Thursday, January 17, 2013

Strategy..I gots non!

I had stuff to talk about, really I did but then i looked outside and the day was ugly and rainy and cold and I thought "meh".

So, I'll just start rambling and hope I become coherent at some point.

I guess I could talk about what I've been playing lately.
I've been jumping around all over the place really. For some reason I have gotten it into my head that I WILL learn to play Strategy games. I've been DYING to play Crusader Kings but everyone says its super complicated so, I thought I'd start simpler and work my way up.
Honestly the only Strategy games I had played til recently weer LOTR Battle for Middle Earth 1&2, never finished the Rise of the Witch-King expansion, cause it was hella hard and made me cry with frustation.

Strategy is a genre that I come into even less prepared than any other type of game. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I am absolutely terrible at games, I am also utterly impatient at times which doesn't help matters.
If I were to be grilled about my gaming knowledge I would probably be decried as a "fake geek girl" in a heartbeat, because my approach to games is....different, maybe even shallow some might say. (of course in return I'd say they are elitist assholes and I can play however the hell I want, but that's neither here nor there)

But, I guess I should explain it a bit better so you can see why it is that I just picked an impossibly hard genre for someone like me to try to branch out to.


most people playing a platformer: --> jump, --> jump, up jump, etc.
me playing a platformer --> <-- --="--">. jump ,<-- --="--" fell="fell" fuck="fuck" i="i"> <-- --="--">. jump ,<-- etc.="etc." fell="fell" fuck="fuck" i="i" p="p">While everyone else just moves and jumps I spazz the fuck out think I'm not gonna make it, try to compensate, end up dead.

RPG fight:

So, I really like FF4 and I played a lot of the DS remake til I got stuck forever. So, I went and read a walkthrough on gamefaqs. Here is the strategy someone posted for defeating Golbez:

Strategy by Duminas:
An alternate way to beat Golbeza, that has likely been mentioned at least
on the Boards already, is to use any number of characters (though bringing
Rosa up makes this a load easier, at the very least). Cecil and Rydia are
the key players here, though.
Once you've revived other characters (or just Rosa, or no one, depending
on how brave you feel), simply have Cecil use "Libra", and then have Rydia
sit on "Attack", or "Black Magic". Once "Libra" connects, take an action
(i.e. put the "Attack" cursor on Golbeza, or select whatever spell you
want and target him) - though don't attack with it. Take a look at his
weakness in the Help window at the bottom (the first line of two across
from his HP indicator), and use the appropriate summon - Black Magic is
something I'd not recommend, since you don't have ~ga-level spells yet.
Once he's hit with his weakness, you'll need to "Libra" him again, and
have Rydia use the appropriate summon. Two or three of these end it
easily; I got him in a "Shiva" and "Ifrit", personally. I'd also
personally relegate Cecil to entirely support here, regardless of strategy
used; his melee attacks are too weak, when compared to a "Charge" x3
attack from Yang. Have him "Shell" your party, and keep using Curaga to
take some of the weight off Rosa's shoulders.
And as an aside... using "Hermes Sandals" with Yang can make the pounding
go a lot easier, if you're going the direct damage route, and ignoring
Golbeza's "Elemental Shift".

My "strategy" :fucking press attack and every random magic I can find, cross fingers, end up dead, reload, do it again. Do this 10 times, rage quit. People start talking about the number of damage points on attacks, materia, magic, summons, hit points, blah blah blah. to me its like an adult on Charlie Brown. Complex math and shit do not mix with me and gaming.

Fighting games:Others memorize and practice long sequences of button presses to execute amazing combos and destroy you.

me: button mash til i fucking win! Only game where I know a few combos is Soul Calibur because I've played it for years.


Most people: controlled shooting, lined up shots, headshots left and right, sneaking, sniping, strategizing.

me: run out and spray bullets in every direction til things stop moving, either me or the enemy.

Puzzle games:

Fuck that i'm too stupid for puzzles.

So you see, I'm a terrible gamer. I totally spaz and get killed more than my 8yr old does. Actually, he is a pretty decent gamer already. Better than me at many games.

I read stuff on game sites and people start spouting these algebraic equations full of complex calculations and  a bunch of acronyms and my eyes glaze over. I don't understand any of it.

I'm perfectly ok with being a total ignoramus, doesn't really stop me from gaming or loving all sorts of different kinds of games. It just kinda excludes me from a lot of game related conversations.
The reason I  bring it up is to illustrate how the Strategy genre would probably be the worst fit for me ever.
Resources to gather, strongholds and communities to plan and build, armies to raise and command. A million little details to manage and keep in mind at all times to ensure victory. Numbers matter in all things in these types of game and you have to manage so much stuff  at once.

