Time to Loot Journal: May 2019

Well… May is a month that happened. While nothing as earth shaking as March, it was closer to home. In the respect that it was both to people I knew and to a degree it was from action I was executing. I’m talking about the restructure at work.

As a brief catch-up, I decided to take voluntary redundancy but that wasn’t the end of it. With the labour cost restrictions for the coming financial year… There was still headcount compression that had to happen within the remainder of my team. One in particular took it very hard and I haven’t as yet been able to place them anywhere else in the company. Nonetheless, I’ve been able to negotiate early release for those that want it and everyone is getting to a better place.

Still it’s not over though, and I’ve been offered a few interesting potentials to get me to stay. There is a lot to unpack mentally in this though, as I do in many ways still feel it is my time to go, and seek some change. In any case, enough of that. The point is — a lot on the mind this month which has kept me from really digging too much into games or blogging (from a reading or writing perspective) as much as I would like.

Blog this Month

For all that, I still managed to publish 12 posts. But they were rather heavily weighted toward the start of the month before things got hectic. Four posts in the first week of the month, then typically only 2 after that.

There are now a grand total of 71 published posts (including this one). It also marks the 6th month of posting! … Sort of. It’s hard to count January since I started so close to the end. Even so, I think I’ll take it. ;)

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. Nostalgia and Moving On
  3. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  4. Quitting WoW
  5. Kickstarter 10 Years Old

Well what do you know, all posts except for the Heart of Rage were actually from this month. I wonder how long before it falls from top spot though. I suspect it will last through next month, one after that I’m less confident about.

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming TimeChange
1Transport Fever9.131.1%↑3
2Final Fantasy XIV9.030.9%Returning
3Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey2.910.0%↓2
4The Division 22.48.3%↓2
5Battle Brothers1.65.3%New
6Sea of Thieves1.55.1%New
7Star Traders: Frontiers1.55.0%New
8Production Line0.62.1%New
9Absolver0.62.1%New

There was a total of 29.1 gaming hours this month, down by a whopping 68.6 hours from April. Not too surprising given the context of the month, but still! The total gaming hours is not much more than half the time I spent on just AC:O last month.

Total active time on the computer was 203.1 hours, down 65.7 hours from last month. Gaming made up 14.3% of the active hours, down 22.9% from April.

Transport Fever

I played through a few of the actual gameplay sections for the Chasing Truck Fever series (including one as yet to be posted).

If not for the series, despite still enjoying the game immensely I think it would have fallen a lot lower on the list in terms of time played. The series itself hasn’t been doing super well, which I suppose isn’t too surprising given the genre itself is a bit niche. May end up putting a premature end to it in that form, with my more general intermittent update style post.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV makes a triumphant return! … Well, it makes a return at least! Despite relatively few hours in it this month, there has been a lot of progress made.

I got my Choboco. Taught it how to fight. Learnt the way of the Bard. Completed another story dungeon or two, and made it to around level 36 or 37 now. As Mailvaltar correctly pointed out in comments though, this is still a long way off being able to participate in the new expansion content when it launches end of month.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

I feel like dropping only two places in ranking doesn’t adequately tell the story of just how much less played it was this month. It was almost 19x less time spent.

I posted earlier in the month when I finished the first chapter of the first DLC. Since then I’d decided to wait until all chapters of the Fate of Atlantis DLC are out before continuing. If that isn’t this month, it should certainly be the next, as Part 2 came out a week or two ago.

The Division 2

I had some hopes for the raid bringing my interest back around for The Division 2.

It didn’t, so I recently acknowledged that it was off my list.

I’m not to the point of uninstalling it, I definitely want to head back in for any additional story content they add throughout the year. But as something I regularly play, definitely done and I feel that would have been the case even without the additional context of the happenings this month.

The Others

Sea of Thieves

A few interesting titles to try this month. The XBox/Microsoft live pass thinger had a trial offer of 3-months for $1 — so why not? Gave it a go for Sea of Thieves.

There was a bit of fun to be had, but it didn’t really click with my friends or I in any meaningful way. Doubtful it will be returned to even with another 2 and a bit months on the trial clock.

Battle Brothers on the other hand, I like very much. I owe it to Syncaine for even being aware of its existence. Not quite sure how this one had passed me by for so long, but I expect when my gaming time starts returning to some semblance of normalcy it will feature more heavily. It’s a title that absolutely requires a bit of time investment upfront in learning to play, and does a very poor job of teaching necessary bits of information in the game itself.

Absolver

For Absolver… Boy am I glad I picked it up in a Monthly Humble Bundle rather than paying for it. At first I thought I might be able to click with it after all.

It seemed very responsive and I thought that the ‘lag’ issues discussed at the titles launch were either incredibly overblown or now fixed. Turns out neither was the case, there is simply a brief single-player only ‘tutorial’ section at the start. Once you’re through that, as an Oceanic player you just have no chance with half-second or more delays on input to response on screen.

Production Line I mentioned in the last journal as something I picked up alongside Transport Fever while in my tycoon craze phase. I gave it a bit of a try this month and it has a fair bit of potential. I haven’t picked up its DLC, ‘Doors That Go Like This’ yet, but I appreciate the name. Hehe.

And finally, Star Traders: Frontiers — it’s still early access and has if not weekly updates, then near enough to. It’s one I poke my head into again from time to time, but will await a 1.0 release before embarking on a full play through. Nonetheless, it’s already an amazing title well worth your time. :)

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.


Humble Monthly: April 2019

In last month’s Humble post, I talked about how it serves as quite a good buffer against impulse buying. Clearly, it’s not infallible. Some titles I’m going to pick-up given enough of a sale or other incentive. The verdict from last month’s Humble Bundle Monthly was to continue the subscription, so here we are for another round.

May Headline Titles

The format of my original post worked well for starting the series where I needed to detail the headline titles of both the current bundle and the upcoming. As a continuing series though, I think the most important Headliners are those coming in the next bundle. They will generally be your decision point to subscribe, unsubscribe, or potentially even pay early for the month to unlock them immediately.

So without further ado, the newly revealed Headline Title, available now for early unlock is:

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

For $12, I could not recommend this more strongly if you don’t already own a copy.

It is the first in the modern iterations of Assassin’s Creed where the series started down more of an RPG track. Very lightly touched upon in Origins and then expanded further in Odyssey. A great place to get started into the series, too.

I do already own a copy, but I’m still excited for this to show up in the Monthly Bundle as an opportunity to give my eldest son a chance to go through it as well.

Revealed Titles

It’s another unfortunate month on the revealed titles (for me). None of these were on my radar or even in general awareness.

The most interesting of the bunch appears to be Steel Rats. It looks like a cross between an old-school side-scrolling brawler like Double Dragon and motorbike stunt game series, Trials.

Honestly though, they will probably all end up in my general dumping-ground category of, ‘Humble Monthly Obtained’. A graveyard of titles never to be looked at again absent external provocation to do so.

Humble Monthly Survives to May

It is unusual for there to be only one early access title. At least in recent history. Lucky for them, even though it is one I personally own, I still want it.

Otherwise a different decision might’ve reached this time around!