Time to Loot Journal: July 2019

Looking back over the past month I’m left wondering… What happened? Where did the time go and what did I do? It seems like a lifetime ago that the health scare raised its head, and yet it was only a handful of weeks. The endoscopy is the end of this week and all going well will put this concern to rest.

Other unrelated sickness in the household has meant I’ve spent a week working from home, which I think lent itself to time blurring with the removal of a regular cadence of work and back, work and back to mark out the days.

Oh! Blaugust is coming though! Over the latter part of July I’ve been in a sort of warm-up exercise mode for it, posting if not every day then every other. It isn’t too late to sign up and jump into the Discord though. :)

Blog this Month

Published 18 posts this month. Up 8 from last. Second most posts in a month since I started Time to Loot (with first place going to February). My Blaugust goal is to hit a post all 31 days though.

I think I can do it — but we’ll see.

Life often has a way of sneaking up and inappropriately pinching your behind when you’re not looking after all. Someone should tell Life it’s 2019 and we don’t stand for that sort of carry on any more.

As for totals? This will make for 98 published posts. Almost broke 100 a month ahead of prediction! I have to say, quite chuffed with getting this far.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  2. Heart of Rage: Tips for The Monitor
  3. Blaugust 2019 is Coming!
  4. Starting The Horrible Hundred
  5. Humble Monthly: July 2019

I was right! The Heart of Rage post at last falls out of top spot. That was a pretty impressive run for it though I suppose. But now the Transport Fever starter guide has taken over with almost 4x the views this month than HoR.

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming TimeChange
1Final Fantasy XIV29.938.5%↑2
2Lost Ark29.838.3%New
3Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey4.55.8%Returning
4Stellaris4.15.3%New
5Warframe2.83.6%New
6Astroneer2.53.2%New
7Devil May Cry 51.82.3%Returning
8Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice0.91.1%New
9Celeste0.81.1%New
10Parkasaurus0.70.9%New

July saw a total of 77.7 gaming hours, down 2.9 hours from June.

And in an almost complete flip from last month where the total active hours were way down from watching shows on devices other than the main desktop, this month saw an unprecedented high of 317.2 total active hours. This is up 141.1 hours over last month.

Much of the increase to total active hours comes from spending a little over a week working from home, plus some return to this device as a TV/Movie watching device.

For July, this means gaming made up 24.4% of the active hours, down 21.2% from last month.

Final Fantasy XIV

Talk about juuuuust eking it out for top spot. Less than 6 minutes difference between it and Lost Ark.

Final Fantasy will certainly still hold strong next month. But whether it will be #1 or #2 is anyone’s guess at this stage.

I’m still looking down the barrel of the vast majority of The Horrible Hundred to complete. But I’ll get there. I’ve just been horribly distracted by Lost Ark, and it’s all Mailvaltar’s fault. Don’t look at me like that, it is! ;)

Lost Ark

Perhaps rather cruelly, I first found out about Lost Ark some 4 or 5 years ago.

I’ve finally got a chance to dive in and try most of the base classes. And Oh my God, where has this game been my entire life?

The blend of MMORPG and ARPG is just so perfect. I’ve leveled two of the Warrior classes — Berserker and Warlord to nearly 30, and with a friend just joining decided to take a look at Bard alongside them.

Easy contender for top spot next month, but as I called out in the sneak peek — it’s by no means certain. Technically you cannot play this outside of Korea, so my account could be terminated at any point. It is going to be difficult in the extreme though to keep my mindset as one of testing and experimenting rather than dedicated though.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

The last episode of the Fate of Atlantis DLC dropped this month, spurring me back into AC’s rendition of Greece where the myths are real.

I’ve started my way into chapter 2 of the First Blade DLC.

I’ve almost finished annihilating the Order of the Storm — Chapter 2’s addition to the Persian Cult — but I’m endeavouring to hunt a few final clues before the final engagement of the chapter. It is my hope that I can save this person rather than slaughter them. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it has been elsewhere in the story. So… Here’s to hoping!

The Others

Quite a hodgepodge here, as is my way. :)

Stellaris made a bit of a surprise return visit in the form of a 4 player game set in a small galaxy size, so that we could test out the recently released Ancient Relics Story pack which added archaeological dig sites that you could have your scientists work on.

