Category Archives: Month in Review

March in Review

The Site

What a month.  There was nothing much of note new on the site, but gaming life and blogging time and all of that was subject to some changes as the COVID-19 pandemic confined so many of us to home.  Fortunately my job is doable from home, but being there at my desk all day long does suck some of the joy out of gaming or writing.  If I’ve already been in my chair for nine or ten hours, there isn’t a lot of joy in staying there for a few more to play a game or write.

At least I can go sit on the couch and play Pokemon Sword.

My new Switch Lite

Good thing I got that for my birthday early in the month, as they are sold out now.  I have not yet succumbed to the mounting pressure to get Animal Crossing: New Horizon though.  My daughter loves it, but she isn’t sure it is a game I would like.

Otherwise it has largely been a constant series of, “Wait, did that happen this month? It seems so long ago now.” moments as the world falls further into whatever it is that we have going on now.

One Year Ago

I dug up my old Macintosh PowerBook 190cs, which I didn’t even remember I still had, and thought about writing about some of the games still on it.  However, I was unable to get it onto the network, so screen shots were difficult to obtain and I ended up running out of steam on the whole thing for the time being.

Activision Blizzard was hedging a bit on what effect their layoff of 8% of the company might produce.

Perfect World Entertainment officially killed of the Foundry in both Neverwinter and Star Trek Online, ending their player made content experiment.

Steam decided that they really did need to curate games on their site, a decision pushed by their inept handling of Rape Day.  The Epic Game Store, always eager to capitalize on Valve’s foibles, declared that there would be no porn in their store.

Gamigo killed off the Rift Prime retro server due to lack of popularity.  It remains my opinion that the Storm Legion expansion killed the game the first time around, so having it do it again was no surprise.

A data center move brought down and kept offline Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online for longer than expected.

Over at Massively OP they were talking about “niche MMORPGs,” a term as ill-defined as most in the gaming world.  Honestly, one could argue that MMORPGs are a niche genre.

Over at GoG.com we got a version of the original Diablo, and while it felt primitive it was still very playable and pretty damn good.

Niantic finally allowed players to change teams in Pokemon Go, allowing me to swap from Team Mystic to Team Instinct.

I was giving Path of Exile a shot again with their Synthesis update.

On the LOTRO Legendary servers the Mines of Moria expansion opened up.  That sent me off to Eregion in search of legendary weapons and such.

In EVE Online the March update brought new restrictions to Alpha clones.  They could no longer run level 4 or 5 missions.  People could buy skill books straight from their character sheet… for a bit of a markup.  CCP was also tinkering with null sec anomalies.  They were worried about too much ISK in the economy.  Skill Points though?  They were just handing those out.

There was a video of Burn Jita 6 in full 4K.

CCP Guard announced he was leaving CCP after 16 years of service.

In New Eden there were two notable ship losses, the first Komodo titan to die and a rare Gold Magnate.  I also got a ship blown up as part of my Myrmidon Experiment, though that was a much less expensive loss.

There was also the EVE Ather Wars tech demo, which went well enough, even if it did not get as many players in space as the company had hoped for.

But Katia Sai was being celebrated for visiting every system in New Eden.

I was pondering the proposed level squish for World of Warcraft.  My guess was that Blizzard would be too risk-averse to do it, but I was proven wrong later in the year at BlizzCon.  Blizz also revived Wintergrasp, the huge battleground from Wrath of the Lich King, which was fun to visit again.

Runes of Magic turned ten and I reflected on its place in the tale of the genre.

But the big news was EverQuest turning 20 years old.  I reflected on its history and celebrated its anniversary.  I covered what the team had to say, which included some good news as well as a bit of hubris.

And I was still doing my own play through of some EverQuest content.  I got a mercenary for my cleric, traveled to distant zones via dangerous paths, and even hit level 50.  It was a lot easier to get there than it was back in the day.  It was quite the tourist excursion!

Five Years 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.

Ten Years Ago

With the March 2010 month in review I was able to announce that the site had passed the one million page view mark.  A minor milestone.

FarmVille.  We all tried it as research for Shut Up We’re Talking #60.  We didn’t inhale.

ran through GDC and had dinner.

I was waxing nostalgic for some flavor of Rome.

EA was saying very stupid things about how many subscribers Star Wars: The Old Republic would need.  It is never too early to set the bar for failure.  Also they were threatening to taint 38 Studios.

I was also wondering about greater challenges in MMOs.  Must all paths be equally easy?

I held an April Fools contest, which got a few entries.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver launched and, after some delay,  I was picking that initial Pokemon.

I was still invested in Star Trek Online… I was trying…. well, they were giving us lifetime subscribers some perks.

In EVE Online I hit 50 million skill points.  I also had my first Tengu.

World of Tanks was staring to announce some of their progression trees, starting with the Russian and American sets.  Those have changed a lot since then.

The instance group was beginning to embrace the Dungeon Finder.  However, after Mauradon we found we still had to do a chunk of external legwork to prepare for our Sunken Temple run.  I also got a chopper along the way, on my birthday no less.

And, finally, that whole Derek Smart/Alganon thing was just kicking off.

Fifteen Years Ago

Monolith, backed by Sega and Warner Brothers, launches The Matrix Online in the US.  It hits Europe a month later. The title is soon taken over by Sony Online Entertainment, which runs it until its closure in 2009.

The Bloodline Chronicles adventure pack is released for EverQuest II.  It is free for Station Access subscribers.  Among other things it gives the game destructible walls.

Twenty Years Ago

Sony launched the PlayStation 2. Available initially only in Japan, it had ten launch titles.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Overseer Feature, Progression Servers, and Free Heroic Characters Coming for EverQuest Anniversary
  4. The State of Voice in 2020 with a Poll
  5. The March Update Brings Market and Moon Changes to EVE Online
  6. New Servers and Server Merges and More with the EverQuest Anniversary
  7. The Windstalker Leaves Norrath
  8. The Passion of the Overseer
  9. Visiting the Katia Sae Monument
  10. An Uldaman of Vague Memories
  11. Blizzard in the Badlands
  12. Seeking the Hydrocane

Search Terms of the Month

camelot unchained massive refund requests after terrible announcment
[Somebody knows what they’re looking for]

online rpg apple iie
[That is going to be a bit or a stretch. A MUD maybe?]

does concord intervene during killing spree in eve online
[All normal CONCORD rules apply]

null sec infrastructure to spawn mining belts
[infrastructure hub]

what plane in war thunder has the most bombs
[Going to guess it is the B-29]

wilma flintstone memes
[I don’t even]

Game Time from ManicTime

Time tracking shows I spent most of my play time with WoW Classic.

WoW Classic – 64.13%
RimWorld – 13.25%
Pokemon Sword – 10.93%
EverQuest – 5.10%
EVE Online – 4.32%
EverQuest II – 1.92%
World of Warcraft – 0.34%

You would think I would be further along, but I always find time to potter about.  Also, Pokemon Sword isn’t tracked by ManicTime, being on the Switch and all, but the save page in the game gives you an elapsed time played report with each save, so I can include it in the mix.

