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End of Year: 2019 Edition

Another end of year, another end of year post.

This has been a rather busy year on the personal front, what with the birth of my son and all. Our little family unit has settled into a reasonable routine that affords me exactly two hours to play videogames each day. And do chores. And any other house projects. So, basically, about 40 minutes of gaming at most. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait for this little guy to grow up into a proper Player 2?

We did this on purpose, for the record. Anyway.

The gaming goals from last year:

  • Seriously, dude, play some of those PS3 games [Nope]
  • Clear at least one story path from SWTOR [Never got off the first planet]
  • Finish up the PoF story content in GW2 [Got distracted doing Season 3 stuff]
  • Clean up Steam library by removing titles not likely to play [Yes!]
  • Be a (passably) responsible gaming dad [Absolutely]

I talked about Guild Wars 2 last year for a while, and I find it interesting that it remains a topic at the end of this year. Here lately, I have even taken to logging in for two minutes just to click on the calendar rewards and then log off to play something else. Story progress has stopped for me, but I did spend a few weeks (loosely) transitioning my Necromancer into a Reaper, e.g. greatsword elite spec. We’ll see if it remains a topic into 2020 though, or if I abandon it like ArenaNet.

Zero progress on ye olde PS3. It has successfully prevented me from purchasing a PS4 though, so that’s nice. What’s also interesting is that some of best games I played on it back in the day are coming to PC again. For example, Journey. It’s an Epic Store exclusive, but it’s there. I’m sorely tempted to buy it again, actually.

The SWTOR thing was a rather passing fancy. I think I logged in twice. It’s still installed.

Cleaning up my Steam library is actually something I have committed to and have continued to this day. Things are a bit weird with subscription services like the Game Pass, but in 2019 I have played:

  • TERA
  • Quantum Break
  • Terraria
  • Empyrion
  • 7 Days to Die
  • RUINER
  • Path of Exile
  • Surviving Mars
  • Tooth and Tail
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Heat Signature
  • Slay the Spire
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Oxygen Not Included
  • Streets of Rogue
  • Graveyard Keeper
  • Moonlighter
  • Fallout 76
  • Outer Worlds
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2
  • No Man’s Sky
  • ARK
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • Cultist Simulator
  • Tangledeep
  • Prey
  • Sundered: Eldritch Edition
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Skulls of the Shogun
  • Mini Metro
  • Starbound
  • Dishonored
  • Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
  • Staxel
  • Far Cry Primal
  • Hearthstone
  • Hotline Miami 2
  • Guild Wars 2

That’s about 40 games I spent at least an hour or two playing through the year. Of those, it’s been 7 Days to Die, Oxygen Not Included, and Slay the Spire that I have played the longest. Which is amusing to me because I typically balk at playing games like Civilization wherein there’s no “point.” Perhaps I just don’t like the Civ series as much as I did way back in the day.

Looking towards 2020… wow… 2020, eh? Who’d have thought we’d make it?

Anyway, I definitely see 2020 as the year of the subscription gaming service. We have gone from having an embarrassing Steam backlog to an embarrassment of riches between the Game Pass, Origin Premier, and Uplay+. Nevermind Humble Choice, which similarly delivers just short of a dozen games each month.

Beyond that, there are a number of high-profile releases I’m looking forward to playing. Final Fantasy 7 Remake (March). Cyberpunk 2077 (April). Last of Us 2 (May). Then you have the PC release of Death Stranding and Borderlands 3 (cough), general release of Dying Light 2, and the mythical Wastelanders expansion to Fallout 76. I used to worry about getting caught paying full MSRP for games I really want on Day 1, but how many will be covered under some subscription or another? Well, other than the PS4 exclusives. Which probably means I need a PS4…

On the MMO front, the Shadowlands expansion will be coming out for WoW in 2020 sometime. As before, I do have a passing interest in playing WoW with each new expansion, if only to see how many different variants of the wheel they can re-invent. I just wish they would not start with the square one every time.

Speaking of terrible MMO design, there is supposedly a major patch for Final Fantasy XIV coming out that will finally address the chore that constitutes the first 50 hours of “story” in that game. I am not sure whether they will pull a Cataclysm or just give the story-skip potion to everyone for free, but I’m looking forward to it. If for no other reason than to quell all the people exclaiming that it has “the best MMO story” as if the steaming pile of shit you had to slog through to get there doesn’t bring down the average. Could you tell me why I had to sit in a DPS dungeon queue for 50 minutes to get some cheese for a Main Story Quest again? … that’s what I thought.

I suppose I should make some goals here, huh? Let’s go with…

  • Play PS3 games so I feel less guilty about buying a PS4 for two games
  • Otherwise play the games you want to play when you want to play them
  • Stop playing the games you don’t want to play anymore
  • Continue being a (passably) responsible gaming dad

Alright, 2020. Let’s roll.

End of Year: 2018 Edition

Things were going pretty excellent last year, and this year was even better. On the personal front, not the gaming front. Gaming has been pretty bad. Or perhaps just more recently bad.

My gaming goals from last year:

  • Complete the vanilla, HoT, and PoF story content in GW2. [only HoT complete]
  • Play through some of those PS3 games I bought five years ago. [Errrm]
  • Embrace the notion of shorter, possibly more frequent posts. [Not really]
  • Use my Blizzard balance to pay for all my Blizzard gaming. [Success]
  • Clear at least 40 games from my Steam backlog. [Success]

Guild Wars 2 has been an interesting experience, as I have played it off and on all year long. I feel like not very many MMOs could work this way, even if they didn’t have subscriptions, but somehow it does. It also helps that the Necromancer is a class I enjoy playing. While I finished the HoT story and stopped, there’s a good chance I’ll get back on the horse at some point and finish out PoF and maybe even the main storyline.

I’m just conceding the PS3 game situation as a moral failing and moving on. Well… maybe. It’s been a useful cudgel in preventing myself from buying a PS4 or other gaming system. One day, though.

The shorter posts thing definitely didn’t work out, or at least it doesn’t feel that way. There were more entries in 2018 than in the last two years, but 10% less than the 2012-2015 time period. I prefer writing articles to quips anyway, but quips are generally better at generating comments, clicks, and all other metrics that demonstrate traffic. Luckily, I have no need for traffic, and would be shouting into the void regardless. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the company down here in the void.

I got in relatively early on the Battle for Azeroth gold train in WoW, and so all my Blizzard activity can be financed for the foreseeable future. Provided, of course, I were still interested in playing any Blizzard titles. As it stands, my balance is around $90 and will continue to be at that level probably through 2019. And possibly beyond, unless I run out of other games to play.

My final goal was clearing 40 games from my Steam backlog. Looking at my Recently Played stats, I can see the following titles listed in 2018 with at least a few hours on them:

  • Homefront
  • Furi
  • Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut
  • Closure
  • Scanner Sombre
  • Warhammer 40k: DoW 3
  • Salt & Sanctuary
  • Talisman: Digital Edition
  • QUBE 2
  • Darkwood
  • SuperHOT
  • Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
  • The Banner Saga 2
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
  • Monster Slayers
  • Galactic Civilization 3
  • Clustertruck
  • Guild of Dungeoneering
  • Dark Souls
  • Metal Gear Survive
  • The Long Dark
  • Nier: Automata
  • Slay the Spire
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Civilization VI
  • Dead Cells
  • Subterrain
  • RimWorld
  • Stellaris
  • Conan Exiles
  • Stardew Valley
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Hollow Knight
  • The Forest
  • Oxygen Not Included
  • Fallout 76
  • Subnautica
  • The Division

I tried to put the more substantial games in the right-hand column. The above 38 do not include the ~7 Visual Novels I cleared, nor the games from 2017 I’m still playing (e.g. Starbound), nor the games I played for about an hour and uninstalled (e.g. Dead Rising 4), so I’m well past the 40 mark.

