Why SAO is a Terrible Game, Too

Why SAO is a Terrible Game, Too


What’s up basement dwellers; I’m
Geoff Thew, professional shit bag. This is my mother’s basement, and
I am feeling really excited today because I finally got approved
for my lootcrate sponsorship, which is basically like your
license to be an actual YouTuber and let me tell you, I feel like a
real big-time YouTuber when I tell you that you can go to
lootcrate.com/basement and use the promo code “basement”
for 10% off your lootcrate order or if you’re a Crunchyroll member and
you’re interested in lootanime, you can use your Crunchyroll
premium subscription to get an even bigger discount
on the lootanime box, and if you don’t have a
Crunchyroll premium membership, you can sign up for one
for free for 30 days, which will still get you this discount
at crunchyroll.com/basement. And yes, what you just saw there is
the legendary double-shill technique which has been passed down through
my family line for generations. In the case of lootanime,
what you’re getting are official anime and manga
collectibles sent straight from Japan, including unique items like
this Berserk letter opener, cool apparel like these
Bleach lounge pants, and even official anime and
manga releases such as… [Kill Bill Theme] Wheh! Werh! Wheh! Werh! Wheh! Werrr… We’re doing another Sword Art Online video. That’s what this is. [Music continues] Over the course of two
very comprehensive videos, I have proven definitively that Sword
Art Online is a complete dumpster fire, yet somehow people are still enjoying it.
I don’t get that. Somehow the show has been
approved for a third season, and there’s a live-action North American TV
show in the works, which makes no sense to me and months after I solved
SAO fandom online forever, I still keep getting
messages such as “actually, I think the show is pretty good.
I respectfully disagree with your opinion,” and “kill yourself.” Still probably not
gonna do it guys, but what I am gonna do is blow your
minds with a revolutionary new idea that has never before been heard
in the realm of anime criticism; Sword Art Online is terrible. I’m talking about Sword Art Online, the game within the show… not
Sword Art Online, the show itself. Obviously many people
have already said that Sword Art Online, the
show itself, is terrible… probably could have
worded that better. S.A.O. (the show) has
tons of problems with pacing, character development, plot structure, dialogue, direction, cinematography, editing, animation, fight choreography, basic storytelling techniques, and sexual assault. But, for me, as someone who
has been known to enjoy a good video game from time to time,
S.A.O.’s biggest problem is that its writer, Reki Kawahara, has no goddamn
idea what a good video game even is. PROLOGUE Reki Kawahara Doesn’t
Do His Fucking Research Lots of SAO fans watch the show because the
fantasy of a VR MMO is super appealing. But if you take more than two seconds to
look at how Sword Art Online is designed, it becomes apparent that it would be
the least fun thing to play ever, and that’s without it
trying to kill you! It’s abundantly clear that Reki Kawahara
doesn’t play video games at all, despite having written two
light novel series about them, and I mean, you don’t need to play
games to write stories about them any more than Andy Weir needed to be
an astronaut to write the Martian, but if you don’t, you do
need to do basic research and Reki Kawahara can’t even be
fucking bothered to do that! Now there are two big clues to this,
and the first is a bit more arguable; his protagonists. When you look at Kawahara’s two
big series, SAO and Accel World, there’s one common thread
that links their heroes; speed. These guys are such great gamers entirely because they have the
fastest reflexes, like… ever. But that’s not how competitive
video games work. That’s how writers on shitty daytime TV
shows think competitive video games work. Any pro gamer will tell you
that while reflexes do matter, the determining factors in winning
any game are systems knowledge, and your ability to
read your opponent. In a shooter, knowing where
everything is on the map, and figuring out where your enemy
will go next is the key to victory, not improving your
headshot accuracy. In a fighting game, where things move
way too fast to react to anyway, the key to winning is figuring out what
option your opponent will take next, and moving to counter
it before it happens. This is true of most
real sports as well; There’s a physical limit to how fast
the human mind can respond to stimuli, and how fast the human
body can move and… most athletes are already operating
at (or around) that limit. Watch any sports anime and
you’ll see time and again that victory comes down
to concocting a strategy to exploit the opposing team
or player’s weaknesses. But someone stupid could argue
that this much is artistic license rather than blatantly lazy,
ignorant, and unresearched writing. The second clue is
much harder to dismiss because it’s a matter of raw numbers, and
Kawahara’s numbers just don’t add up. In the show, we hear time and again
that 10,000 players are trapped in SAO and it’s this big tragedy
that 4,000 of them die. But an arguably equivalent
tragedy is the fact that with these launch numbers, Sword
Art Online would instantly be the biggest commercial failure
in the history of video games, and would probably sink all
future VR MMOs forever. and, again, it would do that
without having to kill people. 10,000 (or 50,000 in the original web novel)
is a good sales number… for a book, but in video game terms it’s an
abject almost unparalleled failure. These days, if AAA video games don’t
score sales in the tens of millions, they’re considered to be flops. And though MMO install
bases can be smaller due to subscription fees
and microtransactions, and their sales tend to be
closely guarded secrets, even the flops like URU Online,
APB, and vanilla Final Fantasy XIV are estimated to have sales
in the hundreds of thousands. At only 10,000 launch players, SAO is the
worst selling big-budget MMO of all time
by an immense margin, and maybe the worst selling video game of
all time period relative to its budget, and I know what some of
you are going to say, “the game had an intentionally
limited initial printing.” But that’s complete fucking
nonsense for two reasons. Firstly, any game released in 2022 is
going to be distributed digitally, and secondly, there’s no fucking way
that any of the game’s financial backers would sign off on that, for the
simple reason that they would never EVER make their money back! World of Warcraft had an estimated
budget at launch of 63 million dollars. Now, SAO would probably cost
ten times that much to develop because the graphics are exponentially
more detailed than WOW’s, the physics engine is a
lot more complicated, it has two years worth
of content at launch, and on top of regular
game development costs, we also have to account
for the cost of creating sensory data for every possible
interaction in the game. But let’s be ultra-conservative
and use WOW as a baseline. If developing SAO costs $63 million
dollars, then each of those 10,000 players would have to pay $6300 dollars
for the game to break even. Even if every player was one of those kids who renders their
parents bankrupt playing Angry Birds, the prospect of pulling in those
numbers is dicey at the very best. “But Jeff,” you say, “that was
only the launch window…” “They limited the release
to build up hype!” “They plan to give the game a wider release,
and make their money back over time!” And yes, that’s the logic in the story,
but it’s still complete bullshit. For starters, AAA companies
rely on their launch window to make most of their money back;
that’s a commonly known fact. but even if SAO eventually made it
into the hands of every single person who owned a NerveGear, at
the time of SAO’s beta test that was only somewhere in
the ballpark of 200,000. How do I know this and
not how to drive… and even if we assume that
NerveGear sales doubled to 40K between August and the
game’s release in November, they’d still need to make $150 off of every
single user just to break even. And, again, considering that MMOs like Warhammer Online
have budgets in the hundreds of millions, as do single-player games like GTA5, I am
being extremely generous with those numbers. And then to put the hardware numbers
in perspective, the PlayStation VR is projected to hit
around 700,000 units by the end of the year, just
three months after its launch. while the more expensive
HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are expected to hit about 800K
combined sales by year’s end. about the same 7 month timeframe
between the launch of the NerveGear and the launch of SAO. Assuming that
NerveGear sales stay consistent and don’t drop off at all,
which they inevitably would, it would move about 600,000 units
in that year, almost 200,000 less than the Virtual Boy pulled in the 6
months before it was discontinued. Stretch that out over 3 years to when this
thing would probably be discontinued, and it would have sold 200,000
less than the 3D-fucking-O, and about 8,000,000 less than
the Dreamcast and Wii U. So even before Kayaba Akihiko
started using it to murder people, the NerveGear was the consumer
electronics equivalent of the Titanic. SAO probably had more investors
jumping off of ledges than players, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if
Akihiko did the whole death game thing to serve as a diversion from
his plummeting stock prices. So the game would never make money,
the hardware would never make money, and no investor would ever touch full-dive
VR with a ten-foot pole ever again. A pretty far cry from the VR-enabled future
Reki Kawahara predicts in Accel World, but then he’s a really
shitty writer. But we shouldn’t forget that he’s
also a really shitty game designer, But we shouldn’t forget that he’s also
a re-heally shitty game designer, But we shouldn’t forget that he’s also
a re-he-HEALLY shitty game designer, which probably explains those
awful awful sales to some degree. SAO, GGO, and especially ALO, if
they existed in the real world, would all rank among the
absolute shittiest MMOs of the free-to-play asian market
budget scene right off the bat. Here’s why. PART 1 The User Interface Is Terrible SAO is routinely praised for its graphic design,
and you know what? It genuinely deserves it. The menus and graphics in the show look great, and are easy to read. If there’s nothing else that you can say for SAO (and there isn’t), at least the menus are good… except if you really look at how they function, they really aren’t. In terms of actual usability, SAO’s menus and graphics are pretty awful. A maze of dropdowns, nested within dropdowns, nested within dropdowns. Yes, it’s minimalistic and elegant and nice to look at, but there’s a reason that games like WOW have such cluttered screens; because you actually need access to all of that information at once! In WOW, if you need something like a potion for battle, you can have it loaded up on your on-screen item box, or even tied to a hotkey for easy access. In SAO, to use a potion, you have to open your menu, click on the player icon, click on items in the dropdown menu, then scroll through the dropdown list of items
(which you can only read five at a time) in order to find the potion, and in the time it takes you to
sort through all those menus, you’re
probably already dead, or maybe your party member is– not that you’d know, because their life bar is scrolled away
over in the top-left corner of your vision. And even if you notice that a
party member is dying, you can’t actually see which one it is, unless you turn your eyes (not your head) all the way to the periphery to read their name. And even when you do that (as SAO Progressive demonstrates), the name can be obscured by your hair. This. is. fucking. awful. Even outside of the urgency of combat, interacting with the game is needlessly complicated. In order to equip new gear, you first need to unequip everything you’re
wearing, right down to the underwear. Now I realize this is just an
excuse to show some more fanservice, but think of how fucking awful it would be to have to take that extra step every time you get new equipment in an MMO– and you know what the worst part of this is? None of it is even fucking necessary! You’re hooked up to a computer that can directly read your goddamn mind! why do
you even need a gesture-based interface
in the first place? having the menu be thought-controlled would be infinitely more straightforward, AND easier to program! It’s like they didn’t even think
about how they were designing the game! PART 2 They Didn’t Even Think About How
They Were Designing The Game Almost since their inception, one of the design pillars of MMOs has been the ‘Holy Trinity’ of class roles; Tank, Healer, and DPS (or Damage Per Second). Tanks absorb the bulk of enemy damage DPS characters deal the bulk of damage for your party, and Healers make sure that everyone else stays alive. This is important for a few reasons; it forces cooperation on the part of players, it adds variety to combat encounters, allowing players to roll multiple characters
and play through the story mode multiple times, and it gives different kinds of players satisfying roles to play that minimize the time that they spend
worrying about things that they don’t find fun. That last point is the vital part of the
equation, and the one that SAO missed; you don’t absolutely need to have Tanks, DPS, and Healers in every single MMO, that would get awfully monotonous pretty fast… but you do absolutely need to have distinct and viable roles for players who want to be aggressive, players who want to engage in threat management, and players who want to support others from the back lines. Anyone who has ever played an MMO knows this– hell, anyone who’s seen one episode of Log Horizon does. Yet Reki Kawahara couldn’t be asked to do
even that much. SAO has one player role; close-range DPS. It has characters that it calls tanks, but the only difference between them and attackers is that they block enemy attacks instead of dodging them. So healers don’t exist, and tanks don’t do any of
the aggro management that they’re supposed to. But even DPS players get the shaft with this system; having no supports means that every player has
to constantly worry about their own life bar (which they can’t even see half the time), chugging potion after potion just to stay alive, which would get boring fast for anyone who
wants to take an aggressive DPS role in combat. It’s antithetical to how they want to play,
nevermind what this does to encounter design; with no ranged weapons or magic available, and
only one role for every single player to fill, every battle needs to revolve around constant attacking. It limits the strategies that both bosses and players can employ, which is… again… boooring! Dele-ete. Now obviously the threat of real death makes
things a little more exciting for everyone playing, if not necessarily fun, but remember that only Kayaba Akihiko knew
that players would be trapped in this game every other designer thought that they were
making a regular MMO, and they failed utterly. If this game went to market in this state, it would be dead inside a month. Having no way to engage in battle, support players would quit first, likely removing most of the crafters and player vendors from the game which would in-turn fuck the whole in-game trading economy up the ass, and when a game’s economy gets fucked, everyone bails. The counter-argument to this is that SAO is an entirely new type of game, that VR changes things to the point that old design paradigms no longer work. This game isn’t based around player levels or group composition; it’s a test of raw skill and reflex. You can’t judge it by conventional standards, Jeff! This is fiction! Stop being such a nerd! Kill yourself! So, did I guess what you were gonna write? The thing is, we do have a standard by which we can judge games like that; Dark Souls and (to some extent) Monster Hunter. And SAO holds up even worse in comparison to those games. A lot of the variety in games like that comes from different weapon types. And SAO is very limited in that regard, but it gets much, much worse. PART 3 It Gets Much… Much Worse. So, SAO is an immersive twitch-based game, and some of you in the comments are going to argue
that, that would negate the need for varied classes. Fine. TERA Online basically proves you wrong already, but… Fine. That being the case, everything about how leveling and stats
works in SAO is completely fucking busted. See, in a normal MMO, PvP sets every player to a
base level so that everyone’s on equal footing, but SAO doesn’t have instances. All PvP is world PvP, which means that everyone goes into a
fight at whatever their current level is. From what I can tell, there’s no level cap in the game, players are meant to be grinding for levels
straight up through the endgame content (which is terrible enough on its own), so hypothetically, a level 1000 player could run around the starting area ganking noobs with no repercussions. But you know what’s even worse than that? The skill system, which allows SAO players to assign and
level up different skills for combat and other purposes, independent of their main experience level, all the way up to level 1000. The way that skills are leveled up is pretty awful in itself;
they gain levels as they’re used, meaning that if you use one attack a lot (which would
get really fucking boring again) it’ll get more powerful, and if you take a lot of damage you’ll heal faster. This is exactly how leveling stats works in
Final Fantasy II, and it is the fucking worst. In FFII, the only way to grind for more health is to go out into the
wilderness and take free hits from weak enemy monsters for hours on end. It fucking sucks,
nobody likes doing it, and it’s a big part of why Final Fantasy II is considered
by many to be the worst game in the entire series. So right off the bat, we know that grinding in SAO
would be the absolute worst of any MMO out there, because it’s based on the absolute worst of any RPG out there, and players would be forced to do it too,
because you basically can’t compete without it. Kirito’s battle healing skill (which, by the way, he had to level up by
keeping his health in the red for hours on-end which would fucking suck) is so fucking ridiculously overpowered that in Episode 4, just four months into the game, he can heal
faster than five mid-level players can hurt him. And on top of that, you have unique skills, powers that only
one player can have ever. It’s kind of obvious how these would completely break PvP beyond repair, because one player would have abilities that no one had ever heard of, but they’re supposed to be a sort of badge
of honor and they wouldn’t even work as that. Because you see, there’s supposed to
