Thank you to all who participated in our August 20 play test! If you joined in, please remember to leave your feedback and bug reports on the forums here: https://forums.ashesofcreation.com/categories/apoc-bug-reports

Should players be encouraged to improved?

This is something I've been debating in my mind for quite some time, and I'd like your opinion on it. When players in mmorpgs hit a difficult moment (e.g. a raid boss that refuses to die), the developers have 2 options:

1. Help the players overcome the challenge
2. Leave the players the overcome the challenge on their own

Which of these options is better for the game and the players? On the one hand, if a player hits a wall and can't overcome it, chances are they will just quit the game (no developer wants that), so helping the player overcome the challenge makes sense from a business perspective.

On the other hand, if you constantly help the players whenever they struggle, either by increasing their power or by making the challenge easier, the players will never learn and improve. Now, I know there are some people who will say that they play games to relax, and shouldn't have to spend hours upon hours improving their skills.

So, the question is, if you were a games developer and your players were facing a difficult challenge, do you artificially help them overcome the challenge, or let them figure it out on their own?
«1

Comments

  • JjampongJjampong Member
    edited April 29
    I think a MMO has to be developed in such a way that it encourages players to help each other. The more reasons the developers give players for interacting with each other, the more likely this is to occur.

    for that reason I think features like group finders shouldn't be a thing. Players could also be encouraged to search for parties or groups, for instance through hard content, bonus rewards, etc... etc...
    Jjampong.png
    [EU] Hand of Unity | PVX | Semi-Hardcore/Hardcore | Family
    We are still recruiting. Come and have a chat with us at our Discord!
  • It depends on why the wall exists and what the overall player percentage is.

    If the numbers on a given boss for everyone that are in the range to do it are excessively small, maybe they need to look at the boss. Is there an ability that isn't tuned properly for the level of difficulty they want? Did they try some fancy mechanic or puzzle during the fight that isn't quite working the way they want to? There are a lot of reasons they might have to change the boss fight in that case.

    Now if we look at the boss again and guilds that are set as raiding and endgame guilds are getting through and it is teachable mechanics with the right level and gear they shouldn't touch the boss outside of actual bug fixes.

    But there are so many factors you have to look at and decide on from a developer perspective and behind the curtain numbers that we don't see as players to make that choice on whether to change content or not.

    So I would say that it needs a case by case examination. However, I'm would rather them not just make something easier so that everyone can do it.

    I would like to see instanced content have some sort of story mode where you don't really get gear rewards outside of very basic and common stuff, but where more casual players could still say they've seen the content and seen the quest/story chain for everything even if it involves easier or toned down mechanics, but you shouldn't be rewarded for something like that outside of "Yeah I got to see the end of X quest chain or story."
  • grisugrisu Member
    89c.gif

    Assuming the game is balanced as intended, fregging leave it the way it is.
    You can make multiple difficulties with different levels of rewards, but don't help after the fact is done.
    I loathed the inevitable permanent nerfes in WoW raiding.
    Being part of twinkraids or raids that aren't focused on clearing it as fast as possible doesn't mean they didn't want to experience the intended difficulty. Maybe they want to play in other classes but can't in the main raid or simply want to experience other roles in the raid. There are a lot of reasons.

    If you don't want the challenge and play to relax it is simple. That part of the content isn't appropriate/made for you. I don't like people like that and I don't like "arguments" like that. If you don't want the challenge, why would you even need the rewards intended to go for even bigger challenges? 'Cause they look cool? Well it's a reward for overcoming something difficult.
    "I want everything but I don't want to do anything for it"-attitude can fragg off if you ask me. It's an attitude that should be eradicated in whatever way possible, not encouraged.

