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Since when has "power fantasy" become a compelling argument against game balance?


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On 2020-08-23 at 8:17 AM, Flying_Scorpion said:

"The power fantasy that is earned is far more satisfying than the one that is just handed to you." Dude, Hugo Martin gets it!

Our power is just handed to us? Man, I must be doing something wrong having to earn the power through collecting and upgrading mods, installing potato and forma, collecting resources to get new gears, collecting arcanes and amp through ranking up with the quills and little duck to get arcanes from eidolon, gearing up my railjack with MK3 parts and avionics to fight in Veil Proxima

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55 minutes ago, 844448 said:

Our power is just handed to us? Man, I must be doing something wrong having to earn the power through collecting and upgrading mods, installing potato and forma, collecting resources to get new gears, collecting arcanes and amp through ranking up with the quills and little duck to get arcanes from eidolon, gearing up my railjack with MK3 parts and avionics to fight in Veil Proxima

He meant through mechanical skill. The power fantasy in doom arises with mastery of the tools you’ve been given; once you achieve that, you become an unstoppable killing machine.

In warframe, you grind yourself out to find that piece of gear that plays the game for you. So yes, power is just handed to you, because there’s nothing “hard” or “masterful” to overcome, except the massively boring amount of grind you have to face.

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On 2020-08-20 at 8:16 AM, Flying_Scorpion said:

Warframe is an action game. You know what separates edge of your seat "action" from falling asleep in your chair "action"? If the protagonist is actually put at risk. Like if they *might* actually die or fail or whatever. If the protagonist effortlessly overcame any semblance of a challenge, it would become predictable and boring. If the protagonist barely manages to overcome the challenge, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

That is all. Feel free to trash me now because I said something that conflicts with your worldview.

I am more amused that you think there is balance left in the game. Haven't experienced any balance in years. Warframe is basically Dota WTF mode, or if Spiffing Brit (youtuber who exposes game exploits for amusement) were to become a game designer, and decided to fit a ton of exploits for the laughs. The so-called nerfs and fixes that happened over the years only target a handful of things while leaving hundreds more OP options in the game, to the point that nerfs appear to me to be just ways to annoy the people who liked those specific OP stuff that were targeted for that round of nerfs. Not achieving any actual balance at all, since much more remains. That said, with how warframe has been for so long, I accept it as is and play it exactly to be amused by the nonsensical levels of power. When I want to actually feel near-death, idk, I return to real life, or load up the newest copy-pasta edition of Dark Souls (what the games industry likes to describe as "Souls-like")

Edited by Xepthrichros
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5 hours ago, 844448 said:

Our power is just handed to us? Man, I must be doing something wrong having to earn the power through collecting and upgrading mods, installing potato and forma, collecting resources to get new gears, collecting arcanes and amp through ranking up with the quills and little duck to get arcanes from eidolon, gearing up my railjack with MK3 parts and avionics to fight in Veil Proxima

That's not what I was saying. I was scanning through the interview to find what specific timestamp the previous poster was referring to that related to this thread's discussion. Then I heard the magic word: "power fantasy" so I quoted it. I was just quoting Hugo Martin, I wasn't trying to say we don't earn our power in Warframe. I believe we actually do (through grinding). 

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8 hours ago, 844448 said:

Our power is just handed to us? Man, I must be doing something wrong having to earn the power through collecting and upgrading mods, installing potato and forma, collecting resources to get new gears, collecting arcanes and amp through ranking up with the quills and little duck to get arcanes from eidolon, gearing up my railjack with MK3 parts and avionics to fight in Veil Proxima

Hugo also acknowledges this when talking about Destiny later in the Interview. And whilst there he seems to imply that they're mutually exclusive - and to some degree, he's not entirely wrong - it's clear that there's a decent chunk of the Warframe community feeling unengaged by the action and/or alienated by an increasing focus on the highest tier of power (AKA cheese strats), whilst Destiny (despite employing much more explicit looter elements, like random rolls and arbitrary 'power' grind) has never really had that problem. In fact, it has been commonly cited that, at times when the RPG, looter side of Destiny was at its worst, the only thing keeping anyone playing was the shooter underneath it.

Warframe, like Destiny, is an Action RPG. The RPG is undoubtedly important, but so is the Action, and that's what's been most affected by the power creep.

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7 minutes ago, Loza03 said:

In fact, it has been commonly cited that, at times when the RPG, looter side of Destiny was at its worst, the only thing keeping anyone playing was the shooter underneath it.

I can confirm this in my short time playing Destiny 2 and old days of Destiny 1, after a certain point loot was basically useless except maybe for light level increases, even Legendary drops were just another bump in the road.

If the shooter gameplay wasn't so solid I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much as I did, because honestly outside of a few specific exotics everything behaves vaguely similar with a different coat of paint at best.

10 minutes ago, Loza03 said:

Warframe, like Destiny, is an Action RPG. The RPG is undoubtedly important, but so is the Action, and that's what's been most affected by the power creep.

Agreed, the RPG factor is starting to eat away at the Action, we're getting dangerously close to 1-button Diablo-likes and the only alternative that keeps showing up to combat it is number bloat and mass immunity spam.

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On 2020-08-19 at 5:16 PM, Flying_Scorpion said:

Since when has "power fantasy" become a compelling argument against game balance?

When it was the very niche used to generate the massive following the game has come to enjoy.

There are a ton of other games out there that provide the so called balance I often hear people clamoring for. Perhaps those looking for such a thing should move back to the games that attempt to provide that balance rather than change a game that was never designed around that feature in the first place.

Edited by Aesthier
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Threats to the Protagonist are not the only ways to create tension.  Yes it's a power fantasy but that is not inherently a bad thing in the slightest. You can be a super deadly space wizard and that's just fine, killing thousands.  You are one of the Gods of Orokin times.  I'm glad I can feel like that and I always can play steel path for a more even challenge.

What Warframe does need to do though is to match us where our incredible power is effective in the here and now, but can't do it all on our own.  Which means we need meaningful friends in quests that recur, not these one offs.  We need a powerful enemy that is above the chaff.  All this requires a much more consistent input of story from DE, which does not happen as it stands. 

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On 2020-08-19 at 8:16 PM, Flying_Scorpion said:

Warframe is an action game. You know what separates edge of your seat "action" from falling asleep in your chair "action"? If the protagonist is actually put at risk. Like if they *might* actually die or fail or whatever. If the protagonist effortlessly overcame any semblance of a challenge, it would become predictable and boring. If the protagonist barely manages to overcome the challenge, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

That is all. Feel free to trash me now because I said something that conflicts with your worldview.

This doesnt sound like the game for you. If DE did make a change like that, they would lose a lot of the player base because they would more than likely have to nerf a ton of things.

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On 2020-08-19 at 8:43 PM, (PS4)MYKK678 said:

Why would you get trashed? You posted half a thought and never finished it. You described how some games (like Dark Souls as an example) are made but never connected it to Warframe. Or to anything really.

By your logic though, talking about the thrill of almost dying, i'm guessing your request is that DE introduce Perma-Death for each frame into the game.

He probably wouldn't mind if we went back to the early days of "you have 4 revives per DAY and after that better hope you don't die in a mission".

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10 hours ago, (XB1)ShonFr0st said:

He meant through mechanical skill. The power fantasy in doom arises with mastery of the tools you’ve been given; once you achieve that, you become an unstoppable killing machine.

In warframe, you grind yourself out to find that piece of gear that plays the game for you. So yes, power is just handed to you, because there’s nothing “hard” or “masterful” to overcome, except the massively boring amount of grind you have to face.

I haven't played doom in a long time. But what does "mastery of the tools you’ve been given" mean? 

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The powerfantasy is already set even before you play this game for the first time

"You are a space ninja robot, a master of hundreds of weapons and fighting styles and a force of nature to rival 3 armies and an ancient threat from another system ready to have revenge for your mysterious past of power and fear for your enemies"

It's one of the creamiest powerfantasy in gaming currently, there's hardly games that have you as the player in such a position of power.

Having your 1% riven or weapon nerfed doesn't change that fact, am I happy with most nerfs recently? Absolutely not, but does it affect the powerfantasy of the game? Nope.

