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Editorial Vogel on RPG Difficulty

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Jason, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
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    BG, while guilty of having plenty of filler, could also sometimes turn the filler combat around - if you did not immediately rest after each fight. When you're running low on spells, only to meet a nasty monster, retreat, bump into group of wandering gnolls - you're forced to use potions and scrolls to survive. Especially fun if you haven't saved in a while - like two hours :D

    So I'd say there is a place for little filler - both for the above mentioned reason and the one that Jeff says, gratification for the player: "Hah, take that you wolves who almost killed me on lvl1! Burn in hell!" For the same reason I advocate not having zones or regions be linearly harder - it's better to mix them up a bit.
     
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  2. Raapys Arcane

    Raapys
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    Hah, I started out doing trading and some combat missions, eventually managing to get myself 70million or some such. Splashed it all on a brand new ship which I heard was supposed to be good. Unfortunately, I had never tried PvP in the game and also didn't have enough cash to get an insurance.

    So anyway, the first time I entered a PvP zone, without intending to PvP mind you( think I just needed to get somewhere for a combat mission/agent), a guy attacks me with some stupid shit which caused my ship to slow to a crawl and eventually destroyed it. So basically three-four days of hard work out the window. That really hurt. I'd continue playing if I had an insurance, but I really couldn't be bothered starting from scratch again.
     
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  3. Luigi Barely Literate

    Luigi
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    Vogel's games are shit. No exceptions. Combat, writing, story, gfx suck. Fact.

    Nothing is necessary to rpgs. But "trash" fights are beneficial. They can add fluff, break up monotony and make you feel good.

    You cant deny that gaming experience is an emotional experience (hell, anything we do is emotional) so here are 2 psychological angles:

    First one you already mentioned. The ego stroking. Its a rewarding experience to beat someone easily in basketball one-on-one. Doing trixs, mocking the dude. Even more so if you lost to him before. Fundamental, reptilian, alpha male, dominator joy. Transfers easily to any activity. Although constant easiness (what you generalize as trash fights) is boring so as always, repetition is the mother of boredom.

    The second angle is the mental pressure of constant challenge. Not only is it repetition but its stress. Constant stress is not good. It wears you down mentally. Especially if you start loosing.
    In addition it could feel like level scaling...

    There is a nice chart related to our problem here, although I would switch Boredeom and Relaxation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)


    As always, its about balance, ying and yang, penis and vagina... you get it. But constant challenge is bad and evil and trahs fights in right amounts are good and fun.

    Than again, how much penis or vagina you prefer depends on you. Ive seen assburger victims who would do shit, I never would. Like ascending 20 times in a row in Stone Soup...
     
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  4. Davaris Australian Game Developers Developer

    Davaris
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    Idiot proof solution: add a script that auto consumes potions, when in a boss fight.
     
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  5. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    I like Vogel's games, but...

    :x
     
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  6. Lightknight Liturgist

    Lightknight
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    Blood Omen is probably the only game i know that auto-revives you if you had some heal items left. Although with autohealing it gives you less health than if you used it manually. Seems to be a fine solution.
     
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  7. Trash Pointing and laughing.

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    Vogel's blog is the best source of quality rage, lulz and actual rpg discussion the codex has ever encountered.

    :love:
     
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  8. electrolux Novice

    electrolux
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    It should be a case of 'how much trash can I kill?' not 'can I kill the trash?'

    It should be a case of 'can I kill the boss?' not 'how many bosses can I kill?'

    Anything else is doing it wrong.
     
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  9. Johannes Arcane

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    Mobs just need to have a purpose besides dying. Draining your resources and softening you up before the boss, but then it really should do that - if you can just rest, be restored back to full speed, and the mobs remain dead the whole practice didn't soften you up at all (you get xp and loot instead, making life harder for the boss) unless the game/quest is affected by passing of time in some way.

    And even if they aren't as challenging as bosses they should have qualities that force the player to think. Fighting wolves or goblin archers again and again is stale, even if they almost kill you every time. Even if the combat engine was good enough to make one such encounter fun, when repeated enough you'll just be going through the motions eventually. But if the mix of enemies and terrain varies (and not just same shit with different gfx), it keeps the whole thing more fresh, as long as it isn't so easy (or the game just overall bad balanced) that you can use the same kind of tactics for every encounter anyway.
    Roguelikes do this stuff quite well iwth just random monster creation. Encountering, say, a fire drake by itself might not be a big hurdle for you PC, but you still want to minimize the fire breath you take. But if you happen to run across a band of giants for example at the same time, in caves that you have not fully mapped out yet, things get interesting. Or will you just use up a teleport scroll and play it safe? etc.


    Myself I wouldn't mind if a game had a lot less fights, but those were all carefully designed and hard, even if it meant a shorter game. But not every game has to be like that.
     
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  10. shihonage Subscribe to my OnlyFans Patron

    shihonage
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    Bubbles In Memoria
    Hey dude cut the ad hominem





    :M:M:M
     
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  11. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Rule #1 and rule #2 of his seem sound, but as I've never played any of his games I can't comment on how strict he is to following his own rules. They just seem to be common sense from a design point of view.

    From a design point of view, #3 is good to know, HOWEVER... giving up on puzzles because a fraction of the people that play the game will never be able to solve them is just absurd. If we're talking, say 2% of everyone that ever plays the title are incapable (for whatever reason) to solve one particular puzzle, then you have nothing to worry about. Unless that puzzle is absolutely vital to completing the game and is unavoidable, in which case it's 98% of the designer that is incapable.

    Want to have a hard puzzle in your game? Either make it an optional part of the game, or provide a way to bypass it. It's unlikely that the same 2% that can't solve a Tower of Hanoi puzzle (not saying it's hard, just providing an example) are also incapable of beating a tough mob of monsters that are placed as an alternate solution.

    Designers just also need to keep in mind that there's always a percentage of the playerbase who are total morons. I would have liked to see Vogel design and release Castle (and Island) of Dr. Brain.
     
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  12. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    He seems to have at least improved, last time that he made a blog post talking about difficulty, he wanted the player to never die on normal difficulty unless he went to provoke dragons that were clearly way beyond his level. Now he wants his game to have many hard boss fights.

    Vogel is one of the only ones left to make quality turn-based RPGs, and he tries hard to make a good story. He's improved as far as combat and encounters go, too.

    He needs support. I can't wait to buy Avadon.
     
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  13. Mastermind Cognito Elite Material Patron Bethestard

    Mastermind
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    I remember when I was younger that I thought i was brilliant for dumping barrels in water and using them as stepping stones in a game (I think it was HL2). Only now I realize it was a puzzle I was supposed to solve. :smug:
     
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  14. Mastermind Cognito Elite Material Patron Bethestard

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    I'd like to add that the amount of trash should depend on the combat style of the game. TBS and RTWP combat type RPGs should have very few trash mobs. I think BG2 got this balance fairly well, with a ratio of trash mobs to decent encounters of about 3 to 1. People generally play these kinds of RPGs for the intellectual challenge, not for the hack and slash (Fallout is a notable exception as it was just turn based popamole that actually worked fairly well).

    In contrast, I like hack and slash type rpgs (like the elder scrolls series) to have seas of trash mobs inbetween difficult encounters. If an RPG has hack and slash combat, then the hack and slash should be inherently entertaining and relaxing in a goblin blood bath between fights with skilled warlords or wizards should be a reward in and of itself.
     
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  15. Relayer71 Scholar

    Relayer71
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    He's talking about puzzles in RPGs, not strictly puzzle games which obviously there's also an audience for (or there was one at some point).

    I like RPGs and I don't mind the occasional puzzles in them but it annoys me when the puzzles are obtuse, clunky, logic defying or simply kill the pacing.

    That stupid Ice Palace in Icewind Dale 2 comes to mind - was enjoying the game up until that point (mildly I might add).
     
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  16. Elzair Cipher

    Elzair
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    This. When I first started playing RPGs, that was my biggest problem. Roguelikes break you of that habbit FAST!
     
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  17. Kaanyrvhok Arbiter

    Kaanyrvhok
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    tell it on the mountain
     
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  18. godsend1989 Scholar

    godsend1989
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    I like the Heart of Fury mode from Icewind Dale, harder but more rewarding, playing harder for nothing is not my type.
     
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  19. torpid Liturgist

    torpid
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    I guess it's a good thing that Vogel doesn't have the budget to make the kind of games he really wants to make, and instead has to make do with old-school, isometric RPGs. It's really weird to see how his games go against his stated design principles: each Avernum improves on the encounter design compared to previous entries, and 5 and 6 have a ton of neat encounters and not much filler.
     
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  20. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

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    Yup, Avernum 6 was particularly good in that regard. The encounter design was solid from start to finish.
     
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  21. torpid Liturgist

    torpid
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    hi5 CB

    Hey that reminds me, I have to go read the Uukrul #11 update
     
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  22. Ebonsword Arcane

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    Quite a few JRPGs (Operation Darkness, for example) have abilities that will automatically use healing items on you, even if you would have normally been killed by the attack.
     
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  23. Ebonsword Arcane

    Ebonsword
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    Isn't this basically how strategy RPGs already function? Fewer but more interesting combats?
     
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  24. sheek Arbiter

    sheek
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    Why?

    He wants to keep making money from his games (his main source of income) as he stresses, he's not a hobby developer (AoD-style) or even an RPG fan. It's not that simple.
     
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  25. Awor Szurkrarz Arcane In My Safe Space

    Awor Szurkrarz
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    If he can do good hard stuff, he could sell it as DLCs. Simply, make a relatively easy game for masses and hardcore, brutal, but well designed stuff as a separate DLC for the elites.
     
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