So, as most of you know, I'm working on an RPGTrek through the Dragon Quest series. Several of the games have forced me to hit up FAQs/Walkthroughs or spend lots (and I do mean dozens) of hours seeking out a hidden item/passageway/etc in order to progress through the story. In the case of my current game, Dragon Quest VI, the game really opens up when I get a ship and the ability to go underwater. The world is my oyster! Unfortunately, it's also full of random encounters, and with no idea of where to go next to push the story forward, I have to resort to Walkthrough or wander around the world, aimlessly, for hours, triggering fights every few steps.
Now, back in the day (when I was YOUR age!), we didn't have readily available walk throughs. If one was lucky, he/she had a Nintendo Power magazine giving some assistance through the game. If they were SUPER lucky, their parent bought them a strategy guide. However, for the most part, I did not have a guide for the various games I attempted to work through. As a result, many of them did not get completed. True, I had more free time back then, but teenage patience only goes so far. I managed to beat all the American released FF's, as well as DQIV on NES. I beat Zelda, but that was with the help of a guide. Most of the other games, such as Castlevania II and Legend of the Wizard went unbeaten.
So, my question for y'all.... what is the impact of Walkthroughs on YOUR gaming habits? Are there games you would not play or complete if you did not have FAQs? Would your tastes in genres change, perhaps? Do you enjoy using them? What other thoughts do you have?
For me, I generally dislike using Walkthroughs. It feels like I'm doing research, which I do for work, anyway. I hate it when I feel like a game forces me to work to just get through the base game. I also dislike having to go to third party sources to figure out game/class/job/battle mechanics. For some reason, many games with complicated systems feel that explaining the mechanics of said systems would just ruin the fun for players. Sigh. Nothing is worse, to me, than putting 23 hours into a game, and realizing only too late that my build will not work in the end game because I did not understand how the class system would work out.
But, that brings me to another point. As much as I hate using them, I hate the idea of wasting hours in an RPG, trying to figure out what to do next, even more. My time is precious....preeeeciousssssss... and sometimes I succumb to the temptation of looking something up just to move forward. In the 21st century, I hate that feeling of "What do I do now?"
If we didn't have walkthroughs, I could see myself giving up on a lot of games a lot more quickly. A number of times in my DQ Trek, I've been stuck in just one or two places. I generally do try to figure it out on my own...spending 1-3 hours..but after that, I hit a FAQ. Without FAQ, I would put the game down and play something with less guess work :) Eventually, I forget where I'm at in the game and move on. Have I mentioned I hate hidden items required to progress through a game? I absolutely do. I also hate things such as "Player must talk to x and y NPC to advance story" when those NPCs aren't obvious. DQ is a good example...when the world opens up, there's 12 new towns, each with 15 NPCs, but only 1 or 2 of the NPCS available actually move the story forward. Sigh.
So, it's a balancing act. If I like a game, and only have to hit up a FAQ once or twice, I do it. I tend to be a lot more forgiving if, after reading the FAQ, I realize that the answer to my problem was super obvious...I just missed it. However, even if I like a game, I will quit it if I find myself going to FAQ over and over to figure out what to do next...especially when, upon looking it up, my initial though ends up "Really? They expected me to know THAT?" At that point, I put the game down and walk away.
How about you?
P.S. My hat is off to the many volunteers who painstakingly write Walkthroughs. God bless you!