Jump to content

Difficulty Level - Where is my Easy Mode!


Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, Keyboard Koala said:

 

If you assume googling is essential for the experience and the grinding seems mindlessly boring, I don't think these games are for you. Moreover, a lot of the lore is hidden in the (hidden) items, so not only would you miss out on the gameplay side, you'd miss half the story as well.

 

As I said, in a way there is an adjustable difficulty, you just have to put some effort in. 

 

I honestly don't see the point of this discussion, there's lots of games I don't like. I just go and play something I do like instead.

 

I honestly don't see the point either if the people who have drank the kool aid refuse to let anyone else share. As I've repeatedly said, I love the games but don't think an easy mode reduces anything but the boners of the weirdo zealots who have attached some odd sense of achievement to completing a videogame.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Opinionated Ham Scarecrow said:

 

I honestly don't see the point either if the people who have drank the kool aid refuse to let anyone else share. As I've repeatedly said, I love the games but don't think an easy mode reduces anything but the boners of the weirdo zealots who have attached some odd sense of achievement to completing a videogame.

If the people who are wanting to try the kool aid keep saying they hate it and why don’t they change the flavour. Maybe it’s a case of just enjoying a different drink?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, kris_doe said:

If the people who are wanting to try the kool aid keep saying they hate it and why don’t they change the flavour. Maybe it’s a case of just enjoying a different drink?

 

Maybe people genuinely like the kool aid, but want a sugar free option? Anyway I'm tired. I'm going to shout at the sky for not snowing enough or something. Love you guys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Game Maker's Toolkit has covered this before, and highlighted how Celeste has, basically the perfect solution. 

 

 

 

The game should be designed exactly the way that the game maker intends, especially if the difficulty of the game is a very deliberate part of the experience. 

But offer up an alternative mode - an assist mode - that is labelled and communicated with the specifics that by activating assist mode, the player is not playing the game as intended by the maker, but this mode will allow general access to the game for those who wish it.

 

Dark Souls games would all benefit from this. I would not use it, as I like challenging games in general, but this is a great way to give the widest access to the game to the biggest audience as possible, and communication is the key.  

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Opinionated Ham Scarecrow said:

 

I honestly don't see the point either if the people who have drank the kool aid refuse to let anyone else share. As I've repeatedly said, I love the games but don't think an easy mode reduces anything but the boners of the weirdo zealots who have attached some odd sense of achievement to completing a videogame.


I wouldn’t describe myself as a souls zealot, I’ve only clocked demon souls and Sekiro but reducing the difficulty would turn them into different games - of which there are many already.

 

It’s like animal crossing*. Catching the ultra rare fish is great because of all the c+ bass you’ve had to catch before. If you got all the first first or second time around it wouldn’t really have the same appeal, even if you do get very frustrated on the way. Some games make you really work for it, some don’t.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

Game Maker's Toolkit has covered this before, and highlighted how Celeste has, basically the perfect solution. 

 

 

 

The game should be designed exactly the way that the game maker intends, especially if the difficulty of the game is a very deliberate part of the experience. 

But offer up an alternative mode - an assist mode - that is labelled and communicated with the specifics that by activating assist mode, the player is not playing the game as intended by the maker, but this mode will allow general access to game for those who wish it.

 

Dark Souls games would all benefit from this. I would not use it, as I like challenging games in general, but this is a great way to give the widest access to the game to the biggest audience as possible, and communication is the key.  

 

 

 

 

Yes. 100% yes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, petrolgirls said:

Bit of googling suggests around 40%-50% of people finish Souls games, compare that with 24% for Assassin's Creed Odyssey or 22% for RDR2, neither of which are remotely challenging titles. This suggests that mundane tedium is significantly more of a barrier than a difficulty level designed to make you respect the games mechanics.

 

 

Yeah but Assassin's Creed Odyssey and RDR2 are like 700 hours long.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Opinionated Ham Scarecrow said:

 

I honestly don't see the point either if the people who have drank the kool aid refuse to let anyone else share. As I've repeatedly said, I love the games but don't think an easy mode reduces anything but the boners of the weirdo zealots who have attached some odd sense of achievement to completing a videogame.

 

I really believe it would though.

