Category Archives: Steam

Runes of Magic Arrives on Steam at Last

The summer’s here! As well as basking in the beautiful weather in Taborea, we’re celebrating the dawn of a new era: Runes of Magic is now available on the world’s most popular gaming platform Steam!

-Runes of Magic news page

When I say “at last” it isn’t as though I was anxious for it to be there, it is just that they have been talking about this for some time and the target was June and then July.  Now, in the final week of August it has arrived on Steam.  Summer is indeed here, but we’re on the far side of it and autumn is on its way.

I’ve written a bit now and then about the game.  It was kind of a big deal back in 2009 when it launched, when it was both a built-from-scratch free to play MMORPG and an attempt for an attempt by an Asian studio to build a western style, quest drive game.

But, as it turns out, this move to Steam is also a moment of opportunity if you have ever wanted to try the game.  As part of the Steam launch they are also putting up a couple of new servers, one in the US and one in the EU, so you can start on a fresh new server rather than joining one where the years have clumped most of the user base at max level and the economy has been distorted by past problems.

Your favorite game is now available on Steam!
In addition, we’re also launching new servers for the USA and Europe to coincide with the game’s Steam debut – the perfect opportunity for newcomers and returning players to discover Taborea afresh.

Runes of Magic, news page

This is probably as close to a retro or progression server as you are going to get for Runes of Magic.  The devs haven’t changed much of the content over the years, so it is mostly still the 2009 experience.  And you can still use your same old account.  In fact, you have to create an account for the game in the same old way, with Steam basically acting like a launcher for the launcher in that way that makes Steam feel a pointless part of the process.

I do wonder what this move to Steam will really do, if anything. The “at last” in the title is also a question about why it has taken so long to get to Steam, why it is happening now, and what they hope to get out of this jump onto the Steam platform.  I hope they aren’t planning on this saving the game.

Steam has gone from a service with a fairly select range of games to a garbage heap over the years.  It is the last refuge for the greedy or incompetent who seem to think they getting on a distribution platform is the main point of the exercise.  And Steam’s premature policy change (we’ll let even more crap in now and give you filtering tools at some point in the distant future) doesn’t promise to make anything better.  It is a mess, with the company still pretty much running by the old guidelines while people debate over what “trolling” really means.

(I’ll tell you what “trolling” means in that context.  It means whatever the person making the decision at the moment wants it to mean, so the games that got rejected before the new policy will probably all still be rejected after the new policy.)

Anyway, there is Runes of Magic hidden in that mess, one of dozens of “new releases” on the Steam store this week (so it is already on page four, in 98th place, on the Windows new releases list in less than two days), with a 2009 launch date in its description, and already being pummeled by a series of negative reviews declaring it old (it is), unstable (it does leak memory), and pay to win (it does sell power), leading it to an overall “mixed” rating, which is as good as a “do not buy” label in big red letters across the page.

And only 31 reviews so far

If the developers were hoping for a bonanza of new players I suspect they may be disappointed.  But it is hard to tell what the real plan is from the outside.  Is this a last gasp effort to keep the ball rolling?

Certainly the new server thing was contrary to my prediction about the game at the start of the year, when I suspected that it would lose at least one of its two remaining servers, with the very quiet US server either disappearing or being merged into the EU.  Instead they have doubled the number of servers they are running.

We shall see if this keeps Runes of Magic alive or if it was just a last, unfortunate roll of the dice.

Extra Credits and the Steam Data Leak

Back in July there was, for a brief time, a way to see some interesting data on a whole bunch of games available on Steam.  The total number of players for games on Steam that met certain criteria, such as having Steam achievements, was visible.  Naturally, people jumped on that while the opportunity existed.  There is an article over at Ars Technica about the whole thing which includes a downloadable .csv formatted file with all the data if you are interested.

The achievements portion means that a lot of games don’t make the list.

We don’t know how many people have played EverQuest or EVE Online on Steam, for example. We do have a number for EVE Valkyrie.  That came in 4376th place with 15,182 players.  And DC Universe Online made the cut and has had 2.8 million players on Steam.  But free is a pretty big advantage and that number doesn’t have anything to do with how long people played or if they ever used the cash shop or otherwise spent a nickel on the game.

The crew at Extra Credits did a video looking at the list and exploring some of the tidbits they found.  It is fun and worth a view.

 

One of the disparities they point out but do not fully explore is the difference in players between Civilization V and Civilization VI.

Civ V sits in 14th place with 12.7 million players while Civ VI is down in 90th position with 3.6 million players.  Their proposition is that people are waiting for all the DLC to hit before making their purchase, something I don’t quite buy.   Having played both, I don’t think Civ VI brought much to the table aside from even greater graphic detail that you’ll want to shut off to make it run well.

But you would only really know this is you played it.  So I think this might also reflect the somewhat divisive reception that Civ V has received.  I know some old Civ fans who were not happy with Civ V and who thus probably never moved on to try Civ VI.

Add in the problem with Civilization: Beyond Earth (2.6 million players on Steam) which was… well… it wasn’t the second coming of Alpha Centauri, that’s for sure… and you can imaging that Civ VI might have been fighting against Sid Meier’s previous games as much as the reviews it got.  My gut says that Civ VI getting all of its DLC done won’t get it to Civ V levels of sales.

It does warm my heart that the HD remaster of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings has had 5.8 million players on Steam.  That is both the peak of the series as well as possibly being the peak of the RTS genre… leaving aside StarCraft of course.

And, of the more than 13K titles on the list, over 8K of them have less than 10,000 players, with last place on the list going to Disco Elysium, which has had three players.

Somebody had to be last

But it has achievements!  And, of course, it hasn’t even been released yet, so those three are probably just the Steam or dev staff.  But I thought it deserved a mention since it was last on the list.

Anyway, there is some data to play with if you are interested.

The Passing of the 2018 Steam Summer Sale

If I scheduled this correctly, the Steam Summer Sale of 2018 should have wrapped up about fifteen minutes before this post went live.

In its way it was the same thing we have come to expect over the years.  The daily deals remain a thing of the past and hundreds… possibly thousands… of games are offered up at a discount.  Also, there was a game to play and cards to collect.  I collected cards via the event game and by browsing my queue three times daily.  That, and some trading, let me craft the badge for the event.  Go me.

Level 4 even…

Going through the queue as many times as I did, I could detect some patterns.  I bought an Anime flagged title in the past… the Valkyria Chronicles… which seemed to make Steam believe that I wanted whole queues of nothing but Anime titles proffered for my inspection.  Generally I flip past those, but this time around I decided to see if I could fix my queue, so I clicked the “not interested” button until the empire of Anime subsided.

That left my queue at least a little more on point.  Not that it came up with gems I might have missed.  Rather, it seemed to confirm the fact that there is a lot of derivative crap on Steam.  I was not aware as to how many psuedo-Civilization knock-offs there were, all with titles that were something like World Civilization Conquest of the Ages.

I did find one possible gem in my queue, OGRE.

I put it on my wishlist, though I did not buy it yet.  I played it, and its companion game GEV, back when they came in zip-lock bags at the hobby shop, but I wasn’t feeling the need to go quite that far back in time.

And, of course, I managed to screw up my queue on my own by putting other things I found funny on my wishlist.  I use the wishlist not so much as a shopping list than as a way to find games later because… so many damn games on Steam, if I don’t remember the title just right I’ll never find it again.

So when I put Blockchain Tycoon on my wishlist for a laugh, I was rewarded on my next few passes through my queue with Bitcoin Tycoon and Bitcoin Mining Empire Tycoon and Bitcoin Trading Master and Bitcon Farm and Bitcoin Collector and Cryptocurrency Clicker and I am tired of linking them.  There are more, including VR variations on the theme.  And they all look like crap.  I mean, I might laugh at something like EuroTruck Simulator now and again, but at least some effort went into that.  What I was seeing was… and I keep using this phrase… cheap, derivative crap, meant only to cash in on a current fad and unlikely to succeed at even that.

But I am not here to get back onto the “you know what’s wrong with Steam…” train again.  I am here to talk about what I bought during the Steam Summer Sale because I did indeed buy a few items this year.

The first item I picked up was Fallout 4.

I have been aware of the Fallout series since the original came out more than 20 years ago.  Despite it being the so-called spiritual successor to the original Wasteland, which I played to death on the Apple II, I have somehow managed to avoid picking up a copy of any of the various versions of the games… until now.  I am about four hours into it at this point.  I’ve collected the big iron suit, killed that nasty monster, and have gone off into the world only to have the batteries on the suit run out.

The second item on the list was Hearts of Iron IV.

This was an after 8pm impulse buy last Friday night when I wanted something in the grand strategy vein to play.  I am sure if I go back and check purchase dates and times, I would find that this is when I purchased most of the games from Paradox that I currently own.

I get all worked up for such a game and then end up defeated trying to pick up the basic flow of the game.  Almost everything from Paradox loves to throw a ton of details at you straight away without necessarily helping you build that into anything like a coherent strategy.

I will admit that it is easier to get a hold of than Hearts of Iron III… or Crusader Kings II or most of the other Paradox titles that languishing in my Steam library… and I feel like I am almost there when it comes to enjoying it.  I just have to find a good 4-6 hour stretch to focus on it.

And the third item was Oxygen Not Included.

I blame peer pressure for this one as several people in the MCats Slack channel have been going on and on about it.

And it is pretty fun.  Of my three purchases I have spent the most time with this.  It is a base building survival game which, I must admit, there are many variations of on Steam.  In fact, I already own one of those in the form of RimWorld, which I wrote about previously.

Oxygen Not Included is done from a side scroll perspective and spends a lot of time dealing with very basic issues, like getting enough air to breath and toilets overflowing.  Also you do a lot of digging up and down.  RimWorld has a top down perspective and you spend more time constructing buildings, furnishing them, fighting off the locals, and recruiting passers by to join your colony.  Also the weather plays into things a lot and you end up in the HVAC business eventually.

Overall I think I prefer RimWorld more… but I also think RimWorld is further along in its development.  But both of them largely involve moving from one crises to the next until you hit some level of stability.

So those are my three purchases.  I feel good that I have actually played all three.  My vow with Steam is not to buy something unless I plan to play it TODAY.

Steam also had some info up about games overall so far in 2018.  They had lists of the overall top sellers so far in 2018.

Top Sellers so far for 2018

They were divided into categories without any numbers attached.  Interesting that Warframe is on the list.  It has been out for ages, I’ve barely heard anything about it, but it seems to be doing well.  Somebody on my Steam friend’s list played 100 hours of it over a 2 week period.  Perhaps something to put on my list.

Comparing it to the Best of 2017 list that Steam had with the Winter sale, a lot of the titles are repeats.

Other categories were top sellers among games launched this year so far and top sellers among VR titles, which wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to make the first two lists.

The other interesting one for me was the top simultaneous players list, those games that had more that 100K at a time.

Most simultaneous players so far in 2018

Again, looks a bit like the December numbers as well as lining up with the best sellers.

Anyway, another Steam Summer Sale has come and gone.  Time to go clean up my wish list so my queue isn’t full of Bitcoin games come the winter.

June in Review

The Site

I was away for more than a quarter of the month and yet still managed more than a post a day.  I got a little carried away working up posts for the week or so I was gone and ended up with more than I needed for that time.  I also expected I might be slow to restart when I returned, but CCP and the EVE Online community kept that from being an issue.  If this was an EVE-only blog I could come up with something to write about every day.

