The Steam and GoG Showdown: A Tale of Summer Sales, Part One

So the buzz of the Summer Sales has come and gone. And I have to say, I think GoG outdid Steam this time around, though I did eventually spend more money on Steam. GoG gave us something new, an improved iteration of their previous sales, while Steam gave us…more of the same, or actually, less of the same, if memory serves. Let me touch on that before I get to my own little trifecta.

Steam usually has its own approach to these sales: the general sale, then the special deals, which run in 48 hour or 8 hour cycles, with some being vote on by the community. Again this year, Steam ran the community choice and flash (Valve-choice) specials concurrent with each other. Log in three times a day, and you can see all you need to see. It used to be, if I am remembering right, that those sales were at once time split into 8 and 6 hour versions. So you were dropping in four times a day, and the sales were switching over sometimes midafternoon as well. I seem to remember being more excited then. It could be nostalgia creeping in, but there was something boring about (again) just checking steam once when I woke up, once in the afternoon and once right before I went to bed. And the community sales packs were tilted so horribly that I voted on every single one of them, not based on what I wanted, but rather what I thought was going to win. And I was right, every…single…time. The end result – while the deals were good, the process was not fun.

And don’t even get me started on the bizarre contest, which was even worse than previous iterations, in part because I couldn’t do a damn thing with it because I wasn’t a high enough level.

GoG on the other hand, was a blast. Each day, two themed packages, and then running sales, usually two games per hour, with the ability to see into the future for about four hours and know what was coming up. I ran the battery out on my phone twice while we were out of town last week (dance competition ftw) checking GoG every hour to see what was coming up. But when we were busy, I didn’t get panicked because I knew I had hours before those games ended up rotating of the list. A lot of fun.

What I was looking at when I wasn't watching my daughters dancing.
What I was looking at when I wasn’t watching my daughters dancing.

Now, I don’t know which was more successful. For all I know, Steam has this down cold because it makes them the most money. And GoG has certainly been shifting their sale style around a good bit. But this one captured the best of their earlier frenzy sales while not making me feel left out.

Anyway, here is the butcher’s bill:

Blitzkrieg II Anthology $1.99
I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream $1.19

GoG Total: $3.18

Space Hulk $2.50
*Long Live The Queen $2.49
Sleeping Dogs $3.99
*Eador: Genesis $1.50
State of Decay $4.99
Agarest – Collector’s Edition Upgrade $2.99

Steam Total: $18.46


My wife couldn’t help but notice my constant sale checking, and mentioned something about budget and blah, blah, blah. I only heard some of it. But these competitions are not cheap and with both our girls involved now, we do have to be careful about the purse strings. So I told my wife I would “stay within my allowance.” That is an old joke of ours back from when we were first married and didn’t have a lot. We decided to give ourselves a small allowance every month that the other couldn’t complain about. My wife *loves* getting her nails done, and so hers went to that. Mine usually went to books or a game. The cap is $25. I probably could have picked up on more deep sale game but eight items took the edge off for me..

I put a star by two of the games – they were ones I could have bought on either sale, but Steam won out either because it offered more content (wallpapers or soundtracks, etc) or a better price. That being said the best bonus content out of any of these was getting the Harlan Ellison short story the game was based on as part of the package deal. I would have paid twice that for the story alone.

And that to me, is where GoG won in my book, even if I didn’t spend as much money there. The constant rotation of games absolutely jacked my wishlist up with titles I didn’t know about or got intrigued with in the parade of sales. Steam’s rotation seemed to consist only of the new big hot titles and some old retreads. GoG threw the kitchen sink at us, and while it may not have paid off here on a tight budget, come Christmas with some gift cards in my hand, it is going to be a different story.

Tomorrow in Part Two, I will talk about the best, worst, and weirdest of what I got. So if any of those games on the list are interesting to you, check back in for my thoughts on them.

Officially HoF Material

Well, I crossed the 1000 battle mark in Warplanes last night, and so now its official. I am a Hall of Fame caliber player.

hall of fame

Of course, there is no guarantee I will stay there, as I continue to progress up the tiers, and as the player base gets larger and larger. And there are many categories to be conquered beyond Win Rate. But its the only one of two stats in the overall category that it is possible to make without a significantly larger number of battles (the other is Average Experience, which is not dependent on battles but is dependent on tier – high tiers make more base XP). Mostly its just a fun feather in my cap. I have not done this well in a PvP game since Star Wars Battlefront II, where I cracked the top 900 on Xbox Live – not as high a ranking, but against a significantly larger player base!

Also this week, I have been able to knock down three of the top 100 pilots. They are really, really good, and that is not guarantee I will beat them again the next time we face off, but it does let me know I have a fighting chance against anyone I meet in this game.

And because of that, I feel like I can take a breath now. I have spent the last month anxious to prove myself and trying to train myself to be as sharp as possible in every battle. And don’t get me wrong – that was fun for me! But now I think it will be fun to unbutton a little, try some new things, and see what the new update brings (1.2, rumored to be along shortly).


Time Capsule:

Highest Tier: 6
Favorite at that Tier: P-51A Mustang
Favorite Premium: Type 224 (tier 3)
Plane Most Excited About Getting Next: Yak-1M
Current KDR: 2.89
Current SR: 43%

If you want to join me in the friendly skies, I have codes for you to start off with something other than empty coffers, and I’m more than happy to give you a flight lesson for free to go along with it. The game needs more players, stat, and who knows – the next Hall of Famer could be you.

Does Winning Matter?

Warning: this is a long post. If you want the TL;DR version, skipped to the bolded text at the end.

So this isn’t one of my originally scheduled posts, but I have been pondering this for awhile, and something came up today that kind of tied it all together.

A player in the “ask a developer” thread for World of Tanks, asked it was really necessary in keeping count of statistics, to track player’s winrates. SerB, aka the head honcho/big cheese of WoT, had a response for him in his typical trolling fashion (h/t FTR):

A: “I will meditate on that… no, I don’t even know what to say, I have no words. Young man, understand that winrate is just the amount of your victories, divided by the amount of your battles in general and multiplied by 100. To remove this indicator is possible only if we reset the battle count to zero (and in your case, use the free time to train your mental abilities).”

This is not a shocking answer, given that SerB and WG staff in general have always been clear that they feel that overall win rate is the only real indicator of a player’s skill. The argument is that though you may encounter a bad team (ie, be surrounded by assholes), if you are good, your contributions will occasionally tip the scales in your team’s favor, and that over the course of thousands of battles, this means a better winrate.

Of course, there are problems with this, but still, its generally accepted to be one of the big indicators of skill. As I posted a few days ago, my winrate in Warplanes hovers around 63-64%, which is considered great, but not elite (its easier to “carry” a bad team in warplanes, and grouped players can have significant impact on an outcome). In tanks, my win rate is closing in on 53%, which is above good but not great.

But the funny thing is, in the PvP games I do play, win rate is really only a big deal in the WG titles. In Battlefield, its more about your Kill/Death ratio. While Win/Loss is tracked, its not talked about a lot. Meanwhile, whether through the fact that they are a floundering title that appears to have no idea what they are doing, or because they are just on some anti-stat crusade, Mechwarrior Online doesn’t bother charting any of your stats. (The really skill-intensive clans have to play some matches with applicants and observe them in combat – which probably isn’t a bad thing). EVE Online seems to be about how many kill mails you get on, though there is some secondary thought to how many ships/pods you lose (and how you lose them).

So I wonder about getting hung up on win rate. I certainly do. I have been very careful about how and when I play and who I play with and what planes I play with. I want to maintain that win rate (and in the case of tanks, grow it). I get grumpy if I log off at night and I’ve lost more than I’ve won.

As with all things in life, I think balance is the key. So I’ve been spending some nights away from my PvP endeavors, enjoying some other ventures. TERA is still fun, and I’ve been working through a couple of nostalgia titles in my Steam library. There has to be a place in there some where that winning feels good but losing doesn’t feel bad. Where you can play a game for the fun of the game and not be constantly setting goals and achievements for yourself.

And here comes the TL;DR of it all: I really don’t think I’ve found that in an online game yet. Everything is about leveling up, or winning, or gathering, or achieving. In other words – its all about progress. And in some ways, I kinda find that sad.

The closest I can come to finding this has, I think, been in Star Trek Online. I got on last week to play the Season 8 Featured Episode, originally for the cool ship that came with it. But I got sucked in by the storytelling and really had a good time. I could only do that though, because I was at level cap. In fact, I made a point of capping both my KDF and STF characters and only now am I going back and doing the storyline missions. I’m not worried about if my gear is good enough, or if I have the right ship, and the difficulty that scales to your level is just enough to make it interesting.

What if there were an MMO that was not about progress or gear. Just about making the character you wanted and taking them on adventures. Maybe one day, we can hope, winning won’t matter in some games, some of the time. That would be enough for me. Because the rest of the time, in planes and tanks and on battlefields…you’re going down.

Hitler Was Wrong

About a great many things, but most recently, in my meanderings, about this:



I haven’t had a bit of trouble with the ARL V39:




I do a lot of damage with it, get a fair amount of kills, and have found it to be overall, quite awesome.    Hitler complains about the tumor, but the truth is, his assistant there is right – you should be sniping from afar.   And a 2.3 second aim time is hardly in the arty range.   Now, I do use the 105 instead of the 90.   I lose a half second on the reload and a bunch of penetration, but pick up a 20% faster aim speed and 25% boost to damage, with a pen value that is still plenty high enough to take care of anything you run into.


And if I break even tonight with a 1-1 split, I will be at the minimum needed to qualify for noobmeter’s “best recent” list, where I will be the current #7 on the NA server.  So…I think I will hang on to this one for awhile.


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised in any case.  I mean, Hitler also hates the SU-100M1, and…yep, you guessed it:




Noobmeter’s lists there have clearly not been updated – I should be in the #2 slot on that one.  So…I think I will hang on to this one for awhile too.


Incidentally, I give our former clan leader a hard time about this tank as much as I can.   When the summer campaign was at tier 7’s, he pulled me into a match with it just to fill a hole, and then ditched me as soon as he could get someone else in, which turned out to be the next match.   He said it was a  terrible tank and I was ineffective.   Of course, I was third in damage dealt and we won, but hey – who’s counting, lol…


Looks like I’m not the only one who has had great success here either: