The RPG Scrollbars: New Years Res Commandments

Yes, it’s that time again… give or take a week. 2017’s looking like a fantastic year for RPGs already, thanks to the second big wave of Kickstarters due to hit, and bringing sequels and brand new adventures with it. But, let’s not get complacent. Since I sadly cannot, and would not be so arrogant as to lay down resolutions for the industry without its will, instead there will be Commandments that are Law.

Which is a bit like lore, only harder to skip by hammering the ESC key.

Thou Shalt Better Explain Thy ****ing Rules

And so it was that the Humbled Creative did stand before the LORD and ask, but LORD, wilt mine audience not read the fucking manual? And the LORD did laugh a mighty laugh and declare nay, and that is not the point, for what manual hath grace to hint at which of those stats are actually going to be important ten hours later, or to what measure be Dexterity versus Strength the true mark of stabbing fools with a sword. Nay, thy shalt recommend commence by highlighting the stats that are important, and then continue to explain, for to demand the player consult a wiki for this basic shit shall be a crime. And this goeth double for thee, online games, that chooseth to hand out garbage to the Unwary and render them Loser in the eyes of Man.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Allow Mid-Game Difficulty Changes

But I have explained myself fully as thou demanded, wept the Arrogant Designer. Would you demand I remove all challenge from mine adventure? Hast thou not considered the moral virtue of making one’s decisions and learning from them? Yes, countered the LORD, however I am a busy LORD and sometimes belatedly discover to my cost that either I have discovered a stumbling block hidden from my omnicognisance, or it turns out that your love of exceptionally boring random encounters or boss balancing or similar is not to my choosing. Either why, thou shalt permit this easing of mine burden as I choose, not as ye demand. Perhaps later I shall return, and as Zeus laid waste to the Titans, indeed render your hard mode my bitch. Either way, I have paid mine money, so stop whining. Also, I want in-game re-rolling. And a pony.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Learn The Difference Between ‘Rogue’ and ‘Dick’

Yes, warned the LORD. For there is a difference, and it is a mighty one. To be subject to the whims of a random, unpredictable universe is a fine thing. To be surprised and challenged, and slowly to conquer that challenge, is a most satisfying quest. To deal with bullshit instadeath traps, mandatory grinding through impossible odds to reach a point where mere survival be a possibility, and unexplained mechanics that again call for a wiki is Unacceptable, and the penalty for the Unacceptability shall be fire and brimstone and a red thorned rose up the hooter.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Get The **** On With It

Thou art one to talk, whispered the Irritated Reader. The LORD did graciously let it pass, as wind before a family gathering at Christmas. Instead, summoned he an Illustrative Example, that all might understand their instruction.

FIVE MINUTES LONG, thundered the LORD. FIVE MINUTES THAT WILL NEVER BE RETURNED. For there is a time and a place for such ponderous blather, and its place is not in an introduction that none need know up front. For there art so many ways to convey lore, from in-game museums to ambient conversations, and not once is it as remotely as interesting as its creators consider. Nay, let this accursed waste of mortality be naught but an example of how not to live or write or generate excitement for a game. I smite it and give it its True Name, which is Bollocks.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Stop Trying To Force People To Play Your Way

It was then that the designer who was the designer of World of Warcraft did step forwards, quivering. And the LORD did sigh. We have been through this before, he declared. Thou listened. In Warlords of Draenor, finally, thou accepted that there are players who be not of social stock, who return to your world not to quest alongside barely literate warriors, but for the fantasy of it. Yet what is this? In Legion, you return to enforcing dungeon play upon thy flock. Thou vexing Arse. Dost thou make thy raiders first engage in boring PvP? No thou dost not! Cease this at once! Use thy instancing and thy brain to allow unsocial play.

But LORD, whimpered the Remorseful Designer, our stats show that-

THY STATS ARE IRRELEVANT, declared the LORD. If thy players wished to play, thou would not need to force it, or tell them to wait until the next expansion when the difficulty shalt be rendered more suitable for solo play, as it could be right now!

