Am I the only one that doesn't care about difficulty spikes/no balance in RPGs?

#11AmenonuhokoPosted 3/30/2013 8:15:29 AM(edited)
Balanced gameplay and a feeling of natural difficulty progression make for great RPGs, but are not requirements for me.

Difficulty spikes don't bother me at all, but it is important to note that there are three different types of difficulty spikes(IMO):

1. Educational Difficulty Spikes-These are the best. They are meant to teach you how to properly use new skills and/or personal practices that will make a game easier. I consider these to be different from natural progression because they practically force you to use a new ability or they don't tell you what good habits you're supposed to practice but expect that you'll figure that out for yourself.

For Example(I'll mark for spoilers but they are only for playstyle):
Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land
IMO, there are two big difficulty spikes: The Old Jail and The Cemetery(I've heard people cite others but if you learn the skills that I believe these teach you then there's no problem).
The Old Jail is the second level. This is just after you learn Allied Actions and marks the first area which features the undead. IMO, it is meant to teach you how to use Allied Actions in every battle, and also how to judiciously use magic along with the dispel ability, which becomes crucial at this point, to handle normal weapons immunity.
The Cemetery is the fourth level. IMO, this is meant to focus your efforts on map making.
While you must effectively use pitfalls and secrets in The Old Jail, it's not very complicated. The Cemetery is not only riddled with invisible pitfalls, but it also has a comprehensive sublevel which forces you to pick the right path between levels; a task that is significantly easier if you've made a map.

If you've mastered those elements, then the rest of the game is relatively easy(though the end can still be a b****)

2. Boundary Difficulty Spikes-These are meant to enforce linear gameplay in a seemingly non-linear world. They can be annoying but are not the worst.

For Example:
Dragon Quest IV
When you first receive the ship, you are intended to go immediately South to get a map, which is in turn supposed to force an encounter with Brey/Borya and Cristo/Kiryl; however, you can alternately start getting rewards for your small medals or explore the world. If you try either, you will get your ass handed to you unless you are lucky enough to run away successfully.

3. Screw You Difficulty Spikes-You're playing the game well and in the proper order, but for some reason the developers decided that there needs to be a significant increase in difficulty. These just suck.

For Example:
7th Saga
If you've beaten this then you already know, but I guess I'll give expliain the worst. When you get thrown into the past, you not only use the runes that you have been constantly relying upon for multiple uses including but not limited to doubling attack and defense, but you also use the ability to buy the items that temporarily double attack and defense.

Unbalanced gameplay does bother me, but doesn't necessarily rule out a game for me. I mean; I've beaten 7th Saga multiple times so now's a little late to start complaining.
---
Winners don't lose drugs.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson
#12kokushishinPosted 3/30/2013 11:04:56 AM
On the design side, it's about internal consistency. If the baseline they assume is wrong (or if they go out of their way to break it because DRAGONZ R KEWL or such) stuff will not work right.

On the player side, it's more "learn how things work, it's not like you're on a FAQ site or anything."
---
Meet Gabriel Belmont and his Vampire Killer!
#13CarbunkleFluxPosted 3/30/2013 1:21:09 PM
a task that is significantly easier if you've made a map.


Wizardry: TOFL has an auto map :P.
---
"Live and Learn! You may never find your way..."
#14AmenonuhokoPosted 3/30/2013 2:23:19 PM(edited)
CarbunkleFlux posted...
a task that is significantly easier if you've made a map.


Wizardry: TOFL has an auto map :P.

There is an auto-map, but it doesn't show which pits and teleporters lead where, multiple levels at once or even entire levels at once, so it's really not that useful is it? :P

It's best use is to increase trust with personality types that like or dislike exploration by showing you the squares where you've been as you near them.
---
Winners don't lose drugs.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson
#15Kashell TriumphPosted 3/30/2013 2:28:14 PM
I think it depends on the game and how you need to overcome the spike. If it means non-stop grinding, then I do mind. But, if there's some trick or maybe I missed a certain weapon to make things easier, than I don't mind.
---
Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can' teach, work for the government.
PSN/Steam: Growllanser
#16CarbunkleFluxPosted 3/30/2013 8:34:52 PM
Amenonuhoko posted...
CarbunkleFlux posted...
a task that is significantly easier if you've made a map.


