Probably the most annoying thing for me has been the unreliability of the blog roll feed side bar widget. It has been broken more often this past month than any previous time I can recall. There are times when it just fails to get the RSS feed and shows an error, but this time around there were problems with Pinboard which had some internal issues that caused it to fail to generate the RSS feed at all and, then, when that was fixed, remained stubbornly resistant to tagging posts based on which Feedly feed they came from, which meant the RSS feeds were there but were not getting new items.
This is what I get for using a Rube Goldberg setup that requires at least four services to work correctly and consistently. (And it isn’t always clear which one is to blame. Sometimes WP.com just times out getting the feed.)
It got to a point where I added a status widget to comment on what was up. I don’t know if anybody actually noticed that. The side bar of the blog isn’t a very often used feature. I can see that some people click on items from the feed when it is working. However, I suspect I am the biggest user of the feature. (My clicks don’t get counted in my own stats.)
Meanwhile, WP.com has given me a new metric so I am going to use it quarterly to give myself some new data point to post about.
Of course, because I took that screen shot for this post before it went live, this post isn’t counted. Add one more post and another 2,300 words or so and you’ll be set. (That puts my average words per post back above 1,000.) Or maybe I’ll update that screen shot after this goes live. It takes a day for it to update though, and I’ll probably forget by then.
Anyway, I seem to be on track for 336 posts and 330K words this year.
One Year Ago
EverQuest turned eighteen. Now an adult, it still lives in Daybreak’s basement and grumbles about how it used to be the center of attention before all these younger siblings showed up.
Blizzard officially announced that StarCraft, even older than EverQuest, was getting a remaster. We suspected it was going to happen, but it was nice to get the official word.
Flying was unleashed in the Broken Isles with the Tomb of Sargeras update to WoW Legion.
The Nintendo Switch launched. But I was still playing Pokemon Sun on my 3DS XL, binging on the Alola Pokedex. Then I had to figure out where the National Pokedex was. It turns out it is in Pokemon Bank. I was hoping for a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.
Disney shut down Club Penguin, hoping to force players onto their new mobile app, Club Penguin Island. Mobile is always better, right?
In Minecraft, the long road to the forest mansion I found was nearly done.
In EVE Online I took a trip out to Oasa and back.
Blog Banter #80 was on the topic of the CSM, something about which I has opinions! It was a timely topic as the voting for CSM12 was just kicking off. In the mean time Gevlon declared that CCP was picking winners… though not CSM winners I guess.
We had a dev blog about refineries coming to New Eden. Moon mining was going to change and it seemed like the end of the POS was coming at last. There was also an announcement about changing PLEX, breaking it up into 500 pieces and replacing Aurum with PLEX. But not that free Aurum they gave you, though they relented on that after some outcry.
And, finally, we had to say good-bye to our cat Oscar after 17 years.
Five Years Ago
Dave Georgeson of SOE said MMOs should never die. A noble sentiment at the time, it rang a bit hollow just a year and five SOE MMO closure announcements later. Business is business.
Meanwhile, Blizzard was saying they were blindsided by the popularity of the auction house in Diablo III. They were nearly a year late on that revelation.
On a similar theme, EA launched a new version of SimCity, pretty much ignoring the obvious expectations the franchise came with. I could only wonder if they learned anything from their efforts.
The instance group was doing some Rift content as a four player group. This was the time of our long hiatus, though we got a full group now and again. And when it was just the three of us, we ended up playing Neverwinter Nights 2 instead.
EON Magazine was closing its doors, marking the end of an era in EVE Online.
I finished up all the things in Wayfaerer Foothills, which sort of ended my time in Guild Wars 2.
Then there was the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, which seemed more marketing tool than funding effort, and which hit its number in 11 days. Still, Lord British felt the need to stir the pot by declaring most game designers suck… and are lazy… and are not as good as him. Then he claimed he was taken out of context and not just saying things for cheap publicity. As the month closed, his Kickstarter was wrapping up, but Camelot Unchained was coming.
It was announced that Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was getting updated to run on modern machines with better graphics. That set me on five other older games that I wished would get a similar revamp, which I think was more useful than just declaring that game developers need to innovate.
Finally, I was looking for input on some actual, real world things.
Ten Years Ago
I was again ruminating about the whole “Why So Much Fantasy in MMORPGs?” thing, this time on the shores of chaos.
We started to see the end of the “Brent hand picks the news” era over at VirginWorlds. The reign of myself and CrazyKinux was near to an end.
In Lord of the Rings Online some sites were speculating about future expansions. And then Turbine announced The Mines of Moria! Meanwhile, I was trying to give out some founder’s referrals. I never gave them all out and, at this point, I don’t think they are a thing anymore.
