Category Archives: entertainment

What Happens to Pokemon in a World with Pokemon GO?

It has been a big year for the Pokemon Company, the entity founded by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures back in 1998 to manage to suddenly successful Pokemon franchise.  Nintendo is the senior partner in that group, and is the one that owns the trademark on Pokemon, so people generally just refer to Nintendo, but there are actually multiple entities which I will mention in this paragraph and then go back to ignoring as usual.

Anyway, 2016 has been a big year.

To start with, the Pokemon franchise celebrated its 20th anniversary back in February.

Pokemon20

As part of that that celebration there have been legendary Pokemon download events every month, often accompanied by additional Pokemon download opportunities, mostly covered at the official Pokemon20 web site, which I have blogged about here.  They even released versions of the original Pokemon games for the Virtual Console on the Nintendo 3DS hardware.

The games that started it all 20 years ago

The games that started it all 20 years ago

In addition to that going on, there are the Pokemon World Championships, the culmination of events around the world, here in San Francisco this weekend.

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

On top of that, there is new Pokemon game coming out for the 3DS this November, the next in line in the venerable core Pokemon RPG line of games.  You would have a tough time convincing me that a good chunk of Nintendo 3DS sales are not related to the fact that it is the platform where the main line of Pokemon games, from which everything else in the franchise stems, is released.  Not when 1 in 4 3DS owners bought a copy of Pokemon X & Y.

So a new Pokemon game is always a boon.

Sun and Moon coming in November

Sun and Moon are coming!

Pokemon Sun & Moon coming out this November!  And that has meant the usual slow drip of news and updates about the title as the date approaches.

All of which adds up to a pretty big year for Pokemon.  Nintendo has even been pushing some of the other titles in the franchise on the Nintendo Store as party of the anniversary events.

not even close

not even close

There you can find the main RPG titles that are available on the 3DS (however, all the DS titles are no longer available despite the 3DS having support to play them) as well as spin offs like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Pokemon Ranger, and… Pokemon Pinball… okay.

And in the midst of all of this Pokemon frenzy there dropped Pokemon GO.

PokemonGO_500px

And since it hit the App Store back on July 6th, you can barely hear any of the over the roar of Pokemon GO hype.

I follow six general gaming news sites in my RSS feed, and Pokemon GO has been a headline item on at least one of them… on occasionally all of them… every single day since it launched.  I think Massively OP, which is an MMO site, had a two week string of headlines about the game, though they got Raph Koster’s blessing when he declared it an MMO I guess.  I was writing about it being a phenomena after the first weekend, and nothing I have seen since would convince me it has been anything less than this summer’s runaway hit game.

Kick's Chicken in Naiperville

It is in our food even!

Just yesterday Guinness announced that Pokemon GO had broken five records:

  1. Most revenue grossed by a mobile game in its first month,
  2. Most downloaded mobile game in its first month,
  3. Most international charts topped simultaneously for a mobile game in its first month in terms of revenue
  4. Most international charts topped simultaneously for a mobile game in its first month in terms of downloads and revenue
  5. Fastest time to gross $100 million by a mobile game.

And, in that environment of Pokemon GO fever, I started wondering what this meant for the franchise.  With a Pokemon game available on iOS and Android, the potential audience is huge.  I like the 3DS hardware, and it has been a decent seller, moving nearly 60 million units as of June 30th of this year, but Apple has sold that many iPhones in a single quarter on a couple occasions, including the first quarter of 2016.  And that doesn’t even start to count Android sales.  So There are a lot of devices out there that can play Pokemon GO.

But the game people are getting when they download Pokemon GO is, at best, a shadow of the experience that is the mainline Pokemon RPG.  There is the “Gotta Catch ’em All!” aspect to it, and some form of gym battles present in the game.  But there is no trading… a key founding concept for the game… no head to head battles, no breeding, no story, and only some vague goals beyond collecting.

Add in server problems, bugs, security concerns, battery life issues, controversies over features and changes, the sporadic presence of Pokestops and Pokemon, cheating, and the inevitable backlash that shows up when anything becomes popular, and I started to wonder whether or not this would be a good thing for the franchise.

Would Pokemon GO serve as an introduction to the franchise or would people walk away from the whole thing after the somewhat shallow experience that Pokemon GO can provide?

