22 votes

In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG

74 comments

  1. [23]
    vakieh
    Link
    That's great Polygon - there are plenty of other games out there for you. Don't you dare fuck with long, rich RPGs or I will come to your house and steal all of your casual games.

    That's great Polygon - there are plenty of other games out there for you. Don't you dare fuck with long, rich RPGs or I will come to your house and steal all of your casual games.

    37 votes
    1. [14]
      NaraVara
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The depth and richness of a game is, more or less, fixed. The only question is over how much time it's going to be spread out. You can get your peanut butter on a slice of toast or spread out over...

      Don't you dare fuck with long, rich RPGs or I will come to your house and steal all of your casual games.

      The depth and richness of a game is, more or less, fixed. The only question is over how much time it's going to be spread out. You can get your peanut butter on a slice of toast or spread out over an entire loaf. 100 hour games are richly padded with purposeless, procedurally generated content rather than engaging gameplay.

      9 votes
      1. [11]
        JakeTheDog
        Link Parent
        That's a gross generalization. They can be just filler/padding like in No Mans Sky (I think that's the one) and to an extent Mass Effect (those other planets get boring quick). But not so if...

        100 hour games are richly padded with purposeless, procedurally generated content rather than engaging gameplay.

        That's a gross generalization. They can be just filler/padding like in No Mans Sky (I think that's the one) and to an extent Mass Effect (those other planets get boring quick). But not so if you're looking to immerse yourself in the world of the game. Fallout 3 had plenty of side quests that offered more perspective on the world. Witcher 3 as well. It all depends on the developers.

        11 votes
        1. [10]
          NaraVara
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Fallout 3 was mostly formulaic and connected by looooong stretches of wandering around repetitive and uninteresting environments doing lots of nothing. It's not quite as bad as the radial quest...

          Fallout 3 had plenty of side quests that offered more perspective on the world.

          Fallout 3 was mostly formulaic and connected by looooong stretches of wandering around repetitive and uninteresting environments doing lots of nothing. It's not quite as bad as the radial quest system they put into Skyrim, but it was very padded. The "more perspective on the world" was pretty thin gruel. I made my point about Witcher elsewhere in the thread.

          4 votes
          1. JakeTheDog
            Link Parent
            Welp, like any other analogous topic on a forum regarding art: to each their own.

            Welp, like any other analogous topic on a forum regarding art: to each their own.

            3 votes
          2. [8]
            TheJorro
            Link Parent
            Your points for both those games just makes it seem like your problem with open world games is that they're not linear, guided experiences.

            Your points for both those games just makes it seem like your problem with open world games is that they're not linear, guided experiences.

            3 votes
            1. [7]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              Why is your alternative to “linear and guided” by default a repetitive Skinner box? This is a failure of imagination on your part and a willingness to maintain low expectations of game developers....

              Why is your alternative to “linear and guided” by default a repetitive Skinner box?

              This is a failure of imagination on your part and a willingness to maintain low expectations of game developers. Games like Diablo or any rogue like offer non-linear play styles and even procedurally generated that actually offers challenge and engagement every step of the way instead of just padding game length.

              A game like Crusader Kings offers incredible scope for emergent storytelling with basically no guidance whatsoever. Dream bigger!

              1 vote
              1. [6]
                TheJorro
                Link Parent
                That's not my alternative. I don't have an alternative. I'm not sure whose argument you're responding to but I suspect that it's one you've fabricated so you can present more of your own ideas as...

                That's not my alternative. I don't have an alternative. I'm not sure whose argument you're responding to but I suspect that it's one you've fabricated so you can present more of your own ideas as if it's a counterpoint.

                All I said is that all your various comments on the Witcher 3 and Fallout 3 have convinced me of something very different than you intended. The games you offer in this comment only make me believe that more, with one slight adjustment: you seem to be want games to be entirely narratively driven or not at all, nothing in-between.

                2 votes
                1. [5]
                  NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  You saw a statement about procedurally generated filler content being bad and concluded that means I just want linear, guided experiences. That is the alternative you articulated. Don’t pull this...

                  That's not my alternative. I don't have an alternative.

                  You saw a statement about procedurally generated filler content being bad and concluded that means I just want linear, guided experiences. That is the alternative you articulated.

                  Don’t pull this sophistic BS where you pretend you don’t have a perspective just so you don’t have to defend the implications of what you’re saying. It’s a lame tactic to always be on offense that is extremely transparent and makes it hard to maintain an assumption of good faith.

                  seem to be want games to be entirely narratively driven or not at all, nothing in-between.

                  How do you take a statement where I explicitly call out a game for doing a good job at enabling emergent story telling through game mechanics and decide that means it must be all or nothing? This makes no sense in the context of anything I said.

                  1. [4]
                    TheJorro
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    You realize it's improper to tell other people what they saw and believe? You haven't once asked me what I did see, but you've assumed what it must have been twice now. What is this nonsense now...

                    You realize it's improper to tell other people what they saw and believe? You haven't once asked me what I did see, but you've assumed what it must have been twice now.

                    What is this nonsense now about not having a perspective? Of course I have one, I've provided it twice now. You haven't asked for me to explain it yet, you're sidestepping it again.

                    And you've misunderstood what I meant when I said it's all or nothing. I said your new examples of emergent stories added the "nothing" to the previous notion of your needing story baked into every aspect of a game, creating the "all or nothing". Consider: you haven't once named an open world game you don't have a problem with, all the games you give as examples of what open world action RPGs can aspire to are completely different kinds of games. I'm left with nothing except to conclude that your ideal open world action RPG game is not an open world action RPG, but either a linear, guided experience or a freeform game with no narrative structure.

