Category Archives: blog thing

Bullet Points on Black Friday

No Black Friday deals here, but I am not much of a shopper.  Instead I am hunkered down with the TV, video games, and a large supply of turkey sandwiches as I sort through bits of news that were not worth a full post.

Pokemon Sun & Moon Scare

There was a story out earlier this week about a bug in Pokemon Sun & Moon that was causing players to lose their game saves.  That would be a miserable turn of affairs, especially since the bug seemed to be in the end game, specifically the Battle Tree competitive battle area.  I wasn’t that far along in the game, but it seemed like Nintendo was going to have to put out a patch. (A joy of the 3DS generation is that they can patch games even if you get them on a cartridge.)

And then a follow up came out that the problem was related to people using a hack to alter their game which was damaging their save file causing them to lose their saved game eventually.  Problem avoided for me, but I imagine that there are some people in the PKHex tool community that are pissed.

Pokemon Go Holiday Bonus

If you are still playing Pokemon Go (my wife and I still play daily, even if our daughter has moved to teen disdain when it comes to the game) then you have probably seen that, in addition to the daily “first catch” and “first pokestop” bonuses, for a limited time Niantic is also giving out double experience and double pokedust.  This event lasts through November 30th.  It might be time to crack a lucky egg and evolve all those Pokemon I have been saving up.

Death to The Mittani

Or, rather, death to the news site The Mittani Dot Com, as the team there transitions from the four year old Drupal based site to the shiny new WordPress based Imperium News Network site.  The INN site has been up for a while, but The Mittani announced the official cut-over this week.  The swap over has been accompanied by a resurgence in activity.

Of course, my first concern about the change was whether or not this change was going leave yet more dead links here on the blog.  I have been assured that the old links will route to the stories on the new site, though I won’t really believe it until the old site is gone.

New Ways to Mangle My Words

WordPress.com has added a Google Translate widget to the array of options for WordPress.com users.  So I put it up on the side bar.  However, your mileage may vary, as they say.  It will probably work okay when I stick to simple declarative sentences free of jargon, but I suspect that comedy will ensue when I start in on a post about EVE Online.

And that is all I could come up with.  Time for a turkey sandwich as I try to find my way back home in Minecraft.

 

A Decade Under the Influence of Online Games

Here we are, ten years and more than four thousand posts later, and I am still notably bad at online games.  But I persist.

Being there achievement, blogging version

Being there achievement, blogging version

The title is actually wrong, but I couldn’t come up with a better one.  I can prove I have been playing online games for 30 years.  I even have physical artifacts from the era.  Hell of a year for games… and movies.  I’ve merely been blogging about them for the last decade.

Anyway, for those keen to review past attempts at anniversary posts, here is the list:

I actually did a lot of work on those posts around years five and six.

Base Statistics

An attempt to quantify what I have done here in the last twelve months.  The change over last year’s totals are noted in parentheses.

Days since launch: 3,653 (+366)
Posts total: 4,075 (+368)
Average posts per day: 1.11 (-0.02)
Comments: 27,959 (+2,401)
Average comments per post: 6.86 (-0.04)
Average comments per day: 7.65  (-0.15)
Spam comments: 1,312,165 (+34,173)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 408
Average spam comments per day: 359.2 (-29.6)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 46.9 (-3.1)
Comments written by me: 3,531 or 7.9%
Images uploaded:  10,416 (+1157)
Space used by images: 2.3 GB of my 3 GB allocation (78%, up 8%)

I continue to post about once a day, but all other metrics remain in decline.  Even spam comments were just one third of what they were last year.  What does it mean when even spam bots are tiring of your blog?

Then I go over to Feedly and look at the stats for the blogs feed and is says crazy things like this:

9,000? That cannot be right!

Seriously, it says this

9,000 followers can’t be right… hell, even 9 stories a week is optimistic.  The stats from the blog say 7 tops.

Meanwhile, the site (noted down below) that sent me the MOST referral traffic shows up with this number.

Being on the CSM doesn't help on Feedly I guess...

Being on the CSM doesn’t help on Feedly I guess…

So there went logic out the window I guess.

