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Recanting Some Degree Of My Recent Listlessness

While the last entry had me feeling odd about the mix of games I was involved in, this entry has me wondering what I was thinking to have the stance I did about them at all.

My assertion that ArcheAge gave me too many labor points was being looked at from the wrong direction: it is not that I have too many labor points for the time I had to play, but rather that I do not actually want to invest the time needed to spend that many labor points. 
What was I thinking?  I don't have enough time to commit to playing a single MMORPG; I really rather just sample an assortment of games of shorter duration while trying to find ones that truly push the envelope of virtual worlds.  Then I recollect that I knew exactly what I was thinking: the virtual world draw never fades.  Trion Worlds hardly had to dangle the hook of a slightly-more-compelling virtual world MMORPG for me to thrust myself onto the end of it.

Sitting here now, with a character at level 41 (out of 50), it is easy to glance forward at what core activities await... and see I have already largely exhausted the gameplay potential of:
  • Combat, Crafting, Questing - Just like any other MMORPG, been there, done that. 
  • Working a plot of land - Great on paper, but ArcheAge's implementation of this activity lacks elegance on the GUI level; it is very awkward trying to maximize the space on my tiny farm plot, and the individual watering of each plant is something that really should have been automated.  What do I get for all this effort?  Resources that go into crafting and trading, more things that do to exactly lend to riveting gameplay.
  • Epic open-world player versus player combat -Which is implemented very well in ArcheAge... but I have long since chalked up open-world combat as being inherently flawed because PK for PK's sake is absolutely worthless in terms of introducing meaningful gameplay.  Call me a carebear, but I think that's a half-truth at best: I would rather there was significantly more reasonable context involved in these actions.
About the only thing I can really look forward to in ArcheAge is its excellent implementation of naval combat, which is light years ahead of any other MMORPG... and about a half a lightyear behind specialized single player experiences such as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  Also, the castle sieging might be better than anything currently on the market, but it's mostly just standing on the shoulders of Jake Song's previous MMORPGs.  But whether navel combat or castle sieging, it falls under the umbrella of that open-world PvP.

I have invested as much money on ArcheAge it would cost for three AAA games, but I should have known better: I have far too many unplayed games on my plate to commit that much of time to a single game.  More to the point, I think I would rather waste my time on something with more brains to it, like Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup or Minecraft.  The brainlessness of MMORPGs is that they are often designed to burn as much time accomplishing as little as possible on activities that are not that hard to master.
It may look weird, but once you're piloting this ship, you've got it made.
Meanwhile, I think I may have a poor grasp of understanding the balance of Starpoint Gemini 2.  (Either that, or one of these various patches LGM released had changed it.)  I gave the game another play, and found myself to be wrong on multiple fronts:
  • I was wrong to say that Starpoint Gemini 2 scales poorly - I was mislead because I had transitioned from a Taurus-class Gunship to a Philidephia-class Frigate and found I was getting killed about as quick in the larger ship than the smaller one, so it appeared as though upgrading my ship was futile.  However, when I upgraded to an Aristarch-class Destroyer, I found that I could soak damage with relative impunity.  So, if there is poor shield-potency scaling in Starpoint Gemini 2, it may be limited to the transition from small-sized to medium-sized ships.
  • I was probably wrong to say that Starpoint Gemini 2 scales with character level - Actually, it seems that the main thing that scales with character level are some of the dynamic side-jobs offered.  Aside from that, I have encountered tiny Gunships trying to engage my Destroyer, with the predictable results, so it would seem scaling is not universal.
Of course, this does not mean that the game is perfect.
  • My assertion that "Fire At Will" mode could use a means to designate targets to be ignored still holds as true.  
  • Capturing ships is hampered by more randomness in the troop encounters than I would like.  
  • Missions to capture ships do not mention how many troops you will need ahead of time, leading to many impossible missions.  
  • Grappling the captured ships is unreliable, causing them to sometimes become untethered in "power to engine" (fast speed) flight, and turning around to re-grapple them is really awkward.
It seems probable that Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous will completely overshadow Starpoint Gemini 2... but they are still a long way off, and Starpoint Gemini 2 is a pretty decent game to play in the meanwhile.
The necessities of a poor sim.

Finally, my attempts at running a "legacy game" in The Sims 4 is not working out particularly well.  I will say that this is probably the way the game is meant to be played, without cheats, and your descendants inheriting an increasingly-sprawling manse.  However, it gets just as monotonous in the long run.

In this particular lineage game, my founder started off as an aspiring artist.  He took his 1,800 starting simoleons and supplemented it by harvesting every natural resource he could lay his mitts on for a day or two, upon which he had his basic necessities (toilet, refrigerator, bed) and an easel to start refining his artistry.

After a day and a half of real life play, my founder has met his artistic aspiration, is at the top of his carrier track, has a wife and two kids, and has earned over 100,000 simoleons.  Most of this was earned by simply churning out paintings that, at his talent level, range from 1,000 simoleons to (rarely) over 20,000 simoleons in value.  I kept most of the masterpieces simply to enhance the environment of the household so everybody is cheery most of the time. 

My founder sim is only about half-way through his adulthood and has not used the Fountain of Youth potion yet.  Generation two (of ten) is not even out of childhood yet, and I consider this game beat.  Maybe I should have gone for "short" game length instead of "standard?
The same Sim, mid-way through adulthood, has grown his tiny shack into all this
I am left wondering why I should bother with legacy rules at all.  I might as well circumvent the need to procreate with a steady supply of Fountain of Youth potions.  I suppose that it is a little more challenging to pass the torch to the next generation, but the challenge is only in the short term.  Once the next generation finds their footing, the inhibitions on success are minimal, and ten generations is enough to realize the greater bulk of The Sims 4's content.

I know what I must do.  I need to break open Unity or (failing even that much motivation) GameMaker and plug in a little time every day until I am good an familiar with using them.  At that point, perhaps I can harness some of my relentless finickiness in refining my own idea of a game.  By doing so, I could switch from bitching about the problem towards trying to find the solution.  However, this has been the plan for about a year now, and I have not demonstrated myself capable of doing that thus far.  Time will tell if I manage to overcome this block.


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