Daily Archives: March 31, 2012

March in Review

The Site

WordPress.com, despite occasionally doing things that annoy me, does still represent, in my mind, the superior free blogging platform.  Blogger has caught up in many ways lately.  They now have built-in stats, for example, one of the initial factors that sent me to WordPress.

I even pay WordPress a bit of money.  I kick in the $30 yearly to keep the blog ad free, something I started when I noticed that the ads they were inserting were all from gold selling sites.  You’re welcome.

Recently WordPress has been trying to tempt its bloggers to use its new stats page, which looks remarkably like the old stats page, leaving people like myself wondering “why bother.”  To sweeten the deal, WordPress now includes geographical stats as part of the new page.  That is kind of nice.

Of course, I have been getting that sort of data for a couple of years now thanks to a widget in the side bar, but I appreciate the thought.  I will now have two data points for international traffic, though the WordPress data only started getting archived in late February.

Visitors from around the world

The color gradient isn’t quite to my liking.  Medium light orange to medium dark orange does not make for much granularity.  It pretty much says “The United States and Everybody Else.”

Still, it has some nice features.  When you go into the detailed view, you can click on a country and the map will change to show you its location.  Handy for the geographically challenged.

Look, Pakistan!

WordPress is even careful to shade the disputed area of Kashmir.  Of course, the feature has its limitations.  Your country must be of a certain size before it shows up on the map however.  For example, the Maldives seem to have gone missing.

Maldives? Looks like empty ocean to me

The same goes for some smaller islands in the Caribbean, the Faroe Islands, Monaco, Guam, and a few other small places.  Oddly, the map does zoom in for the Solomon Islands.  I am betting some marine was involved.

One Year Ago

Rift officially launched.  And while I wasn’t playing, the social media options integrated into the game made it feel like I was there.  And I don’t mean that in a good way.

Pokemon Black and White came out, which became the theme for my birthday.

World of Tanks was talking about going live in April.  There was, of course, a pre-order offer.  There always is these days.

Potshot and I made it to GDC thanks to Darren, where we were able to hobnob with the likes of Brian Green and Damion Schubert.

As with this March, March of last year found me spending time in EverQuest.  It was on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server last year, which at that point was still set in the original EverQuest zones.  Potshot and I were doing some classic things, like getting stuck in the Ocean of Tears and making alts.  And running out of money.

There were the newbie armor quests to work on, which required travel to Freeport at one point, something as hard as we remembered.  We also visited Unrest, North Karana, the Desert of Ro, and Najena.

It was also the 12 year anniversary of the EverQuest launch, and nobody was more surprised that I that I was playing the game 12 years later.  But no corpse runs please.

The instance group, still in Cataclysm Worgen form, spent a couple of nights in Scarlet Monastery and then went to Razorfen Kraul.

I put up a poll asking people which of several items in my drafts folder (current population: 35) I should buckle down on and finish.  I think everything on the list except the winner is still in my drafts folder.

And I came home one day to find the TV had died.  Emergency CPR (read: banging on the damn thing) brought it back to life temporarily, but clearly a replacement was going to be needed.  It was, after all, a few years older than EverQuest.

Five Years Ago

In EverQuest II, my swashbuckler Blintz became my highest level MMO character at the time, hitting the level 50 mark.

Meanwhile, I was still griping about the rise in the cost of Station Access, but at least I got something of an answer as to how my Station Access dollars were allocated.

In World of Warcraft the instance group, after a couple attempts finally finished up Uldaman, was then coming to a temporary stopping point at Zul’Farrak. Work would keep Earl too busy to play with us for the next few months. Meanwhile, a load of my other friends in WoW disappeared due to server splits.

Proving that random grouping has been a problem for a long time, there was a discussion going around about being able to rate people with whom you have grouped.  That option doesn’t seem to have come to pass.

CCP was whispering in my ear about resubscribing for their Revelations expansion.

