Okay, okay. So we all know how incredibly excited I am for The Elder Scrolls: Skryim to come out. I literally cried a little when I watched those developer gameplay videos. So yes, I am ecstatic for Skryim.
You know what? I’m also a little afraid. Aside from the obvious ‘My social life is going down the drain for a month or so after Skyrim drops’, there’s another issue here. Sometimes, I feel like an overwhelmed video gamer.
What exactly is an overwhelmed video gamer? Well, since we’re talking Elder Scrolls, let’s take Oblivion, for example. Oblivion, I’m sure, is a great game. I own it, in fact. I just never played very much of it. Sometimes, when I’m playing a game with a massively open world, I get overwhelmed with the amount of sidequests and optional content there is available. I get distracted. I get overencumbered faster than you can accuse my character of stealing. I feel… almost lost. Directionless. With no major push towards the main quest, I can look at the game as a whole and go, “Wow, I can’t see actually finishing this”. So I don’t. With Oblivion, you don’t necessarily have to immediately begin doing the main quest. In fact, it’s very open ended. Bethesda is adamant about not forcing you into doing the main quest. But to me, in a way, that can be harder to deal with.
Bethesda is known for making their games open ended. In Fallout 3, once you escape Vault 101, you don’t have to follow the main mission you were given. In fact, you could walk out into that deserted wasteland and immediately being exploring the opposite direction of where you’re vaguely pointed to check out in the main quest. And this would be perfectly acceptable, welcomed, in fact, by Bethesda. But to me, a “I’ve gotta finish every single side quest” type of gamer, this is actually overwhelming. I think it’s easier for me to be pushed in some way towards a main goal, and then side quests and additional content seems more manageable. In Fallout 3, I can get easily distracted by a new quest that pops up. Continually starting a new quest and finishing (maybe) 1 in 5 can be frustrating.
On the flip side, I feel that a game like Dragon Age: Origins or Mass Effect 2 balances the amount of drive you’re given towards your main goal in the game and still gives you freedom to go where you want, to complete optional side quests. Despite the epic proportions of those games, I never felt overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities of where to go next, or of how many side quests I was receiving.
I’m like this in real life as well. I have a tendency to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed by the whole thing, rather than take it and break it down into manageable chunks. It can be enough to turn me off from large projects. I would never make a good project manager. A college report, for example, could be incredibly stressful for me, because all I could think was, “I need to write HOW many pages?!”. (By the way, let it be known that I am not currently in college; the example is simply that – an example.)
With Bethesda stating that Skyrim will be loaded with additional content, packed into approximately the same size map as Oblivion, I’m scared of getting that overwhelmed, disoriented feeling. I don’t want to end up frustrated with how many open quests I’ve started and how few I’ve completed. Hopefully I can push through and keep playing, because Skyrim is definitely going to be incredible.
Anyone else ever feel like this?