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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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    • 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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      • When Bungie announced this restriction I agreed with it. You made excellent points to further my agreement, and for that I applaud you. Cheers to 6 years as well!
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      • Another well written and thoughtful post, well done. You managed to vocalize a lot of thoughts I had on this issue in a well put manner. Cheers to you and your sixth year on B.net, I'm barely a couple months older than you on here but you've already done a lot more for the community than I will possibly ever do.
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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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        • 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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          • Very well written. You should be, "The First Person To Complete Their New Year's Resolution." Thank you so much for this idea. Love it.
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          • A good read, this should stop some whining preemptively!
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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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              • Edited by DEZARATH: 1/6/2014 4:04:31 PM
                Player interest is going to be in the perks. Rather than the weapon solely by itself. From an investment perspective instead hunting the weapon it should have been the perks themselves. The weapons should have been generic models with so many blank slots on varying designs. Say you take quest A and kill boss B well the boss could drop a blank Thorn Handcannon and a selection of perks ranging from sniper to explosive. The player now has the choice to place those perks accordingly on whatever weapon they are carrying, while digging through the choices of perks from their last quest for HandCannons to insert into the Thorn. Well the Thorn is a perfectly balanced arena weapon compared to the other stock designs until you place in a perk. Then it becomes an exotic placing you in other venues when it comes to PVP. I don't like the idea of investment tree weapons being hamstrung. I know what I'm getting into if I enter a PVP event and it says Exotics are live. With Destiny you can just keep on trekking if you're out classed. Negating the PVE element because some players don't like the fact that you slug your way through fifteen waves of Cabal and a super boss and your beating them to the kills is petty. Go fight at that Cabal base and get your gun. Punishing the player for being successful and adventerouse seems anticlimactic on finding such weapons.
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                • I'm moving back up to College today so I probably won't be able to reply to anyone until tonight.
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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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                  • Best Belated Bogus Bnet Birthday Bro.
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                    • While I agree that limiting exotics to one weapon and one armor in a step in the right direction I am just worried about methods of obtaining them. We saw that Archon Slayer from the Demo was a low level boss, yet the reward for beating him was an exotic weapon. It is possible that it was for stage purposes but the fact remains that I hope that Bungie can find a way to limit the spread of exotics. I want an exotic weapon to be something earned, not a petty prize that everyone has. Though I have a feeling Bungie is going to cater to the "everyone wins" appeal.
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                      • I completely agree. Limiting exotic gear will force players to think about what to equip and lend to the variety of the game. Otherwise, there would be a bunch of characters walking around in the same endgame exotic gear.
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                      • With too much of a good thing...
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                      • Thanks for the info. I agree with you on the fact that limited exotics is a good thing.
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                      • Edited by BannedArcoloid: 1/7/2014 2:30:40 AM
                        +1. Fantastic thread. Especially this part: [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] I agree with everything you said and I look forward to reading another on of your game design threads, Hylebos. ;)
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                        Wax
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                        Happy B.day. Oh and... boots something something magical codpiece... blah joke blah
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                      • excellent description! some of these i've even used myself to quell the naysayers abound on this site. i was interested to see your opinion on exotic weapon prices, though. i would think that the lower the number or exotics required per build would mean that less exotics would be sold overall, meaning that the exotics which were sold would be a higher price. as it is, exotics will be expensive due to their rarity, but when certain exotics are more sought after than others due to certain builds being played over others, and every person only needing one of each exotic, the price should rise. the demand will vary by exotic, which means the price will as well, but the supply will usually remain low.
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                        • I agree 100 % percent . I also feel wielding exotics for everything would be breed overconfidence
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                        • [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.
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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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                            • 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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                            • 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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                            • Edited by Ghost 0f Dawn2: 1/7/2014 11:27:28 PM

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

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