AphoticAmaranth

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Personally I'm not a fan of having a party shared limit break gauge; I think it makes no sense that one person using a limit break would somehow prevent others from doing so.

I like having individual limit breaks. They help make combat less monotonous, and can be a good way of making each character unique. Just don't make them too overpowered.
 

StarCrunchRPG

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I was going to avoid this topic completely.

Anyway, When looking at limit break design in games, I guess It's generally based on preference. I tend to not worry too much about limit break, or just completely avoid it to keep my games from becoming a mess.
 

Milennin

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I would prefer their impact to not to be too huge, but also to be able to use them more frequently, rather than being that 1 move you save for the boss fight and use it to kill it swiftly to circumvent its mechanics. In a more traditional RPG, make them useful for taking out the occasional big regular enemy, or to clear a large group at once. In games with more advanced combat mechanics, give them a strategic use so it does more than just deal big damage.

I agree. My biggest issue with Hollow Knight and games like it is this very thing. "I figured out the boss pattern 12 hits ago... why do I still hafta land 70 more hits to win?" The danger is just in falling asleep at the wheel, rather than it being any challenge. Makes the gameplay very... BORING. Makes bosses FRUSTRATING.

Completely missing the point. Being able to land a hit doesn't entitle you to a victory. Any low skilled player can get a couple of lucky hits in on a boss and claim they mastered it if that's what it took.
There are people who burst down these bosses within seconds, using all of the tools and mechanics at their disposal. If you're taking so long that you're falling asleep, then that's a you issue, not a game issue. So what if you can dodge all their 10 attack patterns and hit them once during one of those attacks? Try hitting them one extra time during their pattern and you've already doubled your killing rate. Punish them after every attack they do. Good, now you're killing it 20x faster than you did before. Are you using all of the game's abilities to the fullest? If yes, you're probably killing them 40x faster at this rate.

A game like Hollow Knight rewards being good at the game by letting you kill stuff fast without flat out preventing bad players from progressing in it. Instead of punishing bad players with a Game Over screen, they're made to spend a lot more time in the boss room having to patiently wait for the only openings they can manage to get an attack in on the boss. This is a subtle way of the game telling you to get good without straight up saying it to your face.

You can pull off the same in a turn-based RPG. Allow for slow and safe strategies to be viable in clearing the game. People who don't want to try harder than they should still get to experience the game that way, they're just gonna have to be a lot more patient.
 

Tai_MT

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Completely missing the point. Being able to land a hit doesn't entitle you to a victory. Any low skilled player can get a couple of lucky hits in on a boss and claim they mastered it if that's what it took.

Yeah, you go ahead and tell that to about half the bosses where you're REQUIRED to basically sit around and wait to get hits in or spend like 30 seconds at a time dodging so you GET A CHANCE to attack.

I'm impatient by nature with such games. It's how I "got good" with Dark Souls (in basically a few hours... to the point of rendering the game boring by the time I rang the second bell). Getting in as many hits as possible is sort of my main shtick. I don't want to sit here for like 3 years being patient. I want the boss dead as quickly as possible because repeating the pattern more than 3 times is utterly boring.

And pointless.

There are people who burst down these bosses within seconds, using all of the tools and mechanics at their disposal. If you're taking so long that you're falling asleep, then that's a you issue, not a game issue. So what if you can dodge all their 10 attack patterns and hit them once during one of those attacks? Try hitting them one extra time during their pattern and you've already doubled your killing rate. Punish them after every attack they do. Good, now you're killing it 20x faster than you did before. Are you using all of the game's abilities to the fullest? If yes, you're probably killing them 40x faster at this rate.

No, it's a game issue. All that would be required is for the game developers to communicate to the player the level of mastery you're trying to ascribe the game has (which it doesn't, but thanks for playing anyway).

I have this exact same issue with Raids in MMOs.

Here's how you speed this process up for players like me who don't want to sit here and land 100+ hits on an enemy and sit through this same attack pattern 12+ times and fall asleep:

If I don't get for a while... the boss takes LESS HITS to kill. Or, if I land a specific amount of hits (less than the total) AND don't get hit within a set amount of "cycles" of the attack pattern... I win the fight.

It's so simple and easy to fix and not have to resort to, that it's utterly absurd for anyone to defend the practice of "hit sponges".

A game like Hollow Knight rewards being good at the game by letting you kill stuff fast without flat out preventing bad players from progressing in it. Instead of punishing bad players with a Game Over screen, they're made to spend a lot more time in the boss room having to patiently wait for the only openings they can manage to get an attack in on the boss. This is a subtle way of the game telling you to get good without straight up saying it to your face.

That's a nice fantasy you got there. That's not what the game communicates at all. By and large, the game communicates "don't get hit, because there aren't typically opportunities to heal up".

Any good dev will tell you, "You don't punish players who are playing well, with tedium."

Players of any and every skill level will optimize the fun out of your game. It's your job as a dev to ensure there is no "boring gameplay". That is to say... you don't punish players by making your game boring.

This is what is called a "quit point".

If your game is boring... your players quit. They aren't going to stick around and attempt to keep playing or "git gud" like you imply Hollow Knight is attempting to do (it's not, and if it is, then you've just admitted the game is WORSE DESIGNED than I ever implied, because it doesn't even accomplish the goal you've ascribed it to be reaching for!).

Can you imagine a WORSE endorsement for a game than, "It's only fun if you get really skilled at playing it". Well, why isn't it fun NOW? I have to put forth a bunch of effort to "find the fun"? Several playthroughs in? With wiki reading? And YouTube research? REALLY?

Why isn't the game fun NOW?

Also, no, the game punishes you with Game Over Screens. A lot. And then makes you do "corpse runs", which are also not that fun. Or interesting. But are fairly tedious. Especially since the benches are placed so far away that the run back to a boss can be upwards of MINUTES of gameplay.

Hollow Knight punishes you for making mistakes in the game by taking damage. Take enough damage, you die. Then you're punished for dying by having to trek back to your corpse and the boss, taking upwards of several minutes at a time, and unable to stockpile healing along the way (or much healing). THEN, if you get good enough at the boss that you no longer get hit and die... THEN you "get punished" by having the fight last a really long time and be very boring.

Look man, I ain't a masochist. The game just told me THREE TIMES to not get hit. It told me to memorize attack patterns to avoid death. It told me to avoid death because now I'm suddenly fighting from a weakened position if I die AND I get to waste my time coming back to this boss to start the fight all over again. THEN it tells me it isn't happy with wasting my time ENOUGH and "doing good enough to not die" is rewarded with "this is super tedious", which tells me, as a player, "I'm going to beat this boss the first time, take no chances, because I'm not going to sit here and do this corpse run another 50 times trying to edge out extra hits."

It is more economical as a new player to "play safe" and kill the boss in as few runs as possible (thus, faster), or to make an excessive amount of runs in order to figure out a way to "kill the boss as quickly as possible"?

Keep in mind, most players aren't going to play your game twice. Most players are a "one and done", and they move on.

At that point, it has nothing to do with "bad players" and everything to do with "bad design and what it is communicating to the player".

Also keep in mind that the amount of players who "chase mastery" like you're describing here is probably only about 2% of the player base in any given genre of game.

You can pull off the same in a turn-based RPG. Allow for slow and safe strategies to be viable in clearing the game. People who don't want to try harder than they should still get to experience the game that way, they're just gonna have to be a lot more patient.

Yeah, I don't ascribe to that sort of design. I'd rather people have fun with my game. I don't want to punish people by making them bored and hate my game. That seems... silly. I'd rather reward all "correct play" so that EVERYONE can have fun. Rather than, you know... the 2% of people who chase mastery and are going to play again while everyone else moves on.

And this is coming from someone who has been painstakingly constructing a combat system to do just that. To reward all players who are "playing correctly". Such that, even if you're not playing "optimally", you can still win combat very quickly.

It's why I adopted the "4 hits to kill an enemy if they are new to you and 1 to kill if you encountered them before". It's why my bosses don't usually take more than 40 to 50 actions to put down (10-12 rounds).

It's why my combat is designed to "tilt" rather than allow a lot of leeway. By "tilt", I mean that players can make a couple mistakes very easily and recover from those mistakes without issue. But too many mistakes in a short amount of time is a loss. So, when you're doing poorly, you lose quickly. Then, when you're doing decent, you win quickly. When you "play very well", you lose basically no resources in your attempts.

See, skill mastery results in needing to spend less money for healing items, results in you having mor HP and MP to work with so you don't need to heal so often, and the ability to further "break" the game by being "overpowered".

Essentially, the design is, "players of base skill level and players of the highest skill level will beat the enemy in the same amount of turns. But, the higher skilled players will expect far fewer resources doing it."

There's a tangible reward for being skilled rather than a punishment for not being skilled.

And, really, you shouldn't be punishing your player for "not being the apex skill level possible". That's bad game design any way you slice it. Especially if that punishment is "I'm going to make you bored, so you no longer want to play my game".

I will never understand the mindset of "You need to waste a large chunk of time to be good at a game, AND THEN it's fun" as "acceptable".

I don't play games as a "test of honor", man. Most people don't. If it takes me less time to beat the boss once, despite playing very carefully to avoid all damage and taking no chances... I'd rather do that than waste a BUNCH OF TIME attempting the same boss... over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again just so I can figure out how to get more hits in. It's the difference between spending 5 minutes to beat a boss or the next 2 hours to beat the same boss.

One of these is simply not efficient. Especially when most of these games don't make compelling reasons to play them a second time for most players.

I'm just not into wasting a resource I will never obtain more of (time).

Five minutes of boredom measured against 2 hours of frustration.

Guess which one I'd pick every single day of the week?

tl;dr
Hit sponges are bad, no matter what context you're using them in. There is no sane justification for them. Not when you can remove them with better game design.
 

freakytapir

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Been playing a lot of FF XIV lately, and I've been thinking.

Why are limit breaks in most single player RPG's always damage?

I love the healer limit break in FF XIV, it's a full resurection and heal for the entire party. Can't one shot a boss with that.

Tank limit break? 80% damage reduction for the entire party ( and actually required in some battles).
I also love how sometimes they use this in the fight design.

During one of the final encounters, (Endsinger) There's a big telegraphed attack (Preparing to unmake creation in 10 ... 5 ... 4 ...) Where you have to use that limit break or everyone's dead.
All right, tank pops the LB. You survive at a sliver of health each.
Then she starts again. Your limit break is now spent. You know you're dead and then ... Well, wont spoil the ending, but I liked it that the almost never used tank limit break was so important in that fight.

It's also why I loved Aeris as a party member in ff VII. Free heals as a limit break.

But then I got to thinking, what other limit breaks could you do?
Give superbuffed status to the entire party? (Haste, Shield, Protect, Attack up, ...) in one go?
A cripling debuff that triples damage against the boss?
A rogue limit break that makes every enemy bleed gold?
Invulnerability for three rounds?
An undispellable damage reflection?
All attacks ignore resistances for a while?
All items suddenly affect the entire party?
 

RCXGaming

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Been playing a lot of FF XIV lately, and I've been thinking.

Why are limit breaks in most single player RPG's always damage?

Damage is the easiest cheap out answer for this kind of thing and creativity is hard to come by. I dunno what to say to you.

I love the healer limit break in FF XIV, it's a full resurection and heal for the entire party. Can't one shot a boss with that.

In the Gameboy Advance version of Lunar Silver Story, they introduced a limit break system and one of your party members had a "makes everyone invincible for 3 turns" limit break. It was pretty sick.

But then I got to thinking, what other limit breaks could you do?
Give superbuffed status to the entire party? (Haste, Shield, Protect, Attack up, ...) in one go?
A cripling debuff that triples damage against the boss?
A rogue limit break that makes every enemy bleed gold?
Invulnerability for three rounds?
An undispellable damage reflection?
All attacks ignore resistances for a while?
All items suddenly affect the entire party?

(Oh wow you mentioned it here)

These are all fantastic answers, so don't mind me if I take some notes... :kaohi:

Honestly Limit Breaks should be viewed as just another tool in the kit to be used, and reflect the person using them if each one is unique. Heals, debuffs, shields, some weird attack that doesn't fit normal spell/technique archetypes, etc.
 

Willibab

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In the Gameboy Advance version of Lunar Silver Story, they introduced a limit break system and one of your party members had a "makes everyone invincible for 3 turns" limit break. It was pretty sick.

So does Aerith, Planet Protector :p

Guess some never get it though because.....Reasons :3

-----------------------------------------------------------------

My limit breaks are tied to weapons, you unlock more the higher your proficiency with the weapon becomes.

Each weapon starts with 3 limits, the command category only appears when you have 100 tp.

So the idea is that you choose one depending on the situation. They are not super powerful, but many have synergies.

So Bow starts with.

(1) Fire Volley: Hits all enemies, 50% chance to inflict burn.
(1) Snipe: Normal attack. +50% critical chance.
(1) Death Mark: Makes the target susceptible to critical hits.

Snipe is just something you can always use.
Fire Volley can synergize with Magus who will be able to wreck burned targets.
Spear also have
Twirl: Inflicts Wind damage based on ATK and MAG. If target is inflicted by burn, it will spread to all enemies. (Just need to check if that is even possible xD)
Death Mark synergizes with Dagger's Backstab limit which does 300% more critical damage.

Have a Materia system on top of this, there might be some additional synergies there.
 

Milennin

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Yeah, you go ahead and tell that to about half the bosses where you're REQUIRED to basically sit around and wait to get hits in or spend like 30 seconds at a time dodging so you GET A CHANCE to attack.

I'm impatient by nature with such games. It's how I "got good" with Dark Souls (in basically a few hours... to the point of rendering the game boring by the time I rang the second bell). Getting in as many hits as possible is sort of my main shtick. I don't want to sit here for like 3 years being patient. I want the boss dead as quickly as possible because repeating the pattern more than 3 times is utterly boring.

All I'm seeing is a player who wants bosses to be a punching bag that sits still and does nothing but die within seconds so they don't bore players suffering from severe ADHD.

No, it's a game issue. All that would be required is for the game developers to communicate to the player the level of mastery you're trying to ascribe the game has (which it doesn't, but thanks for playing anyway).

I have this exact same issue with Raids in MMOs.

Here's how you speed this process up for players like me who don't want to sit here and land 100+ hits on an enemy and sit through this same attack pattern 12+ times and fall asleep:

If I don't get for a while... the boss takes LESS HITS to kill. Or, if I land a specific amount of hits (less than the total) AND don't get hit within a set amount of "cycles" of the attack pattern... I win the fight.

It's so simple and easy to fix and not have to resort to, that it's utterly absurd for anyone to defend the practice of "hit sponges".

Because MMO's are about team coordination, more than they are about individual skill. And same rules apply there as to a lot of single-player game bosses: consistent performance across multiple rotations over perfect inputs across a single rotation. That is to prevent getting lucky wins where you win just because you spammed your buttons in exactly the right order to beat the boss down in 4 seconds. You're not gonna succeed doing that if the boss takes 5 times as much to beat.

Hollow Knight punishes you for making mistakes in the game by taking damage. Take enough damage, you die. Then you're punished for dying by having to trek back to your corpse and the boss, taking upwards of several minutes at a time, and unable to stockpile healing along the way (or much healing). THEN, if you get good enough at the boss that you no longer get hit and die... THEN you "get punished" by having the fight last a really long time and be very boring.

It only lasts a long time if you're bad at the game, or have zero patience and a single second constitutes a long time to you. As stated in my previous post, there are skilled players who burst down bosses without having to """waste their time""" not getting hit and sit through multiple rotations.
The only point I'll give you are the corpse runs. Not a huge fan of that, but it's not a deal breaker to me in a game that is overall fun to play.

Look man, I ain't a masochist. The game just told me THREE TIMES to not get hit. It told me to memorize attack patterns to avoid death. It told me to avoid death because now I'm suddenly fighting from a weakened position if I die AND I get to waste my time coming back to this boss to start the fight all over again. THEN it tells me it isn't happy with wasting my time ENOUGH and "doing good enough to not die" is rewarded with "this is super tedious", which tells me, as a player, "I'm going to beat this boss the first time, take no chances, because I'm not going to sit here and do this corpse run another 50 times trying to edge out extra hits."

It's only you who puts yourself in a lose/lose situation where you are bored when having to keep running back at the boss and also bored when accepting your skill ceiling and taking it slow and safe to avoid the run backs. The game allowing players of all skill levels (with a min. bar to include some semblance of challenge) to progress is good design, not bad. The better you are, the more aggressive you can be and the faster your clear speeds will be.
In fact, this is very similar to how the old school 2D Sonic games were as well. It's why modern gamers coming to these games are more likely to be disappointed with them because they aren't all about "going fast" as modern Sonic likes you to believe he is. You have to learn the level lay-outs and master the physics to earn speed in those games.

Yeah, I don't ascribe to that sort of design. I'd rather people have fun with my game. I don't want to punish people by making them bored and hate my game. That seems... silly. I'd rather reward all "correct play" so that EVERYONE can have fun. Rather than, you know... the 2% of people who chase mastery and are going to play again while everyone else moves on.

Thing is, most people don't hate a game because they die a couple of times on a boss fight or have to take it more slowly to beat it, as long as the game is fair about it and leaves room for the player to grow their abilities (either in stats or through skill). Most players don't get bored if they have to go through a few rotations in a boss fight. The popularity of Hollow Knight says enough about that.

And this is coming from someone who has been painstakingly constructing a combat system to do just that. To reward all players who are "playing correctly". Such that, even if you're not playing "optimally", you can still win combat very quickly.

It's why I adopted the "4 hits to kill an enemy if they are new to you and 1 to kill if you encountered them before". It's why my bosses don't usually take more than 40 to 50 actions to put down (10-12 rounds).

It's why my combat is designed to "tilt" rather than allow a lot of leeway. By "tilt", I mean that players can make a couple mistakes very easily and recover from those mistakes without issue. But too many mistakes in a short amount of time is a loss. So, when you're doing poorly, you lose quickly. Then, when you're doing decent, you win quickly. When you "play very well", you lose basically no resources in your attempts.

That's fine. Most people here make the games they want to see. Not what is necessarily the best or the most popular.
For RTP, I allow players to take different approaches, depending on what is comfortable to them. They can take it slower and safer if that's what they want, or try to clear encounters fast but at a higher risk of potentially dying (I've died plenty of times myself trying to rush through my encounters). Some situations may take either type of player out of that comfort zone, but the point still stands that I like to give players freedom to play how they want with both playstyles having their pros and cons.
But it's also a game that's best when it's played more than once because it rewards mastery of its systems. An average first-time player can take up to an hour or longer to beat it (assuming they don't die), while a veteran player can clear the game within 15 minutes. This is fun to me, so that's I went with. Not because it's the superior type of game, just because it's something I'd enjoy playing myself.

I will never understand the mindset of "You need to waste a large chunk of time to be good at a game, AND THEN it's fun" as "acceptable".

I don't play games as a "test of honor", man. Most people don't. If it takes me less time to beat the boss once, despite playing very carefully to avoid all damage and taking no chances... I'd rather do that than waste a BUNCH OF TIME attempting the same boss... over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again just so I can figure out how to get more hits in. It's the difference between spending 5 minutes to beat a boss or the next 2 hours to beat the same boss.

Because the process of mastery itself is fun, and is certainly not a waste of time. It's only a waste of time if you think it to be so. A game like Hollow Knight lets me choose what I am comfortable with risking. Do I think it's worth trying to be greedy to get extra hits in on the boss when it will probably get me killed faster? Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn't. Either way, I learn from those experiences and become better at the boss with every new attempt.

tl;dr
Hit sponges are bad, no matter what context you're using them in. There is no sane justification for them. Not when you can remove them with better game design.

Depends on the level of hit sponge we're talking about. A good boss needs enough HP to execute its mechanics and phases against the average player, and to feel like a real threat that requires paying attention to. It also needs enough HP to prevent players from beating it by simply getting a few lucky hits in. As for how long the fight needs to last depends on how much emphasis a game lies on player execution and their gameplay skill consistency.
 

Tai_MT

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All I'm seeing is a player who wants bosses to be a punching bag that sits still and does nothing but die within seconds so they don't bore players suffering from severe ADHD.

Actually, my entire post is against that. I want the bosses to STOP being punching bags. Hence, you know, the whole "can we not have a boss take 900 hits to defeat? I won this fight 3 rotations ago when I figured out how to not get hit and how to reliably do damage".

Because MMO's are about team coordination, more than they are about individual skill. And same rules apply there as to a lot of single-player game bosses: consistent performance across multiple rotations over perfect inputs across a single rotation. That is to prevent getting lucky wins where you win just because you spammed your buttons in exactly the right order to beat the boss down in 4 seconds. You're not gonna succeed doing that if the boss takes 5 times as much to beat.

I'm not sure how one "gets lucky" in a Raid to beat it. But, the issue I have with Raids is the repetition of them. They're fun to complete the first couple times, but then they quickly become boring slogs. The fun of them is in "learning" them. Not in the repetition of them. It's why I wish there were some way for the game to tell that you and your team were skilled enough with the content that you are just rewarded the rest of the stuff and you don't have to do it again. Unless you want to.

It only lasts a long time if you're bad at the game, or have zero patience and a single second constitutes a long time to you. As stated in my previous post, there are skilled players who burst down bosses without having to """waste their time""" not getting hit and sit through multiple rotations.
The only point I'll give you are the corpse runs. Not a huge fan of that, but it's not a deal breaker to me in a game that is overall fun to play.

I think I'm going to ask you to define "skilled players". Because if you're talking anyone who has played the game more than once, you're not talking about the vast majority of the players anymore. You're talking about a small group of gamers. A VERY small group.

Likewise, I'm not sure why you've adopted this stance of "If the player is bored, it's the fault of the player and isn't due to bad game design". I ascribe to the opposite. I ascribe to "it's the dev's job to make the game fun, and if they fail in that, it's their fault, not that of the player". After all, a player doesn't play a game to be bored with it. They play a game to have fun with it. So, you know, they go in EXPECTING the game to be fun.

It's only you who puts yourself in a lose/lose situation where you are bored when having to keep running back at the boss and also bored when accepting your skill ceiling and taking it slow and safe to avoid the run backs.

So this just reads as a "I'm better than you" reply rather than anything constructive. I'll just point out that just because someone is "good" at a game, doesn't mean that game has good design. It's sort of a silly assertion to make here.

I'm also not sure why you're less interested in talking about GAME DESIGN than you are talking about PLAYER SKILL.

Put simply, the game communicates to the player to avoid run backs as much as possible by heavily punishing them. The most efficient way almost every player does this is to "play safe". It differs from Dark Souls in that you aren't "depowered" by each death in the Dark Souls games. All you lose is your currency in that game. But in Hollow Knight, you are depowered as well. One game communicates to you that you can "die without consequence" and the other game communicates "you pay a heavy price for death".

Best I can tell, you're talking a group of people that is less than 1% of the entire playerbase in terms of "skill". And, honestly, it's a silly assertion to make when your argument is "less than 1% of the player base enjoys something, therefore, it's good!".

You'll have to explain to me your line of logic here.

The game allowing players of all skill levels (with a min. bar to include some semblance of challenge) to progress is good design, not bad. The better you are, the more aggressive you can be and the faster your clear speeds will be.

Allowing progression isn't the issue. How much fun that progression is, is the issue. The assertion you're making of "You can only have fun if you are skilled" is the same one crap devs make about their games. "It gets good 50 hours in! Stick with it that long! IT EVENTUALLY GETS GOOD! I PROMISE!". Yeah, no. Why isn't it good NOW? Why do I gotta wait? Surely you could just remove the boring bits and make it fun instead? Isn't that what good devs do?

Again, you'll need to explain to me your line of logic in here, because it's nonsensical.

In fact, this is very similar to how the old school 2D Sonic games were as well.

As someone who has played old school Sonic games... no, it's not similar at all. The first 2/3rds of those games basically allowed you "move very fast" even if you weren't good at the games. You can clear all of Green Hill Zone basically without effort or memorization due to the way the levels are constructed. When you get into areas where they force you to slow down and such... the game stops feeling good. It also never really takes more than a couple attempts at a level to get the player "speeding through it". Level design and enemy placement basically facilitate you "moving fast at all times".

It's why modern gamers coming to these games are more likely to be disappointed with them because they aren't all about "going fast" as modern Sonic likes you to believe he is. You have to learn the level lay-outs and master the physics to earn speed in those games.

The modern games have levels that literally play themselves. I'm not sure where you're pulling this assertion from, but it's incorrect. The modern sonic games aren't crap because "you can't go fast". In fact, you're often doing nothing except going fast. The modern sonic games tend to be crap because... they're crap. Bad level design, boring gameplay, plot created by 5 year olds, etcetera. You don't even really need to "memorize the levels" or even "master the gameplay". During the fast segments, there's pretty much zero challenge or even quick thinking at play, and during the segments where you have to "slow down", you receive much of the same. Issues with controls, not withststanding, of course.

Still, I'd love to see where you pulled this data and assertion from.

Thing is, most people don't hate a game because they die a couple of times on a boss fight or have to take it more slowly to beat it, as long as the game is fair about it and leaves room for the player to grow their abilities (either in stats or through skill). Most players don't get bored if they have to go through a few rotations in a boss fight. The popularity of Hollow Knight says enough about that.

They don't? Are you sure? Or are you just ascribing your own preferences to the rest of the world? Let me clue you in on something fun. I promise, you'll like this.

Go look at the achievement list for Hollow Knight.

On steam, LESS THAN HALF of players "Defeat the Soul Master". LESS THAN HALF. That means most players quit playing before then. 43.2% of all players of Hollow Knight on steam defeat the Soul Master. This is what... less than 10 hours into the game? You've already lost over half of your players before they hit the halfway point?

34.7% of players beat Hornet at Kingdom's Edge.

27.9% of players defeat The Collector.

Only 19.9% of all players who pick up Hollow Knight even finish the game in any capacity.

4.2% of all players are good enough to "speedrun" the game for the first speedrun achievement... which is just beating the game in under 10 hours.

3.5% of all players are good enough to 100% the game and beat it under 20 hours. That's it, a whopping 3.5%.

Those last two? Those are the "skilled" players you're talking about. The ones who can "burst down the bosses very quickly". A whopping 4.2% of the entire playerbase... who stuck around that long to get that skilled at the game and then complete it.

Compare this to the 204,000 reviews. This is the amount of people who WANTED to review the game, not all of them. Let's say almost all of them left a positive review. How many of them finished the game? Judging by the stats here, I'd say about 40,000 people even FINISHED the game.

This means most people left a review for the game WITHOUT EVEN FINISHING IT.

In fact, a good chunk of the reviews come from players who don't even have 20 hours on record.

From where I'm standing, most players drop out of playing the game from frustration or boredom (reviews are airing on the side of boredeom, at least the negative ones) before even hitting 10 hours deep into the game on their first run... and NEVER pick it up again.

Yeah, Hollow Knight is so great it loses over half it's players before even getting 10 hours deep.

No, what we've got here appears to be a very small and very loud minority of players who are fanatic about their game, rather than actual stats to back up that "it's a good game".

I mean, we are talking about less than 5% of the playerbase here. The other 80% of the playerbase don't even find the game fun enough to complete it ONCE.

There's an advantage to being someone like me. Someone who uses stats and figures and easily provable data to make their points. I don't tend to hold points of view without having things be easily provable or have data to support those points of view.

Though, there are times when I just assert something and admit that it's just my opinion and has no basis in provable data what-so-ever.

That's fine. Most people here make the games they want to see. Not what is necessarily the best or the most popular.

Part of "making the game you want to see" does also involve "making sure anyone who has opted to give the game a try finds the experience fun". But, that's part of managing your marketing and the expectations you put upon your players.

I really wouldn't call losing 50% of your players before they get 10 hours in a "success", nor losing 80% of your players before they even complete the game as "good design".

