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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Just what the hell does "dumbed down" even mean anyway?

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180 posts found
  biofellis

Novice Member

Joined: 1/13/05
Posts: 528

Building Worlds...
Rebuilding Reality.

3/29/10 12:37:40 AM#161

.

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5149

3/29/10 3:26:42 AM#162

Simplifying an interface does not necessarily mean a game has been put into easy mode, but it is a good indicator of that happening.

I have had players who are healers tell my that they can hardly remember what the dungeons we have been in looked like as they spent all their time looking at coloured bars. In this example making the interface easier reduced both their enjoyment of playing in new areas and made it easier to heal. But I doubt all players who play healers would feel the same way.

But I do not think difficult controls are needed for challenging game play, it is just that we are moving to era in gaming where there are only easy controls and easy game play.

  biofellis

Novice Member

Joined: 1/13/05
Posts: 528

Building Worlds...
Rebuilding Reality.

3/29/10 12:42:21 PM#163

.

  Jimmy_Scythe

Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 3602

 
OP  3/29/10 1:57:45 PM#164
Originally posted by biofellis

Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe


I like how you tell me that streamlining is dumbing a game down and then introduce a concept that would add depth and make the games interface less complicated and therefore more accessible to new players. Hey mouth, I'd like you to meet foot....

Here's your challenge- point out where I said that. Seriously. The posts have numbers. Find it, quote it- I'd be happy to know. Most of my posts are unedited- and all edits have dates, so it should be easy for you.

On the other hand, maybe this will be finally you realizing that 'what you think you heard' and 'what I actually said' really aren't interchangable'.

Hope you like sole food.

In post  #155. You seem talk about how the interface simplifies gameplay, but ignore the fact that the simplification makes the process more complicated than it needs to be. It can be argued either way here since RPGs are derived from wargames which can be either tactical or logistical. WoW apparently went for the straight logistical route, but a more tactical approach would be easier from an interface perspective. It's the implication of absolutism that is the problem here. Sometime streamlining adds depth, sometimes it just generates cruft and other times it just eliminates needless repitition while leaving everything intact. But making all inclusive statements, which is what you seem to be doing with this paragragh, ignores the reall issue. Humans have an intuitive understanding of line of sight. It's the way that we interact with our environment. What you introduced in the following passage is a simpler, more accessible way to play which seems to be the opposite of what you've been advocating for. I'm sure that the same 7 year old would have no problem understanding how to heal people with a line of sight system. Whether or not she would be as effective is another matter. I'm assuming that she could be with enough practice, kids pick things up quicker than adults do, but she'd still be able to sit down and figure out exactly what to do with no explaination.

2. Streamlining as dumbing down.

With the 'group status interface, healers don't even need to 'know where people in their parties are" in most games- click the all-powerful status bar, heal- and wherever he is (if in range) done. I remember what used to be the fun chaos of combat- that learned coolness under fire and manuevering for line of sight to heal a guy. Some of that fun still exists, but mostly it's 'asset management'. I've actually had a 7 year old keep a party alive for me when she never played before. Yes- challenging gameplay. The interface replaces experience- colors tell you what fights you can/can't win. The interface removes complexity/confusion- quest objects/mechanisms don't exist unless you're on that quest. 'Tab' to auto target mobs in range. Targetted mob can never break/hide without spell/special ability- line of sight doesn't matter- I know you're there... Even the third person interface is easier (and gives you more info) than first person. Thieves are promoted to being invisible so they can backstab, rather than simply need to be sneaky and creep up behind you (which can't work on a third person view).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2if5GYXOGyo

  VengeSunsoar

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4713

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

3/29/10 2:03:53 PM#165
Originally posted by Cecropia

What's more of a challenge: navigating a Tall ship with zero electronics, or navigating a modern computerized Frigate?

What is so hard to grasp here?

 This is not a good comparison at all.  I can look at one of the old tall ships and see how it turns, I can follow the ropes and guidelines and see what connects to what.  With a basic understanding of mechanics, physics and how wind and water forces act on the ship, all the mechanics for operating the ship are visible to see and therefore I can learn how it works.

If I were to look at a modern frigate I would see row after row of dials and buttons and scans.  None of which may be labelled, I wouldn't have a clue as to which button does which so I wouldn't be able to run it.

So in answer to your question the frigate would be harder for me to navigate.

Venge Sunsoar

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7679

Logic be damned!

3/29/10 4:29:04 PM#166

"Dumbed down" is a term used by bored forum trolls who have no logical base for their arguments, they just like to use buzz words.

