Category Archives: Month in Review

June in Review

The Site

In the land of WordPress.com, another new feature/annoyance was introduced this month.  There is a little alerts icon at the top right of the browser window when you are logged into WordPress.  It announces when somebody leaves a comment or follows the blog or when your page view stats see a spike.  Generally I see the latter only with my other blog, where more than 30 page views in a single hour is cause for mention.

But WordPress.com added a new notification in June.  This one pops up to tell me that a scheduled post has, in fact, been posted as scheduled.

O'rly...

O’rly?

The problem for me is that every single post that goes up here is scheduled in advance.  While that is only one or two notifications a day, they aren’t something I really need.  I already have a notification scheme in place that doesn’t require me to be sitting in front of a browser and logged into the blog.  Additionally, the notification uses the “somebody left a comment” icon, so inevitably I go to the blog, see that icon, wonder who left a comment, and am rewarded with a reminder I didn’t need.  Not the worst affliction in history, but I am still looking for a way to turn that off. (Actually, they finally changed the icon to something unique, but I’m still annoyed.)

Meanwhile I am getting a little tired of seeing this in my side bar.

FeedDown

My MMO blog feed seems to be down quite often of late.  At first I thought it must be related directly to my Rube Goldberg implementation.  But I have a second feed, for Gaming Company news, down at the bottom of the side bar, that uses the same process, and it is never down.

But that feed gets relatively few new items in it on a daily basis.  The main feed potentially  draws from more than 200 feeds a day.  And given the times it appears to be down most frequently… which tends to correspond with times when most bloggers in my feed seem to post… makes me wonder if it is struggling to keep itself up to date, or just won’t display when an update is pending.  Anyway, I may pare down the list of blogs it draws from to just a few to see if that changes the reliability.  I’d like to have lots of blogs able to appear, but I would also like the list to appear a bit more regularly as well.

One Year Ago

There was a cheer for the NBI class of 2015.

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

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

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

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

The coming of Fozzie Sov also meant further consolidation of holdings to make sure we could defend our space.  TNT got pushed out to Tribute to share space with the Circle of Two.  We saw how well that worked out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

I had to get out my Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD.

Team Fortress 2 went free to play.  Begin the hat-based economy!

I was wondering if people were picking on Lord British.  This was before he started talking about his “ultimate RPG” and made it a very entertaining sport.

We were not playing WoW, but guild accounts were being hacked.  And we were not even among those 600K WoW players that supposedly went to Rift.

LOTRO announced the Rise of Isengard expansion and offered up a exp boosting item for pre-orders.

I was wondering what launch conditions would be like for SWTOR.  Of course, I sort of figured it might launch before mid-December.

LEGO Universe announced it was going free to play.  At our house, my daughter enjoyed it for a bit, but eventually dropped it for Animal Jam.

CCP began a slow and deliberate campaign of alternating between shooting itself in the foot and sticking said foot in its mouth, all in the name of the Incarna expansion.  And my sentry drones were still boring.  And then LulzSec brought them down.  At least they had finally made it much easier to find an agent in the game.

SOE announced a new version of Station Access, its “all games for one low monthly price.”  Called SOE All Access, which had a price of $19.95 a month.  This was a welcome drop from the previous $29.99 a month price.

However, by this point, SOE had dropped The Matrix Online and had just announced they were killing Star Wars Galaxies, so there were certainly less games to play.  Of course, that was also back when they had some games that were not free to play.

At least SOE was up and running after the PSN/SOE outage.  A pity they fumbled the marketing opportunities offered by their make good plan.

The instance group had finally gotten out of the damn starter zone in EverQuest II Extended, but the game still wasn’t sitting well.

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, the Ruins of Kunark expansion was opened up and then “finished” in short order.

Ten Years Ago

Paul McCarty turned fucking 64 already and could probably afford to buy the entire Isle of Wight at that point, regardless of how dear it was.

Sonic the Hedgehog turned 15, which I guess means it is 25 now.  Maybe I shouldn’t do call backs to birthdays.  But relevant gaming history was a bit light a decade back, so I felt like I needed some filler, which explains the first three items in this section.  Come September it will be better.

Bill Gates announced that he was planning to relinquish his remaining full time positions at Microsoft in order to focus on his foundation.  Though Steve “Uncle Fester” Ballmer had been CEO since 2000, Gates was still Chief Software Architect and Chief Research & Strategy Officer (along with being chairman of the board).  As of today he still retains the position of Technology Advisor to current CEO Satya Nadella.

EverQuest II got the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack, the last such pack until 2015’s Rum Cellar.

Nintendo finally shipped the Nintendo DS Lite in Europe, though $3.2 million worth of them went missing en route from China.

Half-Life 2: Episode One was released as Valve briefly tried to pay attention to the core of their biggest franchise at the time.  Still waiting for Episode Three.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Rohan has been at it for more than a decade now digging into the nuts and bolts of game mechanics as well as bigger picture issues.  While World of Warcraft has been a prime focus, he has delved into other titles along the way.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

I am a little bit late in pointing at this, give that the NBI 2016 event ends today.  But I haven’t been able to keep up with the event in any case, it having taken to Discord.  Still, it has weekly summaries of this year’s event, which includes the new bloggers joining in and the blog posts done in support the whole thing.  Hopefully there will be a final event summary post tomorrow so I can crib the list of new blogs for a post of my own.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. Remembering Spaceship Warlock
  3. Blizzard Admits that WoW Expansions are Just Going to Take Time
  4. Thrill of the Hunt Not Thrilling Enough, Being Removed from New Eden
  5. RAZOR Leaves The Imperium
  6. One Hundred Million Copies of Minecraft
  7. Scenes from the Saranen Undock
  8. Return to Draenor
  9. Minecraft 1.10 The Frostburn Update
  10. Hurricane Massacre
  11. A Carrier Dies in Deklein
  12. Landmark Goes… Live

My post about the Warcraft movie was in 13th place, but on the Chinese version of the blog it is totally at the top of the list.

Search Terms of the Month

recommended skills to fly a naglfar well
[A tolerance for losing expensive ships?]

hyperion or dominix
[Megathron]

joke european heaven and hell
[Must involved Brexit somewhow]

does anyone play everquest 2 time locked servers
[Yes, yes they do]

jotunheim brass tiamat corpse mud
[Mixing up your Forgotten Realms areas aren’t you?]

Spam Comments of the Month

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[And that is just one sentence out of five long paragraphs of nonsense.]

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[Posted to my picture blog.]

EVE Online

Just to annoy people with another inapt WWII analogy, so popular with sideline pundits over the course of the war, we seemed to have our Battle of Britain Adlertag in Saranen.  After trying to sit on us and hold us down for weeks in the system, during which we undocked to fight again and again against superior forces, where we were losing the ISK war daily, and were feeding the hostiles many kills, our foes got tired of the whole thing and went away.  Now we just have to liberate Europe… erm, the north.  Maybe the MBC will attack the Russians.  Of course, if we really want to beat this analogy to death, that ends up with them making satellites out of the eastern half of the area and a new cold way or some such.

Anyway, we’re still in Saranen, but with the letup on pressure, we have begun to push back into null sec again.  For us, the war, the same war that has been going on since January, continues.

EverQuest II

I did spend some time pottering about on the Stormhold progression server.  I continued moving along at a leisurely pace.  What I might call my “main” there is just level 25, but I spent some time crafting with him, so his crafting level past 30 now.  And then I used his skill, he is an armor smith, to equip and alt that I ran up to nearly 20 before I set him to crafting as well.  Pretty much usual story in EQII, just at a slower pace.

However, with the return to WoW, I suspect my time here is at and end.

Minecraft

I passed the one year mark for playing the game.  Our world continues to get sporadic attention, though after finishing one grand project, the rail loop, I am looking for another.  Minecraft pretty much took the time slot that used to be filled by a secondary fantasy MMORPG, which is why EQII has fallen off the “games I play” section of the side bar.

World of Warcraft

My daughter and I are back in WoW, though just yesterday she confided with me that maybe we came back a little too early.  She is stuck with one level 100 on the horde side and a level 91 on the alliance side and isn’t keen to do level cap stuff or run through Draenor again.  We’ll see if we can find something while waiting for the pre-Legion 7.0 patch.

As noted, I have made unlocking flying in Draenor my goal, which has given me a series of things to do on a regular basis without it becoming too grindy.  I did warm up a couple of the trade skills so I could get my tailor cranking out hexweave bags again.  Bigger bags are always good.  So I am reasonably content for the moment having a few goals that won’t take huge efforts.

Coming Up

There are a few posts I have planned already, including a salute to NBI Class of 2016, if I can find a definitive list of them somewhere… or even if I cannot… some sort of summary of where I ended up in EQII and what I liked (or did not like) so far with the Stormhold progression server, what I am up to in WoW in some more detail, and some mention of the original PlanetSide, which goes dark tomorrow.

On the WoW front, there is a reasonable chance that the pre-Legion 7.0 patch will drop around the end of this month.  I would not expect it to hit earlier than July 26th.  August 2nd seems more likely, as that would give us four solid weeks with it before WoW Legion goes live.  More than that “feels” like it might be too much, with August 9th being the latest date I think it will hit.  We shall see.

Amazon also delivered my copy of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If I can get some time in front of the TV, I will play it and probably end up writing about it.

The Steam Summer Sale is going on right now, and will wrap up this coming Monday.  I haven’t posted about it.  But then I haven’t bought anything either.  I haven’t even been logging into Steam to get my daily trading cards during the sale.  I am bad at Steam.

May in Review

The Site

The only thing I have about the site is a brand new error that comes up from time to time in my side bar feed.  It looked to be a pretty big issue at the beginning of the month.

Missing link IFTTT

Missing link IFTTT

It calmed down some after that.  I still haven’t figured out the pattern that causes it. if it is specific blogs or not.  But the feed fails to load far more often than it shows that error, so one problem at a time.  Of course, I don’t know why it fails to load either, especially when a second feed of game company news, which uses the exact same process, seems to load almost without fail.  Welcome to the internet.

Meanwhile, in news from elsewhere my other site, EVE Online Pictures, turned 8 years old this month.  No big analysis post about it, though if you want to know its traffic numbers, here are the page view stats.

EVE Online Pictures - Eight Years of Page Views

EVE Online Pictures – Eight Years of Page Views

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

The war in Fountain and Delve was over, NCDot had been crushed yet again, and we were moving back north as our empire contractedEntosis stuff was looming.  Black Legion caught us taking a badly planned convoy through KVN-36.  Meanwhile, down in Querious, the Reavers were playing with Ravens.  Up in the north, TNT was moving out of Deklein and into Tribute as part of our Fozzie Sov plans.  And I hit 140 million skill points.

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

May 2011 was the time of the great Sony outage, with the PlayStation Network down for 24 days and Sony Online Entertainment down for 13 days.  It was a communication fiasco from start to finish, with bad updates almost daily.  About all they could do was promise us all goodies for when they finally came back up.

CCP was starting the build up to the Incarna fiasco with the introduction of Aurum.

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, there was agitation to vote NO on unlocking the Kunark expansion.  Such agitation shows up with every unlock vote.  But no vote failed until Gates of Discord came along.

The instance group was in EverQuest IIwhen it was up… and trying to get the hell out of the starter area.  We managed it, but it took a lot more time than I would have thought.  We started in on some dungeons and got ourselves a guild hall.

World of Warcraft subscriptions started to decline, down to 11.4 million (oh noes!) while Trion started offering free server transfers in Rift.

My daughter was asking me about Dungeons & Dragons.  There was a thread going about making better MMO players.  There were clearly some bad players about.

And finally, as hot as things seemed to be around here, there was no rapture.  You just couldn’t buy a break that month.

Ten Years Ago

World of Warcraft lead designer Rob Pardo was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2006.

The Wii “steals the show” when it comes to the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.  Despite a drop in attendees, there are long lines to try out Nintendo’s new console.  This was the last E3 before the “new format” of 2007 and 2008.

The ESRB changed the rating for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion from “Teen” to “Mature” in part due to topless female art assets in the game that could be accessed by mods.  Former California Assemblyman Leland Yee (and now Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate number 19629-111) took time out of his organized crime activities to slam the ESRB for missing these hidden art assets.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Eri/Jewel is still in her blogging prime, tackling new games, writing about old favorites, linking out to the blogesphere, and a regular podcaster as well.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

As pets in WoW eventually transformed into a Pokemon-like mini-game, the “gotta catch ’em all” aspect needed a guide book.  Warcraft pets is the place to go to find out what pets you are missing and how to obtain them.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. The Pokemon 20th Anniversary Continues with a Darkrai Event and More
  3. There is no 85%
  4. Industrial Revolution
  5. Blizzard and the MAU Reality
  6. What is Vanilla WoW in Any Case?
  7. The Warcraft Movie Approaches
  8. A Murder of Fax Machines
  9. Google Tells Me Nearly All Games are Dead
  10. The People You See in Space
  11. Citadels in Saranen
  12. Chasing Asher’s Phantasm

Search Terms of the Month

everquest falling off the boat
[Haven’t we all]

neverwinter paranoid delusions review
[I think mine are more delusions of grandeur]

eve online gsf test reset fountain
[You must be looking for the Fountain War]

in the wheel of time audiobook why do the readers change how they pronounce moghedien
[Noticed that too, did you?]

Spam Comments of the Month

free animal sex pics
[Why pay for animal sex pics?]

I will right away clutch your rss feed
[I am not sure I like the sound of that]

Hello. I am a inexperienced Bank Teller and was planning to better be well prepared for my job at ChevronTexaco Corporation.
[Sounds like an good plan]

Diablo III

I thought about Season 6 for a bit.  I even started a new character.  Well, an old character really, as I used the rebirth option to restart my barbarian from back at launch.  His gear was so bad that he was unplayable anyways, so why not restart him.  I played him for about an hour, logged off, and haven’t been back since.  Maybe I’ll be up for Season 7.

EVE Online

Of course, for me, the war has been going on in New Eden.  We have been evicted from the last of our sovereignty.  We retook a couple of systems, and even still hold one, but that is a token effort at best.  Yet we still form up and fight our foes when they don’t heavily outnumber us and still hunt their ratters and reinforce their systems.  It is a battle of wills and we shall see who tires of it first.

EverQuest II

I have continued meandering around in Norrath.  After writing about my slow progress, I actually played some more and am up to level 25.  At least I haven’t been distracted by a host of alts, which is my usual problem in MMOs.

Minecraft

The rail loop project continues.  I have chosen my path and built a bridge already (a post on that later) and am looking for a site about midway to the mesa biome for one final production camp.

Pokemon

I did not play much Pokemon in May.  I made a little progress in Pokemon Blue, essentially finishing up the Silph Co. HQ building.  I spent most of my time just downloading the various special Pokemon that Nintendo made available this month, with a side journey to FanimeCon this past weekend in order to collect Street Passes.

Coming Up

There are ongoing reports that there will indeed be a Newbie Blogger Initiative for 2016.  However, the forums at NBI HQ appear to be untouched so far.

There was a patch to EVE Online today, YC118.5, which would normally get a blog post out of me.  However, aside from new integrated analyzers that are good for both Relic and Data sites, the patch is mostly just fixes.  (And some music.)  Plus, I already had a regularly scheduled blog post for today, this one.  I guess that wasn’t really a “coming up” item, but I didn’t know where else to put it.

The war in the north will carry on into June.  Everybody is moving into Saranen, but we’ll get to that in a post later this week I am sure.

The Warcraft movie is a week and a half away here in the US.  The reviews have been mediocre, which likely won’t influence fans, but may mean the difference between success and failure at the box office.  Word of mouth can influence that, but it will have to spread beyond those who are already fans.

We are also in the run to the WoW Legion expansion, which will hit at the end of August.  The expansion is now in closed beta, but the date I am waiting for is when the WoW 7.0 patch will hit.  That will be the time to start thinking about resubscribing for me.

As mentioned over the weekend, Daybreak is going to take Landmark live on the same day that the Warcraft movie hits in the US.  Not that I think one will have any impact on the other.  Meanwhile, the company has some more special servers planned for both EverQuest and EverQuest II.  Subscribers only, please.

And then there the possibility that a Steam Summer Sale might be showing up this month.  We shall see.

April in Review

The Site

Well, the MMO Bloggers Feed in my side bar got a last minute reprieve when IFTTT decided not to cut off Pinboard support on April 4th.

FeedlyPinboard

Pretty much the synopsis…

That was probably a good thing as my experiments with Delicious created RSS feeds have been a complete flop.  Not only do they have ads injected into the feed… which I get, they have to make money somehow… but something between Delicious and WordPress.com isn’t picking up the feed as it updates.  So while I look at the raw RSS and see new things being added, the feed just sits with the first couple of items.  Bleh.

Meanwhile, nobody has suggested anything about the Google+ syndication issue I mentioned last month, which I am going to take as a sign that either nobody really cares about Google+ syndication or nobody noticed that my posts stopped appearing there.  Probably the latter.

In addition, because I have a Google login that I use to comment on Blogger sites, I made a blog over there to point to this one since my Google profile only likes blogs they host.  But as I was tinkering with various RSS and feed options, I thought I figured out how to get anything that posted here to also post straight to that site as well.  I put that in place but never actually tested it.

Imagine my surprise when I passed by the blog half way into the month and found that it worked.  So I renamed the site The Redundant Ancient Gaming Noob.  The only problem is that it takes the post as published and never picks up any revisions, so all my original typos are there. (And I am too lazy to go fix them… though it takes a while to poll, so if I fix them right after I hit the “Publish” button… which, due to some lesser known physical property of the universe,  is the only time I can actually see my own typos… then I can catch them in time.)  Still, it seems to work.  Not sure it is much use and I figured the whole thing our about nine and a half years too late for me to jump ship to the Blogger platform.

And, finally, I thought I might not have anything to complain about when it came to WordPress.com this month, and then they decided to change the interface for doing inline links in such a way that they are more annoying AND you can easily delete them by accident.  Since that is a feature I use constantly… just look at them all in this post… that bit of nonsense has had me fuming for days.  It is like they never think things through.

One Year Ago

As ever, it was April Fools at Blizzard and elsewhere.

Elsewhere, EA was still selling lots of Sims titles, but were cutting online games like Need for Speed: World.

In what I thought must be an April Fools joke, Daybreak said they were not going to do any more expansions for EverQuest II.  Instead it was going to be DLC like the Rum Cellar.  A rum idea if ever there was one.  Likewise, though EverQuest was getting a new progression server, it seemed like it was the end of the road for expansions in old Norrath.  Also, that logo, totally not stolen.

Of course, why would you even need an official progression server, since Daybreak declared Project 1999 totally legit.

And speaking of rum ideas from Daybreak, they were also pushing people off of their forums and on to Reddit.  How were they going to lock threads and delete posts there?

CCP was talking about ship skins in EVE Online, in hopes of finally finding the right formula for the Mosaic expansion.

In New Eden the war was still going in Delve, including a big fight at ZXB-VC, while the Reavers were doing their work in Querious.  Not only that, but we were also decked out in our spiffy new jackets… well, some of us were.  I was trying to be in both fronts of the war. The Reavers front was the place to be though.

The Imperium was declared, with Max Singularity VI as our spiritual leader.  Also, Karma Fleet was launched and Xenuria got in and was a Goon for like ten minutes!  How crazy was that?   I’m sure that will never happen again.  Right?

Blizzard’s WoW Token idea went live, and the US regional version immediately dropped below the opening price.  They also had a beta for the Legacy of the Void expansion for which I was not prepared.

The instance group was doing Auchindoun and Skyreach in Draenor… after which we were fresh out of dungeons until we all hit 100.  After that I was leveling up some characters and complaining about little things in WoW.

Meanwhile, the war of the rings in Lord of the Rings Online was dragging out into its eighth year.  Is this Mordor or Afghanistan?

While we’re there, Guild Wars turned ten.

And there was this Liebster thing, which feels like it happened a lot longer than just a year ago.

Five Years Ago

Of course, there was some April foolery both here and at Blizzard.

I also wrote something about magic quadrants.

Sanya Weathers had one of the best quotes about MMO gamers ever, made all the more amusing by its truth.

Battlefront.com released a completely new version of their original WWII Combat Mission series.

Wargaming.net released World of Tanks.

SOE’s spy themed MMO, The Agency, was officially cancelled.

We got a PlayStation 3.  And then the PlayStation Network got hacked.  At least I could still play Blu-Ray disks and stream Netflix.

The instance group got together and decided to try out EverQuest II Extended, the one-time separate free to play version of EverQuest II.  However, the game immediately began to kick us in the teeth for daring to do solo content as a group.

Being there in EQIIx also meant looking at what the cash store had to offer.  Some of this stuff is gone now in the post merger era of EQIIFlying mounts are still around.  And some idea, like selling max-level characters, would have to wait a while to come back.

And Potshot and I were still playing EverQuest.  We moved on from Unrest to Lake Rathetear and spent an evening there.  Then it was on to Kerra Island and finally we made it to Runnyeye, at which point SOE also went down due to the PSN hacking.  That pretty much ended our EverQuest adventures for 2011.

I did have to explain EverQuest to my daughter.  Her foundation in MMOs is World of Warcraft.

Ten Years Ago

ANet releases its first post-launch Guild Wars expansion, Guild Wars: Factions. It only took them a year, too.  Right, Blizzard?  See?

Auto Assault went live, perhaps the first “troubled at launch” MMO I am personally aware of that fails to get past its issues.  The game ends up being shuttered by NCsoft 19 months down the road.  It is, for a while, the poster child for MMO launch failures.

Nintendo announced the name of their new console, slated to replace the GameCube.  Known up to that point only by its code name “Revolution,” Nintendo said it was going to call it the “Wii.”

Viacom spent $102 million to purchase Xfire.  According to Viacom: “Xfire and its users fit squarely into the Company’s multiplatform strategy to build an engaging universe of music, gaming, entertainment, news, networking and interactivity for focused audiences.”  They also thought NeoPets were worth splurging on as well.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Kirith Kodachi has been plugging away for more than a decade at his blog.  While not initially about MMOs, he fell into EVE Online at about the same time I did (I beat him by 10 days), at which point it began to take over his blog, a situation that persists through to today.  EVE is just a crazy game that is fun to write about, and it has been interesting to watch our parallel, yet very different, trajectories through New Eden.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

While zKillboard now gives you something of a battle report with its related kills option, I much prefer the output from the Battle Report Tool.  It draws data from zKillboard to piece together the raw details about who shot whom and which ships got blown up and how much ISK it was all worth.  While I am not all about the kill mails, I do like looking at battle reports this site generates in order to understand what happened.  I often have a sense in a battle if we’re doing well or not, but this helps quantify what just happened.

Most Viewed Posts in April

Well, I can write every day of the week about EVE Online, but nothing brings in traffic like a World of Warcraft post.

  1. April Fools at Blizzard – 2016
  2. Blizzard, Nostalrius, and the Classic Server Question
  3. Will Nostalrius Drama Shift the Sleeping WoW Giant?
  4. War Footing, War Fever
  5. FCON Leaves The Imperium
  6. SMA Leaves The Imperium
  7. World War Bee – What’s in a Name?
  8. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  9. Google Tells Me Nearly All Games are Dead
  10. The Russian Complication
  11. FCON Shows Up in Immensea
  12. CSM 11 Announced – Xenuria Wins at Last

Search Terms of the Month

Claude Ring
[Once I saw that, I made an alt with that name]

origin unifies your gaming life
[The way your mom organizes your trading cards]

legion gonna suck
[And haters gonna hate]

if you change world of warcraft payment plan do you get a refund
[no]

lotro level store
[I don’t think the cash shop is quite there yet]

what do you get after you complete the national pokedex
[Your life back?]

Diablo III

I haven’t really played much Diablo III this past month, except to go in once Season 5 ended to clean up my storage situation.  It is nice to have everything combined into the common storage, but the fact that the game mails you all of your seasonal stuff was kind of a pain.  Okay, maybe I should have recycled some of those legendary items I held onto, because it took a while to collect all the items and then sort them out into different boxes.

