Game pet peeves

Steve C

Re: Game pet peeves

Postby Steve C » Mon May 22, 2017 7:16 pm

A peeve I have is resource curves. They are related to difficulty curves. IE:You must use what you have remaining to proceed. Think a level of Starcraft where you do not have a base and have no ability to build new units. Where you are given a starting army and it must make it to the end of the level (even if the army is just 1 unit at the end.) The important part is that resources for every challenge are *net* resources.

Let's say there is an early game combat. You barely win it by the skin of your teeth. The game expects you to have more resources than you do for the next combat. But now you have to use up even more resources overcoming the one after because you didn't have enough to begin with. You are stuck on a slow steady decline. Then there is the reverse case. The game expects you to use say 50% of your resources overcoming a challenge. Instead you find a way to do it very efficiently and have 90% of your resources left. IE: 40% better starting position for the next challenge than the game expects. You're on an upward slope forever.

Lots of games do this and it is fine. Where it is a peeve of mine is where that *is* the game. Where that is the difficulty curve. If you get below the curve you are screwed in 5 combats from now and don't even know it. Maybe you do know it and can repeat that combat for a better outcome. If both (a)this is an option and (b)the game is clear you sucked then my peeve completely disappears. Worse case is if you suspect it but don't know for certain. Then you're stuck with a nagging feeling of worry if you proceed. The only way to know is to do it again perfectly to be certain. I don't know how it is for other people but for me it completely destroys my enjoyment of a game when it is this last case.

It is an absolutely terrible mechanic as a replacement for a real difficulty curve. If you get above the curve early then the entire game is a cakewalk. Every combat will be easier than one before it as the distance grows between your personal power curve and the game's expectations. If you get under the curve it is frustrating game of catchup that you aren't going to win. The game has to be balanced perfectly for it to work. An impossible goal as player skill levels are so different. There also cannot be a single exploit in the game. If there is, players will find it. That's the end of the fun in the game soon as players get to that point. This peeve is also a peeve because is really easy to avoid by thinking about it for two seconds when designing the game. It's a stupid 'design' and wrecks perfectly good games.

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