EVE Online

While I did not spend that much time in New Eden in March, the time I did spend was fairly active.  There was a move op north to Venal, followed by some fights, and then a move op home.  Structures were shot, ships exploded.

EverQuest

With the 21st anniversary going on I decided to poke my nose in while my all access subscription was still running.  I used the heroic upgrade on my cleric from last year’s anniversary, which promptly made his spells an unfathomable mess.  But I did end up playing with the new Overseer feature.  While it has a mobile game air to it, the EQ version has more depth than the EQII one does, so I do keep logging into play it.

EverQuest II

I fear my momentum has faded in EQII.  After grabbing the expansion last year and driving a few characters up to the level cap, both for adventure and crafting, I sort of lost interest and wandered off.  I did a bit of the Overseer thing, but it isn’t all that compelling.

Pokemon Go

My drive to the level cap slowed down somewhat.  The friend rewards, which are worth 100,000 points when you hit the highest level, drove me the last couple of months.  However, daily gifts have tapered off as people hole up at home and can’t get out to Pokestops.

Level: 38 (83% of the way to level 39)
Pokedex status: 526 (+14) caught, 556 (+11) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Dewatt

Pokemon Sword

As noted previously, I got Nintendo Switch Lite and a copy of Pokemon Sword for my birthday, which was about a week before we all had to go into hiding, so that is some timing.  I am three gym leaders in so far and it is shaping up to be a pretty solid entry in the genre.  The villainous team is a little more buffoonish than normal, but we’ll see how that plays out.  I just have to get myself setup to pull screen shots from the game so I can post about it.

RimWorld

RimWorld got the Royalty expansion, which adds a new dynamic to the game.  I have that out and played through some.  But even if you do not get the expansion, the launch of it also brought a bit update patch for the base game that includes a lot of nice improvements.

World of Warcraft

As usual, my time spent in retail WoW was mostly around Darkmoon Faire, though I did log in to grab a map of Gnomeregan for a post, and found that I had forgotten that they had nerfed some of the outside area as well.

WoW Classic

A lot of time spent playing WoW Classic.  I was grinding for a mount and working on some alts, but the big effort was around UIdaman where, after three weeks, we took down Archaedas.  Now comes the time to prep for Zul’Farrak.

Coming Up

It is Blapril, so expect some blogging reflective posts and as much linking out to other participants as I can manage.

It is also April Fools tomorrow, though given the current state of the political scene in the US, I am not sure anybody will notice.  Much of the last couple of months has involved public figures saying things that should have ended with “April Fools!” but somehow did not… more so than usual.

EVE Fanfest should have been kicking off soon, but that was cancelled in what seemed like forever ago, though it was just a month back.  Still, it has been reported that CCP will have some news and a new trailer for us.

And it seems like a fine time for video games, especially online games.  But April promises to be as relentless with bad news as March was, so the end of the month will probably feel like another year has gone past.

February in Review

The Site

With Firefox and (finally) Chrome trying to make the web safer, both browsers are now less tolerant of potential security risks, flagging sites as containing questionable content much more aggressively.  And The Flag Counter widget, which I have been running for almost a decade in my side bar, apparently started causing the site to be reported as a risk at some point in the last month or so.

The thing with the flags and numbers

After some tinkering and manually updating one embedded URL to be HTTPS things seemed to be kosher again and various browsers stopped declaring the site a danger.

Thanks to MagiWasTake of the Indiecator blog for pointing out that recent browser updates were causing the blog to be flagged as unsafe.  It should be all good now.  But if it isn’t, let me know.  I’d rather just remove Flag Counter than have an “unsafe site” warning pop up when people land here.

One Year Ago

Epic Games had announced their digital storefront the previous December, but we were finally getting a deeper look at their strategy for taking on Steam.  One word: Exclusives.  (Some of which were already up for sale on Steam, then withdrawn, making as many people angry as happy.)

Over at Activision-Blizzard they announced record annual revenues for 2018, then laid off 8% of their staff.  I suppose, in hindsight, they predicted 2019 correctly.

Daybreak gave us some details about their planned special rules EverQuest II PvP server.  On the same front, the plans for the EverQuest anniversary servers sounded a bit muddled.  They gave us a revised plan for all servers before the month was out.

Meanwhile, the PlanetSide Arena launch, pushed back to March, was pushed out again, this time until “summer,” with a planned simultaneous Playstation 4 launch given as a reason.

I also wondered what EverQuest III should even look like, were it a possibility.  I doubt that it is, but it is fun to speculate.

All of that aside, with the approach of the EverQuest 20th anniversary I started logging in to play a bit with a fresh character.  I started on Vox, a standard rules server, with an eye on the tutorial.  I ran through the revolt in Glooming Deep.

On the LOTRO Legendary server I was wrapping up in Eriador.  It was time to start considering Moria.

I was also rolling back into WoW and Battle for Azeroth for a bit.  It was a change up from LOTRO.

On the EVE Online front it was announced there would be no alliance tournament for 2019.  The February update brought us some fixes and the Guardians Gala event.  CCP was also talking about letting people buy skills straight from the character sheet.  There was also talk of a new launcher coming.

I wrote something about the time zones of New Eden, it being a world spanning, 24 hour game.

Burn Jita was back again, kicking off with explosions as usual.

I wrote a bit about the city of Waterdeep, the heart of TorilMUD.

Twitch offered me a free trial in Final Fantasy XIV, but I couldn’t get it to work.

I was on about there being no good expansions again.

And there was word of a smaller Switch, the end of the Wii Shop Channel, eports was stomping its feet and demanding to be taken seriously, and the Olympics rejecting esports all wrapped up in a Friday bullet points post.

Five Years 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 safe.  New 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.

Ten Years Ago

We learned SynCaine’s dirty secret.

I was invited to go play in the beta for the web based Crown of Byzantus.  It didn’t really stick with me, though I wrote about it a couple of times.

There was another press release or some such for a Wheel of Time MMO.  My call then: It isn’t going to happen.  And it still hasn’t happened.  And it isn’t going to happen.

Ten Ton Hammer made a list of their Top Ten PvP MMOs, and there was some chagrin that Ultima Online didn’t make the cut.

For reasons I cannot recall, Conner at MMO Fallout started looking into how MMO companies ranked over at the Better Business Bureau.

There was an announcement for a new game… World of Tanks!

In World of Warcraft, the instance group did Scarlet Monastery, Uldaman, and got as far as Zul’Farrak in our horde adventures, though we were still forgetting we could use the Dungeon Finder.  Otherwise we were running around doing holiday events and the like.  Also, I finally fished that last coin out of the fountain in Dalaran.

Oh, the Dungeon Finder.  My first runs with that were… not so good.  I seemed to run into some cliche bad groups.

Meanwhile, WoW decided to emulate WebKinz and start selling stuffed animals that had codes for in-game versions.  My daughter wanted that Windrider Cub real bad.

Hi-Rez Studios launched Global Agenda.  The game went down during a server move in 2018 and was later reported as dead for good.

