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Game difficulty "gatekeeping" is bullshit, and here's why

packy34

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Dec 12, 2014
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The answer to accessibility problems can't just be "put an easy mode in everything." That's a quick solution to an extremely nuanced and complicated problem.

Does Dark Souls even make it to a third entry if From Software games were easier? I doubt it. The challenge is what gives the series the prestige it enjoys. Those games would be boring and forgettable if players could tank through all the encounters. Sure, little Timmy can actually finish the game in this scenario - but does he walk away with the same experience as those who play it as intended? Does he look back on it with reverence as other fans do? I don't think so. That's why the idea kinda sucks and doesn't solve the problem. Simply making games playable doesn't necessarily make them enjoyable.

Having said all that - I don't give a fuck how people choose to play their single-player games. No one is any "better" or "worse" for how they play them.
 
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IKSTUGA

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Jan 9, 2019
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I love Dark Souls and have beaten it several times, but I think there should still be some sort of cheats/easy mode. There are some absolute bullshit parts in all Souls games that seriously limit the potential reach these games could have.
The answer to accessibility problems can't just be "put an easy mode in everything." That's a quick solution to an extremely nuanced and complicated problem.

Does Dark Souls even make it to a third entry if From Software games were easier? I doubt it. The challenge is what gives the series the prestige it enjoys. Those games would be boring and forgettable if players could tank through all the encounters. Sure, little Timmy can actually finish the game in this scenario - but does he walk away with the same experience as those who play it as intended? Does he look back on it with reverence as other fans do? I don't think so. That's why the idea kinda sucks and doesn't solve the problem. Simply making games playable doesn't necessarily make them enjoyable.
I don't think that would necessarily be the case. Example: Hades and Celeste are some of the most popular indie games and are well known for their difficulty, even though both have god-mode cheats.
 

Fredrik

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Jun 27, 2005
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So what if someone beat the game in 2000 hours using save states and 50% speed? Why does it matter? Good for them that they finally saw the ending! 👍
 

reksveks

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Jun 4, 2020
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Sure, little Timmy can actually finish the game in this scenario - but does he walk away with the same experience as those who play it as intended? Does he look back on it with reverence as other fans do? I don't think so. That's why the idea kinda sucks and doesn't solve the problem. Simply making games playable doesn't necessarily make them enjoyable.
Are all experiences subjective? I know I am being a bit pedantic.
 

Relativ9

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Nov 18, 2012
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Corey Balrog and anyone who thinks that the difficulty others have in attaining something shouldn't lessen or strengthen your own sense of achievement have romanticized a sort of egalitarian anti 'social comparison' ideology, which is all well and good if your trying to fight feelings of inadequacy, depression and anxiety in everyday life, but is very counterproductive when it comes to actually achieving something and attaining real measurable self-improvement/skill learning. Comparing yourself to others is fundamentally human and very important, you will never become a better guitar player if you don't learn from those better than you and aspire to one day be as good or better than they are. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay would never think to manually climb Everest if Paris Hillton had already been there a decade before on a helicopter ride, and similarly a lot of mountaineers would never follow in their footsteps if Hillary and Norgay hadn't proven it could be done and received fame and admiration for it (something they undoubtedly wouldn't have received if reaching the summit was possible by a quick helicopter ride and thousands had been there before them using this easier method).

Or lets use a gaming example, back in Vanilla WoW guilds like Nihilum and Death and Texas were famous in the community for being the first in the world to clear the Naxxramas (40-man) raid dungeon, they did this so quickly and so efficiently despite there not being meta tactics available, and despite not having farmed the earlier bosses for gear that made the last bits of the dungeon easier...they developed the strategies other guilds used months later on and they could only do so because they were enormously skilled, organized and dedicated when compared to average WoW player and WoW guild. Their achievement came at a time when there was no easy version of dungeons in WoW as there are now, and because of this many WoW players still hold those old vanilla guilds up as the true "OGs". I was not in one of those guilds, but my own guild enjoyed the game more knowing that a few elite players had achieved something "great" (which feels silly to say now as family man) and we aspired to get better at the game in order to hope to someday match their achievement...it's motivating. If Nihilum was only the 100th guild to beat Naxx 40 because all the other guilds had done it on easy-mode, I am 100% certain their achievement wouldn't have had the same impact in the community.
 
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Fredrik

Member
Jun 27, 2005
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Does Dark Souls even make it to a third entry if From Software games were easier? I doubt it. The challenge is what gives the series the prestige it enjoys. Those games would be boring and forgettable if players could tank through all the encounters. Sure, little Timmy can actually finish the game in this scenario - but does he walk away with the same experience as those who play it as intended? Does he look back on it with reverence as other fans do? I don't think so. That's why the idea kinda sucks and doesn't solve the problem. Simply making games playable doesn't necessarily make them enjoyable.
I love Demon’s Souls but most clearly play it by using cheats, not cheats as in typing TEN PINTS but by standing off in the distance using an upgraded bow or by grinding until they level up enough to turn on easy mode 😉
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
Oct 25, 2012
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Corey Balrog and anyone who thinks that the difficulty others have in attaining something shouldn't lessen or strengthen your own sense of achievement have romanticized a sort of egalitarian anti 'social comparison' ideology, which is all well and good if your trying to fight feelings of inadequacy, depression and anxiety in everyday life, but is very counterproductive when it comes to actually achieving something and attaining real measurable self-improvement/skill learning.
Chris Pratt What GIF
 
Apr 4, 2020
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Really? I find that interesting. Why does it have that effect on you? You still did it your way, you had a personal goal and you achieved that - why the way others do it takes away your own achievement?

