Wot I Think: Glitch

By Andrew Smee on October 4th, 2011 at 8:32 am.

How many dreams are boring?
Glitch is certainly intriguing. Being made by a spin-off team from the developers of Flickr, and having hired Katamari-creator Keita Takahashi, it proceeded to tell us about its potential for emergent play in a quirky 2D world. It wants to be the cleverest of the “casual” MMOs. But could it live up to such ambitions? Or is that beautiful art and imaginative writing stuck in a quagmire of MMO grind? We sent in Agent Smee to find out.

There’s a storyline that takes place in The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman, the third part of the Dark Materials trilogy, where a scientist called Mary Malone finds herself lost in a strange alternate reality Earth inhabited by intelligent elephant-like creatures. They give her a friendly welcome and soon she’s happily working alongside them in their tribal community and helping maintain their homes. After seeing that simple crafting jobs like tying a knot in a length of rope take two of the creatures to perform, their delicate trunks working in unison, at first she works independently with her two hands to complete her tasks. Before long however, Mary realises that working on her own is isolating her, as the creatures socialise while they work together, and so she decides to start only using one hand and let her new friends help.


Almost every single interaction with the world you can do in Glitch benefits from having friends around, to the point where working independently creates such a drawback as to not make it practically viable. Mine a rock on your lonesome and you’ll get a chunk of ore. Help mine the same rock another player is mining and you will both receive two chunks each. Three players, and you’ll get all get three mineral ores each, and maybe a shiny gem. This over-arching community-focused mechanic has an immediate effect: players routinely jump in to help others, small groups naturally forming throughout the beautifully drawn levels. I found myself helping players struggling on their own with numerous tasks that didn’t even directly benefit me. I would just be walking through the world to see someone toiling away, and it’d seemed rude if I didn’t join them and strike up a conversation.

Glitch is set in the persistent single-instanced land of Ur, which is actually a dream shared by 11 slumbering giants. The players all share the same server, with a broad goal of helping each other to strengthen the dream by maintaining the game world and expand it into new, undreamed territory. On top of that is scope for emergent gameplay, the game designed to allow players to create their own fun. It’s a lovely concept, and has a great many lovely ideas. It’s a shame, then, that they’re hung around one of the worst games I’ve ever had the misfortune of playing.

Actually, playing is the wrong word. Staring at in blank boredom would be a more apt description of how I spent most of my time. This maintenance, for example. There’s a variety of different career paths to pursue, all of which take no more effort than selecting a skill to level up and waiting while it does. I’m currently learning one that’ll let me be a better farmer and there’s four and a half hours of waiting until I can suddenly herd livestock. I don’t need to have even touched a cow before that to learn this skill, nor any of the other myriad cooking, harvesting, mining, transportation or bureaucracy skills I’ve learned before it this past week. It’s a profound sense of separation from my character. Neither me nor the little guy I’m playing have earned our diplomas in Alchemy or Mineral Ore Refining, as all I’ve done is just turned off my computer and gone to sleep.


When it comes to actually using these skills, all that off-screen book learnin’ feels like a complex distance-learning commitment by comparison. That mining I mentioned earlier, for instance. Want to mine some ore in Glitch? Well, for that you’ll need to have a pickaxe. Tool in hand, walk along until you find a big hunk of rock. Click on the rock. Wait for a full twenty seconds while you watch your character stand motionless next to the rock, a floating pick axe icon chipping away in the air in front of him, the chipping sound out of synch, a progress bar being filled up. You cannot do any other task while this happens. You can’t even sort your inevitably heaving, twisted, nightmare of an inventory, spread hopelessly between bags and containers and pouches and spice racks. Just sit there, mindless, watching the pickaxe go up and down, up and down, up and down. Then, when you’re done, do it again. Heck, that rock’s got enough ore in it to withstand around a half-dozen 20-second operations, and your mining speed isn’t sped up by mining with other players. It’s like torture.

So, you’ve been hard at work in the mines. Looks like you’ll need to take a break, have something to eat, as performing actions decreases your Energy level, a numbers that decreases even when you’re not doing anything. Let it run out through idleness or exhaustion and you’re stuck in Hell until you mindlessly squish enough grapes to be sent back to the surface, in what has to be some kind of powerfully unfunny joke by the developers.


Food, then. As a quick starter, let’s rustle up the first food item the game gives you in the tutorial: a simple hamburger. You’ll need a bun, some ham and a frying pan and you can cook that right up (5 seconds and a progress bar). What’s that, no ham? Then you’ll have to walk around aimlessly until you stumble upon a road that has a pig wandering around. Pet it (5 seconds) and then you can nibble it (another 5 seconds, another progress bar), and you’ve got some ham. But what’s that? No bun? Then go walking around until you find a chicken. Pet it (5 seconds), then squeeze it (5 seconds), and it gives you an ear of corn. Great. Now find four more chickens and do that four more times (10 seconds of waiting each, remember). Take out your chopping board and turn the corn into flour (5 seconds, progress bar). Then go and find a spice tree, though there is actually part of the world where spice trees bloom, so that’s thankfully straightforward, as long as you’re anywhere near that neighbourhood. Pick some allspice (5 seconds), take out your spice grinder and grind it into salt (5 seconds with a chance to fail). Fry the salt and the flour in your frying pan and you’ve got a bun, which you can then turn into a hamburger, which gives you enough energy to mine two more times.

