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Reader Comments (24)

Posted: Mar 30th 2012 1:30PM Sean D said

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I disagree. I enjoy increased complexity in a game. Here's why: I want the setting I'm playing in to feel like a real, independent and vibrant setting and only a complex system will support such a thing. I want the system to allow me to do everything that I can think of doing and, conversely, I don't want the system to limit my decision-making processes. Many people find complex systems constraining. I find them liberating because there's usually a rule or equation that outlines what I'm trying to do. In any system I can only do what the system allows me to do. The simpler the system, the fewer choices I have. Complex systems allow me more choices.

That being said, I don't think that such rules and equation always need to be available for players to disassamble to their advantage. I believe that it's possible to have a very complex system running a seemingly simple setting, especially in MMOs and other computer games. It's just a matter of hiding the numbers from the players who don't want to see them, or allowing them the option to hide the numbers from themselves.

Finally, the spur-of-the-moment GM decision to accommodate a player's action for which there is no rule has almost always failed me. Whether I'm the GM or the player, the result has almost always been disappointing. This is mostly because the outcomes are inconsistent from one instance to the next. When results are influenced by things such as GM or player mood, for example, they'll describe events in a way that is more often than not out-of-sync with everything else that's happening.

Posted: Mar 30th 2012 2:07PM Borick said

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Just to point out, simplicity and complexity aren't defining aspects of fitness. The natural environment around us favors complexity, for example.

Look for bias in the system that -wants- to favor simplicity. From the financiers and marketers down to the engineers, game producers are working trying to simplify down a method of generating profit.

KISS is just a maxim. Sure, games can become bloated and overburdened with past structures. We reiterate and adapt. But if we start seeking 'simplicity' as our buzzword key to success, we risk blinding ourselves to emergent phenomena in our quest to refine the past.

Posted: Mar 30th 2012 3:32PM MaddZ said

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Complexity for the sake of complexity is a bad thing.

Deep games require a higher order of complexity, the trick is to make that complexity be underlying. Do not make it required to play the game.

MMOs should be easy to learn, difficult to master. BUT the difference between a casual player and a master should not be insurmountable either.

Its a tricky thing.

Posted: Apr 1st 2012 12:27AM corpusc said

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there's complexity by numbers, and complexity by how deep and well simulated the interplay between different objects/entities is.

MMORPGs are the former. they have thousands and thousands of objects,items and spells, but virtually no complexity of actual gameplay. its mostly hardwired reactions, mostly with the slightest of variations between them.

complications like haveing all these different damage channels, is rather SHALLOW, and largely pointless. fire damage, ice damage, poison damage etc... but it takes no brainpower to figure you should use fire spells on an ice mob, and wear ice resistant armour. its not at all an interesting decision to make. just makes you have to collect and juggle around extra weapons/armour/spells and go thru extra hoop jumping. and THATs the kind of complexity typical MMORPGs have. pretty meaningless & hardwired.

its why there are many games that have way more depth while only having like 10 different weapons and a handful of powerups, etc.

in these supposedly "simple" games, the gameplay isn't so hardwired and scripted and is more like a proper simulation. it makes them FAR more complex. it comes from how the different entities interact with each other. there's almost infinite different ways different combinations of different entities will interact. when the games simulate (opposite of hardwiring) well enough to be properly emergent in their gameplay..

people are so easily dazzled by raw numbers, but have seemingly little ability to see how it all adds up and how it really plays out. typical MMORPGs would not be so popular if it was more obvious to people how damn shallow the gameplay is.

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