In Review – March 2021

I really want to say “Where did March go exactly?” but I know the answer to that. I’ve spend a not insignificant portion of my March gaming time revisiting Stardew Valley, and if we’re being honest, that was not somewhere I saw myself going at the beginning of the month.

It’s not because I don’t like the game – I played for over 100 hours back when it released in 2016. I just had assumed I was basically done with it. However, a friend approached me about starting up a co-op game after the 1.5 patch released, and we just finally got around to scheduling it. I had intended to for it be something I only played with him, a couple nights a week, but after our second session, I started up my own save file, and blew through two years of farming in a couple of weeks.

I originally played through twice – once to choose each major story point route, but I didn’t come anywhere close to getting all the achievements (mostly because I am bad at video games inside of video games, and knowing that I wasn’t going to finish those achievements kind of took the wind out of my sails). I wasn’t surprised by how much I had forgotten, rather, but by how much I remembered. I don’t know how much longer I’ll continue on this particular play through, despite having chosen the best spouse in the game, but I’ve already found myself thinking about trying out the different farm maps and going through it again, and possibly again after that.

I’m not surprised that Stardew Valley has seen the kind of popularity and longetivity that it has, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much myself all over again.

My return to farming life slowed down my quest to become the Employee of the Decade and get #GoingForGold in Cook, Serve, Delicious 2! – however, shortly after my last post on the topic, that had started to slow down anyway because OH MY GOD it gets hard. I’ve progressed past level 80 out of the 100 required to unlock all the Chef For Hire levels, and at this point, I’m impressed when I manage to get through a level with a silver medal. There’s been a few that I didn’t even pass on the first playthrough.

I’m not doubting that getting gold medals on every level is possible, but I am seriously starting to doubt that I’m going to be able to do it. I still plan to hit level 100 without touching the custom restaurant, and since you do get experience from replaying levels, that’s not unreasonable. I took a break of a couple weeks, but I’ve started up again, and I plan to at least finish leveling and completing every shift.

I also finished the main story in Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth during March. I dabbled in the Hacker’s Memory DLC, but I wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much, and ended up setting it aside for now. I don’t have a completely accurate play time for it, since I accidentally left the game running one night, but I think I probably spent about forty hours with it, as well as a half dozen or so with the DLC.

Although my Switch library will never come close to my PC game library, it’s slowly growing, and I’m really enjoying having a handheld console. Now that I have it, I’m kind of annoyed with myself for debating the purchase for as long as I did.

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m done with World of Warcraft until another major content patch, my play time is way down from what it was the past few months. I’ve reached max current renown on my main, my primary alt is geared enough for our alt raids, and pushing mythic keys is absolutely not a thing I wish to pursue. Currently, I am mostly logging in to raid, to farm materials for raid consumables, and to occasionally poke at some old content for achievements and transmog. Normally, when my play time dips this precipitously, I unsub for awhile, but since I’m still enjoying the content I am doing, and there’s not really another MMO calling my name at the moment, I expect I’ll keep on with it for awhile yet.

Our small super-casual guild just took down Sire Denathrius on normal this past raid night, so I do, to some extent, feel like I’m done with Shadowlands 9.0.

I wasn’t terribly successful with my other plans for the month. As I expected, even though I had a few games in my library to play around with, #WayForwardMarch just wasn’t my thing. I didn’t do all that much better with #MaybeInMarch – I spent a little under an hour with Bastion, and as much as I like the aesthetic of the game, I found the game play a bit frustrating. I considered restarting the game in No Sweat Mode, but as I wasn’t really enjoying it, I didn’t think giving myself unlimited deaths was going to do much to change that.

Sometimes, success looks like figuring out that something doesn’t work for you, and moving on to something that does.

4 thoughts on “In Review – March 2021

  1. Would be super curious to hear more about how your co-op sessions in SDV go. I’ve never tried it, and while I think I have an idea in my head of how it works — I still struggle to relate that to how I might feel about it as an experience.

    I’m normally very much of the opinion that co-op can make any game better. But I somewhat wonder whether SDV might be the exception here.


    1. My experience so far has been great, however, I think that’s largely due to the way my co-op partner and I have split up duties and are working together towards goals (currently in Winter year one and mainly working on the community center & wooing our prospective spouses). If you have wildly different goals / play styles or if there’s one aspect of the game neither of you enjoy, I can see it being less enjoyable.

      He plans the crops (although we work together on planting & harvesting). I care for the animals and do the majority of the fishing & foraging while he handles the mines. We are on Discord the whole time, and discuss any major purchases. It was a bit weird for me at first as he has more experience and is more knowledgeable about what is profitable (and I tend to be a bit of a pack rat when left to my own devices, so I’m far slower to make money).

      As someone who rarely dabbles in co-op play outside of MMOs and the occasional MOBA, I am enjoying playing SV in co-op, but I would stop short of saying it improves the game.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the insight, Krikket! 🙂

        I think I could see the fun with being able to split roles and responsibilities like that. And yeah — anyone I would consider playing SDV with like this would be in voice too as a given.

        Do the story elements still play out when in co-op? And the NPC relationships? Is it possible to ‘miss’ the story events if both people aren’t present when one is triggered, etc?


      2. The story elements do play out, but only for the player who triggers them. Festivals actually require all players to be present, and probably the biggest adjustment is that time never really pauses. If you’re in a story beat, time is still passing since the other player(s) could be farming, or mining, or fishing. It definitely makes the days feel shorter, due to all the places that time normally stops when playing solo, but it’s not too punishing, IMO. I definitely think a first play through is best done solo because you can miss stuff when playing with someone else.

        NPC relationships are specific to each player, as are cooking recipes, crafting recipes, mail and house upgrades. Story quests and help wanted quests are individual, but the new Special Orders board seems to be shared. It is possible for players to marry each other, but you can also pursue separate relationships with the townsfolk.

        All in all, it feels like a pretty damn solid implementation of a popularly requested feature, but if you weren’t mad for the idea of co-op, it doesn’t really bring anything unmissable to the table.

        Liked by 1 person

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