How would you define a simple or difficult RPG?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by CWells, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. CWells

    CWells Storyteller/Artist Veteran

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    What must be met for you to determine whether a game is difficult or simple?

    When you are designing the game mechanics, how important are these things for you?
     
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  2. kerbonklin

    kerbonklin Hiatus King Veteran

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    My definition for 'Simple' would be

    • Low number of options to choose from
    • Not much strategy and critical thinking involved
    • Things that are easy to understand and adjust to.
    • Easy types of puzzles
    • Battlers that are just Attack/Skill-Attack/Heal
    'Difficult' would be the opposite of the above points.

    Doing things of Simple or Difficult is a great determination of how well a game can turn out. Mostly it depends on how it is implemented. Simple can sometimes be good, but most times it will bore players. You want to present players with unique mechanics that might be considered 'new' to most players, and something that is complex enough to be mastered over time. (whether mastering it involves physical or mental strengths, or both)
     
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  3. Marian Hurricane

    Marian Hurricane orz Veteran

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    For me, 'simple' would mean that most players wouldn't need instruction for the gameplay. Most of it would be straightforward (controls included) and require little or no explanation.

    For me, a game is 'difficult' if there is a constant fear of losing. If I'm worried that I might not be able to pull off a battle or solve a puzzle, if one wrong move can result in a game over.

    I find that I prefer 'simple' games are better when they're more difficult; if it's both simple and easy, things can get boring fast. I find that when difficult games are too complicated too quickly, it just becomes intimidating, rather than challenging.
     
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  4. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    Simple is not always the opposite of difficult if you ask me... 

    I agree with the points of Marian, as simple and difficult lies on different planes and can go side-by-side...

    take for example:

    A super straight-forward game, simple right?

    But then you have a super ultra hard boss fight in it, then it becomes difficult right? and it still keeps it's simplicity...

    To me another good idea of a simple RPG is those that all you have to do is to grind and then just mash the attack command and you'll already finish the game...
     
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  5. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    What makes a game 'difficult' for me is where the dev has not controlled complexity enough.  If there is a complex battle system plus a complex skill system, plus a complex class system, plus whatever other 'feature' the dev decided to put in, then I am going to be spending an awful lot of time just mastering how to play this thing, before I can even think of engaging with it.  Even if it's just one or two systems that are complex, unless it has been thought through carefully, then all I will be aware of is "this is complicated" and not "this is interesting".
     
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  6. Deep Thought

    Deep Thought Veteran Veteran

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    When it comes to complexity, I think my sig sums it up well: a complex game is one "in which everything is possible, but nothing of interest is easy."
     
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  7. kerbonklin

    kerbonklin Hiatus King Veteran

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    Gonna be honest, I totally disagree with Maxim 6.  If a player has that mentality then they're bad players. =/
     
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  8. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

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    Hm, I would also disagree with #6. If a developer creates their game using that mindset it'll only lead to dull dialogue and overall laziness when it comes to creating NPCs. That's actually one of the biggest problems I had with Skyrim. (Getting way off topic but whatever) if you compared an elder scrolls game from morrowind to the older ones the dialogue of NPCs was what made the games so immersive. This also goes for Planescape Torment for example, NPCs had literally tons of unique information and that's a big factor to why the game is such a masterpiece.

    I guess since I'm here I might as well put my two cents in for the topic, so, I pretty much agree with everyone else. I'm right on board with the whole simple and difficult aren't opposites. Also, difficulty isnt always linked to complexity. In my opinion, Dark Souls isn't a very complex game, yet to some it can be incredibly difficult, the same (in my opinion) would go for Ninja Gaiden or the Devil May Cry series.
     
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  9. Deep Thought

    Deep Thought Veteran Veteran

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    Off topic, I know, but bear with me:

    Maxim #6 is less a maxim, and more an observation that I made of my friends. They come from a "kill, maim, burn" tabletop RPG background, and they often ignore fluff in favor of crunchy action, even at the expense of learning about the wider world. "If the NPC doesn't help/hurt us directly, then the NPC is worthless," so their line of thinking goes. Therefore, on the occasion that I have to fill in for the GM, I tend to cut out the less important NPCs, for the sake of pragmatism and pacing. Perhaps I'll clarify Maxim 6 in my sig later.

    I can't say much more about the actual topic, so I'll sum it up with "Keep it simple, stupid."
     
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  10. Gilsev

    Gilsev Veteran Veteran

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    One thing I have noticed in this thread, is the use of complex and difficult interchangeably. This should be addressed, and I might as well do it.

    Complex game: Many elements that need to be learned by the player before they are able to interact with the whole game.

    Difficult game: Many elements that need to be mastered to complete the entire game.

    These two thoughts are not the same, regardless of how they are used. If you take a look outside RPGs, and look at an easy game that is very complex you can look at Magic: The Gathering. The barrier of entry of M:tG is quite low, not all cards or combos are intricate, and many decks can be built as "starter" decks. To master the game is very difficult, and can take massive investments to reach the high levels of play.

    The opposite of this is Go, where it is a simple game that is very hard. The rules are quite simple, and are under half a dozen in total, but has been played for centuries with an ever evolving set of tactics and strategies.

    Back to something on topic. A simple game is one that requires basic (or simple) use of strategy to win fights and progress through the game and succeed. This can be seen in games with Attack, Attack, Attack, Collect spoils. A difficult game requires forethought and planning in order to succeed in battles. This is not to say that there is nothing between these two points, as many games have proven in the past (Metroid, Super Mario Brothers, etc...)

    How much is the player supposed to innately know in order to succeed? How much is kept from them? How high of expectations are placed on the player for success? Would you be able to complete your game without having built it?
     
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  11. Erynn

    Erynn Villager Member

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    Gotta agree with maxim 6 actually. It lines up with my life rule 3; they're is always ONE.

    Some people just are in it for the game play elements and don't like the other stuff. I had a friend who got annoyed and refused to buy dragon age when he heard the was no multi player. Regardless of how one feels about the game, I have to think by large one can agree that if you're main concern in a story driven RPG is multi play, you are in the wrong genre. A lot of action based people will also do this to rpgs. People vary in their game play goals.
     
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