Why game launch is so critical

Sy

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2018
334
659
93
sya.li
#1
Some random thoughts on the topic..

Meta documentation is poor or untrustworthy at launch.

A player that does not use any meta will wrestle with feelings of inefficiency; that they are wasting their time. A sense of wonder or roleplay exists in some players with enough strength to overcome this. This sense is strongest at launch or for a naïve beginner.

However, using the meta, to optimize for saving time, is a pressure against a player's self-sufficiency, and sense of curiosity / exploration. Some people are willing to do this because that's part of their fun.

If a person disregards a meta and chooses to play the way they want to have their fun, then they become a pressure within groups. Others in a group might also think their own time is wasted by the non-meta choices of others. This might just be a subtle opinion but it might become outright blame with near successes (failures that had a chance if only players were more meta/efficient).

The knowledge of, and trust in, meta does not exist during some duration of a beta/launch period. This might also be true to some degree for patches and expansions. That period of blissful ignorance minimizes skill gaps, and how different people with lots of time and people with less time are. A broader community of people are most similar at early game.

Some developers might think that a more complex game would make it impossible to build a meta, but that's false. Adding points of randomization to remove the meta would probably be hated. Rigging the game to be more friendly to inefficient players will make the meta players feel the non-meta players are being catered to and it's unfair, which is correct.

I played World of Warcraft for some time, and I was exposed to a meta at one point. I tried it, but it turns out that while a meta can exist, each facet of a meta can only exist for a particular type of player. I learned that I could use my own style of play and perform far better with what I discovered than with what's being suggested.

This was only possible because there was enough complexity available in the game for me to match my unique talents with a sort of personal meta which I could discover. Learning my own meta became part of my enjoyment. It was a sense of satisfaction.

I don't know that the various metas for ember can be avoided, but perhaps it's possible to have self-discovered metas available for "inefficient" non-meta players to reduce the performance/contribution gap between them and meta players.

Path of Exile is ludicrously complex yet still has meta builds. In fact, unless a player uses a meta build there are many things they simply cannot do. The game ended up evolving into something that caters to this sort of end-game player.

League of Legends has a meta for each character that is also pitted against the meta of others and yet whole teams have a meta, and ultimately it's down to a global cooperative strategy. A game like that can have all these things to make it such that the developers only have to worry about obvious power differences and required choices, and those are easy to learn about and tweak.

World of Warcraft has various metas, and it's down to culture for players to accept that some players work better with different gameplay in spite of a meta. I knew a healer who was better when he allowed himself to stand in the fire much more than others, because it let him complete long heals. I knew another who was far less effective but was fun to play with because inefficient choices and gameplay gave us a better person.


Some ideas are in here:

 

Thorp

Omni Ace
Jul 27, 2016
183
505
93
California, CA
#2
Meta gameplay in dungeons/raids is one of the reasons I hate doing them. Players eventually find exploits or glitches in how the AI works to cakewalk the mission. Once that happens, it's the only way most players approach them...and in some cases it feels like it's the only way for players to actually win.

I enjoy well balanced meta in PvP games. Learning what players are currently using and then adjusting my equipment and style to counter them. Human players can be unpredictable or totally predictable. The predictable players can sometimes be hard-countered whereas the non-meta players create contention about who's a better player or build ... or both. Each PvP matches can feel like a living and evolving, always different fight.

PvE however, can have a meta that pins players into only specific builds. It's understandable to need 1 dps or 2 healers but when groups require the DPS be DoT or whatever, it can push players to just not playing anymore because no groups will take their alternative build. Furthermore when the AI is plotted out, it feels so drab, repetitive, going through the motions with little challenge to the mind. It's true there does need to be some predictability when fighting enemies that can instantly destroy players, but I personally find PvE that revolves around exploiting predictability to be boring.
 

Pandagnome

Kaiju Slayer
Ark Liege
Fart Siege
Welcome Wagon
Happy Kaiju
Jul 27, 2016
7,352
9,784
113
Island of Tofu
#3
One thing that was unpredictable was in firefall events a Dev would control a chosen and we would have to all have to work together to bring the chosen down.

I am not sure how A.I has advanced but i think A.I could also learn from the players and perhaps even use their tactics against them which would add more.