Meanwhile, just after I wrote up the ten year anniversary post about my other blog, noting that you could follow it (and this blog) on various services including Facebook, the integration piece I had been using for Facebook died.  Networked Blogs, which did this quietly and without issue for years stopped working and when I went to check I found out that Networked Blogs was now some other thing that did something else.  Scratch that.

But WordPress.com has direct integration with Facebook, so I fell back on that… which didn’t seem to work either.  At least not reliably.  So if you follow the blog on Facebook, you may never see this.

Also, I forgot to mention that you can subscribe to EVE Online Pictures on FlipBoard as well, the handy dandy news reading app I use on my iPad.  I don’t recall exactly HOW I got the blog on there as an option to which you can subscribe, but it is there.  And sometimes FlipBoard takes liberties in labeling my screen shots.

That citadel is woke

So there it is, another way to look at pictures of internet spaceships.

One Year Ago

Nintendo announced Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon as well as Pokemon Gold & Silver for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS Virtual Console.  Now it seems that the former were to be the last bit of Pokemon for the Nintendo handheld lineup.

Daybreak opened up the Fallen Gate progression server for EverQuest II.

There were Sega Genesis and Atari 2600 retro consoles being promoted, trying to milk a bit of that NES Classic magic.  I was not impressed, as there had been many Atari 2600 hardware and software retro options for ever.

Meanwhile Microsoft announced the Age of Empires Definitive Edition.  Nostalgia everywhere!

The Ashes of Creation Kickstarter campaign closed with a big take.

I tried out Atlantic Fleet, a ship combat simulator.  I also played some Mini Metro, which I picked up from the Steam Summer Sale.

Following my retro-flavor-of-the-month plan, I went back to give Guild Wars 2 a try.  Is GW2 old enough to be retro yet?  Anyway I rolled up a new character and followed the zone path, that being the most obvious thing to do.  I made it into the Harathi Hinterlands and level 40 before I wore out on the game.

Minecraft had its World of Color update, version 1.12 for those who like numbers.  Microsoft was talking about unifying all of the versions of Minecraft… except for the original, now called the Minecraft: Java Edition.  I was looking back at two years of playing Minecraft.

CCP released the June 2017 update for EVE Online, changing the naming scheme once again.  That update nerfed null sec mining some more, tried to reign in super carrier ratting without nerfing fighter PvP capabilities, launched the Rogue Swarm event, and gave the game a colorblind mode.  Also, it had music.  We would soon lose music with updates.

The New Eden Monthly Economic Report showed that Delve not only ratted and mined more than most, but also had a big market and a lot of production going on as well.  Aryth called the MER the best recruiting tool the Imperium ever had.  If you wanted to make ISK, the MER told you where you wanted to be.

In space I was there to shoot a Raitaru, get in on a Keepstar kill, and cover some tower repairs in Fountain.  My alliance joined the Keepstar club.    And I opened a controversial topic in asking whether or not EVE Online was a gank box or not. (My observation after that is, for some people, any PvP is too much.)

And that whole Blogger Fantasy Movie League thing started, initiated by Liore the ringer.  I sort of set a format in that first week that I carried on with.

Finally, Blizzard gave us a date for the Necromaner mini-expansion for Diablo III.

Five Years Ago

At E3 Sony certainly seemed to have won the marketing war against Microsoft and the XBox One.

CCP faced a DDoS attack that kept us from logging in.  They still managed to release the Odyssey expansion a couple of days later.

In EVE Online, the war for Fountain began, as the CFC invaded the Fountain region to take it from former member TEST in order control its economically valuable moons, which ended up there as part of the Odyssey expansion.  A side effect of all of this was that the “blue donut” chanting peanut gallery was shown yet again that war was possible. That did not stop them from moving straight to “not winning fast enough” as their next chant.  I suppose that gave TEST some comfort though.  Anyway, rather than try to fit all the links into a narrative, here are the related June 2013 posts from the war:

I got a special BMW in Need for Speed World.  That 180 day journey about finished that game for me.  I have had no real urge to go back, and with a couple of auto based MMOs coming this year, the next time I want to drive online I will have other options.

TorilMUD offered its own web client to connect to one of the older MUDs left on the internet.  They also made my old fumble trigger obsolete.

Rift went free to play, and the instance group met up to give it a try.

I was wondering about feedback that MMOs give about equipment, wondering if we could use that as opposed to lots and lots of stats.  Also, something about equity.

finished up the Evendim zone in LOTRO for the nth time and sat, as usual, wondering how to bridge that awkward gap between levels 40 and 50.

And Richard Bartle told us there was nothing before MUD1, Tesh was offering Tinker Dice, I wondered whether we still hated 60% of our dungeon groups, and, in a tidbits post, I wondered what SOE was up to with EverQuest Next, noted XBox One policy changes, and followed how worked up EVE Online players go when they tried to change up the Minmatar hauler lineup.

Ten Years Ago

The big news was Blizzard announcing Diablo III.  Of course, they didn’t announce a ship date.  Still, we were all primed for the announcement, there having been a surge in Diablo II nostalgia at the time.

The Empyrean Age was upon us in EVE Onlineif you could stay logged in.  CCP went looking for a fix and found one eventually.  When I could get a break on connectivity I went out to try a factional warfare mission.  It did not go well.

After that I moved back to Amarr space again and started in on level 4 missions.  The move did not go well either as I managed to lose two ships at once.  Damn suicide gankers!  I didn’t even know that was a thing until it happened to me.  While that was going on, the skill point meter rolled over to 20 million and explored the training differential between guns and missiles.

Meanwhile, around the house, Summer began and it found us playing with LEGO and Pokemons.

Norrath was calling as SOE launched their huge Living Legacy marketing campaign.  I picked up some nifty stuff in EverQuest, but never really got rolling with EverQuest II during the promotion.  Of course, not everybody was happy about the campaign.  The phrase “a slap in the face” was used by some. I never got around to a post about that involving the prodigal son (I still have the notes) though I did wonder what sparked this campaign.  Also, I was still annoyed by their then lack of a real time server status page.

And in Azeroth the instance group struggled through the Mana Tombs and started in on the Auchenai Crypts.  We were struggling, this being long before the great re-spec of 2009.

Fifteen Years Ago

SOE launched Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. Gone but not forgotten.

Linden Lab launched Second Life. It is still around, but it is no longer the future we’ve all been promised.  And their ads these days… are they’re trying for Third Life maybe?

Disney Virtual Reality Studios and Schell Games launched Toontown Online.  It has been gone for almost five years, but is available in emulator form as Toontown Rewritten.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. What is EVE Project Galaxy?
  3. Quote of the Day – We Just Work Here
  4. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  7. Quote of the Day – The Dumbest Thing Ever Said About PvP
  8. When the Steam Summer Sale Hits While You Are on Vacation
  9. WoW Classic – Blizzard Picks a Vanilla Point
  10. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  11. The Return of the Mystery Code
  12. The Demise of BattleClinic

Search Terms of the Month

kids with guns rent feythabolis
[If you have a gun, why not just take?]

when you put all your stats in strength and charisma
[You get Kronk?]

eve brave newbies good ratting system
[Somewhere in Impass I would guess]

pathroomsize
[As in “three pedroom, two path?”]

what update do you need to make an saddle on nitendo 3ds xl
[The horsey update?]

EVE Online

There was a lot going on in the game in June.  Abyssal Pockets were all the rage as the end-of-May Into the Abyss expansion carried on.  Stations in null sec became faction Fortizars.  There was the Federation Grand Prix event which, even though I wasn’t thrilled with, I ended up finishing on my alt.  It was easy enough if you did a couple runs a day.

I didn’t do many fleets however.  Being away for a stretch in back half of the month and our deployment in the north standing down for a rest in the first half meant not much going on.  That should get back going in July.  And I did get in on one nice end of the month kill.