be infinite possible abilities in SAO, which means that they would have to be procedurally generated. And if you’ve seen anything about, say, No Man’s Sky in the last few months, you know that procedural generation leads to boring samey bullshit, so most of these unique abilities would be boring samey bullshit. And they wouldn’t be used by the people who get them anyway. Any player skilled enough to earn a unique skill would
just sell their character to the highest bidder; look how much that fat guy was willing to pay Kirito for
just the cosmetic appearance of his rare avatar in GGO! Imagine if that had any kind of actual gameplay benefit. With an almost unlimited number of skills,
balancing this system is basically impossible, and that means anyone hoping to play SAO competitively
would abandon it almost as quickly as the support players. And so would everyone with even a passing interest in the shitty dungeons. PART 4 The Shitty Dungeons In a similar fashion to what they do with PvP arenas, most good MMO dungeons are instanced as well. This means that they take place separately from the main persistent game world, and player levels are changed to a base level
so that the dungeon is always challenging. In SAO, you can just wander into a dungeon
at any level, run up, and fight a boss. This means that effectively every boss encounter in
SAO is like a world boss encounter in another MMO. And while world bosses can be fun to take on, the fact that you can roll up with as many players as you can fit into an area means that they’re not very challenging at all. Earning bragging rights from a challenge is the single
biggest motivating factor for most raid guilds and players, which is why server firsts are such a big deal in MMOs, but without a solid limit on player group size or level, every boss would be easy to cheese. Without any kind of real challenge, the
hardcore raid players would drop the game too, especially considering how boring all of them are. Every dungeon in the game is the same monotonous web of stone corridors, and every boss arena is the same empty boring featureless room. In Dark Souls terms, they’re already hamstringing themselves by trying to design 100+ unique bosses instead of just 20, and they can’t even use unique environments to liven things up. Plus, grinding these raids for loot would be functionally impossible since, instead of creating a new instance, you would have to wait for the boss to respawn
every single time you want to fight it, all while other player groups are trying to do the same thing. And don’t even get me started on the last
hit system for getting the best drops. By rewarding players for getting the last hit,
the game explicitly discourages cooperation, not that it doesn’t do that in other worse ways. At the very beginning of the story, Kirito tells
Asuna that it’s safer and easier to play in a group, but if you look at how quickly he levels up relative to
everyone else, you can see that that’s total hogwash. Not only does playing solo mean that
Kirito can futz around grinding for skill levels however he
wants without bothering anyone, it also seems to give him a boost in EXP– or rather, it seems like EXP rewards are divided between players in a group, and by playing solo, Kirito gets it all for himself. If this is the case, the only thing preventing people from soloing
the whole game is the threat of death. Again, if SAO was released IRL with none of the murder nonsense, it would have one of the most insular online communities ever created. So much of the experience is predicated on the fact that it kills you, which raises the question; how did nobody on the dev team figure out
that the game is supposed to kill people? I mean, you can poison food. There’s no function for that mechanic if the game is operating normally; it only makes sense in some sort of long-term survival scenario, where players need to eat and are actively trading food with each other. Otherwise, they’d just cook whatever gives them
the buffs that they need themselves, and… not worry about the taste because they can eat real food in the real world. and then there are the anti-crystal zones… god damn, are those things ever bullshit. PART 5 The Anti-Crystal Zones Are Bullshit SAO doesn’t have magic, but
it does have magic crystals, consumable items that you can
use to sort of cast spells. These things are the only way to
heal other players at a distance without force feeding them potions
or throwing them at their mouths, and even though they’re super
limited to begin with, the game doesn’t even let
you use them half the time. Throughout the boring, samey dungeons players can encounter
Anti-Crystal Zones that negate the use of crystals entirely. In these areas, it’s impossible to escape the
dungeon or even heal your fellow players. It’s in one of these that Kirito’s guild, the
Blackcats, gets accidentally murderized. Now, I know that it must be hard to
