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Default RPGWatch Side Quest - Time Out or Burn Out?

March 4th, 2008, 13:02
Magerette writes her first solo Side Quest from a personal perspective. I'm sure this happens to all of us from time to time. You've been anticipating this game. You've read all about it, downloaded the patches - even checked the mods. If only you could get as excited about about actually playing it…
Iíve recently had this happen with a game that deserves better, the Mask of the Betrayer expansion for Neverwinter Nights 2. In fact, this article was intended to be a review. Unfortunately, I had to abandon that idea, as I canít make myself play and finish the game. Iíve had this game since day one of its release, and I canít say how many times Iíve started it up only to shut it down again and set it aside for ‘some other timeí.

Iíd like to think someday things will be just right and Iíll be ready to plunge right into it, but realistically Iím starting to think that may never happen. Am I taking a time out, or am I burned out on this game for some reason? Thatís the question Iím asking in this sidequest.
Read it all here.
More information.
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March 4th, 2008, 13:02
A really well written article and worth reading, I had exactly the same problem with many games.
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March 4th, 2008, 13:25
Why can't this "article" be cropped to "I don't get what's so good about Mask of the Betrayer"?

Part of it certainly is a lack of patience and willingness to invest in the game on my part. And part of it may also be that this game just isn’t doing the right hat-trick to appeal to me personally.
What a waste of letters.
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March 4th, 2008, 13:31
Definitely - usually it happens to me with genres - I'll play a few RTS or Adventure games in a row and then think I'd sooner pluck out my eyes then have to face another one … which is a major reason I'm scaling my gaming commitments *way* back …

My suggestion - it *is* all personal. We have these discussion with music and books and movies - there are many things generally considered 'great' that a large amount of people don't 'get'. And why should they have to try?

Put it aside and take the pressure off yourself.

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March 4th, 2008, 13:32
Originally Posted by Ander Vinz View Post
Why can't this "article" be cropped to "I don't get what's so good about Mask of the Betrayer"?
Because she likes NWN and everything seems to point to her liking MotB. But somehow she doesn't. I think it is a relevant question.

As a reviewer I always try to step back and see if there is an external force causing me to dislike something, or if it is just crap.

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March 4th, 2008, 13:38
Originally Posted by Ander Vinz View Post
Why can't this "article" be cropped to "I don't get what's so good about Mask of the Betrayer"?
Because it's a broader subject than just MotB - that's just the game with which the latest occurrence happened to the writer.

And I recognise it all too well. There are games I've just not been able to get into, despite them in theory having all the things I should like. I can find myself starting the game, staring at the screen for a few minutes and then shutting it down several times as I go through the battle between feeling I ought to play something and ultimately realising I don't really want to… and I'm never really sure why.

It's a strange phenomena and an interesting one to explore a little bit further in an article IMO.

It's interesting, though, that this happens more often (at least for me) with expansions. Perhaps it's because I've played a game to death, to the point where I can't play it any more and hope that an expansion will re-ignite that spark of interest… but it doesn't. At least not every time. And the trouble is I never know if an expansion will make me dive into a game I found tired before with new found vigour, or if it will ultimately fail. I think a lot of it is also to do with the timing between initial release and the expansion coming out - there's a definite sweet spot there, too soon and I'll tend to still have those feelings of game exhaustion with the original, too late and I may have lost all interest in it all together. But even there, no hard and fast rule seems to apply.
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March 4th, 2008, 13:40
I think you missed the point, Ander.

I get big attacks where the game I'm playing isn't doing it for me and I suddenly think "Oh! I'd really love to play XYZ again". I dig it out, lovingly re-read the manual, install, patch, check out mods, read some reviews and maybe forum posts. This is going to be awesome!

And then…nope, boring.

I usually find it's all about timing. A few months later and I'm fully absorbed by that game, loving it again.

The other thing is, most RPGs have simply awful openings. Drudgery - saving cats in trees and killing rats in basements with characters that couldn't hit a barn 3 feet in front of them.

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March 4th, 2008, 14:00
I enjoyed the article as well Magerette. I did the same thing with MotB, I played for a while and then got bored. For me I think it was that I didn't find the companions in the party all that engaging. I just couldn't get amped up for a talking bear. Also, I was really put off by managing "hunger". I hate games and quests with "clocks" where you have to finish a task in a certain amount of time and this felt similar. I started MotB and then wandered off and played several other games before finally coming back to finish it. It was worthwhile and I got a sense of accomplishment, but unlike most "D&D" games and add-ons, I don't really feel the need to go through the game again with another class character.

Presently, I'm off gaming in general. There's nothing out there I find that peaks my interest, so I'm spending more time doing other things such as reading, practicing guitar, and posting to web sites. Like others have stated though, I've done this kind of thing previously. I think most of us go through phases where game playing becomes less engaging and we prefer to spend our time otherwise. I have no doubts though, give me another game like Planescape: Torment and I'll be back and obsessed with gaming all over again.

