Monthly Archives: March 2011

March in Review

The Site

For no good reason, March has seen the most traffic ever come to the site.  You might think that, perhaps, it had something to do with the Say 100 recognition I received last month.

It did not.

I have been watching closely to see if the Say 100 site would drive any more traffic this way.

Over the last month, looking at referral sources, Say 100 is down in 26th place.  Over the last 30 days it sent me about half as much traffic Facebook, but about twice as much as Twitter.

Lest you think that those numbers are significant, all combined they barely wander into the territory of three digit numbers.  Comments I have left on SynCaine’s blog over the last 30 days have generated more traffic.

No, traffic really finds its way here via Google.

I posted about Pokemon several times this month and Pokemon is more popular than any MMO yet.  Plus Pokemon has, as far as I can tell, only a tiny fraction of sites devoted to it compared to something like World of Warcraft.  So people end up here.

EverQuest? The quest is to obtain me!

If all you care about is page views, stop talking about WoW, Rift, and EverQuest and start reporting on Pokemon.

All hail the mighty Pokemons, generators of web traffic!

Meanwhile, I calculate via the various metrics I have at my disposal that I have about 100 regular readers when it comes right down to it, including my mom and my wife.  Which is actually pretty good in my opinion.  A few of the regulars come for the Pokemon updates, so I will continue to indulge them.

But basically 93-97% of the people who make it here on a given day look at the site once, maybe get the information they were looking for, and jet off never to be heard from again.

Still, I think back about 20 years to when I ran a BBS, when that term meant a computer with a modem attached that random strangers dialed into, when I held the exalted title of SysOp, and the ratio of regulars/contributors to… well, we used to call them leeches… was about the same.  The numbers are just a few orders of magnitude larger here on the web and I do not get as many messages asking me for “waerz” or porn.

Except for blood elf porn I suppose.

One Year Ago

With the March 2010 month in review I was able to announce that the site had passed the one million page view mark.  A minor milestone.  I even gave people a peek at the numbers.  I’m holding out for two million page views for the next peek.  Don’t hold your breath.

FarmVille.  We all tried it as research for Shut Up We’re Talking #60.  We didn’t inhale.

I ran through GDC and had dinner.

I was waxing nostalgic for Rome.

EA was saying very stupid things about how many subscribers Star Wars: The Old Republic would need.  It is never too early to set the bar for failure.

I was also wondering about greater challenges in MMOs.  Must all paths be equally easy?

I held an April Fools contest, which got a few entries.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver launched and, after some delay,  I was picking that initial Pokemon.

I was still investing in Star Trek Online… I was trying…. well, they were giving us lifetime subscribers some perks.

The instance group was beginning to embrace the Dungeon Finder.  However, we found we still had to do a chunk of external legwork to prepare for our Sunken Temple run.  I also got a chopper along the way, on my birthday no less.

And, finally, that whole Derek Smart/Alganon thing was just kicking off.

New Linking Sites

I could only find two this month.  I may have to break out the “I can’t find any new linking sites” plan next month.

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

Please take a moment to visit them in return!

Random Shout Out

Go look at this video over at Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Some day I want to create something that excellent.  I want to have that video projected constantly on the walls of my office as I work.

First I need to figure out time lapse photography and how to take pictures that actually look like what I see with my own eyes.

Most Viewed Posts in March

You’d think a new Pokemon game had launched this month!

  1. First Pokemon Black and White Download Event – Victini
  2. Download Mythical Celebi at GameStop
  3. Shiny Pokemon Events Coming to GameStop in January
  4. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  5. 2011 Pokemon Video Game Championship Series Announced
  6. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  7. Fighting Blood Elf Porn
  8. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  9. Happy 12th Anniversary EverQuest!
  10. Rift Officially Launches Today, Though It Seems Like It Launched Last Week
  11. April Fools at Blizzard
  12. Black and White Birthday

Most Common Search Terms of the Month

Even Pokemon can’t keep elf porn totally under control.

