Tag Archives: Solasta

July in Review

The Site

A few months ago I mentioned that I had decided to confront the spam comment problem on the site by closing down comments on posts more than 800 days old.  I was a bit hesitant to do that, because I really don’t mind comments on older posts, so long as they are from real people.  But the whole spam comment thing was becoming a pain to deal with and I was more concerned about losing the occasional legitimate comment in the spam filter when there were a couple thousand comments in there than somebody leaving a message on a post about Air Warrior that I wrote more than a decade ago.  Sorry man.

Meanwhile, I have also been noting that ad revenue has been down.  The first couple of months I had ads on the blog it was bringing in close to $20 a month.  More recently it has been down around $10 a month.  That is fine, as it covers the Premium hosting plan I have with WordPress.com, but I always just wonder why things like that change.

And then about mid-month some comment spam bot hit the site, targeting more recent posts, and suddenly there were more than a thousand comments in the spam filter to deal with.  Just like old times.

Then I was looking at the daily stats for the number of ads served and saw a big spike, but that spike did not correspond with any sort of increase in traffic.  How strange.

“Spike” is a relative term here

What I realized a while later was that the spike in the number of ads served corresponded with the day that I got the burst of comment spam.

Spam bot comments generate ad revenue!

And here I had turned off the spigot on my own revenue hose by closing down comments on older posts.  Oh well.  As I said, as long as the revenue covers my annual hosting cost, I am fine.  But if you want to make more money, leave those old posts open up for comments!

Anyway, as always, if you’re going to visit here regularly I suggest using an ad blocker.  Let the comment spam bots pay my annual hosting fee!

Meanwhile, on the Bing front, nothing I have done in the Bing Webmaster Tools has managed to shake their embargo of my site.  Their graph… which is a copy of the graph Google uses in their own Search Console Tools, right down to the colors of the lines… shows my site as a flat line from June 8th forward.

But my WordPress.com stats show some traffic.

Search Engine traffic for July 2022

Now, I have said in the past, web traffic stats are garbage, useful for trends but not accurate enough to be more than a hand wave.  Still, I do wonder how it came up with four Bing and two Yahoo referrals, since Bing is resolute in saying they have sent me nothing.

Meanwhile, it was a banner month for Yandex and Baidu, who made up for the missing Bing traffic.  I cannot explain that either.

One Year Ago

There was the usual Steam Summer Sale.  When it ended it turned out that I actually bought a few titles.  That led me to sum up what I had played so far in 2021.

At home we were still binge watching TV despite there being a lull in the pandemic.  We watched Community, Hacks, Manifest, and The Kominsky Method.

My wife and I completed Pokemon Go Fest 2021, in part because the cut the price to $4.99.

Lord of the Rings Online launched the Shadowfax and Treebeard special servers for a fast or a slow run through the game’s content.  I was also on about how much stuff ends up in my bags when I start a new character in LOTRO due to my having been around the game since launch and owning all the expansions.

The instance group was into Burning Crusade Classic and finally creating a guild tabard.  We finally had some gold, in part because I was scarfing up thorium in Frostwhisper Gorge.  Meanwhile, I was MIA from Outland leveling up alts back in the vanilla content due to the eased level curve and better traits.

Somebody once again claiming they could dictate what immersion meant to other people got me on a kick to explore what immersion meant to me.  It is a complex and somewhat less than tangible topic, but I wanted to go down that rabbit hole.  Middle-earth was one of my first stops on that exploration.

World War Bee was hitting its nadir, with a declaration that PAPI was going to take the summer off.  But lots of people were taking the summer off it seemed as the PCU, which had kept around 30K most weeks, dropped down to 25K.  Fraternity, however, was getting tired of the war and demanded and end to it, so PAPI came up with a plan to win in four weeks.  CCP also said that scarcity would be over in Q4, which turned out to be a flagrant lie.

Anyway, this is what I wrote about EVE Online in July of 2021:

Then, past me, whom I really hate, wrote four freaking Friday Bullet Point blog posts that were each all over the map.

The first was about Crowfall shipping, RimWorld Ideology, some stats from the Burning Crusade Classic beta, and Minmatar Liberation Day.

