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Difficulty Level - Where is my Easy Mode!


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3 hours ago, Trumpets said:

It's as if different games serve different purposes, where some benefit from allowing the player to skip/power through tough bits while in others that would destroy the point of playing it at all.

Whilst I get what you are saying, I would echo some of @matt0's post on the previous page.

 

Because this thread always goes back to talking about the Souls games (as if they are the only games to ever have the difficulty as part of the selling point), for a lot of people I'm sure they like experiencing the world that has been crafted and making sense of the lore (or reading about it on a wiki :P) perhaps more than the actual combat challenge; hell, I wonder how many posts in the various Soulsborne threads on here talk more about the world than beating boss number X? Probably quite a few.

 

Surely the point of playing something is whatever the player wants to take from the experience? If they want to feel good about beating a tough game, great; equally, if they want to see the end of a story and don't mind an easy ride getting there, then that's the point for them. Providing a way for more people to experience that kind of stuff can't possibly be a bad thing, can it? Especially as it wouldn't alter the core game for those that like that challenge.

 

For me, there are a few games I'd like to see more of the world in, but I'm not good enough to get through and, to be honest, I value my time more than replaying the same section over and over for combat I don't love. If these games gave some assistance (e.g. a bigger parrying window/reduced damaged received, more dealt/speed boosts etc) then I would've got to see more of the worlds, been happy and then bought further games in the series (where they exist). Whilst I personally don't like the Souls games (I did put over 100 hours into Dark Souls but never loved it), an example for me would've been The Surge; I liked the setting and wanted to see it through (and I would've then moved onto the sequel) but it was too hard for me and I got bored/tired and gave up quite early on, thus costing the developer a future sale.

 

I know people will talk about the developer's vision/"art"/costs and I fully accept that no developer has to do anything to accommodate a broader group of people so, ultimately, I guess the conversation should end there. But wouldn't it be nice if they did?

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9 hours ago, matt0 said:

 

Your post is basically: "I didn't want this, therefore what's the point?"

 

You say loads of people love the story in Celeste, but you didn't, therefore, what's the point in letting you skip ahead? 

 

My point us: Celeste makes it clear what the intended difficulty is and Fallen Order doesn't. 

 

I didn't say I didn't like the story is Celeste. I said it was slight. It's not the same type of story driven experience Fallen Order is. Had the option not been on Fallen Order, I'd have knocked the additional hour or two in to finish it in any case. 

 

I think there's just a fundamental philosophical difference here that neither side really gets the other. I am fine with a mountain being there even if I can't climb it. 

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I've not gone through this whole thread, so apologies if I am covering old ground.

 

 

I am one of those that love the premise of the Souls games. I started Demon Souls twice. It's an absolute lesson in frustration and just gave up both times.  Been playing Bloodborne via PS Now. It's more of the same. I spent 3 days defeating the first boss (Cleric) now spent another 2 days on Father Gascogine. I am getting to the stage of giving up again. It'll put me off buying or playing another game in the series. A simple difficulty mode would make it accessible to all and proffer more sales and revenue. Sure give the hard mode to those that want it. Otherwise, you're cutting off your nose to spite your face.

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I think it comes down to horses for courses, but that's just me, and round and round we go. No surprise the chat is circling, as it touches upon one of the most ancient unsolvable philosophical questions — form vs. matter/content.

Games are, more or less, foremost form. Without rules checkers would just be clutter, not a game. Strip down the settler or farming themes from board games and they play just as well. The challenge is the game. The point is the rule-set. Could a rubix cube have an easy mode?

And of course there are exceptions. RPGs. There content/matter is king. Maybe with rpg's form is the chronology of the story, and imo, should be respected.
Here's an example: In 2002 at a party someone recommended I watch the ending of Earthbound. I hadn't played the game at that point. The next day, hung-over I dutifully kept my word and watched a video of the ending. It was weird, but that's it, and was forgotten soon after. Jump ahead to 2015, where I played the entire game on the wiiU, and only then, in context, could I finally experience the ending as a transcendent artwork, all the while sobbing uncontrollably.

I can see both sides. As a child I rented a Game Genie and used it to beat Bionic Commando, thereby seeing Hitler's exploding head. It was cool and I wouldn't have seen it otherwise. I rented it again, this time at a friend's house to beat the NES Ninja Gaidens. As we progressed my friend's older brother watched disapprovingly. He eventually chimed in and said we was cheatin' and he didn't see the point in living a lie. That day my friend and I had fun, but after cheat-coding our way to "victory", Ninja Gaiden II lost its appeal. Back then the older brother/Jimmie Cricket seemed a sourpuss buzz kill; my how time changes things.

