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.

Time to Loot Journal: March 2019

March was a trying month, with the Christchurch terrorist attack claiming 50 lives in the end. I struggled for a short time in even knowing how to continue posting here afterward. Not to acknowledge it would by far have been the greater crime, but how does one follow that with another post on something so relatively trivial as ‘gaming’ right afterward?

The solution in my case was to acknowledge the struggle in making that cognitive and emotional leap between the two topics. To acknowledge that gaming had a place in decompressing and spending time with friends in a space where, at least for a moment, the constant flood of news could be put to one side.

In any case! To happier things. This journal format is inspired in large part by Wilhelm’s Month in Review series. I don’t have the historical backing to even look back even so far as a year as yet, but that — and longer — is certainly the aspiration. Kudos too, to Endgame Viable for starting (as I can tell) the use of ManicTime to track gaming-time over the course of the month.

Blog This Month

I made 15 posts this month, down from 22 last month. I did wonder whether the pace would be sustainable or not and honestly even now I’ve still not settled into anything recognisable as a set pattern per se.

There are a grand total of 47 published posts (including this one), so the first mini-milestone of 50 should come early on in April. :)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. The Division 2 Private Beta — The Dark Zone
  3. Scar Temple: Tips for Scelos
  4. Transition from Social to Solo
  5. Epic Store Claims Another Exclusive

Only #4 and 5 on this list were actually posted this month. The Heart of Rage tips — despite the significant nerfs to the difficulty of the fight and a declining player base — has a little more than 8x the views of #2!

Games This Month

GameHours% Gaming Time
The Division 246.950.2%
Final Fantasy XIV22.223.7%
Far Cry: New Dawn7.98.5%
Anthem5.55.9%
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice4.44.7%
Far Cry 53.63.8%
Fallout 761.81.9%
Devil May Cry 50.70.7%
Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem0.50.5%

For a total of 93.5 gaming hours, out of 241.3 total ‘active’ hours on the computer, or 38.7% of the active hours spent gaming.

The Division 2

No surprises with this one being my main game of the month.

I am a little surprised in retrospect at how relatively few hours I got out of it with the launch content relative to Anthem though. There is no doubt in my mind that The Division 2 is the more fleshed out and complete package of the two titles and has left me with the more positive impression overall. But it would appear that the gear stratification and knowing we have another tier releasing very soon has been very effective at putting me into a ‘hurry up and wait’ mindset.

I still haven’t reviewed or really even posted a detailed set of impressions on The Division 2 yet, but that is still something in the works.

Final Fantasy XIV

I jumped both feet back into FFXIV only earlier this month.

In part there was a gap until The Division 2, but mostly because I had worked myself into a bit of a frenzy for it after exposure to the Shadowbringers Trailer1.

While it wasn’t the plan to replace ESO, in retrospect it seems obvious there was no other outcome. Both are strongly story focused MMOs that serve a similar role in my gaming line-up.

That initial mad-rush and hyped feeling is gone. Heck, at the launch of Division 2 I almost regretted it because it meant less FFXIV time! But even with this, I still do want to dive into more and be ready — if I can — for Shadowbringer’s launch. Guess we’ll see how it fares this month. :)

Far Cry: New Dawn (and Far Cry 5)

I covered these only the other day in my admission of falling back into the impulse / ‘it’s on a sale’ purchasing habits. *cough*

Far Cry 5 would’ve likely rated a bit more time except I’m playing it exclusively in co-op and the friend I’m playing with was away from home over the weekend since we picked it up.

New Dawn on the other hand… I might be approaching the end of my time with. Maybe. I felt myself drifting from it a bit yesterday. But what I might do instead is break away from the more ‘completionist’ aspects of it and beeline the main story.

Anthem

*sigh* Moving on.

More seriously, I acknowledged putting Anthem on hold this month but I’d all but put it down by the end of February.

Each patch, including the last 1.0.4, I’ve dipped my toes back in against my better judgement ‘just to see’ which is why it has even broke the 5 hour mark.

I was looking at my review the other day in light of current feelings to see if I still stood by it. I do, for however I feel about it now I can’t deny the 90+ hours of joy it brought earlier.

Give this game another year and it could be something truly special.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

I also talked about this one (very briefly) in my last post2.

I’d barely touched it at the time — you know, a whopping two days ago. Endgame Viable posted some spoiler free quick thoughts — so far I agree with all of this bullet points, but none more so than prior Dark Souls experience not necessarily being helpful.

Overriding previous muscle memory reactions with the completely different set that Sekiro requires is no easy task (so far). I haven’t tackled any of the ‘major’ bosses yet, but have 3 mini-bosses under my belt so far (not counting the ‘tutorial’ one). The first one took me the longest when I was least familiar with the controls.

Fallout 76

Wait, what?

This was something of an experiment. After the overwhelming degree of negativity surrounding Anthem I started to wonder. Did Fallout 76 deserve the hate it received? Had it been improved by its patches already? For $20 on sale at the beginning of the month, I was willing to find out.

Look, I probably didn’t give it an entirely fair shake. Would it have received more of a look-in if I wasn’t actively hankering to play FFXIV at the time? Possibly.

But I didn’t get on with it. I’d be reluctant to say it deserves the hate it gets now based on less than 2 hours, though. It looks to have a pretty good 2019 roadmap including a main quest-line, so perhaps I’ll give it more of a shot later on down the road.

Devil May Cry 5

The screenshot over to the right there is from before the main menu loads.

It’s about all I feel qualified to really write about the title so far. I held on buying this one for a while, thought I might even wait on a sale. I loved DMC 4 though, and ultimately the praise DMC 5 was getting was too much to say ‘no’ to.

When will I play it though? … That’s… That’s a great question.

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

Despite the low played time this month, Wolcen likely deserves a full post of its own.

It’s an ARPG that has been on a very slow burn, development wise. I Kickstarted it (back when it was still going by ‘Umbra’) over 4 years ago. What I played was not the full release, oh no. That is probably coming sometime shortly before Star Citizen. What I played was the newly released ‘Gameplay Beta’ which is, to be fair, quite the extension over the technical betas they had running last year.

It is similar in concept to Diablo 3’s adventure mode. There is plenty to like about Wolcen, I think one day it is going to be an excellent title. But I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone yet.

Still though…