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The Seven Year Kvetch September 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
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9 comments

kvetch [kvetsh]   –  /k(ə)veCH,kfeCH/

noun
noun: kvetch; plural noun: kvetches

-a person who complains a great deal.
-a complaint.

verb
verb: kvetch; 3rd person present: kvetches; past tense: kvetched; past participle: kvetched; gerund or present participle: kvetching

-to complain.

Yes, one of the joys of being an American is pissing all over the English language by letting in any damn word we please.  I love our language, how it changes and evolves over time.  I think it is the hallmark of us, as an immigrant nation, that we embrace people and cultures into our so-called melting pot, but that we also swipe some of the best words people bring with them as well.  In contrast,  I remain appalled by countries that have official government departments that dictate and enforce proper spelling and usage.  Color me the anarchist in that regard I guess.

Sure, the chaos makes the language difficult to learn fully, being so full of idiom and context, but it is great fun.  Straight from the fridge daddy-o.

So here we are at my 7th blogiversary (ha ha, suck that purists!), where I celebrate my continued deliberate and premeditated abuse of the language.

WordPress sends their regards

WordPress sends their regards

And since I love linking back to past posts (recycling!) you can find, if you are so inclined, posts marking this date from past years.

Now that I have gotten past that irrelevant introductory exuberance, it is time for the usual dreck.   Beyond this point lies list after list of pointless data followed by my usual summary of events, complete with dubious and/or obvious conclusion.  There is the story of my life; always able to summarize the data, but lost when actually trying for some sort of ending or closure.  I am never quite sure what it all means, and I try not to pretend otherwise.

If you are like me and like numbers and lists for the sake of them or want some sort of quantitative look at what happens at this blog, you may find some of this interesting.  It includes my usual reveal of actual traffic numbers.

On the other hand, if you are expecting to find an amusing anecdote about how I screwed up or got lost again, a nostalgic look at some past game, or an incoherent rant about some bit of gamery that is annoying me at the moment, you will likely be disappointed at what you find after the cut.  You have been warned.

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Two Years of Tanks April 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
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6 comments

World of Tanks is turning two years old, their launch date corresponding with Yuri’s Night back in 2011.

WorldofTanks2year

The game has come a long way since its launch two years ago.  I always point at patch 8.0 and the physics update as being a major turning point for me, bringing me back to the game.  But they have added so much to the game over time.

The celebration this weekend includes all sorts of special offers and boosts.  5x experience for your first victory of the day is usually enough, but there is a lot more than just that, as Mrrx detailed in his post on the subject.

For me, the discounts on tier VIII tanks, equipment, and crew retraining means that I will likely be driving my KV-4 before the night is through.  I will have enough credits to buy it, kit it out, and transfer the crew I have been training up for it in the Churchill III. (It is my old KV-2 crew, and is close to 100% on their first skill/perk.)  And I think I even have enough free experience to get through the gun upgrades.  I should be set to start out on the climb to my tier IX tank goal.

In fact, the KV-4 discount is keeping me from coveting the KV-5, which is available for a limited time again in the Gift Shop.

And there is a special second anniversary code that you can enter to get a few freebies, including a day of premium.

2NDBDAYTANKS

That code is single use and expires on April 24.  You have to log into the World of Tanks web site to redeem it for your account.  Last night they tweeted that so many people were redeeming the code that the process was lagging tremendously.

So I expect I will be playing a fair amount of tanks this weekend.  It should be interesting.  These sorts of events always draw in a mix of players, often making the public match maker even more lopsided than usual.  I expect a lot of people complaining about how horrible their team is, but I expect I will be too focused on learning a new tank to care much.

Eight Years of EverQuest II November 13, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II.
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13 comments

Last week was the official 8th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest II.  It went live on November 8th, 2004.

Today sees the launch of the 9th expansion of the game, the interestingly named Chains of Eternity.

