“Few people go back to content that was trivially easy; most people repeat content they failed the first time.” – Zubon
I believe the above is true on average. Yes, some people rage-quit instantly, while others love nothing more than facerolling something over and over, but I believe the majority of gamers follow the above, be they MMO players or not.
I think this is a major reason why so many themepark MMOs fall into the 3-monther category; players speed through content because they can beat it the first time, and aren’t interested in beating something trivial again so they aren’t as motivated to roll an alt.
WoW somewhat gets away with this because they have so much content, both during the leveling game and then at the level cap. The problem for other game’s isn’t so much that they can’t compete with that, it’s more that the players they do get just hit that wall and leave.
I agree. The trick is that what is challenging for you may not be challenging for me. So while I find it trivial, you find it enjoyable and stimulating.
Imagine if you were playing a themepark like WoW and you simply couldn’t get past level 20 because level 21 was too difficult for you. Your “ride” would end because you didn’t have the currency (i.e. skill) to keep riding.
Of course, the interesting thing is very few people will ever intentionally choose a more difficult path. After all, you COULD make themeparks far more challenging simply by attempting content designed for a higher level. But people rarely do this because it “takes too long”. :)
I love challenging games and I fall into this trap all the time. For me, I think it’s the competition. It’s a race to the end to beat your friends to level cap or whatever.
So what’s a game dev to do? Games are more fun when they are more challenging, but challenge is relative. If they provide an easy path, almost everyone will choose the easy path. If they don’t provide an easy path, some won’t get past it.
I’m inclined to think the best answer may be letting players scale up or down content on their own through grouping. If it’s hard for you, bring a friend. If it’s easy for you, then don’t and get a greater share of the loot.
It’s not a perfect answer since it since it does cause social problems (people arguing about carrying each other, people unable to find groups). Which is why this is likely a better option in FFA PVP where ‘grouping’ has a benefit outside of just killing a critter.
“So what’s a game dev to do? Games are more fun when they are more challenging, but challenge is relative. If they provide an easy path, almost everyone will choose the easy path. If they don’t provide an easy path, some won’t get past it.”
I’d say the obvious answer is build a game designed for one group instead of trying to appeal to everyone, but since that was tried so recently and failed the kickstarter test I think we’re stuck with games for everyone / lowest common denominator difficulty for the foreseeable future.
I think that Kickstarter failed more because the name behind it is a failure and launched a failure of a Kickstarter (appealing to the hardcore PvE crowd; stretch goal, PvP…) than the general concept of appealing to a specific crowd. Camelot Unchained did it, Pathfinder did it, Star Citizen is still doing it, I’m sure other examples exist.
I think World of Warcraft has also largely been grandfathered in. I wouldn’t even bother playing a sequel to it unless it was radically different and had some definite innovation apparent in its early previews.
I would argue that WoW gets away with it through sheer bribery – keep repeating the trivially easy content enough times and you get “awesome” rewards. Players WILL go back to content that was trivially easy if by doing so 200 times they get the giant shoulderpads that otherwise they would have to do some challenging content for (and might, gasp, fail at!)
I think WoW gets away with it because they have a gear reset every 3 months. It’s most obvious with the best-in-slot gear, but it trickles down.
You could have best-in-slot, walk away for 6 months, and when you return they are selling equivalent gear through the badge vendor for completing heroics.
I refuse to call that content, but it does keep the hamsters treading on the wheel.
I must concur: easy plus rewarding = repeated, whether it is fun or not. We will keep pushing that lever until we get our tasty pellets.
Up to a point; otherwise Zynga would still be relevant.
Arguably Zynga’s problem is that you didn’t just have to keep pressing the lever, the more you played the more obnoxious it got about having to put coins in the slot as well. Also, the pellets weren’t that tasty… more like rabbit pellets if you get my drift.
WoW “gets away with it” by not getting away with it. WoW contains both very easy content and very hard content. You don’t get heroic loot without beating the heroic boss. Hell, you don’t even get LFR loot without beating the LFR boss, and if you think LFRs never fail then you haven’t played much. And how hard does anyone really want leveling to be? I can’t think of a blizzard game where it was difficult
There is a tension between difficult and repeatable. Something that is intended to be repeated over and over can’t be extremely difficult without fatiguing players. This was the issue with those hard BC heroics that everyone pines for. Hardly anyone did them because they were too difficult for the rewards, but then paladin tanks made them easy so people started doing them more. By the 20th run of anything, even the most ardent elitist just wants to faceroll.
Except — hard content doesn’t stay hard content. Over time, it’s diluted intentionally and the epics from those encounters trickle down to the more casuals.
The system only works because they effectively reset gear every 3 months. As I wrote above, walk away for 6 months, and when you return they are selling equivalent gear through the badge vendor for completing heroics.
I would also add that the so-called ‘hard’ content isn’t really that difficult. But that’s only my subjective opinion and one formed by once completing an entire “heroic raid” with one-hand while talking on the phone.
Does this relate to the appeal of Demon’s/Dark Souls? After being out for more than 2.5 years it’s still routinely the most active board on Gamefaqs.
Yes, it does relate to Demon’s/Dark Souls. In those games you can adjust the difficulty level by (i) summoning help, or (ii) grinding souls on easier content to get your stats up.