  1. how to get zorua
  2. blitzle
  3. pokemon white download
  4. gamestop celebi
  5. celebi gamestop
  6. pokemon black download
  7. zorua
  8. blood elf porn
  9. how to get victini in pokemon black and white
  10. pokemon black and white victini
  11. pokemon black and white download
  12. elf porn

Search Terms of the Month

tom of finland pumping
[Mention Tom of Finland just once and you’re on the gay porn search returns]

テーブル imac
[日本語!!! 探求?]

Where I Spent My Gaming Time

From Raptr, which seems to have a problem detecting when some games launch and which still, totally does not count Lord of Ultima and there is no way for it to count my Pokemon hours.  Still, for what it can count, here is the ranking.

  1. EverQuest – 79%
  2. Civilization V – 12 %
  3. World of Warcraft – 8%
  4. World of Tanks – 1%

Quite a drop off in WoW time.  I spent more time with Civ V, which has had a couple of very helpful patches.

EVE Online

Account lapsed.  It makes me wonder how long I can keep up the EVE Online Pictures site.  Contest entries will get me through July at my current rate of posting, but after that, I might have to resubscribe.  But I hear there will be pretty new backgrounds in space by then.


So this is where I have been spending my time.  We made it past the 30 day marker, so are in for another month at least.

Play has been both constrained and not constrained.  We don’t have the set “3 hours on a Saturday night” sole play period the way we do with the main instance group.  We play when we can.  That our adventures are about seeing and reliving a world from 1999, that works… if slowly.  An EverQuest chat forum linked here to point and laugh at the fact that Potshot and I had not even made level 20 yet.  We are obviously not serious.

But there are, as Potshot put it, interesting choices to be made.

Of course, because we are having fun, the thought keeps creeping into my head about getting the whole instance group over to EQ.  I am not sure that would work on Fippy Darkpaw though.  3 hours a week isn’t enough for that.  But maybe the standard EQ Live servers, with their speedier level progress and things to explore like the Lost Dunegons of Norrath expansion, would work.  More things to research.

World of Tanks

I haven’t spent much time with World of Tanks.  The EverQuest obsession has taken over my excess online gaming hours.  Still, I do look forward to the launch next month.  It is one of those things where I know the wipe is coming and I’ve already decided I am going to play, so I am not so interested in investing in my account any more until launch.  I am still undecided about pre-ordering.

World of Warcraft

One of the instance group members has been under a deadline, so we ended up not playing much WoW, leading to play time reports like this:

Playtime for 20 Mar 2011 – 26 Mar 2011
Date/Time of Login Date/Time of Signoff* Minutes Played

24 Mar 2011 – 24 Mar 2011 05:29 PM – 4 min

Four minutes of WoW over the course of a whole week.  Of course the accuracy of the reporting system is +/- 5 minutes, so I might have been on for -1 minutes I suppose.

I think I logged on to buy the dual spec option for Maloney and then spec’d fire, so he can now swap between frost and fire.


Pokemon Black and White.  Have I mentioned them before?  I was hoping that the online component would be live by now, since that will heavily influence the long term stickiness of the game for myself and my daughter.  However, events have pushed that back.  Still, it is a good Pokemon game when viewed through the traditional lens.


More EverQuest.  Or at least I hope more EverQuest.  Today’s semi-confirmed rumors won’t mean shutting down Norrath, but I am going to guess that list of outstanding problems on the progression servers are not going to get addressed any time soon.  It is a sad day.

I have been playing so much EQ and collecting so many screen shots that I have been thinking of creating an EverQuest picture site like my EVE Online Pictures blog.  I am not sure how viable that is though.  EVE really lends itself to postcards, EQ is more about nostalgia.  Plus I never go any place epic in Norrath.  How many more Blackburrow pictures does the internet need?  Still, I would join in on a collaborative effort on that front.

I am also going to make my daughter write a review of the new game she has been playing, Animal Jam, which she claims is totally better than Club Penguin.

I will apparently be finishing up the post about explaining EverQuest to my daughter, as that is the leader in the polls right now.  I am surprised by the fact that “More EVE Heresies” is in second place.  Really?  Do some people just want me to make them angry when they jump to the comments and complain that they think I am essentially saying that EVE should be more like WoW?  Could be.  It would give SynCaine something to do.

Oh, and tomorrow is some sort of special day I hear.  We shall see what that brings.