We are finally getting some early indications of what effect Pokemon GO will have.  Several sites are reporting NPD’s July 2016 hardware sales results which indicate that Nintendo 3DS sales have gone up considerably, with the 3DS outselling the XBox One which added a new model to its lineup.  Additionally, Pokemon titles for the platform, specifically Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire also saw a significant spike in sales in July.  (Sources: Game Informer, Perfectly Nintendo)

So the initial reaction to Pokemon GO, as far as the overall Pokemon franchise goes, seems to be good.  Pokemon GO seems to more than just a passing fancy and is actually raising awareness of the whole Pokemon game ecosystem.  We shall see if that holds until November and the launch of Pokemon Sun & Moon.  If it does, those two titles might themselves set a record for the franchise.

Who Has Successfully Changed Horses Midstream?

To start this off, I feel like I first have to address my own point of view on the topic to be covered, so you see where I am coming from.

I actually played right field, but that isn't a metaphor

I actually played right field, but that isn’t a metaphor

I tend to be something of a fatalist in many things, but in video games especially.

For me that means I come to a video game with the view that it is a series of rules and constraints that I have to work within in order to win, progress, succeed, or whatever, and that the idea that the developer ought to change them just to suit me rarely enters my head.  There is more than a bit of the rule following engineer in me.  I take what I am given and try to make it work.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t kvetch about the details of various games.  This blog is a testament to that.  If there is a mechanic that is awkward or horribly inefficient, I will complain about that or suggest improvements.  But that is mostly for myself, to record how I feel about a game at a given moment, and my comments tend to be about tactical issues rather than strategic vision.  I do not expect anybody to be paying attention and I am generally surprised when anything I think might be a good idea actually comes to pass through whatever means. If something changes, I can almost guarantee it had nothing to do with me.

But to suggest that a developer change what is the driving philosophy or core game play elements title to accommodate my tastes would be bizarro world strange.

As an example for illustration, I do not enjoy League of Legends, so I simply do not play the game.  The complete lack of LoL posts here attests to that.  I do enjoy five person PvE dungeons.  Again, plenty of posts to back that up.  But the idea that I should start pestering Riot to make a five person PvE dungeon version of LoL would only occur to me in the context of listing out things I would likely never do.  Despite the fact that their engine could probably handle it, five person dungeons isn’t what LoL is about.  So I don’t post about how they should accommodate my vision here, on their forums, on Reddit, or anyplace else.

And I realize that might just be me, given how often I see people suggest that if only game X had feature/aspect/mini-game Y, then they and thousands to millions of like minded individuals would rush to the game, bringing success.  Many an arm chair developer has a plan to save a given game or even the whole industry based suspiciously on their own tastes in video games.

This all comes to mind because of the persistence of the “walking in stations” idea in EVE Online.  Kirith Kodachi wrote a great post on the topic, a “what if” scenario, where walking in stations becomes a success, which illustrates the whole problem I have with the idea.  The feature essentially requires CCP to develop a new game, distinct from the space focused current game, in order to make walking in stations anything beyond a gimmick.

Whatever you think about it, you cannot deny that walking in stations would require fundamentally different game play than what is the focus of EVE Online today.

However, I don’t want to get into the holy war over whether or not walking in stations would be a good thing though.  And believe me, my own relationship with the idea isn’t as cut and dried as you might think.

Instead, I am looking for examples from other games, especially MMORPGs, where the developer has, after launch, departed from their core philosophy or game play plan, and achieved success beyond what they had previously seen.

When has the idea that more people would play a game if it changed fundamentally actually come to pass?

I can only come up with examples where greater success did not follow.

I think of Trammel and consensual PvP in Ultima Online, or Star Wars Galaxies and the NGE, or that “fine, we’ll give you a PvE progression experience” expansion for Dark Age of Camelot that I cannot remember the name of right now, or the distraction of PvP in EverQuest II.

Which is not to say somebody didn’t like all of those things.  One of the lessons you learn from blogging is that any feature, no matter how bad or annoying it is, will have somebody stand up for it and declare it their favorite thing ever.

But none of these led to greater success.

Even World of Warcraft, which is, as always, the outlier in this, having the budget to add in all sorts of non-core features, still lives and dies on their core PvE content.  Five million people did not drop out of the game last year because of problems with battlegrounds, arena combat, or pet battles, they dropped out because they didn’t like, or too quickly consumed, the overland, dungeon, and raid PvE content.

So plenty of negatives, and I didn’t even start down the path of gaming franchises that remain successful year after year despite offering up nothing substantially different in core game play.  Everything from Pokemon to Civilization to Call of Duty that goes from success to success with only minor variations seems to argue against changing horses midstream.  Find your rut and stick with it forever!

But just because I can’t come up with an example of success in this regard doesn’t mean there haven’t been any.  There are more things in online gaming than are dreamt of in my rather limited philosophy.

Who has done it?  Who has made a success of a fundamental change of game play or philosophy on a live game?  There has to be some example out there, even if it is a special case that worked only because the conditions were just right.  I would prefer an MMO example, but something MMO-ish would suffice.

Pondering That Legion Level 100 Boost

We just entered the second week of pre-Legion events.  I have been running through them just to make sure I do not miss anything.  Last week’s, the opening of the invasion, was pretty fun.  This weeks seems to mostly involve listening to Khadgar talk.

Have shovel, will... listen to some old guy talk and talk...

Have shovel, will… listen to some old guy talk and talk…

Okay, it wasn’t all talking.  I had to travel to Dalaran’s new location… though it is still in its old location as well, though I am sure somebody will tell me the lore says that there are not two Dalarans… and there was something about retrieving and overdue library book.  It was hard to tell, as Khadgar is not voiced, so his monologue is all in the chat window in a yellow/tan colored font that blended right into the background colors, rendering it illegible to me.  I could only really follow when people were shouting… and people did shout… though I felt like I missed something in between shouts.  However you just have to follow Khadgar around, click on whatever sparkles, kill whoever is red, and you are about set.

I assume next week we will have a new chapter in the pre-Legion events.

My daughter was doing the invasions with a low level character once she discovered that they scaled to your level.  She was out there with a level 32 paladin fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with level 100s and everything worked perfectly, plus the exp was huge, allowing her to level up.  So Blizzard nerfed that.  The cynic in me says that you can’t have people catching up too fast when you want to sell level 100 boosts.

Which brings us to today’s pondering.  When the WoW Legion expansion finally arrives at our home, it will include a level 100 boost as part of the package.  As I wondered what to do with the Warlords of Draenor level 90 boost, now I wonder what the upcoming level 100 boost.

The choice ought to be easier this time around.  I already have five level 100s here at the eve of WoW Legion, compared to just three level 90s before Warlords of Draenor.  So I can drop the following from the list:

  • Paladin
  • Hunter
  • Druid
  • Deathknight
  • Rogue

Add in the fact that I will also get to roll up an effectively level 100 Demon Hunter and that will be six characters ready for Legion covering half of the available classes.

Which leaves the following to choose from for the boost:

  • Mage
  • Monk
  • Priest
  • Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warrior

At this point, with half the classes at level cap currently, I have to start wondering which class would even add anything to my play experience.  I have rolled up all of the classes and, aside from the warlock, played them up to at least level 40.

My gut is to go with the warrior, another plate wearing melee class, which is more my style for solo play.  I haven’t really enjoyed the cloth wearing caster classes in WoW over the life of the game.  That would leave Monk or Shaman as alternatives, though the Shaman has always been a strange bird as well.

On top of all of that, we just had the WoW 7.0 class revamp patch a few weeks back that made some people unhappy.  I am certainly unhappy with my Hunter, and doubly so because I was looking forward to having three viable Hunter specs.  Instead I feel like Blizzard just wants people to stop playing Hunters.

I am also a bit cranky still with my Paladin.  I have gotten somewhat used to the retribution spec at this point, but it still feels awkward.

On the other hand my Druid(s), at least in feral spec, seems to play just fine.  I like being able to cast moonfire… along with a bonus healing touch now and again… when in cat form.  Works for me!

So I might have to throw out what I know about some classes and ask which of them actually got better after the 7.0 patch.  I have noticed  of late that in any group, the top damage output always seems to be some arcane missile throwing Mage.  But I have also heard people bitching about the Warlock changes.

And then there is the wildcard in the equation for me.

When it came to the Warlords of Draenor boost, I eventually went with a Deathknight, mostly because he was over level 60 and so also got me trained up on a pair of primary professions with the boost.  However, given the state of crafting in Draenor, that was less of a bonus than I thought it might be.  I did play him through to level 100 and I did get him a level 3 garrison, but I didn’t do much else with him.  He hasn’t built a shipyard or been to Taanan Jungle or anything.

In hindsight, however, I feel as though I made an error.  And not just an error in choosing a Deathknight, but an error in choosing which faction.  After my third or fourth time through Draenor as an Alliance character, I began to wonder if perhaps I ought to have gone with a Horde character so I could at least play through their version of the story line and maybe play with their (pointy) version of a garrison.

In fact, one reason I did not boost a Horde character is that the ones I have are all still in their 60s and one of the things on my long term “To Do” list is to play the Horde side of the story in… basically all the expansions.  And I haven’t done that yet.

So I am thinking that this time around I will boost a Horde character… and get back to the previous expansions at some later date.

Of course, that just throws the gates wide open on class choices.  If the difference is going to be storyline, it doesn’t matter so much if I do it with another Druid of Paladin I suppose.

And then there is the question as to what server I should roll up my new character.  Again, without a guild or any Horde pals, I am not exactly tied to Eldre’Thalas.

So I have a couple weeks to figure that out.  What are you doing with your level 100 boost?  And what would you do in my position?

Committed to Delve Now

When move ops were announced late last week and over the weekend I was a little confused.  Were people still back in Saranen?  Was the Rakapas Cartel getting anxious?  The pings were a little vague about the end points of these ops.

However, when I actually looked into what was going on, it turned out that this wasn’t about the move down from the north.  This was another move.  We were giving up our low sec staging base in Sakht and moving into Delve proper.  We were moving to D-W7F0, highlighted below on the map of the Delve region.

Delve - August 16, 2016

Delve – August 16, 2016

At a glance the system doesn’t look to be the worst spot on the map, but it seems like one might choose better when it comes to a staging system.  There isn’t even a station there.   However, this is one of those instances where Wollari’s wonderful maps do not really reflect the shape of space.  The region maps on DOTLAN are setup to show all the systems and the interconnection of gates between them.  These maps do not show the actual distance or relative position of systems in space.  For that you need to use the Range option under Navigation over at DOTLAN, which will show you a different map.

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

That map shows the relative positions of the systems in the game, and every one of them in red is within 5 light years of D-W7F0, which means a capital ship can get there in one jump.  There are 72 systems within jump range of D-W7F0 and, while eight of those systems are in Querious, that still covers a substantial number of the 97 systems in Delve.

As for there being no station in D-W7F0, we look to be living out of citadels now.  There are three Fortizars and a couple of Astrahuses setup in the system for us to dock up in.  One has been designated as our staging citadel and, thanks to last week’s update, which added contracts to citadels, pre-fit doctrine ships are available in addition to the market getting stocked.

Now all we lack is the ability to insure ships in a citadel, which seems like something that ought to have been added already, but who knows what the code looks like or what CCP’s reasoning behind its absence might be.

That is home now, which meant getting stuff out of Sakht.  For me that includes a carrier and a bunch of sub caps.  I took care of the carrier first, loading it up with all the ships I could cram into it, grabbing about fuel for a couple of trips, just in case, and undocking.

Carrier on grid!

Carrier on grid!

This was between the Astrahus busting fleets on Saturday night when Asher setup a move up for us.  It was supposed to be for subcaps only.  He has setup a bridging titan in 1-SMEB while RatKnight1 (of the Ratkingbois meme from our Wicked Creek deployment) kept a cyno going at the Fortizar.  But with lots of ships covering and a cyno in place, he said we could take our chances if we wanted to move a capital via the cyno in fleet.

This meant doing things with my carrier that I had not done before.  So far, I have only ever jumped station to station, with the exception of that jump to a citadel from Rakapas.  I actually had to warp the carrier.

And it warps slowly

And it warps slowly

At the end of the warp, I had to take the gate from Sakht to 1-SMEB.

How do supers fit through this thing?

How do supers fit through this thing?

I had to do this because the jump gates between Sakht and 1-SMEB are of the very long range region connecting variety, so the distance covered is well beyond the 5 light year range limit.  Again, the DOTLAN route planner illustrates the path you would have to take to bypass the gate.

So I took the gate and jumped to the cyno once I was clear.

On the Fortizar

On the Fortizar

Then it was time to move some subcaps.

I remember back around the Phoebe release CCP was expressing concern that we might simply all use death clones to move about to bypass jump fatigue, especially after they removed clone costs.  It was part of the justification for restricting how one could set their home station. (Which also happens to be in the same time frame when we left Delve back in 2014.)

But if you are moving a ships between two points, death clones make it easy.  After docking up my carrier, I got out of it, undocked, and set my pod to self-destruct.  Upon my destruction, my death clone was activated in Sakht, where I boarded a subcap, took the gate to 1-SMEB, then Asher’s titan bridge back to D-W7F0, where I docked up, got out of the ship, undocked, and kicked off the self-destruct yet again.

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

A few rounds on that with both my main and my alt… and a little jump fatigue… and I was pretty quickly out of Sakht.  Everything I moved south is now in a Fortizar in the middle of Delve.  Time to settle in, evict the current residents, and help put down the natives.  It is no longer the Guristas for ratting, but Blood Raiders instead.

Blood Raiders use lasers

Blood Raiders use lasers

I just have to remember to not to go AFK in an anomaly when the doorbell rings.  At least I had gotten a couple of runs out of that Myrmidon and remembered to insure it.

So I am fully committed to Delve.  All my stuff is there now.

And it seems as thought TEST might have some commitment to Delve as well.  According to their latest (and very short) state of the alliance recording, they are being paid to come down to Delve and shoot Goons.

Astrahus Busting in Aridia

Citadels are all over New Eden at this point, with the medium sized model, the Astrahus becoming a common site just about any place I fly.

Saturday gave us the opportunity to clean up a few of these citadels.

A fleet went up on Asher Saturday evening (at which point it was already Sunday in New Eden) with the objective to go shoot some things, which is usually a euphemism shooting structures.  It was an Augor Navy Issue fleet, which meant lasers, which are good for structure shoots as you generally don’t have to reload a laser unless a frequency crystal burns out over time.

I was actually in the middle of something and didn’t see the fleet was up until almost 45 minutes after it had been announced, generally a sign that it might be too late to catch up.  But it was Saturday evening, structures take a while to shoot, and we haven’t been going too far afield for these sorts of things, so I decided to log in all the same to see if I could join in.

Logged in and on coms, I was able to spot where they were using the map option that shows where fleet members are located and the destination was linked in fleet after I had set out, so I was able to take gates and link up with the fleet shortly after they had arrived at what sounded like was their second target for the night, an NCDot Astrahus that was coming online.

An Astrahus in Aridia

An Astrahus in Aridia

When a citadel finishes its deployment cycle, it then has to go online, a process which isn’t too long, but which can be interrupted by shooting at it.  This is the best time to kill a citadel, as it cannot defend itself during that time and you can kill it right then and there without any additional timers.

I appreciate that CCP decided not to carry on with the whole entosis link module thing when it came to citadels.  Everybody shooting something is at least a bit more interesting (and much prettier when you’re using lasers) than a fleet sitting around watching one person use their Fozzie laser on a structure or command node.  But to keep citadels from just being blapped quickly out of existence by a supercap fleet when coming online, there is a cap on the amount of damage that can be applied.

For an Astrahus, if you are applying damage at the cap, it takes 22 minutes to kill one when it is vulnerable.  So we were out there with our Fountain allies, LowSechnaya Sholupen, blazing away at the citadel named, if I recall right, Steak and Onions.

ANIs shooting the citadel

ANIs shooting the citadel

This was the second NCdot Astrahus on the list of targets for the night, another having been popped earlier in the evening.  NCDot apparently wanted to seed the route down to Delve with citadels to cover any potential move op, but didn’t use a neutral alt corp and subsequently didn’t show up to defend the citadels as they went online.

And so I got to see my first Astrahus explosion. (kill mail)

Citadel goes critical

Citadel goes critical

I will put the explosion sequence I caught in the gallery at the end of the post.

After that, our we diverted off to help LowSechnaya Sholupen with a tower belonging to The-Culture (formerly that part of Black Legion that wanted to live in null sec) that was coming out of reinforcement.  They even provided a titan to bridge us over to the fight.

An Avatar tethered on an Astrahus

An Avatar tethered on a different Astrahus

Given how careful we tend to be with our titans, it was kind of fun just to see one hanging out on a citadel waiting to bridge us.  We were bridged out but arrived a little too late to get a kill on the tower.  The shields were already up past 50%, so they could add more stront.  Along the way there Asher was looking for somebody with a cyno… and eventually somebody had to go buy one… during which time it came out that, while nobody had one, several of us came armed with festival launchers.  SynCaine was in fleet and called me out for being on that list, so I targeted him and sent some copper fireworks his way.

SynCaine's ANI

SynCaine’s ANI

The cyno was so we could bring in a few LowSechnaya Sholupen to join us in the fight that eventually developed around the tower, where we traded a few ANIs for a Minokawa fax machine and some Rattlesnakes, which won us the ISK war for sure.  On the down side, mine was one of the ANIs that went down.  Hopefully somebody looted that festival launcher.  Good thing I brought down an extra.

If you look at that kill mail, I clearly forgot to clear my cargo hold after moving the ship down to Delve.  Ah well.  I was at least reminded to empty out the cargo holds of a few other ships.

I was able to watch the battle from my pod as the hostiles couldn’t spare any attention to blow me up.  That put me on a couple more kill mails as a pod, including the one for the Malediction that had tackled me.  When the fight was over I had to warp over to the POS to get somebody to blow me up and send me home.

That was it for the moment.  The fleet headed back home and there were some administrative things to look into.  But a while later a Confessor fleet went up in order to bust the third Astrahus of the night, and the second for me.  Keeping to what seemed to be a food theme, this one was called Meatball Sub.

Your meatball sub is up

Your meatball sub will be up in about two and a half minutes

This citadel shoot also went uncontested.  We got ourselves anchored up and, once the timer finished its count down, opened fire on it.

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

LowSechnaya Sholupen and a couple of their allies joined in for this kill as well.  Even with a smaller fleet… no dreadnoughts helping out this time around… we seemed to be able to hit the damage cap fairly easily.  You can tell when you’re there as you will start registering zero damage hits every so often as the damage output exceeds the cap.

I tried to get a different camera angle on the second Astrahus when it exploded, but the underside view wasn’t dramatically different.  And it all leaves the same wreckage in the end.

Astrahus remains

Astrahus remains

Once done it was back home to Delve.  Not exactly a huge set of blows against NCDot.  Astrahuses are pretty expendable.  But it was nice to finally get to see a couple of them explode.  If you’re going to shoot structures, you ought to get a pretty payoff when they blow.  More explosion pictures in the gallery from the op below.

Joining the Smart Phone World

Mr. Yoshida did me in.

It was some of his tangy sauce that leaked out of my lunch container and got all over my aging LG Rumor 2 phone, rendering it a sticky mess.

I was able to clean the outside pocket of my laptop bag well enough, but the phone itself was never quite right after the spill.  After putting up with it for a couple months… I don’t make that many calls with it… I decided it was time to replace it.  So I headed over the the Virgin Mobile site to see what el cheapo model I could get to replace the sticky LG.

At the Virgin Mobile site though I found out they really aren’t into phones that are just phones any more.  They have one simple flip phone model these days.  However, since I am as likely to text as talk, I generally try to get one with the slide out keyboard, as I have no mind to master the whole dialing from the keypad thing.

And I didn’t want to go to another vendor, as my VM account was topped up with enough cash to last me a long time.  I have been putting $20 on the account every 90 days for years to keep the phone active, but use maybe a $1.50 of it every cycle.

So I decided it might be time to bite the bullet and get a smart phone.  While there were certainly some el cheapo choices on that front, I figured if I was going to go that route I had best go with a phone that is supported, which left me with the Samsung and Apple options.  After some hemming and hawing, I decided to go the Apple route, in large part because everybody in my family who has a smart phone has an iPhone.

And, of course, there was a cheap option.  The 16GB iPhone 5s was only $199.  So I ordered one and it arrived late last week.

iPhone 5s

iPhone 5s

This also happens to be the same phone my daughter has so… and it has come to this… she can show me how to use it correctly.  When did I become my father?

The phone itself seems to be a pretty nice piece of equipment.  My only problem so far has been getting a case for the unit.  There are so many case options out there, I am not sure how anybody decides, aside from just hitting choice fatigue and taking whatever looks okay just to get on with their life.

My Secret EverQuest II Shame

I mentioned the expansion unlock poll on the Stormhold server last week. (It passed.)  But there was another poll available as well.  It was aimed at classifying what aspects of the game the people taking the poll enjoyed most.

But there was one question that struck right at the heart of a problem of mine in Norrath.

The pointed question

The pointed question

How many EverQuest II characters do I have at max level?  I have no EverQuest II characters at max level.  in the near dozen years the game has been out… and I played it pretty actively at various points in that time frame… I have, at no time, ever had a character at max level.

At least not for adventure levels.  I may have hit the tradeskill level cap before Desert of Flames came out, and again during that time frame.  But for adventure level, which is what really counts in my book, I have never been there.

And relative to the current level cap, I am still back in Rise of Kunark as far as levels go.

Too many alts, too much tradeskilling, and too much just screwing around in game I guess.  Not that I didn’t enjoy myself, but there have been times when I wish I had focused a bit more.