I'm not making excuses for auto-play features, but I'm not making excuses for the mindless clicking that many MMOs feature, either. As with most things, the details matter the most. In Tynon, there are almost too many details to count.
If I compare the Tynon experience to that of other games, it reminds me of controversial instant-transportation options that came along years ago and were met with sneers and shouts from "hardcore" players. I remember having endless debates with other players about being able to avoid transportation like teleportation stones in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. To these old-school players, the existence of these options was an insult, even though they could easily avoid them and take longer roads.
The key to the whole thing, I discovered in later years, is that players cannot resist the easier options. Some of the most hardcore players, like raiders, cannot resist the instant travel options even though they disliked them. To these players, the convenience outweighed the other half of their brains, and instant travel was taken.
Tynon speaks to the half of our brain that tells us, "Just take the instant travel. Why not?" I've had to literally force myself to ignore this half of my conscience and to ignore Tynon's systems like "auto-grind" to take a look around the game. It's a beautiful, hand-painted game with some brilliant design. It's a shame that much of the art and landscape is passed by without much of a thought by many players, but I still find myself simply stopping, looking around, and marveling at the work that went into the game.
There is a strange purity in gameplay like the kind you'll find in Tynon. It's bold-faced and open. It allows players to play in a lot of different ways, but it knows that players will generally choose the quickest route possible. While many of us might have an issue with this sort of shortcut gameplay, I find it interesting. As I leveled and obtained new NPC groupmates, I arranged them into some basic formations and hoped for the best. Even when I failed in battle against mobs and players alike, I didn't feel any sort of sting. The game just wanted me to get up, dust myself off, and jump back into it.
"Heck, modern players do not read quest text anyway, so I wonder if we need a new sort of delivery method for story?"
Tynon does not apologize for how it plays, but I am missing the original city-builder options that were in-game the first time I looked at it. At least the MMORTS-ish options broke up the grind and gave me something new to look at. The combat can be interesting to watch especially once you add more teammates to your formation, and clicking your way through the game until some bar or another fills up and lets you collect some new batch of digital goodies is a bit addicting, but I cannot figure out why. After all, I generally despise games that play like a mindless job. Yet, I keep clicking. And clicking.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.