Daily Archives: July 31, 2012

July in Review

The Site

It has been the month of Brazilian spam here at TAGN.  That wouldn’t be so bad, except that Akismet, the spam filter, seems unsure about my interest in comments that link back to sites with names like “Mala Direta Segmentada, Listas de emails, Mala Direta e Lista de email,” and so has dumped them en masse into the moderation directory.

Success Kit! Who doesn’t want that?

So I have had to go look at a few dozen messages in the spam directory every day.  And I have been nearly tricked a couple of times.  While 99% of the messages are of the standard generic blog praise variety, occasionally there have been snippets of text stolen from elsewhere that seem almost real, and which are almost always related to the post in question.  Two I almost approved at first glance:

Runic’s affable nature – something that’s evident in the snug cuddle of its games – means that rather than wringing their hands over the negativity that’s swarmed around Diablo 3 recently, they’re sympathetic. Schaefer sees features such as the real-money auction house as a necessity for certain productions.

And then on an EVE post:

The F1-spammer is another way of Gevlon to impolitely dismiss anything else that is not a succseful trader.Do you have 1 bil ISK after 5 years of EvE? You are a loser.Do you kill roids all day long for a measly 50 mil ? You are a loser ? Do you live in low-sec and destroy a T1 Badger on a gate ? You are a loser.Do you live in null sec and spam F1 2-3 times a week ? You are a loser.

That last one I am sure is somebody’s comment or post from elsewhere.  It does sound like a standard critique of Gevlon.

Anyway, I hope that Akismet will get on the ball here and start blocking the boys from Brazil.  For a month it is amusing.  After that though….

One Year Ago

Google+ was already starting to become annoying.

I tried Civ World.  I didn’t like it.

In EVE Online, the results of the emergency CSM Incarna summit were released with CCP basically saying, “Ooops.”

I hit level 50 in LOTRO, got into Eregion, and actually saw the door into Moria.   Only a couple of years had passed since I bought the expansion. Gaff was ahead of me, as usual.   Meanwhile, Isengard was in beta, but nobody was supposed to talk about it.

Getting lost… rules.

EA, BioWare, and their new Origin service got together and combined my accounts without bothering to mention they were doing it in advance.  Just another day at EA as I understand it.  Customers come behind their own convenience.  Still, I was interested in their authenticator and how it stacked up against others.  Can you actually buy those yet without getting the CE?

Speaking of authenticators, SOE made one available as well that looked just like the Blizzard model.  But they cannot be swapped, one for the other.  I got the official line from VASCO on that.

And on the SOE front, they announced that they were going to revamp Freeport, which I took as a waste of time.  (Plus, of course, Qeynos got shoved off until later.)  I am still not convinced that either revamp was worth the effort of the time spent downloading the assets.  But I am not sure Beastlords were either.  They seemed pretty broken when they launched.

The instance group wrapped up our last adventure in EverQuest II Extended.  There were a number of way the game wasn’t right for us.  It wasn’t just the ugly mounts.

The pending closure of Star Wars Galaxies lead to interest (and concerns) about SWG emulation.

But PlanetSide 2 news was coming.  I think they are in closed technical alpha at this point.

I started playing Need for Speed: World, a driving MMO.  It wasn’t a bad game with the right music playing.

Zynga helped reveal the two faces of Tobold.

And World of Warplanes was announced, which got me wondering if this might not be a spiritual successor to Air Warrior of old.

Five Years Ago

Hey, it was the Revelations expansion in EVE Online that was news a year back, and I was running through the updated new player tutorial. It was a huge improvement, though I ran into a glitch or two.

The instance group was still off in LOTRO for the Summer, though we were having issues at The Great Barrow when we weren’t playing Truth or Dare.

Vanguard was already planning server merges. 13 servers down to 4.

EverQuest II got its own magazine… again (okay, it was an SOE magazine for Station Access subscribers the first time around, but it had an EQ2 scantily clad dark elf on the cover!)… in the form of EQuinox. And they were offering Rise of Kunark beta access to subscribers!

Dr. Richard Bartle, keeping to his strict regime of “one controversial fanboi enraging quote every summer” said he would like to improve the MMORPG species by turning off World of Warcraft.  Seems kind of mild after this year’s entry and reaction!

