Category Archives: Minecraft

July in Review

The Site

Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

This is the most common spam message over the last couple of months.  I believe it translates to “Thank you. How do I log in?” and it shows up dozens to hundreds of times a day in my spam folder because Akismet isn’t sure if it is spam or not.  Welcome to the problems of programmatic moderation, where the algorithm cannot pick up on a single repeated phrase because the IP address that they spoof or the user name or the email address change every time so it cannot say for sure if this time this person is really asking a legitimate question.

see what we’re working with here?

A false positive is seen as much worse than just piping thousands of messages into the spam folder for me to review.

Life in tech.

Meanwhile, I noticed that, for not particular reason, I have posted every single day for four months straight.

March wasn’t quite there

April, which was Blapril, which was Blaugust come early, is explainable.  After that, I guess I was just on a roll.  (That one last empty square in July is covered by this post.)

One Year Ago

There was a Steam Summer Sale to write about, with its odd contest.

Daybreak was fiddling around and registering studio names with the USPTO.

Pokemon Go hit its third birthday. StarCraft got cartooned.

And it looked like Blizz was going to give people a mount every six months so long as they subscribed to the six month renewal plan.

CCP, after saying they would change the 1 million skill point starter pack, just kept on selling it so long as there was sufficient demand.  But at least it was limited to one per account.

Out in null sec space, it was all about the Drifters as the month opened up.  They changed up a bit, but the war we had in progress was already ruined.  We tallied up the damage and headed home.  We had chased PanFam out of Tribute and Vale of the Silent.

But the Drifters were just the start of what would be dubbed the Chaos Era.  CCP announced that local would soon be blacked out in null sec.  We got warnings it was coming.  And then it hit and CCP said it would remain in place indefinitely. (Which some people took to mean permanently.)  The idea came from Hilmar, though many people were going on about null sec being risk averse.

The big VNI nerf hit in there as well.  And a tax increase!  Good thing devs don’t need to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, CCP was trying to keep people in the game during the blackout with skill point handoutsSo many skill points.  And they had to clarify what they meant even.  But the online player count suffered all the same.

And I was on CCP about maybe building their own killboard or at least making SKINs for all the things.

Still, I did get some play time in New Eden.  We did a Triglavian roam with DBRB.  I went on a blackout roam. I moved a dreadnought around to a new deployment on my own, then lost it.  It was a suicide dread.

I tried out DOTA Underlords.

I had been fiddling around with tracking my game play time for six months.

And, finally, we were getting ready for Blaugust once again.

Five Years Ago

I was feeling a bit of the summertime MMO ennui blues.

Windows 10 launched, bringing with it the Microsoft Solitaire Collection.  This wasn’t your Win 3.1 Solitaire or Freecell, and more is the pity.

Project: Gorgon was off with another Kickstarter campaign.  Would the third time be a charm? (Spoiler: yes.)

Need for Speed: World shut down, so I said farewell to Palmont.

Derek Smart began what would become is crusade against Star Citizen, detailing why he felt we would never see the game that was promised.  It could have ended there, but RSI responded in a way guaranteed to turn it into a fight and took away his Rear Admiralty.   Game on!

In Minecraft I was learning about not falling off of thingsbringing light to dark places, and accumulating materials.  Also, sheep stole my mine cart.

I was mucking around in War Thunder for a bit.  It is a pain to return to the game because there is always a huge update required.

Over at Daybreak, there was a vote up for the EverQuest progression server Ragefire about speeding up the unlock of Ruins of Kunark, as well as talk about raids and such.

On the EverQuest II side of the house, there was a beta for its first nostalgia servers.  I avoided the beta but was there when the servers went live… for the big surprise, the return of the Isle of Refuge, adding to the nostalgia experience.

And while that was going on, it appeared to be the end of Smed at Daybreak.

In New Eden my alliance, TNT, handed over its last system in Deklein. We then lived in Tribute.

The Aegis expansion hit… but there was a delay between that and other bits of what we now call Fozzie sov to be deployed.  But entosis link modules were finally able to take sov as the month rolled along.  So we started to learn by doing.

There was a plan in the Imperium to bring in care bears to mine and rat in order to raise ADMs so that our now much reduced space holdings would remain secure.

At one point Mordus Angels managed to claim some sovereignty in Pure Blind!  Can you imagine?  Crazy times!

Meanwhile, in the cash shop… erm… New Eden store, more skins were being rolled out.  Or, rather, the same skin on more ships.  The blog banter of the month was on about attributes, and I was bitching about never having enough jump clones.

On the Azeroth front, Blizzard said they would be announcing the next World of Warcraft expansion… right after the Q2 quarterly report was released, which raised some suspicions in me.  What would the subscription numbers look like if they felt they needed a big announcement to distract from them?

And I finally got my copy of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls from the Kickstarter… only two years late.

Ten Years Ago

The late Paul the octopus created the largest page view day ever in the history of the blog, later to be surpassed by Cats playing Patty Cake and Alamo.

I was told I write like Cory Doctorow… or maybe Ian Flemming.

My daughter was Banned from Club Penguin.  Tears were shed, lessons were learned.

EverQuest II Extended, the free to play EverQuest IIwas announced.  I wondered whether trying to play it without paying at all would be a challenge in and of itself.  Meanwhile, there was some evidence that EQII accounts had value.  That stunning news no doubt got them going on the authenticator they announced at Fan Faire this year.

I completed 100 levels in The Agency: Covert Ops.  I was unemployed, what can I say?

StarCraft II launched.  I never bought a copy and the base edition eventually went free.

Need for Speed World, an MMO version of the Need for Speed series, launched.  I ended up playing it for a bit.  But, being an EA MMO, it was doomed to be shut down.

In EVE Online Hulkageddon III ended, and it even had a video wrap-up.  And then PLEX was made transportable in space.  I wonder if they waited for Hulkageddon to be over for that?

In another Summer hiatus season, the instance group started another run at LOTRO.  This time it was Bung who was out, having the dual issues of moving and having a new baby to care for.  Those of us in Middle-earth hung out with old friends.  That put off deciding who my main character was, by letting me roll another one!

Blizzard gave up on some of their RealID plans thanks to much public kvetching.  Shortly there after, the ESRB came out against Real ID as being bad for consumer security while proving they too were bad for consumer security.

Blizzard revamped Parental Controls again.  As much as I have griped about them, they are better than any comparable controls I have seen, even in games that offer that as a feature.

World of Warcraft Magazine issue #2 showed up.  Issue #4 would arrive 9 months later, which is kind of a long time for an alleged quarterly publication.  Once issue #5 was finally out, the whole thing was shut down.

And somebody was trying to make yet another flying car that failed to live up to our expectations.  Have none of these scientists ever seen The Jetsons?

