Posted by benspyda (2127 posts) -

No this post really doesn't have anything to do with Braveheart (that I am aware of). I play a lot of games as I am sure many of you on the site do. But not every experience is an enjoyable one. Yesterday I had a rant about how god awful BF3's single player is, but in reality a lot of the pain was my fault in the end. It's time to man up and figure this shit out, so I can enjoy all my future gaming experiences.

There's that ant that was shooting me.

1. The worst offender - The act of brute forcing my way through a campaign from start to finish so I can be done with it and move on. If I am having this feeling towards a game then there is immediately a problem. Firstly I can't really be enjoying the experience if I am feeling this way. I shouldn't find myself yelling at the game when I die, resulting in having to re-do a checkpoint, because the gameplay should be so much fun that I'd happily head-shot some more goons. But I don't stop. I keep going. I beat BF3's single-player in one sitting in fact. Secondly I shouldn't feel the need to get through it in one sitting, I should be segmenting the experience so it lasts longer. This should be my first warning indicator about a game, because often it starts off on a sub-conscious level.

The simple solution - If I am enjoying the story but not the gameplay, Uncharted 3 for example (which I painfully beat on Normal and wished I hadn't), turning down the difficulty is the way to go, even if it means starting over. Playing through a mediocre game on easy can be more fun than it really should be. However if I am not enjoying anything about the game, I need to just shelve it. Even if I am half way through, just pushing through it to get my money's worth is a waste of my time and misery.

Not exactly the log I meant

2. Next up on the list is - Don't stop playing my favorite games because I feel the need to get through this thing they call the 'backlog'. I need to just play the game I feel like playing at the time, even if it is just a craving for a game I have already played and beaten. Who cares. The concept of a backlog can be confusing because it shouldn't exist really. Generally when I buy a new game I play it through to completion and if not I'm either not in the mood for that kind of experience it is offering and when I feel like shooting zombies for instance, I can go back and pick it up. But I should not pick it up just so I can clean up my backlog.

Its over 9000!!!

3. Obsessive quest for power - Whether it'd be making the most bad ass character in an RPG or trying to collect all those stupid achievements, I need to re-focus on just enjoying the game. This means no grinding for soul gems all day in Skyrim to max out enchanting. I need to progress my character at the speed the game designer intended. This means the difficulty remains challenging and I don't end up grinding. This is also why I haven't played an MMO for a long time, I find the the quest to get the best loot and player build painful. For some people however this is the only reason they play games. When I play with one of my friends in co-op games its all about getting all the achievements and making sure he has the best character build/weapons (better than mine anyway). I'm not the same but I do love skill trees and player builds I just need to turn off the part of my brain that wants to get caught up in the math of % damage output. I'll let crazy people enjoy that part.

4. This one isn't an issue but a solution (and somewhat of a tangent) - Mixing things up makes it more fun. Alright I love making new player builds in Skyrim (I think I'm on my sixth). It's somewhat freeing seeing that level 1 on my character screen and being able start out from scratch knowing the infinite possibilities of how my character could turn out. I love the feeling of getting a new perk point and having all sorts of great options to dump it in. Then I hit a point where I have purchased everything I wanted and things become boring. So for me I get a high from playing through a game with a different build.

Chakrams are pretty awesome even if they exist in the same game as the mighty Greatsword

I have been playing reckoning since its release day and I am enjoying it. I have been playing a straight warrior mainly because greatswords are extremely powerful and combined with relentless assault, makes you a force to be 'reckoned' with. But it got old after about 10 hours because there was nothing in the might tree left that made any difference to how I played. Nothing! So why keep playing if my character is already a badass at 1/3 through the game. Well thank the gods(or whatever religious icons appear in Amalur) Reckoning knows this and has a respec option that is super easy.

First I tried a might/finesse build that used poisons to enhance my greatsword and bows for ranged damage. But the issue was that bows are weak and useless from what I could tell (why have an arrow limit that takes forever to come back when other range weapons you can spam forever) and my character just felt weaker than my straight might build. Early on I also dabbled in a might/sorcery combo but changed to straight might because I made the mistake that I discussed in issue 3.

