Humble Monthly: March 2019

For someone with such a huge game-backlog already, the Humble Monthly subscription might seem a bit counter-intuitive. If you’re not already familiar with it, essentially for $12/mo (reducing in cost if you commit to a longer subscription) you’ll get a bundle of games worth many times this — at least when considered against full RRP. There are typically 2-3 ‘headline’ titles that are revealed early and then a number of typically smaller titles released to subscribers when the month’s pack actually comes out.

It’s a service I’m constantly on the bubble of unsubscribing from though. The prime reason I keep it is that it actually helps curb impulse spending during Steam sales. It harkens back to why I subscribed in the first place. I was tired of picking something up on a sale and then within a couple of months seeing it pop up as an included item in the bundle.

When I’m looking at a title now, I can just tell myself, ‘It’ll be in the Humble Monthly bundle sooner or later’, and typically? That’ll end up proving true. It’s put me off snap-buying enough things that I’m confident I’ve saved myself more money than I’ve spent on the subscription.1

Still, in-line with my desire to set out a history, I’d like to layout what the Humble Bundle brings my way and what I think. :)

Headline Titles

  • Vermintide II (Collector’s Edition)
    • The AAA-title of the bundle (there is generally at least one), if I didn’t already own it I would have been fairly hyped for this being in the bundle. Nonetheless, the upgrade to Collector’s is nice.
  • Earth Defense Force 4.1 (+ a bunch of DLC)
    • Had never heard of the title before this bundle, but apparently people like it with an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating on Steam since it’s release in 2016. Looks like you battle… uh… ants… but really big city-destroying ones! Has some MP options. Looks like something you could have fun with, but I’m unlikely to try it without some external nudging.
  • Cultist Simulator
    • Made by the same people as Sunless Skies and Sunless Seas, it’s an odd mix of card game and story game. There has been more than once since it came out (May 2018) that I’ve been on the cusp of buying it. But patience has saved the day and now it is mine! Of the three, this was the one I was most interested in.

Revealed Titles

Just looking over these to find the Steam links (I didn’t know what a single one of them was previously) it reminds me why I’m so frequently on the edge of cancelling the subscription.

If I bother to redeem the keys for these at all, not a one of them would make it out of the ‘Obtained from Humble Monthly’ dumping category I have in Steam.

Tower Unite looks like Second Life but if you focused it almost exclusively on mini-games. Late Shift is an old-school FMV story-game, and while it’s clearly low-budget the voice acting in the trailer didn’t put me in the mind of nails down a blackboard at least.

But I think the curators at Humble must’ve known this wasn’t the most compelling list because…

April Headline Titles

Subscribing now would get you these titles now plus the revealed titles in April. As a current subscriber I have the option of bringing forward the purchase and getting them now too — but given how much else I have on, I will wait… But nnngh. ;D

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Funcom published this one, and they call it a ‘Tactical Adventure’. It allows you to move about in real-time outside of combat, but jumps into an XCOM style turn-based combat system whenever you engage the enemy.

I hesitate to call it open-world due to all the baggage that carries these days, but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same load-in / load-out mission orientated setup of XCOM, but rather is continuous.

I’d kinda like to make some time for this one!

Absolver: Downfall

The fighter-game Absolver was one I watched at launch. I steered clear as I heard it was rife with server issues (for Oceanic players) which prevented the game from being any fun. At that point beyond a relatively short campaign that acted as a tutorial, the rest of the game was PvP.

Since then they’ve released a free PvE content expansion called ‘Downfall’. The reviews on Steam for this game are still Mixed (both overall and recent), but as an inclusion in the bundle? I’ll likely give it a shot.

Northgard

Whether intentional or not Northgard evokes recollections of the old BlueByte classic, Settlers, to me. Albeit with combat turned up to 11. I’ve fairly well burnt myself out on the RTS genre over the years though, so it isn’t a game I’ll likely spend a lot of time with.

Humble Monthly Survives to April

I’m not locked into any longer term pre-purchase deals, so I could (and have considered) jumping in and out as the headline offers appeal (or not). You get about a month’s notice of the future headline titles over which time you may decide.

But there is that distinct fear of, ‘Oh, but maybe one of the revealed titles will be something I want!’ and by the time those come along — it’s too late. That’s how they getcha. ;)

There have been months when I’ve been extremely pleased by the revealed titles as well, but it feels like it has been a while since that was the case.

With this logging now in place, a clearer picture should come (with time). :)

Pilgrimage to the Angry Dead

Amazingly, the nobility are not jerks to me. Prince Naemon was quite nice even. Clearly they know what a close, personal friend of the Queen I am.

So last time on <Elder Scrolls Online Adventures without a Name because Naithin is Bad at Planning>, I wrapped up saving Queen Ayrenn and was thus rewarded with an invite to come along with her in pilgrimage. This seemed like a lovely invitation for a job well done at the time. Now I learn this isn’t your average pilgrimage. This one involves unhappy Spirits and clergy-folk in need of rescue.

Shouldn’t these only be out at night or something? It seems far too lovely a day for this sort of carry on.

One spirit in particular — Colonwe — was angrier than the others. And quite intent on seeing my face introduced with the earth. I started checking the Journal to see if I had perhaps missed that this was meant to be a group quest, perhaps?

But no, this was just the first ‘git gud’ check I’d encountered. Do you know when to block? When to dodge roll? No? Hope you brought some res stones then.

Between performing better — and a timely full charge of my ultimate — I ultimately took Colonwe down. It seems she was willingly in support of the ‘Veiled Heritance’ group I’d been hearing whispers of in the last town and who seemed to be behind the assassination attempt.

Clearing the corruption with a loaned Altmer holy symbol

Other spirits in the area however had been corrupted, rather than willingly complicit. I cleared the corruption as well I could in the hopes that they may eventually come to their senses.

Queen Ayrenn suspects a fellow called ‘Norion’. I think she is right, given his signature had been over notes just left absolutely everywhere around here. Either that or it was the worlds clumsiest frame-job. Either way, we’re about to go find whoever it is in the crypts below.

The Queen and I fought I way through the minions, growing ever more curious who we might find behind it all.

Ah. Norion after all. Have at thee, fiend!

Coming down the stairs, the battle with Norion was joined. He realised quickly the Queen was the more competent fighter than I and tried to remove my head from shoulder.

The fight with Colonwe earlier had put me in better stead to beat such an opponent where there was more to it than simply getting out of the red bits. So without need of a res stone, I put Norion’s plotting days to an end.

Two things are becoming clear to me though:

  1. The Veiled Heritance are clearly bad, this doesn’t seem to be just a minor political difference in views… But,
  2. They also seem to think their claim on the throne is legitimate. I’d dearly love to find out why.

Perhaps I’ll find out in Mathiisen, where I’m being sent next to meet up with Razum-dar again. The town has been infiltrated it would seem and this is very much not a good thing as Mathiisen is a forge town — responsible for the provision of weapons and armor to the region.

Mage Tower in the Vale

I almost made it directly there too, but I happened across a rather upset looking lady sitting alone around an encampment altogether too big just for her.

A mage has taken the rest of the entourage — they fell behind Queen Ayrenn, being the fast, independent traveler that she is — and is experimenting with their minds.

I managed to rescue all three trapped members of the entourage, getting them out from their personal hell’s. These places were not entirely immaterial it seems, in the last realm I found the corpse of one of the mage’s past assistants. In their final hours, trapped here in the cold, they took the time to document the changes seen in their master. How toying with the minds of others had warped his own.

Despite our deal, I was fairly confident the mage wasn’t going to let me go after this experiment was over. I was also confident that I couldn’t let him continue with such experiments in the future. I was right. And I was the only one to leave his tower when our ‘discussion’ on this was done.

Onward, to Matthisen

The Sewers under Matthisen

Compared the Mind Mage, clearing Matthisen seemed almost mundane. Of course, Raz was right. This place was rotten to the top. Whether for money or a sense of belief in the Veiled Heritance’s claims, I don’t know. But they were supplying refuge and weapons to the enemy and could be shown no mercy.

After our initial investigations were complete, Raz had what he clearly thought to be a ‘great plan’ for getting my rather unstealthy-self inside. That plan? Get myself captured. On purpose. Walk right up on in there all pompous-like and announce myself. Play to my strengths, basically.

This pretty much worked and I came out little worse for wear, other than a new bump on the head to add to the collection. Raz came in how Raz does and let me out, then we got to work.

One of the leaders was down before they even knew what was going on. The other managed a temporary escape through the sewers, shown above. It was a short-lived flight however, and Matthisen rests once again in the hands of loyalists.

Raz is going to meet me further north, but first, a detour.

Level 15, now able to weapon swap between Destruction and Restoration staves at will.

A Detour

Teleported back to town to deal with my ever increasing inventory problem and to learn crafting. By level 10 if I haven’t started down a crafting track I start getting antsy. Which is odd, because depending on the game, I may not ever touch it again until max level. Especially not when you can gather everything without having picked up the skills like you can in ESO.

Nonetheless, I could feel my 5-levels-overdueness, so I started learning Woodworking from the Certificate Master type person. After I’m certified for this, I’ll likely take a look at Clothier. They seem like good fits for a Sorcerer type.

I uh, also happened into the Inn (but definitely not to talk to a quest-giver off the main path… >.>) and was presented with what at first seemed a rather saucy offer. A lady in there wanted to show me into a room.

Turned out to be nothing so untoward. I think I might be an ESO influencer now? She wanted me to take a room, as having and using one in Inn’s she owns would increase their prestige.

So I’m the proud owner (rent-free squatter?) of an Inn room. I haven’t quite worked out how to decorate it yet. But uh. It’s also pretty small.

Iiiitty bitty room.