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JoeBoris

Theory: players don't know what they want

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I've just been reading the Halo 4 forums and it's pretty sad how useless and unhelpful most of the posts are. Most people don't even seem to realize what actually makes a game fun and what ruins it. I know people have different ideas of what's fun and what's not, but some just don't seem to know any better

People ask for gimmicks and other things that actually start to take away from the gameplay and make it less enjoyable in the long run. As an example, assassination animations are kinda neat to watch sometimes but they are really just a big waste of time that leaves you vulnerable and your target open for a kill steal (and they are easy to do on accident). A sprint ability is another addition that can ruin games for a lot of different reasons. I might be wrong but I think that a majority of players would agree with me if they were just properly informed.

It's not just a problem with Halo players either. I played WoW for a long time and they kept adding stuff to make the game more "convenient" like flying mounts, dungeon group finder, bg queues from anywhere, 10x as many mailboxes, etc... Eventually, adding all that stuff really takes away from the experience. It used to be a real adventure that took time to do stuff, which made it more fun and much more rewarding. Now you can pretty much just reach max level is a couple weeks then sit in the auction house and play the entire game there. What fun is that? That would be like if they took all the roads out of a Pokemon game, and just put all the gyms in one town. You might think 'yes no more annoying traveling!' But after beating the game in a few hours, you would realize that you missed out on a lot.



My biggest question is if anyone disagrees with me on these points, and why? And do other people think about this stuff

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I've seen this happen to many a game:

My most notorious example is runescape. I remember maybe 5 or 6 (or 8, after this long, I lose track) years ago I started playing this game, and I immediately found myself lost. And I said to myself "I hate being lost". But I played on for a few months because that's what my friends did. Then, I learned there was a map of the world. And I wasn't lost anymore, and I always knew where I was. Well, that took away the feeling of discovering a place I've never been before. I couldn't go anywhere new, because there was always a map. But at least I could experience the boredom of moving between cities.

Or not. After two years, I made use of teleportation. But at least I could still experience the troubles of walking to places between cities, because teleportation doesn't go there. Nope, fairy rings and boats. Everywhere is easily accessible. Did the game just disintegrate into teleport here, kill stuff, teleport there, kill stuff, teleport yonder, sell items, teleport, buy weapons, teleport, kill, teleport do this, teleport, teleport, teleport...

They even started putting in bonus experience weekends where people could reach level 99 with half as much toil. One can imagine how those who reached level 99 before this "feature" must feel about the new, less disciplined people who think reaching level 99 is a trifle.

"Why, when I was your age...."

What many people don't get is that more feeling goes into planning a vacation than being at the vacation.

http://www.cracked.c...ness-wrong.html

Quoth:

But get this -- when doing a study of vacationers[color=#000000][font=Georgia, serif]

, the happiest people were the ones [/font]in the weeks leading up to a vacation[color=#000000][font=Georgia, serif]

. It was all about anticipation. [/font]Again[color=#000000][font=Georgia, serif]

, it looks like our brain rewards us more for working toward a goal than for actually arriving there.[/font]





The Law of Large Numbers plays an important role here. Not the statistics version. The pinball version.



"Oh, if I get more points, that obviously means I'm a better player!"



Pinball makers caught wind of people who think like that, which is almost everyone, and started giving 100 points for hitting a bell instead of 10. No, 1000. 10,000! A million! 9001!



People cheer at the thought of getting more points, but later regret that most of the screen is wasted, covered by the 0's in the lower decimal places. There is a symbolic meaning to that, somewhere, hello Gatsby.



Economic inflation is related to this.



Going back to that article, our brain rewards us for pursuing rather than arriving. When people request and demand "convenience features", that is part of the pursual of the goal. But once that feature is put into place, there is much less pursuing and more arriving, which makes things less fun in the long run.

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LOL, I would say it's more like a fact than theory :)

That's why we are designers and they are players. If they knew what is good for the game they want to play we would be not needed anymore :)

Also, it is not only lack of understanding, frequently/sometimes they might have a hidden agenda (tripple true for multiplayer games), they want features that make their personal strategy more efficient. And they regularly forget what they proposed earlier and can say it is bad after you implemented it (althrough that's rarer, but still not very rare).



The thing on which you can trust players is interface in my opinion, if they say some button is better somewhere else they are usually right. Still you have to keep an eye on this since hardcore players forget how it was when they were newbies and might propose too complicated interface.

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My most notorious example is runescape.


lol same thing happened to my favorite game of all time, Ultima Online....after 3 years playing religiously they put in a parallel world that was a completely safe zone, in an open world pvp game. They also went down a path adding gardening and stupid spirituality crap. In a game where you could cut somebody's head off and feed it to your pet and take all their stuff as your own from their dead body... .....................................................

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lol same thing happened to my favorite game of all time, Ultima Online....after 3 years playing religiously they put in a parallel world that was a completely safe zone, in an open world pvp game. They also went down a path adding gardening and stupid spirituality crap. In a game where you could cut somebody's head off and feed it to your pet and take all their stuff as your own from their dead body... .....................................................


Whats is wrong with adding a completely safe zone?

If you prefer open world PvP, you can always stay in the original world. Players who dislike PvP can play in the parallel world, instead of going to another MMORPG.

I don't see how it affects your enjoyment of the game.

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It's not just a problem with Halo players either. I played WoW for a long time and they kept adding stuff to make the game more "convenient" like flying mounts, dungeon group finder, bg queues from anywhere, 10x as many mailboxes, etc... Eventually, adding all that stuff really takes away from the experience. It used to be a real adventure that took time to do stuff, which made it more fun and much more rewarding. Now you can pretty much just reach max level is a couple weeks then sit in the auction house and play the entire game there. What fun is that? That would be like if they took all the roads out of a Pokemon game, and just put all the gyms in one town. You might think 'yes no more annoying traveling!' But after beating the game in a few hours, you would realize that you missed out on a lot.



WoW's phenomenal success is often attributed to their willingness to eliminate the inconveniences that older games were unwilling to remove. Many things can be said about this but I'll keep it to two short points.

1) Time wasting is not equal to "fun" or "rewarding".

Using your Pokemon game example: 10 hours of real time walking across a barren landscape with no encounters just to get to the next town is neither fun or rewarding. Interesting, engaging and interactive challenges make a game more fun and rewarding than inconveniences or artificially wasting the player's time.

2) There are different kinds of "fun" or "rewarding" depending on your target audience.

When I was younger, I could spend 5+ hours daily playing games (at the expense of homework unfortunately). Nowadays, with a job and friends/family commitments, I am only able to play games irregularly and only for around 30-45 minutes at a time. If you're designing a game for the latter group, you need to ensure that they will be able to have fun in those precious 30-45 minutes, instead of spending hours travelling or looking for groups in game.

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WoW's phenomenal success is often attributed to their willingness to eliminate the inconveniences that older games were unwilling to remove. Many things can be said about this but I'll keep it to two short points.

1) Time wasting is not equal to "fun" or "rewarding".

Using your Pokemon game example: 10 hours of real time walking across a barren landscape with no encounters just to get to the next town is neither fun or rewarding. Interesting, engaging and interactive challenges make a game more fun and rewarding than inconveniences or artificially wasting the player's time.

2) There are different kinds of "fun" or "rewarding" depending on your target audience.

When I was younger, I could spend 5+ hours daily playing games (at the expense of homework unfortunately). Nowadays, with a job and friends/family commitments, I am only able to play games irregularly and only for around 30-45 minutes at a time. If you're designing a game for the latter group, you need to ensure that they will be able to have fun in those precious 30-45 minutes, instead of spending hours travelling or looking for groups in game.


Firstly, WoW's phenomenal success is due to a lot of things, but we won't get into that.

But anyway, you seem to be very misinformed about WoW. Aside from the fact that a 10 hour walk is obviously an extreme exaggeration, there are plenty of things to do when traveling in WoW, particularly while you're leveling. Mainly finding quests and their objectives, gathering resources, searching for rare enemies and chests, running into and fighting other players, aiding friendly players, and (not so much after the first playthrough) just exploring the terrain. Even assuming you know about all that stuff, then calling that a waste of time is simply your opinion. My opinion is that it was an adventure, and it looks like most people here agree.

Also if you don't like that style of game, or if you just want a game that moves quicker, then maybe you should try games like warcraft 3 or team fortress 2 or tetris or something. MMOs just take a lot of time to play and honestly, there isn't much to do in only 45 minutes except a little questing or couple battlegrounds/dungeons (even with the conveniences)



Edit:
And I know that it's good business for them to attract players like you with those conveniences, but it makes me mad that they are essentially trading hours of my fun for 45 minutes of yours

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[quote name='lmbarns' timestamp='1333691218' post='4928683']
lol same thing happened to my favorite game of all time, Ultima Online....after 3 years playing religiously they put in a parallel world that was a completely safe zone, in an open world pvp game. They also went down a path adding gardening and stupid spirituality crap. In a game where you could cut somebody's head off and feed it to your pet and take all their stuff as your own from their dead body... .....................................................


Whats is wrong with adding a completely safe zone?

If you prefer open world PvP, you can always stay in the original world. Players who dislike PvP can play in the parallel world, instead of going to another MMORPG.

I don't see how it affects your enjoyment of the game.
[/quote]

Because the pvp zone became empty when everyone could go farm in complete safety.

When part of playing even a non pvp templates in that game was that occasionally you'd encounter murderers when outside of cities which added to every part of the game (there were counters, you could recall away, or run, and you could put a bounty on your killers head). There were bounty hunters who just hunted murderers to collect bounties for their heads.

With non pvp templates, when you were in a dungeon, or at a monster spawn and had built up loot, you had to make a choice whether to kill just one more before banking, or play it safe and bank. That entire process was taken away when you could farm until you were overweight, then bank.

Risk vs. Reward made some places hot spots while others weren't. Meanwhile tamers and "farming" characters could farm in complete safety aside from low end AI and that money was just as useful in either world. So first it ruined pvp, second it ruined the economy, 3rd it alienated the original "core" players of the game who watched it deteriorate in a completely different direction from what it a) started as and b) had been for years.

I was making real money playing in as a teenager because it was SUCH a great game, in game houses sold for hundreds of dollars, then they messed it all up and a new batch of sissy players was ushered in, all my friends left and eventually I did too.

Initially there were very popular websites which were basically the forefront to blogs where people tricked, scammed, death gated random players as "episodes", there was some real class to being outlaws.

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