Category Archives: Other PC Games

Among Us

I did actually play a popular game this year.  I played Among Us.

Among Us

I was going to say a “new” game, but it came out in 2018, so it is only newly popular thanks to becoming the game to stream on Twitch at some point this year.  But this year was it, even getting a Honest Game Trailers video.

Liore, formerly of the Cat Context blog, invited some people to come play for her birthday and I made the cut and got to try the game out.  I bought the version on Steam for $5.00, though you can play it on your mobile device for free, and you can play across different platforms.  They make money selling cosmetics and pets for you character.

I went and practiced a bit before the big birthday match, but I was still pretty lost when the time came.

Not that the game is all that complicated.  We had nine people all on voice coms together.  When you start the game somebody is selected as the imposter… or, if the group is big enough, two people are selected.  The main crew has to run around and do tasks.  Completing all the tasks give them a win.

The imposters run around and sabotage the tasks in order to stop the crew from winning.  Some sabotage, if left unaddressed as a timer counts down, will cause the crew to lose.

Or the imposters can just kill people for the win.  This is actually much easier when you don’t know what is going on as there is a big button that says “KILL” to click when you get near the crew members.

I got picked as one of the imposters for the first game and I set about killing people with my fellow imposter.

When one of the crew discover a body an emergency meeting is called and you can discuss what you saw and your suspicions and then people vote on who they think the imposter is.  This is the only time you’re suppose to talk while playing… unless you’re dead, in which case you have to be quiet.  No outing your killer as a ghost.

Voting time… the imposters can see each other marked in red, the crew cannot

The winner is then sent to their death and you find out if that pick was correct.  The first game out people did not guess very well and Elly and I, the imposters, won.

Imposter syndrome for the win

However, people got a bit more canny as time went along and we played more matches.  Also, the RNG kept picking me as one of the imposters, so I think I became suspect by default after a few matches.

The crew wins

When I wasn’t an imposter, the game was a bit more nerve wracking and it was easy to start suspecting people who seemed to be following you around.  Either way, you have to be aware of your surroundings and who is passing by and where people were when the body was discovered.

They can see me through the window… and I can see them

Overall it was a fun little game.  I would play it again.  It is probably best played with five friends or more.  You can play random games on the internet, but I suspect that would be less satisfying that voting on people you know.

Blizzard to Stop Working on New StarCraft II Content

Things have been quiet on the StarCraft II front for a while, and now we find out why.

Blizzard posted an update on their site that announced they are no longer going to produce new content for StarCraft II.

To the StarCraft community,

StarCraft is one of a kind, and we’re committed to making sure that those of you who love this universe like we do have a home here for many years to come. With that in mind, we want to let you know about a development change we’re making for StarCraft II as we continue supporting it for the long-term.

As many of you know, Blizzard continues updating its games long after the initial release—some of you will remember that we were actively patching the original StarCraft more than 10 years after it first hit store shelves. This year we celebrated 10 years of StarCraft II with one of our largest-ever patches, with massive updates to the editor, Prestige Talents for Co-op Commanders, and gameplay improvements delivered to players worldwide.

We’re going to continue supporting StarCraft II in the same manner as we have with our previous longstanding games, such as Brood War, focusing primarily on what our core and competitive communities care about most. What this means is that we’re not going to be producing additional for-purchase content, such as Commanders and War Chests, but we will continue doing season rolls and necessary balance fixes moving forward. On that last note, we’re not planning a Q4 balance update given that we did one a few months ago, but as always, we do plan to continue doing them as needed in the future. StarCraft II esports, which is part of the highest echelon of professional competitive gaming, will also continue going strong as it has been through our partners ESL Gaming and GSL.

We know some of our players have been looking forward to some of the things we’re moving away from, but the good news is this change will free us up to think about what’s next, not just with regard to StarCraft II, but for the StarCraft universe as a whole.