Favorite RPG's. Ultima Underworld, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Planescape Torment, Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Vampire: The Masquerade, and The Witcher.
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March 4th, 2008, 14:03
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I usually find it's all about timing.
What timing do you find the best?
The other thing is, most RPGs have simply awful openings.
MotB too?
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March 4th, 2008, 14:09
Timing, as in your personal moods over time.

MotB's opening was OK. I'm not a big fan of epic campaigns and haven't found time to get much past that opening cave.

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March 4th, 2008, 14:21
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
she likes NWN and everything seems to point to her liking MotB. But somehow she doesn't. I think it is a relevant question.

As a reviewer I always try to step back and see if there is an external force causing me to dislike something, or if it is just crap.
Maybe it's some external force that prevents her from enjoying upper level D&D experience. What is your sugesstion: masons, aliens or something else?
Or it's just crap because she doesn't like upper level D&D experience?

Originally Posted by Holly Avenger View Post
Because it's a broader subject than just MotB - that's just the game with which the latest occurrence happened to the writer.

And I recognise it all too well. There are games I've just not been able to get into, despite them in theory having all the things I should like. I can find myself starting the game, staring at the screen for a few minutes and then shutting it down several times as I go through the battle between feeling I ought to play something and ultimately realising I don't really want to… and I'm never really sure why.

It's a strange phenomena and an interesting one to explore a little bit further in an article IMO.
A strange phenomena indeed.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I'm not a big fan of epic campaigns and haven't found time to get much past that opening cave.
You're in a perfect position for writing about how you are not in a mood to play a computer game.
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March 4th, 2008, 14:24
To play Mask of the Betrayer, to be precise.

Why can't I edit my post?
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March 4th, 2008, 14:48
I have had this happening to me mostly when I followed development too closely. You build your expectations to unrealistic levels, that is one thing. But also you simply know too much, you know whats coming, you know why the devs did this and not that, you know which design decisions you agree with and what you disagree with. you know what the detractors say and what the fans say. You know the screenshots and the videos, know what the game looks like. All this meta information just weighs down on the experience. This clearly happened with Oblivion. Now I think that game had actual issues that would have precluded it from becoming a favourite of mine. But I am also 100% certain that I would have enjoyed it much more if I had just picked it up one fine rainy afternoon going "Wow, a new TES? I didn't even know this was in development!".
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March 4th, 2008, 15:05
Maybe, you know, you just don't feel like playing a computer game? It happens every so often. You're bored, remember how much fun you've had playing computer games in the past, and almost force yourself to run that game, only to find that you're not enjoying yourself.

There's nothing profound about this. It just happens.
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March 4th, 2008, 15:17
I don't know that following development of a game ever discouraged me from playing. I closely followed DX2, Thief3, and Oblivion, and played them as soon as I could. Heck, if I hadn't followed Oblivion, I would have hated it when I played it. Instead, knowing what was coming, I waited just long enough for one of the first rebalance mods (Tom Servo's, I believe), and had fun. In spite of the oft-lamented issues.

I have a whole shelf full of games I've never played. From Anachronox, DS2, NOLF2, and others I'd probably like (which is why I bought them) but never overcome the hump to install, to ones like Torment and Gothic 2 which have been installed, played for an hour or two, then never touched again because I simply could not get into them.

I always have a huge resistance to installing new games, either not being in the mood for "that type of game" right now, or the general uncertainty whether it will even be worth playing. In the end, I usually go and play an older game that I've played before and enjoyed, rather than take the risk that some new game will be an unenjoyable mess.

Then there was the whole NWN mess. I hated NWN. I effing despised that game by the time I uninstalled it. Reinstalling and trying the expansion packs made it worse. I wanted a D&D game. I was desperate for D&D. I played the game through to the start of the final chapter with a dozen different character builds, replayed the first chapter even more times to experiment with other builds, downloaded numerous maps from NWVault. There was just enough D&D there to keep trying, half an hour here, an hour there. It was the closest I could get to playing real D&D at the time. But it was not D&D.

I finally nuked the whole install after half way through the second expansion pack and being forced to play some crappy, RTS level. I don't like RTSs. I wanted D&D, fragnabit. So I picked up a copy of PoR2 — in spite of the horror stories — and played it. And it was awesome. PoR2 rocked in ways NWN never could. I could have a party of characters. A big dungeon to explore. None of Bioware's patented, trite, lame, tongue-in-cheek joke characters and plots. I got the D&D fix I never could from NWN, and happily moved on to other games.

Over the years, I've become very picky about what games I'll play. They may sit on the shelf for years before I'm in the mood to play them. Some of them I'll never play — I just buy them to support a dev I like, in hopes that they'll make another game I like *cough*Arx2*cough*. Although the Iron Lore thing makes it sound it's a complete lost cause.

At this point, I have not played any game since the end of December. There's nothing new I feel like playing, and I'm tired of the ol' stand bys. On the other hand, all that free time has let me make lots of progress on my own project. But almost every night, I sit down at my computer and think, "Darn, I wish there were a game I felt like playing." And over in the library, there's a whole shelf full of unplayed games that I feel no urge to play.

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March 4th, 2008, 15:36
Morrowind was that game for me. I loved Daggerfall to death (I could be the guy who actually played it the most — I just couldn't stop!) and could hardly stand the idea of having to wait for the next game in the series.

