Booyah, final day. Basically done. The padlocks on the game list can be loosened. In fact I’m going to reward myself with a relaxation of the challenge after I get this post done and published.

So… Ciao!

…No? Well OK. I suppose we can take a slightly deeper dive into the whole thing.

The November Challenges

There was no plan to run a limited-game challenge. It just sort of… Came about. Initially via an idea I very much liked as a thought exercise from The Gaming Diaries. The idea being that you have been limited to only 5 games to last you an entire year.

What would you pick, and why?

I posted my thoughts on this here, and then a day later as I was putting together thoughts for the October Time to Loot Journal it occurred to me that it might be interesting if I tried out limiting my game scope. Not for a whole year. But just a month — with the option to extend.

There is no denying that I go through games like a hot knife in butter. A usual journal will often include upwards of 10 different titles. Sure with one or two ‘focus’ titles, but that’s hardly the point. Flexibility is a part of my gaming DNA.

How difficult would reigning that in be? Would it change the way I view my gaming habits at all? I didn’t know.

Limiting to Just Five Games

My day 1 hypothesis was that this would likely be an easy challenge. Even for me, five games to choose from would see me through without breaking a sweat.

I acknowledged though the potential difficulty coming from my selection of five not being tailored to the here and now. If I had been making my selections in the context of, ‘It starts next month — and only has to run a month’ instead of, ‘These five must last an entire year, at some indeterminate point in the future’ my picks would have been very different.

I ended up dropping titles I was actively engaged in — like The Outer Worlds and Avorion — in order to start.

The reality was that dropping those titles after the initial days wasn’t really a problem at all.

And yeah — five games in the context of a month challenge is also no problem. I ended up only playing two. I could’ve done the month on just one game, truth be told.

But I’m not going to extend another month. Hell no.

Some of the main issues I found were:

  • Unexpected updates driving desire to revisit something specific
    This turned up both in single player examples (Grim Dawn, X4) and in multiplayer with friends examples (Age of Wonders: Planetfall). Particularly difficult though for games in your friend group that spontaneously become of interest.
  • Flexibility is a highly valued aspect of my gaming ‘style’
    Again — both single player and multiplayer. While we will typically have a ‘focus’ game even as a group, there is something quite wonderful about being able to scan our libraries and play what we desire in the moment.
  • By the end — many things were looking appealing to play
    Mostly as a result of the prior two factors being denied.

Posting Every Day

The thoughts I put together post-Blaugust still fit very well. Primarily noting that posting every day is very much not a thing for me. For Blaugust I posted something around 40ish consecutive days given a precursor series of posts and then carrying the habit on past the end a wee bit.

But I quickly fell back into a more regular cycle of two to three posts a week.

Having given the post-a-day thing a second shot, I’m more convinced than ever that it isn’t a style I especially enjoy. Of the two components of the challenge — this was by far the harder component.

Although not from a willpower perspective… Just rather finding time and sacrificing what otherwise might’ve been play time to see it done.

In short: The time demand is too high, and I’m going to enjoy going back to a slower cycle.

My November Gaming Goals

Taken on a jaunt from Morthal to find Jurgen’s Horn. I booted it up again this morning to see if I could work out just how far off my story-goal mark I was.

This month I also, for the first time, attempted to set some specific gaming goals. I have resisted doing so in the past but thought I could give it a shot in the name of attempting to better extract value from my games.

When I set the goals, I didn’t really know how much effort I was asking of myself or whether they would help or hinder my play experience more generally. Just that I was going to give it a go, and see what learnings I could take.

Warframe

  • Gain Mastery Rank 13+
  • Gain Mastery Rank 14+
  • Finish Helios Prime
  • Finish Gara

All achieved! In fact, I achieved the first set early and added a second set of goals on Day 11.

I’m glad I remained conservative on my second Mastery Rank goal though, and didn’t try for 15+. As it was not without some stress on the part of hitting even 14 (where I am now). Chasing Mastery Rank requires some fairly specific play-choices, namely in hunting down ‘things’ you’ve not leveled before, and leveling them.

If you’d rather focus on enjoying high level content with your already powerful gear — too bad!

So my #1 learning from this?

Steer clear of Mastery Rank goals. Especially now that they don’t particularly unlock anything for me. All frames, weapons, companions and primes can be usable by an MR14 person. There are still advantages to going higher — but I’m going to chase those more organically now.

Better goals I could’ve picked instead might’ve included unlocking Arbitrations or learning how to fly in the overworld sections.