 

I don't have much time for gaming these days, so when I play a From software game sometimes I'm stuck for weeks. For instance I've been stuck at an early level sub-boss in Sekiro for ages. But you kinda factor in that can happen when starting a game which is known to be notoriously hard. Instead I do a bit of backtracking, try and find some hidden items, unravel some of the lore, do a bit of practicing on low-level enemies until you think you can have a go at that boss again. It really is one of the core elements in the From games I believe. Same thing with Bloodborne, after about 80 hrs of gameplay I didn't have the patience anymore to grind for the final boss of the DLC, neither was I good enough, so I summoned a high level player who helped me out. All part of its unique experience. You tackle the game the way you want - to some extent.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, hmm said:

Oh, wow, the Elden Ring thread has been bumped for the first time in months. What could be inside - news, previews, gameplay videos even? Finally something to redeem Christmas 2020!

 

giphy.gif.dcd2565851e29eab79d0ff58b0a61e54.gif

 

Oh man, proper lol here :lol:

 

 

 

You could say this whole discussion got shattered by someone... or something.

Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

Game Maker's Toolkit has covered this before, and highlighted how Celeste has, basically the perfect solution. 

 

 

 

The game should be designed exactly the way that the game maker intends, especially if the difficulty of the game is a very deliberate part of the experience. 

But offer up an alternative mode - an assist mode - that is labelled and communicated with the specifics that by activating assist mode, the player is not playing the game as intended by the maker, but this mode will allow general access to game for those who wish it.

 

Dark Souls games would all benefit from this. I would not use it, as I like challenging games in general, but this is a great way to give the widest access to the game to the biggest audience as possible, and communication is the key.  

 

 

 

I thought you were going to link to this video, in which GMTK literally covered it:

(Spoilers- no)

 

I do think it's difficulty is overegged though, at least for 1. The game just asks you to take your time with combat, and be weary of even the weakest enemies. Later on it has ledges and rickety paths which actually are dangerous. But kiting enemies and shuffling along with your shield up will get you through all of that*. And exploration outside the main journey will often reward players with souls and weapons to make it even easier. No matter how easy you make the game, not getting used to the cadence and rhythm of the combat will get you killed, and it's best to learn that earlier rather than lower the difficulty and prolong that misconception. *Obvious exception with the bosses, so just summon for those.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Mike S said:

 

Well, until FROM decide to engineer their games to accommodate a huge range of different gaming abilities to a greater degree then they do so already we will need to disagree.  Doing so, whilst remaining true to the vision of what they expect the player to experience from their games, can't be easy or they might have done so already but, and most likely, it is just not something they are interested in. 

 

I do think that the current system of boss summons or offering easy opportunities to over level actually does offer a fair amount of accomodation to players with lower skill bases and/or a lower tolerance for the harder sections without needing too much, if any, tinkering. 

 

Accessibility is a whole other subject and not one I have enough experience of to discuss. 

Accessibility is not a whole other subject, as I've tried to explain multiple times. You cannot have a discussion of accessibility that doesn't touch on game difficulty, because access means more than just physical access: it means providing for sensory and cognitive constraints too.

 

It's fair enough if you don't think you have the experience around this to discuss, but I don't think that the above is particularly out there. 

 

As a specific point, the summons system is a terrible player support mechanism as it stands because it's gated behind in game resources, and presented as a lore feature that isn't made obvious until many hours into the games in some cases.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, petrolgirls said:

Bit of googling suggests around 40%-50% of people finish Souls games, compare that with 24% for Assassin's Creed Odyssey or 22% for RDR2, neither of which are remotely challenging titles. This suggests that mundane tedium is significantly more of a barrier than a difficulty level designed to make you respect the games mechanics.

AC games also tend to sell more than 3 times the number that the souls games do, so there's probably a selection bias here.

Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

Accessibility is not a whole other subject, as I've tried to explain multiple times. You cannot have a discussion of accessibility that doesn't touch on game difficulty, because access means more than just physical access: it means providing for sensory and cognitive constraints too.

 

It's fair enough if you don't think you have the experience around this to discuss, but I don't think that the above is particularly out there. 

 

As a specific point, the summons system is a terrible player support mechanism as it stands because it's gated behind in game resources, and presented as a lore feature that isn't made obvious until many hours into the games in some cases

 

 

Accessibility IS a whole other subject in the context of this discussion which began with the usual complaints that FROM games are too hard and need an easy mode. And lack of accessibility is not exclusive to FROM. 

 

Of course the summons mechanism is (slightly) gated and of course it is not explained overtly - these are FROM games after all but, come on, how many players buying these games now will not Google when stuck in a game? I feel now that you are just going to dismiss everything regardless so I'm out as this is futile...

