Discussion on whether to add difficulty setting in game design

The difficulty reward family critic

youxibang· 2016-06-30 10:59:05

Author: Bycer

Josh in the design of the game using the difficulty of the set often in a variety of different times we come up with a discussion. Some people think that every game should have difficulty setting as a way to expand the user base, and some people think that this will destroy the game balance and cause the game to become more and more bad. As many as playing "Souls" series of hardcore game player, I consider this problem for a long time and wish to discuss with you.

Dark-Souls (from Gamasutra)

to use a wide range of users "easy, medium and hard" setting has become a lot of game types and the design and implementation of a part of the game balance. Just like city building, RPG, action games, etc. all allow the player to determine what they want to play. The implementation of this mechanism is very simple: This is not to punish anyone under the premise of allowing players to enjoy a variety of skills to set the way.

many RPG and story based games even said: "simple is for those who only care about the story of the game. "In recent years we have found that some developers become too complicated when can let game player skip some levels or content found in the game. May do so would offend the hardcore game player, but let the game player can be based on different difficulty settings to play games but can effectively broaden the game users.

because of the good story, the game is becoming more and more dramatic, and has also attracted many to feel fantastic story of non game game player, but the game player does not have moderate or complex game of skill.

not to mention the difficulty of many RPG design is based on abstract rules and systems, which is also a new play house simply do not understand the content, but they may not be able to effectively use the content to be punished.

if the game has a different difficulty of testing, the new players will not be able to understand some of the rules and mechanisms to understand the crazy.

at this time some critics will jump out of the difficult settings are not suitable for many games, and may create more harm than good.

different views of

in most of the difficulty of the game set the problem is that they are difficult to present a real balance of challenges. Sometimes you will find developers simply not to consider the balance and more difficult to create; they will only take into account the hardcore game player and to create some punishment mechanism.

sometimes you will find that the game does not intend to have a different set of difficulty, we can look at this problem in two cases. First of all, the game is created around a multiplayer or competitive game mechanism. If the game will be more than the number of people to re balance the game against each game, then the developer's work burden will be greatly increased, the burden on the server will become even greater. In addition, you also need to deal with the problem of different skills depending on the level of the players in the face of different levels / difficulty.

second case is when the game is around the basic performance of the players to create. These games are usually based on skills and are committed to pushing the player to continue to grow or fail. If the designer will set the game too simple, there is no reason for the player to improve their skills and more in-depth understanding of the game.

if the player does not want to / can not master the more excellent gameplay, designers and how to upgrade their design from it?

is able to compensate for a senior player in a way that is set to experience or skill benchmark, and then use the more difficult challenges to test the player. For example, "the soul of the dark 3" in the Gundyr Nameless or King Champion.

if you can not effectively test the player, this will lead to the overall design of the players frustrated. At the beginning of the "Diablo 3", jump to the end will be extremely difficult difficulty levels, even when designers in also cannot complete this challenge, and for the auction house system is one of the most frustrating bad design.

the past I opposed add difficulty settings in the game, that should not every game around this set of design, but there are also some is difficulty setting more outstanding game achievements.

if the difficulty of design difficulty design can really integrate into the design, not just as a change in value, it can be truly effective in the game, but it is not easy to explain.

I would like to cite the first example is when the difficulty of the game is not only a measure of the system when the system is rewarded. Some games will be based on different levels of difficulty to provide players with additional incentives or content. For example, in the Icarus Uprising Kid, the higher level of difficulty means that players can get a more powerful reward and will face a new enemy and the situation. In the "wonderful world" is also the case, that is, the higher the level of difficulty allows players to find a higher quality of the device.

in these examples, the player can choose to stay in a relatively simple setting, and the game will lure them into a more powerful reward. For example, "Diablo 3" will have a different set of difficulty. There are "Gemcraft" series, so that players can choose different difficult elements, and then according to their choice to adjust the game awards.

another example is the difficulty will gradually change the game and become different skill level among family. In this case, the higher level of difficulty will affect the player's experience and the way to use the mechanism. "XCOM: the unknown enemy" and "XCOM: internal enemies" as well as "XCOM 2" is a very typical example.

and the player will choose a lower level of difficulty because they will be subject to a penalty that is less than the use of advanced mechanisms and rules. The biggest advantage of this setting is

, regardless of game player choice is how not because of his game suffered punishment; senior game player does not have to open a higher level setting, and the new game player can only enjoy the most basic game experience.

the main point here is that it is difficult to change the way the player's game is and make different demands on them. My favorite action game "Gaiden Black Ninja" has done this; each difficulty setting not only has a different enemy and props, but also presents a new confrontation conditions. For those who choose the normal difficulty, they will have a completely different game experience based on Ninja Master.

from these examples we can see that the developers can not need different numerical difficulty settings between the adjustment only needs to be integrated into the difficult choice of game design and game content, so will be more interesting and more game player award for.

is not for everyone

every time as long as the new "Souls" the game came out, it will be discussed why they have to add the difficulty set to the game. As we have discussed, not every game can / should add difficulty setting; sometimes a game design is not intended to let all people can beat it.

so the game design must be clear about how the basic experience is more appropriate. Once you know someone to beat you need to grasp what the game, you can all brought into the game and make sure the difficulty curve is consistent, and can provide a more challenging game player content ready.

if you can do this well, you don't need to be difficult to set up, unless you really want to integrate it into the game mechanism and process mode. In either case, there is no one of the most effective options for the game, and only the designer can determine how the game is really fit.

