Category Archives: entertainment

April Fools at Blizzard – 2015

The date is upon us, the usual suspects are out complaining about it or feeling the need to warn people (just in case you’ve never run across the phenomena before I guess), and so we have another in an ongoing series of posts about April Fools and Blizzard.  Previous entries:

This is what I found this morning rummaging through Blizzard’s various sites.

Blizzard-wide

The first entry for April Fools this year is the B’Motes Expression Packs that allow a wide variety of pre-recorded emotes and expressions to be applied to Blizzard games.

BMotesPacksPacks are available for everything including BNet chat.

World of Warcraft

In Azeroth we have T.I.N.D.R. (like Tinder) a matchmaking application to allow your followers to find their perfect match… for adventure.

On the T.I.N.D.R. box mission

On the T.I.N.D.R. box mission

When matched up, your followers can use their S.E.L.F.I.E. to record their results of their date.

And, of course, there is the usual round of patch notes to go with the date.

StarCraft 2

On the StarCraft 2 front, Blizzard has come up with an item to celebrate the Legacy of the Void expansion going into beta, the Spear of Adun.

The Spear of Adun keepsake

The Spear of Adun keepsake

The page describing the Spear of Adun links to the Blizzard store where the item appears to be out of stock… and a bit pricy.

Add it to your wish list

Add it to your wish list

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm introduces Big Head Mode for April Fools.

Boom, headshot

Boom, head shot

Wasn’t that an EverQuest II April Fools think like eight years ago?

There is also a Noblegarden skin available, but I am not sure if that is a joke or not.  I’ve seen goofier things in other games that were not a joke.

Hearthstone

As with the Noblegarden skin, Hearthstone has a special April item that may or may not be an April Fools.  Announced yesterday, there is a new card back with a cupcake on it.

Cupcake Card Back

Cupcake Card Back

Whether or not is is real, it seems to be in the spirit of the day all the same.  And there are always those April 1st patch notes.

Elsewhere

Diablo III only had the B’Motes item (and their latest patch notes look real) while the Overwatch site was still in full “some day” mode, as it has been since around BlizzCon.

All in all, an okay array of jokes.  Nothing too over the top, like some of the past entries.  The Blizzard folks must be hard at work, as they did not have time to put together a full fledged browser game like they did back in 2012.

What else is going on in the world on April Fools Day?

MMORPG.com and Massively OP both have columns up this morning covering the wider world of MMOs and their April Fools fun.

Addendum:

March in Review

The Site

My RSS feed isn’t quite the problem it was at one point, but I have noticed that the direct feed from the site seems to propagate more slowly that the Feedburner feed.  This is doubly bizarre as the Feedburner feed works from the direct feed, so there is some sort of voodoo going on there.  And then, for some reason, Blogger seems to have it in for my feed again as it is once again updating very slowly in some (but not all) blogroll side bars on that platform.  The mysteries of Google.

I took the VirginWorlds feed off the side bar for now as the site seems to be in a state of neglect.  It isn’t updating feeds correctly and some of the longstanding feeds have been taken over by new sites that are not related to MMO gaming.  I dropped Brent a note, but I think he may be busy with other aspects of his life.

Meanwhile, on the WP.com front, they are now pushing the new editor and stats page rather aggressively.  I can no longer edit a post from the main page without using the Fisher-Price “Babby’s First Text Editor” option, as they remove the “classic editor” link from it.  At least the classic editor is still available from within the admin page for posts, so I just have to go that route now to fix my inevitable typo.  And the new stats page is now the default, though you can can still get to the old one via a link down at the bottom.  I don’t mind progress… WP.com has improved things over the years… but this is one of those lessons in why re-writing things from scratch is often a bad ideal; you lose functionality that was added to the old code base over time.

Also, what is with this pop-up I get from WP.com every day?

Howdy yourself!

Howdy yourself!

I just click the ‘x’ to dismiss it most days, but yesterday I decided to click the up arrow just to see what I would get, and that also dismissed it.  I suspect they are not that interested in being helpful.

One Year Ago

I was thinking about the word “free” and how it really brings up negative connotations.  Basically, “free” is usually a scam, so why should we expect “Free to Play” games to viewed as anything else?

A year back my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, qualified for inclusion as an EVE Online fan site.  We’ll see if that gets renewed this year.  Meanwhile CCP lost money through “derecognizing” an asset which would turn out to be the demise of World of Darkness as a project for them.  CCP was also taking a stab at cosmetic options for ships.

I picked my 15 most influential video games, and got some other people to pick theirs as well.

WalMart was going to get into the used video game market.  Did that ever go anywhere?  I don’t shop at Wally World.

Something called MyDream wanted to be a Minecraft killer or some such.

It was the end of the line for Free Realms and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures as SOE chief John Smedley vowed never to make kids games again.  While over in EverQuest the 15 year anniversary included the introduction of instant level 85 characters.  I gave that a try and got lost immediately.

Facebook bought Occulus Rift.  Where is your VR now?

Brad McQuaid was a month past his unsuccessful Pantheon Kickstarter and I was wondering what the plan was.

In a set of short items, I also noted that EverQuest Next Landmark became simply Landmark, two of the founders of Runic games left the studio to try their luck elsewhere, while King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga, went public and are now one of the most shorted stocks on the market! (They were mentioned on the Planet Money podcast about shorting.)

The ongoing “Blizzard isn’t giving you…” series continued. while Diablo III: Reaper of Souls went live, an event which included the end of the auction house.  I had gone back to the game to try some of the changes.

Also on the Blizzard front, they managed to find a hook to get me to play Hearthstone… or at least a couple rounds of it.

I was also musing about WoW and when the expansion would launch and the stat squish and guild levels and pseudo-server merges and my insta-90 choice and Warlords of Draenor being $50… which was at least better than it being $60.  While, actually in the game the instance group took on Zul’Aman.

We formed something I ended up calling the “strategy group,” if only to distinguish it from the “instance group” which started out playing some Age of Empires II.

And I wrote another installment of my ongoing TorilMUD series, this time about the Faerie Forest.

Five Years Ago

With the March 2010 month in review I was able to announce that the site had passed the one million page view mark.  A minor milestone.

FarmVilleWe all tried it as research for Shut Up We’re Talking #60.  We didn’t inhale.

I ran through GDC and had dinner.

I was waxing nostalgic for some flavor of Rome.

EA was saying very stupid things about how many subscribers Star Wars: The Old Republic would need.  It is never too early to set the bar for failure.  Also they were threatening to taint 38 Studios.

I was also wondering about greater challenges in MMOs.  Must all paths be equally easy?

I held an April Fools contest, which got a few entries.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver launched and, after some delay,  I was picking that initial Pokemon.

I was still invested in Star Trek Online… I was trying…. well, they were giving us lifetime subscribers some perks.

In EVE Online I hit 50 million skill points.  I also had my first Tengu.

World of Tanks was staring to announce some of their progression trees, starting with the Russian and American sets.  Those have changed a lot since then.

The instance group was beginning to embrace the Dungeon Finder.  However, we found we still had to do a chunk of external legwork to prepare for our Sunken Temple run.  I also got a chopper along the way, on my birthday no less.

And, finally, that whole Derek Smart/Alganon thing was just kicking off.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogrolls, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Progression Server Progress in EverQuest
  2. Quote of the Day – A Treasure Trove of Turbine Turmoil
  3. WoW Tokens – PLEX with Price Supports
  4. Tech 3 Destroyers and Other Tidbits from EVE Vegas Keynote
  5. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  6. Reviewing My Kickstarter History
  7. A Return to Writing about the Blogesphere
  8. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  9. Hitting 50 Yet Again
  10. A Sad Day for Sims
  11. Scylla Overshadowed
  12. Has Rift Only Been Around for Four Years?

Search Terms of the Month

eq2 is crap
[That is not an uncommon opinion]

how far away.is everquest next from launch
[How far away is the Moon from Tuesday?]

toontown axis
[of evil?]

qctffivhlbbgi
[Grundoon? Is that you?]

do you need help pitching a tent
[It is largely a mental exercise at my age]

EVE Online

I was bitching earlier in the month about being required to click on participation links, which can be annoying when there isn’t a war or a deployment in progress.  Then war were declared and that problem went away pretty quickly.  I have gone well beyond the minimum quota.  The war itself has been okay, though being in Reavers I have found myself a bit jealous that I haven’t been in-system for some of the cap fleet engagements.

Then there was this epic troll that got people worked up for about 30 minutes.  The EVE Onion got scooped on that one!  Also, deductive subscription numbers for Tranquility based on various tidbits that CCP has left laying about.

