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#1 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

The more I see press and developer and publisher folk playing in live streams and such, the more obvious it is to me that very few of them ever were truely ballsdeep into a game - which would include theorycrafting and tackling content at a skill level, where depending on genre, every frame, every second, every other player in the group, every minute detail counts.

I did my 'apprenticeship' of gaming obsession with over a year of playtime on World of Warcraft, with a large amount of that time spent in a high-end raiding environment competing for server first kills. That included stuying my class mechanics and optimizing every aspect of my gameplay for maximum performance, reading up about boss encounters, formulating and discussing tactics, extensive preparations and a deeper understanding of all underlying gameplay mechanics - generally a lot of reading and learning, as well as learning to execute upon all of it.

There's quite a few forum users who have gathered similar experiences and skillsets, which is apparent in their posts. What's irksome though is how seldom I see the same eye for mechanics and inner workings of games in reviewers, game designers and publisher folk. How come do players appear to be more passionate about games than professionals? Seems extremely wierd to me. Guess that's because we'd rather play games than make them or write about them or market them.

Do you guys agree upon my thesis? Do people who have been going off the deep-end for a game like World of Warcraft or Street Fighter or Star Craft or Call of Duty truely make for better overall gamers? Does theorycrafting and obsessing over minute details of one game make for more capable players overall? Better suited to see through any game's mechanics and understand them on a more fundamental level? Because I sure believe that to be true.

#2 Posted by CaLe (4052 posts) -

What I think is that you have become overly invested in a game, something which most reviewers do not have the time for, nor should they. Your expectations are not only unrealistic but also naïve. 

#3 Posted by Doctorchimp (4055 posts) -

Is your thesis that a person who is obsessed with a certain game and devotes a large amount of time to it will be better at it?

Really provocative stuff man...who would have thought...

@Seppli said:

There's quite a few forum users who have gathered similar experiences and skillsets, which is apparent in their posts. What's irksome though is how seldom I see the same eye for mechanics and inner workings of games in reviewers, game designers and publisher folk. How come are there many more passionate players than professionals? Seems extremely wierd to me.

Are you kidding me?

Because these people are so stuck on one game they can't get their shit together to branch out....

And that's how it is for everything, a lot of fans who fancies themselves creators but only a few ones that actually have the chops to think and design the next big thing.

#4 Posted by Mirado (1054 posts) -

@Seppli: Reviewers? Perhaps, but if the writing isn't interesting or eloquent then I''m not sure a deep analysis is going to be worth reading. When you think about it, reviews are marketed towards the masses; those who are willing to dig as deeply as possible into a game often times will have their minds made up long before, and as such a technical discussion isn't going to hit the people that it would really benefit. A review done by a theorycrafter would most likely read like a technical manual; informative, but dry and confusing to the layperson. Then again, I put very little credence in reviews, so perhaps I'm biased.

Players? Sure. After all, a deeper understanding of what you are playing is always going to be an advantage. Even in twitch based games, knowing how far to lead a target to deal with lag compensation or understanding the difference in spread between weapons should give you a (small) tangible advantage.

But as designers? No. The people who really understand the mechanics of their games, i.e. the ones who are building the AI, implementing the features (the low level programmers, not the leads), and designing the content are not the ones who are the public faces of the game. After all, those mechanics wouldn't be nearly as deep (and as such a joy to theorycraft) if someone didn't design them that way. Hell, I'd argue that the designers are the original theorycrafters.

But when you try to pull those kinds of people (outside of the rare ones like Carmack who went on to become a big name), you get a Deadmund's Quest effect. As such, the people you see as the public faces are part PR and part designer, and know that delving into the mechanics is a great way to please the crowd you already have and lose the rest you are trying to get.

#5 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Doctorchimp:

If you look at strong multiplayer games, the core science of any of them is applicable to any other of them. Like if you're ballsdeep into Street Fighter, counting frames, learning weaknesses and strenghts of characters, min-maxing. What to use when and how - and most importantly why. All of that is applicable in a very real way to RTS games, MMORPG games, MOBA games, FPS games and vice versa.

If you never learn to see that deep into one game, you'll be slower at learning to play any game properly and you'll be unable to recognize the intentions and depth of mechanics and be locked out of true mastery from the get-go. I'll never be a Street Fighter master myself, but I can see and understand what high level play is about much more easily, because I've played World of Warcraft at a similar level of depth perception.

Is it wrong to expect game industry professionals to develop an eye for game mechanical depth and the importance of minute details?

#6 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

The skill of theorycrafting is very important, but it can be obtained in other ways. I believe (and most people in the industry seem to take this stance) that you are much better off playing a wide variety of games. If you only ever play WoW then you are going to have difficulty developing applications for your theorycrafting knowledge that don't fit that very specific mold. Also, keep in mind that most players don't do that and won't ever see the level of detail that you are putting into your design.

#7 Posted by Kidavenger (3628 posts) -

Could you give us an example of a tactic that you developed in World of Warcraft?

