I wonder sometimes about the arbitrary limitations we put on ourselves. D3 has an auction house. D3 allows, through the “elective mode” option, you to more greatly customize your character’s abilities.
So why do recoil from both of these options?
One of my buddies (let’s call him X) and my other buddy (we’ll call him Y) got into a verbal – mostly friendly – altercation about use of the auction house. Since X has been twinking out at the AH, he’s become a ridiculous powerhouse compared to the rest of us. His damage number is as high as my wife’s and my Y’s combined. This means that every fight is basically trivialized.
Y, though, was the first to use the AH, but he stopped around level 12 and has since replaced every AH bought item. At level 12, though, he was given a LOT of shit about “cheating” by X, who is now inadvertently “ruining” the game for the rest of us by being so overpowered. As a result, now Y is giving X shit, which leads to verbal – mostly friendly – altercations.
Frankly, I don’t really care, but I don’t want my experience trivialized. I don’t care what’s trivializing it, but I want it to be fun.
Then we have the Elective debate. Why the hell did Blizzard create “talent blocks” of abilities if there was a button you could push to just ignore the “talent blocks?” Y suggested it was so novice players don’t accidentally choose only resource-using abilities and end up with no mana/rage/spirit/baby flesh (or whatever witchdoctors use). Okay, well, that makes sense, but then why not set up a warning for that type of thing? Why create a false “interesting choice” – having to choose one out of a set of abilities – if you can just override it in the options?
So again we descend into a conversation about how to play the game. Half of me says, “Just have fun.” The other half says, “Why would the developer create a challenge that can be so easily overcome with auctions and options?” The third half (I can have a third half; I’m overweight) of me says, “I feel like my experience is being trivialized by others, like WoW was, through too-easy access to ‘win’ buttons. The solution is to play alone.”
In the end, of course, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll play and have a good time – and I am, though I died AGAIN during the last boss of act II (I’m the only one who keeps dying, and I’m the one who can consistently heal. Clearly I’m doing something wrong), but I feel this gets right back to my group leveling tips, and more importantly, to a tip I now know I left out: make sure you’re all playing the same game. Clearly, my group isn’t.
One of us uses elective mode; the other three don’t. One of us uses the AH; the other three don’t (anymore in Y’s case). One of us doesn’t give a hoot about the lore and runs off by himself all the time, potentially killing champions so far away that the rest of us don’t get loot; the rest of us explore the whole map and call out when we find a champ or a book to make sure everyone gets it. The real problem, it seems, isn’t to do with “cheating” or the game itself, but simply with play styles.
I’ve thought a lot about play styles, mostly in reference to the pen and paper RPGs I’ve run. I’ve made bold (and probably erroneous) statements about it being impossible for wildly different play styles to cooperate meaningfully in a tabletop game. I have lots of stories I can tell in this regard, stories of horror and anger and betrayal at the acts of fellow players who are supposed to be on your team.
I’ll even be really bold and go out on a limb and say I don’t think Bartle’s entirely right. I think he’s started something, like Gardner did with multiple intelligences, but I think, also like Gardner, there are more to add to that list. Not in my group, though. It’s pretty clear we’ve got an achiever who just wants to get done as easily and fast as possible and explorers who want to see the whole game and enjoy what was left for us there by the devs. No one’s right; no one’s wrong. No one’s cheating, not really, even if my very gamer soul rejects the AH and elective mode. There are no cheaters, just confusing design decisions.
Stubborn (only 15 essays left)
Edit: Good lord I had a lot of grammar errors today.