Over in EverQuest II the Sentinal’s Fate expansion launched.  The sixth expansion for the game, it raised the level cap from 80 to 90.  I remember almost nothing specific about this expansion

The Azeroth Advisor went buh-bye.  Thanks for killing it 38 Studios!  I saved all the email tips they sent me, however they were all pretty much worthless post-Cataclysm.  Also, they were full of live links that no longer work.  Ah well.

Finally, there was Star Trek Online.  The head start ended, The game went full-live, I was fiddling with my super special pre-order collector’s edition junk, and I gave out some codes in a caption contest.  There was even some new content.  But by month’s end, STO faded for me.  Worst gaming purchase of the decade for me.

Fifteen Years Ago

The Dragons of Norrath expansion launched for EverQuest.

Twenty Years Ago

The Sims launched, becoming a staple of video games sales lists for well over a decade and one of the best selling video game franchises of all time.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. The Camelot Unchained Refund Stonewalling Begins
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  4. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  5. Honest Game Trailers Hits Warcraft III Reforged Hard
  6. A Good Fourth Quarter for Blizzard… When Compared to the Rest of 2019
  7. Radical Rock Reductions in New Eden
  8. EVE Online Gets Wormhole Fun, New Implants, and More
  9. Scarlet Monastery Cathedral
  10. Camelot Unchained Refund Received
  11. Raids versus Fleet Ops
  12. I Burst to the Top of the Chart

Search Terms of the Month

will there ever be another everquest
[reply hazy, ask again later]

is it easy to learn everquest if boost to 85
[Oh, heavens no!]

karmafleet which race
[They are down with whatever you are]

i did a search on the internet for somewhere with a warm sea, not cold. with is a none words
[And yet somehow you arrived here]

Spam Comment of the Month

Anything cam have an innuendo with food and/or sex if you try hard enough…

Again, think outside the trapezoid

Game Time from ManicTime

The measure this month shows that I tapered off quite a bit when it came to EverQuest II.  That was both because I ran out of steam on my desire to get more characters to the level cap… four is pretty much three more than I have ever had… and because things picked up in both WoW Classic and EVE Online.

  • WoW Classic – 69.29%
  • EVE Online – 22.07%
  • EverQuest II – 8.36%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.28%

Those percentages do not reflect the raw data reality, in which I spent less than half as much time on video games in February when compared to January.  I was away from home for a week and I didn’t have as much free time when I was home.

EVE Online

A new SIG and a new deployment gave me something to do in New Eden.  I was out in Venal with the GEF.  The DDoS attacks early in the month made playing problematic at times, but CCP got past that eventually and even gave us some skill points for our trouble.

EverQuest II

I have tinkered with some alts, but the drive to level up has faded somewhat.  I had considered seeing what it would take to roll a fresh character from level one to the cap, but upon reflection I guess it would take more than I had in me.  Still, I was surprised to find I still had a free character slot and now I have a level 20 necromancer hanging out somewhere.

Pokemon Go

I have been moving along pretty well in the quest for level 40.  This has been largely due to exchanging gifts with buddies in the game, which yields 100K points when you hit maximum friendship.  I have also had some fun with the new Battle League.  I want to keep going with that at least until I unlock the Pikachu wrestler outfit.

Level: 38 (61% of the way to level 39)
Pokedex status: 512 (+17) caught, 545 (+20) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Dewatt

World of Warcraft

As I have written almost every month since summer, I pretty much only log into retail WoW for Darkmoon Faire.

WoW Classic

Back to the instance group and my alts in the land of vanilla.  I am still happy with the experience.  The combo of simplicity, difficulty, and lost memories around so many corners will keep me going for a while still.

Coming Up

Another busy month in RL for me… though with the Coronavirus running about maybe everything will get cancelled and I will just stay home and play video games.

The instance group will carry on in WoW Classic.  Once we get past Razorfen Downs it will be time to ramp up for Uldaman and then Zul’Farrak.

Out in New Eden we will have to see if the GEF deployment will continue.  There are probably fights to be had and structures to be shot still, but target of the war, Darkness, has disbanded.  Oops.  And then there all the new things that CCP has in store for us.

As mentioned earlier this week, EverQuest is coming up on its 21st anniversary.  I’m not sure it will be as big of a deal as 20, but we shall see.

Finally, RimWorld has an expansion and a new update patch.  After a couple of revisions it looks like it has settled down so it might be time to break that out again.

One thing that won’t be happening next month is GDC up in San Francisco, which has been postponed until late summer due to Coronavirus.

January in Review

The Site

What can I say about the site this month?  I fell off my streak of more posts than days in the current month, though not by much.  That probably meant I spent more time playing games and less time writing about them, which is something I always say I am going to do. Maybe I actually I did it this month.  Or maybe nothing much worth writing about occurred.

Other than that… well… when I was over at my mother-in-law’s house to fix her WiFi she showed us a lemon she got off the tree in her back yard.

Citrus nightmare fuel… also 80s counter top tile

I don’t think this is related to the WiFi issue, but you never know what is connected to what over on Innsmouth Drive.

Oh, and IFTTT dropped me a note to tell me that my applet that auto-copied posts from here to Google+ had to be shut off.  Google+ has only been gone for 8 months or so now.  Good of them to let me know.

One Year Ago

Yes, there were predictions, because there are always predictions.  There was also the usual rosy “maybe I’ll play something new” post about the upcoming year.  And just to round out the usual start of the year trifecta, another Steam winter sale passed into history.

I was wondering what the EverQuest 20th anniversary might bring.  It did look like expansions might still be on the menu for both EQ and EQII.

But PlanetSide Arena, slated for late January beta, had that date pushed back to March.

Blizzard finally fixed the crafting quests in Darkmoon Faire, which had been broken since the pe-launch update before Battle for Azeroth.

In EVE Online I was wondering if Circle of Two was dead, or just mostly dead.  I also went on a bit about the PAP link economy.

We got some updated asteroid visuals with the January update.  Also, people were sending messages to CCP in Jita.  I’m not sure they allow container spam anymore.

Actually in New Eden I was out in Geminate with Liberty Squad.  We shot a POS and I wondered if it would be my last. (Answer: no) We messed with somebody’s moon chunk and shot structures in TKE.

On the LOTRO Legendary server I went down to Goblin Town before I had heading off to Angmar.  The legendary quest line sent me around Angmar and then told me the truth about Sara Oakheart, though it never explained why she was so damn slow.  Then I was riding down the long roads in Forochel before finally ending up at the ring forges in Eregion.

I was playing a bit of RimWorld, where setbacks can be a thing.

SuperData’s 2018 review report pointed towards a mobile focused future.

And I started using ManicTime to track game play time, listing the first stats in the January in Review post.

Five Years 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 Station Cash 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.

Ten Years Ago

Well, there was the usual set of ill-considered predictions.

Oh, and that Battlestar Galactia/Bohemian Rhapsody video on YouTube.  I liked that.

The first issue of The Official World of Warcraft Magazine shipped.

I was wondering how many people remapped they keys for games.

There was Hulkageddon II, from which I tried to draw lessons.  Always good for some gamer angst… and anger.  There was also the Dominion 1.1 patch.

There was a certain amount of excitement on my part for Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver.  January was the ramp up time for Pokemon hype.

Oh, and there was LEGO Rock Band out.

The instance group was still warming up on the Horde side, making it as far as Razorfen Downs.

And the whole forever argument around Tanks and Healers vs. DPS?  We were going on about that back in January 2010 as well.  The Dungeon Finder brought this all into sharp relief.

But the month was primarily about Star Trek Online.

I was making making up polls and contests around that Del Taco shuttle tie-in and silly lists of things to do while waiting for open beta.

And when it finally arrived, I spent a lot of time with the character creator, some of it to make my first character and some of it just in the name of science.  I customized my ship and wondered how I could get rid of the shields in my combat screen shots.  Did they ever change that? And I pondered whether or not it was a good idea to get a lifetime subscription.  The poll results said it wasn’t, but I did it anyway.  The majority was correct it would seem.

Oh, I did do one other thing in January 2010.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. EVE Online Gets Heavy Missile Buffs, Shield Slaves, and a New Event
  4. Pilgrimage
  5. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  6. 2020 and Predictions for a New Year
  7. California Explores Gaming Power Usage
  8. The Daybreak Studio Split Comes to Pass
  9. What Would I Like to See in 2020
  10. Is Darkpaw Games the New Future of EverQuest?
  11. Black Sheep Done
  12. Blizzard Wants to Lock You In with a Flying Rat

Search Terms of the Month

dota tft what to buy
[Wait, you can buy something?]

starting off as heroic 85 eq
[Too bad the level cap is 115]

darlpaw games
[so close…]

new eq server for darkpaw
[Soon enough I am sure]

eve online do i collect daily rewards not being online
[No, that is why it is called EVE “ONLINE”]

Game Time from ManicTime

My EverQuest II binge was going strong coming into the month.  I think the measure after the first two weeks would have been more than 80% in favor of Norrath.  But other things picked up as the month went along, especially WoW Classic as the group got past the holidays, so in the end there was a close race for the top spot.

EverQuest II – 48.65%
WoW Classic – 47.64%
EVE Online – 3.36%
World of Warcraft – 0.35%

EVE Online

Kind of a quiet month in New Eden for me.  In part I was playing other games a lot more, but I was also in a bit of limbo in looking for a new home.  The wait for my KF application to get reviewed had me wondering if I ought to just ship everything from Delve to Jita and take a break from the game.  But then I got accepted and a new SIG opened up in the coalition with a promise of deployments, action, and structure shoots, so I’m sticking around.

EverQuest II

I binged quite a bit on Norrath in December and January.  I slowed down some in the back half of the last month, but I am still sitting with four characters at level cap.  That is unprecedented for my in the game and I remain with an odd, heady feeling, like maybe I should use this opportunity to catch up a few more characters.  I haven’t done much of anything with them since they hit level cap, but I could!

Pokemon Go

We continue our trek towards level 40.  I made good progress towards level 39 this past month, mostly due to xp from friendship level boosts.  I also caught a lot of Magikarp.  For lunar new year the game was featuring “red” Pokemon out in the wild, and despite looking more orange than red to me, Magikarp was on the list.  I went from less than 200 candies for them to over 400.  I can evolve another Gyrados, though I want a shiny Magikarp before I do that.

Level: 38 (35% of the way to level 39)
Pokedex status: 495(+14) caught, 525 (+20) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Oshawatt

World of Warcraft

I did the usual Darkmoon Faire thing during the first week of the month, but not much else.  The 8.3 patch hit and seemed to bring with it more woe for the retail side of the game.  The game is apparently broken for a lot of MacOS players and a substantial number of Windows players, with the game often crashing out in 20 minutes or less if reports are to be believed.

WoW Classic

I was a bit quiet with Classic at the start of the month, but ramped up as things went along, the holidays ended, and the instance group got back in the saddle.  And it isn’t crashing for us, unlike retail, which is a plus.

Coming Up

Next month is going to be a busy month in real life for me.  Lots of things going on.  So it is likely to be a light month for posts.  We shall see.

Activision-Blizzard should be rolling out their 2019 financials early in the month.  We’ll see if more layoffs ensue.

In EVE Online there is a new SIG that is inviting all and sundry to join up and go deploy to some new location in order to better make things explode.  Making things explode has my interest.  Of course, that depends on the game actually being  up.  It has been mostly down for four of the last seven days.  First there was a DDoS attack, but now things just seem to be broken.  That’ll mess with your new player retention right there.

I still have a level boost in EverQuest II.  I could get another character to level cap.  But which one?  And, with five there, is that enough of an xp boost to try and roll somebody up from the lower levels the old fashioned way?  It is a long way to 120 from anywhere below 80.

And in WoW Classic we ought to finish up Scarlet Monastery and move on to the next thing, which I gather is Razorfen Downs.

December in Review

The Site

Here we are at the last day of 2019, which is also the last day of the “teens” of the twenty-first century.  Tomorrow we’ll be in the Twenties, so I can use this graphic for one more post.

The jury is still out if the twenties will be roaring or not, or if I’ll be able to retire by the time the Thirties roll around.  The last run at that decade didn’t turn out so well.

Those dates and decades all seem so odd to me.  As a kid I was fixated on what the year 2000 would bring and how old I would be then, but I never really considered what would come after.  Now we’re well past that point and, as it turns out, time doesn’t just stand still.  It was 20 years ago when I was on the Y2K emergency response team, on call to work on any issues related to that monumental calendar date change.  Nothing happened.  But I still have the shirt they gave us.

As for the site, this will be post 412 of the year.  That puts 2019 in 4th place for most posts, beating out 2018 by just eight and 2010 by six.  2007 remains the champion, with 490 posts, though I wrote less than half as many words per post back then, so 2019 was more work.

One Year Ago

Epic Games set out to challenge Steam with their own digital games store front.  That didn’t stop Steam from going on with its usual Winter Sale.

Somebody was trying to crowd fund yet another gamer social network which got me on a tear about gamers not being a unified demographic.  The Kickstarter failed, as I expected.  It was a dumb idea.

Blizzard stepped back a bit from their MOBA, Heroes of the Storm.

In a season of MMO offers, Dungeons & Dragons Online had a $299 season pass offer, Lord of the Rings Online had a $199 legacy bundle, and Daybreak had a limited $299 lifetime subscription offer, though when buyers hit the limit, the limit was extended.

Daybreak launched The Burning Lands expansion for EverQuest as they were laying off staff.  The layoff was alleged to be focused in their Austin office, where PlanetSide stuff happens.

Daybreak, which had been hinting about a new game coming, then announced PlanetSide Arena, which didn’t feel like a new game at all.  And didn’t they just lay people off from that team?  It was slated to be available by February 2019.

On the LOTRO Legendary server I made a side trip to Esteldin.  I also made a side trip to the fall festival to get drunkLOTRO does a very nice drunk simulation.  Then it was off to Evendim, where I made it through Tinnudir and Annuminas.  After that I was in the Trollshaws.  I even made it into the Misty Mountains.  I was on a roll in Middle-earth.

CCP put out their December update for EVE Online, which included changes to high sec war decs, as well as the assets for the holiday login rewards and the Operation Permafrost event.  I wasn’t happy with that event.  It didn’t measure up to the Halloween event in my mind.  I did have some better luck with it eventually.

