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June 4th, 2008, 04:52
Scorpia's latest piece is on traps - and I think she's got a point:
I was re-reading last year’s posts on Do We Need Rogues? and The Rogue Question II, and I got to thinking about traps. What’s the point?
We could say they’re supposed to add an element of tension, of risk, to the game. Whether the defusing method is D&D’s dice rolls, Elder Scrolls’ minigames, Avernum’s “skill equal to or greater than to some preset number”, or any other procedure, you’re supposed to feel uncertainty about success and worried about failure.
As we know, however, most players in this situation will save the game first (unless they forget, oops). Then if their character is killed, or hit with a nasty condition for which no cure is available, they just reload and try again. Except for “equal or greater”, since you either can or can’t.
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June 4th, 2008, 04:52
You could say that with pretty much anything, really. When you can reload easily if something bad happens, there's little risk and tension, and everything eventually become mere annoyances.
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June 4th, 2008, 13:17
And without reloading the constantly having to do the same passages over and over again until you reach the point of risk and tension, try a different approach and die once more until you hit the right combination/choice quickly becomes frustrating and repetitive … so, damned if you do and damned if you don't?
"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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June 5th, 2008, 22:00
Nobody asked, but I think one of the keys of single player game design is to balance gameplay so that the temptation to reload is minimized. Random trap success is a perfect example of getting that wrong. Gee, one of my characters just died because the computer generated an 88 and I needed 85 or less. I feel so totally responsible that I guess I'll just suck it up. And better yet, I'll learn from my mistake, since clearly having the thief try to open a chest was a tactical error on my part. Yep, I'll just play right through that one.

Hey, maybe you could also add a gameplay feature where every half hour or so, a character has to make a roll for walking, and if you get a critical failure, he trips and breaks his neck. That's good gaming.
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