Monthly Archives: June 2008

June in Review

This month I got another unexpected mention on Massively (complete with a Warp Drive Active patented tin foil hat graphic) that lead to a readership spike. This time it involved my wild speculation (wildly inaccurate according to Michael Zenke on SUWT #28) about what the world looks like with Sony Online Entertainment reporting into Sony Computer Entertainment in the post A New World Order at SOE?

That was actually an all time record for the site, showing that Massively’s influence might be edging up into the “Tobold” range.

Other than that, the only site related item I thought I would mention is the introduction of… I am at a loss for the right term… so I will call them giant sized thumbnails.

Previously, WordPress.com had to options for inserting a picture into a post. You could put it in at full resolution, which for this template means keeping things under 500 pixel wide. Or, if you wanted to put in a big picture, you could use the thumbnail option, which makes it tough, at time, to see what the picture might be about.

They recently introduced an option to insert a thumbnail that is about 300 pixels wide, which makes it easier to see what the picture is so you have a hint as to whether it is worth seeing full size.

I just worry that people think that is the full size of the picture. If a picture appears to be linked, then there is probably a larger version available to view. The chart above is an example of what I am referring to.

One Year Ago

I got all Buddhist on the subject on the raiders vs. non-raiders rift. I think what I said could be applied to some current controversies.

I ran down my list of complimentary comment spam.

After letting Blizzard’s announcement of StarCraft II sink in, I put up a post about the original StarCraft back when it was our office game of choice.

Darren was all worked up about crafting being the suck, so I started trying to list out all the things that might be wrong with crafting.

And I said nice things about “Opinions of the Misinformed.”

New Linking Sites

A big thank you to these sites who link to TAGN. I encourage you to give them a visit in return.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  • Play On: Guild Name Generator
  • A New World Order at SOE?
  • How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  • EVE Online – The Tutorial
  • 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  • Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG?
  • What Is A “Tank” In EVE?
  • My LOTRO Video Crash
  • EVE Online: Empyrean Age release date
  • Apotheosis Now!
  • Losing Two Ships
  • Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  • Notes from Amarr Space
  • SOE Really Wants You Back In Norrath
  • Desperately Seeking Diablo III

Best Search Terms

“second life” battleship

d&d 4th sux

Best Spam Comment

“Boy, this is some high-class site”
[Uh, sure thing, but I’m still not buying you a drink.]

Diablo II

Some Diablo II nostalgia this month. I installed it and played through the first act. I’ll have to see if I am up for more later.

EVE Online

I moved all my stuff back to Caldari space for the whole factional warfare thing that was ushered in by the Empyrean Age and only lost a Hulk on the way. Ouch. Still, my bank account has managed to stay on the sweet side of half a billion isk lately. Obviously I need a new money sink. Factional warfare though, I’m not “getting” it so far.

EverQuest

Thanks to the Living Legecy program, I actually spent some time in EverQuest this month. I even joined up with Nostalgia the Guild, though their regular group nights (Tuesday and Friday) and almost always bad nights for me, so I only see them in passing.

World of Warcraft

The Auchenai Crypts are being stubborn… or, that last boss is. Still, with level cap restrictions lifted from the group, we ought to be powerful enough soon.

DS

It is all about Pokemon on the DS. It was Pokemon Mystery Dungeon at center stage for about a week, but now we’re back to Diamond and LeafGreen.

Wii

We had a revival of the Wii in June with Pokemon Battle Revolution and Pokemon Ranch. We still haven’t bothered to get Mario Kart Wii or LEGO Indiana Jones yet.

Coming Up

I swear I am going to go back and write up another ancient gaming post. I will NOT sit and watch Pokemon Ranch when I get back from vacation.

Deoxys Obtained – Now for Vacation

My daughter and I hit GameStop this morning and downloaded the special Pokemon Deoxys. We even saw our neighbors while we were there. They were downloading too, and buying a Wii. Another candidate for Pokemon Ranch.

Deoxys shows up in game at level 50 (I read that the last time they made it available, it was level 75), has the moves Psycho Boost, Zap Cannon, Iron Defense, and Extreme Speed. The original trainer is listed as “Gamestp.”

And, speaking of Pokemon Ranch, I found out that when you trade Pokemon with Haley, the owner of the ranch, you can then migrate those Pokemon back to your DS. No thrill when she is offering you a Pikachu, but I hear that after a few trades you start getting some interesting Pokemon, like a unique Mew.

But now we are packing up and getting ready to head to the airport. Pokemon on a road trip, plus I might have a chance to catch up on podcasts. The collective has been quite prolific of late.

I have my vacation length skills set in EVE Online (Exhumers V and Minmatar Industrials V). My buy orders and items for sale are all up to date as well.

I have a couple of posts set up to display next week while I’m away, but nothing thrilling. Moderation of comments though, may be delayed unless they have web access on the ship. (We’re headed out on a cruise.)

And, I guess with Darren on vacation, I should go too. I was a guest on Shut Up We’re Talking #29, where we spoke about Blizzard’s mystery and Dr. Bartle. Hopefully the smoke will clear by the time I get back!

Deoxys at GameStop This Weekend

And, apparently, last weekend as well. Thanks to Matt for the tip on this.

Deoxys is a Pokemon that you can only obtain through special events. You cannot get one in the actual game, which makes it pretty rare. GameStop is having one of those special events.

From the GameStop Blog:

Unfortunately, I did not know about it last weekend, and this coming weekend we will be traveling. So Unless they have a GameStop in the Atlanta Airport, my daughter and I will have to wait for the next such event.

[Addendum: GameStop has this going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, not just Saturday and Sunday, so we might get Deoxys yet!]

SOE Minicast #1

Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske hosts this mini episode of the Official SOE Podcast with Jason “Pex” Ryan reading the news. I guess we will see if this counts as show #38 when the next one comes out.

News

  • Living Legacy – Check it out!
  • EQII – Update 46, new live event
  • EQ – the Raid: Sprint – I.R.A. 2.0, Guild Recruitment Festival
  • EQOA – A Narrative of Tunaria and Proffessor Hedwocket
  • PlanetSide – MAX Factory Screenshots, Community Spotlights
  • MXO – Image Retrievals, Operative profiles, Sati’s Playground
  • SWG – Happy Birthday SWG, Chapter 10
  • Vanguard – FF 08, Isle of Dawn, Voyages of Vanguard Podcast
  • OSG – Legends Of Norrath: Oathbreaker, LON Sprint Events

Topics

  • Fan Faire!
  • Hamstergate 2008 – Part 2: The Investigation Begins

The show is available on iTunes as well as from the official SOE podcast site.

The show was recorded on June 18th and runs for just ten minutes.

Round up at Pokemon Ranch

Over the weekend, while my wife was out getting her hair done, my daughter and I were watching the Nintendo Channel on the Wii. The Nintendo Channel is a marketing gimmick from Nintendo that lets you watch trailers for and download demos of current and upcoming games for both the Wii and the DS. The DS game demo download capability is especially sweet.

While we were going through the list of things on the Nintendo Channel, we came across the trailer for Pokemon Ranch.

Once my daughter knew that there was some Pokemon related item out there that she did not posses, it became imperative we get it. We had 1200 Wii points sitting there unused, so I caved in and we grabbed it.

From a game perspective, this may be the worst use of my Wii points so far. There is no game there.

What you have is a farm, where a Mii named Haley raises Pokemon. The Pokemon are have about the same level of detail as a Mii and all end up looking cute in a low-res, spherical sort of way.

Haley has six Pokemon on the farm and you can bring in up to five of your own Miis to come hang out on the farm. Your Miis all get nice little cowboy outfits like Haley and they wander around petting or getting zapped by the various Pokemon while you watch.

And watch is about all you can do. You cannot really manipulate anything in the game. I could barely control the camera. Once in the while the Pokemon do a routine, like stand at attention in a spiral or form a totem pole, but that is about it. You can take screen shots of them which you can save off to an SD card if you so desire. Being JPEGs of television screen grabs, they are about as bad as you expect. Here is an overview of the ranch:

Down on the Ranch

Every day Haley adds a new Pokemon to the farm. The longer you have the game, and the more Pokemon there are, the more things they do.

All in all, if that was all there was to Pokemon Ranch, it would be complete crap, a screen saver featuring ill-drawn Pokemon.

But if you have a Nintendo DS and Pokemon Diamond or Pearl, there is more you can do. Not a lot more, but enough.

You can link your DS via wireless to the Wii and move some of your Pokemon to the ranch. The capacity of the ranch on day one is 20 Pokemon, so you cannot drop a ton into the game, but every day the ranch grows a little and is capable of accepting more Pokemon and more Miis, with a peak capacity of 1,000 Pokemon.

My daughter grew bored with the six Pokemon in the game, so moved a few of hers to the ranch.

Once you have linked though, something new happens. The game downloads your National Pokedex information and then creates a set of three wanted posters for Pokemon which you have not yet obtained.

This, of course, is the challenge. You now have to go out, get those three Pokemon, then transfer them over to the ranch. All you get are more wanted posters as a reward for getting the current wanted, but as a driver, this turned out to be just compelling enough for my daughter, and we spent the afternoon trying to catch or trade for various Pokemon, only stopping when we hit the ranch’s capacity of 20 Pokemon.

And, as it turns out, the more Pokemon who end up on the ranch, the more interesting or amusing watching the ranch becomes. The flying Pokemon sometimes pick up and fly around with their ground based friends. The Pokemon ride around on each other. Every so often the hit one of the Miis with an attack. They run from each other, fall asleep, wake up, and interact in some minor ways.

One of the most amusing interactions, for me at least, is the fact that a Pokemon or a Mii will become interested in another Pokemon or Mii. With the Pokemon it is cute, but with the Miis it can be quite funny.

At one point it said that Haley was interested in Wilhelm. Then Wilhelm was interested in Patty (the Pat Benatar Mii I made, showing my age). Then Patty was interested in Haley, and I thought we had the makings of a soap opera.

Haley and Wilhelm:

Wilhelm and Haley

Haley and Patty heading off to…

Haley and Patty

All told, Pokemon Ranch stayed up on our TV for about six hours that day.

Yesterday morning my daughter got up early… because it is Summer and she does not have to go to school, or so I have surmised… and found that the ranch had been expanded and could now hold 50 Pokemon.

Then, when I got home from work, I found that she had figured out all the controls and discovered all sorts of new little things you can do in the game. Before bed she was busy trying to put the Pokemon in what she designated the sleeping area.

I suspect we will be working on the Pokemon Ranch for a while to come. I just hope that they update the sound track some day. The music has got to go. Maybe my daughter will figure that out as well.

Connectivity in the Empyrean Age

The team at CCP appears to be aware of the connection issues that some people have been experiencing.

It seems that if your connection is routed to them via one of the ISPs that CCP uses, LimeLight Networks, you may have experience the whole disconnect problem.

CCP says that they have turned off their connection to LimeLight, which should make the problem go away, and has requested answers from LimeLight. LimeLight took the position that it wasn’t them but somebody up stream from them causing the problem.

CCP has a post about it here in the EVE forums, which is followed by the usual measure of responses from people who feel they know better, are willing to speculate and start rumors, and those with poor reading comprehension skills.