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They see me bloggin’, they syndic-hatin’ August 2, 2014

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

Google is out there giving me the Luigi Death Stare on yet another front.

He means business...

He means business…

It is interesting to see how much Google affects traffic at my site, and how much changes they make at their end can cause that traffic to ebb and flow.  They change their rankings of results, they decide to cache images for Google image search rather than going to your site, they shut down things like Google Reader, all of that has had a noticeable impact on the number of page views here at The Ancient Gaming Noob.

Currently, the big variable in daily traffic is search engine related.  Unless somebody links in me a post on their own blog, the rest of my daily visitors are pretty regular, a lot of them coming from the much coveted (by those of us using WordPress) blogroll side bar widget that Blogger offers.

I love that feature.  It works.

While the static blogroll in my own side bar barely generates any traffic for other sites, that Blogger widget that shows you who has a fresh post up, that actually gets clicks.

So I was a little bemused when that wonderful widget stopped working last week.

It didn’t go away or completely break, it just seemed to stop picking up new post for me.

If you went to one of the sites that uses that sidebar widget… Blessing of Kings, Player Versus Developer, Greedy Goblin, Herding Cats… right now, as I am writing this on Saturday, August 2nd, it would tell you that my current post is the one from Wednesday, July 30th.

PvD_Sidebar

Basically, nothing new to see at TAGN, don’t bother clicking!  And that actually has an impact on page views.  The sites I mentioned actually send me some regular daily traffic.

Not that page views are the most important thing in the world.  But I like people to know I’m active at least!

Normally I would just blame this sort of thing on WordPress.  They like to break things, giving me a supply of site related fodder for my month in review posts.  Most people use the default RSS feed that WordPress provides.

Only I was not having a similar problem with Feedly and other, non-Blogger sites, like EVE Bloggers seemed to be having no problem at all picking up my latest posts.  And the feed itself looked okay.  So it was time to experiment.

I was able to enlist Bhagpuss and the blogroll at Inventory Full for this.

I have two RSS feeds for this site.  One is the default WordPress feed and another goes through FeedBurner, yet another Google company.  I was wondering if Google might be more inclined to find my updates if they were coming from FeedBurner.

And it looks like they are.  Go to Bhagpuss’ site and it shows my current post.  Probably this one at the moment.  All of which is double strange, since the FeedBurner feed is actually generated from the default WordPress feed.  But Google seems to like it when FeedBurner sends them updates.

So here is my plea to my fellow bloggers using that blogroll side bar widget:

Can you swap over and use my FeedBurner feed?  It is linked there and at the top of my side bar.

Thanks!

PS Occasionally somebody mentions that something is wrong with my feed, the it suddenly spew out a bunch of recent posts flagged as new again.  While WordPress controls that feed (so I cannot do much) you might try the FeedBurner feed as well to see if the problem goes away.

PPS I don’t have to explain the whole syndicating/syndic-hatin’, Rollin’ Dirty, Luigi death stare thing, do I?

 

 

July in Review July 31, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, World of Warcraft.
Tags:
1 comment so far

The Site

No major upsets on the site this month, just the usual measure of gripes about little things.

In a behind-the-scenes change, WordPress.com updated the editor so that it is no longer a window the a scroll bar within a page with a scroll bar.  I can appreciate trying to get away from the embedded scroll bars thing.  I think the SAP time reporting module at my last job could get five deep in nested scroll bars if you were not careful.

Unfortunately, while the tool bar stays nicely at the top of the infinitely long edit window, the “save” button on the sidebar scrolls off into the distance as your post gets longer… 500 words isn’t a big issue, but when I get 2,000 words into something, it is a long trip back up to the top to save, and a long life using computers has made “save early and often” a mantra.  So I now spend a lot more time scrolling with the new layout than I did with the old.

Then there is the MMO Bloggers RSS feed on the side bar.  It seems to be a bit more reliable of late, being up often enough for me to notice that some blogs it claims should be in the feed don’t show up.  Sugar Kyle, who posts daily at her Low Sec Lifestyle blog, never appears on the list.  Others show up every time.  And it does not appear to be order related.  Bio Break is at the end of the feed list, but every post from there appears.  And it doesn’t seem to follow any particular blogging platform, while the feed itself appears to have all the data.  So WordPress.com is not handling something correctly in its RSS feed widget.

I found that annoying enough that I seriously contemplated moving the whole thing over to Blogger, just so I could have the wonderful blogroll sidebar available to blogs there. (Which, on a side topic, seems to hate my blog currently, links to my feed seem to sit for days without updates in sidebars of late, even when I have new posts.)  There are some tools to modify the XML you can export from WordPress.com so you can import it into Blogger.  However, my site has grown large enough that I am no longer able to export it.  WordPress.com just times out and throws an error.  So I am stuck here, which is probably okay.  I didn’t really want to move.

Meanwhile, I have been messing around with blog themes again.  Go take the poll if the site is still some color other than white.

One Year Ago

I was looking for gold in the MMO blogging community, which became the topic of the moment.

It was summer, so there was a Steam Summer Sale.

Activision-Blizzard was moving away from Vivendi… and WoW dropped 600K subscribers.

There was a promise of some news about EverQuest Next, so I started speculating about what we might hear.  Sandbox gets mentioned a lot.

The battle at 6VDT-H ended any hope left for TEST and heralded the end of the war in Fountain.  I have since complied a full list of posts about the war in Fountain.  The war made up most of my posts for the month.

On the iPad, DragonVale and Candy Crush Saga were my current games of choice.

My summer vacation in Middle-earth got me to Moria.

The instance group got together just long enough to defeat the Storm Queen… and that was about it for us and Rift.

The Civilization V expansion Brave New World changed up the game again.

I starting musing about the inventory management aspect of games.

And we said goodbye to Google Reader.

Five Years Ago

I won a contest.  Granted, all I got was a T-shirt.  But that was probably more than you got.

Mythic announced a version of Warhammer Online for the Mac.  Not sure that helped anything at all.

I was, as usual, asking silly questions like why does Tetris gets faster.  Okay, it was an analogy, but it was still silly.

Oh, and then there was the horse.  Remember the $10 horse?  I did a poll about it and everything.  Boy, that seems like small potatoes these days.  I mean, that was a cash shop game selling a horse for $10.  Now WoW and EQ2 will sell you mounts that run much more.

Gary Gannon announced that GAX Online was going to close in August, bringing to an end that experiment in gamer community building.

I asked what people considered cheating in an MMO.  It included another poll.  I was doing polls that July.

