This is something that comes up over and over again in discussion threads, suggestions, and the like. People claim that Minecraft is too easy, or that some suggested change will make it too easy, and they want it to be harder.
How hard? From what I can tell, nobody wants the game to be too hard for them to play! But they want it to be too hard for those other people ... you know, them, the ones not as "l33t" as the poster ... so that at the very least, those people will be struggling and, therefore, admiring the poster's eliteness. As an example, I've been supporting the idea of selectable world generation options for a while (as if my sig wasn't enough to make that obvious!). In a discussion of the topic, someone objected because someone else -- not them, of course, nobody they play with, nobody they even know, but someone -- could turn all the mobs off, and the game would be "too easy." In another thread there was someone bitterly bemoaning the fact that you can switch modes in game, and saying that players should be locked into a given mode when they started the game, never allowed to switch, because -- even though they, the poster, would of course never do this -- someone else might, and it would perforce be "too easy" for that person.
When this is pointed out to them -- that is, the fact that some guy in Peoria switches to Peaceful when he gets scared -- will never affect them in any way -- the usual justification is "well, the game won't sell as well if it isn't hard enough." Be that as it may (and there's plenty to argue with there) I find it interesting that their solicitude for Mojang's profits seems to both begin and end with making the game "hard enough." It's a very one-dimensional concern, that. The only thing they seem to care about is that Minecraft can't be played in any way that could be considered "too easy" (considered by them, of course).
They're wrong. Very, very, very wrong.
Going back to one of my personal stories here, I started with the XBox 360 version. After playing it for about a month, I bought the PC version. Now, there are two significant things about this: One, that the PC version is considerably harder to play than the XBox version. (for starters, there's no helpful, friendly tutorial) Two, that on any objective scale, I did much better my first MC day on the PC than I did on the XBox. Why, when the game is harder? Because I was a better player. I knew how things worked. I knew what mobs could do, how to build a good house, where I should clear trees ... all that stuff. Things we don't even think about, really, because we've been doing them so long. But because I switched between the two versions (yes, I now play both) as quickly as I did, that difference was demonstrated to me.
One of the great advantages of Minecraft is its accessibility. A newbie can sit down and start playing. You don't need to memorize a manual, and there's nothing major at stake. You can just hack at it and have fun until you figure out what you're doing (or until a creeper blows you up because one of the things you didn't do wa build a house). It's extremely accessible to the novice. And that is one of the reasons for its success. Not that it's hard , but that it's easy, at least in the initial stages. Making it too hard -- what so many people have proposed -- would remove that accessibility. It would discourage new players from joining.
Another story: there was an MMO called Shadowbane. It was a full PvP world, which sounds fun, but it was badly designed and even more badly run. (this is where I commented "their login servers seem to think they're firewalls" and their slogan of "Play to Crush" was parodied as "Pay to Crash") One of the problems the game had was that being killed cost a player experience, not to mention all their stuff, and there were only a few places where low-level players could try to level up. Those places were camped by the people who were too pathetic to fight people of their own level, and could only kill newbies. So they did: they sat there and farmed newbies, and stole their bent swords and ragged clothes and handfuls of coins, and undoubtedly felt very good about themselves. They'd made the game harder for other people to play, hooray! Except, of course, that eventually most of those other people, unable to actually play, said "the heck with this, I'm going to play something that's more fun." So they pretty much shut off the newbie hose. And of course there was a steady drain in the long-term players, as there is in any game (though in Shadowbane, technical issues like crashing servers and hideous login times, not to mention absolutely nothing to do but fight whoever wasn't in your nation, which very quickly came down to "almost nobody", made them leave faster than normal) You have many old players leaving, and few new ones coming in ... I'm sure you can see where this was going. Shadowbane imploded.
If you take away that accessibility -- if you make it harder for new players to get involved -- then Minecraft risks going down Shadowbane's road: slowly dying as old players move on and few new players replace them.
