Monthly Archives: October 2019

October in Review

The Site

Well, that was a month, wasn’t it?

Because I write this end of month summary, part of which tries to bring together what happened a year ago, I am often sitting here writing this and thinking about how big that year ago section is going to be twelve months down the road.  The October 2020 month in review will have quite a sizable “One Year Ago” section.

And next month promises to be even bigger.  But today it is Halloween.

Fifteen year old pumpkins

Looking through old digital pictures, there was a time when I put a lot of effort into carving pumpkins every year.  These days, I let the kid do it, and she has such the active social life that we’re lucky to get one pumpkin.  Oh well.

One Year Ago

Gamigo bought the games of Trion Worlds, leaving not much behind.

We heard that a lot of people play Minecraft, that there would be no Minecraft 2, and that pandas were coming.

We were told that Google Plus would be going away.

We learned that Mike Morhaime would be stepping down as CEO of Blizzard to be replaced by J. Allen Brack of the infamous quote.

Standing Stone decided to farm nostalgia with the LOTRO Legendary server idea.

We learned that the 25th EverQuest expansion would be The Burning Lands.  For EverQuest II the Chaos Descending expansion was coming.

I was on a nostalgia tour of EverQuest II that involved a quest chain that was literally a nostalgia tour of EverQuest II.  That got me geared up to run through The Withered Lands.  I made it to level 100 even.

There was a hint that Just Survive might.  And then we were told it would not.

In New Eden the Keepstar War was over and a massive move op got me back home to Delve.  There was even a video.  Then it was back to shooting stuff around home.

The Reavers SIG turned four years old.

We seemed to be headed to war in high sec in Perimeter, and shot the Panfam trading Fortizar.  That ended when TEST dropped a Keepstar, the Perimeter Trading Tower.

The October update was about balance, which meant killing ECM really, while the CSM 13 summit minutes mentioned how war decs were killing high sec.

I was headed to EVE Vegas where we would see Pearl Abyss, CCP’s new owners, for the first time.  Much info was shared and swag gathered.  I even gave a presentation.  But it was about blogging, so nobody saw it.  I summed it all up when I got home.  I was dubious about the announced FLEX structures.

There was some joyful hysteria as a DCMA exception was made for MMO preservation.  However, it required the owner of the source code give it over voluntarily, which seemed like a huge stumbling block to me.  Creating emulators was still verboten.

And then there was that Rules for Rulers video, which prompted me to read the source material on which it was based, which made me even more cynical about politics than I already was.

Five Years Ago

The SF Giants won the World Series for the third time in five years.  I was just happy when they won it once in my lifetime.  Of course, they haven’t done much in the time since, but I had my moment… three times!

I was wondering about guild progression and whether they should have levels.

I was disappointed at Trion installing HackShield on my system and only deigning to notify me of this after the fact.  That got their Glyph launcher off my system.

EA put a new twist on insta-level by introducing a limited 12x experience bonus offer that would essentially let Star Wars: The Old Republic players level up via just their class story, without indulging in the myriad side quests the process would otherwise require.  Basically, you could play just the good bits of the game.  Imagine that!

The strategy group was doing city assaultsriver crossings, and ambushes in Total War: Rome II.

At EVE Vegas there were development plans for the coming year, which included Tech III destroyers.  Jump fatigue was also announced.  But at least we were also getting a much longer skill queue. (Limited to 50 skills or ten years of training, whichever you reach first.)  That was much on my mind as I crossed the 130 million skill point mark.

The Reavers, a group within The Imperium dedicated to living in hostile territory and attacking enemy infrastructure, was formed.  Our inaugural operations went to Insmother , where we blew up plenty of stuff, and then went to Feythabolis.

Closer to home there was a capital brawl in our staging system.  That was part of some battles with Black Legion, where they would visit us and then we would visit them.  Or blob them.  I also experienced one of the classic EVE mistakes for the first time.  People seemed anxious to use their capital ships before the Phoebe expansion changed everything.

