November in Review

The Site

My latest anxiety about the blog revolves around screen shots.  Since I got the big monitor, the size of my screen shots has grown to 3440 pixels across.  That is considerably wider than the early days of the blog.  But the width of the text column remains about the same.  It grew a little bit about a decade back when I changed themes, going from ~450 pixels wide to ~700 pixels wide, but that still isn’t a lot.  I think my monitor for most of the life of the blog was 1,600 pixels across, so the width of screen shots has doubled.

Which means unless I crop screen shots down, the detail is lost as the site resizes them to fit in the text column.  That doesn’t seem so bad, because the image is always linked to a full size version, so if you click on the screen shot you can see it in its full glory.

The dramatic vista of Ardenweald

The problem is that, looking at the blog stats, almost nobody does that.  So now I fret a bit about images I post not having the impact I think they ought to.  To me the images are important, but that is because I am a visual person and the picture stirs up more memories than the written word, which tends to fill in some details that the images may not express.

This is aggravated by yet another WordPress.com change where, when you click on the first image after you arrive, they don’t show you the full image, but a smaller version in a WordPress.com frame that encourages you to blog at WP.com.

This is probably a bigger deal for my other blog, EVE Online Pictures which, as the name indicates, is just screen shots from EVE Online.  The lager images make for tiny ships in the preview image.

The titans are visible, the cruisers not so much

And, of course, having huge screen shots is a double edge sword even if I want to crop things down to be more visible.  There is a lot of space to crop and still have a decent size image, but sometimes I want so much of the image that it ends up still being huge even after some major cropping.

First world blogging problems I guess.  I’ll probably do a post about this to clarify my options.  Maybe with a poll.  I haven’t had a poll in a while.

One Year Ago

Brad McQuaid passed away.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Sword & Shield, the first real core RPG Pokemon games for the Switch.

BlizzCon was coming.  There was the apology and the big four announcements (Diablo IV, Shadowlands, Overwatch 2,  and something about Hearthstone).  Even with the pall of Hong Kong hanging over it, it still went better that BlizzCon 2018.  And Hong Kong?  Well, the new security law makes it unlawful for anybody inside or outside of China to criticize the government. No more protest, no more movement, just arrests.

World of Warcraft hit its fifteenth anniversary, which made WoW Classic all the more timely.  I charted out my own history with Blizzard and Azeroth.

WoW Classic was doing well, driving the biggest quarterly increase in subscriptions in the history of the franchise.  It also moved into Phase 2 of its progression.  The PvP fiasco that followed led to Blizz launching battlegrounds, slated for Phase 3, early.

Actually in WoW Classic the instance group took on Shadowfang Keep and the Stormwind Stockades, then started in on Gnomereagn.  We got in a second Gnomeregan run and also went after class quests.

I compared the four pending expansions from WoW, EQ, EQII, and LOTRO.

Standing Stone Games launched the delayed Minas Morgul expansion.

EverQuest II celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. Special servers were on the menu and I recalled my own journey with the game on my own fifteenth anniversary a couple days later.  I also joined in on the dragon event going on in the game.  That led to me playing more and leveling up… and getting side tracked, as tends to happen in Norrath.  But I made it to the level cap and learned to speak dragon along the way.

EVE Online got a series of updates, starting with a tiny one regarding login campaigns.  Then there was Team Talos and the Beat Around the Boosh update.  Then we got the Rapid Fire update that came with more Triglavian invasion changes.  And, finally, we got the HyperNet Relay update, which reintroduced gambling… or enhanced scamming… or maybe both… in New Eden.

The October MER showed NPC bounties rebounding after the chaos era blackout.

CCP had plans for more EVE Aether Wars tests while CCP Falcon left the company.

And, actually in in the game, we flew from Delve to Pure Blind to defend some sovereignty and I hit 210 million skill points.

Finally, Google Stadia launched and Bobby Kotick was talking up perpetual franchises.

Five Years Ago

The launch of Fallout 4 caused a dip in porn viewing on the internet.

Nintendo announced they were re-releasing Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on the 3DS Virtual Console.

BlizzCon was approaching and I laid out a “need vs greed” list of things I thought would happen at the event.  But before BlizzCon there had to be the Q3 quarterly results.  The big news was that World of Warcraft held steady and had 5.5 million subscribers.  However, Blizzard said they were not going to talk about subscription numbers any more.  They would be talking about Candy Crush Saga though, having purchased King for 5.9 billion dollars.

