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I think ARR will succeed.Follow

#102 Mar 02 2013 at 4:00 AM Rating: Default
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You don't have to stay ahead of the community; you let them test it in real time. It takes virtually no time at all to change a value.

This idea that you need to have a "tight grip" on the gameplay--perhaps I misunderstand what you mean--but it does not need to limit the gameplay possibilities for players in any way. You need to have a firm grasp of system, if that's what you mean, but yeah, every game designer should have a firm grasp of the system. Adding more variables does not necessarily increase the complexity, particularly when you use design palettes to reiterate content and sub-systems, or if you just use different combinations/permutations of the design elements. If you take advantage of the design hierarchies, it's very easy to keep a firm grasp of the system without having to limit player options.

Also, the community is, at their fastest, no faster than you allow them to be. Consider NIN tanking... for how long was that viable, vs. how long it took the community to figure it out? And how quickly could it have been nerfed?

I feel that I must not understand what you mean, because as I interpret your points they seem obviously flawed.

Edited, Mar 2nd 2013 2:02am by Kachi
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#103 Mar 02 2013 at 4:30 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
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I'm not counting on FFXIV:ARR to have these kinds of elements in place; I don't think today's average gamer could have fun with that kind of stuff.


Oh, I don't agree with that at all. Jesse Schell actually gave a good talk pretty recently about how important it was for players to find meaning in their games--to experience real accomplishment and connection. (Unfortunately all most people took from it was a few seconds where he noted that demos ended up causing games to be less successful.)

Overcoming difficult challenges is an important quality of a successful game. It's when the players perceive the challenge as unfair or unreasonable that they become frustrated. This would be a problem in games like FFXI because FFXI wasn't and didn't try to be fair--for example, certain classes had a much tougher time overcoming the content than others. Most of the players who stuck around in XI were those who were able to accept that the game was horrendously imbalanced and that there were very few efforts to change that.


...and I think overall the main reason why we do stick around (in this case) is because of the draw/name recognition + time invested. The acceptance of that difficult content, has become a weird bit of charm. In large part to our social connections and bonds during those times as well. I think we all leveled subjobs we hated for one reason or another.

I essence FFXI stopped being "fun" a long time ago; I would log on for nostalgic reasons or to try some new content but I still stuck around for 5-6 years off and on. FFXIV is new, ARR is newer and (obviously) has gone to extreme lengths this time around to exaggerate the lore to comical (although I'm enjoying it) proportions by throwing in everything Final Fantasy related under the sun.

If FFXI wasn't related to Final Fantasy I would have never played it. FF to me isn't just all mog and chocobo and magitek (although that's cool too), but rather generally the art direction, music and story I loved from past SE games.

Initially 1.0 fell a bit flat in that department too, BUT from what I've seen from a lot of the recent demos is that SE/Yoshi-P/the rest of the dev team, seemed to have hit on a more ephemeral/musical/artistic point that, pardon the pun, has struck a chord in a way that stirred an interest and makes me want to play it again; that was absent from 1.0. Simply put, mechanics aside, the "feeling" of Final Fantasy is more alive and present here in ARR and I think this plays a large part, passively/implicitly to add to depth as well.

---

I played The Walking Dead, which was on a lot of a lot of best of lists, and the gameplay, like most adventure games was basically point and click. But the story was pretty good. The pacing, the illusion of choice all really work well together. But I am also into the show as well, so I thought it was very well done; because it was relatable to a certain universe. I was immersed, even though I was playing as someone else, and didn't really have any control over the outcome. All I had was an affinity to the world and a good story. The game was not too difficult, it was short and well I wouldn't really want to play it again. Making the game into a "Resident Evil" type of game, might have made it better in some ways, but would have lost some of the cinematic accents.

Point being, story and art direction can play a huge role making a game immersive, with little to no mechanics.

ARR has seemingly got the artistic part right on this front (when compared to 1.0). But it's an MMO that needs to be sustainable/playable for at least 5-10 years. It's the UI, the mechanics, the difficulty, the economy, the progression, the relationship between player and character/player and community, in addition, to the artistic side that will really make this game succeed.

I don't know the stats but I can safely assume that most people playing ARR, or even FFXI were/are mostly fans of the series. Unfortunately SE has muddied the waters in the past few years and the fanbase isn't what it was in 2002. There's definitely going to be a large hill to climb regardless if the game is good or not.

---

So, we get initially hitched/drawn into the game because of our affinity to the series, and then if we like the game enough, or find that the lore/art is acceptable, we find something in the game to latch onto, farming, crafting, leveling, fighting, raids, the social aspect, etc. Each one of these things is a path we can go down.

It was a while ago when Yoshi-P made the "themepark" analogy, but "themepark" worries me. Sure I can ride the ferris wheel, but unless that ferris wheel throws me for a loop, or gives me something in addition to riding it, I'll ride it once and move on. That's exactly what I don't want.

---

TL;DR

I guess if there's a point in all of these "meta games" and the minutia of MMOs aside, I think quite broadly that I kinda agree with the OP: That a mechanically decent (whatever that means) but artistically solid FF MMO will do (would have done) well. However, with this current climate of MMOs, with the problems of 1.0, with the problems of SE in general, ARR has a very tough road ahead, and that mechanically it really needs inovation, and solid and sound gameplay to have a chance of surviving a good launch, let alone years to come.

---

I'm going off on tangents again, but I'll just close by saying I'm glad I don't have to worry about making a successful MMO. :)
#104 Mar 02 2013 at 4:39 AM Rating: Decent
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Four or five down the list, perhaps, but not likely at all to be the reason why the game succeeds or fails, is my point.

And mine is that it is naive to believe good gameplay will make a MMO succeed. Not in 2013. It's just one of many elements.
Super Mario has fantastic gameplay. So does Street Fighter II. And after 50 hours they become boring as ****.
Blood Bowl has horrible gameplay full of non-streamlined rules. So does Warhammer (the tabletop). People play that stuff for 20 years.
In my opinion, the "laws of attraction" in the game-world are all ex post facto explanations with more or less plausibility, but little
predictive value for the fine line between "meh" and "blockbuster".

So, to say something nice as well: you are right that gameplay matters a lot. You are wrong that good gameplay makes a good game.
#105 Mar 02 2013 at 4:40 AM Rating: Decent
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A lot of what you're noting there relates to identity development. For example, most of us would consider ourselves fans of the FF franchise. That actually becomes a part of the self, and is incredibly influential in our evaluations of recreational activities. The nostalgia carried by the art, music, and other "feeling" themes will always resonate with us in a way that feels like a part of who we are.

And you're exactly right; this is the main thing that opens the door for a recreational opportunity--the first step in the process. We are always, even subconsciously, alert to the things in life that might be "for us." For example, how many of you can go into a Game Stop and scan right over 200 other games to go right to a Final Fantasy game, or one that mimics the style of its art cover? Our abilities for pattern recognition are very sophisticated, and operate subconsciously. When we see something that looks like another thing that we used to love, our brain cues us in that there's a possibility for something really good.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#106 Mar 02 2013 at 4:46 AM Rating: Good
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I'm really enjoying this but my time is too limited...

Let me explain myself through content. If you let the community choose how to progress (XI), they will find the most efficient way. Since the devs are not in control, they can only guess what happens if they choose to nerf the current method. The community will almost instantly figure out the next best spot, and all devs can do is take a guess as to what that spot could be.

If you let players design their playstyles freely, they will find the most efficient playstyles in no time. The designers have possibly thousands of variables to take into account, and the community will go through them all with a fine comb with little effort. The developer can not figure out the efficiency of every build with such speed. If you take a wait and see approach, designers will always be one step behind the community, and only because they are not in control of their own game.

If you let the players determine how a content is cleared, you are once again greeted with a ton of variables, party setups and approaches to the content that will all be impossible to predict. But you still have to design the content and the rewards according to a certain standard. However, that standard will most likely prove to be false because there is a method the developers missed and which players use because it is most efficient. In the end the standard the content is designed with is flawed, and the consequences are obvious. The content may not be as difficult as predicted, rewards will be acquired faster and content depleted in no time.

Firm grasp of the system is not enough - firm grasp of the variables and their combinations are essential for a balanced game. With enough variables the devs will not be able to control everything and are left to guess, wrong most of the time. Then they adjust only to see that even before the fix is implemented the community has figured out something else.

The community is always dealing against the devs, and are ultimately better at breaking apart the systems than devs are at preventing it, if the choice is left to the community.

Edited, Mar 2nd 2013 1:49pm by Hyanmen
#107 Mar 02 2013 at 4:50 AM Rating: Decent
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Rinsui wrote:
Quote:
Four or five down the list, perhaps, but not likely at all to be the reason why the game succeeds or fails, is my point.

And mine is that it is naive to believe good gameplay will make a MMO succeed. Not in 2013. It's just one of many elements.
Super Mario has fantastic gameplay. So does Street Fighter II. And after 50 hours they become boring as ****.
Blood Bowl has horrible gameplay full of non-streamlined rules. So does Warhammer (the tabletop). People play that stuff for 20 years.
In my opinion, the "laws of attraction" in the game-world are all ex post facto explanations with more or less plausibility, but little
predictive value for the fine line between "meh" and "blockbuster".

So, to say something nice as well: you are right that gameplay matters a lot. You are wrong that good gameplay makes a good game.


Super Mario and Street Fighter II do not escalate novel challenges, and that is crucial for the longevity of a game. I'm very insistent on mentioning that the challenges must be novel for that very reason. I consider this a part of the gameplay. I would say the same about most single player games, the Final Fantasy series in particular was an example we were just talking about. Convoluted game systems, while they may be lacking in many desirable qualities of gameplay, usually present many novel challenges, which gives them the depth needed to enjoy them for long periods of time, provided the person can negotiate through the constraints necessary to develop the interest. So these are not unaccounted for by the principles I espouse.

I agree that success requires more than good gameplay-- more than that by a wide margin. But overall, the other things, at least insofar as XIV is concerned, are already established to be present, can more or less be taken for granted, or at the very least are not deal-breakers. If my objective were to write a manifesto on all that is required to make an MMO successful, I'm fairly sure the forum would a'splode.

I wouldn't say that good gameplay makes a good game, only that it is one of the most important elements. Afterall, the gameplay essentially refers to the intrinsic motivation system, which is akin to saying, "The part of the game that makes it fun is very important." It's not the most insightful thing I've ever had to say.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#108 Mar 02 2013 at 5:02 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Let me explain myself through content. If you let the community choose how to progress (XI), they will find the most efficient way. Since the devs are not in control, they can only guess what happens if they choose to nerf the current method. The community will almost instantly figure out the next best spot, and all devs can do is take a guess as to what that spot could be.

