GDC 2012: Gamers Complained Reckoning Was Too Easy, Yet Two Thirds Played on Easy
Written Monday, March 05, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Speaking at an AI Postmortem for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning at GDC today, Big Huge Games’ Senior Programmer, Michael Dawe, said that one of the biggest complaints about Reckoning was that it was too easy, yet two-thirds of the game’s players played the game on the easiest difficulty.
“Here’s a picture of our forums, three days after the game launched. I wanted to see how our players are reacting to how difficult the game is,” said Dawe, pointing out the threads on the first page of the official forums that were complaining about the game’s difficulty (or lack of it) – it was by far the most popular topic.
“Is that bad, necessarily, because single every one of those threads has a post in it that says I think the difficulty is fine, so who do you believe?”
“How do you balance a game for difficulty that could be 3 hours long if you’re just doing the main quest or 200 hundred hours long if you’re doing everything?”
“It’s not a simple answer,” said Dawe, “In our playtests when we asked how difficult they thought the game was... it’s sort of about a 4 on the 1 to 10 scale,” which according to the game’s Lead Designer was about right.
“It turns out about two-thirds of our players played on the easiest difficulty,” he confessed, “So I’m not going to say to you that you need to make the game easier or that you need to make it harder, but you need to think about who’s going to play your game.”
Dawe proceeded to highlight various instances in the QA playthroughs that pointed out how hard it was to balance considering it was an RPG, which complicates matters further.
The Senior Programmer highlighted a couple of examples that showed how clever players were able to learn the ins and the outs of the game to an extent that they could completely dominate the opposition.
In one example playthrough, a designer on the team had killed only 27 creatures from start to finish, investing heavily in damage resistance and health regeneration. They beat the last boss in 15 seconds.
Another designer maxed out their blacksmithing skill and was able to stack buffs on one piece of armour that allowed him to do 5 million damage with one hit. Considering the last boss has “tens of thousands” worth of HP, that’s one hell of a hit.
How did you find Reckoning? Too easy? Did you play on easy? What was your most powerful hit? Sound off in the comments.