Monthly Archives: January 2009

January in Review

The Site

The site rolls along for another month.  Every once in a while I look at the other templates that offers for bloggers, but none of them suits me quite as well as this one.  Yes, I could do whatever I wanted if I hosted the site myself, but I know I would end up spending more time tinkering and less time writing.

On the downside of things, I did get evicted from the EVE Blog Pack in order to free up one of the 30 slots to which the pack is limited so that a more active EVE blogger might be added, an event heralded by a line in the pack log reading “And removed some inactive blogs.”

It seems that CrazyKinux has decided that the pack should be for blogs that focus exclusively on EVE.  Hybrids take it in the nuts again.  I guess I won’t have to carry on agitating for my Pack Profiles idea.

One Year Ago

Last January I seemed to be writing all sorts of stuff that has come back to haunt me.

I started off with a helping of silly predictions.

Then, with Tabula Rasa dead to me since open beta, I started wondering if there was any hope at all for a Science Fiction MMORPG.  This ended up being one of my most responded to posts ever with, in addition to all the comments, Potshot, Tipa, Lemegeton, Gooney, and even Massively following up with response posts. This post still gets a lot of views every month. (And yes, I do think there is hope, I just don’t know when we’ll get what we’re looking for.)

And, along with that, I wrote about five LEGO Video Games I would like to see made, another post that makes the monthly list of most viewed posts on a regular basis a year later.

Then there was the start of the run-up to Pirates of the Burning Sea which, among other things, required me to invest in a new router.

In WoW, the Saturday night instance group was hitting Scholomance, Stratholme, and level 60, getting us to the Outlands only a year after Burning Crusade shipped!

In EVE Online, after spending millions of ISK, I managed my first Tech II Blueprint, then I couldn’t afford to build it. Ah, life in EVE.  I also got my standing past 8.0 with the Caldari Navy and spent time hauling trash.

And, finally, in Lord of the Rings Online I was able to pick up my Bree Pony, the 2007 holiday gift to founders.

New Linking Sites

Every month I worry that I am not going to have a site to link in this section.  This month, however, I have way too many.  I like to keep the list small enough that people are likely to click on the whole list.  So, since I have so many this time around, I am going to hold a few back for next month.

Please take a moment to visit these site that were kind enough to link here.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. 2009 MMORPG Progdictionations
  3. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  4. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  5. Threshold RPG and Wikipedia
  6. Finding King Ping
  7. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  8. The Name Generator
  9. Facing Ingvar the Plunderer
  10. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  11. WoW Patch 3.0.8 – Small Details
  12. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations

Spam Comments of the Month

charmender up ur bungwhole
[sounds uncomfortable, but I am going to get some interesting new hits from Google I bet!]

pl0x nub 1337 w00t rofl lmao lmfao roflmao lol lolz WOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!
[You left out STFU]

I really enjoyed reading this article. Warcraft has so many different things to do! I’m amazed daily at how many new things people are constantly creating and showing to the public. Your article is very well written. Thanks for the great read
[I had to assume this was spam because it was in response to this post.  If I this comment was yours and you feel I was incorrect… boy you have low standards.]

EVE Online

With the passing of the holidays and the return of health and sanity, I was able to spend some more time in space.  I have been out mining that now-so-lucrative veldspar as tritanium prices have been holding above 4 ISK.  I have also done some level 4 missions, mostly to gain faction for my mining alt and to generate cash and salvage.

I have lots of money in my wallet and my standing is over 8 with four factions now, but I do not really have a short and long term goal in EVE, and that is one of the keys to keeping EVE interesting.  The Monty Burns “Make more money!” doesn’t cut it alone at some point after a billion ISK.

So I have been training up combat skills while I figure out my next path in EVE.

EverQuest II

As much fun as Reynaldo Fabulous was to play, my time spent in Norrath has fallen off dramatically over the last month.  Even the opulent Revelry and Honor guild hall can’t draw me in.  But as I said on SUWT #41, the core group of people with whom I game aren’t in Norrath either.

And so I let my subscription lapse.  There is no point in paying if I am not playing.

