Category Archives: Facebook

December in Review

The Site

Well, I made it to the end of 2020, and I should be happy about just that I suppose, though it isn’t like the world will change dramatically tomorrow, or the next day, or on January 20th, or whenever.  The same problems will face us and the same people will block whatever solutions might help people or alleviate problems.

2020 banner by my daughter

One thing that happens today is that Adobe officially stops supporting Flash.  You might have seen a few messages like this of late.

The end of Flash is here

This has absolutely nothing to do with the blog, but it is a moment of passing for a bit of code that had a huge influence on the web.  It has its roots back in the 90s in tech that powered games like Spaceship Warlock and Myst and was a gateway for many budding game devs to create projects that could be played by others.  There was a whole era of crappy Flash games in the early 2000s, some of which were not all that crappy really.

And it was the underlying tech for a lot of web animation of that era as well.  Homestar Runner was entirely done in Flash, as were many other greater and lesser known projects. (Shout out to Chris Coutts’ Tales for the L33T: Romeo + Juliette back in the day.)  It got into a lot of places.

Some of those bits of the web have been converted, preserved, or moved to other mediums.  Homestar Runner is on YouTube if you want to watch Trogdor again. (Also, Chris Coutts)

But a lot of stuff will just fall by the wayside and disappear.  Flash got a bad reputation, especially for security issues, but it helped build the web as we know it today.  And so we say farewell to it and the games it fostered.  This is why Farmville is also going away today.  Marc Pinkus went on at length on Twitter about the game, leaving out the bits where he stole it from another company and did a bunch of dodgy stuff for revenue and helped create the aura of Facebook games as “spammy pieces of shit.”  So it goes.

Anyway, here we are at the end of the year and post number 405 for 2020.  It was going to be post 404 with a cute “not found” joke, but then that titan fight happened last night.

405 puts 2020 behind 2019, which had 412 posts, but one ahead of 2018, which hit the 404 mark.  Did I make a joke about it back then?

One Year Ago

After many slipped dates and fan push back, Daybreak decided to shut down PlanetSide Arena, their attempt to re-capture some of that battle royale lightning that H1Z1 held briefly when it launched.

On the bright side, EverQuest launched its 26th expansion, the Torment of Velious.

I also made a pilgrimage of my own in old Norrath.

CCP experimented with a day of no downtime.  I heard later that this caused problems and the next downtime had to run long.  You just have to reboot New Eden once a day I guess.

CCP also brought in the HyperNet Relay gambling mechanic, the new wallet UI, and the Kicking over Castles update to make blowing up structures a bit easier.  We got the Naughty or Nice holiday event which included a station to refurbish melted snowballs.

The holiday season also came to WoW Classic and EverQuest II.

Blizzard introduced battlegrounds to WoW Classic early to stem the completely predictable carnage that came about from the introduction of the honor system.  We also got the key chain and paid character transfers.

In WoW Classic we hit our peak group size as six of us ran off to the Scarlet Monastery graveyard.  Back in vanilla a bunch of dungeons allowed raid groups of 10 players.  Skonk and I also got our paladins out for the Test of Righteousness class quest.

We were also back in Gnomeregan for some quest clean up with Earl.  I had to swap to my pally so he could tank.  And then we went back with a different group mix.  Then we went back in again to get Moronae the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.    Finally, we went back to Scarlet Monastery to run through the library.

Then I reviewed my WoW Classic characters four months into the launch.

On the retail WoW front I broke the story of the rejected squish ideas.

I was still running around tuning up my main in EverQuest II until the Blood of Luclin expansion launched.  Getting to Luclin was a bit of a chore, at least the first time through.  From there the run to level cap was pretty quick.

And, it being December, there were the usual reflection on the year gone by.  I looked at my games played, reviewed my 2019 predictions, looked at the books I read, and reviewed highs and lows of the year.

I also did a Decade in Review post about gaming related stuff.

And then 2020 hit.  But that is another tale altogether.

Five Years Ago

Thanks to The Force Awakens coming out, George Lucas was in the news and rationalizing his “Han didn’t shoot first” change.  I wasn’t buying it.  There were certainly other things he could have changed.

It was December, so I had to go over the usual posts, scoring predictions, looking back at the highs and lows of the year gone past, looking forward to what I might play 2016, and something about the inevitable Steam holiday sale.  I also made a chart to show what MMOs I was playing in 2015 because everybody else was doing it.  I totally forgot to make that chart again this year.

There was the Operation: Frostline expansion in EVE Online.