                    1. [3]
                      NaraVara
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      If you were so willing to jump in and assert a bad faith reading of someone else's perspective without invitation, I'm not sure why you feel like you need to be asked before providing your own or...

                      You haven't once asked me what I did see

                      If you were so willing to jump in and assert a bad faith reading of someone else's perspective without invitation, I'm not sure why you feel like you need to be asked before providing your own or to explain yourself.

                      What is this nonsense now about not having a perspective?

                      That doesn't quite jive with this statement: "That's not my alternative. I don't have an alternative"

                      And you've misunderstood what I meant when I said it's all or nothing. I said your new examples of emergent stories added the "nothing" to the previous notion of your needing story baked into every aspect of a game, creating the "all or nothing".

                      I cannot parse what this sentence is trying to say.

                      Consider: you haven't once named an open world game you don't have a problem with, all the games you give as examples of what open world action RPGs can aspire to are completely different kinds of games.

                      If that's what you wanted, why not ask for it instead of making bad-faith statements about what I've said and hoping it will magically goad you into telling you what you want to hear? Your method of engaging in a conversation is focused entirely on "being on offense" instead of contributing a perspective or trying to arrive at some sharing of ideas which is a, frankly, obnoxious way of carrying on a conversation that is endemic to the internet.

                      When it took 3 bad faith summations of my comments before you asked me a single relevant question you wanted answered, it makes me think you're not actually interested in what I have to say about game design so much as finding nits to pick so you can have an excuse to write the argument off without needing to engage with it.

                      What is the value of "open world action RPG" exactly anyway? Once your genre has 3 or 4 adjectives attached to describe it, that might be a good sign that emphasis is being too much on maintaining a genre definition than about actually making a fun or interesting game.

                      Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild focused on actual gameplay being fun in its context instead of trying to max out the numbers on size and quantity of quests and they're leagues above everything that came before in terms of being able to tell a story through atmosphere and player engagement instead of just putting a bunch of checklists on a quest log. And it's not even that new, Metroid Prime was telling a story this way on the Gamecube. It's something you can do when you focus on making sure the player is engaged and having fun instead of trying to make the numbers bigger for whatever metrics you think will make impressive marketing copy.

                      1. [2]
                        TheJorro
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        The person who keeps putting words in the other person's mouth has no grounds to accuse the other person of "bad faith". This entire conversation has been me telling you to stop making up...

                        The person who keeps putting words in the other person's mouth has no grounds to accuse the other person of "bad faith". This entire conversation has been me telling you to stop making up arguments I did not say and then arguing against those phantom points.

                        This comment is no exception. I'm not going to engage with this ridiculously hostile and aggressive style of yours any further, it's just argument for the sake of argument. It's asinine that you would accuse me of "being on offense" when all of your comments (in this entire comment section—that Bioshock 2 comment of yours is prime "yikes" material) have been condescending, pointed, accusatory, and deflective. Now it's getting into you trying to blame me for everything without any acknowledgement about how you keep assuming what I said and never once seeking to clarify. You still can't even give a summary of what I did say and why, can you? Honestly, it's like arguing with teenagers on reddit all over again, I'm done with it.

                        Frankly, (and this is, quite literally, all of what I have to say—you'll note none of it is in any of your comments despite all of your "SO YOU'RE SAYING X" statements) I just want you to just be honest that you hate all open world action RPGs and stop pretending like you have some reasonable criticism about games of that kind when it all just boils down to "they should be any other game at all", especially with all the discrete, separated, and frankly bad points you did bring up between the two games (especialllllly for reviving that zombie of "ludonarrative dissonance" fad criticism that should have died 4 years ago). That's not criticism, that's just finding reasons to complain about something you don't like under the guise of identifying "problems". It's armchair criticism.

                        1. NaraVara
                          Link Parent
                          This is some serious projection. Your first post involved restating my arguments as a reductive false dichotomy and saying nothing else. And it went on from there. I pointed out this was a false...

                          This entire conversation has been me telling you to stop making up arguments I did not say and then arguing against those phantom points.

                          This is some serious projection.
                          Your first post involved restating my arguments as a reductive false dichotomy and saying nothing else. And it went on from there.

                          I pointed out this was a false dichotomy so your second post pivots to setting up a different false dichotomy.

                          At that point I picked up on the sophistry you were trying to pull and called it out as speaking in bad faith. At this point you had to step away from being short, quippy, and argumentative to actually having to say something because I imagine it became untenable to keep that tactic going once called out on it.

                          Frankly, I just want you to just be honest that you hate all open world action RPGs

                          And there it is. You decided this was my position all along and you've been trying to decontextualize or frame whatever I say to support as conclusion you want me to have so you can avoid engaging with any of the criticisms I've put forward. This is why you expressed no actual interest in understanding what I'm actually saying or trying to engage with any specific point I've made, because your objective was to find excuses to throw my criticisms out rather than to engage with them directly.

                          But this is much more refreshing. You've finally actually articulated what you think so we have an actual subject to discuss.

                          especially with all the discrete, separated, and frankly bad points you did bring up between the two games

                          Simply asserting that points are bad doesn't make them so bud. You're not providing any reasoning here. There are no statements of values or opinions that you try to justify through a sequence of logic that one expects from a productive discussion. It's just a long-winded "nuh uh!"

                          just finding reasons to complain about something you don't like

                          Explaining why you like/don't like the things you like/don't like is exactly what criticism is dude. It's sounding like you're taking some personal offense to valid criticisms being put on a genre you enjoy. It's perfectly fine if the points being criticized don't bother you as much as they do others, but I don't understand why one would get so defensive about the fact that they do bother others.

      2. [2]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        Would you kindly explain to me how Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has the same depth and richness as... Bioshock 2?

        The depth and richness of a game is, more or less, fixed.

        Would you kindly explain to me how Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has the same depth and richness as... Bioshock 2?