#8 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Mirado said:

@Seppli: Reviewers? Perhaps, but if the writing isn't interesting or eloquent then I''m not sure a deep analysis is going to be worth reading. When you think about it, reviews are marketed towards the masses; those who are willing to dig as deeply as possible into a game often times will have their minds made up long before, and as such a technical discussion isn't going to hit the people that it would really benefit. A review done by a theorycrafter would most likely read like a technical manual; informative, but dry and confusing to the layperson. Then again, I put very little credence in reviews, so perhaps I'm biased.

Players? Sure. After all, a deeper understanding of what you are playing is always going to be an advantage. Even in twitch based games, knowing how far to lead a target to deal with lag compensation or understanding the difference in spread between weapons should give you a (small) tangible advantage.

But as designers? No. The people who really understand the mechanics of their games, i.e. the ones who are building the AI, implementing the features (the low level programmers, not the leads), and designing the content are not the ones who are the public faces of the game. After all, those mechanics wouldn't be nearly as deep (and as such a joy to theorycraft) if someone didn't design them that way. Hell, I'd argue that the designers are the original theorycrafters.

But when you try to pull those kinds of people (outside of the rare ones like Carmack who went on to become a big name), you get a Deadmund's Quest effect. As such, the people you see as the public faces are part PR and part designer, and know that delving into the mechanics is a great way to please the crowd you already have and lose the rest you are trying to get.

Sure, the distinguished gameplay designers of highly regarded and deep and balanced games are the original theorycrafters and their shit is out in the open for everyone to study and understand. Dedicated theorycrafters unearth the math and hard data and compile it into easily consumable graphs and whatnot. There's endless discussions of mechanics and balancing on fan forums going on for pages and pages. So much food for thought and education.

With all this information and trains of thought openly available - how then do you explain all the bad, bad games that come out? Games which simply fail at delivering satisfying mechanics? How do explain much of the enthusiast press which most often does get lots of details wrong, and when they show off gameplay, very seldomly do I see a great gameplay performance - usually it's the most shallow possible way of playing the game? If they'd have an eye for inner workings, for the thoughts of the gamedesigners, of how things were designed to work, they'd be way more efficient at reviewing games and much more confident in their opinions and arguments.

#9 Posted by dbol (92 posts) -

Those who invest their time in one game ultimately become better at them than those who don't.

Groundbreaking stuff.

#10 Posted by Hunkulese (2876 posts) -

@Seppli said:

I'll never be a Street Fighter master myself, but I can see and understand what high level play is about much more easily, because I've played World of Warcraft at a similar level of depth perception.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Wow has a similar level of depth? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

#11 Posted by cstrang (2381 posts) -

@CaLe said:

What I think is that you have become overly invested in a game, something which most reviewers do not have the time for, nor should they. Your expectations are not only unrealistic but also naïve.
#12 Edited by phish09 (1110 posts) -

@Seppli said:

TAre people who have been going off the deep-end for a game like World of Warcraft or Street Fighter or Star Craft or Call of Duty truely better gamers?

LOL No. If you only play one game you basically suck as a gamer. You would be the absolute worst kind of gamer in my mind...see, gamers are people who enjoy playing gameS. See the S at the end there. GameS...those are great. That's like a person watching the Godfather over and over and over and saying that they would be great at making films, or that they are better at watching movies than other people, even though the only movie they have ever seen is the Godfather...or at least that is the only movie that they are really into. No..it takes a hell of a lot more to be able to make games than just having the skills to be good at one game, or even having the skills to be good at multiple games. Hell, Miyamoto was not a gamer before he designed what is essentially the quintessential video game (and then another couple dozen of them too).

#13 Posted by Fobwashed (2228 posts) -

Designers are not some God like deity that can know and control everything. They have limited time to put together mechanics, and limited play testing available to determine how well those mechanics work. Make changes, test, make changes, test. Nobody can from the outset determine how many frames a certain attack should have compared to all other attacks and their frame counts.

Not even huge companies with as much time as they want can get things right out the gate. Once the game is in the wild, and more people who aren't being paid to play/test dig into a game, devs can get that data and further refine or improve a game through patches and whatnot. Also, for everyone one person that finds something in a good game that is imbalanced, there are 20 others who claim something is imbalanced when they just aren't doing it right -_-;; The more complicated a game becomes with various systems that work with and against each other, the harder it will be to predict the outcome of every single thing that can happen. Aside from spending an insane amount of money to playtest a game, it's better to release a game that is as good as money/time allows, and hopefully be able to patch anything that breaks the game or is really game breaking.

Consider how many hours may have been spent building and designing a game's mechanics, and then consider how many hours are collectively spent playing that game. If a game is really popular, I think it's safe to assume the time played will far exceed the time spent to create the mechanics.

#14 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

Could you give us an example of a tactic that you developed in World of Warcraft?

You learn the math of the game, if you are serious about min/maxing. When engaged in a high-end PvE raid enterprise, it's usuallly a competitive and very performance-oriented environment. You are expected to do your best with many benchmarks available to judge your performance, or you'll lose your raid group spot to a better competitor.

