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It is always the way, something is challenging, people complain on the forums, they make it easier and those people leave any ways. In my case I love the challenge, I love achieving something that puts me in an exclusive club. My heart pumps when I know there is risk/reward and knowing I could lose, that is where excitement comes in. There is nothing fun about going around tanking every mob in the game and just mindlessly killing everything in sight to level up, that is just called a grind. The fun is having to work with other players to complete something that is hard, knowing that you might not be able to even do it with the group you have. I remember even with the early days of WoW, dungeons used to be hard and quite often we would fail because the group would fall apart. Now though you just run through it in 10 mins with no challenge and it is just boring, people just grind them for the loot only now.
Playing Operation Breakout on CS:GO, I had a mission where I had to join a death match server and grind away 30 kills with a certain gun. That was just a boring grind and it wasn't fun, yet I bet it is the exact thing people want because they just want to rush to the reward. I have another mission that I have yet to complete which is winning in competitive mode on a certain map. That has been much more exciting, there is something really on the line there, there is no guarantee that I'll ever complete it as I can fail unlike the last mission. I've tried it 3 times now and I've failed each time, that is up to 90 mins a pop. It is fun, it came down to the wire the last time I tried, I was the last man alive and my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking so badly. I lost and felt devastated, but if I succeeded I would have had such a high.
Those extreme emotions are things I experienced in early MMOs, ones which were challenging. I don't get that any more, MMOs are made too easy or have been dumbed down over time. You end up going through the content and you just feel nothing but boredom, everything is now a means to an end, when you get to the end you quit the game. I never used to play old MMOs to get to the end, in fact I probably never got to what you could call the end on any of them. I used to play to have fun, to feel those wild swings in emotions. Now though everything is made so everyone can experience it, it is basically just a checklist of easy content that has been designed with one thing in mind and that is levelling up your character and doing it FAST and EASY.
This is something that has always pissed me off and the reason why I ended up quitting so many MMOs in the past. I remember SWG starting off as being a hard and harsh game, every patch seemed to be doing something to make it easier though. It got to the point where we had two major game changes in an effort to make it super easy and dumb. It made no sense to me as the skill box system is far more intuitive than the talent tree system, it offered far more variety as well. I just thought it was funny because Jedi used to have harsh death penalties to keep them in line as they were meant to be rare and over powered. People though always claimed server instability killed them and whined on until they lessened the Death Penalty to basically nothing... like funny that, always someone else's fault but yours. When I died all fully geared back when Dayz came out and was a challenging game, I didn't whine on about it being the servers fault and wanting them to take the death penalty away, I just fucking got over it and started again...
Developers have become like mini celebs now though, they've all gained big egos now that fans are all communicating with them through social media and forums etc. So developers want their content to be played by everyone, they're making content that satisfies their own ego rather than what is good for the game. I just cringe every time I hear a developer saying "we spend this amount of time making whatever and only 2% of people saw it" and using it as an excuse to why they've made something easier or taken it out of the game. Like ok so just make a boring corridor instead then, make sure everything we see is exactly what everyone else is seeing. I don't get that argument, what makes open world games fun is discovering things other people haven't seen, if we're all sent down the same path each time then it isn't a world any more, besides it makes replayability boring.
I'm just so tired of all these excuses around something being challenging to why people are leaving their game. Dumbing down a game has never made it more popular or kept players on, it just satisfies the short term and harms the long term.