Game Mechanics The Problem With NPC Happiness

Would you get rid of happiness-based price increases?


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Of course, there needed to be a system that restricted cage building.
At this point i see cage building as fairer gameplay option. I'd wager Happiness was rushed, considering it was announced as late as February, but in its current state it's so annoying i actually feel ashamed that i initially defended it. It reminds me of decade old Morrowind vs. Oblivion debate, or "should you go out of your way to implement clunky living NPC system or make them stand in their homes forever instead, leaving the rest to player's imagination?". Now, game development made significant progress in that field since then, but Terraria today is pretty much at square one.
 
At this point i see cage building as fairer gameplay option. I'd wager Happiness was rushed, considering it was announced as late as February, but in its current state it's so annoying i actually feel ashamed that i initially defended it. It reminds me of decade old Morrowind vs. Oblivion debate, or "should you go out of your way to implement clunky living NPC system or make them stand in their homes forever instead, leaving the rest to player's imagination?". Now, game development made significant progress in that field since then, but Terraria today is pretty much at square one.
Maybe there doesn't need to be a system to restrict cage building. Let us build however we want and not punish us for arbitrary reasons.
Yeah, well, I guess I kinda worded myself completely wrong here. What I rather wanted to say is I see implementing a system to limit such building a viable reason from devs' side. I mean, it was kind of a cheap way of getting a lot of npcs in a tiny area. But I do agree that as it's a sandbox game it could've been left there nonetheless.
 
I made really pretty houses and made sure the separate the NPC's houses to give them some breathing room when I heard they can now be unhappy. This was actually lovely as I found myself really liking this and now have a pretty town with nice designs for each house.

But sadly, turns out that they are all very unhappy because... They live in a town? In my opinion this makes no intuitive sense and you can only really gather what exactly you have to do by reading the wiki, which is generally bad game design.

I too really like having a populated town, it's a bummer me and my co-players are being punished in-game for it.
 
Has there been any word on the developers on this? Or are we just going to have to wait for mods? If there's a game mechanic half the playerbase hates and feels needs removal or significant change, it needs to be revisited.
 
Has there been any word on the developers on this? Or are we just going to have to wait for mods? If there's a game mechanic half the playerbase hates and feels needs removal or significant change, it needs to be revisited.

I finally removed it with terraria tweaker this current run.

I just set everyone to be happy.

 
You'd think the creator of that tool absolutely despises 1.4 with how much they dig into negligible or even helpful "problems" with that update. They complained about how the Underworld background was improved and even how they made it easier/faster to mine Desert Fossils. Seriously? Might as well just use tModLoader to downgrade to 1.3.5 at that point.

Seems like a fine enough tool otherwise, though.
 
You'd think the creator of that tool absolutely despises 1.4 with how much they dig into negligible or even helpful "problems" with that update. They complained about how the Underworld background was improved and even how they made it easier/faster to mine Desert Fossils. Seriously? Might as well just use tModLoader to downgrade to 1.3.5 at that point.

Seems like a fine enough tool otherwise, though.

The new underworld background is hard on the eyes. All the colors of the background and the mobs blend together a little too much. I use that one. You are free to use any/all of the offered tweaks. None are mandatory.

The desert fossil one just keeps them from breaking. A really minor change. Against, totally optional.
 

Has anyone brought this necro up yet? Sounds like a much better and engaging solution even with price hikes kept intact — they just naturally blend into this particular take on Happiness. Plus if you make penalties for hurt/dead NPCs heavier (player failed to protect them after all) small towns among other things would become one of the better options in a free and intuitive way.
 
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About that necro: I'm not really sure what to think about it. I think the idea of adding in bonuses for having decorations isn't a bad idea; the same people who've always made ugly hotels for ages would probably just resort to putting in a couple ugly mob banners to get around it, but at least it would make the rest of players at least consider decorations just a little bit more. I don't think happiness should go down by being hit by monsters, I think that would just make prices way too inconsistent and encourage the use of aesthetically unappealing builds in order to maximize NPC protection during Blood Moons, NPCs or Invasions. And NPCs outright leaving you if their happiness is too low is just...please no.