In the pursuit of becoming your best, you learn about the inner workings of Blizzard's design, and over the passage of time you'll see it shift infront of your eyes and you learn what and why.

That's how you develop an eye for how game mechanics work and why. It's the same for Street Fighter or Starcraft or Counterstrike - whatever game you end up taking that seriously - you'll care about the science of the game in your pursuit of becoming your best. That's what I'm talking about.

#15 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@dbol said:

Those who invest their time in one game ultimately become better at them than those who don't.

Groundbreaking stuff.

The thesis is that the lessons learned from obsessing over one game's mechanics are broadly applicable - making theorycrafters better overall players, reviewers and game designers.

#16 Posted by AlisterCat (5721 posts) -

@cstrang said:

@CaLe said:

What I think is that you have become overly invested in a game, something which most reviewers do not have the time for, nor should they. Your expectations are not only unrealistic but also naïve.
#17 Edited by Mirado (1054 posts) -

@Seppli: How do bad games come out? It's simple: problems. Maybe the publisher and developer wind up at odds. Maybe the budget runs low/out and people have to be cut. Maybe the release date starts looming over their heads. Maybe some other product flops and now this game has to come out ASAP to get some cash flow. In a perfect world, every game would be deep and satisfying. But when you sell a license to, say, a super hero game, you know that the name alone is going to move the copies and the mechanics aren't going to count for shit. When you're building a fighting game and all of a sudden the timetable for release is moved up, or the talent is transferred to some other internal project, what can you do?

As for the reviewers, it's a case of not having enough time (you can't sink the 100+ hours needed into each game), and not having enough staff. IGN (which I would consider to be an atypically big gaming site) has roughly 10 reviewers total across all platforms. You can't have each one do what you require; from a workload standpoint, it's impossible, and it doesn't make much sense from a business standpoint either (if you spent twice the time on reviews, would it bring in twice the traffic? I don't think so.) And that's a big site like IGN! GB has what, six reviewers? I'd bet each site would love to have a fighting game guy, and a MMO guy, and a shooter guy, each capable of theorycrafting a game and really delving into it. But a) how many of those people can write to a mass audience, and b) how much more traffic would that really generate?

Last time I checked, a review site didn't live or die by how well executed it's gameplay footage is. Most people are happy just seeing an new game, and that's the crowd you want to please: most people. Your average person doesn't care about seeing the absolute best performance on a game.

For advertising, each person counts for the same. Expending 50% more effort to bring in 10% more traffic makes no sense.

#18 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Hunkulese said:

@Seppli said:

I'll never be a Street Fighter master myself, but I can see and understand what high level play is about much more easily, because I've played World of Warcraft at a similar level of depth perception.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Wow has a similar level of depth? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Certainly not in skill of execution. We are not talking execution though. We are talking game design and mechanics. Few games are better suited for theorycrafting than MMORPGs. In terms of science/theorycrafting Street Fighter has 'counting frames', distinguishing between wind-up frames, invulnerable frames, connecting frames and so forth (not sure if I'm using the correct terms when it comes to fighting games, but I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm trying to say) and damage charts and what not. There's very similar aspects to theorycrafting for MMORPGs and lessons learned are applicable for either genre.

The thesis being that the general knowledge gained by 'theorycrafting' is much more broadly applicable than just that specific game. Making theorycrafters better gamers overall.

Way to be a douche btw.

#19 Edited by LitterAlley (17 posts) -

I agree that most games out there are crap! Not to take the side of developers but I've found when working on a project it's easy to lose perspective. I haven't done a lot of artistic stuff but when I have it may seem like the greatest thing on earth at first. Later I come back to tweak it and make it better. After a while i find it's difficult for it to be fresh in my mind.

My best ideas have always come in flashes of inspiration - almost as fully realized concepts.

I think a major problem with game developers is you don't always get to work on a project that excites you. I have a friend who work for Zygna. He's very passionate about his work, but i don't think he'd ever play their games.

So to sum up, yes i think when you making a game you should hire people who have intense passion about the genre they're working with.

#20 Posted by Kidavenger (3628 posts) -

@Seppli said:

@Kidavenger said:

Could you give us an example of a tactic that you developed in World of Warcraft?

You learn the math of the game, if you are serious about min/maxing. When engaged in a high-end PvE raid enterprise, it's usuallly a competitive and very performance-oriented environment. You are expected to do your best with many benchmarks available to judge your performance.

In the pursuit of becoming your best, you learn about the inner workings of Blizzard's design, and over the passage of time you'll see it shift infront of your eyes and you learn what and why.

That's how you develop an eye for how game mechanics work and why. It's the same for Street Fighter or Starcraft or Counterstrike - you'll care about the sience of the game in your pursuit to become your best. That's what I'm talking about.

Did you actually develop a tactic though, I did and it took my raid team from wiping on Lich King for 6 weeks to killing him in one shot, if you are just talking about reading theory and applying it to what you are doing in the game, everyone does that.