Was that worth it? Did that feel satisfying and fun to play? A rewarding gameplay experience? I certainly hope so, because get ready for hours and hours more of the same, whether you’re tending crops or scraping barnacles. At least you’ll have something to do while you wait for your skills to level up. And you’ll be thankful when they do, as higher level skills do in fact allow you to perform these tasks more quickly and reap more resources from a single action. Now it can sometimes be hard to effectively convey sarcasm through text, but I’ll just try here: Levelling up makes Glitch more fun to play.


There’s a quest early on in the game where you have to go to a bureaucratic office filled with lizards obsessed with paperwork in order to fill out identity papers. To do this, I shit you not, you have to stand in line and wait to be seen. Just stand there, don’t press any controls and wait while yet another fucking progress bar fills up before the lizards call you forth. I don’t know if the developers think this sort of bullshit is funny, or maybe it’s supposed an ironic commentary on something like the sheer inanity of their game design, but it speaks of a sadistic intent that borders on the perverse.

Alright, I’m actually getting upset. I’ll try and calm down. I mentioned good ideas earlier, and it’s true: the social aspect is fantastic. It’s rewardingly easy to make friends, as starting quests encourage new players to scramble to join social networks straight off the line. You’re encouraged to share, play and work together by the use of myriad co-operation bonuses. You can invite friends round to your house to have a party and listen to music while you work together in your garden. There’s an actual button to join in a conga line. The economy, like Eve, is player-driven, with an Auction house easily accessible with materials and crafted items always available to buy, which if you have the money, allows you to neatly sidestep the mindless tedium of grinding. That’s a nice touch. Players coming together to save each other from playing the soulless game they’re stuck in. That’s an odd sort of community, but it’s a community all the same.

There’s been talk of the emergent aspects, of players making their own fun. My favourite story is about one player leaving notes around the world, leading others on a treasure hunt. In the Global Chat, there’s regular discussion, some quite passionate, about which of the eleven dreaming giants to pray to, with some people’s devotion bordering on the religious. That’s going to be interesting as it develops – I can see factions of Sauce Chefs as rivals against Cattle Herders. While I was playing, someone seemed to be actively littering, dropping useless paper cups on the forest floor, and players immediately formed an impromptu cleaning service. Building the world is another mechanic that seems marvellous in its conception: hundreds of players all having a massive street party, their activity fuelling the unshaped world around them to come forth and take form. That’s something I’d love to see, though unfortunately the Projects, as they’re known, won’t come online for a few weeks yet.

It’s beautiful, too. The art design is gorgeous, with numerous bright and colourful environments available to explore. Unfortunately exploring comes with a frustrating drawback: the movement controls are sticky, jumping is floaty, edge detection is abysmal and there’s no escaping the fact that the constant linear 2D movement is simply boring. As wonderful as the game looks, it really just amounts to holding left or right for minutes at a time while the pretty backgrounds scroll past, doing nothing to liven the platforming. There’s a handful of optional competitive platforming minigames, but you’d best be off steering clear of them entirely, the controls being the frustrating end of you more than the unfair level design and scatty hit detection for games of Tag on show.

Whether it’s pledging high-end crafted items to your favoured giant at its shrine or the feeling of hours and hours of your life draining away all the while, there’s plenty of sacrifice required in Glitch. If you really want to get the most out of it, and if you bubble with creative energy, there’s a lot of fun to be had with making up games and playing with all the impressively friendly people inhabiting the world. Even this early on in the MMO cycle, it’s clear that the strong community mechanics will foster fond relationships.

There are great ideas on how to make a rewarding MMO in here, ideas that should be learned, and I want to get excited and talk about this new piece of hilarious writing that I’ve read in a quest briefing and see if we can effectively kidnap someone and leave a ransom note or set up a cake shop in front of my house and do all sorts of things with the friends I’ve made. But then I remember the never-ending grind, the repulsive attitude the game seemed to treat me with, of staring at never-ending progress bar pop-ups, of never having any space in the inventory that’s filled with two dozen tools that don’t stack and all of which I constantly need to carry in order to harvest and craft effectively and I don’t think I’ll be going back. If I want to spend time playing with my friends, we can go to the park instead. The weather’s been lovely this week. We’ll bring a barbeque, enjoy each other’s company and make burgers while not worrying about Hell.

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65 Comments »

  1. jellydonut says:

    | If I want to spend time playing with my friends, we can go to the park instead. The weather’s been lovely this week. We’ll bring a barbeque, enjoy each other’s company and make burgers while not worrying about Hell.
    That’s very nice, but some of us don’t have friends outside of the internet! That’s why they make games like this. :D

  2. thepaleking says:

    You’ve convinced me not to play this game that I was never going to play.

    But seriously, your experience mimics the experience I’ve had with just about every MMO I have tried.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      Specifically the 2D ones. It’s like they all rip off the exact same crappy engine full of floating mechanics and poor hit detection to build their game off of.

    • Avelworld says:

      It seems the original poster did not spend a great deal of time in the game. I started playing the game in the early part of June of this year as a beta tester. I’ve played MMOs before and have my favorites (Half-life is not on that list – talk about a crappy registration question). I’ve been doing both computer an P&P games for over 30 years – even being invited by publishers to demo their games at major conventions (and willing to pay for the hotel room! – Sweet!). I did not find this game inane or boring. I believe the writer is too used to battle type games which Glitch certainly is not.

      Co-operation is certainly a benefit for certain activities, but generally it has no other game effect. Only mining and certain harvesting activities (and some of those only during quests) have any benefit from such, and even that is capped. The writer’s focus on this element is exaggerated and overdrawn.

      The skill learning system was developed from two years of steady alpha and beta testing by literally thousands of players. There were sometimes weeks between tests. Even though a player requires no experience to learn the skill initially, they gain improved ability after usage. Experience still matters. Again, the writer shows little comprehension of the game mechanic. In fact some abilities come from straight experience and not the regular skill learning system; that system still allows refinement of the learned item though.

      The game takes at least two weeks of regular play to fully understand. Based on his article I suspect the original writer barely spent more than a few days at it.

  3. Scoops says:

    this looked like an epic piece of sidescrolling crap from the beginning, and this just confirms “Wots inside my thoughts.” I want to find whoever wrote that terrible song and shove my fist down their throat after punching rancid dog turds.

  4. MrEvilGuy says:

    Perhaps you should check out the fine print in the Terms of Service… this game sounds like it could be a sick social media experiment – you’ll probably find yourself published in some academic journal across the seas. Mwuahahahahaha.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    $17M of venture funding has gone into this. What a fucking waste.

  6. Prime says:

    On Anybeat I’ve met a few Americans, self-described Gamers, desperate to get into the closed beta based on what their friends are telling them. Seems to be a real buzz being passed around. And as you say in your WIT people are managing to have fun with it making me wonder if it’s one of those things that true Gamers will never understand, but that the more casual crowd will absolutely lap up?

    • Wulf says:

      TRU Gamer™, you say? Have we been incorporated, now?

      This summer, a game for TRU Gamers™ to cut their teeth, Casualites beware, this one is not for you and your kin. This one is for the hallowed chosen ones. It is a game of greys, and browns, and concepts which lack even the slightest amounts of imagination. It looks like it’s from the ’90s but that’s just because your virgin Casualite eyes cannot perceive it like TRU Gamers™ can! This experience, coming only to TRU Gamers™ this Autumn! An experience so hipster, so elite… that it BUUURRNNNNNS!!

      :P

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      I’m a TRU Gamer™ (I play Heroes of Newerth and lurk the RPG Codex, which attests to this notion) and yet I find Glitch to be… kind of FUN, actually. Interacting with the world is quite amusing, sometimes trees and animals will want to tell you stories about the Gods and how the world came to be which is quite interesting. The entire Bureaucratic Office spiel was HILARIOUS to me, as well, in fact just reading how angry Smee got makes me laugh even more. The art is also pretty interesting, not to mention the more secretive and instanced locations you teleport to on occasion (or that goddamn never-ending, hell-bound desert with rare loot).
      I think most of the fun comes from this sense of achievement, though, like when you manage to blend a super crazy drink that gives you neat bonuses or when you buy your own house with a yard for example.

    • Prime says:

      A bit OTT, Wulf. I’m not crying out for games that lack imagination or colour, just dismissive of ‘games’ that offer absurd experiences like queueing and boring level grinding. And yes, there’s a difference between people who play games and Gamers, for whom the history, legacy and culture of our passion is equally as important as the games themselves. You know, the type of people who comment on sites like RPS. I was just wondering if Glitch had been designed with the little-g gamers in mind rather than people who, through long experience, will naturally balk at the dreary, imprecise mechanics of the game.

    • rayne117 says:

      “A bit OTT, Wulf.”

      No! It couldn’t be!

  7. Premium User Badge

    Oozo says:

    Sounds like the offspring of “All That Is Wrong With MMO Design” and “All That Is Wrong With so-called Social Games These Days”.

    (I mean, I do not doubt that the power of creativity can open up ways to have fun in a system that tries its best not to allow it… I just wonder if the fact that people try to find fun inside such an oppressive mechanic, of all places, is testimony to the power of nice character design, or if it’s some sort of additional challenge, comparable to, say, skaters, transforming a mostly non-fun environment into a playground against the odds.)

  8. GallonOfAlan says:

    Aw look it has kawaii mountains with faces just like Nintendo!

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    LMichet says:

    I do think you’re making it out to be a lot, lot worse than it is, but it’s true– not a game for people used to action platformers, not a game for people who are bored or confused by minecraft, and not a game for people who don’t like talking to other people over the internets.

    Also, the beginning– by which I mean the first day or so you’ll play, if you keep ahead of your skills-learning– is very grindy. The more you level up, the more crap you get every time you harvest a thing, so the less grinding you have to do.

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    skalpadda says:

    So, anyone read the piece about social gaming that was linked in last week’s The Sunday Papers?.

    • Premium User Badge

      LMichet says:

      Glitch is not meaningfully a ‘social game’ in any of the ways described in the tim rogers articles.

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      skalpadda says:

      A lot of the trappings and game mechanics fit quite well as they’re described in this review.

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      Bluerps says:

      Yes, but there are no microtransactions in Glitch (at least the article does not mention any).

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      LMichet says:

      The rogers article was about leveraging social platforms to lure players into psychologically and mathematically abusive game systems.

      Glitch is just grindy.

      Having mechanics which reinforce positive socialization is different than being “a social game” as the term “social game” is commonly understood.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Tim Rogers annoys the bejeezus out of me. I don’t get why his fans mistake length and lack of structure for insight and skill.

  11. Symitri says:

    I think the real creative part of it is in seeing some of the horrors of character creation people have come up with and, scarier still, paid real money to achieve their true horrors. It’s a shame so much of the character creation relies on RMT, it was one of the few amusing things about it.

  12. adonf says:

    Where do you live that you can bring a barbecue in a public park?

    • Springy says:

      Where do you live where you can’t? I’ve done it quite a few times, just use one or two disposable barbecues, a couple of bricks (so you don’t ruin the grass underneath) and make sure you clean up.

      Never had any problems doing it, with people eating ice cream and throwing frisbees around us (in Cardiff).

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    Revisor says:

    So a timesink and doesn’t even hide it behind some fancy grinding mechanics (you need 2^8 white stones to craft 1 blue stone). That’s surprisingly honest.

    Mind you, that’s not a reason for me to play it, but to turn grinding into progress bars is charmingly naive and direct:
    “Please, don’t play this game unless you’re under 20 and you think this is the best you can do with your time.”

  14. Obc says:

    ITS THE MOST AWESOME GAME EVER!!!!!!!

    now seriously, its great: its weird, funny, crazy, adorable, happy, no man-shooting, no stats, everyone is nice to each other, its a bit katamari, its totally glitch.

    its not high maintance, its small and easy. its abit like minecraft meets harvestmoon

    i like the 2D, i can’t believe andrew found it boring, it was refreshing. it allowed for more crazy shebang around one in the world that won’t be able in a 3D environment.

    and i think its not a game with a lot of grind. i don’t think andrew that you ever grinded in other mmo if this seems already too much for you. only if one has a mindset to rush forward one will feel it as grind. but there is no hurry, there is no real endgame, there is no boss in a dungeon who has to be killed. so why bother with needlessly grinding 1000 ores in 10 minutes when one can simply stroll along the world and do everything on its own pace. there is no subscription fee that has to be validated by fulfilling some goal in order for the game to be a good purchase.

    the game is designed that you can play it for 15 minutes a day and still feel accomplished.

    and the thing about progress bars: they don’t bother me. its relaxing.

    (and i also don’t have any problems with my inventory)

    • Scoops says:

      you’re lying to yourself and others…

    • Obc says:

      no i really like it so do many other people i have talked with ingame.

      the best part about the game is that people become happy beings. there is noone shouting at me n00b, everyone is helpful to each other, its the exact contrast to most of the communites i have dealt with in other games. this is no LOL where each step you take you fear you are doing it wrong and everyone will shout. people are nice and the games bring out the best in them.

      how could they not in a game where you can pet plants and squeeze chickens and massage butterflies.

      its very casual, so if someone thinks he has to progress as in other mmo’s he will be dissapointed. its very much like harvestmoon. most of the complains in the article could also be said for harvest moon and that was a brilliant game.

    • BarkingDog says:

      After the first day or two- or even after learning the first few ranks of animal kinship or whatever- alot of the progress bars start disappearing, as many actions become immediate. I don’t know why the author seems to have a problem with skills being learnt remotely- it’s exactly what eve does; it’s clearly a device to help the casual and i don’t believe that it at all creates a “sense of disjointment”

      For a free to play MMO, it’s fantastic.

    • Thants says:

      Is there anything to do other than watching progress-bars?

    • Obc says:

      @ thants: i don’t know how to reply to that coz i can’t take this question serious just the way i won’t take a question like “is there anything else to wow besides numbers?!” or “is there anything else to eve besides excel spreadsheets?” or “is there anything to fighting games besides buttonmashing?” or “is there anything in diablo besides clicking and stats?” serious.

      anyway i’ll try: the game is about exploring a wonderfully weird world with a lot of humor and sweet artdesign and crafting by various crazy means, have you ever tuned a bubble? xD.

    • jinx_player says:

      Long time listener, first time caller.

      Had to make an account to agree with Obc on this one. I’ve been playing for like 4 days now, and I really enjoy it. The writer of this article, while witty, has given the game an unfare shake in regards to the waiting bars.

      When you try to mine with no skill, yeah, the actions take a while, but when it comes to all the other tasks, the total wait is 5 seconds. Only when you are mining, can you not rifle through your shit in the inventory. When you skill up, the waiting goes down dramatically.

      You can even start new skills in an HTML page, instead of starting the game up, so if you are at work, you can change and start skills when the old ones run out.

      Either way, this was a brutal article on a game that is pretty damn fun and original, and free to boot.

    • Obc says:

      @frightlever: yeah thats something i am disappointed with too. i thought it would be much cleverer and witty or atleast a lot weirder. the game has a lot of supernatural designed locations that look very much like a dali painting or picasso or have a 60′s flair to them but i hope it still gets crazier.

    • BurningPet says:

      Aren’t you forgetting something called a disclosure maybe?

    • Josh W says:

      The comment about buttonmashing is pretty relevent: This game appears to be good stuff layed on top of crap. Better fighting games reduce the buttonmashing, and replace it with intricate but intuitive systems of second guessing and timing, worse fighting games embrace buttonmashing and stick a veneer of coolness over the top. People tolerate one to get the other.

      I said before, a game about filling buckets that slowly empty (single variables that tick down) is a game that needs better maths.

      To add to that a game about fetch quests without interesting route planning or being able to predict locations and prospect is a game that needs better architecture/world design.

      Then there’s waiting games, which at least need good (slightly randomised/varied?) animations and scenery, so that they can be “being here” games or even meditation aids (!) rather than just spacing out and looking at a bar move.

      Personally I agree with Blow that time is precious, and every peice of a players time you take should be used with respect, but you can still make slow experiences with that in mind.

      Emergent gameplay? Awesome! Ways to be creative and tinker with stuff? Awesome! Ways to help other players with no negatives to your self, and generally encourage positive feelings between people? Awesome!

      There’s a lot more they could add to this game, and I hope that they slowly tone down the crap and replace it with the valuable, just as beat-em-ups have through their own development.

    • rayne117 says:

      I’m I just being trolled or something? This is as much of a game as progressquest (http://www.progressquest.com/), but Glitch has better (17 million dollars worth) artwork.

      WoW is obviously a lot more than “watching numbers go up” and so are most games other than the trite garbage that is Farmville and Mafia Wars.

    • Thants says:

      Obc: The problem is that all of those mechanics you mention are much deeper and more interesting than waiting for a resource to mine. It’s fine for a game to focus entirely on its central mechanic, but Glitch’s seems like it barely even qualifies as a game mechanic.

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    Biscuitry says:

    Well, I enjoy it. I’m sorry you don’t; I guess I just have an odd taste in games.

    What this game does for me is tickle the part of my brain that likes exploration. I missed out on the low-level grindfest because I was too busy exploring and taking in the scenery.

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    Colthor says:

    The third paragraph genuinely made this sound like the most terrifying game ever. I think I’ll stick with Amnesia or Stalker, I can cope with them.

  17. wccrawford says:

    This is the kind of game I would have liked before my year of Facebook games. It pretty much cured me of the ability to wait for meaningless progress bars. If actions aren’t instant (whenever they can be) then I can’t be bothered to play. There are plenty of ways to keep me entertained without making me stare blankly for the majority of my play time.

  18. elnalter says:

    ultra grindy indie flash game.

  19. rustybroomhandle says:

    Dofus and Wakfu both have that whimsical flavour thing going, both are grindy as hell, but it’s a fun grind at least, especially in Wakfu’s case.

    Glitch I am not so sure about. I think it’s the lack of visual feedback that makes it seem so disconnected. A simple progress bar alone does not make it seem like you’re doing anything.

    One could argue that it’d be an impossible task to animate all the different clothing combinations, but that’s why I mention Wakfu/Dofus – they both use hand-drawn graphics, and both are superbly animated.

  20. wodin says:

    One my daughter will love.

  21. AfternoonTea says:

    I think that this review gets things right when it points out that the mechanics of this game (to start with) are horrible. Although, to be fair that is a criticism that could be levelled at almost every MMO. Where the review falters is that it takes the, rather limited, “game” elements of glitch, and assumes that they are the masacrses the whole experience of glitch based on their flaws.

    Glitch is, I suggest – much more interesting and intelligent than that. I think what glitch is trying to do is create a “casual eve-online” experience. A persistent world where players have a real impact on the game, but one that does not demand the dedication or masochism of eve. Almost anything you do in this game rewards you for doing it in some way, and after a week you will have the skills to do anything you want to do. The game is fantastically beautiful and delightful, the quests often wonderful in their language and inventiveness – one quest that popped up on me was all to do with the poem from the start of the great gatsby, for example – Playing it for a short time each day, I find I don’t mind that the mechanics are bad, I want to complete that next (inventive and different) quest, find that hidden key and see what my friends have been up too and see their outfits.

    I don’t wish to be over enthusiastic, at all. I hate “samey” games with a vengance, and I hate games that don’t offer me anything interesting, and I hate many of the silly mechanics in glitch that can easily lead you into grinding for currants over having fun – but, I still feel that this is a game that is trying to do something different and that is succeeding as often as it fails. I agree with many of the criticisms of the review, and if you tried to play glitch for several hours a day grinding mining or food making it would be very very dull. But it is possible to play the same game, reach similar fundamental conclusions about the flaws in the mechanics and nonetheless be enchanted by the premis and inventiveness of the game world. I’ll give you a comparison, this weekend, I had nothing to do – I ended up playing several hours of FIFA and Halo – its hard to think of two games more mainstream or more based on “gameplay” and dopamine responses to finger movements that these two blockbuster games. But I had as more fun playing glitch for 30 minutes as these games, because I felt delight and surprise when playing it, something not present in playing fifa or halo.

    If Andrew had played the game as a quick casual game. He might have come away with the conclusion that this was a promising (flawed) game that has an inventive, intelligent, humerous streak missing from other casual games. Seen this way, I am much more favourable to the good parts of the game and alot more forgiving of the bad. I also think that many of the problems identified have the potential to be fixed – by removing progress bars and increasing yields (grain in particular is a stupid and annoying early bottleneck), as well as improving the platforming elements and performance (both of which, agreed, are horrible).

  22. feighnt says:

    the game has some neat ideas, but, yes, i’m finding it quite similar to Andrew, except for the social aspect.

    i’ve read a few write-ups, which talk about the rich social aspects of the game. i went in thinking i might see some neat stuff… i havent. here’s, realistically, what you ought to expect out of this game, socially: get in the game, watch as everyone goes about their business isolated from one another, grinding grinding grinding with barely a word.

    to make the game a little more entertaining to me, i’ve decided to force being awkwardly social in cutesy ways – particularly, i make sure to carry a quill and plenty of paper around, and whenever a thought enters my head (particularly one that i can word semi-amusingly), i write it down and leave it for someone to read. i also leave notes in the pockets of idling “glitchen”, as the players are called – for instance, i made a “friend” (who hasnt actually passed a word back to me) by giving her a hug, and then leaving a message saying “i hugged you while you were idle. sorry about that.” another one i got last night (who, similarly, hasnt sent a word back to me, and who has a friendlist a mile long) i saw idling, and was wearing what looked like a panda skin outfit. i left her a note telling her she must be a fierce hunter to have bested the panda, and that she has my respect.

    one of the few cases of someone trying to initiate something was a guy who asked for help mining something – he then explained a little about the game to me helpfully, and was kind enough to give me his grinder when he found i didnt have one ^^;

    but, otherwise… well, dont expect much, socially, unless you push things a bit. and even there, cant guarantee you that you’ll get anything.

    • Obc says:

      i think thats the case with about every mmo. you have to either join a group that does certain stuff or create one. and you need to have friends who are willing to do stuff with you. the thing is the game is fairly new and there are not so many groups and a lot of players are still trying to find out how it works. its not like many of the megacorps of EVE were created in the first week ;)

      but yes, a lot of people play it as a singleplayer, which is fine, coz after all this is a casual game that the people play in their own casual way. BUT i have made some friends, even from my country, and we talk a lot and send us things. right now we are still trying to find out what can be done and then we will proceed to hang out and work together.

      and you know what: you are being cutsey because the game allows you to do that. it makes you do nice things, instead of rampaging, stealing, betraying, griefing in a certain other mmo ^^

      the game allows one to play alone, it doesn’t force one to play with each other like lets say WoW where if you want to get loot or achievments you have play with other and if it fails everyone is a n00b and fail and a baddy. in glitch it is only encouraged not forced by game design. i like it that way. i can play it on my own or i can walk over to a friend and see what he is doing and if he wants to come along to some unseen place (i haven’t visited winter palace yet) or die together (dieing is fun xD)

      what i am trying to say is: the game has flaws but the social aspect, even though a bit lacking right now, has a lot of potential to make this something special.

    • Avelworld says:

      I suspect I know who you might have left a note for. You didn’t say her name, but if it is who I think it is, it’s one of the developers. :) If you want a response from someone use the instant messaging system. Unless they have blocked you (rare unless you have been particularly annoying), they will respond eventually, or so my experience has been.

    • beema says:

      I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. It’s about the least social game I’ve ever played. Every player I come across is either a.) afk “sleeping” or b) whizzing by off on their own quest, generally not sticking around long enough to even see anything you type (and with the swiftness with which the merged chat/notifications sidebar scrolls by, that’s not going to be seen either). I’ve briefly interacted or been helped by someone on rare occasion when they move slow enough to see my chat message, but it’s never been anything remotely endearing. Usually if I get a response it’s a blank stare or one misspelled word.

  23. DarkMinister says:

    I don’t want to make the poster sound like he didn’t look into the game much, but all the steps described to make a sammich can easily be broken down to : pet pig (5 seconds), nibble pig (5 seconds), buy a bun at a grocery vendor (9 currant (incredibly low ammount of IG money)), make sammich.

    Of course if you are going to make everything yourself it might take a lot longer. I found buying meat on the AH and making said sammich usually cost me less than I could vendor said item for. So I could make myself food to keep my energy up AND make a profit.

    Just seems to me like someone didn’t really look into all the options available to them before posting how “complicated” it is to make food in the game.

    Food, then. As a quick starter, let’s rustle up the first food item the game gives you in the tutorial: a simple hamburger. You’ll need a bun, some ham and a frying pan and you can cook that right up (5 seconds and a progress bar). What’s that, no ham? Then you’ll have to walk around aimlessly until you stumble upon a road that has a pig wandering around. Pet it (5 seconds) and then you can nibble it (another 5 seconds, another progress bar), and you’ve got some ham. But what’s that? No bun? Then go walking around until you find a chicken. Pet it (5 seconds), then squeeze it (5 seconds), and it gives you an ear of corn. Great. Now find four more chickens and do that four more times (10 seconds of waiting each, remember). Take out your chopping board and turn the corn into flour (5 seconds, progress bar). Then go and find a spice tree, though there is actually part of the world where spice trees bloom, so that’s thankfully straightforward, as long as you’re anywhere near that neighbourhood. Pick some allspice (5 seconds), take out your spice grinder and grind it into salt (5 seconds with a chance to fail). Fry the salt and the flour in your frying pan and you’ve got a bun, which you can then turn into a hamburger, which gives you enough energy to mine two more times.

  24. Berzee says:

    Friendships in MMOs, much like the majority of friendships in real life, benefit from having some inherently worthwhile activity to work on together. So for instance in Asheron’s Call, you could be sprinting through tunnels like a madman trying to clear a dungeon before it respawns; and suddenly there is another guy there doing the same thing. You might not even speak a lot (because you’re both busily smashing giant bugs) but it was nice to see him there because there was a shared sense of, “Yes…we are both hunters, great hunters of bugs.” And if he died, you felt compelled to send him a message that says, “Oh nooooo” and maybe decide to hunt primarily around his corpse to clear the way for retrieval.

    This is the problem I have with designs that seem to focus primarily on the social aspects…I think it makes for weaker social aspects. Maybe the society will be more prevalent and easy to find, but also more likely to be shallow (chatting for utterly No Reason) or full of drama or even worse, too connected to real life. In Asheron’s Call, my characters all had different friends =P with only a few important people being added to all the friends lists.

    The reason I mentioned all this is because, from the trailer video I saw (even before I read this article) it looked to me like the basic actions in the world would not be enough to create friendship for me. Some people I know are able to have friendships that are about having friends in a sort of eternal cycle…but I do much better when it’s a group of people standing side-by-side facing some interesting sight in front of them, as opposed to a bunch of people standing face-to-face trying to generate fun by being consciously interesting people.

    WILD SPECULATIONS of course because I haven’t played it. =)

  25. noexes says:

    I do recommend this game to other people, but I also have to mention that yes, it is really boring. But it’s the good kind of boring, where after playing it you are bored, but happy. It helps that the game isn’t manipulating you into liking it. Its business model is entirely based on subscriptions and small payments for adjusting your avatar, there isn’t the haha you’re addicted PAY ME NOW kinda stuff that happens in a lot of these kind of games.

    It’s not immersive, it’s not exciting, but it is a nice thing to do while listening to a podcast or waiting to leave for class. And this nice thing to do can also sometimes lead to some interesting social thing, let you see something cool looking, or find something interestingly written. I think this game is going to be successful with a certain crowd, and that makes me happy.

    Also, you do have to be patient with it. Is it really that hard to find something to do for five seconds while you mine something?

  26. Bart Stewart says:

    As AfternoonTea implied, there are some pretty strong nods to EVE Online here:

    1. Off-line skill learning. (Fiendishly clever — you’re paying *to be offline*.)
    2. Mining while you wait… and wait….
    3. Marketplace-based economic gameplay.
    4. Strong emphasis on emergent group play as the “real” game.

    Andrew (or others), serious question: if you’ve played EVE, did you dislike it as well? Or is it just the 5-second delay for lots of meaningless-but-required in-game actions that rubbed you the wrong way?

  27. Djabriil says:

    This is a game where you get what you put into it. If you go into it without preconceived expectations, then you’ll get more out of it. But if you go into it looking to kick holes in the buzz or to get upset when there aren’t any dragons to kill and nobody’s spoon-feeding you anything, you’re gonna be let down, obviously. And it’s not for everyone, which should be clear- I have sooo much fun on Glitch, while my girlfriend has lost interest somewhat.

