AFK Arena exists

So, a while ago, I played Raid: Shadow Legends for the very first time and didn’t like it at all. Eventually, after that, someone prompted me to try out AFK Arena since I was talking badly about it without having tried it out at all, and… yeah, they had a point. I was talking badly about idle games and them not being my cup of tea because I just don’t like them, despite not having tried every single one of them. I tried some… but not all.

In an empiric sense, I can’t make a judgement on idle games as a whole yet. I can just say that I disliked most of them so far…

Anyways: What is AFK Arena? Well, according to the ads that I’m getting on all of my YouTube videos, it’s an animated 2D turn-based idle-game with Gacha-mechanics and you don’t have to grind to get strong. There are misleading ads on YouTube that tell you that you have choices in the game and puzzles and some weird isometric thing where a lion-character called Brutus is performing a spin-attack on a lot of enemies that all drop a lot of gold.

I couldn’t find the bad trailers but the YouTube Channel has the story trailer here.

And lately, I’ve been getting worse ads. There is a bad German dub on it and usually, you’ll see the same actors telling you about how good the common characters are that you get instead of the epic ones and how little you have to do in the game. Some ads share “tricks” to unlock free heroes. Others tell you about how video games are a waste of time and how they made them sick and how AFK Arena fixes that as you can, I guess, use your time productively? I’m getting mixed signals. Are games bad? Are mobile games not games, too? Isn’t AFK Arena also bad then if all games are bad?

Anyways, so I installed it and there actually is a story of sorts. Basically, the god of death was jealous of the peace in the overworld and hence created the Hypogeans, the main antagonist/villain faction in the game, to destroy Dura, the goddess of the Living, I guess. Dura, being super graceful and not wanting to die, sent mortals to fight the Hypogeans. That didn’t really work out since she got weakened a lot and used her last power to scatter seven divine artefacts over the world and now a lot of time passed and nothing happened but something will probably happen. Idk.

Note: I’m going to include pictures of characters from the wiki because I forgot to take screenshots. If you don’t believe me that I’ve played the game, I’ll reinstall it and shove it in your face. But I really deslike it, and here’s why.

Honestly, no clue why they created an actual alright-ish story if they didn’t plan on rebranding around it… “Legends of Esperia” or “Tales of Dura” or anything else could have turned this into some sort of Anime or show or proper game. Instead, we have AFK Arena, a game that is all about being AFK, as the name suggests.

Anyways, in the beginning, you get to chose between two heroes: Zaphrael and Lucretia, who kind of stand for a good vs bad kinda choice. Obviously, I have chosen Lucretia, the Betrayed. She’s a Hypogean character that is agility-based and does a lot of damage. Zaphrael wasn’t my cup of tea. I was hoping to get to play more Hypogean characters but haven’t encountered any at all so far really… which feels like a missed opportunity.

As time went on, we defeated enemies in combat and started accumulating more and more diamonds, gold and experience. Diamonds can be used to summon heroes (among other things) that most of the time are common, rare or sometimes potentially legendary. Most heroes can be upgraded into higher rarities, using copies of the same hero. It doesn’t have as “many” characters as Raid: Shadow Legends but it has a lot more unique ones that aren’t just recoloured, especially due to the faction-system.

There are seven different factions: Wilders, Graveborns, Maulers, Lightbearers, Celestials, Hypogeans, and Dimensionals. Having three, four or five heroes of the same faction in a team (max 5) grants your heroes up to 25% bonus attack damage and 25% bonus HP. Having three of one faction and two of another adds 15% bonus attack damage and 15% bonus HP, instead. Celestials basically contribute to this – so you can, in theory, play four Wilders and have Zaphrael in your rows to unlock the 5 Wilder bonus. The Hypogeans, however, grant you a bonus independently. Having one Hypogean grants you +30% defence, having more adds other bonuses. Hypogean heroes deal and receive bonus damage to and from Celestials.

The other four factions have an advantage-disadvantage-system similar to other games, with IE Wilders dealing more damage to Graveborn and receiving more damage from Maulers while also being neutral to Lightbearers. This adds a little bit of strategy to your game but most of the time you’d end up just playing your strongest characters or levelling up the character you like the most… and it works. Really well actually. I would have liked to play Graveborns but they just do not have any characters that I like… Wilders, however, are cute and interesting and have a lot of supportive characters that tickle my fancy.

So, there are different “classes” of characters and you get to level them up and try out different formations… so there is a bit of strategy involved in the game… Generally speaking, though, you can just put in anything and everything and it will work. While some characters are stronger against other ones, you don’t really have to care about that as you only care about having strong characters in your party. Just force your way through the game and you’ll be fine. Occassionally, you’ll notice how one character is underperforming so you replace them with someone else and you’ll be fine again. Changing the position of characters sometimes helps, too… having a healer is super important in later fights but then you’ll need to draw one from the gacha mechanic… and since luck isn’t always on your side, you instead have to level your characters until they’re overlevelled. Similarly, some characters come with only three abilities while others have four, so you eventually wanna get those with more abilities since they’re better than your normal ones. The game feels a bit pretentious as it gives you all of these classes, races, and abilities,… but in the end it’s pay-to-win anyways. The top-ranked players have put money into the game and continue to get better at the game since they have better characters. You can make it quite far into ranked against other people but generally speaking those that spend money at the game have a lot better ways of making it in the game. They have higher winrates and better success chances as they most likely have the better characters. The Guildmaster in my OwO guild approved of this statement, btw. AFK Arena’s PvP is pay-to-win-based. There is no skill needed.

Meanwhile, if you wanna play it casually, you don’t need to pay anything at all. You can grind away and chill… uh, I mean, there is no grind. Nope, no grind. Grinding is bad after all – that’s at least what the ads say! Alas, I started playing four Wilders+Lucretia for a lot of time and then eventually switched over to five Wilders because I like more damage. Then I needed to get the levels all the way up. There is a Crystal that you place heroes into, so that you don’t need to level them up. They instead take over the level of the lowest-level-character in your top five. Alas, you want to level your top-5 to be able to exachange heroes at any given time and keep the levels high. At the same time, you need good gear, and you want some of those uniques… and you also need to get missions done and use diamonds that you’re given to be able to afford the summons at the Tavern.

“You don’t need to grind like in other games”, they said. “You just AFK.” But I needed gold and experience… and the campaign wasn’t giving me enough and also was hard to get to, since you can’t target the enemies at all. Your character hit targets and if they don’t finish off the right ones, they’ll die.

“So what do you do to get stronger?”, I asked in chat.
“Just go AFK”, someone else responded.
“But can’t I just grind something to gain more levels or gold or whatever?”
“Send nudes”, responded some other person. There was no report button, so I didn’t know what to do about that creep.
“You don’t grind in this game. You just AFK.”, said yet another, and I felt as if they were just repeating words they heard in some badly mixed ad on YouTube.

In times like these, I would have loved a good grind. Like, when you want to improve your light level in Destiny 2 and farm some Strikes… or when you clear bounties to be able to get some mod for your weapons… or when you kill fifteen Ebony Odogarons in MHW and still didn’t get that Ebony Odogaron Mantle that is keeping me from posting about Monster Hunter World (there is the reason), so you go at it again in another session and kill it another five times with no drops… and then you’re tired and don’t want to play MHW again for a while so you just don’t do it anymore until 2021. It’s a bit annoying… but when it drops, it’s glorious and satisfying and you’re happy. In AFK Arena, it gets grindy inevitably. But you cannot grind without going AFK. So, if you really like the game, you don’t get the chance to play it, since you have to do something else instead. According to the ads, other games are bad, however, so… uh… mixed signals. What do I do? What do I do?

Ah, right, business! You gotta do business stuff and come back in two hours… or six hours…. or twelve… yeah, still didn’t have enough quite yet for the level ups you need… I guess I just need to hop onto two other guys’ shoulders and wear a trenchcoat in order to get more business stuff done…

Eventually, I uninstalled the game and returned it two weeks later, after seeing that Ainz Ooal Gown from Overlord made it into the game, and indeed I got gold and experience for not playing the game. It was stupid. When you want to progress and get the satisfaction of gearing up your favourite characters, you can’t because you need to wait for whatever reason. In the meantime, you’ll do nothing, I guess, or you play actual games with actual gameplay. Games where you control your characters and where you don’t just spin a slot machine to get more units to use.

Nemora, Arden, and Solise were my favourite characters by the way. I liked them a lot. I won’t miss them, I guess.

So, in the end, I kind of understood why people like the game: It’s basically a clicker game. When you’re not participating in the game, you accumulate gold, experience, diamonds, and gear by just idling. If you upgrade your characters and use them in the campaign, you get more and more gold through the AFK function. Eventually, however, it gets grindy. Which is understandable since it’s a game with a late-game at one point. But the game markets itself as this “non-grindy idle game that is a ton of fun and very strategic” when it actually is quite grindy and nothing like its premise, I guess.

And well, clicker games are great. You have to put in the work yourself at the beginning (or use an auto-clicker). Then you upgrade the different thingies to unlock more ways of clicking in the background. Then you essentially upgrade your thingies even more… and then you do it even more. And then you get bored and move on to other games because… it’s just a clicker game anyways.

Another issue with AFK Arena, however, is that it’s a glorified slot machine really… I’m not entirely sure about how I should feel about a game with a gacha mechanic when it also has cute and cool characters in it that kids could be drawn to… Like, the problem with Gacha games is that they reward you every now and then but often do not do it enough. So, you spin again and again until you get something good. You get dopamines, feel a kick, and suddenly you’re addicted. I guess it’s not that extreme in most cases but I still get a tad worried about loot boxes and slot machines and stuff in games. Not entirely sure how to feel about it, just yet, so I’ll have to think about that some more in the future. Potential writing prompt here, fellow bloggers!

At last, I don’t like false marketing.

Getting to level 100 didn’t take as little time as in the ads. There are no choices. There is little to no strategy involved. Sure, it’s free to play and there is technically no need for you to play it… but I’m not sure if those are selling points. The game doesn’t make you feel energized and healthy again. The common heroes suck.

I guess the ads don’t really have the goal of promoting the game but rather of provoking you into talking negatively about it. In one of the ads they draw ten heroes each to see who’s better at… gambling? And then someone wins because they get this overpowered character who seems to be broken… so uh, while it was about quantity of legendary heroes in the beginning, it suddenly was about who gets that broken character that I’ve never seen anyone use. In the same manner they were battling each other in a different ad, talking about how their characters are better than the other ones and then someone shows up and just brags about this max level character… I don’t know. The ads are super annoying at best and kind of want you to shittalk them because bad PR is good PR. Some of the ads want you to try out the game to see if it really is that bad after all… and some others are just weird…

I don’t think that AFK Arena is a good game at all. I kind of liked the idea of using Wilders and thinking about strategies and stuff… but once I realised that strategy doesn’t matter at all, I was quickly disappointed again.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. See you next time. Happy Holidays.

Post-Post commentary:

I never really understand why games have to market themselves in that self-ironic way where they try to upset you in order to try it out yourself… or where they just lie to you in order to get you try out the game. There is an ad with an evolution-mechanic that you use in combat, which is just not true… One ad also shows an easy grind from an isometric perspective that isn’t part of the game. Generally, I feel like this is a bit of a problem with ads these days, especially on the mobile market. To get attention, you need to get lots of reviews or impressions of it… but reviews themselves mean nothing as they can be bought, while “impressions” doesn’t really describe it too well as the only relevant stat is the number of downloads.

AFK Arena doesn’t care about the player experience as long as you download the game, adding to their number of total downloads. I feel like that’s a problem of sites like the Google PlayStore and iTunes and whatever where downloads get put over average playtime and other scores. When people give it a negative review, it doesn’t really matter since at least ten bot accounts gave it five stars without writing a single word. Only caring about the number of downloads means that the same games on mobile app stores are in the top-ten, each and every year – and that’s a bummer.

At last, I don’t want to just shit on games like that. People that like the game are allowed to like it, just like how I’m allowed to dislike it. I feel like I’ve been fair about what I didn’t like and what I criticized about the game, its premise and the false marketing. If that stuff doesn’t bother you, that’s totally okay. You can enjoy the game regardless of my opinion and I’m not judging ya. It’s just an opinion that I published on my blog. So, no hate there.

If you wanna share your opinion on it or if you think I’ve been disrespectful or whatever, let me know in the comment section or hit me up via DMs on Twitter or Discord. Hope you have had some nice holidays and I wish you a great start into 2021. Stay awesome, stay healthy, and live and let live. 🙂

Cheers.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

TSS#67 – Blaugust Prompt #1 – Fandoms

Blaugust is here! I mean, August is here! 

Alas, here’s the first prompt by Belghast: “If you could change anything about one of your core fandoms, what would it be?” – and I’m already confused. My issue with this one is that I don’t think I’m part of really any fandom… at least I’m no active member of any bigger communities of fans of a genre, game, show, band, etc. But I’ll do my best to answer this prompt!

I guess that I’m a relatively big fan of Anime and Manga. I do read my fair share and watch quite a bunch right now. The only problem with the fandom I have, though, is the weebs. And I’m not trying to be inappropriate but usually, there is a “too far” for everything: 

Chocolate can be sweet but it can also be “too bitter”. You can drink a bunch of beers but you can also take it “too far” and get alcohol poisoning. 

I binged Kokkoku, the other day, btw – and I can highly recommend it!

With the anime fandom, it’s the same. 

According to Proxer.me (my streaming service of choice for ages now), I’ve watched a total of 5134 Anime episodes so far, not counting in episodes watch on other sites. As far as Manga chapters go, the number is at 811, not counting in chapters, manhwa, webtoons, light novels, etc. read on other sites. 

But I know people with bigger and smaller numbers that are way too extreme in regards to the fandom. I’m talking about people that don’t just watch anime… I’m talking about people that breathe anime. -> Weebs or weaboos. 

And well, the thing I’d change about them is just the fact that I don’t want them to call me an “otaku” or a “fellow weeb” because that’s insulting. That’s it. I have no problem with them being the way they are. I have no problem with them loving what they do. I just don’t like it when some of them try to convince others that those other people are also “otakus” (which is an insult if I remember correctly, to begin with). 

I really gotta finish this show up eventually… but I also am watching way too many other shows…

As far as other fandoms go, I used to be part of the Dr Who fandom and a few communities but then the constant discussions about “the best Doctor” and the diehard fans that don’t like a female doctor got on my nerves. Christopher Eccleston (or the Ninth Doctor) is probably my favourite but I’d never go as far as to go that he’s “the best doctor” since there is no universal truth like that. Matt Smith? David Tennant? Peter Capaldi? All great doctors! Loved them! I would not want to convince others, however, that these people are “the best” over others.

