Pause-friendly games
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 April 2013, 11:03 am
I finished Mass Effect 3 last weekend, and as I didn't have much time this week during the evenings, I only played Anno Online every day. But somehow I was repeatedly wondering what I should play as the next "big" game during the coming weekend. Basically I am wondering whether I should continue playing Dishonored, which I stopped playing somewhere in the middle for no good reason, or start something else instead.

I am pretty certain that if I don't go back to Dishonored anytime soon, I might as well uninstall it, because then I never will. Dishonored is one of those many games which A) have a story, and B) have complex controls which you get used to while playing. Not having played Dishonored for three months, I already forgot a lot about both the story and the controls. Thus it is a bit like starting a game in the middle, which is annoying. But I certainly don't want to start over from the beginning either. Somehow these games are not very "pause-friendly".

That contrasts with games like Civ5, or World of Tanks, or to some degree XCOM, where one "game" lasts only a limited time, and by design you then start the next game. Even if I was in the middle of a Civ5 game when I stopped, I probably would start a new game if I came back months later. In World of Tanks I don't even have the choice, every "game" is just 15 minutes, and you "start a new game" every time you log on. The new SimCity, with its far too small towns, then also ends up in this category, you probably would want to start a new city after a pause.

The other extremes are MMORPGs, which to me seem the least pause-friendly. If you made a pause of several months in a MMORPG, not only do you tend to completely have forgotten what you were doing last and why you are carrying all this stuff in your back; but also the virtual world around you has most probably changed, so whatever you were doing when you stopped is probably not relevant any more today. An expansion pushes that irrelevance of what you were doing before to the point where it actually feels like starting a new game. It doesn't really matter where you stopped in Cataclysm when you come back to Mists of Pandaria. So expansion somehow make MMORPGs more pause-friendly, and usually cause huge numbers of players to come back.
Tobold's Blog

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