16 votes

What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them?

What have you been playing lately? Discussion about video games and board games are both welcome. Please don't just make a list of titles, give some thoughts about the game(s) as well.

38 comments

  1. [11]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Beat Saber A bit of a tl;dr for those that don’t want to read my whole writeup: please give me non-scary VR recommendations. Anyway, a few years ago my husband bought me an Oculus Quest after he...

    Beat Saber

    A bit of a tl;dr for those that don’t want to read my whole writeup: please give me non-scary VR recommendations.

    Anyway, a few years ago my husband bought me an Oculus Quest after he saw how much fun I had trying out Beat Saber on a friend’s headset, and I’ve alternated periods of being super into Beat Saber and letting the Quest collect dust.

    A few months ago I made a pact with myself that I would play Beat Saber as regular exercise, as it and its precursor, Dance Dance Revolution, are the only forms of home exercise that I’ve ever actually enjoyed.

    I’ve kept to that pact. It’s been a ton of fun. The game is thoroughly enjoyable. However, playing it so much also caused me to hit some of the limitations of the Quest and my VR setup. Occasional tracking errors would cause me to drop notes. I was playing in a small bedside area with a very small guardian. I would sweat a good amount and fog up my headset. I didn’t like wearing the headset with glasses, but I also didn’t like not wearing glasses because it made everything slightly blurry. Also, custom songs on the Quest are a royal pain and weren’t worth the trouble of re-doing after I had to undo them to install an update.

    Regardless, I put up with all of these annoyances and played Beat Saber and its built-in tracklist day after day (if anyone here plays multiplayer, there’s a chance we’ve shared a lobby or two!). Spending that many hours in old, lower-end VR hardware, however, ended up giving me the itch.

    I wanted to upgrade.

    It was impractical, I told myself.

    It was expensive, I told myself.

    We don’t have the space, I told myself.

    All of these were attempts to rid myself of the itch, but they all failed.

    So I bought myself a Valve Index.

    And a computer that runs it.

    And I completely revamped our home office to accommodate a room scale setup.

    I did a ton of research into VR quality of life stuff, and I’ve got the rug, the fans, the headbands, the controller grips, and, best of all, magnetic prescription lens inserts for my headset, so I can see clearly with complete comfort.

    I got everything fully up and running just yesterday. It’s amazing. A definite improvement from the Quest.

    I justified the cost of all this by considering it, essentially, exercise equipment. I’m going to get hundreds/thousands of hours out of Beat Saber alone in the coming months/years (especially now that I can play custom songs easily again), and that’s to say nothing of other rhythm games I like (i.e. Synth Riders and Audica).

    What I haven’t done, though, is explore other VR experiences. Even with my Quest, I never really had an adequate and safe space to play anything that required real movement. Thus, I want to see what other awesome experiences VR has to offer and play enough to hopefully get over the simulation sickness of “moving” in first-person games in VR.

    I have absolutely zero interest in and stomach for anything even close to scary in VR, so the flagship Half-Life: Alyx is out. Outside of creepy/horror stuff, however, I’m open to anything. What cool stuff can I experience on my Index? What games are must-plays? What non-game stuff should I check out?

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      Macil
      Link Parent
      Social games, primarily VRChat, are the killer app of VR in my opinion. Spatial voice chat with the body language of seeing where people are looking make it a unique online experience. I have...

      Social games, primarily VRChat, are the killer app of VR in my opinion. Spatial voice chat with the body language of seeing where people are looking make it a unique online experience. I have online friends I've regularly done Discord voice chats with, and we picked up VRChat together. We hung out in it like it was a much-upgraded voice chat, visited tons of user-made worlds, and made more friends in it. It is a bit harder to properly get into without a friend group in it already, but even that way it's a lot of fun to check out the many user-made worlds, play in mini-game worlds (Prison Escape, Murder, Among Us), or people-watch in the very busy popular worlds.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        I sometimes wonder if we should do a tildes VRChat meetup but to be honest my real-life meetups with online friends have never actually turned out that well and I fear that VR would be too much...

        I sometimes wonder if we should do a tildes VRChat meetup but to be honest my real-life meetups with online friends have never actually turned out that well and I fear that VR would be too much like reality.

        (That and literally every part of my VR setup is put away right now including my gaming PC)

        4 votes
        1. Protected
          Link Parent
          VRChat or another social VR thingy (probably not horizon though) could be fun. I can't imagine there would be that much of a distance between VR and voice chat with your online friends... I'm...

          VRChat or another social VR thingy (probably not horizon though) could be fun. I can't imagine there would be that much of a distance between VR and voice chat with your online friends... I'm curious, though, in what way have your meetings gone wrong? (Mine went well so far!)

