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February 26th, 2011, 16:19
Imagine a store selling golfclubs and decide they make more customers if they sell beginners clubs to pros.

I do not think you can get both. Either you build a game for those who play often or you build a game for those who do not. A beginners product is not unattractive to advanced players because they are protective, its unattractive because its unintesting and do not pose the kind of challenge/experience they seek.

Most markets tend to have beginner and advanced products, not both in the same package. They know you can't serve both customers with the same product.

Also, the philosophy make me think about watching an American vs watching a Japanese move. An American movie build up over time so it rarely reaches an advanced stage before the movie is over. A japanese tend to begin with a short story that establish the situation in 1 minute, which you are expected to grasp before the movie begins.

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February 26th, 2011, 16:57
Exactly. "The Lord of the Rings" doesn't start with an introduction to the ABC either. Tutorials are good and well, but if you overdo the "easing in" (and don't make it optional) you are in great danger of boring (and thus pitentially loosing) your more advanced players.
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February 26th, 2011, 17:09
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Imagine a store selling golfclubs and decide they make more customers if they sell beginners clubs to pros.
The pros would get pissed and go find another golf shop, which is what is happening here, although they're having trouble finding other golf shops they like.

I do not think you can get both. Either you build a game for those who play often or you build a game for those who do not.
For your sake, I hope that's not true, because if it is, you might as well kiss your advanced RPGs goodbye. Modern games take too much money to develop. Catering to a small crowd of advanced players is suicide.

But I think your statement is a bit too black & white. RPGs aren't all that challenging and difficult. Certainly not as tricky as mastering the game of golf. I've yet to see an RPG that takes more than an 8th grade education and a couple hours to figure out.

As I mentioned before, I'm just commenting on the excerpted bit — which I thought was a very reasonable statement — not about whether the complexity of the game is left intact or not. He's talking about moderating the slope of the learning curve for new players. It's a simple and sound principle that any teacher uses — you introduce things slowly, so you don't lose people.

A beginners product is not unattractive to advanced players because they are protective, its unattractive because its unintesting and do not pose the kind of challenge/experience they seek.
You are using two phrases interchangeably — "advanced player" and "plays a lot." I don't think those are the same people. I am interpolating, but I think by "advanced player," you mean someone who likes a lot of challenge and complexity in their RPGs. That describes a lot of people here, but it doesn't describe a lot of people who play RPGs frequently. I know dozens of people (myself included) who play a lot of RPGs and still enjoy the modern ones. There are a lot of things to like about RPGs — complexity is only one of them.

Most markets tend to have beginner and advanced products, not both in the same package. They know you can't serve both customers with the same product.
How would you suggest game developers/publishers handle it? "Dragon Age 2: Advanced Edition" and Dragon Age 2: Dumbass Edition" next to each other on the same shelf? Sorry, I'm being facetious. Seriously, how would you suggest this dilemma be solved?

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February 26th, 2011, 18:35
Witcher 1 had some neat ideas in that aspect, basically merging a point&click type of gameplay with immersive OTS mode. You can select those at the very beginning. If this were to be combined with two distinct ways of presenting a tutorial and not just different controls, it'd be one possible solution to that dilemma IMO.
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February 26th, 2011, 18:38
Originally Posted by Anderson View Post
How would you suggest game developers/publishers handle it? "Dragon Age 2: Advanced Edition" and Dragon Age 2: Dumbass Edition" next to each other on the same shelf? Sorry, I'm being facetious. Seriously, how would you suggest this dilemma be solved?
Really it should be more along the lines of having difficulty levels mean something other than enemy health numbers changing. In a perfect world a game would have three difficulties, "casual," "normal," and "hardcore." On casual death would have no penalty, on normal it would have a moderate penalty and on hardcore it would have a real penalty. Enemy tactics could vary, objectives could vary, the importance of stats, the importance of reading the quest text, etc. etc..

Imagine Oblivion. On casual the quest arrows remain, leveling is brisk and you can max every skill and dying means you pop back up again at the closest fast travel spot. On normal the quest markers are only on the map, leveling is slower and there is a skill point cap and dying means a reload from your last save. On hardcore there are no quest markers, levelling is slow and there are tight skill caps plus training is very expensive and dying means a reload but there is no saving in combat. Make quests have more objectives the higher the difficulty and there you go, real variance for all audiences.

