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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » "Complexity factor" -- does it matter?

20 posts found
  olepi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 942

 
OP  1/16/12 6:04:16 PM#1

I have started calling it the "complexity factor", a sort of summation of the complexity of a game.

Does a game that has a lot of complexity turn out to be more popular than a simpler game? What kind of factor is it? Do you prefer a game with 4 actions, or one with 30?

One way to quantify it is to look at how many "classes" there are, how many "powers" each class gets, and what options you can have on the powers. This, plus the costume choices, is what makes your character.  For example, in SWTOR, there seemed to be few really different costume choices, and only a handful of "classes", and both sides have the same classes. In City of Heroes, there are thousands of costume choices and millions of "class" choices. But the gameplay is simplistic.

My basic question is: does it matter what the "complexity" of a game is? Why or why not?

 

------------
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.

  Loke666

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16024

1/16/12 6:11:21 PM#2

Chess is the perfect game there, easy to learn but very hard to master.

MMOs should be the same, even if it is easier said than done. Too simple games gets too predictable fast. Too complex games have it very hard to attract new players because the learning curve is steep.

  olepi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 942

 
OP  1/16/12 6:16:35 PM#3
Originally posted by Loke666

Chess is the perfect game there, easy to learn but very hard to master.

MMOs should be the same, even if it is easier said than done. Too simple games gets too predictable fast. Too complex games have it very hard to attract new players because the learning curve is steep.

Chess versus Checkers. Hmm. Might have my answer right there.

------------
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

1/16/12 6:18:19 PM#4

While complexity =/= depth, it can seem that way to most.

Picture a complex crafting system, because there is a fine line between a deep (and good one) vs a pointless and overcomplicated one. I believe it can be tied down to a "law of steps and necessary inputs per". Like a single step of crafting taking waaaay longer than it should, or combat being overly clunky when some simplification could help.

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  gordiflu

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/22/07
Posts: 753

1/16/12 6:19:22 PM#5

Each player is different.

I ll give you this personal example. Recently I was showing Skyrim to a friend of mine, and I was showing him how you could mod it and change virtually anything in it. His reaction was: "then you can change it so you are really strong and powerful, right?". And I was: "Well, yes, but I changed it so that the enemies are really strong and powerful instead".

See? He was almost instinctively looking for a way to make things a lot easier while I had been spending plenty of hours to achieve exactly the opposite, making things a lot harder.

Challenge is important for some players, and complexity can be part of such challenge. I won't have fun if the game is too easy, but my friend won't have fun if it's too hard. I don't wanna sound like I am bragging, but some friends of mine and myself follow this principle: "if I don't need my calculator to play this game I am not interested". I am not saying this is the what games should be like, I am just saying this is the way we enjoy these games.

So, yes, for some of us complexity does matter. And it's ok if some other players prefer more accessible games. I am not interested in such games but I can understand those who are.

The problem is, those who prefer complex games are having less and less options each year.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

1/16/12 6:26:18 PM#6

Complexity yes that's something what I like, BUT it have to make sense. Making dozens of options that does not have any sense is bad.

Also I vote for 'depth' and 'variety of possibilities and diffrent things to do'  if that involve complexity then I am all for it.

Challange is also nice.

Choices should matter and have consequences also bad ones.

 

 

I know many players don't like that kind of games ,but well I am fed up with streamlined games so they are not getting my money again.

 

Got very tired of games that are about ' go and kill stuff' :/

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5364

I dare you to pin a label on me.

1/16/12 6:31:10 PM#7
Originally posted by fenistil

Complexity yes that's something what I like, BUT it have to make sense. Making dozens of options that does not have any sense is bad.

Also I vote for 'depth' and 'variety of possibilities and diffrent things to do'  if that involve complexity then I am all for it.

Challange is also nice.

Choices should matter and have consequences also bad ones.

 

 

I know many players don't like that kind of games ,but well I am fed up with streamlined games so they are not getting my money again.

 

Got very tired of games that are about ' go and kill stuff' :/

Nothing what you wrote goes against streamlined games.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 14366

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

1/16/12 6:32:52 PM#8

Complexity for the sake of complexity is a rather redundant development philosophy IMO. IMO a game should be fun first, complexity should only come as you get deeper into the game, if it ever does (if it doesn't no biggie to me, as long as it's fun).

 

 

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  kashiegamer

Novice Member

Joined: 8/22/11
Posts: 263

1/16/12 6:34:33 PM#9

A fine balance between chaos and organization in terms of game mechanics--which I call complexity of gameplay does matter for me.

 

A game just needs to make sure that the complexitiy will not hinder game experience but rather enhance it.

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  gordiflu

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/22/07
Posts: 753

1/16/12 6:34:40 PM#10
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by fenistil

Complexity yes that's something what I like, BUT it have to make sense. Making dozens of options that does not have any sense is bad.

Also I vote for 'depth' and 'variety of possibilities and diffrent things to do'  if that involve complexity then I am all for it.

Challange is also nice.

Choices should matter and have consequences also bad ones.

 

 

I know many players don't like that kind of games ,but well I am fed up with streamlined games so they are not getting my money again.

 

Got very tired of games that are about ' go and kill stuff' :/

Nothing what you wrote goes against streamlined games.

Highlighted for you.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

1/16/12 6:37:02 PM#11
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by fenistil

Complexity yes that's something what I like, BUT it have to make sense. Making dozens of options that does not have any sense is bad.

Also I vote for 'depth' and 'variety of possibilities and diffrent things to do'  if that involve complexity then I am all for it.

Challange is also nice.

Choices should matter and have consequences also bad ones.

 

 

I know many players don't like that kind of games ,but well I am fed up with streamlined games so they are not getting my money again.

 

Got very tired of games that are about ' go and kill stuff' :/

Nothing what you wrote goes against streamlined games.

I then will gladly read your definition of streamlining because it seems I am understanding it bad.

  maplestone

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

1/16/12 6:50:48 PM#12

Ideally, a game world needs enough complexity that I perceive it as alive rather than as an algorithm, but enough transparency that I can I can learn to engineer the outcomes I seek without having to consult out-of-game resourcers.

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

1/16/12 7:46:32 PM#13
Originally posted by olepi

I have started calling it the "complexity factor", a sort of summation of the complexity of a game.

Does a game that has a lot of complexity turn out to be more popular than a simpler game? What kind of factor is it? Do you prefer a game with 4 actions, or one with 30?

One way to quantify it is to look at how many "classes" there are, how many "powers" each class gets, and what options you can have on the powers. This, plus the costume choices, is what makes your character.  For example, in SWTOR, there seemed to be few really different costume choices, and only a handful of "classes", and both sides have the same classes. In City of Heroes, there are thousands of costume choices and millions of "class" choices. But the gameplay is simplistic.

My basic question is: does it matter what the "complexity" of a game is? Why or why not? 

Complexity is bad.

Depth is good.

Chess is simple (not complex) but deep.

Basically games should only be as complex as is absolutely necessary.

  maplestone

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

1/16/12 7:52:31 PM#14

If chess is perfect, why are we playing other games?

  FC-Famine

Funcom Community Manager

Joined: 10/17/06
Posts: 278

1/16/12 7:52:52 PM#15

Depends on the type of player really. Complex can be fun, but also boring. The same could be said about simple.

It's always a debate much like it has been in art and music like with Nirvana to the Beatles.

Glen ''Famine'' Swan
Senior Assistant Community Manager - Funcom

  arcanist

Novice Member

Joined: 3/16/10
Posts: 163

1/16/12 7:56:54 PM#16

It depends on how you define complex.

if a complex crafting system where there are a hundred different materials you could sue to make a sword, each one requiring a different combination of oil, coal, etc. to make and there are a hundred different blade types each requiring a different combo of metals to work properly than no thanks.

If it was something where you could decide on the length or curvature of a blade using a slider. Where if you wanted to make a dagger you'd make the length and width sliders low while you'd drag them higher to make a one handed sword and make them go near the other side to make a two handed sword than yes please.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5364

I dare you to pin a label on me.

1/16/12 8:26:18 PM#17
Originally posted by fenistil
Originally posted by Quirhid
 

I then will gladly read your definition of streamlining because it seems I am understanding it bad.


Streamlining is cutting out all the fat. No unnecessary features. Ideally that means no unnecessary choices. All the choices players can make must have a purpose and all the choices contribute to the main idea of the game.

I like streamlined games that have features built upon a central idea. I don't like games that seem to have just loosely connected features that have been just clumped up together to form a what can be barely called a game. I'm tired of seeing those...

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5364

I dare you to pin a label on me.

1/16/12 8:27:31 PM#18
Originally posted by Axehilt

Basically games should only be as complex as is absolutely necessary.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

1/16/12 9:56:27 PM#19
Originally posted by maplestone

If chess is perfect, why are we playing other games?

Games get old.

Even games at the pinnacle of game design (lots of depth with very little complexity) still get old.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 12768

1/16/12 11:41:47 PM#20
Originally posted by olepi

I have started calling it the "complexity factor", a sort of summation of the complexity of a game.

Does a game that has a lot of complexity turn out to be more popular than a simpler game? What kind of factor is it? Do you prefer a game with 4 actions, or one with 30?

One way to quantify it is to look at how many "classes" there are, how many "powers" each class gets, and what options you can have on the powers. This, plus the costume choices, is what makes your character.  For example, in SWTOR, there seemed to be few really different costume choices, and only a handful of "classes", and both sides have the same classes. In City of Heroes, there are thousands of costume choices and millions of "class" choices. But the gameplay is simplistic.

My basic question is: does it matter what the "complexity" of a game is? Why or why not?

 

I would like to suggest that if that is your idea of complexity, then you've never played a really complex game.  Try playing A Tale in the Desert or Uncharted Waters Online for a week, and at the end of that week, if you don't think you're completely lost, it's only because you don't realize how lost you are.  I haven't played EVE, but my understanding is that it's like that, too.