After not all that long, in Minecraft terms, I've gotten the hang of things. I look back at some of the stupid newbie stuff I did relatively recently and I cringe. But if the penalties for those stupid newbie failures had been too high -- if the game had, in effect, reached out and slapped me and said "you're stupid, go away" -- then I probably wouldn't be here today. Not a Minecraft player. Not a forum mod. Not writing this post. I'd be playing something else -- either a game that wasn't unfriendly to newbies, or a game that offered a reward that seemed worth the unfriendliness. (note: those rewards are there in Minecraft, perhaps even more than in other games, but you don't realize that until you've been at it for a while ... I think for me, it was when I built my first farm harvester)
But there's stil the matter of experienced players. For example, my first few nights (okay, more than a few), I hid from mobs; now I hunt them instead. I've learned how they work, what it takes to kill them, how to do it most effectively, etc. The basic elements of Minecraft are looking simple now. I'm currently having fun playing with redstone and automating things. Other players might be going in different directions -- PvP, perhaps, or insanely elaborate builds in Creative mode, or running their own server, or whatnot. The basic challenges of finding something to eat and not being blown up by a creeper are so long in the past, so buried under the layers of "OMG I don't want to remember ever being that new", that they may as well not exist for them. They want more challenges -- but they're forgetting that not everyone is in their league.
Minecraft is a game for everyone. Some people want to become super-elite tough guys. Some want to build giant statues of Pikachu. Some want to farm endermen. Some want to farm flowers. And one of the strengths of the game is that it allows for all of that. And some of those flower-growers may surprise you, and decide they've had it with some mob (or some player) messing up their gardens, and go on the warpath. That's another good thing about Minecraft: it allows you to move on to harder challenges when the ones you're facing start to feel too easy.
We're getting better, because we've been playing the game and learning our way around. But the newbies aren't. It's their first time, their first day. We may very well want the game harder for us (though the people who just want to plant roses may disagree) but it shouldn't be any harder for those newbies. They're always going to be just starting out, just learning their way around, just trying to understand the game, because once they do these things they won't be newbies anymore; newer newbies will replace them.
So while it would make sense to add an Extra-Hard mode, for when we we want the game to be harder for ourselves (at least for someone else; I play on Normal), we should not want to make the game harder for the people just getting started. Otherwise they won't be getting started, they'll buy some other game instead, and Minecraft will die.
I never felt this game was hard even during alpha days when I started playing.
Yes as most of us play constantly we do get better at the game so it's easier to survive, the issue is many of us play on mutiplayer servers and eventually diamond armour isn't that hard to obtain when your with friends. So mobs seem way to easy and nothing is challenging.
Which is where all the "Ultra Hardcore" stuff comes into play, which personally I haven't tried myself.
When I start new characters in Terraria no matter how many times with fresh inventory I get a thrill and fear, cause it has a good amount of challenge and has a certain element of being hard.
I am ok with how the game is, but if it does ever bring some more challenging roles I would accept it just fine and so would my community.
The baby zombies was a kick in the ass to all my players, they kept dying the first few days but eventually got over it...even though they complained they seemed to have fun with it too.
You have some good points though, thanks for sharing your opinion.
But seriously, as someone with some standards, I also disagree.
Gee, thanks. Now I have no standards.
I hail from a time where games were relatively hard and finishing them, even on the easiest difficulty, was something that actually meant something (well, more than it does nowadays anyway...).
I'm not sure what time that was. Gaming-wise, I'm from the days of the original Zork (the one that circulated through DECUS, not the later commercial release or Adventure/Colossal Cave/etc.), and while that was in some ways impossibly hard -- it was the original "guess the parser" game -- there were also, often distributed with the game, complete walkthroughs. "Go north. Go in. Get lantern." Also maps, drawn in ASCII graphics, including of the maze of twisty little passages, all alike. Easy completion has been with us always.
Or take arcade games: Pac-Man, maybe, or good ol' Space Invaders. Again, once someone learned the patterns, the game became easy. People played for hours on one quarter to see how long they could keep it up before their brains turned to tapioca.
Games that weren't so readily completed were, by and large, that way because they led to impossible physical requirements. Sometimes it was a matter of increasing game speed, other times simply a case of poor controls that made it almost impossible to do what the player wanted to do. (the "guess the parser" text games fall into the latter category) In either case, it wasn't the inherent difficulty of the task that was the problem, but the game (purposefully or accidentally) making it hard to accomplish.
