Category Archives: Month in Review

Month in Review Reader Survey

As regular readers will know, on the last day of each month there is a Month in Review posts.  This came about pretty much by accident when I was looking for a post back at the end of September 2006 and it has carried on ever since.

The state of the blog – Sep 2006

(The Internet Archive has a version of the blog from November 2006 if you want to see the old format.)

That very first review post had entries about the site, the games I was playing (EVE Online, World of Warcraft, and Saga of Ryzom of all things), and what was coming.  From that humble post a series currently 175 long has sprung.

The categories have expanded and changed over the years.  Some things have gone… I no longer call out blogs that put me on their blog roll because nobody makes new blogs these days… and others have arrived, with game time tracking being the most recent.

The posts have also grown in size.  That first review was just 500 words.  These days the often go on for five times that length and link out to old posts in a manner that one might characterize as excessive.

In the end these posts have become something of an exercise in nostalgia for me.  The joy of having nearly 15 years of work to look back upon.  But I do wonder at times what others think of this monthly post, so today I have a poll.

The question is, which sections of the month in review you read or find interesting, if any.  If you skip it, just click the “none” option.  Otherwise, it is a multiple choice poll, so you can click all the boxes… though don’t do that, because one of the boxes is “none.”

For whatever reason the embedded poll feature won’t let me do a multiple select poll today, so I guess pick you favorite section.  My plans thwarted as usual.  The comments are there if you have a bone to pick about a particular section.

As usual, ad blockers or other security measures might keep the poll from appearing, but there should be a poll above this sentence.

Of course, this is also an opportune time to bring up something I ought to have in the monthly post, or ought to do away with.  I make no guarantees… these posts have evolved somewhat organically to reflect what I want them to be… but sometimes fresh insight can be instructive.

March in Review

The Site

As of a post earlier this week I had a post up every single day for an entire year.  The last day here on the site without a post was March 27, 2020.

AYearOfPosts2021
Filled in the blocks for a full year

Like a lot of such achievements, I did not set out to do this, but once I noticed it was happening it became a thing.  I rolled into last April with a plan to post every day due to the Blapril event.  Making it through that I had enough momentum to bring me through May and into June.  Then a war started brewing in EVE Online, which was fresh and exciting in late June of last year, but which has grown routine by now.  That gave me a lot to post about and I decided to stretch my posting run into August for the Blaugust celebration.  And once I had gotten through that I had almost a half a year streak going, so why not carry on.

As for what it means… well, it doesn’t really mean anything.  It is my own little post streak.  I think the previous such streak went for four months.  I just have to decide how much it really means to me to have an unbroken run of daily posts, because once I let it lapse it will take me at least a year to get back.

I will say that it is a good thing  I made it to this milestone, such that it is, this week.  Because this week saw WordPress.com finally delete the old classic editor, which I have been using for more than 14 years at this point, in order to force users into their new block editor, which was designed by a sadist and implemented by people who clearly don’t have to use it.  It impedes my ability to write.

Seriously, it sucks.  Even the classic block, which they claim is the same as the classic editor, sucks.  Features are missing, it keeps asking me if I want to convert to other blocks, everything takes a few more clicks to accomplish, and it is rather insistent that 24 time doesn’t exist. And don’t get me started on what happens to a post if you accidentally click that persistent “convert to blocks” button if you’re working in the classic block tab. I had to throw away a post and start over it was so mangled.

And they also did away with the old dashboard and stats, so even managing posts and comments and such is a huge pain in the ass now.  And data I used for things like my annual review post… well, that is just no longer accessible.

It is all a punch in the gut that doesn’t make me enthusiastic to post every day.

I sent in a complaint detailing all of this and I expect to hear back from one of their “Happiness Engineers” ignoring everything I wrote and gushing about how wonderful the block editor is with a link to a video.  The next helpful response I get from them will be the first.

Addendum: I enabled the new “Advanced Dashboard Pages” option and got back the ability to use the old Classic Editor once more. So yay! Why it was linked to that option I cannot explain, but I’ll take it.

One Year Ago

Oh man, it was the start of the pandemic lockdown, the March that lasted forever as we all learned how to stay home.  Fortunately I received a Ninendo Switch Lite for my birthday to keep me busy.

I did another poll about which voice service people were using.  Discord swept the poll.

I summed up the Winter Fantasy Movie League run, but FML was soon put on a pause due to theaters being shut.

Gamigo CEO Remco Westerman was unironically going on about synergy.

I was still playing a bit of EverQuest II, though it was mostly the Overseer feature getting me to log in.  EverQuest turned 21, which brought with is new servers, server merges, and other special items.  We got a free heroic upgrade… to level 85… which I used on one of my characters.

The big news from Daybreak though was Holly Longdale, who had been running the Norrath franchise for the company, leaving for Blizzard.

In WoW Classic the instance group was working through Razorfen Downs before heading off to UldamanArchaedas was an issue, but with some suggestions we were able to finish him as a four person group.

I was also trying to farm the Hydrocane from Gnomeregan.

In EVE Online there was an early March update that brought us some changes, which was followed later with an update that included low sec and faction warfare changes as well as giving battleships a frigate escape bay.  CCP was also moving along with their economic privation plan, announcing the removal of minerals from moons.  The February MER was already showing mineral prices rising and this was expected to make them go higher still.

CCP threw more skill points at us.

There was a question as to whether of not there should be a shooter from CCP like Project Nova.

Out in space we were packing up to head home from VenalLiberty Squad was done as Terrifying League of Dog Fort corp, which was running the group, left the alliance to find adventure elsewhere.

There was a plan for Blapril, an early run at Blaugust, as we were all home with free time.

And there were some Friday Bullet Points from Gamasutra, including some more about CCP’s Project Nova.

Five Years Ago

Daybreak announced that they were giving up on EverQuest Next.  That left me wondering what the future looked like for Landmark.  It wasn’t going to have PvP.

I also wrote up a post about all of the SOE/Daybreak MMOs and their then current (and mostly closed) status.  Things still looked pretty good for EverQuest at 17, though I wasn’t sure how experience injectors were going to play out in EverQuest II.

Also in EverQuest II the PvP version of their retro nostalgia server, Deathtoll, was getting folded into the PvE version, Stormhold, due to lack of interest, thus ending open world PvP in the game outside of that Russian server.  I was looking for nostalgia on the Stormhold side of things again.

Voting kicked off for CSM 11 with Xenuria on the official Imperium ballot.  How things change.

The monthly EVE Online update introduced Project Discovery and made it so you had to be mutual friends in order to track somebody’s online status in your contact list.  The month’s blog banter wanted people to imagine other games based off of the EVE Online IP, so I went with something akin to Diplomacy.

There were a bunch of little EVE Online things, like server upgrades, downtime compensation, and skill injector fun that I put into one bullet points post.  I like those posts when I do them, I hate them a year later when I want to do my summary.  It is easier when each topic has its own post!

Fighting was going on as the Casino War widened.  Some of the coalition was staged in Saranen, which meant flying quite a ways to defend territory on the far side of Tribute, including an unfortunate event with a Higgs anchor rig on my Guardian.  There were things going on in several regions, including a really good brawl in Fade.

Then the weight in numbers began to tell as we had to fight fires on several fronts.  I wondered if we were going to have a last stand at VFK-IV.  The plan, however, was not to waste ships against the superior numbers arrayed against us.  Instead we gave up territory, announcing the abandonment of the Vale of the Silent region, occupied by Lawn and Bastion, with one constellation owned by Circle-of-Two.  CO2 decided to leave the Imperium over this in order to save their territory, which would soon be the front line in the war, betraying us even as the fight was still going on in M-OEE8.  Once the war was over their new friends turned on them and took their territory anyway.  Who says there are no happy endings?

The M-OEE8 fight was still a big one and got CCP some press.  That is one thing null sec is good for, bringing attention to the game.

Black Desert Online went live and much bitching about the cash shop ensued, so I couldn’t resist jumping on that bandwagon yet again.  The cash shop is a necessary evil at this point.

I was poking fun at VR, which is still struggling for relevance.  Meanwhile EVE Valkyrie and Gunjack went live with the official Occulus Rift launch.

Minecraft 1.9, the Combat Upgrade landed, giving us shields.  I stopped wearing one of those ages ago, as you can’t read maps, among other things, if you have one on.

In Minecraft Aaron’s zombie pig farm was causing MC Pro Hosting to lag out on us.  But we made the switch to the much more reasonably priced Minecraft Realms hosting option, which solved that issue.  Premium pricing was not getting us premium service.

In Diablo III I was chasing the Season 5 set dungeon.

And, finally, things looked grim for WildStar, with China cancelled, layoffs, and dwindling revenue.

Ten 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 ten years ago found me spending time in EverQuest.  It was on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server, 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: 88) 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.

Fifteen Years Ago

World of Warcraft hit 6 million subscribers.  Eventually it would double that number.  And later it would sink below that number.  WoW Classic seemed to get it back up to that number again, though all such numbers from Blizzard are pretty vague these days.

Twitter launched, but who in the hell wants a platform limited to just 140 characters?  Or 280 characters now I guess.

Brent, going by the “Prognosticator” handle back then, launched the VirginWorlds podcast which began what was, for me, the golden age of MMO podcasting and eventually nudged me into blogging.  Trust me to pick up the old trend when a new one starts.  His site had fallen into disrepair over the years and, recently, disappeared altogether.  Time to pull it from the side bar I think.  I still have all the podcasts in my iTunes library, and you can peruse the site and descriptions over at the Internet Archive.

Twenty Years Ago

Nintendo released the GameBoy Advance, the handheld model between the GameBoy Color and the Nintendo DS.  Games for the GBA were still available when I eventually got a Nintendo DS as it had a GBA cartridge slot to allow backward compatibility.

Thirty Years Ago

Neverwinter Nights, an online multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons themed game launched on AOL.  In an age of text and MUDs, it was an online graphical multiplayer RPG and either one of the first, or a direct precursor to, modern MMORPGs, depending on how you want to define the “massive” part of the acronym.

Sierra Online launched The Sierra Network… their name having “online” in it before they had an actual online presence was a mistake in hindsight I suppose… which includes the title The Shadow of Yserbius as part of the package, which was also an online graphical multiplayer RPG (or a graphical MUD as they called it), which also gives it a claim to either being one of the first, or a direct precursor to, modern MMORPGs.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. The Federation Grand Prix Starts in EVE Online with Events and Login Rewards
  2. Death on the Plains in Valheim
  3. Tunnels and Trolls and Teens and the Bronze Age in Valheim
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Deer Hunting in Valheim
  6. Robbing Some Space Banks
  7. SupreData says WoW Jumped in Subscribers and Revenue
  8. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  9. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  10. CCP Now Just Baby Steps from Selling EVE Online Skill Points Directly
  11. Diablo II Act Five and some Thoughts
  12. What Does LOTRO Need?

Search Terms of the Month

valheim keep dying in black forest
[Wait until you walk into the plains!]

i came upon fulings and died valheim
[Yeah, though the deathsquitos are worse]

why cant i buy large skill injectors with plex?
[Sell the PLEX, use the ISK, problem solved]

eve online casino
[That was the war five years back]

eve online what is really going on in null
[Damn if I know]

eve minokawa solo fit
[Let me know when you undock]

why it’s all about money just bomb ccp get rid of them
[What were you even searching for?]

making fake favebook profit for oculus
[Favebook is like that]

how to clean pokewalker
[Don’t put it in the washing machine!]

