February in Review

The Site

After a couple months I have decided that I really like the MMO Blogesphere feed that I put in the side bar.  I just wish it was a little more reliable.  I grow tired of seeing this half the time.


Life in the internet age.  I have tinkered around with a couple of things to replace it, including Yahoo Pipes, but haven’t really come up with something that work, works as I expect it to work, and works reliably.  So RSS Mix remains my sidebar feed of choice for the moment.

On a side topic, has Google Alerts become completely useless these days?  Back when I started to blog, I created one for the site URL to see if anybody was linking to me.  And it used to work.  A few years back I used to get the occasional notification.  Then it went quiet.  Then, a year or so later, it started telling me about ping-backs from my blog displayed on other blogs… essentially alerting me to the fact that I linked out to another blog.  Not very useful.  Then there was another long quiet stretch.  Now, in the last few weeks, Google Alerts has started sending me notification when I link to other posts on my own blog.  That is all I get.  Another Google mystery.

Finally, if you hit the blog last Sunday you might have been treated to things being displayed in a different theme… or several different themes.  WordPress.com allows you to preview all the premium templates for a two week period.  So I opted in for that to see if I could find something I liked.  As you can see, the template remains the same as it has been for over seven years now.  I have another weekend to go though.  We shall see.

One Year Ago

Raptr sent me a summary of my 2012 gaming.

Google changed how image search worked, causing a precipitous drop in page views.  Google giveth, and Google taketh away… though they have been heavy on the taketh front for the last couple of years.

I wrote of the problem with Bond villains.  And it wasn’t that they failed to drive Jags.  I also looked at the Netflix remake of House of Cards.

RuneScape joined the rare breed of MMOs with an old rules, nostalgia focused server.

I tinkered with Prose with Bros on the iPad.  That was amusing for about two weeks.

In something of a breath of fresh air in an argument dedicated to absolutes and bad analogies, with some game devs equating buying used games with piracy, EA admitted that the used game market wasn’t all bad and that the ability to trade in games might be propping up new game sales.  They still wanted to kill used games like everybody else in the industry, but at least they were attempting a moment of honesty about it.

The MOBA version of Warhammer Online was declared dead before it even left beta.  The good metacritic score for Warhammer Online remained of little value.

A group got together to create an Age of Empires II: Age of Kings expansion called Forgotten Empires.  This was before it was announced that Age of Kings would be updated and brought to Steam.

Blizzard and ArenaNet were both offering deep discounts on their MMOs.  I opted for Guild Wars 2, which has an awkward start for me.

The instance group was still without a quorum and a fantasy title to call its own.  We were playing a bit of World of Tanks, which gets awkward with four.  I also made some short videos about Crushing your VK and a cliff diving BDR GB1.  And I was working on my Soviet heavies as well as the French heavy tree.

In EVE Online we went back to EWN-2U, the scene of my first real epic null sec battle.  But null sec was pretty quiet, so we also spent time just flying in circles.  The Goons did produce a nice guide to EVE Online in the form of a .pdf called Thrilling Internet Spaceship Stories.

I was considering the REAL problem with levels and was wondering why nobody else did in-game music the way Lord of the Rings Online did.

And I answered the magic question, just how many times do you have to sign or initial things when closing escrow on a home refinance?

Five Years Ago

My 8800GT video card died.  That was the second one to go.

I had been looking at my dis-used GAX Online account and wondered what gamer social networking needed to be viable.  Since then, GAX Online has shut down.

PLEX showed up in EVE Online five years ago.  In game I got the mining foreman mindlink as a storyline mission drop, I upgraded to a Raven Navy Isssue, and finally bought the freighter for which I had been training, and got some ships blown up in the Worlds Collide mission… again. There was EVE Vegas.   And then there was the whole Goonswarm dismemberment of BOB, which made the BBC news.

I was still active in Middle-earth, playing characters on Nimrodel.  Looking for a class on which to affix the Reynaldo Fabulous name, I put up a poll on the subject.  While Minstrel won the poll, Reynaldo ended up being a hunter with a fabulous hat.  And when I wasn’t fooling around with alts, I was leveling up my captain who made it all the way to Rivendell at one point.

