Sunday, August 15, 2010

Torchlight - Return of the ghost run

No, not the name of a sequel. It's pretty much looking at something which seems even to be embedded in the upcoming and ground breaking guild wars two.

It's that when you 'die', you pay a bit of money, then go for a jog.

Granted Torchlight has an option to respawn on the spot, but the cost in experience and fame is a mighty one - it seems quite the non optimal path to take.

So instead you pay some gold and get sent back to the start of the level.

Why? Why this jog? Essentially the same as the wow ghost run? And is repeated in guildwars two from what I understand of their death penalty

If no one revives you, you can spend a small amount of gold to come back at a waypoint.
Why? Why send the player back to a waypoint - because it doesn't feel like death if you don't do a little light jogging?

I mean, I get it in a classic like ghosts and goblins - you die, you get sent back and every single monster has returned! This basically means you have to complete the challenge as is.

But in Torchlight and I'm fairly certain in guild wars two, the enemies will still be dead. Your jogging through empty space?

What is that? Is it like trying to apply the notion you can have challenge without risk, but unable to face the fact there would be no challenge if the player just respawned on the spot, there's this lame jog inserted instead?

Quoting the guild wars 2 site again
Death penalties make death in-game a more tense experience. It just isn't fun. We want to get you back into the action (fun) as quickly as possible. Defeat is the penalty; we don't have to penalize you a second time.
Get back into the action as soon as possible? They make it sound like they are putting a genuine effort into that, yet anyone even fainty familiar with coding knows they could have you put back into the 'action' instantly. Your health would drop to zero, then instead of being sent back to a stupid waypoint, the code would simply pop your health back up to full.

And doing that would make the whole 'action' not action at all.

The fact is, losing is supposed to be less fun than winning - it's supposed to be a training programming that rewards those who train themselves to win. It's how your genes are wired - like the lion cub attempts to pounce on his sibling, so as to better learn the eventual real hunt, this is about learning something where passing at it is more fun than failing at it. It's the less fun result that makes the more fun result more fun. Sorry, it is - otherwise everythings a stupid harmoginised themepark experience.

So they plug in this stupid run - which is further counter intuitive to the natural instinct - the further you got/the better you did, the more you have to run! It should be the other way around - die right near the start, have the longest, pointless jog time. Die near the end, the shortest.

Get players back to the action as soon as possible! Bollocks! This stupid waypoint run is their 'make losing less fun' method. And far from being ASAP, it's a big real life time waster!

Defeat isn't a penalty. Something being less fun is a penalty. Yeah, your death jog makes it less fun. But it both goes against your 'get back into the action as soon as possible' goal (or just makes a liar of you on your promise it's ASAP), and it's counter intuitive as the better you do, the more you'll have a less fun time!

Punishment isn't part of challenge! 

Sorry, punishment, as in having less fun if you lose, is an integral part of challenge. It can't exist without it. The fact is every time someone tries to pretend to themselves punishment/less fun for losing isn't part of challenge, they end up making a lame death jog. Because they can't honestly face the fact is if when the lose condition supposedly happens and...nothing happens, then nothing has happened at all. No challenge, nothing.

If it's hard to imagine, or you don't want to imagine, just play this demonstration of it

Really if you don't believe it, give an example when something doesn't involve challenge at all. Surely that'd be easy enough? I really think this is driven by classic confirmation bias, where people just try to grasp for evidence they are correct that you don't need punishment/less fun for losing, to have challenge. And they put zero effort into trying to disprove their own theory.

Attempt to disprove my own theory!? Nay, that's someone elses job!

Except if you are wrong, and no one else bothers to try and do this job of correcting you, well, I deleted my comment on this. Probably too serious sounding.

Anyway, I have had someone say the above once.

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