As I sit here thinking about gaming goals for 2019, I’m a bit at a loss. It almost feels as though an inflection point has been reached beyond which “clearing the Steam backlog” is less a Sisyphean task and more… an irrelevant one. I used to find value in doing so not because of sunk cost fallacy, but with the hopes of finding the diamond in the rough. In a similar fashion, I used to download an Indie-Rock playlist with hundreds of crap songs just for those rare moments of discovering a new band I liked, and the joy of experiencing their whole discography. Never heard of the band Sleeping At Last until this year, for example, and now they’re one of my top favorites of all time. If I hadn’t put myself out there in the weeds in the first place, I may never have had them in my life.

But when was the last time that happened in a gaming sense? Something like Slay the Spire might have qualified, had it not been the fact that I already knew the game was awesome and confirmed the game is awesome. I feel reasonably in tune with my own gaming preferences these days – including the realization that survival games push all my buttons – so most things seem figured out.

It might also be fact that I’ll be a father around May and will thus have less gaming time. Either/or.

For fun though, let’s write some stuff down:

  • Seriously, dude, play some of those PS3 games
  • Clear at least one story path from SWTOR
  • Finish up the PoF story content in GW2
  • Clean up Steam library by removing titles not likely to play
  • Be a (passably) responsible gaming dad

Five months is plenty of time to get everything done, right? Easy. Yep. No problem.

Narrator: It wasn’t.

End of Year: 2017 Edition

Much like with 2016, this year seems to have been one in which we entered the Darkest Timeline… until I look at my personal life and find things have been pretty fantastic this year. Bought a house, got a big promotion, got engaged, played some videogames. Who could ask for more?

Well, aside from ~80,000 people last year, but nevermind.

Here were my goals from last year:

  • Give FF14 another shot. [Gave way more than a shot]
  • Play through some of those PS3 games I bought four years ago. [Oops…]
  • Resist playing WoW until the WoW Token -> Blizzard balance goes Live. [Done]
  • Clear at least 30 games from my Steam backlog. [Tentative yes?]

Still haven’t touched those PS3 games, but I did resist the urge to unnecessarily buy a PS4. Mainly by way of missing the Black Friday sales, but a win is a win! Sorta. That said, when I upgraded my 24″ monitor to a 27″, I went ahead and ensured that I could use it for both my normal PC and the PS3. In fact, I have the PS3 hooked up to said monitor right now and could play those games at any moment. Even bought a Bluetooth speaker, so there’s no issues there. Yep. Any day now.

The Steam backlog thing was a bit tricky to figure out. Sorting by the Last Played column and looking at my Finished category, I see the following:

  • The Talos Principle
  • The Flame in the Flood
  • Remember Me
  • The Shrouded Isle
  • A Story About My Uncle
  • Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  • Crawl
  • Armello
  • Black Desert Online
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Total War: Warhammer
  • SteamWorld Heist
  • XCOM 2
  • The Forest
  • Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

That’s a total of 16 real, substantial titles that I feel I gave a fair shake whether I ended up beating them or not. The actual total from last year is 88, with a rather large portion (21) being Visual Novels, and the rest being games I tried for about an hour and uninstalled. Looking at my active library, the list fills out a bit more:

  • Subnautica
  • The Long Dark
  • Neon Chrome
  • Darkwood
  • 7 Days to Die
  • Spelunky
  • PixelJunk Eden
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail
  • Kingdom Rush
  • Infinifactory
  • ARK
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
  • Warframe

So… that’s technically 30. Although, even more technically, these have not been “cleared from my backlog,” as they are still hanging out in my library (some uninstalled). It could go either way, but I’m inclined to give myself a break.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2018:

  • Complete the vanilla, HoT, and PoF story content in GW2.
  • Play through some of those PS3 games I bought five years ago.
  • Embrace the notion of shorter, possibly more frequent posts.
  • Use my Blizzard balance to pay for all my Blizzard gaming.
  • Clear at least 40 games from my Steam backlog.

