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Friday, October 26, 2018

Going The Long Way

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In the early days of No Man’s Sky, back when no one cared about the game, it often became boring and tedious to world hop.  We would spend hours trying to nail down every flora and fauna discovery in order to complete the collection for the most possible units.  Sometimes you had to travel great distances, at the expense of resources, just to find those last couple crawlers or flying creatures in order to be done.  And while exploration is a big part of what makes No Man’s Sky work, the time it takes to complete a system’s possible discoveries and race other players to the core in order to “be first” to get there, naming everything, became somewhat of a conflict.  In fact, the entire game is a conflict between what you should do to conform to the games story and what you want to do as an open world player, traveler.  After all, grinding in the game was somewhat in direct conflict of what you were supposed to achieve.  As you spend countless hours detailing every inch of every planet before moving on, the game constantly pops up a reminder to “Travel”, “Explore”, and follow Atlas. 

We were given the options to build a base, but the amount of time that you had to dedicate to building and completing all the quests surrounding the base update took away from that whole Atlas path idea because once you left a system, you either had to back track or keep a teleport node to the space station or the base you had unless you wanted to do it all over again.  How many times had I revisited the game, only to have to redo all the worker missions and building of vehicles until the NEXT update game, erasing all of that and rendering 90% of inventory as useless or outdated technology.  It’s almost as if it’s better to complete the game first and then do all the update stuff, or so the developers thought most gamers would have done so when dolling out these new updates.  Some of us, still haven’t reached the core, instead we soak in the landscapes, build wild imaginative structures, and of course, spend a lot of time getting rich.

Yes, back in the early days of the game, you could exploit the mechanics of the game to max out your ship and backpack inventory.  You could invest a lot of time, finding crashed ship after crashed ship in order to exchange it for another one with one more slot.  And if you found a world with some Gravatino Balls or Vortex Cubes you could haul a ton back to the space station and find that one traveler who had some ridiculous need for your valuable items, overpaying for something so useless.  In fact, if you were savvy, you could make millions constructing bypass chips or components of the warp cell recipe and selling them the same way.  I think when I last played the original version, I had amassed something like 26 to 30 million units without travelling more than four systems and never paying for a new ship. 

But, in a way, it ruins your experience.  These days, with the NEXT update, you can exploit a mechanic, making millions by selling cryo-pumps or just farming nanintes from sentinels at an outpost, using the interior as a way to stave off the wave upon wave of attacking bipedal and quadruped level defenses.  While it isn’t cheating, this exploit is basically a way for you to earn fast money and then spend it all on new freighters, tools, ships, or expansions.  Then, what?  What happens NEXT?  Do you build a huge base and just live?  Do you explore the game and finish it which basically restarts everything? 

Part of the overall experience with a game such as this is to immerse yourself in the world or universe.  We are given countless worlds to discover, and even though they tend to be a repetitive exercise, taking things slow and exploring is part of the fun.  Granted, it doesn’t have an overall pro-content spin.  After all, when you, as a content producer want to put forth a game such as No Man’s Sky  in order to satisfy a niche on your channel, you’re given very few options as how to approach it successfully.  You can do hits and bits on general tips to showcase how to discover and build certain things, a basic tutorial style.. or you do an overall long play strategy, where you invite viewers along with you for the experience.

I tend to play that way, because in essence, I want to play the game, not just give tips.  I want to experience what the game is and in the fast paced real world, where gaming time is at a premium, for someone with little time, I don’t want to work twice.  I want to immerse myself into the game and if you want to watch, it’s all the better.  But, in a way, that tends to destroy the experience for others… maybe.  I say maybe, because there are games, like point and click adventures or puzzle based titles, where the long play format tends to ruin the game for someone else.  Now, take a game like Mysterious Cities of Gold, The Bridge, Gone Home, or Back to the Future.  If you bought any of those games and need a tip, Mysterious Cities of Gold, and the Bridge may be a case for doing simple tutorials.   Usually, there is a path to the a goal.  But with games like Back to the Future or Gone Home, it is more of a journey.  It’s not about move here, move here, click this, but what happens when you do those actions.  It’s telling a story, and if you watch someone play the whole way through, it can ruin the experience for you if you were to choose to go back and play it after watching.  

Now, if you have no intention of playing those games or are unable and want to experience it through someone else, then by all means go for it.  It’s just that so many content creators are more focused on what is going to get them metrics vs. which is more enjoyable to do.  In essence, being demonetized frees me from having to worry about getting “ratings” as it were.  Though, one would think it would be my focus to rebuild my channel to become monetized, in order to get those ratings.  But, I simply don’t care enough about the process.  I’m here to play the game and if that doesn’t fly for you… so be it.

Though, I can see the potential of various types of videos with this game.  It’s art, really.  It can be simple as following someone on their journey or just watching the landscape go by.  The possibilities are endless.  You just have to find them.  I suggest going the long way.

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