Massively on the Go: Splatoon 3’s Eggstra Work could be fun if it entailed less social work


Splatoon 3 players recently got to experience the first weekend of Eggstra Work, and it’s controversial to say the least. The very basics are that the mode is like Time Trials for Salmon Run, extended to five waves (up from three), but there is no online matchmaker. So for today’s Massively on the Go, we’ll go over the basics of the new mode, what works, and how it and maybe even Big Run could improve.

Let’s start with the basics. As we noted, Eggstra Work is five waves long and lacks a group finder. Five waves is kind of long, and putting together a team without a matchmaker can seem like a daunting task. Admittedly, while my meatspace friends aren’t big on Splatoon, I do belong a rather good Salmon Discord group I’ve mentioned before. While it’s not perfect, making groups wasn’t too slow, but I’ll get into some of those details later. For those without a community, though, there was another option.

Ultra casuals without any other community could make use of the Pool option, the new fluid groups Nintendo added this season, but that option still requires social media. Those who found groups there seemed to also find some success.

Part of this may be because unlike other Salmon Run modes, Eggstra Work isn’t based on your rank/Job Title. Everyone basically starts at the same level. There are only four weapons to choose from while in the lobby, and once you choose them (no doubles!), you use that weapon for all five waves, but Hazard levels go up after each wave based on your performance. That means a brand-new player who joins with some other veteran players can essentially play on the highest difficulty level.

That may sound tough, but Eggstra Work is like Time Trials in that it’s very sanitized. Every wave remains the same: Wave one is the beach, wave two is Grillers, and so on. Same bosses, same tide level, same locations for Goldieseverything is the same every time. Most likely because it’s so predictable, your rating/Job Title does not change, nor can you trigger a King Salmonid, which seems to defeat the purpose of including more scale gear to buy.

And admittedly, it’s kind of relaxing too, at least for me. Knowing the gist of where and when things will happen takes some of the stress off the event. If you’re looking for major eggcitement (not sorry for that pun), Eggstra Work isn’t going to give it to you. Unless you’re a hardcore player trying to get a top score for literally a virtual sticker, it’s just a simple, non-punishing Salmon Run. In fact, in some ways, it seems more like how the basic Salmon Run should work, aside from the lack of a matchmaker and missing King Salmonids.

Salmon Run is a PvE mode, but it’s PvPish than the base Turf Wars (which are unranked). Remember, in a normal Salmon Run, group fails punish the whole team. You can lose rank easily. People get very emotional over their loss of rank, and it’s truthfully one reason I don’t play the mode with my ultra-casual friends.

Eggstra Work has no punishment – only prizes. The repetitive nature of the mode is genuinely solid for helping players learn MOB AI, tactics, map layouts, practice strategies… it’s perfect for a new player or people who love to mindlessly grind.

And that’s the problem: Nintendo’s released this for the game’s third season. If anything, Eggstra Work should have been a launch feature. The current ranked Salmon Runs should be like Ranked Turf War and give extra prizes. And Eggstra Work should give at least a few scales somehow if it won’t include King Salmonids, possibly at the end of the run in the same way Splatfests end with Super Snails.

While we can’t go back in time, adding scales is certainly something that could be done for future events. Hopefully auto-match making could be added too. As an old-school MMOer, I knoe being asked to build a group isn’t too hard for me, but sadly Nintendo is still behind the times and struggles with understanding online communities. Especially because job titles are less important in this mode, I think most players would be fine with Nintendo just using its current, or even less strict, Salmon Run matching algorithm.

The ranked play should probably be dropped too. While the gold sticker seems motivating, it also has the adverse affect of showing people just how bad they are. This is pretty odd considering that the PvE mode seems to be really big on encouraging competition: Base Salmon Run has you gaining and losing ranks, Big Run has you competing for top scores, and now so does Eggstra Work.

Worse, though, is that unlike Splatfest, this mode doesn’t allow you to have an entire team/faction to help you. All Salmon Run modes have rewards that quickly become quite rare, as opposed to Splatfests, where your earning power is consistent. Splatfest rewards are also very cumulative, whereas the various Salmon Run events, being score-based, account for only your best performance.

do think Nintendo was on to something by playing with Salmon Run more in Splat 2 than Splat 3. Having it be always accessible was a big step forward, and inserting now to not only one but two kinds of events is pretty surprising. The problem, unfortunately, is that neither really addresses the competitive nature that keep some players away from Splatoon as a whole. It disguises direct PvP easily since you’re dying to mobs instead of players, but fellow players can be quite harsh if they feel you “cost” them their rank/match.

This is why Nintendo really ought to consider retooling at least one of the Salmon Run events, if not the base game. Eggstra Work in particular should be co-op and not a weird side-thing that requires a community. If anything, Big Run would make more sense that way, but even that seems wrong. Splatoon as a series works best with inclusiveness, and outside of competitive ranked play, this doesn’t seem to have a place in the event rotations.

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!
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