No Corpse Runs on Fippy Darkpaw

No corpse runs on Fippy Darkpaw… or that other server… Volvo… or Vibek… or Voldemort… or whatever it is.

I swear, I read the name 10 seconds ago and I still can’t remember it.

Anyway, corpse runs have been voted down.

Those of us about to die... again... thank you!

This post on the SOE EQ Forums gives the results.

The overall results were across both servers were:

  • No Corpse Runs – 65%
  • Corpse Runs – 30%
  • Don’t Care – 5%

Voting was limited to players with characters level 15 and over. (Reduced from the initial level 30 requirement.)

The people on Vulak… if that is the name… seemed a bit more opposed to the idea, but they were only 68% against corpse runs versus 63% on Fippy, so there was no huge disparity between the two servers.

My own poll on the subject was pretty close to the same results, although I had more options… and a lot less voters.

Click to Enlarge

There is probably a lesson there in sample sizes, populations, and statistical analysis, but I’m too lazy to go there.

Anyway, no corpse runs for now!

Ah, the memories.

Some Mild Unrest

We got on as a group last night.

I found that Tistann had indeed been moved to Butcherblock by GM Maaku after Monday night’s dip in the Ocean of Tears.

Thrall was already waiting at the docks, as he had been for the last day.

Deneldir, by virtue of his druidness, was able to just teleport himself over via the druid ring.  I can’t wait until he can move the whole group around.

And Tarlach, once he fished himself out of Freeport harbor, was able to take the boat safely across the Ocean of Tears to Butcherblock.

And so we were all united on the continent of Faydwer for the first time.

At the Port Gates

The first order of business was to bind ourselves somewhere in the vicinity.  That meant following the dwarf paths to Kaladim.

Only a dwarf walks thus...

While these are not specifically called dwarf paths, I cannot imagine who else could have made them.  Who else walks Butcherblock, treads so hard as to wear out a path (hint: not an elf), and is constantly drunk enough to sway and stagger so as to form such a wavy path?

Gotta be dwarves.

Butcherblock - Paths Straightened

(Maps from the EQMac Wiki EQ Atlas Archive)

We made it to Kaladim and bound.  Or at least half of us ended up bound to the location.  Mistakes were made.

Then we made the run south to Dagnor’s Cauldron, the gateway to the Estate of Unrest.

Into the Cauldron

It was there that I realized that I had not managed to pick up the spell levitate for Thrall.

Running around the rim of the cauldron can be a hazard.  It is very jagged and you can fall off of things if you are not careful.  But if you have levitate you just have to launch yourself off of that first outcropping in the zone and then glide across to the Unrest zone line.

Instead, we had to do it the hard way, which wasn’t all that hard when it came down to it.  The only hitch was when I lead the group right through a goblin camp.  But we were close to unrest at that point, so we just bored on through to the zone line.

Once inside we started looking around the zone.

The Estate of Unrest

We found that a lot of the mobs in the yard and the hedge maze (not shown on the map) con’d gray or green to us.

Death Beetles on the Lawn

We knocked out a few of those, and then decided to go into the manor.

Well, I lead us into the manor with one of those, “Don’t worry, it’ll be great!” lead ins.

There were other groups in the manor.  Unrest was ever a popular spot, especially for paladins and clerics, and that certainly has not changed.  We moved around and eventually settled down in the back of the manor, in the octagonal room shown on the map right by the back door.

In the Octagon

We cleared out a ghoul and a skeleton that were in the room and set up camp.

Tarlach was sent out to round up some prey while we waited.

The group on the map

Unfortunately, he found another ghoul, an undead mob that has a habit of rooting you when you get hit.  And root in EverQuest lasts a long time.  Meanwhile, we had a couple of pops in our room, which we lit into while waiting for Tarlach to get unrooted and return.

Tarlach’s ghoul found some friends or pulled a knife or something, but Tarlach ended up dead.

It was at that point we found out he was still bound in West Freeport.  We have now all learned the lesson about reading the result message when we get bound.

Rather than take the boat back, Tarlach used the gnomish transporter, which crashed his client on the jump between Freeport and the Ocean of Tears.  That same jump (though going the other direction) crashed my client as well later in the evening.