Other examples include - WoW clone, casual vs. hardcore, sandbox, theme park...

 

The greatest goal of innovation is either:

A) to do something no one else has ever done before

B) to do something better

 

Option B is more loosely defined, but when it comes to the MMO genre I like to think of it to mean simply that:

You take what "works" and refine it, trim off the fat so to speak, clean it up and re-present it in a way that is more appealing to the end user.

 

By this argument, would some then agree that Windows 7 is simply a "dumbed down" version of the Windows 98 operating system? I'd say that argument is completely illogical as Windows 7 contains functionality not present in 98, as well as a more refined, cleaned up, and polished presentation then most any previous Microsoft operating system release.

Would some then agree that modern 3G cell phones are simply a "dumbed down" version of their predaccesors? Despite the fact they are vastly more reliable, powerful, and contain complex functionality including internet and streaming video SIMPLY because they have a more refined, visually and asethetically appealing interface?

I think my point is made...

"Dumbed down" is ACTUALLY a term used by forum trolls who are themselves too dumb to understand the evolution of the MMORPG genre.

Now Playing: D3:RoS, Watch Dogs
Looking Towards: Destiny

  Cecropia

Gumshoe

Joined: 3/06/09
Posts: 3251

Poacher killer.

3/29/10 4:46:50 PM#167
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Cecropia

What's more of a challenge: navigating a Tall ship with zero electronics, or navigating a modern computerized Frigate?

What is so hard to grasp here?

 This is not a good comparison at all.  I can look at one of the old tall ships and see how it turns, I can follow the ropes and guidelines and see what connects to what.  With a basic understanding of mechanics, physics and how wind and water forces act on the ship, all the mechanics for operating the ship are visible to see and therefore I can learn how it works.

If I were to look at a modern frigate I would see row after row of dials and buttons and scans.  None of which may be labelled, I wouldn't have a clue as to which button does which so I wouldn't be able to run it.

So in answer to your question the frigate would be harder for me to navigate.

Venge Sunsoar

LOL I've Captained a Tall ship, as well as my own personal modern computerized Cabin Cruiser (wish it was Frigate). You can say whatever you want, but I know first hand which is more of a challenge. They aren't even in the same realm of difficulty.

"Chuck's a good fighter but he's a UFC fighter... this is Pride." - Quinton Rampage Jackson
"Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  Lazerou

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/09/10
Posts: 202

3/29/10 6:42:24 PM#168
Originally posted by Cecropia

Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Cecropia

What's more of a challenge: navigating a Tall ship with zero electronics, or navigating a modern computerized Frigate?

What is so hard to grasp here?

This is not a good comparison at all. I can look at one of the old tall ships and see how it turns, I can follow the ropes and guidelines and see what connects to what. With a basic understanding of mechanics, physics and how wind and water forces act on the ship, all the mechanics for operating the ship are visible to see and therefore I can learn how it works.

If I were to look at a modern frigate I would see row after row of dials and buttons and scans. None of which may be labelled, I wouldn't have a clue as to which button does which so I wouldn't be able to run it.

So in answer to your question the frigate would be harder for me to navigate.

Venge Sunsoar

LOL I've Captained a Tall ship, as well as my own personal modern computerized Cabin Cruiser (wish it was Frigate). You can say whatever you want, but I know first hand which is more of a challenge. They aren't even in the same realm of difficulty.

You have experience in both. You need to step away and look as if you have experience in neither and see which one would be easier. I doubt you have the same experience in flying planes so use the analogy of flying one of the first planes ever (basically just a stick) and a modern day jet. Now which one do you think you would have more of a chance of flying?

  Cecropia

Gumshoe

Joined: 3/06/09
Posts: 3251

Poacher killer.

3/29/10 7:07:01 PM#169
Originally posted by Lazerou

You have experience in both. You need to step away and look as if you have experience in neither and see which one would be easier. I doubt you have the same experience in flying planes so use the analogy of flying one of the first planes ever (basically just a stick) and a modern day jet. Now which one do you think you would have more of a chance of flying?

I'm looking at this from the point of view of being new at both, you know because at one point I was. It was light years easier to figure out all of the electronic/computerized systems on my boat (amongst other things) than it was to learn everything involved with captaining an actual Tall ship. It was another thing entirely to get good at it. Also the Tall ship legally required a full crew whereas my boat does not. Note: they are virtaully the same size vessel.

