Battlestation: PC Acquired
About 10 years ago, I bought my current PC. In that time, I pretty much only added a few extra SSDs and upgraded the graphics card from 560ti to 970 to 1060 (via warranty). I have had the same i5-2500K processor, the same 8GB of RAM, and the same motherboard the entire time.
Well, I just put in an order for a new prebuilt when a good deal presented itself:
- Intel i7-11700KF
- 32GB RAM
- RTX 3080 (10GB)
After tax, the total came to $1842. That’s more than the $1260 I spent on my rig back in 2011… although inflation means it really cost ~$1600 in today’s dollars.
The decision was tough. In fact, I have been mulling over the thought of canceling the order and getting a similarly beefy machine with a 3060ti instead for ~$400 cheaper. The idea would be to save that money and put it towards a replacement GPU in the Fall when the 4000 series cards come out and presumably obsolete the 3080.
But you know what? I kinda want to be done.
Assuming it arrives in working order, this PC will meet all the needs of every game that I had been putting off for the last few years. Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, FFVIIR. All of which I am planning on purchasing during the next Epic Summer Sale where they should be 50% off + $10 coupon. Having a 3060ti would make them playable at 1440p but otherwise put me in that awkward scenario in which I either play them with the hardware I have at the time, or sitting on them until I get the 4000-series card. Not that that is even guaranteed to be widely available! If I’m waiting until the Fall, I may as well wait for the Winter Sale instead… and so on and so forth.
If you think that’s exhausting to read, imagine being me.
So, yeah. It’s done. And that is certainly worth X dollars all by itself.
Idles of March
I am once again experiencing a long stretch of gaming ennui.
Guild Wars 2, which had hitherto commanded a solid portion of my daily gaming allotment, fell off a cliff in the weeks leading into the End of Dragons expansion. There were really three things in play. First, I was beginning to question “the point” of my toil – as good an indication of any that one has shifted from intrinsic to extrinsic motivation. Second, I could not readily commit to which version of the expansion to purchase. This remains a barrier even now, because when I do log in I see items in the Gem Store that are enticing, which suggests I should buy the $80 version of the game (which comes with gems). Surely buying the standard $30 version and then buying gems separately is the worst of all worlds. So… I do nothing.
The third reason was actually recently addressed: I was not certain whether End of Dragons was to be the last GW2 expansion. Who wants to grind things in a “dead” MMO? Well, ArenaNet announced they are working on a fourth expansion. Whether it is coming in 2 years or 4 doesn’t matter so much as that it is coming at all.
Beyond all that, I am actually playing a lot of different games. Not the ones I committed to in December, of course. I completed Undertale, but then hit a wall with SOMA insofar as trying to decide whether I wanted to keep playing with monsters on or off. I (used to) own all of the Silent Hill games and enjoyed all of the Resident Evils through the years, but I’m not a particular fan of the helpless horror genre. Dead Space and Prey? Good. Amnesia and Alien: Isolation? No thanks. The anxiety and thrills feel cheaper than, say, from a roguelike or at the end of a long raid-dance sequence – I either one-shot the area or get killed enough times to abstract the encounter into a puzzle.
In any case, I do not particularly want every post between now and Summer to be an Impressions piece of whatever indie game I take for a spin. So, I have been writing next to nothing. Which is probably worse, on balance. Hmm. This is what I have been playing recently:
- Black Book
- FAR: Lone Sails
- My Friend Pedro
- We Happy Few
- Sunset Overdrive
That last game, Sheltered, is really a sort of Fallout: Shelter-esque time-waster that nevertheless sucked 6 hours out of me and reignited a burning need to collect random garbage in survival crafting fashion. Unfortunately, I have pretty much played everything in the genre already, and what’s left will remain unpurchased until Epic’s Summer Sale. A mere 50% off doesn’t do it for me anymore: I need 50% + $10 off.
So, that’s my life at the moment. How are you?
It’s Getting Tempting Now
Still in the market for a new computer, then start seeing deals like this:
Laptop with a RTX 3070 and 165Hz IPS screen for $1400, shipped from Walmart of all places. Less than a month ago, a prebuilt PC with the same specs was running $100+ more. I wasn’t in the market for replacing my PC with a laptop, but now? Hmm.
That said, 512GB SSD is untenable when I’m already rocking two additional SSDs (1TB and 500GB) in my PC. So right off the bat I’d have to pony up $100-$200 more for a 2TB upgrade for the laptop, voiding warranties in the process. Plus I’d probably want to get some kind of cooling stand to put the thing on. Finally… there really isn’t much of a use case for the mobility it would offer. The option to take it places is one thing, but 99% of the time it would be sitting on my desk making loud fan noises as I play Game Pass. And even if I did take it somewhere, it isn’t as though it’s actually mobile – I would be much better off with a cheap tablet and emulators or a Switch or whatever.