Wizardry: TOFL has an auto map :P.

There is an auto-map, but it doesn't show which pits and teleporters lead where, multiple levels at once or even entire levels at once, so it's really not that useful is it? :P

It's best use is to increase trust with personality types that like or dislike exploration by showing you the squares where you've been as you near them.


I found it plenty useful. You don't really need to track where pitfalls go very often. But this is probably a YMMV sort of thing.
---
"Live and Learn! You may never find your way..."
#17CyllyaPosted 3/30/2013 9:07:43 PM
Poor balance won't usually kill a game fore me, but I do feel it's a flaw. I will sometimes stop playing due to a difficulty spike.
---
Tales Website [http://talesof.cyllya.com]
Warhammer 40k Book Reviews [http://www.choppyreviews.com]
#18AmenonuhokoPosted 3/31/2013 6:03:35 AM(edited)
CarbunkleFlux posted...
I found it plenty useful. You don't really need to track where pitfalls go very often. But this is probably a YMMV sort of thing.

Yeah I guess it depends on the player.
Personally, I found mapmaking to be a godsend while exploring:
L4-The Cemetery w/pitfalls
L8-The Sham Sancyuary w/one-way doors
L10-Testament w/teleporters
and pretty useful w/L5-The Waterfall w/the sublevels andL6-The Moldy Fort w/the part where automap doesn't work.

But kudos to you if your memory serves you that well.
I just rarely bother remembering directions or puzzle solutions past my current playthroughs of games unless it's really a b****, like the cave to Rhone in DQ II(mainly because the battles and encounter rate made me hate wrong turns).
---
Winners don't lose drugs.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson
#19CarbunkleFluxPosted 3/31/2013 8:19:01 AM
Amenonuhoko posted...
CarbunkleFlux posted...
I found it plenty useful. You don't really need to track where pitfalls go very often. But this is probably a YMMV sort of thing.

Yeah I guess it depends on the player.
Personally, I found mapmaking to be a godsend while exploring:
L4-The Cemetery w/pitfalls
L8-The Sham Sancyuary w/one-way doors
L10-Testament w/teleporters
and pretty useful w/L5-The Waterfall w/the sublevels andL6-The Moldy Fort w/the part where automap doesn't work.

But kudos to you if your memory serves you that well.
I just rarely bother remembering directions or puzzle solutions past my current playthroughs of games unless it's really a b****, like the cave to Rhone in DQ II(mainly because the battles and encounter rate made me hate wrong turns).


My memory kind of has to. I hate making maps, I always did. For the old PC games, I was pretty stubborn about it and only did so if A: A map wasn't available anywhere for me to use and B: The game really was so labyrinthine that I could not navigate it. For games like Daggerfall where dungeons are so ridiculously laid out that it is impossible to map them (X, Y, Z axis, teleporters, pits, unbeleivably large, the whole nine freaking yards) I just give up :P.
---
"Live and Learn! You may never find your way..."
#20AmenonuhokoPosted 3/31/2013 9:11:30 AM(edited)
...I remember Daggerfall...I had never both loved and hated a game so much before then.
I get the same feeling playing Skyrim; the strategy guide's maps and automaps are next to useless for most dungeons.

EDIT: Obligatory Skyrim Rant:
I mean WHY THE F*** EVEN HAVE AN AUTOMAP?
You can't do a damn thing with it. You can kind of see where you are but with no measurement of depth, there's not a damn thing you can do bout it.
They don't even take it slow either. First few quests and you've already gone through ridiculously detailed, multi-level monstrosities that make Indiana Jones's adventures look like a pre-K playground.
I mean why even include puzzles for that matter? The puzzles are so simple that they only serve as time-consuming annoyances while you're navigating labyrinths that would make Theseus cringe.
I enjoy a good challenge, but there's no way you can talk me into tackling any two of the more complex ones in a row without some serious stress-relieving bandit slaughtering in between.
---
Winners don't lose drugs.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson