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Easier playing newer games.


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I almost hate playing the newer games because there's no sense of adventure. In the Exile/Avernum games, you get a quest then you have to ask where to find the place where you go to. Now you get a quest and a marker comes up telling you where to go. While it makes for easier game play, I think some of the adventure is taken away. This isn't just a Spiderweb thing, it's been happening for years. That's just mu 2 cents.

 

Post #733 :cool:

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I understand your complaint but don't completely agree, certainly not from a business perspective.  Most of the people who buy 'x' game aren't looking for a 'this perfectly matches up with how I'd have to do 'y' out in the real world (for example, it comes up in casual conversation that a random bartender in one of the cities that you visited a week ago wants a bag of sugar.  If you didn't write it down you're not likely to remember who or where), but rather a few hours of escapism.  The designer is just taking some of the repetitive drudgery out of the game.  The 'junk bag' is another good example of this.  It really doesn't bother me that I'm able to toss 15 sets of chain mail in there along with a couple of dozen swords for eventual sale once I get back to town.  What would (& did) bother me though was the constant trudging back to town to sell that stuff for a small amount of gold every time I could barely carry any more.

 

By getting rid of much of the dull grind it tends to make it a better experience for 'most' people ... which in the end translates to better word of mouth/more sales & in the end 'that' is what really matters.  And I suppose you could also not open up your journal to look at your assorted quests but rather keep one on a pad of paper yourself (same with the automap, it too can be closed).  So I do understand, but I don't miss those early gaming days (apart from the being younger myself & able to stay up all night with friends without being wiped out the next day - that I wouldn't mind going back to...)

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I remember having pads of graph paper in order to create maps to find my way around Wizardry and Ultima.  I like how Automap allows me to concentrate on the game, not creating a map.  

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I still have a notebook filled with my colored maps from the first Might snd Magic. Days of having to draw every dungeon and outdoor area with notes of messages and clues to solve the game.

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I once had to create a map due to a weird graphics error in a outside combat in BoE (which naturally didn't let me save and restart the program until I won) where what was on the screen didn't change, but I could still right click to see what was in each square.

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/13/2020 at 11:48 AM, ladyonthemoon said:

Sign of the times; let's make games for people who pretend that they have limited time and have "a lot of other games to play". 

Yeah, I was answered that once. The worst is that this kind of behaviour from players is going to be that default mode. How many people are willing to read a book nowadays?

That'd be me. Between work, kids, wife, sports and books... I barely know how to finish a comfortable game, let alone one with unnecessary drudgery 

 

Since people like me make signicantly more than when I actually had time, I find it logical that games cater to people with disposable income. 

 

I think it's great that games have become respectful of their fans' time. 

 

As for books. I recently read Ulysses. It was okay, but not nearly as good as The Familiar series which has similar postmodern trappings. What did you read? 

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I envy people who are able to tease people who don't have endless free time. Lucky you. Are you twelve years old?

 

I have nothing but time on my hands for now, but that won't last long. It feels like mere minutes are passing between the Weekend Briefing emails I get from the New York Times. My long-distance best friend is 76 years old and I'm terrified that I won't have the time to spend with him by virtue of his age. Time blows by and I desperately wish it would slow down. I don't want to spend even a precious minute flopping around doing mundane clerical tasks just to play a game.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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It sure seemed like you were complaining about people who have no free time and also don't read books. 

 

Capitalism or not (I prefer not) , I really don't understand why people complain about games being less terrible, with fewer dull mechanics. That's a good development.

 

Maybe next time try to be more clear. It didn't come across nice what you were writing. I like games that respect my time, for whatever reason (although I prefer reasons other than my income). I don't know how old you are but posts like yours, I couldn't write today, but I could when I had zero cares in the world. Unfortunately, I had to grow up but trust me, I wish I didn't have to. Between time or responsibilities+income, I'd choose time. 

Edited by marnick
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I've been debating whether to post in this thread for the past month...

 

On 8/12/2020 at 12:52 AM, Arch-Mage Solberg said:

there's no sense of adventure. In the Exile/Avernum games, you get a quest then you have to ask where to find the place where you go to. Now you get a quest and a marker comes up telling you where to go. While it makes for easier game play, I think some of the adventure is taken away.

 

This is a perfectly valid subjective, personal opinion regarding what makes games "easy" and what provides a "sense of adventure." If one person thinks map markers make a game less fun, and another appreciates map markers, they are both equally right insofar as their individual experience with a game is concerned.

 

The quote is not, however, valid as a sweeping statement about game design. In the first place, we need to define "sense of adventure." The quote seems to equate "adventure" with "absence of map markers." But what about the story? The characters? The visuals? The audio? All the rest of the gameplay beyond from the map markers? If map markers alone can result in "no sense of adventure" for a person, then I can't help but wonder if they have an awfully narrow notion what constitutes "adventure." 

Second, we should talk about what it means to have an "easier" game, since the OP also links being "easier" with having less adventure. "Does anybody really know what time game difficulty it is? Does anybody really care? 🎶" The truth is that games be difficult in many ways. Game devs don't face a simplistic binary choice between making a challenging game or an easy game. They face a slew of choices regarding where and how to inject "difficulty" to their creations. The fact that a game users map markers to tell you where to go next proves absolutely NOTHING about whether the game is "easy" or "difficult." Indeed, devs don't normally try to make a game "difficult" along every conceivable dimension. Instead, they tend to focus the challenge in certain areas of their game, while going easier on the player in other areas.

 

Like other creative arts, games are a collaborative process, where the creator's efforts and intentions can result in different experiences for different people, according to individual tastes, ability, personal history, etc. Not everyone is challenged by the same aspects of a game, and not everyone enjoys the same kinds of challenges. In the context of this discussion, some people have a great sense of direction, an aptitude for exploring and maintaining a mental map of where they've been / haven't been. And other people don't. Devs have significant influence over game difficulty in an abstract sense, but the difficulty level of each player's in-game experience is heavily shaped by players themselves. Just because one person finds a game "easier," that doesn't necessarily prove that the game actually is "easier" in some broad, general sense.

 

On 8/13/2020 at 5:48 AM, ladyonthemoon said:

Sign of the times; let's make games for people who pretend that they have limited time and have "a lot of other games to play". Yeah, I was answered that once. The worst is that this kind of behaviour from players is going to be that default mode. How many people are willing to read a book nowadays?

 

6 hours ago, ladyonthemoon said:

even if they have all the time they need to actually take their time and enjoy what they are doing, they don't, they rush through like they were fleeing something.

 

Where are you getting this idea that people "pretend that they have limited time?" And why would anyone lie about that in the first place?! Also, about the "lot of other games to play" part: how would you know someone is pretending to have many games they want to play? And then there's that last bit, about how people rush through games instead of taking their time to enjoy it. How could you possibly be equipped to know how much time another person has available for playing a game and how much time they would need to spend playing it to actually "enjoy" it? You can't. The snide comment about how people don't read books is equally problematic. In this very forum, just a few topics down from this one, there's a 47-page thread about the books people have been reading. It was started in 2008, and the most recent post (as of the time I'm writing this) is YOURS, earlier this month. Who are these people you have in mind who don't read books? Or maybe they read books, but they don't read the kind of books you think they ought to read? Or do they, according your authoritative standard, read books too quickly to properly enjoy them? Look, maybe when you made these comments you had in mind specific people you've known. But without context, your comments come across as pretentious judgments against people who don't share your tastes.

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Games don't have to be hard. They have to be enjoyable, you can be lured in by a sense of achievement you get, by a sense of wonder you get to a world so alien, by a good story and solid, immersive characters, with multiple and understandable motivations, by the level of control you hold into shaping the world according to your own aesthetics and logics, by just the simple fact that its pretty, because you like watching things go boom, etc.. etc.. a very good game, would ideally, seamlessly include multiple of these at the same time. But difficulty alone is rarely a good marker for a game, and even then, i personally don't think a map is a reflection of that on its own, and I much prefer Jeff's move to rely a lot more on placement of people, and managing abilities in battles, i feel there are some kinks still to figure out. But that in itself provides difficulty that wasn't often available in the earlier games further than "Weakness/Resistance".

 

Also wrt time, as triumph, marnick and ados said. Very few people have free time like that, and even fewer would lie about the time they have. An 8 hour work day, added to at least a full hour of commuting, and another of getting ready, and if you're able to and diligent, at least 6 hours of cooking and cleaning, and at least 8 hours of sleep. leaves you at exactly 0 hours of your day left. And thats the reality of most people, who will often sacrifice cooking and cleaning so that they have some me time, but eventually the cooking and cleaning will have to be done, which means bye bye weekends, and if im not mistaken the american government has no such thing as mandatory leave. Most people do not have time, and rely on fast, and easily consumable goods and services to maintain any amount of mental stability. To think otherwise comes from a place of privilege.

 

That being said, most people are ready to consume long games, long books, long movies, long series, provided they don't give the impression of wasting one's time. And unfortunately trailing along doing repetitive things that don't really add much to the experience of a game bar personal taste, often feels to people as a waste of their time, and that definitely affects people's willingness to engage with something. And even then, games like Dragon age inquisition, which needs upwards of 150 hours to fully complete, are easily hailed as worthy and enjoyable, and people will easily throw themselves to the story. And there are many quests and mechanics that feel... unnecessary. 

 

In short we live in a society and its hard to blame gamers or developers for their preferences, since they don't exist in a vacuum and have very understandable reasons as fuel.

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I suppose I can chime in on this, too. I don't think there's anything wrong with the older, often "less friendly" games - they have a charm all their own. The only problem is if they can still be made to run well or not. There will forever be a niche audience for games of those types, and as such, there will be a market, and likewise there will also be a maker of those products.

 

...Sometimes, even if you like that sort of thing, you need the time to deal with it. For example, I recently bought "Serpent in the Staglands" via GOG.com. If you like being forced to invest a lot of time into figuring out how a CRPG is supposed to be run effectively, that's your game. My first Spiderweb games were WAY easier, simpler, and by virtue of that, kind of more fun as well. The challenge is intriguing, but I have other duties and projects I want to be invested in. Looking back, games were fun as a child, but I think there were better things I could have or should have been doing. That said, I don't anticipate forcing myself into the nooks and crannies of that game sooner than later - there are other things I should be doing, that will actually have results if I attend to them.

 

So, the trend of "streamlining" things has merit in multiple degrees. The old Spiderweb games were full of grinding - it was kind of a simulation of real life, when I didn't have a real life as a kid. Now I have far less time I should spend on that stuff - it's still great, but life beckons, you know. If the streamlining allows enough time for enjoying the game and the story without throttling other commitments, for better or for worse, that's a marketable feature, and it sells. It sells for a reason.

 

If I was to throw back to the point of the OP, it would be this: I do agree, part of being an adventurer is an RPG is adventuring. It is fun to explore, and I don't think that should be lost on game designers. My perspective now is that it's grinding you want to stifle. People play games to not need a grind, to have fun, etc. It is fun to figure out a challenging puzzle, or manage a tricky feat, or venture somewhere and do something you've not done before. But when you have to keep carrying on to go... nowhere fast... not too many people have time for that.

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1 hour ago, Thaeris said:

The old Spiderweb games were full of grinding

 

This is where you lose me.  What games exactly are you thinking of?  Most Spiderweb games have such a sharp reduction in experience gain as your level rises that there's not even much point to grinding -- and this actually includes Exile!  It certainly wasn't encouraged or incentivized.

 

The only real exception I can think of is original Nethergate (not Nethergate: Resurrection), and even then it's not something that was necessary or encouraged.

 

If you just mean "hacking and slashing through the cannon fodder monsters that populate a given dungeon, the first time you explore it" that's... just not what grinding is.

 

EDIT: I'd also add that I don't think you can tie grinding to old school RPGs so easily.  No question that it was expected in some, especially the JRPGs, but nowhere near the degree to which MMOs and sandbox games and related RPGs have built around it.

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3 hours ago, "Nothing Left" said:

What games exactly are you thinking of? 

A4 springs to mind.

 

At the beginning with your strength low, once you hit the goblins just south of Ft Remote, it would generally take 3-4 trips back to town to sell everything that had value there as you were so encumbered that you could barely move (& God help you if you bumped into some sort of monster on the way back). And with it being the start & you needing lots of gold for various nefarious purposes, 'everything' with value got hauled back to town.

 

I cheered when the junk bag arrived on scene.  Yes it's silly to think that you can shove 20 sets of chain mail & other instruments of mayhem into it, but it's also silly to think that you can carry 3 sets (plus the one that you're wearing) without it back to town to get a few gold coins.  That kind of grinding I do not miss.

 

Similarly I'll break out the "Imdrained/restoreme" cheat code (non beta testing anyway) if I'm in a dungeon and running out of magic/mana.  If I can get back to the front of the area & then it's a clear shot back to town.  I'll use control d rather than hike back to town, step inside the gate, suddenly feel better, & then slog back to the dungeon to continue it's clearing out (note, this does not apply to QW as those are designed to drain you without recharging except by potion/battle recovery).  Not a huge deal but it does eliminate/save a few minutes (at most) of 'dead time'.

 

That kind of streamlining I'm all for as it's eliminating/greatly reducing the hassle of doing things that need to be done & yet they're pure drudgery to do so.

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A4 is 15 years old, while not one of the traditional 6-7 traditional 'old' SW games, it's still pretty old.  The grind/slog therein seemed to fit the original premise of the thread.

