Monthly Archives: November 2011

November in Review

The Site

Trend Micro declared this site “dangerous.”  Oooooh.  I am scary!

Which means the site is now blocked by their web security suite.  Thanks!

Of course the day I found that out, Trend Micro also sent me a note that they wanted to charge me for my subscription (which “protects” my wife and mother-in-law’s computers from, among other things, me) but the credit card on file had expired.

You can imagine that my desire to renew was somewhat tempered by my new renegade status.  I think we might just switch over to Microsoft Security Essentials.  It is free, takes up less CPU time, and frankly if Microsoft blacklists my site, getting screwed over by them is just another day at the office.

And, in an update to past site news, settled down on the statistics front after last month’s dramatic peak.  No further information was ever forthcoming as to why the peak occurred, why the founder said had be dramatically under counting page views, or why everything went back to pretty much the way it had been a week later.

But that is the nature of free to play I suppose.  And is a free to play blogging platform.  It makes most of its money on a few big players (it is CNN’s blogging platform, for example) and then attempts to up the ante a bit by trying to sell all of us two-bit players upgrades from its cash shop.

I have actually purchased the “no ads” option from said shop after viewing my blog while not logged in and seeing it full of gold seller ads. cares not for your taste in ads.  You get what they want to inject.

Other things they sell are premium themes so your blog can have a special look, CSS access to your blog so you can give it a special look all on your own (this way lies madness), extra storage space (though in 5 years I have only used 1GB of the the 3GB I am allowed and I upload a lot of large, crap pictures), video and audio hosting packages if you don’t like YouTube, and custom domain names.

But it is the domain name thing that WordPress keeps trying to push on me.

Fiddling with domain names is something I try to avoid, plus the only domain name I would really want,, is being squatted since The All Girl Network went down.  So WordPress tries to foist some really odd alternatives on my instead, like:

I am not sure what “” would even mean in the context of this blog.

Anyway, I won’t be spending $17 a year on that.  Maybe if I could get I would bite.  I like the idea that you cannot spell Cthulu f’tagn (or Cthulu fhtagn if you prefer) without TAGN.

One Year Ago

I was talking about group size and roles.  That has come up again, especially since SWTOR groups seemed to be limited to four players.

On the retro front, I played some Total Annihilation.  Still one of the best RTS games ever.

I took a look at the soon to be defunct EverQuest II Extended.  It seemed quite busy.  Of course, I went Station Access so I could peek into EverQuest II  (with some issues) and EverQuest as well.

The rump instance group was wrapping up another Summer in Middle-earth at the far end of the Lone Lands as well as in and around Ost Guruth.

At the same time, Turbine was putting crafting materials in the LOTRO Store.  Meanwhile, the OTHER LOTRO store, the real life one, wasn’t doing much for me.

CCP announced that they were removing learning skills from EVE Online.  I hit 60 million skill points and was going to get to reallocate some.

The Cataclysm open beta was coming to an end at last. I think part of the problem with the expansion was how long people were freely talking about the expansion… and playing it… before it came out.  We all knew what the hot new hunter pet would be and how much the world was going to be changedCheap copies of WoW were not going to fix that.

Back in pre-Cataclysm Azeroth, I was summing up my Wintergrasp experiences and moaning about missing the damn Hallow’s End mask quest achievement again.

On the Pokemon front, I finished the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.  In your face!  And the march to the release of Pokemon Black and White was commencing.  Oddly, no new Pokemon game has since been announced.

The news seemed to be confused as to whether or not flying cars had come at last.

And, finally, in the completion of a boyhood dream of mine, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, officially releasing me from caring about major league ball ever again.

Five Years Ago

Friends, neighbors, and my brother just back from a Middle-east deployment were all talking about Diablo II.  But Diablo III was nowhere in sight.

The WoW Saturday Night Permenant Floating Instance Group finished up Blackfathom Deeps, The Stockades, Shadowfang Keep, and started in on Razorfen Kraul.

The MUD client ZMud was officially replaced by CMud at ZuggSoft.  I am still using ZMud to this day.

In EVE Online the Revelations expansion was launched.  This was back when any update from CCP was a problem and you really had to start training a long skill before it was released.  That is different today, right?

In EverQuest, I picked up The Serpent’s Spine and tried running a new character though some of the new level 1-70 content.  I also set out a minor goal of taking screen shots to compare Faydwer in EQ and Faydwer in EQII that lead to posts about Kaladim and Kelethin.  Come to think of it, I took a lot more screen shots of places and never posted them.  Some day.

And in EverQuest II, Echoes of Faydwer came out.  Once I found a copy and got past the patching process and into the game, I made a fae swashbuckler and went to town… complaining about those damn flying carpets.

New Linking Sites

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

I do not know how you can NOT visit those sites just based on the names!

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Google Reader Alternatives?
  2. Beastlord to be the New Class in the Next EQ2 Expansion
  3. Han Killed Greedo With One Shot
  4. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  5. And Now I REALLY Want That SWTOR Authenticator
  6. The SWTOR Pre-Order, Authenticators, & Account Security
  7. Guardian Cub Price Check – Day One
  8. Star Wars – Impressions from the Weekend
  9. We Face Our First Boss in Telara
  10. EverQuest II Extended Is Dead – EverQuest II Goes All Free to Play
  11. Blizzard – Down Nearly 2 Million Subscribers, But Still Insanely Profitable
  12. Heir to the Empire – 20 Years Later

Most Popular Search Terms of the Month

Variations on “Google reader alternatives,” followed by “swtor authenticator” and “Guardian Cub Prices.”

A lot of people are going to play SWTOR, were less than thrilled with the Google Reader changes, and want to know how much gold a Guardian Cub is going for in WoW. (As little as 3K gold on some servers.)  And beastlords.  There was some interest in beastlords.

Search Terms of the Month

3d 240sx white
[Oddly specific, yet I have that covered!]

rainbow valley unicorn
[Shoot me now]

graphics scramble computer enters power save mode blue screen of death
[Welcome to Windows!]

Diablo II

I downloaded this from again just to tinker around and remind myself why I am still waiting for Diablo III and Torchlight II, both of which fell out of 2011.

It is still impressive, a decade later, how good of a job the game does in setting mood and atmosphere.  I am not quite ready to go sign the no colors petition yet, but I have to admit that I see the point of those who are worried that too much color might spoil the mood.

It is instructive to go back and play a game like Diablo II and have it rekindle what you loved about it the first time you played.  It is a simple, immersive, atmospheric classic.  It is also instructive that I have no similar desire to go back and play Torchlight.  It is a good game, and well worth the $20, but I played it out two years ago and haven’t gone back since.

So I have to wonder, will either Torchlight II or Diablo III make me happy when they finally ship?  Or is Path of Exile, with its serious Diablo II vibe more in the spirit I seek?


Rift has become the go-to game when I just want to play a game.  The goofy Fae Yule world event is going on which gives me a couple of daily quests to chunk out.  Several of the group members are working on trade skill, so I have two characters up around 30 out harvesting to help that effort.  It is very much the WoW replacement it was slated to be.

World of Warcraft

BlizzCon and talk of Pandaria got my daughter interested in WoW again, so we both resubscribed and have been playing some.  Rift is taking most of my MMO time though, so I have not been playing much.  I go in fits and starts.

My daughter, on the other hand, caught fire in WoW over the Thanksgiving break, coming up with a plan to finally hit level cap with her then level 74 hunter.  This meant letting her play more WoW than I probably should have allowed, but I was impressed by her determination and that she actually stuck to a timeline that extended beyond the next hour of her day.  She is at an age where she will complain about having to do any task… homework, chores, brushing teeth… for at least twice as long as it would actually take to complete it, so to see her work at something over the course of several days was a serious change.  Now I just have to figure out how to get her to focus that ability on something else like a sport or multiplication tables or some such.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I got to play in the beta for a couple of weeks.  The game will be ready for prime time come December 20th. I personally did not find the game all that compelling.  The starter areas, which should be the fun hook to get you into the game, failed to inspire me to keep playing.  More than once I logged out to play something more fun, and for me the list of “more fun” games is pretty long.  But this might just be an indication of the sort of faux Star Wars fan I really am.

And not only will the game be ready for prime time, but my attempt at a “perfect storm” weather forecast about five months back for the game seems to be coming to pass.   SWTOR will have all to suffer through all the problems that come with rampant success.  Whether it will hit the chest banging numbers that have been mentioned over the last three years remains to be seen.  As I wrote previously, I might come take a peek when that has settled down to a dull roar, maybe 6 months or so down the line.


A random, blog related bit that really didn’t have any place else to go.

Google has quietly decided to let people using pseudonyms back into the Google+ pool.  Of course, having been kicked out once, my enthusiasm for the product is now somewhat cool.

One of the odd things is that upon being kicked out, all of my circles and such went away.  But my name still remained active and I still appear to still be in other people’s circles.  So, from the outside, it might have looked like I was just very quiet for a long stretch.

Anyway, I am debating a to what I should do with Google+, if anything.  Reposting blog entries just encourages people to comment there rather than here and it isn’t like I get so many comment here that I feel the need to divide things up.

What is Google+ good for aside from Angry Birds?

Actually, that question applies to Facebook as well, except the version of Angry Birds that runs there is crap.  Rovio must not like Facebook.  So substitute in War Zone Tower Defense.

Coming Up

December means that whole summing up business.  Was 2011 the year of the sky, what with Skylanders, Skyrim, and Skyward Sword?  Were there any more sky references?  Do Angry Birds count?  And is there a platform out there that cannot run Angry Birds?  There is a version out there that runs on Samsung TVs for pete’s sake.

Sorry, I lost focus there for a moment.

Anyway, the current year must be neatly packaged, including which companies lived up to my demands.  And then vague projections about the next year must be made.

I definitely feel a post in me about what I like about Diablo II and what I hope doesn’t get lost in the translation to Diablo III.  I worry when I read interviews with the Blizz team saying they don’t want to make Diablo 2.5, because I think that might be what I really want.  We’ll see if I get to that.

Then there is the usual clutter, updates from the instance group, notes and thoughts on milestones, and that sort of thing.  Face it, after five years, I’m not getting any better.

And then 2012 will come and the Mayans will have to go out a buy a new calendar or something.

Will Crucible Remove That Incarna Stink from EVE Online?

It was an ugly Summer for CCP after the Incarna expansion for EVE Online went live.  There was a lot of anger, conspiracy theories, inaccurate shorthand phrases, “leaked” “secrets,” oblivious corporate responses, and just damned lies about sentry drones.  I will certainly have fodder for my “one year ago” summaries next year!

The whole Incarna debacle is kind of summed up for me in this picture.

The Immobile Hanger Door

That is the hanger door view that you got when you turned off the useless, resource hogging captain’s quarters that was the crown jewel of Incarna.

Gone was the view of my currently equipped ship, a helpful visual indicator when you have more than a dozen different vessels that  you use for various tasks regularly, along with all the functionality that went with it… like being able to right click and open the cargo or drone bays.  Ship spinning, one of the shorthand phrases that people grabbed on to, never had anything to do with it.  It was the loss of functionality that had been there for years that was the pisser.

Anyway, that hanger door never had a chance to hit me on the ass I was out of the game so fast.

And I was far from alone.

But months have now gone by.  The tumult at CCP has subsided.  They have paid a price in people and projects and have promised to get back to the core elements of the game that people have been paying to play for the last 8+ years; flying in space, fighting in space.  That is what people DO in EVE Online, right Hilmar?

And the first big milestone is today’s expansion, the 15th formal expansion for EVE Online, Crucible.


It is intended to be EVE Reforged.

The patch notes for Crucible are long and filled to the brim with very tangible changes and updates to the core game.  There seems to be something in there for just about everybody, from null sec warriors to empire care bears to those of us who just think space is pretty.  Even trails are making a comeback  along with a graphic update for my old warhorse, the Caldari Raven.