Firiona Vie coming to take over EQII now

I find that name amusing because it sounds a lot like the subscription model business plan.  They want you chained to the game and paying for all time. (Patch notes for the CoE update here.)

But today also marks another event.  It was on this day, eight years ago, I started playing EverQuest II.

I wasn’t there right at the start because… I wasn’t really planning to play at all.  But Gaff, who had passed on the whole EverQuest thing five years previously was keen on this second chance.  I and a number of TorilMUD veterans, joined him.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 – Nov. 14, 2004

And so began my love/hate relationship with the game.

For everything I enjoyed about the game… from simple things like just being in Norrath re-imagined to a player housing system that has really gone unmatched for eight years (we’ll see how Storm Legion housing stacks up when live) to zones that felt dangerous (like Thundering Steppes) to zones that were downright deadly (oh those flaming bats in Nektulos Forest), to the need to group for a good chunk of the overland content and all of the dungeon content while still allowing solo progress… there seemed to be a few things designed to just piss me off.

The litany of disappointments varies from person to person, but my own included bad home towns, racial ghettos, too many races, too many classes, too many skills, a meaningless division between Freeport and Qeynos, not enough character slots, high system requirements, and a disconnected zone-based game that seemed to toss all the worldly feeling that EverQuest had right into the trash.  I could go on and on.  Clearly SOE took away a very different set of lessons learned from EverQuest than other people did.

Add in a desire to try and steer clear of EverQuest lore for the first two expansions (Desert of Flames and Kingdom of Sky) and it really wasn’t the heir to EverQuest.

I played through from launch until just before Kingdom of Sky was released… at which time the game was suffering from horrible lag related issues that could render it unplayable at peak hours… before packing up for Azeroth, which is where nearly everybody in our original guild ended up.  Even the hardcore who derided WoW ended up in Blizzard’s cartoon world.

Almost everybody in this raid went off to WoW

I did come back for Echoes of Faydwer… released six years ago today… which promised to actually get back to some of the EverQuest lore and ended up being a reasonably successful expansion for those returning to the game.  But for me the game always seems to spend half its time trying to drive me away, a trend that continued up through last year when the instance group tried to come together to experience the game.  The game, however, had other ideas. The world, so changed from 2004, made trying to do the first 20 levels as a group so painful that free was too high a price to pay to play it.

Still, I feel a pull towards the game.  I have watched it change and evolve and move so far in interesting… the Krono currency will be something to watch… and sometimes very odd or silly directions… did nobody think through the Station Cash for expansions things… over the last eight years.  It seems to hold on to that ability to attract me and repel me in equal measures.  But I might say that about SOE as a whole some days.

As I said about World of Warcraft a while back, I think I am at a point where EverQuest II won’t ever be my main focus again.  I think my interest in it is now more that of nostalgia.

The relationship, however, is much more complicated.

How is your relationship with EverQuest II?

What is great about the game and what just really grates on you?

But Now I am Six, I’m as Clever as Clever September 12, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
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12 comments

When I was One, I had just begun.
When I was Two, I was nearly new.
When I was Three, I was hardly me.
When I was Four, I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

From Now We are Six, by A. A. Milne

Back to our regularly planned post.

Here we are again, another anniversary.  It has been six years and I am still here.

Needs a haircut, just like me

As I do every year, I am going to try to summarize the story so far in terms of statistics and other such nonsense, all while attempting to overlay a completely inappropriate theme over the whole thing.  Cue Christopher Robin.

For those who want to read the past efforts, here they are.

As the years have gone along, these posts have become longer and sillier.  But I have tried to keep some consistency year over year for comparison.  Each year the same base stats get updated, while I try to add some new aspect into the mix.

This is long and boring for those who are not interested in the site for the sake of the site, so it is mostly hidden after the cut.

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Heroic Results of the First Five Year Plan! September 12, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
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14 comments
  • Pig iron: 6.2 million tons (up from 3.3 million)
  • Steel: 5.9 million tons (up from 4.0 million)
  • Coal: 64.3 million tons (up from 35.4 million)
  • Oil: 21.4 million tons (up from 11.7 million)
  • Electricity: 13.4 billion kWh (up from 5.0 billion)

Industrial Production Gains of the First Five Year Plan

So here I am, five years after the first post went up on the site.

Unlike most posts here, I am going to hide most of this one behind a “more…” link, only because I expect it will get long and tedious with meaningless stats and self-referential nonsense.  If that interests you, great!  If it does not, I will spare you (and the front page of the blog) all that clutter.

So click on the link and I will waste a few minutes of your life hauling out some vague statistics about what has gone on over the last year as well as the lifetime of the blog, as I did with the first, second, third, and fourth anniversaries… plus I hacked up some Soviet era propaganda posters, so the whole thing carries on with the theme set out in the title.  They aren’t very good, but they kept me busy and amused for a little bit.

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If You Had Asked Me 12 Years Ago… March 16, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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5 comments

EverQuest is 12 years old today.  Did I mention that already?

As I have noted in the past, and will no doubt mention again many times in the future, I ran down to Fry’s on this date 12 years back, bought my copy of EverQuest, and went home to play it that night.  I still have the receipt from Fry’s showing the time and date when I bought my copy.

If you had asked me 12 years ago while I was there, in-game, on the night EverQuest launched, if I would be playing the game today, I am pretty sure I would have said yes.

The game was new and fresh and new and I was very excited about it.  I am sure that in that rush of (relatively) youthful enthusiasm, I would have said that I could play EverQuest forever.

On the other hand, if you had asked me that same question 8 years ago, I am equally sure that I would have said no.  I had worn out the game… or it had worn me out.  Either way, I had had my fill and didn’t really want to play it any more.  My life had grown more complex (marriage, house, child) and I was more interested in TorilMUD then, one of EQ’s key progenitors, or the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942.

And over the last 5 years or so, the answer would have vacillated.  I have gone through fits of nostalgia where I have dragged out old characters and tried to see the game again.  And I have spent an equal amount of time convinced that there is no going home again, that there is no return to the excitement that was EverQuest back in 1999.

But things ebb and flow and suddenly now, at the 12 year mark, I am playing the game again and having quite a good time.

It isn’t the same, day one experience.  You can never recapture that.  But it is a really good nostalgia run.

Part of it is, of course, the Fippy Darkpaw progression server.  EverQuest Live today, after 17 expansions, often feels like too much game for me to catch up with.  I actually own all 17 expansions, though thankfully I did not have to buy them all individually.  SOE nicely rolled up all past expansions in a couple of releases.

But if I have been into areas that were part of more than 6 of those expansions, I would be surprised.  EverQuest has such a huge and sprawling world and I have seen a surprisingly small amount of it.

The progression server cuts that back to just the lands I know by heart.  And those lands are both populated and populated by players who are not all 80 levels ahead of me.  You can, you know, actually find a group now and again or find some help when you really need it or get a random buff now and again. (Drive-by buffing is one of the things that EQII mistakenly tried to kill.)

And so for these last few weeks I have been far more likely to be camped out in West Karana than in the new lands of Azeroth.

Fun with Bandits

Of course, that screen shot also illustrates the other key factor to why I am playing on and enjoying the Fippy Darkpaw server.  That is Potshot and his two characters out camping bandits with me.

Having somebody to play with regularly is always a key motivator for me, and Potshot and I seem to be on a semi-regular 9pm-10pm weeknight schedule which allows us just enough time to accomplish something.  That is the cornerstone of this return to Norrath.

And so we carry happily on in a game we were both playing 12 years ago.

How will this all seem another 8-12 years down the line?

Happy 12th Anniversary EverQuest! March 16, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

It has been 12 years since EverQuest launched.  It went live 12 years ago this evening.

As a way of remembering this launch, I have… um… borrowed the 12 pictures that SOE used for their EverQuest 12 Year Anniversary Contest (now over and I did not win) over on the SOE Facebook Page as they provide a quick look at some of the high level facts about the game and all the expansions they released.

