By TheHT 26 Comments
I'm starting to get bored. I'm starting to notice a lot of similarities in Renown Heart tasks and solo combat is becoming repetitive and less action-y while group events like bosses are just a blurry mess of spell effects on screen but not much more gameplay-wise than standing around for 10-15 minutes attacking.
Thankfully, I'm only level 50 and events have become far more exciting than Renown Hearts, so I'm thinking of abandoning my earlier method of 1. find new area 2. complete everything, instead just going into a new area and seeing what's up event-wise. It's also my understanding that there will be less and less Renown Hearts as I reach higher level areas. Like Orr, which is just events and no Renown Hearts, making it easier to just focus on the big things.
Also thankfully, I'm pretty sure my combat woes are because I've been using the same 2 weapon types since level 5. So, I can just switch it up and freshen things up.
Unfortunately, group event bosses that aren't giant will still probably be messes of spell effects, but boss battles like that undead ship and the undead dragon whose name I won't even try to spell have aspects (all involving minions) to them that should alleviate the problem of me standing just around letting auto-attack do its thing.
Oh and crafting reached a point where I don't want to deal with it anymore, or at least for a while. Having cleverly chosen two crafting professions that, while completely useful for me (weaponsmith/leatherworker), both require the same mats, I found myself needing to either a) grind for lower level mats or b) hit up the Trading Post for them. So I went the TP route and spent almost all of my 2 gold I'd amassed to that point only to find myself without enough second tier mats to do progress in either trade.
Thinking I've got plenty of mats for something like Jewelcrafting, I decided to take a stab at that, and ran into the same problem. I did realize I could just create things there and use a kit to get the jewels back for re-crafting, but I was running out of other mats anyways. So there I was stuck and without enough money to buy more mats and vehemently not wanting to grind... ever.
So I said "fuck this noize" and decided to put crafting on hold.
However I've now noticed that a lot of my current problems stem from bad playing habits. Crafting excluded. If I was smart about that from the beginning instead of making as much of one thing as I could to level up I wouldn't have fucked myself out of all my mats. The completionist in me though was starting to make exploration a chore, and occasionally I'd just ignore events in order to get another checkmark on that world map. Not to imply that you should always change yourself to enjoy a game, but in this case (and many before it) being a completionist contributes to the ruining of my experience.
I made a conscious choice in Alan Wake to just experience the story and any collectibles I'd pick up. But I wouldn't go hiking all over those fucking woods for a thermos. Whenever I found myself falling into tedium searching every nook and cranny for useless glowing pick-ups, I told myself to stop mucking about, and focused back on the story. And while that isn't solely responsible for making Alan Wake one of my most enjoyable gaming experiences, it helped immensely.
This was only meant to be a reflection of where I'm at in the game, but I think I've touched on something farther-reaching. I guess I'd better roll with it.
Games are supposed to fun. Well, OK, that's arguable. Wait, no it isn't. Even games like Spec Ops: The Line that have the capability to make me feel like shit are still fun. Not fun like "haha I'm enjoying myself" but fun like "wow, this is an experience". So clearly I'm wrong and fun is not the right word, because equating having an experience to having fun is wrong. Not in a moral sense. It's actually incorrect.
So I'll forget trying to be horribly reductive about the nature of each and every video game to make an point, and instead just get to the point. At what point do our own hang-ups rob us of 'enjoyably' experiencing a game? It's eye-roll inducing to read someone say "you're not playing it right" but is it the sentiment that makes that statement dismissible or the context which tends to be condescending? Because when you consider it, there absolutely are games that can be played wrong, just not necessarily objectively so.
Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. If someone enjoys playing Spec Ops: The Line for the shooting, and just skips all the cutscenes, they're totally missing the point, but if they're enjoying themselves, has that game still failed?
OK, I'm muddling up what I thought would be the eventual focus of this blog (tainting our gaming experiences with our own unwillingness to let go of preconceptions of how to enjoy the game) with something else (when/if not playing a game according to the intended experience is a failure on the games end), so I'll just stop now and maybe come back to both topics with more attention. Or someone else can! That's the beauty of the internet. Well strictly speaking that's the beauty of communicating ideas, but yaknowhatamean.