November in Review

The Site

Trend Micro declared this site “dangerous.”  Oooooh.  I am scary!

Which means the site is now blocked by their web security suite.  Thanks!

Of course the day I found that out, Trend Micro also sent me a note that they wanted to charge me for my subscription (which “protects” my wife and mother-in-law’s computers from, among other things, me) but the credit card on file had expired.

You can imagine that my desire to renew was somewhat tempered by my new renegade status.  I think we might just switch over to Microsoft Security Essentials.  It is free, takes up less CPU time, and frankly if Microsoft blacklists my site, getting screwed over by them is just another day at the office.

And, in an update to past site news, WordPress.com settled down on the statistics front after last month’s dramatic peak.  No further information was ever forthcoming as to why the peak occurred, why the founder said WordPress.com had be dramatically under counting page views, or why everything went back to pretty much the way it had been a week later.

But that is the nature of free to play I suppose.  And WordPress.com is a free to play blogging platform.  It makes most of its money on a few big players (it is CNN’s blogging platform, for example) and then attempts to up the ante a bit by trying to sell all of us two-bit players upgrades from its cash shop.

I have actually purchased the “no ads” option from said shop after viewing my blog while not logged in and seeing it full of gold seller ads.  WordPress.com cares not for your taste in ads.  You get what they want to inject.

Other things they sell are premium themes so your blog can have a special look, CSS access to your blog so you can give it a special look all on your own (this way lies madness), extra storage space (though in 5 years I have only used 1GB of the the 3GB I am allowed and I upload a lot of large, crap pictures), video and audio hosting packages if you don’t like YouTube, and custom domain names.

But it is the domain name thing that WordPress keeps trying to push on me.

Fiddling with domain names is something I try to avoid, plus the only domain name I would really want, tagn.com, is being squatted since The All Girl Network went down.  So WordPress tries to foist some really odd alternatives on my instead, like:

I am not sure what “tagand.com” would even mean in the context of this blog.

Anyway, I won’t be spending $17 a year on that.  Maybe if I could get cthuluftagn.com I would bite.  I like the idea that you cannot spell Cthulu f’tagn (or Cthulu fhtagn if you prefer) without TAGN.

One Year Ago

I was talking about group size and roles.  That has come up again, especially since SWTOR groups seemed to be limited to four players.

On the retro front, I played some Total Annihilation.  Still one of the best RTS games ever.

I took a look at the soon to be defunct EverQuest II Extended.  It seemed quite busy.  Of course, I went Station Access so I could peek into EverQuest II  (with some issues) and EverQuest as well.

The rump instance group was wrapping up another Summer in Middle-earth at the far end of the Lone Lands as well as in and around Ost Guruth.

At the same time, Turbine was putting crafting materials in the LOTRO Store.  Meanwhile, the OTHER LOTRO store, the real life one, wasn’t doing much for me.

CCP announced that they were removing learning skills from EVE Online.  I hit 60 million skill points and was going to get to reallocate some.

The Cataclysm open beta was coming to an end at last. I think part of the problem with the expansion was how long people were freely talking about the expansion… and playing it… before it came out.  We all knew what the hot new hunter pet would be and how much the world was going to be changedCheap copies of WoW were not going to fix that.

Back in pre-Cataclysm Azeroth, I was summing up my Wintergrasp experiences and moaning about missing the damn Hallow’s End mask quest achievement again.

On the Pokemon front, I finished the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.  In your face!  And the march to the release of Pokemon Black and White was commencing.  Oddly, no new Pokemon game has since been announced.

The news seemed to be confused as to whether or not flying cars had come at last.

And, finally, in the completion of a boyhood dream of mine, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, officially releasing me from caring about major league ball ever again.

Five Years Ago

Friends, neighbors, and my brother just back from a Middle-east deployment were all talking about Diablo II.  But Diablo III was nowhere in sight.

The WoW Saturday Night Permenant Floating Instance Group finished up Blackfathom Deeps, The Stockades, Shadowfang Keep, and started in on Razorfen Kraul.

The MUD client ZMud was officially replaced by CMud at ZuggSoft.  I am still using ZMud to this day.

In EVE Online the Revelations expansion was launched.  This was back when any update from CCP was a problem and you really had to start training a long skill before it was released.  That is different today, right?

In EverQuest, I picked up The Serpent’s Spine and tried running a new character though some of the new level 1-70 content.  I also set out a minor goal of taking screen shots to compare Faydwer in EQ and Faydwer in EQII that lead to posts about Kaladim and Kelethin.  Come to think of it, I took a lot more screen shots of places and never posted them.  Some day.

And in EverQuest II, Echoes of Faydwer came out.  Once I found a copy and got past the patching process and into the game, I made a fae swashbuckler and went to town… complaining about those damn flying carpets.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following site for linking here.

I do not know how you can NOT visit those sites just based on the names!

