Steam treasure hunt & holiday sales

I was planning on posting a thread when the gigantic steam Christmas sale hits (which usually runs from somewhere in the area of dec 22 to jan 1) but steam has a new, clever sale from the 6th to 20th this year, hopefully leading us into the holiday sale. So I decided to combine them into one thread for a month’s worth of badass deals.

Steam’s treasure hunt sale is a new and interesting idea. Apparently they liked the response to the black friday sale where they gave away lots of games, so they’re doing it again.

The sale gives you 4 tasks each day. It seems like it will mostly be getting an achievement in a game, but the description suggests it can be other stuff too. For each one of these tasks you complete, you get an entry ticket into a drawing that occurs every other day, where 20 players win the top 5 games from their wishlist. If you complete 10 of these tasks by december 20, you’ll get an entry into a drawing to win 100(!) free games.

But it’s also a sale - all of the games it will ask you to get achievements in will also come with their own significant discounts in that two day period.

I’ll be updating the thread as new stuff comes in, so subscribe if you want to be reminded of what’s going to be on sale during both the treasure hunt sale and the holiday sale. And chime in with recommendations if anything good pops up, or any questions you have about the games.

Today’s tasks:
Set up an avatar on your steam community page
Unlock the Desert Fox achievement in R.U.S.E.
Unlock the Iron Curtain in Poker Night at the Inventory
Set a leaderboard score of at least 1,124,400 in easy mode for the ‘Paul Hartnoll’ level in Chime

Poker Night at the Inventory $2.99
Chime $1.25
R.U.S.E. $33.49

Evil Genius (which is a fun game if you like dungeon keeper type stuff) is also on sale for $2.50, doesn’t seem to be related though.

New tasks and discounts every other day, so you have 48 hours to complete them.

Oh, I forgot to mention you also get special hats unlocked in TF2 for task completion milestones. You get a Bounty hat for 5 objectives, a Treasure hat for 15, and a Hat of Undeniable Wealth and Respect for 28 (all) objectives.

I couldn’t find images of the new hats.

But this is genius on Valve’s parts. TF2 barbie dress up is serious business for a lot of people (at least 2% of TF2 players would kill their own children for a hat), and I have no doubt that several thousand people will buy every game on the list in order to get the best hat.

Valve confirmed that for the purposes of unlocking hats, you don’t need to get the achievement done in its immediate 48 hour period, but any time before dec 20.

Hey wait, so you’re saying that if I have kids I can sacrifice them to Valve to get hats for TF2? Shit, I got some condoms to throw away!

If you ever read the steam forums during times like this, you’ll see how many people get thrown into a rage by valve doing nice shit for people. It’s really bizarre. I call it Steam Rage.

The most common form of steam rage is the “OMG I JUST BOUGHT THAT GAME FOR FULL PRICE 2 MONTHS AGO AND NOW IT’S 60% OFF!!! I HATE YOU STEAM!!!”. Well, if it was worth it to you at the time to buy it, then it was still a fine enough decision. What is it that you want? Should valve never discount a game again just in case it discounts one you paid more for? Would that make you happy?

Anyway, there are a ton of people absolutely enraged about all these free giveaways, it’s quite bizarre. For example:

So wait - valve is giving away over a thousand free games to people, and this has enraged the community so much that valve should now give away a free game to everyone to placate them?

There are people bitching about how hard it will be to earn the 28 task TF2 hat and saying they hate valve and blah blah. It’s just a bizarre sense of entitlement - this item didn’t exist yesterday, and valve created it as a purely decorative rare status item, and now you feel so entitled to it that if valve doesn’t give it to you you will burn with rage?

During the black friday sale I saw people saying “WTF I BOUGHT THIS GAME YESTERDAY AT FULL PRICE AND NOW IT’S 75% OFF?” … people actually bought full price games during a sale, a sale they knew would have 9 new discounted games every day, and then have the audacity to be enraged when one of them goes on sale? And they’re not mad at their own stupidity?

Another thread: “Seems kinda shady that you have to own games for the 100 games contest” … Really? It’s “shady” that you have to buy some products to qualify for what essentially is a customer reward program?

I actually saw someone say they’d be annoyed if they won the 100 free games, because they couldn’t think of 100 games they would want. OH WHAT A BURDEN.

