Monthly Archives: August 2012

I Guess I Won’t Be Going Rogue

Some time back, as part of a sale now forgotten in the mists of time, Steam had a deal on City of Heroes, complete with the new Going Rogue expansion.

Woman pictured: Not Sarah Palin

I think it was $5.00 or some such lowball number.

That was a price which, at the time, I felt I could not resist.

A couple of years has passed since then.  City of Heroes has changed a lot, the most radical change of all being the conversion from a subscription game to a free to play title a little over a year ago.

But somehow I never quite found the time to play City of Heroes.  It was always too far down the list of games I wanted to play.

So while I had it installed on my system, but I never once clicked on the Play button in Steam.

And now there seems little point in clicking that button.  In fact, I will probably unintsall the game now without ever playing the copy I purchased. (Technically I played the demo back in 2007, so I have “played” the game a bit.)

NCsoft has announced that City of Heroes is going to be shut down.

November 30, 2012 is the target date for turning the game off.

And what lesson should we take from this?

That free to play is not a magic bullet?

That the MMO market space is over crowded?

That super hero games are a niche market?

That an awesome character creation tool (so good it gets you sued) won’t save you?

That NCsoft is good at shutting down MMOs?

When it comes to that last point, City of Heroes is another notch on the belt after Auto Assault, Tabula Rasa, Dungeon Runners, and Dragonica, so it seems difficult to deny it.

City of Heroes did last longer than most though, and no game lasts forever.

August in Review

The Site

Here we are at the 72nd monthly review post, and it still lacks in substance to the same degree that it did nearly six years ago.

Ah well, it is a habit by this point.  I even created a category for these posts.  I just have to go back and add that category to the first 62 monthly review posts.  I’ll get to that some day.  Now to come up with something about the site.

Well, there is the turning of the seasons… last month’s spam was all about Brazilian email list scams, this month it turned to Guild Wars 2 gold selling sites.  Always a sign of change.

My email inbox however seems to be primarily devoted to WoW related scams.  I will be happy for Mists of Panderia to ship if only because the phishing scams will have to find something besides panda beta access scams to send me.  I am at the level of more than one a day on those right now, all to an email address that isn’t associated with my Blizzard account.  Always amusing.

Well, maybe not always.

One Year Ago

Blizzard announced some crazy idea that you would have to be logged on to at all times to play Diablo III.  Glad that never came up again.  Oh, wait

SOE finally got a comprehensive server status page, and Scars of Velious opened up on Fippy Darkpaw.

I hit 70 million skill points in EVE Online and prepared to check out after the summer or rage.

I was back playing LOTRO for a bit.  I made it into Moria, then went looking for hoes.  I also wrote a post summing up my relationship with LOTRO up to that point.  It’s complicated. announced World of Battleships.  They have since changed the name to World of Warships, because we cannot have enough games we can shorted to WoW yet.  This got me musing on battleships and related games.

Meanwhile, World or Warplanes (another WoW) got a web site with cool pictures and stuff.

David Reid was telling people that Rift had ONE MILLION CUSTOMERS.  How one actually defines a customer was left as an exercise to the student.

I was still playing some Need for Speed World.  I was enjoying destructible terrain, though the weekend the police broke lead to some different destruction.

I mentioned some of the little things I liked in MMOs.

I was wondering about World of Warcraft Magazine issue 5.  It seemed to be very late.

And Namaste put out a Very Short History of MMOs video.  Wasn’t there a follow up video?

Five Years Ago

I won something in a contest!  A Warp Drive Active Shirt!  I still haven’t been to any sort of EVE Online event where it would impress people however.

And speaking of EVE, I started down the training path to get my alt flying a Hulk.  As with most such ventures, it began with mining in the modest Bantam frigate and the oddly shaped Osprey cruiser.  Also, our corp, the Twilight Cadre was founded.  I also wrote up a piece on how to find an agent in EVE Online (without external resources) that has become one of the most viewed posts on this site.

