Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Which Path Shall You Take?

Syp's talking about player paths in WildStar today. He's got some great ideas, like adding ways that the various paths interact with the environment on an incidental basis (e.g., blowing stuff up for extra damage to enemies, opening otherwise hidden doors, etc.).
Inherently Flawed?
I originally thought the paths would be more swappable—based on my playing mood, really. Much like the popular Bartle Test, locking paths in at character creation reflects a misunderstanding of Richard Bartle's types in the first place. On top of which, Bartle's hypothesis has been analyzed and critiqued by others, like David Yee, who came up with a different way to assess playstyle preferences. This actually makes me think of the Myers-Briggs personality test, which has been shown to be unreliable, but is often used in employment decisions and other inappropriate settings. In any event, if Bartle's model of player types is flawed or misunderstood, then games designed to appeal to such types will also be flawed, leading to player dissatisfaction.

Synergies and Efficiencies
Even though I generally love the lore of a world, overall, I am a bit disappointed with scientist. Settler is fun, though. And it seems the most appreciated path, providing buff stations for all players and repairing decorative items that garner the affection of the local NPC populace. There are synergies between settler and scientist, which Scooter and I thought were cool. And I assume all the paths have similar synergies. But often, we "waste" one another's time, one partner doing path-related things while the other stands by, not quite sure what's going on. On our more recent pairing, we went the same path, so now we can work together on the missions and be more in sync, making up for the loss of cross-path synergy.

Soldiering On
Non-soldiers participating in a holdout receive a buff, just like clicking on a settler buff station. There are chests of limited-use weapons scattered across the landscape, as well, that are accessible by anyone nearby when the soldier opens the chest. There is even a creature (with a quest) on the mountain above the first little town in Algoroc that only seems accessible by blowing up a box of explosives. I'm not sure if other paths can set it off, but when I am nearby, it's got a soldier icon above it.

While I disagree somewhat with Syp's assessment of soldier missions (there are more than just holdouts) and skills, they do seem a bit less useful to other players, the way settlers are. I do like the ability to bug out of an area like the bottom of a cave, rather than fight my way back out, though.

Heh, some soldier, right?

The siege of Blaugust is almost over. Who will emerge from the sound and fury victorious?
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  1. The really big problems tend to show up when the personality tests become misappropriated for a use to which they were not intended.

    Using the MBTI to favor 'extroverts' for career hiring decisions is nuts and just tends to lead to everyone lying and filling in the "correct" answers to look like a sociable, highly organized and structured, logical wageslave.

    Using the Bartle types (originally intended to describe player preferences for various activities in a MUD) to create highly signposted "vs NPC" objectives is more than a little odd - especially since the Killer type self-identify as specifically competitive vs players, and Explorers don't necessarily need or like signposts.

    1. Not only can the MBTI be gamed, but it is really inconsistent even when taken sincerely. There's a good chance you will not get the same score when retaking the test just a few weeks later. I read several articles just recently that criticize the test itself and its use in Human Resources settings. The Fortune article I linked in the post is just one example.

    2. The Big Five has been the standard among serious testers for probably two decades now. MBTI hangs on just because there are so many free/cheap versions of the test that people can use.

    3. Yes, I was reading a bit about the Big Five. MBTI fits my discussion of the Bartle Test because it matches up in both popularity and (un)reliability.