Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The dance is killing the game?

Gevlon wrote some interesting articles lately. He makes some points, in his own, often controversial way, but that's not why I'm mentioning him. The reason is that he seems to be noticing something I've had thoughts about for a while. I don't like fights the outcome of which depends on flawlessly fulfilling a single requirement; where that one little thing has to be perfect or you die. I never liked them, at all. I'm talking about stuff like interrupting a spell being cast in time, or the group wipes. Sadly, a lot of the fights in newer raids seem to be going in that direction. The big issue here is that when you have 10 or 25 people that go through a "do it right or die" situation on every attempt, someone is bound to mess up most of the time. People aren't perfect, they make mistakes, and this type of boss battles makes it hard, even impossible for others to cover that mistake. This isn't "good players carrying the bad" what I would like here, this is approaching it as a team game. That's the point of the team - to be stronger combined, than each one would be individually. The way it is now, you first repeat the fight until everyone learns it, and then repeat the fight until you get lucky enough for no one to make a fatal mistake. Sure, once you get gear and the nerfs come around, then the fatal mistake might not be fatal anymore, but then it just feels cheapened.

Now, on the other hand, I don't like tank-and-spank fights any less. While the first type seems annoying and tedious, the second is just dull. There's nothing fun about it. Most decent raiders fulfill enough of their potential to turn this type of fight into a simple gear check. There's no challenge whatsoever.

This is why I prefer fights where you can mess up in many places, but none of these mistakes should be fatal on it's own. Maybe you fail to interrupt a spell, so the boss gets stronger for a while, or he does a ton of damage suddenly, but you can get through it, once or twice. Mess up to many times, or in to many different areas and you lose, but mess up a couple of times and you can make up for it somewhere else. Sadly, I'm not really sure there's a boss in this game that does this perfectly. I'm not even sure if it's possible with the current state of the game, but this is what I would like. I would like a game that's challenging, but fair. A game where every mistake lets you know you made it, but gives you a chance to fix it. That way, overall skill would make the biggest difference, and I would feel more motivated to improve myself and try harder.

Total Biscuit touched this topic in a recent mailbox video of his, while talking about Demon Souls. This is why that game is good, even though its hard - because it's constantly being fair, no one is being cheated into failing.

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