The reason this is not done of course is that it's time consuming, not only in development but in testing, and time is money.
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February 26th, 2011, 19:17
That sounds good to me. Difficulty settings often affect only amount of damage and XP earned, but little else. It would be nice if they added/subtracted/altered gameplay mechanics instead.

Although sometimes that might be time-intensive, other times it might not be. It wouldn't be that hard, for instance, to allow an option in Oblivion to toggle off the hand-holding compass and quest marker system, which pointed your nose to the exact location and removed a lot the sense of exploration/discovery. I know people who put tape over their screen in order to hide the compass. Why not just allow it to be turned off? Or else, develop an alternate guidance system that pointed you to the general location, rather than the specific spot. That wouldn't be too hard.

Other stuff might be tougher, though.

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February 26th, 2011, 19:53
It's never been said that in DAO2 the RPG numbers, stats, classes, inventory, and so on have been removed in DAO2, they only have been pushed back. Only some players either fake pretend all is removed, either have a real problem of understanding.

Many posts here seems ignore that many games are using a rising complexity for the sake of good game design and not to trick players into games they don't like.

I don't have the full details in mind but Warcraft III had a very controlled complexity increase through the successive maps. Sometimes it's too obvious and ends in boring first maps, like DK2 that I played recently, but this gives a chance to some players to enter in the complicated gameplay gradually.

In no way it's new, in no way it's insulting hardcore players.

So DAO2 team tried using a similar approach and this is clearly explained in the review. And the demo show a bit of that. Ok that's it and no that's not DAO removing all the technical aspects of RPG as fake pretend some hypocrite players..

I consider the attempt was interesting but if it's exactly what we saw in the first part of the demo then I admit it's very minor and not really succesful. But also not so much a pain, you get the character creation rather fast in fact. Sure the demo allows nothing because of restriction but it's just the demo.
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February 26th, 2011, 19:58
Originally Posted by Anderson View Post
That sounds good to me. Difficulty settings often affect only amount of damage and XP earned, but little else. It would be nice if they added/subtracted/altered gameplay mechanics instead…
Yeah my wish too and in a perfect world, I don't remember so many game that have doing that. Doom and Doom 2 did that amazingly well but I admit I don't remember any other game.

The point is each situation means a triple design this including a triple testing, that's a lot, and it's clearly more easy to try setup a system allowing a general difficulty setup.

EDIT: Mmm perhaps there was the idea of BG1, for me I hate this approach, I disliked a lot not been able play the full rules and if I do this is merged with some other general difficulty setup. That too clear approach can generate a frustration of no being able to play the game with the right rules.
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February 26th, 2011, 20:03
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
No a single valid point, that's pathetic, and you behave like a kid.
Demo talks for itself, all these interviews talks for itself. There's no need to talk about that anymore. But I understand you. Sometimes it's so hard to accept the truths. Anyway have fun with your ' evalutionary RPG'.
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February 26th, 2011, 20:07
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
Yeah my wish too and in a perfect world, I don't remember so many game that have doing that. Doom and Doom 2 did that amazingly well but I admit I don't remember any other game.
I never played them much since I am a PC gamer but it is my understanding that Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the N64 had different objectives depending on the difficulty mode. That's the kind of thing I would love to see in all genres.

In short difficulty should have to do with how much thought, attention and time you want to put into completing the game, not how many whacks an enemy should take.

The issue is it is more than just a toggle. I turned the quest markers off in Oblivion using mods and you know what? You are left not knowing where to go at all. The game is designed around the quest markers so NPCs and quest text do not give detailed instructions. For instance a woman might say "save my brother" and you have no idea where her brother is, only the quest marker tells you. In other words if it was as simple as putting a quest marker toggle in the options menu Bethesda probably would do it, but it's not.