I did a parody of Tipa’s Daily Blog Roll feature.  That is some pretty rich stuff in hindsight.

In EVE Online I got another step closer to mining perfection.  I was also fiddling around with a fit for a Dominix.

The instance group hit Violet Hold and Gundrak, but couldn’t get the team together for Halls of Stone, so went back and did some Burning Crusade heroics just for kicks.

Then the instance group took a run at Onyxia.  The old school Onyxia.  She’s since been remade into a level 80 raid.

And even as we were doing all that, we were starting to mull over what we should do once we were level 80 with no new expansion in sight.  It only took us a year to try another game.  At about that time, my hunter alt hit level 80.

I also dredged up the old Alamo Teechs U 2 Play Druid post from the WoW forums.  Philisophical question:  Would Alamo have posted that if RealID had forced him to use his real name?

And, finally, my daughter was trying to get me to help her make WoW videos to post on YouTube.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. In Which We Feel Smug Relative to Raiders for Just a Moment…
  2. You Get to Decorate the House You Have, Not the House You Might Want
  3. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Level 85 in EverQuest… Now What?
  6. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor
  7. Brave Newbies Leave the Key to the Station Under the Mat
  8. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  9. If It Can Go Wrong, It Will Go Wrong… At SOE
  10. Civilization – Obama, Autocracy, and Expansion
  11. What Does It Mean to be a “Subscription MMO?”
  12. A New Player in Azeroth!

Search Terms of the Month

wow why i cant chosse monk class
[Because you haven't bought Mists of Pandaria]

ned for saped gem fare donlowd
[Alrighty then...]

are the galaxies emulators alive?
[Let's not get all SkyNet here...]

star wars player housing source code
[Making a trailer park simulator?]

eve online awful
[How am I on the first page for that, but the Massively comment section isn't?]

Civilization V

After a month’s hiatus, we finally returned to Civ V and our grudge match game that we started back in May.  Not quite the forever war, but we are still stringing this out for a stretch.  We have reached the 21st century, but nobody really has a definitive upper hand as yet.  And remember what happened last time when the nukes came out.

EVE Online

The war in Delve… which isn’t so much a war as a mass “looking for fights” venture… continues.  And fights have happened.  I have been able to get into fleets and, now and again, they actually undock, fly off, and shoot people.  We said hello and good-bye to the Gamma Fleet doctrine, which served mostly to drive up the price of Rupture cruiser hulls.  Meanwhile, the quest to “fix” null sec continues, with just about everybody sounding off except CCP.

World of Warcraft

Summer in Azeroth is still humming along.  The instance group has been on the expected hiatus, but I have been pursuing my Loremaster achievement goal.  My daughter set her own goal of getting a new character up to level 90 before school starts again.  However, she also spends a bunch of time with a role play group in-game, which hasn’t exactly sped her along.  She would much prefer to get in the Warlords of Draenor beta and get pre-made level 100.

Coming Up

It will be August, the driest news month of the year.

We will have Blaugust going for us, which will distract us for a bit, but which won’t bring Warlords of Draenor much closer.

Civilization V, World of Warcraft, and EVE Online will be there for me one way or another.  And I have an game obituary half written for tomorrow.  Two, actually.

But other than it being the one month when I start to wish we had air conditioning, what else will August bring?

January in Review January 31, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, World of Warcraft.
Tags: ,
5 comments

The Site

This month I’ll ramble on a bit about Feedly.  With the demise of Google Reader, Feedly is where I ended up in my search for an online RSS feed reader.  It isn’t perfect.  It isn’t even as good as Google Reader was before Google+ came along.  But it is close enough to the post-Google+ version of Google Reader that I am okay with it.  I even opted in for Feedly Pro, which at this point only buys me a search field, but other things are promised for the future.  And I appear to need that search field.  Who are you bloggers who do not have any sort of search function available on your blogs? (Looking at Liore, amongst a cast of dozens.)

Anyway, it fills my basic needs, even if it appears to hate how WordPress.com formats pictures, appearing to toss them around in a fit of pique and sundering them from their captions when my posts are viewed.  And there is much I do not know, or have not noticed about the service.  For example, the other day Tobold was chuckling about how Feedly was attempting to prove what we all secretly believe, that he and SynCaine are the same person and just trolling us all on a grand scale.  Laugh while you can!  Somebody will prove it some day!

But I was wondering about Feedly recommending feeds, which he noted.  It doesn’t do that for me, though that might be because I have it set in the most minimalist form I could manage.  I don’t need anything fancy or pictures or a book format or anything.  I have FlipBoard for that.  I just want a list of titles to run through.  And I also saw in his screen shot… such a rare thing on his blog that we all should stop and gape (pro tip: png format for text like that, as JPEG will blur.)… that it also showed the number of people who are subscribed various feeds.  So, of course, I had to go find out how many people on Feedly were subscribed to mine.

FeedlyTAGN

That is actually a lot more than I would have guessed.  So much more that I suspect that the number is wrong.  I certainly would have put the number far lower.  Not that the number is huge.  Look what Massively has on Feedly.

FeedlyMassively

Still, if it is correct, I guess I am not faring too badly.  And I am doing a bit better than some on Feedly.

FeedlyTheMittani

Ah well, I can make Mittens feel better about that one.

FeedlyEN24

I bring this up not only because it is something to ponder… though that would be reason enough… but also because it pokes a big hole in WordPress.com’s stats page.  Theoretically, WordPress.com tells me how many page views I get on the site and, if I go into detail on a single post, how many people saw it through syndication.  Back in the days of Google Reader, the ratio of site to syndication views was at least 3 to 1 in favor of RSS feeds.  Checking recent posts, that ratio has swung in favor of on-site views, with the ratio having move to something like 2 to 1 in that direction.  And believe me, the numbers listed for syndicated views are nowhere close to the alleged number of followers that Feedly pegs me at.  So something, somewhere is amiss.  The usual state of affairs in the universe I suspect.

I am also curious about where those little hash tag entries come from for feeds and why I only get two.

One Year Ago

Firefly Universe Online.  Was that a hoax or not?  I still don’t know.  And does the acronym FUO seem mildly obscene?

Wizardry Online joined the SOE stable while Pirates of the Burning Sea was sent packing.  Who is laughing now?

We got our full group together in Rift and did our first instance of the year, dying at least 100 times combined.  This lead to a side post about bosses and gimmicks and what makes a challenge.

In World of Tanks the instance group was scooting around. We even created our own little clan.  Potshot and I were totally going French.

