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Author Topic: Getting Past The Invulnerability/Too Much Money Problem in Game  (Read 1485 times)
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ATB
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« on: May 22, 2008, 07:15:16 PM »

So I'm playing Mass Effect (so far it's a solid B title), but it has two common problems that many games also have.

The first:

Ridah mentioned it somewhere, as has Ike and probably others, that at a certain point, you're basically an invulnerable tank and that you really face no opposition because your weapons are uber and your guns are uber and the enemies are basically the same (though maybe with a few more hit points).

It adds to the sense of relief that not every battle is gonna be a scrap, but it also takes away from the enjoyment IMO because you know barely any battle is going to be one.

The second:

Too much money.  You start out pour and you see something costing 300k credits at a shop and are like 'I'll never have that much money'. Fast forward: I now have 5 million credits.  What's the point of earning credits if the end product is that your Rockerfeller whether you try to be or not?

There must be some way to balance difficulty and economy in a game without making it too easy/hard  or too rare/common.

Would it be done by deliberately determining what items are available and at what level you progress? But how would a designer do that without making us feel like we're in a very narrow world with very narrow choices?

Ditto money.  There's got to be a way to make economics more realistic/viable...
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 07:45:53 PM »

More of a problem, at least in Mass Effect, was that money simply didnt matter.  With very. very few exceptions, I don't think I bought anything from a vendor in ME.  With one exception, you could find weapons as good as you could buy, and there was simply no purpose for money otherwise.  You see this in a lo of RPGs where after initially buying a set of decent armor and weapons, you just collect money for no purpose.  Of games of this nature I've played recently, only Titan Quest made any kind of showing of having any decent money sinks, and then only if you had the expansion.
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 07:49:49 PM »

My problem in games is that I never buy consumables (ammo, powerups, etc) unless I absolutely have to because I am scared later I will not have cash for the big uber weapon or armor when it is offered.  Generally what either happens is my fear is warranted and I go broke later buying some high end equipment, or I just save up so much cash that by the end of the game I have more money than I can spend and I am upset I didn't spend more on the way.

With difficultly there is a fine line to walk, by the end of the game I want to feel more powerful than I did at the beginning.  There are times when I want to feel invulnerable cutting through hordes of the same guys I had trouble with when the game started.  They key is to add new challenges that tax even these new powers.  Mass Effect fell down on that point, even the final boss battles were pretty simple if you have maxed your level (and to some extent I expect to have less difficultly in the end if I went out of my way to do every side quest, but they took it a bit far).  One good trick is to alternate between the hordes of enemies you can now crush with your pinky and highly tactical boss/miniboss type fights.  I don't want a slug fest that is just ramped up for my new HPs I want you to make me think about how I can use my new powers to beat this guy.
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 07:54:10 PM »

I didn't think difficulty was a problem- when I reached that stage of the game I just upped the difficulty slider and that helped a lot.

Money stuff is definitely a concern for a lot of games.  Generally I think it all needs to be linked to optional content.  If you stick to the main path then you should get just enough money to buy the equipment necessary to see you through to the end.  Should you do lots of additional sidequests then those should elevate in difficulty such that you'll require additional funds to get get the better equipment needed to get through them. 

That also means that a lot of stuff ends up being unattainable to straight-path players, who will then bitch, but you'll never make everyone happy....But then again, people who do a lot of sidequesets will bitch that the main path is too easy so no one wins....
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 07:58:51 PM »

I usually blow my money on healing potions. Hundreds and hundreds of healing potions
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 08:03:50 PM »

Yea, money is almost pointless in a lot of games.  Take Grand Theft Auto IV for instance - why do I live in a hovel with 450,000 dollars burning a hole in my pocket?  I can live the America Dream of big titties and such, but noooo....I live in a run down shack.  I guess it's better than a van down by the river, but not by much.
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 08:05:26 PM »

I tend to horde money amass for items or if I find a good weapon in a store. Some games this doesn't apply, like ME and right now playing persona 3. I have almost 700k in persona 3 and I even wince when buying 5 items for 1200 each. I think the trend of making money incredibly hard is wearing thin. I remember the earlier FF games this was a problem and where much of cheapness comes from.

I quickly found out how to exploit the gambling in Fable and had more than enough money I needed. I wouldn't say it made the game any easier though. I mean it was easy enough on it's own. Which I think was the main problem with ME. Once you got a feel for combat it was just a breeze. I don't think lots of money had anything to do with that really. The enemy AI was just piss poor programming.
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 08:14:24 PM »

Quote from: ATB on May 22, 2008, 07:15:16 PM

So I'm playing Mass Effect (so far it's a solid B title), but it has two common problems that many games also have.

The first:

Ridah mentioned it somewhere, as has Ike and probably others, that at a certain point, you're basically an invulnerable tank and that you really face no opposition because your weapons are uber and your guns are uber and the enemies are basically the same (though maybe with a few more hit points).