You can click on the individual pictures to see them full size.

There are also some amusing tidbits on the pictures (like how many wolves in game versus dogs) and, of course, the trivia questions.

I couldn’t answer most of them without looking them up.  How about you?

WoW 6th Anniversary Card December 1, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags:
9 comments

World of Warcraft turned six… last week… on November 23rd.   But the card finally arrived in the mail today.

I realize that you guys in Anaheim have been busy with that whole Cataclysm things, but the date was marked on the calendar with fat red marker.

Many Happy Returns of the Day

Last year we got a pet dragon in the mail.  And a “being there” achievement.

This year we only got dragon references.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel disappointed, but I am not alone there.

Happy Anniversary World of Warcraft!

I suppose I will have to be content with the team redoing the whole original game experience.

Thanks for that!

Four Years In, No Further From Noobdom September 12, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, General.
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12 comments

Today is the fourth anniversary of The Ancient Gaming Noob.  While I couldn’t come up with a really good title for this post, at least I steered clear of the death reference of last year.

And, as with every such anniversary, I take a few minutes to haul out some vague statistics about what has gone on over the last year as well as the lifetime of the blog.

So as I did with the first, second, and third anniversaries…

Basic Statistics

What has happened here and how has it changed from a year ago?

Days since launch: 1461 (+365)
Posts total: 1,640 (+383)
Average posts per day: 1.12 (-0.03)
Comments: 10,306 (+3,025)
Average comments per post: 6.3 (+0.5)
Average comments per day: 7.0  (+0.4)
Spam comments: 138,603 (+24,321)
Average spam comments per day: 94.87 (-9.4)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 13.5 (-2.5)

I am always surprised at the end of the year as to how many posts I have put up.  I start off any given week with one regular post planned, the instance group report, and maybe one additional item.  The others just seem to appear.

Demographics

Something new to look at.  I’ve been running that flag counter widget for about a year now, so by this point it can give a reasonably accurate read on from where my readership hails.

The geographic distribution of readers

While people from 185 different countries have hit the site at some point, the majority of readers come from countries that speak English.

Deep insight, I know.

And the percentages of the key English speaking countries on the list represent almost, but not quite, the ratios of their populations.  The US is a little over represented.  And that a bigger English speaking population means more visitors from that country is, again, not exactly a deep insight.

So I looked at the other end of the spectrum.  Here are the locations (not all of them are countries) from which I have had exactly one identifiable visitor since I installed the widget.

Generally speaking, if you are from a rich, western country that speaks English, you are more likely to visit my blog than if you are in a poor, equatorial nation.  Who would have guessed?  Obviously the marketing department at Blizzard still has new worlds to conquer.

Incoming!

Or who sends traffic to The Ancient Gaming Noob.

All time

  1. virginworlds.com
  2. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  3. eq2-daily.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. wordpress.com
  6. letrangeeve.blogspot.com
  7. westkarana.com
  8. killtenrats.com
  9. cracked.com
  10. commonsensegamer.com

Over The Last Year

  1. virginworlds.com
  2. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  3. wordpress.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. cracked.com
  6. letrangeeve.blogspot.com
  7. playervsdeveloper.blogspot.com
  8. wow.com
  9. westkarana.com
  10. killtenrats.com

VirginWorlds is still number one.

Cracked.com made the list by virtue of linking one of my posts last month, as WordPress.com did with that whole World Cup octopus thing.

Outgoing!

I have to leave the WoW Guild Name Generator post off the list, as it skews the totals.  It is still number one by a long shot.  Aside from that, here is where people go from the site.

