Save Scumming!
January 16, 2015

So, one of my many projects right now is the first Eschalon game on Steam. It's a reasonably solid stripped-down Baldur's Gate-type, with a one-man party fighting goblins, thugs, lizards, slimes and (I'd assume) other critters. As well as me butchering a helpful townsperson because he had an adverse reaction to me looting his house.

The game's difficulty seems to lie in the percentages, both in battles and in picking locks. Even now, at L5 with a character that, aside from one bad pre-game choice (using 3 points to get a proficiency with shields even though they're essentially worthless because you need that hand free for a torch in dungeons, at least if you're melee-based) has been at least kind of intelligently built, fighting the tougher foes like thugs and goblins is sort of luck-based as they have a better hit % than I do.

Yesterday, I finally broke down and truly accepted save-scumming as a way to circumvent this problem. Saving before choosing to fight anything remotely challenging and before attempting to pick any lock. And, man, I completed a couple side-quests, beat down enough thugs to gain access to a couple skill books and gave myself a bit of hope I might actually get through the game at some point in the future.

But there's this nagging voice telling me that I'm basically setting on a path to beat this game the cheapest way possible by essentially taking no chances and exploiting its "save at any time" mechanics to the max. The majority of me responds that doing things this way is a lot better than simply getting pissed because gaining a level and putting my points into dexterity and stuff to improve my attack accuracy only raised my hit % on thugs from 35% to 39% and eventually abandoning it roughly 5% of the way into things.

So, when it comes to games you can save scum, whether it be RPGs like this, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age Origins, Elder Scrolls, etc. or shooters like Doom, is there a limit to what you consider to be fair play or does "by any means necessary" enter your vocabulary at times?

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Feedback
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - January 16, 2015 (10:04 PM)
I say save-summing is fair. It may not make you an elite player, but I don't care about that personally. It's also well within the game's rules.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - January 16, 2015 (10:33 PM)
Save-scumming is an anti-frustration feature, so using it is fair play. It's up to you decide how much fun it gives or takes away from a game.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - January 16, 2015 (11:00 PM)
^Yes!
overdrive overdrive - January 16, 2015 (11:10 PM)
Yeah, I just thought it was funny. Game had been frustrating me because my gains weren't large enough and doing virtually anything, now that I'd cleared out all the weak enemies from the general area of where you start, was essentially luck-based, so I decided to go all out save-scumming like I never had before (hell, with 360 games like Skyrim, their auto-save is my save-scumming and I hardly ever manually save).

The amazing thing: I played Eschalon for nearly 2 straight hours yesterday evening and had more fun and success with it than I had in the previous 8-9 (which were stretched over a few months). It feels a bit dirty, but if it makes the game enjoyable to where I feel like playing it through, more power to save-scumming!
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - January 17, 2015 (06:00 AM)
I supposed I also should've puit "elite player" in quotes. I mainly said that because I recall discussing the topic of save-scumming on GameFAQs (I think it was on the Doom board) ages ago and most of the people seemed to be of the opinion that save-scummers on par with terrorists. Needless to say that there were plenty of No True Scotsman fallacies made in that topic.

Personally, I do it whenever I can, if the game calls for it. That was the only way I was able to get through Sweet Home.

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