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Difficulty in Games

Discussion in 'Unrelated Discussion' started by Scrydan, May 3, 2015.

  1. Scrydan

    Scrydan Active Member Team Amorous Supporter Dark Army Enthusiast

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    Everyone has their own range of what they think is the perfect difficulty. Depending on genre, this can be anything from a more challenging environment, more difficult puzzles, and it also can be some artificial difficulties like raising HP or attack of an enemy or something that is typical in many games. More true difficulties that aren't as artificial as stats would be like making the AI smarter, more cruel, and perhaps even more tactical.

    Now there's plenty of things you can comment on but I figure we could discuss our own views of difficulty.

    First and foremost, what is your global skill level if you were to be honest? This would be the average between most common game genres. And which genre do you excel at? Platformers? FPS? RPGs?

    What do you say is an ideal difficulty for your favorite games? Do you enjoy a game that makes you think before you leap? Some game that holds your hand a bit more until you're introduced to the main portion of the game? A game that throws you into the fire and its learn from experience or die? Sure there is tons of points to many different ways of introducing difficulty or the game itself.

    Now there is also the topic of a game difficulty setting. Now in some games they can be useful to reach a broader audience. However, when all it does is change stats (like in Dead Space) and make enemies instant kill you easier, it isn't as fun as many may say. Of course, it really could just mean that the potential of the difficulty settings isn't truly used to its potential.

    Imagine this, you play through various difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard), and you've played a character all the way to the end of the game. Of course, now you realized the "Nightmare mode" is still unplayed and play it. You suddenly noticed a few things. Enemies you've killed respawning (which then require you to kill them in a tactical order). Music playing a darker alternate version as well as changes graphically.

    And worse of all, suddenly instead of the antagonist waiting for you to come to him, he will come to you in X time unless certain things are done to buy more time so you can get strong enough to defeat him (as well as sending in stronger ranking enemies). Now suddenly you've got an interesting new mode that doesn't just change its difficulty, it changes the story and experience itself. But that's just an idea I am dabbling and working on with a RPG project of mine. (Yes, the respawning is based on X turns and is inspired from Doom's Nightmare mode)

    There is much to discuss and experience as a gamer and even a designer (which I've done both) really does aid in what you can say about the topic. When designing difficulty, often one must know that since they've tested the game lots of times, the difficulty they balanced around might be a bit higher than expected unless they get fresh eyes on it here and there. It is easy to play when you "know where everything is". Though if you die due to randomness of the game itself through RNG, it is possible you might want to rethink how it is being done if even a pro dies billions of times without any skill curving it whatsoever.

    So to recap, what is your ideal difficulty versus your own skill? What opinions do you have of games that allow you to just press buttons to win versus having to actually think of a good combination of abilities to win? Do you like difficulty settings or do you think it could be used in a more exciting way? (and not in the "oh cool, now you unlocked hell on earth - not much else changes though but stats are spiked higher!)

    (sorry if this feels like a huge wall of text. It is an interesting topic I would like to discuss here. :3 )
    Hibari Xanxus likes this.
  2. Weisshail

    Weisshail New Member

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    I agree with you on the fact that a nightmare or suicidal mode should be different. I love the idea of having to delay the inevitable, prolonging the time you have to prepare for that final battle. But that's a bit beside the point.

    I personally prefer to be challenged; even to the point of getting mad, either at the game or my own stupidity. But that pushes me to beat it, and when I do, it's a wonderful feeling. I'd say I'm pretty average for the most part, and I usually play games on normal at first, but when things get easy, or I get used to the game, I start to ramp up the difficulty until I either beat it or are beaten by the game itself, unable to best it.

    I love the Castlevania series and the Dark Souls series, as they both are quite challenging in their own right. I'm not sure what genre they would fall under though. Action, RPG. Somewhere in-between I suppose.
  3. Hibari Xanxus

    Hibari Xanxus Member Team Amorous Supporter

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    An Ideal difficulty in games are games that respect your ability as a player. Games that should challenge you at the end of the level once you've learn everything there is to learn. Like having a boss that has attacks similar to his subordinates so that you already know whats coming and know how to beat him. Like Bowser getting the hammer bro's ability to throw hammers. You've already been exposed to this and know how to deal with it.

    They should also treat you as someone who has a brain but also not leave you trying to deduce the theory of relativity. Take a puzzle for instance. A puzzle is something that someone already has all the clues to solve it, they just have to figure out how to use them. This way that player gets that "AHA" moment of solving a puzzle, but also feeling like it was HIS/HER fault for not figuring it. Portal 1 and 2 does a great job of that.

    Also another thing that some games like to do is add a fake "difficulty" where you dont get nerfed at all and all the enemies patterns stay the same. The enemies just hits like a truck but can shrug off beat downs like John Cena. . That is not challenging the player. That is just drawing the fight out and making boring. Metriod prime 1-3 has this example.
  4. Scrydan

    Scrydan Active Member Team Amorous Supporter Dark Army Enthusiast

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    Very true about the example of Bowser. I actually have an example in my game with the whole "Boss has similar abilities". In the game, you are learning how items can be used inside and outside of battle. Like experimenting and throwing random things at them: like cheese at rats or slab of meat at hungry dogs. The boss of the starting area has a similar weakness of one of the reoccurring enemies and gives you lots of chance to stock up on such an item.

    You can surely fight this boss without one of his weaknesses and just chip away slower at his defense. Though if you were to simply use this item in such a way, his defence is cut in half pretty much. Thus introducing tactics you can use for future bosses and enemies. Stats can help you live and fight, but using the full potential of items will make a boss battle a night or day difference. Learn what they are (species, habbits, desires, etc) and simply execute strategy around that for best results.


    I also agree with the puzzle aspect. One thing I noticed with some puzzles is that sometimes the game "gives the answer away" way to soon, or that it shouldn't at all and tell you to examine previous parts to the puzzle or previous puzzles. Some of the latest Zelda games as an example. Like literally the "help person" or whatever literally spells everything out. Forget thinking, we got someone to do that for us. :p

    AI is an interesting topic for me personally. There are some ways to make AI fun and not gods-that-foresee-any-possible-move-you-make. Plus giving them personalities beyond what they may say is cool too. They should act like people, not AI - unless they are supposed to be a robot. ha
    So let them get angry if you use certain tactics or do something that would make you as a player angry.

    Ex: GRRR~! Stop making me sleepy! *changes tactics to get back at you*
  5. Scrydan

    Scrydan Active Member Team Amorous Supporter Dark Army Enthusiast

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    Just noticed your post. The page skipped past it, gah!

    I also like to be challenged to an extreme point at times too. I also have times where I want to breeze by like some kind of hero bound to win. It depends on mood and what cup of tea you prefer. And if you play hard games and record them, you definitely at least get to have others enjoy your frustrations. haha

    And when you finally get past that difficult area or rethink your strategy and you find something amazing, you feel great like you accomplished something others might not. (This is what I love about old NES games. They weren't afraid of people as much now.) One way to make re-playability is to make it open to the possibilities of playing through it. Whether that is choosing a different "class" or weapon of choice, going to an area differently or deciding to be "Evil McJerkface", options should be given that makes THAT player's experience unique and not generic 'cut&paste#25'.

    One thing I also want to see more of is you playing on the side of evil trialing good guys. They pick a difficulty setting and you are restricted to X tools. So within this restriction try to kill them in any way possible. Heck, just trying to be a game about the villain winning is interesting. Not that I am saying to copy Kefka but yeah. :p
  6. Nadia

    Nadia Member

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    I would say that I have a average skill level, depending on the games I play.

    Long ago I was realy great at playing Fighting games, but over time it seems I became to slow for them when I got older.
    Because of that I'm not special in any kind of Game anymore.

    The ideal difficulty would be Normal.^^

    Maybe, most games I know are not realy able to do that.^^

    It's ok to have a Tutorial level.^^

    Na not a fan of systems like that.

    I answere this Two points together.
    What I realy hate is when the difficulty settings beginn to change the game and the story, gamers with different skill levels should be able to play the full story and see all content on any difficulty setting, difficulty settings should only be there to give either experienced players a new challange or give inexperienced players a chance to still enjoy the game.

    In a good game should never have something like a alternate story, "true story" or "true ending" that you can only see if you play a game on harder difficulty settings, it is just frustrating for many players if they are forced to play this way to enjoy the full content of the game.

    For something like that developers can always add something like "New Game+", that works much better to add alternate story elements.
  7. Sykowolf

    Sykowolf New Member

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    The ideal difficulty should be one that allows for a challenge no matter how far into the game the player is. There should be no point at which the player is completely OP. Some games do tend to go this way after your character progresses (Whether it be RPG style with leveling or in a FPS where you obtain better weapons) but I personally feel this is a mistake. If the player doesnt have SOME semblance of a challenge then there's nothing to overcome, just time to waste.

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