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Savescumming or not ? A guide to proper gameplay experience.

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Savescumming or not ? A guide to proper gameplay experience.

 

 

 

Edited by Charon

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The fact that using the save and load features provided in a game has somehow become known as "Scumming" and that this terminology has become accepted says it all.

Not exactly a nice word to use about someone's single player enjoyment is it? :(

Honestly, I think the reason for this is invested interests and money. The games industry has been moving against saving and loading games for a long while now and will add and enforce Ironman as the "correct" way to play.

Saving your game and loading it, having 20 copies at different points and doing whatever you like/want, is the ultimate freedom you as a gamer have. If you enjoy that freedom too much, to do whatever you like, to enjoy every branch of a story in an RPG, etc. Then how will you buy into the modern "Gaming as a service" mantra that is the mainstay of current generation monitization of gaming? Even RPG's where you'd previously save before a conversation, enjoy *all* of the dialogue and then eventually decide what options you wanted to settle on before moving on to the next part of the game/story?

Ironman doesn't make a game harder, it makes a game take longer. It helps drag things out, if you have to replay 20 times to get at all or most of a games content.

The fact is, you either have the skills to win the game, or you don't. Saving and reloading lets you repeat sections where you failed, but you still succeed in the end if you have to skillset to do so. If you finished the game once, saving and loading all the while, it means that you could in theory have done it without saving and loading, it would have simply taken many (or even hundreds, depending on your ability to memorize the right moves and techniques) attempts. What has been done once, could be memorized and repeated.

In order words, it simply would have taken you a lot more time. Time not everyone has. It makes sense to drill the skills Ironman style if your going to be a competitive multiplayer gamer, naturally. In single player though, I don't see the appeal.

I may run a youtube channel where I ironman TBS games on the hardest possible settings, but I am the first to defend anyone who doesn't want to do Ironman.

I actually just completed Xenonauts on insane difficulty, I saved before each mission and then played it to the end. If my win was not perfect, I started from the beginning and played the whole mission again until it was.

I actually won every mission except one on the first attempt, the vast majority with no losses and with that one loss being a withdraw on the first attempt (3 men killed). This is how I practise for doing Ironman runs, but if I wasn't doing videos on the games in question, I wouldn't do this at all, as I don't find Ironman nearly as fun as just playing a game normally.

I respect anyone who games, I don't care if they Ironman or not, easy or hard, doesn't matter.

People who play a certain way are not lesser nor "scum" for doing so.

There is no proper way to play a single player game, except to play it how you most enjoy it.

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9 hours ago, Edmon said:

Honestly, I think the reason for this is invested interests and money. The games industry has been moving against saving and loading games for a long while now and will add and enforce Ironman as the "correct" way to play.

Saving your game and loading it, having 20 copies at different points and doing whatever you like/want, is the ultimate freedom you as a gamer have. If you enjoy that freedom too much, to do whatever you like, to enjoy every branch of a story in an RPG, etc. Then how will you buy into the modern "Gaming as a service" mantra that is the mainstay of current generation monitization of gaming? Even RPG's where you'd previously save before a conversation, enjoy *all* of the dialogue and then eventually decide what options you wanted to settle on before moving on to the next part of the game/story?

Nope, time was, RPGs would automatically delete all of your old saves and create a new save whenever certain bad events happened.  Blackthorn killing party members in the torture chamber in Ultima V; Wizardry 1-3 blasting your old saves when characters died; Rogue and its successors; etc.  More recently, Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil had an Ironman mode, back in 2003, long before "gaming as a service" was a thing.  "Convenience saving" was a mid-to-late '90s PC gaming thing that was dropped when the XBox forced western and Japanese developers (the latter had never really given in to "save anywhere" schemes) to interact, thus causing western developers to see how bad of an idea it was.

 

As for whether Ironman makes a game harder... imagine if I save at the start of every turn.  I walk around a corner carelessly, get owned by a Reaper, and load the save; now, I know where the Reaper is, and can position myself accordingly.  Saves are cheating, and no different than using god mode in an FPS.