In any case, video card prices are recovering to a large degree, and I am expecting things to continue getting less expensive as we head into the Fall and start seeing the 4060/4070 release. I am not necessarily planning on waiting 8+ months to replace my current PC, but if it takes that long before a good 3080 prebuilt hits ~$2000, then maybe I continue waiting. It has worked up to this point.
I mentioned recently that I was in the market for a computer upgrade. In fact, I am looking to change a number of things about my current setup. For example, I recently bought a new gaming chair. My old chair was one of those nylon net “breathable” chairs, purchased because my wife’s cat destroyed the prior two I owned. With the cat no longer with us, I decided to upgrade. It’s been working out… kinda okay. Not the amazing plush experience I was hoping for, but it was $120 instead of $500, so yeah.
In any case, here is the list I’m going for:
- Monitor – 27″ 1440p 120Hz+, probably IPS (up from 27″ 1080p 60Hz TN)
- Video Card – GTX 3060ti or better (up from GTX 1060)
- RAM – 16GB (up from 8 GB)
- CPU – Anything from last 2 years (up from i5-2500K)
- USB – Actual USB 3.0 connections, WTF? (up from USB 2.0)
- Desk – Something with drawers, probably, maybe big enough for two monitors (up from Origami)
There were actually some good deals on monitors back during Black Friday, but it was a chicken & egg dilemma. Do I buy a new monitor now, even though I wouldn’t be able to output 1440p or 120Hz given my hardware? But how long would I go after buying the hardware until I get a monitor that takes advantage of the specs? Besides, where would all this shit fit in the first place? My current desk is nowhere large enough to have two 27″ monitors, and my current monitor cannot be rotated.
That said, there isn’t a big big rush. If something falls into my lap or there is some kind of other offer I can’t refuse, then I may go for it. Otherwise? Well, just like everyone else in this pandemic, I hope the shit I got continues working until I no longer want it. Thoughts and prayers to everyone out there having to buy a refrigerator or new/used car in the present environment.
Addendum: I still find my own post about computer shopping from 2011 both hilarious and accurate. The price I paid back then ($1260) is the equivalent of $1557 today. So maybe I shouldn’t be worrying about this shit at all and just buy the first GTX 3070+ prebuild I see in that range.
GW2: Expansion Math
I think it’s safe to say that I will still be playing Guild Wars 2 in February, which is when the End of Dragons expansion is coming out. Which means I need to start doing some expansion math.
Under normal circumstances, I never opt for anything but the base expansions for whatever MMO I am playing. GW2 is a bit different since it’s more freemium and cash shopy – there are more utility items than straight cosmetics. For example, the base expansion costs $29.99 and includes (among other things) a Shared Inventory Slot and a max-level boost. The latter two items cost 700 gems and 2000 gems, respectfully. Or roughly $8.75 and $30. So… if you wanted an instant-level 80 boost anyway, you get the expansion for free! Not that an instant 80-level character is that valuable, of course.
In any event, the tiers get a bit weird.
Standard – $29.99
- Shared Inventory Slot (700 gems or about $8.75)
Deluxe – $54.99
- Additional Character Slot (800 gems or exactly $10)
Ultimate – $79.99
- 4000 gems (exactly $50)
Again, there are additional items in the tiers there that I don’t care about, and thus value at zero.
Character slots are definitely something I want more of, but that middle tier ends up being much more expensive than what I could buy via gems on my own ($25 vs $10). But once you hit the Ultimate tier… things change. It costs $50 for 4000 gems, bringing down the hypothetical cost of the Ultimate tier down to the Standard level. But since you get the character slot from the previous tier too, the scenario is that I would get 5500 gems worth of things I value (or roughly $70) and the expansion itself for $10.
How could I possibly afford not to purchase the Ultimate edition of this expansion?!
It’s a trap, of course. Ish. Getting an MMO expansion for $30 straight-up is pretty good, notwithstanding it comes with something as valuable as a Shared Inventory Slot. And let’s also be clear that nothing here is breaking my bank – I’m just a parsimonious bastard. But kudos to the accountants at ArenaNet for making me do some math and seriously consider paying $80 for something I’ve spent less on in the last nine years of playing.
[Fake Edit: Black Friday Sale Edition]
I drafted everything above last week, but as it turns out, there are sales happening on Black Friday:
- 20% off Gem Cards – $20 = 2000 gems ($25 normal)
- 20% off Shared Inventory slot – 560/1512/2240 gems (700/1890/2800 normal)
Doing the math… nothing much changes, actually. The relative value of the Ultimate deal drops since it costs $40 for 4000 gems instead of $50, but that still doesn’t make the Deluxe edition worth it at all. What it does do is make it a bit palatable to skip the Ultimate tier and just buy what you need with gems. Getting 4000 gems with the Ultimate tier all at once will mean they’re gone on possibly silly shit within minutes. For example, there are infinite gathering tools on discount currently, and those + 3 shared inventory slots is basically 4000 gems right there.
