Diecast #263: Satisfactory, RPG Mechanics Everywhere

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 1, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 62 comments

I was pretty out of it this week, and as a result you’re getting a meandering, unfocused, slightly off-topic Diecast. That’s fine. I know some of you enjoy a good meander.



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 Bay Day

When Bay got home she shared this story:

On the way home, her bags were subjected to a random check by the TSA. (The kind where they go through your shit when you’re not looking.) They found a commercially sealed packet of cheese powder and intentionally opened it. She bought this stuff because she can’t get it in Texas, so this was a dick move. But the really infuriating part was that they dumped the cheese into her bag.

Like, if you were checking for drugs or other contraband then you’d open the packet off to the side, into a container where it could be examined. Instead some fuckwit just dumped it all over her clothes. That’s not security, that’s just some asshole having a laugh because they know they can’t be held accountable.

I was sad about her leaving until I heard this story. Now I’m like:

Sup.
Sup.

05:00 Steam Summer Sale

I was going to talk about the dwindling effectiveness of Steam sales and how my buying habits have changed, but instead the topic got derailed.

05:59 Satisfactory again!

Sorry for getting sidetracked. You know how much I like trains.

30:10 Mailbag: RPG Mechanics in Everything?

Dear Diecast

Why have “RPG elements” taken over the industry? It seems like regardless of genre, every AAA game these days has some kind of progression system to earn skill points which can be customizably spent on unlocking abilities and bonuses. It’s a weirdly specific system to have integrated into so many non-RPG games, and unlike microtransactions or fancy graphics, I can’t see any obvious market forces pushing the industry in this direction.

Ninety-Three

39:19 School Tangents

43:31 Mailbag: Consumer Advice

Liebe Würfelwerfer,

In your opinion is there an underrepresented niche for videos with consumer advice in short form? Meaning short information whether a game is playable or not without any in- depth review similar TB’s one off “Snarktank” or Campster’s attempts at a new show.

Freundliche Grüßen,
Gresman

56:03 Device Size

 


From The Archives:
 

62 thoughts on “Diecast #263: Satisfactory, RPG Mechanics Everywhere

  1. Studoku says:

    TSA are proud of having never stopped any threat, no matter how minor, ever. They’re not good people (some are barely people).

    1. Kyle Haight says:

      I can’t express my opinion of the TSA without violating the “no politics” rule, so I’ll just say I do not care for them. I just got back from a trip, and have two more planned over the next couple of months, and I’m not looking forward to wrestling with them.

  2. Asdasd says:

    That’s a really astonishingly awful thing to do. The petty malevolence of it is staggering.

    1. Aevylmar says:

      Equivalents thereof have happened to me quite often. One of the hazards of travel in the US.

      If the TSA as an organization wanted to prevent it, they could easily give you the name of the person who searched the bag; just put it on a piece of paper and leave it in the bag. That would provide a way to track down bad actors in the TSA, based on volume of complaints, and get them dismissed.

      They do not do this.

      1. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Law enforcement tends to think itself outside the rule of law fairly often. It’s a pretty gaping hole in their philosophy of civilization.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          TSA isn’t law enforcement. Some of their privileges (like protection from lawsuits) arise specifically from not being law enforcement. They don’t have the power to arrest people, and their role was previously (and in some US airports still is) occupied by private security.

          1. Felblood says:

            This doesn’t stop them from thinking of themselves as twice as much above the law.

            I’ve met too many TSA agents who made no bones about the fact that they were there to steal as many pocket knives and key-chains as possible, and they didn’t care who knew it, because there was nothing you could do to them anyway.

    2. Yeah. opening the bag should be grounds for a warning.
      And “dumped the cheese into her bag”, that’s grounds for getting fired on the spot IMO.

  3. Lino says:

    00:38 – actually, the newer versions of PowerPoint do give the presenter a view of the future slides
    As for chalkboards, most schools in my country have whiteboards – only the older schools still use chalk.

  4. Hal says:

    Without having listened to the episode, RPG mechanics are another layer of investment in the game. If the actual gameplay, story, and aesthetics are not enough to keep you in the game, then perhaps the sense of ownership over the character (via customization) will do it, or perhaps the sense of satisfaction from filling the bars and getting another level/skill point/etc. It might push you through the game to see a cool capstone ability, or towards multiple playthroughs to see different classes, skill combinations, etc.

