I have something of a… plan forming. A project plan. Plans are something of a unicorn around here. Generally flying by the seat-of-my-pants is more my style. So this is significant! Mark the date! Which date? Oh- er… Unsure yet! The plan isn’t fully formed! More of a proto-plan. Plan in progress. You might say that I am a man-with-an-almost-plan.

Now that I’ve suitably shocked you, maybe I should warn you to take a seat. Because there’s more.

There isn’t just one proto-plan, there’s two! TWO PROTO PLANS!

Although one is far more likely than the other… And er, also that one basically boils down to just ‘pick a game and play it’. So I suppose I shouldn’t be hyping this up too much.

The Potential Plans

  1. The less likely plan: Play games that I don’t understand the appeal of and write about it.
    Now, I don’t mean play games that don’t appeal to me — I do actually mean ones I don’t understand the appeal of for anyone. e.g., Farming Simulator ’22 just came out. This is quite a long lived series. But… why? Maybe I’ll find out! If it has more of the financial management aspects to it, perhaps I’ll understand. If it’s just janky driving around of farm equipment then I’ll probably come away just as puzzled as I went in. But it might be fun!
  2. The more likely plan: Select a small list of games I’ve wanted to play and put off, and randomly select one… to play!
    I know, nailbiting plans these ones. X4 would definitely be on this list. I seem to constantly be in a state of ‘waiting for the next big update’. But there is always another big update. I had decided I might play this one again — get this — on the day of the announcement of the 5.0 update and new expansion for early next year. So, I just need to jump in and play! There are other things in this situation too.

Why? Well- I’ve noticed fewer actual posts about games of late. I’m still playing them. Quite a significant number of hours this month, even! But just not in a way that has translated into posting. So these plans are much less about the games themselves as it is putting a focus back on writing about them.

I don’t just want to write about games directly though, I’ve also had a lack of taking up ideas started in other posts and the like. So I suppose you might say there is a third sub-plan here- reboot (sort of) my writing!

That’s the future though. Maybe something I start in earnest with the holidays next month. For now, a look at the past… :)

Looking Back

One Year Ago

The last couple of Novembers, I’ve been doing a Five Game Challenge. This November, I didn’t quite feel up to it — but I might still do a very belated post selecting the five games I would have picked. Last year though, these were my picks.

  • Last year though, things got cut short when I put a knife through my thumb. Literally moments after sharpening the knife, I might add. So that certainly put a damper on the whole ‘typing’ thing for a while. I got that post out while still enjoying the anesthetic injected by the kind Dr’s at A&E before the stitched things together again. A year on, there is still a bit of an odd sensation touching the scar on the thumb but otherwise its all good!
  • Shadowlands came out. I don’t think any of us could’ve guessed back then how the rest of the year would unfold. I was very much enjoying myself for a time. But, until we see some meaningful change there will be no return for me to Blizzard products old or new.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago, I kicked off this whole Five Game Challenge thing. It started with this post, where, as a thought exercise, I considered which games I would pick if I could only play five games and nothing else for an entire year.

  • Anthem briefly reignited a spark of life by way of a possible ‘Anthem Next’ or ‘Anthem 2.0’ project. The fact this never happened is still a source of disappointment to me. The game had a great deal of potential, now never to be realised. Hopefully it won’t scare the market off the idea of letting us all be custom Ironmen for too long and someone will do it justice.
  • Path of Exile 2 was announced but we still have a fair amount of waiting to do. It could be 2024 before we see the full launch but hopefully a beta might come our way in 2022!

Gaming Goals

November’s Goals

I didn’t set any! And I regret nothing!

It’s nice to take a little break every so often. :)

December’s Goals

Forza Horizon 5
  • Forza Horizon 5: Complete Series 1
    As in, gain both season rewards from all seasons and both series rewards from Series 1 of Forza Horizon 5, not that I’ll necessarily complete every single available point.
  • Implement… a Plan!
    Start one of the two plans mentioned at the top of the post. Doesn’t matter which. Just get one done.

Games Played November 2021

RankGameHours% Gaming Time
1Forza Horizon 539.748.3%
2Lost Ark (Closed Beta)19.623.9%
3Outriders15.018.2%
4Exo One2.02.5%
5Deep Rock Galactic2.02.4%
6Infinitode 21.92.3%
7Back 4 Blood1.41.7%
8XCOM 20.80.9%
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.

It feels more than just a month ago since the Lost Ark closed beta. This doesn’t bode well for the wait between now and the full launch in March next year. Although on the other hand there is a number of big releases between now and then. Dying Light 2 has left the December slot, but there is still Monster Hunter: Rise for PC mid-Jan, then Elden Ring at the end of Feb. (Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!)

I did take a step back from my Coding lessons this month between Work, Lost Ark and Forza Horizon 5 — but perhaps in December, it’ll be something I return to.

82.3 hours of gaming this past month, that’s quite a bit for me, of late! I can’t really imagine anything making me take the hours I did for the Shadowlands launch again any time soon. Not even Monster Hunter: Rise or Elden Ring, I reckon. Although… never say never, I suppose. I could be well wrong!

Books Read November 2021

Right at the tail end of October, I started reading Skyward. An unusual pick for me because it sits in the Young Adult genre — one I typically turn my nose up at. So I gave myself explicit permission to just… stop… if I wasn’t enjoying it. Something I’m not good at, when it comes to books, which might surprise you if all you had to go on was my approach to games. Those I’ll stop even when I am having fun.

In any case, I finished Skyward. Then I finished Starsight. And now I’m just consuming Cytonic.

So far? Cytonic hasn’t grabbed me as immediately or as thoroughly as the first two but I’m only about 20% in. So still plenty of time yet. And it isn’t that I’m not enjoying it, rather that the first two set quite a high bar!

I’m sure I’ll get a review of Cytonic out in December, but I’m less sure I’ll manage to hit my 15 book target for the 2021 Good Reads challenge. My one hope is that the next book I’ll be reading is quite short too, it’s the latest Alex Verus novel, Risen.

The Blog

Including this journal, I published 9 posts this month. But despite the relatively low post count — it was a pretty exceptional month for views. While not to the same extent as being WoW Insidered back in the day, Skill-up tweeted out a link to my Lost Ark coming to NZ/Aus post!

https://twitter.com/SkillUpYT/status/1454938499329581061

This saw almost 2k views in the first day, and pretty good numbers for a week or so afterwards with a general uplift for the remainder of the month. (Edit: Ooh, I didn’t realise this until just now — but CohhCarnage retweeted this as well.)

So perhaps unsurprisingly then:

Most Viewed Posts

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

I’m not even sure giving the Lost Ark post bold is enough to indicate the full extent of how far ahead it was. It was almost 12x the views of Deep Rock Galactic, which was no slouch itself with another big content drop this month!

Without another similar event, I’ll never beat the new record for most views in a day but I think that’s OK. I won’t lie though, it is rather addictive to see those types of counts come through. ;)


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.

12 Comments

Jeromai · December 1, 2021 at 3:49 am

Aw, come on. I had a couple days’ worth of fun with Farming Simulator 2013, ancient graphics and janky farming machine driving not withstanding.

(It got way better when I figured out how to edit some text files and increase the vehicle speeds up to a point where I didn’t feel like I was wasting my life watching vehicles crawl around at a snail’s pace and could actually get some farming done in accelerated simulation time.)

The basic premise was both a lax roleplay simulation of what it might be like to drive some machines around in a modern farm setting and produce enough crops to sell for a profit, as well as a simple progression path of earning enough money to unlock better and more efficient machines. Unlocking progression is an easy enough to understand motivation for any achiever-focused player who might be attracted to the aesthetic wrapper, even if one doesn’t like it personally.

I can imagine both Farming Sim ’19 and ’22 to be substantially improved from that 2013 version. I randomly googled a video from this FarmSim Guy who covers a bunch of varied ways players might have fun with Farm Sim 19, all of which seem like common and understandable enough motivations (from seeking challenge, roleplay immersion, playing with community, etc.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A35oUjLDTdI

    Naithin · December 1, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Hah, thanks for the info Jeromai!

    Honestly, my only exposure to Farming Sim so far was by way of DangerouslyFunny on YouTube. ;)

    So I didn’t really have much of an idea if there were progression mechanics or how deep they went. The Farmer roleplay side is more or less where I thought the fun for some people might be.

    Not sure about all the way back to FS13, but it seems in ’19 and ’22 that there is even multiplayer. There might be something to that, too, depending on how rest of the game works.

bhagpuss · December 1, 2021 at 5:28 am

“I’ve noticed fewer actual posts about games of late. ” Hah! Tell me about it! I almost have to force myself to write about games at the moment. I have five times as many ideas for non-gaming posts as gaming ones these days and that’s even with a fresh game like New World to dig into. It’s not really that I don’t have stuff to say about games still, it’s that posts about other things are so much faster and more interactive to put together. If a post is about movies or tv or music, that means I get to watch clips and listen to songs as “research”, which is just fun in itself, whereas if I’m having fun playing a game I tend to want to keep playing it, not stop and write about it.

