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Opinion Difficulty vs Accessibility: A responsibility for the developers, not for the players.

DelireMan7

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Games like bloodborne had potential to sell 20 million easily but philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential.
Maybe or maybe not. But in the end the creators decided to go with their philosophy/vision. Should they be blame for that ? Game dev should not be free to do whatever they want in the game they create ?
The Soulsborne serie are niche but still met a lot of success and have now an almost legendary reputation. They are highly regarded in the gaming community in general so I don't think "philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential."

They maybe could have sell more but the creators decided to follow their vision. If they wanted more sales number/money, they would have change their model but they didn't... They sticked to their vision. It shows that they are passionate gamers and want to deliver the best of what they envisioned. I don't think you should blame developer for that.

All this talk about accessibility and difficulty is dangerously tending on removing creative freedom of game developer.
 

Danjin44

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One disabled person being able to play games doesn't prove that games don't need accessibility features. All it proves is one gamer doesn't need them.
You guys always use disable argument as excuse but the truth is most of you guys just don’t have patience for games that pushes back.

Thats fine, there are 1000 other games with difficulty option for you, but it doesn’t mean every game needs to have one.

I personally don’t like online gaming that means MP and MMOs are not for me and I accepted that, there are games that just not made for me and thats life, I move on to games that I do enjoy.

Games like bloodborne had potential to sell 20 million easily but philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential.
And if had battle royal mode and free to play it would sell even more but it doesn’t mean it should.
 
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K2D

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Coping with difficulty In games in 4 easy steps.

Stop chasing clout points, keep on sucking at the game, and learn to love it or let it go.
 
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Knightime_X

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Maybe or maybe not. But in the end the creators decided to go with their philosophy/vision. Should they be blame for that ? Game dev should not be free to do whatever they want in the game they create ?
The Soulsborne serie are niche but still met a lot of success and have now an almost legendary reputation. They are highly regarded in the gaming community in general so I don't think "philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential."

They maybe could have sell more but the creators decided to follow their vision. If they wanted more sales number/money, they would have change their model but they didn't... They sticked to their vision. It shows that they are passionate gamers and want to deliver the best of what they envisioned. I don't think you should blame developer for that.

All this talk about accessibility and difficulty is dangerously tending on removing creative freedom of game developer.
That's the thing.
They literally don't need to change anything.
Changing and adding are not the same.
Adding easy or hard doesn't mean normal has to be changed.

They COULD have had a hard and easier mode.
Easy mode could have been as simple as reducing blood echo requirements and removing softcaps for leveling up.
This as a whole could have been kept entirely contained within that level of difficulty, with no effect what-so-ever on the visionary default.
It's just as easy as that.

Furthermore, they could have even added something significantly harder that would been treated the same as easy.

It is what it is though.
 
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DelireMan7

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That's the thing.
They literally don't need to change anything.
Changing and adding are not the same.
Adding easy or hard doesn't mean normal has to be changed.

They COULD have had a hard and easier mode.
Easy mode could have been as simple as reducing blood echo requirements and removing softcaps for leveling up.
This as a whole could have been kept entirely contained within that level of difficulty, with no effect what-so-ever on the visionary default.
It's just as easy as that.

Furthermore, they could have even added something significantly harder that would been treated the same as easy.

It is what it is though.
So taking time to balance the game for another difficulty. So time splitted between "2 games mode". The final game would definitely been different.
The "standard" difficulty in your scenario, would not have been the Bloodborne we actually have.

And again, the creator decided to not include a difficulty option, I don't get why people say they should do different.

Imagine creating something (book, art, games, music...) that you are really happy with. Then some people came and say "You should have done it that way like that more people would have enjoy it". But then it wouldn't be "your creation" anymore if you change something, on a creation you were satisfied, just to appeal more people.
 
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Knightime_X

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So taking time to balance the game for another difficulty. So time splitted between "2 games mode". The final game would definitely been different.
The "standard" difficulty in your scenario, would not have been the Bloodborne we actually have.

And again, the creator decided to not include a difficulty option, I don't get why people say they should do different.

