Daily Archives: October 31, 2018

October in Review

The Site

Happy Halloween.

A happy kitty pumpkin I carved… a long time ago actually

The strange traffic patterns here continued here for the fourth straight month and I am at a loss to explain it.  It is unusual for no posts from the current month to make the list, much less four times in a row.  And while a few posts on the list make some sense, you have to get down to 25th place before you hit a post from October. (Gamigo Buys then Guts Trion World, which was popular and linked elsewhere is in position 25.)

I cannot tell where some of this is coming from as the referrers count is much lower than the total visitors or page views, though that is not unusual.  Some sites just don’t show up in that list for various reasons, including Massively OP.  I can see the traffic hitting those pages in the Flag Counter reports, and it is from all over the US on Windows, iOS, and Mac OS, so it isn’t just one guy hitting refresh.  So I just don’t know.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com continues with its ever encroaching ad placement.  You won’t see it here, as I am on a yearly plan that turns ads off, but if I hit other WP.com sites with a browser that doesn’t have Ad Block of some sort (which I have to have for work), I end up seeing more and more ads.  The latest is an add that drops down from the top of the page to obscure what you’re reading.

Fill in the gap between the top and the other ads

This is one of those things that makes me shake my head.  Ad blockers were not created because people don’t want to support online content, they were created because the ads grew obnoxious enough for people to look for a way to block them.

And then there was this beauty.  I took a look at my other site using Chrome on my iPad, where there is no ad block extension, to use a link from the sidebar and had my whole session hijacked by an ad.

WP.com lets ads take over your browser session

I love those faked comments at the bottom from two and three years ago.  And this ad led into another and another.  I couldn’t get back to my other site.

And so WP.com has inadvertently joined in on promoting ad blockers by becoming an ad shitshow.  Well done.  I could not recommend WP.com as a platform it you plan to blog.  Go make a Blogger account for that, and make sure you have an ad blocker if you visit a WordPress.com site.

One Year Ago

I wrote about how we used to yell and sell in Waterdeep back in TorilMUD, which predates that auction house stuff we have today.

RimWorld was eating up a bunch of my gaming time.

The then still in early access H1Z1 had King of the Kill removed from its name, reverting back to just H1Z1.  This was due to as-yet-still-unrealized plans by Daybreak to bring the game to China where they couldn’t have “kill” in the name.  They have since changed their mind and renamed the game again.  It is now H1Z1: Battle Royale, or maybe Z1 Battle Royale.  It is honestly hard to tell/care at this point.  All I know is it will probably have another new name before this gets to the “Five Years Ago” section in 2022.

In New Eden I had finished up my time with the Warzone Extraction event.  I also remapped my attributes, something that affects the learning rates of skill.  You don’t do that lightly as you’re stuck with the remap for a year.  I also went and rounded up data cores.  I should probably do that again.  It has been a year.

I was headed to EVE Vegas and wrote up my report when I returned.

The Reavers SIG turned three years old.

In space we went out to Aridia to clean up the neighborhood.

As the month headed towards its end CCP released the Lifeblood expansion for EVE Online which changed moon mining, upgraded The Agency, and added a bunch of PvE content.  There was also a joke about lighting farts to be made.

However, following EVE Vegas, where VR was heavily emphasized, and the Lifeblood expansion, CCP had a round of layoffs and effectively stopped developing for VR.  Among teams hit hard was the community team.

I hit level 30 in Pokemon Go.

And I returned to World of Warcraft, having taken a break.  I once again failed to get the headless horseman’s mount.  And I was wondering if Blizzard would announce the next WoW expansion at BlizzCon.  It seemed pretty likely.

Five Years Ago

EverQuest: Mactinosh Edition was slated to shut down after a ten year run.  Meanwhile, EverQuest Live launched Call of the Forsaken, the game’s 20th expansion.  The Fippy Darkpaw server made it to The Buried Sea expansion.  And in EverQuest II, insta-level characters were set to become a thing.

Also, Daybreak got DC Universe Online onto the PlayStation 4 where it reportedly continues to do quite well.

With the release of Pokemon X & Y, which required upgrading to Nintendo 3DS hardware, I was saying farewell to the series.  Little did I know I would be pulled back in a few months down the road.

As part of some NBI event I attempted to recount all the guilds I had joined over the years.

Somebody was attempting to remake the old Kesmai game Stellar Emperor.

Path of Exile finished up beta and was officially live.

After a post-F2P boom, Trion went back to paring down the number of servers for Rift while its servers in China were shut down completely.

The instance group was still running Foundry modules in Neverwinter.

I was trying out War Thunder.  After failing to get through the tutorial for World of Warplanes, I opted for its competitor, which seems better suited for the inept like me.  I was able to get out there and be a target for other players while bombing at least.

In New Eden our gate camp deployment to the Curse region was wrapping up almost as soon as it started.  It felt like we had just snuck in.  It was time to go home to the quiet of Deklein for a while and wait for the Rubicon expansion.  While there I finally bought my first capital ship, an Archon carrier.  It went for its first jump and then stayed docked for almost a year.  Of course, I found out I had a lot of stuff sitting in hangars around New Eden.  Nine million things, to put a number to it.  And CCP was setting up classes for new players… which was great if you lived in the European time zone.

I was pondering the “journey vs. destination” question with MMOs while feeling a bit wistful that World of Warcraft holidays were not offering much new.

Marc Pinkus, founder of Zynga, declared he was bored of games.

And we finally ditched AT&T DSL for Comcast cable-modem internet, resolving the bandwidth sharing problems at our house.

Ten Years Ago

In one of the worst kept secrets in video game development it was announced that BioWare’s MMO project was in fact Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Their subscription goals were, of course, quite modest.

I celebrated my 15 years of playing Sojourn/TorilMUD with the first in a series of posts.  Nostalgia FTW!  And I guess that makes this the 25 year mark.  My, how time flies!  I probably need a post about that.

And speaking of Nostalgia, Tipa was out looking for EverQuest blogs.  I’m not sure any were discovered.  EverQuest itself launched its fifteenth expansion, Seeds of Destruction, which brought NPC mercenaries to the game to assist players.

The instance group formed up a guild and was running in Warhammer Online.  We had our best night and our worst night, plus a few that were somewhere in between.  All in all though, things were not as exciting as we had hoped.

Mythic was trying out incentives to get better server balance while starting to talk about new stuff coming soon.  Not a word about the quest log however.

In EVE Online Potshot, Gaff, and I were playing with fleets and I was flying a shiny new ship.  Also the EVE Blog Pack was defined.

Finally, I stared logging into World of Warcraft again to get things lined up for the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion.  I managed to survive through the controversial scourge event and was intrigued by the shiny new achievements.

Fifteen Years Ago

A shooter named Call of Duty launched.  Now Activision’s annual revenue pretty much depends on shipping a sequel to it.

Lineage II launched as well.  The successor to the original Lineage, which was in last month’s post celebrating its 20th anniversary, it had the usual problem of MMORPG sequels in never living up to the success of the original.

Twenty Years Ago

The Rise of Rome expansion came out for Age of Empires.

Thirty Years Ago

The Sega MegaDrive launched in Japan.  Mentioned mostly because I ended up with a Sega Genesis, the name used in the US, a few years later.

Forty Years Ago

Really, am I going back that far now?  Yes I am!  Back in October of 1978 Space Invaders arrived in North America.  I posted about that event.  It was a big deal back in the day.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  2. Honest Game Trailers – Animal Crossing
  3. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  4. Rift Prime Time
  5. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  6. February in Review
  7. Spring Movie League – Cats and Birds and Bruce
  8. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  9. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  10. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  11. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More
  12. How Many People Play EVE Online?

Search Terms of the Month

seagels stop it now
[It is spelled “Seagal” and he’s just the cook]

what game has more people playing everquest 1 or everquest 2 in 2018?
[The original by all reports]

sylvana windrunner rule 34 animated
[Really?]

epic journeys and random encounters (world of warcraft) hentai
[I was with you until that last word]

china gay 3d game pc
[The state probably won’t okay that]

EVE Online

The Pearl Abyss acquisition of CCP was finalized and there was EVE Vegas.  While the latter brought news of the future, my time in game was actually pretty low key.  I did get my one kill mail in for the month as I joined in on shooting one of Pandemic Horde’s high sec structures.  Otherwise I spent some time with the Crimson Harvest event and that was about it.

It has been a bit of a tough month on third party sites.  First Total EVE went down due to a problem with their provider.  Then EVE Files which, among other things, hosts the null sec influence maps, had a RAID failure and went down, taking with it a lot of New Eden history.  The influence maps are created elsewhere, but have been publicly archived on EVE Files.  There are backups, and Chribba started moving some of the videos stored there to YouTube, but how this will work out is unclear.  And then there was a scare with the DOTLAN infrastructure earlier in the month.  The EVE Online ecosystem is fragile and getting more so as it ages. [Total EVE is back up.]

And then there was the Monthly Economic Report for September, which failed to materialize this month.  I don’t know if that is over as a thing, but this is the first time CCP has missed a month since they got serious about it over two years ago.

