I often encounter the opinion or perspective that exploitative mechanics like random loot drops, grinding and RPG mechanics are fine to have in games because people ‘enjoy’ them, and enjoyment is ultimately the goal of a game, and it’s impossible to show one kind of enjoyment to be superior or inferior to another.
Listening to Keith’s latest podcast episode, I was particularly struck by a particular section. He talks at length about how in a well-designed game of strategy, playing it is about pursing a discipline, or about mastering a system (becoming “good” at something). He goes on to say that the process of becoming good at something requires focus, perseverance, creative thinking and reasoning, all of which are desirable human attributes. In this way, well designed games provide tremendous value to those that play them, in much the same way that consuming any art provides value. And this is FUNDAMENTALLY different from a fleeting, shallow and ultimately exploitative experience.
Thanks for putting feelings that have been jumbling around my head into words Keith. Again.