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Worlds of Magic | Early Access now available on Steam

Pay What You Want for the Humble Sid Meier Bundle

By on February 5th, 2014 7:07 am

Humble Sid Meier Bundle

Hey, how long has it been since you last fired Civilization 4? Or Civilization 3? Or perhaps you never played these and only started in the 5th Civ iteration? Or, perhaps you never played a Civ game in your entire life?! What? :)

Well, 2K, Firaxis and Sid have teamed up with Humble Bundle and are now selling what they call the Humble Sid Meier Bundle. In this “pay what you want and help charity” type of bundle you can find Sid Meier’s Civilization 3: Complete, Sid Meier’s Civilization 4: The Complete Edition (!!), Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol (the latest Sid strategy game with WWI planes), Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies and Sid Meier’s Railroads! starting at $1. Let me write it again. $1 to get all these games! Of course, you can pay more and help charity.

In addition to the base tier, the bundle has Civilization 5 and Civilization 5: Gods & Kings (1st expansion) for the average people bought them for ($8.22 at the time of this writing) and for $15 you complete the Civilization 5 experience with Civilization 5: Brave New World. And, you can tweak where the money goes too, more 2K, more charity or more to the Humble Bundle store.

I didn’t fire Civilization 4 in a while and just watching the intro and listening to Christopher Tin’s Baba Yetu soundtrack was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Civilization 4 with all expansions is, in my opinion, the best strategy video game experience ever produced, and I want to take this opportunity to personally thank everybody who was behind the creation of this game, especially Sid Meier and Soren Johnson, the mentor and leader designer of this work of art.

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27 Comments


  1. Ermdog says:

    Eh, I’ll throw down a few bucks for Railroads. I already own the rest of them, and own Railroad Tycoon 2(best railroad sim ever), but I’ve been on the fence with Railroads. Thanks for the post!

    • Adam Solo says:

      Oh, Railroad Tycoon, the memories. I may have played the sequel but most of my memories date back to the original. If you played both, was II more than a graphics overhaul?

      • Ermdog says:

        Never played the original Railroad Tycoon but I have seen pictures of it and the 2nd tycoon is night and day graphics wise. Not sure how the original played, but RRT2 is very enjoyable and I still play it to this day.

  2. AstralWanderer says:

    *sigh* Steam keys only – the days when HumbleBundle stood for DRM-free (and cross platform) content you could keep indefinitely seem long-gone.

    • Ermdog says:

      Steam is the future unfortunately. GalCiv3 devs even said they won’t release a downloadable version of GalCiv3 other than the one on Steam. Stardock pretty much said most of the people who play their games play on steam. It does make everything for them easier, plus Steam is pretty bad ass if you ask me.

      • Happy Corner says:

        Stardock going Steam-only is good news for all the people hoping to buy GalCiv 3 at a discount… a not inconsiderable population, if the comments on Part 1 of the Space Sector interview are anything to judge by.

      • DrManhatten says:

        Well if Stardock thinks like that they can stick their GalCiv3 were the sun never shines. People should really watch out Steam is quickly becoming a big DRM monopoly with a rather questionable EULA compared to the competition they have the worst user friendly service of all. Even EA Origin is better.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          “People should really watch out Steam is quickly becoming a big DRM monopoly with a rather questionable EULA…”
          I have to concur here – monopolies in general are a Bad Thing and Valve’s past TOS changes (blocking the right to participate in a class action, removing the option of a DRM-free copy in the event of account closure) are really mild slaps compared to what they *could* do in future (monthly fee to keep your account open, minimum annual purchase required, compulsory installation of adware/spyware – though the Steam client is more than halfway there now with its ability to track game and system usage).
          However it is publishers and developers who make Steam usage mandatory (via Steamworks) who deserve the sharpest criticism. They are the ones effectively forcing people to submit to Valve’s TOS and I have to say that I’m proud to have boycotted 2K games ever since their Bioshock SecuROM debacle (last purchase: Civ4 : Beyond the Sword). Ultimately it is only a larger scale boycott that will change such publishers’ minds.

        • Ermdog says:

          I would have to disagree strongly with you there. I have Origin and GameStop app and Steam blows them out of the water. I was originally against steam, and would only go through Impulse(currently gamestop app)but I really enjoy steam.

          The interface if fantastic if you ask me. I really don’t know where the criticism is coming from there. Lets not talk about everything it has to offer, let alone the sales. The fact of the matter is a lot of other sites require you to have a steam account to play that game you just purchased.

