You’re running through caves, obnoxious armor clipping through vital organs, clanking like a bag of change.
You come to a sudden stop. You begin to perspire.
There’s a muddy brown cave to your left…but then there’s a muddy brown cave to your right. If you’re having a real tough time, there’s also a muddy brown cave directly ahead of you. Any one of them could be the right way to go, and finding the right way first time would be terrible.
What do you do?
Congratuations, you’re playing an RPG!
Also, sorry. You’re about to experience levels of stress that you will somehow convince yourself is enjoyment for the next 50+ hours.
RPG’s can be really fun. They’re my favourite genre of games, despite what reading this list might imply, but sometimes the things that we love about playing these massive games can be the very reason we stop playing them all together.
Whether your next RPG undertaking is set in a kingdom, colony, or wasteland, here’s 5 reasons why you’re probably going to abandon it:
1 – The Neverending Beginning
You’ve decided to play that RPG you bought on sale/your friend lent you their copy 6 months ago and you can’t afford Ghost of Tsushima right now. You started the install during daylight and now that it’s 1am you are SO ready to start your epic quest to save—
Oh, a character creator? Yeah that’s cool, you can just spend 5-10 minutes checking out the hairstyles and…is that a slider for nose girth? Just how pointy do you want your elf ears? Wait, do you even want to be an elf? Are you feeling Mage this time or should you stick to your trusty sword and shield?
Before you know it, the birds are singing outside and you’ve picked up a bad case of gamer-shame. That’s a lot of time spent spent perfecting the name Elrond Dickface.
Then, when you actually start playing the game you come to realise that every time your character looks left, they seem to transform into something only found in B horror movies. Your character looks ridiculous, and Elrond Dickface is not ridiculous.
You might make peace with looking like a fairground mirror and continue. Who cares, right? It’s time to kill some rats/robots/ghouls with this awesome character class you’ve picked!
Oh, guess that ability actually heals some enemies, but it’s cool, you’re still in the twenty hour unskippable tutorial, it’s a learning curve, right? You’ll get the hang of this class soon enough…
If you decide here that actually, you’re kind of in the mood for Rocket League at this point, then I don’t blame you. Walking around with a shovel for a chin, slogging through combat, and wondering when the game is going to stop popping tutorial messages doesn’t sound like a fun time, does it?
2. The Time-devouring Task of Research and Item Management
You come across a chest/cache/a corpse has exploded into some level 20 Pinion Gauntlets of Mighty Firaga Death. Cool, wonder what they do? The item description says +15 Mana Souls. What the hell are Mana Souls? You’ve not had a tutorial on this?
So you get your phone out and somebody on Reddit tells you that actually Mana Souls were taught in the tutorial twenty minutes into the game, but you were more concerned with mastering not attacking NPCs when you only wanted to talk to them at the time. You find yourself researching what the best builds are for your class, until your Google history I filled with questions like ‘Where to find the Mines of Lusty Death’, because you need something or other that only grows there to upgrade your whatever the hell needs upgraded, because everything needs upgraded. You kind of forgot about upgrading?
You spend even more time equipping new gear, finding that upgrade station, repairing your weapons, all the while stressing over that quest you really should get back to.
But it’s fine! You’re all done now, and you even have a little bit of time left to play before you really should get to bed. It’s time to continue the main quest!
Oh look, another chest.
3. Sidequests, Man. Sidequests.
Yes, I know you guessed this one, but hear me out; side quests are a delight. Picking those mushrooms for Hilda’s research is a wonderful distraction from your tragic, main story hero life. Finding out the back story of your beloved companions is sometimes better than the main questline. Also, It’s nice to just tick things off a list and feel like you’ve accomplished something, you know?
What’s not a delight, is when you’re on the tenth part of Hilda’s questline and another marker has the absolute cheek to appear above her head. You were planning on helping those refugees next, then you were going to go feed some orphans, and maybe, I don’t know, progress in the story?
Then there’s that sidequest to recover Romanceable Companion #2’s beloved family bloodaxe which you know is the quest that gives you a twenty second, truly awkward, sex scene at the end. Who the hell does Hilda think she is, denying you of your pixel love?
A quick Google search reveals that Hilda’s got five more quests for you— five! That’s it, you’re done, screw Hilda! Wait, what does the end of her questline give you? Ten ability points, you say? And an optional suggestive massage scene? Well, maybe I do have a little more time for you, Hilda dear.
If you’re a completionist, quitting sidequests in order to follow the main story is tough. Seeing them in the ‘still active’ quest category every time you pause the game throbs like a short sword in the gut, and it’s hard not to try and fulfill that urge to complete them. Forty hours in and the refreshing quest boards and brand new types of side mission introductions aren’t such a welcome distraction anymore, are they?
4. You’re Just Not in The Mood Anymore
This might be the saddest reason of all. F’s all round, because you may have started Dragon Effect: Outer Scrolls XV bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and shovel-chinned, but when your in-game timer has upgraded from hours to days in order to tell you how long you’ve been playing, the RPG fatigue has surely hit you.
Becoming a Phantom Thief sounded so cool at the beginning. You were utterly devoted to this game and all its nuances when it was all so shiny and new, but the appeal has gone now. You’ve spent so long steeped in this world that it’s no longer exciting you. Every time you think of going back to finish those (hopefully) last few side quests, and that (hopefully) final mission, you find yourself coming up with excuses not to. This game is a chore now, how did that happen? Well, reasons 1-3 might have something to do with it.
If you somehow find yourself nearing the end of an RPG and are still excited to jump in, you have:
A) Found a once in a generation experience that you will cherish to the very last question mark
B) Found a once in a generation experience that you are about to abandon because of the last reason on this list.
5. “Hey, I’ve finished God of War, do you want to borrow it?”
“Boy,” Kratos whispers as you collect Hilda’s mushrooms. “You must play me, now, or the internet is going to spoil me for you.”
Games. The constant onslaught of games you really want to play. How dare they? Selfish, that’s what they are. With their glowing reviews and promises of engaging gameplay and breathtaking unique landscapes. Ugh.
If it’s not God of War it’s The Last of Us Part II. Or Fall Guys has sunk it’s adorable claws into you, or there’s a new Call of Duty taking your bank account by storm. You’ll get distracted, and it’s okay, it happens to everyone.
You might convince yourself you’ll go back and avenge Ser Dickface’s family, but you’re not, okay? You might get as far as loading your save file back up, but when you go back to hacking at NPCs instead of talking to them, and the plot seems as confusing to you as why everybody is just letting you steal from their crumbling houses—you’re going to nope that controller right back down and add another game to your shame pile.