Category Archives: Minecraft

Coming Aquatic Update to be the Last for Some Minecraft Platforms

Microsoft subsidiary Mojang has been working on a big update for classic Minecraft, now dubbed Minecraft Java Edition.  The Aquatic Update will bring a host of sea life features to the game when it goes live.

I am looking forward to the update, which will bring dolphins, turtles, coral, and a bunch of other changes to Minecraft.

Dolphins are coming!

Mojang has said that all platforms will be getting this update, but for some it will be the last update they get as the company drops support.

Players on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and the Vita will not see any future updates, those platforms reportedly representing less than 5% of the active Minecraft player base.

Mincecraft: Java Edition, or classic Minecraft, makes the cut this time and will continue to be supported.

I’ve been a bit worried about old school Java-based Minecraft since the Windows 10 edition of the game was announced.  The Java Edition is the most open and mod-friendly part of Minecraft, but it is developed on its own code base and doesn’t have a cash shop attached to it the way the other editions do.  The extra work and lack of extra revenue stream has made me wonder how long it will be around, to the point of predicting that end of support for it will be announced this year.

This time around though it has dodged the bullet.  I don’t want to be right on this prediction, but we know how loudly the cash shops speaks.  We’ll see how long it lasts.

March in Review

The Site

Probably the most annoying thing for me has been the unreliability of the blog roll feed side bar widget.  It has been broken more often this past month than any previous time I can recall.  There are times when it just fails to get the RSS feed and shows an error, but this time around there were problems with Pinboard which had some internal issues that caused it to fail to generate the RSS feed at all and, then, when that was fixed, remained stubbornly resistant to tagging posts based on which Feedly feed they came from, which meant the RSS feeds were there but were not getting new items.

This is what I get for using a Rube Goldberg setup that requires at least four services to work correctly and consistently. (And it isn’t always clear which one is to blame.  Sometimes WP.com just times out getting the feed.)

It got to a point where I added a status widget to comment on what was up.  I don’t know if anybody actually noticed that.  The side bar of the blog isn’t a very often used feature.  I can see that some people click on items from the feed when it is working.  However, I suspect I am the biggest user of the feature. (My clicks don’t get counted in my own stats.)

Meanwhile, WP.com has given me a new metric so I am going to use it quarterly to give myself some new data point to post about.

TAGN – Q1 2018

Of course, because I took that screen shot for this post before it went live, this post isn’t counted.  Add one more post and another 2,300 words or so and you’ll be set. (That puts my average words per post back above 1,000.)  Or maybe I’ll update that screen shot after this goes live.  It takes a day for it to update though, and I’ll probably forget by then.

Anyway, I seem to be on track for 336 posts and 330K words this year.

One Year Ago

EverQuest turned eighteen.  Now an adult, it still lives in Daybreak’s basement and grumbles about how it used to be the center of attention before all these younger siblings showed up.

Blizzard officially announced that StarCraft, even older than EverQuest, was getting a remaster.  We suspected it was going to happen, but it was nice to get the official word.

Flying was unleashed in the Broken Isles with the Tomb of Sargeras update to WoW Legion.

The Nintendo Switch launched.  But I was still playing Pokemon Sun on my 3DS XL, binging on the Alola Pokedex.  Then I had to figure out where the National Pokedex was.  It turns out it is in Pokemon Bank.  I was hoping for a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Disney shut down Club Penguin, hoping to force players onto their new mobile app, Club Penguin Island.  Mobile is always better, right?

In Minecraft, the long road to the forest mansion I found was nearly done.

In EVE Online I took a trip out to Oasa and back.

We got the YC119.3 update that nerfed Rorqual mining a bit and gave us warp bubble decay among other things.  Music was included.  A follow on patch let us see our estimated space wealth.

Blog Banter #80 was on the topic of the CSM, something about which I has opinions!  It was a timely topic as the voting for CSM12 was just kicking off.  In the mean time Gevlon declared that CCP was picking winners… though not CSM winners I guess.

We had a dev blog about refineries coming to New Eden.  Moon mining was going to change and it seemed like the end of the POS was coming at last.  There was also an announcement about changing PLEX, breaking it up into 500 pieces and replacing Aurum with PLEX.  But not that free Aurum they gave you, though they relented on that after some outcry.

I was nostalgic for old ship models in New Eden and talking about the tension between grouping and solo again.

And, finally, we had to say good-bye to our cat Oscar after 17 years.

Five Years Ago

Dave Georgeson of SOE said MMOs should never die. A noble sentiment at the time, it rang a bit hollow just a year and five SOE MMO closure announcements later.  Business is business.

I got a seven day pass to Azeroth from Blizzard.  It was nice.  I had some fun, but I wasn’t ready to go back full time yet.

Meanwhile, Blizzard was saying they were blindsided by the popularity of the auction house in Diablo III.  They were nearly a year late on that revelation.

On a similar theme, EA launched a new version of SimCity, pretty much ignoring the obvious expectations the franchise came with.  I could only wonder if they learned anything from their efforts.

The instance group was doing some Rift content as a four player group.  This was the time of our long hiatus, though we got a full group now and again.  And when it was just the three of us, we ended up playing Neverwinter Nights 2 instead.

In EVE Online we were chasing around Deklein, flying the Tech Fleet doctrine, and bagging a carrier or two.

EON Magazine was closing its doors, marking the end of an era in EVE Online.

EverQuest hit its 14 year anniversary, and there was some talk about the camera view’s influence on the game’s popularity.

I was still playing World of Tanks and had hit the 2,000 battle mark.  I was out there with the KV-3 and the ARL 44.

I finished up all the things in Wayfaerer Foothills, which sort of ended my time in Guild Wars 2.

Then there was the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, which seemed more marketing tool than funding effort, and which hit its number in 11 days.  Still, Lord British felt the need to stir the pot by declaring most game designers suck… and are lazy… and are not as good as him.  Then he claimed he was taken out of context and not just saying things for cheap publicity.  As the month closed, his Kickstarter was wrapping up, but Camelot Unchained was coming.

It was announced that Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was getting updated to run on modern machines with better graphics.  That set me on five other older games that I wished would get a similar revamp, which I think was more useful than just declaring that game developers need to innovate.

Finally, I was looking for input on some actual, real world things.

Ten Years Ago

I was again ruminating about the whole “Why So Much Fantasy in MMORPGs?” thing, this time on the shores of chaos.

We started to see the end of the “Brent hand picks the news” era over at VirginWorlds.  The reign of myself and CrazyKinux was near to an end.

I got a Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond for my birthday!  Then a copy of Pokemon Pearl showed up as well to complete the set.  On Friday’s I was looking for a balloon.

EverQuest celebrated its 9th anniversary.  A very nice time line print of the game was posted over at the EQ Dev blog to celebrate, along with a video.

In Lord of the Rings Online some sites were speculating about future expansions.  And then Turbine announced The Mines of Moria Meanwhile, I was trying to give out some founder’s referrals.  I never gave them all out and, at this point, I don’t think they are a thing anymore.

In World of Warcraftpatch 2.4 was the latest end-of-the-world panic.  I was trying out Alterac Valley trying to get a mount, not reading that I needed to get exalted reputation to buy it.  I was also racing against a boat.  Meanwhile the instance group made it to Shattrath and then hit the Blood Furnace while my wife and her friends were drinking apple-tinis.

In EVE Online I learned that there was a cap of fifty days on production lines.  I was also trying to break up with an R&D agent and fitting out a new Drake.  We got a “log off” button with the Trinity 1.1 patch.

Official forums were the talk again for a bit, as Marc Jacobs said he wasn’t going to have them for Warhammer Online.  No, the Warhammer Herald (to be created in the image of the Camelot Herald) was going to be enough.  Well, we know how that worked out.

It was announced that SOE would be moved in the Sony organization from reporting up through Sony Pictures to reporting in through the PlayStation organization.  There was also the EQ2Flames drama where the forum was uninvited from all future participation in SOE events, at which point the site went all out to burn any remaining bridges with SOE. (From VirginWorlds Podcast #109)

And, finally, ten years ago Gary Gygax left us.  We still miss him because we still feel his influence every day.

Twenty Years Ago

StarCraft hit the shelves 20 years ago today.  As I recall we all went to Fry’s at lunch to buy a copy the day it came out.  You can buy a remastered copy from Blizzard if you want, or download the original for free.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  7. Rift Prime Time
  8. The Road to CSM13
  9. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  10. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  11. Spring Movie League – Wrinkle in the Mix
  12. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More

Search Terms of the Month

top subscription based mmo titles
[Pretty much WoW and FFXIV at this point]

bufn jita
[bufn it good]

portable hole wallpaper
[I have a problem visualizing that]

everquest next landmark emulator
[Oh dear no]

delta force 2 fps
[Maybe you need to upgrade your hardware?]

project gorgon meme
[I am not sure it is popular enough for that]

EVE Online

I was in for some of Burn Jita early in the month and went on ops when I could, however it has been a busy month around our house and the time slot for normal ops, which often require setting aside a couple of hours even for a “quick” op, has kept me from being online much during the back half of March.  Other than that there has been the somewhat tepid start of the run up to the CSM13 election.  I’m not sure CCP thought through the results of the changes they implemented.  It feels like they slowed everything down too much.  You can’t really cover a campaign very well until there is an official list of candidates.

Minecraft

I have logged in a bit now and again.  Minecraft remains excellent for times when I want to listen to a podcast or audio book that requires more mental attention that your typical MMORPG leaves free.  Mining and building in Minecraft leaves enough bandwidth for me to listen to Planet Money or the Arms Control Wonk podcast and not loose track of what is going on.  So work on the long overland rail line to the norther forest mansion continued.  In fact, it is almost done.

Pokemon Go

And, speaking of games that don’t take a lot of mental bandwidth, I managed to get to level 32 in Pokemon Go largely through my persistence in playing for at least enough every day to catch at least one Pokemon and visit at least one Pokestop, giving me the daily and weekly bonus xp.

My current state of affairs:

  • Level: 32 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 294 (+10) caught, 335 (+12) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it remains elusive
  • Current buddy: Pupitar; needs four candies to evolve, but I only get one every 5km

Rift

With Rift Prime I was back into “not Azeroth” again.  And it has been pretty good.  It wasn’t the overwhelming nostalgia wave that hanging around in front of Qeynos killing snakes and kobolds with a mass of other people can bring on… though it is really in Blackburrow or West Karana that I start hitting nostalgia overload… but it was, and remains, good.  As I have said way too many times, the zone Freemarch zone design is very good.

Of course, there have been problems with the server.  And Freemarch is like the Deadmines in WoW, and early slice of good design after which the content can vary wildly in quality.  But for the moment I am on board with it for another month.

World of Warcraft

With the coming of Rift Prime and a busy month something had to give.  Play time in Azeroth was way down.  I did log in just enough to keep progress going on unlocking the last two allied races… I am very close on both… but otherwise I haven’t done much since Darkmoon Faire.  The next Darkmoon Faire will likely seal the deal for my allied race unlocks, at which point it might be time to set WoW aside to wait for the coming Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion events to kick off at some point this summer.

Other Games

I did load up Shroud of the Avatar now that it has officially released, and have been giving it a bit of a test drive.  It is kind of interesting in sort of a built-from-scratch new-yet-retro awkward sort of way.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is April Fools… but it is also Easter.  Will Blizz be up to its usual hi-jinks over a holiday weekend?

We will see if the new quest mechanics in Pokemon Go lead to more play… and more pay… for the game.

For EVE Online Fanfest is coming up on the 12th.  We will see if CCP has anything new to announce.  One thing we should get is the candidate list for the CSM13 election.  And maybe a date for that as well?  Am I asking too much?

At some point in the coming week my 30 days of Patron status is going to expire and I will have to decide if I carry on with Rift Prime or not.

I’ve put in an hour or so into Shroud of the Avatar, but I feel like I could spend more time with it, that it would be worth the effort.  We’ll see if I find the time and inclination.

I might also finish up that rail line in Minecraft.

February in Review

The Site

I do not have much to complain about when it comes to WP.com this month.  Okay, I hate the new comment editor, the way I hate all the new tools they shove at us claiming they are “better” when they are verifiably not, but at least there still a way to use the old one to correct my typos and insert links after the fact because I am too lazy for format HTML on the fly.

Instead I will just take a few lines to bring up followers.  I hit a milestone a while back.

2018 and “1337” is still a funny joke… also, what was I doing up taking that screen shot?

The site continues to get followers.  The count, as of this writing, is 1386.  Followers are a strange metric.  Some of them are clearly in the “if I follow everybody then maybe somebody will follow me back and actually look at my horrible click-bait advertising blog” category.  But not all of them.

As far as I can tell the only use for following another blog is that you then seem the blog in the WordPress.com reader which, I will admit, has improved over the years.  I am not going to dump Feedly for it any time soon, but it has its uses and I want to do a post about it and some of its features at a later date.  But for now, followers continue on.

One Year Ago

Daybreak shut down Landmark less than a year after it officially went “live.”  That’s what extended early access will do to you.

In EVE Online applications to run for CSM12 opened up.  The CSM itself was reduced from 12 members to just 10.  That allowed CCP to potentially fly all members to summits, but also reduced the likelihood of more voices outside of null sec being elected.

Blog Banter #79 explored the benefits and pitfalls of being a long time veteran of New Eden, while CCP posted a nice graph tracking the 25 largest corporations over time.  The graph only had starting numbers, so I provided the ending numbers.

We also got an update that introduced insurance to citadels and kicked off the Guardian’s Gala event.

Actually in game I was blown up by battle Rorquals as well as spending time moving my stuff to a new home system, sitting on a titan, sitting on a Keepstar, survived my first capital op, and dipped my toe into the spectacle that was Burn Jita 2017.  I also had a new favorite EVE Online screen shot.

I wasn’t playing World of Warcraft, but that didn’t stop me from trying to find information about it in Activision Blizzard’s annual financial report.  Good luck there.  I didn’t even bother this year.  Meanwhile, in an unexplained turn, SuperData Research divided WoW into East and West on its monthly Top Ten chart.  I still suspect that was an attempt to make Overwatch look better.

Not only was I not playing WoW, I wasn’t playing any fantasy MMORPGs.  Standing Stone was trying to get me to log into Lord of the Rings Online with the promise of a new mount.

I was confronted by a metaphor for a MMO Kickstarter projects when somebody decided they wanted to make an Apocalypse Now based MMO.

I was still working on the mansion road in Minecraft.  I hit a setback along the way… fell into lava surrounded by creepers… but still made it past the half way point.

And finally, after taking a bit of a break, I was back into Pokemon Sun, working my way towards filling the Alola Pokedex.

Five Years Ago

Raptr sent me a summary of my 2012 gaming.

Google changed how image search worked, causing a precipitous drop in page views.  Google giveth, and Google taketh away… though they have been heavy on the taketh front for the last couple of years.

I wrote of the problem with Bond villains.  And it wasn’t that they failed to drive Jags.  I also looked at the Netflix remake of House of Cards.

RuneScape joined the rare breed of MMOs with an old rules, nostalgia focused server.

I tinkered with Prose with Bros on the iPad.  That was amusing for about two weeks.

In something of a breath of fresh air in an argument dedicated to absolutes and bad analogies, with some game devs equating buying used games with piracy, EA admitted that the used game market wasn’t all bad and that the ability to trade in games might be propping up new game sales.  They still wanted to kill used games like everybody else in the industry, but at least they were attempting a moment of honesty about it.

The MOBA version of Warhammer Online was declared dead before it even left beta.  The good metacritic score for Warhammer Online remained of little value.

A group got together to create an Age of Empires II: Age of Kings expansion called Forgotten Empires.  This was before it was announced that Age of Kings would be updated and brought to Steam.

Blizzard and ArenaNet were both offering deep discounts on their MMOs.  I opted for Guild Wars 2, which had an awkward start for me.

The instance group was still without a quorum and a fantasy title to call its own.  We were playing a bit of World of Tanks, which gets awkward with four.  I also made some short videos about Crushing your VK and a cliff diving BDR GB1.  And I was working on my Soviet heavies as well as the French heavy tree.

In EVE Online we went back to EWN-2U, the scene of my first real epic null sec battle.  But null sec was pretty quiet, so we also spent time just flying in circles.  The Goons did produce a nice guide to EVE Online in the form of a .pdf called Thrilling Internet Spaceship Stories.

I was considering the REAL problem with levels and was wondering why nobody else did in-game music the way Lord of the Rings Online did.

And I answered the magic question, just how many times do you have to sign or initial things when closing escrow on a home refinance?

Ten Years Ago

The month started out with our Pirates of the Burning Sea enthusiasm waning.

The instance group was kicking off its Outlands efforts, after running the required equipment upgrade quests, with Hellfire Ramparts, though first we ran through lower Blackrock Spire and got access to Upper Blackrock Spire.

In EVE Online I lost my Drake to pirates in Rancer.  I wasn’t going to pay any ransom.  And I managed to make a tech II blueprint as I was getting invention going.  I was also wishing for a few things from the game.

Turbine announced that Lord of the Rings Online had extended its agreement with Tolkien Enterprises out until 2014, with an option to go to 2017.  As a lifetime member I applauded this extension.

I went to GDC up in San Francisco and had dinner some members of the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective plus Alan “Brenlo” Crosby, and got pictures to prove it. (I had a beard then… and I have a beard now… this is becoming a winter routine for me.)

My daughter got a Nintendo DS for Valentine’s Day.

We played a little KartRider, which is still never made it to North America.

I defended myself against some slander about me being a dwarf.

I summed up the annual EverQuest Nostalgia Tour.

I decided that there was hope for a real science fiction MMORPG.

And I found out my blog was worth $61,534.86,though I couldn’t figure out how to cash in.  Since then, the value of the site has gone down.  I blame the economy.

Twenty Years Ago

We’re in a dead zone in my personal history where nothing really stands out from 20 years ago. It was probably RTS stuff, StarCraft and Total Annihilation and lots of Civilization II.  I recall having setup a series of custom empires.  And, of course, there was TorilMUD.  But we’re slowly moving into to a time of new titles.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  3. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. SuperData and the Curious Case of the Missing WoW Money
  6. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  7. The Demise of BattleClinic
  8. Trying Out the Guardians Gala Sites
  9. Extra Credits – Why Do Games Cost So Much To Make?
  10. Falling into Battle for Azeroth Mania
  11. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  12. Would EA Be Better if Microsoft Owned Them?

Search Terms of the Month

is candy crush sexual 2018
[Not by any measure I can imagine]

war thunder getting boring
[That was my issue]

sexy star trek character graphic
[Sure, I guess]

star trek online pregnant
[See where sexy gets you]

EVE Online

I played the game, went on a few fleets, blew some things up, but nothing was exciting enough to get me to write a post.  Just the usual friction in null sec.  I got on the killboard for the month and got in my required PAP links.  I did do some of the Guardian’s Gala event, picked up a few SKINs I didn’t have along with a few cerebral accelerators and a ton of fireworks.  But if I had just ratted for the same amount of time I spent doing that I could have bought all of it off the market and had ISK left over. Aryth asked CCP about the payout for effort I and they said they meant to do that.  So there you go.  Otherwise most of my posting about the game was about changes, both those that showed up this month and the ones planned for next month.

Minecraft

I wandered back into Minecraft for a bit to work on the long overland mine cart track to the forest mansion I found.  I finished the road ages ago, but then started working on laying tracks the whole length.  I got bored with that, but came back to it over the last couple of weeks mostly because Minecraft is a good game to play when you want to just work away at something while listening to an audiobook or podcast.  Not a huge endorsement I suppose, but it fit into a niche I needed filled.

Pokemon Go

More Hoenn Pokemon were released into the wild, so we all had new things to catch and evolve.  There was also an event this past Saturday where for a short window you could catch the elusive Dratini.  I totally missed that.  But I would have needed to catch 33 of them in order to get the final evolution, a Dragonite.  Ah well.

  • Level: 31 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 284 (+22) caught, 323 (+22) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it is unlikely I’ll see one again any time soon
  • Current buddy: Doduo, just needs four candies to evolve

World of Warcraft

I have managed to unlock all the world quest options and follower missions for Argus.  I also have both factions there into revered and am on the way to exalted, which will unlock the two remaining allied races for me.

Other Games

Played some more Stellaris, then picked up the expansion, but haven’t played enough since then to have a good feel for how things changed.  I also played a few rounds of Age of Empires II just because.

Coming Up

March looks like it will be a double retro MMO month with Trion launching its Rift Prime server and Daybreak launching yet another EverQuest progression server.  I am still on the fence a bit about Rift.  I suspect that, as with so many things, my memories of playing the game in the past will not line up with the reality of playing it again today.

In WoW… well… I’ll carry on until I am exalted all around in Legion.  But what happens after that is up in the air.

On the Minecraft front the rail line I have been working on is close enough to being done that I’m probably just going to put on an audiobook and finish that up.

In EVE Online we’re getting a bunch of stuff with the March update, the CSM election process promises to kick off,  plus, and you might be hearing it here first, but Burn Jita is returning soon.  Be wary.

And on the blog… we’re having some work done on our house which might get in the way of gaming or writing, so there might be more gaps that usual when it comes to posting if I find there is a couch and a desk stored in front of my computer.

2018 – Predictions for a New Year

Welcome to the new year… not the same as the old year we hope, but how often do we get that wish granted in a way we don’t later regret?

As has become the tradition here over the years, I have laid out a list of predictions for the upcoming year. 11th time’s a charm or something.  A few have some grounding in reality, more are speculation, and the rest are just wild theories I thought sounded plausible when spoken in a calm, neutral tone.

Past runs at this whole prediction thing:

Despite having done my worst job at foreseeing the future last year, I continue on unabated.

The scoring is the same as every year, with each question worth 10 points total unless otherwise noted, with partial credit being possible since my predictions tend to meander and cover multiple points.

1 – Blizzard will ship the Battle for Azeroth expansion for World of Warcraft on August 28th of this year.  10 points if I am right, minus 2 points for each week I am off for a partial credit calculation.

2 – WoW Classic – We will have a lot of details by the end of the year and you’ll be able to sign up for closed beta, but there won’t be a lot of emphasis on it to the disappointment of many.  But Blizzard is canny and won’t want to distract from the Battle for Azeroth launch.  Expect a major WoW Classic panel at BlizzCon with lots of details of things we can expect to try in 2019.

3 – With plans for a real WoW Classic unambiguously in motion, expect Blizzard to serve notice on any emulator hosting enough players to run the Deadmines that legal action will commence if they do not shut down and promise to stay that way.  That was cute and all when Blizz said it couldn’t be done, but with actual money on the line Blizz will be more like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.

4 – Heroes of the Storm will continue to follow the Diablo III toward the dormant part of the Blizzard franchise locker room. More changes won’t revitalize it, but it will make enough money for Blizz to keep making new heroes through 2018.

5 – Shut down list – The following titles will close their doors, at least in North America,  2 Points each:

  • Runes of Magic (Best case, merge with the European server)
  • WildStar (Going to be right one of these years)
  • GuildWars (NCsoft will be all about mobile and clearing out old stuff)
  • Defiance (The companion TV show has been cancelled already…)
  • Granado Espada (Was kind of surprised to hear it was still a thing)

6 – Won’t ship list – The following titles won’t ship, go live, leave early access, progress beyond alpha, or otherwise leave the criticism deflection zone and actually face the live market, 2 points each:

  • Star Citizen
  • Crowfall
  • Camelot Unchained
  • Pantheon
  • CCP Project Nova

7 – Shroud of the Avatar will make the leap to live status, will leave early access and such, and be fully available for sale without caveat or restriction… and sales won’t take off because most everybody who was interested has already bought in.  Instead it will need an active, constantly updated, and heavily promoted cash shop to keep going.  Govern yourself accordingly.

8 – No legal changes to lootboxes, pay to win, or pseudo gambling.  This is a Gevlon inspired prediction, where he said:

Mark my word: one year from now, it’ll be illegal to sell anything random or powerful and it’ll be also illegal to not disclose major gaming concepts like how the matchmaker works.

I’m taking the opposite position.  I’ll leave out the matchmaker part, mostly because that seems nonsensical to predict… not to mention he was wrong about it with League of Legends… and stick with just the “random or powerful” part of that.  If I can buy a random lootbox come December 1st of 2018 with the promise of a useful, non-cosmetic item, that will be 10 points for me.

9 – Nintendo and GameFreak will announce a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl for the 3DS.  Come on, you know how badly we want this!  Dooooo eeeeet!

10 – In a retro focused year, Nintendo will also announce Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire for the 3DS Virtual Console.

11 – The Nintendo Switch will get its own Virtual Console store in 2018, and one of the early test items will be versions of the above mentioned Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire in order to test the waters. We will get that announcement before we hear anything about a new, current generation core Pokemon RPG on the Switch.

12 – Pokemon Go will finally get a head to head battle mode along with a friends list, though it will be segregated by platform, so iOS and Android shall not mix.  No trading of Pokemon however and the incentives to battle, aside from pride of winning, will be kept minuscule out of fears of abuse.

13 – Microsoft/Mojang will announce end of updates/new features for Minecraft –  Java Edition in favor of ongoing support for the unified edition that works across mobile, console, and Windows 10 which, coincidentally, is also the edition where they make money selling skins and such.  Basically, maintenance mode and a push to get people to go where the money is.

14 – Daybreak will finally announce a new product, a small-ish group/co-op RPG thing that will feel like something of a new coat of paint on Just Survive, but will be fantasy and based in Norrath because that is the only IP they have that has some draw and lacks a licensing fee.

15 – PlanetSide 2 and Just Survive will clearly be in maintenance mode by the end of the year, with staff being pulled off to work on the above new title.  The problem will be distinguishing maintenance mode from whatever mode they are in now.  Daybreak will just have to tell us.

16 – EverQuest and EverQuest II will get their annual autumnal expansions.  The EverQuest team will follow the lead of their younger sibling and return to a Planes of Power theme.

17 – On the EverQuest II side of the house the focus will be a surprising return to a desert theme along the lines of Desert of Flames, flying freaking carpets and all.

18 – The deal with Tencent to bring H1Z1 to China will fall apart when PlayerUnknown’s Battleground makes it there first and sews up the battle royale market.  Best case, H1Z1 will launch and fold in a few months, worst case it won’t even get the chance.

19 – EVE Fanfest 2018 in Iceland will be a smash, celebrating as it will the 15th birthday of the launch of EVE Online.  However, one of the announcements will be that there will be no EVE Vegas going forward and that their plans for Four Fan Fests around the world in 2019 will be scrapped as will Fan Fest 2019, though the latter will be because they’re remodeling the Harpa.  I am not adopting the Massively OP outlook that EVE Online itself is mordibund because most of the community team got the axe, but without them who else is going to do these events?

20 – EVE Online itself will continue to move forward more slowly than planned.  The end of player owned starbases and null sec stations won’t come to pass until after the traditional CCP July/August vacation season.  Focus before then will be tuning Alphas some more, The Agency, and special events.

21 – After going up in 2017, the PCU will begin to trend down again, with the average over the next 12 months dipping down to 30K.  Not drastic, but it will keep the “EVE is dying” fan club active and have CCP looking around for short term changes to boost the player base.

22 – EVE Fanfest 2018 will see a revised vision statement about future plans for EVE Online.  Gone will be talk of player built gates and new space.  There is already too much space in New Eden for the current player base.  Instead the new vision will seek to revitalize NPC null sec regions like Venal and the Great Wildlands with a much more aggressive NPC population defending those systems rather than just letting players pass.  Details will be high level, but CCP will hint that this is a test run for plans they are considering for Jove space as some sort of high end, raid-like experiment.

23 – In EVE Online the CSM 13 elections will see a bump in non-null sec representation, with four seats going to such candidates.  The return of Mike Azariah will help get out the non-null vote.  The six null-sec seats will be two Imperium (Aryth & Innominate), one Brave, one TEST, one PL/PH/NCDot, and one GotG.

24 – Project Aurora, CCPs mobile game made in cooperation with… um… whoever that was at EVE Vegas… will ship in the second half of the year and… will do better than Dust 514.  It will do okay, people will download it and play it, it will get a core following and make some money, but it won’t be covering the bills or paying for an expanded community team.

25 – We won’t hear much about the alleged new project that CCP recently posted job listings about, aside from the fact that they have partnered with somebody else to do the heavy lifting. A year from now EVE Online will still be all CCP really has, but people will still be yelling at CCP for a) spending money on anything besides EVE Online and b) gambling the whole company’s future on just EVE Online.

26 – No 64-bit client for EVE Online in 2018.  The captain’s quarters wasn’t all that was holding them back, it was just the easiest to dispose of.

27 – Standing Stone is running out of content for Lord of the Rings Online.  Between Mordor and the Grey Havens there is really only a couple of weddings, the walk home, the scourging of the Shire, and trying to clean up the mess.  No expansions, no be changes to the landscape, just a few updates with some of the more militant mopping up tasks in areas of Middle-earth they have already mapped out.  We won’t be walking Frodo to the Grey Havens in 2018, but it will be on the horizon.

Double Extra Credit Bonus Prediction: CCP will announce they are merging with, or being acquired by, another studio before the end of 2018.

So that is 27 entries for a total possible of 270 points, plus the bonus prediction, a throw away I am going to demand 20 points for should it come to pass.  Now to wait and see what happens between now and December of 2018.

Others doing some New Year’s predicting or wishing:

Panadar’s Massive Minecraft Monuments

I haven’t been much into our Minecraft server of late.  No great project has gotten me interested.  I have spent some time laying rails along the route to the mansion I found almost a year back, but supply and logistics started to wear me down.  Building the road, which takes an hour to ride on a good horse, was a long haul.  Laying mine cart track… and making the track and hauling it to the end of the line… turned into an effort I wasn’t up to finishing just yet.

Which isn’t to say the server has been empty.  Somebody went out and scouted out another mansion.  I am not sure who went out there… and that much further than the 20km I went… and back.  But that is our third mansion, the mystery mansion.

That is a long loop to the southeast

Also, I figured out how to get the map renderer working again.  It requires grabbing the binaries and replacing them in my current install, but that is pretty easy.  I am happy to have a current map again.  It lets me see what has been going on.

A couple of corp mates from EVE Online have been on the server some this year, Panadar (Hir) and Bob.

Panadar has been on for quite a while and established his own spot in the world, building a very nice castle not too far from one of my own monstrosities.

Panadar’s Castle

This does not include the amount of tunnel he had done under the castle.  His excavations joined up with the ones below my own outpost which, in turn, linked up with some of Aaron’s that happen to link up with some of mine further down the line, so that we have a pretty extensive underground highway.

When I was last working on the road he was going after an ocean monument, the laborious process of clearing it, sealing it up, and removing all the water, which leaves a nice aqua blue underground base. (Not as insane as Aaron’s guardian farm, but still more work than you want to think about.)  The south end of the incomplete rail line to the north mansion runs under water through that base now.

Running into Panadar along the rail line

As I sort of faded from the server for long stretches I got a ping from Panadar saying that I should go look at the world, that there might be some new things there.  Eventually I stumbled back onto the server and with a couple of hints… at that point I wasn’t able to render maps so could just scan the terrain to find things… I ran across the first of his monumental creations.  It was a giant dwarf with an axe.

The dwarf from a map render

This sat atop a large hill through which the great rail loop ran, close to his castle.

Seeing the dwarf at night from the rail line

It was visible from the top of a nearby mountain where I had built a tower as well.

The dwarf across the valley

This was late in the summer and, by all signs, the dwarf had been there for a while.

Literally, a sign

Panadar said I should look other places along the rail line and, sure enough, as I traveled northward and hit the north end of the mesa biome, from which we have all farmed so many colored blocks that you can see it on the map, I found another work facing one of the stations on the line. (What I called Desert Temple Station on the rail loop post.)

A dragon is watching

It was actually hard to get a decent screen shot of the dragon because it is so tall that it sticks up above the cloud layer, so clouds continually pass by and obscure parts of it.  Even in this shot there is a small cloud over the base of one giant wing and another was just about to hit a chunk of the other wing. (Clouds were moving left to right.)

As I discover this he was getting ready to start on his next project, a giant version of the Egyptian god Anibus just up the rail line from the dragon.

Anubis astride the rails

Anubis sits not too far down the tracks from the dragon so that, on the overviewer map, they appear to face each other.

Anubis and the Dragon, with the desert temple station in between

You cannot actually see one from another in the game.  One of the aspects of using the Minecraft Realms server is that, in order to keep the load down, they restrict how far you can see, which equates to the number of terrain chunks the game needs to load.  If that Mineserver project had ever come to fruition would have been able to control that setting.  On a Realms server you are stuck with what they let you have.  But it is still so cheap compared to other hosting solutions that it is worth the sacrifice.

I got to see Panadar build some of Anubis and learned that he wasn’t building these from scratch but working from plans he found on the web.  That does not diminish the level of his work.  On a survival server where you have to go get your own materials, haul them to the build site, build scaffolding or other ways to work high up in the sky, and deal with the day/night cycle with the zombies, skeletons, spiders, and creepers coming to get you, being able to create such works is a challenge even if you have your idea mapped out in advance.

And then there is falling off of high places while you’re working.  You die and you have to run back to grab your stuff, but if you just got back from a supply run and last slept in a bed far away, you may not respawn where you want to.

Anubis was actually built in short order.  If you visit it you can see ladders going up inside of it and can still climb up into it.

It was at that point that Panadar decided to go all out on his biggest project yet, a giant dragon astride one of my bridges.  Just south of the mesa biome, he began working away.  I logged on once in a while during this build… and heard from him on Discord now and again… and it was a huge and trying effort.  The resource count was huge.  The build site was awkward.  And falling to his death seemed to happen just about every time I logged on.  Still, the end result is magnificent and enormous.  It is big enough that I can’t get a decent in-game screen shot of it… again, clouds, along with the bridge in the way and the limited view distance.  It comes across okay on the overviewer map.

The giant dragon astride the bridge

The wings are filled in with gray glass… one of the resource constraints, making huge amounts of gray glass which requires ink sacs from squids which had him off and building a squid farm at one point… which do not cast a shadow, so you see only the spines of the wings in shadow form on the terrain.

And the whole thing dwarfs the scenery as you roll up in a mine cart from the south.

I think that project wore Panadar out on Minecraft for a while.  But it is another magnificent work in our little online world.

September in Review

The Site

I got another WordPress.com achievement.  Go me.

A New Record!

I think I hit that largely based on the impending death of Raptr, which is a bit sad when you consider it.  Still, go me.

Also, I got quite a spike in traffic this month from the Warzone event in EVE Online and from being linked in a post over at PC Gamer about the Circle of Two heist/betrayal.  The latter used my LOL Keepstar screen shot and nicely linked me as the source.

LOL bubbles at the Keepstar in 68FT-6

The Warzone event traffic, no doubt representing people trying to figure out how the event worked, seems indicative of CCP perhaps not thinking things through.  Or at least not communicating sufficient information about the event, especially in light of how past events under The Agency banner have been run.  (And how easy they were relative to Warzone.)

Anyway, one of my search terms of the month below is dedicated to CCP.

One Year Ago

It was the tenth anniversary of the blog.

I was looking back at day/night cycles and full zone respawns of yore.

My wife’s Pokemon Go account was hacked, but I recovered it pretty quickly.  That post brings in a lot of search engine traffic looking for ways to hack Pokemon Go accounts.  So many bad people.

Daybreak announced that both EverQuest and EverQuest II would be launching Kunark focused expansions, with Empires of Kunark slated for the former and Kunark Ascending for the latter.

Smed was taking his Hero’s Song project back to the crowdfunding arena again, this time via Indiegogo which, unlike Kickstarter, lets you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.

I was going on about problems EVE Online has getting new players to stick with the game… again.  We also had the YC118.8 Update which revamped a the look of mining barges and some frigates, among other thing.  It also launched the Purity of the Throne event that had me chasing white skins for Amarr ships.

There was also the ascension of Caitiz of House Tash-Murkon to the Amarr throne.  All those ships are still lined up in Amarr for some reason.  Did they have to wait a year for the first Jubilee?

And Alpha Clones would soon be a thing, so I was wondering what you could do with one.

In post-Casino War events the Imperium finished conquering Delve and a state of normalcy was starting to come to pass.  I also got my last ship out of Deklein.

And then there was World of Warcraft where the Legion expansion was off and running.  There was even an app for it.  I started off slowly as I figured things out and moved clockwise around the Broken Isles.  That didn’t stop me from checking up on my Draenor garrison though.

And then in one of those bullet point posts that I always hate a year later when it comes time to do the summary I covered Star Trek Online going to consoles, Legends of Norrath card packs, rewards for Omega players in EVE Online, and the then upcoming EVE Vegas.

Finally, No Man’s Sky launched, capping off yet another dismal episode of fan behavior.  After getting death threats for delaying the launch, Hello Games finally shipped the game only to have the fan base explode even more so when it was discovered that features that were straight up said to be in the product… multiplayer being the prime suspect… were not.  Still, it made a lot of money and features have since been added and it got its own Honest Game Trailers video.  There is, no doubt, lessons to be learned here.

Five Years Ago

The World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria launched, adding a panda race to Azeroth, right on Ultima Online’s 15th anniversary.   I think the shark jumping trope jumped the shark that day.

I was falling out of WoW myself, though still not allowed to unsubscribe. Being locked out of the Theremore event due to item level helped kill any enthusiasm I had for staying with the game.

Torchlight II showed up.  I was still waiting for the Mac OS version so I could play with my daughter.

In the land of EverQuest, the Rain of Fear expansion was announced, while EverQuest II went straight to truth in advertising and revealed an expansion called Chains of Eternity.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, Omens of War went live and was finished.

SOE was talking about some form of Wizardry that was online.   PlanetSide 2 was planned for the end of the year… sort of.  And then there was Player Studio and all that implied.

The next chapter in the Darkfall saga was announced.  And they had a new game/expansion or some such.

In EVE Online, the CSM was looking for a way to… well… screw most of the people who actually vote for the CSM.  I stranded my null sec Drake in Jita and I compared Traffic Control to a hostile FC.

In a more serious vein, the real world reached into our game took a fellow player.  Even tragedy cannot displace idiocy though.

My goal to get my fourth class in Rift, a mage, to level cap before Storm Legion had me in Stonefield.

BioWare, not done with their trend of announcing public metrics they eventually failed to meet, committed themselves to a new content schedule for SWTOR.  Later we found out that “adding items to the cash shop” counts as new content.  Meanwhile, I pondered the SWTOR lore choice.

The Lord British saga continued as he opted to jump in bed with Zynga!  He, of course, expressed great fondness for Zynga, while I wondered what his sith name would be, since he was clearly going the Anakin Skywalker route.

I remembered Spaceship Warlock.

Free to play was still under discussion.  An article in Game Developer Magazine included the warning to not assume profitability just because people are going on about revenues.  And yet all I hear about are revenues when it comes to free to play.

The people at Stormpowered Studios started in against marriage.

And the blog turned six and felt very clever about it.

Ten Years Ago

I summed up my first year of blogging.  I also participated in a meme… back when that wasn’t an picture thing… about the power of four.

Auto Assault was gone, another NCsoft title shut down.  I was wondering if Tabula Rasa might follow suit.

I started thinking about what an expansion would look like for Lord of the Rings Online.  I was also browsing in Othrikar.  But I was more curious as to why the game just wasn’t as much fun as, say, World of Warcraft.

On the Wii it was Mario Party 8 and the Virtual Console.

In EVE Online I finally fixed the sound driver issue that was making the game crash. Hah, I used to run EVE with the sound on!

In other New Eden events, I was flying the Mammoth as a hauler to support mining ops in my Retriever.  Jet can mining and training up to Mining Barge V and salvaging.  I was also getting lost with the corp and station interface.  Another wish list there.  At least I found the “warp to 0” options quickly.  I still wasn’t quite sure what people meant by “tank” in the game though.

I was still running missions and had advanced to cruisers on that front.  And I was losing them as well.  I also had to queue to log in because there were 21K people in the game.  Traffic control was coming up as well.  CCP was working on the issue.

Our summer vacation from Azeroth was over with the return of Earl.  We were back to running instances, starting with Zul’Farrak.  Of course, then we realized nobody had the mallet, so we had to go get that.  I still have it in the bank.  I was also out searching for mithril.

SOE announced that their combined Station Launcher would be available for beta soon.  I don’t think it ever left beta before it was finally scrapped.

I was reminiscing about the Thundering Steppes in EverQuest II, a zone I was playing in less than three years before.  Early onset nostalgia I guess.

There was the loaded question about who counts as “press” in a world where blogs exist.  People seem determined to embrace arbitrary rules on that front, something that always leads to suppression of opinions with which they disagree.

And finally there were naked zones and wondering how to make PvP (and PvE) better.

Twenty Years Ago

Ultima Online launched.  Raph Koster has some accumulated memories of the game from over the years and a link to a video… and then he wrote some more about the game as it came about, what influenced it and what it influenced.

A little title called Total Annihilation also launched 20 years ago today.  With a real three dimensional environment and line of site constraints, it was ahead of its time and remains an underrated title to my mind.  Cave Dog, the developer, went bust ages ago and, through the twists and turns of the video game business, Wargaming.net of World of Tanks fame now owns the rights to the title.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. At the Camp in 68FT-6
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. The Agency Warzone Extraction Event in EVE Online
  4. Running some Warzone Extraction Event Sites
  5. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  6. Alpha Strike in New Eden
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. The Imperium Buys a Keepstar
  9. EQ2 Wire to Shut Down after Nine Years
  10. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  11. Missions and Content on Demand
  12. Quests, Missions, and Return on Investment

Search Terms of the Month

mallet of zul’farrak
[Still in my bank somewhere]

eve learning curve
[It is still a thing]

how to get to scarlet monastery
[Do people still walk there?]

torchlight 2 updates 2017
[That seems unlikely]

do you need to play pvp in mmorpg
[Only in the good ones]

future everquest game
[Maybe some day]

i’m thinking of resubbing to wow 2017
[Me too…]

eve online warzone extraction wtf?
[A question asked by many]

EVE Online

Well, after the CO2 betrayal caper things got sort of quiet.  I tinkered with alts and did some of the Warzone Extraction event sites, but there wasn’t a lot to draw me to New Eden after the camp at 68FT-6 drew down.

Guild Wars 2

There is a new expansion and people I know are playing which makes me sort of thing about maybe trying it some more.  I patched up at least.  My highest level character is 41 and hanging about in Harathi Hinterlands, which has to be the most Azeroth sounding zone in the game.  Otherwise, not a lot to report.

Lord of the Rings Online

I managed to get through another month of avoiding Mordor.  Seriously, I bought the expansion, have the character boost, but have not stepped foot into that dark land.  Then again, I hear it is brutal solo.  I did try to carry on with a character I boosted to level 95 previously.  However, the first place he was sent out of Rohan was the paths of the dead, which was also pretty tough for somebody still getting back into the swing of the game.

Minecraft

One of the members of our server built some giant monuments in the game, something I have been meaning to do a post about.  However my own efforts there have been somewhat desultory.  I log in, I work for a bit on the rail line I have going to the north mansion, then I log off.  Also, Minecraft Overviewer still hasn’t been updated for Windows, and I miss being able to update my map of the world.  The pain of open source and waiting for somebody to step up and do a build for you. (I’d give it a shot if you need a full version of Visual Studio.)

Pokemon Go

No big changes as the game carries on.  I still make sure to catch a Pokemon and hit a PokeStop every day.  There are rumors of third generation Pokemon showing up some day, but nothing concrete yet.

  • Level: 29 (+0, though I am closing in on 30)
  • Pokedex status: 189 (+1) caught, 222 (+3) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados, since the new legendaries are nigh on impossible
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 80km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Also, after months of saying she really wanted a Snorlax my wife finally had one hatch.  One evening she was reading a game message aloud, “Snorlax has battled hard…” and I was all, “When did you get a Snorlax?”  It had come from an egg earlier in the week and she hadn’t even noticed.  She just started putting it in gyms as soon as it showed up.

Pokemon Gold & Silver

I picked up a copy of Pokemon Silver from the Nintendo Store and started off on that adventure.  We’ll see how Pokemon from 1999 compares with Pokemon from 1996 and 2016.

Coming Up

Well, as I mentioned earlier in the month, there will be no more Raptr tomorrow.

Potshot had been tinkering with Medieval Engineers and, since it was on sale (and had been on my wishlist for a while), so I picked up a copy as well.  A post about it seems likely should I be able to engineer anything.

After the decapitation of Circle of Two in EVE Online we seem to be in another consolidation stage in the south end of null sec as former members of the alliance settle in with new groups.  Things will likely remain quiet for a bit on that front.

Still, we have the Life Blood expansion to look forward to as well as EVE Vegas, which I will be attending.

We’re likely to get more details about the upcoming EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions.

And, while BlizzCon itself isn’t until the first week of November, speculation as to what Blizzard will be talking about will no doubt be a hot topic in October.

I am sure something else will show up next month, but I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

August in Review

The Site

Despite there being no official Blaugust event this year, I went through and posted every single day this month all the same, sometimes more than once a day, ending up with 38 posts this month, the most I have done in a single month in the last few years.  Does Blaugust bring quality as well as quantity however?

Meanwhile, I managed to get a double hit this month from CCP Phantom’s This Week in EVE post.  The weekly post is linked in the EVE Online launcher and you should be clicking on it every week if you want to keep up with the game.  Plus it includes links out to the community.   In issue #163 a couple of weeks back there was a link to both a post I wrote here and one from my EVE Online Pictures blog

One interesting bit about getting the link is that the new EVE Online forums shows how many people clicked on a given link in a post.  So, for example, the link to the picture post on EVE Online Pictures showed 752 people had clicked on it at some point.

Link click counter… with mouse over text that also says 752

This represents something of an opportunity to check WP.com blog stats.  If the EVE forums say 752 people clicked on it then I can match that up with what the WP.com stats say for that post.

Of course, in attempting to reconcile this, we’re back to usual disconnect when it comes to web stats.  At the time I took that screen shot indicating 752 clicks WP.com was telling me that the post in question had a total of 1,032 page views, leaving a 280 click-wide gap between the two numbers.

Now, not everybody who clicked on the post came from the forums.  My posts there get linked over on EVE Bloggers and Total EVE.  And even in the forums there is the German version of the post where it was linked as well.  Still, I couldn’t make the numbers add up, or even come close.  So we remain stuck with the premise “all web stats are lies.”

One Year Ago

It was really Blaugust, so I was posting every… single… day even though it was supposed to be the “super relaxed” version of the event.

After spilling Mr. Yoshida’s delicious sauce over my ancient cell phone, I finally joined the smart phone boom with an iPhone 5S.  Of course, that meant playing Pokemon Go, something my wife does better than I do.

I tried to come to grips with the constant whine that every MMORPG should cater to every single play style by asking if any MMORPG had ever managed to find a new audience after launch.  I remain unconvinced that it has ever worked.

Blizzard was telling people that World of Warcraft was still the number one subscription MMORPG. But after their vow of silence on subscription numbers, that brag seemed a bit empty.

In the game though things were looking up as the pre-Legion expansion event , the demon invasions, proved to be a boon to leveling up alts as they built up momentum.  And I still had that level 100 boost with the expansion to look forward to.

And then WoW Legion launched and it was on to the Broken Isles and class halls and what not.

I speculated what WoW expansions would look like if they were done like Pokemon games.

The Stormhold server in EverQuest II was facing a unlock voting crisis over the Rise of Kunark expansion.  It failed the first two votes, and failing a third would put votes in a moratorium for a while.  However, it passed on the third try.  I also shared my secret EQII shame.  Of course, with the coming of WoW Legion I was out of the game… like Legends of Norrath… just in time to miss some deals.

In EVE Online we had the YC118.7 update.  I was wondering if better PvE could save the game, though I remain unsure as to what “better” would really look like.

I was also celebrating my ten year anniversary with EVE Online.  Meanwhile CCP had a free to play plan lined up for New Eden.  It looked like it had some holes in it though… which we later learned it did.

Down in the southwest of New Eden the Imperium had set up shop in Sakht and was banging on the door of Delve, dropping citadels, blowing up citadels, and fighting LUMPY over sov timers.  Despite threats to keep the Imperium down for good, the locals in Delve got very little support in their fight and we were into the region shortly.

Back up north I was able to slip my last belongings out of the newly quiet system of Saranen.  Meanwhile, Executive Outcomes, which rode out the struggle as part of the Imperium, parted ways once the Casino War was over.

And somewhere along the line I found the time to get out Half-Life 2 and give it another spin.

Five Years Ago

Star Trek Online was totally not dying and Star Wars: The Old Republic was totally not a failure as it shed more customers and announced it was going free to play.

Then Vanguard suddenly went free to play ahead of schedule, no doubt trying to get in early and avoid the crowd.

It was announced that NCsoft would be closing down City of Heroes.

Torchlight II gave us a launch date.  But not before giving us a date for a date.  But there was no date for the promised MacOS version.

Turbine delayed Riders of Rohan, but continued pushing the crazy stuff you would see.

SOE decided that you can afford integrity only after you pay the bills, and threw in with lockboxes.  What happened to the implied social contract?

Guild Wars 2 went live at last, thwarting Blizzard’s nefarious scheme.

I was paid up on my 1 year subscription for World of Warcraft, but Blizzard wouldn’t let me cancel further payment.  They must have been concerned about subscribers, having dropped more subs than SWTOR had left.

Speaking of year long commitments, Trion liked that Blizzard idea so much, they did it themselves and gave us an ugly mount for it right away.  Oh, and they got rid of faction group restrictions.  What population problems?  The instance group started on its attendance slide, with just four of us trying Runic Descent.  At least we had instant adventures.  Or was that instant levels?

In EVE Online, there was a revamp of mining ships.  I listed them out and wondered which would become the most popular.  In the end, the Mackinaw won I think.  All the while CSM7 seemed intent on proving that the thing they loved most in EVEOnline was themselves.

Meanwhile, having been asked by TEST to leave the war down in Delve, the CFC got into a scrap with Northern Coalition over moons.  We fought in Venal and some monkeys lost a titan.  We were staging in QPO for a thrust into Tribute with the goal of taking a forward base at UMI-KK.

AWESOMESAUCE.LIVE was announced.  Only the fact that it was later cancelled preserved my faith in humanity.

Finally, I took the crazy train out of Barstow and threw out a few movie reviews.

Ten Years Ago

I won something in a contest!  A Warp Drive Active Shirt!

And speaking of EVE Online, I started down the training path to get my alt flying a Hulk.  As with most such ventures, it began with mining in the modest Bantam frigate and the oddly shaped Osprey cruiser.  Also, our corp, the Twilight Cadre was founded.  I also wrote up a piece on how to find an agent in EVE Online (without external resources) that was one of the most viewed posts on this site for quite a stretch. It only took CCP four years to make the whole thing less convoluted.

I also had a wish list for the game that included ship skins and a training queue.  Got those… eventually!  And I was deep into learning skills. Then there was a post about RMT and how CCP was already selling ISK, if indirectly. And I was still doing the Revelations expansion new player tutorial.

The instance group was still in Lord of the Rings Online.  There were updates expanding the game and all sorts of offers to get people to subscribe.  I was more annoyed by that horse dialog you get when mounted and how understated leveling up could be.

I received a copy of the first issue of EQuinox, the official EverQuest II magazine.  It was… thin.  And it had a dark elf on the cover.  You would think there were no other races in Norrath with all the play dark elves get.

Meanwhile, Qeynos harbor was full of rumors about Sarnak!

Legends of Norrath was announced at SOE Fan Faire 2007.  I was not there, but I listened to the presentation live while IM’ing with Darren about what we heard.  I never actually played LoN.  I am just not the collectible card game kind of person.

I purchased the Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa Pre-Order box, only to find that getting into the beta, as was promised on the outside of the box, was not as easy as I had hoped.  You had to get access to the beta forum to get the information, and the beta forum was not letting people in!

In a strange turn of fate, I happened to take a look at PlayOn on the very day they posted their WoW Random Guild Name Generator.  So I posted a quick link to it, which in turn became my most viewed post for a long, long time.  The popularity was related to some Google algorithm which put up this site on the first page of searches related to guild name generators.

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson stirred up the “why so much fantasy?” discussion about MMOs and I put out my own views, to which I now just link back whenever the discussion comes back up again.

I listed out five signs that would herald World of Warcraft becoming truly mainstream.  We did get an Azeroth version of Monopoly eventually.

On the Guild Wars front, the final expansion for the game, Eye of the North, launched.  It differed from the previous two expansions in that you did not need to own any of the Guild Wars boxes in order to play.  Yes, everything came in boxes back then.  I still have the Eye of the North box.

And, finally, it was ten years ago when TAGN hit the 100,000 page view milestone.  We have had a few more since then.

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Covering another Keepstar Deployment
  3. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  4. The August 2017 EVE Online Update brings the Lucky Clash Event
  5. In Search of the Thousand Dollar Video Game
  6. Marching North to War in New Eden
  7. Is Raptr Dead or What?
  8. Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire Expansion Announced
  9. Fortizar Down in Hakonen
  10. Replacing the G15
  11. Delve – Still Ratting, Still Mining, Still Manufacturing
  12. Alpha Strike in New Eden

Search Terms of the Month

why did i get plex on my eve account
[The Aurum conversion man!]

how to get back to draenor
[Can’t you just recall to your garrison?]

why dont i like raspberries
[Because they taste bad]

hull tanking 2017
[Yes, it is still a thing]

eve online biomass female
[I am not sure I want to know…]

EVE Online

There was a deployment up north.  We spent a couple weeks in Hakonen stripping the local markets clear of things we need and supporting the in-game economy by seeing to it that many ships were destroyed.  A pity that, on balance, they were mostly our ships.  It wasn’t really a war though, just a way to go get some fights and do something as a coalition.  Keeping the troops entertained is part of the job of leadership.  And then the situation changed in the south and we came home again.

Lord of the Rings Online

Gosh, I started off all gang busters on the Mordor expansion this month, didn’t I?  I got my characters in shape, bought the expansion, pondered the Aria of the Valar boost, and then didn’t do much.  I have logged in a couple of times to sort of stare at the boost and to tinker around, but I am still nowhere near Mordor yet.  Maybe next month.

Minecraft

There was a bit of a resurgence in Minecraft this past month.  I got back on and continued working on the rail line from the northern mansion back to the main settlement.  Probably more interesting on the server was that Panadar took on making some rather epic monuments in our world.  There was a threat/promise from my daughter that her and a couple of her more trustworthy pals might come and play on the server.  And then they decided to play Escapist 2 instead.

Pokemon Go

I carry on with the game, having passed the one year mark.

  • Level: 29 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 188 (+3) caught, 219 (+5) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados, since the new legendaries are nigh on impossible
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 123km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

War Thunder

As noted, I was getting the flight sim urge, so I patched up War Thunder and let myself get thrashed soundly and repeatedly until I could stand it no more.  I did unlock a couple of revisions of the IL-2 Sturmovik (the plane, not the game) so I could go do ground attack.  Mostly though I got shot down a lot.

Coming Up

September and anniversaries loom, the most important of which is my wedding anniversary.  The lesser of the anniversaries will involve me posting a bunch of statistics which we know, if the lessons of the top of this post are heeded, are dubious at best.

Events are heating up in the south of New Eden.  Once Delve has been cleaned up I am sure we will be getting involved in that somehow.

While we have to wait until November for Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, we will be able to play Pokemon Gold & Silver on the 3DS via the Virtual Console before the end of the month.

We’ll probably get some hint as to what the 2017 expansions will be for EverQuest and EverQuest II if things follow the usual pattern.

In LOTRO maybe I will actually set foot in Mordor.

We’ve reached the end of the Fantasy Movie League season, so there will be no more of that for a while… unless you join my league and help me make it a thing.  That might convince me to carry on, though you have to hurry and do your first week picks by tomorrow at 9am PDT.

And my daughter is trying to convince me to come play Escapist 2.

Otherwise I cannot think of anything new launching or other events or updates that might interest me.