I do like the idea of the Guide giving you some kind of reward for making him happy. Maybe he could be the only NPC who gives you tips on how to make him happy and prevent him from being unhappy, and if you can make him 85% happy (the smaller the number, the happier they are and the more of a discount they provide), he will give you a Pylon for free and give tips on how you can build in a way that makes the other NPCs happy as well. I'm not sure if his happiness necessarily needs to be connected to the Wall of Flesh, but I could perhaps see a system where if you kept the Guide at 85% happiness for an extended period of time then the Wall of Flesh could be more likely to drop an item more closely related to the class weapons the player used within the fight in order to reduce grinding needed for it).
 
The new mechanics were introduced for a reason. A bad reason: because the designers don't want NPCs bunched up together. Not because it makes the game in any way objectively better, not because it allows player expression in a dimension hitherto unexplored.

But simply because they don't like it. That's it.
Or maybe because hotels were and still are ugly as piss and completely cheap and unimaginative in a game supposed to be all about expressing your creativity. The game always allowed player expression, but in the end a good portion of players resorted to just building a bunch of tiny little wooden shipping crates way up in the bloody skies because that's what's always been considered "optimal" and "most convenient." In that regard, Pylons and Happiness both encourage deviating away from that boring, unimaginative status quo, they both dare the player to put even a little bit more thought into their builds: Pylons' purpose is to remove the inconvenience that came with more diverse builds, while happiness's purpose is to put one last nail in the coffin for that shipping crate methodology while giving the NPCs a tad bit more personalization. And I'm sure there will still always be those wooden boxes, but if they're built in a way that looks just a bit more natural and aesthetically pleasing rather than being stacked on top of each other like shipping crates, if they're built in a way that can open the door to further creative expansion rather than being the epitome of creative stagnation, I consider that a victory.

Are Pylons executed perfectly? For the most part, I'd say yes. Is Happiness executed perfectly? Far from it, and I'll go more into that in a little bit. But since you're not arguing for its execution but rather its concept, I'd say that its concept does the exact opposite of what you said it did: it allows for that player expression that was otherwise undermined by the method that was cheap and easy. It makes the player put more thought into what they're building, and some of those players might even find out how much they truly like to build when otherwise they would've just built the shipping crate hotel.

in the end it all comes down to doing something like Dryad-Painter-Witch Doctor in the jungle, Mechanic and Goblin in the underground/snow, Nurse with Arms Dealer, Tavernkeep with Party Girl in hallow, Pirate with Angler in ocean...
Preferred biomes or building around certain NPC couples have never been a new concept. Outside of people who built the aforementioned hotels, most folks tended to build the Witch Doctor by the Jungle anyway because his selection of items was so much more diverse in that biome and his character made more sense in that biome. Same with the Pirate and the Ocean (he's a bloody Pirate, how wouldn't he be living by the Ocean?), and the Angler tends to live at the Ocean simply because the Ocean is one of the best biomes for fishing. It doesn't make sense to criticize happiness for having the Angler/Pirate by the ocean, the Witch Doctor by the Jungle or the Truffle by the Mushrooms when that's always been the case since 1.2.4.

And for the Mechanic/Goblin combo, again, people who didn't just build the hotels tended to build their houses around the fact that they're in a relationship anyway since 2011. Same with the Nurse and Arms Dealer, and even to a certain extent the Party Girl with the Hallow due to her manic and colorful nature. Neither of these became a trend because the game forced these builders to do so or because, as Nicol Davis put it, they're apparently unable to
exercise your personal initiative and creativity.
but because builders simply liked building around those NPCs' traits from the start. They aren't just simple rectangles with different items to sell and a different color; they have unique quirks and dialogue that make building themed houses around them so interesting. Which is why I think removing that entirely just doesn't make any sense; I quite liked it specifically because it aimed to personalize the NPCs more, gave new ideas for fun themed houses and rewarded builders for making those fun themed houses.