StarCraft is core to Blizzard, and we’ve learned that it’s a game that can change the lives of people who devote themselves to it, whether as a player, content creator, streamer, or member of the community (or developer). The outcome of each match is in your hands 100%. To become better, you have to look inward, be honest about any flaws, and dedicate yourself to improving. StarCraft teaches us that that process of improvement can be a reward in itself, and it’s certainly taught us a lot at Blizzard over the years.

You are one of the most passionate, creative, and dedicated communities in all of gaming. We’re eternally grateful for your ongoing support, and we’ll keep you updated on any and all plans we have for future voyages into the Koprulu Sector.

Uhn dara ma’nakai,

Rob Bridenbecker

StarCrat II: Wings of Liberty, the first of the three major releases for the game, came out just over a decade back, in July of 2010.

The game will still get maintenance updates and will remain core to Blizzard’s esports portfolio (unlike Heroes of the Storm) but will otherwise remain as it is.

I remember when Blizz announced StarCraft II, with the “Hell, it’s about time” video.  What do we say now?

The Steam Summer Sale of 2020 Slips Away

Yesterday the annual Steam Summer Sale wrapped up, the mass of discounts were reduced to the usual state of something on my wishlist always being on sale, and whatever sticker collection game they had going came to an end.

Summer 2020

The ongoing pandemic, which is especially acute in the US where wearing a mask is now seen as a political testament, seems like a good time to have a sale on video games.  I’m coming up on four months of working from home and not going anywhere on weekends. There is only so much television I can watch in a day, so gaming seems a likely outlet for me.

The timing of the sale was poor for me.  It landed just as our group was having a bit of a resurgence of activity in WoW Classic, when the new Minecraft world still seemed fresh (and there was a new Minecraft update which I have yet to go into), and then a war began to brew in EVE Online.

The latter, the war in New Eden, has actually eaten up most of my gaming time since it started to boil last week.

Given all that, my need for, and bandwidth to deal with, has been somewhat restricted.  Anything I purchased from the sale was likely to go into my library and sit unplayed, and I have enough titles like that already.

Still, I did end up making two purchases.

The first wasn’t a new game but some DLC.

Space empire building of another sort

I saw that Stellaris had its addons marked down so I figured I would grab those.  I like the game and have played it quite a bit.  It is one I will likely go back to at some point when things are slow.

The second was another remaster.

Retro RTS Remaster

The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, which came out just over a month ago, was marked down a bit, so I grabbed a copy.

I am still a fan of the RTS genre and willing to play some classics.  I have not, however, played any of the Command & Conquer series before.  Skronk, who has, said we ought to give it a run, and the price, even without the discount, was not too dear.  And, it had been on my mind anyway as Honest Game Trailers did a video about it.

So I have those two to dig into when the war settles down in EVE Online.  Until that happens though, expect more posts about space battles.

Further Thoughts on Minecraft Dungeons

I think people are mostly in agreement that Minecraft Dungeons isn’t a very deep game.  The question, for me, is more whether it was worth the price.  If it had been a full price, $60 game, the answer would have be a clear negative.  But for just $20, is it worth getting mad about?

It is Minecraft and Dungeons

I’ll give that a firm “maybe.”

The game itself is light and easy.  Despite the hurdles of purchase, it runs smoothly and well with only the rare rough edge. (The delay between closing the in-game map and having the game respond to inputs is just long enough to be annoying.)  There is little to object to when it comes to how the game plays.

The game is short.  The thin story… defeat the Arch Illager… took me a little more than six hours to work through, and I spent some time experimenting with gear and enchantments (and setting up screen shots) along the way.  By the time I got to the final boss I was level 23.

The last fight in the story

I am pretty sure a more focused run could knock it out in much less time than that.

Who are those people in the end cinematic?

Once I’m done with the story in most games I am generally done with the game.  While finishing the story unlocked a new difficulty level, that seems a bit less than compelling.

After the story, do it again

Going back to replay levels isn’t bad.  As noted, the mechanics of playing are light and easy and fun in a simple sort of way, and I found on my first run that notching up the difficulty in order to get better drops did open up some more side-dungeons in the various areas.  But you don’t get anything new, just the same ten areas you just finished.

I had to crop and merge to make this one map

There is a marker there for “Island Realms,” but that is some DLC that has yet to be released.  We will have to see how soon “soon” really is.

No islands for you yet

Replayability is also hindered by the fact that there are no classes, just the default Minecraft adventurer.

There is a hint of classes in the gear.  The armor you choose to wear corresponds to class roles that you see in MMORPGs.  It would be interested for a group who plays together to focus on specific roles via the armor they choose.  But for a solo player there isn’t a lot of point.

So it might be worth $20 to the right person, but as I noted in my first post, it seems a bit thin for the price otherwise.  Not that it isn’t fun, but if you had $20 to spend on an ARPG, there are other options.

For just $10 you can get a copy of the original Diablo over at GoG.com.  It feels a bit raw these days, but it has atmosphere, story, and three classes.

For the same $20 you can get the remastered Titan Quest Anniversary Edition on Steam.  It sprawls well beyond Minecraft Dungeons in content, and has expansions if you want more.

And for just five dollars more, you can get the Grim Dawn base game over at Steam, which has a lot more depth and content than Mincraft Dungeons will likely ever have and is more recent than the first two suggested alternatives.

Then there is Diablo III and Torchlight II and Path of Exile, the latter of which is free to play, if you want more ARPG options.

But, if you’re like me and have played all of the above and want something in that vein that is light and easy and fun, Minecraft Dungeons isn’t bad.  (And if you have the Xbox Game Pass for PC it is free.)  Just know that there isn’t a lot of “there” there when it comes to the game… though being able to have a pet llama that attacks your foes by spitting on them is not nothing.

Me, my llama, and my bat

As for the coming DLC… I feel like I might skip that unless they really step up their game.  We shall see.

Starting Off with Minecraft Dungeons

As I mentioned in the month in review post, I bought a copy of Minecraft Dungeons last month and actually found some time to play it this past week.

It is Minecraft and Dungeons

I am going to get my negative vibes out of the way first.

It is kind of a pain in the ass to buy the game on PC.  That you have a Mojang account cuts you no ice, you have to have a Microsoft account.  You probably have once if you have Windows 10, since they require it, but you may not remember that the login for that is probably in your password managed under a URL that doesn’t have the word “microsoft” in it. (Look for “live” on the list.)

Then there are three different versions, a Windows 7, 8, and 10 version, a Windows 10 version, and a Windows 10 Hero version, which will get you the next few DLC packs they push out.  But otherwise, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the first two… the descriptions were paltry in the extreme, so bought the first one because… more support is better?  I don’t know.  Maybe I made a mistake there.

And then there is the fact that the game has its own launcher, which may sound like a nit pick, but there is a button for it on the damn Minecraft launcher that, before you buy the game, gives you a link to the store page and, which after you buy it, comes up with a button to launch its launcher.  I mean, WTF?

That button is a lie

Minecraft Dungeons is also clearly a console game that they also brought over to Windows.  The opening page starts in with all the controller buttons you need to activate this or that.

My keyboard does not have most of those

That also probably explains why there is no built-in functionality to take screen shots.  I had to hit print screen and tab out to paste images into Paint.net to get what you see here.  I tried to use the nVidia GeForce experience to take screen shots, but the game is too new to be supported in that yet, and I didn’t want to go dig up my Fraps account just for this.

After 45 minutes of buying then trying to install it some place besides the default location… and being warned not to uninstall for heaven’s sake… I was perhaps not all that favorably disposed towards the game.

And, in the end, it isn’t actually Minecraft… you cannot punch trees or build or whatever and it is click to move as opposed to first person perspective.  But if you’re making an action RPG Diablo clone, being able to build a redstone sugar cane harvester probably isn’t a requirement.

That is what it is after all, an action RPG with a Minecraft skin on it.  And the game meets expectations there.  Zombies groan, skeletons rattle, creepers go “sssss… BOOM,” and so on, while you and your blocky avatar move through the game.

A skeleton and a baby zombie!

The UI will be familiar to anybody who has played a Diablo or Torchlight or most any action RPG, with perhaps the arrow count standing in for the mana bulb, as there isn’t any magic casting classes… as there are not really classes.  You’re just a Minecraft protagonist.