The second mentioned the Steam Deck announcement, Pokemon Go anniversary items, the Diablo II Resurrected alpha, and the reserve bank keys coming to EVE Online.

The third was on about the New World beta, the Path of Exile expansion, EverQuest offering old items, and Blizzard’s big harassment scandal starting to come to light.

And the fourth carried on with MORE about Blizzard’s scandal, the Guild Wars 2 expansion, bards coming to Neverwinter, Crimson Desert failing to ship, and a panic about California having some power consumption recommendations for gaming PCs.

It was quite a July.

Finally, there was the traditional announcement that Blaugust was coming.

Five Years Ago

We adopted a new kitten.  He is much bigger now.

The Steam Summer Sale wrapped up and I went over what I bought and what I considered buying, but then passed on.

Amazon Prime Day came and went and I realized I had been buying things from Amazon for 20 years.

I started using a dual monitor setup at home.  It took me a while to get used to it… I would turn off the second monitor a lot early on… but it seems natural enough now.

Gevlon was telling us about the corrupt game developer career path.  I bet you wish you knew it was just that easy to get rich.

The call of nostalgia got me to subscribe to EverQuest II for a bit to try the Fallen Gate progression server.  I got far enough to get the crazy mount.

In EVE Online Reavers were deployed in the east of New Eden where we helped blow up a Fortizar in the Great Wildlands.  CCP has used a picture from that fight a couple of times. It then took us two days to get back to Delve, during which we argued about BBQ sauce.

Back in Delve we covered the deployment of another Keepstar in the region.  I was also producing mechanical parts via PI.  And I tinkered around with one of my Alpha clones, running some of the profession quests and mining in a Vulture… I mean a Venture.

The July update for EVE Online brought us revamped Strategic Cruisers… the start of the reign of Loki supremacy… as well as an update to Project Discovery.

It was also announced that the captain’s quarters would soon be removed from the game.

We also got our first taste of The Agency in New Eden.  It was just an event at the time, though it would grow to be all things PvE soon enough.

And CSM member Jin’taan was advocating for cat ears in space.

I found that Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin still ran on my system.  A great old war game.

Albion Online launched.  I didn’t play it.

And, finally, Lord of the Rings Online got us to Mordor.  It only took ten years.  I bought in, but then there was the question of how to proceed… and with whom… and how to get back into the swing of a game I hadn’t played for ages.  I returned to one of my favorite places in the game, Annuminas

Ten Years Ago

In New Eden my heart went “Boum!

Elligium took its pandas and went home.

Blizzard set the date for Mists of Pandaria.

There was a Steam Summer Sale.

The Secret World launched.  I never played it.

I was wondering if Torchlight II could live up to its potential.

Ultima Forever!  A shot across Lord British’s bow.

Rift decided to sell mounts for cash.  It wasn’t like they were going free to play though… not yet, anyway.

Let it be noted that not all Kickstarters fail.  There was the Defense Grid expansion Kickstarter.  I kicked in, they built it, I played it.  Simple as that, and much better than any 99 cent app I have purchased.  And I still get a free copy of their next Defense Grid game when it comes out.

I wondered aloud if nostalgia servers… official ones… would remain the sole domain of EverQuest.

Meanwhile SOE was talking about Vanguard’s free to play plan.

I was underwhelmed at the so-called “reskin” of Qeynos in EverQuest II.  The sorrow of Qeynos knows no end.

In EVE Online, there was war in Delve… again… if only I could get there.  There were battles in 49-U6U, C3N-3S, and DSS-EZ, a conga line in 319-3D (where we also watched the alliance tournament), and a flying titan in F2OY-X.  The tiny Wallpapers Alliance held out longer than Nulli Secunda, before being crushed.

Then having done the heavy lifting for TEST, the CFC was asked to go home.  TEST was going to be its own alliance, but we would all remain the best of friends in the big blue donut of love.  Anyway, it was time for a convoy back to Deklein.  Somewhere along the way I got a warning from CCP for causing lag.

And there was also a link to a list of things to do in EVE Online.

Fifteen Years Ago

Hey, it was time for the Revelations expansion in EVE Online, and I was running through the updated new player tutorial. It was a huge improvement over what I went through when I started the game, though I ran into a glitch or two.