Yes, LORD. But what of Final Fantasy XIV, which also demands such play?

Ah, said the LORD. First, naughty-naughty, trying to drop another game unto the Cack. However, thou hast a point. Yonder difference is that the Final Fantasy which numbers Fourteen at least sets its cards on the table early, while it is your game that lures the socially awkward into feeling they have a place before demanding they find a place, which is Shameful, and which commits the Sin of Inconsistency when it treats them as Great Heroes before deciding that actually, no they are not. For has it not been said many times, what is this Shit? How am I in my oft-repeated Greatness possibly enough not to clear a Brewery full of Cartoon Rabbits? Or some schmuck wizard?

Don’t do it next time, it was added.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Never Be Minecraft So Get Over It

But- began the Hopeful Producer. The LORD did lay a sympathetic hand upon her shoulder. No, said the LORD, not without a measure of understanding. No.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Spend Proper Time On Thy Clothing Options

Oh, LORD, is it bikini armour of which you speak, whispered the Blushing Artist. For has that gong not being sufficiently banged and most now agreed that it is indeed a bit crap. The LORD didst staple his fingers and mutter Ouch and then unstaple and this time merely steeple them. Indeed, declared the LORD. That was a most vexing perversion and my Word remains. However, in my infinite wisdom, it was the range and novelty of those available that came to mind, for there is nothing inherently wrong with such styles, should they be chosen by They Who Are The Player rather than enforced by The Producer Who Shouldst Get Out More.

No. I speak of Choice and of Interest and of Taking The Time to craft armour sets and items that permit interesting looks, and a world in which every hero is unique and not Doomed To Plate for survival. In particular, added the LORD, let us see some of the cool transmogrification stuff done by MMOs in regular games, so that they who must wear traditional armour may continue to be Boring, yet they with souls might be Fabulous. In whatever form they do declare fitting.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Not Wuss Out With Thy Sex Stuff

Oh, yes, added the LORD, and while we art on the subject, none shall be permitted the Naughtiness of brothels and hookers and other such tawdry fare unless they have both Stomach and Creativity. For if thou considers a simple fade to black or some fully-clothed fumbling to be suitable response for any action taken wherein, then thou hast committed the sin of Tackiness and worse, the sin of Boredom. For there is nothing wrong with a romance that is merely sweet, and a world of dragons and magic is a world that will not one iota be made more realistic by the addition of Hookers. However, shouldst though opt to implement such things and thy faces be cherry red and thy sex scenes written to be neither erotic nor speak to the characters involved, then thou shalt be Shamed on grounds of Cowardice and of charges of frankly Being Fucking Boring. For we have gone from the age of Dragon Age now unto a world of The Witcher, where tits and bums are no longer shocking and willies will no doubt join as soon as everyone stops Fainting and acknowledges that actually it mattereth not.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Read More And Draw From More Settings

Seriously, yawned The LORD. Just check out Brewer’s Myths and Legends some time. Loads of cool monsters. Use them, because the LORD grows weary of killing the Shit which is the Same on such a regular basis.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Not Mistake Pissing About In An Open World For A Campaign

Any argument? demanded the LORD. There was silence. Good.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Explain The Gaping Hole In Every Other Bloody Story

The cowering masses looked up for a moment, confused. But LORD, what plot hole do you speak of? The LORD shook his head. THE plot-hole, he thundered. The one that a six year old would spot instantly. I speak for instance of why, in a situation where the villain seeks the three parts of a weapon, the heroes dost not simply acquire the first and then destroy it, allowing their foe to spend their days upon a Quest Most Fruitless.

The people looked to each other. But LORD, they whimpered, such quests are the bedrock of the genre. Can you not simply tolerate it as a… quirk, perhaps? NO! Thundered the LORD. And do you know why not? Because when Paper Mario 2: The Thousand Year Door dost take two minutes out of its busy schedule to explain, there is no excuse for any game that follows! For that game postulates a great evil behind a door that the enemies wish to free in exchange for power, and asked is it of the hero Mario why not just leave it locked up? Aha, says the game, because the evil grows in power, and shouldst it escape on its own instead of with the help of yonder McGuffins, it will be much too powerful. Therefore, the quest. Do you see? Do you see?

And if Paper Mario can do it, so can everyone. I have spoken.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Explore Shorter Forms Of Experience

At this, the nations of the world did blink as one, and the sound of their blink was SLURRRRRRRP. But LORD, it was whispered, everyone knows that an RPG must be at least 50 hours long, even if that means it has more padding than the brassiere of a professional Tomb Raider cosplayer?

The LORD didst wave a hand with disinterest. The LORD has a life, the people were informed. There is no reason the good stuff cannot merely be compressed into a shorter experience, free of pointlessly refighting the same three guys a hundred times in a cavern, proving nothing, but offer greater experiences. The unpredictability of the roguelike. The intriguing survival typically only seen in Elder Scrolls mods and their kin. The ability to revisit a world multiple times from different angles, rather than all carrots being dangled for immediate consumption. For is there anything wrong with the likes of Way of the Samurai 4, and its incredible replayability? Yes, the matter of it being a bit crap and having a character called Melinda Megamelons. BUT! the LORD added, grasping once again the most holy of high moral grounds, such things should still be of inspiration, for an idea not done to its full is an idea that may one day flourish.

The LORD has spoken. So shall it be. (So shall it be.)

Thou Shalt Not Give The Boss Any More Special Rights Than Necessary

And another thing, sayeth the LORD, after Divinity: Original Sin, there shalt be no more situations where the Death Spell Of Instant Death gets no-sold by the boss, just because-

A nervous hand rose from the crowd. YES? barkethed the LORD. The finger emerged from the ground, along with the Trembling Person to which it was attached. LORD, he whispered, your people grow bored of this, and are out of ways to say what an annoying gimmick it has become. With the greatest possible respect, you’ve been going for over 2000 words now. Could you save some of your whining for another day?

And the LORD considered it. And the LORD spoke. And the LORD spaketh:

From this site

46 Comments

  1. ilitarist says:

    Oh yes, intro was the worst thing about M&MXL. The art is OK but it drags on and on explaining stuff that mostly becomes important in the last 30 minutes of the game. Yes, our characters and everyone in the world knows about those things so it would be awkward to tell us about in “as you know…” conversations, but it will be better done this way.

    By the time all of this stuff becomes relevant you’ll forget about it anyway.

  2. lglethal says:

    Hallelujah!!!

  3. Merus says:

    I think the current record holder for most interminable opening scene is Persona 4, which is a lovely game that puts you in dialogue sequences for a full hour before you reach the first thing that counts as playable.

    Admittedly, it’s working hard during that time, as it’s a supernatural murder mystery built around a small Japanese town, if you’re replaying it there’s opportunities to wrench the story in a different direction, and it does save along the way, but still. At least a little bit of walking around would have been nice.

    Also FFXIV is right up-front about how it’s a) a story based game with b) dungeons in it. To start the expansion, you have to finish ALL of the main story quest, including the extensions from later patches, which interestingly gives the gear treadmill some meaning: you need to have a certain level of gear to advance, and while it’s not hard to acquire it means you do have to care a little about the obsoleted end-game.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      FFXIV also does something that I appreciate that most MMOs don’t – tries to explain how to play your class relatively early on. It’s not always perfectly synched to the first dungeon, and the three early ones at once you had to do at least at launch (I don’t know about now) was overkill. But at least there is a bit which is just “Okay, you might not know exactly what your job is, so we’re just going to head over to a quiet bit of the map and explain.”

    • NeuroNiky says:

      Most interminable opening story I can remember is in Okami. It took around 30 minutes before you can even start playing. And it was unskippable.

      I recall being so bored by it when it was over that I just saved and turned off the playstation without playing the game.

      Oh, and I don’t think the World of Warcraft criticism is right. You have so much stuff you can do solo it’s staggering, so no one is forcing you to play its multiplayer content at all. Hey, by just doing your dailies you can get gear that surpasses the first raid gear easily.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        You can’t play the solo story in Legion without doing the dungeons. The weapons you need to push back are found at the end of them, forcing you to go through at least once to advance the narrative. Also, many of your class quests demand you head back in to go and get some item from a particular boss’s corpse or whatever.

      • bouchacha says:

        I came here to post about Okami’s intro too! It’s 20-30 minutes of “press x” to advance through some story fluff given by really really annoying voices. I’m not exaggerating about the voices: link to youtube.com

  4. gsvelto says:

    Excellent article. And on the topic of introductions, if a game with a setting as complex and alien as Sunless Sea can get away without one then any other can.

    (and yes, I know it’s pretty brutal in the beginning, but after having played through it I must say it’s part of the fun)

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Sunless can definitely be confusing, though I think people overlook how much is explained as and when you actually need to know it. So, zail down to, say, the Iron Republic and it’s probably going to be confusing as Hell. Ironically. But when you’re actually doing stuff there, like dealing with the Wistful Deviless, that’s usually when you’ll get a chunk of text that briskly covers what its deal is in a way that later feels like you knew it all along. And the weirder stuff in the game is stuff that your Captain doesn’t know in any great detail either.

      I think the main change I’d make to the early game is to have a specific warning “You’re not a trader. For now, you’re a courier.” Set off and start doing quests and it’s not THAT hard to get into. The problem tends to be dying the death of a thousand cuts by trying to play it like Elite, and finding out that you don’t have the cargo space or opportunities to make a profit that way until mid-game. Outside of a few specific quest-related runs like the Sphinxstone, you’re always best taking individual commissions.

      • Sian says:

        “I think the main change I’d make to the early game is to have a specific warning “You’re not a trader. For now, you’re a courier.” Set off and start doing quests and it’s not THAT hard to get into. The problem tends to be dying the death of a thousand cuts by trying to play it like Elite, and finding out that you don’t have the cargo space or opportunities to make a profit that way until mid-game. Outside of a few specific quest-related runs like the Sphinxstone, you’re always best taking individual commissions.”

        Well, that’s good to know, because I bounced off of that title something fierce when I couldn’t figure out a way to make enough money to survive. I love the setting and everything about it, but I couldn’t make ends meet, so I gave up. With this new knowledge I shall give it another try and maybe buy the Zubmariner too.

        Btw, loved your gimmick. Wasn’t tired of it yet.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          I am of course somewhat biased, but basically by mid-game you won’t even remember being poor. There’s many ways to break the economy over your knee, not to mention that you get at least a thousand echoes (in the form of a Searing Enigma or similar) from every major story. But that’s part of the general arc. You start as a terrified, clueless captain, and over time your lineage becomes one of the most powerful players in the Neath – casually setting up spy networks, working for the different factions, establishing your own colony or doing the believed to be impossible by heading NORTH or East. The reason nobody else around you is doing all that stuff? They’re still shunting crap for pennies.

          Or it might be something in the coffee sorbet.

          • TheAngriestHobo says:

            Cobbo, did you contribute to Zubmariner?

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            Yes. I wrote Nook and the Gant Pole.

          • TheAngriestHobo says:

            Very cool! I haven’t been to Nook yet, but Gant Pole creeped me right the hell out (it was also nice to have story-related reasons to engage in combat – that’s something Sunless Sea had been missing).

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            Yeah, that definitely was part of the idea. We generally wanted to avoid ooky-spooky in favour of uncomfortable, disturbing and odd, so I thought that a mechanic where you’re specifically mutilating the enemies and so on was a morally interesting twist of the knife.

