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Casual vs Hardcore. Correlation between experience and difficulty.

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This problem is not unique to Pillars of Eternity.

 

However, it is still interesting from design perspective and overall enjoyment of the game.

 

    Casual players usually stick to the main quest, don't feel compelled to check every corner of the game,

look behind every rock. They don't do every single side quest and therefore they have lower level and worse equipment.

It's funny because they would prefer the game to be easier but their play style make it harder.

 

    Hardcore gamers on the other hand don't want to miss anything. They will walk into every house,

look for every hidden stash and usually complete every single side quest before moving the story forward.

This result in them having much better equipment and more experience than the former players.

For the people looking for a challenge the game becomes less challenging.

 

System of additional quests and rewards seems broken as it does exactly the opposite.

People who should get more challenge get more smooth experience while people looking for an easy game get it on hard mode...

 

It would be boring to remove side quests, having quests without rewards would also be rather bad.

 

How to fix this?

Edited by BugsVendor
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Hardcore players should never play a game on normal for starters. If your first run is on hard i bet you are definitely gonna get enough challenge to have fun, if you are still finding it easy just play PotD or try to "play fair" by not abusing the AI (Don't split groups, doorcheese, etc).

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Hardcore players should never play a game on normal for starters. If your first run is on hard i bet you are definitely gonna get enough challenge to have fun, if you are still finding it easy just play PotD or try to "play fair" by not abusing the AI (Don't split groups, doorcheese, etc).

 

You missed the point completely. Did you even read what I wrote? 

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System of additional quests and rewards seems broken as it does exactly the opposite. People who should get more challenge get more smooth experience while people looking for an easy game get it on hard mode...

 

It would be boring to remove side quests, having quests without rewards would also be rather bad.

 

How to fix this?

 

It puts game designers on the horns of a nasty dilemma, it's true. Hardcore gamers expect to be rewarded for their additional "work", and even though you can reward them non-mechanically it's a lot more work on the designers' part.

 

I suppose you could stuff all of the choices and consequences into the side quests, since it always feels good to see the game react to your actions later down the line. It's probably the best option, like how simpler games allow you to score attack.

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I dismiss the premise. There is no reason to believe that "hardcore" players are inherently more interested in exploring and doing side content than casuals are to any truly meaningful degree.

Furthermore, the defining issues in terms of challenge is not one of experience (which is doled out at an insane rate) or equipment (which is pretty meh at best, anyway), but systemic issues dealing with things like immunities, a lack of strategic and tactical depth as well as reactivity, and easily repeated and replicated encounter approaches that are almost universally successful.

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I dismiss the premise. There is no reason to believe that "hardcore" players are inherently more interested in exploring and doing side content than casuals are to any truly meaningful degree.

 

Furthermore, the defining issues in terms of challenge is not one of experience (which is doled out at an insane rate) or equipment (which is pretty meh at best, anyway), but systemic issues dealing with things like immunities, a lack of strategic and tactical depth as well as reactivity, and easily repeated and replicated encounter approaches that are almost universally successful.

 

I don't have any data so I won't argue in a Yes.No.Yes.No manner but I think it's reasonable to assume. From what I read just on this forum there seem to be players that just want to finish the main story. I don't think they walk around into every corner of each location to look for that one extra magic ring.

 

Sure there are other factors that deal with difficulty I don't deny that. However experience and equipment does contribute to the equation in a meaningful way.

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How to fix this?

 

One word: Mods.

 

Yes, of course: mods! Why should a game developer bother trying to deliver a fun, well-designed game when they can provide the toolset and outsource all of that troublesome design work to the players? It's perfect! Of course toolsets are expensive, so prices will stay right where they are.

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How to fix this?

 

One word: Mods.

 

Yes, of course: mods! Why should a game developer bother trying to deliver a fun, well-designed game when they can provide the toolset and outsource all of that troublesome design work to the players? It's perfect! Of course toolsets are expensive, so prices will stay right where they are.

 

 

Because one person's "well-designed" is another person's "OMG this sucks!".  In other words, it's pretty subjective and whatever they do will alienate or irritate someone.

