It has been a busy month. I was away for 8 days and have been dealing with elderly parent issues even when I have been home. Then I started a new job mid-month, which is always a huge change and brings its own fresh dose anxiety.
And yet, somehow I found time to write 33 blog posts this April. Is my hobby really video games, or is it blogging? Also I managed to keep up the daily post streak, which I said I was going to probably let go of at the 500, 600, 700, and two full years marks. And yet here we are at day 761. Go me.
As for the blog itself, it continues to chug along under the weight of my words. Traffic has been down since the big Google Page Experience change back in February, when the altered their algorithm to favor sites that met their “good experience” criteria. That led to a noticeable drop in traffic from Google. Before that Google was sending me 300+ referrals a day, since then their referrals have broken the 200 mark only once.
You get used to the new normal pretty quickly though, and it can be interesting to see what still grabs Google’s attention and what does not. For example, I apparently jumped on the Antiwordle bandwagon just in time.
Also, if you get the blog updates via email you may have noticed a change. WP.com started sending them out formatted for mobile devices. But not for everybody I get the daily update sent to two different email addresses just to keep an eye on it. The more recent of the two gets the new format, while the older one… does not.
The older one dates back to the start of the blog and seems problematic overall. For years it used to get an update of posts from the previous day at about 5am local time very reliably. Now the update comes at all hours, or not at all some days. It will go a week with nothing and then an email will arrive a 2pm with a week’s worth of posts in a single email.
The new one isn’t free from issues. It seems sporadic on the delivery time and it misses a day now and then, and there is never a make up email. So something isn’t perfect in the email delivery.
One Year Ago
April Fools was a quiet affair at Blizzard.
I put up a poll asking what part of the month in review posts people liked the most, and this section topped the results. So I guess I’ll keep it up.
We got the word that Nielsen was shutting down SuperData Research, which it had acquired a couple of years earlier. There would be no more monthly revenue charts to argue about.
Raph Koster was talking some more about his latest project, giving us an unreadable chart to illustrate a point about player economies. He was also talking about cloud computing, which got me to write about the pros and cons of the thin client idea. Raph came even came by and left a comment on that post.
The instance group was still hot on Valheim. I was out scouting for base locations out in the plains biome. Once we slew Moder, we started working on an island base on the coast of a plains area. We were becoming good at dealing with deathsquitoes.
The plains has its own residents to take on. Meanwhile, we kept expanding our base, setting up a farm in it. I was also out exploring even more. I also got to battle Yagluth, the final plains boss, on another server.
Runes of Magic had their “biggest server ever” setup for the 12th anniversary of the game.
I was wondering if Lord of the Rings Online was in maintenance mode. But EG7 has renewed their commitment to it since. Over on the EverQuest front, the Mischief random loot server was coming online.
I also logged in and played a bit of WoW Classic.
In EVE Online World War Bee was still carrying on after 10 months. However, CCP chose to introduce industry changes that made capital ships so expensive to produce that nobody was willing to go “all in” on another M2-XFE type battle. PAPI would not commit its supers and titans to anything besides structure grinds under a cyno jammer until the retreat from Delve a few months down the line. The EVE Online posts from April 2021:
- 39 Weeks of World War Bee
- 40 Weeks of World War Bee
- The April Update Begins Seeding New Industry Materials in EVE Online
- CCP Begins the Run Up to the CSM16 Elections
- 41 Weeks of World War Bee
- The March EVE Online Economic Report and What Happens When CCP Announces Industry Changes
- 42 Weeks of World War Bee
- The Latest EVE Online Update Kicks Off the Industrial Chaos Era
- The Assault on the Imperium Capitol Constellation Begins
On the media front I wrote about Godzilla vs Kong and watching The Walking Dead. I also wrote about out PS3, which turned 10 and had been used mostly for playing BluRay disks and streaming.
I was on about how throwing money at bogus MMO Kickstarter campaigns was no way to fight “big dev.”
And, finally, in a Friday bullet point post I mentioned the Diablo II Resurrected Alpha, EG7 completing its purchase of MMO publish Innova (which, a year later, they found themselves divesting themselves from), more about Runes of Magic, and CCP talking about the FPS shooter they said they weren’t talking about.
