God of War: Ragnarok is out this week (yay!), and bringing with it a ton of accessibility options to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy the game regardless of disabilities or skill level. However, along with options like toggling on checkpoints for boss fights, etc, comes the old debate about easy modes in games and “git gud” gatekeeping.
So I just wanted to add my voice to the conversation in support of letting people play how they want. Don’t make anyone feel bad for playing on an easier difficulty. Everyone pays the same $60-70 for a game, they have the same right to enjoy it all the way through. Choose the difficulty that feels right for you and your ability, or allotment of free time, and let’s stop reinforcing the idea that people who play more casually, or on easier difficulties are less than real gamers. It’s not necessary to tear them down in order to make a higher difficulty playthrough feel more impressive.
I hope more studios go to the lengths Santa Monica has in order to be more welcoming to a wider variety of gamers, and a ton of individually toggled options makes so much more sense than a standard, blanket “easy mode”. Maybe you love combat, but struggle with puzzles; you don’t want an easy mode tuning everything down just for one aspect. In a single player game, letting players fine tune the experience to their liking negatively affects no one, but benefits so many gamers who might otherwise miss out/be left out.
If feeling bad about other ways people enjoy the game was a valid reason to disable such options, one might as well argue for removing the high difficulty games and/or settings and making easy mode the only option. After all, if you don’t enjoy playing ‘extreme hard mode’ it feels bad to play on less than maximum difficulty and knowing you haven’t beaten everything.
Sometimes, if the game has replay value (namely RPGs), being able to start at a lower difficulty and work your way harder adds value to the game. I remember grinding through the Mass Effect series on normal a few times until I got coordinated with the controls, and worked my way into legendary as I continued to dive in for more content. As I got better, the game was able to evolve with me, providing more challenge while grinding out the achievements.
I prefer this much more than a fixed difficulty (too hard or too easy).
I hear ya.
I’m always glad I can alter difficulty mid game as I want a challenge but if I really can’t get something done I can just lower the difficulty for that boss or mission and then continue on instead of staying frustrated for days on end.
When I was a wee lad who was too young to be playing Doom, I played Doom on I’m Too Young To Die and often with cheats.
These days I play on Ultra-violence. Without the easier modes and cheats, I might have just bounced off the game and have no love at all for it today.
git gud my arse. Letting people work their way up is perfectly fine.
I play to have a good/fun time. Not to have an hard time/try hard/git gud, thanks. I never play souls-like (didnt even tried elden ring), but I have no problem with ppl enjoying them. Let people enjoy what they like, ffs, especially in solo games!
I’m someone who’s played and beaten Elden Ring and Several game’s in the soul’s series.
But apparently it was the “Wrong way to play”, because the developer’s put all these option’s in the game for no reason other than to be ignored. (elitism is cancer)
Must say that I usually play in normal mode, hard and very hard for the extra content, but in fact when I had a PS and tried to end the GoW, I always ended stuck in the fourth or fiveth boss…
So long as the accessibility options aren’t weighing on the experience for people that don’t want them, there is ZERO reason to complain, and zero logic in doing so.
If it *does* somehow impact the experience, there’s potentially room for debate, but that’s a fringe scenario at most.
I love this and it’s so real.
PC/Video games are made for….well, fun.
They can be art also, but they are first and foremost made for people to have fun and be entertained.
If the entertainment is closed behind “hard difficulty” walls…. those “games” don’t matter anymore. They are something else, something obsolete from the moment they are created.
For some people the entertainment is in the overcoming of ‘hard difficulty’ walls though.
There’s nothing obsolete about that, it’s a perfectly legitimate way for games to be entertaining.
It’s only an issue if those people then complain when others are given a less challenging option to enjoy the same games (in a different way).
“Let people play how they want.” Amen my dear sir 👍
I have no problem with accessibility feature, easy mode and so on.
But I don’t like that some hardmode in some game doesn’t come with some kind of in-game reward.
The best exemple in my mind is Zelda BotW. I love this game, but I do regret that the hard mode doesn’t come with some additional cinematic, or other exclusive easter eggs to this game.
BotW creators made a subtle comment regarding ‘rewards’ ;). Go and gather those Korok seeds :D.
But do tell me, I’m curious, why do you feel there’s a need for a reward?
The reward is supposed to be the sense of accomplishment you feel for beating a tough challenge.
Gating actual game content, story content, etc behind beating the hardest mode just creates the problem of making games inaccessible to everyone all over again.
If there was a reward then those that don’t like hard mode would not get it. It’s gatekeeping, totally unacceptable.
The game is too expensive. It’s only available on PlayStation. These are also gatekeeping factors, are they unacceptable?
IMO, the devs can make any game they want. Allowing more people to play is great, as long as they do it correctly. Don’t just immediately make content skippable, but add lots of help. Add huge hints for hard puzzles, or extra damage or health for bosses.
Skipping content feels like it’s removing the story, which is what single player games are for
Did you just say BOTW is only available on Playstation?
The news post talks about God of War Ragnarok. I assume Bry was talking about that, not BotW.
Still a horrible argument, though.
No. I was referring to God of War.
“The game is too expensive.” With patience, it will drop in price. “It’s only available on PlayStation.” It’s available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and will be available on PC likely next year if statements made by Herman Hulst about games coming to PC a year later apply to this game. That’s actually fairly accessible. People who have decided to get only a Switch and/or an Xbox knew what they were denying themselves when they made that choice. And if they eventually decide to pick up a PlayStation, hopefully with time the chip shortages end and PS5s will be… Read more »
My only objection to your point is that these things aren’t entirely a choice. If you don’t have the extra $$ for a PS5, then that isn’t a choice. That’s a gatekeeping feature right there – limited means.
I’d rather see a world where that wasn’t a problem, but in the absence of that, I wouldn’t say it wasn’t a problem. Is it unacceptable? Hard to say. Is it lamentable? Definitely.
Just because you gave money for a game does not entitle you to be able to do absolutely everything in it. It doesn’t entitle you to beat the boss on hard mode (which the devs put in games to challenge people) by using the skip button. This is literally why games have difficulty settings. So you can play it on mild, medium, or hard. This doesn’t take content away from you. Just because you paid money for a game doesn’t entitle you to get all the achievements or trophies; some are story related, some are not. Some you have to… Read more »
That’s true. But for games that are the sort of game that don’t make room for varying levels of difficulty and that don’t care how hard it is to get through, I have a simple solution: My money goes to other publishers.
So, they can take that path, but I can take mine. Some other publisher who is more thoughtful will get more $$$.
I think the comic is lost on you. “I did this and you need to feel bad because you don’t get this cinematic! Ha! Git Gud nub!”
The reward is the game you played to all along. If you need a reward to play in hard mode, then you dont really like hard mode, you like rewards.
If this is your issue, just play at the hardest difficulty setting from the very first moment you start the game, that way, all the progress results are your reward.
That’s an issue in the opposite direction as well: Some games actually only let you play in hard mode once you finished the game in normal. I also don’t think that is ok.
I usually don’t play hard mode. But if the game is to easy, I want to have the option. And having to replay a long game just to get to hard mode is also no fun.
And difficulties should be changeable mid-game if at all feasible.
Only able to get to hard after finishing normal is a case of forced longevity
Generally true, but also depends on the game.
The (Dynasty/Samurai/Hyrule/etc.) Warriors games, for example, all have many different difficulty modes, but they affect the strength of the enemies. You can’t fire up the game and immediately play on Hard mode, because your characters will be level 1 and all the enemies will be level 80.
Personally I really enjoy that kind of difficulty modifier. Kind of lets you increase how hard it is at your own pace.
Sounds stupid to me. Let me play against level 80 enemies with a level 1 character. Or rather, let the people who want to tackle that kind of insane challenge do it. I’d probably make for some good “can you beat?” videos on YouTube.
“Some games actually only let you play in hard mode once you finished the game in normal. I also don’t think that is ok.” Agreed. That was so common during the PS360 days, and it always annoyed me. Let people select the hardest difficulty for their first playthrough and smash their head against a wall for a while if that’s what they want. I recall being especially annoyed by Uncharted 4 when that finally released for PS4. They made it LOOK like Crushing mode was inaccessible when first launching the game, which matched what they did with 1 through 3.… Read more »
Agreed. People should just be allowed to play at whatever difficulty level they find enjoyable. If developers want to force longevity or replayability, they ought to improve their content instead so that people *want* to play it again.
I will agree with you, as long as the additional reward is something that doesn’t impact your experience in the slightest.
Achievements and Trophies are pretty good on this – it’s just a little reward that realistically means absolutely nothing other than “I did this thing.” Many Nintendo games will have a different final “Thank you for playing our game!” image at the end. I’d be A-OK if you unlocked the Diamond-Encrusted Hestu’s Gift on BOTW for Hard mode.
The reward is the journey itself. If you need an extra reward, you’re doing it for the wrong reason.
“I’d be A-OK if you unlocked the Diamond-Encrusted Hestu’s Gift on BOTW for Hard mode.”
Was wondering why you were contradicting yourself until I remembered what Hetsu’s Gift was 🤣
You want a reward cuz you’re good enough to play it in hard mode, denying everybody who played the same price for the game, this extra content.
Alright, Sir. Then i think everybody who plays it on easy should get content that is unavailable for those that finish it on hard mode. Just because they played a game in their own way to enjoy it their own way.
Honestly, this is an amazing example at the contradiction in Teocali’s argument.
I’m actually okay with games rewarding people who play on Super Hard Mode with a totally cosmetic thing. Like giving you a special avatar or a skin or something. Showing off is a human desire that can’t really be gotten around. Some people just want trophies to display.
But never, ever gate story behind Hard Mode. Touhou, I’m looking at you, not letting people who play on Easy see the story. The dev even doesn’t let people post the endings online so people who don’t finish can read them…
Mario Odyssey does a great job of this. It has no less than four endings, all based on how much of a completionist you are.
I am totally okay with having multiple narrative paths that cater to different play styles… Was it Dragon Age that did this based on the race you chose? I’d be okay with a game that gave three options that not only varied the difficulty but also gave unique narratives to each one. So even the “get gud” crowd would have to cruise through the easy mode to get all of the content.
Yeah, it was Dragon Age: Origins which had, well, different origin section based on who your character was. I don’t think it’s relevant to the difficulty discussion, though, I mean, if you wanted, you could do all those sections at maximum difficulty. Or minimum, or whichever one you wanted to do it at.
Proper rewards should be intrinsic – coming from within you. You feeling great for overcoming a challenge is what should motivate you. Extrinsic rewards make things feel cheap. You start demanding them more and more until you stop being able to enjoy your intrinsic rewards. It’s like wanting to have a reward for reading a book.
Also, locking content behind difficulty is a terrible decision.
For me, I usually love jacking the difficulty way up. But what kind of sad life does someone have to have to make other people feel bad about playing a damn game? It’s like people who go out of their way to make a multiplayer game not fun for other people.
If I was the guy in teh tie, I would’ve just said, ‘I don’t care.’ That would really put salt in the wound of the ‘git gud’ crowd.
People who think the easy/hard mode debate is about wanting others to feel shame for choosing the easy route, don’t understand what it’s actually about. And trying to explain it to them is an act of futility.
And to help dispel any preconceived notions. I usually play on easy mode.
Oh, I’ve heard every argument under the sun for why easy mode shouldn’t exist, and not one of them didn’t boil down to some elitists trying to argue that people playing on easy “should just practice more and learn the mechanics” or “find a different, less challenging game” or (most amusingly) that they “weren’t playing the game in the form the developers originally envisioned.” In almost every instance what their argument boils down to is putting easy mode gamers into a separate category beneath them. If you actually have a viewpoint on the easy mode debate that doesn’t diminish those… Read more »
Nah, it’s much easier for them to imply you just can’t understand their super highly advanced reasoning then come up with any
To me it’s not about shaming people that play on easy, it’s just about saying it’s okay for developers to make a game that not everyone will beat. Difficulty can be part of an experience, and devs should have that freedom. That said, accessibility features and sliders are far better than difficulty settings. What is difficult about a game often varies from person to person. GoW is a good example of that – someone may be fine at normal combat but unable to mash fast enough for the QTE on a boss. Or just need a slightly wider dodge window,… Read more »
No, it is NOT okay to make a game not everyone can beat. I pay for a game to play to completion, not to get stuck halfway unless I learn some insane jump/button press/shoot combo
But the problem you run into is that many accessibility features also make the game easier. And thus we circle back around to the elitists saying “git gud” and that the accessibility options shouldn’t exist.
Hey Tim, big fan and have been following you for years, but I feel like there might be a conflation of two different arguments. One being “easy modes shouldn’t exist” and “all games should have easy modes.” I’m very much opposed to both points, and there are other perspectives with more nuance. Mine is simply that easy(or hard) modes should exist if the devs want it and it isn’t a detriment to the experience, but not all games will or should. The examples you gave of people shaming others who choose to play on easy mode are on point; no… Read more »
easy(or hard) modes should exist if the devs want it and it isn’t a detriment to the experience, How is the option for an easy mode a detriment to the experience? If you wish to play on normal, the existence of an easier difficulty doesn’t change your experience. Likewise, if you feel you need/want an easier mode, that’s the experience you’re after, and its existence isn’t a detriment to that experience, but rather the goal. but not all games will or should. I agree not all games will have sliders or options, that’s ultimately at the developer’s discretion. But explain… Read more »
Thanks for your response! How is the option for an easy mode a detriment to the experience? You can argue it affects game design where you use difficulty spikes to subtly direct players, scripted defeats, a theme or motif(IE Determination in Undertale), game mechanic tests, etc but I was actually was referring to the experience of those who themselves choose the easy or hard modes. For the latter, one of the worst feelings is picking a hard mode and it is incredibly unbalanced between pacing, tutorials, flow of combat, tedium, etc vs the normal experience. Likewise if your easy mode… Read more »
For the latter, one of the worst feelings is picking a hard mode and it is incredibly unbalanced between pacing, tutorials, flow of combat, tedium, etc vs the normal experience. Likewise if your easy mode doesn’t do much to help or strips enough of the game away that it becomes unfun then it just serves as a trap for unconfident players, especially if the game overall wasn’t very difficult or inaccessible in the first place. That’s not a reason to argue against games having easy modes and/or accessibility options. That’s a reason to point at the specific games that make… Read more »
How is the option for an easy mode a detriment to the experience? If you wish to play on normal, the existence of an easier difficulty doesn’t change your experience. Likewise, if you feel you need/want an easier mode, that’s the experience you’re after, and its existence isn’t a detriment to that experience, but rather the goal. I agree with you in general, but I think there are some rare special cases where an easy mode would in fact be a detriment. I’m thinking of games like “Getting Over It” for example, where the difficulty is the entire point. Having… Read more »
Okay, that’s a good example, but it’s also an example where a singular mechanic is the whole game. It’s one prolonged skill check. I don’t recall much of a narrative or overall atmosphere that a player is missing out on by not getting all the way up the mountain and into space. I’d liken it to Tetris in that way; it’s one mechanic, and the point of the game is to see how far you can excel at that one mechanic. There would be little point in adding assistance to help someone see level 25, because it’s going to look… Read more »
The existence of easy mode in games is fine. But I don’t really want developers having to put it in if that isn’t the vision of the game. part of it is that I don’t trust the industry. Just look at what they’ve done with (predatory) DLC, MicroTransactions, battle passes, etc.. I can totally see them inventing some stupid sh*t like special accessibility mode or something. There is also the experience of the game. Part of the dark souls games is that experience (disregarding the fact that if you tough out the start you can start doing the cheesy builds).… Read more »
Okay but… YOUR experience of the game doesn’t need to change. You can continue to play at that same higher difficulty, not “crashing through the game”. The existence of accessibility doesn’t take any of that away from you. Nor does it mean that someone playing that game on some easier settings is “crashing through” the game; everyone’s skill level varies, and the same sense of challenge you get from playing on normal, another player might get from an easier difficulty. That’s the problem with using your own viewpoint as the baseline with which to judge the experience for others. Easy… Read more »
You’re right. Accessibility should always be available so as many people as possible can enjoy it. I think my point isn’t really in relation to difficulty but rather challenge. Feeling accomplished by overcoming an obstacle, feeling like you’ve gotten better. Regardless how the difficulty is configured, or personal skill level. To know that you get better bit by bit from where you started. My previous argument was originally constructed in context of an article about universal easy mode via assisted AI. hence my initial mention of (potential) sh*tty industry practices. The idea that any challenge I might face in a… Read more »
What annoys me most is that microtransactions used to be called “cheats” and were free… I really miss cheat codes for single player games.
Not just cheat codes, but pregame Easter eggs as well, like if you chose a certain character name, it changed up the start of the game or your beginning equipment. Those were always fun to spice up an experience you’ve already ground to dust from dozens of playthroughs.
good for you but no one cares how you love to play, and so should you about other people. I dont “beat” games: I PLAY them. Very different. And that’s why I love easy, mods, trainers on solo games, etc.
I can totally see them inventing some stupid sh*t like special accessibility mode or something. Wait until you find out that Ubisoft has been selling EXP and money multiplies for $10 a pop for YEARS now. But wait, if you buy both in a bundle, you can get them for $15! That’s a $5 savings on accessibility options that should be available for free! And then Ubisoft employees have the gall to get on Twitter and talk about how they include all sorts of options so players can tailor the game to their liking. Those options are worth less than… Read more »
About the only reason I can see is simply that every additional mode / config requires additional design (balancing) and testing, so it might lead to the game having less features, going to market later, be more expensive, etc. Otherwise, yeah. Even single player cheating can be describable as a customized difficultly mode if one wanted.
Warning- long post. I have an issue, equally, with the argument that “Easy mode should not exist,” as well as “Easy mode SHOULD exist.” What SHOULD be, is whatever works best for that game. I’m 37. I don’t have the reflexes I did when I was 17. I’m interested in almost every genre, so while I play a ton of games, I very often don’t do as well as people who just play a few games they like a ton. Because of this, if given an option for choice of modes, I often choose the easier one. And yet –… Read more »
You don’t climb Everest for the view; you climb it for the challenge. You don’t play Dark Souls for the story, you play it for the challenge. No, YOU don’t play Dark Souls for the story. And that’s fine. But let’s not start declaring why everyone else chooses to play different games, or climb a mountain, etc. Everyone’s motivations and what engages them about a certain activity might be different. And as I said in another post, you are positing yourself as the baseline for what’s challenging and what isn’t. What’s challenging for you, may be downright impossible for someone… Read more »
But what might be 6 attempts at a boss for me could be forty for someone else, to the point where they’re frustrated, and discouraged, and now ready to simply quit because of it, unable to see more of the game they paid the same cover price as I did for. That was me. Four tries. Four separate runs. Four absolute failures, where I got angry, frustrated, died at least twenty or so times, and gave up and walked away. Then came back months later, years later. And having finally broken through that gap, it is absolutely one of the… Read more »
Because if the game experience the developers want you to have is “pushing to the breaking point, to the point of utter frustration, and surpassing it,” you will never have it, because most gamers will just assume that they’re not good enough for the hard mode after it gets frustrating and play on the easy mode. That would have been me. And if Dark Souls had an easy mode, I wouldn’t be on here talking about how it was such a great game; I’d be on here talking about how it was a terrible game, and that it’s very poor… Read more »
This is how I see it. If I bought Dark Souls, it had an easy mode, I trigger it when it feels frustrating and I get through the game… I don’t feel like I got my money’s worth regardless. Without the challenge, it’s an ugly, poor game with clunky controls and little story. I legitimately, honestly believe that if you make Dark Souls a not-frustrating, not-difficult game, there is not much else to enjoy about it. And that’s coming from someone who loves just about every genre and style of game, for plenty of different reasons. I also feel like… Read more »
And – yes, I can only see things from my own perspective. But I say this as a person who enjoys most genres, who will very often play games just for the story or just for the music or just for the art or just for the world, even when the rest of the mechanics are crap. Final Fantasy, for example. Took me into my 20s to learn I’m not a fan of turn-based RPGs.
If you make Dark Souls into a game that isn’t terribly challenging… what else is there?
I agree that it is within a developer’s purview to choose what accessibility options to add to their game.
I support all efforts to let more people enjoy games.
They are not mutually exclusive.
My opinion is solely that I would like people that enjoy games to be able to enjoy the games they are interested in, regardless of disability, time constraints, etc and to what extent is reasonable, regardless of skill level. It may not always be possible, but I can only view more options and player choice as a positive for the community as a whole.
That was me. Four tries. Four separate runs. Four absolute failures, where I got angry, frustrated, died at least twenty or so times, and gave up and walked away. Then came back months later, years later. Okay. So then you’re the guy, that even though the game includes the option to say “You know what, I get it, I’ve seen the boss fight, this isn’t fun, let me just move on with the game.”, you don’t take that option. The thing about options is that you don’t have to use them, they are optional. Don’t use it if you don’t want it. But… Read more »
A few of my Dad’s friends have climbed Everest multiple times and found it to be a bit on the Easy difficulty in the technical sense. I googled it further and sure enough, Everest is only difficult for those with breathing and endurance issues. You don’t need that much climbing experience to actually scale it from the most common route used. It’s pretty much a technical walk for 90% of the route as supposed to an actual climb. God of War in Easy mode would fit Everest in this sense, as afteryou climb Everest the first time, it becomes a… Read more »
But if your goal is to go to the highest point on earth, then K2 is second best. That’s the point of this comic, different people have different goals for games.
And that’s the real *mic drop*
“If you’re not having as much fun as I did in the way that I did, it’s not fun.”
Literally what gatekeeping and elitism is.
I’m normally on board with your comments. You’ve always seemed like a rational person in most of the bigger debates here, but this is just not a take I can agree on.
I don’t make my comments to be likable; I make them because I see them to be true. The one area I seem to get stuck in, is that I tend to honor the creator’s vision of creative works, and don’t advocate for modding it or altering it. This is kinda in line with that. You see this as gatekeeping and elitism; I see this as echoing the developer’s intention of the game, and making the statement that the difficulty is the *reason* it is beloved, and that there is a valid reason they have not included the ‘easy mode.’… Read more »
Doom? Doom is the example you’re going with? A game that famously had a difficulty selection?
Also, what about people whose hands are impaired due to injury or other disability. Do they not get to enjoy Dark Souls?
Games should be as accessible as possible. All games.
Of *course* they can enjoy Dark Souls. It comes down to timing, after all, not intense jittery hand gymnastics. As long as you have an adaptive controller, you should be fine, especially as the game gives a ton of ways to get a leg up, including literally bringing other players in to fight the bosses for you. On the flipside. What about Street Fighter 2? That game *specifically* requires you to put in complex, timed button presses. It has a competitive mode, sure, but also has a single player experience. It *has* an easy mode, but that easy mode is… Read more »
This is great. In most cases, that would mean all games would just have a normal mode, and more time and content could just be put into the game instead of wasting time on crap for niche players, like hard modes.
Yeah screw that. Play the way you like to play.
But if there is no easy mode, isn’t the next one up the easy mode?
So, what is it about? englight us.
It’s a fallacy for a reason.
Try. Everything is about communicating properly. Maybe you don’t know your own stance well enough, if an outsider cannot see it through your eyes. They might not agree, but they have to at least see it first.
The 14th floor is only up 13 flights. Get back in there and do another flight.
Pffft Tim clearly intended this scene to be set in Britain. I can’t believe he’d make such an egregious mistake.
He starts at L, which in rare cases is used to refer to Lower floor, the floor just below Ground floor. And yes I had to look this up, got to save that man’s perceived superiority :P.
Only in ‘American English’. In English (as in, what the English speak), it’s up 14 flights of stairs if you start from the Ground floor.
what? how so?
Take a smaller number of floors. If you get to the 3rd floor, you;ve gone up two flights. 1 to 2 and 2 to three.
What? No?? 1 to get from 0 to 1, 1 to get from 1 to 2, etc?
Ah now I see the America thing I think. In America there are no floor zero’s Maybe there is a Ground (G or L for Lobby) on the elevator controls, but then then next floor is 2.
He came from the parking garage
My problem with that debate is the crowd that thinks that X game (the usual “criminal” being the Souls series) should have been easier/have an easy mode so they can appreciate whatever else they want of the game. Yeah sure maybe it could have been a better game for someone if it had an easy mode, but if it doesn’t, in my opinion, that is fine. At the end of the day, as much as we speak of games as art and/or experiences, games are also products. And like many products, they may not cater to a crowd or were… Read more »
From Software games don’t add an easy mode. Fine, that’s their choice. But if they changed their minds in the future and added, if not an easier mode, than some tweaks to add toggleable checkpoints on bosses, etc, I would fully support it. As long as I can continue to play the games at the difficulty I enjoy, letting someone else play it with less frustration does nothing to dampen my enjoyment.
I would even say that even those games aren’t necessarily an exception.
One can argue that grinding more souls/runes makes the game significantly easier and therefor an easy mode is built in anyway. Being a completionist and doing as much content in Elden Ring as I could before advancing the story made me completely overpowered for the final fights.
In fact, Elden Ring has an even better argument for “easy mode”, it’s called the Mimic summon. Watching that thing tank Malenia’s Waterfowl Dance and survive was giggle-worthy.
Skeleton Key, lets you get some of the very best equipment from the start. Crest of Artorias, lets you grind to an insane over-leveled soul level Multiplayer, lets you bring in allies on any boss so that you’re double-teaming them, or bringing in an overpowered NPC. Havel’s Ring can be completely cheesed and helps you equip extremely defensive stuff while still being very mobile You have immediate access to two of the best weapons, even without the skeleton key – Zwiehander and Uchigatana, for Strength and Dex builds. Not to mention, access to the Internet to know what a strength… Read more »
“From Software games don’t add an easy mode. Fine, that’s their choice.”
That’s not a take you’ll find from many people that otherwise agree with you on this topic.
@Teek, that’s a take you get from most people tho.
Yeah, I hear the “people won’t agree with you for saying it’s From Software’s choice” take a heck of a lot more than I hear the “It’s not From Software’s choice” take.
In fact, I’ve never heard the “It’s not From Software’s choice” take. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. It’s just elitists hearing what they want to hear, or changing the points that were made to suit their own elitist narrative.
We literally all are saying that it’s From Software’s choice. Both sides. The actual debate, as far as I can tell, is whether or not “having a base level of difficulty that requires a certain level of skill to beat the game” is defensible as intentional game design.
I used to think we were all on the same page. But it seems that while everyone understands that game developers have a right to make a game in whatever way they want, nobody thinks there’s a single defensible reason, ever, period, why they SHOULD make it that way.
well in the end it IS their choice. They can make the game how they want, with or without difficulty settings or alterations. However if I buy one game from them and the difficulty is too steep then I might think twice about buying from them again, even if that’s unjust.
So having more options let’s you cater to a bigger variety of customers
Games like Soulslike are some of the very few games where I could see some *faint* validity of the discussion, as to when it comes to summoning mechanics. As in, some people might not want to summon people that play on easy mode due to potential skill gap if the difficulty setting has no inpact on players you can summon. Then again, you play with randoms in games there are tons of potential issues either way, nor is a certain skill level guaranteed in the first place…so I feel that is a rather weak argument too. I do feel like… Read more »
I never play on hard and tbh I dont really care about souls game. The whole game mechanics arent “easy player-friendly” and arent meant to I think.
It probably would be nice for deaf people to rely on visible cues rather than getting pummeled half to death by noisy things that can only be heard off screen…
Oh very much this! I play games without sound. I’ve been harassed in multiplayers for not reacting to sounds that *I can’t hear*! There’s no amount of typing, or noise, that will make me hear something. I will react to text, though.
Lest anyone think that accessibility is for “other people”… we all get older.
Eyesight, hearing, and reaction time get worse, joints get stiffer, and rsi or arthritis may eventually set in for many people.
Thanks for bringing this up. Whenever accessibility comes up as a discussion, there’s either a gatekeeping mentality or an over-romanticized acknowledgment of the fringe cases of people with disabilities who play well, overcoming the huge hurdles put to them by society. I’m 39, been playing since I was 6, and I can already see my decline clearly, despite not having any disability. It’s specially noticeable in some games that have kept mechanics similar from the “olden days” (DAMN you Mega Man 11). I truly hope the idea of ACCESSIBILITY gets more traction overall, because many people overly simplify the issue… Read more »
Also, people born with weak inner ear nerves (like myself). It’s similar to being born with an incomplete hand, only you can’t see the deformity and can often be mistaken as being ignorant due to the difficulty of the sound reaching the brain correctly (almost like dementia)…
Only issue I have with difficulty levels in single player games is when they punish players for playing easier levels. A player shouldn’t choose the easier level just for the game to say “alright, there’s more game available, but you have to go through it again on a higher difficulty if you want to see the end of this story/game”. If there is an easy mode, let players play the entire game on that mode, or just get rid. I do like the idea of customizing the difficulty for the aspects that you don’t enjoy. There are some games I… Read more »
Needed to reply to this and say that Pokemon Violet and Scarlett have now included a skip cutscene feature.
Agree with the commentary, but need to point out an optics issue: A black guy running up 14 flights of stairs while a white guy takes the elevator to reach the same level. I had to read the commentary to know we weren’t talking about something else.
By “commentary” do you mean the in-comic text, an entire 50% of the methods used by comics to deliver content and context? You’re shadow boxing my friend, and your opponent is winning.
phenomenal slam, well done. must remember to steal it
To play devil’s advocate: all the dialogue does is show the guy bragging about his achievement. It doesn’t say anything about difficulty levels of games. If you read the comic at face value, it’s just a guy bragging about taking the stairs, to another guy who doesn’t care. You could interpret it as an allegory about games, about race, a commentary about physical fitness, or any number of things.
That said: this is a comic about video games. Pretty much all the one-off strips here are either directly about games, or an analogy about games.
A lot of things could mean a lot of different things if you strip enough context away. The comic being here, on this website, with that news post below it, is part of the context.
Don’t advocate for the devil. There’s often nothing to be gained from it.
Hahahaha. Definitely using that one in the future.
I have to agree with your optics issue, especially with this comic being published on the eve of an election where racial issues are top of mind for many voters. The only thing that makes this particular comic about video games is that it’s a part of CAD.
Huh, I wonder what the topic could be in this comic that is almost exclusively about gaming and frequently uses allegory to talk about gaming?
You want this to be about race, then maybe you should do some self-reflection.
I’m fine with adding easier difficulties to games. I’m not the best at fighting games, Smash Bros. is about the best I can do, so having easier settings lets me play those games.
I think the real issue people have is when it comes to Soulsborne-style games, where the hard difficulty is the point of those games. Those are meant to be hard by design, and it’s why the devs are resistant to adding easier difficulties.
They are hard by design, and that’s how I like them. I’m not going to suggest that every developer needs to add an easy mode, but adding in options to relieve some of the game’s pain points for a broader audience doesn’t affect someone who chooses to play with none of them turned on. You can still design a hard game to appeal to all of those original players, while also inviting additional people to see everything you’ve built, and enjoy it for the atmosphere, if not as much of the challenge.
I agree. I might enjoy Nioh or Sekiro if they weren’t so bitterly difficult. I’m always fascinated by those sorts of games, and I was tempted to pick up Elden Ring for a while before I realized that I’d never be able to get far.
Not everyone has the same level of ability. An easier setting may convey just as much difficulty for some players as the main setting does for others.
they can add an easy mode that wont change anything for ppl who dont use it tho. I dont like the games so I dont care, but they could do it easily.
Upon first reading, I really thought this strip was about free-to-play games with pay-to-win shortcuts. It does a good job of encapsulating the frustration that free players can feel after grinding their way up the ladder only to be confronted with paid players who got up there the easy way.
Well excuse people for having relatively more money to spend and less time to spend on gaming? Your described “frustration” is exactly the issue here, the notion that you’re somehow more deserving of something than another player who got the exact same thing as you. Your example isn’t even an uncontroversially definition of “pay to win”, since people who pay have no tangible advantage over people who are at the same level who haven’t paid. It just sounds like a prejudicial notion where not having paid is supposedly the norm, rather than what frequently happens in games that have paid-for… Read more »
Considering the sheer amount of money that a single person can drop on a single game even to the point of ruining their life or the life of someone near them, how predatory many of the mechanics are, and how children are often targeted, you have no ground to stand on. “Anything you can buy can be earned!” is not a valid rebuttal, because 99.9% of the time, “earning” many of the things that can be purchased requires an egregious amount of time. But even those cases are not the entirety of the situation. There a LOT of games where… Read more »
Financial issues, predatory mechanics and targeting children are all valid concerns that I consider equally objectionable, but have nothing to do with the topic of paid-for short-cuts themselves. You can have paid-for short-cuts without these issues, ergo it is not me that has no ground to stand on, but this argument has no ground to stand on. Your second point is just a made up statistic, so it is in fact your argument that is not a valid rebuttal. Additionally valid questions regarding who you may face off against: people of your own level, or anyone of any level, make… Read more »
People that play on hard and think that grants them rights to berate others, are small people with real life deficiencies that they seek to hide from with such… behavior. You do you, I say. You beat some button masher game on hard? Great. You beat that new Doom clone on ultra-metal blood death with save wipe? Good on ya pal…. and?
I played through at the pace I enjoyed, glad we both got to experience this great effort by the developers, have a nice day.
I’ve used Easy difficulty settings to get through games that I wanted to enjoy the story of but needed to get through the game quickly for time reasons. I feel no shame. And yeah in single player, who cares?
I am the guy coming out of the elevator. All I care about is getting to my floor. I really couldn’t give two shits about how anyone else gets there.
Let’s also point out that how hard something in a game is to do, is arbitrary to begin with. The purpose of a game isn’t to achieve something, it is to create the conditions that allow you to appreciate your activity. The problem arises when people think that achieving something in a game somehow has “objective worth”. It doesn’t, it barely has economic worth (potential account trading aside). Whether you appreciate the experience casually or derive your enjoyment from being challenged, if you didn’t have net fun along the way you seriously need to reconsider how you’ve been spending your… Read more »
I am always glad to hear about more games adding accessibility options, especially from a well known IP like God of War. It takes relatively little development time, but makes the game so much better for so many people. And I say this as someone who basically always goes for hard mode in games on a first try.
I have always gotten why an easy mode would detract from the experience of certain games, but at the same time, does it really matter when the easy mode is available by default? Especially if the game in question has a lot more going for it that doesn’t depend on the difficulty in any way.
Take Mass Effect for example. People will tell you Insane difficulty is how it’s meant to be played (and like, No, its called ‘normal’ difficulty because that’s the baseline experience) but there’s a shitload of enjoyment to be had even if the combat was trivial/non-existent.