Warframe saw a little bit of a revisit too after Tennocon. I still have much to do here, as even in this return I didn’t set foot onto Venus/Fortuna. I think I’m holding out for The New War and Empyrean to download into our hot little waiting hands.

Although I did discover today that there has been a little more added to the story of space mother (aka Natah)! It came alongside the Jupiter / Gas City revamp, and it is apparently quite telling of things to come in the New War story. I may not be able to resist doing that soon.

The rest on the list also make some degree of sense for me I suppose, but if you quirked a brow at Parkasaurus… Well. It’s a tycoon game for a start. I do also love those after all. But mostly, I have an 8-year old boy who still adores Dinosaurs. So this thing was about the best thing ever. For… *looks* …A bit under an hour. ;D

Procrastination by ‘Research’

Blaugust 2019 is almost upon us! The Annual Blogging event to welcome brand new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise the old with a month of focused posting. You can still sign-up to participate and jump into the Blaugust Discord!

And so Blaugust Preparation week begins.1 Over this week the Mentors will be offering advice and tips for the official kick-off, August 1st. Now, I am not a mentor but I might still throw in the odd tidbit from the perspective one who has recently gotten started themselves.

First, a story.

Some years ago I had it in my head to give writing an honest to God, full-fledged fantasy novel a shot. Still riding the high of a successful NaNoWriMo with a bit over 50k words already in the bag. I had even adjusted my sleep schedule to allow for dedicated time in the morning before work. I was pretty serious about it.

So serious, that I had to know everything about it. E v e r y t h i n g. I followed numerous writing blogs. Podcasts. I had a particular penchant for blogs by publishing agents too actually, now that I think about it.

Even gaming time fell off a cliff, as every waking moment was doing some form of research on the art and craft of writing and getting published.

But you know what I wasn’t doing?

Writing.

Not a single word. Blog form, novel form, editing? Not a jot.

Over the years I’ve had the odd similar experience although nothing quite that extreme. Recently I wanted to learn how to digitally paint. Having Alli do some work for me had inspired me to dust off the ol’ Wacom again. I spent a day or two looking through Youtube tutorials before recognising the pattern of procrastination in the name of ‘research’ emerging again.

Research is a valuable tool, but don’t beat your passion to death with it.

Which is to say, looking into your subject and learning from those who have gone before can be a valuable use of time. But it needs to be balanced with actual doing. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a state of inaction.

The desire to get it ‘right’ out of the gate is understandable, but also debilitating.

Blogger or WordPress? WordPress.com or .org? What about Medium? Here’s a truth for you. It doesn’t matter. There are many hugely successful blogs on all blog platforms, free and paid.

Just go to WordPress.com and get started!

You don’t need to be perfect out of the gate. You don’t need to know everything before you start. Tags vs. Categories? Who cares. There’s nothing here that you can’t fix later when you know better. And don’t even get started on SEO.

Just write. Write how you want, about what you want. Do.

Nothing else matters if you don’t. And I think that’s the most important thing to remember. Use research as a means to improve what you’re doing, not as a way to avoid doing it.

There is nothing to be gained in understanding how to write the perfect agent query letter if you have nothing to query. There is nothing to be gained in knowing how to optimise for SEO like a boss if you don’t have a blog with single post yet.

Worse yet, carry it on for too long and you could kill your passion before you even give it a chance to breathe.

Humble Monthly: July 2019

The June bundle was one of the few I paid for early in order to gain access to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice early. I then ended up putting it aside most of the month anyway in favour of Moonlighters (also in the bundle).

I’ve now given Hellblade a try and oh my. I’ll almost certainly post more on it later, but even just up through the first major boss encounter (there is a choice on first actually, I went with Illusion)… Unmissable gaming experience I think.

Which makes it a either a shame, or of no importance — depending on the perspective you choose to take — that the rest of the month’s bundle is… Less than amazing.

But first, what’s been headlined for the coming bundle?

August Headline Titles

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

I invested a good number of hours into this when it came out early last year, but hoo boy it was rife with bugs. I’ve been keeping an eye on the patches that have since come to rectify the situation and it seems now might be a good time to give it a go.

