February in Review

The Site

The site is dying!

Look at these monthly traffic numbers.  That last bar is February 2013.


I have lost a greater percentage of my readership than WoW has lost subscribers, and if WoW is dying, then I must be dying even more so!

This month saw the lowest number of page views since late 2009.  There has also been a corresponding drop in uniques, those are the dark blue bars, though WordPress.com hasn’t been measuring that for very long.

As for the cause, my theory is that it is related to Google.

A few weeks ago there was a change in how Google image search works.


Previously it was like any other search, where clicking on the item returned would send you to the page on the site hosting it.  Now though, Google will grab the image directly for you, allowing you to search, view full size, and copy/download without ever having to visit the site from which the image originated.  Nice if you want to avoid malware on those sites I KNOW you surf late at night.  Not such a good idea if you run the site and are counting page views.

This actually had a much more dramatic impact on page views at my other blog, EVE Online Pictures.  Since it depends on Google image search for vast majority of its traffic, the change caused page views to plummet.


All of which would be meaningful if I actually derived any income from page views from the site.

Since I don’t, the site isn’t really dying.  Certainly other metrics… number of posts, number of comments, the actual page views for the post of the day… are all steady.  WordPress.com just doesn’t put up a handy bar graph of things like that, so it doesn’t have the dramatic impact that page views do when I go to the stats page.  Things will continue on here as they have for the last 6+ years.

But I suspect that there are sites out there which are hurting now due to the change at Google, if my theory is correct.  Ad revenues are already dropping on the web, now Google is killing off some page views.  That has to be making somebody mad.

Of course, this is just my theory based on page view counts and the fact that Google image search changed.  It could just be WordPress.com screwing around with how it counts page views again (or how it doesn’t count views directly to images on your site).  Or it could be that I just wrote nothing interesting this month.  Certainly the weekly adventure tale of the instance group has gone missing, as have most references to my actually playing a fantasy based MMORPG.  So who knows.

Oh, and as I threatened, here are the results from last month’s poll, where I asked what section of the month in review posts people liked the best.

Poll Results - Click for Full Size

Poll Results – Click for Full Size

The top result was the One Year/Five Years Ago section, which is my favorite as well.  Game summaries came in second.  I like those too, as they let me cover bits I never got around to making a post out of.

The “Other” results were:

  • All of the above – Thanks mom!
  • the end – Which I am going to guess is like saying the best part of school is when I get to go home.
  • Avatars that I jerk off to – I am not even sure what to do with this, besides wash my hands again.

Nobody voted for most viewed post… which was a bit of a surprise.  I guess that section is just for me.  New linking sites garnered no votes either.  I guess that once I have linked to you, you’re done with that section.  And, finally, no votes for the “Coming Up” section, for which I can hardly blame people.  It tends to me a quick, last minute “more of the same” entry, plus it is at the end of the post by which point I am sure most people have moved on.

One Year Ago

I made a video celebrating the first year of the instance group, which formed up back in 2006.  It was focused on what was essentially vanilla WoW and had a serious nostalgia vibe to it.  It got some views.

Then I made a video about Sunken Temple in the same vein that pretty much nobody watched.  That instance always got mixed reviews.  (And my video of the EVE battle at EWN-2U was more popular than both combined.)

Somebody stole our guild on Lightninghoof.

And Blizzard was making money, optimizing clients, and selling new mounts.

In EVE, the war in the north had gone kind of quiet.  There were some big battles over tower (e.g. EWN-2U, which was my first epic fleet battle, and 92D-OI), but the sov grind had not begun.  There was some fun around VFK.  I also noted that a “green” kill board seemed to be the norm for individuals.  Meanwhile, CCP was making money and giving us the occasional fun statistics about the game.

Trion gave us actual loot pinatas as well as a check box to turn off exp in Rift.

And, probably most importantly, we got standardized build templates for common roles.  Rift’s soul system is still deep and complex for those who want to theory craft, but for mere mortals it became possible to just get a workable build and go play.

As a group in Rift we made it to the Darkening Deeps.

I also figured that, due to the way Rift was progressing, it wouldn’t go free to play unless WoW did.  I am beginning to feel less certain on that assessment, especially with the departure of Scott Hartsman from Trion.

On Fippy Darkpaw, the Planes of Power expansion opened up.  For many the PoP expansion marks the dividing line between what counts as “classic” EverQuest and what is considered “the new crap.”

And EverQuest Mac was saved from the chopping block, going free for… as long as it stays up I guess.

Five Years Ago

The month started out with our Pirates of the Burning Sea enthusiasm waning.

The instance group was kicking off its Outlands efforts, after running the required equipment upgrade quests, with Hellfire Ramparts, though first we ran through lower Blackrock Spire and got access to Upper Blackrock Spire.

Turbine announced that Lord of the Rings Online had extended its agreement with Tolkien Enterprises out until 2014, with an option to go to 2017.  As a lifetime member I applauded this extension.

I went to GDC up in San Francisco and had dinner some members of the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective plus Alan “Brenlo” Crosby, and got pictures to prove it. (I had a beard then… and I have a beard now… this is becoming a winter routine for me.)

My daughter got a Nintendo DS for Valentine’s Day.

We played a little KartRider, which is still MIA here in North America.

I defended myself against some slander about me being a dwarf.

I summed up the annual EverQuest Nostalgia Tour.

And I found out my blog was worth $61,534.86,though I couldn’t figure out how to cash in.  Since then, the value of the site has gone down.  I blame the economy.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs… er blog… has linked this site in its blogroll, for which I offer my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit this site in return.

Most Viewed Posts in February

Kind of an odd mix of old and new posts on the list this month.  Nostalgia seems to be high on the list.  It is more powerful than some people can bring themselves to admit.

  1. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  2. An Unfiltered (and Unfair) Impression of Wizardry Online
  3. Notes from the War in Delve
  4. The Real Problem with Levels…
  5. The Nostalgic Call of the Emerald Dream
  6. More Than 2,500 Ships Clash in Asakai
  7. Missing MMO Music Features – LOTRO Leads, Nobody Follows
  8. Side Notes About Used Games
  9. Not Your Father’s House of Cards
  10. More Unspent Virtual Currency
  11. Thrilling Internet Spaceship Stories!
  12. Air Warrior – Vague Memories from the Early Days of Virtual Flight

Search Terms of the Month

daenerys pov boring
[Ain’t that the truth!]

lego minifigures tarot cards
[I’d buy that! But only if there was a Knave of Bricks or some such.]

what cool things you can buy for station cash for everquest
[Define “cool”]

anderson cooper look like elf
[Yeah, I will grant you that]

wizardly online is a joke
[Is this a wry comment on the game’s Asian origin?]

is it normal to get scammed by the mittani, chairman of csm ???
[It’s not unusual.]

Spam Comment of the Month

Check out [redacted] site if you want to see some funny second life blog videos
[There are no funny Second Life videos. Go to YouTube and search on ‘Second Life Funny’ and see.]

Oddest Spam Source

I got a few spam messages that linked to Ron & Barb McHugh’s Miniature Horse Ranch.

Has it come to this?  Spam comments to drive traffic to a miniature horse web site?

EVE Online

I managed to get into one fight over the course of the month.  Otherwise, things were mostly quiet.  Training continues as always.  I am set to get my 6+ million skill point boost when they break out the destroyer and battlecruiser skills, though in reality, that will just push me towards an even more expensive clone.  Grade Tau clones, at 30 million ISK a pop already inhibit me from small ship actions.  Losing a cheap frigate is all fine and good until your clone gets popped.

Guild Wars 2

So, I own it.  We shall see if it sticks.

Need for Speed: World

Stubbornness keeps me going here I think.  I have been doing the daily gem hunt… well… daily.  It takes 10 minutes or less and promises to reward players with better items with ever more consecutive daily runs.  At some point I will decide if this is really true or not and give up.  I am already past the 60 day mark.


