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About preciousgollum

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  1. Episode 467: Hard Times or Easy Living

    The reason why developers should be forthcoming with their conception of difficulty levels is because if they do not, rumours persist for many years about difficulty levels, and the talk becomes so ingrained that people will believe in those rumours, even if a small degree of experimentation could prove otherwise. For example, people believe in disappearing bullets in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. People also believe that enemies are easier to kill in higher difficulty levels I'm that game (despite them obviously being tougher), and people also believe that Master difficulty was the intended experience, despite some potential evidence to the contrary. Heck, I bet there are people out there who STILL believe that harder Total War difficulties make the AI smarter, and then that would make them better, more clever generals, rather than realise that they have learned to play past some additional (invisible!) handicaps on a game that is essentially bottlenecked by mostly predictable AI. I'd also wager that, because of YouTube, AND because Creative Assembly put in an official looking 'Legendary' mode, people would now believe that the 'true' Total War experience now lies with max difficulty - which it doesn't. Video game developers perhaps like to encourage these rumours because they think it makes their product more endeering - like how Mortal Kombat Arcade rumours persisted. Video game difficulty is ultimately treated like a mystery box, and the last time one of those was used, JJ Abrams set up Star Wars fans in ways that lead to disappointment when Rian Johnson deconstructed the mystery box all over the place.
  2. Episode 467: Hard Times or Easy Living

    Video Game Difficulty is not the same as Accessibility. Turning up the difficulty in Shogun 2: Total War doesn't make it less accessible, because Total War games were designed to be played on Normal mode. Anything else causes the balance of the game to go out of whack and causes AI peasants to be tougher than player soldiers. Basically, you are sacrificing balance & fidelity of design in favour of additional challenge. Difficulty levels in video games need to be better explained by the designer. Some games made 'Normal' the new easy, because it satiates the ego of the majority of the players - Call of Duty being an example where, even ignoring the regenerating health mechanic, 'Normal' seemingly doesn't match the experience of being a basic soldier due to the sheer amount of damage per second that a player can take I.e ludo-narrative dissonance is in effect. A lot of people could enjoy video games at higher difficulties IF they understood that Hard Mode is not the bogeyman. When I was younger (i.e games in the late 90s to early 2000s, I would NEVER play on a harder mode, because we usually understood that the risks that the game is actually mechanically or stat-handicapping the player was not worth the frustration. Things have changed since then, and I remember a Gamesradar article suggesting that, at least for action games that were popular in the late 2000s, Hard mode was usually the default for people experienced with games, whereas 'Normal' had been made as a concession during the Xbox 360/PS3 era. Ultimately, there need to be better explanations for what difficulty levels actually do, IF the options exist. The reason why people enjoy Dark Souls is because it doesn't have those discussions about whether action game should be played on normal, hard etc. Dark Souls is like a de-populated MMO for loners where you are all that is left, and that's why we love it. MMO games typically do not have multiple difficulty levels, and therefore the discussion about Sekiro and Dark Souls having obvious difficulty selections is less about accessibility, since if it were the case, all MMOs would have to be made easier to accommodate less able gamers. Dark Souls is also an RPG where the game gets a bit easier by playing it by virtue of how levelling up and stats work. The market is free enough so that if somebody wants to make a Dark Souls that is mechanically less demanding, then they can do that. They've been doing it for ages by making video games. I would argue that Dark Souls is a reaction to how much easier western fantasy games were becoming around the time of Elder Scrolls Oblivion (I.e After Morrowind), and how much these games made the player the ultimate hero, which clashes with the feeling of having a big open world - the world actually revolves around the player. Real word comparison: A basketball is difficult for someone who needs a wheelchair to play, IF they don't have a wheelchair. So there is a handicap that now CAN be mitigated by investment. However, somebody without feet maybe cannot wear shoes. Should we complain about the shoe industry for gatekeeping our feet?
  3. Episode 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

    TAKING ALL BETS! The next expansion will be titled Civilization VI: War & Peace.
  4. Episode 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