    I'm clearly for number 2 make it a combi with a bucket to gather all the inevitable salt.
    I can be a life fulfilling dream. Grisu
    I can be a life devouring nightmare. Zekece#1819
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds
    Depends on how badly that boss is debilitating the servers, how many servers are struggling - and for how long.
    If that Ice Dragon is causing an eternal winter for several real life months on all servers - the devs should probably step in to help in some fashion.
    If one server can defeat the Ice Dragon on their own, it’s probable that the other servers can figure it out without dev intervention, too.
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    muridious wrote: »
    I think a MMO has to be developed in such a way that it encourages players to help each other. The more reasons the developers give players for interacting with each other, the more likely this is to occur.

    for that reason I think features like group finders shouldn't be a thing. Players could also be encouraged to search for parties or groups, for instance through hard content, bonus rewards, etc... etc...

    This is by far the hardest thing to do. In my experience players are more likely to just abandon the group rather than help someone who is struggling, even when just a couple of words can make a big difference and cause the group to succeed.
  • muridious wrote: »
    I think a MMO has to be developed in such a way that it encourages players to help each other. The more reasons the developers give players for interacting with each other, the more likely this is to occur.

    for that reason I think features like group finders shouldn't be a thing. Players could also be encouraged to search for parties or groups, for instance through hard content, bonus rewards, etc... etc...

    This is by far the hardest thing to do. In my experience players are more likely to just abandon the group rather than help someone who is struggling, even when just a couple of words can make a big difference and cause the group to succeed.

    @wanderingmist I do agree that this is the hardest. However, it's also the best option in my opinion. The more mechanics encourage players to interact, the better this would work. Which is why I think / hope Ashes might be able to pull it off as, even for an MMO, I think they are very focused on getting players to cooperate.

    FYI: It's likely not that great or fun of a group anyways if members just abandon it. :'(
    Jjampong.png
    [EU] Hand of Unity | PVX | Semi-Hardcore/Hardcore | Family
    We are still recruiting. Come and have a chat with us at our Discord!
  • VarkunVarkun Member, Braver of Worlds
    Honestly, I don't think you want the devs to be too fast on helping out so to speak. There needs to be a good amount of challenge with encounters especially raid type encounters its part of what MMO raiders love. It could just be more about a gear check or skill check as much as anything.

    I would honestly be fine if some of the raid bosses took years to take down though I guess in ashes some raid content may not be available all that long as the world evolves.
    3KAqRIf.png
    Close your eyes spread your arms and always trust your cape.
  • ArzosahArzosah Member, Leader of Men
    Players should always be encouraged to improve themselves to rise to the challenge. When it comes to a seemingly unkillable boss it is still the responsibility of the developers to know why the players are unable to kill the boss. If the players are missing a mechanic or are under geared for the encounter the devs shouldn't get involved and allow the players to figure it out on their own, online forums and discords are a great place for many players from different servers and guild to come together and discuss strategy and determine what they're missing. However if they can kill the boss because of poor design or a bug then the developers need to step in and correct the flaw that is preventing the boss from being killed.
    i55FwpZ.png
  • PokoPoko Member
    If the bosses are beatable I would suggest not to help the players. If it's a case where the boss is LITERALLY UNBEATABLE than nerfs to the boss would be the right thing. I wouldn't say giving a player more powerful items would be the answer, and I would only say NERF the boss when it's literally unbeatable.

    I'm sure the normal bosses won't be that incredibly hard, maybe just a select few. I think that will become a problem in the super high end boss encounters and stuff. If players at that height find problems the devs could look into it and see if it's too hard. I don't think new players will be turned away because I doubt raiding will be the first thing you do.
    Poko.png
  • Dygz wrote: »
    Depends on how badly that boss is debilitating the servers, how many servers are struggling - and for how long.

    I was thinking that too. Maybe developers should not run straight away help for players and nerf the content. They should give players a little bit more time to handle the situation by themselfs, but if it really turns to be isuberable obstacle then ofc the content might be just too hard and needs some actions.
    Do you need a ride to the Underworld?
  • ArzosahArzosah Member, Leader of Men
    ferryman wrote: »
    Dygz wrote: »
    Depends on how badly that boss is debilitating the servers, how many servers are struggling - and for how long.