Fallout 4

My one Steam Summer Sale purchase… so far.  I’ve started in on it and am a few hours in.  We’ll see how this runs its course.  At least I didn’t buy it and then NOT play it.

Pokemon Go

It turns out that Pokemon Go isn’t really viable at sea, where cell service isn’t a thing.  That was a week of no progress.  But we came back from vacation to find the new friend features enabled.  Pokedex progress has slowed down a bit, as I have caught or evolved all of the easy stuff at this point I think.  The new Alola forms of more Pokemon are out and about, but they don’t count as new, just variations on the current list.

Level: 32 (+0)
Pokedex status: 331 (+4) caught, 350 (+1) seen
Pokemon I want: Still Lapras, still don’t have one
Current buddy: Cascoon

Steam

The Steam Summer Sale kicked off and remains active into next week, so still time to shop… or earn cards.  Every sale I am compelled to earn cards for a badge.

Steam also said they were going to let most any game on their service whether they liked it or not.  Then they demonstrated that when they say “trolling'” they mean something they don’t like and that was about the end of that idea.  They also promised more and better tools for sorting through the trash heap their service has become.  We’ll see.

Coming Up

I think all eyes will be drawn to World of Warcraft before the end of the month.  The Battle for Azeroth expansion goes live in mid-August, which means that the preliminaries, the first 8.0 patch… 8.0.1 I hear, since we can never have a round number… will likely drop some time after mid-July.  Blizz has already started pushing the data files and I hear there is actually a start on the quest that will replace your artifact weapon.  The pending patch will be the signal to return, though I might re-sub a bit early to get in on a last Darkmoon Faire before the patch hits.

We might get the under water Minecraft update we’ve been waiting for.  Version 1.13 was actually expected to go live in May, but it is a big one and there have been bugs to quash.

And… and… well, it is summer.  Something else must be coming along.

When the Steam Summer Sale Hits While You Are on Vacation

You can tell just by checking your email.

Only 25? Is that all?

My Steam wishlist is long, full of games I as much want to watch as actually buy and play. But now the test as to which category some of those games fall into has hit yet again.

Intergalactic Summer Sale is On!

At least I have some time to consider what is on my list. Fallout 4 is right at the top, and with all the talk of the new Fallout 76 coming along it is tempting.

Of course, it will be time to return to Azeroth in not too long, with the opening events for the Battle for Azeroth expansion no doubt hitting some time by the end of July. Do I have time to binge and RPG before then?

Resupply in the Jungle

The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…

– Sun Tzu

At some point last year I picked up the game Vietnam 65 on Steam.  I’d read a favorable review of it elsewhere and put it on my wish list and, when it came up on a sale, I bought it.

Vietnam 65 Splash Screen

And then I sat on it for many months.  It was installed, but unlauched, not an unheard of situation for games purchased on Steam.

Then came the Steam Spring Cleaning Sale a few weeks back which, among other things, encouraged Steam users to play games they hadn’t played in a while or had sitting in their library yet hadn’t played at all.  They were offering a badge as a bribe and convincingly listed titles that applied for each category and Vietnam 65 covered a couple of those.  So I launched it at last.

The reviews for the game were good and I can see why now.  Vietnam 65 is simple for a war game.  I pretty much picked up most of what I needed in the tutorial mission.  After that there were just a couple of units to learn about and I had the basics.  Then it was just up to me to actually play the game.

Winning is measured by the state of the hearts and minds of the province you’ve been assigned to protect.  Defeating Viet Cong or National Vietnamese Army units strengthens your position in the province so the locals will trust you.  Letting the VC or NVA run wild or mass their forces turns the locals away from you.

A fresh province to win

Those two also affect the political will of the people at home which impacts your supply and replacement situation.  If you’re winning, the folks at home are happy to reinforce success, but if you end up losing badly you’ll find it tough to climb back as supplies and replacements dry up.

Generally speaking the US forces can dominate any situation.  Infantry, tanks, Green Berets, air strikes, attack helicopters, and artillery will lay Charlie low when you spot him.  The key is finding Charlie.  The fog of war is your main barrier to success.  You have to keep scouting.

An rare moment of contact

I’ve been most effective with a fire base planted in the midst of some villages and a couple of Green Beret units, scouts who can spot from a distance without being seen, and dropping artillery from the base, along with air strikes when available, on targets of opportunity, with a Chinook helicopter keeping the fire base supplied with ammo.

Supply is key.  You units out in the field can only survive for so long without being resupplied.  A lot of the effort of the game is keeping the supplies coming to your units out looking for the enemy.  And your helicopters, which can only move so far in a turn, also need to get back to base to refuel before they can haul more supplies.  Some of my early disasters have been caused by too many units spread far afield and waiting too long to start supply runs.

Operations around a firebase

The combat is pretty basic.  There is a simple win/lose mechanic for straight up fights and a hit/miss roll for artillery, air strikes, and other indirect fire.  US units are eliminated after two losses.  This includes your helicopters, which can come under fire from the ground when trying to get supplies out to your units in the field.  One such hit means they need to get back to base for repair, while the second hit sends them crashing into the jungle, leaving a wreck behind to remind you of your mistake.

But combat can be simple, as it is an end result of your efforts.  You need to get out in the field and find the enemy.  The local villagers will help you with intel if you have proven yourself around them.  Defeating nearby hostile units will help, as will clearing mines from the vicinity of their town of hooking them up to the road network with your engineers.

Turn 13 and I am doing well

Once you get used to things and find you’re winning every game decisively you can start fiddling with the difficulty.  There are two presets; Normal, which is where you start, and Veteran, which is all the sliders moved to “hard.”  In between there is Custom, which lets you tinker with the sliders so you can build up to Veteran.

All the sliders

Veteran is a challenge.  You start behind on hearts and minds, your supply pool is low, the enemy is very aggressive, the weather is bad, and the jungle is very dense.  I’ve survived a few rounds of Veteran, but faced defeat as I could not repair or replace units due to a loss of public support from about the halfway point of the game.

The game is single player only.  It also comes with 51 achievements which, because it is single player, you can go out and earn without having to interact with anybody else.  Some are easy, and some are not, requiring you be running in Veteran settings to start with.

All in all an approachable war game that has enough depth and replayability to keep you going for a while.  Play time for a 45 round game is a little over an hour.  Some turns take time, some go by fast.  Overall I recommend the game.  You can read up about it over on Steam.

Vietnam 65 is actually a few years old now and the company that made it has released something of a successor, Afghanistan 11.  In the same vein as the original, you are fighting a counter insurgency and have to win the hearts and minds by finding the insurgents and proving you can protect the locals.

I have already purchased Afghanistan 11, but haven’t dug into it yet because I am not done with the original.  But if you want to move on to more recent conflicts, you can find it on Steam as well.

Quote of the Day – Satire is Dead

Always predict the worst and you’ll be hailed as a prophet.

-Tom Lehrer, quoting a friend

I don’t have an agenda when it comes to Steam.  I tend to take it as it is in my own fatalistic way.  But sometimes this stuff writes itself.

The Timeline:

Thursday – Anything goes on Steam, even if we hate it.  The only exceptions are things that are illegal or straight up trolling.

Saturday – Well, yes, there may be some correlation between things we don’t like and what we’re going to call trolling.

Monday – Hey, we’re bringing Steam to the People’s Republic of China!

Yes, because of the laws there Valve won’t actually own Steam in China.  Their partner, Perfect World Entertainment will be the majority shareholder.

Still I just find it a strange and/or amusing bit of timing to have the company go from declaring openness one day to lending their name to a service in China, where the game lineup will be anything but open, just a few days later.

I’m hoping the next thing I write about Steam will be in regards to the summer sale.