally throw in some back story fluff alongside it. The old infinity engine games were exceedingly good at this, but so are the Tales games and several other series. Being lost isn't generally fun, and the way out of the forest doesn't have to be a hand-holding affair.

1,2,3 And Hansari's 4th rule all seem like good ideas to me, even if they have been done, refine them

or in some cases, dont fix what aint Broken

the 4th rule there is Really something i try and do once i have the hang of a game, instead of say, insulting a New player for not knowing what there doing or the layouts of maps

The original Spiderman game for the playstation 1 had a "kid mode" option underneath its easy.

I always chose it when I was young because I was both afraid of failure, and a kid. (although I would never choose easy for fear of looking like a pussy.)

Eventually, after watching my brother play on normal, I noticed that entire rooms were structured differently in Kid Mode, The electric pit, guarded by laserz that you need to swing across in a zig zag pattern? In Kid Mode there was a walkway there, turning one of the most frustrating challenges into a situation where it's almost impossible to die.

To this day I have only played that game all the way through in Kid Mode (several times might I add) and it was fun, effortless, but fun for pretty much that reason.

Super Easy mode definitely shouldn't be called easy though, it should be called something more relaxing and less humiliating. Words like rookie fit the bill pretty well.

Susan Arendt:
To address the Play With a Pro -- absolutely, having a guide right there helping you is, without doubt, one of the best ways new players can acclimate. But that's just not always an option. Even if you're fortunate enough to have gamer friends, schedules don't always permit someone to be at your side at all times when you're getting your feet wet.

Ah, yeah...I've realized that just now.

Plus the stuff you suggested corresponds to things developers can do to make there games easier...its not like developers can throw in an experienced gamer with every pre-order...

...if only...

image
(I could finally finish a cut-scene laden MGS game...)

I'd settle for some competent A.I. teammates though...

I agree with this article. Gamers who complain that a game is too easy don't understand that difficulty is relative. It might be easy to you, but if someone who has little or no experience in gaming were to play it, would it be easy to them? Think of it this way: Let's say you were born and raised in China for your whole life. Obviously, you'd have a very clear understanding of Kanji, and whichever Chinese dialect you use comes natural to you because you've had a very long time to learn it. But if someone else who wasn't raised in a country that primarily uses Kanji were to try and learn your dialect, they're not going to just start speaking it like a native. Kanji is a very complicated writing system to learn, and since the same character can be spoken in a dozen different ways, it can be very frustrating to anyone who wants to understand it.

The same principle applies to gaming. You might think a certain game is easy, but that's because you've likely been playing games for a long time and you have a clear understanding of certain game mechanics. However, if you were to hand said game to someone who didn't have a basic understanding of said mechanics, they're all but guaranteed to be confused and frustrated, and may not want to pick up a controller ever again. I'm not saying that all games need to be easy so that everyone can play them - I enjoy playing games that offer a challenge as much as the next guy - but gaming will never expand if all of the games are made with only the veteran gamer's idea of difficulty in mind.

And on the article, perhaps you should have given Nintendo's Demo Play feature, which allows players to either skip a difficult sequence or at least be shown how to complete it, a mention? I feel like it would've helped a little.

I never really thought about it like this but its strange considering I grew up while the gaming industry grew up. I remember dos games and text adventures to a handful of arcade games (although I grew up in a really small town so arcades were pretty rare). I remember my first nes and playing Super mario bros and the tons of random nes games I have accumulated over the years. I then remember growing into the N64 then into the gamecube and ps2, then the xbox. I feel like an old man.

The problem that I see with the gaming industry as there is a huge brick wall between casual games and mainstream games. Casual games dont really follow the same formula that most mainstream games follow in the sense that they usually are puzzle games or simple flash game concepts that have better graphics and slightly more depth. There needs to be a solid bridge between the two instead. Nintendo used to do this well but the Wii seems to just make this gapper bigger.

As more gimmicks are placed into consoles there is more and more of a gap. The DS is a touchscreen and I havnt played many games for it that really dont use the touchscreen almost exclusively (I know they are out there but I just really havnt played it much). You have the xbox and the playstation but microsoft seems to be going to natal to bat down nintendo once and for all and then that really leaves us with the playstation. You also have pc games but pc games havnt really changed over they years you have the ports, you have the graphically delicious games made for the pc, and then you have the varied (rpg's usually) that are extremely complex.