Game Time from ManicTime

Once again this month saw Valheim take up most of my focus. The time split was as follows:

  • Valheim – 84.71%
  • EVE Online – 10.90%
  • WoW Classic – 4.30%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.10%

At this point Valheim is where I have spent about half of my gaming time so far this year. In the first half of the month I had more time on it that in my main browser. (Though, to be fair, I have to split between Firefox and Chrome for work related items.)

EVE Online

The war carries on.  I’ve said that a few times, haven’t I?  This past month was a bit lighter for me that January and February.  My participation status shows over 100 ops in the last 90 days, but only about 15 of those were in the last 30 days.  Blame Valheim a bit, but more it is the fact that no grand events have been happening really.  I did do the Federation Grand Prix for the SKINs on an alt, but that was another story.

Pokemon Go

My wife and I both made it to level 41.  It wasn’t that tough of a climb.  We were helped along by the fact that we had accumulated some xp after hitting level 40 but before the new levels were announced.  Not as much as some… I have people in my friends list who have as much as 60 million xp pre-done… but it boosted us along a bit.  Now for level 42.

Level: 41 (15% of the way to 42 in xp, 2 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 628 (+9) caught, 656 (+9) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 12
Pokemon I want: Need Eevees for the level 42 tasks
Current buddy: Frogadier

Valheim

As you can see from the ManicTime numbers, this is the title that dominated my gaming time again this month.  Right now on our world we’re ready to slay Moder once we can get on together and then we will be moving towards the plains. 

World of Warcraft

I did log into retail WoW, though only for Darkmoon Faire and a few pet battles.  I did nothing out in the Shadowlands expansion.  The events there have skipped far enough ahead of me that I likely won’t ever catch up.  My renown remains meager and such.

WoW Classic

While the instance group has been mostly focused on Valheim, I did find a bit of time to run around with my paladin alt.  I’d like to get him up to 60… or at least 58… before Burning Crusade Classic shows up.

Coming Up

Well, tomorrow is April Fools, so I am pretty sure some of you can guess what the post of the day will be about.  It is the same thing every year.

In Valheim we have two bosses left to take on.  We might actually accomplish that and get back to spending a bit of time in  WoW Classic, though I suspect we’ll keep the Valheim world up and keep building and such.  It has a Minecraft-like appeal in that.

I expect that we’ll start getting some news about a timeline for Burning Crusade Classic.

And in EVE Online CCP is ready to turn industry upside down by changing dramatically how all ships larger than a battlecruiser, plus all T2 and faction ships, are built.  When even the devs are predicting chaos and things taking 4-6 months to settle down you know we’re in for a wild ride.

February in Review

The Site

I haven’t complained about WordPress.com in a while, so let me get stuck into them.  They broke the classic editor… again.  Not drastically, but the break made it much more annoying to use.  When I wrote to their support… they call them “happiness engineers,” which sounds like a title the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation would use… the response was pretty much “LOL, use the block editor dummy!” followed by a long, cut and pasted entry about how wonderful it is.

I do not like the block editor.  It feels like a software dev’s view of a word processor, with each paragraph in its own block, as though people somehow felt a need to re-arrange paragraphs so often that they made it a feature.  Object oriented writing isn’t really a thing.  My paragraphs cannot be re-ordered at will and make sense.  They barely make sense when correctly ordered.

There is the “classic” block in the block editor, which is almost tolerable, but lacks some of the features of the classic editor.  And trying to explain the omissions to a “happiness engineer” was like trying to explain tea to a robot.

Fortunately, Paeroka at Nerdy Bookahs noticed that the classic editor was only broken in Firefox, not Chrome.  Another typical dev problem, and one I run into at work a lot, where everybody only ever uses Chrome despite the fact that our customers are often on locked down work machines that only have Edge or IE11 on them.  I personally prefer Firefox, though I can complain about most browsers for one reason or another, but I can use Chrome to write if I have to.

Otherwise it was a pretty good month.  Traffic was up as the swell of Valheim players looking for information about the game sent a bunch of people my way.  I was also enthusiastic to write about the game.

Valheim on Steam

The traffic tapered off towards the end of the month as every gaming site in creation jumped on the Valheim bandwagon.  But you can see from the most viewed posts list that it generated some interest here.  And I am sure I will have more to say about the game.

One Year Ago

The anticipated Torchlight Frontiers MMORPG was demoted to Torchlight III, another action RPG with multiplayer support.

Daybreak was warming up for the EverQuest 21st anniversary.

Blizzard reported a decent Q4 for 2019, at least compared to the rest of the year.  WoW Classic helped.  A lot.  But the Warcraft III Reforged fiasco was not likely to help Blizz for Q1 2020.

Over at CCP Project Nova, the latest attempt at a first person shooter, was transitioning into some other project.  But they were going to keep that quiet until the had something real to bring to us.  They also cancelled FanFest in Iceland over corona virus fears, and rightly so.

For the February update in EVE Online we got the Guardians Gala, new implant sets, and the start of what would become a year of nerfing mining into oblivion.  CCP gave us some skill points for being down due to a DDoS attack.  The also announced a plan to fix undercutting in the market.

Out in New Eden the Goon Expeditionary Force was formed and went out on its first deployment.  I managed to get on a bunch of kill mails in my ECM burst interceptor.  We were also out shooting structures and

As fall out from the death of Guardians of the Galaxy coalition, Ranger Regiment joined the Imperium.

I also compare raids, where up to 40 people need to coordinate, with fleet ops in EVE Online, where up to 255 people work as a team, facing off against another group generally of equal size.

In WoW Classic the instance group was working on the Scarlet Monastery Cathedral wing, then we were back again to finish up a quest.  Then I summed up all of our Scarlet Monastery time over the years in a post, including a mock version of the place in Neverwinter.

The we were off to Razorfen Downs.

As we were getting to level 40, I wondered how close we were to being half way to level cap.  There are a variety of ways to measure that.

I was also still playing the EverQuest II expansion, and even bought a couple Krono as my cash resources were rather meager.

And then there was Camelot Unchained, where City State Entertainment announced that they were working on another game which would somehow magically speed up delivery of the game that was already four years past the promised date, prompting people to ask for refunds, myself included.  Of course, getting a refund was not easy, and City State was not at all inclined to be helpful, with Mark Jacobs himself showing up to tell me I must be dumb to not have all the details of a seven year old credit card charge close to hand, but I ended up finally finding the transaction ID from the 2013 pledge and got a refund, minus processing fees.

Five Years Ago

We were in Hawaii for a few days for my wife’s birthday.

I was wondering about MMOs and their middle age problems.

I was on episode 80 of the Couchpodtatoes podcast, where we reviewed Daybreak’s first year.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens was announced, and it was even going to be available on the PlayStation 3.  Lucky me.

Pokemon turned 20.  To celebrate there was a re-launch of the classic Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on Virtual Console, special legendary downloads every month, and the announcement that we would be getting the next installment in the series, Pokemon Sun & Moonfor the holidays.

Daybreak announced the splitting of H1Z1 into two gamesH1Z1 – Makes Some Money and H1Z1 – Gets Ignored.

I was making the case that Blizzard should continue to talk about WoW subscription numbers, even if they were down, as they were at least more concrete than MAUs, which have no correlation with revenue.  Of course, times have changed.  I was able to pre-order WoW Legion with a 20% discount thanks to Amazon Prime.

The shut down date for CCP’s DUST 514 was announced.  The end was nigh.  They also announced they were shutting down EVElopedia, thus creating dozens of new dead links on my blog in one fell swoop.  Some days I just hate the internet.  But at least the company’s financials seemed okay.  Not bankrupt yet.

In EVE Online we had the Madi Gras release that introduce skill injectors/extractors and the skill point economic boom. Of course, it became about penis size right away and somebody had to inject enough to train up all the skills in game.  You can buy your way to the top now, a pity it doesn’t actually make you any smarter in real life.

The EVE Online Blog Banter was about road maps for the game.

The CSM 11 election season was warming up, with CCP Falcon spreading bullshit in an attempt to cover the “no Sions” rule.  Sion Kumitomo was boycotting the CSM 10 Winter summit as it was the only agency he felt he had.  But at least CCP Falcon and CCP Leelo were off the CSM detail, with CCP Guard and CCP Logibro taking their places.

In space there was the last flight of the Reaver Ravens and a final fight down in Querious before returning to the north.  Then it was Yacht Fleet and the war between SpaceMonkeys Alliance and the RMT tainted I Want ISK in what was already being called “The Casino War.”

And then there was a call to go play PlanetSide 2, which seemed ill timed considering the war.

In Minecraft I reviewed the state of our automated farms… which were mostly Aaron’s.

And in Diablo III I was giving season 5 a run, running first through story mode and then going after some of the seasonal objectives in adventure mode.

Ten Years Ago

I was accidentally declared influential.  That was the first and last time that ever happened, and in an era before “influencers” were even a thing.  We got over that pretty quickly.

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 was free to play, so coming back wasn’t all that hard… unless you count time spent waiting for the patcher.

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 exactly 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 HillsBlackburrowWest Karana, and the Qeynos Sewers.  Important 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.

Fifteen Years Ago

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach launched.  Based somewhat on the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 rule set it set out to be the best dungeon crawl experience in the MMORPG genre, and featured no dragons at launch.  It also unapologetically required required player grouping, something declared right on the box.  That made me put it back on the shelf at Fry’s.  It has since become solo friendly, free to play, and toned down the name to just Dungeons & Dragons Online.

SOE lauched the Kingdom of Sky expansion for EverQuest II, which raised the level cap to 70 and introduced alternate advancement, a mechanism long familiar to EQ veterans by that point.  This was also at a point of peak performance issues in the game, including the height of the Qeynos Harbor lag problem.  I was on board with WoW by then and declined to buy the expansion.

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.

Twenty Years Ago

Civilzation II, perhaps one of the oldest games I can still play, and which I have invested many hours into, launched on leap day 1996.

Pokemon Red & Green, the genesis of the Pokemon franchise, launched in Japan.

Thirty Years Ago

The Legend of Zelda launches on the NES, the first game in the long running franchise.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. Deer Hunting in Valheim
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Tunnels and Trolls and Teens and the Bronze Age in Valheim
  4. The Guardians Gala Event Returns to EVE Online
  5. A First Look at Valheim
  6. Traveling to the Black Forest in Valheim
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Robbing Some Space Banks
  9. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  10. Time to Earn some ISK
  11. What Does LOTRO Need?
  12. Titan Massacre at M2-XFE

Search Terms of the Month

goons papi eve meta explained
[Good luck with that]

keepstar meme
[Yes]

keepster broom
[What?]

how do keepstars protect themselves
[Memes, brooms]

eve echoes burn jita
[One can only hope]

eve minokawa solo fit
[Again, good luck with that]

Game Time from ManicTime

When the month started off it looked very much like WoW Classic would be at the top of the list.  I was serious about my paladin alt, the group was finishing up Blackrock Depths, and things were going well.  And then Valheim showed up and ate up all my free time.  Well played.

