Monthly Archives: October 2010

October in Review

The Site

This month we found out that only Bhagpuss and my mother actually look at the blog in anything other than an RSS reader… and judging from the FeedReader stats, that reader is Google Reader.

Okay, maybe a few other people look at it once in a while according to the poll.

Poll Results

I asked this question because I put something new in the sidebar, a list of posts other blogs that I found interesting.  I suppose it will just end up being a reminder list for me of posts to perhaps look at again.

And it c0nflicts a bit with my Twitter feed, since along with being an alternative feed for my posts, I do occasionally link other posts in there as well.  Sometimes the same post goes in both.  I’m confused.  I’m still working out what I really want out of Twitter and Google Reader sharing.

And speaking of Twitter, this month is the first time that Twitter has actually figured in any significant way in the traffic coming to the blog.  The top 5 sources of referral traffic this month:

  1. virginworlds.com
  2. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  3. twitter.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. ninveah.com

This does not include search engine traffic, that would put Google.com on top.

Twitter became significant because CCP_Fallout tweeted the results of the EVE Online Screen Shot Contest to the tweet fleet.  That brought a lot of people over to look.

One Year Ago

Last year at about this time Torchlight came out, giving a lot of people a Diablo-like injection of fun.  It didn’t have a lot of replay value for me.  Once I burned through the game once I was pretty much done, which made it unlike Diablo II, which I returned to a number of times.  But it was just $20 and gave us a taste of what Runic might be able to deliver going forward.

I was on a MUD history kick, with tales of exciting ways to die in Kobold Village, the Kobold Temple of the Unholy, getting lost in the Faerie Forest, and all the rooms in TorilMUD.

It was also the three year anniversary of the regular Saturday night instance group, and I presented a summary of what we had done.  I will probably revisit that theme for the fifth anniversary.

A couple of us scouted the then newly Free to Play Dungeons & Dragons Online as a possible next game for the instance group, but it didn’t stick.

I was able to buy the Adventurer’s Pack for LOTRO and get the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for free.  Not as good of a deal as monthly subscribers got I understand, but a decent deal.  Of course, LOTRO has changed a lot since then.

In World of Warcraft October last year say me finish off both the Brewfest and Hallow’s End meta achievements.  I was still left with one achievement for each holiday though.  Fun was had with pumpkins and the Headless Horseman.

The instance group returned to Utgarde Keep to take on Utgarde Pinnacle, at that time the last five-person dungeon in Northrend.  We were victorious and gained the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement.  But otherwise we were deciding on where the group should go next.

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. EVE Online Screen Shot Contest Winners
  2. Fighting Blood Elf Porn
  3. A Quick Pass Through GDC 2010
  4. How I Got My 5,000 Turbine Points
  5. Pokemon Mew Download Event
  6. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  7. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  8. BlizzCon Costume & Dance Contest Notes
  9. One Month of LOTRO Free to Play
  10. LOTRO – Comparing VIP with Free
  11. WoW Account Hacked – This Just Keeps Happening
  12. The Path to My Next System

Most Common Search Terms in October

I’m not sure this needs to be a regular feature, but this month people got here via these search terms.

  1. zombrex
  2. elf porn
  3. thorin oakenshield
  4. turbine points
  5. blood elf porn
  6. onyxia
  7. zombrex pen
  8. the ancient gaming noob
  9. tagn
  10. wow account hacked
  11. mafia wars
  12. lego x wing

Search Terms of the Month

thorin keeper of ulduar costume
[huh?]

Hardware

The new machine is up and running.  I’ve moved over most of the key data from my old machine.  Probably the most annoying items are iTunes, which is throwing a fit about exporting and importing my playlists, and Eudora.  I was perfectly happy using Eudora 6.2 as my email client for the last five years or so.  It also doubles as my text editor and to do list holder.  However 6.2 is very unhappy under Windows 7, even when trying to run it under XP emulation mode.  Meanwhile, the new, open source version of the mail client, build on to of Thunderbird, looks a lot like old Eudora, but does not behave like it.  Most annoying.

And then there is the question of what to load up on the new machine.

So far, game-wise, I dragged over World of Warcraft.  I had just patched up to 4.0.1 and wasn’t going to do that again.

Then I did fresh installs of EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and Civilization V.  The first two I thought would be good to refresh, since both have been on my old system for a long time.  And of course, I had no drag-over option with Civ V.  It does, however, run on my new system.  Go me.

Now what else should I install?

And what am I going to do with the old CPU?  Aside from gagging when taxed by certain games, it runs well.

EVE Online

The screen shot contest went off well.  I sent out all the prizes, though one person didn’t claim their PLEX and the contract expired.  I created a new contract.