So what do I dislike about the Happiness system, then? A few things:
  1. The 25-block limit is far too strict. And this applies toward both the bonuses and penalties: I tried to make these houses for both the Mechanic and Goblin Tinkerer, and even with how close together their houses are, this STILL didn't even register on their Happiness tabs. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive to discourage cramped house design only to require it in order to get the bonuses for Loved/Liked NPCs to actually register. While I quite like that the hotels are getting nerfed at least a little bit, the 2+ NPCs within 25-blocks limit also means that it's too strict for even ordinary builds, like the one in this official house made by Re-Logic themselves to show off their new Town functionalities. For the bonuses, I'd raise the 25 block limit up to 50 or 75 to make sure those bonuses will actually register within normal builds, and for the penalty, I'd at least make it so the 2+ NPCs penalty within 25 blocks is changed so it only applies with 5+ NPCs and/or is reduced down to just 20 blocks.
  2. I think the biomes/NPCs that are chosen to be Liked or Disliked are somewhat arbitrary and aren't exactly consistent with the characters' dialogue. The Guide didn't really have any reason to dislike the Ocean or either the Steampunker or the Painter; if anything, he actively shows much more disdain to the Tax Collector within his normal dialogue, but the Tax Collector isn't anywhere to be seen in the Guide's Happiness quotes. The Truffle mentions that the Dryad is the only NPC he trusts with no mention of the Guide, and yet the Dryad is only liked while the Guide is loved by him. Despite having the most items to sell when he's in the Snow biome, the Merchant likes the Snow less than the Forest, and the Steampunker expresses interest in the Pirate but never has him show up within the Happiness meter and prefers the Desert rather than preferring the Sky/Space like her dialogue might lead one to believe. I could go on about this, but the point I want to make is that while many of the Happiness bonuses or penalties make complete sense with the NPCs' characteristics, a large portion of them actively contradict what past dialogue would lead one to believe, and since there isn't much else to go off of in-game (without checking the wiki) for determining what characters like or dislike other than their dialogue, this seems like a major mistake to make.
  3. The selection of which biomes and other NPCs that certain NPCs prefer should be made more diverse to combat that feeling of not having many combinations to really work with (to counteract this, only the person that the NPC loves/likes the most within a certain radius and the person that the NPC hates/dislikes the most within a certain radius would apply for the Happiness equation with the rest of the liked/disliked NPCs nearby simply appearing on the Happiness tab without any additional bonuses or penalties). For instance, why doesn't the Dryad like both the Jungle and the traditional Forest that so many people have already built their Dryad houses in, or also like the Mushroom biome that her dear Truffle friend lives in; hell, maybe she'd even like the Steampunker despite her use of unnatural technology because her goals align with the Dryad's goal of a purified world? Why doesn't the Steampunker also like the Mechanic or the Pirate?
If any of you would like, I could make a spreadsheet of what biomes and NPCs I'd have apply to the Happiness bonuses and penalties instead.
 
Or maybe because hotels were and still are ugly as piss and completely cheap and unimaginative in a game supposed to be all about expressing your creativity.

What with all the exploring, finding stuff, crafting stuff from other stuff, and killing bosses, I guess I never noticed that I was supposed to be "expressing [my] creativity." I mean, I bought the game because it was a hybrid Metroidvania/sandbox game, so I guess I've been playing it wrong for nearly a decade.

Also, what business is it of anybody else whether the constructs I build are "ugly as piss" or are "completely cheap and unimaginative"? I'm not showing off my worlds to anybody, and I'm not interested in spending time to manicure something I'm only building because the game gates access to a lot of stuff behind NPCs.

Pylons' purpose is to remove the inconvenience that came with more diverse builds, while happiness's purpose is to put one last nail in the coffin for that shipping crate methodology while giving the NPCs a tad bit more personalization.

Happiness was added to force NPC spread. Pylons were added because making you spread out your NPCs means that you can't easily access them, so they added a way to access them more reasonably. Pylons exist because of happiness; they solve a problem happiness created.

And I'm sure there will still always be those wooden boxes, but if they're built in a way that looks just a bit more natural and aesthetically pleasing rather than being stacked on top of each other like shipping crates, if they're built in a way that can open the door to further creative expansion rather than being the epitome of creative stagnation, I consider that a victory.

How can you talk about opening a door that was already open? There was no door; nothing prevented anybody from building homes however they felt was most appropriate before now.

Happiness is only a "victory" for those who already agree that nobody ought to build "shipping crates" or whatever you want to call them. And I don't understand why such people should care so much that other people are building "shipping crates" for their NPCs.

Do you understand why we build like that? It's because we don't enjoy putting together NPC housing. It's not a fun or interesting part of the game. It's merely a thing you have to do to get access to goodies, so we spend a minimal amount of time on it and move on.

Do you think that we will have more fun by partaking in an activity that we do not enjoy?! That's what I don't understand. You seem to delight in building custom homes with declarations and so forth for your NPCs. You get enjoyment from that, and more power to you.

