Choice Paralysis Dillama

Kupotepo

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First of all hello to people who would like to analyze and reflective to get new good ideas.

How much customize do you allow players to modify?
Do you ever receive the players' complain about too many choices?
"I am confusing about which one to pick from."
Analysis paralysis = we try to assess too many options at once. we are frozen our brain.
Choice paralysis = the fear of players to make a decision because it might not be the best decision.

[This is going to a subject question] How many choices for anything: [customize stats, dialogue options, numbers of quest giving to players at once, and skill tree options ] would not overlord your brain?


It is true that this is rare in the indie games, but for the big-name consequence games. The indie game just used the decision trees to slowly expand the choice which is a great thing [chucking/segmenting of decisions]

Antithetical concept of giving player options. It is like an open-world game without the direction of progression.

Do you offer the default options to players? Like the automatic filling of the stat. For people here who wish to pursue customized player experience.

When you give the players equipment? Do you show the recommendations to players on which one is best for them to use?

Thank you for talking to me and providing me the insight.
 

ATT_Turan

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It's obvious that some big name developers feel making choices limits their playerbase. The biggest example is Blizzard - look at the player customization when World of Warcraft first released to how it all went away after a few expansions, and they acquired more and more casual players. Look at Diablo 2, where equipment has stat requirements, you allocate every stat point, you allocate every skill point and skills have prerequisites...then compare that to Diablo 3, where you have no choices, every character gets every skill automatically and can use any piece of equipment.

So I would say you're asking a bit of the wrong question. The question is not "how many choices should the player have in customization," it's "how strategic do I want my game to be?"

If you're offering choices in player customization, they should be strategic and meaningful. Having players allocate stat points when they're huge values like Final Fantasy is meaningless (Everquest is like this, you make a character and dump 50 or something stat points into your class' best stat. No meaningful choice). Having players allocate stat points in a D&D game where every value from 8 to 18 is significantly different is extremely meaningful.

The rest of your questions don't really have to do with your players making choices, they have to do with you as a game developer providing a convenient experience for your players. "automatic stat placement" - why wouldn't you? That way, your game can still be played by someone who wants to put less strategic thought into it. The only thing that could happen from you not offering this is losing some number of players.

Similarly, "Do you show [equipment] recommendations [for] which one is best?" - why wouldn't you? Do you think there is some value in forcing the players to manually look at the items' stats? Or in equipping one piece, equipping the other to see what changes in their attributes?
 

Kupotepo

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So I would say you're asking a bit of the wrong question. The question is not "how many choices should the player have in customization," it's "how strategic do I want my game to be?"
Thank you for providing better questions in here. lol, I am still reading your response.

Having players allocate stat points when they're huge values like Final Fantasy is meaningless (Everquest is like this, you make a character and dump 50 or something stat points into your class' best stat. No meaningful choice). Having players allocate stat points in a D&D game where every value from 8 to 18 is significantly different is extremely meaningful.
That is what I am thinking. I have the story center so the game is very determistic.
I am wondering for some people who produced the games in this website. Why they allow the players to be whatever they want whenever they wants. Is that overload them with choice and translate to a work for the players.

Is that going to create a randomness of player's experience?
 
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FirestormNeos

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Analysis Paralysis is something I've been running into constantly for video games over the last couple of years. It's killed my interest in Dungeons & Dragons, destroyed my love of the Pokemon games, and is the primary reason why Mass Effect is sitting on my "to-do list" in perpetuity.

One of my most important goals in my project is minimize analysis paralysis on the player's end as much as possible. IDGAF how easy or non-RPG it'd end up making my project.

Choice paralysis, at least in a story context, is not something I have as big a problem with; if I'm taking an hour to decide which story path to take, I consider that a positive (or at least neutral) engagement with your game.
 
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Kupotepo

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@ATT_Turan, thank you for your input in this discussion and bring interest topics here.

@FirestormNeos, thank you for talking about that thing we are worried as we make the game.

The devs have different types of fears. We fear overload players with good experience. Are the players going to come back and finish our games? Or they will get distracted by the new games? And never came back to this game again. [I refer to an exit point which you encourage to ask how is the player doing? Like you want to go to sleep or keep moving.]

@FirestormNeos, thank you for your experience sharing and your observation.
 
