21 votes

Topic deleted by author

14 comments

  1. [2]
    Gaywallet Link
    This is actually precisely how gambling is addictive, and is the ideal way to "program" someone to do something in spite of rarely getting a reward. Reducing the frequency of rewards and varying...

    the rush you get from leveling up doesn't even have a chance to occur every time you level anymore, you just gain a new rank and are left feeling even more cheated.

    This is actually precisely how gambling is addictive, and is the ideal way to "program" someone to do something in spite of rarely getting a reward. Reducing the frequency of rewards and varying the level of reward is a very common tactic to train behavior.

    For example, if you want to train a dog to do a trick, you start by rewarding them with food anytime they do something in response to your command. Then you slowly reduce how often you reward them as well as what you reward the response to - they need to start approximating what you want. You might pair this with a "good boy" or a click, some head scratches, or pats - this is to add in a social reinforcement. Over time you're going to reduce the food and change reinforcement to primarily a social one, and you're going to start to randomize and reduce the tangible rewards.


    I personally hate that they do this in games, but at least they are doing it only with cosmetics anymore. Actual game content being locked behind random chance, such as with destiny, really pisses me off. Partially because I have the worst luck of anyone in any game ever, but also because some lucky prick is going to get what you've spent 100+ hours trying to get on their first try. Sure, that's realistic, but I buy games to avoid the reality of life, not simulate it.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Gaywallet Link Parent
        Completely agree, but I've played far too many games where it's content and not cosmetics locked behind random chance. You literally cannot have the same experience playing the game as your...

        Completely agree, but I've played far too many games where it's content and not cosmetics locked behind random chance. You literally cannot have the same experience playing the game as your friends if you get unlucky and your item breaks or you don't get the drop you need to progress your build or character.

        One day maybe we'll get rid of all of this or find a good balance between pay and play, but the reality is that these developers are out to make money and it's really easy to drop a cash shop in a game and get a larger ROI.

        3 votes
  2. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
      I find Jim Sterling's persona to be incredibly obnoxious, even if I do largely agree with him on the problems with the AAA games industry. This was a pretty objective and dry article and analysis...

      I find Jim Sterling's persona to be incredibly obnoxious, even if I do largely agree with him on the problems with the AAA games industry. This was a pretty objective and dry article and analysis though (a good one, too), rather than his typically overly melodramatic and chicken little ranting... so thanks for sharing it and showing me another, far less cringe-worthy side to Mr. Sterling. :P

      9 votes
  3. [11]
    onyxleopard (edited ) Link
    I never understood this mentality. When I play a video game, if the game itself, inherently, is not rewarding, I’m going to stop. There is no ‘logistical earning’ involved. I’ve played games like...

    The result of this should be quite clear - if you've been grinding for ages to get a new loot box, but you open it to find utter trash inside, your frustration may lead you to buy more for cash, trying to find that dopamine rush of unlocking cool shit - a rush you feel entitled to because you logistically earned it.

    I never understood this mentality. When I play a video game, if the game itself, inherently, is not rewarding, I’m going to stop. There is no ‘logistical earning’ involved. I’ve played games like the Diablo series where there is certainly a Skinner-box aspect to in game items and the rarity thereof, but the gameplay is interesting and the game items have a real affect on the gameplay. (Also in the versions of the game worth speaking of, you couldn’t spend real-world money to acquire items, at least not without going outside channels.) The idea that games which only offer cosmetic rewards owe players anything is bewildering to me. You bought the full game. You are owed nothing more than the content documented.

    Now, a game such as Heroes of the Storm, where items are also cosmetic, but the game itself is free to play, is also interesting. In that game, there are ‘items’ that can be purchased with real money that do affect gameplay, namely the different playable heroes. In that game, players can also buy heroes (and some other in-game cosmetics—but not all of them), with currency earned in game. Players are also given loot boxes at some interval which can contain new playable heroes or cosmetics, but these suffer from the artificial sparsity described in the article. Now, if you were to spend some real world money equivalent to what other AAA games are priced at, you’d be able to buy a collection of playable heroes that would get you into the game, and you could, over time, unlock the rest with in-game currency accrued from regular play. I have no issues with this model either, maybe because I am patient, but I still don’t believe that I’m ‘logistically earning’ rewards in the game. If there are heroes or cosmetics that I am willing to spend real money on, then I’m spending that money in exchange for something I desire and ascribe worth to. I am not spending that money in the belief I’m rectifying a debt owed to me for my loyalty or for my time invested. I was not promised these things by anyone, and am not owed anything by the game creators other than a recreational outlet. If the game ceases to be enjoyable, I will simply stop playing.

    I don’t think the model of Skinner-box style reward systems is problematic other than for people who have impulse control issues. And for those people I’m really not sure how to solve that and still let them enjoy these games without being exploited. But, for those who are not impulsive, if you believe you’re owed rewards for playing games, I think you have a warped sense of entitlement. If you play the game in order to acquire cosmetics, rather than to have fun playing the game, I think you should reevaluate why you are playing that game in the first place rather than commissioning digital art.

    2 votes
    1. [8]
      Deimos (edited ) Link Parent
      I think it's important to recognize that even if you aren't really hooked by this type of mechanic, they work insanely well on a ton of other people. Yes, I personally am able to walk into a...

      I think it's important to recognize that even if you aren't really hooked by this type of mechanic, they work insanely well on a ton of other people.

      Yes, I personally am able to walk into a casino and think, "slot machines are stupid, they're not even fun and obviously you're most likely to lose money. I don't understand why anyone plays them." However, the reality is that they're ridiculously successful, to the point that a disturbingly large number of people will dump all the money they can access into them and destroy their entire life if they're not prevented from doing it. I'm not going to dig for recent statistics right now, so I'll just use the one I remember offhand: As of 2011, slot machines in the USA were making more revenue than movies, baseball, and theme parks combined.

      It's been very well demonstrated that variable-reward systems exploit some kind of psychological trigger for a lot of people, and it's not a useful approach to just be smug about how it doesn't affect you and we shouldn't care about the idiots that it does.

      14 votes
      1. [7]
        onyxleopard Link Parent
        Yes, I mentioned this already, and I don’t know of a good solution to that, other than raising awareness in the gaming community about the psychological tools that are being exploited and hoping...

        Yes, I mentioned this already, and I don’t know of a good solution to that, other than raising awareness in the gaming community about the psychological tools that are being exploited and hoping that gamers will see through it.

        1 vote
        1. [6]
          Deimos Link Parent
          Agreed, it's a very difficult problem overall. The issue is that I don't know if there's even truly a way to stop it. Current legislation attempts keep trying to do things like, "if you have...

          Agreed, it's a very difficult problem overall. The issue is that I don't know if there's even truly a way to stop it. Current legislation attempts keep trying to do things like, "if you have lootbox-like mechanics, you have to display the percentages of each type of reward", but that doesn't really solve anything. People know the percentages are low, telling them that it's exactly 1.06% won't really affect the motivation much.

          I have no idea what they can possibly do, because it seems like for almost every possibility, you can just abstract the game mechanic a little more and it's no longer covered. They can't really get to the root of the whole thing and like... ban randomness. That would completely destroy entire genres of gaming and change the entire field (and probably not in a very good way).

          5 votes
          1. [5]
            cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
            I don't know about that... the US legal definition of gambling seems pretty solid and covers a lot of very similar ground with not a whole lot of wiggle room for abstraction (otherwise the...

            They can't really get to the root of the whole thing and like... ban randomness.

            I don't know about that... the US legal definition of gambling seems pretty solid and covers a lot of very similar ground with not a whole lot of wiggle room for abstraction (otherwise the "actual" gambling industry probably would have already done so to avoid restrictions).

            A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

            The key mechanical part being "event not under his control or influence". And so prohibiting gambling mechanics in games not restricted to being played by participants above the legal gambling age seems pretty reasonable and a damn good first step IMO. The only thing that would need changing to apply to video games and loot boxes would be to expand the specific meaning of "value" in the second instance to also include virtual items with even non-monetary and/or perceived value.

            4 votes
            1. [4]
              Deimos Link Parent
              Right, so how does a game like Diablo or even Pokemon (or any other game with random "loot") exist in a world where you've banned "events not under the player's control or influence"? Those games...

              Right, so how does a game like Diablo or even Pokemon (or any other game with random "loot") exist in a world where you've banned "events not under the player's control or influence"? Those games are addicting almost entirely because of that "gambling" aspect, whether there's any money involved or not.

              5 votes
              1. [2]
                onyxleopard Link Parent
                Also, outside a gaming context, I don’t see how this definition doesn’t prohibit trading stocks or other financial instruments where you are essentially betting money on outcomes not under your...

                Also, outside a gaming context, I don’t see how this definition doesn’t prohibit trading stocks or other financial instruments where you are essentially betting money on outcomes not under your control.

                1. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
                  That's covered under the additional exemption clause I didn't include, because it wasn't relevant to the particular application we were discussing:

                  That's covered under the additional exemption clause I didn't include, because it wasn't relevant to the particular application we were discussing:

                  Gambling does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, including but not limited to contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and agreements to compensate for loss caused by the happening of chance, including but not limited to contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health or accident insurance.

                  1 vote
              2. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
                I would assume because of the first part of the definition. Since you're not staking value in order to partake in that specific random chance element of the game it wouldn't apply to Diablo or...

                I would assume because of the first part of the definition. Since you're not staking value in order to partake in that specific random chance element of the game it wouldn't apply to Diablo or Pokemon... unlike loot boxes which do have a stake in the form of a payment method (micro-transactions) intended to facilitate participation specifically in that element of the game.

    2. [2]
      Levantus Link Parent
      I think the main point is that unlocks used to be a part of the game rather then another opportunity to be gouged for cash. I'm mostly on your side that playing the game itself is the reward and...

      I think the main point is that unlocks used to be a part of the game rather then another opportunity to be gouged for cash. I'm mostly on your side that playing the game itself is the reward and that enjoyment should be based on the mechanics of the game, but the fact is that, as Sterling says, we are now paying more for less. Obviously this doesn't totally apply to free-to-play games as they have to make money somehow.

      1 vote
      1. onyxleopard Link Parent
        This attitude seems to stem from entitlement, though. If you don’t like it, don’t you retain the option of not buying it? Who is forcing this upon you?

        I think the main point is that unlocks used to be a part of the game rather then another opportunity to be gouged for cash.

        This attitude seems to stem from entitlement, though. If you don’t like it, don’t you retain the option of not buying it? Who is forcing this upon you?