I like your style. Direct, simple and logical answers are always appreciated.
Thank you. This post gets a bit long at times but Itry to stick to keep it concise.
Then you can discuss it with them.
Very true, and we do. That's what our forums are for. It's a shame that it's as difficult to get civil
discussions with the gaming community going as it is but we try.[/quote]Civil discussions are best but they rarely as useful as truly unbridled critisism can be. Obviously somebody just saying "THIS GAME FOR FAGS IT KILLED MAH DOG!" is not helpful to anyone, but I have seen truly insightful comments from game in very rude discussion, it's nicer when people are polite but not always essential.
How are they supposed to improve if nobody critisises bad features?
Also true. The issue is that most people don't provide an analytical critique as much as they provide prepubescent whining and tantrums. The former tends to be much more valuable to the development process.
While certainly not the best critisism it does still give the developers direct feedback for features that don't work or at least features that aren't poular. Now a developer doesn't have to take such advice on board but it is good to have a general feeling on what people like and dislike.
Developers in general, myself included.
While I'm sure dev's do want to try new things, I know that I as a consumer prefer it when they fix things that don't work rather than overhauling things that do.
Once again, isn't change for the better preferable to change for the worse?
Of course. The catch is that there are only so many ways to measure reaction before release. No designer is going to make a concerted effort to make a game worse; they seek to improve through refinement and/or change. The former is often mistaken for "dumbing down" and the latter offends the delicate sensibilities of the hardcore fanbase.
Yes but many features that sound good on paper simply do not work. Take say Oblivion's level scaling. Now I understand why they put that in, it addresses one of the key problems of sandbox RPGs. However in actual play it worked horribly, to the point of crippling the game. Now I know the developers didn't put it in wanting to make thieves unplayable and have bandits wearing the magic artifacts but as a player all I see is dozens of instances where the game totally falls apart because of it.
People don't seem to understand that "worse" and "different" are not synonymous. Innovation is born of experimentation so, yes, developers are going to change games if they feel the overall effect is positive, regardless of how whiny it's going to make the hardcore audience -- which is what we're seeing with many releases over the past few years, hence this topic and my post about people crying for innovation while condemning change.
The thing is, for sequels at least, change is bad. If I buy a sequel then probably enjoyed the first game, if it's significant'y changed I may not enjoy it. I may enjoy it more but thats a gamble and given the time/money it takes to play a new game (especially an RPG) then I don't want to risk the chance that I may not enjoy it.
For new titles? Yes innovate, but I don't want to be dissapointed and feel cheated out of my money just because a developer wanted to experiment. Not many people would have complained if the gameplay in DA2 was the same as in the first (okay some would but they'll always be there), if Bioware had just tweaked the mechanics, adjusted the balance a bit then it would have been fine.
Ultimately experiment is good but you need to keep the elements that work otherwise it's just change for change's sake which is just as bad as stagnation.
Personally I just don't feel there is a strong enough culture of critisism in the current gaming community. We have a situation where if a major game gets less than an eight in reviews it's treated as a personal attack on the developers. So only the very worst games get bad reviews, and the really big titles especially RPGs are just given almost wholey positive reviews, I mean the only time I saw big mainstream websites/magazines critisise Oblivion was in the hype for Skyrim. And while this may sound like the whinings of an angry fanboy I do feel that it detracts from games that are made.
I'll use Bioware as an example since they're who started this thread, they have never really been properly critisised by a major reviewer (or at least not to my knowledge). Sure aspects of their games have been critisised but usually it's in a very perfunctory way, usually it's a throwaway comment about AI or minigames. As a result of this their current games (or at least Mass Effect and DA:O) still have many of the same problems that Baldur's Gate had and they show no signs of changing.
R Mass whining is agood thing because it can ward devs of what not to do.