Jimquisition: Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

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You don't seem to get it.

Making a game too easy inherently destroys it. It is, in essence, the sports league where everyone gets a trophy. Unless you somehow wanted to imply we're all a bunch of manchildren and womenchildren who need that kind of instant gratification you earn your victory.

For a game like Dark Souls the atmosphere revolves around the difficulty. It has nothing to do with who can access the game, its the fact that in a world where the bad guys have much fewer teeth, shit doesn't scare you anymore.

So no, for the same reason that you can't get whatever you want whenever you want, games don't need to be casual. It's a great way to make money, but you have to ask yourself what you're doing to the integrity of your game. On the one hand you get ME3 (Seriously, how many people even bothered with babby's first TPS mode?) and on the other you get Wii Shovelware. You either admit from inception that the game isn't intended to be anything other than entertainment shlock, and on the other you utterly debase your game in the false hope that somehow people will put up with your shitty story as long as the game isn't hard.

I've had this debate before, and I think for me it comes down to not wanting to reinforce the behaviour. I find little admirable in someone that sees something hard and their response it to whine and demand that all the hard go away. I actually have more respect for someone that walks away after trying for, while a quitter, there is maturity in accepting that we can't all be good at everything and trying to focus on your strengths.

What I've liked about video games is they are a medium focused on being given a task, and then trying and trying until you beat it, and them mastering it before you get your reward of the next scene. It's overall focus is perseverence and learning, if not some creativity. If I compare that to say, where I work, I'm surrounded by people that can't or won't learn the software of their job because it's "too hard" (we actually abandoned a software package costing over ten grand in less than six months for this reason). I've seen people successfully whine a raise out of the boss even as I have to correct their paperwork. I can't get through a period without someone missing the deadline for timesheets but expecting to get paid for it anyway. I don't say this in jealousy, I'm an office screw up myself a lot of the time, but I'm always trying to do better, while I see others repeating mistakes without a care, and I blame this on having avoided such consequences in life. If your kid doesn't do their chores but you still give them their allowance, they think they can skirt by through life. If you give the kid with Cs the same reward as the one with As, they have no incentive to improve. That is video games to me, and I'd prefer the challenge stay, they same way I don't want two copies of a book for differing literacy levels. Nothing needs to be brutal (unless that is part of the design like Dark souls) but it's also not the end of a casual gamer's world if they have to put an extra week into a game to master a rough patch.

I might be more open to the idea if things already weren't going a little too far. I used to think at least trophies might be sacred, then I got the one in Revenge of Shinobi for turning the game on, and the same in Persona 4 Arena.

So, I had an idea. Anyone play Starfox 64?

Starfox's difficulty was very obviously divided with different content. Play the stages on the right for an easier game, the stages on the left for harder. The finale even changed depending on which side you approached from. And if you got the easy ending, Andross popped up laughing evilly during the credits. As a player, this instantly made me want to go try and get the "real" ending.

Now I don't want Dark Souls II cut in half between an easier part and a harder part, but I think this idea of a more accessible "hook" is something to look into. If the people intimidated by basic Dark Souls had something of the same flavor but easier that they could beat, and then the game would say: "Nice job, but you've barely scratched the surface of what there is to overcome," I think you could hook more players without actually sacrificing the core difficulty any.

Everything doesn't have to be for everyone. That notion is actually counter-productive here because clearly we do not all have the same taste in entertainment and very few good, difficult games ever see a commercial release. Simply put, semi-niche games like Dark Souls offer something that I can't get from blockbuster fluff. "Dumbing it down" to spread the love to "casuals" would actually have the opposite of the (allegedly) desired effect by reducing the overall diversity of the available content. In this scenario, I'm left out in the rain but the casuals would still have their Angry Birds and Call of Duty and Zelda to enjoy. Didn't J-Style just say that I'm supposed to be the jerk who's trying to exclude people from our little hobby?

I don't mind purely optional modes for people who don't want the same thing as I do but I'm not convinced that this isn't a zero sum game, either. If a developer is working with finite resources then it's reasonable to assume that for that every additional difficulty level they have to tune, every cinematic they add, every cover mechanic they implement in their game, resources will be diverted away from the core experience. I may be overestimating the amount of work that goes into difficulty scaling but the effect is undeniable when things like graphics are levelled against gameplay, so... why not here, too?

At the very least, constantly pandering to the lowest common denominator probably isn't the best way to have your medium taken seriously. Games can be art, certainly, but doing whatever it takes to gobble up as much cash as you can isn't the surest route to actually reaching that lofty aspiration. It just means you're churning out ephemera for mass consumption.

(This has probably been said a thousand times in this thread alone but I'll say it again)

The problem with easy mode in Dark Souls is that it shatters the integrity of that harsh and unforgiving world. "Oh poor baby getting stomped by evil demons. Here, have a wowwipop and I'll just make those bad, BAD meanies go away." Does that sound like what a game like Dark Souls is trying to be?

I understand that at the same time it would make the game accessible to more people but don't you dare to say that it's an automatic win-win for everyone. The core players WILL suffer for it. I'm not saying that they shouldn't implement an easy mode (I'm really torn about this myself), just that the argument against it doesn't boil down to elitism.

Edit: I'm surprised Jim was so out of the loop on this one. Usually his stand is at least informed and I can actually understand the reasoning behind it even when I don't agree with him.

I personally think that every game should have an easy mode. Video games are the only medium that REQUIRES you to be skilled at the medium in order for you to enjoy it. Unlike music and movies, where all you need is the ability to hear and see, video games require you to be skilled at them.

In order to make a proper judgement on a work you should preferably experience it in its entirety; listen to the whole song/watch the whole movie. As I said before, none of this requires much skill which means everyone can experience the work. Why should video games be any different? Getting new people to enjoy a particular genre/medium is how the genre/medium maintains its existence, even the niche ones need new people otherwise they'd die within a decade or so. But these new people can't get into the genre/medium if they can't experience the work fully because there's a damn huge skill barrier blocking their access.

So add easy mode, even in Dark Souls, we'll get new blood, and that is always good thing.

jehk:

Clearly you're not this person. Google core aesthetics of video games. People play games for a variety of different reasons. Someone could play a game for the challenge. Someone for the sense of exploration. And so on. It's entirely possible that a game could deliver challenge for one person and exploration or another depending on the setting that are selected.

One of the few posts that makes sense, thanks.

It really all comes down to a central concept: Options are not bad so long as they remain options.

I think I have to stand by ENB on this argument.
First of all, the easy mode is regarding the next souls title.
Now, about the point of books exploding, no that doesn't happen, and, like wise, dying in a Souls game doesn't critically hinder your ability to enjoy it either.
When you come across a word you don't know in a book you have some options. You could try to decipher its meaning using context clues, or you could look it up online or in a dictionary. In a Souls game when you are killed you also have some options. You can learn from your mistakes, think, really, about why you could've died in that situation, or you could look up online for the optimal method to advance in that situation.
What does this mean? It means that deaths is not a major hindrance to the games; at least, not to the extent a book exploding in your hands would hinder your ability to enjoy said book.
No, deaths are instead the difficult words or style of prose themselves.
More importantly though, Dark Souls already has an easy mode, and an easy mode that is much more innovative than the menu based modal difficulty setting most people who are in favor of easy mode are asking for. NPC and player summons can be used to severely cut down the difficulty of the game's bosses, or even entire levels in the case of player summons. I think this is a much more immersive and lore friendly way to control difficulty befitting the deeply atmospheric nature of the Souls series
I do, however, concede that future Souls games would benefit from a better tutorial system to teach incoming players the more obscure mechanics of the game, like summons. With this, I believe that the games will be sufficiently accessible to any would be demon slayers and undead warriors.

Mortamus:

So if I pay for the game at the same price you did, but I'm not able to make the same investment that you did in the content in terms of knowledge, then I shouldn't have access to all the content that I paid for?

Yes, you shouldn't have access to that content.

Arakasi:
I just want to be able to get somewhere in the fucking game I payed good money for.
I currently find it as inaccessable and boring as those old arcade games where you simply encounter more and more difficult foes.
I want to see the landscapes, the aesthetics, the amazing bosses, I could not give a damn about challenge in this type of game, it is not my forte.

