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The Woes of Salmon Run's Time-Restricted Design

by Neal Ronaghan - July 24, 2017, 9:55 am PDT
Total comments: 3

Blink and you'll miss the chance to play Splatoon 2's new mode, as it's available less than half of the time.

Well that was a fun weekend of Splatoon 2. I got some Turf Wars in, dabbled in Ranked, and fell deeper in love with Salmon Run, the brand new horde-style mode. Now that the weekend is done and I head back to the weekday grind, I'm looking forward to coming home from work and sitting down with some four-player co-op Salmon Run at my leisure. Wait, why are you laughing? Oh, is it because Salmon Run is only open at certain times? Surely, it’s available the majority of the time, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. During this week - the first full week that Splatoon 2 is out - you can play Salmon Run less than 40% of the time. Out of 168 possible hours from Monday July 24 in the Eastern time zone to the dawn of July 31 in the same time zone, you can only play Salmon Run for a total of 66 hours out of a possible 168.

Break it down further and it's even bleaker. Granted, since these are worldwide times, they might be better in other locations, but focusing just in my home region, the weekday times are during the middle of the night or during the workday. If I wanted to play Salmon Run during the week, my options are Tuesday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Thursday between 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. At best, I might be able to squeeze in some time at the beginning or end of those times. Even including the technical four hours of Salmon Run kicking off at 8 p.m. on Friday night, you can play Salmon Run about 25% of the time between Monday and Friday.

When you reach the weekends, it's not even constant either. A 24-hour event runs from Friday at 8 p.m. to Saturday at 8 p.m. Another round doesn't start until 24 hours after that, so your chances of playtime Sunday are limited. If your personal schedule doesn’t align with Salmon Run, odds are you’re not going to be able to touch the mode regularly.

I can only speculate as to why Nintendo made these decisions to limit Salmon Run. Maybe it's to make it more of an "event" similar to Splatfests. Maybe there was a fear that another regular mode on top of the division between Turf War, Ranked, and League would thin the community too much. Maybe the bonuses and rewards might be more overpowered if people grind it? I don't know and frankly, I don't think I really care what reasoning might exist. You can’t even make a private online Salmon Run match with friends during off hours.

The entire schedule issue is disheartening. Salmon Run is likely my favorite part of Splatoon 2 and I have to set my calendar and make appointments if I want to play it. Nintendo released a brand-new game last week, and days later, one of its major new modes is gated more than half the time.

Note: Totally aware I can wizard up three other friends with copies of the game and their own system to play it locally. Speaking of which, if you're in the New Jersey area, let's like go meet up in a park and play this game. That'd probably be more convenient to my schedule than online Salmon Run.


EnnerJuly 24, 2017

I can only assume Nintendo's main concern was having the mode well-populated enough. Thus, we have time restrictions in an attempt to funnel players in to the mode. Don't know how well that will work out as I don't want to schedule my time around a game mode, even though I like it very much.

The rewards are cool, but not overabundant compared to Turf War. I'd say it takes a good two hours or so of play to achieve the 600p to complete the reward loop of Salmon Run. You get that time period's piece of gear (I got a 4-slot shirt way early at level 4), ability chunks (got 4 Sub Weapon Defense up chunks, you need 10 to craft the ability), and a bunch of gacha rolls that netted me random amounts of money.

Perhaps most frustrating is when I saw Bill Trinen retweet something along the lines of "I wish I could play Salmon Run forever."

All the rewards of Hero Mode and Salmon Run go towards the regular battles, so I get that Nintendo wants that to be the focus of the game. Still, I wish I could play Salmon Run more often. The co-op mode is so frantic and fun.

LemonadeJuly 24, 2017

Its is a strange restriction to put on a new mode, but the thing that really bothers be about Salmon Run is the Blaster. I really dont like that weapon.

The inability to make a private room with friends go play it is the weirdest part. I can kind of undersrand not wanting to spread the payers out across too many modes, but private matches should let you customize everything about them.

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