Itís that time again on the internet when everyone goes sale mad and in a month immediately begin asking why on earth they bought these games ?
So I thought I should write a little article about how you can easily survive this period if this is your first steam sale and come out the other side having actually benefited from it and without forcing you to unplug your router to stop you buying things.
Make a budget
Firstly have a budget and stick to it. A big thing for many people in they can click buy and not think too much till they next see their bank balance or credit card bill. If you have details like this on steam, remove them or at the very least force yourself to no use them. Once you know your budget (And be realistic here as if itís too small youíll only be reaching for those card numbers later anyway) go to a store, yes a Store, you know one of those things outside on the street that sells games.
Once there buy yourself the amount of money youíve budgeted as steam wallet codes this way you can see how much youíve spent on the sale already and hopefully wonít be tempted to buy more steam wallet cash.
Make a List
Secondly itís now time to make a list of the games you want to get, you might think this would come first then youíd budget from that but no, this way it makes you think about what games you really want to get and which you can do without. Once you have the list order them in terms of most wanted to least wanted, because believe me sacrifices may have to be made.
Once you have your list its time to see how expectations match to your budget. On steam go into the store and look at the present prices of the games you want then write these down in the same document as the list with the prices next to them. While youíre in the store itís also a good idea to add the games to your wishlist.
Use a calculator to add up the total prices and if youíre over your budget by anything more than $5 then you need to be prepared to miss out on getting the bottom one of more games on your list.†
Use the wishlist feature
Use the Wishlist well as if you add games onto the wishlist steam will notify you via email or even on a steam mobile app when a game you want goes on sale, this means youíll not miss out on those flash sales and go relax far more and you know maybe play through some of those games you bought in a previous sale or if youíre new to steam sales you can work through a backlog of something else say TV shows or console games, with the flash sales only changing every 8 hours it wonít be too much of a problem to catch the game and it means you can time it to only have to check your emails about twice a day.
So you have a goal in mind, you have a budget and youíre letting steam do the legwork of telling you when games you want are on sale, it seems like youíre ready. Well not yet thereís still a few more things you need to do and to be ready for to truly come out of the steam sale on top.
So many abandoned C-blog articles....................
Before you begin buying games itís time to clear space on your hard drive ready for them, you have to remove anything thatís no longer useful or at least put it into storage on an external storage device because youíre going to want to play a fair few games especially in some cases once youíve just bought them. So having your hard drive with plenty of space ready for them will save you frustration later on of having to clear the space. So yes its finally time to either delete those fan art and pictures of freaky Constantina or at the very least move them to another storage device.
Play the Waiting game
OK you have a goal, you have the money on your account, you have hard drive space, itís time to buy now right ? Well no as to get the most out of the steam sale you have to be patient. You see while many games are discounted these discounts can be overridden by flash sales and daily deals meaning that at present those games are at their highest cost for the duration of the sale, potentially they will drop lower. The fact games can and will drop lower is the actual reason why based on your budget you can have about $5 extra on your wanted list compared to your budget and as your budget is set it now makes you more inclined to wait as for the patience you could end up affording yourself another game. The rule is unless itís a daily deal or flash sale you only buy your games on the last day of the sale or you will end up paying more than you need to.
Look out of hidden treasure.
There are some deals on steam that mysteriously only turn up around steam sales and arenít obviously visible. The best example is the Cthulhu saves the world and Breath of Death double pack which cost the same price as just one of the games alone. Another is the Introversion complete pack which includes Darwinnia and Multwinnia, the soundtrack, Uplink, Defcon and the Defcon sound track for £2.95 here in the UK (At present prices) rather than the Darwinnia and Multiwinnia pack which clocks in at £8.99 for just those two compared to the 4 games in the bundle.
Know what youíre getting into
This is a big important one, in the last steam Sale I bought The Ship because Iíd heard about it and it seems cool, thing is the matchmaking servers are down on the companies end but luckily there are work around to it posted on the community page. Itís always good to check at least the steam community page for the game before buying. Also I should say with The Ship they did do a special promotion where by buying one copy of the game gave you two more to give away (each of which then spawned two more copies for said person to give away meaning 1 copy of the game ended up in 7 copies going out. Incidentally if someone really wants a copy I still have one of my two extra copies left and then youíll have two copies to hopefully give away too to people)
Consider the sound tracks.
This is one of the few times when the main version and the version of a game and its sound track are going to be very close in terms of cost Iíve seen previous sales where the cost for a sound track with the game was about £0.04 more so itís worth checking to see if you think the sound track might interest you.
Be prepared to be tempted
This is a part of the sale as if you find a certain game youíd forgotten about is on sale you will be tempted. Itís at this point the list becomes important as you can now bring it back up and check its cost, if it costs the same as the game youíve put lowest on the list itís now up to you to decide if †you want that game more or less than the title youíd forgotten about. Sometimes youíll find you do, other times it was a passing thing and really when you look back at your list, you realise you want these games more. If the game costs more you might end up sacrificing more games off that list too.
The point of sale.
Ok youíve bought your games now remember if you buy the game and mark it as a gift it will not be linked to your account until you open it, if you buy and add it to your library straight away then itís there for life, or until the German courts figure out if Steam has to allow resale or not. While you wonít get your money back if you regret it later, having it as a gift allows it to be traded and who knows you might be able to trade for something you really want, and no Iím not talking about more damn Team Fortress 2 hats.
Ok itís nearly the end of the sale, you might still have some steam cash left over and if you do itís the perfect time to clear up as best as you can. If you have any Free to play games on steam you might want to use the last few bits of currency on some items in there as Iíve previously done on Super Monday night combat, or if you have a little more left its worth checking out the indie games section and price searching, with two pages of games less than £1 each here in the UK thereís plenty of choice there to spend that last bit of cash on and being in the sale it allows these kind of prices. Now your only problem is deciding what to play first.
So to summarise
- Set a budget
- Make a List of games you want and be prepared to not get them all
- Use the Wishlist functionality
- Clear hard drive space in advance before buying anything
- Look for hidden deals and packages not so easily visible on steam
- Look into the games before you buy them, even just a little to make sure there hasnít been some huge problem
- Check the price of packages that include more than just the game
- Be ready to be tempted
- Make sure youíre certain you want these games on your account potentially forever
- Clean up at the end by using up the last of that budget, if thereís any left, as after all you might as well considering you anticipated spending that much and now you could be getting some hidden gems of indie games at the sale prices along with those games you really wanted.
- If you didnít get all you wanted, donít worry, its only about 4-6 months till the next steam sale
[s]- Finally the golden rule, do not buy copies of bad rats for £0.29 each and pass them to friends or they will use your mouse cord to throttle you.[/s]