I quit DK Tropical Freeze because of the b.s. monkey shadow bosses. I quit Luigi's Mansion 3 because of an unfair boss at the tv station. I'm cool with that. Maybe I'll go back, maybe not. Putting a book down to start another is a joy.

TLDR: I dunno. Cheat codes. Save Wizard. Authenticity.

 

**EDIT: Unfinished games reside in the heart …

"It would not be better for men if they got what they want."  — Heraclitus

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I mean, take the debate around in circles if you want, but yesterday there was a whole day of talks and discussions around ways games can handle accessibility, approachability and difficulty better. The last year saw the first case of a AAA game that could be platinumed by a blind player. Change is happening in the industry despite the staid debate here.

 

To slightly engage with the above post, games are intentional challenge. Unintentional challenge is very rarely a positive to a game developer, and when you look beyond the core player base at those with a range of physical and cognitive disabilities and even those varying skills and knowledge, a lot of unintentional challenges and barriers creep in. You can try to address them or not, but if you don't the rest of the games industry is probably going to move on without you, with implications b for sales, future budgets etc. It's certainly putting a capitalist element into games as an art form, but it is what it is.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thought this might be an interesting topic to return to because of Returnal. I already see a few "Git guds" in that thread, but unlike Souls it's completely offline with no way to just grind a few levels or summon for help if needed. It doesn't even allow saves mid run. Shouldn't that have an easy mode?

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21 minutes ago, therearerules said:

Thought this might be an interesting topic to return to because of Returnal. I already see a few "Git guds" in that thread, but unlike Souls it's completely offline with no way to just grind a few levels or summon for help if needed. It doesn't even allow saves mid run. Shouldn't that have an easy mode?

 

It needs something like Hades at the very least where you can quit out mid run and come back later at around the same point although that's more about allowing people to play in short bursts. (It's why I stopped playing Resident Evil back in the day, limited saves just removed the ability for me to fit the game around work and home.)

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On 05/04/2021 at 14:35, jonny_rat said:

The games accessibility conference is running today. Enjoyed this:

 

 

 

I know this thread is about single-player difficulty, but switching over to multiplayer mode for a moment:

 

The Smash Bros games are a great illustration of this "listening to the fans" dilemma. Nintendo wants to make a game that's fun for a wide casual audience, but there's a small set of hardcore players who want high skill ceilings, and balance tweaks that are suitable for tournament competition. This applies to all fighting games, but in Smash the split is particularly striking.

 

The hardcore players have a point that even though they make up only a tiny proportion of a Smash Bros game's sales, if a game is popular among that community and prominent in the big tournaments, it'll help boost its general popularity too. And conversely, if the early adopters in that community who buy it on launch day instantly reject it, the bad word of mouth of their backlash can affect its total sales among casual players.

 

So it is worth it for Nintendo to cater to that audience, to some extent. The question is: how much?

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In regards to Returnal, holy crap, there really are loads of people using "git gud" as a defence against having save and continue in the game which just excludes anyone who doesn't have a spare two hour block from playing at all.

 

In regards to Smash Bros, it's interesting that the hardcore response to the idea of adding an easy mode to Souls like games is that it would be an insult to the core audience and that those that can't git gud should play more casual games whereas the solution to a popular casual game like Smash Bros is for Nintendo to ignore the core audience and tailor the game for the hardcore.

 

(Again, the easy answer surely is "why not both?")

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Re. Returnal, it does have an easier mode if you pay more money upfront.

 

A late game weapon is unlocked from the start if you buy the £80 digital deluxe version, which makes mincemeat of the early bosses.

 

It’s effectively ‘pay to progress’, and sits badly with what is meant to be a uniform challenge (setting aside the vagaries of its RNG) for everyone.

 

Surprised there hasn’t been more of a stink about it.

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Returnal seems to have opened up another front in the accessibility/approachability/difficulty triumvirate:

https://caniplaythat.com/2021/04/29/returnal-can-i-play-that-accessibility-review-ps5/

 

This is only one player's experience (and somehow manages to miss the no-save issue in terms of how gruelling it is to play?), but in short, it does very well in terms of accessibility. And as the reviewer says this at least feels like a bit of a victory: you can have accessibility settings without compromising on intentional difficulty. In the end it's still a no from the review, because of the more tricky issues around difficulty and approachability barriers (and in their case you can't just say, well, it's not a game for you: they want to be able to play it).

 

I think enabling in-game save will make a huge difference here, but will be interesting to see what else they add as time goes on.

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2 hours ago, jonamok said:

Re. Returnal, it does have an easier mode if you pay more money upfront.

 

A late game weapon is unlocked from the start if you buy the £80 digital deluxe version, which makes mincemeat of the early bosses.

 

It’s effectively ‘pay to progress’, and sits badly with what is meant to be a uniform challenge (setting aside the vagaries of its RNG) for everyone.

 

Surprised there hasn’t been more of a stink about it.

 

Although the problem there from a pure easy move perspective is that game will get harder to the point it's as hard as anyone else's version by the end.

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39 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

Returnal seems to have opened up another front in the accessibility/approachability/difficulty triumvirate:

https://caniplaythat.com/2021/04/29/returnal-can-i-play-that-accessibility-review-ps5/

 

This is only one player's experience (and somehow manages to miss the no-save issue in terms of how gruelling it is to play?), but in short, it does very well in terms of accessibility. And as the reviewer says this at least feels like a bit of a victory: you can have accessibility settings without compromising on intentional difficulty. In the end it's still a no from the review, because of the more tricky issues around difficulty and approachability barriers (and in their case you can't just say, well, it's not a game for you: they want to be able to play it).

 

I think enabling in-game save will make a huge difference here, but will be interesting to see what else they add as time goes on.

 

That seems like an odd accessibility review to me. It says the accessibility is good, but doesn't really explain what those features are or how they work. 

 

I also think maybe you've missed the point about people saying a game is just not for you. It's almost always something you'll end up having to accept about a game you want to play, that doesn't mean it's impossible. Obviously FIFA is not a game for me, it's based on a sport I hate. But that also means I'd pretty much never be discussing the game or struggling with accepting that fact.

 

When people are complaining about Dark Souls being too hard, it's pretty much a given that it's a game they want to play, otherwise they wouldn't be talking about it. But when they're told that maybe it's just not for them, that's because they don't actually like the game, they just want to. I've recently had to accept that Sekiro just isn't for me. I want to play it and like the idea but it's too hard and I can't play it because I just don't have the reflexes or skill. I like CS:GO (I've played about 200 hours of it), but I've had to accept that it's just not for me because it requires so much time and effort to play well and enjoy it.

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30 minutes ago, Broker said:

 

That seems like an odd accessibility review to me. It says the accessibility is good, but doesn't really explain what those features are or how they work. 

 

I also think maybe you've missed the point about people saying a game is just not for you. It's almost always something you'll end up having to accept about a game you want to play, that doesn't mean it's impossible. Obviously FIFA is not a game for me, it's based on a sport I hate. But that also means I'd pretty much never be discussing the game or struggling with accepting that fact.

 

When people are complaining about Dark Souls being too hard, it's pretty much a given that it's a game they want to play, otherwise they wouldn't be talking about it. But when they're told that maybe it's just not for them, that's because they don't actually like the game, they just want to. I've recently had to accept that Sekiro just isn't for me. I want to play it and like the idea but it's too hard and I can't play it because I just don't have the reflexes or skill. I like CS:GO (I've played about 200 hours of it), but I've had to accept that it's just not for me because it requires so much time and effort to play well and enjoy it.

 

Yes, it's a slightly odd one. Very high level. I usually prefer them to dive into the details, it's nice for an accessibility review to read like a checklist in ways that is no good for a regular review. I found the general thrust of it more interesting.

 

I would say.. I've had the point about games not being for one player or another made to me many times now, and it was the position I originally came from, so I'm not accepting that. I would also wonder if you'd be okay saying this to the reviewer in the link: as in, would you happy saying no, you don't want to play this game, you just think you do? I know I wouldn't. And I'm at the point where I'm not only not comfortable saying that to players with access issues, but to players who just aren't so good at games, either. The FIFA example is a good example of a game that's actually divisive, but that's not because of the difficulty but the game genre and content. Difficult isn't a genre, but if players were being put off playing FIFA by the absolutely punishing difficulty halting progress through the game's story mode, then yes, we could have that conversation. (And no, difficult does not equal soulsborne: we've had that conversation already in here)

 

Let's say Returnal adds a mid-game save next week. What if the game wasn't for you last week, but is now for you once that feature has been added? Have they somehow sold out by adding that feature, that has now allowed you to play the game, but not affected the experience for all the other players out there? What if there were other settings that could be added to affect difficulty - let's say bullet speed - that would now allow another tier of players to play the game, but also not affect the game for everyone else?

