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View Full Version : When does an AC game stop being fun and start being a chore? (Rant on collectibles)



ace3001
11-30-2013, 04:06 PM
By now, except for a couple of legendary ships left, I've done almost all things AC IV has to offer in terms of clear cut objectives. I've done all assassination contracts, all naval contracts, cleared every main and secondary land location, cleared all underwater locations and smuggler's caves, dug up all buried chests, found all the plans and upgraded the Jackdaw fully.
Basically, I've cleared most of the game, like I'm sure most of you have done weeks ago.

But then there are these suckers left.

http://i.imgur.com/9EJoIFKl.jpg

And then I thought "okay, I'll start collecting them."

However, after a while I started realizing that sailing to random dull, barren locations on the map and opening chests just isn't fun. It's like I'm starting to hate going to those very similar, boring places over and over again and picking those up, but I do it anyway just to fill up my sync percentage. I want to ignore these, just do the legendary ships and say I'm done with it, but the "I didn't get 100% sync" just nags at me. But then this is such a chore and that's made worse by the fact that finding them all doesn't even unlock anything.

For example, when I went and synced every viewpoint on the map, I had the goal of uncovering the map. When I hacked all the PCs at Abstergo after going through those tedious minigames, I had the promise of some nice story-related info waiting for me at the other end of each PC. When I dug up treasures, dove underwater and found plans, I had the goal of upgrading the Jackdaw fully. When I collected all the letters, I was eager to learn more about Thom Kavanaugh and what he was. Simply, there at least was something to look forward to at the end of those. But here, there is no such thing, and makes me wonder "why the hell am I even collecting these?"

Anyone else had similar thoughts? Or is it just me?

ProletariatPleb
11-30-2013, 04:14 PM
Never bother with collectibles in any game. Just ran around the 3 cities to collect some shanties for my pirating time that's it.

Ignacio_796
11-30-2013, 04:22 PM
I think that It would be better If in the game had more seconday/side missions and less collectibles.

LoyalACFan
11-30-2013, 04:29 PM
Never bother with collectibles in any game. Just ran around the 3 cities to collect some shanties for my pirating time that's it.

Same, but that doesn't excuse the fact that they're a chore, and a way to artificially extend game length. AC is by no means the only series guilty of this, though. Uncharted, Infamous, GTA, Arkham, and MGS immediately come to mind. GTA is actually one of the worst I've ever seen on this front. Hunt across the entire gigantic map for hundreds of irrelevant collectibles with no way to reveal them on the in-game map? Lol no.

To me, collectibles in general feel like an archaic leftover from '80s-'90s games. Some games handle them well (i.e. in The Last of Us, they were just letter scraps and things that added to the general feel of the world) but nine times out of ten they're totally unnecessary and tedious. Especially when they're tied to another gameplay loop or progression system, where significant content is locked out until you've found X amount of items.

DetroitPlaya
11-30-2013, 04:35 PM
I honestly felt the games were much more of a chose in the past, but... I do think the animus fragments serve NO purpose. You don't even get a note saying "Thanks for finding all the fragments in the simulation."

If they are in there, have a reason to have them. It can be something really as simply as "Now that you have cleared the simulation of fragments, we can implement a speed boost to your Jackdaw."

ace3001
11-30-2013, 04:35 PM
Never bother with collectibles in any game. Just ran around the 3 cities to collect some shanties for my pirating time that's it.

I never bothered back in the Ezio games where these didn't count for 100% sync. Wonder who came up with the bright idea of making all these useless stuff count for that.

Sushiglutton
11-30-2013, 04:54 PM
Ha, I wrote about exactly that in the feedback thread not long ago :).

The problem for me is that there are sooo many that requires little to no effort to acquire. We have Sea-shanties (tiny platforming puzzle), mayan stones (trivial puzzle), bottles (click a button), treasure maps (click a button), animus fragments (don't need to click a button), treasure chests (click a button), manuscripts (kill two guards, click a button).

The thing that makes it a chore is just how trivial it is to obtain them so you more or less run from icon to icon, do some mindless litle operation and then you are off to the next icon. This is one of the reasons I play with no HUD (mini-map) to make it easier to ignore collectibles and make finding them a bit more of a challenge/suprise. It's still a chore though. I like stuff like the templar keys, or the seals in AC2 as those are based around actual missions.

To encourage exploration I think it's better to just have stuff like money, plants, animals, random encounters etc. Generic rewards that don't count towards completion. I don't think money chests should show up on the mini-map at all and not be counted towards completing an area. If you find them, good for you, if not don't worry about them.


Of course you can argue that collectibles are optional but that's not the way it feels to me at all. There is junk on the map, so I want to clean it away. I guess I'm tidy like that :).



Same, but that doesn't excuse the fact that they're a chore, and a way to artificially extend game length. AC is by no means the only series guilty of this, though. Uncharted, Infamous, GTA, Arkham, and MGS immediately come to mind. GTA is actually one of the worst I've ever seen on this front. Hunt across the entire gigantic map for hundreds of irrelevant collectibles with no way to reveal them on the in-game map? Lol no.

To me, collectibles in general feel like an archaic leftover from '80s-'90s games. Some games handle them well (i.e. in The Last of Us, they were just letter scraps and things that added to the general feel of the world) but nine times out of ten they're totally unnecessary and tedious. Especially when they're tied to another gameplay loop or progression system, where significant content is locked out until you've found X amount of items.

Worst use of collectibles is in games like Tomb Raider imo. The game has relatively small areas with artificial walls. Basically it's just a coulisse. What the collectibles do is to make the player explore the edge of the map carefully. Now this obviously shatters the illusion that you are in a forest or jungle etc. So in other words the collectibles incentivize the player to destroy the immersion. It's a really stupid design.

GTA is pretty awful too though lol!

SixKeys
11-30-2013, 05:00 PM
I generally don't mind collectibles, but I must admit having a single Animus fragment on a random tiny island somewhere is annoying.

I'm also a bit torn on the fact that in this game, you instantly know where all the collectibles are on the map (except for treasure maps). On the one hand it obviously makes collectables easier, but it also takes away from the exploration. Once you've collected everything in a particular location, there's no reason to go back there. IMO secrets, like the bottled messages, should be hidden instead of marked on your map, or the player should purchase maps to show the locations of collectibles like in previous games. That way you can choose if you want them all visible or if you want to find them by exploration.

ace3001
11-30-2013, 05:13 PM
Ha, I wrote about exactly that in the feedback thread not long ago :).

The problem for me is that there are sooo many that requires little to no effort to acquire. We have Sea-shanties (tiny platforming puzzle), mayan stones (trivial puzzle), bottles (click a button), treasure maps (click a button), animus fragments (don't need to click a button), treasure chests (click a button), manuscripts (kill two guards, click a button).

The thing that makes it a chore is just how trivial it is to obtain them so you more or less run from icon to icon, do some mindless litle operation and then you are off to the next icon. This is one of the reasons I play with no HUD (mini-map) to make it easier to ignore collectibles and make finding them a bit more of a challenge/suprise. It's still a chore though. I like stuff like the templar keys, or the seals in AC2 as those are based around actual missions.

To encourage exploration I think it's better to just have stuff like money, plants, animals, random encounters etc. Generic rewards that don't count towards completion. I don't think money chests should show up on the mini-map at all and not be counted towards completing an area. If you find them, good for you, if not don't worry about them.


Of course you can argue that collectibles are optional but that's not the way it feels to me at all. There is junk on the map, so I want to clean it away. I guess I'm tidy like that :).




Worst use of collectibles is in games like Tomb Raider imo. The game has relatively small areas with artificial walls. Basically it's just a coulisse. What the collectibles do is to make the player explore the edge of the map carefully. Now this obviously shatters the illusion that you are in a forest or jungle etc. So in other words the collectibles incentivize the player to destroy the immersion. It's a really stupid design.

GTA is pretty awful too though lol!Yeah, you certainly can't excuse them being a chore by saying that "it's optional." Optional or not, the content is there and it's terrible.

You're right about the effort, anyhow. It's so boring because we just keep going from icon to icon on the map and picking useless crap up almost as if we were mechanically processing stuff at a conveyor belt in an industrial factory. -_-

I really miss the Assassin tombs and Templar lairs of AC2 and Brotherhood. Seeing the Templar armor with the locks got me excited in AC IV, but too bad the Templar hunts were just boring.

