The burden in Starfield is the weapon degradation debate all over again
After years of anticipation, Starfield has finally arrived. Many claimed that the Xbox exclusive game would either mark a bold new beginning for the p...
After years of anticipation, Starfield has finally arrived. Many claimed that the Xbox exclusive game would either mark a bold new beginning for the platform or lead it to a deserted planet from which it would never return. Starfield has accomplished neither. It is an incredibly expansive game, yet it hasn't generated much excitement. It falls short of replacing Halo as the flagship of Xbox, but it is certainly sufficient to satisfy eager Xbox owners after a long period of inactivity and a brief stint with Redfall.
Starfield is unabashedly Bethesda, and with such a darn massive game, it could never be perfect. It's even unlikely that two players would have the exact same experience, as that's kind of the point. I know for certain that some of you reading this have sunk dozens of hours into Starfield without discovering the secret casino on Earth's moon. I promise I'm not making that up, but do me a favor and read the rest of this before you go looking for it.
"Burden" is a word that I believe I've never pronounced aloud, but one that I couldn't escape from in the past two weeks. Like many games, Starfield limits the amount of items you can carry with you. The crucial difference here is that not only is there a relatively low cap on the quantity of items you can carry, but if you take too much, you also lose the ability to utilize certain key abilities such as fast travel.
There are ways to improve your burden. Strength training allows you to carry more, and alternatively, you can burden your companions. However, the amount of items you can lug around is still quite limited. This has sparked a lively debate among Starfield players as to whether such strict limitations are beneficial, as they contribute to the realism of the game, or if they primarily restrict your enjoyment, considering the vast amount of things to discover and the necessity of leaving much behind.
I have the feeling of having heard all of this before, with weapon degradation in Breath of the Wild. This debate was still ongoing when Tears of the Kingdom was released six years later. Those who despised it in Breath of the Wild were inconsolable that this feature returned in the sequel, while others argued that Tears of the Kingdom would have been a lesser game without it.
Although the limitation on what you can carry and the breaking of weapons due to overuse are two very different things, the debate about whether they should be part of a video game or not stems from the same core. Whether a game should strive for maximum realism, even if it takes place in a futuristic space world or a fictional land overrun by a demon king, or if there is a limit that, when crossed, makes the game a bit too realistic and pulls the player out of the experience. A limit that some developers, perhaps most notably FromSoftware, intentionally cross to challenge players. It is a fundamental component of practically every Souls game ever created and a major reason why many people quickly lose interest in them.
The debate surrounding weapon degradation has been surprisingly quiet since the release of Tears of the Kingdom, likely because Nintendo has implemented a clever solution. Link can now fuse items together, granting the player the ability to make their weapons more durable and powerful by combining them with practically anything they desire. In Breath of the Wild, you had to find a new weapon when yours broke, but in Tears of the Kingdom, you can simply craft a new one.
It remains to be seen if Bethesda will take any action regarding its burden limitations. If those who dislike it voice their complaints loudly enough, a future update may offer new ways to increase the amount of items you can carry. Alternatively, if you're playing on PC, countless mods will enable you to take as many items as you desire. After all, at least your weapons won't break. I suppose these and significantly deteriorating maps are two things we can look forward to in 300 years.