Daily Archives: August 31, 2016

August in Review

The Site

I guess the site news this month was participation in the annual Blaugust event.  This year is was a more chill Blaugust.

Blaugust_2016

For the Relaxed Edition of Blaugust, you got to choose what sort of posting goal you were going to pursue.  You didn’t HAVE to do a post a day.  So, feeling a bit worn, I chose the “weekday posts” plan, which is what I usually do anyway.

And the, of course, I posted every day of the month anyway, this being post number 36 for August.  Go OCD Wilhelm.  I actually have leftover posts I didn’t finish.

I did manage to post them all to the Blaugust forum on Anook as some sort of proof that I was in the event.  Anook seems kind of dead this year however.  Gamer social network sites, still not a viable business plan yet.

Anyway, I should go nudge Belghast, the founder and administrator the Blaugust event, and see if I can bump up my commitment on the list to “every day,” since that was what I ended up doing.

I will likely do a further post-event summary next month, but Psychochild already has his up if you need something like that right now.  Be sure to leave a comment!

One Year Ago

It was Blaugust and a lot of people played along.

I told the strange tale of my first automotive test drive.

Project: Gorgon had Kickstarter success at last, then there were stretch goals, the grand total, and mapping out a plan going forward.

Blizzard, on the other hand, was facing bad news as WoW subscriptions dropped to 5.6 million, the lowest since December 2005.  In order to drown that our, Blizz had a big WoW announcement planned later in the week.  There was much anticipation.  I speculated on what it might be, but it turned out to be the WoW Legion expansion announcement, sans cinematic.  Of course, once they announced it, everybody wanted to know when we would get it.

In EVE Online, it was all about Fozzie Sov.  People were complaining.  We had to take sov from allies in order to transfer it, at which point MOA temporarily scooped up a couple systems. Crazy days!  The Galatea expansion addressed some of our issues.

Then the Imperium went to Providence to test out the new sovereignty mechanics… and to purge the Jamylites with the blessings of Maximilian Singularity VI.  The resulting conflict is all under the Provi War tag here.

Meanwhile, CCP was doubling down on VR, adding EVE Gunjack to their lineup.

Turbine was warming up for the great LOTRO server upgrade and merge effort.

Daybreak was also planning server consolidations, these for EverQuest II.  They were also working on a server for misfit players, which seemed like a dubious idea.  And on the Stormhold server, the first expansion unlock vote came up.  The players said “no” to the unlock.  And in EverQuest, on the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers, the inevitable enforced raid rotation schedule was implemented, with an eye to keeping out casuals it seemed.

In Minecraft, I was discovering fire and putting our world up on a hosting service to share it with friends.  Xydd joined up and began working a lot on the nether, while Skronk began his own building project, as I tinkered with dungeons.  We had a setback with our hosting service.  It was a good thing I was keeping backups.

And I wrote a little something about the passing of Robert Conquest.

Five Years Ago

Blizzard announced some crazy idea that you would have to be logged on to Battle.net 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 was wondering if they had “made good” with customers after the great hacking in April/May of the year.

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.

Wargaming.net 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?

Ten Years Ago

This is the last time I have to do this before I can simply re-run five year old “Five Years Ago” segments, which is good, because bugger all seems to have happened a decade back this August, judging from what I was able to scrape up from Wikipedia year and month entries.

AOL, which apparently is still a thing even today (I strongly suspect my mother-in-law still gives them money every month), bought the GameDaily site which, in a case of foreshadowing, was eventually disappeared into the Joystiq brand.

The original Saints Row launched… on the frickin’ XBox 360.  Eventually its popularity brought sequels to the PC Master Race.

I started playing EVE Online on August 29, 2006.  That must have been my last “pre-blog” MMO start.  It was certainly another stepping stone on the way to the blog, as I felt I have to tell somebody about the horrible new player experience.  Some things never change.

I was also mucking about somewhat aimlessly in World of Warcraft, stuck in the bag-stuffing morass that was Stranglethorn Vale of old, trying to get past the level 40 slump on a few characters, and wondering if it might be time to run back to EverQuest II.  If only I had a regular group to do something like run dungeon content in Azeroth!

Features Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Ah SynCaine, the raider who burned out on WoW and who has been damning it ever since.  Somebody who can flame bait like no other, the only person on who regularly comments on my blog whom my mother thought was “mean.”  In many ways the anti-me in posting, always blazing in the purity of his point where I tend to hedge.  He’s been a pain in the ass for almost the lifetime of this blog, but without him, what would our little corner of the internet be?  Also, he is in GSF now, so Imperium solidarity.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

The site isn’t what it once was, and I’ve long since been stricken from the list of blogs covered.  But it is still a place of great MMO blogging significance to me, the cornerstone of a group of bloggers who crossed paths in posts and comments and cross-links over the last decade.  And, as I mentioned earlier in the week, the VirginWorlds podcast archives, which was at its peak from 2006 into 2008, is a treasure.  I still go back and listen to some of the old shows now and again, as Brent often captured what people were thinking and saying about various games so well.

