Buffer against first impressions: Would this work?

TaciturnTaciturn Posts: 42Member
edited October 31 in Games
Working on a game which will be quite difficult.
My worry, given my audience, is that some portion of players (portion B ) would rage quit on their first obstacle and poorly rate the game immediately after. They are not the intended audience of the game and there's no way for me exclude them from seeing the marketing... so here's my plan.

The first X minutes of the game would be curtailed to fit the lowest common denominator while clearly conveying to those who want a challenge that this state of affairs is only temporary. And when the difficulty spike does come, this would also be strongly conveyed. What is the point of this? First, the leap in gaming literacy that a tutorial would need to cover is simply too great in my opinion. Second, by the time this difficulty spike is reached the player already has 'skin in the game' and is personally invested to some degree. While not a guarantee for Portion B to stay, my hope is that their ratings would be more sympathetic in light of a mixed experience rather than one that is entirely negative.

My question to you is this: How do you imagine this plan would play out? Is there a better approach I could take?
Post edited by Taciturn on

Comments

  • PyrianPyrian Posts: 295Member
    Interesting. It's hard to go wrong with "start really easy". (Nobody could complete Glade Raid's initial prototype tutorial. That wasn't a good thing, lol.) Is there any particular reason you don't want to ramp the difficulty up more gradually, though? Maybe two or three spikes instead of one big one?
  • vlademir1vlademir1 Posts: 428Member
    How do you mean "difficulty" here?  Is this a built up genre convention issue like in many grand strategy games where excising complexity makes it a worse experience for experienced players but keeping the complexity makes it worse for those new to the genre?  Are we looking at an issue like in IWBTG and similar older "Nintendo Hard" games where you just have to replay, memorize and make slow inch by inch progress?  Is the situation one of a high skill floor, much like with the difference between bullet hell games and other SHMUPs or the difficulty in many Souls-like games, where you can fairly easily see what you need to do but may just not be able to execute on it?  Each of these different types of difficulty is going to change how players will react to your game and to it going easy on them at the start before tossing them in the deep end.

    For a "better" suggestion you may want to consider making the part before your difficulty spike a separate practice area with a fairly steep ramp up rather than a true proper spike with the main game just being full on difficult and/or making it clear in your description, and associated videos/screen shots, where the game is acquired that this is a game intended primarily as a hard challenge for the existing dedicated fanbase you're targeting not for novices or neophytes.
    I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. Look upon my works and despair!

    Truth is never lying right there on the surface for everyone to quickly find, it requires dedication, the right tools and time.
  • TaciturnTaciturn Posts: 42Member
    @Pyrian the magnitude of the difficulty spike is the difference between what I would expect from Portion B (close to nothing) and would expect from anyone else. As soon as the difficulty begins to rise in any meaningful way, Portion B starts leaving.

    @vlademir1 , the difficulty for Portion B is that they have trouble grasping hand-eye coordination, basic navigation of a 3D character, and have slow reaction times. From my perspective, it seems like there's nothing I can do to catch them up to speed.
  • vlademir1vlademir1 Posts: 428Member
    the difficulty for Portion B is that they have trouble grasping hand-eye coordination, basic navigation of a 3D character, and have slow reaction times. From my perspective, it seems like there's nothing I can do to catch them up to speed.

    OK, basic navigation is easy enough to tutorialize for fairly cheap/easy.  Hand-eye coordination and reaction times are an intrinsic part of the skill floor since they are part of the "you have to be this good to play" baseline you're targeting.  

    What I would do is run a testing group (I'm presuming this is how you've gotten to distinguish "Portion A" and "Portion B" from each other so far) then ask the people who are part of Portion B if they could at least understand what they needed to do even if they couldn't execute upon it.  If they couldn't even grasp what they were expected to do, that is a flaw in design that will lead to negative reactions and should likely be fixed.  If they understood what was needed but couldn't execute that's something that can be mitigated within an optional training stage.  Making that optional allows Portion A to just jump right in to the difficult challenge you're offering them without bothering with that and Portion B can roll through that optional stage to try to get good enough to play at that kind of level through trial and error experience.

    I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. Look upon my works and despair!

    Truth is never lying right there on the surface for everyone to quickly find, it requires dedication, the right tools and time.
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