EVE Online

The war goes on.  On the down side, we’ve lost almost all our sovereignty.  On the up side, we don’t have to go very far to find fun.  There has been an almost continuous supply of fleet ops from Saranen for the last few weeks.  I am starting to think the war effort depends mostly on Boat holding out.  He has been running fleets every day for hours at a stretch.  Best fleets to be on though.

Oh, and there was the Citadel expansion that has the potential to change everything in New Eden.

EverQuest II

I have pottered around on the Stormhold nostalgia server off and on this month.  EQII is less of a solo game for me than others.  I don’t think I have ever played for more than a week or so without ending up in a guild with at least a few people I know.  But it is fun.  The pace is slow and it is relaxing if I have a couple of free hours.  My shadow knight is level 22 and fumbling around between Nek forest and Butcherblock.

Minecraft

I swear I meant to do a Minecraft post this month.  Actually I have a few.  But I never quite got there.  News of the moment from the war in New Eden and Blizzard managed to preempt tales of building.  Still, if I look at Raptr, I spent more time in Minecraft than any other game in April… though that might be because Raptr stopped tracking EVE Online when I upgraded to the new launcher.  Doh!  I have to remember to manually enter that time, and I forget more often than I remember.

Pokemon

I have been carrying on with Pokemon Blue.  Another gym badge down.  Progress has been slow in part because it remains the fourth item on my list of things to play of late, and because it is a game I don’t play sitting at my desk in front of my computer.  As such, I never launch Pokemon by default, I have to actively want to play it.  Still, I have time to finish.  Pokemon Sun & Moon are not due until winter.

World of Warcraft

I did not actually PLAY WoW in April, aside from logging in to check something out on a level 20 character.  But I did write about it.  I didn’t even write that much, but if you look at the top posts for the month, WoW was definitely a big topic.  The whole vanilla/classic/special server thing opened up a lot of emotions and I am sure we are not done with it yet.  I know I am not.

Coming Up

Summer is coming, and May is its harbinger… at least out here in Silicon Valley where despite what the calendar says it can feel like Summer from some point in April through until November.  Not sure that means much for the blog, aside from the fact that I might write more with the window open in the evenings.

The war in New Eden will carry on and we shall see who has the greater endurance.  CCP though, I am going to bet we are going to see a lot of post-Citadel patches in May.

The Warcraft movie is just a month and ten days away, so I expect to see Blizzard ramping up on that pretty strongly while trying to go back to ignoring the whole vanilla server drama it stirred up by shutting down Nostalrius.

Speaking of Blizzard, their latest title, Overwatch, will go live this month.  I am not really interested in playing myself… and my daughter, who wants to play, is fuming about the lack of MacOS support… but another game from Anaheim means that much less focus on WoW.  It isn’t a zero sum thing, but a company can only put out so much PR before it is trying to talk over itself.

Also, isn’t Daybreak supposed to ship Landmark this spring?  May is the last full month of spring left this year… well, that and 20 days of June.  That will be a thing.

I will write something… or finish writing something… about Minecraft.

And… what else is coming up in May?

March in Review

The Site

This month, many words about the site.

For reasons unclear to me, the automatic WordPress.com syndication to Google+ stopped working for me in the last month or so.

Well, technically, it still works perfectly for me… but only for me.  Everything that gets syndicated is shared only with myself.

GPSharedOnlyWithYouAs far as I can tell, nothing has changed at my end.  The transition seemed to have happened somewhere between the 22nd and 23rd of last month, because on the 22nd things were sharing just fine!

GPSharedPubliclyBut after that items were only shared with myself.  Looking through Google+ for some setting or change brought me no joy, while the settings within WordPress.com are minimal.

Looking at the WP.com support forums though, it appears I am not the only one seeing this issue.  However, given that WP.com is not answering any threads opened about the topic, instead choosing to close them without comment, seems to indicate that I am not going to find a solution there.  I have a manual work around, but that requires me to go into G+ every day and republish every item.  And then they appear twice in my own feed, which is kind of annoying.

So, if you were following my blog via Google+… which I think would make you Potshot, Tipa or Brian Green, my G+ following being fairly limited… and you noticed I suddenly stopped posting there, this is why.  Of course, if you only follow me there then you may never see this.

Elsewhere automatic syndication remains active, so I am still a menace on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Meanwhile, in the midst of a somewhat sleepy month here there was a sudden spike in page views when Reavers CO Asher Elias posted my Higgs Anchor Rigs tale to /r/eve.  That was a big enough one day boost to secure that post the top spot on the “most viewed” post list below and to prove that people in /r/eve/ will click on just about any link put in front of them.

Then there was this:

Which made it sound like my MMO Blogesphere side bar feed was about to die.  Since that came up I got a notification that my Rube Goldberg implementation only has until April 4th, then it is gone. Time to figure out a new course on that one I suppose, because it is the one thing readers here click on regularly according to the stats.

Addendum: Got a note this evening indicating that IFTTT and Pinboard might come to some agreement that will keep them working together.  At least it won’t shut down on Monday as planned.  We shall see.

And then, in a minor odometer moment, one of my post categories actually rolled into four digits.  With this post, the top five most used categories (aside from “entertainment” which is everything here) now are:

  1. EVE Online – 1,000
  2. World of Warcraft – 999
  3. EverQuest II – 612
  4. EverQuest – 492
  5. Lord of the Rings Online – 360

CCP wins the race to one thousand.  Is this an EVE blog or a WoW blog now?  Random people keep telling me it has to be one or the other.

One Year Ago

I hit level 50 yet again.

The Elder Scrolls Online dropped the subscription business model.

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign was still running.  I was wondering if they had a mid-game plan.  They really didn’t, but the campaign still brought in $1.7 million, double what was asked.

EA closed down Maxis as an entity within its organization.  It is what EA does best.

It was a Turbine roast as an insider spilled the beans on problems that have plagued the developer of Lord of the Rings Online.

Rift hit its four year anniversary, but it felt like it had been around for longer than that.

I was wondering what a progression server would look like with EverQuest II.  But it was Sweet 16 for EverQuest, which was getting a new progression server for its birthday it seemed.

Blizzard announced that they were going to go ahead with their PLEX-like idea, the WoW Token.  The instance group was in the Iron Docks and farting around in garrisons.

CCP was talking about the next stage of the proposed sovereignty changes for EVE Online.  There was the Scylla release, which was overshadowed by Fanfest.  Also, the members of CSMX were announced.

In New Eden I attempted to fly an Ibis from Immensea to Deklein.  Then there was a rumor of war as the usual suspects attacked our sovereignty in Fountain.  That called for a big old move op which, in post-Phoebe New Eden, meant caps taking gates.  Then there was that system our foes took.  And once they were evicted from Fountain, it was time for a punitive expedition to Delve.

And The Mittani declared that the power blocs of New Eden would never die.  We shall see.

My daughter and I tried out Diablo III on the PlayStation 3.

I put together a review of my Kickstarter history… I should do that again.

Finally, it seemed as though some of the MMO news sites were paying attention to bloggers again… at least briefly.

Five Years Ago

Rift officially launched.  And while I wasn’t playing, the social media options integrated into the game made it feel like I was there.  And I don’t mean that in a good way.

Pokemon Black and White came out, which became the theme for my birthday.

World of Tanks was talking about going live in April.  There was, of course, a pre-order offer.  There always is these days.

Potshot and I made it to GDC thanks to Darren, where we were able to hobnob with the likes of Brian Green and Damion Schubert.

March of five years ago found me spending time in EverQuest.  It was on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server last year, which at that point was still set in the original EverQuest zones.  Potshot and I were doing some classic things, like getting stuck in the Ocean of Tears and making alts.  And running out of money.

There were the newbie armor quests to work on, which required travel to Freeport at one point, something as hard as we remembered.  We also visited Unrest, North Karana, the Desert of Ro, and Najena.

It was also the 12 year anniversary of the EverQuest launch, and nobody was more surprised that I that I was playing the game 12 years later.  But no corpse runs please.

The instance group, still in Cataclysm Worgen form, spent a couple of nights in Scarlet Monastery and then went to Razorfen Kraul.