MIA SILENT
11-30-2013, 05:24 PM
Completely agree. There's no fun in collecting things that are marked on the map and contain no reward. 200 Animus fragments for nothing. They're obviously put in for completionist's but that doesn't mean there couldn't be a reward at the end. I'd be happier with a smaller amount of collectibles that require a little more platforming and effort to pick up. There really is no fun in going from A to B hundreds of times, walking in to something to collect it.

RoBg03
11-30-2013, 05:36 PM
ussually i don't, but i did collectables as i went along this game. probably because with the way the game flows, it makes it easier to get involved with doing non-core mission activities. i got the last of the uncharted chests and animus fragments the other day, but was pretty disapointed when i got nothing for it. i don't even think there was an achievement notification. i really hope they add some other activities to this game that won't cost a bunch, as i've done most everything there is, and fighting ships/soldiers is a complete cake walk with full upgrades.

Sushiglutton
11-30-2013, 05:42 PM
Yeah, you certainly can't excuse them being a chore by saying that "it's optional." Optional or not, the content is there and it's terrible.

You're right about the effort, anyhow. It's so boring because we just keep going from icon to icon on the map and picking useless crap up almost as if we were mechanically processing stuff at a conveyor belt in an industrial factory. -_-

I really miss the Assassin tombs and Templar lairs of AC2 and Brotherhood. Seeing the Templar armor with the locks got me excited in AC IV, but too bad the Templar hunts were just boring.

I like your conveyor belt parable, it's exactly like that. I also can't shake the feel that I'm being manipulated. There is science behind these collectibles. Ubi knows how it should sound when you collect them, and how to tease them in ways that make you run after them. I really don't like to be a laboratory rat. I know companies like Blizzard and Zynga have made millions on this crap. I just wish Ubi would consider themselves to good to mess with their cusotmers brains like this. There is so much robust content to enjoy anyway.

shobhit7777777
11-30-2013, 05:51 PM
Its kind of an open world game hallmark isn't it?

I hate collectibles....and never bother with them.

Arkham Origins is guilty of this. My god the progression and collectibles are just a pain in the ***.

DetroitPlaya
11-30-2013, 06:02 PM
At least the game shows where they are...

Unlike inFAMOUS where collecting all were an requirement for a trophy and they didn't show up on the map. <.<

Rugterwyper32
11-30-2013, 06:03 PM
Collectibles in this series have overall been lacking. As far as I know, shanties are a good step to take as you actually have a good reason to collect them which is to make the music in your travels at sea varied and enjoyable, but they still have ways to go. One thing I've been wanting to see is the money system gone and a very limited amount of hard to get chests containing only meaningful stuff, for example. Things like that.
To date, I think my favorite collectibles are the ones from Sonic Generations. To explain how they go, there's two kinds: Red Rings in levels, music notes in the hub world. There's 5 red rings in each level, for a total of 90, which you obtain through exploration of the level and taking different paths, and this, being a platformer, requires some skill jumping around and making your way through to stay in certain path. Or good reflexes with modern Sonic as you're going pretty fast. Getting these nets you artwork and music tracks (which you can select to use in any level as an alternate track) and if you get all 5 in a level, you get a new skill for you to use, for instance getting all 5 Red Rings in modern Green Hill gets you a skill that increases Sonic's acceleration should you decide to equip it. Then there's the music notes, which first you must unlock through beating one of the challenge levels, then hit the bell above the challenge gate and chase the note across the hub world to unlock more artwork and music.
Artwork is a nice reward, as it's all concept art which is interesting to see, but music is the real good stuff as you can use it to change music for every level or boss if you feel like it which gives nice variety. And of course, the fact that for music notes you have to beat challenges first is rather fun, plus some challenges unlock extra skills such as the elemental shields which are lots of fun to use and can make getting faster times and alternate routes easier.

Shahkulu101
11-30-2013, 06:05 PM
I wish I had the power to ignore collectibles but since ACIV is the first one where I have enjoyed all the side-content I decided I'd 100 percent it.

Then I went doing those collectibles on the locations, it was nice revisiting some really nice ones (principe is a really beautiful location) but got gradually tedious.

... The islands....oh god the collectibles on the islands. ::nonchalance:

Another thing, you need to use that stupid fleet mini-game to unlock treasure maps. First of all, it's annoying to HAVE to use an online only element to 100% - what if I don't want pestered for games of FIFA etc. And then there's the fact that some of them take 9 ****ing hours to complete, meaning it can take like a week and many sessions to complete multiple missions and unlock other missions - basically it feels like never ending boredom. I know I can do it faster with friends, but none of them have it... so unless I promote your product I basically have to just deal with it - okay.