I do play some games just to get posts out of them already but I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to play Farming Sims! Luckily there’s the new EQII expansion thnis week so that should give me a few new topics – and I can run my posts on it as counter-programming to Endwalker!

    Naithin · December 1, 2021 at 9:26 am

    “whereas if I’m having fun playing a game I tend to want to keep playing it, not stop and write about it.”

    Yep — boy do I hear this one. I’ve been pretty bad about overriding this impulse lately. Generally I’ll tear myself away to say something anyway!

    So perhaps it is that discipline hoping to get at least a little of back.

    It probably doesn’t help that FH5 isn’t the most engaging thing to write about for more than a couple of posts, which is in stark contrast to how fun it is to play.

    So there is a bit of that going on too, finding something that lends itself to a bit more of a narrative around it. :)

Nimgimli · December 1, 2021 at 5:40 am

I always wonder how people track the hours that they spend in games. I only ever know if it’s an RPG and the save file literally tells you the amount of time I’ve played. Back in Ye Olden Tymes I used Raptr but I think that is long gone? But maybe not.

Lawn Mowing Simulator is coming to Game Pass this week and I’m looking forward to it.

I think it’s interesting that simulations can be so puzzling. I mean other than the aesthetics, it’s the same as any other non-action game, right? Push buttons to move pixels around and make numbers go up.

Back when I was a lad waves cane economic simulators were reasonably popular. Remember Trever Chan’s Capitalism? ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism_%28video_game%29)

    Naithin · December 1, 2021 at 9:34 am

    ManicTime is the app I use to track gaming time. I discovered it way back when I came back to blogging here by way of Wilhelm who had in turn discovered it through UltrViolet.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll do a post on it specifically, as this question does come up a reasonable amount!

    Economic simulators I get, had a love of SimCity Classic as a kid, Transport Tycoon, all those sorts of games I could get my hands on.

    Farming Sim though, or all those ‘Clean up this place’ type ‘Sims’… I… What? Why? And yes, I’d probably put Lawn Mowing Sim into the ‘What? Why?’ category too for now.

    But! I’ve never tried one of these, even ones I’ve got via Humble. Maybe there is a whole deep economic and progression elements to these games I’m completely ignorant of.

    Jeromai’s comment indicates at least some extent of this being the case. If they’re suitably engaging, then immediately everything around them makes way more sense to me. :)

    Either way, I figure it might be amusing to give it a go personally and find out.

Nimgimli · December 1, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Yeah there is absolutely an economic aspect to it. And multiplayer. One of the few streamers I ever watched was a guy on Mixer who ran a Farming Sim server and there were, I dunno, a dozen members I guess?

Anyway I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Then maybe move on to Power Washing Simulator :)

Nimgimli · December 1, 2021 at 12:32 pm

I never click the correct Reply button… sorry!

    Naithin · December 1, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Haha, not to worry. Still easy enough to follow! <3

Jeromai · December 1, 2021 at 6:15 pm

And Viscera Cleanup Detail ;)

For times when you want to roleplay being a put upon space janitor called on to singlehandedly put things back in order after the FPS maniacs have been through the area.

Reflect on your personal organization strategies – do you clean in sections and make sure things are perfect before moving on, or are you more the cover the whole area in broad sweeps and perform repeated passes? Chase efficiency of motion, or simply slouch your way sloppily with a mop, whacking desultorily at the worse bits.

How clean is clean, to you? If there’s leftover gore and grime in corners, is it good enough? Or will your OCD not rest until every last crate and barrel is stacked in ruler-perfect rows…

cackle

    Naithin · December 2, 2021 at 9:44 am

    In a similar vein to this, I installed House Flipper from the Humble Choice bundle yesterday…

    I don’t know how I spent 5 hours in it, but I did.

    My method ended up being to clean-up first — trash, then mop clean everywhere. Bust out the vacuum for cockroach nests if needed.

    After that I would then start working room by room, generally to completion — although depending on what fittings were required, I might zap through those everywhere before doing the painting.

    If big space-occupying items were needed like curtains, then would do the painting first — finish a room to spec, then do the fittings for the room and any additional furnishings it required before moving to the next one.

    Even made it far enough to buy and flip a property of my own rather that contract work! Although I should’ve perhaps done a few more contracts first, as I hadn’t unlocked tiling when I did it.

    I still have one more action to unlock actually I think.

    So… yep. At least in this case, I’m a convert. Might even be a good spot to start the series off. :)

    Naithin · December 2, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Oh — and to add, I wasn’t able to let myself do anything less than 100% completion.

    So the perks that allow for a lower completion percentage will definitely be the last I ever buy. xD

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