Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

I did it. I finally did it. I reinstalled Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this weekend. I had originally played it courtesy of last year’s Google Stadia beta test, but never really put the effort into it because I knew I’d eventually lose access to the game. Thankfully, Google and Ubisoft worked to get all testers a UPlay version of the game if we didn’t have it and even managed to transfer our saved games as well.

I restarted because this is what we do after an absence from any game around here. Ubi is really good at being inconsistent with their keybindings, so I wasn’t even going to try and remember my actions, where I left off, and what I had to know in order to move forward.

I once again went with Kassanda as my ancestor, and originally I had started a post about why I always choose female avatars for my gaming mains, but it ended up malformed and more rambling than usual, so it got scrapped. Maybe someday I’ll have a coherent thought in this area, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

I really like Odyssey (and Origins to a lesser extent) more than all other AC games for reasons I haven’t quite identified. The Egyptian theme was cool, but as some/many/most male nerds have done (and possibly female nerds as well), I grew up with a defined period of interest in Greek mythology. I think that the fact that Odyssey starts off the “comedy of errors” relationship between Kassandra and Markos makes it amusing but not overwhelmingly slapstick and the overall vibe is more relaxed than Origins was. The combat isn’t terrible, and aside from my reticence to run into a dangerous area with swords blazing, tasks have been pretty quick to complete.

I kept slapping myself last night that so that I would finish this game because all else being equal I like it enough to stick with it, but I’ve liked a lot of games enough to stick with it until I didn’t. Maybe the 15,928th time will be the charm.

A Tale of Two Tests

Also this weekend I returned to a beta test that I have had access to, but haven’t spent a lot of time with. I’m not sure I can say what this game is or not, but it’s a PvP centric MMO from the people who brought us Dark Age of Camelot so I didn’t actually tell you what this game is but assume you’re savvy enough to know what I’m talking about.

I’m not here to talk about the game in specific, though. I want to use it as an allegory because just this morning I had a thought. While I installed and logged into this beta this weekend, I spent all of about 10 minutes there mainly because I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was doing or what I was supposed to do. Then I thought about Star Citizen, another game that’s under development, and how I’m at the point where I’m actually going out of my way to do research on what is an unfinished game (the Devastator-3 scatterguns on the Sabre worked awesome, by the way).

What is the difference between two games in testing, where I’ll spend hours with one but only a few minutes with another? Maybe it’s overall interest — SC is a space sim, while That Other Game is a high-fantasy game, which we are really stocked to the gills with — but I think it really has to do with just putting in the damn effort. I am looking forward to playing That Other Game when it releases (I missed out on the DAoC boat during its heyday, having played only a few weeks before moving on), but they are running on a “bouncing server” schedule — access is only available during specific times which are at the developer’s discretion. Star Citizen, meanwhile, is up 24/7. I have more opportunity to learn while doing.

I also looked at Dual Universe, which has moved into a new beta phase. I could buy into this one for a standard release price, but they are also using the bouncing server testing method which turned me off (in addition to a few other design decisions that I didn’t really care for). I get why developers might want to do that, but I think they’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table if their infrastructure can handle 24/7 deployment. I could be learning a lot about That Other Game right now if I had more of a chance to kick the tires and not just read about them. I don’t always have the time or the inclination to log in when it’s convenient for them, and ultimately I think that changes my impression of the product from “yeah I’m excited about this!” to “I paid for it, so I might as well give it a shot”.

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