It adds to the sense of relief that not every battle is gonna be a scrap, but it also takes away from the enjoyment IMO because you know barely any battle is going to be one.


See, I don't mind this.  There's nothing I hate more than extended boss battles that I wind up having to play multiple times. The way I play every Ratchet and Clank game is to level up my armor, guns and gadgets so high that when it's time to face the final boss, I can do it in like 5 shots.  Yay me!

I think a well designed game allows you to get super strong and super rich so you can easily progress, but doesn't require you to do so if you want to be challenged.  Hence you are perfectly able to do a 3 heart run in Zelda, or you can find every piece of heart and fairy bottle there is and be close to indestructible by the time you face Ganon (at least in the 3D ones).
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 08:39:34 PM »

One of the things I loved about the original Resident Evil game (I can't recall clearly if it was the same in the sequels) was that you had to conserve your ammo or face serious consequences later on. I wish this would prove similar with the economic system in games where you use money and are rewarded with it. After that bank job mission in GTA4 where the payout was $250k I didn't two shits about hospital bills, splurging on clothes, I don't even see the point of Niko taking most of the jobs when he's obviously doing pretty well aside from the ones that progress the plot.
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2008, 01:30:57 AM »

We should ask Pete Rock how he does it in real life and see if it translates into games.
 slywink

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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2008, 04:47:32 AM »

I rather have too much money and too strong than no money and weak.
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2008, 08:28:27 AM »

Keep in mind, I think Mass Effect was balanced more towards gamers that were less skilled at shooters, and gamers that weren't meticulous at exploring everything.

I suspect that if you burned through the game at decent rate, doing some side quests.

The reward for doing all the extra stuff is higher power levels, and for gamers like us that means we've often out leveled the main plotline.

Then, the problem with putting other areas to sink your money in to is that some players might feel like they have to do those things to keep up, then feel like it's a chore to do.
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2008, 12:38:20 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on May 22, 2008, 08:03:50 PM

I can live the America Dream of big titties and such...

I heard the founding fathers decided at the 11th hour to leave that part out of the Declaration of Independence! smile
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2008, 02:53:41 PM »

it was nice to feel like a (rich) major bad ass by the end of the game though.  I'm just curious how they're going to nerf you at the beginning of ME2, and what they'll do with all of your credits.  A tough night in Vegas?
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2008, 06:09:04 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on May 23, 2008, 02:53:41 PM

it was nice to feel like a (rich) major bad ass by the end of the game though.  I'm just curious how they're going to nerf you at the beginning of ME2, and what they'll do with all of your credits.  A tough night in Vegas?

"You invested in the Interstellar stock market.  Go back three spaces and pass all money to the player on your left."
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2008, 10:15:42 PM »

Quote
My problem in games is that I never buy consumables (ammo, powerups, etc) unless I absolutely have to because I am scared later I will not have cash for the big uber weapon or armor when it is offered.  Generally what either happens is my fear is warranted and I go broke later buying some high end equipment, or I just save up so much cash that by the end of the game I have more money than I can spend and I am upset I didn't spend more on the way.

wow we do rpgs in almost the exact same manner - weird!  except i suffer from the additional problem of not being able to pull the trigger on the decent gear.  take mass effect - the "mid-game" stuff for sale (around the citadel and the first of 3 mandatory planets) was pretty good!  there were a few sets of armor and a couple weapons that would have made the game MUCH easier at that point (for me at least) - BUT I JUST COULDNT DO IT!!!  what if i dont have enough for the REALLY good stuff later, i said.  of course when later came i ended up FINDING all the really good stuff and bankrolling millions of credits - doh!  should have grabbed the stuff in the midgame *sigh*
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2008, 11:18:27 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on May 22, 2008, 08:03:50 PM

Yea, money is almost pointless in a lot of games.  Take Grand Theft Auto IV for instance - why do I live in a hovel with 450,000 dollars burning a hole in my pocket?  I can live the America Dream of big titties and such, but noooo....I live in a run down shack.  I guess it's better than a van down by the river, but not by much.

Because the best you can get for $450k in NY is a shack.  This is realistic :-)
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2008, 06:47:35 PM »

Just finished the 360 version here.

I agree that there were a few balancing issues with the game. Admittedly I did play it on easy as a soldier just so I could get the story. I did all the side quests I could explored every planet and area and maxed out at the level 50 a bit before the end. I will probably play it again as something else on a hard difficulty. On easy it was pretty much aim in the general direction and pull the trigger. I had maxed my money out long before the end and was well on my way to maxing the omnigel by the end.

I put ~70 hours into it so I got my cost ($16 used) out of it. Issues aside (balancing, inventory interface, other minor ones), I eagerly await news of ME2. I lubs me a good Bioware game and story and they did put a lot of effort into the background and flavor texting. I wish the items were labeled better though.
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