In response to “Gaming’s Social Contract” from The Escapist forum:I miss the days where games had cheat codes you could input if you were pretty desperate or just tired of being killed. A particular game perhaps too “hardcore” and you want to enjoy it without spending hours trying to get your strategy down? — God Mode time. Feeling frustrated that you, in your far-too-human way, wasted all your ammo trying to kill an enemy that the hit detection seemed to only register 1-in-5 shots even though he’s RIGHT THERE! — Infinite Ammo.
I’ll forgive a game for the occasional moment that things go utterly broken and I feel I’m being picked on, only if there are some fallback options to ensure that I can proceed. It can be setting the difficulty lower, or turning on auto-aim, turning up hit accuracy, or something, because if you’re sitting there miserable, frustrated, hating the game and the AI to the point where you don’t want to play anymore… then why are you playing?
And as long as I’m thinking of contract offenders; Crysis. I play a ton of this game, the gameplay’s great, the graphics are great, it’s one of the few modern shooters that doesn’t require me to go online with other howling loonies.
But they need to do something about object physics. If a barrel explodes and a barrel next to it happens to fly my way and hit me, I die. Realistic right? I imagine that this same programming is the cause of me bumping a box with another box on it while I’m running, the box on top falls over and KILLS ME. I agree this is kind of minor in a game that has checkpoints every 1:30, but if you’ve set some arbitrary goal like beating a level without dying then it’s a real pain.
In response to “A Simpler Cataclysm” from The Escapist forums: So in other words, you want them to get rid of the metagame. Which is half the reason a good number of people play.
Your idea sounds good on paper, but in practice, people actually LIKE thinking they’ve bested the nuanced, needlessly complex system, even if it’s not their own math. I just spent all weekend balancing my hit, expertise, and crit caps (I’m a rogue) after a particularly successful run on ICC and I friggin loved it. I didn’t kill a single enemy all weekend, and I still had fun with the game.
I do like your idea about class combos though. That’s something that could really add some extra spice to standing outside of the fire.
I have mixed feelings about all this. I suppose this is my careful treading towards the unknown, but I choose to remain guarded because I have seen cases where simplifying the mechanics can go wrong.
I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen in this case but there were cases in games… Okay lets go with the one on top of my head, Black and White and Black and White 2. The mechanics being unseen and a mystery for the player to discover kept alot of people playing with wonder through black and white 1 over and over just to get an inkling of what was making all the happenings in the world do what they did. Where in Black and white 2 lay it all out for your prying eyes to see at the click of the button and I saw alot of people become disinterested with it so fast you could have blinked.
The point is I really hope blizzard remember to keep somethings a mystery to the player in terms of stats and this simplifying of the mechanics still allows us who enjoy tweaking our players to perfection to something big and chunky to get our teeth into still.
That said I did like the profession synergy that tailoring/blacksmithing/leatherworking would have in the future with gear stat alteration. True, stuff is being simplified but I hope in that void, a whole new dimension of complexity is stuffed in for us to get our grubby little Cheetos-powder laced fingers on.
In response to “Who’s the Boss” in The Escapist forums: I enjoy a boss fight as much as the next boomerang waving do-gooder, but I’d have to agree with others in this thread – some games play just fine without them, particularly in any FPS.
Instance. Halo played nicely without any boss battles, just different types of enemies. Then Halo 2 added boss fights. And it just seemed like a bit of a cop out. The finale of Halo 2 involved chasing King Kong around and popping loads of matter at him. Halo 3’s final boss? A ball. A metal ball. Bit of an anti-climax that.
The original Halo had a final enemy much more dangerous: a countdown timer. And a ridiculous space-road. You weren’t avoiding fire from some predictable R-type thing – you were escaping asplodination, the final boss was TIME ITSELF.
My personal opinion is that Twilight Princess and New Super Mario Bros Wii both failed in the boss departments. The hardest part of TP is getting through those endless caves with the enemies, where even the slightest nick of health can prove fatal later in the caves when the game starts throwing some really nasty enemies at you.
NSMB on the other hand was probably done that way so the game could be completed by most players, but harder options for longtime players such as myself would have been loved (Endless version of last boss perhaps? That was epic the first time i got to it).
Some games need bosses and some don’t, even in the same genre. Metroid Prime could work without bosses, but bosses work in it very well. The same goes for any fantasy/sci-fi FPS where you can explain why the boss can take a bazillion rockets and not die. GTA, Call of Duty, Battlefield really don’t need bosses as there set in more realistic worlds where everyone is made of paper.
What makes for a good boss is really tricky, it needs to be able to scale in difficulty accurately to suite the skill level of the player. It’s also got to intimidate the player (Or subvert that and play the “Adorable but oh-so-deadly” card) and that’s usually done by making them big and loud (Bowser, Ganon), or similar to the player (Axel Gear – Rocket Knight Adventures).
In response to “The Player and the Pusher Man” in The Esapist forums: The question “would I still be playing this game if there were no built-in reward system?” is a pertinent one, and one that comes in handy as more and more games are built around addictive features rather than their intrinsic worth. I say intrinsic worth rather than “fun” because, as the author points out, we may actually like being manipulated in this way.
By intrinsic worth I mean playing the game for the sake of its story and/or experience regardless of its reward mechanisms. Playing games solely for unending rewards means you are playing them as a way to pass the time. They are an addiction because they let you escape from your life. If a player is trying to maximize their dollar/time ratio then of course F2P models are the perfect solution, but they aren’t admitting that for them games are merely a way to kill time. Quantity, not quality, becomes the only marker of success.
Addictive games threaten the possibility of games being more than diversion and rising to the level of “art” or something meaningful. Sure when something is good – a book, movie, or game – we don’t want it to end, but to seek after an experience that doesn’t end eliminates the possibility of evaluating that experience as a whole. If games don’t do that then they can never match books and films as modes of cultural/artistic expression.
I’m perplexed by the premise of this article. It seems to suggest that many games are not inherently fun, but are just reward systems designed to lock people in.
By this token, many games are quite simply thinly-veiled reward systems.
Firstly, the definition of ‘fun’ is at best nebulous. One man’s psychologically manipulative game is another’s Game of the Year.
Secondly, no one is compelling you to play games, reward system or not. What about personal accountability, self-restraint and good ol’ common sense?
The article seems to blame game designers for creating addictive products, much like the arguments that healthy-living proponents level against fast food joints, for producing ‘addictive’ junk food. Or how Jack Thompson blames the ills of the world on violent video games.
Rather than blaming game designers, traumatic childhoods, abusive/absent parents, TV and video games, how about taking responsibility for our own dysfunctional behaviour?
Or do we really need to be told that the coffee is hot?