Time to Loot Journal: February 2022

To say February was a big month in games would still be to sell it short. Dying Light 2 kicked us off Feb 4th, Lost Ark following on the 11th, Horizon Forbidden West on the 18th and finally Elden Ring on the 25th.

All games that any other month could’ve and likely would’ve been a focus all on their own.

Instead, I’ve kicked Dying Light 2 and Horizon Forbidden West to some future point down the road. Lost Ark and Elden Ring are the two I’ve been waiting on the longest. I was concerned about how close these launches were but thought I might still be able to make it work, right up until Elden Ring launched when I realised I still wasn’t ready for it. I decided to put the Elden Ring goal I’d set aside, and in fact delay my start of Elden Ring entirely for a little while… Well, you know… Except for a little visit.

That little visit has lit the fire anew to be sure. The resolve to put it aside for a time is certainly on shaky ground but so far, at least, when it has come time to choose a game to load, I’ve gone with Lost Ark. And while I’ve certainly wished I could somehow play two things at the same time, it hasn’t reached the point of souring my time with that game. I’m still well and truly entrenched.

Hopefully by the time my Lost Ark ‘play all the time’ drive starts letting go of me, Elden Ring will be in a better technical state too.

That’s for the future though… For now…

Looking Back

One Year Ago

February last year I was down with a bout of Bronchitis, with my gaming time largely consisting of Black Desert Online which I didn’t find to be overly demanding and, best of all, had various AFK activities I could set when I needed to go rest again. (AFK Fishing is best Fishing, IMO). Other than that, the major piece of news was Anthem related.

  • Anthem Next No More with the life support plug being officially pulled, EA deciding there was not enough upside in salvaging the game vs. the expected cost. While I’m sure there were many who rejoiced at this news, hoping BioWare would refocus its efforts on becoming the singleplayer RPG studio of old — I still to this day see the huge potential Anthem had and can’t help but to imagine where it could’ve gone if not for the significant development hell it went through, or if it had been given this second chance at life.

Two Years Ago

Well, I started looking into the potential of switching out my car (then a diesel!) for an electric vehicle. Something which did come to pass, as we bought a Nissan Leaf the following month. :) Otherwise?

  • Wolcen Launched albeit in quite a rough state. Server issues, game breaking bugs, the whole 9-yards. I went through a long patch of having a bad habit of writing two or more completely unrelated posts in a single posts, e.g., my impressions of Wolcen were posted in the same go as writing about waking up early. Hah. In any case, I was fairly positive about my time with the game, issues aside. Wolcen has received fixes and even content patches in the time since it came out but hasn’t yet drawn me back in for a full playthrough again. Never say never, though.

Gaming Goals

February’s Goals

Lost Ark
  • Lost Ark — Reach Level 50 on One Character
    The level cap is actually 60 — but those last 10 levels are more of a soft-cap and take considerable time to gain, unlike the first 50 which you come by pretty easily. I think I should be able to make 50 before Elden Ring comes out easily enough.
  • Elden Ring — Beat First Legacy Dungeon Area
    This is another one that I don’t really know how much I’m committing myself to here. This might be more of a stretch goal, particularly if I end up spending most of my time wandering off the beaten path, which is entirely likely!

Well and truly blew through the Lost Ark goal. Level 50 came by fairly quickly and illustrated to me how early in the context of the rest of the game you actually get it. In terms of the main story, depending on how much side content you do, you’ll hit 50 anywhere from the third to the fifth continent. Note: I’m counting the initial four areas as one, because, well, physically they’re all on the same landmass.

I’ve gone through three more since that potential fifth continent, and now have a bit of a gear progression phase to get through before starting what I believe to be the final area that came with the Western launch. That will put me into Tier 3 gear and I suspect create a fair amount of breathing room to put a little more focus into my alts… Or, perhaps, into Elden Ring.

Speaking of, for Elden Ring I made the conscious decision to not chase after the goal I’d set myself. It would have been a disservice to both games to try.

March’s Goals

Elden Ring: Is this the month?
  • Lost Ark: Reach ilvl 1100 and Do the Story Content of Punika
    I’m at ilvl 1040 or so already, so I don’t imagine this is going to be too demanding. On the other hand, I know I’m reaching the more difficult phase of gearing where success chances go down and the easy sources of materials have been consumed. Still- finishing Punika I think will give me the necessary breathing room for…
  • Elden Ring — Beat First Legacy Dungeon Area
    Yep – bringing this goal back. Still going to consider it something of a ‘stretch’ goal though, almost entirely dependent on how late into the month I achieve the Lost Ark goal — or whether I even do!

I feel good about my chances of getting through both of these this month. Yes, I have some uncertainty still around this last push on 1040-1100, but people have done this already and way faster… So short of some absolutely horrendous RNG on the order of 90% shots in XCOM 2 … should be fine. :)

Games Played February 2022

RankGameHours% Gaming Time
1Lost Ark187.288.6%
2Monster Hunter Rise12.55.9%
3Elden Ring5.52.6%
4Monster Hunter: World4.92.3%
5XCOM 21.20.6%
Links are to posts about the game in question which were made this month — where multiple posts were made this month about a game; may link to the category or tag instead.

Wrapped up Monster Hunter Rise before Lost Ark came out, with giving Valstrax a bit of a ‘what for’. There is certainly more I could do in terms of building out a more complete roster of Decorations, or even another weapon entirely — but this seemed a good place to put the game down until the Sunbreak expansion launches later in the year.

If this hadn’t been the jam-packed month of games that it was, it might’ve been interesting to see where my time with Monster Hunter: World went. In some other alternate universe, I’m probably on another heavy play session of that.

Otherwise, nothing too surprising with Lost Ark leading the pack there. I think it might have the dubious pleasure of holding the largest hours spent on a single game in a month since Shadowlands, at least for as long as I’ve been tracking such things!

I thought this might be the month the previous Feb record was broken. But no, despite taking a week of annual leave for Lost Ark, it seems my time off with Bronchitis last Feb still makes it the winner. I suppose between that being multiple weeks and plenty of AFK options in BDO existing it makes sense.

Books Read February 2022

Since we’ve already established that the trouble with time is that there isn’t enough of it, all this extra Lost Ark gaming time had to come from somewhere.

Reading was one of those places. I did very little of it this month. But I also didn’t watch much in the way of TV shows either. Sleep might’ve also taken a hit while I was off work and over the weekends.

Even so, I finished the first book contained within Heir of Novron, although where each book was pretty close to 50% of the previous volume’s length in this case it was more like 30%, with the vast majority being given over to the concluding book.

I’m almost 50% through this volume as a whole and I’m still loving it. It isn’t that I’m not trying to read when I go to sleep at the moment, it’s more that I am going to sleep a lot quicker than I normally do after my head hits the pillow.

I suspect things will normalise again somewhat in March and I’ll finish this off and start… something else! Not sure what yet. I keep changing my mind on what it might be. :)

The Blog

The first few weeks looked like this might be a pretty dire month for the blog in terms of posts published. There was almost a week between talking about Lost Ark Sparking my Lost Love for the MMO Genre and how varied in difficulty I found the Abyssal Dungeons to be.

Managed to pull it back from there though, with a total of 10 posts published (including this one, for a total of 537 published posts.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Lost Ark to Launch in Oceania on Release After All
  2. The Variable Difficulty of Lost Ark Abyss Dungeons
  3. Lost Ark Launching with More Content Than Anticipated and People Aren’t Happy About It
  4. Deep Rock Galactic: The Solo Experience
  5. Rolling Credits on Exo One

I can’t say I expected the Abyss dungeon post to blow up like that, but in retrospect, I suppose I’m not terribly surprised. I’m half inclined to do a series of guide posts for each of the Abyss dungeons. I’ve completed all of them through Yorn and likely to do the Feiton ones tonight where they expand out to be 8-player affairs.

We’ll see though. I often get aspirations of doing guide-like content and then filing it aside in favour of almost anything else. ;)

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

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