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Discuss all things Destiny.

Edited by Hylebos: 3/18/2014 11:24:43 PM
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Hylebos

Destiny's Design: Exotic Restrictions

[quote][b]WARNING:[/b] Game Design can be very situational. Proceed with Caution! [b]WARNING:[/b] I'm not a very succinct writer. Good luck making it to the end![/quote] [quote][b]Introduction:[/b][/quote]Since Destiny's official reveal in February, Bungie has been steadily drawing back the curtain on their brave new world. So far we've heard plenty about the big picture, but many of the critical details that flesh out the experience and demonstrate what sort of game Destiny is trying to become are still unknown. The tides are beginning to turn though thanks to information drops like the 14 page Destiny article in January's Issue of Game Informer. Not only was it chock full of new information and pictures, Game Informer also supplemented the article with [url=http://www.gameinformer.com/p/destiny.aspx]additional interviews[/url] throughout the month of December. Thanks to their spectacular job, we've come one step closer to understanding what sort of game Bungie is planning to create. I personally have been very excited about a lot the new information, and from what I've seen most people have reacted very positively to Game Informer's coverage. However, a few concerns were raised by the community over different pieces of information such as this excerpt from the Game Informer Article:[quote]"Gear is loosely gathered into four tiers: basic (white), common (green), superior (purple), and the coveted exotic items (gold). Characters can only wield one exotic weapon and one exotic armor piece, but you can carry as many as you like, and switch between them at your leisure."[/quote]Miller, Matt. "Destiny." Game Informer Jan. 2014: 59. Print. It's not wrong for people to be concerned or unexcited when new information is revealed, but in this particular instance I feel that Bungie's restrictions on Exotics is a very strong design choice that will ultimately make Destiny a more healthy and interesting game. Today I would like to justify and explain my perspective with the hopes that people can see where I'm coming from, and hopefully I might alleviate a few concerns. In my mind, there are three major benefits that result from Bungie's exotic restrictions: [quote][b]1) Exotic restrictions help to limit the power level of players.[/b][/quote]I should probably start off this section by saying that the Exotic class of equipment should represent the most powerful, interesting, and unusual gear that a Guardian can find while exploring the solar system. The abillities found on these pieces of equipment are the paint that will bring their epic story to life and inspire player to come back again and again in search of more. If the Exotics are not exciting, then I feel that Destiny will have failed to deliver on the experience that Bungie set out to create. However, Bungie needs to be able to control just how powerful an individual player can become or else Destiny will become very difficult to balance. This is important not only for the competitive modes, but the cooperative modes as well. What is the best way to limit the power of exotics while still allowing them to be unique and interesting? My biggest concern here is homogenization. The easiest way to balance the exotics would simply be to nerf each one of them to the point where no one exotic is too powerful when combined with the other possible exotics in the build. Such a solution would allow for players to wield a loadout made entirely out of exotics without breaking the game, but at that point a lot of what makes exotics so appealing will have been lost. Is that really worth the abillity to wield both Gjallarhorn and Red Death at the same time? Bungie's decision to limit players to one exotic weapon and one exotic armor piece seems like a better way of solving the problem. There is not as much need to homogenize the exotics to prevent imbalance when you only have to worry about any one armor piece being too strong with any one weapon. Sure, players won't be able to wield both Closing Time and Arcus Regime in the same loadout, but if each weapon is allowed to be stronger and more unique as a result of that sacrifice, won't that ultimately result in a more interesting game? [quote][b]2) Exotic restrictions increase the number and availability of builds.