Uh, other fandoms… I’m a support main in League of Legends and since I love playing the role, I’d consider that a fandom of sorts, I guess? Anyways, I’d change the Janna Mains. I fucking hate them. It’s not about their champs… it’s also not about ALL of them… it’s just about the toxic ones because Janna Mains are the most fucking obnoxious and toxic support players in League. Janna is a champion that doesn’t require too much skill and that is really well at disengaging enemies and enabling their ADC. While I like playing her every now and then, I don’t usually do it nowadays, as she’s still missing a bunch of things that I like with other enchanters. She’s also just a champion played by toxic people that I don’t want to get associated with. Same goes for Nami Mains that build Rylai’s Crystal Scepter. Don’t. Fucking. Do. That. For reals. Your Q is a knock-up, your E is a slow already and your ultimate is a knock-up as well. You don’t really need the slow, especially as slows don’t stack in League. 

Btw, this is probably my favourite Janna skin. Way too adorable!

But in the end, I’m just complaining about extremes here. I feel like every fandom and every community has certain “Stans” and “extreme fans” that just take things too far or trolls and idiots that just act in bad faith, as everwake pointed out as well. I feel like there is always one shitty person for every ten good people, period. Not just in fandoms. Of course, there are also people that just try to diehard defend their own object of interest while degrading, as Bel noted, and I’d include those parts of these fandoms in the “shitty person” analogy as well.

I don’t think that you can change people that easily but I feel like people shouldn’t just look at the negative side of these fandoms but also the positive side with all the creators, cosplayers, artists, writers, bloggers, authors, theorists, analysts, etc. that provide us all with a bunch of awesome things

But I don’t really consider myself a part of any fandom… I mean, of course, I’m a fan of a bunch of things but I don’t usually interact with too many “likeminded” people apart from the Blaugustans or people in different discord and twitch communities. And regarding the “Blaugust Fandom”, I don’t really know what I’d change if at all. 🙂

So that was my take on the first prompt. You can find “the original post” here, made by Bel. Tomorrow’s prompt is being presented by Dragonray from Azerothian Life who (from what I could tell) is a blogger who is mostly writing about their adventures in World of Warcraft. Bel also talked highly of them, so I’m looking forward to browsing some more on that blog, despite not actually playing WoW. 🙂

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

This person rips off Indie Devs and gets away with it on Steam

There are good games out there… and there are bad ones… and then there are people that develop games for the sake of trolling others, wasting their time and money while ripping off other developers’ content and making a quick buck off it without getting any repercussions at all from Valve’s side.

This post features no images as I don't want to post pictures of stolen character models on here. Hope you understand that. 

Recently Krikket mentioned “Streamer Life Simulator”, so I thought I’d check out this game that seems to be a complete Trainwreck and just utterly horrible. Apparently, the gameplay is kind of okay (there’s not much there) but I wanted to write about something else in this post:
The dev is a “bad person”.

Cheesecake Dev is a publisher and developer who barely puts games together only to sell them for a few bucks on Steam. On their page you can find titles like “Skinny”, “The Momo Game”, “Grandpa”, “Who Is This Man”, “Yanpai Simulator”, and “Kick The Anime Simulator”.

Skinny, The Momo Game and Grandpa are being described as horror games but apparently feature little to no gameplay while also having tons of issues and bugs that won’t get fixed at all. The worst thing about these titles though is that it just blatantly rips of assets from other games and from different Steam Workshops without ever crediting the original creators.

This seems to be a common theme among the Cheesecake Dev games as Yanpai Simulator and Kick the Anime Simulator also feature assets that are plainly ripped off other games. Yanpai Simulator is flat out stealing the female character model of Yandere Simulator while also blatantly mocking the name. On top of that, it’s supposed to also feature similar gameplay, although it seems to be pretty much broken, judging from the reviews.

And then there’s Kick the Anime Simulator where you throw knives at female anime characters in a test arena that is, essentially, the whole game. In this case, I’m not complaining about the length of the game: After all, I didn’t buy any of these games and I wouldn’t expect much more for not even two bucks… I’m rather complaining about the downright offensive and misogynistic premise of somewhat brutally attacking and killing female characters. Sure, it’s “just” anime characters but if a game like “Rape Day” gets (rightfully) removed from Steam for being an obvious troll game that is just offensive, this one shouldn’t be on Steam either. And I’m not saying that it’s an “either both get removed or both stay” situation – I’m saying that stuff like “Rape Day” should not be on Steam and that this game has to get removed as well… if not for the misogynistic premise, then at least for the copyright infringements.

And since the developer’s and publisher’s names all link to Cheesecake Dev’s page on all of these games’ store pages, I’m not even sure how this stuff stays on Steam. Surely, there’s a report-function, right? Or did Cheesecake Dev manage to outwit the system by somehow changing their name each time to stuff like “lol” or other bs?

So, at last, I’d say: Please stay away from this dev and support the original content creators instead of giving money (even jokingly) to someone who steals content in such an obvious way. If you’ve got the time, report them as well. I feel like that’s something more people should do, for obvious reasons. We don’t want stuff like “Rape Day” to surface Steam again or something like “Beating Black People Simulator” or “Killing Trains People Simulator” to appear…

Indietail – ClusterFobia

There are all kinds of games out there with all kinds of presentations and premises. A lot of games in the Indie scene feature unique premises that may have not been explored all that much, just yet, and often also present us unique and interesting design choices that you either hate or love.

Today we’re talking about ClusterFobia, a puzzle-shooter by Ganin, that features exactly that: Interesting and unique design choices that are really hit or miss.

Developer: Kirill Azernyi (Ganin)
Publisher: Kirill Azernyi (Ganin)
Genres: Puzzle, Bullet Hell, Shooter
Release Date: December 10, 2019
Available for: PC
Reviewed on: PC
Copy is available for free.

In ClusterFobia you are some sort of creature that seemingly was drawn in paint and you shoot out bullets that travel from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen. Your bullets hurt you. So do enemies… and walls. Hence you need to find a way to destroy walls and enemies with your bullets while dodging everything and surviving a bullet hell that you created yourself.

And that’s essentially all I can say about this game without getting into too much of a rant… which is ironic since there is more to this post than just that part, but uh… I tried to be friendly or just informational but I feel that I should rather be honest and give my honest review, listing the short-comings of a game that is… like this. The premise is interesting, I guess, but it’s really unripe and I’m still not entirely sure if the dev, who e-mailed me with a request to review his game, is serious about this.

But what’s the problem with the game?

Well, mostly it just feels like one big troll of sorts. You dodging enemies and your own bullets seems like an interesting idea. Hell, the concept is nice! It kind of reminded me of Gutwhale where you have to manage the space between your enemies, you and your bullets. While you have to recollect your bullets in Gutwhale, you’ve got to dodge your own bullets in ClusterFobia… but sadly, the execution is just a mess. It feels painful to play something where everything seems to work and not work as intended.

Not being able to aim all that well, results in you connecting events to the wrong cause like it did for me. I thought I killed an enemy with my bullets but it actually didn’t get killed by that but by the wall. It just touched the wall and the bullet at the same time. That’s frustrating. Some walls kill you upon touching while others require you to touch them to actually go away. It’s super weird and just annoying. I finished the first level. The second one is just annoying bullet hell… without the fun part of being a bullet hell. The third one? Didn’t bother with anything past the second level…

And I did boot it up multiple times. I really did. I did try to give it a second chance… and a third chance… and a fourth chance… and even a fifth chance, although I had to mute the game on the fifth attempt while blasting other music through my headphones to make the game at least a tad enjoyable. But no matter how many times I tried to play the game, I always ended up with the feeling of regret: Regret that I really did try to give this game a chance.

The game’s presentation is a mess as well. Objects that seem to act the don’t look the same. They change the colours on random, to the point that you might think that there should have been an epilepsy warning at the beginning. Nothing is polished. Everything seems to have been directly extracted from Paint. It’s hurting in your eyes.

Meanwhile, the soundtrack is so loud and noisy that your ears might as well bleed while playing the game. Shooting out bullets causes more noise on top of the noise while the whole presentation is just sad to look at. If you want to turn music off, you’ll have to use the audio mixer after all, your game closes when you hit Escape and the actual settings don’t provide you with anything to change.

Sometimes games fuck with you. Sometimes they really do. Sometimes games are made for you to figure them out and eventually get over the obstacles that are blocking your way. In “Jump Knight” you need to reach the top by jumping through a rather difficult parkour part starring some unforgiving jumps that set you back a bunch! In “Getting Over It” you also need to make use of a pickaxe to reach space and beat the game while risking to lose footing during all of those jumps, only to eventually get set back while the narrator makes fun of you in one way or the other.

The “Dark Souls” franchise or even the whole SoulsBorne genre is known for difficult and challenging but also frustrating gameplay that tests your patience and skill, and, well, it’s successful.

And I only just started to play the third game and died nine times at the tutorial-boss, the Iudex Gundyr, who taught me important lessons about the game that I probably will need in future boss fights! But I’ll post on that, too, so expect more Dark Souls in the future.

Meanwhile, ClusterFobia is just frustrating. You may consider it “challenging” as well but I’m not sure if there is a way to beat that level. I’m not sure if you can actually get past the first level and even if you do… there are apparently more levels to it and I’m not sure if anyone really wants to play through all of those as well.

Other games can be frustrating or challenging, too, but at least you see how you’re supposed to do it. At least you get to figure it out. At least it always seems “this close!!” so you try again… in ClusterFobia you just get tired of trying. You end up losing your nerves as you try more and more; as you try to not quit this game. I quit the game multiple times but always thought that I’d have to try again and get more info on the game for the sake of a review. “After all, the dev seems to be really proud of his piece here, so I should do my best!”

I’m quoting the dev here:
“ClusterPhobia is maybe all about figuring out where to shoot and how the objects relate to each other (…) and also about knowing exactly when and how to shoot so that you don’t get killed by your own bullets and don’t destroy something critical for solving a level. If ClusterPhobia had a philosophy, that would be: [The] player is not supposed to know much about how [the] game works beforehand, but rather understand it out of his or her own experience – and yes, at first it might be annoying, but once the connection between objects is understood, and all actions are smoothly performed, it might get satisfying.”

But here’s where the problem lies:
It’s not healthy for a game if you can destroy a level by shooting at something critical to the solution of said level. It’s not healthy for a game to have no correlation between different events in the game. If you shoot a wall or an enemy and it gets destroyed, you’ll think that all walls or enemies of that type would get destroyed… but if the game doesn’t stick to that, the game becomes stale, frustrating and painful to play.
If there is no pull for the player to keep on playing, they’ll stop playing. If you don’t give a damn about explaining mechanics and sticking to your own rules, then the player won’t play the game. “Trial and error” is not fun. It’s frustrating. Learning patterns of sorts while some game is shitting into the player’s ears is just bad game design.

In the end, I’d have to say that this is poor game design. When a game is so frustrating and painful to watch and play that you’d rather kill puppies than play more of it, then it’s a bad game. Hence I can’t recommend the experience, despite it being a free game…

Cheers.

(Note: The dev calls the game ClusterPhobia but the actual game is called ClusterFobia in the installer and in the URL to the gamejolt side, so I’m not sure whether or not it actually is spelled like this or that.)

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

I hate games

I hate them all. They take away so much time and quite often they cost money that you need to work for, hence losing even more fun. Games are bad. Really. It’s not COVID-19 that’s keeping us at home… it’s video games. The number of new streamers and new people playing games has increased in the last couple of months. Kids are not going to school right now and some people don’t even work anymore. Games are horrible. I hate them a lot.

Now, jokes aside, for the past couple of days I’ve been posting about game mechanics that I don’t personally like and that I always find frustrating to deal with. There’re timers and scripted fights, contact damage and even invisible walls… and that’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages now. Hell, some of these prompts have been waiting here since last year’s Blaugust… and they are finally out.

But I’ve noticed that while I really enjoy writing about something like that and being overly negative about it… I don’t hate the games themselves (apart from Witcher 1 – I hate that game for other reasons, too, but also because of some of the bad features it has). Sparking a discussion and reading and writing comments about these topics really was a lot of fun but I guess I can’t do that forever… especially as I am running out of things to hate on… I guess I could hate on Rogue Legacy for being a bad game but that’s just a preference thing…

Instead, I wanted to talk about something different: Good games with bad mechanics that are done well in these games.

There are games out there that defy the logic of “good” and “bad” design. There are shooters where everyone’s invisible and where you need to do the unthinkable to kill the other players: Screencheat! (How could you?!)

There are games where you’re on a time loop, trying to overcome one hurdle after another, like Minit. It’s at heart a puzzle game and the 60-second-I’ll-reset-your-whole-progress-countdown is essentially nothing but a mechanism, a ship, or the way to give you that puzzle-game-feel. You need to do stuff – and you need to do them quickly. It’s great. I love Minit. Even if it sometimes can get a bit frustrating (but that’s not because of the timer… but because I don’t know what to do).

There are games like League of Legends where the invisible walls are actually quite pretty and prevent you from getting a headstart at the beginning of the game and there are also some invisible walls in there that prevent you from hopping off the map, which is understandable in a MOBA.

And then there’s Hollow Knight and Hollow Knight is just a great game that I really recommend without telling you anything about it… for now. I mean, sure, it has contact damage to it, too,… and platforming… but it’s still a great game.

So, even if there are mechanics that I don’t like in games… I don’t necessarily hate all games with those. But it’s fun to rant about them every now and then.

Anyways, that’s it for today’s post. Hope you enjoyed this one! Have a nice time! 🙂

Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

I hate timers

I like the Zelda games but I never really got into Majora’s Mask… I mean, I guess I should like it – after all, it’s literally a darker version of Ocarina of Time and it has some great elements to it both presentation-wise and gameplay-wise.

But I guess the main reason for why I didn’t like Majora’s Mask was the fact that it had this giant creepy moon – and also a mega doom timer that was ticking down, constantly pressuring you. I didn’t like the concept back then and a lot later I noticed that you can actually reset the timer with a certain song but I still never got back into it and uh…. that brings us to today’s post:

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

I hate timers.

Timers stress me out. They put me under pressure, just like the clock ticking down on me during an exam. In video games, there are timers that are actually well-made, like in Risk of Rain, for instance.

In Risk of Rain, the game gets harder the longer you play/the longer it takes you to finish the game.

Hence, you’ve got challenges associated with the timer and it’s also not a timer ticking down. Instead, you’ve got a game that rewards you with increasingly intense combat and tougher enemies so that it doesn’t get boring for you. To beat the game, you need skill (and the items) but also need to survive. You’ll lose if you die. Not if the timer reaches “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA” difficulty. The timer doesn’t lose you the game. You do. The game is fair and I like that.

A timer indicating how much time you have left to clear a game is bad game design, in my opinion. It puts people under pressure which is usually bad when you try to relax. And sure, people play games for different reasons but I doubt that a lot of players enjoy the “ticking time bomb” character that some decks, characters or games have. When you play League of Legends and you’re playing against a Veigar, you eventually will have to face off against the Veigar with 2000 to 4000 AP who can one-shot towers with one normal attack and who one-shots your whole team with one W or a Q. Deleted with a button press.

