Daily Archives: January 31, 2018

January in Review

The Site

Just trivia for the site this month.  A week or so back my phone buzzed with this announcement.

A New Record!

I found that amusing, though since I have turned off the alert for when somebody clicks “like” on a post, I am not sure who went through and clicked the button on a bunch of posts.  None of the recent posts at that point had more than three or four likes, so I assume it was somebody serially reading and liking posts.

Meanwhile, back in the day, WordPress.com used to give bloggers some end of year stats around New Years, but stopped doing that a couple of years back.  On the stats page there is an Insights tab that shows various meta details about your blog which now includes some annual details.  For 2017 my stats were:

  • Total Posts: 350
  • Total Comments: 1,429
  • avg comments per post: 4
  • total likes: 1,398
  • avg likes per post: 4
  • total words: 326,343
  • avg words per post: 932

It also tells me that so far for 2018 I am averaging over one thousand words per post, so the bloviation continues.  Also, the likes per post stat confirms that 21 in a day is an outlier event which has increased my average likes per day for 2018 to 5.

One Year Ago

As with most years here at the blog, it began with predictions.

Nintendo was telling us all about the Switch console, due in March.

I barely had predictions post before Daybreak announced they were closing Landmark, ticking one off the list for me.  That got people freaked out about other Daybreak titles, so I reviewed the list.

That also led me off onto a semi-sarcastic rant about an EverQuest successor.

It was also high noon for Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2.

With a new iPad I lost all my progress on Candy Crush Saga, so forswore the title forever.

I was also tallying up the results of my purchases from the Steam Winter Sale.  I don’t get why people like Stardew Valley so much.  Just not my thing I guess.  I did play a stretch of Train Valley however.

The long mansion road project was starting to hit home with me, but I kept on moving forward village by village.

In EVE Online I hit the 170 million skill point mark.  All those skill points and I still don’t use my capital ships.  After a false start we got the first update of YC119.  It had music.  It was also the kick off of the CSM election season.

In null sec there was a big battle at F4R2-Q that seemed to herald a new war.  However coordination problems with the local defenders saw us pulling back to Catch.

And in Diablo III we were waiting for the Darkening of Tristram event.  I ran through it quickly once, and then again to get some more achievements.  It was kind of neat, but it wasn’t the original Diablo.

Five Years Ago

Firefly Universe Online.  Was that a hoax or not?  I still don’t know.  And does the acronym FUO seem mildly obscene?

Wizardry Online joined the SOE stable while Pirates of the Burning Sea was sent packing.  Who is laughing now?

We got our full group together in Rift and did our first instance of the year, dying at least 100 times combined.  This lead to a side post about bosses and gimmicks and what makes a challenge.

In World of Tanks the instance group was scooting around. We even created our own little clan.  Potshot and I were totally going French.

In EVE Online, after a sudden burst of war fever died down, there was a surprise battle where more than 2,500 ships clashed in Asakai when CFC FC Dabigredboat led a supercap fleet in to rescue a stray titan.  The battle was so big that CCP did a Dev Blog about it.  Meanwhile, we were to be denied LEGO Rifters.

The DUST 514 open beta was officially open.  I still haven’t bombed anything from orbit yet.

Path of Exile went into full open beta as well.

Krono made its way from EverQuest II to EverQuest while I was wondering what people were spending their Station Cash on.

I was musing about MUDs again, and vendors who wouldn’t simply buy any crap you had for sale and dead rats.

There was a list of 20 games that defined the Apple II.

And I wrote out my yearly list.  This time it was goals, mostly because I was on vacation when I was supposed to be writing it.

Ten Years Ago

I started off with a helping of silly predictions.

I was bemoaning my inability to be a fan boy and parrying claims that PvE players were going to ruin Warhammer Online.

There were some pictures from my daughter’s LEGO birthday party.  Those seem to get linked on Pintrest quite often.

Then, with Tabula Rasa dead to me since open beta, I started wondering if there was any hope at all for a Science Fiction MMORPG.  This ended up being one of my most responded to posts of the time.  Plus, in addition to all the comments, PotshotTipaLemegeton, Gooney, and even Massively following up with response posts. This post still gets a lot of views every month. (And yes, I do think there is hope, I just don’t know when we’ll get what we’re looking for.)

And, along with that, I wrote about five LEGO Video Games I would like to see made.  And a few of those ended up getting made.  Imagine!