[/b][/quote]That statement might sound a little odd at first. How do you increase the number of builds by taking away options from players? It is certainly true that the total number of possible builds will mathematically decrease as a result of Bungie's restrictions on exotics, however, the number that we really care about as players is the total number of competitive builds. To demonstrate this with an example, there are currently 718 different kinds of Pokemon in the world. Some simple math shows us that there are just under a million trillion different possible pokemon parties, however, considering that players are going to use only the strongest and most-evolved pokemon in their parties, that number shrinks dramatically at the highest levels of competition. This phenomena is the result of strategic dominance: there's no reason to use a Charmander when you could use a Charizard. As it turns out, Pokemon aren't so different from the guns and armor that we'll find while playing Destiny. Since Exotics are supposed to represent the most powerful and interesting gear in Destiny's sandbox, strategic dominance tells us that players will want to equip as many exotics as they are allowed to. Therefore, Bungie's restrictions on exotics actually increases the number of competitive builds by forcing players to use superior tier equipment to supplement the two exotics they have chosen. Players on a budget also serve to benefit from Bungie's exotic restrictions. Exotics are likely to be one of the rarest drops in Destiny, and as a result they are also likely to be among the most expensive items traded between players. It would certainly suck if players had to acquire a full set of exotics to have a competitive build, which would require either a ton of Glimmer or a ton of grinding to get all the pieces you'd need. In comparison, Bungie's restrictions mean that the cost of acquiring a competitive build is much cheaper as any top build needs only two exotics instead of eight. In addition, the overall cost of the exotics should decrease as the demand for any particular exotic should be dispersed due to the increased variety of builds available. This isn't to say that exotics should be easy to acquire, they just shouldn't be asinine.
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  • Edited by Hylebos: 4/5/2014 9:55:36 PM
    [quote][b]3) Exotic restrictions will make your choices much more meaningful.[/b][/quote]Have you ever wondered why modern games have been trending towards highly customizable character experiences? There are many reasons, but the one I would like to focus on today is that when you ask a player to customize his character, you are asking that player to invest himself into your game, creating endogenous value which gives players a reason to continue playing your game for long after it came out. However, simply giving players a ton of choices to make isn't enough. You're asking players to invest themselves into a character, if the choices you ask them to make don't matter to the character, then why should they matter to the player? Endogenous value is only created if there's actual value to be had. As you can imagine, attempting to maximize the value of choices leads to greater player investment. Perhaps it wasn't the original or main intent of the mechanic, but Bungie's exotic restrictions absolutely make build decisions more important. Which decision is more profound? Choosing an Exotic Cloak over every other Exotic Cloak, or choosing an Exotic Cloak over every other Exotic Armor Piece? The former feels like you're simply checking a box off of your build, at best it feels like you're trying to MinMax that particular slot. On the other hand, the latter choice is a much larger commitment, and as a result has a higher chance of having a personal story attached to that choice. In particular, since a simple change of exotic equipment can drastically change the way your Guardian approaches combat, the choices of exotics you make will speak volumes about you as a Player and what you're trying to accomplish with your Guardian. If you choose to wield the exotic sniper rifle known as Closing Time, then perhaps you are trying to become the ultimate long range sniper by taking advantage of the weapon's ADS Cloak and the abillity to remotely collect Ammo Crates. Or, by choosing the exotic auto rifle known as Red Death, perhaps you are trying to become an unstoppable bandit juggernaut, surviving withering fire using the weapon's increased health regeneration to get back into the fight faster. Or perhaps you'll find the Gjallerhorn's abillity to take over and control enclosed areas with its sentry turrets much more appealing. It's conversations like these that I'm really looking forward to once the Beta approaches. Everyone knows what character they are trying to create, but with so many different approaches towards creating a character of that archetype, there is certain to be clever solutions and interesting debates on the merits of different Exotics and Focuses. It truly will be a delicious time to be a member of this community. [quote][b]Conclusion:[/b][/quote]Bungie's exotic restrictions exemplifies a certain design philosophy that goes along the lines of "Restrictions breed Creativity". If players are given a straight shot to their goal, then of course everyone's journey is going to be the same, and that's