Because this forum hasn't suffered one of my essays in far too long . . . A. Card Hunter is a collectible card game for players who want the extra depth of context on a game board. This tabletop-like context dynamically changes how cards behave and how they are valued. B. Card Hunter is a tabletop game for players who want the extra randomness of cards. This card-game-like randomness dynamically changes how board position is attained and how it is valued. C. Card Hunter is a strategy game that requires players to utilize the concepts of collectible card games and tabletop games to overcome traditional and new videogame challenges. I list these because I was thinking about the psychology of the Card Hunter player, how it's learned by growing players, and how it clashes with new players who come to dislike the game. Specifically, I was thinking of the "standard complaints." I wonder whether these complaints will be a force that breaks the game, or something that fades away over time, or just something that longstanding posters will always have to face. You can stop reading now, because everything else is just details. Dwarf Fortress, a very complex and difficult game, has "standard complaints." People come by the forums and say: "The interface is bad. How can you expect anyone to play this game without a usable interface?" "The difficulty is unreasonable. How can you expect anyone to play this game without reasonable difficulty?" "The graphics are terrible. How can you expect anyone to play this game without decent graphics?" You can argue all you want about these points but it doesn't change the twofold truth. First, that the interface needs improvement, the difficulty is tremendous, and the graphics are ASCII (unless changed by the player). Second, that everybody who "plays this game" already knew that some groups of people would be turned off by these details. Complaints may be valid, but longstanding posters know all the responses by heart. Card Hunter, a very complex and difficult game, is gradually developing its "standard complaints." I pieced together some a few months ago. Again: 1. "I don't like cards connected to items. Eliminate that system." 2. "I don't like actions dependent on random draws. Eliminate randomness." 3. "I don't like power restrictions on items. Eliminate that system." 4. "I don't like how level interacts with XP gain and such. Eliminate level dependencies." 5. "I don't like Armor/Blocks/whatever is defeating me right now. Eliminate that system." Or to expand from here: 6. "It's impossible to know how to prepare my deck because this game doesn't give me enough information." 7. "It's impossible to prepare my deck because this game doesn't give me enough items." 8. "I don't like preparing my deck. Let me complete the game without deckbuilding." All you have to do is toss in other words like "here, I have a suggested alternative that surely will make this game more popular," or "this is just a ploy to get me to spend money," or even "how can you expect anyone to play this game without a more reasonable system?" and you'll get the various levels of politeness or rudeness from such threads. You can argue all you want, and of course all these complaints are valid. However, notice the text in bold at the top of this thread. Longstanding followers from Card Hunter's development expected a system of A, B, and C from the start. New and growing players must learn to appreciate and utilize this three-in-one definition of the game. If someone doesn't want to play the whole game, then of course there's going to be a problem. Longstanding posters have been mapping A, B, and C to 1-8 for a long time now. What prompted me to write this essay, though, was wondering whether the "standard complaints" could change. Say, whether they could fade away over time. Consider: 2, 5, 7, 8. Eventually, people furious with randomness will get the knowledge and the items to minimize poor-rolling Armor or often-drawn Move cards. (Or quit.) 5, 6. People furious with strategy will learn that, yes, if the module says "there are animated trees in here" they might want to bring fire. (Or quit.) 1, 3, 4, 5, 8. People furious with deck management will gain a deeper understanding of how tabletop games AND card games AND strategy games work. (Or quit.) Then people will have higher-level characters and a decent item pool. There will be an established presence among the gamers of the world. And then Blue Manchu may expand the content. What will happen when the people who now use only Reliable Mail go to check out this "new expansion?" Or the people who learned that "Human" means "this jerk has Parry"? New single-player levels, or even a new tier of multiplayer (e.g., level 36), will now be approached by a flood of people who know the definition of the game. Will there be a new "Compass of Xorr is too hard! There's too much Parry!" in the higher levels? Will there be "It's literally impossible to play multiplayer when your hand is randomized!" in the higher tier? I'm guessing that when people complain about the expansions, it will be more for actual balance errors. People who know what the game is SUPPOSED to be will speak of it differently, and the "standard complaints" will apply mostly to the "classic" content. The most interesting place to test player psychology will be any new cooperative multiplayer. In such a mode, anyone can play. But we presume such a mode is far in the future. So I ask: by that point, will "Card Hunter psychology" have formed a strong enough presence that people coming to this game will know what to expect? Maybe there will even be other games with design identical to Card Hunter and it will be a known "genre." Or will the new cooperative forums be filled with a thousand new "standard complaints," and longstanding posters just have to deal with it? Critically, it's not just a matter of a single newbie on a forum: the cooperative nature of the game means that now a gaming group must work amongst its members to resolve a clash. What may be "an ideal venue for DM-ing" to one may be "an impossible mishmash of randomness" to the others. Given the example of Dwarf Fortress, I think it's clear that "standard complaints" don't go away. They may get better: in that example, there are plenty of other "roguelikes," and even games that directly reference Dwarf Fortress, and so the "Dwarf Fortress psychology" is something people can understand. Thus longstanding Card Hunter people should probably prepare for the long haul. And be polite as they do it. Clashing expectations are inevitable. But by the basic example of other internet communities and other tricky videogames, new people need to understand: their complaints may be valid, but longstanding posters know all the responses by heart.