Qt3 Games Podcast: the short Long Dark

One of us is having, uh, issues with Long Dark.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2017/08/03/qt3-games-podcast-short-long-dark/

“Preeze-duh-ta-heer” or maybe “praze-da-tire” or “pree-du-tay-er”

What’s the French spelling?

Tom reminded of another genre I can save a lot of time by eliminating from my backlog along with MOBAs: Deck Builders! I’ll save so much time!

No wait, I must have been unconsciously already doing that. There are no deck builders in my mental backlog anyway, currently, except Phantom Dust. And that gets a pass because it’s a hybrid action game deck builder.

It’s Prise de Tahure (“Seizure of Tahure”)

I’ve heard it said a few different ways by DICE reps themselves, so I have no idea which pronunciation is correct.

I’m also crossing The Long Dark off my wishlist based on the comments in this podcast. McMaster didn’t do a very convincing job of defending that game. You guys needed to have his wife on, or maybe @triggercut to defend the game.

We didn’t actually discuss the sandbox mode or anything that makes the game strong. We talked about the story mode.

Why was this the podcast of me having to defend 40 games?

Here is my stab at the pronunciation but you would really need @Left_Empty to get it perfect.

Story mode is indefensible right now. It’s terrible.

Survival mode is actually easier and more intuitive to play than story mode.

Yeah, I mean I haven’t played a ton of it but it has no hand holding and is pretty hard. I think once you get past the initial hurdle it’ll be easier to deal with.

The other thing worth noting is that in one of yesterday’s two large patches to the game is the hilarious notification that they’ve patched it so that wolves properly run off when you throw a torch at them.

Sigh, that’s what killed my game.

I’ll defend The Long Dark. I think the brutally hard nature of the game and the fact that it’s actually about surviving and not fighting monsters, crafting forts, or mining rocks is a big plus. Sure, I died trying to start a fire. I died falling off a small cliff. I died in a snowdrift. I died when a wolf bit my leg. In fact, I’ve died a few times to wolves. Despite all that, I want to move forward and see where it goes.

I’ll chime in as a Long Dark defender too. It’s hard, but it’s not unreasonably hard. I think one secret to succeeding is not to horde stuff. Use it. Take out those torches in the daytime in order to scare off the wolves, or even if you can’t do that, you can usually take a long way around and avoid them, unless you’re carrying raw meat, in which case they’ll chase you down. Eat food as you find it to keep your calories up. Water is heavy, so just keep a liter or two on you. Don’t be afraid to build a fire whenever you find shelter and rest near it for an hour or two to warm up. This game isn’t about planning for the future; it’s about surviving. I’m enjoying it quite a bit: exploring, making incremental progress, throwing rocks at rabbits. The art is gorgeous and the music and sound design are off-the-charts.

First few times playing in Sandbox, I thirsted to death because I couldn’t figure out which clicks boiled water. Incredibly frustrating b/c you see snow and know how to melt/purify. But the menu is not the best and I liked the older system compared to the newer radial.

But this is one of my favorite games of all time(once you understand the controls). Forces you to make decisions about starving in order to cut more firewood. If you need to move, what gear is absolutely essential to take when you move bases. And enjoyable common sense stuff, like if you follow rivers you will eventually find a house.

Story is annoying so far, but the most joy is in Sandbox that ramp up substantially in difficulty. It’s a game that tells stories that you remember for months afterwords.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I died while trying to melt snow. I literally could not figure out how to do it thanks to the obtuse menu and the way the game meticulously recreates the “start a fire” task. You have to gather a starter, tinder, fuel, and optionally some accelerant. You must put the fire in a good location. An open campfire has a chance of failure. The wind can blow it out, etc. I figured, “Heck, if the game makes building the fire this realistic, melting snow must be similarly as involved.” Nope. Just select the fire and there’s a function to melt snow. Meanwhile, my dumbass is wandering the ravine looking for selectable snow to gather and a can or some other container to melt it in.

The sweet relief of death never felt so good.

Here’s the thing: you guys are defending parts of the game that need no defending. You’re defending the stuff that really works.

I know that I personally have no beefs with the game for killing me, especially in survival or challenge modes. That’s the nature of the game! You die! A lot! You learn and get better, hopefully. That’s fun and challenging and interesting.

So no: dying isn’t the issue. Let’s not pretend that it is.

The issue is story-mode based. You die in story mode and it’s way, way too easy to discover that both your saves (last save and last checkpoint) are saves that involve your character being in a death spiral that is inescapable. And when that happens, the only way forward–thanks to a save system that works for sandbox, but not at all for story mode–is to begin again, starting the tutorial again from the very beginning.

And that is some terrible, terrible game design that should’ve been noted from the jump if story mode had undergone the kind of public testing that the other modes in the game did.

Dying isn’t the issue, but dying because the game didn’t actually explain the mechanics of how to accomplish a task is kind of a ball-breaker.

Take my melting snow example. If you told me go melt some snow, while we were on a snowy mountain, the difficult part of the task wouldn’t be the actual gathering and melting of snow. It would be the starting of the fire.

I agree with that.

One thing that may be in play: the early access community has seen a couple of iterations of the user interface come and go for the game. In earlier phases of development, I think things like clicking the fire to make water was more front and center and easily understood by the player. When the interface changed and made that not the case, the EA players never noticed because we knew what to do.

Now the game blithely tells you in story mode from the jump that “You need to know the controls, or you’ll die”, and apparently uses that statement to not explain frustrations like you and Tom experienced.

Again: the issue appears to be simply a lack of outside testing that should’ve caught this.

I play Windows Store games too, McMaster. We can be alone, together.