Imagine creating something (book, art, games, music...) that you are really happy with. Then some people came and say "You should have done it that way like that more people would have enjoy it". But then it wouldn't be "your creation" anymore if you change something, on a creation you were satisfied, just to appeal more people.
What kind of balance is needed for the easy mode scenario?
No need to consider calculus when 1+1 does the job.
 

DelireMan7

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What kind of balance is needed for the easy mode scenario?
No need to consider calculus when 1+1 does the job.
I am not an expert in game design and development.
But I assume it's not as simple as "reduce the setting of level up" and it's done. I guess it requires some time to implement and more important testing it. And this cost money, so cuts on other part of the game.

And sorry to go back to this but even if it's really easy to put in place, if the dev choose not to do it, it's their right no ?
Yes maybe it would bring them more money but maybe it's not their goal. They want to focus a having the best possible game fulfilling their vision.
Some dev aim for the largest audience and high sales number and so do the adequate choice for it. Some others aim for delivering the game they want to do even if it means a smaller audience.

Both are valid choice and no dev should be forced by the public to do one or the other. Otherwise it's just the end of diversity in gaming.
 
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Knightime_X

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I am not an expert in game design and development.
But I assume it's not as simple as "reduce the setting of level up" and it's done. I guess it requires some time to implement and more important testing it. And this cost money, so cuts on other part of the game.

And sorry to go back to this but even if it's really easy to put in place, if the dev choose not to do it, it's their right no ?
Yes maybe it would bring them more money but maybe it's not their goal. They want to focus a having the best possible game fulfilling their vision.
Some dev aim for the largest audience and high sales number and so do the adequate choice for it. Some others aim for delivering the game they want to do even if it means a smaller audience.

Both are valid choice and no dev should be forced by the public to do one or the other. Otherwise it's just the end of diversity in gaming.
No, it's really just that easy.
In the end it's on the dev how the game is viewed and perceived.
Oftentimes setting its reputation in stone; for better or worse.

I don't think adding an easy mode now to newer games would help. Much less make a difference in sales.
Those who dislike the genre and are aware of what the series is known for have already dismissed the game before knowing any new development.

Its the same with call of duty.
Its reputation is set in stone and those who turned away at an earlier time will not give newer games the time of day even IF something has changed.

The reasons might be different, but the principle remains the same.
 
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DelireMan7

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No, it's really just that easy.
In the end it's on the dev how the game is viewed and perceived.
Oftentimes setting its reputation in stone; for better or worse.

I don't think adding an easy mode now to newer games would help. Much less make a difference in sales.
Those who dislike the genre and are aware of what the series is known for have already dismissed the game before knowing any new development.

Its the same with call of duty.
Its reputation is set in stone and those who turned away at an earlier time will not give newer games the time of day even IF something has changed.

The reasons might be different, but the principle remains the same.

I agree with everything (except the first line because I don't have enough insight on game dev).

Game dev do their games. We like some and dislike some other. Life is good and praise the sun !

Dark Souls Gamer GIF by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
 
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kanjobazooie

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If we're talking about Souls here, anyone having trouble can just grind. Even 10 levels can make a difference in the area you're struggling at.
Pour all souls into health and strength. The more health you have, the more chances you got during a fight.

Use NPC summons if you don't want other players' help.
A few bosses don't have NPC summons, but you can still beat them by yourself. Grind more for the battle, upgrade your weapons/gear, and try again. In the first few attempts just keep your distance and watch for the patterns. After that try to get closer and learn how to dodge their tricky attacks.
If you still can't beat a certain boss and you're getting frustrated, then just look it up on YouTube. There's no shame in that.

Grind souls, increase health+strength, and become a tank. That's how I play these games.


Having said that, I'm not opposed at all to an easy mode.
Hardcore Souls players don't care about my opinion because I'm a grinder, but I really don't think that an easy mode will ruin anything. They can make some gear or special bosses exclusive to normal mode, if they wanted to maintain its prestige.
 
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Hunnybun

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Ever since Dark Souls released in 2011, there have been numerous discussions about accessibility in games; about whether a game being hard keeps potential players from enjoying it and even buying it, since the difficulty might scare them away. Or wheter the player who made a purchase is entitled to have an option which will help him finish the game and thus get his money worth out of the product he bought. Boiling it down, the discussion ends up being “Should hard games have an easy mode for players that aren’t good enough for the standard difficulty?”. And I’m here to say that, not only should games not cater to anything but the developer's own creative decisions, be the game easy or hard, accessibility has nothing to do with the difficulty of a game.

It's easy to imagine why this topic sprang up. Imagine yourself playing Contra, Dark Souls, Blasphemous or any other game known for being hard, and feeling frustrated for not managing to make progress into the game, especially for a game that you have spent money on. Certainly, frustration would arise from that, given that you aren’t getting enjoyment out of a product that you have paid for, and promised you dozens of hours of uninterrupted fun. So it’s expected that said people would bring their frustration to the internet, trying to make their voices known about their issues; about how they cant enjoy the game because it's “too hard”, and linking this supposed problem to the lack of accessibility to the game for players like them. But the problem is, this is not an accessibility issue. For better or for worse, it’s the player responsibility to understand the game better and to improve, much like you would need to understand a math problem or resolve an issue that would arise in your own personal life. More than that though, accessibility refers to the tools that the game provides you to play it at your best. For example, when a game's standard control scheme is simply atrocious, or the button placements simply dont make sense to you, the game should have an option in-game for you to customize its layout, so it adapts to your preferred playstyle or physical conditions. Another example would be the standard options that any game would have, such as sound and graphical settings, so that you can adjust the game to the conditions of your house or your senses, either because you're playing the game at night and want it to be quieter, or because your screen is too bright and needs to be adjusted to better see what’s going on. These are true accessibility options; tools that enable the user to adapt the game's overall settings and mechanics to their own preference, so that they can play at their best.

But more than that, the difficulty in these kind of games are more than just a tool to either make the game longer or to bar people from playing it. The way its implemented in these games makes it almost a genre in its own, so much so that when a game is hard, people usually compares said game to Dark Souls, the game mostly responsible to revive the taste for hard games. The developers of such games doesn’t simply increase the health and damage of the enemies and call it a day, but rather it is implemented in its overall design. Take Blasphemous for instance, a game that released last year boasting about how hard and brutal it is. There is a part in the game that you are forced to go down in a small platform, that slowly goes down, while you are being attack by enemies that throw boomerangs, both in your right and on your left. That particular instance isn’t simply hard because of how much damage those enemies do, but rather because of their position and how the whole situation is set up. You are forced to keep taps on how fast you are approaching the enemies, but also on your own position, giving the moving platform, and also at the same time to dodge their attacks, that comes simultaneously from both sites. The difficulty of that particular part then comes from the level design and how well the level blends with the enemy pattern and positions, making for a though situation to handle, at least at the first few times that you go through it.

Unless you make said enemies do a damage so low that dodging or blocking seems inconsequential, the situation described previously where you are surrounded by enemies is still hard, no matter how much less damage you receive or how much more life you have, especially considering that scene I have just described is just a tiny portion of a game that have numerous tough situations, and that it requires for you to tackle them in succession to make a significant progress in the game. And this is why this whole discussion of hard games having multiple difficulties is ridiculous: For you to make an easy difficulty of a game like Blasphemous or Dark Souls, it would require more than simply decreasing the damage and health of foes, it would mean to redesign a game completely from scratch. And doing that its either financially impossible, or it would be simply easier to make a new game that would cater to a different audience altogether, one that does not like games that are inherently hard.

Another point that should be brought up, and that’s personally the biggest reason why hard games should remain only being hard, is the developer own wishes and creative reasons to make the game as challenging as it is. Hidetaka Miyazaki once said he wants his games to be more satisfying than difficult, and the sense of accomplishment is given to the players through overcoming the tremendous odds his games presents. It was due to that creative freedom and the simple wish of creating a game that the creator himself would like to play, without the restrains of “what others might think the game should have”, that these hard games not only became the critical and commercial successes that they are, but also became an identity in and of itself. More than being described as a souls – like game, these games are known and revered for its difficulty. And said franchises managed to grow based on that reputation. Those games became popular because they were hard. Giving it a easier option, not only wouldn’t it make it more “accessible” to more players, but it also could backfire, and make the game less desirable, given that the level design could end up suffering because of that.