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RachelTheSeeker

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Wanna keep it short, as typing on mobile is tedious. But I have a big issue with analysis and choice paralysis myself. When the choices seem lackluster, it's no biggie. But when the opportunity cost is great, well, that's a problem.

Weapon picks in Fallout 4 are no issue for me. 10mm, .44, laser, and plasma pistols. Basic sights for longer-ranged pistols, no zooming feature. Combat shotgun with drum magazine when I wanna rip n' tear. No auto fire. Hip-fire grip and stronger receivers for more damage. I wish picking no more than ten 1st Gen Pokemon was that easy, because I love so many of them!

For my game, I'd like to keep choices to a minimum. No tiered weapons, basic armor (if any), and a few multi-effect accessories. Only four abilities per character, unlocked in cutscenes. Any other variables for fight options are consumables, which are optional and saleable. Only four visible stats (HP, MP, ATK, MAT), and invisible stats (Critical, Evasion, Guts) are chance-based gimmicks.
 

Aesica

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The biggest example is Blizzard - look at the player customization when World of Warcraft first released to how it all went away after a few expansions
In fairness, the major choices never really went away. They just got refined. With the old skill tree system (blows my mind that anyone actually liked it) there was generally 1-2 right choices for what to pick and a massive number of wrong choices players could make. On top of that, there was a lot of really uninteresting choices (that they thankfully got rid of, such as "Do I increase my Corruption damage by 1% or increase the critical strike chance of my Imp's firebolt by 2%?"

Only a small handful (every 10 or so levels) of choices in the skill trees actually felt interesting, such as acquiring Soul LInk, Haunt, or Chaos Bolt. The rest was just bloat and padding. Ultimately, it just lead to players asking the internet and using the same copy-paste skill selections.

How that relates to this subject is that too many choices, especially trivial and/or unbalanced ones, can't necessarily a good thing. In the case of WoW's old talent trees, most of the choices were just traps that set players up to fail, but at least they offered a way to reset talent selections. A lot of triple-A games don't, so players are stuck with bad choices that they made through no fault of their own other than "not yet knowing everything about how the game works."
 

Frostorm

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In fairness, the major choices never really went away. They just got refined. With the old skill tree system (blows my mind that anyone actually liked it) there was generally 1-2 right choices for what to pick and a massive number of wrong choices players could make. On top of that, there was a lot of really uninteresting choices (that they thankfully got rid of, such as "Do I increase my Corruption damage by 1% or increase the critical strike chance of my Imp's firebolt by 2%?"
The day they changed the talent tree into a simple 3 choice option was the day I quit WoW. I believe it was Cataclysm that made those changes. I now play Project Ascension which is basically a custom classless WoW based on WotLK patch, so you have access to EVERY classes talent trees, muahaha. Is it really that surprising that people like the old talent tree system and customization in general? Imo, that's the best part of any RPG. I literally can't get enough of it. I actually enjoy comparing if 1% of this bonus is better or worse than 2% of this other bonus. Almost all my friends agree with me on this as well. I've yet to meet someone who actually prefers WoW's post-WotLK talent system to the old school talent tree setup.

Also, another important point is the current talent system ELIMINATES the possibility of making hybrid builds, which was my forte. I always strove to create unorthodox builds that are greater than the sum of its parts. It's just not possible now on retail WoW since it forces you to pick 1 of 3 specializations. Back in vanilla WoW (lv60), I created a unique tri-spec hybrid build for my Shaman which was totally unthinkable in the regular sense. (some people will invest in 2 trees, but they'd never put considerable points in all 3 trees) Somehow I made it work, and the result was pure ownage. Taking on full T2 warriors while I was naked, destroying T2 Pallies that had legendary weapons, or simply taking on 4v1s somehow. Those were the good old days... I doubt I could've achieved that with some cookie-cutter build. I was also the only Shaman on my server wearing a full T0.5 set while most people were using T1/2/3. So I was usually at a gear disadvantage.

All in all, the more "paralyzing" the choices seem at first just makes finally putting together a build or making that hard choice all the more rewarding at the end. To me, these difficult choices of opportunity costs ARE the game. I really get a sense of "challenge accepted" when something like Path of Exile's skill tree is presented to me. It's so satisfying once you eventually make the choices cuz it feels like I really did my homework and all the effort has paid off.

