Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Sandbox Challenge: A Tale in the Timesink, Errrr....Desert

It’s a multi-media extravaganza today! Press play on the video below while you read the blog for maximum effect. It’s kind of like 3-d at the movies, only less exciting I’d imagine. I’m not really sure, because I haven’t actually watched one of the newer 3-d films yet. I say "newer" because they tried it once before and it flopped. The last one I remember seeing was Friday The 13th Part 3 and that, I'm sad to admit was on a Laserdisc. Hey, if you've been a reader for a while, or happen to have seen my Christmas posts you'll know I started on Pong, so ya, I am that old.

In any case I’ve brazenly borrowed (stolen) this from Youtube because I was too lazy to upload my own copy to Soundcloud so hit play and here we go:

If I was like Tommy Shaw I might like A Tale In The Desert a lot more. The problem, you see, is that I don’t have "too much time on my hands" and the time I do have I want to use for my enjoyment, not my torment. Alternatively if I was a masochist then maybe I’d enjoy throwing away my free time but alas, I am not (no, Mistress, not the whip!) 

It’s not that I want to kill Atid, it’s just that I don’t want it to be alive....anymore (yes, Family Guy again). It really is a shame because I like the concept of the game and I was looking forward to trying out some of the higher-end crafting opportunities. I realize that MMO’s are built around time sinks (or player activities if you rather I say it nicely) and that’s okay. The game is meant to occupy my time- it’s why I play (God forbid I go outside and talk to my neighbors..../shudders). Unfortunately the game has lost me with its focus on meaningless, time-wasting collection activities.  Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate the game. I’m just really glad it’s about to be over for me.

On the positive side Atid has become the game which has single handedly altered the course of The Sandbox Challenge. From now on my minimum play time will be 15 hours for the following reasons:

  1. 15 hours is actually quite a chunk of time when you consider the proportion of free time one has to dedicate to games on a weekly basis.
  2. 15 hours is how much time I have now spent playing Atid and I can’t take anymore

I have made it quite clear in past posts that I hate quests- especially collection quests. “Get your own f*%ing mushrooms you lazy, no good npc B#$%#rd” I can oft be heard to proclaim. Atid is a not just a crafting game, it is also a resource gathering game. I said in my last post that I found it refreshing and that it reminded me of a RTS game. That is still true. The thing is, with RTS games, you can set your minions to gathering while you get on with building your empire (or whatever).

Atid has no such minions and the game’s crafting system relies on you to collect your own resources. Fair enough.......maybe. I was tired of picking grass quite some time ago and I was none too happy when, after finally ‘leveling’ up to Rank 2 (after 10 hours) I took my eager self off to the universities to see what I could learn. The universities offer skills in exchange for tuition. The tuition in one case was 100 dirt. Okay, fine, I guess.

10 hours to reach level 2 doesn't actually bother me

Problem? I can only pick 1 dirt every 18 seconds. As you will see from the image (I’ve shown my work for the extra points, Mr. Professor) that means 30 minutes of just collecting dirt. Hmm.......got boring? 

Another cool quest...I think it was called 'Time Sink #352' if I'm not mistaken

I know that during that time I could be planting and harvesting flax, or planing wood into boards. I could keep busy during those 30 minutes but I’m desperately looking for the fun angle here and not seeing it.

The final straw (pun intended) came when I found this little gem: 500 grass as tuition. I’m all for skill based leveling and if my ‘grass picking’ skill was improving and I could increase the number picked per click I could maybe see the point. Collecting 500 grass, however, would involve walking around a grassy area clicking on the ‘grass icon’ 500 times. Really? How about you just ask me to click the bloody mouse button 1000 times and we’ll call it even? It’s just as pointless and I could do it in half the time.

I would rather die than do this. True story.

Whew! Now that I’ve managed to vent all of that, I can say that we have decided, quite rightly, to move on to the next game in my Sandbox Challenge: Wurm Online. I’ll be scoring Atid (not to fear I won’t trash it just because I don’t like certain aspects of it but don’t expect it to do all that well) and posting that next Monday. World of Tanks is released today so you’ll have to excuse me while I climb out of the sandbox and into a steel tank for a few days. The next few posts may be a little tank-centric (or non-existent), but it will depend on how much writing time I can squeeze in between battles!

The inner workings of my evil sanctum. It may look like textile-related machinery but I assure you they were torture devices...mostly for me

Ahhh...the old homestead it was starting to take shape

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