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. Executive Outcomes Leaves The Imperium
  2. Breaking into Delve
  3. Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount
  4. Cross Country to Frostfire Ridge and the Bloodmaul Slag Mines
  5. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  6. The Pokemon 20th Anniversary Continues with an Arceus Event and More
  7. I Bet Blizzard Really Wants to Mention Subscription Numbers About Now…
  8. Pondering That Legion Level 100 Boost
  9. Can Better PvE Save New Eden?
  10. Who Has Successfully Changed Horses Midstream?
  11. Fresh from the Legion Invasion Event
  12. Demon Invasion? What, Me Worry?

Search Terms of the Month

middle earth gamea for 2017
[Maybe LOTRO will still be around…]

85 beastlord where to molo
[Get your mojo on when you molo!]

eve online drop outs
[EVE University issue?]

i free won warlods of draenor
[I bet you did]

will clone wars adventures come back
[No, it will never come back]

Spam Comments of the Month

Don’t make your site look like a Christmas tree. It’s a complete turn off.
[Unless, of course, it is Christmas]

Don’t forget to keep records of your cost for your ISP (Internet Service Provider) , email campaigns, online marketing cost, PPC (pay per click cost) and BC Ecommerce.
[um, right-o!]

diy clock kit
[Yeah, we know how home made clocks work out]

EVE Online

We completed the move to Delve and began taking over the region, one constellation at a time, raising the ADMs as we went.  We are about two thirds done with that.  At some point the casino barons paid Progodlegend one trillion ISK to bring TEST down to Delve to fight us.  Comedy has since ensued, including trapping a TEST/NCDot Machariel fleet in a dead end constellation and camping them there, forcing them to either die running the gauntlet or self destruct. (31 kills so far.)  One guy even ejected from his Machariel to avoid giving us the kill mail, allowing Jay Amazingness to jump into the ship and fly it off.  Good times.

Minecraft

It has been a slow month for me in Minecraft.  I’ve been on a bit to tinker, but I do not have a big project currently to which to devote myself.  I was working on a bit of a rail line upgrade and beautification task.  But that is a long, long project with all the rail I have laid.  Of course, I’ve also had other games to play this month as well, so I haven’t really sat down and thought about Minecraft much either.

Pokemon GO

Since I actually own an iPhone now, I started playing Pokemon GO.  Current end of month stats:

  • Level: 11
  • Pokedex status: 39 caught, 40 seen
  • Pokemon I want more of: Eevee naturally
  • Surprisingly rare catch: Geodude – Those are usually pretty common in the the Pokemon RPGs

World of Warcraft

Lots of WoW play time this month.  After wandering about a bit aimlessly after the 7.0 class apocalypse and garrison nerfs, the Legion pre-launch events hit and I was down with that and leveling characters up and trying to formulate some plan.  And then the expansion hit yesterday.  We’re finally there.

Coming Up

There is a whole new WoW expansion, what do you think I will be spending my time with?

EVE Online will probably be pretty quiet next month, with just the Delve conquest to finish up and maybe a Reavers deployment to recover the Jacket Dispersement Station in ED-L9T.

Just kidding, the lid is coming off in the EVE Online community with the announcement of a complete change up to boosting and a free to play plan coming in with the needs-a-name-now November expansion.  Crazy Viking game devs in action again.  I will likely have something to say on that front, though I am waiting for the dust to settle a bit.

Also, as noted at the top, there will be some sort of summary and linking out to everybody post about Blaugust.  And, given that this is my 120th month in review post, those capable of simple math might expect some sort of anniversary post to well up at some point in September.

I am not sure I will have time for much beyond that.  What else will need to be covered in September?

CCP Has a Plan for EVE Online Free to Play

Welcome Back Poors!

-Tweety Bird, EVE Online F2P forum thread

I was going to push this off to see how it plays out for a bit, but then I realized tomorrow was a new month and I like to mark events during the month they happen, so here it goes.

My initial reaction

My initial reaction

CCP announced today, via a dev blog, that November’s release, which is clearly going to need some sort of epic name that we can curse at some future date, will include a free to play option for the residents of New Eden.

The basic upshot is that, come the release, there will be two flavors of capsuleers, those with Alpha clones, who are non-subscribers, and Omega clones, who are subscribers.

Nothing will change for Omega clones.  We won’t even get the usual “please subscribe!” in-game cash shop currency bribe.  Instead, focus will be all on the Alpha clones.

Alpha clones will be severely restricted.  There will be a 5 million skill point cap on them and they will only be allowed to train from a specific set of allowed skills, which will be based on the race of the character in question.  So an Alpha clone Amarr will get lasers, a Caldari will get missiles, and a Minmatar will get a roll of tech I duct tape and the usual kick in the ass.

