I don’t think it’s going to come as a huge surprise to anyone who reads this that I have been struggling, not just with blogging, but with gaming in general for awhile now. Although I’ve had a chronic illness for enough years now to have mostly adjusted my life & my expectations, my health has been somewhat worse than usual the past few months, and when I combine that with my social & household obligations, I’m finding it’s not leaving me with a whole lot left over for anything else.
Now, I can appreciate just how fortunate I am that in a lot of ways, I am far less affected by the threat of COVID-19 than your average person. We are able to continue paying our bills, we are food secure and at zero risk of losing our housing. Even still, there is so much awfulness in the world at large, how can I not get on board with celebrating the oh-so-nerdy things that keep us going when everything is kind of awful and you need an escape?
So, I’ve signed up for Blapril. I’m going to make this a priority again.
I knew I was going to have issues with Low-Spend 2020, and just over a month in, I’ve made my first forbidden purchase.
I’ve been on a kick for mobile slot machine games lately – more so since I discovered that some evil geniuses have decided to add quests to the mindless game play loop.
Normally, this would be just another guilty pleasure, nothing worth even mentioning, because despite these types of apps being absolutely infested with microtransactions, I’m pretty good at resisting the lure of “free money” (which isn’t actually even money!)
But here’s the thing – I also fully believe that if you’re enjoying a free-to-play game, no matter how inane, it’s actually a good thing to throw a couple of dollars at the developers, just as long as you never go over what you would have paid for the game if you had bought it outright.
Last night, I got home late, I was tired, and was unwinding with a slot-machine focused quest or two, and one of those amazing deals popped up. And I thought, I’ve been playing this game every day for over three weeks now, I should toss a couple of dollars at it.
And without any more thought than that, I did.
Obviously, I’m not going to waste a lot of time lamenting that I failed in my low-spend goals over a measly $2.11. I’m still in it for the year, but I wanted to make a short post in the interest of full-disclosure.
I have had the itch to go back to World of Warcraft for a bit now, but I’ve been procrastinating on actually re-activating my sub. Sure, I could let you all in on some of my MMO neuroses by listing off a bunch of reasons, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there was one that was stronger than the rest.
See, when I re-upgraded to Windows 10 a couple of months ago, one of the things I forgot to back up was my World of Warcraft addons folder. I have always run a ridiculous amount of addons, and I had some deep dread about having to figure out my UI from scratch.
Well, a couple of weeks before the big upgrade, I thought that my harddrive was starting to go, so I had bought a replacement and cloned it. However, once I fiddled around with all the cords in there, all of the hard disk ridiculousness seemed to resolve itself, so I’m thinking it was a loose cord or something, and I promptly put the whole thing out of my mind.
Well, some oddball glitch caused my computer to boot from the wrong drive last night, and after a few very panicky moments trying to figure out what exactly had happened, I realized that this was a blessing in disguise. My addons folder was on the cloned drive, and I could simply copy it to the drive I am actually using!
After a little more fiddling, and safe removal and storage of the backup drive so that I could avoid any more odd rebooting shenanigans, I have all of my addons back, and updated, and well, I guess I’ll be dabbling in some World of Warcraft this weekend.
I’ve known for awhile that I have a problem with impulse purchasing, but I try not to think about how big of a problem it actually is.
Of course, bundle buying absolutely throws the account value out of whack. On the other hand, this is only games I own on Steam, and it’s still way too many. So I’ve decided to slow my roll next year, and stop buying things just because they’re cheap or they look interesting or I’m having a bad day.
Low Spend 2020 – Allowed Spending
I’m allowing myself the full 12 months of Humble Choice, as well as one paid MMO subscription and one paid gaming subscription service at a time.
I am allowed to spend up to $50 gifting games to others during the Summer and Winter Steam sales, and I am allowed to purchase non-Collector’s Edition expansions for World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online. Additionally, I may elect to purchase one new co-op game or MMO to play with my husband if something comes out he’s excited about.
Other than what I’ve indicated above, I will not be purchasing any new games, or making any cash shop or micro-transaction purchases in 2020. This includes purchasing any bundles other than the Humble Choice subscription.
While I acknowledge that I’m still allowing myself a massive budget, I still feel like this will be an improvement over what I’ve been doing – which is just making game purchases without a whole lot of thought behind them. It’s not really about the money – although I love to shop, I don’t spend to the point where it strains our budget. But by always chasing the next great deal, I am not really enjoying the things I buy.
While it’s not restricting myself to only five games for an entire year, I am hoping it’ll encourage me to play through some more of my library, as well as better evaluate the worth of the various gaming subscription services that are out there.
I might have missed this one entirely if Naithin hadn’t posted about it (and I read that right before bedtime too, so you bet I was thinking about it while I was waiting to fall asleep). Let’s be real – I probably couldn’t stick to this and would just take my beating. And I’m not so organized as to worry myself about categories – I’m just going to look at potential play times here.
Game One: World of Warcraft
I would definitely want an MMO, and this one was super-close. Like, I had already started writing about the Elder Scrolls Online close. But every time I’ve take an extended break from WoW (like, for example, now), I come back recharged and excited and ready to Do Stuff. Plus there’s pet battles. I can spend a LOT of time on pet battles. And I haven’t seen the Horde side of the last three expacs, so I probably wouldn’t run out of stuff to do, even if it wasn’t always the most exciting things.
