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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Jeff Vogel On Making Games Easier
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 17 comments

On his blog, The Bottom Feeder, Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel has focused his thoughts on game difficulty. The veteran indie RPG developer discussed his conclusion that it is best to design a game's default difficulty setting with an eye toward easier gameplay.

I tend to like hard games. I am perfectly happy if any given title has 3 or 4 fights that requires 3 or 4 tries each to beat. But I am increasingly recognizing that this makes me a bit of a mutant. I am also realizing that while I like (or at least don't mind) the occasional repeated failure, I don't require it. I blasted through Brutal Legend with ease and I still had a great time. Plants vs. Zombies is easy, and it is also terrific. On the other hand, a game like Ninja Gaiden 2, which would happily make me refight bosses ten times on the easiest difficulty level ... Well, that was just stupid. Never again.

After long reflection, here is my new rule for RPGs I write:

When a player is on the default difficult level, has built his or her characters poorly, and is playing straight through the main storyline with mediocre tactics, that player should almost never be killed.

I can almost hear the heads of hardcore gamers imploding with impotent nerdrage. But seriously. If you have a problem with this, I think you're getting a lot of your fun from making other people have less fun.

Of course, a game should have harder difficulty levels. And, if a player chooses to opt-in on higher difficulty, they should be seriously nasty. But, when played on the default difficulty, the game should be accessible to your mom or average eight-year old.
Visit the blog page below to read more.

The Bottom Feeder: Make Your Game Easy Then Make It Easier
Spiderweb Software

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