Then BlizzCon came and I had to score my list.

It also slipped out a bit early that the WoW Legion expansion would not hit until summer 2016, September 21 being the last possible date listed, which seemed a long ways off.  I wasn’t yet ready to return to the game.  I used gold to grab a WoW Token for 30 days of play time and spend the most of it just earning that money back running missions in my garrison.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Voice, the final part of the trilogy launched.

dipped my toe back in Lord of the Rings Online for a bit.

Still playing Minecraft, I finished up the Great Northern Road and highlighted the guardian farm that Aaron built.

In New Eden, the Parallax expansion was released, the last named monthly update in Syndicate to be released.  From then on names were reserved for big expansions while monthly updates were simply know by their date… or New Eden date… or build number.  CCP can’t even hold the line on that naming scheme.

There was also the start of the ill-fated Fountain War Kickstarter campaign, which was plagued by hubris, gaffes, bad ideas, and “Grrr Goons” hostility.  Not that it didn’t deserve some of the latter as it was a clusterfuck and was not winning fast enough.  It was finally cancelled before the clock ran down, but it left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.

There was also a Fountain War video which was better received… but then nobody was asking for $150,000 to produce it.

Meanwhile, another member of CSM X got cut.  Not a Goon.

CCP Quant took his EVE Vegas presentation and made it the first of the monthly EVE Economic reports to be publish.

And actually in the game, the Reavers were down in Wicked Creek to spar with TEST.  We were not there long, but it was one of those deployments that generated its own legends in the SIG.  We were called back because a small war was brewing in Cloud Ring against some foes, old and new.  Some had no sov and were hitting us from low sec.  We fell on them when we could in what was being dubbed the “Kickstarter War.”  Herein lay some of the seeds of what would become the “Casino War.”

Over at Daybreak, EverQuest II got the Terrors of Thalumbra of expansion while EverQuest got expansion number 22, The Broken Mirror.  There was the Phinigel “true box” progression server coming up for EverQuest.  The EverQuest II server consolidation was wrapping up, on Stormhold the Kingdom of Sky expansion was voted down, and the game turned 11, all of which I covered in a single post.

Daybreak also shut down Dragon’s Prophet, which lived on in Europe under another publisher.

Smed, gone from Daybreak, wanted to stop talking about money when it came to video games.

And finally, I had a test… Star Wars test… for those wishing to date my daughter.

Ten Years Ago

I was talking about group size and roles.  That has come up again, especially since SWTOR groups seemed to be limited to four players.

On the retro front, I played some Total Annihilation.  Still one of the best RTS games ever.

took a look at the soon to be defunct EverQuest II Extended.  It seemed quite busy.  Of course, I went Station Access so I could peek into EverQuest II  (with some issues) and EverQuest as well.

The rump instance group was wrapping up another Summer in Middle-earth at the far end of the Lone Lands as well as in and around Ost Guruth.

At the same time, Turbine was putting crafting materials in the LOTRO Store.  Meanwhile, the OTHER LOTRO store, the real life one, wasn’t doing much for me.

CCP announced that they were removing learning skills from EVE Online.  I hit 60 million skill points and was going to get to reallocate some of them as part of the skill point refund.

The Cataclysm open beta was coming to an end at last. I think part of the problem with the expansion was how long people were freely talking about the expansion… and playing it… before it came out.  We all knew what the hot new hunter pet would be and how much the world was going to be changed.  Cheap copies of WoW were not going to fix that.

Back in pre-Cataclysm Azeroth, I was summing up my Wintergrasp experiences and moaning about missing the damn Hallow’s End mask quest achievement again.

On the Pokemon front, I finished the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.  In your face!  And the march to the release of Pokemon Black and White was commencing.

The Microsoft Kinect for XBox launched.

The news seemed to be confused as to whether or not flying cars had come at last.

And, finally, in the completion of a boyhood dream of mine, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, officially releasing me from caring about major league ball ever again.

Fifteen Years Ago

Guitar Hero launches for the PlayStation 2 and kicks off a series of games (and a competitor) for people who can play air guitar.

