Choose My Adventure: In which Apex Legends makes me feel extremely old

    
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I’m a firm believer of “You can’t dislike it unless you know it,” a sort of twist on the “Don’t knock it ’til you try it” axiom, and for a while now, I’ve been dumping on battle royale games like Apex Legends purely based on assumptions made from footage and second-hand accounts. This edition of Choose My Adventure has given me the opportunity to put those assumptions to the test, and after some hours of playing, I can fully confirm that WOW do I feel super old now.

I have long since suspected that truly twitch shooting games had fallen out of my wheelhouse, which is perhaps where a lot of my animosity towards the battle royale genre stems from. But that’s another topic for another time that I’ll probably cover later. For now, I’ll focus on my time in the battlefield of Apex Legends and what it confirmed for me.

…well, I say “time in the battlefield,” what I really mean is “time spent laying face-first on the ground.”

Right from the jump, the game is full of personality. The characters that make up the playable roster have a level of charm and design around them that’s very reminiscent of Overwatch without being stylistic copies of that game. More often than not, I was drawn to a character’s character and not necessarily their abilities, though I also figured I’d use Jennifer Hale (aka Bangalore), mostly because she seemed to be the simplest to use.

While the game’s training stage got me acclimated to the buttons, the crucible of combat is where most of my experience with Apex Legends truly came from. You better learn lessons hard and fast in this game, or you’re just going to be a nuisance at worst and a gentle speed bump on the path to someone else’s victory at best. Take, for example, recognizing friend from foe: I didn’t realize until a split-second after being shot at that the person I was staring at wasn’t a part of my squad.

Those lessons are easy. Others seem to apparently boil down to “git gud.”

Another problem I seem to have now with twitch shooters is target acquisition. Roughly 9 times out 0f 10, I’m the one being shot at, leaving me to scramble to sort out just where all those hurty bullets are coming from, finding a bead, and opening fire. It’s a series of spatial reactions that I just don’t perform fast enough and it showed. Again and again, I was taken down without any hope of retaliation simply because I’m too slow. And I’m too slow because I’m too old. Or too bad.

I promise that this self-flagellation isn’t just my own low self-esteem talking. Nothing about the gameplay beats of Apex Legends felt confusing or difficult like they would in, say, a MOBA. Everything in this game is communicated well, with great conveyance and even some pretty intuitive inter-squad communication features for those (like me) who instinctively mute voice chat for the entire squad. I just am not very good. Simply put.

What would have made me feel better about that realization, though, is if I felt as if I were actually improving through my defeats, but most of the time I didn’t. Sure, progress bars were filling up and levels were being earned, but nothing was actually being learned. Even my climbing up the ladder in terms of elimination rank didn’t feel like progress so much as me just being hauled around.

But is that feeling really the fault of the game? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure it’s just the simple fact that my Tribes 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004 days are well and truly behind me. Battle royale is a younger person’s game and I just don’t get it. But that’s okay. I don’t think I have to get games like this. However, I am grateful that this column let me take the plunge, because now I feel like I can appreciate games like this more.

In the end, I still hold true to the “can’t dislike it until you know it” tenet, and this week’s choice has reaffirmed my advice to anyone reading this: Try something you think you hate. Give it at least a couple of hours of your time. If nothing else, it will affirm your dislike, but it will also maybe even help you develop some understanding of those who like things different from you. Don’t be shy. Nobody has to know. And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up liking it.

As for me and battle royale, well, the below image should probably tell you my feelings.

Now that I’ve been made to feel somewhat more ancient, I think it’s time to look forward to our next adventure together. I mentioned back in April that I wanted to make a return to Legends of Aria to try and run at that game one more time simply because I don’t feel like I fully scratches its surface. I think that this coming month is the month we do that.

Perhaps this is personal, but Legends of Aria and I need to come to an understanding. I want to really get what the big hoinkin’ deal about sandbox MMORPGs is, and this game has fairly recently landed on Steam with a number of updates. So I figure now is as good a time as any to return to the game, armed with a bit more foresight and hopefully something resembling a plan. But I still need your help in developing that plan.

This time around, our first poll will be broken up in to two different choices. I’ll ultimately make the class decision myself, but there are a couple of unique paths we can follow here. So help me decide:

What type of class should I roll in my return to Legends of Aria?

  • Combat. Now that you know what's coming, perhaps you'll be more prepared. (55%, 33 Votes)
  • Crafting. You liked it so much last time, may as well start there. (45%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 60

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Once again, polling will close up at 1:00 p.m. EDT this coming Friday, September 6th. For now, I’m going to sit on my porch and mumble to myself about the good old days when I had to compensate for lag while playing MechWarrior 3 on the MSN Gaming Zone on a 56k internet connection. See you next time, whippersnappers!

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.

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Fred Douglas

I felt this way too. People sprinting and sliding around, 15 year old kids yelling at everyone over voice. I actually like the gameplay but it’s just a hard pass for me.

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milow

I’m 53 years old and loving Apex Legends. Just like you I started out being really bad and it took me a couple of weeks to even get a kill, but I had fun with it and team mates found me funny and wanted to team up with me again. I played lifeline so I felt I was providing value without kills. It is a team game so just working with your team makes a big difference.
Eventually it started to click and I’m improving. I’m not convinced that age makes much of a difference here unless you are talking about playing pro. My reflexes are more than fast enough, it is mostly decision making and mouse control that has held me back and that is where I’ve practices and been improving.
The biggest issue I found is that not having played PvP shooters much over the last 20 years and playing a lot of MMORPG’s I had a lot of catching up to do and while I was improving everybody else was also improving in Apex since it was such a new game. Everything seems to happen so fast in the game, but eventually you start to feel like you have more time as you adjust.
I still only get a few kills when I have a good game but I play in teams where we get a good number of wins and plenty of top 3’s.

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PanagiotisLial1

I remember there was an article somewhere about an experiment done with brain reactions aging. I think I found it:

Brain peaks at 24

On another note I bought finally LoA, today

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Baemir

I think this is a myth. The best players I know are in their mid to late 20s. Aren’t most of the famous streamers around that age too?

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EmberStar

I somewhat disagree with the opening statement of the article. I don’t need to try every specific thing to know whether or not I will dislike it. I have enough experience with online PVP to know that I hate it. More completely and absolutely than I have language skills to properly express. There is nothing to be gained for me to “just give X a try” when X is an exclusively online, multiplayer, competitive PVP game. I can’t imagine any arrangement of circumstances or attributes that would result in me finding something like “battle royale” to be tolerable, let alone enjoyable.

I also understand that I am in the vast minority, and that any single one of the big three BR games has the kind of population numbers usually reserved for “mid sized European countries.” Or at least they did when they were still in the news every other hour. In a general, abstract way I *am* glad that the games exist for the people who enjoy them. (And more specifically, because it means that most of them are off shanking each other in their BR game of choice, rather than shouting in the forums of a game I do like about how it desperately needs a PVP mode. *Most* of them are, anyway.)

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Anstalt

I find that as I get older, it just means that it takes me longer to build that muscle memory than it did when I was a kid.

I’m 33, and it now usually takes me about 10-15 hours of gameplay to build enough muscle memory to feel “OK”, then another 20-30 hours before I start feeling competitive. That compares to maybe 1-2 hours initial, then 4-5 hours to get competitive when I was a kid.

It sucks, but my point is that if I am willing to put in the time, I can reach similar levels of competitiveness that I could when I was younger. I suspect I’m probably too old these days to hit high level competitiveness with twitchy games, but then I never bothered when I was young either.

I think the biggest problem is that I just don’t find the games enjoyable enough to bother putting in the time. I’ve done twitch gameplay before, I appreciate it for what it is but I can only ever view it as short term fun. The gameplay is almost always so basic that boredom due to repetition kicks in pretty quickly. It didn’t bother me when I was 15 and didn’t have much experience, but I’m older, I’ve done it all before, I’ve seen how to do it better, and this sort of shallow gameplay just doesn’t hold my attention.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

If you’re not into shooters, you’ll definitely not be into BRs, was the same for me. I’ve tried three of them and although I’ve hanged a bit on PUBG, I couldn’t get past the sense of not improving at all between matches.

laelgon
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laelgon

I enjoy Apex, but there are definitely some issues.

The biggest for me is downtime between matches. I died, great, fine, now don’t make me wait for 5 minutes on menus and character select to get back into the game.

The other is how premades and randoms are mixed. 3 random newbies end up in the same match as a premade of Twitch wannabes who have each sunk 1000+ hours into the game.

There needs to be a way for casual competitors to play with casual competitors.

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Brazen Bondar

Thanks for the pic of you on the ground “Awaiting Recovery.” For some reason that gave me a good laugh for today. I have accepted age limitations and the scary reality that may mean for gaming choices, but it was fun to read your take on fitting in with the twitch kiddies.

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BalsBigBrother

Reading this article makes me think I should just hang around the graveyard and save everyone some time.

BR games are not my thing but when I play them I tend to break it into small steps such as last two minutes, land a shot, get a kill. get two kills and to be consistent in that process each game.

Not always successful but it gives me manageable goals to aim for in between being headshot by a 12 years old from across the map