I’ve gotten back into the game a little bit of late.  With a fresh install and a DX11 capable system, I wanted to fly around a bit.

I also started up the economic engine again, working the market place.  I’ve spent more than half of my saved ISK over the last 8 months.  It is time to refresh the coffers.

Meanwhile, I am posting three of the screen shot entries from the contest over at EVE Online Pictures every week.

Facebook

Facebook games finally hit the limit for me.  They can be amusing to start with, little economic sims that they all seem to be, but they don’t have much staying power.  That isn’t to say that there couldn’t be a great Facebook game for me, but I have yet to see one I really like over time.

Lord of the Rings Online

While the instance group, or the four of us who have been playing this summer and fall, have been in LOTRO regularly, the pace is slowing down.  I suspect that we’re in a rest mode before Cataclysm lands.

I will keep up with LOTRO I am sure.  At level 41, Silinus is my highest level LOTRO character ever, and there is still the draw of Moria.  But as a group I think we might be off for a while.

World of Warcraft

The instance group is still figuring out how we should approach Cataclysm, since we have a group of level 80s, a group in the mid-60s, and the option to roll up fresh.  The changes to classes, the new races, the upsetting and recreation of zones, and the ch0pping up of a couple of long, drawn out instances might mean we need to start fresh again.

Pokemon SoulSilver

Pokemon left to catch: 7

  • #303 Mawile
  • #461 Weavile
  • #464 Rhyperior
  • #466 Elecivire
  • #472 Gliscor
  • #474 Porygon-Z
  • #488 Cresselia

Willing to discuss trades over Nintendo WiFi for any of these.

You’ll know when I’m done.  There will be a post.

Coming Up

I know there are a lot of things going on, that the next month will be full of stuff, yet it is all slowly being overshadowed by Cataclysm.

For example, LEGO Universe went live recently.  I was interested in that.  Now I just cannot get my enthusiasm up for it.

Maybe I’ll just take November off.

Nah.

LOTRO Survey – Not for 64-bit

Turbine sent me an email asking me to take a survey.  They want to make the game better and all that.

Aragorn wants to know what you think!

The poll starts off in a common enough way.  They ask about what game systems you own, what gaming and news sites you read, what MMOs you’re aware of, and what MMOs you play.

Then, once you’ve gone through a couple of layers of that, the poll put up a confidentiality agreement.

They want to show you something new and cool.  You can’t tell anybody, but they want to know what you think.

You just have to download this plugin for your browser.

Only that plugin doesn’t work with 64-bit operating systems.

No special secret cool preview thingy for me I guess.

I have to wonder how this will skew their results?

I am going to guess that you’re more hardcore gamer is going to have gone for 64-bit to be able to access more RAM.

Anyway, the future path of LOTRO is apparently in the hands of those with 4GB or less of RAM in their system.

Bloodline Champions Closed Beta Invite

Did everybody get one of these closed beta invites to Bloodline Champions?

Welcome to the Closed Beta

Because it certainly seemed like everybody I asked got one.

Granted, everybody I asked had, in some way, given their email address to FunCom in the past.

Often the way was somewhat tenuous.

I mean, the email said this:

Funcom would like to thank you for your continued loyal support by giving you free access to the closed beta for Bloodline Champions, a player vs. player arena game that will truly put your gaming skills to the test. Easy to learn, challenging to master – Bloodline Champions is set to become one of the most important games within its genre.

But in my case, continued loyal support seems to be the fact that I signed up for the Clan of Conan newsletter about a year before Age of Conan shipped… and that’s it.  I never played the game.  Nor did I ever try out Anarchy Online.

Not what I would call loyal support.  I supposed I never clicked on the unsubscribe link for the newsletter, though that was mostly because it seemed to show up so sporadically.

And just in case you somehow didn’t get invite, each person who did also got two beta keys to hand out to friends.

Really, one of the most open closed beta I’ve seen.

Too bad the game doesn’t interest me in the least, important to its genre or not.

And what is its genre anyway?

Somebody Attacked Me! In Lord of Ultima!

Which I guess shouldn’t be a big shock.  After all, Lord of Ultima is supposed to be something of a PvP game in its browser based, real-time sort of way.

Only I’ve been playing Lord of Ultima since it launched an nobody has ever bothered with me before.

Of course, at the start, back in May or so, my own wee empire was probably too pathetic to both with.  There were lots of more interesting or dangerous or threatening opponents to be found.

And there is the fact that I’ve never bothered to build a castle.

In LoU you are protected from all attacks for the first week or so… I think it was 7 days, but that time expired so long ago that it is just a blur.