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I think it's totally possible that a game that wasn't for you last week could be this week because of a patch. If they added summoning into Sekiro it would become a game for me because I'd be able to use it to get through the bits which I struggle with and don't have the patience for. I don't think they'd be selling out, but I do think that it's down to the developer to choose. From have clearly decided that adding summoning would be against whatever goals they have for Sekiro and ultimately that's fine. They've made a game that's not really aimed at people like me and I'm happy that it exists and that other people are enjoying it.

 

I don't really think genre is a very instructive way to look at things. Difficulty is a core part of what makes games the experiences they are, and it's a tool developers use to give players the experience they're intending. I very much feel that From Software games are about their difficulty, and that they wouldn't be the same if there wasn't a barrier there which requires players to overcome it. It's built into every facet of their design and it's also a part of the story and world they've created. I know that a lot of people feel that nothing would be lost if there were more options added but I completely disagree with that for the reasons that have already been gone over a million times in this thread, it's not a zero sum game and adding those features would take away resources and attention from other areas where the developers have chosen to focus them.

 

If they decided to change that focus in their next game (which they did with Sekiro, though not in the direction most people discussing this wanted), that would be fine. But ultimately I feel like as a creative endeavour it is most important for the creators to be given the freedom to make what they want to.

 

It's much more difficult with accessibility for people who have disabilities. Obviously in an ideal world everyone could play whatever they wanted no matter what their level of physical capability was, but it's not really practical to expect that to actually happen. Unfortunately we live in a late capitalist society where every resource including time is commodified, and there's no way for every thing to be accessible to every person. It's clearly a positive and exciting development when people make the effort to ensure their games are accessible. But it's also impossible to create something which will work for everyone. There's a lot of things disabled people just can't do, and that's endlessly shit. But I don't think it's fair to expect every developer to find the resources to make every game accessible to every person, because that's clearly impossible and it's a standard which all developers will fail to reach.

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1 hour ago, Dudley said:

 

Although the problem there from a pure easy move perspective is that game will get harder to the point it's as hard as anyone else's version by the end.


And if that’s the only way I can make it into the second half of the game, at least I’ll have seen a fair bit more of the game I paid £70 for, even if I still hit a later wall.

 

Whichever way you cut it, selling a perk to make the early game significantly easier, in a game where the early game is so hard that it’s a barrier to many people, is shit. Either give that gun to everyone up front, or nobody until biome 4.

 

Its not even like you can add the deluxe bits now if you wanted to. That option doesn’t exist.

 

It also makes a mockery of the “game is hard as it’s the creator’s vision” bullshit you still see. That purity of vision appears to depend on what you’re prepared to pony up. <_<

 

Basically Sony and HM can do one.

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3 hours ago, jonamok said:

Re. Returnal, it does have an easier mode if you pay more money upfront.

 

A late game weapon is unlocked from the start if you buy the £80 digital deluxe version, which makes mincemeat of the early bosses.

 

It’s effectively ‘pay to progress’, and sits badly with what is meant to be a uniform challenge (setting aside the vagaries of its RNG) for everyone.

 

Surprised there hasn’t been more of a stink about it.

Surely the real gamers should be the ones to pay more to have the cool weapon unavailable at the start. It will get them elite points. 

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5 minutes ago, Broker said:

I think it's totally possible that a game that wasn't for you last week could be this week because of a patch. If they added summoning into Sekiro it would become a game for me because I'd be able to use it to get through the bits which I struggle with and don't have the patience for. I don't think they'd be selling out, but I do think that it's down to the developer to choose. From have clearly decided that adding summoning would be against whatever goals they have for Sekiro and ultimately that's fine. They've made a game that's not really aimed at people like me and I'm happy that it exists and that other people are enjoying it.