Edited by Cynical
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1 hour ago, Cynical said:

Nope, time was, RPGs would automatically delete all of your old saves and create a new save whenever certain bad events happened.  Blackthorn killing party members in the torture chamber in Ultima V; Wizardry 1-3 blasting your old saves when characters died; Rogue and its successors; etc.  More recently, Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil had an Ironman mode, back in 2003, long before "gaming as a service" was a thing.  "Convenience saving" was a mid-to-late '90s PC gaming thing that was dropped when the XBox forced western and Japanese developers (the latter had never really given in to "save anywhere" schemes) to interact, thus causing western developers to see how bad of an idea it was.

 

As for whether Ironman makes a game harder... imagine if I save at the start of every turn.  I walk around a corner carelessly, get owned by a Reaper, and load the save; now, I know where the Reaper is, and can position myself accordingly.  Saves are cheating, and no different than using god mode in an FPS.


It's funny that you mention Ultima, as it was the game that lead the gaming as a service mantra with ultima online coming out way back in 1997, before any of your examples other than Rogue. More on that, later.

Origin were talking about gaming as as service long before that because they were losing a lot of money to piracy at the time (though, there is no real evidence that that was the issue, this was their stated issue). It was an means to end, that end being DRM but I'm sure the other benefits (in terms of revenue streams) did not escape them.

You are confusing old Ironman with current generation Ironman as well. Old Ironman still allowed saving and reloading, just before and after missions (but not during). The way in which I played this game is the old Ironman style. Once again, except for Rogue. We'll get to that.

In your given example, if you die to the reaper, then you still lost the game. The only difference is where you are restarting from. Not that you lost. Starting a game from the beginning over and over again is how a lot of modern games extend little content into a full game. You are still remembering how maps play out at various points in the game and at what times. So the "cheat" knowledge you've gained, you will gain it Ironman or not. The difference is when that knowledge will be useful (after getting back to the same or similar point, in the case of Ironman) and of course, if you remember it.

Just look at a game like "they are billions", the map you start on basically determines if you win or not (I'm saying this as one of the few with the 800% brutal victory achievement) and Ironman just forces you to restart over and over so you don't realize that is the case. Once people realized the trick though (they always do) the game became about restarting the map over and over until you got a good one. Even the best players admitting that they could only win a random map 40% of the time (you need a certain amount of wood and farmland near your base for success).

Which brings us to Rogue, which is a game lots of people mention but few have actually seemingly played, as it too was a game entirely about luck. Good equipment, monster scare scrolls, etc dropping for you? Life is easy, run to the end once you get past level 14. You could make the exact same moves 100 times and those moves would win the game 3 of those times. Not because your strategy changed, but because you got the right drops that made it happen. This is why Ironman is critical to the game, you could get an impossible generation of the game, with poor luck and a dangerous enemy in a place you can't get past it. The game needed to force players to start again, because otherwise they would reload over and over, realising there was actually no way to win without restarting (and players realizing that on their own makes them think a lot less of your game).

Rogue is actually, the typecast for the procedural expansion of content, making good content takes time. I have never played the procedurally generated game that has maps and good or as interesting as handcrafted ones. Just look at the gold standard for TBS games, Jagged Alliance 2, it was widely considered the best game of its time (and even now) for this and many other reasons... that game also had Ironman, but only for fights. You could save and load at all other times.

Saving "scumming" was a thing, but it was about reloading to get better rolls on dice-roll-type combat. However, I have always seen this as a problem of game design. If your game is so random, that a different roll or sequence of rolls dramtically and totally changes the outcome, irrespective of the players strategy... then it is simply too random.

Something a number of TBS games can be guilty of at times.
 

Edited by Edmon

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18 hours ago, Edmon said:

The fact that using the save and load features provided in a game has somehow become known as "Scumming" and that this terminology has become accepted says it all.

