Tag Archives: repair

The Most Annoying Game Mechanics

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.

Durability Loss

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.

Bad Cameras

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?

Tips for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The long awaited Witcher 3 was just released. This third and final installment introduces open world gameplay, and though some aspects of the game have been streamlined, there’s still a lot to learn as you’re playing. Here are a few tips I’ve learned as I’ve been playing. I’ve played on normal, on XB1. This post is spoiler free.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

General

  • The Bestiary is important. Unlike most games, it doesn’t just give history but actual useful information. Before fighting monsters, check the bestiary for its weaknesses to certain items, bombs, or signs.
  • When you pick up books, make sure to give them a read before you ditch them, they may add something to your Bestiary.
  • Meditate. You can do it pretty much anywhere out of combat. It will refill your health (on most difficulties), and restock your potions.
  • You can usually find armor and weapon enhancers in towns or outposts, use them when you see them for a temporary upgrade.
  • If you’re short on money, keep an eye out for treasures and caches on the map.
  • If you come across a monster nest you need to destroy, walk up to it and you should get a button prompt. Don’t just toss bombs at it.

Travel

  • You can fast travel at signposts, but do it too often and you’ll risk missing things out in the world.
  • If you’re mounted you can hold down A and your horse will follow the path without having to be steered.
  • You can fight while mounted.

Items

  • Pick up everything (but don’t spend hours picking flowers, unless that’s what you’re into). The inventory UI isn’t great, but you can generally use items to craft things, or disassemble them into crafting mats.
  • You only need to make things like potions once. After this, they are replenished during meditation using alcohol.
  • An item called Potion of Clearance will let you reassign your skill points, but costs 1000g. The first place I found one of these was Keira’s hut.
  • Repair your equipment when you can, but don’t waste money repairing the junk you plan to sell or disassemble. Repair kits are also sold and come in handy in dungeons.

Leveling and Quests

  • In this game, you have to ‘equip’ skills, and in the beginning you only get 3. So it’s best to pick a couple favourite abilities (I like to focus on fast attacks and Igni) and put many points into them rather than spreading them out over many abilities.
  • Equip a mutagen that will buff your most important equipped skills (they’ll be the same colour).
  • Do all the available side quests before you face your first big enemy. Experience and gold were a bit hard to come by at the start of the game.
  • Check the bounty board in each new town.
  • Secondary quests can vary wildly in level. Make sure you check the level of the quest before tackling it, you generally want to be within 2 levels of it.

Combat

  • This is the first Witcher game where you have a ranged weapon, so don’t forget about it. While it doesnt do a lot against armored enemies, it’s good when things are out of range or in the air.
  • Dodge a lot. Parry enemies with swords. Attack from the back.
  • You’ll sometimes have a companion with you in combat – let them serve as a distraction so you can attack from the back.
  • If your offensive signs aren’t proving effective against certain enemy types, Quen is always a good choice.
  • You can only assign 2 potions or foods to hotkeys, but you can also consume them from the inventory screen.
  • You can eat and drink in combat.

When in doubt…

  • Use your Witcher sense (L2). It’s necessary for many quests. Quest-related items and locations will glow red, while objects you can loot will glow orange.
  • Use Aard. If you’re stuck, there may be a door you can knock down or rubble that can be cleared with your telekinetic burst.
  • Check your quest log.

Have fun!