I was also carping about the dearth of ship SKINs in the New Eden Store.  How do you run a space cash shop where I cannot buy something for my ship?

CCP also announced the final destinations for the Invasion World Tour, in which they would change things up by bringing EVE Fanfest to eight locations around the world.

Actually in EVE Online Asher brought the Reavers SIG on a wormhole adventure to help blow up a Keepstar, which I recorded in a series of posts:

The Reavers also went out and did one of our null sec space races for fun.

In my usual year end posts, I reviewed my predictions for 2018, wrote about my five books of the year, went over the highs and lows of the last dozen months, reviewed the games I played, and ranted a bit about the state of MMORPGs.

Also, I had something about how the core player base will always optimize their behavior to match game mechanics.  Then there was a throw away post about various game studios.

Finally, I told the story of the two chocolate pies.

Five Years 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.

Ten Years Ago

Let’s see… a random reader wrote in to tell me that the social aspects of MMOs were insignificant.  It wasn’t even Gevlon.  Still, I don’t think he understood what he was talking about.

People seemed to be getting worked up as to how you define content in an MMO.  Can you compare sandbox and amusement park content fairly?  Taking some of this to its logical extreme, I demonstrated something that trumped all MMO content.

Also getting people worked up was the catch in the whole free to play model, brought up by changes to the store in Battlefield Heroes.  That actually got responses all over the place.

The US release date for Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver was announced.

People were warming up for Star Trek Online.  There was a confusing array of pre-order options.  But it was missing some items I really wanted. (I think the awful early movie uniforms eventually appeared recently in the C-Store.)

In World of Warcraft we were busy wrapping up the holiday achievements, including Pilgrim’s Bounty.

We were also playing with this new Dungeon Finder thing that showed up with WoW patch 3.3.  Automated cross-server instance group matching with random strangers?  It will never work.

The instance group, in its horde RP-PvP server form, was hitting Gnomeregan and Shadowfang Keep, both of which seemed… much easier.

And I was officially epic… proven by the achievement.  Of course by that time, somebody already had all the possible WoW achievements.  Too epic to be believed.

Meanwhile, this horrible image was keeping me up at nights.  You just cannot unsee some things once you have seen them.

In EVE Online the Dominion expansion went live, changing how players captured and held.  Out was POS based sovereignty and in was territorial claim units (TCUs), infrastructure hubs (ihubs), sovereignty blockade units (SBUs), and all the fun times they brought.  I wasn’t in null sec at the time, but would learn all about these things later on.

Finally, there was an actual podcast interview with Erik “WoW isn’t easy enough” Estavillo.  He was a surprisingly good sport about being the subject of mockery.

Fifteen Years Ago

In EverQuest II there was the great December downtime, where the game was offline for more than a day when the servers wouldn’t come up after an update.  I wrote up a bit about that a decade later, but you can find some contemporary commentary over at Terra Nova.

Anarchy Online introduced a Free to Play program, five years before Dungeons & Dragons Online made a splash with that idea, replacing trial subscriptions for new players.  It gave players access to the original content for free.  Free players were shown ads on in-game billboards to help fund this new program.  Started as a one year experiment, free is still an option within the game.

Garry’s Mod, one of the oddest early “games” to take advantage of Steam and Valve’s Source Engine, was launched.  A best selling package on Steam, it is a sandbox that lets people tinker with assets from Valve’s games such as Half-Life 2.  It was used as the basis for a number of web comics, such as the famed Concerned, as well as videos and other creations.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Sony launched the original PlayStation console.  Sony’s aggressive courting of third party developers, something the then market giants Nintendo and Sega did in a half-hearted fashion at best, led to a software library that allowed Sony to dominate.  This eventually drove Sega and the second tier competitors out of the console market and led Nintendo to double down on its insular franchise pattern that often goes for years pretending no other consoles even exist.

Maxis released SimCity 2000, the sequel to the original SimCity.  It was a huge leap over the original in many way.  And it came from a time when we felt adding “2000” to a name made it more modern.  That faded a bit about 20 years back.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. The Holidays Come to EVE Online with Login Rewards and More
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  4. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  5. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  6. My Five Books of 2019
  7. The Test of Righteousness
  8. Reviewing my 2019 Predictions
  9. WoW Classic gets Battlegrounds and Key Rings Today
  10. Top Five Rejected WoW Squish Ideas
  11. Gnomeregan Again but Backwards
  12. Return to the Crowd Pummeler

Search Terms of the Month

flattering dominix outfit
[Go with the Hyperion outfit, trust me]

myrmidon or ishtar
[Myrmidon. Is this Gallente “hot or not” now?]

fozzie sov mechanics
[They suxor]

nantworks just survive
[It did not]

what do i get extra if i pre order torment of velious?
[Nothing if you’re asking after it launched]

daybreak all access lifetime
[That was last year]

Game Time from ManicTime

The update for WoW Classic this month changed the name of the executable, so now ManicTime will report WoW and WoW Classic separately.  However, the change was during the month so I cannot break them out yet, but I will be able to do so for next year.  Anyway, I clearly spent most of my gaming time in two places.

  • World of Warcraft – 47.75%
  • EverQuest II – 45.39%
  • EVE Online – 6.12%
  • EverQuest – 0.73%

At some point in the new year I will look at all  the time combined and what it meant and what affect measurement had on my play time.

EVE Online

I dipped into the game for a few ops, but wasn’t out on any deployments.  I also logged into the game for the 13 days of Christmas to collect my free goodies.  And there was a Reavers space scavenger hunt that Ranger Gama set up, which I did exceedingly poorly at.  But otherwise a quiet month in New Eden for me.

EverQuest II

I started off slow in Norrath this month, having hit the pre-expansion level cap with my main.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to play Blood of Luclin all that much, even though I had pre-ordered it.  But then it came out and I did dive in and I did play quiet a bit.  There are posts in store about all of that.

Pokemon Go

My wife and I finally made it to level 38.  I crossed over first, which got her to do a binge evolve session with a lucky egg to catch up.  Now, however, we face the climb to 39 and 40.  40 requires 20 million experience points, which getting to 38 pushed us past 12 million, so we’ve got about 40% of the journey to level cap ahead of us.   I figure if I just get about 100 new friends and get them all up to max friendship level I should be close.  Too bad you can only have 10 gifts in your inventory at one time.

Level: 38 (+1)
Pokedex status: 481 (+11) caught, 505 (+10) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Tepig

World of Warcraft

Retail WoW is not at all my main focus and I spent very little time there.  I did log in with my main to go do Darkmoon Faire, since that is pretty much the only way I am going to make any trade skill progress at this point.  I almost forgot to log back in for the Winter Veil gifts.  There was a nice present under the tree, something new for the toy box.  I am glad I logged in to grab that.

WoW Classic

I started off the month getting back into old Azeroth.  The instance group ran some dungeons and I worked on my alts, most of whom are now into their 30s.  But the holidays were busy and getting together became a bit more dicey.  And then Blood of Luclin came along to occupy my solo time.  Still, it hasn’t faded yet.