  • Valheim – 63.16%
  • WoW Classic – 22.85%
  • EVE Online – 13.52%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.47%

EVE Online

The was carried on.  There were a few big clashes, but nothing like the titan battles or the Keepstar drops from the end of 2020.  I got into a few fights, but mostly spent my time on the M2 hellcamp, which carries on.  Both sides are grinding away at each other and trying to keep their side motivated.  The side that loses interest first loses.

Pokemon Go

There were some fun events for the Kanto celebration that got my wife and I out of the house.  Lots of raids and tasks.  We’re slowly closing in on level 41.

Level: 40 (88% of the way to 41 in xp, all tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 619 (+6) caught, 647 (+5) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 11
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Frogadier

Valheim

The surprise hit game of 2021 so far.  I went from, “Why no, I have never heard of this new early access game on Steam” to it consuming all of my gaming time over the course of a week.

World of Warcraft

WoW has really fallen down the list.  As I said in my BlizzConline summary, it isn’t so much that Shadowlands is bad, it is just always the 3rd or 4th thing on my list to play.  I forgot to log in and do the Darkmoon Faire tradeskill quests even this month.  I am really falling off the retail WoW wagon.

WoW Classic

We finally finished up the last quest for Blackrock Depths on our twelfth run.  Doing it as a four person group was often a challenge.  And, for a four person group I am not sure we have the optimum class balance.  Had I to do it over again I might have tanked with a paladin.  The raid meta won’t allow pally tanks, but for the 5 person dungeons it would have worked.  Now we just have to decide what to hit next.

Coming Up

More Valheim I bet.  We’re kind of moving slowly on our world, but base building is satisfying.  We still haven’t found the damn vendor, so hopefully that will happen next month.  I’ve explored a lot of black forest biome on foot so far and that is getting a bit old.

World War Bee will carry on in EVE Online.  Neither side seems ready to crack yet as the war enters its eighth month.  Meanwhile, CCP is carrying on with strangling the economy along with a couple more odd ideas that I might explore.

The instance group might get back to WoW Classic.  We’re all playing Valheim together at the moment, but that isn’t as structured as a dungeon run, which is both good and bad.  We’ll see.

EverQuest will turn 22 in March.  Are there any good birthdays after your 21st?  I think the last real birthday party I had was when I was ten.

I will also expect that we will start getting a drip feed of news from Blizzard about their projects for this year, including The Burning Crusade Classic and Diablo II Ressurected.  Likewise from Nintendo around Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl and Pokemon Legends: Arceus.   And I am still waiting for some new on LEGO Starwars: The Skywalker Saga, which was delayed into 2021.

January in Review

The Site

We are already a month down for 2021 and it has seemed… a bit less crazy.  Or, at least we seem to be confining big events to Wednesdays… insurrection, impeachment, inauguration, GameStop… to give everybody time to catch up.  It is a welcome change from the last four years of “what new outrage will I awake to in the morning?”

I mentioned a while back that I had setup the blog as a magazine on the Flipboard app, so if you wanted to read the blog in a handy way on your phone or tablet you now had that option.

Flipboard

As I said, I find it a nice way to flip through headlines with the ability to dive into the news story about which I want to know more.  Well, last week I received a note from Flipboard saying that my configuration had been approved and TAGN was now available generally on the app.  So you can find it if you search on TAGN.  I would still be interested to hear if anybody uses it or likes the format.

One Year Ago

A new year meant predictions.  Also, there was the end of another Steam Winter Sale complete with stats and my own gaming outlook for 2020.  I also had a list of things I wanted to see in the year and my game time played for 2019.

SuperData Research had their own review of 2019.

A research group published a paper exploring the electrical usage impact of video games in the state of California.  It was more than hot tub pumps.

Daybreak finally did their studio split thing, though what it really meant was left unanswered.

In EverQuest II I was gearing up for the moon.  I also leveled up my crafting by doing things other than crafting, though I had our guild hall open for actual crafting.  Leveling up was quick and I soon had three characters on Luclin.

In EVE Online there was the “My Year In EVE” video thing.  GDC also had a video about EVE Online and how they fixed the ghost training problem.

The January game update buffed heavy missiles and added Nirvana implants, the “shield slaves” that people had been asking about for years.

CCP introduced new player packs that were essentially selling skill points… again.  They were also handing out more skill points for logging in, doing a PLEX for Good for the Australian wildfires as well, and finishing the 64-bit client transition.

Our long time corp, Black Sheep Down, was going away, which led me to join Karma Fleet.

Blizzard pushed out Warcraft III Reforged, broken, berefet of expected features, and with restrictions on user created content, all of which made it an object of scorn and an item on many “worst releases of 2020” lists.

World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth was getting down to its final content drop.  There was a lot of stuff with it.  Also, they were offering a flying rat to six month subscribers.

In WoW Classic the instance group was in the Scarlet Monastery.  We took a shot at the library and the armory, then ran off to Stranglethorn Vale for a bit of xp.  After that we went back and did the library and the armory again.  I also ended up with my first level 40 in WoW Classic.

Five Years Ago

I had 16 predictions for 2016. (Results for those who need to know.)

I was also included on some sort of MMO info page thing.

It was the end of another Steam Winter Sale.

I was wondering what Early Access should really be.  I was also checking out which MMOs made PC Gamer’s latest list.

Smed was going to Kickstarter for Hero’s Song.  It got cancelled before I could finish the post about all the problems it had.  More than a bit of foreshadowing in that I guess.

People were troubled by a potential paywall in Rift.

The price for the Occulus Rift was announced, which led to quite a sum if all I wanted to do is play EVE Valkyrie.

In EVE Online I ran my first incursion boss.  We also got the first of the “no name” monthly updates.  Karma Fleet turned one.  CCP told us about skill extractorsBlog Banter 71 was about spaceships.  Also, there was some sort of conflict going on between I Want ISK and SpaceMonkeys Alliance.  It started in mid-December 2015.  The bankers of I Want ISK were banned then unbanned and eventually the whole thing spiraled out to become the Casino War.

In space we reinforced a tower and ran about in Typhoons and Jackdaws.  At the end of the month Reavers headed south to Wicked Creek to tangle with TEST.

Outside the game Battle Clinic, long a staple of the EVE Online third party universe, was set to shut down while the election process for CSM XI was kicking off.

Daybreak announced that they were going to port the five year old DC Universe Online to the XBox.

I went in to Diablo III to try out the Season 5 content.  I ran through the story quickly, but there was more to do.

wrote a bit about The Force Awakens.

Finally, I was marveling at all the movies from 1986 that I remembered.  Aliens! Top Gun!  Platoon!  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!   It was a hell of a year for movies.

Ten 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. (It eventually shipped in November of 2012.)

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.

Meanwhile, competing superhero game, Champions Online, went free to play after less than a year and and a half as a subscription title.  This would end up being foreshadowing for DC Universe Online.

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.

Fifteen 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 in the US 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.

Twenty Years Ago

RuneScape launches as a Java based browser game.

Phantasy Star Online launches on the Sega Dreamcast, one of the first proto-MMOs on consoles.

Forty Years Ago

The first DeLorean rolled off the production line.  Not really game related, but very much pop culture related.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Titan Massacre at M2-XFE
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Robbing Some Space Banks
  5. PAPI Thwarted at Final M2-XFE Keepstar Timer by the Early Bird Imperium
  6. Time to Earn some ISK
  7. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  8. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  9. Do You Need a Level Booster for Shadowlands?
  10. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend
  11. Life on the M2 Hell Camp
  12. My Year in EVE Online 2020

Search Terms of the Month

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[not asking for much]

dawn rhea eve online
[Over at Theta Thursdays on INN Twitch]

eve online is npc station safe to store my assets?
[with CCP I am hesitant to say yes]

does trion still exist
[Only in our hearts]

звёздные войны буквы уход
[Some nuance there Google translate lacks]

Game Time from ManicTime

Two games dominated my PC play time this month for sure.  It was pretty much a neck in neck tie between WoW Classic and EVE Online all month.  I also spent a little bit of time logged into retail WoW and was in and looking at LOTRO for a bit though, as I mentioned, on the big monitor it is almost unplayable due to tiny, indistinct icons on the hot bar and in inventory.

  • WoW Classic – 50.36%
  • EVE Online – 49.30%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.19%
  • LOTRO – 0.16%

EVE Online

The war goes on.  For a short stretch of time after the battles at M2-XFE the invaders seemed dismayed and their participation was way down, allowing the Imperium to push them back in Delve, retaking several constellations and saving a few Keepstars.  PAPI has since recovered, building up to a more aggressive tempo, and in the last week has been able to field their overwhelming numbers again to grind down our gains.  More on that tomorrow though.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go has had some weekly events that we have been doing.  With wind and rain and the pandemic, Pokemon Go is often the only excuse to leave the house some days.

Level: 40 (65% of the way to 41 in xp, all tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 613 (+2) caught, 642 (+7) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 9 of 10
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Froakie

World of Warcraft

I did not spend a lot of time in Shadowlands this month.  It isn’t so much that the expansion is bad than I would simply rather spend my time in WoW Classic again.  Since one subscription gets me both, I am not sure it matters too much, the way it would if I were playing a different MMO.  I did, however, keep up with my usual standard of at least doing Darkmoon Faire.

WoW Classic

The instance group has been doing its thing every week, but if I was playing a game this past month and it wasn’t EVE Online, then it was probably WoW Classic.  I will likely have at least one character up to level 60 before Blizzard starts talking about The Burning Crusade, and I will likely have three well before anything based on that launches, even with the most optimistic schedule.

Coming Up

BlizzConline will be coming up on the 19th.  After no BlizzCon in 2020 and relatively few announcements since the Shadowlands launch, it is time to get some news.  If there isn’t an announcement and a plan for The Burning Crusade Classic I expect riots in the street.

It would also be nice if Blizz could come up with something else… and not just another Hearthstone expansion.  2020 was a retro year for Blizz as we once again reached the point where World of Warcraft was the game that mattered and everything else felt neglected.  It isn’t necessarily bad to have just one main game for a stretch… look how long Riot ran on just League of Legends… but Blizz actually has other franchises.

In EVE Online the war will continue no doubt.  Both sides still see a path to some sort of victory, and given Vily’s temperament war aims, it is very likely that both sides will claim victory unless there is a very dramatic end to the war.

Meanwhile, CCP continues to hold the screws to the economy, so prices are rising.  They sent out a survey about their handling of the economy.  I’d like to see the results and comments from that.  I doubt they will share however.  But they will need to do something because the one main threat to the ongoing war is supply and replacement, which is running up against CCP’s belief that if they make us all poor we’ll fight more rather than less.

Otherwise… maybe I will play something beyond EVE Online and WoW Classic next month.

December in Review

The Site

Well, I made it to the end of 2020, and I should be happy about just that I suppose, though it isn’t like the world will change dramatically tomorrow, or the next day, or on January 20th, or whenever.  The same problems will face us and the same people will block whatever solutions might help people or alleviate problems.

2020 banner by my daughter

One thing that happens today is that Adobe officially stops supporting Flash.  You might have seen a few messages like this of late.