When specific operations are already done for you and so much of the vessel is automated, yes it's far less of a challenge. Modern Tank operators/Pilots also agree that their WWI counterparts had to have far greater skills to accomplish the same tasks.

Even for these forums, I'm kinda surprised this isn't common knowledge.

 

"Chuck's a good fighter but he's a UFC fighter... this is Pride." - Quinton Rampage Jackson
"Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  VengeSunsoar

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4713

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

3/29/10 7:29:50 PM#170

I'll take your word for it because I haven't done either and so have no knowledge of them.  But I do understand mechanics and applied forces and from my point of view (a complete novice) I can understand the tall ship way easier than the modern frigate.  With some basic understanding of the computer system I'd probably think differently but right now it's easier to see how the tall ship works because I can literally see a response for each action, whereas on the frigate I flick a switch and trust the engineer that designed it.

Venge Sunsoar

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  rscott6666

Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/03
Posts: 192

3/29/10 8:16:28 PM#171
Originally posted by biofellis



To the 'There is no dumbing down' crowd.

I don't know how it is you can't look at ANY game and not see it. Just look at the interface-

I just moved to San Antonio, and when I walk the streets; 

  • I don't have an interactive GPS and compass, with highlights hot-indexed to whatever I want so I don't get lost and can find what I need.
  • Any person that walks by does not have their name, political affiliation, or current state of mind indicated. 
  • People don't con or indicate current health by some device- so if I were a medical professional- I couldn't help.
  • People who need things that I might be able to help with don't light up.
  • My phone doesn't auto update with a potential job/schedule. I have to set it myself/remember to go.
  • Items I pick up don't don't have relevant stats listed I can trust (except, to a degree, in the grocery)

Thats par for the course for RPGS.  The whole point is that even if you don't live in the world 24/7, your character does.  They have knowledge you don't, and you should be able to draw on it.  This has been done in PnP for 25ish years.  You should have complained about the dumbing down in the 80's when all of this started.  LIsting these as dumbing down misses the boat wildly.

  VirusDancer

Novice Member

Joined: 11/18/04
Posts: 3684

Heroes are about character - not gear.

3/29/10 8:20:30 PM#172
Originally posted by rscott6666

Originally posted by biofellis



To the 'There is no dumbing down' crowd.

I don't know how it is you can't look at ANY game and not see it. Just look at the interface-

I just moved to San Antonio, and when I walk the streets; 

  • I don't have an interactive GPS and compass, with highlights hot-indexed to whatever I want so I don't get lost and can find what I need.
  • Any person that walks by does not have their name, political affiliation, or current state of mind indicated. 
  • People don't con or indicate current health by some device- so if I were a medical professional- I couldn't help.
  • People who need things that I might be able to help with don't light up.
  • My phone doesn't auto update with a potential job/schedule. I have to set it myself/remember to go.
  • Items I pick up don't don't have relevant stats listed I can trust (except, to a degree, in the grocery)

Thats par for the course for RPGS.  The whole point is that even if you don't live in the world 24/7, your character does.  They have knowledge you don't, and you should be able to draw on it.  This has been done in PnP for 25ish years.  You should have complained about the dumbing down in the 80's when all of this started.  LIsting these as dumbing down misses the boat wildly.

Actually, this is backwards.  It is not a case that the character has knowledge we do not, we have knowledge that neither they nor us should have.  Some of it may be applicable in modern, near future, or futuristic games; but explain the game mechanics in a fantasy game in regard to satellites triangulating our position, eh?  His post was one of the best posts about how it is pretty hard to buy into the illusion and suspend our disbelief.

I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  Palebane

Novice Member

Joined: 10/18/04
Posts: 3247

3/29/10 8:26:10 PM#173

It can mean anything you want it to, basically. Just like "hardcore", "casual", "carebear", "sandbox", "rpg", "fps", "success", etc.

Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  Cecropia

Gumshoe

Joined: 3/06/09
Posts: 3251

Poacher killer.

3/29/10 8:41:16 PM#174
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

I'll take your word for it because I haven't done either and so have no knowledge of them.  But I do understand mechanics and applied forces and from my point of view (a complete novice) I can understand the tall ship way easier than the modern frigate.  With some basic understanding of the computer system I'd probably think differently but right now it's easier to see how the tall ship works because I can literally see a response for each action, whereas on the frigate I flick a switch and trust the engineer that designed it.

Venge Sunsoar

Hmmm, considering your RL skills you'd probably be a lot of fun to teach with regards to Tall ships.