As far as reviewers/developers not being passionate about what they are doing (theorycrafting is passion), they do, Think about Jeff Gertsmann and Blitz/Trackmania2/Mortal Kombat or Brad Shoemaker and Star Craft 2 there is a limit to how much you can be passionate about it, happens to everyone periodically, nobody is passionate about everything they do. You don't think that the Doublefine guys were passionate about their stuff on TNT yesterday? Or Blizzard and Valve delivering balanced multiplayer games for years? Balancing a game is a lot harder than theorycrafting it. Sure there are also a lot of slobs out there, and a lot of them are playing World of Warcraft.

#21 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Mirado:

It should be a point of professional pride to be your best. Unless you've been into theorycrafting, you'll never 'get games' as much as somebody who has spent a lot of thought on a specific game's mechanics.

Maybe not everybody is capable of 'cross-thinking', but theorycrafting on different videogames and genres is for the most parts interchangeable. At least that's the base of the thesis.

#22 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@AlisterCat said:

@cstrang said:

@CaLe said:

What I think is that you have become overly invested in a game, something which most reviewers do not have the time for, nor should they. Your expectations are not only unrealistic but also naïve.
#23 Posted by Fobwashed (2228 posts) -

@Seppli said:

@Kidavenger said:

Could you give us an example of a tactic that you developed in World of Warcraft?

You learn the math of the game, if you are serious about min/maxing. When engaged in a high-end PvE raid enterprise, it's usuallly a competitive and very performance-oriented environment. You are expected to do your best with many benchmarks available to judge your performance, or you'll lose your raid group spot to a better competitor.

In the pursuit of becoming your best, you learn about the inner workings of Blizzard's design, and over the passage of time you'll see it shift infront of your eyes and you learn what and why.

That's how you develop an eye for how game mechanics work and why. It's the same for Street Fighter or Starcraft or Counterstrike - you'll care about the sience of the game in your pursuit to become your best. That's what I'm talking about.

Those high end benchmarks for WoW are specific to WoW and its mechanics. It cannot be directly transferred to a different game unless Blizzard themselves are doing it because that source code isn't shared information. Being as hardcore as you are, could you sit down and even recreate the combat system that is in WoW? Maybe. . . but only with the accumulated knowledge of countless hours into deconstructing it. Also, if you're making a game, unless you want to just copy WoW with a different set of paint, it's not what you're going to do. You're going to make what your team can make with the time/money you have. I guess the collective efforts of however many theorists breaking down an existing system could get together and theorize an awesome game but even when that was released, some other group of people would still be able to refine it. A game is never done and can always be made better.

"Are people who have been going off the deep-end for a game like World of Warcraft or Street Fighter or Star Craft or Call of Duty truely better gamers?"

They aren't better gamers, they are better at the specific game they are obsessing over.

"Does theorycrafting and obsessing over minute details make for more capable players overall and way better suited to see through a game's mechanics and understand it on a more fundamental level?"

Yes, they prolly see the mechanics better than someone who just plays the game and moves on.

Are those people better reviewers? Maybe. Depending on the quality of their writing. But you also have to take into account that a large portion of the audience that plays those games may not be as into it as the obsessed reviewer and so they won't care about the minute details in the 20 page review that comprehensively covers everything. For instance, I prefer watching a Quicklook to determine whether or not I'll be making a game purchase over reading any review.

Are those people better designers? No. They may be excellent at designing a copy of an existing game but I think designers are meant to create, not make replicas. Anyone could count frames, record hitboxes and swap the art out of Street Fighter and make Street Fighter given enough time. But that doesn't qualify that same person to make a new game. They may be able to transfer the knowledge in other ways, but even then, they'd have to playtest the game to see if and how well things work. Eventually it will have to release at which point, players will find flaws and better ways to improve your existing game.

#24 Posted by Commisar123 (1798 posts) -

Designers? Sure, its nice to know that people who are designing games have passion for their specific genre. Reviewers? Not so much. I think at the least a reviewer should recognize that not everyone who will play a game is as motivated as the reviewer may or may not be. Ideally, you should read reviews by people who love the genre, hate the genre, have no experience with it, and someone who is in the middle of all three. Not being able to dissect every aspect of a game does not invalidate a reviewer's opinion, and in some ways I think actually makes it more valuable.

#25 Edited by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

because sometimes that cant forsee everything that game mechanics do or cause plus gamers to fined ways to exploit like the plague they had in wow that spread around like a real world virus and killed scores of low level players because blizzard didnt forsee that happening

and press like reviewer and stuff just report on the game thats it i dont expect them to have initimate knowlege just enought to be informed. although it does irk me when people who have never played a moba game give it a low score yes theres a learning cureve but once you get past it, its one of the best game genres out there

#26 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

@Seppli said:

@Kidavenger said:

Could you give us an example of a tactic that you developed in World of Warcraft?

You learn the math of the game, if you are serious about min/maxing. When engaged in a high-end PvE raid enterprise, it's usuallly a competitive and very performance-oriented environment. You are expected to do your best with many benchmarks available to judge your performance.