Besides, I have a guild that’s been around for a good 10 years, and I miss those folks like whoa.
Game Two: Rimworld
I’ve been away from Rimworld a long time, but I haven’t forgotten how easy it was to lose myself in. Sure, all the changes since I played last would be overwhelming at first, but I don’t think it would take me too long to get caught up. Plus, I’m pretty sure there’s like 80 bazillion new mods I haven’t even looked at since I played last.
Game Three: RollerCoaster Tycoon Triple Thrill Pack
Another building game, you might be thinking. Yes. Another building game. There is SO MUCH content in this game, and I may even someday learn to build my own coaster that doesn’t kill people. This has the added bonus of being extremely low spec, so if something happened to my regular gaming rig, I wouldn’t be left game-less.
(this is where it gets really hard)
Game Four: Tales of Maj’Eyal
I’ve played enough of ToME to know I enjoy it, and there are currently over 1700 achievements to strive for. I can see this one holding my attention for many many hours.
Game Five: The Sims 3
Replayability and longevity have to be considered, and what game has more to do than Sims 3? I’ve played hundreds of hours already, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. Add in a whole bunch of self-imposed challenge modes like the ones here, and I would probably never get sick of it.
Well, that was uncomfortable. My interests are so varied and my library so vast. Cutting down to a single MMO and giving up all manner of mobile gaming were probably the biggest sacrifices.
Thank goodness this isn’t a thing I actually have to do, although it certainly makes me less apprehensive about my plans to seriously limit my gaming purchases in 2020 (more info on that soon).
I decided to start my key clean out project on Fanatical – I have bought a LOT of bundles there over the last couple of years because the prices are fantastic, but I also knew there was quite a few duplicates.
Basically, my attitude towards bundles in general is that if the game or games I’m interested in are worth the price of the bundle to me, I don’t much care about the rest of it. Occasionally, there’s something that I think one of my friends would love, but mostly, if I don’t want it, or if I already have it, the key will just sit, unredeemed in perpetuity.
Yesterday, I learned that I don’t always even activate everything that interests me right away.
I ended up activating 31 keys to my own Steam account, and making up a four page GoogleDoc with a list of games I’d like to pass on to someone else who might play them. In a week or so, when I’ve showed the list around to the people I know, I’ll probably just toss the rest in a Reddit giveaway.
I still have three more sites I buy bundles from at least semi-regularly to clean out – IndieGala, Groupees, and of course, Humble Bundle. I expect Humble will give me the most decision-making trouble, as there have been a lot of really well-reviewed games in their monthlies that I’ve hesitated to activate because of how difficult they’re purported to be.
I don’t expect I’ll stop buying bundles anytime soon, but I’m leaning more and more towards purchasing individual games very rarely. I usually go to town on the major Steam sales, because holy endorphin-rush from getting a great deal, but between bundles, and giveaways, and the fantastic opportunities to play games via subscription services, even the quest for a bargain is starting to pale.
I would like to keep putting my game-buying dollars towards really great indie games, however. Now I just have to un-train myself to wait for a sale.
It really doesn’t matter what form of entertainment media we’re talking about, I am forever and ever behind the times. While that allows me to seek out things that suit my taste at my leisure, it definitely also has drawbacks.
You might think that spoilers are the worst of those, but for me? It’s hype.
I’ve come to realize that once people start talking in terms of something being the best of the best, it starts plummeting on my personal to-do list. The more positive attention something gets, the less interested I become. It’s not because I’m some wacky hipster who couldn’t possibly like something that’s popular, but because there’s a tipping point, and once that point is passed, nothing can ever be as good as it has been made out to be.
Forgive me folks – I’m going to say something now that many folks will find horridly offensive.
Firefly was … fine. It probably deserved a second season, but in no way is it the best TV show ever made. Hell, I don’t even think it’s the best of the Joss Whedon shows. And Serenity? Don’t even get me started on Serenity.
I am fairly certain I would have enjoyed my time with the series more if it hadn’t been a victim of excessive hype. I might have even liked the movie better (but I highly doubt it – that movie just isn’t that good).
Take a moment to catch your breath if you need to. Cuss me out. I get that Firefly is absolutely sacred to a lot of people.
Despite really enjoying reading lists of All Time Best Video Games, I find myself passing over actually playing a lot of those games, despite having ample opportunity. I don’t own The Witcher 3. I’ve never played Portal. I played the first 30 minutes or so of the first Mass Effect, and never cared enough to go back. I still don’t know what Undertale is about, but I don’t feel the overwhelming need to play it.
Of course, despite being unwilling to ride the hype train, I certainly have no issues driving it. I love recommending games, and there are a handful that I find myself recommending over and over. I am single-handedly responsible for the presence of Psychonauts in the Steam library of about a dozen people I know.
Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about games (and movies, TV shows, and books) that other people are loving, especially when I know we already have similar tastes. But I also don’t believe the perfect game – and by that I mean the game that’s perfect for every single player – exists.
Do you find yourself riding the hype train? If you do, are you more often pleased or disappointed by it?