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#ActualHaps

Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:09 PM

There's a difference between difficulty as a measure of skill, and a game that winds up being harder to play because of a poorly designed interface. I'm a little shaky on my knowledge of Warcraft, but the examples you listed don't seem to be about difficulty, but rather streamlining the game - I don't think they have anything to do with skill at all.

Having to manually tell a friendly AI not to actively hamper the player's strategy is a bad design choice when it's a fairly integral part of that player's experience, and is mostly automated to begin with. You're forcing them to micromanage things that have nothing to do with skill or performance, especially when other players don't have to deal with it.

It also doesn't sound like it was the "unskilled" players complaining about difficulty, but rather anyone else trying to play alongside them. You might have to examine whether you've failed as a designer when one specific group of your players are stigmatized as disruptive. (Through no fault of their own but an overly complicated interface.) And is it really fair for that designer to shrug and say "just play better" when it's the people playing properly that pay for those mistakes? They'll complain (or quit,) when it happens, robbing your playerbase of your more experienced users.

Also, from the way they described it, allowing the hunter class to use bows up close was to fix an oversight on the economy: You had players that could technically (but rarely,) use melee weapons adding unnecessary competition against players that require them as an essential part of their gear, leading to dissent. Reducing friction among your players by eliminating an archaically obsolete design choice isn't 'dumbing it down.'

An auto attack isn't a matter of difficulty either, but just making the game less annoying than having to click a target every single second. It also streamlines your compensation and networking routines, because as long as that player is in "auto attack," you can generally assume they'll be attacking again once they're able to. It also standardizes attack times, so players with different latency all perform at their proper averages without losing time here and there.

Proper game design not only makes your game accessible for people to enjoy, but done properly can help you as well. And it is never 1-dimensional either: Always consider whether something you're putting in can have other, unintended effects, and don't assume that your rationalization for one decision is the same reason the designer put it in for.

#1Haps

Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:06 PM

There's a difference between difficulty as a measure of skill, and a game that winds up being harder to play because of a poorly designed interface. I'm a little shaky on my knowledge of Warcraft, but the examples you listed don't seem to be about difficulty, but rather streamlining the game - I don't think they have anything to do with skill at all.

Having to manually tell a friendly AI not to actively hamper the player's strategy is a bad design choice when it's a fairly integral part of that player's experience, and is mostly automated to begin with. You're forcing them to micromanage things that have nothing to do with skill or performance, especially when other players don't have to deal with it.

It also doesn't sound like it was the "unskilled" players complaining about difficulty, but rather anyone else trying to play alongside them. You might have to examine whether you've failed as a designer when one specific group of your players are stigmatized as disruptive. (Through no fault of their own but an overly complicated interface.) And is it really fair for that designer to shrug and say "just play better" when it's the people playing properly that pay for those mistakes? They'll complain (or quit,) when it happens, robbing your playerbase of your more experienced users.

Also, from the way they described it, allowing the hunter class to use bows up close was to fix an oversight on the economy: You had players that could technically (but rarely,) use melee weapons adding unnecessary competition against players that require them as an essential part of their gear, leading to dissent.

An auto attack isn't a matter of difficulty either, but just making the game less annoying than having to click a target every single second. It also streamlines your compensation and networking routines, because as long as that player is in "auto attack," you can generally assume they'll be attacking again once they're able to. It also standardizes attack times, so players with different latency all perform at their proper averages without losing time here and there.

Proper game design not only makes your game accessible for people to enjoy, but done properly can help you as well. And it is never 1-dimensional either: Always consider whether something you're putting in can have other, unintended effects, and don't assume that your rationalization for one decision is the same reason the designer put it in for.

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