    1. galacticplumber says:

      There’s also the possibility of having mutually exclusive options you’d legitimately pick for differing reasons, or the arc of feeling weak at the beginning, but strong at the end. The first requires actual effort put into differentiating choices. The second requires combat to increase in complexity over time so you don’t feel like you’re just doing what you did at the start with bigger numbers.

      1. Geebs says:

        Conveniently, RPG elements are also a low-effort way of introducing friction which the player can pay money to avoid; see AssCreed: Odyssey’s XP booster.

        1. galacticplumber says:

          We’re talking how to use the concept for good, not evil.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        Vanilla WoW managed to take over an entire genre on a system where you had basically every skill by level 20 and spent the next 40 levels acquiring Shadow Bolt Rank 2 through Shadow Bolt Rank 7. I’m not saying “do the same thing again with bigger numbers” is good design, but it has repeatedly proven to be a popular design.

        1. chris says:

          With wow you still unlocked talents (with a final ability at lvl 40), you would unlock some abilities at higher level as well. And the amount of skills and upgrades you got was way better than many other MMOs at the time. Those usually just gave you a few spells and then they got stronger with use, with nothing new or special or some combination or rotation of spells. And lets not forget they made melee fighting a lot more fun with Diablo 2 and WoW. If you go back to lets say dungeon siege you realize all you can do there as melee character is just attack people with swings, no special abilities, an energy stat, combo points, or anything fancy.

  5. Joshua says:

    I moved from Columbus, Ohio to Fort Worth, Texas 13 years ago (right about the start of DMotR). It is hard enough to get back home because you’re looking at either an expensive plane ticket that needs booked a month in advance, or a 16 hour drive. And Columbus is about 3 hours before Pittsburgh, and I believe Bay moved to somewhere around Lubbock, which is further west, so I’m guessing it’s somewhere around a 25-hour drive?

    Regarding RPG mechanics, I remember when this became the rage on the NES around 1987 or so, to insert these mechanics into games that didn’t previously have them. Castlevania 2, Zelda 2, and even frickin Double Dragon had become more like RPGs.

    I also hate the stuff where you spend skill/trait points to get +5% or some other miniscule improvement. To me, it only makes sense in MMOs, and even then only in Raid capacity where you’re going to fight some boss for a length of time, and other mechanics in the fight make taking the boss down as soon as possible much safer/successful in addition to being more convenient.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Small % increases make sense in general when a game is challenging and working to eek out every little advantage you can becomes a major part of the game. If there are fights that you have to try ten times to win, a few 5% upgrades to this or that start making a big difference.

      For games where you’re expected to down every boss on your first try, they’re not really worth the effort.

    2. Thomas says:

      It can ruin the balance of games too. The new Assassin’s Creed are (cynically) dependent on level to such an extent that skill doesn’t matter much at all.

      I’d love some deeper RPG mechanics – or alternatively light RPG mechanics focused around abilities instead of numbers, and preferably making you choose _between_ options instead of just the order you get everything. There are games and ideas out there that do it right, if only more games would follow suit.

      1. Hal says:

        I haven’t played WoW in a number of years, but that was a change they made, and for the better as far as I’m concerned. Instead of big talent trees with 5% here and 5% there, the “tree” was changed to offer some basic options. Every 15 levels or so, you’d get to pick one of three choices. It was either three different abilities, or three different modifiers which changed the way an ability worked.

        It was a great way to offer choice in play styles without ending up in a situation where people would say, “This configuration gets you 3% more DPS overall, so going with anything else means you’re unusable in a raiding environment.” The choices were also situationally useful. Maybe you needed more healing available, a better AoE attack, or you needed to have that big finisher available.

        1. Grimwear says:

          I personally disagree. I played during both times and the new system is just so pointless as to be negligible. From level 1-100 you make a total of 7 choices in terms of how you want to specialize. And it doesn’t even solve the major problem of forcing people to take certain skills. A quick glance at icy-veins shows that they’ve made the same calculations showing which skills give more dps and they tell you which skill you should pick. There are some times they say you can take A or B but never C but even then the skills are so dumb what’s the point. I miss the old hybrid builds. Heck Blizzard even recently said they’d gone too far streamlining builds and they’ve simplified classes so much they’re now deemed boring.

  6. I’ll listen later, but now I want to leave a small comment: too many games with “RPG” mechanics and so few RPG tagged games containing actual RPG content.

