Category Archives: Need for Speed World

My Games of the Decade – A Look Back from 2019

I have noticed that a number of people and gaming sites are taking a moment to celebrate the coming change in the tens column of the year to take a look back at the last decade, the teens, and to pick out high and lows and bests and worsts and whatever.  As an end of year summary post is an easy pitch, so too must an end of decade summary pitch.

I didn’t do this back at the end of 2009.  I know, I checked and back in December of 2009 my posts… all 38 of them… showed only a low level of reflection, and that involved reviewing my gaming goals and predictions.  But the blog was just past the three year mark back then and I had yet to settle down and recognize how a recurring topic makes an excellent writing crutch.

With that in mind and some empty days to fill I thought I would join in on the retrospective action and pick out a list of what I consider to be my games of the last ten years.  I do have a decade of blog posts to refresh my memory here.

How I picked them is vague mixture or memory, blog posts, and any measure of how much time I spent with a given title over the time frame.  And, just to make this a bit more difficult, I am going to try to break these out into categories like some sort of award show, which will allow me not only to pick a winner, but then ramble on about other possible choices.

MMORPG – EVE Online

MMORPG is a special category in this list.  First because MMORPGs are the main focus of this blog and, second, because MMORPGs constantly renew themselves with expansions and updates.  So, unlike the other categories, I am not limiting this to games that launched this decade.  I would be hard pressed to pick an MMORPG I cared about that launched since 2010.  Maybe Rift?  And Rift fell apart for me with the first expansion.

So, with that out of the way…

Based on hours spent playing, number of posts written, and amount of time continuously subscribed, it would be impossible to pick anything besides EVE Online.  I’ve been playing EVE Online in a continuous arc since November 2011, when I came back to the game to see if the Crucible expansion would get the game back on course after Incarna.  And then I got tied up in the tales of null sec, where the stories are all player created, and have stuck around as a player/tourist ever since.  And, to loop back on how MMORPGs change, 2019 EVE Online is a lot different than 2011 EVE Online was.  Better or worse is up for debate, but definitely different.

As for other choices, World of Warcraft would probably place second, but a distant second.  I might even make it third behind WoW Classic if that wasn’t barely four months old.  Three disappointing expansions (Cataclysm, Warlords of Draenor, and Battle for Azeroth) and an inability to make things better has left me flat on the game.  They heyday of WoW was last decade, which is what WoW Classic is telling us.

And after that, what other choices could I justify?  I spent stretches of time in LOTRO, EverQuest II, Rift, Neverwinter, SWTOR, and a few others, but not nearly as much as either EVE Online or WoW.  So New Eden gets the nod, as nothing else comes close.

MMO – World of Tanks

I will make the definitional cut between MMORPG, where you can see or interact with hundreds or thousands of players in a virtual world, and MMOs, which are just online titles where a bunch of people can be in the same lobby, but actual game play is in limited arenas.

This was kind of a tough one, as I have pretty clearly spent more time playing War Thunder and I haven’t spent any time playing World of Tanks recently.  But when I do play, I like the way World of Tanks looks and feels, even if I am bad at it.  Also, I am way worse at War Thunder.

Other potential titles for me here included World of Warplanes (where I am even worse than War Thunder) or maybe World of Warships, though that never really clicked with me so my time with it is pretty minimal.  I never did play Destiny or the sequel or anything else along those lines, so World of Tanks it is.

Action RPG – Diablo III

This could arguably fall under the MMO banner, but I have chosen to break it out because there was actually some competition here.  The ARPG race this decade included Diablo III, Torchlight II, Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, and even Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, all of which I played.

In the end though, I have to give the nod to Diablo III.  It started off badly, with the real money auction house yielding results predicted before launch and an itemization scheme that seemed designed to make that situation even worse.  But somebody at Blizzard finally got the memo and, with the Reaper of Souls expansion, things were turned around.  The good game play and simple story let me click away happily for many hours.  I have spent as much time playing Diablo III as all of the competition combined.

