Fungible

My gaming purchasing decisions go through two processing stages:

  1. Is the game discounted from MSRP?
  2. Do I anticipate more fun spending X on this game, than X on Y game(s)?

That second step really stops the vast majority of my purchases, especially since the advent of Humble sales and similar bundles. Ironically though, I often don’t end up purchasing those cheaper, great (indie) games because they get caught in the same filter, creating a sort of recursive loop that prevents all purchases.

You will note that my backlog of games shamefully has no impact on my purchasing decision.

Last night was the final day that I could preorder 70 packs of Hearthstone’s latest expansion, Witchwood. I sat looking at the purchase screen for a long, long time. I would not say that Hearthstone is necessarily a must-play game for me, but it is something I have been playing off-and-on for… how long? Jesus Christ, five years?! Wow. How is that even possible?

What was I talking about again?

The preorder for Witchwood was $49.99. For a game I have been playing for 5 (!!!) years, that doesn’t seem like a lot. But you know what else is $49.99, listed in the same Battle.net launcher? WoW’s next expansion, Battle for Azeroth. I’m not super excited for the next expansion, but I do have $70 in BlizzBucks on my account (from selling my Legion stockpile of gold) and a New Year’s resolution to fund my Blizzard gaming using it. Between the two, WoW is absolutely going to give me more bang for my BlizzBucks.

There is also the more salient point that $50 can get you a LOT of gaming these days. An absurd amount, honestly. The current Strategy Bundle at HB will net you Endless Legends and Endless Space 2 for $12. There is a complete edition for Civ 5 which is like $15. There is something to be said about fun depth probably being better than simply time spent (e.g. just because you spend 500 hours playing Civ, doesn’t mean it’s your favorite game ever), the fact remains that you can get a lot of value for your dollar these days and games are largely fungible.

Of course, what ends up happening far too often with me is that I get in the mood to play a particular type of game, and everything that isn’t that specific game becomes less fun to play. Which means I am generally better off buying games on sale, even when I have a ridiculous backlog, in the off-chance that my hankering is satisfied with something I already bought.

Or, sometimes, I just end up playing the same damn game over and over for a long-ass time, until my mood shifts again. Have I mentioned I have 70 hours in RimWorld now? The only thing that could bring me out of this Survival kick is an update to 7 Days to Die or me deleting enough games to make room for Ark again (100+ GB, ugh).

Or until the winds change again, I suppose.

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Posted on April 13, 2018, in Commentary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have 320ish hours in Slay the Spire, an early access single player card game which isn’t even content or feature complete.

    What gets me on that one is that a: it is easy to work with, quick to start up, quick to finish, I don’t have to spend a lot of effort remembering where I was or what I was doing, etc. It’s a good game, but for much the same reasons as yourself I would be hesitant to rate it best ever or anything like that. Time spent just measures replay value, and some of the best games don’t really have much replay value.

    I do agree with the implicit statement that HS seems remarkably expensive for what you actually get.

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    • Oh man, Slay the Spire. When I opened Steam last night to play some more RimWorld, I noticed Steam downloading another weekly (?) update for Slay the Spire, which led me to reading the patch notes, which led me to trying the Daily Run, which led me to playing for a couple of hours. It is the perfect game for “I don’t know what to do, so let me play something until I figure that out.”

      As for Hearthstone’s cost… yeah, it’s a lot. It’s not technically a lot for how many hours of entertainment I’ve gotten, but it’s not as though those hours necessarily depend on how much I’ve paid into the system. Of course, I’ve been playing for 5 years, so I have most of the baseline cards and crafting the new ones from leftover Dust is relatively easy. I can’t begin to imagine how awful the new player experience has gotten.

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