In World of Warcraft I summed up my summer campaign for the Loremaster achievement.  It was not a success.  I did get my Sha’tari Skyguard reputation to exalted though.  More mounts!

Meanwhile, the WoW 6.0 patch dropped and the count-down to Warlords of Draenor began in earnest.  I was looking at the new features in that.  The instance group also stirred in anticipation of the new expansion, mostly finishing off Mists of Pandaria.

Finally, Planetary Annihilation arrived at last, and proved once again that recreating past fun isn’t as easy as it should be.

Ten Years Ago

League of Legends launched, going on to become the most successful rip-off of Defense of the Acients MOBA, topping online gaming revenue charts and spawning a long chain of failed copy cats.  I still don’t get the appeal of the game or its genre.

Torchlight came out, giving a lot of people a Diablo-like injection of fun.  It didn’t have a lot of replay value for me.  Once I burned through the game once I was pretty much done, which made it unlike Diablo II, which I returned to a number of times.  But it was just $20 and gave us a taste of what Runic might be able to deliver going forward.

I was on a MUD history kick, with tales of exciting ways to die in Kobold Village, the Kobold Temple of the Unholy, getting lost in the Faerie Forest, and all the rooms in TorilMUD.

It was also the three year anniversary of the regular Saturday night instance group, and I presented a summary of what we had done.

A couple of us scouted the then newly Free to Play Dungeons & Dragons Online as a possible next game for the instance group, but it didn’t stick.

I was able to buy the Adventurer’s Pack for Lord of the Rings Online and get the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for free.  Not as good of a deal as monthly subscribers got I understand, but a decent deal.  Of course, LOTRO has changed a lot since then.

In World of Warcraft October that year saw me finish off both the Brewfest and Hallow’s End meta achievements.  I was still left with one achievement for each holiday though.  Fun was had with pumpkins and the Headless Horseman.

The instance group returned to Utgarde Keep to take on Utgarde Pinnacle, at that time the last five-person dungeon in Northrend.  We were victorious and gained the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement.  But otherwise we were deciding on where the group should go next.

And Blizzard was busy merging everybody’s WoW account into a Battle.new account because… well, it wasn’t because of better security.

Fifteen Years Ago

The first Star Wars Galaxies expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, was launched, adding space combat to the game.

Thirty Years Ago

Prince of Persia is launched for the Apple II. It later becomes a hit and kicks off a franchise when ported to other, less dying platforms.

Maxis launches SimCity, which was a big success, but which led to people at the time to argue about whether it was really a game since you cannot necessarily “win” it.  Not the last time this topic would come up.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  3. Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains
  4. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  5. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  6. China Reckoning
  7. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  8. Blizzard Speaks
  9. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  10. Running of the Gnomes in WoW Classic
  11. Looking for Offense
  12. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?

Search Terms of the Month

does daybreak game company have any ties china?
[They only wish they could prostitute their values for money]

everquest old times
[Old time, aye, old times…]

is torment of velious going to be the last expansion for everquest
[Probably not, but we shall see]

how to watch star wars in order
[Lots of alcohol will help]

Spam Comment of the Month

Weblog feedback are often the nightmare that by no means ends.
[You read the comments, didn’t you?]

Manic Time

While WoW Classic continues to dominate my play time, I did spend less time playing.  Some of the freshness has worn off, so total time was about half of what I played last month.  Still, it is my nightly go-to game.  EVE Online saw a bit of a boost.  I doubled the number of hours played, though that did not add up to much.  With no SIG/Squad deployments going on I probably spent more time on utility tasks and login rewards than fleet ops.  And I patched up LOTRO and logged in to see if the new expansion was in the LOTRO Store yet.  It was not, but I have more than enough in-game cash to buy it when it is.  So the gaming time tracked was:

  • World of Warcraft – 84.16%
  • EVE Online – 15.72%
  • Lord of the Rings Online – 0.12%

EVE Online

As noted just above, I spent more time in EVE Online this month, just not that much on operations.  Reavers came back from its Cache deployment, after which I went on a few main fleet ops.  But mostly I was logged in for the login rewards, to tinker with alts, and to move my stuff from one Keepstar to another as we changed our staging Keepstar.  Logistics… actual logistics, moving stuff around… remains a big part of the game.  There are no banks that magically have all your stuff in every town.