If you let players design their playstyles freely, they will find the most efficient playstyles in no time. The designers have possibly thousands of variables to take into account, and the community will go through them all with a fine comb with little effort. The developer can not figure out the efficiency of every build with such speed. If you take a wait and see approach, designers will always be one step behind the community, and only because they are not in control of their own game.

If you let the players determine how a content is cleared, you are once again greeted with a ton of variables, party setups and approaches to the content that will all be impossible to predict. But you still have to design the content and the rewards according to a certain standard. However, that standard will most likely prove to be false because there is a method the developers missed and which players use because it is most efficient. In the end the standard the content is designed with is flawed, and the consequences are obvious. The content may not be as difficult as predicted, rewards will be acquired faster and content depleted in no time.

Firm grasp of the system is not enough - firm grasp of the variables and their combinations are essential for a balanced game. With enough variables the devs will not be able to control everything and are left to guess, wrong most of the time. Then they adjust only to see that even before the fix is implemented the community has figured out something else.

The community is always dealing against the devs, and are ultimately better at breaking apart the systems than devs are at preventing it, if the choice is left to the community.


I will concede that the developers will be a step behind the community, but here are my two counterpoints:
1) That's fine. You see what happens and then respond. Usually based on that, you can extrapolate and identify other problems to head off before the players even reach that far. You can easily fix the balance before MOST of the players experience that content.

2) Developers are always a step behind ANYWAY. Gimping your game for the sake of trying to be less behind is futile. That's what the iterative process is for. You accept that mistakes will be made and you fix them as quickly as you can.

The problem with most MMOs is that they simply don't make any significant effort to balance for most content because... I don't know why they don't. They should. Most likely they don't know any better, or the person in charge doesn't know any better. I don't know how many times I've seen content that goes completely unused because nobody seems to think, "Hey, we should raise the numbers on this ability so that it's actually useful. It would take like five minutes," or, "Hey, nobody seems to kill the drakes in Nasty Pass, maybe we should make them a touch weaker?"

I just really don't buy for one second that the balancing act is so tricky that you have to try to keep it all in your head in real time. I don't do that when I design. As far as I'm concerned, it's impossible, unless you're going out of your way to make the most boring and generic experience possible. The way I balance numbers is to find numbers that should be about the same and I say, "Are these about the same? No? Well there, now they are." And then I ask myself if it will be a problem to change the numbers a little later, just in case, and the answer is almost always, "No, no problem at all." And if I find that one of the numbers was wrong, I go back and find other numbers that I thought should be like it, and I change those the same way.

It's really not that hard. You make the numbers bigger, or you make them smaller. That's how you balance anything, from a game to a scale.

Edited, Mar 2nd 2013 3:02am by Kachi
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#109 Mar 02 2013 at 8:59 AM Rating: Decent
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Thayos wrote:

Other benchmarks included awesome weapons and armor dropped by NMs with very low drop rates or insanely long spawn windows. Many players considered getting items from these NMs to be a requirement for playing your job well... almost like a rite of passage, too. Again, this created a strong sense of progression, and also introduced competition and comraderie between players that had nothing to do with game design.

I'm not counting on FFXIV:ARR to have these kinds of elements in place; I don't think today's average gamer could have fun with that kind of stuff.


Actually, I expect it to a smaller degree. I know from an interview that the Labrynth of Bahamut will be innaccessable without first completing the Crystal Tower, which is a self-proclaimed hardcore dungeon.

And I'm assuming both of these will have story-related missions behind them, similar to CoP and Zilart. I really hope that there are quests to raise the level caps that require a party.
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#110 Mar 05 2013 at 9:37 AM Rating: Decent
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Kachi wrote:
I will concede that the developers will be a step behind the community, but here are my two counterpoints:
1) That's fine. You see what happens and then respond. Usually based on that, you can extrapolate and identify other problems to head off before the players even reach that far. You can easily fix the balance before MOST of the players experience that content.

2) Developers are always a step behind ANYWAY. Gimping your game for the sake of trying to be less behind is futile. That's what the iterative process is for. You accept that mistakes will be made and you fix them as quickly as you can.

The problem with most MMOs is that they simply don't make any significant effort to balance for most content because... I don't know why they don't. They should. Most likely they don't know any better, or the person in charge doesn't know any better. I don't know how many times I've seen content that goes completely unused because nobody seems to think, "Hey, we should raise the numbers on this ability so that it's actually useful. It would take like five minutes," or, "Hey, nobody seems to kill the drakes in Nasty Pass, maybe we should make them a touch weaker?"

I just really don't buy for one second that the balancing act is so tricky that you have to try to keep it all in your head in real time. I don't do that when I design. As far as I'm concerned, it's impossible, unless you're going out of your way to make the most boring and generic experience possible. The way I balance numbers is to find numbers that should be about the same and I say, "Are these about the same? No? Well there, now they are." And then I ask myself if it will be a problem to change the numbers a little later, just in case, and the answer is almost always, "No, no problem at all." And if I find that one of the numbers was wrong, I go back and find other numbers that I thought should be like it, and I change those the same way.

It's really not that hard. You make the numbers bigger, or you make them smaller. That's how you balance anything, from a game to a scale.


From your post I found something a bit confusing:

First you say that devs will be always a step behind, then are perplexed as to why devs don't make significant effort to balance things. In my opinion the answer is exactly that what you wrote. Devs can allocate as much resources and manhours to balancing their game, only to be outsmarted by the community at every turn. That really doesn't sound like a wise use of resources, since you are never really getting anywhere no matter what you do.

Secondly, even if this were not the case simply concluding that all the professionals in the industry suck at their job while the people who 'get it' are sitting on the sidelines is, to me, far-fetched. It's just not convincing enough to me, personally.

Another point I would like to make, is that you don't deal with a real community when designing a game which consist of every person needed to break down your systems and take advantage of all the flaws whether small or big.

For an example based on your example, in an MMO the amount of numbers that can be tweaked and which correlate with other numbers is huge. If you look at two numbers which are not in balance, and change one or both of them accordingly, yes, that way it is easy to balance out those two numbers in relation to each other.

But the balancing act hardly stops there. Now you have changed the numbers to be balanced, but ten other numbers are now unbalanced in relation to the numbers you just changed. So you go and change those numbers around, but the more numbers you have the more relationships there are between them. For the developer this can mean bad news fast, because how fast you can deal with those numbers and balance them can be compared to a snail when it comes to how fast the community figures out the relationships between the numbers. Then they take advantage of everything that ended up being unbalanced without the designer realizing it (yet).

When it comes to a large scale MMO changing the numbers has always been and always will be more time consuming than working on your own. In fact it's not you who changes those numbers around, it's the programmer. And it's not just you working on the numbers, there are other designers who you consult with first. This is a good thing for throwing ideas around and being able to keep more variables in control, but also slows down the actual balancing process. Plus, it's not like you can just throw more designers at the game to take care of more variables simultaneously. The diminishing returns are real.

It should be obvious that the more numbers there are for designer to take into account (and thus more choices for the community to make), the harder it is to keep all the relationships between numbers in mind while balancing the game. If you don't, you easily end up fixing something only for it to become unbalanced to some other aspect of the game.

Lastly, unless I am completely wrong here and for some reason you can have a ton of numbers while keeping the balance, it might just be the case that when it comes to MMO's the game designers have ultimately "too many" numbers to take into account, causing imbalances unless steps are taken to ensure that this isn't the case, by limiting the numbers, and thus, choice. Or the designers just suck, which is a bold statement to make for anyone not having ever done something of this scale in their life, especially when the statement applies to pretty much all the designers in the genre....

/endramble

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 6:39pm by Hyanmen
#111 Mar 05 2013 at 11:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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Louiscool wrote:
Thayos wrote:

Other benchmarks included awesome weapons and armor dropped by NMs with very low drop rates or insanely long spawn windows. Many players considered getting items from these NMs to be a requirement for playing your job well... almost like a rite of passage, too. Again, this created a strong sense of progression, and also introduced competition and comraderie between players that had nothing to do with game design.

I'm not counting on FFXIV:ARR to have these kinds of elements in place; I don't think today's average gamer could have fun with that kind of stuff.


Actually, I expect it to a smaller degree. I know from an interview that the Labrynth of Bahamut will be innaccessable without first completing the Crystal Tower, which is a self-proclaimed hardcore dungeon.

And I'm assuming both of these will have story-related missions behind them, similar to CoP and Zilart. I really hope that there are quests to raise the level caps that require a party.


I agree - there will be content that has prerequisites just as XI did, and as other games do, though we probably have seen the last of the Ground Kings days (good riddance). It's actually a little foolish to make a statement that basically says today's gamer doesn't enjoy challenges or to pretend there are no barriers to the top levels of other games. Just because the barriers are in a tiered format instead of just going to the open world and camping a timed spawn until you pass out, doesn't mean that challenges don't exist.

Personally, I think the example Thayos used is probably the worst one of how SE could approach (did approach) progression. I remember claimbots, and linkshells abusing each other verbally, or trying to MPK each other, calling GMs to try to get each other banned, ninja lotting, dramafest threads all over BG... it was a terrible environment. Finally getting something usually was more a sense of relief than of accomplishment - don't confuse the two. Accomplishment is downing a hard boss with your team for the first time. No one was feeling "accomplished" by XI's 6th year or so of the same end game content.

That's why I'll take true progression every time. Otherwise, what is the actual challenge?
#112 Mar 05 2013 at 12:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
First you say that devs will be always a step behind, then are perplexed as to why devs don't make significant effort to balance things. In my opinion the answer is exactly that what you wrote. Devs can allocate as much resources and manhours to balancing their game, only to be outsmarted by the community at every turn. That really doesn't sound like a wise use of resources, since you are never really getting anywhere no matter what you do.

Secondly, even if this were not the case simply concluding that all the professionals in the industry suck at their job while the people who 'get it' are sitting on the sidelines is, to me, far-fetched. It's just not convincing enough to me, personally.


Devs will always be a step behind in that they can't prevent the fact that SOME players will discover imbalances in their game. They can either use that information to make adjustments, or they can accept it and allow the majority of the community to fall in line. The latter seems to be the more common practice.

In the best case scenario, you only need one programmer with a tenuous grasp of game balance to make those adjustments, and the game would be much better off as a result, so it's really not a problem from a resources perspective. It's actually one of the absolutely best investments of resources that can go into improving a game.