More than anything, games that are especially hard have become almost a genre on its own, and much like that, it wont be able to please everyone, either that be because of someone skills or simply because the game features don’t appeal to that certain individual. But that’s the beauty to it: like we have games that are about racing, platforming or just about story, we also have games that are about conquering the challenges the game presents to the players, to muster all you have to reach its conclusion. What we should be discussing is not that every game should be beatable by everyone, but rather how the industry have grown so much that everyone can find a game that they will utterly enjoy.

Could you not have written an Easy version of this post with like 90% fewer words?
 

Hunnybun

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The only time skill (getting good) should matter the most is competitive mp games especially in genres like fighting games.
Making moves way too hard to execute WILL kill off the community in a prompt manner. It's a delicate balance.

Gating progression in single player games is absurd and should never be enforced.

Games like bloodborne had potential to sell 20 million easily but philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential.

Its seems elitist players who don't even see a red cent can't care any less if progression is gated by those with less skill.
They're also heavily against easier settings, that are entirely optional.
Why is any one's guess.
It's asinine how this is mostly limited to the souls community.

You don't see Ghouls N Ghosts Resurrection community losing their shit over that game being as easy as it can be hard.

Yeah I really have yet to see any objection to easier options not boiling down to some puerile form of "git gud bro".

I don't think there is a good reason. These people just enjoy excluding others cos it makes them feel better.
 
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M1chl

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As much as I finishing Dark Souls 3 for a year (played it on and off, around 200 hours my first and only pass), I don't think that From Software games are really all that hard. When I think about hard game, that's something like Cuphead.... fuck that game.
 
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WilboWaggins

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The only time skill (getting good) should matter the most is competitive mp games especially in genres like fighting games.
Making moves way too hard to execute WILL kill off the community in a prompt manner. It's a delicate balance.

Gating progression in single player games is absurd and should never be enforced.

Games like bloodborne had potential to sell 20 million easily but philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential.

Its seems elitist players who don't even see a red cent can't care any less if progression is gated by those with less skill.
They're also heavily against easier settings, that are entirely optional.
Why is any one's guess.
It's asinine how this is mostly limited to the souls community.

You don't see Ghouls N Ghosts Resurrection community losing their shit over that game being as easy as it can be hard.
Why do you care so much? This attitude just screams 'Its not fair, I want it', it's very childish.

The souls community love the games because of the challenge they present. Why should their gaming experience be diluted because a bunch of wet wipes don't want to spend time learning how to play, or don't have the emotional maturity to have a little patience.

There is an easy mode, it's called getting good. Or if that fails, you can always summon someone.

The entitlement of some people is a joke. From Software owe you nothing.
 
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STARSBarry

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I don't like sports game, but I don't demand that they change themselves to appeal to me and be a turn based RPG, which would be "accessible" for me though.

This is like demanding they cut the top half off Everest because the best you can do is Ben Nevis. Not everything is for everyone, get over your inability and move onto something you can enjoy like story difficulty in uncharted.

I'm not telling people to "get gud" because if your making reply's asking for Dark Souls to have an easy mode, your past that point, instead just try to accept your shit at this type of game and move on without tainting the well for the rest of us.

I'm shit at tons of games, but I don't demand they change because of it, I am terrible at Endless Space 2 however I will keep playing it because I feel challenged even if I lose far more than I win.
 
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kanjobazooie

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I'm not telling you to "get gud" because if your making threads like these your past that point, instead just try to accept your shit at this type of game and move on without tainting the well for the rest of us.
I had like 7 brain farts trying to read the OP, but I'm pretty sure they actually agree with you.
They just couldn't convey their point clearly.
 
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STARSBarry

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I had like 7 brain farts trying to read the OP, but I'm pretty sure they actually agree with you.
They just couldn't convey their point clearly.

Yeah I actually reread it twice and changed my post to try and reflect, because I see this types of thread pop up every other week asking for Dark Souls to be made easier...
 
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Clear

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Creators aren't beholden to please every element their audience. End of.

You aren't entitled to dictate developers efforts, especially without significant financial input.
 
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Couldn't be more tired of people demanding easier modes.

Why do some people think they "deserve" to be able to play, enjoy and beat every game? Games are just games, and not every games is meant for everyone, just like with books, movies and music.

If you don't like a game, or like it but suck at it, just move on and go play something else.
 

ethomaz

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A developer should have the freedom to make a difficult game.
Exactly.

BTW accessibility and difficult are different things… people needs to stop to put difficult options as being part of accessibility options.
 
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Kev Kev

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Seriously fuck this whole culture of making games super difficult

it was okay with souls and blood borne type games, but then it started bleeding it’s way into other games, and that’s when I started to care. Like doom eternal, and I noticed vermintide 2 was impossibly difficult for a time (they’ve since brought the difficulty down so i went back to it) and the most recent offender is back 4 blood.

The problem with some of those games is network issues too, tbf. And I wouldn’t mention doom eternal, but doom 2016 wasn’t nearly as difficult, so it felt out of character when I excitedly fired up eternal only to be devastated that I couldn’t finish it in its easiest difficulty, not because it was impossible (I could’ve beaten it had I kept tryin), but it was more difficult than it was worth for me and I wasn’t having fun, so it made no sense to keep going imo.

I couldn’t care less if it’s a from software game, or a game series that is known for being mega difficult, but when it start bleeding it’s way into franchises I love it and new games like B4B, that’s when it starts to cross the line for me.

keep that shit in from software games and franchises that are known to be hard, and out of the rest of the industry. It’s fucking annoying.
 
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Hunnybun

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Creators aren't beholden to please every element their audience. End of.

You aren't entitled to dictate developers efforts, especially without significant financial input.

Nobody is *entitled* to have *any* games made available for them to play by *any* developer.

That's not the point.

The point is whether it's *reasonable* to deliberately limit who can enjoy your game.

Something like Doom Eternal is a hardcore game, and the harder modes on that are more than just curiosities. I bet there are lots of players who only play on Nightmare or above.

If for the next iteration, id just had a single Normal difficulty level, and then those people complained that they want a harder option, would it be *reasonable* to counter that "this is how the game is intended" and "not every game is for you"?

If not, how is that different?
 
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ethomaz

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Games like bloodborne had potential to sell 20 million easily but philosophies got in the way and critically skewed its success potential.
Even more if it become a first person shooter.
It doesn’t mean it needs a first person shooter mode option.

Why not accept each game is different for each other?
 
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Clear

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The point is whether it's *reasonable* to deliberately limit who can enjoy your game.

Let me answer that one for you:

YES. IT IS.

Why are you assuming there's a desire to please everyone? Why not allow creators to make what they like and feel to be appropriate and true to their vision?
This is the essence of artistic expression. You start down this road and everything ends up diluted into anodyne mediocrity.
 
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ethomaz

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The point is whether it's *reasonable* to deliberately limit who can enjoy your game.
Yes, it is.
The dev have a target audience for the game and design it for that audience.

Different products are designed for different audiences… you need to left your confort zone to try a product not designed for your audience.

You need to be open to new experiences and not devs do things outside their vision to please you.
 
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Hunnybun

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Let me answer that one for you:

YES. IT IS.

Why are you assuming there's a desire to please everyone? Why not allow creators to make what they like and feel to be appropriate and true to their vision?
This is the essence of artistic expression. You start down this road and everything ends up diluted into anodyne mediocrity.

Is Doom Eternal an anodyne mediocrity for having an easier setting? Or for having harder settings? Or is it both things that ruin it?

Or is it not an anodyne mediocrity at all?

And if not, why not?
 
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Clear

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I'd also add that there's an implementation time and labour cost to everything. If you have a limited time and budget is it really the best use of those resources to build in courtesy/comfort features for a minority of the audience when you still have things to fix and improve for the work generally? Things that will prove more broadly beneficial to every player and give a more satisfying result for the creator(s).

H Hunnybun I think this answers your above point.
 
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Hunnybun

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Yes, it is.
The dev have a target audience for the game and design it for that audience.

