Hardcore vs Casual: oddly universal

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#51
Chess moves have been copying popular trends for centuries, Mtg has netdecks, i mean did you design the English language? No? Did Einstein discover Newtonian physics? No?
Humans are cultured animals, that means we build on each others success. Looking down on people for learning from others so that they can strive further is most definitely elitist.
I think you misinterpreted him a bit. He's not talking about applying strategies that other people have devised, but goals that consist wholly of executing steps X, Y, and Z by rote, without any engagement with or even understanding of what you're doing. You know, the sort where the extent of your involvement is "walk up to a baddie and press a button to make it die; now find another baddie of the same type, and do it again; repeat about seven hundred times". There's nothing wrong with some challenges being of this sort, but when all challenges are of this sort, you've got problems.

(To be fair, though, I think this is partly an outgrowth of strategy guide culture. The ready availability of strategy guides and online FAQs seems to have lead many hardcore gamers to conclude that the only "real" challenges are those that test your reflexes, and those that test your patience. Exploration-based challenges are deemed worthless because you can just look up where to go next; likewise reasoning-based challenges, because you can look up the solution; resource-based challenges are out because you can look up the optimal distributions; strategy and tactics disdained because you can look up an algorithm and apply it by rote; and so forth. Ultimately, any challenge that doesn't boil down to pure twitch or interminable grind will be dismissed out of hand.)
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#52
This is what I was talking about before. The pros all spent hours and hours learning these extremely demanding controller maneuvers, and resent the idea of some upstart coming along and beating them soundly at "their" game without having spent the requisite amount of time and effort.
This is even less comprehensible given that execution is generally considered by these same 'pros' a necessary evil that stands in the way of the actually fun part of the game - mind-games, traps, spacing, etc.

I'm not averse to high-execution fighting games (I enjoy the challenge of getting the more elaborate combos down), but I recognize just how much of a niche they are, and how unpleasantly inaccessible they can be to prospective new players. Thankfully, the people making fighting games tend to be aware of this as well*, for the most part, and are happily 'dumbing things down' (read with irony), both in terms of execution requirements (SF4, for instance, is more lenient with motions than previous iterations) and memory requirements (recent games are far less prone to this-combo-works-only-on-this-character-on-this-stage-if-you're-facing-left-and-hooting).


*They are in fact, I'd argue, well ahead of their audience in this respect.


ed: Also, the casual v. hardcore false dichotomy is neither useful nor instructive, and serves mostly as a means of asserting tribal belonging or denigrating the outsider (often in the 'an alcoholic is someone you don't like that drinks as much as you' vein). They might have been useful labels once, but they aren't any longer.
 
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Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
#53
I think some of this is also a disagreement about how much games should reward mechanical mastery in the first place. Learning long strings of combos and executing 720 degree spins is not easy, any more than it is to learn when to time your attacks.
Yep. I remember Sirlin being dissapointed that SFIV kept so many of the old, more awkward commands.

The counter argument is that despite the time one has to sink into all that mechanical mastery, there's not a whole lot of skill involved. It's just a bunch of rote practice and memorization to build up your muscle memory, and in the end it does little more than set a bar to entry for new players. It doesn't establish gameplay skill, it just means you have to invest countless hours before you can begin to actually play the game on any level.
I think Go counters that argument rather nicely. Shift the skill from executing things to actually using things. Sometimes I'll admit to not liking it, but since I'm a SNK player, I'm entitled to some weirdness (no, actually I'm not, but I still claim it).

Less time learning to play the basics means more time actually learning how to play the depths.

This is what I was talking about before. The pros all spent hours and hours learning these extremely demanding controller maneuvers, and resent the idea of some upstart coming along and beating them soundly at "their" game without having spent the requisite amount of time and effort.
Actual "pros" should have no serious trouble with it. It makes their life easier, and an upstart will still find themselves getting massacred on the head games, strategy, etc. There will likely still be a good number of things more difficult than the normal play will do on a regular basis as well. Now, wanna-be pros on the other hand...?
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
#54
This is even less comprehensible given that execution is generally considered by these same 'pros' a necessary evil that stands in the way of the actually fun part of the game - mind-games, traps, spacing, etc.
Yep. Although it is satisfying to pull of OMG-moves :)
 
#55
(To be fair, though, I think this is partly an outgrowth of strategy guide culture. The ready availability of strategy guides and online FAQs seems to have lead many hardcore gamers to conclude that the only "real" challenges are those that test your reflexes, and those that test your patience. Exploration-based challenges are deemed worthless because you can just look up where to go next;
Two ways to deal with this:
- Make people interaction the focus of the game. You can't predict and map people and manipulating people doesn't call for twitch reflexes.
- Randomly generated/Evergrowing/Vastly changeable world.
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#57
Yep. Although it is satisfying to pull of OMG-moves :)
Sure is!

Two more quick points:

1) Sirlin's beef with SF4 had more to do with SF4 using links (a pet peeve I share) than outdated motions, in large part because the SF4 motions were made quite lenient. Frex, going back to CodexArcanum's example of Zangief's 360, I'd argue it's actually easier to execute SF4's 360 than HDR's HCB, F, because SF4 is so lenient with input speed and reading corner inputs. The big difficulty in SF2 was not specifically the 360 motion, but the fact that you had some ungodly small number of frames to work with before the jump.

That said, I still don't see why they bothered to keep the 360 motion when a simple HCB would suffice.

2) High-execution doesn't necessarily mean muscle memory. Hit-confirms (preparing a string of attacks, and interrupting it if you see that the first was blocked*) are a good example of something that can make for very difficult execution for reasons more in line with what people often understand by 'skill' - in this case, lightning-fast recognition of and reaction to something moving very quickly.

* the coitus interruptus of fighters, if you like.
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#58
One last thing occurs to me (until the next, anyway).

One other argument that comes up often with respect to the whole C.vs.H debacle is the belief on the part of the H crowd that they're entitled to games being just like they were in the magical golden age. We see this all the time with CRPGs that are ostensibly 'dumbed down' when in reality they've been made more accessible to a wider audience that doesn't care for (for instance) optimization, etc., etc. It's sort of a "yes, but" argument for me. On the one hand, I can understand being upset that one's interests lie in a niche that isn't being catered to*. On the other, I don't see why everybody else should suffer because someone wants to return to the 'first-mage-to-roll-initiative-wins' gameplay of the Gold Box games, or whatever other marker of niche interest is being put on the pedestal.



*For the sake of argument, here, because niche offerings pop up not infrequently.
 
#60
I think you've rather badly missed the point. That sentence fragment to which you're responding has a context.
What did I miss? Bishie is complaining about criticism of certain gameplay models, you point out how the criticism is about models that are ripped off from WoW and others, not any classics.
And you bring up the fact that those models are popular because of strategy-guide attitude.

I'm simply commenting how the strategy-guide attitude can be changed by making exploration fun again, or by making 'exploring' in-game society as important as exploring places in it.
 
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