In EVE Online, after a sudden burst of war fever died down, there was a surprise battle where more than 2,500 ships clashed in Asakai when CFC FC Dabigredboat lead a supercap fleet in to rescue a stray titan.  The battle was so big that CCP did a Dev Blog about it.  Meanwhile, we were to be denied LEGO Rifters.

The DUST 514 open beta was officially open.  I still haven’t bombed anything from orbit yet.

Path of Exile went into full open beta as well.

Krono made its way from EverQuest II to EverQuest while I was wondering what people were spending their Station Cash on.

I was musing about MUDs again, and vendors who wouldn’t simply buy any crap you had for sale and dead rats.

There was a list of 20 games that defined the Apple II.

And I wrote out my yearly list.  This time it was goals, mostly because I was on vacation when I was supposed to be writing it.

Five Years Ago

Five years ago I was in a Middle-earth mood.  I had rolled up some new characters on the same server as a few notable podcasters and then started trying to catch up to them.  The small and friendly community in LOTRO helped out, so I was able to do the Great Barrow with a pickup group and not feel the need to drink heavily afterward.  Of course, I sometimes feel the need to stir the pot.  And then there was the whole icon thing.

I also mentioned something that involved punching Amy Tan that seemed to go down well.  According to Google, this was the only site it tracks that has ever used the exact phrase “punch Amy Tan.”  I think it is still pretty much a TAGN unique.

In WoW the instance group was working its way up to Ingvar the Plunderer.  This was the height of our “we suck” phase.  Meanwhile Blizz was busy patching in improvements.

While in EVE there was a bit of mission running plus I hit a monetary milestone and 30 million skill points.

I went looking for KartRider and found that after beta Nexon apparently folded up that tent and  called it a day, at least here in the US.

I noticed that the optical drive on our Wii started making a lot of noise.  It still makes noise five years later, but it also still works.

There was that whole controversy about Wikipedia deleting entries on MUDs and MUD history.  That lead to the creation of MUD History Wiki over on Wikia.  Many MUDs are still alive and well, and sites like the MUD Connector seem to still thrive.

I pointed to a post over at Massively that showed the top selling games for October of 2008 were almost all a couple years old or more.

I hit the 1,000 post mark, which was cause for yet another milestone post and some reflection. (I’m past the 3,000 mark a now and I’ll probably hold off on more reflection until the 5,000 mark, so you’re safe for a while.)

Oh, and I predicted a whole bunch of crap that mostly failed to materialize.  But that didn’t stop me from trying again this year.

And, like everybody else, I had a laundry list for the new President. He totally failed on all fronts!

New Linking Blogs

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Eastasia Routed at B-R5RB! 70+ Titans Down!
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. A Horrible Community…
  4. Bloodbath at SOE – Four Titles Closing Down, PlanetSide Goes F2P
  5. SOE All Access Changes… yet again… And the Future
  6. Did Blizzard Just Hint at the Warlords of Draenor Ship Date?
  7. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Reaper of Souls
  8. My MMO Outlook for 2014
  9. In Which We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia
  10. Quote of the Day – WoW, Legacy Raids, and The Squish
  11. The Malthusian Trap of HED-GP
  12. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and the Realities of Kickstarter Funding

Search Terms of the Month

nation pokedex all 705 caught
[And I thought 485 was bad]

mountain dew code red with vanilla ice cream
[been there, done that]

why are bond villains so stupid
[Their motivations are mostly mundane]

many talk porno blog
[loves you long time]

EVE Online

After starting off the month bitching and moaning about being bored in null sec and mostly tending my training queue in a station in high sec, the war in the south heated up.  There was the big battle at HED-GP, which I avoided but which was worth writing about, and then the titan slaying festival at B-R5RB that I managed to sneak into towards the end of the fight.  Quite the time.   And then CCP pushed Rubicon 1.1 the next day, the bugs in which pretty much grounded null sec.  Ah well, such is the way of things in New Eden.  CCP will get it fixed, and that big fight will keep me subscribed for another six months.  And while the big battle has turned the tide of the war, it still isn’t over yet.

World of Warcraft

The binge in Azeroth continued through January.  I made a sky golem.  I got a second character to level 90.  I managed to get to exalted with a couple more factions in Pandaria.  I actually did a raid via the raid finder, which I would have posted about had I understood a bit of what happened.   I think it just reinforced the reason I am in a group that does five person content and not a raiding guild.  Still, fun continues to be had in WoW.

Coming Up

Well, there is a bunch of stuff coming up, though  I am not sure how much of it I will write about.

I probably won’t say anything about the SuperBowl.

While the launch fervor is building, I remain lukewarm about The Elder Scrolls Online.  The minor flare up about the pre-order and collector’s edition hasn’t helped that at all.  And by that, I mean that it didn’t make me care any more or less about the game.

EverQuest Next Landmark Minecraft, the part of the EverQuest Next story I don’t really care about, will go/has gone/might be into alpha today.  Smed has cautioned those who paid to be there to remember that this is alpha.  To his credit, he did say that SOE would offer refunds to people who didn’t like it.  SOE always wants to do the right thing, it just takes them a few tries to get there some days.

The Kickstarter campaign for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen will finish up before the end of next month.  As of last night I would have guessed it wasn’t going to make it.  It got a boost from the announcement that Vanguard was closing, and the Reddit AMA that Brad did helped things, but it didn’t look like either was going to be enough.  And then there was the announcement that there would be a cross promotion with Lord British and Shroud of the Avatar.  Support both and get something special.  While I remain skeptical of the fickle nature of the fondness Lord British can show, this could help out a lot.  Will that be enough?  At this point there needs to be a really big finale for this campaign to fund.

While there is still a war on in EVE Online, the news seems to indicate that it might be winding down before too long.  What will this mean to the three sided power structure in null sec?

Raptr sent me a summary of my year in gaming 2013 which actually surprised me.  That’ll get a post.

Warlords of Draenor might go into beta… or might at least announce when beta will begin, which will likely start the 6 month count down to the go-live date.  I still have to figure out which class to insta-level to 90.  And then there will likely be more of the usual with the regular group in Azeroth.

February in Review February 28, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Guild Wars 2, Month in Review, Need for Speed World, Rift, World of Tanks.
Tags:
12 comments

The Site

The site is dying!

Look at these monthly traffic numbers.  That last bar is February 2013.

Feb2013Decline2

I have lost a greater percentage of my readership than WoW has lost subscribers, and if WoW is dying, then I must be dying even more so!

This month saw the lowest number of page views since late 2009.  There has also been a corresponding drop in uniques, those are the dark blue bars, though WordPress.com hasn’t been measuring that for very long.

As for the cause, my theory is that it is related to Google.

A few weeks ago there was a change in how Google image search works.

2013WeeklyBars

Previously it was like any other search, where clicking on the item returned would send you to the page on the site hosting it.  Now though, Google will grab the image directly for you, allowing you to search, view full size, and copy/download without ever having to visit the site from which the image originated.  Nice if you want to avoid malware on those sites I KNOW you surf late at night.  Not such a good idea if you run the site and are counting page views.

This actually had a much more dramatic impact on page views at my other blog, EVE Online Pictures.  Since it depends on Google image search for vast majority of its traffic, the change caused page views to plummet.

EPFeb2013

All of which would be meaningful if I actually derived any income from page views from the site.

Since I don’t, the site isn’t really dying.  Certainly other metrics… number of posts, number of comments, the actual page views for the post of the day… are all steady.  WordPress.com just doesn’t put up a handy bar graph of things like that, so it doesn’t have the dramatic impact that page views do when I go to the stats page.  Things will continue on here as they have for the last 6+ years.

But I suspect that there are sites out there which are hurting now due to the change at Google, if my theory is correct.  Ad revenues are already dropping on the web, now Google is killing off some page views.  That has to be making somebody mad.

Of course, this is just my theory based on page view counts and the fact that Google image search changed.  It could just be WordPress.com screwing around with how it counts page views again (or how it doesn’t count views directly to images on your site).  Or it could be that I just wrote nothing interesting this month.  Certainly the weekly adventure tale of the instance group has gone missing, as have most references to my actually playing a fantasy based MMORPG.  So who knows.

Oh, and as I threatened, here are the results from last month’s poll, where I asked what section of the month in review posts people liked the best.

Poll Results - Click for Full Size

Poll Results – Click for Full Size

The top result was the One Year/Five Years Ago section, which is my favorite as well.  Game summaries came in second.  I like those too, as they let me cover bits I never got around to making a post out of.

The “Other” results were:

  • All of the above – Thanks mom!
  • the end – Which I am going to guess is like saying the best part of school is when I get to go home.
  • Avatars that I jerk off to – I am not even sure what to do with this, besides wash my hands again.

Nobody voted for most viewed post… which was a bit of a surprise.  I guess that section is just for me.  New linking sites garnered no votes either.  I guess that once I have linked to you, you’re done with that section.  And, finally, no votes for the “Coming Up” section, for which I can hardly blame people.  It tends to me a quick, last minute “more of the same” entry, plus it is at the end of the post by which point I am sure most people have moved on.

One Year Ago

I made a video celebrating the first year of the instance group, which formed up back in 2006.  It was focused on what was essentially vanilla WoW and had a serious nostalgia vibe to it.  It got some views.

Then I made a video about Sunken Temple in the same vein that pretty much nobody watched.  That instance always got mixed reviews.  (And my video of the EVE battle at EWN-2U was more popular than both combined.)

Somebody stole our guild on Lightninghoof.

And Blizzard was making money, optimizing clients, and selling new mounts.

In EVE, the war in the north had gone kind of quiet.  There were some big battles over tower (e.g. EWN-2U, which was my first epic fleet battle, and 92D-OI), but the sov grind had not begun.  There was some fun around VFK.  I also noted that a “green” kill board seemed to be the norm for individuals.  Meanwhile, CCP was making money and giving us the occasional fun statistics about the game.

Trion gave us actual loot pinatas as well as a check box to turn off exp in Rift.

And, probably most importantly, we got standardized build templates for common roles.  Rift’s soul system is still deep and complex for those who want to theory craft, but for mere mortals it became possible to just get a workable build and go play.

As a group in Rift we made it to the Darkening Deeps.

I also figured that, due to the way Rift was progressing, it wouldn’t go free to play unless WoW did.  I am beginning to feel less certain on that assessment, especially with the departure of Scott Hartsman from Trion.

On Fippy Darkpaw, the Planes of Power expansion opened up.  For many the PoP expansion marks the dividing line between what counts as “classic” EverQuest and what is considered “the new crap.”

And EverQuest Mac was saved from the chopping block, going free for… as long as it stays up I guess.

Five Years Ago

The month started out with our Pirates of the Burning Sea enthusiasm waning.

The instance group was kicking off its Outlands efforts, after running the required equipment upgrade quests, with Hellfire Ramparts, though first we ran through lower Blackrock Spire and got access to Upper Blackrock Spire.

Turbine announced that Lord of the Rings Online had extended its agreement with Tolkien Enterprises out until 2014, with an option to go to 2017.  As a lifetime member I applauded this extension.

I went to GDC up in San Francisco and had dinner some members of the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective plus Alan “Brenlo” Crosby, and got pictures to prove it. (I had a beard then… and I have a beard now… this is becoming a winter routine for me.)

My daughter got a Nintendo DS for Valentine’s Day.

We played a little KartRider, which is still MIA here in North America.

I defended myself against some slander about me being a dwarf.

I summed up the annual EverQuest Nostalgia Tour.

And I found out my blog was worth $61,534.86,though I couldn’t figure out how to cash in.  Since then, the value of the site has gone down.  I blame the economy.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs… er blog… has linked this site in its blogroll, for which I offer my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit this site in return.

Most Viewed Posts in February

Kind of an odd mix of old and new posts on the list this month.  Nostalgia seems to be high on the list.  It is more powerful than some people can bring themselves to admit.

  1. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  2. An Unfiltered (and Unfair) Impression of Wizardry Online
  3. Notes from the War in Delve
  4. The Real Problem with Levels…
  5. The Nostalgic Call of the Emerald Dream
  6. More Than 2,500 Ships Clash in Asakai
  7. Missing MMO Music Features – LOTRO Leads, Nobody Follows
  8. Side Notes About Used Games
  9. Not Your Father’s House of Cards
  10. More Unspent Virtual Currency
  11. Thrilling Internet Spaceship Stories!
  12. Air Warrior – Vague Memories from the Early Days of Virtual Flight

Search Terms of the Month

daenerys pov boring
[Ain't that the truth!]

lego minifigures tarot cards
[I'd buy that! But only if there was a Knave of Bricks or some such.]

what cool things you can buy for station cash for everquest
[Define "cool"]

anderson cooper look like elf
[Yeah, I will grant you that]

wizardly online is a joke
[Is this a wry comment on the game's Asian origin?]

is it normal to get scammed by the mittani, chairman of csm ???
[It's not unusual.]

Spam Comment of the Month

Check out [redacted] site if you want to see some funny second life blog videos
[There are no funny Second Life videos. Go to YouTube and search on 'Second Life Funny' and see.]

Oddest Spam Source

I got a few spam messages that linked to Ron & Barb McHugh’s Miniature Horse Ranch.

Has it come to this?  Spam comments to drive traffic to a miniature horse web site?

EVE Online

I managed to get into one fight over the course of the month.  Otherwise, things were mostly quiet.  Training continues as always.  I am set to get my 6+ million skill point boost when they break out the destroyer and battlecruiser skills, though in reality, that will just push me towards an even more expensive clone.  Grade Tau clones, at 30 million ISK a pop already inhibit me from small ship actions.  Losing a cheap frigate is all fine and good until your clone gets popped.

Guild Wars 2

So, I own it.  We shall see if it sticks.

Need for Speed: World

Stubbornness keeps me going here I think.  I have been doing the daily gem hunt… well… daily.  It takes 10 minutes or less and promises to reward players with better items with ever more consecutive daily runs.  At some point I will decide if this is really true or not and give up.  I am already past the 60 day mark.

Rift

The instance group successfully avoided Rift for another month.  Mrs. Potshot has actually been working on an alt, and I have logged in to collect my Rift Mobile app prizes now and again… I am almost capped out on planarite… but other than that, not much fantasy gaming going on of late.  Still, the Carnival of the Ass End of Telara is coming up.  At least that means a new scratcher game in the Rift Mobile app.  Go glass beads!

World of Tanks

All the boys in the Saturday night instance group are off playing tanks now… which brings up the “four of us, but only three can be in a platoon” issue… but we’re still having fun.

Coming Up

More tanks seems likely.  I am still a long way from my tier IX goal.  And probably a few more little tank videos.  I kind of like the under two minutes,”silly thing happened” video format.

More Rift… or Guild Wars 2… well… we shall see.

Potshot, who represents the pen and paper oriented wing of the Saturday night group has been looking for something closer to actual rolling of dice.  After being somewhat ignored during his online remote D&D campaign aspirations (sorry man), he has picked up Neverwinter Nights 2, which is at least more self contained.  I have that installed as well now, so something may come to pass in that department, if we can figure out how to get multiplayer working over the internet.

And GDC is coming back to San Francisco again late next month, but at $250 just for an expo pass, I am not likely to be attending.

September in Review September 30, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Rift, Torchlight II, World of Warcraft.
Tags:
8 comments

The Site

Hey, I got a WordPress.com achievement this month.

500 Likes

I bet you didn’t even know they had blogging achievements.

Meanwhile, I have written over 2,500 posts… so I guess only 1 in 5 items I put up are actually deemed likeable by a single individual.

And even then, while I get the occasional regular on the list, the profile of the average person who pushes the “Like” button at the bottom of my posts seems to be “random stranger who never comments and who seems to be hoping that if they click the button people will visit their blog.”  There was probably some “how to get more traffic” post somewhere recommending this.

So, yeah, clearly as meaningful as most achievements I get in any game.  Go me.

One Year Ago

I did the great survey of blogs that had, at one time or another, included this site in their blog roll over the last five years.  Only 28% of them were still up and active.  There was also the five year anniversary post and all that it entailed.

I implied that Tobold’s mother a llama.  This had NOTHING to do with him not having a blog roll.

I was totally going to resist Steam selling me Rift for cheap.  That didn’t work.  I’m still playing a year later.

Star Trek Online announced it was going free to play, though I couldn’t imagine how it wasn’t already.

In LOTRO, the Rise of Isengard expansion came out and I almost didn’t notice.  Which was odd, because we were kind of playing LOTRO still.

The Goons were going to wreck the EVE economy by blowing up high sec ice miners.  Another vast Goon conspiracy.  I was being nostalgic for my earlier days in EVE.

GameSpy had a post about re-imagining Diablo as a first person perspective game, which was met with much derision.  Me, I liked the idea and even had suggestions for further topics in that vein to explore.  Meanwhile, Diablo III was pushed out to the middle of 2012.

In other Blizzard news, the Official World of Warcraft Magazine went belly up after just five issues.

I was still playing Need for Speed: World pretty regularly.  I was filming police chases, avoiding police chases, and buying the squarest ride in the game.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the retro experience was made complete by “guilds behaving badly” when it came to contested content.  Some GMs came up with unorthodox ways to resolve conflicts.

ArenaNet said something about private GuildWars 2 PvP servers.  I wonder how that would play today?

EA/BioWare gave us a release date for SWTOR at last, so I could start fretting about pre-orders and grace periods.  While I wasn’t in beta yet, BioWare was asking how I was enjoying it.

There was no word about life on Planet Michael.

And, finally, I was wondering how 9/11, which took place just a couple months before the birth of my daughter, would influence her view of the world relative to my own.

Five Years Ago

Five years ago I was waxing nostalgic about the Thundering Steppes, complete with pictures.

Meanwhile, as Tabula Rasa prepared to show up, Auto Assault passed into the history of MMOs.  Unfair comparisons were made. (Which turned out to be surprisingly prescient.)

Our summer hiatus from WoW was over and the group was back together for more instance fun.

The return to WoW showed something of a contrast with the way LOTRO played.  I was asking why LOTRO was not as much fun as WoW while speculating on where LORTO might expand and making up silly sight-gag posts.

And I was responding to another blog meme, reading Play Money, warming to the Wii Virtual Console, remembering Adventure, looking towards the future of PvP play, wondering if I was a member of the press, and talking about getting naked.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. And Then The World Reached Into Our Game…
  4. SWTOR – Did The Lore Choice Hurt It?
  5. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  6. Remembering Spaceship Warlock
  7. Theramore Fell While I was at the Auction House
  8. Two Hamsters, One Wheel
  9. Blizzard – Taken Over by The System
  10. Darkfall: Unholy Wars is What Now?
  11. Torchlight II – First Night
  12. But Now I am Six, I’m as Clever as Clever

EVE Online

The war against Northern Coalition and its allies continues.  The CFC is deep into the Tribute region and there are a few fleet operations, which is pretty much what I do in null sec, running almost every day.  The problem is with an around the clock game with a world spanning population, it can be tough to get in on some of those operations.  During the week, there is a fairly narrow band of time, call it 02:00 to 05:00 UTC, when I can start an op.  Otherwise I am at work, eating dinner, or sleeping.  And not a lot of ops have been falling in that time.

Still, I got in on a couple early in the month, got my requisite kills on the kill board to show that I am out there PvP’ing, and then flew logistics for the rest of the month since a Scimitar is the one ship welcome in almost any fleet.