I think NMS just nailed it with the settings that allow you to customize so many game options and for me switching off base power (such a palava) and allowing me to access my starship inventory over distance (fighting tediously small inventories not my idea of fun). These two switches have had me back and put 50 hours in a new game since they arrived. Strangely it seems there are people who want everything locked down at hardest setting (you can lock settings on your own game) but gleefully use exploits to rack up millions of credits/nanites. This leaves me… Read more »
Even knowing that those options are on, I won’t be changing them. Yeah, small inventories are annoying, but it gives me another goal to work towards. Getting the freighter tech that allows me to access it from literally anywhere was massive, but could still be improved on.
I’m not going to shame you or anyone else who wants those, though. Hell, my wife skipped it all and plays in creative mode.
But it’s not for me. I see value in the challenge.
As someone who LOVED the Souls series, and all their brethren, and spent many hours of my free time improving my use of the roll button and backstab feature with minimalist attire… I agree 100% I certainly have the ability to grind on the hardest difficulty level of any game until I’ve wrung every ounce of gameplay out of it. But I have a LIFE too, I don’t live in grandma’s basement and play games 24/7/365. There are lots of games I would like to play, but simply don’t have the free time to invest for mastering the game mechanics.… Read more »
In perfect world devs would have time and resouirces to fine tune every game for everyone. But world isn’t perfect, devs do not have those luxuries and sooner rather than later would be forced to go “middle” path, which usualy means balancing game for a level higher ups think will sell more copies. Already happened in industry
While I absolutely agree people shouldn’t be shamed or be blocked out of playing games because of difficulty levels, I do enjoy having to play on difficult settings to unlock hidden endings. Things like the post credits on halo 1 for beating legendary, stuff like that should continue to be a thing.
I’m a big fan of giving players options. Not everyone is a hardcore gamer in their late teens with nothing but time who enjoys a good challenge, and not everyone is a parent who enjoys a good story but doesn’t have the time to skill grind a tough game. More options are usually a good thing (so long as those options are relevant… Lookin’ at you Diablo 3 balancing…)
I have so little time to sit and play these days, I’m often more interested in the narrative than I am in tackling the same boss battle 14 times for the satisfaction of beating it on hard mode… When I can only sit for an hour or two at a time, easy mode helps me actually experience the game, especially when it’s a few weeks between play sessions and I have to remind myself how the game mechanics even work.
Completely unrelated to the point you are trying to make, but as an elevator mechanic I have to climb stairs more than most. People have this strange Idea that when the elevator isn’t working I can just wave a magic wand and summon the elevator car to whatever floor I’m on which magically fixes it. Instead I get to climb to whatever floor the elevator is stuck on and/or the rooftop (depending on how the elevator is designed, sometimes I get lucky and the machine room is on the first floor but I’ve learned that engineers spend all their time… Read more »
I am totally in the same camp – I’m here for the fun! I’m pretty decent with keyboard & mouse FPS games, but absolute trash with a controller. And as my two main gaming systems are Steam Deck and Switch right now, I have played several games on Easy or even Story Mode … and STILL wound up dying due to a mismatch between my controller skills and the games’ assumptions of what they SHOULD be at that level. I feel like all games should have a ‘I cannot die’ option rather than how so many games give added perks… Read more »
I love to experience the story and solve puzzles. I do not do well with fighting due to pain in my hands, slowing reflexes with age etc. I still want to enjoy the art of the game, the story etc. I love when I can easy mode the fighting, as I have had to stop some games due to hitting a point I can’t get past. It’s even better when I can toggle down a super difficult fight and then toggle back up to normal mode to let me continue experiencing the story.
Is it worth pointing out that the “Git Gud” camp also usually powergame min/max to “Optimal Path” everything and thus cut down on other available and valid experiences available in a game?
It’s like…”ok….but I want to play it this wa-”
NEIN YOU CAN’T, THAT WILL RESULT IN A 0.5% INEFFICIENCY
“Gamers will optimize the fun out of your game”
I forget where this came from, but damn is it true.
maybe someone should just make this very realistic game where you actually only have 6 rounds in a pistol and there’s no other ammo available, you can die from one bullet or have to limp through the entire game if you hurt your leg and you get blinded permanently if you get a flashlight in your face when using nightvision.
Let’s see how they like that difficulty.
So, kind of there was that already, but you could also play the ARMA type games if you’re looking for a shooter I suppose
Extra Credits on YouTube has a fantastic video on this. They are a great channel for gamers, as well as some other channels for history and literature. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJoax1Z1x4Y&ab_channel=ExtraCredits Oh also, as a 300 pound man, I’ve had people do essentially your comic to me at work. Doesn’t mater that I don’t have a left foot and stairs are pretty difficult, people wanna be judgy about the things they can feel superior about.
I don’t think people who made (in)famous video about playing WW II bad guys in video games are “great channel for gamers”.
Extra Credits *used to be* a great channel for gamers, but have gotten really preachy. “This is bad and you should feel bad” rather than “let’s talk about all the intricacies of this, and leave it up to you to decide”
The one and only time I ever felt like I got more out of playing a harder difficulty was in the Bioshock: Infinite DLC Burial At Sea Ep. 2.
When you died, you’d get the Luteces chiming in with fully voiced casual remarks and observations , so obviously I died a lot (and only became more encouraged to do so for more banter) on the harder mode compared to my SO who played on normal. SO never even knew about the ‘extra’ voice lines until after I told them about it.
14 floors? That’s like a little over double that what my grandma age 75 walked up to her flat everyday (no elevator in 80s GDR buildings with “5+1 floors”)
That doesn’t get people to start sweating.
I don’t know what it is but I have never liked a single game that From Software has produced, and suppose I have neither the desire nor ability to ‘git gud’ at any of their games. Friends talking non-stop about Elden Ring backed by reviews saying things like “Even if you don’t like souls-esque gameplay” you should still consider it, and I, like a dumbass did, and wasted 70 bucks on less then ten hours of gameplay before I gave up. I don’t like the combat style in these games, and just can’t get used to it. Something about having… Read more »
I’m somehow more upset about the fact that people think From Software as the “Dark Souls Guys” instead of the “Armored Core and Tenchu Guys” than the gatekeeping, though I acknowledge they haven’t made either game for a decade or more now 😄
Man, I miss old F.S.