The end of Flash is here

This has absolutely nothing to do with the blog, but it is a moment of passing for a bit of code that had a huge influence on the web.  It has its roots back in the 90s in tech that powered games like Spaceship Warlock and Myst and was a gateway for many budding game devs to create projects that could be played by others.  There was a whole era of crappy Flash games in the early 2000s, some of which were not all that crappy really.

And it was the underlying tech for a lot of web animation of that era as well.  Homestar Runner was entirely done in Flash, as were many other greater and lesser known projects. (Shout out to Chris Coutts’ Tales for the L33T: Romeo + Juliette back in the day.)  It got into a lot of places.

Some of those bits of the web have been converted, preserved, or moved to other mediums.  Homestar Runner is on YouTube if you want to watch Trogdor again. (Also, Chris Coutts)

But a lot of stuff will just fall by the wayside and disappear.  Flash got a bad reputation, especially for security issues, but it helped build the web as we know it today.  And so we say farewell to it and the games it fostered.  This is why Farmville is also going away today.  Marc Pinkus went on at length on Twitter about the game, leaving out the bits where he stole it from another company and did a bunch of dodgy stuff for revenue and helped create the aura of Facebook games as “spammy pieces of shit.”  So it goes.

Anyway, here we are at the end of the year and post number 405 for 2020.  It was going to be post 404 with a cute “not found” joke, but then that titan fight happened last night.

405 puts 2020 behind 2019, which had 412 posts, but one ahead of 2018, which hit the 404 mark.  Did I make a joke about it back then?

One Year Ago

After many slipped dates and fan push back, Daybreak decided to shut down PlanetSide Arena, their attempt to re-capture some of that battle royale lightning that H1Z1 held briefly when it launched.

On the bright side, EverQuest launched its 26th expansion, the Torment of Velious.

I also made a pilgrimage of my own in old Norrath.

CCP experimented with a day of no downtime.  I heard later that this caused problems and the next downtime had to run long.  You just have to reboot New Eden once a day I guess.

CCP also brought in the HyperNet Relay gambling mechanic, the new wallet UI, and the Kicking over Castles update to make blowing up structures a bit easier.  We got the Naughty or Nice holiday event which included a station to refurbish melted snowballs.

The holiday season also came to WoW Classic and EverQuest II.

Blizzard introduced battlegrounds to WoW Classic early to stem the completely predictable carnage that came about from the introduction of the honor system.  We also got the key chain and paid character transfers.

In WoW Classic we hit our peak group size as six of us ran off to the Scarlet Monastery graveyard.  Back in vanilla a bunch of dungeons allowed raid groups of 10 players.  Skonk and I also got our paladins out for the Test of Righteousness class quest.

We were also back in Gnomeregan for some quest clean up with Earl.  I had to swap to my pally so he could tank.  And then we went back with a different group mix.  Then we went back in again to get Moronae the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.    Finally, we went back to Scarlet Monastery to run through the library.

Then I reviewed my WoW Classic characters four months into the launch.

On the retail WoW front I broke the story of the rejected squish ideas.

I was still running around tuning up my main in EverQuest II until the Blood of Luclin expansion launched.  Getting to Luclin was a bit of a chore, at least the first time through.  From there the run to level cap was pretty quick.

And, it being December, there were the usual reflection on the year gone by.  I looked at my games played, reviewed my 2019 predictions, looked at the books I read, and reviewed highs and lows of the year.

I also did a Decade in Review post about gaming related stuff.

And then 2020 hit.  But that is another tale altogether.

Five Years Ago

Thanks to The Force Awakens coming out, George Lucas was in the news and rationalizing his “Han didn’t shoot first” change.  I wasn’t buying it.  There were certainly other things he could have changed.

It was December, so I had to go over the usual posts, scoring predictions, looking back at the highs and lows of the year gone past, looking forward to what I might play 2016, and something about the inevitable Steam holiday sale.  I also made a chart to show what MMOs I was playing in 2015 because everybody else was doing it.  I totally forgot to make that chart again this year.

There was the Operation: Frostline expansion in EVE Online.

In New Eden I got blow up trying to slip a Caracal out of Fountain.  It happens.  On the other hand, I did get my first kill mark on another solo op.  I also hit 150 million skill points, an achievement soon to be made trivial by skill injectors.

The much reviled Fountain War Kickstarter was finally cancelled, as it was clearly not going to get anywhere close to its $150K target.  But was that going to bank the flames of the brightly burning Goon hate? (hint: no)

The recently rebranded Imperium was taking its plans to low sec, either to generate content or display its arrogance depending on who was describing it.  We were also waging a war in Cloud Ring.

Turbine finally got their head screwed on right when it came to insta-levels in Lord of the Rings Online.  I was stomping around in the Mirkwood expansion trying to see in the dark.

In Minecraft I was building a prismarine outpost along the great northern road.  Aaron and I also killed the End Dragon.

On the EverQuest front, the Phinigel “true box” server opened, a retro progression server that was supposed to keep people from multi-boxing groups.

I summed up five years of Raptr tracking my game play with my top 20 played games.  There was LEGO’s somewhat nonsensical online name policy.  And I was playing Monument Valley on the iPad.

Ten 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.

Fifteen Years Ago

CCP dropped the Red Moon Rising expansion on EVE Online, introducing a host of new ships including titans and motherships.  They also introduced a new tutorial and new player experience, so some things never change.

Asherons Call 2: Fallen Kings, the sequel to Asheron’s Call, was shut down by Turbine.  Revived again some years later, it and its predecessor were both shut down when Jeffrey Epstein, Columbus Nova, and/or Daybreak Game Company acquired the MMO portion of Turbine and created Standing Stone Games.  The open question remains as to who might own the AC/AC2 IP at this point.  Warner?  Daybreak?  EG7?  Jeffrey Epstein?  The Russians? [Edit: Massively OP says that WB still owns it, which means it is as dead as any IP can be.]

Twenty Years Ago

The second EverQuest expansion, The Scars of Velious, launched.  The icy continent of Velious brought frost giants, Coldain Dwarves, and more dragons to Norrath.  It also introduced The Sleeper, a once per server event.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Daybreak Revealed in Enad Global 7 Presentation
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. Minecraft Village Population
  4. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  5. WoW Shadowlands Sales Stacked Up Against Past Releases
  6. Robbing Some Space Banks
  7. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  8. EVE Online Ushers in the Holidays with Winter Nexus Events Starting Today
  9. Do You Need a Level Booster for Shadowlands?
  10. Drone Aggression Nerf and Tech II Salvage Drones Arrive in EVE Online
  11. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend
  12. Daybreak to be Acquired by Enad Global 7

Search Terms of the Month

what were brad’s aradune stats in everquest
[All 18s?]

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[Make up your mind]

will scaling kill wow boring
[It wasn’t the best feature in BFA certainly]

how to rush through all wow expansions
[You don’t even have to do that any more]

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[I’m not sure it had much to begin with]

can you buy skill points in eve online?
[Yes.  Next question.]

eve skill pints per isk comparison
[That’s a bit more difficult]

Game Time from ManicTime

My game play time went in something of a reverse flow in December.  I came off the big WoW Shadowlands binge at the start of the month, focused a lot on WoW Classic in the middle, and then World War Bee activity picked up in the back half of the month, culminating in last night’s titan slaughter fest.

  • EVE Online – 53.14%
  • WoW Classic – 34.20%
  • World of Warcraft – 11.78%
  • About Us – 0.88%

Oh, and I played About Us for about 90 minutes in the middle of all of that.

EVE Online

There was still World War Bee to keep me busy.  With the enemy camped on our doorstep fights have been easy to come by.  Somebody is always trying to provoke the other side into doing something dumb.  I’ve seen fights over anything from bait titans to a bait Raven in T5ZI-S.  And then there was the Catch deployment, where Reavers went out to join in with The Initiative to lay siege to Legacy Coalitions backfield… some more.  And then there was the battle in M2-XFE yesterday and early this morning.  We will have to see how that affects the war.

Pokemon Go

We got released to start working our way to level 50 this month.  The xp climb is very steep, but there are also a series of tasks, sort of feats of strength, to accomplish before you can level up, even if you already have the xp.  The big one for level 41 is to catch 200 Pokemon in a single day.  I managed that sitting in the parking lot at the ER at just after midnight where a couple of Pokestops were close by. (Daughter is fine, but why do these things always happen so late at night?)  They don’t let people hang out in the ER due to COVID-19, so I had little else to do while I sat and waited for a few hours.

Niantic also started releasing Pokemon from the Kalos region (Pokemon X & Y) into the game.

Level: 40 (50% of the way to 41 in xp, all but one task complete)
Pokedex status: 611 (+18) caught, 637 (+21) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 9 of 9
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Zwelious

World of Warcraft

What else was there beside the Shadowlands expansion?  I made it to level cap, chose a covenant, and have messed around with that some.  I am not as taken by the whole thing as some… I don’t feel compelled to log in every night… but I am not unhappy with it either.

WoW Classic

I think “Blacksmithing and Blackrock Depths” sums up much of my time in WoW Classic this month, though I did spend some time with my alts as well.  Doing the blacksmithing stuff got me to get my druid out to harvest kingsblood and my pally out for any spare iron, and I ended up playing them as well.  I also did a bit of the Winter Veil activities, though not the whole routine.

Coming Up

2021!

But, as noted at the top, a change of arbitrary numbers won’t change the plight we’re in.  Tomorrow is just another day and it is quite possible the new year will vie with the old when it comes to total misery caused.

Here you can expect the usual.  There will be a post tomorrow looking into the new year.  I have a 2020 games post still brewing.  Otherwise I will likely play the same games, write about them in the same style, and report and comment on bits of news that are related.

We still need to go back to Blackrock Depths in WoW ClassicShadowlands is still calling.

There is a rumor that PAPI might try to make a big push against the Imperium come January.  I suspect if they can break into 1DQ1-A or Helm’s Deep they will have destroyed enough of our stuff to declare victory and go home to rest for a bit.  It has been a long war of sustained combat.  And, as mentioned in my earlier post today, there was that big titan battle over a Keepstar timer.  Will that change anybody’s plans?

November in Review

The Site

My latest anxiety about the blog revolves around screen shots.  Since I got the big monitor, the size of my screen shots has grown to 3440 pixels across.  That is considerably wider than the early days of the blog.  But the width of the text column remains about the same.  It grew a little bit about a decade back when I changed themes, going from ~450 pixels wide to ~700 pixels wide, but that still isn’t a lot.  I think my monitor for most of the life of the blog was 1,600 pixels across, so the width of screen shots has doubled.

Which means unless I crop screen shots down, the detail is lost as the site resizes them to fit in the text column.  That doesn’t seem so bad, because the image is always linked to a full size version, so if you click on the screen shot you can see it in its full glory.

The dramatic vista of Ardenweald

The problem is that, looking at the blog stats, almost nobody does that.  So now I fret a bit about images I post not having the impact I think they ought to.  To me the images are important, but that is because I am a visual person and the picture stirs up more memories than the written word, which tends to fill in some details that the images may not express.

This is aggravated by yet another WordPress.com change where, when you click on the first image after you arrive, they don’t show you the full image, but a smaller version in a WordPress.com frame that encourages you to blog at WP.com.

This is probably a bigger deal for my other blog, EVE Online Pictures which, as the name indicates, is just screen shots from EVE Online.  The lager images make for tiny ships in the preview image.

