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Theory: players don't know what they want


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#41 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:28 AM

Saying that I want the game to be different doesn't say anything about what specifically you want to see in the game.


I don't think players would "want" a game to be different without specifics. It is usually the case where they want something over another.

E.g. players who hate bloom in Halo wants the old system back. players who love bloom in Halo wants bloom and doesn't want the old system back.

Does anyone have an example of how "want" can be different from "don't want"?

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#42 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1929

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:13 PM

Everybody seems to be missing my italicised statement. WHEN THEY SEE IT. Gamers can easily say they like it/hate it when they see a feature fully implemented and polished in a game. Most are clueless if you ask them about an abstract concept or show them a mockup of how a feature would work.

#43 J03_b   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:49 PM

To the OP:
Your first mistake is that you went to a forum to figure out whether players know what they want or not, which is a major misstep. In fact, it's a horrendous one (no offence). Forums are actually a rather useless medium of analysing players (unless you're using it purely to see what a majority of people don't like - which typically boils to the top and can then be figured out quasi-statistically):


First of all I don't want to come off as a dick

Anyway I'm not really sure what you mean as a whole because your points aren't exactly all relative to my post. Are you saying that I shouldn't assume that players don't know what they want just because of what I read in the game forums? Well I was thinking that long before I even read the forums, that was just an example. Players wanted AAs, bloom and a progressive ranking system in Reach, and I'm pretty sure that all of those things contribute to Reach's low level of success (compared to halo 3).

#44 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:59 AM

Reach's low level of success (compared to halo 3).


According to the official stats (http://www.bungie.net/stats/reach/online.aspx), 263 million Halo Reach matchmaking games are played a month, compared to 221 million for Halo 3 + ODST combined.

#45 J03_b   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:00 PM

Reach's low level of success (compared to halo 3).


According to the official stats (http://www.bungie.ne...ach/online.aspx), 263 million Halo Reach matchmaking games are played a month, compared to 221 million for Halo 3 + ODST combined.



lol, halo 3 is a 5 year old game, reach is only 2

#46 Bigdeadbug   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:13 PM

I have noticed something which could be attributed to players not knowing what they want, although in this case I think it may be players not really understanding the nature of said game/genre. The most recent example of which was the comments made about a news post on the subject of the MMORPG TERA. The discussion went something like this:

Player 1: "Played it for a couple of hours, its awful."

Player 2: "You have to play it to 20 (about 8+ hours in) before it gets good."

Player 1: "The game should always be fun, I'm paying for it."

Now in most other cases, say a 8 hour FPS, that would be a perfectly valid argument. Against an MMORPG I can't help but feel it isn't. Yes it's a weakness of the genre as a whole, but in a game that you can easily put in several hundred hours of play into there will inevitably be a portion of that which will be nothing more than a slogfest. The point is the rest of the game makes up for this. To level this accusation against the game makes me think that those commenting just don't understand the genre, let alone the game, and by extension don't honestly know what they want (or the consequences of wanting it at least).

Why do I think this occurs? In this case I think there are two broad reasons:

The player has never played/liked the genre and attempts to apply expectations developed for one genre to a completely different one.

or

The player has put in a large amount of time into another game of that genre and now expects to enter a new one at the same "level of play", while forgetting the initial (often much longer) grind they had to undertake to get to that position.

[The latter worries me slightly as these would also be the most obvious players to target when releasing a new MMORPG, but to attract and retain these players a game would need to provide almost instantaneous gratification from the offset. In a game that could potentially span years, I can only think this approach would be to its detriment later on.

Additionally this isn't to say that TERA (although it there are excuses for it doing what it does at the pace it does), or in fact any MMORPG, could not pace the game better (and defiantly not require players to put up with an 8hour grind at the start), but that "the boring grind" is part and parcel of the genre. There are two cases, Age of Conan and Star Wars: The Old Republic, which manage to avoid this syndrome in the first few hours of play, but in bother cases they eventually suffer from it later on in the level process.]

#47 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:35 PM


Reach's low level of success (compared to halo 3).


According to the official stats (http://www.bungie.ne...ach/online.aspx), 263 million Halo Reach matchmaking games are played a month, compared to 221 million for Halo 3 + ODST combined.



lol, halo 3 is a 5 year old game, reach is only 2


So how can I determine that Reach as a "low level of success" when compared to Halo 3?

Edit: I think 263 million games played a month is a really high level of success for any fps game.

#48 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:02 PM

Now in most other cases, say a 8 hour FPS, that would be a perfectly valid argument.


What about FPSs that players spent hundreds of hours playing online with other people? Like Counterstrike or Quake?

in a game that you can easily put in several hundred hours of play into there will inevitably be a portion of that which will be nothing more than a slogfest.


I spent hundreds of hours playing Starcraft and Counterstrike, but haven't encountered a portion that is nothing more than a slogfest.

The point is the rest of the game makes up for this.


Why not just let players play the rest of the game from the start?

but that "the boring grind" is part and parcel of the genre. There are two cases, Age of Conan and Star Wars: The Old Republic, which manage to avoid this syndrome in the first few hours of play, but in bother cases they eventually suffer from it later on in the level process.]


What about Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, which are famous for their "no grind" system? Also, World of Warcraft can be soloed to max level in around 7 days of play time (7 x 24 hours), and it is the most popular MMORPG of all time.

#49 J03_b   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

Player 1: "Played it for a couple of hours, its awful."

Player 2: "You have to play it to 20 (about 8+ hours in) before it gets good."

Player 1: "The game should always be fun, I'm paying for it."

Now in most other cases, say a 8 hour FPS, that would be a perfectly valid argument. Against an MMORPG I can't help but feel it isn't. Yes it's a weakness of the genre as a whole, but in a game that you can easily put in several hundred hours of play into there will inevitably be a portion of that which will be nothing more than a slogfest. The point is the rest of the game makes up for this. To level this accusation against the game makes me think that those commenting just don't understand the genre, let alone the game, and by extension don't honestly know what they want (or the consequences of wanting it at least).



I used to just accept the fact that you have to grind and quest to level up in mmo's but lately I've been thinking why does that have to be a part of all games? Why don't they make it so you can level up and progress by doing whatever you feel like doing at the time. Wouldn't it be sweet if there were games like that? Balancing and other issues aside, it would be awesome if you could get good experience for stuff like battlegrounds, arenas, world pvp, raids, and maybe even stuff like crafting or exploring. Anyone know of a game like that?

(I know this is off-topic, who cares)

#50 J03_b   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:34 PM

So how can I determine that Reach as a "low level of success" when compared to Halo 3?

Edit: I think 263 million games played a month is a really high level of success for any fps game.


Among many reasons, including personal experience (neither I or my friends have fun playing Reach anymore), I think the fact that there are almost as many people playing a much older game pretty much speaks for itself. And I can garuntee you that 3 years from now there won't be nearly as many people playing Reach as there are playing Halo 3 now, unless 343 really blows it or halo 3 is taken offline like halo 2

#51 Bigdeadbug   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:51 PM

What about FPSs that players spent hundreds of hours playing online with other people? Like Counterstrike or Quake?


That is why I said a 8 Hour FPS not FPS's in general, they just happen to be a genre that sends to have short playtimes (at least in singleplayer). A game in which the total amount of time you could/would spend playing it is only a fraction of the time you would spend playing an MMORPG. The player would not expect to spend any of those 8 hours "bored" and in reality/ideally any decent game of that length would only have a few minutes were the player would be bored. A FPS player may say "Oh it takes half and hour to get into." or "The mission in the middle are boring" in much the same way an MMORPG player would say "It takes several hours before you hit the good part". The point is neither player should really hold the opposing players genre to the expectations developed from their genre, to do so would more often than not show a misunderstanding on their part.

I spent hundreds of hours playing Starcraft and Counterstrike, but haven't encountered a portion that is nothing more than a slogfest.


Sorry, the word slogfest was only directed towards MMORPGs. In games likes StarCraft and Counter Strike that time that is not fun for the player would be when they are loosing or in a similar situation to that. Again this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and is to be expected from this type of competitive multiplayer game. In this case what I was talking about before would be along the lines of someone complaining that StarCraft 2 is a bad game because they lost several matches (which a lot of people do, although I suspect most of them speak out of frustration and don't necessarily mean it).

Why not just let players play the rest of the game from the start?


The point is that over such a long period of play you will get times that are not enjoyed by some/allot of the playerbase. In TERAs case it would be expectational if they structured the game so they avoid having the first 8 or so hours being boring, but the complex and demanding nature of their combat system means they would require some sort of ramp up period as they introduce it to new players. This ramp up period will most likely be boring to a portion of the playerbase, but that, alas, is a problem with the design decisions made in no small part because it is an MMORPG.

What about Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, which are famous for their "no grind" system? Also, World of Warcraft can be soloed to max level in around 7 days of play time (7 x 24 hours), and it is the most popular MMORPG of all time.


Guild Wars is not an MMORPG and because of that doesn't suffer from some of the issues cause by being part of that genre, in other words its easier for them to avoid grindy situations although I don't recalling them in succeeding completely. Guild Wars 2 does seem unique in its approach so far, but Arenanet stating it has not grind does not mean it does not have one (from what I have heard one of the starting areas, the Norn I think, is relatively monotonousness from the start) and I'm sceptical whether it will have the staying power of some, classically designed, MMORPGs. Without playing the game first hand I can't give a more concrete option on the subject.

WoW is still, and most likely forever will be, a game front heavy with grinding content. Before the player can get into the meat of the game they must still level through 85, soon 90, level of content which although somewhat improved is still taxing on the majority of the players (especially the older content). Its success shows that in some respect people can look past that initial grind and have enough fun in the game to compensate for that.

To level the criticism of an MMORPG not being fun for an extended period of time or taking a seemingly long time to get into against a single game shows a misunderstanding of the genre or unreal expectations of it, at least in its current form.

#52 Bigdeadbug   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:00 PM

I used to just accept the fact that you have to grind and quest to level up in mmo's but lately I've been thinking why does that have to be a part of all games? Why don't they make it so you can level up and progress by doing whatever you feel like doing at the time. Wouldn't it be sweet if there were games like that? Balancing and other issues aside, it would be awesome if you could get good experience for stuff like battlegrounds, arenas, world pvp, raids, and maybe even stuff like crafting or exploring. Anyone know of a game like that?

(I know this is off-topic, who cares)


World of Warcraft now uses that system, so does Star Wars: The Old Republic. In fact a lot of MMORPGs allow you to gain exp through means other than questing/killing mobs. GuildWars 2 is the best example of a game going this route, they claim it has no "endgame" in fact. This does ease the grind somewhat but does not remove it, I don't think that can be overcome completely without the genre morphing into something else entirely and as a result remove its goal driven gameplay.

#53 J03_b   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:34 PM

World of Warcraft now uses that system, so does Star Wars: The Old Republic. In fact a lot of MMORPGs allow you to gain exp through means other than questing/killing mobs. GuildWars 2 is the best example of a game going this route, they claim it has no "endgame" in fact. This does ease the grind somewhat but does not remove it, I don't think that can be overcome completely without the genre morphing into something else entirely and as a result remove its goal driven gameplay.



Yeah I was excited when they announced exp for battlegrounds in WoW, but it's really not a substantial amount of experience and you don't get any additional exp for personal performance. Anyway, GW2 sounds cool in that regard because my idea was to lower the power gap between levels and make all raids and dungeons accessible and beneficial(relative to difficulty) to players of all level. If that was the case in WoW then the end-game would be a lot more fun that farming the latest 3 heroics

#54 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:13 AM

Sorry, the word slogfest was only directed towards MMORPGs. In games likes StarCraft and Counter Strike that time that is not fun for the player would be when they are loosing or in a similar situation to that. Again this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and is to be expected from this type of competitive multiplayer game. In this case what I was talking about before would be along the lines of someone complaining that StarCraft 2 is a bad game because they lost several matches (which a lot of people do, although I suspect most of them speak out of frustration and don't necessarily mean it).


The process of playing SC, CS or a competitive sports is the "fun", there is no need to wait 8 hours to unlock the fun parts of SC, CS or competitive sports.

There is nothing wrong with complaining about constantly losing in SC, CS or sports. People enjoy activities that match their level of skill. E.g. When I play chess (a difference kind call "Go"), I don't find it enjoyable constantly losing to a much better player with little to no chance of winning. Nor do I find it enjoyable to constantly beat clueless newbies.

In Chess, if I find myself losing too much, I have the option of finding players closer to my skill level so I can enjoy the game right away. When I get better, I can always move on to better players to enjoy "endgame content". However, I am forced to perform the "MMORPG grind" regardless of how fast I progress. This is why grind is tedious: it forces players to repeat an activity that they already mastered over and over again.



Guild Wars is not an MMORPG


In what way is Guild Wars not an MMORPG? Its massive, its multiplayer, it has a persistence world, it is an RPG.


To level the criticism of an MMORPG not being fun for an extended period of time or taking a seemingly long time to get into against a single game shows a misunderstanding of the genre or unreal expectations of it, at least in its current form.


No MMORPG designer would intentionally force players to grind for 8 hours just to get to the fun part because "its part of the genre". The reason why grind exists is because many MMORPGs run on subscription. They have to continually pump out new content so players will keep subscribing. "Grind" is a way to slow down the player's consumption of content so that there is less pressure to keep producing new content to retain the playerbase.

#55 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2702

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:30 AM

I am starting to come of the opinion that the conversation of this thread is making the thread's title definitively answered

#56 Bigdeadbug   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:33 AM

@Legendre

The point was that SC2 and similar games in that competitive multiplayer genre have periods of play time which would be seen as not as enjoyable. Much in the same way as the grinding sections of an MMORPG are viewed. To seriously complain about core elements of a genre (whether they are seen as positive or negative) shows a lack of understanding of the genre and by extension, in my opinion of course, is an instance were a player is not entirely sure what they want or what they want is not inline with what they can feasibly have.

ArenaNet themselves consider GuildWars a CORPG (Competitive Online Role-Playing Game). A discussion as to why this is the case really warrants its own thread.

#57 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

The point was that SC2 and similar games in that competitive multiplayer genre have periods of play time which would be seen as not as enjoyable. Much in the same way as the grinding sections of an MMORPG are viewed.


I posted an explanation of why SC2 and similar games are not designed to have periods of play time that would be seen as not as enjoyable. And why grinding sections of an MMORPG significantly differs from "losing many matches consecutively".

ArenaNet themselves consider GuildWars a CORPG (Competitive Online Role-Playing Game). To really explore the differences between the two genres really requires its own thread.


Well, if I make an FPS and say I consider it to be an RTS, would you agree with me? According to your link, ArenaNet says the differences between their "CORPG" and MMORPG are: 1) instances 2) fast travel 3) emphasis on player skill 4) optional pvp. Not really any different from MMORPGs like WoW.

To be honest I am not sure why it is important to carefully divide games into genres? Genres are loose terms often used just to simplify conversations. Is there any benefit to gain from setting hard and fast rules on what defines an MMORPG and then making sure the game you design fit all these rules?

What happens when I coin a new genre "MORPG" - Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, and then say that Guild Wars 1/2 and World of Warcraft are both MORPGs?

#58 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:26 AM

I am starting to come of the opinion that the conversation of this thread is making the thread's title definitively answered


Touché! :)

#59 Bigdeadbug   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:39 AM

I posted an explanation of why SC2 and similar games are not designed to have periods of play time that would be seen as not as enjoyable. And why grinding sections of an MMORPG significantly differs from "losing many matches consecutively".


Actually they are designed to have periods of play that are not as enjoyable. Specifically SC2's ladder system is designed so that a player will on average loose 50% of all their matches. There's is a reason for this of course, like you said above, always winning is not fun for the majority of players and making sure they experiences periods of loosing makes those periods were they win that much better (there are other bonuses to this as well). The same is true for grinding within MMORPGs, without it players won't feel the sense of accomplishment from reaching certain goals. In both cases they are important element in that genres design, without which the genre would not be A the same and B quite as enjoyable. There is of course a fine balancing act with such elements within a game which is were good design comes into the equation.

Well, if I make an FPS and say I consider it to be an RTS, would you agree with me?


Show me an well thought out justification for calling said FPS an RTS and I will call it one.

According to your link, ArenaNet says the differences between their "CORPG" and MMORPG are: 1) instances 2) fast travel 3) emphasis on player skill 4) optional pvp. Not really any different from MMORPGs like WoW.


There are a number of points that GW devastates from MMORPGs enough for it not to be justified as one. I admit some of the ones used are really marketing buzz words that reflect the time at which the game was developed, but it was the best example I could find in the short time I had. The primary way in which is differs from MMORPGs is indeed its heavy use of instancing, the only "persistent" portions of the world are really virtual lobbies everything else is generated as and when players need it. That alone is reason enough not to put it into the MMORPG genre in much the same way you wouldn't consider Rise of Immortals an MMORPG.

To be honest I am not sure why it is important to carefully divide games into genres? Genres are loose terms often used just to simplify conversations. Is there any benefit to gain from setting hard and fast rules on what defines an MMORPG and then making sure the game you design fit all these rules?


The most important benefit of using genres, and having strong definitions for them, is the way it allows for stronger academic research to be conducted into games. It's vitally important to know what you should/could directly compare a game to, what games your finding can be applied to and provide the reader a quick/easy way to know what you are discussing. Its part of the reason you are seeing the development and use of the "theme-park MMORPG" along with the "sandbox MMORPG". There are also other benefits, such as allowing players to know what to expect from a game.

What happens when I coin a new genre "MORPG" - Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, and then say that Guild Wars 1/2 and World of Warcraft are both MORPGs?


Nothing really, in fact I seem to remember it being used before for the multiplayer portions of RPGs like Neverwinter Nights 2. The genre would be very general thought which would limit its use, the games it encompasses would have very little in common. Its the same principle as saying a game is part of the shooter genre, all that tells me is that the game involves shooting something. Describing a game as that may help in a very general conversation, but in most cases saying it is a Tactical FPS or Cover based Third person shooter would be better.

#60 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 965

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 02:07 PM

Actually they are designed to have periods of play that are not as enjoyable. Specifically SC2's ladder system is designed so that a player will on average loose 50% of all their matches. There's is a reason for this of course, like you said above, always winning is not fun for the majority of players and making sure they experiences periods of loosing makes those periods were they win that much better (there are other bonuses to this as well).


No they are not designed to have periods of play that are unenjoyable. No I wasn't saying that losing makes winning feel much better.

The real reason why we want players to win each match with a 50% probability is so that players feel entertained because their ability is evenly matched with the challenge they are receiving. Win most of the time = too easy, bored. Lose all the time to top professional players = too tough, bored. This is similar to the theory of flow in psychology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)).

It is meant to make the game enjoyable all the time.


The same is true for grinding within MMORPGs, without it players won't feel the sense of accomplishment from reaching certain goals. In both cases they are important element in that genres design, without which the genre would not be A the same and B quite as enjoyable.


In contrast, players with high levels of skill is forced into repeating the same tedious activity that players with low levels of skill is doing. Players see it as an unenjoyable grind because the activity that they are doing does not match their ability.




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