        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Hold up Bioshock TWO!? The first one I might grant, but 2 was extremely derivative and uninspired. As for 1, basically lightning in a bottle and the gameplay loop itself started to wear thin in...

          Hold up Bioshock TWO!? The first one I might grant, but 2 was extremely derivative and uninspired.

          As for 1, basically lightning in a bottle and the gameplay loop itself started to wear thin in the last few hours despite it being pretty short. There is no way it would have been made better by stretching it from a 10 hour game to 20 or 40.

          Same with any CoD game. You can run through them in about 4 hours. Is there any additional value you get out of the story or gameplay loops by stretching them further? Their single player campaigns are as long as they need to be to serve up a few Michael Bay set pieces and leave you to it. If you enjoyed it, you can just play them again instead of having the development time spread out over more gameplay, which will only result in less play testing, less inspired design, and less varied or interesting levels.

          4 votes
    2. [7]
      Amarok
      Link Parent
      Amen to that. Give me the three thousand hour RPGs, please. The filthy casuals can have the rest. That reminds me, Skyrim special edition ought to be ready for serious modding by now...

      Amen to that. Give me the three thousand hour RPGs, please. The filthy casuals can have the rest.

      That reminds me, Skyrim special edition ought to be ready for serious modding by now...

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        vakieh
        Link Parent
        /r/ultimateskyrim It's not on SSE (and isn't likely to be for years) but it's the most stable and best playing Skyrim build in existence.

        /r/ultimateskyrim

        It's not on SSE (and isn't likely to be for years) but it's the most stable and best playing Skyrim build in existence.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          Amarok
          Link Parent
          I've got a much better build than that (which started with this guide), something like 1k mods baked in for oldrim. It's on ice on my fileserver right now sucking up over a hundred gigs of space....

          I've got a much better build than that (which started with this guide), something like 1k mods baked in for oldrim. It's on ice on my fileserver right now sucking up over a hundred gigs of space. I can install it on a virgin copy of oldrim in about fifteen minutes plus the copy time. No way I was going to delete/lose that build since I spent hundreds of hours stitching the mods together on it.

          I wanted to do that again but this time with SSE since it's a vastly improved engine. I've been waiting for Requiem to release a SSE version but apparently that still hasn't happened. Best I can find is a loverslab conversion guide.

          6 votes
          1. Wes
            Link Parent
            I admire these behemoth Skyrim packs. Though personally I'm waiting for wabbajack to mature to let others do the hard work for me.

            I admire these behemoth Skyrim packs. Though personally I'm waiting for wabbajack to mature to let others do the hard work for me.

            1 vote
        2. [2]
          Nexu
          Link Parent
          I'm intrigued... between this and Amarok's comment below, you're stirring my Skyrim modding loins... I find that installing the mods and getting the build working is almost more compelling than...

          /r/ultimateskyrim

          I'm intrigued... between this and Amarok's comment below, you're stirring my Skyrim modding loins...

          I find that installing the mods and getting the build working is almost more compelling than actually playing it. 20 hours and hundreds of mods down the line, I'll play for about 30 mins then uninstall everything for about 6 months.

          5 votes
          1. Amarok
            Link Parent
            Ultimate is definitely the easiest way to get started. Hands down the best guide to get a heavily modded game with little effort. The guide I ran there is far, far more detailed because it delves...

            Ultimate is definitely the easiest way to get started. Hands down the best guide to get a heavily modded game with little effort. The guide I ran there is far, far more detailed because it delves into more advanced modding tools that teach you how to resolve issues between plugins for yourself. It's only better if you are a masochist who likes to learn.

            Definitely make sure you use Requiem as the base of your modding, though. Requiem rolls the clock back to the Morrowind days and turns Skyrim into a proper RPG instead of an arcade shooter. Both guides include it. ;)

            3 votes
        3. Eric_the_Cerise
          Link Parent
          Here's another vote for Ultimate Skyrim. I've been a supporter for years. It's what got me back into both modding and Skyrim.

          Here's another vote for Ultimate Skyrim. I've been a supporter for years. It's what got me back into both modding and Skyrim.

    3. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      "I don't usually threaten people, but when I do, I threaten to take away what is most dear to them".

      "I don't usually threaten people, but when I do, I threaten to take away what is most dear to them".

      6 votes
  2. [10]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    I have to agree, and I don't think there's really anything deep about the hundred hours RPGs. It's just a bunch of filler side quests that don't add to the story or really do anything for you....

    I have to agree, and I don't think there's really anything deep about the hundred hours RPGs. It's just a bunch of filler side quests that don't add to the story or really do anything for you. Cool, you can fish or play poker for 20 hours, but is anyone except the most dedicated completionist actually going to? I'm not against these games existing, I played through RDR2 and enjoyed the main game. I just don't have the patience for all the time sinks.

    26 votes
    1. [8]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      I mean Witcher 3 for example had very little time sinks, almost every quest had an actual story attached to it that was interesting. The only real timesink was probably Gwent, and that was a fan...

      I mean Witcher 3 for example had very little time sinks, almost every quest had an actual story attached to it that was interesting. The only real timesink was probably Gwent, and that was a fan favourite.

      13 votes
      1. [6]
        Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        I did really enjoy The Witcher 3, even played through all the DLC, although I probably sat down for one single game of Gwent the whole time. Even in that game most of the side quests are just...

        I did really enjoy The Witcher 3, even played through all the DLC, although I probably sat down for one single game of Gwent the whole time. Even in that game most of the side quests are just fetch quests that get repetitive after a while. The side quests with a story were a lot of fun though.

        7 votes
        1. [5]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          Right? The Bloody Baron is incredibly memorable, despite being some random sidequest. Many of the rest... less so.

