Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gaming By The Numbers - Dynasty Warriors Next

As we all know, gaming takes time.  A lot of it.  Just as a bare experience, popping in your average Brand-new Action Adventure title, you could expect to put in a few sessions of a few hours before you complete it.  Even more if you want to play it again for any reason, and especially even more if you're a completionist and/or a trophy/achievement hunter.  Being a trophy hunter personally, I do end up sort of contemplating the amount of time that might go into getting all the trophies in a game and sort of put that against a gains vs. rewards system in my head, (The rewards are 99% of times the experience, rather than the nigh-useless trophy) and more often than not, one of the main factors involved is 'time invested' because, well, like I said, gaming takes a lot of time, and I have a lot of games, meaning that's a -whole- lot of time that I don't technically have.  If a game is fun enough, however, it's worth it to keep at it before jumping headfirst into a different experience that may or may not be as fun.

Dynasty Warriors Next is a game that I've talked about quite a few times on this blog by merit of it being a Dynasty Warriors game that is also on the Vita, and I've stated quite a few times that the time investment it requires is astronomical.  And it is.  But I don't really think I've really been able to quantify that in an easily digestible manner, much less an overly complicated and long-winded way.  Being that I have a penchant for doing the latter of those two things, as well as the fact that I honestly do love presenting numbers in the way that's sure to follow, this sort of post was inevitable.  Probably not for Dynasty Warriors Next because I'm honestly never going to get the Platinum for it (unless I find three other people with Vitas who are good at DWN and own it, goddamn local co-op modes), but some game nonetheless.  If I owned another game for the Vita, I would likely be playing that in lieu of playing Next, but Golden Abyss is as beat as it's gonna get (as in, completely) and I can't -only- play Persona 3 Portable on it.

So, what are most likely the longest challenges in Dynasty Warriors Next are the two that are presented as thus:  "Formed a sworn oath with all of the officers." and "Formed a marriage pact with all of the officers."  I have ranted and raved about these particular trophies time and time again because they are quite literal in their meaning; you can form a marriage pact and swear an oath of brotherhood (or sisterhood) with every single officer in the game.  And thou must.  It's blatant game-padding, and absolutely horrid in practice because of the random nature of Conquest Mode (wherein this must be accomplished) and, again, the only reason I'm playing it because I really don't have anything else until Resistance:  Burning Skies.  (Provided it's the first 'must-buy' game of mine that comes out)  Nor do I have the money to really jump the gun on anything else unless I catch a real deal.

So let's do some basic set-up stuff here.  In the game, there are 65 Officers overall.  Breaking that up, (because it's important to the overall goal here) 13 of them are women, thus making the remaining 52 officers men.  Now, it's important to separate them like that because KOEI are not the most progressive people, thus only women can marry men and vice versa, and men can only be best buds with other men, and women can only form everlasting bonds outside of marriage with other women.  So no matter what, you're going to have at least two characters on stand-by to switch between (Male and Female) to make these bonds to complete the task.  It also starts to complicate math because now I have to factor on different things between the two scenarios and blah blah blah.  Really, there's just a lot of build-up and things to consider which I imagine you'll see as it starts to unfold.

The shortest 'game' you can set to reliably get bonds before it's over is the Three-Force Map, which offers 12 territories between three forces, thus granting four initial territories to every force.  In an example game, you can reliably get 1 Marriage (kind of obvious, I guess) and 2 Sworn Oaths, depending on how lucky you get with gold.  The easiest way to force this is by picking one opposite gender person, and two same gender person as your subordinates, using their tactics whenever possible (again, gold-reliant) and trying to carve through China without taking out both rulers to stretch the process out enough to ensure that the friendship builds properly.  Being conservative with numbers, I'd say that if you can use their strategy every turn (as well as having them in battle with you), it takes 5-7 turns of that before they're all yours, so let's go with 6.  Of course, you will almost never have the amount of gold you might need (though you can supplement this by bringing along Dong Zhuo or an edit character with the Tax strategy, as you'll get free gold at the cost of being a dick), so it won't always go this way.

