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Kickstarter and games

Belghast had an interesting post up last week about backing games on Kickstarter. That’s quite a list of games.

I’ve had a kickstarter account for at least 11-12 years now and I backed 6 projects, despite being a huge fan of the idea initially – and none of them were games. Maybe it’s because I develop software for a living (and despite all outcries from game developers that it’s different and that they’re such special snowflakes) I am wary of release dates and have a healthy dose of paranoia towards things and their funding (same with startups, really – and what is a fresh game company with no history of delivering but a sort of startup?) – and there are so many games already that I hardly play, except for my few favorites. (Right now I have a little craving for EVE for example, but I’m waiting).

So, my 6 projects. One (the first I think) was a comic, from Kingdom of Loathing, which I had been playing at the time, 2011 or so. Two were CDs (Amanda Palmer and Jeph Jacques, of Questionable Content fame), one was basically a GoFundMe, maybe before GoFundMe was a thing. One was hardware that actually got delivered (I think on time) and I am happy with it, but still some remote personal ties and not a random “Oh shiny!” and the last one was actually software. And I’m not even sure if it shipped in the final form, but I pitched in because I liked the idea and also because I had interacted with the main developer in the past. So this was a bit of a “thanks for doing good” and I didn’t care that much about the software itself. Overall I spent 212$ and I don’t regret a single cent. Well, the comic was kinda not needed but I was happy at the time, at least.

Not really sure what to make of it, I guess me being not big into consumerism and mostly deliberating every purchase that’s more than a beer or an ice cream (yes, even single months of MMO subs or a book are usually not purchased on a whim) doesn’t make myself an avid backer of things that might not show up. Then again it’s been a while since I saw a thing on Kickstarter that was actually awesome and at the same time not completely ridiculously expensive – which means definitely not the “I WANT THAT” range. Still glad that Kickstarter exists for the people that like the experience, but I guess I’m not backing anything soon, although statistically 2022 or 2023 would be due another expense…

2021 in review

End of the year means review post, a tradition started in 2014.

Again gaming was (sadly) the number one spare time activity this year, with other things not even really competing. Getting vaccinated at the end of the summer I’m hopeful I can do fun things outside again next year.

But anyway, here are the details.

What I played a lot:

  • World of Warcraft
  • EVE Online
  • Final Fantasy XIV

Other things I played:

  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • some Nonogram games (no new ones)

Gaming expenses in 2021:

  • WoW: 206 EUR for 11 months of subscription total
    • 4x 13 EUR = 52 EUR for a monthly sub
    • 2x 17.5 EUR = 35 EUR for server transfers (could’ve saved one)
    • 1x 40 EUR for the Dark Portal Pass in WoW BC Classic
    • 79 EUR for subs, paid last year but running into 2021
  • EVE Online: 576 EUR
    • 8x 49 EUR for 8x a 3 month subscription incl. 3 MCT
    • 1x 5 USD for a 7 day pack
    • 179 EUR spillover from last year
  • Final Fantasy XIV: 103 EUR
    • 5x 12.4 EUR for subscriptions
    • 1x 40 EUR for the Endwalker expansion
    • 2.40 EUR for additional retainers
  • GOG.com: 31 EUR for Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Steam: 0 EUR
  • Humble: 0 EUR
  • Epic: 0 EUR

And the usual stats:

  • Amount of MMOs played: 3
  • Amount of MMO subscription months paid: 11 (WoW) + 5 (FFXIV) + ~33 (EVE) = 49, so 4 per month
  • Amount of games purchased: 1
  • Amount of MMO expansions purchased: 1
  • Amount of money for ingame/services stuff:
  • Amount of games I got for free and played a lot: 0
  • Amount of games I got for free and didn’t play: too many
  • Amount of games I bought and then didn’t play: 0

The math for next year will be easier again, no weird “I paid so and so many months already” because of course I am not counting single days or weeks in December that spill over, but this time nothing for February onward is paid.

Again EVE takes number one as a spender game, but I did have 3 accounts running all year and they’re now all unsubscribed as well, but 2 still have some time running. WoW also got a full year of subs, but nothing from December onward. Let’s see when the next raid comes and if I will come back. Final Fantasy brought it up to a respectable 5 months, and in that time I didn’t really play a lot of WoW, I just logged in to raid and that’s why I stayed subscribed.

The total this year is 916 EUR, which is 76.33 EUR per month – 5 less per month than last year and still providing 90% of my spare time entertainment. Not bad, but overall still a bit high.

The list of free games I actually wanted to have a look at grows. Epic leads the way here, but GOG also gave out a few freebies. I’d actually feel bad if I never bought any and got them all for free, but again my conscience is clear if I’m not touching them anyway, even if that sounds a bit weird.

  • Frostpunk
  • XIII
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker
  • Shenmue III
  • Rage 2

Maybe I should actually set aside a budget of 10 EUR per month for an indie game (or every second month), because this is something I kinda feel bad for. The question is if I’ll play it then.

Twelve Years

On October 18, 2009 I made the first post, back at the old URL.

The ten year post has the yearly post counts for most of the years, but let’s repeat and expand:

  • 2009: 12 posts
  • 2010: 8 posts
  • 2011: 0 posts
  • 2012: 0 posts
  • 2013: 5 posts
  • 2014: 28 posts
  • 2015: 43 posts
  • 2016: 23 posts
  • 2017: 24 posts
  • 2018: 84 posts
  • 2019: 96 posts
  • 2020: 74 posts
  • 2021: 80 (Jan-Oct) posts so far

That’s 477 posts, for an average of 39.75 per year, should’ve done 3 more 😛

So maybe I’ll break the 2019 high mark, but it’s unlikely; but I’ve not fallen back down to 2017 levels. It’s ok.

MMOs are multiplayer games. Maybe.

As I was just standing in the kitchen on a short break from work, making a coffee, I had some sort of epiphany. Not the grandiose kind that would make me rich and famous, but this sort of personal insight.

In our EVE Slack there recently was talk about cohesion and people not going on stratops (we don’t have mandatory anything in BRAVE) and I noticed that while I noped out of the war, since we declared a loss I’ve been doing a lot more, including undocking. So my playstyle has shifted from “purely solo” in the last year to “mostly group activities” again.

And I noticed the same both in WoW Retail and Classic. I log on to Classic once per week for our group and don’t feel a lot of excitement otherwise, and I log on to raid twice a week in retail and maybe a bit more, but only for chores like weekly/dailies or opening the vault and sorting enchants for the next raid. Nothing solo.

In FFXIV it’s a bit of a weird mix. This week I focused on crafting and my Beast Tribe Dailies and a little bit of story progress, and I mostly lump in duty roulette and random LFG activies as solo play. I say hi, I might write or read a few sentences about strategies, but I’m not engaging. This is not my guild/FC or a group of friends, just temporary allies for 20 minutes. They could be bots, I don’t care. But it’s fine like that.

I’m happy to have one game for solo play and one or two or three for group play. I guess from the point I started BfA until I planned to start raiding again with Shadowlands launch, I was playing WoW Retail as my solo game. I talked to my guild in guild chat, but I’m not sure I went to voice chat more than twice in those 2 years. When Classic launched it was a mix of solo and group activity, separated by which toon I played.

Not a huge epiphany, but I think doing “group and solo” only works when I am 100% engaged in a single game, I guess Shadowlands launch counts, leveling up solo, doing dungeons in groups, then raiding in groups. Then solo leveling all the alts. But in general, it’s either group or solo.

Blaugust finished

Belghast already put up the postmortem, I have officially reached silver with my 16 posts in August. Thanks to Bel for organizing it again and thanks to all participants for giving me lots of reading material!

There are many badges like this, but this one is mine

Today I didn’t push a lot in FFXIV, but I got all my DoH jobs to 71, so I can finally equip the gear I bought. Then I went to the marketboard and instead of spending 80k per job for a Level 71 MH+OH combo I sorted by level and went down the list until I could buy an MH+OH combo for around 10k per job, usually landing me Level 65 or 68 items. Good enough of an upgrade over the Level 50 stuff and I will probably replace it at 80 anyway.

Also after a lot of searching I managed to unlock Custom Deliveries and already used it to get some Crafting XP. Pro tip: Actually try to speak with the NPCs mentioned in the guide, they might have a second “blue” quest and then you won’t notice on the minimap. Ask me how I know…

Finally I took the time and linked some glamour plates to gear sets, something I’d put off for a while, and I don’t even know why. WHM had the glamour, but unlinked. PLD got one of the job armor sets, DNC got the Miqo’te starter gear, for ARC, MCH, DRK I made custom ones. And maybe I forgot a class, but I need to make screenshots anyway.