Then there was the start of the run-up to Pirates of the Burning Sea which, among other things, required me to invest in a new router as well as reviewing how to pick a server in a new game.  The latter was from a time when we assumed servers would stay crowded like they did in WoW.

In World of Warcraft the Saturday night instance group was hitting Scholomance, Dire Maul West and Scholomance again as part of the Paladin mount quest, Stratholme, then Dire Maul West once more for the Warlock mount quest, and then Scholomance for the third and final time to get all the epic mounts straight.  By then we were all level 60 which meant we could head  to the Outlands only a year after The Burning Crusade shipped!

In EVE Online, after spending millions of ISK, I managed my first Tech II Blueprint, then I couldn’t afford to build it. Ah, life in New Eden.  I also got my standing past 8.0 with the Caldari Navy and spent time hauling trash.

And, finally, in Lord of the Rings Online I was able to pick up my Bree Pony, the 2007 holiday gift to founders.

Twenty Years Ago

I got nothing.  I think we were all still playing Warcraft II and waiting for StarCraft to come out.  I remember a lot of people I knew being anxious for it to ship.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  5. The Coming Battle in 9-4RP2
  6. My 2018 MMO Outlook – Mining for Old Gold
  7. A Bit More Bag Space with WoW Patch 7.3.5
  8. The Million Dollar Battle Hangover
  9. 2018 – Predictions for a New Year
  10. A Return to Physical Netflix
  11. Quote of the Day – Satan Speaks on Lockboxes
  12. Delve – How Does One Value Minerals?

Search Terms of the Month

pokemon battle on middle earth.jar
[Heresy, both the concept and it being in Java]

swtor-digipass@go6
[Somebody knows their VASCO products]

everquest 3
[Dream on]

pokemon sun and moon solo run
[It is a single player game, so I guess that is any run]

what is the name of the third warcraft expansion
[That is the one we do not name]

war thunder plane with most bombs
[I think it is the He-111, at least for lower tier planes]

EVE Online

Early in the month I was in as part of our small deployment to the north, dropping citadels and making the locals come up to fight over timers, which went well enough for us until the locals finally got their act together and blobbed up.  We’d have done the same around Delve, just a lot sooner.

Then came the build up for the big battle at 9-4RP2, which distracted us from other efforts in the north.  When I finally came back to our staging system I found that the locals had been busy removing all of our citadels.  So I guess we’ll be starting from scratch on that front.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go saw the releases of more Hoenn Pokemon towards the end of the month, so my captured and caught numbers went up noticeably again.  I also finally got the last candy I needed to evolve my Slowepoke into a Slowbro.  I also managed to squeak into level 31.

Heartbreak moment of the month was finally seeing a Lapras in the wild, then being cheap and not using one of my few sure catch candies on the first throw and having it flee.

  • Level: 31 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 262 (+23) caught, 301 (+25) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Seaking
  • Current buddy: Horsea to earn candies to get that Seaking evolution.

World of Warcraft

I spent a lot of time with Pet Battles, right up to the end of the month finish of the Celestial Tournament.  I am also edging my way up to the 700 pet mark, for which there is no achievement.

I also carried on in Argus rather halfheartedly with my main and then worked on some alts.  I potentially will have quite a pile of level 110 characters when Battle for Azeroth ships, so I am not sure what I will do with the level 110 boost that will come with the expansion.  I am certainly not running out right this second to pre-order because of that.  The allied race thing however…

Other Games

I watched The Mittani playing Stellaris for a bit on the INN stream and then went back and played that for a bit.  That is my problem with watching people stream games, I just want to go play them rather than watch.  Meanwhile, Stellaris is still a good game in which you can get lost for hours.

I got fed up with War Thunder and uninstalled it.  I just got tired of high skill players haunting the lower tiers for easy kills.  Or maybe I am just horrible.  Meanwhile the interface that combines the game’s aerial aspect with tank combat and sea combat… I think that is in there… is confusing enough that I stopped bothering to pursue it.  I’ll have to get my flight sim fix elsewhere. (Also I had to use regedit to remove all of War Thunder, which makes it less likely that I will ever install it again.)

I was invited to play a couple of Jack Pack 3 games with Liore’s club, specifically Trivia Murder Party and Tee K.O., both of which were a lot of fun.  There is also an interesting “watch things on your computer screen, provide answer and/or draw things on your phone/tablet” dynamic to the whole thing.

Coming Up

Well, I would take a guess that there won’t be another huge battle next month in EVE Online.  Null sec needs time to ponder before another 6,000+ player conflict happens.  But there will be updates to citadels with the February release, some of which will make them easier to attack, especially if they are just sitting around out of fuel and unused.

Also we should start hearing something about the CSM election campaign season.

In World of Warcraft I have my eye on the level scaling changes that came in with patch 7.3.5.  Specifically, I want to see what going to Northrend at level 58 and spending 22 levels there is like.  Can I get through all the content before I out level it?  Will I need to take off my heirloom gear?  The latter idea bugs me only because I like not having to worry about gear as I play through the story.  Also, I want to do it as Horde to see if there is much difference between that and the Alliance campaign.

I will also keep running the Celestial Tournament every week until I have all the pets from that.  I’m starting to wind down a bit on the obsessive pet leveling binge… the week with 200% exp where I went nuts burned me out a bit… but there are still some key pets I want to get to 25.  Also I should finish up Argus and run all the instances I need to in order to wrap up crafting.  Doing LFG isn’t that much of a pain, I am just not fond of the “rush rush” nature of it.

We’ll see if I keep with Stellaris or wander off after a couple of games.

Also there are a couple of major sports events coming up, Super Bowl 52, which mostly serves to remind me how old I am since a couple of east coast teams are in it, and the Winter Olympics, so I can look forward to people complaining about how NBC has screwed up the coverage.  Somewhere in between the two is my wife’s birthday, better not forget that!

And, finally, for those interested in blog stats, I also have the 2017 blog stats for my other blog, EVE Online Pictures:

  • Total Posts: 183
  • Total Comments: 7
  • Avg Comments Per Post: 0
  • Total Likes: 19
  • Avg Likes Per Post: 0
  • Total Words: 381
  • Avg Words Per Post: 2

I am actually a bit surprised there were that many words, since the count does not include titles.  I guess I can’t keep quiet even on a blog that is supposed to be pictures.  The comments were split, 3 telling me I misidentified a ship, 3 of my copping to my mistake, and one “nice.”  Very few people click the like button or rate the posts there.  I thought the rating feature would be a thing, but it isn’t.  Ah well.  I’ll write more about all of that when it turns ten years old later this year.

Winter Movie League – A Fear of Hostiles

LET…US…NEVER…SPEAK…OF…IT…AGAIN.

-Po Huit, TAGN FML Chatter

Week nine of our Fantasy Movie League has passed, and it was a week of disappointment for many, some more than others.  The available picks were.

 The Maze Runner      $358
 Jumanji              $222
 The Greatest Showman $134
 The Post             $129
 12 Strong            $128
 Den of Thieves       $127
 Hostiles             $126
 Paddington 2         $93
 The Shape of Water   $86
 Phantom Thread       $81
 Three Billboards     $68
 Best of the Rest     $67
 Forever My Girl      $64
 The Commuter         $58
 Star Wars            $57

Week eight was one of those weeks where those who pay close attention to the last minute data were granted insight into an obvious winner.  Week nine, on the other hand, was a week where the eventual correct pick, Hostiles, had mixed projections from various sources and so we seemed to have all talked ourselves out of going with it.

This was especially painful for Po Huit who, in missing a week, has been prone to gambling on outlying options in order to catch up.  On Monday night last week he declared he was going with seven screens of Hostiles and one screen of Paddington in the TAGN chatter forum on the FML site.

I have to admit that I considered Hostiles as well at a couple of points over the course of the week.  At the high end of the projections I saw it would have been a winner, but the low end was really low, at which point it was a non-starter.  Meanwhile the projections for The Post were pretty consistent and seemed to indicate that it was a strong candidate for the best performer bonus.

In the MCats slack channel a group of us came to the same conclusion and, sharing our cards at one point, it seemed that most of us were going with seven screens of The Post and one screen of Paddington.  In an effort to not have a stagnant week I changed to The Shape of Water while Aure abandoned The Post for another lineup.

My Winter Week Nine Picks

Meanwhile Po Huit lost his nerve by Thursday and also joined so many of us on the bandwagon for The Post.  Even the last minute Thursday night numbers were not very informative.  Hostiles did okay, but not as well as Den of Thieves did the previous week.  Furthermore, since Hostiles has been out in limited release for a while now, Thursday night previews wouldn’t count towards its weekend, so there was nothing there to make me change from The Post.

