Save Scummer

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So Dishonored comes along with an achievement for never being seen all game long. As I see it there are 3 possible tracks to this achievement.
1. Be insanely lucky. No amount of sitting on a rooftop looking around with binoculars will save you from every hidden ambush or tight corridor patrolling guard.
2. Play the game until you've memorized every npc's location & path. Perhaps this is what they intended with the achievement, in which case they should be able to log quicksaves and DQ you.
3. Save scum.

Now, I hate achievements, (that's another story) so I just want to get them all out of the way so I can play my game in peace and quiet. So I opt for option 3. Is it enjoyable? Not terribly, and even less so when I realize the immersion and reality of the scenario are going right down the drain. But I blame this particular instance on the achievements. The only other time I end up save scumming is early on in Bethesda games when you're not sure if the room you're walking in to will have 12 enemies twice your level due to some scaling mechanic. And then it's not so much reloading if I lose a little health, it's reloading because I got utterly destroyed and need to find another route or simply avoid the area.

Speaking of turn-based games and voices, remember how much character the many varied voices in the early Jagged Alliance titles added to those games? It's a small investment by the developer that goes a long way towards fleshing out a player's team of soldiers.

So that's what it's called? I used to do that all the time back in the day. I don't do it very much anymore, mostly because most games these days utilize checkpoints instead. I still don't see how it's in any way detrimental to the gaming experience though.

TizzytheTormentor:
A lot of people still save scum and I used to do it for games that I wanted a certain result on. Now, I just go with the flow and keep playing, it keeps you on your toes rather than charge in and reload if you get caught. Like Deus Ex, the first time I did the first level, the woman lived, but the guy got away. Second time, I learned the way the take him out (without killing him) and saving the woman.

The first (and currently only) time I played the first level of Deus Ex I got both of them killed. I do not play many RPGs with dialogue options. I don't seem to be very good at them. :(

OT: I used to save scum a lot more than I do now (chasing down the "perfect playthrough"). These days I'm far more inclined to just go with the flow. After about nine hours on one character in Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword, I made a badly-timed mistake that led to me losing all my stuff and getting dragged around as a captive. I almost reloaded my save from an hour before, but decided not to. Instead I sat twiddling my thumbs as the game span in fast-forward mode until my captors finally let me go and I could start my journey to greatness all over again.

It's the only time I've really "got" the idea of roleplaying. Up until that point, I hadn't really been thinking of my little red-head avatar as a character. But after that humiliating defeat, she and I had something to prove. Once I'd built up my strength again, I got revenge on my former captor by assisting in the invasion of his country and burning his fief to the ground.

I haven't tried XCom classic difficulty yet, but my ironman (i.e. no reloading saves ever) normal difficulty run was a lot of fun. My most fun moments came when one or even two of my guys got mind controled, and the controlers were on the other side of the UFO surrounded by heavy gunners. I even managed to salvage the mission on the battleship-ufo, when the game bugged out and decided that my mini-tank was still standing in the only dooropening with indestructable walls after it had passed through. So my tank couldn't go back out, and the other 5 soldiers couldn't go in. One of the soldiers had an Archangel armor and could fly around. I spent the whole mission playing cat and mouse with the huge army in the center of the UFO, luring them into the firing line of the four soldiers on the far side of the door. Won too, no casualies.

Now, I have to admit I never lost an entire squad that game. I never even got close. I think I lost one max-level guy in my whole playthrough (got mindcontroled, which caused the soldier next to him to panik and shoot him in the face, which left me with insuficient firepower to kill the etheral, who then drained the last of my guy's health to heal himself) I don't know if I could have recovered from a full whipe. But I did make a point of having more than 6 good soldiers. You can recover from fairly large fuck-ups in XCom if you don't just bring the same 6 guys on every mission. If you have to train a new squad from scratch after losing your only 6 colonels, then you're probably screwed. And as a side benefit, I was able to perform the last mission with 6 max level guys, 5 of whom were also max level psionics. My other 8 non-psionic colonels could sit that one out. Shame I could only put one in the Gollop Chamber, but hey.

RobfromtheGulag:
Now, I hate achievements, (that's another story) so I just want to get them all out of the way so I can play my game in peace and quiet.

You could just ignore them. I only bother with achievements that sound fun. E.g. I expended a serious amount of time and energy getting the Borderlands 2 achievement for killing a flying enemy by throwing a gun at them, but I haven't bothered starting a duel with my coop partner just to get the achievement for that.

When doing my first playthrough of a game, I want to enjoy it as much as I can whilst everything is still fresh.

Meh. Save Scumming can be awesome. Who remembers the first two Max Payne games? Those were made for/from this. Mostly because the quickload was super-quick (like 0.5 second) but also because it was just super cool to try those moves over and over and over again. Gaming at its best.

X-COM was a bit of a shock to the system for me, it's definitely much more merciless than the original IMO. I don't think that's all down to the tactical missions though. I've had to restart my game from scratch because of the way the panic system works.

My main gripe is the way Alien abductions increase panic. These missions force you to make a hard choice, which is fair enough, but then heap the pain on by raising panic across a whole continent rather than an individual country. Short of buying a bucket load of expensive satellites (and attendant base facilities), there's no way to claw back the panic fast enough. You'll always loose a country somewhere along the lines, and the game outright if you aren't successful in pretty much every mission.

This is a bad idea so far as I'm concerned as it encourages reflexive saving to recover a mistake. I've resisted so far (hence the restart), but I do lament the lack of opportunity to make good after a disaster; the original never got this difficult this fast.

I want to bring up an example of a video game - including expansions - that also pull this concept off quite well: Mount and Blade.

I absolutely adore this game, both for what is possible to achieve in this game and just the general feel of combat and how it works. To transition quickly from this, though, I have to tell you of a story involving one of my characters, a Lady Rose-Lynn.

Lady Rose-Lynn is a Vaegir - which, for those who don't know, are basically the equivalent of East Europeans in the Mount and Blade lore - who is struggling to make her mark in the world, equivalent to the historical Joan of Ark. However, for a massive section of the game that sometimes carries on even when I still play the character, she has consistently been beaten down by opposing armies, captured who knows how many times and has always had to start from scratch, all the while barely able to raise the kind of support needed to raise a proper army. To make matters worse, the fact that she is a lady is almost always often brought up by other lords. In short, she has almost never had luck on her side.

However I was persistent as hell and I tried to find other ways to bring her luck around. Eventually, it did pay off for a good amount of time: she finally had a worthy standing army to fight alongside, she had beaten an opposing lord or two, and she finally had some land to her name. I haven't had the chance to go back to her, but safe to say that, for the time being, her luck has gotten better.

Its how you choose to play isnt it ? I mean if you want to take every game you play and turn it into "survivor mode from minecraft" then thats great. At the same time any game that got released without a decent, flexible save feature would be canned from asshole to breakfast time.

I think what you have to keep in mind is your own "goals" as a player. If you want to finish the game some time in your life, hell you may have to load a save every now and then no matter what game and no matter good you are. But if all your focussed on is finishing without saving, well keep in mind it might take a while.

For the longest time I beat myself up over loading saves (playing PC games for over 20 years now). I started to get over it REAL QUICK when I realised sometimes your save game is the only insurance you have against cheating AI and bad programming. When the AI bends the rules, all bets are off in my mind.

greyghost81:
So, Yahtzee, why didn't you like Dark Souls again?

Because you couldn't pause.

OT:I will not apologize for save scumming in games like X-COM where the computer blatantly cheats (getting a free move as soon as you see them is bullshit) or when the characters occasionally don't go when I point them to go (I wanted one person to take cover behind a wall, they ran outside in the opposite direction and got killed, and the game sucks at multiple heights), but I mostly use saving to make sure nothing glitchy happens, if I place a character somewhere and they get shot I won't reload for that.

It's a game where really have to save and save often unless you are some kind of miracle child, because the randomisation can fuck you up so fast you don't even know what hit you. This one time I was doing a terror mission and I always take my best people on terror mission because rookies just fuck everything up. So I was near the end and had 4 enemies left 1 muton and 3 heavy floaters muton was close to so I thought I'll take it out and try to flank the flotars later I put my soldires to their positions, I had 4 of them at the time 1 heavy 2 assault 1 support their hit % was between 45 and 70 and I used 2 turns and none of them hit the fucking muton. Also the game has a terrible habit spawning aliens behind you or on your side, I think all the aliens should be on the map when you start the mission.

As for the voices, one of the dev team dude was on IW in Game Trailers and he was asked about the voices and I think he said something about there being not enough time and money.

Ohp, looks like I have to call Yahtzee if I need a voice actor! Just wait for me to learn how to make video games. Look out for me! (in a few decades)

The closest I come to save scumming is when I use save states. I try not to use them anymore, but it makes old games like Sonic 3 easier to complete. I really don't want to replay the whole game just because I missed too many chances to get all the chaos emeralds.

And other old games require memorization. I'm going to foam at the mouth when I try to beat the American Battletoads and have to replay hard stages multiple times just to practice an even harder stage.


Alright, alright, I confess! I save scummed when I lost too much money on pazaak in KOTOR and when shit got too real in my base in Evil Genius. And at certain points in Half-Life 2. There, you happy?!

I used to save scum back in Mafia.
now i find Iron man the most fun game-way. Only save when you have to "leave" computer. And sometimes i pay for it, when a group of unexpected soldiers makes half of my empire useless its hard to build back up AND fight them off, but that makes games more fun, unexpected, unprogrammed challenges.
P.S. Xcom campaign was too short, not too long!

Mmph. I still have this problem!

I end up getting bored of games and hoarding crap, when actually dealing with risks adds so much more life to a game.

I think I'd be doing this in DE: Human Revolution but I'm trying to get that obnoxious no-kill achievement.

Now that this gets brought up I want to do this all the time! It sounds like it'd revitalize my interest in so many games.

I am very serious about playing games the way they are meant to be played. I haven't used an Easy Mode for years and I will stop playing rather than compromise on that. But I will make an exception for saving and reloading if 1. There are unfairly large consequences AND it isn't the player's fault or 2. I have beaten the game before. Examples are FTL, which was great and I happily tried and tried again form scratch until I beat that Rebel Flagship motherf***er fair and square. But there comes a point where you cannot deal with all the starting out crap and you just want to have a good run. When I run into a Rock ship armed with 4 bombs and seemingly more missiles than I had the entire run on the last level, I will reload because I've earnt it and I don't have the patience. Note though, a mode where you could choose your weapons and upgrades to start out with would fix this. Skyrim, on the other hand, is a game where I'm sure the majority of theives will reload all day long, and I think that's fair enough as well, because if that's part of your playstyle you'll be losing half your coins and items every time you get caught and also having to break out of prison every few minutes, which gets damn tiresome. I'm all for living with consequences but that is just not practical gameplay.

I've only "save scummed" in one game recently and that was Dishonored. Interestingly enough I done so for the reasons you stopped in Thief - if you screw up in Dishonored then depending on the level of fuck-up you might find yourself surrounded in a heap of bodies and your Chaos Rating through the roof. If you're aiming to get the "good" ending this is very frustrating!

Theres only 2 times I typically save scum, when the game is so buggy it could crash at any moment and when I'm playing a stealth game and the enemy AI is buggy.

KOTOR2 is a example of the first, even with the fan patches i find myself saving alot just to prevent me losing too much time when it crashes.

Dishonored is a example for the second, I'm constantly getting seen through walls while choking a guy out or through the floor by enemies upstairs. It drives me nuts and I refuse to have my master ninja skills thwarted by shit programming.

There are lots of stealth games where I find it kinda defeats the purpose if you don't save scum. If you just go with the flow in Hitman for instance you just end up murdering everyone and it's incredibly unsatisfying. I like trying to figure out the perfect stealth route and I don't want to keep re-doing a level from the beginning.

One of the things that killed Assasins Creed for me was the fact that you couldn't just restart a mission instantly. I'd end up killing a 100 or so soldiers half the time.

In many ways when I don't save I have a tendency to just run through the game because there is no sense in which I need to perfect anything. I think game designers should just have an adequate checkpoint system.

I can see where the frustration can come when losing after a long drawn out battle, but this game is by no means long...quite short in fact, as most people agree.

The only thing I find pulls me away from the game is a lack of difficulty options(just 4?), and the scripted nature of alien attacks, and resources. It bottlenecks you into using the same strat everytime, which heavily detracts from replayability.

To me, its not the random, Its the distinguishable, lack of random, especilly in the stratigic layer(if you can even call it that), that pulls me away.

I only care about enjoyment in a game. To be honest, my perfect game is some kind of gory mayhem with God Mode on. I loved God Mode in Doom and other such games. In recent memory only Saints Row 3 provided that.
To me the entire "save scum" argument is a simple question of what you have MORE fun with. That depends on a game, naturally.
While myself I had fun playing difficult games this gen, I liked Demon's Souls and got platinum trophy in Dark Souls. But to me the challenge is not fun in itself. I like to break it. I enjoy playing a God. Whatever comes handy - normal tactics, glitches, exploits, micro-transaction items. I don't really care how, I only care about the end result of being a god and breaking the game.
That said, if game is too easy and isn't trying to be hard it's all sort of loses appeal.

As for XCOM, it's also a thing of time. In a game like Binding of Isaac you can re-roll your play-through several times per hour until you get what you want. If it takes more than that, than save and reload as often as you can. Looks like the game has no easy way to game the system, and on a console you don't even get cheats.

I find that I same scum when I am pretty much going to lose regardless of what I do, or If I just want to get some good Items out of a rare encounter. I find that the frustration of losing and making up all the progress up to that point, recovering the money or Items you lost, resupplying on expensive product, or just having to go on without a party member that you rely on for the sort of thing your trying to do, be that some things or everything. I typically play a game save scumming full power, so that I can have a lot of fun without all impediments, then I just play the game no sell on it because I already beaten the game and want to try something new. I not saying I abort every time I fuck up, but when continuing would be what I consider VERY counterproductive, like losing all your money if you lose is some games, setting you back all the way to the star of the a long level( platformers being the exception), or even the entire game, or losing party member you've been leveling up so carefully, either temporally or permanently.

Things like losing some battles, having some characters downed as I fight, screwing up some things etc., those things I can deal with, because they are at best minor setbacks, and at worst a problem that that be overcome with some hard work or ingenuity.
But if I keep fail at something because I didn't get I JUST right, I get hit with something that was unfair or that I was not prepared for or COULDN'T be prepared for,, If all the progress I made, all the hard work turns to ash in my mouth, I have no qualms about save-scumming, or whatever you want to call it.
I rather save scum, detracting for the experience a little bit or I lot, possibly being called a cheater for it, then play it right and die over and over again, botching everything haven't done before or have done before, but I didn't do it in a particular way or do it too fast/slow, then being sent back to mission base trying how to find the sliver lining in those fuck-ups, tearing out my hair and slowly going mad, or not even that, and having to redo everything for the damn beginning, eventually taking my game out and breaking it with a particularly convenient ball baring, or sealing it in the vault, to be lost to time, unloved and uncared for all eternity, while I sit around trying reorganize my room after that meltdown.

There are ways to approach XCOM which neatly sidestep the need to save-scum.

Things like building up TWO good squads, and always bringing a couple of lower-ranked guys into each mission, and making a point to rush out the satellites early on.

If you're playing on Impossible, a bit of bad luck in the wrong moments can lead to an early loss of a country or two, but on any other difficulty, you can (almost) completely eliminate that risk once you understand what the game needs you to do. Having satellites and uplinks built and ready to launch on demand can turn the tide back in your favour when a tough terror mission falls apart.

Similarly, the majority of tactical missions aren't significantly worse with the addition of a couple of Rookies/Squaddies in place of one of your high-ranking guys, but if you have a solid team of 12 decent soldiers, losing 4 of them will hurt a LOT less than losing your only 6 super-soldiers that you've been building up since the war began.

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