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December 16th, 2013, 23:08
Gamasutra has a new article were he ponders should developers dumb it down for the masses, or stay hardcore and accept fewer sales?

I've just finished watching my 50th "let's play" video of Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition and at the start I felt like a bag of S**t. After watching the mis-clicks and general confusion that abounds when new players meet the Baldur's Gate learning curve (aka the wall of pain) I started to feel very worried. But, in almost every video after a few moments it started to change. The voice of the player changed, the comments about interface disappeared, the rules questions were way less frequent. Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition had worked its magic and they were hooked. You saw a player become enthralled in the world and the characters, getting drawn along by some truly great voice work and an epic musical score. But I have to wonder, could we have engineered a way around the wall of pain?
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December 16th, 2013, 23:08
should developers dumb it down for the masses, or stay hardcore and accept fewer sales?

Well, if we suddenly all find ourselves sitting around in the new bohemian utopia, wondering what we should do with ourselves today, this might be a more meaningful question.

As it is, in this world of no free ponies, or rent, or food, developers just might have to consider sales.

A game company ultimately has to keep enough customers happy to remain in business, and so that's always going to play a part in it.

What does hardcore mean anyway? Does it mean having a lot of depth and character customization in a game, or does it mean one difficulty level setting of insane instant death? If the former, then I am good with it, if the latter, I would say at least give the game some easier difficulty level. I'm not at all opposed to steeper learning curve for a game, if that makes the game more fun in the end, which it sometimes does. But if it just means dying every 2 minutes with no game saves, then a lot of us, including me, don't really have time for such self inflicted punishments. For instance, I find the learning curve of games like Blackguards or Two Worlds 2, makes me like the game more and gives a feeling of satisfaction once I've started to master the game. But games like Dark Souls, where it's just insanely hard, not more complex combat or customization options, I just get frustrated and eventually quit playing. In all fairness to Dark Souls, I will have to say that maybe it's not that difficult, maybe it's just that the controls are so freaking horrifically bad.
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December 16th, 2013, 23:37
There does clearly seem to be a very distinct difference in what older gamers and younger gamers are looking for but, gaming has become such a mainstream hobby these days I think any quality game can find an audience. How big of an audience you need to target should be dependent on budget and expected sales.

I never really considered BG "hardcore". I always think of punishing mechanics/difficulty when I hear that word. Overall, I found BG very easy to get a handle on. Sure, there were some hard battles, but you could normally overcome them by buffing before, using consumables, and debuffing enemies. If all else failed, there was generally so much to do you could just level/gear up and come back a bit latter.

I think there's a fair amount of people that would call the D Souls series hardcore. Not really approachable for a casual gamer (not saying that non casual gamers have to like it, I don't), combat is really geared to pattern recognition and exploitation with mechanics that will beat you down for failing. I don't recall that being the case in the BG series at all.
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December 16th, 2013, 23:46
It's a question like … Fast Food or French Quisine ?
From a money-making perspective, both are equal and differen t at the same time.
Both can have equal sales - if the French Quisine has higher prices because there are so few of it.
Fast Food, however, can have lower prices - because of the mass.

Here in Germeny, an odd phenomenon has started : An discount food selling chain called Aldi tries nowadays to attract people with high-price things as well.
Meanwhile Real, a chain similar to Walmarkt (in fact Walmart owned a lot of Real stores when they were still active here in Germany [they later withdrew] tries to sell low-cost food like Aldi does nowadays, too.
this is diametral to what they had done before.

For Fast Food, you can have lower prices & lower quality - but you need to have larger logistics.
For French Quisine, you need less logistics, but higher quality. Or otherwise it wouldn't sell.

In the end, it's a question of income : The French Quisine won't be visited by the masses - simply because they can't afford it.
Which means that area-limited high-quality food is only feasible to a select group of people - richer people than the masses.
It's the other way round for Fast Food.

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December 17th, 2013, 02:24
I've heard Aldi is now conquering the USA as well.

I think, this blog entry is first of all marketing driven. I didn't really find anything special in it, too many commonplaces. I count 8 times Baldur's Gate or Enhanced Edition (or both), the first one already in the first sentence. His last blog entry before was from 2011, and his last article IIRC was a Post Mortem for BGEE.

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December 17th, 2013, 02:36
Originally Posted by Avantenor View Post
I've heard Aldi is now conquering the USA as well.
Well when you can save allot of money on food that tastes the same at major supermarkets who can blame them.

In the past I wouldn't even shop at Aldi's stores. The food was terrible. Now they have name brands making food for them under different labels.

As for the article I don't think there will ever be a way to please everyone, and maximize sales. It's a pipe dream.

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December 17th, 2013, 13:33
The question is silly. I mean… Should all moviemakers go masterpiece or eyecandy crap?

Anyway, the answer is easy. Those who are useless and talentless should go make dumb stuff. Those who are real artists should never go dumb. FO2 can sell even today. Dumb stuff from that year noone buys.
In the long term making crap means you can forget Kickstarter and other crowdsourcing sites, if you made good stuff you'll get your cash on any project however.

But if we'll talk about selling rubbish to suckers and successful milking… Yesterday it was go singleplayer storyrich game or go MMO nostory grinder? Today the question should be go PC or go phone?

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December 17th, 2013, 17:52
Wall of pain? I never encountered it. I had played Baldur's Gate up until that map with the basilisks and never finished the game, but I never had a problem with the learning curve in Baldur's Gate II. I just played the optional tutorial, and I was good to go. It was no Arnika Road. Granted I'm an older PC game player.
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