Some of you might remember that I once talked about Echo Bazaar and their move to limit daily actions. That was my first post on Echo Bazaar, and it was unfortunate it ended up colliding with a change that I disagreed with, not just as a gamer but also as someone interested in online community/engagement dynamics.
Last last month, I received a direct message on @gamewhims (my gaming Twitter account) from @EchoBazaar, letting me know of the Festival of Endless Actions: two days in February where the daily action cap would be removed temporarily. I’d been thinking on and off about EBz for a bit before this, and this prompted me to check in and see what had changed.
(I would like to say that I looked at recent news and changes, to see if the reasons why I quit on principle before had been changed. I would like to say that, but honestly, after reading a few blog posts, I said, ah whatever, and jumped right back in. Ahem.)
And so I went back to Fallen London.
A not-so-new-face in Fallen London
Aside from the new content, which would have been a given since I had been out for more than a year by that time, there had been a couple changes. New mechanics, a “subscription” option, and subtle UI changes. For some reason, I had quite a bit of Fate–enough to become an Exceptional Friend–and so I gave that a shot. Exceptional Friends get two candles (or, 20 actions at a time) and double the daily action limit (50 to 100), as well as a few storylets in the House of Chimes. I wanted it more for the two candles, to be honest–I’m impatient.
And so, armed with a whopping 20 actions per sitting (cough), I went on my merry way in Fallen London. I had a blast during the Festival, as well. I ended up ‘shroom-hopping during the last day of the Festival (they extended it an extra day! woo!) and had a blast. I had to sleep, and I had to work (I know, both are for the weak, but what can I say, I have bills and health to consider), but it was fun.
Just earlier this week, though, I started to feel like, okay, so what now? What do I do with my actions? Back to a limited pool, I started feeling (again) that I needed to be really prudent about using them. During the festival, I gave almost everything a shot–did some of the older arcs to remember them, tried various paths even if they didn’t seem like the best idea. I discovered things. I wandered around Fallen London. But now–I only have so much! No, I should save them for things that count.
And so, last Tuesday, after exhausting my actions, I thought, meh. It’s probably time to go now and leave Fallen London again. Don’t get me wrong, I like strategizing the best and most efficient way to do things in the games that I play. But it just felt a touch alien in a world like Fallen London: sprawling and full of hidden mysteries, the unexpected and the exciting peeking just around the corner. I wanted to wander but I felt out of place strategizing my wandering for the most efficient returns. I mean, I already work out my day that way. Don’t tell me I have to do that here, too?
And then, barely an hour later, they announced they were doing away with the action cap. The actual change happened the next day, but when I first read their announcement, I didn’t understand it. Huhwhat? They’re having another Festival? Until eventually, it dawned on me–endless actions for good!
Forever and a day
Of course, it’s not all happy bunnies and rainbows. You do essentially have an action cap–with the refresh rate adjusted to one action every ten minutes, you have a max cap of 144 actions, if you played nonstop. It’s still a far cry from 50 actions, and definitely encourages people to keep coming back to the website as opposed to a full stop for the day once they’ve reached the cap.
I’d also like to commend the team in experimenting and giving endless actions a trial run. I’m impressed.
It feels like this has come full circle. Having played Echo Bazaar way back when there were no hard caps, and then to the time when there were hard caps, and back again–it’s such a sweet feeling, faintly nostalgic with a dash of exultation. The Echo Bazaar I fell in love with has come back.
Dust off your Neathglass Goggles and greet your Fairly Tame Sorrow-spider: it’s time to go a-wandering.