Lord of the Rings Online

I have been running through Middle-earth on a regular basis on the theory that having a group of people around in the Podcasters of Bree kinship will allow me some grouping opportunities.  I am catching up with them, but I am not sure what will happen when I get there.  I am the only person on the left coast in the kinship it seems, so when I’m logging on to start playing, they’re all logging off to go to bed. Or so they say.  Even Gaff, the three-box leveling dynamo has been nowhere to be seen for the last couple of weeks.

Still, I am enjoying the game, having found many of the rough spots smoothed over somewhat.  It is far from perfect.  At some point I’ll get annoyed enough to do a “five things that annoy me” post about the game again.  But it is nice.  I keep saying that.  And it is Middle-earth.  And I have a lifetime subscription.  And there is Moria somewhere out there.

World of Warcraft

It has been hard not to play WoW over the last month.

The instance group has been on a bit of a hiatus due to outside commitments in January.  (And not, I hope, because I made us look less than able in a post.)  So I have tried to leave Vikund idle.  But, while I have many alts, he is my main for a lot of things.

So I find myself logging in just to run the Kalu’ak daily quests because I want that fishing pole they offer when you hit exalted.  I never thought I would do a faction grind.  I have zero factions at exalted on any of my characters in WoW.  Then I saw that fishing pole.  We all have a price.

So my goal now is to not get too far ahead of the rest of the group.


I meant to write about some of the Wii games that showed up for Christmas.  Instead I wrote about how our Wii seems to be making a lot more noise now.  Well, more topics for later.

Coming Up

I fully expect the return of the instance group to happen in February, at which point Ingvar the Plunderer will get his comeuppance at last.

I see no end in sight for LOTRO currently.  I will have to find out what happened to Gaff.  I need his help for a few fellowship quests, plus I understand that I will get a new class quest at level 30, which is not all that far off.

I will have to come up with a plan for EVE Online.  It isn’t going to be 0.0, so don’t even go there.  That requires way too much time commitment.  I need something bigger than skilling my alt up to a Vulture and honing Wilhelm’s combat skills further, but smaller than a complete change in play style.  We shall see.

And, finally, I want to see if I can get this sort of thing going on FARK.


A man can dream.

[Editors note: This blog does not in any way endorse actually punching Amy Tan or any other author hung up on monther/daughter relationships.]

Two Years of Vanguard, Two Years of Vista

Two years ago these two products launched on the same day.

It was very nice of Microsoft to provide something that made Vanguard look like a success two years down the line.

Well, yes, Microsoft says Vista is a success.  A huge success.  But the machines the IT department at my company purchases all have Vista removed and XP installed on them.

Meanwhile at home I have actually installed Vanguard on a machine I own.  I have no plans to install Vista.

Congratulations to the Vanguard team!  At least your CEO isn’t talking about your replacement to appease angry customers!

Iconic Distraction

As I said previously, Lord of the Rings Online sure is nice.  Nice.

Turbine has used its time well and has smoothed down many of the rough spots that bothered me in the early days of the game.  Of the five things I was complaining about back in May 2007, a couple have been addressed, the combat mechanics one being the key item for me.

Still, all is not perfection.  There are still things that get in the way of me immersing myself in the game.

One of those things is the icon art.

People have been complaining about the icons from day one, and with good reason; the icons in LOTRO just are not up to the standards of the industry.

But even beyond their inadequate size and indistinct appearance, there is the whole matter of the messages they convey.

With each of my characters, there are icons that I find distracting from the game, but my champion has far and away the most.  Here is the quick bar for my Champion:


And here is what goes through my mind almost every time I look at some of these icons:

1 – Pull lever to dispense product
2 – Shout like Kenneth Branagh in Henry V
4 – Keep arm straight on back swing when teeing off
5 – Shout like Mel Gibson in Braveheart
6 – Start “None shall pass” black knight routine from Holy Grail (or the “Go cut the rabbit’s head off” scene)
7 – Stand back, let others fight
8 – Deploy Tesla Coil
9 – Use cleaver… but I don’t HAVE a cleaver
0 – Build fence and/or OCD weapon arranging
– That scene from Flashdance
C+1 – How Moe Howard cuts his hair
C+2Britney gets pissed
C+3 – Drop weapons on the ground
C+4 – Admire Sir Robin’s shield really close up
C+5 – Impale with comically over-sized sword
C+6 – Punch Amy Tan

Seriously, while I sort of know what most of these buttons do, I have to look at the tool tip to remind myself of the specifics of each of them.