Perpetual was making crazy-insane statements about Star Trek Online… like no Galaxy-class starships for you! Ships that size were planned to be “space cities” and quest hubs. Cryptic take note: If I cannot aspire to be Captain Kirk, I am not sure I want to play! Or just go read Tipa’s post on the subject.

The end of Auto Assault was announced by NC Soft and I took note and pondered a (silly) solution.

And I stopped in front of SOE headquarters for a picture. (Mirror universe Wilhelm, with goatee.)

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. Steam Summer Sale – Time For Damage Control
  4. Warned by CCP for Attempting to Cause Lag
  5. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  6. Panda-monium Breaks Loose September 25th
  7. Armored White War Tiger – Rift Steals Another Page from the Blizzard Playbook
  8. What to do in EVE Online – A Summary
  9. The War in Delve Ends… For Some of Us
  10. Notes from the War in Delve
  11. Why I Didn’t Buy Your 99 Cent App
  12. SOE Crosses the Streams, Mixes Vanguard, F2P, and Brad McQuaid

Search Terms of the Month

im human and i don’t know the path to the scarlet monastery dungeon
[See, not everybody uses Dungeon Finder!]

what is the reaction occuring in a rootberr float
[The reaction is me becoming much happier as I consume it.]

ubicación de los nazgul en flyff
[Nazgul in Flyff? I don’t want to know.]

one does not simply troll jita
[Actually, that is exactly what one does. Go look at local.]

Spam Comment of the Month

Packet-forging exploits have been used for some time to alter the damage players deal to monsters or receive from them. Combined with Meso Guard, hackers were able to fool the game into hitting them for -2,147,483,648 damage (the largest negative value a signed 32-bit integer can hold). Since the damage was a negative value, the Meso Guard skill then granted the player over two billion mesos. Hacking players used their ill-gotten gains to buy up practically everything in players’ market stalls, massively inflating the game’s economy by pouring untold billions into the hands of random players.

This from a comment which linked back to a Maple Story Meso (Gold) selling site.  Was this describing how they got they Meso?  At least it wasn’t more freakin’ Brazilian spam.

EVE Online

Things started off with a bang in New Eden.  I got back from a trip to find war were declared. (That last sentence was formed to make it a Futurama reference.)  I got down to Delve.. eventually… got into one giant battle, and then it was chase the bad guys or camp their station.  The leaders of SoCo, Against All Authorities, clearly had an agenda that did not include defending sovereignty.  You can define victory however you want, and they define it by “winning” the kill board totals every month.  Of course, they like to smart bomb their own fleet to get on blue kills, a fact supported by every kill mail I’ve seen.  You have to wonder how they would rank without that.  The Mittani has his own dismissive view of the SoCo effort posted.

Anyway, the war ended with three regions conquered (and -A- declaring victory because we didn’t take more), so we all headed back home.  Now we can rat, roam, and worry about how CCP is going to screw things up (from a null sec point of view) with alchemy and mining barge changes.  Of course, when there is not a war and an abundance of fleet ops, my status as a crap member of our corp becomes more obvious and the likelihood of my getting kicked for any number of infractions like not being on voice coms at all times, hanging out in high sec, or not logging onto our broken forums goes up dramatically.  So I am clearly hoping for another war.

Rift

The instance group remains on hiatus.  Our general target of “hit level 38” has yet to be achieved across the group.  So we still have that to take care of.

On the bright side, the new “all levels” version of instant adventure seems to be just the ticket.  I blew through two levels with that in very little time.  It seems to be the “help me skip this zone” answer to those leveling up an alt.

Despite the hiatus, I did spend some time in Telara.  It passed EverQuest II Extended as my most played game this month, according to Raptr.  But I have been using Raptr for less than two years, so you have to take that with a grain of salt.

And there was a Rift summer event, though it didn’t seem to stick around very long.  It is still Summer and all.  But it did involve fishing, so I participated in that aspect.  And I learned my Rift event lesson; pick up all the event related quests that you can, because when the event ends it basically finishes those quest for you.  You get credit, exp, and whatever reward.

Steam Summer Sale

I managed to get through the sale on less than $10.  Portal 2 was the winning purchase.  I have enjoyed that very much.  Railworks Train Simulator 2012 was one of the others.  I actually sat down one Sunday afternoon and attempted to play it seriously.  There will be a post coming up on that I am sure.

World of Warcraft

Darkmoon Faire.  That is what I have been doing in WoW every month.  There is a set of quests each time around that boosts your trade skills by 5 points.

Upcoming

What is on the horizon for August?

Well, the start of the launch frenzy begins with Guild Wars 2 going live at the end of the month.  I have no personal investment in Guild Wars, so I will probably just let that settle down and cure the major forms of cancer before I get involved.

But that is still practically a month away, leaving most of August for other things, even if I wanted to get involved.

I am tempted to give DUST 514 a try.  The major drawback is that the PlayStation 3 is hooked up to our one TV, and that is currently playing Olympics coverage every hour of the day that NBC deigns to allow.  Which, admittedly isn’t that many hours in the day.  NBC has to put Bob Costas in his cryogenic rejuvenation chamber for 18 hours a day I guess.  But it does soak up all of prime time.

There is a rumor that we are going to go attack somebody else in EVE.  We seem to be primed for it.  There was a pair of towers to defend the other day and the fleet call up yielded two full Drake fleets with people left over complaining they couldn’t get in.  Otherwise it is training up skills so I can fly in more fleet types.

Then there is Darkmoon Faire this weekend.  I will be doing that.  There are only two more before it is panda time.  Despite my lack of excitement, I have gotten a couple of messages from friends who seem quite thrilled at the prospect of a new WoW expansion.

And, finally, I am trying to get my daughter to write a guest post about Minecraft.  She plays on a PvP server.  She needs to explain how that even works.  But unlike her father, she seems like she wants to play more than she wants to write.  We shall see.

Defense Grid: The Kickstarting

While I do not think Kickstarter is necessarily stealing money from 99 cent app developers, I do remain skeptical of a some of the stuff being offered up for financing.

Sure, some of the stuff is great.  It was all I could do to keep myself from throwing money at the Steve Jackson Games Ogre Designers Edition kickstarter.  I played Ogre and G.E.V. back when they were in zip-lock baggies at the hobby shop on the peg next to Snit’s Revenge.

Only the realization that I did not need another huge board game I would never play overcame nostalgia and stayed my hand.

But Steven Jackson Games is a known quantity to me.  I trust them to do what they say.  Likewise, I trust that Jason Scott will produce the three documentaries that I helped fun.  It would be way, way outside his behavior norms to not do so.

Other teams I remain less sure of.  Despite being a fan of the original Wasteland, I could not bring myself to toss money in for Wasteland 2.  I’ll be happy if it comes out.  I just don’t have any sort of way to evaluate the chances that team can pull it off or whether the game can make the transition directly from 1988 to 2014 and retain the same spirit.  Some games are only great within the constraints of their time frame and technology.

And I am waiting for the big crash, some big seven figure funding effort that fails to deliver.  It will happen.  You know it.

So my donations via Kickstarter are few and far between.  But today, thanks to Zubon, I have one I cannot resist.

Defense Grid: The Awakening is one of my all time favorite tower defense games.  It is simple, clever in a Valve sort of way, looks good, plays well, and has all manner of different modes to play and defeat once you make it through the main storyline.  My hours played for the game, as measured by Raptr, are at the MMO end of the spectrum.

Well, Hidden Path Entertainment, the makes of the game, want to make Defense Grid 2.  However, according to their tale of events, normal funding paths just are not panning out for the indie level profit margins.

So they have gone to Kickstarter.

They have thought this out.  They have four levels of goals ($250K, $500K, $750K, and 1 million dollars), each of which will yield up a different result.  They have the many levels of support, each with various and sundry cool things.

The myriad rewards

And they have a video with endorsement from other game developers.

But here is the key.  For the minimum pledge of $15 you get a key to unlock the original game on Steam.  It is a $20 game, and you get that.  And you get it the moment you pledge.  And you get to keep it even if they don’t fund.

So even if this turns out to be vaproware, you are ahead at the base pledge.

Plus, you get a copy of whatever software they end up being able to fund.  So if it succeeds, you get the new stuff too.

Of course, I would prefer that you go pledge more money.  I would really like to see this run off the end and fully fun.

Still, if you were thinking about getting the original game, go support it on Kickstarter.  You can have it now.

I have already pledged and have a code for the game.  Of course, I already own the game.  I will have to have a contest or something at some point to dispose of the code.  But after the Kickstarter funding closes.  That runs until August 14th.

Go check it out.

TL;DR – Go here, give money.