Entering this is hard for any new gamer and I dont really see any way you can have a mainstream game be gracious to all audiances. It really takes determination on a new gamers side to enter the world with an open mind and be prepared to be frusterated and pissed that they died 20 million times. In the end though when they beat the game they will go back to it later and it will be that much easier. Being better at games doesnt really mean anything in the end other then that we can take advantage of the fact that it is a game i.e. hit a spawnpoint before enemies show up or exploit ai. Being new just means they dont have these abilities but games are about repitition if you have fought one group of enemies in an fps you have fought them all.

mmm good points Susan

I would use a What Should I Be Doing Now?" in Elder Scrolls III or IV. I got lost so very easily in those games. Especially Fable.

I think this has something to do with the stigma that video games are 'mindless entertainment.' Where we are right now that is just not the case. It takes years of playing various games to learn all the ins and outs, which is why I am a god to my niece who can bang her head against a wall for an hour trying to get past something in Spyro and I can walk up and in most cases on the first or second try get her past some 'hard' part.

I experienced this recently with my GF who had wanted to try playing Portal. She had seen me play it and heard how much fun of a puzzle game it can be. She was completely lost in the 3D gamespace and gave up after a bit. She said to me 'You make it look so easy.'

People forget that someone like myself starting gaming on an Atari 2600 with a joystick and a single button, then playing in Arcades, then the NES, to the Genesis, the PS, etc. I can handle a 20 button controller with ease because I grew up with the technology. The learning curve was different. Each new iteration added a button or two. I didn't start with 20 buttons.

It's one of the reasons that Nintendo has been so successful. They have a main controller that has a D-Pad and 7 buttons. In many games you only use 2 of the buttons, if that. They also have a huge back-catalog of games that allow you to play early titles that don't require a diagram for controling. Press 1 to Jump, Press 2 Fire. Granted this is also the reason many people have an issue with Nintendo right now. Countless games that are deemed 'too-simple' or 'not hardcore' because they don't pose a challenge to average 360/PS3 level gamer.

It certainly seems that if this kind of system was implemented into most games, it would attract a greater audience and therefore more profit. I particularly like the "Buy-Out" method, and if i could possibly extend on that, you could buy lock-on options, buy more skips, buy portable check-points or even portable save points in games like that. Of course, there would be a library of things that you could buy that I won't mention here to make the game easier. (buy in-game partners, buy health boosts) On the topic of buying in-game partners, i'm talking solo games really here, you could ask the partner to attack a trouble enemy, fetch a treasure which you just can't reach or defend a certain point (for an extra fee of course, we don't want it doing EVERYTHING for them)

paypuh:

I know this seems silly and possibly elementary, but a lot of the game play mechanics can be learned simply by reading the manual. Health bars and all that jazz are explained in painfully drawn out detail. Not to say that will solve all the problems a first-timer may face, but it's definately a start.

exactly. they are there for a reason.

You made mention of it, but more often then not, it really is the controller that turns many prospective gamers off from bothering. I know a bunch of non-gamers, and for the most part, they understand what needs to be done in the game, its just getting there that is the problem.

This is why the Wii has been a big hit, people pick up the controller and go "Ooo this is easy! All I have to do is turn this way!" Or whatever it is. When I handed my girlfriend the xbox 360 controller so she could play Call of Duty 4 for the first time, she looked at me like I had 3 heads. "This stick is to turn the camera, this stick is to move." But, on screen, she would just strafe and walk through doorways without turning the camera and inevitably die.

However, she got me Lego:Indiana Jones, and is an ace at that game. The camera is fixed for the most part, the character moves with one stick, he jumps with the A button, attacks with X, and uses an item (the off chance you get one) with B. Thats all there is to it. 4 buttons. Granted, it was co-op and I could finally play with her, but if left up to her, she is more then capable playing by herself.

I will always find the controller to be the biggest roadblock for many newcomers. The other stuff comes with time. Besides, what happens when that other stuff isn't there anymore to help them out?

Mr.Pandah:
However, she got me Lego:Indiana Jones, and is an ace at that game. The camera is fixed for the most part...