The instance group successfully avoided Rift for another month.  Mrs. Potshot has actually been working on an alt, and I have logged in to collect my Rift Mobile app prizes now and again… I am almost capped out on planarite… but other than that, not much fantasy gaming going on of late.  Still, the Carnival of the Ass End of Telara is coming up.  At least that means a new scratcher game in the Rift Mobile app.  Go glass beads!

World of Tanks

All the boys in the Saturday night instance group are off playing tanks now… which brings up the “four of us, but only three can be in a platoon” issue… but we’re still having fun.

Coming Up

More tanks seems likely.  I am still a long way from my tier IX goal.  And probably a few more little tank videos.  I kind of like the under two minutes,”silly thing happened” video format.

More Rift… or Guild Wars 2… well… we shall see.

Potshot, who represents the pen and paper oriented wing of the Saturday night group has been looking for something closer to actual rolling of dice.  After being somewhat ignored during his online remote D&D campaign aspirations (sorry man), he has picked up Neverwinter Nights 2, which is at least more self contained.  I have that installed as well now, so something may come to pass in that department, if we can figure out how to get multiplayer working over the internet.

And GDC is coming back to San Francisco again late next month, but at $250 just for an expo pass, I am not likely to be attending.

12 thoughts on “February in Review

  1. milliebii

    I think you are actually seeing a trend. I have recently started regularly looking at EQ2 Wire again and noticed that the number of comments per article has dropped remarkably there. I have had similar feelings about other sites too.

    I think what we are seeing is a reflection of the state of the MMORPG genre at the moment. While we have seen a lot of games released they are being aimed at the latest generation of gamers. This generation operates differently from previous generations, More trash talk, less contribution to forums and Wiki sites. Also less interest in reading reflective pieces on blogs.


  2. bhagpuss

    I’m very pleased to be able to report that Inventory Full hit a record high in monthly page hits in February. Not only that, it passed the psychologically meaningless marker of 10,000 hits for the first time. I got 10,001.

    That was entirely down to getting a post linked on the official GW2 Twitter feed, which got me a week’s worth of page views in a couple of hours. Back to normal next month, I’m sure.

    Of course, since everyone’s about as cagy about their page views as MMO companies are about their subscription figures (or were when they had subs), I really have no idea if that’s good, bad or indifferent.

    It’s also quite noticeable that some of the longer-standing, best-established MMO bloggers in my Reader are posting less often in general, less about MMOs specifically and sounding increasingly jaded/bored/disillusioned with the genre when they do write about it. Fortunately there’s a steady stream of newer, more enthusiastic MMO bloggers who seem to be enjoying both playing and blogging.

    TAGN, however, remains wonderfully consistent, entertaining and just jaded enough to add an ambience of enviable world-weary wisdom.

    Quality not quantity anyway, eh? That’s what I keep telling myself.

    Keep up the good work!


  3. Stropp

    Oh noes. Should we expect many blog posts about the death of TAGN? ;)

    Seriously, I enjoy your posts and read them all the time, but the majority of reading is done through the google feed reader. I only tend to come here to post a comment like this.

    Why not try just using the more tag to send a post excerpt to the feed? That way your feed readers will be more likely to visit, but then again since there isn’t a profit in visitors, it doesn’t really matter if they come here to read or just use the feed.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Stropp – As I wrote during Syp’s New Blogger Thingie, I want to be the blog I want to read. I like to read posts in a reader too. I don’t mind commercial sites using excerpts in their RSS feed, they get paid on views, but I prefer to get the whole post.

    Plus, in general, I am more interested in why page views change, and what posts are popular over time, as opposed to the actual number of page views.

    Oddly… or perhaps not oddly… there appears to be an inverse relationship between how much of a post is me telling a story and how popular it is. Life on the internet.

    @Bhagpuss – I share all the numbers… I just don’t do it every day. Congratulations on your own milestone! It is nice to get a burst of traffic like that, then find out how much of it sticks over time.


  5. Ryan

    Never stop blogging. One of the four blogs I read on a regular basis. Oh, and in regards to NWN2 – if you need/want another lad to come and banter our way through the campaign, feel free to hit me up.


  6. silvertemplar

    I think there’s definitely a bit of a lull in MMO world at the moment. In the past Jan/Feb always had a big exciting launch. What happened this year? Even if people didn’t intend to play [newly launched mmo] , it still drew alot of people looking for their nostalgic Ultima/EQ/DAOC into blog world with topics related to why [newly launched mmo] is good or bad or not for them.

    Last year it was SWTOR wasn’t it (Dec/Jan release) ? That was a big deal and probably had blogs going way past March. In 2011 it was Rift/DCUO , in 2010 it was Star Trek Online etc etc. So this year, the first block buster release does not even have a proper date yet, it’s between Neverwinter and Marvel Heroes Online (MHO looking like Diablo to me though) and both looks like April/May/June release candidates.

    I mean the fact that a niche and hardcore MMO like Wizardry is the highlight of new MMO chattery says it all.

    People are still playing GW2, and i suppose that’s probably the more popular MMO to blog about. But i know, even for myself, new MMOs definitely draw me back into reading and participating in MMO blogs more often. Lately, nothing much is happening, there’s not even alot of hype over the upcoming MMOs (maybe for Elder Scrolls, but that’s still far off) , in contrast between Arenanet and Bioware in the last 2 years the hype and marketing was in total overdrive.

    Anyway another good google tool to play around with is Google Trends ( http://www.google.com/trends ) . Just type in “MMO” and i don’t need to explain the trend going on there, it proves my point. The last bump in MMO land was talks about Elder Scrolls in 2012 ! World of Warcraft shows a similar trend (as it goes down, MMO interest goes down) . Even Guild Wars 2 had a huge spike, and it’s now right down to where WoW interest is.



  7. Stropp

    That’s interesting. I would have thought that the more of a story you are telling, the more popular the post will be. Although, I guess controversy also drives readers.

    The posts you write about Eve, and your adventures therein, are some of those I enjoy the most. Even if I don’t really play it anymore.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Stropp – Posts like Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit, which has been my most viewed post every month for months now, have broader appeal than my stories, mainly through practical applicability and the kindness of Google.

    The way to get more comments on the other hand… at least relative to views… is to post something you know people will disagree with, which is what Tobold does in the name of discussion. The paradox there is that he seems to dislike being disagreed with. SynCaine does the disagreeable thing too, though he seems to enjoy disagreement. Both get many more comments than I. I have trouble trolling with a straight face.

    @Random – Basically, I do not know. It is my theory… and I think a reasonably strong one… based on what I can observe But I allowed in my text that it might just be WordPress.com screwing around with things again… emphasis on “again.”

    It is clear that Google image search has indeed changed and does indeed behave as I say, no longer bringing you to the page hosting a particular image. Likewise, page views are down, as are the number of search terms showing up in the stats, by about equal amounts over this time last year.

    Part of my reason for posting about this theory is to see if anybody else has noticed something similar. My blog tends to be fairly image heavy… it is a “memory blog” for the most part, and I find pictures stimulate memory better than words for many things… and my other blog is nothing but images… so it is possible that the “wall of text” crowd might not have seen any similar change… which would still support my theory.

    On the other hand, if they also so a similar decline, it is probably a different factor.


  9. NoAstronomer

    “…Posts like Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit, which has been my most viewed post every month for months now…”

    When I read the lead-in my first thought was something along the lines of ‘Holy cow! People have finally stopped trying to run Civ II on Windows 7 64-bit!’.

    Well not exactly, but close.



  10. Sarzan

    Moar tanks! I like those posts the best.

    Oh, if you are in a pinch for tankers for platoons, friend me and send a message. I’ll be on Sarzan or SarzanV2. Tiers 2-10 and everything in between!


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