The lockout time came and revealed that nobody in the Meta League bet heavily on Hostiles.  The only person to pick it was Liore, who had a single screen of it in her lineup.

And then the first set of estimates came out late Saturday morning that indicated that projections for The Post were overly optimistic while the high end forecasts for the Hostiles were on the money, so the perfect pick for the week ended up being Po Huit’s initial pick, much to his dismay, as the quote at the top might indicate.

However, there was one minor upset, when The Shape of Water managed to eke out a win over Paddington in the box office, something I was betting on, so in the end Po didn’t miss out on the perfect pick, which ended up being worth about $95 million.  A mere 107 people got the perfect pick, down from 981 last week.

Winter Week Nine Perfect Pick

However, his original Hostiles heavy pick would have been worth $90 million.  Instead he ended up slumming with the rest of us down the chart rather than gaining on anybody.  So the week nine results for the Meta League ended up as:

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $73,692,629
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $71,132,257
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $71,106,570
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $70,705,742
  5. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $69,723,620
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $69,672,540
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $69,672,540
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $69,672,540
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $69,418,420
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $69,418,420
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $69,418,420
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $69,418,420
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $66,893,415
  14. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $66,444,870
  15. Kraut Screens (T) – $65,589,752
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $63,784,347
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $62,517,054
  18. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $40,033,732
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There wasn’t a huge gap between the top and bottom this week.  If it hadn’t been for Elly, the gap between first and last would have been about $11 million.

Liore took the week, being the only one to even have a screen of Hostiles, Biyondios managed second on a slate of Maze Runner, Jumanji, Greatest Showman, and Star Wars, while Aure came in third, validating her abandonment of the over-player lineup with The Post.    And then there was everybody who went heavy on The Post followed by other assorted picks.

Of the seven people all-in on The Post, the top three, who went with The Shape of Water, beat the bottom four, who went with Paddington, by a mere $254,120.  Corr moved that much closer to Ben this week. You take every advantage you get I guess.  Elly was the outlier, going with Jumanji and seven screens of The Commuter.

And a side surprise was that the film Padmaavat popped up to 10th place for the weekend, despite being in only 324 theaters, making it the Best of the Rest.  It is the most expensive Hindi film ever produced, but it is the controversy that got it up the list.  It has been banned in a number of places overseas.

So after an middling performance across the board the Meta League ended up looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,006,350,981
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $996,116,095
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $945,303,784
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $935,038,182
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $929,618,554
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $913,807,490
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $888,630,672
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $862,787,129
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $843,041,005
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $823,462,488
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $784,332,849
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $752,926,650
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $751,612,840
  14. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $742,165,062
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $739,159,951
  16. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $735,413,781
  17. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $730,434,667
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $729,718,727

The only change in that list was Elly dropping down two slots.  I did drop Bean Movie Burrito from the list.  Not only did they start late, but they missed picking three weeks now, so it seems unfair to keep listing them.

And so it goes as we move into week eleven with the following choices:

Winchester           $274
Jumanji              $261
The Maze Runner      $230 
The Greatest Showman $167
The Post             $126
The Shape of Water   $114
Hostiles             $113
Den of Thieves       $90
12 Strong            $89
Paddington 2         $75
Three Billboards     $71
I, Tonya             $61
Phantom Thread       $56
Star Wars            $46
Forever My Girl      $45

The Commuter dropped from the list and there is no Best of the Rest choice this week.

The new movie this week is Winchester, which takes place in a house about two miles from where I live, while I, Tonya returns to the list this week despite having only hit 16th place in the box office for week nine.  I guess it is on more screens this week.  Still, it seems like another shot for Best of the Rest would be better, even if you keep I, Tonya on the list, but what do I know?  I bet on The Post.

So Winchester has Helen Mirren, which speaks to its merits in my book, but is the world ready for a crazy lady in San Jose who made her contractor rich with constant additions to her house?  I lived down the street from essentially that situation at our last house, and that didn’t get a film.  Okay, I guess it is supposed to be a horror film… historical horror drama maybe… and I regularly and consistently under estimate how they will do.  I suppose I should marvel that they got Helen Mirren for it.

Meanwhile, Jumanji still seems to be strong and there is the question as to whether or not films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year will continue to see a boost in ticket sales.  The only thing my gut says is, “Stay away from The Post!”  It has failed to meet forecasts every week.