Pokemon Go

I had a pretty big month with catching and evolving Pokemon.  I am still way behind on the Sinnoh Pokemon and the seasonal events have pushed the usual round of spooky breeds, all of which I have, into the forefront.

Level: 37 (+0)
Pokedex status: 463 (+19) caught, 488 (+21) seen
Pokemon I want: I have yet to see an Oshawott
Current buddy: Tepig

World of Warcraft

As with last month, I did log into the main game for a bit.  However, it was just to run the Darkmoon Faire quests with my main to notch his trade skills up by another 5 points.  Otherwise I remain as far from things like unlocking flying in Battle for Azeroth as I was a month ago.  At least that kept me from the fruitless hope of getting the headless horseman’s mount.

WoW Classic

Still my main game, still playing with the reconstituted instance group.  We are still moving slowly and there are many alts in our guild.  But Earl now has internet access, so is catching up to the group while we meander about with our alts.

Coming Up

November will be a busy month.  I get to this section and start thinking not only about what is coming up but what I will feel I need to write about.

BlizzCon is literally tomorrow.  There are probably two, maybe three, posts in that.

We have the 15th anniversaries for both EverQuest II and World of Warcraft this month, along with related events and such.  Multiple posts there.  I’ve already written two of them.  Back in March, during the EverQuest 20th anniversary I got it in my head to write the 15th anniversary posts for EQII and WoW.

LOTRO has the Minas Morgul expansion coming out… I hope… and I’m expecting an update on the next EQII expansion, Blood of Luclin.

EVE Online has their last Invasion World Tour event in London, which will have some announcements, a couple of Team Talos updates, and the usual MER to write about.

Add in the usual SuperData post and the month in review and of the 21 weekdays in November most of them will have a post already.  And I might want to write about other things.  There is a Liberty Squad deployment in the offing and the usual updates about what I am playing.  It seems likely I will come close to a post a day in November.

Of course, things have a way of changing up as you go, so we shall see what November brings.

Raitaru Fight in FDZ

Don’t care, had fun

-Cainun

I saw the ping for Cainun’s fleet about five minutes after it popped.  There was a sense of urgency in it that made me decide to give it a pass.  If they were in a hurry about something I was probably too late to make it.  But a couple minutes later a follow up ping came up; Cainun  needed more people in fleet.  So I logged in.

Once in I had to dig around to see if I had the right ship.  I mentioned that the Imperium was moving Keepstars for staging in 1DQ and at this point about half my stuff is still in the old Keep.  It was an Eagle fleet, and I did not have a Basilisk in my hangar.  I moved a bunch of stuff in my Fax and Dread… going against all warnings and warping them between Keeps… but didn’t pack much logi because they always have refits in the cargo.  No space priest role for me.  I did, however, have an Eagle in my hangar.  I wasn’t sure if it was the right fit, but it was probably close enough.  I got in fleet ready to just shoot things for once.

I am always optimistic about how quickly a fleet is going to get moving.  It always takes more time than I think it will, though this time we had the opposite of the usual problems, with too many boosters and too much support and too much tackle, so Cainun was trying to get people into Eagles and Basilisks.

Still, we got ourselves undock and going, warping first to another citadel to take a titan bridge, then off for a destination in Fountain.

Eagle up and away

The pace was quick, we were clearly headed off to a timer of some sort.  We entered Fountain and found an incursion waiting for us.  However there were no NPCs on the gates and we jumped into another system to find a wormhole waiting for us.

An incursion tinged wormhole

We were through that and off to another destination system.  That too had a wormhole waiting for us.

Another wormhole for us

Through the second wormhole… both were direct normal space connections… we found ourselves up in the northeast of New Eden null sec.  And when Cainun set our destination to FDZ4-A I knew what we were up to.

