This has been a month of monsters in the best possible way. Despite not coming out until Jan 13th, almost mid-way through the month, Monster Hunter Rise has absolutely dominated my gaming this month. I finished the final story1 mission the other night and thought I might now be ready to put the game aside until Sunbreak releases.

Since then, continued to press on and take down the Apex enemies of the game both in their rampage and normal hunt mission variants and made a fair degree of progress toward HR 100, where the last enemy of the game (rocket dragon Valstrax) becomes available to fight. I think I logged out last night at a bit over HR 80.

But you know what…?

Turns out I’m not alone in this. Steam Charts shows a +20% increase in the average player population of Monster Hunter World since Rise was released.

Rise — presently — by comparison doesn’t hold up incredibly well to World on a content front. Don’t get me wrong — this is absolutely to be expected. World has the benefit of its full expansion (Iceborn) and several years of free DLC/monster updates behind it, whereas Rise will get its expansion (Sunbreak) only later this year.

But valid though the reasons may be, it’s still the reality. And it’s enough to potentially push me over the line to actually jumping back into World for a bit, despite a rather strong dislike for the Clutch Claw mechanic, which Frosti has a great post on here.

Watch this space, I guess. Something may or may not come from it. Lost Ark is very close now though!

Looking Back

One Year Ago

Black Desert Online

Time to Loot turned two! January is Time to Loot’s birthday/blogaversary month, which if nothing else makes it fairly easy for me to remember!

Two Years Ago

Monster Hunter World: Iceborn

Time to Loot turned one! I put together quite a reflective post for that one, as it was the first time any blogging effort of mine had made it to the year mark without already suffering a multi-month gap in posting. I certainly believe a blog can withstand such a gap and come back from it easily enough, but for whatever reason, for me, that was never the case.

  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborn launched for PC — I was there with bells on, going back to World the day before it launched just to refamiliarise myself a little with the controls and how things worked. I even got to play as Geralt in the Witcher / MHW crossover event. :)
  • Escape for Tarkov Devs Refuse to Add Playable Females — because it is ‘too hard’ and also because ‘game lore’. But surely nothing to do with an older quote where a dev in an interview stated: “We came to the conclusion that women can’t handle that amount of stress, there’s only place for hardened men in this place.” Right?

Gaming Goals

January’s Goals

Monster Hunter Rise: Narwa the Allmother Defeated
  • Monster Hunter: Rise — Complete Low Rank
    Given I have nooo idea how much of a time commitment this represents, I could either sail right past this and finish the main story of the game in full or I might get nowhere remotely close.

I think… I think it’s safe to say I blew past this one. I finished low rank. And finished the high rank story, too. And then continued well into what currently passes for Rise’s end game, grasping for the last monster unlock in the form of Valstrax.

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!

Elden Ring doesn’t come out till 25th Feb and I won’t have any time off work for it. So definitely will just have to see how that one goes, plus how it will fit into whatever time Lost Ark is still demanding of me at that point!

Games Played in January 2022

RankGameHours% Gaming Time
1Monster Hunter Rise90.986.6%
2Mini Motorways10.09.5%
3Mini Metro2.01.9%
5Final Fantasy XIV0.40.4%
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.

After last month’s PLAY ALL THE THINGS, this is a very disciplined, constrained list by comparison. Playing Mini Motorways ended up reminding me how much I enjoyed Mini Metro, so I had a little return spin with that.

I gave Inscryption a try, since, you know- I’d bought it. So far I’m very much in the Slay the Spire-esque CCG component of the game, although I’ve done a few unlocks from the more escape room style portion of it as well. I liked what I played well enough- but not enough to give it the remotest shot of a look in once Monster Hunter Rise landed.

Final Fantasy XIV I didn’t really ‘play’. But the Oceanic data centre – Materia – finally went live, so I jumped in to secure my free transfer and join the guild some of my old WoW guildies had put together. I don’t foresee a lot of immediate play here, but I am conscious of the fact I now have a Road to 80 buff ticking down in the background… And it would be a shame to waste it…

105 hours of gaming this past month. Still barely puts a dent in the graph compared to the initial Shadowlands bender I went on but is otherwise the largest single month in this 13-month view.

