Daily Archives: July 31, 2008

July in Review

The Site

A week away did not seem to hurt readership too much. Otherwise, the usual patterns continued. Things I post on Monday through Thursday get about 50% more page views than things I post on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Presumably this is because you all spend your work week reading blogs, then get to Friday and realize you have to scramble to get your stuff done so you can enjoy the weekend off.

Not an unusual pattern here in Silicon Valley. I used to work with a woman whose husband used to come home and write code into the wee hours of the morning because, as far as she was concerned, all he did at the office was play foosball and read UseNet. And that was before the advent of the world wide web.

This month also seemed to be the silly season for link and post requests. The silliest, yet most viable, was a Slim Jim promotion in the form of a site called Spicy Town.

Described, perhaps optimistically, as a mash up of “Machinima, World of Warcraft, and Slim Jims,” you are encouraged to paste a picture of your face on an avatar and then behave badly to earn points. While the FAQ is pretty up front when it comes to what the site is about (Slim Jims), they never actually use the phrase “mechanically separated meat.”

Finally, I want to shout out to Kirith Kodachi who, in EVE-Tribune #26, had some very nice things to say about the site in his article on “How to Write an EVE Blog.”  Thank you for your kind words and including this blog with the outstanding examples on your list!

One Year Ago

Hey, it was the Revelations expansion in EVE Online that was news a year back, and I was running through the updated new player tutorial. It was a huge improvement, though I ran into a glitch or two.

The instance group was still off in LOTRO for the Summer, though we were having issues at The Great Barrow when we weren’t playing Truth or Dare.

Vanguard was already planning server merges. 13 servers down to 4.

EverQuest II got its own magazine… again (okay, it was an SOE magazine for Station Access subscribers the first time around, but it had an EQ2 scantily clad dark elf on the cover!)… in the form of EQuinox. And they were offering Rise of Kunark beta access to subscribers!

Dr. Richard Bartle, keeping to his strict regime of “one controversial fanboi enraging quote every summer” said he would like to improve the MMORPG species by turning off World of Warcraft.  Seems kind of mild after this year’s entry and reaction!

Perpetual was making crazy-insane statements about Star Trek Online… like no Galaxy-class starships for you! Ships that size were planned to be “space cities” and quest hubs. Cryptic take note: If I cannot aspire to be Captain Kirk, I am not sure I want to play! Or just go read Tipa’s post on the subject.

The end of Auto Assault was announced by NC Soft and I took note and pondered a (silly) solution.

And I stopped in front of SOE headquarters for a picture. (Mirror universe Wilhelm, with goatee.) I was two weeks early for the SOE Block Party though. Oddly enough, I will likely be down in San Diego again this summer, and I will be two weeks late for the block party! Note to Brenlo: Please hold the block party either two weeks earlier or two weeks later than you plan to hold it next year.

New Linking Sites

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

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  4. What Is A “Tank” In EVE?
  5. Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG
  6. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  7. My LOTRO Video Crash
  8. EVE Pricing Fun
  9. WAR Project Management
  10. Marauder Economics
  11. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Diablo III
  12. Lag city in Lonetrek

Best Search Terms

square dancing in pictures
[Hrmmm… is that what the internet has come to?]

“you don’t say” “he didn’t say” routine
[I knew that Spike Jones reference would pay dividends!]

Best Spam Comment

hey im an anonymous person asking if i can put other things on your blog?
[No doubt quality things that would enhance the user experience.]

Diablo II

I have continued playing through this old classic at a slow to moderate pace. Generally I find time once a week to sit down and get to the next waypoint in the game. Seeing the game rendered at 800×600 on my big monitor always feels awkward for the first couple of minutes, but then I am drawn into the game. Diablo II is also one of those games I have to play with the sound on. That is probably a “duh” to many, but I do tend to play a lot of games in silence mode. Often I am listening to something else, like a podcast. But in Diablo II the sound work is so good and so much a part of the game that it gets my full attention.