The New Game Experience, or NGE, hits Star Wars Galaxies, completely changing the character development path.  Landing just days after the Trials of Obi-wan expansion launched, players are enraged and SOE ends up offering refunds to players who bought the expansion.  The NGE becomes a weight around SOE’s neck and studio head John Smedley will end up being asked (and harassed) about the whole thing for many years.

Thirty Five Years Ago

Origin Systems releases Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, the last of the Ultima series I ended up playing.  I had an Apple II at the time, but by the time Ultima V came along I had a Mac and the Ultima series never went there.  Also, I liked Ultima III better.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. The WoW Shadowlands Pre-Patch with the Big Level Squish Arrives Today
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  6. The Crimson Harvest Event Returns to EVE Online for Halloween
  7. Robbing Some Space Banks
  8. The EverQuest Team Announces the Claws of Veeshan Expansion
  9. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  10. WoW Tokens Five Years Later
  11. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  12. The November Update brings Null Sec Nerfs and Supercarrier Clone Bays to EVE Online

Spam Comments of the Month

wow ive been squished to level 50
[wow, me too!]

no asset saftey without quantum core
[Nope]

level 85 and.now ? everquest
[I feel your pain]

Game Time from ManicTime

A week off work for the Thanksgiving holiday gave me more free time for game play.  That the new WoW expansion, Shadowlands, launched gave me something on which to focus much of that free time.  I still played EVE Online and WoW Classic, but I spent more hours playing this month overall, and those extra hours went into retail WoW.

  • World of Warcraft – 74.50%
  • EVE Online – 13.38%
  • WoW Classic – 12.12%

Over at Time to Loot Naithin was doing the Five Game Challenge for November, where you stick to just five titles over a month.  I seem to have done that inadvertently, keeping to four titles if you count Pokemon Go.

EVE Online

The war goes on.  It is much closer to home now, being next door to 1DQ1-A.  But that just means more action more quickly.  We will see who gets tired or runs out of money first.  CCP is certainly doing its best to make sure the latter happens.

Pokemon Go

Life at level 40.  We mostly raid, do whatever event happens to be up… though I gave up quickly on that endless Nidoran event on Saturday because… and try to get in gyms to earn coins to buy remote raid passes to keep raiding from home.  We did contribute to Niantic’s bottom when we ran out of raid passes during the Azlef, Mesprit, and Uxie event.  But we caught all three.

Level: 40
Pokedex status: 593 (+9) caught, 616 (+8) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 8 of 9
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Zwelious

World of Warcraft

In case you missed it, there was an expansion launched a week ago.  Shadowlands, and the run up to it, including exploring the dynamics of the level squish, got me back into the retail game.  There were plenty of posts here to reflect that.  I already have a character at level  cap.  But I think Blizz has kind of punted on the idea that level cap should be much of an achievement with this expansion.  More on that this week.

WoW Classic

While we continued on with the regular instance group runs, I don’t think any of us spent much time in Classic in between.  For a brief time I had characters in Classic that were higher level than any of mine in retail.  But I am still not to the level cap in old Azeroth.

Coming Up

There will no doubt be more posts about the WoW Shadowlands expansion.  I already have one in the can ready to post this week and another under way.  We shall see how long I stick with the new stuff though.

In WoW Classic we still have a couple of runs left for Blackrock Depths.  I suspect that there will be three more posts this month about that, if the group can get together over the holidays.

In EVE Online the war continues and I doubt there will be any resolution come December.  Just more fighting and destruction. (The 21 Weeks of World War Bee post will go up tomorrow, having been pre-empted by this Month in Review post.  I have not given up on that yet.)

Pokemon Go has announced its Pokemon Go Beyond plan, with seasons, Pokemon from a new region, and a level cap increase in the offing.  We got to level 40 just in time I guess.  We’ll see how that goes.

Maybe I’ll even play something besides those four games.  The Steam Winter Sale will show up and maybe I’ll launch that and get inspired to play something else.

And, of course, with December here you can expect the usual raft of year in review posts, though I have considered simply trying to forget 2020 altogether.  I will say that the events of the year upset my start of the year predictions.  I’m mostly wrong most years, but I ended up especially wrong this year.  We’ll get to that soon though.

6 thoughts on “November in Review

  1. bhagpuss

    I spend more time messing about with the pictures than I do writing the posts some days. Actually, most days. This morning I noticed a new widget in paint.net and wasted an hour fiddling with that before I realized it didn’t do what I thought it did. Unusually, though, Blogger’s recent upgrade really was, for me at least. It lets me do a few things easily with pictures now that were difficult before, although I still can’t get it to place two videos next to each other horizontally with any reliability.

    On the Blizzard boycott of 2019, is anyone still holding to that? Did anyone not buy Shadowlands because of it? Did Blizzard ever disinvest? How’s WoW doing in China these days? Not to be too cynical but it all pretty much went the way I thought it would. As Ferris Bueller said, life moves pretty fast…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @bhagpuss – I saw one person on Twitter respond to Blizzard the other day saying they were still boycotting the company, but the news otherwise is that the WoW “franchise” is expected to hit a billion dollars in revenue this year and that Shadowlands might end up being their biggest expansion launch so far. We’ll see.

    And, of course, here in 2020, you might ask what impact a boycott would have. Under the cover of COVID China, taking a short break from putting the Uyghurs in concentration camps, forced that new law I mentioned on Hong Kong which makes criticizing the Chinese government illegal no matter where you are. If you said something negative about China you likely can’t get into Hong Kong now. And if you live there you’re going to jail for it. Punishing Blizzard for something their government mandated partner in China did probably won’t change anything at this point. The idea of freedom in Hong Kong is dead. You have to go after Chinese companies to get any notice, and the only country really doing that right now is India, which is banning games from Chinese devs due to renewed conflict over their border issue. If you’re boycotting Blizzard but still buying products from China you’re not changing anything in Hong Kong. But if you just don’t like Blizzard, carry on. Just don’t pretend it is anything more than that.

    So it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ula

    I’ve been having the same concerns about images on my blog and considered asking you about it. I’m not sure what the best solution is yet, but I find the whole thing quite frustrating.

    Like

  4. Naithin

    Boy do I hear you on the screenshots issue. I have found myself wishing at times I went with ‘just’ 21:9 rather than 32:9 just for the screenshots on the blog alone. Add to that, that wordpress has started ‘helpfully’ scaling the images to half-size on the click-through versions even and it reduces the potential impact even for those that DO click through.

    Haven’t really come up with a good solution for this yet. Occasionally toyed with the idea of looking into the CSS enough to allow the image containers to run ‘full width’ (at least within the constraints of the post box) — but I’ve not yet ever taken it past that point and tried to execute.

    Maybe over the Christmas break… ;)

    Like

  5. Jeromai

    I have mostly given up about the screenshots problem. I think the best thing to bear in mind is ‘purpose’ – of the screenshots, of the blog design, etc.

    What sealed the deal was chancing across the Deadendthrills website, which is mostly entirely a screenshot blog on purpose, since he’s a screen capture artist and it serves as a portfolio example. The impact of the screenshots being viewed on an iPad, at half my widescreen (aka a regular 1920×1080 monitor) and at my full ultrawidescreen (3840×1080) is quite quite different. I’m definitely partial to the latter for impact, but admit that I’m reading most websites via an iPad for mobile convenience.

    If that already has a difference in impact, given that he’s literally given over the entire screen share to screenshots, what more a text blog that also has to give some thought to words and white space?

    So. Purpose. Crop for focus and centered attention on a feature. Leave it whole for a ‘big picture’ view and for convenience.

    If the current blog theme has gotten too clunky, then look for another layout that gives screenshots a little more room. Then again, layouts need a certain amount of column restriction for text, which needs to be balanced as well. One could turn everything white and just use the maximum amount of screen space, simulating Reader View, but then one would also lose some color and the personality of a particular place.

    I have mostly decided my main priority is convenience and personal ease of use when posting – I can already spend 1-2h per blog post easily and don’t want to spend very much more time agonizing over every picture or the absolute perfect & optimal blog theme design. Fast post over the perfect magazine layout for me. Others’ mileage may vary.

    Like

  6. Redbeard

    I believe you’re right about max level not being as much of an achievement in Shadowlands as before. When I logged into our final AQ40 run (barring legendary questlines) all people were talking about were the amount of gold they had in Shadowlands and how quick it was to get to max level at Shadowlands. Not for any achievement, but because they wanted 5-10 toons at max level. And, of course, about how they could skip over so many quests and whatnot to settle in at max level once the first toon made it through. I don’t think I heard a peep about the story or anything else, it was all about getting to max level and then starting raiding.

    Sometimes I wonder why Blizz bothers with a story at all.

    Like

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