I’ve seen over 20 different varieties of people getting absolutely enraged at valve/steam because valve/steam was giving away free or cheap games. It’s the most retarded, bizarre thing in the world.

I’m not “enraged” about them, but I dislike the Korean MMO vibe Valve gives off sometimes. Things like the Mann Co. Supply Crate (handed out for free, but utterly useless unless you pay $2.50 for a random unlock) and the various items that can only be obtained by grinding or spending money during a limited time period.

Eh, that’s just the optional decorational stuff for one game, not really what I’m talking about. I find the TF2 barbie’s playhouse deal pretty obnoxious too.

Chime is great in a weird tetris kind of way. Easy to get the unlock as well.

Poker night is awful. I feel like I’ve wasted the 1.95 it cost me.

Mind expanding on that? I’ve been thinking about getting it, and I’m pretty interested to hear what you don’t like.

Well being single player only when you can play poker games for free means it relies on the novelty of the offering.

The humour isn’t bad but it seems only 1 out of every three jokes made me even crack a smile and after an hour I’ve already heard several repeats (I don’t think I’ve heard every joke yet though). The only game it offers is Texas Hold 'em and that’s pretty baffling.

It’s pretty easy to figure out that they are supposed to have different AI (one is random, one is aggressive, one is tight, etc) but they all just seem to randomly ignore that when you do something like go all in and call you with junk cards (I guess that is to keep you from just bluffing all in’s all the time but it was odd to see).

This next bit is hard to explain. First off the game itself seems to take an inordinate amount of time to load (about a full min) which is annoying but playing the actual poker seems to take too long. Even after I turned the table chatter down to its lowest setting and started clicking like mad trying to skip everything and just get to the flop the game just seems to take its sweet time to move things along.

For instance you go all in. The other character goes all in. You get several zooms in on the other character’s faces while the cards are dealt on at a time. I just wanted the hand to be over. There needed to be an option just to turn everything off and play if you wanted. Of course I understand that people will be buying this game just for the atmosphere and enjoy that. After the second time I saw the ‘worried’ faces or the ‘smug’ faces I felt I had gotten over it.

Overall the AI felt weak, there was only one game you can play for free elsewhere, and finally the jokes and environment were cute but got old quickly.

That’s good info. Sounds like a pass from me unless I get it really, really cheap. Which is always a possibility. But for now, it sounds like a no. Thanks.

If you’re still interested check out this gameplay video.

Now keep in mind that didn’t seem to have the little asides you get if you have the table chatter up. Those are pretty much the default jokes and animations for a hand. You can speed them up by clicking but you still get most of them or little half animations. If you like what you see in that video just picture them telling funny stories once and awhile and that is basically the game in a nutshell and might be worth it to you.

Meh. I’ve been playing Poker Night and it’s entertaining. A full-out poker sim it most certainly is not but for what it is I feel I’m getting my $2.50 worth of amusement. But yeah, if you’re only in it for the poker you’re not going to like it.

There’s no way to know what is and isn’t going on sale, though, and in my observations Valve have been pretty random about it- most of the time it’s (often B-list) stuff I’m not interested in at all, but occasionally you’ll see a Big Name Game available at 75% off. I’d be mad if I purchased something like Batman: Arkham Asylum at full price and then saw it available the next day for 75% off or whatever.

The other thing is that, in the real world, if you buy something from a store (say, Bob’s Widget Co) and the next day the item goes on sale, it’s been my experience that you can go back to the store and say “Excuse me, this item is now half price or whatever, and I only got it yesterday” and (again, in my experience on both sides of the counter) stores will invariably refund the difference. But it doesn’t work that way with Steam, which is (rightly) going to frustrate some people.

Considering how expensive computer games are, I can again see why people might be a bit miffed at having to own a lot of games (especially games they may not otherwise be interested in) to qualify for the competition.

Part of it is no doubt Random Internet Ranting, but I suspect a lot of people are annoyed by the lack of consistency or the fact that they’re not eligible for the free games more than anything else.

Their business model is to make people who really want the games pay a normal retail price, and some time later, snatch up people who were half-interested and would pay maybe 1/3rd retail cost too. If you always knew when a sale was coming, it would reduce the incentive to buy it at a high price, which would reduce the profitability of the service, which would reduce their ability to hold sales.