    2. blender_cuttingham
      Link Parent
      I'm not an hardcore VR player by any means but I played about 130 hours in a year. For non scary games I would recommend Moss. Took about 5h hours to finish and I had a blast! A good mix of...

      I'm not an hardcore VR player by any means but I played about 130 hours in a year. For non scary games I would recommend Moss. Took about 5h hours to finish and I had a blast! A good mix of puzzle, action and exploration. Very beautiful even if it's an old game. They also released a second game on steam like a month ago and it has very good reviews. Not tried it yet thought.

      If you like builder type of games, you could give a try to Tethered.

      If you like ping pong, Eleven table tennis is quite fun. You can also play in multiplayer.

      There is a Room VR game "a dark matter". Heard good things about it.

      I know you said Alyx is out, but man. I'm not very brave either and some sections were kind of scary, but it was all worth it. Best gaming experience of my life.

      On the experience side of things, here are some that I have tried :

      TheBlu : Always my go to for new players. Short but give a good sense of what VR can do.
      Age of sail : A short film
      Allumette : Another short film
      Nefertari : Visit an tomb in Egypt
      The Lab : Its a mix of mini games and exploration.

      Hope this helps and have fun with your new setup!

      4 votes
    3. PetitPrince
      Link Parent
      I second the Moss recommendation. Having a living diorama in front of you is so cute! The offline part (with the boat) of The Under Presents has a similar feel, except you can somewhat zoom in....

      I second the Moss recommendation. Having a living diorama in front of you is so cute! The offline part (with the boat) of The Under Presents has a similar feel, except you can somewhat zoom in.

      I'm partial to cockpit experiences. No need to buy a HOTAS for my recs (though nothing prevents you), they're arcade flavored:

      • Project Wingman: arcade military flight sim. This game is a lover letter to the Ace Combat series. It has a similar gameplay (sim as in you have to pitch/roll/yaw/not stall, arcade as in you have hundreds of missile in your jet), interesting alternate history plot, great music. In VR, tracking enemy targets with your head is a delight, and pulling stunts like you the ones can see in Top-Gun is exhilarating . I cannot recommend this game enough.
      • Star Wars Squadron: arcade space flight sim. So you fly the iconic starfighters, in VR, with AAA graphics. What else can I say ? Ok more details: if PW was inspired by Ace Combat, Star Wars Squadron follows the old X-Wing games footsteps, (X-Wing, Tie Fighter, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, X-Wing Alliance). So not only you have to fly your spaceship, but also manage the shield/engine/weapon power level for some interesting tactical choices. Scanning (flying close) is something you do, as well as choosing sub-targets on capital ships (e.g. the shield generator). The campaign constantly introduce new game mechanics, so it somewhat feels like an extended tutorial, but it's still challenging on its own right. Gameplay-wise, I prefer PW, but my inner child was so over the moon when playing this game I had a grin from start to finish. Of course you have recreation of some iconic scenes from the movies (not exactly the same, mind you, but close enough).
      4 votes
    4. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      Rec Room is super fun and free, it's a little like multiplayer VR Wii sports, but it's better if you already have people to play with, since the player base has definitely skewed young since the...

      Rec Room is super fun and free, it's a little like multiplayer VR Wii sports, but it's better if you already have people to play with, since the player base has definitely skewed young since the quest came out. Moss is really good too, haven't played it as much but it's a charming little platformer.

      I'll also second that recommendation for prescription lens inserts, I have some too and honestly like them even more than contacts, which were my original solution.

      2 votes
    5. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      If you can survive the motion sickness (these also have teleport options, although less immersive), many "traditional" RPGs are given a fresh coat of paint in VR. Especially Bethesda ones - Skyrim...

      If you can survive the motion sickness (these also have teleport options, although less immersive), many "traditional" RPGs are given a fresh coat of paint in VR. Especially Bethesda ones - Skyrim VR has an official release, and there's many mods. It's definitely an experience to feel like you're sitting in a Skyrim pub for real. Fallout also has good VR support.

      2 votes
    6. aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I have enjoyed Hyperbolica - it is not scary, and it's probably the only way to experience non-euclidean geometry in the first person. I wouldn't recommend playing for more than about 30 minutes...

      I have enjoyed Hyperbolica - it is not scary, and it's probably the only way to experience non-euclidean geometry in the first person. I wouldn't recommend playing for more than about 30 minutes at a time though.

      2 votes
    7. Protected
      Link Parent
      I love Beat Saber! Played it almost every week for the last four years (currently not playing because I'm in the middle of a move and need amazon to deliver some extension cables before I have a...

      I love Beat Saber! Played it almost every week for the last four years (currently not playing because I'm in the middle of a move and need amazon to deliver some extension cables before I have a viable playspace again).

      I don't have recent VR recommendations because I'm saving myself for an upgrade as well (still on the OG Vive, hoping for the Deckard next year?) but I can recommend older stuff. If you want to dive right into VR motion, how about TO THE TOP? It's one of my favorite VR games to this date, and I have played it all the way to the end. It's about climbing and launching yourself through increasingly more complex sets using only extendo sticky hands. It is a pure platformer, IIRC it has no fighting of any kind. Some levels have moving parts later on.

      Even more hardcore, Windlands 2 is also pretty good, it uses spiderman/tarzan/ninja rope style swinging to move around (so you will experience pendular motion). It has bow and arrow combat including boss fights (pretty cool ones!) and some fairly weak plot/NPC bits.

      If you want puzzle solving look into Transpose.

      2 votes
    8. godless
      Link Parent
      Surprised it's not mentioned yet, but honestly Walkabout minigolf is fantastic. - https://store.steampowered.com/app/1408230/Walkabout_Mini_Golf_VR/ We've had some great evenings playing with friends

      Surprised it's not mentioned yet, but honestly Walkabout minigolf is fantastic. - https://store.steampowered.com/app/1408230/Walkabout_Mini_Golf_VR/

      We've had some great evenings playing with friends

      2 votes
  2. [6]
    admicos
    (edited )
    Link
    Persona 5 Royal Aside from one boss fight, the game is amazing. I'd play more of it but that would mean it would end. (Also my party is crap and I doubt I'd beat the final boss with it) I had to...

    Persona 5 Royal

    Aside from one boss fight, the game is amazing. I'd play more of it but that would mean it would end. (Also my party is crap and I doubt I'd beat the final boss with it)

    I had to watch the Royal-specific part of the game online, because I didn't do the things it needed at the right time to get it on my own playthrough, and it may just be even better than the original story.

    If that's how the other Persona games work, I should probably look into them too.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      My opinion - the storytelling and music of P4G are as good, but the actual gameplay is a lot more tedious and user unfriendly. The dungeons are also basically all like P5R's mementoes. I'm still...

      My opinion - the storytelling and music of P4G are as good, but the actual gameplay is a lot more tedious and user unfriendly. The dungeons are also basically all like P5R's mementoes. I'm still glad I checked it out, but it wasn't on the same level as P5R.

      When you finish P5R, Strikers is a nice epilogue imo.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        TheJorro
        Link Parent
        Every Persona game makes a big leap in playability over the last one. Persona 3 (including FES) was brutal even compared to P4G, especially when it came to the possibility of losing hours of...

        Every Persona game makes a big leap in playability over the last one.

        Persona 3 (including FES) was brutal even compared to P4G, especially when it came to the possibility of losing hours of progress to one bad fight. P4G at least let you replay from the start of the floor, P3 kicked you right back to your last save which could be hours prior with how sparse the save points were. Oh and you couldn't control most of your party, only the main character, so those bad fights were more common than you'd expect!

        P4G is definitely on the older side but it's at least got some QoL improvements compared to classic JRPGs. Mods on PC help this out even more too.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          psi
          Link Parent
          It's difficult to pick a "best" Persona game, as each has its own strengths. Persona 3 proves to be a game still evolving, having only just distinguished itself from the Shin Megumi series through...

          It's difficult to pick a "best" Persona game, as each has its own strengths. Persona 3 proves to be a game still evolving, having only just distinguished itself from the Shin Megumi series through the introduction of social aspects; these social aspects are improved in later iterations, with characterization peaking in Persona 4 Golden (2012, Vita) and the gamification of the social system peaking in Persona 5 Royal (2020, PS4).

          However, the series thematically peaks in Persona 3, with its singular focus on death. Persona 3 weaves this theme into every aspect of that game without becoming terribly edgy or redundant. Every character is affected by death in some way, and each responds differently: we meet the elderly parents who confront the burden of their son's memorial, the terminally ill student who must confront their legacy, and eventually a robot who wonders what it means to even be human. Naturally, as this is a JRPG, the students must eventually face the impending apocalypse; however, whereas other games present this as another challenge to overcome, Persona 3 presents the situation through the lens of abject hopelessness. Indeed, it is even possible to acquiesce to the supposed "inevitability" of the apocalypse, leading to one of the game's "bad" endings.

          And of course there's Tartarus, which is literally hell to play through.

          3 votes
          1. Akir
            Link Parent
            These are some pretty good observations. It actually meshes with my tastes to explain why I feel the way I do about the games; P3 was mildly enjoyable, P4 lost me, and I couldn't even be bothered...

            These are some pretty good observations. It actually meshes with my tastes to explain why I feel the way I do about the games; P3 was mildly enjoyable, P4 lost me, and I couldn't even be bothered with P5 which was so stylized and "videogamey" that I couldn't really enjoy it.

