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Gaming Masochism

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Gaming Masochism

Postby tlitp » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:39 pm

Bashiok wrote:I understand and respect gaming masochism. But, I think that changing mechanics to be more reasonable and less punishing is an improvement, not a detriment, to games in general. Many of us Original Gamers pine for the days of D&D-based yore when games were seemingly intended to break us down into sobbing masses created by an uncaring necromancer of pain and suffering, or at least didn't try to avoid it. Overcoming all of the obstacles (I CHOOSE NOT TO SHOOT HER WITH THE SILVER ARROW... NOOOOO) was a big part of what gaming (I HAVE 1 LIFE!?), and especially PC gaming (HOW DO I LOAD MOUSE DRIVERS?), were about. But, I feel we're lucky to now be in an age where those ideals (intended or not) are giving way to actual fun, actual challenge, and not fabricating it through high-reach requirements (I NEED A FAIRY MONK WITH A MAGIC LOCKPICK?).

What we've always been trying to do, what WoW has always been about (and to which much of its success is due) is to make an accessible MMO. Anyone that looks back at the game at launch and wishes it was as challenging now as it was then is not aware of the painstaking effort put into making this game accessible as compared to its predecessors. Since release we've refined that intent, eventually evolving the very few masochistic designs WoW actually ever started with, but ideally still offering those same prestige goals that give that feeling of achieving something great if you're able to pull it off. We've made a lot of progress toward striking that balance and continuing to evolve the game, but it's not something we're ever likely to perfect, and we'll be constantly working to hit that elusive goal. Hopefully it's to the benefit of everyone playing and enjoying the game, and they'll continue to enjoy the journey that a living, breathing, persistent universe will take us on. (source)


Can someone please explain this man's stance ? I honestly don't get what's behind that PR bullshit.

If he's addressing the issue of time investment : tough luck, there are people who actually enjoy not having things handed over on a silver plate. Is he really trying to infer that the current model (read : compromise) is better for everyone ?

If he's addressing the issue of risk/reward : tough luck, WoW never has been a particularly risky environment. In proper games there are no fucking "hit caps" (D&D, anyone ?). In proper games death is actually meaningful; WoW doesn't have any of the following : xp/level loss, (significant) gold loss, item loss (equipped gearset), "you lose" flag (Diablo on hardcore, anyone ?). In proper games there are elements of inflexible determinism (if at one time you take the decision X over its Y alternative, one or more development paths are inextricably lost); in WoW uniformization is the name of the game.

Again, can someone please decrypt the raison d'être of the aforementioned post ?
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Meloree » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:20 pm

Some people argue that WoW should be more hardcore. Bashiok is basically saying that WoW will continue to be "accessible" with some grindy/hard prestige stuff available.

EDIT: Considering the poster, I feel like I totally missed the point of the question, actually.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby tlitp » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:33 pm

1. What obscure process morphs a supporter of the "should be more* hardcore" paradigm into a masochist ?
2. Following the line of "I think that changing mechanics to be more reasonable and less punishing is an improvement, not a detriment, to games in general" : what's wrong with the original template ? Should game concepts be similar to fashion trends, reinventing themselves yearly ?
3. Following the line of "what WoW has always been about (and to which much of its success is due) is to make an accessible MMO" : is there an end to the sacrifices made on the altar of Convenience ? Where do the players (i.e. not the designers/developers) draw the line ?

* do note that the comparative is somewhat inappropriate. It's hard to speak of making WoW more RPG-ish when it arguably lacks key features of the genre. :P
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Lieris » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:09 pm

I love a lot of the attempts they've made to make the game less "masochistic", some of the stuff in vanilla was really bad. But...

I really think they need to introduce *some* challenge to the levelling game because right now there is none and as such it's incredibly boring. Even the level 80-85 experience was soul crushing for me. With no worries about dying (and if you do there's so many graveyards now anyway) it just becomes a solo time sink and not a game. I think they went about their redesign with Cata in completely the wrong way and the removal of all elite questing mobs and group quests has sanitised the game. They've catered too much to the crowd of players who would struggle not to run into the first goomba in Super Mario 1 and killed any incentive for people to group up and talk to new people while levelling. Reaching the level cap should involve some sort of group challenge or significant test for your class, instead of dinging while turning in 10 boar tusks all by yourself while watching TV.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Lieris » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:13 pm

tlitp wrote: It's hard to speak of making WoW more RPG-ish when it arguably lacks key features of the genre. :P


I agree. I struggle to even consider it an RPG.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby tinalt » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:32 am

Lieris wrote:I love a lot of the attempts they've made to make the game less "masochistic", some of the stuff in vanilla was really bad. But...

