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

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ItemsGuy

Senior Member

02-04-2013

I'd say my biggest beef with WoW (and in the end, why I found it unsatisfying), was their business model--"keep players playing for as long as possible" quickly turned into "drag out as little content as long as possible, and give players the constant illusion of progress and engagement." Playing the game pre-cap tends to boil down to "I have to get to the cap as fast as possible so I can do things that matter," and post-cap it tends to be waiting in a major city and running raids so you can get geared and run bigger raids (which would be almost excusable if the raid content was a reward in and of itself). As a player of a few years, I did quite a bit more waiting than doing! To quote Tim Rogers,

“MMO Design has become the provision of functions to an authenticated user, rather than the presentation of a situation (‘game’) to a user (‘player’) with appropriate tools to allow for personal expression or an experience which has more meaning than the state of given persistent set of variables recorded in a digital log. In other words, while other people are providing software to program fuel injection systems so that drivers can enhance performance and flatten their torque curves, MMOs have been asking you to wait in a car while they measure your emissions.”

When a game runs off of that sort of system, it becomes more of a case of making the player feel obliged--"I have to play this game or else the subscription I paid will go to waste"--and focusing more on being "something to do" than "something that is." In short, content in general becomes more quantity over quality--and why shouldn't it, in WoW's case? Their success is based on how many people they can get hooked, and how long they can keep them there.

That's part of why I feel Guild Wars 2 is a success (and why I bought it out of principle--I couldn't really play it until a few months after, but it deserved my support), is that its "one-and-done" policy allowed it to focus more on being a game than being something that told the players that they were playing a game. Hell, even the way it handles experience and the leveling system--you ultimately are able to progress through the game (which presents itself as a game--I find that the spotlight is more sharply focused on the ride rather than the * nonexistent* destination, which creates less of a feeling of "this quest is just something in between me and what all the cool kids are doing at the level cap" and more of a feeling of "I'm playing an actual game") at a much steadier pace, due to the exp required for leveling up more-or-less evening out past the "faster" introductory levels. Not only that--but you're actually rewarded more for exploring and doing quests that don't even feel like "quests" (but rather an interaction with the world within the game, instead of "something you need to do to level up faster"--there's influence behind it, "something that is" vs. "something to do"), than simply grinding the same instance over and over again while trying to find the most optimal route to get from point A to point B.

Of course, there are a lot of areas I feel GW2 surpasses WoW with style and grace. From a game design standpoint, I wouldn't go as far as to say that WoW is well-designed (as a video game)--but rather, it does what it does extremely well and to say that Blizzard has profited from it would be a gross understatement. I'd say WoW isn't so much of a game as it is a simultaneously spectacular and opportunistic manipulation of the human psyche (the reasoning behind even the smallest things--such as that level up "ding," to the abundance of bars that fill up left-to-right, to how the egregious amount of idle "wait time" is sugarcoated and made "acceptable" in the eyes of the player, and so on) and a well-orchestrated, self-feeding beast created by taking advantage of the fact that human beings will congregate around just about anything and will multiply if kept there long enough.

By and far, it's more fat than meat--I wouldn't consider this so much of a personal opinion as it is an observation of the (very concrete) matters at hand. Is it a good example of a successful product? Certainly. Is it a good example of a well-designed game, that should be used as an example for game designers past, present, and future? No, and I don't think I could ever bring myself to say it, even sarcastically.

EDIT:

Am I saying that people don't enjoy WoW or that it's impossible to enjoy it? Of course not--quite a few people are very into it (understatement--people have died playing WoW, and if that ain't dedication, I don't know what is).

It's just not a business model I feel inspires the people behind it to come up with the best content and build it to last.


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Skaarrjj

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aitḥs View Post
I completely disagree with you and I feel like you haven't played the game at all in the last several years or you'd realize that there are more ways to progress your character outside of raids right now than there ever have been.

