IMO the divine shard doesn't change much. I don't think people are especially likely to give it to Trin, and without metagaming, you wouldn't know that it could save her in the first place!
kobajagrande You could argue that Mario also tests memorization (I also played a bunch of those when I was a kid and I don't have that impression, but let's say we're talking about Unfair Mario or Cat Mario), but it's still about being good at the game, even if it's a memorization game. You're being tested by the game at being good at the game. So it still supports what I said about game design.
I have no problem playing with guides, in fact I helped write multiple wiki guides! That obviously doesn't keep me from thinking that the game would be better if it gave players a decent shot at achieving perfect results by excelling at it rather than by metagaming. But of course, me being willing to play with guides or not is a quite pointless concern that doesn't actually address anything.
LOLtohru Even if every complex game have unknowns, it doesn't mean that it's always like this. Even if it's all shades of grey, some shades are lighter, some are darker. There's a difference between there being some unknowns because of the game's complexity (an inevitable problem to be mitigated), and only giving the player scraps of data on purpose.
SL's philosophy about this is well-known, as it is put on top of one of the main pages of the wiki: "You're not meant to know the effects of the investments, or to have a firm grasp of your financial future. I understand the desire for it, but that's what wikis and guides are for."
For a wholly different perspective in game design philosophy, compare with this piece of advice given by the Goblin Punch guy, of False Hydra fame: "Part of giving the players meaningful choices is giving them the information they need to make their decisions. They need to know what the risks and the rewards are for any decision (at least approximately). Don’t hide information behind rolls--just give it to your players. When in doubt, give them more information. It is more important to inform your players than it is to find justifications for how the characters would know things." (I post this to highlight the fact that there's a decision at play, it's not something that happens automatically to all complex games in an uniform way.)
The fact that Megail runs the numbers makes it even more painful, in a way, since it means that she's got the data, she's just not sharing it. If you don't want to play maths with investments, it's okay, but if you do, you've got to rely on third-party tools. The game itself should give some infos about the consequences of our choices, otherwise we're robbed of them. We're not playing that part of the game, Megail is. Same with the bridge, as the characters could have easily known the consequences for the battle of Yhilin, yet they don't share it with the player. It's simply not possible to get as much money as Fulminato without extensive metagaming, so excelling at the game means excelling at metagaming. This is what the game actually testes for in multiple parts of the gameplay.
As a counter-example, we've got affection checks. There's full disclosure of the affection level of characters, and they usually tell us which choice they'll prefer, so the whole affection thing is pretty solid IMO. To be more clear about why I think the Trin check is "hidden variable bs":
- Maxing Trin isn't something a blind player does with the possibility of her death in mind, since the game teaches us, until this update, that haremettes can't die. It's possible to avoid using her copying abilities for a number of reasons, including ethics and their scarcity when choosing. If you have no idea she could die from it, why not?
- Giving a divine shard to Trin. See my point at the beginning of this message. We've got like 6 shards and 5 succubi, whose short lifespan is made clear to the player, and no indication that not giving one to Trin could cause her death...
- The Ravaging Conqueror choice. As pointed out by Fulminato, we're given two options to refuse and only one to accept, and it doesn't look good at first, especially since we saw Tanurak try to recruit her not long ago. I'd also like to point out that, when the choice comes, it looks like a minor decision, not a literal life-or-death situation for this character. Should it really have that much impact?
You need two out of three. Let's say that maxing Trin is a given, because the check comes pretty late in the game. She's still got a good chance to die, based on... divine shard choice and what looks like a minor decision at the Second Gathering? Really? Keeping in mind, we're talking about the worst event thus far in the game, something we didn't even knew could happen in the first place. Hence my endless bitching. :p
then they can just look up a guide
This is precisely what I'm complaining about. :-(