After that protected time elapses you are subject to one type of attack, being plundered, unless you build a castle.  A town with a castle in it is subject to siege and conquest.  However, you can also only launch sieges and conquests and the like if you have a castle.

Or so I understand.  I haven’t, as I said, actually built a castle.

A friend of mine, Xyd, who got me to play the game, built a castle rather early on in the life of the game and was subsequently punished for his arrogance with unending plunder and destruction.

He no longer plays.

Fearing a similar fate, I was determined (a pretty strong word for a game I play very casually) not to build a castle until I sufficient defenses.

And so I’ve never built a castle.

I’ve built quite a little empire though.  Big enough to be invited to one of the top alliances on my world, and to which I contribute about 420,000 points and the occasional shipment of resources or supporting troops.

Our alliance battles always seem to occur far away from where ever I am, so my support usual arrives just in time to be either completely redundant or help sift through the ashes of somebody’s 7-point castle.

(7 is the minimum number of points a town with a castle can be worth.  When it is at 7 points, you’ve pretty much won that battle having rendered the castle helpless.)

So I continued to found new towns and build them up, slowly (very slowly) learning how best to do that.

For example, it took me a long time to realize that the best response to natural resources in your town, wood, stone, or iron, is to destroy them.  Heck, it took me a long time to realize that you could destroy them, much less figure out why you would want to.

As it turns out, the production bonus for having a resource processing building next to a natural resource isn’t nearly as good as having a building that supplies extra labor next door.  So you cram together a grid of processing and supplementary buildings, destroying any nature that might get in the way.

Anyway, I got into the stride of this around 40 cities into my adventure.  Since there is a limit to the number of buildings you can have in a city (100) the great advantage of this compressed grid is that you get a lot more production from fewer buildings, you can have more buildings available for other things, like unit production or trade.

This is actually so effective that I have gone back and started restructuring some of my old, badly laid out cities.  Death to nature I guess.

LoU also offers up rewards for completing quests.  The quests encourage expansion.  So, for example, I have cities on more than 50 of the continents in my world.  (There are a lot of continents.  I have seen them numbered from 0 through 66 so far.)  I have so many far flung cities because there is a series of quests to have cities on 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, etc. continents.

And it was one of these far out of the way cities that was attack, again, much to my surprise.

I was surprised because I was beginning to doubt I could be plundered.  I had put up cities right next to castles of alliances at which we were at war and had never been bothered.

And then I got this report.

What? Attacked? Me?

45,787 armored knights swooped down on my little town and stole a bunch of my stuff.

The town was completely defenseless.  I had given up on bothering with troops.  But now I had somebody attacking me.

I knew what to do first.  I had enough resources building up to start building hideouts, which hide resources from plundering troops.

Shrifflle kept sending out plundering parties at regular intervals, but soon they began to return empty handed.

In the mean time I have been trying to gather some forces to send to my distant city to help oppose this ongoing plunder.  The place is a good days sail (real time) from my nearest full-grown cities.  In the mean time I have slowly been building up the city and its defenses, so once help arrives, it will have the maximum effect.

All of which has added a little spice to what has so far been, for me at least, a somewhat slow and limited game of SimCity.

Me and the Giants

I’m not much of a sports fan, a fact that tends to make me the odd male out at family gatherings and such.

But at one time, long ago, I spent a lot of time at Candlestick Park watching the San Francisco Giants.  Way back when their logo was something like this:

Thanks largely to my aunt and my grandmother, I went to a lot of Giants games in my youth.

It was a hard time to be a Giants fan.  Not that it is ever really easy.  But I got to see a lot of great players.  I saw Willy Mays get his 3,000th hit.  I saw Willie McCovey play his last professional game at home. (A double header, where he got a double that brought in the run to win the first game.  Then, in Giants style, they lost the second.)  I’ve been to two All Star games, including the last one that was held at Candlestick Park.

And over the years that I was a fan in good standing, a member of the Giants Boosters, and a regular attendee at games, I always wanted two things.

I wanted to see the Giants win the World Series and I wanted to see a cross-bay World Series between the Giants and the Oakland A’s.

I got to see the cross-bay series back in 1989.  But the Giants got stomped.

When the A’s are good, they are really good.  And when they’re bad, they’re really bad.  That year they were good.

Of course, the less said about the 2002 World Series the better.  So close.

Now however, for only the third time in my life, the Giants are actually in the World Series.  And they got into the playoffs on the last game too.

So now we’ll see, will my childhood desire to see my favorite team win the World Series finally come to pass.

They certainly looked good in the first game.  11 to 7 is a pretty strong win.