Then I did it! I made a Jack-o-all-trades build and haven't looked back. There is always a perk to upgrade in one of the skill trees that will be useful. So far I am using daggers for stealth and close combat, Chakrams and spells for ranged and the might skills Relentless Assault and Scorpion's 'get over here' spear for their usefulness. The combat makes me dodge, switch between ranged and close combat and is overall more fun than just activating relentless assault and pressing X to win. So if the combat in Amalur is boring you then go jack of all trades and mix it the f@#$ up.

Freeeedoommmm!

So there you have it. Some may find themselves in similar predicaments and I hope my solutions will help you out. But that being said human beings all seem to be wired completely different. One person's trash is another's treasure and things I hate will always be loved by others. But I feel in the end if I can figure out what experiences in life fill me with happiness and try to rid myself of obsessions that lead to tears, I'll be a happier person. I will probably continue to figure out the inner workings of my brain and why I enjoy playing games. It will be necessary if I have any chance of fighting through the barrage of sequels and sameness, to try and enjoy gaming like I used as a kid. The moral of this tale is really simple. Don't do things you hate because you feel (or have been told) you should. For freedom!!

#1 Posted by benspyda (2127 posts) -

No this post really doesn't have anything to do with Braveheart (that I am aware of). I play a lot of games as I am sure many of you on the site do. But not every experience is an enjoyable one. Yesterday I had a rant about how god awful BF3's single player is, but in reality a lot of the pain was my fault in the end. It's time to man up and figure this shit out, so I can enjoy all my future gaming experiences.

There's that ant that was shooting me.

1. The worst offender - The act of brute forcing my way through a campaign from start to finish so I can be done with it and move on. If I am having this feeling towards a game then there is immediately a problem. Firstly I can't really be enjoying the experience if I am feeling this way. I shouldn't find myself yelling at the game when I die, resulting in having to re-do a checkpoint, because the gameplay should be so much fun that I'd happily head-shot some more goons. But I don't stop. I keep going. I beat BF3's single-player in one sitting in fact. Secondly I shouldn't feel the need to get through it in one sitting, I should be segmenting the experience so it lasts longer. This should be my first warning indicator about a game, because often it starts off on a sub-conscious level.

The simple solution - If I am enjoying the story but not the gameplay, Uncharted 3 for example (which I painfully beat on Normal and wished I hadn't), turning down the difficulty is the way to go, even if it means starting over. Playing through a mediocre game on easy can be more fun than it really should be. However if I am not enjoying anything about the game, I need to just shelve it. Even if I am half way through, just pushing through it to get my money's worth is a waste of my time and misery.

Not exactly the log I meant

2. Next up on the list is - Don't stop playing my favorite games because I feel the need to get through this thing they call the 'backlog'. I need to just play the game I feel like playing at the time, even if it is just a craving for a game I have already played and beaten. Who cares. The concept of a backlog can be confusing because it shouldn't exist really. Generally when I buy a new game I play it through to completion and if not I'm either not in the mood for that kind of experience it is offering and when I feel like shooting zombies for instance, I can go back and pick it up. But I should not pick it up just so I can clean up my backlog.

Its over 9000!!!

3. Obsessive quest for power - Whether it'd be making the most bad ass character in an RPG or trying to collect all those stupid achievements, I need to re-focus on just enjoying the game. This means no grinding for soul gems all day in Skyrim to max out enchanting. I need to progress my character at the speed the game designer intended. This means the difficulty remains challenging and I don't end up grinding. This is also why I haven't played an MMO for a long time, I find the the quest to get the best loot and player build painful. For some people however this is the only reason they play games. When I play with one of my friends in co-op games its all about getting all the achievements and making sure he has the best character build/weapons (better than mine anyway). I'm not the same but I do love skill trees and player builds I just need to turn off the part of my brain that wants to get caught up in the math of % damage output. I'll let crazy people enjoy that part.

4. This one isn't an issue but a solution (and somewhat of a tangent) - Mixing things up makes it more fun. Alright I love making new player builds in Skyrim (I think I'm on my sixth). It's somewhat freeing seeing that level 1 on my character screen and being able start out from scratch knowing the infinite possibilities of how my character could turn out. I love the feeling of getting a new perk point and having all sorts of great options to dump it in. Then I hit a point where I have purchased everything I wanted and things become boring. So for me I get a high from playing through a game with a different build.