Edited by Mike S
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Opinionated Ham Scarecrow said:

I genuinely think Souls zealots are the worst. The games are fucking amazing. The world building, the way the levels loop and intersect is tesseract levels of genius, but they are also battles of attrition that some people fail to and some people can barely even penetrate. The idea that some magic would be diminished if you took slightly less damage but dished out a little bit more is just bizarre. Then you get the arguments. But the creator's vision! But the story! But overcoming Dark Souls changed my life!

 

Fuck off. 

 

I believe the correct response to this is 'Triggered much?'. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Mike S said:

 

 

Accessibility IS a whole other subject in the context of this discussion which began with the usual complaints that FROM games are too hard and need an easy mode. And lack of accessibility is not exclusive to FROM. 

 

Of course the summons mechanism is (slightly) gated and of course it is not explained overtly - these are FROM games after all but, come on, how many players buying these games now will not Google when stuck in a game? I feel now that you are just going to dismiss everything regardless so I'm out as this is futile...

It isn't a whole other discussion here in the least: if there's any game series in which the distinctions between accessibility, approachability and challenge are blurred it's the souls series. Add to that the issue that FROM themselves have talked about wanting their games to appeal to a wider audience.

 

Apologies if you feel I'm being dismissive: from my side I don't feel that you've engaged with the issue of accessibility having a cognitive and sensory component, at all. This isn't controversial stuff: it's a super basic principle of accessibility outside of games. But people baulk at it in games, presumably because they think it will take something that they like away. 

 

Anyway, I think this thread being bumped isn't helping, so I'm out as well. PM if anyone wants to chat about this stuff though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, jonny_rat said:

Apologies if you feel I'm being dismissive: from my side I don't feel that you've engaged with the issue of accessibility having a cognitive and sensory component, at all.

 

I haven't engaged with the subject of accessibility at all. I've been clear on that. I have specifically been addressing this arguing against the challenge. I thought I'd been clear on that too. 

 

I do however appreciate your input on the subject as it is, fortunately, something I do not have much awareness of. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jonny_rat said:

AC games also tend to sell more than 3 times the number that the souls games do, so there's probably a selection bias here.

 

Not sure that follows, even if it were accurate. AC Odyssey, one of the best performing recent AC games, sold just over 10 million copies, almost exactly the same numbers Dark Souls 3 managed. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am asking this as a genuine question, so hope this is taken in the spirit it is intended - I accept accessibility is important and I don’t have a strong opinion necessarily either way whether difficulty is essential for the souls games, but I am interested in what people think to the point below.
 

In particular, in what sense is the difficulty of a game a barrier to entry that is qualitatively different to e.g. a book that involves complicated language? E.g. a shorter version of War and Peace, modern day versions of Shakespeare or a version of Ulysses in simple language would be more accessible, but I imagine we would all accept those would be very different things from the originals. Why should difficult games, in which the difficulty was an intended part of the experience be treated differently? I am not commenting on whether the difficulty adds anything to souls, just that in principle it could add to the intended experience for some games. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, petrolgirls said:

 

Not sure that follows, even if it were accurate. AC Odyssey, one of the best performing recent AC games, sold just over 10 million copies, almost exactly the same numbers Dark Souls 3 managed. 

I'm wrong on my numbers there anyway - DS3 was at 3m a few years back and has hit 10m this year, so I don't think there's a good basis for me to make a comparison there.

 

I'd guess at a self selecting effect, in terms of the people purchasing it coming in with a commitment to finishing it, but I don't have anything to back that up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t really see the accessibility argument, and it seems to be conflating between being bad at a video game and having a disability. I’m all for From including accessability options but that doesn’t necessarily mean altering the difficulty of the game. It’s a bit like asking someone to make their book or film a bit less wordy. It’s not a building or service.

 

tl;dr: From should just keep making whatever they like.

Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, petrolgirls said:

 

Not sure that follows, even if it were accurate. AC Odyssey, one of the best performing recent AC games, sold just over 10 million copies, almost exactly the same numbers Dark Souls 3 managed. 

Exactly - Souls games now essentially sell mainstream triple AAA numbers and yet the dev studio is still choosing to not try and widen their market via difficulty settings. As evidenced this is clearly something the devs and Miyazaki has heavily considered so there really is no gatekeeping happening as they aren't making the decision to have difficult settings due to fan outcry. They want a single unified experience their entire userbase has to embark on together and rely on each other for help - hence messages and summoning. The intent isn't too stop people playing the game but seek out assistance in another way rather than damage being lowered. It's relying on your fellow players for direct or indirect help - they want that feeling of gratitude and comradery when someone helps you with a tricky area or boss. 

 

Personally I care 0% whether Elder Rings has a difficulty select screen come up - I'll hit the default and get into the game as I would always want to try what the devs intended but on the same note I wouldn't bat an eyelid if there was no such screen. I personally always drop frustrating games I'm not that hugely bothered about gameplay wise but I've checked out due to hype/positive feedback from others gamers/reviewers. I suspect a lot of that feeds into the polarity around this argument rather than people genuinely missing out they want to love and the difficulty is literally the sole barrier. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, FalconGR said:

I am asking this as a genuine question, so hope this is taken in the spirit it is intended - I accept accessibility is important and I don’t have a strong opinion necessarily either way whether difficulty is essential for the souls games, but I am interested in what people think to the point below.
 

In particular, in what sense is the difficulty of a game a barrier to entry that is qualitatively different to e.g. a book that involves complicated language? E.g. a shorter version of War and Peace, modern day versions of Shakespeare or a version of Ulysses in simple language would be more accessible, but I imagine we would all accept those would be very different things from the originals. Why should difficult games, in which the difficulty was an intended part of the experience be treated differently? I am not commenting on whether the difficulty adds anything to souls, just that in principle it could add to the intended experience for some games. 

 

You can flick past pages of a book you find too challenging (or skim over sections you find boring). In a game, if you hit a brick wall, that's it, you have to stop there. (Some games include the option to skip past a section after too many failed attempts, but it's rare.)

 

Beyond turning the pages and moving your eyes, books are a purely mental activity. Games require motor skills and physical coordination. This inevitably leads to mismatches between knowing in theory what to do to succeed in a game (e.g. the secret to beating a boss) and being physically able to enter the correct inputs with the correct timing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

I don’t really see the accessibility argument, and it seems to be conflating between being bad at a video game and having a disability. I’m all for From including accessability options but that doesn’t necessarily mean altering the difficulty of the game. It’s a bit like asking someone to make their book or film a bit less wordy. It’s not a building or service.

 

tl;dr: From should just keep making whatever they like.

I said I was out, and then you pull me back in.  Perhaps I'm in a bubble in that I read a lot of the experiences of people with mild or hidden disabilities, or even people who have lived with some form of cognitive or sensory issue for years without a diagnosis, and the idea that they have been conflating their disability with being 'bad at videogames' is the kind of bad take they get thrown at them daily. Unless you have a binary, 1970s-ish view of disabilities, you know that it's a spectrum, and the abilities of people with disabilities are often in line with those without them, especially when you support that player's specific disability with comprehensive options and tweaks.

 

In fact, this nails what actually gets my hackles up: you can't pay lip service to accessibility and say that you're all for it when you're only happy to provide for a very narrow range of disabilities. Comprehensive accessibility functions means providing options that tweak game difficulty. That's my tl;dr here.

 

(I mean, this is also where that we can mention that FROM's approach to the most basic of accessibility options is also shit. Always fun reading the experiences of a chronic pain sufferer being asked to hold multiple buttons at once rather than being provided with toggle options.)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The notion of 'difficulty' requires examination in this context. Souls games aren't especially complex or arbitrarily punitive. The combat is a puzzle requiring you to figure out how to safely dispatch an enemy. Once mastered that enemy will rarely present a challenge provided you are methodical and focused. I died much more getting 120 stars in Mario Galaxy than I have in any Souls game. 

 

Altering the difficulty by, say, substantially reducing the enemies health or limiting their moveset would only serve to trivialise them as a puzzle and, crucially, no longer require your focus. It's that need to maintain concentration that makes Souls games so compelling in my opinion.

 

By way of an example, I'm currently nearly finished Demon Souls - due to some slightly odd Dex material rebalancing by Bluepoint I'm quite over-levelled, I can one shot pretty much everything bar bosses and even then they only take 7-8 hits. I was looking forward to the Penetrator boss fight in the remake, I remember him being a thrilling fight in the original, but he went down first time last night in well under a minute. I'm effectively playing the game in easy mode now, I'm not required to think very much and as a result it's starting to lose its appeal. I think that's the problem with employing a conventional difficulty slider in Souls games. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus someone suggested bonfire placement. The bonfire placement in Dark Souls 1 is highly tuned and very linked to the Estus system (Kindling BTW is another difficulty slider). Pissed off running back to the Four Kings? From very much wanted you to feel pissed off running back to the Four Kings. 

 

Basically every other game has screwed the bonfire - Estus combo. Too close, too many, need to farm health items, warp everywhere. It's am important part of the design that needs some skill to get right.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.