Once you play through an intro that sets the story, you end up in a base from which you will head off on your adventures.

The center of the base

The base is pretty sprawling, and I assume  you end up unlocking things as you go along to make some of that space meaningful, but as you start out there are mostly just a chest here and there you can open to collect some of the game currency, which are emeralds of course.

Unlike Diablo, Minecraft Dungeons is mission based.  You go to the mission table in your base, click on it, and choose from some of the missions currently available to you.

Some early missions

Each mission has its own story which ties it into the over arching story of the game, and each has its own set of discreet objectives, bosses, and what not you need to overcome in order to finish.

This is not a bad thing.  While you don’t get a sense of a world as you are teleported into each mission and return back to your base, it isn’t a giant leap away from something like Diablo and its waypoints and quests.  It works.

And there are, of course, chests and loot and upgrades to be found as you run through missions.

Some new stuff!

You can find better gear, and there is an system of enchantment points that let you improve the gear you have.

The thorns enchantment

That gives you the whole optimization element where you have to decide on gear, the benefits it provides, and the enchantments it offers, the latter of which can be different for items that are otherwise the same.

And you can salvage gear you do not want for emeralds and a refund of the enchantment points you have spent on a particular item.

Things start our light and charming, the game play is easy, and it was quite the delight.

Look, a gelatinous cubes!

The missions have a map that shows you where you are and what areas you have yet to poke your nose into (because chests are always a possibility in every side path) and little arrows point you towards every objective, so you are unlikely to ever feel lost  Even death has a light touch.  I did a jump roll into some water and died… no swimming here I guess.

It was bound to happen

You get a set number of lives per mission, but when you die you get dropped back at a safe spot and can just carry on.  But if you die to many times you get sent back to your base to start over again.

After a couple of missions I was pretty happy with the game.  I showed it to my daughter, who liked the idea, and considered getting a copy for my Switch Lite.  It seemed like it might be a good title to play on that.  There is no cross platform play… or even cross platform saves/accounts… but I wasn’t so dug into the PC version that I felt I couldn’t change over.  You can play with up to three of your friends, which on the PC side is controlled through a friends list, though how that really works I haven’t seen yet as I have nobody on my list.

And then I got to the content gating mechanism.

While you have levels… because levels will never die… and gain enchantment points with each level, you also have a power measurement based on your level, gear, and enchantments.

Each mission has a recommended level of power you ought to have to take it on.  After the first few missions I ran though I was at power level 6 and the next range of missions were suggesting 10.

It isn’t a hard barrier.  You can run the missions with a power suggestion higher than your actual, but they are tuned for that suggestion as a minimum.  Still, you might get a gear drop that will boost your power as you go through.

Or you can re-run past missions.  You can actually dial up their settings from their default to something more challenging, which gets you better drops.

Mission settings

I am less enthused with that option because, with all the charm and cuteness and Minecraft feel to the game, none of the levels were really interesting enough that I was thinking, “I want to do that again!” when I was done.  I was far more, “Okay, let’s get the next mission going!”

Still, it feels a bit thin so far, though I need to measure that against the $20 price.

And I am also not that far into the game yet, so perhaps I have not hit the more interesting missions.  It is light and easy to pick up though.  It just needs to clear the “compelling” hurdle for me.

Where is the Scenario Mod for This?

Due to the absolutely staggering lack of leadership currently at the federal level, regional groupings have begun to form in an effort to coordinate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The internet being what it is, people are tracking and mapping these groupings.

Regional Groupings

There are even people working on flag variations for things like the Western States Pact. (Though, now that there are five states in it, the flag needs a re-think.)

And, because I am what I am, my thoughts immediately go towards a mod or scenario or whatever to reflect this, if not break up, then regional grouping of these re-United States.  Civilization or Crusader Kings or Hearts of Iron or Europa Universalis, in one or all of these somebody has to be brewing up a scenario.   Who has one?