Same goes naturally for the Bomb Warrior in Hearthstone or the Teemo Decks in Legends of Runeterra where you face off against someone who just holds out and stalls the game for forty minutes straight while you draw one bomb after another, reducing your life by drawing cards… yup. Very nice game design.

I don’t like that. If you have a section where you need to defeat enemies in a certain time-frame to get a reward, that’s a bit better, I guess… but having the “You’re fucked when this timer reaches 0”-character as a game mechanic for the whole game is just major bullshit – Pardon my English.

Either way, I hope that you don’t have the doom clock ticking over your head and that you instead have a pleasant day.

Cheers!

I hate race/gender-locked classes

Today we talked about a lot of stuff on the Blaugust/Blapril discord. Among the discussed topics was World of Warcraft and how Tessa didn’t like it (while I, for instance, haven’t crossed path with WoW, yet, at all).

Easha then confirmed Tessa‘s discontent by mentioning how they don’t like the “Time, subscription model, graphics, faction wars, class-race-locks, Blizzard being Blizzard lately”…

…and I guess I can agree with a lot of it. The Graphics may not be my style, the subscription model is not to my liking either (though companies still have to earn money, I guess), and Blizzard can be quite Blizzard-ish which also isn’t to my liking… and while faction wars are kinda cool, I thought that all of these points are not exactly points that would make me play the game. Instead, they’d rather turn me off or scare me away. One of them, which I also hate in other games (Dadaaaaaaa! That transition though!) is what this post is about…

Gender or race locked classes!

I hate them.

Naturally. Intently. I don’t like a thing about them and I don’t know why they’d be a thing.

I guess, it makes sense when you’re playing as someone and you’re that person and that person is known for being that class and that gender… just like Link is male and a bit of a swordsman with a thing for gadgets… but overall it’s not that nice to lock people into one gender if they want to play a class or to lock people into a race if they want to play a different class.

Source in the link at “link is male” (see what I did there?)

Belghast has posted about this issue a while ago when he talked about the fact that he’s got this character of sorts that he likes to create in games and that he generally doesn’t really like it when that ability is not available in some games. I guess, you can still somewhat create a beard in Destiny when you’re playing as an Exo with the markings and stuff… but it’s still quite annoying. Check out his post btw as Bel really did a great job on that post!

Naithin also discussed the fact that your character is locked to being male in “Escape from Tarcov” because of (and I quote the devs) “lore reasons” and the “workload” and “time” it takes to create those female characters. At the same time, some other dev confirmed that it doesn’t take that much time at all – and even if it did it’d be worth it as you can approach a larger demographic like the guys online who enjoy playing as a female or the women who like to play as a female. I don’t get why it’s so hard to implement something like that without causing a shitstorm, after all, there are (apparently) female NPCs in the game lore as well and the devs apparently had time to program those but not the player models that other plays are going to see before you shoot a bullet through their eyes. (That’s how shooters work, right?)
Oh and check out Nait’s post on that. He did a great job, too, and I really enjoy his stuff (as you may be able to tell from all the times where I link him in my posts, lol)!

This is the Winterfield – a/the sniper from Blinx 2 (lovely game!)

In games, I generally enjoy the class-experience more than being able to play a character with the same gender as myself. I enjoy it when I can have a cute character in a game (be it a male or a female one). Sadly the male character models look really bad in a lot of older MMOs that I’ve played (at one point I did play Aura Kingdom and Guild Wars 2 and while these two are very different, they both feature bad male character models, so I obviously only had the choice to play a female character, lol). And that’s kind of how my name “Lizz Winterfield” came to be as Lizz is a cute name and as “Magimos” (older username of mine) didn’t really fit a female character… and Winterfield was the most “Human”-sounding last name I could think of in that game (also it’s my favourite gun in Blinx 2).

But a lot of games also feature classes that are locked to certain races on top of only being gender-locked. In Black Desert Online you can only be a female witch or a female fae and not a male one, which made it weird for me when I played the new Fae class on stream and realised that I can’t select to be male, despite the character model looking like a child. A male child would have been a lot less… uh…. weird for me on stream, compared to this small girl here.

“Titenda”, the little Fae character that I’m playing in BDO. 🙂

In TERA there is some class that you can’t pick if you’re the reptilian-looking race (if I remember correctly) and there are also other games where I encounter similar things, which I also didn’t really like.

It doesn’t help the player enjoy the game if you’re locked into a race or gender you don’t want to play when you want to play a certain class. It doesn’t help if you’ve got to play only certain classes and races if you want to be a certain gender. And if you want to be a certain race it doesn’t really help the player-experience if you’re locked into classes and genders that you don’t like.

It’s the trinity of “let players be who they want, it’s a fucking RPG, you dingus”.

But then again, new devs probably don’t read this and even if they did, why would they care about someone who had to play as a small kid when they only wanted to be a bard in an MMO.

Oh well, cheers I guess.

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

I hated scripted fights

Scripts generally have a neutral and a negative connotation to them. In video game terms, “scripting” means “hacking”, which is bad in a lot of ways and hence doesn’t really have to be discussed (today?). The other definition is “script” in a sense of “screenplays” or the instructions that one is given in a play. A script is the foundation of every play, film or show. A script is a requirement for a lot of things to happen but in video game terms this doesn’t necessarily apply.

I really hate scripted fights.

What is a scripted fight, you may ask? Well, in a lot of roleplaying games or RPGs for short, the player has to face off against some incredibly strong foe only to lose the fight at the end, no matter what the player does. No matter how many resources you’ve wasted and how many potions, revives and items you’ve used, you won’t win the fight. No matter the effort you put in, you’ll get disappointed as the director of the game wanted you to suffer in this one, resulting in a bad taste that certain fights leave in your mouth. Or even worse, these fights don’t even require you to try your best but only want you to stay alive until the special attack that you need to use is ready or until reinforcements are around, which I may hate even more than a one-round-K.O. by the boss of the level.

And that’s what I hate about it. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done well. You can hate the general mechanic but still like it in certain games. There are games out there that don’t allow you to use potions and other consumable items in those fights due to the scripted nature of the fight… but just because that’s done well in one game, that doesn’t really mean anything in other games as you’ll probably use up those rare “Ethers” and “Full Revives” in these fights if you’re completely new to the games and eventually you’ll die only to be woken up in a different place where some NPC tells you that they found you stranded at the beach (or something like that).

Other fights are scripted with phases, which is nice. In Hollow Knight, a lot of the fights have two to three phases with the boss getting more and deadlier attacks that hit harder and faster than before once they reach certain health point thresholds. This is generally normal in RPGs of all kinds and a lot of games use this system. Boss Fights should, in my opinion, get harder the farther you go, to make it even more rewarding for the player once they beat him!

And thus, I like it when you don’t lose anything for actually trying hard in scripted fights and I love scripted phases in boss fights but I hate those fights where the devs make you lose on purpose…

And I’d say that generally, not many people out there like to those fights. After all, nobody likes to lose.

Either way, that’s it for today’s post. Remember that just because I hate a game mechanic, that doesn’t mean that I’d hate all games with that mechanic. Thought I should let you know about that.

Alas, I hope that you’ve got a wonderful day and that you don’t use too many of your expensive items in the next few scripted fights.

Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

I hate invisible walls

Games allow us to escape reality. I mean, you don’t have to use it as an escape mechanism but it’s possible. You can visit places you’ve never been to before. You can do anything you ever wanted to do. You can be whatever you wanted to be.

