Tuesday 11 November 2014

"It seems like everyone in this sub wants the best gear, but doesn't want to farm for it."

This is an actual quote from a post I saw this morning. I see this sentiment a lot and I think it's both overly-simplistic and destructive. The truth is more nuanced:

People who play Diablo are happy to farm, but not to farm forever. Everybody has a different threshold for how long they are willing to farm without any seeing progress. No, your players can't expect upgrades every 5 minutes, but neither can you expect all your players to be Alkaizer. There's a sweet spot somewhere.

But, remember, when a system is entirely RNG, it's always possible that players will put in a bunch of time and see zero progress. Enough time with zero progress, and players quit.

You can shrug and say "RNG is RNG" or you can look for an opportunity to improve the game and make it more fun for more people. This is where the oft-reviled idea of "guaranteed progression" comes in. The thing is:

Guaranteed progression does not have to mean faster progression

You already see this with the "pity timer". The pity timer creates a minimum legendary drop rate for the unlucky. The vast majority of players never hit it, yet it exists.

Now, take something like the Furnace. If most players can expect to get one Furnace in every X hours of gameplay, Blizzard could create a crafting system that lets you gather special things and make a single Furnace after Y hours of gameplay (where Y is much greater X).

The point is that you're not getting loot meaningfully faster than before, but at least those long sessions without any special drops don't feel wasted. You know you made progress, even if just a little bit.

tl;dr - Stop saying people want handouts. Players already farm until they can't take it anymore. Guaranteed progression can provide rewards that keep people interested and playing without providing loot any faster than the average.

P.S. - You could make the argument that seeing a huge mountain to climb would scare people away. I don't buy it; I think people are more likely to get hooked by progression than scared by it.