Monday, September 16, 2013

When Did Gamers Get So Dumb?

 While reading about one of my favorite mods on the Minecraft forums today, I saw a post giving incorrect information on a boss fight (big surprise, I know). The post claimed the boss was immune to a certain type of attack, which is only partially true. In this case, the attack is "very effective" when using it at the right time, but has no effect the rest of the time.

Anyone that's played video games for more than 30 minutes of their entire life knows that bosses have a number of tricks up their sleeve... or so I thought. Seeing that post reminded me of the Ultraxion boss fight in Dragon Soul (WoW Cataclysm raid), where I literally saw dozens (if not possibly hundreds) of people in LFR die because they couldn't be bothered to pay attention to basic things.
I see dumb people... and then I kill them.

 Ultraxion had an uber attack meant to wipe the raid. However, players had access to a special ability that protected them from it entirely, in the form of a big purple button near the center of the screen. All you had to do to avoid it was watch Ultraxion's cast bar for the spell, and click the button just before the spell was done being cast.

Not only that, but the game itself TOLD you he was preparing to cast the spell and how you could avoid it. If you had Deadly Boss Mods or something similar, this was probably the easiest boss fight in all of WoW, as it did everything but hit the button for you! You didn't even move - the entire raid stacks up in one big spot for the fight to take advantage of AoE heals and such. Seriously, go to youtube and watch an Ultraxion fight if you don't believe me.

When you see this...
 


Get ready to hit this.
Yet, many people died and raids ended up abandoned because people couldn't read and follow incredibly simple directions.

I rag on WoW a lot for its lack of challenge, but its bosses at least have fight mechanics and stages you have to learn to deal with if you want to progress. I can't blame WoW for this one.

This leaves me wondering just what the hell happened in gaming that made people so dumb? What game(s) simplified things to such an extent that people found the above examples challenging?

I'll admit that I'm out of the loop when it comes to certain genres and even eras of video games. When PS2 was the "in thing", I was playing WoW and other MMOs on the PC. I haven't played an FPS since Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil on the original Xbox. Obviously, I've missed some things. Did some super-popular game(s) come along and make their boss fights ridiculously easy?

I checked youtube to see the final bosses for the Halo series of games, and those looked pretty dumb to be honest. The fights all looked very simple, and were much shorter than the cutscenes before and after the actual fight. Doing some quick searches, I noticed Gears of War 2 and Fable 2 often mentioned as having some incredibly simple boss fights.

With all those being well-known titles, I'm wondering why a developer would do this? Is this really what gamers want now, or were the devs being lazy? Sadly, I'm inclined to believe they were only giving people what they wanted - more of an interactive cut scene than an actual boss battle. Maybe I'm just old, but winning doesn't hold any value to me if there's no challenge. I'm not asking for insanity-level difficulty here, just an equal risk versus reward scenario. Has that left mainstream gaming, and if so, when? Feel free to fill in the blanks for me on this one.

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