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Should you make games easy or hard?

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I know title sound stupid but listen..

Just for example about WoW because thats a game i think everyone has played even the ones that dont like WoW.

In early versions of WoW it was "harder" because for example pet controlling was a lot more manual.. but now its almost everything automatically done with pet.. it stops attacking for exampe if u do a crowd control ability on a target so pet dont mess that up for you instead of you having to order pet to stop attack just before.

things like this.

And reason they made it easier is because everyone was complaining it was too hard.
but there was still a decent size of players (not majority) that was shrugging and wondering what is so hard, just learn to play instead.
I also thought it was no problem to manually do these stuff.. just most players in all games are bad players...the average players really suck lol.

Should you design tthe combat system so its designed so average players can play almost as good as the "pro" players?
It seems thats what most games are doing... they even made it so hunter in WoW can shoot his bow in melee range lol..

Im asking because im not sure, i always think it should be hard.. but then again I want to be an open minded dev and not do what i prefer but instead do what is best for the game.

The combat system i am making will have some things like this.. im for example thinking if i should have auto attack or not... so you just press attack and then your guy just follow enemy and attacking him without you pressing any buttons.. or if i should make the game harder so you have to do everything yourself.

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If you want the average player to like your game, don't make it too hard.
Try to balance the easy and hard parts.

Get some content in your game that is only meant to the pro players. Like when you die you lose Everything what you have! But if you win, you gain everything the other player has. This can really gets frustrated even for pro players. If you don't know how to play you will probably lose.
This is a bit too hard indeed, but it's the point I'm trying to make. You need to game content that an average player just can't do.
And this will bring some limitations to the average player and they will lose some motivation. So then you need other content, more easy and meant for them. Battles to only gain some resources or money, average quests, etc.

Choosing a difficulty of a game can be pretty hard. If you don't know what to pick, pick something where an average player can have fun with. Pro players will stop playing your game if you only have average content because it's just 'too' easy for them. No challenge at all. But you'll have 70% Average players, 5% Pro's and 25% Noobs. So it's kind of easy which difficulty you should pick. Unless you want to aim for the pro's only. smile.png


~EngineProgrammer

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I know title sound stupid but listen..

Just for example about WoW because thats a game i think everyone has played even the ones that dont like WoW.

In early versions of WoW it was "harder" because for example pet controlling was a lot more manual.. but now its almost everything automatically done with pet.. it stops attacking for exampe if u do a crowd control ability on a target so pet dont mess that up for you instead of you having to order pet to stop attack just before.

things like this.

And reason they made it easier is because everyone was complaining it was too hard.
but there was still a decent size of players (not majority) that was shrugging and wondering what is so hard, just learn to play instead.
I also thought it was no problem to manually do these stuff.. just most players in all games are bad players...the average players really suck lol.

Should you design tthe combat system so its designed so average players can play almost as good as the "pro" players?
It seems thats what most games are doing... they even made it so hunter in WoW can shoot his bow in melee range lol..

Im asking because im not sure, i always think it should be hard.. but then again I want to be an open minded dev and not do what i prefer but instead do what is best for the game.

The combat system i am making will have some things like this.. im for example thinking if i should have auto attack or not... so you just press attack and then your guy just follow enemy and attacking him without you pressing any buttons.. or if i should make the game harder so you have to do everything yourself.


There are different ways of making a game hard, WoW as an example is very accessible(i.e, its easy), but it also provides challenges for the players who want them, (Arena matches, heroic mode raids and now in the latest expansion, challenge mode dungeons). The hunter change was not really made to make the game easier but rather to make the game easier to balance(Something Blizzard has struggled with alot and still struggle with), By having a ranged class that cannot work at all at short range you get a serious restriction on how you design PvE encounters (Which makes the game less fun for everyone). and even heavier restrictions on what abilities you can give the other classes in PvP, (Consider the death knights ability to pull enemies to them and then slow their movement and think of how that works against a hunter who can't fire from short range), Making the hunter work exacly like all the other ranged classes simply makes Blizzards job easier. (And since they've failed quite miserably at balancing the game at several points in the past i'd say its a good change)