          So far I’m not really getting any valid point why people don’t like it, besides a vague EULA agreement. Please tell me what is in it that stops you from buying and playing a game on steam. You buy games, you dl them, you play…you don’t even need to be online for the ones that don’t require it. The days of buying physical copies are sadly over and its time to accept that this is how things are, and will be in the future.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          @Ermdog: “…I really don’t know where the criticism is coming from there.”

          Apologies for the cut-and-paste but several previous attempts to respond with a link to a previous comment vanished into the ether…

          The problems with Steam (and stores employing similar DRM) fall into 5 categories:

          1) Longevity: Valve have complete control over your Steam collection and can disable it at any time, for any reason – see http://consumerist.com/2011/03/valve-disables-steam-account-wont-explain-why.html for one example, tens of thousands of others can be found online. If I put money down for a game, I expect (and demand) to be able to play it 10-20 years later – if you value your games, you really should too.

          2) Security: Aside from Valve’s database being hacked (see http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11/10/steam-hacked/ – the lack of any further information since from Valve aside from http://store.steampowered.com/news/7323/ is something I consider ominous as it indicates either (a) they still don’t know the extent of the intrusion 2½ years later or (b) the breach was so serious, they dare not publicise it) the protocol used by Steam has a number of vulnerabilities – see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/17/steam_revuln_analysis/ for more. The Steam Client Service, being a Windows service, has full privileges on your system and, if compromised, could be used to do almost anything, including disabling security/anti-virus software. Steam isn’t the only guilty party here, Desura’s client also runs as a service, but at least that is optional.

          Valve acknowledge this in their Steam Agreement http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/ section 7C (capitalisation theirs):

          “NEITHER VALVE NOR ITS AFFILIATES GUARANTEE CONTINUOUS, ERROR-FREE, VIRUS-FREE OR SECURE OPERATION AND ACCESS TO STEAM, THE SOFTWARE, YOUR ACCOUNT AND/OR YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS(S) OR ANY INFORMAITON AVAILABLE IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.”

          3) Privacy: Steam is an “activate on play” system which means, by default, Valve knows what, when and for how long you play. There’s nothing stopping them from selling on that information to other interested parties.

          4) Connectivity: Activation systems fail if there are any problems with the user’s Internet connection, the activation server or any part of the network in-between. I’m not prepared to tolerate even the possibility of being denied access to content I paid for (and my gaming system is completely offline so I can game without distraction, ruling out activation of any sort). Steam’s offline mode is not a solution since it only lasts a short while (as little as 3 days by some accounts).

          To illustrate, UPlay users in the UK had problems recently, see http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/24/bt-infinity-blocks-ubisofts-uplay-or-vice-versa/#more-186319 and something similar could easily happen with Steam.

          5) Terms and Conditions – Steam’s TOS (linked to above) include a number of requirements that I consider unreasonable and objectionable, including 3A (no proxy servers), 6 (any contribution you provide becomes Valve’s property) 7C (security – noted above) and 9+10B (Valve may change its terms – if you disagree your only option is to close your account, losing access to all Steam purchases) and 12 (class action waiver).

          In particular, Valve can choose to impose a regular fee (an annual or even monthly charge) on users just to keep their accounts open. With 35 million users, a $10/month fee would raise (assuming a conservative 80% acceptance rate) nearly $3.4 billion/year with little extra effort. Since the amount raised is only likely to increase over time (and the Steam TOS is even headlined “Subscriber Agreement”) I consider that highly likely to occur.

          “The days of buying physical copies are sadly over and its time to accept that this is how things are, and will be in the future.”

          That does assume everyone has high-speed Internet (which won’t happen for some time yet) and underestimates the value of physical accessories like paper manuals (that can be read while playing the game, rather than having to continually Alt-Tab to a PDF).

          Distributors like GOG and the HumbleStore on the other hand offer downloads without problematic DRM or insecure client software, along with publishers like Matrix and Shrapnel – these, I’d suggest, are better models for the future than stores which by their nature, almost guarantee future problems (see http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/24/bt-infinity-blocks-ubisofts-uplay-or-vice-versa/ for a recent example with UPlay – consider if Steam had been affected instead?).