So please don't deprive the player of choice. Games that do make me feel like the devs are insulting my intelligence like I can't handle making thoughtful decisions or something.

Sorry @Aesica but I'd simply have to disagree with your post entirely. (except regarding resets, all games should have that feature)
 
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ATT_Turan

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In fairness, the major choices never really went away. They just got refined. With the old skill tree system (blows my mind that anyone actually liked it) there was generally 1-2 right choices for what to pick and a massive number of wrong choices players could make.
I'm going to strongly disagree. I used to be able to create, for example, a paladin that was specialized for doing high DPS through seals, as opposed to being an incredible tank through bubbles. I achieved this by picking which talents I wanted to use. When I stopped playing the game, it had completely changed so there was no choice, everyone of a class simply gained the same new abilities at a given level.

I'm not going to argue that every talent was well-crafted and equally viable, because I simply don't remember and it's not worth researching the topic, but it was absolutely possible to make the characters function differently using strategic choices in the original system.

I am wondering for some people who produced the games in this website. Why they allow the players to be whatever they want whenever they wants. Is that overload them with choice and translate to a work for the players.
The devs have different types of fears. We fear overload players with good experience. Are the players going to come back and finish our games? Or they will get distracted by the new games? And never came back to this game again.
I have to admit I am having a hard time figuring out exactly what you're asking...I understand you're doing your best with English, but I'm just not sure about your question.

For example, I have no idea what it means to "overload players with [a] good experience" - if a game is fun, and has interesting choices, I'm more likely to play it through again to make the other choices and see what happens. I've probably played Knights of the Old Republic three or four times with significantly different events because of my choices. I have no idea how many hundreds of hours I've spent playing Diablo 2 making different kinds of characters (and that's only strategic choice, there are zero story choices in that game).

As I described before, you definitely have a division between players who want more or less strategy in their games - so you having people allocate skills and stat points might deter some people who want a simpler, less strategic game, but I can't see who would get deterred by making a gameplay choice between being a warrior or a mage.

As far as getting distracted by a newer game, I don't understand what that has to do with offering choices, or how you could possibly prevent it. That's just what some people are like. If they get distracted and start playing a new game while in the middle of another one, that's going to happen whether they're in the middle of Skyrim or Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
 
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Frostorm

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Yea I can't see how overloading someone with a good experience would deter them from playing a game, if anything, it would encourage them to keep playing. Lol, I'm trying to imagine someone going "Omg this game is too good, I mustn't play it!".

I'm going to strongly disagree. I used to be able to create, for example, a paladin that was specialized for doing high DPS through seals, as opposed to being an incredible tank through bubbles. I achieved this by picking which talents I wanted to use. When I stopped playing the game, it had completely changed so there was no choice, everyone of a class simply gained the same new abilities at a given level.
Exactly! Thank you! When they moved away from talent trees, they more or less got rid of all individuality and uniqueness that different players could bring. Now every one of a certain class is pretty much the same... No more wacky unorthodox or hybrid builds, nope Blizzard wants everyone to be a cookie-cutter.
 

Aesica

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I've yet to meet someone who actually prefers WoW's post-WotLK talent system to the old school talent tree setup.
You've yet to meet anyone who prefers the current system over the old one? Are you sure about that? You literally just quoted someone who does. ;)

Also MoP was the first expansion that had the modern 3 (meaningful) choice trees over the 1-2-3% crap. Cata attempted to refine the original trees by getting rid of the 5/5 1/2/3/4/5% point sinks (things only went as high as 1/2/3) but it still used the old system.

Back in vanilla WoW (lv60), I created a unique tri-spec hybrid build for my Shaman which was totally unthinkable in the regular sense. (some people will invest in 2 trees, but they'd never put considerable points in all 3 trees) Somehow I made it work, and the result was pure ownage.
Vanilla wow was notoriously unbalanced, so any people you "destroyed" probably had bad talent selections (the choice trap I spoke of in my previous post) or were just using an underpowered class. Back in vanilla, only certain classes were tank-viable. Back then, I could also kill people just by dotting them. During BC, I could bumrush a node in Arathi Basin and clear out 2-4 people with only my felguard to help me. If all that seems impossible now, it's because the game finally got some sense of balance to it.

Sorry @Aesica but I'd simply have to disagree with your post entirely. (except regarding resets, all games should have that feature)
That's fine. Not everybody needs to make the exact same game with the exact same crap in it. You make games for people who like the same stuff as you, I make games for people who like the same stuff as me. Diversity and all that. :)

I'm going to strongly disagree. I used to be able to create, for example, a paladin that was specialized for doing high DPS through seals, as opposed to being an incredible tank through bubbles. I achieved this by picking which talents I wanted to use. When I stopped playing the game, it had completely changed so there was no choice, everyone of a class simply gained the same new abilities at a given level.
It's still plenty of choice and customizable today. You can choose one of three (two if demon hunter, four if druid) base specializations, then build on top of that with the talant selections. What I really like is that you can choose for a more or less complex skill rotation by going for extra activated skills or opting for more passives. More survivability vs more mobility vs more utility. More mass AoE or better cleave. That kind of thing.

To me, that's far more interesting than choosing whether my corruption, immolate, or pet hits slightly harder. When you wipe away all of those dinky small percent talent point sinks and look at the choices that really mattered--the every-10-levels talents like Chaos Bolt or Soul Link, there's a lot less of them comparable to the modern-day talents. Overall, you get to choose a lot more of that kind of thing now than you did back then, which is good.

I'm not saying modern wow or modern class design is perfect (and I hate to hijack this thread into a wow debate--sorry OP!) because it's not. But at least now, paladins can do actual dps, bear druids can actually tank, and destruction is an actual warlock spec people can meaningfully use.
 

Frostorm

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You've yet to meet anyone who prefers the current system over the old one? Are you sure about that? You literally just quoted someone who does. ;)
Lol, sorry I meant IRL, as in seeing each other's face. (which I admit is a sample size of ~20) There's obviously lots of players of all types in the gaming community.
Anyways, this is the kind of WoW I like: (lv60 cap but it's classless)
To each their own though!

I honestly wouldn't mind retail WoW's talent system too much if it allowed for cross spec choices instead of forcing you into 1 of 3 (or 2/4 for DH/Druid as you mentioned) specializations.

And While Cata did retain the "trees" it still forced you to pick a specialization 1st, which was the part I was referring to and really disliked. It only got more limiting with each successive expansion.

I'm not saying modern wow or modern class design is perfect (and I hate to hijack this thread into a wow debate--sorry OP!) because it's not. But at least now, paladins can do actual dps, bear druids can actually tank, and destruction is an actual warlock spec people can meaningfully use.
Yea but now Shamans can't simultaneously Cast + Melee + Heal effectively like I could back in the good old days. They can only half-ass 2 and be decent at 1 on retail.

P.S. I'm aware of how unbalanced vanilla WoW was. ;)

I agree that each point spent should ideally be meaningful and not "fillers". That's the kind of player choices that needn't be offered. This applies to skill trees in all games/RPGs btw. (just so we can get off the topic of WoW lol)
 
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ATT_Turan

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It's still plenty of choice and customizable today. You can choose one of three (two if demon hunter, four if druid) base specializations, then build on top of that with the talant selections. What I really like is that you can choose for a more or less complex skill rotation by going for extra activated skills or opting for more passives. More survivability vs more mobility vs more utility. More mass AoE or better cleave. That kind of thing.

To me, that's far more interesting than choosing whether my corruption, immolate, or pet hits slightly harder. When you wipe away all of those dinky small percent talent point sinks and look at the choices that really mattered--the every-10-levels talents like Chaos Bolt or Soul Link, there's a lot less of them comparable to the modern-day talents. Overall, you get to choose a lot more of that kind of thing now than you did back then, which is good.
I agree, that is conceptually good. I also agree (and stated in prior posts) that each point should be significant, so if there are only 5 ranks in a talent summing up to a 5% difference, that should be one choice you make every 5 levels, not 1 point per percent per level. It is entirely possible that the current state of WoW has evolved again to be more strategically meaningful - I wouldn't know, as it's been many years since I touched it, as I stated in my original post. The comparison I made is valid for the timespan I played it :)
 

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Personally I've never been fond of in-depth customization systems because I prefer the most interesting decisions be made in combat. Its not impossible to do both, but usually there's a way to build your character that completely destroys the game. This is because the challenges have to accommodate a lot of different specializations so the challenge needs to be very general or the customization options need to be somewhat narrower.

Though if one could have both, then surely I'd prefer both.

I tend to put most of the customization on the equipment end, because its really easy to just "respec" in that system and let the characters class give them everything they need, for this reason, most equipment does around the same damage, but instead has its own effects.
 

Milennin

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I don't like choice overload, so I do avoid it in my own games. At least in big commercial games, you can look up a guide to check what's good (or at least what to avoid), if there's too many choices, but for RPG Maker games, there's not.
Choices at the beginning of a game should be kept low and/or simple. The more the player is familiar with the game, the more choices you can give them, because they got context to work off of.
 

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Please keep the conversation on-topic. This is not a thread to discuss WoW. Thank you.

 

Aesica

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Yea but now Shamans can't simultaneously Cast + Melee + Heal effectively like I could back in the good old days. They can only half-ass 2 and be decent at 1 on retail.
So in other words, they balanced it. :p Which leads back to the original theme of this thread and why I'm not a fan of choice overload:
  • It's harder to balance as a developer because you have to consider a much greater number of possible combinations.
  • As mentioned a few posts above this one, there's always going to be an optimal choice (maybe two) with the others being sub-par. Whether this optimal choice horribly broken or simply better depends on you as the developer and how good you were at managing the choice bloat...or how powerful-vs-insignificant your ability choices are.
  • Players will either need to know the game extremely well or they'll have to hunt online for a guide/premade build list. The latter of these two is far more likely, but depending on how well your game does or if you decide to make one yourself, a guide for a smaller-studio game might never happen.
 

ATT_Turan

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As mentioned a few posts above this one, there's always going to be an optimal choice (maybe two) with the others being sub-par.
That seems like an untrue generalization. That's only true if you, the designer, did a bad job. Otherwise, you would simply make the choices different but equal. The list of examples is too bogglingly large to detail...start up a game of Baldur's Gate, are you saying one choice of class is the best and the rest sub-par? The same is true for any well-balanced game...play Borderlands or Mass Effect or Skyrim and you should be perfectly capable of completing the game with any of the characters/classes. Fallout 1 or 2 should give you different but equal experiences with different perks. In fact, the number of games I've played that have objectively bad character options are much lower than those that are balanced (or they might have one or two bad options amongst the rest, which is the opposite of your claim).

Players will either need to know the game extremely well or they'll have to hunt online for a guide/premade build list. The latter of these two is far more likely, but depending on how well your game does or if you decide to make one yourself, a guide for a smaller-studio game might never happen.
Again, presuming and generalizing. You're presuming that the information displayed when making your character build is not sufficient/intuitive enough to allow a player to make an informed decision without an external guide, but the bulk of my experience in games argues otherwise.
More to the point, we don't even know what the heck the OP is asking about - he said things like dialogue options, number of simultaneous quests, and upgrading equipment, all thrown together with customizing skills. These things are not equal or analogous. I don't think it's true that, given three choices of dialogue, one has to be best and the others sub-par, nor that you need a game guide to make the decision. At some point this conversation got shoehorned into some kind of in-depth character customization that is not exactly what the (admittedly vague) OP was about.
 

Frostorm

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It'd be nice if OP could chime in to clarify what he wanted to ask. I agree the current topics in this thread could potentially be broken up into several threads. The only common denominator is that they're player choices, which covers a vast array of things since, well, it's a game and that's kind of the point of a game.
 

Aesica

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This discussion is starting to reach pointless levels of "I'm right, no I'm right" so I'll just say this: Yes, there's always an optimal choice, even if the difference is small. Whether that difference is small or large depends on how well the game was designed, but it's always going to be there.

Again, presuming and generalizing. You're presuming that the information displayed when making your character build is not sufficient/intuitive enough to allow a player to make an informed decision without an external guide
In this kind of case, one has to generalize since I'm talking about a sum of personal gameplay experiences vs each individual game ever made on a case-by-case basis. Likewise, you're presuming that the game in question is giving you enough information to make an informed decision, especially from the perspective of a new player who has no idea what might be ahead.

Oh well, since I'm not going to persuade you that choice bloat isn't enjoyable, nor are you going to persuade me that it is, we should probably just move on.
 

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