Since 2017, I have been staring at Dwarf Fortress as a game that I would want to get into. Perhaps it is something that most people who stare at a gameplay of this game, or hear the absurd stories that unfold in such a game would aptly feel. But since then, on a small corner of my mind, a desire to play this game have taken residence.
I can't count the number of times, since then, where I have decided that I would try to atleast learn the game but ultimately giving up after a few days feeling just slightly more lost than when I started. At that time, I thought that: Maybe it's just that I don't know enough of the game to appreciate it. So in order to appreciate the game I have started watching and re-watching videos teaching how to play this game, of which to my surprise is plenty.
Watching these videos, one might be able to notice a certain tune being played by all of the tutors that are teaching this game to new, would-be, players of the game: Download the Starter Pack . As such, being the student that I am, eager to listen to the advice of such benevolent individuals that have devoted their time and effort to teaching such an unapproachable game, I followed their word. All of the attempts that I did then to learn the game was done through a Starter Pack, I made sure to set this certain value to this and to run Dwarf Therapist, to click this odd button that they highlighted whenever a new migrant wave comes and to click the boxes for words of labor that I don't understand.
For three years, I did such and I can tell you, the unseen eye behind this monitor, that it did not help me. Not once, in the span of three years was able to learn "properly" this game through such means. I felt that every single time I attempted to learn this game, the more arcane and obfuscated things become.
I was about to give up in this game, when this pandemic happened and I was forced out of my daily life where I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time. Knowing my past experience with this game, I decided to change things up. I thought back then: If the previous methods of learning did not yield the expected result, perhaps a change in the method of learning might be appropriate. I decided to not opt for the Starter Packs and just face the game head-on, as "vanilla" as it gets. Armed with just a few gameplay videos of someone playing in an Arctic Biome and I was set to take on this beast that have haunted me for three years.
Oddly enough, it worked. Somehow, taking the game all by itself without the aid of any "Quality-of-Life" improvement allowed me to see, without additional obfuscation, the systems of the game as well as its basic gameplay loop. Perhaps, it's the benefit of time or perhaps taking an already complex game and just attacking it on the complexity that it already has without any additonal fuss is the key to learning it. I would rather bet on the latter.