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Default Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Guilty Secrets: Why Players Don't Finish Games

October 16th, 2007, 19:01
Hey Printa Junta,

You're right, the initial stage of the very last level (let's call it FoR, for anyone that's not played that far), is a bit of a grind. Though I think I avoided combat completely and just ran to the various check-points. Once you're past those spawning zone, you meet some old friends and the story picks up again, and my, it's a great ending.
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October 16th, 2007, 20:21
It is bad design. As a group today's CRPGs fall short the same way. They allocate too much to arcade-game novelty and not enough to everything that's magical about role-play gaming.

If devs truly believed in RPG, they wouldn't put so much emphasis on multi-media presentation and game-world simulation. Their games are like fantasy-adventure novels where most of the pages are full-color illustrations. Why would anyone do that unless they thought the writing wasn't enough to satisfy readers?

If their games contained more RPG goodness, fans wouldn't be able to put them down. After finishing them, they would immediately want another, and then another.

Making good RPGs is like making good brownies. Worry about how they taste, and then worry about how they look. If people aren’t finishing them, making them look better and better is the wrong idea. Consider changing the recipe, instead.
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October 16th, 2007, 21:39
It's interesting… when I was younger I was much more apt to not finish a game. The main reason for me then was that another "great" game came out that I just had to have and play. So basically, I would abandon even a very good game for the next "new and shiny" game. Then that game would in turn get abandoned when another one came out.

But that was a long time ago… now I always finish any game I play… almost . If the game just bores the snot out of me, it's like reading a bad book… I just can't finish it.

May all your hits be crits!
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October 16th, 2007, 22:23
Well, despite playing a fair amount of games, I finish every one that I review. I just believe it is my duty - and so the few I *don't * finish never get reviewed (Bet On Soldier comes to mind). Unfortunately the price of that is getting to replay games I want to and getting to play older games I missed …

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October 16th, 2007, 22:39
I admit I'm guilty: Not only do I abandon (or "put (in)to hiatus", as I put it), games, but even worse, I too often abandon then when the game becomes too difficult for my taste !
Or too irritating (irritating in the sense that I have the feeling that I lose control of the game … there are either too many details / information I must think / take care of, or the story goes into one direction where I have the feeling that the control (especially of my character) is taken out of my hands - so I lose control on the ganme in some respect).

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 17th, 2007, 01:46
I, too, am a serial game abandoner. Combination of little gaming time, uncovering all the neat mechanics early on so that they get boring and repetitive by mid-game, and many of the games being just too damn long. If I had it my way, developers would slice the size/play time in half and spend those resources on more interesting game mechanics and finding clever ways to pace them throughout the entire game so that you're still discovering new stuff all the way up to the end. Quality over quantity. As it stands, I get half-way through most games and think to myself, why keep going? It's just the same grind for another 30+ hours with nothing new. The story? No offense, but I find almost all game stories weak, silly and/or trite. Something I could see my self really getting into when I was 11 or 12. But I ain't been 11 or 12 in a very, very, very long time. The growing power of my character? The joy of that is fleeting. I can fire up some good arcade or console emulators if I just want to bash crap all over the place. No need to invest hours of my time doing that in a single game. Getting to the end? When it's so, so far away? I… just… can't… make….. it……*looks for new shiny toy to start over with*
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October 17th, 2007, 02:44
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
They'd normally take 3 hits to the head to slay, now they'll take 20! Why? Because we've run out of development time, but need to challenge the player). In short, the endgame often is different to the rest of the game, usually in a less fun way.
That's exactly what happened to me in BG1…
Can't kill Saverok or Sarevok… Can't even remember his name…
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October 17th, 2007, 09:18
Originally Posted by enodenroH View Post
That's exactly what happened to me in BG1…
Can't kill Saverok or Sarevok… Can't even remember his name…
Happened to me too. Never managed to win the endgame in this one.
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October 17th, 2007, 13:08
Ha, for me it was extremely simply. I got my (then) teenage son to do it for me!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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October 17th, 2007, 13:25
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Ha, for me it was extremely simply. I got my (then) teenage son to do it for me!!
hehe, that's how I finished URU: I made my 7 year old do the jumping puzzles for me

Yay for child-labour
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October 17th, 2007, 14:57
I also only managed to kill several creatures over the years through employing my son's expertise—the original Diablo, (first time), and several other end bosses, all back when he was a teenager, but most recently I remember a dragon in Dungeon Seige II I couldn't handle—firing guns from a turret was the only way to kill him, and meanwhile he appears out of nowhere and fries you…
I hope these victories have given him self-confidence in the business world…

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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October 17th, 2007, 15:11
Originally Posted by enodenroH View Post
That's exactly what happened to me in BG1…
Can't kill Saverok or Sarevok… Can't even remember his name…
That fight is an odd one as I recall. A good portion of your chances for success or failure depend on positioning of your party vs Sarevok's party and more importantly what his side does during the fight.
The first time I played the game with my full group of 6 I had a heck of a time winning that fight, I remember the constant reloads and aggrivation. But then in my second playthrough some years later with a party of 4, I won the battle in no time at all.

As for getting children to complete tough missions in games, I can somewhat relate. While I do not have kids, I do get my significant other's younger brother (young as in early 20's) to do missions in Grand Theft Auto for me that I just cannot complete. The guy is a master at games like those. Very handy!

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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October 17th, 2007, 15:51
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
If I had it my way, developers would slice the size/play time in half and spend those resources on more interesting game mechanics and finding clever ways to pace them throughout the entire game so that you're still discovering new stuff all the way up to the end. Quality over quantity.
Hear hear. I have issues with the "but it's too short" criticism that you hear quite often here — look through most of the Fallout 3 threads, the Jade Empire threads, and so on.

For me, the sweet spot is somewhere between 15 and 25 hours for a play-through. More than that, and the game really has to be something special; less and I usually feel a bit short-changed. On games I like, though, I spend easily two or three times that doing alternate character builds or exploring different choices (where applicable).
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October 17th, 2007, 17:57
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Hear hear. I have issues with the "but it's too short" criticism that you hear quite often here — look through most of the Fallout 3 threads, the Jade Empire threads, and so on.

For me, the sweet spot is somewhere between 15 and 25 hours for a play-through. More than that, and the game really has to be something special; less and I usually feel a bit short-changed. On games I like, though, I spend easily two or three times that doing alternate character builds or exploring different choices (where applicable).
Likewise here with me. Games that drag on with obvious filler really try my patience and I more often than not just abandon the game. Games that often get criticized for being too short are usually games that I found to be just right in length. Fallout was great for example, it was all content, no filler and I wasn't playing the last third or so thinking "I hope this ends soon" which is the norm I've found.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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October 17th, 2007, 19:32
I'm kind of surprised to hear that most people don't finish games. I hardly ever quit a game that I get more than 1/3 of the way through. I probably won't finish Gothic 3 because I just got tired of it, and I'm having a bit of trouble finishing NWN2 since the combat is getting sort of cumbersome towards the end. Other than that though, I have finished almost 100 games or so in the past four years (including games like Kotor and Half-Life 2 that I have played multiple times.) I used to want really long games, but now I'm satisfied with almost any length that is more than 10 hours as long as the game wraps up nicely. I thought that Bioshock was excellent length. Maybe a tiny bit too long, but it was good. Max Payne and the Half-life episodes are too short for me though.
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October 17th, 2007, 19:41
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
Other than that though, I have finished almost 100 games or so in the past four years (including games like Kotor and Half-Life 2 that I have played multiple times.)
I don't think I currently own 100 games.

I can't even think of 10 that I want to buy. 100?! Ye gods.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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October 17th, 2007, 20:39
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
I thought that Bioshock was excellent length. Maybe a tiny bit too long, but it was good. Max Payne and the Half-life episodes are too short for me though.
I don't think Bioshock was too long per se; however, it did have some significant issues in narrative structure — everything up to the Great Plot Twist was better and better, but everything after it felt anticlimactic. From there on out I was just waiting for the game to end, and the (comparatively) unimaginative level designs from there on out didn't help.
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