The titans are visible, the cruisers not so much

And, of course, having huge screen shots is a double edge sword even if I want to crop things down to be more visible.  There is a lot of space to crop and still have a decent size image, but sometimes I want so much of the image that it ends up still being huge even after some major cropping.

First world blogging problems I guess.  I’ll probably do a post about this to clarify my options.  Maybe with a poll.  I haven’t had a poll in a while.

One Year Ago

Brad McQuaid passed away.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Sword & Shield, the first real core RPG Pokemon games for the Switch.

BlizzCon was coming.  There was the apology and the big four announcements (Diablo IV, Shadowlands, Overwatch 2,  and something about Hearthstone).  Even with the pall of Hong Kong hanging over it, it still went better that BlizzCon 2018.  And Hong Kong?  Well, the new security law makes it unlawful for anybody inside or outside of China to criticize the government. No more protest, no more movement, just arrests.

World of Warcraft hit its fifteenth anniversary, which made WoW Classic all the more timely.  I charted out my own history with Blizzard and Azeroth.

WoW Classic was doing well, driving the biggest quarterly increase in subscriptions in the history of the franchise.  It also moved into Phase 2 of its progression.  The PvP fiasco that followed led to Blizz launching battlegrounds, slated for Phase 3, early.

Actually in WoW Classic the instance group took on Shadowfang Keep and the Stormwind Stockades, then started in on Gnomereagn.  We got in a second Gnomeregan run and also went after class quests.

I compared the four pending expansions from WoW, EQ, EQII, and LOTRO.

Standing Stone Games launched the delayed Minas Morgul expansion.

EverQuest II celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. Special servers were on the menu and I recalled my own journey with the game on my own fifteenth anniversary a couple days later.  I also joined in on the dragon event going on in the game.  That led to me playing more and leveling up… and getting side tracked, as tends to happen in Norrath.  But I made it to the level cap and learned to speak dragon along the way.

EVE Online got a series of updates, starting with a tiny one regarding login campaigns.  Then there was Team Talos and the Beat Around the Boosh update.  Then we got the Rapid Fire update that came with more Triglavian invasion changes.  And, finally, we got the HyperNet Relay update, which reintroduced gambling… or enhanced scamming… or maybe both… in New Eden.

The October MER showed NPC bounties rebounding after the chaos era blackout.

CCP had plans for more EVE Aether Wars tests while CCP Falcon left the company.

And, actually in in the game, we flew from Delve to Pure Blind to defend some sovereignty and I hit 210 million skill points.

Finally, Google Stadia launched and Bobby Kotick was talking up perpetual franchises.

Five Years Ago

The launch of Fallout 4 caused a dip in porn viewing on the internet.

Nintendo announced they were re-releasing Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on the 3DS Virtual Console.

BlizzCon was approaching and I laid out a “need vs greed” list of things I thought would happen at the event.  But before BlizzCon there had to be the Q3 quarterly results.  The big news was that World of Warcraft held steady and had 5.5 million subscribers.  However, Blizzard said they were not going to talk about subscription numbers any more.  They would be talking about Candy Crush Saga though, having purchased King for 5.9 billion dollars.

Then BlizzCon came and I had to score my list.

It also slipped out a bit early that the WoW Legion expansion would not hit until summer 2016, September 21 being the last possible date listed, which seemed a long ways off.  I wasn’t yet ready to return to the game.  I used gold to grab a WoW Token for 30 days of play time and spend the most of it just earning that money back running missions in my garrison.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Voice, the final part of the trilogy launched.

dipped my toe back in Lord of the Rings Online for a bit.

Still playing Minecraft, I finished up the Great Northern Road and highlighted the guardian farm that Aaron built.

In New Eden, the Parallax expansion was released, the last named monthly update in Syndicate to be released.  From then on names were reserved for big expansions while monthly updates were simply know by their date… or New Eden date… or build number.  CCP can’t even hold the line on that naming scheme.

There was also the start of the ill-fated Fountain War Kickstarter campaign, which was plagued by hubris, gaffes, bad ideas, and “Grrr Goons” hostility.  Not that it didn’t deserve some of the latter as it was a clusterfuck and was not winning fast enough.  It was finally cancelled before the clock ran down, but it left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.

There was also a Fountain War video which was better received… but then nobody was asking for $150,000 to produce it.

Meanwhile, another member of CSM X got cut.  Not a Goon.

CCP Quant took his EVE Vegas presentation and made it the first of the monthly EVE Economic reports to be publish.

And actually in the game, the Reavers were down in Wicked Creek to spar with TEST.  We were not there long, but it was one of those deployments that generated its own legends in the SIG.  We were called back because a small war was brewing in Cloud Ring against some foes, old and new.  Some had no sov and were hitting us from low sec.  We fell on them when we could in what was being dubbed the “Kickstarter War.”  Herein lay some of the seeds of what would become the “Casino War.”

Over at Daybreak, EverQuest II got the Terrors of Thalumbra of expansion while EverQuest got expansion number 22, The Broken Mirror.  There was the Phinigel “true box” progression server coming up for EverQuest.  The EverQuest II server consolidation was wrapping up, on Stormhold the Kingdom of Sky expansion was voted down, and the game turned 11, all of which I covered in a single post.

Daybreak also shut down Dragon’s Prophet, which lived on in Europe under another publisher.

Smed, gone from Daybreak, wanted to stop talking about money when it came to video games.

And finally, I had a test… Star Wars test… for those wishing to date my daughter.

Ten Years Ago

I was talking about group size and roles.  That has come up again, especially since SWTOR groups seemed to be limited to four players.

On the retro front, I played some Total Annihilation.  Still one of the best RTS games ever.

took a look at the soon to be defunct EverQuest II Extended.  It seemed quite busy.  Of course, I went Station Access so I could peek into EverQuest II  (with some issues) and EverQuest as well.

The rump instance group was wrapping up another Summer in Middle-earth at the far end of the Lone Lands as well as in and around Ost Guruth.

At the same time, Turbine was putting crafting materials in the LOTRO Store.  Meanwhile, the OTHER LOTRO store, the real life one, wasn’t doing much for me.

CCP announced that they were removing learning skills from EVE Online.  I hit 60 million skill points and was going to get to reallocate some of them as part of the skill point refund.

The Cataclysm open beta was coming to an end at last. I think part of the problem with the expansion was how long people were freely talking about the expansion… and playing it… before it came out.  We all knew what the hot new hunter pet would be and how much the world was going to be changed.  Cheap copies of WoW were not going to fix that.

Back in pre-Cataclysm Azeroth, I was summing up my Wintergrasp experiences and moaning about missing the damn Hallow’s End mask quest achievement again.

On the Pokemon front, I finished the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.  In your face!  And the march to the release of Pokemon Black and White was commencing.

The Microsoft Kinect for XBox launched.

The news seemed to be confused as to whether or not flying cars had come at last.

And, finally, in the completion of a boyhood dream of mine, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, officially releasing me from caring about major league ball ever again.

Fifteen Years Ago

Guitar Hero launches for the PlayStation 2 and kicks off a series of games (and a competitor) for people who can play air guitar.

The New Game Experience, or NGE, hits Star Wars Galaxies, completely changing the character development path.  Landing just days after the Trials of Obi-wan expansion launched, players are enraged and SOE ends up offering refunds to players who bought the expansion.  The NGE becomes a weight around SOE’s neck and studio head John Smedley will end up being asked (and harassed) about the whole thing for many years.

Thirty Five Years Ago

Origin Systems releases Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, the last of the Ultima series I ended up playing.  I had an Apple II at the time, but by the time Ultima V came along I had a Mac and the Ultima series never went there.  Also, I liked Ultima III better.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. The WoW Shadowlands Pre-Patch with the Big Level Squish Arrives Today
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  6. The Crimson Harvest Event Returns to EVE Online for Halloween
  7. Robbing Some Space Banks
  8. The EverQuest Team Announces the Claws of Veeshan Expansion
  9. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  10. WoW Tokens Five Years Later
  11. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  12. The November Update brings Null Sec Nerfs and Supercarrier Clone Bays to EVE Online

Spam Comments of the Month

wow ive been squished to level 50
[wow, me too!]

no asset saftey without quantum core
[Nope]

level 85 and.now ? everquest
[I feel your pain]

Game Time from ManicTime

A week off work for the Thanksgiving holiday gave me more free time for game play.  That the new WoW expansion, Shadowlands, launched gave me something on which to focus much of that free time.  I still played EVE Online and WoW Classic, but I spent more hours playing this month overall, and those extra hours went into retail WoW.

  • World of Warcraft – 74.50%
  • EVE Online – 13.38%
  • WoW Classic – 12.12%

Over at Time to Loot Naithin was doing the Five Game Challenge for November, where you stick to just five titles over a month.  I seem to have done that inadvertently, keeping to four titles if you count Pokemon Go.

EVE Online

The war goes on.  It is much closer to home now, being next door to 1DQ1-A.  But that just means more action more quickly.  We will see who gets tired or runs out of money first.  CCP is certainly doing its best to make sure the latter happens.

Pokemon Go

Life at level 40.  We mostly raid, do whatever event happens to be up… though I gave up quickly on that endless Nidoran event on Saturday because… and try to get in gyms to earn coins to buy remote raid passes to keep raiding from home.  We did contribute to Niantic’s bottom when we ran out of raid passes during the Azlef, Mesprit, and Uxie event.  But we caught all three.

Level: 40
Pokedex status: 593 (+9) caught, 616 (+8) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 8 of 9
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Zwelious

World of Warcraft

In case you missed it, there was an expansion launched a week ago.  Shadowlands, and the run up to it, including exploring the dynamics of the level squish, got me back into the retail game.  There were plenty of posts here to reflect that.  I already have a character at level  cap.  But I think Blizz has kind of punted on the idea that level cap should be much of an achievement with this expansion.  More on that this week.

WoW Classic

While we continued on with the regular instance group runs, I don’t think any of us spent much time in Classic in between.  For a brief time I had characters in Classic that were higher level than any of mine in retail.  But I am still not to the level cap in old Azeroth.

Coming Up

There will no doubt be more posts about the WoW Shadowlands expansion.  I already have one in the can ready to post this week and another under way.  We shall see how long I stick with the new stuff though.

In WoW Classic we still have a couple of runs left for Blackrock Depths.  I suspect that there will be three more posts this month about that, if the group can get together over the holidays.

In EVE Online the war continues and I doubt there will be any resolution come December.  Just more fighting and destruction. (The 21 Weeks of World War Bee post will go up tomorrow, having been pre-empted by this Month in Review post.  I have not given up on that yet.)

Pokemon Go has announced its Pokemon Go Beyond plan, with seasons, Pokemon from a new region, and a level cap increase in the offing.  We got to level 40 just in time I guess.  We’ll see how that goes.

Maybe I’ll even play something besides those four games.  The Steam Winter Sale will show up and maybe I’ll launch that and get inspired to play something else.

And, of course, with December here you can expect the usual raft of year in review posts, though I have considered simply trying to forget 2020 altogether.  I will say that the events of the year upset my start of the year predictions.  I’m mostly wrong most years, but I ended up especially wrong this year.  We’ll get to that soon though.

October in Review

The Site

I had a scare at the start of the month.  I mentioned that WP.com was planning to push their new block editor on users a while back.  Well, it hit me on the first, as a post I had left open in the old editor was suddenly floating in this white void of a web page.

I seriously have a problem understanding the philosophy of this new editor.  It looks like some pretentious design student’s wet dream, but it lacks practicality.  Or maybe just don’t get why every paragraph of text needs to be in its own special edit box that can be moved around the post.  Do people juggle paragraphs like that?

Fortunately the update push from WP.com hadn’t fully settled and later in the day I found that I could still use the classic editor if I made sure to click on the right options.

Classic is as classic does

The Add New button by default brings you to the new block editor horror, but you can still find the classic if you want.

And then there is the side bar.  IFTTT, which is part of the kludge that drives the dynamic blog links update, has decided to start charging, though you can have up to three simple items running for free still.  However, the day they announced their subscription option all three of mine broke.  They fixed the issue, but the subscription plan will be in place tomorrow and I won’t be surprised if all three stop working again.  I have a backup plan for two of them.

One Year Ago

BlizzCon was coming, so I spent some time speculating about what I wanted to see and what I thought we might actually get.  There was a lot in play.  Blizzard was also talking about WoW Classic and getting realms down to a single layer.  Layering carried on, but Dire Maul was added to the game.  Also free transfers and Hallow’s End.

And then the whole Blitzchung thing happened, casting a pall overBlizzCon and making #boycottblizzard the theme of the day.  Blizzard then took a few days to finally respond officially, and their response pleased nobody.

In WoW Classic we carried on, exploring the Ogre area in Loch Modan and starting our first run into the Deadmines, which became a two part post, with the follow up about getting to Van Cleef.  From there it was off to wander the Wailing Caverns.  We also did the running of the gnomes event.  Ula made a video about it.

Over at Daybreak it was time for more layoffs.  But Holly was on the EverQuest Show to talk about the game, expansions were announced, special servers were discussed, and there were still custom UI issues, all summed up in one bullet points post.   The pre-orders for EverQuest Torment of Velious were live.

Meanwhile, it was declared that PlanetSide Arena was just a stepping stone to PlanetSide 3.

CCP brought back the Skilling Spree event top EVE Online, which let you earn skill points by completing a daily task.  They were also straight up giving away skill points again.  Many skill points were there to claim.

The October update expanded the Triglavian invasion and updated the tutorial.  They also raised warp speeds on some ships to help us get around New Eden.  We also got a Halloween event and the howling interceptors update.

More importantly, the meeting minutes from the first CSM14 summit were released, in which CCP laid out its top four priorities for the game.  I couldn’t decide if “fix the stupid” was okay as the second item or if it covered so much stuff that we might never get to the third.  Certainly the MER showed that the “Chaos Era” might have fallen under that.  And I was wondering if gating missions behind standings was falling into that as well.

Of course, it isn’t a real CSM if somebody doesn’t step down or get kicked.  This time Killah Bee dropped out and Sort Dragon returned to the CSM in his place.  Meanwhile, there was always somebody out there ready to take CCP at their worst.

It was also time for the annual vision quest to EVE Vegas.  We learned about many things, like Team Talos and plans and what not.  We also learned that this would be the last CCP sponsored EVE Vegas event.

Out in space, the Reavers deployment was out looking for things to shoot.  When in doubt, shoot structures.  That’s the way we roll.  But that wasn’t panning out, so we took a wormhole back home and were in Delve before the Reavers turned five.

Meanwhile, Liberty Squad was still out as well, and we took a fight in FDZ.

And, finally, Raph Koster announced his new venture, Playable Worlds, while Mike O’Brien, formerly of ArenaNet, announced his new venture, ManaWorks.  Daybreak also released the EverQuest and EverQuest II sound tracks for purchase on most major platforms.  All of this was covered in yet another bullet points post.

Five Years Ago

I opened up the month with a post about the Mineserver Kickstarter campaign, a little box that promised to make hosting easy!  A pity is never came to anything… and that I basically threw money into nothing.

Then there was the now perennial complaint about customers being too cheap to by any and every 99 cent game.  It is because your 99 cent game sucks.

In EverQuest II, the Desert of Flames expansion unlock votes passed on Stormhold and Deathtoll, which made me ponder the pacing of nostalgia.  Daybreak seemed to want to go faster.

Daybreak also have expansion announcements for EverQuest and EverQuest II that included pricey special editions.  Milk ’em while you got ’em I guess.  But PlanetSide 2 was having problems attracting subscribers.

EverQuest II was consolidating servers, so it was farewell to Crushbone.

In Lord of the Rings Online, server consolidation was just getting under way as well.

Crowfall was still in development, but had announced some costly RMT castles.

Guild Wars 2 launched the Heart of Thorns expansion.

I picked up the Reaper of Souls expansion for Diablo III and made it through Act V.

My wife and I went to EVE Vegas where we partied and heard about the planned Citadel expansion.  I brought some give-aways for the trip, which I covered, along with Pirate’s Little Helper, in a Friday bullet points post.

Meanwhile, in New Eden I was very impressed with the multi-buy feature that came in with the previous month’s Vanguard release.  I was also wondering if space priests were a problem.  I also went pipe bombing for the first time.  The month’s Blog Banter wanted to know about my PC.  And Reavers celebrated their first anniversary.

Over in one corner New Eden SpaceMonkeys Alliance (SMA) stole ISK from EVE Online casino I Want ISK who, in turn, hired low sec mercenaries to camp SMA space, starting the embers of what would become the Casino War.

And the sad tale of CCP and White Wolf came to an end as CCP sold off the subsidiary and its neglected IP, World of Darkness.

Finally, in Minecraft, Aaron began his draining of an ocean monument, and I was interested in bases, several of which sprang up as I worked on the Great Northern Road.

Ten Years Ago

I had some hopes and expectations for BlizzCon.  They were pretty much unmet.  But Blizzard had already announced the Cataclysm ship date, so what else did I expect?

I asked if people ever look at the items in the blog side-bar.  People mostly do not.

EverQuest launches the House of Thule expansion.

I finished building my new computer.  Windows 7 64-bit was the wave of the future… unless you wanted to take that LOTRO survey.

The EVE Online screen shot contest wrapped up, winners were declared and prizes were sent out.

I was playing Lords of Ultima innocently enough and then somebody attacked me! Oh noes!

I was suddenly determined to “catch them all” and finish the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.

The instance group was playing in LOTRO, which had been live as a Free to Play game for one month. In-game, we were subjected to the disturbing habits of some of the residents of the Lone Lands, while I indulged in one of my own habits, the mid-game character swap.  And then I made one post completely unreadable by making anagrams out of all the proper nouns.  I had to repost a corrected version.

bought Civilization V, which like every Civilization launch, had issues with my current computer.  The unwritten rule of Civilization is that you need to upgrade your machine in order for the game to play well.

LEGO Universe launched.

My daughter and I were drinking new and interesting sodas. and was really hoping that the SF Giants could make it to a World Series victory.

Fifteen Years Ago

Club Penguin, the browser based, kid friendly MMO, launched.

Civilization IV launched and, as with all Civ launches, the game really needed the next generation of hardware to run in its full glory.  I recall submitting a bug and getting a response telling me to stop trying to play with so many civilizations in a single game.

Age of Empires III also launched.  While it was well reviewed, and we all bought a copy, it never really eclipsed Age of Empires II in my heart.  The second game remains the pinnacle of the series for me.

Twenty Years Ago

The PlayStation 2 launches in North America.

Pokemon Gold & Silver arrive in North America.  Regional launches were a thing back then.

Forty Years Ago

Berzerk arrives in arcades.  I remember this game showing up and dropping a lot of quarters to play it.  It said things.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. The WoW Shadowlands Pre-Patch with the Big Level Squish Arrives Today
  2. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  3. The EverQuest Team Announces the Claws of Veeshan Expansion
  4. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. A Costly Imperium Victory at FWST-8
  7. A Tale of Two Keepstars in FWST-8
  8. LOTRO War of Three Peaks Launches Today
  9. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  10. The EVE Online October Update Changes Space and Commerce
  11. Are We Going to Get a Level Squish with Every WoW Expansion Now?
  12. EVE Online Blazes a New Trail with UI Only Mode

Search Terms of the Month

do warp core stablizers help with intradiction bubbles
[Legit question, answer is “no”]

eq upgrading an old character, will i lose anything?
[Just your self-respect]

warcraft orcs vs pirate
[Sure, I guess]

lotro cracked server
[They seem that way lately]

everquest the scalet desert from pok
[don’t get me started]

Game Time by ManicTime

A lot more time spent playing this month than the last couple, and I ended up launching a lot more titles this month as well, mostly due to the new monitor.

  1. EVE Online – 44.01%
  2. World of Warcraft – 36.26%
  3. WoW Classic – 15.02%
  4. RimWorld – 3.33%
  5. Age of Empires II – 0.92%
  6. Minecraft – 0.16%
  7. LOTRO – 0.12%
  8. EverQuest – 0.08%
  9. EverQuest II – 0.06%
  10. Grim Dawn – 0.05%

Of course, the war kept EVE Online high on the list.  But WoW Classic fell off quite a bit owing to the group not getting together as well as renewed interest in retail WoW due to the whole level squish thing.  Almost everything else on the list is due to my doing a test run to see if they would work with the new wide screen.  The only failure was Grim Dawn, which stubbornly refused to work.  A pity because, after finishing up with Diablo II (which absolutely won’t work on the new monitor) I was thinking about a return to Grim Dawn.  It will not be.

EVE Online

The war carries on, now about to reach its fourth month.  The start of October saw some of the largest battles in the game for ages, including one that set new records according to Guinness.  After almost two weeks of that the war settled down to a less exhausting pace.  But the war is far from done.

Pokemon Go

Both my wife and I made it to level 40 in October.  There is a blog post under way about getting there and what you do once leveling is no longer part of the obsession.  It does take a bit of the pressure off of the need to maintain daily streaks or to do things just for xp.  But there are still plenty of Pokemon left to catch.

Level: 40
Pokedex status: 584 (+7) caught, 608 (+6) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 7 of 8
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Farfetchd

World of Warcraft

For once I can say I did more than just run the Darkmoon Faire quests for the trade skill advancement this month.  The great level squish came and changed retail WoW for everybody.  It remains an ambitious experiment as to whether or not it was worth the effort.  It is easier for new players to level up, it is easier to experience old expansions (though with the current class and talent structure), and it is easier to level up alts.  But is that all core to the main player base, or do most long term players just care about the latest expansion?

WoW Classic

Slow times for us after wrapping up Sunken Temple.  Ula and Skronk bought a new house and moved while Moronae had to build a new computer.  That meant not a lot of play time for the group, and my solo play time was focused on retail WoW.  But Blackrock Depths still beckons.

Coming Up

The WoW Shadowlands expansion launch is likely going to be the biggest of deals next month, at least for those with an interest in WoW.  Pre-expansion events start on the 10th, the expansion goes live on the 23rd.

