State of the Game: Housekeeping Edition

Recently I’ve been doing some housekeeping when it comes to the backlog. As you well know, I have a problem. That problem is being sensitive to sales and bundles; having a subscription to both Playstation Plus and Humble Bundle, and being a frequent shopper when deals are presented. I’m seriously a walking Darth Kermit Meme.

That inner monologue goes something like:

Me: “You shouldn’t buy that game,  you don’t have time to play it.”
Also Me: “But it’s been on your wishlist for ages! You’ll make time! Plus it’s only $10 bucks and  you get all of the DLC!”
Me: “Damn me, you always know how to spot a great deal! I’m in!”

And so it goes.

Because I have this habit, I tend to play games a while after they are new. Occasionally I’ll spill for a full priced game, and in most cases that’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s a bummer. Other times you get a game for a great deal and it sucks. These are all things that have happened recently. Isn’t going to stop me from buying more games I don’t have time for. Me is right, I’ll make time eventually. The thing is, games aren’t making the cut as often as they used to. I’ve honestly bought more games in the past 5 or so years than for the remaining 30 years of my lifetime, and yet I play less of them to completion. It seems I have become more picky, and my time more valuable. As such, some games have been marked as completed, or as completed as I’m going to get them, and other games have been marked for deletion (in some cases I’ll card farm them and then delete). Some games I desperately wanted to like turned out to be not so great. And in some cases the games were simply there to add to the collection, not necessarily for immediate use. I do this from time to time, then kick myself for not playing the damn things. Regardless, let’s move on to the games discussion, shall we?

Mobile: 

I’ve been playing Clash Royale daily. It’s my go to game when I’m not at home. This makes sense because it’s a mobile game, but I do have other titles installed on my phone. A big one coming up is Super Mario Run, which was previously an iOS exclusive. That looks like it will be fun. I’m still playing Fire Emblem Heroes as well, but I typically only play that one when I’m stationary for a while. Clash is something I can run on my breaks at work and when I’m hanging outside of the house. Progress has slowed due to the fact that I’m level 10 and getting to the upper eschelons takes a while, along with being stuck in Arena 8 for quite some time now. I know my deck works, and I’ve tweaked it here and there to make it work even better, but it seems that I’ve hit a wall, and will continue to beat my head against that wall until some of my cards are levelled up. It seems to me that I only lose when someone has a card I don’t (of which there is only a handful at this point) or they have similar cards of a higher level. I know several members of my clan are in the highest arena and have far more trophies than I, so it’s doable, but I’m not there yet. Also, I deleted Tiny Tower from my phone. It was becoming more of a chore than fun.

Console:

During a recent sale I picked up a copy of a few games on PS4. Winkings is a arcade style game in the vein of Joust, but with far more creatures on screen at once. It’s got local co-op that I have yet to try (but will soon), and feels like a fun little time waster. Nothing amazing, but if you enjoy running around and killing stuff with a variety of weapons with a viking themed character, you might enjoy it too. Plus members can get it right now for like $3. Another game that was on sale was Q-bert Rebooted, which is one of those classic titles everyone should have in their library. Not only did it come with a rebooted version of the game, but the original is included as well, and boy is it a tough game. I was interested in picking this one up as I bought a bundle of other classic arcade games including Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig-Dug a few months back, and I enjoy having old collections of games. I have a version of Tetris and of course my Sega collection on Playstation consoles as well. It’s fun for me to go back and play some of these old games once in a while, and it’s great to have on hand to introduce people to some classic titles when the opportunity arises.

Lastly, the closed beta for Paladins, Hi-Rez Studio’s latest multiplayer free-to-play title went live on PS4. I had access to the beta on PC as well, but just like SMITE, I figured I would be more attracted to the game on console. It’s a team shooter similar to Overwatch or Battleborn, but has enough there to differentiate it from the others. I’m a big fan of SMITE on the console and still play that regularly, but I’m hoping that this one picks up steam too. The console SMITE population is excellent, but so far it seems that there might not be as many people playing Paladins. It was a buy in, but with that you instant access along with some perks. I’m sure the population will level out once it’s out of beta and anyone can join in. I liked being in on the SMITE beta and watching the game take shape on the console, so being in on this game from the start should be fun as well.

