I increasingly find myself Googling the solutions to quests and puzzles on the assumption that they are broken. I sometimes find that I have been outwitted, but more often something is wrong with the game. That could be a technical error or a design flaw.
The Secret World has had some trouble with broken quests, and it is always upsetting to solve a puzzle and later find out the computer was not accepting the correct answer. You usually find that out after trying 20 “well maybe” guesses after the right one. I was just playing QUBE, which is enjoyable but has a couple of points requiring very precise jumps, which can be difficult when you apparently have no feet; you can look down and see yourself levitating somewhere off the platform you are standing on. Google, YouTube… okay, yep, I was doing exactly the right thing just 3 pixels off. Dodgy game physics are a related issue. Google, YouTube… okay, yep, just keep repeating that sequence of moves until the box slides instead of teleporting away.
On the design side, frequent readers know some of my pet peeves. The broken logic of adventure games is classic, as is that article, if you haven’t read it yet. Other games substitute “guess or brute force all options” for logic. Another old favorite is when you missed something because it was two pixels wide. Oh, I need a coin to proceed, and it was the slightly brown line in the sidewalk crack from seven screens ago? You know, I don’t feel bad for not taking the time to find that one. I’ve probably spent enough time trying to figure out what I was supposed to be finding.
I recall the early days of LotRO, which launched with many early quests involving things to click on the ground: a sack of bandit loot to reclaim, a mushroom to pick, a body to bury. With the newbie zones heavily populated, you could run to exactly the right spot and not find the quest objective because it was still respawning. Players cleared entire camps of dwarves without realizing that the clicky was by the first campfire, and how amazing that bodies could disappear and resurface! Modern tech has mostly solved this problem: the clicky disappears for you when you click it, but other players can also do so without rivalry.