  7. chris says:

    I think RPG elements trigger some kind of psychological switch in your brain that makes you play more. for multiplayer its like “I need 200xp and each kill gives me 10 so i need 20 more kills so lets play 2 more rounds to get that new gun or upgrade”. That and of course getting a bigger number in front of your name showing how dedicated you are playing.

    And then you have singleplayer games were I think they do it to give people customization which people generally like. So someone who uses the slow time spell doesnt just feel good because he uses this cool spell, but also that he feels only he can do the slow time spell. While someone who went for the stun spell cant. but he feels good because he can stun someone. And then of course it seems to have more debt. As you have this big tree of possiblities. Another thing is that it serves as some kind of guide. Like in Farcry 3 you have to unlock slide (if you crouch while running you start sliding instead of just crouching) so instead of having to teach you that in some mission. You put it at the start of the skilltree so someone has to buy it, learn how to use it, and then do your job for you.
    Frankly though it feels kinda weak. I rather have a game where I have to pick one of 3 superpowers and all of them raelly give their own flavor. Than a game where I have a hundred options but its “5% more damage with the first bullet of a magazine”.

  8. John says:

    I like RPG-elements some of the time. For example, I like them in RPGs. But what RPGs understand and most other games with RPG-elements do not is that my character should not be able to be good at everything. If a game’s RPG elements consist of a series of unlocks, then either some of those unlocks need to be mutually exclusive or the game should end before I have the chance to unlock them all. The game should let me pick a play-style and then build a character well-suited to that play-style. Sid Meier famously says that a game is a series of interesting decisions. If I’m going to get all of the unlocks eventually–and especially if the unlocks are of the “5% better at X” variety–then unlocks simply aren’t interesting. It doesn’t matter what I choose now and the effect of what I choose now probably won’t be obvious in gameplay anyhow.

    1. Geebs says:

      Arguably, RPGs don’t understand RPG elements due to all the abstractions inherited from P&P settings. Getting better at swinging a sword by completing a no-combat FedEx quest has always been stupid.

      The only series I can recall that had the player get better at skills through actual practise is Elder Scrolls, and that’s being dropped by degrees with each new instalment.

      1. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Final Fantasy II should have taught the whole industry the weaknesses of that system. Get better at attacking by attacking. Sure that makes sense! Get better at a spell by using it. Okay, that follows. Get more HP by… getting stabbed all of the time. Er… Get hit by magic to raise your defense to magic! In the end, you have a game where you are CONSTANTLY attacking your own friends to toughen them up and casting the Ultimate spell on rats over and over again for practice because it’s too terrible to use at level 1.

        1. Geebs says:

          You’re quite right, nobody in the real world would ever try to learn combat skills by practising with friends before they have to go fight for real. Any dojos or boxing clubs you think you might have seen are merely products of a diseased imagination.

          1. John says:

            Maybe you just really like realism, in which case there is no disputing tastes and you may disregard the following question. But you appear to be arguing that games should be tedious just because life is tedious. Are you doing it on purpose?

            1. The Wind King says:

              Honestly, I remember getting through FF II without hitting myself or getting sick of using my best spells on paltry opponents, so that’s less hideous grinding tedium, and more grinding for optimisation.

            2. Geebs says:

              I’m levelling up in Arguing :-/

              Grindiness is orthogonal to the way a game generates XP; plenty of MMOs have you go out and collect 100 bear asses in order to level your speechcraft.

              Point is, a single example of bad implementation doesn’t counter the argument that a large part of the reason why computer RPG elements suck is that they shoe-horn in a bunch of elements that date back to the 1970s which were meant to solve problems with P&P simulations that have since been fixed by computers.

              1. chris says:

                In dungeon siege you have the “use a skill to get good at it” mechanic and while it is simple enough it does have a problem that you have a hard time with hybrid builds. If you want to do some paladin like build (melee fight damage, nature magic for healing) your healing skill just cannot keep up.

                I dont think people put in a levelup system because of P&P. but they do it because its easier to design a game that way. You can dole out the xp and as long as you make everything similarly powerful you know the powerlevel of a player at a certain point. And it allows you to make leveling up more engaging. Instead of getting good at swordfighting by killing a hundred rats with your sword, you can do some mission uncovering a conspiracy, and still get stronger.