By the time it was finally released I was deeply involved in other games and had to wait. Then I heard Morrowind was buggy, so I decided to wait a little longer for Bethesda to patch it.

I finally got the game and the first expansion, both at the same time but found I couldn't get into it at all. It was a disaster.

Over the years I've tried four or five times to get into it, each one a huge investment of my time, because by then I was extensively modding it. No dice. I still can't really enjoy Morrowind.

Other games, like Civilization 2, I've played many, many times.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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March 4th, 2008, 15:57
I think I have much clearer sense when I find I don't like a game. For instance, NWN2 OC put me off totally but I can point out what I didn't like about it. I finished NWN2 MotB within a few months since I like the content better. I haven't finished the Witcher but it is because I don't have time for games at the moment. This is normal to me. In fact, Baldur's Gate 2 took me a few years to finish. When I felt bored or need to do something, I simply do other things and come back later. I didn't like NWN2 OC, so, I will not return to it but, as for the Witcher, I will go back to it even after years (In fact, I'm looking for the next major "patch"). This is my usual way to deal with hobbies. Probably because of this, I can still stay as a "gamer"…I don't play many and only play one when I would like to do so.
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March 4th, 2008, 16:33
Originally Posted by Ander Vinz View Post
Why can't this "article" be cropped to "I don't get what's so good about Mask of the Betrayer"?


What a waste of letters.
Depends on the personal writing style.

Bards, for example, *always* use more words than warriors do - or even assassins.

ď Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius Ė and a lot of courage Ė to move in the opposite direction.ď (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 4th, 2008, 16:40
I haven't finished any NWN content ever. I just find them dull in just about every way - I much prefer the IE games just because they have a style that I can engross myself in (a case of 3d isn't always preferred or better) . NWN is a lot more interesting for constructing your own game with friends or playing multi player.
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March 4th, 2008, 16:52
I can totally empathize with the author. A couple games that I've had this experience were (and need to go way back):

1) Ultima VIII - As someone that started playing Ultima III on a C64 and played both the Worlds of spin offs, I was super excited for this game. I ahd a subscription to some game magazine that had almost monthly updates on the progress of it. I would come home from school, go straight to the mail and if my new mag was there, read every word about it. Then I got it. And it just didn't grab my attention. I was annoyed. It didn't feel like Ultima. I sadly put it away and lost my self in Civ II for a time.

2) Ultima IX - After the disappointment of U8, I eager anticipated U9, especially after reading articles about how they had 'tried something different' with U8, it hadn't worked, and they'd learned from that. I got my first look in the extras part of the Ultima Collection, which had a demo of U9. I wasn't 100% sold on the 3D aspect, but in Lord British I trusted! Once I finally got it to run on my PC (which was a chore in itself), I never got more than an hour or two into it before losing interest. I think it missed me for three reasons: 1) I didn't like the 3D aspect, even if it was beautiful. 2) I prefer party based adventures and 3) again, it didn't feel like Ultima. This really soured me on 3D rpgs. It wasn't until playing U5:Lazarus a year ago that I got into the 3D aspect.

The good thing about U9 was that I picked up a copy of Baldur's Gate to tide me over until U9 was released. I'd never played a forgotten realms game before and wasn't sure if I'd like. Now I'm obsessed!

3) Icewind Dale II - I was disappointed with IWD: Heart of Winter, like everyone else, but satisfied with the Trials of the Lure Master free download. However, IWD was just great. After completing BG2 and seeing that IWD2 was coming out, I was stoked. Again, downloaded the movie demos, read the developer journals, etc.

As it was obvious that 3D isometric games were quickly becoming extinct (and I was still anti-full 3D), I was happy to have at least one more installment. Two things killed it for me though. The first was simply I didn't care for the 3rd Edition rules. I think they fixed a lot of the problems with 3.5, but it just seemed TOO flexible. I could have dealt with that though, but 2) I got lost in the story. After a few hours, other than knowing from the journal that I need to go to some specific place, I had no clue what the story was about. Couldn't even really recall the intro or anything. The story makes it for me, so this was a killer.

4) Neverwinter Nights: I followed this one on BlackIsle's website from the beginning. I had high hopes given BI's reputation. Then suddenly, it was gone from their site due to some contract issues. Regardless, I was willing to give 3D another shot, and the idea of a game that was designed to allow you to make your own campaigns REALLY excited me.

If I had the time time play online with groups, I may well have liked this game, however trying to play the OC killed it for me. I HATED the henchman concept, still didn't care for the 3rd edition rules, and the OC story was awful. When I gave up, there still weren't many user modules out there, and since I cared so little for the game, the idea of making my own fell off as well.

I probably should give it another shot, but I've moved on.

5) ToEE - One last chance for 3D isometric! Played it for about 2 hours. Hated the full turn based combat (even if it is more 'authentic') and didn't like the mapping.


Right now, I'm having trouble getting motivated to play MotB. I really liked NWN2 OC, but the last chapter my enjoyment fell off. as such, even though I KNOW I should start up MotB, every time I think about it, I do something else!

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