Sure, we all remember a day when games were better than they are now. Coincidentally, that day always seems to be when we started. So it's different for everyone. For me, the "golden age" of computer games was in the 1980s. For you, a different time. For some of our forum members, probably just last year. As I said in a long post elsewhere (it's linked from my profile if anyone actually wants to read it), it's not the games that change; it's us. We remember the thrills and delights of our first experiences ... the joy of being a newbie ... and when we can't find those feelings again, we blame the games. But the games aren't at fault; the real reason is that we're not newbies anymore, and our first time is now long gone. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
I enjoy the challenge videogames give you, the "now you have to earn your way past this point". It's what sets videogames apart from movies or books, that you actually had to give time, work and dedication to see its ending instead of holding hands and just tagging along. If you were stuck on a certain part of a game, cheat codes were there to allow you to progress, but you'd have to bear their weight in your conscience.
You have to remember, though, that what you enjoy is not necessarily what I enjoy, or what Joe Schmoe in the last row enjoys. The haggis shortage is not yet imminent. You like a stiff challenge. Some people just want to see the pretty scenery. As I said in my initial post, some people want to become tough PVPers, some want to build mammoth cities, and some just want to grow roses. A sandbox game, of necessity, will accommodate all of them.
In a sense, Minecraft could be better described as a toy than a game. What's the difference? Consider a box of Matchbox cars versus a slot car racing set. With the latter, a game, there is an element of competition and a specific goal, presented by the game, to accomplish: you want to get your little car around the track faster than the other guy. With the former, a toy, there is specified set goal; you play around with them. You might set goals for yourself ... "if I build a long ramp, can I get this car to zoom down it and all the way up the other side to my bed?" ... but they're not pre-set. Other people might be doing something totally different with those exact same cars. (I used to build towns out of boxes and cans and drive my toy cars around "like real") While there might arguably be a reason for a game that's too had to play, there's not much of a market for a toy that's too hard to play with. Nobody wants a bicycle they can't put together or a doll that they can't get out of the package.
Now, specifically about Minecraft. It's a sandbox game, yes. Exceptions should be made so a certain level of freedom is allowed, yes, and they're called Creative and Peaceful mode, where you can do whatever you want without being bothered.
What I'm getting from your post is, unfortunately, what I railed against in my Great Wall of Text above: "People who aren't as l33t as me should have to play Peaceful, because if they aren't as good their first day as someone who has been playing the game since alpha, they don't deserve to be allowed to play at all."
That's wrong, and yes, that will kill the game. People just starting want the same difficulty that you had when you were just starting -- which is not the same level of difficulty that would challenge you today. Making the game harder will certainly increase the challenge of the people who have been playing it for a month, or a year, or since Indev -- but them just switching to a harder level (and, if necessary, having an even harder level added to the game for their benefit) would accomplish that. However, by making the overall game harder than it was for you, or for me, or for anyone else who's been playing for more than a few days, learned the ropes, etc., they would restrict the number of new players who, just as we did, start playing and decide to stick around.
Mind you, I'm not saying the game should be made easier. My whole post was in opposition to the attitude I've seen that amounts to "I've gotten too good at the game to get much challenge out of it, so the whole game should be made harder!" They forget that they're not the only MC players in the world, and when they've wandered off to play something else, there need to be new players coming in to replace them -- and those players will not exist if the game's overall difficulty is retuned to challenge expert players.
As I said, MC/PC was easier for me, a lot easier, than MC/360 had been only a month earlier, even though, objectively speaking, the PC version of the game is actually harder, because I was a better player. A more experienced player. (by a whole month!) Certainly a more clueful player. I went from "How do I survive?" to "Survival I've got down; how do I get the resources I need?" ... and today, it would be "Survival and resources are no problem; where would be a good place to build my castle?"
Right now, I'm happy with the challenge of Survival/Normal; if I start feeling that it's too easy, I can always bump the difficulty up to Hard. And, perhaps, some day you'll see me agitating here for an Extra-Hard mode. But I don't want the existing modes made harder; that would only save me from having to click the "Options" button, at the cost of making the game less accessible to the newbies it depends on to remain alive.
In addition, the "making a game harder = killing it" argument doesn't hold up.
Fact: Over time, long-term players of any game get tired of that game and move on to play something else, which reduces total numbers.
Fact: Outgoing players can only be replaced by incoming players, who increase numbers.
Conclusion: If you dry up the supply of incoming players, then the player count goes down, and eventually there are few players remaining.