Lord of the Rings Online

I haven’t started playing it again, but earlier this month when I logged in to ensure I would get my monthly lifetime subscriber Turbine Points stipend (and to keep Gaff from usurping the leadership of our kin yet again) I ended up buying the Riders of Rohan expansion because it was on sale (1,747 points) and I had close to 11K Turbine Points socked away.  I am not sure what that will mean to anybody, including myself, except that all my characters got a new title.  Woot.

World of Warcraft

World of Garrisons continues on.  Seriously, having five characters in Draenor means daily garrison maintenance eats up a lot of my daily play time.  If only I could force myself to NOT do that, but the OCD gamer in me requires it.  The instance group has been out a couple of times doing things, and I have been spending some time working back through all of the zones to make sure I have finished up every single quest line, lest there be a follower I missed.  And I have spent a little bit of time with my Orc hunter, though he is still a project for later.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is just another day, right?

Anyway, after that, it looks like a lot of the same things on my agenda.

Yes, I got my copy of Pillars of Eternity like nearly everybody else.  And I have played a bit.  But, my garrison… and the war… must play MMOs!

Okay, I did start in on a run through one classic game from my past.  I’ll get around to posing about that at some point this month.

It looks like WoW Tokens will go live this month.  That will be interesting to watch.  How much gold will Blizzard sell you for $20?  And how will that compare to how much gold you will need to pay to get 30 days of play time?  I still suspect that those numbers will be different.

The five week expansion schedule for EVE Online means that there won’t be an expansion in April.  That is fine.  I barely noticed that last one… well, except for an issue I will get to later.

EverQuest Progression Servers – How Slow Can You Go?

About a month back I posted about Daybreak putting up a poll about the next round of progression servers.  The options for that in-game poll were:

  • Existing Rules
  • Slower Progression
  • Locked Progression
  • Seasonal Challenge

You can read the details about each option in my previous post on the subject, but the results are in and posted on the EverQuest forums.  Slower progression won.

Slower progression isn’t a bad choice I suppose.  That is what I voted for.

Progression Server Polling...

Progression Server Polling…

What was the right choice depends upon your point of view, and there are any number of factions interested in the next server.

The raiders, who tend to drive the whole progression server thing, will probably be okay with slower, depending on how much slower things end up.  But if you had your hearts set on a classic server, one that stops progressing at some point, then you are probably not happy with the result.

Personally, I fall into the “everything after Ruins of Kunark is crap” camp, so my motivation is to have any future progression server spend as much time as possible on the base game and Kunark.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

And yet I am not all that interested in a locked server stuck in Kunark for all eternity.  I like the progression idea, that the server moves forward and unlocks content, and that the game changes and evolves.

I am not sure that such a server needs to pass through all twenty-one expansions.  There comes a point when the server is close enough to live that it makes little difference and it might as well be rolled into a live server.  Where that point is would no doubt make for a lively debate.

Anyway, with the first poll out of the way, there is now a second in-game poll up.  This time the choice is about how much slower should the expansion unlocks should be.

The original progression servers, The Combine and The Sleeper, which rolled out back in 2006, were driven forward entirely by unlocking raid content.  There were no brakes on the system and, while I do not have a timeline for those servers, I recall the response by many non-raiders as being “too damn fast.”

The still active Fippy Darkpaw server was put up as a “time locked” voting server, where by there was a minimum amount of time that had to pass after raid content was finished before an unlock vote for the next expansion could take place.  That slowed things down some.  Here are the unlock durations I recorded for the “important” expansions.

  • Ruins of Kunark:        3.75  months
  • Scars of Velious:       2.75  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      2.75  months
  • Planes of Power:        2.75  months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       1 month after PoP
  • LDoN:                   1 month after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       4 months after PoP

So the server unlocked Ruins of Kunark in just under four months, because there was a special delay, after which each expansion unlocked in just under three months.  The exceptions were Gates of Discord, which failed three unlock votes, and Underfoot, which failed at least one, and then Legacy of Ykesha and Lost Dungeons of Norrath, which are considered mini-expansions and so get unlocked on a set timer after Planes of Power.

(All of the Fippy Darkpaw unlocks I managed to record are available here.)

The vote underway now is to decide how quickly to unlock expansions.  It has three choices, which I will list out from fastest to slowest.

Add 50%

This option would add a 50% boost the the minimum unlock time that we had for Fippy Darkpaw, so the unlock schedule would look like this:

  • Ruins of Kunark:        4.5  months
  • Scars of Velious:       4.5  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      4.5  months
  • Planes of Power:        4.5  months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       3 weeks after PoP
  • LDoN:                   3 weeks after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       3 months after PoP, then every three months

I think somebody forgot we were given extra time before Ruins of Kunark, though they did remember that LoY and LDoN were both unlocked two weeks late due to technical glitches.  Still, that does give the base game and RoK a longer run than they had before.  Estimated total time to run through the expansions is five and a half years.