You should keep going off of that then...baby steps with games that have a fixed camera. Or go back to old school gaming with simple controls on the SNES (those games are still fun)

We all started somewhere...

syndicated44:
The problem that I see with the gaming industry as there is a huge brick wall between casual games and mainstream games. Casual games dont really follow the same formula that most mainstream games follow in the sense that they usually are puzzle games or simple flash game concepts that have better graphics and slightly more depth. There needs to be a solid bridge between the two instead. Nintendo used to do this well but the Wii seems to just make this gapper bigger.

Precisely...people have hailed the Wii for making video games a cultural norm, but really, it caters to a different audience.

Developers could certainly be bothered to always include in-depth tutorials in their games, and I think that ought to be enough. We don't have to make all games a cakewalk. Anyone who wants to start gaming ought to at least understand that this is different than watching a movie in the sense that there are challenges here that you have to overcome, you are not just sitting idly and watching a story unfold. That and how the game works is all the info one needs. If their patience cannot handle a reload and their attention span is 5 seconds, there's plenty of other hobbies out there for them. Hell, my first game on my very first computer was a submarine simulator with a 200 page manual, which I read twice and always kept next to the PC, things are waaaaay easier today compared to back then, today we just complain more. (Oh God, I'm turning into my dad, please help.)

hansari:

Mr.Pandah:
However, she got me Lego:Indiana Jones, and is an ace at that game. The camera is fixed for the most part...

You should keep going off of that then...baby steps with games that have a fixed camera. Or go back to old school gaming with simple controls on the SNES (those games are still fun)

We all started somewhere...

syndicated44:
The problem that I see with the gaming industry as there is a huge brick wall between casual games and mainstream games. Casual games dont really follow the same formula that most mainstream games follow in the sense that they usually are puzzle games or simple flash game concepts that have better graphics and slightly more depth. There needs to be a solid bridge between the two instead. Nintendo used to do this well but the Wii seems to just make this gapper bigger.

Precisely...people have hailed the Wii for making video games a cultural norm, but really, it caters to a different audience.

Hehe, I don't need advice on the subject. If she wants to play, I'll play. If not, I won't force her. Our relationship hardly revolves around gaming anyways. Besides, I've already given her my SNES and PS2. =P

Fixed camera is also a very good suggestion. And I do like calling this mode that we're creating "Rookie." Implies inexperience without making someone feel unskilled.

As for why I didn't mention Nintendo's Demo Play feature, I was really thinking of non-Nintendo platforms and games - ones that are still the bastion of the hardcore. I know plenty of non-gamers who would really enjoy, say, Mass Effect or Resident Evil, but are completely shut out because of the difficulty.

Here are some games that you might enjoy, based on this article:
Max Payne: This game had adaptive difficulty. By looking at the code, this was calculated with 3 factors: your hit-miss rate, your number of deaths/reloads, and how often you saved. Saving often, missing a lot, and getting killed would make the enemies easier and easier. However, if you breezed through the last three rooms, the fourth one was going to have you on your knees. It also had a What Should I Be Doing Now? button.

Tomb Raider: Underworld. This game two kinds of WSIBDN? buttons. One let you read a hint, and the other would have Lara tell you what to do. For instance:
READ: "Those two fire pits look promising."
LISTEN: "I should remove all the blocks blocking the flame's path, and line up the symbols to make the mechanism work."

hansari:

4) Play With A Pro - It's tough learning the ropes, so why not have an experienced veteran help you along the way.

That doesn't always work out.

My friend is a pro at WoW, and he's been trying to get me to play it for the longest time.
I eventually cave, and buy a 2 month card. He let me use his disks to install the game.

Sadly, he was a jackass nonstop.

I have never played an MMO before, ever, and everytime I had a question, or made a mistake, all he would do was comment on how stupid I was.

I know he meant well, but I needed some time to get a feel for the game, he didn't give me time, and tried to rush me to a high level through account linking.

So there I was, a noob, getting levels like crazy, and not knowing what the hell to do with all the spells/powers/skill/weapons I got, and getting called out for being a high level and not knowing shit.

