Bad Man with a bullet

Bad man with a bullet…

It’s the name of a quest in Defiance.  But for all practical purposes it may as well be the name on a sign that says “exit game here.”  I’ve never figured out why game developers do it – and not all of them do to be sure.  Every now and then I find a game where there is a quest/mission that is so difficult that it is nearly impossible to get past it. I’m not talking about about Real Time Strategy Games (RTS).  There are some single player RTS games out there where it seems you have to do a certain sequence in a precise order to succeed. So long as you do not decipher the magic sequence you are destined to repeat the mission endlessly until you figure out the precise order of the keystrokes the game designer put into the solutions.  Those are out there to be sure.

But here I am talking quests that end up being a road block in linear game design. In the Half Life series I was happily playing along until I got stuck in a water filled basement with electrified water.  No mater what I did I couldn’t get  past the quest.  At the time the game was new and no amount of “Googling” would find a solution – this was definitely one time where Google was not my friend.  In the end, the Half Life game was so linear in it’s game design that it was impossible to play the reminder of the game.  At that point the Orange Box went back on the shelf, never to be used again.

Enter Defiance.

I will say at the outset that I think Defiance has received more than it’s share of underserved knocks.  I began playing the game, half expecting all these horrible occurrences but none of them ever came to pass.  But now I have reached an impasse. Try as I might, hour after hour, I am not able to proceed past the quest entitled “Bad Man with a Bullet.”   Based on my search of the Internet I am not alone either.  I may eventually get past the roadblock but it leave me a bit perplexed at such a linear game design in an MMO.  Almost every mmo I have ever played has had multiple paths to take as you experience the game.  In defiance that never happens.  Certainly there are side quests, but there is only one main quest line.  The main story of the game is on rails from everything I have experienced and at this point one of the bridges is out.  Like the RTS above,   it is a matter of learning the exact sequence the game designers programmed into the solution.

I was enjoying playing the game up until this point.  However, as W.C. Fields once said, “If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.  Then quit. Don’t be a damn fool about it.”

It seems Half Life may have some company up on the shelf of unused games – if I don’t manage to learn the winning combination that each boss fight seems to have (a concept I have never enjoyed).  In World of Warcraft instances became little more than a choreographed dance with exact moves and combinations need to down the boss.  While I may be able to figure out what is in the mind of whoever designed a particular part of a game, it seems that the danger is in linear game design itself.  How many other players, I wonder, found the same roadblock due to linear game design in an mmo and put the game on the shelf, and advised their friends to do the same.


See you online

Julie Whitefeather


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