          Right? The Bloody Baron is incredibly memorable, despite being some random sidequest. Many of the rest... less so.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            Weldawadyathink
            Link Parent
            Minor nitpick, isn't the baron a main quest? Also, I think where Witcher 3 shines is not that it's side quests are necessarily memorable after the fact, but that they are more interesting than...

            Minor nitpick, isn't the baron a main quest?

            Also, I think where Witcher 3 shines is not that it's side quests are necessarily memorable after the fact, but that they are more interesting than fetch quests while playing them.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              Is it? Dang. I remember the quest more than the surrounding narrative. But yeah, it's not even really a problem that at its very simplest the goal is "go a place and do a thing", it's that we want...

              Is it? Dang. I remember the quest more than the surrounding narrative. But yeah, it's not even really a problem that at its very simplest the goal is "go a place and do a thing", it's that we want there to be an interesting story to it. Even Lord of the Rings would be boring if it was:

              Quest
              Go to Mordor.
              Use One Ring (Quest Item) on Volcano.

              3 votes
              1. Grzmot
                Link Parent
                I think the game catalogues it as a side quest, but it's required to finish the "Search for Ciri in Velen" main quest, as the finishing Baron's storyline gives you info on Ciri.

                I think the game catalogues it as a side quest, but it's required to finish the "Search for Ciri in Velen" main quest, as the finishing Baron's storyline gives you info on Ciri.

                1 vote
          2. Diet_Coke
            Link Parent
            Bloody Baron was phenomenal, I really liked the Pookah one too

            Bloody Baron was phenomenal, I really liked the Pookah one too

      2. NaraVara
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Witcher 3 had plenty of time-sinks, like the whole crafting system. They bothered to tie an actual story to them, but very little of it actually ties into the overarching themes or central plot of...

        Witcher 3 had plenty of time-sinks, like the whole crafting system. They bothered to tie an actual story to them, but very little of it actually ties into the overarching themes or central plot of the game in any way. They actually foster a lot of Ludo-narrative dissonance where the sense of urgency of the main plot is constantly undercut by the fact that your main character is running a bunch of errands for people and investigating question marks on his map.

        In other words, it was a very good implementation of a fundamentally flawed gameplay paradigm. It was good enough to paper over the flaws, but doesn't make them stop being flaws. The core gameplay loop was not engaging enough to actually carry through the full length of the game. This becomes especially clear if you play the core game and all the DLCs all the way through.

        My informal test of this sort of thing is to think about how likely am I to want to replay the game once I finish it. Very often I want to experience the story again, but the side-quests and gophers things are almost never worth the time to do twice. Witcher's real strength is when they introduce the good side-quests. They give you lots of great ones right up at the start, at some key points in the middle, and right as the climax of the story comes in. It does a good job of making you forget about how much empty filler there is when you get through it. You need to take a bird's eye view of how you've spent your time before you start to notice.

        5 votes
    2. rogue_cricket
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I kind of agree too. There are long games I've enjoyed, but then when I think about games I've actually sunk the most hours into they're games which are dense rather than just long. That is,...

      Yeah, I kind of agree too. There are long games I've enjoyed, but then when I think about games I've actually sunk the most hours into they're games which are dense rather than just long. That is, there's a reason to do multiple play-throughs in that the game allows for creativity or multiple play styles rather than just one really long main storyline or tons of side-quests.

      At the very least I'll echo the desire for an in-depth quest log. My favourite was actually... there was one of the Pokemon games that actually showed you a little slideshow of the last few things you did, if it's been a while since you loaded your save. I thought that was great.

      3 votes
  3. [10]
    Grawlix
    Link
    This article seems... weird. It's not really saying anything. The author's life and personal preferences makes them lean towards shorter games. Cool, totally valid. But so what? I don't mean to...

    This article seems... weird. It's not really saying anything.

    The author's life and personal preferences makes them lean towards shorter games. Cool, totally valid.

    But so what? I don't mean to sound stand-offish, but this isn't a new or particularly interesting idea. It's been said before, and there are plenty of games filling this niche, as evidenced by the example of The Outer Worlds, from the same people who made several Fallout games. Demands already met.

    Between the headline ("In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG") and the sub-heading ("Please. You can’t make everything a side quest.") the cynical part of me thinks this article is just trying to get people riled up. The author distinctly isn't calling for fewer giant games to be made, but the language, especially up front, makes it sound that way. That's going to piss off dickheads on the internet who are outraged by the two sentences they bothered to read, which is going to cause drama, and that means clicks. Bleh.

    Now that I look at it, it worked. I checked this author's bio on Polygon, and this article has over 200 comments, while most of their others barely break into the double digits. Again, this is on an article that, in my opinion, says nothing new or interesting. It's a blog post masquerading as an op-ed.

    14 votes
    1. [4]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I mean, what were you expecting from an op-ed? It's expressing the opinion of one of the writers who dislikes modern open world games.

      I mean, what were you expecting from an op-ed? It's expressing the opinion of one of the writers who dislikes modern open world games.

      8 votes
      1. [3]
        Grawlix
        Link Parent
        I mean, ideally, I would think that in order for a news outlet to publish an op-ed, it has to be compelling enough to be worth reading. Obviously that's going to be subjective, but I would look...

        I mean, ideally, I would think that in order for a news outlet to publish an op-ed, it has to be compelling enough to be worth reading. Obviously that's going to be subjective, but I would look for something like an in-depth analysis of a timely issue, or a bold prediction for the future, or at least a somewhat novel opinion on a topic.

        This is just "I prefer shorter games," said in a few hundred words. This is barely worth a Tweet, but Polygon thought it was worth putting up on their website. It's one thing to play it safe, but this is just boring and completely insubstantial.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          I feel like you're overly dismissive of the article. For one thing, That's not even an op-ed If it's a well researched point, then it would also likely be outside the realm of op-ed and into...