Dev_Anj
11-30-2013, 06:14 PM
Most collectibles in open world games, and Assassin's Creed games in particular, are essentially pixel hunts, only across huge terrain rather than just some rooms. I really don't understand why developers don't come up with something else for collectibles.

RoBg03
11-30-2013, 06:22 PM
Another thing, you need to use that stupid fleet mini-game to unlock treasure maps. First of all, it's annoying to HAVE to use an online only element to 100% - what if I don't want pestered for games of FIFA etc. And then there's the fact that some of them take 9 ****ing hours to complete, meaning it can take like a week and many sessions to complete multiple missions and unlock other missions - basically it feels like never ending boredom. I know I can do it faster with friends, but none of them have it... so unless I promote your product I basically have to just deal with it - okay.

this really irritated me. the fact that you had to be connected online to do the fleet minigame, and thus to get the unlockables associated. i'm tired of single player games demanding an online component. if ubi wants online connectivity, make it optional. kenways fleet was nothing more than a naval version of the assassin apprentice missions from before. that worked just fine without being connected. at least in that game your assassins could gain experience...in this game if i need ships with more cargo for instance, i just sink them and go get a new one.

MnemonicSyntax
11-30-2013, 06:57 PM
I didn't find it fun at first, but on my way between places, I would stop and pick up stuff on my way there, so it became something like "sailing, naval combat, boarding, sailing, stopping to get a collectable, sailing, hunting, naval combat, boarding, sailing, final destination for that purpose"

And that way, it didn't feel like much of a chore.

Collecting all 200 Animus Fragments IS an Abstergo Challenge though.

MnemonicSyntax
11-30-2013, 07:00 PM
this really irritated me. the fact that you had to be connected online to do the fleet minigame, and thus to get the unlockables associated. i'm tired of single player games demanding an online component. if ubi wants online connectivity, make it optional. kenways fleet was nothing more than a naval version of the assassin apprentice missions from before. that worked just fine without being connected. at least in that game your assassins could gain experience...in this game if i need ships with more cargo for instance, i just sink them and go get a new one.

The idea though with being online is that It occurs while you're not playing the game at home. So for example, you send a few ships off and it is coming back 11 hours later, it's really 11 hours real time. Since you may not be playing the game during that time (school, work, sleep, whatever) it's good to know that the ships are still bringing you cargo and prizes even if you're not in-game.

Plus, the Companion App for tablets and phones. That's why it's all online and separate from the game.

It's also optional too, though I hate having to collect the treasure chests myself, at least it's not something more mandatory, like Elite Hulls. I'd be pretty upset about that.

ladyleonhart
11-30-2013, 08:01 PM
I didn't find it fun at first, but on my way between places, I would stop and pick up stuff on my way there, so it became something like "sailing, naval combat, boarding, sailing, stopping to get a collectable, sailing, hunting, naval combat, boarding, sailing, final destination for that purpose"

And that way, it didn't feel like much of a chore.

Collecting all 200 Animus Fragments IS an Abstergo Challenge though.

That's how I collected mine - all 200 - and it really doesn't seem so bad like that. Unfortunately though, my PS3 died when I was at 90% completion, so I will be collecting them all again. -__- Then, I'm almost certain it will feel like a chore the second time round. >_<

I wrote about in the feedback thread too and I think the novelty wore off because there were so many and they were scattered on tiny similar looking islands. Also, the reward is kind of disappointing. So, Ubisoft, please make the collectibles more meaningful.

Landruner
11-30-2013, 10:49 PM
@Ladyleonhart, sorry for your loss, I didn't think that PS3 could actually died, the 360s are good at that, I don't even count how many I lost in 7 years - do you have any way possible your save?