So while Potshot was getting that settled, the rest of the group ran back to the dock since of the four clients we were running, only Tistann’s in-game maps seemed to be working in Faydwer.  I have no idea what the problem was or why Tistann seemed to be immune.

Eventually we all formed up again at the docks and Tistann lead the way back to Kaladim, where binding was confirmed, and then it was back to Unrest.  We went straight around the manor to the back door to reclaim our room.

There appeared to be a mummy and a ghoul waiting for us which con’d blue and white to us, so we got stuck into them immediately.

Making up for lost time...

The mobs were all stacked on a single spawn point, which is probably why I did not notice that there were also a skeleton in the mix, a red con dry bone skeleton.

The ghoul, of course, rooted anybody it touched, so we could not trade off tanking and Thrall ended up being the tank for a bit.  I’m not sure we were all on the same target.   And when another skeleton walked into the room and joined in the fray, I was sure that the wheels had truly come off and that we were going to wipe.

And wipe we did.

Dead in the manor

Tanking Thrall and then Tistann went down.  Tarlach and Deneldir hung on for a long stretch, but were eventually worn down and killed as well.

Then we were all back in Kaladim.

We decided that we would not go back for a third run at the zone that night.  This was more because of the hour than our defeats.  The zone is clearly a challenge and we will be back, but we will save that for when we have more time.

We wrapped up the evening doing a bit of maintenance, with Thrall running back to Freeport to try and fill in the gaps in his spell book (In addition to levitate he was also missing invisibility) while Deneldir ran off to buff celebrities.

We will be back to the Estate of Unrest soon.

Stranded in the Ocean of Tears

It wouldn’t be an EverQuest adventure without something going awry in the Ocean of Tears.

After our time in Najena, I thought I would scout out the path to Unrest, just to remind myself how to get there.  In this adventure, Potshot does the tanking and the healing and I play the faithful Indian guide.

So to keep that role, and the illusion that I know where the hell I am going and what I am doing, I take it upon myself to figure these things out in advance and then suggest them casually when we are in game.

So I decided to take the boat to Butcherblock.

That involved actually finding the harbor in East Freeport, which was not small matter.  While you can use the “find” system to locate a lot of things, the harbor isn’t one of them.  Eventually though I made my way to the dock.  As I suspected, the fishing vendor was near the harbor, so I used the Find option to get myself to them.

Respect my Port Authority

Tistann and Thrall got on board and sailed away.

Aboard the Boat

The boat seems to move much faster than I remember.  The trip from Freeport to Butcherblock took just under 5 minutes.  Again, memory from the old days recalls a much longer trip, something in the 20 minute time frame.  It used to be a big deal when the boat showed up, since it seemed to dock about once an hour in Freeport.

And to miss the boat was a heart breaker.

But now it seems to sail speedily along.

Welcome to Butcherblock

I made it to Butcherblock, ran around a bit to scout, getting as far as Kaladim, then headed back to the dock.

Visit Spectacular Kaladim!

This is another zone that is still in its classic, 1999 state.

On the way back Tistann and Thrall ran into two aqua goblin wizards.  They only con’d blue, so I had my two guys go after them.

Wizards, being wizards, put out a lot of damage, much more than Tistann’s song of healing could counteract.  So while I managed to kill both of the goblins, Tistann went down as well.

Bound in Freeport, Dead in Butcherblock

That sent him back to Freeport where he needed to take the boat again.

And this is where my troubles began.

I found my way back to the dock.

Standing on a dock by the bay...

The boat pulled up.

Here comes my ride

I boarded.  The boat sailed away.  We zoned into the Ocean of Tears.

And then, once in the Ocean of Tears, the boat sailed off while Tistann remained floating in mid-air.

Now this is not right

This is not a naturally tenable position for a bard in heavy armor and eventually he fell into the water.

But he fell into the wrong water.

After a long and futile attempt to swim to a nearby island, I finally worked out that I was outside of the actual zone.

The unreachable island

There was an invisible barrier between me and what people would generally consider the geography of the Ocean of Tears.

The zone itself is a rectangle with an invisible barrier around it.  I was on the wrong side of the barrier.

Thinking I'm outside the box

That little arrow on the map above.  That is me.  The purple line is the zone barrier, while the aqua line is the path the ship takes.

Once I figured out my position, I decided to see if I could just turn around and swim out of the zone.

Instead, I ended up swimming to the edge of the zone, at which point I fell out of the ocean.

Unexpectidly in mid-air... again

I could fall out of the ocean, but I could not leave the zone.  At about this point I decided I had better open a ticket.  I quickly received an automated response.

Question Reference #110328-002106
Stuck in the Ocean of Tears
Product Level 1: EverQuest
Category Level 1: [EQ] Stuck
Date Created: 03/28/2011 08:53 PM
Last Updated: 03/28/2011 08:53 PM
Status: Unresolved
Server: fippy
Race/Species: Half Elf
Class/Profession: Bard
Level: 17

Character Name

Discussion Thread
03/28/2011 08:53 PM
Greetings Denizen of Norrath!

Thank you for petitioning for your Stuck Character issue. This automated response is directed to help us accurately assist you as quickly as possible.

There is a command in-game that attempts to back your character up a few paces. To try troubleshooting stuck character issues, please attempt the command /rewind in-game.

We try our hardest to answer Stuck Character petitions as fast as possible since they are so time sensitive and we hope to have a Game Master in-game to assist you in the very near future!

I do not think they employ very many game masters these days, so I wasn’t very hopeful that I would be saved any time soon.  In the mean time, the /rewind command was not cutting it.  That is fine when you get stuck and cannot move.  I was free to move all I liked, just outside of the zone area I needed get to.

This is not the first time I’ve fallen off of the boat in the Ocean of Tears, though it is the first time I have fallen off in this part of the zone.

I remembered that, back in the day, that if you placed yourself in the path of the boat it would sometimes just scoop you up and you would be back on your way.  So I spent some time trying to line up the boat, which seemed to pass quite easily through the invisible zone barrier.


That did not work out.  The boat ran me over, pushing me aside, and went on its way.  I have to guess that the zone has been reworked since last I fell off the boat.

The old boat used to allow you to go below decks.  The current boat keeps you on the main deck.  So I would guess that the invisible barrier is probably deck height, or just below deck height.  And, it was probably that barrier on which Tistann was stranded initially.  He probably just stepped off the wrong way.

I guess this also answers my question about the rowboats.  There used to be little rowboats in the Ocean of Tears and Freeport harbor that you could, well, row around in.  If you were really determined, you could row across the Ocean of Tears.  It would only take you about three times as long as the boat, but I remember doing it just to do it.

Now the rowboats are probably just a memory.

That reverie aside, I hung out in the water, looking for a loophole out of my mess and hoping that a GM would fish me out of the Ocean of Tears.  After about an hour, I decided to call it a night.  It was just turning 10pm.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Of course, in the morning, there was an email response to my petition.

Stuck in the Ocean of Tears

Discussion Thread
Response (GM Maaku)
03/28/2011 10:09 PM
Greetings Tistann,

This is GM Maaku, Thank you for contacting Sony Online Entertainment, After investigating your issue, I was able to move your character to the Butcherblock in hopes that you can now access your character. Thank you for your patience and understanding regarding this issue, If you have any further issues, feel free to contact us, and we will be glad to assist you.

Good Luck And Safe Travels,

GM Maaku
EverQuest In-Game Support
Sony Online Entertainment

Thank you GM Maaku!

If I had just waited a few more minutes, I would have known I was saved.  But I was headed to bed anyway.  10pm bed time.  This is what happens when you get old.  It isn’t that you don’t want to stay up, you just can’t any more… if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I should be set to explore Butcherblock.  But maybe I had better bind in Kaladim, just in case.

Play Breakout, Win Pokemon on Global Link

Well, you can win ONE Pokemon.  But it is a special one.

Plus it is an annoying one to get otherwise, and all you have to do clear four levels of Breakout to do it.

While Pokemon Black and White launched earlier this month, one of the add-on services to the game, the Pokemon Global Link, is not yet live.

The Pokemon Global Link is the key online component of Pokemon Black and White that includes features like the Dream World, where you can interact with other players, the tracking service where you can see how your friends are doing in the game, the Global Battle Union, and other features.  You can read all about it here.

