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Matt516

On "Degenerative Gameplay" - Fixing the Incentives for Healing and Scouting

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Wait, Stun. Surely you're not saying that playing a game with console cheats is more fun because more freedom?

I don't think I specified an opinion on that either way. And Ironically, I don't believe Josh has either. Probably because Console cheats aren't degenerate behavior. They're *cheats*

 

 

The only part of the paragraph you're quoting that is my opinion is that in my opinion DnD style games would be less fun if all your spells return automatically after every fight.

Bullsh*t.

 

What about this:

"Bang you're dead!" is extra-freedom, but it is not fun

^ This is an opinion. One I've already disagreed with on this very thread. I found insta-kill spells and items immensely fun in BG2, Icewind dale 1 and Icewind dale 2.

 

 

And this:

Every RPG is freedom within constraints. You get complete freedom -- or as good as -- by opening the console and hammering in cheat codes. The game is nowhere near as fun that way as when you're working within its constraints.

^This is another opinion. Oddly, on this issue, it completely depends on the game. I would say that Dungeon Siege 1 (for exampled) becomes at least 10x more fun to play once you've consoled in a few items the game thinks you're not supposed to have. Skyrim is another game that benefits greatly from both cheats and mods. Edited by Stun
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Ah. Misunderstanding. By "Bang you're dead" I wasn't thinking of the IE deathspells, although I can see why you'd think that. I was thinking of something like Soul Ignition as it was in the first BB. Something that literally, reliably lets you kill anything by clicking on it. Freer, but not fun.

 

As to "freedom within constraints," sorry, Stun, that's not opinion, that's a fact. Rules are constraints. You can't have a game without rules.*

 

If a game becomes more enjoyable for you by cheating, it just means that your opinion about what's fun differs from the designers' -- or the designers were not successful at implementing their vision. It still wouldn't be a game if there were no constraints.

 

(Tangent: this is IMO the main way Numenera fails. There are too few constraints and too much freedom. Higher-tier characters can succeed reliably at pretty much anything, regardless of their character concept or the way they built it.)

 

*Except Calvinball, and that's imaginary.

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As to "freedom within constraints," sorry, Stun, that's not opinion, that's a fact. Rules are constraints. You can't have a game without rules.*

Really? we're going to split hairs? We weren't discussing operating outside the rules. (in fact, degenerate game play is when someone works within the rules to do something that the devs didn't intend for him to do) And when I said Player freedom, I was NOT talking about the player's freedom to hit 'CTRL Y' or whatever to kill everything on the screen or other console cheats. (although even a cheat like THAT would have helped a game like Dragon Age 2 become less crappy). I was talking about game play freedom. And by contrast, Josh's decision to take that freedom away for no reason but to force the player into his narrow definition of fun.

 

Lets stick to rest spamming and save scumming.

 

If a game becomes more enjoyable for you by cheating

Stop it already. Degenerate Gameplay and Cheating are not interchangeable terms. So stop interchanging them. We can't have a meaningful debate until we understand this fact. Edited by Stun

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I agree cheating =/= degenerate gameplay. Also if things remain as they are I intend to cheat the crap out of PoE.

Edited by Sarex
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Really? we're going to split hairs? We weren't discussing operating outside the rules. (in fact, degenerate game play is when someone works within the rules to do something that the devs didn't intend for him to do) And when I said Player freedom, I was NOT talking about the player's freedom to hit 'CTRL Y' or whatever to kill everything on the screen or other console cheats. (although even a cheat like THAT would have helped a game like Dragon Age 2 become less crappy). I was talking about game play freedom. And by contrast, Josh's decision to take that freedom away for no reason but to force the player into his narrow definition of fun.

 

Lets stick to rest spamming and save scumming.

Sorry, Stun, but I'm not going to let that go so easily. You explicitly said that developers should not do anything to limit a player's freedom to choose his playstyle. Yet the very notion of rules is there to do just that.