    I was thinking that too. Maybe developers should not run straight away help for players and nerf the content. They should give players a little bit more time to handle the situation by themselfs, but if it really turns to be isuberable obstacle then ofc the content might be just too hard and needs some actions.

    Because some encounters are created due to the level of a nearby node I could see a boss spawning that players have not reach the appropriate gear level to fight as soon as it's available. I don't think this should require the devs to intervene, after a couple guilds attempt the fight and get promptly curb stomped it should be clear that their current gear levels aren't good enough for the encounter.
    i55FwpZ.png
  • We saw, what happens to games that pander too much to their players (WoW for an example).
    Players have to put some training in to actually become good in my opinion.
    If they are not good enough to raid, then they either have to put some sweat into it or let it be and do something else, AoC gives them many different things to do.
    (This does not mean, that specific bosses should not be patched, if they are just not killable after a number of months xD)
    uQHKizC.gif
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    Damokles wrote: »
    We saw, what happens to games that pander too much to their players (WoW for an example).
    Players have to put some training in to actually become good in my opinion.
    If they are not good enough to raid, then they either have to put some sweat into it or let it be and do something else, AoC gives them many different things to do.
    (This does not mean, that specific bosses should not be patched, if they are just not killable after a number of months xD)

    As with many things, WoW is the classic example of this behaviour, not only with raids but with lots of different content.
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    Arzosah wrote: »
    Players should always be encouraged to improve themselves to rise to the challenge. When it comes to a seemingly unkillable boss it is still the responsibility of the developers to know why the players are unable to kill the boss. If the players are missing a mechanic or are under geared for the encounter the devs shouldn't get involved and allow the players to figure it out on their own, online forums and discords are a great place for many players from different servers and guild to come together and discuss strategy and determine what they're missing. However if they can kill the boss because of poor design or a bug then the developers need to step in and correct the flaw that is preventing the boss from being killed.

    Naturally, if a boss is unkillable due to a bug then that should be a priority for fixing. And yes we have seen bosses in the past that were mathematically impossible to kill and had to be nerfed.

    These are quite rare situations though, and more often than not bosses a nerfed even though they have been killed already by the players. It's not just about raiding though. Any content can be nerfed or altered to help struggling players. For example, when TERA was first released in 2011, players apparently complained that the leveling was too hard. The developers responded by introducing Avatar weapons in 2013, which were super powered weapons that allow a player to 3-shot any mob their own level.

    I was honestly shocked when I encountered these weapons for the first time and so asked on the forums if this was normal and if it was going to be like this for the entire leveling process. I was told yes to both questions, and I uninstalled the game that day.
  • ArzosahArzosah Member, Leader of Men
    Arzosah wrote: »
    Players should always be encouraged to improve themselves to rise to the challenge. When it comes to a seemingly unkillable boss it is still the responsibility of the developers to know why the players are unable to kill the boss. If the players are missing a mechanic or are under geared for the encounter the devs shouldn't get involved and allow the players to figure it out on their own, online forums and discords are a great place for many players from different servers and guild to come together and discuss strategy and determine what they're missing. However if they can kill the boss because of poor design or a bug then the developers need to step in and correct the flaw that is preventing the boss from being killed.

    Naturally, if a boss is unkillable due to a bug then that should be a priority for fixing. And yes we have seen bosses in the past that were mathematically impossible to kill and had to be nerfed.

    These are quite rare situations though, and more often than not bosses a nerfed even though they have been killed already by the players. It's not just about raiding though. Any content can be nerfed or altered to help struggling players. For example, when TERA was first released in 2011, players apparently complained that the leveling was too hard. The developers responded by introducing Avatar weapons in 2013, which were super powered weapons that allow a player to 3-shot any mob their own level.

    I was honestly shocked when I encountered these weapons for the first time and so asked on the forums if this was normal and if it was going to be like this for the entire leveling process. I was told yes to both questions, and I uninstalled the game that day.

