Oh no! I’m trying to avoid the lure of multiplayer games as I work through my backlog. Luckily, MMOs haven’t had a big appeal to me in the past. The flip side is Destiny 2 on PC is on the horizon and damn do I enjoy a good Bungie shooter.
Runescape is coming to iOS?
Oh, no. Ohhhhhhhhh no.
I don’t need this, not on top of three gacha games. Jagex plz…
@TheJames I doubt I’m ever going try another full on MMO, as appealing as they look, for that very reason - but the lure of something you’ve already put so much time into and know so intricately is just so strong. I did play the first Destiny though, and while that hooked me for the time, I only ended up with about 100 hours in it, so hopefully Destiny 2 doesn’t present too much of a problem for you I hear it’s real good though.
@puffinup yup. Old School is coming this year, with the full game next year. When I read the news, I was overcome with both excitement and grief. For so long I imagined that, but now that it’s happening… hmm.
Shamelog #020 - The Psychology of MMO’s
The very basis of any video game, at it’s core, is to hook you with some repeating mechanic. Think about it - the 20 second loop of Halo, the competition driven from AI in Forza, the feedback from levelling up any skill in Skyrim. All games hook you with some repeatable action; with MMO’s doing it better than most, and in some cases, in increasingly insidious ways.
I’ve continued my not-as-brief-as-planned holiday through Runescape for the past week, and as much as I see the cracks through the surface - 3000 hours in a game will do that to you - I keep logging on. Every. Single. Day. Through the last two weeks of pumping time into this game, I’ve narrowed it down to three specific hooks Runescape has that so successfully grab a hold of it’s players.
The first is levelling system. Much like regular RPG’s, you perform “skills” in the game and gain “experience”, though in the case of Runescape it takes so little effort. Because the breadth of this game is so huge and there is a massive amount of room for growth in any particular area (a skill level maxes out at 99, roughly 13 million xp, but to do so takes weeks of “work”) that the game can throw xp/rewards at you no matter what you’re doing. You can simply perform any skill a multitude of ways, go on quests, play mini games, open treasure chests - the options for #content are endless - yet everything moves the needle forward, even just a little. Every level up (accompanied by your own little firework show) is another dopamine shot straight to the brain.
The second is what we’ll call the “random” element. No matter what you are doing, there’s always a random chance at a bonus. If you’re spending time in combat, you might get a rare drop from a monster. If you’re training a skill, you might get a rare pet drop. Most importantly, there’s the treasure chests - a set of random rewards you can receive once per day, as long as you log on to do so.
The final aspect of this game is the “progress” loop. This manifests in any number of ways, appealing to all manner of people. You can spend hours putting in the work to increase your skills, which allow you to do more things, which allow you to increase your skills. You can go all in on combat, slaying increasingly more difficult creatures for better rewards to slay better monsters. Then there’s the big one - monetary progress. Everything you do allows you to continue gaining wealth - higher skills means more money making opportunities, which mean making more money to increase further your skills.
Watching the developers of the game and seeing their hardcore passion for the world they’ve created, it’s amazing how just under the surface everything ha been refined to a pure numbers machine to keep you coming back again and again.
Games left to play: 115
Current game: Far Cry Primal, Runescape
Monthly report. First one. Yay!
September was not very productive in terms of games, as in finishing them. Mostly because my plate is full of huge games now. I played more than 30 hours of “No Man’s Sky”, but I’m nowhere near anything, really. Cool game, though, especially if you have something to put into your ears (I’m working through “Spawn On Me” right now, there’s a lot! Thanks, Obama Austin ). Would try to do at least main stuff (I was building a base, mostly).
I kinda finished “Dragon’s Dogma Online”. “Kinda” is for two reasons. First, I don’t understand Japanese. Translation patch is enough to know how to play, but no more. Can’t tell you anything about the story. Second, only finished main game, or, how they call it, first season. I’m somewhere in a middle of a second one (there is a new third one out already). I assume, they were counting on people grinding between seasons, because, oh, boy, it gets hard. But first season was mostly a breeze (well, in a “Dragon’s Dogma” sense of a word), so I would recommend it to anyone who wants a bit more of that DD goodness. Later, you need to play with friends, or dig into leveling guides, or something I don’t know. I decided no, I’m good, actually.