But, that's just me.

Because the process of mastery itself is fun, and is certainly not a waste of time. It's only a waste of time if you think it to be so.

It is fun to a whopping 4% of the playerbase. Which, that's fine. But, then, you really shouldn't market it to the other 96% of the players who would possibly want to play. And, if you market it only to such a small audience... it's really not going to be all that successful and/or popular.

So, you know, you decide what you want.

But, you also have to define "mastery" and the devs have to define to that player what "mastery" means as well.

For me, mastery is taking as few hits as possible and still winning. For some, mastery is "beating the game as quickly as possible". Still others define mastery as "the game is no longer difficult". Then, you get the people who are like, "Mastery means you know all the mechanics and numbers and exact info of everything in the game so that you can massively exploit everything!". I call these the "test of honor" players. They're playing for Honor and not much else. I've never been that passionate about anything in my life, so I don't understand it. I've never felt dedicating that much time and effort into anything was that worthwhile. But, we are talking about spending a resource you never get back. Time. I'd rather not spend my time on something that only gets me status amongst a small group of people... I'd rather spend my time improving the lives of people around me or my own life. But, that's just me.

Time is only wasted if you didn't have fun spending it. If some people find it fun to spend time in that way, more power to them. They just need to realize that there are very few people in the world wired that way.

A game like Hollow Knight lets me choose what I am comfortable with risking. Do I think it's worth trying to be greedy to get extra hits in on the boss when it will probably get me killed faster? Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn't. Either way, I learn from those experiences and become better at the boss with every new attempt.

That's the general idea... But, that's not really how it works in practice. From Software does it much better.

Depends on the level of hit sponge we're talking about. A good boss needs enough HP to execute its mechanics and phases against the average player, and to feel like a real threat that requires paying attention to. It also needs enough HP to prevent players from beating it by simply getting a few lucky hits in. As for how long the fight needs to last depends on how much emphasis a game lies on player execution and their gameplay skill consistency.

If you have to resort to a "hit sponge", then you're doing it wrong. Check previous posts in here. If you want the players to see and deal with all the mechanics, it is easily done WITHOUT a hit sponge. Hit sponges are basically the "lazy way" to design any boss. They are what happens when a dev has no idea how to design anything for skill or practicality and instead just rely on "more HP".

You know what's even MORE FUN?

The game punishes you for upgrading your Nail (sword). You have to land LESS HITS if you have an un-upgraded weapon! LOTS LESS! The game doesn't tell you this. Not at all. Nobody would even know it unless they grabbed the wiki.

Fun, right? A player does something to make fights take LESS TIME and the game devs are like, "Nah, now it takes LONGER!".

That's just devs not knowing how to design their bosses. It's basically "power scaling", which is what happens when a dev can't figure out how to properly balance something.

You don't need "more HP" to have a boss show off its mechanics. You just need basic "stalling tactics". Or, you know, to show off what the new stuff is that they do EARLY IN COMBAT and not be like, "Oh, they only do this at 50% HP!".

Basically, just design better bosses. If you're relying on high amounts of HP in order to "show off the mechanics", then you've failed. You've failed in balancing, you've failed in boss design, or in some other way. You've failed somewhere. Where, in particular? I don't know.

Hollow Knight basically fails in the "balancing" portion. They think "harder boss" just means "takes a ton of hits" rather than "requires some actual thought and skill to beat".

BTW, you should take a look at how many people have completed the vast majority of Elden Ring in comparison to Hollow Knight. You don't even see a drop to 50% of the playerbase until they hit Godfrey the First Lord. That's like... what... nearly 50 hours into the game? Maybe more? I mean, the most basic ending for Elden Ring has a whopping 25% of players obtain it. Malenia, one of the hardest bosses in the game is at 33% of players obtaining it.

Clearly, From Soft designs these games better. Higher retention rates. Frustration factors mitigated as much as possible. They try to make the game "fun" to as many playstyles as possible. Hollow Knight doesn't. One of these games relies on Hit Sponges. The other doesn't (you don't get Hit Sponges in Elden Ring unless you want them... so you play in a very suboptimal way to get them).
 

Milennin

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Actually, my entire post is against that. I want the bosses to STOP being punching bags. Hence, you know, the whole "can we not have a boss take 900 hits to defeat? I won this fight 3 rotations ago when I figured out how to not get hit and how to reliably do damage".

You've already stated you get bored if you have to wait before hitting a boss because evading their attacks means time "wasted" not hitting them. The only conclusion I take from that is that you just want the boss to do nothing at all so you can spam every attack on it without having to worry about getting hit or dying.

I'm not sure how one "gets lucky" in a Raid to beat it. But, the issue I have with Raids is the repetition of them. They're fun to complete the first couple times, but then they quickly become boring slogs. The fun of them is in "learning" them. Not in the repetition of them. It's why I wish there were some way for the game to tell that you and your team were skilled enough with the content that you are just rewarded the rest of the stuff and you don't have to do it again. Unless you want to.

I'm pretty sure you're smart enough to know MMO's are deliberately made to waste the player's time, because they want players to keep logging in regularly for years and not finish the game in a week and then stop playing because there's nothing left for them to do or get. And making players repeat content is the only way to achieve that because no developer studio on the planet is able to create content faster than players can burn through if you cut the grind or time gates. You can argue that's bad game design, but it works for the type of game it's trying to be.

I think I'm going to ask you to define "skilled players". Because if you're talking anyone who has played the game more than once, you're not talking about the vast majority of the players anymore. You're talking about a small group of gamers. A VERY small group.

Likewise, I'm not sure why you've adopted this stance of "If the player is bored, it's the fault of the player and isn't due to bad game design". I ascribe to the opposite. I ascribe to "it's the dev's job to make the game fun, and if they fail in that, it's their fault, not that of the player". After all, a player doesn't play a game to be bored with it. They play a game to have fun with it. So, you know, they go in EXPECTING the game to be fun.

While it is the job of the developers to make a fun game, fun is subjective in many ways. People like and dislike different things and for different reasons, making a game that is fun to everyone is an impossible task. Therefore, developers have to choose what kind of player they want to cater to. If you're playing a game that has a big fanbase and generates generally high player reviews and you still find it sucks, it might just be you and not the game.

So this just reads as a "I'm better than you" reply rather than anything constructive. I'll just point out that just because someone is "good" at a game, doesn't mean that game has good design. It's sort of a silly assertion to make here.

I'm also not sure why you're less interested in talking about GAME DESIGN than you are talking about PLAYER SKILL.

Your problems with Hollow Knight all seem based on skill issues. You get bored for having to run back to the boss room. Then just die less. You get bored having to wait for the bosses to do their attack. Then kill them before they can attack. You get bored having to fight them for multiple rotations. Then kill them before they finish their first rotation. None of these are impossible to pull off, it just requires more skill. And getting more skill requires either talent or practice, neither of which you have or are willing to put into the game. So then, what's there left to talk about?
I'll gladly talk game design, but it seems pointless to do so with someone who calls everything that doesn't 100% pull them into a game, conforms to their every wish and desire and gives them a non-stop mindblowing experience to be BAD GAME DESIGN. Is it so hard to just say a game isn't for you? Why does everything that puts you off in even the slightest have to be labelled as bad game design?

Put simply, the game communicates to the player to avoid run backs as much as possible by heavily punishing them. The most efficient way almost every player does this is to "play safe". It differs from Dark Souls in that you aren't "depowered" by each death in the Dark Souls games. All you lose is your currency in that game. But in Hollow Knight, you are depowered as well. One game communicates to you that you can "die without consequence" and the other game communicates "you pay a heavy price for death".

Different games with different rules. And also it's not like takes a lot of time or effort to fill up the heal gauge (whatever it was called in Hollow Knight). I'm probably an average player at best and there weren't any major roadblocks except for 2 endgame bosses that took me quite a long time to beat, which I have no problem admitting to. I don't remember heals not being returned upon death ever being an issue to me.

Allowing progression isn't the issue. How much fun that progression is, is the issue. The assertion you're making of "You can only have fun if you are skilled" is the same one crap devs make about their games. "It gets good 50 hours in! Stick with it that long! IT EVENTUALLY GETS GOOD! I PROMISE!". Yeah, no. Why isn't it good NOW? Why do I gotta wait? Surely you could just remove the boring bits and make it fun instead? Isn't that what good devs do?

Again, you'll need to explain to me your line of logic in here, because it's nonsensical.

You're the only one who "You can only have fun if you are skilled" would be applied to because most players don't mind having to learn to play a game and get better at it, and those who don't realise the game isn't for them and go play something else instead. As I said in my previous post, getting better and stronger is part of the fun with games, but if you don't agree with that, there are plenty of games that don't require you to practice to become good. I would never argue over "It gets good 50 hours in" because I never said anything like it.

As someone who has played old school Sonic games... no, it's not similar at all. The first 2/3rds of those games basically allowed you "move very fast" even if you weren't good at the games. You can clear all of Green Hill Zone basically without effort or memorization due to the way the levels are constructed. When you get into areas where they force you to slow down and such... the game stops feeling good. It also never really takes more than a couple attempts at a level to get the player "speeding through it". Level design and enemy placement basically facilitate you "moving fast at all times".

That's 100% false. There are many tricks a veteran player would know to use to generate or keep up their speed where a new player wouldn't. A new player might feel like they go fast at times, but if you tell me a new player has just as much as an easy time going fast as a veteran player, even in Green Hill Zone, then you're flat out lying.

The modern games have levels that literally play themselves. I'm not sure where you're pulling this assertion from, but it's incorrect. The modern sonic games aren't crap because "you can't go fast". In fact, you're often doing nothing except going fast. The modern sonic games tend to be crap because... they're crap. Bad level design, boring gameplay, plot created by 5 year olds, etcetera. You don't even really need to "memorize the levels" or even "master the gameplay". During the fast segments, there's pretty much zero challenge or even quick thinking at play, and during the segments where you have to "slow down", you receive much of the same. Issues with controls, not withststanding, of course.

What I was saying is that modern Sonic make gamers believe Sonic is about nothing but going fast, when it wasn't the case with the original 2D games. And yes, those are exactly the reasons the modern games suck.

They don't? Are you sure? Or are you just ascribing your own preferences to the rest of the world? Let me clue you in on something fun. I promise, you'll like this.

Go look at the achievement list for Hollow Knight.

On steam, LESS THAN HALF of players "Defeat the Soul Master". LESS THAN HALF. That means most players quit playing before then. 43.2% of all players of Hollow Knight on steam defeat the Soul Master. This is what... less than 10 hours into the game? You've already lost over half of your players before they hit the halfway point?

34.7% of players beat Hornet at Kingdom's Edge.

27.9% of players defeat The Collector.

Only 19.9% of all players who pick up Hollow Knight even finish the game in any capacity.

4.2% of all players are good enough to "speedrun" the game for the first speedrun achievement... which is just beating the game in under 10 hours.

3.5% of all players are good enough to 100% the game and beat it under 20 hours. That's it, a whopping 3.5%.

Those last two? Those are the "skilled" players you're talking about. The ones who can "burst down the bosses very quickly". A whopping 4.2% of the entire playerbase... who stuck around that long to get that skilled at the game and then complete it.

Compare this to the 204,000 reviews. This is the amount of people who WANTED to review the game, not all of them. Let's say almost all of them left a positive review. How many of them finished the game? Judging by the stats here, I'd say about 40,000 people even FINISHED the game.

This means most people left a review for the game WITHOUT EVEN FINISHING IT.

In fact, a good chunk of the reviews come from players who don't even have 20 hours on record.

From where I'm standing, most players drop out of playing the game from frustration or boredom (reviews are airing on the side of boredeom, at least the negative ones) before even hitting 10 hours deep into the game on their first run... and NEVER pick it up again.

Yeah, Hollow Knight is so great it loses over half it's players before even getting 10 hours deep.

This simply means a lot of people buy games on Steam sales and forget to get back to them. Which happens a lot more to lower priced games that go on sale frequently, which Hollow Knight would fall under.
I'm not sure why you're arguing reviews to prove your point. It says 'Overwhelmingly Positive' on both recent and all reviews for the game, meaning that the vast majority of the players enjoyed their time with the game. Whether they finished it or not doesn't even matter here. If they had a good time with it, that's what matters. It's possible some of them got stuck somewhere later on and decided it wasn't worth pushing on. If they still had a fun time playing the game up to that point where they didn't feel it was worth changing their review recommendation for, then what does it even matter?

But, you also have to define "mastery" and the devs have to define to that player what "mastery" means as well.

For me, mastery is taking as few hits as possible and still winning. For some, mastery is "beating the game as quickly as possible". Still others define mastery as "the game is no longer difficult". Then, you get the people who are like, "Mastery means you know all the mechanics and numbers and exact info of everything in the game so that you can massively exploit everything!". I call these the "test of honor" players. They're playing for Honor and not much else. I've never been that passionate about anything in my life, so I don't understand it. I've never felt dedicating that much time and effort into anything was that worthwhile. But, we are talking about spending a resource you never get back. Time. I'd rather not spend my time on something that only gets me status amongst a small group of people... I'd rather spend my time improving the lives of people around me or my own life. But, that's just me.

There are different levels of mastery. But for a normal player, I would say mastery is knowing all of the major mechanics and how to make the most of them to provide a relatively smooth gameplay experience, even if the game is otherwise considered pretty difficult. In Hollow Knight that would mean being able to beat all of the bosses on 1st try, or when dying exactly knowing why it happened and how to avoid it next time.
For a speedrunner or some record attempt, I would say mastery is knowing the game inside and out, including all bugs and exploits, knowing how to take full advantage of everything possible. This would mean being able to clear the complete game playing at a near flawless level at all times.

The game punishes you for upgrading your Nail (sword). You have to land LESS HITS if you have an un-upgraded weapon! LOTS LESS! The game doesn't tell you this. Not at all. Nobody would even know it unless they grabbed the wiki.

Fun, right? A player does something to make fights take LESS TIME and the game devs are like, "Nah, now it takes LONGER!".

That's just devs not knowing how to design their bosses. It's basically "power scaling", which is what happens when a dev can't figure out how to properly balance something.

That sounds like either a bug or an oversight, rather than bad game design. I went into the game blind, playing it at a casual level and never noticed anything like this. I had a good gameplay experience from beginning to end. A game doesn't need to be an absolute perfect, flawless masterpiece to be good. There are many levels in between a bad and a good game.

You don't need "more HP" to have a boss show off its mechanics. You just need basic "stalling tactics". Or, you know, to show off what the new stuff is that they do EARLY IN COMBAT and not be like, "Oh, they only do this at 50% HP!".

Basically, just design better bosses. If you're relying on high amounts of HP in order to "show off the mechanics", then you've failed. You've failed in balancing, you've failed in boss design, or in some other way. You've failed somewhere. Where, in particular? I don't know.

So your idea of a perfect boss fight is a boss that unloads everything it's programmed to do all at once the moment the player steps into the arena, the player then "only" has to perform Ultra Instinct to not get hit and kill the boss in exactly 1 hit in one swift motion. Am I glad you're not in any professional developer team that designs boss fights.

BTW, you should take a look at how many people have completed the vast majority of Elden Ring in comparison to Hollow Knight. You don't even see a drop to 50% of the playerbase until they hit Godfrey the First Lord. That's like... what... nearly 50 hours into the game? Maybe more? I mean, the most basic ending for Elden Ring has a whopping 25% of players obtain it. Malenia, one of the hardest bosses in the game is at 33% of players obtaining it.

Clearly, From Soft designs these games better. Higher retention rates. Frustration factors mitigated as much as possible. They try to make the game "fun" to as many playstyles as possible. Hollow Knight doesn't. One of these games relies on Hit Sponges. The other doesn't (you don't get Hit Sponges in Elden Ring unless you want them... so you play in a very suboptimal way to get them).

Not only are you comparing a big game studio release with decades of experience to a small indie title, Elden Ring is also a game sold at full price, generated tons of hype, already had a big established fanbase and is designed to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Of course a lot of people were going to play it to completion. It didn't have people buying it 75% off just to fill up their backlog, or players dipping their toes into a 2D indie experience and maybe finding out it wasn't for them after all (but not bad enough to leave a negative review).
I like both Hollow Knight and Elden Ring, they're both fun games in their own right, so I have no reason to pick sides for this one. But I also would never compare the two because they're so different on so many levels.
 

Tai_MT

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You've already stated you get bored if you have to wait before hitting a boss because evading their attacks means time "wasted" not hitting them. The only conclusion I take from that is that you just want the boss to do nothing at all so you can spam every attack on it without having to worry about getting hit or dying.

You actually missed the point here and pulled what I said out of context. What you're referencing is something I said in reply to you telling me to "just hit the boss more frequently to have less rotations to do!"

At which point I said, "Yeah, that's what I typically do because I don't want to do dozens of rotations." I basically highlighted that some games make that VERY DIFFICULT to do because you MUST dodge for upwards of 30 seconds or more and are unable to get hits in during that time, unless you want to eat a ton of damage.

I don't mind a 30 second wait between being able to attack, provided I don't have to land 900 or more hits on a boss to beat it. Can you imagine that? I would get bored landing 20 hits and then having to wait 30 seconds before landing 20 more, and rinsing and repeating until I've landed 900 hits?

You misread what I wrote, pulled it entirely out of context of the conversation we were having, and drew an incorrect conclusion based upon not paying attention.

I'm pretty sure you're smart enough to know MMO's are deliberately made to waste the player's time, because they want players to keep logging in regularly for years and not finish the game in a week and then stop playing because there's nothing left for them to do or get. And making players repeat content is the only way to achieve that because no developer studio on the planet is able to create content faster than players can burn through if you cut the grind or time gates. You can argue that's bad game design, but it works for the type of game it's trying to be.

Yes, I know why the design exists. But, I'm also smart enough to know that most people DON'T TACKLE this content because of this design either... which means it's a waste of time to design it in such a way. It'll "capture" a very small group of people for a while and everyone else just ignores it and plays something else anyway.

Smart devs know the reason people keep playing an MMO isn't really the content in most cases. It's the community. If you want to show off your gear and skill to your guild and friends in the game, you stick around to do the Raid stuff and keep showing up every week to do it. If you don't give a crap about that, because you don't form those connections in the game (and forming these connections in an MMO is increasingly rare), then the content is effectively meaningless.

Basically, the thing that worked in 1990, no longer really works. People have moved on and devs are slow on the uptake. Most of them can look at their own achievements for how many even BOTHER to complete Raids for how "useful" they are in player retention.

But, they ignore it. Because, you know... mindset stuck in 1990.

While it is the job of the developers to make a fun game, fun is subjective in many ways. People like and dislike different things and for different reasons, making a game that is fun to everyone is an impossible task. Therefore, developers have to choose what kind of player they want to cater to. If you're playing a game that has a big fanbase and generates generally high player reviews and you still find it sucks, it might just be you and not the game.

Incorrect. Fun isn't subjective. Fun is an emotional connection to an activity. It can be scientifically created very easily. It's why there's such a thing as "Psychology of the Player".

What is subjective is the methods EMPLOYED to achieve "fun". Not all players are interested in specific types of fun. It doesn't tick their emotional box.

Luckily for humanity... we're all basically living tropes. Easy to predict, easy to manipulate, and easy to get us to think we're having fun, even when we're actually not.

Also, luckily for game developers, they decide which player they're catering to based upon two things.
1. Genre of game.
2. Marketing of that game.

So, if the developer creates a First Person Shooter, they are going to draw the crowd looking for that experience. Then, if they advertise it as "The Dark Souls of Shooters", they'll draw the crowd of people who expect the game to be "difficult" and won't draw anyone else.

The downside is... if it utterly fails to deliver on the Shooter and Dark Souls aspects... then the dev has utterly failed to hit the mark.

A player engaging with a shooter expects the gunplay to feel good, the audio of the guns to be punchy to a specific degree, the hits to have some impact, the AI to not be stupid, and to just generally have some very fun and cool scenarios/levels to shoot their way through.

A player engaging with a Dark Souls type experience expects the game to require some skill and to feel "worth it" after they've overcome a challenge. They're probably also expecting some sort of system in which you "beat bosses".

So, if your Dark Souls First Person Shooter fails on these fronts... Then it's just a bad game. It isn't, "the game just isn't for you". It's "a bad game".

I tire of video game players making that excuse for their favorite games or even their own projects. "Well, it's just not a game for you!" As if these magic words suddenly transform a game of mediocre or bad quality to something good. It's the equivalent of saying, "Well, -I- like it!"

It's an utterly vapid argument no matter how you try to slice it.

You know what isn't a game for someone? If they picked up a game with certain expectations and the game was something entirely different. That's what that phrase is for. You know? The difference between Forza and Mariokart. "I wanted to play a racing game and everyone said Mariokart was a blast. I played the game, and all the items and stuff all over the track and weird obstacles just wasn't what I was looking for in a racing game. Mariokart just isn't for me."

That's the correct usage of that term.

"It just isn't a game for you" shouldn't be used to shift blame for bad design. Especially when complaints are made that point out the flaws of the game in comparison to what the player went in expecting due to the two reasons above. Genre and Marketing.

Your problems with Hollow Knight all seem based on skill issues.

Incorrect, but it's a nice deflection of the game's problems and having to keep from admitting there are any in a game you enjoy.

You get bored for having to run back to the boss room.

Yes, doing a tedious task is tedious. At work, they at least give me the courtesy of PAYING ME to do tedious tasks. Whereas with a game, I have to pay someone else to do the tedious task.

Not sure why you see someone who hates doing tedious things as "having a lack of skill".

I have no idea where you draw this line of logic from, but it's nonsensical in my opinion.

Then just die less.

Which I do, and then you spent several posts complaining to me about my "lack of skill" and "that's why you're bored with the game".

Look man, you don't get to have your cake and eat it too. Yes, that saying is stupid, but it still applies.

The main issue I have with Hollow Knight is that the easiest and QUICKEST way to "die less" to avoid the tediousness of the game mechanics...

It's to play safely. Go through dozens upon dozens upon dozens of rotations, getting bored, falling asleep at the wheel, and being annoyed at the hit sponges.

The game teaches you to be "risk adverse". So, I play "risk adverse". To avoid making a bajillion runs back to a boss when I can just safely beat it much quicker, despite how BORING that method is.

"Don't die as often" is such a silly thing to say on top of also saying, "take a bunch of risks so you can figure out how to burst the boss down quickly to avoid more rotations!"

Is it faster to make 40+ attempts on a boss, swapping charms, and strategies and such before figuring out how to "burst the boss down faster", or to make 6 attempts, play safely, and beat the boss without issue, but be bored doing so?

Do you do the tedious task of running back a bunch of times... or the tedious task of killing the boss as safely as possible to avoid the other tedious task?

Players optimize the fun out of your game, if you give them the chance.

You get bored having to wait for the bosses to do their attack.

Incorrect for reasons I've already explained. Please see above.

Then kill them before they can attack.

You don't get to have your cake and eat it too. "Hate making the tedious run backs to the boss room? Then die a whole bunch by attempting to attack them as much as possible!"

Er... wot, mate?

I'm amazed you can't see how contradictory that is.

Or are you just encouraging me to not play a game blind and to look up guides and strategies for every boss to "burst them down" on the first run? If so... that's a whole new can of "not fun" you're opening up.

You get bored having to fight them for multiple rotations.

Incorrect. I get bored having to fight them for EXCESSIVE rotations. 3-5 rotations generally isn't too bad. It's engaging enough to keep me in the game and feeling good about my skill. But when we start approaching 7+ rotations where I haven't gotten hit... it begins to feel tedious. It feels like, "Well, my victory is a foregone conclusion now, I just have to keep doing this monotonous task like a robot until the game decides I've earned it".

Again, my job at least PAYS ME to do monotonous tasks committed to muscle memory. I abhor video games that make ME PAY THEM to do these tasks. I have no desire to siphon the money I earned from doing a monotonous task into a game dev who is asking me to pay them to do a monotonous task. These game devs can just cut out the middle man and go work my job if they want that money for doing monotonous tasks.

On top of which, it's also just really bad design for a boss fight to go on so long when it's become a "foregone conclusion" that you're going to win.

Even Final Fantasy XIV realized this and as the boss gets weaker, they change the mechanics up to keep the fight interesting (the new thing they're doing is layering two moves overtop of each other to encourage higher levels of skill from their players. This isn't something Hollow Knight engages in at all).

Then kill them before they finish their first rotation.

Nobody in the world is skilled enough at any game to pull this off on their first run of it. Not unless they're heavily using YouTube and a Wiki to do so and riding on the backs of others who have already figured it out.

This statement only works if you're a person playing long after the release of the game (and not ON RELEASE).

Or, well, I guess it works for someone who has datamined the game too.

Or, maybe someone who is just really into figuring out how to kill a boss as quickly as possible and repeatedly resets after beating each boss to see if they can beat it even quicker.

But... well... these players are seeking very different things from their games, and the ones who are actually deriving "fun" from "killing on first rotation" are very few and far between.

None of these are impossible to pull off, it just requires more skill.

I like that you frequently use the word "skill" as a replacement for "use a wiki" or "get a guide from YouTube".

Is it really skill if you need to do these things? Is it really skill if you must make 10,000 mistakes to find the one way to do the thing you wanted to do?

I'd argue "probably not", since it's basically just memorization... which anyone can do.

And getting more skill requires either talent or practice, neither of which you have or are willing to put into the game. So then, what's there left to talk about?

Ah, the famous, "the game is only fun if you're skilled at it" line. The famous last resort of players trying to defend their games, but have no way to do so. The same argument as "It gets good 60 hours in!"

What if I were skilled at the game? If I came at you and said, "I have all the achievements in Hollow Knight" and then proceeded to launch into the same arguments about how and why it's boring, would that invalidate your entire argument?

It would?

Well then... not a very good argument, is it?

Seriously, we're not 10. Don't use the argument of "your points are not valid because you're not good at the game" as an argument.

It's frankly a silly argument to make.

A game isn't fun or boring based upon "how skilled" any player is. Some players derive their personal validation from "being as skilled as possible", but these people are few and far between. Most people derive this same personal validation from their real lives instead of video games.

So, your saying, "the game isn't fun to you because you're not skilled and aren't willing to become skilled" is the same as me telling you, "you don't enjoy work and your job because you're not skilled and aren't willing to put in the effort to become skilled enough at your job to be recognized".

Do you see how condescending that is?

The game has parts in it that aren't fun. Your refusal to debate those points doesn't make it suddenly fun.

I'll gladly talk game design, but it seems pointless to do so with someone who calls everything that doesn't 100% pull them into a game, conforms to their every wish and desire and gives them a non-stop mindblowing experience to be BAD GAME DESIGN.

I've not done that. Never done that. Never even insinuated that. I've been clear and concise with everything I've stated.

I even pulled ACTUAL FACTS into the game. Ones which you're ignoring because of what you're accusing me of.

Don't project upon me.

Your enjoyment of Hollow Knight doesn't mean it's got 100% flawless game design as you like to think.

Stop inserting your opinion in here and demanding it be considered "fact".

At least I went the extra mile to prove that I'm not the only one with this problem and that the type of player you're talking about is less than 5% of the playerbase. And, even further in that Elden Ring, which is also very difficult, has a much higher player retention rate despite being nearly 4x as long as Hollow Knight.

Is it so hard to just say a game isn't for you? Why does everything that puts you off in even the slightest have to be labelled as bad game design?

No. But, you operate under the assumption that "If a person doesn't like a game, it just isn't for them, it isn't ever that the game was designed badly".

I went into Hollow Knight with no expectations. I approached it upon its own terms and had fun for about 46 hours. Until every single boss became "hit sponge". Then, I quit playing out of boredom. I had fun with the game up until that point.

But, I hit the "quit point" and was just done with it. It does very well in the early game and suffers problems later as the devs decide that "harder boss" means "it takes a lot more hits to down" rather than "there's more actual skills you need to learn to win".