The instance group was still off in Lord of the Rings Online for the Summer, though we were having issues at The Great Barrow when we weren’t playing Truth or Dare.

Vanguard was already planning server merges. 13 servers were being reduced down to 4.

EverQuest II got its own magazine… again (okay, it was an SOE magazine for Station Access subscribers the first time around, but it had an EQ2 scantily clad dark elf on the cover!)… in the form of EQuinox. And they were offering Rise of Kunark beta access to subscribers!

Dr. Richard Bartle, keeping to his strict regime of “one controversial fanboi enraging quote every summer” said he would like to improve the MMORPG species by turning off World of Warcraft Seemed kind of mild after the next year’s entry and reaction!

Perpetual was making crazy-insane statements about Star Trek Online… like no Galaxy-class starships for you! Ships that size were planned to be “space cities” and quest hubs. Back then I told Cryptic take note: If I cannot aspire to be Captain Kirk, I am not sure I want to play! Or just go read Tipa’s post on the subject.

The end of Auto Assault was announced by NCsoft and I took note and pondered a (silly) solution.

I stopped in front of SOE headquarters for a picture. (Mirror universe Wilhelm, with goatee.)

Microsoft finally announced a warranty extension due to the “red ring of death” problem with the XBox 360.

And Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw did his fist Zero Punctuation video.

Twenty Years Ago

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos launched, the third and final major installment in the Blizzard Warcraft RTS franchise.  From a graphical and story perspective it was very much a prototype for World of Warcraft.

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Neverwinter Nights, the proto-MMO that ran on AOL and not the BioWare game of the same name, was shut down after running for six years on the service.  Given the rate of change computers went through in the 90s, that was quite a run.

Forty Years Ago

Timex Sinclair released the TS1000, a modified version of the Sinclair ZX81 that was modified for US TV signal compatibility.  I had one of them for a brief period later that year.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Fruits of the Cultural Revolution
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. EVE Valkyrie, Gunjack, and Sparc All Coming to an End on August 5th
  5. CCP Lets EVE Online Players with Multiple Accounts Subscribe Secondary Accounts at a Lower Price
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  8. The June Update Brings DirectX 12 Support to EVE Online
  9. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  10. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  11. Things Like Valheim in a Post MMORPG World
  12. CCP Promises “a very special offer” if you Link Multiple EVE Online Accounts to the Same Email Address

Search Terms of the Month

lm-composite molecular condenser
[That’s a new one… no idea]

to get to the elder in valhiem do i need a boat?
[Probably? Eikthyr is the only guaranteed walkable boss]

what happened to battleclinic.com
[All good things…]

rimworld crap game
[RimWorld no crap, RimWorld good]

rimworld dangerous bad game
[Seriously, where is this coming from?]

Game Time from ManicTime

July saw some new titles appear as well as an old title top the list.

  1. Minecraft – 36.33%
  2. Solasta – 25.70%
  3. EVE Online – 22.78%
  4. WoW Classic – 8.03%
  5. Raft – 6.99%
  6. World of Warcraft – 0.18%

However, July was also absolutely the lowest play time number of the year so far overall, running at just over half the time spent playing in June, which was the previously low ebb of the year.  But, as you can see, a perennial favorite here has reappeared on the list.  Will going back there get me playing more?

EVE Online

Well, that was a month in New Eden.  We had the downfall of The Mittani, which constitutes a major change in the political landscape of null sec.  The Imperium got a harassment policy and reporting process as a result of the fallout.  And even CCP woke up from their usual summer snooze to remind people they shouldn’t be bad and… well, they went back to sleep after that.

I didn’t exactly blaze a trail in game either in July.  I went on a couple of ops, but overall I didn’t spend a lot of time playing.

Minecraft

The month started out strong with Minecraft.  It seemed like something that would keep our attention for a while, what with all the new things that came into the game since we last played.  And that lasted for about two weeks.  Minecraft is an excellent game when you have a project in mind.  I can play for hours listening to an audio book or some pod casts.  But if I don’t have something driving me it can feel kind of empty.

Pokemon Go

I kept plugging away at Pokemon Go, though the fact that I now leave the house about once a week has slowed me down somewhat.  If it wasn’t for remote raid passes and the fact that incense now works decently, I would be even further behind my wife.  She’s a sales rep, so she leave the house all the time while I work from home.

Level: 42 ( 66.6% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 717 (+3) caught, 739 (+4) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Wimpod

Raft

We spent some time with Raft.  As I said in my post about it, not a bad game.  It didn’t grab me and it doesn’t seem to be a fit with for the group, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits.  And hey, I played another new game.

Solasta

Potshot and I spent some time playing this, and it has its merits.  It is very much a representation of table top fantasy role playing games.  But, in our group, I think that might be just a thing the two of us like.  It wasn’t an easy sell… or any sort of a sell… to anybody else.

World of Warcraft / WoW Classic

Yeah, I have resubscribed.  We’ll get to that in the coming week I am sure.  But all of the play time counted above was pretty much just yesterday.

Zwift

At some point I am going to write a post about where all my gaming time went over the last few months, but it has been at low ebb, with July ringing in the fewest hours spent playing so far this year.  This has also had an impact on exercise.  I still get on the bike, but not as often as I might like.

  • Level – 15 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 1,104.4 miles (+64.5 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 44,337 (+2,044 feet)
  • Calories burned – 36,215 (+2,002)

Coming Up

It is Blaugust tomorrow… so you can probably expect tomorrow’s post to be something Blaugust related.

There is, of course, the return to Azeroth to ponder.  I still really haven’t made a plan, so it seems like I’ll be improvising until I figure one out.  But the group seems keen to return after having been away.

New leader of the Imperium Asher Elias is trying to get the coalition serious about our war in the southeast against FI.RE.  That could be interesting and, if his call is heeded and it draws a response from our traditional foes, might even help the currently sagging online numbers for the game.

I do wonder if we’ll get the EVE Online monthly economic report tomorrow.  CCP Estimate has been on top of that.  But, more so, I wonder what the numbers will tell us given the state of the PCU in July.

We’ll no doubt be getting some financial results from Activision Blizzard.  They’ll short and to the point without a call or a slide deck, but they still have to report something.  They can’t hide in Microsoft’s financials yet.

And I am sure there will be more.  It will be August already, and I am not sure how that happened.  But there we are.

Staying Together, Resting, and Saving Occasionally in Solasta

Potshot and I have been trying to carry on with Solasta.  We have been reasonably pleased with its play style and a lot of the things people complained about in the Steam reviews seem largely irrelevant to our enjoyment.

Solasta splash screen

The Play-Doh quality character hair and stilted dialog aren’t part of the actual moment to moment game play.  You’re generally zoomed out far enough that you can barely see character details.  Meanwhile, the terrain is very nicely done, and if LOTRO has taught us anything, it is that landscape can distract from bad character models.

A nice grassy location for a goblin camp

And we were happy enough to experiment and learn the game by doing… and dying… just to get a feel for things.

It was the ogre that got us in the end… and you can barely see how bad my hair is

Eventually though you kind of want to level your character up and get another roll of the dice for hit points, because you die very easily at level one, even in level one content.  Potshot has healed my laying on the ground dying characters enough times that I should as if he has a frequent healer rewards program.

And the first thing you need to do to reap the rewards of your adventure experience is live long enough to finish the adventure.  Boromir got lots of xp in that fight with the orcs at Amon Hen, but he didn’t live to level up and gain the rewards.

So Potshot found a short adventure called First Level Primer in the Steam Workshop which involves guarding a caravan and clearing out some of the local monsters near where caravan has camped for the night.  There are some goblins, skeletons, and an ogre to fight with and… we managed to wipe on our first go around.

We wiped because after defeating the goblins, we spread out all over the area to collect loot and search for anything else to discover and my fighter discovered that there was an ogre near by… and the ogre discovered him as well.  After that it was like one of those movie fights where the bad guys obligingly show up and get beaten down by the hero one by one… only, in this version the ogre was the hero.

So it seemed like a good idea to not scatter all over the map, especially if you have just asked aloud, “Hey, do you hear something grunting over in that thicket?”

Also, it is wise to set yourself to move with caution… trying not to be noticed… if you’re not sure the area is clear of mobs yet.  I might have seen the ogre before he saw me if I hadn’t been blundering about but had tried being at least a bit stealthy.

Everybody being cautious… also, dubious mushrooms

Then there are rests.  The ogre fight was going to go badly no matter what.  It too my rogue three turns dashing to get into range of the ogre with his bow, by which time my fighter and Potshot’s cleric had both been clobbered.  But it could have gone better had we been rested up.

There are short rests and long rests.  Short rests can happen anywhere free of mobs it seems and will restore some hit points.  A long rest has to happen at a campfire and it restores your spell slots, abilities, and health.  You can also level up with a long rest.

It also introduced us to the day/night cycle of the game.  Taking a long rest at the wrong time and you might wake up and find it dark.

Anyway, in addition to being scattered we were also down on hit points and had used up spells and special abilities.  A rest after battle would have been a good idea… especially since this little adventure has a campfire back where you start.

Finally, this is a turn based game, not an MMORPG, so you can save your progress and restore if you make a huge mistake with an ogre… or you could if you remembered to save.  I think this literally didn’t occur to me because I’ve spent so much time in games like EVE and WoW and Minecraft and Valheim where saving simply isn’t a thing.  Even when I play RimWorld I play without the restore to save option.

With a bit of forethought we could have had a do-over.

But we learned.  We muddled around a bit more with this and another campaign and eventually came out of the far end alive with a level and some experience.

Our party survived!

When you get to the end you update the file for your character which brings forward your levels and loot.  We had done it, we had made it through an adventure.

Unfortunately it seems that once you’re tainted by adventures from the Steam Workshop you can no longer take that character into the main campaigns.  That was disappointing, though probably understandable.  Any time you have user created content you have “easy super level up and generous overpowered loot” creations that people make.

But the Steam Workshop has a selection of other adventures to try out.  We are almost done with another one Potshot found.

The next adventure

We have managed to fight our way through the whole thing… on the second try… but are stuck on a puzzle that is keeping us from leaving.  We have the game saved so we can go back and complete it, but until it is done our characters have no loot to take home.

First Impressions of Solasta

I mentioned last week that my one purchase from the Steam Summer Sale was a copy of Solasta: Crown of the Magister.  It was very much a last minute purchase too.  While it was on my wishlist already and was available for half off during the sale, it wasn’t until Potshot mentioned he was interested that we both went in there and purchased it.  That was the day before the sale ended.

Solasta splash screen

Even then I had some doubts as to whether or not it would be a good purchase.  It has very favorable reviews, but they are often couched in apologies for some of the shortcomings of the game.  If every other review you read goes on how you have to get past the character models, the voice acting, the stilted dialog, and the stiff and linear story… well, it can raise doubts.

And the goal of the game to bring a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons experience into a video game wasn’t a huge selling point either.  I don’t know 5th edition from anything as I fear my tabletop RPG experience tapered off when TSR was still a thing.  D20 rules and Wizards of the Coast still represent the “new stuff” to me almost 25 years down the road.  It took me a long time to get used to 2nd edition and things like THAC0.

Then there is the camera, always a sensitive subject with me.  It doesn’t have a follow mode or anything, so you have to keep wheeling it around and scrolling along to see things.

Anyway, as it turns out, for me at least, these issues ended up being largely irrelevant.  Yes, the character models look odd and the voice actors all seem to be trying to imitate one UK actor or another… also, why are UK accents the default for fantasy still?  You also don’t need to know anything about 5th edition, the game holds your hand and lays out options for you.

Potshot and I both grabbed a copy, as noted, and tried it on our own, running through the tutorial, creating characters, and fiddling around with the game.  I will say, even up to that point the game wasn’t an obvious sell to me.

But on Saturday we got together to try and run a multiplayer campaign, and that is where the game began to shine for me.

Getting ourselves into a multiplayer game wasn’t too hard.  It isn’t a persistent world game like Minecraft or Valheim.  Somebody has to host the game and you join them, putting your characters into the campaign that is created.