Rift

The Saturday night group has slowly started rolling again.  We knocked out another instance and have a couple more on the list.  We are also getting closer to level cap, which is timely, as the Storm Legion expansion is due out in a little over a month.

In the mean time, I have also been working a little bit every night on my mage.  I will have at least 3 of the four classes at level 50 before Storm Legion launches.

Torchlight II

Runic launched their contender for the Diablo II crown at last.  It is good.  Light and fast and solid, I have spent a lot of time playing it.  Unfortunately, that time has been 100% solo, and solo play makes for boring posts in my opinion.  Still, once I get through the story line, it will be time to match the game up against Diablo III to see who I think best captured the spirit of Diablo II.

World of Warcraft

Pandas were unleashed, but I opted not to buy in.  Which, I guess if early reports are accurate, was not an uncommon reaction.  It isn’t that I am anti-panda.  It was more a matter of Cataclysm breaking my bond with the game.  And while I have one character at level 85, I was clearly only putting in a token effort over the last 8 months or so.  And then there was the “please stop charging my credit card” encounter with Blizzard customer support that left me unhappy with the company in general.  And so I count the days until my subscription expires… October 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM PST.  Then I have 19 hours to unsubscribe before they charge my card again.  And that will be that.

Coming Up

It will be October shortly.  Guild Wars 2, Mists of Pandaria, and Torchlight II have all launched at this point.

November should bring Rift’s Storm Legion, along with Something or Something expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.

And what does October bring?  Riders of Rohan, which is yet another expansion I won’t be buying, primarily because I am nowhere near high enough level to access any of the content.  Do level based MMOs contain the seeds of their own demise in the form of expansions?

So I suspect that, for me, gaming will mostly be Rift, EVE Online, and Torchlight II in October.

It is fall.  Once the weather turns a bit chilly, it will be time for nostalgia.  Maybe I’ll make another video or something.

March in Review March 31, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, Month in Review, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , ,
5 comments

The Site

WordPress.com, despite occasionally doing things that annoy me, does still represent, in my mind, the superior free blogging platform.  Blogger has caught up in many ways lately.  They now have built-in stats, for example, one of the initial factors that sent me to WordPress.

I even pay WordPress a bit of money.  I kick in the $30 yearly to keep the blog ad free, something I started when I noticed that the ads they were inserting were all from gold selling sites.  You’re welcome.

Recently WordPress has been trying to tempt its bloggers to use its new stats page, which looks remarkably like the old stats page, leaving people like myself wondering “why bother.”  To sweeten the deal, WordPress now includes geographical stats as part of the new page.  That is kind of nice.

Of course, I have been getting that sort of data for a couple of years now thanks to a widget in the side bar, but I appreciate the thought.  I will now have two data points for international traffic, though the WordPress data only started getting archived in late February.

Visitors from around the world

The color gradient isn’t quite to my liking.  Medium light orange to medium dark orange does not make for much granularity.  It pretty much says “The United States and Everybody Else.”

Still, it has some nice features.  When you go into the detailed view, you can click on a country and the map will change to show you its location.  Handy for the geographically challenged.

Look, Pakistan!

WordPress is even careful to shade the disputed area of Kashmir.  Of course, the feature has its limitations.  Your country must be of a certain size before it shows up on the map however.  For example, the Maldives seem to have gone missing.

Maldives? Looks like empty ocean to me

The same goes for some smaller islands in the Caribbean, the Faroe Islands, Monaco, Guam, and a few other small places.  Oddly, the map does zoom in for the Solomon Islands.  I am betting some marine was involved.

One Year Ago

Rift officially launched.  And while I wasn’t playing, the social media options integrated into the game made it feel like I was there.  And I don’t mean that in a good way.

Pokemon Black and White came out, which became the theme for my birthday.

World of Tanks was talking about going live in April.  There was, of course, a pre-order offer.  There always is these days.

Potshot and I made it to GDC thanks to Darren, where we were able to hobnob with the likes of Brian Green and Damion Schubert.

As with this March, March of last year found me spending time in EverQuest.  It was on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server last year, which at that point was still set in the original EverQuest zones.  Potshot and I were doing some classic things, like getting stuck in the Ocean of Tears and making alts.  And running out of money.

There were the newbie armor quests to work on, which required travel to Freeport at one point, something as hard as we remembered.  We also visited Unrest, North Karana, the Desert of Ro, and Najena.

It was also the 12 year anniversary of the EverQuest launch, and nobody was more surprised that I that I was playing the game 12 years later.  But no corpse runs please.

The instance group, still in Cataclysm Worgen form, spent a couple of nights in Scarlet Monastery and then went to Razorfen Kraul.

I put up a poll asking people which of several items in my drafts folder (current population: 35) I should buckle down on and finish.  I think everything on the list except the winner is still in my drafts folder.

And I came home one day to find the TV had died.  Emergency CPR (read: banging on the damn thing) brought it back to life temporarily, but clearly a replacement was going to be needed.  It was, after all, a few years older than EverQuest.

Five Years Ago

In EverQuest II, my swashbuckler Blintz became my highest level MMO character at the time, hitting the level 50 mark.

Meanwhile, I was still griping about the rise in the cost of Station Access, but at least I got something of an answer as to how my Station Access dollars were allocated.

In World of Warcraft the instance group, after a couple attempts finally finished up Uldaman, was then coming to a temporary stopping point at Zul’Farrak. Work would keep Earl too busy to play with us for the next few months. Meanwhile, a load of my other friends in WoW disappeared due to server splits.

Proving that random grouping has been a problem for a long time, there was a discussion going around about being able to rate people with whom you have grouped.  That option doesn’t seem to have come to pass.

CCP was whispering in my ear about resubscribing for their Revelations expansion.

And, finally, I had a comically large arrow stuck in my head.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following sites for linking here in their blogrolls.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in March

Pokemon barely beats out Mittens.

  1. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  2. The Mittani Removed from CSM7, Banned from EVE for 30 Days
  3. Reshiram and Zekrom Download Event for Pokemon Black and White
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Close Up with a Battleship – The USS Iowa in Richmond
  6. Pokemon Black and White Version 2 – Nintendo’s Least Creative Names?
  7. The EverQuest Free to Play Subscription Matrix
  8. Hulkageddon V: Unholy Union – Coming Soon
  9. LEGO Rifter? Do Want!
  10. The Mittani Retains Chairmanship for CSM 7
  11. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  12. My Drake Gets Popped in S-EVIO

Search Terms

runes of magic another cash shop pile of shit
[Which is why people are worried about GW2]

where is the action house in durotar
[I think you are looking for the Inn in Goldshire]

cannot remember everquest 2 password or secret question
[Then you, my friend, better call customer service]

EVE Online

EVE kicked off with a few fun events in March, but I was distracted for most of the latter half of the month by EverQuest going free to play.  EVE managed to recapture my attention via its usual method, excess drama, and then the CFC went on a full war standing and there were battles to be fought in my own time zone.  Hard to say no to that.