I received a copy of the first issue of EQuinox, the official EverQuest II magazine.  It was… thin.  And it had a dark elf on the cover.  You would think there were no other races in EverQuest with all the play dark elves get.

Meanwhile, Qeynos harbor was full of rumors about Sarnak!

Legends of Norrath was announced at SOE Fan Faire 2007.  I was not there, but I listened to the presentation live while IM’ing with Darren about what we heard, which included an interesting offer from Leonai of Online Gaming Radio.  I still have not actually played LoN.  I am just not the collectible card game kind of person.

I purchased the Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa Pre-Order box, only to find that getting into the beta, as was promised on the outside of the box, was not as easy as I had hoped.  You had to get access to the beta forum to get the information, and the beta forum was not letting people in!

In a strange turn of fate, I happened to take a look at PlayOn on the very day they posted their WoW Random Guild Name Generator.  So I posted a quick link to it, which in turn has become my most viewed post ever.  The popularity was related to some Google algorithm which put up this site on the first page of searches related to guild name generators.  And so, for a year, that post has been on the top of the list in my month in review.

I also put up what would become my second most popular post for quite a while, How to Find an Agent in EVE Online.  It only took CCP four years to make the whole thing less convoluted.

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson stirred up the “why so much fantasy?” discussion about MMOs and I put out my own views, to which I now just link back whenever the discussion comes back up again.

And, finally, it was a year ago when TAGN hit the 100,000 page view milestone.  We have had a few more since then.

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 August

I discover that being SynCaine is being successful, as my attempt to emulate him became my most popular post of the month.  And no Pokemon on the list.  How did that happen?

  1. Tortanic to Offer Custom Deck Chairs
  2. Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. Revised Roles and Mining Ship Memories
  5. Today’s Conspiracy Theory – The WoW 5.0.4 Patch
  6. WoW Drops More Subscribers Than SWTOR Has Left
  7. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  8. Free to Play and the Implied Social Contract
  9. Will Nostalgia Be Solely the Domain of EverQuest?
  10. Crazy Train out of Barstow
  11. Rift – Population Problem? What Population Problem? Factions? What Factions?
  12. CSM7 Minutes – Quantity Has an Annoying Quality all its Own

Spam Comment of the Month

Yes, and you can’t sig tank against a tengu with a scimitar and keep up with it. Even base sig is like 70 something and CN HMs have like 84m ER.
[I have no idea if this is true, or what it has to do with the SEO link that came with it]

Search Terms of the Month

Who still subscribes to WoW?
[A question Blizzard might have to work on soon]

pics of half open pokeballs
[Rule 34 in action I am sure]

are the asilomar conference grounds haunted?
[I have it on good authority that they are]

terry prachet noobs
[They have only read “The Color of Magic?”]

EVE Online

Life continues on in null sec, with one war ending and another beginning.  This latest war seems to be taking place mostly while I am still at the office though.  Or at least the fun bits.  Damn Europeans.  Anyway, I have shot a lot of structures lately.  Well, I haven’t even done that.  I have flow logistic for a lot of structure shooting, which is like being on the medical team for a miniature golf tournament.  Sure, people get hurt once in a while, but do they really need reps.  I was able to passive tank the POS guns last night while flying slow and in a straight line. (FC orders)

My high sec industrial alt has been plugging away.  I may have to tell his tale some day.  He has been on a mission.

Oh, and my main character, Wilhelm Arcturus, just celebrated his 6th year since creation this past Wednesday.  That seems like a long time ago.

Guild Wars 2

It launched.  It has sold a lot of boxes.  A lot of people are playing it.

Just not me.

Not yet, in any case.  I am going to let this settle down a bit before I jump in.  Yes, I missed out on the baseball cap and the super low priced karma weapons (limit, 49 per customer) and the bans.  And I probably will have to create characters with super cryptic names, since names have to be unique game-wide.  But I am willing to sacrifice.