Even excluding all 3 tiers of raids across the different raid sizes you have:

dailies/reps - give you valor for gear just as good as most raiding gear
scenarios/heroics - also give valor and gear on par with the lower raiding tier
pvp - give you gear directly on par with raid gear, only slightly less good for raiding than actual raiding gear.
crafting - give you relevant gear of equal quality to the lower/middle tier of raiding gear.

You can have an item level through those means and farming gold on par with the middle (normal) tier of raiding, without even stepping a single foot in a raid instance. And that completely discounts the other things people do for fun: achievements, collecting pets, mounts and gear to change their appearance. Not to mention pet battles, brawlers guild and all the festivals...

WoW is lightyears beyond the content most MMORPGs offer at max level, whether you like the game still or not..from a design perspective it's finely tuned and open to nearly any play-style you can possibly throw at it...
Feel free to disagree with me, but you haven't really contested my point. You've actually only helped my argument.

Quote:
dailies/reps - give you valor for gear just as good as most raiding gear
These either help you get into raids, or help you get gear when your luck sucks at winning gear.

Quote:
scenarios/heroics - also give valor and gear on par with the lower raiding tier
Isn't progression when you have heroic dungeon gear already, and you are moving into raids.
Quote:
pvp - give you gear directly on par with raid gear, only slightly less good for raiding than actual raiding gear.
We aren't talking about PvP Content. We are talking about Raiding Content. In any case, it's not only slightly less good, secondary stats are EXTREMELY important. I dont think "you've" played WoW recently.
Quote:
crafting - give you relevant gear of equal quality to the lower/middle tier of raiding gear.
You need to raid to actually make use of crafting gear thats useful.

It's all linked to raiding. It really is.


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Skaarrjj

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccyx420 View Post
Skkarrrjj

You must have been one of the under skilled players that didn't have the opportunity to raid with a better group of players and experience the rest of BC.

I did, I carried my weight, I looked for players with similar attitudes and I got it done and the same goes for the rest of the expansion and subsequent expansions.

BC was in the right spot, WoTLK became too easy , Cataclysm was...good because of the different difficulties but was a mayhem of other problems.
Using insults to "bolster" your argument actually makes it weaker, and much easier to discount.


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JupitersKy

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollinarius View Post
That's a fair assessment. I stopped playing Blizzard games when it became clear to me that my tastes were very different from the majority of their player base. I liked BC but never got to raid there. I liked it because even dungeons had progression with the keys and the hard Heroics. WotLK lost that in many ways, but the raids everyone could do became what Heroics were in BC for me. In Cata, there was little to no dungeon progression (it was even easier than WotLK) but raids were out of reach for me too. I spent 3 months playing as part of a guild in the hope to get into a raid group with no success. I canceled shortly after.
I agree with this, i started playing WoW shortly after it came out, and i was one of the few people who cleared all content up to cataclysm, but after BC i just did the motions for my guilds and found myself to be what i used to call a raid logger. I barely did anything but raid, especially true when arenas became Lock/shaman/x or you lose. Game got stale, they made raids easy and their idea of hard was putting atificial gear checks everywhere to slow your progression. I played a rogue since vanilla and getting warglaves was probably the high point of WoW for me and killing Hardmode LK for the first time. Needless to say i couldnt last past Cataclysm, after killing synestra i just couldnt convince myself to keep playing, the game had become so stale i couldnt follow through and finishing that expansion. Killing syndragosa or the dragon in black wing or the big air dude ( i cant even remember their names cause the fights were so boring for me) gave me no satisfaction compared to what it was like finally getting past fking MuRu and kill KJ and illidan


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Raptoreyes

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
You don't like WoW (clearly!), but this is the attitude I'm saying is flatly incorrect. WoW is a well-crafted game that you do not happen to like. Our own personal tastes do not equate to what is good and bad in game development, only what our potential engagement is. And, to be frank, if you're not the audience, it has little impact on anyone else.

