Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 01, 2024
A moving target

I am currently watching a “Let’s Play” of Medieval Dynasty on Youtube. That is a long game, and the streamer only did an episode every few weeks, and thus the overall series covers many real world months. During those months the game got patched and added to frequently, and thus every few episodes there are suddenly new features or changes. Most of them good, so the game is getting better over time, with better balance, more content, and more quality of life features. And I was thinking of games that I played on release, like Civilization VI, and which over the years added so many patches and DLCs that I would barely recognize them now, if I played them again. For which I sure don’t have the time anyway.

It makes me feel a bit torn. I see some advantages of playing a game on release: It’s the new hotness, and there is the most interaction possible with people streaming the game on Twitch, or other players discussing the game on various forums. But I am also seeing the advantages of waiting some time after release. For example, after having played some Medieval Dynasty, I am considering buying Sengoku Dynasty, a similar game from the same publisher, but different developer. That game released in August of last year, but on release still didn’t have all the features it has now, for example farming crops. And obviously, between Steam sales and key resellers, I can get Sengoku Dynasty now cheaper than I would have paid on release.

As I am still a content creator in a minor way, I also see this other aspect of playing a game early versus playing it later: Interest from the audience. It is less a problem for me, as I am not trying to make money from the content I create. But I see all those streamers playing Manor Lords now, because this is what is hot now, when I would consider that Manor Lords is one of those games that might better be played much later, in a year or so. I can see how a streamer doesn’t necessarily have the luxury of waiting that long, because it isn’t clear how many people will still want to watch Manor Lotds content in a year. As a consumer of such content I have to remark that sometimes it is hard to find new videos of last year’s games that show how a game has evolved since release. With the majority of content being created on release, it is as if the image of the game is frozen in time.

Waiting to play a game later is also a kind of gamble. Some games simply don’t get much better over time. Some “live service” games might even disappear completely while you wait for them to improve. Other games do improve, but that comes at a cost. Another reason why I wouldn’t want to dive back into Civilization VI is that to get the full Civ VI 2024 experience, I would need to spend a pile of money on DLCs. And it gets pretty complicated for a game with many DLCs to find out which of them are essential, and which of them don’t really add all that much to the experience. At my age, the added problem when waiting to play a game later is that I might simply forget about the game, being caught up in a flood of other games to play.

Overall, I find it difficult to perfectly time the moment when to best play any given game. It seems to me that there isn’t a general rule that helps to find the best moment for each game.

I think the answer is right there in your post. If you’d absolutely hate it to forget about the game, play it now, faulty as it may be. It has the added advantage of appreciating the eventual improvements even more. If you’d be somewhat OK in down the line forgetting about it, don’t play now. If it’s REALLY improving down the line, there will be some buzz around it, which allows you to possibly get in at that time.
I just play games when I'm excited about them and don't worry about how they would get better or worse over time. I experience now, whenever that is. The only game that I don't follow that rule for is Star Citizen. I am a backer and I won't "play" the Alpha any more, I am waiting until there is an actual release. I don't think that the game won't change after that, that's just the demarcation point that I am comfortable for that game.

In addition, if a game changes substantially I may just play it again. Cyberpunk 2077 is one of my all time favorite games. I did three play throughs upon release, one for each life path. When they release a major patch reworking much of the game, I did another play through - I just treated it as a different experience rather than trying to compare to the previous play throughs.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool