Category Archives: Minecraft

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.

Friday Bullet Points About Aether Wars, Stadia, and Other Things

It is Friday and, as often happens, I have a few items which I want to note but which I do not really want to create whole blog posts about.

  • Aether Wars

Tomorrow is the day, the time for the big attempt at the world record for most players together in an online battle… or so CCP and Hadean keep telling me.  They have had a count down all week on Twitter.  But it is tomorrow, Sat 23 Nov 2019 at 20:00 UTC.

Aether Wars Tech Demo

As I mentioned in my previous post, the client is available on Steam.  It is a quick and easy download and you don’t have to register or sign up or anything, just launch the game when the time for the event comes up.  The event itself has not changed much since the summer version, which I wrote about here.

See you there tomorrow?  What if I told you there was a Steam achievement for joining it?  Because there is.

You could also win an all expenses paid trip to Fanfest 2020 in Iceland by just showing up, but I am betting the achievement will have more influence on who plays.

  • Stadia Launches

Google’s cloud gaming service, Google Stadia, went live this week.  Reports were that the phone app required to configure the service and buy games was downloaded 175,000 times, which doesn’t exactly put the launch into the realm of unqualified successes.  However, the launch was only for people who pre-ordered the $129 Chromecast Ultra package.  Numbers will no doubt go up when the free version is released next year, but the press has not been kind to it and data usage could still be a problem for some.

Like some others, I don’t really get why Stadia is even worth considering relative to any of the possible alternatives, which might just mean I am not the target audience.  Still, there was an excellent long Twitter thread comparing Stadia to a similar product design from the past that stirred up my own lingering feeling that Google was doing this more because they can than because they believed there was a market.

But the real pessimists have started a countdown clock to Stadia’s expected demise, a number reached based on the average life of Google products.  And they do have a point.

  • Minecraft Plans

I was going to mention this previously… and then forgot.  Such is my life.  But back at Minecon it was announced that the next update for Minecraft will focus on the Nether, adding new biomes and structures and mobs.  There are some basic details here  However, if you put a bed down in the Nether and try to sleep in it, it will still explode.

As usual, the update will only affect new worlds or areas explored after the update drops.

  • Pokemon Sword & Shield Sells Big

I mentioned last Friday that Pokemon Sword & Shield was launching.

The core RPG line continues

While I wasn’t buying a copy… we don’t own a Switch… it turns out a lot of people were on board with the new game as it sold around six million copies in the first week, making it the fastest selling Nintendo Switch title so far.

Announce you’re making a real core Pokemon RPG game and people will line up.

  • Mobile WoW When?

Bobby Kotick was up talking about the idea of perpetual franchises, which I guess is the line you take when you cannot make anything new that outsells the stuff you already have.  Seriously, the Activision Blizzard big money makers remain World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush Saga.

As part of that he said that the growth would be staggering once they brought all of these to phones.  That makes me want to ask where Diablo Immortal is, but never mind.  However it sure sounds like we’re going to get some flavor of Warcraft on mobile.  Maybe.  Some day.

September in Review

The Site

I mentioned elsewhere that, at least for this site, not only does the month of August often see an uptick in traffic… maybe due to Blaugust, maybe due to more posts, maybe due to moon fairies… but then September almost always sees an uptick in traffic from August.  This month continued that trend, though I am pretty sure I can figure out why.

Classic is as classic does

Yes, I once again put up a post every day, making it three months in a row for that.  But quantity doesn’t always trump… well, I won’t say quality.  Rather, I wrote about the right topic this month.

If you look down at the most viewed posts for the month you will see that nine out of the dozen are not only WoW related, but focused on WoW Classic , WoW nostalgia, or zones from vanilla WoW.   When WoW is hot, writing about WoW gets traffic.  Or having previously written about WoW in any case.  A number of those posts are rather old.

One Year Ago

I did my post-event summary of Blaugust 2018.  Also, the blog turned another year older.  It seems to do that almost every year.

Pirates of the Burning Sea was in danger of shutting down.  A player group eventually took it over.  We’ll have to see how that plays out.

WildStar was no so lucky as NCsoft announced its time was coming to an end.  Is there an emulator yet?

Club Penguin Island was done too, though that was the result of Disney being dumb and/or arrogant.  We don’t get emulators for mobile apps, do we?  Not that there would be much call for it given how CPI was received.

I was cynical about Torchlight Frontiers.  But I am that way about a lot of things.

Then there was the crazy Daybreak and NantWorks joint partnership around H1Z1 and maybe EverQuest on your phone.  I don’t know.  But at least Daybreak could announce an EverQuest II expansion.

I actually played some EverQuest II.  I went looking for a path to follow, getting stuck in a waterfall along the way.

I was on CCP about trading their touted “epic” tutorial with a laborious one based around The Agency interface.

That would fade into the back when just days later it was announced that CCP was being acquired by Pearl Abyss, makers of Black Desert Online.  That got me going on about what it is like to be acquired as a company, something I’ve been through a bunch of times.  I even related it to how a studio called Silicon & Synapse got acquired way back in the day, and they did all right, before wondering about the EVE Online store.

The EVE Online September update saw the end of another asymmetrical ship design.

Meanwhile, actually in New Eden, there was a war on.  We had out eyes on that CO2 KeepstarWe blew that up, along with other structures of theirs.  Then we were after more structures in Fade and Pure Blind.  That led to a day when five Keepstars were blown up.  With the war going badly, Dead Coalition bribed us to pack up and go home, ending the war.

Blizzard had a mount for you, if only you would subscribe to WoW for six months.  Speaking of mounts, I got my Darkmoon Dirigible mount at last.  And Blizz said people would get a demo of WoW Classic as part of BlizzCon, even home viewers.

Over on Kickstarter, the World of Warcraft Diary about creating the game picked up $600K.

I did a piece about the Elder Forest zone on TorilMUD.  A great zone and a boon for young elves.

I also had a bit of a time capsule post and a link out to a character name creator.

Five Years Ago

Blizzard said no to its Titan project.

ArcheAge went live, was overwhelmed, and pissed off some people.  But everybody is happy now, right?

Destiny also launched and though I went nowhere near that, I was interested in Bungie’s seven design point.

Project: Gorgon was coming to the end of its second Kickstarter campaign and it clearly wasn’t going to make it.  On the other hand Defense Grid 2 was headed for release even though Hidden Path didn’t make all of their Kickstarter stretch goals.

Also on the developer front, Notch sold Minecraft to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars.  Since then sales have gone past the 180 million copy mark, which I am sure Michael Pachter thinks is nothing.

Rift was set to join the insta-levels club as part of their Nightmare Tide expansion announcement.

EVE Online had the Oceanus release.  We all remember that, right? Parlez-vous français?

Meanwhile the Lords of Null Sec put our their Null Deal proposal.  In actual space, we left Delve yet again to come home and clean up Deklein. We were out numbered at one point, but we ended up with a nice op at the end of the month.

As part of my Pokemon binge I finished up Pokemon White Version 2.  I still think that is a horrible name, but it was a good entry in the core Pokemon RPG series.

In World of Warcraft I managed to get the Brewfest Kodo.  However, my Loremaster project started to fall apart in the Blade’s Edge mountains.  Well, we had more details about Warlords of Draenor to fuss over.

The strategy group was putting on a shameful display in Total War: Rome II.

I was wondering how long you had to be away before an MMO changed so much it became like a foreign country.

For the blog itself, I was on to the third iteration of my sidebar feed and it had been eight years since I started blogging.  And finally there was a review of the first Blaugust.

Ten Years Ago

I regaled readers with a post about the Adventures of Opus and Mopar Mac, which involved driving around Cupertino at night.

There was a brief moment of nostalgia for Infocom games… or at least for the ads.  Honestly, I think the ads were better than some of the games.

I was wondering if being there on day one was a requirement for MMO players.  It seems to be a thing for many players.

I was still talking about my days of playing TorilMUD, with a description of getting to Kobold Village and the great bronze armplate smuggling get rich quick scheme.

Turbine announced the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, which brought out a little guilt in me, since I hadn’t even gotten to Moria yet.  I’ve since made it, but it took me a long time.  Siege of Mirkwood though, that ended up to be an interest killer for me.

Turbine also went live with their free to play program for Dungeons & Dragons Online.

Then there was WoW.  We were really on a WoW binge that September.  After the mention of a heroic version of Deadmines coming with Cataclysm I put up a poll about what instance we didn’t want to see made heroic, and the results were… unsurprising.  Everybody hating on the gnomes again. (We eventually got a pet battle version of Gnomer though!)

There were pirates and Brewfest and I managed to get my chef’s hat and all the sundry cooking achievements.  There was also corpse spam and phasing and maybe a unified auction house.  I think we got that eventually, right? Out in Northrend the instance group ran through Ulduar and the Oculus. and trial of the champion.

And, finally, there was the three year anniversary of the blog, with the usual round of stats and trivia.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Infocom released the text adventure version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  It became one of their rare titles which I played completely through.  I ended up owning a bunch of their games but  Zork is probably the only other one I finished.  In HHGTTG getting the Babel Fish was such a moment that I bought the T-shirt they offered that said, “I got the Babel Fish!”  I still have, in a drawer somewhere, the “Don’t Panic!” button and the peril sensitive sunglasses that came in the original box.

One Hundred and Twenty Years Ago

Nintendo Koppa, later the Nintendo Playing Card Company, and eventually Nintendo Co. Ltd., was founded in Kyoto, Japan.

Most Views Posts from September

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains
  3. Traveling to the Scarlet Monastery
  4. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. WoW Classic gets a DDoS Attack
  7. WoW Classic and the Hunter’s Path
  8. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  9. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  10. Expecting Too Much from New Eden
  11. Desolace, Feralas, and Thousand Needles
  12. WoW Classic First Night Fun Complete with Queues

Search Terms of the Month

how many people play eve online 2019
[fewer than in 2018]

when will triglavian collective’s end?
[When Hilmar’s dreams tell him to end them]

ukdrillas
[Google says this is the top search term for my site now]

the ancient gaming nood
[This isn’t that kind of blog]

will there ever be a new everquest
[If you believe hard enough…]

Game Time from ManicTime

In which WoW Classic takes over my life.  ManicTime does not distinguish between the retail and classic clients, so it is all lumped in the World of Warcraft bucket.  But trust me, not a lot of time was spent in retail WoW.

  • World of Warcraft – 94.57%
  • EVE Online – 5.16%
  • Minecraft – 0.27%

Also, total hours played was up for the month.  So I played fewer games, but played more of them… or more of one of them.  In short, I played a lot of WoW Classic.

EVE Online

The blackout ended, the cyno restrictions went in, and chaos was… not very chaotic really.  Hilmar’s promise/threat of constant change and not knowing what was coming next seems to have been so much hyperbole.  It was enough to drive some people away and deepen divides in the player base, but not enough to actually change the game all that much.  Op success?  And Hilmar claiming it all came to him in a dream with delusions of game sentience hasn’t burnished his reputation in my book.  But he runs the company and I write a blog, so my opinion hardly matters.

Actually in New Eden I didn’t do all that much.  The Reavers deployed, then had to move due to a change in the political landscape of the war in the south east.  We scooted a bit north, but then Asher went on vacation for a week and not much happened.  I basically went on four ops this month and let my cyno alt account lapse.  My main and my alt are still logged out in a safe in hostile space, meaning they cannot do much.

Minecraft

Minecraft is on the list mostly because I stopped renewing my Minecraft Realms account to host our world.  There isn’t anything wrong with Realms.  It is an easy way to host your world.  But I did a sweep of subscriptions that were not being used, and Minecraft was on the list.  (So was Hulu.)  I mostly logged in to download a copy of the current world so I would have the most recent version available.

Pokemon Go

We saw the release of the first fifth generation Pokemon from the Unova region, the location for Pokemon Black & White.  That gave us new Pokemon to catch though, as I mentioned, there is now something of a Pokemon density problem.  And then there is the special task where I need to catch 50 steel or psychic Pokemon.  They are also scarce on the ground for me.

Level: 37 (+0)
Pokedex status: 444 (+6) caught, 467 (+6) seen
Pokemon I want:  Casting my net for Unova starter Pokemon
Current buddy: Lickitung

World of Warcraft

I did, in fact, log into retail WoW more than once this month.  I ran through a few things in Darkmoon Faire, as is my habit.  However, WoW Classic dominated my time.  They had a pet battle bonus XP week and I didn’t even log in for that.  I never miss out on pet battle bonus XP!

WoW Classic

Pretty much the main focus of my gaming for the month, and by a significant margin.  Just look at those ManicTime numbers.  Maybe 5% of that is WoW and the rest is WoW Classic.  I am not sure I have much to add here that I haven’t already posted about.

Coming Up

I hope you’re not sick of WoW Classic yet, because more posts about WoW Classic seem pretty damn likely.

BlizzCon is also approaching, going live on Friday, November 1st, which means the Blizzard speculation season has officially begun.  We have a month to read the tea leaves, decipher hints, and otherwise wonder at what will be revealed.  Expect a post about that soon.

We also have the last official CCP supported EVE Vegas towards the end of the month.  Basically the weekend before BlizzCon.  After this they will be holding it in San Diego.  I have my own conspiracy theory about that.  But I will be at EVE Vegas to help send it off.

Inside EVE Online the Chaos Era continues I guess.  Not content to stick Triglavian incursions in career agent systems, or between the starter systems and career agent systems, CCP decided to drop one on a starter system.  There is some chaos.  Do you wonder why I doubt they can improve new player retention?

We are also getting towards the time when Daybreak reveals information about the upcoming expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  And The EverQuest Show went to Daybreak HQ to film some interviews and promises a big episode based on that some time in October.

And then the LOTRO expansion, Minas Morgul, is supposed to go live at the end of the month as well.  I will have to see if I have enough LOTRO points to add that to my collection.  I doubt I will play it, but I might as well own it.

June in Review

The Site

I was excited momentarily when I saw another WordPress.com blog had a switch on their side bar that allowed you to turn on and off “night mode” on your blog.  This mode makes your blog dark, which solves the war between those who want black text on a white background and white text on a black background.

The magic switch

On seeing that I immediately started looking up how to add that to TAGN.  And I found out how.  It is a plugin, and to be able to add plugins you need to have a business level account with WP.com, which runs past $300 a year.  Given that is over 10x what I pay today (I have a no longer available “No Ads and CSS editing” plan for $30 a year), night mode won’t be here any time soon.  I just don’t care about you, the reader, that much.  Sorry.

I did also see that WP.com had re-arranged their plans yet again.  I hadn’t gotten a note about that, but the range now includes some more reasonably priced options.

The June 2019 personal plans

The Blogger plan is only slightly more than what I pay now, so I might be tempted by that for the other site, if only to remove ads.  The Premium plan would even be within my means for this site, if I had any use for most of the features.  Therein lies the problem.  I don’t even want a custom domain name.  After more than a dozen years as tagn.wordpress.com, why would I want to mess with that.  All I really want is ads removed and enough storage space for my many screen shots.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com pushed a new version of their mobile app last week that not only shows less information, but insists on showing stats based on the time zone you happen to be in as opposed to the time zone to blog is set to.  My attempts to engage with WP.com have been met with the usual blank looks and unhelpful replies.  This does not make me want to give them more money.

On another front, I got sick of the Blog Roll Feed in the side bar failing to load.  It was always a bit problematic, but of late it seemed to be failing to load almost all the time.  So I dug into my Rube Golberg setup and found a problem that should have prevented it from loading ever.

This comes up more often in software than you might hope in software.

Anyway, I redid how everything connects and it seems to be much more reliable now.  So op success for what is now v.7 of the sidebar feed.  It isn’t bullet proof… it is still a hack… but it shows data now more often than it did previously.

One Year Ago

I was done with DragonVale.

Blizzard picked the version of the game that would become WoW Classic.  Version 1.12 would be the destination for nostalgia.

With Pokemon moving on to other platforms, it was clear that the Nintendo DS/3DS/2DS platform was on its way out.

In New Eden it was time for the CSM13 election.  Surprise!  Null sec candidates won most of the seats yet again. #NoCollusion

Running Abyssal pockets seemed to be all the rage.  The Federation Grand Prix, on the other hand, was something of a disappointment… unless you were selling shuttles I suppose.

I was also time for the great outpost conversion, where all those stations dropped in null sec over the years were converted to faction Fortizars.

We were also wondering what EVE: Project Galaxy was.  I guess we still are, since it hasn’t shipped yet.

Somebody said something dumb about PvP in EVE Online, then went on to get banned.

Star Citizen was roundly trolled for rolling out a ship that looked a lot like an EVE Online ship, and they took that trolling badly.  It happened to be the same ship that we used for a race.

I also went on a main fleet op, which is something I do every so often to remind myself why I do not go on main fleet ops.

And then there was the return of the Mystery Code in EVE Online.  There was a lot of stuff going on at CCP.

And it was a year ago that Steam announced that they weren’t going to judge games, they were just going to let everything onto their service… unless they considered it “trolling,” which sounds like a judgement to me… or if it was on the version of their service in China.  The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China pretty much demands curation of all aspects of life.

But the Steam Summer Sale was on, so who really cared about all that?

I wrote something like a review of the game Vietnam 65.

Daybreak gave us all another free character boost in EverQuest II.

I did a summer reruns post about 80s video games.

Finally I did a Friday Bullet Points post that included Star Citizen, Diablo IV, Apple killing support for OpenGL, the pending Aquatic Update for Minecraft, free video games for Amazon Prime subscribers, and perhaps my last Pokemon download even post ever.

Five Years Ago

I toasted the Newbie Blogger Initiative class of 2014.  Long may they post… those that remain in any case.

WildStar launched… and started its journey to F2P and eventual closure.

SOE finally broke its ties with the ill-fated and ill-conceived ProSiebenSat.1 deal.

Derek Smart was telling us why to charge for beta.  Lord British was getting serious with virtual real estate.  Meanwhile, DC Universe Online was doing well on the PlayStation.

It was summer and the short lived strategy group was looking to the Steam Summer Sale for a new game.  Meanwhile we were still playing our epic game of Civilization V.

We heard about how CCP handled/mishandled World of Darkness.

CCP launched the last of its expansions with a six month lead-time.  Kronos was the end of the line for twice yearly expansions.  I set off on the training plan to be a wing/fleet booster in EVE Online.

I also did a summer reruns post about the Fountain War in EVE Online.

In Azereoth, my attempt at the Loremaster achievement had me in Darkshore and then on to Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains .

Meanwhile the Warlords of Draenor alpha was starting, so I had to avert my eyes.  So I started pondering things like how Blizzard should change the starter edition of WoW.

The instance group, heading towards its regular summer hiatus, was hitting the Mogu-shan Palace.

I took a look at a long history of gear obsession.

And I was wondering if authenticators were still a thing.

Ten Years Ago

People were upset about Blizzard not including LAN play in StarCraft II.  It looks like Blizzard stuck to that plan company-wide, as every game since has been always online.

The NeuroSky MindSet was released, but I still cannot cast fireballs in WoW using only my brain.

Then there was that Wii Bowling Ball controller.  Seemed more like a lawsuit magnet.

There was a new definition of hard core gamers.

I was complaining about the local newspaper being made up of 8 pieces of paper.  I have since stopped getting the daily paper.  We still get the Sunday paper however.

There was an attempt to get Age of Empires II: Age of Kings going while people in the instance group were on vacation.  We did end up getting connected via a service called Game Ranger.  Now you can play it live on Steam.

The in-game map in EVE Online was showing me where I had been and where all my stuff was.  Pretty neat.  CCP added a new map since, but they had to leave the old one in because the replacement still hasn’t achieved feature parity.

And then there was World of Warcraft.  They changed when you got mounts in the game allowing people to (literally and figuratively) fly through The Burning Crusade.  There was that whole WoW/Mountain Dew cross promotion which, if nothing else, got me another in-game pet.  I spent all my gold on the artisan flying skill, and then they lowered the price with the mount changes.  I got the achievement The Explorer, but that didn’t mean I was necessarily an achiever.  And I bought an authenticator.  Viva account security.

And then there was the Midsummer Fire Festival.

The instance group was deep into Wrath of the Lich King.  We did Ahn’kahet: the Old Kingdom and Drak’Tharon Keep when we were all available.  When not we went back to TBC and did some heroics with four of us just for kicks.

And then there was FarmVille, a Facebook game that had our attention for a brief moment.  It went live ten years ago.  It won awards and faced criticism from a range of sources.  Even Martha Stewart was on Zynga’s case for a bit.  And, of course, it set the standard for spammy, cash hungry crap games on social media.

Twenty Years Ago

The Half-Life mod called Counter-Strike had its first public beta release.  Valve hired the two people who developer the mod, acquiring the code and name as well, and it was developed into the stand-alone title Counter-Strike.

Thirty-five Years Ago

The first version of Tetris was released.  It might have made an appearance on more platforms than any other commercial title, and variations on it are still appearing.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. Is New Player Retention Fixable in EVE Online
  6. Drifters Hitting Null Sec Upwell Structures
  7. Three Problems MMORPGs are Never Going to Solve
  8. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  9. That EVE Online Starter Pack Controversy
  10. WoW Classic Stress Test Redux
  11. The Alleged Purity of Leveling
  12. Failed Headshot in Tribute

Search Terms of the Month

best way to raid with mouse/keyboard in eq2
[Can you even do so without mouse/keyboard?]

redeeming starter pack eve online
[There wasn’t much redeeming about it]

wow classic support 32 bit?
[A big negative on that]

Game Time from ManicTime

Overall time was down by 30% this month.  I must have been doing other things, like writing blog posts about everything that happened last week.  WoW also seemed to be down, though I’ll get to why in that section.

  • EVE Online 40.10%
  • WoW 27.47%
  • RimWorld 21.79%
  • Civilization V 6.16%
  • Minecraft 3.99%
  • LOTRO 0.50%

EVE Online

There was quite a lot going on in New Eden in June, what with EVE North, CSM14 elections, selling skill points, and the war in Tribute and Vale, I had lots to write about.  And then the Drifters started hitting our structures, future war plans were suspended, and we all went back to Delve to PvE.  Oh well.  The 64-bit client seems to work though.  I used that all month.

Lord of the Rings Online

I did, in fact, play a bit of LOTRO this month.  I wanted to grab the 64-bit client, which didn’t take too long, relatively speaking.  LOTRO updates always take longer than they should because the patcher is archaic.  But I managed it.  Then I logged in and was in Bree and had to remember how to get back to Moria.  And then Mirkwood opened up a few days later on the Legendary server and my interest waned completely.

Minecraft

I ran out of steam somewhat when it came to the Village and Pillage update.  I found villages, improved them, fought pillagers, did a bunch more exploring, and then came to the usual “now what?” part of the game, at which point I tend to stop logging in so much.  We’ll see if the bug hits again.

Pokemon Go

I had a pretty good month with Pokemon Go.  I didn’t level up, but I got some break throughs, such that there is a blog post in progress on this, that would have gone last week… but last week managed to fill itself up.  So I’ll get to that.  Otherwise, the usual stats:

Level: 36 (+0)
Pokedex status: 425 (+6) caught, 453 (+6) seen
Pokemon I want: Togekiss
Current buddy: Prinplup

RimWorld

As Minecraft faded, RimWorld came back into the picture.  Both are games you can sit and play while listening to podcasts or audio books, which I find relaxing.  Having won the original scenario a couple of times, I wanted to do the next more difficult scenario.  You start with five colonists and almost no technology.  That led to a some restarts as all my colonists died again and again.  But I got past that finally.  There is a blog post in the works as to where that led.

World of Warcraft

What with the war in EVE Online and not much new happening in Azeroth, WoW time slid quite a bit.  The percentage shown even includes the WoW Classic load test, since the final WoW Classic client registers with ManicTime as the same as the live client.

Actually, something big did happen.  We got the 8.2 update and more content and the chance to unlock flying.  Due to EVE Online, I haven’t even started on any of that.

Steam Summer Sale

Despite my guess last  week, the Steam Summer Sale is not the same old thing.  No, they have some new ideas, and some old ones, and they have had odd results.  First, you have to choose a team and nearly everybody decided to go with Team Corgi because corgis are cute.  So Team Corgi wins a lot.  I went with Team Tortise, which won a day after Valve gave us a way to sabotage other teams effectively and everybody hit Team Corgi.

Then there was the chance to win something from your wish list.  They did this years back, and it got people to add games to their wish list.  Now we all have so much crap on our lists that Valve threatening to give us a random game from it for free triggered a mass wish list purge, much to the horror of devs, who get stats on that.  That was amended so that you will now win the first game on your wish list, so you don’t have to banish all the five dollar indy crap from your sight.  I did so anyway, paring my wish list from 71 to 11 games.

Finally, to earn points and such in the event you have to buy games (duh), play some specific games and complete special tasks within them, or play a game that has Steam achievements.  I did the latter, which is how Civilization V made it onto my ManicTime list this month.   I would have just played RimWorld, but it does not have Steam achievements.  Oh well.

Coming Up

We have another week or so to run with the Steam Summer Sale, so we shall see if I end up buying anything.  My daughter is pestering me about a couple of titles.

In World of Warcraft I have the whole Rise of Azshara update to explore.  With almost two months to go before WoW Classic I should have enough time to unlock flying.

With null sec wars in EVE Online called off on account of CCP, there will likely be a return to SIGs and Squads being the place to actually play the game.  We’ll see what CCP has planned for this Drifter invasion, but it isn’t making people in null sec happy.  The Drifters aren’t actually killing structures and don’t even drop loot.  They are just a plague sent to afflict us.  We’ll survive, but there had better be a point to this.

And, otherwise, it is July.  People used to say August was the dead month for video games, but then Blizz started launching things in August, so now July is it I guess.

SuperData Sees Overwatch Appear and Fortnite Hang On

It is the last weekday of the month and I am finally getting to the SuperData chart.  It is one of those posts that isn’t time sensitive, so long as I get it in during the month the chart drops, but there hasn’t been a lot of room for extra posts this week.  I had four posts on Tuesday.  I never do four posts in a single day.

Anyway, my digression aside, they dropped their chart for May so let’s take a look.

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2019

On the PC side of the chart the top five remain in place.  “LDFCF” was the ordering last month as well.

After that bloc, we have Total War: Three Kingdoms, the latest entry in the Total War series.  That launched near the end of the month, but saw enough sales… mostly on Steam I would guess… to make it up to sixth place.

That pushed World of Tanks and The Division 2 both down one spot, to seventh and eighth places respectively.

While World of Warcraft remains absent, and Hearthstone‘s fling in April was cut short, May saw Overwatch pop up into ninth place.  I do not pay enough attention to Overwatch to be able to explain why.

Finally, there was DOTA 2, one of the titles perennially fighting for that last spot.

In the center, Fortnite returned to the top of the console chart, displacing Mortal Kombat 11, which fell to third place.  The FIFA, MLB, and NBA titles held on, while Grand Theft Auto V returned to the top ten after dropping off for the first time in ages back in April.

And in mobile, Honour of Kings remained securely on top with Perfect World staying in second.  Candy Crush Saga popped up to third place and Pokemon Go remained in seventh.

SuperData also posted a chart to Twitter indicating that, year over year, digital spending was down in May.

May 2018 vs 2019

And, if you want to know where battle royale players spend their money, they posted a chart about that too.

For comparison, NPD also has their top ten revenue chart out for May as well.  Their list is:

  1. Mortal Kombat 11
  2. Days Gone
  3. Total War: Three Kingdoms
  4. Rage 2*
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  7. Red Dead Redemption II
  8. MLB 19: The Show
  9. Minecraft
  10. NBA 2K19

*No digital data

As usual, the NPD data covers both physical sales as well as some digital numbers from participating publishers, and only covers the US.

There is, as expect, much overlap despite the different data sets.  The most interesting item on the list for me is Minecraft.  It is one of the best selling games ever, but never cracks the SuperData chart because I am sure Mojang/Microsoft simply don’t share that data.  But something got it on the NPD chart.  I am just not sure what.