Friday Bullet Points from Gamasutra

It is Friday and time for some bullet points about things about which I could not muster full blog posts.  This week the common theme here is that they are from the Gamasutra blogs, which are opinion pieces submitted by their community.

Gamasutra focuses on the video game industry from a developer’s perspective, which can give the site its own flavor.  This includes an often used outsider submission system for blog posts.  These posts can range from esoteric to down in the nitty gritty technical, but enough of them interest me that I keep the blogs section in my RSS feed.  So I thought I would share a few recent items from there that I enjoyed.

This is the article that made me think about doing this post.  A lot of blogs are retros about how things worked out for a particular game.  In this case, it is a pretty deep view into how the game Cultist Simulator did on Steam, diving into so pretty specific details you are unlikely to find elsewhere.  To an outsider it provides information both about how well the game did and how things even work when you’re a developer on Steam.

A developer side view of the impact of microtransactions and cash shops in video games and how they can be a good for a quick buck up front but may ultimately end up losing you player support over the longer term if not well thought out.

A look at another item that I think about now and then, the daily login rewards and such that games use to tempt players to keep logging back in.  Fatigue is such a good word to describe how I feel about them after a while.

I mentioned the game play loop idea in a comment recently, as it is something that comes up in Yahtzee Croshaw’s video dev diary series about developing twelve games in twelve months. (I recommend it. You can find it on YouTube under The Escapist.)   This is another look at the importance of this aspect of game design.

This is actually from the news section of Gamasurta, but I thought I would end with it as a bit of an illustration.  I think the headline is a good look at an insider view of the Project Nova announcement.  The gaming press largely fell over itself in a rush to declare the game cancelled, despite there being evidence against that and even a question as to whether CCP or Pearl Abyss even said that during the investor call.  And the focus of the post is about how CCP will handle project announcements going forward, a very different tack than the gaming press took.

Anyway, that is what I have for this Friday in early March.  If you live in the US in an area that does the semi-annual daylight savings time dance, this is the weekend we “spring forward,” so I look forward to everybody at the office being sleep deprived on Monday.

CCP and the Transition of Project Nova

One of the news items that popped up while I was away for the last week… the last few posts were written in advance… was about CCP and Project Nova.  I saw multiple headlines saying it has been cancelled but, as with everything around this project, it just isn’t that simple.

Project Nova, the FPS game that CCP has seen as something of a successor to the late DUST 514, has been kicking around as an idea or concept or plan for quite a while now.  We even had a blog banter topic back in May of 2016 about Project Nova, which pre-dated the actual end of DUST 514. It isn’t a new thing.

It was even said to be “closer that we think” back at Fanfest in 2018 and we were shown demos and allowed to sign up for alpha at EVE Vegas later that year.

And then about a week later it was announced that the whole thing had been postponed.  Nothing like building something up at a convention only to pull the rug out immediately afterwards.  Of course, that was just after the Pearl Abyss acquisition closed and things were going to change.

Since then there has not been a lot of news about Project Nova.  What there has been is a series of job postings for a CCP project in the UK.  Then, in the Pearl Abyss earnings call it was apparently mentioned that Project Nova had been cancelled, so the headlines were based on that.

But we got the following announcement over on Reddit to clarify the situation.

We’re continuing to develop our sci-fi multiplayer shooter game concept, actively evolving it beyond the original scope for what was formerly codenamed Project Nova. Development efforts on this concept are now the full focus of CCP’s London studio. Project Nova team members based in Iceland have been moved onto other projects at our Reykjavík studio.

This decision was taken because Project Nova’s gameplay experience as presented at EVE Vegas ’18 would not have achieved our ambitious goals for this concept. Moreover, it is very common for games in active development to evolve over time, often substantially. We remain committed to offering a rock-solid, action-oriented gameplay experience with stellar visuals, but due to significant changes in the scope and direction of our sci-fi multiplayer shooter game concept, it also made sense to update how we refer to this project internally. So, we are no longer using the codename Project Nova for this game concept.