As for whether you personally find the argument convincing, I guess I don't really care. Balancing through numbers adjustment is really a very easy way to improve the player experience. It's remarkably cheap and effective. It takes a micro-fraction of the time needed to develop new content and mechanics in comparison to the time needed to identify and adjust those numerical values. Developers ALREADY adjust those value many times in development; why they stop after they already have players using the game in a real setting and identifying weaknesses is frankly indefensible.

Quote:
It should be obvious that the more numbers there are for designer to take into account (and thus more choices for the community to make), the harder it is to keep all the relationships between numbers in mind while balancing the game. If you don't, you easily end up fixing something only for it to become unbalanced to some other aspect of the game.

Lastly, unless I am completely wrong here and for some reason you can have a ton of numbers while keeping the balance, it might just be the case that when it comes to MMO's the game designers have ultimately "too many" numbers to take into account, causing imbalances unless steps are taken to ensure that this isn't the case, by limiting the numbers, and thus, choice. Or the designers just suck, which is a bold statement to make for anyone not having ever done something of this scale in their life, especially when the statement applies to pretty much all the designers in the genre....


I've never worked on something that requires the massive amount of numbers that an MMO has, true, but I have worked on projects with similarly large non-numerical scales and on smaller numerical scales, and the practices don't change much either way. Balance is the foundation of any game-- too easy and it's boring, too difficult and it's frustrating. There's usually a pretty decent window between the two that strikes that happy balance, and the simplest way you get there is to change the numbers. Even when there are TONS of numbers, they are hierarchical, so you can frequently just find the -one- number in any given problem and change it. e.g., making a boss scale to a higher level, or just changing one of the boss' stats, or just changing the power of a single ability. Depending on which is the problem, you still only have to change ONE number to fix it. You don't even have to change it to a 'perfect' value, just one that is good enough.

As for systems design problems, you surely must have heard me talk about this a hundred times before on this very forum. I frequently use the car analogy-- you change out a part, and the car doesn't run at all. I'm acutely aware of how one solution can break something else-- I've done it a thousand times. The numbers don't usually encounter this problem, and in fact, the numbers are most often the solution to this problem, especially in a well-built architecture. The numbers allow you to keep the parts that work in their place so that the system remains intact, while just fine-tuning those parts.

You seem to be making the common mistake of assuming that game designers are professionals who know what they're doing. It's true that game designers understand many things about the process of game design that many players do not, but it's a different and altogether incorrect claim to say that game designers on average know much more about how to make fun games than the average adult gamer. Some of them do, but most do not. And why would they? They typically have the exact same background as any gamer wherein the development of that skill is concerned: they have played a lot of video games.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#113 Mar 05 2013 at 8:45 PM Rating: Default
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On the note of balancing the game, there are a LOT of factors involved (probably a lot more then what I'm listing) but this is the basics and probably mentioned in this thread;

*Balancing a game is controlled by several factors and there is very good documentations for this that a lot of companies use, I don't have access to that but here are some points.
*Firstly identify the balancing issue.
*What kind of balancing issue are we talking about?
*How large is this balancing that needs to be done?
*How much effect does this imbalance have on the game?
*How many game system parts are involved?
*Can this imbalance be ignored?
*Can this imbalance be balances threw other means (non conventional)?
*How many player are affected by this imbalance?
*Any new content coming up that will override this imbalance?
*Whats the acceptance level versus complain level on this imbalance from your playerbase?
*Cost/time of making this change, Vs putting that money/manpower to other tasks.
etc. etc. this list is pretty long and a lot of criterias needs to be filled before you reach the second stage.

Second stage. A decision is made to fix this imbalance.
*How big of an impact does this have on other parts of the system?
*Will there be a butterfly effect if this imbalance is fixed ?
*Testing out this fix to see that it works and that something else didn't break.
etc. etc. again this has some other parameters that needs to be checked.

Last stage the patch goes out and the "balancing" is done. After this you have the "follow up" part where you check that the imbalance that you fixed was actually "fixed" as intended. You probably have some other criteria's as well ^^

As you see the business of fixing imbalances in games is not as simple as one thinks, even small fixes that with your eyes and your perspective is small and simple to fix, can contain a lot of complications and hurdles from a developers point of view or from someone else's POV.

As pointed out earlier the more complex system, the more equation the more unknown/known variables to take into account. If you have studied mathematics at high level you probably know of a lot of good comparable examples (The Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness problem is a fun one, maybe a bit overkill but what the heck) ^^

That being said, you need to fixed imbalances in the game, but you need to choose them out carefully, and after criterias that you have set up for the long term sustainability of the game.

This is also the reason why game developers usually end up doing either:
1. Balance the game 24/7 fix one thing that breaks something else rinse and repeat
2. Only fixes major unbalance issues and ignores the rest

There will never be a company that can balance a game of this scope(MMO in general) to perfection. There will always be flaws and you need to accept the small ones :D

Another question you need to ask yourself, although a bit illogical, do we really want a 100% balanced game, and how does a 100% balanced game look like? If we take a comparison to the real world, is the our life, world, universe 100% balanced and perfect? How does a universe look like where everything is 100% balanced? Is it EVEN possible to imagine something like that?

Edited, Mar 6th 2013 4:54am by Maldavian
#114 Mar 05 2013 at 9:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Every time I read about somebody wanting to balance a game, it makes my stomach hurt. If you completely balance a game, I feel like takes away the entire point of offering different classes/specs/jobs. The point is that some jobs are supposed to be harder to play than others, or have different mechanics and strengths and weaknesses, that's what makes the game fun. Challenge. If anything, MMOs these days have an issue with over balancing, to the point to where no matter what you're playing, it's just bland. Now everything is subpar playing because if they give one class something that another class doesn't get, people whine and cry until it gets changed.

