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Quantifying Fun: Part II


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#1 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:20 AM

Being back on the forums after a while away, I noticed more and more people looking at the game like a checklist or beginning to realize that the amount of content tied to extrinsic rewards  provides little in the way of intrinsic rewards, whether through story or mechanics.

One example is the addition of more ascended gear to the game to provide something akin to a gear treadmill.

Another example, as pointed out in this thread, is the uptick in Living Story releases.

So, I want to bring back a thread that I started months and months ago that can be found here: http://www.guildwars...-vs-experience/

I didn't do a great job of explaining the original post, so I will reword it here and ask people what their opinions are months later.

Has Guild Wars 2 become more focused on extrinsic, checklist style playing than on intrinsically rewarding game play?

One important video from that original thread is from Featherman. I would like to quote it here again for everyone to review:

View PostFeatherman, on 16 March 2013 - 04:01 PM, said:

Relevant:


These guys explain it better than I can.

This also explains why poorly done fluff content used to gate things and can be so annoying..


#2 Arewn

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:53 AM

Ah, nice to have this thread back, and wb Duderino
I'm being kind of broad here, but here are some more factors:
I feel the recent patches have been trending towards extrinsic rewards with some pretty clear examples. As the OP mentioned: Scarlet invasion zergs for the awesome drops, the new ascended tier consisting of going to do old content for a new item reward, and even some elements of the living story might feel that way (going through it to for the achievement or to see what happens, rather then to play the game).
But they've also done some notable work on the intrinsic value of the game. The gauntlet fights were engaging and well made, SAB offers a compelling challenge (especially W2 and TM) and the upcoming change to Tequatl will make the fight a more wholesome experience, rather then just zerging it for loot (though there will be people purely there for that as well). The new 'orb'/bloodlust mechanic(and related map changes) in WvW will also offer more organized/skill based skirmishing and small group combat, rather then the usual WvW zergs as well.

I'd also like to remind people that intrinsic reward is generally quiet subjective, as it is dependent on the individual's personal interest and enjoyment of the content (in other words, just because YOU didn't like something doesn't automatically disqualify it as having intrinsic value, elaborate and say why it doesn't beyond "I thought it was bad and only did it for the skin").

Edited by Arewn, 11 September 2013 - 01:38 PM.


#3 Captain Bulldozer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:17 AM

I suppose the answer to your question, dude (WB btw), is that it'll depend heavily on the individual.  I can say that for myself, I generally do find the combat in game to be fun (and thus rewarding to do for its own sake) for the most part.  Whether anyone else agrees with that or not is certainly up to them, but I think it's safe to say that no matter how much a person may enjoy the combat, it is not sufficiently deep, nor is it sufficiently complex to keep someone entertained for very long periods of time.  This is not a surprise, really, as very few games that get played as much as even a generic MMO can stay fun and rewarding to JUST play.  This is undoubtedly why the carrot on a stick is there in the first place;  no game is fun forever, so designers MUST at some point switch to more extrinsic styles of game play, particularly when a revenue stream is involved.  

Even in a non-subscription based game, like FtP MMOs or GW2, one of the primary concerns of the publisher (and often the designers as well) is to keep generating profit.  The danger is this is that, if the players feel like the publisher/etc. are asking for either 1) too much money or 2) asking for money too often, the players quickly become alienated.  With GW1, the business model pushed out a new campaign roughly once a year (occasionally faster or slower than this), which for me was just the right amount.  I felt like I was getting my money's worth for the expansion/campaign and that these products were spaced out enough that I didn't feel like a cow being milked.

With GW2, on the other hand, I can't say the same.  I feel there is a lot more focus on designing games systems and rewards around the cash shop than there was in GW1. I also, at least sometimes, feel like the content updates really serve as attempts to get players to put more into the cash shop.  As an example, take the recent magic find nerf.  Whether you were for or against magic find before all this, one undeniable fact is that, after the changes, all players will either be losing out on in game money (by salvaging for essences of luck) or quality drops (since the first approach is the only reliable way to get "high" levels of magic find). Both courses seem designed to encourage players to buy more gems, and they're done in a way that I think makes the game actually less fun than other solutions Arenanet could have gone with (such as the outright removal of MF from the game entirely). As another example, the year one birthday presents were roundly considered a failure because they were account bound minis (and only one specific one for all characters at that).  This happened shortly before a new round of cash shop only minis was released.

Again, I can only really speak for myself here.  I do know that I would have been happy to purchase an expansion for the intrinsic value of playing new stuff.  The living story updates, on the whole do not feel like "new" stuff to me, but sometimes have mildly interesting extrinsic rewards that make we want to play through content that is increasingly starting to feel stale in many cases.  I liked the portal invasions for the loot and cash I got out of it, not especially for the joy of doing those events... same with the crown pavilion, etc.

#4 Bloggi

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:56 AM

View PostArewn, on 11 September 2013 - 12:53 AM, said:

I'd also like to remind people that intrinsic reward is generally quiet subjective, as it is dependent on the individual's personal interest and enjoyment of the content (in other words, just because YOU didn't like something doesn't automatically disqualify it as having intrinsic value, elaborate and say why it doesn't beyond "I thought it was bad and only did it for the skin").

View PostCaptain Bulldozer, on 11 September 2013 - 01:17 AM, said:

...no game is fun forever, so designers MUST at some point switch to more extrinsic styles of game play, particularly when a revenue stream is involved.

Both of these are fantastic points regarding the discussion of extrinsic versus intrinsic rewards in a game. Firstly, the intrinsic reward in a game being subjective, and secondly, the likelihood that eventually many players are still going to require some form of extrinsic reward in order to keep playing a game.