The next highest number I could find in my feeds was this:

WoW, really not as popular as me it seems...

WoW, really not as popular as me it seems…

I call shenanigans on the whole thing, unless my site is just a magnet for people addicted to RSS feeds and daily-ish posts.

Life on the internet.  Anyway, those are the basic numbers.  More detailed nonsense is available after the cut… unless you’re reading via RSS, in which case it is all there in your reader of choice, because I love you right back RSS junkies.

Continue reading

Blaugust is Upon Us

It is Blaugust again.  In fact, we are now three days into Blaugust and I am only now getting around to putting up a post about it.

But that is okay, because this year it is Blaugust, the Super Relaxed Edition, so you can probably show up late and still be totally okay.

Blaugust_2016

The idea is that, rather than the “post every day for a month” routine of the last two years, this year you can select your posting schedule.  Then so long as you keep to your planned schedule, you win… for whatever value “winning” has in such an event.  It is sort of like bracket racing… for blogging… without the racing part.

Belghast has a post up explaining the whole idea with a link so you can sign up.  I signed up for the “every week day” bracket, which is basically “business as usual” around here.  We shall see if I keep to that, or if the Blaugust spirit infects me and I post every day.

Belghast also has a post up listing which blogs are involved and what posting schedule they are looking to hit.  The list, which I totally stole from that post, currently stands at:

Daily Posts

Weekday Posts

Three Posts a Week

Some Other Schedule

As Time and Inspiration Allows

There is also some suggested hash tagging or other cross promotional things mentioned, all of which I am generally pretty bad at, as well as a topic suggestion/discussion group over on Anook.  We shall see how Blaugust works out in its super relaxed form I guess.

Hail to the NBI Class of 2016

That time of year has come and passed yet again, and another class of new blogs has been through the Newbie Blogger Initiative.

NBI_Logo_450This year’s class is, so far as I can tell:

  1. A to Zeo
  2. Aunion’s Blog
  3. Chordian
  4. Cookie Cutter Monks
  5. I’m Not Squishy
  6. Just East of West
  7. Pleasant Gamer
  8. Shadows Gaming Blog
  9. SparkoMarco Gaming
  10. Static Refresh
  11. The Wild Core Chronicle
  12. Vyx

I couldn’t find a definitive list, so I merged together what data I could find into a single list.  If I missed somebody, leave a comment.

There are a dozen new blogs to keep an eye on.  Some will no doubt fade soon enough… some may have faded already.  But as like as not one of those blogs will take root and be around for a while and add to our little corner of the internet.

NBI 2016 – The Worst Question Ever and Other Bits of Filler

Here we are, half way through June and I have finally gotten around to writing something for this year’s Newbie Blogger Initiative event.

NBI_Logo_450Why the delay?

Well, I’m lazy.  The event is being handled… differently this year.  Everybody was supposed to get on something called Discord for the event, which I declined to do because at this point I don’t want yet another communication channel.  We are also in the fifth turn around the NBI mulberry bush, and every year I think I have dispensed all the dubious advice I can come up with already.  Also, did I mention I am lazy?

Oh, and a bunch of people have already written some excellent stuff, which I would link to if that information wasn’t locked up in Discord or whatever.  I guess it is all in the Twitter stream, but I am not going to go pick out every post from that.  Laziness has already been mentioned.

But then I received a summons.   I got an email notification that there was a message waiting for me over at secret underground NBI headquarters.  Could this be the call to action?  The moment of inspiration that gets me to join in the event?  So I went there immediately and found this:

Houston, we have a permissions problem...

Houston, we have a permissions problem…

That at least woke me up however, and here I am.  So what do I have to add besides a bit of curmudgeonly bile?

Um… sorry, that’s all I’ve got.  But let me direct it onto a specific topic.  I want to talk about what I consider to be the worst question you’ll get as a blogger, gamer, podcaster, streamer, or the like.  And that question is:

Where do you find the time?

You’ll know you’ve truly arrived when you have been asked that question, or one of its many variations.

Part of what I hate about it is that, as questions go, it seems pretty innocuous.  Or it can.  As I noted, the question (sometimes presented as an implied question with a statement) can come in many forms, such as:

  • I wish I had as much free time as you.
  • I wish I had time to do that.
  • Do you have a social life outside of this?
  • How do you do all this and still have a job?
  • I would have to neglect my wife and children to do all this.
  • Don’t you have a life?
  • Are you some sort of basement dwelling troglodyte that you have time for this?

Those are all variations on the same question.  Some are more aggressive than others, but they all sum up to the same thing, that there is something different or wrong with you.  The implication is that you either possess some secret to having extra free time (which you are not sharing) or that you are neglecting some part of your life that you should not.

It is, when you think about it, a somewhat hostile question.  It annoys me when people ask this question, in all its variations, because I see the implications even if the person asking doesn’t.

What makes that question even worse is that it pops into my mind all the time.

I read about somebody who runs an alliance in EVE or leads a raiding guild in WoW or who plays multiple MMOs or even somebody who has a regular weekly group , something I used to be able to manage but which is off the table now, and I seem to automatically think, “I wish I had the time…”

I think that even though I know both the implications and the real answer.  The question still pops into my head unbidden.

But at least knowing the real answer keeps me from putting it on comments on other people’s blogs… most of the time.

So my meager contribution to NBI 2016 is sharing the answer with you.

Everybody finds time for the things they really want to do.

It is that simple.

In our world of the 24 hour clock and life and responsibilities, time is a constraint and, because of that, we will pick the things that are important to us and prioritize them.  There is no magical way to extend the day, so we use the free time we have to do the things we want to do most.

You will find the time to do anything you really, really want to do, and all the more so if it is something you enjoy and that makes you happy.  If all you can do is wish you had the time to do something, you’ve prioritized that something already and it didn’t make the cut.  The “fucks budget,” if you will.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t people who neglect important aspects of their lives, but if your assumption is that anybody who has time to do something that isn’t important to you is doing so, then you are wrong.

Let’s see, what can I tack on to the end of this post to distract from that rather bland bit of so-called wisdom.

Hey, there is this post about why you should read blogs.  It is short.

Bhagpuss has a post about blogging that links out to other NBI posts.  Go read that.

Oh, and there are the actually new bloggers in this year’s NBI.  I had better link to them… I was at least able to find that list… so go visit them.  Now!

Hrmm, this year’s list isn’t all that long, is it?  And no EVE Online bloggers, and I know there have been a few new EVE blogs that have popped up lately.  I guess the word didn’t spread far.

Well, go click on everybody on the list twice I guess.  It won’t take you long.

And, since I haven’t even crossed the thousand word mark yet in this unisightly ramble, how about I link back to all my previous NBI posts from past years so you can wade into the shallow puddle that is my wisdom on the topic.  Here we go:

My dedication to the event over these last four years has been pretty low, but there are a few bits of sage advice in all of that… and links to other blogs.

In the end, I really only have the same advice I hand out every year.

Be the blog you want to read

And even that seems a bit “duh” to me.  Why would you be anything else?

Anyway, who else should I link to here?  It is, in the end, all about the link whoring.

Addendum: See, even Syp doesn’t have all the time in the world.

Torn on MMORPGs

That headline doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Back at the start of November I got an unsolicited email asking me for something.  Not an uncommon occurrence.  I get a surprising amount of offers on the blog email address, most of which I delete out of hand.  This one, however, appeared to be from an actual person.  I was still skeptical.  If you send me a note asking for something on that account, expect that.  But wanted to know what he was really up to.

Kevin, Head of Digital at Chedburn Networks Ltd, the makers of the text MMO Torn (from which I draw the title of this post, so there is that question answered) wanted to know if I would provide feedback on something akin to an MMORPG white paper project they were working on and, also, would I like my blog to be listed on the finished product.

After a bit of back and forth and cynicism on my part, set off by trigger words like “brand exposure,” I said I would look take a look.  After seeing an early draft, I said I would be okay with being listed as an example of an MMORPG blogger along with Syp, Murph, Jewel, Chris from Game by Night (where is your handle, man?), and some John Doe guy that used to write about MMOs, then stopped, but who can’t stop reminding people that he could have been a contender or something.

