Why do Game Developers think they know what the players want? What games failed you?

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Morello

Lead Designer

02-05-2013
38 of 91 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireside Poet View Post
It's funny to me, personally, that you use World of Warcraft as an example and say that it lost "a ton" of players. I know personally I couldn't even stomach playing WoW before Wrath of the Lich King (and I bought Original when it released) because of how incredibly exclusionary the gameplay was if you were not in that top 5% . It really had nothing to do with time playing (I played JRPGs most of my young life, so I knew what it took to spend hundreds of hours on a game). I had no interest in committing 40 hours a week to preparing to play a game for 20 more hours that weekend. I feel THAT is what has been addressed by Blizzard, and save the nostalgics and the elitists (who I feel are similar to those on these forums who gripe about special skins not being so very special), no one has much of an issue with needing to do less mindless grinding to experience the actual purposes of the game.

Another example I can give you is Super Smash Brothers-- I actually played in the competitive scene of SSB for quite some time, and experienced the bridging from Melee to Brawl. There was much crying and gnashing of teeth at the demise of "wave dashing" and "true combos"-- those combos that, if performed correctly, resulted in instant death. While a few hardcore players refused to budge from their "more competitive" SSBM, a HUGE majority of players adapted to the new SSBB, and I would bet that the upcoming SSB will have just as dedicated a following.

lastly, I think it's a little bit condescending to assume that game companies DON'T know what we want. They spend hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars to LEARN what we want. The problem is that sometimes what the general public wants isn't what is best (see: Tragedy of the Commons, Paradox of Value, etc). And unless you have a vision for your "art" (be it TV, games, books, or anything) it can get lost in pandering to the lowest common denominator.
I love the Smash example - it also really applied during TF2's launch (I used to be a TFC player for a long time). I have a pretty hardline stance on this that's not going to win me any awards

I think sequels or new takes on old games need to have some departure from the original to have a need to exist at all. The first thing that will happen when you do this is that your current hardcore players will shout doomsday of how removing X (wavedashing/Conc jumping/denying/door hacking/AWP price/etc etc etc) will ABSOLUTELY DESTROY your game and you fail as a company and are out of touch.

I want to go on record to tell these players to knock them ****s off. Time for some real talk

Hardcore players, this feedback is not valuable. We know what happens if developers are too swayed here - you get new versions of an old game that has just enough difference to not pull you over (CS:GO, really the AWP cost being the same was important? No.), but not actually advance the series or genre in a meaningful way. Doing this disallows you to actually give the game any meaning - why does it exist, who is it for?

Now, developers have a responsibility here too; deconstruct why they're saying what they're saying. Many times, your hardcore fans want to ensure the new game has depth and skill. If you're changing how that's done, explain this process to your hardcore dudes. Don't pander or cave, just be upfront. If you're removing burden of knowledge/etc (things that most extremely hardcore gamers will latch on to as meaningful skill), be honest with it and try to evaluate that you're adding real skill mastery to your new game as well.

Your hardcore guys are valuable, but be careful to not let them rail your new game into total conservatism.


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Morello

Lead Designer

02-05-2013
39 of 91 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice Twilight View Post
Serious question, if this is all true then why is animation cancelling a thing in League?
Technical reasons.


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Eph289

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Senior Member

02-05-2013

Morello, would you be able to send Geeves or some of the Live Designers around to talk about some of the latest changes? (both on live and in testing on PBE) We had that nice glut of information right about the time PS3 started, but now that we're into Season 3, it seems Xypherous, Classick, etc. have gone back to being chained to their desks and slaving away for hours at a time in hopes of getting the last strawberry poptart from the vending machine.


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IS11d6327cb35cafc124891

Senior Member

02-05-2013

Everyone say blizzard now sx etc. But i'm not sure riot is a great company. I think LOL is just a game where developpers had some lucky idea. I'll wait the next riot game to judge if riot is great or not personnaly.

ETA on next riot game plz ?


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thepantsparty

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Senior Member

02-05-2013

A bit belated, but the expansion of raid availability in WoW didn't decrease my interest in it at all, in fact it probably kept me playing longer than I otherwise would have. I started playing WoW a few months after release and found a guild that I stuck with through early Cataclysm (it went through a few reorganizations and renamings, but it was a continuous group). If the size of raids hadn't shrunk with each expansion I'm pretty sure I would have quit earlier, as it was the fact that my group had finally lost enough people by the second tier of Cataclysm raids that we couldn't regularly fill our groups that I decided I'd rather quit than go and find entirely new friends. If the raid version of the dungeon finder had existed then, there's a decent chance I would still be playing.


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2Annies1Chalice

Senior Member

02-05-2013

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned the game or not but....

The War Z

I wont spend time explaining, just youtube it and look at their forums. Just a complete mess of a game


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Apollinarius

Senior Member

02-05-2013

I love this thread It deals with an incredibly important issue not just in video games, but in customer satisfaction in general.

It is very difficult to know what your customers want. They may tell you what they think they want, but that doesn't have to match reality. Even if it does, it could be such a transient state that you are never in a position to satisfy those desires.

As a result, companies have to innovate. Innovation isn't necessarily about coming up with new things. It is about coming up with things that you know your customers will want once those things appear.

I would say that the Tribunal was a great example of this innovation by Riot. If you had polled people on what kind of system would be best for improving behavior, you would not have gotten a useful result. Creating the Tribunal with the confidence that it is going to be a hit was the right thing to do. I can safely say that the only reason I'm still playing League of Legends is because the community has improved so much in the last 18 months because of the Tribunal that is is the best online game community I've ever been a part of.

I can recognize that Riot's eSports initiative and Leagues system are attempts at this same level of innovation that impresses players with things they would not have thought possible. On the eSports thing, I think they succeeded. For Leagues, I'm indifferent. I like the old system more, but I play ranked to compete, and the new system doesn't take that away from me.

Where I think Riot is actually failing when compared to their performance in the past 12 months is patching and balancing. Balance changes are never going to be seen as innovative. New champions can be (Thresh is great by the way) but tweaks to item prices and champion power are not. This means that any changes in these areas are going to generally cause more pain than pleasure, except in the most extreme cases. I understand that Riot believes that iteration is good - and it is. But please don't do it on live servers. Significant changes to item balance are much more harmful than changes to champion balance because items affect everyone. Look back at S2 and how many patch notes had changes to items. Look at how many items have been affected. Now look at the patch notes since S3 preseason started. Every single patch. Huge number of items. Buff. Next patch, same item, nerf. The next patch looks like it's going to hit items again, and a lot of them.

If S3 is going to play out like this, with 5+ items getting price and power changes every three weeks, I'm going to end up leaving League simply because I cannot keep up. I can't play 15 games a day to figure out whether Sunfire is still worth getting after each patch that adjusts its cost. As I said before, I want to be competitive, and frequent changes make that impossible.

Talk to Xypherous or whoever is in charge of item balancing. Come up with a realistic schedule of when you will perform major item overhauls. I'd say that once at the start of the season, once mid-season, and once at the end of the season is the maximum acceptable. Any changes in between have to be made only on the least used items (Malady anyone) so that it has minimum impact on your players unless they want to experiment some more with new builds.


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Morello

Lead Designer

02-05-2013
40 of 91 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
I love the Smash example - it also really applied during TF2's launch (I used to be a TFC player for a long time). I have a pretty hardline stance on this that's not going to win me any awards

I think sequels or new takes on old games need to have some departure from the original to have a need to exist at all. The first thing that will happen when you do this is that your current hardcore players will shout doomsday of how removing X (wavedashing/Conc jumping/denying/door hacking/AWP price/etc etc etc) will ABSOLUTELY DESTROY your game and you fail as a company and are out of touch.

I want to go on record to tell these players to knock them ****s off. Time for some real talk

Hardcore players, this feedback is not valuable. We know what happens if developers are too swayed here - you get new versions of an old game that has just enough difference to not pull you over (CS:GO, really the AWP cost being the same was important? No.), but not actually advance the series or genre in a meaningful way. Doing this disallows you to actually give the game any meaning - why does it exist, who is it for?

Now, developers have a responsibility here too; deconstruct why they're saying what they're saying. Many times, your hardcore fans want to ensure the new game has depth and skill. If you're changing how that's done, explain this process to your hardcore dudes. Don't pander or cave, just be upfront. If you're removing burden of knowledge/etc (things that most extremely hardcore gamers will latch on to as meaningful skill), be honest with it and try to evaluate that you're adding real skill mastery to your new game as well.

Your hardcore guys are valuable, but be careful to not let them rail your new game into total conservatism.
BTW, this happened a lot with DotA players with League when we launched. Denying and fog-juking "made MOBA", but I think it's pretty clear that's not true :P


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slamor

Senior Member

02-05-2013

I love how this gos from a whole bunch of games that were a letdown to LOL to WOW to smashbrothers to WOW. I love this thread. I even learned that metaknight is OP as hell. Just go with the meta.


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windwhispers

Senior Member

02-05-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
heavy power creep (something still happening faster than I'd like...) can disrupt the core game design focused around choices, decision-making, and strategy.
Thank you. You are truly wise, NMST. Do try to make it more than lip service.