really not interesting. But if a Game Designer places obstacles in the path of the player, then several solutions will arise that solve that problem, some better than others, and the playerbase will begin to diverge. When enough obstacles are introduced, the journey that any individual player takes to reach the goal will be radically different from everyone else's. Why did Halo restrict players to only two weapons at a time? Why can I not wield both a Rocket Launcher and a Large Machine Gun in Destiny? Why can Link not jump in the Legend of Zelda? Why can I only use up to Six Pokemon in a Party? Why can't I put more than four Lightning Bolts in my Magic the Gathering Deck? Restrictions breed creativity. Now this isn't to say that any restriction will breed creativity, if the restrictions you place on players take away too much depth or are far too frustrating, then players will give up long before they reach their goal as the experience just isn't enjoyablel. Like every aspect of Game Design, this philosophy is very situational, and cannot be followed blindly, you must strike the balance that is right for your experience. I feel that so far Bungie has struck that balance with their Exotic Restrictions, the benefits have vastly outweighed any negatives. I'm getting serious vibes from Destiny that reminds me of many other games and genres that I've really enjoyed over the past couple of years, from RPGs like Dark Souls to MOBAs like League of Legends. I think this game is truly special, and I can't wait until more is unveiled. As this thread comes to a close, I would like to mention that I first created my Bungie.net account on January 5th, 2008. That makes today my Sixth Bungie.net Anniversary. I've enjoyed my time on this site tremendously, I've made friends, played games, and enjoyed many bad jokes as a part of this community. You guys inspire me to push beyond myself and become a better person, and to that end I would like to say that one of my resolutions this year is to improve my writing. I really enjoy writing these sorts of Game Design threads and sharing my passion with the community, and reducing the turnaround time from when the idea is first incepted to when the thread gets posted while raising the quality bar will help me share more content with you guys. We'll see how that goes, but any feedback you have is appreciated! As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know! Game Design is difficult to write about and misunderstandings can occur, if there's anything I can do to try to clear things up or explain myself better then I'd love to take a stab at it. Here's to a legendary seventh year on Bungie.net! ~Hylebos [quote][b]Related Threads: 1) [url=http://www.bungie.net/7_Destiny-Speculation-Exotic-Ascension/en/Forum/Post?id=63605619]Destiny Speculation: Exotic Ascension[/url] 2) [url=http://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post?id=64293430]Destiny's Design: Exotic Exclusivity[/url][/b][/quote]
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    • Restrictions also breed tedium. Exotic armor is clearly restricted to limit light level without acquiring raid gear. That's fine. Exotic weapon restrictions are solely directed at PvP, in which are understandable to provide a small degree of balance. Those weapon restrictions, however, are completely unnecessary in PvE. All it does is require tedious juggling of weapons in your inventory as you encounter sections calling for a different strategy or play style. The kind of enemy you face often can change simply when moving from one area to another or section to another, requiring strategically swapping a special or heavy for a different elemental damage, not to mention long range vs close quarter with a primary. Depending on what's in your inventory at the time, and what you're using as exotics at the period of that transition, it makes you switch one weapon when you otherwise wouldn't have, losing ammo, and time, in the process. Two exotics are being used whether they're both equipped or not, the only thing the current design does is add a tedious, frustrating process that takes away from the game. There are no balance considerations that need to be made in PvE. Every exotic (that's not useless in PvE, as many are), excels at one thing but is mediocre at best in other respects, meaning it is not to be used in every situation. Basically, exotic weapon restrictions when it comes to PvE, are utterly useless and provide no advantage to the balance or quality of the game. EDIT: Moved from second post reply.
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    • The reason i stopped trying for exotics is because eventually they'll all get nerfed by complaining casuals. I'm not going to spend weeks on end just to get something that was cut back and just as good as an uncommon in crucible...
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      nwrath01
      nwrath01

      Trying to adaptions,yx - old

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzopWRXK_r4
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    • the inability to wear more than one exotic weapon and armor is the primary reason my personal loot grind has ended. For some reason I feel compelled to grind gear upgrades but grinding ascendants isn't addicting at all. If we could wear more exotics I would prolly have hung in there longer. bungie should have just made the raid slightly harder than a strike and had matchmaking. Raiding is the only way you easily progress beyond full legendaries and the 2 exotics, but bungie made it annoyingly inefficient to do any raiding. Only a minority of the playerbase had done the raid and even less repeated it after that. bungie sucks at the raid game
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      • I appreciate your perspective on these things, sir. Too often people jump to conclusions and begin whining before asking questions or giving critical thought to why the developer is making a certain decision. I'm not sure many will read every word you have here, but I wish they would because people need to open up their minds every once in a while. [quote] But if a Game Designer places obstacles in the path of the player, then several solutions will arise that solve that problem, some better than others, and the playerbase will begin to diverge. When enough obstacles are introduced, the journey that any individual player takes to reach the goal will be radically different from everyone else's.[/quote] Referring specifically to the quote above, I couldn't agree more. Bungie has done a fantastic job in the past of balancing two extremes: restriction and player creative freedom. They have given players freedom where it is needed most (forge, custom maps, armor, titles) while giving restrictions that keep the game fair and enjoyable. I have no doubt that Destiny truly will redefine the FPS genre once again!
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        • Blimey that was a long read. Point well made though, and 7 years huh? nice, i look forward to seeing that number on MY profile someday. Long may it all continue for you Hylebos, i wish you the best of luck mate. I remember the first day i joined and started making posts, you were the first member that gave me a few positive words. Thanks dude ;) Lets both look forward to becoming legend together later in the year...
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          • What's the top right exotic gun in your pic
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            • Agreed.
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            • Edited by Ghost 0f Dawn2: 1/7/2014 11:27:28 PM

              Started a new topic: Armor Transmogrification(11 Replies))

