Grind stops games from becoming classics

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Leartes, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    The recent unlockable/grinding discussion got me thinking about some side-effects the concept of grinding for content has.

    I think there is a big misconception with how recent games reward players. In many games it works that way:
    You start out with nothing. You play and unlock stuff during play. Designers try to achieve the perfect pacing of giving you just enough to keep you playing but not give you more. As the game gets older more stuff is added that can be grinded for. Imo this mindset is a problem already but my main issue comes now: This content can be collected more easily if you already possess a lot of the older content (it can be items, heroes, runes, levels etc.). What this does is it makes it entirely impossible for new players to jump into a game and get to the top with their skill alone. The older a game gets the higher the barrier of entry becomes.
    For some games it might be fine, mainly single player adventures/non-grouping content in MMOs. In other games, especially in competitive games, this starves out the player base in the long run. I mean at first it might get you a huge boost in the number of players due to f2p. But then you make the game less appealing to new players.
    I think this is a big issue that kills a lot of games in the long run. It gets a lot of money as long as the game is running fine and then the game is ditched. I really don't get this mentality of making something that is not supposed to be playable 5 to 10 years later.

    Don't get me wrong, I can totally understand game concepts that rely on giving the players more content over time (releasing expansions etc.). Sirlin strives for games that don't even need that but I can see why those games are made a lot. What I don't understand why every player has to take the same route than the players that started the game 5 years ago. When I see an expansion released for a game with content that basically reads "don't buy me if you don't played the main game for at least a year" it makes me sad. I think games should offer more rubber-band mechanics that give players starting later a chance to catch up faster. Those mechanics could be entirely optional for players that want to experience old content.

    Please discuss. Also I'd like you to give examples of games that did a good/bad job in this regard.
     
    Remy77077 likes this.
  2. daniel c w

    daniel c w Member

    I'd say this is a very important distinction to make.
    There are a lot of singleplayer video games, that are considered classics, that include some kind of grind.
    It could be the primary gameplay (RPGs, Diablo), a minor aspect (some quests in Zelda), or something specific to certain playstyles (restoring health while speedrunning Metroid).

    Is there any reason how grinding could spilt the playerbase when there is no big competetive multiplayer element involved?
     
  3. TheGodEmperor

    TheGodEmperor Member

    Tbh, it depends. Say RNG drops in an RPG like, oh, FF. I can't stand RNG. It just bothers me. If it had a system like WoW quest items where it was really low at first and then increased the more you don't see it drop, but oh well.

    But grinding for exp I don't mind in a single player game. I generally don't even have to.
     
  4. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    For example cooperative multiplayer can do the same (compare MMO raid requirements).

    In true single-player games this is a non-issue.
     
  5. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    What MMO in particular are you referring to?

    The only endgame content I can speak of is WoW, but your position is entirely untrue there. Old gear gets quickly obsoleted, and veteran raiders can do quick runs of past content to deck out a new raider. Due to the prevalence of alts in WoW, this is especially common there. Most raiding guilds have several players with rather well geared alts, and it's not at all unheard of to bench you main and bring the alt healer if you happen to be short that week.
     
  6. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    That's not entirely untrue then. It's just less true and in fact it supports one of his points. You still have to grind to deck out an alt. But if you've already done the grind once then it's easier to do it a second time.

    Alternatively if you haven't done the grind but have friends that have it's easier to do. Finally old gear becoming obsolete isn't a point against grind but rather it's most severe cause. If you can't find a guild willing to boost you to relevance by the time the a particular expansion is onto it's second tier of raid content then you're stuck.
     
  7. Aesa

    Aesa Well-Known Member

    It pretty much depends what you consider "a long time". Back when I played WoW it took like ~100 hours to get competitive gear as someone who's been playing for awhile at a bare minimum with amazing connections. For an average guy, maybe triple that.

    Anyway, I consider the journey part of the fun, butlots of people view it as ~100 hours of "work" before you can have real fun.
     
  8. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    I suppose that depends upon exactly what you're doing to get your gear. If it's pvp against other equally geared players then yeah, ok, fine. If it's repeating the same damn daily quests over and over for tokens of whatever then just stab me in the neck right now.
     
  9. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    It is entirely untrue. I'm not saying MMO raids aren't grinds (they obviously are). The claim I'm disputing is that the playerbase gets divided into haves (veterans) and have nots (noobs). He was saying that those who fall behind can never catch up, which is disproven by the fact that alts can get geared up enough to justify inclusion in raid over the same player's main. Gearing up in WoW is easier when the content is on farm. You will most certainly get decked out faster than the people who earned their sets during progression.

    Re: Gear becoming obsolete - I'll repeat that I never claimed the grind doesn't exist. It exists for everyone. The point of new tier levels being released is that EVERYONE ends up starting the grind again, which closes the gap between veterans and latecomers. We can both get tier 28 helms, but let's say you replaced a T27 helm while I replaced a levelling green. There was a massive gap that previously existed, and now we are equal (for that particular slot).

    Re: Getting boosted - Have you actually played WoW? Outside of the bleeding edge 1%, it's hard for me to imagine a raid guild that doesn't regularly need to boost up undergeared toons. People have lives, people swap guilds, or swap mains. You're always losing people/characters, and you the replacements won't always be on par with your current first string. Also, even if the mains are done with a given piece of content, there's still probably alt runs going on that you can join.

    We're not talking about PVP or dailies. I'm talking about raid content exclusively, since that's what Laertes was talking about in the quote I responded to.
     
  10. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    On topic of MMO raids:
    I don't talk about WoW because I never played it, but imagine the following. Today I go to a store and get me WoW with all subscribtions and all expansions. Now I create a new level 1 character and start playing. Do I need more or less hours than you needed until I get picked up for raids?
    Also keep in mind WoW has a large amount of non-multiplayer content so it is not as big a problem as it might be. The problem is bigger if multiplayer (cooperative or competitive) plays a larger role.

    In general:
    I don't really want to focus on MMORPGs since those usually have a very large single player part that is fun for many players. When I created the OP I thought more about F2P games with daily quests or rewards that can be farmed to reduce the amount of money you need to drop.
     
  11. AppleKing

    AppleKing Member

    Grinding in a F2P to avoid spending money is inherently different from grinding in anything else (either fully free, or commercial), in that you have an option to just not do it, and still end up in the same place. Whereas in another game with grinding, your choices are do it or don't play (at least at that level/tier/whatever).
     
  12. Aesa

    Aesa Well-Known Member

    I have played a lot of WoW (raided with Aurora and Elitist Jerks for anyone who keeps up with this stuff), and yea I haven't played latest expansion but assuming you are the guild master's best friend and he is trying to do absolutely everything to help you, you will need to put in at the VERY LEAST like 100 hours to be taken on a progression raid for any remotely serious guild. Probably *a lot* more than that though.

    So yea, MMOs kind of fit Leartes description by default, even if WoW is more lenient than others (WoW is the only one I have played too).
     
  13. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. It is not as different as you might think. Many players love f2p, "yeah there is some grind but I'll just do that and stick with the game and everything is fine". What those players don't realize is that this model kills their game. People think they deserve stuff for free because they play the game for some time and on the flipside of things every coin they are given puts a greater distance between them and newcomers. Ultimately this makes it very unfriendly to join the game at later stages because those few guys that play since beta stay on top.
    Some years after release the guys that stuck with the game have a huge monetary advantage over newcomers which makes it less likely that anyone seriously tries to get to the top. Since noone wants to throw out names I give you a few examples:
    Eredan, Alteil (both CCG with free cards the more you play and the better you perform) or LoL (amount of heroes grows, players that play for a long time get many new heroes for free whereas newcomers got to pay for all of them).

    I don't really want to discuss those games, they are merely examples to point you in the direction I was thinking when I created the thread. - Not saying the WoW example doesn't work as well, the issue is different here since you can't buy into the game at all. Therefore WoW and other MMO take a different ressource (time).
     
  14. AppleKing

    AppleKing Member

    I think I see what your referring to now. The idea that the power difference between new and old players eventually creates a more or less insurmountable barrier to entry. I haven't played any of the games you reference, so I can't say if that is or is not the case with them, but I can see how it could happen.

    However, I don't think that it has to happen just from having grind in a F2P. The WoW method that someone mentioned of "resetting" things every so often is one way you can avoid it, and there's no reason a F2P game couldn't use that.

    Alternatively, you could have the items that you grind for be expendable. That way everyone is always grinding or spending money. I don't know that that would be the best option, but it's there.

    There are probably other ways it could be avoided that I'm not thinking of.
     
  15. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    What I've been disputing this whole time is that the newcomers start off so far behind that they cannot catch up. Here's your core statement verbatim: "What this does is it makes it entirely impossible for new players to jump into a game and get to the top with their skill alone." That's what I'm disagreeing with.

    Here's a concrete example: One of the big name guilds (Juggernaut) on our server disbanded entirely and rerolled on a new server (the same server as EJ, actually). I believe it was about 3-6 months before they had passed up probably 95-99% of all guilds in the world and were raiding top end content again. Was there a fuckton of work involved? Sure. No contest. Was restarting from scratch such a big problem that they couldn't overcome it? Not at all. They had the drive to be world class before, and that drive brought them right back to the top.

    I get what you're saying, but I'll repeat that I've never been trying to claim that there isn't a boatload of time involved in going from rolling up a toon to progression raiding on top tier content. I'm just saying that it'll take you less time to get there than those who came before you.

    Assuming EJ started at launch, Gurg has been through three expansions' worth of raid content, whereas if you start today you will probably skip half to 3/4 of the raid content in Cataclysm (much less AQ, Sunwell, Naxx, etc). Once you hit cap, you're probably jumping straight into content just a step or two below progression. What some of your guildies have spent literally years to achieve, a new addition can attain in a few months. I'm not debating that it'll take you 100+ hrs to get there, just pointing out that it took some of your guildies 1000+.
     
  16. Aesa

    Aesa Well-Known Member

    I don't think you're disagreeing, I think you're misinterpreting. See quote below:

    The answer is no. No amount of skill lets you jump into that game and get picked up for raids until you've played at the VERY VERY VERY least 50 hours to even reach the level requirement. So yes it is entirely impossible for a new player to "jump into that game and get to the top with skill alone" pretty much by definition for any MMO. Of course this thread is mainly addressing non-MMO games that are ascribing to similar things.
     
  17. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Then WoW is no offender in this regard. Simple as that, I never claimed otherwise.

    This seems to work if applied well. The catch is that any of my examples don't do it and I got the feeling that those games are not the only ones.

    The only problem I forsee for WoW is that it will get boring as soon as they stop making new content. That is a problem most MMO have but I don't see it closely related to the problem I described above.
     
  18. Aesa

    Aesa Well-Known Member

    Leartes I apologize if I've mistated your position. I still hold to mine that any game where you have to do not-what-you-actually-bought-the-game-for content for 100+ hours qualifies :p Of course I don't consider this a "problem" persay in MMOs due to the nature of the genre.
     
  19. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    The difference is Aesa that right from the start there is a barrier of entry into the endgame content. Now if this barrier gets larger over time it is bad. In fact it should stay the same or even get smaller so that people that didn't ride the big wave at the beginning can catch up with the rest (imo).
     
  20. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    I don't think the barrier generally does get larger. I pointed out that it doesn't in WoW because gear from the old content gets obsoleted. As before, I'm not especially familiar with other MMOs, but my impressions have been that most modern MMOs do not have a forced progression path that requires new users to run through all prior content in order without skipping pieces.

    In something without more content being continuously added to the end of a linear path, this also becomes a nonissue. The trailblazers hit the end, then everyone else catches up.
     
  21. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Well Delha, your impressions are wrong. Especially since I'm not mainly talking about MMO-RPG but all my given examples are from other mmo-genres.
    The main property they have in common is collectable content. Also all those games started out with a very limited amount of content that could be gathered quite easily in the period after release and from this point on a lot of new content was grindeable.
    If you startet LoL at the beginning and never stopped playing for an extended period of time you can have most heroes that were released ever. At the same time if anyone joins the game now he has to pay a huge amount because it is completely impossible for him to ever catch up to you by grinding alone.
     
  22. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Considering your track record, you'll have to forgive if I don't just take your word for it.

    How about you name an MMOs where you must go through literally every single piece of old content in order to reach the most recent? By your admission, WoW is no offender. I'm also pretty damn sure that EQ never did that, meaning that the dominant MMO and the big granddaddy both give you the freedom to skip older content.

    Collectible content does not mean an unbridgeable gap. If you start playing Standard in MtF tomorrow, you don't have to start buying 20 year old cards. You don't even have to buy from two years back. You can get on the Pro Tour without ever learning that there is a card named Black Lotus, much less owning one.

    You example fails again with LoL. You don't need to own every character. You only need enough to grant you the versatility to get through the draft. Someone mentioned it in one of the threads on these boards. I don't recall the exact number they cited, but I think it was somewhere around a dozen. I'm sure Aesa can name a better number than I can.
     
  23. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    LoL is an offender as the amount of champs needed is strictly growing. Not by 1 per release but it is growing with every pick-worthy champ released since your team has to cover that champ. You can't say we'll just cover the first 50 released champs and win a tournament with that.

    Other examples I gave were Eredan and Alteil. Both pure multiplayer online games. For your information Eredan has weekly achievements that give you a card that can't be got by any other means. After the initial week where the achievement is for free you can only buy them for 2$ at the shop. Now several years after release you face a massive investment in achievements to get all the OP-cards.

    Just don't mention any RPG anymore the world of online games is larger than that.

    EDIT:
    Take for example MtG. It is super expensive, but it resets all the time. If you don't play for some years and start again the amount of cards you need is not significiantly higher than if you played it all the time because many cards went out of the pool.
    Also MtG was not designed to become as big as it became. Many games are designed with extra hurdles (like Eredan) that prevent them from ever becoming as big which is totally strange to me.
     
  24. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    LOL is an offender, you need more than the champs you expect to play, you also need champs that are powerfull that your teammates need to play (to first pick and trade). Note that what champs are powerfull and which are worth to play change with every patch. For example I was filling my bruiser slots with Skarner (along with WW and udyr) but skarner was nerfed to the ground so I needed to find QUICK a replacement. I bought shyvana, and found after several games that I don't like her...

    We didn't even start to talk about runes...
     
  25. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    Why? The assertion is only that the amount of necessary content increases, not the rate at which it increases. It doesn't requre linearity (reaching the most recent content vs. competing/engaging with new content) and it certainly doesn't require that level of comprehensiveness. The amount of grind can increase without increasing at the maximum possible rate.

    For some (many? most?) MMOs, the grind is the game. A constantly increasing grind isn't a bad thing if there's no end-game content to block off. Even in a game like WoW, where there is a lot of end-game content, it's pretty foolish to buy the game if you don't want to grind.
     
  26. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Because he said my impressions to the contrary were wrong.

    To my understanding, his entire premise is that people who start later end up hopelessly behind with no way of catching up to the veterans. He said that MMOs are an example of this, and after he admitted WoW does not have this problem I mentioned that I saw most MMOs as following the same model (old content gets obsoleted and newcomers just ignore it). He said this was untrue, so I asked for an example disproving my belief.

    As mentioned in my prior posts, this skipping of content actually results in a a shorter grind than the older players experienced. If we assign an arbitrary 50 hrs of play per raid tier, a veteran who was on progression raids all the way through has put in 250 hrs, as compared to the person who jumps in a couple months later and skips the first three tiers and put in 100 hrs.*

    *In practice, the new player will never put in comparable time on old content. Until he's ready to join progression raids, he's just going through farm content which is easy and quick to run. Once he's past the farm content, he is by definition "caught up".

    I think you are making the same mistake Aesa did. It is indeed a given that MMOs are all about the grind. I'm just disputing the claim that people who start grinding early cannot be caught by those who start later. I hold that that exact opposite is true: Those who start later experience a shorter grind than the trailblazers before reaching a given point.
     
  27. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    What you ignore all the time is MMO != MMORPG.

    Facebook and Browsergames are MMOs just as well as WoW is one. I'm not interested in RPGs since they have less competitive aspects and therefore you are not required to participate in end-game content. On the other hand in competitive games it really sucks when you don't have the required content to do PvP.

    That is why I mentioned LoL. It is an MMO and it realeases content all the time with an option for players to grind content and no reset.

    EDIT:
    Well maybe it is no MMO in all definitions. I won't argue with you if you deny that. Still RPG is not the only MMO type of game.
     
  28. LoneKnight

    LoneKnight Well-Known Member

    We are talking about playing without paying only? I assume so, because if you pay in LoL you can catch up to older players the moment you hit 30... well, except runes I guess but there are a finite amount of runes and I can't even remember when the last time was runes got added (in fact, didn't dodge runes get removed?), so once you've grinded out those you are at top level. I'd say it probably takes less time than it did for them because you can grind the latest set of competitive champs while they had to buy a bunch more over time because of nerfs/new releases.

    In Alteil it's actually somewhat easier to catch up than you'd think because the system is retarded and the more you invest, the less you get out of it. So unless you spend a colossal amount of money, your card acquisition rate will be stuck at a certain point. Even better, official tournaments give the same cardpool to all participants, so it's not like missing cards makes you worse at official events. I guess you still can't practice, which is somewhat bad, but if you are good, you can play the highest level in tournaments right away.

    I guess there must be a bunch of shitty facebook games that never become classics because of grind though.
     
  29. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    The point about LoL is, yes you can catch up but the investment becomes huge. Just calcualte how much it'd cost you to buy all champs right now. Then compare that to the amount you had to pay one year ago to buy all champs at that time. (You could scale everything by 0.5 or something if you think every second champs is enough.)

    Also it is not about playing without paying ever. It is about increasing cost. Historically games have some cost when they get released and then they get cheaper (discount etc.). Along the road there are bumbs for expansions but in the end games get cheaper over time.
    It might be ok if the price stays the same for all time but I think it is a problem if a game does the opposite and gets more and more expansive over time. It is like making an expansion that costs 10$ now and in half a year it'll cost 20$ etc. It starves out the playerbase.

    For Alteil, it is good if official events work that way (when I played there were wasn't much going on in that direction). The question is: Do you think this system motivates lots of newcomers to start play Alteil and stick with it?
    I think it doesn't since official events are just a small part of the game and people usually don't stay in a game were they are trash tier most of the time.

    The part about facebook games was mostly to show up the scope, I don't know many that have potential.

    EDIT:
    I'll throw out some more names with no argument if they are offenders or not. You can decide if they are or not and why. This is to get a better grasp of the concept. Also it is a test how bad the situation is - maybe it is just a minority of games ... Anyway here are some more games that might be offenders by their general monetization scheme:
    Pox Nora, Batttleforge, Dungeon Defenders and Lord of the Rings Online
     
  30. LoneKnight

    LoneKnight Well-Known Member

    I don't think you need every second champ. I think you need like, the top 10, maybe 20. And then just buy the new OP ones to replace the old ones that get nerfed from the IP you get from playing normally. There's usually a new patch with a champ every 2 weeks which is a pretty wide window to farm enough IP imo, if you are serious about the game.

    Alteil has a whole lot of problems with CpC and that thing really only helps hardcore players who already like the game. New player retention is terrible for some other reasons too.
     
  31. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    I was focused on MMORPGs because you said it was a problem in cooperative multiplayer, specifically raiding. Do you now admit that claim was wrong?

    You are wrong again. You keep fixating on how the cost to own everything keeps growing, when I've pointed out repeatedly that YOU DO NOT NEED TO OWN EVERYTHING. You do not need to own a fixed percentage of everything.

    Let's say you need to own X number of champs to be competitive. The value of X never changes. Let's use WaterD's post as an example. When Skarner gets nerfed and you pick up Shyvana to play instead, you have not increased the size of your roster. You just swapped out one of your three bruisers. A new player does not now need to buy/grind to get both champs, they just pick up Shyvana straight off and never bother with Skarner in the first place.

    Models like WoW or LoL demand a constant grind or investment to stay current, but that's entirely separate from what a new player has to do.

    What a bullshit way to post. You've failed repeatedly to provide a real example of a game where the grind is problematic in the way you describe, so now you're ducking the issue by posting a list "with no argument if they are offenders or not". What a joke. Just man the fuck up and admit that you have absolutely zero backup for your position.
     
  32. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Well our measure of competitive play seems to differ. I think you need to own every possible pick. Every non trash-tier hero has to be available during the draft.
    As the trash tier usually is very small in comparison to the situational picks you'd need a lot.

    Maybe this view is wrong since I'm used to dota (all heroes available, most of them can be situational picks). If you limit your choice and miss a situational good pick because you don't have it, then you don't play truely competitive.

    Thanks, you have shown bad understanding of what I mean therefore I wanted to give you a chance to get the basics done.

    I gave in fact several examples, you ignored most of them though.

    Then again I don't get your hostility. Just don't reply to me if you don't like what I write. If you care then try to communicate. I do this to give all participants a possibility to learn something about games, about people and about themself. If you don't want to learn but proof me wrong you don't get the point.
     
  33. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Your view is wrong, as has been pointed out by multiple people. Even WaterD's post disputes your claim (though in a roundabout way).

    Yeah? Name one that hasn't been debunked already. You said MMO raids, and were wrong there. You said LoL and were wrong there. If you've already posted valid examples, it should be a simple matter to quote yourself.

    I don't start off hostile. If you look at my first post in this thread it boils down to "Please provide an example. I disagree, here are some reasons why." You have yet to name a single point where MMO raids suffer from the problem you describe.

    The reason I get hostile with you is because you don't actually address my points. For example:

    You: It's impossible to start today and grind out enough points for every champ.
    Me: You don't actually have to buy everything.
    You: But they keep releasing more stuff.
    Me: That doesn't matter, because like I said, you don't have to buy everything.
    You: LoL is problematic becuase the constant release of new champs makes it hard to get everything!
    Me: You're a fucking tard. You DO NOT HAVE TO BUY EVERYTHING.

    It's a matter of escalation. It was only in this last post that you finally even acknowledged my point that you don't need to buy every champ. All your posts about LoL before that take it as a given that you must, even after I've disputed it. Every time you ignore my point, I get more irritated (and in turn, more hostile towards you). You'll note I didn't blow up on Aesa or Rosencratz. That's because they actually engaged my points instead of pretending I'd never made them.
     
  34. Sotek

    Sotek Super Moderator Staff Member

    LoL's grind is a problem, but not in the way Leartes is saying.
    There is WAY TOO MUCH grind to "get started" for a game that's supposedly about equal-power competition.
    But that amount of grind has not increased significantly over time, so it's not like the barrier to entry is higher than it was when people first hit 'the cap'.

