My last blog post reminded me of my childhood and probably the main reason why I was so fascinated by video games and this was that in video games you could do anything you want, full freedom of choice. Well in reality you probably have more freedom of choice then you can ever have in a video game, but that is because of technical limitations, the real problem with reality however is, that reality has harsh consequences, that you might not want to deal with. So the reason why video games were so cool was, that you had freedom of choice to do the things you could not do in real life.
There has been a trend over the time that degrades role playing games into what I call pseudo role playing games. Additionally there are games coming out made to look like role playing games, but not actually being role playing games, intentionally or unintentionally.
I don't really know where this trend started, but the first times I really noticed it was on console games. I never had a modern game console, since I think they are pointless, but I noticed it when watching others play games on console, lots of those games are build around some kind of unlocking system.
A large portion of gamers probably encountered the following scenario, they kept grinding a game just to unlock an achievement, even though they were already fed up with the game. That is exactly what achievements are designed for, to motivate you playing in a scenario where you would normally stop, because it became to boring.
Let's get to the now probably more widely known loot box problem. I decided to combine loot boxes and gambling since they go together in most, if not all games.
What are loot boxes?
In games that have pay to win and/or cosmetic items, you will often also find loot boxes, that have those items in them, but you don't know what is inside yet.
This another of those little design elements in a game that has the potential to ruin the whole game experience, it is very similar to the minimap and often is combined with the minimap and I call it quest markers. What I mean with quest markers? Well first the thing that is obviously meant with quest markers, meaning graphical elements in the game that show you where you have to go to fulfill your current quest. Those often are placed into the HUD and the map or minimap.
Early Access for games is a more modern invention, which did not exist in the past, it was once praised as a good and innovative thing, but now I think it has more drawbacks than it does good.
What does Early Access do? It grants users an early access to the game before it is finished, so they can get the game before it is actually finished and therefore help develop the game through testing and giving feedback.
Sounds all good at first? So let us break down what is bad with this model:
This is probably the "Pay to Win's" little brother. So what are cosmetics, it is the way of the game making money by selling cosmetic items for the game like hats for the player to wear. This is different to "Pay to Win" in the sense that someone who purchases it, does not gain an advantage in the game, so sounds good at first, but at second thought, then why does it work anyway? I mean if cosmetics supposedly don't do anything for you in the game, then why people buy them?
This is probably the worst design choice you can ever make in video game design history. I should have covered this earlier, because of how severe this problem is and hardly anyone really understands the real problems with it, but whatever lets get to the point why "Pay to Win" is so bad.
This is a new kind of series of blog posts and it is about bad game design choices that are used very commonly and hardly anyone pointing them out. I don't want to go nitpicking about minor design flaws, but about things that have the potential to ruin a whole game, yes not just parts of the game, but absolutely everything.