 

Consider the dual- and multiclassing rules in BG2. They're utterly, completely arbitrary. Two sets of rules. One for humans, one for non-humans. Both with arbitrary limitations about what you're allowed to dual and what not, and arbitrary limitations on how it happens. What is that if not "restrictions on game play freedom?"

 

The fact that you don't like some particular decisions Josh has made has no bearing whatsoever on the principle. And at this time, I'm not interested in discussing those particular decisions; I'm interested in discussing the general principle, and the question of whether "degenerate gameplay" is a useful term or not, and whether designing systems so that they minimize the possibility is a good idea or not. If you want to discuss rest-spamming or save-scumming, we can do that some other time, or you can discuss it with someone else.

 

Stop it already. Degenerate Gameplay and Cheating are not interchangeable terms. So stop interchanging them. We can't have a meaningful debate until we understand this fact.

 

Of course they're not. I was using cheat codes to debunk your argument that "more freedom is always better." It's called a reductio ad absurdum.

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Of course they're not. I was using cheat codes to debunk your argument that "more freedom is always better." It's called a reductio ad absurdum.

No, it's called a straw man. We were discussing Degenerate game play. Freedom within the rules is assumed, because that's what Degenerate gameplay IS. My argument has Always been that once a developer sets the rules, his job is finished. He should NOT be coming back later to change those rules for no reason but to check-mate players who dared to 'misbehave' within the game.

 

Again, I cite rest spamming and save scumming.

 

Sorry, Stun, but I'm not going to let that go so easily. You explicitly said that developers should not do anything to limit a player's freedom to choose his playstyle. Yet the very notion of rules is there to do just that.

But no. I'm not going to concede even that much. We were discussing degenerate behavior, which assumes freedom within the rules. All of my comments have been in the context of that. Edited by Stun

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 He should NOT be coming back later to change those rules for no reason but to check-mate players who dared to 'misbehave' within the game.

 

 

He isn't coming back later. Poe is a new IP and he is in the process of making the rules; not changing them. 

 

I think you are making the mistake I did when you thought of poe as a "spiritual successor" or something.


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Of course they're not. I was using cheat codes to debunk your argument that "more freedom is always better." It's called a reductio ad absurdum.

No, it's called a straw man. We were discussing Degenerate game play. Freedom within the rules is assumed, because that's what Degenerate gameplay IS. My argument has Always been that once a developer sets the rules, his job is finished. He should NOT be coming back trying later to change those rules for no reason but to check-mate players who dared to 'misbehave' within the game.

 

Uh... Stun. P:E is not made with the AD&D rules, or even the D&D rules. It's made with a whole new system. Josh hasn't even finished making up the rules. He is not "coming back later."

 

Again, I cite rest spamming and save scumming.

Indeed you do, Stun. Indeed you do.

 

But no. I'm not going to concede even that much. We were discussing degenerate behavior, which assumes freedom within the rules. All of my comments have been in the context of that.

Aaah... I think I'm starting to see the root of our disagreement. You appear to treat P:E as a direct mechanical continuation of the IE games. I.e., you believe that they do, or at least should, use if not exactly the same mechanics, at least mechanics that are close to identical. Whereas I have observed that this is not what P:E is: it is, instead, a game with different mechanics, inspired by the mechanics in the IE games.

 

So, from this POV, you're still allowed to tinker with the rules, as long as the end result produces gameplay that is if not 100% identical to the original, at least a very close approximation, including things like grinding, rest-spamming, save-scumming, dump stats for different classes, and so on and so forth.

 

Am I at all correct?

 

'Cuz if I am, then it's clear that this discussion has run its course. I believe very strongly that one of the primary goals of any redesign of the rules is to address the failings of the rules being redesigned. Like, to pick an example at random, the way D&D3 addressed the problems with dual/multiclassing in AD&D. This represents a fundamental difference in views, not something we can actually resolve and come to an agreement about.

 

Put another way, I enthusiastically support Josh's goals even if I disagree with his solutions from time to time, whereas you will necessarily consider them a bad thing in and of themselves, since the intent is specifically to change the way the game plays.


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Tsk tsk tsk... "Spiritual successor." That's a very fluid term.

 

Is IWD2 a spiritual successor of IWD? It uses rather dramatically different mechanics after all. No class kits, no dual-classing, a whole new wacky thing called "feats," XP requirements per level rising arithmetically instead of geometrically, weapon proficienies by weapon group rather than by weapon, and only two levels of it, XP awards for monsters computed by challenge rating rather than fixed, ...

 

If IWD -> IWD2 is legit, then why couldn't P:E be a spiritual successor to the IE games, despite using yet a different ruleset?

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Josh hasn't even finished making up the rules.

 

And it shows. This is what happens when you make it up as you go along. It comes across as laying tracks down in front of on an already moving train and you have no idea where it'll end up or if it will crash.

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But no. I'm not going to concede even that much. We were discussing degenerate behavior, which assumes freedom within the rules. All of my comments have been in the context of that.

Aaah... I think I'm starting to see the root of our disagreement. You appear to treat P:E as a direct mechanical continuation of the IE games. I.e., you believe that they do, or at least should, use if not exactly the same mechanics, at least mechanics that are close to identical. Whereas I have observed that this is not what P:E is: it is, instead, a game with different mechanics, inspired by the mechanics in the IE games.

 

So, from this POV, you're still allowed to tinker with the rules, as long as the end result produces gameplay that is if not 100% identical to the original, at least a very close approximation, including things like grinding, rest-spamming, save-scumming, dump stats for different classes, and so on and so forth.

 

Am I at all correct?

 

'Cuz if I am, then it's clear that this discussion has run its course. I believe very strongly that one of the primary goals of any redesign of the rules is to address the failings of the rules being redesigned. Like, to pick an example at random, the way D&D3 addressed the problems with dual/multiclassing in AD&D. This represents a fundamental difference in views, not something we can actually resolve and come to an agreement about.

 

Put another way, I enthusiastically support Josh's goals even if I disagree with his solutions from time to time, whereas you will necessarily consider them a bad thing in and of themselves, since the intent is specifically to change the way the game plays.

 

You're now getting it. Not only are his solutions opposed, but even his goals are. Many of us misunderstood him and were a bit shocked when we learned the truth; at least I was. The mind hears what it wants to hear to an extent.


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Tsk tsk tsk... "Spiritual successor." That's a very fluid term.

 

As is "objective-xp" among others. Some (including myself) felt they were cheated by Obsidian by how they interpreted those words. I realize now I was hearing more of what I wanted to hear rather than paying close attention to what was really being said. Obsidian used a lot of lines like, "The epic exploration of Baldurs Gate" that can be taken different ways. 

 

That makes it very easy to misunderstand what they mean. I don't really blame them anymore though, or rather; I don't blame them much. I feel the misunderstanding is:

 

70% our fault for not paying close enough attention to what was being said during development.

 

30% Obsidian's fault for how they stated their design goals.


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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And it shows. This is what happens when you make it up as you go along. It comes across as laying tracks down in front of on an already moving train and you have no idea where it'll end up or if it will crash.

That's not what design is like, nor what he's doing, but whatever.


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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That's not what design is like, nor what he's doing, but whatever.

 

Yes he is. It's being made up and changed with no clear direction.

 

With regard to regenerating health and spell cooldowns, we're not intending on having the former ... and spells will not have cooldowns in the way that some people have assumed (per spell). when we discuss spell mechanics, i've tried to use the term "lockout" to communicate that it's much like a sorcerer exhausting an entire level of casting in 3E D&D. - Josh Sawyer

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Hiro, no it's not.

 

I've been following this from the start, and got an extremely clear idea of Josh's design goals from day one. They have remained the same, and all of the decisions he's made make perfect sense from their point of view. The direction is perfectly clear. Sometimes stuff doesn't work in practice as well as it looked on paper, and then it has to be changed. Sometimes the design solution wasn't all that great to start with.

 

But whatever you can reproach Josh for, lack of direction isn't it.

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It won't be finished until it's released.

 

Design is iterative. You start out with a blank page. You sketch out what you think the central features of the design should be. You make a proof-of-concept implementation of those central features. You iterate on it until you're confident they'll work. Then you add more stuff and iterate on it. You keep doing that, bringing in more people for feedback, adjusting, changing, discarding, adding as you go. Eventually you run out of time and money and release.

 

I.e., the rules won't be finished until release, and very likely not even then, what with patches and all.

 

This is by far the best way of designing anything at all complex. The idea that it has to somehow spring magically fully-formed from the designer's forehead won't work. It's a recipe for fundamentally broken junk. No designer is that good, not even bone-fide geniuses with decades of experience.

 

(In fact that's exactly why most software we have to deal with is so broken. The way the business is structured, the requirements docs tend to get nailed down in excruciating detail before a single line of code has been written, and it's incredibly difficult to get anything changed even if it becomes blindingly obvious that something isn't going to work.)


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He should NOT be coming back later to change those rules for no reason but to check-mate players who dared to 'misbehave' within the game.

 

He isn't coming back later.

 

Why do you guys misunderstand almost everything? a) He's already come back later. b) and I said Rules, not 'the rule sets'.

 

The stated function of just about EVERY mechanic in PoE has been in response to what he saw as "failings of the IE games"

 

Shall we go down the list?

 

1) Prebuffing in the IE games caused metagaming tactics, therefore -----> No more prebuffing. Result: Tactics are now 100% reactive, instead of being a function of both planning and reacting, like they were before.

2) Chance leads to save scumming in the IE games, therefore ------> no more chance. No more save or die spells, no more save or pretrification. No more dire charm. No more confusion/chaos. No more domination. No more random effect items like the deck of many things, or the wand of wonder. etc.

3) Invisibility items/spells in the IE games rendered some rogue skills 'redundant', and could be abused, therefore -------> No more Invisibility. aka. No more tyranny of choice!

4) Mages were overpowered in the IE games, therefore --------> Magic must be nerfed, and rendered 2-dimensional (there's only damage spells and buff spells for mages.)

5) Resting freedom in the IE games leads to rest spamming, therefore --------> No more rest spamming. But how do we eliminate rest spamming? Wait, I know! We must create a system where health equals health and stamina equals health, and stamina regenerates, and you can't rest in a dungeon unless you have camping supplies, and camping supplies are limited, and some abilities and spells are per encounter so you don't need to rest that often anyway....(phew! That should teach those degenerates to play the game MY way from now on!!!)

6) Min-maxing/ dump-statting was rampant in the IE games, therefore ---------> No more of that sh*t! Min-maxing is now practically pointless, as the stats themselves are merely bonuses.

 

 

Small list. Not the least bit complete, but I'm pretty sure there's enough here to demonstrate the friggin point. And if not, we can always discuss the reasons why Kill XP was removed.

Edited by Stun
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That doesn't really answer the question, Stun. It just states your personal preferences.

 

Again: what criteria should designers use when deciding which degenerate strategies to stamp out and which to leave in? If they decide to leave a degenerate strategy in, does that make it not-degenerate by definition?

 

What definition? That's easy, they should see what was fun and if changing some part of it would make it unfun.

 

I feel like PoE would be a better game if they followed that simple rule from the start, instead of changing unnecessary things.

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That doesn't really answer the question, Stun. It just states your personal preferences.

 

Again: what criteria should designers use when deciding which degenerate strategies to stamp out and which to leave in? If they decide to leave a degenerate strategy in, does that make it not-degenerate by definition?

 

What definition? That's easy, they should see what was fun and if changing some part of it would make it unfun.

 

I feel like PoE would be a better game if they followed that simple rule from the start, instead of changing unnecessary things.

