Here’s some ice.
Since people got their hands on Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, there has been a lot of ‘hubub’ surrounding the exploitative level of microtransactions on the Uplay storefront. The common argument I’ve seen seems to posit that the game’s overall length was inflated in order to coax players into purchasing an additional XP boost.
This, my friends, has been such an incredibly aggravating and short-sighted argument that I feel the need to respond with my own experience. I completed Odyssey, including all side quests and story-lines in just over 60-hours, and I can assure you, while the game is NOT perfect, the rage over microtransactions is merely a product of a ‘we need to complain about microtransactions’ fever.
For starters, people seem to have wildly inaccurate information on how long the game takes to complete. I’ve heard 80, 90, even 100 hours thrown around in separate articles and videos across different sites and YouTube channels. I get it, I would be pissed off too if I felt I had to spend 100-hours just to finish the game without purchasing an XP doubler, compared to those lucky SOBs with extra cash who receive a more condensed 50-hour experience.
The problem is, 80-100 hours is ludicrous to me! Like I said before, I’ve completed every side and main mission in the game, and I clocked in just over 60-hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if you amassed over 100-hours trying to complete every collectable and bandit camp, but you simply don’t have to. I even hit max level sometime in the 50-hour mark but wanted to clear up the side quests before I went back and finished the main story.
Now, I’m not saying the game couldn’t have used more curation. There are A LOT of quests, many of which are quite uninteresting, but there’s also a fair amount of engaging side-missions, particularly the ones involving historical figures. Don’t forget, these side-quests aren’t just written text that point you to a group of enemies, every mission has dialogue, a story, and more often than not, they’re interesting chain quests. Okay, so, there are contract boards with useless bounty quests, but I completely ignored them throughout my Odyssey experience.
Beyond that, a primary draw for the title is exploration and engaging in the gameplay mechanics, so what if the character that points you in a direction has less interesting context? If you’re going into Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey wanting to B-line the story, you’re not going to have a great time anyway, because it isn’t THAT good. Sure, there are some interesting moments, but if you don’t enjoy the core gameplay loop enough to find the side-missions enjoyable, should you really be playing the game at all?
They weren’t thrown in just to make you purchase an XP doubler, developers spent time and effort on that content; they want you to explore the world they created.
Though, there is a difficult balance that needs to be found. For me personally, I’m glad it takes a fair while to reach level 50 because my brain needs progression to keep trying new things. If I had hit max level at hour 25, I would have finished the story and been unable to convince myself to finish all the side content, even though I desperately wanted to keep exploring the world. Perhaps that’s just a uniquely ‘David’ problem, but hey, I had time on my hands.
I completely understand if you don’t feel you have the necessary time to dive into one game for 60+ hours, but don’t blame it on microtransactions. Perhaps there’s an argument to be made that there should be a free XP-doubler for people that like Assassin’s Creed but don’t have the time to play the extra story-lines. However, my fear with this idea is that too many people would opt for the doubler and miss out on a lot of great content.
At the end of the day, just chill out. I know microtransactions can be shitty, and it’s important to keep on top of publishers so that they don’t get out of hand, but at least consider every angle of the argument before you hop on the band-wagon. Given the state of the internet, this balanced approach is probably an impossible goal, but one can dream.