However, it is not live yet.

It is supposed to go live this Wednesday, March 30th.   However the earthquake in Japan has pushed that date back.

The Current Global Link Web Page

Other aspects of the launch are still going on it seems.

To use access all of the features of the Global Link when it goes live, you will need to create an account at the Pokemon Trainer’s Club.

The Pokemon Trainer’s Club has been around for a while now.  It is an online social site with an obvious Pokemon theme.  You can dress up your avatar and play flash games.

And they have just added a new flash game.  It is, as the title of this post indicates, a version of Breakout.  If you clear all four levels of the game, you get the option to take a Pokemon that is offered you.  If you do not like the Pokemon, you can say no and try for another.

Let's Play Pokemon Breakout

The Pokemon on offer are all evolutions of the Pokemon Eevee, some of which are quite a challenge to get.

If you win and select a Pokemon, that is the only one you will be able to take.  But once the Pokemon Global Link goes live and you log in, you will be able to bring that Pokemon with you back into your copy of Black or White, if I read things right.

So far I have been offered the Jolteon evolution of Eevee, but I am holding out for a Glaceon.

Doubling Down in Najena

Saturday found the instance group come up shy on players, so time in Azeroth was pushed off again.

But Potshot and I were still around and were able to put the time towards what I would have to call our current main game, the EverQuest Progression Server called Fippy Darkpaw.

We had done some experience in Southern Ro earlier in the day where we made quite a bit of progress.  But when it came to the evening run, Potshot brought up the exploration aspect of our adventures, the desire to not only play the game but to experience the game as far and wide as we could.  So we said farewell to the Desert of Ro and pointed ourselves northward.

Wrapping up our camp in Ro

We met up in the Commonlands at the tunnel, still full of people buying, selling, buffing, and socializing.

The Plane of Knowledge kills all this...

We headed across the Commonlands and through Nektulos Forest to the Lavastorm Mountains.

There we ran around a bit looking for a good place to camp and kill.  But a lot of the stuff we stumbled over at the Nek end of the zone was gray, green, or blue to us. (The consider system changes gears at level 16 and stuff starts showing green if it still gives experience but is more than a few levels below you.)

We searched around for a bit and came up with a camp of Cinder Goblins.  There we took on a Cinder Goblin Cleric who con’d yellow to us and seemed to be a likely target.

Cinder Goblin Tango

This, however, turned into something like the eternal battle.  We would knock this goblin cleric down to under 20% health.  I think he hit as low as 12% at times.  And then he would heal himself back up to 50%.  We would knock him down again, he would heal again.  The fight went on and on.

Fortunately with the spell breeze cast on Thrall, Deneldir, and Talrach, we never ran out of mana either, so we would heal up, the goblin would heal up, and so on and so forth.

About five minutes into the fight we started digging into our spell books and abilities trying to find something that would stop his healing.

Close to the ten minute mark I had Thrall save up a whole bar of mana then tried to unload as much damage as I could on the cleric.  I think that is when he got down to around12%.  But he managed to get off a heal.  We had nothing in our bag of tricks to stop him.

Furthermore, Thrall’s all out assault made the cleric lock on to him.  It was time to run for the zone line.  Tistann put on the song of speed and we ran for it.

We made it safely out of the zone, though on the other side of the zone line in Nek Forest, a Dark Elf guard by the name of Gvarr started beating on Thrall, who was already low on hit points.  He stepped back across the zone line into Lavastorm just in time.

After that I began to wonder if there wasn’t something better close at hand we could go after.  Then I remembered Najena.

Meclin and I had gone into Najena at one point during a past nostalgia run.  This was on a standard EQ Live server back a couple of years, and the place was empty then.  In EverQuest and empty dungeon is a dangerous dungeon, and back then we got ourselves into a serious mess in there.  Now, however, we a lot more people were in the right level range.


(Map from the EQMac Wiki EQ Atlas Archive)

Najena is just off to the East from the entrance to Lavastorm, so we thought we would give it a shot.

There were 27 people in the dungeon, including our four, and we had to hunt around for a bit before we found a spot to hunker down.

Into the torture chamber...

The skeletons right at the entrance were gray to us, but not very far into the place we started running into mobs that were blue or better.  A lot of the likely places had groups, though we ran into some wanderers as we looked about.

A Guard unhappy to see us

Eventually we found a spot in a hallway that had a few spawns close by from which we could pull.  This is sort of the way things go.  As a lower level group, we couldn’t go much further into the dungeon. (If you look at the map we were not even at the point marked “1”), but by sitting there and keeping that segment clear, people could come and go from deeper in the dungeon.

Our little spot in the dungeon

Experience was great.  I knew that some dungeons, including Najena, offered a boost to experience, but we were rolling in the exp, at least on the EverQuest scale of things.

Along the way I got a tell from Toldain (hey!) who brought up the whole double experience weekend question.  I had heard that there was an experience boost, but was not sure that it applied to the progression servers since that would seem to undo what they were trying to accomplish. (When did SOE do their first enhanced experience event?  I do not remember any from the early days, but my memory has proven faulty before.)

Still, at the rate we were going, things were good.  The group started the day at level 14 or just into level 15 and we all hit level 17 inside Najena.  Even with two deaths, Thrall and Denelir, the soft targets, both got taken down once, we were way ahead for the evening.

Dead druid behind the pile of garbage

Among the things I associate with EverQuest is time flying by, and it was true that night.  We had spent a while running around and getting settled.  Midnight came and we old guys had to call it a night.  Well, I had to.  My daughter fights to stay in bed on school days, but on Saturday and Sunday she pops out of bed at the same time she is supposed to get up on weekdays without any prompting, and that means we have to get up.

So we headed back to Freeport, stopping long enough to pay back Guard Gvarr for his past crimes.

He started it

So Najena worked out well for us.  The group is all well into 17 now.  I am sure that seems very slow to some, but that is about the pace we can sustain.

And while we might venture back to Najena in the short term, now that we know we can knock out the tentacle terrors without too much drama, we will want to keep the tour going as well.  I am thinking we ought to get on a boat, cross the Ocean of Tears, and spend some time on the Estate of Unrest.  That used to be a happy hunting ground for my paladin back in the day.

WoW Makes Me Appreciate EverQuest Class Design More

Really, I was thinking this before this post was written over at We Fly Spitfires.

I have even opined on the topic myself in the past.

But I have to admit that the simplicity of EverQuest classes, by which I mean the day one classes we are experiencing now on Fippy Darkpaw (and that other server), is very refreshing.

There are no talent points.  There is no choice of paths, no deciding to go tank or DPS.

Your class is what it is.  You get a set of skills and maybe a list of spells, and you make that work however you can.

Our little nostalgia group consists of a Bard, a Druid, a Paladin and an Enchanter, and each of them brings their own unique set of cards to the table.

Yes, eventually we start getting into alternate advancement and such in EverQuest.  But right now, on the progression servers, there is a real purity to each class.  If you substitute one for another, you do not get an even trade.

Guild Name – SOE Approved!

If I recall right, to form a guild in EverQuest, you have to fill out a form that gets sent to a real person at SOE who must approve your guild.  You then have a short period of time to get 10 members into the guild or the guild will be automatically disbanded.

So every time I see a guild name in EverQuest, my first thought is, “Somebody at SOE gave that name the green light!”

SOE Approved!

Of course, maybe the process has changed or has been automated since I last looked into guild creation on EverQuest.


The Nintendo 3DS… I’d Buy One

The Nintedo 3DS goes on sale today in the United States and I am considering getting one.

also available in black

But not today.

I got to play with the 3DS at GDC earlier in the month.  I did not mention that in my GDC post.  I’d like to say that I planned that in advance, holding back until the 3DS launch, but actually I just forgot.

In my 10 minutes of play I got to try out their augmented reality demo, which uses the two cameras on the back of the unit and some cards placed on a table top to create 3D images that appear to be on your table.  I then had to move the unit around to target and shoot things.