Oddly enough, the last Giants game I actually went to, they also won with 11 points.

Now they just need to win three more games.

Definitionally Yours

At last the recognition I undoubtedly deserve is finally coming my way.  I guess.

I’ve noticed that in the search engine referrals, a lot of people have been finding their way here via the search term “tagn” by itself.

My first reaction was to go Google “tagn” to see if I could figure out what they were, you know, really looking for.

Hey, I’m the first result when you Google “tagn” now it seems.

But in doing that, I noticed a couple of sites for looking up acronyms came up with “What does TAGN stand for?”

They give two results:

  • The Ancient Gaming Noob (online gaming blog)
  • Triaminoguanidine Nitrate (nitramine propellent)

Take that “The All Girl Network!”

That was the site that used to have the domain tagn.com.

Now some domain squatting company has it.  It can be all mine for a ridiculous amount of money.

Pass.

First anagrams, now acronyms.

Now if I can just get some traffic from Lovecraft fans searching on “Cthulu F’tagn.”

Gotta Catch ’em All, Dammit!

I am going to do it.

I am going to complete the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.

That involves catching all of the catchable Pokemon.

Hence the famous tag line. (I almost wrote “catch phrase.”)

An Example of Pokemon Mania

There are a total of 493 Pokemon in the game.  However, 9 of them are only available through special events.  These 9 are not required for the National Pokedex.  You only need 484 for that.

Only 484.

I wrote about catching those Pokemon back when I was playing Pokemon Diamond.  It seemed impossible.  I capped out at around 380, or over 100 Pokemon short of the goal.

With Pokemon SoulSilver, I had a new opportunity, and a few advantages.

First, I had a my copy of Pokemon Diamond with nearly 380 caught Pokemon.

Really, that is part of the whole experience, having to transfer Pokemon that you cannot get in your current game over from your old Pokemon game.

And to help things along, I finished up Pokemon Pearl and Platinum, since both offer a couple of special Pokemon.

Then there is the fact that we have two Nintendo DS Lite units in our house, mine and my daughter’s, so I can easily transfer Pokemon back and forth between games.  Plus certain Pokemon only evolve when you trade them. (And to get that 484 number you have to get each Pokemon in all of its various stages of evolution.)

And then there is the fact that my daughter is/was playing Pokemon HeartGold this time around, which has some Pokemon in it that you cannot get in SoulSilver.

And even with all of this, I have been holding my Nintendo DS in my hand every time my wife and I have sat down to watch TV because I have to hatch a Pokemon egg or level a Pokemon up so it will evolve or check the Global Trade Station to see if anybody has accepted my current trade offer. (I have been breeding and trading Piplups fairly successfully.)

I spent a couple hours in Pokemon Diamond, in the underground, trying to dig up a fossil that could be turned into a specific Pokemon (a shieldon, if you must know) because I couldn’t find one for trade.

And after all of this, my Pokedex shows I have caught 479 Pokemon.  Of course, I have 7 of those special event Pokemon, so the number I need to hit is 491.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  I have just 12 Pokemon left to go.

I need a the following 12:

  • #176 Togetic – Once my Togepi is at “high friendship” leveling it will evolve it into this
  • #303 Mawile – I have to check the game daily to see if this one is available
  • #454 Toxicroak – A matter of leveling up a Croagunk to 37, easy
  • #460 Abomasnow – Again, just need to level up my Snover to 40, in progress
  • #461 Weavile – Have to find a special item, have a Sneasel hold it, and level it up between 8pm and 4am local time… I’m not making this up
  • #464 Rhyperior – Have to my Rhydon hold a special item and trade it to another player, but have to find the item first
  • #466 Elecivire – Another special item hold and trade, but I have the item this time
  • #468 Togekiss – Need Togetic, first one on the list, to get this
  • #470 Leafeon – Need to evolve an Eevee in Pokemon Diamond then trade it over, easy
  • #472 Gliscor – Similar story to Weavile, need an item and a time frame
  • #474 Porygon-Z – A Porygon2 has to hold a special item then be traded, ala Rhyperior, with the same issue
  • #488 Cresselia – Have to go catch this in Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum

And if I want to be a completionist and get all 493, I also need a Manaphy, which is only available at special download events.  And once I have that, I can breed it to obtain the final Pokemon, a Phione.

Aside from those last two, not an impossible task at this point.  And then I will be finished.

At least until the next version of Pokemon, Black & White, shows up in the US.  It is already available in Japan and is selling very well.

And when I get it, who knows how many Pokemon I’ll need to catch.  But it looks like the Pokemon are numbered up to 649 with the new games.