Five Years Ago
There was, of course, April Fools, but Blizzard didn’t seem up to its usual level of effort.
Blizzard did make the original StarCraft free to play, no April Fools there.
I was wondering if the plan to make mobs scale with your ilevel was going to make going back to World of Warcraft a chore. It seemed like a bad idea, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter much.
I was going on about the 3K Blissey problem in Pokemon Go.
Meanwhile I was finishing up Pokemon Sun and still felt like playing Pokemon, so went back to Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.
There was the Lord of the Rings Online ten year launch anniversary. We would finally get to Mordor later that year.
Daybreak announced the Agnarr server for EverQuest, a retro server designed to stay retro as it would not progress beyond the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.
In EVE Online Reavers were out camping Circle of Two in Impass, shooting their ratters and such. Asher later told us that this was to have us in place as they had a CO2 director ready defect. This was before The Judge did his thing. However that did not come to pass.
I was going on about corpses in New Eden, which have their own special place in the game. I was also on about force auxiliaries and titan losses.
In Iceland EVE Fanfest was under way. They had a presentation that gave some interesting data about what happened in New Eden over the last year. CCP also announced the winners of the CSM12 election and when/where EVE Vegas would take place. And there was a talk on the plan to convert Null Sec stations into citadels. We’re still waiting on that last bit.
I also started looking at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report as a regular monthly item, something set off by how much ratting and mining was being done in null sec.
I sharpened up my scanning skills, all the better to hunt MTUs. Also, according to CCP I lost 5 billion ISK in space wealth since the month before.
In Minecraft I finished up the long road to the northern forest mansion; it took an hour to ride it on a fast horse.
And then there was the crazy story of the Nintendo NES Classic, which they stopped producing even though it remained sold out everywhere.
Ten Years Ago
April 2012 set a daily page view record. What is it about April? I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.
Yeah, the Burn Jita event. It made for my most popular YouTube video ever. And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.
Elsewhere in EVE Online, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up. All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways. We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps. And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.
I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24. I don’t think I got paid for all of that.
I made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.
Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.
Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons. We were not buying any $25 bags though.
In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach. But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.
And it was April Fools at Blizzard.
Fifteen Years Ago
Back in April 2007 we were wondering what was going to happen with Sigil Games Online after their less than stellar Vanguard launch. (*snort*) I threw out a few paths that the game might follow going forward, one of which proved to be correct. Soon we would be free from the rambling posts of Aradune. There was a failure of vision to be corrected. But I bought a copy all the same. It was marked down.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Vista, which launched the same day as Vanguard, was facing failures of its own, with Dell having to reintroduce Windows XP as an option for customers. I know my own company was buying XP systems until Windows 7 came out… and became the new Windows XP.
In EverQuest II Gaff and I visited Emperor Fyst, I ran around in Nektropos Castle with the Everling clan, and complained about experience in Splitpaw.
While our WoW group was winding down for the summer, with Earl off to Broadway, the remaining four of us went off to Middle-earth with the launch of Lord of the Rings Online. We had been playing in the beta, but eventually it came time to buy the game and sort out the founder’s options. I had my first impressions. Titles were a thing!
I answered the musical meme question, “Five Reasons Why I Blog.” Remember when those were “memes?” Also, that seems awfully early in my career to be answering that sort of question.
I was also on about the pros and cons of player wipes, the requirement that one be able to solo in MMORPGs, and the problem of translating mechanics between games.
Van Hemlock was leet.
Nintendo launched Pokemon Diamond & Pearl in North America at last. The EU would have to wait until July to get their copies.
Our Wii finally came out of the box.
And, finally, I had a problem with a video card that eventually had to be RMA’d, which sounds a lot like this April. I hope this won’t turn into a yearly thing.
Sixty Years Ago
One of the earliest computer video games, Spacewar! came into being, being initially playable on a DEC PDP-1 minicomputer at MIT. This would evolve and move onto other platforms over the years, including an arcade version that I used to play in middle school in the late 70s.
As I wrote back in 2014, you can play the original Spacewar! in emulation over at the Internet Archive. You can also play the Valve reproduction of the arcade game on Steam, if you know how to install it.
Most Viewed Posts in April
- Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
- Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
- CCP Raising the EVE Online Subscription Price to $20 a Month Starting May 17th
- The Trainwreck of 21st Century Lord British
- 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
- CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
- The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
- April Fools at Blizzard 2022 in the Shadow of Many Things
- The One with the Lawyer from BASF
- Wordle and Things Like Wordle
- What Makes Housing Worthwhile in an MMO?
- The Coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic
Search Terms of the Month
Another all Russian edition. I guess the war hasn’t stopped search terms.
дайсон сфер программ
[I think they have those in Stellaris ]
моды на бамбук
[Things pandas like]
[Aaron made one of those in Minecraft for us]
космические корабли ив онлайн моделька
[Not really sure on that one]
фон майнкрафт особняк
[I have a few screenshots here that might serve]
Game Time from ManicTime
Well, you can see where I spent most of my game play time this month. Granted, as I said above, I was away and busy for quite a bit of the month, so the sum total of hours is the lowest of any month so far this year… half of what it was in January… but it is still a non-trivial amount of time spent messing around.
- Valheim – 91.76%
- EVE Online – 6.41%
- LOTRO – 1.15%
- Lost Ark – 0.69%
I was actually a bit surprised to see that I had logged into Lost Ark in April. It feels like a long time since I last touched it.
It has been a bit of a month for CCP. I have more posts talking about the game than about actually playing the game. But, then, I haven’t been playing too much of the game, so maybe it isn’t all on CCP.
The deployment to the southeast of null sec carried on. There are fights now and then, but I wouldn’t call it a war. I managed to go on a few ops, got on my kill mail for the month, and basically did the minimum participation thing due to being busy.
The campaign does not sit still because I am busy though, and the staging stations keep moving forward, so I am behind one staging system and have ships strewn across three old ones. My hope is that I’ll be able to get two expensive ships back home some day and then YOLO or asset safety the rest.
Lord of the Rings Online
Hey, it turned 15 this month. Imagine that. I did log in for a bit, though I probably spent more time patching up, and collected my anniversary gifts on what was probably the wrong server in hindsight. Whatever, my bags were nearly too full to collect the gifts in any case, laden with gifts from previous years as they were. There were some nice and generous items for 15 year veterans. Maybe some day I will use them.
Well, that ended quickly. The sure fire sign that I wasn’t really all that into a game is that I simply stop even thinking about logging in. And it isn’t like Lost Ark is out of sight. It is there on my favorites list in Steam and I am in there every day to play Valheim. I just don’t click on Lost Ark anymore.
Back to Valheim. As Potshot noted, its worldliness is a draw for our group. So we’re back with a fresh start, and doing a slow roll forward, not in any hurry to get to the next boss or whatever. Ideally we’ll get the update for the Mistlands before we’ve tapped out again. We got another tease about that biome, but it is still in the distant future.
Some Pokemon was played, though not so much as past months. The mega evolutions might be a bigger deal going forward as Niantic has finally figured out that an expensive, temporary evolve isn’t all that viable for any but the most dedicated players. That sure isn’t me.
Level: 42 ( 43.5% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 706 (+9) caught, 730 (+9) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc
I fell off the bike this month, though at least it wasn’t literally. I was away and then the new job meant trying to craft a new daily routine where I still need to find a spot for exercise. I did manage to peddle a little bit on the weekends, but I am definitely off my stride for the moment.
- Level – 14 (+0)
- Distanced cycled – 937.9 miles (+37.7 miles)
- Time – 2d 1h 37m (+2h 12m)
- Elevation climbed – 39,216 (+5,316 feet)
- Calories burned – 31,059 (+983)
As I understand it, on Tuesday Blizzard is supposed to officially announce its long hinted at Warcraft mobile game. Will it get a PC version as well to stop people from playing it in phone emulation mode on their PCs the way Diablo: Immortal did? I guess we’ll find out.
Then, by this time next Saturday we’ll know all the things that CCP has planned to announce at EVE Fanfest.
Otherwise a lot of things will just carry on as before. I suspect that Valheim will continue to dominate what play time I have when it comes to May.