 

What is "fun" varies from person to person. Far as we know poe could be even farther from the IE games with that rule.


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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It won't be finished until it's released.

 

Design is iterative. You start out with a blank page. You sketch out what you think the central features of the design should be. You make a proof-of-concept implementation of those central features. You iterate on it until you're confident they'll work. Then you add more stuff and iterate on it. You keep doing that, bringing in more people for feedback, adjusting, changing, discarding, adding as you go. Eventually you run out of time and money and release.

 

I.e., the rules won't be finished until release, and very likely not even then, what with patches and all.

 

This is by far the best way of designing anything at all complex. The idea that it has to somehow spring magically fully-formed from the designer's forehead won't work. It's a recipe for fundamentally broken junk. No designer is that good, not even bone-fide geniuses with decades of experience.

 

(In fact that's exactly why most software we have to deal with is so broken. The way the business is structured, the requirements docs tend to get nailed down in excruciating detail before a single line of code has been written, and it's incredibly difficult to get anything changed even if it becomes blindingly obvious that something isn't going to work.)

 

I never said it should spring from the designers head all in one go and ta da, finished complete rules. I don't even know why your bringing that up and then trying to argue against it.

 

The goal may have been clear. An isometric, rtwp, with central hero, world map, exploration, combat, dungeon delving and paying homage to the IE games. That's a goal.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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If you know that your design or design that you have used previously has flaw in it, and then you design new system that has only spiritual/aesthetic (meaning that you don't try copy that previous design you used but only mimic overall feeling that it gave out) link to previous design you used what kind of logic you should use to just copy paste that flaw in you new design and be happy about it? Because as software designer I try always fix/avoid my design mistakes in next design I do, because I feel that it is quite idiotic not to do so.

Edited by Elerond
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He should NOT be coming back later to change those rules for no reason but to check-mate players who dared to 'misbehave' within the game.

 

He isn't coming back later.

 

Why do you guys misunderstand almost everything? a) He's already come back later. b) and I said Rules, not 'the rule sets'.

 

The stated function of just about EVERY mechanic in PoE has been in response to what he saw as "failings of the IE games"

 

Shall we go down the list?

 

1) Prebuffing in the IE games caused metagaming tactics, therefore -----> No more prebuffing. Result: Tactics are now 100% reactive, instead of being a function of both planning and reacting, like they were before.

2) Chance leads to save scumming in the IE games, therefore ------> no more chance. No more save or die spells, no more save or pretrification. No more dire charm. No more confusion/chaos. No more domination. No more random effect items like the deck of many things, or the wand of wonder. etc.

3) Invisibility items/spells in the IE games rendered some rogue skills 'redundant', and could be abused, therefore -------> No more Invisibility. aka. No more tyranny of choice!

4) Mages were overpowered in the IE games, therefore --------> Magic must be nerfed, and rendered 2-dimensional (there's only damage spells and buff spells for mages.)

5) Resting freedom in the IE games leads to rest spamming, therefore --------> We must create a system where health equals health and stamina equals health, and stamina regenerates, and you can't rest in a dungeon unless you have camping supplies, and camping supplies are limited, and some abilities and spells are per encounter so you don't need to rest that often anyway....(phew! That should teach those degenerates to play the game MY way from now on!!!)

6) Min-maxing/ dump-statting was rampant in the IE games, therefore ---------> No more of that sh*t! Min-maxing is now practically pointless, as the stats themselves are merely bonuses.

 

 

Small list. Not the least bit complete, but I'm pretty sure there's enough here to demonstrate the friggin point. And if not, we can always discuss the reasons why Kill XP was removed.

 

So what you're essentially saying is that you shouldn't try to learn from your mistakes? If you make a poor choice once, every time you're presented with the same challenge you should just go down a road you personally aren't proud of? That doesn't really seem sensible to me, and for the record I only believe about 40% of the altered things were handled appropriately, however I still believe about 30% of the 60% of changes I don't really like are superior to their IE variants.

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