Crucible Raven – Pre-Release, with trails

CCP seems to be focused again on what matters to the players.

But will all of that remove the stink of Incarna.  Players have long memories and there were a lot of bitter words spoken.

What do you think?

[Poll mysteriously disappeared… no idea why]

And will CCP still be around next year even if they are back on track?

Reviewing My 2011 MMO Outlook Eleven Months Later

Back at the end of December 2010 I wrote a piece that summarized the key MMOs which were slated for 2011 in which I had some interest.  There were six games on that list and I was pretty sure that I could only invest myself into one of them.

Here we are about 11 months later and I think the results are about as solid as they will ever be.  I thought I also might get in the first year in review post, but somebody beat me to it by hours.  Oh well.

So in something like reverse order, let me review those six picks for 2011.

The Agency – Gone …and Mostly Forgotten

A really, really secret agency

Even back when I wrote the initial piece on the subject, I was skeptical that we would see The Agency.  There had been a strange hype and silence roller coaster going on with the title for too long for me to pin much hope on it dropping in during this calendar cycle.

And then the word came down.  The Agency had been cancelled by SOE.  It is gone and given its rocky progress (as seen/interpreted from the outside) it isn’t coming back.

All of which pretty much made my choice for me.

TERA Online – The Exiled Realm of Arborea Remains Exiled

Not Terra, no no no
TERA Online was always a long shot for me in any case, but how can you ignore a game that puts out statements like this?

TERA is the first true Action MMORPG, providing all of the depth of an MMO with the intensity and gratification of an action game. Players fully control their characters using the game’s dynamic battle system. Player actions can change the balance of power in a world threatened by dark powers as six allied races try to work together to protect their lands from marauding monsters, underworld dwellers, and evil scheming gods.

TERA raises the bar, setting new standards in the gaming industry. It is a visually stunning world with graphic quality above all other games in the industry. You will experience a new ground-breaking gameplay system where stereotypes of traditional MMORPGs will be broken. You will have full control over the attacks and the fate of your enemy. No more ‘pointing and clicking’ and playing combat relay with the enemies. Furthermore, not only do you control the action, TERA is also set in a world where the players will dictate the flow of the economy and individually impact the community environment.

That just reads like a desperate plea for help/attention when I say it out loud, but that might just be me.  I had to stop following them on Twitter because they would tweet well beyond the amount of information they had to share.

In any case, the release date for TERA Online has been pushed out to “Spring 2012” for Europe and North America, which put it out of reach for this year.

Guild Wars 2 – The Game Changer?

space bar... space bar!

Still the best logo of the bunch.

And for those fans closely following the dev reports and press leaks, Guild Wars 2 is the MMO that is going to fix all of our current MMO woes. At least that was the way it felt for a while this year, where it seemed like you couldn’t kvetch about any MMO without somebody popping and and commenting how GW2 was going to solve that (and every other) problem.

I remain skeptical.  It isn’t that I do not want it to be true.   It is more that I expect the game will probably find its share of new problems while discovering why some things have been done the way they were in the past.

Just like real life, two steps forward, one step back.

Unfortunately, one of the old school problems ArenaNet is having is getting to market.  One of my caveats for the game was that it might not ship in 2011.  If I were writing a 2012 MMO Outlook… and I just might… I would probably say the same thing, since it seems possible that it might not ship in 2012.

So a Guild Wars 2 was non-event in 2011.

DC Universe Online – A Rags to Slightly Nicer Rags Story

Men in Tights
At last, an MMO that actually shipped in 2011!  It went live on 1/11/11/

Granted, it has been through some rocky times since, but it has since made the transition to a free to play business model, which has shown some increase in the fortunes of the game.  As Smed tweeted last week:

Really happy with how DCUO is doing. Here are some interesting facts

DCUO’s playerbase is growing at 6% a day.. great to see all the new players!

700% increase in daily revenue (47% PC / 53% PS3)

More than 85% of daily log-ins are returning players.

