What a month. It feels like over the course of March, the entire landscape and texture of the world has changed. It wasn’t all that long ago that the whole COVID-19 situation started to feel a little more real to me. Fast forward a mere four days beyond that post, and New Zealand officially announced a lockdown. A stay-at-home order that would be enforced from Wednesday 25th March, 11:59pm.

My job is (relatively) safe through this trying time, as it can be done remotely with a minimal loss in efficiency. There have been some challenges with the timing, as I was on the cusp of kicking off a brand new project where colocation of the team would’ve been idea. But we manage. Adapt. Carry on. Many of the original concerns I had around working remotely for this kick-off have since been proven unnecessary too. (Yay!)

But one silver lining through all this is the decision of Belghast to bring forward Blaugust to Blapril, as noted in the bright orange block above. Technically, it’s already started. We’re in ‘prep’ week at the moment, whereby the Mentors of the event will be sharing their hard-won bloggerly advice. Already we’re seeing good examples of this!

So I encourage anyone with even a passing interest in blogging to sign-up, and not to be put off even if they come to this a little late!

Gaming Goals

March’s Goals

A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Finish my ‘A Plague Tale: Innocence’ playthrough.
    Probably not quite halfway through, and it appears to be a longer game than Hellblade. Even so, it fell off my play-rotation when Monster Hunter World: Iceborne barged in like a Diablos in heat and destroyed everything else in its path. Take two.
  • Play ‘Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2’ and blog about the experience for #MaybeInMarch
    During #loveyourbacklog week, I noted that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is the game that has, if not actually spent the longest amount of my time on my backlog then is certainly the one that has spent the longest time there while still being thought about from time to time.

Well I’ll be. I actually finished both goals this time, as opposed to… Er… Not completing either goal last month.

I ended up bouncing off Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 fairly hard. I played it for perhaps an hour. I mean- it was literally an hour according to ManicTime. But I had a couple of short naps in my chair while doing so. Yep. Heh. Now to be fair, I was tired just anyway. But the extensive tutorial sequences certainly did not help.

Plague Tale though? That one I loved. Hard to say now why I put off completing the second half of it for so long. I shared more of my thoughts on that one just recently. But suffice to say; if you haven’t yet played it I heartily recommend it. You can even get access to it for a steal via the Microsoft/Xbox Game Pass for PC. This thing is proving to be a stupidly good deal. Although… I do have one complaint.

I’ll get to that later.

April’s Goals

  • Post. Every. Dayyyy. For Blapril.
    OK, not exactly a ‘gaming’ goal, but I’m going to give myself a pass here. I can do that, you know. It’s my blog. See? Benefits you guys. Decide to run your own blog and you too, can possess such whimsical power.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Progress to Rank 15 on Gunner, and at least 5 on the other classes (Scout, Engineer, Driller).
    Deep Rock Galactic recently re-entered play in my friend group. As in… Yesterday. But I’m still a bit skeptical about this goal. It’s a great game in a group, but not one I’d play solo (even though they do cater for it). But should group attention wander, this will certainly be a failed goal.

Deep Rock Galactic has come a long way though over the course of its Early Access life to date. It’s right on the cusp of launching ‘for real’ too. Already though it now possesses screeds of options for progression from cosmetics to weapons to skills. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what it has to offer… Just again with that caveat of it being contingent on continued group interest!

Games Played in March

RankGameHours% Gaming Time
1The Division 252.960.8%
3A Plague Tale: Innocence5.66.4%
5Doom Eternal4.24.8%
7Book of Demons2.63.0%
8Dungeon of the Endless2.52.8%
9Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem2.02.3%
10Deep Rock Galactic2.02.3%
11Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 21.01.2%

A large part of gaming this time was consumed by The Division 2. Specifically the release of The Warlords of New York expansion. But it might be a bit of a flash in the pan. Already it has died back in priority, awaiting another resurgence when more content emerges.

Overall though, I had 87 hours of gaming, up 11 hours from last month. Not unusual to have a bit of a spike like that it seems when a game burns as hot as The Division 2 did earlier in the month.

There are a couple of notable absences from this list though. One is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s a Switch title, so not going to be picked up here. I’m OK with that, and something I acknowledged in my tracking back when this was an issue with Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’ll hold-off talking about my AC:NH experiences here, as there is a whole post worth of commentary there already and I’m still very early days with it yet.

So the problematic absence? Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The featured image at the top of this post is one of my screenshots from that game. And here’s another:

Don’t worry little Ku, I’ll rescue you! Soon!

This is actually another issue I have talked to before. Last time, with The Outer Worlds. The common factor here being playing both of these titles through the Xbox Game Pass for Windows.