Fifteen Years Ago

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas gets rated adults only (AO 18+) and the company faces sanctions when the hot coffee mod unlocks a hidden mini-game that existed in the product which allow the protagonist to have sex with his girlfriends.  Unlike some other infamous graphic mods, this one was not fan created content, but something the company put into the game.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  3. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  4. Day One of World War Bee
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  7. Lurking in Catch
  8. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  9. EverQuest II at Fifteen and the Memories of What Could Have Been
  10. Opening Moves in the War
  11. Two Weeks of World War Bee
  12. Theaters of Operation

Search Terms of the Month

is lotro fun
[When it is running it can be]

bloodmyst isle tedious
[Yes]

classic wow peoplle arent doing shadowfang keep
[It is kind of low level, most people are past it I bet]

minecraft burning forest
[guilty]

nfs diggy donuts
[Hell of a file system]

story of babylon in swahili
[Let me get back to you]

Game Time from ManicTime

EVE Online pretty solidly dominated my play time in July.  Diablo II was probably the surprise entry.  I wasn’t planning to play it, but then I wrote something about the 20 year anniversary and decided I ought to take a look.

  • EVE Online – 72.36%
  • WoW Classic – 15.83%
  • Minecraft – 6.53%
  • Diablo II – 4.43%
  • EverQuest – 0.74%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.11%

Diablo II

With the 20th anniversary I downloaded the game again and spent some time playing.  I never did find a mod solution for screen resolution, but the game is still very playable in 800 x 600 and you get used to the graphics pretty quickly.  It still holds up pretty well.  I doubt I’ll do a full play through, but I did get through Act I, so we’ll see how far I go.

EVE Online

The war in null sec, World War Bee (or World War Bee II, depending on your narrative), has been raging and, as the ManicTime numbers indicate, that is where I spent most of my gaming time.  There are quite a few posts this month about the war, something I expect will carry on for a while.

EverQuest

My time with the Overseer option slackened quite a bit.  I had been logging in a couple of times a day to keep that going, but with the war in New Eden and other things vying for my attention, something had to fall off the list, and that was the Overseer. (Along with Swarm Simulator, which I forgot to backup before I purged my browser cache, which reset me to the beginning.)

Minecraft

There was the Nether Update, which I wanted to explore.  I did manage to find one of the new nether biomes.  The whole thing makes the Nether more interesting… and even more dangerous.

Pokemon Go

I did not pay the $15 for Pokemon Go Fest.  That seemed like a lot for something I didn’t quite understand.  But the side effects of the event were still beneficial, including some returning legendary raids.  Thanks to that and remote raid passes, my wife and I picked up Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina.

Level: 39 (51% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 556 (+11) caught, 589 (+12) seen
Pokemon I want: Some more good legendaries from raids
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

As usual I have been wasting the double experience opportunity in retail WoW, which I am sure I will regret at some later date.  But not today.  So all I did again this month was log in and do Darkmoon Faire on my main to get those five points of trade skill experience.  And, at this point, I am not sure that is even worth the effort.  Will it matter when the big squish hits that I got close to 150 points in BFA engineering?

WoW Classic

This remains my Azeroth focus.  The instance group got out and finished up Maraudon and we are going to get ourselves ready for Sunken Temple and our class quests next.  We are all past level 50 now, but there is still a ways to go before we are done.  I remain surprised at how well we have done as a group of four.  I suppose it just indicates how bad we were back in the day as a group of five.

Coming Up

August means school is starting and our daughter will be off to college.  My wife and I will be without a common foe.  Not sure what this will mean for our home life.  It will be different.

The month usually hosts the Blaugust event as well.  But, since we had Blaugust in April… Blapril… Belghast came up with a different event, Promptapalooza.  Instead of everybody posting as much as possible, we will be putting up a chain of posts from a prompt list starting tomorrow.

We should be getting the Activision Blizzard Q2 results.  We will see how much the pandemic helped their bottom line and hurt their shipping schedule.

WoW Classic will celebrate a year since launch.  I still don’t have a character at level 60, and I likely won’t by then.  I do have two in their 50s though.  Not too far off.

The war will carry on in EVE Online, and the front lines are moving closer to home as we try to fight off most of null sec.  They want to stomp us out, we just need to survive.

Finding a Crimson Forest

I mentioned the Nether Update for Minecraft last week and expressed my desire to find some of the new stuff that came with it.

The problem is, as always with new stuff in Minecraft, that you need to spawn fresh chunks for the new stuff to appear.  That means exploration, which means some danger in the nether.  Also, getting lost.  Roaming around on the floor of the nether and trying to find your way can be difficult and disorienting.  Lava and mad terrain and lurking threats keep you on your guard.

The safe path is to get up into the roof of the nether and tunnel.  In our old world we ended up building a whole transport nexus in the roof of the nether, and in the new world out nether portals were close enough to the roof that I went with that option.

Working in the roof is not without its challenges though.  You go through a lot of picks.  Your inventory fills up with netherrack.  Hidden pockets of lava can surprise you, and lava flows very fast in the nether.  You also have to be careful to dig ahead.  I accidentally dug straight down just one block only to find that there was only one block between me and a long drop into the middle of a lava lake.  Feel the burn.

And progress can be both slow and difficult to measure.  Every once in a while you need to dig down enough to see if you’ve gotten close to anything you are seeking.  This is when I fell into the lava lake.  Eventually though, I poked through some netherrack and saw something new down below.

First peek

It isn’t easy to distinguish in the gloom of the nether, but that is one of the crimson forest biome mushrooms just down below.  There is also the bridge/causeway system related to a nether fortress visible as well.

Now I just had to get there.

In Minecraft, as in the real world, it is much easier to build upwards than down.  I have not figured out how to build down to something, so my usual plan is to jump down and build up.  To do that, I needed to find a place I could safely jump down.  So I eyeballed a potential spot and started digging around in the roof trying to get over it so I could drop onto it.

A couple of tries led me to the right spot and I jumped down onto one of the big fungi and then built some steps back up into the roof.  Then, using the fungi as an anchor, I was able to get down onto some solid ground to complete the steps.

From there I started to explore a bit, and quickly got lost.  I am sure the dark red on dark red with dark red highlights color scheme wasn’t helping me.  And, of course, I was on a high spot above a lava lake, so watching my step was kind of important.

Looking down is always bad

I did grab some of the warped stem blocks from the fungi, which is a form of wood which you can use to make some alarmingly ugly doors, among other things.

They need a black light block for those

I hadn’t gone too far and managed to retrace my steps with the wood and some shroomlights, a new light source that you can harvest in the biome.  I ran those back to a chest I had up the tunnel a ways, then went back down to poke around some more.

There were Piglins about in groups.  They seemed to respect the gold armor rule and just looked at me when I got close.

Piglins off on another platform

There were also hoglins, the pigs who now live in the nether.  They were not at all impressed by my gold helmet and proceeded to attack me.  The little ones were not so bad.  They run away when you whack them a good one, though you then have to chase them down to finish them off.

The big boars though, they were a bit of a hazard.  The charge and have some knock-back, which is just what you want when you’re on a platform full of pitfalls over a lake of lava.

I was a bit surprised by the relationship between the Piglin and hoglin though.  I kind of expected them to be partners together in the world.  But then I saw a group of Piglin chasing a hoglin around and found of different.

Piglins eat hoglin for dinner I guess

I once again got turned around and ended up fairly far away from my one landmark, the steps coming down out of the nether roof, which was hard to spot amid the towering fungi.

Off in the distance I think I see them

I tried to carefully make my way back towards them, vowing to make some sort of more obvious marker and path to guide me.  At one point I was near the edge of one platform when something whacked me from behind, sending me flying off and down.

The drop wasn’t too far.  I had been at full health and still had two hearts left.  I looked around to try and get my bearings when I saw a Piglin coming down the slope and straight towards me, gold sword in hand.  He killed me.

Another death in the nether

I am not sure what I did to aggravate him, but he was clearly after me and the gold helmet wasn’t convincing him of anything.  Still, I had found at least one of the new biomes the update brought to the nether.

I still need to find Soul Sand Valley, a Warped Forest, and a Basalt Delta, plus some of the other new things.  That probably means back into the roof, though first I have to get back to base for some fresh equipment.  I had barely put any wear on that diamond sword I had with me.

The Minecraft Nether Update

I meant to write about this when it came out last month, but I wanted to first get a peek at some of the new features in person.  And then the war in EVE Online ate almost all of my gaming time and, well, here we are.

Well, the war there and that quirk of Minecraft where, when they add new stuff, it doesn’t necessarily appear in any world you already have running.  You have to run off to some unexplored area of your world to generate fresh chunks to have a chance for something things… warm oceans, and such… to spawn.  It can be some work.

And this update is no different, save for that it involves the Nether.  This would have been easy if we hadn’t been to the nether in the new world Skronk created a few months back, but of course we’ve been.  There are nether portals in our two main towns connected by a nether highway,  taking advantage of that 8:1 distance reduction you get with nether travel.

But I wanted to see some of the new stuff… and if you look at the wiki there is a lot of new stuff, new mobs, new blocks, new structures, and new nether biomes… so I set out a bit to explore.

The population of the nether has been adjusted, with new mobs added.  I was able to spot one right away, the Strider, which are in the Nether Update graphic I made above.  They wander around in the lava seas of the nether.

The larger screen shot with Striders

Then there are the Piglin.  Once there were just Zombie Pigmen living generally in the nether, with the occasional critter or ghast, but that has been changed.  Now there are the Piglin, a humanoid pig race, and the Zombie Pigmen are now Zombified Piglin.  They are still passive, becoming hostile only when attacked, and they still wander all over.

The Piglin, however, are hostile.  I wasn’t particularly interested in the Piglin, being keen to see one of the new biomes or structures when I went down to explore.  But the Piglin can be a problem as they blend in with the Zombified Piglin in the low light of the Nether.

Mostly Zombies… but not all

The Nether is already a dangerous place when compared to the overworld.  There are plenty of sudden ways to die, and you don’t have to wait until night time for something to attack you.  I don’t listen to music or podcasts in the Nether, because you really need to hear the sound of that ghast that just spawned behind you before it starts shooting fireballs at you.

Possibly my favorite Minecraft video of all time is Screw the Nether, which first sings the praises, then sings the perils of being down there.

So exploring was already a challenge of terrain, lava, and occasional hostiles, but now you can add in the Piglin, who can blend in with the passive zombie crowd if you are not watching carefully, but who will run right at you and attack if you get too close.

Oh, here he comes

I did find out, a few deaths into my exploration, that if you wear a piece of gold armor, the Piglin are no longer hostile.  I ran back to town to fix that.

A new gold hat

So I am setting our in the Nether to find some more of the new stuff, though even with the Piglin no longer hostile, there are still plenty of dangers.

A wither skeleton coming to get me

I ended up dying yet again to get that screen shot.  He had a friend.  Sometimes being the tourist doesn’t pay off.  And, in running back, I realized that I didn’t have my gold helmet on, so ended up getting chased around again by hostile Piglin once more.  At least they don’t chase you too far.

But the skeleton wandered off before I got back, so I was able to collect my stuff and continue on my way.

More Nether to explore

We shall see if I end up finding anything.  Dying in the nether is a pain, as I currently respawn in the over world and have to run all the way back to where I fell.  I need to look into the respawn anchor block, as beds cannot be used in the Nether.

June in Review

The Site

I think I fixed the MMO Blog Feed in the side bar that shows the blog name, though I am keeping the alternate one on hand at the bottom of the side bar in case my changes do not prove resilient.

I also had an odd call back to the past via Twitch this month.

Twitch is Twitch

A bunch of things have been going on around Twitch, including them… Amazon… selling the game mods part of Twitch (which used to be Curse) to another company, their competitor Mixer basically giving up, a Twitch blackout protest, Trump’s Twitch account getting banned (he had a Twitch account?), and Twitch getting sued.

It is that latter that came up here as I noticed a sudden surge in hits on a post about Erik Estavillo, from when he sued Blizzard because World of Warcraft was too difficult.  As it turns out, he is also the person who is suing Twitch because they allow women to use their sexuality to exploit sex addicts like himself.  First WoW was too hard and now he is too hard.

It had been a decade or so since his name popped up and you think that maybe people change and get on with their lives.  But I guess not.  Now I wonder who will pop up next?  Is it time for another Jack Thompson headline?  Who will 2020 inflict upon us next?

One Year Ago

I had declared that there were three problems MMORPGs were never going to solve.  I remain pretty solid on that.

I was also mocking the purity of leveling.  People be mad if you don’t do it right.

After waiting for it to finally drop, the Rise of Azshara update finally hit, bringing the flying unlock to Battle for Azeroth.

Over on the WoW Classic front, Blizzard had a load test that went pretty well.

In EVE Online the CSM14 elections kicked off.  The results were probably not surprising, though the last candidate squeaked into the tenth spot by a mere dozen votes.

New Player retention was very much on CCP’s mind.  I am not sure selling skill points in the Starter Pack was going to fix that, though it looked good to old handsThe June update though was more about shadows and putting repair services in every NPC station.

Actually in the game the Imperium was well into its plan to “glass” Pure Blind, Tribute, and parts of Vale of the Silent and drive PanFam from those regions.  I have a series of posts about that campaign:

We were poised to keep pushing, with The Mittani suggesting we might go as far as Malpais, when there were suddenly reports of Drifters attacking null sec citadels.  The Chaos Era was about to arrive.

The Spring FML season ended and we rolled into the Summer FML blockbuster season with a few new rules.  Remember back when we had movies and theaters and such?

I was also trying to figure out where the Age of Empires II Definitive Edition fit into the scheme of things.

There was a Steam Summer Sale.  There always is.

I had a Friday Bullet Points post about Stadia, Google, esports, and something Blizzard cancelled.

Five Years Ago

There was a cheer for the NBI class of 2015.

I was wondering what Turbine would do after they cancelled Infinite Crisis.  I was also looking for a summer game to play.

After waffling before a live audience, Blizzard finally caved and said there would be flying in Draenor.

Remember that time we killed a Mordus Angels Revenant?  It seems like everybody has killed one by now.

Also in EVE Online we got the Carnyx expansion, which had some of the initial Fozzie Sov features.  So we were out sov-wanding station services, though Dominion sov quirks still ruled the day in our fight at ED-9LT.  We then headed back north thinking maybe our friends in Querious would come visit us some day… *cough*

The coming of Fozzie Sov also meant further consolidation of holdings to make sure we could defend our space.  TNT got pushed out to Tribute to share space with the Circle of Two.  Tensions between the two alliances started almost right away.

And then there was Burn Amarr.  I took some screen shots.  And I splurged on ship skins.

Over at Daybreak they were talking about special servers for EverQuest II at last.  It looked like we might get some sort of progression server, for which there was a poll.  And then another poll, looking for a name.

Meanwhile, over in EverQuest, they were still working on how to deal with raiding on the Ragefire server, and the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote was upon us.

I was playing Neko Atsume on the iPad… back when it was only in Japanese!  I was also going on about 64-bit OS requirements finally coming to video games and an old grievance of mine.

My daughter suddenly wanted to play The Sims.  That lasted for about three days.  This is why I make her wait a week on any sudden new fad she want to follow.

The Steam Summer sale came and went and I bought nothing.  That turned out to be the last sale with the traditional daily specials format.

I brought up the F2P business model yet again based on a quote over at Massively OP which, if nothing else, got a long comment from Brad McQuaid on the subject.

And, finally, I played Minecraft with my daughter for Father’s Day, which led to a whole new adventure in gaming.

Ten Years Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened so many times to so many people that isn’t news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through The Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.  Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

Fifteen Years Ago

In EverQuest II we got the Splitpaw Saga adventure pack.  Those of us with Station Access got it as part of the package, while those without had to pay… ten bucks I think.  I actually ended up playing through that quite a bit.  As early experiment with content that scaled with your levels, it was good from level 20 to level 50.  Unfortunately, it never progressed and now every time I end up in the Thundering Steppes with my newer characters the intro quest pops up.

In EVE Online the Cold War expansion hit, bringing freighters, dreadnoughts, and player owned stations in null sec.  The latter are gone, but remembered via special faction Fortizars.

Twenty Years Ago

Diablo II launched. It enlarged on its predecessor with more classes and a four act storyline that played out over different environments.  A pre-digital distribution title, it was awarded a Guinness Book record as the fastest selling video game ever, having shipped and sold one million boxes over the course of the first month.  For comparison its 2012 successor, Diablo III, sold 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours, also setting a Guinness Book record.

Shogun: Total War launched, setting down a template that would become the Total War series that is still getting new titles.

[I mistakenly put these two in the May post, but the anniversaries are actually in June.]

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. EQ Aradune Server Remains Over Crowded
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. EQ Aradune and Rizlona Servers off to the Usual Rocky Start
  6. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  7. Darkpaw Announces and Adjusts Plans for the Rizlona and Aradune Time Locked Progression Servers
  8. EQ Aradune Server and Trading One Problem for Another
  9. Why We Had Asset Safety in the First Place
  10. EVE Online Gets New Ships and COVID-19 Research with the June Update
  11. Hints of a Diablo II Remaster
  12. Ruled by Discord

Search Terms of the Month

play eve the way it’s meant to be played “eve online”
[Good luck with that!]

eq full servers wtf
[IKR!]

rizlona vs aradune server
[boxing versus queues]

heritage quests everquest 1
[Not so much]

jintha’alor altar solo run
[Be level 60]

Game Time from ManicTime

WoW Classic turned out to be the game of the month, though it was off to a slow start.  Even two weeks into the month it was in no better than third place.

  • WoW Classic – 37.41%
  • EVE Online – 31.81%
  • Minecraft – 14.62%
  • Minecraft Dungeons – 8.58%
  • EverQuest – 7.07%

EVE Online

The GEF deployment ended as we began ramping up for war in null sec.  The other two blocs, PandaFam and Legacy Coalition, might be coming for us.  Or maybe just Legacy.  We shall see.

We also got those new EDENCOM ships.  I’m training up the skills.  We shall see if the ships are any good.  And CCP finally made it so you can swap characters without exiting the game and logging back in.

EverQuest

I let my Daybreak Access account lapse.  I wasn’t doing anything that required it, except checking to see if the Aradune server still had a queue.  But I have still been logging on to play with the Overseer feature.  It does not require a subscription and I just log in once or twice a day for a bit to check up on missions.  I’d play this as an iPad game I guess.

Minecraft

The month started out strong on Minecraft.  I think in the first week I played much more of that than all things combined.  Then things started to pop a bit in EVE Online and I started getting back into WoW Classic outside of the instance group and Minecraft began to slip.

Minecraft Dungeons

This was the other game I started off strong with early on.  I played through the story and started playing through it again at the harder level… and then I sort of stopped.  As I said, the game isn’t bad, but unless you want to play the same content through over and over, there is only 4-7 hours of game there depending how you play.

Pokemon Go

My wife and I edged ever closer to level 40.  The remote raid pass option has meant we have been able to catch a few Pokemon that we might have otherwise missed out on.  But the social distancing and the hot weather have combined to make our Pokemon walks somewhat rare.  Nobody needs that when it is 95 degrees out.

Level: 39 (38% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 545 (+4) caught, 576 (+7) seen
Pokemon I want: Some of these Unova Pokemon where I only have one
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

I did Darkmoon Faire on my main to get my trade skills up a bit and that was pretty much it.

WoW Classic

Old Azeroth was resurgent this month as the group got back into dungeons once again.  I also started working on alts once more.  After a bit of a break it was nice to get back into the old game again.  There will no doubt be more posts coming on it.

Coming Up

It is going to be a long, hot summer, made agonizing by a presidential election failing presidency and we won’t even have NBC’s Olympics coverage to complain about as a distraction.

So staying home will remain a thing.  Fortunately, we have video games.

We will see if there is to be war in EVE Online between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition.  We still have a few days of prep.

The instance group might actually run a dungeon besides Zul’Farrak.

It remains ever a temptation to go back into WoW and Battle for Azeroth to play through the Horde story while the double xp lasts.  It doesn’t seem likely, but it could happen.

There is another weekend of the Steam Summer Sale.  I might buy something.  It is always a possibility.

Honest Game Trailers and Zero Punctuation Reviews go after Minecraft Dungeons

As I was playing and writing about Minecraft Dungeons, I decided to avert my eyes a bit from some of the other press it was getting, if only to not influence my view while it was still starting to gel.

It is Minecraft and Dungeons

Now that I think I have written about all I am going to for the time being, I thought I would bring out a couple of video reviews of the game.

The first up is Honest Game Trailers.

 

Honest Game Trailers generally has two modes.  They either give titles they look at light hearted jabs at their weak points or else they go for the jugular.  This one is the latter as they savage the game as a low effort Diablo clone.

And then there is Zero Punctuation.

 

Yahtzee’s modus operandi is generally to be grumpy and dissatisfied with any game he reviews, grudgingly offering respect or compliments once he has vented for the few titles he eventually warms to.  In that continuum, Minecraft Dungeons falls into a valley of mild complaints that it is not really anything to do with Minecraft while being a competent if very lightweight action RPG.

And Yahtzee unable to either damn or compliment a game is almost the worst outcome, as it reveals an underlying lack of passion generated by the game.

So it goes.

As I said in my own post, there isn’t anything really wrong with the game.  It seemed fun enough for a bit.  But I also stopped playing it after a week once I made it through the main story and found that all you got after that was the same level with more difficult mobs.

Minecraft Village Population

I mentioned late last month that we had gone back for a bit of Minecraft.  Skronk rolled up a new world on Minecraft Realms and we started running around.  During a bit of exploration… which in the usual Minecraft way felt like I wandered for days but ended up not being that far from our initial base… I ran across a town out in a plains biome.

A new town discovered

As our first town seemed to be well under way with everybody working on it, I decided to look further afield and managed to stumble back to the town I had run across.  I made that my project.  I had already thrown up a few walls to protect it on my first pass, but on my return I settled in to do the things I usually do when I set up shop in a village.

First up, once things are mildly secure, is generally to dig a mine.  This village had a house over a fissure in the ground, which is where I chose to start digging down to level 12, where the good stuff is.

I fixed up the entrance to make it look nicer

As I hung around a bit, I noticed the villager count begin to go up quite rapidly.  I know that they changed how villagers spawned with the Village & Pillage update last year.  And I even played with a new found village when the update landed.  But there have been some updates since then and I wasn’t quite ready for how fast villagers proliferate now.  As I hung around improving the town, they started multiplying.

fountain time

Villagers congregate at the town center… also, my dog

Another thing that went in with the Village & Pillage update is that villagers now seek out a bed to sleep in at night.  Villages now come with more beds, but as the population goes up, so does the race to get a sleeping spot every time the sun sets.

This doesn’t make getting the night to pass easy.  Villagers also have a slightly earlier allowed bed time than players.  They all jump into bed before you’re allowed to.  It got to the point where a villager ran down the mine stairs and took my bed down there before I could get into it.

Fortunately, there were sheep about so I was able to make some more beds.  I even built another house in order to give the sprawling villager population places to lay their heads.

Villager flop house

I noticed that most of my new villagers were unemployed, wearing the plain brown rather than the attire.  I had to go look up why the villagers were not specializing, and it appears that they will only do so if one of the new work stations related to the professions are available in the town.

I went around town and built work stations for all the professions and soon the brown coated villagers began to specialize.

A shepherd and his loom

I soon had a town with all the professions covered, and some extra villagers to cover if I came up short.

One of the other changes is how iron golems are summoned.  If a couple of villagers get together and don’t see one near by, they can summon one, which led to a profusion of defenders in the village after a while.  There were fifteen wandering the grounds at one point.

Half a dozen golems in this picture alone

Anyway, I ended up doing quite a bit of work around the town.  I even started working on an upgraded wall.  We’ll see how far that goes.

The village so far, from the same angle as the first screen shot

But after a while there is always the urge to pack up and go explore.  There are some key biomes out there we need to find.  I’ve run into a few jungles nearby… you can see some bamboo in the town if you look close, and a jungle tree on the far side of town… but a mesa biome for colors would be excellent.

May in Review

The Site

I managed to break the blogger feed on the side bar.  It actually stopped working on its own and as I dug around I noticed that Pinboard said I had 32,768 entries there, which is exactly 2^15, which I suspected meant that I might have hit an upper limit on entries.  So I cleared all entries and… then nothing there has worked reliably since.

So I have an alternate feed now in the side bar which was, honestly, much easier to setup and get going, and seems more reliable.  However, I have less control over the feed so I cannot, for example, inject the blog name into the feed, so it is just post title, date, and author.  There will no doubt be a blog post about this when I get it settled.

Meanwhile, the blog has seen a bit of a traffic boom this month.  As usual, this traffic bump appears to be completely based on the whims of Google search, which suddenly doubled in impressions and clicks for my site.

Google’s own graph

Things were about normal in March, then there is the usual big April 1st spike, after which traffic and impressions taper off.  And then, suddenly, on May 6, they about double and I couldn’t tell you why.  It might be related to the Activision Blizzard financials.  There are a bunch of searches for “wow subscription numbers.”  But that should have tapered off after a few days.  Instead things appear to have kept going.

Also, in the usual post-Blaugust tradition, I have carried on after Blapril and posted every single day in May as well.  I am not sure that has an effect, but historically the September after Blaugust is usually a pretty good month for traffic as well, so maybe that plays into it.  Mysteries of the internet.

One Year Ago

Back in May of 2018 there was a rumor leak about Daybreak, so a year later I went back over them to see what came to pass.

Blizzard revenue margins dropped considerably.  As if to prove the point, WoW dropped off of SuperData’s digital revenue chart.

To hide that in the news cycle Blizzard gave us a date for WoW Classic. I wondered if the Cataclysm expansion was a necessary prerequisite for WoW Classic.  I also was speculating as to what would happen with WoW Classic as it aged.

The beta for WoW Classic had been up for a while, but they decided to do a stress test, so they let everybody in for a bit.  Of course I went!  And I did the following week as well.

In what we now call retail WoW I was off collecting the Children’s Week pets.

Blizzard also gave us a peek at their 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition.

The Mittani uttered the words, “Gevlon was right” in a public forum.

EVE Online celebrated its sixteen year anniversary with a sixteen day login campaign.  The Invasion expansion was slated for the end of the month.  Its arrival brought more Triglavian fun to the game as well as the big revamp of The Agency interface and some war dec changes.

CCP Peligro Tweeted out a chart about who gets banned for botting in New Eden.  CCP had also been trying to nerf ratting and mining, so that was the focus of my MER review that month.

The CSM14 election was coming up and Jester did a Reddit AMA about his time on the CSM as his NDA had finally expired.  I also had a bullet points post about CSM14 candidates and rewards and a coming war and such.

Out in Delve I got to undock my dreadnought.

With Liberty Squad I went on ops to Amamake and into Etherium reach that resulted in explosions.  I also got to drop on some Rorquals with Black Ops.

But people were focused on the coming Imperium attack on the north and where it would land.  Even as we formed up and moved vast fleets to the north of null sec, our target was still speculation, though once we set up shop in the east of Pure Blind it looked like Tribute was the target.  There was a rush to see if we could kill the PanFam staging Keepstar, but when that failed we settled in to burn down the region.

In Minecraft I was growing bamboo and looking for the new village types that came in with the Village & Pillage update.  The I went looking for pillagers.

Connor at MMO Fallout announced that the site was winding down… and then he changed his mind.

And I watched the Catch-22 miniseries on Hulu.  I liked some of it, but there were issues for me.  There always are.

Five Years Ago

A bucket list item achieved.

There was another Newbie Blogger Initiative, for which I wrote a post.

The whole World of Warcraft “flying in Draenor” explosion started when Blizzard announced that they probably wouldn’t allow flying in that, or any future, expansion.  Lots of people spoke up.  I linked to a bunch of them.

It was not a good month for World of Warcraft.  Subscriptions were down to 7.1 million… and then they banned 100K accounts, so make that an even 7 million.

In the Warlords of Draenor expansion itself I was mostly going garrison stuff and pet battles.

Carbine announced that WildStar would be going free to play after continuing poor financial performance.

EVE Online turned 12 years old.  CCP was offering fan site the option of a free account OR receiving a PLEX every month.  I actually attempted to opt-in for the PLEX, but never heard back.  Was that option ever really a thing?  Did anybody get PLEX?  Is the fan site program still around?

The war in Fountain and Delve was over, NCDot had been pushed back yet again, and we were moving back north as our empire contracted.  Entosis stuff was looming.  Black Legion caught us taking a badly planned convoy through KVN-36.

Meanwhile, down in Querious, the Reavers were playing with Ravens.  Up in the north, TNT was moving out of Deklein and into Tribute as part of our Fozzie Sov plans.  And I hit 140 million skill points.

Then Daybreak went for a crowd pleaser by launching a new time locked expansion server named Ragefire. It was such a crowd pleaser that it couldn’t handle the crowd.  In addition to some first night problems, you simply couldn’t log in most of the time.  They worked on a login queue and some zone instancing technology from EverQuest II and eventually opened up another server named Lockjaw to take care of the crowding.

TorilMUD, the MUD on which EverQuest was largely based, softened its death penalty.  A sign of the times.

There was word of Warhammer Online private/pirate server for those who missed the departed game.

And I was playing LEGO Star Wars on the PlayStation 3 while the freshly minted Imperium was going to try and play H1Z1.

Ten Years Ago

I was unemployed thanks to the great mortgage meltdown, which you would think would leave me a lot more time for gaming and blogging.  But the anxiety of looking for a job for the first time in 12 years… and the first time in 20 years where there wasn’t just one out there waiting for me… made for a quiet gaming and blogging month.

Yes, I did start to poke my nose back into LOTRO.  A game where I didn’t have to pay a subscription seemed about right. (I have a lifetime subscription.)  That meant getting back into the swing of the game and figuring out what had changed.

We actually got THE DATE for the release of StarCraft II.  How did that turn out for everybody?  I skipped the whole thing.  Maybe when the StarCraft II warchest version comes out with all the expansions I’ll look into it.

The Agency came to Facebook, in the form of The Agency: Covert Ops.  A Mafia Wars-like game, without the multi-level marketing aspect, it had its good and its bad.  I liked the puzzles.  The dogs with guns… and the submarine fight… not so much.  Who knew that would be all of The Agency we would ever get?

Meanwhile SOE was transcending bad taste with their EQII PWNZ marketing campaign.

EVE Online got the Tyrannis expansion, though I wasn’t paying much attention there.  Something called EVE Gate was introduced… later closed and now being proposed again I think… as well as integration with DUST 514… also later closed and effectively proposed again with Project: Nova. Pattern here?

There was some Pokemon fun going.  I was twinking the Pokewalker while our cats worked against me.  The cats won in the end.

We also went to see the Pokemon Video Game Championships in our area.

And the Horde remix of the instance group was wrapping up Dire Maul and Stratholme.  Then, having hit 60, we let the Dungeon Finder guide our way into the Outland.

Fifteen Years Ago

Sony unveiled the PlayStation 3 in a pre-E3 announcement while Microsoft announced the XBox 360 on MTV.

Pokemon Emerald, the final third generation Pokemon game and the last GameBoy Advance Pokemon release, arrives in North America

Forty Years Ago

The Empire Strikes back, arguably the best movie in the whole series, debuts.  Or, as I sometimes think of it, the last great Star Wars movie.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Darkpaw Announces and Adjusts Plans for the Rizlona and Aradune Time Locked Progression Servers
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga is Coming
  7. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  8. EQ Aradune and Rizlona Servers off to the Usual Rocky Start
  9. New Servers and Server Merges and More with the EverQuest Anniversary
  10. Where is the Scenario Mod for This?
  11. Burn Jita 2020 Seems Unlikely
  12. Hints of a Diablo II Remaster

Search Terms of the Month

iowa wooden deck
[You’re far from Iowa friend]

robert jordan wheel of.time repetitive writing
[Clip that and you’d lose a book worth of text]

eve online auction house no more undercut
[Well, no more .01 ISK undercut]

how to make bamboo grow faster in minecraft
[You’re kidding, right?]

wve onlune mist active cirporations
[Your fingers are on the wrong keys]

mmo when you can play as kobold
[Uhh… I don’t know]

where’d holly windstalker go?
[Blizzard]

Gaming Time from ManicTime

A bit of a surprise for times this month.  If you had asked me on the first I would have probably guessed that EVE Online would be at the top, with WoW Classic maybe not too far behind.  And then I launched Minecraft.

  1. Minecraft – 43.20%
  2. EVE Online – 32.22%
  3. WoW Classic – 16.58%
  4. EverQuest – 6.65%
  5. World of Warcraft – 0.69%
  6. RimWorld – 0.66%

It is really easy to put on a podcast or an audio book and while away the hours with Minecraft.  Meanwhile, WoW Classic has languished a bit as the group has been busy so hasn’t had a chance to get back to Zul’Farrak.

EVE Online

With the Goon Expeditionary Force deployed, there has been some opportunity for fun in space.  I am definitely in a mood where I only log in for fleets and not much else.  I have gone on some fleets, but perhaps not as many as I thought I would.  But we’re still out there in Cloud Ring.

EverQuest

I have been mostly poking along with the Overseer feature here, though I did log in and make a character on one of the new progression servers.  The Overseer got some updates, and there is a post about it in the making.  It remains, to my mind, superior to the EverQuest II version of the feature.  As for the progression servers, I am likely going to give this round a pass.  I poked my nose in for a first day glimpse, but without a group already stood up and ready to go it is more than I care to take on.

Minecraft

I mentioned Minecraft and a new world appeared.  My post about exploring our old world inspired Skronk to roll up a fresh on on Minecraft Realms, so we’ve been playing with that for about a week or so now.  I guess I had best move it up into the “games I play” list again.

