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The RPG Files: How to Return to an RPG Without Starting Over

Columns By Christopher Coke on October 07, 2016

How to Return to an RPG Without Starting Over

We’ve all done it: started an RPG only to find ourselves drawn away by a shiny, newer game. With few big RPGs coming soon, now is the perfect time to dive back into the game’s you might have left behind. Roleplaying games are notoriously hard to get back into, especially if it’s been awhile since your last adventure. To help you get back into the groove without losing hours of progress, we present 8 tips to get you back in the game faster.


Read your quest log

One of the first things I do when I come back to an RPG from a long period away is get my bearings with where I left off. Usually, I have a whole bunch of quests that I only vaguely remember; but, by looking more deeply at each quest entry, as well as a list of quests you’ve already completed is often enough to put you back on the trail. Titles alone may do you some good, but it’s nothing like getting the full scoop on where you left off.

Read any lore materials hidden in the game’s menus

Not all games have great quest logs. Even those that do don’t always fill in every gap. Once I have my bearings, I take a peek through the game’s encyclopedia and even the bestiary. These menus are great resources to get up to speed on the nitty gritty of the world and the people and monsters who inhabit it. Since most only fill up as you discover things, every entry can act as a bread crumb.

If the loading screen has snippets, read those too!

I wish all games would learn from The Witcher 3 and just narrate a recap while you load into the game. Alas, far more just give you little tidbits about the current step in the quest you’re on or the area you’re adventuring in. These don’t go too far, but they can help get you oriented and save extra research as you find your bearings.

Use the map to reorient yourself to important locations

It’s not uncommon to log back into an open-world RPG and have no idea where you are. Even if you do, you might not remember where to go next or where your “home base” is. Use the in-game map to find important places for you and visit them. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how helpful just location names can be in stirring up your memory. 

Talk to townsfolk or important NPCs

None of these tips are guarantees because RPGs can vary so widely, but if all else fails, it’s time to start looking for clues. Developers know you may lose your way, so chatting with important NPCs is a good way to get some clues on what exactly was going on when you left. They might be a little cryptic, but usually, they’ll drop a few good hints.

Read tooltips, write down your rotations

Usually, it’s pretty easy to get back into the mechanics of most RPGs. Where it can get dicey is skills and rotations. If you’re playing a lot of RPGs or MMOs, it’s easy to mix up exactly what’s on your character’s skill bar. Take the time to read through each tooltip, re-discover your rotation, and write it down if it’s nuanced. Before you know it, muscle memory takes over, even if it’s been ages since you’ve last played.

Browse your inventory

RPGs are notorious for loading your inventory with plot items. I love notes for this because they often speak directly to important plot points or locations. Even reviewing your weapons, armor, and consumables can give you an idea about where you’ve traveled and what you accomplished. Once the wheels are turning, it’s likely everything will come back with just by playing through.

If all else fails, read a walkthrough

If none of that does the trick, hop online and look for a story guide. Wikis and plot summaries are good places to start, but if you want to avoid spoiling yourself, find a walkthrough, navigate to your current step, and start reading backward. That will tell you most of what you did to get to that point and hopefully set you up to hit the ground running.

Without further ado, to the news!

Quick Hits

Final Fantasy XV has a new trailer out showcasing a new spell, creatively titled “Death Spell.” I bet you can’t guess what it does! The trailer showcases Noctis sucking the life force out of his enemies, causing them to waste away in real time. If the hero thing doesn’t work out, it’s nice to know that Noctis has a solid future in weight loss surgery.

If you find yourself in Japan, be sure to stop by the new Square Enix cafe. If they don’t serve buffalo chocobo wings, they’ve missed the point entirely. Report back with your experiences!

A new location revealed in Torment: Tides of Numenara

Darkest Dungeon has finally made its way to consoles and with it comes the announcement of the game’s first following major DLC, Crimson Court. It appears to be vampire themed with nary a sparkle and a whole lotta blood. In other words, actual vampires.

Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age will be getting new comic books in the coming year, as well as adult coloring books for each property. Coming from Dark Horse, the Mass Effect series will be dubbed “Discovery” and is coming in Spring 2017, alongside an artbook and poster collection. The Dragon Age run, Knight Errant, will arrive in May of the same year.

The Black Death received a substantial update this week, overhauling many of the game’s systems and polishing many others. Most meaningful is likely to be the new skill trees and two new professions, the Knight and the Outlaw. Also interesting is the new wellness system players can use to track the status of their character, the progress of the plague, and how they’re affected by certain foods.

Wasteland 3 has arrived on the crowdfunding service, Fig, with a new gameplay video. If you believe in the game, it may be wise to get in on the ground floor. Fig, if you recall, allows for real investing alongside its backer rewards, which means a return on your investment. Check it out here.

Finally, Torment has a brand new trailer online giving a detailed picture of its world. It appears to be one of the most varied we’ve seen in an RPG in years. More importantly, it gives us a peak of some of the less bleak areas, giving a better picture of what players should expect who didn’t play Planescape.

That’s all from us! Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.