[Rant] Seriously, do these "always online" developers never want to pause or save and quit a game?

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By bigsocrates

I've been picking away at Redfall since I started it in October and I really should stop. Today I was playing a couple of the "story" missions and got to one where you're searching this house multiple times and there are no lights so you have to use a flashlight. It was boring and frustrating and it was making my eyes tired. After awhile I wanted to just save and quit and come back to it later, or barring that pause the game and do something else for awhile.

Except that Redfall is online only so you can't save your location and return nor can you pause indefinitely (though maybe you can if you just leave the console on and running, which I did not want to do.)

I think the game saves your progress at certain points during missions but I would have to spawn back at the headquarters then fast travel to the nearest marker, then kill all the respawned enemies I'd cleared, and I'd probably end up just never playing the game again instead.

I might do that anyway even though I pushed through and finished the mission, hating it every moment.

The thing is that this has come up many times even playing games I actually like. Outriders was an okay third person shooter that I had at least a decent time with and I might have been tempted to buy the game and its DLC (I played it on Game Pass) if I could play it like a normal game with pausing and saving. I can't, so I haven't.

Diablo IV can be fun, but would be much better if I could pause and quick resume, or even better save mid mission.

Almost every always online game that has a significant single player component leaves me feeling this way.

Redfall is particularly egregious because it has a max of 4 players and it doesn't have matchmaking so there is absolutely no reason it shouldn't be an offline shooter with online co-op options, like games have had for almost 20 years. There's no reason for this to be online only. At least with Diablo IV they try to do stuff with community events and running into players randomly in the world that gives some reason for it to be the way it is, even though those things are not a worthwhile tradeoff. But for Redfall it just makes an already terrible game even worse. It's bad enough your stupid game has me searching with a flashlight but I can't even take a break? Fuck you, devs. Sincerely. May all your food be delivered with the drinks spilled in the bag.

I hear a lot of people complain about always online games because you can't play when the servers are down and because when they go offline you can never play them again (That's actually a positive for something like Redfall) but for me the lack of pause and mid-mission saves are probably worse.

Who are these people who think this is not a big deal? Do they not have bladders? Colons? Do they never get a phone call? They obviously don't have kids, which is good, because they are immoral monsters, but surely they realize that it's good to be able to stop playing a game and start again.

This has been something that has been in games since the 1980s (pausing) or the 1990s (quicksaving on PC) so it's something that I came to rely on, and yet these days more and more it's just taken away and I feel like I'm the only one who cares.

I've definitely not bought games specifically because they were always online and it's often for this reason. It feels like a big personal "fuck you" from the developers and I feel kind of crazy because it often seems like I'm the only person it really bothers.

Avatar image for judaspete
judaspete

357

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

You are not the only person bothered by this.

You might still be crazy though. Can't say for sure.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@judaspete: The few, the proud, the old men with bladders that need to be emptied from time to time who just want to pause their games like they did on the Nintendo in 1986!

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16682

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

This is the least of Redfall's issues.

You're not the only person bothered by this. It seems like Dark Souls and its ilk are regularly bashed for not allowing the player to truly pause the game. You can pause and mash "save and quit" very quickly, but anything more complex than "push the menu button" when you have a suddenly crying child or someone else needing help truly is too much, or if you just want to get up and stretch your legs for a bit.

In the case of something like Redfall, I can't think of a good reason for being unable to pause when playing by yourself, but I get the sense that "playing by yourself" really is just "a multiplayer server with only you in it", which is likely why you can't pause.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@justin258: This is obviously not the biggest issue Redfall has but I disagree that it's the least of its issues. It takes a game that could be a fun "so bad it's good" experience and makes it a much worse slog because you get trapped in its bad missions.

And yes, Redfall does force you to play online at all times even when playing solo. I know that. My point is...it shouldn't have been designed that way. There are plenty of games that do 4 player co-op without that design and work perfectly well. You can argue that Diablo IV needs that design to implement world bosses and dynamic world events that draw on random people in the same area of the game, but Redfall is traditional co-op with no social spaces or even matchmaking. It could easily have the same kind of system that games like Gears or Halo have, where you play offline when you're single player but can co-op with friends if you want. This allows for pausing and traditional checkpointing. They just chose not to do it that way for (bad) reasons.

