Friday, January 02, 2015

Dragon Age: Inquisition Sucks When You Have OCD

OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a common term thrown around by people these days who want organization. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have it, but everyone assumes so because it has become a buzz word associated with all things orderly. OCD is an anxiety disorder believed to be caused by intrusive thoughts, that results in unease, worry, apprehension, and repetitive activities. Washing ones hands multiple times throughout the day when it is unnecessary is an example. There are varying levels of OCD, and there are extreme cases. Something as inauspicious as locking and unlocking your door a set number of times can be a sign that you have OCD, even in it's mildest form.

I do have OCD. Not self-diagnosed, and it is in lightest form. My major "tic" involves my car. I have to wipe the wheels 3 times when cleaning it. Or when I'm pumping gas, I need to turn the gas cap 6 times before I feel it's completely secure. I realize those are stupid and yes, the gas cap is totally secure after 2 clicks. But I need to hear 6 before I'm satisfied. Don't ask me why. I don't get it. My OCD also manifests itself in other ways, allowing me to be more detailed and organized then most. I thrive on spreadsheets and timelines - and I work on projects until they are completed. That's more of the hipster version of OCD, but it's how I've always been. It allows me to be a reliable person in the work-place and for MMO's when someone is needed to plan a raid.

It's also why Dragon Age: Inquisition is a horrible game for me to play.

After an Amazon sale that I couldn't pass up on, I started my adventure as an Inquisitor. And for the most part, I'm enjoying the game. Review to come at a later time. But immediately I noticed an issue when I entered the first "zone" for questing outside of the starter town Haven. OCD would be my enemy, not the demon's from the rift.

As soon as the map loaded I found my screen littered with yellow/gold diamond points of interest: things that I should investigate to get XP and Action Points to use at a later time. Ten hours passed and I was still running through fetch quests. The entire reason I visited The Hinterlands was left to the wayside. I needed to get everything else completed first. My mind would not allow me to continue until I had cleared the map of all of the diamond points.

Like with any RPG, as you progress across the maps in DA:I, new plot points and quests open up that are not initially visible to the player. You come across a new town, talk to the butcher, and find out he needs meat. Finish that quest, and another one opens up. Or as you're out killing rams for the butcher, you find Exclamation Points and Question Marks notating new quests that you've stumbled upon. It's an endless litany of things to do.

"Well, why didn't you do the main quest first and then go back and do the side-stuff?"

Years of gaming have honed my brain. More often then not, when you complete a main-story line plot, you're transported back to your home point. Or you go into a cut scene that teleports your party to another part of the world with no way to go back. Or that section of the map blows up and you can never return. It's best to get the side-quests done first before moving on, because you may not be able to go back.

And just to add to the annoyance factor, when you think you're done with a zone, they throw you back into it! The Hinterlands was completed. Every quest was done. I was happy to move on and kick up the Inquisition. Nope! Gotta send your ass right back there to stop the psychotic, red lyrium mages. And then you have to go back again to help Dorian, a fairly new companion, with his quests. Followed by Cassandra, who has been with you since step one of the game, finally decides she needs help too. Argh! Game! Stop it! I'm done with the area. Quit sending me back there. I want it to stay "complete."

Damn you OCD! You are making me dislike DA:I for illogical reasons.

And for those wondering, OCD is not something you can turn off. You can't stop my brain or my body from turning that gas cap 6 times. Just like you can't tell someone to stop flicking the light switch 20 times, or to stop washing their hands every hour. It's part of our tics. We know they're not logical, but it doesn't deter us from fulfilling the action. Because if we don't, we spend the entire day worrying about what has or will happen if we don't complete the task.

RPG's are a favorite of mine, and typically once you're done with an area that's it. You move on. There are no new quests that appear later. You can happily continue forward with your journey. This is why I'm a fan of the Diablo series, and why I can sit through 100 hours of Final Fantasy. Going back to an area is rare, and it's usually done for the insane quests like breeding a Golden Chocobo. DA:I is one of those games that has affected me this way; the first in quite some time. I don't know if I'll be able to truly complete this game, and it perturbs me. I'll try my best to overcome this irrational concern, but no promises.

Video games can be an evil mistress when your brain is wired to think and react differently to situations then what is considered "of the norm."

Full review to come soon. Once I'm out of The Hinterlands.

3 comments:

  1. Same here, the loot thing is really getting to me too, along with the broken collection quests (and broken controls, and AI, I get SO frustrated when they don't do what I tell them, even 2 wasn't this bad, and it was bad). Picking up anything that isn't nailed down is just part of playing these kinds of games, RPG or Adventure, and because the real loot shows up no differently in the stupid ping/radar, and I can barely see the outlines, I MUST collect everything, so I can be sure I did not miss anything important. Now thankfully, at least the crafting materials do not take up inventory space, but sometimes there are so many that they can respawn before I can even get the area looted. It's just too much. I am glad the nodes respawn, but there are too many and they don't yield enough for what is needed.
    I have no idea how many hours I have into this game, since the first few times I tried to start it, it took me 3 hours to connect to their 'revivification' servers each time, I just left the game paused when I wasn't playing, until patch 3 when it started crashing every couple hours, but I feel like most of my time is spent collecting garbage, while looking for an unused needle in a trash dump. Despite the horrific real world ties to the world, in DA, the Inquisitor is just another word for Trash Collector, I might as well have played Space Quest, at least they are honest about what you are, the Space Janitor.

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    1. Space Janitor...such an apt metaphor. :D

      I appreciate the nodes respawn, but when you have this tenacity to want to collect everything, it makes it near impossible to actually accomplish much else.

      Slowly but surely the broken things are being fixed. I've noticed little tweaks here and there that have made the game less clunky, and some of the companion triggers/actions are followed (about time!). And I still like that the gamer has a choice in how they want to play the game: do you jump in and do the main story quest, or do you spend your time gathering and crafting? I love that type of freedom for gamers...unless you're me and you need to do everything. >.>

      I'm 50 hours in and I'm going to surpass my game time in Mass Effect 2 (which sits at 80 hours). And this is only my first run through! Scary thought...

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  2. This was my exact problem with Skyrim: there were twenty locations in each land but they chose the same caves for every quest! I just started playing DA:I and I hate going back to places. I need to "complete" everything so it's going to be hard for me if quests glitch :-(

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