Regarding the latter point, yes, at some stage some players are going to decide that the extrinsic reward is not worth their time and hence they stop playing. But I don't think there's any question that playing for an extrinsic reward is still an important thing for a number of players. Unfortunately the endless pursuit for extrinsic rewards is precisely the thing that may lead to regret in the future. For example, I spent many hours in Diablo II doing runs in search for better loot. I didn't enjoy those encounters. I didn't enjoy running them hundreds of times, over and over, in magic find gear which sucked statistically and actually increased the length and difficulty of encounters, but I did it for the chance of better loot as an extrinsic reward. Years down the track now, I heavily regret spending that much time chasing after that extrinsic reward. Extrinsic rewards can actually be worthless or pointless at the end of the game's life cycle.

Intrinsic reward in a game is what I'd like to define as the 'experience'. That 'experience' may include the feeling of playing the game on the very first day. Or it could be the combat, graphics, music, storyline, friendships, humorous encounters etc. So all these things are subjective. But at the end of each game's life cycle, it is the intrinsic rewards that are memorable. So I definitely support the idea of playing for intrinsic reward and putting less emphasis on extrinsic. A healthy mix of course is to have both.

There are relatively few activities in GW2 that I now do for the sake of extrinsic rewards. Some examples of such extrinsic rewards are the things associated with the completion of dailies, and working towards a legendary weapon. Other than that, I spend loads of time in WvW which I find intrinsically rewarding for the combat, carmaraderie and a few other small things that perhaps reward through altruism. We know that extrinsic reward completely stinks in WvW, which further convinces me that I'm on the right track with WvW...I'm playing for intrinsic reward.

#5 NerfHerder

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 10:31 AM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 September 2013 - 12:20 AM, said:

Has Guild Wars 2 become more focused on extrinsic, checklist style playing than on intrinsically rewarding game play?

Yes. The focus has shifted, but thats because it lacked extrinsic reward, and we the players, demanded better loot. The game never stopped being intrinsically rewarding to play. And Anet continues to revamp and improve its Living Story. Now I get rewarded for having more fun.

#6 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:44 PM

View PostArewn, on 11 September 2013 - 12:53 AM, said:

Ah, nice to have this thread back, and wb Duderino
I'm being kind of broad here, but here are some more factors:
I feel the recent patches have been trending towards extrinsic rewards with some pretty clear examples. As the OP mentioned: Scarlet invasion zergs for the awesome drops, the new ascended tier consisting of going to do old content for a new item reward, and even some elements of the living story might feel that way (going through it to for the achievement or to see what happens, rather then to play the game).
But they've also done some notable work on the extrinsic value of the game. The gauntlet fights were engaging and well made, SAB offers a compelling challenge (especially W2 and TM) and the upcoming change to Tequatl will make the fight a more wholesome experience, rather then just zerging it for loot (though there will be people purely there for that as well). The new 'orb'/bloodlust mechanic(and related map changes) in WvW will also offer more organized/skill based skirmishing and small group combat, rather then the usual WvW zergs as well.

I'd also like to remind people that intrinsic reward is generally quiet subjective, as it is dependent on the individual's personal interest and enjoyment of the content (in other words, just because YOU didn't like something doesn't automatically disqualify it as having intrinsic value, elaborate and say why it doesn't beyond "I thought it was bad and only did it for the skin").

Thank you for the welcome back! I agree that intrinsic value is very subjective. Not a lot of time to talk now, but I will try and pop on later to see how the conversation has progressed.

View PostCaptain Bulldozer, on 11 September 2013 - 01:17 AM, said:

snip.

Thanks for the welcome back as well! Good points as well. I think that there is a lot of intrinsically rewarding game play available to people, I'm just not sure if that is something that is a lingering effect from the original development, or if it is something that is currently being cultivated with the new content. It appears that it may be, which is a good sign. I was curious based on the some of the threads how something like this was being handled recently.

#7 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:06 PM

View PostNerfHerder, on 11 September 2013 - 10:31 AM, said:

Yes. The focus has shifted, but thats because it lacked extrinsic reward, and we the players, demanded better loot. The game never stopped being intrinsically rewarding to play. And Anet continues to revamp and improve its Living Story. Now I get rewarded for having more fun.

I understand that the intrinsic value of the game, especially based on its original release, is dependent upon the player. What I am interested in knowing is if the recent additions continue to provide that level of intrinsic value. Specifically, when you say that the new loot is a benefit to the game, would you include the acquisition of that loot to meet the same "fun" that you have normally in the game?

#8 Oppenheimer76

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:22 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 September 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

I understand that the intrinsic value of the game, especially based on its original release, is dependent upon the player. What I am interested in knowing is if the recent additions continue to provide that level of intrinsic value. Specifically, when you say that the new loot is a benefit to the game, would you include the acquisition of that loot to meet the same "fun" that you have normally in the game?

I'm not sure if this will help you or not Dude, but there's a good explanation for this, and you can take it however you want, obviously this is the internet and all is up in the air.

I assume you've played, or many people here have, the original Guild Wars. A few key project leads that were responsible for the vast majority of the content and design behind the original left in a timeframe short before Guild Wars 2 was released, speculation is because it was NCSoft and the management at Arenanet wanted to take Guild Wars 2 in a more non-Guild Wars 1 direction.

What I mean by that is a lot of people at Arenanet, and a lot whom still are, are gamers, they LOVE games. If you ever get a chance to talk with one of them you'll hear on thing during conversation and that is that they liked people playing Guild Wars for a couple of months, have their fun, enjoy the content and then enjoy all the other games out there until their next expansion dropped.