And even seven years after it was released, it is a fine game. It grabs me and holds me like none of the pretenders can. Titan Quest was “meh” to me, but this is great. Now if only Blizzard can capture the good parts of Diablo II for Diablo III.

EVE Online

Like nomads or snowbirds, our corp moves with the seasons. Now we are back in Amarr space where the kernite is plentiful, the missions are easy, and the living is good. We have actually had multiple people flying at once on a number of occasions.

Star Trek Online

Whee, the Star Trek Online is back in play.  I can add it back to the “games I watch” list on the side bar.  Of course, the power to disappoint is huge with this title, as I noted above.

Warhammer Online

I decided a while back that I was going to play Warhammer Online.  Even though I am much more in the 40K camp,  I know that WAR will be far too big to pass up.  As is my usual process, when I have made a decision like that, I tend to look away and try not to get to know too much about the game up front to keep it fresh on day one.

That has been difficult with all the press it has been getting, and I don’t know what I’ll do when the NDA on the beta drops.

Still, in anticipation I have created a Warhammer Online category for the site and have added WAR to the “games I watch” list, even if I am watching through the gaps between the fingers trying to shield my eyes.

World of Warcraft

Summer time plans have kept the instance group from doing much in the way of instances. We are all closing in on level 70 though, with Skronk already there. My pally, Vikund, is the furthest back at just shy of half way through level 68. We will be ready for Wrath of the Lich King, but what will we do with five Death Knights?


Pokemon is where it’s at.  Finishing the national pokedex in Diamond though… that’s going to take some time.


Pokemon Ranch is up on the TV daily, as the game brings in a new Pokemon every day. On occasion it brings in a rare Pokemon that it will trade with you. Nice!  We got a Phione that way.

The game also pesters you about finishing up the national pokedex, like I need that. It helpfully suggests what you should try to catch next. I might ignore that, except that those are also the Pokemon the game will trade for rares. Nintendo owns us.

In Pokemon Battle Revolution I started doing battles against people over WiFi. I have come up with a six Pokemon card that is, so far, undefeated. Okay, I have only been in about 10 fights with it, but I have taken down some people rolling out cards full of legendary Pokemon. Not bad, considering I lost every battle until I perfected this line up.

Coming Up

Umm… we’re going to LEGOLand, so I’ll be gone again… and will probably end up playing a lot more Pokemon on the road.

Also, I have an idea or two about the EVE Online Blog Pack.  One of my ideas will require some feedback from readers before it goes foreward, but I’ll get back to you on that.

$500 for a WotLK Beta Key?

My wife, walking by my office door, casually asked, “You’re not going to pay $500 to play this Lich King thing, are you?”

As I was expecting something more along the lines of “are you coming to bed?” “is the house locked up?” or “don’t forget to set the dishwasher,” I was a bit taken aback.

As usual, several separate thoughts rushed for my mouth and got jammed in together like the Three Stooges in a door way, leaving me muttering, “Who? What?” (Which sounds like “hooowhaa?” when I am in that state.)

She had already passed by and settled down in front of her computer. I walked over and she showed me an article on Yahoo! about Warcraft testers paying big bucks for access.

Yikes! People paying for beta access? Paying to test somebody else’s software?

Okay, it boggles my mind, but I get paid to test software, not the other way around.

But sure enough, we went to eBay and searched on “lich king beta” and found more than a few auctions up selling beta keys.

I have to wonder what the Blizzard stance is on that?

That and how many of those codes for sale are just scams? I mean, PayPal is good on giving you a refund if you do not get something tangible from an auction, like LEGO minifigures (don’t ask), but if all you are buying is an n-digit code number, how do you get your money back if it did not work? PayPal is NOT good at refunds when it comes to intangibles. They used to explicitly exclude such things from their refund policy, and may still, I’m just too lazy to check.

So, in answer to my wife, I said that if I had a beta key, I would happily sell it for $500 and just wait for the expansion to ship.

I went back to my office while she headed down the hallway. Arriving at our bedroom, she called out to me yet again.

The cat had just thrown up on the bed.

Reality was back to normal at our house.