Earlier this week I sent out a very early build of Aztez to a handful of friends. I chose these particular people primarily for their intelligence and articulation but also for their varying skill levels across different types of games. Mind you, there is little to no ACTUAL game in place just yet. I was simply looking for feedback on the basic sensation of the existing attacks but also on the difficulty of execution for two of the combos I had built on a Gap Timing mash flow, inspired by the elegance of Devil May Cry. The feedback that came back to me was fascinating; no one liked it or could do it reliably. No one except two people.
Person A is someone I had a feeling wouldn't struggle with the execution at all. They are an avid skill gamer, someone who seeks out challenging gameplay, actively hunts down difficult and game changing exploits, and is in fact one of the three people I've ever met who have played as many games as I have. Turns out, I was MOSTLY correct. They were able to perform the gap timing combos 9 out of 10 times and didn't have a problem with the way they were implemented. They still had ideas on how to ease execution, but generally speaking they were not concerned about the thought of having to use them in game play.
Person B surprised me. Person B is not someone I would place on the lunatic fringe that Person A and myself occupy, yet they didn't have a major problem with the execution. With Person B it was more like 7 out 10 times that they successfully executed the combo but the number improved as they continued to play with it.
The point of the story is that the only people who saw it my way were a lunatic like me and and an inexplicable crap-shoot. And it's not even like they "saw it my way", they accepted it as is and rolled with it. Ultimately, it just doesn't make any sense to cling to mechanics that other people can't digest just because you think it's best, especially if you're trying to make a game that you want other people to enjoy. So it's back to the drawing board on this one. Luckily for me it's still super early and I have all the flexibility in the world so truthfully, I'm glad I caught it now. But I just wanted to share it so that you too don't fall into an assumptions trap that could compromise your potential player base...and all because you fell in love with a completely different game 10 years ago.