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Old September 12, 2018, 09:51   #34
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 436
Quirk is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by Carnivean View Post
My contention then is that presenting the player with a bewildering selection of methods and having them learn which is better overall by progressively attempting and discarding theories as more data becomes available.

If you limit the options to a handful of pre-selected optimal choices then you're changing the fundamental nature of the game to something different. It's no longer about learning the game but rather about mechanically progressing through each game.
I have a small issue here. What you are describing is what we would conventionally call "a poorly balanced game", and the bad methods are what are often called "newbie traps". I am not sure if this description of yours is fair to Angband or not, but it is not a flattering description. Practically any game of sufficient complexity bewilders the player at first. A well designed game is one in which parts that initially seemed meaningless turn out to be practically useful in the right circumstances after all and the player advances gradually to a rich and complex algorithm for gameplay. A poorly designed game presents many apparent options for tackling problems, but in practice few are meaningful and the player falls back on repeating the same few exploitative tactics over and over. Perhaps the canonical example is the old Command and Conquer/Red Alert "tank rush": old RTS games offered many apparent options but the best strategy was, disappointingly, just to build a load of heavy tanks. The shift made by Starcraft was to have everything be useful in the right context, and consequently Starcraft endured and stayed popular as old breeds of RTS died out.

I am also more broadly concerned about the "meta-narrative" description; I don't think it is altogether wrong, but I do think it is a strong argument against games that take a long time to finish, and I feel people who gain pleasure from the meta narrative would be better served by a game in which the challenge is much tougher but the game is sooner over.

For me there are a couple of additional things to throw into the mix: the fun of survival in increasingly challenging circumstances, and the old gambling lootbox. My suspicion is that one of the things that puts many people off Sil is the perception that the loot isn't very exciting, and that Angband and its more faithful derivatives provide more enticing discoveries.

Last edited by Quirk; September 12, 2018 at 10:02.
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