by electricpirate @, Monday, February 25, 2013, 12:02 (4076 days ago) @ General Vagueness

The intersection of "PLayer skill" (you) vs. "Character skill" (your level in game) is a classic game design tradeoff. Looked at linearly, Kotor, Baldur's gate, or old school JRPGs sit at one end (all that matters is character skill), while Halo (pre 4) and quake/UT sit at the other.

Developers have been getting better at maximizing the middle though. Many Free to play action games require a ton of skill and teamwork, but still with large amounts to unlock, and ways to grow your character. Planetside 2, or tribes for example. In the single player space, Dark Souls/Demon Souls also do an excellent job of letting your character grow, while requiring you to play better.

As for destiny, tackling this divide seems to be one of the main design goals. At the media event Jones described 7 pillars, 4 of which seem to tie directly into what you are worried about.

A bunch of fun things to do. Bungie calls Destiny "a sandbox with a lot of tools" that puts players in situations "where they can be successful." Jones says Bungie has been deliberate about creating a broad range of activities for players to enjoy in groups or alone, in casual or intense scenarios.

Rewards players care about. "Imagine you could spend an hour and accomplish something," Jones says. "We have a lot of great things [in Destiny] to find, earn and make. Everything you do generates these rewards to customize your character."

A new experience every night. Bungie wants players to have a different experience every time they play, planning rare, time-limited and emergent activities. Jones hopes that players will sign on for a game of Destiny, but get distracted by the variety of content and activities within.

Enjoyable by the tired, impatient and distracted. Bungie believes that players don’t play games to "work hard, read or go the internet to figure out our bullshit." The core experience, Jones says, has to be delivered as simply and easily as possible. And that pillar led Bungie to "throw out a bunch of dearly-held ideas."


The last one directly applies to what you are saying. It implies that Bungie won't build a complicated stat systems, and they are looking for things to be easily explainable. In other words, intuitive predictable response to your actions, more like Halo, but unlike a game based on dice rolls. (FWIW I'm the kind of person who likes to play games that make me go out on the internet and look stuff up.)

The others deal with another major problem in Role Playing games: Grinding. Grinding is the act where you repeat a section of the game not because you enjoy it, but because it will get your character stronger. These items are pretty explicitly rejecting that. Notice, "Accomplish something in an hour" and "Variety of content" "A new experience every night." Here, Jones clearly rejects grinding, and strengthening your character without doing something rewarding.

I'm really curious to see how, and if these goals are achieved.

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