Easy mode, theme park, casual.


Kick me while I’m down. Well played sir, well played.

I was playing Divinity II: Ego Draconis last night. Between the cursing and incoherent screaming coming from my computer room my wife must have thought I was engaging in self torture. In a way I was. This is not to say that the game isn’t good, on the contrary I really enjoy it, but I had to get past a few obstacles to enjoy it.

First of all every game I have ever played I have played on normal difficulty. Since I was little I gravitated toward medium difficulty for the sole reason that I didn’t want to play ‘sissy’ mode. This has led to ragequit type anger against many video games over the years, and still I would just reload and persevere until I finally beat those games.

I did not enjoy 90% of those games because I was too angry and frustrated, but it is what I had always done and so I continued to. It’s really surprising that I never quit gaming over the years, but again that is probably just my stubborn streak.

My wife came up to me last night during one of my screaming rages and suggested something so simple, and so insulting, that I had never contemplated it before. “Why don’t you turn it to easy?” she said. My first reaction was to be hurt that my wife would think I needed to do that, but the more I thought about it the more I didn’t know WHY I didn’t just turn it to easy. So I did. After that I starting to REALLY enjoy the game. It was still difficult for me but no longer so frustrating and anger inducing.

So with the influx of new gamers from World of Warcraft and the Nintendo Wii as well as other areas, why doesn’t the industry change this one aspect? No one wants to feel like a loser, and I’m not suggesting changing the game in any substantial way to cater to the casual crowd, but why not change easy mode, which is usually labeled “greenhorn”, “loser”, or “chicken”, to something that isn’t so derogatory to the average person. In fact, add another mode below the traditional three, call it “Casual”, and above that change easy to “Story – for those who want to experience the story without the frustration.” and call it a day.

Sandbox vs. ?

Warning. Today’s post contains cursing, foul language and anger.

A lot of the people I follow have been chiming in on the whole Sandbox vs. Theme Park discussion such as Keen, SynCaine and Alex to name just a few. Let’s get a few things straight before we start. I started playing MMO’s back in Ultima Online, before they supposedly “destroyed” that game. I have played most major MMO’s and many free such as Atlantica Online, Asian such as Lineage, or just “kiddy” MMO’s such as Wizards101.

I game a lot too. Most of my free time is spent gaming, and a lot of that is playing MMO’s with my friends. I also fall squarely on the “Theme Park” side of the discussion, though I think that term is derogatory. You see I’ve played so called Sandbox MMO’s before. It was amazing in Ultima Online, and from what I hear Everquest 1. Have you ever noticed how it has sucked in every other MMO that has come out since? Ever noticed how most of them have tanked?

I believe there are two main reasons for this. The first is that 80% of the people who say they want a hardcore PVP free for all Sandbox game reminiscent of Ultima Online actually don’t. The second is that PVP of any kind, whether it is in an FPS style game like Call of Duty or Halo, or it is a game like World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online or Aion, is flooded with douches.

I’ll try to explain both of these, starting with the second. Let me be clear here that I do NOT think that everyone who likes PVP is a douche or an asshole, and I don’t think that PVP makes people into this. I simply think that the massive amount of asshats out there (many of whom starting playing MMO’s with WoW) are drawn to PVP. Not really though. They are drawn to the misery of others, and PVP is a means to an end.

These are the type of people who will roll onto a role-playing server JUST to harass the role-players. These people are the teabaggers, the Halo jocks, the people who don’t really enjoy the game, only the interaction with others that makes them feel good. You will hear these people, from here on referred to as asshats, berating the game in general chat and wishing it didn’t suck SO much. Most often you will find them playing some kind of rogue class where they can stealth and gank lowbies. These are the same people who will cry the loudest when a new MMO talks about putting in protections for lowbies.

More after the jump

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