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Maybe the "reward" of hardcore questing should be bigger, badder, scariest boss fights. Want to rid the world of a godly level 20 dragon? Gotta work your ass off to unlock that fight, let alone gear up and level up to be prepared for it.

 

It might also help to make the critical path shorter and more linear, saving the optional bonus quests for "end game" activities. Casual players could complete that major questline and retire, feeling satisfied that they had "beat the game." Hardcore players would still have a world full of challenging quests to tackle (quests balanced for endgame combat).

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One of the biggest gaming industry problems nowdays is that even such games as CRPG try to bend their knee to casual scrubs i mean there is ton of Call of Duty released every year , assassins creed you can buy atleast 5 times a year , and we get 1 CRPG a decade and it has to be winnable for every dumb kid .. and if that is not enough the hardest difficulty of the game ofcourse has to be SOLOable for the fakin achievement  .... **** yeh commerce.. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY , and even then you guys donate couple of millions before the game launches so kids can come to this forum and cry how paladin is a bad class or how monk sux because you cant play him without armor and with bare fists aka leesin or smth  ...  lol i wonder how many steam kids would kill themselves if they had to play something like Commandos 2 at present day , there was no place for casuals in that game 

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Pretty sure that's what the difficulty setting is for. Play PotD and you actually want to do every quest you can get your hands on. Play Easy and you can leisurely cruse through the main story without caring about side quests or the experience they yield. Don't see the problem.

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POTD cant be hard , why? because its soloable , so how bad i should be with 6 characters to fail on POTD if its soloable? i play POTD ironman atm and 90% of fights i just auto attack with arbalests because micromanaging is not worth the time , 10% of the fights , it starts raining adds on you and pathfinding starts to really shine doesnt it 

 

Not even talking about how Easy Normal and Hard are basicly the same . 

 

If it was up to me , this game would have 3 difficulties :

 

SOLO MODE ( this being current easy , you cant recruit companions/hirelings )

Normal/Recommended MODE ( this being current hard , no way this would be soloable tho )

Path of the Damned ( Not soloable in any fukin way no matter how hard you cheese or how many console commands you use ) 

 

and Expert or Ironman as optional checks 

 

now we have :

easy , easy , easy , Path of the Damned

 

and even POTD becomes to easy with 6 people because why? because solo is possible . 

 

I am pretty sure no game that allows you party of  6 should be made so that you can solo it on every difficulty , i believe old school CRPGS were soloed not because developers inteded to add achievement for that but because people played them so much and got so good at them that they made solo Possible , and PoE thought that they can have both Solo , party and balance between those 2 that is no way possible

Edited by Exoduss
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I think I have to agree with Exoduss in some points. If Obsidian actually designed PoE to be soloable on every difficulty, I have to say that that's a pretty bad design decision in my opinion, and I've seen it in many games, where game design was partially influenced by achievements. It's a trend I strongly dislike.

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One of the biggest gaming industry problems nowdays is that even such games as CRPG try to bend their knee to casual scrubs i mean there is ton of Call of Duty released every year , assassins creed you can buy atleast 5 times a year , and we get 1 CRPG a decade and it has to be winnable for every dumb kid .. and if that is not enough the hardest difficulty of the game ofcourse has to be SOLOable for the fakin achievement  .... **** yeh commerce.. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY , and even then you guys donate couple of millions before the game launches so kids can come to this forum and cry how paladin is a bad class or how monk sux because you cant play him without armor and with bare fists aka leesin or smth  ...  lol i wonder how many steam kids would kill themselves if they had to play something like Commandos 2 at present day , there was no place for casuals in that game 

Please, do find more ways to call people that don't play like you idiots.

Edited by Bryy
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I dismiss the premise. There is no reason to believe that "hardcore" players are inherently more interested in exploring and doing side content than casuals are to any truly meaningful degree.

 

Furthermore, the defining issues in terms of challenge is not one of experience (which is doled out at an insane rate) or equipment (which is pretty meh at best, anyway), but systemic issues dealing with things like immunities, a lack of strategic and tactical depth as well as reactivity, and easily repeated and replicated encounter approaches that are almost universally successful.

 

Of course hardcore players are going to be more thorough in doing side content.  Are you serious?

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I dismiss the premise. There is no reason to believe that "hardcore" players are inherently more interested in exploring and doing side content than casuals are to any truly meaningful degree.

I completely agree. I've known lots of gamers and crpg'rs that want the combat to be super easy/relaxed precisely because they want to see every single nook and cranny of the game, but don't want to have to deal with "all that combat" just to do so. Their main interest is not in outwitting or conquering tough combat challenges, but they may still spend 100's of hours doing whatever it is they enjoy.

 

You can be "hardcore" about many things re:games, it's not only about super punishing combat or number crunching. I don't really like the term that much, even as I use it sometimes.

 

Edit: As to fixing the conundrum...outside of giving players, more often, more control/many more individual difficulty options (not just "normal/hard/superhard), it's pretty tough to "fix." 7 Days to Die has so many options in this regard it's crazy. One reason I like it, even when I don't generally like "zombie" games. And even with all their options, you still have some saying it's either too hard or not hard enough.

Edited by LadyCrimson
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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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I dismiss the premise. There is no reason to believe that "hardcore" players are inherently more interested in exploring and doing side content than casuals are to any truly meaningful degree.

I completely agree. I've known lots of gamers and crpg'rs that want the combat to be super easy/relaxed precisely because they want to see every single nook and cranny of the game, but don't want to have to deal with "all that combat" just to do so. Their main interest is not in outwitting or conquering tough combat challenges, but they may still spend 100's of hours doing whatever it is they enjoy.

This. The OP seems to define casuals as finish-and-forget kind of players, which is fair because obviously these people aren't heavily invested in the game. However, this definition doesn't work so well in context of difficulty discussions. As you say, there are also story-focused people not interested in combat challenge for one reason or another. I fall into this category, I explore every nook and cranny, but I do so on Normal when the "hardcore" players spend hours complaining that Hard is too easy.

And of course there are roleplayers who may end up doing everything in the game, but spread across several playthroughs.

 

But still, the OP's observations are correct even if casual/hardcore distinction isn't exactly on point. Critical path players are worse prepared for the final encounter. I figured this is what difficulty levels are supposed to alleviate, but they have to factor in exactly what the OP said and I guess it isn't always easy to balance.

 

edit: Actually, isn't the final boss level 9 or something?

And the level 12 boss is hiding at the bottom of a dungeon rightly explored only by those who are well-prepared and want to see everything in the game?

 

Edited by Rosveen

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This problem is not unique to Pillars of Eternity.

 

However, it is still interesting from design perspective and overall enjoyment of the game.

 

    Casual players usually stick to the main quest, don't feel compelled to check every corner of the game,

look behind every rock. They don't do every single side quest and therefore they have lower level and worse equipment.

It's funny because they would prefer the game to be easier but their play style make it harder.

 

    Hardcore gamers on the other hand don't want to miss anything. They will walk into every house,

look for every hidden stash and usually complete every single side quest before moving the story forward.

This result in them having much better equipment and more experience than the former players.

For the people looking for a challenge the game becomes less challenging.

 

System of additional quests and rewards seems broken as it does exactly the opposite.

People who should get more challenge get more smooth experience while people looking for an easy game get it on hard mode...

 

It would be boring to remove side quests, having quests without rewards would also be rather bad.

 

How to fix this?

 

You don't fix it. Should we remove classes because some people may not use them ever? Do you force level scaling so completionists don't feel less challenged for doing all the content they can find? You have content and let the players play it in any way they like. Maybe some people should do more content in their playthrough, others should do less (specially if they plan to do more than one). Altough going completionist in a non level scaling game and then complaining about it becoming easy... *shrugs* To each his own.

 

Hell, maybe Obsidian should sell the game only to selected people. "Do you have your hardcore ID? Yes? Ok, you can buy/play the game. You don't? Sorry, you are going to waste our content.".

 

Hardcore players should never play a game on normal for starters.

I'll play in any difficulty I want and no one has the authority to tell me how to have fun and/or with what I should be having fun or if I fit their subjective labels. And don't get me started on people having different skill levels and such.
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I dismiss the premise. There is no reason to believe that "hardcore" players are inherently more interested in exploring and doing side content than casuals are to any truly meaningful degree.

 

Furthermore, the defining issues in terms of challenge is not one of experience (which is doled out at an insane rate) or equipment (which is pretty meh at best, anyway), but systemic issues dealing with things like immunities, a lack of strategic and tactical depth as well as reactivity, and easily repeated and replicated encounter approaches that are almost universally successful.

 

Of course hardcore players are going to be more thorough in doing side content.  Are you serious?

 

There's a difference between hardcore and completionist, and they are not necessarily related, nor mutually exclusive in any way. Like LadyCrimson said just above me, there's a lot of casuals that enjoy a completely different state of relaxation in playing games (or games like this).

 

Hardcore players are generally looking for a challenge and enjoys learning how a game works, being forced to come up with solutions, adapting to the tactical situation, having to consider or re-consider strategic angles, and wants to be rewarded for overcoming obstacles and earning the rewards that comes with doing so. This could mean beelining through the main story straight up, doing encounters that you in most games would be underleveled for, or playing the game in ways it wasn't (or shouldn't have been) intended to be played, such as soloing, but it in no way means that's a given.

 

Casual players generally just wants to sit back, like reading a good book or watching a ****ty show on TV, depending on how you cut it. They may play the game specifically to avoid challenges, or just wants something, well, casual. This could mean playing on Easy and just pass by encounters a few at a time, go everywhere without worrying about your level at all, and reading all the in-game books, and find all the quests.

 

And despite my cynical comments to the contrary, I actually do not think that either of these approaches are inherently wrong, and I don't think that it is hard to accommodate both at all. Like I've said before, the issues with PoE's are mostly systemic, and even with proposed improvements, there's no reason Easy would stop being easy, but Hard would be capable of being.. well.. hard - without massively inflated numbers and AI cheating.

 

So while there may be an issue or a point presented by the OP, it is quite arguable whether it is of any real relevance to it. I think that it is a natural situation that, if you strive to avoid it, would most likely feel artificial and contrived. I also think that "completionist" vs. "non-completionist" is at the very least a bit of a false dichotomy, and also an imagined issue that have lead to games adopting an approach where the main storylines are watered down and diluted, simplified, as if it should be expected to be a hard line between someone that does everything, and someone that does only the main quest, and therefore the main quest needs to be easy.

 

Which I think is horse****. I don't think it should be balanced with the intent of pleasing specifically completionists, but if anyting, should assume that players complete at the very least a large chunk of side content as they play. It would lead to a much more even gameplay experience, and a less jarring transition and border between "side content" and "main quest", and put an emphasis on people to actually use the damn difficulty levels to get the experience they want.

 

 

Hardcore players should never play a game on normal for starters.

I'll play in any difficulty I want and no one has the authority to tell me how to have fun and/or with what I should be having fun or if I fit their subjective labels. And don't get me started on people having different skill levels and such.

 

Of course you do, but if you're a hardcore player, you can't be expected to play a game on normal. If you'd say "I'm a hardcore player. I play on easy." the actaul hardcore players are just going to laugh at you, and probably the casuals, too.

Edited by Luckmann

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I'm a not a hardcore player and I play on whatever difficulty feels right to me. On P:E it's hard. On the IE games it's core rules.

 

Also Dwarf Fortress isn't anywhere near that hard. You just have to learn that losing is fun.


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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I used to be more hardcore, especially regarding oddball challenges (speed runs, for example) that required a lot of planning. These days, while I still have some of the mentality/desire, I usually don't have the actual patience such requires. Depends on the game, really. Sometimes I'm moreso, sometimes a lot less so.

 

Now I'm somewhere inbetween hardcore and casual. A coreasual. Yeah, that's it. :biggrin:


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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