Category Archives: Flash Games

Gaming Goals

I usually post after I’m done playing something, rather than the “Wot I’m Playin’” that some game bloggers do. Trying that out:

  • Guild Wars 2 is coasting. I tend to play every other day for less than an hour. My Engineer is approaching level 80, after which only my Necromancer needs levels. I still get all the Living World meta-achievements, but I have no real goals other than “cleaning up” characters. I have missed guild missions for about the last month, so I think I’ll catch some of those and maybe try to get back into WvW.
  • I have a few other games with daily login bonuses that I log in for, but once a game is on that low of coast status, I tend to quit soon. Marvel Puzzle Quest has teetered on the edge of that precipice since I stopped posting about it, but that game keeps putting out low-hanging fruit, and most days I can enjoy a few minutes’ worth of match-3 gameplay.
  • I will usually get the badge of the day at Kongregate unless it looks like no fun. I also play a few new games there each week, which often leads to having the badge of the day before it becomes the badge of the day.
  • I still play Game of Thrones Ascent daily. Some days I pay close attention and binge, some days I just log in a couple of times to reset timers. I am gradually working through reincarnations there to collect skills. I am most of the way through my “reincarnie army” of gold sworn swords, with a goal of 18 (two of each). The hardcore folks in my alliance can reincarnate twice in a week; I reincarnate every two weeks when I am actively playing, every two months when I am coasting. My alliance is in active competition for first place in the current round of Alliance vs. Alliance, and helping with that is slowing down personal goals. I am part of what I describe as our Friendship Squad: we focus on sending support to our allies, rather than attacks to our enemies.
  • I also play Dawn of the Dragons, although there is not a huge difference between active play and coasting in a game with an energy mechanic. Log in, empty bars, reset timers, all set. Our guild is working on gearing folks for campaigns.
  • My Guild Wars guild has spawned a Steam group, and I am managing that for us. I am starting to get events going there. It is harder to find common ground for many people in a multi-game format, unlike the single-game guild where everyone has the one in common, and I expect to be playing around with more games there.
  • Also on Steam, I have been collecting all the trading cards I can by leaving games logged in. I am about done with that. As a result, I have another small set of games to try since I already have them downloaded.
  • Runespell: Overture.
  • About once a week, I play a round of TF2 MvM with friends who are very into that, like 50 tours into that. I am the lesser partner there, but I am known to be non-horrible.
  • I’m enjoying Plants vs. Zombies 2 much more on the endless levels, where you know you’re eventually supposed to hit something unbeatable

: Zubon

On the Benefits of Coasting

I have trouble letting go. For long periods of time, I have games that I am not interested in playing but for which I expect to regain interest later. For single-player games, that means shelving them, and I can play Civilization again when I have the free hours. These days, most of my games are online multiplayer games with incentives for frequent play over binging, so I spend a fair amount of time “coasting.”

Efficient use of dailies is a core example. Most MMOs have dailies now, and many have rested bonuses, once per day rewards, etc. You can cash in several of those quickly and call it a day. Most social media games have a daily login bonus, a process you can productively reset every 24 hours, etc. You can bounce off a half-dozen of those while reading your RSS feed. Games with updates frequently have festivals and events, and you can get 50% of the reward in 5% of the time if you just log in, pick the low-hanging fruit, and accept that you are not going to grind enough to get the top tier reward.

This is a reason why I have never run out of karma, money, laurels, etc, in Guild Wars 2 and why I have 600 levels of characters despite having been “on break” for about half the game’s lifespan. In less than 30 minutes, I can get a small stack of rewards. I don’t need to do that every day to have a huge stockpile when I get seriously interested in playing 3 months later. I have a routine of visiting a half-dozen games, seeing if there is anything new, getting double rewards for whatever strikes my fancy, and wandering off.

Because I am exactly the sort of player who likes to play in binges, and nothing fuels that like coming back to a stack of gold pieces, 20 points to assign to abilities, an entire screen of unlocked rewards, a new festival…

: Zubon

Remarkably Honest

The latest update to Dawn of the Dragons is the sort of straight-up slot machine that one expects from F2P games of its like, surprising only in the relative rarity of that sort of thing in this particular game. I mean, they advertise the “expedition” packs with random loot tables for real money currency, but the festival “vortex” is a blind draw from an unknown table, the “fortune teller” is the same for buffs, and the “gambit” is a literal raffle. Adding a “Winner’s Board” to show off the better prizes is a nice touch.

loot pinata
And then there’s this guy. The new Event Raid is a literal loot piñata. For some reason, that just tickles me.

: Zubon

Idle Games

Playing through A Dark Room, I was distressed upon the realization that the resource-gathering portion of the game was an idle game. I went in completely unspoiled, but that is the kind of thing you need to warn someone about. You should also warn them of the scale of idling expected. There is a big difference between games with a few hours of idling built in and a few weeks (or potentially endless).

I am often amused by idle games but I find them insufficiently interactive. That is kind of the point of them, but I do things with my computer. My idea of quality gaming does not involve starting up a game and going to bed. I also need there to be a gameplay payoff at some point. A Dark Room does that. The classic idle game, Progress Quest, does not. Anti-Idle is stuffed full of mini-games, so much so that you could think of it as an anti-i… oh, I see what you did there.

But then, I’ve never seen the appeal of visual novels (versus actual novels) either.