In New Eden I got blow up trying to slip a Caracal out of Fountain.  It happens.  On the other hand, I did get my first kill mark on another solo op.  I also hit 150 million skill points, an achievement soon to be made trivial by skill injectors.

The much reviled Fountain War Kickstarter was finally cancelled, as it was clearly not going to get anywhere close to its $150K target.  But was that going to bank the flames of the brightly burning Goon hate? (hint: no)

The recently rebranded Imperium was taking its plans to low sec, either to generate content or display its arrogance depending on who was describing it.  We were also waging a war in Cloud Ring.

Turbine finally got their head screwed on right when it came to insta-levels in Lord of the Rings Online.  I was stomping around in the Mirkwood expansion trying to see in the dark.

In Minecraft I was building a prismarine outpost along the great northern road.  Aaron and I also killed the End Dragon.

On the EverQuest front, the Phinigel “true box” server opened, a retro progression server that was supposed to keep people from multi-boxing groups.

I summed up five years of Raptr tracking my game play with my top 20 played games.  There was LEGO’s somewhat nonsensical online name policy.  And I was playing Monument Valley on the iPad.

Ten Years Ago

That December I had one of my all-time most popular posts, Talking Cats Playing Pattycake!  You can thank me for not taking the hint and going all talking cats, all the time.  Or hate me for not doing that.  Take your pick.  And We Didn’t Start the Fire?  Nothing.

But I still had kitty pictures.  Awww.

I still think that if you label a window “Currency” it ought to show all your currency, not just the odd-ball stuff.

I was still feeling the sting of ThinkGeek teasing us with the iCade at April Fools, all the more so because some pretenders were on the scene.

Turbine was giving away 10,000 Turbine Points, which comes out to real, and possibly taxable, value in real world dollars.  The comments on the post were obviously not from tax professionals.

I visited EverQuest for long enough to find a house.  And then I was out of money.

In EverQuest II they were starting the run up to vampires.

And I summed up what we knew about The Agency to that point… which was bupkiss.

In World of Warcraft, Cataclysm launched.  If you weren’t in the beta, there were still scams promising to get you in.  There was the digital pre-order, which worked for me.  And one final hardware upgrade we needed at our house before the expansion launched.  And then there was picking a new character for the re-rolled instance group in Azeroth.

The U.S. release date for Pokemon Black and White was announced at last.

Finally, I wrote something that looked sort of like a review of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s book Mogworld.  And then there was something about zombies vs. werewolves vs. vampires vs. unicorns.

Fifteen Years Ago

CCP dropped the Red Moon Rising expansion on EVE Online, introducing a host of new ships including titans and motherships.  They also introduced a new tutorial and new player experience, so some things never change.

Asherons Call 2: Fallen Kings, the sequel to Asheron’s Call, was shut down by Turbine.  Revived again some years later, it and its predecessor were both shut down when Jeffrey Epstein, Columbus Nova, and/or Daybreak Game Company acquired the MMO portion of Turbine and created Standing Stone Games.  The open question remains as to who might own the AC/AC2 IP at this point.  Warner?  Daybreak?  EG7?  Jeffrey Epstein?  The Russians? [Edit: Massively OP says that WB still owns it, which means it is as dead as any IP can be.]

Twenty Years Ago

The second EverQuest expansion, The Scars of Velious, launched.  The icy continent of Velious brought frost giants, Coldain Dwarves, and more dragons to Norrath.  It also introduced The Sleeper, a once per server event.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Daybreak Revealed in Enad Global 7 Presentation
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. Minecraft Village Population
  4. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  5. WoW Shadowlands Sales Stacked Up Against Past Releases
  6. Robbing Some Space Banks
  7. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  8. EVE Online Ushers in the Holidays with Winter Nexus Events Starting Today
  9. Do You Need a Level Booster for Shadowlands?
  10. Drone Aggression Nerf and Tech II Salvage Drones Arrive in EVE Online
  11. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend
  12. Daybreak to be Acquired by Enad Global 7

Search Terms of the Month

what were brad’s aradune stats in everquest
[All 18s?]

velius porno 69 ano 14
[Make up your mind]

will scaling kill wow boring
[It wasn’t the best feature in BFA certainly]

how to rush through all wow expansions
[You don’t even have to do that any more]

eve dodixie losing status
[I’m not sure it had much to begin with]

can you buy skill points in eve online?
[Yes.  Next question.]

eve skill pints per isk comparison
[That’s a bit more difficult]

Game Time from ManicTime

My game play time went in something of a reverse flow in December.  I came off the big WoW Shadowlands binge at the start of the month, focused a lot on WoW Classic in the middle, and then World War Bee activity picked up in the back half of the month, culminating in last night’s titan slaughter fest.