On paper Torchlight II ought to have been the winner, with offline play and mods and such.  But all the mechanics in the world couldn’t save it from simply feeling bland and aimless.  And Path of Exile, while it felt closer to the Diablo II source of the ARPG genre, died for me under latency issues that they never fully solved and the desire to be something of an MMORPG which made going back later a pain as they had added so many additional bits and pieces to the game.

Grim Dawn probably gets short shrift in all of this.  I feel like I should go back and play that some more, but I never quite get to it.  If I were CCP, Grim Dawn would be my Faction Warfare updates… always on the list, but never high enough to get the attention it deserves.

While I do not go back with every new season, I have ended up playing and enjoying Diablo III more than any of its competition.

Strategy Game – Civilization V

For me, Civilization V is pretty much the culmination of the series.  I have owned and played the whole run, plus the side paths like Alpha Centauri (good) and Beyond Earth (not good), and Civ V is it for the decade.  And I write that having played Civ II, Civ III, Civ IV, Civ VI Alpha Centauri, and Beyond Earth this decade as well.

Civ V isn’t perfect.  It has flaws, both unique to itself as well as the usual flaws of the series (slow and overweight at launch along with the whole mid-game drag), and it was controversial at the time, but it has weathered the decade for me.  I was annoyed I had to make a new Steam account to play it, having rejected Steam after Valve screwed up my old account in the early HalfLife 2 era.  But I got past that.  I played it in 2010 and I was still playing it in 2019.  Hard to argue with that.

Other possible picks were direct competitors like Stellaris, excellent war games like Vietnam 65 and Unity of Command, literally the rest of the Paradox strategic game catalog, which I own, as well as RTS titles like Age of Empires II HD and a good chunk of the Total War series, all of which played and enjoyed.  But for my strategy title of the decade I cannot justify anything besides Civ V.

Builder Sim – RimWorld

I created this category pretty much to find a place for RimWorld.  I mean, I guess it is something of a genre.  The direct competitors for this on my list included Stardew Valley, Oxygen Not Included, Medieval Engineers, Space Engineers, and Kerbal Space Program RimWorld was pretty much a lock here… and then I looked down the list of games and found Minecraft.

Minecraft isn’t an MMO or MMORPG and is a full on multi-player builder sim and holy cow I spent a lot of time playing it this decade.

But, technically, Minecraft became available to backers in 2009.  So it is really a last decade game, no matter how much I played it.  The early access thing muddies the water.  And while it gets updates, it doesn’t get the MMORPG exemption in my book.

So RimWorld gets the nod, but with an asterisk for Minecraft.

First Person Perspective – Portal 2

Another force category.  When I was looking down the list of shooters I had played over the decade, thinking that FPS could be a category.  But then there were also a few outliers that were not really shooters but which had the first person perspective.  That led me to expand the category, which then went from me trying to balance Sniper Elite III and Doom to just handing things over to Portal 2.

And I think that is the right answer.  I played the game, I own the sound track, my daughter and I know the words to some of the songs, and it had enough cultural influence that, of the games I played, it has to be the winner.  Also, it was a very good game.  But I also own none of the Call of Duty or Battlefield titles from this decade either, so I am not much of a first person perspective fan.

Racing Game – Need for Speed World

I actually own a few racing games.  More than I expected, such that I decided I had better make this a category.  This is one area where console titles might fit in.  But when reviewing what I played, the one game I miss is Need for Speed World.

It had a lot of problems, not the least of which was being published by EA, but its simplicity and bits of destructible terrain and shared world and excellent customization options made it something I spent a lot of time playing.  And, honestly, there hasn’t been anything quite like it since.

Console Title – Pokemon SoulSilver

Proof that I am not much of a console gamer.  Yes, we have still have a Wii and a PlayStation 3 still. The former is now in a box and out of sight and the latter has spent more time streaming or playing DVD or BluRay discs than actually acting as a game console.  I did put in some time with both, most commonly with the LEGO Star Wars titles.  But that was really a last decade thing.  The Nintendo DS and 3DS series was really the console I played this decade, and for me that console is all about the Pokemon titles.

And if I have to pick one of the DS titles… and I’ve played them all… it has to be Pokemon SoulSilver, where I finally caught them all.