Additional character slots and the Vanguard of the Heavens character skins are the two most popular marketplace items

Good for SOE.  I hope it lasts.  And I haven’t seen anybody beat Smed over the head for his quote earlier in the year about the expectations one should have for a subscription MMO.

The downside, for me, is that it is a superhero game and I am not really a superhero person.  And so my first update on the outlook list came while DCUO was still in beta.  I tried it.  It wasn’t really for me.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Just Barely in 2011

But it is Star Wars!
Here we come to the more recent tribulations.  Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to squeeze into 2011 with less than two weeks to spare.  John Smedley said [citation needed] that he thought SWTOR was going to be the last big subscription MMORPG.

He may be right.

But even if he isn’t, I hope it is the last one that fails to learn from the past.

Oh, sure, SWTOR has learned a lot from looking at other MMOs.  It is an utterly conventional MMORPG in the World of Warcraft sense of the term.  It is an easy to learn, easy to level up in standard themepark that guides you through a linear story line like… well… a BioWare game.  Story as fourth pillar and all that, though I have to wonder how big of an improvement giving me choices during a dialog really is when I end up tasked to kill ten rats no matter what I choose.

Well, it will be successful, at least for certain definitions of success.

It will be hugely popular on day one, which will be December 20th.  And to accommodate the rush there will have to be literally hundreds of individual servers in Europe and North America, most of which will have long queues.  It has to go that way because despite saying they want a smooth launch, EA wants to sell boxes before the end of the quarter.  So I have my doubts that there will be any throttling on that front.  And once somebody has the box, what kind of PR disaster would result from saying, “We would like you to wait for a couple of weeks before you start playing.”

So I predict that this will be the same old story.  Crowding, queues, angry customers, more servers, dispersed population, and then the usual problems of “Hey, I want to play with my friends, but we’re on three different servers,”  followed by some “Hey, my server is really empty” when a significant portion of the initial crowd hits level cap.

Anyway, my experiences in the beta and the way that the game is trending, which is to say down the same old path, made me cancel my pre-order.  I won’t be playing this is 2011.

I will be interested to see how EA and BioWare handles the server issue.  I hope they have a good plan in place and can execute on it.  But I also hope this will be the last huge fuck up hurrah for shards.  There are other options and the idea of server communities is grossly overrated in my opinion.

I will also be keeping an eye on how they handle the content question, whether they buy into Smed’s quote or whether they go the downloadable content route and sell any new content in addition to charging a subscription fee.

Plus, I want to see how soon they even get some new content online.  There might be six months to a year of work just making the game run smoothly if history is any guide.  And the bar they have set for content… fully voiced and such… will make it even a taller order than it would for other games.

So I will check back in six months and see what has happened.

Any bets on the price of a box in June 2012?

Rift – Comfortable Familiarity

Not a dye nor a floor wax

The twist here is that SWTOR is at about the same point in beta that Rift was when I said I was not going to play at launch.  Waiting half a year served me well.  The box price dropped to… well… free if you caught it at the right moment.  And everybody who rushed in early spotted key game play issues that Trion went on to fix.

So you can see how I might be keen to replay that plan.  I have benefited from all of you people pre-ordering the game and playing it on day one.  Thanks for clearing the path for me!

Well, I had another objection to Rift.  Another damn fantasy MMORPG when I was literally up to my ears in other choices.  And then the other choices pretty much stepped out of the picture.  Cataclysm grew dull, only part of the instance group was invested in Middle-earth, the Sony hacking shut down killed our momentum in EverQuest, EverQuest II didn’t fly for a number of reasons, Dungeons & Dragons Online didn’t click with the group scouts, and why get invested in Guild Wars when Guild Wars 2 is just around the corner and is going to solve all MMORPG issues known to man?

Plus nobody else seemed to be clamoring for a superhero game either.

So there we were at the start of autumn wondering what game might suit us.  Then faster than you can say “Deus ex machina,” Rift went on sale again.

And so we are in Telara, which actually seems to be sticking for us.  I think the whole group has logged in outside of the usual group play hours.  A few of have alts, are working on crafting, and are generally enjoying the game outside of the regular group.

It is similar enough to other titles to deliver what we want while being different enough to keep us interested.

Rift became the one game on the list that I was able to play… for one reason or another.

We will no doubt be playing Rift well into 2012.

What will happen after that… well… we will have to see what else is new by then.

EVE Online – The Return of Trails

As I posted a while back, one of the things that brings me back to my early days in EVE Online, when the game was fresh and new to me, was the trails streaming back from my Cormorant.

Cormorant Docking - Trails On

But trails were part of the classic graphics and did not make the transition to the upgraded graphics.  When the classic graphics went away with Apocrypha more than two and a half years ago, trails went with them.

Well, it looks like one of the things that might be coming back with next week’s Crucible expansion for EVE Online is trails.

The return of trails

CCP has a dev post up about the trails and why the old ones went away, what it took to make new ones, and how they happened to come together in time for the upcoming expansion.

Not sure that is enough to get me to resubscribe.  But trails, the new nebulae, and potentially a new ship to fly has me thinking about it.  One of the things that has always drawn me to the game is the graphics.  Space is beautiful.

It Is The Same Thing Every Holiday Season…

It wasn’t even Thanksgiving and yet some game already had their Yule rifts up.

Where will I find cranberry tokens now?

Actually, this seems to be part of Rift’s holiday season event, Fae Yule.

Fae Yule - Stay in School

And, as Potshot pointed out during the week, this is really the first Fae Yule, a seasonal event that isn’t the same as last year, because there really was no last year for Rift, having gone live in March.

Not that it seems to be drastically different that other world events.   Sure, it has the Christmas spirit attached to it.

The Queen dresses up her Corgi's like this I hear...

But there is also some sameness.  Close rifts… specific rifts… and collect another special currency.  This time around the currency is “unique snowflakes.”  I think they let SynCaine name it.

And no doubt I will end up with a pile of them sitting in my bank unspent, right next to the magma opals from the last event.

Still, it adds another element of seasonal fun to the game.

No gloom please!

And on top of that, Rift bonuses appear to be in effect for the holiday weekend.

This appears to be an MMO requirement for a weekend when we might have some extra free time, lest we run off to some other game I guess.  SOE has experience bonuses running in EverQuest and EverQuest II, World of Warcraft has their 7 year anniversary bonus going, and even TorilMUD is having a double experience and multiplaying allowed weekend.

Which, all and all, I would prefer to having to go out and shop this weekend.

Items from the Mail Bag – I’m Full and Feeling Generous Edition

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, a favorite holiday of mine because I happen to like turkey… and most of the traditional staples of the day aside from yams… and because there is no giving of gifts or sending of cards involved.  That can wait until tomorrow.  Plus we always host, so there is no need to leave the house, though we are expecting a mere dozen around the table this year, down from double that number in some past years.

So in a fit of tryptophan fueled generosity, here is some of what has dropped into the blog mail bag.

  • BioWare let me know I am in again for the SWTOR beta. Maybe playing a jedi this coming weekend can redeem what failed to charm me with blaster combat.  A pre-order hangs in the balance.

