There's A New Video Game That Simulates Your Crappy Job
Welcome to my unofficial guide to Office Job, the MMORPG that's taken the gaming world faster than a corporate raid can liquidate a pension plan. Office Job is played by a huge number of adults 18 to 65, and that number is growing all the time, with older and older players staying in the game. In it, players fight to create a career in a hostile world known as the Office. As you begin your journey, newcomer to the realm of keycard badges, here is a guide to help you with the broad strokes of the game.
Customize Your Character
The first thing you'll want to do is customize your character. Before you begin playing, you'll be assigned either a male or female gender. Developers say this distinction does not impact gameplay, but it turns out that if you're playing as a female you get 30 percent less money and it's harder to get promotions. Men also get a bunch of other perks, but changing this attribute once you start is really difficult and may make the game even harder, so I'll just leave it at that.
Like many RPGs, you can input your name, but most of the time other characters will call you a pre-written nickname. These appear to be randomly assigned and might be anything from "champ" to "new guy." But, if later you complete a world-changing quest, you may get a new pre-written title from that, making you "the guy who shit in the supply closet." Your actual name will primarily show up on written documents, because calling each player by their individual name would take up way too much memory.
"Bruce, I don't care what your fraternity brothers called you. You work in the mail room."
You will choose your class after you complete the trial period and receive your first promotion. If you like playing support-based classes, I.T. is probably for you. They run around fixing everything in the office. It's kind of a thankless job, because other players only notice I.T. people when they've messed something up, so you typically get none of the praise and a lot of the blame.
"If you don't get that clock to stop blinking, so help me God ..."
Players who like to use cunning and guile are best suited to be salespeople. Salespeople are fragile but can also be very effective, especially in close quarters and when they have the element of surprise. Finally, management-track positions are for fans of the dark arts. They attempt to manipulate the laws of productivity and perception using ancient and often diabolical techniques.
Do Meaningless And Repetitive Tasks To Earn Currency
The early stages will feel very similar to every other RPG you've ever played: You'll be grinding out cash by doing monotonous tasks. The particular tasks will be specific to your office, which will be randomly generated from a few basic types (cubicles, open plan, or funhouse). In my playthrough, I had a foraging quest where I had to combine multiple missing Excel files, a fetch quest where I had to get coffee from three different places for the three wizened VCs visiting the office, and of course the classic RPG training quest where I had to kill all the rats in the basement.
After that everyone mentioned how odd their "coffee" tasted.
Note: Some NPCs will try to convince you to do tasks for no currency but a bunch of experience. Avoid these at all costs. While the in-game dialogue talks a lot about "experience" it actually turns out to be a basically useless stat. Your ability to level up at your company is determined almost entirely by how much people like you, how much praise you receive, and, for some reason, how tall you are.
Explore The World
If you get bored doing tasks that could easily be automated or done while listening to Hidden Brain, take a break from main quests to wander around. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the soul-crushing atmosphere of the game and take things out of cabinets when nobody's looking. It's mostly just notepads and pens, but every once in a while you find something you can use to completely destroy enemies later on. I found the place my boss hides his stationery.
One day I am just going to snap and start crafting the fuck out of this place.
Don't worry about spending a significant number of game hours not advancing your work: The number of tasks you are assigned in the game scales with the number of tasks you complete. So, bafflingly, casual workers who complete a task or two a week while killing time in the elevator actually advance at the same rate as hardcore workers who optimize their systems to maximize their DPS (duties per second).
Even the ones who pass gas in there.
In fact, you'll be entering a world where people are far more powerful than you, not because they have any particular skill but merely because they've been there for longer. That will be frustrating, but, like with any MMORPG, you will have recourse: taking that frustration out on newer -- and therefore less powerful -- players.
Head To The Hub
If you ever reach a point where you aren't sure of what to do next, head to the central area where players and NPCs congregate to swap stories and collaborate on quests: the break room. With so many people in one area, it will be a little laggy in there. Time will seem to slow down as everyone does things totally unrelated to the company and the work they're supposedly there to do.
You'll hear people making forced pop culture references for no discernible reason, people bragging about their new vehicles even though all mounts are functionally equivalent, and it's the place you're sure to find the one guy who is extremely powerful just because his parents have a lot of money.
"Did Chad microwave a cat again?"
"Yup, but what are you gonna do?"
It's also where you can go to join a faction. Factions are really where you get to see the game's dark side: All of the factions center around purely cosmetic aspects of the game, like which coffeemaker the office will get or what the mission statement of the company should be, yet people act like they're in the middle of the Hatfield-McCoy dispute.
Fight Your Boss
You'll continue to explore, eventually get promoted to middle management, and spend hours and hours of time in cutscenes they refer to as "meetings" where you can't skip ahead and nothing of any consequence happens that won't be repeated later. Once you've been through all that, it is time for the game to come to its only possible conclusion: You must defeat your boss.
Depending on your class and how you played the game, you might have different ways of defeating your boss. You might surpass him professionally, orchestrate his fall around a failed project, or convince him to spend more time with his family. But by far the most satisfying ending is to challenge him to a fight in the parking lot and humiliate him into leaving the company.
Pro Tip: Make sure he and the marketing department don't do Krav Maga together four times a week.
If you plan your endgame from the beginning, it is possible to antagonize your boss enough throughout your career that he actually agrees to fistfight you to see which one of you will leave the company (Hint: Shit in the supply closet and leave his stationery nearby). The trick to this boss fight is to party with HR before the battle begins so that when you beat the boss he can't change into his final form, a costly and career-ending lawsuit.
If you beat the main story, don't despair: Office Job is also coming out with expansions all the time. After you are outcast from one corporate world, you are inevitably thrust into another, which is basically the same except with a different color scheme.
"Bruce, we don't care what they called you at your last job. That is bordering on sexual harassment."
Aaron Kheifets is an occasionally mustachioed comedian, writer, and director. You are allowed to follow him on Twitter.
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