think of that moment without crying because of how powerful
and emotional it is… but detach yourself from the
gripping drama for a moment, and think of what it would be
like to actually play that! You’re wandering around a shitty bland dungeon
with no personality and no apparent backstory. You wander into what seems like a normal treasure
room with zero signposting as to potential danger, and as a punishment for doing what basically
any player would do in that situation, your whole party is wiped and you have to
start the entire fucking dungeon over. And the way that it’s wiped
is the most frustrating part; not only are you ambushed, you’re caught in a
trap that both prevents you from escaping, and shuts down about half
of your strategic options. I HATE it when games do this. Boss fights are meant to be
tests of your game knowledge, not the degree to which
you’re willing to grind. If you’re going to totally shut down
abilities that are otherwise viable, like how SMT games routinely make
bosses immune to all status effects, then you may as well make players fight the
boss in a totally different battle system for all the relevance it has to what
they’ve been doing up to this point. It’s not a fun experience, especially
not if it takes you by surprise. From that trap room onward, you likely don’t
even bother with treasure chests at all, and then when you reach the 75th floor and realize that every
boss from here on out will be in an Anti-Crystal room, you probably rage quit
the game forever. Hell, under the compounded weight
of these different game design sins, you probably swear off VR MMOs forever. A good life choice, since it
means you skip Alfheim Online. PART 6 Nine Way Racial PvP Is The
Stupidest Thing Since Yui Okay look, there’s a lot wrong with ALO, but since it’s fundamentally the
same video game as Sword Art Online, most of that is shit that I’ve already covered. And it actually improves on SAO in a few small
ways by adding magic and ranged weapons, not to mention the ability to fly. And one big way in that it has support classes… finally. Unfortunately along with
all of these changes, it adds something that makes it quite possibly
the worst multiplayer game ever conceived. ALO operates on a PvP faction
system like many other MMOs. Every faction has their own territory and all are working toward
the goal of being the first to reach the top of the World Tree. Whichever faction makes it to the top of the tree first
will supposedly be given unlimited flying power. Now, a lot’s been made of how
stupid this incentive is; it renders every other faction effectively
unplayable once the conflict Is resolved, and ensures that no new player will ever pick
a starting faction aside from that winner, but it’s also a lie on the part of
the developers so I’ll let it slide. This obvious problem serves to distract from a much bigger more
fundamental problem with how the faction system in ALO works– namely that it doesn’t. Where most other faction-based MMOs have two or three factions at most, ALO has NINE. This would be crazy and
untenable enough on its own– having up to nine teams in one battle is way too much to keep
track of, and build a meaningful strategy around, and… at that point, you may as well be
playing a free-for-all deathmatch– but the problem is compounded by
the nature of these factions. See, ALOs factions are
divided up by race, and your choice of race isn’t
just a cosmetic decision. Every race has unique traits that are specialized to the
point that they may as well be classes in their own right. And these unique traits
are not balanced at all; Cait Sith, for example, are the beast
tamer race and have improved eyesight. Compare that to Salamanders, who have the highest
attack of any race in the game, and can use fire magic. Or Leprechauns, who are described
as the Blacksmith race. Consider the implications of that. Imagine if only the Horde in WoW had
access to crafted weapons and gear. Do you have any idea how
fucking BROKEN that would be? Well, that’s par for the course in ALO. The Undine and Pooka races
have it worst of all, since they’re both geared
entirely towards support skills. They’re stuck playing healers and buffers fighting
against classes that are explicitly built for DPS. Being an Undine is like being forced to play
Overwatch as Mercy and only Mercy forever, and only being able to form
teams with other Mercys. SAO’s skill system would be
an immense challenge to fix, but it’s ACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to balance ALO’s
faction system the way that it’s designed. And yes, they do change how things
work at the end of the first season, but we’re supposed to believe that this unplayably
broken game has survived and thrived in this state for over a year prior to
