With me embracing games like Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Awesomenauts, etc. . . but railing against simplification in games like World of Warcraft or Mass Effect I’ve been criticized of having double standards or being hypocritical, and I kind of want to address my feelings and opinions on this matter.
The reason the former don’t upset me is they didn’t affect a pre-existing game or series, they’re new IP’s designed to be played more casually. I get upset when a game sets a standard for itself and the complexity/difficulty of the title, and then lowers that. I can, and do, play Magic when I want a more complex card game. I can’t easily or legally play a more complex/difficult version of World of Warcraft again.
If Dark Souls 2 were ridiculously easier than it’s predecessor, I’d be upset there too, because the first game was known for it’s extreme but fair difficulty.
I do not think difficulty or complexity is the end-all of games. If I did, Dwarf Fortress would be my favorite game, and it’s not. I do however enjoy consistency with-in franchises unless you’re quite clearly going for a spin-off. If Dark Souls for example, created a ‘prepare to live’ game, that was a 2d survival game similar to ‘Don’t Starve.’ I wouldn’t get annoyed there either.
The strength of franchises and IP’s is that they come with certain expectations and familiar characters/settings. There’s room for some innovation or streamlining if you feel it truly makes the title better, but not severely so. When a new title in a franchise is drastically different and not a spin-off, it really only hurts the consumer who expected a similar experience.
Hopefully that clears up my take on these kind of things. If you feel I’m mistaken or have your own thoughts to add, I’m open to all suggestions so long as you’re civil, perhaps we can get an interesting discussion going?