People used to ask me what I liked about Donkey Konga, what was so great about it, which made me scrunch up my face. This is a game where you beat bongos with your friends; it needs to justification. It justifies itself. Fuck off.
Well, Borderlands 2 is a game where you play bongos on enemy faces, at range, with firearms. You and friends can even shoot the same face. When the face has been completely, um… played, treasure comes out. Again, you know, I didn’t know we had to convene the Council of Elrond on this shit. That all sounds pretty good.
I was in the room when Kiko came in, paused meaningfully, and said he wasn’t sure if Borderlands 2 was a very good game. Gabriel released a breath that I assume he’d been holding in since we played Tuesday night. He finds the guns and gunplay itself mushy. I thought for sure they’d like the spacecamp art, but Kiko talked a lot about enemies and palettes and the illegibility these things conspired to create. Neither had nice things to say about a quest system where you have to be “on” that specific quest to progress it. Come to think of it, neither had much nice to say at all.
Gabriel actually said there was too much loot, which took me several seconds to process. I asked him why it was a problem this time, when it had apparently been fine in Diablo III. He thought maybe it wasn’t okay in Diablo, either: after all, Diablo didn’t exactly stick. Several hours later, while he was drawing the strip, he paused his music because he’d figured part of it out. Here is me trying to paraphrase it:
In Diablo - or World of Warcraft, or what have you - loot is not in short supply. At the same time, there’s a top-level cull that takes place even before the corpse has hit the ground. Some items are garbage, either because they are too low level or because they are literally pieces of garbage. Many, many items don’t bolster the particular stat you are trying to augment, so we know where those go. We’ve managed many, many items with this rubric already. Even further, though, there are items which are either not particularly useful for your class or expressly forbidden by it. In Borderlands 2, there is such a thing as a class specific item - but the vast bulk of the haul is universal. It’s a shooter; shooters gonna shoot. And that means comparing and prioritizing five stats plus corollary features every. five. minutes. If that long.
I understand exactly what he’s saying. It’s the reverse of Eddie’s Dilemma; virtually everything pertains to you. I have my own ways of trying to manage it; when I can’t make a decision, I choose based on sale price. That is to say, even if I don’t know everything exactly, I keep or equip the one that the game mechanism itself values. I have a pistol which, inexplicably, costs as much as everything else in my inventory. It stats are alright, but I kept it because it was so expensive. It turns out that this gun never runs out of bullets. I can’t wait to find more guns like this, completely alone, with my by myself.