Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
 
D&D 5E House Rules: Non-rest XP

How many combat encounters should a D&D group have before gaining a level? That is obviously a trick question, because the "should" implies a judgement call, for which there is no one right answer. However 5th edition at least gives a mathematical standard answer, because it tells you how many xp you need from one level to the next, and how many xp an easy. medium, hard, or deadly combat encounter is worth. Divide the former by the latter, and you arrive at the information that for the first two levels you need 6 medium combat encounters to gain a level, but then that slows down considerably and from level 3 to 10 you need on average 15 medium combat encounters per level.

As I said, in reality this is a judgement call, and different people might come up with different answers. What is somewhat surprising is that even within WotC there are obviously people who came up with different answers to that question. On the one side the people who wrote the Players' Handbook came up with the numbers I listed above. But then the people who wrote the official published adventures didn't like those numbers and filled their adventures with "milestones". For example the first 4 dungeons of Princes of the Apocalypse are for levels 3, 4, 5, and 6, and the group is supposed to gain a level at the end of each of those dungeons. However if you use the PHB rules, the xp from the dungeons cover not even half of the xp a group of 5 players would need to actually gain a level. As I don't want to abandon the concept of xp and just handwave awarding levels, I need to come up with a way to give out much more xp when my group plays Princes of the Apocalypse.

The house rule I propose is that any combat encounter which is not directly after a long rest counts for double xp. Which means a group that takes frequent long rests will gain less xp, to compensate for the fact that fighting always with full resources is easier. This rules thus fulfills two purposes: Handing out more xp, so that my group keeps up with the required leveling speed of PotA, and solving the famous "5-minute workday" problem that some players want to rest after every fight. What do you think?

Monday, July 24, 2017
 
Eternal Card Game

There is a new digital collectible card game around on Steam and mobile platforms, called Eternal. It copies rules heavily from Magic the Gathering, and is thus more on the complicated end of the spectrum, as opposed to simplified games like Hearthstone. So, what's not to like? Well, the single player options. And that for me is a killer.

Eternal lets you play against the AI in three modes: Campaign, Gauntlet, or Forge. Campaign is like the story mode of Magic Duels, a tutorial that gets you started with the rules and gives you basic cards, but doesn't give any more rewards if replayed. Gauntlet is a mode where you need to play and win 7 games against increasingly difficult AI decks. Playing Forge costs you money, being similar to a "limited" rules in Magic, you have to buy cards to play but then keep them. What is missing is a simple player vs. AI mode you can play as much as you want and earn currency / cards, like Magic Duels has. Instead you are pushed to play PvP.

Unfortunately this is a general trend with games these days. PvP is cheaper to produce than PvE, because you don't need to program a good AI or lots of content. And players tend to be more competitive in PvP, so in a Pay2Win game like a collectible card game that results in higher earnings for the game company.

Me, I refuse to participate in this trend. If a game can't bother to create a decent PvE mode, then I won't bother to play it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017
 
Physics-based RPG games

I'm on holiday and didn't take a laptop. So I'm mostly playing a bunch of mobile games on my iPad. More by accident than by design I ended up playing three games that have something in common: Physics-based combat. The three games are Bounzy, Flick Heroes, and Angry Birds Evolution.

Bounzy is the game with the least "RPG" elements, as you only play a single character, a wizard, and upgrade his spells. It plays the most like a puzzle. Your job is to shoot a string of spell missiles at a horde of advancing monsters. Monsters that you don't kill advance further, until they damage your wall. If you manage to kill all monsters, you get some gold, with which you can upgrade your spells. The art is to foresee how the missiles you shoot will bounce, like billiard balls, from the walls and obstacles. Preferably you get your missiles behind the monsters, where the bounce back and forth until the monsters are dead. This is probably the simplest game of the three, with not much bells and whistles added. But it is also the fairest game, which pushes you the least towards spending money. Actually I only spent $5 to show my appreciation, I could very well have played withou spending anything at all.

Flick Heroes has multiple characters to choose from, which you level up. Each fight has your characters and the monsters in a room with some obstacles. You fight by flicking your character against the monsters, with an effect even more like a billiard table. This is less obvious to play for free, as training your characters to the next level takes training slots and time, and without money you only get one training slot.

Angry Bird Evolution has the most bells and whistles, plus the biggest name brand. It is a mix of Angry Birds and a RPG. You build a team of up to 5 birds, and slingshot them in combat against the pigs. Unlike the original Angry Birds games this doesn't involve ballistical flight, again the combat takes place on a billiard table kind of physics environment. Unfortunately this is the greediest of the three games. It uses the old trick of getting harder faster than your birds naturally evolve. Then either you grind scout missions, of which you get only one per hour, or spend money to buy premium eggs and other advantages. Not so much Pay2Win, but the even more nefarious Pay2NotLose.

I can only really recommend Bounzy of these three, and even that gets repetitive quickly.

Saturday, July 22, 2017
 
D&D Beyond

A press release from Wizards of the Coast this week caused a deluge of articles like this one this week about D&D Beyond, an upcoming digital platform for Dungeons & Dragons. Lots of journalists all chanted the same praise about how much easier it is in D&D Beyond to find information confirmed to the books made out of paper. Apparently critical journalism is dead, because nobody bothered to verify the claims. As I have used the beta version of D&D Beyond for some time, I'd like to inject some reality into this picture painted by the media.

So what is D&D Beyond? It is a website with two main features: A character builder which produces a digital character sheet, and a database of D&D rulebooks. The beta version only has the free SRD rules, but in the release version you can buy the D&D rulebooks in digital form (for about half their paper cost) and get all the official rules. If you buy optional rulebooks, you can then use these optional rules (e.g. new races) in the character builder.

So far, so good. But what nobody mentioned is that looking up rules on D&D Beyond is working surprisingly badly. Search functions only exist for spells, items, and monsters, not for rules. So if you are in the middle of a game and a question arises about how exactly darkvision works, you can't simply type "darkvision" in a search field and get an answer. You have to open the compendium and browse it manually (the information on darkvision is under adventuring - the environment - vision and light). That isn't much faster than looking it up in the paper book! And for some rules the index of the paper book will find you the information faster than the D&D Beyond compendium, which doesn't have an index. In fact, you'll find information faster with a search in a pirated pdf version of a rulebook than on D&D Beyond, not that I would recommend pirating.

I will keep using D&D Beyond, because the character builder and spell and monster databases are useful. I might even buy some digital rulebooks to enhance the character builder. However I don't really see the need to pay for a monthly subscription of $3 or $6. The subscription allows you to store more characters, homebrew content, and removes ads. The expensive version allows a DM to share the rulebook content he bought with up to 12 players. That would be useful for me only if it was available in languages other than English.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017
 
Digital Summer

I have a computer at home (several, in fact). I have a computer at work. On the way between home and work, I drive a car and so I don't have time to use a computer. Which means that during a normal workday I rarely have need for a mobile device to surf the internet. But right now I am on my summer holidays, and there mobile devices are a lot more useful. And this summer there are two improvements that make my digital life during summer much easier.

The first improvement is minor, I replaced my old Samsung S4 phone by a new iPhone 7+, which I got with a nice rebate via my employer. I changed from Android to iOS because iOS has built-in support for hearing aids. Having your telephone ring directly in your ear withou anybody else being able to hear it is nifty. So is hearing your phone conversation with both ears. And like with the iPad I have wireless earphones for all media content.

The second improvement is that the European Commission forced mobile phone providers to drop roaming charges. That is a huge boon if you live in an European country smaller than Maryland. Before this you basically couldn't do mobile surfing while traveling, because it was prohibitively expensive. But now I can use my mobile devices for internet access with no additional cost all over Europe. Finally my surfing isn't limited to places with free wireless access any more.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
 
Build your own adventure

Three years ago the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released with the basic rules and the Starter Set. It is a great success, selling better than any previous version of the game. And I do belive that the Starter Set is part of that success. The included adventure, Lost Mines of Phandelver, does a great job of presenting both a story and a world setting in a manner that is accessible even to people who never played D&D before. Unlike previous editions it is now perfectly feasible for a group of new players to start 5E without anyone of them having been taught the game by an experienced player. That is a great quality to reach a wider audience.

Unfortunately I must say that the following adventure modules published by Wizards of the Coast for 5th edition D&D do not have that quality. Curse of Strahd is okay, as it still allows a new DM to follow a prepared story. But adventures like Princes of the Apocalypse, Storm King's Thunder, or Out of the Abyss aren't really suitable for beginners at all. They very much subscibe to the sandbox philosophy of gaming, which risks to get both new DMs and new players lost.

After struggling for a while with Princes of the Apocalypse, I decided to completely change my approach to that adventure. You know the adventure module has a problem if somebody is selling A Guide to Princes of the Apocalypse with good success. I tried and tried to find the adventure in this adventure module until I realized there wasn't one; this isn't so much an adventure module than a sourcebook of a region with a bunch of dungeons that can be put together by an experienced DM to form a long adventure. But it is up to the DM to sort out the bits and pieces into a story and take care of important details like how to get to the next dungeon as well as providing a compelling story reason to go there. The book provides plenty of story hooks, but either as a dry list of 21 possible hooks, each leading to a different part of the adventure, or as clues from various NPCs. The latter method is less dry, but you end up with the characters getting clues towards dungeons that are too high level for them, just because they decided to talk to this or that NPC. The clue to the place where the characters should be going first is from an NPC they can only meet if they visit the barber shop. When was the last time your group decided spontaneously to visit a barber shop?

So basically I have to build my own adventure by pushing the right clues into the path of the players. If they are given options like for example which dungeon to visit, I will need to provide them with clues as to the consequences of their decision, e.g. which dungeon is more dangerous. Otherwise you end up with a frequent flaw of sandbox design, being given a meaningless choice between going left or right with zero information about what the difference between going left or right is. I canuse the settings descriptions mostly as written, but I need to create an adventure linking the various places mostly myself.

Unless I prepare a lot, I would easily get lost. Information is distributed somewhat haphazardly all over the book. And a good amount of it is useless, like the long description of two rivaling poultry merchants in the starting town, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything else in the story. With nothing leading towards the poultry merchants, nor anything from them leading elsewhere, how likely am I as the DM to need that detailed description?

My group is still in my abridged version of the Lost Mines of Phandelver, but they already got some clues about what the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure is about, and one possible place to start. I will continue to chronicle their adventures on this blog under the Elemental Evil heading. Just remember that if you read a sequence of events in that journal, this is a mix of what I made up and what resulted from players' ideas and initiatives. If you would want to replay the adventure, you wouldn't necessarily find that sequence, or in fact any sequence of events that make up a story, in the Princes of the Apocalypse book.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017
 
Sunless Citadel

*Spoiler Warning!* This post contains spoilers of the Dungeon & Dragons adventure Sunless Citadel, which in 5th edition is part of the Tales from the Yawning Portal collection.

Now that I am more often at the local role-playing club, I get to experience adventures as a player more often, while in my home campaign I'm always the DM. One adventure I have played is Sunless Citadel. That turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. I checked afterwards that this wasn't the fault of the DM, but the adventure as written has a serious problem with the flow of the story.

Early on in the dungeon the adventurers come across Meepo, a non-aggressive kobold who is the dragon keeper of the local tribe of kobolds. He was guarding a white dragon wyrmling, but it got kidnapped by the local tribe of goblins. Now obviously the players can at this point decide to just kill both kobolds and goblins. But one would expect some advantage in playing along with this obvious story line. So we followed Meepo to the kobold leader, who was sitting on a dragon throne, with the dragon holding a key in his mouth. Ah, we thought, this must be the key to the magically locked door we came across earlier. And yes, the kobold leader promised us the key in exchange for bringing back his dragon.

So we go into the part of the dungeon held by the goblins, fight our way through them, and finally find the dragon. Then of course the dragon doesn't follow us or Meepo voluntarily, so we need to subdue him. We bring the dragon back to the kobolds, get the key, open the magical door, go through a few more rooms, until we come to the end of that branch of the dungeon. There is a sarcophagus, which of course contains a monster to fight. And then we think that this is it, the high point of the adventure to which all of the previous story has led. But it turns out to be a complete dead end. The treasure is lousy, just some coin and scrolls none of the players can use. And none of this has anything to do with the actual main story, which we get to later, after all the goblins.

I must say that I consider this to be bad design. Why put an interesting key NPC in an adventure that leads the group not towards the story, but away from it? You end up with filler material which is more memorable than the main story! I would at least have added some clues and better treasure in that sarcophagus. Even if it just a dungeon crawl, the flow of the story is important in a role-playing game.