            • I really think you summed up the (space)magic of Bungie's design for players. The restrictions force you to make choices, individualize players, and along side the rebalancing they've talked about doing post launch, prevent stagnation. This way there won't be "best builds". Also this returns a modicum of individual skill to the game. This isn't Borderlands where a full build of legendary gear grantees success. Fantastic.
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            • Bu... Bu... But Hylebos, Bunge dun know what they doin'. See Reach it wus bad and so Density cant be gud.
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              • it sucks that we can only have one exotic equipped at a time
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              • I agree Completely Hylebos. The thing your post reminds me of is Creative Writing. As a Fantasy writer I have learned it is far more important when creating a magic system to define what it can't do than what it can. This forces you to write creative fun solutions to problems that magic can't just "fix" Restrictions Breed Creativity.
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              • Really well put, especially the 2nd part there. It made me think about armor builds especially. Something I think that may have added to your discussion; however, is discussing the way Bungie has incorporated talent trees into the weapons and armor. Without this, all of the points you made are a bit ambiguous, even though those of us who follow the info do understand. Pointing out that since there are talent builds for a particular weapon or piece of armor is what will drive that creativity. Devoting time and resources to upgrade armor and weapons is what will create that impartiality to those pieces of gear. For instance, if I spent a month with a piece of armor because it gave me the ability to send out a handful of decoys as well as scattered radar, then it is more than just gear investment; it is play style investment. I spent a lot of time trying to get to that level so that my style of play (using decoys) was advanced. I'm sure you're following me. I really enjoyed the post, you certainly bring together the idea of creativity as it pertains to character builds. I also write, and currently for a newspaper, so I understand the desire to improve it in all aspects. Good piece!
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              • I love the points you made, some of the reasons you named are reasons I've stopped playing borderlands 2, when it seems like everyone you play with has a full stack of legendary weapons the weapons themselves kind of lose their purpose.
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              • A good thread, Hylebos, but isn't it a little short? You barely filled filled two posts. But, uh, I too like the restrictions on exotics. If you could have as many as you wanted it would make all your other gear obsolete when you got when you got a full set, and I never like when that happens. Sometimes the lesser gear is cooler!
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                • [quote]Players on a budget also serve to benefit from Bungie's exotic restrictions. Exotics are likely to be one of the rarest drops in Destiny, and as a result they are also likely to be among the most expensive items traded between players. It would certainly suck if players had to acquire a full set of exotics to have a competitive build, which would require either a ton of Glimmer or a ton of grinding to get all the pieces you'd need.[/quote]I had never thought of it, but this kind of reminds of me of the Rune system for League of Legends. All my friends keep telling me I need to buy them to bulk up my builds some, but I'm still trying to save up for a decent number of champs. Such a pain. You hit the nail on the head, by the way. Good read.
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                  • this makes my habit worth it, because every online game I've played, I only use normal armor, skill ftw!!!
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                  • Brilliant thread, Hylebos. This should definitely clear up some of the confusion. A question though: Those weapon abilities (sentry turret, health regeneration, etc.), are they confirmed?
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                    • Edited by Ghost 0f Dawn2: 1/7/2014 6:27:08 AM
                      [quote][quote]I'm not a very succinct writer. Good luck making it to the end![/quote] Well at least you're honest this time. :P Good thread, and I pretty much agree.[/quote] [i]What Burritosenior said.[/i] If I wasn't already following you, I would follow you. I really think this is a great thread (If not the greatest thread), and shares my thoughts about the restrictions. I was a little skeptical at first because of cosmetic breakup between armor could be a downside, though it seems that ship has sailed. Transmogrification (changing the cosmetic design of something without changing it's stats) would be nice to have - just not for exotics, as some of your comments in the sub-thread clearly state the flaws of Halo: Reach's armor abilities and how Exotic gear being more noticeable from your first glance - it won't be as much of an issue. So being able to cosmetically change non-exotic gear would be nice, because this type of gear won't really have the crazy thing exotics do, wanting to wear a common item may put you at a disadvantage when you could use a superior item in it's place. Something I think WoW and Borderlands both fail horribly at is their common gear. WoW in particular - has different gear bound to different levels. The game is just filled with uncountable amounts of items that are virtually useless because they're statistically useless or under leveled. It's not going to be likely that you will know an opponent's superior boots make them power-slide 10% further simply by looking at them. Both cosmetic and statistic customization is important for a player to really feel like themselves, because the way they look really speaks a lot about who they are and how they express themselves, but that feeling can be hurt when they really want one stat over the other. For example: [b]Boots #1:[/b] Boots #1 really sets off my personality by looks, and I could see myself wear it to my grave - but the stat bonus is nearly irrelevant to me, and I could care less. [b]Boots #2:[/b] Boots #2 is going to offer me that 10% extra distance when power-sliding, and would go perfect for the build I am aiming for - but I really dislike the look of it. Transmogrification would allow the best of both worlds for a player. Surely it would need something to prevent it keeping a person from freely changing everything they want all the time - it could cost a really good amount of Glimmer they may not actually want to use up, making that decision would then matter to a player, since they have to give up their goods in order to really show who they are, which in turn - makes it more meaningful. These are some of my major thoughts on that (Although it strays largely from the original idea in mind, it relates heavily to the topic at hand) And I'm exited to see what happens either way.
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                    • I am only here to say that Exotic Restrictions would be an excellent name for a certain type of novelty shop.
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                      • Curious to hear your thoughts on over powered weapons becoming "less good" over time and the impact such an implementation could possibly have on this limited exotic equipment. The idea was discussed by [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9dn3Cz1RU8]Lars Bakken[/url] in his interview with game informer (around the 1:00 mark). I suppose an extreme example could be the promotion/demotion of all items over time. Perhaps as weapons become more common/rare in the player space the Traveller distributes its power accordingly to the most rare of weapons which would mean all weapons must contain the potential to become exotics. (I don't expect this in an implementation but just one consideration). Another would just be the rewards you get from weapons. Maybe the weapon itself doesn't become less good but you get less from using an OP weapon because it's not as impressive. And then to tie it back in with the original limited exotic discussion - what about the "poor" people who scrounge up for a single exotic that they just love which in turn ends up getting nerfed down the road? If a power nerf is what Lars meant when he said they can become "less good".
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                          Makeshyft
                          Makeshyft

                          Currently nerfing: Duardo's Inbox - 7/29/2016 9:41:17 AM

                          I have little to say, save [b]Bravo[/b] and [b]I agree completely[/b]. Now we'll have an interesting choice to make when choosing which of our three weapons we choose to make exotic. Do we go for the big-boom and go with a heavy exotic? Or a staple exotic primary? Or the oddball exotic sidearm? I can't wait to see the choices!
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                        • Great read Dude! My only worry is that by limiting armor you'll end up with a crazy good piece of armor that you can't visually match to anything else.
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                          • A good read, this should stop some whining preemptively!
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