    I fundamentally disagree with nerfs made in this way, I find that trivializing gameplay to such a strong degree takes away from the adventure of an MMO. If you take away the challenge of a game you take away the reason to play it.
    i55FwpZ.png
  • ArzosahArzosah Member, Leader of Men
    A seemingly unkillable boss especially if it's a world boss can exist as a goal for players to strive for, every player wanting to be part of the group to finally take down this big baddie that has been crushing every group that attempts it.
    i55FwpZ.png
  • amuriaamuria Member
    Usually people play games they enjoy, this enjoyment very often comes from achieving something. Though it is a very difficult balance helping a player in his advancement is crucial, so he continues playing and doesn’t get frustrated. Staying in the middle of too difficult and too easy is called “flow”. “Flow” describes the moment when you just have gamed 4 hours, but it felt like 30 minutes.
    figure1.png

    The issue with helping players is that they would feel less enjoyment if the game helped them, usually they want to do it themselves. Another issue is the sense of accomplishment if every player can reach a goal because your game helped him, other players will most likely feel dejected when others easily achieve their achievements.

    Personally, I would aim for an invisible guiding hand as a helper. Instead of making the actual encounter easier make sure the player actually has the tools for the encounter.
    This would be a quest chain which leads up to the big dungeon slowly increasing difficulty but also reward the gear to be able to do the dungeon. The player learns the required mechanics step by step. In the end the boss combines these mechanics and the farmed gear of your quest makes sure you player didn’t just run into a level 30 raid with starting gear.


  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    amuria wrote: »
    Usually people play games they enjoy, this enjoyment very often comes from achieving something. Though it is a very difficult balance helping a player in his advancement is crucial, so he continues playing and doesn’t get frustrated. Staying in the middle of too difficult and too easy is called “flow”. “Flow” describes the moment when you just have gamed 4 hours, but it felt like 30 minutes.
    figure1.png

    The issue with helping players is that they would feel less enjoyment if the game helped them, usually they want to do it themselves. Another issue is the sense of accomplishment if every player can reach a goal because your game helped him, other players will most likely feel dejected when others easily achieve their achievements.

    Personally, I would aim for an invisible guiding hand as a helper. Instead of making the actual encounter easier make sure the player actually has the tools for the encounter.
    This would be a quest chain which leads up to the big dungeon slowly increasing difficulty but also reward the gear to be able to do the dungeon. The player learns the required mechanics step by step. In the end the boss combines these mechanics and the farmed gear of your quest makes sure you player didn’t just run into a level 30 raid with starting gear.


    Ensuring that a player has good enough gear to do a piece of content is relatively easy. It's far harder to make sure a player has the skill to do that content. Part of the problem is most mmorpgs are designed around your character always getting stronger (either with levels or gear) and overcoming challenges regardless of what the player does. This creates a mindset in some players that all they have to do is play for a longer period of time to get either better gear or a higher character level in order to overcome the challenge. If a dungeon or raid encounter is designed so that players can overgear it, that encourages players not to improve their skills, but just to get more gear.
  • ArzosahArzosah Member, Leader of Men
    I don't think there is anything wrong with power from gear eventually increasing to the point where the content becomes easy enough for less skilled players to eventually complete, but that power should never be artificially increased by dev interference.
    i55FwpZ.png
  • amuriaamuria Member
    edited April 29

    Ensuring that a player has good enough gear to do a piece of content is relatively easy. It's far harder to make sure a player has the skill to do that content. Part of the problem is most mmorpgs are designed around your character always getting stronger (either with levels or gear) and overcoming challenges regardless of what the player does. This creates a mindset in some players that all they have to do is play for a longer period of time to get either better gear or a higher character level in order to overcome the challenge. If a dungeon or raid encounter is designed so that players can overgear it, that encourages players not to improve their skills, but just to get more gear.

