[PATV] Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 4, Ep. 19: Power Creep



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    svnhddbstsvnhddbst Registered User new member
    it seems like they are trying even harder to make this required course work for game design

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    ColdbrandColdbrand Registered User regular
    Honestly FFXI has done horizontal progression much better than League of Legends ever has.

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    TenmarTenmar Registered User new member
    Gonna stop you right there saying Riot games are the masters of preventing power creep. As a player who played their game since closed beta(King Rammus and UFO Corki) I can assure you that while summoner spells could be argued as what you define to incomperables(ghost and flash only and even then 99% of the time it is flash so that in essence isn't even an incomperable) the champions themselves are more definitely at a point of power creep. Also note that most of these older champions have been given buffs and nerfs and even remakes which considering your video is very intellectually dishonest as to explain why they are still relevant.

    If anything the problem with lol is a power creep in their champion and base number design because while they have been introducing more mechanics at the same time they have made these mechanics a lot more easier to use with a lot less effort. In effect saying that designing incomperables takes "more skill" is actually the inverse when discussing league of legends.

    There is certainly a lot to be said about how league of legends actually suffers a major power creep that designers won't actually see because it isn't just about the numbers but also just making the game a lot easier to playing a specific class or champion over others.

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    MikoditeMikodite Registered User regular
    General Design Rule: If your RPG has a strong emphasis on PvP, for fucks sake have a low level cap! Yes, its tempting to up the level cap every so often as not to "bore" your vetern players, but that just means you as a designer had to accept that your game was a skinner box the entire time with no other means of engagement.

    A principle that if more game designer kept in mind power creep would become less of a problem. Yes I recognize that there would be still ways for power to creep up.

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    Tim DarkmagicTim Darkmagic Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    On an unrelated note, at&t now inspires even more warm, positive feelings in me than ever before!

    Tim Darkmagic on
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    ChimneyImpChimneyImp Shifty Eyes BostonRegistered User regular
    Great show this week, lays out the problems with power creep really lucidly.

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    jdouganjdougan Registered User new member
    It's not directly a power creep thing, but possibly the best use of incomparables in WoW is the transmogging system. Everyone has their own idea of what looks good, and people will run old content and do various wacky things to get gear with the just the right look.

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    StratoStrato Registered User regular

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    AlexT10786AlexT10786 Registered User new member
    REAL BIG congratulations to Ali on her job in Retro. You people are something. Pixar, Retro Studios and teacher at DigiPen/Game Consultant.

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    Hams ShmacHams Shmac Registered User regular
    I implore you guys at extra credits to take a look at Guild Wars before Guild Wars 2 comes out in a few months. I always find ways in which Guild Wars goes along perfectly with the subject being tackled and would be a great example one way or another. With this episode in particular, Guild Wars is almost the polar opposite of WoW in the power creep department. They've managed to release new items expansion after expansion that are literally no more powerful than items available in the games initial release. for example, a max damage sword you find in the last expansion is functionally identical to a max damage sword you'd find in the original game, but it might look a little different. On the same note, a very lame looking, cheaper set of max armor is functionally identical to the coolest looking, most expensive elite armor set available. Also, Guild Wars established a clear maximum when it came to item stats and a low level cap that helps to make the core game balance issue keeping new skills in check power-wise with old skills (you guys would like how their skill/ability system works I think, PLEASE look at it). Skill balancing in Guild Wars alternates between power increasing and decreasing changes. they "buff" an old skill, people only use that skill, so they "nerf" it a little bit and buff some other under-used skills to compensate, changing how people play and what works well without being too unfair to those who haven't changed their skill bar for 4 years and without breaking the game, at least not too bad.

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    dragonshardzdragonshardz Registered User regular
    EVE is a game that does a great job of using incomparables to combat power creep. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, "low-level" gear and items (frigates and Tech 1 modules) are useful when you can fly supercapitals, and when you're a day-old noob fresh out of the character creator. EVERY ship and module in the game has a use and is usable at any point in the game as soon as you have the mechanical skills to fly it and fit it.

    Naturally, this means that you also need theoretical skills - that is, experience - flying a ship with a particular fit to be any good at it, but even someone with no experience can be useful. Every fleet can find a use for hero tackle.

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    MartytronicMartytronic Registered User new member
    Combobreaker / June 28
    "I like how Fighting games or RTS's arn't mentioned for incomparables in game design and balance. They live and breathe on incomparables and skill based mechanics. I know there is frame data for fighters and build orders and attack timings unit composition and blah blah blah, but seriously, Why are the only games mentioned RPGs?"