While over in Azeroth, it was revealed that my mom plays WoW.  I wondered at how active Westfall seems to be most of the time.  But the answer to that seems to be the Deadmines, which I ran my mom and daughter through. (No dungeon finder back then!)  There was a little pet drama with my daughter who wanted a raptor.  I also managed my first exalted status with a faction in WoW, the Kalu’ak in Northrend.  I wanted that fishing pole.

On the Wii, we had Wii Music, which was crap, and LEGO Batman, which suffered a bit from being yet another variation in the successful LEGO video game franchise.

And then there was the usual bog war shenanigans as somebody was still looking to blame WoW and WoW players for Warhammer Online’s failure to meets its subscriber goals.  I think we’re all over that now, right?  Warhammer did what it did on its own faults and merits in a market that was well known before they shipped.

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 February

  1. The Elder Scrolls Online – Mission Accomplished
  2. Warlords of Draenor to be a $60 Expansion? And Something About Insta-90s
  3. Raid Tourism – Being the 25th Man
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Echoes and Repercussions from the Battle at B-R5RB
  6. Grim Batol and Beyond in Cataclysm
  7. Return to the Heroic Deadmines
  8. Raptr Corrects My Perceptions – What I Played in 2013
  9. Is PvP a Requirement for All MMOs?
  10. Landmark and a Dire Vision of Things to Come…
  11. B-R5RB and the Death of Drone Assist
  12. The Downfall of Garrosh Hellscream

Search Terms of the Month

the coveted ccp “mystery code”
[And you could win one here, if you enter REAL soon!]

how to get to west karana from a lady merchant named analya
[When I say that, it rhymes. Does it rhyme for you?]

what happens when you mix root near with icecream
[They get closer?]

where is gm lirus now?
[Probably trying to forget.]

can you buy world of tank type59 g on ebay?
[Don’t you wish.]

dmca and mmo emulator
[You’re up to something totally legit I am sure.]

stone age man on raft
[How did that even get you here?]

Age of Kings

Potshot and I talk about going back and playing Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings now and again, but we haven’t really put much effort into the idea.  I was hoping at one point last year, when a reworked, HD version of the game was released on Steam, that it would be a golden opportunity.  Alas, the idea had to stew for a while.  Then a couple weeks back Potshot mentioned that a couple of old college pals (and at this point, all of our college pals are old) were interested in playing.  And so we have managed a few matches in the latter half of February.  I just haven’t gotten around to writing about them yet.

EVE Online

I have been a complete slacker when it comes to EVE Online.  I still have a Domi stuck in B-R5RB, left there since the big battle and another one hanging out in what was our staging system at least two move ago.  I suppose at least I didn’t put a lot of effort of moving things from Curse to staging systems in the middle of even-closer-to nowhere.  Ah well.  I did have an EVE Online contest.  It is still going as of this moment… unless you are reading this after March 1st, in which case it is over.

World of Warcraft

Things continue to move along in Azeroth.  I think we might be over the “so happy to be back” time of binging on the game.  The binge was part of the reason I was playing less EVE Online.  But it remains the game of choice for our group.  We still have a list of things to do in Cataclysm and then there is Mists of Pandaria.  That will take us out to the usual summer hiatus at least, if not all the way to Warlords of Draenor.

Coming Up

The great Diablo III revamp is upon us.  I expect to devote some time to the game to see if the 2.0 version can revive that Diablo feeling.  So far, so good.

I think that The Elder Scrolls Online is having another beta weekend, judging from the six messages in my inbox about it.  It is just about time for them to slip the launch date back a couple weeks to make changes based on feedback from the beta.  Or such is my gut feeling.

EverQuest will turn 15 in March.  What a long, strange something or other.

And, apparently, I will write some more stuff about RTS games.  I have at least one Age of Kings post to do and we shall see how far I make it in Warcraft III.  Optional blog name possibility: Talking About Game Nostalgia.

10 thoughts on “February in Review

  1. Ultrviolet

    “It is just about time for them to slip the launch date back a couple weeks to make changes based on feedback from the beta.”

    Not to be pessimistic, but I haven’t noticed any significant gameplay changes in the ESO beta since November, so I’d be amazed if they did anything but fix typos at this point.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Ultraviolet – That would be optimistic, wouldn’t it? Depends on your point of view I guess.