Chakrams are pretty awesome even if they exist in the same game as the mighty Greatsword

I have been playing reckoning since its release day and I am enjoying it. I have been playing a straight warrior mainly because greatswords are extremely powerful and combined with relentless assault, makes you a force to be 'reckoned' with. But it got old after about 10 hours because there was nothing in the might tree left that made any difference to how I played. Nothing! So why keep playing if my character is already a badass at 1/3 through the game. Well thank the gods(or whatever religious icons appear in Amalur) Reckoning knows this and has a respec option that is super easy.

First I tried a might/finesse build that used poisons to enhance my greatsword and bows for ranged damage. But the issue was that bows are weak and useless from what I could tell (why have an arrow limit that takes forever to come back when other range weapons you can spam forever) and my character just felt weaker than my straight might build. Early on I also dabbled in a might/sorcery combo but changed to straight might because I made the mistake that I discussed in issue 3.

Then I did it! I made a Jack-o-all-trades build and haven't looked back. There is always a perk to upgrade in one of the skill trees that will be useful. So far I am using daggers for stealth and close combat, Chakrams and spells for ranged and the might skills Relentless Assault and Scorpion's 'get over here' spear for their usefulness. The combat makes me dodge, switch between ranged and close combat and is overall more fun than just activating relentless assault and pressing X to win. So if the combat in Amalur is boring you then go jack of all trades and mix it the f@#$ up.

Freeeedoommmm!

So there you have it. Some may find themselves in similar predicaments and I hope my solutions will help you out. But that being said human beings all seem to be wired completely different. One person's trash is another's treasure and things I hate will always be loved by others. But I feel in the end if I can figure out what experiences in life fill me with happiness and try to rid myself of obsessions that lead to tears, I'll be a happier person. I will probably continue to figure out the inner workings of my brain and why I enjoy playing games. It will be necessary if I have any chance of fighting through the barrage of sequels and sameness, to try and enjoy gaming like I used as a kid. The moral of this tale is really simple. Don't do things you hate because you feel (or have been told) you should. For freedom!!

#2 Posted by GloriousDinosaur (466 posts) -

That rang far far more bells for me than it should have. I too, am guilty of this obsession to complete the games that (a) I have bought and (b) the games that other people say are good. I really want to go back to the PS2 days where I had money to purchase a new game maybe twice a year, so I found a goodie and ground out all the enjoyment I possibly could

#3 Edited by crusader8463 (14756 posts) -

I kind of have a similar problem with my backlog ruling me. My current backlog is over 100 games deep right now, and I feel like it has way too much power of me because every time I buy a new game I feel extremely dirty looking at the total and then looking over at my shelf of unplayed games.

I too made the discovery recently that I can't force myself to play through games "Just because I need to play through my back log." but to play whatever I feel like at the moment; the problem with that is that I don't ever feel like playing anything any more. I have tried many times to "just take a break from games" but no matter how long I take I just can't seem to find that love and desire to play much of anything any more. All the old genres I loved just don't seem to do anything for me any more. So I just started thinking that maybe my taste in games must have just changed now that I'm older, but every time I go out of my way to try something I wouldn't normally have given a second look at I get the same result of it just not doing anything for me too.

I really have no idea what to do here. Gaming has been the only hobby I have had my entire life that didn't fade as I grew up, but now even that seems to be going away. I'm kind of at a point where if I'm not playing a game I literally have nothing else to do. And I think that's the problem for me. Just can't seem to find a way to discover new hobbies that interest me that I can pair with my gaming. No matter how much you love something you need to pepper in some other things or else you grow bored of it.

#4 Posted by benspyda (2127 posts) -

@crusader8463: I think one issue is that games have become stale at this point in the console generation where most games I pick up and play feel like, 'hey didn't I already do this last year'. I'm thankful that a game like Skyrim (an experience you only get every 5 or so years they release one) came along and completely engulfed me but if a game doesn't come along like that for you it can be disheartening.

Have you tried going back and playing the games you loved. I went back and played Dawn of War: Dark Crusade and been hooked to it ever since. Game design changes every decade so going back to an older game can be refreshing. We're getting to the end of a game design cycle I feel and the end of trilogies but I feel there will be a brighter future ahead. Maybe just take a break from gaming and wait for some fresher experiences to come.

#5 Posted by believer258 (13042 posts) -

I don't think the concept of a backlog should go away. Actually, I believe there's a middle ground in going through a backlog. If you're just grinding through a game and hating every minute of it, or just plain not enjoying yourself, then you're not only wasting money but you're also wasting time. However, if you decide to pick up a game you remember liking but put down for whatever reason and attempt to complete that, then that is a good thing as long as you're having at least some fun while doing it.

#6 Posted by benspyda (2127 posts) -

@believer258: A backlog really should just be a bunch of cool, fun games you can't find the time to play. Not a stagnating pile of games you need to burn through one by one.

#7 Edited by believer258 (13042 posts) -

@benspyda said:

@believer258: A backlog really should just be a bunch of cool, fun games you can't find the time to play. Not a stagnating pile of games you need to burn through one by one.

That's essentially saying the same thing but with two different attitudes toward it.

#8 Posted by benspyda (2127 posts) -

@believer258: Maybe just renaming 'backlog' to 'super fun happy game pile' will fix this. Same thing, its just the 'backlog' sounds more of a chore than a hobby. Like everything in life, its all psychology really.

#9 Posted by el_tajij (816 posts) -

@benspyda said:

@believer258: Maybe just renaming 'backlog' to 'super fun happy game pile' will fix this. Same thing, its just the 'backlog' sounds more of a chore than a hobby. Like everything in life, its all psychology really.

Hahaha! That made me laugh!

#10 Posted by mekon (325 posts) -

@crusader8463:

I suggest selling / giving away / packing up anything you know you won't play for certain so it's out of sight, because I recently found having that clutter offputting. If your stuff is on Steam, put any dead wood in a separate category so you don't have to look at it. In my case I've made the following things harder to find to shorten my list:

a) anything I've finished or played to death - if I Iiked it enough, it can stay installed in case I'm tempted

b) didn't work/don't need - Luxor 2, any secondary Mac versions of games like the GTA series

c) didn't like - a bunch of old CoD games that I got cheap, Full Spectrum Warrior - uninstalled so I can't be tempted to waste any more time on them

Concentrating on a few games I want to play is helping too. I find that feeling vaguely lost in a game and that I need to re-run the tutorial isn't rewarding. A case in point would be Supreme Commander, when I first bought it I spent over 3 hours just learning the basics and trying to memorise what each unit/building was for, and a week later I'd forgotten a lot of it. There's a similar issue with FPSs because I have to relearn the keys and game mechanics, e.g. I'd been playing FEAR 2 for a while (which only has automatic checkpoints) and then decided to have another go at a boss in Rage. A bit later I was wandering around, waiting for a checkpoint to kick in and then realised I could save at any time.

Keeping a simple puzzle game around (e.g Bejeweled) is a good idea though in case you feel tired and just want to listen to a podcast.

As benspyda suggested playing older games can be fun too. If I fancy a break from new stuff, I've found myself playing Magic Carpet (thru DosBox), Dungeon Keeper 2, Giants: Citizen Kabuto & Sacrifice (all from around 2000 or earlier and will run on a pretty crappy PC nowadays). Also there's mods such as Rexaura for Portal (very well put together) & Nehrim for Oblivion. If you played and liked Mass Effect, you could also try the first three books by Drew Karpshyn as a distraction. Failing that, see if you can loan an old console & games from someone who can offer free space on a memory card.

Online
#11 Posted by benspyda (2127 posts) -

@mekon: Also I feel focusing on one story centered game at a time is important. Like now I am trying to focus on a MGS 3 and playing KoH(which I'm not really that focused on the story), Skyrim and Dark Crusade just for gameplay. But MGS 3 is my focus and I won't move onto another story focused game until then.

#12 Posted by el_tajij (816 posts) -

@benspyda: Couldn't agree more with this. Having two games on the go that are both very story focused means constantly having to switch your mindset around and normally ends up ruining both games for me!