Maximum Nostalgia

The second proposed rule set would put a six month gap between server unlocks up until Gates of Discord, after which expansions would unlock every three months… because who cares about that shit.

  • Ruins of Kunark:        6  months
  • Scars of Velious:       6  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      6  months
  • Planes of Power:        6  months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       2 weeks after PoP
  • LDoN:                   4 weeks after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       3 months after PoP

So the time until each expansion could be unlocked would be fairly flat, with the server spending more that two years getting through Planes of Power, with the whole slate of expansions taking six and a half years to work through.

Half Speed

This is the most radical of the three proposals.  This would run the progression server forward at half the pace of the actual, real world release schedule of the expansions.  So the run up through Gates of Discord would look like this:

  • Ruins of Kunark:        6.75  months
  • Scars of Velious:       3.75  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      6     months
  • Planes of Power:        5.5   months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       4 weeks after PoP
  • LDoN:                   10 weeks after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       7.75 months (after PoP)

After Gates of Discord the schedule calms down a bit, with expansions hitting about every three months through the “two a year” era and then every six months after Secrets of Faydwer.  At this pace it would take eight years to get through, since EverQuest is just celebrating its sweet sixteen.

What to Pick?

Give those three choices, I am inclined to go and vote for the Half Speed server, as it gives us the longest run from the base game to Ruins of Kunark, though the Maximum Nostalgia option isn’t completely off the table, as it would give us a full year of just base plus RoK, thus not selling that huge expansion short.

In addition to the three server types to choose from, there is a second vote up about whether or not expansion unlocks should be put to a vote every time… and thus possibly delaying releases… or if things should just unlock on a schedule.  I am in favor of the latter.  I would rather have expansion releases on the calendar so that the raiders, who will be part of the progression server community, can plan their activities.  One of the problems for them on Fippy Darkpaw has been knowing when to call everybody back to the game to move on. (Though most of the time that has been SOE screwing up the unlock for whatever reasons as opposed to unlocks being voted down.)  The raiders are not there for the same reasons I am, but I don’t think that should give me license to screw them over on a server that has been billed as progression from the start.

Anyway, I am happy to see that the progression server idea is moving forward though, like Bhagpuss, I have to admit that planning something that could take as long as eight years to get through might be an act of extreme optimism for Daybreak at this point.

Will there still be an EverQuest… or a Daybreak Game Company… in 2023?

Quote of the Day – The Power Blocs Will Never Die

Break the power blocs down and they’ll only build themselves up again, he shrugs. It’s human nature.

The Mittani to EuroGamer, Inside EVE Online’s Game of Thrones

EuroGamer gets a good deal of deserved mocking from time to time due to their sacrificing quality/depth of reporting in order to keep up with the pace of news on the web and the need to be able to be first (example one and two), but they have a post up today about the EVE Online meta game titles Inside EVE Online’s Game of Thrones that makes up for some of their shortcomings.

Reinforcements bridge in

Blocs Battling at 6VDT-H back in 2013

The article runs through some of the realities of the big null sec power blocs and is a decent read if the topic interests you (certainly more so than that article in The Atlantic that ran along as though the CSM was central to the meta game), though you have to remember that the focus is just on one aspect of EVE Online.  Null sec is just a slice of the pie.  And yes, there is some smugness to be had for CFC pilots as the article displays a tone of exasperation when it comes to our traditional foes like Black Legion and NCDot.

There are a couple of takeaways from the article that are important to remember.  One is the social bonding aspect and how a lot of people run ops more for the people they play with than because EVE Online is full of fun and exciting game mechanics. (It is objectively a pretty poor game in the regard on many fronts.)  That one comes out pretty clearly in the article.

The other one is stated less directly, but it is one I have brought up before. And that is, in any game where being organized and working together brings advantage, groups that can do so in the long term will tend to dominate in the long term.  Such group will tend to adapt to change better and will continue to succeed, which leads to the quote at the top.  Making the game more difficult for the organized groups will tend to harm the less organized groups even more so.  History has born this out.

And if you’re dying for more on the topic, there is Sion’s presentation from Fanfest about diplomacy, coalitions, and the meta game, now up on YouTube.

