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Reader Comments (69)

Posted: May 7th 2011 8:22AM xBludx said

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It's a good question without an easy answer. But I think *variety* is key. There should be a lot of different things you can do for advancement: crafting, pvp, pve, lots of skills like maybe - diplomacy...

Please, just don't let it be a gear grind. Let's do something else. Let crafters matter, for example. Then I think a game would have a diverse community of players. They would have different projects to work on when they have time.

Posted: May 9th 2011 4:43AM Brian said

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@xBludx Easy easier is yes.

MMOs flourish both with hardcore and casual gamers. WoW does it. Ultima Online did it also. Games that go for a specific niche don't end up doing too well. What I loved about Ultima Online is that it appealed to so many groups, which in turn, helped everyone else. Hardcore gamers had plenty of casual players to play with such as selling armor to them. Casual gamers had hardcore players to run around with. It helps out in so many ways.
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Posted: May 9th 2011 6:46AM Fabius Bile said

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@xBludx actually the answer couldnt be simplier. casuals outnumber hardcores in a 100:1 proportion.

ignore hardcores, design games for casuals, rack in money.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 8:23AM Tizmah said

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Easy to learn, hard to master.

Posted: May 7th 2011 8:27AM xBludx said

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@Tizmah

Well said.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 8:45AM DarkWalker said

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@Tizmah
Easy to say, hard to implement :)
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Posted: May 7th 2011 8:24AM macscarfe said

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Yes and indeed no.

Really, vapid hollywood blockbusters need to cater to the lowest common denominator to pack in the dollar bills.

While unintelligable and worthy arthouse needs to pander to a niche crowd to ensure their survival.

Ocassionally one will cross the devide ... very occasionally that is.

Posted: May 7th 2011 8:26AM macscarfe said

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@macscarfe

You know an edit function would be nice, then atleast when i try to sound all pompus and superior early in the morning i can correct my spelling mistakes.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 12:55PM Borick said

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@macscarfe Shakespeare wrote (Or had written for him) content that held immediate appeal for both the box seats as well as the pit.

Making art appreciable to the majority is possible. It's what is desired. All I'm hearing is that we accept mediocrity from individual developers who earn millions. Sounds like companies need to start farming for genius rather than security.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 8:26AM xBludx said

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...variety and degrees of complexity are necessary...I don't think I articulated this well. Hardcore players can get involved learning what they need to excel in multiple areas, while casual players can access more themepark like content.

I think what we will see in the not to distant future is a sandbox-themepark blend of a game. Is there a name for that yet?

Is Archeage going to be something like that?

I don't know, it's an interesting question, but whatever game can do this is the next big thing.

Posted: May 7th 2011 8:34AM Dunraven said

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When I was at Gamescon had a Blizzard rep tell me that actual hardcore gamers are very small in number but are extremely vocal, and there are a significant amount of Trolls on the forum who aren't hardcore in the slightest in actual gameplay, but get off on making Pro Hardcore posts on the forums ( Baddies just need to die stop making the game easy for the scrubs etc)

He said those posts has a significant effect on the "Average" player who wants a moderate challenge but not a faceroll. The Bioware rep said that their answer was to look to see how many actual people were clearing the hard content, and ban Trolls who scream about easy mode yet has never once stepped inside a Raid.

Posted: May 7th 2011 8:44AM DarkWalker said

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@Dunraven

"The Bioware rep said that their answer was to look to see how many actual people were clearing the hard content, and ban Trolls who scream about easy mode yet has never once stepped inside a Raid. "

Wow, this made my day. A glimmer of hope for SW:TOR forums being actually worth a read once the game launches :)
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Posted: May 7th 2011 9:07AM Lenn said

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@Dunraven Bioware? Blizzard?
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Posted: May 7th 2011 9:14AM Dril said

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@Lenn

I know, I always thought those game developers were just fairy tales as well.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 9:00AM faralorn said

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Hard core is another way of saying addicted. And for the addicted there is no such thing as an overdose. They can never be satisfied; only temporarily appeased.

It makes sense to allocate development resources in proportion to the revenue contribution of various kinds of players. If addicts generate 10% of your game's revenue then allocate no more than 10% of your development budget to keeping them happy. Inasmuch as they are addicted you can probably short-change them and get away with it. Just throw them a bone once in awhile.

Posted: May 7th 2011 9:21AM Alex Oglitchkin said

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@faralorn In WoW the hardcore guilds are the ones who finish while the others are still wiping and crying on forums.

But you will never ever please both the casual and hardcore players. Companies will always look towards the bigger piece of the pie if they know what is smart for them.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 9:07AM DarkWalker said

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The biggest problem I see with making a game alluring for both groups is the ingrained tendency among MMO developers to give rewards that increase a character's performance.

This means that the hardcore player, the one that has beaten every bit of content and explored every nook and crank of the maps, who have the best gear it's possible to obtain in the game, is actually playing an easier game, while the casual gamer, with it's patchwork gear, is playing a harder game. It's the complete opposite of what would be needed to appease both groups; real hardcore players want hard games, games that make them really work hard to beat, while casuals want games they can just log, play a few minutes, and feel like they have progressed in some way.

Not sure what can be done about it, though. There are some interesting concepts from non-MMO games, such as Chrono Cross (where the effective character power was decided more by where in the story the player was, with level grind playing a small role), Zelda (hardcore players for the most part only get more life), and a few others.

the only thing I'm certain is that, for both hardcore and casual players to be really happy, the relative difficulty of the game needs to be flipped over. "Beating" the game needs to be made easier for casuals than for hardcore players. This might mean hardcore-only modes with increased difficulty, ways for casuals to obtain gear that is equivalent in performance to the best gear hardcore players can get, training instances where casuals could practice for group content without the pressure of wasting other player's time, etc.

Posted: May 7th 2011 9:13AM Wisdomandlore said

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Streamline, but don't simplify. Look at Guild Wars 2, and how it handles skills. Instead of having 4 skillbars worth of skills, you have one. Instead, the skills can be used in a variety of ways (charging them up, combining them with other skills). You have the same (possibly more) depth, but the you reduce needless clutter.

It's the same way games like Tetris or Zelda draw in both the casual and the hardcore audiences.

Posted: May 7th 2011 9:25AM Alex Oglitchkin said

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@Wisdomandlore Awesome it's copying TERA then. =p

But what you are saying isn't saying how GW2 is going to cater to both casual and hardcore. Trust me when hardcores go and pick on the casuals in pvp in games they cry a river these days until changes are made or they just quit. But I guess in GW's defense they already got you to buy the game so they don't care anymore.
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Posted: May 7th 2011 12:27PM Irem said

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@Alex Oglitchkin
What GW2's skill setup does, in theory, is allow players to get right into playing the game without having to spend a great deal of time collecting them (as you did in GW1) or having a book full of skills that clutter up your bar or are situational at best. Hardcore players can devote themselves to learning to use those set skills to their greatest effect, while a casual player has a perfectly useful skill bar ready to play with that doesn't require a huge investment to get just the right skills for.

As Wisdomandlore said, it's been streamlined (as they moved away from the massive amounts of completely customizable but often useless or redundant skills of GW1), but not simplified (due to the focus on movement, your bar can't play for you and the more you learn about what your skills can do the better). That does, in fact, appeal to both hardcore and casual players.
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