Showing posts with label Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Show all posts

Monday, August 02, 2010

July 2010: What I'm Playing/What I'm Paying

July was a laid back month for gaming. I started off with Elder Scrolls and ended up playing Bad Company 2.

I have embedded the new What I'm Playing/What I'm Paying spreadsheet for June below. The overall spreadsheet (includes previous months) can be found here.

Game of the Month

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Game of the Year EditionElder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Cost: $8.50
Played: 8 hours
3-words: lame, but bearable

I picked up a copy of Oblivion on sale via Steam. I like the game, but at the same time I don't like the game. Until I included some mods, it was an unbearable experience. The first few quests I went on in the game were bugged and without the console and UESPWiki, I would never have figured out what to do. Also, I can't stop accidentally clicking on random objects and getting flagged as a thief. Oh, and the default UI sucks balls.

Fortunately, I did install some mods and the game is bearable now. I have a better UI, better graphics, and the Unofficial Patch fixes TONS of quest bugs (pretty much every bug I had encountered so far).

I find the main storyline to be about as exciting as nails on a chalkboard. It is 100% generic fantasy and a hero with a thousand faces type stuff. But that's OK, because I can travel off the beaten path and explore an amazing world. It actually boggles my mind: they built this great world that's FUN to explore (a rarity in single player games), but couldn't build a decent story around it.

My end goal is to hit the Shivering Isles expansion, where I hear its a bit more fun.


Battlefield: Bad Company 2

I've had a renewed interest in BFBC2 this month and it dominated my /played. I've set some goals and am trying to unlock some of the harder achievements such as getting a bronze/silver/gold with all weapons. Coincidentally, unlocking this achievements gives a ton of experience, so my level is increasing nicely.

MtG:Duels of the Planeswalker

I've had a sick 11-month old all month (actually longer than that). DotP takes a dedicated block of time to enjoy and be fair to other players online. My son wakes up constantly during the nights, when I usually play, so that has limited my DotP play time.


Total spent this Month: $1.87
My Value Rating: Unknown

I bought Freedom Force as part of the Steam July 4th sale. For $1.87 I don't think I could go wrong.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Have MMOGs changed the single-player gamer in me?

I've been playing a lot of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as of late and I'm coming to realize something: playing MMOs has damaged my ability to enjoy single player RPGs to a degree.  I find myself playing Oblivion with the console up and entering cheats to get items or to reset my status with the in-game law enforcement.

I find it annoying that Oblivion asks me to run from shrine A to town B just to pick up a head of lettuce, some yarn, and a soul gem.  I can cut that trip out and just dump the items into my bag with the console commands.  And I don't feel the least bit sad about doing it.  It doesn't hurt my enjoyment of the game one bit.  I really don't want to run to town and hope I find a vendor with the goods I need.  I just want to get on with the story, not waste time grocery shopping!

After playing Ultima Online for a couple years, I could still go and play a game like Baldur's Gate II and enjoy haplessly doing side quests and any number of annoying single-plater things.  However, I started to notice I wasn't enjoying exploring every inch of single-player RPGs as I previously had in my glory days of Super Nintendo greats Chrono Trigger and Playstation wonder Final Fantasy 7.  I was starting to need single-player RPGs-on-rails.  Games had to lead me from A to B and cut out a lot of the normal bullshit associated with RPGs.  I realized that I was only fooling myself.  No one would care (I know I wouldn't) if I cheated a little to get through the parts of single-player games I didn't enjoy or just ignored things that distracted from beating the game.

A decade and thousands of hours of MMOG gaming later, I guess online gaming has damaged my single-player appetite for good.   Playing through the handful of single-player RPGs I snagged during the Steam holiday sales over the past year, I have no patience left for anything that doesn't get me closer to finishing the game.  Especially when we are talking about games like Oblivion where powerful command line tools are available to make the experience better.  I can pretty much cut what I don't care about from the game and get to the best part: finishing the damn game. 

This is all quite ironic considering that MMOGs rarely have an end of which to reach.  Sure, there is a max level and end game goals, but they aren't really win conditions.  The next time I walk into town, I could be meeting a player that I will spend the next year playing with.  I could be one group invite away from a new guild.  There are a lot of possibilities with MMOGs and the most important factor is the presence of other players.  Playing Oblivion right now would be immensely boring if another player entered my world and played the way I did: we'd both be gods.

I think the point with MMOGs that resonates most with me is that there are dozens of other players slowly slogging through the same hell that I am.  If I have to kill X and then run to town Z to get A and then trek it back to town F, I can feel secure in knowing there are tons of other players that have or are doing the same.  I may even have an underrated victory if I find myself being more efficient than other players and fitting in quest Q on the way to town F.

There is an underlying sense of  competition in any multiplayer game.  Knowing that I am doing something legitimately better than another live human being is wonderfully powerful.  Knowing that I am doing worse than someone can be provocatively motivating (or just as easily soul crushing).  Without that competition, I lack the drive to care about the details and will do whatever is necessary to enjoy my single-player experience.  Though, some days while playing an MMOG, I sincerely wish that Basterd Sword of Slaying was only a tilde away from my grasp.

Friday, July 02, 2010

June 2010: What I'm Playing/What I'm Paying

June was an interesting month for my gaming.  I came into the month with no set "Game of the Month" and no plans to play anything specifically.  Then Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers (DotP) was announced for Steam and shortly released.  Also, a mid-month Steam sale on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion took a chunk out of my wallet.

I have embedded the new What I'm Playing/What I'm Paying spreadsheet for June below.  The overall spreadsheet (includes previous months) can be found here.

Game of the Month

Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers

Cost: $9.99
Played: 20 hours
3-words: casual Magic fun

While I didn't enter the month with a game of the month in mind, I ended the month with a winner in DotP.  My three word description really fits the game.

Casual:  DotP is all about getting in and playing Magic the Gathering.  Some rules are simplified, the decks are pre-constructed, and the game is dead simple to operate.  However, this can be a negative for anyone looking for a more hardcore Magic experience.  I suggest those hardcore players look at the official Magic the Gathering Online.

Magic: any current or past fan of Magic the Gathering will immediately identify with the game.  It is a solid representation of the game mechanics. The only part missing is the collectible aspect as card lists are set and there is no real collecting to be done, but that's OK as its not the focus of DotP.

Fun: this is a subjective term as some players just don't like card games and there is nothing here that will convince them to like them.  But for those players that do enjoy card games, this is probably the best casual PC card game available.  There are no booster packs to buy, decks to construct from scratch, or proxy cards to tape together.  DotP is about getting to the fun of playing.


Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I started my journey in Oblivion as a Wood Elf with the customer Heartless class (yes, I named a class after myself!).  I've spent a few hours wandering around and enjoying the game.  There is quite a bit to do without actually doing anything.  It can be annoying sometimes, such as when you are trying to talk to someone and inadvertently steal the cup in front of them prompting a little run in the with the town guards, but once a player gets used to the game it is a fun game.


Total spent this Month: $18.49
My Value Rating: Excellent

For $18.49 I purchased two great games which are aiming to give me a couple hundred hours of playtime.