Mobile Game – Pokemon Go

As with console games, I don’t really play all that many mobile games.  Stretching the definition to include things on the iPad I probably have a few options.  I played Neko Atsume (in Japanese, back when it was cool) and Monument Valley and DragonVale and Words With Friends and Prose with Bros and some less memorable titles.  Ticket to Ride got a lot of play time, though I’ve faded on it over the years.  And let us not forget all the time I spent hate-playing Candy Crush Saga just to try to beat it without paying.

But the one mobile game I get out and play every day is Pokemon Go.

It helps that it is the one and only video game my wife plays, so we play together.

Crowdfunded Title – Defense Grid 2

This was a depressingly easy pick because almost every crowdfunded gaming title I have been involved with either hasn’t shipped (e.g. Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen) or was kind of shit (e.g. Shroud of the Avatar, Planetary Annihilation).  Some I haven’t played (Project: Gorgon) and others fell apart (Hero’s Song). This decade saw the emergence of crowdfunding, along with early access, but it hasn’t really been a boon for my own game play.

But the one outlier was Defense Grid 2.  I played that and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Its only problem was that it wasn’t quite as good as the original Defense Grid: The Awakening.

Pirate Server – Nostalrius

I guess the polite term now is “emulator,” but they are still pirate servers.  They still exist by stealing somebody’s IP and work, and the noblest intentions in the world won’t change that.  These days every shut down online game that ever had half a dozen loyal customers seems to have an emulator project going for it.

That means there are lots of such servers out there to choose from.  There are even competing projects for games like Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes, not to mention the actual server software from CoH out in the wild.  I am still waiting for the legal shoe to drop on that one.

But Nostalrius, and the family of WoW emulators that preceded it, have racked up a special achievement.  They got a company as conservative as Blizzard to roll out the version of the game they were trying to bring back.  These servers were popular enough to get the company’s attention and had enough support that the idea managed to get past the obvious corporate reluctance to go there.

Basically, WoW Classic is a thing due to the work that went into pirate servers like Emerald Dream and Nostalrius.  Bravo!

Best Hardware Purchase – Blue Microphones Snowball

Not really a game thing, though something that helped with gaming.  Having gone through various headsets with good earphones but crap microphones I decided to opt out of the voice side of the headset thing by buying a decent desk mic.  So during the 2018 Black Friday sales found the Blue Microphones Snowball on sale and bought it.  And it has served me well ever since.  I am now free to use whichever headphones I like and nobody complains that they cannot hear me anymore.  I am fully ready to be a podcast or streaming guest!  Of course, I have also reached a point of irrelevance such that people have stopped asking me to be guests on such things, but I am ready if my topics ever begin to trend again!

Worst Hardware Purchase – Mineserver

I almost skipped this as a section, being unable to think of any gaming related hardware I bought in the last decade that was worthy of scorn.  And then I remembered the Mineserver.

Technically, I didn’t purchase this, I backed it as part of a Kickstarter campaign.  The campaign, launched by tech columnist Robert X. Cringely in Fall 2015, it was supposed to be delivered by Christmas that year.  The campaign funded successfully and we got rosy reports initially.  This was going to be easy.

And then it wasn’t.  This is what I get for trusting in the word of somebody who is not technical to assess the technical issues of a project.  I should know by now that things that look easy to those on the sidelines are often not easy down in the code.  Also, Cringely’s next successful business venture will be his first.  I had forgotten about that.

This was also a bad example, amidst many bad examples, of how not to run a campaign post success.  Communication was sporadic.  The excuse was that he only wanted to report when there was good news, but apparently there hasn’t been any good news for a couple of years now.

Cringely was blowing smoke up our collective asses with some pie in the sky “maybe this will turn into a business and I’ll give you all shares” nonsense, but then his house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire and he has declined to update the Kickstarter campaign page or send anything directly to the supporters since.  Instead he occasionally makes reference to the campaign, mostly to blame people who are angry about the whole thing for the lack of any progress. In his world, all of the problems are the fault of the backers.  Money down the drain.

Best Game Purchase – Minecraft

This was a tough one.  There have been a lot of games I have bought and gotten a ton of play out of, that ended up being great and bargains at the price I paid.  Defense Grid: The Awakening was a candidate, as was the Mists of Pandaria expansion for WoW and even the first year of Rift.

In the end though, I am going to call Minecraft the winner, because the criteria here is purchase during the last decade, and while Minecraft became available in 2009, I didn’t buy it until 2015.

Even with renting a public server for a shared experience, the dollar per hour value of the game was pretty damn high.

Worst Game Purchase – Star Trek Online Lifetime Membership

There were a lot of competitors on this front, like every single game in my Steam library that I purchased and never played.  But none of them could measure up to the cost and impact of Star Trek Online.

I pinned such hopes on Star Trek Online and it ended up being so not the game for me.  While many will point to Warhammer Online as the end of hope for a MMORPG that would eclipse WoW or Star Wars: The Old Republic as the last gasp attempt at a big budget MMORPG, Star Trek Online was the boiling pot of hope that burned my hands and convinced me not to get invested in an MMO before it is live.  And no more up front lifetime subscription purchases ever.

Disappointing at launch with mundane and repetitive game play (even for an MMO), I probably ended up paying the most per hour played for it since the time of CompuServe and GEnie and hourly connection charges.  I tried to return to the game a couple of times, but Cryptic just piled on features to try and keep the game going, turning it into a confused jumble that still held no seed of attraction for me.  It was so bad I was surprised when it went free to play mostly because I was sure it must have already gone that route.

So if you want to know why I am such the cynic now, occasionally mocking those who get excited and invested in games based on a vague feature list and a few artists concept drawings, Star Trek Online is a big factor.  And yes, I know it is somebody’s favorite game.  Everything, no matter how bad, is somebody’s favorite.  If you enjoy it, carry on.  But for me it is an example of the kind of garbage, half-assed MMORPG effort that tarnished the genre and sped up its decline.  And none of that was helped by the game embracing things like lock boxes.

STO will be mentioned in the next few month in review posts as we get through its 10 year anniversary, but I doubt I will ever post about again until I write an obituary about it.  I generally don’t waste my time on games I do not like.  This post was an exception.

A New Decade

And so it goes.  I made it through this post and only had to reach into the past decade twice.

Soon it will be 2020 and a new decade will be upon us.  Not that an arbitrary changing in numbering means anything really, but we like to put things into nice neat categories even if we have to make them up.  I certainly made up a couple above.

I do wonder what the video game industry will be ten years down the line.  Mobile has become the big money maker while things like VR, hailed as the future, languish due to various technical and physiological reasons. (The puke factor is real.)

I especially wonder about games in my MMORPG category, the shared world online experience that seem to go on and on.  Ultima Online and EverQuest are still going past the 20 year mark, while World of Warcraft and EVE Online are now past 15.  Will we be celebrating 25 and 30 year anniversaries when 2029 is coming to a close?  Will I still even care?

The Last Days of Palmont

The end of days has come for a few.  As announced by EA back in April, four of their online game get the chop tomorrow, including Need for Speed World.

Palmont is one of the fictional cities in the game, along with Rockport, and I had an idea about putting together a photo montage of sorts in the spirit of The Last Days of Pompeii. with the various automobile bound citizenry in terror of the coming apocalypse.

Palmont Police

How will they protect Palmont now?

Unfortunately, my meager artistic skills and lack of any real motivation conspired to push that idea so far past the back burner that it fell behind the stove completely, never to be seen again.  So my memorial will have to draw upon screen shots I have already posted.

Patrol Cars go Flying

Patrol Car apocalypse!

Already posted because it is a pain to take a decent screen shot in Need for Speed World, a fact I was reminded of when I returned to the game.  After the announcement back in April I ran out and downloaded the client.  Then, after figuring out which account EA had merged my old account into… seriously EA? Either use the same account to start with or be so kind as to drop me a note when you’re fucking with my user credentials yet again… I logged in, determined to soak up the last full measure of the game before it disappeared.  I had but three months left!

And then I logged off about 45 minutes later, never to log back in again.

I cannot say that the game never changed over its just shy of five years lifetime, but I am not sure it ever changed for the better.  It was a free to play game that went through all of the gyrations seemingly required of such titles in order to maintain its value in the EA lineup.

It started with the usual boosts for experience gain and cash rewards along with race-focused power ups and the sale of special RMT-only cars, some of which would be hard not to characterize as pay to win, but quickly moved towards a focus on card packs, which were just lock boxes by another name.

Meanwhile, game play didn’t go very far during the life of the game.  At one point levels were required to unlock content, but that was revamped and content… in the form of races courses… went on a rotation when it became clear that too many active courses meant that people spent a lot of time just waiting for others in their bracket to join.  So levels just ended up unlocking stickers for the car customization, as the race match making algorithm used car stats and not levels to bring people together.  Though even that was iffy at times, and during a slow time you could find yourself matched up against impossibly better vehicles.

And, of course, there were the cheats and hacks that plagued the game throughout its life.  Every race wasn’t so marred, but it happened often enough that if you played for very long you could see the patterns.  For example, I chose to avoid multi-lap races after some time as a hack that allowed a player to add a lap to the race, yet be themselves exempt from that extra lap, was becoming ubiquitous.  It became more of a race to see who could use the cheat first.  So that and flying cars and warping cars and cars with collision detection apparently turned off made random match maker races a particularly unsatisfying way to play the game.

But the most damning aspect of the whole thing was that there simply wasn’t enough to do.

The world felt small one you drove around it a few times.  Driving around in different cars could be entertaining, yet lonely.  As with the real world, we’re all together on the road yet along in our personal spaces.  Road races, as noted, became frustrating hack fests.  And the game was simply broken at various points during its history, with races simply out of action for days.  Drag races, added in later, were not even as exciting as the real world variety.  Police pursuits were good for a while, but the police AI had clear patterns you could spot after not too many runs and, after a certain point of escalation simply piled on so many resources that they could drag you down by sheer mass of wrecks.  And the daily gem hunt became a predictable pattern, unless you bought one of the gem hunter vehicles, in which case it was degraded to following a nav system in your own town.

Fairway Roadblocks

Yeah, that road block isn’t going to be very effective…

For me, the desire to log on was generally snuffed out when I felt I had done it all.  Achievements… not the best implementation, but not horrible… which came late to the game extended at least one run with me, since they promised me a special car if only I would log in and do something 180 days in a row.  But I was quickly out the door after that.

Which is not to say that Need for Speed World did not have its moments.

Just roaring around at high speed had its appeal.  Destructible terrain added some spice to things.  Nothing like mowing down a row of parking meters.  The controls were simple, but responsive enough and got the job done.  The selection of vehicles… which included some retro rides that appealed very strongly to me… actually got me to give the game some money.  I will miss my collection of Nissan Skyline GT-Rs.  And the car customization tools, while a bit clunky, gave players a lot options to run with.  There were a lot of very well done vehicles on the road.

Because who knows what TAGN stands for, right?

Not really a good example…

And races, when hacking was absent, could be quite fun.  Potshot, Earl, and I spent some time racing together in the game, and I actually managed to capture one of my favorite wins on video, complete with me bouncing off a Subaru to take the lead in the last corner, with Potshot and I in a pair of Porche 914s.

So good times were had.  And while in the long run the game really didn’t have enough there to keep me invested, it will be a bit sad to see it go.  I am not sure what else out there might really replace it.

I have read a bit about The Crew, but am seriously put off by anything with the Ubisoft name on it.  They seem quite keen to punish their paying customers for not hacking their games.  I use Steam. That is already the DRM solution in my opinion.  So then requiring me to use their Uplay DRM on top of that seems to be asking a bit much… too much for me to consider giving them any money.

I have also heard good things about Project CARS, but not enough to invest in the game.  It is on my Steam wishlist, but the last Steam sale didn’t see it hit the price threshold that would get me to commit.

So there we stand.  Tomorrow is the last day for Need for Speed World.  The last chance is here, and I am not sure I will bother to log on one final time.

Posts I have done about Need for Speed: World.

Videos I posted from the game:

 

Need for Speed World and Three Others to Get the Chop

Earlier today Electronic Arts announced that it would be shutting down four of its online F2P titles, Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, FIFIA World, and Need for Speed: World.  The games will be around for another 90 days, finally going dark on July 14, 2015.