 

I don't really think genre is a very instructive way to look at things. Difficulty is a core part of what makes games the experiences they are, and it's a tool developers use to give players the experience they're intending. I very much feel that From Software games are about their difficulty, and that they wouldn't be the same if there wasn't a barrier there which requires players to overcome it. It's built into every facet of their design and it's also a part of the story and world they've created. I know that a lot of people feel that nothing would be lost if there were more options added but I completely disagree with that for the reasons that have already been gone over a million times in this thread, it's not a zero sum game and adding those features would take away resources and attention from other areas where the developers have chosen to focus them.

 

 

Re: the bit in bold, exactly: and the only issue with what you've said is in assuming that there should only be one level of barrier. We need to return to that old FROM quote again that they don't assume that difficulty is the most important thing in their games, but the experience of struggling and overcoming. From their own philosophy, it is completely within their scope to try and maximise the number of players who struggle and overcome, and minimise the numbers who struggle and never overcome.

 

I think re: Sekiro, we will get an interesting retro on that down the line from the devs. They talked up Sekiro as the best new entrance point for their games, and in the end created something impenetrable to many players. I think something went wrong internally there: ended up with a great game, but a pretty confused one in terms of how it was marketed. I don't recall ever seeing any metrics of success about it, but the lack of DLC for it was very odd.

 

13 minutes ago, Broker said:

It's much more difficult with accessibility for people who have disabilities. Obviously in an ideal world everyone could play whatever they wanted no matter what their level of physical capability was, but it's not really practical to expect that to actually happen. Unfortunately we live in a late capitalist society where every resource including time is commodified, and there's no way for every thing to be accessible to every person. It's clearly a positive and exciting development when people make the effort to ensure their games are accessible. But it's also impossible to create something which will work for everyone. There's a lot of things disabled people just can't do, and that's endlessly shit. But I don't think it's fair to expect every developer to find the resources to make every game accessible to every person, because that's clearly impossible and it's a standard which all developers will fail to reach.

 

While I also don't assign blame to developers here, I don't think the problem is resources, especially - especially! - not in the ROI of AA and AAA games (as I've said in this thread before, it's harder for solo devs or very small teams). Adding basic gameplay modifiers - damage resistance, damage output - which don't need extensive testing is never going to be a resource issue, unless you value these things so low that you would view any time spent adding them as a waste. The reason not to blame devs for this is low knowledge, and a culture of assuming that giving players this level of control over your game is a bad thing.

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48 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

I would say.. I've had the point about games not being for one player or another made to me many times now, and it was the position I originally came from, so I'm not accepting that. I would also wonder if you'd be okay saying this to the reviewer in the link: as in, would you happy saying no, you don't want to play this game, you just think you do? I know I wouldn't. And I'm at the point where I'm not only not comfortable saying that to players with access issues, but to players who just aren't so good at games, either. The FIFA example is a good example of a game that's actually divisive, but that's not because of the difficulty but the game genre and content. Difficult isn't a genre, but if players were being put off playing FIFA by the absolutely punishing difficulty halting progress through the game's story mode, then yes, we could have that conversation. (And no, difficult does not equal soulsborne: we've had that conversation already in here)

 

 

In the review, he says he'd like to see the rest of the game and how it pans out. Imagine telling him, no, you only think you do. :doh:

 

In modern games, developers are creating entire worlds for people to experience. Experiencing that world is what people who can't access a game are missing out on. That world/story/setting may very well be 'for them' but difficulty/inaccessibility demolishes that.

 

And difficulty is totally subjective, so an easy mode for some people may well be just as difficult as default difficulty is for others and so they will experience the game in pretty much the same way, thus preserving the crucial 'developers' vision'.

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9 minutes ago, jonamok said:


And if that’s the only way I can make it into the second half of the game, at least I’ll have seen a fair bit more of the game I paid £70 for, even if I still hit a later wall.

 

Whichever way you cut it, selling a perk to make the early game significantly easier, in a game where the early game is so hard that it’s a barrier to many people, is shit. Either give that gun to everyone up front, or nobody until biome 4.

 

Its not even like you can add the deluxe bits now if you wanted to. That option doesn’t exist.

 

It also makes a mockery of the “game is hard as it’s the creator’s vision” bullshit you still see. That purity of vision appears to depend on what you’re prepared to pony up. <_<

 

Basically Sony and HM can do one.