Coming Up

A new year and a new decade.  Or have I mentioned that enough already?

Tomorrow will be the usual predictions post.  In the completely unchanged way of things, I thought that maybe I would skip it or change it up… maybe do a few predictions for the decade… largely because I was coming up short on predictions.  But over time they accumulated like a snowball rolling down hill and now you get the same old new year’s prediction posts you always get.

I still might do something looking forward a decade.  But then I think about what I might have predicted back on January 1, 2010 for the last decade.  At least it will likely be comedy in hindsight.  Maybe I’ll go with what I want to see as opposed to what I think will come to pass.  What does optimism look like again?

Otherwise the change of the year won’t see much change in reality.  We all still have to keep going no matter what the calendar says.

November in Review

The Site

Another quiet month when it came to traffic.  There was a spike at the start, because writing about Blizzard and BlizzCon will get you some attention.  But then writing about EVE Online or Daybreak games… that is pure death for traffic.  But I write about what I am interested in and what I am playing.

It was apparently also “internet picture posting month” or “inpipomo” or some such.  People were posting screen shots and keep count and that sort of thing.  I thought about joining in, but every month is picture posting month around here.  I am well past 100 for the month I am sure, but I’ll post one more just for luck.

SIEGED!

I’ll leave you to figure out what that even means.

One Year Ago

It was the end of days for WildStar.

I commemorated TorilMUD for having survived for 25 years, and did a post about the Castle Drulak zone on Evermeet.

I was looking back at the decade old VirginWorlds podcast dedicated to the Star Wars: The Old Republic announcement.

BlizzCon was on its way and I was projecting what we might see.  What we actually got… well, Diablo Immortal didn’t play well with fans, but we heard a lot about WoW Classic.  I went over why I felt fan expectations for Blizz are hopeless, but nobody listens.

I had finally schlepped my way to level 120 in Battle for Azeroth and collected my WoW 14th anniversary gifts.

In EVE Online, there was the very pretty Crimson Harvest event.  I was also showing off the swag I got from EVE Vegas. There was also an op out to Geminate to tangle with Pandemic Horde.

But mostly there was the Onslaught expansion, which landed mid-month and reduced the once mighty POS to just so many bubbles in space, though they still haven’t pulled them from the game a year later.  There were also daily login rewards and the activity tracker.

Project Nova, shown at EVE Vegas, had been postponed.

Daybreak was announcing The Burning Lands expansion for EverQuest while the Chaos Descending expansion launched for EverQuest II on my anniversary with the game, though I bid the game farewell for a while.

But the month was really focused on Lord of the Rings Online and its Legendary Server.  I wondered what we might see on the eve of its launch.  The server itself was overwhelmed pretty quickly and there were problems with its login queue.  A second server was announced almost right away.

After fiddling around with ways to beat the queue I was able to get in and start a new character.  There were some quirks of the game to come to grips with, like the lack of tin.  But I made it to the Lone Lands before the month was out, working on the many deeds there.

Five Years Ago

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Launched.

There was BlizzCon, about which I made the usual predictions.  I found the event itself vaguely dissatisfying.  But those who were bitching about lack of focus on WoW at BlizzCon 2015, go back and look at how little attention it got in 2014!  Otherwise we were in Azeroth collecting achievements and waiting for the expansion to hit.

Oh, yeah, the expansion hit… Warlords of Draenor and server queues and all that.   Blizz was trying to fix that while I had to figure out who to play.  Blizz eventually gave everybody 5 days free for the problems.  But hey, they had 10 million subscribers on the hook again, up from the 7.4 million low point during the summer.  Remember when subscriber numbers were a thing?

In EVE Online the Phoebe expansion arrived, bringing with it Jump Fatigue and the 10 year/50 skill long training queue.  Then they were on about removing other annoyances with the upcoming Rhea expansion.

In game the Reavers had finished up in Feythabolis with a bang and were off into Omist next, hunting the unwary before returning home again.

Rixx Javix was drawing spaceships.  He’s still at it.

And there was the This is EVE video that became wildly popular.

I reflected on EverQuest II at its 10 year anniversary.  Veterans of the game even got their own island.  Over on the EverQuest side of the house, The Darkened Sea, the 21st expansion for the game, went live.

And, finally, the power supply on my computer blew out, taking the motherboard and drives with it.  I had to rebuild, but was up and running again in a couple of days.

Ten Years Ago

I was writing about how I had not changed the blog format since I started.  I have since changed it, though mostly due to the fact that WordPress.com broke the old theme.

Our Thanksgiving entertainment was Rock Band 2.  While I was really bad at it, it was a lot of fun.  The next year we played Super Mario Bros. Wii, which I was also really bad at, but which isn’t nearly as much fun.  However, the kids liked it.  I rode along in a bubble most of the time.

And while Tech Crunch was exposing the odious practices favored by Mark Pinkus to get FarmVille and Mafia Wars profitable, the New York Times was gushing over this wonderful new virtual goods market, which I summarized and provided links to here.

I managed to get some playtime in with the original Torchlight, though there were some problems.  It turns out that if you bought the game from the wrong vendor, you could be a while waiting for patches.

The first LEGO Harry Potter game was announced, which I had anticipated would come to pass almost two years before it was announced.

Warhammer Online announced that levels 1-10 were going to be free, making me wonder if they were just going to breed a mass of level 1 twinks.  I think that is what the end result was.  Well, there were twinks, but I don’t think the amounted to much of a “mass” in any way.

In EVE OnlinePLEX was off to a booming start.  The price of a PLEX has risen some since then (~300 million then, well over a billion ISK now in new PLEX).  Meanwhile, the first Hulkageddon was on and even I noticed something was amiss.  Eventually somebody pointed me in the right direction in the comments.

I wondered if fishing was really the secret ingredient for MMO success.

I got all nostalgic for Star Trek because of Star Trek Online’s impending release.

World of Warcraft and EverQuest II both hit their five year anniversaries.  Then I had the temerity to say that there were things that EQII didn’t do very well in my opinion.  Odd how some of those things from a decade back have changed… or how I have changed… or both.

On the WoW end of things, somebody was suing because they felt the game wasn’t easy enough.

Then there were Mr. T Mohawk grenades and a 24 slot Portable Hole, outrages both along with the $10 vanity pets.  And I was complaining about not getting the Headless Horseman’s mount during Hallow’s End.  Again, sound familiar?

I wrote a very short post about Pilgrim’s Bounty which went on to become the most viewed post on the site November of five years ago.

And the instance group started in with Ragefire ChasmWailing Caverns and Deadmines on the RP-PVP server.  Actual PVP occurred since we had to walk to the Deadmines.  We get called griefers for daring to engage in PVP on a PVP server.

Fifteen Years Ago

As may have been mentioned, World of Warcraft launched fifteen years ago this month.

Also celebrating a fifteenth birthday this month was EverQuest II.  It launched a few weeks earlier, but has ever remained in WoW‘s shadow.

EVE Online got its second free expansion, Exodus, which introduced player owned starbases… the POS of yore… one of the uses of which was to claim territory in untamed null sec space.  And thus the race to for empires began.

