|The answer to the question is always, "Yes!"|
Terraria, like most games with procedurally generated maps, has a number of resources which are quite limited in nature. It also has a large number of treasures which are completely random. An example would be the Ice Machine—used to create ice furniture—which not all maps have one, so besides actually finding chests that have loot, you also have to hope that the loot you get is the stuff you want. On top of that, some things, like Sunplate Blocks, are extremely limited in amounts in a given world.
Diablo III is another game with procedurally generated maps and loot. An example of this is trying to farm for the Gibbering Gemstone—a piece of loot required to unlock Whimseyshire. I’ve been farming on and off for this item since March when 2.0 dropped, and haven’t had any luck so far. You need to farm a beast known as Chiltara, who sometimes spawns in the Caverns of Frost, which sometimes spawns instead of the Icefall Caverns not far from the Bridge of Korsekk way point, but the location in the field of the cavern is also random.
So not only do I have to find the cavern, I have to hope it’s the right one, and then it’s no guarantee the mob I want to kill will spawn, and then it’s still like a 3% drop rate from there. I think I’ve put in about 8 – 10 hours total farming this thing, culminating in about 30 Chiltara kills, and precisely 0 Gibbering Gemstones.
All of this leads to some very interesting behavior as far as gaming is concerned. The most efficient way to farm for this item in Diablo III is to start a new game, check to see if the bounty is for Caverns of Frost on the map, and if not, quit and repeat. Often you’ll go through about 5 – 8 instances of the game before you get one with the right bounty, and away you go hoping Chiltara will spawn.
For Terraria, if you’re just farming a specific resource it’s not too bad; start a new world, and go find it. If you’re searching for a specific treasure, you need to know what biome it usually spawns, create the world and go find the biome, and search it top to bottom. Or use a map-viewer utility to pin-point it and find that location in-game, which is definitely cheating (though on the degrees of cheating, it’s less than just actively modifying your inventory).
The State Of Play #pennyarcade http://t.co/JnIJNfTpXu. Man, that mentality of "Oh no, I was inefficient!" is so hard to challenge these days
— Greg Street (@OccupyGStreet) May 19, 2014
But as a designer, is this behavior you should encourage, discourage, or do something else entirely? Or even just ignore it. Players love to be efficient—and I’m completely guilty of this myself—rather than just play around. A lot of gamers are very goal-oriented, even if those goals are self-created. So when that drive for efficiency creates a strange way of playing the game “optimally”, should it be changed?
|My personal goal is to finish my treehouse, which requires farming more worlds for a lot more Sunplate Stone.|
I’m not asking for things to be handed to me on a silver platter, but when you look at non-procedurally generated content, usually rare items are gated by being well-hidden (easily defeated by a FAQ online), or by being behind some crazy skill gate, like a secret boss or dungeon. In MMOs and procedurally generated content, usually it just becomes a matter of time spent and a little luck.
Personally I prefer a skill gate, because it gives me another goal, and a way to test myself, which I find amusing. But others prefer the time gate, because they love grinding (seriously! They do!), or like the idea that given enough time, they can do everything the game has to offer. This method of farming, quitting and recreating an instance of the game over and over and over again, is something that isn’t much fun for Diablo III, at least, and I wonder if there’s another mechanic that could be used instead?#GameDesign, #DiabloIII, #Terraria