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Thread: The Trouble with Expectations - Editorial

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    The Trouble with Expectations - Editorial

    Often what we expect and what we get are two different things. It's best if we can find a middle ground between having high expectations and not having any at all.

    Editorial
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm

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    Yepp, I know this feeling. FFXIII, I was expecting a diety in human form descending down among us mortals blessing us with its presence. Heck I was expecting it to cure any disease known to man after that trailer.

    These days I read reviews and watch trailers and keep them as short intros to what that person felt about the game. If I just don't read them after I played the game for a while.

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    Angel-Possessed Priestess Administrator Strawberry Eggs's Avatar
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    I'm usually pretty good at tempering my expectations. Heck, once in a while, a game is even able to exceed them. I usually do so by avoiding expecting to be too much like either previous entries. If it's a new IP or a series I've never played before, then I try to avoid comparing it to games it is similar to.

    More often, I might be disappointed that a single aspect of a game isn't as good as I was hoping. I had hoped that Pokemon X/Y would have as good a story as Black/White (yeah, Pokemon is hardly know for its story, but Black/White managed to do some surprising things for the series and have some interesting characters, with Anti-Villian N being unexpectedly complex), but it felt like a step back to Diamond/Pearl/Platinum.
    "Tiz, please. You're getting bumpkin all over my feral bikini woman fantasy. "

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    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    Keeping your expectations realistic is obviously a good idea, but does that really apply to the Project X situation, where people are expecting a spiritual successor to Xenoblade and maybe going to get an online co-op action RPG instead? You can only put so much faith in the developer's vision before it becomes clear that they're just plain not making something you want to play.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    That's the thing, we really don't know what it is. We've seen videos, but those without details are pretty meaningless.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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    Staff Healer RPGamer Staff TwinBahamut's Avatar
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    You know, I think I'll eternally refuse to ever temper my hopes and expectations. Always having the futile optimism that every game you are looking forward to is going to be a great game is much too fun. Of course, it's essential to always be willing to give a game a chance and let it stand on its own merits, too. Having high expectations for a game is very different from trying to turn a game into something it isn't, or expecting it to be flawless and perfect. I've never played a perfect game, but I've played a great many good ones.

    I don't know why, between this article and the battle royale, this seems to be "pick on Xenoblade" day, though. I don't understand you people who had bad first impressions with it. I went into it expecting a good game and it vastly exceeded my expectations within the first few minutes, and exceeded those first impressions within the next few hours. So, I feel no shame in expecting the world from Monolithsoft's next project. Sure, they might disappoint me (they certainly did with every single episode of Xenosaga, after all), but as I said: it's just more fun to be optimistic. After all, even if the Xenosaga games did disappoint me (big time), I still found a lot to like about them, and many other games like them.

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    I don't amp myself up as much as most people. I find myself looking at media when a game is first announced until I decide whether or not I'm actually interested, then ignore it until a few solid previews come out, just to check and see if it's still worth keeping up with, and then follow up when a few reliable reviews come out. These days, that usually means there's a two year or more gap where I ignore it, or more in special cases like, what is now, FFXV.

    Personally, I think a lot of developers tease too early nowadays. Too little information, too soon and people's imaginations build hype and artificial expectations long before the games are released, resulting in disappointment. I think it's a marketing strategy that improves sales for those individual games, but the disappointment may hurt the company's long term reputation.

  8. #8
    Honestly, I'm already pretty accurate in determining if I'll like a game or not, even if I just have generic info or just seen a screenshot or maybe a gameplay video. When I feel I want to play a game and buy it, I usually end up liking it for sure. When I just buy a game because it is of a genre I like but it doesn't look too interesting, I usually end up not liking it.

    There are a few "points" I could list with which I can pretty much identify 100% accurately whether I'll like a game or not, because what kills a game for me are always the same things and so I know what to look for. For example monster catching aspects is a killer for me as well as item creation / forging aspects (though this one is a bit harder because some games offer them but they are completely optional and you get better equips from treasure chests anyway while in others it's mandatory unless you want ridiculously hard battles). I also know that if the gameplay is too complex, I don't enjoy it.

    It's also possible to go by developer - if I liked a game from a developer I'll usually like his other games too and if I don't like one I end up not liking any of his games. Developers can change in quality but it's always a gradual process (slowly getting worse or slowly getting better) for me and not just hit or miss.
    (Note: This refers to actual developer not game title as it can be that a sequel is developed by a different developer.)

    Surprises, huh? Well there are some games where I was horribly wrong with my expectations, but that was usually because I didn't inform myself well enough. When I got my first SMT game I thought it was a horror RPG hybrid which is what I really love (Parasite Eve), but didn't realize it's actually more of a monster catching game, so I ended up hating it. For Dragon Quarter I heard that it actually has an SRPG battle system, so I thought RPG and SRPG combined is awesome (Shining Force), oh boy was I wrong there, it ended up my most hated game mainly due to incredibly high difficulty and limited amount of saves.
    Difficulty I guess is what is hardest to determine without playing. Difficulty is perceived differently from everyone and while one person might say the game is too easy I might find it too hard and vice versa.

    It also happened the other way around for me too - this usually happens with "unique ideas". Like a game that couldn't be put into a genre at all. I wouldn't buy such a game usually but I got quite many lately from sales and bundles and I'd say I actually like 20% of them quite a lot despite not expecting it.
    What also happened lately was that I somehow got into the WRPG genre. The only WRPG I really liked in the past was Might & Magic IV+V (World of Xeen). I tried others back then but didn't enjoy them. I tried Fallout 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 and quite both after 5 minutes because I found them boring, so I thought WRPGs are just not for me except grid based first person crawlers.
    But then Spiderweb games were offered in a bundle and because jcservant has been bugging me to get those for a while I got the bundle and I was really surprised how much I liked them. I still dislike the fact that you have to read so much in WRPGs, but the feeling of exploration was good and once it got me I really enjoyed it. Also I got Might & Magic X lately due to it being grid-based and the deluxe edition had a free copy of Might & Magic VI so I just fired it up for fun (can't complain if it's free after all) and for some reason I actually ending up enjoying it. I think it is because I figured out that you can ignore all those NPCs running around town and I also figured out that turn based combat is actually possible in it! So I simply "played them wrong".

    In most cases however, coming back to an old game keeps your impression on it exactly the same. If you play it the same way, you will enjoy it the same way, your taste never changes, it's only that your playstyle changing which makes you enjoy or not enjoy games.
    Since GoG allows buying games from Europe without credit card now I bought pretty many games I actually already own again and tried to play them again and the interesting thing is that they feel exactly the same way to me as I remembered them. In Heroes of Might & Magic 1 I still can't beat the second campain level. In the whole series I'm still annoying by how the AI always steals all your stuff and you always have to walk back and take it back which makes the levels drag on forever. In RollercoasterTycoon I still enjoy playing the first 10 or so stages a lot and then it gets slowly more tiresome because you already have build so many rollercoasters and also the goals get harder and harder that you have no more time to actually have fun with the game (like watching the people and coasters) and just have to rush building good rollercoasters fast (unless you use premade models and that's not as fun as manually building it and integrating it into the given scenery). Y'know I just want to have some time decorating the park, colouring everything and so on, but the effects on the visitor count are so minor that you are much better off mass producing rollercoasters.
    Anyway the point is - even after 15+ years, my impressions on these games haven't changed at all.

    If these things are fixed and just depend on your playstyle, you can always create a list of important points that your playstyle needs and then you can accurately predict whether you like a game or not. Consequently too high expectations should be reduced to a minimum.

  9. #9
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    I don't know why, between this article and the battle royale, this seems to be "pick on Xenoblade" day, though. I don't understand you people who had bad first impressions with it. I went into it expecting a good game and it vastly exceeded my expectations within the first few minutes, and exceeded those first impressions within the next few hours.
    For me, I enjoyed the game up until Gaur Plain when it just really wasn't clicking with me. And then I just took some time off and came back, played as Reyn, and it did click. I still maintain that the menus and UI in Xenoblade were part of my dislike of the game initially. Once I got over that, it was better. Much better.

    That said, Xenosaga Episode III is fantastic. :P
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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