This Obsession With Difficulty is a Little Absurd

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im 39 and spent most of my teenage years well spent at the arcades. the ammount of money spent on ghosts and goblins alone could of allowed me to purchase a machine. i play games to relax these days and enjoy the story for the most part so i tend to play on normal or easier modes

is it really that hard to give us a difficulty slider and make everybody happy ?

i think not.

capcha says "cool head prevail"

My problem with difficulty levels is that they are rarely more of a challenge of your abilities. More often than not they are merely challenging patience.

To beat your average shooter with regenerating health you do not have to play it more intelligently, you just need to spend around 80% more time in cover before you can carry on fighting. The actual game-play doesn't change in any significant way. Merely making enemies weapons more powerful and their health larger is a poor way of making a game harder, and that's what most games do.

I like games such as FTL when enemies use better weapons more often (as opposed to using the same weapons as you but theirs are more magically powerful) and will use abilities that they wouldn't normally use as much. Or finding weapons/items is a lot rarer so you have to make do with what you have and think more carefully about what you use and when.

Drago-Morph:
Seriously, I just don't get it. Why are people ragging on modern games for not actively hating the player? I mean, I understand Spunk-Gargle-Wee-Wee-Games that are pretty much you on a tour of set pieces with no way to loose are too easy to the point of not being fun. I get that.

No, I'm talking about other games that people seem to criticize for being too "easy". What specifically made me agitated enough to try and get a discussion going so I could understand this phenomenon was a point made in a video I saw abut Skyrim having been made too easy. Specifically, it was heckled because quest-vital characters couldn't die and there was no way to truly fail the (hundreds of hours long) game. I mean . . . really? I just don't get it. It's preposterous.

I don't know, maybe this opinion isn't as widespread as it seems. Maybe it's just a really vocal minority that keeps shouting for the game disc to snap in half and rape your mother if you accidentally step on a tap. If that's the case, then feel free to discuss why this has become such a visible issue as of late and your own thoughts on the subject. However, if there's really a significant chunk of people out there who want to bring back the "good ol' days", I'd really like to hear why. It just doesn't make sense to me.

EDIT: Whoops, meant to post this in Gaming Discussion. My bad. Mods, feel free to move it to your heart's content.

All this hyperbole that basicly says "people like what I dont like" is a little exhausting

However to try and be on topic, veneration of difficulty...whats wrong with it? People venerate graphics, music, narrative, story, plot, characters, etc. Whats wrong with venerating difficulty? Why can that not be an enjoyable part of the game like many other pieces to the whole?

Sleekit:
is it really that hard to give us a difficulty slider and make everybody happy ?

i think not.

capcha says "cool head prevail"

I've never met a difficult slider I liked. They usually just make enemies into invincible oneshot machines. I wish there was a difficulty in Skyrim that made enemies hit like it was on the highest difficulty, but die like it was on normal.

Windcaler:

All this hyperbole that basicly says "people like what I dont like" is a little exhausting

Yes, if the undertone is "And I want people to stop liking that". Here, the undertone is "and I really want to understand them." Not that bad, is it?

BoredAussieGamer:
This may be a little off topic to this thread, but I feel it relates.

I can't stand people who heckle games for being too easy when there are difficulty choices. Seriously, have you ever played some of these games on the hard modes? It's like being equipped with a water pistol to a lion arena.

Maybe thats because even "Hard" difficulty modes are often pretty stupid easy (Or at least averague), dont you think?

Drago-Morph:
Seriously, I just don't get it. Why are people ragging on modern games for not actively hating the player? I mean, I understand Spunk-Gargle-Wee-Wee-Games that are pretty much you on a tour of set pieces with no way to loose are too easy to the point of not being fun. I get that.

No, I'm talking about other games that people seem to criticize for being too "easy". What specifically made me agitated enough to try and get a discussion going so I could understand this phenomenon was a point made in a video I saw abut Skyrim having been made too easy. Specifically, it was heckled because quest-vital characters couldn't die and there was no way to truly fail the (hundreds of hours long) game. I mean . . . really? I just don't get it. It's preposterous.

I don't know, maybe this opinion isn't as widespread as it seems. Maybe it's just a really vocal minority that keeps shouting for the game disc to snap in half and rape your mother if you accidentally step on a tap. If that's the case, then feel free to discuss why this has become such a visible issue as of late and your own thoughts on the subject. However, if there's really a significant chunk of people out there who want to bring back the "good ol' days", I'd really like to hear why. It just doesn't make sense to me.

EDIT: Whoops, meant to post this in Gaming Discussion. My bad. Mods, feel free to move it to your heart's content.

I'm reluctant to respond because whenever I give people the answers, which they do not like, they tend to freak out and try and turn it into a flame war.

