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Fun or Frustrating? A gambling-esq crafting system

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Not_Sure, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Okay, let me start by saying I DON'T GET GAMBLING.

    I don't.

    The few times I put money in slot machines it did absolutely nothing for me. So I may not be the best person to judge if this would be fun.

    But basically the idea is that you take the path of a crafting system (source -> raw materials -> ready materials -> Product) and with each iteration have a chance for the value to go up or down.

    So let's say you have a a deer.

    The deer is a great quality deer.

    You kill it, but in killing it the deer has become only good quality.

    You skin the deer and do a great job, so now the hide is great quality.

    You tan the hide and screw up, so it is now poor quality leather.

    You craft gloves and do a good job, so you make good quality gloves.

    And of course every iteration has lots of juice and sounds to go along with it.

    Also, the game saves before you go through an iteration and it is locked at whatever it is, so no reloading.

    But also, also, each time you do a step you level up and get better at it so something is gained no matter what.


    What do you all think?
     
  2. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Sure. The gambling playbook is well documented. Been around for a minute. Based on the science of addiction.

    It's a question of is there audience for that specific theme coupled with that sort of game mechanic.

    To some degree all the big survival/craft games have elements like this. How much of game outcomes depend on player decision or skill versus chance and luck will determine what type of audience enjoys the game.

    Myself, I can play skill based games to death because I like the certainty and sense of personal development. I can't play looter games because I can't see past the unfairness of the system and the addictive search doesn't hook me. I like my games to be a meritocracy, not an addictive search for loot. Just a matter of not being the right audience I think.

    I don't think you have to be an addict to understand addicts. Just have to know how the science works. And be evil too, of course. :)
     
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  3. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Well, evil is not my intent. But point taken.
     
  4. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    You can have chance elements in games without being evil, and there are various ways to achieve that and plenty of games with examples.

    What you described isn't too different to combat mechanics in most RPGs with a theme change. Example:

    So my immediate thought from your thematic element is basically a business simulator. You collect resources, have skills to transform those resources into more valuable things, and that gets you resources which you can use to collect better resources, improve your skills, get more crafters...

    Basically, you remove the "frustration" by making sure that there's always a follow up opportunity for success that's not stupidly far away. And there's no reason to design that loop around addiction if you don't want to.
     
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  5. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    For me the whole concept would be frustrating because never is anything truely under my control. I would prefer a system like in Steamworld Heist where RNG skillchecks are replaced with player-aim-ability skillchecks. Could be all sorts of different minigames. The most important part imho would be you'd need to be able to get better at them as a player.
     
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  6. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Fair enough. Does that mean you don't enjoy any games with RNG, dice, etc?

    Personally I want a balance. Some element of uncertainty increases tension and risk and provides opportunity for interesting choices, such as investments. But, of course, those things are only interesting if my decisions also have a clear impact on the game and outcomes.
     
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  7. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    I spent a lot of time using the gambler in Torchlight.
     
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  8. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I didn't end up preferring Phantom Doctrine over XCOM2, although I can't for certain say that it's because of the RNG. It's probably not the reason I would estimate. I definitely find RNG based results often very frustrating and unsatisfying. I really liked how Into the Breach handled it. There was an element of uncertainty how the fight would unfold, but there was absolute certainty about what the one next step of the enemies would be and all your choices had fully predictable outcomes. It turned combat into a series of puzzles. That's what I'm looking for in these kinds of games. Solving a puzzle feels like a bigger acomplishment to me than savescumming my way through a squad tactics game. And I don't have the frustration tolerance I'd need to always play such games in ironman mode.

    For boardgames I always preferred card games over dice games, and among dice based games I preferred 2D6 systems over D20 style systems, because the 2D6 roll is more predictable.

    Once I make a decision, I don't like a dice roll to determine the outcome. I'd much rather have the dice rolls give me a scenario from which I then can make decisions with predictable outcomes.
     
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  9. Socrates

    Socrates

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    I would only play that game if there was a way of ensuring that the quality did not lower; otherwise it would just be too frustrating having things get screwed up because of a random die roll I could not influence.

    As an example, in Trove when you upgrade a gem, it can shatter. If you use a shamrock, which are easy to get, it won't shatter if you fail. (They also have other items you can use instead that increase the chance of a good or great roll.)

    Another example could be an ability where you can't lower the quality when skinning the animal. Depending on how the game is set up, this could mean you have to try again multiple times, but in that case I'd code it behind the scenes so that there was an increasing chance of success with multiple tries until you're guaranteed to succeed just so you're not stuck in an infinite loop.
     
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  10. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    This reminds me, in RPGs where I have a choice between increasing a crit chance, or increasing base damage, I 100% ever time pick the base damage increase. My choices will always go towards general randomness mitigation instead of increasing chances for very good stuff. Even if the average DPS would be higher on the crit chance increase, I'd still pick the thing that's predictable every time instead.
     
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  11. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    Most card games still have a pretty strong random element, specifically the order of the cards you draw, and the effect this has on outcome. (certainly not all, although I don't know any good card games that have zero RNG, open to suggestions ;) )

    I think for most players the thrill of this is a pretty important part of these games, just needing to draw that last card for the combo, etc. The skill element in a TCG style games often come from the meta game rather than the game itself (i.e. optimising your play and deck in such a way that you maximise potential that you draw your combo piece).
     
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  12. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    It was exactly my point that the card games have put their RNG dose into a place where it's more fun for me. You make choices from a randomized set of options that have predictable outcomes (unless it's coin flips, random draws or other card abilities), instead of having a static set of actions to choose from, with randomized outcomes.
     
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