            2 votes
    2. lou
      Link Parent
      How hard, strategic, and complex does combat get? I don't have a lot of tolerance for predictable turn-based combat.

      How hard, strategic, and complex does combat get? I don't have a lot of tolerance for predictable turn-based combat.

      1 vote
  3. [2]
    Nivlak
    Link
    MARVEL SNAP I never thought a f2p mobile card game would be taking over my gaming time but here we are. It’s just so well made and the gameplay is incredibly addictive. This game is the definition...

    MARVEL SNAP

    I never thought a f2p mobile card game would be taking over my gaming time but here we are. It’s just so well made and the gameplay is incredibly addictive. This game is the definition of “one more game”. And it’s similar to games like Mario kart where it’s simple to pick up and get into but difficult to master.

    There are so many ways to win a game it seems endless at this point. I highly recommend for anyone who was thinking about it. I never played hearthstone or any other card time games other than Dead Mans Hand and poker.

    7 votes
    1. Mulligan
      Link Parent
      Been loving SNAP myself. I work in the industry as a CCG designer and there are so many amazing tweaks and improvements they've made to carve out a spot in the genre. I think there are parallels...

      Been loving SNAP myself. I work in the industry as a CCG designer and there are so many amazing tweaks and improvements they've made to carve out a spot in the genre. I think there are parallels to poker, especially with the locations. The game does an excellent job of building tension and leading players to impactful moments.

      I'm not in love with the acquisition model, but the game has taken over the bulk of my gaming hours.

      2 votes
  4. happimess
    Link
    I picked up Stray, and it's absolutely lovely. At its core it's a game about being a cat that wants to get outside, and it really captures the feeling. Movement feels good, the world is really...

    I picked up Stray, and it's absolutely lovely.

    At its core it's a game about being a cat that wants to get outside, and it really captures the feeling. Movement feels good, the world is really well crafted, and the story is good. I like the robots.

    6 votes
  5. meatrocket
    Link
    Resident Evil 4. I can't say anything to add to the discourse about this game, but I am really enjoying it. This is my first Resident Evil game and I've been coping with the horror elements a lot...

    Resident Evil 4. I can't say anything to add to the discourse about this game, but I am really enjoying it. This is my first Resident Evil game and I've been coping with the horror elements a lot better than I expected - horror games tend to seriously freak me out, but I think the fact that I have a little power to fight back makes it much more manageable.

    I do strongly recommend the Resident Evil 4 HD Project. (Project Site, Video) It's excellent... even if it did take over 4 days to torrent the whole thing.

    5 votes
  6. autumn
    Link
    I finished (the main quest of) Ooblets over the weekend. It doesn't look like there's a lot to do post-game, but it was a good 30-40 hours of cute, wholesome fun. Highly recommended if you enjoy...

    I finished (the main quest of) Ooblets over the weekend. It doesn't look like there's a lot to do post-game, but it was a good 30-40 hours of cute, wholesome fun. Highly recommended if you enjoy games like Pokémon, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing.

    My partner and I started a new game of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, because he wasn't watching when I played through my game over the past 2-3 years (lots of breaks). He keeps asking me what he's supposed to do / where he should go next, and I'm refusing to answer, because discovery is such a big part of the game! Hoping this will amp me up for the release of the sequel (prequel?) next summer.

    5 votes
  7. dubteedub
    Link
    I have been playing through God of War: Ragnarok and its been pretty good so far. The gameplay/action is still very solid, the scenes and locales are gorgeous and the developers really took more...

    I have been playing through God of War: Ragnarok and its been pretty good so far. The gameplay/action is still very solid, the scenes and locales are gorgeous and the developers really took more time to make the different realms feel alive and lived in, and the cast of characters are really cool and interesting. My only real gripe so far is that the pacing can be agonizing at times. The story switches perspectives and there have been a few points that just slowed to a crawl when all I wanted to do was go back out into the world and explore.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    Eidolon
    Link
    Pillars of Eternity I'd been meaning to play this for a while and have been enjoying it well enough. Lore and world is deep and some of the characters are quite intriguing. A lot of walking to and...

    Pillars of Eternity

    I'd been meaning to play this for a while and have been enjoying it well enough. Lore and world is deep and some of the characters are quite intriguing. A lot of walking to and from quest locations though, and with the isometric navigation this can get tiring. Most of the music I really liked. On ordinary difficulty I have had some really tough long fights which can be satisfying, even though I'm getting sort of OP now that I am near the endgame. May give Deadfire a go if I can pick it up on sale...not sure yet.

    I think what might be the missing piece compared to a lot of people is that I never played any of the classic isometric RPGs when I was a kid, like Baulder's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment....even modern ones like Divinity Original Sin 2 or Tyranny. I have played Disco Elysium which I adored so it got me into the genre. But I don't have the nostalgic spark that perhaps influences other people to heap so much praise on Pillars of Eternity. It's still a great game though.

    5 votes
    1. knocklessmonster
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Pillars of Eternity was my choice when I wanted to explore the genre and, while I haven't finished it, it's an amazing first choice. I would also recommend Tyranny if you haven't played it, it has...

      Pillars of Eternity was my choice when I wanted to explore the genre and, while I haven't finished it, it's an amazing first choice. I would also recommend Tyranny if you haven't played it, it has an interesting game world.

      And they go on sale quite often, so keep an eye out

      4 votes
  9. an_angry_tiger
    (edited )
    Link
    SimCity 4 again, after all these years. It's been 18 years, the game is a rickety piece of crap that has like 10 must-have mods to fix it, yet it holds up as a pillar of the genre and has only had...

    SimCity 4 again, after all these years.

    It's been 18 years, the game is a rickety piece of crap that has like 10 must-have mods to fix it, yet it holds up as a pillar of the genre and has only had one serious competitor after all these years (Cities: Skylines. New City was shaping up to be another but the developer disappeared).

    Still plays very well, UI is very intuitive and holds up (I also tried SimCity 3000 and that UI....does not). Looks gorgeous today, and even better with HD buildings and texture mods made by the community.

    There are a few things about it that I find staggering:

    • how good of a SimCity game it is
    • how good of a city builder it is
    • how little competition there is in the genre
    • how interesting, semi awkward, and creative the region mode is, to both work around the computer performance limitations of the time, but also to evolve the SimCity concept
    • how it got so little support after release: only Rush Hour released as an expansion afterwards, a shoddy sequel a decade later, and then the whole studio got shuttered
    • how much work the community has put in to supporting it even to this day -- no seriously, the biggest and most important mod (Network Addon Mod, https://www.moddb.com/mods/network-addon-mod ) released its latest version in September of this year, 18 years after release. people are still making new buildings for it, still finding ways to improve the game, still finding ways of investigating and fixing issues ("prop pox" -- a long-time thorn in the communities side, that was slowly making cities become useless without a cure -- finally got a root cause and complete fix in 2018 https://wiki.sc4devotion.com/index.php?title=Prop_Pox )

    anyway 10/10, yadda yadda, wish it got a lot more expansion packs and Maxis support, what can you do, maybe OpenSC4 will pay off and make the perfect city builder

    edit: and be sure to check out r/simcity4 to see the extent to the creativity people are still able to express using this old ass game: https://www.reddit.com/r/simcity4/

    4 votes
  10. Autoxidation
    Link
    I've been playing Darktide the past week for it's open prelaunch beta and it's been pretty fun! They've nailed the 40k atmospheric, the base combat loop is well done and feels great. It's still a...

    I've been playing Darktide the past week for it's open prelaunch beta and it's been pretty fun! They've nailed the 40k atmospheric, the base combat loop is well done and feels great. It's still a bit buggy and missing a few features but it's been a blast. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys the Warhammer universe and the difficult Left4Dead style coop gameplay.

    3 votes
  11. [5]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    1. Starmourn MUD The Lukewarm I took a break from Starmourn. I still consider it an excellent game, by far the most accessible and professional MUD I have tried. However, knowing how F2P games...

    1. Starmourn MUD

    The Lukewarm

    I took a break from Starmourn. I still consider it an excellent game, by far the most accessible and professional MUD I have tried. However, knowing how F2P games generally work, I saw the writing on the wall. In order to advance, I would need to fit my ship with several items that cost credits and to get those without paying I will have to, well, grind. My character is behind as well, even in some zones explicitly marked as suitable for my level. I don't have enough optimism in my heart to trust a freemium game without a lot more information, and there is not enough independent information about any specific MUDs out there.

    The goals of F2P games hardly ever align with players' goals, and there's an incentive to impose artificial limitations to increase the need for microtransactions.

    While it is generally possible to play without paying, doing so often requires a much higher commitment that not everyone will have the time or dedication to endure. I'd rather not become too invested in that kind of game, since even if everything's fine now there's absolutely no guarantee that the monetization model will remain the same. Either the price or the F2P grind may increase exponentially.

    If Iron Realm's history is any indication, increasingly predatory pricing is not off the table. According to some, it is not uncommon for people to spend from hundreds to thousands of dollars to get to the top in Achaea. And, given that Starmourn has less than 20 active players and paid staff, I can only assume they're not supported by a bunch of people sporadically paying 10 dollars for credits, but rather a few profitable whales.

    If you look at Starmourn's pricing page[1], you will see that their subscription tier costs 25 US dollars. That is more than both World of Warcraft and FFXIV. For a text game. Come on.

    I simply cannot believe that the game will not be optimized for paying customers, and I'm not inclined to play a game in a way that does not respect my time.

    To be clear, I would have no problem paying a fixed and fair fee to play a MUD game that I liked. That is just not the case for most F2P games.

    Will I come back to Starmourn? Maybe, if I'm bored or curious.

    The Bad

    It's hard to ignore the fact that you're sharing a huge universe with roughly 10 to 15 players. Spontaneous roleplaying is rare, people must "schedule" scenes, and you are mostly alone. Every once in a while someone will come to my assistance from the other side of the planet (I guess there's a "death feed" or something) in character, which is jarring from a roleplaying perspective.

    Another thing that put me off on Starmourn is that, because the player base is so tiny, I can't shake the feeling that I'm being observed. Not that I want to do anything wrong, I have no problem following the rules, but whenever someone comes to my aid I ask myself: "am I talking to a paid helper? Is that guy an admin? Are they reading every word I type in chat, or in-character communication?".

    MUDs are small towns filled with drama that regularly overflows to Reddit and other external forums. RP-MUDs seem specially drama-filled. In-game, you never know if you're talking to an admin, a developer, the CEO, or someone acquainted with them. They're on every channel, and there are only 15 online players at a time. On the one hand, this proximity can be a great way for everyone involved to connect with players' needs. On the other, it feels incredibly invasive. If anyone says something negative about a MUD game in an external forum, odds are that an admin will answer, and due to the low player base, it is not difficult to identify the author in-game, with in-game consequences. It's crazy. That is not specific to Starmourn, and I have no reason to believe Starmourn is any worse than other RP-MUDs in that regard. But I don't like feeling paranoid. Just so you know, I am, at this moment, scared that an admin might be reading. That is not how I should be feeling about a game.

    That would feel natural to me if I wasn't dealing with paid staff, but the transactional nature makes it super weird.

    Some of those admin-type characters even manage issues related to payment and credits in game. Maybe I'm too distrustful, but that intermingling feels creepy. Some of those "characters" are responsible for enacting paid roleplaying scenarios, making sure that scenes and narratives will take place by manipulating the world and puppeting NPCs (basically, they take over NPCs, answering in their place). There's no way this won't create a perverse incentive to prioritize these players and their narratives. My sentiments towards paid roleplaying in MUDs is that it is disgusting. There's no other way for me to put it.

    Also: Starmourn has intermediary directions such southeast and northeast. That's annoying.

    2. Aardwolf MUD

    I'm getting to a point where I'm playing more for enjoyment than for curiosity and research, and I wish to create a more sustainable long-term relationship with a MUD. Suddenly the idea of a low-effort, 100% actually free game sounded nice. I also wanted to experiment with a highly populated game, even if it's not such an intense experience (to be frank, RP-focused games can be draining. Sometimes I just want to get in, grind a little bit, and get out).

    So I decided to give Aardwolf another chance. This time, I went prepared, with Emacs and Org-Mode one Alt+Tab away. I now have no illusions that MUD games will just provide the information I need when I need it. This is not a graphical game, the parameters are not the same.

    It took me roughly 20 hours to get through the Academy, Aardwolf's extensive tutorial. However, this timeframe shouldn't scare you. If you are not ADHD and devoid of short-term memory (like me), you probably won't need to divide your attention between the game and 5'000 words of obsessively organized notes. Discounting that and numerous distractions, I could probably have finished the Academy in less than half that time. Still a lot of MUDing, but not nearly as intimidating.

    I enjoyed my time at the tutorial. Even though it was mostly text dumps with little interaction, there were a few tasks and quests as well. It is good to feel that I'm grasping the system, and I can tell that it was good preparation for what is coming.

    Aardwolf has lots of time-saving mechanics, it's possible to go around the world very quickly, and reading is usually optional.

    Fast-travel is unlocked from the start. There are redundant commands in many systems. speedwalks show a sequence of directions that you paste into the input to take you somewhere. runto <place> will do the same, but you don't need to copy and paste. These commands could be the same. There is also a find command, which will list places you can use with runto. On the subject of redundancy, there are three verbs for what is essentially the same thing: equipping things. wear <item> is for equipment, armor, etc, hold <item> is for wands, portals, etc, and wield <item> is specific for weapons. Why can't I use something like equip for everything instead? But that's the kind of thing you get with a game that is persistently running since 1996 without player wipes.

    Up until now, combat is simple, requiring less user input. Starmourn has no auto attack, making for an experience more similar to World of Warcraft. In Aardwolf, any attack I initiate will auto-repeat until the mob is dead. I'm not sure which is better, I seem to enjoy both equally.

