The following is an opinion piece written by the gamer “Im Dave Angel”, any similarities to any existing retrospectives are purely coincidental.
Hello, my name is Dave, and this is my “Pet Rant”. I think in all honestly, I share a problem that must plague a large percentage of gamers, with a game feature that has been a millstone around my neck since the original Tamagotchi.
Since the earliest days of our gaming careers, the upkeep and breeding of animals in-game has been a stone around my neck. This is nothing necessarily done wrong by the game, but it is the feeling within me that it creates.
When the original Pokemon Red, green, and blue came out in Europe in 1999, It was possible to keep a personal menagerie of digital creatures both big and small. Through combat, the creatures would eventually evolve in their later forms.
But Niantic never made you responsible for feeding these creatures. It was enough of a diversion to simply be battling, capturing, and then training with said creatures, let alone sourcing the feed you need for each creature.
This brings us up to today and my gripe. The release of Palworld by Pocketpair has taken large sections of the gaming community by storm, as the game has been made available on Steam, as well the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. The game logged 1.3 million concurrent connections on Steam within a couple of days of release and that rate of attachment has not slowed.
But for each “pal” you capture, the game gives you bonuses for the number of each that you collect. Get 10 of any creature and the game gives you a bonus, as well as an achievement for the first time.
So, this encourages players to gather multiple Wallballs and Chipikis for bonuses.
Once you get pals, you need to plant berry beds for them which will provide you and them with a valuable source of food. However, any creature can eat any kind of foodstuff… feeding a fried egg to a chicken type pal makes me slightly uncomfortable.
After you have played the game for a few hours, the player collects enough pals to require the swapping of creatures at your base, as well as taking some out with you for combat purposes.
However, unless the player can work out how to assign certain pals to certain roles on the base (farming, seeding, watering, collecting, etc) the animals all get hungry, so you spend a considerable amount of time swapping creatures in and out of your party, to feed them manually.
Now this is part of the attachment process intended by the developer and is indeed there to create an attachment between you and the creatures in your care. But when they get very hungry, I do not like the feeling of mismanagement and abandonment this mechanism creates within the player.
The same mechanism exists in Valheim, a personal favourite of mine. You can collect eggs to get your own chickens, boars to tame to create little baby piggies to grow for *gulp* meat purposes.
Then there are the wolves and the highly aggressive Lox that can be lured into a position where they can be tamed, then used for many tasks including rock smashing, as a mount as well as a cute little pet that loves a scratch behind the ears.
Anyway, back to the boars. You must feed them vegetables, so a vegetable patch that grows
exponentially with your brood is the order of the day. This takes some setting up, but assuming you are collecting seeds, growing then re-planting them will get you up to speed.
On a side note, never name any digital pet after the first generation. They are all dispensable, being useful for food and crafting resources. Having to explain to little Sally why her favourite Boar had to “make a contribution”/ran away/is here somewhere/has decided to be called “Boar” for a while creates tensions in both the digital, as well as the family IRL.
So, this brings us to the crux of this rant. Please developers if you are going to implement animals in any form within your titles, have a switch in the options to turns the feeding mechanism on or off.
This Will allow me to sleep a little easier at night, without waking up at 5am realising I haven’t fed the boars.
Now if somebody would care to help me off this soapbox, I have a Dire-Wolf that needs training.
This is I’m Dave Angel, your second favourite Angel, signing off…