Already installed... just need to patch

  • Mike sent me five (5) special keys for their Facebook game D&D Heroes of Neverwinter to hand out to readers.  The first five people who follow me on Twitter and tweet to me the phrase “Gimme gimme gimme I can’t help myself” in reply to the twee that links to this post will get those keys.  Figuring out my Twitter account is the only mild barrier to entry.  (It is in the side bar.  And you must follow me so I can reply directly to you with the key. You can unfollow me once I give out the codes.  I probably would.)
  • The above mentioned Mike is also trying to connect with me in Linked In.  While I have created a net persona for Wilhelm Arcturus, I haven’t really gone that far.  I did, however, continue to build such a back story for a persona I create in high school.  It is easy in Silicon Valley.  I just had him working for companies like Taligent, General Magic, and Silicon Graphics.  People from those places have actually connected with him too.
  • Violeta from Best Games Media Group Ltd. wanted me to mention a new site called, which looks like it sells games.  It is probably some sort of scam.  Sure, fine, just pass me some more pumpkin pie.
  • I have a note from The Sims Social offering me 2000 simoleons (one of the in-game currencies… and not the good one) if I will come back and play, proving that no matter how many ways you tell Facebook to disconnect you from an external app, once that app has your data you can never be rid of them.
  • On the same thread of never being free from a game once you play it, Night Owl Games wants to let me know that Dungeon Overlord, their Facebook game, has left beta and launched a new world.  They even have a video on YouTube.  I tried this game back in June.  I could have sworn it was an SOE game.  Was SOE just publishing it, or was this related to the great big downsizing at SOE this summer?
  • Tracey, who might actually read the blog, wanted to know if I had seen anything about Continent of the Ninth Seal, a Korean MMO action MMO that might make it to the US next year.  Timing-wise, this might have be related to comments I made about blaster combat in SWTOR.  Amway, the answer is… well… I have now!
  • Christine Kane wanted to tell me about her article comparing Facebook to Tag.  However, the analogy breaks down really fast (when did the “cool kids” ever play tag?) and, frankly, aren’t we a little past something that says, essentially, “Hey, Facebook is popular!”  Sorry Christine.
  • And then a number of people… bots… mailing lists… whatever… somehow I got a bunch of press release about iOS or Android games which I am not going to bother to link because I do not own a device that runs either operating system… though if I had to pick one, it would be the Atari’s Greatest Hits because it works with the iCade.

That’s it.  Time for some more pumpkin pie.

We Face Our First Boss in Telara

Saturday night found us all online in Rift, and with the five of us our thoughts turned to group content.  Potshot had pointed out that once we were all level 15 we could attempt the Realm of the Fae instance.

All we had to do was get the whole group up to level 15.

Earl was actually on a bit ahead of time, so I ran out to help him catch up to where we were in the Freemarch quest chain.

About the time he and I were headed for where the group left off last week, everybody was online and we could assess where we stood.  The party as we joined up was:

  • Jollyreaper level 13 mage
  • Earlthecat level 14warrior
  • Ephemara level 14 rogue
  • Hakawati level 14 rogue
  • Hillmar level 15 cleric

I still hadn’t worked out what souls we all have allocated, but we’ll get to that.  The dungeon finder looking for group tool informed me that the group, as formed, was not eligible for any dungeons, as was expected.

You must be at least level 15…

But we had time. And since this post ran much longer than I thought it would, I am going to insert a break to keep the front page from being a mile long.

Continue reading

A Free Transfer to Freeport Missed, If Only I Had Known…

The SOE sites are still running the Live Gamer ads, despite the fact that Live Gamer is out as part of the merger of EverQuest II Live and EverQuest II Extended. that is part of the whole SOE “let’s go free to play” strategy.

Outdated Ad

One thing did catch my eye with that ad though.

Free character transfers to the Bazaar and Vox servers!

And with the EverQuest II consolidation, the Bazaar server is being merged into the Freeport server.

So I could have consolidated some remaining EverQuest II characters on Freeport, if only I had that information in advance.

Because SOE shut down those free transfers already, right?

The Shadows of Luclin Goes Live on Fippy Darkpaw

Yesterday saw the next EverQuest expansion on the list, The Shadows of Luclin, unlocked on the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server.  The expansion will be live on Vulak as well in another week or so.

Firiona Vie in Space!

(Incredibly awesome full box art image above (click to enlarge) swiped from Giant Bomb, which has more images of Luclin if you are interested.)

This follows the very popular launch of the server back in February, the unlock of Kunark in early June, and the unlock of Velious in August.

With The Shadows of Luclin expansion Fippy Darkpaw is now moving beyond the expansion where EverQuest was my main game.  Not coincidentally, my daughter was born in the same month that Luclin shipped, so I am not even sure if I bought this expansion.  I have the discs from launch, Kunark, and Velious still hanging around, but no evidence that I got to Luclin.  Something in my brain thinks I played until Planes of Power came out, but I think that is because I knew people who talked about/complained bitterly about that particular expansion.