Kirito picking it up. I call bullshit; nobody would still be
playing this game after all that time, in fact I doubt that anybody would
be playing after one month… especially not with how
character creation works. Your appearance is randomly
generated when you start, and you have to pay
real money to change it– yet, somehow of course, Kirito gets a
character who looks exactly like himself, as does Asuna and Leafa, and a lot of the other
characters get really appealing characters, and it doesn’t make any fucking sense–
but that’s a rant for another day. In a customisation-focused game like
an MMO, that absolutely would not fly. But it could be worse; you could be playing GunGale Online. PART 7 Nobody Would Ever Play GunGale Online I’ve made no secret of my disdain
for Sword Art Online II, but most of my complaints thus far
have been about the awful OP, a dumpster fire nested within a dumpster
fire nested within an ass crack, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more that’s wrong with this
season, from the shit writing to the shit waifus, and I can probably ring at least
one scene analysis out of it, But for now, let’s focus on why GunGale Online
would be the worst competitive shooter ever made, because boy oh boy would it ever suck. In his Your Anime Sucks series on SAO, DigiBro harped quite a lot on the opening
monologue from that douche in the Oakley’s, XeXeeD, who claims that strength characters are
the future and agility characters are dead. I suggest giving that whole video a
watch, because it’s pretty goddamn funny, but one point he makes that’s
particularly relevant to this argument is that this kind of shift in the meta would
likely lead to everyone quitting the game, and on this point, I
think Digi is wrong. Now considering that it takes eight months to bring
one new character up to a competitive level, effectively making it impossible to grind up alts while still
acquiring new gear to keep your main account competitive, I can definitely see a lot of
people ragequitting over this, but only if there were any people
playing in the first place. Looking at how stats actually function in GGO, I can’t see anyone bothering to pick it up; the game has six stats, but only three of
them appear to do anything of substance. Seriously, just look at the GunGale Online wiki; only four of the six stats even have descriptions. Dexterity’s main function– shrinking your
aiming reticule– overlaps with agility, which also reduces recoil, boosts your
evasive ability, and makes you run faster. Unless you’re as into traps as Fred… ‘Traps Illustrated’? Freddy! I, uh… I read it for the articles. There’s no reason to put even
a single point into dexterity or any other stat for that matter since
vitality only boosts your health and strength only affects your carrying capacity
and equipment choices to a small degree. The show tells us that strength is better, but a high weight weapon would need
to be completely fucking broken to negate the inherent tactical
advantage of being able to run faster and Aim more Accurately than other players. And the two stats without descriptions are just plain
ridiculous; Luck is the filler stat to end all filler stats, the thing that people put in when
they can’t think of anything else. especially in a game that’s meant to be skill-based,
and therefore have no probability mechanics, and sensibility… Sensibility!? What the fuck does that even mean!? Every stat aside from agility is a noob trap, and because you can never
ever re-spec your character, anyone who starts the game without a leveling
guide can basically get fucked or start over But even that ignores the fundamental problem that
this game shouldn’t have stats in the first place. Competitive shooters by their very nature
need to put players on even ground. There are competitive shooters with progression
systems, but all of the ones that people actually play focus on giving you new equipment options that are
more or less balanced against the starting gear. it would be stupid to create a huge gap in basic
functionality between new and veteran players, because it would discourage new players from
ever trying to learn the game in the first place. And customizable stats create
even more problems at high levels. There are two possible scenarios here; either one stat is so obviously overpowered that nothing
else even matters and everyone has the same build, or all of the stats are
roughly equal and balanced and it becomes impossible to tell at a
glance what an enemy will be capable of. Imagine a version of Overwatch where
Soldier 76 could be as fast as Lucio or have as much health as Roadhog and every
different build looks exactly the same, or a version of TF2 where spies and