Punitive Expedition to Delve

I’m back from Fanfest and I’m FUCKING BORED – this ‘invasion’ we faced last week was the most laughably, pathetically weak attempt at our shit in years, and that says something. For too long we’ve been dealing with our foes thinking they can assault us and get away with these ‘fake invasions’ for funsies.

It’s almost April. It’s ~that season~. Who’s up for a bit of bloody-handed, oldschool reprisal? Get your face-stomping boots on boys. We’re not going to ~take space~ but we might make some ‘freeports’ or just give shit to Pizza, whatever. I have literally no idea except this urge to twist the knife and we’re going to do exactly that.

-broadcast from the_mittani to all at 2015-03-25

Like Goons need an excuse to invade Delve.  I think some of them were getting the shakes at not having invaded Delve recently.

Still, we brought a lot of toys down to Fountian, sent the Reavers south into Delve, took back the one system the hostiles grabbed, defended against their other attack on a system, and generally spent a lot of time chasing around after a seemingly reluctant foe.

You can say that CFC has greater numbers, but everybody knew that long before NCDot and friends came to Fountain.  If you’re going to poke the beehive you had better have a plan.  So both TMC and EN24 are reporting the Delve invasion as a go.

The main force of the CFC is packing up their Domis and convoying south to 319-3D… we’ve been there before… to hole up in the Blood Raiders station while they are not burning Delve to the ground.

319 Station, Many Bubbles Ago

319 Station, Many Bubbles Ago

Of course, if the main fleet is headed for Delve, then the Reavers have to find a new place to operate.  We operate in small groups behind enemy lines, not up front with the main fleet unless there is a special need.  So we had to wrap up our business, drop one final tower, then start packing.

A jump bridge module without a tower isn't very useful... still, we blew it up too

A jump bridge module without a tower isn’t very useful… still, we blew it up too

Then there was an immediate convoy operation to get us to our new forward base.

That big ship... it's... a Drake! Yeah!

That big ship… it’s… a Drake! Yeah!

We are now set up and running ops into the enemy’s backfield.  Now to see what the enemy has in mind.

The initial rumors were that Darkness and The Kadeshi were just going to fold up shop and evacuate to their other holdings in the N3 empire.  But war rumors always include some theme about the enemy running away.  I am sure that NCDot had rumors early on that the CFC was going to evacuate Fountain.

Other, more substantial news has been showing up though.  Just yesterday Brave announced that they would be joining in the fight and helping to resist the CFC invasion. (More on Brave here.)

Brave words

Brave words

Brave, of course, brings numbers along with a willingness to fight against the odds if needs be.  With them entering the fray I feel a bit jealous of my Domi fleet comrades back in Delve… at least until I start thinking about the time dilation that comes with big fleet fights.  I can live with that, but it generally isn’t an issue with Reavers.

So the Southern Coalition N3 empire looks like this at the moment, with major moves noted.

The south end of space, Goons on the left, Russians on the right

The south end of space, Goons on the left, Russians on the right

Unless somebody can mount a credible threat on the far side of CFC space and distract us, it looks like it might be an interesting time in Delve in April.  We sold it to N3 back before the Phoebe expansion hit, I wonder if we can sell it back to them again when we’re done?

Crowfall Kickstarter Brings in over $1.7 Million

Early this morning… early for me anyway, here on the left coast… the Crowfall Kickstarter campaign wound down to its final timer, more than doubling their initial goal of $800,000.

CrowfallSuccess$1,766,205 is a mighty number.  I still think that, with the right mid-campaign publicity they could have hit two million, but that should not take away from their success.  Camelot Unchained made the two million mark, but with less that 13K backers, while Shroud of the Avatar made the two million milestone with 23K backers, which puts Crowfall about in the same league.

As with many successful Kickstarter campaigns, there was a decent boost in numbers in the last 24 hours, as is shown on the final chart from Kicktraq.

Daily pledges and backers

Daily pledges and backers

The last day doesn’t look that impressive until you remember that it was only a third of a day in hours, the campaign having wrapped up at 8am eastern time.  The last push wasn’t quite enough to bring in the last couple of stretch goal, which were based on total backers rather than dollars, so no

Crowfall Stretch Goals

Crowfall Stretch Goals

So that is done.

Only such campaigns are never done, as we have seen.  The Kickstarter was a success, but they apparently need/want more money and backers.  If you missed the Kickstarter and are now regretting it, you can head to the official Crowfall site… if it isn’t swamped at the moment… and get in on the backer deals.

More money, we would like that!

More money, we would like that!

And now we wait.  Some people will be keen for the early alpha access promised.  I personally don’t count anything as delivered until a game is actually released, and the current promise for Crowfall is December 2016.  We shall see if they can hit that mark.

A Return to Writing about the Blogesphere

Writing about the blogesphere, trying to capture the conversations and summarize what is going on and generally connecting with one another, has a long tradition in our corner of the woods.

Some still thrive...

MMO Blog Island circa 2007

I have been on about this whole community thing before, I know.  But it is undeniable that it does exist in some form.  That so many of us have blog rolls on our side bars speaks to a sense of community.  We also link to other blogs on a regular basis by way to joining a conversation or continuing a point made elsewhere or setting the foundation for something we want to write that might have started out as a comment and then grew in the telling.  It is a way to connect and nobody… well, almost nobody… acts like they are doing you a huge favor if they link to something you have written.

Some people have gone beyond just links and blogrolls at times.  For quite a stretch Tipa wrote a Daily Blog Roll column (which I once attempted to parody) on her own blog to try and take the pulse of our little corner of the net.  Others have gone for a less arduous weekly wrap up at times.  Currently we have J3w3l at Healing the Masses and her Monday Link Dead Radio posts, Marcus Scarus is starting up a weekly Blog Bulletin, and there is Silverangel and the semi-regular Weekly Wyrm posts over at Kitty Kitty Boom Boom.

(I know somebody else does something like that as well, but I cannot think of who at the moment, so hit me in the comments and I’ll add it in.)

(Also, a note to bloggers: If your are going to do a regular series like that, give it an exclusive tag or category so readers can view the whole thing as a specific body of your work.  Also, it makes it easier to link to it!)

There have also been events, like various “tag, you’re it memes” and events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative (a new one coming this year I hear) and things like the EVE Blog Pack and the monthly EVE Blog Banter.

Then there are people who take this even a step further and put together sites to help bring the blogging community together.  VirginWorlds started as a blog and a podcast, but quickly became a focus of our little corner of the web as it created a popular amalgamation of feeds featuring MMO bloggers.  Then there is Scr.ee from the Scree of the Cynic Dialogs, an attempt to map and track trends in the blogesphere.  And for space nerds there is EVE Bloggers and Total EVE, sites focused on bringing together EVE Online blogging into a single feed.

And then there are the commercial MMO sites.  It seems natural for those sites to pay us some attention, seeing that they have drawn any number of contributors from our ranks.  The earliest column I can recall that spent time with the MMO blogesphere was Michael Zenke’s Massive Update column on the late 1UP.com site.

Michael Zenke's old column at 1Up.com

Michael Zenke’s old column at 1Up.com

It was focused on MMO news, but Mr. Zenke spent many of his column inches linking out to us.  And that tradition carried on when he went on to become the founding editor-in-chief of the recently departed Massively.  And while he  (and his successor Shawn Schuster) ran the show, the site was often very generous in acknowledging the blogesphere.

But at some point that idea seemed to pass from Massively and other commercial MMO sites.  I am not sure why this happened, if blogging had been declared dead yet again or if blogs were suddenly passé or if editorial policy was changed to never acknowledge that there are other sites on the internet or if people were just sick of hearing about us, but there was clearly a period of time when a link from Massively was exceedingly rare and them writing about the blogesphere appeared to be strictly verboten.

That time of neglect seems to have passed.  Towards the end of Massively’s run, Syp revived the blog community presence with the Global Chat column, a regular feature that has found its way to the Massively Overpowered successor site.

Meanwhile, over at MMOGames, Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut had a bi-weekly Bel’s Blog Bonanza column start up this month with links out all over.

And then just today Liore of Herding Cats had her debut over at MMORPG.com with Tales from the Neighborhood, giving her take on what topics were are covering in the blogging world.

Of course I am happy to see some more focus back on the grass roots blogging scene, but I am also interested in why this turn of events has come.  Are MMOs just not generating enough news these days?  Have budget constraints meant that sites have gone to covering niche topics by linking out to the crazies? (And we’re all crazies on this bus.)  Have such sites decided that they need to tend the garden from which so many of their staff have sprung?  Or is this just a quiet time aberration, soon to be dropped once something interesting happens?

What do you think?  And who did I miss in my summing up?

Addendum: Mr Luvva does a regular blogging wrap-up feature as well.