So, yes, making the game harder -- making it inaccessible to the novice -- will kill it. In the case of a game like Minecraft, where people buy it once, play forever, Mojang depends on new game sales to make its money. You take an MMORPG like World of Warcraft, they get revenue from monthly subscription fees to pay the bills; in a sense, it's like a monthly magazine. You take a game like, oh, Tetris, and once it's finished, there is no further involvement from the developers; in that sense, it's like a single book. But the Minecraft dev team continues to create content and give it away to the people whose money they've already gotten, and who are not giving them any more. (that would be us) Minecraft has to keep that newbie hose open -- has to be accessible to new players -- because if it isn't, they won't buy the game, and if they're not buying the game, Mojang isn't buying groceries.
Keeping a game easy and accessible is also perfectly capable of killing it. Some people will get bored of having things handed to them.
For those people, if they find that the game has become boring, there's that handy button in "Options". They can always make the game harder for themselves. That's a vastly different thing from making it harder for everybody.
The entertainment value will eventually run try, turning the game into a brain-dead grind - much like it is at its current state, if you ask me - and players will completely drop the survival aspect of the game or move on to other, more challenging games. (That's what happened to me, at least.)
The fact is, players will move on to other games no matter what. As cool as something seems today, in a while we'll become bored with it ... no game, no matter how complex and intriguing, can capture more than a small fraction of the complexity of reality ... and stop playing it. I'm pretty sure most of us don't play the same computer games that we played five years ago, or ten years ago. Players leaving is inevitable. And, again, for the game developer to remain in business they need to continue selling games, which means they need to sell them to newbies -- newbies like we were a month or a year or a few years ago -- or they'll find themselves supporting and updating a game that provides them with no income. And while I'm sure that Notch and Dinnerbone and all are very good, generous, giving people, the same cannot be said of their landlords, their grocery stores, and especially of the taxman. That income is essential, or they'll have to drop Minecraft and work on something else, so they have to keep the difficulty level about where it is, rather than, as so many people have suggested, making the whole game harder to increase its challenge for the experienced players at the expense of the newcomers.
The cold, hard truth is this: We don't matter, aside from our worth in mouth-to-mouth advertising (good or bad) to Mojang. They've already got our money. They could decide to devote their entire development effort to turning Minecraft into exactly the game I, Akynth, want it to be -- what I imagine would be the perfect game -- and the results would be exactly the same, financially, as if they banned me. They already have my money. I already bought the game. Making the game more perfect for me won't get them any more of my money. The only people who are going to give them money (aside from the people who buy multiple accounts, who are really a negligible percentage of sales) are the newbies. The very people that the "make Minecraft harder, it's too easy for me" proponents are dismissing. They're the people buying the devs' groceries. Not me. Not you. Not anyone who already bought the game.
Accessibility also increases the amount of people that join, both good and bad. The wider the audience is, the more "bad apples" it will encompass. Those bad apples can contaminate other apples, or may cause the them to just plain fall off the tree. This can taint the community (a fate worse than its death, if you ask me) and/or kills the game.
The more "bad apples" there are, true, but also the more "good apples" there are. Take a look at me, for example. Akinator. Some admin, at least, thinks I'm one of the better sort of apples. I'm also a fairly recent player to Minecraft: I started playing in 1.6. With a few exceptions, most people here seem to think I'm a benefit to the community. Had Minecraft remained limited to a small, exclusive group, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have seen the XBox 360 version in its little green box in a store and taken it home.
Again, back to the personal stories. I've been on the Net a long time. So long that my first post was in a newsgroup long gone on ARPAnet, before DARPA even got its "D". Long before most people on this forum were born. I watched Usenet grow from a tiny community to the "eternal September." I decried Cantor & Siegel, and I used to be active in net-abuse realms, keeping some control of their ilk. I was on the Net before the World Wide Web existed. You want a small, elite group .. .that was one. And you know what? I wouldn't trade today's Internet for that group for anything. Sure, there are more jerks today. There are more scammers. There are more idiots. But there are also more good people, more people worth knowing, worth talking to, worth arguing with, than there ever were before. While finding them can be a pain sometimes ... we do need better sorting mechanisms ... that's a small price to pay compared to them not being available at all.