You know what game isn't for me?

League of Legends. I can see why people have fun with it. But, it's not my kind of game. That is a game that is not for me. Smite, on the other hand? That is a game for me, I enjoyed my time immensely with that MOBA.

The difference between "I didn't like the game because it was bad" and "I didn't like the game because it wasn't for me" is really easy to figure out. Here, I'll help you:

1. If you are doing everything the game taught you to do and you're not having fun... it's just not a game for you.
2. If you are doing everything the game taught you to do and this is actively making you frustrated or angry... it's bad game design.

Pretty simple, right?

The primary function of a game is to provide you fun. If it doesn't provide you fun, you don't play. If it provides anti-fun... namely... makes you HATE PLAYING IT... then it's doing something VERY WRONG in its design.

Different games with different rules. And also it's not like takes a lot of time or effort to fill up the heal gauge (whatever it was called in Hollow Knight).

Different rules doesn't mean they're equal. Nor does it even mean that one ruleset isn't better than the other. That's the difference between good design and bad design.

"Man, totalitarianism is totally great! It's just like democracy, except there are different rules!"

Seriously... can we get away from weird assertions designed to ignore the problems the game has?

I'm probably an average player at best and there weren't any major roadblocks except for 2 endgame bosses that took me quite a long time to beat, which I have no problem admitting to.

Yeah, I don't know my skill level with the game. I know that I simply grew bored of the boss grind. Usually figure out the boss in less than 10 attempts and then die by "attempting to get more hits in" (I was attempting to find the fun! because it was boring to play otherwise!) and then being annoyed by every single corpse run I had to make.

I never "got stuck" on bosses. I got, I think... 8 attempts into the Dream Nail fight of the wizard boss at the top of the tower and went, "Why am I even doing this? I'm not having fun anymore. This just feels tedious. I can beat this guy on my next attempt, no problem, but it's slow and it's boring. Or, I can attempt to get more hits in to speed this up, and possibly die, and then make the long run back up here to try again, which feels even worse than being bored out of my mind on a hit sponge".

I quit due to lack of fun. I didn't quit due to "lack of skill". Heck, Elden Ring has harder bosses and I stuck with that game a LOT longer (I'm currently quit like... at snow land? Mostly because I'm burned out from being 200 hours into the game).

I made it into Hollow Knight much further than most do. If it were a matter of "winning", then that's nothing more than having the persistence and drive to do so, not the skill.

I don't have the persistence and drive to complete the game, because the hit sponges don't make me feel skilled, they make me feel bored.

So, I guess at this point, we diverge. You had issues with bosses in the game... I didn't. A few runs of each boss taught me all their mechanics, and then it was just a matter of "being patient" enough to kill them.

Does that make me more skilled at this game than you? Sort of curious now.

I don't remember heals not being returned upon death ever being an issue to me.

Ah, your playstyle is different than mine, then. A lot of the heals not being returned to me is what "locked me" into having to return to the boss on every single run rather than "come back later". I guess you liked being "locked in" to beating the boss?

I'm not really a fan, but that's just me. I'm the sort that tends to go, "Okay, I'm not yet skilled enough to defeat this boss, let me go explore around a bit more and get my skill up on or my character's abilities up, so I can come back later and tackle them."

So, that "half of your heals are now gone" thing REALLY tended to hurt me. Or, rather, forced me into a playstyle of "keep bashing my head against a boss until it died". Which... I guess made me really good at not dying... but also forced the game to show me just how shallow and paperthin it was in terms of "developing player skill".

When a corpse run is mandatory, rather than optional, it tends to remove a lot more fun from the game... and reveal other issues within the game.

You're the only one who "You can only have fun if you are skilled" would be applied to because most players don't mind having to learn to play a game and get better at it, and those who don't realise the game isn't for them and go play something else instead.

Yeah, this doesn't apply to anyone. Not a single person on the planet. This phrase only applies to your defense of Hollow Knight and nothing else. I suspect you've used it before on other people who have criticized the game and I'm not the only one. It's too "well rehearsed" to be otherwise.

And hey, you're right... most players don't mind having to learn to play a game and get better at it! I'm one of those players!

Though, you've spent considerable time ignoring me and any point I've made in favor of making thinly veiled insults toward me as a player in order to justify bad game design in a game you're shilling for so hard that I am beginning to wonder if you're on the dev team.

But, what am I to think when even hard facts about the game and provable evidence are ignored and you just tell me, "Nah, the game isn't bad, you're bad at the game, so you think it's bad".

I get that you like Hollow Knight (or are what appears to be madly in love with it? Fanatic about it?).

Now, since we've established your undying loyalty to a game, game company, and devs, that don't give two craps whether you defend them or not... could we actually talk about the FLAWS in the game? Or are you incapable of that?

As I said in my previous post, getting better and stronger is part of the fun with games, but if you don't agree with that, there are plenty of games that don't require you to practice to become good. I would never argue over "It gets good 50 hours in" because I never said anything like it.

I do agree with that. I've stated as much several times in this conversation. You're operating under some weird fantasy world where the only people who dislike Hollow Knight Hit Sponge Bosses are "people not skilled at the game".

We haven't even established how good or bad at the game I even am. You haven't even defined what you consider "skill" beyond "use a wiki or look up guides to beat bosses as quickly as possible". At which point I go, "that's not skill, that's just doing what someone else told you to do... you're borrowing the abilities from someone else to copy them".

Skill tends to be learning something, then iterating on what you learned. Hollow Knight relies on "pattern recognition" rather than "iteration". So... less skill involved and more rote memorization. What passes for "skill" in the game is basically just being willing to experiment and die a bunch and replay the same content a ton of times to get a "quick win" on a boss. I don't really count that as skill... more just persistence, or "looking up a guide". Because there aren't a lot of people in the world willing to dedicate that much of their time to a video game rather than pursuits outside the home (career, family, friends, socializing, etcetera).

Also, yes, you've been REPEATEDLY making that argument to me. The one on the 50 hours. You're just couching it in, "Well, those bosses aren't fun unless you've gotten so skilled that you burst them down very quickly!" At which point I go, "So... how long until someone has gotten that skilled? One run of the game? Two? Several? How many hours of failed attempts at a boss?". Which means... you are literally saying, "the game doesn't get fun until X hours in!".

Just because you've tried to nuance the argument a little, doesn't mean it isn't the same argument.

That's 100% false. There are many tricks a veteran player would know to use to generate or keep up their speed where a new player wouldn't. A new player might feel like they go fast at times, but if you tell me a new player has just as much as an easy time going fast as a veteran player, even in Green Hill Zone, then you're flat out lying.

A veteran player? Uh... no.

I played Sonic 1 as a kid. I could easily beat Green Hill Zone by speeding through most of it. The level design of it basically ensures you'll do so, barring "having never touched a video game before".

As a child, I didn't own a SEGA, so I could only play at a friends' house. Even then, only when he would let me play it solo.

I could reliably make it to the third set of worlds in Sonic 1 at like... 10 or 11.

I picked up Sonic 1 and 2 again on Xbox some years later. Already an adult. 26 or so? I forget how old I was.

Yeah, "going fast" in Sonic 1 is so easy that I never had an issue with it. I didn't even lose my first life in the game until the underwater ruins thing where the game forces you to slow down. Otherwise, speed demon all the way through... ON MY FIRST ATTEMPT.

I'm not that skilled.

So yes, the game must be that easy.

Sonic 2... I spent less time with. I quit playing when I figured out that the achievement for the Chaos Emeralds wasn't going to be as "easy peasy" as it was in Sonic 1. But, the gameplay itself wasn't that hard either. Not difficult to go fast and keep going fast.

I didn't play much of Sonic 3... Didn't own a SEGA. What I did play lent itself to going fast and keep going fast all the time.

You know what my trick was?

Jump at the edge of every single cliff. That's it. You will basically maintain 100% speed in these first three games if you are always doing that. The devs basically only punish you not going fast. Spikes aren't really placed anywhere that going at full speed and jumping at the edge of a cliff will land you into them. But, these moves will land you on top of enemies to keep your speed up... or bounce you over other obstacles...

Veteran? Nah, just the willingness to keep holding right and jump at the edges of cliffs. Oh, and always go up if you can. Higher is better since you'll have to engage in less "lifts" and waiting around for them.

I haven't played a Sonic game beyond those 3. But, I've seen reviews and those have basically highlighted reasons I wouldn't play them.

Anyway, yeah. At 26 and a "new player" to Sonic 1 and 2... yeah... it's easy to go fast and keep going fast. The games are designed in a way to facilitate that without much thinking involved.

If we're talking "speedrunning", then I dunno what tricks are employed. But, "speedrunning" is more based in how long you can get away with cheating before someone catches you, rather than actual skill anyway. "Speedrunning" is basically "who can cheat without getting caught" competitions. So, you know... hard to take it seriously.

What I was saying is that modern Sonic make gamers believe Sonic is about nothing but going fast, when it wasn't the case with the original 2D games. And yes, those are exactly the reasons the modern games suck.

But... the oldschool sonic games were about nothing but going fast. The games stopped "feeling good" when you slowed way down and had to "trudge" along the level. It was subtle, but it was there. Sonic would VERY QUICKLY build up speed, and if you were doing "precision" anything, he felt sluggish and floaty. This was to nudge players into wanting to go fast all the time. It's why engagement drops off in the water levels where players have to stand on switches and slowly move. It's why those aren't "fun", but are instead "challenging". Players avoid water because it's slow. Players avoid stopping because it's slow. Doesn't feel good. The games make it VERY EASY to go fast, which is what is fun.

The criticism the new games get isn't really "you can't go fast". It's more like, "the gameplay is boring". Though, admittedly... since previous games made it easy to build up speed, built challenges around having that speed and punishing going less than the fastest you could... It does sort of track that the new games aren't "as good".

It is amusing to note here that you're like, "You needed to have skill to go fast and keep going fast! Veterans could do that!" and then in the next breath say, "People hate the new sonic games because they think it's all about going fast, and it was never about going fast in the original games!"

Just... what? Can you try harder not to contradict yourself, please?

This simply means a lot of people buy games on Steam sales and forget to get back to them.

This sounds like an excuse man. Show me the data you've got to support that. Especially when many other games that go on sale don't have that same retention issue.

Which happens a lot more to lower priced games that go on sale frequently, which Hollow Knight would fall under.

Does it go on sale? I have no idea. I bought mine full price. 3 times. Back before it got boring and I quit playing.

Still doesn't explain the vast majority of positive reviews being less than 20 hours long and those players not finished the game.

I'm not sure why you're arguing reviews to prove your point. It says 'Overwhelmingly Positive' on both recent and all reviews for the game, meaning that the vast majority of the players enjoyed their time with the game.

There's a reason it lists how many hours someone put into the game, man. A "positive review" isn't meaningful if the person has less than 1 hour into the game, is it? Or less than 10 hours? All you've got is a "positive first impression" at that point. Same with negative reviews. If someone posts a negative review and only played 3 hours... can you trust that review?

"Overwhelmingly Positive" is nothing more than marketing. I'm less inclined to trust "overwhelmingly positive" when the vast majority of reviews are "played for 5 hours" and consist entirely of two sentences that say "great game. I had fun."

The point being made is that these players don't stick around the game that long. They purchase it, play enough to get a good "first impression", leave a "positive" review, and then never touch the game again.

So, is that ACTUALLY a positive review? People who barely play at all, leave a positive review, and then never play again?

I don't think it is, but hey... some people take deep looks at data.

I'm not sure why you engage in "Confirmation Bias", but it's disconcerting. "Game I like has overwhelmingly positive reviews... ignore information related to discrediting those reviews!"

Whether they finished it or not doesn't even matter here.

Yes, it does.

If they had a good time with it, that's what matters.

Did they really have a good time?

What do you do about people who review bomb a game? Did they legitimately have a terrible time with the game? 2 hours played, and they left a negative review? Is the review more or less legitimate?

What about bots who push positive reviews? Are those legitimate reviews? Played the game for 2 hours, and it's a great game! Nope, that's not a bot at all! It's a legitimate review!

Stop engaging in Confirmation Bias.

It's possible some of them got stuck somewhere later on and decided it wasn't worth pushing on.

Possible they got stuck? Sure. Gave up from it? Sure.

The problem is that games like Dark Souls have higher retention rates and hours played. These games are a lot harder. They require more skill. More skill than Hollow Knight.

If a player no longer deems the game as "worth playing", then there's a reason for that. Dark Souls and even Elden Ring have proven that even making VERY DIFFICULT and VERY FRUSTRATING games can retain a lot of players. You know... provided you design the game well.

Hollow Knight, on the other hand... has proven that even with a game with moderate difficulty... you can quickly lose most of your players in less than 10 hours because it's not designed very well to retain the players.

Did they leave because they got stuck or got bored? Either way... isn't that a problem with the game design? Making players so frustrated that they never come back? Isn't that a design issue?

Isn't that why game companies with a ton of fans have "anti-frustration features" in their games? To keep players engaged and wanting to keep coming back despite being momentarily frustrated?

I mean... that's good game design. Retaining as many players as possible.

If they still had a fun time playing the game up to that point where they didn't feel it was worth changing their review recommendation for, then what does it even matter?

How many people ever change their reviews? Only the people truly angry, right? If someone gets bored of a game partway through and quits... do they REALLY go change their review?

I mean... no, they don't. We know this through basic human observation. The act of rewriting a review is time consuming.

Some people might even go, "Yeah, I got really frustrated later, so I quit playing, but everyone loves this game, and it's just not worth it to go rewrite my review".

Think about that. How often have YOU ever changed your review on a game? Gone through the motions to do it?

I'd wager 0. No times have you done that. Actually, how many games have you even written a review for in the first place? There aren't a lot of people that do that either.

You know what's really fun about Hollow Knight?

There's a recent review where the person said, "Great game!" and then at the top it says, "product refunded". Yeah, game was SO GREAT that they refunded the product.

There are different levels of mastery. But for a normal player, I would say mastery is knowing all of the major mechanics and how to make the most of them to provide a relatively smooth gameplay experience, even if the game is otherwise considered pretty difficult.

Yep, I did that... and it made the game boring. Hence my complaint. I reached that level of mastery and it made the game boring.

Remove hit sponges and it would be a lot more fun.

In Hollow Knight that would mean being able to beat all of the bosses on 1st try, or when dying exactly knowing why it happened and how to avoid it next time.

No, it wouldn't. I'm not going to get into all the reasons that's wrong since it's not important to this discussion.

For a speedrunner or some record attempt, I would say mastery is knowing the game inside and out, including all bugs and exploits, knowing how to take full advantage of everything possible. This would mean being able to clear the complete game playing at a near flawless level at all times.

Or just knowing how to fake the footage good enough that people don't figure it out. That's what pretty much all of speedrunning is. They need to know the exploits so that they can make it harder for people to detect their cheating at the record attempts.

Sorry, I find it difficult to take anyone seriously when they engage in "speedrunning". It's apparently never been impressive since all the people who have ever held the records are basically cheaters.

That sounds like either a bug or an oversight, rather than bad game design. I went into the game blind, playing it at a casual level and never noticed anything like this. I had a good gameplay experience from beginning to end. A game doesn't need to be an absolute perfect, flawless masterpiece to be good. There are many levels in between a bad and a good game.

It is neither a bug nor an oversight. It's well documented on the wiki and has been this way for years and has never been patched. It's very well known. The wiki even outlines how much damage each upgrade to the Nail provides and on each boss page, how many hits it takes to kill each boss with the upgrade. Most bosses scale to "more hits than without upgrades".

I only noticed it because I was whacking a boss for a while, got annoyed at how long it took, and then went to the wiki to see how many hits I need to land to kill it. I noticed the "breakdown" and went, "huh... so my next plan of getting a Nail Upgrade would've hurt me more, here."

It's intentionally designed that badly.

So your idea of a perfect boss fight is a boss that unloads everything it's programmed to do all at once the moment the player steps into the arena, the player then "only" has to perform Ultra Instinct to not get hit and kill the boss in exactly 1 hit in one swift motion. Am I glad you're not in any professional developer team that designs boss fights.

Nope, didn't say anything like that. Who the heck designs a boss to do that? Why are you engaging in hyperbole?

All I said was that if you want the player to see the mechanics... then you put those into the fight as quickly as possible.

If you want specifics... you put the NEW mechanics into the fight as soon as possible. You don't make the player wait until "boss has half health" to do it. You don't make a player wait until 6 rotations in or whatever. Player is already familiar with old mechanics. Old mechanics can be ditched or iterated on. If you want the old mechanics present, then you put them AFTER the new mechanics.

Putting the new mechanics into the fight as quickly as possible does a few things.
1. Player gets to operate under the illusion that there's always something new to be learning.
2. Player will ALWAYS see the new mechanics, no matter how overpowered they are.
3. Dev doesn't need to engage in "hit sponges" for bosses.
4. Dev will naturally move a LOT of mechanics in order to just showcase a COUPLE mechanics, which makes the fights more concise and enjoyable.

I'm not sure where you get this idea of "the boss showing you all its new mechanics at the beginning of the fight" is the equivalent of dropping several damage spikes on a player... but the assertion is frankly ridiculous.

Not only are you comparing a big game studio release with decades of experience to a small indie title, Elden Ring is also a game sold at full price, generated tons of hype, already had a big established fanbase and is designed to appeal to a more mainstream audience.

Correlation is not Causation. Don't confuse the two.

I'm sorry, but unless you can present evidence of a vast majority of players going, "It's made by a AAA studio, so I must complete the entire game!" or "It has a large fanbase, so I must complete the entire game!", your argument here holds no water.

Of course a lot of people were going to play it to completion.

Were they? You sure about that? I've never seen any evidence in the game industry for that in the entire 37 years I've been alive. Show me some proof and we'll talk. Otherwise, it's a baseless assertion.

It didn't have people buying it 75% off just to fill up their backlog, or players dipping their toes into a 2D indie experience and maybe finding out it wasn't for them after all (but not bad enough to leave a negative review).
I like both Hollow Knight and Elden Ring, they're both fun games in their own right, so I have no reason to pick sides for this one. But I also would never compare the two because they're so different on so many levels.

Not sure where the argument for the backlog comes from, but it has no bearing on the current discussion what-so-ever. We can compare different game retentions if you like. Not like it's difficult to find Indie titles with better retention than Hollow Knight that "have sales".

Also, please get off the argument that, "there's no such thing as a bad game, only games not designed for the player in mind". There are bad games. There is bad game design. Stop conflating "bad game" with "game that's just not for that player". These are two different things.

I'm comparing Elden Ring because it is markedly longer (thus would naturally have a much harder time with player retention) and also markedly more difficult (which would naturally have a much harder time with player retention). But, it doesn't suffer from the same player retention issue.

You know, picking an extreme side of the scale to illustrate my point.
 

Milennin

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You actually missed the point here and pulled what I said out of context. What you're referencing is something I said in reply to you telling me to "just hit the boss more frequently to have less rotations to do!"

At which point I said, "Yeah, that's what I typically do because I don't want to do dozens of rotations." I basically highlighted that some games make that VERY DIFFICULT to do because you MUST dodge for upwards of 30 seconds or more and are unable to get hits in during that time, unless you want to eat a ton of damage.

I don't remember going 30+ seconds without a chance of hitting the boss safely, unless I was observing their patterns or trying to find a good time to heal up instead. But I've also never felt any of the bosses were hit sponges to such a degree it started to bore me.

Incorrect. Fun isn't subjective. Fun is an emotional connection to an activity. It can be scientifically created very easily. It's why there's such a thing as "Psychology of the Player".

What is subjective is the methods EMPLOYED to achieve "fun". Not all players are interested in specific types of fun. It doesn't tick their emotional box.

Same thing to me. Not gonna argue over something meaningless. If 2 players are playing the same game that's designed to be fun and 1 thinks it's good and the other one thinks it sucks, then clearly there's something subjective going on.

Even Final Fantasy XIV realized this and as the boss gets weaker, they change the mechanics up to keep the fight interesting (the new thing they're doing is layering two moves overtop of each other to encourage higher levels of skill from their players. This isn't something Hollow Knight engages in at all).

It does, though. Maybe not every boss, but some do new stuff once they hit a certain HP threshold.

1. If you are doing everything the game taught you to do and you're not having fun... it's just not a game for you.
2. If you are doing everything the game taught you to do and this is actively making you frustrated or angry... it's bad game design.

Except that every person has different thresholds for feeling anger and frustration. Some people have the patience to die to a boss 50 times over and only feel motivated to keep going, while others get angry if they die again after the first couple of attempts.
Not everyone may take the same lessons a game tries to teach to their players, if it doesn't state them explicitly either.

Ah, the famous, "the game is only fun if you're skilled at it" line. The famous last resort of players trying to defend their games, but have no way to do so. The same argument as "It gets good 60 hours in!"

What if I were skilled at the game? If I came at you and said, "I have all the achievements in Hollow Knight" and then proceeded to launch into the same arguments about how and why it's boring, would that invalidate your entire argument?

In that case, your issues would lie elsewhere and not with how long bosses take to kill and how boring all the runbacks are, because a highly skilled player avoids every criticism you have about the game.

I get that you like Hollow Knight (or are what appears to be madly in love with it? Fanatic about it?).

Now, since we've established your undying loyalty to a game, game company, and devs, that don't give two craps whether you defend them or not... could we actually talk about the FLAWS in the game? Or are you incapable of that?

I'm not even a fan of Hollow Knight, lol. I just thought it was overall a good game, and that's it. I can find flaws in it, some things I may not have enjoyed as much, it doesn't mean I'd call it bad.

Your enjoyment of Hollow Knight doesn't mean it's got 100% flawless game design as you like to think.

I never said it is flawless, though. It's just not nearly as bad as you think it is, if we're using 'bad' as in being a general bad game and not just to you personally.

To determine whether a game is generally bad, one of the best ways to measure that is by checking the Steam reviews. Which we already did previously and concluded together that the game scores an Overwhelmingly Positive on both recent and all reviews. That, to me, as a potential customer is enough to feel confident about going into a game and having a pretty high chance I'm playing something that is actually good. It might end up being not for me, but I can't claim it's bad either if the vast majority of players liked it.

What do you do about people who review bomb a game? Did they legitimately have a terrible time with the game? 2 hours played, and they left a negative review? Is the review more or less legitimate?

What about bots who push positive reviews? Are those legitimate reviews? Played the game for 2 hours, and it's a great game! Nope, that's not a bot at all! It's a legitimate review!

Review bombs generally only happen if a big controversy is happening around the game or the studio making the game. Even if it may not say anything about the quality of the game itself, they can be seen as a red flag for potential customers.
Bots posting positive reviews should be easy to identify if they do it in large enough scale that it has a noticeable effect on the score. If a bad game is pushing up their review score using bots, they will get caught for that, and likely be mocked and ridiculed for it.

Neither of these happen frequently enough that it is a major factor in determining the quality of a game. A good game will always come out on top being viewed as a good game, and a bad game will always be seen as bad no matter how many positive review bots they may throw at its store page.

Jump at the edge of every single cliff. That's it. You will basically maintain 100% speed in these first three games if you are always doing that. The devs basically only punish you not going fast. Spikes aren't really placed anywhere that going at full speed and jumping at the edge of a cliff will land you into them. But, these moves will land you on top of enemies to keep your speed up... or bounce you over other obstacles...

Playing it as a newbie confirmed. You disproved your entire point with these games.

Sonic would VERY QUICKLY build up speed, and if you were doing "precision" anything, he felt sluggish and floaty.

I literally can't even.

It is amusing to note here that you're like, "You needed to have skill to go fast and keep going fast! Veterans could do that!" and then in the next breath say, "People hate the new sonic games because they think it's all about going fast, and it was never about going fast in the original games!"

Just... what? Can you try harder not to contradict yourself, please?

Lol, no. The old games had an exploration aspect for those who took it slow, and the exploration could lead into finding better routes to take on the next playthrough, or finding power-ups that could help out in later sections. It rewarded going slow as much as going fast. It also helped replayability in a time where kids didn't have access to new games at all times and may have been stuck playing the same game for months.
The new Sonic games don't do that because they copy paste boost pads in a line and the only way you can go is forward and going there fast.

Hollow Knight, on the other hand... has proven that even with a game with moderate difficulty... you can quickly lose most of your players in less than 10 hours because it's not designed very well to retain the players.

Did they leave because they got stuck or got bored? Either way... isn't that a problem with the game design? Making players so frustrated that they never come back? Isn't that a design issue?

Yeah, I'm certain Silksong will absolutely flop because nobody liked the first game enough to get the second game, ignoring the combined watch count across their multiple trailers on Youtube going into the multi millions with overwhelmingly positive like vs dislike ratios on all of them. Let's continue this conversation once Silksong comes out, because there's no way this franchise could possibly sell more copies after putting the terrible game they did with Hollow Knight, right?

There's a reason it lists how many hours someone put into the game, man. A "positive review" isn't meaningful if the person has less than 1 hour into the game, is it? Or less than 10 hours? All you've got is a "positive first impression" at that point. Same with negative reviews. If someone posts a negative review and only played 3 hours... can you trust that review?

"Overwhelmingly Positive" is nothing more than marketing. I'm less inclined to trust "overwhelmingly positive" when the vast majority of reviews are "played for 5 hours" and consist entirely of two sentences that say "great game. I had fun."

The point being made is that these players don't stick around the game that long. They purchase it, play enough to get a good "first impression", leave a "positive" review, and then never touch the game again.

So, is that ACTUALLY a positive review? People who barely play at all, leave a positive review, and then never play again?

I don't think it is, but hey... some people take deep looks at data.

I'm not sure why you engage in "Confirmation Bias", but it's disconcerting. "Game I like has overwhelmingly positive reviews... ignore information related to discrediting those reviews!"

On the front page alone, I see plenty of reviews for Hollow Knight with playtimes of 25+ hours, with a good number of those having played 50+ hours, which should be enough to finish the game in or at least play through the majority of it.

How the hell is 'Overwhelmingly Positive' marketing when it's literally just taking the total number of player reviews and their recommend vs. do not recommend ratio? An actual bad game with enough players reviewing it will never escape a 'Mixed' or worse overall review score on Steam.

But sure, call it confirmation bias all you want. I'm not making up the review scores for the game. I'm merely looking at the store page and liking what I see if I didn't know anything about the game and this is what I found. I would feel very confident about getting my money's worth.

Think about that. How often have YOU ever changed your review on a game? Gone through the motions to do it?

I'd wager 0. No times have you done that. Actually, how many games have you even written a review for in the first place? There aren't a lot of people that do that either.

I have, at least once, after an update I thought was bad. Out of my 17 total reviews posted.

You know what's really fun about Hollow Knight?

There's a recent review where the person said, "Great game!" and then at the top it says, "product refunded". Yeah, game was SO GREAT that they refunded the product.

Confirmation bias at its finest. Yeah, you can find fun, bad reviews about every game that is decently popular. It doesn't prove your point.

Nope, didn't say anything like that. Who the heck designs a boss to do that? Why are you engaging in hyperbole?

All I said was that if you want the player to see the mechanics... then you put those into the fight as quickly as possible.

If you want specifics... you put the NEW mechanics into the fight as soon as possible. You don't make the player wait until "boss has half health" to do it. You don't make a player wait until 6 rotations in or whatever. Player is already familiar with old mechanics. Old mechanics can be ditched or iterated on. If you want the old mechanics present, then you put them AFTER the new mechanics.

Putting the new mechanics into the fight as quickly as possible does a few things.
1. Player gets to operate under the illusion that there's always something new to be learning.
2. Player will ALWAYS see the new mechanics, no matter how overpowered they are.
3. Dev doesn't need to engage in "hit sponges" for bosses.
4. Dev will naturally move a LOT of mechanics in order to just showcase a COUPLE mechanics, which makes the fights more concise and enjoyable.