Furthermore, we are moving away from publicly announcing our internal project codenames and will wait until we’re ready for a full reveal. We want to show you rather than tell you how we have evolved this concept and we’re looking forward to doing so when the time comes to present this concept as a fully-fledged game.

So there is still an FPS under development at CCP.  The development is now being done in the UK at CCP’s London studio.  It isn’t clear if integration with EVE Online is still a goal of the project.  And, finally, the whole thing is no longer called Project Nova, but they are not going to tell us what the new code name is for it so we’re all going to either refer to it still as Project Nova, or possibly The Project formerly known as Project Nova.  I am not sure either is exactly an improvement.

However, it is probably a good thing for them to stop telling us about things that aren’t anywhere close to done as they can’t seem to keep themselves from giving estimated ship dates that are nowhere close to reality.

Anyway, “cancelled” didn’t really seem like the right word.  They didn’t say they were throwing away all the work and starting again from scratch.  But it makes for a catchy headline.  And, as with Titan over at Blizzard, we may not end up getting something that lines up with past visions of the project, but which may still contains elements of earlier plans.  We shall see.

Related Posts:

Warcraft III Reforged

Earlier this week we got Warcraft III Reforged, the remaster of Blizzard’s 2002 RTS Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its follow-expansion Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.  The remaster was announced at BlizzCon 2018 and was in beta late last year.

The return of RTS again

I pre-ordered this back during BlizzCon 2018… we were only mad at them about Diablo Immortal that year… and have been looking forward to giving it a try.  Warcraft III was the last step before World of Warcraft for Blizzard.  WoW was very much a mash up of EverQuest ideas (the whole MMORPG thing), some Diablo II mechanics (itemization, skill trees, health pots, and so on), and the Warcraft III lore.

I went back to play Warcraft III a ways back to experience a bit of the pre-history of WoW and it was, with the hindsight perspective, a prototype of what WoW would become.  It is a key part of the Warcraft franchise, which according to SuperData Research, has earned $19.2 billion in digital revenues over the last 25 years.

Includes Hearthstone as part of the franchise. Does not include physical retail sales

Given all that I am keen to carve out some time to see what Blizzard has done with the remaster.  That will probably happen next month at the earliest, given that we’re at the end of the current month.  That will also give Blizz a chance to fix some of the bugs that have been reported already.

Of course, being the immediate predecessor of WoW is not the only the only thing Warcraft III is famous for.  It is responsible for kicking of another genre whose revenue no doubt eclipses that of the Warcraft franchise.

With the the Defense of the Ancients mod, the whole MOBA genre that would lead to League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Blizzard’s own Heroes of the Storm was created.

Who made $1.5 billion in 2019 alone?

Blurb also from SuperData Research.

Given that Heroes of the Storm is the distant third place runner in that race… and that Valve managed to grab control of the DOTA trademark which meant changing the games name from Blizzard DOTA to Blizzard All-Stars and later to Heroes of the Storm… Blizzard is no doubt still smarting at some level about all of that.  I mean, having to have this up on the Blizzard main site has to irk them.

DOTA USAGE
DOTA is a trademark of Valve Corporation and used under license. By making use of the term “DOTA” in any content posted on any Blizzard website or battle.net, you agree that use of this trademark is subject to Valve’s trademark guidelines found at https://store.steampowered.com/legal.

Not that I think having the DOTA name would have made Blizzard the MOBA winner.  They were almost six years late to the party, only launching Heroes of the Storm in 2015, by which time LoL was already king.  DOTA 2 rolled in two years ahead of HotS and was able to grab the “lesser alternative to LoL” spot in the genre.

But all the same Blizzard isn’t going to let that happen again.  So in there as part of their “Custom Game Acceptable Use Policy,” basically their mod rules, they make it clear up front in the first bullet that they own every aspect of any mod you make for the game:

Ownership: Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games. If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable license enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose and in any manner whatsoever. You further agree that should Blizzard decide that it is necessary, you will execute any future assignments and/or related documents promptly upon receiving such a request from Blizzard in order to effectuate the intent of this paragraph. To the extent you are prohibited from transferring or assigning your moral rights to Blizzard by applicable laws, to the utmost extent legally permitted, you waive any moral rights or similar rights you may have in all such Custom Games, without any remuneration. Without limiting Blizzard’s rights or ownership in the Custom Games, Blizzard reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to remove Custom Games from its systems and/or require that a Custom Game developer cease any and/or all development and distribution of a Custom Game. Please note that your Blizzard account can be subject to disciplinary action in event that you do not comply with Blizzard’s request or this Policy.

