Is dumbing down good?
Yes
14.9% (88)
14.9% (88)
No
84.6% (500)
84.6% (500)
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Poll: Who here actually wants RPGs to get easier?

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There's no doubt that for the past 20 or so years RPGs have increasingly been dumbed down to become more accessible. How many people approve of this?

I started playing a 22 year old RPG (I won't say which one) and after spending 2 hours creating my party got massacred nearly every battle. I'm no stranger to RPGs either and consider myself experienced and a reasonably good player.

The point is, I like this. It gives a sense of challenge and adversity which needs smart thinking to overcome. Modern RPGs don't have this. Even Legend of Grimrock was easy.

Blood Brain Barrier:
There's no doubt that for the past 20 or so years RPGs have increasingly been dumbed down to become more accessible. How many people approve of this?

I started playing a 22 year old RPG (I won't say which one) and after spending 2 hours creating my party got massacred nearly every battle. I'm no stranger to RPGs either and consider myself experienced and a reasonably good player.

The point is, I like this. It gives a sense of challenge and adversity which needs smart thinking to overcome. Modern RPGs don't have this. Even Legend of Grimrock was easy.

The Problem with RPGs is that you can grind your way to victory in most of them. Most of the challenge comes from higher leveled monsters or cheap tactics. What RPGs need is some sort of non-stat based modifier to combat such as strategy (over come bad odds with tactics) or real time combat (I.E. demons' souls).

I would rather have what we have today than what you described, but neither is ideal.

Depth is better. You start the game by being introduced to a simple world, but you're constantly given new mechanics to take advantage of, until little by little the world isn't so simple anymore and the only way to progress is by cleverly manipulating the mechanics you've learned. But the key here is that the game has to teach you how to manipulate them, it has to set you on the right track first before leaving you out to dry.

Fake difficulty is the easiest thing in the world to create. I give it zero props.

edit: the wording of the poll options is beyond useless. You might as well have asked "do you like good games or bad games?"

No , they are easy enough as it is . I like you OP am a gaming masochist and a rpg fan . But i do realize that most people don't like challenge , thus i suggest giving every RPG a difficulty setting. I like how SMT :Nocturn did it . Normal was Normal . Hard = monsters do more damage , you cannot flee from battle, Everything Costs 3x as much as on Normal . Now you COULD grind , but it isn't really a grind friendly game until you get to the end of the game . It was all about your battle tactics and luck on Hard mode . Very fun. For me at least .

sextus the crazy:

Blood Brain Barrier:
There's no doubt that for the past 20 or so years RPGs have increasingly been dumbed down to become more accessible. How many people approve of this?

I started playing a 22 year old RPG (I won't say which one) and after spending 2 hours creating my party got massacred nearly every battle. I'm no stranger to RPGs either and consider myself experienced and a reasonably good player.

The point is, I like this. It gives a sense of challenge and adversity which needs smart thinking to overcome. Modern RPGs don't have this. Even Legend of Grimrock was easy.

The Problem with RPGs is that you can grind your way to victory in most of them. Most of the challenge comes from higher leveled monsters or cheap tactics. What RPGs need is some sort of non-stat based modifier to combat such as strategy (over come bad odds with tactics) or real time combat (I.E. demons' souls).

Not true. You can't do that in Icewind Dale or Pools of Radiance. Maybe in Skyrim or Diablo.

Easier? No, not necessarily. But I would honestly rather have an easier game than one that just demands I spend X number of hours in each new area grinding for XP and/or money to buy equipment. I've been through enough of that in the 8 and 16 bit eras, I don't want any more of it now.

If you're going to give me a challenge in an RPG, make it an honest challenge. If I die every second battle because my tactics aren't right, cool. If I die every second battle because I haven't hit an invisible level based milestone, then screw off.

Nah, not really. I'm voting yes just to spite you though.