After thinking about this more carefully, I think the term "dumbed-down" is far too derogatory and inflammatory, it's just insulting really. When I'm on my boat I've never thought to myself "man this is nothing compared to that Tall ship, what a fracking joke, screw this! Anybody want a nice Chris Craft?"

Sure one is much easier to get used to (in my experience), but they're just so different. I guess what I'm saying is I don't look down on anyone who can only operate a modern vessel as opposed to one from the past. How foolish would that be. But nonetheless it is interesting to note the difference in the "learning curve" with respect to both technologies.

"Chuck's a good fighter but he's a UFC fighter... this is Pride." - Quinton Rampage Jackson
"Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  olepi

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 975

3/29/10 8:58:10 PM#175
Originally posted by Cecropia

Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

I'll take your word for it because I haven't done either and so have no knowledge of them.  But I do understand mechanics and applied forces and from my point of view (a complete novice) I can understand the tall ship way easier than the modern frigate.  With some basic understanding of the computer system I'd probably think differently but right now it's easier to see how the tall ship works because I can literally see a response for each action, whereas on the frigate I flick a switch and trust the engineer that designed it.

Venge Sunsoar

Hmmm, considering your RL skills you'd probably be a lot of fun to teach with regards to Tall ships.

After thinking about this more carefully, I think the term "dumbed-down" is far too derogatory and inflammatory, it's just insulting really. When I'm on my boat I've never thought to myself "man this is nothing compared to that Tall ship, what a fracking joke, screw this! Anybody want a nice Chris Craft?"

Sure one is much easier to get used to (in my experience), but they're just so different. I guess what I'm saying is I don't look down on anyone who can only operate a modern vessel as opposed to one from the past. How foolish would that be. But nonetheless it is interesting to note the difference in the "learning curve" with respect to both technologies.

Hmm, as a sailor myself, this is interesting :) I sail in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Texas coast.

The old method was "deduced reckoning", shortened to "dead reckoning", and that required a map, a compass, and thought. You had to actually pay attention and plot your route, taking into account tides, wind, current, etc.

"dumbed down" would be the modern chart plotter, with GPS, and auto-steering. Just point and click LOL.

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

  Cecropia

Gumshoe

Joined: 3/06/09
Posts: 3251

Poacher killer.

3/29/10 9:28:40 PM#176
Originally posted by olepi
Originally posted by Cecropia

Hmmm, considering your RL skills you'd probably be a lot of fun to teach with regards to Tall ships.

After thinking about this more carefully, I think the term "dumbed-down" is far too derogatory and inflammatory, it's just insulting really. When I'm on my boat I've never thought to myself "man this is nothing compared to that Tall ship, what a fracking joke, screw this! Anybody want a nice Chris Craft?"

Sure one is much easier to get used to (in my experience), but they're just so different. I guess what I'm saying is I don't look down on anyone who can only operate a modern vessel as opposed to one from the past. How foolish would that be. But nonetheless it is interesting to note the difference in the "learning curve" with respect to both technologies.

Hmm, as a sailor myself, this is interesting :) I sail in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Texas coast.

The old method was "deduced reckoning", shortened to "dead reckoning", and that required a map, a compass, and thought. You had to actually pay attention and plot your route, taking into account tides, wind, current, etc.

"dumbed down" would be the modern chart plotter, with GPS, and auto-steering. Just point and click LOL.

Well I'm glad I'm not the only one, and the point and click remark was bloody marvelous.

When I started reading this thread, the comparison of the two types of ships with MMO's that are "dumbed-down" or simplified, seemed to make so much sense to me.

No kidding about the paying more attention part; let's just say the Hull damage that I had to repair on my Chris' Bow 4 years ago wasn't exactly some freak accident. When you're sailing on a big ship and at the wheel, you most likely wouldn't be in the galley making a snack while heading directly for a shoal. I was lucky to have been quick enough to only sustain minor damage. Sometimes you can get too relaxed on these modern boats. Same goes for these games.

"Chuck's a good fighter but he's a UFC fighter... this is Pride." - Quinton Rampage Jackson
"Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  rscott6666

Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/03
Posts: 192

3/29/10 9:47:09 PM#177
Originally posted by VirusDancer

Originally posted by rscott6666

Originally posted by biofellis



To the 'There is no dumbing down' crowd.

