Friday, April 26, 2013

Field Report - Boulevard Of Broken Games

How about another update on what's going on around here gaming wise?

World of Warcraft
First up, now that I am playing WoW less and less I've noticed something very interesting that I really was wrong about in the past. I've always thought that my WoW-gaming took time from other things that I should or could be doing. I even mention that in my previous Field Report, saying that all the time not spent playing WoW should give me loads of time to do other things I wanted to do. I don't necessarily mean studies, chores, sleeping or work (although also occasionally that) but mostly other games that I wanted to play. I've always been curious about loads of different games but WoW was just always so available, ready, easy to jump in to. I knew exactly what I had to do and eventhough I normally ended up for way longer than expected or planned, I always had the feeling that I could jump in and out of that game easily whereas most other games take some time to get in to and aren't as easy to just quit whenever you want.

This meant that I always had the impression that I chose WoW over other games simply because I was too lazy to get invested in anything else. Turns out, that wasn't the case at all. Now that I don't play WoW that much, I normally don't do anything really! Yeah, how depressing does that sound. I will expand further on this in its own post, so I will leave this thrilling subject here for now, but trust me I will rant on about it eventually because the reality of it really confused me.

Kotor 2
There is much to like about this game and a couple of things to not like so much. Unfortunately, there is a disturbance in that balance and the dark side is definitely starting to take over. The story is ok, and after rewatching the old Star Wars movies I just find it even cooler to be running around in the Star Wars universe. Suddenly I have the new found love for all things Star wars because hells yeah, it's awesome. There are loads of things to do and discover, I've never gotten stuck so far wondering what to do next and I totally love the combat system, honestly. Although the AI isn't always the cleverest and my team mates keep running in to close combat before throwing bombs, but ah well. Things like that rarely bother me as long as they're not game breaking.

I can sense a crash coming...
What is completely ruining the experience however are the myriad of bugs and crashes that this game suffers from. And then I've even updated it with the TSL Restored Content Mod which apparently was going to take care of the worst glitches. Crashes are somewhat ok, when I first started playing Settlers 2 way back when, that used to crash on me every 5-10 minutes (no kidding) but I still kept on playing it. Admittedly I would not have that level of patience nowadays, but a crash every now and then is ok. Just remember to save. The bugs however... now they really push my buttons. Mostly because they're not tinu bugs, like falling through the world somewhere or the game crashing if you do some weird ass combination of commands. No, these are bugs that mean that if you happen to choose the wrong dialogue option somewhere, the event doesn't unfold like it's supposed to. You have to go back to an old save and read up on the internet how to do it step by step right so that the game understands to move on. I can forgive this once in a game, maybe. But every other quest? Come on! Right now my Google Search history is full of things like "kotor 2 Onderon Crash", "kotor 2 Dantooine Crash" and "kotor 2 confrontation with Atris bug". Grr.

I had one where fortunately I had an autosave not long back to remedy the situation. But without a walkthrough it would've taken me a very long time to figure out exactly what step I had done wrong to make things screw up. There are many options to screw up when only one is the right one! And now I am currently stuck on basically the same thing, only this time I can't find out what I've done wrong. I'll have to restart an old save and just hope that it is old enough to fix whatever went wrong, but I'll be seriously pissed if I replay all of that and get the same result.

Other bugs include graphic crashes for no damn reason at all. How do you solve it? Just go into graphic settings and change a setting. Any setting. Doesn't matter if you change it and immediately change it back either, as long as you've pretended to change something it usually works. Having to start most gaming sessions doing what feels completely meaningless also doesn't add much to the fun.

This would be ok if I had cracked or otherwise pirated the game, then I just get to suit myself. But I've paid for this bastard! How can they release such an unfinished game?! It makes me want to scream, and it definitely doesn't want me to play. Kotor 2 should be happy it is as entertaining as it is, because otherwise I would've given up on it long ago in favor of games that actually work. Which is any other game.

Divine Divinity

I had only seen my ex bf play this game a little and didn't think much more of it than that it had to have one of the worst gaming titles ever. Divine Divinity? How about Awesome Awesomeness or Long Longevity? It gives me an excuse to use the phrase "hey, what a tautology" for the first time ever and I am going to take it. Good thing the game is a lot better than its title and until now I've spent some 40 hours playing it. It's very straightforward with its dungeon crawling, skill and stat choosing system, making it resemble most RPGs released around this time. And eventhough there is a lot of "down time" ie time spent mostly running around, trying to find the next thing to do or figuring out how to solve a quest I realized that it doesn't bother me at all. Because I always know what to do next, and if there is a 10 min run to get me to where I need to be, fine. At least I have a clear goal. There is just always something to do and you rarley get stuck not knowing what to do next. Just walk into an area of the map you haven't been to yet and bam, talking tree that summons 30 zombies suddenly attacks you.

Can't have slaughter without laughter
Another thing that I enjoy about old RPGs compared to many other old games are that they give you choices. And I don't mind good vs evil choices, but the choice to leave an area or a quest for now and come back to it later. It feels refreshing when stuck somewhere that I don't have to bash my head against a wall or something that just feels tedious. Instead I can come back to that place later with new eyes and motivation. This is something I really miss about old school console games generally.

I bought this little thing way back, like I don't even know how long ago. I am pretty sure it was last year somewhere. But I've been afraid of it, frankly. I just knew this sucker could hog loads of time from me and I wanted to be ready for it. If I start playing a game I want to invest a lot of time in, I want to make sure I have a lot of that time to invest. At the time I bought it I was playing a bunch of other games, and thought I needed to wait a bit with this one. My goal was to finish either Kotor2 or Divine Divinity first, because I think I am good enough to at least juggle two massive RPGs at the same time. When Kotor2 went all emo on me, and after having tried to fix it for what felt like the hundredth time, I decided I deserveda break. Good old fun really, because playing games shouldn't be about fixing them all the time, it should be about playing them. So I finally dared to start up Skyrim. I've only played a bit into it, I'm level 6 or so and have done the first handfull of quests. So far so good.

There are minor things that bother me about it, things only nitpickers would care about (and I happen to be one, at times). I don't know why, but the scandinavian accents everyone is using kinda bothers me. I realize it's to give that "norse" feeling that they clearly want the beginning of the game to have (what with the Nords and all) but for someone who is surrounded by that accent all the time (I probably suffer from it myself) it just sounds weird. There are also some control choices I found counter intuitive, like favoriting items in the menu with the F button, but you don't use those favorited items outside the menu with the F button  but with the A button. Instead you change camera zoom with the F button. Why? Little things that just... yeah ok, let's move on.

Overall I obviously think the game is really fun so far
, it's just the kind of gear collecting-dungeon crawling that I (and most other people) enjoy so much. I was warned by some friends that this game too constains its fair share of bugs and glitches, but since it's a Bethesda game I was prepared for that.

Guild Wars 2
When I last wrote about GW2 I was quite optimistic and had much fun with it. shortly after that, my interest in that game completely died on me though and I can't even remember the last time I logged in. It has to be well over a month ago now. I did have fun with it but I think after a while running around doing nothing I sort of realized that all that was leading anywhere. Comparing it to games like Divine Divinity and Kotor 2 that I was also playing I didn't have a goal, no ending to strive for, and simply discovering the land lost its appeal to me. Not knowing what to do initially seemed refreshing and fun, but soon made the whole experience seem kind of pointless. After ten levels or so I thought I had gotten down the general idea of the game, the feeling of the skills and the surroundings. I realize that it might be like judging WoW after having played through Barrens up to level 10 on one character. Obviously there is loads more to discover for me in GW2 if I want to. But I don't, really.

I think it might have happened when I ran into my first dungeon. I didn't go into it, mind you, because I think I was still way too low level. But I stood outside a while, looking at the people standing there, presumably gathering groups, while also asking for people in chat. And it just sort of clicked with me. I'm not in to this anymore. I've done it in WoW for years and just feel like doing something else for a change. Doing my own adventures now, adventures with a clear goal and not the ever climbing stair of increasing stats and levels into infinity. Besides, just as in WoW I don't know anyone who plays GW2 and so I would have to experience all that with strangers. I could make friends, of course, like I've done in WoW a million times. But right now I am not ready to move from one MMORPG to the next. I think I simply need an interlude of other type of games for a little while. I just don't feel like investing myself in the massiveness that a MMORPG is. We'll see in the future.

And then...
There are always other games I play a little bit every now and then. I just secretly bought a copy of RE4 to surprise the bf. We've played through RE1, 2, 3 Survivor, Code Veronica, Zero and RE1 Remake so far so RE4 feels like the next step. I'm really looking forward to getting started on that! Me and the bf also had a discussion about whether FFVIII is a good FF. He doesn't think so but personally, I quite like it, but I never got very far since my copy kept crashing in the same place. I decided it was time to test it out again, but alas - it's still crashing at that same place. What happens is that it never finishes loading between screens in the Galbadia Missile Base, and overall the loading takes ages even when it does work. I tried different things, avoiding certain areas, opening and closing the disc tray, creating a new save file, but nothing seems to work. Either I chance it and start up another save file, but I doubt that is the problem (since no other game has any issues of this sort). My other option is to buy another copy of the game, and I might get around to that eventually because I actually really want to finish that game.

I recently bought a bunch of old RPGs that are lying in wait for me whenever I finish Divine Divinity, for instance Baldurs Gate 1&2, Planescape Torment and NWN. I'm also pondering buying the old Fallout games. I also want to play the Mario & Luigi games for the DS, I've played Partners in Time and loved it and would like to try Bowsers Inside Story too. Right now I definitely feel like I have more games to play than I have time, but at least I have things to do, whenever I don't end up just not doing anything (as mentioned above). Until next time gamers.


  1. Hey Zinn, glad to hear you're in a happier place again, it sounded like you had some rough patches recently. I am sorry to hear you are not playing WoW so much. Hopefully it is more of a quality over quantity thing for you. I recently switched over to a PVE server (from a PVP) so I am starting all over with leveling up toons and professions (serves me right for being to cheap to transfer ;)).

    Anyway keep up the good work, I notice the posts are coming much more frequently and I still very much enjoy reading them.

  2. I can certainly relate to the lack of time available for gaming. In the good old days (a few years ago) my time was more organized and I could play world of warcraft for a few hours at a time a few days a week. But now I am lucky if I can manage to put aside two hours on a saturday afternoon to break away for some gaming. I find myself playing only PVE simply because I can't play for any lenght of time.