“Batman: The Telltale Series” is a pretty good Batman story. Or, Batman/Bruce story, which, with some adjustment from how you play, leans more to the Bruce story, actually. But since it is a Batman story it’s still full of all the usual bs: you play as rich white guy who goes and beats mentally ill people up. I want to say that it tries to address some, if not all of it, but I can’t tell you that it 100% succeeds. Problematic content, yeap.
I also bought a gamepad for a smartphone, so I can stream games from PC and play in bed, in a bath, on a balcony, and in other b-places. Well, maybe not on a balcony, it’s cold already. Works pretty good. Hopefully, that would help.
Wow @onsamyj, definitely points for dedication - not being able to even read Dragon’s Dogma Online but still playing through it is hardcore! The gameplay for that must be so damn fun for you to stick to it!
Shamelog #021 - Divination & Mammoth Feet
Playing Runescape the way I do feels like I’m engaging with gaming on the most superficial layer possible. When it boils down to it, it’s just an endless stream of clicking and waiting, clicking and waiting, watching the numbers go up bit by bit.
I’ve been playing a clicker.
Thankfully, my membership runs out In a bit over a week. I’ll be done soon.
In the meantime, I did manage to tear myself away from the PC to jump into Far Cy Primal for a little while. Honestly, it’s kind of tough to get into it. Cavemen aren’t really my thing, and I mean, let’s be honest… It’s just another Far Cry. Though, being able to have a lion buddy who mauls people and lets you pet her gives the game much needed bonus points.
Games left to play: 115
Current game: Far Cry Primal, Runescape
Would you consider dropping Far Cry Primal down your list and bumping something else up? Another Far Cry might be more palatable in a couple of months…
Your experience playing Runescape felt a lot like my (brief) experience with Heroes of the Storm. I only played a few games before my friend really wanted to bail, but the engagement did tickle a part of my brain in the way that I know could totally consume me if I let it. I guess I understand clickers now?
I’ll be honest, I’ve definitely considered it. If it wasn’t a part of this challenge I’m trying to do, I probably wouldn’t have touched it tbh. At least I’m not going from 4 to Primal - exactly the same map and everything apparently? Seeing that generational leap with skipping over a sequel is pretty nice
I guess it’s actually worked out pretty good in a sense - lately I’ve kind of just been feeling more like binge watching TV with my partner instead of really focusing on a game, so having something to just kind of passively play has been perfect for that.
I could totalllllly see what you mean with HOTS. That and other MOBA’s have always made me wonder - what do these games do to the lifespan of our mice? Like for real, I bet it shaves months off longevity off them haha.
It’s not that dramatic. You dealing with MMO quests that designed to be easily digestible in one sentence in a quest tracker with a waypoint on a map. And you get that part from translation patch, mostly. And when you not, you still see “No Man’s Sky”-like thing of “something something something Dire Wolves (5) something something” (emphasis not mine). I should do something with those Dire Wolves, all five of them, I guess. I wonder what?
And I played all games like that then I was young anyway. Not every one born into priviledge of knowing most popular language in the world, you know >:)
Shamelog #022 - It’s About the Journey… and the Friends You Made Along the Way
There’s one part of playing an MMORPG that I’ve left out of my musings over the last month with Runescape, and it’s a a big part of what draws people to them - the second M.
I’ve spent most of my life playing games almost exclusively single player. Being essentially an only child and not really hanging with that kind of friend group growing up, I drifted more toward experiences I could enjoy alone; as such, single player story focused games became my jam. Runescape is a bit of an anomaly, both for me and for MMO’s - the world is shared, yet so much of the content is single player focused. You can chat with the people around you of course - something I did often, to keep engaged while grinding - but once that session was done, they were gone. Fast friendships were made, yet, always fleeting.