I'm not saying something should be overpowered to the point that it makes gameplay impossible to enjoy, I'm just saying that playing the underdog class and making people say "Wow, I wonder how he does that!" Is part of the fun of it to me. And that's how it used to be. You would know going in if a class wasn't considered cookie cutter perfect, and that just made you try that much harder.

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 9:45pm by Ryklin
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#115 Mar 05 2013 at 10:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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Personally, I think the example Thayos used is probably the worst one of how SE could approach (did approach) progression.


I'm not at all trying to say Ground Kings are a good idea. I'm totally with you on taking that whole system into the woods, burying it, and dancing on the dirt mound. However, I also believe character progression should begin long before you hit level 50.

And by character progression, I don't just mean regular quests that EVERYONE does every few levels. I mean things that take a bit of time and dedication, and may not always be "fun." One of the most true things in life though is that big rewards typically come from experiences not described as "fun." I think it's OK to have a bit of punishing content in the game, because it's that kind of content that will really bond players to the virtual world.
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#116 Mar 05 2013 at 10:27 PM Rating: Good
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Ryklin the Malevolent wrote:
Every time I read about somebody wanting to balance a game, it makes my stomach hurt. If you completely balance a game, I feel like takes away the entire point of offering different classes/specs/jobs. The point is that some jobs are supposed to be harder to play than others, or have different mechanics and strengths and weaknesses, that's what makes the game fun. Challenge. If anything, MMOs these days have an issue with over balancing, to the point to where no matter what you're playing, it's just bland. Now everything is subpar playing because if they give one class something that another class doesn't get, people whine and cry until it gets changed.

I'm not saying something should be overpowered to the point that it makes gameplay impossible to enjoy, I'm just saying that playing the underdog class and making people say "Wow, I wonder how he does that!" Is part of the fun of it to me. And that's how it used to be. You would know going in if a class wasn't considered cookie cutter perfect, and that just made you try that much harder.

I see your point, but there's two key arguments that you're overlooking.

1. Balancing a game doesn't necessarily make every class play the same, quite the contrary. Many games give each class a different resource that they need to use and expend in many different ways. The problem with not balancing a game is that you run into problems like XI had, where after certain content is released, jobs became useless. There was a constant back and forth over which was the better tank; PLD or NIN, and it was completely a matter of imbalance. Also, people forget that there was a huge stigma attached to bringing certain classes to certain content. "I'm a moron" and "lolbst" come to mind.

2. Regardless of how you feel about pvp, balance NEEDS to play a huge factor in this. The fact that a particular class would completely decimate another one for no particular reason, would kill a game that wanted to have any serious pvp.
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#117 Mar 06 2013 at 1:48 AM Rating: Good
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If that is why you think ARR will succeed then, you are wrong in almost all accounts.

Final Fantasy is not Final Fantasy just because of moogles, summons and pretty graphics, Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy because the series titles tell a compelling story, that almost always stands on it's own two feet, w/o taking anything from the previous Titles. XIV is entierly the opposite, it takes far to much from the series (Specially VI) and tries to mesh it together with its own little lore/story. XIV needs to stand on its own, just like XI did, XI did not borrow story elements from the main series in order to tell its own story.

Also most FF players, are console gamers, and FF is a casual RPG, depending on how SE deals with ARR character development, they can either hit the nail in the head or mess up big time again, if they go XI route, is gonna be a sad day for SE! and if they go WOW is gonna be a sad day too, they need to be able to strike a balance between the two.

Also remember Gameplay makes or breaks a MMO, Swotor had all the elements KOTOR and yet they failed at balancing gameplay, and we all know how that worked out.

p.s: not saying it will not succeed, for it has a 40% chance of doing so if they get their act together, but to say it will succeed because it has FF things on it, is silly.
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#118 Mar 06 2013 at 2:48 AM Rating: Good
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One of the most true things in life though is that big rewards typically come from experiences not described as "fun." I think it's OK to have a bit of punishing content in the game, because it's that kind of content that will really bond players to the virtual world.

Well, yes. That's why I play video games. Because I expect them to provide me with fun all the way, not just relief that I finally made it through the grind. Whatever you mean with "punishing" content: I hope it is punishing in a way that makes me curse once, then laugh, and then do it again, and not in a way that makes me curse for three days, throw away my controller, and begrudgingly pick it up after a week because I know I have to crawl through that field of **** sooner or later anyway.
#119 Mar 06 2013 at 5:07 AM Rating: Excellent
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Rinsui wrote:
Quote:
One of the most true things in life though is that big rewards typically come from experiences not described as "fun." I think it's OK to have a bit of punishing content in the game, because it's that kind of content that will really bond players to the virtual world.

Well, yes. That's why I play video games. Because I expect them to provide me with fun all the way, not just relief that I finally made it through the grind. Whatever you mean with "punishing" content: I hope it is punishing in a way that makes me curse once, then laugh, and then do it again, and not in a way that makes me curse for three days, throw away my controller, and begrudgingly pick it up after a week because I know I have to crawl through that field of sh*t sooner or later anyway.


