Category Archives: Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire Expansion Announced

The announced announcement was announced today when ArenaNet announced the next expansion for Guild Wars 2, Path of Fire.

Guild Wars 2 – Path of Fire

I do like the art style they use for the logos.

There is, naturally enough, a site dedicated to the expansion along with a FAQ with a whole bunch of information ANet would like to share with you.

There are new zones, new stories, new specializations, and mounts.

Bhagpuss at some date in the near future…

They aren’t all bunny mounts, but that there are bunny mounts says something… I’m just not sure what.

The expansion itself is slated to become available on the morning of September 22, 2017.  You can, of course, pre-order immediately, which will net you some “bonus items” which are:

  • Sunspear Weapon Skin of your choice
  • a Miniature Balthazar
  • The title of Elonian Envoy

As is the custom of the time, the expansion itself comes in three flavors.

Path of Fire editions

The price range here, coming in at $30, $55, and $80, seems more in line with reality than the $40, $80, $130 price range that Standing Stone Games put together for the Mordor expansion.

And, like the LOTRO expansion, and the last couple of WoW expansions, Path of Fire comes with a booster to bring a character up to max level so you can go straight to the “good stuff” you’re buying, should you not already be at max level.

According to the FAQ you do not NEED to have the Heart of Thorns expansion in order to enjoy Path of Fire, but if you don’t have it you should to note the following:

  • You must purchase Heart of Thorns to unlock and use the gliding mastery, as well as all other masteries introduced in and exclusive to that expansion. You will be able to complete all of the content in Path of Fire without the use of any Heart of Thorns-exclusive masteries.
  • You must purchase Heart of Thorns to unlock and use the 9 elite specializations introduced with that expansion.
  • Path of Fire includes access to the revenant profession, but not the Herald elite specialization. If you only own Path of Fire, you will be able to create a revenant character and unlock the Renegade elite specialization.
  • You must purchase Heart of Thorns to claim the new guild hall released in Path of Fire, and access the Scribe crafting discipline to fully upgrade your guild hall.

But if you’re pre-ordering Path of Fire they’ll throw in Heart of Thrones for a discount.  Then nobody need ever know what a slacker you are.

You know you want it…

And if you’re not convinced about the expansion, ANet has some scheme to let currently registered users in good standing try it out from Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13.  Since the base game is free, you could just create a new account if you were interested enough.

So there it is.  I expect we will see a big spike on the Guild Wars revenue chart when NCsoft announces their Q3 2017 financial results.

June in Review

The Site

Another month of quiet decline in traffic.  I can hardly blame people though, I haven’t been writing about all that much which might generate traffic.  But if all I wanted was traffic I would write about World of Warcraft and Pokemon every day… or I’d be angry at EVE Online.  That is always a draw.

So not much to say there.

I do have one item that is related to the site, which is why I have never bothered to get a custom domain.  Part of that is because I couldn’t get the domain I wanted, tagn.com.  Well, not without paying a lot of money in any case.  Four letter domains are in demand.

But the other is persistence.  At some point I will tire of this and stop blogging.  But that won’t mean I will want all of this to disappear into the void.  I’d like to be able to find it in another ten or twenty years.  But am I going to keep paying for a domain?  Maybe not.

The same goes double for self-hosting.  While I would like the control, I am way past my interest peak in blogging, so the expense and the effort would be a deterrent.

All of which comes to mind because of Darren.  Back in the day he wrote the blog The Common Sense Gamer and did the Shut Up, We’re Talking podcast.

Header from the past…

He hasn’t written regularly in ages, but his RSS is still in my feed.  Suddenly, a couple weeks back, after a long, long time of radio silence, there was a post.  And then two.  And then several.  Was Darren back?

No, Darren is still done with all of this.  However, he self-hosted and was done enough to let his hosting service lapse.  Somebody else scooped up the domain name and started another gaming blog of the same name.

Is not Darren

And so all of my links over to Darren’s blog… mostly about ten dollar horses… are all broken.  Ted Nelson was right, this hard coded web address shit sucks.  I even mentioned this issue a couple of years back.  And so I will endeavor to prevent that by sticking with the address WordPress.com gave me, even though they seem set on making me get a domain of my own.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to find some time to fix those ever-so-important ten dollar horse links.  I can at least still find Darren over at the Internet Archive.