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Google Reader Alternatives?
  2. Beastlord to be the New Class in the Next EQ2 Expansion
  3. Han Killed Greedo With One Shot
  4. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  5. And Now I REALLY Want That SWTOR Authenticator
  6. The SWTOR Pre-Order, Authenticators, & Account Security
  7. Guardian Cub Price Check – Day One
  8. Star Wars – Impressions from the Weekend
  9. We Face Our First Boss in Telara
  10. EverQuest II Extended Is Dead – EverQuest II Goes All Free to Play
  11. Blizzard – Down Nearly 2 Million Subscribers, But Still Insanely Profitable
  12. Heir to the Empire – 20 Years Later

Most Popular Search Terms of the Month

Variations on “Google reader alternatives,” followed by “swtor authenticator” and “Guardian Cub Prices.”

A lot of people are going to play SWTOR, were less than thrilled with the Google Reader changes, and want to know how much gold a Guardian Cub is going for in WoW. (As little as 3K gold on some servers.)  And beastlords.  There was some interest in beastlords.

Search Terms of the Month

3d 240sx white
[Oddly specific, yet I have that covered!]

rainbow valley unicorn
[Shoot me now]

graphics scramble computer enters power save mode blue screen of death
[Welcome to Windows!]

Diablo II

I downloaded this from Battle.net again just to tinker around and remind myself why I am still waiting for Diablo III and Torchlight II, both of which fell out of 2011.

It is still impressive, a decade later, how good of a job the game does in setting mood and atmosphere.  I am not quite ready to go sign the no colors petition yet, but I have to admit that I see the point of those who are worried that too much color might spoil the mood.

It is instructive to go back and play a game like Diablo II and have it rekindle what you loved about it the first time you played.  It is a simple, immersive, atmospheric classic.  It is also instructive that I have no similar desire to go back and play Torchlight.  It is a good game, and well worth the $20, but I played it out two years ago and haven’t gone back since.

So I have to wonder, will either Torchlight II or Diablo III make me happy when they finally ship?  Or is Path of Exile, with its serious Diablo II vibe more in the spirit I seek?

Rift

Rift has become the go-to game when I just want to play a game.  The goofy Fae Yule world event is going on which gives me a couple of daily quests to chunk out.  Several of the group members are working on trade skill, so I have two characters up around 30 out harvesting to help that effort.  It is very much the WoW replacement it was slated to be.

World of Warcraft

BlizzCon and talk of Pandaria got my daughter interested in WoW again, so we both resubscribed and have been playing some.  Rift is taking most of my MMO time though, so I have not been playing much.  I go in fits and starts.

My daughter, on the other hand, caught fire in WoW over the Thanksgiving break, coming up with a plan to finally hit level cap with her then level 74 hunter.  This meant letting her play more WoW than I probably should have allowed, but I was impressed by her determination and that she actually stuck to a timeline that extended beyond the next hour of her day.  She is at an age where she will complain about having to do any task… homework, chores, brushing teeth… for at least twice as long as it would actually take to complete it, so to see her work at something over the course of several days was a serious change.  Now I just have to figure out how to get her to focus that ability on something else like a sport or multiplication tables or some such.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I got to play in the beta for a couple of weeks.  The game will be ready for prime time come December 20th. I personally did not find the game all that compelling.  The starter areas, which should be the fun hook to get you into the game, failed to inspire me to keep playing.  More than once I logged out to play something more fun, and for me the list of “more fun” games is pretty long.  But this might just be an indication of the sort of faux Star Wars fan I really am.

And not only will the game be ready for prime time, but my attempt at a “perfect storm” weather forecast about five months back for the game seems to be coming to pass.   SWTOR will have all to suffer through all the problems that come with rampant success.  Whether it will hit the chest banging numbers that have been mentioned over the last three years remains to be seen.  As I wrote previously, I might come take a peek when that has settled down to a dull roar, maybe 6 months or so down the line.

Google+

A random, blog related bit that really didn’t have any place else to go.

Google has quietly decided to let people using pseudonyms back into the Google+ pool.  Of course, having been kicked out once, my enthusiasm for the product is now somewhat cool.

One of the odd things is that upon being kicked out, all of my circles and such went away.  But my name still remained active and I still appear to still be in other people’s circles.  So, from the outside, it might have looked like I was just very quiet for a long stretch.

Anyway, I am debating a to what I should do with Google+, if anything.  Reposting blog entries just encourages people to comment there rather than here and it isn’t like I get so many comment here that I feel the need to divide things up.

What is Google+ good for aside from Angry Birds?

Actually, that question applies to Facebook as well, except the version of Angry Birds that runs there is crap.  Rovio must not like Facebook.  So substitute in War Zone Tower Defense.

Coming Up

December means that whole summing up business.  Was 2011 the year of the sky, what with Skylanders, Skyrim, and Skyward Sword?  Were there any more sky references?  Do Angry Birds count?  And is there a platform out there that cannot run Angry Birds?  There is a version out there that runs on Samsung TVs for pete’s sake.