In warframe there is meta's for lots of things frames and weapons etc
My weapon was at one time the Baza it was fun rolling around and using this sub machine gun.
After changes to the game the weapon was not as effective and doing the same tasks as someone with a meta could do so in a few seconds compared to my 20 seconds !

Anyway i did go and take a peek at a guide and found already got a nataruak bow as this was the meta.
It was fun especially the sound it made although the baza didn't involve me to keep pressing the button as much which certainly saved my finger.

Seem to dislike changing weapons, but if there are profiles to change things such as mods, ammo type etc that would make it fun for me like a swiss army knife of preparation.

The problem i find in games is grouping with others where everyone rushes at hyper speed while i'd want to check around for things because some treasures and secrets are nice to find or not to alert anyone and be more sneaky.

Have to admit that in star wars the old republic did use a guide to find some artifacts which did save time and thinking about it would of been more fun to do it if others like minded joined in.

The problem though is not everyone will want to do this or have the time to play at the time someone can play. This could be due to work, family commitments or just the time zone someone is in too.

So it seems solo play does benefit me mostly and at times playing with a group but have not played in a group for a very long time and i am ok with that too unless that changes.
 

farias

Active Member
Ark Liege
Aug 17, 2020
123
230
43
#4
A player that does not use any meta will wrestle with feelings of inefficiency; that they are wasting their time. A sense of wonder or roleplay exists in some players with enough strength to overcome this. This sense is strongest at launch or for a naïve beginner.

However, using the meta, to optimize for saving time, is a pressure against a player's self-sufficiency, and sense of curiosity / exploration. Some people are willing to do this because that's part of their fun.
That's a real struggle for most players, and I have experienced it in almost all the MMO games I played in at least the last 5 years.

I specially remember when Destiny 2 became F2P and after some weeks of leveling up I tried to do a raid... Those were the most frustrating gaming moments for me, I'm serious even playing Getting Over It felt more rewarding, because in Destiny 2 the biggest obstacles were not coming from the game itself but from the other players that, instead of teaching, they chose to constantly insult and diminish me for not knowing how to navigate the dungeons, not using the "right" equipment, or not doing the right thing at the right moment. I think I tried 3 times and I was bullied so much that I decided to not try to do any raids anymore. Even after reading a guide on how to do that damn raid I didn't want to risk having the same experience again.

On the other hand, some weeks ago I found a game called Phobos Online, which looks a lot like the old school Tibia, so just for the nostalgia I downloaded and started playing it, and the fact that there was no one else in the starting area, and also the game only gives the basic information you need to start, led me to do all the exploration by myself, trying to find everything with no GPS not even a marker on the map. I have to say that even dying a lot because I was not yet supposed to walk into some harder areas, it was a really fun experience and that's exactly because the game made me explore, talk to NPCs, take notes on paper, die, and finally succeed. The game is not even so good but for me the experience was the better part of it.

So, yes! I get your point here.
We played Firefall, now we have jobs and families, and maybe we don't have so many hours per week to play our favorite games anymore. So it's easy to be tempted to look for a guide on how to find that sweet meta, and cut down the grind time for a certain aspect of the game. But I think it's up to each player to choose which path to take in that regard. May they choose wisely.
 

Sy

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2018
334
659
93
sya.li
#5
Meta gameplay in dungeons/raids is one of the reasons I hate doing them. Players eventually find exploits or glitches in how the AI works to cakewalk the mission. Once that happens, it's the only way most players approach them...and in some cases it feels like it's the only way for players to actually win.
This also leads to the problem of a newer/ignorant player being left in the dust and feeling like a worthless "carry" player.

-

I specially remember when Destiny 2 became F2P and after some weeks of leveling up I tried to do a raid...
Oh my god, this.

You can be an expert in Destiny 2: You've done everything, know everything, and are confident.

Then you want to raid, but raiding is not the game; it's something else. You cannot make mistakes, explore, discover, or improve. Raiding is some other odd puzzle nonsense that required generations of other people to figure out in order to tell mere mortals how to do the nonsense to get to the parts where you shoot things and have fun.. like the rest of that non-raid gameplay.