In the pursuit of becoming your best, you learn about the inner workings of Blizzard's design, and over the passage of time you'll see it shift infront of your eyes and you learn what and why.

That's how you develop an eye for how game mechanics work and why. It's the same for Street Fighter or Starcraft or Counterstrike - you'll care about the sience of the game in your pursuit to become your best. That's what I'm talking about.

Did you actually develop a tactic though, I did and it took my raid team from wiping on Lich King for 6 weeks to killing him in one shot, if you are just talking about reading theory and applying it to what you are doing in the game, everyone does that.

As far as reviewers/developers not being passionate about what they are doing (theorycrafting is passion), they do, Think about Jeff Gertsmann and Blitz/Trackmania2/Mortal Kombat or Brad Shoemaker and Star Craft 2 there is a limit to how much you can be passionate about it, happens to everyone periodically, nobody is passionate about everything they do. You don't think that the Doublefine guys were passionate about their stuff on TNT yesterday? Or Blizzard and Valve delivering balanced multiplayer games for years? Balancing a game is a lot harder than theorycrafting it. Sure there are also a lot of slobs out there, and a lot of them are playing World of Warcraft.

I've been instrumental to many a boss kill, having been a vocal player giving critical input, when tactics haven't been available or existing tactics didn't work out for my raid's setup.

#27 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@spartanlolz92 said:

lol developers are the one who made the game and are the ones who patch it

believe me they know obviously if its an artist maybe he doesnt it just depends on who you pick out of the development team

and press like reviewer and stuff just report on the game thats it i dont expect them to have initimate knowlege just enought o informed. although it does irk me when people who have never played a moba game give it a low score yes theres a learning cureve but once you get past it, its one of the best game genres out there

You sound as if you're certain that every working gamedesigner has been a theorycrafter beforehand, which is certainly more and more the case with the industry maturing and stuff like this being thought at schools. Certainly not everybody, thoughtless design was once a quite common occurrence and still is to be found quite often, though these days it's usually about details.

The enthusiast press however? Most would benefit a lot by an unhealthy game obession. I'm sure Brad's StarCraft 2 obsession helps him in becoming a better game reviewer overall. Certainly for RTS games, though much of his learnings should be applicable across the board. At least if my thesis is correct.

#28 Posted by Hunkulese (2876 posts) -

@Seppli said:

@Hunkulese said:

@Seppli said:

I'll never be a Street Fighter master myself, but I can see and understand what high level play is about much more easily, because I've played World of Warcraft at a similar level of depth perception.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Wow has a similar level of depth? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Certainly not in skill of execution. We are not talking execution though. We are talking game design and mechanics. Few games are better suited for theorycrafting than MMORPGs. In terms of science/theorycrafting Street Fighter has 'counting frames', distinguishing between wind-up frames, invulnerable frames, connecting frames and so forth (not sure if using correct terms when it comes to fighting games) and damage charts and what not. There's very similar aspects to theorycrafting for MMORPGs and lessons learned are applicable for either genre.

The thesis being that the general knowledge gained by 'theorycrafting' is much more broadly applicable than just that specific game. Making theorycrafters better gamers overall.

Way to be a douche btw.

Because you overthink WoW it makes you a better judge of all other games and you're able to truly appreciate all games? WoW requires almost no thought if you're doing pve encounters. Pay attention, switch targets if needed, know your rotation/have a healing mod/know when to use tanking cooldowns. That's all that is required to faceroll over the majority of WoW's pve content.

I'm pretty sure every person who is associated with the gaming industry has played a game obsessively and just because they can't really do it once they're reviewing games for a living it doesn't make them a worse reviewer or unable to understand what is making the games tick.

#29 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Hunkulese:

That's the thesis. Whilst pursuing becoming your best in any game of sufficient depth (it can be chess for all I care), the intimate knowledge gained of the inner workings of that game holds some generally applicable core truth within - and once a theorycrafter sees the 'why' behind the design, he has an easier time seeing through any game and its mechanics regardless of the game and the genre.

This heightend awareness should certainly prove to be beneficial regardless of your occupation within the gaming industry. It certainly makes for more conscious gamers, which is at the core of it all. Playing games well and the pursuit of well playing games.

#30 Posted by Brodehouse (10129 posts) -

Theorycrafting in a game is attempting to distill mechanics into what is ultimately successful.
 
Design is distilling mechanics into what is ultimately fun.
 
This is the tabletop equivalent of saying that munchkins are better DMs.
 
Also, you've made this thread to pat yourself on the back for being you.

#31 Posted by Andorski (5365 posts) -

I'm more inclined to believe that gamers gather a false sense of understanding in game design that becomes reinforced when collectively discussing/complaining about a game(s) with friends or with people on forums.

Yes. There have been people who turned their obsession gaming with an eye for minuscule details into a career, but I have yet to hear one gamer-gone-developer say anything along the lines of, "gamers would make way better games than the current crop of developers due to the skills they've accrued during their play time."