In short, shut the fuck up you whining bitches, I own the game, I want to see what it has, and if I can do that with an easy mode, I'll all for it.

The Fonsz:

I think there should be an easier difficult in Dark Souls if people bought it with there own money they deserve to have that chance.

No, the consumer does NOT have the right to access content in a game solely because they put down some money for the game itself. They have the right to have the ability to access the content, but not to have it simply handed to them with minimal effort on their part nor do they have the right to have the game later made easier for them just because they can't get to that content on their own skill. Consumers have the right to pay for a movie ticket or buy a DVD and sit down and watch it with no further fuss, same with buying a book or a TV. However, that is NOT the case with video games because video games are not movies, books, or television. Video games are an interactive and often competitive activity, those aren't. A much closer analogy would be sports, saying that you have the right to access all content in a game just because you bought it would be like me saying that I deserve to win all 3 Triathlon events with little to no effort just because I bought a pair running shoes, some goggles and a bike. HELL NO! If I wanted to win just 1 not to mention all 3 I'd have to work my ass off and EARN IT!

I would however have the right to put on those shoes/googles/get on that bike and go running/swimming/biking on my own time whenever I felt like it, just like a consumer would have the right to buy a video game and play it until the difficulty got so annoying that they rage quit. What they DON'T have the right to do is have the game automatically play for them or might as well be at that point and have it show them everything including the ending with little or no effort on their part JUST because they bought the game, everyone without exception has to get off their asses, play the game and beat it, they have to EARN that content. This applies whether the game is the easiest game ever made or the hardest, or even if the game is marketed as such. If you buy a game despite not bothering to find out what you're getting into and end up not liking it, that's YOUR problem, not the game developers', and they do not have the obligation to make the game different in ANY way to suit you just because you bought the game, with the exception of things that the developer did not intend there to be like bugs.

OT: If makes a game or even a game series easier just to make it more accessible it does cheapen the experience, even if it's optional, especially if a game or series hasn't always been that easy, this includes games in general, not just the Souls games. It's even worse if the game series becomes easier in general as a result, which is the main fear that is causing this outcry from Souls game players.

To continue my Triathlon analogy putting in an easy mode to ANY game that hasn't had it before is like if I were in a biking or running event and someone let me use a motorcycle in the race when it's never been allowed before, especially in the middle of the race. It would be an unfair advantage for me to have and cheapen the accomplishments of everyone who's ever participated in the race before this was allowed whether they won or not, and if instead motorcycles were optional, who in their right mind would try to put in the effort and deal with the frustration of failure by trying to win running or biking instead of using the motorcycles? Only the most dedicated people, and the fact that there's an easier way makes those few that do it the hard way not only look like masochists, it makes their accomplishments MUCH less impressive when others can accomplish basically the same thing. It would also be terrible to change a running and biking event to a motorcycling one because they wanted to make running and biking events more accessible (in other words, make an entire series easier from the outset as a result of giving previous games an easy mode.) It wouldn't mean anything to beat a game on a newly introduced easy mode on 1 game or a series from that point on any more than it would mean anything to beat a Triathlon using a motorcycle now.

However, making a game more accessible by adding in things like tutorials, making the gameplay much less clunky and awkward than they need to be, and/or adding MORE options while retaining the difficulty level despite that is something entirely different. Adding those to a game or series would not cheapen the experience because it's not an unfair advantage to your fellow players or to people that have played the game or series before you, because the difficulty is kept the same. Also, when things are streamlined to make a game more accessable, it shouldn't be removing features and options, but making those options easier to use. i.e. Instead of having pressing Ctrl+Shift+M to cast my magic, make it so I can just press M, instead of getting rid of magic entirely.

skywolfblue:
Well said Jim, well said.

Penguin_Factory:
The thing that bothers me most about "dumbing down" complaints is when people bitch and moan about *optional features* implemented to ease new players into a game. In these cases the real concern isn't preserving the integrity of games but excluding certain people from playing them.

This in particular. "There is the "Option" to do it easy? WAAAAA RUINING MY HARDCORE EXPERIENCE!"

You know I never see Bayonetta mentioned in any of these difficulty discussions, it really does deserve bringing up. Bayonetta on the harder modes is a challenge enthusiasts dream come true. Bayonetta on super easy mode is easy enough for "filthy casuals" like me. The latter doesn't "destroy" or lessen the former.

I mentioned it on the first page.
Bayonetta is the perfect model for difficulty.
I went through the easiest mode first time around then normal mode and I can say the normal mode was so much more satisfying it was like a whole new game.
The easy mode is so easy that it's easier than most easy games, yet the normal mode is challenging yet fair to the point it's better than most easy games on the hardest mode.
I judge a game by it's normal mode of course that is what is often the way it's meant to be played.

FaceFaceFace:
So, I had an idea. Anyone play Starfox 64?

Starfox's difficulty was very obviously divided with different content. Play the stages on the right for an easier game, the stages on the left for harder. The finale even changed depending on which side you approached from. And if you got the easy ending, Andross popped up laughing evilly during the credits. As a player, this instantly made me want to go try and get the "real" ending.

Now I don't want Dark Souls II cut in half between an easier part and a harder part, but I think this idea of a more accessible "hook" is something to look into. If the people intimidated by basic Dark Souls had something of the same flavor but easier that they could beat, and then the game would say: "Nice job, but you've barely scratched the surface of what there is to overcome," I think you could hook more players without actually sacrificing the core difficulty any.

So, for instance, you'd be ok with DS2 having a couple of easier but unnecessary areas that weren't ridiculously unforgiving somewhere near the start that the player could go through before hitting the ridiculously unforgiving parts?

m19:

TwiZtah:

Far Cry 3 was ridiculously easy at Hard, because it was catered towards the casuals.

Easy compared to what?

Do I need to compare the game to another game to say it was easy? I think it was easy, therefore I felt it was easy.

Vault101:

TwiZtah:
Far Cry 3 was ridiculously easy at Hard, because it was catered towards the casuals.

farcry isnt for casuals...my mum or sister would not play farcry 3 on their PC's or Wii, by your logic majority games are for those mythical casuals who own consoles

but then we are getting into no true scotsmen terriroty

Casual in the sense of the COD-generation, regenerating health and everything scripted so they won't lose interest because they died once.

TwiZtah:

Casual in the sense of the COD-generation, regenerating health and everything scripted so they won't lose interest because they died once.

I'm part of the COD generation but I don't play COD...and I'm not responsbile for ruining your games...

keosegg:
I personally think that every game should have an easy mode. Video games are the only medium that REQUIRES you to be skilled at the medium in order for you to enjoy it. Unlike music and movies, where all you need is the ability to hear and see, video games require you to be skilled at them.

You forget sports, football, basketball, games like chess, etc. at least if you are participating instead of just watching.

keosegg:

In order to make a proper judgement on a work you should preferably experience it in its entirety; listen to the whole song/watch the whole movie. As I said before, none of this requires much skill which means everyone can experience the work. Why should video games be any different?

The same reason either of us wouldn't watch football all day long and expect to have John Madden or whoever waltz into our houses and be offer an NFL contract without either of us having played a single game of football in our lives, or spontaneously gain achievements for Skyrim on our 360s for watching a let's play video on Youtube. Just like sports video games are something you have to EARN your way through, and there would be no point in doing either otherwise.

keosegg:
I personally think that every game should have an easy mode. Video games are the only medium that REQUIRES you to be skilled at the medium in order for you to enjoy it. Unlike music and movies, where all you need is the ability to hear and see, video games require you to be skilled at them.

In order to make a proper judgement on a work you should preferably experience it in its entirety; listen to the whole song/watch the whole movie. As I said before, none of this requires much skill which means everyone can experience the work. Why should video games be any different? Getting new people to enjoy a particular genre/medium is how the genre/medium maintains its existence, even the niche ones need new people otherwise they'd die within a decade or so. But these new people can't get into the genre/medium if they can't experience the work fully because there's a damn huge skill barrier blocking their access.