All Time

  1. pokemon.com
  2. evegeek.com
  3. syncaine.wordpress.com
  4. potshot.wordpress.com
  5. keenandgraev.com
  6. commonsensegamer.com
  7. killtenrats.com
  8. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  9. tobolds.blogspot.com
  10. westkarana.com

Over The Last Year

  1. pokemon.com
  2. syncaine.wordpress.com
  3. evegeek.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. biobreak.wordpress.com
  6. blog.weflyspitfires.com
  7. killtenrats.com
  8. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  9. forums.runicgames.com
  10. commonsensegamer.com

This is less precise.  A lot of times I link to individual posts at a site, versus the main site.  Still, it is approximately correct.

Most Viewed Posts

All time over the history of the blog.

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  4. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  5. Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG?
  6. My LOTRO Video Crash
  7. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  8. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  9. We’re in the Summer News Doldrums Now…
  10. Upgrading: Golem or Raven Navy Issue?

The Accidental Salesman

Posts that have made people offer to buy stuff.

Strange But True Tales From Google

What search bring people here

All Time

  1. wow guild names
  2. onyxia
  3. ancient gaming noob
  4. guild name generator
  5. thorin
  6. tagn
  7. dire maul summoning stone
  8. blizzard april fools
  9. balin
  10. hulkageddon
  11. evemon

Over The Last Year

  1. onyxia
  2. blizzard april fools
  3. hulkageddon
  4. heroic deadmines
  5. tagn
  6. wow guild names
  7. ancient gaming noob
  8. bolvar fordragon
  9. thorin
  10. blood elf porn

For a while now, I have been trying to figure out how searches on “Thorin” and “Thorin Oakenshield” have been leading people to the site.  This blog is not anywhere in the top dozen pages of sites when you do that search.

Then I noticed that on the first page of the search there is also a set of pictures of Thorin.  Among those pictures is one from this post, which has Thorin and Gandalf.  And when you do an image search, I rank pretty high for Balin as well.

What Does It All Mean?

Who knows.

But at some point in the next year I’ll be able to change the tag line for the blog to “25+ years of online gaming and still a noob.”  Won’t that be exciting?

To those who stop by regularly and leave an occasional comment, thank you for visiting!

If you like what I write, it probably won’t change much in the future… and if you don’t like what I write… well… consider that a warning.

Five Years of WoW – Onyxian Whelpling November 22, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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5 comments

Blizzard is celebrating an anniversary.   Tomorrow, November 23rd, it will have been five years since World of Warcraft went live.  And this year’s anniversary gift is an Onyxian Whelpling.

The Whelpling

As usual, Blizzard is including the nearest weekend day as part of the anniversary celebration, so when we were on last night and the server close rolled over to midnight, we all go the message.


And that meant that in all of our mailboxes there was a surprise waiting.


We were a little busy to go check our mail at that moment, being five low level horde players in Alliance territory, but mail keeps and we were eventually able to pick up our new pets.

Like other recent special pets (Mr. Chilly, Grunty the Murloc), the Onyxian Whelpling does not go away when you train it on your character.  It is a bind on account item that you can send to your future alts (on the same server/faction).

However, the feat-of-strength achievement is not tied to the pet, so you have to log on a character today or tomorrow in order to get that.  I’ve been through all my key characters this morning.  They have all been logged in, gotten the achievement, and claimed their pet.  Several still had Mr. Chilly waiting for them as well.

So now you’ll be seeing this guy all over Azeroth.

Onyxian Whelpline

Onyxian Whelpling

Fortunately, the whelpling is pretty small, so it won’t be too obnoxious with hundreds about.

My own five year anniversary with WoW is still a few months off.  I wasn’t there on day one, but showed up about four months later.

Update from the WoW community site:

The World of Warcraft five-year anniversary celebration is now officially underway! To mark this special occasion, any character that logs into the game between now and Sunday, December 6 at 11:59 p.m. (realm time) will receive their very own Onyxian Whelpling non-combat pet, along with a special message from the development team. We have more World of Warcraft 5-year and Warcraft 15-year anniversary festivities coming soon, so be sure to keep your eye on the official website. Thanks for being part of the adventure, and we look forward to many more whelps and great memories in the years ahead.

So you have some more time to get the whelpling.