You are misinformed. Save scumming is defined as the technique to evade RNG results and get the RNG results you desire by reloading.

18 hours ago, Edmon said:

Honestly, I think the reason for this is invested interests and money. The games industry has been moving against saving and loading games for a long while now and will add and enforce Ironman as the "correct" way to play.

Havent seen this anywhere.

18 hours ago, Edmon said:

Ironman doesn't make a game harder, it makes a game take longer. It helps drag things out, if you have to replay 20 times to get at all or most of a games content.

I think you are oblivious to the fact the we are only talking about Xenonauts, and XCOM games in general. Not any other genre.

Also a game is not a movie, the satisfaction of overcoming new challenges is what makes the game so noteworthy.

18 hours ago, Edmon said:

The fact is, you either have the skills to win the game, or you don't.

That implies that nobody is able to learn anything in a game. Im happy to announce that humanity is still able to increase their skills and broaden their horizon by playing video games.

18 hours ago, Edmon said:

If you finished the game once, saving and loading all the while, it means that you could in theory have done it without saving and loading, it would have simply taken many (or even hundreds, depending on your ability to memorize the right moves and techniques) attempts. What has been done once, could be memorized and repeated.

This is impossible, because you dont have all the information. XCOM is not a puzzle genre.

Sentences like these make me wonder if you even played one game in the XCOM genre.

18 hours ago, Edmon said:

It makes sense to drill the skills Ironman style if your going to be a competitive multiplayer gamer, naturally. In single player though, I don't see the appeal.

Ironmann has its own appeall in single player. You see the game in a completely new way, learn new techniques to deal with uncertainties and learn how to calculate and deal with risks and failures. Thats the same thrill and satisfaction you get out of playing poker.

18 hours ago, Edmon said:

I actually just completed Xenonauts on insane difficulty, I saved before each mission and then played it to the end. If my win was not perfect, I started from the beginning and played the whole mission again until it was.

Congrats.

7 hours ago, Edmon said:

In your given example, if you die to the reaper, then you still lost the game.

Guys ... is this craziness ? You dont lose the game because you lose one soldier to a reaper.

7 hours ago, Edmon said:

Starting a game from the beginning over and over again is how a lot of modern games extend little content into a full game.

Again, a game is not a movie. Aquiring the skills necessary to beat a game is the satisfaction. Mastering a game and all its RNG odds is where the enjoyment comes from. Something which might not be for you.

7 hours ago, Edmon said:

Just look at a game like "they are billions", the map you start on basically determines if you win or not (I'm saying this as one of the few with the 800% brutal victory achievement) and Ironman just forces you to restart over and over so you don't realize that is the case

FFS. The game is just in early access. You cant say anything about the balance.

And even apart from that, bad map rolls are what makes an RNG map creation appealing. The randonmess, the unpredictability. In professional AOE2 games player can call a reroll in the first 2 minutes if they feel like the RNG rolled too bad in their favour, with a limited reroll count for both players. Random maps are not a bad thing, but it obviously has its limitations. Additional tools are implemented to control the worse side of it.

7 hours ago, Edmon said:

Saving "scumming" was a thing, but it was about reloading to get better rolls on dice-roll-type combat. However, I have always seen this as a problem of game design. If your game is so random, that a different roll or sequence of rolls dramtically and totally changes the outcome, irrespective of the players strategy... then it is simply too random.

Play Chess if you dont like RNG. There 100% of your actions are skill based. Welcome to XCOM, baby. Why do all these people like to gamble so much ? Its outcome is little determined by strategy or tactic :D.

 

 

 

 

Anyway, a lot of readers didnt seem to get what this guide was about, so let me quote from the guide itself.

Quote

As a closing word you can say that people who play on the appropriate difficulty simply want to use their time as efficient as possible, experience and handle new situations as fast and as well as possible, as well as aquire the best skills for that as fast as possible. The skills you aquire this way is something you can transpose on other situations in your life, which makes you handle your life better, more confident and richer in experience.