I put up a poll asking people which of several items in my drafts folder (current population: 57) I should buckle down on and finish.  I think almost everything on the list except the winner is still in my drafts folder.

And I came home one day to find the TV had died.  Emergency CPR (read: banging on the damn thing) brought it back to life temporarily, but clearly a replacement was going to be needed.  It was, after all, a few years older than EverQuest.

Ten Years Ago

World of Warcraft hit 6 million subscribers.  Eventually it would double that number.

Twitter launched, but who in the hell wants a platform limited to just 140 characters?

Brent, going by the “Prognosticator” handle back then, launched the VirginWorlds podcast which began what was, for me, the golden age of MMO podcasting.  His site is still up and chugging away and you can go and listen to VirginWorlds episode 1 if you care to relive the world of possibilities that seemed to be ahead of us for MMOs back then.  It was a different time.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Belghast, who runs the blog, is in the “must post every day” club.  If there are 31 days in the month, he’ll have 31 posts on his site.  He doesn’t even take weekends off.  And every day he posts many words about the MMOs and other games he plays.  Then, every August, he runs a community event called “Blaugust” where he invites his fellow bloggers to join him in his post-a-day routine.  I’ve kept up with him each time so far.  He is also much more active in fostering community in our corner of the internet.  I talk about that community once in a while, he tries to make it really a thing.  Oh, and he does a podcast as well.  I get tired just thinking about all that.  So go visit him and say, “Hi!”

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

I remember when Meclin first went to null sec and told me about this site.  It seemed confusing, but I was mining in high sec in the same system every day.  I didn’t need all that.  And then I went to null sec, and the site became as necessary is air.  I have said in the past that EVE Online’s in-game map is a very impressive.  Show it people who don’t play and they will be in awe.

But it isn’t very useful.

Yes, it is more useful than it used to be, but it still mostly getting by on looks alone.  And the new map is even more slanted in that direction.  So if you want to know what is where, what the best route is, who owns what system in null sec, or what systems are being attacked, DOTLAN is THE place to go.  I am constantly looking at the site and regularly use screen grabs of maps there for posts.  I need to donate some more money to Wollari just thinking about all that.  You do too!

CCP also did a community spotlight dev blog about DOTLAN a few years back if you want to read more about it.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Me and the Medium Higgs Anchor Rig
  2. Betrayal at M-OEE8
  3. The Imperium Abandons the Vale of the Silent Region
  4. EverQuest Next and the End of the Classic MMORPG
  5. The WildStar Headshot
  6. Setting Sail with Yacht Fleet
  7. Upgrading to Minecraft 1.9
  8. Will EVE Online Get a Bounce from M-OEE8?
  9. SOE and Its MMORPGs
  10. Market Saturation and the Cash Shop
  11. Skill Injectors, Meet Experience Injectors
  12. Contemplating that Last Stand at VFK-IV

Search Terms of the Month

how to 2 box everquest on phinigel true box server
[You are  a bad person]

syncrude shutdown march
[I think SynCaine is planning to carry on]

how many characters are in wheel of time
[Too fucking many]

pantheon rise of the fallen will the trolls be playable
[No, the trolls will remain in the forums and comment threads]

playstation how to use daybreak cash?

psn soe settlement how to use daybreak cash?

ps3 how to use station cash?

how to use daybreak cash psn dcuo

bought dc market cash but can’t use it
[There is some problem with Daybreak Cash on PSN I guess]

Diablo III

Well, I carried on and played through Season 5 right up until the moment I competed the set dungeon for the final baseline achievement… and then I totally stopped playing.  There is a lesson in that somewhere.  Anyway, it is off my currently playing list and will likely remain so until at least Season 6 starts… whenever that happens.

EVE Online

To put it mildly, shit got real in our small… now smaller… corner of null sec.  The war has been given a few names.  The Second Great War, or World War Bee, starring Goonswarm in the role of Band of Brothers.  Noizy dubbed it The Casino War, because one side is being proudly financed by an online gambling site. (Making it one of The Mercenary Wars in Matterall’s expansive write up.)  Then this week it was suddenly The Easter War, because CCP likes… bunnies and Cadbury eggs?  Seriously, CCP claims this is what most people are calling it, but I never heard the term until they started using it this week.  I get the feeling that, in hindsight, we might end up calling this the Propaganda War, as spin on both sides is getting quite thick.

Anyway, I expect we will be seeing a lot more of that from both sides as the war continues.  It will all be a good read a year from now.

EverQuest II

After writing about all sorts of Daybreak topics this month, including the cancellation of EverQuest Next, I had a rather unsurprising urge to go wander around Norrath.  I picked EQII and the Stormhold server for my focus, and spent some time doing the quest lines in The Commonlands.  It was both nostalgic, a lot of things haven’t changed in 11 years, and a bit disappointing, a lot of annoying things haven’t changed in 11 years.  Still moving myself slowly forward in hopes of getting to Nek Forest.

Minecraft

I wasn’t playing too much Minecraft until our server bill started to loom.  That got me in and playing as I was looking for a new home.  I settled on Minecraft Realms, which has worked out well so far.  That got me back in and working on a huge new “public works” project, which I will post about at some point… as soon as I get around to posting about my last such project.

Pokemon

Pokemon celebrated 20 years back in February and I bought a copy of Pokemon Blue for the Virtual Console from the Nintendo eShop.  As I spent some time traveling early in the month, I actually got to spend some time focused on the game. (Nothing like a couple of five hour plane trips to make time for that.)  I have been pleasantly surprised by the game, though perhaps not for the obvious reasons.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is that day where the unfunny think they are funny, the grumpy act grumpier, and the wise treat any headline as though it were posted on Reddit.  It is only for a day, but since nothing on the internet is ever fully gone, your regrettable mistakes will last forever.

The war New Eden will carry on.  After the hammer blow of the CO2 betrayal, things feel like they are hitting a new equilibrium, with a war of attrition over command nodes running every night.  Each side either needs a new tactic, a new defection, or the other side to stop showing up to make big gains.  Rumors say that there will be an official State of the Goonion tomorrow.  One has to ask if April Fools is setting the right tone?

Meanwhile, the new expansion looms, bringing with it citadels and capital ship changes.  Will that change the face of the war, and will the war still be going when it hits?  April promises to be interesting.

As noted above, I hope to make it to Nek Forest in EverQuest II.  I am not sure how well nostalgia will sustain me there however.  The original version of the zone was a punishing horror show, so I don’t really miss that.  The last time I did anything in the zone though, the whole thing had turned into a tedious amount of running half way across the zone and back for quest updates.  Maybe Echoes of Faydwer will go live by then.  I already have a crafting guild request to go to Butcherblock, which won’t be live on the server until that expansion hits.

I also want to buckle down and finish Pokemon Blue… then write about it.  Or maybe just write about it.  Something.

And I need to figure out a new scheme for my side bar.  My current plan is to try Pinboard’s mortal enemy Delicious.  A test version is even now lurking at the bottom of the side bar.  If that doesn’t work out though, it will be back to a static blogroll for a while.

February in Review

The Site

Here we are, another month gone by as we move through the tenth year of the blog.  Despite the extra day we get this year… the third leap day for the blog… it has been a quiet yet active month here.

It was quiet because I was pretty much gone for a week as we went to Hawaii for my wife’s birthday.  I wrote a few posts in advance, but nothing spectacular.

img_0439

Obligatory “I was in Hawaii” picture featuring Diamond Head

But then it was busy because somehow, even with that interruption, I ended up writing 29 posts this month, if you include this one.  Things happened I guess, like the DUST 514 shut down announcement (I wrote that post while waiting for my wife to get ready to go to the airport!) and skill injectors and the Pokemon 20th anniversary.  Another lesson that, if you have low standards, you will never run out of things about which to write I suppose.

One Year Ago

Sony Online Entertainment ceased to be, having been sold off to Columbus Nova and rebranded as Daybreak Games Company.  The launch was not auspicious to my mind, with Columbus Nova issuing a questionable press release while the new company shed many old hands.  Still, classic Norrath seemed to be safeNew progression servers for EverQuest were announced fairly quickly thereafter.

H1Z1 was out in early access (or “recently launched” according to Colubus Nova) and having some issues.  Polygon took my own point of view in stating that if a company is out there taking money for a game then they felt entitled to review it as it stood.

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign launched and the game quickly hit its initial goal.  Meanwhile, I was wondering how Nebula Online, another project with a Kickstarter, was going to make any money.

Massively and WoW Insider were recreating themselves as Massively OP and Blizzard Watch.

I was still playing WoW , which still had 10 million subscribers, while looking towards the 6.1 patch was due.  I was doing pet battles and looking at my addons.

I was also still flailing about a bit with Elite: Dangerous.

Star Wars: The Old Republic seemed headed back to that vaunted fourth pillar.

The Tiamat expansion hit EVE Online, unleashing the Svipul menace.  CCP was bribing people to vote in the CSMX election. And for the monthly blog banter walking in stations came up again.  I was also figuring out how to change my space clothes and Reavers were making a difference.

The now defunct BattleClinic had just finished their site overhaul, allowing players to mine more data out of their kill mails.

Then there was Juche.

And, finally, a farewell to Leonard Nimoy.

Five Years Ago

At one point I was declared influential.  We got over that pretty quickly though.

Hulkageddon IV came and went.  We all survived.  And then there was the new character creator in EVE Online.  It had… options.

LOTRO had a welcome back event… even though it is free to play.

There was yet another sign of the coming apocalypse.

NetDevil got pulled out of LEGO Universe.

Nintendo was banging the drum for Pokemon Black and White.  We were certainly ready for it at our house.

Van Hemlock was slumming back in MMOs for a bit.

I was taking a look at the holy trinity of roles through a historical lens.  It wasn’t always Tank/Healer/DPS.

The instance group was still playing World of Warcraft Now we just get nostalgic about it.

World of Tanks.  It was in beta and set some sort of bogus record.

Rift was getting ready to launch.  People were freaking out in the absence of calm words.  Personally, I wasn’t buying into the game.  Who needed a WoW clone when we had WoW?

Nostalgia was officially on with the launch of the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server.  Characters were rolled.  Low level zones were crowded and experience was slow.  But the tour was a go.  We hit the Qeynos Hills, Blackburrow, West Karana, and the Qeynos SewersImportant spells were rediscovered and camping trips were planned.  Not everything was as we remembered it, but it made for a pretty darn good nostalgia adventure.

And while that was going on, SOE shipped the Destiny of Velious expansion for EverQuest II.  But I couldn’t be bothered.

And, finally, one of our cats was on top of the refrigerator.

Ten Years Ago

EVE Online reached the 100,000 subscriber mark, back when companies talked about such things publicly, and launched the Bloodlines expansion.  That expansion, which basically complicated character creation and made everybody go Caldari, would be the current state of the game when I made my first character in New Eden a few months down the road.

James Cameron was jumping onto the MMO bandwagon with Multiverse Network, which was going to lower the barrier to entry for MMO creation.  The plan was for there to be an MMO released alongside his next movie, but Avatar had to go it alone in the end, while Multiverse Network shut down in 2011.

SOE launched the Kingdom of Sky expansion for EverQuest II, which became the first bit of content that I did not buy for the game.  I never purchased the expansion, getting it for free as part of the later Echoes of Faydwer expansion.  It marks the line between “classic” and “new stuff” in my brain, as illogical as that seems ten years down the road.

Dungeons & Dragons Online went live.  I remember picking up the box at Fry’s and reading the label on the bottom of the box that declared the game required group play, that no solo play was supported.  I put the box back on the shelf and moved on.  How times have changed.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s feature site I want to bring your attention to:

While I remain confused as to what to call him some days… the blog is the “Nosy” gamer, but he goes by “Noizy” when he signs his handle… his is the blog you go to if you want to see somebody track and follow up on topics like illicit RMT in EVE Online and other such goings on.  He is a respected source in the EVE Online community.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

This is a long form blog that delves in depth into video games and other related digital entertainment topics.  Posts come up about weekly, but they usually dig deep into the meat of the topic at hand.  Take a look at the table of contents for the site.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. MMOs and their Middle Age Problems…
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. First Night of Skill Point Trading in Jita
  5. Pokemon 20th Anniversary Download Events Kick Off with Mew
  6. CCP Continues to Confound Recognized Financial Expert
  7. Further Anecdotes from the Skill Injector Front in New Eden
  8. Diablo III Season 5 and into Chapter IV
  9. Our Automated Farms in Minecraft
  10. DUST 514 to Shut Down on May 30, 2016
  11. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  12. Quote of the Day – CSM members have no agency

Search Terms of the Month

elder scrolls online 1 million
[I wouldn’t pay that much, wait for a Steam sale]

need someone to hack my empires and allies accnt
[Wouldn’t you be better of just letting that go?]

what expansion is fippy darkpaw in
[They were trying to unlock Underfoot back in July 2014…]

wow token useless for free players
[For specific definitions of “free” I suppose]

Diablo III

I have carried on with Season 5, finding fun in chasing down the various goals and achievements laid out for this round.  This has led me to my highest level character yet in the almost four years since the game launched.  That probably says something, though I am not sure what.

EVE Online

The month started with the Reavers and some of KarmaFleet down in Querious having a good time brawling with the locals.  Then we got called back home because we had a real war… or as real of a war as we can manage these days… to fight.  The Casino War, pitting the Coalition of the Billing against SpaceMonkey’s Alliance.  So that has been the main focus for the last couple weeks, with content being delivered to our doorstep fresh daily.  And it looks set to continue on.

Meanwhile, the theme of the month seemed to be skill injectors.  I have yet to be in a fleet since they were introduced where somebody hasn’t announced they have a new ability thanks to injecting billions of ISK worth of skill points straight into their head.

Finally, we seem to be ending up the month with server issues and extended downtime.  I hope that isn’t a sign of things to come.

Minecraft

It has been a quiet month on the Minecraft front.  I’ve still played some, and Aaron built another automated device for us, but there hasn’t been much to write about.  However, the 1.9 update looks like it is finally threatening to arrive, and that should stir things up a bit.

PlanetSide 2

In a moment of odd timing, just as the Casino War was heating up to the point that Reavers were called back home, The Imperium decided we should go play PlanetSide 2.  The deal to get us there was no doubt struck with Daybreak ages ago, so the timing was what it was.  Still, it is free to download and a pretty easy game to jump in and out of.  I’ll be interested to see if it sticks.

Pokemon

Pokemon turned 20 years old just two days ago, which got me focused on the game somewhat.  There is a series of legendary download events over the course of the year to celebrate.  And the next installments in the core RPG game, Pokemon Sun & Moon were announced three days back, so we have those to look forward to.  Meanwhile, the most immediate action was the release of the original games, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, on the 3DS Virtual Console.

In order to experience the origins of the series, I grabbed a copy of Blue, while my daughter picked Red.  We shall see how far we get.

Coming Up

What is coming up next month… aside from the dreaded start of Daylight Savings Time?  For a week or two I will be extra groggy every morning as I try force the reality of my sleep pattern to line up with the illusion that is time.

As noted above, there is the distinct possibility that we will get the Minecraft 1.9 update in March.  That could lead to some fun as we try to upgrade our server.

In EVE Online the CSM XI elections kick off today.  That will mean something to somebody I am sure.  There will likely be a March (YC118.3) Update coming, though I am not sure what we’ll get besides fixes.  I am not sure what features are slated to hit before the big Citadels expansion later this year.  Are we getting that new watchlist update?  And, of course, the Casino War will carry on for a while I am sure.  We’ll see who gets tired of nightly content first I suppose.

There may or may not be some PlanetSide 2 times worth writing about.

I will no doubt have something to say about Pokemon Blue as I play to discover just how far the series has evolved in 20 years.  I played quite a bit yesterday and I was actually a bit surprised at where things stood “in the beginning” as it were.

And I suspect that Season 5 of Diablo III might be winding down for me.

January in Review

The Site

I was actually warming a bit to WordPress.com’s new stats page, in part to the face that it lets you download the data in CSV format.  I like that.  Not enough to make me give up the old stats page, but at least I have a reason to go to the new one.

So I was afraid I might not have anything to complain about here… and then I noticed that they took away the tool tips from the calendar in the side bar.

Mousing over does no good now...

Mousing over a screen shot does as much now…

You used to be able to mouse over a date and it would show you the titles of the posts that were published on that date, which was a REALLY handy feature for somebody like me who goes back and reviews old posts.  So WordPress.com makes me rage again.  How did this help anything?

Also, in the run up to the 10th anniversary of the blog I am adding a “Ten Years” ago section to the month in review.  Unlike the one and five year sections, this won’t link to posts I made quite yet, but will bring up news and like foundation items related to things I’ve covered here.

Finally, tired of trying to fine a pair of new linking sites every month, something I have managed for all but two months so far during the life of the blog (or 110 time out of 112 tries) I am going to retire that section.  Instead I will feature a couple of sites from our little corner of the internet.  We shall see how that works out.

One Year Ago

The Elder Scrolls Online announced they were ditching their mandatory subscription model.

We bid farewell to Massively and WoW Insider as AOL pared down their web content presence yet again.

At long last Runic was poised to deliver the Mac OS version of Torchlight II.  I just didn’t care any more.

Anet surprised exactly nobody and announced a Guild Wars 2 expansion.

Elite: Dangerous was making me feel like an incompetent boob… well, more so that usual.

Smed took the bait and wrote “money grab” in a tweet, which then became a gaming news headline.  Of course, he was also saying things about disgusting carebears and telling us things were not MMOs when they were clearly labeled as such.

Sony players were told they would get as much as 450 SC for the great downtime of 2011, while the lawyers would pocket $2.75 million.

PlanetSide 2 got a record for what I considered a somewhat dubious achievement.

In EverQuest II I was running a paladin through the same content I just ran through with a berserker including the Palace of the Awakened.

The Lord of the Rings Online Producer’s Letter wasn’t impressing me, to the point I was wondering whether anybody else might create an open world Middle-earth game.

In WoW I got in and did the 10th Anniversary Molten Core event at the last minute.  The instance group was discovering that you had to be level 92 to do just about anything in Gorgrond.  I was also opining about garrisons in Draenor.  I had five after all.

In EVE Online it was time to usher in YC117.  There was also a video about the age range of the New Eden player base, the Proteus expansion, Gevlon was making more friends, and the Reavers deployed again, passing though Thera on the way,

I was muttering about paid early access and that sort of thing again.  Even Blizzard seemed to be in on the act.

And we had to say goodbye to our little Trixie cat.

Five Years Ago

Eschewing the predicting convention, I issued demands for 2011. and then tried to figure out the scale used for the Blog Health-o-Meter that WordPress.com sent out to various sites.

The blog was listed at a Vietnamese gaming site in a top 10 post that looked suspiciously like one from Massively.

TERA was trying to win notice by telling people how they had boars in their game!  BOARS!  Can you imagine?

EuroGamer tried to tell us PlanetSide 2 would be out by Q2 2011.

Rift, on the other hand, gave us a more believable release date.

It was time to start messing with the then new EVE Online character creator.

DC Universe Online launched.  I played in the beta just long enough to remind myself I am not a superhero kind of guy.  Sales of the game were pretty evenly split between Windows and PlayStation 3, but play time seemed to be impacted by American Idol when it came to the console side of the house.

Of course, that was back during the subscription era of MMOs, when Smed was telling us what paying a subscription to lead us to expect.

I used Google to tell me World of Warcraft’s five most pressing issues at the time.

Meanwhile, the Twilight Cadre was back in Azeroth in force and checking out Cataclysm.  We got our first guild achievement.  Our group of new characters, four worgen and a gnome, went through Westfall and all its phasing magic, wailed in the Wailing Caverns, before settling down to a pattern of doing three instances every Saturday night.  I wasn’t sure if we had skilled up a lot or if the game had been dumbed down that much, but clearly the 1-60 game in Cataclysm was proving to be not much of a challenge.

The official World of Warcraft magazine was asking me to renew my subscription, though they weren’t really up to mail merge technology it seems.

There was some cool stuff in Cataclysm.  I like the balloons.  Redridge, never one of my favorite places, got turned into a fun solo experience.  And there was the Murloc combat ability.  But otherwise, the game was starting to lose us.

I was muttering about rebates.  My daughter and I were rounding up LEGO minifigures.

And, finally, Pokemon was coming to town.

Ten Years Ago

SOE announced that they were going to merge EverQuest II servers a little more than a year after the game went live, trimming the server count down by folding 10 low population servers into 10 low to medium population servers.  The reason given is that the world was sooo big that the population was too spread out.  I’m pretty sure most people thought that the game had just lost too many players to WoW to make that many servers viable since MMO populations are rarely evenly spread but tend to form a bubble in the latest content.

Nintendo, which was still selling the GameBoy Advance (and would continue to here until 2008) announced the first major update to their crazy two screen DS handheld platform.  The new Nintendo DS Lite would end up being, in my opinion, one of the finest handheld consoles ever, with sharp screens, a compact form factor, excellent finish, and great battery life along with continuing the backward compatibility with the GBA.  The only problem I ever had with my cobalt blue unit involved me getting old and being unable to read text on the screen without glasses.

Featured Sites of the Month

So for the inaugural run of this, and I am not sure really what I want to do here aside from not go scouring blog rolls every month, I am going to call out a blog:

Bhagpuss, writes about all sort of MMORPGs I no longer, or never will, play.  He is, in his own way, the anti-elite player, being more interested in setting, story, and exploring the corners of things.  And his blogroll side bar makes for a good reading list.

Then for a bigger site I want to mention:

Feldon keeps track of all of the information you need to know about EverQuest II without feeling the need to fill space with a lot of fluff.  Excellent signal to noise ratio.  I wish every game I played had a site like EQ2 Wire dedicated to it.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  2. Sixteen Predictions for 2016
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. Random Thoughts about The Force Awakens – Spoilers
  5. The Demise of BattleClinic
  6. Torn on MMORPGs
  7. Why Did the Hero’s Song Kickstarter Fail?
  8. MMOs on the List of Most Important PC Games
  9. How Much to Play EVE Valkyrie?
  10. Another Steam Winter Sale Fades Away
  11. You Play the Hand with the Cards You Have, Not the Cards You May Want…
  12. Smed Goes to Kickstarter for the Hardcore

Search Terms of the Month

lotro serverbpipulatioms
[I think you might have your fingers on the wrong keys]

heir to the empire 20th anniversary audiobook
[Wow, Google has sent you to a relevant result!]

fans unsubscribe wow over flying in draeno
[I think they unsubscribed long before that was an issue]

warcraft conspiracies
[They are many and varied]

Diablo III

With the onset of patch 2.4.0 and Season 5 I found myself playing a lot more Diablo III.  I was previously somewhat indifferent to the whole “seasons” thing, having started out on Season 4 only to give up after an hour or so.  I think I made better choices this time, particularly by picking a class I already liked and upping the difficulty, so I ran through and made it to level cap.  I am in the third chapter of seasonal achievements.  We shall see if I can stick it out through all of them and collect the goodies.

EVE Online

A modest month in New Eden picked up when Reavers and KarmaFleet deployed down to Querious.  Things started out fun, but then locals got in a panic about Goons.  Now we are dodging much larger fleets, which can carry its own sort of satisfaction.  Somewhere along the way we even took sovereignty in a system for a bit, just because.

Minecraft

Minecraft has felt some neglect this month, though mostly because I finished another big project and am thinking about what to do next.  I also have a couple of posts I want to do about what has been up.  Aaron is our most active user of late, and he has built quite an array of devices that I will want to feature at some point.

Coming Up

It will be February tomorrow, but it will still be gray and gloomy… which is fine with me.  Of more bother is the Super Bowl 50, which is happening about 15 minutes up the road from our house.  A zillion fans, press, and hangers on are about to descend on the valley, so it might be a good time to leave.

In EVE Online we have the February update coming up, which will include skill stripping and selling.  Meanwhile, the Reavers/KarmaFleet deployment is expected to last for a while.