    Ooooh... here is an idea for Civ. Instead of arbitrary 10 turn peace treaties, have a diplomacy system where you negotiate the number of turns for a peace treaty. This would add weight to diplomacy. I have not played Rise & Fall yet, but how about if the next expansion offers Governers as Hostages in Diplomacy? Basically, I think that war in civ is a huge part of the game, but the button to declare it feels like using Dial up in an always-on broadband era. If you wanted a peaceful aspect to civ, then there would need to be more civilian unit types with pseudo-offensive capabilities. 'Theological combat' in Civ 6 kinda leans in the right direction of tempting the player into a 'Just War'.
  5. Episode 426: Into the Breach

    So, with all that 'lack of joy', is this Neon Genesis Evangelion - The Game? Are you trying to impress your estranged father by fixating on optimal turn performance? It is the hedgehog's dilemma - The closer you want to get to loving a game, the more you are afraid you might hurt eachother, and so you withdraw yourself from it. Other people become engrossed because they are seeking validation, and the rest are just lacking a soul.
  6. Episode 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

    I think the issue with 4X games by and large is the pacing - Civ does one of the better jobs at tying its pacing to the theme of historical progress. I was really looking to finally getting a copy of Endless Legend (humble bundle) but I'm having trouble getting enthusiastic for playing it because it doesn't have an easily understandable pace or set of objectives. 4X games also can have the issue of being very tedious games for not a lot happening. There are a couple of things that could be tried: 1. Have 4X game where the actual starting setup/cities/pieces/armies etc are already populated/laid out/built up in a randomised way. Much like a Civ scenario, but designed for it to be easier to parse immediately. Saves on getting stuck in that 100 turn-reset loop that players often experience. 2. Have some random elements with tech development or units available etc. Basically, more random. Random/procedural terrain just isn't quite enough anymore. Tile improvements are boring etc etc. Alternatively, do what 'AAA' (Triple A) games do and have a turret section or stealth-escorts mission.
  7. Episode 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

    Regarding the 'simulation' aspect pre Civ 5, was this an actual thing, or was it more of a case of now becoming aware that a game is just a game? I mean, Civ 4 isn't really a simulation of anything particular, apart from that its menus look like a Science/Wiki website or encyclopedia, but that is aesthetics. I can understand the desire people might have to see Civ 'emulate' or 'simulate' other features using less board-game conceits. Civ 5 was a slight genre change from Civ 4, with emphasis on tactical combat that has yet to be fully realised. Civ 6 has moved ever so glacially into 'city builder' territory, but then the district design is more like that of RTS base building. There are very basic logic/presentation issues with Civ that have not been fixed - made apparent with Civ 6 split tech trees - such as cities being displayed as having Skyscrapers with indoor lighting when they have yet to research electricity.
  8. Episode 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

    The idea of comparing EU4 to Civ makes me wonder if there is a future possibility for a Civilization game where everybody wins - the goal is a single 'world' one that everybody aims to achieve, but is a lofty condition or set. Survival instead of conquest. Perhaps there could be legitimate and extreme ways that test people/factions, which is how the wars begin. Maybe some groups get to make decisions that threaten the whole existence of someone else's Civ, at the veto is like 'nah f**k you for trying to win easier at my expense - it's war time!'
  9. Episode 423: Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

    Civilization's reintroduction of religion after vanilla Civ 5, has a problem with 'flavour' because the Religion.System is very generic, rather than procedural. Founding a Religion in Civ 4 was an integrated part of the game that didn't detract too much from the basic game of Civ, whereas the new(ish) Religion system is disappointing because they lack any feeling of altering the game outside of the resource harvesting system (or FIDS in Endless Space/Legend). Unfortunately, the Religion policies feel completely alien to anything historic or even remotely understandable because they are only a title and a description of the bonus. There is absolutely no intermediary layer, no images, video or icon so the issue become entirely mathematical, and super-boring, with reliance on reading a lot of text instead of making simple glances to the screen - and it has to be parsed every single time. Perhaps it could be said that Civilization's production & presentation values as a game have not fully matched or surpassed people's expectations for sequels, so the game is overall underwhelming. Perhaps Civilization as a series is missing that little bit of lavishness that impresses people every time they play. For example, in Dark Souls, the impressiveness of the bosses is made more important by the lack of save slots, meaning that you are unlikely to see those bosses again, over many hours. Once beaten, the boss is gone. In comparison, the limited nature of Civ's terrain generation tiles and other placement aspects are lacking the prospect for random and generated permutations that will truly impress people. Civ's replay value is like falling into a small but incredibly deep hole, and then falling into another one. The more that Civ simplifies different eras for players, the less interesting each era becomes to play - the major de-importance of copper & elephants, in favour of the utilitarian treatment of Iron, being an example. Finding other Civs in a game doesn't take long - they will be seen in the first 10 minutes, and that sense of discovery just isn't much of a wow-factor anymore. The conclusion is that Civ could do with adding more randomness, so that a campaign is something to experience to the end, rather than this 500 turn contest between mostly equally placed contenders. Is Civ becoming a turn-based Fighting game? There is a similarity between Civ 5/6 religion system and Injustice 2's equipment select. Also, much like Street Figher 4 vs 5, people are more excited by small tweaks to a franchise model, rather than great sweeping changes, even if those small changes are rebranded versions of the same core game model. Ultra/VSkill. Buildings/Districts. Ryu's Ultra Hadoken was 'De-stacked' in Street fighter 5. I have also thought it might be more interesting if there were at least one of these things tried with Civ: 1. Remove cultural borders - have borders be defined by the last unit to walk there - making military placement more organic. 2. Remove 'Binary-War states' between two Civs, and have all Civs in a 'cold war' at all time - yes I know the AI would probably suck at being peaceful, but we could 'de-stack' war and diplomacy in this way.
  10. Episode 412: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

    Two main issues with XCOM stem from the flaws of having a micro-management Campaign, and RNG tactics. 1. Strategic Layer & Economy -- The Economy of XCOM/2 has been one with resources that has very little room for waste or overflow. Admittedly, on normal mode, there MIGHT be some ability to 'waste' resources and still win, but there still isn't a lot of money for 'spare' items to allow the player to experiment within a single game. A lot of the items become superfluous or under-used. For buildings, each Base construction becomes MORE crucial, there is no room for builying a big or interesting base, because of the micro-scale of the economy - XCOM is like budgeting for the poor (buy food; cannot afford electricity) or a very small church. 2. Tactics and RNG -- Because of the micro-managerial element of the tactics and combat layer (I.e the missions), the use of RNG can obviously mess up your game, but the problem is that there are not enough soldiers to mitigate the losing a Dice-roll in RNG - Every miss is MUCH more crucial than many other tactics games. Winning at XCOM relies on essentially breaking the RNG mechanic entirely, so that your actions almost always benefit in some way - guaranteed results; reminiscent a bit of Hand of Fate. Additional Question - Do your think XCOM could benefit learning from & implementing some of the campaign elements from HAND OF FATE? Smaller campaigns with random & replayable elements? I mean... there's a similarity between the dealer and the ethereals...
  11. Episode 390: Medieval II: Total War

    One word on the reason for a shift in the way that generals were treated in future Total Wars after Medieval II: Multiplayer.
  12. Three Moves Ahead 398 - Taking the L

    There are two major problems with XCOM reboot series. 1. The campaign difficulty increases on classic, as well as the battle difficulty, compared to normal, which can make the overall campaign act as an always grueling wrapper around tactical battles (which might be fun on hard.) 2. Xcom reboots designs are scripted to the point that even the 'random missions' are always the same when starting a new campaign, meaning that by the time the campaign opens up in the mid to late game, it is guaranteed that you would have seen the same mission types pop up in the same sequence, for about 2 hours, and then have the same aliens appear around the same month; this eventually destroys the ability to have fun starting a new campaign, or any form of procedural discovery. If the battles were more random, but the overall campaign more forgiving, then the game would have had more replayability in a way that it doesn't feel like an arcade game. P.S a lot of people probably play Classic for Xcom, but people forget that in the original (1994) X-com there were FAR more soldiers than aliens at the beginning, whereas XCOM (2012) on Classic will always have more aliens on the battle map than there are Soldiers, meaning that the game is balanced around Normal difficulty, but only because of the limitations imposed on the missions (I.e 4-6 soldiers). The whole setup feels conceited, because the campaign 'map' is less involved than a Total War game from 10 years ago. The 'Continental' panic mechanics on Classic are ALWAYS a penalty (even when a battle is won). Always with the external pressure. Chaos is a ladder. ... then sometimes Xcom seems to be balanced around Classic, with hidden or veiled extra player concessions added to normal.(Goddamn AIM BONUS ON NORMAL!!!) XCOM SOLVED.