Staying motivated, 2021 edition

Every time this topic comes around for Blaugust (or elsewhere) I feel torn.

On the one hand, this blog is more of a diary of stuff that happened in games, mostly as something I will come back to, but with a little bit of commentary on issues sprinkled in. For this I don’t really need to feel motivated. I want to write it down, so I just need to find a little time to actually do it. Not a huge problem.

On the other hand I set myself a tentative goal of getting 15 posts in for Blaugust, which is just an arbitrary number. If I do 3 posts a month it’s fine, if I do 20 it’s fine. The only thing is that I don’t let a month lapse without a post and a very quick look tells me that the last month I didn’t post was May 2018. So this is my low bar for motivation, don’t let it look as if I had abandoned the blog. I had some breaks in the past and that’s also fine, but I try to get in at least one post per week, and this works out most months.

Will this help you? Probably not, but if you don’t feel like posting, don’t post. But this is not a blanket statement, just a temporary solution.

Also I have no numbers to back this up, but my consumption of other blogs is also very sporadic. I used to read 1h per day when commuting via subway. I often don’t read more than 10 minutes per day if I don’t have time. And sometimes I’m not even in the mood. But if I like your blog and you post once per week, there’s a very good chance I will catch up, even if it’s a month late because I only read your handful of posts in one sitting. I also don’t remove blogs from my reader if they’ve gone silent for a while, it costs me nothing and I’m happy if you come back after a year. Or three. But other readers might be different. And if your sole reason for blogging is to reach a big audience then I can’t help you, because that’s not what I do and so I can’t give any advice.

It’s Blaugust again and this is post number 13.

Server move

It’s been a little over 2 years since I moved the blog off of wordpress.com and on to host it myself. Everything has been running smoothly, but I had to upgrade a few things and so if you can read this post it’s being served from the new server. Please shout at me in the comments or on Twitter or Discord if you notice anything off or not working.

A few boring technical details:

  • Hoster: still scaleway.com, but from a START1-XS instance to a STARDUST1-S, as the former was discontinued
  • Domain: still namecheap.com
  • OS: From Debian Stretch to Ubuntu Focal (I know I’m late)
  • PHP: From 7.0.33 to 8.0.3
  • WordPress: still the latest version, this had been upgraded regularly
  • Theme: still Astra

Site reorg and cleanup

For some reason I felt the need to change a few things around this morning while I am afking in Ardenweald because I actually wanted to do one of my Stitchmasters weekly quests there…

Oh well, I split off most of the MMO content from the About page into its own page: MMOs & Me and rewrote parts of both.

Also added links to Twitter and the Blaugust Discord because that’s where I usually talk to real humans about gaming stuff instead of shouting into the void here.

I also reintroduced the Blogroll on the right side again, in a slimmed down version with only the blogs I check daily in my feed reader, for now. I guess I’ll expand it again but I’ve not been diligently reading blog posts the last few weeks and the unread count is huge – sorry to the others who didn’t make the cut, I’m still reading your blogs and I’m not one to easily click “mark all read”, but I will usually catch up at some point, just not very timely. (Also why does the WordPress Custom HTML widget tell me to “please indent with tabs and not spaces”?).

2020 in review

It’s the last day of the year and so it’s review time again!

What a year. I don’t think I need to go into specifics but let’s say my gaming time was exorbitant in comparison to other years, but so were my expenses.

What I played a lot:

  • EVE Online
  • World of Warcraft – Retail
  • SW: TOR

Other things I played:

  • Diablo 3
  • Forgotten Anne
  • Anno 1404
  • Stellaris
  • Borderlands 3
  • The Cycle

Gaming expenses in 2020:

  • SW:TOR: 5x 13 EUR = 65 EUR for subscriptions
  • WoW: 214 EUR, of which 79 go in the 2021 bucket
    • 4x 36 EUR = 144 EUR for 4x a 3 month subscription
    • 1x 40 EUR for the Shadowlands expansion
    • 1x 66 EUR for the 6 month subscription that comes with the transmog set
  • EVE Online: 897 EUR, of which ~179 go to the 2021 bucket
    • 1x 20 EUR for a character transfer
    • 120 EUR for several packs
    • 36 EUR for Skill Extractors
    • 212 EUR for PLEX
    • 8x 49 EUR for 8x a 3 month subscription incl 3 MCT
    • 3x 39 EUR for 3x a 3 month subscription
  • Humble: 8 EUR for Forgotten Anne
  • GOG: 0 EUR
  • Steam: 4 EUR for Renowned Explorers + 10 EUR for Stellaris
  • Epic: 0 EUR