I think saying the digital deluxe stuff is a pay to win easy mode is a stretch at best. I had access to both those weapons and they certainly didn’t make my life any easier, the game still remained really fucking hard. Plus it remains complete luck you even see either of the guns on your runs, and then further luck you’ll get a decent trait etc.

 

 

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I’m going on two things: having played the challenge yesterday with it (though it did have a few perks going) it was beastly, and destroyed everything instantly, however, more importantly having watched people smear the first two bosses using it despite having low weapon proficiency.

 

The fact it does damage over time and allows you to focus on avoidance rather than avoidance and shooting. As a result boss fights with that weapon are super quick. And for a fight like Ixion, the longer he’s alive the more you will get hit, if you’re a comparatively low-skill player.

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3 hours ago, jonny_rat said:

 

 

Re: the bit in bold, exactly: and the only issue with what you've said is in assuming that there should only be one level of barrier. We need to return to that old FROM quote again that they don't assume that difficulty is the most important thing in their games, but the experience of struggling and overcoming. From their own philosophy, it is completely within their scope to try and maximise the number of players who struggle and overcome, and minimise the numbers who struggle and never overcome.

 

I think re: Sekiro, we will get an interesting retro on that down the line from the devs. They talked up Sekiro as the best new entrance point for their games, and in the end created something impenetrable to many players. I think something went wrong internally there: ended up with a great game, but a pretty confused one in terms of how it was marketed. I don't recall ever seeing any metrics of success about it, but the lack of DLC for it was very odd.

 

 

While I also don't assign blame to developers here, I don't think the problem is resources, especially - especially! - not in the ROI of AA and AAA games (as I've said in this thread before, it's harder for solo devs or very small teams). Adding basic gameplay modifiers - damage resistance, damage output - which don't need extensive testing is never going to be a resource issue, unless you value these things so low that you would view any time spent adding them as a waste. The reason not to blame devs for this is low knowledge, and a culture of assuming that giving players this level of control over your game is a bad thing.


It seems like there’s a disconnect here though, you’re saying both that the developers should offer their carefully calibrated challenge at various levels for players of different skill levels, and also that doing that would be no extra effort and is easy. It sounds a bit like the old “lazy developers should add this thing because it would be easy for them” which really discounts the massive amount of effort that testing and balancing a game takes. The abundance of shit difficulty options in games show that it’s not as easy as just adding a few options, and as I’ve mentioned a lot of times in here you have no way of knowing what bugs and glitches will be created by letting the player freely manipulate the variables that form the basis of how your game feels. And I really don’t believe that offloading that work onto players and expecting them to navigate a huge number of options to perfectly calibrate the game is actually going to improve things. It’s just going to leave the majority of players with an unsatisfying, poorly balanced experience. To have working difficulty options that create the intended experience for players of different skills is going to multiply your testing and balancing by however many of those options you choose to have. 

 

3 hours ago, Camel said:

Imagine telling him, no, you only think you do. :doh:

 

...the crucial 'developers' vision'.


The surest sign that you’re talking absolute shite is when you feel the need to completely misrepresent or childishly mock the points you’re arguing against. 

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6 hours ago, Broker said:

I think it's totally possible that a game that wasn't for you last week could be this week because of a patch. If they added summoning into Sekiro it would become a game for me because I'd be able to use it to get through the bits which I struggle with and don't have the patience for. I don't think they'd be selling out, but I do think that it's down to the developer to choose. From have clearly decided that adding summoning would be against whatever goals they have for Sekiro and ultimately that's fine. They've made a game that's not really aimed at people like me and I'm happy that it exists and that other people are enjoying it.

 

I don't really think genre is a very instructive way to look at things. Difficulty is a core part of what makes games the experiences they are, and it's a tool developers use to give players the experience they're intending. I very much feel that From Software games are about their difficulty, and that they wouldn't be the same if there wasn't a barrier there which requires players to overcome it. It's built into every facet of their design and it's also a part of the story and world they've created. I know that a lot of people feel that nothing would be lost if there were more options added but I completely disagree with that for the reasons that have already been gone over a million times in this thread, it's not a zero sum game and adding those features would take away resources and attention from other areas where the developers have chosen to focus them.

You posted something a little while ago in a different thread that was pretty much the opposite of this - that you didn't care about costs for adding features/testing (you may have even said that's their problem, not yours). It made me chuckle at the time because I recalled posts like the above that you've made (more than once) in this thread. 

 

I'm on mobile so am not going to try and search for it, but your position does appear to change where From developed titles are concerned. 