That said the bottom line is one between real gamers, and casuals. To a real gamer part of the point of playing a game and progressing is knowing that your doing something not everyone can do, for whatever reason, and will have probably defeated numerous players before you. If progress is accessible to anyone playing the game simply by playing it, it defeats the purpose. To a real gamer the idea of things like easy modes for many games is an anathema because it makes challenge optional, and allows anyone who decides to play see the content which is supposed to act as the reward for defeating the obstacles.

Whether you look down on real gamers or not for having no life, the bottom line is that to a real gamer someone not being able to devote 20 houra a day to gaming as a lifestyle is not an excuse, or a reason to ruin things for those who can and do make gaming an integral part of how they live. Someone who "has a life" and games as "something else they do" is by definition a casual, as they are approaching gaming as a casual interest as opposed to a major priority.

For the most part the issue is one created by the industry. When you have games for real gamers, alongside those for casuals, there is no real problem as long as most sides get their games. The problem is that real gamers ARE a minority nowadays (if a fairly large one, which is why they are so loudly heard), and given that casuals outnumber real gamers, the industry generally wants to cater to casuals to garner larger sales. This includes taking hardcore games like say "Dark Souls" and adding an "easy mode" making the challenge optional in order to increase their sales. Real gamers are profitable, but a successful "serious" game simply raises the question as to how much more money it could make by "casualizing" it.

The basic arguement is that not all games should have an "easy mode" and there is a dedicated audience that wants games where hardcore challenge is simply how the game is, rather than something that is optional. Outsiders might not get it, but the hardcore audience DOES get it, and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

As elitist as I might be on a lot of levels, I truthfully have no real problem with casual gamers as a whole, and even enjoy a number of games developed for that level HOWEVER I also want there to be decidedly non-casual games and challenges out there, and they are becoming fewer and further between. If the industry caters to both sides there is no issue, but as the industry is going entirely one way due to sheer greed, you see these conflicts intensifying. As casual gamers DO outnumber serious gamers, and the business aspects, including internet critics, realize this, there is rapidly becoming less and less interest in defending serious games, and serious gamers, despite the large numbers, because at the end of the day they are simply outnumbered and more money/more hits can be generated by being casual friendly.

There is also the issue of what is good for gaming as a whole. The problem with casual games and gamers is that they tend to sink to the lowest human denominator and kind of settle there. A lot can be done with gaming as a medium, but things aren't going to move forward as they should when things get stuck in that morass for business reasons. Right now we see a sort of "follow the leader" type thing where a serious game, for serious gamers, will do something cool, then people will casualize it and make even more money. With less games being developed to push the envelope for those who can handle it, it slows the growth of the industry, and at this rate soon there will be no more hardcore games, and then no more... or very little... progression and evolution within the industry.

If you never push yourself, how do you ever expect to improve? I also prefer harder difficulties because the easier ones feel like cheating.

Vegosiux:

Windcaler:

All this hyperbole that basicly says "people like what I dont like" is a little exhausting

Yes, if the undertone is "And I want people to stop liking that". Here, the undertone is "and I really want to understand them." Not that bad, is it?

Actually its more exhausting because of all his intellectually insulting "observations". For example he makes the comparison that higher difficulty is "hating the player" which is a point of view thats exhausting to try and even understand, let alone argue.

Therumancer:

I'm reluctant to respond because whenever I give people the answers, which they do not like, they tend to freak out and try and turn it into a flame war.

Okay, I'll bite here. People don't take issue with what you say as much as they take issue with how you say it. So it's not a problem of "giving answers people don't like", it's about "treating your partner in conversation as inferior". And that's what makes people "freak out".

I mean, I can do triple-digit multiplications in my head quickly and reliably, it's a skill that's not that common. A rather useless one, since everyone has a calculator these days, but I still won't claim that people who can't do it (and don't see a reason to try) as "not doing math the way a real mathematician should be doing it" and won't get elitist on you for using a calculator.

That said, I don't disagree with the points you're making in the post. But I felt I had to lay it out how people might get upset about not what's being said but rather about the attitude with which it's delivered. I am aware some people consider confrontational/greater-than-thou/aggressive (those are examples, by the way, not accusations) attitudes "thought-provoking". I don't, I prefer the content to provoke thought, not the form.

Okay, enough ranting from my side. I mean, I like to ramp the difficulty to "self-flagellation with an acid-laced cat-o-nine-tails" sometimes myself. On my days off, mostly. After an intense weekend shift I prefer something easy to unwind. That does not make me a "fake gamer" as opposed to "real gamer".

Drago-Morph:
Seriously, I just don't get it. Why are people ragging on modern games for not actively hating the player? I mean, I understand Spunk-Gargle-Wee-Wee-Games that are pretty much you on a tour of set pieces with no way to loose are too easy to the point of not being fun. I get that.

No, I'm talking about other games that people seem to criticize for being too "easy". What specifically made me agitated enough to try and get a discussion going so I could understand this phenomenon was a point made in a video I saw abut Skyrim having been made too easy. Specifically, it was heckled because quest-vital characters couldn't die and there was no way to truly fail the (hundreds of hours long) game. I mean . . . really? I just don't get it. It's preposterous.

I don't know, maybe this opinion isn't as widespread as it seems. Maybe it's just a really vocal minority that keeps shouting for the game disc to snap in half and rape your mother if you accidentally step on a tap. If that's the case, then feel free to discuss why this has become such a visible issue as of late and your own thoughts on the subject. However, if there's really a significant chunk of people out there who want to bring back the "good ol' days", I'd really like to hear why. It just doesn't make sense to me.

EDIT: Whoops, meant to post this in Gaming Discussion. My bad. Mods, feel free to move it to your heart's content.

fun fact about Skyrim: When I first got the game, I was under the assumption that it was too easy and ramped up the difficulty to master. I promptly got my ass handed to me. Then I played for a while, got used to the combat and the importance of blocking and found the game increasingly easy. The people that complain about Skyrim being built to be easy are lying out of their asses. If they want a hard late-game, go play Oblivion without following a leveling guide and maxing out your stats.

Drago-Morph:
I am confused by your[their] obsession to have a masochistic level of difficulty in games and don't understand why you bash games and players who don't agree

One man's 'masochistic' is another mans normal mode. I kill dragons in Skyrim in like 5 hits on the hardest mode. I play nightmare mode DAO without pausing. I won FTL on normal mode on my second try. I soloed an entire campaign of Left 4 Dead 2 in expert realism mode. You simply assume we are masochists when asking for harder difficulties because I highly doubt that is the word used by those asking. I'm sorry that I am really good at videogames, but I need difficulties that are harder for most games.

uchytjes:
If they want a hard late-game, go play Oblivion without following a leveling guide and maxing out your stats.

I never used a leveling guide. I didn't even max out my stats or level. Eventually I got to the point where I would leave the room or sit and read with a stack of quarters on the casting key for a heal spell, while all my enemies died from damage reflect. If I can leave the room and still win, it's not very difficult.

Drago-Morph:
I don't have a problem with people wanting challenge.

Yes... just a problem with people wanting a challenge that you think is too much of a challenge, because you're the official challenge bar setter for the universe.

Drago-Morph:
And yeah, I do feel a little insulted when I'm, y'know, insulted by players who seem to think they're better

Aren't they though? I mean if they are beating something that is too difficult for you to contend with; isn't that the definition of better? Having skills you lack allowing them to complete something you can't? Or to complete it much quicker than you, without unnecessary reloading and so forth?

Drago-Morph:
Seriously, look a bit more closely at the opening post before you decide to bash it.

Your OP seems to think people exist who I have never heard of, who are sitting around going I want to reload 5000 times before I get a single foot in a game, because I die so much. You don't cite any actual examples of people like this. You just assume that everyone has the same skill level, and thus must hate themselves for playing on higher difficulties then you.

Also Skyrim's unkillable NPCs being retarded isn't a difficulty issue, it's a poor game design issue. One that is very prevalent in RPGs these days. You can definitely fail your quest in Skyrim, it's called dying. The only difference is that some games make you start again from the beginning, and some let you start from a short while back. Just like letting you kill the NPCs would only let you fail your quest insofar as you are unwilling to just quick-load an earlier save.

Mycroft Holmes:

Drago-Morph:
And yeah, I do feel a little insulted when I'm, y'know, insulted by players who seem to think they're better

Aren't they though? I mean if they are beating something that is too difficult for you to contend with; isn't that the definition of better? Having skills you lack allowing them to complete something you can't? Or to complete it much quicker than you, without unnecessary reloading and so forth?

Okay, okay. 362*412; without using anything but your head, you have 30 seconds. If you can't, then I get to look down on you and incessantly rave on and on about how you don't deserve to do anything that has numbers in it or something but I do because I'm just better than you.

Note: in order for people to not run afoul of Poe's law - that was a joke.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there, serious now. My point? Some people are better at some things and some people at other things. Being "better at" something does not make one "better" in general as in "a greater person". I mean, in order to confirm that you kind of have to compete in multiple categories and all.

...yeah I'm nit-picking semantics. Feel free to ignore, but if you (or anyone else) respond, please make sure you understand what I'm saying first.

It's weird.

I never really thought of this whole thing where a game has to be challenging or engaging stuff when I was little. Back then, I just really liked to play video games It's only did I start spending a lot of time on the internet where I start to hear a bunch of people talking about difficulty in games and how important it supposedly is.

Thinking about it now, I can totally see where people are coming from. At the same time though, I feel that difficulty is sorta subjective. Some people have a much easier time playing certain games than others. Not to mention most of the people on here have played games for a very long time. Most longer than I have.

This has sort of brought a question up in my mind that's sorta been bugs me whenever it comes up.

What exactly is the difference between making a game more manageable or dumbing down in terms of difficulty? Example: Some people have stated that the latest XCOM is a dumbed down version of the original and appeals to casuals, while others, like Yahtzee, say that it (for lack of a better term) trims the fat and gets rid of pointless stuff.

Vegosiux:

Okay, okay. 362*412; without using anything but your head, you have 30 seconds.

A useless experiment, as I could say whatever I want and there's not really any way of proving it.

It took me about 2 minutes though. You just break it down into parts that are easily handled and then add them back up, as long as you can keep track of which pieces you have done already it's not too difficult. 360 times 400. 12 times 2. 12 times 360. 2 times 400. You can then break down the parts further if you need, like 12 times 360 can be broken into. 10 times 360 and 2 times 360.

Vegosiux:
If you can't, then I get to look down on you and incessantly rave on and on about how you don't deserve to do anything that has numbers in it or something but I do because I'm just better than you.

You need to provide examples. I've never heard anyone say that people who play easy games don't deserve to be allowed to.

Vegosiux:
Sorry, I got a bit carried away there, serious now. My point? Some people are better at some things and some people at other things. Being "better at" something does not make one "better" in general as in "a greater person".

I never implied it did, though I'm assuming that was your original implication. If so, then yes I agree that's retarded. Otherwise, people who are able to do things you can't in videogames, are by the very definition better than you where videogames are concerned. And they{I?} have every right to complain that there are almost no developers who make anything to an acceptable difficulty level for them{me?} anymore.

Again I think you're reading into things that don't exist, and jumping to a conclusion that wasn't implied by anyone. I have heard people brag that they are better at videogames, which as we have established can't really be denied, but I have never heard them assert that they are better at everything because of it. On the contrary usually when you bring that up as a subject, there is a clear change in dialogue that includes everything(my penis is 10 inches long, I make more money than you, I trained my pet tiger to make strawberry torte and your tiger can't even make top ramen.) This change in discussion clearly delineates that they weren't suggesting that their videogame skills alone make them better.

Mycroft Holmes:

Again I think you're reading into things that don't exist, and jumping to a conclusion that wasn't implied by anyone. I have heard people brag that they are better at videogames, which as we have established can't really be denied, but I have never heard them assert that they are better at everything because of it. On the contrary usually when you bring that up as a subject, there is a clear change in dialogue that includes everything(my penis is 10 inches long, I make more money than you, I trained my pet tiger to make strawberry torte and your tiger can't even make top ramen.)

Oh, those things do exist, just not necessarily as the norm everywhere (see the conclusion of this post), that I am aware of. But GIFT is a very real thing...and the first part of my post was mostly me being too sarcastic for my own good anyway.

As for the penis, money and the pet tiger comments...yeah, well I'd likely get put on the sex offender list if I wanted to make sure the size of my penis is not assumed to be something that it's not, be it either way...I mean, I bet that's what you get for waving your wang around on the internet, even if only to make sure nobody ever assumes how small or large it is.

(Note: This part was not meant to be taken all that seriously either.)

This change in discussion clearly delineates that they weren't suggesting that their videogame skills alone make them better.

I take it you've never seen the inside of the LoL community, for example. Scary place. Abandon all hope, ye who enter there; and find a quick exit >.< Seriously, you should have seen some Tribunal cases I went through. But basically, to more people than I could count in the end it sure looked like "Won a LoL game against you" = "You're a fat, ugly, small-dicked virgin who will never get some" (or something along those lines). Haven't been on the scene in quite a long time now tho, but I'm not too sure the toxicity levels went down any. Decent and helpful folks were the exception.

Vegosiux:

I take it you've never seen the inside of the LoL community, for example. Scary place. Abandon all hope, ye who enter there; and find a quick exit >.< Seriously, you should have seen some Tribunal cases I went through. But basically, to more people than I could count in the end it sure looked like "Won a LoL game against you" = "You're a fat, ugly, small-dicked virgin who will never get some" (or something along those lines). Haven't been on the scene in quite a long time now tho, but I'm not too sure the toxicity levels went down any. Decent and helpful folks were the exception.

We'll I've never played LoL, though I have a friend who played it professionally who said it was pretty bad. We played Ultima Freeshards together, and he agreed that it was about on par with those. But anyways, that just sounds like shit talking to me, and I still think you're reading too much into it.

As someone who has griefed and trolled(classily) for nearly a decade now I have to doubt that anyone actually literally believes any of that. It's like how fag is often used as a pejorative for someone you don't honestly even believe is a homosexual. It's just things you throw out to show your dominance on a anthropological/societal level, and rattle your opponent on a psychological level so that they don't play as well. Its like this: http://www.cracked.com/video/fantasy_football_18469/

I've insulted tons of people in every way imaginable and even some that are technically not possible to imagine. But I never actually thought anything I said was more than incidentally correct some of the time. But that wasn't the point of it. It's the exact same as in sports, only x100 because it's on the internet and no one knows who you are.

Also none of this really has to do with difficulty. Difficulty means singleplayer. And I have never heard an example of someone going "you didn't play dragon age origins on nightmare mode, you shouldn't be allowed to play it." That's a whole different thing. Because trash talking in a non-multiplayer game makes no sense, and people don't actually care that much what difficulty level other people play on.

Difficulty settings have been a staple of video gaming for what, two decades now? Can we please just accept that we can have the same game be both easy as pie and balls hard with a simple setting alteration in order to have a suitable challenge level for different people's preferences?

That goes for developers too. Dying over and over in Call of Halo: Battle Warfighter 3 is more of a nuisance than a real challenge because you die really quickly and respawn just as quick, set back about 30 seconds in total. Problem's not that the game is "too easy", it's that it's badly designed.

So I guess what I want to say is that I think anyone who derides a game as "too easy" is just being dumb.

... well that would have saved me a lot of time if I'd thought to put that at the top.

I know the video you talk about,and I have to say that the point of it wasn't game difficulty at all.
It was simplification and the reduction of the game's world responding to your actions,the reduction of believability and realism. How hard it is to kill monsters in a dungeon is an entire different subject than being able to kill an NPC or not.
And there is a reason that being allowed or not to kill an NPC is important for The Elder Scrolls,perhaps more than in other games.

It's because in all past TES games before Skyrim the developers wrote a short introductory manifesto explaining their goals and aims for The Elder Scrolls series. In that manifesto they pretty much say that their vision with the series has always been to create a virtual fantasy world that interacts and responds like the real world,so you can get immersed and live an alternate life. The Elder Scrolls was supposed to be a world/life simulator that responds to your actions naturally. For that reason in the older games like Morrowind and Daggerfall you were allowed to kill every single being that is not a God if you would like too,because that's the reasonable outcome of an action like attacking someone with a sword. TES was initially designed to be a life simulator/sandbox in a fantasy world.

What is considered bad by the man who made the video is the fact that the philosophy of the developer team has changed. Instead of trying to make the games the closest in representing a world that have consequences like in real life,a believable world where you can 'live' in it,their goal nowdays is to make mainstream,and may I say 'casual' action games. So a lot of aspects and mechanics that existed in past games are absent in Skyrim,the interactivity is reduced,the consequences are reduced,and basically most life simulator features and mechanics have been reduced or removed.

The amount of difficulty and challenge in modern games is an entirely different subject,unrelated with this Elder Scrolls - specific issue.

What's with all the people hating on Skyrim in this thread?

The game has adjustable difficulty levels so it's as hard as you want it to be. As long as you don't try to break the game, there will always be a challenge (except the last encounter which was poorly designed) The game lets you change difficulty on the fly which is great.

Some people mentioned bugs, but a bug occurring has nothing to do with the challenge of a game. Bugs are unintended.

People are also saying that the game is easy on the hardest difficulty and that it's imposable to die. They're wrong.

Now a good example of a game that is too easy is Kingdoms of Amalur. Even while playing on hard and avoiding crafted equipment, wearing whatever dropped gear looked good, it was still barely a challenge. In 100 or so hours, I must have died 4 times, and that was only because I was careless.

scorptatious:

What exactly is the difference between making a game more manageable or dumbing down in terms of difficulty? Example: Some people have stated that the latest XCOM is a dumbed down version of the original and appeals to casuals, while others, like Yahtzee, say that it (for lack of a better term) trims the fat and gets rid of pointless stuff.

This one strikes close to me because I really, REALLY, liked the new XCOM.

Far as I'm aware, I don't think the complaints lie with the difficulty but with the idea that many of the features of the much venerated original weren't present in the new one; I certainly felt that the original was a little top-heavy (but then I didn't play it when it until recently), but I don't think the new one was deserving of so much vitriol just because it's a different, more streamlined game. People get attached I guess. Personally I thought that I missed some of the depth, but the original's out there, if I want that kind of depth, I enjoy the new one for what it is, which is basically the tactical game.

Some of the discussions I read really harp on 'the casuals', and of course I find that to be complete bullshit, as I do any discussion that harps on 'the casuals/CoD kiddie' crowd or whatever; what you enjoy in a game is nothing to do with intelligence, and the same goes for difficulty.

The difference is very, very indistinct, because it is ultimately a matter of opinion; any change at all can be twisted into a 'dumbing down' argument, but the idea that it's done so to make it more accessible to less-intelligent people is a fucking poisonous one that shows how needlessly cruel and judgemental people like to be, and coincidentally how much of an ego people have about an entertainment medium.

Because some of us are old enough to have played games that did hate the player and try to kill you. That's the problem with modern games. In order to reach a wider audience they deny any actual danger to the player character for the most part.

It's fine that games are appealing to a wider audience, it really is. But when games that used to actively challenge us release a new version that feels more like a theme park ride rather than an adventure that's when it becomes a problem. The transition between Morrowind and Oblivion is a perfect example of this and this is why people continue to love Morrowind and continue to mod and support it 10 years after it was released.

If you don't want a challenge that's totally fine. But you have no right to complain if I want to exercise my brain while I play.

Maxtro:
Snip.

You go play Skyrim with the difficulty all the way up. Then go play Morrowind with the difficulty all the way up. Skyrim's difficulty is just artificial, in that the AI does not change whatsoever, it just hits harder. Now in Morrowind, the AI will be granted new abilities to roll with as well as a bit of a strength boon. Archers will poison their arrows, mages will cast invisibility, warriors will actually surround you. They will also make use of scrolls and potions that are distributed randomly on spawn to mix things up. That's interesting, a giant that clubs you so high you die from fall damage is just frustrating.

Once I've straightened the Elder Scrolls-specific subject which isn't about difficulty at all,I'll tell you my opinion about average game difficulty these days.

You know what ? I'm glad games are not so hard as they used to be in the Arcade days. And you know why ? Because back then when each game needed its own huge hardware the main costumer of video game companies where bars. That's right developers were getting paid by the bar owners who ordered arcade machines so they can have them on their bars and make money. Video games at that time were designed to be hard for the sole reason of making you spending more coins on the machine,and making the bar owner-arcade machine buyer more rich. By the time home consoles appeared and you didn't had to give money for every single life you loose,there really was no reason for developers to make the games that hard.

Now I might not like classic arcade level and kind of difficulty,but I'm not one of those who want all games to become easier either,and I have to accept that some modern games are way much easier than they should be. A good example is the Wolfenstein game that was released in 2007. Before playing that game I read on the internet that it was extremely easy so I decided to start playing it on my first playthrough at the hard setting,even though I always play games at medium setting. And I did found that the game was kinda easy at the beginning,but I had the suspicion that the game would become harder later on as I progressed in it. So when I found my really good weapons like the flame thrower and the rocket launcher,I decided to conserve the ammo and keep it for the hard points of the game that I expected to come later on,were their power would really be needed. Well you know what ? I finished the game and watched the credits roll and I hadn't used the 3 most powerful of the weapons I had found at least once,because I never needed them,they were so overpowered I never used them in the game to not feel like I was cheating,I was killing each enemy in 1-2 seconds anyway with the starting weapon (mp40).

Legion:
My problem with difficulty levels is that they are rarely more of a challenge of your abilities. More often than not they are merely challenging patience.

To beat your average shooter with regenerating health you do not have to play it more intelligently, you just need to spend around 80% more time in cover before you can carry on fighting. The actual game-play doesn't change in any significant way. Merely making enemies weapons more powerful and their health larger is a poor way of making a game harder, and that's what most games do.

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter: it's the difference between difficulty through challenging the player and just seeing how many times they are willing to restart the same level/fight/mission over again because one mistake kills you instantly.

I've started to play more games on the highest difficulty, like when I went back to platinum Darksiders, and I find it makes me a better player: instead of rushing in and mashing the attack button, I was having to dodge and parry and use more of the games mechanics.

On the other hand, I've never beaten the first level of Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox because there is so little room for error that I would have reloaded checkpoint twenty times before I even got into the groove of the fight. If I'm spending more time watching a loading screen than playing the game then I'm not having fun and I lose interest rapidly.

VanQQisH:
That's interesting, a giant that clubs you so high you die from fall damage is just frustrating.

Although I agree with you, that sounds hilarious.

I 'unno, I guess we don't see 'true' difficulty settings more often because it's more time-consuming/expensive to develop; I can't say I know how the difficulty in Morrowind functioned before, I can't really see any reason for taking that out if they had the option to put it in with little difficulty. I imagine that handicapping the AI would be a lot more involved, but that kind of difficulty (more enemy abilities at higher difficulty levels) seems to be simple enough.

Of course, I know nothing about the development process, so I wouldn't know.

Seems like some things are concentrating on the ends (beating the game) more than the means (playing the game), from what some people say.

Drago-Morph:
Seriously, I just don't get it. Why are people ragging on modern games for not actively hating the player? I mean, I understand Spunk-Gargle-Wee-Wee-Games that are pretty much you on a tour of set pieces with no way to loose are too easy to the point of not being fun. I get that.

No, I'm talking about other games that people seem to criticize for being too "easy". What specifically made me agitated enough to try and get a discussion going so I could understand this phenomenon was a point made in a video I saw abut Skyrim having been made too easy. Specifically, it was heckled because quest-vital characters couldn't die and there was no way to truly fail the (hundreds of hours long) game. I mean . . . really? I just don't get it. It's preposterous.

I don't know, maybe this opinion isn't as widespread as it seems. Maybe it's just a really vocal minority that keeps shouting for the game disc to snap in half and rape your mother if you accidentally step on a tap. If that's the case, then feel free to discuss why this has become such a visible issue as of late and your own thoughts on the subject. However, if there's really a significant chunk of people out there who want to bring back the "good ol' days", I'd really like to hear why. It just doesn't make sense to me.

EDIT: Whoops, meant to post this in Gaming Discussion. My bad. Mods, feel free to move it to your heart's content.

Challenge is at the heart of gaming, to propose otherwise is what's really absurd.

And your extreme exaggerations aren't exactly constructive.

I don't think there's any obsession with difficulty. Some people just like a challenge, it's not like people are going to say of every single playable game "Must be made more difficult", they just like to have to use their brain, use their understanding of the game, and there aren't enough games that go for that.

Also, for fuck's sake, if you think Skyrim is broken don't bloody max out CRAFTING first. Go for magic or something.

PieBrotherTB:

VanQQisH:
That's interesting, a giant that clubs you so high you die from fall damage is just frustrating.

Although I agree with you, that sounds hilarious.

I actually managed to catch my character's virgin flight in a screenshot too. Turns out the skybox in Skyrim is pretty high up. The whiter parts to the left are those mountain ranges just outside of Whiterun.

Singleplayer wise I always play on the easiest difficulty level possible in a game, simply because I really am not bothered about the challenge. However, in regards to multiplayer modes my opinion goes in the opposite direction.

To be fair, multiplayer these days in the likes of FPS games has gone down in difficulty and complexity due to the control scheme(s) of the biggest user base, consoles. I'm not bashing consoles here, I'm simply saying that in order to make up for the lack of precision in movement, aiming and available binds the mechanics need to be streamlined to make up for it.
Having said that, the way the likes of COD and Halo handle those issues and make up for them in the game mechanics is very well done.

Anyone who can play FPS games on console is a hero in my book, because I can't stand using the controllers :(

HellbirdIV:
Difficulty settings have been a staple of video gaming for what, two decades now? Can we please just accept that we can have the same game be both easy as pie and balls hard with a simple setting alteration in order to have a suitable challenge level for different people's preferences?

That goes for developers too. Dying over and over in Call of Halo: Battle Warfighter 3 is more of a nuisance than a real challenge because you die really quickly and respawn just as quick, set back about 30 seconds in total. Problem's not that the game is "too easy", it's that it's badly designed.

So I guess what I want to say is that I think anyone who derides a game as "too easy" is just being dumb.

... well that would have saved me a lot of time if I'd thought to put that at the top.

Unfortunately, I've seen FAR too many cases of "If you can't beat X game on Y difficulty, you must be a braindead toddler."

VanQQisH:

You go play Skyrim with the difficulty all the way up. Then go play Morrowind with the difficulty all the way up. Skyrim's difficulty is just artificial, in that the AI does not change whatsoever, it just hits harder. Now in Morrowind, the AI will be granted new abilities to roll with as well as a bit of a strength boon. Archers will poison their arrows, mages will cast invisibility, warriors will actually surround you. They will also make use of scrolls and potions that are distributed randomly on spawn to mix things up. That's interesting, a giant that clubs you so high you die from fall damage is just frustrating.

What? Here we have another case of people assuming Morrowind has qualities it lacks completely.

Archers don't poison their arrows - That's not even a mechanic supported by the game.
Mages cast invisibility even on the lowest difficulty settings, if they can get it off.
Warriors "Surrounding" you is just a byproduct of them running up to hit you and living long enough that they have to run around each other.

The AI in Morrowind doesn't improve the difficulty - it's the same system used in Oblivion and Skyrim. It MIGHT make them attack faster, as Daggerfall did.

As for that giant - You were dead before you ever left the ground.

It's impossible to have honest discussion of difficulty in video games when people profess this staggering level of ignorance on how the game's mechanics and settings work together (or not work together, as the case may be)

Stavros Dimou:
Once I've straightened the Elder Scrolls-specific subject which isn't about difficulty at all,I'll tell you my opinion about average game difficulty these days.

You know what ? I'm glad games are not so hard as they used to be in the Arcade days. And you know why ? Because back then when each game needed its own huge hardware the main costumer of video game companies where bars. That's right developers were getting paid by the bar owners who ordered arcade machines so they can have them on their bars and make money. Video games at that time were designed to be hard for the sole reason of making you spending more coins on the machine,and making the bar owner-arcade machine buyer more rich. By the time home consoles appeared and you didn't had to give money for every single life you loose,there really was no reason for developers to make the games that hard.

The games had to be hard but rewarding as well, to keep people paying.

Maxtro:
What's with all the people hating on Skyrim in this thread?

The game has adjustable difficulty levels so it's as hard as you want it to be. As long as you don't try to break the game, there will always be a challenge (except the last encounter which was poorly designed) The game lets you change difficulty on the fly which is great.

Some people mentioned bugs, but a bug occurring has nothing to do with the challenge of a game. Bugs are unintended.

People are also saying that the game is easy on the hardest difficulty and that it's imposable to die. They're wrong.

Now a good example of a game that is too easy is Kingdoms of Amalur. Even while playing on hard and avoiding crafted equipment, wearing whatever dropped gear looked good, it was still barely a challenge. In 100 or so hours, I must have died 4 times, and that was only because I was careless.

The problem with difficulty sliders is that 99% of the time they suck. Skyrim, for example, has a horrible combat system and very floaty controls. It's not designed to be difficult, so when you force difficulty on it it becomes cheap. Until you get alchemy and blacksmithing to 100 and then start making godlike invincible armor and weapons, then it becomes easy again.

I downloaded a mod to make my skyrim more difficult. It's still pretty cheap (skyrim has problems that mods can't fix), but it's 100x better than just maxing the difficulty slider. I find it far more entertaining than the vanilla game, even if i have to keep a finger on the quicksave key.

VanQQisH:
Because some of us are old enough to have played games that did hate the player and try to kill you. That's the problem with modern games. In order to reach a wider audience they deny any actual danger to the player character for the most part.

It's fine that games are appealing to a wider audience, it really is. But when games that used to actively challenge us release a new version that feels more like a theme park ride rather than an adventure that's when it becomes a problem. The transition between Morrowind and Oblivion is a perfect example of this and this is why people continue to love Morrowind and continue to mod and support it 10 years after it was released.

If you don't want a challenge that's totally fine. But you have no right to complain if I want to exercise my brain while I play.

Maxtro:
Snip.

You go play Skyrim with the difficulty all the way up. Then go play Morrowind with the difficulty all the way up. Skyrim's difficulty is just artificial, in that the AI does not change whatsoever, it just hits harder. Now in Morrowind, the AI will be granted new abilities to roll with as well as a bit of a strength boon. Archers will poison their arrows, mages will cast invisibility, warriors will actually surround you. They will also make use of scrolls and potions that are distributed randomly on spawn to mix things up. That's interesting, a giant that clubs you so high you die from fall damage is just frustrating.

Wait wait wait wait...you're complaining about artificial difficulty, yet praising the old era of games where the difficulty was incredibly artificial in order to get you to pump more quarters into the machine? Much as I enjoyed it, I dont' think Smash TV or Total Carnage were great examples of crafted difficulty....

GunsmithKitten:

Wait wait wait wait...you're complaining about artificial difficulty, yet praising the old era of games where the difficulty was incredibly artificial in order to get you to pump more quarters into the machine? Much as I enjoyed it, I dont' think Smash TV or Total Carnage were great examples of crafted difficulty....

Well, arcades are a different story altogether. Bullet hells and Beat'em'ups can't really be given much more difficulty besides "more bullets" and "more power" but there were examples of good games with balanced difficulty settings in the arcades with shooters like Area 51 and Virtua Cop. There was also a Sonic the Hedgehog machine at my local arcade that was good for a challenge and didn't chew through coins once you got good at it.

So yeah, there were good and bad arcade games but to be honest, they were designed specifically to make you pump more money into the machines and were not really the example I wanted to go with in the first place, which is why I used Morrowind as an example. It may not have been the best example but it got my point across, I think.

HellbirdIV:
Difficulty settings have been a staple of video gaming for what, two decades now?

At least three and a half, and probably close to four. I remember my Atari 2600 having difficulty switches on it, and there were settings on some older consoles before that.

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