(I also appear to be the only one of the six that can follow instructions, judging from the final product, where I am the only one with an “established” date.)

That was in late November, after which the whole thing dwindled into silence… until this week, when I got an email with a link to the finished product.  You can go see it here.

There is actually quite a bit of information packed into that.  There is a nice little history of online games with a timeline that starts with Ultima Online and carries through to today, picking out some events that have happened along the way.  It is interesting, in its way, to see what got included.  I’m not sure that the EVE Online T20 scandal ranks up there with the advent of Leeroy Jenkins.  And did nothing happen in 2009 besides the launch of Aion?  It is also hard for me to see these two next to each other like they were totally unconnected events.  And no mention of Warhammer Online, which killed the genre.

SWG was closed because of SWTOR

SWG was closed because of SWTOR

There is also a chart listing out the top MMOs out right now that contains some hard numbers that I am sure people will want to see.  You can, I suppose, extrapolate total player bases by multiplying players per world by the number of worlds they list out.  Of course EVE Online is the top MMO when you sort that way, though the total players is a bit gloomy, while the WoW numbers seem to add up to a total not seen since 2010.

That is a lot of daily players...

That is a lot of daily players…

I asked about the source for some of those numbers, as some of them seem quite questionable, like the ones listed for EverQuest Next.

Daybreak dreaming here?

Daybreak dreaming here? These can’t be Landmark numbers…

But there it is, a pile of data ready to be argued over.  I can foresee some doom and gloom coming from a few entries on the list or what it means to be in the top five, depending on how you sort things.

Anyway, if you are a general MMORPG nerd there is probably something in the report that will interest you.  If nothing else, there ought to be something to spark a blog post.  I will likely write something further once I have had time to sit down and digest what is there.  And it is nice to be told how popular I am again.  It says so right there in that last section.  All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my authoritative close-up.

Sixteen Predictions for 2016

It’s a brand new day
And the sun is high
All the birds are singing
That you’re gonna die

-Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

We actually sing that song at our house, because we’re like that.

But it is a brand new day opening up on a brand new year.  Cue new 2016 graphic my daughter made.

Blog2016

I asked for a spaceship and got a pink kitty.  Such is the way of things.

And so we have… long standing tradition… every year… yadda yadda yadda… predictions.  Obligatory history links:

Again we stand on the edge of the abyss… erm… a new year and, having arrived yet again at this arbitrary point in time where we need a new calendar, I will gaze into the middle distance and try to predict things that might come to pass as we make our way around the sun once more.

In reading this, I ask readers to remember that these are predictions as to things that I think might happen, not a wish list of things I hope happen… except for that part about Project: Gorgon, because I want that to do well, and Diablo IV.  But not the rest… for those, I would be happy enough being wrong.

So with that in mind, I present my last minute load of crap deeply considered peek into the year 2016.  Here are 16 predictions for 2016:

1WoW Legion will ship on August 16th, which will give Blizzard both one of the fastest expansion release cycles in its history along with one of the longest content droughts, leaving few happy.

2WoW Legion will be heavily criticized for the small amount of content it delivers at launch.  It will turn out that Blizzard can’t figure out how to make any more content than usual, so the plan will be to dole it out in more, but smaller, chunks over the life of the expansion.

3 – The Warcraft movie will be a modest success, though after it settles down somebody will calculate that more people have probably played World of Warcraft than saw the movie in the theater.  The movie’s impact on the game will be negligible.

4Diablo IV will be announced at BlizzCon.  Really.  This time I am serious dammit!

5 – Daybreak will get a new head honcho who will be selected from another company and will have little or no experience with the fantasy MMORPG genre that has kept the team in San Diego funded for most of its existence.  Expect this person’s past experience to be the hammer and any Daybreak problem to be a nail.  They’ll be just like that VP we once hired from Oracle, for whom every solution required a database.  So if, for example, they have a history with first person shooters on the XBox, you’ll know what to expect.

