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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Good Ideas, Badly Misused

    I think transmedia is a really fantastic idea. The idea that characters in a game could email you outside of the game, or have an "in character" Twitter or whatever makes for some really interesting possibilities. And it doesn't even have to be outside the game software: something like Eternal Sonata (only on TV toys, sorry) uses different media (interactive game, non-interactive movie, photography/text) to differentiate its three levels of fictionality (respectively: pure-fantasy-fiction, semi-fictional dramatised history, non-fictional biography) - although arguably that might just be called multimedia rather than transmedia. But due to aggressive marketing, people think transmedia just means shit like this.

    But I don't really want to ask what you think of transmedia in this thread - that's for another day. Today I want to ask you for other examples of things you think are great ideas, but are so horribly misused in gaming that they end up looking like bad ideas.
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Gameplay with a mandatory always-on component

    With the right genre and a stable back-end, this is a wonderful idea. Dark Souls (at least on the PS3) effectively does this and the game is noticeably better because of it. And, of course, MMOs have been doing this for decades. Social games and modern multiplayer shooters also thrive upon this.

    But the problem is: Too many high profile games had rocky launches and other shortcomings, so people are quick to just write off the entire concept (not realizing they are embracing it in other games).

    Note: Before people get their undies in a twist (too late, since I am sure only the first sentence of this post will be read), I specifically mean "gameplay with a mandatory always-on component". If you are going to argue that a game just had the always-on purely for DRM purposes and that the gameplay was forcibly changed from what it "should" be, fine. Rather than attempt to explain how the two aren't mutually exclusive, let's just agree that the "gameplay" didn't have that requirement.
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  3. #3
    Network Hub alset85's Avatar
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    Holy shit gundato, for the last time. Dark Souls even on PS3 is not always online. It is Opt-out. If your internet goes out while online, it kicks you to the main menu without any loss in progress and then you can continue playing offline.
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  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alset85 View Post
    Holy shit gundato, for the last time. Dark Souls even on PS3 is not always online. It is Opt-out. If your internet goes out while online, it kicks you to the main menu without any loss in progress and then you can continue playing offline.
    Hence "effectively".

    On the PS3 version of Dark Souls (and Demon Souls before it), there is no actual "opt out" persay. Instead, you need to be logged out of the PSN. That can be due to a lost connection (so like Steam, but it works :p) or you choosing to log out manually.

    This is in contrast to the XBOX version (which I have never played, but assume has an explicit opt-out because MS charges for multiplayer) and the PC version (where I assume you can choose to not log-in to GfWL and have an offline-only character, as with other Gfwl games).
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Argument minigames.

    I'm looking at you​, Oblivion.
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  6. #6
    Network Hub alset85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Hence "effectively".

    On the PS3 version of Dark Souls (and Demon Souls before it), there is no actual "opt out" persay. Instead, you need to be logged out of the PSN. That can be due to a lost connection (so like Steam, but it works :p) or you choosing to log out manually.

    This is in contrast to the XBOX version (which I have never played, but assume has an explicit opt-out because MS charges for multiplayer) and the PC version (where I assume you can choose to not log-in to GfWL and have an offline-only character, as with other Gfwl games).
    That is what I mean by opt out. I don't think you know what always online is then. If you pull the internet cable out of the PS3 you can still play the game. That is not always online. Stop.
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    World of Warcraft is always online. Planetside 2 is always online. These games cannot be played without being connected to the internet.

    Dark/Demon Souls are offline games with an online component that adds in extra features. It can be played without being connected to the internet. It's not mandatory, it's not effectively mandatory, it's optional. Just like the multiplayer in CoD is optional.
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    If words don't mean what they actually mean, then Dark Souls has "mandatory" "always"-online that you can't "opt out" of!

  9. #9
    Network Hub alset85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    Just like the multiplayer in CoD is optional.
    That isn't a good comparison. The SP and MP of CoD are completely different games, often with different exes even. Da/DeS use the same areas in coop/pvp as SP.
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  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    World of Warcraft is always online. Planetside 2 is always online. These games cannot be played without being connected to the internet.

    Dark/Demon Souls are offline games with an online component that adds in extra features. It can be played without being connected to the internet. It's not mandatory, it's not effectively mandatory, it's optional. Just like the multiplayer in CoD is optional.
    As CoD puts less and less emphasis on the singleplayer campaigns, they are getting closer and closer to being "pure" multiplayer titles. They are just still covering their asses by pretending otherwise (since it makes gamers much more accepting). I predict we are just a few short iterations (years :p) away from having co-op-oriented "singleplayer" campaigns for the CoDs.

    But fine: If you don't want to accept that the devs had no real intention of anyone playing a Souls game offline, fine. Doesn't really affect the argument that gameplay (even "singleplayer") bult around being constantly online is potentially a great idea but has been very badly handled in recent years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Argument minigames.