Its about enriching your gameplay experience as well as learn high quality skills in your life.

People also seem to overlook this paragraph:

Quote

The other side of save-scumming is experimenting.

I think experimenting with a game is deeply necessary and is the state where you have the most fun. A game wouldnt be a game if you couldnt play around with it. So i am fully supportative of keeping different saves and reloading for experimentation purposes.

 

 

 

Everything which has been stated wrongly by @Edmon

  • Save Scumming has been termed like this for a long time. It hints at the depriving aspects of said techniques, but is used carefully for each appropriate situation. The proper way to behave in this world is to learn features of a tool and the time to use it, instead of making the world infant-proof. The quality of a knife lies in the fact that it has a sharp edge, and not in the fact that every knife in the world is made so dull that nobody can hurt themself with it.
  • Ironman makes the game harder.
  • Ironman gives you a new experience.
  • People are actually able to learn something in their life.
  • Random map creation is a good thing. Too high difficulties is part of the creation process. It can be mitigated by various other tools. Spoonfeeding everybody their own difficulty and Safe Zones are a bad thing. You gotta learn your limitations to see real improvement in your life.
  • Not every game has to be a game for everybody. Some can be niche games. In fact making games for every taste in the world enriches the experience and diversity more than only standart cost for everybody.
  • The guide was about the XCOM genre, and Xenonauts especial. Its not about RPGs. This is why its on the Xenonauts reddit page.

Just because somebody makes 1 guide to a proper gameplay experience doesnt mean he becomes a predator to all other ways of playing the game ;).

Apart from that its a lot of simply wrong facts, out-of-context statements and a lot of emotion hype.

 

Cheers :)

 

@Max_Caine please lock the thread.

Edited by Charon

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There is tons wrong with both what you've said here and your interpretation of what I've said, which seems to more be what you thought I've said than what I've actually said.

But the fact that you simply sum up that I am entirely wrong and then call for a moderator to close the thread, I guess suggests that it's not a dialogue or debate you wanted. Instead you simply wish for people to accept your narrow definitions of how a game should be played, what makes a game hard, what Ironman and Save Scumming is and you wish to simply ignore how those terms and their meaning have changed over time, etc.

Which is a shame.

Ironman is a test of consistency and often of time, not a test of skill. Player A may win 30 missions exceptionally and lose 1 horrendously, another player B may consistently just lose 1 guy in every mission but always no more than that. Ironman perfers that second type of player, the consistent one, but not necessarily the brillant one that is rarely inconsistent. Ironman cares only about that one loss, which can typically end your game. Yet that first player, in a multiplayer setting, is likely to win vastly more often.

This subject has far more depth than it's ever given credit for.

It can be just as difficult if not more so, to pull off a perfect game, even with old school Ironman (save and reload before and after missions only) than it can be to just win Ironman while taking losses.

Different skills are tested and people have different strengths. Ironman is not the be all end all of difficulty and can often be used to hide balance issues in game (or that a particular instance of a game was impossible from the start, something which exploring all the possibilities via save/load would reveal).

There is no such thing as a "proper" gameplay experience, there is the one you enjoy having, which is different for everyone. Your perferred way to play, does not necessarily make you a better player than someone who plays in a way that you do not approve of.

Edited by Edmon

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52 minutes ago, Edmon said:

There is tons wrong with both what you've said here and your interpretation of what I've said, which seems to more be what you thought I've said than what I've actually said.

The issue here is that people can interpret it as such, unless my senses about how people read English with a western traditional value is completely off. Which i dont think it is. So regardless of whether what you said is intended as such or entirely different has no effect on the fact that an wide array of people will read it as such, thuse my answer addresses the issues which come up while somebody might read your text. Which again, is in my oppinion the majority of people.

52 minutes ago, Edmon said:

But the fact that you simply sum up that I am entirely wrong and then call for a moderator to close the thread, I guess suggests that it's not a dialogue or debate you wanted. Instead you simply wish for people to accept your narrow definitions of how a game should be played, what makes a game hard, what Ironman and Save Scumming is and you wish to simply ignore how those terms and their meaning have changed over time, etc.