And the usual stats:

  • Amount of MMOs played: 3
  • Amount of MMO subscriptions months paid: 5 (SWTOR)+12 (WOW) + 33 (EVE, but really only 20 for this year) = 37 / 50
  • Amount of games purchased: 3
  • Amount of MMO expansions purchased: 1
  • Amount of money for ingame/services stuff: 120 + 36 + 212 = 368 EUR
  • Amount of games I got for free and played a lot: 0
  • Amount of games I got for free and didn’t play: too many
  • Amount of games I bought and then didn’t play: 1 (Renowned Explorers)

So for both EVE and WoW I have paid subscriptions far into the next year, so I’ll separate those out. Sure, I spent it this year but it’s a subscription for 2021 and it’s such a huge chunk that I want to jot down both numbers.

Also: why so many? So I was subscribed to WoW for the whole year, that’s 12. I was subscribed to SWTOR from June through October, that’s 5. And in March/April I came back to EVE in full swing and first transferred my old NullSec alt to a second account, and basically ran three accounts for 3/4 of the year. That’s also why I burnt out a little and didn’t really play EVE since Shadowlands launched, but I plan to return in January.

So yes, it looks even worse than when I did a preliminary tally a while ago, 1234 EUR, at 102.83 EUR per month. Separating out the 2021 pre-payments, I get to 976 EUR, at 81.34 EUR per month. Still the highest amount ever and unlikely to be topped. Then again, 100 EUR for basically ALL your spare time entertainment per month is still a really good deal.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that all these budgets for the year 2020 were not exhausted at all or kept at the bare minimum:

  • vacation – not zero, but a single very short trip by train + bike with a few nights in a hotel
  • public transport and bike repairs – close to zero
  • going out for drinks – zero
  • going out for lunch/dinner – a few times in the summer when we could sit outside, with a table for ourselves
  • ordering stuff online – surprisingly, despite spending all the time at home I did order a lot less stuff at Amazon or elsewhere

Also I really planned to buy Horizon: Zero Dawn when it came out for PC in August, and buy that new graphics card I had postponed buying last November when I replaced my PC. And I’d been trying to get my hands on a 3060 Ti or 3070 for 2 weeks (for a reasonable price), but to no avail. I didn’t buy a new because I spent all my time playing EVE in August, and then transitioned to WoW and Shadowlands. And now I’m changing the wording of this paragraph as I had indeed managed to order a 3070 on Dec 28th and was eagerly awaiting it being shipped today on the 31st, but it didn’t happen.

So in the end I have a guilty conscience but realistically I guess I shouldn’t – a few nights out a month would easily cost more than these gaming expenses I’m making such a fuzz about.

There’s such a huge list of games I got for free in 2020 and didn’t play, but I’m actually interested in these, it’s just (as always) the thing about freeing some gaming time from the thing I am giving 100% at the moment, usually an MMO.

  • Prison Architect
  • My Time at Portia (I actually played someone else’s copy for an hour or two when it launched)
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Cities: Skylines (hey, I bought this one a while ago)
  • Tyranny
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • ARK
  • GTA V
  • Assassins Creed Syndicate
Happy New Year!

Five Games?

Naithin’s blog posts about the Five Game Challenge keep popping up in my reader and I think it’s an interesting thing to talk about from my point of view.

Put yourself into the hypothetical situation of being made to choose just five games to last you an entire year of gaming (and post what they are!)

The implied meaning is “wow, that sounds hard, just 5 games in a whole year”, but for me that sounds pretty normal.

Looking at my 2019 Year in Review post, I mentioned both versions of WoW, FFXIV, SW:TOR, EVE, and Borderlands 3. And one sort of mobile game I could’ve ignored, that’s not really more than five.

And in 2020 I’m not even sure I got to five. There’s EVE, there’s SW:TOR and then WoW. Then I bought and played Stellaris, but not enough to have it on a must-play list, even though I liked it a lot. Then there’s Forgotten Anne which lasted for a few hours and I also played 7 Wonders. So if I disregard some puzzle games there’s only a few MMOs left and maybe one large (AAA?) game…
2018 even had me between 15 and 20 games, that number sounds high though.

Well, people are different 🙂