          2. shoeboxjeddy says:

            If you’re going there, arguably getting stabbed would make you progressively WORSE at withstanding being stabbed. You’d have less blood, your scabs and patched up wounds would be much more fragile than your skin was to begin with, broken bones are forever weaker than unbroken bones were, wear and tear ruins your ligaments and makes them worse at their job, etc. I guess you could train your pain reflex to affect your thinking less, but at that point you’re most likely doing nerve damage and would have worse reaction speeds. “Training” at getting concussions is called CTE, it’s a pretty devastating debuff.

            Stepping out of this specific argument, I find that reaching a point in the story or leveling up and getting to select a bonus are both preferable to “do the thing 100 times.” Kingdom Hearts since 2 has had a pretty ideal system imo. Specific story thresholds give you certain powers, so you can’t just break the game at level 1 by grinding little shadow heartless. But if you’re having a rough time, leveling up can give you access to helpful stuff like bigger combos, more defensive options, or some super armor to tank killing blows one time. The AP/equipment system makes you choose between pure stats, defensive buffs, and loading up on special abilities as you go through the game.

        2. BlueHorus says:

          What comes to mind for me is the way I constantly hopped everywhere in Morrowind, so that I was levelling up my Acrobitics ability. Sure, it was realistic (-ish), but was it fun?
          No, no it wasn’t.

          1. Matthew Downie says:

            I kind of enjoyed jumping around everywhere in Oblivion.

            What I didn’t enjoy was that all the enemies in the world got tougher because I got better at jumping.

          2. shoeboxjeddy says:

            One of my favorite examples of this “level up by doing is STUPID” systems is in the anime Konosuba. The party mage only cares about the highest level magic skill “Explosion”. However, the magic use requirements are SO HIGH that at her current level, she can cast it once per day… and then immediately faint from the effort, being unable to even walk afterwards. So rather than becoming a more well rounded spell caster and raising her limits (reserving Explosion as her trump card to get out of tricky situations), she insists on ONLY using Explosion, ever. So every day, she hikes out to a deserted* castle and nukes it with Explosion, then gets carried back to town by a friend.

            *Castle may not be as deserted as it appears.

          3. Moridin says:

            To be fair, that’s actually NOT a problem in Morrowind because for most skills, trainers are easy to find and you generally end up with enough money that the expense isn’t a big problem either. Is it optimal to hop everywhere? Absolutely. But alternatively you can just spend a few hundred gold and not worry about it.

        3. Syal says:

          The problem with FF2’s “HP raises from getting hit” was just that it didn’t carry over between battles. You had to attack your friends because the enemies wouldn’t do enough damage in one fight to trigger the upgrade and every fight reset the counter. If it was cumulative damage over a series of fights it would have been a lot more effective.

          And I still enjoyed the system, and I loved Morrowind’s skill upgrades*.

          *(The stat upgrades weren’t great; max bonuses per level plus unused bonuses not carrying between levels made for tedious bonus optimizing.)

      2. John says:

        I hear you. The drawback to this sort of system, however, is that it can sometimes incentivize silly and un-fun behavior. I’ve heard stories, for example, of people hopping everywhere in Elder Scrolls games in order to build their jumping skill. What a miserable way to play. To heck with realism, I’d rather have the fetch quest.

        1. Hal says:

          Yep. That wasn’t uncommon in the era before Skyrim. For example, some of the more esoteric schools of magic didn’t get used as often; their spells might be one-offs. However, you might need the skill to be a higher level in order to advance a quest, or gain access to a higher level spell, etc. So you’d sit someplace and just cast that spell over and over and over. Restore your mana, do it again. Keep doing it for far, far longer than is entertaining, just to get those skill levels. Because the abilities don’t grow fast enough through organic use.

          Not that this tapered off with Skyrim, but it’s definitely better than it was.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Heh. Did anyone else become a Master Alchemist in Skyrim by simply churning out truckloads of the most efficient (6 effects per bottle) potion/poison?
            It was useless in game terms – half the effects were potion and half the effects were poison; you’d never drink it – but nothing else leveled up your Alchemy skill as quickly. It also sold fairly well…

            Still, it beat Oblivion, where I mastered Alchemy by running into a farmer’s field and spending about 20 mins turning ALL of his crops into basic Restore Stamina potions.
            Not Fun.

            1. Matthew Downie says:

              I think the quickest way to make a master blacksmith in Skyrim was to make dozens of iron daggers…

              1. When the Hearthfire DLC came out, it was more effective to make nails.

                So, so many nails.