        • Ermdog says:

          @AstralWandererr

          I see your points and let me go though what I think as well as what I think others think

          1)Longevity- Do we really think Steam will just delete our games for no reason? I doubt it, but lets worry about that down the road IF if ever happens (which I highly doubt it)

          2)Security- Steam has the same problems as any other online website. Why shop anywhere with a credit card when their database is vulnerable at anytime. (Cough Target, Cough Michaels, Cough any online game). It happens…

          3)Privacy- Does anyone really care if others know what you are playing? Most people on steam like to show off their games and what they are playing. I highly doubt anyone cares about what steam sees them play. They actually have a neat feature I like in which it shows the most played games by the community. Kinda neat to see what the popular games are.

          4)Connectivity- I’ve been a steam user for about 4+ years and never had an issue with connectivity. As I stated earlier, you don’t need to be online to play most games, just to download and play games that require online. You can play months at a time in offline mode, but its not meant to be played in offline mode forever. You did download a game from them after all and you did need internet connection.

          5)Terms and Conditions- To be honest, maybe the 1% read it, and no one really cares at this point. Am I not going to play because they “could” require a fee? No. They are already beyond rich and keep getting richer by the day. I don’t ever see this happening in the near future.

          Basically what I’m seeing is that you are the “one percent” that is against what steam is doing, or just might not have internet. Not saying anything is wrong with that. You have that right to think or do what you want.

          I didn’t have online for the longest time. I had to find internet and buy the physical copy of the game because stores started carrying less and less pc games. But to be bluntly honest, gaming companies only care about what is going to make their game sell the most. Putting a game on a site that peaks 8 million players at a time each day, is a no brainier. The issue is that there are way too view people who purchase physical copies or download games outside of steam. Stardock even said that they will release GalCiv3 on Steam only, since hardly anyone bought it from their site. People that don’t have internet remind me of when I had a VCR when everyone moved on to DVDs. Internet was like the DVD when it came out, it had few users, but then it caught on and everyone got it. Internet is similar where the majority of people have it, but some still don’t however. Companies will not cater to that 1% sadly. This is why the future is in gaming downloads, because the majority of people prefer this now.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          Thanks for the reasoned followup Ermdog.

          “1)Longevity- Do we really think Steam will just delete our games for no reason? I doubt it, but lets worry about that down the road IF if ever happens (which I highly doubt it)”

          It’s already happened to those who had accounts suspended, and Steam’s region-locking of games has also been applied retro-actively causing others to lose content they paid for, see http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3219371 for examples. This apparently also happened with Thief 2 days ago – http://www.gog.com/forum/general/announcement_big_preorders_launch_day_releases_coming/post1061

          “2)Security- Steam has the same problems as any other online website.”

          Websites that you access using a browser are a different thing altogether – that browser will be a standard application without system access and subject to Windows’ security mechanisms (file/process permissions, UAC, etc). Windows services (like the Steam Client Service) bypass these, so the consequences of a security compromise are greater.

          “3)Privacy- Does anyone really care if others know what you are playing?”

          Snooping on people is big business – whether you value your privacy or not is an individual’s choice, but those seeking to track you are doing it for their own financial benefit. Two examples – your gaming habits could be of value to your employer (Are you claiming sick days off work whenever a new game is released? Is recent poor performance due to late-night gaming?) or recruitment agencies (too much gaming time or even playing the “wrong” types of games could affect future employment prospects).

          Valve Anti Cheat goes further, checking your DNS cache containing previously visited websites as noted in http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/1y0kc1/vac_now_reads_all_the_domains_you_have_visited/ and (at least partially) confirmed with Gabe Newell’s response at http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/1y70ej/valve_vac_and_trust/ – there is some debate over what data is being collected and why, but at least a portion of users’ web history is being analysed.

          “4)Connectivity- I’ve been a steam user for about 4+ years and never had an issue with connectivity. As I stated earlier, you don’t need to be online to play most games, just to download and play games that require online. You can play months at a time in offline mode, but its not meant to be played in offline mode forever.”

          Lucky for you, but connection problems can occur (as can problems with Valve’s servers). However most games *do* require constant (per-play) activation, exceptions are listed at http://steam.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_DRM-free_games – Steam’s offline mode only reduces the frequency of activation needed and according to https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=3160-AGCB-2555 offline mode has to be set up in advance for *each* game. So it’s of no real use in dealing with unplanned line outages or Steam account problems.

          “5)Terms and Conditions- To be honest, maybe the 1% read it, and no one really cares at this point…No. They are already beyond rich and keep getting richer by the day.”

          You think any company is going to ignore $3+ billion extra income indefinitely? Even *if* Valve’s current management were so inclined, there will be a day when Valve goes public and once management feels more accountable to shareholders than customers, expect the screws to go on.

          “This is why the future is in gaming downloads, because the majority of people prefer this now.”

          I wouldn’t disagree with this, but there is a big difference between downloads that always work with an unlimited life-span (which means DRM-free) and ones that fail if your network has a glitch, if you’ve breached some TOS or if the vendor just wants to screw you over (DRM). Steam along with stores like Origin, UPlay and GameFly are very much the later and just as they’ve been the first to gain widespread adoption, I’d expect them to be the first to commit large-scale abuse.

    • Alien JD says:

      I resisted steam for many moons. Now I have a rule that I only buy games through steam for 5.00 or less. That way I’m paying to rent them and when steam finally goes evil then I just consider my rent to be up.

    • Chris Biot says:

      This might be a late reply but you can also download a lot of games from your browser and it doesn’t require steam as far as I know.

  3. Jeff P says:

    Drat! Already own most of those games. Bundling of older games has become more popular these days, and a good thing too: development costs have already been realized from the original releases, and there is little overhead and no manufacturing or shipping costs for the distributor. Best of all, we get the savings! Compare the bundles of grade “A” games such as these at fire-sale prices with the outrageous pricing schemes of some distributors (I’m looking at you, Matrix/Slitherine!)

    • AstralWanderer says:

      “Compare the bundles of grade “A” games such as these at fire-sale prices with the outrageous pricing schemes of some distributors (I’m looking at you, Matrix/Slitherine!)”
      These are *old* games that have been offered at equal or higher prices than what Matrix typically charge (US$29.99 for Civ V compared to recent Matrix releases like Battle Academy Fortress Metz US$14.99 or Pandora: First Contact US$29.99).
      Also note that Valve’s normal prices are pretty unfavourable compared to retail – see http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1051762/digital-distribution-rip-suspected – *and* that Valve charge far higher prices for UK/EU customers (Steam’s EU price for Civ V is €29.99 when US$29.99 is worth 18,46€, Matrix on the other hand ask €23.99 for Pandora).
      I fail to see how Matrix can be the villain here…

      • Happy Corner says:

        Well, yeah, if you stick to Valve’s *normal* prices, there isn’t that much difference.

        What Jeff P was getting at, though, is that Steam has sales far more often (and with more generous discounts) than Matrix. When you’re a college student or a working stiff whose gaming dollars have to stretch as far as they can, that’s a very important consideration.

        • Jeff P says:

          Here here!

          Not only do I like to play games, I also like to eat food, buy gas for my car, and pay the mortgage. Like most people, I prioritize my expenses based on need. I don’t really “need” a $40-$50 game, so if I can buy a good or interesting game for a bargain price, I’ll do it. Otherwise, I have a hard time justifying the purchase.

      • csebal says:

        Sorry but that article is bull…

        It completely ignores the fact that you can get all those games at 50-75-90% reduced prices periodically. Sales which you rarely see in places like play.com.

        Also comparing prices of brick and mortar businesses that are struggling to keep up with digital distribution and as such are forced to go cheaper to attract customers with prices of the soaring digital distribution market is a fallacy of epic proportions.

        As for the prices of Matrix. My only problem with them really was the fact that they sold ALL expansions separately, instead of bundling older ones together with the base game and selling that for what it was worth. (bout 75% the original price of the base game)

        Lets look at Distant Worlds today:

        1) DW sold for 24 EUR + VAT (released 03/2010 – close to 4 years ago)
        2) DW EXP1 sold for 16 EUR + VAT (released 12/2010 – more than 3 years ago)
        3) DW EXP2 sold for 20 EUR + VAT (released 01/2012 – more than 2 years ago)
        4) DW EXP3 sold for 20 EUR + VAT (released 05/2013 – nearly a year ago)

        The entire thing would cost 80 EUR + VAT.

        Sure, with the new – final expansion, they are finally bundling their shit together, but seriously.. that move was long overdue and the last expansion is pretty much just an alibi in my eyes anyway

        CIV5 + Both expansions would cost me 75 EUR incl. VAT, if I would buy it today straight from steam. I could have bought it for way less during the christmas sale though. Probably 20-30 EUR for the lot. Not sure what the actual sale on CIV5 was this time around, as I already owned all the expansions at the time.

        So you can trash steam for its lack of customer support. Trash them for their authoritarian EULAs, trash them for their monopoly, but you do not get to trash them for their prices, because in that department, they just beat every friggin thing out there with their sales.

        • csebal says:

          The way most people I know use steam is this:
          - if there is a title you cannot wait to get your hands on, you pay the full price.
          - you wait a few months and pick it up during a sale with a 25-75% discount.

          Hell if you add the game to your wishlist, steam will even send you a mail if it goes on sale.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          “It completely ignores the fact that you can get all those games at 50-75-90% reduced prices periodically. Sales which you rarely see in places like play.com.”

          The fact that Valve can drop prices 75-90% and still make a profit (they wouldn’t be pricing them so low otherwise) should be a good indicator of how much a rip-off their normal pricing is. If you want to wait potentially months for a specific title to go on sale (where the products and timing are of Valve’s choice, not yours) then yes you can make big savings. But the article is pointing out that you can save at any time by going to stores that ship physical items, which have far greater cost overheads than digital delivery (media manufacture, postage, storage, inventory management, damaged item costs).

          And you can currently get Civ V Game of the Year for £8.84 (10.63€) on Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B0056F2G3S/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc compared to Steam’s current 29.99€ price. And Civ V Complete for £13.59 (16.35€) compared to Valve’s 39.99€. So a “normal” (available anytime) price for *physical media* is giving 60-65% saving on Valve’s offering.

      • csebal says:

        @AstralWanderer:

        The million dollar (probably more) question:

        Why should valve/steam lower its prices, when people are buying from them happily even at the current price levels?

        Answer that, and you might find them actually following your advice. Fail to do so and you can .. well.. keep pointlessly moaning about them being overpriced I guess. Its unlikely anything I say will manage to convince you that you are wrong.

        Let’s be realistic here: steam is an profit oriented company in a capitalistic economy and not a charity organization.

  4. csebal says:

    Oh and by the way, if any of you do not own those games yet, for 15 bucks that offer is a steal.

    You get the (probably undisputed) greatest 4X game of all times (CIV4) in all its glory. Also its not mentioned on the page, but Complete edition also includes CIV4: Colonization, which is essentially a remake of the classic.

    You get the sequel WITH BOTH EXPANSIONS, which – by many (not me) – might even be better than CIV4.

    Basically CIV5 alone is 75 EUROs worth of games for 15 dollars. Obviously its not worth as much, as you can easily pick these up for far less individually during sales, but even then you would not get them all for mere 15 dollars.

    Even better, it goes to charity if you so desire.

    BUY, BUY IT NOW I TELL YOU.

  5. AstralWanderer says:

    “Why should valve/steam lower its prices, when people are buying from them happily even at the current price levels?”

    If people can’t be bothered to spend a minute checking prices or knowingly pay a higher price out of fanboyism, then frankly Valve has the perfect right (as does any other business) to take them for every penny/cent it can. As do Apple, Verizon or any other high-price/poor-service outfit.

    However I’m not interested in speculating on Valve’s customers but in countering your statement “…you do not get to trash them for their prices”. Valve’s pricing *is* extortionate considering their vastly lower overheads, and the deep discounts they periodically choose to offer only reinforce that.

    • csebal says:

      @AstralWanderer:
      It must be horrible living your life knowing that you are surrounded by idiots, that all the rest of the world are using those horrible services like Steam or buying the low quality, overpriced junk sold by Apple.

      I honestly have no idea how you manage to get through the day seeing all this, knowing that you alone are the only sane person in the entire world and everyone else is going the wrong way.

      That being said, I remember an old joke. It goes like this:

      Man driving his car on the highway listens to the radio
      - “Drivers on and around I95 should be advised, that there is a lone driver driving on the wrong side, going against traffic.”
      Man turns off his radio and mutters to himself:
      - “Just one?!? I wish.. all these idiots are going the wrong way”.

      Sorta reminds me of you. Have a nice day.

    • Bankie says:

      Some people are lazy brained to the point of investing in their abusers in order to avoid a fight.

      I totally see where this is going and I can’t believe how lazy America’s become. It’s to the point where developers are selling ALPHAS!! They’re actually SELLING incomplete games and smackheads are PAYING for the privilege of beta testing them for HOURS – with NO pay – in support of companies who offer nothing for free.

      It’s maddening.

      Gaming is a zombie process anymore. Steam is only symptomatic – it’s not the problem. Americans who still haven’t figured out the nature of greed are the problem. They and those who have no standards and make no demands on companies with regard to product quality and customer service – they’re the problems.

      • csebal says:

        You should really not single out groups based on race, nation or ethnicity. Trust me when I say, that there are idiots all around the world, not just in the USA.

        We would all do well to look into our mirrors and engage in a few moments of self reflection, before we judge others.

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