February 2024 General Gaming Discussion Thread

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@Pifanjr let's do a test. After you hit "play" in Palworld, select "customization" and turn off the need for food. If that doesn't make you like the game better, then it's probably not the "survival" but the "sandbox" that you don't like. In early access, Palworld is sort of an extreme example of "sandbox". But it may always be that way. No idea.

They have never done a game with narrative. That's kind of a reason I like them. For me, the opposite of sandbox is narrative, and I don't care for narrative, but it's really all the same thing. There's progression in Palworld and a final boss, for instance. There's just no one telling you why you are progressing or hoping you'll save the world.

@Pifanjr Also, Subnautica is a survival game, and you liked it okay. I think in the case of Palworld you probably just need more direction and purpose, like from at least some degree of narrative.

As for Fallout 4, a lot of people seemed not to like it. Not sure why. For me it was the narrative. I just couldn't get into it. I loved Fallout 76, but it's co-op, so that really doesn't count. Also the story wasn't trying to dominate my time. It was there, but it wasn't intrusive.

I've been thinking about this. You're right that Subnautica has survival mechanics, but those were also my main complaint with the game. It's also true that I prefer some structure in my games, which narrative works well for.

I think my main problem isn't really survival mechanics or a lack of narrative necessarily. I think it goes back to the fact that my main motivation for playing games is Discovery. I want to discover new mechanics, new ways to play the game and new content.

Survival mechanics often add a lot of tedium to the game, like needing to grow, cook and eat food and gathering and organising resources. The main enjoyment I get from survival mechanics is automating them away, which Palworld actually does a good job of. I would have liked if Subnautica gave you a recipe to lower the rate at which you needed to drink, or removed the need for drinking entirely.

Sandbox games seem like they would be perfect for Discovery, but I feel they often lack a sense of structure and enough content to keep them interesting. Almost by definition sandbox games don't have narrative (though it's possible to at least include world-building/lore) and narrative is a great way to add both structure and content. However, you can have structure without narrative. Terraria for example gives you a whole bunch of bosses to defeat, each with their own mechanics and defeating them often changes the game in some way. Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress have no narrative but create structure by having a list of needs that need to be taken care of, as well as random events that need to be reacted to. Minecraft on the other hand has very little structure, but it does have a ton of content in the form of different biomes, structures and items to find, which often unlock new mechanics to play with.

For me, Palworld needs more things to discover. Catching different Pals is fun, until you have like 2 dozen different ones and you realize catching more of them isn't really going to change the gameplay. After that, there's no real reason to upgrade your stuff, as all you can do with it is catch more Pals. There also isn't really any reason to explore other biomes, because all you can find there are different Pals that do the same thing as your current Pals, except (maybe) faster. You can defeat bosses, but their mechanics are (almost) the same as regular Pals and defeating them doesn't give you new mechanics to play with.
 
Sandbox games seem like they would be perfect for Discovery, but I feel they often lack a sense of structure and enough content to keep them interesting. Almost by definition sandbox games don't have narrative (though it's possible to at least include world-building/lore) and narrative is a great way to add both structure and content. However, you can have structure without narrative. Terraria for example gives you a whole bunch of bosses to defeat, each with their own mechanics and defeating them often changes the game in some way. Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress have no narrative but create structure by having a list of needs that need to be taken care of, as well as random events that need to be reacted to. Minecraft on the other hand has very little structure, but it does have a ton of content in the form of different biomes, structures and items to find, which often unlock new mechanics to play with.

Fantastic. This is how I feel about many sandbox games, except I havent really liked Minecraft either. Without any structure a game feels meaningless to me. Against the Storm only has a cursory narrative but theres a wider structure to the game that gives context to what youre doing minute to minute as you work towards goals and eventually a final battle. If it was just a series of unrelated scenarios with no wider context it may not have held my attention as well.

I feel like 15+ years ago most games were more structured, even strategy games usually had a campaign with narrative to pull you along and an ending, unless they were wide enough in scope for each game to feel like its own journey, like a Civ.
 
Fantastic. This is how I feel about many sandbox games, except I havent really liked Minecraft either.

Now that I think about it, I have always played Minecraft either with friends or with mods, so I guess the extra content in Minecraft isn't actually good enough to keep me engaged by itself.

The mods I use add structure by giving a tech tree to work through, with each mod typically having some unique mechanics for progressing through their tech tree, usually with additional mechanics unlocked as you get further through each mod and allowing novel ways to combine the mechanics from different mods.
 
Now that I think about it, I have always played Minecraft either with friends or with mods, so I guess the extra content in Minecraft isn't actually good enough to keep me engaged by itself.

The mods I use add structure by giving a tech tree to work through, with each mod typically having some unique mechanics for progressing through their tech tree, usually with additional mechanics unlocked as you get further through each mod and allowing novel ways to combine the mechanics from different mods.

I know theres tons of stuff you can do with it, its just I missed the boat, no friends that ever played it, was probably too old. I've only really played it on the Switch with my kid, and she just likes to catch animals and grow gardens around our castle. Its fine for that but its just digital Lego to me.
 
Nearly complete with Cyberpunk. Burnt myself out on it, putting 85 hours of gameplay into it over a course of little over a month will do that to you. Needing a new game to play once I’m done.

I’ve been wanting a good platformer, and was really looking at Pizza Tower but it’s no longer on sale now. Might need to give Celeste another go, that game was very interested and had a lot of cool mechanics.

Game Pass has been quite dull for the past month. I wanted to try Palworld but its not as good as the Steam version since Microsoft requires verification for updates, and if I’m not mistaken, I read once that you have to pay to put an update out for Xbox and GP. I think this is because Microsoft wants to ensure the games work properly with each update and there isn’t a small hotfix that borks the game, but most developers who push out many hotfixes and small patches like a lot of early access games tend to do on Steam, they fix anything that breaks the game pretty quickly. Microsoft needs to fix that update structure in my opinion.
 
Nearly complete with Cyberpunk. Burnt myself out on it, putting 85 hours of gameplay into it over a course of little over a month will do that to you. Needing a new game to play once I’m done.

I’ve been wanting a good platformer, and was really looking at Pizza Tower but it’s no longer on sale now. Might need to give Celeste another go, that game was very interested and had a lot of cool mechanics.

Game Pass has been quite dull for the past month. I wanted to try Palworld but its not as good as the Steam version since Microsoft requires verification for updates, and if I’m not mistaken, I read once that you have to pay to put an update out for Xbox and GP. I think this is because Microsoft wants to ensure the games work properly with each update and there isn’t a small hotfix that borks the game, but most developers who push out many hotfixes and small patches like a lot of early access games tend to do on Steam, they fix anything that breaks the game pretty quickly. Microsoft needs to fix that update structure in my opinion.
Honestly, I think the whole Xbox thing is causing the PC updates to be slower, too. I don't think they want them to get too far apart. Probably shouldn't do early access on Xbox if they are going to be pains in the butt about updates.

*******

Bought Arms Trade Tycoon: Tanks this morning despite several angry kickstarter user reviews that don't apply to me.

Game looks great, but, wow, is it overwhelming. The level of complexity is through the roof. Not sure I'm ready to learn the game this morning. May need a nap and some electro-shock therapy first (if we live in a cartoon world and electro-shock therapy gives you more energy). @Brian Boru you seem like the kind of person who people might occasionally electrocute to get you functioning properly. Do you have lots of extra energy afterwards?
 
Game Pass has more games in its library than I have in total. What makes it so dull?
Personally I can’t find anything I’d really enjoy. I’ve had GP on and off for about 4-5 years and over 50% of the library hasn’t changed. Most new games they add I’m just not interested in. I should use it as a way to try new things I otherwise wouldn’t, but really I’d rather play something I know I will enjoy instead of taking a risk on something I normally wouldn’t play.
 
Personally I can’t find anything I’d really enjoy. I’ve had GP on and off for about 4-5 years and over 50% of the library hasn’t changed. Most new games they add I’m just not interested in. I should use it as a way to try new things I otherwise wouldn’t, but really I’d rather play something I know I will enjoy instead of taking a risk on something I normally wouldn’t play.
I use it as a demo service. I've bought several games on Steam from there after trying them out, but also played a few games from start to finish if I didnt think I would play them more than that. It probably saved me some money on balance because theres a good few games on there I would have bought to try and probably just not played after. If there's nothing there that interests me after I finish a game or I'm playing something elsewhere I just unsub until I see something interesting I want to play again.
 
I'll start calling FPS's, "bullet tossers".

Oh hey, good stuff—I already call RPG players "NSFW tossers".

I've been thinking about this

You have indeed, well said!

I dropped Subnautica after getting into busy work. I don't mind needing food, but having to catch/grow raw stuff and then prep/cook it—what is this, real life sim?

my main motivation for playing games is Discovery

What's your Gamer Profile say?

you can have structure without narrative

That's one of my fav setups. Structure to make strategy and tactics meaningful and interesting to experiment with, while still fashioning my own narrative on the day.

electrocute to get you functioning properly. Do you have lots of extra energy afterwards?

In a way—main effects are my hair stands on end and uncontrollable rapid shaking for ~an hour. They find latter useful for hooking me up to a dynamo to recharge mobile devices in the wild. Former is only useful when I'm also due a haircut—30 seconds with a hedge trimmer, done.

I just unsub

So that's a painless process?

Next fest underway, any games that have caught anyone's eye?

I've started Millennia Demo briefly—looks very nice—and downloaded Global Conflagration Demo for a later look-see.

ETA also just downloaded Small Kingdoms—possibly interesting. @ZedClampet edit after you saw post :)
 
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@Pifanjr @Kaamos_Llama I think the main thing about sandboxes is that people who are more creative tend to like them, but
Sandbox games are all different and have different levels of structure. More importantly, each sandbox has a theme, and if you don't like the theme, you won't like the sandbox. If you don't care about Pals, then definitely don't play Palworld.

Satisfactory, for instance, is a sandbox, but has a huge amount of structure. But if you don't like engineering huge factories, you still won't like it. Based on @Pifanjr 's description of structure, so has Ark Survival Evolved, but its theme is prehistoric creatures. If you don't care at all about those, then you probably won't like it. Palworld actually has a decent amount of structure, too, with a lot of leveling and improving and goals, etc. (BTW, it is completely inaccurate to saying that after the first couple dozen Pals that it doesn't matter if you catch more).

The thing about Palworld, like the other games I mentioned, is that if you don't find that getting Pals and breeding Pals and getting perfect Pals, etc. is fun, then the game is just not for you. Why would anyone want to play Palworld or Pokemon when you don't find collecting critters fun? That's literally the point of the games. Millions of people love it, but that doesn't mean everyone has to. Millions of people love Fortnite, but I don't. Same with games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, which I find sleep-inducing.

Every game is not for everyone.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Nearly complete with Cyberpunk. Burnt myself out on it, putting 85 hours of gameplay into it over a course of little over a month will do that to you.
You who? 157 hours since the last week of December here. ;)
Brian Boru you seem like the kind of person who people might occasionally electrocute to get you functioning properly. Do you have lots of extra energy afterwards?
You're thinking of `lectoids from Buckaroo Banzai
View: https://youtu.be/GjA92f_iCHQ?si=MxfP-gAHjSBftXj1
 
For some reason, a certain Polish publisher has started adding playtest builds for unreleased games to my Steam library. Did I do hardcore drugs and agree to something I don't remember? More than likely whatever happened occurred at 3 am when I had been 48 hours with no sleep. I've scoured my emails looking for correspondence but haven't found anything. Jebus, what did I tell these people? Maybe they just added them to the wrong account. Or maybe it's some weird new marketing ploy. I have no idea what's going on.

Edit: After thinking about it more, I think that it's possible that I actually signed up for these playtests a long time ago, like 2 or 3 years ago. I don't remember doing it, though. I don't want to put their name here because there is a small chance they might show up and start hawking their games, and they are a large publisher (despite acting like a small one) that we probably don't want to deal with. But if you take the word "Play", and then you add a word like "Way" after it, that should give you a hint. They probably have 100 games on Steam and another 100 on the way. That looks like an exaggeration, but it isn't.
 
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Elden Ring: Well, I beat Margit (sp?) in my third try, which I think is okay. I'm stopping here, though. I really wanted to play this co-op. My kids told me they wanted to play, so I bought this right after Christmas, and then nothing. I get tired of all the non-stop combat when I'm alone. Would be so much better with a partner. Guido's already finished it by himself long ago. If he didn't want to play it again, he should have just told me. My kids have a hard time saying "no".
 
Last Epoch finally launches 21 Feb 2024. I will have to have a look at it again then.

if you own it already, they released Deluxe & Ultimate editions, if you want either just pay for the upgrade price -
 
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So that's a painless process?

There a few clicks but if using a password manager or already signed into MS account it takes about a minute, Just unsubbed myself because I havent played for a few days. Re-upping is the same as its also through MS account. One click once you get there.

@Pifanjr @Kaamos_Llama I think the main thing about sandboxes is that people who are more creative tend to like them, but
Sandbox games are all different and have different levels of structure. More importantly, each sandbox has a theme, and if you don't like the theme, you won't like the sandbox. If you don't care about Pals, then definitely don't play Palworld.

Satisfactory, for instance, is a sandbox, but has a huge amount of structure. But if you don't like engineering huge factories, you still won't like it. Based on @Pifanjr 's description of structure, so has Ark Survival Evolved, but its theme is prehistoric creatures. If you don't care at all about those, then you probably won't like it. Palworld actually has a decent amount of structure, too, with a lot of leveling and improving and goals, etc. (BTW, it is completely inaccurate to saying that after the first couple dozen Pals that it doesn't matter if you catch more).

The thing about Palworld, like the other games I mentioned, is that if you don't find that getting Pals and breeding Pals and getting perfect Pals, etc. is fun, then the game is just not for you. Why would anyone want to play Palworld or Pokemon when you don't find collecting critters fun? That's literally the point of the games. Millions of people love it, but that doesn't mean everyone has to. Millions of people love Fortnite, but I don't. Same with games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, which I find sleep-inducing.

Every game is not for everyone.
Only teasing about sandbox games, I know thats on me. I cant shake the feeling if I was to spend hours building something alone in Minecraft or whatever then I could have just been making something real instead. I can see a way a crafting game could use mechanics woven with a narrative and structure to be really interesting, its just that a lot of devs focus on the sandbox when to me thats only half a game.
 
With steam's -Next fest underway, any games that have caught anyone's eye? The only game so far is caesar's revenge a melee boomer shooter of sorts. But besides that? nothing thats enticed me to to download yet.

I've had Caribbean Legend on my wishlist since someone brought it to my attention when I said I liked the Pirates of the Caribbean game that was based on Sea Dogs. It apparently has a demo now, so I'll have to find some time to try it out.



In short, I'm a Slayer / Bard and my top three primary motivations are Action, Immersion and Social and my top three secondary motivations are Destruction, Community and Discovery.

I think the Social and Community scores are so high because I like playing with friends. However, I care very little about playing with random people. I'm fine with it when playing a game of Vermintide 2, but I have never been active in a guild in my life, nor have I ever made a friend while playing a video game.

@Pifanjr @Kaamos_Llama I think the main thing about sandboxes is that people who are more creative tend to like them, but
Sandbox games are all different and have different levels of structure. More importantly, each sandbox has a theme, and if you don't like the theme, you won't like the sandbox. If you don't care about Pals, then definitely don't play Palworld.

Satisfactory, for instance, is a sandbox, but has a huge amount of structure. But if you don't like engineering huge factories, you still won't like it. Based on @Pifanjr 's description of structure, so has Ark Survival Evolved, but its theme is prehistoric creatures. If you don't care at all about those, then you probably won't like it. Palworld actually has a decent amount of structure, too, with a lot of leveling and improving and goals, etc. (BTW, it is completely inaccurate to saying that after the first couple dozen Pals that it doesn't matter if you catch more).

The thing about Palworld, like the other games I mentioned, is that if you don't find that getting Pals and breeding Pals and getting perfect Pals, etc. is fun, then the game is just not for you. Why would anyone want to play Palworld or Pokemon when you don't find collecting critters fun? That's literally the point of the games. Millions of people love it, but that doesn't mean everyone has to. Millions of people love Fortnite, but I don't. Same with games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, which I find sleep-inducing.

Every game is not for everyone.

I agree that Palworld has a pretty decent structure, my main complaint is that it doesn't have a lot to discover besides the Pals themselves and I don't care about collecting them all just for the sake of it. I've tried it several times with Pokémon because the animated series pushes the idea that you have to catch them all, but I never actually enjoyed going out of my way to do so. It just feels like a grind.
 
full


I would say that's pretty accurate, actually.
 
You who? 157 hours since the last week of December here. ;)
That’s exactly when I started too, and for me it’s completely uncommon for me to binge a game as much as I have with that one😂 I’ve been completely hooked and it’s great having that feeling with a game again. Last time I had that was with Starfield but it was more like banging my head against a wall rather than being fun to play.
 

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