In World of Warcraft, patch 2.4 was the latest end-of-the-world panic. I was trying out Alterac Valley trying to get a mount, not reading that I needed to get exalted reputation to buy it. I was also racing against a boat. Meanwhile the instance group made it to Shattrath and then hit the Blood Furnace while my wife and her friends were drinking apple-tinis.
In EVE Online I learned that there was a cap of fifty days on production lines. I was also trying to break up with an R&D agent and fitting out a new Drake. We got a “log off” button with the Trinity 1.1 patch.
Official forums were the talk again for a bit, as Marc Jacobs said he wasn’t going to have them for Warhammer Online. No, the Warhammer Herald (to be created in the image of the Camelot Herald) was going to be enough. Well, we know how that worked out.
It was announced that SOE would be moved in the Sony organization from reporting up through Sony Pictures to reporting in through the PlayStation organization. There was also the EQ2Flames drama where the forum was uninvited from all future participation in SOE events, at which point the site went all out to burn any remaining bridges with SOE. (From VirginWorlds Podcast #109)
And, finally, ten years ago Gary Gygax left us. We still miss him because we still feel his influence every day.
Twenty Years Ago
StarCraft hit the shelves 20 years ago today. As I recall we all went to Fry’s at lunch to buy a copy the day it came out. You can buy a remastered copy from Blizzard if you want, or download the original for free.
Most Viewed Posts in March
Search Terms of the Month
top subscription based mmo titles
[Pretty much WoW and FFXIV at this point]
[bufn it good]
portable hole wallpaper
[I have a problem visualizing that]
everquest next landmark emulator
[Oh dear no]
delta force 2 fps
[Maybe you need to upgrade your hardware?]
project gorgon meme
[I am not sure it is popular enough for that]
I was in for some of Burn Jita early in the month and went on ops when I could, however it has been a busy month around our house and the time slot for normal ops, which often require setting aside a couple of hours even for a “quick” op, has kept me from being online much during the back half of March. Other than that there has been the somewhat tepid start of the run up to the CSM13 election. I’m not sure CCP thought through the results of the changes they implemented. It feels like they slowed everything down too much. You can’t really cover a campaign very well until there is an official list of candidates.
I have logged in a bit now and again. Minecraft remains excellent for times when I want to listen to a podcast or audio book that requires more mental attention that your typical MMORPG leaves free. Mining and building in Minecraft leaves enough bandwidth for me to listen to Planet Money or the Arms Control Wonk podcast and not loose track of what is going on. So work on the long overland rail line to the norther forest mansion continued. In fact, it is almost done.
And, speaking of games that don’t take a lot of mental bandwidth, I managed to get to level 32 in Pokemon Go largely through my persistence in playing for at least enough every day to catch at least one Pokemon and visit at least one Pokestop, giving me the daily and weekly bonus xp.
My current state of affairs:
- Level: 32 (+1)
- Pokedex status: 294 (+10) caught, 335 (+12) seen
- Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it remains elusive
- Current buddy: Pupitar; needs four candies to evolve, but I only get one every 5km
With Rift Prime I was back into “not Azeroth” again. And it has been pretty good. It wasn’t the overwhelming nostalgia wave that hanging around in front of Qeynos killing snakes and kobolds with a mass of other people can bring on… though it is really in Blackburrow or West Karana that I start hitting nostalgia overload… but it was, and remains, good. As I have said way too many times, the zone Freemarch zone design is very good.
Of course, there have been problems with the server. And Freemarch is like the Deadmines in WoW, and early slice of good design after which the content can vary wildly in quality. But for the moment I am on board with it for another month.
World of Warcraft
With the coming of Rift Prime and a busy month something had to give. Play time in Azeroth was way down. I did log in just enough to keep progress going on unlocking the last two allied races… I am very close on both… but otherwise I haven’t done much since Darkmoon Faire. The next Darkmoon Faire will likely seal the deal for my allied race unlocks, at which point it might be time to set WoW aside to wait for the coming Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion events to kick off at some point this summer.
I did load up Shroud of the Avatar now that it has officially released, and have been giving it a bit of a test drive. It is kind of interesting in sort of a built-from-scratch new-yet-retro awkward sort of way.
Tomorrow is April Fools… but it is also Easter. Will Blizz be up to its usual hi-jinks over a holiday weekend?
We will see if the new quest mechanics in Pokemon Go lead to more play… and more pay… for the game.
For EVE Online Fanfest is coming up on the 12th. We will see if CCP has anything new to announce. One thing we should get is the candidate list for the CSM13 election. And maybe a date for that as well? Am I asking too much?
At some point in the coming week my 30 days of Patron status is going to expire and I will have to decide if I carry on with Rift Prime or not.
I’ve put in an hour or so into Shroud of the Avatar, but I feel like I could spend more time with it, that it would be worth the effort. We’ll see if I find the time and inclination.
I might also finish up that rail line in Minecraft.