This is day 16 of Blaugust.
Today I was complaining about a couple of my least favourite game mechanics on Twitter and I thought hey, why not make a blog post out of it. It is past the mid-point of Blaugust now and my topic ideas are growing thin.
It’s the Fall that’s gonna kill you
What a pain in the butt fall damage is. You’re in a raid in WoW, mis-time walking onto an elevator and boom, you’re dead. You’re playing The Witcher 3, Geralt stumbles down 3 steps and boom, he’s dead. There are some places where death by falling makes sense. If you fall off a path and there’s no way to get back up then, yes, the fall should kill you. But otherwise, do we really need to take falling damage? Does it add to the experience in any way? You could make the realism argument, but few other mechanics are very realistic. I’d rather not be punished for taking a shortcut down a hill.
Here’s another one that I don’t get at all. Why do weapons and armor need to degrade with use? In most games – WoW, Diablo, The Witcher 3, Fallout 3 – keeping your gear in repair is just a gold sink. Generally when your armor breaks in combat there’s not much you can do but hope you survive it, then go find a blacksmith. Sometimes they’re close by, sometimes they’re not. Some games have portable repair kits, but those cost money too. Degrading gear durability adds nothing but hassle to games.
Losing your weapons
I hadn’t noticed this until recently, then I couldn’t stop noticing it. Protagonists in survival horror or action games have a tendency to lose their weapons. In Deadlight, I’d often gather weapons and ammo only to have them gone when I started a new chapter. One minute they’re there, the next they’re gone, and with no explanation. In Alan Wake, I’d collect a veritable arsenal – revolvers, rifles, shotguns, maybe an axe or two – then I’d get into a car and next thing I knew, all my guns were gone! Alan, what are you doing with your weapons? Just tossing them in the back seat and forgetting about them? Throwing them out the window! You need them? There are monsters! Get yourself some holsters.
Sometimes game cameras do terrible things. One terrible thing is making you run towards the camera, which generally flips the controls around and is super annoying. Another annoying thing is when fixed cameras make awkward transitions between scenes, like when you exit a room on the right of the screen (so you’re pushing right on the stick/d-pad) and somehow the camera flips in the next room so pushing right makes you go right back out the door you came in. It drives me nuts and happens in a ton of games – FF7, Deadly Premonition, Rule of Rose, just to name a few.
Are there any game mechanics you aren’t a fan of?