It will also be the height of the CSM silly season with many a plea to get out the vote as though there were a candidate one could vote for that would have any effect on anything.   Stabs wrote something about “regulatory capture” when the opposite is actually the case.  This is just CCP co-opting critical player groups so they can pretend like they are listening.  It is all PR and it has been since it the plan was announced back in 2008.

As for other MMORPGs… well… I guess I don’t play any other MMORPGs these days.  Minecraft and Diablo III both scratch bits of that itch I suppose.  I’ll probably have a post about that.

That isn’t much going on in February, but I am sure I am forgetting something.

December in Review

The Site

Here we are at the end of another year.  Somehow most of us survived.  2016 looms, just hours away here.  This is my 10th December in Review post, 112th month in review, and my 3,814th post overall, during the life of the blog.

WordPress.com didn’t anger me this month…. at least not with anything new.  They introduced a new stand-alone app to managed your blog, available for both Mac and Windows.  Not sure I need that, but there it is.  The only external apps I regularly use for the blog are Notepad ++, Paint.net, and Corel PaintShop Pro X3.

They also introduced some new blog themes.  They are actually pretty good about cranking out some new themes, generally on Thursdays.  They are all just appallingly ugly and unreadable in my opinion, though I clearly have very specific tastes on that front.  I want something I can read, not something that depends on a gimmick.

They did put out the usual Annual Report for blogs.  For me the most interesting part is who refers the most traffic to the site:

Top Traffic Sources in 2015

Top Traffic Sources in 2015

That is some heavily EVE Online focused traffic.  I suppose the biggest surprise is getting as much traffic from Gevlon as I did, me being a minion of evil and all.  Of course, the report doesn’t mention the biggest source, which is Google.  Google sends me as much traffic as all other sources combined, and then some, so should be number one on the list. (The next four on the list, just as an FYI and to round out a Top 10, are Twitter, Keen & Graev, Bhagpuss, and SynCaine, after which the numbers drop off fast.)

Anyway, if you are interested, you can read the report here, and you can substitute in the years 2011 through 2014 in the URL if you want to see past years and chart my decline.

One Year Ago

After my hardware woes the month before, I had to figure out which games to install again.

My MMO Outlook for 2015 was bleak.  But not as bleak as the reality ended up.  And then there were the highs and lows of 2014.

Syp was on about “real” MMO studios, strongly suggesting that you had to have more than one MMO to be legit.  I questioned whether that was really the case or not.  Examples were discussed.

It was the 10 year anniversary of the Nintendo DS handheld system.

Warlords of Draenor having launched at the end of November, the instance group was getting together in Azeroth and building garrisons… so we could be apart.  Of course, my first character into Draenor was already level 100 shortly thereafter.  We engaged in some jumping puzzles and then had to ride across country to the Bloodmaul Slag Mines.

Coming back to WoW also got me to post five seemingly simple things I wanted to see fixed.  I think they’re all still unchanged at this point.

I also spent a bit of time in EverQuest II over the holidays, figuring out where to go, getting some AA points handed to me, and rolling out into the Kylong Plains.  I also tried to recall the events around the great downtime of December 2004.

In New Eden, NCDot’s invasion of Fountain was pushed back.  Reavers were operating in their backfield in Querious, where Asher managed to setup a trap that lead to us killing four supers.  Then it was back to our home in the north.

We also got the Rhea expansion from CCP, which gave us graphical updates, the Bowhead freighter, the removal of clone costs, and Thera, a new kind of wormhole system.  There was also a blog banter about what to tell new players about EVE Online.

I was also wondering if PLEX-like currency items were working out well in any games besides EVE Online.  That was before the WoW Token came on the scene.

And I posted about three science fiction series I had started reading.

Five Years Ago

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

But I still had kitty pictures.  Awww.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. The Fountain War Kickstarter and Some Existential Questions
  2. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  3. Operation Frostline: New Ships, Improved Graphics, Giant Grids, and More
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. My MMO Outlook for 2016
  6. Reviewing My 2015 Predictions
  7. Adventures with The Imperium in Low Security Space
  8. Steam Holiday Sale – Even Valve Seems a Bit Bored
  9. Turbine Finally Figures Out Insta Levels, Will Send You to Level 95 in LOTRO
  10. Why Not This George?
  11. Four Hours in Cloud Ring
  12. Mirkwood – As Dank as the Dankest of Memes

Search Terms of the Month

how to 2 box on phinigal server eq1
[You are really going against the spirit of things here…]

why do villians in bond movies don’t just shoot him when they got chance
[He’s the hero, he can’t die]

john wayne shot first
[If he didn’t, he’d be dead]

“heart of thorns” “selling well”
[Fishing for good news?]

heir to the empire audiobook cast
[It was just that one guy]

EVE Online

I don’t feel like I have spent a lot of time in New Eden this month, yet if I look at the dashboard, I am well beyond the number of participation links my corp would like me to click on for the month.  (I need four and I have over a dozen.)  I read a comment somewhere by an FCON pilot bitching about how onerous the participation link requirement was and how nothing was happening, but I have to guess they just haven’t been paying attention.  Scrolling back in Jabber I seen many, many fleets rolling out of our staging system at all hours of the day for the Cloud Ring and low sec tower bashing campaign.  Oh well, people will complain about anything they don’t like.

I also built up my bank account a bit, ratting away.  I ratted enough that I actually moved into the modern age.  I am not carrier ratting yet, but I changed up my tools a bit so clean up is quicker.

Lord of the Rings Online

I was teetering on the edge of interest with LOTRO when the month started out.  I was happy to get into Mirkwood, but that wore off after a bit as I got into the usual side quests about killing bears, spiders, wolves, and boars.  One wonders that there is any wildlife left in Middle-earth.  Also, Mirkwood seems to be very heavily populated, as opposed to the dense and lonely place described in The Hobbit.

And then something happened and I can no longer log into the Brandywine server.  The process halts at loading character data.  And since my Mirkwood character is on that server, my progress is pretty much hosed.  I can log on to other servers, but Brandywine just ceases when it tries loading character data… which might just put an end to my time in LOTRO for now.

Minecraft

I have a few posts I have to write about Minecraft still.  I am a bit behind on the front.  However, they are more about the work others, especially Aaron, have done in the world, as opposed to things I have done myself.  I haven’t come up with a big new project since the great northern road.  Something to think on for the new year.

Others

Since I didn’t MMO much, I must have played something else.  I did dig into my Steam library a bit.  I got back to Defense Grid 2 and finished out the campaign, and then went back a redid the chapters where I missed getting a gold medal until they were all gold.  But after that I stopped.  It isn’t a bad game, but it suffers from being a sequel.  After playing the hell out of the original Defense Grid (the only single player in my Raptr top 20), DG2 was a more of the same in a lot of ways.  It even suffers from some similar problems.  In DG, the solution to every level was “lots of cannons and a few lasers.”  In DG2 the solution to every level seems to be “lots of guns, a few lasers, and 2-4 missile towers.”  Not a drastic improvement.

I also got out Total Annihilation, my long time favorite retro RTS game.  Unfortunately, I am still missing all of the mods that made the AI a challenge, so I have to play a few AIs on hard, which means less tactics and more setting up kill zones for mass slaughter… which is fun for a while, but can turn into a slow slog as the AI clogs your treads with its wreckage.

And then there was the Steam Winter sale itself, which I have stared at every day, going through my queues and collecting my cards, but I have yet to spend a penny on anything since it kicked off.  I still have until 10am Pacific Time on January 4th for the current prices.

Coming Up

A new year, which means a new set of bad predictions coming tomorrow.  I’ve been thinking about that all month and only have three written down so far.  Expect some tragically bad last minute guesses at the future.

In New Eden there is a hint that there will be a Reavers deployment before the end of next month, with a new doctrine.  An expensive one, too, so it is a good thing I have been banking some ISK.

My latest fling with LOTRO may be over, given my character loading issue.  Of course, that I haven’t even bothered to Google the problem might indicate that the fling was over already.

In Minecraft I need a new project, though I would settle for version 1.9 coming out soon, as it appears to have a lot of changes and updates to the game.

And then there is the rest of 2016.  Being a leap year makes it 24 hours longer, while it being a presidential election year in the US will make it seem much longer still, and I am not making any predictions as to how that will play out.