Man that was frustrating... Although I could just be a special case, not all people are like that. But still, it was a pain in the ass for me, a noob, to play with a hardcore badass.

syndicated44:
The problem that I see with the gaming industry as there is a huge brick wall between casual games and mainstream games. Casual games dont really follow the same formula that most mainstream games follow in the sense that they usually are puzzle games or simple flash game concepts that have better graphics and slightly more depth. There needs to be a solid bridge between the two instead. Nintendo used to do this well but the Wii seems to just make this gapper bigger.

Quite the contrary, I feel that Nintendo is helping bridge the gap between new gamers and veterans more than anyone else. Some of the major titles that Nintendo recently released (Phantom Hourglass, WiiSports Resort, Mario Kart Wii, The Legendary Starfy) do a good job of keeping things simple enough for practically anyone to pick up and play while having enough depth and enjoyment for the more traditional gamers. New Super Mario Bros. Wii also looks like it could be enjoyed by both traditional and new gamers at the same time.

I'd elaborate more, but this is a particularly touchy subject and I'm afraid I'll open up a rather unpleasant can of worms.

Susan Arendt:

paypuh:
Those are some decent ideas, but how would the game know if the player is a first-timer? There were times in games where I got stuck for hours, but I would have been pissed if the game just let me waltz by undaunted. It would be hard to implement intermittent invincibility without ruining it for those who actually do know what they are doing.

I know this seems silly and possibly elementary, but a lot of the game play mechanics can be learned simply by reading the manual. Health bars and all that jazz are explained in painfully drawn out detail. Not to say that will solve all the problems a first-timer may face, but it's definately a start.

A good manual is a big help, of course, but let's be honest -- people hate reading manuals.

It would also be assumed that these settings are optional. Perhaps there's a setting called "First Timers" or maybe we just actually make Easy easy. The goal isn't to detract from a skilled player's experience, it's to help a less skilled player experience the game.

As for people succeeding or failing on their own merits, I'm not trying to take away challenge or accomplishment, I'm merely trying to alleviate the astronomical amount of information a new player has to deal with.

It's kind of like reading the book versus watching the movie. Should people read the book? Yeah, ideally, that would be great, but if we're being honest, we have to admit that not everyone is going to be willing or able to do that. Should they never have access to those stories, then? Of course not. So they get to see the movie.

Okay, I can work with that. I started a brand new game the other week and for the first 15 minutes, the game had an overlay with basic instructions on how to play. Perhaps instead of impeding my progress with boring game mechanics I probably could figure out on my own, if someone were to choose a "first-timer" option or whatever it might be called, it could give those who have no idea how to play at least the basic idea. And rather than muck up my screen with information I more or less already know, I can just jump right in and figure out the majority of the controls with trial and error and any special techniques with a help screen. Or scale the help up or down depending on the level of difficulty chosen.

I suppose that's why the Wii has been getting people who wouldn't normally play video games into gaming. Almost everyone already knows how to swing a baseball bat or tennis racket so the mechanics are no mystery. It's all about timing rather than memorizing buttons.

For gamers who are up in arms because "omg teh cazuelz r comming & tehy want 2 ruin our gaemz!", let me provide an analogy.

Suppose you and your buds/mates/fellow cyborg warriors have decided to head out to the local bowling alley to play a few games. You're just having fun, loosening up, and using the score for bragging rights rather than anything serious. Then the retired pro bowler in the lane next to you starts giving you dirty looks and begins muttering to himself. After a full game where nobody's score went over 140, the retired pro bowler storms over and starts bawling you out for "not taking the game seriously" and "making bowling look bad". He insists that you should learn how to put a spin on the ball and how to judge lane waxing, and declares that nobody should be allowed to bowl in public until they can reliably pick up a 7-10 split.

Sounds pretty asinine, doesn't it? Well, that's how the "old school" gamers come across when they declare that gaming should only cater to them. "We learned it the hard way, so should everyone else!" But really, a lot of us DIDN'T "learn it the hard way". We came in on the ground floor, when a controller with more than one button was a thing of wonder, and 16 colors on the screen at once was amazing. The hobby grew along with us, and we adapted to its growing complexity by growing along with it. Expecting a neophyte gamer to immediately know things like circle-strafing, elemental strengths/weaknesses and complex controller schemes is like expecting someone who's never seen a bowling ball before to immediately know how to score a spare followed by a strike.