Housekeeping wise, this list of games are mostly ones that are those that aren’t going to be completed, so they don’t really take up backlog space. I’ve called it quits with Destiny. I had fun making my way through most of the game, completing The Taken King and leveling to 40. But I’m just not interested in the Light grind. With talk of Destiny 2 around the corner, and other games like Mass Effect Andromeda coming out soon, I know I’d rather spend my time elsewhere. I’ll do the mad dash light grinding before Destiny 2 releases, if the rumors about some of your progress transferring over are true.

PC:

I’ve more random tidbits on the PC side of things. I’ve mentioned recently playing Shadow Warrior 2. Within the last couple of days there was a 2nd free DLC added to the game, and this one adds a slew of new content. Talk about DLC done right! I have made about 30% progress through the main story, and plan to try and knock this one out soon. That is if they don’t flood me with DLCs! I’ve also toyed around with the games I mentioned in a recent post called New and Noteworthy. Along with those newer additions, I’ve also dipped my toes into some other games that came with bundles or were otherwise purchased but never mentioned. One game that popped up in my discovery queue was called Disgaea PC. It’s a PC port of a Playstation 2 JRPG. I remember seeing the title in the past but hadn’t played it, and it turned out they ported the sequel to the game as well so I picked them both up. I know of at least two more titles in the series as well, so perhaps those will come down the pipeline. The game looks like a Final Fantasy Tactics style game, but centers around the prince of the underworld rather than a typical hero type. The combat is sort of wonky, but that’s to be expected from an old console title that is just now being ported to PC. I relish these sorts of experiences; being able to take a trip into the past to experience something you missed.

Sometimes, games that you really wanted to love just don’t do it for you. Last month’s Humble Monthly provided a copy of Total War: Warhammer, and I thought I would love the game. I gave it a test run, found it alright, and then plunked down some cash to get all of the DLC. After playing it a bit more, I felt that I didn’t really enjoy the combat, the strategy, or really any facet of the game. Just putting a Warhammer skin on something doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically love the game, and that’s a shame. A painful lesson. Speaking of Warhammer, Vermintide dropped a new free DLC that adds lore page drops to the game. Having neglected to check out any of the DLC since the Last Stand game mode was added, I decided to do just that the other night. 2 new areas were added to the game, both with 3 maps each. I tried finding players to play with, but ended up running around with dumb NPCs and not getting far in any of them. The new areas look cool, but it’s really just more of the same. I’d love to run through it with some friends, had I enough to fill up a party. A shame that the population has died out so quickly, as it was a very promising title.

Lastly, I finally got around to booting up the Skyrim Special Edition. Every time I looked at it, I just couldn’t justify the 100s of hours I would put into another playthrough when I have so many other RPGs that I want to play through for the first time. But one day I had the itch, and I wanted to play it though I wanted to also play around with some mods, as I have only played the vanilla version of the game. I did some research, and though it appears that you can just install mods via the client itself, I went ahead and installed two programs that were highly recommended: the Nexus Mod Manager and LOOT. The former is a one-click install tool for mods for the game. The latter allows you to sort the booting order of mods in case of issues arising. I ended up installing 20+ mods and it ran fairly well the first time. There was a laughable bug during the opening scene, but eventually things were working great. I didn’t get far enough into the game to really see all the mods have to offer, but again, didn’t want to put too much time into it. I intend to revisit soon.

Housekeeping wise, I have put some of the above titles on farm status. They will be uninstalled afterwards. Others are works in progress, but progress nonetheless. Until next time, happy gaming.