There is only so much bullshit i can take. Its not about discussion, its about A. your text is based upon a context which gaming is simply not. The unsaid word is more powerful than the said one. And so addressing the wonderland which your narrative is based upon is more important than what you actually had to say. And B. You misinterpret my words and state things which are simply, plainly wrong, and therfore make black into white, and white into black.

Here is your example:

52 minutes ago, Edmon said:

Instead you simply wish for people to accept your narrow definitions of how a game should be played,

Like i already said, simply because i make 1 guide on how to properly play the game doesnt mean i invalidate all other ways. Which i stated. Which you didnt read. Here it is again:

1 hour ago, Charon said:

Just because somebody makes 1 guide to a proper gameplay experience doesnt mean he becomes a predator to all other ways of playing the game ;).

 

52 minutes ago, Edmon said:

Ironman is a test of consistency and often of time, not a test of skill.

See ? This is so untrue that i even wonder how you can say that without getting purple red in your face. Thats like saying poker is purely a game based on consistency, and has nothing to do with skill. Poker is a game based on consistent display of skill.

52 minutes ago, Edmon said:

Ironman is not the be all end all of difficulty and can often be used to hide balance issues in game

Again, the unsaid word is stronger than the said one. Your narrative suggests anybody has an objective of hiding balance issues under the rug. That is mostly not the case, no game is balance issue free, and the goal of development is to make the game as interesting and engaging as possible, not as balance issue free as possible. Balance is important as well, but its not the primary goal. With this you end up with games which are not balance issue free, but nobody "hid" anything anywhere. It just so happened that the game came out this way, and i wouldnt contest any developer to have any agenda of hiding anything anywhere under what-not. The issue is mostly about time and money.

 

52 minutes ago, Edmon said:

There is no such thing as a "proper" gameplay experience, there is the one you enjoy having, which is different for everyone. Your perferred way to play, does not necessarily make you a better player than someone who plays in a way that you do not approve of.

Ofcourse there is, if you have a concrete goal in mind. The goal of the guide is to enrich your experience, make you learn high quality skills fast, and to not waste your time learning skills. If you have such concrete goals there is definitely a finite approach towards that, and this guide suggests ONE of it. It is there to help and guide people.

Your statement of "everyone has a different approach" is true, but that doesnt help the people who concretely want advice on how to utilise their time on the game. In the same way that if somebody wants to learn how to cook the answer of "Everybody does it differently" is technically true, but doesnt help the trainee a single bit.

 

I just think that the majority of your statements are too wrong to be discussed ( Ironmann doesnt make the game harder ) and your view too different to have a common ground. This place is for people who want to concretely discuss how to enrich their gameplay experience, and how to utilise Ironmann ( where can you reload, where not ). You are simply in the wrong thread. Shoooo. Open your own thread for your oppinion :).

I requested to lock the topic because this forum is a place for robust debate. Not drama. And there havent been any answers for a long time, and the rest of it is just somebody who disagrees with the proposed fundaments so hard ( Ironmann makes the game harder, and there are skills you can learn to deal with it ) that no debate is possible. You are like somebody who doesnt eat fish and goes into a fish restaurant ;).

 

Cheers :)

Edited by Charon

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I think that what you have written is extremely hostile but I don't think you understand just how hostile it sounds or how badly and confrontationally it is worded.

You write as if what you believe is absolutely correct, using a very strong english word like "proper" in the title, but then later say you are not "prediatory to other play", then say that only Ironman can develop high quality and correct skills for playing at the highest levels. Statements that attack people who don't play in that style and basically imply that they are lesser.

You attack what I say as too wrong even for your consideration and that only debate that, effectively, agrees with you is robust debate worth engaging in.

I was gaming since the very beginning, got my honours degree in it, was a professional in both video gaming and card gaming. So I've seen how words which you think mean a particular thing have changed totally over time to mean something else entirely. Yet, you talk in absolute terms at all times, as if every word has had a strict meaning and definition since the beginning. When addressing the audience or myself, you use hostile absolutes, which would naturally generate conflict read by any native English speaker.

Now you don't seem to accept any of my points at all, so I wanted to start with this one:

Here is some concrete examples just about how the word Ironman has changed over time and has changed as a gameplay concept.

Jagged Alliance 2 (1999)
Ironman mode: Able to save and reload at all times, except when in combat. Almost all games of this era, have similar "Ironman" modes. Any gamer who has been gaming for a long time, would understand typical Ironman to be this.

XCOM (2012)
Ironman mode: One save game, which is only saved when you quit the game. This is the modern Ironman, which plays much like MMO's and multiplayer games do.

So in the span of a decade, the exact same word has meant two totally different gameplay modes.

Infact, it is the case that the Jagged Alliance 2 meaning, was true up until the start of around the 2000 period, maybe somewhat later. However, at some point this definition changed and now it tends to mean a multiplayer like experience, which saving only possible when quitting the game if at all.

This is just an example of how the very concept has changed. I am not even going into the deep end of what skills Ironman tests, which in the case of games with high RNG, can simply be your tolerance for repeating the same actions over and over until the RNG goes in your favour and you succeed. Which is hardly a measure of skill, but more one of persistance.

As I said, this is a design topic that is way deeper than it's ever given credit for, but Ironman does not by necessity make a game harder, deeper, more skillful, etc.


Imagine a simple dice game, where you must roll 18 on 3 dice to win and you can roll each dice individually.

In one game, we can save each time we get a 6 and the proceed to the next roll.
In the Ironman version, we must roll those 3x6's in a row or restart.

How is the Ironman version more skillful, how does it change my strategy in any way? How does it change my techique?

It doesn't, it just takes longer to win, because I must restart when I don't roll a 6. So it will take more time to get the 3 win conditions in a row, than individually.

Edited by Edmon

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11 minutes ago, Edmon said:

I think that what you have written is extremely hostile but I don't think you understand just how hostile it sounds or how badly and confrontationally it is worded.

Every conversation is a confrontation. This is why i think you are living in wonderland. A conversation where there is nothing at stake is just small talk. If you truelly want to get a talk you necessarily have to have an oppinion, and in the best case you also need to be able to negotiate it. If you are just here for small talk, go somewhere else.

16 minutes ago, Edmon said:

You write as if what you believe is absolutely correct, using a very strong english word like "proper" in the title, but then later say you are not "prediatory to other play", then say that only Ironman can develop high quality and correct skills for playing at the highest levels. Statements that attack people who don't play in that style and basically imply that they are lesser.

Like i said, this guide doesnt adhere to everybody. But it is also not meant for everybody. It is meant for the people who think they can profit from it. There is no language which is "inclusive" for everybody. A title with a hundred footnotes which say what it doesnt mean is just ridicoulus. People who understand will understand. And people who dont, won´t. The difference between them is education, knowledge and a proper attitude towards life and the shortcomings of any tool ;).

21 minutes ago, Edmon said:

I was gaming since the very beginning, got my honours degree in it, was a professional in both video gaming and card gaming. So I've seen how words which you think mean a particular thing have changed totally over time to mean something else entirely. Yet, you talk in absolute terms at all times, as if every word has had a strict meaning and definition since the beginning. When addressing the audience or myself, you use hostile absolutes, which would naturally generate conflict read by any native English speaker.

Thats just word hairsplitting. You cannot invent words or a language which is inclusive for everyone. You are chasing a dream. The proper way is to know the limitations of language, and the use of it. Men talk differently among each other than women do. The proper way to behave is to know when to use which language. Normal people know that every word has its limitations, and that every tool has limitations. They dont try to invent a perfect language, but are simply humble.

 

25 minutes ago, Edmon said:

Now you don't seem to accept any of my points at all, so I wanted to start with this one:

Thats what i said. What makes you think repeating what you said makes me accept it the second time ? But i already stated that the majority of things you say is wrong:

49 minutes ago, Charon said:

I just think that the majority of your statements are too wrong to be discussed

 

29 minutes ago, Edmon said:

Jagged Alliance 2 (1999)
Ironman mode: Able to save and reload at all times, except when in combat. Almost all games of this era, have similar "Ironman" modes. Any gamer who has been gaming for a long time, would understand typical Ironman to be this.

XCOM (2012)
Ironman mode: One save game, which is only saved when you quit the game. This is the modern Ironman, which plays much like MMO's and multiplayer games do.

So in the span of a decade, the exact same word has meant two totally different gameplay modes.

Infact, it is the case that the Jagged Alliance 2 meaning, was true up until the start of around the 2000 period, maybe somewhat later. However, at some point this definition changed and now it tends to mean a multiplayer like experience, which saving only possible when quitting the game if at all.

This is just an example of how the very concept has changed.

If you want to fight the definition of a word you are in the wrong thread.

 

30 minutes ago, Edmon said:

I am not even going into the deep end of what skills Ironman tests, which in the case of games with high RNG, can simply be your tolerance for repeating the same actions over and over until the RNG goes in your favour and you succeed. Which is hardly a measure of skill, but more one of persistance.

As I said, this is a design topic that is way deeper than it's ever given credit for, but Ironman does not by necessity make a game harder, deeper, more skillful, etc.


Imagine a simple dice game, where you must roll 18 on 3 dice to win and you can roll each dice individually.

In one game, we can save each time we get a 6 and the proceed to the next roll.
In the Ironman version, we must roll those 3x6's in a row or restart.

How is the Ironman version more skillful, how does it change my strategy in any way? How does it change my techique?

It doesn't, it just takes longer to win, because I must restart when I don't roll a 6. So it will take more time to get the 3 win conditions in a row, than individually.

Im not claiming that bad RNG games dont exist, nor am i disputing that bad Ironmann games exist. But again you are in the wrong thread for it.

The example with the dices is just a bad game. Im sorry that you are playing bad games. And i also sorry that the gaming world has become less about gaming, and more about entertainment for you. But again, you are in the wrong thread for this discussion.

 

This guide is concretely about Xenonauts and about Ironmann only in this context. This is why its on the Xenonauts and Xenonauts reddit forum.

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11 hours ago, Edmon said:


It's funny that you mention Ultima, as it was the game that lead the gaming as a service mantra with ultima online coming out way back in 1997, before any of your examples other than Rogue. More on that, later.

Origin were talking about gaming as as service long before that because they were losing a lot of money to piracy at the time (though, there is no real evidence that that was the issue, this was their stated issue). It was an means to end, that end being DRM but I'm sure the other benefits (in terms of revenue streams) did not escape them.

You are confusing old Ironman with current generation Ironman as well. Old Ironman still allowed saving and reloading, just before and after missions (but not during). The way in which I played this game is the old Ironman style. Once again, except for Rogue. We'll get to that.

In your given example, if you die to the reaper, then you still lost the game. The only difference is where you are restarting from. Not that you lost. Starting a game from the beginning over and over again is how a lot of modern games extend little content into a full game. You are still remembering how maps play out at various points in the game and at what times. So the "cheat" knowledge you've gained, you will gain it Ironman or not. The difference is when that knowledge will be useful (after getting back to the same or similar point, in the case of Ironman) and of course, if you remember it.

Just look at a game like "they are billions", the map you start on basically determines if you win or not (I'm saying this as one of the few with the 800% brutal victory achievement) and Ironman just forces you to restart over and over so you don't realize that is the case. Once people realized the trick though (they always do) the game became about restarting the map over and over until you got a good one. Even the best players admitting that they could only win a random map 40% of the time (you need a certain amount of wood and farmland near your base for success).