And, finally, I had a comically large arrow stuck in my head.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following sites for linking here in their blogrolls.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in March

Pokemon barely beats out Mittens.

  1. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  2. The Mittani Removed from CSM7, Banned from EVE for 30 Days
  3. Reshiram and Zekrom Download Event for Pokemon Black and White
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Close Up with a Battleship – The USS Iowa in Richmond
  6. Pokemon Black and White Version 2 – Nintendo’s Least Creative Names?
  7. The EverQuest Free to Play Subscription Matrix
  8. Hulkageddon V: Unholy Union – Coming Soon
  9. LEGO Rifter? Do Want!
  10. The Mittani Retains Chairmanship for CSM 7
  11. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  12. My Drake Gets Popped in S-EVIO

Search Terms

runes of magic another cash shop pile of shit
[Which is why people are worried about GW2]

where is the action house in durotar
[I think you are looking for the Inn in Goldshire]

cannot remember everquest 2 password or secret question
[Then you, my friend, better call customer service]

EVE Online

EVE kicked off with a few fun events in March, but I was distracted for most of the latter half of the month by EverQuest going free to play.  EVE managed to recapture my attention via its usual method, excess drama, and then the CFC went on a full war standing and there were battles to be fought in my own time zone.  Hard to say no to that.

EverQuest

Free To Play.  That went straight to the nostalgia center of my brain… and Potshot’s brain as well I would guess… and so a lot of my mid-week free time since the EQ 13th Anniversary has been spent in old-ish Norrath.  New characters, new server, new guild, the works.  And alts.  I need lots and lots of alts.

We’ll see how long this lasts.  These bouts of EQ nostalgia can burn out fast.

Rift

The instance group continues in our WoW surrogate mode.  The Carnival of the Ascended continues on, spewing glass bead prizes and such.  All in all Rift is good, fills a niche for us, and will likely continue to keep us until we hit level cap.  But I think most of us have stopped playing alts on off nights and that sort of thing, one of the usual signs that we’re not that invested in the game.

World of Warcraft

I have an invite to the Mists of Pandaria beta, just like Blizzard promised all the people who went with that one year subscription deal.  The only problem is that I went with the deal more for Diablo III.  I doubt I will install the beta.  I have no interest in playing it before launch.  But they had better send me a pass for my daughter’s account.  She totally wants to play.

And for no good reason, other than the update to Raptr, I decided I would go out and earn one achievement a day in WoW.  Not literally one a day, but 31 achievements for March.

Coming Up

It is April Fools tomorrow and I’ve got nothing.  I tried to troll for a new blog title for a joke update, but didn’t get anything that really worked.  So I’ll just be watching other people’s April Fools.

The instance group will continue on in Rift.  We’re now in the low 30s, but at our rate of playing 3 hours on about 3 Saturday’s in a given month means that we will be at this for a while.  Or until Guild Wars 2 comes out.  Though with how Rift went for us, I think we might be pre-disposed to let any future game age six months before we jump in.

The war in Tenal is just kicking off in EVE Online.  The biggest factor in how much it will mean to me is the fact that our enemy, Raiden and whoever they are bringing to the dance this time, operate in Euro time while I am way over on the left coast of the United States, 8 hours behind UTC.  The return of Mittens event in Jita on April 28th should be interesting, and it sounds like things might actually be ramping up for Hulkageddon V.

And I have now had my iPad 2 for 3 months and have clearly settled into a routine with it.  I should probably what about it works for me and what does not.

Slow Times in Q1U-IU

After spending some time this afternoon laughing at the internet because… well… go read this, as it seems to indicate we do not all live in the same planes of reality… I realized I had not logged into Jabber.  Being able to log on during Euro prime time usually means ops running in EVE Online.

And I was not disappointed.  A fleet message popped up almost immediately.

The message was for the form up of a fifth fleet, there being four fleets already in Tenal and engaged.  A big battle was under way.  Time to log in.  I was actually almost too late.  I got into fleet, got onto coms, and headed out of the station.  We were already being vectored to the system Q1U-IU where the battle was under way.

Undocking and on the way

We were only a few jumps out, and off we went… straight into the mud.

Two jumps down the line we hit the same set of servers that were hosting the battle and time dilation kicked in at 10%.

in EVE, time dilation, or TiDi, is the method by which CCP keeps giant fleet battles under control when the server is being overwhelmed by activity.  To keep up with the ships and gunfire and missiles, the system slows everything down, with the maximum slow down being 10% of normal, or 1/10 speed.

At 10% TiDi, a one minute warp across a system from gate to gate takes 10 minutes.  Everything slows down.  Even certain aspects of the UI slow down when TiDi is engaged.  I opened and closed the local chat window a few times just to watch it slowly disappear.

So the bad news was we were in for a long trip to get to the battle.

Drake Fleet moving slowly in warp

Of course, pictures do not capture how slow we were moving.  I opened up Fraps and took a few video captures.  Flying through warp at 10% TiDi is very soothing with the UI off.  I will try to splice them together and post them, I just need the right song to go with them.  I was thinking of the Dr. Who theme running at about one quarter speed.

On the bright side though, the battle was going slow as well, so it wasn’t like we were going to get there too late.

We did run into some opposition ships, which was kind of comical.  Because everything is moving so slowly, ships can hang there waiting to be targeted for what seems like ages and still get away.  We did get a few when we stopped and waited for some to catch up.  Then it was the other way around as they slowly fell into our trap.

And, eventually we made it to the battle.  It was a big one. There were almost 1600 people involved over the course of events, stacked about 2 to 1 in our favor.  At then end we had six fleets operating in the system.  Not bad considering we were just getting into our prime time hours.

One of those battles

Things were still running close to 10% Tidi (I think we got up to 14% at one point) when we got into the system, into formation, and started the routine of calling targets, firing, and then calling the next one.  It was a target rich environment.

A nice fat pack of Abaddons

Once there, the fight seemed to take very little time.  Odd how time flies where you have something to do.  The fight took place mostly at the gate where we jumped in.  There was a report of some enemy carriers hanging around at planet 2, but jumping into that once we were clear of bubbles only ended up in a space traffic jam.

Drake Fleet and Alpha Fleet collide

Raiden and its allies were driven from the field and the kill boards indicate that the CFC did very well.  The results at EVE-Kill.net seemed messed up, with Northern Coalition ships getting counted in the CFC ranks, but the TEST Alliance kill board seemed to have things sorted out correctly

TEST Killboard Results

That shows us as killing 413 ships and pods for a value of 83 billion ISK in return for losing 48 ships and pods valued at just under 3.5 billion ISK.   A hell of an outing.

I managed to put another 20 kills on my own killboard for the month of March.

And the moment the shooting stopped, TiDi went off.  Still having several hundred people in the system wasn’t an issue.  But shooting all those guns and missile launchers, that makes the CPUs grind.

Then it was back to our forward deployment.  During the trip back we got a bit strung out along the route, which was not helped by my having to step away from the keyboard at one point.  And so it was I got caught by a bomber gang that was sitting and waiting for an easy target to wander into their sights.  The same thing happened to a Drake just a minute or two before me in the same system.

Nobody was close enough to save my ship, and so it went boom.  But a few of allies and at least one corp mate rolled in quickly enough to keep me from getting podded.

That was my fourth Drake lost in null sec.  I seem to lose about one a month.  And the motto of Drake Fleet, when it comes to losses, is “Who cares? It’s a Drake!”  They are indeed cheap and plentiful, plus there is the insurance payout and the eventual alliance reimbursement.  Plus there were already a couple of dozen Drakes for sale on contract at the forward deployment base, so I was able to re-ship in no time at all.

And, in something that must have been a sign, moments after buying the new Drake, I got a stack of notifications about the insurance expiring on almost all of my ships in null sec.

The CFC is in the process of setting Tenal on fire.