In general i'm in favor of multiple difficulty settings, one size doesn't fit all, design the game to be challenging but not frustratingly hard for the average player then tune things down for the easy mode and tune things up for a hard mode. (Diablo's way is a bad way to do it since there really are only 2 difficulty settings, normal and hardcore (and the only difference between them is the penalty you get for failing, the actual difficulty is identical) (I wouldn't consider the normal, nightmare, hell, inferno thingy to be different difficulties but rather a way to stretch the content, (We didn't feel like making an ActV,VI,VII and VIII so you just have to play through the same content again but with higher level enemies(But since you're also higher level its not really that much harder)) Edited by SimonForsman

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Hello,

As EngineProgrammer already said, picking a difficulty for your game is a very difficult task. It depends highly on what type of game you're developing and what your intended target group is; so much that I'd even feel uneasy giving an answer as general as EP's last paragraph.

What on the other hand can nearly always be applied is, that you have to consider how the difficulty is achieved. Let's take take the wow-pets example: Telling them to stop before certain actions, even though this stop is absolutely always advisable in those situations, is nothing but robot-work. If you don't tell them to stop, it's most likely not a poor battle strategy, but only a lack of focus that's being punished. This kind of "difficulty" doesn't present the player any challenge aside from pattern-memorization, it's robot-work and should therefore be done by the robot (->computer).
Difficulty, however, that is achieved by presenting the player a challenge, either mental or in eye–hand coordination, is fully legitimate and will reward the player with a feeling of accomplishment when overcome. Keep in mind, of course, that this reward takes only place if the challenge is overcome, that's where the difficulty in choosing a difficulty lies.

What would that mean for your example of auto attack? Well, if there's only one kind of attack and the result of a battle can be predicted with a 95% chance of success simply by evaluating the stats at the beginning of the battle, pressing the attack-button over and over again would definitely count as robot-work and should therefore be avoided.
If your fighting-system on the other hand is more sophisticated and rewards the player that carefully chooses the best attack for the situation out of a range of possibilities or perfectly times his counterattack, the control should stay with the player of course.
Well, contrary to what I said in the beginning, that has turned out to be pretty precise, but it's a quite precise case and it's still yours to decide after all.

Hope you this was helpful for you,

bw,
Tobl Edited by Tobl

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Why not have multiple difficulty levels so the player can decide how much of challenge they feel like?

Also, don't confuse busywork with difficulty. It's not "difficult" to walk 10km, but if the goal is to do something important 10km away, you're better off travelling by car.

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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.

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micro management is a talent.
just take rts games like starcraft for example or age of empires that I'm more familiar with.

You can do sooo much with micro management of your units.. but its very hard to do this what you call "easy robot work".
It's not easy manually selecting different units one a time making them move opposite directions.

if a enemy unit start attacking one of your units then you start micro by kiting him with that unit while you shoot with the others.

micro management that you call "easy robot work" is definitly a skill.
Anything that makes you have to click something... adding to more thigns you must do causing more pressure and stress... adds to skill needed to play.

If micro management was so bad..
then why doesnt rts games like the ones i mentioned make units automatically start kiting if they get attacked and do everything automatically so rts players dont have to micro manage their units anymore...

also its robot work to have to constantly keep pressing to produce units and ordering your gatherers to keep gatherering.
startcraft should just do it like League of legends where a wave of npc units keep coming out of your base constantly and attacking by themselves.. you cant control them because thats robot work "too easy for a players to bother with".

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I assume you're working on a MMO game, I'd say make the game accessible, but hard to master.
As suggested previously, I think a high risk/high gain pvp system can be pretty good, that way you can keep hardcore MMOers (just made that up) interested, but don't forget to make the rest of the game enjoyable for the casual players.
Adding hard areas/quests/dungeons with great rewards when beating a boss/completion is a good idea, people will level up to clear those areas and get the precious loot and then search for more.

Auto attack works, but can get boring at times. If you can make a good "skill" based manual fight control, it'd be great, many new MMOs are trying that and it sure is fun, the only "downside" is there's not really a big open world, just cities to trade, get training, join parties, etc., and stages for the quests/missions/pvp.


If you don't want to read everything: make the game easy to aproach, but rewarding for the most skillful players.

ps: glhf, on the Starcraft reference, from what I understood, you basically want the game to play itself? I mean, if you don't have to control your units anymore, then you're not really playing. If you mean only the SCV's and production of units, it'd make the game so much easier Edited by Yogen

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