Nyooom.

Skyrim: Special Edition

  • Complete the main story up until the point of meeting Paarthurnax

Paarthurnax’ existence has been acknowledged to me by the Greybeards, but only as their leader. His exact nature has not been revealed to me in this game yet, nor — clearly — have I met him. So the goal is not achieved.

This morning I booted back into Skyrim and was horrified to find it had been patched. I really should know better than to have automatic updates turned on for Skyrim while I’m in the middle of a modded run through, but I was honestly surprised to see it still receiving any.

Fortunately — things still seemed to work. That’s not to say I won’t run into some form of fatal crash bug in the main storyline later… But for now… It’s OK.

I wanted to see just how far off my goal I might be, if I could. But while I remember each individual step as its presented to me — I still struggle to remember how they join the murky memories of whats to come.

I recovered Jurgen’s Horn though, and met with Delphine who will soon (after go slay a Dragon together) reveal she is a member of the Blades.

It’s possible returning to the Greybeards with Jurgen’s Horn would be enough to see me through to the top of the mountain and to a meeting with Paarthurnax but I’m just not sure.

I’m unsure at this stage whether I will carry this goal on, or drop it.

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming Time
1Warframe66.086.5%
2Skyrim: Special Edition10.313.5%

Shortest. List. Ever. Now, I could have included RimWorld here with 0.3 of an hour (~18 minutes) but I left it off as I never actually played it. This was just validating the load order of mods I’d downloaded would work.

So that’s it. November saw 76.3 hours of gaming, down 18.8 hours from October.

Overall active PC time came down to 224.7 total hours, a reduction of 12 hours from October. That does actually surprise me a little, as I would have thought the daily posting to have bolstered the active number somewhat. But I suppose it is still less of a drop for total hours than it was for gaming, so that may account for some of it. And then the variance month on month is so wide to begin with, it’s hard to read too much into it.

November sat with gaming making up 34% of the total active time, down 6.2% from October.

I had wondered whether this challenge was going to cause a significant reduction in gaming time this month — but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Perhaps if I hadn’t managed to latch on so well to Warfame again though, it would have.

The Blog this Month

I published 31 posts this month (including this one). There are only 30 days to November, but November 3rd saw a double post day with the Humble Monthly Bundle post being counted as an extra, rather than replacing a day’s post.

This brings Time to Loot up to a total of 190 published posts and still well on track to pass the 200-post milestone sometime in December. More than twice my previous best effort.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  2. Exploring The Intro to the Magician and Gunner Classes of Lost Ark
  3. Time to Loot Journal: October 2019
  4. Five Game Challenge Day 5: Extracting Value
  5. Lost Ark: Assassin Unleashed
  6. Five Game Challenge Day 2: Modding Skyrim
  7. Sneak Peak at Lost Ark
  8. Five Game Challenge Day 8: Diablo 4 Hype…?
  9. Five Game Challenge Day 10: Ain’t no Mountain High Enough
  10. Five Game Challenge Day 19: What do I want from Anthem Next?

Lost Ark is still riding the popularity high of the Russian open beta release in October. The Transport Fever guide has always been a good performer, but has been further bolstered by Transport Fever 2’s imminent release, December 12th.

Seeing last month’s Journal so high up was a bit striking at first — but this is due to linking back to it whenever I wanted to point back to the start of this month’s Five Game Challenge. Or at least, the ‘start’ in terms of when I made a decision to turn the thought-experiment to action.

Otherwise, I was glad to see the Extracting Value post do so well as it was my favourite post of the month. Why? Well, it’s the one most likely to stick with me and cause a rethink of how I approach gaming and game purchases going forward beyond this challenge.

What’s Next?

Good question.

If nothing else — setting a predetermined list of games you’ll be playing makes it a heck of a lot easier to actually set specific and measurable goals. There are a lot of game rabbit holes December might take me down.

Still — I think Warframe is a given. So I can set a goal there, and I already know what it will be.

For the second game goal — I’m going to make it a combo game and blog goal, methinks. :)

December Goals:

  • Warframe: Complete the restoration and build of my Railjack space craft, ready for when the patch comes that’ll let us fly that sucker.

    I’ve currently built the first section (of six), with the second underway.
  • Transport Fever 2: Play enough to get a good feel for the game, and write an Impressions style post before end of month.
  • The Outer Worlds (Optional Bonus Goal): Go back and finish this thing!!

I’ll leave them to that. The optional stretch goal is probably the most ambitious of the three, so we’ll see how that goes. :)