Like I mentioned earlier in the post — I love this service for the most part. It’s a fantastic deal, with an incredible number of releases being made available Day 1 through the service. But for all this; I had a complaint. And this is it.

By way of how the game files are protected, I assume as a form of DRM, ManicTime and services which otherwise inspect what you’re running simply cannot gain any visibility of them. Given my focus on wanting to create a sort of… personal history and archive here, this is a major pain. To the point where I am seriously considering purchasing titles outright via another service rather than running them via the Xbox Game Pass. From a financial perspective? Utterly ridiculous thing to even contemplate. But from a personal information archival perspective? … Yep. Considering it.

Also screenshots are a pain! Alt-PrintScreen to window screen capture and paste out into another tool and manually save! D:

I would estimate between 6-8 hours of in Ori so far. Perhaps a little less. I haven’t added it to the table above, but I likely will track it in my longterm game sheet view that span’s the months, being an important game to me with how much I love the original, Ori and the Blind Forest.

The Blog

11 posts published this month, including this one. Up by a whopping 1 on last month. My natural cadence may have simply slowed down a little, so this whole Blapril thing may well prove to be a good shot in the arm.

I’ll be aiming for the full month’s worth of posting, or 31 consecutive days including today’s March wrap-up. But we’ll see how I’ll go. I’ve done it twice before now (once for Blaugust, once for the Five Game Challenge), but each time was quite the marathon. One that grew my appreciation for those that post daily or near enough to daily as a matter of course.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  2. Humble Choice: March 2020
  3. Today COVID-19 Became Real to Me
  4. Too Old For This?
  5. The Division 2 Private Beta – The Dark Zone

That Division 2 Dark Zone post is not even about the Warlords Expansion; it was the initial launch beta. Seems that the terms in it are coming up again as people look for information about the new expansion. Sorry to the people who ended up landing there instead!

Oh — and as another update on the sleep goal setting? Yeah. Forget that noise. Waking up early is hard. :P

More seriously; I’d decided to invest in a light alarm as Jeromai had suggested when the world got turned upside down. I have a decent amount of Amazon credit so was all set to place an order. But with non-essential deliveries being placed on hold for the time being… Well; it’s going to have to wait a bit longer!

This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!


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.


Tessa ~ Narratess · March 31, 2020 at 6:58 pm

Whoo! Dungeon fo the Endless! I just rediscovered it and I like it a lot. But it’s so difficult. Maybe I just need to find the right crew.

    Naithin · March 31, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Absolutely incredible game, but I agree very hard! I think I’ve only ever finished a complete run on ‘Very Easy’, but in that two and a half hours of play with my brother, we managed to get about halfway through on an ‘Easy’ difficulty setting, and it’s looking — not to jinx it, I hope — pretty promising so far. :)

    Only tips I really remembered from last time I put some real time into this game was to always get at least one operator ASAP to buff your resource income, and to make sure not to spend (in particular industry) too close to the end of a floor, so that you had enough in reserve to kickstart the next floor.

Bhagpuss · March 31, 2020 at 8:32 pm

Rather than buying an extra copy of games that Manic Time doesn’t record, why not just write down your start and finish times and enter them manually (if allowed) or in a separate spreadsheet? Or if you want to be totally digital. take a time-stamped screenshot when you log in and out?

I suggest this with some element of irony because I wouldn’t do it myself… but then I wouldn’t run time and activity monitoring software either. Literally the only time I can imagine ever wanting the information would be for a blog post. I do use Steam counts for that now and again. Oh, and it’s always amusing to do a /played in game to see just how many days, weeks, months or, in the case of a few MMORPGS, years of my life have been spent doing imaginary things in imaginary places. I quite like it when someone calls out their tally in open chat and an orgy of self-shaming begins.

    Naithin · March 31, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I think for me it is very similar to that near guilty pleasure with /played in an MMO. Over the years I’ve long been fascinated with the accumulation of played time for games, and regret the fact that tracking this was so fragmented for so long. I had it on a tool could XFire (which was incidental to the reason I had it — of being one of the first game overlay messenger tools), then Steam started tracking it but to start with it wasn’t cloud based. So I had a number of resets with local PC reformats and the like before it finally DID move to the cloud and store there.

    And yes… Pen and Paper or similar is absolutely an option. And a far better one than buying games over again as you mention. Especially when considered in aggregate of all possible games that I might want to play and have access to via the Game Pass. Ori on it’s own? Not too bad… But everything? Oi.

    Mostly… I was just having a bit of a whinge really. :P

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