Excuses, and some Loot

I was going to write up a strategy post on deck building, champion selection, and touch on the kind-of-sort-of “pay-to-win” aspect of Hearthstone, but then I got distracted. Mainly by playing more Hearthstone. When I wrote my first impressions of the game, I was playing the Warlock and seemingly could not lose. For the next few days, all I did was lose, so I thought maybe it was too soon for me to be throwing around strategies or terms like “pay-to-win.” I will have more commentary on the game soon-ish, but for now let’s say I need to work some bugs out. But, I did have some other little tidbits come up within the last couple of days that I wanted to share, though I didn’t want to include them in the State of the Game post that’s due out tomorrow (or maybe later today depending on where you are).

Unlike last year, my student status didn’t delay my tax return. The influx of resources has had me taking care of some business but also looking for indulgences. First I had to pay off some debts (damn those responsibilities), then I picked up some new struts for my car that are going to be installed tomorrow, which will put it in tip-top condition again. There are a few other things I need to take care of that aren’t worth mentioning, and then there’s the new computer I’m planning to build. To be honest, I should say that my father is building it, though I will be doing the physical part he is helping me find the best bang for my buck. Somewhere along the lines I got left behind when it comes to computer hardware. I was looking at what I thought was a pretty sweet DIY combo deal on New Egg, and it turns out that wouldn’t have been much of an upgrade from what I have (what I am currently using is a four year old laptop that was middle-of-the-road when I first purchased it — gaming wasn’t on my mind at the time). I knew my Dad would be a wealth of information on the subject, so I’m glad that I went to him for an opinion before buying anything. Anyway, research is being conducted, and I’ll have more on that later!

In the meantime, I was itching to buy a new game. I know, I just got Metro for free last week (and I have played it some, more on that in SotG). I was playing through Doom 3 the week before. I was doing something else before that, then Hearthstone came up, etc. Now I’m planning on building an MMO machine and going back to that whole mess. So why do I need a new game? Because.

I took my usual routes.

GOG.com – I’m interested in the Banner Saga after reading about the game on Keen & Graev’s
Humble Bundle – The Sid Meier’s Civilization bundle is awesome, but meh. All I really want is a copy of V and the DLCs, but none of the older versions.
Playstation Store – Nothing worthwhile on sale, nothing I see worth spending $60 on.

From there I was thinking I could just see what brick and mortar stores have on sale, or what I might be able to order from Amazon at a good price. I started off at Gamestop’s website, and wasn’t really seeing anything until I remembered that I’m a rewards member and maybe there was something cool I could redeem. My account showed over 10k points, so I browsed the catalog hoping to get a PSN card or some other form of game/discount. I was out of luck on that front, but ended up grabbing this t-shirt:

3470p_0c_2m

There was another shirt that I would have preferred, but I fell short on points so I went with the classic. I was surprised to find out that both shirts were actually from a 3rd party website, and because of using my points for the above shirt, I would get 10% off of anything else I ordered. Adding a second item would also qualify me for free shipping. I know a good deal when I see one. So I picked up the other shirt as well, this one is League of Legends themed:

4017p_0c_2bIf you are unaware of how this is related to the game, Pentakill is what is called out when you deal the killing blow to all five members of the enemy team. In the game’s lore, there is also a 5 member band called Pentakill. Sona is one of their members, and I actually have that skin in game. I’m also a huge metal-head so this appeals to me in that band shirt sort of way. \m/

Still with me? Ok so I set out to buy a video game, and got a little side tracked, but this is all still gaming related! Once I realized that none of the brick and mortar establishments had anything I was interested I moved onto Amazon, and learned something new. I knew that some retailers had started allowing digital downloads of software (outside of the usual outlets like Steam), but I guess I just assumed that only PC games were included. Turns out you can buy full on downloads of games via sites like Amazon, and then use a key to download the games from PSN onto your system. It really works exactly the same, except there is a nice discount on quite a few items on their list. Some games seemed to be equally priced with the Playstation store, but one gem was shining brighter than the others — all three Skyrim DLCs bundled, for half off.

Sold. So I scratched any of the other options for now. The rest of my money is going to the computer build. More to come.