Sorry, I lost focus there for a moment.

Anyway, the current year must be neatly packaged, including which companies lived up to my demands.  And then vague projections about the next year must be made.

I definitely feel a post in me about what I like about Diablo II and what I hope doesn’t get lost in the translation to Diablo III.  I worry when I read interviews with the Blizz team saying they don’t want to make Diablo 2.5, because I think that might be what I really want.  We’ll see if I get to that.

Then there is the usual clutter, updates from the instance group, notes and thoughts on milestones, and that sort of thing.  Face it, after five years, I’m not getting any better.

And then 2012 will come and the Mayans will have to go out a buy a new calendar or something.

9 thoughts on “November in Review

  1. saucelah

    Does Trend Micro make a product that blocks certain web pages when, say, you have young children in your home?

    I don’t have any kids, and my parents were against censoring anything I read, listened to, played, etc. (damn hippies), so I often wonder what choices I would make if I did have kids — GTA isn’t Super Mario after all. The games of now aren’t the games of the 80s.

    But that web nanny type stuff makes me nervous, wondering what it’s blocking that I wouldn’t want it to block. Have you used one? Did you find it useful or find that they tend to end up blocking sites like your blog regularly?

    Like

  2. Gazimoff

    Someone seems to have just bought cthuluftagn.com and redirected it to the WordPress.com DNS servers. Next time you’re logged in, go into Settings, Domains, and add it. Mysteriously, it’ll work. ;)

    Like

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gazimoff – Wow, thank you! You shouldn’t have. No, really. The part about cthuluftagn.com was me attempting to be funny. I know, how can you tell? Besides, all of the geometry here is clearly Euclidean. Me saying I hate to fiddle with domain names, especially after more than five years of being bookmarked at this location, was me being serious. Plus, WordPress.com still wants to charge me a yearly fee for the privileged of using the domain. I cannot just add it in the settings without paying money.

    Still, color me surprised that the domain was available. It only came to me when I Google’d “tagn.”

    @Saucelah – At our house we have used the “stick the computer in the middle of the living room where the screen is visible to us from couch or kitchen” method. That and my daughter’s self-censorious nature (she won’t let me watch movies with bad words… Clerks is clearly out… while she is in the room) has seemed to work so far. But some sort web filtering has been on my list to research. She is starting to figure out that there is more to the internet than my blog, Wikipedia, and Animal Jam.

    Like

  4. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Google+ tends to have some good discussions. It’s like Twitter, but allows for more depth and actual threads for real conversations. ;P I’ve also found some other “circles” that have good conversations, including some tabletop RPG developers that are pretty cool.

    I post there for stuff that’s a bit too light to post on my own blog; given that my blog is arguably a “professional” blog, though, that might be a restriction unique to my situation. I usually ask people to at least cross-post their comments to my blog since I like the comments in one location. It seems to work, but there’s probably few people who get info about blog postings by Google+ and not Twitter/RSS feeds, etc.

    Anyway, I like Google+. I’d say give it another chance unless you’re really bitter about it.

    Like

  5. Tracey Snow

    @Gazimoff – Hahaha! You beat me to it! I went looking and saw it was gone (all the other were there and I almost got .net!).

    Unfortunately, it’s not working for me (yet). I’m going to call it DNS lag.

    Like

  6. saucelah

    Sounds like you’ve got a good system for now, and a daughter that at least until now wasn’t looking to break the boundaries.

    A cautionary tale: a friend of mine recently discovered her teenage son created her 11 year old daughter a facebook page. She wasn’t happy, though she really can’t limit her son’s computer access (lives with his father and has a school issued laptop). She had to compromise and create one for the girl with a pseudonym in order to at least have some control and influence. In the process, her daughter has felt free to more openly discuss things kids do with computers, and she found out the girl doesn’t know anyone in her grade (5th) without a facebook anymore. Apparently, the ones who aren’t allowed to have one just create them and check them via friends’ devices, leaving the parents with stricter internet rules completely clueless as to what the kids are doing.

    Makes sense. I remember a friend being banned from Beavis and Butthead, and we started recording them all on to VHS for him to watch when he came over.

    But yikes. Something to chew on as your daughter ages I suppose.

    Like

  7. Horry

    As a father of three teenage kids I’m a bit surprised that you praise your daughters determination in levelling in WoW…. (oh the dangers of addiction to a young mind… but thats a separate discussion)

    Like

  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Horry – Well, there are other factors in play. I also have parental controls on which limits the amount of time she can play and my wife and I make her take breaks and do something else.

    What I was praising was her ability to focus and stick to a single goal. A lot of times she will use her couple of hours to roll a new character, play a bunch of alts, run around the world, search for new hunter pets, and generally just goof around in the world of Azeroth. Not that that is a bad thing.

    Plus this gives me another tool in the bag of parental dick moves. I can now say, “Well, you could focus on getting to level 80 and accomplish that in record time, let’s focus on your science fair project and do the same.”

    Like

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