Friday, October 12, 2007

Difficulty Levels

Oakstout recently excoriated players that consider "easy" to be a dirty word. Its quite common for people to deride World of Warcraft and its players because its too 'easy' as if thats somehow bad.

But, aside from the silliness in being elitist over how much time you waste playing a video game, what I wonder is: why don't we have more options in how to play these games. When I started playing Bioshock, I was presented with the option to play the game in easy, normal, or hard difficulty. Most games provide features like that. Some, like Wizardry 7, have hardcore "iron man" modes where the save game is deleted once you load it, so it can only be used to suspend play; you can't redo tasks, so once your party dies, the game is over. Hellgate will also have hardcore permadeath modes.

So why don't MMOs have multiple difficulty levels? The most trivial example would be a server with increased leveling rates to attract more casual users. Or, alternatively, for players who want more challenging play, there could be more hardcore servers that have corpse runs and increased XP debt. If the casual vs. hardcore debates are anything to go by, its clear that one size does not fit all. But there's no reason why we can't accomodate different playstyles within the same game. Single player games have been doing that for ages now.


Anonymous said...
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Openedge1 said...

Interesting thought...
An idea along this line would be to have various servers setup for each style of play

RP / Casual - Slow levels

PvP - Medium leveling to get to the gameplay this type of player wants, or maybe set levels, but with equipment gains per set number of points...still out on this idea..

Raid - say a 200% XP gain for each kill, which will get the player to end game faster...

But, I assume, costs is what comes into play here. I know a lot of the "Private (read illegal)" servers have changes to XP rates...and the same could be done on a single server..
Anyways...good post...and Cheers!