Nobody is going to create a whole new genre with their product and then walk off to another company like Valve to get it developed again.  Of course, this policy isn’t a huge incentive to spend time developing something new in the Warcraft III editor, but there it is.  The company has protected itself. (The statement applies to all mods for all Blizzard games, but was updated just before this week’s launch, so people are taking it specifically as a Warcraft III thing since the old version wasn’t so draconian.)

And so it goes.  I’ll still play it.  The MOBA thing doesn’t interest me in any case.  But I’ve already seen people grumbling about this pre-emptive land grab on Discord and Reddit.

Now we just need that Diablo II remaster, the third of the three promised remasters, though some of the original teams says that Blizz cannot make a remaster due to said team’s near disastrous mistake back in the day.  But this could also just be sour grapes as the Blizzard North team seems to be bitter about how things turned out for them nearly 20 years down the road.

Related:

The Passing of the 2019 Steam Winter Sale

The new year has been rung in, we’ve had a day off, and now it is January 2nd and reality has to kick in for some of us.  Not me.  I’m not going back to work until Monday.  But not everybody has that luxury or that much vacation time back logged.

And so it is with Valve.  By the time this posts another Steam Winter Sale will have come and gone.

Holiday 2019 Edition

Lots of things were on sale.  I got the traditional email letting me know that just about everything on my Steam wish list had been marked down.  And yet I got through almost the entire sale without buying a thing.  It looked like another dry year for me.  I didn’t even log on to play the store event game, which seemed pretty dry… dry enough that they had to revise it mid-way through to drum up some interest.  You think Valve would have that nailed down by this point.

The reasons for my lack of interest in buying new games are not much different than most years.  That something is on sale at Steam is no longer reason enough to buy it.  The novelty is gone there.  I have a list of unplayed games in my Steam library which acts as a deterrent.  And I am invested in playing something at the moment.  When I am not logged into WoW Classic I am logged into EverQuest II and playing the new Blood of Luclin expansion.  Expect posts about that to start next week.

So until yesterday it looked like my only purchase was going to be a Steam gift card for my daughter’s boyfriend as a Christmas gift.

And then we binge watched The Witcher, wrapping it up on New Years Eve, which got me to check if the original game was available on Steam.  And, sure enough, there it was, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, in the store and on sale for $1.49.  So I bought that.

Toss a Coin to Your Witcher

So op success for Steam?  I guess.  I didn’t even end up paying the $1.49.  Because I bought that gift card I ended up with a $5.00 discount, which I applied to the game.

No coins for your Witcher

One more item in my library.  We’ll see if I end up playing it.  But now it is there.

As usual, Steam had its own lists and such to share.  There were the top revenue earners of 2019.

Top Revenue Titles for 2019

The ranking… since there are no numbers… include in-game purchases, which is how the aging Warframe and  Grand Theft Auto V stay up with the newer titles.  Warframe making the top spot is quite a coup.

Then there are the most played games, which has its own ranking structure.  Still, there is some overlap between revenue and being played.

Most played titles for 2019

You can find more such lists on the Steam Blog entry about 2019.

Then there were the Steam Awards, the user nominated and elected “best of…” designations.  It wasn’t a surprise to even me that Beat Sabre won the best VR game, since it is literally the only new VR game I can recall hearing about.  VR isn’t dead, but it is a lot more aspirational than real still.  And Grand Theft Auto V crept into another winning position.  How does that game keep going?  I guess I might know if I played the copy I bought during the Steam Summer Sale.

And so it goes.  I have one new game in my Steam library and six months to go until the summer sale. (I don’t count the spring and autumnal sales, they don’t get nearly as much press.)