Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Complaints (It's My Department)

I've complained about this before but that's not going to stop me complaining about it again. For some very effable reasons (colder weather, daylight vanishing, people staying indoors) game developers always seem to start throwing freebies around and launching new product just when I find myself with the least time to enjoy it all.

This year it's even more ironic in that I spent the entire summer at home, free (at least when I wasn't hospitalized) to devote as much time as I wanted to playing video games and writing about them (not least because my medication made me extremely sensitive to sunlight so I had to stay indoors even when I was feeling pretty good).

And now I'm back at work so off they go again.

Astellia (which, as you will see if you follow the link (which is where you end up if you right-click the name in text and select "search google for "Astellia"" like I did) has possibly the most annoying landing screen since web site designers stopped using rinkydink music you couldn't switch off; almost as annoying, in fact, as this heavily over-parenthesized and scarcely readable sentence) just had a free weekend.

I only found out about it halfway through, too late to make time to take advantage of their generosity. There's a second chance to try out this new, supposedly oldish school MMORPG, without forking out for a "box" (that doesn't exist) or taking the we're-so-old-school-we-even-even-have-a-subscription option. That's next weekend, when I will almost certainly still not be able to find time to try it out.

Not that I was especially interested in Astellia anyway. As I mentioned somewhere once, it seems to instill apathy in all who've tried it. Still, I hate to miss out on an opportunity to post ill-informed snap judgments on new games based on blink-and-you'll-miss-it exposure to their charms, if any. Especially when it doesn't cost me anything.

Then there's The Outer Worlds, another game I never had the least interest in playing until loads of people started talking about it. I hate to be left out. Such a joiner, me.

It wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't that, apparently, you can play this brand new, high-profile, "exclusive" release for the princely sum of one dollar. That's if you join the beta for the XBox Game Pass for PC (I hope that's a working title. It's informative, sure, but it's hardly snappy, now, is it?) XBGPfPC, as no-one is calling it, has a confusing pricing structure. On full release it will run you $9.99 per month but you can get in for just $4.99 with the Introductory Offer Not sure if there are dates for either of those yet but you could be beta testing it right now for a buck. What's stopping you?

It's a pretty good deal even at the $4.99. There are some well-reviewed games in there. Now that I seem to be dabbling more in non-MMORPG titles there are several I wouldn't mind trying. It would have been great three months ago. Now?  Not sure I'd get round to using it.

Still, I might give them that dollar anyway. I probably ought to be able to get a blog post or three out of it, at least. That would be money well spent.

Finally, at least until the next Autumn Promo lands, there's an entire week of free flying in Star Citizen. Actually, more like free mining, given that's the tentpole feature of the new build. I did get as far as finding my login details and updating the client (an 8GB download) for this one.

I had a very surprisingly good time in the last Free Fly, back in the spring and I wouldn't mind another go. Unfortunately, while my details work fine and my account is still valid, my character has vanished into the void. I made a new character this evening and managed to get as far as finding my ship and launching into space but I was tabbing in and out so much, trying to refresh my memory on how to play the damn game, it crashed and I lost the will to carry on.

Maybe I'll get back to it before the hangar doors clang shut for another six months. Probably not.

And there we have it. Suddenly I have loads of ideas of things to do that will generate things to write about and I don't have the time to carry them through.

I would quite like to take another look at ArcheAge in its F2P version now that the Buy to Play version is making such a splash. There are supposed to be some quality of life improvements in Star Wars: The Old Republic that I really should check out. Anything that empties my overstuffed storage bays has to be worth a log-in. Occupy White Walls had another update. I always get a mild twinge of guilt when that happens and I let it pass...

No doubt there's more I've missed and more to come. Oh well, at least it gives me something to complain about.


  1. Indeed, so many expansions and updates coming out now. I was reading on the System Admin Reddit a complaint thread asking why is Autumn so busy, it certainly feels it for me at work. Things always get busy just as all the games start trying to compete for my vanishing free time (and levels energy)...

    1. I always wonder what game companies imagine their core audience actually does during the summer. I know things have changed a lot over the years as gaming goes fully mainstream but I still tend to imagine quite a lot of the target audience hiding indoors from the sunlight and doing everything possible to avoid "outdoor activities".

  2. Game Pass for Windows actually came out in June, I think. I wish I'd known you were interested, you could've been playing all summer.

    Microsoft has been really generous with this service. As an Xbox owner I had both Xbox Live (which you need to play online, plus you get free games) and Xbox Game Pass pre-paid for a year+ (I always stock up on time during the big sales). I converted to Game Pass Ultimate for $1. Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, & Game Pass for Windows. MS actually 'stacked' my two existing subscriptions so my $1 got me a subscription that expires sometime in 2021.

    1. Wow, that's pretty cool Pete. I only have the windows side of it, but I did manage to jump on when the 3 months for $1 deal was going. I've been thoroughly impressed with the service and the library of games too.

      Otherwise though Bhagpuss, I feel at least some of your pain and can empathise with the rest! With November so close, we're basically up to the Year's equivalent of a 'Thursday'. That Christmas break (weekend) is so close you can taste it, but the pace of work increases dramatically to get things done beforehand too.

    2. I tend to skip any articles that seem to be about consoles, seeing as I haven't owned one since the 1980s, so I probably passed right over the announcement in June. I have seen a few mentions of it but I didn't really take anythging in until the Outer Worlds non-exclusive-exclusive posts started to pop. Thanks for the details - it does sound like a ridiculously generous offer.


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