I don't know how it is you can't look at ANY game and not see it. Just look at the interface-

I just moved to San Antonio, and when I walk the streets; 

  • I don't have an interactive GPS and compass, with highlights hot-indexed to whatever I want so I don't get lost and can find what I need.
  • Any person that walks by does not have their name, political affiliation, or current state of mind indicated. 
  • People don't con or indicate current health by some device- so if I were a medical professional- I couldn't help.
  • People who need things that I might be able to help with don't light up.
  • My phone doesn't auto update with a potential job/schedule. I have to set it myself/remember to go.
  • Items I pick up don't don't have relevant stats listed I can trust (except, to a degree, in the grocery)

Thats par for the course for RPGS.  The whole point is that even if you don't live in the world 24/7, your character does.  They have knowledge you don't, and you should be able to draw on it.  This has been done in PnP for 25ish years.  You should have complained about the dumbing down in the 80's when all of this started.  LIsting these as dumbing down misses the boat wildly.

Actually, this is backwards.  It is not a case that the character has knowledge we do not, we have knowledge that neither they nor us should have.  Some of it may be applicable in modern, near future, or futuristic games; but explain the game mechanics in a fantasy game in regard to satellites triangulating our position, eh?  His post was one of the best posts about how it is pretty hard to buy into the illusion and suspend our disbelief.

Its not backwards.  The characters do indeed have knowledge the players don't.  You don't have to like it.  But its true.  Its always
 been the case you could ask the GM if the character would know something that the player didn't.  This explains almost all of his list.  And in RPGs, you would just say, "we visit the healer.".  That is how its done.  These days, you actually have to run around looking for the healer.  Things are tougher now than they traditionally were.

Of course, it is ALSO true that we have knowledge the character probably lacks, basic math, counting, computers, earth history, tv shows...  None of which applies to the game of course. 

The bottom line is that our extra knowledge is mostly useless, and the characters extra knowledge is useful.

Theres also the case where the characters eyesight could reasonably have a 160 degree view, whereas we have a 60 degree view due to the monitor size.  But most people ignore that.  And ignore the hearing differences, and smell, and touch...

The character more than likely knows mores about the world than we do.  Now, need it be displayed like a radar? *shrug*, i don't know.  No matter how you do it, there could be some innaccuracy.  But to treat his post like its anything other than ignorance is wrong.

  happyiksar

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/17/09
Posts: 127

3/29/10 10:37:07 PM#178

Dumbed down ->

Map with player cursor

Map with quest locations highlighted

Raids that are too easy

PvE that relies on clicking addons repeatedly

WoW

etc.

  Lazerou

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/09/10
Posts: 202

3/29/10 11:01:03 PM#179
Originally posted by Cecropia

Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

I'll take your word for it because I haven't done either and so have no knowledge of them. But I do understand mechanics and applied forces and from my point of view (a complete novice) I can understand the tall ship way easier than the modern frigate. With some basic understanding of the computer system I'd probably think differently but right now it's easier to see how the tall ship works because I can literally see a response for each action, whereas on the frigate I flick a switch and trust the engineer that designed it.

Venge Sunsoar

Hmmm, considering your RL skills you'd probably be a lot of fun to teach with regards to Tall ships.

After thinking about this more carefully, I think the term "dumbed-down" is far too derogatory and inflammatory, it's just insulting really. When I'm on my boat I've never thought to myself "man this is nothing compared to that Tall ship, what a fracking joke, screw this! Anybody want a nice Chris Craft?"

Sure one is much easier to get used to (in my experience), but they're just so different. I guess what I'm saying is I don't look down on anyone who can only operate a modern vessel as opposed to one from the past. How foolish would that be. But nonetheless it is interesting to note the difference in the "learning curve" with respect to both technologies.

But in your analogy I don't think you are taking into account the differences of abilities of the different craft. Todays boats, planes, cars all move at much faster speeds and are required to do a hell of a lot more than the early models. Try sailing a tall ship at the speeds and maneuvers that modern day frigates can achieve and I think sailing a tall ship would be much harder (for that matter try driving a Model T at the speeds a car today can achieve). The increases in technology, having technology do much of the tedious work for us has allowed modern versions of all vehicles to perform far better than anything in the past.

You ignored my plane analogy and I think it fits pretty well. With very minimal training you could probably fly an old tigermoth, you could not do the same with a modern jet. Technology exists to make hard tasks easier. It is called progress. I don't think the astronauts who fly the space shuttle hark back to the good old days of Apollo controls or that they feel that a space shuttle is "dumbed down".

Am I making any sense, I don't know. I think I threw a few too many things in there :)

  biofellis

Novice Member

Joined: 1/13/05
Posts: 528

Building Worlds...
Rebuilding Reality.

3/30/10 12:28:49 AM#180

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