  • EVE Online – 53.14%
  • WoW Classic – 34.20%
  • World of Warcraft – 11.78%
  • About Us – 0.88%

Oh, and I played About Us for about 90 minutes in the middle of all of that.

EVE Online

There was still World War Bee to keep me busy.  With the enemy camped on our doorstep fights have been easy to come by.  Somebody is always trying to provoke the other side into doing something dumb.  I’ve seen fights over anything from bait titans to a bait Raven in T5ZI-S.  And then there was the Catch deployment, where Reavers went out to join in with The Initiative to lay siege to Legacy Coalitions backfield… some more.  And then there was the battle in M2-XFE yesterday and early this morning.  We will have to see how that affects the war.

Pokemon Go

We got released to start working our way to level 50 this month.  The xp climb is very steep, but there are also a series of tasks, sort of feats of strength, to accomplish before you can level up, even if you already have the xp.  The big one for level 41 is to catch 200 Pokemon in a single day.  I managed that sitting in the parking lot at the ER at just after midnight where a couple of Pokestops were close by. (Daughter is fine, but why do these things always happen so late at night?)  They don’t let people hang out in the ER due to COVID-19, so I had little else to do while I sat and waited for a few hours.

Niantic also started releasing Pokemon from the Kalos region (Pokemon X & Y) into the game.

Level: 40 (50% of the way to 41 in xp, all but one task complete)
Pokedex status: 611 (+18) caught, 637 (+21) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 9 of 9
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Zwelious

World of Warcraft

What else was there beside the Shadowlands expansion?  I made it to level cap, chose a covenant, and have messed around with that some.  I am not as taken by the whole thing as some… I don’t feel compelled to log in every night… but I am not unhappy with it either.

WoW Classic

I think “Blacksmithing and Blackrock Depths” sums up much of my time in WoW Classic this month, though I did spend some time with my alts as well.  Doing the blacksmithing stuff got me to get my druid out to harvest kingsblood and my pally out for any spare iron, and I ended up playing them as well.  I also did a bit of the Winter Veil activities, though not the whole routine.

Coming Up

2021!

But, as noted at the top, a change of arbitrary numbers won’t change the plight we’re in.  Tomorrow is just another day and it is quite possible the new year will vie with the old when it comes to total misery caused.

Here you can expect the usual.  There will be a post tomorrow looking into the new year.  I have a 2020 games post still brewing.  Otherwise I will likely play the same games, write about them in the same style, and report and comment on bits of news that are related.

We still need to go back to Blackrock Depths in WoW ClassicShadowlands is still calling.

There is a rumor that PAPI might try to make a big push against the Imperium come January.  I suspect if they can break into 1DQ1-A or Helm’s Deep they will have destroyed enough of our stuff to declare victory and go home to rest for a bit.  It has been a long war of sustained combat.  And, as mentioned in my earlier post today, there was that big titan battle over a Keepstar timer.  Will that change anybody’s plans?

The Notch Timeline

Remember when Facebook announced they were buying Occulus Rift back in March?

Well, the outrage or discomfort or whatever passed with time it seems.

I am sure getting over that event had nothing to do with the current rumor that Notch is selling out to Microsoft for something like two billion dollars, something that surely must have been in play for at least a month now.  Mojang may soon be taking orders from Redmond.

Powered by Microsoft

Powered by Microsoft

This is why I mark these sorts of moment in time.  It is interesting to see how things change.  I am going to bet he is over his problems with Windows 8 as well.

I am not particularly concerned one way or another about Notch cashing out.  Big companies tend to destroy the little companies they buy more often than not, and that fate for Mojang wouldn’t make me happy.  And I am sure a legion of his fans are pissed, but they were pissed about his EULA already, calling him literally worse than EA at one point.  But it is his company, if he wants to cash out, he should go for it.  He can buy himself a whole bunch of new socks with that pile of dough.

I am mostly interested to see that his attitude seemed to soften a bit as a dump truck of money loomed in his direction.

Addendum: And Notch sells it all for 2.5 Billion.  Here is his statement, where he says it is not about the money but about his sanity… though I am betting the money helped a lot.

Items from the Mail Bag – Barrel Scrapings and the Like

Mail bag was going to be a regular monthly feature, but frankly the mail I have been getting on the blog account really hasn’t been living up to the role.  Still, I do get something amusing now and again.  A pity none of it showed up recently, so this is all you get.