For EEDAR’s social media impressions League of Legends returned to the top, followed by usual suspects of Fortnie, Grand Theft Auto V, DOTA 2 and CS:GO. Hearthstone was on the list last month, supplanting DOTA 2,

Finally, the notes from the SuperData post for May:

  • Worldwide digital game spending dips on every platform. Consumers spent $8.7 billion digitally on games across console, PC and mobile in May, down 4% from the same month last year. This was driven by a 6% decline in Mobile, which continues to be a larger contributor than console and PC combined. The drop off in Fortnite also continues to drag both console and PC.
  • Fortnite gets a boost from Season 9 but is still far off from its peak. Fortnite made $203 million across console, PC and mobile, up significantly from April but down 38% from May 2018. Console continues to contribute the largest share of players and revenue.
  • FIFA Ultimate Team revenue declines year-over-year. We estimate that FIFA in-game spending generated $93 million across console and PC in May, down from the same month last year, partly due to a tough comparison against the initial strength of the World Cup mode last May. However, we note that World Cup performance weakened over time and will likely lead to more favorable comparisons in the coming months.
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms breaks one million units at launch. Sega’s latest strategy game led the top rankings on PC this month with $62 million in digital revenue.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds quietly continues to sell millions of units. We estimate that PUBG has sold 4.7 million digital units across PC and console year-to-date through May, maintaining its position as one of the best selling shooter titles on any platform despite losing much of the spotlight to EA’s Apex Legends and Fortnite.

May in Review

The Site

The blog got a bit of an honor this month when it made the IBuyPower Top 60 MMO Blogs list.  There is even a badge for it.

I made the cut

I think 60 is an odd number though and, in glancing at the other entries, it is a bit of an odd list.  There are a lot of recognizable sites in there, though a number of them had shut down or have been quiet or don’t focus on just MMOs or have eschewed the whole MMO thing for some time.

And in looking at it you might think that somebody just used Google to quickly assemble the list.  However, the descriptions associated with the entries are detailed enough that clearly the person who made the list had some insight into each one.

And then there is the value of the list.  SynCaine dropped me a note congratulating me on making the cut before I got the official email and he had to send me a direct link because I couldn’t find it on the IBuyPower.com web site or blog or via Google search.

It is, apparently, a secret list.  Maybe I shouldn’t even be sharing this with you.

Anyway, my usual cynical world view aside, I should be happy to see that somebody still reads the site.  And I would say something nice about their products and pricing, except that I am in the “build my own gaming PC” camp, as posts from just last year would indicate.  You can see why my wife complains about me not being able to just say “Thank you” and stop at that.

In other site related news, I found that Goodreads provides an RSS feed of your book updates, so that is now way down at the bottom of what is now my probably too long by half side bar.  So if you’re dying to know what I am reading, there it is.  The only downside is that position on the list is only by last updated, which happens both when I start or finish a book. (I never give progress along the way.)  Given that I do, at times, have multiple books going, the ordering of the list can be… deceptive maybe?  Perhaps I am the only one that cares about that.

One Year Ago

My other blog turned ten years old, so I did a retrospective… here… since my other blog is a picture blog.

There was the big rumor post about plans at Daybreak that included winding down EverQuest and EverQuest II in favor of a new EverQuest game.  While some items on the list did come to pass ( Just Survive did not and PlanetSide Arena is effectively PlanetSide 3), the old school preservationist faction won out in Norrath and it looks like we’ll be getting expansions for some years to come.  Meanwhile, they were also giving out level 100 character boost in EQII again.

While I was on a WoW break of sorts, Blizzard seemed to be doing well enough in the financial report for Q1 2018.  Of course, they were feeding us tidbits to keep us interested while we waited for Battle for Azeroth, with pre-orders available since January.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, an RTS from the turn of the century, was still getting expansions.  You cannot keep a good game down.

I objected to a silly post about making the MMO genre “more accessible.”  It was all either blindingly obvious or too specific to be practical as a general rule.

I was still mucking about in Rift Prime, having made it into Scarlet Gorge, though it felt like something was missing.

Microsoft was planning to discontinue support for Minecraft on some older consoles after the Aquatic Update was released.

On the Kickstarter front the was big success for the Empires of EVE Vol. II campaign and a huge flop for the ill advised Flower of Knighthood campaign.

CCP was celebrating the 15th anniversary of EVE Online and I was going on about the importance of all the tales that make up the ongoing story of the game.

I was over on the test server trying out the upcoming Abyssal Space content, which I likened to dungeons.  Why not?  CCP calls things dungeons in their patch notes.

At the end of the month we got the Into the Abyss expansion for EVE Online and people were losing ships to Triglavians almost immediately.

That was preceded by what I called the great third part apocalypse as CCP shut down the old API interface, killing any number of third party applications that depended on it.  I was also on about their New Eden Store scarcity policy.

We got an update on when the elections for CSM13 would be held, while with the MER I was wondering if anybody would challenged the might of the Delve economy.

And then, actually in game, we were still running ops against GotG in the north, exchanging citadel kills and chasing after them into Venal and mounting some ops from there before returning to Pure Blind.

Five Years Ago

EA killed off Mythic Entertainment.  They had already handed over Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot to Broadsword, so what was left in any case?

The news about post-Kickstarter Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen continued to be off-putting.

I got another seven day trial in Landmark.

The strategy group started in on our BIG map campaign in Civilization V.

Nintendo announced Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were coming in November. They also closed down the WiFi game services for the Nintendo DS and Wii, which led EA to shut down the server support for 50 games a month later.  Most of them were DS and Wii related, but EA used the opportunity to kill off some PC game support as well.

Nintendo also launched Mario Kart 8, one of the few bright spots on the otherwise disappointing Wii U.  Soon the Luigi death stare was everywhere.

In EverQuest the Fippy Darkpaw progression server wrapped up the Seeds of Destruction expansion.

In EVE Online I was wondering about the prospects for a summer war.  Everybody just assumed that there would be one, though in null sec the various empires seemed to be settling in and consolidating.  Sure, there was the trap at Daras… another on the list of reasons we shy away from low sec… the run down to Placid for a kill, and that op down in Syndicate (my post on which stirred up some sour grapes about day one players) but otherwise things were quiet.  That left plenty of time to go find my name on the monument.

As EVE Online turned eleven I was wondering if the alleged ‘learning cliff’ was still the biggest issue facing EVE Online.

Meanwhile CCP announced they were getting off the twice a year, huge update release pattern in order to have releases… named releases for a while… every month.  This led into a post about the pacing of content delivery.

In World of Warcraft the Timeless Isle was still a thing.  The Warlords of Draenor expansion was still over the horizon and subscriptions were down to 7.6 million under the weight of wait.  That seemed like a big drop until Warlords of Draenor fell to 5 million two years later.   Meanwhile, our group was slowing down a bit even as we started in on dungeons in Pandaria.

In attempt to make plans for another summer hiatus, I gave Star Wars: The Old Republic a try, going through the Sith starting area.

And then there was the kick off of the 2014 Newbie Blogger Initiative.

Ten Years Ago

I was able to expose the true conspiracy behind the EuroGamer Darkfall review.  Powerful forces have been suppressing this story ever since.

EA lost a billion dollars.  This came after the CEO announced that recessions were good because they eliminate competitors.  They can also eliminate bad execs.

Meanwhile, EverQuest was celebrating its 10 year anniversary by putting up a new server.  Polled on what it should be, people chose the 51/50 rule set.  I’m sure that, somehow, that says something about MMOs and nostalgia.  I cannot recall how that server even played out at this point.

I went back and played some Blizzard classics, Diablo II and StarCraft, both of which have patches now that mean you do not need the CD to play.  This was prompted by Blizzard’s pushing people towards Battle.net and the announcement of the opt-in for the StarCraft II beta.  I opted in right away.  I hear that some people got in to the beta almost a year later. *cough*

In New Eden, it was new ship time, as I picked up both an Orca and a Buzzard.  I also managed to lose my Cerebus.   Oops.

And speaking of EVE Online, I announced my one year experiment, EVE Online Pictures.  That site is now eleven years old.

CCP put a new boxed version of EVE Online on store shelves.  I bought a copy and made a fabulous new character.

In World of Warcraft the instance group was moving along slowly.  We did hit Azjol Nerub, but vacations and such kept us down to four people, so we spent a bit of time back in Burning Crusade doing heroics and generally messing around.  That included our run into Ogrimmar to do Ragefire Chasm.

I also messed around with the Noblegarden holiday.  I actually got all the achievements for that.  However, Children’s Week was another story.

Playboy’s “Massively Casual Online Game” Playboy Manager was announced.  The game was supposed to launch in the summer of 2009 according to the press release.

And then there was a little game called Minecraft that was first made available in early access back in May 2009.  Recent estimates put it as possibly the best selling game of all time.

Fifteen Years Ago

Nintendo announces a new console code named Revolution to follow from the GameCubeRevolution would latter be given the official name Wii.

Twenty Years Ago

Nintendo starts talking about Project Dolphin, the console to follow the Nintendo 64.  This would eventually become the GameCube.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. EVE Online Gets Daily Login Rewards Starting with Free Skill Points
  6. Body Blow to Blizzard Margins
  7. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  8. Who Gets Banned for Botting in New Eden?
  9. Was Cataclysm a Required Prerequisite for WoW Classic?
  10. Farewell to MMO Fallout
  11. Quote of the Day – Goblin Gets His Due
  12. Daybreak Rumor Review

Search Terms of the Month

daybreak lifetime membership refund
[Buyer’s remorse already?]

ccp mittani collusion
[#NoCollution]

does candy crush go on forever
[Yes, yes it does]

things that need fixing in tilligerry peninsula
[‘struth!]

Game Time from ManicTime

A couple more games on the list this month.  EverQuest  got no play in May, so I guess my 20th anniversary nostalgia is done.  Still lots of WoW played, but it wasn’t as dominant as it was in April.  Total hours played was actually up as well.

  • World of Warcraft 45.77%
  • Minecraft 26.08%
  • EVE Online 24.33%
  • WoW Classic 3.32%
  • EverQuest II 0.28%
  • Lord of the Rings Online 0.23%

EVE Online

War were declared, and we moved up and out of Delve to the boarder of Tribute.  I’ve been on a few ops, so my total for the month will likely end up higher than a month without a war, but I still had more fun dropping with Black Ops on things.  Plus the war is crowded… like WoW Classic crowded… a topic which I will get to next week.

EverQuest II

I actually meant to play some EQII this month.  One thing I did in March was move to a bigger house in Halas, leaving behind the base model apartment for much larger digs, because I was just running out of space to display all the junk I have collected in the game over the years.  However, the Minecraft update came along and that pretty much ate up my decorating play time.

Lord of the Rings Online

I logged in to make sure I got the anniversary gifts on at least one character.  I appear to have fallen off the wagon for LOTRO Legendary somewhere in Moria.  That might be the end of that because, while I was keen to get into Moria, getting into Mirkwood doesn’t motivate me at all.

Minecraft

I have carried on with the Village and Pillage update for Minecraft.  I haven’t actually found a panda yet, but I have spent a lot of time with villagers and met the pillagers… which got me back to fortifying villages.  A wall around your village keeps your villagers safer… unless they find a way to get out, in which case they will wander straight into death.

Pokemon Go

The leveling up process carries on ever so slowly.  I am about a third of the way to level 37, though I will admit I haven’t been optimizing for gaining xp.  It is possible to burst xp for a short bit, but the increments start to look small when lined up against the 2 million needed to level up.  Oh well.

Level: 36 (+0)
Pokedex status: 419 (+9) caught, 447 (+6) seen
Pokemon I want: Meltan, but I still have to catch a damn Aerodactyl to get one
Current buddy: Luxio

World of Warcraft

Given how much WoW I played over the course of the month I feel like I should have more to say about it.  I did a lot of pet battles and world quests.  I started on another character in Kul Tiras… or carried on with one I started previously.

