2020 Partly in Review


Nintendo sends out a summary of games played and so forth:

The bulk of my hours was split between Slay the Spire (which I also own on Steam), Fitness Boxing, and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate.

StS is fantastic and my total combined time on Steam and Switch is approaching 300 hours. My favorite character is the Defect, whose mechanic is summoning and evoking orbs for various effects: lightning for damage, frost for shield, plasma for energy, and dark for damage (scales up over time). On Steam, I’m at ascension level 6, whereas on Switch I’m on ascension level 2. The game has randomness, but allows skillful choices to steer towards an improved/better outcome. It is easy to pause and resume, which really helps.


I remember getting these kinds of summaries for Playstation, but I haven’t seen it yet. So… not sure, maybe it is still coming? I’m curious what my numbers look like there. It’ll be mostly God of War, ESO, some Ghost of Tsushima.


Over in Pokémon Go, I hit level 41:

I have the XP for level 42, but lack 2 of the achievements: using berries to catch 200 pokémon, and evolving each of the eevees. The latter is the reason I’m currently walking a flower eevee – getting in 10km for a future flower Umbreon (and later, flower Espeon). The Glaceon and Leafeon evolve with special lures on pokéstops, while the Flareon, Jolteon, and Vaporeon are random (which is extremely annoying). Playing the odds I evolved 2 flower eevees into a Flareon and Jolteon, but producing a Vaporeon is now just a 1/3 chance so I’ll just do regular eevees since they are more plentiful.

I’m evolving flower eevees for this (except for the Vaporeon as noted above) because I already have a set of shiny and regular eeveelutions. I’ll work on a different set, flower eevees instead – and I don’t have enough party hat eevees for a set of those. I already used the naming trick or I’d be able to guarantee myself a flower hat Vaporeon. I know, I know, #firstworldPoGoproblems.)

Disc Golf

I took up disc golf midway through the year, as a way to get some social distance outdoors fun in. I found out that a few friends also played, without any of us knowing the others did. I also introduced 2 friends to the game (and am working on another) so once it warms back up I’m looking forward to playing a round every week or so.

Of course there is an app for that, and I’m using UDisc, the official app of the Professional Disc Golf Association. It’s pretty handy, letting you keep score, and often displaying a map of the course. It utilizes the phone very well, letting you measure how far you threw a disc with GPS (subject to GPS accuracy).

I’m a RHBH thrower (right hand back hand) and a good throw for me is a little over 200 feet. I’ve tried forehand and it feels really weird. So, something to work on here and there. I can improve my distance by at least 50% (i.e. throwing for 300 feet) so there is huge room for improvement.

I’m also working on accuracy, throwing the direction I want to go. 😉 I am fairly accurate, so my favorite courses are wooded or lightly wooded, since those tend to have shorter distances from tees to baskets, favoring accuracy over distance. Worst case for me are wide open courses, because those tend to have large distances involved – after all, if there aren’t many obstacles the only way to increase difficulty is to lengthen the holes.


I’m going to try a round robin system in 2021. If left to my normal scheduling, I’ll tend to “split” time between 2 games in a 80-20 proportion, which is pretty far off of 50-50. 3 games comes down to 70-20-10 or even 80-10-10 – basically one game is dominant while the others get a cursory log in.

But I like 3 games… FF14 has a fun storyline, smooth mechanics, and above all hassle-free grouping. Which is the point, otherwise I could be playing a single player game. I’m nearly at Ishgard and looking forward to unlocking Astrologian.

LoTRO of course is my very long term game, which I wander away from but come back missing it. I left my Boerning partway through Vol 1 Book 3, Defense of Trestlebridge as I recall, and want to move him along. I somehow have not managed to meet up with the coworker who also plays, but that’s fine, I’m poking along with a different character than the one I used my Valar boost on. Maybe I’ll just give up on meeting up with my coworker and look for a kinship to join.

ESO’s action combat feels a lot different, but the variety is nice. Now that I switched over to the Stadia version, I can play while visiting family (and also freed up nearly 100 GB on my gaming PC). I have a friend also playing via Stadia, so there is the possibility of questing together with someone I know, maybe even doing some basic dungeons. I don’t think we’re interested in hardcore modes, veteran modes, any of that stuff…. just the basic XYZ Dungeon I version would be a ton of fun.

So, I was thinking about some kind of day-pinning rotation: ESO on Tue/Fri, FF14 on Wed/Sat, LoTRO on Thu/Sun (with Mon off since that’s currently Zoom boardgames night). I’ll schedule ESO first as that’s the game I have a friend actively playing, and try to sync up. So this overall plan is a 33-33-33 split without emphasizing or ignoring any particular game.

Or maybe be more flexible and try for something like ESO Tue, FF14 Wed, LoTRO Thu, and then whatever for the other 3 available days. Worst case one game gets 2/3rds of the attention, but at least play each game once a week.

I know, probably overthinking this but that’s what this end of the year planning time is for. 🙂

Nintendo Switch Games

Well I screwed up and this posted before I could write anything. I left myself an outline of games to write short notes on but thought I had set to post tomorrow. Oops!

So… after filling in the outline, here are some games I’ve been enjoying on my Nintendo Switch.

Splatoon 2

This game is fun team shooter, with a few others modes. It’s got crazy over-the-top weapons, short (3 minute) matches, and is generally pretty fun.

The goal is to paint more surface than your opponents. NOT get the most “kills” (splats, in this game). Repeat, mostly for myself because I’ll get caught up trying to splat my opponents – the winner of the match is the team that COVERS the most surface area, not the team that racks up the most kills/splats.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I’m a fan of the Fire Emblem series, which are turn-based tactical RPGs. The storylines differ, but the combat game boils down to positioning your units on the battlefield, and wiping out the enemy. I started the series with Fire Emblem Awakening on the 3DS, and also have Fates, Echoes, and now Three Houses on the Switch.

I’ve found the series to have an odd tension where I wind up avoiding using my strongest units in order to level up the others. The tendency is to keep using the more powerful units, since they do more damage and can take more hits, but then they get most of the available xp and level faster than the laggards. Having a few units powerful enough to carry the rest of the team works for a bit, but eventually always fails.

In this game, I started with Edelgard and the Black Eagles but decided to restart and join Claude and the Golden Deer. I was already having runaway character issues with the Black Eagles – Edelgard and myself were several levels higher than everyone else after just a handful of missions. This time, I’m careful to keep closer and distribute the action to the point of avoiding using certain characters. Even still, 3 missions in I have 3 characters at level 5, 1 at level 4, the rest at level 3 or 2.

You get some experience for an attack and some for defense (essentially, get a bit of xp for taking a hit) and a lot for defeating an enemy. So I’m trying to have my tougher characters soak up hits and let the lowbies do most the attacks and get most the kills.

I’m enjoying it but this game does have way more extra maintenance than the other games – due to quests, exploration, teaching, and in general all kinds of ways to increase standing among a cast of ~25 characters plus raise skills over the 8 or 9 in your house.

A good reference for all things Fire Emblem is Serenes Forest.


Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

You know how boss fights in MMOs are fun? How raiding revolves around the craziness of the boss fight and its mechanics? What if there were a game that was all boss fights? That’s how I’d describe Monster Hunter franchise.

There is more going on than just boss fights of course. Crafting is major part of the game, actually crafting is nearly everything. You don’t level, but your gear does. The gameplay loop is: kill huge monster for stuff to craft better gear to hunt even bigger monsters.

The weapons are giant, anime-style oversized swords, axes, blowguns, etc.

It’s fun if a bit obtuse. Just using the equipment the game gives you can be tricky (various traps or paint guns to mark the monster). I refer to pages on Kiranico for info.

Diablo 3

I’m late to the Diablo 3 party, having avoided it on PC due to hearing the massive groaning about the original auction system. Years go by, I still don’t dip my toes in. But recently the game was on sale for 50% off on Switch and I figured what the heck. It’ll be portable plus come with the expansions.

I haven’t played much, but so far its fun. The game does a great job making you feel like an unstoppable hero, mowing down the hordes left and right. I’m experimenting with various classes, my favorites in the bit of Act 1 I’ve played have been monk, demon hunter, necromancer.

I do like this style game and fire up Grim Dawn on PC every now and then. I’ve tried Path of Exile a few times but lose interest pretty quickly… not sure why.

I find great info about Diablo 3 on Icy Veins.


OK, I’m going to add some screenshots and double check future posts aren’t going to sneak out on me. 😉