Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Lately I’ve noticed that I seem to have less patience—or perhaps demand more frequent reward—when it comes to gaming experiences. Given the choice between a long, drawn-out session of a game like Crusader Kings 3 or Elite Dangerous, versus the much faster turnaround time of individual games of Rocket League and Apex Legends, I almost always find that I’m now going for that quick hit, even if I end up playing multiple five-minute-long games for an hour or two.
I also think I’m far less patient nowadays when it comes to the onboarding experience I expect from new games. If something hasn’t grabbed me within the first few minutes, I find that I’m often not willing to invest the time necessary to learn the complexities of gameplay, or progress beyond the tutorial or starter zone. Especially with a genre like MMOs, where vast amounts of gameplay are unavailable to new players, I know I’m making decisions on what I want to play based on very limited data.
I’m not sure what the root cause of this shift in what I want from gaming might be. I spent years playing EVE Online—the very definition of delayed reward when it comes to computer games—and prior to that invested years into World of Warcraft, so it’s not as if I’m unused to spending a long time working towards in-game goals.
Perhaps it’s the sheer volume of possibilities open to me now. What with the Epic Store and Amazon’s Twitch providing an endless stream of free games, subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, not to mention all of the regular freebies from Steam, GOG, Uplay, Origin, or whatever other launchers you might have installed, gamers are currently at the business end of a firehose of content. With a library of hundreds of unplayed titles, maybe it’s not surprising that my subconscious is unwilling to waste time on anything less than the most immediately rewarding experience?
Of course, it’s also possible that this is all simply a reaction to the current situation in which we find ourselves. It’s maybe not surprising that the anxiety and stress of living through a global pandemic (plus everything else going on in 2020) might manifest itself in all sorts of ways, including one’s gaming preferences … no matter how inconsequential that might seem in the broader scheme of things.