Tobold's Blog
Sunday, February 02, 2020
My gaming plans for 2020

I finished Dragon Quest XI. That is to say I finished the main story and killed the boss; I didn't continue in the "post-game" content to level up to 99. It took me 60 hours to reach the end, and I was level 57, and that was enough for me. Somehow it was important to me to finish this, although there are a lot of aspects of the game I dislike: The crafting system that is based on you searching every shelf for recipe books, the combat system in which you have half a dozen spells to counter status ailments, but then the boss hits you with half a dozen status ailments that there are no counter spells available for, the very linear story. But getting to the end boss gave me some sense of closure, of having finished this successfully. So, what next?

I am still playing World of Tanks. But I do think I will play this less intensively in 2020 than I did in 2019. Apart from the constant intrinsic "get better" goal, there are only so many extrinsic goals available in any game; and in World of Tanks I feel that I reached most of the goals I was actually interested in. That is mostly due to the failure of the game to attract many new players. It leads to the tier X "end game" filled with veterans that have every advantage you can earn in the game, and know every trick in the book. Having a life, I just can't compete at that level, which means that getting tank tech trees up above tier 8 isn't all that interesting.

So my idea for 2020 is to play more different games. And I have a huge amount of choice there, between my large library of unplayed Steam games, and services like the Xbox game pass for PC. One thing I realized is that I need to be less ambivalent about games: Either I need to stick with them and play them, or I need to uninstall them. I just uninstalled Assassin's Creed: Origin, because I played it a bit (until the end of Siwa, the first large zone), and then decided to play something else and come back to it later. Bad idea! If a game has a combat system that is based on a large number of complicated button combinations on the gamepad, which you learn by playing through the early part of the game where they are explained, you can't really make a long pause without unlearning all that. And then there is no way to get back into the game without starting over, as there is no way to play through the controls tutorial again otherwise.

I think my next game will be Phoenix Point. I only played that for a few hours before getting distracted, so its not a problem to restart and relearn.

It has been on the cards for some time but Xbox game pass was the tipping point for me. We are now most definitely in a post scarcity environment when it comes to gaming. I am struggling to come to terms with it and I find it increasingly difficult to decide what game to play next and how long to play a given game for.

One approach that has been useful for me is "gaming projects" where I immerse myself in a particular game or game family for a few weeks. I did a complete play through of the Halo games last year (I bought a second hand Xbox 360 for the purpose). Since Christmas I have done the same with Gears of war (playing older games on my Xbox and newer ones on PC game pass). I didn't love all the games in the series equally but playing them sequentially gives motivation and interesting new perspectives.

I still want to play a wide variety of other games outside of these projects though. How else am I going to discover new projects. This is an issue I haven't fully come to terms with yet. I want to get more comfortable playing games for a short period and then abandoning them. Even if the game is a classic, even if the game is highly reviewed, even if I am actually enjoying the game I just don't have time to fully play every great game out there. Therefore I want to sample a wide variety of great games and then select one or two to invest more serious time in.
I keep thinking :time for Phoenix point!

And then just playing a quick game of slay the spire... And then just oooone more!

Damn that stupid heart!

It's the game of the year last year for me, and I'm apparently not done yet!

Phoenix Point is not "low energy game". Typically, you start playing and then you decide to take a break in the morning.

Your WoT experience is very interesting. I may be wrong, but I've got a feeling from your WoT posts that your goal was to progress through tech trees. Then you've gone whale and more or less bought that progress, and thus destroyed your motivation to play.
@souldrinker : That opinion of yours is based solely on your prejudices towards game monetization business models, and doesn't correspond to my experience at all.
@Tobold, that is likely to be true, as I cannnot "get into your head" and have to make suggestions based on circumstantial evidence.

However, your change of heart from "I am bird and I am making my nest in WoT" (December 30th) and "I'm finished with this nolifer game" (February 2nd) was so fast that I could not resist blaming the business model.
Wow, serious misquote there. I'm saying "I think I will play this less intensively this year", and you hear "I'm finished with this nolifer game".

On the other hand, I *am* finished with the nolifer game World of Warcraft. Should we blame the business model? The subscription business model clearly forces players to play as much as possible to get their monthly subscription's worth out of the game, which then leads to burnout. Right?
Not only does subscription cause burnout by incentivising players to play more, it also does so by incentivising developers to make as few content as they can get away with.
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