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  1. #1

    Do you sometimes want a game to stop trying to motivate you and just let you play?

    This isn't really a complaint against or for anything. I'm just curious how many feel the same way sometimes.

    I'm finding that more and more often I sometimes want a game to just let me play.

    While it's nice for a game to have a story to uncover, stuff to collect, or numbers to increase, occasionally I just want all of that to go away and "leave me alone with the gameplay" for a while.



    I remember that I spent most of my time with both X3: Terran Conflict and Evochron Mercenary not really making progress after a certain point. I built up to what most would consider "mid-game" and sort of stopped "progressing". After that I spent much more time just doing things, going places for the sake of it, and in the case of X3 building complexes that profit-wise were just dumb.
    I'm currently playing the beta for Elite: Dangerous and I may have gotten to a similar point. I've gotten my Viper and I've stopped accumulating much more money, just making enough to do a little better than break even. For now I'm just going around doing whatever.

    I still re-play the original Deus Ex sometimes, but all my recent runs involve me skipping to a certain area either by saves or cheats and cheating myself a certain loadout so I can play. I don't care about the progression or story anymore, I just want to play just because.

    I've ended up doing a lot of runs of Eldritch partly because it has almost no persistent progression system. You just fight or sneak your way to the end, that's it. The game seems to make the assumption that I genuinely want to play it and doesn't try to go too far out of its way to motivate you.
    Sir You Are Being Hunted also seems gets a bonus points from me in this way. The game feels like it "assumes you want to play it".



    I guess part of it might be that that nowadays games try so hard to motivate you to play that it has backfired for me.

    Sometimes it feels like a game keeps pestering me to keep playing and I want to yell at it to "Please shut the **** up and let me play!".

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    I've found the opposite to be the case. As I've had less time towards gaming in life I can't be buggered with open worlds and sand boxes, I want there to be a story driving things along or I get bored and go play something else.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Could you give some 'negative' examples? Like, games that boss you about. I think any game with a grind progression system is guilty, but I'm probably imposing my own bias.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Could you give some 'negative' examples? Like, games that boss you about. I think any game with a grind progression system is guilty, but I'm probably imposing my own bias.
    I don't know if there's a game that is an overall "negative" example, but I tend to find certain annoying features in games I already like.


    I'm currently playing the the Elite: Dangerous beta, and I feel like I'm having more fun with the game now that I have a "comfortable" amount of cash in the bank and taking a break from the income ladder.

    I love the original Deus Ex but at the same time I find it's character progression system annoying. I don't feel like the game needs it. 9 times out of 10 on recent revisits I just cheat myself a set of stats and a item/weapon loadout at the beginning of the game and ignore XP and new weapons from then on.

    To use an example of a game I haven't mentioned yet, I'm re-playing Dark Souls again and while I greatly enjoy the game I still find the leveling annoying. Part of me doesn't feel like the game needs it, the areas are fun enough to play through and the combat is fun and challenging enough as is. I get more out of the game once I reach the "build" I want and can ignore the thing.

    I also play Din's Curse and paradoxically for a ARPG I think I'd like it a little bit more if it had a mode where it just dropped me in at level 50, let me assign my stats, and stayed at level 50 so I could ignore the progression system and just keep saving towns. I find the situations that occur and dealing with them more fun than getting the XP, and if anything the XP system just means I to stop briefly every now and then to assign more points.

    As a recent example, I'm enjoying Divinity: Original Sin, but at the same time I find myself wishing there was a starting mode that just started me in the campaign fixed at a certain level, let me assign the stats, then balance all the enemies in the game around that level so I could ignore the leveling system and play the rest of the game. I feel like the combat is tactical and interesting enough to hold itself up without that system.


    Having a progression system won't ruin a game for me, but I find that these days when I encounter them I often think "Ok, how soon can I push this out of the way or otherwise make it irrelevant so I can and keep playing".
    Last edited by Professor Paul1290; 04-08-2014 at 04:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    You' ll probably hate how weapons deteriorate in ss2. Going melee will turn you into a stealth terminator though (same with deus ex)
    post in progress

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Wenz View Post
    You' ll probably hate how weapons deteriorate in ss2. Going melee will turn you into a stealth terminator though (same with deus ex)
    I'm more or less fine with weapon deterioration in SS2. Resource scarcity is something I like to preserve in that game even if I'm doing a re-run with cheats.

    My "re-visit procedure" for SS2 is similar to Deus Ex but a bit different because of that.
    1. Cheat myself the abilities and loadout I want, but with only enough ammunitions/resources for 1 use each.
    2. Crank up the difficulty to compensate.
    3. Play game and ignore most upgrades, new abilities, and weapons.


    On another note, rogue-likes or games that are laid out in a rogue-like sort of way are an exception to my desire to "nullify the progression system", mostly because of their combination of randomization and their repeat re-play friendly nature adds enough to the feature that I feel the positives outweigh the negatives there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I've found the opposite to be the case. As I've had less time towards gaming in life I can't be buggered with open worlds and sand boxes, I want there to be a story driving things along or I get bored and go play something else.
    As bizarre as this might seem, I tend towards with the opposite solution to said problem.

    I'm normally not too hard pressed or in a hurry for gaming time (I have a full time job and other hobbies but I fine with spreading things out over long periods), I tend to shy away from story or progression in situations where I am pressed for time.

    To me levelling up eats time and stories require re-checking my notes (mental or physical) before continuing. On the other hand I can run through a level in Eldritch, make a delivery in Euro Truck Simulator 2, or take a few bounties in Elite: Dangerous or Evochron Mercenary, then go do something else pretty easily.

    Of course, I guess that has more to do with the commitment needed rather than whether a game sandbox or not. Not all stories are short and light and not all open ended games need a lot of commitment.
    Last edited by Professor Paul1290; 04-08-2014 at 05:23 PM.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    Sometimes I get the plslemmedothis feeling when I hold something in deus ex. JC has two hands but he can't hold a crowbar in one and an extinguisher in the other (or dual existinguishers, pick axes, sticks...think of the possibilities). The game still allows random randomness and weird exploits to happen but that's just because it's deus ex while bioshocks, human revolution, dishonoured are still 0% hands.

    To this day a 99% extinguisher inventory is still not enough against navarre and I need to go melee on her. u_u
    Last edited by Wenz; 04-08-2014 at 05:41 PM.
    post in progress

  8. #8
    Network Hub Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Could you give some 'negative' examples? Like, games that boss you about. I think any game with a grind progression system is guilty, but I'm probably imposing my own bias.
    I've felt this way with certain single player campaigns in an RTS. Build 4 farms, 2 barracks, and a 10 footmen. There are sometimes arbitrary goals to hit on a map that seem only get in the way of me enjoying the game itself. I remember that in Warcraft 2 / 3, some Starcraft missions, Dawn of War, etc.

  9. #9
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    I always wished there was some way that I could play Dark Souls and just fight Artorias over and over again.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    I always wished there was some way that I could play Dark Souls and just fight Artorias over and over again.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  11. #11
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    Not really, but then I'm heavily into story and authored/tailored play. I do like some relatively open-ended games (Stalker? The Forest?), but I almost always find it helpful to have the game suggest me a goal. And I often feel open-ended play can go horribly, horribly wrong: I didn't care about the plot of Baldur's Gate 2, say. I felt completely lost, I was fed up of banging my head against a wall trying to work out what I could or couldn't handle so I just gave up on it. If I'd been nudged towards a particular path more I might have stuck with it.

  12. #12
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    I can identify with this, OP. Recently tried - and failed - to play the new Wolfenstein: Corridor Shooter 16. Too many cut scenes, forced stealth sections. Just too much being forced to either watch something or play a certain way. And this coming off the heels of 140 mostly blissful hours of playing Dark Souls 2 how I wanted to play it.

    So I switched to Starpoint Gemini 2 and the relief was immeasurable. Now I arm my upgrades, weapons and even ships to suit my play style. I go where I want, when I want. Explore, trade, pirate...its like EVE, without the fuss of either a sub fee or other players. Its really pretty glorious being - allowed - to play a game how I want to play it.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Image
    'grossly incandescent' is now my new favourite phrase.


    @OP Yup, I often take the same attitude to games as you describe. Prefer to be dumped directly into the driver's seat with only the barest minimum of foreplay. I don't need games to try to seduce or cuddle me - the fact that game is on my hard drive means I that have already been seduced from before and it is now business time.

    I like games to have either a printed manual or a sort of 'pedia' that your can refer to for backstory or rulesets at your leisure. Like Civ had its Civilopedia and X-Com its Ufopedia and so forth. Or like how Deus Ex and System Shock allowed you to browse found audio logs or notes to piece together the backstory if and when you felt like it.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Professor Paul1290 View Post
    This isn't really a complaint against or for anything. I'm just curious how many feel the same way sometimes.

    I'm finding that more and more often I sometimes want a game to just let me play.

    While it's nice for a game to have a story to uncover, stuff to collect, or numbers to increase, occasionally I just want all of that to go away and "leave me alone with the gameplay" for a while.



    I remember that I spent most of my time with both X3: Terran Conflict and Evochron Mercenary not really making progress after a certain point. I built up to what most would consider "mid-game" and sort of stopped "progressing". After that I spent much more time just doing things, going places for the sake of it, and in the case of X3 building complexes that profit-wise were just dumb.
    I'm currently playing the beta for Elite: Dangerous and I may have gotten to a similar point. I've gotten my Viper and I've stopped accumulating much more money, just making enough to do a little better than break even. For now I'm just going around doing whatever.

    I still re-play the original Deus Ex sometimes, but all my recent runs involve me skipping to a certain area either by saves or cheats and cheating myself a certain loadout so I can play. I don't care about the progression or story anymore, I just want to play just because.

    I've ended up doing a lot of runs of Eldritch partly because it has almost no persistent progression system. You just fight or sneak your way to the end, that's it. The game seems to make the assumption that I genuinely want to play it and doesn't try to go too far out of its way to motivate you.
    Sir You Are Being Hunted also seems gets a bonus points from me in this way. The game feels like it "assumes you want to play it".



    I guess part of it might be that that nowadays games try so hard to motivate you to play that it has backfired for me.

    Sometimes it feels like a game keeps pestering me to keep playing and I want to yell at it to "Please shut the **** up and let me play!".
    Although it does have collectibles and such, I feel like Dishonored is a good example of a game that just lets you play, and gives you quite the playground. It has become my go to "sit and play for a bit" game. It loads up faster than anything. Seriously- you can launch the game and load your save and be playing Dishonored probably faster than Peggle.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    And I often feel open-ended play can go horribly, horribly wrong: I didn't care about the plot of Baldur's Gate 2, say. I felt completely lost, I was fed up of banging my head against a wall trying to work out what I could or couldn't handle so I just gave up on it. If I'd been nudged towards a particular path more I might have stuck with it.
    In fairness to the OP, that's a consequence of the progression system rather than the openness. In a Professor Paul BG2, you'd presumably have much less progression so the concept of no-go regions wouldn't really exist. The Professor Paul thesis is anti-gating, as I see it, and that can come from scripting or from need for levelling.

    Of course I disagree that there is much gating in BG2: there aren't many major quests in the open part of the game that an early party (that is, one who's done the initial dungeon and their stronghold quest if appropriate [I think all the initial stronghold quests are achievable for a starting party but I might have forgotten a detail edit: apparently the Paladin stronghold starts with the Windspear Hills quest which is difficult]) can't complete. But that's another story. [edit 2: can -> can't]
    Last edited by NathanH; 05-08-2014 at 02:37 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    BG2 is fine for me with slow progress. But the story clips along nicely so you can play for an hour or two and feel you achieved something or progressed (went up a level and got some juicy new spell or magic item).

    Where as Skyrim I often feel like I spent an hour collecting random pieces of shit for some guy with bad dialogue. So that style of open world gets on my nerves as there's no sense of accomplishment.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Where as Skyrim I often feel like I spent an hour collecting random pieces of shit for some guy with bad dialogue. So that style of open world gets on my nerves as there's no sense of accomplishment.
    For me too Skyrim often seems to descend into following a big marker for reasons you can't really remember and probably wouldn't care about if you did.

    This isn't necessarily a problem but I also don't really get a lot of joy out of minute-to-minute play, unless I'm outside and have a bow.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    I was quite sure that I had been bemoaning the same kind of thing as the OP, but I couldn't remember about which game. But now I remember, it wasn't a game at all. =P I was recently complaining about how I can't seem to read many of the modern Christian books that people recommend to me, because in most of them it seems like half of every page is pull quotes and Relatable Anecdotes and other literary devices silently pleading, "Please don't stop reading. I know information is hard, but see how compelling and accessible I am? At least finish one chapter..." I'm sure I've encountered the same approach in games, but I don't remember any off the top of my head (probably because I quickly abandoned them after realizing what was happening =).

    I tend to prefer the kind of entertainment that starts off with the assumption that I'm here because I want to be. ^_^ (At times I think I've been guilty of making the other kind of thing myself, though...I will have to be careful about that in the future).
    Last edited by Berzee; 05-08-2014 at 03:12 PM.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    In fairness to the OP, that's a consequence of the progression system rather than the openness. In a Professor Paul BG2, you'd presumably have much less progression so the concept of no-go regions wouldn't really exist. The Professor Paul thesis is anti-gating, as I see it, and that can come from scripting or from need for levelling.
    Baldur's Gate (both) is also another a game I love overall but where I don't like the character progression system.

    The way I see it, the progression and exp system exists because of the need to motivate the player, but personally the system ends up being an annoyance.
    I don't need to be strung along with little bits of exp candy on my way to whatever I'm doing. I know I'm here to [insert the goal of the quest I am doing here], and that goal is good enough!

    If it weren't for the progression/exp/leveling system we could potentially have so many nice perks.
    -We wouldn't have any odd no-go areas that are no-go for reasons that don't make sense in-world (you are too low level!).
    -The enemies could be balanced against a set power level, which would make it easier to make them more varied and interesting challenge-wise without that variety being indirectly obscured by the leveling system.
    -We could have a greater variety of playing styles that would be easier to balance as rewards wouldn't be so tied to how you got to your goal. I think rewards should only care that you reached your goal, I don't think they should care how you reached your goal unless its relevant to the plot or goal itself.
    -You'd get to spend more time with all of your abilities and that means more time to experiment with them and really work out how to use them in effective and interesting ways.

    So to me here's this system that effectively prevents or acts against having all sorts of potential nice things, and it exists to provide extra motivation, which is something that I do not need personally.

    I like the game because it is fun to play. I like the story, I like the world, and I like the gameplay.

    I don't need the game to have this extra system to give me a little extra motivation to keep playing, especially when so many other aspects of the game seemingly have to be compromised to allow it to exist.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Errrr it's D&D not having levelling and just having a standard game with no level progression kind of doesn't work. Also I don't think there are any no-go areas in BG2 or BG except because of quest unlocking. Lots of the enemies auto balance against the level you are. They support quite a lot of play styles already.

    It'd just not be D&D though would it.

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