Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Controls experienced by players and how it pertains to good games.

This post was actually inspired while thinking about Diablo 3 while I was hanging the clothes today. I've been busy working lately as a fry boy at a local snack shop. If you don't know what a fry boy is, it's not something to do with fishes let me tell you. I'm basically standing in front of the deep fryer for about 10 hours to cook deep fried snacks. It's a nice part time job I guess? Though the smell of fried food is so ingrained in my skin now that when I walk on the street, little kids ask their parents to buy McDonald cause they caught a whiff of me.

That said, onto the topic of the post. If you have been following recent game reviews of the latest games, it would probably have likely occured to you that quite a few of the triple a games this year have not received as a good a score as you think it would. For instance, ME3 had a terrible storyline conclusion that marred an otherwise good game. Diablo 3 was plagued by the infamous error 37 and latency issues. Other than those issues, there were comments made about gameplay and skills involved. A good example would be the face roll Tracer missile spam of Bounty hunters in TOR.

Personally I feel that the common thread between all of them is that players do not experience any control over these events. If a player cannot experience any control over these events, it severely mars their player experience. When I push a button to move in a game, i will be pretty pissed if it's not responsive at all.

This is pretty much the issue with Diablo 3 and the Fans Hatred for always online games. In Diablo 2, you didn't encounter much lag if you had a good enough computer to support the game. For the Case of Diablo 3, it's not so much the computer as it is the server connection to your home. This is something that is out of the players control. As such, when a character dies dued to lag, it often causes more frustration than normal cause it was out of the player control.

You could apply the same thing to the Mass effect 3 ending as well. The ending was totally out of the player control. It was just choosing between screwed 1 factor, or being screwed by a 3 factors. Players couldn't choose any other choices other than those being presented.

In my opinion, a good game will allow players to have responsive controls over their character responses. Players want to feel responsible for their own actions when they play a game. That's probably the same reason why table top RPGs still have such a large following still despite the numerous alternatives on the computer. A good DM will allow his players to have appropriate responses to their actions, and Players will feel responsible for their own character actions. 

I guess that's why TSW is such a hit with people as well, cause controls are pretty smooth. If anything can be learnt from this years releases, it's that players want to be responsible for their actions in a game and to have responsive controls that they can use.

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