Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Optimizing My Time

This morning I have read two posts on Guild Wars 2, one from Syp on reaching the end of the character story, and the other from Kleps, comparing GW2 "hearts" with quests in WoW.

As I commented on Syp's post, Scooterz and I became bored with the storyline quest about the time we entered Orr, and after helping some Guildies from the Knights of Mercy with the endcap dragon battle instance, we basically stopped playing.
Scooterz has a very organized way of playing any game. In TSW, she has written down all the mission givers with their missions, checking them off as we complete them. In GW2, she tracked the hearts we had done in each zone so we could complete them before moving onto another one. Left to my own devices, I am generally more off-the-cuff in my playstyle. I tend to wander hither and thither, relying on UI elements in the game to track such accomplishments.

I loved doing the heart quests and dynamic events in GW2. But I started concentrating on the daily achievements in order to get the rewards. Allowing myself to get caught up in the loot grind (because that's what it was) instead of just helping out where I was "needed" may have ruined the game for me. Even now, reading about the constantly changing events—each with daily rituals to perform—is a huge turn-off.

I realize that this is entirely my own problem, and I am not necessarily criticizing ANet for their game design, other than how it feeds my obsessive need to "work" for said achievement rewards. I was much happier wandering around Tyria helping folks out before I realized there were "dailies."
This personal feeling, this desire to help out, bleeds into my characterization of my two main characters in TSW. Samantha and Karl are both inclined to help individuals in dire straits despite the big-picture admonitions of their superiors in their respective Secret Societies. Hinageshi, on the other hand, is all about slaying monsters of every stripean archetypal knight templar, despite being a Dragon.

Kleps defends GW2 hearts and dynamic events, with the quite reasonable explanation that they are about "keeping the world from collapsing, rather than raising it up." I agree with this assessment and am reminded by his post of why and how I enjoyed GW2 in the first place. As I said on Syp's post, I liked the non-epic early chapters of the personal story far more than the later, "world-changing" chapters. I think the relatively penny-ante picking of apples, culling of spiders, and routing of bandits are a much better design of activities and fit a fairly static world; much like our own, truth be told.

But that's just me. What do you think? Do you prefer the small "help out the farmer" quests, or the epic "slay the grand villain" quests?

4 comments:

  1. Left to my own devices, I move at a snail's pace, read every quest text, and don't get very far in a given play session. Invariably I end up frustrated because the game is "tuned" for a much faster moving crowd, and I swiftly fall behind the curve.

    For those games where I have made to cap or at least have some power, I love helping out. Buffs, potions, gear, time, advice, anything. Which is a shame, because I feel in most MMO's I am rarely in a position to do that.

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    1. I know what you mean. Most of my friends in both TSW and Rift (really every game I've played) progress far more rapidly than I do.

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  2. I've actually come to like the dailies. They tend to fit well with other, more organic play. For me the value comes from the stopping point. I wander about doing something or other, altering my route slightly to shoot a few more rabbits, and then at some point the game says "good job today." And then I have a good time to stop, drawn away from the temptation to do one more heart, mine one more node, get one more waypoint. On the worst day I have maybe one daily that I feel is a stretch to get, maybe hunting down a dynamic event if I somehow missed them or running an activity (I don't like the race activity; it feels like Mariokart with the worst controls ever).

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    1. Part of my angst over the daily achievement stems from the slight difference between my playstyle and Scooterz'. I was driving to get the achievement every day while she was concentrating more on the hearts. Left to my own devices, dailies are often that perfect bit of routine to help me disengage. But they almost become mandatory in the sense that not getting them is a missed opportunity.

      Psychochild just posted the other day about things intended by the devs to be optional (like buffs) that become mandatory in the eyes of the players. One reason for my altoholism started with WoW and the "Rested" XP buff. I was playing the game a LOT, but the idea of leaving extra XP on the table was galling, so I would play my characters in rotation to maximize their individual progress in time played; even though it took me well over a year in real time to get even one to 60—after TBC came out.

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