On my side of the browser WordPress.com decided to change up the color scheme for the admin interface. Ostensibly this was to improve the contrast, but any color scheme that involves fuchsia as a default might be going too far down the bright scale. But the post about it said you could go back to the classic blue if you wanted. Of course, it wasn’t the same set of blues, so it wasn’t really classic. Also, the change messed up a few things, like the world map. Things got fixed over time, but it was another in the long list of WP.com pushing something that wasn’t ready to be pushed. The main surprise was that they actually announced it almost concurrent with pushing it. Usually they change something, confuse people, field a bunch of questions, then finally post about the update.
Otherwise it has been a slow traffic month on the site. For the first time since February of 2008 a monthly total dipped below 20K page views. 2018 came close to doing that early in the year as well, but then traffic rebounded. Blaugust was very much a success in reviving traffic around here, though that tapered off as the holidays hit. And now, in another cold new year, it is back to low ebb again.
Slow months show up in the most viewed posts pretty clearly. As you can see below, the traffic tends to come into older posts via Google as opposed to newer posts from the current readership.
Finally, I am going to add a new section to the Month in Review posts starting this month, because clearly these posts are not long enough already, stretching out past 2,000 words of late. But don’t worry, this new section will be short. It will be a list, and everybody loves lists, right?
The free version of ManicTime does pretty much all I need to track game play time. And, unlike Raptr or XFire from days gone by, it tracks the time you have the application up front as opposed to just the time it is running. (Or, in the case of GW2, when the launcher was running, which accounted for most of my GW2 play time in Raptr.) So putting stuff in the background stops the timer. This gets interesting and/or amusing at times, since it shows your application swaps. I tab out of EVE Online a lot.
Anyway, you’ll find the first stab at that down in the post. I’m going to break it out by percentages rather than raw hours because I find that more interesting.
One Year Ago
Satan was speaking to us about lockboxes.
I played Anarchy Online for a few hours.
There was Trogday.
I was looking into the Legion expansion in World of Warcraft for the new year.
Blizzard gave us four more bag slots… if we had our account security setup correctly. A year later that little notification about the bag slots still comes up every once in a while.
Blizzard also gave us a target season (summer) for Battle for Azeroth and opened up pre-orders.
In EVE Online the January update moved the Agent Finder fully into The Agency.
But the big news in New Eden was brewing in the system 9-4PR2. Pandemic Horde was anchoring a Keepstar there and the hype for the battle over it built pretty fast. Dubbed the “Million Dollar Battle” in advance, it didn’t quite get there, though there were over 6,000 players in the system at one point. INN spent time reviewing the whole thing. Still, it was good enough for a Guinness Book World Record. (Yeah, that was in April, but I figured I would tie the whole event together here.)
I moved all of my games and data from my old Nintendo 3DS XL to a new 2DS XL.
In a bullet points post I was on about the Age of Empires remaster, which you could only get through the Microsoft store, Rift Prime plans, legendary Pokemon, the cost of making video games, and how BitCoin miners were buying up all the video cards.
And, finally, I was kind of bummed because, in this age of streaming, if you want to see recent movie releases at home, disks were still the most reliable method for the price… short of pirating the movies, of course.
Five Years Ago
Do I need to say more than B-R5RB? That was, at the time, the biggest single battle in the history of EVE Online when it came to total ISK destroys, most of it in the form of 75 titans blowing up. Lots of big numbers in that fight. It made it to lots of non-gaming news sites. And I was there. I am on six titan kill mails to prove it. The whole thing was a hell of an event after the crash at HED-GPearlier in the month.
Speaking of bloodbaths, SOE announced they were going to close four titles, Free Realms, Wizardry Online, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and Vanguard: Rise of the Saga. Meanwhile, deadbeat Planet Side, which hadn’t netted a nickel of profit in years went 100% free to play. Way to show favorites Smed!
Then there was how Hearthstone was going to inspire SOE to update Legends of Norrath, because SOE has been cast in the role of follower for a while now. Also, never going to happen.
Then there was the question of when “Next” was, specifically EverQuest Next. Things had gotten quiet already.
And then there was Lord of the Rings Online, which announced there would be no expansion in 2014… or raids or dungeons… which left people kind of wondering what was going to happen. You want to know when people started to doubt the future of the game? This was the moment. I did point out that Turbine was not the only entity that tried to tackle Tolkien’s work, only to be brought up short at Helm’s Deep. In the end my guess would be that the crisis at Turbine was Infinite Crisis, and that fell flat.
There was the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen kickstarter. Brad McQuaid was back, asking for too much money and promising too many features. We know how that works out. Even SOE closing his last title couldn’t push his pledge totals up to what he wanted.
Then there was World of Warcraft. People were wondering what classes to boost to level 90. and what the so-called stat squish was really going to mean. They also, in hindsight, pretty clearly broadcasted the Warlords of Draenor ship date, only few believed it.
Our own group was still running through the Cataclysm expansion, catching up from our year or so away from the game in places like Deepholm and the Vortex Pinnacle. I was also lusting for living steel and making friends with the Netherwing at last.
What else? Oh yeah, EA decided that maybe SimCity should be a SimCity game. I was wondering if level cap upgrades were an aberration. There was some naming policy shenanigans. And there was my yearly MMO outlook for the year as well as the usual predictions.
Ten Years Ago
Ten years ago I was in a Middle-earth mood. I had rolled up some new characters on the same server as a few notable podcasters and then started trying to catch up to them. The small and friendly community in LOTRO helped out, so I was able to do the Great Barrow with a pickup group and not feel the need to drink heavily afterward. Of course, I sometimes feel the need to stir the pot. And then there was the whole icon thing.
I also mentioned something that involved punching Amy Tan that seemed to go down well. According to Google, this was the only site it tracks that has ever used the exact phrase “punch Amy Tan.” I think it is still pretty much a TAGN unique.
I went looking for KartRider and found that after beta Nexon apparently folded up that tent and called it a day, at least here in the US.
I noticed that the optical drive on our Wii started making a lot of noise. It still makes noise ten years later, but it also still works, even if Nintendo has turned off
almost everything related to it.
There was that whole controversy about Wikipedia deleting entries on MUDs and MUD history. That lead to the creation of MUD History Wiki over on Wikia. Many MUDs are still alive and well, and sites like the MUD Connector seem to still thrive.
I pointed to a post over at Massively that showed the top selling games for October of 2008 were almost all a couple years old or more.
Ensemble Studios, who created the Age of Empires series, shut down. But their games live on, with Age of Empires II remaining popular on Steam.
I hit the 1,000 post mark, which was cause for yet another milestone post and some reflection. (I’m closing in on the 5,000 mark a now.)
Oh, and I predicted a whole bunch of crap that mostly failed to materialize. But that never stops me from trying again.
And, like everybody else, I had a laundry list for the new President. He totally failed on all fronts!
Most Viewed Posts in January
Search Terms of the Month
daybreak lifetime membership refund
[Good luck on that!]
guild name generator for animals
[Have you met us? We’re all animals]
[This the Pokemon/Norrath crossover?]
dreanor cant fly why do i have a mount then
[So you don’t have to walk?]
Game Time from ManicTime
Listing out the games that ManicTime tracked in January, here is how I divided up my time.
- LOTRO – 36.40%
- RimWorld – 33.56%
- EVE Online – 25.25%
- Unnamed Alpha – 2.90%
- Combat Mission – 1.00%
- WoW – 0.73%
- EverQuest – 0.13%
- EverQuest II – 0.03%
I had to consider what would be the cut-off for how little time I would list. But I also wanted to keep track of games I spent time with, even a little time. So I decided that if a game made the top 50 list of apps tracked in the month, it would make the cut.
The top application tracked was Firefox, the browsed I default to at home for most things, including writing blog posts.
I was off with Liberty Squad and their deployment to the east of New Eden. I shot a lot of structures, which is fine. Structure shooting is what we call “putting money in the bank” in Reavers. Setting timers is investing time in hopes of a future fight. However, I seem to have missed most of the withdrawals. Oh well.
Lord of the Rings Online
I made it to level 50 as I carried on with the epic quest line. I finished the first eight books and have been trying to round up the final seven so I can say I have done them all. They have started to wear on me a bit, as the structure of those last seven seem designed as much to keep the player busy and running all over Middle-earth as anything. At this point I only have Book XV left to do. Once I finish that it might be time for a break from the game.
I slipped a bit on the Pokemon Go front this month. I didn’t play for about a week around New Years. It was cold and wet and I didn’t want to go outside. But I live in California, so it is never cold or wet for long. It soon turned sunny and warm again and I was out playing. I did finally get my excellent curve ball thrown in for the task that lets you catch a Celebi. Have I mentioned how annoying it is when the game forces you into AR mode to catch things? With no sense of scale or distance… or scale and distance distorted by being projected in a small room… I expended a lot of Pokeballs to catch the Celebi. Still, I got it eventually.
Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 385 (+5) caught, 405 (+5) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I still need about 70 candies
Current buddy: Togetic
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have had RimWorld out again. I find it a very compelling game to play in sort of the way I find Civilization games compelling; I always want to just finish up the next task or objective before I quit for the night. And then a raid hits and I lose half my colonists. It is usually easier to go to bed then.
World of Warcraft
I did log into Azeroth for a bit, though it was only really for Darkmoon Faire. When I saw that they had fixed the trade skill quests there I wanted to drop in and see if it really was true. It was.
Now I feel like I have to account for everything on the ManicTime list. I did play a couple quick rounds of Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin. Still an excellent game. I also logged into EverQuest and EverQuest II, mostly just to check on a couple of things in anticipation of upcoming anniversary events. I don’t think I earned a single point of xp in either. And the unnamed alpha title shall remain unnamed. It actually has an NDA. Remember those?
February, the shortest month of the year.
There will be the usual monthly update for EVE Online, but it already looks like it will be concentrated on small, quality of life items. That is fine. We can always use that. But I am not sure when the “next big thing” will be coming. We should also start hearing about the next round of CSM elections. That will get people complaining.
I hope that we’ll hear a bunch of things from Daybreak. The Producer’s Letters put out this month mentioned all sorts of plans to help celebrate EverQuest‘s 20th birthday. Most of those plans had details to follow, so one would assume they would follow in February, as once we get into March things will be getting a bit tight.
In Lord of the Rings Online I should finish up Volume I of the epic quest line. The word is that the Mines of Moria expansion will be opened up around March. We shall see. Part of me sees the Anor server as an opportunity to play through all the game and into the Mordor expansion. Another part believes that the 1-50 game is the best part and maybe I should just stop there.
I also have a plan… we’ll see if it comes to pass… to put together a series of posts about some old games I dug up this month. Maybe I will have enough for a theme week. We shall see.