Author Topic: Difficulty and consequences.  (Read 1216 times)

Offline Professor Paul1290

  • Sr. Member Mark II
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
Difficulty and consequences.
« on: January 16, 2013, 05:57:01 PM »
This is something I'm starting to notice is that the game is starting to get somewhat difficult.

AVWW 2 currently has a permanent consequence for death. It's not a big one mind you, but it is a permanent one.

This is rather unusual because the way a lot of metroidvania or other adventure-like platformers are played tends to involve a lot of save/checkpoint scumming. Traditionally, people tend to pick whatever difficulty they want and if it's too difficult or they get stuck, then they tend to die and re-do until they get themselves un-stuck. This isn't really that practical in AVWW 2.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing, not at all. I actually think it's rather cool part of the game and it sets the game apart from some others in the genre.


What's interesting about this is that being able to slam your head into a wall until it passes through has been a part of the genre for a long time, so subverting it like this may have some interesting side-effects, both positive or negative.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 06:28:37 PM by Professor Paul1290 »

Offline LaughingThesaurus

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,723
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 06:18:49 PM »
That isn't really the case though. In other platformers, particularly the old school style, you'll restart at a save point or you'll restart the entire game if you die too often. The least punishing games tended to come later on, but platformers were always fairly punishing. The fact that there's a death penalty makes some sense when it comes to the game being sort of a strategy game and sort of a metroidvania. The thing I find a little irksome is the fact that no metroidvania I know gives you a consequence like this on death. It's always "Report back to the last save point" with save points being few and far between. Nobody ever complained about that to my knowledge. So, the more metroidvania I look at it, the less it makes sense. But, strictly as a platformer, other games in the genre are actually really punishing. Valley 2 doesn't make you restart the game on 3 deaths in a single stage.

Now about the difficulty, and this is something I think I want.... is the ability to change your difficulty mid-game. You could do that in Valley 1, and you did that to adjust until you found your comfort zone. I can think of a couple things that would be a bit awkward in the strategic difficulty, but if I'm getting thrashed by the action stages and didn't know what your skill levels meant... I'm either punishing myself early by choosing a lower setting, or giving myself an unwinnable situation hours down the line that I don't know about on a higher one. I had this problem early in the beta, when I played on Adept and got murdered nonstop when I could play Valley 1 on something like Hero and still not suffer a scratch in the worst of times. It's probably not there because of the fact that it's a "shorter" campaign, rather than the limitless ones of Valley 1. But like, you never know how hard it actually will be until the lategame. There should be some way to know.

Offline Professor Paul1290

  • Sr. Member Mark II
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 06:24:08 PM »
That isn't really the case though. In other platformers, particularly the old school style, you'll restart at a save point or you'll restart the entire game if you die too often. The least punishing games tended to come later on, but platformers were always fairly punishing. The fact that there's a death penalty makes some sense when it comes to the game being sort of a strategy game and sort of a metroidvania. The thing I find a little irksome is the fact that no metroidvania I know gives you a consequence like this on death. It's always "Report back to the last save point" with save points being few and far between. Nobody ever complained about that to my knowledge. So, the more metroidvania I look at it, the less it makes sense. But, strictly as a platformer, other games in the genre are actually really punishing. Valley 2 doesn't make you restart the game on 3 deaths in a single stage.

I meant more metroidvania or more adventure-like platformers than platformers in general, though I guess I should have said so.  :P

Now about the difficulty, and this is something I think I want.... is the ability to change your difficulty mid-game. You could do that in Valley 1, and you did that to adjust until you found your comfort zone. I can think of a couple things that would be a bit awkward in the strategic difficulty, but if I'm getting thrashed by the action stages and didn't know what your skill levels meant... I'm either punishing myself early by choosing a lower setting, or giving myself an unwinnable situation hours down the line that I don't know about on a higher one.

Now that you mentioned it, an option to change the difficulty mid-game would be rather welcome, especially for the action bits to prevent getting endlessly stuck and bled to death.

A mid-game adjustment for strategic difficulty would be nice, but maybe not as necessary. Losing rather slow coming, so it's not the repetitive instant death situation you get with the action stages.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 06:36:15 PM by Professor Paul1290 »

Offline zespri

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,109
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 07:17:50 PM »
This is something I'm starting to notice is that the game is starting to get somewhat difficult.

AVWW 2 currently has a permanent consequence for death. It's not a big one mind you, but it is a permanent one.

This is rather unusual because the way a lot of metroidvania or other adventure-like platformers are played tends to involve a lot of save/checkpoint scumming. Traditionally, people tend to pick whatever difficulty they want and if it's too difficult or they get stuck, then they tend to die and re-do until they get themselves un-stuck. This isn't really that practical in AVWW 2.

I just wrote a mantis issue because I feel exactly this way.  The title of the mantis issue was "Allow a cheat for turning off the death penalty". I do not want to turn down the difficulty because I would like to learn to beat the monsters on the current difficulty by trying again and again without being penalized. Currently I have to reload old saves that can't be done from within game (which, for this game is quite proper).