For the OP and the useless collectibles - Well, yes that is a total shore, the animus are a perfect example of it - I will refer of the stuff easy to take since they were appearing on the map - The shanties were actually the most interesting part to collect since they were giving a direct input in the game, the chest seek were lame since their appear on the map, and it is some kind of big following question "Why?" are they need to be set like that everywhere so easy to open and to get? Honestly who on earth except on any AC games put his/her precious cold and valuable on their garden or on the street? - Perhaps in setting them inside a mansion with some guards involving some (stealth or fighting) skills to access them will have been nicer or still setting in some secret areas that require us some jumping puzzle to get them will have give us more pleasure to get them? - The bottle mysteries (?) I don't see the point of collecting them unless they could have give us perhaps a way to reveal the treasure chests I previously mentioned above. Then as the treasure chess ones you have also the manuscripts that copy cat the AC2 Codex and some other variants from the following ACs with a different name each time, but resulting to the same shore gameplay and involve player to kill two guards set in front of the chest? Great!


Now, the map treasures that you have to figure out for the blue prints or the upgrade are the best part of the AC4 collectible pieces in my opinion, and I wish they could offer more stuff like this in order to collect thinks in some future AC's releases.

PedroAntonio2
11-30-2013, 10:58 PM
It depends for me....if the 200 fragmentes unlocks an epic armor like the Mayan Armor, I would be fine collecting each one of them. But collecting all fragments just to complete e a Abstergo Challenge ? No...

GTA Is the worst in this..what is the point in killing all those birds ? Or collecting all Spaceships parts ? Just to see a UFO in Chilliad that disappear when you get too close ( and is not even an UFO, is a FIB ship ).

Arkham games are worth collecting all the Riddler thropies, you unlock more information about the story and more sidemissions.

Darth JAFO
12-01-2013, 12:07 AM
It was tedious yes..but didn't take THAT long. Did the Animus first, then the next day did the chests. I like the collectibles..sort of.

DarktheMagister
12-01-2013, 12:43 AM
I was collecting as I played the game... So it wasn't that bad at all really.

There were 3 things that bugged me though.

1. The Animus Fragments serving no real purpose other than to have the player parkour here and there is a bit disappointing. IMO it would have been nice if there was some kind of unlockable cutscene or perhaps cameo costume (Haytham's Costume maybe? or something from another game) at the end of that 200 slog.

2. In the previous games, doing the "Abstergo"/guild requirements allowed for an unlockable weapon (or in the case of AC3 "decorative plate") for each grouping I finished. Something similar would have been nice... although I am unsure as to whether or not the unlockable statuettes in the PC's cubicle are tied to this... if so then disregard this one.

3. The "item reveal" after claiming a fort. This made stopping off on a little island to explore a lot less exciting... since I already knew what was going to be there. Before I unlocked my first fort I would get off and really take in the surrounding on a tiny sandbar looking at the birds and the crabs and the sea life while I scoured it for a chest or a fragment. After the unlock... it was zip to the chest, grab it, zip to the boat, leave. As others have suggested... I would've preferred having to buy a map to unlock chest locations (OR BETTER IDEA....having to STEAL a map from Smugglers or Guards or other Pirates to unlock the chest locations). It would make the pickpocketing mechanic have a point.

Hrafnagud72
12-01-2013, 01:28 AM
I used to do the 100% in the past AC games, but it really is a chore in AC4 so I opted to not even try. And they are mostly all very pointless.

I know that the ship mini-game is optional but when you have to upgrade your ship to do the missions, you kinda end up needing the money to upgrade. I don't understand it needing to be online, the reason I didn't do the mini-game for a few days was because it was online. The time thing is ********. Cut the missions to a shorter time period and then you don't need to be doing them while you are offline.

Megas_Doux
12-01-2013, 01:37 AM
Agree!

And still I prefer the shanties over the 400 FLAGS IN ACI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ace3001
12-01-2013, 02:22 AM
I used to do the 100% in the past AC games, but it really is a chore in AC4 so I opted to not even try. And they are mostly all very pointless.

I know that the ship mini-game is optional but when you have to upgrade your ship to do the missions, you kinda end up needing the money to upgrade. I don't understand it needing to be online, the reason I didn't do the mini-game for a few days was because it was online. The time thing is ********. Cut the missions to a shorter time period and then you don't need to be doing them while you are offline.

True, Kenway's Fleet was a mess. I mostly play offline, and this forced me to go online each time. And then some missions take so long. Simply put, I wouldn't have bothered with it if not for the three buried chest plans. Money might be low in the beginning, but once you get your ship upgraded to a certain point, you can just go to the south side of the map and rake in the cash.

eifere
12-01-2013, 05:33 PM
I get rich quicker in collecting treasure chests than selling sugars and rums.
And what the hell are manuscripts for?