January’s Period Summary
I want to spend my time talking about two things in this blog, the first is a little update on how I’m doing when it comes to gaming and the second is Monster Hunter World, if you only care about the latter then skip ahead.
For the first time in what feels like an eternity I feel like getting introspective and writing something substantial in a blog for a change – Sadly, over the last few years writing these blogs has become a routine for me, just something I did at the end of each month to dump my gaming statistics.
I felt like I lost a bit of my identity when I stopped writing the more personal blogs and switched to the “Statistic Only” format.
It was a weird feeling, one Friday I sat in front of my computer to write a blog as I did every Friday before that and… nothing. I just sat there staring at my screen completely unsure what to write about, I had always written what was on my mind and then one day it was just gone – I lost the will to continue with the weekly blogs not because I longer wanted to but because I just couldn’t.
Eventually I switched to the different format, once a month I would write down my statistics, post them and then call it a day – I tried to write bigger blogs several times, such as my favourite games of the year or my E3 predictions but when I sat down to put my thoughts on paper, nothing flowed.
It feels quite nice to sit and write something that is more than three paragraphs long.
I finally accepted during 2017 that I was addicted to gaming quite badly, or at least to the aspect of wanting to complete most of my games – A drive to 100% everything I played was ruining gaming for me, it was putting me in a bad mood when things didn’t unlock or turn out the way I wanted and I took this out on those around me, eventually I was playing games I was sick and tired of just for the sake of a completion, a digital stat nobody but me cared about.
I always considered gaming a part of my identity so I was afraid of what would be left if I stopped gaming so heavily, could I really fill all that time with something else?
I now have the answer to that question and now that I am not gaming as much I honestly wonder how I managed to do anything else at all, even without gaming taking such a huge chunk of my time I still find it hard to schedule everything else in – It’s a shocker to me that I even managed to do other things when I gamed as much as I did.
Luckily, I can point my finger at the two games which helped mark this change for me.
The first of these being Nier Automata – I remember wanting to make a blog post about this game shortly after I finished it because it absolutely blew me away and will forever sit as one of my favourite games of all time.
When I finished the story and the credits began rolling for the final time I put my controller down and I felt completely and utterly content, I was satisfied with what I had just experienced even though I hadn’t collected all the trophies and clutched that “Completion”.
And, although I eventually nabbed the remaining trophies, Nier was the first game in a long time where I felt finished before I was “finished” – It truly was a journey.
The second game I attribute to my recovery of completionism was Shadow of War – But for the exact opposite reasons.
I played through the entirety of Shadow of War from beginning to end, unlocking every achievement in the game and even forcing myself through the awful grindy loot-box filled mess that was Shadow Wars – Mentally I was done with this game around 15 hours into it and I should have stopped there and not bothered continuing but I knew that the completion was fairly simple and I could definitely achieve it.
By the time I was done with Shadow of War I was so completely and utterly burnt out that I just stared at my screen for about 15 minutes post completion in complete silence, I even remember my dog walking over to check if I was okay – My thoughts raced back to how I felt after finishing Nier and then back to what I had just done.
I asked myself one simple question there and then:
Why did I put myself through that? I clearly stopped enjoying myself around 15 hours into it so why did I spend another 25 hours of my precious time completing a game I wasn’t enjoying anymore – The answer was obvious, I was addicted to completions and although this fact has been obvious to me for a long time it never really sunk in until then.
I put the controller down and then for the next 2 months my gaming waned slowly, no matter what game I played I couldn’t recapture how Nier made me feel – I completely stopped buying games and instead decided to tackle my backlog (Titanfall 2, Life is Strange, Recore, Resident Evil 7) which, although I enjoyed, still didn’t feel me with that sense of joy I used to feel when gaming.
My interest in gaming continued fading and I began actively trying to spend more with friends outside of the digital world instead, mainly by playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Even Assassin’s Creed Origins couldn’t hold me for longer than 8 hours and I decided that my time was better spent elsewhere.
My other hobbies came back from the dead and I was drawing again, learning to play the piano again, I began practicing writing once more by turning our DnD sessions into a story – I was being productive.
Dungeons and Dragons
Up until a week ago my game time for the entire month of January was clocked at around 30 hours – I was down to only 20% of the amount of time that I usually gamed during any given month and what surprised me the most was just how little I missed gaming.
My enjoyment for Non-Video Game related activities trumped playing my Xbox every time.
Now if I finish a game (Such as I did with Recore this month) I do it because I’m enjoying it, the moment the fun stops I back the hell away (like I did with AC Origins, though I want to give you a second chance, buddy).
For the first time in 6 years I felt free – Even now I can look at my list of games that aren’t marked with completion without feeling a sense of anxiety, I just shrug and move on.
I even made a point to buy a game I know I will never 100% on the PS4, a console where I had every game I had played on it aimed at 100% completion across the board just to make sure that I will keep the completion streak broken.
It feels good.
And now I need to talk about the game that I bought to break the 100% streak, because what a game it is.
I bought this game on the request of a friend – When I saw the E3 footage of the announcement it looked slow and bulky and although the monsters looked kind of cool I had a very meh feeling towards it – I originally didn’t even intend to buy it until a friend suggested we could play together.
I don’t really watch game trailers, I tend to want to enjoy the game and see what it has to offer with my own eyes rather than through the eyes of others (Which is why I don’t enjoy let’s plays) and I waited patiently for the beta to hit which I downloaded and launched alongside my friend.
It didn’t start off well with a clunky invite system that required me to input a long unique ID to be able to connect to my friend but eventually we found each other and joined the same game, selecting a quest from a list and setting off to hunt some monsters.
I enjoyed the beta, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either, it was enough to secure a digital pre-order as the prospect of having a co-op game to play with my friend was the most enticing.
The next few weeks flowed by, eventually it was released last Friday.
Monster Hunter World
I took a half day from work and headed home early to create my hunter and join my friend, I was expecting to play for maybe a few hours before calling it quits but before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was 2 in the morning.
Over the next 5 days I put an additional 30+ hours into the game and I still haven’t even discovered or fought every monster in the game yet – I can’t express how much in love with this game I am.
Every evening since Monster Hunter’s release me and my friend have been hunting monsters and cracking them open like piñatas to craft new and exciting gear and there are no signs of us slowing down any time soon.
The more you play the better it gets - Once I had learnt my weapon of choice, what started as clunky and confusing controls eventually evolved into fluid and smooth gameplay.
But what impresses me the most about the game is just how complete it is – I haven’t personally experienced a single bug or glitch in over 40 hours and it’s a game that just keeps on giving – When you think you’ve seen it all something will happen to make you question just how much they could squeeze into it.
In this day and age of loot boxes and microtransactions I expected something similar to show up in Monster Hunter World, but to my pleasure they are nowhere to be seen – every piece of content is available from the get go and you can craft hundreds of different weapons and Armor pieces, all of which have unique looks and skins.
Nergigante, The Title Monster
Throughout the early half of the story, my friend and I were decimating every single monster we came across but eventually met our maker when we got man-handled by Monster Hunter’s signature dragons: Rathian and Rathios, both of which happened to be on the map at the same time and decided to buddy-up to take us down.
It was moments like this, the completely unscripted events of two huge monsters teaming up and performing manoeuvres through the sky as they battered me and my friend from left to right that made me completely and utterly fall in love with Monster Hunter World.
Despite having such huge creatures and effects happening in front of me I have never experienced a single FPS drop and the graphics have stayed consistently beautiful.
Even when we beat what we thought was the final story mission after 30 hours, Monster Hunter quickly let us know that we weren’t done, promptly unlocking an entirely new tier of quests and “High-Rank” versions of the all the monsters we had been fighting until now including at least 10 new that we hadn’t seen before.
This, included with the planned free DLC Capcom are planning to release in the coming months, make this game a gem in a swamp of money grabbing companies that have plagued us recently.
Last night my friend and I tried fighting a monster we had beaten with no troubles several times but this time tackling it’s High-Rank version – After a 25minute battle it finally delivered the killing blow, destroying me with one fell swoop, we tried the next monster who appears on the game’s cover who also took turns in eating me and my friend, eventually beating us to run and lick our wounds.
We took a step back and looked at our gear, if we were going to beat these two we needed better armour and weapons, so we planned our options and set out to gather some more materials so we could return better than before.
That’s what I love about this game, there is always some personal goal to achieve no matter what you’re doing or where you are in the game – And there are always moments that will knock you back down to earth when you’re feeling particularly smug about a win.
Monster Hunter World is a marvel and is honestly one of the best games I have played in the last 5 years – I am completely hooked and I can’t see myself NOT spending well over 100 hours on it.
Onto the Month’s statistics:Month Period:
1st January – 31st JanuaryTotal Playtime:
80 Hours and 45 MinutesGamerscore:
625 Gamerscore (330,935 Total)Gaming Stats (Xbox One/Windows 10/Android)Recore
– 13 Hours and 45 Minutes – 35 Achievements (COMPLETED)Titanfall 2
– 1 Hour and 25 Minutes – 0 AchievementsGaming Stats (Playstation 4)Monster Hunter World
– 42 Hours and 5 Minutes – 20 TrophiesGaming Stats (PC/Switch/Wii U/3DS)World of Warcraft (PC)
– 14 Hours and 28 MinutesPokemon Picross (3DS)
– 9 Hours and 2 Minutes
Until Next Time!