#32 Posted by Jimi (1126 posts) -

I think theorycrafting is dumb if you are working out the mathematical equations of how much haste would benefit you etc, on the other hand I think in a competitive environment theorycrafting is amazing and breeds discussion about strategy and tactic viability. I currently play sc2 and dota2, both games that have high levels of theorycrafting but it is for the purpose of outplaying the other player rather than outplaying the game itself.

I raided in WoW in TBC and WotlK, we seemed to do fine without any huge theorycrafting. At most it was "Should I be stacking crit or haste", admittedly I was a healer but even so. The pvp side of that game interested me far more because it was about player skill rather than gear (Well I say that but gear had a pretty huge impact in pvp too, less so though).

#33 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@Andorski said:

I'm more inclined to believe that gamers gather a false sense of understanding in game design that becomes reinforced when collectively discussing/complaining about a game(s) with friends or with people on forums.

Yes. There have been people who turned their obsession gaming with an eye for minuscule details into a career, but I have yet to hear one gamer-gone-developer say anything along the lines of, "gamers would make way better games than the current crop of developers due to the skills they've accrued during their play time."

That's why Blizzard didn't hire top StarCraft players to help them design and balance StarCraft 2... oh wait...

Not saying experience in theorycrafting will make absolutely everyone better at games, but in general it does.

Even if you are wrong, you try and see behind the curtain. I'd rather have a false, but well-reflected opinion, than one that's lacking any deeper insight whatsoever.

#34 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Seppli said:

That's why Blizzard didn't hire top StarCraft players to help them design and balance StarCraft 2... oh wait...

That's a unique case. They hired peopled who played an obscene amount of a game to make a more refined version of that same game.

A pro Starcraft player would not have been especially useful in designing Deus Ex Human Revolution, or Burnout Paradise, or a Bethesda game, or (insert all games that are not starcraft and its derivatives here)

#35 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -
@Jimi said:

I think theorycrafting is dumb if you are working out the mathematical equations of how much haste would benefit you etc, on the other hand I think in a competitive environment theorycrafting is amazing and breeds discussion about strategy and tactic viability. I currently play sc2 and dota2, both games that have high levels of theorycrafting but it is for the purpose of outplaying the other player rather than outplaying the game itself.

I raided in WoW in TBC and WotlK, we seemed to do fine without any huge theorycrafting. At most it was "Should I be stacking crit or haste", admittedly I was a healer but even so. The pvp side of that game interested me far more because it was about player skill rather than gear (Well I say that but gear had a pretty huge impact in pvp too, less so though).

It depends on what boss at what point in time.
 
There's usually a huge difference between early iterations of an encounter and its post-nerf-patch balancing. Some fights in BC were tough. Hell - even getting there was quite tough way back when. Getting a whole raidgroup ready for the Eye in Tempest Keep? No menial task. Since the dawn of hardmodes, some of those really tested the mettle of raidgroups to the extreme too. I've beaten every BC boss pre-nerf up to M'uru, where I ran out of steam and quit. That one was a notorious blocker encounter in Sunwell, shattering countless raidgroups. My former raid eventually beat it after like 300 hours of wipes two weeks before the nerf patch hit. Even top raids like Insidia had to put in like 200 hours to finally beat that fight.
 
That said, we've been in the top 100 raids worldwide for awhile and it does take quite a lot of effort to play on that level. You have to deliver your DPS if you want a hold a steady spot in such a group, and you best be well-prepared and up to the task at hand, as well as be dependable - somebody who you can count on. Quite taxing really. Digesting ongoing theorycrafting and improving your playstyle accordingly is part of that. Guess the same is true for high lvl arena PvP.
#36 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

You make the worst threads

#37 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -
@nintendoeats said:

@Seppli said:

That's why Blizzard didn't hire top StarCraft players to help them design and balance StarCraft 2... oh wait...

That's a unique case. They hired peopled who played an obscene amount of a game to make a more refined version of that same game.

A pro Starcraft player would not have been especially useful in designing Deus Ex Human Revolution, or Burnout Paradise, or a Bethesda game, or (insert all games that are not starcraft and its derivatives here)

With some cross-thinking? Of course. Identify what's fun about a specific StarCraft 2 mechanic and adapt that universal truth of fun gameplay to Burnout, Deus Ex, whatever.
 
Much of StarCraft 2's depth is about building and exploiting a working economy efficiently and disturbing the enemy's economy to gain the upper hand. Translation - 'build fun and deep ressource mechanic'.
 
Case and point Dark Souls, with its outstandingly exciting combat mechanics, thanks to the risk/reward dynamic of its endurance ressource and the fun economy of offense and defense and dropping both for regeneration. No direct correlation between the two, but at its core, it's about the same stuff. Fun ressource management. Burnout has the same with boost charging via risky driving. And so forth and so forth.
#38 Edited by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Andorski said:

I'm more inclined to believe that gamers gather a false sense of understanding in game design that becomes reinforced when collectively discussing/complaining about a game(s) with friends or with people on forums.

