Difficulty in games

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Jack Norton, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Jack Norton

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    Recently I had my RPG Planet Stronghold reviewed on a important site (for RPG gamers):
    http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/planstrong/reviews/planstrongstrev1.html

    when I read it, I thought was an excellent review, but I noticed that even an expert RPG player like the reviewer found the game too hard :eek:

    It is not the first reviewer to say it, but the other was from gamertell, so a more casual site and thought maybe that was the reason.
    Are we really shifting to making games easier and easier? Players are tired of trying the same battl/level/action sequence? it seems so judging from what Rockstar games is going to do with their new upcoming game:
    http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2011/04/26/la-noire-lets-casual-players-skip-the-hard-parts/
     
  2. Cartman

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    I look back at games like the Sierra adventures I played in college and realize they were alot harder than games are today. I think currently most casual gamers want the game to be easier. However, with that in mind, I don't think that will stop those same people from saying it's "too easy".
     
  3. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    I want easy game like 99.99% of the people.

    Recently, I've played lost viking (in my memory it was a cooool game) and I couldn't managed to jump over the first hole without dying 10 times, either I'm getting old or this game is just way to hard :)

    JC
     
  4. Vatina

    Vatina New Member

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    Games today *are* are lot easier than they were. And I'm not that sad about it... :) As said, back in the days I was also more likely to attempt the same sequence over and over to master it, but today there are so many other (maybe better) games I'd rather move on to if I get really stuck. That wasn't the case back then.

    For me I prefer challenging, but not difficult. I think a lot of people are that way.
     
  5. Jack Norton

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    Problem is that with complex games like RPG is always hard to define "easy". I really thought that the easy mode of my game was... well, easy :D though I think I understand the problem. Is not really being hard, is like people see a hero dying in battle=fail so they restart the battle or quit. Instead when I designed that game, having 1-2 hero die in battle (you can resurrects them though) is "normal". Another lesson learned I guess :D
     
  6. Gossamer

    Gossamer New Member

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    I enjoy games that automatically adjusts their difficulty. Resident Evil 4 is one that comes to mind. When your accuracy goes up and your deaths go down the game "rewards" you by dropping less and less ammo and giving monsters more hitpoints. If you keep dying over and over again, take too long finishing events or keep misfiring the game slowly becomes easier. It's really subtle too, so didn't even notice it the first time playing.

    I used to enjoy tougher games, but as spare time becomes a commodity I hate hitting my head against a brick wall. I suppose it helps if you can at least change the difficulty level in-game. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who enjoy min-maxing their player characters and take on "impossible" challenges like FFX's Dark Aeons, Diablo 2's "Hardcore" mode, or setting their own challenges like finishing a FPS with only a knife or an entire RPG with only level 1 characters. There's also the other extreme, for example where there is a one-button-easymode in Bayonetta...

    The problem I have with most RPGs is that almost any obstacle can be overcome with "more experience grinding" and any form of tactics becomes irrelevant. I don't think a game like LA Noire won't be comparable.
     
  7. Karja

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    I'm with the easy crowd. I hate replaying things, and I don't like losing heroes in RPGs even if they can be resurrected. It just feels like I didn't do it efficient enough in that case. Even in Final Fantasy games where a simple in-battle phoenix down solves matters I get annoyed if one if my guys fall down. :) For me it's partly anal retentiveness, but also that I hate wasting time or wasting resources that I need to collect money for, and things like that.

    Given that, I'm having a lot of trouble deciding on the difficulty of my latest game. Sure, it automatically adjusts the difficulty...but is it too hard anyway? Do the player lose too much before the difficulty becomes suitable? Sigh. Deciding the appropriate difficulty is difficult.
     
  8. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    When twinking difficulty, you MUST do it with your target audience in mind. I'm doing casual games and I know that my audience want easy rewarding games. Still, I'm making some parts way too hard in general. There is a golden rules for me when beta testing my games. I watch someone playing it (for the first time) without saying a word, just watching them struggling with the game. This is golden feedback for me, I'm always amazed by how hard (or non trivials) some parts of the games are. YOU are the worst person to decide if the game is easy or not: because you are an expert in your game and know everything before it even happens.

    JC
     
  9. Artinum

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    I think you need more feedback. In what way is it too hard? Are the instructions unclear? Are the battles too fast? Are the monsters too numerous? Is the main quest line not clear? Is the game pacing wrong (eg. gets tougher too quickly)? There's a lot to balance out. "I can't do it" isn't really much help! I'd hope you'd get more information back from a reviewer - if the review is brief, why not email him?
     
  10. Jack Norton

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    No, mostly had problem with the heroes dying, and to be honest they didn't figure out the right tactics. I've been a long time Everquest player, so for me the concept of "Tank-Healer" was quite straightforward, but obviously not everyone played that game :D In reality, if you know the right strategies to use, my game is not that hard ( if you play it in easy mode).
    I really think that also was the artwork. I mean, a manga game probably has attracted a more casual market, and they were expecting an easier game. For them probably each battle should be very very easy. I had some people telling me they wish they could skip the battles because they want to read more of the story :)

    I think in my next RPG the easy option will be really SUPEREASY so that everyone can win any battle!

    p.s. and I'm also updating the game in next week with a revised easy mode too :)
     
  11. Jon Hellebuyck

    Jon Hellebuyck New Member

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    That's been the problem for me in other games. I was having a real problem playing Dragon Age: Origins, and when I visited the forums I kept seeing comments about "you've got to have a tank and a healer" or "you need a mage with crowd control spells" in order to get past a certain conflict.

    I was also watching my friend play World Of Warcraft and he mentioned a similar strategy for the dungeons: if you don't have one tank, one healer, and three damage people there's no point in going.

    This type of difficulty is confusing to me because I'm not used to it. I'm an older gamer and grew up playing D&D, so I'm used to games that feature classes with enough balance that any choice is a good choice, you just have to understand your character and play it properly. With WOW dungeons, it appears that even if I learn the strengths and weaknesses of my character and play it properly, if I can't wrangle together the prescribed collection of tank-healer-3 damage I shouldn't bother.
     
  12. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    I remember trying to beat Contra with the original 3 lives and no cheat codes... thats all I have to say.
     
  13. Grey Alien

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    I had the opposite problem recently. For Spring Bonus I made the first few levels nice and easy and then ramped up the difficulty later in the game (made sure the demo hour had a couple of longer levels so people could see what was coming). Then people on forums complained it was too easy and said it was a kids game (also the cute graphics/theme made them think that). Other people would say, "no it's not easy, play it a bit more" but it was too late for these players who only played a few levels. I was thinking that if I ever made another match-3 I should try an experiment and make a really hard one and see if it makes more sales from hardcore match-3 players instead of having the demo easy enough that people can blast though it.
     
  14. Indinera

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    You should include a difficulty choice.
    I put it in all my games now: easy/normal/hard.
     
  15. Jack Norton

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    I did, but apparently the easy is NOT easy enough :)
     
  16. Grey Alien

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    Casual games don't have difficulty choices. Although I had timed and untimed modes which is kinda the same.
     
  17. Indinera

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    Add story mode then and make it trivial. :)
    Did that too ^^
     
  18. Jack Norton

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    lol true, could add that, so player who only wants to advance quickly in the story can :D
     

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