Going multiplayer

You have to have four characters in the campaign.  When you play solo you control all four.  With two of us, we had two characters each.  We both brought one we had created (Skronk the cleric and Blain the ranger… it is a character flaw of mine that I always make rangers in D&D) and then grabbed one of the pre-made characters each (Anton the rogue for him and Nialla the wizard for me) in order to round out the party.

From there it was into the campaign, which starts off with some more introductions to the world as you run around town and learn about what is going on.  You have to listen to some dialog as the town council bends your ear about this or that and makes you deputies to go out and do some work for them.

Everybody has a quip

Then there is the trip to the inn and the shops and the scavengers guild and blah blah blah, all the groundwork goes on for a bit as you visit various points on the map.

People to see, places to go

It takes long enough that even your characters get sick of it eventually.

My character role playing me

Soon enough though we were off on a first adventure into the badlands and were waylaid by bandits at night, which introduced the pace of the game.  Everything else is kind of window dressing around the combat element.

When combat commences, everybody rolls for initiative automatically.

Need to get the dice in there somehow (this was later in our run)

That stacks everybody up into a turn order for actions, which is displayed at the top of the screen.

Here is our initiative ordering for the bandit fight

And then you go down the order… the bandits did get a free turn to start due to surprise… and play each character in turn.  When it is your character, you can see the options as to where you can move and what actions you can take, and when it is not your turn you get a somewhat annoyingly large banner telling you who is up.

Potshot is, in fact, playing

But playing with somebody else is where a key bit of the magic of the game is for me.  If you play solo and are controlling all the characters, then they tend to act in a unison that would be unnatural in the real world.  They focus on the same targets, split tasks, heal, and otherwise follow the directions of a single mind.

When playing with another person you don’t get that and there is some randomness injected into the game if you don’t communicate effectively… and Potshot and I failed on that front hilariously.  I mean, occasionally we would go after an obvious target together.  But at other times we would run in odd directions, get in each other’s way, attack random and changing targets, and generally fumble our way through encounters… all of which gave it an organic feel that would be difficult to replicate solo.

Not that the solo game is bad.  I think 12 to 25 year old me would have gone nuts with this game solo.  But late 50s me finds that a bit stale and predictable.  I need a bit more chaos than simple RNG gets you.

We carried on to our destination, the Caer Lem outpost, where we found all was not well.

On the way overland

There we made contact with the locals and teamed up with them to get away to safety as things went bad.  We each got one of the locals to control, giving us three characters each to manage, as we headed into the caves and ended up in a series of fights where we were tested.

Both of my characters incapacitated

We learned about short rests and long rests and a lot about healing and potions and how maybe having more than 20 arrows might be a good idea… though honestly I had a couple left at the end.

The end came for us long before the story was done.  We got in over our heads in the caves in a fight where we split targets, got in each other’s way, and opened ourselves up to repeated attacks of opportunity until we were all down.  Game over.

Everybody was down

I think one important thing to describe about the game is the pacing.  We spent about three hours getting to the point where we all died and it was game over.

If this had been in World of Warcraft, three hours would have seen us through something like the Deadmines at level with time to spare to go do something else.  I think, even as a group of four, running it in WoW Classic, we didn’t need three hours.

If I count the fights we were in and the number of mobs we killed in our first Solasta run, that was maybe the first half dozen groups of trash mobs in the Deadmines.  I think it was a total of six fights for our run, plus all the dialog in between, and we wiped on the sixth.

In some ways Potshot and I might have been an ideal pairing.  We were both new to the game, were willing to press on and learn as we went, didn’t get too invested in things, and took every setback in stride.  Ending as we did in failure was kind of funny, though not as funny as when my wizard missed with a spell for the fifth time running and Anton shouted “You suck!” in the middle of a fight.

The dialog isn’t original, and the voice acting is just okay, but the interjections in fights do liven things up a bit.  There appears to be a wide range of responses and retorts queued up for everybody.  As for the character models… well, you don’t spend that much time up close where they look awkward.  In combat nobody cares if your beard looks like it was formed out of Play-Doh.

So my initial response to the game, at least as a multi player venture, is pretty positive.  It does recreate, in its way, some aspects of real table top RPGs, including the player coordination and slower pacing.  We shall see if we can wrestle the rest of the group into joining in and how four of us will interact.  The one bonus of just two people is that you aren’t left waiting nearly as much as you would be with four.

Wrapping up the Steam Summer Sale 2022

By the time this post goes live the annual Steam Summer Sale will have been consigned to history, another sales event in a long series of such events.

Steam Summer Sale 2022

In the end, I bought a single title, Solasta: Crown of the Magister.  And that last night.

Potshot was into it, it was already on my wishlist, and it was 60% off.  I had to tell myself that I would spend time with it this coming weekend.  We shall see how that fares.

That was my sole purchase.

Not that the sale was missing other temptations.  There were a number of items on my wishlist I seriously considered.

I probably cam the closest to buying LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, which had been marked down by 25%. That isn’t a bad discount for a major multi-platform title released just a couple of months back, and all the more so as I was considering buying it at launch.

I was keen to buy it, but then got hung up on which platform I should play it on.  If I bought it on Steam I would be locked into the PC.  That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.  I have a game pad now, the one I bought to play Forza Horizon 4 & 5 late last year. (Well, technically it was a Christmas present, but my wife and I are to the point of buying ourselves something and giving it to the other person to wrap and put under the tree at this point.  That sounds unromantic, but it saves me a lot of anxiety.)

So I could play it on the PC without having to negotiate the awful keyboard control scheme that the Traveler’s Tales LEGO series has in place.  It is really unplayable that way.

However, the title was also available and 25% off in the Nintendo eShop on the Switch, and it feels like much more of a console title than one where I sit at my desk and play.

In the end I did not buy it on Steam… though even as I write this I am still pondering it on the Switch.

But I didn’t pull the trigger on it for a couple of reasons.  First was my rule about not buying video games unless I play to play them right then and there.  I’ve purchased too many games over the years simply because they were on sale thinking I would play them later and… well… I’ll have a post about my Steam library again soon.  But it calls out the lie I tell myself in that.

Second, I have to admit my interest in the title is very much rooted in the past.  LEGO Star Wars… and some of the other LEGO titles from Traveler’s Tales… were games my daughter an I played together on the Wii fifteen years back.  So I wonder if my desire is more rooted in that than the game as it would be today.

And, finally, while there is a lot of new content and a whole new meta campaign with a bazillion character and vehicle unlocks, the essential game is… well… the game I played back in 2007 or whenever, no doubt somewhat upgraded, but still made up of a lot of content I have played through a few times already.  I am not sure if I am into it enough to go search for the secret hidden bricks or all of the other achievements the game hold for you to unlock.

Too much commitment based on a desire clearly built on a foundation of nostalgia.

But that interaction brings up something else.  I mention in my post at the start of the sale how one could view Steam as having withered in influence over the years.  The sales are no longer such a draw and the console vendors, Microsoft and Sony specifically, have been assembling their own collection of studios and content for both their platforms and the PC for their own subscription “all you can eat” package that dwarfs Steam in value.

As I said, Tim Sweeney chose the wrong target, going after Steam but letting the console companies off the hook.

The flip side to that is exactly how much influence Steam and its sales still have on the industry.

A summer sale isn’t exactly a daring concept.  Companies can always find reasons to put things on sale, and they’ll make up a reason if there isn’t one to hand.  After all of these years I still don’t know what the “Macy’s White Flower Sale” is actually about.

But when Steam has a big sale like this, winter or summer, others follow along.  Companies that depend on Steam like Paradox put up the same deals in their own online store.  Platforms that share titles with Steam likewise seem to follow suit.  I was tempted by LEGO Star Wars on the Switch because it was the same 25% off deal over the same date range as the Steam sale.  That isn’t an accident.

Even companies with no link to Steam have concurrent sales.  Hell, Blizzard had a summer sale that ran mostly concurrent to the Steam sale… though Blizz has been a little hard up to push product of late, having nothing new to offer.  They may not be on Steam but World of Warcraft is now giving away freebies over on Amazon’s Prime Gaming.  That isn’t “Blizz is dying” moment, but it is certainly a “Blizz is feeling the pressure of the reality of it situation” event.

Steam still makes waves in a way that Tim Sweeney can only fantasize about.

Anyway, we will see if Solasta becomes a thing with our group.