    Anyway, didn’t I just read something about them wanting to change the starter area so that old hands could quickly move to the more open game rather than feeling constrained in the tutorial? I might have dreamed it.


  3. Jean-Mira

    I just read this referenced post from last year: https://tagn.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/an-inauspicious-return-to-tyria/

    and wanted to mention two things: First, it sounds like your Firefox had remembered the password? If so, you should be able to look it up in the password manager: it has an option to inspect the saved passwords under something like Preferences -> Security -> Stored Passwords.

    “But if everybody’s password is four dictionary words, 3-8 characters in length, then the security gained by that many more bits is removed by it being four freaking dictionary words. And we’re all going to pick easy ones. We’re just like that.”

    Not really. The xkcd comic already compensates for that. That’s actually the irony the comic points out: That those four, stupid dictionary words (which you are told to avoid everywhere because they were easy to crack) in combination make a better password than those passwords people try hard to make secure (those with special chars, mixed case and numbers).

    Those boxes he paints show the entropy. Those common words have 11 each, that means, he assume only 2^11 = 2048 different words to try. In other words, not only does he assume dictionary words (more than 100.000 of them), but really, really common ones (only 2000, that’s the words a 5-year old knows to *speak* – she understands more). That gives 2^44, as he explained.

    And still, trying all variants of that is harder than cracking the allegedly good password. The reason is that while theoretically there are a lot of combinations for the “hard” password (about 65^11 =~ 2^69), using rules to create it instead of a real randomness (so it’s a bit easier to remember and to type) *radically* reduces the entropy (to only about 2^28 as he showed). And despite the rules that are meant to make recalling easier, the password is still harder to remember than those four simply words.

    Even with only a few characters, like only lowercase letters, but using really random ones, make a better password (26^11 =~ 2^52) than the ruled-based one.

    Hoped that helped.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jean-Mira – Helpful would be answering the question I always pose, and which was in that post, “Why does your system let somebody enter 1,000 passwords a second?” That seems like a profitable direction to explore relative to making very long passwords, especially since we have to deal with so many legacy systems that can’t handle passwords of that length.

    The password thing in Firfox was helpful, if a bit disturbing. I wasn’t aware they were all visible if you knew where to look. Will have to set a master password for that… which I am sure I will forget over time.


  5. Shintar

    Loved that old “everybody goes to Westfall” post, so true. I remember ending up in Westfall as a noob night elf because my nelf druid buddy had a class quest in Westfall to learn seal form. (Yep, druids were expected to make that trek just to learn all their forms…)


  6. zaphod6502

    I can’t help but feel the TESO devs are backing themselves into a corner. There hasn’t been a whole lot of positive press out there for the game. They may make a lot of money from initial sales but long term is very shaky.


  7. SynCaine

    Nope, still blame WoW players for WAR. Well, WoW players and MJ for listening to WoW players. Of course, I also don’t believe MJs next game, CU, will do much, so maybe I should just lay all the blame with him.

    I don’t see ESO being pushed back, but I do see a lot of rage over the bugs that it launches with. I also expect some great Eurogamer-style reviews for it, as the game really changes from what you see in the first 30min, to how it plays in the first 10hrs, to what it plays like after (at least up to lvl 11 so far).


  8. Jean-Mira

    ‘Helpful would be answering the question I always pose, and which was in that post, “Why does your system let somebody enter 1,000 passwords a second?”’

    I didn’t answer that question, because it is a fallacy. Even if the system is perfect, you should choose a good password anyhow.

    Or in other words: you concentrate only on one attack vector and ignore the rest. Security best comes in layers, i.e. your password should be strong, the connection encrypted, the password stored only using a secure hashing mechanism, etc.

    Aside from choosing not to use a system, the only layer you can and therefore should control is how strong your password is.*

    For example, assume the system allows only 3 tries at all. 4 number PINs are good enough for such a system. Happy! Now assume the password database got leaked (via exploit or an employer). That allows far more than 1000 tries a second.

    * And, of course, not to re-use your password in other systems. So when one system is compromised, it’s the only system.


  9. Jean-Mira

    Oh, btw, Firefox asked/forced me to set a master password when I agreed to store passwords. Don’t know how you got around that. :-)

    Actually, remembering the master password is easy for me, because I have to type it in several times a day.


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