The war carries on in EVE Online, but CCP has another series of changes set for November.  They plan to kill off the NPC bounty faucet by reducing payouts and forcing the ESS system that allows others to come in and steal your bounties before they’ve been paid.  CCP celebrated the Guinness records being set, but perhaps has failed to note that we’re willing to throw in ships into such battles because we can afford to.  When ISK tapers off and with minerals already more dear, there is no doubt a point at which groups won’t commit the numbers they have in the past as they will be too expensive to replace.  We shall see.

There will also be more news on the EverQuest and EverQuest II front for their respective annual expansions.

And, of course, this coming Tuesday is kind of a big deal here in the US, being a literal struggle over the future of the country.  The fate of the republic and any remaining faith in a representative government rides in the balance.

September in Review

The Site

Well, the big news here this month was probably that the place turned fourteen.

Just like California State Highway 14… sort of

Perhaps a lesser achievement, with this post I will have posted every single day for the last six months.

While I have posted more than once a day cumulatively in 9 of the last 14 years, I think my previous “post every day” streak was about four months in duration.  Every day for six months took a bit of planning at times.  News and my own game activity do not come in a nice steady flow, and I was out of town for a week when we drove our daughter off to college.

That this streak corresponds with me having worked from home for the last six months straight is probably not a coincidence.  While I wrote about feeling some gaming malaise due to being at my home desk all day, for some reason that does not seem apply to writing.  Or maybe not to the same degree.

One Year Ago

There was the usual anniversary post, this time for thirteen years.

I summed up the labors of Blaugust 2019, linking out to everybody.

It was September and there were five MMO news items I was still waiting for.

Daybreak put PlanetSide Arena into early access.

Standing Stone announced the Minas Morgul expansion for Lord of the Rings Online.

In Pokemon Go, Niantic added Pokemon from the Unova region.

In EVE Online we were coming to the end of the blackout in null sec.  The monthly economic report for August showed that it has a big impact on ratting and mining.  I followed up with a post showing the changes since January.

On top of the blackout, CCP changed cynos, only allowing normal cynos to be lit by force recon ships, which immediately shot up in price.

All of this generated a lot of discussion about how CCP should “fix” the game, which I felt was expecting too much from the company at this point.  There is no going back to the 2013 peak numbers.

Amid all that, Asher called the Reavers together for a deployment to the east.  We passed through Legacy space, where we were allowed to use their jump bridges, because they wanted us out there to help them with their own war.

In WoW Classic the instance group scraped together enough silver to create a guild.  After some begging for signatures, Crag Boar Rebellion was born.

I looked at our progress a week into WoW Classic.  Ula had found the white kitten already.  Then we were off to Westfall.  I also had a druid running through the night elf starter area.

We leveled up enough to head towards the first instance, Ragefire Chasm.  That mean getting to Orgrimmar.  We got in and to the instance, only to find out that the meeting stones did not summon back in vanilla, wrecking our first plan.  We made another plan and managed to get everybody in for our first dungeon run.  Ula even made a video of the run.

Then we started preparing for the Deadmines while doing some more running around Azeroth.

Blizzard was offering free realm transfers already to try and shift people off of crowded servers.  Then there was a DDoS attack that made things even worse, and a layering exploit… maybe.  More servers were added, arrests were made, and Blizz put out some videos about making WoW back in the day, which I put together in a single post.  By the end of the month things were starting to calm down a bit.

I seemed to be enjoying the whole WoW Classic experience, so far as I could measure.  And so did a lot of people.  SuperData said it was driving subscription growth.  I tried to compare the experience to the EverQuest progression server ride.

And, finally, I did a bullet point post about the LOTRO Legendary server, Homeworld 3, how Google Stadia will fail, and the EVE Echoes alpha.

Five Years Ago

The blog turned nine years old.

Some survey said it could guess my age based on my video game preferences.

World of Warships officially went live after its open beta.

As part of the Heart of Thorns expansion, the Guild Wars 2 base game went completely free.

Also on the free front, WildStar went free to play, bowing to the realities of the MMORPG market.

In World of Warcraft, the ability to fly was finally unlocked in Warlords of Draenor… provided you had all the achievements.

In Diablo III I was looking at the whole season thing.

Lord British was on again with some quotes, allowing that Blizzard could do some things well… like Diablo.  But he was more on about sandbox games, like his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar, because sandbox games generate news headlines.  His example was EVE Online, though it wasn’t clear to me that SotA was going to get the same sort of coverage.

In Minecraft I was making friends with the zombie pigmen and using a utility to see a map of our world.  I needed that map as we were all out exploring.  Aaron was kicking of our transit hub in the roof of the nether and I was ruining Xydd’s neighborhood.  Meanwhile, our hosting service was going out of business.

On the Daybreak front I was reflecting on the status of EverQuest Next five years after it had been announced.  The status moved to “cancelled” eventually.

There were expansion plans for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  The Ruins of Kunark expansion was unlocked on the Ragefire progression server while the vote for the Desert of Flames expansion was up on the Stormhold server.  Daybreak also killed off enforced raid rotation on Ragefire, having “fixed” the underlying issue finally. There was talk of the new server names for the coming server consolidation in EverQuest II.  I am not sure I liked the results.

In EVE Online I was happy, in the age of Fozzie sov, that POS towers still gave kill mails.  Even CCP seemed to think that maybe blowing things up was better than sov wands.  They were also considering going back to bigger expansions, putting less emphasis on the monthly updates.  The monthly updates still had names for the moment… the Vanguard monthly update for example… but that would go by the end of the year.

Asher Elias started off his podcast and led us off to a fight with Ron Mexxico, who was one of his early guests, and brought us to Cloud Ring in Fozzie Claws.

The monthly EVE Online blog banter… which seems to have died off recently… wanted to know what we would do were we put in charge of the development of New Eden.

Finally, I was reflecting a bit on lifetime subscriptions and noting Asheron’s Call downtime, Lord of the Rings Online server transfers, the Drunder server in EverQuest II, and Windows 10 in one of my Friday bullet point posts.

Ten Years Ago

Well, there was that whole four year anniversary thing.

Planet Michael, the Michael Jackson virtual world, was announced.  How is that coming along?  The Twitter account have been pretty quiet since… 2011.

The whole David Allen, Derek Smart, Quest Online public blame and shame fest ended when Quest Online gave David Allen some money and he went away.  Derek Smart could not help but throw in a couple final comments.  Good thing he’s been quiet since then… *cough*

CCP was talking about Public Fleets and such that were planned for their Incursions expansion.  We wouldn’t actually see them until December, but there was talk.

More interesting was a guide to suicide ganking in EVE Online put up by TooNuRacoon.

Meanwhile, I was kicking off my EVE Online screen shot contest.  All of the entries have since been posted on my other site.

I tried turning an old joke into an MMO joke.  Some people got it.  Some did not.  Some got angry, because this is the internet and that is what people do on the internet.

looked at cloaks in MMOs, and how little they resemble what we would call a cloak in the real world.

In World of Warcraft I finally got that Brewmaster achievement.

Lord of the Rings Online flipped the switch and went free to play.  We were truly among the free (to play) peoples Middle-earth then.  There were some issues with Turbine Points, though I did get my 5,000 point pay-off.

The instance group was still summering in Middle-earth.  The group was finally into the meat of the Lone Lands.  We also tried some skirmishes and talked about Anderson Cooper.

In LOTRO I also ran into somebody who was looking for a social environment similar to old EverQuest.  I wonder if he ended up on Fippy Darkpaw which, for a short time, had all the best aspects of early EverQuest.

Fifteen Years Ago

Over in EverQuest II the Desert of Flames expansion launched, the first full expansion for the alleged EverQuest successor.  (There were a couple of adventure packs, The Bloodline Chronicles and The Splitpaw Saga, that were released before.)  While it was a quite stunning new place in Norrath, I was really against those flying carpet mounts.  They just were not very “EverQuest” to my mind.  I have since softened on that opinion, SOE and Daybreak having added so many more hideous mounts to the game since then.

Meanwhile, in EverQuest, where two expansions a year was still the norm, the Depths of Darkhollow, the tenth expansion for that game… only six and a half years old at that point… went live.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Sony jumped into the console wars in the US as the PlayStation finally arrived in the here.  It had already been available in Japan for almost nine months, so quite a bit of anticipation had built up.

Thirty Years Ago

Wing Commander, the first entry in the series, and the root of Chris Roberts’ fame, launched.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  3. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  6. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  7. WoW Tokens Five Years Later
  8. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  9. Time to Earn some ISK
  10. EverQuest II at Fifteen and the Memories of What Could Have Been
  11. The September EVE Online Update brings Quantum Cores to Upwell Structures
  12. The 49-U6U Fight Foreshadows Battles to Come

Search Terms of the Month

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[There is one in Perimeter]

Game Time by ManicTime

Total time tracked playing was down a bit from last month, which itself was the lowest month for time played up to this point, so I hit a new low.  And I wasn’t even away for a week like I was last month.

  • EVE Online – 59.86%
  • WoW Classic – 25.99%
  • Diablo II – 10.70%
  • Crusader Kings 3 – 3.13%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.32%

Crusader Kings 3

I bought, against my better judgement, everybody’s favorite medieval reality TV simulator based entirely on some many people in my various feeds going on about it.  Peer pressure.  I will say that it is not as incomprehensible as its predecessors, both of which I own.  Hell, I own all the Paradox strategy catalog, so my buying this was inevitable.  I just thought I could hold out until it was on sale.

Diablo II

I finished my play through of Diablo II, completing the main game and the expansion.  I am not sure how much further I will go with this.  The cow level is still there, waiting for me.  But there is an issue that might make that difficult, which I will get to in a post next month.

EVE Online

World War Bee continues to occupy my time in New Eden.  There are plenty of small skirmishes and what not to join in on.  We also had our first real battle that escalated to supers.  The server situation kept it from going all the way to titans, but both sides seem ready enough to go there.  The invasion itself still remains at the gates of Delve.

Pokemon Go

Another good month for Pokemon Go.  Our informal raid group has managed to catch anything new that pops up and I only need one more Mega Charizard raid to have enough tokens to get the second mega evolve registered in the Pokedex.  The Mega evolutions with their limited duration, remain less than useful overall however.

Level: 39 (94% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 577 (+5) caught, 602 (+1) seen
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

I once again squandered that sweet, sweet double XP bonus and spent very little time in modern Azeroth.  I am sure I will regret that some day, but not today.  All I did was the usual Darkmoon Faire routine and a bit of poking about.  I am sure I will spend more time there next month though.

WoW Classic

The instance group finished up Sunken Temple at the start of the month, then went on a bit of a hiatus as Skronk and Ula moved in real life.  That echoes back to the early days of the instance group when, during the first year, I think most of us ended up moving.  So it is almost a tradition when we’re doing vanilla content I suppose.  Somewhere along the line Ula found the time to make a video about our Sunken Temple runs.  Otherwise I poked around with a couple of alts and made some progress there.

Coming Up

The big thing next month will be the launch of the new World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands.

The question is whether or not it will launch on the 26th as planned.  This comes up because we haven’t gotten the pre-expansion patch yet.  Bets were on it landing yesterday, but then Blizzard pulled the candidate back from the test server and now… now I give it even odds that Blizz will push the expansion launch into November. (Look for titles launching in November that will now accused Blizzard of moving the launch date specifically to target them.)