LET ME FUCKIN' TELL YOU.

So, I went to GDC last year and am going again next month. I have spent the last 5 months or so building a game. I read a 400 page book about game design. I follow the blog of one of the lead designers behind the Halo franchise (and I'm looking to follow more).

I have completely given up any notion that I really know what I'm doing. 50% of game-making seems to be hiding the development process from the player and obfuscating the fact that somebody had to build all this stuff.

#39 Posted by Andorski (5365 posts) -

@Seppli said:

@Andorski said:

I'm more inclined to believe that gamers gather a false sense of understanding in game design that becomes reinforced when collectively discussing/complaining about a game(s) with friends or with people on forums.

Yes. There have been people who turned their obsession gaming with an eye for minuscule details into a career, but I have yet to hear one gamer-gone-developer say anything along the lines of, "gamers would make way better games than the current crop of developers due to the skills they've accrued during their play time."

That's why Blizzard didn't hire top StarCraft players to help them design and balance StarCraft 2... oh wait...

Not saying experience theorycrafting will make absolutely everyone better at games, but in general it does.

Even if you are wrong, you try and see behind the curtain. I'd rather have a false, but well-reflected opinion, than one that's lacking any deeper insight whatsoever.

I bolded the part you completely ignored.

#40 Posted by Jeust (10857 posts) -

Better players of course.  
 
But best designers, it depends of how deep the game mechanics are made to be. 
 
Best reviewers, also depends on the crowd you're aiming. Talking about mmo specifics to a crowd of casual players won't win any appreciation. 

#41 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Seppli said:

@nintendoeats said:

@Seppli said:

That's why Blizzard didn't hire top StarCraft players to help them design and balance StarCraft 2... oh wait...

That's a unique case. They hired peopled who played an obscene amount of a game to make a more refined version of that same game.

A pro Starcraft player would not have been especially useful in designing Deus Ex Human Revolution, or Burnout Paradise, or a Bethesda game, or (insert all games that are not starcraft and its derivatives here)

With some cross-thinking? Of course. Identify what's fun about a specific StarCraft 2 mechanic and adapt that universal truth of fun gameplay to Burnout, Deus Ex, whatever.

The universal truth of fun...

So you are suggesting that by playing a lot of WoW you have solved the problem of pleasure. Unlike millions of philosophers, artists, psychologists and neroscientists YOU ALONE know the secret of human pleasure because you have had a prolonged experience of one game that provided one very specific type of pleasure. All those other types of pleasure, and their sources, are simply derivatives of WoW's mechanics. How could all of those others have known? They were too busy off thinking about and experimenting on a myriad of different media when they should have just been playing WoW. What a bunch of simpletons. PT Barnum...if only he had played WoW, who knows what he would have come up with! And Gunpei Yokoi...if he had WoW to play he wouldn't have made that silly Virtual Boy and wouldn't have gotten hit by that car. Then he could have trained Miyamoto not to make those silly games about the jumping and the whimsy, instead focusing on the things that really matter: loot-lust, math-hammeri and min/maxing.

By this logic, the greatest game designer of all would be an avid heroin junkie. He spends all his time figuring out how to get the most pleasure from his herion, certainly he must know a thing or two about writing a pleasurable film. Then of course there is the problem that few philosophers of art retain the "art as pleasure" model. NO, they are too busy off looking for deeper fulfillment than mere pleasure. Why can't they just be satisifed with playing variations of WoW?

#42 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -
@Andorski said:

@Seppli said:

@Andorski said:

I'm more inclined to believe that gamers gather a false sense of understanding in game design that becomes reinforced when collectively discussing/complaining about a game(s) with friends or with people on forums.

Yes. There have been people who turned their obsession gaming with an eye for minuscule details into a career, but I have yet to hear one gamer-gone-developer say anything along the lines of, "gamers would make way better games than the current crop of developers due to the skills they've accrued during their play time."

That's why Blizzard didn't hire top StarCraft players to help them design and balance StarCraft 2... oh wait...

Not saying experience theorycrafting will make absolutely everyone better at games, but in general it does.

Even if you are wrong, you try and see behind the curtain. I'd rather have a false, but well-reflected opinion, than one that's lacking any deeper insight whatsoever.

I bolded the part you completely ignored.

Because I never said that. Most designers are already theorycrafters, because it's their fucking profession. Those who aren't theorycrafters are unprofessional and should be ashamed. The public faces of gaming, reviewers and the various talking heads and so forth seldomly display the insight of a theorycrafter, at least publicly, which is jarring.
 
I'd expect people who play games for a living to school us on proper gameplay. To try and better the gameplay performances of the general populus and hence improve gaming as a medium. Because in the end, we are the last artist putting hand on the artwork that are videogames. The player's performance is the last touch to every game.
 
Just look at what dedicated roleplayers put into their gameplay. The effort they're putting into breathing life and magic into a virtual world is staggering by comparison. Gameplay experiences can differ like night and day depending on who plays.
#43 Edited by MB (13092 posts) -

@Seppli said:

The public faces of gaming, reviewers and the various talking heads and so forth seldomly display the insight of a theorycrafter.

That's good, I don't want them to, and I don't think most people do either. I think your big mistake here is thinking the average person who likes video games and visits sites like Giant Bomb shares your opinions.

Moderator
#44 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -
@nintendoeats
 
There's some hyperbole to that statement of course, but having a notion about what makes a game economy fun, and trying to include an enjoyable economy mechanic into your game - that does make you a better game designer than if you'd lack that insight.
 
I for one do enjoy well done economy systems in my videogames, no matter if it's a humble ressource mechanic like Burnout's boost or Dark Souls somewhat more sophisticated endurance or a full-blown economy of a Tycoon game... or StarCraft 2.
 
But yes, I know a whole lot about joy. Hint, add a pinch of frustration/tedium/pain/strain to spice up your rewards with a little relief. Wonder how taking that big shit can be so good? Relief - that's why.
#45 Edited by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Seppli: I totally agree that having an understanding of game economies is a good thing. It is NOT, however, necessary to the design of all types of games. It is simply one of many tools in the designer's toolbox. The only skill that all game designers need is the ability to take individual pieces and put them together in a way that satisfies the player in some meaningful capacity.

#46 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@nintendoeats:

I never said that. What I wanted to say is, by theory crafting you identify mechanics and their inner workings and try to exploit those to improve your gameplay performance. Within every working gameplay mechanic, there is a fundamental truth about that specific type of mechanic - why and how it works and what about it is fun to you as a player. Which parts of interacting with it make it worthwhile and fun. Those are fundamentally true, at least for you as person.

Never intended to make a statement about 'Human Pleasure' in general, even if you can look at psychology and apothecary and what not as theorycrafting of sorts. Like me asking : 'Why was taking that giant shit feel so good?'. I fully recognize that there are people out there who never enjoyed a 'good big shit' and my findings are of little value or truth to them.

#47 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Seppli:

WARNING: you are talking to a third year philosophy major. The term "fundamental truth" will not be acceptable in this or any conversation unless it can be backed up with evidence that the truth in question is necessarily produced by a rigidly defined set of circumstances such as "when you have 2, and then also 2 again, and no more than those, you will have 4...because 2+2 necessarily equals 4"

All game mechanics need to be understood in context. You can't simply take a single mechanic out of one game and dump it into another and expect to have instant fun. An especially reflective person can define many lessons by looking at a single game in detail, but they learn quite a bit more by looking at a wide variety of games and seeing how different systems interact in a variety of circumstances. If you don't do that, you are only equipped to make variations on the single game that you have looked at heavily. This claim, and in fact the one that you just made, is a Far Cry from your original thesis and many of the claims that you have attempted to defend in this thread.

I am going to bed now. I SAY GOOD DAY.

#48 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@nintendoeats said:

@Seppli:

WARNING: you are talking to a third year philosophy major. The term "fundamental truth" will not be acceptable in this or any conversation unless it can be backed up with evidence that the truth in question is necessarily produced by a rigidly defined set of circumstances such as "when you have 2, and then also 2 again, and no more than those, you will have 4...because 2+2 necessarily equals 4"

All game mechanics need to be understood in context. You can't simply take a single mechanic out of one game and dump it into another and expect to have instant fun. An especially reflective person can define many lessons by looking at a single game in detail, but they learn quite a bit more by looking at a wide variety of games and seeing how different systems interact in a variety of circumstances. If you don't do that, you are only equipped to make variations on the single game that you have looked at heavily. This claim, and in fact the one that you just made, is a Far Cry from your original thesis and many of the claims that you have attempted to defend in this thread.

I am going to bed now. I SAY GOOD DAY.

Saying being a theorycrafter of many games is better than being a theorycrafter of one game is irrelevant to the thesis.

The thesis is that a theorycrafter is better equipped to be a gamer/designer/reviewer than their equivalents who are NOT theorycrafters. Hence every gamer/designer/reviewer should at some point have been a serious theorycrafter to gain that perspective.

Of course being a 'more literate' and 'well versed' theorycrafter should be more beneficial than being merely a game specific theorycrafter.

#49 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Seppli: Wow.  Dude, have you played against Notch?  He'll kick your arse.  A thesis needs to have some basis in reality and needs to be tested against control data.  So far all you have is observational context and nothing empircal coupled with absolutely no control data and no measurement strategy.  
 
Here's my thesis : You don't know what you're talking about. 
#50 Posted by codynewill (163 posts) -

Reviews aren't the arena for over analysis and evaluation after hundreds or thousands of hours. Things like podcasts and personal blogs, which can be updated during your play time with a game, are much better suited to talking about a game after such a huge investment of time. Also, things like MMOs probably shouldn't be reviewed by game outlets because they are simply too big. Your average multiplayer shooter, while deep in tactics and long term appeal, can be sufficiently viewed by a reviewer in most cases. I don't think your thesis holds, but I do think that long term gaming conversation is important and has a place in media.