EverQuest II

I made my way to level 100 at last, though that doesn’t seem like much of an achievement when I tell you I started at level 96.  But that leaves out the real adventure of returning to the game, which is simply figuring out where to go.  Anyway, I paused for a bit at level 100 to do some of the Halloween event stuff.  That was probably to stave off deciding on which path to choose now that I am at 100.  This is never easy.

Pokemon Go

I made my first “Best Friend” in Pokemon Go.  It happened to be my wife, so true in game as in the real world.  It turn out that making a best friend yields quite a good chunk of experience.  Here is what you get by levels of friendship:

  • Good Friends – 3,000 xp
  • Great Friends – 10,000 xp
  • Ultra Friends – 50,000 xp
  • Best Friends – 100,000 xp

I was about 40K shy of level when the best friend event happened, which pushed me right into level 34.  Still a long way to go to level 40, but I have some more friends on my list to help me along as our friendships level up.  You do need to send 90 gifts to get to the best friend level, and my current problem is always running out.  I need Pokestops to be more reliable at dispensing gifts.

There was also the introduction of 4th generation into the game, which gave us all new Pokemon to catch.  That helped boost my Pokedex count.

Level: 34 (+1)
Pokedex status: 363 (+24) caught, 375 (+18) seen
Pokemon I want: Dragonite… pretty much no progress on this
Current buddy: Wailmer… past 330 candies now

World of Warcraft

Sort of stopped playing WoW it seems.  This is me being me.  At some intellectual level I want to finish up the Kul Tiras campaign and get my main to level 120, but somewhere deep within me is the bit that gets me to log in and play, and that bit isn’t having it.  Oh well.  This seems to be following my usual pattern of diving into a new WoW expansion, playing for a bit, then going away for six months or so until the issues are settled.

Hallow’s End did get me logging back in some, but the mount of the Headless Horseman still eludes me.  While waiting for the queue to pop my main hit level 118.  Who is the slowest to level now, eh?

Coming Up

BlizzCon is the day after tomorrow.  Those at the event or watching from home with the Virtual Ticket don’t get a cute pet or mount in WoW this year.  Instead it will be a chance to try WoW Classic.  The Barrens and Westfall will be available to download and play.  I expect this to be examined in minute detail and the topic of articles and blog posts for at least a week afterwards.

There was word that we might get the LOTRO legendary server on November 6th, but there is no official announcement that I have seen.  And the LOTRO Twitter account later denied everything.  It would be nice if there was a date front page, center on the LOTRO web site.  The problematic nature of this server aside, SSG failing to do a decent promotional run up to its open… which, again, would be well served by something like a big count down timer to build up some excitement… is just typical of how the game has been handled for over a decade.  There is a quote from Tolkien that I can’t find at the moment, about the race of man failing to live up to its potential that seems to fit very well to LOTRO as well.

There will also be the new expansion for EverQuest II coming on the 13th.  I’m still too far back to worry about buying that, but it will unlock some new content and more crazy stat boosts.

And then the word is that WildStar will be shut down by the end of the month, so it is your last chance to take a look… before somebody gets an emulator project off the ground.

Finally, Daylight Savings Time ends in the US… for locations in the US that observe the change… this coming weekend.  It will be slightly less dark when I drive to work now.

Fall Movie League – Johnny Surprise

The pre-Halloween week, the eighth in our Fall Fantasy Movie League, is now in the past, but not before a bit of a last minute surprise.

The options for the week were:

Halloween                    $666
A Star is Born               $243
Hunter Killer                $202
Venom                        $201
Goosebumps 2                 $128
The Hate U Give              $100
First Man                    $89
Mid 90s                      $88
Smallfoot                    $86
Night School                 $57
Indivisible                  $39
The Old Man and the Gun      $36
Bad Times                    $34
Johnny English Strikes Back  $33
The House with a Clock       $16

My gut last week as I wrote this said that the new stuff on the list was to be avoided.  Sure, my Monday Hot Takes lineup went hard on Mid 90s, with 1x A Star is Born, 1x Venom, and 6x Mid 90s, but I got over that by mid-week.

Still, I was on the right track for an anchor.  I couldn’t get on board with Halloween, even at the too-on-the-nose price of $666, and Hunter Killer was in the category of “new stuff” to be avoided, so I was left fiddling with variations of A Star is Born or Venom or some combination of the two.

In the end I decided to go all-in with Venom, anchoring on four screens of that, backed up with one screen each of Smallfoot, Night School, The Old Man and the Gun, and The House with a Clock.

