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Consulting firm Quantic Foundry has synthesized data gathered from surveys filled out by over 140,000 game players to publish a blog post comparing the perceived challenge and thrill of popular strategy games.
The post is intended to drum up interest in the firm's consulting and analytics services, but it nevertheless makes for interesting reading in light of the fact that Quantic Foundry effectively correlated self-submitted reports of what specific games people enjoy most with how they appreciate different aspects of game design -- the challenge of complex planning, for example, or competing against other players.
Quantic Foundry plotted out (see below) some of that data for games in the strategy genre, with intriguing results. The firm reports that League of Legends proved more appealing to players who prize fast-paced action than Blizzard's Hearthstone, for example, but less appealing to people who value complex strategic challenges than either Hearthstone or DotA.
Moreover, Quantic Foundry posits that DotA marks the upper limit of the strategy game market's "cognitive threshold" -- the point at which a game's design is too demanding, in terms of both decision-making and reaction time, to be enjoyed by most people.
Developers interested in taking a deeper look at Quantic Foundry's data or requesting similar reports should check out the full blog post.