I don't like playing Halo. Halo is an extremely good game.
Trouble was raiders were allowed to dominate all aspects of the game. PvP players simply could not fight fully geared raiders because of the stat disparity from MC all the way to AQ40. Things became a bit better once the Burning Crusade was released but then the raiding power creep started up again and it became another situation of "don't want to raid then don't bother with endgame pvp either" The solution Blizzard came out with to put pvp in a little fish boul was not satisfying.


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Your Persona

Member

02-04-2013

Darksiders 2 failed me so hard.

I loved Darksiders. I didn't mind getting my ass kicked despite being one of the Horseman of the Apocalypse because it showed me at the start that War's power was stripped away. Didn't stop me from murdering everything. I even found some nifty gadgets along the way.

Darksiders 2 though? Why is the Grim ****ing Reaper scrounging around for bits of armor that conveniently fit him? Where the Hell is his scythe, Harvester? He never had his powers drained, so why is he having a worse time in dealing with things than War? The worst part of it, for me at least, was *SPOILERS*







The whole nonsense about "Oh they're not really the anthropomorphic personifications of Death, War, Fury and Strife, they're just some dudes really good at killing **** so we gave them sick names." and the four of them turning on the other Nephilim...Were you TRYING to destroy the credibility of these characters?


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Grads

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
but this is a good example of where the developers should have recognized the core need of exclusivity and the right tuning of that, and steered away from players said they wanted. Personally, I think Burning Crusade is a sweet spot. .
Agreed.

However, what you stated about nerfs is only partially true. I think we can all agree that in trying to change the game for the better in the short term or for a Specific audience, a lot of times champions are left behind.

For instance, I still don't understand why it's okay for some champions to only be viable as niche picks and for others to be staples in the game. I also don't see why it's okay to only tune a character for viability in Solo/Unorganized play OR tournaments.

Example: Xypherous stated that Urgot was meant to be a niche pick, and that him being a strong option and that if he ever became a strong option that he'd be "Overpowered."

Example 2: Shaco and Teemo, two champions who are never seen in organized play because of their high risk medium to low reward factor, were nerfed this season.

In selectively choosing what strategies are and are not viable, you pigeonhole the game into a direction that will never fully evolve. As a balance enthusiast and fellow critical thinker, I think that decisions like this are bad for game development.

With more and more nerfs hitting the PBE, we're starting to see items that are currently trending or popular on certain characters become weaker, even if some of these items have been at a similar power level for a long time. See: Nashor's/Fiendish Codex. Void Staff.


Finally, one last note - is there actually any logic behind the Void Staff nerf? I can't find any.


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PaulTheMerc

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Every FF after 10, the assasins creed games


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JupitersKy

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptoreyes View Post
Trouble was raiders were allowed to dominate all aspects of the game. PvP players simply could not fight fully geared raiders because of the stat disparity from MC all the way to AQ40. Things became a bit better once the Burning Crusade was released but then the raiding power creep started up again and it became another situation of "don't want to raid then don't bother with endgame pvp either" The solution Blizzard came out with to put pvp in a little fish boul was not satisfying.
Like they stated its because of inflation on number stats on items. So when an item is 1 tier above something else (aka heroic items) it has bigger budgets on it. It is also why they added stats like haste or how they made the rogue legendary daggers so they do alot of sustain but are useless in PvP, unlike what warglaves did for me in TBC or rogues who were in privileged guilds. When i encountered mirrors of rogue/druid back in TBC i knew id win regardless of how bad i played (this was at glad levels) simply because i had warglaves and the other rogues didnt and i could sit there and tunnel their druid and will kill him faster than they could kill my druid


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Phourc

Senior Member

02-04-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morello View Post
The minority still raids, but now it's lost the exclusivity.
I think the worst part for me was that everyone was complaining the raids were too easy, but our guild sucked and couldn't get through them. xP