Originally Posted by i_hax
Well, a game is only as difficult as your opponent, but I would certainly argue many modern games are dumbed down to appeal to a wider audience.
And I would argue that's a lazy assessment of modern games. Some games certainly are easier, but the difficulty of old games wasn't always by design, it was often by limitation. Poor controls, poor interface, poor programming, all of these contribute to what people refer to as "dumbed down" modern games.
The best example is Starcraft to Starcraft 2. When 2 was announced and went into beta, there was major rage at the "dumbed down" control system. Multiple building select? Unlimited unit select?! THE HERESY! But things like the 12-unit control group limit was an artificial limitation of the engine in Starcraft. I would be quite willing to bet that the designers would have ended up with more selectable units if they had suitable ways of implementing it. Want proof? Look at the unit selection cap in the progression of Blizzard RTS games: Warcraft 1 was 4, Warcraft 2 was 9, Starcraft was 12. And, then, they realized that 1-a-click-2-a-click-3-a-click was cruddy design, and did away with it entirely in Starcraft 2.
Did that make the game easier? Yes. Could you describe it as being "dumbed down" relative to original Starcraft? Eh, I guess. But was it really
critical to the game experience, or was it just a hurdle that interfered with the game experience? Sure, the top players still managed to jump over it anyway, but did they succeed because it added strategic or tactical depth that only they could exploit or did their strategy and tactics succeed despite the limitation?
Yes, it's a choice to make games difficult or easy. One of the most important choices in game design, at that. And while games like Dark Souls go one way, plenty of others go to the opposite end.
But, critically, let us not confuse the difference between the skill ceiling that the best player in the world might or might not hit, and the skill floor required to play the game and have fun. Starcraft 2 has a much lower "you must be this skilled to have fun" level than Starcraft, and that's a good thing. If that's what you want to call "dumbing down" the game, so that the unwashed masses can play it and still have a good time, then sure. Blizzard is king in that regard, in all of the genres it touches, and Overwatch certainly has reduced that minimum threshold compared to things like Q3A.
But to then claim that the skill ceiling
is reduced, simply because the skill floor to have fun got reduced? No, that doesn't necessarily follow. You'll have to prove that separately, and step one should be demonstrating that you've actually hit the cap you're complaining is too low. By all means, go win the easy money that the "low skill" games you just are way, way too sophisticated for are throwing away to those worthless scrubs who win their tournaments, and then come back and argue your point.
Quake and Overwatch are very different FPS. The style of gameplay is completely different, and I for one enjoy them both. It will be nice to have a Q3A/UT style game, with modern design and utilizing modern hardware. I think it's justified to be disappointed that Quake Champions appears to not be that game, based on the design choices it is making.
But don't for a second complain that a champion having a button that isn't "shoot gun" means the game is dumbed down, or low skill, or whatever. High level Q3A was a masterpiece of positioning and aiming, and that can still be maintained even with abilities. To prove it, I'd go with an example from Overwatch. I'd challenge anyone to say that a properly played Genji doesn't require the same level of situational awareness, technical skill, aiming accuracy, and reactions that Q3A does. That level of play can still be replicated no matter what the design is, or what the abilities do. It remains to be seen whether Quake Champions will pull it off.Edited by Mand12 - 8/8/16 at 2:28pm