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Friday, July 07, 2017
 
Zero sum game

Usually The Economist magazine has a thoughtful view on economic issues. So I am somewhat surprised seeing this week's cover agreeing with Trump that trade deficits are bad, and that fault for the US trade deficit is countries like China or Germany who have a trade surplus. For me that seems to be very much contrary to very basic mathematical principles.

You see, trade deficits and surpluses are a true zero sum game. If you list all trade deficits and surpluses of all countries in the world and sum them up, you get exactly zero, because every export of one country corresponds to an import of another country. And because it is a zero sum game, there is no possibility of having any global trade policy in which every country has a trade surplus. A trade surplus can't exist without a trade deficit and vice versa.

The US has a trade deficit because it consumes more than it produces. If the US targets any single country with a trade surplus to reduce trade with that country, the trade deficit of the US won't change. As long as the US consumes more than it produces, it will simply import goods from somewhere else. A tariff could get US consumers to buy less German cars, but it is hard to imagine that a lower availability of German cars would lead to US consumers buying less cars overall. The solution to a trade deficit is not tariffs on trade surplus countries, but economic conditions that favor more production. If the US would produce more cars, they would need to import less of them, problem solved (for that particular item).

Of course the surplus countries like China or Germany could spend more. For example they could raise wages. As a consequence the production of a German car would cost more, and the price would further go up because more Germans would buy German cars. The result is the same as a tariff: German cars would become more expensive on the US market, and US consumers would buy less of them. But then they would simply buy more Korean and Japanese cars. Other than shifting the blame on a different country, that resolves exactly nothing.

And then there is the tricky problem of foreign direct investment, one country investing in another country, thus creating jobs. The thing is that this is directly related to trade surpluses and deficits: If Germany sells cars to the USA, German exporters end up with lots of dollars. These dollars need in one way or another get back into the USA. It is another zero sum game, a country can't have a lot of foreign direct investment and no trade deficit. Hit the countries that have a trade surplus with tariffs, and you end up getting less factories built in your country by foreigners, and less jobs created. A nationalist might say that a factory built by foreigners in your country is bad, but for the people living next to it a factory built by foreigners sure is better than no factory built at all and unemployment.

In short, the only solution that makes mathematically any sense to reducing trade deficits is for the deficit countries to produce more. That automatically makes the trade surpluses of other countries disappear. The best possible solution you can possible arrive at is every single country being perfectly balanced and having neither a trade deficit nor surplus. It is hard to imagine how one could possibly arrive there with only one side of the trade balance changing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017
 
Elemental Evil: Session 4

In the previous session the group had cleared out the Redbrand Hideout and killed or chased away all of the Redbrands from Phandalin, freeing the village. In this session, which was short for out-of-game reasons, we played through the aftermath of this, and up to the start of the next location.

So the group came back to the townmaster and Sildar Hallwinter from the Lord's Alliance for their reward. They also suggested a celebration, and that proposal was accepted. As they hadn't really explored Phandalin before tackling the Redbrands, I thought that might be a good opportunity to meet the townspeople they had previously missed. In a somewhat meta-gamish approach the group also decided to look for side-quests, as they were missing 75 xp each for the next level. The townmaster could direct them to Sister Garaele of the shrine of luck, who was looking for adventurers to negotiate with a banshee. They also found out that the proprietor of the Phandalin Miners' Exchange, Halia Thornton , had been willing to offer a reward for getting rid of the Redbrands, a quest they had missed.

Krosh decided that they should ask for the reward from Halia Thornton anyway. Halia was unwilling and explained that she would have offered the reward for the delivery of all documents found in the Redbrands Hideout. The group pretended they hadn't found any documents, and so Halia didn't want to pay them. Krosh tried to intimidate Halia, but what he didn't know was that Halia is an agent of the Zhentarim and had been the only one not afraid of the Redbrands before. In fact the "quest" they missed was basically motivated by Halia wanting to take over the extortion operation of the Redbrands, which is why she wanted the documents. So Halia liked Krosh's brashness, but wasn't going to be intimidated into paying him anything.

During the celebration the group also met the agents of other factions. This is basically an element of the D&D Adventurer's League, where players can join one of five factions in the Forgotten Realms and get some benefits from it. Not overly relevant for my campaign, but I wanted to keep it in as an option. However my players weren't overly interested in joining a faction, at least not as a group.