Also. well balanced difficulty settings are the shit.

eh...on higher difficulties that is fine what you described, but that is definitely not what i want. there is no point in me playing a game if i'm dying ever 15-20 minutes, it just causes frustration and wastes time that i could be doing other things, like getting close to finishing the game or some other random thing.

i don't see why they can't have both, plus most rpg's that allow mods have someone mod as such in, for people like you who play games for the pure challenge (nothing wrong with it mind you)

i just don't want that to be standard, cuz quite frankly i just wouldn't buy new games if all they do is make me die each battle and cause me to be frustrated.

I'm playing Xenoblade right now and the game is at its funnest when you accidentely fight a named special monster on top of a group your already fighting. There's a sense of danger and a need to survive. Without that, all the game has is its story which could kill the game too. Even if the combat system is good, who cares when its so easy it does not even matter since there's no challenge or fun?

If easier means "streamlining" and making it more intuitive instead of a convoluted mess of confusing stats then viva la easier. I like modern RPGs more then the clunky older ones.

Probably not. I'm playing KOA: Reckoning on the hardest difficulty and I'm having trouble staying awake.

That may also be because it's a shit game, but it's all relative.

Don't the old kind of RPGs get easier as you level up? That's one thing I have been wondering to be honest. I've always thought that if at level one you're getting destroyed, surely the game must reward you very strongly each time you level up.

Okay, honestly I think they went too far in terms of ease of use. I think they should have stopped the streamlining at DragonQuest. If you can play an RPG with a D-Pad and two buttons that's a pretty big freakin' achievement.

Just make a game that takes skill to play certain content. GW2 looks promising with its dungeons.

I don't understand playing an mmo like some people do (facebook with an auction house)

To me, that mindset needs to die. The role of mindless economy drone shouldn't exist unless it suits the overall gameworld (ie EVE Online).

I would like one of those elusive things.. I think its called a *difficulty curve*.

Well, 1: The poll has nothing to do with the actual point of the thread (easier != dumbed down. NWN 2 was easier than BG2 and if anything it was more complex) and 2: To answer your question, I want games that cater to all tastes. People who like pain get games like demon's souls, people who do not get everything else. Not everyone likes games where you die within two seconds of rolling your character. :/

I think that the problem is that games are becoming easy to the point that the people good at them find them easy to breeze through. This annoys people so they either make mods to make it harder or rage about it.

I think there's definitely a difference between 'dumbing down' and refining a game so it's convoluted parts aren't so convoluted. Claiming a game is 'harder' due to it being needlessly complex isn't difficulty, it's bad design.

I'd like to see games move backwards...away from the broadening of appeal. Games used to have target audiences in mind with design aimed at niche groups of fans. The net result was that while fewer people might have bought a particular title, those games are to this day legendary titles and sadly reminders of a better time.

Games now are solely mass-market appeal. "Dead Space" took survival horror and made it an action game. "Mass Effect 3" took a sci-fi RPG and turned it into a cover-based shooter/interactive movie. It seems that all you need to do now to make a AAA game is take an action game of any sort, add minor RPG elements and you're done.

Games need to get back to being tough, challenging and involve a little work to get good at. I'm simply not interested in bland, easy, consolised games.

It depends on what matters more to you in a role-playing game: experiencing and participating in a narrative or manipulating Excel spreadsheets.

(Which isn't to say that a narrative can't be unsatisfying or spreadsheets can't be fun, but you know.)

Don Savik:
Just make a game that takes skill to play certain content. GW2 looks promising with its dungeons.

I don't understand playing an mmo like some people do (facebook with an auction house)

To me, that mindset needs to die. The role of mindless economy drone shouldn't exist unless it suits the overall gameworld (ie EVE Online).

"I don't understand it, therefore it needs to die." Not really how you want to come across with people. *shrug* Not that I'm in favor of that playstyle, but there must be a reason for it, I suppose.

And "skill" in games is something that's just too vague of an expression; I mean in the end it's still just hand-eye coordination and memorizing patterns most of the time. Reflexes aren't a "skill", on the other hand, and I do dislike "twitchy" games.