Three Kias, One Cup

The Kia Motors Overseas Communications Team ( 해외커뮤니케이션팀) wants me to go connect with their Facebook page so I can play a flash based tennis game featuring players that are, if I understand this correctly, anthropomorphized versions of their cars.  The SoulSorento, and Cerato to be specific.  Except I think that last one is sold as the Forte here in the US.

Totally not ripping off Disney/Pixar

Totally not ripping off Disney/Pixar

All because Kia sponsors some aspect of the Australian Open… which is a tennis tournament.

I had to look that up.

I almost want to go play this, just to see how they get that lumpy Sorento to move its ass around the court.  But a surge of apathy has stayed my hand so far.

Still, don’t let me stop you!  You can find the page on Facebook here.  Just be quick, as the game only runs from January 16th through the 31st.  Of course, they only sent me this note on the 29th, so clearly my participation was not all the important.

Aventurine Fails Again

Aventurine sent me a “Media Alert” to invite me to come and explore the world of Agon, which I am afraid always brings up images of Larry Storch.

A little whackier than this though

A little whackier than this though

Unfortunately for Aventurine, all they actually had for me was a link to a dev diary video about their upcoming (some day) Darkfall: Unholy Wars reboot.

Then they listed out the price of the game ($14.95 if you are a Darkfall Online returning player or $29.95 (25% off) if you are new to this game) like they expected me, a member of the media (who else gets “media alerts” right?), to actually pay for it myself.  This is how you get 2/10 reviews.  (Though I still suspect there was a method to their madness.)

Haven’t we all learned by now that companies can get game journalists to degrade themselves and their profession with a few simple freebies?  Playing it straight is a mug’s game.

The Soda Sipping Inside Joke?

I keep getting press notices about a game called Soda Drinker Pro, but cannot tell if this is just the internet yanking my chain or not.  The quotes sound tongue in cheek.

Soda Drinker Pro is the most advanced soda drinking simulator ever created

While sites like Gamasutra have reprinted the press releases due to contractual obligations.

Mashable has a brief write up, but it still ends up sounding like an internet goof.

I have to think that the only reason I got this was that I have written about soda, and soda experiments, here in the past.

Somebody Sued Facebook

Which probably isn’t news, but the announcement showed up in my email.  It was something about sponsored stories.

Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) filed against Facebook relating to a particular Facebook feature called “Sponsored Stories.” According to available records, you may be a “Class Member.”

What is the Action about? The Action claims that Facebook unlawfully used the names, profile pictures, photographs, likenesses, and identities of Facebook users in the United States to advertise or sell products and services through Sponsored Stories without obtaining those users’ consent. Facebook denies any wrongdoing and any liability whatsoever. No court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.

You can read more about it here.  If Facebook used your likeness without your consent, it could be worth a sawbuck to you.

Meanwhile if the suit succeeds the lawyers will all get paid for the hours they billed and Facebook will have to change their terms of service so that by accepting them you allow Mark Zuckerberg to do whatever he damn well pleases with your likeness.

Oh, Mark, you crazy!

Oh, Mark, you crazy!

So who is going to win here?

Raptr Has a List!

Raptr sent me a list of awards they made up and gave out for 2012 based on their game tracking stats.

  • Most Played New Game – Borderlands 2
  • Most Played Game (Released Anytime) – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Biggest Boost from User-Generated Content – Portal 2
  • Most Played Long-Awaited Sequel – Borderlands 2
  • No Bathroom Break – Borderlands 2
  • Most Played XBLA Game – Minecraft
  • Most Played New IP – Dragon’s Dogma
  • Most Successful Paid to Free-to-Play Game – Star Wars: The Old Republic

Some of those make sense, while others… I am not so sure.  The “Bathroom Break” bit probably relates to a measurement of play sessions, but how did they come up with “Long Awaited Sequel?”  Was Borderlands 2 really that long in showing up?  Relative to what?

Meanwhile, their last category almost always reflects a sentiment of “crap, we’d better mention MMOs!”  They used the same category as 2011, but this time they managed to combine it with an attempt to suck up to EA/BioWare.  Or does somebody think if you were going to mention MMOs that there weren’t other categories or titles you might choose?  “Most played MMO” or  GuildWars 2 certainly springs to my mind.

Anyway, you can read their full post here, which includes some additional details.

The Rest

Finally, I seem to be getting more and more messages asking me if I would like to come write for other sites.  These invites are rather transparent requests to please provide free content for such and such a site to exploit for ad revenue.

It is the sources of these requests that are getting more interesting.  I had one from a web media group from everybody’s favorite Germans, ProSiebenSat.1 and another from a group that purports to run the largest MMO gaming site in China.

All I can think is, “China?”  My Larry Storch jokes are probably too obscure for Cracked.com, how would they possibly play in China.

Anyway, send me something interesting that isn’t about your 99 cent iPhone app and maybe I’ll make fun of it.  As always, contact info is on the About page.

The Zynga Business Plan Moves Forward

My daughter and I were watching Spongebob together when we saw a commercial for this:

Hungry Hungry Herd

Technically, it is not a simple rip-off of some other company’s idea, the classic Zynga approach, because Hasbro owns Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Zynga and Hasbro are in bed together on this one.  But it certainly feels like a poor recycling job to me, with 50 Farm Cash thrown in as a “Digital Value for Parents Inside!”  I suppose at least they are pretending to feed adult addiction to the game rather than overtly suggesting the kids go log on and play.

Of course, in looking this up, I found that Hasbro and Zynga have recycled a few other classic games with a FarmVille theme.

I would add that there is even a CityVille version of Monopoly… but what brand hasn’t gone for their own version of Monopoly at this point?

With the Empire Crumbling, What of Darth British?

Zynga’s Emperor Palpapincus had only just recruited Lord British, turning him into Darth British (yeah, I decided to go with that just to keep things simple), with the promise of teaching him the dark arts of monetization and giving eternal life to half-baked cow-clicking games.

You’re right Mark, these helmets are great!

In the words of recently turned gaming jedi:

“Not just Zynga’s, but lots of social games use monetization strategies that, as a hardcore gamer, I find offensive, frankly,” Garriott admits. “I really don’t like games that constantly pester me to pay. I find it radically interferes with my suspension of disbelief. So, I’m devoted in the Ultimate RPG game to finding novel monetization strategies that don’t offend me like some of these do. Yet, it’s still really important to learn those lessons, and there’s no better place to learn them then by having Zynga as a partner.”

Richard Garriott de Cayeux (Darth British), on his partnership with Zynga

How often has a hero fallen in an attempt to learn the tricks of his foe by becoming what he opposes?  It certainly seems to come up a lot in juvenile pulp novels, so clearly it is a menace.

Failing to heed the warning of… well… many people… that once you start down the dark path with Zynga, forever shall it haunt your resume, the newly minted Darth British swore fealty to a new master.

And then, as the recruitment of this gaming luminary was nearly complete, Zynga totally took a dump on the living room floor.

There were $52 million in losses, layoffs, and the whole “EA is pissed and coming to sue you” dimension to what can only be seen as a setback for the Zynga empire.

Emporer Palpapincus issued a statement declaring, “While the last several months have been challenging for us, Zynga remains well positioned to capitalize on the growth of social gaming.”  He was then heard to mutter something about the second FarmVille being “fully operational” and there being “no civility in gaming, only ARPU” as he stalked off.

Which leads us to the next cliff hanger.

What course will Darth British choose?  Is he in too deep?  Has he signed in blood?  Has he committed his Ultimate Collector and Ultimate RPG to the fires of the Zynga sweatshop?

And is it ironic that EA, who he was totally trying woo… at least in the press… not only thwarted his Ultima aspirations, but has taken up arms against Zynga?

For whom will our hero(?) show a fondness next?

Lord British and Zynga – A Match Made In…

I am really having trouble completing that sentence… CrazyVille?

All systems go!

So, according to a very short piece at Gamasutra, Zynga, whose wave of mindless click games has crested and begun crashing to the point that it is bringing Facebook down with it, and Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the once mighty Lord British, who is getting pretty deep into the “what have you done lately?” column these days, are teaming up around the Portalarium game Ultimate Collector to bring it to Facebook, Zynga’s new self-run platform, and to a TV show hosted by Garriott de Cayeux himself?

My first thoughts were “April Fools,” followed quickly by “rebound affair after being jilted by EA and EA rubbing his face in it.”

But I think I have to go with this response:

In what “Ville” do you think this belongs?  And where does his Ultimate RPG end up living?

Games I Mentioned Once and then Totally Forgot About – Playboy Manager Edition

Back in May of 2009 I posted about a press release for Playboy Manager, Playboy’s attempt at an MMO, which they christened a  “Massively Casual Online Game.”

They might have actually been a bit ahead of their time on that one.

And, after that, despite my signing up for the mailing list, I never heard a single thing about the game.

I mentioned it a year later in my month in review post  (so I guess I mentioned it twice) where I said:

And a year ago Playboy’s “Massively Casual Online Game” Playboy Manager was announced.  The game was supposed to launch in the summer of 2009 according to the press release.  The site for the game is still there (go Google it) but it still mentions signing up for beta invites.  Casual might refer to the development plan I guess.

The game looked to be on the same trajectory that Planet Michael is now; all talk, no rock.

However, the game did eventually launch.  Or so I hear.

In an astonishingly bad use of captured email addresses, Jolt Online Gaming and/or Playboy apparently failed to alert those who expressed an interest in the game that it had actually gone live.  You would think after all that work, they might have put some effort into publicizing it.

Seriously, I would have logged in just to experience it, had I but known.

Their effort went live as a Facebook game, under the name Playboy Party, back in November 2010.  Of course, since it went to Facebook, it was probably flagged as Beta like every other Facebook game, so maybe they felt it wasn’t time yet to go to the public.

However, time was of the essence, as the game closed on September 12th of this year.

In the middle of that, in March 2011, things go so messed up that the game had to be reset and everybody had to start again from scratch.

Brilliant!

And so the game has come and gone, having garnered all of 400 actual players during its short life span.  It may now aspire to be a footnote in the appendix of an unpublished volume of esoteric video game history.

Thanks to UnSubject over at Vicarious Existence whose post on the subject, which has more detail and actual screen shots from the game,  reminded me again that the Playboy Manager/Playboy Party even existed.  Plus there is a bonus mention of another failed Playboy online game project, Poisonville!

Items from the Mail Bag – I’m Full and Feeling Generous Edition

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, a favorite holiday of mine because I happen to like turkey… and most of the traditional staples of the day aside from yams… and because there is no giving of gifts or sending of cards involved.  That can wait until tomorrow.  Plus we always host, so there is no need to leave the house, though we are expecting a mere dozen around the table this year, down from double that number in some past years.

So in a fit of tryptophan fueled generosity, here is some of what has dropped into the blog mail bag.

  • BioWare let me know I am in again for the SWTOR beta. Maybe playing a jedi this coming weekend can redeem what failed to charm me with blaster combat.  A pre-order hangs in the balance.

Already installed... just need to patch

  • Mike sent me five (5) special keys for their Facebook game D&D Heroes of Neverwinter to hand out to readers.  The first five people who follow me on Twitter and tweet to me the phrase “Gimme gimme gimme I can’t help myself” in reply to the twee that links to this post will get those keys.  Figuring out my Twitter account is the only mild barrier to entry.  (It is in the side bar.  And you must follow me so I can reply directly to you with the key. You can unfollow me once I give out the codes.  I probably would.)
  • The above mentioned Mike is also trying to connect with me in Linked In.  While I have created a net persona for Wilhelm Arcturus, I haven’t really gone that far.  I did, however, continue to build such a back story for a persona I create in high school.  It is easy in Silicon Valley.  I just had him working for companies like Taligent, General Magic, and Silicon Graphics.  People from those places have actually connected with him too.
  • Violeta from Best Games Media Group Ltd. wanted me to mention a new site called Gamingator.com, which looks like it sells games.  It is probably some sort of scam.  Sure, fine, just pass me some more pumpkin pie.
  • I have a note from The Sims Social offering me 2000 simoleons (one of the in-game currencies… and not the good one) if I will come back and play, proving that no matter how many ways you tell Facebook to disconnect you from an external app, once that app has your data you can never be rid of them.
  • On the same thread of never being free from a game once you play it, Night Owl Games wants to let me know that Dungeon Overlord, their Facebook game, has left beta and launched a new world.  They even have a video on YouTube.  I tried this game back in June.  I could have sworn it was an SOE game.  Was SOE just publishing it, or was this related to the great big downsizing at SOE this summer?
  • Tracey, who might actually read the blog, wanted to know if I had seen anything about Continent of the Ninth Seal, a Korean MMO action MMO that might make it to the US next year.  Timing-wise, this might have be related to comments I made about blaster combat in SWTOR.  Amway, the answer is… well… I have now!
  • Christine Kane wanted to tell me about her article comparing Facebook to Tag.  However, the analogy breaks down really fast (when did the “cool kids” ever play tag?) and, frankly, aren’t we a little past something that says, essentially, “Hey, Facebook is popular!”  Sorry Christine.
  • And then a number of people… bots… mailing lists… whatever… somehow I got a bunch of press release about iOS or Android games which I am not going to bother to link because I do not own a device that runs either operating system… though if I had to pick one, it would be the Atari’s Greatest Hits because it works with the iCade.

That’s it.  Time for some more pumpkin pie.

October in Review

The Site

I think the biggest internal site news was when WordPress.com made some change and messed up my stats for a few days.

Well, I hear they messed up a lot of people’s stats.

For the last five years page views have been counted in pretty much the same way.  I’ve kept them all in a spread sheet, every single day, since I started the blog.  The consistency is verifiable via third party page view counters I have used off and on.

Then, on the 18th, something new crept into the mix.


Basically, page views have been counted and displayed on the stats panel in a way such that the total page views for a given day were displayed in two places.  One is the big chart at the top of the statistics page (a section of which is shown above) and the other is in a table that breaks out which posts were viewed how many times, including the main page.

These two charts always added up, until October 18, when suddenly people started asking why they were getting so many page referrals from WordPress.com and why those referrals seemed to be added into the total on the big chart, but were clearly absent from the Posts and Pages table. (The sum worked out to exactly WordPress.com referrals + Posts and Pages total = Big chart value.)

So the Posts and Pages table, for the three days indicated with arrows in the picture above, showed the same number of page views (well, not exactly, the tallest column is actually over 100 views less), while the main page views chart showed very different results.

This became a burning question on the help forums where the main volunteer who handles the forum, in a demonstration of getting exactly what you pay for, was less helpful and more clueless than usual.

Eventually one of the paid staff (Macmanx the Hapless Engineer) came along and said that they had started including pages viewed via email subscriptions RSS in the mix, and this was where the boost in page views came from.  Since RSS tops site visits by 4 or 5 to 1, that seemed possible.  He said that views not getting matched to actual posts would be fixed soon, and off he went.

Then, a couple of days later, the founder of WordPress.com showed up and said, no, this wasn’t just RSS views.

Hey guys — founder of WordPress.com here.

Good news: We’ve historically been vastly undercounting your stats, and we’re starting to fix this.

Bad news: There are some bugs with how things add up, meaning that they don’t. I apologize for undue excitement this may have caused.

More good news: Although support is closed, we’re working on this. We’ll fix it ASAP.

When asked why the sudden boost in views did not match what third party counters were reporting (like my flag viewer on the side bar, which lined up almost exactly with the Pages & Posts report of page views for the 21st), he blustered about such page view counters being inaccurate and eventually said that all page view counts were just approximations and no two would ever match.

Tell that to the people who get paid for page views and the like.  I am sure that would make them very happy to use WordPress.com stats.

And then the next day wordpress.com referrals in the stats started to fade away, so by the 26th things were pretty much back to normal and the great mid-October page view spike was over. (Other people posted pictures with similar spikes.)

In my WordPress.com stats, October 21, 2011 is now listed as my best day ever.  However, I am pretty sure that June 29, 2011 is still the actual champion, which happened at the peak of the great Incarna bitch-fest.

And life goes on.

One Year Ago

I had some hopes and expectations for BlizzCon.  There were pretty much unmet.  But Blizzard had already announced the Cataclysm ship date, so what else did I expect?

I asked if people ever look at the items in the blog side-bar.  People mostly do not.

I finished building my new computer.  It has been live a year and Windows 7 hasn’t completely degraded into a pile of blue-screening ooze the way XP used to when not constantly attended to.

The EVE Online screen shot contest wrapped up, winners were declared and prizes were sent out.

The instance group was playing in LOTRO, which had been live as a Free to Play game for one month. In-game, we were subjected to the disturbing habits of some of the residents of the Lone Lands, while I indulged in one of my own habits, the mid-game character swap.  And then I made one post completely unreadable by making anagrams out of all the proper nouns.  I had to repost a corrected version.

I bought Civilization V, which like every Civilization launch, had issues with my current computer.  The unwritten rule of Civilization is that you need to upgrade your machine in order to play.

And my daughter and I were drinking new and interesting sodas.

Five Years Ago

Five years ago our Saturday night WoW group completed our first full instance run, The Deadmines, on our third try at it, and got in a whack at The Wailing Caverns.

I decided in EVE Online that covert ops would be a good career choice.  It certainly sounds cool.  However, the effort was cut short when I got to some of the pricier skills.

I felt that fall urge to run around in EverQuest, plus I wanted to take some pictures of Faydwer in order to compare them to the upcoming EverQuest II expansion, Echoes of Faydwer.

I also jumped into EverQuest II and got all confused (nothing new there) about the trade skill changes that occurred during the 10 months I was away.

I was defending instancing and game company forums as well as moaning about the fact that I couldn’t find a decent video card for my AGP motherboard.

There was some talk about which pen and paper RPGs would make good MMOs.

And I spent some time carping about MMO pricing plans.  I still feel about the same on the subject five years later.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following site for linking here.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Beastlord to be the New Class in the Next EQ2 Expansion
  2. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  3. Blizzard Endorses the Transfer of Capital to the Proletariat
  4. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  5. Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012
  6. Panda Reactions at Our House…
  7. And Then I Told My Daughter About Pet Battles…
  8. Post BlizzCon Thoughts on Pandaria
  9. Despite Rampant Hacking and GM Shennanigans, Fippy Darkpaw Server is Still Stuck on Velious
  10. Azeroth Travel Poster Contest – Win a Sparkle Pony!
  11. Civ II – Found the Disc, Can’t Use the Disc
  12. The Most Wiley WoW Phishing Attempt Yet…

Spam Comments of the Month

I’m just done looking at your posting and I fairly enjoyed it….
[A long comment from somebody linking back to “Write Comments, Get Paid.” I wonder if he got paid.]

i cant believe you are coming to Burlington, VT !!! andddd Albany, NY. im totally going to see you twice!
[Not if I see you first.]

Search Terms of the Month

3d gay porn
[Sorry, I don’t cover Second Life here.]

lou attack report
[Who did Lou attack?]

EverQuest

I have written enough about EverQuest this month that you might think I am actually playing it.  But I am not.  I am, however, keeping as close an eye on the Progression Servers as I can manage and reporting on forum fun.  I hope, in the end, to have a decent sketch of what happened on the Progression Servers based on that.  You can keep an eye on the Fippy Darkpaw tag for the story as it unfolds.

Need for Speed World

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am starting to play this less and less.  Not a bad game, and it really can be free to play, but there just isn’t much to do once you’ve sort of hit the walls that surround the world.

Rift

The instance group is slowly coming online with Rift.  The general reaction from the group has been positive.  Primarily that has been about the look and feel, which stands up to WoW level of polish, unlike EverQuest II and Lord of the Rings Online which, for all their merits, are still rough around the action bar.

TorilMUD

There was some excitement generated by big changes at TorilMUD.  A bunch of people surged back on, dug out old characters or rolled up new ones, and then said, “I seem to remember this being a lot more fun.”

Well, that is what I said in any case.  There is still a lot to love about MUDs, but it was a time of very raw fun and few online multiplayer fantasy roleplaying options.

As a sign of how things have changed, TorilMUD had a double experience event this past weekend.

World of Warcraft

All this talk of pandas, pets, and BlizzCon got my daughter and I to resubscribe.  She really wanted to play, and when she plays I play.  We ended up doing a bit of the Hallow’s End stuff because she wanted the creepy crate pet.

Other Games

Facebook games in general, and Zynga games in particular, are really fading with me.  I used to try every Zynga game, then every other, then every third or so.

I end up playing them all about the same amount of time, but they seem to be cranking them out faster and faster.  I think this might be hurting them.

Two years, Zynga meant FarmVille and Mafia Wars.  They had a strong identity.  Today Zynga is a new game a month and I couldn’t tell you what the stand-out game for them really is.

I am sure there is a lesson in that.

Anyway, my Empires & Allies neighbors will have to understand.  I left everything harvestable, so they can reap (literally) the benefits of visiting, but I am done.

I have been playing some Civilization II, now that I have it working on Windows 7 64-bit.  I miss some of the enhancements that came with the later games… and unit pathing just sucks… I have to find the patch that fixed some of that… but it is light and clean and still a damn good game.

And, finally, I have been meaning to write about Defense Grid: The Awakening, a $10 tower defense game on Steam.  But every time I go to write about it, I launch it and just end up playing.  I have thought about picking up Dungeon Defenders, because I like the tower defense genre, but I doubt I would play it any time soon because I am not done with Defense Grid yet.

Coming Up

Well, the instance group will actually have to do something together in Rift.

There is a screen shot contest to judged!  You still have until November 6th to get your Azeroth travel poster submitted!

I am sure there will be something to note on Fippy Darkpaw.  Right now the forums are just boiling about the whole rotation thing, but there might even be a vote on the next expansion, the Shadows of Luclin.  If waking the sleeper was the gating item to trigger the vote.  If it was “finish all tasks listed on the chart,” then… well… all those tasks are not done yet, and we’re still stuck on Velious.

And we’re getting to the end of the year wrap-up season.  All those predictions… erm demands… will be coming home to roost.  For some of them, the companies were listening, while on others I apparently did not make myself clear.