Clearly I need a tool to convert links on the site to a given domain to the Internet Archive version, as this is likely to continue to be an issue.

Edit: Turns out Darren did not self-host, so his blog is still available at tcsgamer.blogspot.com.  My links remain broken however.

One Year Ago

Daybreak’s Landmark finally went live just a few days short of summer.  However, it was the end of the road for PlanetSide and Legends of Norrath.

There was also the launch of the Isle of Refuge free trade server for EverQuest II.

There was a Newbie Blogger Initiative, for which I put up a post.

It was reported that Minecraft had sold more than 100 million copies.

Minecraft put out the Frostburn Update, version 1.10.  I was building the last stretches of what would become the 22km rail loop.

I also reflected on a year of playing Minecraft, then added in some statistics.

Blizzard had the Warcraft Movie open.  I didn’t like it, nor did that many people outside of China.  Meanwhile Blizzard was also explaining that WoW expansions were just going to take time.  While WoW Legion was still weeks away, my daughter and I went back to finish up Warlords of Draenor and get ready for the new expansion.  Meanwhile the whole Nostalius thing was still simmering.

And I was playing EVE Online.  There was the YC118.6 update, which brought us more overview tabs and the Shadow of the Serpent event, among other things.  Recurring opportunities, in which you could earn some skill points by undocking and shooting an NPC, were removed after their short runDX9 was also dead in EVE.  And there was Blog Banter 76, which was about FC’s and how vulnerable they should be.

But mostly I was flying in fleets out of Saranen as we kept up the tempo of operations in what would become the final full month of the Casino War.  There were just too many posts about that to try and sting them together in a single paragraph narrative, so I will just list them out:

Five Years Ago

I was asking people about voice software again.

I went on about the ridiculous nature of material tiers for MMO crafting.

My daughter finally found a game she liked on the PS3.

I was ranking how I liked to get my gaming news.

The first Civilization V expansion came out offering, among other things, a performance boost to those who paid.  Meanwhile, the story about the decade long game of Civ II came to light.

Everything we knew about EverQuest Next was declared obsolete.  It wasn’t all that much really.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Gates of Discord expansion was finally unlocked, but not before there was a tie vote.

Turbine announced the Riders of Rohan expansion, the first LOTRO expansion I declined to buy.  For somebody still in Moria, it seemed to offer few benefits for its increased price relative to past expansions.

In Rift I hit level 50, which is a special thing in game, and started tinkering with the then new instant adventure option.  Trion also announced the Storm Legion expansion, a sign of success for most subscription based MMOs.

In EVE Online I hit 80 million skill points and was playing Lemmings in DBRB’s fleet.  We also ganked a Chimera that was scammed into jumping to the VFK beacon.  This upset people.

And, finally there was Electronic Arts which, as part of its ongoing mission to be seen as the most arrogant company in gaming, tried to tell people that Origin was the Nordstrom to Steam’s Target level business model, unintentionally insulting Nordstrom, which actually cares about customer service before the fact, not just after it has screwed the pooch yet again.  EA says they “get it” but I have my doubts.

Ten Years Ago

I got all Buddhist on the subject on the raiders vs. non-raiders rift. I think what I said could be applied to some current controversies.

I ran down my list of complimentary comment spam.

I did a poll asking which software people used for voice coms.  At the time, almost nobody who responded was using game-integrated voice software.  Most people were using Ventrilo.

I took a picture of my gaming setup.  Still the same keyboard, monitor, and mouse ten years later.

We heard that Pirates of the Burning Sea would not only be published by SOE, but would be available via a Station Access subscription.

We were still playing Lord of the Rings Online.  Hitting level 20… not for the last time… I was out at the Forsaken Inn… also not for the last time.  The instance group, minus Earl, finished the first epic book… again, not for the last time.  And server queues, something common at launch, were starting to disappear after just two months.  This was odd, since the last great server queue experience was with WoW, where queues went on for over a year on some servers.

Vanguard, which announced server merges… again, not for the last time… gave rise to a discussion about future proofing games.  I held that just making system requirements huge… something that was an issue with Vanguard… was not the same thing.  I did wonder what would have happened had WoW had higher system requirements back in 2004.

After letting Blizzard’s announcement of StarCraft II sink in, I put up a post about the original StarCraft back when it was our office game of choice.

Darren was all worked up about crafting being the suck, so I started trying to list out all the things that might be wrong with crafting. Then Tobold suggested the whole “figure out recipes by trial and error” idea and I ran screaming from the room.

I said nice things about “Opinions of the Misinformed.”

Also, the iPhone launched, moving smart phones from curiosity to mainstream.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Is EVE Online a Gankbox?
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. In Which I Return to Tyria
  6. Ashes of Creation Kickstarter Campaign Closes Big
  7. The Steam Summer Sale 2017 Arrives
  8. Minecraft 1.12 World of Color Update Goes Live
  9. Keepstar Down in Auga
  10. Minecraft Grand Unification Theory
  11. The EverQuest Agnarr Progression Server to Remain Locked in Time
  12. The June 2017 Update Brings Null Sec Nerfs to New Eden

Search Terms of the Month

ashes of creation next big thing?
[I think there might be a few things before we get there]

rpm jenks speed
[Is that a VR title?]

warcraft marriage achievement unlocked
[Married in the game, or to the game?]

how much better is the hel than other supercarriers for ratting
[Oh man, did you come to the wrong blog!]

how to unlock all songs on rock band 2 wii
[Nothing ever dies]

do parrots in update 1.12 spawn in previously explored jungle biomes?
[I believe you need to explore fresh chunks to find parrots]

EVE Online

The summer of mild discomfort continues as people look for reasons to be angry at CCP, generally revolving around CCP not doing what they say, immediately, without considering the consequences.  The ignorant outsider is always a better judge of things than the people who actually know the code… says the ignorant outsider at least.

None of which has impacted me in the least.  I go on ops, do a little ratting in my Ishtar, and read about the drama.  There were new forums added for the game as well.  I got my achievement for doing the tutorial.  Other achievements are available.  Gamification of gaming forums, oh my.

GuildWars 2

Well, another month and another run at an old MMO peters out.  As with Runes of Magic the month before I just stopped logging in.  Not because I was hating the game, but I just didn’t feel much draw to keep going.  It wasn’t the zones or centaurs or the game mechanics or the personal story so much as it being just another fantasy MMO I was playing solo.

Minecraft

The server carries on and I am sporadically logging on to build things.  The 1.12 World of Color update gave me something to look into, but otherwise I have carried on as before.

Meanwhile, after a brief update about the whole Mineserver thing, that has gone back to radio silence.  Maybe we’ll hear something new by Christmas?

Pokemon

I am still pottering around a bit in Pokemon Sun, though that is clearly winding down for me.  It is probably best to give that a bit of a break given that new titles are coming late this year.  I did join in a couple of the online tournaments as a lark, and did as badly as expected.  Still, I will have to write up the results of one, as it does point to a pattern.

Pokemon Go

The big gym update hit last week.  I am not sure how much of a difference it really makes.  I still can’t beat a Blissy that is CP 2800 or higher, and if you can’t beat them then their CP doesn’t degrade and they are fixed in place.

My basic stats this month:

  • Level: 28 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 174 (+8) caught, 197 (+10) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 207km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Steam Summer Sale

The semi-annual sales event is upon us and I have actually purchased a few titles this time around, breaking the cycle of disinterest that I had shown the last couple of sales.

Coming Up

What is even going on in July worth noting?  Remastered StarCraft isn’t until August.

There is the possibility of an EVE Online patch update from CCP.  While vacation time for them has started, they usually only skip August completely.  We shall see.  Further carrier ratting nerfs are expected and the Strategic Cruiser revamp is already on the test server.

The Fantasy Movie League stuff will continue.  I am enjoying that… perhaps a bit too much even.  I now have the Variety film section in my RSS feed.

Then there is still the desire to find fantasy MMORPG happiness, but where to look?  Do I seek out an as-yet unexplored title and risk finding the ever present sameness of the genre?  Or is nostalgia what I need, one of the retro servers that Daybreak is offering up?  Am I attempting to recapture the unrecapturable he asked, just making up words at this point?

Anyway, another month looms.  But there is a holiday on Tuesday, which effectively means a four day weekend for me, so the next real post might have to wait until Wednesday next week.

Pushing into the Harathi Hinterlands

My time with Guild Wars 2 continues as the game of chasing objectives on the map gets me to log in for a bit every day.

That game

My time spent per session slipped some over the last week or so by my reckoning.  I did manage to wrap up the Glendarran Fields zone.

All boxes checked off

There is something of a pattern to finishing off a zone which includes the inevitable vista that I have to Google in order to figure out how to access it.

From Glendarran Fields it was into the Hirathi Hinterlands, featuring more of the same objectives and the now normal herds of centaurs.

A couple of people have suggested other zones to avoid the centaurs, but I do not find them to be objectionable in any way.  At worst, fighting them is no worse than fighting goblins or orc or gnolls or whatever bad guy stand-in you care to choose.  Also, gotta avenge my sister.  Also, they do seem a bit comic when examined closely.  I keep wondering how they pick things up when they drop them.  The upright humanoid torso at the front of their otherwise equine bodies don’t seem to have the reach.

In the Hirathi Hinterlands I made it to level 40.

Level 40 unlocks

However, the last three levels came about due to a daily reward that gave me three boosts good for one level each.  That was timely, as I had taken the wrong path in the zone and was getting in a bit over my head.  It is better to be a couple levels too high and get down-leveled in GW2.

Hitting level 40 also unlocked the next round of my personal story, this time in Lion’s Arch.  That yielded some upgrades and another level.  While there I used the opportunity to buy and collect a couple more upgrades, including a significantly better longbow.  Then I ran around and picked up some of the points of interest in the city as well.

After that it was back out to the hinterlands to lay in wait for more centaurs.

Waiting for the next wave to hit

And so it goes.  The centaur menace must be opposed.

Following the Map Through Queensdale and Kessex Hills

My return to Guild Wars 2 has started off in a somewhat stuttering and haphazard way… which might well describe my wanderings in Runes of Magic last month.  I have not been very invested nor have I sat down and played for long stretches of time.

I’m going to use this logo for every post, you watch

On the flip side of that, GW2 seems pretty well setup to accommodate that lack of commitment and short play sessions.  Basically, the map and completing all of its various points and events not only gives me direction but also ensures I have something to do.  As soon as I log into the game, there is that arrow in the upper right corner pointing me at something.

Hey, go there!

Sometimes the arrow even points me to a scout who fills in areas of the map for me.

Here is a new place to go and something to do

This mechanic lacks the directness of quests, but in a world mostly lacking in what we might consider traditional quests, the map and its events and points of interest fill in the gap, at least for somebody who tends to be as goal oriented as I am.  So at times I just log in and follow that little pointer around the map, doing events and slaying things as I come across them.

Usually it involved centaurs.  Centaurs are into everything out in the human starter zone.

They’re even stealing our booze now!

And then as I wander about the map, going where ever the pointer tells me, I will hit a significant level, in this case 20 and the personal story pops up as a consequence.

Woo hoo, a round number! I get rings… and a story.

Big deal.  People… well, Bhagpuss… have said I can just skip the whole personal story thing.  The problem is that the personal story takes over the pointer of destiny in the upper right hand corner.  The arrow of whim is gone, replaced by a nagging reminder with only one destination.

Yes, yes, I know…

I could just use the map itself to wander around.  The points are marked, and when they are not it is usually because they are in an area of the map I haven’t been through yet… something that is obvious when looking at the map… so just going there will reveal them.  But I wanted my pointer back, so I schlepped around doing the personal story, as I had done after level 10, in order to get that out of the way.

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a different, and perhaps more traditional, more quest-like set of things to do.  There were some nice prizes at the end, including a mastery point which even the game says I don’t need to worry about until level 80, which is a long way off.

Mastery point now for mastery later

I was happy with that and happier still to be back to my now standard method of operation.  But the personal story had one more trick to play.  Upon leaving the instance it dumped me out in the middle of two events which succeeded in getting me killed almost immediately.

Oh not that spider again…

The Toxic Spider Queen and falling from high places are my two leading causes of death so far in Tyria.  I have generally been pretty successful with the struggle mechanic that lets you come back from mortal injury, but that just doesn’t work when the damn spider is camped right on top of you.

Once I recovered from that I went back about my wanderings, following the pointer this way and that until I found that I had finished things up and now had two complete zones under my belt… for specific definitions of complete I suppose.

Two zones down, many to go

As noted, this works for the task oriented completionist in me.  And the pace of leveling seemed to be just about in tune with this method.  While I tend to look askance at auto-leveling systems, the GW2 version seems to work pretty well at this point.  In my last attempt at the game, I found myself not keeping up with the content so advancing to the next zone meant either being in over my head in the new content or re-doing the old to level up.

This time around I seemed to have been about right where ever I have gone.  Being a level or two up and having the game down-level me is better than being too many levels down to start with.

So two zones down, many more to go.

The uncovered chunk so far

And my friend the pointer was nice enough to direct me to my next destination.

Go here and stuff… also, damn centaurs

Along the way I had a few discoveries of quality of life improvements.  The first was suggested in the comments on last week’s post by Orthom, where he pointed out that I could send crafting materials off to storage from anywhere via an option in my inventory window.

The magic option

I was aware of the crafting storage, but had only deposited stuff there while at a crafting station.  That went a long way towards helping inventory management.

The second was a bit silly.  I spent a bunch of time walking back and forth in the game because I did not know that teleporting between waypoints for a bit of coin was a thing.

I can just go there for some copper?

So that made life a little easier.  I just wish I had discovered that when I was doing the level 10 personal story line, as that involved quite a bit of running back and forth.

And, finally, I discovered dyes in the game, so changed up my cosmetic armor set to be more ranger-ish in color scheme.

Green on green with gold and gray to off-set

And so it goes.  I am off into the third zone and level 30 and the accompanying personal story looms.

In Which I Return to Tyria

I was sitting around this past weekend staring at my computer, willing it to tell me what to play.  I wanted to play something, get lost in some game away from the real world, but the destination just wasn’t coming to me.

As noted, Runes of Magic lost my attention when my bag rental expired, causing an immediate inventory management crisis.  There wasn’t an op going in EVE Online and I wasn’t in the mood to rat or mine or do what amounted to more inventory management.

I fiddled with Steam for a bit and Swarm Simulator, but wasn’t really feeling it.  I was tempted for a bit to re-up for Daybreak All Access and jump on to the Agnarr server in EverQuest just to run around again. However, I know how that ends, with me not playing after a few days unless I find a regular group to run with.  Plus it was after dark and spending money online after dark is almost always a mistake.

I’d done a bit of World of Tanks recently, but that wasn’t grabbing me and I wasn’t up for the long patch process that launching War Thunder would no doubt entail.

I considered Elder Scrolls Online for a bit, they having sent me an email recently about how to solo through the game.  That seemed like something aimed at me, but that meant spending money on a game I wasn’t all that interested in outside of the fact that they sent me that email.

I was thinking about just pottering around in Minecraft, but went back to the list of installed games.

Down the list I passed Guild Wars 2.  I wasn’t even sure I remembered my account name, much less the password, but I launched it to see how long it would take to patch up.  I could keep looking while that worked away.

Still a damn fine logo

If you look at the Categories drop down on the side bar, you’ll see I made an entry for Guild Wars 2, which is about as firm a commitment as I make to a game ’round these parts.  There are even 37 posts listed under that category.  That doesn’t come close to the twelve hundred or so EVE Online posts, and is a mere tithe of even my Lord of the Rings Online posts.  37 puts it more in line with titles I take note of but haven’t really played all that much, such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, Pirates of the Burning Sea, or the late Need for Speed: World.

And even those post are merely about the game… usually me predicting that NCsoft will make ArenaNet put out an expansion due to declining revenues… rather than about playing the game.

I own the base game, which isn’t saying much since that has been available free since the Heart of Thorns expansion.  But I paid for my copy… which I guess says something.  Sucker, maybe?  Because in the almost five years since GW2 launched I have three posts from about four years ago that involve me actually in game and playing.

And yet there it was, still installed after all this time, requiring no cash outlay and with nothing else was calling to me.  So I dug out the login credential and once the patch process was complete… it zipped by pretty fast… I clicked on “play” and off I went.

I had two characters already created, both of the pseudo-human Norn race, one level 16 and one level 2.  Clearly I did not get far.  But time has moved on, I’ve changed, the world has changed, and I assumed the game probably had as well.  Still, I decided not to reinforce failure and rolled up a new character.

I figured that part of the problem with my past run might have been the race/class/zone combo, so I opted to change that up a bit.  Rather than a Norn melee class I went for a human ranger.  Ranger is never the wrong choice, is it?

I was tempted by the idea of ranged attacks and a pet, being swayed by images of the hunter class in WoW.  Having gone that route I entered the game.

Of course, I’ve forgotten most of what I ever knew about GW2, and what I knew was pretty minimal to start with.  For example, I realized after I was in the game that I couldn’t recall if I had picked a server or had even been offered a choice  Character creation seemed to be mostly about appearance and back story.  I’m a middle-class ranger whose sister ran off with her centaur boyfriend or something.  Also I have a pet bear.

The bear and I fighting a bear with another bear in the background

Later, at the character select screen, I noticed that I was tagged as being on the Henge of Denravi server, but could choose whatever world I wanted to play on.

So long as there isn’t a queue to log in, I am not sure that matters.  This is likely to be a solo affair.  But at least I think I knew what to say if somebody asks.

On entering the game I was presented with a row of wiggling icons in the lower right corner over the mini-map.  The first wanted me to please buy the Heart of Thorns expansion.  Given that my previous run into the game stopped at level 16, that seemed like a premature ask.

There was also some sort of “hey, you’re back!” reward for me, a cosmetic outfit which I put on because the starting armor included a quilted jacket that made me look like a zek from the gulag.  I chose the shiny outfit to hide that.

All shiny and ready for whatever

There was also a daily reward… because we won’t play MMOs unless we are rewarded for logging in every single day.  I’m not quite sure what I got from that daily, but I managed to make the prompt go away.

Then it was out into Queensland, the starting area for humans.  Like much of what I have seen of GW2, it was very pretty… and infested with centaurs.  I can see why my sister ended up running with that crowd, they seem to be everywhere.

My initial run at combat seemed to go as expected.  I shot the longbow I was wielding at something… a centaur most likely… then the bear would run out and grab aggro and keep the target at range while I pelted it with arrows until its health bar ran down.  Just what I wanted.  So off I went.

Have you seen my sister? Also, die!

I did see some things that were new… new to me, or forgotten by me so as to seem new… like a grand pop-up every time I made a level.

Level Three! Already?

I guess they want people to know what levels mean to them.  And I got a bag with that level, which was good because I was already sitting on a lot of drops and inventory management was looming already.

They also give you a preview of rewards to come, no doubt to entice you to keep leveling up.

Also a home version of the game and some Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat!

There is also the nice little arrow in the upper right that points to places of interest along with the map itself that also makes an effort to get you going in a direction where you might find some adventure.

So here I am in Guild Wars 2.  It might be a flavor of the month, the way Runes of Magic was in May.  We shall see.  I only have to get past level 16 to beat my past effort.

2017 – Predictions for Another New Year

Has 2016 stopped looking our way yet?  Yes?  Good.

Glad to be done with that, because a new year is like a new roll of the dice right?  Completely independent of the last year/roll?  Aren’t they?

My daughter even drew me a brand new pic for a brand new year.

kidpixtigerredraw2017

That is her re-draw of a picture she did in 2009 to celebrate getting her first mount in World of Warcraft.  Her talent has grown over the years.

Anyway, here we are again at the arbitrary point in time where we declare a “new” year and start yet another roam around the star we call the sun.  And with that, I will carry on my own minor tradition of greeting the new year by attempting to foresee what may come to pass.

Previous runs at this sort of thing:

Given past low scores I persist in making predictions.  So here is my list for 2017.  All predictions are worth 10 points each, with partial credit possible.  And, just a reminder, these are predictions and not wishes.  I am not rooting for many of these things to come to pass, it is rather that I fear they will.  A list of my actual wishes would look different and probably be even less likely to happen.  Such is life.

1 – Long in the Legion – Blizzard is going to use their ongoing content additions to WoW Legion as an excuse to not announce a new World of Warcraft expansion in 2017.  BlizzCon will come and go without a word about a new box and people will predict that it means the death of the game.

2 – Roll Credits – A second Warcraft film will be announced… for the Chinese market.  There will be no plans for a theatrical release in the West.  The announced plan will have it arriving as a dubbed straight-to-video option on the market some time in 2018.

3 – Really Big Storm – Blizzard is going to make radical changes to Heroes of the Storm in 2017 in an attempt to get it at least somewhere in the same market as DOTA 2 and LoL.  Different modes, different maps, and better stats will be featured, the latter accompanied by changes that will make individual contributions stand out much more.  So rather than talking about a new WoW expansion, Blizzard will be talking about this.

4 – CEO of the Kill – I am going to re-roll last year’s prediction and say that Daybreak is going to get a new president… a real new president, not the current Columbus Nova overseer… with actual game industry experience; console or mobile experience, take your pick.

5 – More Than Just a Title – Daybreak also has a lot of positions open on its home page, which seems to indicate that they have some new project plans under way.  We will hear about the first of those projects in 2017, and the biggest shock will be lack of support for the PC platform.  In a world where Daybreak’s sweetest paying title is probably DC Universe Online on the PS4 and where Nintendo is cranking out hit after hit on mobile (or at least licensing to companies making hits for them), Windows will seem like yesterday’s market.

6 – Milestone Really – Yesterday’s market will get smaller at Daybreak as well as they close down Landmark and the aptly named H1Z1: Just Survive.

7 – Trash Cash – The change with H1Z1: King of the Kill getting its own currency was just the start of death of Daybreak Cash good across all games.  The real money currency market at Daybreak will continue to fragment, with DCUO and PlanetSide 2 getting their own currency.  Only EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Landmark will keep Daybreak cash.  As with King of the Kill, there will be an open period where you can transfer your Daybreak cash to one of the new currencies.

8 – My Card – When the currency revamp is complete, Daybreak will launch new retail game cards for some, but not all, of the currencies.  Daybreak cash won’t get cards.

9 – Point Break – At Standing Stone Games, the statement about nothing changing will last for a bit, and then changes will come.  Among those will be changing Turbine Points to have new, game specific names, since you couldn’t transfer them between LOTRO and DDO in any case.

Those new currencies for SSG titles will be part of Daybreak’s currency revamp and you will be able to buy into the new currencies with Daybreak cash for a limited time.

10 – And Access for All LOTRO and DDO will be on Daybreak All Access before the end of the year.

11 – Hardcore Death – NCsoft will announce the end of WildStar by the end of 2017.  Another re-roll from last year.  Yes, I know you love it, but look at the numbers the NCsoft financial statements.

12 – Cloud Imperium Crisis – Push will come to shove at the house of Star Citizen in 2017… as in the need to shove something out the door that they can sell, both to generate revenue and to establish some credibility that they can ship something.  Star Marine will end up as a stand-alone purchasable product by the end of the year.  You won’t need to buy it if you’re already invested, but it will only be available after its “launch” a la carte.

13 – Hello World – Hello Games will continue to quietly grind out updates for No Man’s Sky, eventually turning it into a decent single player space sim/RPG.  Game sites will re-review it and give it a positive nod.  Multiplayer however will remain a lie that will haunt the game and its developer.

14 – Future Gates – CCP will wait until FanFest where they will finally announce the next step in their road map forward.  The announcement will be new space.  It will be available only through one-way gates that will only allow frigate sized ships to pass and once you’re on the far side you’re stuck there.  No death clones back even.  Return will depend upon completion of a giant, dozen-keepstar level of effort project has been completed by your corp/alliance/coalition.  Said gates will not allow capital ships to pass, but you can always bring blueprints.

15 – PCME? PCU! – The lasting effect of the Ascension expansion will settle down to a PCU count of about 3- 5K addition players online at any given time over the pre-expansion numbers.  For a game that runs on one server that handles time zones around the globe, that adds up to a lot of additional people, but it still isn’t the heyday of 2013 and the “EVE is dying” chorus will continue sing its near constant refrain.

16 – Switcharoo – The Nintendo Switch will hit store shelves come the Fall, but the big deal for this “is it a bit handheld or a small console?” unit will be the announcement that versions of Pokemon Sun & Moon will be available for the unit, so you will finally be able to play Pokemon on your big screen TV and even stream it on Twitch or Yahoo or Facebook if you want.  But you still won’t be able to take screen shots.

17 – Let’s Hear It for the GameBoy – Following on the success of the 3DS Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, Nintendo will follow up with an ongoing series of legacy Pokemon titles, with the generation 2 titles of Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal next up.

18 – Forsaken AvatarShroud of the Avatar will finally hit its launch state and announce it is live and ready for the wide world to join in.  However, in yet another hard lesson about early access, sales won’t jump.  The core audience has already bought in and new comers will be scared off by the reviews on Steam that are the outcome of the early access run.  If it even appears on the front page of Steam’s the top seller list, it won’t stay there for very long.

19 – Not ShippingCamelot Unchained, Crowfall, Pantheon: Rinse and Repeat, and Amazon’s New World will all be no-shows on the release market for 2017.

20 – Back on Track – After another year of tinkering with the game, NCsoft is going to put the screws to Arena Net and a new expansion will be announced for GuildWars 2.  That will give ANet something to talk about for months. It will also kill of any Heart of Thorns purchases given past behavior.  And, sure enough, as the new expansion gets close HoT content will become free.

Extra Credit Wild Ass Guess – Daybreak hires an ex-Riot person as chief exec and announces they going to make a MOBA!  Double points if it is Norrath based!

So those are my guesses at the new year.  At ten points each, that is a possible of 200 total, with an extra ten extra credit points for the wild guess of the year.  I will be back in eleven and a half months to score that, and if I do better than 40% it will be yet another Festivus miracle.

Others forecasting events of 2017:

 

Friday Bullet Points – Numbers, Pokemon, and Phishing

Another Friday morning when I have a half a dozen almost done posts in my drafts folder, but no real drive to finish any of them.  So time for some bullet points.

Such Super Data

I do enjoy when SuperData Research puts out another blog post with titles ranked by revenue.  They just posted one for June.

SuperData Sez - July 2016

SuperData Sez – June 2016

Of course, I enjoy their charts for odd reasons.  They are, in their own way, very effective trolling devices.  I can already predict a SynCaine response to this.

And then there are the questions raised.  What defines an MMO?  What defines a P2P MMO? (SWTOR claims to be F2P, right?) And, finally, how the hell is FarmVille 2 even a thing?  Is Zynga still a thing?

NCsoft Numbers

NCsoft put out their Q2 2016 earlier this week.  You can find them at their investor relations site.  The PDF summary is the usual 10 pages, with everybody’s favorite chart on page 4.

NCsoft revenue by title - Q2 2016

NCsoft revenue by title – Q2 2016

The surprise of the quarter is WildStar, which revived with a more than 40% boost in revenues over Q1’s all time lows.  Of course, WildStar’s revenue number is still pretty small.  GuildWars 2 dropped by more that 6.5 times the WildStar total and still pulled in 7 times as much revenue.

The numbers are in millions of South Korean Won (KRW), which makes the WildStar total about 2 million USD for the quarter.

Meanwhile, it looks like GuildWars 2 is going to be feeling some pressure to release another box and, as always, the 1998 title Lineage rules the revenue roost for NCsoft

(Hat tip to MMO Fallout)

Pokemon Nation Championship Restrictions

The 2016 Pokemon National Championships are being held not too far from where I live… just up in San Francisco… and Nintendo has asked me not to show up.

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay – By Invite Only

Due to the limits of the venue and the popularity of the event, no outsiders or random visitors will be allowed in to view the competition.  So that is that.  Nothing can keep you from going up to SF to hang out, but if you think you’ll be seeing some sort of Pokemon competition, you had best plan on running it yourself.

Also on this front, the whole Championship series is undergoing changes for 2017 as well.

New Eden Phishing and Seabeasts

CCP has an alert out on a phishing scheme going about, with emails pretending to be from support asking players to log into their account via a dubious link.

Know your login pages

Know your login pages

So, you know, don’t do the dumb.

On the upside, CCP also announced that the Matigu Seabeast SKIN is now available in the New Eden store for a variety of Caldari hulls.

And that is about it for Friday.  The weekend approaches.