It is a good afternoon, readers, and it is thereby that I have moved away from last week’s pernicious tone and come to something more lighthearted. While pondering over the two games I have been investing most of my game time into lately, namely Diablo 3 and Final Fantasy XIV, I noticed an interesting trend in my playing habits in both. This brought me to thinking about all the other gaming habits I seem to have in other games that I play. Most of these habits revolve around my decisions made in RPGs and, the site’s readership being what it is, I do not fear I shall have too many qualms about that kind of focus here. I rarely seem to break these trends while playing, though occasionally I do to less than stellar results.
To start off small I will admit to that all too common bad habit when playing RPGs: hoarding. This is not just the acquiring of valueless things in the game so much as it is the refusal to use valuable things. Time and again I will find myself pitted, maybe even uneasily, against the final boss of some lengthy RPG with an item list chocked full of side-quest begotten poultices that cure everything and heal everyone. But will I use them? Of course not. After all, those things took a great deal of work to obtain, why on Earth would I go and waste them for something like a “good reason”? But sometimes logic will prevail and, knowing that I cannot take these items with me, I may pop a few Elixirs or whatnot though I will probably still end up scraping through the fight with plenty left over. I used to be much worse with this, but thankfully I have trained myself to utilize my resources in games and not worry so much about the what ifs that never come.
On a more practical note, I also have the habit of leveling all of the characters evenly whenever given the ability to do so. This might be more of a compulsion than a habit, and it certainly has tested my patience in the past. Thankfully this is one of my gaming habits that I can say I have gotten over. But, in games like Final Fantasy XII and Lost Odyssey I was still very much in the thrall of the equally leveled party and so found myself constantly rotating out members and probably spending way more than I needed to in the shops on items and equipment. If I had to credit one thing with breaking this habit it would be Fire Emblem. I got in to this series pretty late, as I am not much of a handheld gamer, and the idea of leveling all of the party members is practically impossible. Sometimes it is perfectly fine, if not advisable, to just stick with the favorites and carry on from there.
In games that allow me to pick a class of any sort I always chose a melee oriented character that emphasizes defense. This is one I practice to this day and dictated how I began my time with Final Fantasy XIV, the Dark Souls series, Diablo 3 and many other RPGs. Where some of my friends will opt for the ranged bowmen or sneaky assassin or omnipotent mage, I much prefer a close quarters fighter that need not worry about dodging blows or managing magical resources. In co-op games where it is an option, this usually means I play the tank. Indeed, throughout my time in League of Legends I mostly stuck to the tanky characters and sometimes to the supporty healers. I can leave the glory for the glory hogs, the value of a good support character is not lost on me.
Finally I come to the one habit I have broken the least, and find very difficult to stray from if I am allowed, and that is playing the role of the good guy. Some games, as has been discussed here before, offer their morality choice in a purely binary fashion with big glowing blue or red points for being saintly or fiendish, respectively. When playing those kinds of games, that is to say when I played the Mass Effect series, the Fallout series, and InFamous, of course I always stick to being the nice guy. As much as I might criticize those games for a myopic morality system, I cannot deny that it works on me on some level. But even in games that are more free-form in their choices between good and bad, I will usually avoid being a prick. I have thought about this one before and I think it comes down less to a sense of role playing and more to a feeling of personal aversion to even being a virtual asshole. As a ridiculous example, my favorite RPG Skies of Arcadia Legends offers the player various dialogue options throughout the story. Choosing correctly nets the player with bonuses later on, but I have played through this game dozens of times. Not one of those times have I ever picked the wrong, and usually mean-spirited, dialogue options. I even once planned playing through the game and taking all the wrong options just to see the dialogue, but I could never bring myself to do it. But I suppose there are exceptions to this rule in some games if I am to count any of the Grand Theft Auto titles as I have no problem being a wanton murderous monster in those games.
Now it is your turn, everybody. Tell me what habits you have noticed throughout your gaming career. Maybe you have broken them or maybe they are newly formed. Maybe you share some of the ones I have listed above. Whatever the case, open up and discuss below.