The next day Krosh bought a chain and spike to attach it for the goblin, Droop, who they had found in the hideout, being harried by bugbears. Then they set of to on the side-quest to meet the banshee. For once they were sufficiently impressed by the possible danger and didn't attack the banshee, but followed the quest to offer her a jeweled comb in return for answering a question. The adventure foresees the possibility that they could ask one question of their own, but instead they stuck to the quest and asked the question Sister Garaele had wanted, which didn't have anything to do with the rest of the adventure. So they returned with the answer, got 3 healing potions and 100 xp as reward, and got up to level 3 with that.

Sildar Hallwinter reminded them of the urgency of rescuing their former employer, Gundren Rockseeker, from the goblins. As they didn't know the location of Cragmaw Castle, they finally got around to seek information on how to get there. They learned that somebody who could know that would be a druid named Reidoth, who lived in the abandoned village Thundertree. Furthermore Droop, who wasn't bright enough to understand maps, said he would be able to find the way from Thundertree to Cragmaw Castle. So they traveled there, still not with much haste, sticking to the safer and longer way over roads via Neverwinter.

Arrived in Thundertree they found the village in ruins, having been destroyed a long time ago by a volcano eruption. They entered the first building that still had walls and a roof, the tavern, and found the interior covered in ashes. While searching the building from those ashes rose four ash zombies, surrounding the group. Which meant that Popée, who had selected to be at the back of the marching order for safety, was again in melee contact. Fortunately in 5th edition the rules regarding casting spells in combat are much less restrictive than in 4th edition. The zombies however turned out to be difficult to kill, as they have a saving throw every time they are reduced to 0 hitpoints, with a difficulty depending on the power of the blow that killed them. So in spite of the zombies having a low challenge rating and never doing much damage the fight went on for a while. So that when the zombies were finally beaten, we decided to end the session there.

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Monday, July 03, 2017
 
Strange advertising business model

I am very much aware that mobile games are big business, in fact bigger than either console or PC games. And I understand the business model of giving away your game for free, and then selling some sort of currency used in the game to advance for big bucks. And if a mobile game is making big bucks, I understand the business logic of advertising that game. However what I don't understand is how advertising mobile games with fake gameplay could work.

Nobody really expects truth in advertising. With rising advertising budgets we now get ads with real actresses trying to lure customers into some game, and we all know that besides that spot the actress has nothing to do with that game. Because they are much cheaper to do, most ads for mobile games just show some aspects of gameplay. A 30-second spot showing gameplay of some match-3 game will give you a pretty good idea what the game is about. You don't get the details of how exploitative / Pay2Win the real money part of the game is, but you know what the gameplay is.

So I am a bit confused that more and more I am seeing mobile games advertised with video ads showing completely fake gameplay videos. One, whose name I am not going to mention to deliberately not advertise it, is advertising itself with gameplay apparently prepared using some engine similar to Total War on the PC. But if you watch 30 seconds of glorious 3D Total War like combat and then decide to install the game (or watch actual gameplay on Youtube, which is what I did because I didn't trust it), you see that combat in the game is actually very primitive 2D. Another game advertises itself with a first-person 3D view swordfight sequence, but the whole game is isometric 2Dview. The fake gameplay sequences come complete with believable UI elements like a mini-map or controls. But apparently they have been created only for advertising, with nothing like that being actual gameplay of the game advertised.

But as these games are Free2Play, downloading and installing the game doesn't cost the customer any money, and so don't bring any revenue to the game company. You make money by retaining customers in your game and getting them hooked so they spend money on virtual currencies. But if you lured them into your game by fake gameplay videos, how could that possibly work? It only takes the player 5 minutes to see that he has been cheated and to uninstall the game again. Only a loss of time to the player, and no gain of money to the company. And the player is less likely to try a game of that company in the future. So what can the interest of these fake gameplay video ads possibly be? I don't understand!

Sunday, July 02, 2017
 
Ending a game

After 25 hours of playing No Man's Sky I decided that I had seen everything I needed to see in that game and uninstalled it. I don't regret having bought the game, I don't feel cheated because I never believed in the promise of an "endless game with 18 quintillion planets". I simply played through of what content there was (most of which was from the base building patch) to the point where anything else I would do would just be a repeat of previous actions. And then I stopped. But it did prompt me to think about how we end games.