It really depends on the incentive offered for completion. I remember doing a quest in XI that sent me all over the world to different headstones and at the end I got 60,000 gil. And the sad part is I was happy to complete it because making money in that game was difficult.
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#120 Mar 06 2013 at 6:59 AM Rating: Good
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Ostia wrote:
If that is why you think ARR will succeed then, you are wrong in almost all accounts.

Final Fantasy is not Final Fantasy just because of moogles, summons and pretty graphics, Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy because the series titles tell a compelling story, that almost always stands on it's own two feet, w/o taking anything from the previous Titles. XIV is entierly the opposite, it takes far to much from the series (Specially VI) and tries to mesh it together with its own little lore/story. XIV needs to stand on its own, just like XI did, XI did not borrow story elements from the main series in order to tell its own story.

Also most FF players, are console gamers, and FF is a casual RPG, depending on how SE deals with ARR character development, they can either hit the nail in the head or mess up big time again, if they go XI route, is gonna be a sad day for SE! and if they go WOW is gonna be a sad day too, they need to be able to strike a balance between the two.

Also remember Gameplay makes or breaks a MMO, Swotor had all the elements KOTOR and yet they failed at balancing gameplay, and we all know how that worked out.

p.s: not saying it will not succeed, for it has a 40% chance of doing so if they get their act together, but to say it will succeed because it has FF things on it, is silly.


I don't know who you are responding to, but the story part was addressed in my argument. There is nothing wrong with it, and just because Magitek armor happens to fit perfectly into the Garlean technology doesn't mean the lore is a copy paste of other games in the series. I've yet to hear from anyone that they didn't enjoy the story of post-Yoshida 1.xx. There's no reason to believe ARR will be any worse in this regard.
#121 Mar 06 2013 at 7:06 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think bringing in elements from past FF's are exactly what they need to do. Everyone has an idea of what an MMO should have, and hopefully they borrow from enough of the other MMO's successful elements to make it fun to play. On top of that FF nostalgia will be what sets the game apart and makes it familiar to FF fans. That's my hope anyway, we will see.
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#122 Mar 06 2013 at 8:32 AM Rating: Default
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As you see the business of fixing imbalances in games is not as simple as one thinks, even small fixes that with your eyes and your perspective is small and simple to fix, can contain a lot of complications and hurdles from a developers point of view or from someone else's POV.


Not in a well-built architecture. In a well-built architecture that separates the player system from the environment system (in PvE), that whole process is a waste of time. If you built the player system well, then you leave it alone, and you don't have to worry about breaking anything or how your changes might impact the system as a whole. Stat changes to Epic Dragon do not have any meaningful influence on anything other than the Epic Dragon encounter. But there are a lot of incompetent game designers out there who will avoid making changes to these encounters and focus on what's wrong with the player system. A well-built player system only needs the occasional fine-tuning, but does require a bit more finesse (but still not some bloated 3-phase process). i.e., when you have yourself a working car, leave it alone and focus on building the right kind of road for it to drive on.

Quote:
Another question you need to ask yourself, although a bit illogical, do we really want a 100% balanced game, and how does a 100% balanced game look like? If we take a comparison to the real world, is the our life, world, universe 100% balanced and perfect? How does a universe look like where everything is 100% balanced? Is it EVEN possible to imagine something like that?


In a 100% balanced game, choices are entirely based on cosmetic goals and player whims. Players don't make choices based on how it will impact their performance. e.g., consider a sandbox game like Animal Crossing or the Sims (haven't played the Sims myself so it may not be an apt example). It doesn't matter if you decorate your house as a mansion or a shack, because there are no statistical impacts on the victory condition.

But generally it's a nonsense question. In a purportedly skill-based game with definitive victory conditions like an MMO, the purpose of balance is simply to ensure an appropriate level of challenge. What's an appropriate level of challenge varies from player to player, so the idea of "100% balance" is truly nonsensical. You're not trying to achieve some actual statistical perfection, just trying to make the game appropriately fair and challenging for the majority of players. Then you have hard-mode encounters and such for players who need more challenge, and those have to be balanced too, even if only changing the numbers.

Ryklin the Malevolent wrote:
Every time I read about somebody wanting to balance a game, it makes my stomach hurt. If you completely balance a game, I feel like takes away the entire point of offering different classes/specs/jobs. The point is that some jobs are supposed to be harder to play than others, or have different mechanics and strengths and weaknesses, that's what makes the game fun. Challenge. If anything, MMOs these days have an issue with over balancing, to the point to where no matter what you're playing, it's just bland. Now everything is subpar playing because if they give one class something that another class doesn't get, people whine and cry until it gets changed.

I'm not saying something should be overpowered to the point that it makes gameplay impossible to enjoy, I'm just saying that playing the underdog class and making people say "Wow, I wonder how he does that!" Is part of the fun of it to me. And that's how it used to be. You would know going in if a class wasn't considered cookie cutter perfect, and that just made you try that much harder.

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 9:45pm by Ryklin


MMOs absolutely do not have a problem with over-balancing Smiley: lol Not even in class balance, which is what you're fixating on. It's fine to have some classes be harder than others, actually. That doesn't necessarily impact the overall game balance in a meaningful way, as long as the average performance between them is pretty similar. I mean, if you look at a lot of fighting games, the inter-character (inter-class) balance isn't particularly great, but for the average player, one class is roughly as good as another. That said, very few people would agree that the imbalances make the game better. When you like playing as a character, but they suck, that's not very fun.