A rational buyer can either decide to not buy anything unless it’s on sale (which is what I do 99% of the time) or just decide that a game is worth $x to them and be happy with their purchase.

In any case, I wouldn’t even mind if people said “ah damn, I paid twice as much last week” - no, I see fiery rants about how they HATE steam because of it. What would make them happy? If nothing else ever went on sale again so they wouldn’t have to see people getting a game at a lower price than they did?

Invariably is way too strong a word. Some retailers will provide that service as an incentive for you to shop at their store rather than another - so a digital distributor is free to try to gain that competitive edge and yet none have, which suggests there are logistical problems with it.

For instance, unlike traditional retail, digital distribution services don’t buy a product from a wholesaler or distributor and then resell it - they have deals where they take a 30-40% cut and give the owner of the property a 60-70% cut. So they can’t create sales on their own - they have to do it with the agreement (or suggestion of) the publisher or developer of the game in question.

What this also means is that if steam were to offer some sort of money back deal, they’d have to fund it themselves. The publishers aren’t going to agree to give back their share of the sale - they don’t care which digital distributor gains market share based on a promise of refunds. So if steam takes a 35% cut of a $50 sale ($17.50), then they mark it down to $25, someone buys it, and demands a refund for the difference - steam not only has to pay back all $17.50 they made on the sale, but another $7.50 out of their own pockets.

With this model, they’d never bother to hold any sales, it would be too costly.

And even then - how long do you make the window? A day? 3? A week? A month? No matter what someone is going to be pissed - if the window is a week, someone is going to say “grrr I just bought the game at full price 8 days ago!!! I HATE YOU STEAM!!!111”

Really? This is silly. It’s a customer rewards program, and you expect them to let everyone participate without being a customer? And despite how silly that proposition is - that’s actually pretty close to what they’re doing. You only need 10 tasks completed out of 28 to qualify for the main drawing (and every task completed qualifies for the 5 free games drawing they do for 20 people every other day). If it’s like today, you’ll be able to get a token just for performing some free task like making a wishlist or joining a steam group. And as for “how expensive computer games are”, two of the three tasks that require a game from today cost $3 and $1.25. Steam is heavily discounting any game involved in one of these tasks.

The program is extremely generous and inclusive.

So people are right to be angry that if they make no effort to be a customer, they aren’t included in a customer rewards program? Would people be less pissed if Steam never concocted this promotion at all so they wouldn’t have anything to be pissed about?

So taking this to its logical conclusion - steam should never have hugely discounted games because that pisses off people who already have them, and steam shouldn’t have promotions giving away lots of free games to customers because some of them might not get free games. Yeah, everyone would definitely be better off there.

I don’t disagree with you, but I don’t think you have to be Governor-General Of The Reserve Bank to see that if it’s inconsistent (ie, some games never end up on sale and some end up there pretty soon after release) you’re going to have dissatisfied customers and that isn’t going to be good for business either.

Most reasonable people cannot help but feel like they’ve been hard done by if they buy something at a particular price and then the same retailer has that same item for 75% cheaper the next day, regardless of how much they thought the item was worth originally. You may not care, but most people do- especially at the moment, when money is tight for a lot of people.

I’m in a different country to you, and like I said, my experiences on both sides of the retail counter suggest that “invariably” is the right word, at least in these parts.

That’s very true, but- as you know from being an SDMB member- people on the internet rant and rave about pretty much anything. As I recall someone here on the boards saying (at least in paraphrase), they could be giving out free icecream, blowjobs from supermodels, and puppies/kittens and there would still be people complaining that they’re on a diet, find oral sex to be gross, and are allergic to animals.

The thing is, the average punter doesn’t care about the “behind the scenes” stuff that’s made the sale possible- they care that they’ve paid $50 for a game yesterday and it’s $7.95 today. They feel like they’ve been ripped off, basically.

I should really mention I’ve got no particular dog in this fight (I’ve got no interest in buying/playing computer games I’m not really interested in to go into the draw for something I’m not going to win anyway). I suspect- and I’m really just guessing here- that what the ranty people want is a treasure hunt that involves games they already have (obviously an impossibility).

The thing is, since so many computer games require Steam to work nowadays, the fact someone has Steam means they likely are already a customer- probably several times over.

Yes, I daresay they would.

Actually, I think they should do what a brick and mortar retailer would do in the same situation: Offer a refund (or, more realistically, store credit) of the difference if the price drops within a fair and reasonable period of time- say, a week. Now, I appreciate that’s not necessarily completely practical for the reasons you outlined earlier, but I can’t help but feel that something could be worked out so that people who purchased at full price don’t feel ripped off when the game goes on sale shortly afterwards.

I think you need to have a massively inflated sense of entitlement to be angry about it (and this goes for all the complaints about OMG SOMEONE BESIDES ME IS GETTING FREE GAMES?! type stuff too). Everyone knows the deal. If it’s going to send you into a burning rage if a game you want becomes discounted after you buy it, don’t buy it until it’s discounted. The most extreme cases are when I see people buy a game at full price in the middle of a series of daily sales, and then are shocked when that game was discounted the next day.

Well don’t buy games then unless they’re on sale. We’re not talking about rent or food or even transportation. Or fine, I’ll even accept an offhand gripe about it. What I won’t accept are the people who actually get angry and hate steam because of it, because it’s so painfully stupid. You don’t browse sale threads and stuff on other forums like I do, I assume, so you don’t see the crazy amount of over the top hatred I’m talking about.

Well, it’s not uncommon in the US, but not standard. In any case, if it were practical, one of the DD services would use it to train to gain market share over the rest. Which suggests to me that it’s not practical due to the differing nature of the business.

Yeah, this is where we agree - and what I’m essentially saying is don’t hate the guy offering to give you free ice cream because you’re on a diet.

I know, but it’s not rational, and you seem to be an apologist for irrational behavior.

Well, yeah, obviously not practical since not everyone will have everything. But as it is - and we’ve only seen 4 items so far - one was free, and two were $3 and under. Steam is heavily discounting the titles involved in this contest - and they’re worth buying on their own at that price for their own merits - so having them be entries into a contest is just icing.

Well, doesn’t this prove that the whole thing is ridiculous? That they’d actually be happier if Steam gave them much less that benefitted them?

Well, as I said - steam would have to take a loss on any game discounted sufficiently because they’d be paying it back with their own money. And they have no moral obligation to do so - they’ve wronged no one. You are essentially saying that they should run their business at a loss to appease customers who are angry that other people are getting a really great deal. There’s no part of that that’s good for anyone’s long term interests, including the “wronged” customer, since changing their business model away from sales hurts them too.

It also doesn’t solve the situation of the people who will be angry because they bought the game (window + 1 day ago) instead of yesterday. Someone is always going to (unjustifiably) feel wronged.

Anyway, all of your proposed fixes would reduce or eliminate the viability of their current sales model, which means essentially that there’d be few or no sales or giveaways anymore, and that’s worse for everyone.

You basically said it yourself when you admitted above that they’d be less angry with no sales and no giveaways - these people are not thinking about not only the rational interest of everyone, but even their own rational self interest, because for every game they’ve said “ah damn I paid full price for that!” they’ve probably bought 10 “oh cool, I got this game for 75% off!” games.

New tasks and sales - nothing exciting.

Friends with Benefits - Have 10 friends on your friends list
What Happens in Vegas - Complete Ol’ Buddy Ol’ Pal achievement in Fallout: New Vegas
Set a leaderbord score of at least 22,600 on the level ‘Mash Face Against Mountain’ in AaAaAA!!!
Go To Your Happy Place - Play the demo or game The UnderGarden

With sales of: AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity for $2.50 and The UnderGarden for $5. Lame that they have a Fallout New Vegas achievement but no sale to go with it.

It looks like with an easy to do free objective again (friends list) and one where you only need to play a demo, steam is going to give people a path to 10 objectives (qualified for the main drawing) by purchashing nothing at all. Which is more than generous, but no doubt there will be an epic firestorm of bitching about something.

Heh the 10 Friends thing is a little depressing for me. It should be a ‘free’ achievement but the only friend I have is SenorBeef.

I’m all you need.

I’m sure random people from the SDMB steam group will help you out if you send out friend requests.

My first thought upon starting the UnderGarden demo was “This looks like an Aquaria rip-off.”

However, Aquaria has two key advantages over this game:

[li]The protagonist is a nymph and not a Tellytubby.[/li][li]It has gameplay more complex than “drag object A to point B, drag object C to point D…”[/li][/ol]