    If you stop to read them, descriptions in Aardwolf are actually well-written and atmospheric. And the ASCII-art can be both beautiful and functional.

    There is no roleplay in Aardwolf, which can make for a detached experience. But I think it will get better when I enter a clan. Aardwolf has between 100 and 280 players online at any given time. You can play quests, do campaigns, PVP, laser tag (don't ask me how!), and Poker. I think I'll be busy for a while.

    Send me a message if you're interested in playing Aardwolf, I'd be happy to show you around ;)

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I played Aardwolf for a bit. I stopped playing because after a few days break that I had forgotten some important commands and the gameplay had become frustrating as a result. But if you can take...

      I played Aardwolf for a bit. I stopped playing because after a few days break that I had forgotten some important commands and the gameplay had become frustrating as a result.

      But if you can take the overwhelming number of verbs to memorize I think it’s a premier MUD with some fantastic design. I really liked the quests system and how it helped to keep track of objectives.

      Honestly though the thing I like the most about MUDs is interacting with people, and the problem with most old muds is that the worlds tend to be too big. Some of them try hard to make the world interactive (Discworld MUD comes to mind) and that does help, but it’s not quite the same thing.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I have played the Discworld MUD as well. I found it excellent in most aspects, but the things I disliked felt even more overwhelming than Aardwolf. Despite being released only 4 years prior to...

        I have played the Discworld MUD as well. I found it excellent in most aspects, but the things I disliked felt even more overwhelming than Aardwolf. Despite being released only 4 years prior to Aardwolf, Discworld feels a lot more dated. Maybe it hasn't changed as much since then.

        I do find Aardwolf overwhelming, and I don't think I would be able to play it if not for my extensive notes on Emacs Org-Mode. However, once you're over the hump, it has numerous quality-of-life features that make it manageable.

        The in-game help is good and displays on a separate window on the custom client. Aardwolf's custom client makes a world of difference. In-game numbers show that more than 90% of the players use it.

        Adding to your comment, the quests are well-written and well-designed, and I feel narratively engaged to a surprising degree. I thought Aardwolf would be all about bashing, but up until now, that is very much not the case.

        Anyway, let me know if you're inclined to revisit the game, it would be awesome to play with someone from Tildes ;)

        A SLIGHTLY OFF-TOPIC ADDENDUM

        In my view, a very old-school thing that should probably change about MUDs is that not every room needs an actual description. Sometimes you're in inner rooms that are just filler or grinding material, with nothing unique to them other than maybe a mob or an item. The description of the area should be sufficient, implicitly applying to them.

        When I'm playing a TTRPG, the DM won't even describe some rooms, heavily summarizing irrelevant passages. But, in MUDs, the impression I get from comments on Reddit is that a MUD that chooses a more sparse philosophy towards descriptions will be viewed as lacking effort, completeness, and sophistication.

        To me, being selectively sparse and selectively verbose would be a plus both from a mechanic and a literary perspective. Not every MUD has to be Tolkien or George R. R. Martin all the time. I want a MUD that is like Hemingway sometimes! That way, when a room has a super-long description, I will know it's important and will give it my full attention. Otherwise, I will be free to treat it mechanically.

        As it is now, players have a tendency to treat everything mechanically, and there are settings to remove descriptions altogether, that are replaced with a list of items and mobs, with no differentiation between rooms that are super important narratively, and rooms that are not. It will all follow the same verbosity setting.

        IDK. I don't think people are reading every single room, they're just scanning for information. Maybe a smarter approach to verbosity would make people engage more with the narrative. Descriptions shouldn't be fluff. And one way to make them more relevant is simply to have less of it.

        No one can accuse the MUD community of minimalism :P

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          Thanks, but I think I'm done with MUDs in general. Like I said before, I think you need to play with people to get full enjoyment out of it, and I rarely have a set time where I can play regular...

          Thanks, but I think I'm done with MUDs in general. Like I said before, I think you need to play with people to get full enjoyment out of it, and I rarely have a set time where I can play regular games, let alone have people depend on me for multiplayer. If I were to join another one it would probably be a MUCK/MUSH/MOO where it's basically chat plus light roleplay with whomever is online at the moment.

          Though honestly I've been thinking about them these days and I was thinking about how I might enjoy playing one of these again if it were built around puzzles like old adventure games and getting rid of combat, stats, and maybe even currency.

          I actually agree with your addendum; as much as I like to read, I don't care much about reading about places most of the time, and some MUD rooms have the tendency to sin by including lore in those descriptions. I don't remember which game I was playing, but I remember that there was a requirement for each room to have a title, a long description, and a summary description, and it had a lot of customizability about how it would relay them to you. By default it would give you the room title and long description the first time you visited and the title and summary each time you revisited. But you could also have it just list the exits, or even nothing at all if you wanted. It was perhaps the single best example of respect for the player's time that I've ever seen.

          2 votes
          1. lou
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            The idea of MUCK/MUSH/MOO games is incredibly attractive, and there are many places where you can do that. In my cursory observation, these kinds of roleplay games are the ones with more drama....

            The idea of MUCK/MUSH/MOO games is incredibly attractive, and there are many places where you can do that.

            In my cursory observation, these kinds of roleplay games are the ones with more drama. That scares me a bit, I have no interest in M*** politics and intrigue. That is one of the reasons I went to Aardwolf because it is the game where you can be the most anonymous.

            I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most social guy. Some might say I'm not social at all, and the idea that I will be dealing with any kind of cliques and intrigue makes me preemptively paranoid. So maybe these games are totally fine for a "normal" person".

            There are, however, roleplay games and experiences with a somewhat higher player count (so I can have a character without becoming relevant enough for cliques to notice me), such as Cybersphere and Arx, which as I write is showing 60 connections.

            Despite my apprehensions, I plan to check out Cybersphere[1] because I would like to play a character that is possible in a cyberpunk setting. But it's got intense roleplaying requirements, so I would need to understand the setting and submit a character for approval, with class and setting appropriate biography, etc, much as I would do on a TTRPG. I got lazy.

            [1] Checked now as a guest, it had 42 players in the last hour. I saw it with more than 60 concurrent once.

            1 vote
  12. grahamiam
    Link
    Just hit max level in Dragonflight. Only partially through the third story zone. Dragonriding is very similar to Guild Wars 2 mount abilities, but much more polished. The story is already way...

    Just hit max level in Dragonflight. Only partially through the third story zone.

    Dragonriding is very similar to Guild Wars 2 mount abilities, but much more polished. The story is already way ahead of Shadowlands, with a couple of great quiet moments - highly recommend not rushing through and listening to the ambient dialogue as you go.

    We'll see what the "endgame" has to offer. The 2nd half of Shadowlands was the longest I've gone without playing WoW since the game launched (with 2nd half of WoD a close second). My hopes are low, and not a lot of friends have come back this round, but we'll see.

    2 votes
  13. [4]
    DanBC
    Link
    Playstation 2 emulation appears to be simple, but unfortunately my pc is underpowered. The CPU exceeds the minimum spec; the GPU does not meet the minimum specs, so the games I want to play work...

    Playstation 2 emulation appears to be simple, but unfortunately my pc is underpowered. The CPU exceeds the minimum spec; the GPU does not meet the minimum specs, so the games I want to play work but are not playable. This is unlikely to be fixable with emulator settings. It might be fixable with a better low profile GPU, but I don't want to spend the money on it. Xbox original emulation was, with the emulator I tried first, baffling. The emu had a very fixed requirement for ROMs, and the ROMs sites were supplying them in different forms, and conversion took an age.

    So, the game I've been playing is "get this to work", which is (in this case) quite enjoyable. I'm lurking on emu forums, working out how to search them to see if the questions have been answered or not, and working out how to ask the questions.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      When you get Xbox emulation running (honestly surprised we’ve finally got that at a playable state TBH), I highly recommend playing Panzer Dragoon Orta. It was and remains my only reason to own...

      When you get Xbox emulation running (honestly surprised we’ve finally got that at a playable state TBH), I highly recommend playing Panzer Dragoon Orta. It was and remains my only reason to own any Xbox hardware whatsoever.

      3 votes
      1. DanBC
        Link Parent
        Ooh, I didn't know that was available on Xbox!

        Ooh, I didn't know that was available on Xbox!

        1 vote
      2. arghdos
        Link Parent
        That and Jet Set Radio Future were the reason I held onto my original Xbox for so long… I’ve since given up on it though. Maybe I’ll have to check out the 2020 remake!

        That and Jet Set Radio Future were the reason I held onto my original Xbox for so long… I’ve since given up on it though. Maybe I’ll have to check out the 2020 remake!

        1 vote
  14. teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I recently put in about 50 hours in Skyrim: Special Edition. Now that I've finished the main quest, the civil war, the dark brotherhood, and the thieves guild quest lines I've moved on to...

    I recently put in about 50 hours in Skyrim: Special Edition. Now that I've finished the main quest, the civil war, the dark brotherhood, and the thieves guild quest lines I've moved on to Oblivion. I have it running on my Steam Deck with NorthernUI. Does anyone have any must-have mod recommendations? I'm looking for general gameplay enhancements because I'm used to the streamlined and refined experience of Skyrim.

    1 vote