Why only hard and hardcore

    It so happened that we play games on high difficulty. The reason is not at all that we are stubborn geeky geeks, but in simple rationality - the desire to enjoy the game.

    The thing is: before, all games were quite complicated, because they were designed for much more hardcore gamers. When you do not have internet, there are only 5 cartridges, and there is nothing to do - you play what you have. And to pass the game for a child in the 90s did not mean at all what it is today.


    Today, “passing through" means spending some time “viewing” the plot and doing 200 save-load. And before “pass” is a whole feat. No guarantee of result. At least the Soviet “Wait a minute!” I still remember how I went to the long-awaited finale ... and saw that the game is cyclical like Tetris. The cartoon is also not shown.

    But back to why only hard or hardcore. And what does this have to do with GameDev and the business.

    Invalid behavior patterns

    Easy teaches us to solve problems head on. If this is a shooter, come up and shoot, instead of first correctly exploring the area, finding the best point and then joining the battle, for example. In the Easy strategy, this is an occasion to circle everyone and break into a dumb attack, rather than playing hit-n-run, cutting off ways to get resources for the enemy or fighting for every centimeter, squeezing everything possible out of the terrain and conditions.

    The person who completed the game on easy, as a rule, is completely not adapted to the network game. He has such good learned helplessness - 8-12 hours of play taught him something completely different from what is needed in a “real” battle with live players. No attempt to think - just ahead and that's it. With a natural result.

    This is the first reason, so we do not switch to easy / normal: it is good when the game immediately forms the correct expectations and does not allow unnecessary templates to develop.

    Went wrong

    To feel the buzz from the game, you need to understand all its capabilities. Developers, game designers and level designers laid certain opportunities and situations that, by and large, can only be realized on high complexity. The original game is IMHO, usually the one behind the hard choice in the menu. The rest is a compromise between marketing and hardcore. Rather, closer to viewing the plot, but with some conscious participation.

    It is very good if the complexity changes reasonably. For example, in the old UFO, complexity affected the financing (more precisely, the delta of points by country - indirectly) and the number of non-Russians in the downed plate. In the new XCOM, complexity affects the number of opponents and the accuracy of your fighters. This is a kind of lawlessness, because it changes the basis of tactics, not allowing betting on accuracy. In the same good old Jagged Alliance 2, complexity affected the training of the Deidran troops and their numbers, plus start-up capital. Aesthetes enjoyed Wildfire, where in the same capital the rare and terrible in the basic version tank sat around every corner.

    Once upon a time, playing the first Max Payne, I realized how my tactics change as they progress through different difficulty levels. Levels began to take on new features, accuracy increased, and so on. The banal shootings became more interesting: I got more from the game.

    In STALKER, at a low difficulty, you can put a checkpoint with the military on the first map from afar, just sitting behind a tree and firing a pistol. Finally, an unrealistic situation, but quite possible. She cuts off a cool storyline with the fact that you need to get through the tunnel with anomalies in order to get around the checkpoint. But it’s worth increasing the complexity - and now you are surprised to understand that you are far from the first guy in the village, and the banal hit of some gopnik with a firearm may well be the last. Learn to survive and think.

    Question to the developers of PC games : how does this happen inside you? First you make a hard game, and then gradually lower the degree of difficulty to easy, knowing about the mass audience? Or immediately test on easy, reconciling with such lost branches like above? Or do you make a game without difficulty levels at all, and then you need to cut them?


    If you pass the game on Easy, it does not give anything in terms of internal rewards. Unrealistic situations arise all the time, such as an attack by five fighters on one protagonist of an RPG, and our hero easily dismisses any crowbar armed with a firearm. This does not happen in life, but in the game - that’s it. On the other hand, on high difficulty, each such task becomes more fun and hardcore. “Torn” victory gives a much greater sense of deep moral satisfaction. Actually, she returns to what was once the happiness of passing the game.

    In business, it is important to feel victory and development every day - perhaps this is no less important for the psyche than a healthy sleep. The length of many decisions can be up to a year or six months: today they launched it, implemented it in three months, and only in the high season did they find out whether it works or not. Therefore, when we fly or ride somewhere - hard and hardcore. The psyche is happy. Well, we will learn a little more about the mechanics of the "parsed" games.

    And yet high complexity trite raises the degree of pleasure. It's like chess - it is not interesting to play with someone who is weaker than you. It's strange to play for a long time with someone who is an order of magnitude stronger than you. But to defeat the one who is stronger than you on top after a good fight of minds - this is the joy of victory. And we do not deprive ourselves of this.

    One more thing. Our founder Dima Kibkalo has children who play not only board games, but also games on the tablet. So he allows them to play only on hard, so that the skill appears to look for victory.

    Because the game is a search and training.

    UPD: Well, be careful, butthurt.
    If anything - I'm not talking about the average American player who thinks, then he's cool, killing a motionless boss. Yes, the game can be played like a movie, but it's a different pleasure. Like a movie, not a game.

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