Feels kinda like a low bar, but exceeding low expectations is what I’m all about.

End of Year: 2016 Edition

There are many who will argue that 2016 was the worst year ever, and I am inclined to agree. At least, I would, until I start looking at my own personal life, in which case things have been largely fantastic. Part of the slowdown in the past two months, for example, was because I was shopping around for a house. I’m technically in contract, but we’ll see how it goes.

Looking back at the New Years Resolutions (of sorts) from 2015, I had:

  • Actually playing FFXIV for real this time. [Completed]
  • Maybe, potentially sticking my toe back in GW2. Briefly. [Yep]
  • Oh, yeah, I bought GTA 5, didn’t I? [I did, and I beat it too.]
  • Being more excited than I probably should be about Overwatch. [100%]
  • Spending a WoW token and immediately regretting it. [No regrets]
  • Being amazing. [Of course]

I completed my foray into FFXIV fairly early on in the year, and am tempted to give it another go – especially given that I’ve done this spontaneous “Yearly Attempt” deal for ESO and GW2 recently. Perhaps a melee class would be better suited to my “actually press buttons” playstyle? Plus… I feel kinda guilty for finally deleting FFXIII’s 60+GB install, despite the fact that I technically already own FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns. Final Fantasy used to be my jam, you know?

Anyway, my goals for 2017 can mostly be summed up with:

  • Give FF14 another shot.
  • Play through some of those PS3 games I bought four years ago.
  • Resist playing WoW until the WoW Token -> Blizzard balance goes Live.
  • Clear at least 30 games from my Steam backlog.

That is basically it. See you folks on the other side of 2016.

 

Inconsistent Resolutions

It’s been about two weeks now, and I’m unsure on how I’m doing with my resolution to not play “just OK” games.

At first, things were good. Loaded up Fable 3, suffered through the Games for Windows Live bullshit, game froze while auto-saving after about 30 minutes of gameplay, and I Noped right out of there. Then, having picked up a Punch Club code from somewhere, I decided to give that a spin. Spent about 1.5 hours “playing” Punch Club before realizing it was just not for me. Cross that one right off… but now it’s getting press and I’m starting to wonder if I gave it enough time.

Then there is my current game, Metal Gear Rising: Revengence. I played that for about an hour the day before, and got stuck on one of the early bosses and was pretty frustrated. “Time to drop this game too.” But… I didn’t. I came back the next day, cleared the boss with ease, and for all intents and purposes am having fun playing. Not fun enough to justify a full review, but certainly more than I was the day before.

While there are certainly games in which the opening gameplay is the same as the end, there are even more that are not at all similar. Like pretty much 100% of MMOs, for example. It is not as though I “owe” these games anything – this is all supposed to be about my personal entertainment, after all – but it has got me thinking about things. Is it really fair to judge a game by its opening hours? Am I fine with the possibility of missing out on an otherwise compelling experience based on basically a slow tutorial?

I suppose on that note, I shouldn’t be second-guessing my resolution just quite yet, eh?

End of Year: 2015 Edition

Something something… hope you have a good new year?

What I will say is that 2015 has been a particular year of changes in my real life, which I haven’t much talked about before, and don’t particularly feel like starting now. But things have been changing, life decisions made, and so on. All for the better, for the record. I doubt said changes will have any impact on my postings in 2016, as I am rather fond of writing and ranting to you all. With any luck, most of you feel likewise, at least some of the time.

My resolution for 2016 is to not play “just OK” games to completion anymore. Because reasons:

Challenge Acc... deferred.

Challenge Acc… deferred.

What I anticipate doing in 2016:

  • Actually playing FF14 for real this time.
  • Maybe, potentially sticking my toe back in GW2. Briefly.
  • Oh, yeah, I bought GTA 5, didn’t I?
  • Being more excited than I probably should be about Overwatch.
  • Spending a WoW token and immediately regretting it.
  • Being amazing.

So there you go. Let’s look forward to seeing what sort of shenanigans 2016 has in store for us all.