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Game Design (Pay-wall / Skill-wall / Time-wall / no wall)

Level 13

As I get older and play video games less and less, i don't have a lot of time to invest in game or games.  Also i would say that I am alright at some types of games but get annoyed with others because progression is absolute nothing.

So my point of discussion should walls exist in games?  If we pay 30 to 60 on game and get sidetracked with life (working 55 hour weeks, taking care of home related items, and only getting like an hour or two every other night) how much of the game should we experience?

Pay-wall where people can pay to be better?  Is this lazy game design with an objective to just be a cash cow.  Lets look at i-racing, paying for additional tracks, cars, etc, and you still need a monthly subscription.  Or mmos where you can pay for artifacts skills to dominate.

Skill-wall where you can't progress to the next level or area without getting better.  Meaning you can't not even explore the next mission, next area, or next ability without some obligation to complete a mission.  Meaning you can be stuck at less then 5% of game completion if one mission you just can't figure out.


Time-wall (grind-wall) you got to play as a matter fact no matter of skill or understanding of the game, like many rpgs you have to grind just to get into good rhythm for the game to be fun.  This mechanic is worse than skill wall, as its compulsory play for just being compulsory.


No wall, The game is 100% open to explore, no arbitrary walls, pick the level you want to play the skills you want have, and just have a blast.  Beat sabre works on this premise, meaning you don't have to complete some arbitrary tasks to experience what every one can experience.  You can just play the game, you can get better because you have access to harder levels off the bat.

Final type of wall by really is about player base (ranking-wall) think of overwatch, where newcomers often never experience top 500, or even top 2,000 play.  Because of simple fact the ranking pool is so very diluted because skilled, trolls, just bad players, and dumb luck make it diluted.  Also with "balancing" and meta changes, once a person has had some time with the game they start doing better until there character is limited by people who want to shake things up.  The big problem with this mechanic is a lot of the general population is subjected to trash of the game, and "pros" by sheer of not having a true job in the real world can grind and start in the begining.


Level 9

What shouldn't exist are games being all catered to your limited play time. I happen to enjoy walls in games, in fact hate level scaling with a passion. You want to talk about progression being an illusion. The difference between level gating and level scaling is level gating is like walking from point A to B, where level scaling is like walking on a treadmill with the illusion you're getting somewhere, rendering actual leveling completely useless.

Level 15

It makes perfect sense to have games that cater to specific needs, including limited playtime. That's literally what entails a Market in the first place: catering to needs. And luckily, there are games that cater to limited playtime. Such as the Rogue-lite genre.


I recently became acquainted with this genre and love it. There are "no walls" and you can play for 30 minutes, or 5 hours. The entire construct is built around the idea that you will have short burst experiences, and die often. The games progression and scaling revolves around death and playing short bursts. I find it quite fascinating.


I'm highly addicted to Hades right now. It's a rather fantastic rogue-lite experience. 


@PITTCANNA Have you tried any rogue-lite games? If so, I'm interested in your thoughts on how that plays in to your gaming needs.


Other than that, simple First Person Shooters are a go-to genre for anyone with limited playtime but doesn't want to invest in huge time-sinks. What I love about Shooters is that you, the person, get better over time, instead of the video game avatar.

Level 8

I have a few thoughts here. First, I despise pay-to-win. In general I don't like in-game purchases. If it is for cosmetics then it is OK, but when you can speed up progression by paying, I really hate that.


Second, skill walls are generally OK and give a sense of progression if it is actual skill that matters. For example, Doom Eternal can be frustrating for me because I really like Doom, but I usually have to play each level about 100 times to figure out how to go about it, what weapons to use, etc., but to progress I actually have to "git gud." But the satisfaction from finally beating a level is awesome. More than once though I have abandoned a game because I just wasn't skilled enough. Though most of the time I could turn down the difficulty, but that seems like a worse defeat.


Third, with grinding I have mixed feelings. I would prefer that grinding actually make you get better or gain new abilities, etc. I love Borderlands. While you level up in the game, being a higher level just gives you more difficult enemies, so the progression is an illusion. But the game is still fun. If grinding results in unlocking things that matter, I don't mind doing the work.


Forth, for multiplayer, I like the idea of grouping people according to level or skill. Nothing is more frustrating than getting into a new game and having someone that you can't even see, snipe you in the head after 5 seconds because they have 1000 hours into the game. The down side is that if you have a small player base, and you divide it up, it can make it hard to find a game.


One other issue for me is that I have often started a game and then life intruded or I just started a different game. Then when I came back, I couldn't remember all the game mechanics or what I had done before. I have more than once restarted a game because I had been away so long. It is troubling to me that I have so many games that are started and not finished.


And thanks for asking this question. I hadn't even thought about game structure using this kind of classification. It makes it interesting to think about the various philosophies of game access and progression. 

i7 8700, 16GB, RTX 2080 TI, Rift CV1 | i5 4690K, 16GB, GTX 1660 TI, Rift CV1 | Quest | Quest 2

Level 13

The reason why I pose this question, is how games are sold, and classified.  With vr gaming its hard to get tell of a game with out a fully fleshed out try before you buy type sales method.  

The amount of demos on quest store, steam vr and other platforms are too far and few between.  A 10 second video clip and few stills are not going to tell you much.  And i am not one to buy and instant refund games if it turns out to be a stinker whether is because of me personally or general population says its bad.

And it would be nice if gaming designers showed implications of progression.  By having a secondary type near the title.


Because back in the days of cartridge and up to ps2 generation, a lot of games where fully fleshed out and had true progression curves.  Its not like modern day video games where you need to trully develop a skillset for a specific game.  You didn't buy skins, the developers didn't re-balance, or tweak, rpgs were more condensed, and as for bugs there was none that could be patched as there was not game systems that didn't connect to the internet.

Vr games also are different from standard console or pc games, as user inputs are truly more phyiscal and not bound to a standard control or keyboard.


It would also be great to skill curve charted to show how a game eases into difficulty.

Level 13

Absolutely not.  You want to take down walls?  Go to torrent sites and see if those groups still exist like Fairlight, paradox, razor1911 etc.  The old hackers that made trainers for all the games, maybe you can get a trainer to cheat through the game since you don't have the time.  But games are designed to be played the way the developers invisioned, if they considered different levels of progression based on the players available time, it would just ruin the games.


This would be akin to stepping into a time machine and going back to 1993 when Street Fighter 2 games were all the rage in the arcades.  But you're a man with a full time job and you step up to the machine to compete with some high school kid that has more time to play the game than you, but since you don't have the same level of experience, he can't block your attacks, he has to let you recover from being dizzy without pulling a combo in the name of mercy, and he has to let you throw the first punch.  That would suck, it would ruin any game.  I also hate pay to win games.

Except that games without walls do exist. Standard Shooters and Rogue-lite games have none of the traditional walls. Of course, at some point this conversation might turn philosophical in defining what a "wall" really entails lol