This coincides nicely with starting to appreciate the game a little bit more. The first week felt rather unclear, but now that I’ve spent a bit more time with the game I’m starting to grasp what it’s trying to do. I’m still not entirely sure if I like all of it, of course, but at least I feel that I’m able to determine that based on the actual game rather than my confusion over what the game wants from me.
One of the things that’s still proving something of an obstacle is the way the game handles targeting multiple enemies and combat in general. I can understand that pretty much every single one of my attacks has a pretty large area of effect; that’s the sort of game this is. This is not a game for hanging back and pulling individual enemies, it’s a game for pulling everything together and slashing at all of them at once. It seems a slightly odd choice for a game which otherwise seems to encourage a more sedate pace, but like chicken and peaches, it combines well despite sounding odd.
So what’s the problem? Well, everything dies too frigging fast.
I totally get people (and the game itself, in this case) wanting you to learn how to play by actual play, but when everything dies in one or two swipes no matter what I do, it’s really difficult to actually evaluate what individual moves do or the worth of various upgrade paths. No, I don’t want the game to launch me right into the deep end straight away, but the fact that ther’es no real time to evaluate what you should do is still bothering me a fair bit.
That having been said, I am growing more appreciative of the combat. Part of that is really seeing the differences the game encourages between one’s combat performance and leveling in general; just earning levels is separate from improving with skill points, which happens by beating things up with a giant sword. I’m usually in favor of games featuring multiple progression paths, so I like that fact.
I also like the game’s knowledge system, which ties into the energy system, which I don’t wholly understand yet. The former, though, is kind of fun, and an idea that World of Warcraft halfway copied for its tradeskills in the most recent expansion. Essentially, killing more enemies of a given type improves your knowledge about that type, allowing you to simultaneously see more information about them and getting a larger set of data added to their entries in your little knowledge database.
I like that. It’s a very lightweight system, at least at this point in the game, and I can easily see how it could get annoying where you have to kill four dozen enemies just to see their HP bars even if said enemy is just a slight reskin of something you’ve already fought repeatedly. At the same time, it’s a way to add some additional flavor and support the idea that doing stuff in the game is always advancing something.
Plus, there’s the RP aspect that fighting imps means you know more about imps and can do more against imps. That earns respect.
I should probably talk a little bit about that energy system. The concept behind it isn’t hard to grasp; you require energy to do things in the game, doing stuff costs energy, you can recover energy over time, you want to increase your energy capacity so you earn more energy and can do more stuff. Thus far, possibly due to still being low-level, I don’t really yet see how it functions in action, even though I understand the concept. Perhaps doing some crafting o venturing further afield would help, I don’t know.
Of course, venturing farther afield sounds good at this point anyway, since I’ve spent the early parts in a rather nondescript lightly wooded field for long enough anyhow. I still haven’t gotten any real narrative thrust from the game beyond, “I’m a floaty black orb, do what I tell you!” Some of that is the nature of a sandbox game, sure, but it’s still sort of lacking in a reason to go and do anything. Compare it to say, EVE Online, which gives you an immediate sense of where you are and why you’re working on eventually backstabbing everyone you know.
If I’m going to go anywhere, perhaps I should strike off along the beaten path a little bit. So this week, I’m going to put forth that exact question to you dear readers. Am I being too timid? Should I stop just following what I’m being told in a straight line and just wander off to explore, or is there still a rather important sense of progression I’ll miss if I just strike off in a direction and start exploring?
CMA: Should I strike off and go exploring?
- Yes, venture off into the distance! (74%, 142 Votes)
- No, follow the road! If you stray from the path, something bad will happen. Like in Mirkwood, even if that was two games ago now. (26%, 49 Votes)
Total Voters: 191
I feel it’s important to note here that this sense of adventure extends about as far as “not getting murdered.” If I see something that can dice me to pieces in about four seconds flat, I’m going in the other direction, adventuring spirit be damned.
I also feel as if now is the time for me to start picking at another major system which I have yet to really place at any level of priority. In most of the Choose My Adventure games thus far, I’ve stuck chiefly with just fighting things and exploring, but Black Desert in particular definitely wants you crafting and gathering. Should I start investigating that for my next week?
CMA: Should I look into crafting and/or gathering?
- Yes, both of the above. (57%, 108 Votes)
- Yes, crafting primarily. (10%, 19 Votes)
- Yes, gathering primarily. (12%, 23 Votes)
- Hush up and smack foxes with a sword. (20%, 38 Votes)
Total Voters: 188
As always, the polls will remain up until noon on Friday (Eastern time), at which point they’ll close and I’ll forge a course ahead. Until then, feel free to leave comments down in the comment field below, or mail them along to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to note for the record that I’ve received far more email about this particular leg of CMA than usual, which shows me how much those of you invested in the game love the game, so thanks for all the advice and support! It means a lot.