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Interesting take on the weapon durability/fragility system
Posted: Posted March 18th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

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Actual quote:

"I could go to town on a group of dudes..."

Anyway, I kinda hate weapon durability as a design mechanic myself, but I never felt like it was done for no reason or to just randomly increase the difficulty. That said, I'm not entirely sure how having a broad sword at the beginning and weapons that either don't break or take a lot longer to so is the only thing about a game that can encourage players to play a certain way. I know there's this stupid, weird animosity between some Zelda fans and new Horizon Zero Dawn fans, but to just sort of compare: Horizon Zero Dawn gives you so few weapons, but a fair amount of traps and ammunitions. You get your staff/melee weapon (the equivalent of a sword, I suppose, in a Zelda game), and you could run around and just whack everything off (that's my homage to the "could go to town on a bunch of dudes" comment, by the way), and sure, that's one way you can play. They create incentives to play additional ways - stealth, emphasis on the bow, planning with traps, overloading enemies to temporarily become hostile to other enemies - through the enemy designs. There are plenty of scenarios that I approach fundamentally different depending on the grouping size, and of what types of enemies are there. I adjust my play style to that, rather than because the game arbitrarily decided that the thing I'm using can only function for ten hits, and then it shatters and you have to find something else. Additionally with exploration, you can uncover story, access override codes to new enemies, uncover new foes and craft items as well.

Point being not that weapon durability is not a legitimate design decision itself; just that I'm not quite sure why developers have to do that to get the desired effect. I'm not sure why the things he's praising about it are accomplished only through super fragile weapons littering the world. Because on the other side of this argument: what ultimately is the difference between "getting good at combat through the same weapon over and over again" and "getting good at utilizing other stuff in the game"? If you give a sword and that's all someone wants to use because it's what's the most fun for them, then the game is actively harming their experience. Meanwhile, if you're someone who likes to play around with things, you always have the option to change your weapon, or explore new options. Which harkens to this overlying issue with a lot of praise I see for Nintendo in some of their design. People argue this stuff is great because it gives players total freedom, but then they defend stuff like weapon fragility by saying it forces players to learn more about the game. I'm not sure those two concepts are exactly in tune with one another. But really, if a game is forcing you to learn to use other types of weapons, I'm not sure what is ultimately that different if it simply allowed you to only focus on just getting good at combat if you want to.

I dunno. It's, of course, all about personal preference, truly. I just feel like games that break weapons frequently, I just don't find that super fun. That I find it frustrating to be in the flow of a battle and all of a sudden, my weapon arbitrarily breaks just because the game wants to "teach me something" I'm perfectly capable of changing on my own if I want to, just doesn't ever strike me as "fun."

That said, I don't know it's a thing I hate enough to not play or stop playing games.

Posted March 18th, 2017 by Jet Presto
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