Having a few weeks with the pre-expansion patch is kind of important because that includes all the expansion story build up, usually spread out over some time.  I suppose they could condense it, or just punt on it altogether to make the ship date.  But since either would be in Q4 2020, I suspect that the revenue recognition aspect of it won’t make a difference.

So we have that to look forward to.

Then there is EVE Online, where World War Bee will move into its fourth month.  I am sure that will keep me busy and continue to provide me with fodder for a weekly post.

But CCP also plans to drop their latest mining nerf on New Eden as they attempt to “fix” the economy on the backs of the players.  CCP won’t explain their plan beyond a “trust us” level of response, but given their track record, trusting them seems a bit of a mug’s game.  They do not exactly have a Paul Volcker level of stature when it comes to economics.  After all, who created the mechanics that caused the problems they are now trying to fix?  But there isn’t a lot the player base can do but go along for the ride or walk away.  I’m in for the ride.

Then there is also that rumored LOTRO mini-expansion.  And it is about the season where Daybreak starts talking about expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II, so that may develop as well.

August in Review

The Site

It was Blaugust and Promptapalooza this month.  I participated a bit in the prompt thing, though not very much.  I kept myself busy elsewhere.  There was plenty to post about without additional prompts.

August means some sort of Blaugust

Belghast, who set the whole thing up, has a summary post about the event up with links out to everybody’s prompt post.

I did, however, stick closer to the old school meaning of Blaugust by posting every single day over the course of the month.  In fact, I managed to do that from the start of April, which was Blapril, all the way through August of Blaugust.

A post a day keeps… something away…

153 days in a row of blog posts, so “go me” I guess.

One Year Ago

I wrote way too many posts.  49 in one month, and not a bunch of short ones either.  But it was Blaugust, so I was in the mood.  As usual I went on about all sorts of things like what to write, and burning things down, and how to crank out posts.  Oh, and that gamer motivation profile thing again.

Daybreak was setting up Twitter accounts for its new sub-studios.  They also brought DCUO to the Nintendo Switch.  And they were sketching out some plans for the EverQuest II 15th  anniversary.

PlanetSide Arena also resurfaces with a new plan.

I explained the difference between Team Fight Tactics and DOTA Overlords.

There was more talk about lock boxes and bad analogies.

I hit three years with Pokemon Go.

The August update brought community fittings to EVE Online.  A big cyno nerf was also announced.  EVE Fanfest Home also happened.

Out in null sec the blackout continued, though not without issues.  Local came on for a bit, even in WH space.  The MER showed a big hit to NPC bounties in null sec.  I was starting to wonder about chaos fatigue from the stuff CCP was doing.

Meanwhile, I was in low sec with Liberty Squad, flying Abaddons.  Some days we didn’t get a fight.  Other days lots of stuff blew up.  But we tired of the locals refusing to fight unless they had the numbers to overwhelm us us, so we flew home.  The “hell dunks or blue balls” routine gets tiresome and there was nothing really at stake.

I was also on about the absolute nature of some things in New Eden, warp core stabilizers, interdiction nullification, and the things that they counter.

There was also announcement of the the alpha for EVE Echoes, the mobile version of EVE Online.  Could you play EVE on your phone?  Should you play EVE on your phone?

There was another round of EVE Aether Wars to try, this time with prizes.  It seemed to go pretty well.

I also celebrated 13 years of playing EVE Online by going down the list of all the places I had called home in the game.

But mostly I was wetting myself about WoW ClassicThe count down to launch was on.  They announced the server names, a list which ended up expanding greatly.  The crowd trying to reserve names on various servers proved Blizzard was not thinking big enough.  PVP realms seemed popular.  Like, very popularSuper popular.

Blizzard was trying to get the word out on what you should know.  They even did a Reddit AMA and explained things like layering in detail as well as some videos with the game’s creators.

I tried to define the different factions of players these servers attract.  I also had some predictions about what would happen on the eve of the launch.

The instance group eagerly played the last load test just to get a taste of it, because all I really wanted to do was play WoW Classic.  I was wondering about addons, which have come a long way since back in the day.  What would enhance the experience and what would ruin it?

And then it was LAUNCH DAY and we queued up to get in the game, then queued up again once we got in.  My hunter tamed his first pet just a couple days in as I wrote about the strange ways of the class.  Good times.

Five Years Ago

It was Blaugust and a lot of people played along.

I told the strange tale of my first automotive test drive.

Project: Gorgon had Kickstarter success at last, then there were stretch goals, the grand total, and mapping out a plan going forward.

Blizzard, on the other hand, was facing bad news as WoW subscriptions dropped to 5.6 million, the lowest since December 2005.  In order to drown that out, Blizz had a big WoW announcement planned later in the week.  There was much anticipation.  I speculated on what it might be, but it turned out to be the WoW Legion expansion announcement, sans cinematic.  Of course, once they announced it, everybody wanted to know when we would get it.

In EVE Online, it was all about Fozzie Sov.  People were complaining.  We had to take sov from allies in order to transfer it, at which point MOA temporarily scooped up a couple systems. Crazy days!  The Galatea expansion addressed some of our issues.

Then the Imperium went to Providence to test out the new sovereignty mechanics… and to purge the Jamylites with the blessings of Maximilian Singularity VI.  The resulting conflict is all under the Provi War tag here.

Meanwhile, CCP was doubling down on VR, adding EVE Gunjack to their lineup.

Turbine was warming up for the great LOTRO server upgrade and merge effort.

Daybreak was also planning server consolidations, these for EverQuest II.  They were also working on a server for misfit players, which seemed like a dubious idea.  And on the Stormhold server, the first expansion unlock vote came up.  The players said “no” to the unlock.  And in EverQuest, on the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers, the inevitable enforced raid rotation schedule was implemented, with an eye to keeping out casuals it seemed.

In Minecraft, I was discovering fire and putting our world up on a hosting service to share it with friends.  Xydd joined up and began working a lot on the nether, while Skronk began his own building project, as I tinkered with dungeons.  We had a setback with our hosting service.  It was a good thing I was keeping backups.

ArenaNet made the base version of Guild Wars 2 available for free, no doubt hoping to sell expansions.

And I wrote a little something about the passing of Robert Conquest.

Ten Years Ago

Let’s see… people were hating on GameStop for selling used games, which was equated with stealing.  That was before GameStop started officially stealing.

Massive Blips went away.  I miss it.

I made my position on raspberries perfectly clear.

Yahoo had a couple game related lists.  I love lists.

Cryptic and Atari announced they were doing the game Neverwinter.

Runic started talking about Torchlight II.

Stunt Rock.  I need say no more.

EverQuest Next was announced at Fan Faire, and I was wondering about the lessons SOE has learned after a few turns of the EverQuest wheel.  Pity nothing came of it.

In the real world, boars were starting to become more like their MMO counterparts.

WoW account hacking was still a big deal, though getting to be common enough as to not be news on an individual level any more.  People have their views on whose fault it is.  But was any game facing as much account hacking as WoW?

My daughter got into the WoW Cataclysm beta.  She got me some screen shots of Stormwind,  Southshore and the Barrens.  This, by the way, probably killed her interest in Cata when it finally did ship. Indulging early can take the edge off of things.

Blizzard got a serious judgement against somebody running a for-profit WoW pirate server.

The instance group, done in WoW and on the now usual summer hiatus, was spending some time in Middle-earth, which required a bit of selling.  We made it through Othrongroth, and to the North Downs and the Lone Lands.  I finally found my way to Evendim, which I had never  managed to visit before.  It was in a state of change, pre-quest revamp but after they added in the boat routes.

And, finally, in EVE Online, there was the PLEX story we had all been waiting for.

Twenty Years Ago

The Age of Empires II expansion, The Conquerors, launched.  Good times.

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Command and Conquer launches, an RTS game that spawned a franchise and gave us the hell march (with Red Alert at least).

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  2. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  6. The Ahn’Qiraj War Effort set to Begin in WoW Classic
  7. Remembering Brian Green
  8. Reflections on the Eve of the 20 Year EverQuest Anniversary
  9. Campaign Medals
  10. Burn Jita 2020 Seems Unlikely
  11. The Coming Metaliminal Storms May Decloak You in Null Sec
  12. WoW Tokens Five Years Later

Search Terms of the Month

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[A Drake can do anything… except light a cyno]

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[Un’goro]

Spam Comment of the Month

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[Everything has a price!]

Gaming Time from ManicTime

I was away for a week… pretty much all of last week… so my overall hours played were at their lowest since February, when I was also away for a week.  I was in Portland, Oregon both times, as that is where my daughter goes to college now.

As an aside, I was downtown a couple of times last week and it is not the dystopian landscape of destruction that the President or Fox News would have you believe.  In February we stayed at a hotel that is at the mid-point between the park where the nightly protest forms up and the two federal buildings where the protests take place.  Unless you’re in about a four block area, you might never notice a thing, and during the day nothing looks out of place.

Anyway, game times:

  • EVE Online – 50.33%
  • WoW Classic – 33.31%
  • Diablo II – 13.93%
  • World of Warcraft – 1.01%

Both Minecraft and EverQuest dropped off the list in August, with no time recorded for either.

Diablo II

I kept on going through Diablo II, if a bit more slowly than back in the day.  I am through Act II, so a post about that is coming this week, and into Act III.  I think the challenge will be Act V, the expansion act, as I have zero memory of it.

EVE Online

World War Bee continues.  The invaders have taken all of Fountain and have moved their supers and titans into the region.  Querious remains a skirmish zone around the gate to Catch and the hostiles come through into Period Basis as well, but our core home region of Delve remains mostly unscathed.  Oh, and Niarja fell to the Triglavians and people wonder what that will mean in the long term.  We shall see.

Pokemon Go

A good month for Pokemon Go.  A friend of my wife’s is part of a raiding group and she got us on the friend’s list, so we get remote invites to raid now.  Have to save up coins for remote raid passes though.  (Good thing they are selling some cheap ones soon.)  On the down side, I haven’t hatched anything new or useful from an egg in months now.

Level: 39 (70% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 572 (+16) caught, 601 (+12) seen
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

As has been the pattern for a while now, I went and did the Darkmoon Faire stuff on my main and then mostly did not log into retail WoW.  We did get some big WoW news though; Shadowlands will launch on October 26th, which means the big 9.0.1 patch will hit some time before then, introducing the level squish.

WoW Classic

The instance group did the ground work for quests and then dove into Sunken Temple for the first time.  I had to miss a couple of weeks due to travel, but we have another run or two there to finish up the instance.

Coming Up

More World War Bee in EVE Online is a given.

More instance group in WoW Classic for sure.  Also, we’ll probably get the retail WoW pre-expansion patch with the big level squish.

More Diablo II certainly.

And some sort of anniversary post.  I’d better start working on that.

What else is coming up in September?  I am sure I missed something.

July in Review

The Site

Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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

see what we’re working with here?

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

Life in tech.

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

March wasn’t quite there

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

One Year Ago

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

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

Pokemon Go hit its third birthday. StarCraft got cartooned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I tried out DOTA Underlords.

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in July

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

bloodmyst isle tedious
[Yes]

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

minecraft burning forest
[guilty]

nfs diggy donuts
[Hell of a file system]

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

Diablo II

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest

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

Minecraft

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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