Welcome to “Bungie are Halo guys despite the fact they made excellent games like Myth earlier” club.
Rumor has it they’re making a new Armored Core game
Okay, sure. Play how you want. Now, do a panel on the guy coming up the stairs panting, and sweating, but minding his own business, while the elevator-guy comes out screaming about how the stairs-guy is a loser, because getting upstairs was, ‘gg ez.” I think people get a cactus up their butt more because people who take the easy route act superior, while choosing the easier route. Those players, in multiplayer content, make it harder for those around them, and then whine about difficulty, later. –> Generally, don’t harass strangers for their choice to play a particular way, but… Read more »
What multiplayer system has difficulty modes?
I am all for allowing people to choose any difficulty they want, though I do think they need to be labeled well. I always like to play the default or whatever difficulty is the way the ‘game is meant to be played’ at. Though some times you have no idea what the difficulties actually are. I usually go with whatever is in the middle, but then some times you have four choices and they don’t always match up the way you think. I can’t recall any specific titles but I am fairly sure I have seen games, with like normal,… Read more »
The issue with “play Dark Souls ‘as it’s supposed to be played'” is that the people making those statements assume games are equally hard for everyone. My Easy might be your Very Hard and vice versa. Give me and my mom the same game and you will see very different performance. If the game is supposed to be hard, give multiple difficulty modes, then add a note: “Part of this game’s experience is the difficulty of progressing through it. Playing on a mode too easy for you will lessen our desired message. Please choose a difficulty mode that provides a… Read more »
Or you dont even play to progress, why would you have to? It’s a hobby, not a job nor a competition. (well, unless it is, I guess)
Give devs infinite time and infinite resources to properly test and balance all those difficulty levels and no problem.
And this is why I don’t play Souls games. I save a real challenge for a second play through if I want it. First time I don’t necessarily want to finish the game in my sleep but I do expect to be able to complete it without too many roadblocks along the way. There’s just too many games out there to get stuck on one because of high difficulty (cheap or fare). I gave up on Holow Knight for similar reasons. I liked the challenge initially but then bosses started to have obscene health points and the checkpoints were placed… Read more »
That’s actually the reason why I hate achievements and think they ruined games for people that want to create their own challenges: Nowadays a game tells you what’s worth an achievement and to *complete* the game you have to do all of the achievements, even such that you don’t enjoy. I wish game devs would instead again ship games without any achievements or with the tools to create their own challenges. I really don’t like the type of “gamers” that play games to *complete* them and then toss them in a corner to never look at them again or even… Read more »
Honestly, this is WoW’s biggest problem, in my opinion. The guys running up the stairs got hired and took over the game’s development. Now, the current “retail” version of the game rushes players through the easy stuff and then plops a giant staircase in front of the rest of the content. The develoeprs actively went out of their way to make the easier content as miserable and unengaging as they could. Suppose I wanted to take my time and explore the entirety of each Torghast level, maybe AFKing here and there so that I could deal with a family emergency… Read more »
If a game is hard from the get go, it’s going to have a smaller audience, and less likely to last long compared to a game that is more welcoming with a range of difficulties to choose from.
Play to your level of enjoyment and enjoy the fact that more players means a greater likelihood of more game.
“If a game is hard from the get go, it’s going to have a smaller audience, and less likely to last long compared to a game that is more welcoming with a range of difficulties to choose from.”
Souls series dares to disagree
“Play to your level of enjoyment and enjoy the fact that more players means a greater likelihood of more game.”
Fell for this argument once over decade ago. Not going to fall second time.
I think there is room in “gaming” for games that are hard from the get go, and thus have an audience that is “smaller”. It’s a marketing ploy: “only the bestest gamerzz can beat our game!!!1!”. That attracts a certain type of gamer like iron filings to a magnet, and causes other gamers to scroll on by. A game like this with a smaller audience may still be quite profitable. Personally, if I see that a game is designed to be difficult to beat, I’m going to take a pass. My life is on Hard mode. Gaming is my escape,… Read more »
I’m a big fan of easy modes and accessibility options, especially ones that let you fine tune the difficulty like Control. I don’t mind a challenge, but I don’t have good muscle memory or hand eye coordination. And the more excited I get, the more stimulated I am, the more random signals my brain sends out. I need to stim (Aspie term) to manage overstimulation by shaking my hands or tapping objects. The more excited I am, such as when close to beating a hard boss I’ve been having trouble with, the less I can manage my fine motor control.… Read more »
control was awesome for that. Got a pretty good time with that game, even on easy settings
I loved Control for that and it’s such an excellent example. I was having trouble getting into the groove of the game at first, and finding out how to play and needed to make it 15% easier. Then, once I figured out how to play and what the game wanted from me, I actually made it a little harder than the default. And as the power fantasy superhero aspect kicked in, I tapped it up again to maintain the challenge. Them, one day, I had a crazy migraine and took a day off work and needed something to do. But… Read more »
Nooooo! Where is Ethan?
And Then there’s Battletoads and it’s ilk….
I have mad respect for insanity players. However, I also prefer playing for the story. (Even the first real firefight in the city start of Cyberpunk took me 4 tries)
A funny thing I saw was someone complaining about a machine from Planet Crafter being too powerful.
I was like “it’s single player. Don’t build it?”
first thing that popped up on the final panel to me was when they changed warlock dreadsteed to be a standard spell in wow. i worked my ass off to get that quest done at level even though i did it in bc. refused to even step foot into the outland until id finished it. was so salty they didnt even give me anything to prove how hard id worked for it. many months later they finally added an achievement for those that did the quest. short story, was happy to do it the hard way, alittle salty when it… Read more »