    Wouldn’t it have behooved you to, I dunno, get out of the starting levels before writing an entire article about how horrible the game is? Did you buy a house? Did you participate in a street project yourself (there was one a few days ago, so the “when they come back” part is an excuse)? Did you race anyone or play Game of Crowns? Meet the Rube? Help repel a Rook Attack? Go to the Ancestral Lands? Finish the Tower? Probably not. But you know all about it and it’s just awful.

    This review reads like a person getting pissy about Catcher in the Rye because there were no aliens in it.

  28. Jawn says:

    Street Projects are live, they’re just difficult to find. I had to do some research in a fan wiki to figure it out. Basically, you have to join a player-made chat group in game and ask there, or flip through all the map screens until you find a street name in a slightly different shade of gray.

    I was in the beta and I discovered a few things to make the game more enjoyable. First, learn your first ten skills or so before you even begin playing. This will not only cut down on a lot of the progress bars, but you start out with a ton of quests as well. (You generally get a new quest every time you learn a new skill.) Secondly, on many streets, you can auto run to the next signpost by clicking on it in the mini map. Of course, this excludes any areas that require jumping to reach the signpost, of which there are many. Thirdly, invest in storage ASAP. This time around I bought two large toolboxes, a spice rack, elemental pouch and a couple of the biggest bags as soon as possible and it made life a lot easier. You can temporarily store items by placing them up for auction at a ridiculous price as well.

    All that said, I mostly agree with the review. I have about 40 skills and I’m around level 17. I’ve sunk a lot of hours into the game, mostly exploring (both environments and systems). The grind gets easier via skill improvements, but it’s always there. Street Projects, the ‘end game’, are basically utra-grinds.

    If you played WoW during the opening of Ahn’Qiraj, they’re kind of reminiscent of that event although on a smaller scale. You have to gather a ton of materials–both for donations and to make food so you don’t run out of energy. Then you basically stand next to a vendor and click a button to donate items or energy. The items are in sets (e.g., spices or compounds), but appear to be random for each project. Typically, we’re talking about 1.5-3k each of six different items (all of which require multiple items to craft). Then each project requires 8-10k units of work which are donated by clicking a button and watching progress bars if you have the appropriate skill and tool. In my experience, each unit of work costs 3 energy, but that might be modified by level or skills. At my level, I have a max energy of ~400, so you can do the math on that. Of course, all that is just the first phase of the project, so you can double all those amounts.

    Once you open up a new street, you can travel to it, but the majority of them offer the same things as every other street. As far as I can tell, there are very few ways to influence the landscape of each street, and those are limited to the flora and fauna. You can plant/destroy trees and add pigs, chickens and butterflies. I think some trees can only be planted in certain streets and then only in certain locations in those streets. The whole thing has pretty much been determined by the developers already.

  29. joe2 says:

    i thought it was really interesting and fun for the first 2 or 3 hours. At that point I was level 5 and felt I had done everything possible in the game – i’d wandered all over the world, interacted with the ~5 interactable things, and completed a few fetch quests. So I logged out and haven’t been back.

    Glitch desperately needs enemies or challenges. If there was just something to do or a goal, it could be a terrific game. Right now it’s basically an interactive screensaver.

    • Djabriil says:

      @joe2- erm, there are a hell of a lot more than 5 interactable things, and there are enemies. You can’t slash their throats and wear their testicles around your neck, and they won’t pillage-ur-village, but they’re there… and they require much higher skills than you can have at level 5. I’d agree that there needs to be more conflict in some sense, but that’s apparently on its way once there are players of high enough skill to deal with it.

  30. DaFishes says:

    Please do your research; street projects are already online. I’ve participated in two already, and that’s as a relatively new player.

    I agree with this review on one thing: Glitch is grindy. But whatever, the grindy bits get done while I’m doing other stuff on the internet.

    I play entirely solo and I don’t feel penalized for it. I’ve never once had problems with the movement controls. The community is active and clever. The game is miles away from “soulless.”

  31. artilect says:

    Glitch is a weird quirky game that has a social gift economy at his heart. It is very common to be passing someone and suddenly have additional items slipped into your bag where more advanced glitchen have shared the love by giving you a music block, energy drink or food item. It is a game of hidden treasures with notes leading players on player created quests. There are impromptu works of art and collaborative achievement and collector parties. Glitch is a community and it is hard to truly review it until you have a chance to become part of the community. It is also oddly addictive. The server goes down for 15 minutes and people are mashing F5 to be the first ones back in. There is a microtransaction store where you can buy clothing items to change the appearance of your character or teleport tokens to move around the world faster. There are also lots of grease monkey scripts and third party api websites to let you auto buy auctions, auto post auctions, find things in game so you can focus on playing. I find it very relaxing and good spirited and a welcome break from shooting zombies.

  32. Sky775 says:

    Agreed Glitch is grindy but so is every other MMO. Last time I checked, resource gathering takes time in many MMOS, during which you cannot do anything else with your character. You seem to have entirely missed the humor in Glitch. The item descriptions are often funny, there are actions to do with items in the game that result in funny messages, and I am a little surprised to read that you you weren’t amused by the bizarreness of squashing grapes in purgatory.