So over the past couple years I've noticed a change in how I approach PC games.
I find out about new games coming down the pipe (thanks to this forum in no small part), I do my research, check web sites, read faqs, read forums, occasionally join and ask questions, participate in discussions, ...
None of that is any different from what I ever did. The difference is that over the past few years I have stopped acquiring the games at release, instead waiting until they reach a level of 'completeness' which satisfies me. I think the last game I *HAD TO HAVE* at release was GalCiv2, at least that's the last one I remember calling the local store about reserving a copy.
Otherwise, experience has taught me that getting in on the ground floor (so to speak) is simply an exercise in frustration and frequently results in me not enjoying the game, and thus feeling as though I wasted both time and money, doubly so in some cases where I fell for the fanboy hype (and I have been guilty of being a fanboy myself) over alpha/beta reviews.
So my MO now is thus. Get excited about the potential of some game. Wait for release. Become saddened at the inevitable 'this game wasn't ready for release' slew of forum posts. Watch the patch process, watch the DLC process, watch the announced expansions, ...
And then, at some point in the future when the game and all it's additional content seem to have reached some critical point, jump on board. This works for me, it has made me enjoy PC gaming much more, it has reduced the stress load fanboy vs. hater forum flamefests can induce (well I still enjoy those threads, but since I'm not on either side I don't really get fired up about it), and it has saved me $$$. Not that this is so much about $$$ to me, I'm well off enough to not worry about pissing away a couple hundred a year on PC Games if that's what I want to do.
But, I don't have to do that, I don't do that. Instead I follow the development past beta, and get to make, what I consider, a fully informed decision at a later point. The downside? Obviously having to wait, and initially I thought that would be difficult. It has not proven to be so.
I am the kind of person who likes to understand beyond a superficial level anything which I choose to do. PC Games for me are no different than my career in this respect. I cannot jump into something unprepared, without a level of understanding that allows me to feel I am at least 'competent' in what ever it is I do. Granted, this pushes me away from certain types of games, but pretty much any TBS/Grand Strategy game is right up my alley. And I have to understand the mechanics, and I have to feel that I am in control over those mechanics. A side effect of this is that it would absolutely drive me bonkers when something in the game didn't work 'as intended' but the devs, and I knew there was a patch/fix coming. I simply couldn't play the game anymore until the issue(s) was resolved, including balance issues.
Realizing that about myself certainly helped me to be able to stomach the waiting, I wonder if any others have the same feelings towards their games.
Call me anal, call me a hard ass, call me what you like. I'm comfortable with it, and I often wonder if it wouldn't be better if more people could avoid the *MUST HAVE IT NOW* mentality and put the onus back on games being 'complete' at release, rather than the mentality of 'well, it sucks now, but they'll patch it up eventually'. Maybe it's just not possible to be 'complete' anymore. I don't know, but I do know that I'll never buy a PC game at release again, and I'm fine with that.