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Developers' responsbility on how players play their games


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Hey everyone,

in this thread I'd like to discuss in how far it is the developers'
responsibility to take care that players play in a certain way.

And in how far developers can and should define what a "correct" way of playing
a game is.

First let me say that I usually do not care about combat mechanics much in a
game as long as the game provides a good, fascinating story.

However I think I have noticed some mechanisms so far that try to enforce
a certain way of playing the game when I wonder why it is the developers'
responsibility to do that.

Two Examples for that.

1) Kiting.
IMO The engagement system is used to prevent kiting.
If a player likes to kite however why stop him?
Should a player not have the freedom to kite if he likes doing so?

If you leave the possibility to kiting open, then people who like to kite can do so and people
who dislike to kite can still decide not to do it.

As long as kiting is not necessary to win a fight.

2) KILL XP - Grinding
If people like to grind to get stronger so that it is easier later on why stop them?
As long as this grinding is not a requirement to beat the game.
If I remember correctly Planescape:Torment had two grinding dungeons.

It was the players' responsibility to use them or not.

At the moment I just feel like the game, that is the developers, try to encourage a very certain way
of playing the game because they deem other ways as not being "good"
(However they define and justify that).

So it's your turn now:
In how far should developers encourage certain ways of playing the game?
In how far should and can they be responsible for how players play their game in contrast
to the players being responsible for their own actions?
 

Edited by Fluffle
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It depends I suppose on the type of game a developer is making. Zelda for example has a lot of limitations on what can be done in it's world. But when the game design is centered around "freedom" to play how you wish, well then yes play styles should not be preferred.

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I don't have a problem with designers making encounters challenging to the extent that they so desire, removing things such as kiting and grinding to a point of making encounters easier is completely acceptable. If people need to grind their level up and/or kite all enemies to proceed (or just enjoy being overleveled and stomping enemies), then it seems that they're playing on the wrong difficulty. Slide on down to easy and stomp all the enemies you like.

 

Suggesting that developers shouldn't "take away" the ability to kite and grind to high levels is like saying they shouldn't take away the player's right to be overpowered and wipe out enemies with ease. If you want a god mode, I'm sure there will be a mod; if you want all encounters to be easier, slide the difficulty to easy and problem solved. A game doesn't start you out with god equipment that wipes out enemies with ease because it contradicts the intended level of challenge of the designers, saying that those that don't want the god gear can simply drop it doesn't change the fact that it severely affects the default level of challenge to have it in the inventory to begin with.

 

Why can't those desiring to brush aside their enemies and simplify combat encounters simply play on a lower difficulty setting, isn't that the point of difficulty settings?

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Hold on now, so you don't think a player should have the freedom on any difficulty to try and make the most powerful character he can and take great pleasure out of the fact he was able to do it?

 

The player has the "freedom" to make the most powerful character they can within the confines of the system. If the designers allow for levitating above your enemies and raining spells down upon them then so be it, but if they don't allow for it then I don't have any right to go, "hey OE, I have a right to fly over my enemies and hit them while they can't hit me because I want things to be easier!!!" The same applies for kiting. Saying that the player has the freedom to make the most powerful character they can on their preferred difficulty setting is fine, so long as we're talking about doing so within the confines of the system created by the designers. Demanding new systems be implemented because you want to be more overpowered than you are on some specific difficulty setting seems ridiculous to me.

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"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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I don't have a problem with designers making encounters challenging to the extent that they so desire, removing things such as kiting and grinding to a point of making encounters easier is completely acceptable. If people need to grind their level up and/or kite all enemies to proceed (or just enjoy being overleveled and stomping enemies), then it seems that they're playing on the wrong difficulty. Slide on down to easy and stomp all the enemies you like.

 

Suggesting that developers shouldn't "take away" the ability to kite and grind to high levels is like saying they shouldn't take away the player's right to be overpowered and wipe out enemies with ease. If you want a god mode, I'm sure there will be a mod; if you want all encounters to be easier, slide the difficulty to easy and problem solved. A game doesn't start you out with god equipment that wipes out enemies with ease because it contradicts the intended level of challenge of the designers, saying that those that don't want the god gear can simply drop it doesn't change the fact that it severely affects the default level of challenge to have it in the inventory to begin with.

 

Why can't those desiring to brush aside their enemies and simplify combat encounters simply play on a lower difficulty setting, isn't that the point of difficulty settings?

It isn't about brushing enemies aside, it about the satisfaction, challenge, and work it takes to be able to achieve making a party strong enough to handle challenging combat in a way where it would seem we could brush them aside.

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Hold on now, so you don't think a player should have the freedom on any difficulty to try and make the most powerful character he can and take great pleasure out of the fact he was able to do it?

 

The player has the "freedom" to make the most powerful character they can within the confines of the system. If the designers allow for levitating above your enemies and raining spells down upon them then so be it, but if they don't allow for it then I don't have any right to go, "hey OE, I have a right to fly over my enemies and hit them while they can't hit me because I want things to be easier!!!" The same applies for kiting. Saying that the player has the freedom to make the most powerful character they can on their preferred difficulty setting is fine, so long as we're talking about doing so within the confines of the system created by the designers. Demanding new systems be implemented because you want to be more overpowered than you are on some specific difficulty setting seems ridiculous to me.

Fair enough but a lvl cap in and of itself prevents this. At least as it pertains to end game encounters. Edited by Zansatsu
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@Zansatsu What point are you making, how is suggesting that OE allow for kiting in their combat system the same as "the satisfaction, challenge, and work it takes to be able to achieve making a party strong enough to handle challenging combat in a way where it would seem we could brush them aside"?

 

I don't think that you're actually disagreeing with me. I think making the strongest character you can within the confines of the game systems is great, and if that accomplishment results in brushing enemies aside with ease that's fine too. I just don't see the point of asking the developers to alter their vision of the default challenge level of the game by allowing for things that they don't allow such as kiting, levitating above enemies that can't reach you, etc.

"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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I believe it is the developer's responsibility to create the game however they wish it to be experienced. Then, it is up to the players to judge whether thegame is good or not. If they don't want kiting or kill experience than it shouldn't be in the game. It is really the developer's only responsibility. This is like asking is it the director's responsibility how people see a movie. It is basically their whole job.

 

Also, removing kill xp doesn't disallow getting stronger. Side quests allow for extra experience to become stronger and make things easier.

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A game consists of rules and systems. It's up to the designer to create rules and systems which he thinks would be fun to engage with. It's up to the player to engage with them however he wishes. The designer's and the player's ideas about it may not completely converge and that's entirely OK.

 

If the designer thinks that kiting, rest-spamming, or grinding isn't fun, it's up to him to design a system that doesn't reward kiting, rest-spamming, or grinding. It's then up to the player to decide how to engage with the systems that end up being there.

 

Consider football. (The real kind, not the one with the guys with the silly pauldrons and a non-spherical "ball.") At some point someone clever discovered that an easy way to score goals was to leave one of your guys hanging around the opposing team's goal, and then make a reeeallly long pass to him while the opposing team was busy at the other end of the field. However then they figured that this hurt the game, because the tactic doesn't require much skill and doesn't reward either personal ability or team tactcis. So they came up with the offside rule that stops this.

 

Degenerate tactics are a bit like offsides. They don't reward skill, creativity, or cleverness and aren't in and of themselves fun for most people. (Few people would grind very long if all the reward they got was some pieces of beetle.) While there's nothing inherently wrong with two teams agreeing to play football without the offside rule in place, such a game isn't all that much fun. Same for single-player games with systems that allow offsides.

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Hmm well I think that everybody decides for themselves what's most fun for them.

 

And while football is a game where several people play one game, this game is single player.

So if I liked to grind in my game how does that effect you in your game?

 

I do not see yet how leaving the possiblity of grinding open hurts anyone as I would say that it is still

up to the player if he does grind or if he does not, and that does not effect other players

and their way of playing the game (or does it?)

 

(As long as grinding is not required to beat the game)

"Loyal Servant of His Most Fluffyness, Lord Kerfluffleupogus, Devourer of the Faithful!"

 

ringoffireresistance.gif *wearing the Ring of Fire Resistance* (gift from JFSOCC)

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It's worth noting that the experience system was not designed to prevent players who enjoy killing lots of stuff not to kill stuff but rather to ensure that multiple styles of play were catered to. Leaving in kill exp would have meant that the most rewarding way to play the game would be to kill everything thus encouraging players to avoid negotiation and stealth.

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It's worth noting that the experience system was not designed to prevent players who enjoy killing lots of stuff not to kill stuff but rather to ensure that multiple styles of play were catered to. Leaving in kill exp would have meant that the most rewarding way to play the game would be to kill everything thus encouraging players to avoid negotiation and stealth.

I think he was using that as an example of his larger point about developers micromanaging a players experience. im sure we could all use a break from the kill xp discussion pro or con

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It's worth noting that the experience system was not designed to prevent players who enjoy killing lots of stuff not to kill stuff but rather to ensure that multiple styles of play were catered to. Leaving in kill exp would have meant that the most rewarding way to play the game would be to kill everything thus encouraging players to avoid negotiation and stealth.

 

I'd argue that if you leave in kill XP it would be the players' choice if they want to kill everything or not. Especially if that kill XP is not necessary to beat the game, then it's up to every player to decide for themselves what is the most rewarding way to play for them.

 

And that's what this is about. When the developer takes out some options it feels like they make that decision for the players.

 

Who should decide what is the most rewarding way to play the game?

"Loyal Servant of His Most Fluffyness, Lord Kerfluffleupogus, Devourer of the Faithful!"

 

ringoffireresistance.gif *wearing the Ring of Fire Resistance* (gift from JFSOCC)

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It's worth noting that the experience system was not designed to prevent players who enjoy killing lots of stuff not to kill stuff but rather to ensure that multiple styles of play were catered to. Leaving in kill exp would have meant that the most rewarding way to play the game would be to kill everything thus encouraging players to avoid negotiation and stealth.

I think he was using that as an example of his larger point about developers micromanaging a players experience. im sure we could all use a break from the kill xp discussion pro or con

 

 

Yes, sorry. I don't want to encourage a discussion of the XP System in yet another thread.

It's like you said.

 

For me this is rather about that players should be given freedom and responsibility to decide what the most rewarding way to play a game is for themselves.

And the players should decide what most fun is for themselves.

 

I would feel a bit uncomfortable if developers wanted to decide that.

"Loyal Servant of His Most Fluffyness, Lord Kerfluffleupogus, Devourer of the Faithful!"

 

ringoffireresistance.gif *wearing the Ring of Fire Resistance* (gift from JFSOCC)

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I think some "gamers" are clearly not very clear in their mind. A game designer designs a game how he want period. Do you ever challenged the rules of monopoly, chess or other gamers where you didnt have a forum to tell a whole story of how you think about "responsibility" ? ergh... f****ng internet made gamers into a bunch of idio+s imo. Not that i mean anyone specific but this topic alone is a prime example...

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@Fluffle but the developers always decide that! They're the one who build the playing field, set up the rules, provide you with the ball, jerseys, shorts, and shoes. How can they not have opinions on what's enjoyable and what's not? How could they not set up the incentive systems and mechanics to be as enjoyable as they can, based on their understanding of what's enjoyable? If they think grinding isn't enjoyable, why on Earth should they make a game that rewards grinding? Should they make it so that tapping the spacebar once every second gives you 1 XP, and leave it up to the players to decide whether they want to keep tapping the spacebar or not on the off-chance that they find tapping the spacebar enjoyable?

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Hmm, okay it's their game, they set up the rule. I understand that.

 

I just would have expected that they would leave more choice to the player.

 

For example the kiting. The developers decide to exclude it.

Why not leave this decision to the player if they want to kite (as long as kiting isn't the only way of beating a fight)?

 

Right now I feel like it is excluded because someone else would tell me that it is not fun for me if I kite.

 

If kiting is included then people can enjoy it who like it, and people who don't just don't use it.

Where's the harm in that?

 

I don't see why an exclusion based on what other people think what is fun for me and other players

is an enrichment for a game.

"Loyal Servant of His Most Fluffyness, Lord Kerfluffleupogus, Devourer of the Faithful!"

 

ringoffireresistance.gif *wearing the Ring of Fire Resistance* (gift from JFSOCC)

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Kiting is only a problem if it becomes the best (i.e., lowest-cost, lowest-skill, lowest-resource) way to win fights.

 

FWIW you can kite some enemies in the P:E beta. Just run away from it with the character it's targeting and shoot with the others. Works great. Although you can also slap it with a hobbling attack, a slow spell, or something similar. I don't think the intent is to eliminate kiting altogether; rather, it's to stop it from being the silver-bullet tactic that lets level 1 characters beat level 10 enemies without taking a scratch. 'Cuz that shouldn't be possible except under really exceptional circumstances.

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Alright, thanks PrimeJunta and Zansatsu for taking me seriously. Even though this topic may have appeared a bit strange^^

I will take some time to rethink my conception of developers' and players' roles.

 

There were two reasons for opening this discussion.

 

1.) I felt that someone else wanted to tell me what is fun for me and what is not

2.) I always assumed that one main principle of game design was to offer as many options and as much freedom as possible.

 

I see that 1.) was not the case and that 2.) has to happen in a specific set/frame of rules, which needs to be set up in the first place.

Edited by Fluffle

"Loyal Servant of His Most Fluffyness, Lord Kerfluffleupogus, Devourer of the Faithful!"

 

ringoffireresistance.gif *wearing the Ring of Fire Resistance* (gift from JFSOCC)

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I think some "gamers" are clearly not very clear in their mind. A game designer designs a game how he want period. Do you ever challenged the rules of monopoly, chess or other gamers where you didnt have a forum to tell a whole story of how you think about "responsibility" ? ergh... f****ng internet made gamers into a bunch of idio+s imo. Not that i mean anyone specific but this topic alone is a prime example...

Traditionally yes.  What's the point of releasing a beta and specifically asking for feedback though if they're not going to listen?  I thought the point of backing the game was that however small, the people buying the game would have a voice as to how it was directed.  We all specifically put in money into a game that we haven't played yet, but we hoped that it would be like our expectations.  Our expectations are based on games that we've played that the developers literally said this game would be the spiritual successor to.  I like some of the innovations they've tried to put in, specifically removing kiting as a reliable strategy feels much more realistic to me, but if people are insistent on a small change like xp for kills why should the developers draw a line in the sand? 

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I think some "gamers" are clearly not very clear in their mind. A game designer designs a game how he want period. Do you ever challenged the rules of monopoly, chess or other gamers where you didnt have a forum to tell a whole story of how you think about "responsibility" ? ergh... f****ng internet made gamers into a bunch of idio+s imo. Not that i mean anyone specific but this topic alone is a prime example...

Traditionally yes.  What's the point of releasing a beta and specifically asking for feedback though if they're not going to listen?  I thought the point of backing the game was that however small, the people buying the game would have a voice as to how it was directed.  We all specifically put in money into a game that we haven't played yet, but we hoped that it would be like our expectations.  Our expectations are based on games that we've played that the developers literally said this game would be the spiritual successor to.  I like some of the innovations they've tried to put in, specifically removing kiting as a reliable strategy feels much more realistic to me, but if people are insistent on a small change like xp for kills why should the developers draw a line in the sand? 

 

 

Well ultimately it's their call and it's up to them to draw a line in the sand based on their vision of a spiritual successor to the IE games as pitched in the Kickstarter. That's what we backed, their vision of it, so it ultimately is up to them. That doesn't mean, however, that they absolutely can't or won't make changes based on feedback if they are persuaded by that feedback.

 

 

If you're under the impression that they should be considering adding kill XP in right now as opposed to you just using that as a potential example, then I have a few thoughts:

 

Just because you want kill XP and you've seen that some others around here do as well doesn't mean that everyone does. There are plenty of backers that see not having kill XP as an advance and they prefer it, so why should the side arguing for kill XP be listened to more than those arguing against it? Saying that some of the backers want it isn't an argument to include it, as some of the backers clearly don't want it. If you can prove that most of the backers want kill XP then please do so and I'll gladly concede the point to you. It still wouldn't mean that the devs have to change it to appease you but I don't see why you expect the devs to change something based on the desires of some unknown percentage of backers (and despite the disagreement of the remainder of backers). My question to you is, where is your evidence that the side in support of per-kill XP is the side of the majority of backers?

 

 

So, just to be clear:

 

"Some backers want it" is not a valid argument as long as some backers don't want it.

 

"It was in the IE games" is not a valid argument because I could use it to demand attributes that are as useless as some were in the IE games or countless other things from those games which many would agree can be and have been improved upon over the last decade and a half.

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