    Now, the amount of grind in WoW to "get started" /has/ increased over time (more levels to cap!) but the point of WoW is the grind, so again it's okay - although if WoW were to stop adding new content it would die in a year or two because people would run out of things to grind for.

    And then let's look at MtG: Again, it's completely absurd how much it costs to get started, and that should be shunned.
    But we also need to look at different MtG formats! For instance, draft tournaments have a low fixed cost to enter and no advantage for people who've been around longer (except knowledge, skill, and so on. but that's not something you get for being around, it's something you get for experience). But Legacy is essentially impossible to get started in and only gets harder over time. And then there's Standard, which has had a relatively fixedish buyin for years and will continue to do so - with fluctuations depending on the rarity of staples (Mythic Rare Jace!) but where that buyin applies to everyone, no matter how long they've been playing for (with the detail that it costs like 1/3rd as much to buy into the next season if you were already bought into this one - but if you're out for three seasons then it resets, etc)
     
  35. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    I honestly don't think this is true. LoL's grind to level30 hasn't changed. But the more champions you play, the more runes you need (they to have different optimal sets). The more champions are available, the more you tend to need in a competitive environment, for lots of weird reasons that almost have more to do with ban/draft rules than the actual in-game play portion. And, LoL has shown a habit of steadily increasing the average cost of a champion over time.

    And that's not even mentioning the increased number of total rune pages/mastery pages/etc, which are great, but didn't even exist a year ago, and now are pay-for options. That convenience stuff is considered almost necessary by actual competitive players now.

    WoW, on the other hand, has actually shown a tendency to decrease the xp cost per level for low-level players every time an expansion comes out. They've slashed the gold cost of low level skills/gear/mount training so much that it's almost free at this point. I really think it's true to say that the grind actually doesn't take any longer now than it ever did. The numbers certainly go higher, but they changed what the numbers mean, so that's not actually an important metric.
     
  36. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    Strange that the buy in there is ABSURDLY HIGH(!!!) but somehow it's a big deal that very infrequently someone might buy a new Puzzle Strike or Yomi or whatever to keep up.
     
  37. Aesa

    Aesa Well-Known Member

    Um, if this is true, then Riot is a massive failure of balance (I would personally argue it's not true). You really think X doesn't change whether there are 50 total champs or 400 total champs?
     
  38. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    I also think it's a matter of how you define "the game." A competitive gamer and casual gamer have differing definitions of what "the game" even is. To a competitive player, the grind is a barrier to "the real game." To a casual player, the grind IS the game and there is no barrier.

    For what it's worth, "the grind" in LoL has never turned me off. I got into the game late, but since I enjoyed the "playing aspect," the grind or rune accumulation was never a problem to me.

    The FAR BIGGER barrier (in my humble opinion) is the colossal amount of information pertaining to the game. There are just so many items and so many champions and so many skills and then there is scaling and team comps... It's just absurd.
     
  39. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    While im not on delha team here. No player can play well all the champs, or ever half of them. Nobody tries.
    The problem is to be competitive you first need to learn the game, and it may be helpful to play all champs. Free week rotations help to that, but I doubt it excuses the problem.
    In my mind the champs where never a problem in the grind sense. My problem is with runes and Levels.
    The rune pages are extremly usefull and expensive but you can pay them.
    My problem with the amount of champs though is the barrier of knowledge, that is not related to grinding, but is somewhat affected to it (it's hard to test champs to see if you like them or how they work if you don't have the needed runes)
     
  40. Sotek

    Sotek Super Moderator Staff Member

    Aesa, I'd HOPE that it doesn't change.
    The perfectly-balanced game that doesn't exist would let you play your favorite champ every time, or maybe if nobody's allowed to play the same champ as anyone else in a 5v5, you'd be guaranteed one of your top ten.

    And it doesn't matter how many champions exist.
    Yes, perfect balance doesn't exist, blah blah blah, but unless there's hard counterpicks you should still be able to get by with the top few champions in each category - and the number required is the number of options other people can shut out, plus one. If hard counterpicks are a thing, that'll boost how many champs you need ... but not by much, since they can't pick hard counters to all your champions at once!

    So yes, in the ideal LoL game, if you owned 10 champs you could play at close-to-equal levels of proficiency (including runes and whatever) and that fill a variety of niches, you should be able to do 'anything'. And if you only play in a team, in theory, you'd only need 6 of one niche or 7-8 if they take multiple niches, since you don't need to worry about a teammate locking you out of a champ you want.
    And it doesn't matter if there's ten champs or a trillion.
     
  41. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Sotek, you're making the mistake of looking at players as individuals, rather than teams. You create a team of champions that follows the strategy you want for the current match, you don't choose an individual character to always use.

    I read your post above as saying "If MtG was perfectly balanced, nobody would need sideboards", which should seem a bit ridiculous.
     
  42. Sotek

    Sotek Super Moderator Staff Member

    Claytus: What part of "variety of niches" are you missing? anyway sure. double or triple the numbers so that your team can play whatever comp they want despite what the other team does. But I mean, your strategy in LoL can't have -that- much variety in character style. You can't realistically go 5-support 0-carry, you can't go 5-carry, etc.

    the POINT is that the number of available champions has no bearing (beyond there being enough to matter) on how many you should "actually" need, because all that matters there is what your teammates and opponents are picking. So ... how many carries will you need to be able to play? How many junglers/gankers? How many tanks? How many supports?

    Well, uh. The number is not based on how many champions exist, it's based on how many different things you need to be able to counter. Imagine a world where every champ is hard-countered by at least one other champ being present on the other team. In this world, if you want to be sure you can play as a carry without getting hard-countered, you need to have at least six carries who all have different counters - that way if the other team all picks carries you want, you have one left. If they all pick counters to carries you want ... you have one left.
    If you might want to be a carry or a support, depending on opposing team makeup? 12 champs, 6 carry 6 support, but actually probably less since maybe you don't want to be a carry if they pick nothing but carries, or whatever.

    Now, yeah, if you want to always have a hard counter to an opposing champ, you'd need a lot more champions - and THAT would grow as the number of champions increases. But that's hopefully not the way things would go?

    Since you brought up MtG sideboards - surely a perfectly balanced MtG would NOT require sideboards that get bigger over time, right? Instead of sideboarding the counter to every deck, you'd sideboard stuff that keeps your stuff from getting shut down, and then you'd have two decks that are both "doing things" and can't be hard-countered because they have protection against that, and sideboards would be limited in scope. As opposed to "Well if they're going this deck I'll just switch over to this other deck because it's 9-1 vs their deck, then they'll switch to this OTHER deck that goes 9-1 vs it, then I'll switch ..."
     
  43. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    You're still waaaaaay oversimplifying. the game doesn't really have hard-counters, so bringing that up as a baseline is pretty much irrelevant. It's always much less static in terms of team composition than most people realize (The mage/tank/support/carry/jungle thing is just the most well-understood, and safest for playing random solo queue games, it's not the only working team out there).

    I've honestly seen 5-support teams win hands down in solo queue. It's just a mistake to think that groups like that aren't realistic. They're perfectly viable, and it's good to understand why. When I've seen a group like that win, it's because the opponents were cocky to some extent and assumed they had a free game from the start. But a team like that ends up with like 20 disables or something ridiculous, so they can just stunlock someone and auto-attack them to death. A team successfully pulling that off from the start can win long before their opponent's end up having a chance.

    Balance adjustments are also a huge factor. There were multiple tournaments in early LoL history where a minor Sivir buff shortly before the tourney turned her into a monster that won every game, and noone was really prepared to ban her. Yeah, it's admittedly a development error that something like that happened... but if you really want to be competitive you have to be prepared to capitalize on something like that. Just assuming all AP pusher classes are made equal is a big mistake.

    Draft rules also make it important to own a large quantity of champions. If you play support, that doesn't actually mean you want to pick support. You pick the champion your team thinks is best to reveal to your opponents when it's your turn in the lineup, then you can trade for the champion you're actually playing at match start. It's another scenario that maybe isn't make-or-break, but it's still a mistake to overlook a strategy like this as completely unnecessary.
     
  44. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    ow finally there is some interesting discussion going.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but what matters in drafting is:
    - the bans
    - the order of bans
    - picks
    - order of picks

    Now in experienced team a firstban has a different meaning than a second or third band. Just like your firstpick should be either a very strong champ for the current meta-game OR a strong and versatile champ that works in many line-ups. Assuming your opponent wants to do the same you should have all strong champs and all versatile champs available. Then you need follow up picks that work well with every champ you might pick and all counters to all picks the opponent might do. Here I'm not just talking hard-counters but soft-counters as well. I mean a champ that has an edge in lane in your most likely line-up is no hard-counter but it might be a good idea to pick him and try to capitalise on small advantages.
    I think draft is seen too singular focused on every single player. The whole composition is important.

    Now since I have more dota than lol experience this view might be wrong. But in dota you can't replace a single hero 1:1 with another. Every pick has its own meaning and if 1 hero from a line-up is banned it can drastically change the way the game plays out.
    Maybe LoL champs are not as unique, then you could definitely skip all duplicates. Anyway I highly doubt that only duplicates are released so I think you need some growing amount of champs. The question is if that is like 1 new champ for every 10 released (no big problem until there are several hundreds of champs released) or if it is more like 1 champ for every 1 or 2 champs released.