    A: Probably because power creep does not apply to games with instanced worlds (games where everything occurs within its own set story timeframe, world and characters - anything that happens in a sequel to that game is a different instance, even if it is a continuity of the predecessor). Power creep occurs to games where there is an expansive continuity where the world not only becomes bigger and more complex in time, but is also persistent and continuous - so that you would be able to carry over a Lv 0 Rusty Wooden Sword for sentimental value (vital to killing the Hyper Planet Golem-Titan, because it has a weakness to weakness - Lv 0 items are instakill to it) into a game where your primary weapon is a Lv 90 Plasma Quadruple-edged Runeblade Of Arcane Nightmares With Special Sauce. Come on, think about it - what you're talking about is like saying "How come you're only talking about how fish thrive in the ocean? why aren't you talking more about how lions thrive in the ocean?"

    If you want to talk about power creep in things other than RPGs and MMOs - try the Dragon Ball anime series - Piccolo used to be a nemesis to Goku. The Dragon Ball franchise now consists of the goodies and baddies shitting planets on each other, and Piccolo is all like "yeah fuck this shit, I don't want to live on this planet anymore".

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    FamousWarriorFamousWarrior Registered User regular
    Zynga ruined Warstorm because they are not game designers, they are analysts and data exploiters. We'll see what happens now that EA and Zynga have brought their feud into the open. Lutopia.co has a blog post that shows an EA video making fun of Zynga and Zynga is retaliating with a Facebook ad attacking The Sims. Grab your popcorn because it's going to get good.

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    Overseer76Overseer76 Registered User regular
    As a Magic player, I've been aware of the concept of power creep for a while, but somehow never thought to apply the term to other types of games.

    Combobreaker has a point: Fighting games and RTSs also have power creep issues to keep in check (and LoL IS a type of RTS), but the qualities that create the creep are often harder to see than numeric value-obsessed RPGs. Fighting games were likely not discussed in this video because fighting game characters almost never earn new abilities over time and make other fighters/abilities obselete. That said, it is a wonder that so many fighting games manage to harbor a huge roster of characters with roughly equivalent chances of winning even at the top levels of tournament play due to timing tricks and such.

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    ParanoirParanoir Registered User new member
    Guildwars 2 having no upgrade gear on endgame, just more visually appealing choices. It feels like there is no such thing as a Power Creep. Any comments?

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    BemaniAKBemaniAK Registered User regular
    How much did Riot pay you to pretend that they don't have a much bigger issue than Power Creep?
    Power Creep goes against their business model, that is, buffing characters to increase the income they generate from new skins, making OP characters on release then nerfing them as soon as the buying rush slows down, ignoring low-popularity characters letting them sit in the pool of mediocrity for years at a time just because they aren't selling well, I could go on all day.

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    wills4545wills4545 Registered User new member
    I'm sure this will have been mentioned somewhere, but by far the best example of fighting power creep has been accomplished by TF2. With default gear you can still destroy someone who spent real money buying their stuff. Each class can counter and be countered, and different items just affect that slightly. I think they would have been a good example to use :) (Or at least keep in mind haha)

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    stirred_Brewstirred_Brew Registered User new member
    Yu-Gi-Oh has this powercreep too. 1. At first Normal monsters were the most powerfull (Blue Eyes White Dragon), but the more cards came out, the stronger the effects monsters became.
    2. Cards just became more powerfull. Synchro pushed away fusion with it's easy summon system (just 1 weak tuner + 1 weak non-tuner = 1 powerfull Synchro Monster instead of specific monster + specific monster + fusioncard = stronger Fusion monster)

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    xyceresxyceres Registered User regular
    @Paranoir GW1 had a similar system the numbers you could get on equipment in the original campaign was the same as the later stuff (they did start allowing more customization over time and built that into the older campaigns as they did it). This didn't completely combat power creep thou as some of the supposed incomparables (skills and elite skills in this case) while not doing the same thing would fill similar roles.
    Basically power creep existed but was a lot slower then it was in most other games as it wasn't about straight numbers from equipment it was about the overall power of a build that could be achieved by having access to additional options.
    Not sure if I've voiced my thoughts clearly here or not but I hope you get the idea.

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    xyceresxyceres Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Sorry double post

    xyceres on
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    lordhobanlordhoban Registered User regular
    Being an avid card game player (of such great games as the original Star Wars CCG and Doomtown), I'm all too familiar with power creep. It's definitely a hard issue to combat, but one that must be address strategically... Thank you for pointing out a few ways where this can be deal with (though I've never been a fan of how Magic did it).

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    ZombieAladdinZombieAladdin Registered User regular
    Hmm, I wonder where the Pokémon Trading Card Game factors into this. On one hand, power creep certainly happens, and it happens all of a sudden each time a generation begins (and again when the HeartGold/SoulSilver expansion came out). On the other hand, there is a manatory ban on all sets before some certain point once per year, which I think is the only major trading card game to do such a thing.

    On the other hand, if I'm understanding incomparables properly, the Pokémon TCG dives headfirst into it. From the 3rd generation and onwards, every set has been filled with cards that do weird stuff, often drastically changing the rules of the game, that quite often have no immediate benefit. If a rule can be bent or an effect can be had, chances are a card has been released that does it. As a result, in unofficial "Unlimited" play (meaning all cards are legal), there are a number of older cards that, despite ever-increasing HP and attack power (Boundaries Crossed Charizard laughs at Base Set Charizard with its 160 HP and 150 damage with fewer drawbacks), have effects drastic enough to keep up with the newest cards (or, by chance, can combo with them well).

    Of course, if we're talking about the video games, Game Freak has avoided power creep remarkably well while still providing new options for competitive players. Base stat totals have been roughly the same since the beginning, for instance, and same goes for the power of attacks. We just now have more unusual and specialized ones. It's not uncommon to see Pokémon from previous generation become more useful after a long period of disuse--it just happened to Venusaur and Ditto, for instance.

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    taylintaylin Registered User new member
    This is one of the reasons I love Final Fantasy 11 before the most recent mini expansions.

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    PavFeiraPavFeira Registered User new member
    Really happy to see how many people referenced 75-cap FFXI. I do think it was a great example of how to keep horizontal growth in place via incomparables and side-grades. I would like to offer some counterpoints to that specific game, though, since I'd played it so long.

    First, the glass ceiling. That game added "relic weapons"—THE top-tier weapon of the game, requiring years of grinding and hundreds of millions of gil—around the first or second year of the game's life. As a result, six years later, as they added more weapons into the game, they were stuck adding situational weapons, sidegrade weapons that may work better or worse with certain builds, or slowly chipping away at the chasm between auction house gear and relic weapons. While glass ceiling pieces like relic weapons did stymy power creep largely, it did make it hard for developers to create any new gear that the players saw as worthwhile without breaking the ceiling. This was normally accomplished by making truly great gear exceptionally rare and/or grindy. FFXI was unabashedly an older-school grindfest of an MMO.

    Second, dear Altana the inventory space issues. Limited inventory can sometimes be a deliberate design choice. I only have space to bring three sets of gear with me, plus some potions and utility items, so I must choose wisely! FFXI wore out its welcome in this regard, though. As a standard, most mages (starting at midlevel) were expected to keep eight different weapons in their inventory! Expected! And it wasn't like you'd level out of them; they were top-tier mage weapons until several expansions later. The developers tossed in more-and-more situational gear, and inventory space never really ever scaled (the devs always cited system limitations that literally made it impossible to upgrade. Solutions like Mog Locker and Mog Satchel were visibly duct-taped on). Add on top of it that the game's Job system had you only playing a single player who could change between all jobs, rather than creating alts for each class as is the standard in most MMOs, and now you don't have space to level your tank because you have no place to stash your eight mage weapons on the same character.

    Third, not retiring content is a double-edged sword. True, the WoW model, where no one wants to run content from the last expansion because none of the rewards are worthwhile, stinks. But so does "needing" to run content from six years ago, because it still holds one-of-if-not-the-best DPS leg pieces. So players "need" to run content whose difficulty has been trivialized by improved playstyle strategies, whose design is rudimentary and less enjoyable than new content, whose age made it miss out on key enhancements like _instancing_. Yes, a true old-school game, some of the early yet still "necessary" content was added before instancing was popularized by games like WoW, and this old content was never retrofitted with instancing support. So at best, server guilds would need to share a calendar and cooperate in a civil manner. At worst, botting. Not to mention, old content is still "needed" by your guilds' new members, and each new expansion added more content that everyone "needed". Most guilds had to pick and choose which events they did. Belonging to multiple guilds—one for Event A, one for Event B—was not uncommon, and players would simply apply and quit as they earned the gear they needed from each event.

    Now, I'm not bashing FFXI. I played it 6-7 years and my masochistic heart still misses it. Having dabbled in more traditional MMOs, I can obviously see the downsides of feature creep, and advantages of horizontal growth. It's not a silver bullet, though, and requires its own set of cares and attention from the developers. I'd certainly like to see a game that took the lessons learned here, and build upon them. Sadly, Square Enix never made a sequel to FFXI *sticks his fingers in his ears and starts singing loudly*

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