Twenty Years Ago

Asheron’s Call, the third of the big three break out MMORPGs of the late 90s, launched.  Never as big as its rivals (it peaked at 120K players to Ultima Online’s 250K and EverQuest’s 550K) it blazed its own trail in trying to define what an MMORPG ought to be.  Neglect, a mis-handled sequel, and a studio that made some dubious and costly moves, left the game without a home when Standing Stone Games was split off to support Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings OnlineAsheron’s Call was officially shut down in January 2017.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. The Apology
  4. CCP Falcon Leaves CCP
  5. Looking Back at BlizzCon 2019
  6. End of a Vision
  7. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  8. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  9. No. I’d Rather Kill Rats.
  10. Quote of the Day for WoW Classic Fans
  11. Gambling Returns to New Eden
  12. BlizzCon 2019 and The Big Four Announcements

Search Terms of the Month

how to like raspberries
[to my mind they can only be tolerated]

new everquest game
[Maybe some day]

meeting stones dont summon in classic
[no they do not]

mau wow
[poppa oom mau wow]

why did ccp change the cyno rules in eve online
[If I could answer that…]

Game Time from ManicTime

World of Warcraft gets dethroned from the top spot after three months in a row, as I spent some time in EverQuest II for the 15th anniversary.  I did play less WoW Classic than I did in October.  However, EQII got a big boost thanks to my being off from work most of Thanksgiving week, giving me the time to indulge in its long, side track questing.  It was well behind in time spent until this past week.

  1. EverQuest II – 49.47%
  2. World of Warcraft – 42.94%
  3. EVE Online – 5.53%
  4. EVE Aether Wars – 1.69%
  5. LOTRO – 0.37%

EVE Online

Not a lot happened in New Eden for me.  I went on a total of two ops.  I’m not terribly interested in a lot of the game at the moment and a good chunk of my time was simply spent moving all my junk from one Keepstar to another since our staging station changed.

EverQuest II

Went back for the 15th anniversary and managed to find a goal that seemed obtainable, getting my alleged main to the level cap of 110.  Getting to 108 was quick, but then there was a few days of distraction as I went off on what was something of a wild goose chase, at least when it came to the task at hand.  However, there were some other things unlocked that may do me well later.

Pokemon Go

Still lingering around level 37, though 38 is getting closer.  My wife asked me what we were going to do when we hit level 40.  I said we’d probably quit and go play the Harry Potter version of the game for a change.  That seemed to be okay, since she is much more of a fan of that than Pokemon.

Level: 37 (+0… but very close to 38)
Pokedex status: 470 (+7) caught, 495 (+7) seen
Pokemon I want: I need more Sinnoh stones…
Current buddy: Tepig

World of Warcraft

I logged in for Darkmoon Faire, which is what I do every month.  I will level up my trade skills that way eventually.  I also logged in for the 15th anniversary, though really only to get the achievement and whatever they were handing out directly.  I did not do any of the events nor the LFR for the mount.  I might regret that if mounts were rare, but when you have more than 400, it just isn’t that big of a deal I suppose.

WoW Classic

I slowed down a bit in WoW Classic in November.  I didn’t stop, but as you can see from the play time break down, I didn’t spent more than 90% of my time playing it to the exclusion of all else.  It isn’t a sprint but a marathon to get to level 60 and through all those instances.

Coming Up

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to some.  I like that the production servers at work will be locked down for most of the month so no worry about pushing updates or changes.  Just don’t let anything go wrong.

Game companies though… there will be expansion for EverQuest and EverQuest II and EVE Online next month.  We’ll also be getting battlegrounds in WoW Classic.  Then there will be holiday events and the Steam Winter Sale and all of that.

As for me, expect the usual end of the year nonsense I suppose.  There is of series of annual posts I have accumulated over the years that I will no doubt get to again.  Reviews of predictions, a look at what I played, highs and lows, maybe even something about books, all culminating in predictions for the new year.

October in Review

The Site

Well, that was a month, wasn’t it?

Because I write this end of month summary, part of which tries to bring together what happened a year ago, I am often sitting here writing this and thinking about how big that year ago section is going to be twelve months down the road.  The October 2020 month in review will have quite a sizable “One Year Ago” section.

And next month promises to be even bigger.  But today it is Halloween.

Fifteen year old pumpkins

Looking through old digital pictures, there was a time when I put a lot of effort into carving pumpkins every year.  These days, I let the kid do it, and she has such the active social life that we’re lucky to get one pumpkin.  Oh well.

One Year Ago

Gamigo bought the games of Trion Worlds, leaving not much behind.

We heard that a lot of people play Minecraft, that there would be no Minecraft 2, and that pandas were coming.

We were told that Google Plus would be going away.

We learned that Mike Morhaime would be stepping down as CEO of Blizzard to be replaced by J. Allen Brack of the infamous quote.

Standing Stone decided to farm nostalgia with the LOTRO Legendary server idea.

We learned that the 25th EverQuest expansion would be The Burning Lands.  For EverQuest II the Chaos Descending expansion was coming.

I was on a nostalgia tour of EverQuest II that involved a quest chain that was literally a nostalgia tour of EverQuest II.  That got me geared up to run through The Withered Lands.  I made it to level 100 even.

There was a hint that Just Survive might.  And then we were told it would not.

In New Eden the Keepstar War was over and a massive move op got me back home to Delve.  There was even a video.  Then it was back to shooting stuff around home.

The Reavers SIG turned four years old.

We seemed to be headed to war in high sec in Perimeter, and shot the Panfam trading Fortizar.  That ended when TEST dropped a Keepstar, the Perimeter Trading Tower.

The October update was about balance, which meant killing ECM really, while the CSM 13 summit minutes mentioned how war decs were killing high sec.

I was headed to EVE Vegas where we would see Pearl Abyss, CCP’s new owners, for the first time.  Much info was shared and swag gathered.  I even gave a presentation.  But it was about blogging, so nobody saw it.  I summed it all up when I got home.  I was dubious about the announced FLEX structures.

There was some joyful hysteria as a DCMA exception was made for MMO preservation.  However, it required the owner of the source code give it over voluntarily, which seemed like a huge stumbling block to me.  Creating emulators was still verboten.

And then there was that Rules for Rulers video, which prompted me to read the source material on which it was based, which made me even more cynical about politics than I already was.

Five Years Ago

The SF Giants won the World Series for the third time in five years.  I was just happy when they won it once in my lifetime.  Of course, they haven’t done much in the time since, but I had my moment… three times!

I was wondering about guild progression and whether they should have levels.

I was disappointed at Trion installing HackShield on my system and only deigning to notify me of this after the fact.  That got their Glyph launcher off my system.

EA put a new twist on insta-level by introducing a limited 12x experience bonus offer that would essentially let Star Wars: The Old Republic players level up via just their class story, without indulging in the myriad side quests the process would otherwise require.  Basically, you could play just the good bits of the game.  Imagine that!

The strategy group was doing city assaultsriver crossings, and ambushes in Total War: Rome II.

