Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Massively Ineffectual

In Roleplaying Games, Video Games on July 1, 2010 at 1:09 am

I’m still playing Mass Effect and really enjoying it. Crappy inventory and slow elevator rides aside, this has to be one of my favorite modern video game RPGs around. Yet, it has a characteristic that appears in a great deal of RPGs, whether they be single-player computer, MMORPGs, or pen-and-paper. Namely, the slowdown of advancement as you reach higher levels. As I’m approaching the level max in ME, 60, the game decides to slow down the rate in which you gain levels to a crawl. Not a “I’m scrambling like a contestant on Double Dare looking for the flag” crawl, but more of a “I’m a recent quadruple amputee who just finished a bottle of cough syrup” crawl. And you know what I get at every level for my efforts? One single skill point. Not some game-breaking, godlike ability. A single teeny skill point that will have negligible effect on the game at this point. Why?

Well, I guess in Mass Effect, they want to reward the hard work of the loyal die-hards versus the people who are not me and have lives. Wait a second. I was about to go all self-deprecating about what a loser I am but I did other stuff tonight. I watched Top Chef: Washington and I…um…shit.

Let’s get back to my silly point. Leveling up or improving your character/party is one of the coolest part of RPGS. I mean, there are plenty of great things about the genre, including the gameplay, mastering the mechanics, and experiencing the narrative. Yet improvement is a constant carrot for RPGS. So what do many developers in response to the work you’ve done? Decrease the amount that you experience this extremely fun part of the game, that’s what.

Will it stop me from doing every side mission, no matter how tedious or painful for a mere dusting of experience points? Absolutely not.

  1. It sounds similar to how I think that Superman should not be very muscular. I’d think it would be hard for him to regularly push himself.

    Maybe your god-like character has reached the point where he isn’t really challenged by these tasks your running him through.

    And if he has an independant awareness, despite having his every action controlled by you, he probably really hates you for wasting his time like this.

    • No, if you see any of the Toy Story movies, you would see that toys like being played with more than anything. My computer character (who is hardly god-like, I’ll have you know) is probably just happy to being running around when everyone else is playing with the flashier, more action-packed sequel.

      And, I’ll have you know, Superman only is as tough as his adversary. That’s why he has as hard a time with Darseid as he does the Weather Wizard. Each day of crime-fighting is as inexplicably tough for Superman as the last.

  2. yeah, but the weather wizard is also a badass new god…right? well…miguel ferrer did the voice in the cartoon so supes was probably just intimidated…

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