And while I will be the first to admit that my brain is… well… perhaps wired a little bit different… I do not have this problem in World of Warcraft or EverQuest II or even Warhammer Online.

So Turbine, if you’re listening, have somebody redo some of those icons with your next expansion.  You’re redone the inventory icons twice now, lets show those skill icons some love.  No matter how much I want to shout like Kenneth Branagh or punch Amy Tan, it is really distracting when I want to mentally be in Middle-earth.

One Gold, Sooner Than I Thought

Tistann, my captain in Lord of the Rings Online managed to accumulate a whole gold by level 24.


They must have tuned the game some while I was away, because none of my higher level characters are anywhere close to a gold.

And that picture was taken after I repaired and bought my level 23 and 24 skills.

I won’t be rushing out to buy a house any time soon, but I might be positioned to buy a mount at some point around level 35!

Vengeance is Ours, and Veldspar Too

I dropped into EVE Online on Sunday afternoon, as previously noted, with a mind towards maybe knocking out a level 4 mission with my main and alt.  That is my plan for getting my alt better standing in Amarr space, letting my main grab level 4 missions and having him go along for the ride.

When I got on I saw Potshot on the corp channel.  He was out mining that now very lucrative veldspar.  I mentioned the mission idea and he was keen to come along.

I picked up a mission from a close-by Amarr Navy agent while he got himself in system and armed.

We drew the Sansha version of the mission Vengeance, which promised a nice reward and along with healthy bounties.

I got out the Raven while he drew a pair of Drakes.  We loaded up on missiles and headed out.  The right missiles too.  I remember a point in the past trying to do this mission solo with the wrong ammo and it being a royal pain.

The mission itself went well enough.  We had a bit of trouble in the first pocket when Potshot drew aggro from a battleship and had to warp out.  He let things go a bit too long and took some armor damage, which always costs to fix. (Unless you have the armor repair skill and the right module, of course.)

While running missions solo, I generally do not have to worry about who is getting shot, but I should probably figure out if there is a way to pull an NPC off of another ship.  Or is there no taunting in space? (Except on local, naturally.)

Once we wrapped up, we went back to check out all the asteroids that were scattered along the way.

It turns out that there is nearly 2 million units of veldspar, plus a smattering of scordite and omber in the various pockets of the mission.

The Raven and the two Drakes went back in the hangers and out came the mining and hauling ships.

Mining on the Sansha doorstep

Mining on the Sansha doorstep

I logged my alt on, invited him to the fleet, and had him fly his Hulk into the first pocket while I fetched the Mammoth to haul.  Potshot had his Covetor and Iteron V close to hand.

Iteron V hauling ore

Iteron V hauling ore

So we started burning down those asteroids.

Covetor with my Hulk and Mammoth in the background

Covetor with my Hulk and Mammoth in the background

Fortunately, the mission gives you quite a long time to complete it before the early bonus goes away.

We were able to harvest every last unit of veldspar, scordite, and omber in the mission and get home in time for dinner.

And that turned out to be the most lucrative aspect of the mission.  Nearly two million units of veldspar (1,995,000 actually) comes out to 5,990 refining units (333 units of veldspar are one refining unit).  Each refining unit yields 1,000 units of tritanium, which gave us 5,990,000 units which, at the current market rate for tritanium (4 ISK), adds up to close to 24 million ISK.

That, plus the omber and the scordite made for a nice bonus on top of the bounties, mission reward, and mission bonus.

It is fat times for veldspar mining right now!

Shut Up We’re Talking #41

Shut Up We’re Talking,” one of the podcasts in the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective, now has episode Forty One available.

For the first show of 2009 we look out on the cold, cold world and shiver a bit.

Hosts Darren and Karen are joined by Shawn Schuster of Massively and myself, with a bit of drive-by podcasting by Michael Zenke in the mix.

  • Introductions – Mostly the usual suspects
  • What We’re Playing – Suddenly LOTRO is back in style
  • Listener Mail – From Sara Pickell and Delph
  • MMO Spending in 2009 – Spurred somewhat by Tobold’s post, though some of us were already thinking along these lines, we muse over what the state of the economy will mean to MMOs and our own MMO spending.
  • Killing the Executive Gamer – From Darren’s post, provoked by the Gamers with Jobs Conference Call #116, we talk about whether we can or cannot stop analyzing a game and just enjoy playing it.  Dr. Richard Bartle is mentioned at least once.
  • Blog of the WeekComplete Heal by Lazaretto, whom you may recognize from the EQ2-Daily forums.
  • Out Takes – Includes inaccurate and libelous statements about me hating Dr. Richard Bartle, plus something about Darren drinking white wine that comes in a box.

Another fun episode.

You can download it via iTunes or here at VirginWorlds.

A Busy Sunday in New Eden

The EVE Online Insider announced a new record for concurrent players recently in New Eden, with 45,186 people logged in at one.

But when I logged in this morning, they had already beaten that record:


45,855 is a lot of people in space.

We will see if there is a new record announced tomorrow and how many people were really on at one time.

EVE Online seems to be continuing to grow at a steady pace.

Does Your Wii Make Noise?

If that isn’t too personal of a question.

I ask because the optical drive on our Wii started making considerably more noise than it used to a couple of months back.

It is not a horrendous noise, but it is considerably louder than it used to be.

And, yes, I am sure it is the optical drive and not the fan, which I understand to be the only other mechanical thing in the Wii.

I wouldn’t normally bring this sort of thing up.  Optical drives start making noise some times.  It does not always mean the device is close to failure.  I have a drive in our lab that has been making a huge amount of noise for the last three years.

But just the other day a co-worker of mine mentioned that the drive on his Wii had started making a lot of noise, which made me wonder if this is an issue for others.

Of course, my Wii is coming up on its second year with us, so I am sure it is out of warranty, but I still wonder if this is a known issue with the unit.  I poked around a bit on a couple of forums, but did not see much on the subject.

So how is the optical drive on your Wii doing?

A MUD History Wiki

After the Wikipedia purge of entries on MUDs and MUD History there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But then, after the initial shock wore off, people picked themselves up and start in on the business at hand, the preservation of all that MUD history and lore.

And so the MUD Wiki was born over on Wikia.

Yes, this is not actually breaking news.  There was a comment on one of my posts on the subject almost two weeks back announcing the creation of the Wiki.  I held off on doing a post on the subject because, frankly, there are few things on the web as dull as a freshly created Wiki.

But now some time has gone by. Those axious to get things started have had time to get articles going.  There are actually things to read.

Raph Koster has put up a big article on LegendMUD.

There is the article on Threshold RPG which was moved over from Wikipedia and which was one of the entries marked for deletion that got the ball rolling on all of this.

There is even a very nice write up on Island of Kesmai, which brings back memories for me.

No entry on TorilMUD as yet, but I suppose I could fix that if I put my mind to it.

So go check it out.

A Milestone Doubled

Back in early September I hit an EVE Online milestone having amassed one billion ISK.

Saturday night when I logged into EVE, I was a bit surprised to see I was closing in on the next milestone.

My wallet showed:


And, thanks to some overnight shopping, when I got up Sunday morning it said:


Two billion ISK!

I actually worked… well, not hard… but rather diligently to lay the groundwork to get that first billion.

And the next 500 million was pretty much momentum.  I kept stuff up on the market, ran some missions, and did some kernite trading.

But that last half billion, that was almost all Badgers, warp core stabilizers, and Widowmaker missiles.

There was also a bit of tech II sales going on.  Nothing big though.  Mining crystals and expanded cargoholds are what I dabble in when it comes to invention.  When you’re not playing every day, you don’t get so hung up in how long it takes to make copies of blueprints or build up a supply of datacores.

However, I am now running out of some raw materials.  I cannot keep making Badgers or other items unless I start buying minerals on the market or get out there and mine some more.  Since they key item I need of late is Tritanium I hate to bother paying market prices when I can just go out and mine veldspar.  So it is time for me to get the Hulk out of storage and start burning down some asteroids.

I also have to put one of my plentiful raw materials to work for me.  All that ISK just sitting in my wallet is not doing me any good.  I set out and placed over 50 million ISK in buy orders right away to restore my sales stock.

Of course, that meant I had two billion ISK for only a short while.  A pile of it is in escrow.  But that is just seeds for the next billion.

And I seem to have a whole pile of kernite sitting out in the middle of nowhere.  I may yet want to invest in that freighter.