That said, any move to make an RPG less clunky is a good one, because when half your boss battle is against the game's interface, someone screwed up somewhere.

The classic D&D RPGs that follow the rules strictly at low levels are just a nightmare. One hit and you can be dead, every attack is crucial and a single strike decides everything.

Unfortunately those don't make for fun play, they are just luck. You have next to no abilities so your strategies are significantly less than what they will be later, so it's just chance on some encounters. I don't care for that at all. A game should become more difficult over time and the beginning should introduce you to the gameplay and let you develop what works and what doesn't. Old school D&D games violate this.

I'm quite happy for them to introduce sliding difficulty bars (which most RPGs have) and put one up at some extreme level to satisfy you, but for me? No. I like challenge but some of the older games were pointlessly binary with life/death where if you went the wrong = certain death. Or having 6 hp and a single attack from an axe deals 1d8. No skill there, just load/reload/reload/win!

They just need a more advanced difficulty setting, because there really is no problem automating half the game for lower difficulties, but of course if you don't make it complex in the first place you save money on production while still retaining 90% of the player base, or possibly even advertise it for granny and go far beyond your usual numbers... so guess what the accountants go for.

Vegosiux:

Don Savik:
Just make a game that takes skill to play certain content. GW2 looks promising with its dungeons.

I don't understand playing an mmo like some people do (facebook with an auction house)

To me, that mindset needs to die. The role of mindless economy drone shouldn't exist unless it suits the overall gameworld (ie EVE Online).

"I don't understand it, therefore it needs to die." Not really how you want to come across with people. *shrug* Not that I'm in favor of that playstyle, but there must be a reason for it, I suppose.

And "skill" in games is something that's just too vague of an expression; I mean in the end it's still just hand-eye coordination and memorizing patterns most of the time. Reflexes aren't a "skill", on the other hand, and I do dislike "twitchy" games.

That said, any move to make an RPG less clunky is a good one, because when half your boss battle is against the game's interface, someone screwed up somewhere.

On the contrary my good Vego, I do understand it. Auction house sentry duty is the best way to make money if you're good at it. But that's the problem, there is no other way in these games to make money as fast as an auction house tycoon. And what do they do with all this money? Sit at the auction house some more. Riveting. What bugs me about it is that these people are all but oblivious to the magical game-world around them because the auction house is too powerful. I just think the system needs to be redone in a way that suits both adventuring and economy.

Edit: I know I contradicted myself, I know WHY, but I don't know WHY people would want to deprive themselves of gameplay to do it.

I disagree with the premise. I do not think games are being dumbed down.

It really, really depends.

Obviously, indiscriminate dumbing down is bad. I don't think I even need to give an example for that, games with an "I win" button are seldom fun.

However, take the Elder Scrolls series. A lot of people were upset about how much the stat and level systems were dumbed down from Oblivion to Skyrim, but in my opinion the old system was complex to the point of being broken. You started the game in Oblivion (and Morrowind, at least) by declaring what you wanted to be, and therefore which stats were important to you, and then you leveled up based on those stats. However, you still had access to all the other stats, which you could also improve, and the world leveled up only with the stats you declared you wanted.

All of this combined, basically, to create a situation where if you wanted your character to be a bad-ass mage, you told the game you wanted to be a warrior. Then you leveled up your sewing and harmonica playing skills (unrelated to both) exactly 7 and a half times each level in order to get enough stat boosts to compete with the monsters that were leveling up when the game thought you were getting more powerful... which had, in reality, precious little to do with when you were actually getting more powerful.

Now, you could say that this sort of thing adds complexity and depth, but for me what that system did was force me to constantly think about the nuts and bolts of how the game worked, that forced me to constantly play the game backwards and do things for reasons that made no sense in the game universe in order to win. Sure, the extra skill juggling was harder, but it was also less immersive and more annoying, as opposed to providing any sort of legitimate, in-game challenge. It was the difficulty of doing your taxes by hand... undeniable, but of limited merit when compared to other options.

That said, I'm all for RPGs getting more accessible, as long as they still leave me something to do, and I'm all for RPGs getting harder, as long as the challenge is the sort that adds to the experience rather than detracting from it.

Games are getting easier. I beat some really nasty titles back in the day like Gouls and ghosts, Super probotector, captain commando, Druid II, most of the megaman titles. Even early D&D titles on the genesis.

The difference today is disposable income. Back then you got very few games so you had to get on with it and play them through, you would not get a new title until christmas. Now new games come along all the time, if you get stuck you move on rather than poser through.

I do like games which need tactics or improved skills to win, rather than another hours grinding. So difficulty is relative.

Vegosiux:
Reflexes aren't a "skill"

Maybe not but they improve with practice.

Easier? Hell no. Unless i turn RPGs onto nightmare difficulty i can normally complete them without dying once, even without using healing potions/spells or whatever.

There's no need for games to be dumbed down or made easier.
Have difficulty options sure but dumbing down doesn't help anyone. If you think your game is complicated actually work on decent tutorials for it.

Fishyash:
Don't the old kind of RPGs get easier as you level up? That's one thing I have been wondering to be honest. I've always thought that if at level one you're getting destroyed, surely the game must reward you very strongly each time you level up.

That's always going to be an issue in RPGs, i suppose. When you level up and buy new, powerful stuff then you might out-level the game which is something a lot of people, myself included, experienced in Dark Souls. You spend the first half of the game getting your face pounded into your stomach and later on you find yourself dancing circles around the big boss monsters. I can't really see a way to work around that with a leveling-based combat system.

OT: I really don't think calling back to the old days of RPGs sound like a very good idea. At least not in terms of gameplay because what little i've managed to try my hands on and have later on seen from late 80's early 90's RPGs have been things i really would just throw my hands up and not care about. Also the copious amounts of grind.

Sure, it would be nice to see some genuine challenge, but that doesn't really apply only to RPGs now, does it? But as was mentioned earlier in the thread... if i have to spend several hours on the freakin' start-up menu to tweek my character and/or party and still run the risk of being slaughtered everywhere i just don't see the point. And if i'm made to grind to level up to take on whatever roadblock was there then that doesn't make things better. Some apparently see the grinding as the core that should hold every RPG together, but personally i tend to despise it 'cause it's rarely neither fun nor challenging.

I like to level as i go instead of leveling up and then get to go.

EDIT: Oh yeah, i couldn't really answer the poll because i don't feel like dumbing games down is a very good idea, but i do like the fact that managing inventory/skills/abilities/party members etc. has become more manageable. Dark Souls didn't explain any of the attributes either in-game or in the manual and i know for a fact i'm not the only one who was annoyed by that, because it's sort of important to know those things when trying to build a character.

But a lot of games who people are whining "game is dumbing down!" isn't for a fact the case.

A lot of games have removed a lot of the consequence that just to stick with making an error in an older game.

My favorite current example Diablo 3 VS Diablo 2.

Diablo 3 has the deepest combat with less consequence. Let me explain.

Diablo 2 skills:
You decided to use the wrong skill and you will suck forever. Best example is weapons specialisation in for the Barbarian. Might as well make a new char.

Diablo 3 Skill:
If you pick the wrong skills you will suck for one fight. This encourages experimentation in combination with gear, making alternative strategies possible (see guild wars).

Diablo 2 combat:
Diablo 2 will have you chucking pots and changing between all your skills at a reflex rate. This rewards Pressing the button faster instead of having a plan.

Diablo 3 combat:
Diablo 3 forces you to make a running strategy because you are limited to use 6 skills at a time. This rewards forward thinking rather than reactions.

Diablo 2 death:
Diablo 2 you had to make a corpse run to retrieve your corpse. A loss of Exp and gold is an additional punishment. This difficulty could spiral out of proportion if there were mobs over your corpse since you were basicly naked getting to it.