Of those four, Battlefield Heroes is probably the most well known, being one of EA’s early forays into the F2P market and because its art style looks suspiciously like that of Team Fortress 2, back when you had to buy TF2. (Later it went F2P and became a bigger success, so go figure.)

TF2 and Battlefield Heroes explore the square jaw...

TF2 and Battlefield Heroes explore the square jaw…

It had some early issues with the whole free model, and how hard it can be to “take things back” once you have made them free.  And our group actually tried to play Battlefield Heroes one Saturday evening, though without much success.  We couldn’t figure out how to all get in the same battle on the same side at the same time.

But of those four games, the one I will actually miss is Need for Speed: World.

I first tried the game back in 2011 after Tipa mentioned it in a post.  It ended up being a fairily unique game for me, a free to play PC title I actually enjoyed and where the business model seemed just about right.  While I was never a whale (per that question from SynCaine) I was happy enough buying some neat cars now and again.  And for a stretch I just enjoyed driving around with the TRON Legacy sound track playing.  The instance group even spent some evenings playing.  We bought cars and I even made a video or three.

It was light fun.  There were things I liked and things I did not, but over all it was some good fun.  I like cars (just not enough to own a nice one) and this allowed me to play around with some interesting ones. (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was my favorite of the series, so I ended up with a lot of Japanese cars.)

Pimpmobile!

74 Nissan Skyline GT-R Pimpmobile!

Now, however, the count down to the final day is on.

The Race is Coming to an end.
By: rhiordd | 04-15-2015

After five years on the race track, Need for Speed World is about to run its last lap. The free-to-play PC action racer will be permanently shutting down its servers on July 14th 2015. Purchases of SpeedBoosts will be disabled as of today.

When it launched 2010, Need for Speed World brought together best-in-class action racing with an unparalleled social experience on PC. However, five years on, we feel that the game no longer lives up to the high standard set by the Need for Speed franchise. The steady stream of live content kept our players engaged but unfortunately we were not able to keep pace with feature development. At this point, the major overhaul needed to bring the game up to speed is not viable for us, so after careful review we came to a decision to stop development and begin winding down support of Need for Speed World.

We’re still leaving Need for Speed World on for a couple more months. If you have a balance of in-game currency, we encourage you to spend it before July 14th. While you can spend the currency you already have, we are disabling the functionality to purchase SpeedBoost, as well as the ability to register new accounts, from now until the closing date.

It’s been a great ride. We would like to thank our community for a wonderful five years. We’re grateful for the time we spent together.

Need for Speed World development team

This is, of course, one of the problems playing a game from a big organization like EA.  They have lots of games, so if one isn’t doing as well as expected, they can chop it, save some money, and move the devs to another project. (Or lay them off to really cut expenses.)  A smaller company might fight… might have to fight to survive… to keep these games viable.

I was also interested to see that the press release included a bit about SWTOR doing fine, as if EA was patting that team on the head while showing them a reminder of what happens to games that fail to meet revenue goals.

Anyway, I will have to find some time to log in and take a last tour of the game in its final state.

180 Days for a BMW M3

In my last “passing through” review of the state of Need for Speed World, I mentioned my obsessive experiment with the daily gem hunt and the fact that they added achievements to the game.

The first part, the gem hunt, involved me trying to find out if the statement that “each consecutive day gives better rewards” was actually true or not.

It sort of was.

At about day 20 you start getting 4 star rewards, which are best-in-game items.  But you still continue to get 1 star rewards, which is of a level you can purchase outright from the in-game vendor, most of the time well past day 100.

112 Days for This?

112 Days for This?

At least you have the option of selling them back for some in-game cash, which so far can still be used to purchase some actual vehicles.

As for the second part, the addition of achievements… well, if ever a game needed them, Need for Speed World was that game.  Racing is a reasonable genre to have them.  And they did keep me playing for a while longer as they had me hooked for one particular achievement.  If you do the gem hunt every day for 180 days straight, you get a special car.  And since I was past 100 days already… they gave me credit for the part of my streak that pre-dated the achievement… I felt I might as well press on!