    You might have missed it but providing a player with increasingly difficult encounters to lead up to the final test (raid dungeon) also improves skills, unrelated to gear. Playing longer also increases your handling of your class so to a certain extent even without gear progression time will get you forward. Practice makes perfect.
  • tarrostarros Member
    I have a crazy idea why not take away the skill from loot? Now now hear me out. The majority of MMOs these days are loot based meaning that leveling only exists to allow for better armor. Better gear means the game becomes easier. Which is okay and makes sense because it is a fundamental to the RPG element of any game. However this creates an issue of there being an end because once you get that epic gear what is there left to do? I am here to suggest that the ultimate prize should be the kill itself with no loot drop. Being the only person or group to kill a mob that might never be seen again.

    On top of taking away loot it forces players to actually be skilled. Minding their placement, mana usage, what skills are being used and when they are being used, etc...

    Developers should not assist players in the sense of skill as I find it a form of making the game easy. The only time I ever believe a developer should intervene is if the economy is going in a very very bad direction.
  • ArzosahArzosah Member, Leader of Men
    tarros wrote: »
    I have a crazy idea why not take away the skill from loot? Now now hear me out. The majority of MMOs these days are loot based meaning that leveling only exists to allow for better armor. Better gear means the game becomes easier. Which is okay and makes sense because it is a fundamental to the RPG element of any game. However this creates an issue of there being an end because once you get that epic gear what is there left to do? I am here to suggest that the ultimate prize should be the kill itself with no loot drop. Being the only person or group to kill a mob that might never be seen again.

    On top of taking away loot it forces players to actually be skilled. Minding their placement, mana usage, what skills are being used and when they are being used, etc...

    Developers should not assist players in the sense of skill as I find it a form of making the game easy. The only time I ever believe a developer should intervene is if the economy is going in a very very bad direction.

    An MMO with no vertical power progression wont last long. A kill alone is unlikely to be enough drive to get players interested in the content.
    i55FwpZ.png
  • KarthosKarthos Member, Braver of Worlds
    Any "good game" when you remove the subjective elements boils down to 3 things.

    1. Function
    2. Challenge
    3. Reward

    Not only should the MMO "work", it should also strive to keep the player engaged with challenging content. What made early WoW so good? It wasn't that it worked flawlessly, it's that it had some challenges to it. Stuff took time or resource investment. That also made the reward more "valuable" because it took investment.

    This is why P2W games suck. They remove the challenge from the game. You don't invest time, or skill. You invest an outside resource.

    Which in turn lessens the reward.


    A game should make you stive to improve, to be better. If it doesn't, it's not challenging enough the rewards aren't worth it or the things busted to hell.
    Aq0KG2f.png
  • autumnleafautumnleaf Member, Braver of Worlds
    Make it hard, there is a large feeling of satisfaction if we accomplish something difficult, leave an equation to the players but let them solve it by themselves.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds
    Leveling is for better stats and more powerful abilities first - better gear second.
    Removing leveling is taking the RPG out of MMORPG...Steven wants to avoid doing that.
    No leveling might be fun for an MMOFPS.
  • I would like to see instanced content have some sort of story mode where you don't really get gear rewards outside of very basic and common stuff, but where more casual players could still say they've seen the content and seen the quest/story chain for everything even if it involves easier or toned down mechanics, but you shouldn't be rewarded for something like that outside of "Yeah I got to see the end of X quest chain or story."

    This is an interesting "best of both worlds" approach - leave the content challenging for those who are willing and able (as I know many of you will be :wink:), but have an option for those who are looking for more of the story/lore elements!
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    Arzosah wrote: »
    A seemingly unkillable boss especially if it's a world boss can exist as a goal for players to strive for, every player wanting to be part of the group to finally take down this big baddie that has been crushing every group that attempts it.

    This reminds me of the "unkillable" crystal dragon kerafrym in everquest. The players were so determined to kill it that they brought 3 mega guilds together (nearly 200 players) to slay the dragon. After 3 hours of combat the dragon was on 26% health and suddenly despawned. The devs had purposefully despawned the dragon so that it didn't die to the players.

    Naturally the players were pissed off, complained and the devs brought the dragon back so the players could kill it.
  • Arzosah wrote: »
    A seemingly unkillable boss especially if it's a world boss can exist as a goal for players to strive for, every player wanting to be part of the group to finally take down this big baddie that has been crushing every group that attempts it.

    This reminds me of the "unkillable" crystal dragon kerafrym in everquest. The players were so determined to kill it that they brought 3 mega guilds together (nearly 200 players) to slay the dragon.

    This made me thought, that in op, where you thinking this matter from instanced or open world point of view or more like generally? Because in open world it will be easier to handle with bosses just with raising numbers of players involved, unless there is some kind of mechanics which prevents outnumbering, but I can not see this would everytime be the case.
    Do you need a ride to the Underworld?
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    tarros wrote: »
    I have a crazy idea why not take away the skill from loot? Now now hear me out. The majority of MMOs these days are loot based meaning that leveling only exists to allow for better armor. Better gear means the game becomes easier. Which is okay and makes sense because it is a fundamental to the RPG element of any game. However this creates an issue of there being an end because once you get that epic gear what is there left to do? I am here to suggest that the ultimate prize should be the kill itself with no loot drop. Being the only person or group to kill a mob that might never be seen again.

    On top of taking away loot it forces players to actually be skilled. Minding their placement, mana usage, what skills are being used and when they are being used, etc...

    Developers should not assist players in the sense of skill as I find it a form of making the game easy. The only time I ever believe a developer should intervene is if the economy is going in a very very bad direction.

    There is a balance to be had here. Yes in an ideal world players will play the game for the love of it, regardless of the loot they get, but that sadly doesn't happen. Loot and rewards are important and can make a huge difference in a player's enjoyment of the game. Developers have to strike a balance between giving too much gear and too little.

    WoW right now (in my opinion) gives out too much gear. While leveling, literally every single quest gives you a gear upgrade to the point where you cycle through gear sets so frequently that it means nothing. Similarly, at end-game you are showered with gear. At one point I had 2 full bags of epic gear. I had so much of gear it was insane. The problem is that when you get so much gear so regularly, it becomes routine and no longer special. It's sad that I would get a gear piece that was best in slot for my class, and my reaction to it is "meh...cool."

    On the other hand, having too few loot drops can be a problem too. One of the biggest complaints with Anthem is their loot drops, which are apparently so stingy and RNG-based that you can grind the game for 12+ hours and get nothing worthwhile. Players were complaining that the loot system that the lack of decent loot meant that their character progression was effectively stalled and they had no will to carry on. The devs have apparently responded by buffing the loot drops multiple times to compensate for this.

  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    edited April 30
    ferryman wrote: »
    Arzosah wrote: »
    A seemingly unkillable boss especially if it's a world boss can exist as a goal for players to strive for, every player wanting to be part of the group to finally take down this big baddie that has been crushing every group that attempts it.

    This reminds me of the "unkillable" crystal dragon kerafrym in everquest. The players were so determined to kill it that they brought 3 mega guilds together (nearly 200 players) to slay the dragon.

    This made me thought, that in op, where you thinking this matter from instanced or open world point of view or more like generally? Because in open world it will be easier to handle with bosses just with raising numbers of players involved, unless there is some kind of mechanics which prevents outnumbering, but I can not see this would everytime be the case.

    What I've said can be applied to all forms of content in a game. The method of hand-holding might well change depending on the content that is being focused on, but the intent is the same. And as sad as it is, I hate to admit that from a business standpoint, hand-holding and artificially helping the players makes sense. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, players are more likely to quit than try to overcome the challenge the way it was originally intended.

    For example, anyone who has played a lot of Pokemon probably knows about the infamous puzzle to access the 3 legendary titans (regirock, regice and registeel). The puzzle involved deciphering some braille script, and in order to do this, players were given a braille chart with each copy of the game. However, when faced with this puzzle, most players either gave up and didn't even try it, or they went straight to an online guide to tell them exactly what to do rather than trying to figure the puzzle out on their own.
Sign In or Register to comment.