Diablo 3 Death:
Here you are returned to checkpoint with a durability punishment (gold punishment essentially). This removed the random nature of the corpse run having a static difficulty. As an additional punish if you die during a boss encounter, the boss will reset. Making the zerging strategy off diablo 2 impossible.

And yet people whine the game has been dumbed down. I can argue how that Skyrim wasn't dumbed down compared to oblivion. Yes I am aware there is no spell designer, but what about combat? In oblivion you are flailing like a madman while in skyrim you have to time, block, shieldbash small blow, heavy blow, ect. The dual wielding is evidence of this more than anything.

I think your poll is inherently flawed with the use of the term "dumbing down", so much so that it's pretty much useless.

Games can be simplified and streamlined without becoming easier or dumbed down, Witcher 2 is a case in point. If anything, it got harder, partly due to it's simplification compared to the Original.

I've just done a playthrough of Chrono Trigger, and - while i've always loved the game, and it still holds up remarkably well today - I have to say after playing it, I immediately felt like doing a Witcher/KoToR/Mass Effect/Deus Ex playthrough, partly because I wanted a game to show how far the genre has come in the intervening 20 years or whatever it is.

Blood Brain Barrier:

I started playing a 22 year old RPG (I won't say which one) and after spending 2 hours creating my party got massacred nearly every battle. I'm no stranger to RPGs either and consider myself experienced and a reasonably good player.

The point is, I like this. It gives a sense of challenge and adversity which needs smart thinking to overcome. Modern RPGs don't have this. Even Legend of Grimrock was easy.

Why wouldn't you say which one? Assume I agree with your assessment about the dumbing down, and I'd like to play a complex and challenging one. Here you are, not willing to share. Forcing me to go back to ME-simplicity, and making you part of the problem in a way.

Skoldpadda:

Blood Brain Barrier:

I started playing a 22 year old RPG (I won't say which one) and after spending 2 hours creating my party got massacred nearly every battle. I'm no stranger to RPGs either and consider myself experienced and a reasonably good player.

The point is, I like this. It gives a sense of challenge and adversity which needs smart thinking to overcome. Modern RPGs don't have this. Even Legend of Grimrock was easy.

Why wouldn't you say which one? Assume I agree with your assessment about the dumbing down, and I'd like to play a complex and challenging one. Here you are, not willing to share. Forcing me to go back to ME-simplicity, and making you part of the problem in a way.

I'm talking about Pool of Darkness. It's complex in its party dynamics and the huge possible combat arrangements and tactics, and challenging in its ability to extract mistakes. But there's a ton of those types of games back there.

I would like to see more complex RPG's that have a combat system that doesn't rely on dice rolls because you can be the best player in the world but still lose because all your characters miss attacks through no fault of your own.

I liked FF13 when it came out, it was a breath of fresh air of sorts.

It had battles that were challenging but it also had aspects that would entitle the game to the 'RPG for dummies' award.

For example, when you died in a battle, instead of having to load your savefile, you just started right in front of the fight you lost; no progress loss, just an easy flow of gameplay.
Or what about how you were healed after every fight so that you wouldn't have to worry about healing your party between battles, no more hogging those pesky potions, etc.

I like the more risky RPG as much as the next guy, but at the time I liked the more secure nature of FF13 and the feeling that no matter what you did, you wouldn't be affected by it in a negative way. Some RPGs in the past would have a hybrid system, such as giving you the option to load a savefile but retaining all the items you found and exp you had gotten ( suikoden if anyone is wondering ).

At least, these are the RPGs that I usually play ( JRPGs ), and at times yes, I think that making them a wee bit easier in the way discussed above wouldn't be a bad thing persay.

Do I want the mechanics and background systems simplified? Absolutely.
Do I want them to get easier? No.

I feel they are doing a great job with varied RPG's that are eaasier to get into but still challenging at the proper difficulties.

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