    I'm looking at you​, Oblivion.
    Honestly, I think "minigames" in general probably fall under this category. In theory, they are a great idea. They are a way to let the player do something that the normal gameplay won't allow.
    In practice? I suspect I am not the only person who views them along the lines of "potentially fun the first few times, but will get old fast". Because if the minigame gameplay really WERE that fun, odds are the game would be built around it.
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  11. #11
    Network Hub alset85's Avatar
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    If the devs "had no intention" then they wouldn't have put offline mode in! But they aren't braindead and they realised internet connections aren't a given for a console. That's why Diablo 3 will be playable offline on the PS4!

    The Souls games are already niche and if they cut off all the customers without internet connections, then they might not have been in the middle of DkS2 development right now.
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    But fine: If you don't want to accept that the devs had no real intention of anyone playing a Souls game offline, fine. Doesn't really affect the argument that gameplay (even "singleplayer") bult around being constantly online is potentially a great idea but has been very badly handled in recent years.
    No matter what way you want to try spin it to fit into your view of what is and isn't always online, Dark/Demon Souls are not always online games.

    The second part I agree with, it's a good idea if used in the right games, but so far I don't think any game has used it well and has actually had it as mandatory. It also relies on absolutely everything working all the time. Always online means there's another chain in the link that can break and one that there's nothing you can do to fix.

    Honestly, I think "minigames" in general probably fall under this category. In theory, they are a great idea. They are a way to let the player do something that the normal gameplay won't allow.
    In practice? I suspect I am not the only person who views them along the lines of "potentially fun the first few times, but will get old fast". Because if the minigame gameplay really WERE that fun, odds are the game would be built around it.
    I dunno, lockpicking in fallout, oblivion and skyrim are all pretty fun and well implemented. I can't remember for the two TES games, but in fallout you could also just bypass it if you got bored of it or your skill was high enough.

    The reason I agree with Nalano on the conversation one was that it wasn't skill based and didn't make sense. You just rotated the wheel around and looked at the faces of NPC. If they were all :D you went with that, if they were all >:( you avoided it until it had the lowest effect. Compared to the lockpicking where you actually had to do something that resembled lock picking in real life, it was badly implemented.
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    The reason I agree with Nalano on the conversation one was that it wasn't skill based and didn't make sense. You just rotated the wheel around and looked at the faces of NPC. If they were all :D you went with that, if they were all >:( you avoided it until it had the lowest effect. Compared to the lockpicking where you actually had to do something that resembled lock picking in real life, it was badly implemented.
    I don't know, I thought it was pretty realistic...

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Argument minigames.

    I'm looking at you​, Oblivion.
    Getting an assassination target killed by guards in Morrowind by insulting him until he pulled a sword on you was ace though.
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  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Honestly, I think "minigames" in general probably fall under this category.
    I don't have a problem with most minigames. Hacking, lockpicking, etc, perfectly fine! But holy crap there's abstract and then there's outta-my-ass​.
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  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Oblivion's persuasion minigame is a good one. I'm pretty sure it started out at the concept level as something more complex, but also more sensible, that they just couldn't make work. Then, instead of scrapping it and coming up with something new, the idea just metamorphosed into that travesty. No-one would design that on purpose, but they might design something else and then gradually let it shift into that if they're not careful.
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  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    Jauffre in Oblivon absolutely despised me, I think due to that minigame. Anyway, whenever he said anything, he'd act normal then his face would reset to being so pissed off, which always made me laugh.

    Also, the dragonriding in the new Skyrim dlc is quite badly misused.
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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    I was going to mention Fallout 3/Skyrim's lockpicking as a good minigame actually. It doesn't feel like a mini game is the key, I think - it feels like you're pretty much doing what is required to pick a real lock.

    Oblivion's was just annoying though. The concept was okay but the way they did it just irritated me. It didn't help that I stumbled across the skeleton key (ie: unbreakable lockpick) very early on, so could never fail to pick a lock, but still had to faff around with it every time.

    I love what Deus Ex 3 did with persuasion, in those multiple choice branching "face to face" conversations. Unfortunately I can't see a way to do that for most games, or even for more than a handful of conversations in one game, just because the time and work (and talent) it must take to do them. Something about Oblivion's conceptually sound but practically mangled conversation system makes me think of that.
    Last edited by sinister agent; 26-04-2013 at 05:04 PM.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    I never figured Oblivion's lockpicking out. I just carried a shitload of lockpicks (until I found the Skeleton Key) and mashed the "Auto-Attempt" key until I forced my way in.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    There was a weird trick to it that might have worked better on a gamepad. You had to push the thing up and it would either shoot down again immediately, or take half a second. If the latter, you could lock it in place and move on to the next one.

    There was a pattern to it that meant you could reliably predict how it would go about three out of five times. It was never satisfying though, and the system that replaced it was a vast improvement.

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