I did a fair
bit of programming in the past. I got into programming because I was worried
that they wouldn't make the kind of games I liked it the future. It was around
2004 when I realized that I didn't have anything to worry about.
industry is huge. Like, billions huge. Much like role-playing games and
tabletop games, the return on your investment in video games can usually be
pretty large. You can play a game for hundreds or even thousands of hours with
a single purchase. The value there is pretty high. Even if you buy new AAA
titles and just play them to completion, you're often only paying a dollar or
so an hour of gameplay.
find that the actual time I spend actually playing the game is simply a
fraction of the time spent sitting in front of the game. Is this true for other
people? I find it's true of most games for me, though not all. It certainly
isn't a bad thing.
the game means making significant choices. Just walking from one place to
another in the game isn't really playing. Waiting for loading screens isn't
playing. Micromanaging things isn't playing.
is the type of game where the gameplay is nearly as full as it can be of
significant choices. Sometimes it can take people a long time until they even
realize what significance their choices make.
is an exhausting game to play.
I can manage
an hour before I have to quit. To wit: I finish each season between ranks 8-5.
I keep a win rate around 65-70%. It's only that good because I don't start climbing
the ladder till the good players have already done it, and generally am playing
bad players during that climb. It also helps that I play almost exclusively
late at night, when I'm fresh and other players are tired. Things change around
rank 5. Not only do you need to play as many games to get from rank 5 to legend
as it took to reach rank 5, the quality of play is superlative.
You have 90
seconds on your turn and 90 seconds on your opponent's turn to decide amongst
all the lines of play. For the entire length of the game you are thinking.
So with most
games, I'm not looking to make significant choices every second. I'm looking to
relax. There's a lot I don't want to think about.
That's why I
have so many hours in Grim Dawn. It's a meditative exercise.
is an action-rpg in the vein of Sacred or Titan Quest. There's no randomization
of environments. You make all your choices about what kind of character you
want within a few hours and the rest is filling in the points and
constellations as you acquire them. Most of the game is filled with trash mobs
that you only kill to level your character. There's a lot of farming involved
for materials and favor with certain groups.
the point. The farming isn't to be avoided. The farming is the point of play.
Those systems exist to give you a reason to farm. Moving across the map and
killing trash mobs is rhythmic calm, punctuated by the occasional rewarding
The shield warden moves like this:
charge, shieldbash, orleon's rage, hit, hit, hit, forcewave, shieldbash, hit
damages the armor, charge closes the distance, shieldbash stuns, rage does
massage damage against a single opponent and each hit adds a charge on
savagery. That motion, that rhythm.
combination of classes has their own hypnotic rhythm. This is. . . incredibly
difficult to pull off from a game design standpoint. There are a lot of
action-rpg's out there, and very few that master making the sequences and
feedback so rewarding.
It's good in
a lot of ways others aren't. It isn't endless. Characters have an end (level
85). Unlike Diablo 3, you can't just keep going forever and forever. Being able
to finish a character and move on is a good thing, leading you to new
experiences. It has a significant amount of hidden content. Because the entire
game is crowd funded over the course of several years, they weren't beholden to
a board of producers, allowing them to create large hidden areas and dungeons.
It's also not
embryonic. They just released a small free expansion and more are coming, but
it feels like a complete game. They don't always.
Warhammer came out recently and barring a rocky few hours after release, is
a real pleasure to play. There are a few minor bugs and quibbles. For example:
reinforcements come from a random direction which ruins the replay function.
But it allows you to have large warhammer fantasy type battles, while moving
around and leveling up your leader guy. It's well done and a lot of fun.
But even so,
it seems a little empty. Clearly the 9 free downloaded content's planned, plus
whatever other dlc and content they release points to that. You can play as the
dwarves, vampire counts, orcs, empire, or chaos. But where are the lizard men?
Where are the squigs? Where are the skaven? Where are the wood elves? Where are
the beastmen? Where are the other mages?
those things are missing, because a lot of those are already announced to be
It's a good
game, you can really tell they poured their heart and soul into it. Each race
flings different items from the city towers. Dwarves fling kegs wrapped inexplosives. and brettonia, well, fires this.
Sometimes when the orcs sack your settlement, they leave you a present.
on the not ready for prime time side of empty is Stellaris. I have no
doubt they will continue to update it as time goes on, with a new patch coming
out every month. But right now, the game is a bit of a mess, with some wild
balance issues. It also contains one of my biggest issues with space game, the lack of terrain. It leads to a certain playstyle.
others of course. X-Com 2 is basically a version of X-Com that
fixed the satellite problem, more customizability, and better mod support.
Fallout 4 is the most linear fallout yet with pretty significant changes in
design philosophy. I'm also happy I finally get to play with the international version of Final Fantasy X, using the international sphere grid. I remember looking online and trying to figure out what I would have to do to run a European copy.
Like I figured out earlier. I didn't have anything to worry about.