WoW Classic

WoW Classic is such a different game from current WoW that I expect it deserves its own listing, seeing that it gets its own time tracking category as well.  This month it was just the two stress tests, which was enough to whet my appetite for the August launch.

Also, it was kind of a big month for WoW Classic.  It ended up getting five posts here in May.

A lot of coverage… for me… for something that isn’t live yet.  I’m not even in the beta.

Coming Up

In EVE Online the war in Tribute will continue on, perhaps spreading to other regions.

The CSM14 elections will also go live come the 10th, with results to be announced at EVE North (is Toronto “north” enough when compared to Iceland or Leningrad St. Petersburg?) by the end of the month.

Maybe we will get that 8.2 patch for World of Warcraft by the end of the month.

Since summer will be arriving, it seems likely that there will be a Steam summer sale.  I haven’t actually logged into Steam this month.

Oh, and as I mentioned yesterday, summer FML time.  Now I’ll be blathering about movies once a week yet again.

Finding the Pillagers

I mentioned at the end of the last Minecraft post, where I was searching for freshly generated villages, that there was something interesting on the map I rendered with Minecraft Overviewer.

What I saw was a tower.

From the map

Naturally I was keen to run out and check out that tower in person, unconcerned about what function the tower might serve.  So I got on my horse and rode out to see what I could see.

As I got within sight of the tower I noticed that there were a few pillagers in the way.  I had seen pillagers wandering about already, so this was nothing new.  I had slain some before, avoided others.  Just another hostile mob.

I dismounted and left the horse to wander… we’ll get to that… to go pick off the pillagers.

The tower is just over yonder, a pillager band in between

I stormed in and started killing off the pillagers only to find more arriving.  I ran towards the tower when things started to get a little overwhelming, finding even more pillagers as I got closer.

I ran in one of the openings in the base of the tower and quickly filled it up with some cobble stone to keep the pillagers out.  The I ran to the far side and did the same to the other opening, then filled in the window opening along the other two sides of the base to stop the crossbow wielding pillagers from shooting me.

I used to be an adventurer like you…

So for the moment I was safe, but I seemed to be in deep with the pillagers.  It was about then that I went to the wiki to see what might be up with this tower only to find that it was a Pillager Outpost, literally the place where pillagers spawn.

I went up through the tower, checking out each level.  There was a chest up at the top with a few items in it, but not much else.  Night was also falling, so I went to one of the lower levels that was enclosed… exposing yourself only draws more arrows from the pillagers… and built myself a bed.

However, it was already night and there were already zombies and skeletons spawning around the place, so I spent the night awake and sniping at the pillagers.  Come the morning I was still firing away at pillagers whose numbers seemed to replenish and remain above my ability to run out and solo.

And they all had eyes for me

In my inventory I have a stack of a dozen units of TNT.  I considered how best to use this to cover my escape.  I leaned out the second floor and placed some above where the pillagers were congregating, then some more lower down, and one right in the center where the door was.  I then hit one of them with a fire arrow to detonate them while opening up a hole on the other side of the building through which to make my escape.

I did seem to have thinned out their ranks as I ran to where I left my horse.  However, try to form, it had wandered off beyond line of sight.  Meanwhile, the remaining hostile pillagers were giving chase, so I headed back north to the village, turning to fight… or to drop a block of TNT to detonate amongst them… every so often.

The pillagers are persistent and would not give up the chase, but I was able to knock off the last of them by the time I got back to the village.  However, on entering the village I learned about the bad omen curse.

When you kill the pillager captains, the guys with the banners, you get the bad omen and as soon as you walk into a village it triggers a raid.  The bad omen effect stacks, and the more you have the more waves you get in your raid.

So it was a further fight, during which most of my villagers were wiped out.  Pillages go straight for them if they can.  They also open normal doors, so just being inside is no safety.  That also introduced me to the ravager, the pillage beast/mount, which has a lot of hit points and hits like a truck.  Fortunately it is too big to fit through a single door, so I was able to find a spot from which to fire away at the one that spawned during one of the raid waves.

Eventually I prevailed, though I was close to death a few times… and, as I said, most of my villagers died.  But I got the achievement for defeating a raid.

Hero of the Village also gets you a discount on buying items from villagers and makes giving them things to increase their level more effective.  This would have been useful had I had many villagers left.

Meanwhile, there were still pillagers lurking about on the route to the pillager camp, though no captains, so I could knock them down without having another raid hit.

Pillager lurking by my village – Also, Hero of the Village effect icon at upper right

That done I headed back to find my damn horse.  I found him up the hill overlooking the pillager camp.

The horse could pretty much see me the whole time

From up there I could also move around to get a look into how much damage I had done.

The tower after my first run

I blew a pretty big chunk out of the side of the tower, and a tree that was there, against which I had placed some of the TNT, had gone completely missing.  But I saw that at least one block of TNT remained.  That seemed like an invite to return.  So I went back in, placed the last of my TNT at various points around the tower, all while avoiding pillagers who began to chase me yet again, and started blowing things up.  Releasing the iron golem they had caged up helped some, as they fought with him for a while.

Then I set the tower on fire, just for good measure before running off again.  Again, a bunch of pillagers were following me.

Not happy with me

I managed to kill off the followers and avoid the captains, leading them into the ocean and out swimming them.  No bad omen this time.

Then it was back to the village to start fortifying it against pillagers, first by building a wall around it.  I also found a few of the pillager banners in my inventory from my fights.

Banners of my defeated foes

I decided to hang some of those up on my defensive structures.

Fortifying my village

Later, I went and rendered a fresh copy of the map to see what was left of the tower.

Tower after the TNT and burning

There are still two blocks of unexploded TNT around the tower, so I might have to go back.  We’ll see if pillagers stop spawning there if I tear the whole thing down.