We are already a month down for 2021 and it has seemed… a bit less crazy. Or, at least we seem to be confining big events to Wednesdays… insurrection, impeachment, inauguration, GameStop… to give everybody time to catch up. It is a welcome change from the last four years of “what new outrage will I awake to in the morning?”
I mentioned a while back that I had setup the blog as a magazine on the Flipboard app, so if you wanted to read the blog in a handy way on your phone or tablet you now had that option.
As I said, I find it a nice way to flip through headlines with the ability to dive into the news story about which I want to know more. Well, last week I received a note from Flipboard saying that my configuration had been approved and TAGN was now available generally on the app. So you can find it if you search on TAGN. I would still be interested to hear if anybody uses it or likes the format.
One Year Ago
A new year meant predictions. Also, there was the end of another Steam Winter Sale complete with stats and my own gaming outlook for 2020. I also had a list of things I wanted to see in the year and my game time played for 2019.
SuperData Research had their own review of 2019.
A research group published a paper exploring the electrical usage impact of video games in the state of California. It was more than hot tub pumps.
Daybreak finally did their studio split thing, though what it really meant was left unanswered.
In EverQuest II I was gearing up for the moon. I also leveled up my crafting by doing things other than crafting, though I had our guild hall open for actual crafting. Leveling up was quick and I soon had three characters on Luclin.
The January game update buffed heavy missiles and added Nirvana implants, the “shield slaves” that people had been asking about for years.
CCP introduced new player packs that were essentially selling skill points… again. They were also handing out more skill points for logging in, doing a PLEX for Good for the Australian wildfires as well, and finishing the 64-bit client transition.
Blizzard pushed out Warcraft III Reforged, broken, berefet of expected features, and with restrictions on user created content, all of which made it an object of scorn and an item on many “worst releases of 2020” lists.
In WoW Classic the instance group was in the Scarlet Monastery. We took a shot at the library and the armory, then ran off to Stranglethorn Vale for a bit of xp. After that we went back and did the library and the armory again. I also ended up with my first level 40 in WoW Classic.
Five Years Ago
I was also included on some sort of MMO info page thing.
It was the end of another Steam Winter Sale.
People were troubled by a potential paywall in Rift.
The price for the Occulus Rift was announced, which led to quite a sum if all I wanted to do is play EVE Valkyrie.
In EVE Online I ran my first incursion boss. We also got the first of the “no name” monthly updates. Karma Fleet turned one. CCP told us about skill extractors. Blog Banter 71 was about spaceships. Also, there was some sort of conflict going on between I Want ISK and SpaceMonkeys Alliance. It started in mid-December 2015. The bankers of I Want ISK were banned then unbanned and eventually the whole thing spiraled out to become the Casino War.
Daybreak announced that they were going to port the five year old DC Universe Online to the XBox.
I wrote a bit about The Force Awakens.
Finally, I was marveling at all the movies from 1986 that I remembered. Aliens! Top Gun! Platoon! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! It was a hell of a year for movies.
Ten Years Ago
TERA was trying to win notice by telling people how they had boars in their game! BOARS! Can you imagine?
EuroGamer tried to tell us PlanetSide 2 would be out by Q2 2011. (It eventually shipped in November of 2012.)
Rift, on the other hand, gave us a more believable release date.
It was time to start messing with the then new EVE Online character creator.
DC Universe Online launched. I played in the beta just long enough to remind myself I am not a superhero kind of guy. Sales of the game were pretty evenly split between Windows and PlayStation 3, but play time seemed to be impacted by American Idol when it came to the console side of the house.
Of course, that was back during the subscription era of MMOs, when Smed was telling us what paying a subscription to lead us to expect.
Meanwhile, competing superhero game, Champions Online, went free to play after less than a year and and a half as a subscription title. This would end up being foreshadowing for DC Universe Online.
I used Google to tell me World of Warcraft’s five most pressing issues at the time.
Meanwhile, the Twilight Cadre was back in Azeroth in force and checking out Cataclysm. We got our first guild achievement. Our group of new characters, four worgen and a gnome, went through Westfall and all its phasing magic, wailed in the Wailing Caverns, before settling down to a pattern of doing three instances every Saturday night. I wasn’t sure if we had skilled up a lot or if the game had been dumbed down that much, but clearly the 1-60 game in Cataclysm was proving to be not much of a challenge.
The official World of Warcraft magazine was asking me to renew my subscription, though they weren’t really up to mail merge technology it seems.
There was some cool stuff in Cataclysm. I like the balloons. Redridge, never one of my favorite places, got turned into a fun solo experience. And there was the Murloc combat ability. But otherwise, the game was starting to lose us.
And, finally, Pokemon was coming to town.
Fifteen Years Ago
SOE announced that they were going to merge EverQuest II servers a little more than a year after the game went live, trimming the server count down by folding 10 low population servers into 10 low to medium population servers. The reason given is that the world was sooo big that the population was too spread out. I’m pretty sure most people thought that the game had just lost too many players to WoW to make that many servers viable since MMO populations are rarely evenly spread but tend to form a bubble in the latest content.
Nintendo, which was still selling the GameBoy Advance (and would continue to in the US until 2008) announced the first major update to their crazy two screen DS handheld platform. The new Nintendo DS Lite would end up being, in my opinion, one of the finest handheld consoles ever, with sharp screens, a compact form factor, excellent finish, and great battery life along with continuing the backward compatibility with the GBA. The only problem I ever had with my cobalt blue unit involved me getting old and being unable to read text on the screen without glasses.
Twenty Years Ago
RuneScape launches as a Java based browser game.
Phantasy Star Online launches on the Sega Dreamcast, one of the first proto-MMOs on consoles.
Forty Years Ago
The first DeLorean rolled off the production line. Not really game related, but very much pop culture related.
Most Viewed Posts in January
Search Terms of the Month
elf heroes with flying.mounts
[not asking for much]
dawn rhea eve online
[Over at Theta Thursdays on INN Twitch]
eve online is npc station safe to store my assets?
[with CCP I am hesitant to say yes]
does trion still exist
[Only in our hearts]
звёздные войны буквы уход
[Some nuance there Google translate lacks]
Game Time from ManicTime
Two games dominated my PC play time this month for sure. It was pretty much a neck in neck tie between WoW Classic and EVE Online all month. I also spent a little bit of time logged into retail WoW and was in and looking at LOTRO for a bit though, as I mentioned, on the big monitor it is almost unplayable due to tiny, indistinct icons on the hot bar and in inventory.
- WoW Classic – 50.36%
- EVE Online – 49.30%
- World of Warcraft – 0.19%
- LOTRO – 0.16%
The war goes on. For a short stretch of time after the battles at M2-XFE the invaders seemed dismayed and their participation was way down, allowing the Imperium to push them back in Delve, retaking several constellations and saving a few Keepstars. PAPI has since recovered, building up to a more aggressive tempo, and in the last week has been able to field their overwhelming numbers again to grind down our gains. More on that tomorrow though.
Pokemon Go has had some weekly events that we have been doing. With wind and rain and the pandemic, Pokemon Go is often the only excuse to leave the house some days.
Level: 40 (65% of the way to 41 in xp, all tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 613 (+2) caught, 642 (+7) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 9 of 10
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Froakie
World of Warcraft
I did not spend a lot of time in Shadowlands this month. It isn’t so much that the expansion is bad than I would simply rather spend my time in WoW Classic again. Since one subscription gets me both, I am not sure it matters too much, the way it would if I were playing a different MMO. I did, however, keep up with my usual standard of at least doing Darkmoon Faire.
The instance group has been doing its thing every week, but if I was playing a game this past month and it wasn’t EVE Online, then it was probably WoW Classic. I will likely have at least one character up to level 60 before Blizzard starts talking about The Burning Crusade, and I will likely have three well before anything based on that launches, even with the most optimistic schedule.
BlizzConline will be coming up on the 19th. After no BlizzCon in 2020 and relatively few announcements since the Shadowlands launch, it is time to get some news. If there isn’t an announcement and a plan for The Burning Crusade Classic I expect riots in the street.
It would also be nice if Blizz could come up with something else… and not just another Hearthstone expansion. 2020 was a retro year for Blizz as we once again reached the point where World of Warcraft was the game that mattered and everything else felt neglected. It isn’t necessarily bad to have just one main game for a stretch… look how long Riot ran on just League of Legends… but Blizz actually has other franchises.
In EVE Online the war will continue no doubt. Both sides still see a path to some sort of victory, and given Vily’s temperament war aims, it is very likely that both sides will claim victory unless there is a very dramatic end to the war.
Meanwhile, CCP continues to hold the screws to the economy, so prices are rising. They sent out a survey about their handling of the economy. I’d like to see the results and comments from that. I doubt they will share however. But they will need to do something because the one main threat to the ongoing war is supply and replacement, which is running up against CCP’s belief that if they make us all poor we’ll fight more rather than less.
Otherwise… maybe I will play something beyond EVE Online and WoW Classic next month.