I'm not sure where you get this idea of "the boss showing you all its new mechanics at the beginning of the fight" is the equivalent of dropping several damage spikes on a player... but the assertion is frankly ridiculous.

I'm hyperboling because everything you write is blacks and whites. You don't seem to grasp the concept of something that could be mostly good, but it has these small flaws that make it a little less good. No, it's instantly bad to you the moment it's not absolutely perfect. There is no 'decent', 'OK', 'alright' to you. There is only 'good' and 'bad'.

Pros for x% HP stages:
-It's a clear, easy pattern for players to understand. They can prepare for it by looking at the boss HP. It helps planning ahead as they can stall if they feel if they aren't ready for the phase shift, or throw on buffs in preparation for it.
-It paces out the fight. Instead of a player having to learn every mechanic a boss has in the first couple of turns, they are introduced to them step by step. It allows for more complex fights without overwhelming the player.
-It allows players to recover in between phases. Let's say a boss has a strong nuke right off the bat. Instead of dropping another one turn 2, the next one drops at 50% HP, so the player has time to recover.
-Creates spikes of tension. Every time the boss does something because it hits a HP threshold, the tension rises and has the player deal with it for the following turns in which the tension lowers when they become familiar with whatever the boss was doing during the threshold.

I'm sorry, but unless you can present evidence of a vast majority of players going, "It's made by a AAA studio, so I must complete the entire game!" or "It has a large fanbase, so I must complete the entire game!", your argument here holds no water.

It's basic common sense. If I pay $60 I'm more likely to try to get my money's worth out of it than if I paid $15 for it.
If everyone in the communities I regularly visit is talking about this new awesome game that just came out, I'm more likely to be playing it. A game I can't talk about with others, much less likely so. In some cases, the social aspect is just as important as the quality of the game itself. And the community is at its strongest when a game has just released. Basic common sense.

Were they? You sure about that? I've never seen any evidence in the game industry for that in the entire 37 years I've been alive. Show me some proof and we'll talk. Otherwise, it's a baseless assertion.

Again, basic common sense. A studio with a large established fanbase releases a good game that gives their fans more of the same has no reason for people to be buying it and then not finishing it.

Also, please get off the argument that, "there's no such thing as a bad game, only games not designed for the player in mind". There are bad games. There is bad game design. Stop conflating "bad game" with "game that's just not for that player". These are two different things.

Bad games are games with overall low scoring player reviews and low popularity amongst the community that would normally be interested in that type of game.
"A game just not for that player" is a game not enjoyable to that player, regardless of how well it's received by the rest of the playerbase.

Bad game design is harder to identify because it's a smaller piece of a whole game. A good game can have bad game design elements in it. Just not enough of it to outweigh all the positives it has going for it. You would have to dive into a game's community and read conversation to see what people are thinking about a certain design choice to determine whether it was good or bad. If the majority of players criticise it, wishing it was done better, then yeah, you can call it bad game design.
However, if you happen to dislike it but mostly everyone else in the playerbase has no issue with it or even praises it, then it's just you. Not the design choice the developers went with.
 
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Tai_MT

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I don't remember going 30+ seconds without a chance of hitting the boss safely, unless I was observing their patterns or trying to find a good time to heal up instead. But I've also never felt any of the bosses were hit sponges to such a degree it started to bore me.

You really like taking things out of their original context and trying to use them in your own ways, don't you? Man, if you can't pay attention during a conversation, then let's not have one, okay?

For reference, the 30 seconds statement had nothing to do with Hollow Knight at all in its original context. For some reason, you decided it applies to Hollow Knight at this moment.

Hollow Knight tends to have 10 second spaces or so in most of the "hardest" fights. They're not excessive until you start getting into how many rotations you have to deal with them.

Same thing to me. Not gonna argue over something meaningless. If 2 players are playing the same game that's designed to be fun and 1 thinks it's good and the other one thinks it sucks, then clearly there's something subjective going on.

It worries me that you don't know anything about the Psychology of Players.

You know the most interesting part about such a thing? Two players can find the same thing fun for different reasons. Fun isn't subjective, the methods to achieve it can be.

The difference is that you know the absolute methods to make X sort of player have fun. X sort of player needs to form Y emotional connection to be having fun. So, you need to design Z method to achieve Y emotional connection to please X player.

It's pretty fascinating stuff.

All the dev needs to do is understand at which point and how players form an emotional connection to a game, and then just tick that box.

It's basically learning how to manipulate people, and once you know how to do that... you realize that there's really only so many personalities to go around in the world, and we're a bunch of walking tropes. Easily broken down into generalizations and easily pleased.

It does, though. Maybe not every boss, but some do new stuff once they hit a certain HP threshold.

Not many, and it's usually not anything that requires "skill" so much as "memorization". I don't like robotic play. If all I have to do to win is memorize something, then it's not fun. If I have to have actual skill though... different story.

Memorization is why "going through more than X rotations" is boring. It's boring because it's a slog. A grind. It's turning your brain off. It's deprivation of an emotional connection to the activity.

Except that every person has different thresholds for feeling anger and frustration. Some people have the patience to die to a boss 50 times over and only feel motivated to keep going, while others get angry if they die again after the first couple of attempts.

And it's the job of the game dev to know this and know how to retain players without frustrating them and angering them. Or, at least, the vast majority of them. If they dev doesn't know how to do this and can't do it... they're a bad dev who created a bad game.

Pretty simple to just hold devs accountable to what they're supposed to know and do, right?

Not everyone may take the same lessons a game tries to teach to their players, if it doesn't state them explicitly either.

This is why playtesting is extremely important and all devs should be doing it. It's also why all devs should know how to signpost correctly. Another science of game design that's basically required to create a good game.

If you can't teach the vast majority of your players the same lesson, then you've failed as a dev and you're crap at the job.

Again, there are entire tracts of books on such subjects. Lots of study into it. Sciences based around it. Which means that players are wired specific ways psychologically and it's decently easy to manipulate them into doing what you want and getting what you want out of them.

If you don't know how to do that as a dev, then you're pretty crap as a dev.

In that case, your issues would lie elsewhere and not with how long bosses take to kill and how boring all the runbacks are, because a highly skilled player avoids every criticism you have about the game.

4% of players avoid all the criticism against the game I've leveled... the other 96% don't.

So, I guess my criticisms are 96% more valid than the 4% of your defense against them.

But, hey, let's get real here a second.

If you're a dev, and you design your game so that only the top 5% of your players are having fun with the game and aren't having any issues with the way you've designed your game...

You're a crap dev. You suck at your job.

I'm not even a fan of Hollow Knight, lol. I just thought it was overall a good game, and that's it. I can find flaws in it, some things I may not have enjoyed as much, it doesn't mean I'd call it bad.

You aren't? You're defending it like a fanatic would. Ignoring facts. Making excuses. Personal attacks against people with criticism against it.

I mean, you sure do SOUND like a fan of Hollow Knight to me!

I never said it is flawless, though. It's just not nearly as bad as you think it is, if we're using 'bad' as in being a general bad game and not just to you personally.

We aren't using "just to me personally". Haven't been for a while now. I've even dropped hard facts on you that you've ignored. Or glossed over. Or deflected. You've even made statements without even attempting to back them up with hard data of your own.

You are certainly attempting to say it's flawless in every single post you've got.

I even told you about the issue with the Nail upgrade and you were like, "Oh, it's probably a bug or an oversight" instead of going, "Oh, wow, that is bad design" like a normal person who ISN'T shilling for the game.

You think it's flawless and have done your best to deflect any and all criticism against the game, and not just the hit sponge bosses.

To determine whether a game is generally bad, one of the best ways to measure that is by checking the Steam reviews. Which we already did previously and concluded together that the game scores an Overwhelmingly Positive on both recent and all reviews. That, to me, as a potential customer is enough to feel confident about going into a game and having a pretty high chance I'm playing something that is actually good. It might end up being not for me, but I can't claim it's bad either if the vast majority of players liked it.

Ah, here you are defending the game again, despite evidence to the contrary that you shouldn't be. Nope, you're not a fan of the game at all. You're just going to ignore the hard data of the game and that most of the reviews posted aren't actually good reviews, but are rather "first impressions" and aren't even all that useful as reviews. Most of which could even be bots.

"If someone had fun less than 10 hours into the game and never played it again, but they left a positive review... it means the game is still good!"

Look man, I don't agree with that sentiment at all. It's deliberately unconscionable to believe such a thing. Imagine if that same logic applied to ANYTHING except the video game you love.

Own a chair for 4 hours, leave a review on their website that the chair is amazingly awesome... then on hour 6, the chair breaks so it's not usable anymore, but you don't change the review. You just go, "okay, got a defective chair, good thing I didn't really need that chair as I've still got 5 others".

Sorry man, reviews that don't encompass the vast majority of the experience with a game aren't really all that valuable. Positive or Negative. Especially if they aren't specific enough.

Steam would really be better off employing a third option for "It's just an okay game" as a review. Or, even, going to a 1-10 scale to better judge where people think the game lies.

But, we have "good game" and "bad game" and that's it... so you have to look at hours played, achievement percentages, and the content of the vast majority of the reviews to make an informed decision.

Review bombs generally only happen if a big controversy is happening around the game or the studio making the game. Even if it may not say anything about the quality of the game itself, they can be seen as a red flag for potential customers.

Or they can happen because someone's favorite YouTuber really hated the game, and their fans go and do it on their behalf... or any number of other reasons.

"Love Bombing" a game happens for the same reasons. Also don't lead you to believe any of their reviews can be trusted on the quality of the game.

Likewise, people don't generally care about how "evil" a game company is. If they did, EA wouldn't be in business at all, Gambling wouldn't exist in the form of Loot Boxes and such, nor would there be quite so many microtransactions in nearly every game released.

Reviews exist for people like me who want to view the data and make an intelligent and informed decision upon their purchases. Almost everyone else ignores them. Like you do. Just takes them at 'face value' and doesn't look any deeper than that. Happy to throw away their money.

If I had read a review that said, "Great game for about 2/3rds of it, but the bosses quickly turn into Hit Sponges where you're likely stuck in a fight for 10+ minutes at a time and if you die you have to run back and that takes 1+ minutes every time", I would've went, "Yeah, no, not buying this game".

But, instead, almost every reviewer quit before ever getting to that point... or left their reviews before ever getting to that point... and are instead leaving a false impression of the game.

Bots posting positive reviews should be easy to identify if they do it in large enough scale that it has a noticeable effect on the score. If a bad game is pushing up their review score using bots, they will get caught for that, and likely be mocked and ridiculed for it.

Will they now? You sure about that? I mean... we have dozens of positive reviews that are less than 10 hours played... and the game frequently goes on sale... and all those reviews say is "great game" and nothing more.

You SURE these people aren't bots? You SURE someone would get caught using them?

I mean, most bot detection systems only detect massive spikes, and not gradual climbs. Basically, they only detect the "greedy". The people unable to wait. Even then, most bot detection software isn't that great, even on steams end... considering how many games got through "Steam Greenlight" by botting and they ended up shutting that program down instead of actually programming a better system to catch those bots.

So, you know...

Deep dive into data, my man. Gotta learn to love it.

Neither of these happen frequently enough that it is a major factor in determining the quality of a game. A good game will always come out on top being viewed as a good game, and a bad game will always be seen as bad no matter how many positive review bots they may throw at its store page.

I'd like you to post me the proof that they "don't happen all that often". I mean, they likely don't garner "reported by the news" attention that often... but I'd wager they happen more frequently than that. Because, you know, they really only report it on "high profile" type games. Games that aren't that popular... don't make very good news. Won't draw as many clicks. Won't roll in that sweet ad revenue.

Playing it as a newbie confirmed. You disproved your entire point with these games.

Yeah, played them as a newbie. Blew through them with ease as a newbie. That was the entire point. Your point was, "you can only do that if you're a veteran at these games!". And I said, "but I easily did it as a newbie" and then you said, "You just disproved your entire point because you're a newbie!"

Just... wot? Do you even read, bro?

Lol, no. The old games had an exploration aspect for those who took it slow, and the exploration could lead into finding better routes to take on the next playthrough, or finding power-ups that could help out in later sections.

As someone who typically enjoys exploration and does it...

Most of the "exploration" of those old games wasn't in "finding better routes" but rather "finding ways to get back onto the main route". They were, a lot of times, just "safety nets" that provided powerups to get you "back into the game". A route that would take a while to go on would have speed shoes on it. A route with a lot of enemies would have shields and ring powerups.

So on, and so forth.

The optimal routes were basically ones in which you avoided almost all the items in the level as you didn't need them. Most of the items were stuck on the suboptimal routes to help players "not as good" at the game. Namely, anyone who couldn't maintain speed.

Seriously, go look up level maps for the games.

I use VGMaps for that, but you can use whatever you want. Get some screenshot maps of the levels and look where all the item placements are.

Do you even study the games you play?

It rewarded going slow as much as going fast. It also helped replayability in a time where kids didn't have access to new games at all times and may have been stuck playing the same game for months.

Incorrect. It gave rewards to players who had just failed, so that the failure didn't "feel bad". Going fast feels fun. If you aren't going fast and you screw up, you need something to give you the fun back, rather than making you feel like a failure. So... items. Safety nets. Things to distract you from the failure of not playing optimally.

It's pretty genius game design. The newer games basically lack that.

There's an advantage to analyzing the games you play, rather than only just playing them. Video Game players don't notice anything about the game design and aren't analytical at all.

The new Sonic games don't do that because they copy paste boost pads in a line and the only way you can go is forward and going there fast.

Except for all the portions and times they slow you to a crawl to bounce on a jump pad over and over again... or put you through slow down obstacle courses... or give you powerups where you play as a "wisp" or some other such stuff... lots of gameplay to stop you going fast... and nothing interesting to do when you are going fast (very low skill ceiling and very monotonous play).