If you don’t already own it, the humble bundle for the coming month is likely a really good bet.

Surviving Mars

Safe to say I won’t be paying early for this bundle. I own Surviving Mars already as well. It’s developed by the guys behind Tropico 5, but published by Paradox and seemingly following their DLC model. (I.e., early and often).

How much that bothers you is up to you. I find it makes it very difficult to get into their titles after they’ve been out in market a few years — but as a player who gets in early (and I’d still say that’s the case here) the frequent updates and adaptations to the gameplay is really quite appreciated and can extend the game’s lifespan well beyond normal.

Revealed Titles

OK, maybe I was a little rough in my opening. Mechanicus looks like it might actually be worth a look. Seems to be a Turn Based Tactics game ala XCOM. And what might surprise you — it certainly surprised me, being a licensed Warhammer game as it is — it has been well received and rated ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ on Steam.

…I just didn’t think that happened for WH licensed games.

Anyway, Road Redemption is the remake of the old-school Road Rash. I feel that if you played the original this one is likely going to be an amazing nostalgia trip. But I didn’t. And this looks relatively unappealing me as a result, I think.

As for the others… eh. Love is Dead has a bit of a ‘cute’ premise I guess. Seperated by undeath as zombies, re-unite your family in a puzzler type environment. 60 Parsecs is a point and click adventure, which if done well can be right up my ally. This one is rated well — so I’m not saying it doesn’t — but the art style is quite a turn-off to me. And then NAIRI is a visual novel.

Humble Monthly: June 2019

For last month’s introduction, I spoke a bit about how there seemed to be less ‘quality’ titles willing to go into the Humble Monthly. Even though I was talking mostly about the non-headliners, I still had a bit of a giggle when CoD was revealed in that pack. ;)

Originally, the version of CoD to be included was to be the Battle edition, which includes the core multiplayer experience and the battle-royale mode ‘Blackout’, but not zombies. At some point over the month, this was upgraded to the standard edition — so Zombies ahoy!

July Headline Titles

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Legitimate excitement at seeing this included. It has been in my steam cart on multiple occasions, just never at a time when I was quite willing to indulge my impulse-purchase side over and above the possibly more rational, ‘But I have scores of games still untouched already!’ side.

I think I will have to make time for this one. Perhaps I can finish Nioh (incidentally, another Ninja Theory title As SpiderProvider correctly pointed out in the comments below, these are not from the same studio!) this month before the bundle lands.

Moonlighter

Moonlighter reminds me a great deal of Recettear in concept, although some of the execution looks quite different. You are a shopkeeper by trade, adventurer by night. With a bit of the social and town systems of Stardew Valley possibly thrown in there too.

Moonlighter recently had a ‘Switch’ announcement, which for this style of game is by far my preferred platform. Something about the style just lends itself so well to the more portable nature of the Switch. Plus I suppose when I’m at the PC I typically want to be playing something a little more demanding.

Even so, it’s another one I’m quite happy to receive and take a little look at, to see if I do want it on Switch. As unfortunately, titles there are typically much pricier than their PC counterparts.

Revealed Titles

911 Operator after a quick look actually seems like it could be pretty decent. It had never crossed my radar before, but it came out early 2017 and looks to have been fairly well received at the time. It has a nice touch of being able to download any city map in the world to play on. I wonder if it has some integration with Google Maps for this? In any case, not sure if it’ll surface to the top of my ‘want to play’ list sufficiently to find time for it, but it doesn’t look bad.

Duskers also looks interesting. This one had crossed my radar in the past, but I never quite pulled the trigger on purchase. It’s a game at least in part played through a command line console. … In spaaaaace. You’re in control of a series of drones, investigating a derelict ship. The crew is gone without a trace. Signs of damage throughout. Most of the power is down. But something is moving in there.

Of the revealed titles, those are the two most likely to get a look-in. The others will almost certainly be straight dumped to the ‘Humble Monthly – Never Played’ steam category. ;)

Red Faction is a series I missed in its hey-day, but the remastered — sorry, remarstered edition doesn’t look especially compelling to me. I think this series though was the forerunner for the hyper-destructive 3D environments before there was a Just Cause.

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