 

Ok, a real (optional) 'grind' from a few SW games spring to mind.  Running around killing game time to allow assorted herb patches to regenerate so that you have the ingredients for wisdom potions to eventually gain levels.  Also I know in A2, before heading down the river, during a couple of play throughs I've been close enough to leveling up/needing juuust a bit more gold for some training, that it was worth doing the Formello to Ft Draco loop several times looking for wandering monsters to kick things over the top.

 

No, it's not to the level of grinding/farming that you see in quite a few games, but it's there & it can give you a slight advantage in having that extra level/training before moving the main story along... if you're willing to trade your real life time to get those few extra hit points/extra point in first aid or cave lore (or whatever the Formello trainer/s had, it's been a while).  Again, purely optional on a player's part, but available.

 

And I do agree, SW 'grinding' is nothing like you find in other games.  Grim Dawn is one of my favorite nonSW games.  I love the essentially endless ways that you can go through the story line with more or less a 'new' experience each time depending on how you set up/which character class/other numerous variables.  And yet, even with all that I've on numerous occasions, restarted a section when an expected item drop (with 'x'% chance of dropping) didn't drop & I've really needed whatever component it was to build something good.  Nothing to the level of farming/grinding that I've read about many players doing, but if it's available...many people will. 

 

Anyway, to drag things back to sort of being on topic... I'm glad Jeff has been working on, over the years, streamlining the drudge/slog as that really is wasted game playing time (even if doing so would be more realistic).  Grinding is available in some/many games but there is a cost.  With the end game level caps, grinding early on to gain a slight advantage can come back to bite you if you hit that cap 2/3rds of the way through the game & you're left to finish things off with no 'reward' to your character/s (other than the assorted loot & knowing that you're moving the story along).

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Yeah, you can grind for resources, EXP, or Knowledge Brews in Exile games, although it only takes you so far, due not just to the level cap, but also due to the fact that outdoor wandering mobs will start fleeing and there's no "fight anyway" option in Exile. It's optional though. Even without grinding, I've become more or less unstoppable in my current play through Exile 3 just from doing half of Upper Exile before heading to the surface. The grinding, optional or not, isn't really the main thrust of this discussion though.

 

As has been discussed elsewhere on the forum, the number of formal "quests" increases dramatically as more and more games are developed. In Exile, you don't have quest markers on the map, but there's not really a lot of quests to keep track of in the first place. I think that might be significant.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
"literal" grinding is indeed not the thrust of the argument but that's still not what I meant
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Slarty,

 

When I made the grinding comment, I was actually referring to Avernum 2 (the first one). I recall so many repeat trips back and fourth between dungeons just to gather loot, because cash, you know. That's the kind of grinding I'm talking about. And yes, that same thing was part of the original Nethergate as well. It's a part of those games, and there's a reason you might have had to do it (lots of casters in a party that need to be trained or special skills you don't want to spend valuable skill points on, mostly). And, it's OK that it's there! But, I did spend many, many hours going back and forth between towns and dungeons to sell loot. Battles are part of adventuring. Being a merchant is a grind. In that respect, games like Elite (the old ones, at least) and its open-source remake, Pioneer, are basically set around that kind of grinding. THAT can suck up a lot of time and not really be all that much fun. This is at least my opinion.

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"Grinding" in video games means repeating a monotonous action for an extended number of times to increase a statistic or resource to an arbitrary level. There are a few respawning mobs but mostly you're only making a few trips back and forth to gather the loot that's already on the ground after you've cleared the dungeon. There's a mostly set amount of work to be done. That's figuratively "a grind" but it's not "grinding" in the video games jargon sense.

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Yeah, ADoS is right.  "Grinding" has a much more specific meaning in RPGs than simply something being a grind.  The purpose for doing it is a necessary criteria.

 

I guess I'm also a little confused by the premise here:

 

"many, many hours going back and forth between towns and dungeons to sell loot"

 

In both of the games at issue (A2 and A4), enemies either don't respawn or respawn at incredibly slow rates, and it's very rare to have a dungeon located so far from a town that it takes more than, I don't know, 15 to 30 seconds of real life time to walk between the dungeon and the town, if there are no combats.  OK, OK, maybe a minute if you don't pound the numpad as much as I do ;)  But it really confuses me how this travel time could amount to "many, many hours."  There aren't many dungeons in those games that are all that large, even.  (I guess if you constantly rest outdoors in A2, that could lead to more wandering monster fights, but it's not necessarily to do that.)