And the younger generation isn't excused from this either. Some people were lucky growing up to have an early exposure to games. They cut their teeth- sometimes literally, in cases of chewing on controllers- on some of the more complex, relatively modern games. That's great- it's like being the Tiger Woods of gaming, talent plus early exposure and honing of skills. But you don't see Tiger Woods going out onto a community golf course and bawling out the 40-year-old office worker who's only been playing for three weeks and has a 12 handicap.

My only concern over providing "easy modes" is that some developers may focus entirely upon that, and not deliver a more balanced and difficult experience for more seasoned gamers. Playtesting and balancing a game is a tedious process, after all, and doing so for an entire range of difficulty levels may prove more daunting than some devs may wish to endure. And I can admit that it's something of a piddling complaint, seeing as how many games already simply treat Hard mode as "enemy takes X + 3 shots to die", but still.

Now, if I might be so brash as to add my own submission to this growing list of recommendations:

5. Incentive to improve. If a new gamer finishes a game on Easy mode, and believes that that's all there is to the game, where's the incentive to play Normal mode? None of us started out as the Ubergamer, besting all challenges set before us on the first try- we pushed ourselves, learning to play better, think faster, react quicker. But with many would-be gamers these days facing "entertainment overload" with all the various things they can spend their time on, there needs to be more incentive to keep playing.

One solution: Make Easy mode sort of a guided tour. Let the player know, once they finish the game, that there's more awesome nooks and crannies, more story, better weapons and harder enemies to be faced if they pick up the gauntlet and head for that next difficulty level. Easy mode should be Basic Training for gaming- and once the newbie gamer comes out, in the ideal situation, he/she should be psyched to take on a more difficult challenge.

My suggestion would be to go to the source of ideas for this, Learning theory and the philosophies of education.

As a final year Bachelors of education student I can tell you these issues are ones that are dealt with in extreme detail in the field of education. For instance, all of the suggestions so far have predominately fallen into the categories of scaffolding, where you provide additional structure and framework new learners. This is very educationally sound, and one of the basis' for differentiating learning in the classroom.

Plus, I feel required to respond to all the people who say to read the manual, one I always read the manual, but think back to your school days. Did you always do the assigned reading? Do you feel that reading is the best way to learn? Do you think everyone learns as effectively from reading? All of these have to be considered before blithely saying people should "just read the manual".

Also, no help ever? I can only ask do you feel we should simply give students textbooks and tell them that if they succeed they can feel they made a real achievement because teachers and help are for sissies?

I can't really help but agree with you on everything said in the article...

I like the general ideas here. Making the transitions from casual games that easily picked up/mastered like a browser or popcap game to a more complex game with 20 button options, 200 combos and three glowing primary color bars can be a bit of a quantum leap. I see this as becoming a big issue in the gaming industry. Nintendo patented there game playing for you idea as something to help bridge this gap as well. Having the game demonstrate proper form would be a big help in certain circumstances. I think it would probably be better for learning then just plan invincibility as well. I don't know about buy-outs as they seem to just encourage newbies to grind away at making money to beat the game. Grind is fun to some but boring to others, and inevitable doesn't help anyone learn or get comfortable with playing. "what should I be doing now" is generally in most well designed games I've ever played. It could be made more obvious(A big glowing arrow on screen) but most games have a map marker to tell you where to go or a journal(more so in RPGs). Games where the player gets lost seems to be more a function of bad game design rather then player inability. Even the most "hardcore" can get lost in a poorly designed game.

I think one of the best ways to bridge the gap is to create games aimed at the middle group. In most other activities in the world, there is always a gradual progression from simple introduction things to hardcore. When you learn to read you start with "The dog sat" and then you move up to "Ben and Jen get ice cream" and on to short books and then longer books and so on. There isn't just "green eggs and ham" and "Hamlet" with a big nothing in between. Now, I'm not sure what the game equivalent of "the Hardy Boys" is but I'm sure it's out there. I think what the industry needs may just be a list of gaming levels and adequate games to fill the ranks. Then gaming can be a stair step up from "Bejewled" to Final Fantasy or Halo. Maybe it's a bit to much to ask publishers and developers to work together, perhaps there needs to be an independent group to rate games or a website(nudge, nudge) or something, but I think if this caught on it would be pretty useful.

Irridium:

hansari:

4) Play With A Pro - It's tough learning the ropes, so why not have an experienced veteran help you along the way.

That doesn't always work out.

My friend is a pro at WoW, and he's been trying to get me to play it for the longest time.
I eventually cave, and buy a 2 month card. He let me use his disks to install the game.

Sadly, he was a jackass nonstop.

I have never played an MMO before, ever, and everytime I had a question, or made a mistake, all he would do was comment on how stupid I was.

I know he meant well, but I needed some time to get a feel for the game, he didn't give me time, and tried to rush me to a high level through account linking.

So there I was, a noob, getting levels like crazy, and not knowing what the hell to do with all the spells/powers/skill/weapons I got, and getting called out for being a high level and not knowing shit.

Man that was frustrating... Although I could just be a special case, not all people are like that. But still, it was a pain in the ass for me, a noob, to play with a hardcore badass.

Not only that just read the responses in this thread (not to mention any SP game). You get the impression that they are just not wanted. We are far to quick to call out "NOOB" while laughing and pointing at the greenhorn so even finding a "helpful pro" amongst the elitists asses is not going to help the problem. Even suggesting that the game be newb friendly by incorporating these options that a person wouldn't have to use if they didn't want to gets people frothing at the mouth. Hopefully developers are intelligent enough to realize it is these people who will doom the industry and start incorporating some of these ideas (or reasonable facimiles) to make gaming more inviting to more people.

The Rogue Wolf:

5. Incentive to improve.

That sounds like a valuable contribution to the list. How many times have we played a game on one mode, only to have the entire experience played our for us while missing on the aspects of challenge or difficulty that should be accompanying. When these new, aspiring gamers play into it, they get the whole deal, but don't come to understand part of the complication, the power, the captivation that beating the harder modes offers. Your idea would have a deep impact on that aspect, whereby leaving pieces out of the story or plot that are found in the harder modes, if they're so sought.

But I am wary of seeing these implemented, for the reasons that devs will get carried away with it, enabling you to skip whole segments of the game because it's a bit too challenging. Part of me thinks that that challenge is there for a reason, and that a lot of design went into making it that difficult. Some parts shouldn't allow skipping, or assistance, but should be more of a test of what you've learned. Midterms and finals are hard because they require effort to get through, to learn the material, as a proof of knowledge and skill, sort of thing. While hints should by all means be available, solving those portions is part of what makes those games as great as they are. Sometimes it's much better for the new gamers to overcome the problem on their own, so that they can do it at the next challenge, and the one after that, and so on--some of these devices would mean that the player who has trouble doing a multiple-bounce wall jump to get up to the next ledge would not learn to do the jump, but rely on the auto-gamer to do it for them. Part of what might get left behind in this rush to make the new crowd of gamers into ready-made gamers might be those important parts that each gamer needs to learn--our circle strafes, our specialized jumps and wall-hopping, our interactive interface points (grapple spots, information zones, radio checks, phone calls, etc). And let's not forget, part of what makes us better gamers after dying in the lava so many times is that when we finally master the timing of the jumps, spins, leaps, and platform physics and get to the objective without ending up a pile of burning carbon--and that's been our reward, that we have improved through necessity.

Remember Pitfall? How agonizing it was, falling into pits, being eaten by crocodiles, or jumping over a snake or scorpion only to realize that a tenth of your pixel was too close, and you died your pixelated death? And then, the next time--well, you probably died then, too, because it's a lot harder to jump over than you thought. But some point after that, you made it over the scorpion, past the snakes, jumped the logs, grabbed the vine without falling in the pit, and, whew, you made it to the end. You felt proud, and better than all of your previous other selves of moments passed, those swearing at a reptile made of a few black squares, those yelling "Jump, damn you, jump!" with all the ferocity of a tyrannosaur, those with eye-twitching frustrated nerves, those grasping the controller so hard they probably left an imprint. You had done it! You! Even after those despairing moments when things were darkest, and you wondered if it was even physically possible to jump on cue anymore, you had beaten it!

