November has been a fantastic blur of huge game launches, fresh expansions, and new seasons for my favourite PC games. While being spoilt for choice is a good problem to have as we creep closer to the Christmas break, I’m starting to realise that there’s no way I’ll get around to playing everything. I’ve got multiple battle passes that need grinding, seasonal events to return to after a year’s break, and a handful of long RPGs to sink into. I feel like a child that can only pick one sweet in a candy shop, and I can’t decide what to choose.
The second week of the month was jam packed with new games that I could easily dedicate all my spare time to well into the new year. November 10 brought us Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and just three days later Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War was added to the menu. That’s already a crazy week without factoring in the launch of Destiny 2’s Beyond Light expansion, a Sims 4 expansion, and smaller releases like Fuser and Bugsnax rounding it off.
Seeing all these exciting games released at the same time is a nice reminder that we’re getting close to the festive season, but it’s also a nightmare if you’re planning on picking up more than one of them. I certainly underestimated how much free time I’d have over the next few weeks, and I imagine others are beginning to reach the same realisation.
Having just bought Apex Legends’ Season 7 battle pass at the beginning of the month, I quickly bounced off it to play Valhalla and Cold War. The backlash at Apex’s slow battle pass progression this season slightly eased my guilt about not logging in to complete my daily challenges. But I’m disappointed that I’ve spent so little time with Ascension’s headlining additions: its new legend Horizon and the Olympus map. There are still roughly eight weeks left to grind to the end of the pass, but I can’t say with confidence that I’ll manage to reach Tier 100 this time around.
You can also imagine how torn I was when Hearthstone’s Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion (the final set of the year that usually launches in early December) dropped halfway through November instead. The introduction of its new progression system has also been a bumpy road so far, but even pushing that aside, I’ve burned more of its weekly quests than I’d like to think about as I just haven’t had time to log in.
Despite breaking the daily quest routine that I’ve built around games like Hearthstone and Apex, I’m still miles away from my first prestige in Cold War. I’m also only 21 hours into Valhalla. While I’m enjoying chipping away at each chapter of Eivor’s travels across 9th Century Britain, I can’t ignore the fact that Cold War has a double XP event this weekend. I need that extra XP to level up my weapons and unlock all the attachments if I’m going to stay competitive in multiplayer.
This busy schedule is showing no signs of slowing down either: developers are peppering the calendar with Christmas events for many online games. To name a couple, Apex’s Holo-Day Bash and Overwatch’s Winter Wonderland will each return with limited-time seasonal changes to their available modes, and they’ll introduce some festive cosmetics. I’ve split myself between too many games, and I know I’m just going to have to miss out on some of the upcoming events.
Then there’s Cyberpunk 2077. We’re less than two weeks away from CD Projekt Red’s behemoth of an RPG and I’m nowhere near wrapping up any of the games I’m playing right now. I’m precariously balanced between the thrill of the reports that I’ll be able to spend hundreds of hours in Night City, and feeling dejected that I’m taking on yet another big game in which I won’t see the credits roll anytime soon.
It’s definitely my fault for trying to spread myself too thinly between all the amazing games and expansions we’ve received of late. Writing guides for a living certainly plays a part in me having to drop whatever I’m doing to cover the next big release, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t do it anyway. I’m hoping that things will calm down next year, but with games like Far Cry 6 and Resident Evil 8 on the horizon, I’m sure I’ll still be tackling this same problem in 2021. Whatever you decide to spend your time playing this holiday season, I think we can all agree that our backlogs are only going to get longer after 2020.