Different products are designed for different audiences… you need to left your confort zone to try a product not designed for your audience.

You need to be open to new experiences and not devs do things outside their vision to please you.

That's not an answer. It's just a circular argument, 'x is good because x is good' etc.
 
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Hunnybun

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I'd also add that there's an implementation time and labour cost to everything. If you have a limited time and budget is it really the best use of those resources to build in courtesy/comfort features for a minority of the audience when you still have things to fix and improve for the work generally? Things that will prove more broadly beneficial to every player and give a more satisfying result for the creator(s).

H Hunnybun I think this answers your above point.

No, I think this kind of thing is a distraction from the central point.

Let's assume it away. Say there's literally no cost to implementing an easy mode. Zero.

Would you then support one?
 

Clear

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No, I think this kind of thing is a distraction from the central point.

Let's assume it away. Say there's literally no cost to implementing an easy mode. Zero.

Would you then support one?

You can't assume that. Its a false premise because there's always a cost to implement and validate.

A game is a product of literally millions of comparative value-judgements and technical/creative trade-offs. Your argument assumes primacy for the choices you deem important, and I'm telling you that the one with the final say on such issues should be the creator. Because its their time and labour, a vastly greater commitment and investment than any end user.
 
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Spaceman292

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Yeah I really have yet to see any objection to easier options not boiling down to some puerile form of "git gud bro".
That's probably because all the people making sensible arguments haven't shortened down all the difficult long words for you.
 
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Hunnybun

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You can't assume that. Its a false premise because there's always a cost to implement and validate.

A game is a product of literally millions of comparative value-judgements and technical/creative trade-offs. Your argument assumes primacy for the choices you deem important, and I'm telling you that the one with the final say on such issues should be the creator. Because its their time and labour, a vastly greater commitment and investment than any end user.

We can assume anything we want, this is a discussion.

Again, assume zero cost. Would you still be against the easy mode?
 

RoboFu

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Entitlement is the issue, not the difficulty, not the developers.

every game isn’t meant for you.
You don’t have to play every game.

Adding “ easy modes” automatically cheapens the game and lends to “ games too easy…. Enemies are too dumb… beat it in 4 hours “. Types of comments.
 
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DelireMan7

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May 22, 2019
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Again, assume zero cost. Would you still be against the easy mode?
Not the one you asked but I'll answer.
Zero cost include the creator validation for it? If yes, then I am for. If no, not.

In this discussion, I have the feeling only the "public" will is taken in consideration and not the one of the creators.. I think it's the creators' decision to decide how his creation should be.
 
Jun 23, 2020
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Sorry my man, I was typing a post but got lost with work.

I think you are really exaggerating with the "culture about making games super difficult". Do you really think that there are really that many games that are legit hard? And by hard I don't mean dying once or twice, but really really hard, games you have to master in order to beat them, shit like Ikaruga or Alien Soldier. I really think there aren't that many, if any games of that kind anymore. Maybe Sekiro? Although that one gets easier once you master the parry.

Also, DOOM Eternal isn't really that hard, so yeah I chuckled a little bit when you threw a tantrum about not being able to beat it on the easiest difficulty. But as I said yeah, not every game is for everyone, so why would that be an issue? Just play something else.
 
Nov 4, 2017
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I feel like a lot of the people who demand different difficulty levels in games don't entirely get how it can be difficult to actually make a "good" difficulty curve to make games harder or easier, and don't really understand how some of the things they demand may either dumb down the game too much (for nerfing difficulty) or make the game more like a chore than a challenge (for increasing difficulty).

When I think about this, I recall some examples of "bad" difficulty upping.
Of course, some easy ones are right up there in arcade games. Fighting games in particular would often resort in simply giving the AI opponents the ability to blatantly break the rules of in-game mechanics to have an upper hand.

But oddly enough, I feel like some of the more glaring examples are from Nintendo.
Let's take Lost Levels, for example. Sure, it's a harder Mario, but it's not harder in the same way that late-game NSMBU or 3D World gives you tough platforming challenges. Instead, it subverts the exploration mechanics (which in SMB1 would almost always reward you) by giving you "power-downs" like the poison mushroom and backwards warp zones. These in particular were the least-liked features of the game and there's a reason they were not implemented (at least, not in the same way) in future Mario games. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, we have the infamous "Super Guide", the most hand-holding, insulting "easy mode" ever, where the game literally plays itself for you because you hit a box to complain it was too hard. Do people really want that back?

I think Fire Emblem also has some interesting test cases. The first GBA FE released in America had a hard mode which subtly changed enemies on maps and lessened your EXP rate. I thought this one was fairly neat because it addressed (Maybe not entirely fixed, but at least it tries) a common issue with FE difficulty being heavily frontloaded in the early game. Then we go to Shadow Dragon, and the difficulty modes instead... just buff all enemy stats a pre-set amount. It was absolutely horrible because on the hardest difficulty, what ends up happening is that the first map is an awful grind where in order to even kill the first boss, it's an expected strat to break his weapon and then slooowwllly abuse his health recover to EXP grind until your units are stupidly overpowered for the next map. Unfortunately, FE difficulty modes never recovered from that - and why would they? Now the difficulty modes incentivize people to buy DLC for easy level ups and overpowered items, after all! On the other end, they also have the "casual" modes which remove permadeath as a mechanic, which is credited to making the games "more accessible"... yet it's hard to say that FEs are actually designed around the expectation that you'd be playing around this mode, because in the default difficulty level it's actually kinda difficult to lose more than a couple characters a map unless you're trying to on purpose (good luck getting all the Gaiden chapters on Shadow Dragon at the easiest difficulty level!). Compare that to, say, the latter Shining Force games, where non-permadeath led to maps where units were expected to be sweeped en-masse, and even on the "easy" mode the harder maps frequently had you fighting to your last 4 or 3 units or so, making for a fairly different game experience. (Though on the other side, Shining Force's hard modes were basically just "grind more" modes, so....)

When I think about stuff like this, combined with my experiences playtesting some people's games and giving them baffled reactions when I can simultaneously get stuck on something they thought "easy" AND cheese something they expect me to struggle with, makes me realize that it might be a good idea to really discuss how difficulty balancing works in games with a bit more clarity, detail and nuance than just "buff these stats here" or "remove this bottomless pit".
 
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Clear

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We can assume anything we want, this is a discussion.

Again, assume zero cost. Would you still be against the easy mode?

If we assume zero cost, why have any sort of limitation whatsoever? You may as well argue for an infinite number of difficulty settings!

Ok, allow me to steelman your position with what I believe to be the best real-world example: Remedy's Control.

Control essentially exposes a developer cheat mode, allowing the user to scale all challenge aspects from damage dealt to damage received. You can turn on invincibility and one-hit-kills all without penalty at any time.

In terms of challenge accessibility I doubt you'll find a better and more comprehensive suite of options in any major release.

Do I consider it a good thing? Broadly yes, but not entirely.

Yes, its an interesting choice and its fun to use, but it definitely cheapened the experience for me and I felt like it shortened my playtime with the title. Its simply just too tempting an option to outright disregard.

The bigger issue is whether I feel that such a feature should be implemented in every title. More to the point would I consider it as part of a project of my own?
To which I'd say absolutely not. Primarily for the reason I underlined above.

And that, "creator's choice" axiom, is where the buck stops. I wouldn't choose to do it, and I'd greatly resent feeling obligated to what is tantamount to self-sabotage in my view in order to please those who'd demand such a thing.

Remedy took a different view, and more power to them for that. The overarching point is that the difference in perspective between me and those of Control's designers is a positive thing. Its variety and individuality, so in larger sense its more "inclusive" of alternative schools of design thought.

This is my point about anodyne mediocrity. You cannot please everyone all the time, and the more you try the blander the result.
 

June

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Sep 1, 2018
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Imagine if every piece of game feedback and criticism was met with "don't force the devs to do that" , "just play something else"
 

Spaceman292

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Imagine if every piece of game feedback and criticism was met with "don't force the devs to do that" , "just play something else"
But this isn't every piece of feedback. It's just difficulty.

Imagine if every piece of feedback was listened to and implemented, no matter how dumb it was. It would be a total mess.
 
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