              2. Ninety-Three says:

                In response to that complaint, they eventually patched it so that higher-level items gave more XP than iron daggers. But it was still easier to gather ten tons of iron than one ton high-level materials, so the daggers remained.

              3. Hal says:

                It’s been a while for me, and I don’t remember how it worked without mods, but I thought the amount of skill increase was correlated to the cost of the item you made. I seem to recall that the best method, then, was to convert iron to silver and gold and then to make jewelry. Dwemer gear was also a good path in this regard, but carting it back from the dungeons was kind of a pain.

      3. Ninety-Three says:

        The alternative to “Diplomatic quests make you better at stabbing guys” is “Players who want to be good at stabbing guys never take the diplomatic option because not murdering these guys would be missing out on precious stabbing XP”.

        It might be dumb, but the alternative’s even dumber.

    2. Thomas says:

      It’s very small, but I liked those upgrades in Mass Effect where you had to choose between two different effects for your last upgrade.

      Choosing between exclusive options feels do much more satisfying. And having it tie into your characters identity is even better.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        This.
        Your ability can either have an increased area-of effect, or a significant damage increase. Pick one and lose access to the other – and it makes a substantial difference to how you play.

        People complained about the dumbing down of RPG elements in ME2-3 sequels, but (in this one case) I think it was better. I was much happier with less decisions that turned out more meaningful, rather than the first game’s endless ‘+5% to X’ options.

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Super agreed. Beneficial but mutually exclusive upgrades were so much more interesting than “do 5% more damage.” Next level up, “do 5% more still.” Next level up, “how’s about another 5%?”

  9. Thomas says:

    Rime is such a beautiful game
    ———-
    As a sad marker, Valve can’t even design the Steam sale game properly any more. They made an overly complicated thing and then one of the rewards was a free game from your wishlist – but they didn’t make it clear enough how it worked, so tons of people starting removing games from their wishlist to avoid getting those ones for free.

    1. RFS-81 says:

      I just saw their weird summer sale game. I don’t know how much I can save there, but I know that the time I need to understand it is more valuable than that. Wow, just wow.

  10. evilmrhenry says:

    With regards to Steam sales, I’ve noticed that games have stopped really dropping in price. For example, Crysis.
    https://isthereanydeal.com/game/crysis/history/
    Crysis came onto Steam in 2013, at a $20 price point. It’s first sale was also in 2013, for $5. Now, in 2019, its price is still $20, and it’s currently on sale for $5. If I was willing to pay $5 for Crysis, I would have bought it back in 2013.

    Or maybe Jade Empire. Jade Empire went on Steam in 2013 for $15. It’s first sale was for $3.75. It is still $15, and is on sale for $3.75.

    Or maybe Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This came onto Steam in 2013, for $10. After a few months, the price was increased to $20, but there was a sale in 2014 for $10. Now, it’s still $20, and is on sale for $10.

    If you’re vaguely interested in Crysis, just not $5 interested, you will never buy it; it’ll go down to $5 in the Steam summer and winter sales, but I doubt it will ever hit $2, or even $4. (Personally, $5 is the limit where I’ll only buy a game if I plan to play it immediately, but I’ll pick up basically any game I’ve heard of for $2 just in case I feel like playing it later.) I think major companies have decided that chasing the long tail of the market isn’t worth it, and it’s better to use the lack of any costs associated with keeping digital goods available for sale to find a good price point and stick to it.

    1. trevalyan says:

      Given that one of the major benefits to this sale is $6 off your next Steam game, I’m not sure this holds true. People can get one super cheap game for free, or an additional chunk from something on sale. At some point (probably $2), Steam pays both the developer and the credit card company, yet makes pennies back: not even worth the overhead cost, even if a thousand people buy.

    2. Kyle Haight says:

      $5 in 2019 is worth less than $5 in 2013 because of inflation. Based on historical CPI data the current sale price is equivalent to about $4.50 in 2013 dollars. So technically they are cutting the price in real terms even though the nominal price is unchanged.

    3. Lino says:

      If I was willing to pay $5 for Crysis, I would have bought it back in 2013.

      There are many people who weren’t interested in buying Crysis is 2013. There are a lot of people that didn’t have Steam in 2013, still more (like me, for example) who didn’t even know it was on sale back then. And while an even lower price point might attract someone unwilling to buy it at $5, maybe the sale is directed at people like the ones I described above.