Books Read January 2022

I can’t remember if I’ve ever said it here or not, but either way, can I just reiterate how much I dislike book covers that utilise photos of people? These particular covers are not the worst examples of this practice I’ve ever seen but even so! If you’re going to do this, at least make a little more effort to blend them into the backgrounds used!


I finished Theft of Swords right at the beginning of the month and jumped immediately into Rise of Empire. I haven’t reviewed that one yet but I intend to soon to try and avoid the same mistake I made wherein by the time I got to reviewing Theft of Swords I was so far through Rise, it was difficult to hold them separate.

Heir of Novron will complete this series of the Riyria Chronicles after which I have no doubt I’ll want to then jump into the other series’ Sullivan has done in this world. I think the next one in Sullivan’s intended reading order is the earlier days of Hadrian and Royce’s relationship when they met each other some 10-years earlier from the events of this series.

Looking forward to it, in any case! And of course, seeing how the events of this series get wrapped up!

The Blog

Phewph! Quite a month of posts. More than usual at 16 published posts (including this Journal). Outside of a month where I was targeting a post every day (e.g., a Blaugust, or a November Five Game Challenge), the last time I posted more than this was May 2020, with 18 posts.

Not sure if I can really attribute anything specifically as the reason for it. It just sort of happened. Hmm.

The total number of posts published on Time to Loot is now 527. Maybe sometime in 3 years from now, will cross the next big milestone of 1,000 posts. :)

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Lost Ark to Launch in Oceania on Release After All
  2. Deep Rock Galactic: The Solo Experience
  3. Rolling Credits on Exo One
  4. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  5. Rolling Credits on Tales of Arise

Interest in Oceania’s Lost Ark launch continues to dominate anything else for the time being. The next big battle — and it started immediately after the announcement we’d be allowed to play full-stop — is for a set of servers located in Oceania. Amazon’s public stance on this so far is that it definitely isn’t happening for launch and isn’t specifically in the plans at all.

Australia does have an AWS Datacentre in place, but there is some speculation the issue is that it isn’t running on the modern infrastructure and would require significant upgrades to get it into a state capable of running the server software sitting in behind the Western Lost Ark release.

Blowing that out of the water almost immediately though is the fact that South America’s AWS setup isn’t running that infrastructure either. And they are getting their own geographic servers. *shrug*

At this point? I’m just happy to be included. But I do know some people feel very strongly about this, to the point of not even trying end-game content in FFXIV previously but now being open to it that we have our own datacentre.

My expectation is that our region will eventually get its own servers. I just hope we don’t have to wait as long as we did for FFXIV’s. ;)


  1. One can call what Rise has a ‘story’ only in the loosest of terms.


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.


Rakuno · February 1, 2022 at 2:08 am

Given that data, I might be one of the few people on Earth who prefers Rise over World. But then I don’t see it as a question of content but rather mechanics and how the fights feel.

To me Rise feels like going back to its roots, i.e. a single-player game first with a very optional multiplayer. While World it felt like it was the opposite so the fights in World often felt like they were balanced for multiplayer and felt harder if you preferred to play single-player like I do.

On the other hand I don’t think I got to High Rank in Rise yet so the fights at those levels might be just as hard as in World and I am just speaking nonsense. XD

Also, I completely agree with you about using pictures of people in a book’s cover. They are a big turn off for me and make me roll my eyes. It might even make me not want to read a book thinking that quality of the story isn’t that great. I know, it is silly.

    Naithin · February 1, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Interesting perspective so far. I’ll await too much commentary until you’ve got into HR / Gathering Hub quests (where the storyline does eventually move, even if playing SP).

    Anything in the Gathering Hub definitely has noteably more HP than the village equivalent (where those equivalences exist, the GH goes past where the Village line stops).

    I did end up jumping back into World last night though for a bit and the arcadey feel of Rise was highlighted really quickly to me.

    I hesitate to say whether that in and of itself is a bad thing or not. The wirebug mechanics themselves are undeniably fun and having neither a Palamute or the ability to wirebug zip around the map was definitely felt.

    But hmm.

    Anywho, love to hear more from ya on this as you go. :)

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