Designing around multiple gameplay methods, making missions vary depending on difficulty… it's all time consuming stuff, and more difficult. Developers don't want to bother or pay the extra man hours.
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February 26th, 2011, 20:09
Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Demo talks for itself, all these interviews talks for itself. There's no need to talk about that anymore. But I understand you. Sometimes it's so hard to accept the truths. Anyway have fun with your ' evalutionary RPG'.
The quality of the demo and game is an opinion, not a "truth" decided on by you.
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February 26th, 2011, 20:10
Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Sorry, but I'm not ready for an emotional relationship with Mass Dragonasty Warriors Age 2
Ridiculous, only the dialog system is borrowed to ME2.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Mike must be little anxious because DA2 has a strong competitor in the market called Knights Contract.
What a pathetic hateful joke, there's zero link betwteen both and you fake pretend something that smell crap.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Also this game has no stats. Who needs stats anyway. They are for nerds.
LOL where you read that? In no way this is right and that you fake pretend have understand this is terrible and put you in the skin of young boy kids that are quick to jump to conclusion before to have think 2 second.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
It's not late Mike, maybe you can remove those annoyable stats with a patch or something. It's not cool and Awesome™(sorry I almost forgot) you know.
And one more pathetic hateful joke with zero link with reality.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Anyway, have fun with your new 'hey look at me I can push the buttons on this gamepad' gamer fan base.
And go on continue, now you fake pretend the game plays like an action game. That's terrible if you really think that, that's pathetic if it's a little poor manipulation. Again only young kids can jump to this conclusion just because some animations are rather fast.

So I quote all your post and yes I repeat:

No a single valid point, that's pathetic, and you behave like a kid.
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February 26th, 2011, 20:26
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I never played them much since I am a PC gamer but it is my understanding that Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the N64 had different objectives depending on the difficulty mode. That's the kind of thing I would love to see in all genres.
Woo that's mad I would never believe modern games that cost a lot only to design one quest would do that.

I'm not sure I'd like not have all quests available just because of the difficulty level I choose. But sure it raise curiosity.

Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
The issue is it is more than just a toggle. I turned the quest markers off in Oblivion using mods and you know what? You are left not knowing where to go at all. The game is designed around the quest markers so NPCs and quest text do not give detailed instructions. For instance a woman might say "save my brother" and you have no idea where her brother is, only the quest marker tells you. In other words if it was as simple as putting a quest marker toggle in the options menu Bethesda probably would do it, but it's not.
Is there a link with difficulty setting? I think Dungeon Siege and then Oblivion really setup a standard on that point. But not all is lost, there's still some modern A RPG that seems attempt be designed without such quest indicators. TW1 was working well without quests markers despite it had the system. Last I quoted was DKS, Venetica seems overall work and I noticed in DAO2 demo that it's official and not hidden stuff, there's an official option to disable quests markers so I hope from a professional team like Bioware that they fully tested the game without quest markers.

That's also why it's not in official menus of FO3 or FNV because they haven't been tested and designed fully without quest markers, but for FNV perhaps it could works anyway. From some posts I read about FNV and quest markers, it works without but for very few quests like 2/3.

Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
Designing around multiple gameplay methods, making missions vary depending on difficulty… it's all time consuming stuff, and more difficult. Developers don't want to bother or pay the extra man hours.
It's not exactly the point, if they do that it's at price of something else, for example less contents. And quest markers vs no quest markers are in the same bag, just use quest markers is clearly a lot of time and money saved for something else like more content.

EDIT: Ha ok I get the link between difficulty and quest markers, it's with in mind casual vs hardcore players. Well I think there' s a lot of misunderstanding about that but that's a different subject. At least, the point of DAO2 designers wasn't to make casual players play it, in the sense of casual players that like only simple games, easy to beat and quick to play.

EDIT2: Typical casual games are hidden objects. Ok easy, simple, quick to beat. But they have evolved a lot since some time and now includes much more than just basic search hidden objects. Best one and populars in fact include now more serious challenging puzzling that in "our" modern "hardcore" RPG.
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February 26th, 2011, 22:15
Ok lets get some facts out of the way:

1) The game has stats.

2) The game has skills.

3) The game has pausable combat.

4) There is dialogue.

5) The start of the game you have a very powerful character, not the begining character.

6) Inventory is disabled in the demo.

7) You do not have to click to attack. Just click to use specail abilities(the same as before)


These facts will help the people who have not yet played it to not use these as basis for complaints.

Why does it hurt some of you so much if we want to play this?
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February 26th, 2011, 22:51
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I turned off all the tactics in the demo and had a pretty good challenge at the second ogre fight.
Fair enough, but you ignored the second connected point. It's too fast for me to enjoy that way.

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February 26th, 2011, 23:01
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
It's never been said that in DAO2 the RPG numbers, stats, classes, inventory, and so on have been removed in DAO2, they only have been pushed back. Only some players either fake pretend all is removed, either have a real problem of understanding.
Wait, what? Skills were for all intents and purposes removed, you no longer put points into skills(Coercion, trap making, pick pocketing, ect). Instead, the now omitted skills are based off various stats(STR, DEX, CON, ect), which seems silly as someone with zero training yet immense dexterity/intelligence won't be able to magically unlock a door or chest. The removal of stat(tier) based non-combat skills is ridiculous, even more so when looking back at DA:O which had them…

Anytime you limit C&C, and removing stat based skills is just that, you lose something - be it re-playability, plausibility and/or immersion. In DA:O your decisions had at least some impact/importance especially early on… EG If, upon leveling up, you take a skill outside of combat training you may have been unable to acquire a desired combat talent(In other words combat training at Expert level is not enough to unlock Master level talents). Conversely, if you had elected to dump all points into combat training you would be unable to pass speech checks or any other stat(tier) based skill the PC might have taken(As a rogue trap making was fairly important since it also added to trap sensing).

Honestly, I'm trying to see a positive in the removal of stat based skills, but I'm not having much luck… Tell me how that's a positive, beyond the obvious,

So Peter Molyneux got up on stage at GDC last year and said, "Our mandate for Fable III is to sell five million copies this time, and that's why we are making specific streamlining decisions." Have you had any mandate? "We want a bump. We want to reach out to more people. We want more people to like Dragon Age II than Dragon Age Origins."

ML: Huh! Okay. So I think that's a goal, but when you say "mandate," it becomes a much harsher thing. Mandate is a "you must," and the decisions will be made due to focus groups or something.

For me, I guess, fundamentally, there are more people who are ready to play RPGs than realize it. These are people who will play FarmVille. These are people who have shot enough people in the head that they've leveled up in Medal of Honor. They've gained XP and have received awards as a result. That's an RPG mechanic. They've played [Grand Theft Auto] San Andreas and they've run enough, and gotten buff enough, that their endurance is a higher. They've leveled.

So I think there's more people out there with RPGs, and then it's honestly on RPGs to try to figure out how to take the mechanics that people are actually loving in other genres and say, "No, no, no. We had those years ago, but we understand that they kind of were scary."

So there was no mandate, but I mean there were decisions that we made as a team that said, "Okay, this is, I think, more welcoming." Not "dumbed down" or anything like that, but welcoming. Like starting the game, your character walks up, says something kind of over the top, and immediately starts exploding Darkspawn. I haven't set my decks at all. I haven't spent points.

What it does, is it lets you get into the game and go, "Okay, cool. This is what their combat is like. I get that." Then the next thing you do is build your character.

Then you level up and you start spending points, and the RPG mechanics are introduced in a way that's gradual, in a way that welcomes someone who would otherwise maybe go, "Whoa! Too complex!" and shut it off immediately, and lets them slide into it without even recognizing it ‑‑ which frankly, ideally increases the overall RPG customer base, which means we can make more RPGs, which means I can play more RPGs that I don't know the ending to. I like that.
A rose by any other name…

But hey, I'm not completely close-minded(at least on this topic). Explain to me how the removal of stat(tier) based skills is not "dumbing down" or "streamlining". Or if you desire take it a step further and convince me that streamlining(which has already been an admitted goal in the pursuit of potential costumers) does not equate to dumbing down…

The case for streamlining is as follows,

Gamers like games(from different genres) that contain some RPG mechanics.
Some gamers would probably like RPGs if they were easier to understand.
Some RPG mechanics are difficult to understand.
Therefore, some RPG mechanics should be simplified or removed -> streamlined.

What's the problem with the above argument? "Some RPG mechanics"! Which RPG mechanics are too difficult to understand or too off-putting for the uninitiated that they must be simplified/removed? That line varies from person to person, and if you push it further and further, games may no longer be recognizable/identifiable.

The so called "haters" might be making a mountain out of a molehill… Then again, streamlining might be making a molehill from what was once a mountain.

Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
4) There is dialogue.

Why does it hurt some of you so much if we want to play this?
If there weren't dialogue something would be terribly wrong!

