Rewarding Difficulty in Game Design
"Understanding how people are motivated to play your game is an important consideration; not everyone wants to play a game for either one or the other. "
Last week two very different games released grand changing patches: Diablo 3 and Payday 2. Both were designed around the same purpose of bringing people back to playing with new challenges and rewards. However, while people are enjoying Diablo 3, there has been an outcry over Payday 2 and this brings up the challenge of rewards and difficulty when it comes to game design.
On the cast and various posts, I’ve brought up the term “system heavy” games as a style that I like to play. But looking back, I don’t think I ever defined what that is. It’s not just a type of RPG, or FPS or whatever, but a game design philosophy.
Last week Blizzard released the long awaited patch for the PC version of Diablo 3, featuring across the board changes to the polarizing experience. Such as loot 2.0, which brings the PC version in line with the console versions, while others set the stage for the expansion due out in March.
Regardless of if you loved it or hate it, Diablo 3 feels like a brand new game and has swayed my opinion to pre-order the expansion.
A few years back, Square Enix released Final Fantasy: The 4 Warriors of Light, a game that was meant to be a throwback to older Final Fantasy and JRPG design — With a job system, a lack of cut-scenes and more. The game built up a cult following but the extreme difficulty and older design decisions did hold it back somewhat.
Bravely Default is the spiritual sequel to it from the same team and shows a growth in the design and mechanics present in Warriors of Light. However, while the developers did take steps forward, they’re still clinging to the past with some tired design decisions.