This time around, I spent most of the time playing the same way. I hit a milestone in game that I’d wanted since I started 12 years ago - 99 magic - in the middle of a bank surrounded by random people who were mostly too busy with their own work to take notice of this event that felt monumental to me. It made my heart beat in a way that few games have, yet I had no one who mattered to share it with. A few days later, I was standing in that very same bank, doing nothing, thinking, “yep, I think I’m about done with this game for now.” What happened next sounds cliche as f***, but I swear, it’s the truth.
Someone else standing around was doing their own thing, then they leveled up a skill. Some fireworks flew off with a ping, signifying the occasion. I typed “Congrats (person’s name)!” to which I got a “oh hey, thanks!” back. Then, we just started chatting. Mostly random stuff - I mentioned I’d only been back a few weeks, they talked about how they probably should stop playing and get back to studying Japanese for school as the exam is real soon. It ended with them heading off for dinner, but not before a message - “hey, you should come join our clan!”
Fast forward a bit over a 2 weeks and I’ve ended up spending much more time with the game than I’d meant, downloaded and joined discord, listened to some pretty great music queued up with a bot, listened to a couple of people drink wine and talk s*** over voice chat and spent time in game helping build up the clan’s home base. As an added bonus the clan is Australia / New Zealand focused, so everyone is online around the same time.
I’ll admit, as much as I know I need to let the membership to this game expire this coming Thursday so I can continue on this road I’ve begun walking, that chance meeting is going to leave it bittersweet. I feel like I could actually stick around in this game for much longer - potentially be the only game I play for years, again, given the amount of content - simply because it’s cool to hang out with a pretty rad group of people.
But alas, it’s nearly time to depart. I’ve been slowly weening myself off with Far Cry Primal (I’m halfway through - more on that next week) so the longing to go back hopefully won’t be too overwhelming. What I will do is savour the last few days I have, continuing to watch the numbers get higher as I click click click, while reminiscing on the fact that this game is more a part of my past, present, and likely future than I could’ve imagined even a month ago.
Games left to play: 115
Current game: Far Cry Primal, Runescape
Man that makes me nostalgic about the pre-matchmaking days. I miss the sense of community that came with dedicated servers. I’d frequent one or two CSS and Gmod servers that had mods and map rotations I liked, eventually became a regular and got to know a lot of the people who’d play at the same time as me.
Thinking back on it now, I think this may be why CSGO never stuck with me and I floated away from ever playing multiplayer shooters by myself. Instead relying on my IRL friends to party up with
Maybe I should play some runescape.
@Supa_Kappa Do you listen to Kotaku’s podcast Fave This at all? Patricia and Gita talk about this on the very first (I think?) episode - the idea of making friends in games, which we did used to do years ago but now just don’t seem to. I guess it comes down to the game, for me anyway - Runescape kind of encourages it I suppose, whereas your examples of FPS’s - well, no way am I turning on a mic in those games (I don’t play them either, but you know.)
Shamelog #023 - Caveman Edition
So, here it is - Far Cry Primal is a good video game. It does the video game thing well. Not much about it is particularly standout (though the taming and petting of all manner of beasties is a great addition) and there isn’t anything I can point to and say “yup, that’s terrible” (though, to be honest - the “story” here isn’t great.) I quite enjoyed the obtainment of bases and the satisfying upgrade loop, but once that was over I was ready to be done. Another 8 or so hours later I’d completed the story element, but felt like I’d accomplished basically nothing.
At least the cast of characters were entertaining. Urki, who is seemingly some kind of invincible painless god (seriously, I put 6 spears in his guts then threw him in the lake and he still came back!) gave me a few laughs. I felt a twinge of sadness at the end of both Jayma the huntress and Dah the Udam’s storylines. All up though, you know what to expect here - the conquering of a land through brutal and widespread destruction and devastation. You know, what being a caveman was like in that era - the creation and use of Bee/Berserk/Fire bombs, ordering your saber-tooth tiger buddy to maul a dude, mind control an owl to scout ahead and tag your enemies for you.