Nobody seems hurt… Upset that Bioware has continued down a path of simplification/streamlining? Yes.

To me it's death by a thousand cuts.

Combat:

A)Inability to pan out(as far) with the camera in a tactical top-down view.
B)Combat is too fast to be tactical.
—Positioning no longer an issue.
>>>Mages seem more resistant to dmg, Bethany was getting ganged up by 3-4 darkspawn but took the dmg like a champ.
>>>Backstabbing is a new teleportation technique, apparently positioning one's rogue and actually inflicting what would logically be a back stab was too difficult to understand, so it was streamlined.
C)Enemies magically spawn out of thin air and come in manageable waves.
D)Attack animations
—Mages do some sort of contrived choreographed dance when attacking.
—Weapon+Sheild warriors/Aveline, her uninterrupted jerky stab motion was poorly concieved.
—2H warriors attacks are too fast to be plausible. As the interview pointed out, one of the great things about RPGs is that they often try to be believable. This sustained attack speed is not.
E)Corridor like/restrictive combat environments. Hopefully the main game has larger areas.

There's more I could rail on about, but I'm losing the energy to do so… I might post the rest of my criticism later.

-EDIT- Screw it

Another Problem the darkspawn, despite the new art direction, still all look the same… As if they're clones. Which might have been plausible if there were only one broodmother per the various species/races producing them. Then there's the armor, how is it that their armor is identical if the scavenge a good bit of it? Could Bioware not have added at least some variety?

The dialogue wheel is much like ME's where the input doesn't necessarily match the output(When my bro died I took the "He's not alone" or some such option and that translated to something along the lines of "Well at least dad has company now").

Flemeth and Isabella are far too different from the DA counterparts. Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but you would expect Flemeth(and Isabella) to appear the same considering the events between the demo and DA:O overlap. Still at least you could argue for the Flemeth change up that she's a really advanced shape shifter, able to take the form of a busty firm bodied octogenarian.

Voiced protagonist, not a deal breaker… But IMO tends to be somewhat limiting when conceiving dialogue options.

New art direction is too cartoonish, IMO. It clashes with some of the story elements…

A lot of what I saw seemed kind of forced, story wise I mean… The sibling dying near the beginning evoked no real emotion because there was no attachment(honestly you just met this person). You're trying to escape the darkspawn but you have time to stop and chat?!? I'm sorry the demo just didn't work that well for me.

^ All the above is my own opinion… Nothing more or less.
Last edited by MasterKromm; February 26th, 2011 at 23:23.
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February 26th, 2011, 23:03
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Fair enough, but you ignored the second connected point. It's too fast for me to enjoy that way.
Same here. I tried it the first time playing like I did DA:O with tactics off but the speed of play was way too fast to pause when needed. Tried again with default tactics and just worried about my own ass and it was stupid easy! So no joy either way.
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February 27th, 2011, 00:00
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Exactly. "The Lord of the Rings" doesn't start with an introduction to the ABC either.
The books, the movies or the games ???

Sorry, but I'm confused … - The books most certainly don't explain much of the background lore, too … Only The Hobbit, this is explained …

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February 27th, 2011, 01:49
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
In other words if it was as simple as putting a quest marker toggle in the options menu Bethesda probably would do it, but it's not.
It's as simple as not designing the quests that way to begin with.
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February 27th, 2011, 01:59
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
The issue is it is more than just a toggle. I turned the quest markers off in Oblivion using mods and you know what? You are left not knowing where to go at all. The game is designed around the quest markers so NPCs and quest text do not give detailed instructions.
I understand, but it doesn't have to be a toggle on/off. It could be an alternative system. For example, disabling the compass marker and displaying the location on the map. Or, highlighting a particular area on the map, rather than a specific location. That wouldn't require a lot of development effort.

… It's all time consuming stuff, and more difficult. Developers don't want to bother or pay the extra man hours.
So, no solution, then? I'm a little more optimistic — I think that with a little creativity, developers can find options that offer something to experienced RPG players — the kind of alterations of gameplay that you referred to earlier — without requiring major investments in time/resources. I don't mean the "hardcore" players will ever be really pleased, that seems rather impossible. But they could at least be thrown a bone.

New Vegas' Hardcore mode would be another example, although that's actually more resource-intensive than the options I have in mind.

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