EverQuest

Free To Play.  That went straight to the nostalgia center of my brain… and Potshot’s brain as well I would guess… and so a lot of my mid-week free time since the EQ 13th Anniversary has been spent in old-ish Norrath.  New characters, new server, new guild, the works.  And alts.  I need lots and lots of alts.

We’ll see how long this lasts.  These bouts of EQ nostalgia can burn out fast.

Rift

The instance group continues in our WoW surrogate mode.  The Carnival of the Ascended continues on, spewing glass bead prizes and such.  All in all Rift is good, fills a niche for us, and will likely continue to keep us until we hit level cap.  But I think most of us have stopped playing alts on off nights and that sort of thing, one of the usual signs that we’re not that invested in the game.

World of Warcraft

I have an invite to the Mists of Pandaria beta, just like Blizzard promised all the people who went with that one year subscription deal.  The only problem is that I went with the deal more for Diablo III.  I doubt I will install the beta.  I have no interest in playing it before launch.  But they had better send me a pass for my daughter’s account.  She totally wants to play.

And for no good reason, other than the update to Raptr, I decided I would go out and earn one achievement a day in WoW.  Not literally one a day, but 31 achievements for March.

Coming Up

It is April Fools tomorrow and I’ve got nothing.  I tried to troll for a new blog title for a joke update, but didn’t get anything that really worked.  So I’ll just be watching other people’s April Fools.

The instance group will continue on in Rift.  We’re now in the low 30s, but at our rate of playing 3 hours on about 3 Saturday’s in a given month means that we will be at this for a while.  Or until Guild Wars 2 comes out.  Though with how Rift went for us, I think we might be pre-disposed to let any future game age six months before we jump in.

The war in Tenal is just kicking off in EVE Online.  The biggest factor in how much it will mean to me is the fact that our enemy, Raiden and whoever they are bringing to the dance this time, operate in Euro time while I am way over on the left coast of the United States, 8 hours behind UTC.  The return of Mittens event in Jita on April 28th should be interesting, and it sounds like things might actually be ramping up for Hulkageddon V.

And I have now had my iPad 2 for 3 months and have clearly settled into a routine with it.  I should probably what about it works for me and what does not.

The “WordPress.com Requiring You to be Logged In to Comment” Issue March 22, 2012

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

WordPress.com made a change to how comments work last week.  This is causing problems for some people trying to leave comments on WordPress.com blogs and is getting a stream of complaints.  I have gotten a few messages from people about this issue myself.

In the grand WordPress.com tradition, no mention of this change to comments was made before it started causing problems, and since then it has been getting little or no visible attention from what passes for support.  They might want to look into some ideas on that front.

Just a suggestion...

Anyway, it seems that if you have ever made an account at WordPress.com or any of its affiliated services, such as Gravatar, the email address you used has been stored away somewhere and you are now required to log into WordPress.com if you enter an email address that matches one in the database.

Even if you have since attempted to delete your account.

You can enter your email address in the lost password page at WordPress.com to see if you have an address that has been assimilated into the database.

Since I do not actually check the email addresses people use, unless somebody asks me to contact them, feel free to make up a fake email address to comment.  I won’t mind and would rather have your comment than an accurate email address.

I will enable anonymous comments in the mean time.  I don’t mind anonymous comments, but for some reason the need to enter an email address makes some people behave better.

November in Review November 30, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, Diablo II, Diablo III, entertainment, Month in Review, Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft.
Tags: ,
9 comments

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.

October in Review October 31, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EverQuest, Facebook, Month in Review, Need for Speed World, Rift, TorilMUD, World of Warcraft.
Tags: ,
4 comments

The Site

I think the biggest internal site news was when WordPress.com made some change and messed up my stats for a few days.

Well, I hear they messed up a lot of people’s stats.

For the last five years page views have been counted in pretty much the same way.  I’ve kept them all in a spread sheet, every single day, since I started the blog.  The consistency is verifiable via third party page view counters I have used off and on.

Then, on the 18th, something new crept into the mix.


Basically, page views have been counted and displayed on the stats panel in a way such that the total page views for a given day were displayed in two places.  One is the big chart at the top of the statistics page (a section of which is shown above) and the other is in a table that breaks out which posts were viewed how many times, including the main page.

These two charts always added up, until October 18, when suddenly people started asking why they were getting so many page referrals from WordPress.com and why those referrals seemed to be added into the total on the big chart, but were clearly absent from the Posts and Pages table. (The sum worked out to exactly WordPress.com referrals + Posts and Pages total = Big chart value.)

So the Posts and Pages table, for the three days indicated with arrows in the picture above, showed the same number of page views (well, not exactly, the tallest column is actually over 100 views less), while the main page views chart showed very different results.

This became a burning question on the help forums where the main volunteer who handles the forum, in a demonstration of getting exactly what you pay for, was less helpful and more clueless than usual.

Eventually one of the paid staff (Macmanx the Hapless Engineer) came along and said that they had started including pages viewed via email subscriptions RSS in the mix, and this was where the boost in page views came from.  Since RSS tops site visits by 4 or 5 to 1, that seemed possible.  He said that views not getting matched to actual posts would be fixed soon, and off he went.

Then, a couple of days later, the founder of WordPress.com showed up and said, no, this wasn’t just RSS views.

Hey guys — founder of WordPress.com here.

Good news: We’ve historically been vastly undercounting your stats, and we’re starting to fix this.

Bad news: There are some bugs with how things add up, meaning that they don’t. I apologize for undue excitement this may have caused.

More good news: Although support is closed, we’re working on this. We’ll fix it ASAP.

When asked why the sudden boost in views did not match what third party counters were reporting (like my flag viewer on the side bar, which lined up almost exactly with the Pages & Posts report of page views for the 21st), he blustered about such page view counters being inaccurate and eventually said that all page view counts were just approximations and no two would ever match.

Tell that to the people who get paid for page views and the like.  I am sure that would make them very happy to use WordPress.com stats.

And then the next day wordpress.com referrals in the stats started to fade away, so by the 26th things were pretty much back to normal and the great mid-October page view spike was over. (Other people posted pictures with similar spikes.)

In my WordPress.com stats, October 21, 2011 is now listed as my best day ever.  However, I am pretty sure that June 29, 2011 is still the actual champion, which happened at the peak of the great Incarna bitch-fest.

And life goes on.

One Year Ago

I had some hopes and expectations for BlizzCon.  There were pretty much unmet.  But Blizzard had already announced the Cataclysm ship date, so what else did I expect?

I asked if people ever look at the items in the blog side-bar.  People mostly do not.

I finished building my new computer.  It has been live a year and Windows 7 hasn’t completely degraded into a pile of blue-screening ooze the way XP used to when not constantly attended to.

The EVE Online screen shot contest wrapped up, winners were declared and prizes were sent out.

The instance group was playing in LOTRO, which had been live as a Free to Play game for one month. In-game, we were subjected to the disturbing habits of some of the residents of the Lone Lands, while I indulged in one of my own habits, the mid-game character swap.  And then I made one post completely unreadable by making anagrams out of all the proper nouns.  I had to repost a corrected version.

I bought Civilization V, which like every Civilization launch, had issues with my current computer.  The unwritten rule of Civilization is that you need to upgrade your machine in order to play.

And my daughter and I were drinking new and interesting sodas.

Five Years Ago

Five years ago our Saturday night WoW group completed our first full instance run, The Deadmines, on our third try at it, and got in a whack at The Wailing Caverns.

I decided in EVE Online that covert ops would be a good career choice.  It certainly sounds cool.  However, the effort was cut short when I got to some of the pricier skills.

I felt that fall urge to run around in EverQuest, plus I wanted to take some pictures of Faydwer in order to compare them to the upcoming EverQuest II expansion, Echoes of Faydwer.

I also jumped into EverQuest II and got all confused (nothing new there) about the trade skill changes that occurred during the 10 months I was away.

I was defending instancing and game company forums as well as moaning about the fact that I couldn’t find a decent video card for my AGP motherboard.

There was some talk about which pen and paper RPGs would make good MMOs.

And I spent some time carping about MMO pricing plans.  I still feel about the same on the subject five years later.

New Linking Sites

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

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Beastlord to be the New Class in the Next EQ2 Expansion
  2. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  3. Blizzard Endorses the Transfer of Capital to the Proletariat
  4. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  5. Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012
  6. Panda Reactions at Our House…
  7. And Then I Told My Daughter About Pet Battles…
  8. Post BlizzCon Thoughts on Pandaria
  9. Despite Rampant Hacking and GM Shennanigans, Fippy Darkpaw Server is Still Stuck on Velious
  10. Azeroth Travel Poster Contest – Win a Sparkle Pony!
  11. Civ II – Found the Disc, Can’t Use the Disc
  12. The Most Wiley WoW Phishing Attempt Yet…

Spam Comments of the Month

I’m just done looking at your posting and I fairly enjoyed it….
[A long comment from somebody linking back to "Write Comments, Get Paid." I wonder if he got paid.]

i cant believe you are coming to Burlington, VT !!! andddd Albany, NY. im totally going to see you twice!
[Not if I see you first.]

Search Terms of the Month

3d gay porn
[Sorry, I don't cover Second Life here.]

lou attack report
[Who did Lou attack?]

EverQuest

I have written enough about EverQuest this month that you might think I am actually playing it.  But I am not.  I am, however, keeping as close an eye on the Progression Servers as I can manage and reporting on forum fun.  I hope, in the end, to have a decent sketch of what happened on the Progression Servers based on that.  You can keep an eye on the Fippy Darkpaw tag for the story as it unfolds.

Need for Speed World

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am starting to play this less and less.  Not a bad game, and it really can be free to play, but there just isn’t much to do once you’ve sort of hit the walls that surround the world.

Rift

The instance group is slowly coming online with Rift.  The general reaction from the group has been positive.  Primarily that has been about the look and feel, which stands up to WoW level of polish, unlike EverQuest II and Lord of the Rings Online which, for all their merits, are still rough around the action bar.

TorilMUD

There was some excitement generated by big changes at TorilMUD.  A bunch of people surged back on, dug out old characters or rolled up new ones, and then said, “I seem to remember this being a lot more fun.”

Well, that is what I said in any case.  There is still a lot to love about MUDs, but it was a time of very raw fun and few online multiplayer fantasy roleplaying options.

As a sign of how things have changed, TorilMUD had a double experience event this past weekend.

World of Warcraft

All this talk of pandas, pets, and BlizzCon got my daughter and I to resubscribe.  She really wanted to play, and when she plays I play.  We ended up doing a bit of the Hallow’s End stuff because she wanted the creepy crate pet.

Other Games

Facebook games in general, and Zynga games in particular, are really fading with me.  I used to try every Zynga game, then every other, then every third or so.

I end up playing them all about the same amount of time, but they seem to be cranking them out faster and faster.  I think this might be hurting them.

Two years, Zynga meant FarmVille and Mafia Wars.  They had a strong identity.  Today Zynga is a new game a month and I couldn’t tell you what the stand-out game for them really is.

I am sure there is a lesson in that.

Anyway, my Empires & Allies neighbors will have to understand.  I left everything harvestable, so they can reap (literally) the benefits of visiting, but I am done.

I have been playing some Civilization II, now that I have it working on Windows 7 64-bit.  I miss some of the enhancements that came with the later games… and unit pathing just sucks… I have to find the patch that fixed some of that… but it is light and clean and still a damn good game.

And, finally, I have been meaning to write about Defense Grid: The Awakening, a $10 tower defense game on Steam.  But every time I go to write about it, I launch it and just end up playing.  I have thought about picking up Dungeon Defenders, because I like the tower defense genre, but I doubt I would play it any time soon because I am not done with Defense Grid yet.

Coming Up

Well, the instance group will actually have to do something together in Rift.

There is a screen shot contest to judged!  You still have until November 6th to get your Azeroth travel poster submitted!

I am sure there will be something to note on Fippy Darkpaw.  Right now the forums are just boiling about the whole rotation thing, but there might even be a vote on the next expansion, the Shadows of Luclin.  If waking the sleeper was the gating item to trigger the vote.  If it was “finish all tasks listed on the chart,” then… well… all those tasks are not done yet, and we’re still stuck on Velious.

And we’re getting to the end of the year wrap-up season.  All those predictions… erm demands… will be coming home to roost.  For some of them, the companies were listening, while on others I apparently did not make myself clear.

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

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: , , , , ,
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.

(more…)