We tend to notice most the things we don't like. You've probably touched a stove a thousand times ... but I guarantee, the time you remember is the time when it was hot. Likewise, we notice the jerks, the scammers, and the utter twits we meet online on a daily basis. The idiots in the Minecraft community make themselves obvious, loudly and clearly. But there are still just as many good people, even if they're getting out-shouted by the bad ones. They're people worth knowing. People we'd never have met if Minecraft -- or the Net -- forever remained a tiny, elite group.
But I will admit that more accessibility = more people = more sales = more $$$, and in any industry, that's the last and only line.
Until the day when grocery stores will accept good wishes at the checkout, and landlords are happy to be paid in kudos, that's how it has to be. For us Minecraft is entertainment; for Mojang, it's a living.
And, with regard to the good and bad apples ... I'm really enjoying this discussion with you. It would be a loss to both of us if the small, elite community contained only one or the other of us, and this discussion never took place.
Feel free to pm me about any concerns,corrections,or questions.
I do redstone, pvp, light map making, enjoy sweet tea, and I'm a Leo.
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Agreed completely. I admit, I am one of those newbie players. Heck, I can barely face a fricken zombie without losing half of my health on EASY mode, let alone Normal or Hard modes. If they made Minecraft 'harder', I would clearly be one of the players who would be overwhelmed by the sudden increase of difficulty(I will never forgive those damn Blazes for knocking me off these cliffs...), so I would probably stay on 24/7 Creative.
But oh no, Creative is too easy. Let's remove it and only leave Hardcore mode!
I've never understood why people think the entire game needs to be more difficult for everyone, including Grandpa and 5 year old Susie and the people who are not career gamers born glued to their consoles. Adding a higher difficulty level or adjustable/toggleable options for things would give the hardcore players what they want without making n00bs or casual players ragequit. Even harder to comprehend is the obsession over the fact that someone, somewhere might be switching to peaceful mode or 'cheating' and having an easier time at the game than you. Who cares?? The fact that it's a sandbox seems to get some people into the mindset that their own personal vision of the game is the one true way to develop and play it.
The cold, hard truth is this: We don't matter, aside from our worth in mouth-to-mouth advertising (good or bad) to Mojang. They've already got our money.
Something that's also useful for the uber-nostalgic "stop updating the game" people to remember. They already got your money in Beta 1.4 or whenever, so anything they add from that point on won't get them more income from anyone BUT n00bs. And the more cool new things they add, the more people will talk about it to their friends, make new Let's Plays, et cetera. I have my doubts that a version of the game stalled at, say, 1.73 development would be still gaining this many new players, or sustaining such an active community.
Game is too easy? Take off your fricking prot IV diamond armor and stop lighting up your caves.
Want a better idea? How about Mojang adds a more difficult area or more difficult mobs to a certain area that can actually compete with tiers above stone? Really, when the whole game save for the Wither feels like it is balanced around an unarmored player, you can't really blame people for wanting a harder game.
And really, using "just don't use god-tier armor" seems like a lame excuse to me. The progression in this game is already the worst I've ever seen in a game as popular as this (you can get diamonds before the sun sets on the first day). You're suggesting that we purposely stop progressing so that the game is harder. Yeah, it's a solution, but it's a crappy solution. Instead of imposing a challenge that hurts a part of the game that is already wavering, why not just bolster the wavering part of the game with a more difficult area to make the game as a whole better? Why not just kill two birds with one stone instead of ineffectually throwing a bird at a rock?
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Ah, thank you for saying this. I'm definitely one of those people who gives up on a game I don't immediately get the hang of (it's hard to compete with "gamer" friends), when I first got Minecraft all I did was play on peaceful because I didn't like having a heart attack every time I went spelunking for materials to build pretty things. Now that creative is around, I use that for my elaborate builds, and play on Normal with friends because over time I figured out that mobs were actually pretty easy to deal with (though I still don't like spelunking with them around...).
Minecraft is a sandbox game, and like you said, people go in all different directions. Making the game harder is just forcing the players into one direction. I don't like fighting in Minecraft, if I wanted to do that I'd play something else, I play Minecraft because it's one of the few games (actually the only one right now) I enjoy that doesn't make me attack things.
That's why I think hardcore mode is only for ads. You can just go on hard mode constantly and don't respawn after death. Can't you just do this? It takes even less time to do so.
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