It's that feeling that is needed for us to become better gamers, and I'm afraid that while in trying to make gaming more accommodating to the new audience one of the causalities seen will be the challenge to make the effort necessary. Sometimes we need to sit there, get up on our own, and loudly proclaim "This shit will not beat me!". It's a matter of mixing that right amount of challenge, pride, arrogance, stubbornness, and curiosity to make sure that the game gets played as it should, and not just watched over as if they were scenes posted to youtube that you had to push a few buttons to watch. The pwn-ready gamers of today needed a swift kick in the pants and to be pushed down in the mud a few times before they could stand up and push back--and some of these options seem inclined to remove not only the pushing, but also the mud.

I don't see this working very well- if somebody is truly and completely unable to play a shooter, giving them a "get past this boss free card" isn't going to help very much.

The basic problem is that it takes a lot of effort to create a game with a truly wide range of adjustable difficult. Part of the problem with modern games, from the standpoint of newcomers, is the sheer complexity- and complexity isn't something you can easily strip away from a game, especially not if you want it to still be fun (remember: they probably still want to be challenged, just on their level, so just making it impossible to lose doesn't make it fun).

I like the idea. I really do suck at videogames and I still get the concepts. (Well... I'm actually rather decent at RPGS and I was really good at GW PvP (which was a bit sad IMO).) But I always try and get new people to play and they just can't comprehend it at all. I think things would be really help full.

some of that suggestions have actually already been tried out one way, or another. the what to do/where to go?-button was used in shadow of the colossus or dead space, due to the fact it had not to tell you what to do in these games(s.o.c. get to the next beast, dead space basically just get from a to b, b to c, so on).

mirrors edge marked the way the whole game with bright colours and had a really easy easymode, i mean really easy.

the skipping thing has been done by the latest alone in the dark. this idea should be handled with care in my opinion. it would be cool if you could skip between checkpoints if you get stuck because you are not well enough prepared. skipping whole chapters seems pointless though, it would disrupt a game too much.

alternatively there could be an option to trade exp/money/points for supplies or a temporary special effect like double damage or -defense. or some kind of balanced difficulty adjustment. the world ends with you had a very cool system. now a game should somehow know by itself what kind of setting you need right now.

one reason because so many people play wow that donīt play videogames that reguarly may be that it has a very good pacing at throwing items and stuff and whatnots at you. at least thatīs what i heard from friends that play it. i stay far away from this stuff! but to trick the hunter gatherer mentality in us all is also a good motivator. in easy mode much better stuff could be available right at the beginning. you could start an rpg for example with higher stats than in normal mode. okay, that already sounds old, but how about giving unexperienced players something like a big advantage in the beginning and then the game could track down through stats how good or bad the player is doing and adjusts the advantage. in an fps, if the player has developed a hi hit- and/or dodge/cover rate(basically determined by the loss of total energy up to this point), the game could phase out the advantage letting the player go into gaming-adolescence.

iīm baked so donīt wonder if all this above reads like half-thought nonsense.

cheers

Reading this I just cant understand who this article is for?

Safe assumption: Your on the escapist, you play some video games. amirite or amirite. I think this article makes sense but were is the accomplishment? I have never played gh until a couple months ago, I worked from easy to medium to hard and now after months of dedication I can play on expert. If I had god mode to get me thru raining blood or the Battle with Lou I wouldnt feel like I accomplished something.

I think we call it a tutorial to help out newcomers and after a while if we implament this easiness then its just machinama that you have to walk thru.

This is bullshit,I gave my best chick friend a copy of the orange box so she can start off her collection of video games. This was the first time she ever touched a video game let alone a shooter. I was like she's probably gonna take months to beat the whole half-life saga let alone the whole orange box. Not only did she quickly adapt and play the game on the normal difficulty setting but she beat it in less time than I did when the first half-life2 versions were released on PC. I noticed she really liked it she would be up until 2 am playing half-life and not even notice. also if they added those mechanics it would make it nearly impossible to die and make the whole thing lackluster and give you no since of achievement. I hate to ramble on about this but you guys should have seen how happy she was when she beat the whole thing. It's her favorite game series of all time now. And that is the kind of person that gets into video games not just anyone. people who actually enjoy a challenge cause I know she had LOTS of trouble at first.

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