I decided not to post the issue for the time being though.

Now that you mentioned it, an option to change the difficulty mid-game would be rather welcome, especially for the action bits to prevent getting endlessly stuck and bled to death.
A mid-game adjustment for strategic difficulty would be nice, but maybe not as necessary. Losing rather slow coming, so it's not the repetitive instant death situation you get with the action stages.

Yep, this also sounds very reasonable.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 07:23:57 PM by zespri »

Offline LayZboy

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 07:29:21 PM »
If you're getting stuck in this game a lot, you're just best of restarting the game otherwise it will result in a massive waste of time. It doesn't feel Rouge-like where you go up against unbeatable odds and win through some magic because even if you do, that threat is still there even when you pass the section you were stuck on. It's just an odd experience to have to restart the game all the time till you find the game difficulty you want.

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 07:36:51 PM »
One thing I think the came could use to do is gate monsters somewhat by danger level, rather than just throwing them all in right from the start. That way beginning game will have some simpler patterns to deal with - not just reduced damage.

Also it would be nice if in-game it was mentioned what sort of ranking the different regions have in difficulty. For instance, grasslands being easier than lava flats all things considered. Though this will likely have to wait until enemy's are all in and close to finalized.

Offline LaughingThesaurus

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,723
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 07:49:52 PM »
If we're talking by a metroidvania respect, then perhaps there could be something that works as a save point.
If I could just magic games into being something entirely different, this game would probably let you take more hits, give you a lot more health, but it would remain persistent for as long as you play. There would then be certain situations (maybe a boss, or a long set of chunks) where you can reach a save point to save your file and restore your health. That would make the game suddenly feel much more like a metroidvania game... because the big difficulty in those, at least in the Metroid ones, is getting bled to death. No individual monster is ever really a threat. It's the fact that you take 30 damage and are returned 5 health. However... they've obviously gone a bit less Metroid and maybe a bit more Actraiser with the action stages.
That said, maybe each level up tower could theoretically give you a save point, restore point, or some other kind of similarly named thing. It'd act as a secondary save file, to the one that auto-saves. If you have a load of deaths, you can load it with some kind of restriction. Maybe it's deleted on load, or something else. Maybe they're less common. Point is, there's something there to let you make mistakes that's also a clear divider in how much you've progressed.

However, all of this is stuff that undermines the death penalty, which a long time was spent deciding on anyway. Why would you implement something, just to let it sink into unimportance later on down the line? If we don't like the death penalty, well, the simplest answer is to remove it rather than piling on features. But, I can't otherwise think of a way to make it really 'feel' like a metroidvania kind of punishment without some form of save point.

Offline Teal_Blue

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 935
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 09:25:41 AM »
One thing I think the came could use to do is gate monsters somewhat by danger level, rather than just throwing them all in right from the start. That way beginning game will have some simpler patterns to deal with - not just reduced damage.

Also it would be nice if in-game it was mentioned what sort of ranking the different regions have in difficulty. For instance, grasslands being easier than lava flats all things considered. Though this will likely have to wait until enemy's are all in and close to finalized.

I really, really like this idea! I second it!  (or is there a leveling on the monsters anyway, from lvl 1 to 2 to 3... and so on already in the game? I do like the suggestion, but i don't know what type of system is in place now for the enemy difficulty. Anyway, it does sound like an interesting idea, if it doesn't throw something else out of phase.)

-Teal


Offline tigersfan

  • Arcen Games Contractor
  • Arcen Staff
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,599
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 10:10:29 AM »
The monsters already are gated, in a sense. As the game progresses, many of them add things like second shots and faster shots, etc.

Offline TechSY730

  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,562
Re: Difficulty and consequences.
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 11:42:13 AM »
This is something I'm starting to notice is that the game is starting to get somewhat difficult.

AVWW 2 currently has a permanent consequence for death. It's not a big one mind you, but it is a permanent one.

This is rather unusual because the way a lot of metroidvania or other adventure-like platformers are played tends to involve a lot of save/checkpoint scumming. Traditionally, people tend to pick whatever difficulty they want and if it's too difficult or they get stuck, then they tend to die and re-do until they get themselves un-stuck. This isn't really that practical in AVWW 2.

I just wrote a mantis issue because I feel exactly this way.  The title of the mantis issue was "Allow a cheat for turning off the death penalty". I do not want to turn down the difficulty because I would like to learn to beat the monsters on the current difficulty by trying again and again without being penalized. Currently I have to reload old saves that can't be done from within game (which, for this game is quite proper).

I decided not to post the issue for the time being though.

I would fully support such a cheat. It would really help with things like experimentation of battles (when you just want to understand or test something, and don't care about achievements or the game "counting" or whatever), and it would help to bring back some of the player base that is put off by permanent penalties for death in a metriodvania style game.