Except the time they made Sentients resist and ability specifically designed to hold them down but anyways the point still stands.

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12 hours ago, 844448 said:

Our power is just handed to us? Man, I must be doing something wrong having to earn the power through collecting and upgrading mods, installing potato and forma, collecting resources to get new gears, collecting arcanes and amp through ranking up with the quills and little duck to get arcanes from eidolon, gearing up my railjack with MK3 parts and avionics to fight in Veil Proxima

Nobody's denying the effort that took. All these accomplishments, all these gathered bits of power certainly took a long time and a lot of attention. But how difficult was any of it? How many times did you assess a situation and think, "man, we're gonna fail this mission"? How many times did the game pit you against odds you felt were anywhere close to insurmountable? How many times did you have to replay the same level or encounter over and over until you caught a break?

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1 minute ago, SenorClipClop said:

Nobody's denying the effort that took. All these accomplishments, all these gathered bits of power certainly took a long time and a lot of attention. But how difficult was any of it? How many times did you assess a situation and think, "man, we're gonna fail this mission"? How many times did the game pit you against odds you felt were anywhere close to insurmountable? How many times did you have to replay the same level or encounter over and over until you caught a break?

Many times.....it requires not being biased. Eidolons, farming toroids with a weak loadout, doing profit taker as a newer person, for example. 

Just because you see a video of some guy doing a 4 minute run doesn't mean everyone is. 

I've had a lot of failed groups and times I just had to quit and do some more grinding just to go back and try again.

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14 minutes ago, SenorClipClop said:

How many times did the game pit you against odds you felt were anywhere close to insurmountable?

...No game that lets you decide where you are fighting is ever going to have you in this position unless you choose to be in this position. And maybe the choice that got you in that position was "not enough research" but it was a choice made by you because this isn't a game that decides what you are fighting for you. The only games where I EVER wind up in this position are games where you CAN'T grind and CAN miss things required for getting past challenges intuitively. Or games like X-Com, where you can progress BACKWARDS with some mistakes.

15 minutes ago, SenorClipClop said:

How many times did you have to replay the same level or encounter over and over until you caught a break?

Recently? Granum Void. I know, I know, it's "just killing everything as fast as you can", the first time I did it I wasn't using Octavia and even with Octavia getting a Mallet with enough range and ramp to kill the specters fast enough to at least let me get the Solari for time is actually pretty challenging given that the specter particles you need to charge the Xoris to DO that get killed too. It's actually pretty engaging IMO, plenty of stuff to balance to make it work.

I've also had a few situations with Sortie Lephantis and the first time I ever did Normal Lephantis I was following along with an older player and ran out of ammo before he got the Lephantis dead. Getting to the point I could solo Jordas Golem relatively reliably was also a pain in the butt. Also somewhat more recently, Eidolons are still something I'm continuing to wrap my head around. 

That said, "replaying the same level or encounter over and over until you 'caught a break'" is a sign of incredibly poor game design. If you can't look at what happened and go "This is why I died and if I did this instead I wouldn't have" there's a break in communication somewhere.

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1 minute ago, (PS4)Madurai-Prime said:

Many times.....

Fair enough.

11 hours ago, (XB1)ShonFr0st said:

In warframe, you grind yourself out to find that piece of gear that plays the game for you. So yes, power is just handed to you, because there’s nothing “hard” or “masterful” to overcome, except the massively boring amount of grind you have to face.

20 minutes ago, (PS4)Madurai-Prime said:

what does "mastery of the tools you’ve been given" mean?

Game gives player a verb, or a group of them --> player practices them --> player masters them, uses them to best effect --> player wins game.

To me, it's easiest seen in platformers. Platformers have unique features from game to game, but central to all of them is to jump from one piece of the level to another, usually with additional factors compiling difficulty like timing, spatial awareness, etc. A good platformer cannot be beaten without the player mastering (or least getting pretty darn good at) its jumps. To beat Super Meat Boy, you have to jump accurately, with good timing, and with excellent understanding of and control over your momentum. Obstacles set in place are overcome not with a new item, but by you improving your skills relating to the game's verbs.

Now imagine that Super Meat Boy stays exactly the same, but you are given a jetpack with infinite fuel. You coast through every level and you don't even need to jump. Now it's not even a platformer. So what is it? A bunch of interactive slides showing you level art?

Sometimes Warframe feels like a platformer given a limitless jetpack. There's parkour, but I never need to use it for anything. It's a shooter, but with each new nuke and AoE weapon there is less incentive to practice shooter-style skills. There are stealth mechanics, but you can just sprint invisible past everything without doing anything stealthily. These regular additions of flight where we might've been challenged to jump turn the game away from mechanical mastery when it really doesn't need to do that. We can have our fun, and it'd really cool if the platforming got harder with the addition of a new jetpack item, as well as challenges related to the mechanics at the core of the game, instead of subverting themselves.

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6 minutes ago, Ethorin said:

That said, "replaying the same level or encounter over and over until you 'caught a break'" is a sign of incredibly poor game design. If you can't look at what happened and go "This is why I died and if I did this instead I wouldn't have" there's a break in communication somewhere.

All of the Souls games and several of the Mario games say hi.

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12 minutes ago, SenorClipClop said:

All of the Souls games and several of the Mario games say hi.

...you mean those parts where you learn the timing but then maybe don't have it down as perfectly as required?

 

That's not "caught a break", that's "practiced until I properly internalized specific timings". And again, that's also "I know what I did wrong", not "I had to blindly repeat until I got lucky".

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1 hour ago, Ethorin said:

So, I saw this in my recommended a bit earlier today and thought of this thread eventually.

Behold, an infinitely scaling non-brainless build!

Oh? Something that doesn't need Roar to do stupid amounts of damage and trivialize content? Perish the thought! What's this?! I don't need Larva for crowd control or Defy for damage mitigation? Think of the children!

Meanwhile... "Nerf this because 'blah blah blah' balance reasons 'blah blah blah' this game isn't a power fantasy 'blah blah blah'."

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16 minutes ago, SenorClipClop said:

Fair enough.

Game gives player a verb, or a group of them --> player practices them --> player masters them, uses them to best effect --> player wins game.

To me, it's easiest seen in platformers. Platformers have unique features from game to game, but central to all of them is to jump from one piece of the level to another, usually with additional factors compiling difficulty like timing, spatial awareness, etc. A good platformer cannot be beaten without the player mastering (or least getting pretty darn good at) its jumps. To beat Super Meat Boy, you have to jump accurately, with good timing, and with excellent understanding of and control over your momentum. Obstacles set in place are overcome not with a new item, but by you improving your skills relating to the game's verbs.

Now imagine that Super Meat Boy stays exactly the same, but you are given a jetpack with infinite fuel. You coast through every level and you don't even need to jump. Now it's not even a platformer. So what is it? A bunch of interactive slides showing you level art?

Sometimes Warframe feels like a platformer given a limitless jetpack. There's parkour, but I never need to use it for anything. It's a shooter, but with each new nuke and AoE weapon there is less incentive to practice shooter-style skills. There are stealth mechanics, but you can just sprint invisible past everything without doing anything stealthily. These regular additions of flight where we might've been challenged to jump turn the game away from mechanical mastery when it really doesn't need to do that. We can have our fun, and it'd really cool if the platforming got harder with the addition of a new jetpack item, as well as challenges related to the mechanics at the core of the game, instead of subverting themselves.

Oh gotcha. Yea warframe has that, but that's not all it is. You're choosing to ignore certain aspects because you either choose to bypass them or aren't fully aware. I don't know it depends on the player.

I actually utilize bullet jumping and the movement system a lot. You can go to the simulacrum and spawn multiple corpus and see how their accuracy is when moving around versus standing there. They have projectiles so you can see them miss while in the air.

You can also utilize guns that require aiming and you're rewarded for using them. Things like headshots are the definition of risk vs reward because missing can mean death in some situations. The same with standing around while reloading.

The game is more than what you see in public matches. Using them to judge gameplay is kinda dishonest. 

I took the time out of my day to actually learn spy missions, because I wanted to learn where the secret passages were. I do this solo because I wanted to take my time. But you wont see that in public spy missions. I also taught myself how to use corpus ciphers, because I didn't wanna be a noob in sorties. I failed and a practiced more. Now I dont even use ciphers at all unless I'm in a rush.

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7 minutes ago, (PS4)Madurai-Prime said:

-snip-

No I get all that. Bows are my favourite primaries, I frequently do stealth without invis frames, for Ciphers you math out how the edges make sense then crank the middle bit around til you solve the puzzle, all that hipster jazz.

I just wish this stuff was more visible to the general playbase. Maybe I'm getting a bad read from watching the Forums, but there's so much talk of how massive AoEs are the standard, how the high-efficacy-low-effort meta is all that's worth playing. It gets kinda sad imo.

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55 minutes ago, (PS4)Madurai-Prime said:

I actually utilize bullet jumping and the movement system a lot. You can go to the simulacrum and spawn multiple corpus and see how their accuracy is when moving around versus standing there. They have projectiles so you can see them miss while in the air.

You can also utilize guns that require aiming and you're rewarded for using them. Things like headshots are the definition of risk vs reward because missing can mean death in some situations. The same with standing around while reloading.

The game is more than what you see in public matches. Using them to judge gameplay is kinda dishonest. 

I disagree in part with that. The movement system in warframe is absolutely great in terms of freedom and availability, the only issue is that it is very much incompatible with offensive gunfire, especially with precision weapons. Yes, when dodging around and keeping momentum, enemies have a very hard time hitting you. But, at the same time, unless using AoE weapons or abilities, the player almost can’t retaliate and will eventually get overwhelmed, further pushing precision weapons into their grave. Warframe’s movement would shine against highly telegraphed, highly damaging but avoidable, area attacks, but those are employed very sporadically (the only ones that come to mind are profit taker and jackal). Even when they are used, they offer no option to exploit the opening on the enemies they create, either because recoveries are too quick, or because they are accompanied by invulnerability phases on the bosses. I’d argue that employing those concepts in VIP but still common enemies would massively increase engagement, by creating a loop that encourages countering strikes with mobility, and following up with offense by exploiting openings.

In essence, I think that moving from constant barrages of automatic fire to more telegraphed AoEs and slow moving projectiles of death (that leave enemies open) when considering enemy design would encourage much more active gameplay, which would deliver that “space ninja” feel Warframe advertises itself for.

Edited by (XB1)ShonFr0st
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9 minutes ago, SenorClipClop said:

how the high-efficacy-low-effort meta is all that's worth playing.

For the purpose of "I need a dozen relics and multi-k quantities of mutagen samples" high efficacy low effort is ALWAYS going to be considered optimal. 

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On 2020-08-19 at 9:42 PM, Aldain said:

I'm 100% convinced DE could make a fun, engaging experience with great and consistent rewards and people would complain that they had to do more than press 4 to get said rewards.

We wouldn't know, they never made such an experience.

When I first saw the limbo cheese in scarlet spear I thought it was boring and bullS#&$, but when I tried playing the event without it I realized why people used it. Even if you played the event normally you'd still be only sitting around shooting bullet sponges that annoyingly become even more spongy unless you switch to operator every 10 seconds, while waiting for a timer to tick down, so you can repeat it over and over again.

Can you really blame people when, faced with two equally dull, mind-numbingly boring experiences, they pick the easier and safest one that at least lets them tab out to do more interesting things in the meantime?

I dislike the "press 4 to win" mentality as much as the next guy, but in all my years playing this game I've never seen DE consistently pick a method of difficulty that felt natural, organic and engaging, as opposed to S#&$ty artificial difficulty tactics like bullet sponges, one-shot aimbot units, and mechanics that might aswell slap away your keyboard like knockdowns, nullifiers and invulnerability phases. They have done proper difficulty and fun, engaging battles a handful of times, but those account for less than 1% of the day-to-day gameplay.

You may call bullS#&$ on the community but honestly, if my options are "shoot the mindless grineer target dummy for 5 minutes" and "press a button to kill the dummy instantly", I'll pick the second one too. The ball is on DE's court in this issue.

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