I finished the challenge mode for Beast Mastery Hunter today. I believe this was also the first day I started trying to complete it in the first place. And yet, a few dozen attempts stood between me and finishing it. A grand total of a few hours likely.
I don’t hate challenges, in many ways I enjoy them. I tend to crank game difficulty to max and whenever there is a trophy for completing a game on “hate yourself” difficulty I tackle it headlong.
But occasionally I stumble upon a challenge like this and wonder what went wrong? This was not fun at all. I wouldn’t even say it was necessarily hard, it was just clunky. The challenge has you fighting against a highmountain tauren and his demonic worms.
The challenge is keeping yourself from being stunned and interrupting his major cast anytime it is called. This requires rotating a pet stun, your interrupt, and the ice trap skill (which is on a delay as you throw it). If you miss these and your pet gets hit there is a good chance your pet will die. If your pet dies you might as well quit because winning at that point is ridiculous.
Those of you that have played warcraft might be thinking “Rico? Why wouldn’t you just ressurect your pet and then feign death?” Ah, see, it sounds like you actually grasp what it takes to play a hunter well. Feigning death, misderecting thread to your beefier pet, and whipping ass from afar.
Unfortunately nobody cared to inform the development team at Blizzard of this. Because the bosses in this challenge are immune to misdirection and they ignore feign death. Ok, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes they don’t ignore feign death but instead decide to just despawn entirely.
Ever spent 6 minutes fighting something only to watch it unload before your eyes? I have, many times in the course of a few hours.
Ultimately what this challenge has you do is playing your class in a way you’d never actually play it. They say that these are to prove your expertise of their class. But I can tell you that for the rest of my life this experience will have no impact on my actual performance as a hunter.
I see this sometimes in other games and it confounds me. This weird failure from success feeling. Where you’ve accomplished something but you are still annoyed by it. I’m not happy that I have this rare-difficult-to-acquire skin for my weapon in wow. Much like those long grinds for rare pets or mounts, I end up just mad in the end.
When I got the headless horsemen mount last year I wasn’t happy about it. It had taken almost a decade of events for me to get it. By the point I was done I didn’t even want to use it and I mostly never do.
I’m not a professional game designer, I can only really tell you what I like. This definitely was not that. I felt the same thing playing a number of the uncharted games on the highest difficulty. You have checkpoints that plop you in front of a gunman who kills you in a single shot. Sometimes you die before the game even finishes loading.
This is something I’m going to be considering as I work more on game projects. Creating a challenge that is so nasty that even when you finish it you are still upset. Because I can’t think of any worse thing in video games for me. Getting a reward and still feeling like you lost? That seems like pretty much the worst combination. At least a broken game doesn’t tease you along, promising you some good feels at the end of the race.
I chased a dragon only to find out it was more Tiamat than Puff.