So to that end I've been trying a few Strategy type games see how I do, see what I like and don't.

I tried Civ 5, got totally engrossed in it for hours. It went well except for a  misstep when I decided to wage war against the Aztecs I think it was. we ended up negotiating a cease fire. So I guess I did ok, because while I didnt win I managed to not get decimated. I did have a hard time balancing friendships with all the different city states and finding the resources that different groups wanted.
Even still, I can see myself playing more of it and enjoying it and maybe improving.

Next, I tried Elven Legacy. Ok this one I really really like. Played for a while and while there's still stuff I don't understand, I had a really good time sending my archers to smack down some peasants.It wasn't all that complicated and it seems to be a Strategy RPG so, much less crap to remember, or deal with.

With this whole Strategy game boner I'm sporting I was interested in Fallen Enchantress but not for $40, so when it went on sale for half price I picked it up. I also picked up Warlock.

Not exactly what I expected.
I was really excited to try Fallen Enchantress and started it shortly after I bought it. That excitement didn't last long. Now, i'm not exactly experienced in these types of games but, even still things started bothering me.
First the long boring back story for the character I was using in the tutorial and the outdated graphics. Now I'm not a big graphics whore but, I just found it all so hideous. But those are very small nitpicks. My bigger problems with the game started after i had made my character and started actually building up my city and recruiting soldiers and the like.
A closeup DID NOT help.
When I played Battle for Middle Earth and Civ, I could do multiple things at once. I could a mine and at he same time recruit some archers, lets say...Not so in this game. A city can only do 1 thing at a time. Not only that but...lets say there's a crystal deposit somewhere, so you send your people to build an outpost there, and once they do, you want to fortify it, or add a stable or what not. Well that goes to your city's queue as well. Meaning, you can only create 1 thing at a time, and each thing takes upwards of 30 turns to complete and whether its an upgrade to your city, new recruits or an outpost's upgrades, they are all in the same damn waiting list, one at a time.

So I tried establishing another city so I could produce things faster, but that didn't help much really. Everything just takes so long. Then, after a while of me trying to figure out how the hell to get enough stuff built, enough recruits, do enough side missions etc. I get my first snarky message from some other country. They basically tell me I'm the crap on the bottom of their shoes BUT they'll be my friend and protect me for some gold. I was so caught up in trying ot replace the fighters that a few trolls had decimated, plus building shit so I  was like...yay. protection, sure. I agreed. five minutes later another country sent me the same message. I accepted again and kept plodding away at my sad little cities and non-existant army. At this point I am both bored and frustrated to all hell.
And then it happened...
My "allies" suddenly, randomly, declared war on me and started destroy my outposts and scouts and...everything....and I still had a bazillion turns til I could get a damn warrior or 3. I let out the "FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU" heard throughout the house, slammed my mouse down and shut that crap down and uninstalled it. $20 down the drain.

But I wasn't done yet! I am a masochist! I started Warlock. Ahh, this was more like it. I'm building shit ina few turns, I can build AND produce fighters at the same time. The game is pretty enough. Certainly nothing to write home about but after Fallen Enchantress it was a bright and pretty game. I played that one for a good bit, I had my difficulties, like these portals you can go through to other dimensions, planes, whatever. I went through one out of curiousity and was immediately obliterated. Ok then. I made treaties with 2 other Warlocks? Witches? Whatevers from other nations and so far no drama. It was a lot like playing Civ, except with magic, and less options, which was fine with my dumbass. I can see myself returning to this one, but I'll probably start over because I was pretty tired and drained from both Fallen Enchantress and the late hour and I made some mistakes that kind blocked some avenues for the future in the game.

BUT! I did not give up my Strategy game roulette just yet!

The other night I hit up Disciples 2: Rise of the Elves. I began the tutorial and got promptly confused, mostly because the tutorial sucks. Also the guy I needed to see was at the edge of the map and because he was on the edge of undiscovered country I couldn't highlight him to read his name and see if that was who I needed to see. Finally I decided just to go there anyway and he was indeed the person I needed.
It seemed to take me forever to get through the Tutorial and I can't say I was impressed but I didn't hate it either. I quickly fell into a repetitive and hypnotic pattern until at last the game told me I had reached my goal.
Tutorial ended I thought I could spare a little time trying the actual game itself.
Shoulda quit while I was ahead.

After listening to a few Elves whine (is there a single fucking game in which Elves AREN'T whining???) I was sent out to get shit done.
5 turns.
5 turns before both my parties were  annihilated within view of our Castle/Treehouse/Whatever....On Easy. My leaders had the habit of dying on the first damn turn. It just got on my nerves and I turned it off. Even still, it doesnt seem bad, just incredibly difficult, at least for me. Its another I wouldn't mind trying again sometime. Maybe after having a drink or two. No the drinks wont make me play better but at least I'll find it more amusing when I die...


BLD said...

The fact that you give all game genres a try already puts you leaps and bonds over the vast majority of new age gamers that tend to stick to one genre POSSIBLY two and spend the rest of their time complaining about trivial things like Mass Effect trilogy endings and so on.

The list of games you tried is pretty diverse although I see a recurring theme. They are mostly turn based strategy games.

For a beginner this is good because in these games you can think, plan and strategize your move without the added pressure of dealing with an internal clock.

If you would permit me I'd like to add a few more to your list.

I noticed you liked Civ 5. I was not surprised since Firaxis is an amazing developer and no one knows turn based as they do.
However, since you dipped your feet in this version, Would you consider Civilization Revolution for the consoles? Also X-com Enemy Unknown, I have an inclination you may enjoy these two.

Elven Legacy was the sequel to Fantasy Wars, and I loved that game very much. I also purchased all the expansion packs. They have quite a few. If I recall it was like 3 of them. EL:Magic, EL:Rangers and one other I cant remember.
I remember this game being a lot of fun even if it wasn't very refined. I think FUN trumps refinement any day.

Sadly your time spent with Fallen Enchantress was not as great. and this is totally understandable.
Stardock the creators of this game had a horrible launch when they first revealed Fallen Enchantress predecessor Elemental:War of Magic.

I myself never particularly loved the art style either, but FE is not only a complete game, but a very competent entry into turn based gaming.

This being said however, I kind of feel that you might benefit from look up the games that inspired both of these games. Master of Magic and Age of Wonders (there are 3 in the series).

I feel that time has done NOTHING to hurt these games and in fact are 100% better than Fallen Enchantress or Elemental could ever hope to be.
I say this with a heavy heart, since I do like Stardock very much.

The Disciples series is a pretty awesome game since they are basically Heroes of Might and Magic with a gothic twist. Part 3 in the series ruined it (I'm just happy it was released), but their brand of strategy falls in a unique category. Same as King's Bounty (which by the way was the original name of Heroes of Might and Magic).

If I could suggest a few games that might peek your interest please allow me to:
Flotilla, Gratuitous Space Battles, Master of Orion part 1 and 2, Galactic Civilization II, Commandos 3, Jagged Alliance 2.

When you feel ready to broaden your horizons, you may want to try out: Red Alert 2 and Company of Heros.

Always entertaining to read your blogs. Below I left some handy links for you.

Fantasy Wars:

Master of Magic:

Age of Wonders:

Master of Orion 1 & 2:

Galactic Civilization 2:

FTL (Faster Than Light):

X-com Enemy Unknown:

Review on Fallen Enchantress:

Sihaya Atreides said...

actually, I do own most of the games you mentioned.
I started King's Bounty a while back and that's another one I really like. I just felt that my post was long enough without adding more games to it. I tend to ramble on and on and on and a lot of people don't like reading posts as long as mine.
I actually have Civ Revolution for DS and started it a while back and I liked it, but as usual, too many games started, too many games to start, I bounce from title to title a lot.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
Of the games you listed I already own:
All the expansions to Elven Legacy
Civ REvolution for DS
Fantasy Wars
most of the Heros of Might and Magic series
Age of Wonders
Gratuitous Space Battles
Master of Orion 1&2
Jagged Alliance 1 &2

I almost bought FTL when it went on sale but after watching the video on Steam, it didn't look like something I would enjoy.
I don't really know much about X-Com except people keep raving about it.

I was aware of Stardock's previous clusterfuck Elemental and how Fallen Enchantress was supposed to be an actual good working game. I am sure that perhaps others with more experience in the genre were able to find enjoyment in it but I couldn't and I really doubt I will ever install it again. There are so many other much better games to play out there.

I'll read up on X-com and Galactic Civilization and keep them in mind. Though I'm afraid my eyes are bigger than my stomach as the saying goes and my game collection is well past 5,000 games already.