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Debating Difficulty Settings in game) Game Design

by Josh Bycer

The use of difficulty settings in game design has always been argued at different points. Some feel that every game should have them as a means of expanding the user base while, others feel that it messes with the balance of the game and leads to titles that are worse off. It s a topic that 'I' ve thought about a lot as someone who plays a lot of hardcore games like the Souls series, and I wanted to talk more about this given the latest crop of games.

A Wide Audience:

The use of easy, normal and difficult settings has Been a part of game balance for a lot of genres and designs. We ve seen everything from City builders ", RPGs action, games and more, have settings for the player to decide how hard they want the game to be. The implementation of this mechanic is simple: It s a way for multiple" skill sets to enjoy a game without punishing one or the other.

Many RPGs and story-focused titles even say something along the lines of, "Easy is for people who just want to follow the story. In recent years, we ve seen some developers go" as far as have level or content skips for when things get too difficult. While this may seem sacrilegious for hardcore fans the, option to let people play games at different settings has been a major point in widen Ing the audience of games.

As games have become more cinematic with greater stories, they have attracted a lot of non-gamers who want to play/follow an amazing story, but may not have the skill set for normal or hard play.

Not to mention the fact that many RPG s difficulty design is based "on abstracted rules and systems, something a new player may not understand fully, but would be punished for not using properly.

By having the different settings, someone is not going to get punished because they didn t understand some crazy rule/mechanic 'that they wouldn' t know about.

Where critics come in is the fact that difficulty settings don t work for a lot" of titles, and can cause more harm than good in some Cases.


The problem with difficulty settings in most games is the fact that they are very hard to get right in terms of a balanced challenge. You sometimes see developers make the harder settings without any thought in terms of balance making the game punishing to; play because, they think that what the hardcore want.

Other 's times, you have cases where the game is not meant to have different difficulty settings, and there are two examples of this. First are games built around multiplayer or competitive play. The amount of work would be increased dramatically if the game had to re-balance every encounter for multiplayer levels, and the increased server load of having different difficulty shards of their game. No T only that, but you then have to deal with the headache of what happens when players of different skill levels/difficulties meet.

Second is when the game was explicitly designed around a baseline of performance on the player s part. These are games "that are normally skill-based and challenge the player to grow or fail see the action genre as; examples of this. If the designers make the game too easy, then there is no reason for the player to improve their skills and understanding of the game, which is the point of playing.

If the player is not willing/unable to learn the finer points of play, how is the designer supposed to compensate their design around that

One way to compensate for? Expert players is to have the B Aseline experience or skill required, and then test the player with optional harder challenges see Champion Gundyr or Nameless; King in Dark Souls as examples.

In regards to not 3 properly testing them, this can lead to situations when the design as a whole becomes frustrating to play. In the original form of Diablo the jump to the 3, final difficulty level was so extreme that not only were the designers not able to beat it at the time, but it was frustrating and poorly designed to be used in conjunction with the auction house system.

In the past I been against having difficulty settings VE in games and feel that not every game should be designed around them, but there are some cases where it can make the game better as a Whole in my opinion.

Difficulty Design:

Difficulty in game design works best when it s used as a fully "integrated part of the design and not just simply altering stat values, and I know that can be confusing to explain.

The first example is when difficulty acts as both a measurement and reward system for playing the game. Some games like to give the player additional rewards or unlock content based on the difficulty that the player is at. For instance in Kid, Icarus Uprising, the higher the difficulty meant getting better rewards and fighting new types of enemies and situations. You can also see that in the amazing The World Ends With You, where the higher difficulty made it possible to find higher quality gear.

In these cases, the player can stay on the easy settings if they want and get through the game just fine, but there is that temptation and allure to bump things up for greater reward. See also Diablo an example of this 3 as with the different settings. Another good one is the Gemcraft series that literally lets the player pick and choose what difficulty factors to have on, and then adjusts the rewards accordingly.

The next example is when the difficulty literally changes the game and becomes a gate between skill levels. In these cases, playing on the higher settings will affect how someone goes through and makes use of the mechanics. XCOM EU and EW along with XCOM 2 are great examples of this one.

The reason is that playing on The lower difficulty, the player is not punished as much for using advanced mechanics and rules, but the option is there for higher skilled players to really fight the enemy.

The best part is that neither group is punished for playing the game their way; expert players don t have to unlock the "higher settings and newcomers can enjoy the base experience.

The point is that the difficulty changes how you play the game and asks different things from the player. My all-time favorite action game Ninja Gaiden Black did just that every difficulty shuffled up the; enemies and items while introducing new situations to fight. For someone playing on normal, they would have a completely different experience compared to someone on Maste R Ninja.

The key takeaway from these examples is that the developers didn t simply adjust stats between "difficulty settings, but integrated the act of difficulty selection into the game s design making it", a lot more interesting and rewarding for players.

Not for Everyone:

Every time a new Souls game is released, there will most often be someone talking about why they should add difficulty settings to a game. As we ve talked about not ", every game can/should do difficulty settings sometimes a game is just; not meant to be designed around everyone being able to beat it.

This is where the idea of figuring out the baseline experience comes into play. Once you have an idea of what someone needs to know in or Der to beat your game, you can then extrapolate that out to all the content in your game, making sure that the difficulty curve is consistent and players are being adequately prepared for harder content.

If you do this just right, then you don t need difficulty settings ", unless you want to build them into the mechanics and progression model itself. Either way, there is no one best option for a game and it s going to be up" to the designer to determine how the game is going to go. (source:gamasutra)

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