So add easy mode, even in Dark Souls, we'll get new blood, and that is always good thing.

What if difficulty, or the reason for difficulty, was essential to the experience of a video game though?

Lordhayzeus:
Now, I've played through Dark Souls several times and It's one of my favorite games released in a while. I've got to be honest in that I agree with what Jim says about easy mode. It's not the end of the world if a game includes modal difficulty.

Just not Dark Souls.

Why? Well, it seems to me that people arguing that it should may kinda missed the point. I'm not sure how many of those people like Jim have actual experience with the games or have even beat them. No, I don't mean just playing for 20 minutes, getting stuck at those skeletons and rage quitting. Not just getting to the Taurus Demon and giving up because they didn't see the very obvious trick to beating him. I mean, REALLY playing the game for what it is. If they did then they might understand why people are hesitant about an easy mode.

The difficulty of Dark/Demon Souls is a large and defining point of them, whether or not YOU want it to be. That atmosphere of gloom and doom would not be as meaningful if all you had to do was just go fucking nuts and not worry about what might lay around the corner. Those seemingly impossible bosses and beating them would not mean as much to people if all they could do is just run right at him and just mash strong attack. There would be little point to learning things like parrying or dodging if it was just faster and more efficient to just flail around like a mad man, not worrying about their attacks or the environment. That wasn't the intention of the Dark Souls, regardless of how you feel about that fact.

I don't want to come off as elitist or anything like that. I really want more people to share in the game. But I cannot help feel like the statement I'm about to make is increasingly becoming a no-no in the current state of gaming nowadays: Not every single game out there is meant for absolutely every person. That's perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with that. I don't care for sports games and I don't ask for them to possibly compromise them for my sake. I just move on to things that do suit my taste and I feel that asking for that is a little self-centered.

I've seen WAY too many games series go the way of just "a little something for everyone" and that path gets taken so far that the game now hardly recognizes it's previous entries. In the end, all that happens is the people that didn't care before, still don't care and the ones that do get screwed over (Ninja Gaiden 3 I am looking dead at you). Now if DS 2 and subsequent games were to end up like this is they started easing up? No one can say. But from recent examples of games falling into this trap, there is ample reason to be concerned.

We lost resident evil to this mentality too and I cherished the ninja gaiden for the xbox.

keosegg:
I personally think that every game should have an easy mode. Video games are the only medium that REQUIRES you to be skilled at the medium in order for you to enjoy it. Unlike music and movies, where all you need is the ability to hear and see, video games require you to be skilled at them.

I see this as a false analogy. Viewing a painting only requires me to look at it, but that doesn't mean I understand it's meaning. Reading a book may only require me to open it up and look at the words, but that doesn't mean I automatically understand what's been written. Sure if it's Twilight, I might get it, but if it's a book on theories of thermodynamics or a book of Shakespeares plays written in their original English it's not a given that I'm going to understand it without further study, time and patience. Same with movies. I can watch any movie, but if it's an experimental piece or even something with a really complex plot I may not really understand it at all. The same goes with music. Put on some free form jazz. Everyone with the ability to hear will be able to hear the music, but some will experience it as noise they won't be able to sit through, some will hear amazing music.

The fact is, any entertainment medium is created by a person/team with a set vision and a set audience, and every medium contains numerous examples that are, quite frankly, not designed to be enjoyed by everyone. There's no reason that videogames should be any different.

The notion that hardcore gamers are pushing around the content-starved casuals is an exact inversion of what is actually happening to this medium in fact. I don't even know where to go for a AAA title that engages me on my level anymore outside the Souls series. But they want that, too. They want everything. The very idea of there being a game out there built with me in mind is offensive to them. Everything has to be for them, nothing for me. Not even a toe-hold. Not even one game. I'm being pushed out of gaming entirely by these people. I don't get what I did to deserve this.

And they have the sheer bulging gonads to say I'm the one bossing them around.

here's the problem with an easy mode to dark souls.

It's not that hard to begin with.

I know it's heralded as some super hardcore game, but at the end of the day the game is not punishing you for being a bad gamer, it's punishing you for failing to connect the dots.

Need to be able to dodge specific attack/combos because they eat up too much stamina to safely block and punish? Probably not the best idea to be in full Havel's if you're going to try that strategy. Enemy uses fire? Fire resistant shield/armor. Group of enemies? Use a bow to pull one at a time.

That's the kicker. To anyone with the brain cells to identify attack patterns and what playstyle/weapon/spell/armor build is best suited for killing the baddies with relative ease, Dark Souls is quite literally a walk in the park. It punishes you for your mistakes, whether it be in reaction time or because you're trying to fit a square block through a round hole (although still technically being possible based on the gamer's own skill level) while at the same time making you subliminally aware of how/why you fucked up so you can improve the next time.

That's what makes Dark Souls great. It's only as difficult as you make it to be. Between options like Kindling bonfires to give you 20 swigs of Estus, farming/spamming humanity, you have plenty of healing options to let you heal for days.

Still not good enough? Summon some phantoms. unless you get absolute troglodytes who are worse at the game than you, the increase in monster difficulty is completely offset by the boon of letting them tank for you, and the threat of any invader looking your way is pretty much negated when they're looking at 3v1 odds (at least most of the time.)

I will admit that Dark Souls has a steep learning curve for those who are uninitiated, but that's nothing a browse of the wiki won't fix. Knowledge is power after all.

I can't believe that people are actually claiming that, if there's an easy mode in a game, then they would be compelled to play it, thus ruining the experience. Ludicrous.

I'm sorry but if you find you're forced to play on easy mode as the path of least resistance when you're capable of playing higher difficulties, then you have psychological problems. This Dark Soul's nonsense is ridiculous because those who find the normal mode challenging but fun for it, can still play the normal mode and can still boastr about having completed the it. Nothing is taken away.

Gamers across the board since the beginning of gaming have had the options of easy mode. Guess what they don't only play that mode then never touch it again, they progress and gain accomplishment from their growth in skill.

Stop being elitests ass-hats and play the game on the mode you enjoy.

One of the things that I want to bring up here is EpicNameBro's argument on "selfish, elitist, hardcores"

ENB: Some people enjoy games like Dark Souls because other people can't hack it. Whether they should or shouldn't, or whether it's rational or not I don't know but I do know that it's not likely to change any time soon. People are competitive, and often adversarial. And Dark Souls in some ways reflects this really well with the invasion system but I digress. The point I'm trying to make is you can tell people "You shouldn't care. You shouldn't care. You shouldn't care." but other people obviously do care. It's really something when I see the selfish card being played like "Oh you're just being selfish because you don't want this added. You shouldn't care." The other person does care, so they can accuse you of being selfish to. The street goes both ways.

You know, this thread has made me come to the realization that, if video games truly want to be on par with movies and novels as an artistic medium, then they need to stop being so consumer centric, and they need to stop pandering to the people who perpetuate that culture.

If you do not have the knowledge required to truly appreciate, say, War and Peace, would you demand that Tolstoy release a version that is easier to understand?

I think your missing the point Jim, the thing with gaming is that it's well.. games. Half the satisfaction of beating a game is knowing that you put serious work into it, and not everyone is able to succeed at doing what you did. Games differ from movies or books as a form of entertainment due largely in part due to needing to unlock the content through your interaction and abillity. The satisfaction of beating a paticularly brutal part of a game, or solving a puzzle, is diminished with the knowlege that there was no point to doing it that way, when someone else could just hit "auto solve" or "EZ mode" in order to progress. What's more for winning to matter, there has to be a chance of failure, in games that involve checkpoints, save/load features and the like, being unable to progress further is the game's failure state. If that isn't for you, then you probably shouldn't be gaming.

To be honest I have no problem with developing games for all skill levels, I don't have problems with easy games, as long as harder games are still made, and do not include an "EZ mode".

One other point I think needs to be raised is the issue of self-improvement, the thing with EZ modes and being able to lower difficulty is that ir provides little motivation for someone who is having problems to improve their skills, instead of mastering the game in order to get good at it, they can just reduce the difficulty in order to proceed.