heavies have the same character model. It would be a disaster! The entire competitive balance of
these games is predicated on the idea that you can tell at a glance how many
bullets you need to kill an enemy and how hard it’ll be to hit
them in the first place. Even Destiny– which isn’t all
that well-balanced to begin with– has the sense to lock most possible stat
variations down to armour and class, so that you can tell by looking what
any given player is capable of. Even in the best-case scenario, GGO’s leveling system
would turn it into the worst competitive shooter ever. and I’m saying that without even looking
at the bullet prediction system, which gives sniper rifles an immensely
unfair advantage along with Melee weapons. In a game where you know where almost
every attack is coming from in-advance, being able to score sneak
attacks is a total gamechanger. Yet somehow these are the
least-used weapons in the game, because in addition to not grasping how
video games work or how players play them, Reki Kawahara doesn’t even understand
the system that he designed. How is it that nobody until Kirito thought to
test if laser swords could deflect bullets? How is it that Sinon is basically
the only sniper in the whole game? The only explanation given by Kawahara
is that these weapons are harder to use, but that makes it MORE LIKELY that hardcore
players would gravitate toward them! Winning with a weapon that has a high
skill floor is a huge mark of prestige, and pro gamers are always looking for ways to increase
their advantages over opponents in even tiny ways– which, again, is something that
Reki Kawahara would know if he spent more than two goddamn
minutes doing research on any of this. Kawahara fails to understand video games
and gamers on a fundamental level. The clowns who wrote the Second Life
hoverboard chase into CSI New York have a better grasp on the
subject matter than he does. You couldn’t pay me to play any of
the games that Kawahara has created, and GGO actually does try to pay you to play it, which opens up a whole new range of questions as to
how it could be economically viable or even legal, but that’s a discussion for another day. For now, I’m pretty satisfied with how many
nails I’ve jammed into SAO’s coffin already, so I’ll give it a rest for now. At least, until the new season starts. If you or the friends that you share this with
want to see how I saved anime from SAO forever, check out my previous videos dissecting
the very worst parts of the series– WELL, most of them… I’ll get to the face licking eventually. or if you want to see what life would be like in a bizarre
alternate universe where Sword Art Online doesn’t suck, you might enjoy watching SAO Abridged from my
good friends at Something Witty Entertainment, who’ve basically taken it upon themselves
to rewrite the show’s terrible story, and make it better– not to
mention a lot more hilarious. I’ll put links to those in the doobly-doo, as
well as on the screen if you want to click them. and if for some reason you still like anime after
hearing me lay into it for the last thirty minutes, then you may want to check lootcrate’s lootanime
service out at lootcrate.com/basement. This month’s theme was “blades”, hence
the SAO, Berserk, and Bleach stuff, whereas the next crates theme is “galaxy”,
and it will come with loot from Sailor Moon, RoboTech, Space Patrol Luluco, and Cowboy Bebop. and Cowboy motherfuckin Bebop. If you love any of these series even
half as much as I love Bebop and Luluco, then you owe it to yourself to get this
crate before the deadline on December 27th. And remember to either sign up for Crunchyroll
Premium at crunchyroll.com/basement, or use the promo code “basement”
for 10% off your order. You can also use that code for any
other crate that might interest you if you’re into gaming or just general geek swag. Special thanks, as always, go to the
generous patrons who support me and make it possible for me to create
videos like this for a living. This video in particular would not exist without
the help of my brilliant editor Flip Anime, whose services were paid for with your help. Everything that you’ve seen in this
video is thanks to Flip’s hard work, and he makes some excellent videos
of his own on his own channel. So be sure to check those out, I’ll put
a link to those in the doobly-doo too. Also, I want to thank my friend Tyler Marshall who lent me his lootcrate box so that I
could film this before flying to Japan. Thankfully, the one that I was supposed to
get from lootcrate did arrive in time, but I would have been completely
screwed if Tyler hadn’t done that, so thank you very much… you… saved my ass. And of course, thank you to
you, the viewer, for watching. I’m Geoff Thew, professional shitbag,
signing out from my Mother’s Basement.