FDZ is the one system in Geminate with an NPC station.  I have a jump clone and some ships there because it is the place you base if you want to hit Pandemic Horde, which owns Geminate and neighboring TKE.  Space Violence and Black Ops both keep a presence there and I had seen updates just the day before about a Raitaru that had been planted up there being hit by PH.

I figured we were headed to the final timer for that, which Cainun confirmed as we got closer to the system.  He also told us that PH had dreads and carriers on the field, so that we were not going to be able to save the Raitaru.  We were there just to get a fight and see what we could kill and have some fun doing it.

Eagle fleets depend on speed.  We got into FDZ, took our drugs… if we remembered to bring them.  I actually had more drugs than required, but took all the performance enhancing items I had in my cargo as it seemed likely we might suffer significant losses.

Cainun warped us on grid with the structure and we anchored up and followed him into the danger zone.

Eagles curving around the battle

Around the Raitaru was the PH fleet.  They brought out more than they needed for the kill or even any likely opposition, but it is good to get the bigger toys out to play with, especially if you live within cyno range.

Pandemic Horde on the structure

We were there for the battleship fleet they brought, which formed around Apocalypses and Megathrons.  Moving fast and at the edge of our range with spike loaded, we took shots at targets as they were called.  Early ones got reps quickly enough, but others we were able to burn down before they could get logi support.

Apocalypse is primary

The carriers began sending fighters our way, so we pulled some range and set about kiting and killing those instead.  From then on it was back and forth between battleships and fighters, with the occasional other target hoving into range.

And we were getting kills.  However, we were also taking losses.  The Eagles remained mostly intact, allowing us to keep delivering enough damage to kill things.  But PH had been focused on our logi, so Basilisks and Ospreys had been getting blown up regularly, whittling away our ability to stay alive in the long term.  When we were down more than a dozen logi, it was time to head out.

Cainun turned us for the exit and we left, taking a dozen or so gates to the third wormhole of the night, which dropped us back in Delve.  From there it was just a few gates home.

Back in Delve

Overall, the operation could not be measured as a success.  We lost the objective as the Raitaru was destroyed.  The battle report shows us losing the ISK war.  We drew some blood, but easily lost two ISK for every one we killed.

Battle Report Header

But it was a fast and exciting op in a time of relative quiet and stagnation in null sec.  You take your fights when you can find them and Cainun’s current philosophy, as quoted at the top, is that some fun is worth the ISK expended.

Addendum: I was told there was a video take of the battle and only just found it.

This explains my “Danger Zone” mention.  Also, I was going to mention the constant reminder on coms to get on the anchor, but the video shows why that was a thing.  We were all over the place.

Summing Up from EVE Vegas 2019

Let me explain.

*pause*

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

I am back from EVE Vegas and my brain is full of stuff.

EVE Vegas 2019

Lots of things were said and shown over the course of the event, too much for me to lay out in any detail in one post… at least if I want to get the post done today.  We haven’t unpacked from the trip yet, save for essentials.

Keynote

As I wrote on Friday, I went to Vegas with the hope that CCP would give us a vision as to where they are headed.  A plan.  A roadmap.  And the keynote is where you set that sort of thing up.  You can have other sessions for deep dives into details, but you have to lay the groundwork at the keynote.  The keynote is important.  This session easily had the most people in the room.  Even CCP seemed to agree about its place in things.  They got the keynote up on YouTube that night.

All the other sessions are still just part of day long video files on their Twitch channel, but they keynote is readily available.

So did they set the right tone, one enough to give everybody hope?

Maybe.

I spoke with quite a few people that evening about the keynote contents and either we’re a bunch of cynical bastards or CCP held back too much.  To me it felt like a promise for a promise.  They did, in fact, use the word “Roadmap” on a slide, but they didn’t have an actual path charted out in any but the most vague, hand waving way.  There were many nice thoughts, but not enough detail to satisfy.  Afterwards out in the meeting area there was some grumbling and a lot of comments about CCP needing to have something to back their statements up.

EVE Portal

One odd thing that stood out from the keynote for me was the brief pass by plans for the EVE Portal phone app.