    I was not expecting you to play all champs, but expecting to do every pick for the team - well and sometimes someone has to go out of his comfort zone and play something unkown. I guess this mostly happens during scrims and training, still you need to have stuff before trying it out.

    Finally a short note to this one: Think about it that way. If in 30 years someone makes a list of good games that should be played from 2000-2010, will he list WoW? It is one of the most successful games now, but I doubt it will stay as a classic. This is because I think the player base will vanish. Now maybe the reasons are different than I described, that would be interesting to explore in discussion. Just claiming the description of a problem I gave you is wrong with no further thought about the implications and reasoning behind really does not help.
    I described to you how Eredan works, you can play it for free if you like and you will realise that the problem exists just as described for sure. Now the interesting question is how frequent it is, how grave the impact is etc.

    This leads us to the much more interesting debate whether it is a problem in LoL. In LotRO it definitely is existant and it is no problem. Mostly because endgame content is boring and the way there is much better. Dungeon Defenders not sure, haven't played it on release. I think the DLC makes the game more expansive and the grind longer, but again the way is the goal and the DLC is not that expensive (compared to LotRO). Battleforge was mostly dead last I checked. Also it had great and growing barriers into higher levels of play.
     
  45. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Leartes some of the problems with champs you mention exist, but:
    1) You can buy the champs
    2) I agree riot should do something about it, how? well they should allow that instead of the first player picks, any player in the team can pick from the pool of available champs as a team. And when that player picks the champ, all other champs he owns that others do not own, dissapear from the pool. Another solution is to allow players to trade places in the draft during the picking process.
     
  46. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    A dwindling playerbase has nothing to do with the cumulative barrier to entry you were claiming in the OP. The exact same problem exists with say Quake 2 or any other game that is primarily multiplayer, even when the barrier to entry is practically nil.

    I'll read up on Eredan a bit. Looking back, I see that in the same breath you listed it you also named Alteil and LoL, both of which have been debunked. I'm not exactly expecting it to make your case.
     
  47. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    The thread title says "grind". But I think the actual topic has shifted to whether it's a negative to require an increased investment of time *or* money. So, this statement might not necessarily mean you disagree with what people are saying anymore?

    If you're talking money investment, though, the question does get pretty interesting. I totally agree that an online game has server costs, and it's not wrong to ask players to keep paying as their server usage increases. But it is kind of bad to increase the initial cost to a new player.

    Is this a situation where monthly subscription fees actually becomes the "most fair" pricing method? That sort of works in opposition to the whole point of F2P stuff which is "invest money OR time". I feel like there's an interesting graph buried in this statement, but I'm not sure what it looks like...
     
  48. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Yes cost is ment in a general sense not just monetary. My point is:
    - it is bad if you can only invest time to reach a goal (lvl 30 grind super bad)
    - it is better if you can pay money to reduce/overcome the grind
    - if the grind is prolonged regularly it makes the total cost to get into the game larger the older the game becomes

    I think Claytus understood me best so far. If there are ongoing cost on the server side, then I believe a monthly fee is the most fair payment scheme. F2grind is only good in the beginning when you just start out a game and when you played the game a lot already (and unlocked most stuff).

    I never claimed it is the only possible reason, but if the problem I described exists, then it leads to a dwindling playerbase. You always try to read me in the most stupid way. Please assume I ment to translate my thoughts into english in the most intelligent way, you'll understand much more that way.

    Well no both examples still stand. WaterD described a good approach to reduce the factor of required champs in his post, but this is not in yet. Therefore I guess the factor is somewhere between 0.2 and 0.5 - you can't count free rotation champs as they are not accessible all the time and therfore not reliable.
    Now you could claim that the problem is not grave. I'd not argue about that as I'm not sure how large the negative impact is. Maybe there are just a handful players angry about it, maybe more we have no data on that.

    Also Alteil has the described problem. Official events with full card access doesn't impact on the regular play. Again you can argue it is a minor issue and I won't start a discussion on that. But there is at least a single player angry about it (that is me) and therefore the existance of the problem is shown in alteil.
     
  49. LoneKnight

    LoneKnight Well-Known Member

    I actually have an example that works!

    It's called Doomlord and it's a terrible browser game I played a lot.
     
  50. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Looks promising. There seems to be a limited amount of action points per time. If you start the game later than someone else you will never get compensation for all action points he is ahead and therefore never catch up. Seems like a very harsh case.

    Additionally a question for WaterD (and other high tier LoL players). If you had made your account on day one when LoL came out of beta and only played on this single account. Would you have spent more or less money on the game than you spent the way you played it?
     

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