As a compelling game, it wasn’t so good, but as a technological demonstration it was interesting.  While everybody talks about the 3D aspect of the unit, it also has a 3D axis gyroscope and accelerometer so that the motion of the unit can be used as an aspect of game play.  If you have an iPhone, this is no big news, but it does add something new to the Nintendo platform.  Already one of the launch with one of the titles, Steel Diver, a submarine game, you can sit in an office chair and rotate your periscope by spinning around in the chair.  I expect (and hope) that we will see more of this sort of thing.  Some of it will be used as a gimmick, but somebody will find new ways to have us play games with this tech.

And there is also the expanded wireless capabilities.  The Nintendo DS line has always had wireless built-in, but it has not always been exploited very well.  The DSi models added in the ability to buy games for Nintendo points via a wireless connection.  But the new CrossPass technology along with some very Wii-like features, such as a Mii and a Virtual Console library that will feature games from past GameBoy generations moves things another step forward.

Then there is the 3D screen, which is a beautiful 800×240 resolution unit for the upper display.  The current Nintendo DS model line has a resolution of only 256×192 on both upper and lower screens.

And possibly the best thing about that new screen is that you can turn the 3D off and just have a nice big display.

Not that the 3D is bad.  The augmented reality game certainly showed that 3D works well enough without glasses.  And I watched the 3D trailer for the movie Rio on the 3DS.  I happened to have seen that trailer in the theater in 3D already, so I was able to compare quality.

It looked VERY good on the 3DS screen.

The 3D was okay.  At times the three dimensions seemed to be “near, middle, and distant,” but on good effects it blended together nicely.

But the GDC announcement that there will be a Netflix streaming client for the Nintendo 3DS this summer is what has me really excited.  I could totally see watching movies on that screen.

But since that is not coming until summer, I am content to wait a bit.  By then there will be some more titles available.  Any problems will have been identified.  And maybe they will have done something about the battery life, which is a bit short compared to my current Nintendo DS Lite.

Of course, I do have one worry.

If I get one then somebody else in our house will want one… or will want to use mine all the time.

Another reason to wait a bit.

[Addendum:  See, it is this sort of thing that makes me shy away from newly released hardware.]

Sorting Through The Drafts

Usually when I start writing something about gaming I end up finding my way to the end and it becomes a post here on the blog. So it has gone nearly 1900 times in the last four and a half years.

Not always, but usually.

Sometimes I start off, realize that the post really isn’t going anywhere (really, something more pointless than my usual posts does exist) and I end up deleting it.

But once in a while I get an idea or I am inspired and I launch into a flurry of typing. Words pour out onto the screen and I feel that there is something tangible coming together.

And then I get distracted. I have to go to work or to bed. It is time for a meal. The cats are demanding my attention. Or, once in a while, I feel the urge to play a game rather than write about one.

So there are about 30 or so potential posts sitting in draft state that really need some focus and a few screen shots before they are up to even my very low standards.

A few of them were based on something that was happening at the moment, and that moment has passed, so they probably are not worth the effort.

I do not think, for example, a moaning script about EverQuest II crafting and itemization and why the instance group was going to play something else, an effort that predates Wrath of the Lich King and Warhammer Online, is really worth following up.

Nor is my exploration of what to do after the instance group hits level cap in The Burning Crusade really going to be very riveting any more.

But others still have potential. I still have a mind to finish them, to turn them into posts.

I just need some help getting motivated.  I need some focus.

So I am going to ask you, the reader, to pick which one of my potential posts to finish up first. You can help me prioritize the list. To keep the choice simple, I will limit the choices to items I think I can actually pull together.

The working titles and general topic descriptions for the choices are:

  • Explaining EverQuest to my Daughter – Trying to decipher 1999 for somebody who has only played WoW
  • He Said “Oral Arguments” – What goes through my head when reading Supreme Court transcripts
  • On Having a Blogging Philosophy – Finally putting together why I post what I post
  • Marching in the Sierras – My weekend playing war with a group of WWII re-enactors
  • More EVE Heresies – More features from other games I want to see in EVE

Below there is a poll.  The choice that gets the most votes will get worked on and posted in April.  No foolin!

I will also include a “none of the above” option if you want me to stay clear of all of these topics, and an “other” category where you can fill in your own topic suggestion, if you feel so compelled.

So which post should I get to work on for April?