EVE Portal

CCP has taken the mobile app development in house and has some plans for it.  CCP Burger specifically mentioned the ability to “trade PLEX in Jita” from the app as one of the goals.  I am not sure the ability to trade PLEX from your phone is something people are dying for, nor necessarily a good idea.  And I hope he meant “in game” rather than specifically “in Jita.”

EVE Core and Team Talos

Saturday morning at 11am was the EVE Core presentation, which was done by CCP Rise.  CCP Rise is serious and low key at times, but he presents well and you can sense his passion for this game as he talks.  If you have to pick one session to watch, this is the one.  It is the first one up on this video on Twitch.  Lots of information about what CCP would like to do and plans to do.

Part of what came up was the new Team Talos, which is a small group which is doing special updates every two weeks.  The warp speed increases from two weeks back was their first project, and this week’s Howling Interceptors changes was theirs as well.  They sketched out the next couple of updates as well.

Overall, lots of good things were said here which backed up the keynote.  People were happier after this presentation.  However, there was also skepticism if CCP could pull this off.  We found out later that Team Talos was just three people and some items on the bigger list felt more like things they want to do rather than items they have committed to.  We shall see.

The EVE Variety Hour

Worst name ever for a presentation, which may account for the room emptying out quite a bit after CCP Rise’s talk.  It was mostly about new player retention, the things CCP has been doing and is planning to do with a look at what impact the changes have had.  It was full of good info, if that aspect of the game interests you.

Larrikin Numbers

Billed as “Data & Botting” it was mostly CCP Larrikin throwing fun and interesting bits of data at the audience.  I have to go watch this again full screen to grab some of the charts.  He may have inadvertently given us a bit of data to help figure out how many people in total have played EVE Online in one of his graphs.  It was Americas only numbers, but still a starting place.  That is a figure that companies like Daybreak specifically won’t say publicly.

Over 1.8 million players (people, not accounts or characters) from the US alone

There was also quite a bit on income inequality and people deemed as “cheaters,” those who bot or use other illicit means to gain ISK, what ship classes generate the most, and what impact the blackout and the cyno changes had on things.

NPC Kills by Ship Class for 2019

There is a lot more like that in the presentation, as well as the odd fun bits, like Goonswarm Federation pilots having been on the most kill mails.

Kills by Alliance

However, the most common kill was a Mobile Tractor Units, at 32,466.  I was surprised to see TNT made the cut for top ten, though I am usually surprised when anybody mentions my alliance at all.

This was the first presentation on the Sunday video if you want to dig in right now and see more.

Ghost Talk

CCP Ghost gave a presentation about the social effects of being online.  If you want to feel good about spending many hours of your live logged into EVE Online, this will help.  It turns out we build real, deep friendships through the game and, in turn, develop resiliency in ourselves by playing.  This comes up in the video after CCP Larrikin’s talk.

The Hotel

This year the even was held at The Flamingo Hotel and Casino.  We checked in on Friday and ended up with a room with a great view.

The view from the 27th floor

I sat at the bench by our window and watched the Bellagio fountain show over and over.  Of course, not everybody got that sort of view.  Also, in the foreground on the lower right is Drai’s night club, where CCP held the party.  Our room was nice, though we had what was perhaps the busiest set of shower controls I have yet run across.

How many knobs do you need?

At first glance I thought it had two USB ports.  They were, in fact, spray nozzles.  However, water pressure on the 27th floor was pretty weak to start with, so turning those on reduced the shower head to little more than a dribble.  Oh well.

Overall The Flamingo was better than The Linq in almost every regard, save for not having a nice central bar to congregate around.  The price of a poolside cabana was so high that the Open Comms crew went back to The Linq to hang out.  It was right next door.  Pools aside though, Planet Hollywood was still better in almost every regard.  Heart Bar, best bar.

The Party

This year the party was held at the Omnia, a club at Caesar’s Palace.  Overall it was not as good of a location as Drai’s.  A huge number of people turn out for the party, and we filled up the Omnia.  It was crowded.  However, for a tight club experience for watching Permaband, it was pretty good… if you secured a spot downstairs within sight of the stage.

In the Omnia

Permaband did an excellent set.  Having ex-CCP Guard back was great, though many say it was CCP Tara who stole the show.

A good party, though it was crowded and tough to find a spot where you could have a chat, though I can’t hear anybody in those circumstance unless they shout, so it might just be me.

There was the usual, last minute “Oh, there is a dress code!” panic though, as usual, the dress code seemed to only apply if you were going to hang around after the club opened up to the public.  I saw enough people in violation to feel pretty sure on that point.

We left just before the general public was going to be let in and there was a line through the casino and out the front door of people seeking that honor of being in Omnia.  Given that Dirk and Dreydan were talking about the club charging $60 for a vodka and Red Bull once our time was up, I am not sure I get the appeal.  But I was never in the “love to club” group.

The People

I spoke with a bunch of people.  I almost only ever talk to players for whatever reason, but there were lots of familiar faces as well as a few new ones.  Among the new people I got to talk to, if briefly, were Katia Sae and Olmeca Gold.  Katia had a Signal Cartel coin for me, which I greatly appreciated, and Olmeca was mellow and fun to talk with, as most players tend to be in person.  It is on social media where we’re all jerks.

I also got to meet some of the Liberty Squad people, including Cainun, Zed Starshine, and Mapache Doom, and handed out buttons with the Liberty Squad bee.

The buttons I had on hand

That big button was a special for Zed, who is from Canada.  Drakes are also the ship Cainun refuses to FC, so that was a natural for the flag shape.  As usual I made too many buttons, so put some on the swag table every once in a while, so hopefully they spread far and wide.  I saw some of the bigger Liberty bee buttons around.

Sandy Eggo

The only time I heard the audience go really negative was during the closing ceremonies when CCP Dopamine mentioned next year in San Diego.  It wasn’t really people “booing,” but there was a loud, low, grumbling “ooooooo” that was clearly a negative reaction.

CCP hasn’t adequately explained why they chose San Diego, and “trying something new” doesn’t really cut it.  It is tough to hear about Vegas being the biggest meetup outside of Iceland in one breath to hearing CCP is giving that up in the next.  And San Diego, as nice as it is, still seems like an odd choice.  There are lots of other nice conventions towns in the US.  Even LA, 90 minutes up the highway, has more attractions and better transportation options.

But plans are well under way for a fan run event in Vegas next year, as EVE Vegas was before CCP stepped in.  There was even word that the group organizing Vegas for next year had already negotiated with CCP in order to keep the two events far enough apart on the calendar.  That is good for both sides, as it would be shitty for CCP to be seen stepping on a player event with their own, and embarrassing if that player event drew more people all the same.  And if CCP is smart they will send somebody to Vegas no matter how things go.  They were sending people to the Vegas player meet as far back as 2009.

I am still waiting for more info before I make plans for one or the other or both.

Home Again

Three nights in Vegas are enough for me.  I’d happily hang out with the players longer, but I want to get away from the smoke and noise and prices… dinner on the strip is much more than dinner in already pricey Silicon Valley… and back to our house, cats, and extra firm mattress.

I’ve been to five EVE Vegas events in a row.  I suppose that says something.

Vegas badges and lanyard

As I said above, there is still a lot of information to process and presentations to watch over again.  There may be another post or two based on all of that.  If nothing else I have to get all my swag together for a picture.  I also need to see what pictures my wife has on her phone.  My phone was in the process of crapping out last week, so I took very few pictures myself.  Oh well.

A good time seemed to be had by all.  We will see what happens in the coming year.

Halloween Comes to EVE Online with Login Rewards and PvP Changes

I’m back from EVE Vegas and am still digesting some of what I heard, but just as I was leaving they were starting to announce some of their Halloween plans, which includes another round of login rewards.

Daily horrors indeed

The good news is that this time around it isn’t ALL just skill points, though there are still some skill points if that is your thing.

The reward matrix

There are even SKINs, though some of them look to be the same SKINs from last year, so I have them already.  As usual, there is an Alpha and Omega division, with encouragements to upgrade if you want all the rewards.

The login rewards are claimable from downtime on the 28th… today… through until downtime on November 3rd, so log in to claim now.

In addition, there is a bit of a spicy PvP incentive from the newly formed Team Talos.

Be the house with the full size modules

The details for this only came out at EVE Vegas, but from downtime on the 29th through to downtime on November 5th ALL PVP kills will drop 100% of the modules and and cargo contents.  The loot fairy will say YES the whole time.  I expect a spike in suicide ganking if nothing else.

Also coming is the Howling Interceptors update.

Combat Interceptors Arise

This was also something where the details only came out on Saturday as part of the Team Talos changed.  Combat interceptors are getting a boost to make them more viable when compared to assault frigates.

Combat Frigate Buffs

These updates are not an event but a permanent change… or at least as permanent as anything is in New Eden.

And that is what we are getting for Halloween.  Unfortunately we don’t seem to be in line to get another event like the Crimson Harvest from last year.

The Crimson Gauntlet banana

No banana of death this time around.

Addendum:  CCP announced that the Trick or Treat event and the Howling Interceptors update have been delayed a day, so will stat on the 30th.  Trick or Treat will then run through November 6th.

SuperData Shows Borderlands 3 Success and WoW Holding On

SuperData Research has their digital revenue numbers out for September.

SuperData Research Top 10 – September 2019

On the PC end of the chart September saw another disruption of what was the solid top five titles for a stretch.  The fourteen year old Dungeon Fighter Online held on to the top position.  SuperData even had a tidbit about it on Twitter this month.

Some DFO info

Last month World of Warcraft, buoyed by the WoW Classic launch, jumped up into third place behind League of Legends.  This month the newly launched Borderlands 3 drove straight up into the second spot ahead of the now decade old LoL.

World of Warcraft fell down to sixth position, putting it ahead of World of Tanks and Dota 2.

Fortnite, which had been one of the top five regulars fell to ninth position.  Still, making the top ten means you’re still something.  Competitor PUBG isn’t on the list.  And in tenth place Roblox held on from last month.  Hearthstone, which had the ninth slot last month on a new expansion launch fell off the list for September.

In the console column new releases NBA 2K20, FIFA 20, and Borderlands 3 secured the top three slots.  Perennial member of the list, GTA V, grabbed the fourth spot.  Fortnite, which was in the top spot in August fell down to seventh for September.

And on the mobile end of the chart Fate/Grand Order, which has lingered on and off the list for a while jumped from third into first place.  That pushed Pokemon Go down into second place while perennial chart member Candy Crush Saga stayed in fifth position.

So it is time to compare those charts with NPD’s September sales ranking.  As always, NPD is US only, combines PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales.

  1. NBA 2K20
  2. Borderlands 3
  3. FIFA 20
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening*
  5. Madden NFL 20
  6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  7. Gears 5^
  8. Code Vein
  9. NHL 20
  10. Mario Kart 8*

* Digital sales not included
^ PC digital sales not included

Certainly the top three were expected, though it is interesting to see that with combined sales that Borderlands 3 landed in between NBA 2K20 and FIFA 20.  Nintendo fell off a bit.  Last month five of the ten titles on the list were for the Switch, indicating how much that platform still depends on physical sales.  This month only two Switch titles made the chart.

Gears 5 and Code Vein did not make the SuperData chart.  I knew about Gears 5, another entry in the Gears of War franchise, but I had to look up Code Vein.

NPD’s social impressions list had World of Warcraft at the top of the list, basking in that WoW Classic glow, followed by League of Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite, and GTA VDota 2 dropped off the list from last month while CS:GO jumped in.

Other items from the SuperData report:

  • Worldwide digital spending declines 1% to $8.9 billion in September. Total spend on console and PC declined 17% and 3% year-over-year respectively, despite a slew of new launches. This more than offset a 6% increase on mobile, which increased its share of the total market to 59% this month.
  • NBA2K and FIFA’s latest releases were slow out of the gate. In-game spending for the NBA2K franchise grew only 6% in September, while the FIFA franchise declined slightly year-over-year due to an unfavorable comparison against World Cup after-effects last year. This compares to last September, where the two franchises saw combined in-game spending growth of 24%.
  • Fortnite hits lowest point since launch just before “Fortnite Chapter 2“. We estimate Fortnite revenue across all platforms declined 43% month-over-month in September, marking the worst performing month of revenue since November 2017.
  • Fate/Grand Order receives a huge boost from China. Fate/Grand Order catapulted into the top spot on our mobile rankings this month with $246 million in revenue, up significantly from $131 million in August and $98 million last September, with the majority of the revenue increase coming from China.
  • Borderlands 3 marks another solid release for 2K Games. Borderlands 3 sold an estimated 3.3 million digital units across console and PC in September. The average selling price per unit came in at an above-average $69 due to Deluxe Edition sales.

Sunday WoW Classic about Layers Again

Time for the Sunday sum up of what is happening with WoW Classic, on what is the two month anniversary since launch.

Classic is as classic does

I’m writing this in advance, so here’s hoping Blizzard doesn’t do anything else to make me regret writing about them.

Blizzard updated the layering status, listing out more servers that have been reduced to a single layer, which Blizz has deemed a requirement before advancing WoW Classic to phase 2 of their unlock plan. (Though we got Dire Maul early because things were taking longer than expected.)

Back at the beginning of the month Blizz listed out 13 servers in the Americas that and 6 servers in Europe that had been formally locked into a single layer.  You can now add to that 17 additional servers in the Americas, making it 30 out of the 36 servers in the Americas now on a single layer.

This change took place on Tuesday.  Our server, Bloodsail Buccaneers was on the list.  It was probably good that this happened after the running of the gnomes, even if layering did cause some odd moments.  Since the change things seem to be okay, if noticeably more crowded in some zones, though admittedly we haven’t hit a weekend prime time yet.

Other servers that had layering locked out were a different story.  SynCaine reported queues returning immediately on Benediction and very crowded conditions. Not a good sign for mid-week.  I wonder if Blizz will roll back that plan if the weekend ends up with more queues.

The European server team is not moving as fast on the layering front.  Previously only 6 of the 38 European servers had been locked down to a single layer, and this week they announced they were locking out layering on just 4 more servers.

The Euro team is either being more conservative or their servers are even more crowded that the Americas.

The latter might be why they are opening up a new European realm.  On Friday the Celebras was opened up, a German language RP realm, bringing the number of European realms up to 39.  Two months into WoW Classic and they are opening up another new server.

Also, RP servers for the win!

Free character transfers to Celebras will from the Everlook, Lakeshire, Razorfen, and Hydraxian Waterlords servers.

And so it goes.

Between now and next Sunday we have BlizzCon, so I expect there will be more than a little bit of news to report out of that.

Cragboar Reba and the Running of the Gnomes

For the running of the gnomes last weekend none of us had a pink haired gnome ready to hand, so we all rolled up new ones.  I was content to click the name generator until I got Westonty.  I’m not sure how Skronk ended up with Bandearg.  But Ula actually thought about her name and came up with Cragboarreba which, as Skronk noted, is either a great name or a Nashville insult.

The Three of us

More importantly though, at least for purposes of this post, she had her video capture running and was able to put together a video of the 2019 running of the gnomes on the Bloodsail Buccaneer server in WoW Classic.

As with some of her past videos, you can compare and contrast what she shows with what I wrote about the event.

You can see some of the layering oddities as gnomes fade in and out, the ride on the tram, the forming of the heart in Booty Bay, and even the odd lag effect that made gnomes jumping into the water appear like they were plummeting to the bottom.

Nobody being attacked by a tiger or a giant ape in Stranglethorn Vale though.  She was further back in the pack so the shepherds had already cleared things away most likely.

So if you want to see a video about a mass of pink haired gnomes running to Booty Bay, then taking a boat to die en masse in Orgrimmar, Ula has you covered.