            And I quite like combining the different elements of the game. The Pirate-Poet is similar – the concept of giving the player a rival and building that relationship by combat. (Of course, it’s limited because if you lose, then you just die, and there’s only so tough a wandering NPC can be, despite selling her as this awesome corsair who only you can beat because you’re just That Awesome. But if you handwave that, I think it’s a really fun little quest chain, especially with how it pays off separately during the business with the Modiste and Polythreme.)

      • gsvelto says:

        Yes, Sunless Sea early game is very unbalanced and really doesn’t give you much to work with – and often dying is not enough to figure it out either. It could be improved in many ways: time compression (Elite is an inspiration and Frontier had it!), a better tutorial (it took me a while to figure out that having high terror wasn’t all that bad or that the lamp burned fuel), etc…

        But I was specifically referring to the story and setting. Most AAA RPGs have boilerplate Tolkien/Lewis/Howard settings and often waste significant time telling you about them even though they’re completely predictable. Sunless Sea throws you into an alien, unpredictable world that’s only vaguely reminiscent of Victorian London and lets you learn about it slowly – which is a far more satisfying experience.

        On the topic of introductions. The first time I played Morrowind it was a… personal evaluation version of it so to speak, which didn’t have the intro. When I later bought it I was actually surprised to see it and found it underwhelming.

        My experience with the early phases of the game was my character waking up in the hold of a ship being told that I had been dreaming, and not even a storm could wake me. It was a powerful experience, as if the game was telling me that the reality around me was just a dream and this was the actual world I was living in. Having to learn Morrowind’s lore one book or rumor at a time then built upon this experience. So when I actually saw the intro a few months later and discovered that dialogue referred to it I felt it was actually worse that way.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Syt says:

    “free of pointlessly refighting the same three guys a hundred times in a cavern”

    It took me several years to finally make it through Dragon Age: Origins. While I liked its story, setting, and characters, the combat was such a chore. Not because it was ncessarily bad, but because there was SO MUCH of it.

    The area maps were relatively small, and it seemed to me that Bioware, upon realizing this, decided to fill them up to the brim with baddies to stretch out the player experience, putting many mob-heavy MMORPGs to shame.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I’m really curious to see Numenera, with its concept of ‘not many fights, but make them all super interesting’.

      • Premium User Badge

        Syt says:

        So am I.

        “Killing many things” is still the core gameplay in a vast majority of games, and the ubiquity of it gives little meaning to any combat.

        RPGs are usually guilty of stretching out this combat as filler; often it quickly loses its challenge once you’ve gained a few levels or know how to blast certain enemies or groups.

        On the other hand you have Dark Souls. It’s still chock full of combat, bit it makes every encounter count. You’re rarely swarmed by enemies (unless you mess up). Still, one wrong move, or underestimating any enemy is frequently followed by things going south fast. And it still allows for more varied and free form gameplay than many other, more traditional RPGs.

      • Someoldguy says:

        I am too, Lord, although I do worry that with it stated to have more written words than the Bible, it may have replaced too many fights with too much unneccesary wordy shit. Don’t get me wrong, I love a thousand page novel if it’s well written and even made it through the entire Wheel of Time, but I’m sceptical that an RPG with multiple writers and a non-linear plot can achieve that calibre of literary entertainment.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Just this weekend I have updated DA:O because I wanted to clear some backlog. It turned out my last save was from year 2010, but my party was pretty advanced (LEV 17) with over 100 hours of play. I had to spend over two hours reading wiki to just recollect what all that was about (the in-game journal is less than useless). All I was remembering were these fights – and blood, blood everywhere.

      Funny thing is the locations are so densely packed with enemies, that when playing as a mage, it is often enough to cast some area of effect spell through a closed door, to clear the room behind it. Player shoots blindly (with magic) and someone always will be hurt. There’s so little room, that often enemies have to spawn out of nowhere, under the feet of party members, which is rather unrealistic.