The point of different classes is to offer a different gameplay experience, not to offer a different difficulty setting. The game should provide those challenges in other ways. Designing a mismatch between player goals and player desires in the form of inferior character options is pretty much the high point of bad design.
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Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#123 Mar 06 2013 at 9:35 AM Rating: Decent
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Wint wrote:
I think bringing in elements from past FF's are exactly what they need to do. Everyone has an idea of what an MMO should have, and hopefully they borrow from enough of the other MMO's successful elements to make it fun to play. On top of that FF nostalgia will be what sets the game apart and makes it familiar to FF fans. That's my hope anyway, we will see.


All I want is a multiplayer rpg in the FF world. That's why I bought 3 mother f*ing Gameboy Advances when Crystal Chronicles was released...

They succeed at that and I'm happy.
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#124 Mar 06 2013 at 10:06 AM Rating: Excellent
In regards to class imbalances, I think they'll always exist to a small degree. And, for that reason, there will always be a small, vocal, "elite" number of users who declare certain classes to be superior in different situations.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, these differences are so insignificant or unimportant that it doesn't affect our enjoyment of the game.

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#125 Mar 06 2013 at 10:14 AM Rating: Decent
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Thayos wrote:
In regards to class imbalances, I think they'll always exist to a small degree. And, for that reason, there will always be a small, vocal, "elite" number of users who declare certain classes to be superior in different situations.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, these differences are so insignificant or unimportant that it doesn't affect our enjoyment of the game.



Unfortunately there are quite frequently classes with real, significant differences in their performance, and in high risk:reward situations, they can easily be the difference between making an encounter easy or nearly impossible. Goal-driven players will be seeking efficient routes to victory as a part of the challenge of the game, including the identification of "superior" classes and configurations.

Whether these differences are a significant design problem really depends upon how rampant the imbalance is.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#126 Mar 06 2013 at 10:36 AM Rating: Good
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Hyanmen wrote:
Ostia wrote:
If that is why you think ARR will succeed then, you are wrong in almost all accounts.

Final Fantasy is not Final Fantasy just because of moogles, summons and pretty graphics, Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy because the series titles tell a compelling story, that almost always stands on it's own two feet, w/o taking anything from the previous Titles. XIV is entierly the opposite, it takes far to much from the series (Specially VI) and tries to mesh it together with its own little lore/story. XIV needs to stand on its own, just like XI did, XI did not borrow story elements from the main series in order to tell its own story.

Also most FF players, are console gamers, and FF is a casual RPG, depending on how SE deals with ARR character development, they can either hit the nail in the head or mess up big time again, if they go XI route, is gonna be a sad day for SE! and if they go WOW is gonna be a sad day too, they need to be able to strike a balance between the two.

Also remember Gameplay makes or breaks a MMO, Swotor had all the elements KOTOR and yet they failed at balancing gameplay, and we all know how that worked out.

p.s: not saying it will not succeed, for it has a 40% chance of doing so if they get their act together, but to say it will succeed because it has FF things on it, is silly.


I don't know who you are responding to, but the story part was addressed in my argument. There is nothing wrong with it, and just because Magitek armor happens to fit perfectly into the Garlean technology doesn't mean the lore is a copy paste of other games in the series. I've yet to hear from anyone that they didn't enjoy the story of post-Yoshida 1.xx. There's no reason to believe ARR will be any worse in this regard.


Hyanmen wrote:
Ostia wrote:
If that is why you think ARR will succeed then, you are wrong in almost all accounts.

Final Fantasy is not Final Fantasy just because of moogles, summons and pretty graphics, Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy because the series titles tell a compelling story, that almost always stands on it's own two feet, w/o taking anything from the previous Titles. XIV is entierly the opposite, it takes far to much from the series (Specially VI) and tries to mesh it together with its own little lore/story. XIV needs to stand on its own, just like XI did, XI did not borrow story elements from the main series in order to tell its own story.

Also most FF players, are console gamers, and FF is a casual RPG, depending on how SE deals with ARR character development, they can either hit the nail in the head or mess up big time again, if they go XI route, is gonna be a sad day for SE! and if they go WOW is gonna be a sad day too, they need to be able to strike a balance between the two.

Also remember Gameplay makes or breaks a MMO, Swotor had all the elements KOTOR and yet they failed at balancing gameplay, and we all know how that worked out.

p.s: not saying it will not succeed, for it has a 40% chance of doing so if they get their act together, but to say it will succeed because it has FF things on it, is silly.


I don't know who you are responding to, but the story part was addressed in my argument. There is nothing wrong with it, and just because Magitek armor happens to fit perfectly into the Garlean technology doesn't mean the lore is a copy paste of other games in the series. I've yet to hear from anyone that they didn't enjoy the story of post-Yoshida 1.xx. There's no reason to believe ARR will be any worse in this regard.


Magitek does not "Happens" to fit the garlean empire, it is it's defining feature, the entire basis of the Empire. Also Judges leading armys of the empire, where have we seen such a thing ? Oh! FFXII!(Interestingly both first judges you meet, go coco and gotta die) Also the story was already in place, is not like yoshida came in and made the last part up in the spot and called it a day, i am sure the presentation of the story was yoshidas, but the story itself was already set in stone.

Also limitbrakes.... That sephiroth entrance with the fire... meteor... Whats next ? They gonna kill one of the NPC with a sword thru it's chest ?

I wanna play FF14 not FF greatest hits.

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