Time to Loot Journal: June 2019

I don’t think I’ve provided an update on my work situation since the May Journal, so here we go. I’ve ended up not leaving after all. I had put my hand up to leave in order to take a look for something new out there. I needed a change, and if it saved one of my team from redundancy in the process all the better.

I’d signed the papers and it was a done deal — but then in the last couple of weeks before I was scheduled to go I was presented with an opportunity to take up a significant new challenge on a brand new product portfolio.

Pretty exciting, with a lot of new tech to learn and play with! Which is exactly what I was after. :)

Blog this Month

Published 10 posts this month, down 2 from last month. This was maintaining a fairly consistent 2 posts a week, although this one will make for the third post this week. Originally I had wanted to run 3 posts a week, but with how I currently run things that has turned out to be unsustainable.

How do I currently run things? Well — I think a separate post on that is forthcoming, but the gist of it is that I haven’t really carved out any time in my life for blogging. It has simply had to fit around out.

In any case, this post will make for 80 published posts. By the end of August Time to Loot should be sitting slightly over 100 posts, which I think will make it my most posted to blog — although still a fair while off longest running.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  3. Humble Bundle: June 2019
  4. E3 Gleanings So Far
  5. When First Impressions Don’t Last

So my prediction of the Heart of rage post lasting in top spot for another month was true. That also probably wasn’t the most terribly difficult prediction to make. But last month I also wasn’t sure whether it would hold much beyond that.

I think now that next month we’ll see the HoR post fall into at least the second place spot.

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming TimeChange
1DoTA Underlords28.335.3%New
2Nioh25.331.5%New
3Final Fantasy XIV7.59.3%↓1
4Forager5.97.4%New
5Borderlands 25.77.1%New
6Moonlighter4.96.1%New
7Dark Souls: Remastered0.91.1%New
8Slay the Spire0.81.0%New
9Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem0.60.8%Returning
10Baba Is You0.40.5%New

There was a total of 80.4 gaming hours this month, up 51.3 hours from May. Back to an almost ‘normal’ mid-90’s figure. Well. What I’m taking as normal anyway, but that was only based on two months (March & April) of data.

Where things get a bit more interesting is that the correlation between total active time on the computer and gaming time was broken this month. Total active time was only 176.1 hours, down 27 hours from even last month. Down a bit over 70 hours as compared to a ‘normal’ month.

Gaming made up 45.6% of the active hours, up 31.3% from May.

Now in graph form! While the data set is still very small, the current month is still quite an apparent anomaly. I think I can explain it though. In the previous months, my wife and I were using this computer to watch shows on as well, inflating the active time. This month we’ve been more likely to use her laptop or my Surface in bed to watch things instead. Because it’s frackin’ cold. Seasonal effect, it’s real! ;)

DoTA Underlords

I mentioned earlier discovering DoTA Underlords, bouncing off initially and then coming back for more. Way more. DoTA Underlords has filled that niche of game that can be played quite comfortably while watching a show, browsing, or being otherwise occupied on the other monitor.

I made it up to Smuggler III so far as rank thus far, but don’t let the fact that the multiplayer is ‘ranked’ scare you off. No-one is really looking at your play, you only vs. the other players in your match via AI controlled units in fact. I don’t know much longer I’ll keep playing it heavily– but I appreciate that it exists!

Nioh

My play time here has fallen away in the latter half of the month. I was hoping to play it multiplayer with my eldest son some more, so I halted my singleplayer progress while he catches up.

But uh… It’s taking him a while. Mostly because he still plays so much Fortnite. Please excuse me while I scream into this bag for a little bit. ;)

I’m at the beginning of the third island now, whereas I believe my son still has at least one more main mission on the first island.

Final Fantasy XIV

I’d hoped the launch of Shadowbringers would be a bit more exciting for me personally, but it has certainly been held back by the fact I know I still have so. much. more. to do on the ARR MSQ before I even get to see the last expansions, let alone this one!

No doubt I’ll still get my way through things, but it isn’t something I’ve been heavily investing time into as you can see.

Forager

The perfect skinner-box game. I wondered at first whether it might have a bit of a pacing issue getting started.

And it might — especially if you don’t know the general direction in which to head to unlock automation. But once you get it, things start ticking along very nicely and it is a very difficult to put down game. I think I said I was going to call it at around level 20, didn’t actually stop until around level 25 because I kept unlocking cool new technologies that I ‘just wanted to see’.

It’s still under quite active development too, only single-player right now but co-op is on the roadmap.

Borderlands 2

If you didn’t hear — Borderlands 2 released a new DLC this month with story that directly ties into the forthcoming Borderlands 3. ‘Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary’.

If you add it to your account before July 8th or there abouts — it’s free. It did highlight though how poorly some of the gameplay concepts of Borderlands 2 have aged. Don’t get me wrong — we still had a blast playing through it, but hoo boy. Bring on BL3!

The Others

I talked about these already, and recently — so I shan’t go into too much detail again.

The first main callout here is that I added Slay the Spire to my list of acquisitions from this Steam Sale. I’ve only played one round of it so far in which died horribly in the 2nd chapter/area, but did at least beat the first boss! ;)

The second is that Wolcen received a fairly hefty content patch. Act 1 is back in the game. But at least so far it is utterly unrecognisable from the ‘Act 1’ we had in the Alpha. Whether the story strands will ultimately rejoin or whether those old strands have been cut and tossed to the wind I’m not entirely sure.

It’s still very much a case of, ‘Only buy if you wish to support the developers’. But it looks great. Some of that early promise which has been missing (in my opinion) since the transition from the Alpha to the Betas is finally starting to make an appearance again.

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.

Humble Monthly: May 2019

Wandersong was included this month, either a late reveal headliner or an early reveal part of the main package depending on your point of view. Humble has done these mid-month reveals before, but just not while I’ve been doing this write-up. I think going forward I’ll simply include them in the ‘revealed’ titles section.

The last few months (longer, really) I’ve been typically interested in the headliner title and then found the late reveals to be universally disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, for $12 / mo getting even one title you want is enough from a financial justification point of view. At least if it was something you could consider as something you would have otherwise bought anyway.

But that’s just looking at it from a perspective of value for money. There is also the more psychological aspect. The mini-Christmas effect of opening presents! It’s been a while since I’ve had that from a non-headliners.

In an otherwise rather innocuous news post on Wandersong about fixing achievements, I think the answer why this is the case was given. There is an impression amongst developers that being in the Monthly Humble Bundle results in more down-ratings on their games. The Wandersong dev was expressing surprise that this didn’t happen in their case.

I can kinda see why this might happen, too. People obtaining your game ‘normally’ have made a choice to buy it. They’ve seen something they like to drive the purchase. Compared to a Humble Bundle type situation where you simply will land in the hands of gamers with neither interest in anything your game offers nor your well being as a developer.

Personally I have enough to play already that I simply throw such games into a generic Steam category, never to be looked at again. I have no inclination in reviewing them one way or another. But for others who have a different motivation in being part of Humble Bundle, those who actually want to play everything they’re getting? … Then yeah, I can see this combined effect resulting in more ‘Not recommended’ votes.

I’m not sure if this is a problem with a solution, so I’m curious whether Humble is struggling to find ‘quality’ (I realise how subjective this is) titles willing to be anything but headliners now.

June Headline Title

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Battle Edition

The ‘Battle Edition’ seems to include most of the COD 4 experience. You get the core multiplayer mode and also Blackout — their take on Battle Royale.

You don’t however get access to their Zombie mode. For that you’d need to upgrade to a ‘full’ package.

I never would have bought COD 4 of my own accord, but I am at least mildly interested in dipping my toes in the water since it’ll be coming my way anywho. You can grab it now if so inclined, but I’ll just be waiting for my regular monthly bundle payment to process end of month.

Revealed Titles

Finding Paradise is sublime. It’s the sequel to equally beautiful To the Moon. They’re both more interactive narratives rather than true ‘games’, although there are some puzzle-light elements.

If I hadn’t played these already, this sort of title definitely would have given me that ‘Christmas’ feeling I was talking about before. If you’ve not yet played through, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Finding Paradise does tell a self-contained story, but I’d still highly recommend playing through To the Moon first. You play through as the same pair of Doctor’s and the ethics of what your corporation does are delved into a little more in the sequel.

The other reveals in this list all pale in comparison.