I really think they need to introduce *some* challenge to the levelling game because right now there is none and as such it's incredibly boring. Even the level 80-85 experience was soul crushing for me. With no worries about dying (and if you do there's so many graveyards now anyway) it just becomes a solo time sink and not a game. I think they went about their redesign with Cata in completely the wrong way and the removal of all elite questing mobs and group quests has sanitised the game. They've catered too much to the crowd of players who would struggle not to run into the first goomba in Super Mario 1 and killed any incentive for people to group up and talk to new people while levelling. Reaching the level cap should involve some sort of group challenge or significant test for your class, instead of dinging while turning in 10 boar tusks all by yourself while watching TV.


I don't know about you, but I reached the level cap in the middle of a very long quest chain that spanned the entire zone I was in, while unlocking the secrets of the titans that created me, while at the same time fighting off the henchmen of a gigantic dragon that's hell bent on destroying the world and everyone in it. I wouldn't really consider that turning in 10 boar tusks or 15 bear asses.

WoW does still have quite a bit of the stupid quests that make you go collect zevra hoofs because they're an immediate danger to small children or the elderly. But we've come a LONG way from the days when that was it. Now we have quests where you're flying planes and bombing enemies, driving tanks, shooting cannons, firing artillery, etc.

And they've gotten much better at telling a story through these better quests. Before we would have bob the orc telling us to kill some wolves because he didn't like wolves, and that was it. No follow up quests, no stories, just bob hating wolves. Now we may still have quests to go out and kill stuff, but it will usually have a better reason, like they're actively attacking the town, or if it doesn't, it will have a follow up quest to go into their den and kill their leader, who will drop an item that you have to turn in, which starts another chain.

Is there danger? no, not really. the chance of you dying are still pretty small. but think about this. for most of us that have been playing this game for awhile, we've gotten used to the way our class plays, we know it's tricks, we know how to get out of tight spots, how to use our cooldowns, etc. unless we're fighting elites or bosses, the chances of us dying are always going to be small. How do you change that? just make the mobs hit harder? they did that, all it did was make me use word of glory once every 3-4 mobs.

Most of us here play paladins as our mains, which have always been known for their ability to stay alive longer then just about any other class, and most of us play protection paladins, which means we're designed to take even more of a beating. How do you put a character in danger when his whole setup is to take the largest hits possible and keep on going? If you make mobs hit hard enough to put them in danger, you make them hit hard enough to 1 or 2 shot everything else.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Passionario » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:43 am

tlitp wrote:Can someone please explain this man's stance?


He's trying to say that accessibility is one of the core traits of WoW, one that defines it and distinguishes it from other games. If you complain about said accessibility, then you're essentially asking the developers to replace WoW with another product altogether.

(Basically, it's like asking porn studios: "Hey, could you guys remove all that stupid sex and nudity from your works? Some of us actually like to watch movies that feature clothed people and have actual plots, you know")

tlitp wrote:Following the line of "what WoW has always been about (and to which much of its success is due) is to make an accessible MMO" : is there an end to the sacrifices made on the altar of Convenience ?


There is no end. Like balancing or polishing, increasing accessibility in a MMO is an unreachable horizon. There is always one more tweak to be made.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby tlitp » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:38 am

tinalt wrote:Is there danger? no, not really. the chance of you dying are still pretty small. but think about this. for most of us that have been playing this game for awhile, we've gotten used to the way our class plays, we know it's tricks, we know how to get out of tight spots, how to use our cooldowns, etc. unless we're fighting elites or bosses, the chances of us dying are always going to be small.

Exactly, it's about Elite-infested areas and world PvP. Both of them have been "nerfed to the ground" :
1. the number of Elite mobs in the old Azeroth (pre-Northrend) is at least ten times smaller than before 2.3.0.
2. wPvP has been steadily made a non-issue (2.x flying mounts+virtually all the world environment is flyable; 3.x LFD; 4.x liberal use of phasing).

Besides that, death itself is (as already outlined) a fairly meaningless event in WoW. Once upon a time, there was a minimal toll associated to death - the time investment (few and sparse graveyards, no speed bumps in ghost form). No problem : some people complained, Blizzard reacted by trivializing any potential nuisance for everybody.

Passionario wrote:He's trying to say that accessibility is one of the core traits of WoW, one that defines it and distinguishes it from other games.

There are two intertwined issues here :
1. Blizzard openly advertises WoW as being a MMORPG
2. WoW's undeniable success makes it a trendsetter

@1 : The only undisputed element of that tag is the "O". The RPG/"multiplayer" elements are debatable, the "massively" one has been progressively turned into dust (Stranglethorn Vale, Tarren Mill/Southshore, AQ war effort, Quel Danas - but a few memories of times long past). Now the only areas which are still crowded are some of the capital cities; the world itself is barren. Playing almost exclusively in an aseptic environment (guild) does not suffice.
@2 : The fact that one particular title promotes Convenience at all costs is fine. When that title begins to influence/shape several others, it affects the gaming community as a whole.

I've already given up watching TV ~10 years ago. Am I supposed to give up gaming too ? :P
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Sabindeus » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:21 pm

Lieris wrote:
tlitp wrote: It's hard to speak of making WoW more RPG-ish when it arguably lacks key features of the genre. :P


I agree. I struggle to even consider it an RPG.


Which key features are we talking about here?
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Passionario » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:02 pm

tlitp wrote:No problem : some people complained, Blizzard reacted by trivializing any potential nuisance for everybody.


When core traits are concerned, not all complaints are equal. Going back to my previous analogy, a porn movie director is far more likely to listen to complaints that there's not *enough* hot sex and gratuitous nudity in his movies than to complaints about their excess.

tlitp wrote:The RPG/"multiplayer" elements are debatable


I respectfully refuse to participate in that particular debate. In my experience, all attempts to define what is a 'real' RPG and what isn't invariably degrade into "my favorite games are better than yours" pissing matches. :(

tlitp wrote:WoW's undeniable success makes it a trendsetter:

The fact that one particular title promotes Convenience at all costs is fine. When that title begins to influence/shape several others, it affects the gaming community as a whole.


Thus creating a rather vicious feedback cycle, yes. WoW is supposed to be the most accessible MMORPG on the market, so when other developers begin to imitate the flagship's accessibility, the overall level of difficulty drops, Blizzard reacts by making WoW even easier, and the cycle repeats itself.

However, I think that it's not Blizzard who is to blame for this (they are simply being honest and true to their original goal for WoW), but those companies who decided to jump onto the convenience bandwagon instead of inventing their own distinguishing features.

Still, I think that the 'corrupting influence' that WoW supposedly has on gaming community is a bit overrated. There are already enough 'hardcore' games out there to last one a lifetime, and more are released with each passing year.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Koatanga » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:32 pm

WoW has gone a bit schizophrenic lately.

BC progression was pretty steep - very few on my server saw much of Sunwell past the trash packs.

Wrath catered to casuals to the extent that many of the Sunwell-raiders of BC got bored and moved on.

Then Cata came out with difficult heroics that turned off many of the casuals.

Now Cata is easing up again to appeal more to the casuals.

It's like Styx releasing Kilroy Was Here (or Metallica releasing a rap album, if Styx is too old a reference) - you can't attract a certain fan base and then change everything up to appeal to a different segment and expect your old fan base to hang around.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Jonlo » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:58 pm

Heroic raids are always available if you want a difficult challenge. Same with high end arenas.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Koatanga » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:23 pm

Jonlo wrote:Heroic raids are always available if you want a difficult challenge. Same with high end arenas.

I am pretty much a casual - just relating an observation. Most of the progression raiders I knew from BC left because Wrath was too easy. Many of the casuals I knew in Wrath stopped playing because Cata heroics were too stressful for them.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Arnock » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:53 pm

The thing is, there's a pretty big difference between an enjoyable "hard" mechanic in a game, and something that is frustrating or annoying.(the author of ctrl alt delete wrote a pretty good post about it a few days ago.

IMO, a game should be challenging at least to some degree. Sure, soccer might be easier if you could just pick the ball up and run with it, or if there were no goalie, but wouldn't that kind of kill the purpose of the game? Conversely, soccer would be MUCH more challenging if all of the players had their legs and arms duct taped together, but I doubt that it would make the game any more enjoyable.

When a game becomes too easy, then it ceases to become a game, and instead becomes a simple time sink with flashy lights and pretty graphics.
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Re: Gaming Masochism

Postby Flex » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:15 pm

the "massively" one has been progressively turned into dust (Stranglethorn Vale, Tarren Mill/Southshore, AQ war effort, Quel Danas - but a few memories of times long past).


Starting the game a few months before TBC was released on a release server (it became raiding depopulated over the summer before I started due to stability issues), I never saw the world populated while leveling. However I did see tons of people hanging out in Ironforge in their BWL gear. The only telling difference between The Isle of QQ and the Argent Tournament to me was the Sanctuary banner.

I do think you're reading way too much into his statement and it is simply a statement that some of the grindy aspects have been revamped/removed from the game, such as tabardless rep grinds that fall into the "required" aspect and attunements as two big examples which allows the player to focus on the encounter content more than the preperation for that stuff.
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