: Zubon

Good Title

To quote the developer:

I just finished a new [game], and it’s an introspective take on a personal life experience I once had that I think leaves me emotionally vulnerable, while encouraging the player to think about their own feelings and how they’re perceived by the people around them.

It’s called Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar.

You may be able to guess what the game is about.

: Zubon

Quantum Leap

I am still playing Dawn of the Dragons, despite the standard social media game mechanics. Something about the energy bars and the false sense of achievement is compelling.

Mission zone 10 is an expansion pack gear reset sort of experience. Players quickly acquire zone 9 gear due to the multiplayer mechanics, and then better from leveling up while wearing it. Along the way, nothing except zone 9 raids do much damage to you. Bosses deal trivial damage, and random encounters deal exactly 1 per attack. And then you hit zone 10. Continue reading

Achievement Unlocked: Wander Blindly

The Basement Collection is on Steam and was part of a Humble Bundle. I have played most of these games on flash, and I presume they are all available at the usual flash sites. Aether is one of these, with a spirit evoking The Little Prince, in which you go make some planets happy.

Aether has the obvious achievement for completing the game, and then it has achievements for finding things in outer space. Five of them are obvious: the planets’ moons. Then there are eight other things in space. You would have no reason to know they exist unless you looked at the achievements or happened to find one. They are … somewhere. Just go wander in space for a while. There must be a methodical way to explore space, and once something is found you can direct others by reference to its location relative to the other planets. Until you stumble upon one of the floating things, however, you are just flying blindly about. While peaceful, this is perhaps not the highest quality gameplay to incentivize.

“Cheating” is defined collaboratively in gaming. It is not always obvious what is a bug or intended, and if not intended whether there is any negative connotation to doing something. In a puzzle game, looking up the solution is pretty clearly cheating, but you may also want to check with others for hints or “am I even going in the right direction here?” Because sometimes you are and the game is just not cooperating. So the achievement is for finding things in space, where wandering is the spatial equivalent of grinding mobs; there is no reason why The Crybaby should be in that bit of outer space, so you just keep going until you find them all (or don’t).

Looking up the locations is pretty clearly cheating, but I don’t know if the task is respectable enough to merit any negative connotation to that. In a game with trial and error gameplay, I see no shame in just seeing which combination you are supposed to find by random guessing or brute force. But at least you do not run out of air and die in space if it takes too long to find one.

: Zubon

It’s like Explorer content…

Rebalancing

Continuing with the random flash games, Kingdoms CCG recently did rebalancing. “The goal was to remove the tiers and the associated power gap between Heroes to create a much more versatile and interesting meta game and battle experience.” This means that the free heroes got better and the heroes you might have bought with the RMT currency were nerfed. On some changes, you might argue about whether it was a “nerf,” but it was definitely a significant change, like turning an AE buff into a stronger single-target buff. Oh, and “The Hero Trade In program will no longer be available after this update.”

League of Legends does this sort of thing, but so far only with a few of its dozens of champions, and there will be a few with similar functions, and it is rare to completely change the role of a champion. Also, you probably bought most of your champions with the in-game currency rather than the RMT currency. Also also, they did not explicitly establish tiers of champions, make the higher tiers more expensive, and then eliminate the tiers.

While I have played some Kingdoms CCG, I don’t really have skin in the game. I had a tier 3 hero, but I used the RMT currency you receive free in-game. The rebalancing included resetting all achievements, and earning them now awards some of that RMT currency, and they removed grind, and they added free rotating heroes like the LoL champions, so this is an almost unalloyed good for me in the game, except for needing to grind achievements to unlock things I already had access to and changing my favorite hero’s abilities into something I like less.

But that is a heck of a thing to do to players who are your revenue source. How do you expect people to trust you enough to spend money after you do something like that? It’s like a tiny little NGE.

: Zubon

Against Covetousness

I have been playing Dawn of the Dragons, because having just one energy mechanic game at a time is less than gaming. The actual gameplay of any of these tends to be low, but in combination they can be entertaining.

Dawn of the Dragons has lots and lots of items, because grind and cash shop. The crafting tab is where much of the rubber meets the road: a fight has a chance to drop a trophy, and combine trophies to get an item, then combine items and trophies to get better items. They have these for different maps, for raids, for events, for raid events, and so on for three years of development. There are five tabs for crafting, and the longest list has a progress bar dozens of screens high. That is a lot of scrolling to see everything.

This is to be expected after years of development. Following MMOs as I do, I am used to entering at the beginning. Sure, your game may have 1000 achievements, items, or raids, but you started earning them during the pre-order head start. You naturally earned most of the new ones while trying each update, so you have a subset of Things To Do that probably covers 10% of the list, and you know which part of it is relevant to your character. And then you have the new player who must do/get all the things! He joins your guild and asks every five minutes how to get X. It is essential that he gets X as soon as possible, and it is tragically unfair if X was event-related and is available only seasonally or (horror of horrors) not at all anymore.

This is my first time walking into that situation in a long time. It is pleasantly inuring. I occasionally see those new folks (but mostly people with levels in the four-digit range), and I occasionally ask something (but I can type it into Google as fast as I can type it into chat), but mostly I am just enjoying coasting. I got some newbie tips, I am accumulating some things that do who knows what, and I am working in no particular direction except up. If I keep playing, I will someday join those players in the higher digits, and I could start caring and planning. But really? That overwhelming list is somewhat comforting. I would need a lot of time to refill the energy bar to reach a lot of that content. I would need to play for months or more to see events repeat. It helps to get past the false sense of achievement.

: Zubon