          I feel like you're overly dismissive of the article. For one thing,

          but I would look for something like an in-depth analysis of a timely issue

          That's not even an op-ed

          bold prediction for the future

          If it's a well researched point, then it would also likely be outside the realm of op-ed and into article zone, and if not is probably less substantive than this one

          Op-eds are not supposed to be filtered to only be "ground breaking" opinions.

          2 votes
          1. Grawlix
            Link Parent
            I really don't think I'm being unfair. I did phrase it poorly when I said "in-depth analysis." What I should have said was "an opinion communicated in a thoughtful and engaging way," and this...

            I really don't think I'm being unfair.

            I did phrase it poorly when I said "in-depth analysis." What I should have said was "an opinion communicated in a thoughtful and engaging way," and this isn't it. It's unoriginal, insubstantial, and boring. Obviously there's going to be some personal opinion in there, but I really don't see any substance to this article. It's 100% fluff.

            They don't have to be ground-breaking, but they should say something that couldn't be adequately summarized in one lean Tweet.

            4 votes
    2. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      It's the latest trend in games journalism; oppinion pieces without oppinions. You also see a lot of articles with more than one writer specifically so there is a "counter" so nobody gets upset. I...

      It's the latest trend in games journalism; oppinion pieces without oppinions. You also see a lot of articles with more than one writer specifically so there is a "counter" so nobody gets upset. I assume it's because gamers tend to be relatively caustic in how they handle disagreements? It's very unusual.

      5 votes
      1. Grawlix
        Link Parent
        Yeah. And I don't blame Polygon for that at least. I mean, it still bugs me that the Polygon subreddit was taken by GamerGate, and the admins refuse to do anything about it because they let people...

        Yeah. And I don't blame Polygon for that at least. I mean, it still bugs me that the Polygon subreddit was taken by GamerGate, and the admins refuse to do anything about it because they let people create and mod subreddits on a first-come, first-serve basis, and then play hands off to reap the value of that unpaid labor while absolving themselves of responsibility of any wrongdoing unless and until it violates the law.

        ...okay, that got off topic. :p

        My point is, yeah, I understand not wanting to publish something that's too controversial, but this swung the needle so far in the other direction it broke off. It's phrased as though it's provocative, when really it says nothing, so we can go through the motions of a heated debate without anyone actually saying anything important, or having to digest a meaningful statement. It's just theater, a shadow puppet of a hot take.

        3 votes
    3. mrbig
      Link Parent
      You’re basically complaining about the choice for persuasive language in an opinion piece, which are persuasive by nature.

      You’re basically complaining about the choice for persuasive language in an opinion piece, which are persuasive by nature.

      3 votes
    4. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Yep, that's what headlines often do these days and that's how social media works. How do we deemphasize headlines and break that feedback loop? But remember that professional writers usually don't...

      Yep, that's what headlines often do these days and that's how social media works. How do we deemphasize headlines and break that feedback loop?

      But remember that professional writers usually don't choose headlines like bloggers do, so they shouldn't be blamed if they're clickbait.

      2 votes
      1. Grawlix
        Link Parent
        I guess you'd have to remove the profit incentive somehow, which is difficult, what with capitalism being a thing. :p But yeah, it just works too well. Just judging by the number of comments, this...

        I guess you'd have to remove the profit incentive somehow, which is difficult, what with capitalism being a thing. :p

        But yeah, it just works too well. Just judging by the number of comments, this one has nearly double of the author's next most commented article, which was an actual review of the highly-anticipated The Outer Worlds. Most of their articles don't get one tenth as much engagement as this article.

        As long as outlets need money, they're going to be either gaming or gamed by the system. :/ Crowdfunding might be the least bad option, short of, you know, post-capitalism.

        2 votes
  4. [6]
    reese
    (edited )
    Link
    I see games in two dimensions: breadth and depth. Breadth only demands time on the player's part, whereas depth demands significant cognitive load and consequent time of the player. Think of...

    I see games in two dimensions: breadth and depth. Breadth only demands time on the player's part, whereas depth demands significant cognitive load and consequent time of the player. Think of breadth like walking on a road. Depth also involves walking on that road, but additionally includes climbing each tree next to it along the way. With those dimensions, we can make up "exemplary" quadrants:

    1. Little Breadth, Little Depth - Don't Shit Your Pants
    2. High Breadth, Little Depth - Skyrim
    3. High Breadth, High Depth - Pillars of Eternity
    4. Little Breadth, High Depth - Dark Souls

    Now, some people will argue that Skyrim has high depth, because of the history and lore, but here I'm talking about how most people play Skyrim. Some players will claim Dark Souls has high breadth because of New Game Plus, but it's just the same linear levels with slight variations. After all, in Dark Souls you very much learn the levels in depth, as with the combat and probably lore. And I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there are people who have spent over 50 hours playing Don't Shit Your Pants after showing it to all their friends, relatives, and coworkers over the course of several years.

    But, I will make no effort justifying my characterization of Pillars of Eternity, since it's pretty obvious, and falls under the category that the article's author is referring to.

    The issue with games featuring both high breadth and depth is that the two dimensions compound on one another in terms of time commitment. Not just that, but games with high depth tend to require a strong short-term memory of the game's controls and goings-on—obviously some games are easier to jump into at a moment's notice than others. Anybody can jump into Don't Shit Your Pants. Assuming the game doesn't crash from all of the mods, I can jump into Skyrim pretty much immediately as well. With Dark Souls I would need some time to acclimate, despite being a seasoned player. Finally, if I open up Pillars of Eternity right now, I'll have no fucking idea how to play the game, I won't know where I am, and I could only vaguely guess at what's happening.