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2 hours ago, Broker said:


It seems like there’s a disconnect here though, you’re saying both that the developers should offer their carefully calibrated challenge at various levels for players of different skill levels, and also that doing that would be no extra effort and is easy. It sounds a bit like the old “lazy developers should add this thing because it would be easy for them” which really discounts the massive amount of effort that testing and balancing a game takes. The abundance of shit difficulty options in games show that it’s not as easy as just adding a few options, and as I’ve mentioned a lot of times in here you have no way of knowing what bugs and glitches will be created by letting the player freely manipulate the variables that form the basis of how your game feels. And I really don’t believe that offloading that work onto players and expecting them to navigate a huge number of options to perfectly calibrate the game is actually going to improve things. It’s just going to leave the majority of players with an unsatisfying, poorly balanced experience. To have working difficulty options that create the intended experience for players of different skills is going to multiply your testing and balancing by however many of those options you choose to have. 

 

 

Uh uh! No no no. I've always said that the well-calibrated option is the best case scenario, and that is a response to people saying that there's no way to do this well. Let me be super clear here: like, 50% of this problem would be solved by having a cheat/invincibility mode on the options screen, with a clear reframing from the devs that there is nothing wrong with turning this on and off at will. That is the minimal effort/maximal impact solution. The effort, and I think the barrier, is not in the technical challenge here (no matter how archaic or complex your engine is, there is always - always - something simple you can do make the game easy/easier, whether that's blanket invincibility, increasing the values of health items, lowering damage values; and even for those, I think AA/AAA could afford to see if they have any impact in a single round of QA). The effort in getting developers to give up that control over their game.

 

Yes, it would possibly lead to balancing issues later on, or a less-than-optimal player experience in other hypothetical ways that we could bend over backwards to imagine: but those are all better than a player bouncing off the game completely - whether due to skill levels or accessibility issues/impairments - and never touching it again. I don't buy the thing of offloading the responsibility onto players either: this is what players are telling us would be helpful.

 

We always seem to be catering almost exclusively to this hypothetical player who has an ability threshold that's just about in line with the dev's intended experience, but would be unable to resist a setting that's made available in the options menu when they were struggling.

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On 01/05/2021 at 13:09, Nick R said:

 

 

I know this thread is about single-player difficulty, but switching over to multiplayer mode for a moment:

 

The Smash Bros games are a great illustration of this "listening to the fans" dilemma. Nintendo wants to make a game that's fun for a wide casual audience, but there's a small set of hardcore players who want high skill ceilings, and balance tweaks that are suitable for tournament competition. This applies to all fighting games, but in Smash the split is particularly striking.

 

The hardcore players have a point that even though they make up only a tiny proportion of a Smash Bros game's sales, if a game is popular among that community and prominent in the big tournaments, it'll help boost its general popularity too. And conversely, if the early adopters in that community who buy it on launch day instantly reject it, the bad word of mouth of their backlash can affect its total sales among casual players.

 

So it is worth it for Nintendo to cater to that audience, to some extent. The question is: how much?

 

Smash is one where I think it makes sense for Nintendo to character balance it entirely to the high level players. 

 

The game the high level players play is completely divorced from the game everyone else plays for fun. The high level players turn off all items and play on a select few stage configurations 1 v 1. 

 

Everyone else plays four player and turns explosives and all the other crazy shit on because it's hilarious. No amount of balance changes is going to beat Snorlax dropping on your head. 

 

Balance for the hardcore to keep the game active and generating buzz. 

 

The bigger issue for Smash is character picks. That matters more than balancing and people ask for weird stuff. 

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16 hours ago, Camel said:

In modern games, developers are creating entire worlds for people to experience. Experiencing that world is what people who can't access a game are missing out on. That world/story/setting may very well be 'for them' but difficulty/inaccessibility demolishes that.

The assumption there is that the world and story are somehow separable from the game. It does a disservice to what HM are trying to achieve with a player experience that intertwines with that of the main character. And that includes frustration, resolve, hope and desperation.

 

It's one thing to ask for difficulty tweaks to suit different skill levels, another to expect the developer to just abandon the core idea they've worked to produce. In this case, experiencing the world is experiencing its hurdles.

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Best thing about this thread is it let's me know which is the current darling hard-core game the forum are all being great at so I can avoid wasting my money on it. 

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