One oft-unspoken but intriguing point of design for the Far Cry series is how Ubisoft really push the immersion of having you inhabit the space - namely, the trademark “seeing through the eyes of the protagonist”. I get it, it helps you to embody the character, but boy, I did not enjoy watching the camera shake every time I climbed up a damn cliff. Gone are the days when you simply moved up a ladder smoothly (Turok comes to mind in this regard.)
Honestly, the best part of the whole experience was near the beginning. Sitting on the couch with my partner Loren next to me, I was wandering the beginnings of my village when I heard a woman grunting in pain. I ran to investigate, only to find a woman squatting next to a tree, taking a dump. I shit you not. Loren and I both just kind of sat there and stared, dumbstruck that this was actually happening. The Far Cry team sure do go the extra mile for the sake of immersion.
I guess that’s fitting; a dump in the woods will forever be my defining memory of Far Cry Primal.
Games left to play: 114
Current game: ?
Alright Waypoint Forum goers, I need your help.
Apart from Until Dawn, I’d locked myself in to play The Witcher 3 by the end of the year. 1 problem - I haven’t played the other 2, and they are on my list.
Should I jump into TW3, or should I forgo that for now and play it after I’ve played the others? I’ve been wrestling with this for weeks now, but still don’t know which way to go. Help me Waypointers!
I’d strongly recommend just watching a plot summary of the first two games on youtube and jumping into The Witcher 3, it’s a great game and also a huge time investment on its own. The first game seems like kind of a mess gameplay wise, and I’ve tried to start TW2 around five times but always bounce off. If you’re concerned about lore, I’d say the Witcher books are actually more relevant than most of what occurs in TW1 and TW2.
Don’t play the first Witcher. It’s bad, too long and doesn’t have much important story stuff.
The Witcher 2 is really good, but only once you get into it. Play on the easiest difficulty. Avoid fights whenever you can since fighting sucks. Choose iorveth if you want not to be bored to death in the second act. Have fun! Finishing the game proper will take you about 20 hours. 30 if you wanna try and take the other route and finish every side quest
That said, neither of them are of huge importance to the Witcher 3. There’s a bunch of returning characters from 2 but the game does a decent job of explaining who they are to you and they don’t have much significance to the main plot except for Triss.
Most importantly, have fun!
Witcher 3 is the best of the lot and will make the other two rather obsolete. There are things I love about the first one, but it’s a clunky experience. I’d echo just watching summaries as the story has always been the best part of these games and Witcher 3 is the most playable of the three titles.
I’d say you’re safe jumping straight in to Witcher 3. The story explains itself very well, and has more to do with the books than the previous 2 games. But it stands alone very well.
If you love it and want more, Witcher 2 still holds up, but it feels a lot more like a traditional, but ballsy CRPG with nice art direction and a relatively high budget. Witcher 3 blows it out of the water but 2 also tells a relatively interesting story.
The Witcher 1 was amazing at the time. But a lot of that was the dark-fantasy story that did dark-fantasy well before Game of Thrones was mainstream. I haven’t touched it since, but I doubt it holds up too well.
See the thing is, I don’t mind clunky games. After absolutely loving Nier Automata this year, I went back and played right through the original Nier, with plans to really dig in to The 2 main Drakengards because I love that world and lore so much. I’m happy enough to drop difficulties down as low as they go just to really experience the story myself, you know?
I’m also particularly hypersensitive to the whole “play them in order” topic because of Mass Effect. See, I was a right fool with that series - I played about 5 hours of ME3, Tried to play 1 and bounced off it, watched a plot summary for 1, Played through 2 and adored it, then finished 3 with my original save instead of porting my decisions across. I completely botched the way I experienced that series, and while even now ME2 is one of my favourite games ever, I will always feel like I missed out on some major stuff there. I won’t get the same with The Witcher?