You don't seem to recognize that other people don't. Why do you feel that an arbitrary mechanic is going to make us enjoy something that we don't enjoy? Do you think we don't know how to find what is fun for us in Terraria?

Why do you think this makes the game more fun for us? Because it doesn't make the game more fun for you; you were already doing it or at least something very much like it. The only thing that changed for you was Pylons making your already spread out NPC housing more convenient.

It doesn't make sense to criticize happiness for having the Angler/Pirate by the ocean, the Witch Doctor by the Jungle or the Truffle by the Mushrooms when that's always been the case since 1.2.4.

Yes, it does. There is no mechanical advantage to putting the Pirate or the Angler in the ocean pre-1.4. That is, there's no reason that is reinforced by game mechanics. It's purely player's choice, and represents only how much the player cares to see these NPCs as characters as opposed to boxes that turn money into stuff and stuff into money.

In fact, putting the Angler in the Ocean is actually kinda bad. The main reason to talk to the Angler is to get new fishing quests and get rewards for them. If he's in the Ocean, that means running from your home base to the edge of the map. And pre-Pylons, that means you have to go on foot/mount, build a minecart system, or build a teleporter. That's a lot of work just to complement an aesthetic.

Now, you may like that. You may prefer to put your Angler there. You may find the aesthetics of it pleasing, and you're willing to suffer the consequences. But please don't suggest that this is what "people" did; it's what some people did, not what everybody or even most people did.

So yes, it makes sense to criticize happiness in general over its biome preferences.

For the bonuses, I'd raise the 25 block limit up to 50 or 75 to make sure those bonuses will actually register within normal builds, and for the penalty, I'd at least make it so the 2+ NPCs penalty within 25 blocks is changed so it only applies with 5+ NPCs and/or is reduced down to just 20 blocks.

Do that, and happiness stops doing the job it was made to do: force you to spread out your NPCs. It's really easy to build densely while keeping clusters of 6 NPCs from seeing each other. I can easily imagine building my main base between two sets of "shipping crates" of housing, with everybody else being sent out to man biome pylons.

It'd basically be building as if happiness didn't exist.

I think the biomes/NPCs that are chosen to be Liked or Disliked are somewhat arbitrary and aren't exactly consistent with the characters' dialogue.

Of course they are; it's a game mechanic (and a very arbitrary one), so it must serve those needs first and foremost. This means that, for each biome pylon, there need to be 3 or more NPCs that have an affinity for that biome. Otherwise, you'd have situations where only one or two would want to live in the Snow or the Hallow, while 6-7 each love the Forest and the Underground.

Same goes for NPC neighboring preferences.

Happiness as a mechanic is about mechanics first, logic second. That's how you can tell a forced and arbitrary mechanic from an organic one.

The selection of which biomes and other NPCs that certain NPCs prefer should be made more diverse to combat that feeling of not having many combinations to really work with

The more liked biomes an NPC has, the less relevant having liked biomes is, because the whole point of having a liked biome is to encourage the player to put the NPC there. It's a mechanic designed to reduce player options, not enhance them.
 
And for the Mechanic/Goblin combo, again, people who didn't just build the hotels tended to build their houses around the fact that they're in a relationship anyway since 2011. Same with the Nurse and Arms Dealer, and even to a certain extent the Party Girl with the Hallow due to her manic and colorful nature. Neither of these became a trend because the game forced these builders to do so or because, as Nicol Davis put it, they're apparently unable to
but because builders simply liked building around those NPCs' traits from the start. They aren't just simple rectangles with different items to sell and a different color; they have unique quirks and dialogue that make building themed houses around them so interesting. Which is why I think removing that entirely just doesn't make any sense; I quite liked it specifically because it aimed to personalize the NPCs more, gave new ideas for fun themed houses and rewarded builders for making those fun themed houses.
As for the combos, the thing is I want more variety rather than have it pushed on me by the game. Also, it's not just pairing up the npcs - I was also mentioning the biomes. Okay, yes, you do often make a Pirate's house in the ocean or Witch Doctor's in the jungle, because they're effective there - but what if I want to use my Dryad near an arena? Same for the Nurse, which prefers Hallow. Oh and especially the nurse, who is a sick money vacuum as of 1.4.

