It's not a secret that a lot of change is coming
to Warlords of Draenor
, and not all of us are sanguine about all of it. Enter Bashiok
, the man, the demonic evil tree avatar, with a forum post about the nature of choice and how it informs complexity in our gaming.
Bashiok's point about interesting choices vs. choices for the sake of having more choices is one that is worth discussing. There's complexity that comes from the interaction of options, and complexity that descends from an overwhelming variety of options. In the past, Blizzard has always tried
to err on the side of lesser, more interesting choices as opposed to more choices that aren't necessarily choices at all. One need look no further than the change in Mists of Pandaria
to our talent system. We lost talents that added things like 1/2/3% crit and gained decisions. Not everyone liked
that change, but it's worthwhile to keep in mind when looking at future changes that happen.
There's a lot of complexity in modern WoW
that evolved over time as new systems were introduced, but not all of this complexity is based on meaningful options and gameplay. As we get closer to Warlords of Draenor
, we're going to lose some of this evolved complexity, in order to clear out some room for more choices that matter.
For the full text of Bashiok's post, click on through to the other side.
Posted by Mavrosed
Scary? Why would it be scary to have less things to do, less choices to make?
A wise man once said a game is a series of interesting choices. For some the takeaway from that is more choices mean a better game. In general I see the Blizzard approach as a focus on emphasizing what an interesting choice is. Interesting choices can offer depth and complexity without needing to be numerous and overwhelming for the sake of being overwhelming. It's easy to throw all of the paint on the floor and say it's done. It's far more difficult to properly mix, and restrain, and balance elements. Looking at chess, there are relatively few pieces with few "abilities", it's a near-infinitely deep and complex game, and strategies for it continue to evolve even hundreds of years later. Certainly someone could introduce dozens of new chess pieces, dozens of new choices, and there would be some subset of players who would enjoy it more purely due to an increase in complexity.
Over time as new systems are introduced to WoW, others are removed, and iteration happens on current mechanics, these things tend to become more complex at no fault of their own. I think any designer would agree that it's not the fault of the player that the game's systems get more and more complex over time as changes are made. It's a snowball effect for sure, and it's not the player's fault when things get out of control over years and years of patches and iteration and inflation of complexity. It's just difficult to predict what the game will be like a few years from now, and only approaching design from that future-angle would likely mean less active design to help address current issues (something we wouldn't want to do). But at the very least we can recognize when we need to reevaluate the corner we've painted ourselves into, can enact that change in an intelligent way that makes the game better, and ideally be able to explain clearly why we're making it.