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      Andy_Panthro says:

      I got about 75% of the way through Pillars of eternity and received the achievement “Super Murderer” for killing over 1200 creatures/NPCs. More people have this achievement than have the one for reaching Act 3, as if any more proof was needed that the game is overstuffed with combat encounters.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      DA:O is so often universally praised, especially in comparison to DA 2 and DA: I, so I’m glad someone else except me pointed out the overused combat encounters. Wearing out your welcome, thy name is Dragon Age: Origins!

      Although, what really got me to nod my head in agreement was the commandment “Thou Shalt Stop Trying To Force People To Play Your Way”.

      I wasn’t thinking of MMO’s, but the arbitrary limitations to exploring the game world and doing things your own way. Impassable foot high stacks of rubble or invisible walls are somewhat annoying, but the “OMG!!! I can’t BELIEVE that you’re LEAVING the MISSION area!!!!!!” messages and similar are far worse.

      I understand that the devs have a story and an A-B-C framework (not A-C-B or otherwise), but they sometimes take this mentality to the extreme, where it feels like you have to do EXACTLY like the devs intended to pass the mission without stern reprimands. I hate that, because that’s not a game, that’s a bloody instruction manual with an integrated back seat driver.

  6. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I am 1000% behind more interesting monsters. We all hark back to the classic Time-To-Crate metric but for RPGs it’s definitely Time-To-Wolf or (biggest sigh) Time-To-Spider that counts.

    That’s one of the reasons I rather liked Risen 3. It was still drearily full of spiders (loads of variations of them to boot!), but most of the other normal animals were crazy dinosaurs and stuff. Even if they’re functionally the same as wolves, they don’t look like wolves… does that just make me shallow?

    • Someoldguy says:

      I don’t think so. I loved LotRO as a concept but I knew it was going to be a struggle to make the world vibrant when you’re in a level based system and chopping your way through level 1 orcs and goblins, level 2 … level 3 … level 4 … level 90 orcs and goblins… No fictional world not tied to an established fictional world should feel obliged to restrain themselves to the same small pool of enemies. Dragon Age made an effort by creating Hurlocs (absolutely not orcs) but then threw them at you constantly until the originality was buried under sheer quantity of repetitive fights.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      That’s one reason why I loved The Witcher 1, because it included monsters from slavic myths and/or had less ordinary monsters. I really liked the monster descriptions, because they both taught me new interesting things and explained the reason for them existing in this world (e.g. drowners are people who have drowned).

      It didn’t matter that it had ghouls, larger ghouls and super ghouls, because they all looked different.

  7. Urthman says:

    “For has it not been said many times, what is this Shit?”

    RPS, beg this deity to write more articles and render ample offerings to her/his/its prophet, The Most Holy Richard Cobbett.

  8. TheApologist says:

    Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door is bloody bloody bloody brilliant.

    Also, it makes me very happy that you have a home on this here site, Richard Cobbett. Top stuff. All of the things you list are the reasons I want-to-but-as-an-old-man-can-never-quite-find-the-time-to-play RPG’s these days.

    • Arathain says:

      It’s tough to find enough nice things to say about Thousand Year Door. I loved just about every minute I spent with it. I finished it! I rarely finish anything, let alone RPGs of any sort. I even did the optional challenge stuff.

      It builds on the legacy of previous Mario RPGs and quietly rethinks so many of the basic tenets of JRPGs. My personal favourite is having sensible numbers: your basic attack does 1 damage. Time the attack correctly and it will do 2 damage. A monster might have 5 or 10 hit points. Everything can be quickly and easily calculated by the player. Everything is totally comprehensible. It makes most JRPGs look silly and overwrought, with 3 and 4 figure damage numbers.

      • TheApologist says:

        It’s true! The simple battle system presented without unnecessary obfuscation makes the badge system works even better. Mostly in JRPGs I get put off trying to work the systems out because it’s fairly simple maths presented in a deliberately confusing way.

        God, everything works together so well in that game. Dialogue that is genuinely fun to read, playful presentation of the battles and environments…so good.

        And yes, I played some of the GBA Mario and Luigi RPGs and they were great too – and also relatively short!

  9. draglikepull says:

    “Thou Shalt Explore Shorter Forms Of Experience”

    This is a big part of why I’ve liked the recent Shadowrun and Banner Saga games. I like a good, lengthy RPG, but shorter RPGs in the 15-20 hour range can also be quite fun. I mean, Dragon Age: Inquisition was basically a great 20 hour story-based game with 50 hours of pointless MMO fiddling padded onto it. It would have been much better as just those central 20 hours without the fluff!

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yep. Especially at the end, when you just want to finish and go stomp the villain’s ball-sack into the ground, but it’s STILL going “Get another 10 tokens to unlock the next mission.”

      • gsvelto says:

        One wonders why more games can’t be designed like Morrowind: huge sandbox where you can lose yourself chasing every rumor and every legend you read in a book… and yet if you just want to finish it the main quest isn’t long and you only need to do a handful of extra missions to be sure you’re strong enough to face the last few areas. Also if you don’t want to fight all the time there’s plenty of ways around enemies.

  10. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Wait – there’s only one LORD I know that talks like that.

    *waits until noon and then fiddles with the sign above the LORD’s head*

  11. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    Loved this article (the staple/steeple a particular highlight), thanks Richard.
    And 1000 times yes on the wanting to play WoW solo. I’d like to finish my class hall quest, but really cba going through a group for the dungeon parts (even though it’s easy and I outgear normal – just the hassle of tanking a new dungeon, putting up with the rushing snark of those who’ve run it 100 times before and know exactly who I should be skipping past and what shortcuts I’m not taking…).

    And I’m supposed to farm even more dungeons to continue the (excellent to this point) Illidan quest line…eesh.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah, that’s what a lot of people don’t get. “But it’s easy, you just use the group finder.” “Use the raid finder and blah blah blah.” Gah! The problem’s not that it’s difficult to FIND a group, it’s that I find grouping with randoms less fun than pulling my teeth out, and the experience either silent and sullen or abusive and tiresome, especially in cases where everyone else has done the dungeon a million times already and just wants to be done with it as fast as possible.

      Whereas conversely, the story and the solo PvE content is fantastic and I can’t get enough of it.

      • malkav11 says:

        I mean, yeah, it’s not particularly fun, but if all you’re in it for is the story, you might have to run a given dungeon two or three times, tops, for maybe an hour to 80 minutes of your life total. (less, with a bit of planning). That’s not to say that WoW hasn’t committed egregious sins against solo players in Legion, though, given that part of the late stage Suramar questlines (which are required for progression and the Loremaster achievement and oh yeah, flying, whenever they put that back in) take place in a zone absolutely crawling with patrols of groups of extremely tough elites that can all see through your disguise and -will- chain aggro you even if you can down one patrol (which I can, at this point). At least with dungeons, you can queue in an automated system. With mandatory grouping in the world, you either have friends or you’re basically SOL. :P

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          And raiders having to spend a few hours of every expansion in PvP to get bits of their gear wouldn’t be much of their lives, but they still probably wouldn’t want to do it just because someone at Blizzard thought they should widen their horizons.

          I don’t *ever* want to do dungeons with randoms. It actively damages the world and experience for me and makes me not want to play the game at all. Warlords of Draenor backed off and didn’t force it, hence the annoyance at Legion going back the other way.

          • malkav11 says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it should be required, but it’s survivable. The Suramar bullshit is a full on progress blocker.

  12. Will Tomas says:

    This is a glorious article, Mr Cobbett. I laughed muchly and long. And it is entirely correct.

  13. oldschool2112 says:

    Every review of an RPG that I comment on from here on out will begin with “It is written:” followed by an HTML link or copy paste from this article.

  14. Premium User Badge

    keefybabe says:

    A mere 5 minutes? Try playing trails in the sky. Now that’s a game that desperately needed an editor. Why say 2 sentences when 626656796699 will do.

  15. stratoschedl says:

    Great article. I laughed my arse off :-)) greetings from Berlin.

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