Another thing, already mentioned by people above, and as much as I like building overall, it can really get tiring after 30th playthrough. And some people built rectangles just because they wanted to have a house, and they didn't have inspiration. Others just don't enjoy building and only want practicality. Nowadays the system even further encourages building cages (just in different biomes). Like even personally, I much more prefer building one large well-decorated building for all npcs to have them nicely staying in one spot, and now I have to walk, from cottage to cottage, between pylons, and the worst part is if a few npcs die, and you can't use the pylons anymore. It really happens, everything from blood moons, solar eclipses, invasions - it all makes pylons unusuable until npcs respawn, so you sometimes have to manually travel the entire world for a single quest or something. It's annoying, because it FORCES those mechanics on you. And it limits you by making you unable to make one large well-decorated castle containing all npcs nearby. Even if you spend a ton of time making one, it will not function because npcs won't like each other and they won't enjoy being close together. There are many old designs (more than just a simple hotel) that I used and seen other people use, that due to npc happiness mechanic, aren't usable anymore because prices will get increased.
 
Do you understand why we build like that?
I know a lot of friends and folks who built like that, and I can use your own words to articulate why; you've done so better than I ever could for this.
As for why it is dumb, that's basic human nature. Human beings will, generally speaking, optimize the fun out of a game if that option is presented to them. They will play in a boring, uninteresting way if it gives them an advantage. So if it is between player convenience and gameplay benefit, they will choose the latter far more often than the former.
I know quite a few friends who came back for 1.4 who used to build those hotels for that very reason. But lately in our 1.4 world they've been building in a different manner. One of them has made a nice big beach-lighthouse by the Ocean for the Angler/Golfer. Another one made a small mining encampment in the Caverns. I've even seen builders on the subreddit and these forums who have gone on record saying that they started their builds recently in part because of the Happiness system. And that's why I'm defending this system; it's helped quite a few people who did resort to building those hotels before find a game mechanic that they now quite like. They're just not as vocal as a bunch of folks here are.
It's because we don't enjoy putting together NPC housing. It's not a fun or interesting part of the game. It's merely a thing you have to do to get access to goodies, so we spend a minimal amount of time on it and move on.
It doesn't even seem like you dislike Happiness specifically as much as you dislike NPC building as a whole, with Happiness being an issue for you because it further encourages that NPC building mechanic. And if your quarrel is with such a core mechanic to the game then I'd say you should either use Terraria Tweaker 1.4 right now or a mod when tModLoader 1.4 comes out to help you bypass that mechanic entirely. You can have your fair share of fun unimposed by any building at all.
 
Personally I'm not against a happiness system, I'm just very very much against the way it was implemented. Yes it's great to avoid the square room high rise stacks, but in my opinion this could've been accomplished with a couple of simple things:
- Perhaps just dirt and basic rock would be negatives as building materials
- Check if they are _super_ close to each other.

Even with those, I would make any negatives very mild.
 
And that's why I'm defending this system; it's helped quite a few people who did resort to building those hotels before find a game mechanic that they now quite like. They're just not as vocal as a bunch of folks here are.

And that's what I don't understand here. Why do you prioritize the inspiration the mechanic created in some people over the pain it caused to others? You don't need a mechanical element to create such inspiration. If they genuinely enjoy it, they'll find it on their own. While those who genuinely don't enjoy it will continue to not enjoy it.

And I would argue that Pylons by themselves could have done the same thing, since they give you a benefit if you spread at least some of your NPCs out.

It doesn't even seem like you dislike Happiness specifically as much as you dislike NPC building as a whole, with Happiness being an issue for you because it further encourages that NPC building mechanic.

Would I find the game experience smoother if I didn't have to build NPC housing and could still access NPC functionality without it? Sure. But rough edges like that are what make a game interesting.

For example, why do you have a limited inventory space? It is conceivable to make Terraria such that each character can hold infinite amounts of stuff. You'd have to design a different UI for it, but it could be (and has been in mods) done.

But that is now a very different game. Why? Because now there's no real need to have a base at all. The core gameplay loop of much of Terraria revolves around exploring in some direction, filling up your inventory with stuff, returning to your home base, and dumping that stuff out.

These built-in pauses to the exploration gameplay don't have to be there. But they serve a useful purpose. They force you to have a home to go to. That itself encourages you to start manicuring the world to make the near areas to your home more convenient to access, as well as easier to get back to your exploration. While at home, you can take the opportunity to see what new stuff you can craft. Etc.

In a game with infinite storage capacity, this doesn't really happen for the most part. Instead, what happens is that you just... keep exploring. You keep going until you get tired and quit playing the game, and when you return, you pick up where you left off. Crafting can happen on-the-fly, anywhere you might find/create enough flat surfaces to lay down crafting equipment. And so forth.

So the "rough edge" of having finite personal storage creates interesting play dynamics that would otherwise not exist. This particular lack of smoothness makes the game better.

I see NPCs as something like that. It's irritating to do, but in small doses, it makes for an interesting play experience. The base that you're building because you need a place to store all of your stuff now also gives you access to these money-into-stuff machines called NPCs. Housing allows you to decide where these money-into-stuff machines go, so that you can decide which ones matter to you more than the others. So you have this irritant, but it gives you gameplay benefits, and it dovetails with what you're already doing, so you put up with the irritation. It creates an interesting gameplay experience.

Happiness doesn't create an interesting gameplay experience. All of the thing you have used to defend it exist entirely in the aesthetic domain, not the gameplay domain. And while that is a valid domain, you can't say that gameplay problems should be overlooked because they inspire some people to do something aesthetic that they could have done before.

And if your quarrel is with such a core mechanic to the game

Then I guess we disagree about what is "core" to the Terraria experience. Yes, NPCs are something you have to do, but that doesn't make them "core" to what Terraria is about as a concept. Terraria is a hybrid Metroidvania/sandbox game. It is about exploring and finding stuff. It's about crafting new stuff from the old stuff. It's about progress gated through combat and exploration. It's about dodging traps and delving into new unknowns. It's about fighting bosses and manipulating terrain to your advantage.

NPCs are mechanically a means to convert money into stuff and stuff into money. They basically justify having money. A few NPCs offer non-money-based benefits, but that's about it.

The NPCs themselves aren't what I would consider "core" to Terraria. That doesn't make them bad so much as just a mechanic in the game, like the Dungeon or whatever. It could have been done in many ways, but this is the way it was done.
 
Nowadays the system even further encourages building cages (just in different biomes).
Man, i couldn't second this hard enough. Everyone ITT check this out:

First image is "hotel" i've made with a new 1.4 character for a time being. Shoebox for sure, but admittedly it has more soul than average.
Second is a piece of big :red: castle i've made with my old character when 1.4 came out.
Third is an incomplete 1.4 stalinka. I always wanted to create one of these, but just wasn't sure about right materials and after several failed attempts at creative building was a bit off-put by limitations of 1.3
I have to use Retro lighting for a time being, pls no bully

You know what exactly are all three of these? These are good results of new block-swap mechanic, that — unlike Happiness — proactively encourages creativity by removing large portion of hassle associated with creative building and allowing me to build in a more intuitive way. I simply don't have to plan anything in advance and go through the pain of complete rebuilds anymore.

Fourth, however is a house i had to build in new start 1.4 world just to satisfy Happiness system. And it will stay this way until i get much more money and simply could afford to demolish it completely and place accociated NPCs in Spawnpoint Resorts or somewhere else. Why? Because i don't have good ideas on how buildings in desert should look like, nor do i feel like building in this specific biome in the first place, especially this early in the game. But i have to, because one important NPC prefers Desert (who would ever prefer Desert?) or Nurse (he couldn't care less if she died ten times in a row during my boss battles, but he prefers to live in no more than 25 tiles from her nevertheless) and at this stage i need Nurse as a valuable support elsewhere. Yes, even with her own health-based price hikes, which i totally welcome btw, because in fact they made her much more personable than any weird biome preferences would.
>But Pylons
I literally do not give a damn. As it was pointed out before, Pylons are solution to the problem created by Happiness. But when it comes to me, not only i had no problems with, i actually enjoyed travel on foot since 1.1

On a side note: many criticise Terraria for being too grindy. Some, however, state that it struck satisfiable balance between grind and fun. So i'm telling you — this fourth pic right here is the first time i had drive to min/max this unpleasant since forever. Sure, devs said i can ignore Happiness, and buy these two Minisharks i need anyway. For 50 gold each, which means grinding EoC for money. Or, just build this shoebox.

Judging by posts of certain Happiness defenders on this and other forums i think i can see what's going on. They posit that Happiness would encourage creativity. Yet, many of them liked to build creatively long before 1.4, and, as in-game creations subforum clearly shows, they already preferred to build small and detailed biome-/NPC-specific buildings (which in turn may have led Relogic to certain decisions). I ofc have no problem with this position, nor do i want to enforce "hotels" on them. But, with all due respect, they probably lacked enough self-reflection to understand that the new update that makes their own preferred thing a mandatory game mechanic does not encourage creativity, if previously there was none, and, on top of that, leaves bitter aftertaste for some players — like me — who would otherwise enjoy to build creatively (as now it's easier than ever) but would do so on their own terms.
There are other defenders, however, who just like Pylons as easier means of instant-travel. They are not the scope of this post.
 

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Or maybe because hotels were and still are ugly as piss and completely cheap and unimaginative in a game supposed to be all about expressing your creativity. The game always allowed player expression, but in the end a good portion of players resorted to just building a bunch of tiny little wooden shipping crates way up in the bloody skies because that's what's always been considered "optimal" and "most convenient." In that regard, Pylons and Happiness both encourage deviating away from that boring, unimaginative status quo, they both dare the player to put even a little bit more thought into their builds: Pylons' purpose is to remove the inconvenience that came with more diverse builds, while happiness's purpose is to put one last nail in the coffin for that shipping crate methodology while giving the NPCs a tad bit more personalization. And I'm sure there will still always be those wooden boxes, but if they're built in a way that looks just a bit more natural and aesthetically pleasing rather than being stacked on top of each other like shipping crates, if they're built in a way that can open the door to further creative expansion rather than being the epitome of creative stagnation, I consider that a victory.

Are Pylons executed perfectly? For the most part, I'd say yes. Is Happiness executed perfectly? Far from it, and I'll go more into that in a little bit. But since you're not arguing for its execution but rather its concept, I'd say that its concept does the exact opposite of what you said it did: it allows for that player expression that was otherwise undermined by the method that was cheap and easy. It makes the player put more thought into what they're building, and some of those players might even find out how much they truly like to build when otherwise they would've just built the shipping crate hotel.
As a counterpoint, setting up housing and a pylon system in my world only reinforced to me how much I don't enjoy building in this game. I'll begrudgingly admit that it did get me to check out some cosmetic block combinations I'd never tried before, and I used a few minor building techniques I'd picked up from YouTubers, but at the end of the day I pretty much built the same identical three-story rectangular house in several different places across my world. (And you need at least a second story because leaving NPCs on the ground floor is tantamount to a death sentence in Master.) And the actual process of doing so was often painful. Building my Jungle house overlapped a thunderstorm, so at one point I had bats, zombies, and rain enemies all dive-bombing me every five seconds while trying to place a few blocks. And my Desert house...dear lord. Over the course of building a simple rectangle that didn't even fill an entire screen, I experienced a sandstorm, a Blood Moon, a Goblin Invasion, a Slime Rain, and I think maybe another Blood Moon. It took me three in-game days to finish one simple build. Utterly ridiculous.

I know the comparison has been beaten beyond death and never made much objective sense anyway, but the sole reason I find building in Minecraft to be a far, far better experience than in Terraria is that the most common item in the former game controls where and how mobs spawn. It's trivial to completely mob-proof an area and build unimpeded. And don't like building in the dark? A single right-click and you can sleep the night away! Terraria offers none of these niceties: there's never a moment when you're able to to lay down some blocks without being harassed by something random (unless, of course, you already have NPCs living nearby, which only happens after you've set up their housing). Even if you lug around a Peace Candle and drink Calming Potions, they still don't eliminate all spawns, and there's always the looming random chance of an invasion or event or crappy weather. The only way to get around this is to play Journey Mode and disable enemy spawns altogether when you're trying to get some building done.

And as other people have already stated, this update didn't encourage building creativity as a whole, but just a certain type of building creativity. The only time I tried making any sort of actually-planned structure in a Terraria world involved building a giant derpy central castle with two apartment-block towers coming off either side. Every NPC had their own room with blocks and furniture that were meant to be thematically-appropriate. Incredibly basic and dull for anyone who actually has an eye for aesthetics, but I was pretty happy with it. And yet I couldn't do that now without incurring a penalty, because lol screw me I guess?
 
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