That was the way it was done. People could play Guild Wars, step away, get excited for a new expansion in a couple months, play something else and then buy the expansion(s) and see what Arenanet did. It worked pretty well.

Then something happened, assumably money related as monetization came through game store micro-transactions vs a single expansion purchase.

That led to a mindset of churn out content, good or bad (that's subjective), and KEEP people playing as long as possible for as much as possible so that quantifiable "fun" that could be said of Guild Wars 1 turned into a psychological "need" to keep playing.

Like I said, there is a reason why people who were at Arenanet for 5-7 years and built the Guild Wars 1 that players liked so much stepped away from the "new" Arenanet, and that "intrinsic value of the game" has a lot to do with it.

#9 Arewn

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:35 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 September 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

I understand that the intrinsic value of the game, especially based on its original release, is dependent upon the player. What I am interested in knowing is if the recent additions continue to provide that level of intrinsic value. Specifically, when you say that the new loot is a benefit to the game, would you include the acquisition of that loot to meet the same "fun" that you have normally in the game?
There's been a rough balance. Looking at any one patch in a vacuum, there has been different levels of focus, but to average it out over the course of the recent patches I would say the extrinsic/intrinsic ratio has remained roughly equal to how it was at launch.
The problem is that, generally, extrinsic rewards persist beyond the patch's 2week/month duration, while content with intrinsic reward gets taken out. For example, ascended weapons are a permanent addition to the game, while Super Adventure Box will only be here for one month (until it's brought back again sometime in the future). This isn't absolutely the case, but it is a trend.

#10 raspberry jam

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:10 PM

Interesting thread. Let me make an addition to it that might have been posted before, but I'll post it again because it is one of my top 5 favorite articles: http://chrishecker.c...sidered_Harmful

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 September 2013 - 12:20 AM, said:

Being back on the forums after a while away, I noticed more and more people looking at the game like a checklist or beginning to realize that the amount of content tied to extrinsic rewards  provides little in the way of intrinsic rewards, whether through story or mechanics.
(...)
Has Guild Wars 2 become more focused on extrinsic, checklist style playing than on intrinsically rewarding game play?
Well I have to say, no. It was always focused around play-by-checklist. A huge amount of levels, different crafting skills (that you had to switch between), a gear tier system, daily achievements, the high linearity/low granularity in all numbers... even the waypoint and repair fees all pointed in the same direction to me. It was only a matter of time before they would start to introduce new gear tiers, increase the crafting cap, add some time gating, and why not throw in an inflation shock to keep old players invested and give new players something to aim for.
It was all in the design right from the start, so I'll have to say no. The content has become more focused on extrinsic rewards, yes. But the core design of the game was always about extrinsic rewards.

One problem is that the checklist is actually there, all but shoved in your face while you play. There are progress bars, checklists, popups, and so on, all over the UI. Regardless of the intrinsic rewards you get, how much fun you have, you are constantly reminded that there is a measure of progress that you are being held up to. And it was always there.
I don't see it as that the game took a turn towards a play-by-checklist style. I see it as that content is starting to catch up with the core design.

#11 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:27 PM

View PostArewn, on 11 September 2013 - 01:35 PM, said:

One problem is that the checklist is actually there, all but shoved in your face while you play. There are progress bars, checklists, popups, and so on, all over the UI. Regardless of the intrinsic rewards you get, how much fun you have, you are constantly reminded that there is a measure of progress that you are being held up to. And it was always there.
I don't see it as that the game took a turn towards a play-by-checklist style. I see it as that content is starting to catch up with the core design.

You know what, I never thought of that, but it is an interesting point. For a game that decidedly went out of their way to minimize the UI in the game, they certainly didn't do so in this case.

#12 NerfHerder

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:32 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 September 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

...when you say that the new loot is a benefit to the game, would you include the acquisition of that loot to meet the same "fun" that you have normally in the game?

Content like champion farming and WvW and had always been fun to me, but the rewards never justified my time. Now they do. WvW loot is much better, you can actually make money if you play now. Champions drop loot worthy of stopping by or wp traveling to now thanks to loot.

Quality of life improvements and additions to UI features, culling, storage, guesting, magic find, pvp, and skill balances(only to name a few) have increased my enjoyment even with out new content.

The newer content isnt perfect. It is getting better. Some are hit or miss. I dont care for jumping puzzles, so this patch is not so good for me. But, its the opposite for other players. Overall, the living story content has become more engaging and intuitive. It literally gets better every month. I can point out plenty of faults but its not enough to stop my enjoyment. And I haven't found that quality in a game since GW1.

#13 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:40 PM

View PostNerfHerder, on 11 September 2013 - 02:32 PM, said:

Content like champion farming and WvW and had always been fun to me, but the rewards never justified my time. Now they do. WvW loot is much better, you can actually make money if you play now. Champions drop loot worthy of stopping by or wp traveling to now thanks to loot.

Quality of life improvements and additions to UI features, culling, storage, guesting, magic find, pvp, and skill balances(only to name a few) have increased my enjoyment even with out new content.

The newer content isnt perfect. It is getting better. Some are hit or miss. I dont care for jumping puzzles, so this patch is not so good for me. But, its the opposite for other players. Overall, the living story content has become more engaging and intuitive. It literally gets better every month. I can point out plenty of faults but its not enough to stop my enjoyment. And I haven't found that quality in a game since GW1.

That is actually one of the most convincing posts I have read to make me want to come back. :)

#14 Moharis Frostreign

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:56 PM

The game's content, by itself, I would say is definitely slanted more toward the extrinsic, for many of the reasons already pointed out: loot fest updates, checklist UI, and so forth. Played by one person, by themselves, I can see the grind, the chase for the carrot (and the next carrot, and the next carrot, and the next carrot...). I know plenty of people who have that compulsion to finish every achievement at every release and they themselves admit that they do it simply to "keep up" with regards to point total. They don't have fun doing it, and when I ask "Why do it then?", the answer is commonly "OCD."

Where much of the intrinsic value comes from, for me, and this goes for most games, is in the community building and social game play aspects. You don't get much of this roaming the open world, even if you are moving with a zerg. As a guild, we're always trying new things: new strategies in dungeons, pants-free WvW nights, conquering rarely done events. For me, that cooperation, that trying to play the game in a way it wasn't necessarily intended, is where the intrinsic value comes from. I've met many of my best friends playing games, and I love having the opportunity to build those relationships in a team setting. Say what you will about the game play, the story, the updates, what have you, if you have a great group of people to play with, many of those concerns seem trivial in the scheme of things.

#15 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:59 PM

View PostMoharis Frostreign, on 11 September 2013 - 02:56 PM, said:

The game's content, by itself, I would say is definitely slanted more toward the extrinsic, for many of the reasons already pointed out: loot fest updates, checklist UI, and so forth. Played by one person, by themselves, I can see the grind, the chase for the carrot (and the next carrot, and the next carrot, and the next carrot...). I know plenty of people who have that compulsion to finish every achievement at every release and they themselves admit that they do it simply to "keep up" with regards to point total. They don't have fun doing it, and when I ask "Why do it then?", the answer is commonly "OCD."

Where much of the intrinsic value comes from, for me, and this goes for most games, is in the community building and social game play aspects. You don't get much of this roaming the open world, even if you are moving with a zerg. As a guild, we're always trying new things: new strategies in dungeons, pants-free WvW nights, conquering rarely done events. For me, that cooperation, that trying to play the game in a way it wasn't necessarily intended, is where the intrinsic value comes from. I've met many of my best friends playing games, and I love having the opportunity to build those relationships in a team setting. Say what you will about the game play, the story, the updates, what have you, if you have a great group of people to play with, many of those concerns seem trivial in the scheme of things.

I love this post and I agree 100%. I think one of the things that upset me when I played full time is that I felt that guilds were being pushed by the designers to be bigger and bigger. I've never been a big guild person. I rarely like large social settings in real life. I'm more of a small group kind of person, and it was tough to find that kind of guild in GW2 in my personal experience.

I am curious if this has changed at all as well and if the small guild groups have become more playable and present in the game.

#16 Moharis Frostreign

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:04 PM

I don't know what you'd call "small," but we've been operating with ~20 active members fairly well. Between myself and a couple of guildies, we actually just purchased influence with gold to build up the guild missions, and we have plenty of people to run them if we schedule them in advance. We've been pretty comfortable with our player base overall.

Not to derail your topic, just thought I'd chime in on that tangent.

#17 FoxBat

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:48 PM

That's really one of extra credit's worst episodes, but it does sum up the misshapen state of current game design theory.

Yes, there is a problem when people run through mind numbing boring shit over and over to get a pretty new skin or +5 to some stat. However it is not wrong to give players delayed ("extrinsic") rewards. It's OK to expect a player to get all the way through world one before they get "rewarded" with a fresh environment in world 2. It's OK to have boss HP bars that do nothing until you whittle them down to zero. It's OK to give players 1ups which they won't actually feel the benefit of until much later when they actually die. It's OK to expect players to run through some combat before they get more story cutscenes.

Long-term goals necessitate long-term rewards. You don't get the "game over, you win" screen until the final boss is downed, so that you do feel some kind of accomplishment once you get that far. Instilling a sense of accomplishment is not a failure of game design; depending on your genre and intended audience, you need a good mix of both. Yes you want intrinsic rewards along the way, but extrinsic rewards frame the entire arc along which you travel, as elements of good pacing like zone and story progression end up becoming "extrinsic" when looked at from a rewards perspective. Even in sandbox games players often end up setting their own, long-term goals (build a castle in minecraft, clean out every home in a skyrim town, etc.) It's often these very obvious long-term goals that entice players to come back and boot up/ log into your game so they are then set up to enjoy the less tangible, intrinsic rewards.

And really if you don't like extrinsic rewards, you should just sign off on the whole idea of RPGs. Ever since Gary Gygax started rolling some dice, it's been a defining feature of the genre: none of the tabletop RPGs that completely abandoned progression have become all that popular, and nothing on a computer lacking progression was ever labeled an RPG. I don't know why some modern designers, after bending over backwards in most ways to say "good design = what players want," in this realm want to pretend like there is something evil or wrong with what people actually like. It's just important that you don't try to treat extrinsic as a patch for a lack of intrinsic, because really the two work best as complements, not when one is acting as a poor substitute for the other.

#18 El Duderino

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:08 PM

View PostFoxBat, on 11 September 2013 - 03:48 PM, said:

snip

Thank you for a great post. Although, I think maybe there is a mis-communication in what you think I am saying and how I am interpreting what you are saying.

I don't think that extrinsic rewards are bad, on the contrary, I think that one of the most rewarding parts of an RPG is finding a new awesome shiny reward that is rare and unique.

However, I do think that there is a balance that needs to be kept, and my question is if the current direction of GW2 is imbalanced in regards to a checklist style of playing the game for rewards vs. more intrinsically rewarding game play.

In my personal opinion, I do not find the checklist style of loot acquisition to provide any sort of intrinsically rewarding game play. Now, I realize that is something that is completely subjective. However, I am willing to bet that given enough time for reflection, it would hold up that lots of people agree with that statement.

Contrast the way we acquire loot in GW2, and the overbearing presence of loot acquisition with many of the new updates, against the way we acquired loot in GW1, and I think that, in my personal opinion, GW1 did it better in many (but maybe not all) instances.

For example, I think one of the best examples of this was the Hall of Heroes. If you took and held halls you always got something pretty cool out of the big treasure chest. And, of course, you got rank points and cool emotes. To me, those were some of the best rewards in the game, but the acquisition of the rewards were equally intrinsically satisfying and could uphold my game play desires without the extrinsic rewards.

Furthermore, look at FoW or UW in their early iterations. The rewards were great (and truthfully more exciting for me if they dropped because it was a surprise and not waiting for a meter to get to full) but the game play was awesome as well.

So, I don't think extrinsic rewards are evil, but I do wonder if the way in which they are implemented in GW2 detracts from the intrinsic reasons to play the game because of the checklist mentality.

#19 MazingerZ

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:50 PM

View PostFoxBat, on 11 September 2013 - 03:48 PM, said:

And really if you don't like extrinsic rewards, you should just sign off on the whole idea of RPGs. Ever since Gary Gygax started rolling some dice, it's been a defining feature of the genre: none of the tabletop RPGs that completely abandoned progression have become all that popular, and nothing on a computer lacking progression was ever labeled an RPG. I don't know why some modern designers, after bending over backwards in most ways to say "good design = what players want," in this realm want to pretend like there is something evil or wrong with what people actually like. It's just important that you don't try to treat extrinsic as a patch for a lack of intrinsic, because really the two work best as complements, not when one is acting as a poor substitute for the other.

I'd disagree with this.  If you look at a Second Life, there is no clear path of progression.  Certainly, you can engage in all sorts of activities, from social to world creation.  The same can be said for something like Minecraft.  There's no numerical progression, but there is progressive through activity.  Creating the materials you need to create further materials to create your Giant Golden Tower of White Frothing Glory.

Second Life is something I'd hesitantly call a game, but it apparently has an active user base of 600k.  Minecraft also boasts a rather huge player-base.  They offer no clear direction, nor even any real incentive to engage in any activities., because the activities are apparently fun in and of themselves.

GW2 launched with the concept of World Completion, sPvP, WvW, the personal story and cosmetic chasing.  Largely intrinsic, with the exception of the cosmetic chasing, as that required specific actions for specific rewards, but everything else was just out there.  Loot and the concept of gear were hold-overs from the previous game generation designed to throttle the player-base from just running all the way over to Orr.

Yahtzee put it pretty clear in his DCOU review:

My interest valve was first shut off right at the starting mission when I arrived at Metropolis, flew to the highest point I could and thought to myself, "yep, that's a city all right. Can I stop playing now?"


There was a reason other super hero MMOs made you wait for good travel powers, and even I had a tendency to stop playing a hero once I had gotten him a travel power.

The problem with this game is that it's a lot harder to appreciate the intrinsic value, even as its added, unless you've coupled it with extrinsic value because of the other extrinsic value stuff.

For instance, with Ascended and so forth, even if they made the new Taco event the best event ever, crafted such that it would live on in memory with the same glory as whatever major event in any MMO... (a lot of people talk about live events from other games)... It would soon become something nobody did unless it dropped stuff that advanced the existing extrinsic rewards with the game.

The game is tainted to a certain extent because of the extrinsic rewards they continue to throw out and promote, in that any intrinsically fun additions had better damn well add to the progression to remain relevant to what players do once the 'ooh new and shiney' factor wears off it, otherwise it will wallow like many zones in the game and other events.

Edited by MazingerZ, 11 September 2013 - 04:52 PM.

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Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#20 Captain Bulldozer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 September 2013 - 02:59 PM, said:

I love this post and I agree 100%. I think one of the things that upset me when I played full time is that I felt that guilds were being pushed by the designers to be bigger and bigger. I've never been a big guild person. I rarely like large social settings in real life. I'm more of a small group kind of person, and it was tough to find that kind of guild in GW2 in my personal experience.

I am curious if this has changed at all as well and if the small guild groups have become more playable and present in the game.

Small guilds are still pretty much frowned upon by the design of the game in several ways.  All the new additions to guild content, such as guild missions are extremely unfriendly to small guilds.  I think the best option, when possible, is to be part of a small guild AND a large guild (assuming you want to do any of those guild specific activities).  That works well for me, so long as the guild leaders of both are not closed minded to sharing players (as many guild leaders seem to be really).

#21 Lashes Greyword

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:50 PM

Hello El Duderino,

first let me say that you are doing a great job moderating the topic at hand. :cool:

The new content in the last (and first) year of Guild Wars 2 has been intrinsic as well as extrinsic, but lately it has been going for the latter. I dont think this is a bad thing.

Being on a full time job, wanting to play other games as well as having other hobbies than computer gaming, I very much enjoy new updates that I don't want to play - I'll have more time doing other stuff in game as well as out of game.

I still haven't done all the explorable dungeon paths (which I am very interested), as well as leveling my other characters. There is so much more to do in Guild Wars, that I want to do! So even if I miss out on some daily quests, I rather do a fractal, or a dungeon, or the SAB (which I very much enjoy).
Am I missing out on something?I sure do, but ain't we all ^_^?
Only because there are checklists in the game, doesn't mean I have to do them. Only because there is new content, doesn't mean I am required to do it. I make my own checklists!

Do I get what I want? Yes!
Best example: When I decided which exotic gear I wanted, I got it off from the Trading Post with the money I got from doing the things I liked doing. I had enough - if I didn't, I would have just continued doing what I liked to do.

GW2 being as it is, allows me to be able to get the stuff I want through different ways. It's not perfect, (there being prestige stuff - but prestige being what it is...) but compared to other games I think it does a good job.

What happnes when I've done all the things I wanted to do? Congratulations to me! :D Nobody pushes me into "having fun" by playing things I don't want to do.

As a lot of people say/know/think to know/theorize about what ANet is doing/why there are doing it/why they have to do it, here is my 2 coppers:
I think they are experimenting of what works, and what doesn't. They sure do learn from their mistakes, but it ain't so obvious to us, because to bring changes into an MMO takes procedure and time.

#22 Captain Bulldozer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:54 PM

For the record, how many of you would happily play GW2 if no loot ever dropped (or never dropped after you reach max level, whatever)?  If you would, you're intrinsically motivated to play the game... but if you wouldn't (or wouldn't much) you're extrinsically motivated.  For myself, if they got rid of loot, I'd almost certainly uninstall the game immediately, though playing for the sense of community might keep me signing in from time to time.  

Since more and more of the updates lately have been about "better loot" (in various forms even) I think it's safe to conclude what Anet itself believes about the intrinsic replayability of its game.  And it's no surprise, really.  They took a social game, but took out (or didn't add) a lot of the social features.  You don't feel connected to a zerg, your alliance chat is non-existent, your guild hall is on order and your LFG tool was a year late to the party. They seem to think they were making a game where they could minimize the social interaction, like GW1 was able to do, but the game they made largely fails at this because of systems which are not especially friendly to solo play and because they didn't spend enough time developing quality narrative design.

#23 MazingerZ

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:23 PM

View PostCaptain Bulldozer, on 11 September 2013 - 05:54 PM, said:

For the record, how many of you would happily play GW2 if no loot ever dropped (or never dropped after you reach max level, whatever)?  If you would, you're intrinsically motivated to play the game... but if you wouldn't (or wouldn't much) you're extrinsically motivated.  For myself, if they got rid of loot, I'd almost certainly uninstall the game immediately, though playing for the sense of community might keep me signing in from time to time.  

Since more and more of the updates lately have been about "better loot" (in various forms even) I think it's safe to conclude what Anet itself believes about the intrinsic replayability of its game.  And it's no surprise, really.  They took a social game, but took out (or didn't add) a lot of the social features.  You don't feel connected to a zerg, your alliance chat is non-existent, your guild hall is on order and your LFG tool was a year late to the party. They seem to think they were making a game where they could minimize the social interaction, like GW1 was able to do, but the game they made largely fails at this because of systems which are not especially friendly to solo play and because they didn't spend enough time developing quality narrative design.

And also look at this:

http://masseffect.wi...oadable_Content

If you ask anyone who isn't an ME3 multi-player about why they bought the DLC, very few of them would give two craps about the new armors and weapons for the stats.  They bought the smaller packs (2 bucks a pop) for the skins.  And more importantly, for the 15 dollar DLC, they bought it for the new missions and expanded story.

Yes, Mass Effect, as an RPG, has stats and upgrades, especially in the first one.  But it sold additional content based on new missions and expanding cosmetic items.  Mass Effect, in and of itself, was fun to play and expanded on that play without selling power, but rather intrinsically rewarding content... new missions, new squad mates, new lore...

They also had micro-t RNG, but that was for the ME3 multi-player and when EA had its claws firmly in the franchise.  In ME and ME2, the latter which was in development during EA's assimilation of BW, was perfectly happy selling additional things like armor.  The only thing that seemed kind of gamey was I think there were complaints that the best armor in the game was purchased.

Point being, Mass Effect series, for the most part, had intrinsically rewarding game play that made it worth the box price and additional DLC that wasn't about adding extrinsic rewards, but instead to further the intrinsically rewarding game-play.

Edited by MazingerZ, 11 September 2013 - 06:24 PM.

It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#24 ChuyDog08

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:29 PM

Welcome back El Duderino! I've missed reading your insightful (and sometimes hilarious antagonizing) posts.

I agree with Raspberry Jam in that GW2 has always been about “The Checklist”.  When you first start playing, the game is filled with so much intrinsic rewards that you really don’t notice the checklist at first.   I took time in the beginning to enjoy every map by doing all the events, hearts, POI’s, and JP I could find. I let my person story carry me from map to map freely. I used every weapon and any armor I could loot.  I leveled 8 professions to 80, obtained 2 100% map clears, played each dungeon, fought world bosses, played PVP, and WvW.  

One day…..  BOOM!  It hit me, I have done it all…. Now what? Let me look at the achievement list.  The grind started for me at that point.  It was in December.  I had to complete the Winters Day achievements before it ended. I started looking at max builds to make WvW and PvE easier.  I became more critical of the game, and started wanting unique skins.  I even began the cruel process of successfully crafting two legendary weapons.  

This process continued with the Living Story.  Each release I became more focused (addicted) to grinding the achievements so much so that I forgot about having fun.  In the Queens Jubilee release, I thought I finally had it all, the ability to grind achievements with real rewards.  I was so happy at first.  Then I started to regret having to log in every day to zerg champions.  I was finally burned out because the only fun left was either grinding gold to buy horrible RNG items or maxing out achievement points.

Good to say that I am back to having fun this month.  Anet did a great job of killing the momentum with the SAB changes.  I refuse to perpetuate the cycle and decided to sit this one out.  I have started playing WvW again which is truly one of the most unpredictable fun a player can still have in the game.  However, I must admit that I have to complete my checklist first.  I log onto each alt first to claim the JP chest for Empyreal fragments, do several world bosses for Dragonite ore/glob of ectos from rares, harvest Quartz crystal from my home instance, fuse Quartz crystal at a place of power, and refine time gated legendary materials.  I have also spent the last few days gathering various ore and wood needed for my ascended weapons.  I have a sense of accomplishment that I gathered everything myself and didn’t buy anything off the TP for my ascended weapon (great extrinsic reward for me).

I am even trying to escape from the standard builds by going away from traditional armor and trait choices for my main (Guardian).  I have the yearning to go back to the simple days and play with friends at whatever pace we choose rather than grind for a limited reward.  However, ascended armor is coming soon……. I must focus on gathering the material ahead of time so I can level the crafting to 500 and create 6 pieces of ascended armor without having to wait too long…..

To answer your question "Has Guild Wars 2 become more focused on extrinsic, checklist style playing than on intrinsically rewarding game play?"...
Yes!

#25 Captain Bulldozer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:35 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 11 September 2013 - 06:23 PM, said:

And also look at this:

http://masseffect.wi...oadable_Content

If you ask anyone who isn't an ME3 multi-player about why they bought the DLC, very few of them would give two craps about the new armors and weapons for the stats.  They bought the smaller packs (2 bucks a pop) for the skins.  And more importantly, for the 15 dollar DLC, they bought it for the new missions and expanded story.

Yes, Mass Effect, as an RPG, has stats and upgrades, especially in the first one.  But it sold additional content based on new missions and expanding cosmetic items.  Mass Effect, in and of itself, was fun to play and expanded on that play without selling power, but rather intrinsically rewarding content... new missions, new squad mates, new lore...

They also had micro-t RNG, but that was for the ME3 multi-player and when EA had its claws firmly in the franchise.  In ME and ME2, the latter which was in development during EA's assimilation of BW, was perfectly happy selling additional things like armor.  The only thing that seemed kind of gamey was I think there were complaints that the best armor in the game was purchased.

Point being, Mass Effect series, for the most part, had intrinsically rewarding game play that made it worth the box price and additional DLC that wasn't about adding extrinsic rewards, but instead to further the intrinsically rewarding game-play.

I have, myself, never gotten around to ME:3, but I definitely agree with your assessment of ME1 and ME2. You can add a lot of games to the list, really, like Dragon Age Origins, The Witcher, etc.  I'm not necessarily suggesting an MMO can be built successfully in the way those strong narrative games are, but many of them offer a whole lot more replayability (which I think is inherently intrinsic) that most MMOs bring to the field (possibly including GW2).  That can be subjective, though, as some people derive pleasure from MMOs mostly from the community setting and not as much from the game playing experience (or in the vanity/status the community atmosphere generates).  I honestly don't see a lot of MMOs out there that I think are really intrinsically satisfying... This is just my opinion, but it makes me wonder whether it is this way by nature of the beast or not.  I think the business model of MMOs in the past IS largely to blame, but perhaps there's more to it as well.

#26 SZSSZS

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:15 PM

Given the terrible reward system in sPvP, it's no surprise that a revamp is the foremost update in the near future. Those who've stuck around this far can't really be there for any reasons other than the intrinsic. They've introduced plenty of new maps (some not very competitive) pushed a regional tournament through to PAX, and have shaken up the meta sorely. Most find the current meta atrocious, but regardless, it's a focus on the core of the game. In addition to the reward system changes, we'll be seeing changes to the Temple of the Silent Storm map and new amulet stat combinations.

For WvW, there has been an exceeding push to improve rewards. The rank system and chests, WXP, tier 7 mats, and so on. The recently announced league system, and it's reward structure, has encouraged guilds to transfer over to better servers.
Alongside this however, there have been attempts to rework matchmaking by introducing a random element. Culling was a big improvement, and the upcoming change to the Borderland Maps seems pretty interesting (despite gutting the GvG scene).

There are plenty of gripes with these changes, many of which I agree with, but they are at least attempts to tackle the intrinsic.

Finally in PvE, I'll simply mention that despite the heavily loot driven nature of the Queen's Jubilee and Clockwork Chaos, there have been a few interesting efforts to improve gameplay. The Queen's gauntlet was a real challenge, and the Watchwork mobs had an engaging design. Players had to down foes, and prioritze Twisted Menders (outside of the zerg of course).

The revamp of Tequatl comes with a chance to gain ascended weapons, but is also an effort to improve zerg based, massive scale PvE.

People farmed the hell out of Scarelt's invasions, so the extrinsic is absolutely there, but there are plenty of attempts to tackle the core of the game. So ultimately I've seen, in all realms of the game, an effort to drive both the extrinsic and intrinsic.

Edited by SZSSZS, 11 September 2013 - 07:33 PM.


#27 Krazzar

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:33 PM

Whether you're casual or hardcore the answer is obvious.  GW2 needs an expansion pack that takes more than a weekend to complete. NCSoft has played their little waiting game to see if GW2 will survive, which was a stupid move to begin with, so it's time to get overtime hours in to make an actual expansion pack. In May NCSoft said GW2 should get an expansion pack, so eventually we should see something worthwhile. These mini-updates have little worth for explorers, hardcore players, or really anyone.  All they tried to do was keep people logging in from time to time, then they realized the game wasn't actually being expanded so now they're shifting to make things more permanant.

This latest "content patch" is something that shouldn't really be advertised as it is. It's just a change of one boss' abilities, something we expect anyway. Maybe other bosses will be changed as well, but it's hardly something new to do and has zero exploration value. Since they apparently don't want to add more events to existing areas they have to create new areas to keep anyone interested. Too bad NCSoft has barred them from starting an expansion until now.

#28 raspberry jam

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:07 AM

View PostFoxBat, on 11 September 2013 - 03:48 PM, said:

That's really one of extra credit's worst episodes, but it does sum up the misshapen state of current game design theory.

Yes, there is a problem when people run through mind numbing boring shit over and over to get a pretty new skin or +5 to some stat. However it is not wrong to give players delayed ("extrinsic") rewards. It's OK to expect a player to get all the way through world one before they get "rewarded" with a fresh environment in world 2. It's OK to have boss HP bars that do nothing until you whittle them down to zero. It's OK to give players 1ups which they won't actually feel the benefit of until much later when they actually die. It's OK to expect players to run through some combat before they get more story cutscenes.

Long-term goals necessitate long-term rewards. You don't get the "game over, you win" screen until the final boss is downed, so that you do feel some kind of accomplishment once you get that far. Instilling a sense of accomplishment is not a failure of game design; depending on your genre and intended audience, you need a good mix of both. Yes you want intrinsic rewards along the way, but extrinsic rewards frame the entire arc along which you travel, as elements of good pacing like zone and story progression end up becoming "extrinsic" when looked at from a rewards perspective. Even in sandbox games players often end up setting their own, long-term goals (build a castle in minecraft, clean out every home in a skyrim town, etc.) It's often these very obvious long-term goals that entice players to come back and boot up/ log into your game so they are then set up to enjoy the less tangible, intrinsic rewards.

And really if you don't like extrinsic rewards, you should just sign off on the whole idea of RPGs. Ever since Gary Gygax started rolling some dice, it's been a defining feature of the genre: none of the tabletop RPGs that completely abandoned progression have become all that popular, and nothing on a computer lacking progression was ever labeled an RPG. I don't know why some modern designers, after bending over backwards in most ways to say "good design = what players want," in this realm want to pretend like there is something evil or wrong with what people actually like. It's just important that you don't try to treat extrinsic as a patch for a lack of intrinsic, because really the two work best as complements, not when one is acting as a poor substitute for the other.
I think that Extra Credits did a poor job of explaining what intrinsic vs. extrinsic actually means. It is not completely obvious, because "intrinsic reward" doesn't just mean that you are having fun. If you are playing an FPS and you find a rocket launcher behind a hidden door, that's an intrinsic reward for being clever about finding hidden doors. It's intrinsic because there is a hidden door in the game and behind it is a rocket launcher, it's part of the game. Loot does not have to be an extrinsic reward. Daily kill achievements, though, have to be - and they could just as well be removed. Same thing with crafting levels and most other such things.

About the Gary Gygax and levels thing: levels in D&D were just an abstraction to make book keeping easier. Of course it feels good to level up, but that's not the point of levels. In computer based RPGs there is really no point in showing such things at all to the player. And those games (not RPGs, of course) that keeps track of the stats "under the hood" and only tell players the effects of said stats, feel so much more real.

View PostKrazzar, on 11 September 2013 - 07:33 PM, said:

Whether you're casual or hardcore the answer is obvious.  GW2 needs an expansion pack that takes more than a weekend to complete.
Hmm... I agree with Krazzar. Today's weather includes: suddenly appearing mini black holes, lakes of lava freezing over, gravity going upwards etc...

#29 Featherman

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 03:01 AM

While EC may not be surgical in its accuracy, it's at the very least trying to promote discussion. That's saying a lot when you consider that the nuances of game design are not unlike a magician's sleight of hand-it's tricking the senses technical and esoteric logic.

When I posted that video, I did it under my personal assumption of a dilemma posed by grinding and playing a game because it's intrinsically fun, but that's only because I was playing Guild Wars 2 at the time. GW2 offers rewards that highly divorced from the narrative of the gameplay, literal carrots on a stick, and recent updates seem to follow that mentality as well. For instance getting ascended gear in GW2 doesn't mean anything in the context of the game's story and outside of fractals opens up very few options (it limits them if you're focusing on optimization, in fact). If those rewards were a magician's trick to make me believe I needed to play, I guess I was way past disillusioned that that point.

I think those who are saying that intrinsic is subject are correct in a way, but I think that mentality is still stuck in the false dilemma posed by the idea of "Intrinsic vs Extrinsic" when you look at it in a vacuum. After I pretty much quit GW2 and I started playing Pokemon Black 2 with a few online friends I realized that there's an undeniable quality of aesthetics and mechanics involved in all of this. If Pokemon were all numbers I wouldn't find myself having preference over one type (grass in my case) due to aesthetics, I'd simply go with whatever had the best stats. Likewise, if the game had no type advantage system I wouldn't go out of my way to figure out how to deal with types that had an advantage over grass types through coverage moves or abilities. If I didn't like any Pokemon for their design, I probably wouldn't bother going through the pain of training any of them( something not unlike grinding for ascended in GW2). But I find myself doing so because I like the idea of training my favorite pokemon, and the game the game spices this up by delivering options as I train them.

Go on any website that min/maxes Pokemon (Smogon is a good example) and you'll find no shortage of posts that comment on a Pokemon's concept or ones that complain how their favorite Pokemon or type get the short end of the stick in the competitive scene. Smogon ironically, gets a lot of hate because it itemizes people's favorites into tiers (which would happen anyway as competitive players choose the best options).

Now for those who played at the time of the elections who claim that they disliked GW2's grinding, did it feel as bad to grind for support tokens?

Edited by Featherman, 12 September 2013 - 03:23 AM.





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