Action gameplay and driving

Game update: I’ve installed Fortnite battle royale, but after a few games I quit in disgust. The map is tiny, the fights are very close range and consist of jumping around randomly (to 4-5 m high) and shooting. No way!

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Azuriel has a genius analogy about action gameplay, ergo the gameplay challenge that is to be solved by quick pressing of the appropriate key. He compared it to driving a car. That is a pretty complicated task if you are a beginner driver. It took dozens of hours next to an instructor before you can pass the test for your license. Yet it’s not considered challenging and fun, because it’s just a set of robotic movements.

I always felt the same about shooting in FPS-es. Moving the crosshair to the head pixels is a core gameplay in FPS games and most players consider it “the skill”, despite it’s being fully robotic and mindless, just like driving. I find much more challenge and fun in strategic thinking, even if it’s limited to the primitive form of “if the circle is over water, get a boat and hide behind it”. I rarely feel so superior to my peers than when I’m idling in the water in PUBG and see the counter run down, as “skilled” players are fighting for the half of the circle while the other half is all mine without a gunshot.

The thing that finally killed League of Legends for me is lasthitting. I simply found it beneath me to learn to lasthit minions, which meant that I couldn’t play other role than jungle. This attitude limits my play greatly, as many games are offering nothing but action play as challenge. WoW raiding (the dance) would be trivial task if slowed down to half time. You always know what to do, you just can’t do fast enough because your hand-eye-coordination isn’t there. I’ve found Starcraft on low speed against many AI enemies exciting, while fighting few of the same AI at high speed annoying.

The futility of action combat is displayed by autoaim hacks. By downloading a few kilobytes of hack software, I can outdo all the “pro” players. (More about this topic tomorrow).

There are lots of games without action combat. Civilization series, Hearthstone (and card games in general), EVE Online, “jewel” games, Heroes of Might and Magic and so on. The problem is that they are very rare in the current landscape, Heartstone being the only one played competitively. PUBG is a strange mix, it has a few action combat moments, but most of the time you don’t do fast actions but make decisions.

This helps limiting finding the next game, assuming it won’t be a Battle Royale game.

Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

14 thoughts on “Action gameplay and driving”

  1. I don’t know if you’re considering cardgames, but I’d avoid Hearthstone if I were you, unless you want to heavily invest (and by that I mean dropping a few hundread Euros). If you want a strategic cardgame I’d say Gwent is more F2P friendly than anything else in the market, plus it has actual strategy involved.

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  2. @tithian: I realize that Heartstone is a shameless P2W game, just like most card games, beginning with MTG long before computer gaming with its $10000 suitcases. I merely stated that they are not action games, so action combat is not necessary.

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  3. Would you find card games interesting?
    I would love to see how you do in games like Hearthstone, Magic or Elder Scrolls.
    Although you would have a serious disadvantage, because there are a lot of cards already released.

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  4. you could online game in strategic games. there is Civ, total war etc communities.

    in a perfect strategic game you need boundaries otherwise grandmaster chess games without a clock ticking would take days or weeks per statistical and strategical nearly-perfect move.
    nearly anything in the past needs some fast thinking. maybe a slower version with more variables may improve realtime pressure and splitsecond thinking. Should be valid too I guess, I don’t know what the research sais about this. In any case: practice makes perfect.

    I usually play quakelive before any more serious mmo pvp to get my mind into the faster pace right from the start.

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  5. For card games you have Netrunner which you can play for free on jinteki.net (nearly all the best players play regularly on jnet).

    Tournaments are mostly IRL, though, which would require travel and purchase of cardboard. You can play the full game online, but having objective goals recognized by the community would involve placing highly in big tournaments.

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  6. Note that netrunner is not a ccg, but an lcg: cards are released all the time, but there is no randomisation. You buy what you want (which for most of us is everything, about the same cost as playing WoW continuously).

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  7. Age of Empires 2 is slow paced and has a 1v1 ladder. It’s hardly popular but is not dead either. There is also Starcraft Remastered, but the most populated server is Korean, so timezone is an issue.
    Paradox Interactive strategies might be interesting. But they don’t have a ladder, and most online communities straight out ban any kind of gamey strategies. Balance is an issue too.

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  8. Have you ever heard of Settlers of Catan (the boardgame)? It is quite mainstream, with many electronic versions that allow multiplayer, tournaments etc. It is competitive, strategic, non-action, and allows for meaningful player interaction (between 3-4 players in a given match).

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  9. I’ve always enjoyed the XCOM games, which are turn based tactics and strategy games. While it does have a multiplayer option, where players take turns with their moves, it’s a 99% single player game.

    Did you notice the new Steam achievements for PUBG? They have one achievement I think you’ll like.

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  10. Well, you need to stop looking at only AAA games or games with mass market appeal. Sure, tons of people in the game means more people for you to pwn, but it also means the game has to be attractive to more people.

    Let’s face it, most people aren’t very smart. The average IQ, by definition (For the genotype around which the standard is derived.) is 100, and half the people are at or under that. Most people just don’t have the discipline or motivation to think strategically to where they give up short term gains for a (hopefully cleverly planned…) long term goal. It’s just easier and more involving for people to DO DO DO by focusing as close to the moment as possible. Hence, the popularity of twitch games, and by corollary, the rise of the “git gud” mentality as a meme.

    This, of course, flies in the face of current networking technology as the network (In it’s gestalt: hardware on both sides, the technologies in use, and the communication layer between them.) cannot keep up with your brain, making twitch games both inherently unfair and easily hacked.

    I’m still playing “Screeps”, which is the most glacially slow game ever devised. It’s 100% strategy, 0% twitch. That doesn’t help you… in that I can’t see you using that game as a blog resource as you don’t seem to want to program at a level higher than you already use. But there is a “market” in the game, and you can, theoretically, legally “monetize” (At least in “Steam Bucks.”) through the Steam marketplace. I have no interest in doing that, so I have no idea how actually viable it is, or if your Steam wallet can be converted to actual cash.

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  11. While reaching the very top of the rankings in Hearthstone as a completely F2P player is probably extremely difficult, I think you shouldn’t completely dismiss it out of hand.
    There are many mechanics in place that mean that I reckon you could find meaningful challenge without spending any more than any subscription MMO.
    Here are some thoughts:
    – the arena mode is strictly pay to play and if you do well enough, becomes free as you can pay for the next round with the rewards from the previous one
    – the constructed mode has two modes, wild and standard. Avoid wild as that allows all cards made ever. Standard only allows the base set and the last year’s worth of expansions
    – right now is a great time to start as the last three expansions are being removed from standard and the new expansion added
    – the arcane dust mechanic allows you to get rid of cards you don’t want in order to craft the ones you do want. Especially, I suspect you’ll happily get rid of any golden cards you get which are just visual effects

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  12. @noconorsk:
    On the long run Wild is more f2p friendly than Standard. Because if you can make a good deck in wild it will stay forever. Maybe it’s powerlevel will shift down a bit, but you don’t have to ditch half of the cards in them (maybe which was made the deck viable) because of Standard rotation.

    @Gevlon:
    – I really think Hearthstone is not p2w, but Pay to Fun. You can totally reach legend as f2p (after some gold / dust / card collection period, so not in the first month) but if you don’t buy cards you will only have a few good decks. Which means that you can reach legend as much easy as others but you won’t have variety so most people will say it’s not fun to play the same deck for a long time. If you don’t have problem with that (and I think you don’t) then f2p is just as viable as paying for the game. Of course you mostly loose the deck building aspect of the game as a f2p player because you won’t have enough card to experiment with decks.
    – Also if you gets really-really good in Arena then you can get card for ranked play but it’s really a grind if you don’t play mainly for arena
    – But I think the best shoot for you: do you realized that you can put money to you Blizzard account with WoW ingame token? So if you can get good (again) in WoW gold making you can pay your WoW subscription, transfer money to your Blizzard account, and buy Hearthstone cards from it. I think it would be really two birds with one stone for you: you could restart your gold making blog posts which was the most popular theme, and you could make a project in Hearthstone and blog about it too.

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