EZ modes, auto-win features, and the like are the equivilent of giving every kid in a race a ribbon whether they win or not for purposes of "self validation". It's kind of silly, and defeats the purpose of having a game or competition (increasingly an issue with internet viewable scores and acheivements).

Finally I'd like to point out that catering to casuals with almost all games by providing the easy modes and such, has also tainted multiplayer gaming experiences and such. When your playing the endgame of an MMO there is an increasing issue (albiet one that has always been present) of players expecting to be handed success. As a result you see QQing over raids and such that are too difficult, leading to them having been dumbed down in a lot of MMOs, and various other problems. PUGS (Pick Up Groups) for PVP and Raids/Dungeons/Group PVE play have actually been getting increasingly terrible over time due to the expectations people are being groomed with, rather than increasing due to people improving their skills in proportion to the challenge, or just deciding it's beyond them and dropping out. You see lots of players who are simply persistant, or wait for an inevitable content nerf before the next expansion and wind up landing all the same trophies (high end gear, etc..).

The problem I see is simply companies deciding to cater to the lowest common denominator with as many products as possible simply because of the money to be made. Serious gamers are a profitable market, but not as profitable as making everything casual accessible. The way game development is going might be good for the pockets of publishers, but it's not good for gaming... I'll also say it's not good for the casuals either as it doesn't encourage them to improve, if more games were designed for a average or advanced skill level and stuck to their guns, you'd see increasingly less casuals as they would advance their skills, they would begin with the handfull of introductory titles, and then moved onto the more advanced ones. That said the difficulty level should be more by-title, rather than set within the game, especially if the game is in any way online connected. What's more a failure to advance without developing the needed skills or whatever needs to be present in most games in order to preserve the existance of some failure state. When you pay your $60 your paying for the chance to play a game, not for an interavtive movie, if your guaranteed to win what the heck is the point of playing a game?

The thing to understand is that the rage against "filty casuals" is mostly motivated by the lack of many games with integrity for serious gamers. It wouldn't be a big deal if more "serious" titles were released, with the occasional "introductory" title for casuals, but that's not the state of affairs we find ourselves in.

It's simply put irritating when a hard mode becomes an optional way of playing, rather than what everyone goes through. Seeing a paticularly awesome victory/plot advancement cinematic loses some of it's luster when I know anyone who sets the difficulty low enough can do it, and choosing to "earn it" with a hard mode was more a matter of personal preferance than nessecity.

Lets put it this way, Dark souls is a good game in large part due to it's challenge. Many people will not see this at first. Given the option to play an easy mode, many people would jump on the chance and never realize what they missed. While easy mode in one particular game wouldn't diminish my own experience in that game, there is still a legitimate reason to argue that putting it in at all is a bad idea. In short, players should be forced to play a game the way it's meant to be played or not at all, for their own damn good.

In the long run of course, it brings in people who had no business playing the game to begin with, who would then have a very noticeable impact on the sequels and or patches in the future, so it does have the potential to impact me directly.

burningdragoon:
It's not that games shouldn't have an easy mode, it's that "there being an easy mode won't effect your experience/normal mode" is not a guarantee. If easy mode is tacked on as an afterthought, maybe it won't. If it's designed for easy mode and scaled up for harder modes, then it will, because increasing difficulty should be more than just changing a few variables to a higher number.

This is my opinion on the matter. Let me just pluck a random example out of the air, say Resident Evil 5 or 6. The differences between Easy and Normal are negligible changes in enemy health and the damage they deal. The difference between Veteran and Professional is that enemies instantly put you in the 'dying' state. There's no change in enemy numbers or tactics, more instances of special Majini or mini-bosses. If you're actually good at either of the games, you'll never know the difference because you'll barely be hit at all thanks to learning the tactics and enemy placement from previous modes (which you have to play to unlock Professional).

A contrasting example would be Bioshock. On Survivor difficulty Plasmids consume more EVE (130% I think); random items are scarce (ammo, EVE, health); there are more instances of the 'Elite' versions of the Big Daddies and there's no 'safety net' (by which I mean that if you take more damage than you have health you die, whereas on Normal or Easy you're just reduced to 1 health). Also lets not forget you can always turn the Vita Chambers off if you really want to.

Meaning of Karma:
You know, this thread has made me come to the realization that, if video games truly want to be on par with movies and novels as an artistic medium, then they need to stop being so consumer centric, and they need to stop pandering to the people who perpetuate that culture.

If you do not have the knowledge required to truly appreciate, say, War and Peace, would you demand that Tolstoy release a version that is easier to understand?

So much this ^^^. Dark Souls is at the forefront of AAA games exploring their potential as art. But after all the big talk about "games are art!", it has gone largely unremarked and unexamined! You should think of Dark Souls as more than a consumer good. It sends messages in ways film and literature cannot by their very nature.

Spoilers in this video, so use discretion if you want to solve the mysteries by yourself. It would take one person a heck of a lot of effort to piece all this together by themselves. I intend to attempt it myself in Dark Souls II if the story isn't neutered:

How peculiar that humans had found little use for humanity until they turned Undead. -Rite of Kindling

"I am thinking about how to make everyone complete the game while maintaining the current difficulty and carefully send all gamers the messages behind it." - Dark Souls Creative Director Hidetaka Miyazaki

Please think about what you're doing before you start writing rules all game have to follow.

Aeonknight:

Need to be able to dodge specific attack/combos because they eat up too much stamina to safely block and punish? Probably not the best idea to be in full Havel's if you're going to try that strategy. Enemy uses fire? Fire resistant shield/armor. Group of enemies? Use a bow to pull one at a time.

^Actually my main dispute with DS. Its usual methods of "difficulty" are mostly countered by breaking out of the game to play meta-style (Kiting enemies). Or stuff like the Capra Demon who attacks in the middle of a loading screen (white wall, whatever) and gets 90% of its challenge from camera going nuts due to the walls of the closet or whatever that little room is meant to be.

On the broader topic ,having the easy mode wouldn't kill it. A game with infinite respawning with no permanent consequence (Oh no, lost souls, I can get more of them from every single monster in the game!) isn't exactly rocking the hardcore boat to begin with, whatever its fanbase thinks. And we can go back and view any of tons of methods used in past games to encourage people to play on Normal/Hard (Locking out Easy after one playthrough, disabling NG+ on Easy mode, lowering souls gained (which would ironically cause the Easy mode to get harder in the endgame), disabling high scores, locking them out of PvP, giving them poorer endings, etc). Theres a ton of of potential carrots to push people to experience the game "properly", but if you push them right out of the game to begin with you lose your potential audience (Either as an artist or a businessman, you're presumably looking to deliver your work to a wider set of people)

TwiZtah:

Far Cry 3 was ridiculously easy at Hard, because it was catered towards the casuals.

I really have no idea what you are talking about there. I am currently playing the game on normal and I die all the time. Yet I have been playing shooters since the original Doom.

I have always been confused by people who get all bent out of shape when there are optional features in a game to make it easier or harder. In my eyes, more options is always better. That way everyone is happy. You want an easy experience, you have it, you want a punishing one, there ya go.

TwiZtah:

Do I need to compare the game to another game to say it was easy? I think it was easy, therefore I felt it was easy.

The statement of "it was created for casuals" implies there is something that wasn't created for casuals. I played fps since the early days and I don't remember those "hardcore" games being as hardcore as people with rose coloured glasses like to think.

Clive Howlitzer:
I have always been confused by people who get all bent out of shape when there are optional features in a game to make it easier or harder. In my eyes, more options is always better. That way everyone is happy. You want an easy experience, you have it, you want a punishing one, there ya go.

I like your assumption that as a matter of fact you can make everyone happy with a game if you just put enough options in it. You can't. It's why things like genres exist in the first place.

Mortrialus:

Clive Howlitzer:
I have always been confused by people who get all bent out of shape when there are optional features in a game to make it easier or harder. In my eyes, more options is always better. That way everyone is happy. You want an easy experience, you have it, you want a punishing one, there ya go.

I like your assumption that as a matter of fact you can make everyone happy with a game if you just put enough options in it. You can't. It's why things like genres exist in the first place.

I like my assumption also. That is why I made it. Thank you for noticing!

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