6 – It will be more tough times and harsh realities for Daybreak.  The EverQuest/EverQuest II teams, which pull their own weight, will be safe so long as they can sell expansions, but everything else will be up for grabs.  As a result I expect two of the following to happen:

  • EverQuest Next pushed out prematurely for early access dollars.
  • EverQuest Next and Landmark merged back into a single product/project, but you have to buy it again it you bought Landmark.
  • Legends of Norrath shut down.
  • Legends of Norrath turned into a stand-alone iOS and Andoid game, where it fails and gets shut down.
  • PlanetSide 2 shut down, relaunched with a new name as a buy-to-play title for consoles only, old version not compatible with the new one.
  • DC Universe Online shut down on Windows, left running on PlayStation.
  • H1Z1 basic package launched as a buy-to-play title, but seriously gimped unless you are a Daybreak All Access subscriber or plan to spend big in the cash shop.
  • New, console-only project announced.

7 – Turbine needs a splash in 2016 with LOTRODDO rolls along as is, sharing the Dungeons & Dragons license with Neverwinter.  But the contract with Tolkien Enterprises for LOTRO wraps up in 2017.  While a renewal seems pretty likely, barring a complete disaster, it would go over much better if some additional cash were flowing in.  So, after a couple years off… and perhaps learning from the market… a big expansion will be announced that will bring us to Mordor.  Cirith Ungol or maybe just to the main gates, but the end of the journey will be in sight.  Expect a special Blessing of the Valar level boost to be bundled in with it that will get you stuck straight into the new content.  Yes, I know this isn’t in the current 2016 plan for Turbine, but this will change before the end of the year.

8 – In EVE Online, citadels will be big. (Ha ha!)  Everybody will want one, which will cause a boom in construction and a spike in mineral prices and a rise in concurrent users.  It will be the new shiny.  This will wane as the close of summer comes to an end and we all figure out the flaw in the citadel plan and the game grinds to a halt while we argue about how CCP should fix it.

9 – CCP will either close down the CSM or change it so drastically that it is essentially a different beast.  We’ll get CSM XI, but it will carry on the now familiar tradition of institutional animosity from certain sectors within CCP, something that won’t be helped by the fact that most CSM veterans will decline to run for election, leading to a fresh CSM with Xenuria and DurrHurrDurr (or a reasonable facsimile of the latter) as the permanent Icelandic duo.  That will force CCP to act.

10 – The return of The Fountain War Kickstarter will succeed when it kicks off in March, being better thought out.  Drama will be way, way down compared to the initial run.

11 Black Desert, the new anticipated hotness, combining an Asian MMO import with the word “sandbox” yet again, is going to be a replay of ArcheAge, with a big rush, overcrowding, disappointment and recriminations, before settling down for the core audience that will remain after everybody who pinned sky high hopes on it storms off in a fit of pique.

12 Project: Gorgon, after being in the shadows for so long, will have a banner year in 2016, with early access success on Steam leading to the game going live for real before the year runs out.

13 – NCsoft will announce that WildStar is closing down, it’s free to play conversion having been a brief flash in the pan.

14 – Despite all the back and forth and talk of lawyers and lawsuits and who is going to sue who for what and where, the Derek Smart vs. Star Citizen brouhaha will fade away without a metaphorical legal punch being thrown.

15 – Somebody will buy Funcom… for cheap… to rescue a couple of their titles, but Anarchy Online won’t be on the list of the saved.  LEGO Minifigures Online is the prize there.

16Crowfall, will still be in development, allowing only limited access for backers by the end of 2016.  It won’t really be a thing until 2017.

Special Bonus Prediction – A big Pokemon announcement to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the series on February 27, 2016.

Big 2016 Question – Will VR be interesting enough to spur people to spend money upgrading their systems in order to spend more money to buy an Occulus Rift rig?

So there are my predictions.  feel free to agree, disagree, correct, discuss, rage, or storm off in a huff.  We shall see how the year develops.  Next December, when I score this, each item will be worth 10 points, with partial credit available.  In the mean time, we wait.

Others with Predictions for 2016: