February 20, 2016

How Gigantic is Changing the Way I Play Games


I thought I knew my type when it came to games. Whether in reading or in my early gaming attempts, I gravitated towards the ranger-type, the one swinging through the trees or handy with a bow. This was true with my first D&D character, my first GW2 character, and the belief remained steadfast when I began playing Gigantic. Voden was an immediate first pick, and while all the heroes were unlocked and available, I played only him the entire time, finding places to snipe from and leave my clone for easy teleportation.

And then, once upon a two weeks ago, all but five of the characters became locked, and none of them were Voden.

I spent about ten minutes being frustrated, which, considering how little time I have for anything at all in the day, was quite a lot. How was I going to keep playing at the level I was without my main character? In fact, he was my only character, save one failed attempt at Tyto - I was going to have to start completely over and be completely out of my element the entire time! I was going to spend the entire time gaining enough game currency to unlock my grumpy ranger deer-fox as a noob!

Hold up, I thought to myself, Since when has that been different? 

It's true. My recent Gigantic posts, mostly regaling how much I sucked at it, were all from the perspective of someone who had thought they had their preferences all figured out. Someone who refused to see things through different eyes to get a better understanding of the bigger picture. Obviously, all that was about to change very soon.

My first few matches in the free rotations, I played as Lord Knossos, a slow melee character. I was used to staying in one place when sniping as Voden, so running around was different but increasingly welcomed as I discovered the joy of making double and then triple hero kills. I disliked how slow Knossos was after a few tries sprinting from one side of the map to the other in an attempt to strike the enemy Guardian. But, what I had was something new. Something with new attacks and new tactics and new mechanics. Ideas that I could share between my elf, human guildie, and Voden playstyle had to be scrapped for the time being. It was terrifying - I loved it.

Later that evening, Knossos was confirmed for play by an ally right away. I looked through the other available heroes and decided to give Tripp a try. Like Knossos, she had a melee attack with LMB, and maybe she'd spice things up with a faster pace. Four words about that match: Love at first click. Tripp's fast attacks combined with her disappearing act made her immediately one of my favorites. Being able to run away went well with my knowledge as a Voden player of where to hide when needing to regain health and stamina after an escape sprint, all while giving me a way to strike and feel more powerful than a support character like Voden was.
A few days, a little more experimentation, and forty-something kills later, I've cashed in my saved-up Crowns to permanently unlock Tripp so that I have someone to play regularly. Backing this decision was that I could play Tripp whether I wanted to have some certainty about my play, or if I just wanted to sit back and relax while playing instead of having to juggle new powers and combos in my head the whole time. The next hero I'm saving up for is Vadasi, who I've also done very well with, but has core mechanics that I need more time with before committing to buying her. I'm afraid the arrowslinger is going to have to wait.

What did I learn? 

1. Keep an open heart. Long lost treasure is seldom ever found by staying on the common path.

2. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone - or if you are, do it anyways. You'll wind up all the braver.

3. I didn't need to stick to my 'type' to have a good time. And neither did I need to play well.

4. Winning doesn't have to be a part of having a good time in a game.


In general, I think this will be the beginning of a new leaf turning in my playing habits no matter what game I'm playing. Taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone when choosing classes or abilities like in Guild Wars 2 or The Division is sounding more and more enticing. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking before, but it sure feels good to have escaped the box of same-old same-old and to be able to explore new opportunities and playstyles. Though I feel like I would have come upon this conclusion one way or another, Gigantic helped me push that realization to now rather than later, and I feel it'll have a lasting impact on how I play games in the near and distant future.

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