Not a horrible selection, all things considered.  The Saturday estimates put me in tenth place, while Sunday had me in ninth, but the gap between the whole sixteen player list wasn’t that big.

The perfect pick ended up being 3x A Star is Born, 1x Venom, 4x The House with a Clock.  I was on the right track for an anchor at least.  Nobody in the league hit that combo.

However, once the actuals thread announced the results I checked the league and found a surprise; a few people appeared to be doing much better than I expected.

Fall FML Week 8 – Initial Top Four Scores

Also, Johnny English was suddenly the best performer rather than The House with a Clock.  A closer look showed Johnny English with a bit more than the $1.6 million box office it was alleged to have made.

Worth a K no doubt

That happened to be the same amount that Halloween made for the weekend, not to mention being about 20x what the Sunday estimate had it down for.  This was clearly a data entry error, which led to a dream/nightmare scenario for somebody.

Always bet on Johnny

There were plenty of messages about that in FML chatter.

Once it was corrected, things shook out a little closer to how I expected, with the week’s top ten looking like this:

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $60,377,241
  2. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $58,829,377
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $58,211,494
  4. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $57,408,588
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $56,551,150
  6. grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,522,357
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $56,091,308
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $56,091,308
  9. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $55,421,160
  10. I HAS BAD TASTE – $54,830,773

Po was on top with 1x Halloween, 1x Venom, and 6x The House with a Clock, the last being the best performer and worth an extra $2 million per screen in bonus.  But the anchors in the top ten were pretty varied, and even 7x Goosebumps 2 as an anchor beat out my choice.

Still, the gap between first and tenth was less than $6 million, so the overall seasonal ranking did not change much.

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $580,296,393
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $549,675,241
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $544,151,551
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $540,773,830
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $531,527,330
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $516,275,892
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $512,050,156
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $511,935,067
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $506,460,148
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $504,510,372

I think that is the same ten people as last week’s list, with a couple of positional changes.

The alternate score though, that ended up looking like this.

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 49
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 45
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 40
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 39
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 36
  6. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 33
  7. I HAS BAD TASTE – 31
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 31
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 28
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 24

Well, that was also the same ten people as last week with some changes in position, though not the same ten people as the overall seasonal score.  Darren, who would be in eleventh in the overall score is in eighth with the alternate scoring.

Overall, everybody who has been playing has been in the top ten at least twice so far this season, so everybody has some score.

So that is how it stands at the end of week eight.  Now to look forward to week nine.  The options are:

Bohemian Rhapsody       $510
The Nutcracker          $260
Halloween               $201
Nobody's Fool           $180
A Star is Born          $127
Venom                   $80
Goosebumps 2            $62
The Hate U Give         $42
Smallfoot               $42
Hunter Killer           $39
First Man               $35
Suspiria                $31
Night School            $24
Mid 90s                 $23
The Old Man and the Gun $17

Dropping off the list from last week are The House with a Clock , Indivisible , Bad Times, and Johnny English Strikes Back.

Replacing them are Bohemian Rhapsody, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Nobody’s Fool, and Suspiria.

At the top of the price chart is Bohemian Rhapsody.  It has lots of buzz and a bit of controversy to go with it.  It seems a likely anchor for the post-Halloween weekend, though it is priced so you can only get one screen of it.  Long range forecasts had it at about $40 million for the three day weekend, and it seems likely to get there in my book.

Next up is The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which I am shortening to just The Nutcracker for ease of typing and maximum confusion.  This is the movie version of the literary adaptation of the famed ballet, done by Disney, so who knows how the story ends up.  But it has lots of famous names, including Morgan Freeman and is projected at somewhere in the $20 to $25 million range for the weekend.  Seems priced a little low compared to Bohemian Rhapsody, so might be a better anchor if you think we’re close enough to the holiday season to get into this kind of movie.

Nobody’s Fool is yet another Tyler Perry production.  The man is a machine.  And he has a regular following, so this is probably good for the $12-$15 million being projected for it.

And then there is Suspiria, the plot for which is… complicated.  At least it is beyond my ability to summarize.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is also being distributed by Amazon Studios, which means it won’t be on many screens.  The expected count is 250 theaters.  But I bet it will be on Amazon Prime soon!

Given all that and some tinkering with the Cineplex Builder, I ended up with the following picks for the Monday Hot Takes league; 1x Bohemian Rhapsody , 1x Halloween, 1x Nobody’s Fool, 1x First Man, 1x Mid 90s, and 3x The Old Man and the Gun.

That is kind of a shotgun pick in a world where the beginners guide suggest not having more than four or maybe five titles in your lineup, but it seems like that kind of week.  Also, it used every dollar of my budget.