My target point:  I’ll buy in when I can get a box (virtual or otherwise) for $40 or less.

It might be a long wait.


I have been spending my swords and sorcery play time in Telara for the most part, and I have been quite enjoying it.  I have another character at level 50 now, so that is a warrior and a rogue.

Sanperre Level 50

Meanwhile, the instance group is coming back together in Rift and the group is just 11 levels away from 50 as well.  We should be there long before Storm Legion arrives.

I might have to go work on a mage.  I have one.  He is level 12.  It would be something to have one of each at level cap.  But I have never really been a mage person.  We shall see.

World of Warcraft

Despite not playing much (I have been doing Darkmoon Faire every month with a couple characters and that is about it) I did download the nearly 8 GB of data that came with the dread Patch 5.0.4.  I then logged in all of my characters to consolidate pets and mounts and achievements across characters.  This caused Raptr to erroneously report that I had somehow earned 75 achievements the other night.  Industrious.  With nearly two months left to go on my annual pass,I figured I ought to see what there was to see.

Coming Up

Next month.  Well, Torchlight II launches, which I absolutely will be getting, as will Mists of Panderia, which I have no plans to purchase at all.  Heck, I will be able to create a panda if I want without it.  I just won’t get any new content otherwise.  But I still have a lot of Cataclysm content left undone, so why bother?

There might be another expansion unlock on Fippy Darkpaw.  We shall see how the vote goes this time.  Gates of Discord had a hard fight.  Will Omens of War face similar resistance?

Riders of Rohan rode on out of September and into October, so that will get saved for another day.

Fall is approaching, the traditional time for deep nostalgia here at TAGN.  What will it involve this year?

And, finally, people who did some math up at the top of this post will realize that another regular tradition of this blog is looming next month.  Now I just need to come up with a theme for it.

Torchlight II Launches September 20th

Runic Games put the launch date for Torchlight II up in their forums last night.

The official press covered announcement will no doubt come at PAX today as previously mentioned.

The big date is September 20th, which is a little earlier than I suspected it would come.  I was calling November 5th, but I will take it earlier if it is ready!

September 20th does put it right before Blizzard’s big panda expansion, but I suspect that while the fan base for the two games overlap, they probably do not compete to the exclusion of each other.

Now what becomes of Diablo III with its main competitor coming online in just three weeks?

Addendum: Official announcement on the web site and a new video:

The Station at UMI-KK Changes Hands

The station at UMI-KK, the system at the center of the war in Tribute for the last week, changed hands.

The outpost is now in the hands of the CFC, with a new name, “U MIght Have Lost Tribute.”

Northern Coalition also lost sovereignty in the system, which will no doubt soon be added to the systems already owned by the CFC in the region.

I would like to report that this all came about due to an epic fight… but I cannot.

While I understand there was some fighting, by the time I showed up with the second Drake fleet, it was all over.  And so we spent a couple of hours shooting more structures, which lays the groundwork for further changes of ownership.

Shooting a jump bridge

The only kills we got were based completely on the bad luck of the opposing pilots who chose the wrong moments to show up in our vicinity.

Picked the wrong time to use that jump bridge

My experience in null sec so far has been that there comes a point in these wars where one side gives up and seeks to minimize any further ship losses.  Have we reached that tipping point in the Tribute war now?

Addendum: More details from last night and the war in general are showing up.

Runic Descent… into Death

After one successful weekend with a full group, we came up short again.  Four of us were online when it was noticed that Jolly had sent a text indicating that while he was on the road for home, he would not get there in time to join the group.  So we had to come up with a plan.  What to do?

It was a dark, broodingevening in Meridian, the sky aswirl with clouds.

Gothic Horror anyone?

The weather around the city seems to have a number of variations, even when there isn’t a zone even going on out in Freemarch.  This time, the lighting seemed to deigned accent the pattern in Earl’s armor.

A mighty chest plate

But admiring the weather and its effects could only carry us so far.  We had to find something to do.  The group for the night was:

  • Gizalia level 38 mage
  • Zahihawass level 38 cleric
  • Earlthecat level 38 warrior
  • Hillmar level 42 cleric

Our plan… after the cut.

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Tribute – A Rumor of War

I seem to be missing most of the Tribute War.

Which is annoying, since the whole thing is happening practically in our front yard. The big battles in UMI-KK are only about a dozen jumps from the systems I consider “home” in null sec.

QPO is practically in our alliance’s front yard.

In fact, there was a flurry of corp and alliance wide messages this past weekend because because hostile forces made their way into one of the TNT held systems and put a cyno jammer into reinforce. There was a call to arms with a request for a full alliance ‘stand to’ in order to meet this threat.

And it took place on Monday at 17:00 EVE time, which is about the time I am sitting in my cube at the office thinking about what’s for lunch.

So while The Mittani dot Com has run a number of stories about the war, my own exposure has been limited.

I did get in a fleet last week that blew something up, and there was the titan loss in QPO.  But for the most part, a combination of life and Euro Time Zone battles has kept me out of the action.

Last night though, the stars seemed to align.  There was going to be a big timer related battle at UMI-KK, the system focus of much of the efforts over the last week.  And it was going to be in prime western US time.  Would I get in a fight?

More after the cut.

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Blizzard – Really Serious About Commitment

The time is coming, the pandas will be upon us soon.

Also coming up shortly thereafter is the end of my annual pass commitment.

I signed on for a year of WoW.  I played for a few months.  I got my special mount.

And, most importantly I suppose, I got my “free” copy of Diablo III.

But I am not feeling it for the pandas.  Not specifically because of pandas.

I just have no enthusiasm at the moment for Azeroth.

I won’t foreswear it forever.  This blog clearly shows I am nostalgia driven at times, and Blizzard hasn’t managed to eradicate all of the nostalgia factors around WoW for me.

It is about time to unsubscribe.  Blizzard, however, has other ideas on the subject.

I cannot just run out on my commitment!

Unfortunately, by my reckoning, my commitment was complete a while ago.

I did the annual pass in two six month payments.  I made the second six month payment on my annual pass on April 23rd of this year.  At that point in time, I had paid for my year and was done as far as I was concerned.  I ought to be able to cancel my account to avoid running into the next billing cycle.  Even Blizzard seems to agree, in principle.  From their somewhat unhelpful (in this case) help files on the subject:

Once your billing cycle begins using the payment method you have chosen, it can not be reversed or refunded. You will still be able to access the account and characters for the duration of your pre-paid time. If you need to take a break from World of Warcraft and are using a credit card for payment you can cancel your subscription so that you will not be billed further.

Today though, Blizzard seems to be more interested in keeping unwilling subscribers.

To minimize the impact, I changed my billing options to monthly and opened a ticket to see what they have to say on the subject.

My account remains active for now.  Making me keep it active at this point probably makes it less likely that I will return at a future date.  Billing problems annoy me, and I have been known to hold a grudge.

Otherwise I have a 18 hour and 58 minute window in which to cancel my account on October 22nd.

I’d better set up a reminder.  Until then, I remain still subscribed.

Anybody else see something similar with their annual pass commitment?

[And you can see how Blizzard support handled my questions about this.]

Today’s Conspiracy Theory – The WoW 5.0.4 Patch

I love a good conspiracy theory.  For me few things beats fanciful speculation based on cherry-picked facts and impossible to prove or disprove motivations.  It makes for grand entertainment.

For example, it seems to be almost a given in certain quarters that Blizzard’s decision to drop the WoW 5.0.4 patch today is an attempt to distract attention away from the Guild Wars 2 launch.

Evil pandas are EVIL!