Pokemon Go

Having hit level 39 at the end of last month I am still in the midst of the long climb to level 40.  Niantic’s quality of life changes to support pandemic play, like remote raid passes, have helped out.  I caught my first raid legendary, the Terrakion.  However, for every legendary I catch, four more seem to get away.  Oh well.

Level: 39 (19% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 541 (+10) caught, 569 (+9) seen
Pokemon I want: Some of these Unova Pokemon where I only have one
Current buddy: Axew

Pokemon Sword

I made no progress this month.  I didn’t even pick up the Switch Lite except to move it when it was in the way of something.  I think it is a nice little unit, but I haven’t worked in where it fits in my play time.  I used to sit on the couch when nobody was home, turn on a TV show I had seen before (reruns of The Wire FTW) and play, but now there is never a time when nobody is home.

World of Warcraft

I thought at the start of the month that I would totally get my Horde alt out and to level cap now that I have unlocked flying and there is double XP available until the next expansion.  It should be easy mode, a quick tour of the Horde story.  And then all I did was a bit of Darkmoon Faire.  I guess I can recycle that plan.  Maybe next month.

WoW Classic

Things slowed down some in WoW Classic, mostly due to the group being busy with other things in life.  We managed to get started in Zul’Farrak, but haven’t managed to get back for a return trip.  It is still on our agenda though.  Maybe next month.

Coming Up

A preview of June’s month in review: I will no doubt be complaining about the new editor WordPress will be forcing on us.  I’ve been using the old editor for over a decade and have heard little good about the new one.  But the old one may be dead tomorrow, so expect some curse words. (They say it will still be there, but in the past they have broken things like that on purpose to force people to change.)

It seems likely that, should I be able to still write posts, there will be some updates about the deployment in EVE Online, something about the instance group in WoW Classic when we get back to ZF, and maybe a further thought or two about Minecraft.

The CSM15 elections start tomorrow for EVE Online.  I bet you can already foresee that post coming.

I did buy a copy of the new Minecraft Dungeons, which I will probably try out later today, so perhaps something about that will pop up in June.

Otherwise, summer is coming, my daughter is graduating from high school, the weather is warm, and we’re coming up on three months of “stay at home” and even I am feeling like I need to go to the mall or something.  We shall see how we manage.

Punching Trees Once More

I posted about Minecraft last week and this week we are playing it again.  My blog posts can still exert some influence I guess.

Specifically, Skronk and Ula saw the post and it stirred a bit of the desire to play again in them as well, so Skronk fired up a Minecraft Realms account and created a fresh world.  I may have written about the immersive nature of the more distant horizon when playing locally, but playing with friends tops that.

Skronk sent me an invite and I was able to pop in and find the town he had set up shop.  It was nestled in a taiga biome.

Finding Skronk

In a fresh new world you have to start from scratch.  Gone was all my diamond gear and that bow with the infinite arrow enchantment.  I had to beat on a tree to get some wood to make some tools to harvest some stone to make some slightly better tools to dig a mine to start looking for iron.  And then there is food and shelter to find and the monsters of the night to avoid.  Things are more deadly when you’re just waving a stone sword about and have no armor.

Creeper got me

I helped build things up a bit in the new town, doing what I always do.  I dug down to level 12 to start mining.  I put in a couple of rows of potatoes away from the villages for food.  I built an auto-furnace down in the mine once I had enough iron for hoppers and some buckets.  Lava was readily available.  With some iron I made some clippers to shear the local sheep.

Once things were settled a bit I decided to go on a walk about.  I packed up some supplies and headed east, then north, then back around to the west, coming over a hill to find a village in the plains to work with.

A new town discovered

It had water, animals, horses, and even some sugar cane near by.  So I starting in on my usual tasks, digging a mine, making some beds, and walling up the place to protect it.  Protection is necessary with the pillagers about.

Pillagers show up

I had done an okay job on the perimeter, but a couple found their way in and I had to fight them.  Fortunately, by then, I had iron armor on and a shield, so was able to block their crossbow attacks as I closed in to fight them.

Skronk had turned raids off, so the big pillager event did not happen.  That was a bit of a relief as, even armed up a bit, I wasn’t sure I could manage that.  A pillager raid was a handful even back in my diamond armor on the old world.

So it goes.  A new world to play in.

Another Minecraft day passes

There is some joy starting fresh and building up again.

Zen and the Art of Minecraft Maintenance

In my thrashing around to find a game that would scratch the seemingly unscratchable itch for something to escape into fully I launched Minecraft.

It had been a while.

About a year ago I wrote about finding the pillagers associated with the Village & Pillage update, but my play time tapered off from there.  Over the summer I downloaded the latest copy of the world… coming up on being five years old soon… and cancelled my Minecraft Realms account.  It wasn’t all that expensive at $7.99 a month, but that was also the monthly price for Disney+, so I closed that down and went off to watch The Mandelorian.

So to go back to the world meant running it locally, something I hadn’t really done in ages.  I went looking for hosting for a shared world almost immediately after starting to play.

Logging back into that last save of the world, I traveled back to the core area along the rail lines I had built over the years.  There I found a hole blown in a section of track.

This happens sometimes when you are traveling by mine cart.  A creeper will be close to the tracks and you’ll roll on by and be close enough to the creeper to set him off… and boom, there goes a section of track.  But that is in your rear view mirror and, as some of us were taught apparently, what is behind you doesn’t matter.

That gave me a mission idea.  I decided to go ride the rails once more to check the track integrity and repair places where it had been blown up.  I packed up some rail supplies… track pieces and redstone torches… and set out on my ride.

Replacement track in hand

It is a long ride to roll down all of my overland rail routes.  I have the great loop I made back in the day as well as the rail line that runs from the north end of the loop up the road and rail line that I built to connect the northern mansion.  To cover the whole thing takes about a half dozen day/night cycles in the game even if you’re not stopping along the way.

So I rolled on down the line, running into a couple more breaks in the rails.  They appeared to be clustered around one stretch of track though, so I was able to carry on and just sight see.

I was interested in how the game would perform locally.  For most of the life of our Minecraft world, originally founded back on Father’s Day 2015, it has been online and hosted by Minecraft Realms, which has had its issues over the years.  The servers tend to be a big laggy during peak hours so moving by mine cart can end up with a lot of rubberbanding or stops and starts as the server tries to keep up with your movement, loading up new chunks as they approach.

It was better on my own machine, but not as much as one might have hoped I suppose.  I had thrown Minecraft on a regular drive rather than an SSD, so I hadn’t optimized for performance, but even a local drive ought to do okay.  I got some lags now and then, though I suspect the power manager’s desire to spin down any drive the moment nobody is accessing it might play into that.  I should tinker with that setting.

But it also wasn’t an apples to apple comparison.  Over on Minecraft Realms they limit your view distance so that you only load a relatively few chunks at a time.  On my machine I had the view distance set out to maximum, so I was making the game load up a lot more data.  So that probably plays into the lag I was experiencing from time to time.

It was worth it however.  After years of playing with a horizon that was very close, rolling across the world with the horizon set much further away was… immersive in a way I had forgotten Minecraft could be.

It is hard to find a screen shot that does the feeling justice.  With the minimum view distance it is very easy to get lost in the world, to lose sight of landmarks very quickly, to not know what is just over the next hill because the horizon is so close to hand.  But now I could see much further out, see things down the line or off to either side; towns, animals, different biomes.  It was quite pleasant.

Looking out as I roll along

So I made my way around the loop and then on my way up north to the mansion, stopping every once in a while at one settlement or another to spend the night or explore a bit.  I rolled through a lot of places that were just vague memories.  It was a very relaxing tour, which wound up at the mansion where I found my heard of llamas.  I had forgotten about them.

A bit of my heard and the mansion

I stayed there for a while, poking around a bit and clearing out a few zombies and skeletons who had taken up residence.

After that I went into the nether to take the rail line there back to the main loop, which takes 1/8th the time.  But even wandering around a bit in the nether I found the expanded horizon aspect of the game to be an improvement.  Being able to see further changes the feel of things more than I expected it would.

Back in the world and up in the clouds

I am somewhat torn by this.  I did quite enjoy the shared world aspect when I had the world hosted.  That helped make the world what it is.  But now, rolling around it by myself with my horizons literally expanded, it makes the game seem more appealing.

I suppose there are hosting services that would allow this sort of view distance to be set, but no doubt it would cost.  Minecraft Realms is as cheap as it is largely because it limits what you can do.  There are always trade offs I suppose.

My Gaming Forecast for 2020

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.

-Woody Allen

There are days when I want to quit my job, sell the house, cash in my 401k, and do whatever the modern MMO equivalent of buying a VW bus and following The Grateful Dead would work out to be.

I can’t quite imagine what that would be, and it is all a bit of fantasy, as much as the virtual worlds I wander around in.  Also, I have a now adult daughter whose college education needs paying for, not to mention what my wife might have to say about such notions.  And my 401k only recovered from the last recession due to the money I have shoveled into it since.

Reality dictates a more modest vision.

So when a part of me wants to fly free, do new things, and maybe actually play Project: Gorgon or some other game less than a decade old, I have to temper myself with an examination of what is really likely to happen.

And so any such list has to start grounded, setting a foundation of the likely or obvious.  What will I play in 2020?  Here is the forecast.

The Sure Things

Games I will almost assuredly play in 2020.

  • WoW Classic

I’ve almost certainly logged in and played this, even if just for a short time, since the clock struck midnight and the new year was rung in.

And why shouldn’t I play it?  I am enjoying it, I have friends to play with, and it is a voyage both nostalgic and fulfilling.  Four months into the game and in our 30s, the instance group is maybe a third of the way

  • EVE Online

The way my main account is setup right now I will remain an Omega clone into 2021 thanks to one final bump from the Fansite program.  There is no reason not to log in and keep things going.  But I am also feeling a bit weary of New Eden.  I have been subscribed and playing since late 2011, when I came back to see if the Crucible expansion would be a worthwhile return point after the fiasco of Incarna.  In December of 2011 I went to null sec and straight into a war and have been there ever since.  But wars in null sec are barely a thing anymore.  I’ll play some EVE Online, but it might be time for a change of scenery.  But what I may or may not do is something for another post.

  • EverQuest II

My last couple of runs back in Norrath have gone pretty well.  In fact, I did so well in November that I bought the Blood of Luclin expansion, having managed to get a character up to the level cap and ready to take part in it.  Having thus invested it seems pretty sure that I will play.  How long I will play is another question though.

The Likely Candidates

Titles that history indicates are probably going to get played.

  • WoW Shadowlands

This would have been a sure thing a couple of years back.  When was the last time I didn’t run straight to a WoW expansion launch? (Answer: Only twice, The Burning Crusade and Mists of Pandaria, both arguably very good expansions.)  But a decade haunted by wrong turns leaves me less than excited at the prospect of another WoW expansion.  We’ll see if I am saying that when the pre-expansion events kick off.

  • RimWorld

It seems probable that I will go back to this for a bit.  The build up part, the struggle to get to a stable state that can withstand setbacks is still quite enjoyable.  Whether I will be able to endure another long mid-game is another story.  But it is an easy game to pick up and while away the hours with as I listen to podcasts or audio books.

Possibilities

Titles I have a fondness for and which I wander back to now and then.

  • Civilization V

When I am in a mood for a strategy game there is always Civ V there waiting for me.

  • Stellaris

If not Civ V, then this is the other likely alternative.

  • World of Tanks

I keep thinking I am going to log in and play this again.  I think I like looking at the tanks more than I like playing, but it is still fun.

  • Minecraft

While I took down the Minecraft Realms server due to nobody playing, a big new update might get me back to poking around.

  • The Witcher

I just bought it on Steam for a buck and half, maybe I should play it.

The Long Shots

I might log into these now and again, but I am not sure I will commit to any real play time.

  • Lord of the Rings Online

The Legendary server proved to me once again how much I like the initial 1-50 content.  I suppose I might wander back into that.  The problem is, as I have said before, the Siege of Mirkwood is an impenetrable barrier for me, and the live servers hold no temptation.

  • EverQuest

For all the nostalgia I spew about EverQuest back in the day, it has not always aged well.  It looks and runs better than any 20 year old game has any right to, but that doesn’t mean it is the best game for me.

  • Diablo III

Not beyond the realm of possibility if I get the simple ARPG urge.  The problem is that I really only enjoy two classes in the game and I have played those multiple times.

  • Elite: Dangerous

Somebody said they have automated docking.  Since I could never quite master that, maybe it is worth a look back in at the game.

  • New World

I played in the closed test phase for Amazon’s new game last year.  It had its merits.  It was kind of interesting.  I just don’t know that it really grabbed me all that much.

I Should Make Time

But if history is any indicator, I likely won’t.

  • Project: Gorgon

I keep thinking I should go play, but it is always a few places down the list.  You find the time to do the things you really want to do, so that I have not found the time must mean I don’t really want to play I guess.

  • Grim Dawn

I should dedicate a month to just getting into this.  I dipped my toes into it previously, but didn’t get that far in.

  • Something Else from Steam

My list of unplayed, or underplayed, games in my Steam library is annoyingly long.  It weighs upon me if I stare at it too long.

Something New?

If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’re probably of the opinion that new isn’t really my thing.  And it would be difficult to argue with that, though I would point out that a lot of “new” seems synonymous with “the same old stuff we’ve seen before.”  I think the only “new” I saw last year was the auto battler genre.

Still, I live in hope.  Maybe there will be something new in 2020 that will catch my eye.