A turn comprises of the strategy phase (picking your strategies, where you're going to invade and who you're taking into battle) which takes all of a minute, and the battle phase wherein you fight and conquer the map which can take from, conservatively four minutes to 15 on the high-end.  (Depending on how duels go, how unnaturally resilient the enemies are to getting hit in the face with a giant fucking club, how long it takes to capture the main camp as a result of that, etc.)  So let's err a little to the higher end with a nice odd number of 9.  So, using that, we can put a full round at about 10 minutes.  (Taking into account the network stuff, the other turns, it may be closer to 11 minutes, but whatever)  Using our earlier number of 6 turns in a game, that's 60 minutes to get one marriage bond and two sworn oaths.  That is precisely 1.5384615384615385% of the goal for Marriage (1 out of 65) and 3.076923076923077% of the goal for Sworn Oaths (2 out of 65) but let's simplify the numbers to 1.5% and 3%.  Of course, it's not -quite- that simple, since the whole course is a bit thrown off since, as I said, you can't just go swath after swath through as the same character and the pool is highly dis-proportioned.

So, being that there are 52 men and 13 women, a single go in, assuming you're playing a male character for this part, you now only have 50 and 12 to go.  60 minutes in and you've got about 5% of it down.  In the time that it takes for you to get those other twelve marriages (720 minutes) you'll also get 24 more Oaths.  This leaves you at 26 oaths left to go.  From this point, let's assume that you -can't- sub in a third Oath for the marriage pacts you no longer have to make (because I don't have any clue as to whether you can make more than two.  I would think not, since 'history' presents 2 or 3 ' oath brothers' only, not 4) so you have 13 (26/2) more plays to go, clocking in at 780 minutes.  Now, 1560 (720+ the first 60+780 or just 780+780) minutes, or 26 hours, later, you're halfway done.  This is assuming you've gotten the perfect luck all throughout, no screwing over through the Conquest Mode random number generator or anything.  Now you have to do girl mode.

Girl mode sucks, as you might be able to tell already.  You can only make one marriage gamble per game, and the above time-frame was taking into account the rough minimum amount of turns, since it kind of takes the same amount of time, provided you have all three working at the same pace.  I'm assuming that you can't make more than two sworn oaths in a single game, but let's imagine you can for a moment since it'll make Girl Mode a little more bearable.  If you take 26 and divide it by 3 instead of 2, you've got 8.6, rounded up to 9 which takes that total of time down to 540 minutes, taking the above time down to 1320 minutes or 22 hours.  There's no easy way to say it, 52 men means 52 plays means 3120 minutes or, well, 52 hours.  So, all told, there's 74-78 hours just for two trophies.  Let's say you can cut this time down to 45 minutes per play, by being 25% more efficient, that still clocks in at 58.5 hours.  And let's say the stars fucking align, and you perform at 25% higher efficiency and you can form three bonds per game, cutting the above time from 1320 minutes to 910 minutes or just over 15 hours, plus the 2340 Minutes (52*45) or 39 hours for Girl Mode for a grand total of 54 hours.  These are just the raw numbers here.  And this is only for the portion of the game that you can reasonably quantify and guess on since it relies the least on luck.  I'm looking at you, second officer cards, you pricks.

So, all in all, if you want to get a platinum trophy for Dynasty Warriors, you can expect to dump at least 54-78 hours into the game before you make a good dent into it.  This is pretty much precisely why I'm not really fucking bothering, but am playing the game to enjoy slaughtering mans with the side-goal of trying to have part of this 'challenge' done in the event that I could do the impossible and get the Coalition Mode items somehow, which is pretty much the -only- thing I most certainly cannot do.  I hope my long-winded explanation and break-down wasn't too terribly boring, but as you know, I do kind of enjoy doing 'by the numbers' stuff like that, and will likely do it again in the future.  If not, well, you can reliably skip these kinds of posts when they come up, I suppose.

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