I think the goal here was the method and not the top.

There are those among us who care little about achievements in live, and in a way I envy that. A lot of us however, do care about achievements. The sense and also value _of_ an achievement is established by the accessibility of the achievement.

What if you're just dying for that promotion at work, only 1 person gets it every three years. After blood sweat and tears you get it, only then you realise your boss promoted all of your coworkers to the same role, even though they did not do anything extra for it. Would you actually feel the same, will you just say "I can still say I worked harder for it", and not feel affected?
 

Nico_D

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Aug 9, 2013
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What if you're just dying for that promotion at work, only 1 person gets it every three years. After blood sweat and tears you get it, only then you realise your boss promoted all of your coworkers to the same role, even though they did not do anything extra for it. Would you actually feel the same, will you just say "I can still say I worked harder for it", and not feel affected?

Good question. If I put myself in that situation, I would feel bad for being lied to and like my boss played games with me, let me believe I have to do something to achieve something whereas I could've gotten that without doing anything. In the perfect world I should be able to think I did the work but the reward wouldn't probably feel like a reward in that case.

In your climbing example the climbing was voluntary and didn't come with any other rewards than what you had set for yourself. Getting to the top by climbing and not taking the elevator. And you should be happy, you did it, no matter what else did. If they got there by elevator, good for them, they didn't see and experience what you did. They were probably just as satisfied seeing the view and again, good for them. You probably didn't have any deal with other people to not take the elevator to the top so I don't think no one fooled you in anyway. You may feel like they took the easy route but I don't see how it diminished what you did. You still did climb the mountain.

A lot of examples can be found in life where other people get something easier than I or you or anyone. And it feels unfair, I know, been there. But at some point I realized that me feeling angry or sad or whatever about things I can do nothing about - people taking elevators or getting their plays on big stages or having a motorboat against my sad little rowing boat - doesn't change the thing in any way for the better. The only thing that actually does change it for the better is for me to stop worrying about it and be happy about what I do and what I am able to do within the limits life has set for me. On a good day, I can push those limits a bit farther and that makes me happy.
 

MacReady13

Member
Jun 22, 2018
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I honestly would love to have had some of these games "journo's" who are having a sook about games being played on easy played games when I was young. Try fucking getting through Mega Man 3 or Battletoads on NES you fucking pussies! Seriously, difficulty wasn't an issue in those days. You just played whatever the dev decided you needed to play the game at. Today the level of entry for gamers is so fucking low that playing games for too long today then going back to games of yesteryear is near on impossible! What happened to having a challenge? Being tested? Having fun whilst getting max enjoyment being a level that was kicking your ass? Where is the enjoyment beating a game that you can breeze through without a fucking challenge?
 

Excess

Member
Dec 8, 2020
661
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I love highly competitive and challenging games, but sometimes the ass clenching mixed with five cups of coffee forces me to dial it back a bit on the difficulty settings. Being able to poop without difficulty is more important to me. 😌
 
Apr 4, 2020
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Good question. If I put myself in that situation, I would feel bad for being lied to and like my boss played games with me, let me believe I have to do something to achieve something whereas I could've gotten that without doing anything. In the perfect world I should be able to think I did the work but the reward wouldn't probably feel like a reward in that case.

In your climbing example the climbing was voluntary and didn't come with any other rewards than what you had set for yourself. Getting to the top by climbing and not taking the elevator. And you should be happy, you did it, no matter what else did. If they got there by elevator, good for them, they didn't see and experience what you did. They were probably just as satisfied seeing the view and again, good for them. You probably didn't have any deal with other people to not take the elevator to the top so I don't think no one fooled you in anyway. You may feel like they took the easy route but I don't see how it diminished what you did. You still did climb the mountain.

A lot of examples can be found in life where other people get something easier than I or you or anyone. And it feels unfair, I know, been there. But at some point I realized that me feeling angry or sad or whatever about things I can do nothing about - people taking elevators or getting their plays on big stages or having a motorboat against my sad little rowing boat - doesn't change the thing in any way for the better. The only thing that actually does change it for the better is for me to stop worrying about it and be happy about what I do and what I am able to do within the limits life has set for me. On a good day, I can push those limits a bit farther and that makes me happy.

You can still be happy but realise that the value does diminish. I still climbed, but the exclusivity of reaching the summit is diminished, and thus diminishes the value of the achievement.

In the end, game developers should have the freedom to put in whatever they want. Having no difficulty modes is now being depicted as something bad or 'not-inclusive' , which is absolutely ridiculous. Having no difficulty settings can give a game appeal (like Dark Souls, or They Are Billions), but on the other hand, having difficulty settings can increase the reach of your game. Both can be viable commercial strategies.
 
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ShinobiWan1

Member
Jun 28, 2021
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I don't mind the difficulty changes to games. I think having a trophy or achievement for 'Beat on ULTRA DEATH difficutly setting' should be satisfying for those who are concerned about it.