Games have been doing this since the 6th generation and reliably since the 7th. If Gears of War could do it in 2006 Redfall could do it in 2023.

Avatar image for stealydan
stealydan

207

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I remember being annoyed by this all the way back in the first Borderlands. You could pause like a normal single-player game, but stopping in the middle of a quest area meant that the next time you start the game, you're going to be hoofing it back through the entire area and killing everyone again to get to that last objective marker. Being able to suspend a play session sure would have been nice.

Avatar image for noboners
noboners

749

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Even universally beloved games such as Baldur's Gate 3 need to figure this out.

Avatar image for ben_h
Ben_H

4784

Forum Posts

1628

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

#7  Edited By Ben_H

At least in Baldur's Gate 3's case you can quick save and quit back to the main menu and when you reload the game it is exactly where you were with everything in the same state the game was in before since the game stores the entire world's state in the save file. In these live service games often you lose a bunch of quest progress or have to fight through a bunch of enemies again to get back where you were since the game doesn't keep track of any of that.

Another alternative for BG3 is if you need to step away for a second you can just turn on turn-based mode, which in effect pauses everything.

Avatar image for noboners
noboners

749

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#8  Edited By noboners

@ben_h: yeah it is nice that there are slight workarounds, but none of those really work if I'm in the middle of a cutscene. That's really where my problem lies. I know I can save and quit mid cutscene, but then it restarts the scene on load and if I had any checks happen mid conversation it will reroll them. It's certainly not as egregious as the always online games, but a problem for me nonetheless.

The Diablo 4 not being able to save mid mission is absolutely worse though. And I can only imagine how I'd feel about these things if I disliked my time with the game I was playing as much as OP dislikes Redfall.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@noboners: Diablo at least has the town portal option, which is kind of like a very bad version of pause.

However what REALLY gets me in that game has a Hardcore mode but no pause or insta save and quit. What if you're fighting one of the many long boss encounters and your husband calls from the other room because your daughter is throwing up, or your brother texts you that your mom is in the hospital?

It's one thing for hardcore mode to only give you one life. It's entirely another for it to demand you have no life outside the game.

Avatar image for willy105
Willy105

4959

Forum Posts

14729

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 1

I think its one of the few faults of the Dark Souls games too, the inability to pause because they forced a nominally single player game to have a multiplayer component. Mario Wonder did it right by having its online component as opt-in.

Avatar image for apewins
apewins

371

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm going to take this opportunity to shout out PC games that put the "Quit game" selection inside the Options menu and still have the gall to ask if you're really, really, really sure that you want to quit as if you went all the way to the bottom of the Options menu and hit the selection button by accident. I'm sure the developers are very proud of their game but surely they must understand that there comes a time when a person needs to stop playing, if only for a moment.

I have a feeling that a lot of developers, even the good ones, don't actually play games. They likely played games in their youth and that's how they ended up in the industry, but they then gave it up decades ago as gaming just became a job for them.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@apewins: I have sort of the opposite opinion. I think almost all developers (at least gameplay/narrative designers, not necessarily pure art/animation or sound people) do play games and possibly a lot of games...but they play them at/for work and not in a normal environment.

This is part of why I think so many developers seem convinced that everyone has a group of buddies they can get together with to play for hours on a regular basis even though this stops being true for the majority of people after college. "Why do we need matchmaking on raids? Just call your gaming group and have them join you."

This works if you're playing on extended lunch breaks at work as "research" or as after hours less formal work (the same way that a teacher can make reading material for potential use in class a much higher priority than leisure reading is for most) and of course it works during development when you're testing, but it doesn't work for most players.

Similarly if you're playing Redfall from 3-5 in the afternoon to test feature implementation then pausing is much less necessary because you're not getting calls from your mom, your kids aren't asking you to make them a snack, you don't have to stop to make dinner etc... you basically just have bathroom breaks.

I think they do play games I just think they don't play games like most people do so they don't think about how games can fit into the lives of people who may have 45 minutes per day to play at most, or can play for a couple hours but will have 10 small interruptions during that time to help the kid with something or clean up something the dog knocked over etc..

This is also, I believe, the reason so many were gung ho about VR. VR is great if you can play during working hours in a dedicated office space set up by professionals! VR is less great if you are playing at home with other people who might need you for something.

Avatar image for gtxforza
GTxForza

2160

Forum Posts

5217

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

Yeah, I don't like online DRM either, it makes them feel much like MMO games in my opinion.

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
BladeOfCreation

2491

Forum Posts

27

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

As the resident Redfall defender on this forum...I agree 100%. This shit is obnoxious and it's just a bad user experience. The game that really used to piss me off with this was Diablo 3 after they added the adventure mode. Basically 5 random quests would pop up on a map, with escalating rewards. So if you completed all 5, you got the best reward possible. But Diablo 3 was 100% online. And if you got to the 4th quest and lost you internet connection for a few seconds, tough luck! But here's the part that never made any fucking sense to me. I know for a fact that the game is saving my progress in between quest completion milestones. How do I know? If I pick up an item that an enemy drops, then lose my connection, that item is still in my inventory when I log back in. So the game is saving in real time, but somehow is not saving some things. Absolutely nonsensical user experience.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#15  Edited By bigsocrates

@bladeofcreation: Oh boy. At some point I am going to finish my playthrough of this game and post my thoughts and I guess we're going to go at it because I think Redfall is indefensible. It's not the worst game ever made but there are so many terrible decisions and so many bad implementations. And I've played Balan Wonderworld to the credits. I can tolerate bad games. But Redfall is objectively broken in a lot of ways and the ways in which it's not broken can be infuriating. There are aspects of it that verge on okay (the environments could work in a better game; the base gunplay is not the worst) but so many issues even after months of patches, and fundamental design issues too.

As for Diablo....I mean I understand why they don't want to save the entire randomized area and everything you've killed etc... but they easily could just checkpoint quest progress, even if the checkpoint only lasts an hour. I think there's the idea that these are supposed to be ephemeral bite sized quests and "runs" (the same way a lot of offline Roguelites won't let you save mid run) but yeah they make no attept to compensate for the internet interruption thing. That's part of why I think they're all testing and playing games in an office with rock solid business broadband, possibly hooked up directly to the game servers which might have been in the same building at some point (though now they're all in data centers.)

Objectively bad:

Today I decided to do a quest early before starting my day. I made it out a very long way to a ship on the edge of the map to do something. It was like 500 meters from the closest fast travel point. Cleared the ship easily, did the thing, started looking at a journal in the room and an optional boss just spawned behind me and ganked me. Fun! Who doesn't like bosses spawning on them! Who wants to fight the boss before they complete the mission objective? Boring!

Decided to hike my way back but now at night. Found the boat surrounded by the annoying red mist that damages you. I think that stuff is just an awful design decision. Finally made my way around it on the edge of the map to the boat. Some vampires spotted me through the hull and attacked me, and because I could barely maneuver surrounded by the mist I died again. Gave up on the optional boss, went to the next mission objective in the same mission.

This time things went fine until the actual mission boss (the first rook) spawned. I hiked all the way up the lighthouse with a bunch of threatening speech coming at me until I finally, finally, found him. I shot him once in the chest and he said "I have been recalled" and teleported immediately into the wall of the lighthouse. There was no way for me to get to him. I tried moving far away from the lighthouse to hopefully reset his position and a lightning bolt struck me killing me instantly. Again, fun mechanics there.

Then I hiked back to the lighthouse and this time he teleported to me, landing on some craggy rocks where he glitched out and started jittering in place. I killed him without him even attacking.

A series of horrible design decisions and serious technical glitches. That's Redfall. ONE MISSION IN REDFALL. Indefensible!

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6040

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Update:

I am still mad about this.

Every time I think about playing Redfall it stops me. "Hey, my buddy's in town with his wife and kids and they want to meet at a nearby restaurant. They'll call me when they're at the train station nearby. Maybe I can knock off some Redfall while I wait. Nope, because there's no way to pause if they arrive mid mission."

"I have 15 minutes to kill before I have to leave the house. Maybe I can play half a Redfall mission and...oh right, that doesn't work."

Redall: A game purposefully designed so it doesn't fit into your life unless you have hours to devote to it. And if you do that then your reward is playing Redfall.