How are you all playing these insanely complex games?

Just some off the top of my head: Destiny, Deep Rock Galactic, Overwatch, and most recently Baldur’s Gate.

I received BG3 as a gift. I installed and loaded up the game and the first thing I was prompted to do is to create a character. There are like 12 different classes with 14 different abilities and 10 ability classes. The game does not explain any of this. I went to watch a tutorial online to try and wrap my head around all of this. The first tutorial just assumed you knew a bunch of stuff already. The second one I found was great but it was 1.5 hours long. There is no in-game tutorial I could find.

I just get very bored very quickly of analyzing character traits and I absolutely loathe inventory management (looking at you Borderlands). Often times my inventory fills up and then I end up just selling stuff that I have no idea what it does and later realizing it’s an incredibly valuable item/resource and now I have to find more.

So my question is this: Do you guys really spend hours of your day just researching on the internet how to play these games? Or do you just jump in and wing it? Or does each game just build on top of working knowledge of previous similar games?

E: General consensus seems to be all of the above. Good to know!

ampersandrew,
ampersandrew avatar

Baldur's Gate 3 has a lot of mechanics to it, but it does a really good job of onboarding you in most of them. On character creation, or on leveling up, or anything where the game asks you to make a decision about how you've built out your character, there are tooltips to explain the mechanics. Mouse over it if you're on mouse + keyboard, or press Select or click in the right analog stick if you're on controller (it should tell you which one). It will explain everything you need to know there. But if you'd like to breeze past the character creation screen, you can choose an origin character, which are pre-made, or you can stick to basics. Choose a Fighter with 17 Strength if you want to do melee stuff. Choose a Rogue with 17 Dexterity if you want to do ranged attacks like bows. Choose a Wizard with 17 Intelligence if you want to do magic; magic uses "spell slots" instead of mana or MP, which basically just means you can use a spell that many times. When you get the option to choose a "feat", which is approximately every 4 levels, upgrade that primary attribute until it hits 20, which is the max. Whatever that attribute is (the ones I just listed for those classes), the higher it is, the more likely you are to hit with your attacks.

The gist of it is, when you find a complicated game, you can often just engage with it on the most basic level, and then once you master that basic level, you build on it a little bit at a time. BG3 is a long game, so you've got plenty of opportunity to master what you know before building on it; rinse, repeat. I've applied this same methodology to fighting games plenty of times as well, which many people would consider to be a difficult genre to learn. We got rid of game manuals a long time ago, so complex games have had to get better and better at teaching you how to play while you're playing.

helenslunch,

Thank you for this insightful feedback ❤️

massive_bereavement,
massive_bereavement avatar

I had the same overwhelming reaction to BG3's creation menu, but honestly, the game goes the mile to let you change everything later if you feel like it and honestly there's a "go with the flow" vibe by the fact that very few cases have instant game over conclusions.

I would say though that combat tends to be a measure twice and cut once because there's often an easy way of dealing with it, being either using the environment or exploring first another location that might give an advantage.

helenslunch,

I will just dive in, then!

EvaUnit02,
EvaUnit02 avatar

I love both Baldur's Gate III and fighting games but disagree. I think both are woefully inadequate at explaining their rules to players. Larian games need to not only make BGIII's rules as clear as a rulebook but also make tactics and strategies plain and clear to the user. Otherwise, it is very easy to fall back on decades of video game expectation only to realize your expectations are wrong. I had a co-op game of BG3 with a friend. My friend couldn't understand why he had to position his units anywhere. Didn't understand why inventory wasn't just immediately being teleported to a shared infinite item box. Didn't understand the basic mechanics of D&D combat (which even then, Larian changes to various degrees) Didn't understand why decisions had any meaningful consequences. Didn't even understand what he was supposed to be doing narratively despite there being a quest log and having us recap the story up to the point we were.

While fighting game tutorials have gotten better, I still have yet to experience one that explains very basic things that the FGC takes for granted. Things like health bars being identical physical lengths but representing different numerical values. Things like "waiting for your turn." Things like meter management.

Complex games are great. But complex games need to recognize that they have a larger duty to teach than simpler games. I think video game design needs to take a page out of tabletop game design and provide some analog to the tabletop rulebook: complete with not just rules but detailed explanations, sidebars, and examples of play.

ampersandrew,
ampersandrew avatar

I agree that fighting games haven't made it where they need to be yet. In fact, I've only ever found one that explains how to defend against a command grab, which is a very basic thing they should be doing better. As you agreed though, they're getting a lot closer, with a lot of intermediate steps along the way.

I disagree that the teaching tools are insufficient if they never teach you about something like positioning in Baldur's Gate. For one, you can observe that your opponents are doing so, and you can observe which things that makes easier or harder for you and why, like now it's harder for your melee character to hit them when they run away. That's way better than someone telling you about it, and it's better onboarding to not info dump all the rules at once.

EvaUnit02,
EvaUnit02 avatar

While I agree in principle, I think a game needs to make it clear when something isn't window dressing. My buddy just couldn't understand why positioning mattered. It never clicked for him because he figured RPG combat was just "swing a sword/shoot an arrow until the other guy dies". We had to explain it to him. He also never thought to explore the UI for information as to why his movement was reduced or why he was disadvantaged, despite having icons next to his character with tooltips explaining what status effects were in play. While it may seem obvious that things are happening on screen and one could deduce that something meaningful is occuring, I think if I'm honest, I can't blame my buddy for not understanding. I've fallen victim to it myself.

Sometimes we just don't, on our own, interpret information as being meaningful. Consequently, we unduly discard it before making decisions. I think it's important to be told in one form or the other when something matters. Whether that's tutorialization or otherwise, I think it's important. I think the more complicated the game, the easier it is for a player to fall in to a trap of discarding important information and subsequently becoming frustrated.

I think even something as simple as the game making its expectations clear from the start could go a long way. Something as simple as conveying to the user that they are expected to be attentive as they play.

ampersandrew, (edited )
ampersandrew avatar

We had to explain it to him.

This line strikes me as curious. Were you playing co-op together for his first time through? There are a lot of tutorials in the early game that explain so much of this stuff that you have to explicitly dismiss that they're hard to miss...unless you're in a discord call with some friends. And did you have to explain it to him, or was that just the first opportunity he had to raise the question, and you answered right away without him having time to figure it out himself? Did he ask you because he found the game difficult, or did you just tell him without him even asking because you observed that he wasn't using his movement? The opening moments of the game actually require you to use your movement in turn based combat in order to continue, and you can observe which enemies can reach you or not as you approach your objective.

If your friend really had this hard of a time learning that without trying to see how to overcome the challenge by just doing anything else besides what didn't work, it sounds like the type of person that Sony gets for their play tests that tells them they need to give an answer to a puzzle after looking at it for only a few seconds. I don't know that you can onboard that person without frustrating everyone else, other than easy mode, which BG3 does have, and it tells you what kinds of expectations it has of you on that screen.

EvaUnit02,
EvaUnit02 avatar

And did you have to explain it to him, or was that just the first opportunity he had to raise the question, and you answered right away without him having time to figure it out himself?

I suppose it was a bit of both.

It was three of us playing. I had finished the game already by the time we started. At first, we left it to him to explore the systems on his own. He got frustrated with that and would complain that we weren't telling him what to do. So, we gradually explained more and more until we just started making decisions on our own. He was still frustrated. For example, late in to Act I, he would continue to throw his cleric in to the middle of battle as a melee fighter and die. Shortly after that, we all decided to stop playing.

There are a lot of tutorials in the early game that explain so much of this stuff that you have to explicitly dismiss that they're hard to miss.

I must have missed them, then. I don't recall any tutorials explaining anything beyond the cursory "you have to be in range to attack" or "potions heal HP" type of things. In fact, I loaded up my save and perused the tutorials again. The tutorial titled "Combat" simply tells you that there's an initiative roll, combatants are listed at the top of the screen, and during a turn, a character may take an action, bonus action, and move. It's entirely unhelpful. It may as well be a fighting game tutorial which says, "use punches and kicks to defeat your opponent."

The opening moments of the game actually require you to use your movement in turn based combat in order to continue, and you can observe which enemies can reach you or not as you approach your objective.

I got through it by just running past most everyone. Sure, you can clearly see you have to move and that you have actions to take but nothing else is explained beyond that. I think that opening sequence is a great example of the lack of explanations in the game. My buddy thought he had to kill absolutely everyone on the nautiloid. We tried twice before telling him that you can continue moving past enemies. The thought never occured to him. I can't blame him, either. All you're told is that you have to connect the transponder in a certain amount of turns and narratively, there's a sense of urgency. Nothing tells you that you don't have to kill everything on the screen. That might seem painfully obvious but that's my point: things obvious to one person are not obvious to another. That doesn't make someone stupid, either. They just have different experiences and different expectations.

Nothing in the game explains that encounters are not immutable. Nothing in the game, as far as I can remember, explains the value of environmental elements and how to leverage them in combat. Nothing explains the tactical value of oil or water on the ground. Nothing explains the concept of crowd control at all. Nothing explains how to keep backline party members safe. This is all left for the player to discover.

I've been playing Larian games for a long time and I don't remember a single one of BGIII, DOS2, or DOS ever explaining these concepts. If you walk in to these games without the understanding that you are expected to be observant and play around with the game mechanics, you will have a bad time. There are innumerable posts on the Web by people frustrated with the game because they don't know what to do. My buddy is not an isolated example. People think differently.

My buddy tried fighting in melee combat as a low-level cleric. That might be a totally valid thing to do in something like Final Fantasy. My buddy thought he had to kill every enemy on the nautiloid. Maybe that's just what you do in something like Diablo. Hell, I just finished a dungeon in Star Ocean which required exactly that. (It even told me upfront that would be the expectation of the dungeon) We are taught things which influence our decision making process. Without being told otherwise, it can be hard to understand exactly what is being asked of us as players as we try to reconcile those expections with our experiences.

My buddy didn't need to be told what to do. What he needed to be told is what he can do and why he might want to do those things. In that, Larian failed him and, in my opinion as an adoring fan of their games, they have a habit of doing so.

ampersandrew,
ampersandrew avatar

I don't think you actually let your friend fail and try to figure out how to not fail, and I don't think it makes the game better when you're so afraid of letting the player fail and apply what they've learned that there aren't actually any decisions to make, like those Sony examples (God of War and Horizon's latest entries, to be specific, were the ones that caught flak for this). That's where the fun comes from.

I don't recall any tutorials explaining anything beyond the cursory "you have to be in range to attack"

And that's all you need to know in order to determine that positioning matters. They also explain opportunity attacks.

The tutorial titled "Combat" simply tells you that there's an initiative roll, combatants are listed at the top of the screen, and during a turn, a character may take an action, bonus action, and move.

Which are a few of the things you said your friend was unaware of, despite the fact that several of these things are reiterated on most of the cards for your available actions during combat.

I've been playing Larian games for a long time and I don't remember a single one of BGIII, DOS2, or DOS ever explaining these concepts.

Me neither, but even in my brief time with DOS1, I don't recall needing to be told either. I just somehow found out that poison clouds can be set on fire, and very quickly.

This is not an insult to your friend, but just because he falls into the group that didn't catch on immediately, I don't think that's indicative that the game is bad at teaching you how to play it. The Nautiloid highlights exactly where you have to go and how many turns you have to do it. If you let him fail once and try again, presumably, he'd realize that what he was doing wasn't working and notice that giant UI element telling him how many turns he had to get to his objective.

kandoh,

Sounds like you have mind goblins

helenslunch,

Scary

novakeith,

I’m curious why you think Deep Rock Galactic is complex. It’s one of the most “pick up and play” friendly games, I think, that I own.

helenslunch,

I don’t remember. According to my history I last played Feb 2022 and for a total of 7 hours. I just remember why I quit.

novakeith,

If you want a calm group of people to play with, DM me and we can trade Steam information (assuming you use that platform) - we typically need a 4th player anyway

helenslunch,

443664174

novakeith,

Just sent you a request. KNova

steb,
steb avatar

Exactly. I'd be reluctant to try any of the other games that OP names because I "don't have the time" and yet I have 200+ hours in DRG.

helenslunch,

Maybe I’ll find my way back to it later…

Skua,

Obviously if you don't enjoy it then that's 100% valid, but at least in terms of understanding what to do it's totally okay to play DRG without understanding anything beyond "shoot bugs and do whatever thing mission control most recently asked you to do". There's no need to play at a higher hazard if you don't yet know or just don't care to know about how to set up your weapons for maximum effectiveness or how to counter each type of bug and so on. Just play at whatever hazard you find fun and try things out until you find what you enjoy. There's no class or weapon that is non-functional without some other component. No wrong choices, so to speak. They're all just degrees of better and worse at any given job, and if you try something out on a mission and it doesn't work then the absolute worst possible penalty is just that you fail that mission and only get a little bit of xp and cash instead of a bigger amount.

Mummelpuffin,
@Mummelpuffin@beehaw.org avatar

Sounds to me like you just don’t want to think that hard, which is fine, I usually don’t either. Half of the time I just play Doom .wads

BG3 specifically: It’s D&D 5e, so… yeah It’s gonna be complex.

Complex systems more generally:

The best way to learn about any complex system is to bite tiny chunks out of it and ignore the rest, even if you know stuff is interconnected. You’ll never learn everything at once, so don’t try. Eventually you get bored with the little bubble you’ve carved out for yourself so you move over and learn about some other bit. You don’t even need to care about whether you’ll understand everything eventually.

typoid,

If you’re really struggling to click with a game, I’ve found watching a “let’s play” on YouTube helps me out.

Koordinator_O,

Reading the title i thought about titles like mech engineer or the like where you almost have to read a 50 pages manual. Not Deep Rock Galactic 0.0

Don_alForno,

Or does each game just build on top of working knowledge of previous similar Games?

This. There is a sort of gaming DNA that you just internalize over time. I’ve been gaming for 30 years, I just know how that one breakable wall looks, that you need to come back to once you get bombs or whatever it is. I know the difference between a caster, a fighter and a rogue when I see them without knowing the exact details of their ability mechanics in this particular game. My intuition as to how a given ability is most likely going to work is also usually pretty close. Because they are often very similar across different games.

Also if you don’t know and don’t have to have the absolute optimal combination from square one, just pick what looks cool and try it. If it doesn’t work out, try something else. Most games allow respecs nowadays. We learn through failure and repitition.

Skipper_the_Eyechild,

Baldurs Gate allows “respeccing” too, which I presume is respecialistion?

It puts you back to level one, let’s you change class entirely even, but you keep your experience so you can level all the way up again straight away, making different choices.

hornedfiend,

Have a look at Dwarf Fortress too. It could melt your brain.

wintrparkgrl,

I read the title thinking about DF or crusader kings. Nope, deep rock galactic. Wut?

Aslo rock and stone

raccoona_nongrata, (edited )
@raccoona_nongrata@beehaw.org avatar

deleted_by_author

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  • loboaureo,

    This!

    The fun of this games are learning what are good or bad combination of traits.

    Its true that if you already have playe Dungeon and dragóns or are used to play this short of games need less tries until you found something that works

    BirdyBoogleBop,

    Isn’t Baldur’s Gate 3 just DnD, so thats easy as I already have that knowledge. All the others don’t seem that complex.

    Deep Rock is Shoot Stuff, mine, don’t die

    Overwatch is only complex when you get past the early learning and pissing around and start learning characters and trying to counter pick. Which you don’t need to do to have fun.

    Destiny I don’t remember much of. I guess it had some more complex movement and stats so that one might be more complex.

    helenslunch,

    Isn’t Baldur’s Gate 3 just DnD

    I guess so? Never played DnD in my life and didn’t realize that.

    Overwatch is only complex when you get past the early learning and pissing around and start learning characters and trying to counter pick. Which you don’t need to do to have fun.

    Just feel like I’m gonna get my ass kicked by all the people who understand all the mechanics instead of just fucking around in-game. Would just be nice if they included the necessary info in the game instead of making you search it up online.

    Doxatek,

    Overwatch makes new players do tutorials on each of the heroes now as well as describing all the abilities at any time in the selection screen. I think if you were to explore it again and play for a while you would learn it all really quickly. The characters aren’t really that complex once you learn what is going on haha. Definitely at first it’s just chaos and dunno why you’re dying

    helenslunch,

    I just went and checked it out and it’s free-to-play and the reviews are “overwhelmingly negative”, both of which typically keep me far far away haha

    Also all of the “most helpful” reviews are just memes and not even reviews at all. WTF is that about?

    Doxatek,

    Lmao gotcha. I mostly played when it first came out. I imagine the reason it was overwhelmingly negative was the review bombing of the “overwatch 2” which is the exact same as overwatch one except they forced everyone to switch to this one where the only difference is the addition of a store. everything that used to be free cosmetic wise is now payable content.

    helenslunch,

    everything that used to be free cosmetic wise is now payable content.

    And they badger you every 5 minutes about buying it. Pretty much what I figured.

    Vodulas,

    BG3 uses D&D fifth edition rules, and the game is set in the Forgotten Realms, which is the official setting for D&D right now. That being said, that can be a lot to get into, and the BG3 tutorial is trash. For character creation you might just want to pick one of the origin characters. Creating a custom character can take a good long while, even if you know the rules already. The origin characters have most of the basic classes covered and will give you a feel for the game. If you want to change it up, there is a way to change your class and stats partway through act 1. That will at least get you in the game and playing, where there are tooltips that pop up.

    helenslunch,

    BG3 uses D&D fifth edition rules, and the game is set in the Forgotten Realms, which is the official setting for D&D right now.

    I don’t know what any of these words mean, but thank you.

    bermuda, (edited )

    D&D fifth edition rules

    This is the fifth version of D&D, released a few years ago I believe. Each version of D&D is called an “edition” and each one contains changes & new rules, characters, settings, stories, etc. Think of it like an update to a video game. Some people prefer old editions, some like new editions. The rules in BG3 are mostly from 5th edition (abbreviated as 5e). Like with video games, the publishers of D&D are called “Wizards of the Coast” so when people refer to editions, they refer to updates released by that particular company. Other companies make other versions, modifications, and campaigns within and like D&D, but only WotC makes D&D editions.

    Forgotten realms

    This is just the setting for D&D. It’s rather high fantasy, and if you’re playing a bog standard D&D game in real life, this is probably where your story is going to be set. Most of the settings within the Forgotten Realms are set within the large continent of Faerun. FWIW, “Baldur’s Gate” Is the name of a canonical city in Faerun. It’s a very wealthy and prosperous merchant city state. There are other campaigns and stories from other continents in the Forgotten Realms (and from beyond the forgotten realms), but Faerun is by far the most fleshed out.

    TL;DR: 5e is the “fifth edition,” which is the most current “official” ruleset for the game. The Forgotten Realms are the official setting for the game. Faerun is the main continent, and Baldur’s Gate is a city on that continent.

    my_hat_stinks,

    This is the fifth version of D&D, released a few years ago I believe

    Nearly a decade now, 5e core rulebooks were all released in 2014.

    Tavarin, (edited )
    @Tavarin@lemmy.ca avatar

    I just pick a character class that looks interesting, make them look like me, and get going.

    Figure it out as I play, and just have fun. I pretty much never watch videos or read anything about games unless I get really stuck, or have already finished the game and am curious about other playstyles.

    Xero, (edited )
    @Xero@infosec.pub avatar

    I’m playing Baldur’s Gate 3 with Wyll as my mage, and two custom hirelings that I brought in to replace Shadowheart the cleric, and the vampire thief guy who I was really liking up until he tried to bite me. So I killed him. Also thinking about letting Gale starve to death because I’d rather sell surplus magic items. The heroic characters talked too fucking much, and I didn’t appreciate all their drama. Hirelings are quiet and they kill who I want them to kill without complaing about it.

    I’m playing a half-drow elemental monk who somehow learned to play the lute and lyre. He’s black because I’m black, which is also why I wanted Wyll. I found a cowboy hat somewhere. Cowboy monk

    Necronomicommunist,

    The best playstyle is to do whatever the fuck you want, and this is it.

    shapis,
    @shapis@lemmy.ml avatar

    Destiny

    When I first played I had a wiki open on my second monitor for about the first month I was playing.

    Love the game. One of my favorites. And the artwork and music are second to none.

    It definitely has the worst onboarding experience ever though.

    BG3

    It does have deep systems. But you can just pick what feels right to you and the game will accommodate you.

    It’s a masterpiece.

    Megasthenes,

    Destiny 2 was pretty accessible when it started, but IT got worse over time and hit rock bottom when it became f2p. I left it because i became tired of the grind.

    potterman28wxcv,

    For a first time don’t try to get the strongest character possible. It’s a time sink to do that. Usually the main campaign of games are beatable even if you screw up something. The worst that can happen is you backtracking a bit and spending time to level up before doing the next quest.

    When you played the game once and got used to the mechanics you can make a 2nd char and plan it more deeply ahead if you wish. You know what mechanics you like so the prospect of finding what to invest in what is worth etc… becomes more streamlined. But you don’t have to. You can just be happy to have finished the game and call it a day.

    That’s what I did for Diablo 4. After the main campaign I did not feel like venturing more into the game or making another character so I started playing another game. If you really want to 100% a game it does require a ton of time and planning but you don’t have to

    ursakhiin,

    This. For bg3 I started by looking up a simple question around class complexity. Landed on fighter for my first class and then only looked up specific questions I had about how something works if I wanted to consider it.

    That was only to verify I understood what it was saying it did correctly.

    limeaide,

    I recently started playing Divinity Original Sin 2, and I went through this problem as well until I changed the way I approached the game.

    I just let go of trying to make the most optimized decisions and instead just make the decision I, or my character would make (if I’m role playing).

    I just realized that no matter what decision I make, it will still lead me to finish the game. If I really want to, later I can go back and play it again to see more of the game. Only if I like my first play-through though.

    helenslunch,

    Good stuff, thanks!

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