None of us play games 24/7, we all need to lead the rest of lives full of work, study, eating, sleeping, and all the rest of it. So playing a game is always a discontinuous affair. So we don't so much "end" a game rather than coming to a point where we simply don't start the game again. We rarely reach the end of a game. And more and more games don't even *have* an end, or, like No Man's Sky, simply start over if you finish them. So we are either content with the unconscious ending of games by simply letting them rest, or we decide to make a conscious decision to stop playing a game and uninstall it.

It gets a bit more complicated with games that not only never end, but which add more content over time. Blizzard sent me an invitation to play World of Warcraft for free for 7 days, so I could admire their latest patch. So I updated my client and loaded the game. I played through a scenario that led me to the Broken Shore. And there it became quickly evident that I was supposed to visit that new zone every day, do world quests and grind reputation, to get my flying mount for that expansion. And although it's just a bit over half a year since I played last, I didn't fully remember the sequence in which I was supposed to press all these hotkeys for maximum efficiency. In short, the new content and the idea to come back to WoW didn't really excite me. But I have no idea whether I actually "ended" WoW, or whether that is just a phase and I'll be back at the next expansion.

I like the clarity of a conscious decision to end a game and uninstalling it. I own so many games that it doesn't even make sense to play a game longer than the period where it is really fun and exciting. But some games I can't seem to be able to make that decision, and they end up being installed on my hard drive for years and years, even if I don't actually play them. How about you?

Monday, June 26, 2017
 
No Man's Sky

In a presumably not highly original way I put all the games I see on Steam that interest me over the year on my wishlist, and then buy them when they are heavily discounted. The Steam Summer Sale just started this weekend, and one of those heavily discounted games was No Man's Sky. Now I know the reviews of the game weren't great, and a lot of people who paid $60 on release felt somewhat cheated out of their money by a game that over-promised and under-delivered. However three factors persuaded me to buy the game now: 1) 60% off. 2) Large content patches since release (Foundation, Path Finder) 3) A personal preference for exploration/crafting/survival games without PvP. So I bought the game.

8 hours into the game I am still having fun and don't regret my purchase. At first the game caused me headaches, literally, and nausea, but searching the internet I found how to modify the field-of-view FOV setting in a file to 120+, which more or less solved that problem. After spending maybe too much time exploring the starter planet, I now followed the breadcrumbs of the tutorial to first learn everything I needed to explore space, and then find a planet on which I could build a base. I still have to find out how exactly this will work if I move on towards the center of the galaxy, but I read that there are teleports from space stations as well as a way to move the base.

Having seen a handful of planets I already noticed the fundamental problem with the advertised 18 quintillion planets: The human brain has an enormous capacity of pattern recognition and simplification. We live on a world with 7.5 billion people, but have a neocortex that can only handle 150 stable relationships. But that doesn't cause us a problem, because we simple recognize patterns of behavior and just bundle people into large groups where we don't need to treat them as individuals. We think of "Americans", or "Nerds", or "Gamers" as groups, not as individuals. So in a game like No Man's Sky, we also group all "small, non-aggressive creatures" into one group and don't care about how many trillion of them the game has in it. They all behave the same, so our brain can treat them as one, not many. And unlike humans the creatures in the game actually *are* just one, not many, because they are all ruled by the same algorithm. Once you count how many different algorithms or distinctively different groups of content No Man's Sky has, you quickly end up with a much smaller number than 18 quintillion. Probably below 100 even.

Once we look at the game like that, it actually contains "less content" than a typical $60 game with hand-crafted environments and creatures. So I would agree that No Man's Sky isn't worth $60. However it is well worth the €24 I paid for it, because it is a reasonably well-crafted exploration game which can provide a good number of hours of fun. Having said that, I am more interested in the fun hours of exploration than in grinding hours of crafting Bypass Chips or mining minerals for sale in order to pay for things like ships or exosuite upgrades. But fortunately the standard money cheat program I use, ArtMoney, works perfectly well with No Man's Sky, and I can just hack myself the money I need instead of grinding. There is still enough mining and crafting to do in the game just to build the stuff I want, I don't need to prolong that by mining and crafting only for money.

In summary, I like No Man's Sky at the summer sale price, and am looking forward to playing it some more until I get bored or reach the center of the universe, where the answer "42" is hidden.

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