At EVE Vegas there were development plans for the coming year, which included Tech III destroyers.  Jump fatigue was also announced.  But at least we were also getting a much longer skill queue. (Limited to 50 skills or ten years of training, whichever you reach first.)  That was much on my mind as I crossed the 130 million skill point mark.

The Reavers, a group within The Imperium dedicated to living in hostile territory and attacking enemy infrastructure, was formed.  Our inaugural operations went to Insmother , where we blew up plenty of stuff, and then went to Feythabolis.

Closer to home there was a capital brawl in our staging system.  That was part of some battles with Black Legion, where they would visit us and then we would visit them.  Or blob them.  I also experienced one of the classic EVE mistakes for the first time.  People seemed anxious to use their capital ships before the Phoebe expansion changed everything.

In World of Warcraft I summed up my summer campaign for the Loremaster achievement.  It was not a success.  I did get my Sha’tari Skyguard reputation to exalted though.  More mounts!

Meanwhile, the WoW 6.0 patch dropped and the count-down to Warlords of Draenor began in earnest.  I was looking at the new features in that.  The instance group also stirred in anticipation of the new expansion, mostly finishing off Mists of Pandaria.

Finally, Planetary Annihilation arrived at last, and proved once again that recreating past fun isn’t as easy as it should be.

Ten Years Ago

League of Legends launched, going on to become the most successful rip-off of Defense of the Acients MOBA, topping online gaming revenue charts and spawning a long chain of failed copy cats.  I still don’t get the appeal of the game or its genre.

Torchlight came out, giving a lot of people a Diablo-like injection of fun.  It didn’t have a lot of replay value for me.  Once I burned through the game once I was pretty much done, which made it unlike Diablo II, which I returned to a number of times.  But it was just $20 and gave us a taste of what Runic might be able to deliver going forward.

I was on a MUD history kick, with tales of exciting ways to die in Kobold Village, the Kobold Temple of the Unholy, getting lost in the Faerie Forest, and all the rooms in TorilMUD.

It was also the three year anniversary of the regular Saturday night instance group, and I presented a summary of what we had done.

A couple of us scouted the then newly Free to Play Dungeons & Dragons Online as a possible next game for the instance group, but it didn’t stick.

I was able to buy the Adventurer’s Pack for Lord of the Rings Online and get the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for free.  Not as good of a deal as monthly subscribers got I understand, but a decent deal.  Of course, LOTRO has changed a lot since then.

In World of Warcraft October that year saw me finish off both the Brewfest and Hallow’s End meta achievements.  I was still left with one achievement for each holiday though.  Fun was had with pumpkins and the Headless Horseman.

The instance group returned to Utgarde Keep to take on Utgarde Pinnacle, at that time the last five-person dungeon in Northrend.  We were victorious and gained the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement.  But otherwise we were deciding on where the group should go next.

And Blizzard was busy merging everybody’s WoW account into a Battle.new account because… well, it wasn’t because of better security.

Fifteen Years Ago

The first Star Wars Galaxies expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, was launched, adding space combat to the game.

Thirty Years Ago

Prince of Persia is launched for the Apple II. It later becomes a hit and kicks off a franchise when ported to other, less dying platforms.

Maxis launches SimCity, which was a big success, but which led to people at the time to argue about whether it was really a game since you cannot necessarily “win” it.  Not the last time this topic would come up.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  3. Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains
  4. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  5. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  6. China Reckoning
  7. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  8. Blizzard Speaks
  9. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  10. Running of the Gnomes in WoW Classic
  11. Looking for Offense
  12. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?

Search Terms of the Month

does daybreak game company have any ties china?
[They only wish they could prostitute their values for money]

everquest old times
[Old time, aye, old times…]

is torment of velious going to be the last expansion for everquest
[Probably not, but we shall see]

how to watch star wars in order
[Lots of alcohol will help]

Spam Comment of the Month

Weblog feedback are often the nightmare that by no means ends.
[You read the comments, didn’t you?]

Manic Time

While WoW Classic continues to dominate my play time, I did spend less time playing.  Some of the freshness has worn off, so total time was about half of what I played last month.  Still, it is my nightly go-to game.  EVE Online saw a bit of a boost.  I doubled the number of hours played, though that did not add up to much.  With no SIG/Squad deployments going on I probably spent more time on utility tasks and login rewards than fleet ops.  And I patched up LOTRO and logged in to see if the new expansion was in the LOTRO Store yet.  It was not, but I have more than enough in-game cash to buy it when it is.  So the gaming time tracked was:

  • World of Warcraft – 84.16%
  • EVE Online – 15.72%
  • Lord of the Rings Online – 0.12%

EVE Online

As noted just above, I spent more time in EVE Online this month, just not that much on operations.  Reavers came back from its Cache deployment, after which I went on a few main fleet ops.  But mostly I was logged in for the login rewards, to tinker with alts, and to move my stuff from one Keepstar to another as we changed our staging Keepstar.  Logistics… actual logistics, moving stuff around… remains a big part of the game.  There are no banks that magically have all your stuff in every town.

Pokemon Go

I had a pretty big month with catching and evolving Pokemon.  I am still way behind on the Sinnoh Pokemon and the seasonal events have pushed the usual round of spooky breeds, all of which I have, into the forefront.

Level: 37 (+0)
Pokedex status: 463 (+19) caught, 488 (+21) seen
Pokemon I want: I have yet to see an Oshawott
Current buddy: Tepig

World of Warcraft

As with last month, I did log into the main game for a bit.  However, it was just to run the Darkmoon Faire quests with my main to notch his trade skills up by another 5 points.  Otherwise I remain as far from things like unlocking flying in Battle for Azeroth as I was a month ago.  At least that kept me from the fruitless hope of getting the headless horseman’s mount.

WoW Classic

Still my main game, still playing with the reconstituted instance group.  We are still moving slowly and there are many alts in our guild.  But Earl now has internet access, so is catching up to the group while we meander about with our alts.

Coming Up

November will be a busy month.  I get to this section and start thinking not only about what is coming up but what I will feel I need to write about.

BlizzCon is literally tomorrow.  There are probably two, maybe three, posts in that.

We have the 15th anniversaries for both EverQuest II and World of Warcraft this month, along with related events and such.  Multiple posts there.  I’ve already written two of them.  Back in March, during the EverQuest 20th anniversary I got it in my head to write the 15th anniversary posts for EQII and WoW.

LOTRO has the Minas Morgul expansion coming out… I hope… and I’m expecting an update on the next EQII expansion, Blood of Luclin.

EVE Online has their last Invasion World Tour event in London, which will have some announcements, a couple of Team Talos updates, and the usual MER to write about.

Add in the usual SuperData post and the month in review and of the 21 weekdays in November most of them will have a post already.  And I might want to write about other things.  There is a Liberty Squad deployment in the offing and the usual updates about what I am playing.  It seems likely I will come close to a post a day in November.

Of course, things have a way of changing up as you go, so we shall see what November brings.

September in Review

The Site

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

Classic is as classic does

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

Blizzard said no to its Titan project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Five Years Ago

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

One Hundred and Twenty Years Ago

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

Most Views Posts from September

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

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

Minecraft

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

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