    4. shoeboxjeddy says:

      I mean, you have to consider there’s a price floor for most titles. You might be able to get Monkey Island for $2, the game has been out for so long, the publisher is essentially treating it like the dollar DVD bin at Wal-Mart. But most developers’ games are still doing well enough that they can have the pride to NEVER let the price drop below a certain level. Like MS clearly considered the Halo games to have a minimum value as they put them on sale on Xbox Live. They never would be like “Here’s Halo 3 for a dollar.”

  11. Redrock says:

    I miss the flash sales, personally. That’s what made the big Steam sales an event and a meme. People were following them, checking the store every day, eager to snatch a bargain. Sure, the new system is probably more consumer-friendly, but it’s also boring as all hell. And I think it’s also the main reasons the discounts aren’t as deep as they used to be.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Flash sales were “exciting” in the same way getting punched in the gut suddenly is “exciting.” Because let’s say you want Dishonored. The sale starts and it drops from $40 to $25. Hey, good deal! You buy it. Four days into the sale, oh Dishonored is on a flash sale for… $15. COOL! So because I was a MORE interested customer, I paid a $10 premium. That makes me really want to buy a bunch of stuff as the sale goes on. Or… it more likely makes me want to never buy anything UNLESS it’s a flash sale.

      1. MechaCrash says:

        A combination of this very phenomenon and the implementation of refunds are why Flash Sales are gone.

        Flash Sales are one of those “cool in theory, pain in practice” ideas, and while I miss them a little bit, I am not going to mourn their loss overly much.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        Aside from the feel-bad moment, this also has the problem of incentivizing you to check in every day and wait until the very last day of a sale to buy anything: until that moment, it could still go on flash sale and you’d look like a sucker if you bought it early. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can lead to the customer getting tired/forgetful of the whole thing and never buying Dishonored at all, even though they were totally into the idea of paying a $25 sale price for it.

        My pet theory is that they axed the flash sales not out of customer-friendliness, but because the suits realized what a bad business practice it was to disincentivize impulse buys.

  12. Grimwear says:

    In regards to high school we used whiteboards instead of blackboards though my university was all blackboards. My highschool had also started installing smartboards in classrooms though my university used projectors. While I am impressed with how far we’re progressing as a society I hope we’ll always have black/whiteboards especially in terms of math. There is nothing more infuriating to me than having someone try to teach you math through projections/powerpoint/overheads. It doesn’t work. It needs to be properly written out so that people can follow along and I have yet to see any online means that is more efficient than simply writing it on a board.

    1. Lino says:

      There is nothing more infuriating to me than having someone try to teach you math through projections/powerpoint/overheads.

      I recently started looking for online Statistics courses, and I just can’t believe how many people do this. Whyyy?!?!?!?! Do they do it look sexy for all the millennials out there? Because all it manages to accomplish is be annoying and thoroughly unhelpful. Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint prezentations and other multimedia can be extremely helpful in subjects like Geography, History, Literature, etc., but I think for more technical subjects we’re better off sticking to what’s worked in the past.

  13. MechaCrash says:

    For the Switch, were the controllers in the Grip thing, or were they out individually? I’ve found the Grip basically unusable, but the split controllers are pretty comfortable, as long as you aren’t playing a game that makes heavy use of the right stick. I understand why it has to be vertically aligned with the buttons, but it does make reaching for it kind of awkward.

    The Pro controller’s pretty nice, as long as you get one of the later run ones with a working D-pad (the short version is that the D-pad on first-run models is wonkily sensitive and will register inputs you don’t want or some such). Maybe that’ll fit in your hands better?

    I do understand what you mean about the controllers not feeling right, though. A friend of mine hasn’t got a lot of interest in the Switch until the rumored Pro and/or Mini come out because it doesn’t fit comfortably into his hands.

  14. Cilba Greenbraid says:

    An option that’s really worth considering when you absolutely can’t avoid traveling by air is: Pack very light, pack all your stuff into a box, and ship it UPS to your destination ahead of your flight.

    It’ll cost somewhere from $50 to $80 round trip (but then again, depending on the airline, taking your stuff as checked luggage may cost nearly as much). But it’s far more likely to reach your destination intact and unlost, and you free yourself of the hassle of carrying your stuff through the airport and through security.

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