On the other hand… ugh. The “discount” forces you into the $20 for 2000 gems category, which means that I’m going to be buying the Standard edition ($30) + 2000 gems ($20) and immediately spending at least 800 of them on a character slot anyway. Having 1200 leftover gems is, again, way better than the Deluxe edition. But now I’m at $50 vs $80 for the Ultimate, the latter of which includes a Character Slot.
Like, props to the fucking sadistic accountants over there at ArenaNet, but this shit right here is a dumb position for any player to be in. I shouldn’t need to do calculus to see if something is a good deal or not. Yeah, my situation in valuing only certain items is probably unique, but needing to math things out at all is likely to result in my purchasing nothing instead, as all thought shuts down from overheating.
That and, you know, I could buy a lot of other games for $80. Probably 4-8 of them, even.
Waxing my Wane
I’m generally a pretty frugal guy. Parsimonious, even. And yet I just bought half a dozen games in as many days, after having avoided doing so for these specific titles for as many years. “They were on sale though.” They were on sale last year too. What changed?
Specifically, I finally exhausted my desire to play modded Starbound (Frackin’ Universe)… after 100 hours. One. Hundred. Hours. When you get up to triple digits like that, with any game, the entire experience becomes more than just “having fun” and instead morphs into a whole routine. I would play in the evenings, lie in bed planning my actions the next day, and browse wikis and such during the day. It all really hearkened back to my heydays of WoW. Minus a few thousand hours, of course.
Then, one day, it’s all just gone. Whether it’s the game ending or just getting tired of it, the experience is over.
I am not sure how other people handle post-game depression. My go-to move appears to be ennui of unknown duration. I know of games that could probably suck me right back into mainlining. But I don’t feel like it. In this lucid state, smaller experiences seem like the better course of action. If I don’t play them now, I definitely won’t be playing them later when absorbed in something else.
So out comes a little retail therapy.
We’ll see how it goes. Right now the routine is playing a few missions in Far Cry 5, followed by an area or two of Knife of Dunwall (Dishonored DLC). The segmentation is not on purpose – I can only seem to stand playing either one in short bursts. Not exactly a glowing review, but I blame the ennui more than the gameplay itself. After these two, hopefully the pallet will be cleansed, and I can get into the more cerebral titles like Hellblade, Prey, and/or Final Fantasy XV.
And then… we’ll see.
The Wishlist, part Welp
Posted by Azuriel
I was expecting the Epic Sale to be weeks away still, but apparently it started today. Also, apparently inflation (or lawsuit fees?) come for us all:
Instead of getting a flat $10 off any game at $14.99 and above, you get 25% extra off.
This is technically a better deal when the baseline game you are buying is more than $40. Everything else is a worse deal. For example, Rogue Lords is on sale for $16.24. With the historical coupon scheme, it would be $6.24, but this new scheme means it is $12.18. The one extra nuance though is apparently the new scheme will allow you to get the 25% discount as long as your entire cart is above $14.99 rather than individual items. Risk of Rain 2 is discounted to $12.49, for example, which normally would not receive any extra discount. In the same cart as Rogue Lords, you save… $3.12.
Hey, I’ve done dumber shit for, well, not less but not much more than that.
In any case, it’s extremely disappointing that basically every game on my wishlist is $2.49 more expensive than it was six months ago during the Winter version of this sale. Two-fiddy many not seem like a lot, and perhaps it isn’t in the grand scheme of things, but in my head I turn those numbers into other games I could have bought.
Anyway, this is how my wishlist breaks down in this sale:
The prices with an asterisk are games not on sale aside from the bonus 25% (Dying Light 2 is 10% off, I guess). I’m actually rather surprised about the bottom three games simply not existing on Epic. I’m not aware of any exclusivity agreements with Steam, and part of Epic’s whole deal was supposed to be a better dev cut of the action, so… what? How is something like Elden Ring not on here?
After some sticker shock at the “buy all the things” total, I pared it down to the four horsemen:
So, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Horizon: Zero Dawn.
I had things like Risk of Rain 2 and Satisfactory in there and some other off-wishlist games like Days Gone and Far Cry 6, but I had to face reality a bit. Given those main four games (and nevermind my existing library), when would I have the time to be playing anything else? I suppose it’s possible that Epic’s next sale is an even worse deal than this one, but that is a risk I am just going to take. This way, I can see where things stand by the end of quad-AAA production experiences, not feel guilty for occasionally tooling around in random indie games, and see what ends up popping up in Game Pass.
And that’s it. See you in six months.
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Tags: Battlestation, Epic Sale, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Parsimonious, Wishlist