Among the usual flurry of new zones and such, The Shadows of Luclin introduced:

  • Alternate Advancement, those beloved AA points that let you customize your character’s abilities.  Before Luclin, every character of the same class and level was pretty much the same.  After Luclin people began checking how many AA points you had and if you spent them “correctly.”
  • The Val Shir, a cat-like race was added in.  They should not be confused with Kerra, who appeared as NPCs in EverQuest and later became the playable cat race in EverQuest II.
  • Beastlords, a pet using class with something of a monk/shaman mix of skills, appeared on the scene.  Like hunters in WoW and Rangers in Rift, they seemed to be reasonably popular.  I knew some people who rolled up beastlords and got them to level cap despite having several level cap characters already.  And, in a surprisingly slow move, SOE will be introducing Beastlords in the next EverQuest II expansion, Age of Discovery, sometime around the end of this month.
  • New character models.  Who didn’t love that?  Really, that many people?
  • The Nexus, a teleportation system that began the trend  towards trivializing travel in Norrath.
  • The Bazaar was also added, killing off the unofficial Commonlands Tunnel marketplace and introducing a way for player characters to act as NPC vendors, leading to astronomical (and misleading) /played times as dedicated sellers left themselves logged in 24 hours a day.

So Luclin was a game-changing expansion for EverQuest, one of those points in time that people use as a divider. (Usually to divide between something like “good old days” and “that new crap.”)

And what heralded the arrival of this expansion on Fippy Darkpaw?  A message on the EQ Players site or a post/tweet from the EverQuest community manager?  Nah, SOE doesn’t seem to want to exploit nostalgia to promote their most nostalgia driven title.  Besides, they have other things to do.  Those random screen shots of the week don’t scramble themselves after all!

Even the Fippy Darkpaw timeline chart was behind the times when I checked yesterday, though it finally updated this morning.

Luclin Now Open

The unlock of the expansion was a completely automated non-event for SOE.

No, the first notice that Luclin had gone live on Fippy Darkpaw was a post on the time locked progression server forum complaining that AA experience is too damn slow.

Some things never change.

Now how soon until the first boss is down on the server?

If you want to follow my spotty, biased, and nostalgia driven coverage of the time locked progression server, you can click on and bookmark the Fippy Darkpaw tag for the blog, or the tag here, just in case somebody else posts about the server.  (Be warned, the RSS feed for that page runs about 2 weeks behind.)

And, as always, your memories, corrections, and complaints are always welcome on the topic, especially as we are now leaving the realm of personal experience for me.

Who has a Shadows of Luclin memory to share?


There was a post in the forums of each of the three expansion unlock messages, in case you want a more exact time stamp:

[Mon Jun 06 01:01:00 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>:The barrier to the Ruins of Kunark has been breached. Make haste, many new and exciting adventures await you in these foreign lands!

[Mon Aug 29 01:01:56 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>:The barrier to the Scars of Velious has been breached. Make haste, many new and exciting adventures await you in these foreign lands!

[Mon Nov 21 00:04:23 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>:The barrier to the Shadows of Luclin has been breached. Make haste, many new and exciting adventures await you in these foreign lands!


Smed Tweets that DC Universe Online Doing Well as Free to Play

John Smedley,President of Sony Online Entertainment has been active on Twitter again, this time giving updates on how DC Universe Online has been doing since the transition to a free to play business model.

QFT – You never know when a tweet will face a delete:

Really happy with how DCUO is doing. Here are some interesting facts

DCUO’s playerbase is growing at 6% a day.. great to see all the new players!

700% increase in daily revenue (47% PC / 53% PS3)

More than 85% of daily log-ins are returning players.

Additional character slots and the Vanguard of the Heavens character skins are the two most popular marketplace items

The change in business model appeared to have lured blogger Green Armadillo of Player Versus Developer into the game, and he has been posting about it quite a bit.

Have you joined the rush into (or back into) DCUO since the business model change?