 

Anyway, to tackle the original assertion -- and I'll just treat it as addressing gameplay that is a grind generally --

1 - G3 and A4 were definitely the height of this in SW games.  They both had an encumbrance system that was applied to the PC's backpack; A4 did have a lot of 1gp value trinkets, and in G3 item management was made worse by those awful boats.

2 - A1-3 had fewer random items to sell, and Exile fewer yet.  So I have a hard time locating this problem with "older" Spiderweb games.  (Or, as I said above, with older games in general.)

3 - If we focus specifically on this "having to walk back and forth repeatedly" issue, Avadon really had more of this than anything else, with its profusion of tiny sidequests that required backtracking -- often watching your PCs walk slowly through multiple zones to get to the right portals, etc., that were required.  At that point we're clearly in modern SW game territory.

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I remember having a rule of thumb about weight-to-value ratios for items to pick up and sell in the original Nethergate and Avernum Trilogy, because if you wanted to pick up and sell absolutely everything that was sellable, even for 1 coin, you'd make a huge number of trips back and forth to dungeons. If you weren't obsessive about selling absolutely everything and were reasonably disciplined about inventory management, you could avoid a lot of tedium.

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5 hours ago, Kelandon said:

I remember having a rule of thumb about weight-to-value ratios for items to pick up and sell in the original Nethergate and Avernum Trilogy

 

I have one of those ratios too. It changes as the game goes on. Early on, when money is tight, I'm more acceptable of the dungeon-to-town-to-dungeon-repeat loop than later in the game. I'm on my third replay of the original Avernums (in two years) and I find it harder to tolerate that "grind".

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I replayed Geneforge 1 and the boredom of hauling every bit of sellable items to a merchant and draining every last gold disk from the economy to buy training is tedious. At least the remake should have the junk bag so I won't get the message about not being able to carry an item because I ran out of slots. 

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5 hours ago, "Nothing Left" said:

Yeah, ADoS is right.  "Grinding" has a much more specific meaning in RPGs than simply something being a grind.  The purpose for doing it is a necessary criteria.

 

I guess I'm also a little confused by the premise here:

 

"many, many hours going back and forth between towns and dungeons to sell loot"

 

...

 

Perhaps you have a point about terminology, but I see grinding as grinding. I am likely not hip enough to see the nuances between game grinding, grain grinding, and daily grinding, aside from the fact that in the end, they're all a grind.

 

...As per my "hours and hours" comment, understand this is a cumulative thing about... mostly Avernum and Nethergate. Growing up, I didn't have a ton of games, but they were always either challenging enough that outright beating them was generally not something I could do (yes, I am that lame), or they were open-ended enough that you could play them indefinitely and they were never quite the same. Jeff's games - the ones of which I actually owned, and also loved - were huge as advertised. I think I beat Nethergate twice and Avernum 2 once, though I certainly had many, many more games started and ended than just those ones. I might have related this story before, but once when I was a young, irresponsible person, I basically vegetated for a week doing just about nothing but playing Nethergate. It took the entire week to beat that game. So, to draw my narrative to a close:

 

22 minutes ago, Chopkinsca said:

 

I have one of those ratios too. It changes as the game goes on. Early on, when money is tight, I'm more acceptable of the dungeon-to-town-to-dungeon-repeat loop than later in the game. I'm on my third replay of the original Avernums (in two years) and I find it harder to tolerate that "grind".

 

...See? This guy gets it. Probably stated much more concisely than I ever could, at that.

 

In contrast, from a game design perspective - just sticking to Jeff's games only - perhaps Exile did something better here regarding the selling of loot. Not everything drops, and in fact getting more drops is something you have to invest points in. If you leave something, it probably won't be there when you come back for it. On the downside, being able to cart off everything is really hard, and at least Avernum leaves you with the impression that you can walk off with a good bit of loot, but now there's too much of it. Perhaps simulating being able to strip everything off your vanquished foes is too much realism, and too much realism results in the realism of grinding? At least, from the perspective in which I'm framing grindind?

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4 hours ago, Randomizer said:

I replayed Geneforge 1 and the boredom of hauling every bit of sellable items to a merchant and draining every last gold disk from the economy to buy training is tedious. At least the remake should have the junk bag so I won't get the message about not being able to carry an item because I ran out of slots. 

 

I try to collect every trowel and put them in a pile. Those unsellable trowels know what they've done!

 

—Alorael, who hopes for a better Geneforge economy in the remake. The individual shop limits are more annoying than interesting.

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  • 1 month later...

I can’t remember this back-and-forth item hauling to have been necessary in Geneforge 1. I just experienced that game without too much metagaming and that was fine

 

In G3 i changed the weight of all items to 1, effectively creating a junk bag. Life’s too short for grinding

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