If you ignore the fact that major patches and launches always happen on Tuesday in the US, that there are only so many Tuesdays between now and the Pandaria launch (which itself had to launch before the WoW year long subscription deal started to expire), that Blizzard always drops this sort of new content about a month before an expansion launch, and that it is a freaking patch that really only impacts people who are already playing WoW… with all of that irrelevance out of the way, you can clearly see the conspiracy unfolding.

So let us look at what the evil masterminds at Blizzard have deployed to spoil the Guild Wars 2 launch!  What bits of candy and other tasty tidbits will become to WoW in this spoiler patch.  The patch notes tell all!

Details after the cut to protect the young children from these stunning and graphic revelations!

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Guild Wars 2 – Officially Live Today

Fools rush in… and get the best names.

-Somebody who didn’t get up at 3am last week

It is Guild Wars 2 launch day.

The head start is out of the way.  Those who wanted official Tyrian baseball caps now have them… or have until September 12th to claim them.

They totally fit in…

And that was a lot of people.  A successful MMO’s worth of people.

The faithful and the hopeful spent their weekend putting the new game to the test, and hitting the level cap in a few cases.  Judging from the traffic coming out of the official GW2 Twitter account, the head start was not without its issues.  But Error 42 hasn’t quite achieved the fame of Error 37.

The individual issues were probably bad enough that it if they all happened to you, you could build a pretty decent case for another MMO launch failure.  Especially if you behaved badly or chose a name unwisely.   Or, if you were in a more benevolent mood, you could call it a huge success, best MMO launch ever… if you had gone totally soft, that is.

And while it is now launch day, and time for the unwashed masses to join in, I am not playing yet.

Guild Wars 2 was on my 2011 MMO outlook, which I wrote back in December of 2010, as a game of interest, but the time is not right.

For the moment I already have enough on my plate with Rift and EVE Online.  If I rushed out and bought the box, I probably would not play it until I was done with one of those two games for a while.  You know how it works when you have a subscription game and a non-subscription game, you tend to play the one for which you are paying a monthly fee.

Doubly so since I was never all that enthusiastic about Guild Wars.

But that is okay.  All of you playing are blazing the trail, finding the issues, and making the world safe for those of us who will follow in your wake.  And I will watch with interest what people have to say about the game now that it is live.

This gives me time to consider my choices for the game, starting with which race.  Fortunately Starfleet Dental has put together a chart detailing the races of Tyria to help me choose.  This important document, which I encourage you to read, goes through the races, the potential, influences, and uses.

Can’t go wrong here…

Well… not without uses I guess…

Then there are classes and such to work on as well.

And dances.  No MMO is complete these days without dance steps.

Plenty awaits me… when I get around to it.

Rift – Population Problem? What Population Problem? Factions? What Factions?

It was a quiet weekend in Telara.

While I have only my own server, Shatterbone, on which to base my observations, the weekend before last instant adventure groups at prime time were nearly full raid size affairs.

A Healthy Prime Time Group

This past weekend though, the numbers began to falter.   After a reasonable start, things began to fade. The biggest instant adventure group I saw starting Saturday afternoon had all of six people.  And four of them were the instance group, which joined together.  More common were groups of 2-4 players.

A small group is still manageable.  The requirements for each instant adventure quest gets scaled somewhat based on group size.  Twice though I walked away from groups because the size was too small for the task.

Once it was just my warrior and a rogue, and we could not take down the “one in seven” boss encounter.  Another time there was a zone event in Freemarch and there were just enough people to prolong the whole thing, but not enough to defeat it.  More wipes on the first boss in the event made me walk away again.

Of course, I imagine that the Guild Wars 2 “make our most dedicated fans suffer” pre-launch weekend had something to do with this.  And I also suspect that the impact of GW2 is being magnified somewhat by the fact that, at least here in the US, school is starting up for the fall quarter/semester.  Every district in my valley either started last week or is starting this week.  The universities are warming up as well.

And while the school starting won’t stop anybody from playing their favorite game, it does place time demands on both parents and children such that you might not spend time with your second best MMO.

So Rift is in a bit of a bind.

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