They also won’t be able to extract skill points.  Glad somebody thought of that hole immediately.  Also, no cynos, no cloaking.

This seems to be following the early SOE F2P, which aimed to make free play so limited that anybody who really wanted to play would subscribe just to be done with the rat’s nest of “velvet rope” restrictions.

The thing is, EVE Online is different that a lot of other MMORPGs who have gone the free to play route.  And EVE Online is very much a game where having multiple accounts is a force multiplier.  And the real question of the hour isn’t so much how many new players this will attract to New Eden, but how the current player base will exploit this new method that will effectively allow them to have as many crappy, low skill alts as they want.

The first, and most obvious hole, which even CCP brought up in the dev blog, is suicide ganking.  This will allow players to go nuts on that front.  But even if CCP decides it needs to close that loophole, what else will players do with all those crappy, low skill alts?  Will a couple players being able to put eyes in every system in a region change the game?

I suspect that a lot of this, like simultaneous Alpha clone logins, will be locked down fairly quickly.  But still, having an alt hanging out in any system where you need eyes on only a login away will have some impact.

On the plus side, if/when your subscription runs out, your characters will become Alpha clones, only able to used the set range of skills, but you will still be able to log into the game a and chat with people.  More people in local is always better, right?  And when you try to do something you used to be able to do, the game will remind you that you need to subscribe.

Can't touch that!

Can’t touch that!

Anyway, this is a fresh item, CCP is still bouncing it around, and there are still a couple months to go before November.  We shall see where this heads.  I am sure I will return to the topic again, once things have settled down.

Others jumping right into the fray:

Bonus Assignment: Compare and contrast CCP’s play for EVE Online with Blizzard’s unlimited trial program for World of Warcraft.  Be sure to discuss what makes something free to play versus just being a trial account.

On the Edge of the Broken Isles

The boxes arrived last night, from which my daughter and I immediately extracted the code which would unlock the expansion on our respective accounts.  The included DVD was purely decorative.  And then it was straight into the game for a bit.

Unfortunately, my wife and I had other plans for the evening.  It was “Back to School” night at my daughter’s high school, so we spent most of the evening meeting teachers and hearing about their classroom plans.

Still, I managed to find a bit of time to play.

I didn’t have time to sit and think about what to do, so I did the natural thing and jumped into the game with my paladin, Vikund, who is my second oldest character and has generally been my “do all the things” vehicle.  I logged him in, accepted what I hoped was the last quest delivered by Khadgar’s Upgraded Servant for a while, and made my way to Dalaran where I got to watch Khadgar himself engage the spindizzy spell and move the whole place to the Broken Isles.

There was a bit of an introduction around the place.

Hey, they finally fixed the portals room! Been broken for ages.

Hey, they finally fixed the portals room! Been broken for ages.

But eventually the reception line led to the table where you got to choose your weapon.  Of course, as a retribution pally, there is really only one choice.

Yeah, like this is even a choice

Yeah, like this is even a choice

However, this wasn’t like some cheap hotel high school reunion where you pick the airline quality chicken entree and then they just bring it to you.  You have to go get it!  So a mild adventure ensued, at the end of which I possessed Ashbringer.

Best cinematic cue ever

Best cinematic cue ever

At that point, because I possessed the magic dingus, I had to go back to the order hall.  There I was presented to the bored crowd in the basement theater under Light’s Hope Chapel, out in the Eastern Plaguelands, which still looks like a bad neighborhood.  But I bet the rent on the place is cheap.

Hi everybody, my name is Vikund.

Hi everybody, my name is Vikund

After that I was elected Queen of the May, Man of the Year, and head of the order, something I am sure was unique to my character alone and based solely on my semi-competent performance in obtaining what is surely the one and only Asherbringer.  I accepted all of this with due solemnity.

You can tell by the way I use my walk...

You can tell by the way I use my walk…

After that they seemed to want me to do something, like these were not merely honorary or administrative offices I had been awarded.  They wanted me to go out and fight the Legion.

So I wandered back down the corridor, past the card room and the basketball court, leaving the solo phase I had been in up to that point, and thus joining a stream of other players, many of whom had a very similar weapon across their back.  Mere replicas I bet, created in envy of me and the one true Ashbringer.

Down the hallway, past the cloak room, I found my destination.  It was a map.  I had to choose where I would land in the Broken Isles to begin my one-man heroic assault on the Legion.

Where to go?

Where to go?

But I didn’t really have enough time for that.  We had to leave for “Back to School” night.  So I left Vikund there in the order hall, probably getting all Cameron’s dad about Ashbringer and sitting there polishing it with a diaper.

The actual first zone choice will have to wait until tonight.