Which brings us to Rogue, which is a game lots of people mention but few have actually seemingly played, as it too was a game entirely about luck. Good equipment, monster scare scrolls, etc dropping for you? Life is easy, run to the end once you get past level 14. You could make the exact same moves 100 times and those moves would win the game 3 of those times. Not because your strategy changed, but because you got the right drops that made it happen. This is why Ironman is critical to the game, you could get an impossible generation of the game, with poor luck and a dangerous enemy in a place you can't get past it. The game needed to force players to start again, because otherwise they would reload over and over, realising there was actually no way to win without restarting (and players realizing that on their own makes them think a lot less of your game).

Rogue is actually, the typecast for the procedural expansion of content, making good content takes time. I have never played the procedurally generated game that has maps and good or as interesting as handcrafted ones. Just look at the gold standard for TBS games, Jagged Alliance 2, it was widely considered the best game of its time (and even now) for this and many other reasons... that game also had Ironman, but only for fights. You could save and load at all other times.

Saving "scumming" was a thing, but it was about reloading to get better rolls on dice-roll-type combat. However, I have always seen this as a problem of game design. If your game is so random, that a different roll or sequence of rolls dramtically and totally changes the outcome, irrespective of the players strategy... then it is simply too random.

Something a number of TBS games can be guilty of at times.
 

Wizardry 1-3 are before UO by about fifteen years; Ultima V predates it by nine years.  Temple of Elemental Evil is actually the only example I listed that's newer than UO.

Rogue was far from the only popular roguelike; I just went with the earliest example.  If it makes you feel better, replace with ADOM or Angband, both of which will almost never throw unwinnable games at you.

JA2 was able to get away with "start of combat" ironman because its start of combat save was before the start locations of every soldier were finalized, because the maps were fixed and revealed at the start of the fight, and because enemy AI was a lot less predictable.  Also, JA2 used pre-seeded rolls, so saving and loading wouldn't help you get around the RNG.  Xenonauts puts its combat autosave after the locations of enemies are all decided.  Also, unlike JA2, in Xenonauts, you're not supposed to know the map layout when you land; figuring out where the UFO is is a part of the challenge (and knowing where the UFO is means you know where the enemy force is concentrated...); and the AI in Xenonauts is very predictable compared to JA2.  I'm not speaking in theoreticals here -- on my first game of Xenonauts, I wasn't going Ironman but was limiting myself to autosaves, and found that whenever I reloaded that auto-save after a mission went south, it was completely trivial because I already knew where every single enemy would be and thus could rampage across the map with total impunity; once I realized this, I just stopped that game because it wasn't fun to play like that, and started my second game, in Ironman.  On top of all of this, JA2's strategic layer barely existed and was just enough to act as the glue to hold things together; Xenonauts's strategic layer is a real part of the game.  Finally, JA2 is really, really tough about soldier death; you can't lose more than about 2 or 3 dudes over a campaign without it being winnable.  Xenonauts lets you win with casualties in the hundreds.  There's a major difference in how forgiving the two games are, which makes a full-game ironman in JA2 somewhat inappropriate compared to Xenonauts; compounded by JA2's RPG elements meaning it throws fewer novel situations at you than Xenonauts and plays more the same between campaigns.

In other words, different games have different modes that are appropriate.

As for the discussion of "consistency vs. skill", consistency is skill.  The end.  Read the "An Aside on Skill" subheading here: https://kayin.moe/?p=936

 

Edited by Cynical
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24 minutes ago, Cynical said:

As for the discussion of "consistency vs. skill", consistency is skill.  The end.  Read the "An Aside on Skill" subheading here: https://kayin.moe/?p=936

Very informative article. Thank you for the read.

 

While i do enjoy the better posts in this thread they dont have anything to do with what this thread is about. That is about the falls and benefits of Save Scumming and Ironmann in Xenonauts/Xcom genre. And because of this i have to ask both of you to leave the thread. You can open up your own thread and continue your discussion there, and/or request for your posts to be transfered there.

Good luck.

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