I Know This Will Curse Me But…

Well, looks like Skyforge has become my game du jour, every jour for the past few jours so far.

At my advanced age, I’ve convinced myself and anyone who’ll listen to my shouting from the park bench that I’ve earned the right to game at my own speed. I grew up in the age when “punshing” was the lowest and default setting for any game, and it didn’t deter me. I played Unreal Tournament at large LAN parties. I played MMOs on dial-up, people! Gaming, thy name is masochism. But now I just want to enjoy my gaming time. Since I played mostly RPGs or varients thereof, progression is important to me; more important than a feeling of accomplishment, or knowing that I’ve persisted in a bid to overcome challenges and difficulties. I don’t get my enjoyment from being better than what the game throws at me, nor do I really care for prestige in the eyes of my fellow gamers. I just want to have fun.

But I’ll be damned if I’m not having a hell of a time with the challenges of Skyforge. First, I want to say that I’m not immune to the irritations that seem to be floating to the surface with a certain level of frequency, but I’ve always been able to look past that; bugs rarely bug me. It’s a mystical power of mine. Instead, I focus on what I enjoy, and so far I have really been enjoying kicking the crap out of things that want to kick the crap out of me.

So far, the game has treated me well. It’s been difficult, but not super-duper difficult. Not Dark Souls level difficult. Not Defender level difficult. But there are hair-raising moments, and I’ve managed to come through them all. In fact, my only death so far was particularly ignoble: I tried to reach a section of the map that took me through a coastal swell, and I drowned as a result of my efforts. Wicked anticlimatic.

I’m trying to understand why I can stand (for now) the glaring repetition that Skyforge is throwing at me. I did the same zone three times in a row last night, once to start it, again because I missed the objective before teleporting away, and a third time because the narrative told me to. But that’s OK; I was looking forward to it. I don’t even know myself anymore.

Actually, scratch that. I know that I’m seeing definitive progress, with a caveat. It seems that Allods Team has found a sweet, sweet formula to get me to pony up for premium service. See, every player starts out in the most standard way, learning the ropes, doing nothing that you wouldn’t expect to be allowed to do in a free to play title. Then suddenly, BAM! they grant you a free three day pass to their premium membership. Premium membership in Skyforge increases the amount of progress you see as you play. It’s very clear that once your free-mium access runs out, though, you’ll be progressing at a significantly slower pace. The currency drops will be reduced. You’ll be earning less overall, and at the end of each mission, they tell you how much you could have earned if you were a premium player.

Well played, Skyforge. My free-mium status ends today, actually, and I’m already getting nervous. What will my progress look like without premium status? Will it be arrested to impossible-to-stand levels, as many people claim that it has been for them without premium access? Being progression-oriented, that would be like a literal door being slammed in my face. A steel door. Maybe the door to a safe. Like a bank safe, not one of those small ones hidden behind a painting. One that would hurt real bad.

My next step, then, is to decide which level of premium to go with. The per diem 3 pack is a good deal for a weekend, but I do play during the week. If I were to play every day, then I’d like something more robust. I might consider the $14 starter pack, although since I’m writing the game this love letter, why not go nuts with the $60 CE with all the currencies and all the two new classes and all the moah mount and all the two months of unadulterated premium access?

The only concern in my mind, I guess, is “what then”? Maybe I can get two solid months of play out of this game. Heart of Thorns is coming out. And Sword Coast Legends as well. And stuff on consoles as well. There’ll be claims on my time from other corners. I think maybe two months might be a good amount of time. Then I could evaluate where I am and decide if I want to run with ad-hoc Argent purchases, or just see if non-premium is as bad as it sounds.

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