Yeah, I'm certain Silksong will absolutely flop because nobody liked the first game enough to get the second game, ignoring the combined watch count across their multiple trailers on Youtube going into the multi millions with overwhelmingly positive like vs dislike ratios on all of them. Let's continue this conversation once Silksong comes out, because there's no way this franchise could possibly sell more copies after putting the terrible game they did with Hollow Knight, right?

Ah yes, because every person who viewed the trailer will buy the game. It's a good thing you don't run a game company... you have no idea how any of this works from a selling standpoint at all.

I'd bet it's less people who buy Silksong than played Hollow Knight.

And, if you're going to equate "likes" to "people who buy the game". Well, with the newest trailer for it... it's only gonna have 14,000 players. If we're using the ones from the trailer released 3 years ago, it's only going to have 151,000 players.

Best result I could find for Hollow Knight sales was 2.8 million units. So.. If we go with the assumptions you're making, then only about 5% of the players from the original game will be returning for the new one.

Not the metrics I would've used, but I'll take the win regardless.

I mean, we aren't even counting people who will be starting their journey with the second game and never played the first... We aren't counting the fact that most sequels aren't as good as the originals and generally don't do as well... We're not even counting sales as a result of friends or family buying those games for someone whether they wanted it or not.

Man, I love data. I love looking at all of it to get the whole picture of something.

On the front page alone, I see plenty of reviews for Hollow Knight with playtimes of 25+ hours, with a good number of those having played 50+ hours, which should be enough to finish the game in or at least play through the majority of it.

Front page stats:

20 reviews.
14 reviews over 20 hours.
6 under 20 hours.
10 Reviews from people who have likely beaten the game (45 hours or more).

Yep, decent point. Let's dig deeper. Especially since these are only from the last 30 days.

Viewed all results sorted by "most recent". The 14 per every 20 is consistent across the board for the little while I scrolled. I'm curious where reviews were before "recent", but there isn't really an easy way to parse this data in useful ways. It's just a lot of scrolling.

So, I'll concede the point.

How the hell is 'Overwhelmingly Positive' marketing when it's literally just taking the total number of player reviews and their recommend vs. do not recommend ratio? An actual bad game with enough players reviewing it will never escape a 'Mixed' or worse overall review score on Steam.

Because reviews are voluntary and only the people who want to give them will. If over half your players don't stick with the game and never leave a review of "bad game, don't play", then you're stuck with the illusion of "great game".

Metrics are important, man.

I mean, we're talking 2.8 million copies sold across ALL PLATFORMS. Not just steam.

For someone to write a negative review, it has to leave a bad enough impression that someone is willing to complain about it. That means, it has be a very powerful form of "I hate this game" before anyone leaves that sort of review.

Meanwhile, for someone to leave a positive review... Someone just has to think, "Yeah, I had fun" (one of the reasons I tend to put more stock into negative reviews than positive ones) and then click a couple buttons.

What you're not seeing is the people who are telling their family and friends not to play the game. You're not seeing the people who are telling family and friends to get the game. You're not seeing the reviews of people who didn't leave a review. You aren't seeing the "I'm bored, so I'll play something else and never return" reviews.

That's why looking through the percentages on the players achievements matters. How many people are still playing, how many of those left a review, how many of those reviews are positive, etcetera.

"Overwhelmingly Positive" doesn't really present you with a whole picture.

What it does do, however, is prove the phrase right about "you can use statistics to prove anything you want."

100% of people who die, drank water, you know.

I like lots of Data. All the data I can get.

But sure, call it confirmation bias all you want. I'm not making up the review scores for the game. I'm merely looking at the store page and liking what I see if I didn't know anything about the game and this is what I found. I would feel very confident about getting my money's worth.

You would not be the only one.

I do things differently however. Lots of people liking something doesn't mean "It's good" to me. I've never thought that way. Otherwise, I'd have to praise the really terrible writing in Twilight. And, I'd have to subject myself to it.

I have, at least once, after an update I thought was bad. Out of my 17 total reviews posted.

You would be one of the few. 17 reviews posted, 'eh?

I think I've posted... 5? Maybe? 2 negative, 3 positive? One of those positives was a, "I wish I could leave a "meh review, but I had fun despite how terrible the game is, so I'll make it positive" reviews. One of the reviews was also Steam having a list of things you could do to "raise your user level" and on the list was "post a review", so I did that.

Not sure how many other people leave useless reviews just because Steam rewards them for leaving a review. Might just be me.

Confirmation bias at its finest. Yeah, you can find fun, bad reviews about every game that is decently popular. It doesn't prove your point.

You're using the phrase "confirmation bias" incorrectly here.

Also, yes, it illustrates my point. There are people who leave a good review for a game they didn't really like all that much. That's the point.

So, if they're reviewing positively for games they don't like... how many good reviews can you trust?

I don't have an answer for how many good reviews you can trust. But, that's why I rely on more data than just the reviews for determining if a game is "good" or "bad". I tire of blowing my money on games that I'll never finish because they get boring.

I'm hyperboling because everything you write is blacks and whites. You don't seem to grasp the concept of something that could be mostly good, but it has these small flaws that make it a little less good. No, it's instantly bad to you the moment it's not absolutely perfect. There is no 'decent', 'OK', 'alright' to you. There is only 'good' and 'bad'.

Incorrect. Never once stated any of that or even insinuated. I said (and am still saying!) that the one problem I had with Hollow Knight was the Hit Sponge bosses.

I put 46 hours into it on Steam and bought the game on 3 platforms. Safe to say I enjoyed my time.

But, it is packed with loads of bad dev decisions despite how much fun I had in it. It is far from perfect. I'd rate it at a 7 out of 10 at most. It's better than okay. But, there are some options out there for better games that do what it is supposed to do... better.

I had fun, but I quit because it got tedious and all the systems conspiring to make the game boring to me.

I don't deal in "black and white" unless a subject is black and white.

Dealing in "black and white" is what you're doing.

I lob a criticism and you make endless excuses for it, try to portray the game as perfect, and don't even acknowledge that the game MIGHT have a problem.

Stop projecting yourself onto me.

Pros for x% HP stages:
-It's a clear, easy pattern for players to understand. They can prepare for it by looking at the boss HP. It helps planning ahead as they can stall if they feel if they aren't ready for the phase shift, or throw on buffs in preparation for it.

Only if you can view the health bar...
Only if they know what is actually coming...

-It paces out the fight. Instead of a player having to learn every mechanic a boss has in the first couple of turns, they are introduced to them step by step. It allows for more complex fights without overwhelming the player.

Why does your boss have more than 2 new mechanics? Seems silly design to me. Your enemies should teach the player mechanics, your boss should be the test of those mechanics. Why do you need to introduce MORE new mechanics after a "phase shift"? Especially when they're just old mechanics that aren't even iterations on previous versions of them?

The only reason to really introduce the "phase shift" is when you're requiring the player put what they just learned the boss can do... into practice in a new way. You know, a test on the new mechanics it just taught you.

Otherwise... it's kind of a waste of time.

-It allows players to recover in between phases. Let's say a boss has a strong nuke right off the bat. Instead of dropping another one turn 2, the next one drops at 50% HP, so the player has time to recover.

Not really sure I'd have such a mechanic in a game. What is the player meant to learn from a nuke dropping on them? To spend a little bit of time recovering? I mean, if I want to "stall" the player, there are better ways to do it that leave the player with some agency.

Maybe if there's a wind up on it... like it's telegraphed to you, you could do some interesting stuff with it. But just dropping it on you at an HP threshold? That seems weird and counter-intuitive. All that does is wipe the player who doesn't know it's coming and didn't prepare... and feel like a non-mechanic to anyone else who expected it and prepared ahead of time.

You're basically endorsing "newbie traps". Or, what I like to call, "The Dev's Middle Finger". It is a thing you have no way to see coming that screws you over so hard, that it is the dev saying "F U!" to the player.

Not generally considered "good design" to have "Newbie Traps" in your game.

-Creates spikes of tension. Every time the boss does something because it hits a HP threshold, the tension rises and has the player deal with it for the following turns in which the tension lowers when they become familiar with whatever the boss was doing during the threshold.

How does that create a spike of tension? Player mastered everything for the first half... now needs to master the second half. It's no more "tension spiking" than the start of the fight ever was.

Tension really only rises when the player is put into situations where something is so close that it could "go either way". If the challenge is "too much", then you're building frustration. If it's "not enough" then you're building apathy.

You can't build tension unless the fight is very close and they're hanging on by a hair, but so is the enemy.

As for if the fight is "just right", then all you're building is "analytical skills" for the player. Basically, they're studying the fight because it's neither too difficult or too easy, so they're just in the middle zone going, "okay, this will work on the next attempt, then this, then this" and there's no tension in that.

Remember, my man, fun is based on emotional connections.

It's basic common sense. If I pay $60 I'm more likely to try to get their money's worth out of it than if I paid $15 for it.

Eh... wot mate?

"I spent $60 on this absolutely atrocious and terrible thing... so I will subject myself to torture, punishment, and not fun in order to feel like my money was well spent!"

That's common sense?

Man, what sort of people do you hang out with that think like that?

I don't know ANYONE like that.

I think that's just called "masochism" and not "common sense".

If everyone in the communities I regularly visit is talking about this new awesome game that just came out, I'm more likely to be playing it. A game I can't talk about with others, much less likely so. In some cases, the social aspect is just as important as the quality of the game itself. And the community is at its strongest when a game has just released. Basic common sense.

So you're playing because of peer pressure and a desire to be accepted within a social group. Got it.

I don't know a lot of people like that either.

I mean, if I want to talk about a particular thing with people, I just go to a place that supports what I want to talk about. I don't buy a video game and then play it so that I can participate in an existing social group that doesn't really value me as a person, they just value what I have to say about a product they enjoy.

But, I mean... that's me.

Again, basic common sense. A studio with a large established fanbase releases a good game that gives their fans more of the same has no reason for people to be buying it and then not finishing it.

And yet that happens... pretty frequently.

Bad games are games with overall low scoring player reviews and low popularity amongst the community that would normally be interested in that type of game.

A bad game can be measured objectively. What does it accomplish, does it accomplish that? Who was the target audience, did they stick around for the entire experience? On and on. Lots of objective ways to measure it.

Bad games aren't measured by "public opinion". They're measured by objective measures. SUCCESSFUL games are measured by public opinion (dolla dolla bills, yo!). Not good ones.

Good lord, it never ceases to amaze me how many people like to whip out, "People like it, therefore it's good!" as a measure of the value of something.

Appeal to popularity is not an argument anyone should fall back on.

"A game just not for that player" is a game not enjoyable to that player, regardless of how well it's received by the rest of the playerbase.

Bad game design is harder to identify because it's a smaller piece of a whole game.

Bad game design is easy to identify. It's only difficult to identify for people who don't know how to read people and influence human behavior. Namely... the inexperienced.

But, I'll be nice and throw you a bone. I'll give you the introductory course to get you into the line of thinking you need in order to easily identify whether a game has bad design or not.

You need to ask two questions. The same questions I ask everyone on these forums to answer. All the time.

"Is X in the game fun? Why?"
"Is X in the game not fun? Why?"

Yep, that's it. If you can give answers for those questions for every single thing... you're well on your way to being able to identify whether a game has bad design or not. And, even if it has good design! Or genius design!

A good game can have bad game design elements in it. Just not enough of it to outweigh all the positives it has going for it.

Correct. Though, I'm not sure why you're arguing this since it wasn't anywhere near the crux of what we were talking about.

Hollow Knight has bad game design that keeps the vast majority of players from finishing it. Over half check out before the 10 hour mark.

Is the game still good?

Solid 7 out of 10, sure. I'd count that as "still good". Above average. It's good. It isn't great.

You would have to dive into a game's community and read conversation to see what people are thinking about a certain design choice to determine whether it was good or bad. If the majority of players criticise it, wishing it was done better, then yeah, you can call it bad game design.

Eh... I don't know about that. How many people play a game and never interact with the community at all? I mean... you'd basically need a community dedicated to, "I hate X game" to get any useful feedback. Otherwise, you're effectively just engaging in an echo-chamber of "yes men" who rarely have useful complaints... or who are so outnumbered by the "yes men", that their complaints are drowned out.

Someone serious about their game and design of it would be more inclined to listen to people being critical of the game. After all, you already have the players who enjoy the game playing it. You should be trying to figure out why the other players aren't enjoying it. Or, why they don't buy it.

That's far more useful.

One need only trek onto the Bungie forums and look at the discussion of "Destiny" and "Destiny 2" there by the "community" to see how utterly useless and vapid most of them are and how quickly they shut down dissent and won't even acknowledge criticisms.

The smart play would be to have a separate section of the forums that's just, "Bad Reviews" and invite your community to post legitimate concerns, complaints, gripes, and issues there. That way, you can sort out all the toxic "yes men" on your project.

You know... if you're serious about actually improving it.

However, if you happen to dislike it but mostly everyone else in the playerbase has no issue with it or even praises it, then it's just you. Not the design choice the developers went with.

Or it's the toxic community shutting down dissenting opinion, crafting their own echo chamber, and running out anyone else who has an issue with the game... so that they don't engage with the community anymore.

You know, the thing that happens with basically every fan community of everything, ever (you can even see it on these forums to some extent! Nobody addresses a complaint or a criticism, they just argue that the person is wrong! Because, you know, it can't be that the other person has a point!).
---

Anyway, I'm sort of bored of this conversation at this point. It's a lot like a Hit Sponge boss. I'm frequently repeating myself and this has gotten pretty far off topic from what the actual topic is. It's a lot of "getting nowhere and repeating the same exact action".

I have no interest in talking about Hollow Knight with someone who refuses to acknowledge that a player had a problem, or that the game itself has problems, and there might be legitimate concerns with them.

Basically, I've lost interest in a conversation that has turned into Defending Hollow Knight, rather than Limit Break Design. Or, even, the offshoot of the Limit Break Design which is "people make Hit Sponge bosses because of the way most Limit Breaks are designed."

So, if you'd like to have the last word on the topic and declare yourself the victor of the conversation, then I shall salute you. I'll take a bow, see myself out the door, and let you enjoy your win.

Have a great day!
 

Iron_Brew

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