Welcome to our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans, nagging questions, and whatever else we feel like talking about. No matter what the topic, we invite everyone in the comments to tell us: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
Our own Patrick Lee is almost done running around The Witcher 3’s filthy fantasy world and will be delivering his review in the coming days. Like many of you, I’ve also been dipping my toe into The Witcher 3. I haven’t been able to dig in very far yet, but it’s already giving me a sensation I’ve never felt before: open-world anxiety.
It’s an affliction I’ve heard plenty of people complain about in the past. Games have gotten so big and so packed with stuff to do that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and find yourself doing nothing. That lack of direction and urgency never put a damper on my time with similar huge games, but now I finally understand where these complaints have come from. Under my control, the legendary Geralt Of Rivia is reduced to either a fool with the attention span of a cartoon dog or a nebbish lump that can’t stop staring at the contents of his journal and knapsack. “Do I help this blacksmith search for the arsonist who torched his forge? Maybe before that I should look for a couple more pieces of string to make a fancy new jacket. Oh, but that weirdo claiming to be some sort of academic really wanted to teach me his favorite card game. Eh, I should probably just go see what that question mark on my map is.”
So why is this anxiety popping up now when it’s never been a problem before? Although Witcher 3 is a massive game—that I know gets orders of magnitude larger than the region I’m in now—I think this problem is more a reflection of my changing relationship with games. Time is a precious commodity, and I’d hate to be wasting it on some task that ends up being dull or fruitless. But the completionist in me, the attentive little cretin that somehow missed the memo about leaving college and an abundance of free time behind, yearns to see and do everything. My open-world anxiety is born of the tug-of-war between those clashing attitudes.
I hate this feeling, but I’m not going to let it stop me from playing The Witcher 3. The question is, then, how does one overcome it? In this case, my plan is to get out of my own head and surrender to the void. That’s easier said than done, but I’m going to try to just wander. Sometimes it’ll be into something wonderful; sometimes it’ll be into a total mess. Hopefully, I’ll find myself enjoying it either way.
What about you fine folks? Do you ever suffer from open-world anxiety? What methods have you tried to overcome it? Let us know in the comments—along with your weekend gaming plans, of course.