    Point being, I applaud the author's acceptance that having more or less time doesn't make you more or less of a gamer, it just means certain kinds of games may or may not be realistic undertakings for you.

    7 votes
    1. [5]
      hungariantoast
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is literally why I started a whole new playthrough of Pillars of Eternity. There was simply no way I was going to be able to pick back up and reconnect with my last playthrough. Part of why I...

      Finally, if I open up Pillars of Eternity right now, I'll have no fucking idea how to play the game, I won't know where I am, and I could only vaguely guess at what's happening.

      This is literally why I started a whole new playthrough of Pillars of Eternity. There was simply no way I was going to be able to pick back up and reconnect with my last playthrough.

      Part of why I wouldn't be able to reconnect with my old playthrough is simply because there is so much to do.
      I'm forty hours into my current playthrough, but am only about halfway through the game. If I stop playing for six months, my memory of those forty hours is going to be completely lost. There is so much content, story, and detail, I wouldn't remember anything about the quests I was in the middle of or the characters I encountered.

      So, part of Pillar of Eternity's depth comes from the details put into the game's story. The intricacies of quests, how they can be solved in different ways, the relationships between characters, etc.

      At the same time, Pillars of Eternity also has a relatively complicated combat system, compared to something like Skyrim.

      In addition to the depth of the game's content, the other reason I wouldn't be able to reconnect with an old playthrough is the depth and complexity of the game's mechanics. This is exacerbated by my desire to play Pillars at a high difficulty level. If I played the game on its easier difficulties where mistakes, strategies, and preparation were less important, then I would have a much easier time loading an old save, getting into some encounters, and at least progressing through the combat portion of the game.

      However, coming back to a playthrough on a higher difficult forces you, from the very next encounter, to relearn the game's mechanics immediately, or else you probably aren't going to survive.

      To summarize, I think Pillars of Eternity's high breadth comes from a massive amount of content, of stories, quests, and tasks to complete. Its high depth comes from the amount of detail baked into that content, such as the various ways to complete most quests, how characters and the world react to your actions and dialogue choices, as well as the complex gameplay mechanics.

      I guess that's my justification for why Pillars is a high breadth, high depth game.


      I'd also like to note, even though it seems obvious after typing it out, that the issue I have with reconnecting with old Pillars of Eternity sessions isn't shared with other, more complex games like Dwarf Fortress. The answer for why that is though, is actually kind of obvious, I think.

      In my opinion, due to its length and the investment required to complete it, Pillars of Eternity is not a "high replay" game. Most people will probably go months or years between playthroughs, if they even play through the game more than once. Because of that, it's pretty safe for players to forget how damage reduction, spell casting, or rest bonuses work in Pillars after they quit playing. Some content, like certain class features, players may never have to deal with at all.

      Dwarf Fortress on the other hand, what with its motto of "Losing is fun!", demands you become familiar with and master its mechanics to progress, lest your fortress crumble into ruins. Dwarf Fortress' high replayability, in my opinion, makes it an easier game to reconnect with, because of how it forces lasting familiarity and repetition of its mechanics.

      So, I may pick up an old fortress mode save from a year ago, and not have the first fucking clue of what I was trying to accomplish, but I can still recognize that I don't have walls constructed, or a moat, or any farms, no still either, and shit, one of my dwarves is a vampire.

      I might not be able to recall what I was doing, but I can recognize problems and solutions and immediately get back to playing.


      Finally, if I may indulge myself with a few more words:

      I honestly don't know if I prefer high breadth and high depth, or high breadth and low depth. Admittedly, I care more about my experiences with Pillars of Eternity, I think it's a better, more sophisticated piece of art, and I think I feel more rewarded accomplishing things in that game.

      On the other hand, I have at least twice the number of hours put into Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 each, than I do with Pillars of Eternity.

      Bit of a conundrum, to be honest. Especially considering I'd like to build a roleplaying game one day.

      5 votes
      1. reese
        Link Parent
        Oh, same here, but I'm not sure if it's a conundrum. It's because you already know that you can jump in and out of a game like Skyrim with little time needed to find your bearings. The warmup...

        On the other hand, I have at least twice the number of hours put into Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 each, than I do with Pillars of Eternity . . . Bit of a conundrum, to be honest.

        Oh, same here, but I'm not sure if it's a conundrum. It's because you already know that you can jump in and out of a game like Skyrim with little time needed to find your bearings. The warmup period approaches zero. Regardless of your tastes, you'll more regularly select games with little warmup time, because, not only is the warmup process not gratifying, but it's literally a duration of no gratification that you have to be willing to endure. Adding insult to injury, this is when you want to play a game, so you're already primed for preferring immediate gratification. Furthermore, compared to Pillars, a game like Skyrim requires less cognitive load—your brain is not a fount of unlimited processing power, and neither is mine. Subconsciously I think we get clued into selecting less cognitively demanding activities when our brain or body has more to worry about in the background, whether combating emotional trauma, infection, etc.

        Ultimately this all means that we play less time-consuming games longer than more time-consuming ones. It seems like a conundrum or paradox, but it's really just because we're animals. It's the same reason why we can't all constantly submit original, high-quality content to Tildes. You'll notice large spans of time between good posts. They require somebody to sit down and think. You can describe that same thinking process in terms of breadth and depth, because we're all just biological machines whose output can be described by computational complexity. There's much more I want to explore and qualify on that note, but I'll save it for a blog post later down the line.

        And remember, breadth (b) and depth (d) compound on each other. Think of it not as b + d, but instead as b * d. That's why if b is exclusively high, or d is exclusively high, then we're talking about roughly linear processing. If they're both high, well, then the processing is nonlinear.

        1 vote
      2. [3]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        Welp, you just sold me on Pillars.

        Welp, you just sold me on Pillars.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          reese
          Link Parent
          FYI, many people find themselves more gripped by Tyranny's story than that of Pillars—Pillars, I think, takes more warmup time. Personally, I think I like the Tyranny characters more, too. Look at...

          FYI, many people find themselves more gripped by Tyranny's story than that of Pillars⁠—Pillars, I think, takes more warmup time. Personally, I think I like the Tyranny characters more, too. Look at reviews on them both, or, if you have the money lying around, just buy both lol. They're both excellent. Never played Pillars 2, though, so no comment on that one yet.

          2 votes
          1. ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            For what it's worth: I'm not much of a fantasy guy. Not that I don't like the genre: it just isn't as gripping to me as it was a decade ago. I think I like games that are fantasy-genred for the...

            For what it's worth:

            I'm not much of a fantasy guy. Not that I don't like the genre: it just isn't as gripping to me as it was a decade ago. I think I like games that are fantasy-genred for the stuff they have in them – city/state management aspects, crafting, character creation and progression – than the setting or the atmosphere.

            Pillars of Eternity was an immediate "oh, hell no" from me 'cause it had this typical fantasy vibe of the world's fate is in your hands which I find saccharine. Mind you, I did try both of the games, 'cause maybe I was wrong... Didn't take me.

            Tyranny, though, I loved. It's grittier and more visceral than your regular fantasy – than Pillars, for my taste – without losing on the escapism. It feels more grounded, but no less "alien" (in the "this is definitely not our reality" meaning).

            1 vote
  5. [4]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    Also relevant, interesting, and something I might post a separate topic for later: The Outer Worlds’ quest log is perfect for me: a dumb, tired adult

    Also relevant, interesting, and something I might post a separate topic for later:

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      smoontjes
      Link Parent
      Sounds a lot like a game I might actually like. Witcher 3 was too big for me to handle and I'm tired of WoW after playing it for like 13 years. I'll have to wait for a sale though because I am not...

      Sounds a lot like a game I might actually like. Witcher 3 was too big for me to handle and I'm tired of WoW after playing it for like 13 years. I'll have to wait for a sale though because I am not paying 60 euro for games anymore. Can't really justify it.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        If you don't feel strongly about owning the game, it's available on Xbox Game Pass for PC which should be very cheap to start with (there's probably a deal available that's 1 euro for the first...

        If you don't feel strongly about owning the game, it's available on Xbox Game Pass for PC which should be very cheap to start with (there's probably a deal available that's 1 euro for the first month or two).

        Even if you do feel strongly, Game Pass might be a good way to try it out first and decide if you actually want to buy it.

        6 votes
  6. markh
    Link
    I am replaying Pillars of Eternity, and it’s awesome. I’d love an immersive, well-done 100-hour RPG. I think the real argument here is “don’t stretch a game to be longer than is necessary”. I’m...

    I am replaying Pillars of Eternity, and it’s awesome. I’d love an immersive, well-done 100-hour RPG. I think the real argument here is “don’t stretch a game to be longer than is necessary”. I’m not seeking out 100-hour games, I’m seeking great games. If they happen to take me 100 hours, great.

    7 votes
  7. [2]
    ThyMrMan
    Link
    I wouldn't use The Outer Worlds as my example of a good short RPG personally. Sure I finished it in 30 hours, but the closer you get to the end the less finished and polished it feels. Those side...

    I wouldn't use The Outer Worlds as my example of a good short RPG personally. Sure I finished it in 30 hours, but the closer you get to the end the less finished and polished it feels. Those side quests you do don't really effect anything at all, and your epilogue video has a good chance of being completely wrong depending on your choices.

    So sure it is pretty short, but it doesn't feel like a full complete game that meant to be that long. Instead more of forced to be that length due to time and money constraints.

    6 votes
    1. Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      Glad I'm not the only one! Spoilers Lots of quests in edgewater were basically go here, talk to person. Monarch has both awesome quests, and some real boring fetch quests. Still a great game, but...

      Glad I'm not the only one!

      Spoilers

      Lots of quests in edgewater were basically go here, talk to person.

      Monarch has both awesome quests, and some real boring fetch quests.

      Still a great game, but I didn't do a single Byzantium sidequest. Was about ready to be done once I got there

      1 vote
  8. [8]
    JakeTheDog
    Link
    Am I the only one not satisfied with anything less than 100 hrs? I have 140 hrs on Witcher 3 and that was me rushing the end because I had a busy couple of months coming up. Same goes with Fallout...

    Am I the only one not satisfied with anything less than 100 hrs? I have 140 hrs on Witcher 3 and that was me rushing the end because I had a busy couple of months coming up. Same goes with Fallout 3. If I'm paying $80 for a game I want a solid season of story and exploration.

    I rather play fewer, deeper games than many short, superficial games. I want to be immersed like a good book series.

    5 votes
    1. SunSpotter
      Link Parent
      Nope, I feel the same way. The idea of filler doesn't bother me as long as it's immersive. I guess the fun for me is the adventure and the immersion. The story comes second. And that definitely...

      Nope, I feel the same way. The idea of filler doesn't bother me as long as it's immersive.

      I guess the fun for me is the adventure and the immersion. The story comes second. And that definitely shows in my play style too. I love that in The Elder Scrolls you can spend dozens of hours not even doing anything, just ignoring the main quest and still have fun. Then there's the game Kenshi which doesn't even have a main questline. You just go out and create your own story, interacting with a dynamic world.

      I'd rather put a few hundred hours in that, instead of a quick storyline.

      5 votes
    2. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Amen. And I honestly don't even care if a big chunk of an RPG is "filler" content full of fetch quests so long as the world is immersive and the characters dotted throughout are interesting enough.

      I rather play fewer, deeper games than many short, superficial games. I want to be immersed like a good book series.

      Amen. And I honestly don't even care if a big chunk of an RPG is "filler" content full of fetch quests so long as the world is immersive and the characters dotted throughout are interesting enough.

      1 vote
    3. [5]
      cwagner
      Link Parent
      With over 1k h in Pathfinder: Kingmaker and currently reading an over 2k pages book: I wholeheartedly agree ;)

      With over 1k h in Pathfinder: Kingmaker and currently reading an over 2k pages book: I wholeheartedly agree ;)

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        anahata
        Link Parent
        What's the book you're reading that's over 2000 pages?

        What's the book you're reading that's over 2000 pages?

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          cwagner
          Link Parent
          It’s a trilogy, but I bought it as an omnibus. The Zones of Thought Series: A Fire Upon the Deep, The Children of the Sky, A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge, SciFi space opera and highly rated...

          It’s a trilogy, but I bought it as an omnibus. The Zones of Thought Series: A Fire Upon the Deep, The Children of the Sky, A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge, SciFi space opera and highly rated from 1992 (first book), yet for some reason it managed to completely stay off my radar even though I love space opera.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            anahata
            Link Parent
            Aha, thank you! Seems pretty epic. Would love to hear what you think about it in a more appropriate thread. :)

            Aha, thank you! Seems pretty epic. Would love to hear what you think about it in a more appropriate thread. :)

            1 vote
            1. cwagner
              Link Parent
              Just as a short FYI (I’ll write something longer in the bi-weekly book thread): Get the first book, assume the story ends and there was never a follow up written.

              Just as a short FYI (I’ll write something longer in the bi-weekly book thread): Get the first book, assume the story ends and there was never a follow up written.

  9. [3]
    cwagner
    Link
    I find it interesting that the article is about a game that is mainly made out of filler quests and has very little else (besides often hilarious, but also often too over the top writing). Sounds...

    I find it interesting that the article is about a game that is mainly made out of filler quests and has very little else (besides often hilarious, but also often too over the top writing). Sounds more like what the author wants is instant gratification, fast food.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      TheJorro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The article doesn't have a problem with the quality of the content, but the volume. It's more apt to say they're looking for a good dinner instead of a good five course meal.

      The article doesn't have a problem with the quality of the content, but the volume. It's more apt to say they're looking for a good dinner instead of a good five course meal.

      1. cwagner
        Link Parent
        Yes, but they are lauding a game that is mostly filler is what I’m saying. So I disagree with the good meal.

        Yes, but they are lauding a game that is mostly filler is what I’m saying. So I disagree with the good meal.

  10. mrbig
    Link
    Gaming is weird. It's the only media where it's commonplace to say "yeah, I'm only 40 hours in. Just at the beginning. Can't really say much". Or to hear: "oh, you only invested 10 hours into it?...

    Gaming is weird. It's the only media where it's commonplace to say "yeah, I'm only 40 hours in. Just at the beginning. Can't really say much". Or to hear: "oh, you only invested 10 hours into it? That's nothing!".

    3 votes
  11. aymm
    Link
    That's one thing I'Ve always loved about Borderlands 2. You can complete it in a couple hours (maybe 20-25 or so?), but if you feel like it, there's plenty to do if you want to put in more than...

    That's one thing I'Ve always loved about Borderlands 2. You can complete it in a couple hours (maybe 20-25 or so?), but if you feel like it, there's plenty to do if you want to put in more than that, and you can easily go tp 150h or so without getting bored

    2 votes
  12. [2]
    babypuncher
    Link
    Everyone said this would happen to me, but I'm 30 and still don't have this issue. In between getting home from work and going to bed on a typical weekday, I spend maybe an hour preparing food and...

    Everyone said this would happen to me, but I'm 30 and still don't have this issue. In between getting home from work and going to bed on a typical weekday, I spend maybe an hour preparing food and other household chores. That leaves a good 5 1/2 to 6 hours of free time to spend on whatever I feel like that day. Throughout the week that gets spent on games, reading, TV/movies, and programming.

    I think the real problem is, some people just don't value video games as much as they value other hobbies, so they devote less time to them. That is fine, there are lots of video games designed to spend less time in.

    2 votes
    1. anahata
      Link Parent
      I think that part of it is also that a lot of people are working more hours these days and so don't have as much free time as they used to. I'm realizing how fortunate I am to be working a...

      I think that part of it is also that a lot of people are working more hours these days and so don't have as much free time as they used to. I'm realizing how fortunate I am to be working a strictly 40 hour week to make an extremely comfortable living. Many friends work several jobs and put in a lot of hours. This means they don't have the time to get through a 100 hour game in a reasonable amount of time. You and I are apparently outliers in modern society, but I'm very happy to be that outlier.

  13. [3]
    Thrabalen
    Link
    Finally, a useful review! puts game on discard pile

    All of those 20 hours are a good time, and then the game’s done! There’s no more!

    Finally, a useful review! puts game on discard pile

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      balooga
      Link Parent
      Counterpoint: Where The Outer Worlds shines is in multiple playthroughs, with different choices and playstyles. Ally with different factions, focus on melee/ranged/stealth/leadership/pacifism,...

      Counterpoint: Where The Outer Worlds shines is in multiple playthroughs, with different choices and playstyles. Ally with different factions, focus on melee/ranged/stealth/leadership/pacifism, assemble different companion squads or go lone wolf. Personally, if a game takes too long to complete one way, I'm not likely to revisit it for a second run. This game puts replayability within reach for me.

      5 votes
      1. Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        I'm just wired differently. I like long games. My favorites are ones that I personally never complete, which is why sandbox is my thing.

        I'm just wired differently. I like long games. My favorites are ones that I personally never complete, which is why sandbox is my thing.