Some games allow you to explore a ton of areas and give you a lot of freedom when it comes to movement. Some games want you to explore and find easter eggs – after all, it’s an unwritten rule that you shall never instantly take the main quest’s path or the path that the game wants you to go but that you, the player, shall strive to take every other path first!
The Stanley Parable is a great example of that!

But sometimes this can lead to problems. Being able to explore a map freely can make you feel lost. In Hollow Knight, for instance, I’ve heard that some people feel lost and I myself sometimes didn’t really know where to go… then I sat back at a bench in a small town… chatted with the elder and eventually found out where to go next or where to explore first with the new abilities I’ve got. Metroidvania games feature a ton of semi-open worlds where you can’t go to specific areas without certain abilities, so you naturally do a lot of backtracking eventually after you found that double jump or the wall jump or the dash or the ground smash ability. And that’s great. I enjoy the exploration and backtracking in Metroidvania titles a lot, especially since they kind of are like a puzzle, depending on how much handholding there is in the game.

BUT!

While Metroidvania titles are semi-open, there are a lot of games that are supposedly Open World titles… but really are not. There are games there that have this annoying and limiting ability called “invisible walls”.

I always loved to explore these maps in different games and when I suddenly flew into an invisible wall in Super Mario 64, that would essentially annoy me a little bit. The same goes for a lot of other games like Beyond Good and Evil or Sonic Adventure DX or Tomb Raider, where you’d just stumble into a wall because the devs didn’t find a creative decision to stop you from going there.

It doesn’t have to be an invicible one but a powerful foe can quite often be just enough to stop you from passing through. In this case, we eventually were able to beat him, but it took us a while and many tries.

Some games feature killing mechanisms that punish your curiosity without frustrating you. A great example of this is Subnautica where you can leave the “island” or map that you are on (at least in the base game) and encounter the Ghost Leviathans who essentially are translucent and really strong. The Leviathans in the game can be killed but it takes ages to do in Survival, especially as you are very mortal yourself and as you need oxygen, nutrition and hydration. Therefore, killing the Ghost Leviathans in the so-called “Void” is not really an option, especially as they are a lot stronger and as they get a lot bigger the farther you go out of the Void! In the Void, these Ghost Leviathans spawn a lot more frequent, too, resulting in a spooky experience in an area where you can’t tell “up” and “down” apart with nothing to orient yourself with, with no option of survival and no goal to reach but plenty of dangers to chase you.

And this solution is creative as it’s not an instant-death mechanic like in the Borderlands games… it’s a challenge of sorts. You can’t win it, of course, but you can definitely try to live longer. There were plenty of videos by YouTubers that I’ve watched a while ago where they’d try to kill some of the Ghost Leviathans or where they’d try to outrun them or where they’d build a base in creative mode, trying to reach the ground and trying to survive and observe the Ghost Leviathans. You’re challenging the game’s boundaries as the devs don’t want you to go behind those boundaries.

But in other games, the devs tell you to fuck off and essentially just block passage using an invisible wall or a guard that would just tell you to piss off.

And that sucks. I hate it. In Nier Automata, you have vast, open areas that feel great, exploration-wise. Especially with the buildings that you can jump on and off from… but some areas are closed off from you by these pesky invisible walls and I just dislike that mechanic. If the world’s not open, why would you call it an Open World?

I feel like devs would need to find better mechanics to cope with people going to areas that they don’t want you to go to. It breaks the immersion when you run into a wall that prevents you from walking somewhere or that even causes you to walk on the spot. Instead, you may as well have a storm that pushes you away every time you move into a certain direction, just like Hollow Knight has in one area (found out about that yesterday!). Huge Ghost Leviathans scaring you away in the Void are a great solution to keep people away, too.

But I guess I’m yelling at clouds again and some things may never change. A pop-up like “We don’t want you to go this way, so fuck off and get back to playing the game” would be a thousand times better than an invisible wall but maybe that’s too rude for some devs and they just slam the door into your face, thinking it’s more polite.

Either way, what do you think of this? What are your favourite encounters hindering you from going where you’re not supposed to go? Let me know!

For now, though, I wish you a wonderful day and a great time.

Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

I hate metaslaving

Whenever games get competitive, something called a “meta” develops over time and hence certain “successful” developments or patterns in the way people play a game appear more often, resulting in a (usually) everchanging meta.

In League of Legends, I usually play in the Support role. My champion pool is quite varied with a lot of beefy tanks that can engage quite heavily on the enemies like Nautilus, Thresh, Leona and Bard… and with a lot of cool enchanters that empower and heal allies, preventing them from dying, like Nami, Sona, Lulu and Bard… and with a lot of strong mages that are able to whittle down the enemies’ HP-bars before fights or even kill them on your own – like Morgana, Brand, Xerath and Bard!

This is Bard’s “Bard Bard” skin where Bard is a “bard”.
I really like Bard.
Bard’s love, Bard’s life.

Overall, I really enjoy a lot of support champions but sadly, the meta is a thing and therefore you usually only play certain champions on each role. In the support role in this season of League of Legends, the meta is basically consisting of a meta of the holy “Tank-Trinity”: Leona, Nautilus and Thresh. You pick one of these champions and you win (if you know what you’re doing)… and while I know what I’m doing with these champions, I don’t really enjoy playing them as much as the mages and enchanters in my champion pool right now and hence, I come to my point:

I hate metaslaving.

Being a “slave” to the meta is a bit strong but a lot of people who try to climb in League have to resort to doing it. They need to stick to the champions with the highest pick and win rates and have to play these champions to essentially win games.

Vladimir, eh, don’t like him all that much, although I should like him, I guess?

A good example for this would be Mid Lane where you either pick Kassadin or Vladimir… or you ban them. They are really strong with no counterplay whatsoever and are essentially face-roll-champions that don’t get nerfed no matter what happens. (Sorry for the rant.)

If you belong to the 0.50% of League of Legends’ player-base that plays Tristana Mid, then I’m quite sorry to let you know that you will lose with a probability of 41.91% (Most champions have a win rate between 45 to 55% unless they are not balanced for that role). If you are a Tristana-Midlane-One-Trick-Pony you might enjoy this kind of playstyle but you probably will have it hard to actually make this playstyle work and climb efficiently. Instead, you’ll have to resort to metaslaving and play either something broken (not gonna rant again) or something that is actually good right now in Mid-Lane (not judging) like Galio, Zoe, Talon or Zed (just according to win rates compared to pick rates).

And I guess not everyone likes League of Legends, so I guess I could and actually should talk about metaslaving in other games.

The Revoker – the best crucible sniper, period.
(I’ve been told that and I’ve been killed by that quite often.)

In Destiny 2, for instance, I really enjoy using double-primary-ammo with Storm and Stress (or rather Sturm und Drang) but people don’t really do that… and well, I am not that good in Crucible as I am using a sidearm and a hand cannon (fair enough).

If I don’t use those two weapons, I usually go for Bug-Out-Bag and a shotgun, which works, I guess… but there are weapons in the meta that are a must-have for anyone who wants to climb fast.

In card games, a lot of the times, only certain decks with certain cards in it work. If you are missing one card or two from having the perfect deck, you either grind it out until you have it – or you just replace the missing cards with something similar. My Quest Shaman, in Hearthstone, has been meta for quite some time… sadly, ever since the dragons came out… I can’t really use it and need some extra cards, which is rather annoying, in my opinion.

Couldn’t be bothered to take or search for a screenshot of my quest shaman deck, so I took this one instead since I like Hollow Knight.

But then again, I don’t play games to conform to a meta. I play games to have fun. And I don’t want to play those tank supports, I don’t want to use the Revoker or Bygones in D2, and I don’t want to grind some stupid dragon cards that will get replaced soon anyways.
But it’s something that can’t be changed anyway, as a meta always develops with every change that comes out and every effort to make PvP or PvE more balanced… and that’s something that I don’t like but I guess I can’t change it and it’s just how things go.

Cheers.

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

I hate contact damage

There have been a few hedgehogs, freezing in winter. They were sitting in a cave around a campfire but it wasn’t warming them enough, just yet, so they ended up getting cuddly and hurting each other, hence pushing each other back.

Now, while that makes a lot of sense in this kind of fable… because of hedgehogs having spikes or needles… it doesn’t make any sense in a lot of games. And that’s what this post is about.

So, ever since I started playing games, I was wondering why you’d take damage when you’re only bumping into other enemies. After all, they should be hurt if you bump into them. But since they don’t get hurt, you naturally shouldn’t get hurt by them either unless they run into you with a knife and legitimately stab you. After all, getting stabbed hurts – trust me, I’ve been there, although it’s only been my hand that took contact damage from my knife.

In games like Mario, there are enemies with spikes on their head, so that bumping into them actually would make sense, I guess? Meanwhile touching somebody in Hollow Knight or Dead Cells, hurts you, too, and that despite Hollow Knight’s enemies’ squishiness or the rotten nature of the corpses and stuff in Dead Cells.

I guess it kind of makes sense to have a Goomba hurt you in Mario as naturally his only way of attacking is the actual charge and bump he does but that’s no excuse for all the other enemies that are out there, shooting projectiles and bolts at you. They’ve got their means to attack you, so why do they hurt when you hug them?

To put Mario aside, I’d guess that the damage on contact mechanic was there in the first place for a lot of older games because of technological restraints (as in not being able to animate a stabby attack for every enemy). But nowadays there’re so many ways of damaging you… you don’t really have the technological limitations that you had back in the day and therefore, I wouldn’t know why something would hurt you upon touching you unless it’s on fire and/or covered in spikes.

In Risk of Rain (which very much is a platformer, I guess?), enemies attack you and have their own animations to do so. Running or dodging past them doesn’t hurt you. You just do your thing while they actually try to kill you. Not by just running at ya but by actually shooting, biting, stomping, and jumping you.

And the same goes for Risk of Rain 2: You are in a 3D environment with so much going on that you aren’t able to care about your character getting damaged by enemies hugging you. A lot of 3D games don’t have contact damage, although I remember the first Blinx game (you know that game about time-travelling cats with vacuums fighting monsters by shooting trash at them?) being programmed in a way that allowed enemies to move towards you and cause you to lose a life, which was just obnoxious.

If I remember correctly, you were able to turn on a challenge of sorts in Bastion where you got damage on contact from enemies. Despite them already hurting you with their attacks and despite the game being so challenging, you could already make it a lot harder by having the enemies hurt you by just touching you. The next step from that would be damage on sight, although that’s probably a thing already in some game. Who knows?

And yeah, I know, complaining about games is like yelling at clouds or fighting windmills. I won’t achieve anything by doing it, but I guess I still have my right to complain about it being a thing without an excuse for it being a thing. It’s just another unreasonable thing to do when there’s so much else to complain about in the world, but I thought it’d be a nice writing prompt. I don’t really think that games should have anything like that. 3D games generally need some reason or animation to explain how something hurts you upon contact while 2D games quite often do it because of limitations, although even that doesn’t make sense – especially when these enemies have attack patterns already.

But I guess that’s enough about this topic for today. Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

Raid: Shadow Legends and why I don’t like mobile games

There are some mobile games out there that are actually quite good. The first Plants vs. Zombies game, for instance, was great! There are also “Arcade”-style games like Pac Man or Space Invaders that are actually well-ported and very much play- and enjoyable on the phone. I also had my fair share of puzzle games in the past, like Doodle God or Sudoku and even know I sometimes install a Chess-App, just to not get too rusty before visiting my parents and playing against my father.

But when I say I don’t like most mobile games, I’m talking about games that are so obnoxiously advertised on all forms of social networks and YouTube videos. Games that are falsely advertised on a lot of ends with gameplay stolen from “actual games” that have nothing to do with the actual gameplay inside of the App. Games whose developers bribe people into sponsorships with a whole lot of money to make them say stuff like “innovative gameplay”, “console-level graphics”, and “absolutely free to play and a lot of fun”, even when they don’t mean it or even when they don’t even play the game themselves.

And while the latter is nothing to be judged – after all, I’ve heard that there is a whole lot of money involved when you get one of those deals and some people really need that money when they make YouTube or Streaming their full-time-job – it is quite concerning when huge Streamers and YouTubers promote stuff that they don’t believe in, which may result in kids playing gambling-style games. In Germany (and probably other countries) there has been the case of “Coin Master” which got promoted by a whole lot of people that have a fanbase of 13-18 years. Coin Master is getting suspected of being artificial gambling and there has been a debate about it being prohibited altogether for kids, as it doesn’t even hide the slot-machine-aspect of it and as it’s unplayable without using money.

But today’s post isn’t about Coin Master. It’s about a game that exactly uses the “innovative and immersive gameplay”, “console-level graphics” and “free to play and a lot of fun”-keywords, amongst others. We’re talking about “Raid: Shadow Legends”, a game that is shit, I assumed. And then I installed it. To find out if it’s actually as bad as I thought. And I must say, it’s worse.

Now, when you play the game on your phone you’ll realise that the game itself doesn’t look as pretty as you’d expect for “console-level graphics”. If you use “console-level”, you should elaborate on what kind of graphics you mean. N64-era graphics were great and Raid Shadow Legends is better than. Xbox One level graphics are great – Raid can’t be compared to that, though. The graphics are alright. At some point, I played it on PC instead of using my phone, due to storage-limitations that made my phone’s other functions not work properly. On PC, you need to create an account, then download a launcher, download that game on the said launcher and then you end up getting thrown into the game.

In-game you then chose your starter-hero out of four classes. A Ranger, a Mage, a Barbarian and a Templer/Paladin. Then you go through a little tutorial and go start “playing” the game.

Playing the game means that you select a dungeon to run through, then fight in three to four combats, including one stronger enemy at the end or even a boss monster. Combat is turn-based and not that immersive or innovative. You click on an attack and select an enemy to attack. Then the next enemy or ally gets to attack. You can speed it up to double-speed if you don’t feel like seeing the animations play so slowly. An option to turn them off altogether would have been neat as well but I couldn’t find anything like that.

The little depth there is.

Around level three, you unlock the “auto”-function. With it, you don’t need to do anything anymore apart from selecting the next mission, hence getting rid of the little gameplay that is existent in the game. If you feel like training your characters more, you may as well use the “Multi battle” feature which allows you to queue up 15 runs, so that you save the time that is needed to click on two buttons between run.

Another aspect of the game is the collection of characters. You unlock them by paying silver to open Shards that then unlock the characters you then can train. These characters have stars depending on rarity and are stronger the higher the star-rating is. Legendary shards have a higher chance on Super Rare characters while normal shards have an insanely low one to get said Super Rares. In the beginning, you will have to open some for the tutorial and probably receive something rare, despite the odds, due to the devs wanting you to see what “great units” there are. Despite them being stronger, these characters then still need to get trained, equipped and skilled.

182 Defense! Less clothes mean more armour after all!

The game brags about “over 300 unique champions” when instead there’s maybe 50 different once and a ton of variations of the same characters with just different clothes and more or less clothing on. Female characters usually are busty or half-naked, because of more skin that is shown means more armour, right? Meanwhile, guys are either muscular or armoured. There are some more androgyne males in the game but those are usually elven mages or something like that. There is not much uniqueness between characters apart from colours and clothing.

While they may vary in looks, characters have the most boring names ever with a few exceptions. There’s “Magekiller”, “Sniper”, “Bully”, “Knight”, “Shadowkiller”, a different coloured “Magekiller” that just looks like Magekiller but has a different element, and the list goes on with stupid names without any character or back-story of sorts. “300 unique champions” is something you have in this game if you close your eyes, imagine 300 unique characters and then dance in a circle until your wish of these “300 champions” becoming unique comes true.

Oh nice! I got a Lvl. 1 Uncommon character called “Sniper”. Now that’s rad. Not.

Skills usually are the same for most characters with single-target or multi-target spells. There are some status effects here and there like poison, fire and debuffs, I guess, but nothing too strategic or innovative. I found a Support-Character who can protect allies and heal them but there still is no depth to the gameplay. When you play it on Auto-Mode the A.I. does exactly what you’d do. Some may call it “smart programming” others may call it “making the obvious move and just doing the simplest and best way of winning the round”.

Now, to participate in those fights and continue with the poorly-written run-off-the-mill story, you need Energy. Just like in other games, Energy recharges over time and can be refilled using micro-transactions. These micro-transactions are really expensive for the most part, so you either have to wait it out or you take a deep dive into your pocket. You can pay for Jewels (cash), Silver (in-game currency) and all sorts of bundles that combine characters, jewels and gear, and eventually you will have to pay again to continue with the game as it is.

The skill tree that requires you to buy scrolls in starter-kits using real money. Wohoo.

In my two-hours of “gameplay”, I hit a road-block where enemies were too strong for my current party and the only way of progressing would have been to get Legendary Shards and have luck with the rolls, resulting in four-star-characters as most of my party-members were at max-level, already. Now, I tried enhancing them using other characters and raising their star-levels but it didn’t seem to increase their strength at all. So, my options were limited as a free-to-play-player who doesn’t want to spend money on a game like this, so I stopped playing.

And that’s probably the point where a lot of people would say that nobody is forced to play the game or that the game isn’t forcing you to pay money for it. BUT – and that’s a big “but” – the game is actually manipulating the player quite easily with a ton of obnoxious pop-ups that give you better offers for skill-books, gems, shards, jewels and gear. In my first two minutes of “gameplay”, my screen was covered in pop-ups for a lot of time. The “game” offered me limited-time offers that were up to 90% better than the usual shop offers… but they are only available for the next fifty minutes! Oh no! And the timer is ticking down! What should I do now? I am in fear of missing out (FOMO) and may want to grab this nice deal that allows me to play the game and suddenly I’m buying something in this shitshow of a game that is abusing people that might suffer from FOMO and that might be easily manipulated. Like kids that are playing it on their parents’ phone or kids that know how to access their parents’ data. And parents that think that this is what their kid needs because of all the other kids in school having it already. Welp.

An offer you can get right now that isn’t limted time-wise.

And that’s the last point I’d mention about this game. It’s a pay-to-win shit-game with essentially no gameplay to it that gets rid of its own gameplay by introducing an “Auto-Battle”-button to it and that essentially requires of you that you pay something to gamble for good characters before venturing into the dungeons again where you then stumble across the point of pay-to-win-iness. There is also PvP in the game but it’s not based on skill or strategic know-how but purely on who invested more money into the game to get powerful units. The gameplay is limited to a few clicks per battle. It’s not immersive or innovative at all. The graphics are not bad but they aren’t on – what I’d call – “console-level”. The characters are overly sexualised with no variety or diversity.

Raid: Shadow Legends is not a roleplaying game, it’s, at most, a glorified Gacha-game with turn-based combat and false advertisement. There are issues in this game like the abuse of FOMO and the pay-to-win-aspect. And I honestly don’t get why people would play it, apart from the instant-gratification some people may get from gambling.

“Gameplay”

So, that’s it for the post. I’m sorry if it turned into a rant. I tried to look at the good aspects of the game until I realised that there are no good aspects to it.

As a last point: Why don’t I like mobile games? Well, most of them are filled with micro-transactions and have nothing else to offer, so I don’t like them and usually don’t think much about it. Raid: Shadow Legends managed to not meet my already super-low expectations and is a shit show of a game if you can even call it a “game”.

Have a nice day!

The Stray Sheep #4 – Arachnophobia and Videogame Spiders

Here’s Elise from League of Legends – with the Bloodmoon Skin

Well, hello there, everyone!
Today we’re talking about my arachnophobia. I’m scared of spiders. Being quite tall and all that doesn’t make it better, but a lot funnier for other people seeing me get scared by a thing that probably isn’t even out to kill me. I just hate them. It’s mostly due to the fact that some of them get so insanely huge while some others suddenly move super fast. What I hate most about them is the fact that they seem to vanish like ninjas whenever I look away for a second! When I know where they are, it’s alright, when they aren’t too big.. but when I don’t, I get freaked out and have to resist trying to burn my house down.

Anyways, I didn’t want to just admit my angst of things that may crawl into my mouth while I’m sleeping. No, I wanted to tell you about video games and spiders and what I hate about those games.

Well, in most RPGs and MMOs there’s those typical mobs like Slimes…and Wolves…and spiders! Like, wtf? Why does it have to be spiders? And why are they so big all the time? When I started playing Skyrim, there was this huge spider that I was really disgusted by! But a while I got used to it and found it kind of…cute. I don’t know. Especially after it died. Then, after it died, I used my necromancy-skill to revive it as a companion! I mean, what harm is a spider going to be if it just kills other spiders for me,…right?

Thanks to Ninja43092#8533 on the IGP-Discord for taking a screen of it! My Skyrim didn’t want to start up, so..yeah. Thanks!

Well, that’s where I’m wrong, because that fucking spider crawled to me and followed me everywhere. It wasn’t just a spider-boss anymore either. It was a zombie-spider-boss-companion that followed me to wherever I went. And the faster you ran, the faster it followed, making it a lot more scary. Once you stop, it runs past you and may even go through you, letting you see those legs, that butt and it’s zombie-spider-queen-boss-monstrosity of a head up close! I don’t know why I revived it in the first place when I was able to kill other spiders without problem. I probably just wanted to find out if that works. Luckily, the spell ran out after a while and the monstrosity I created has vanished into dust and ashes.

There’s also “Elise” in League of Legends. When I first played her (wanted to try her out), I got so disgusted by her that I ended up going AFK. It was my first time that I’d ever go AFK while in a round of LoL but it was worth the reports I got since I didn’t have to stare at a champion that can transform into a fucking spider. Apparently the lead designer of Elise was also quite scared of spiders and just signed off the champion without looking at her. After a while I got used to her, it’s just still kind of annoying to play as her. Against her? No problem, just kill it with fire. As her? Not so much.

There are quite a few other games that have fucking spiders in them but it never was as disgusting as in Skyrim, in my opinion…. And then there’s Satisfactory. It’s a cool game that I haven’t played at all and that I don’t even own because it’s on Epic Games and I’m boycotting that for some reasons, but I’ve seen people play it and it looks like fun.. BUT there’s small spider creatures in there that move really fast as well and you’re actually able to deal with them by simply turning on “arachnophobia mode” where it replaces all of those creepy spider-thingies with Cat-sprites! Static cat sprites! It’s great! I love it! Please add that to every game! There’s probably a mod like that for Skyrim. May need to check that out!

Are there any things that you get scared by in video games? And how did you like this post here? Let me know in the comments if you don’t mind 🙂

Anyways, cheers!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.