Last week I made it, I hit the 180 day mark and got the achievement.

DHAchi

Now it was time to collect my new car!  It turned out to be a BMW M3 E92 with special “Achievement Edition” vinyl.

New Car

New Car

Not a bad looking car.  I wasn’t big on the color for it, but NFSW has decent customization tools if nothing else., so I went for a blue color.

More my hue

More my hue

It isn’t a bad car.  I like the looks well enough.  It is a B class racer by default, with a “very low for its class” 508 rating.  Not outstanding by default, but decent.  I took it out for a few test races.

M3 in the race

M3 in the race

It handles nicely, though it lacks something in the acceleration department.  Handling can be an equalizer if you can carry your speed through corners, so I thought I would try to boost that a little bit.  However, no matter which 4-star parts I added to the car… such as a suspension upgrade that indicates it should improve handling by 19%… the handling stat got worse rather than better.

So I drove around somet more, swapped over to my Porsche 914 for a bit to compare (the Porsche wins), logged off and… aside from a quick exception to take a screen shot… stopped logging in.

Which sort of demonstrates the down side of daily quests and the like.  When you have dedicated a consistent effort to a goal like this… and the same thing happened to me after doing the Argent Tournament stuff… some level of burn out (heh) is often the result.

I will probably be back for a visit in a few months.  But for now I feel “done” with the game.

Further Mutterings about MMO Revenue Models

A few years back, at the height of the housing boom, we decided to move.  We listed our house at the market price for our neighborhood, and the first day on the market we got an offer for roughly 60% of what we were asking.  Somebody sensed, as we all were beginning to at that point, that the bubble was going to burst soon, and wanted to know if we were desperate.

We were not, and actually sold the house for what we were asking a couple weeks later.  But there was no possibility that we were going to come to an arrangement with the person who made that first offer.  Their offer was so insultingly low that it made it completely unlikely to be able to negotiate any deal at all.

We have a garage sale at least once a year.  Often we have two, one in the spring and one in the fall.  Just the process of finding stuff to sell helps us keep the house clear of clutter, so that our home, with the exception of my office and my daughter’s room, feels clean, open, and spacious.

We tend to put out all manner of things on the driveway for sale.  I often have a pile of books that have made it into the category of “won’t read again” out on a table.  At one garage sale I had done a big purge and had 40+ paperbacks lined up, with the asking price was 25 cents each.  Cheap enough that anybody with an interest would pick them up, and it wouldn’t kill me if I decided to give a couple away to any kid who looked like they wanted to read one.  And, as always, quantity discounts are available.

A woman, who rolled up in an expensive car, offered me a dollar for all of the books, and then started gathering them up like it was a done deal.  A dollar turned out to be exactly the right price to start a fight.

In the cold logic of hindsight, it was just an offer I could freely reject.

In the reality and emotion of the moment, it was insulting.  I started with “no” and worked my way up to using them for kindling before I would sell her one at full cover price.  Her offer stayed at a dollar throughout, leavened with sneers and insults.  But we could have stopped after our first pass through offer and rejection, as no deal was possible after that point.  I cannot imagine she thought her negotiation technique was going to be effective.  It is always interesting to meet people who are worse at interpersonal relationships than I am.

What did those two little stories have to do with anything?  We’ll get to that.  First, a foundation of words needs to be built.

With the announcement that Rift is moving from the once traditional monthly subscription model to a cash shop driven free to play model, there have been the usual range of reactions, from feelings that no good will come of this to expressions of joy at the demise of yet another monthly subscription barrier to entry.  Some people really hate the subscription idea.

My own response is somewhere in between.

Good things will come of this change.  I know that.

More people will play Rift.  It won’t make it suddenly popular with people who wouldn’t play a fantasy MMORPG in the first place.  But people who wouldn’t otherwise commit to $15 a month will want to play.

An annoying amount of words, and some irrelevant pictures, after the cut:

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Need for Speed World – Porsches in Palmont

The instance group continued its streak, and it ended up being just Potshot and I on Saturday night.

On one hand, it is a pain that we have not yet made another run at Exodus of the Storm Queen.  On the other, with just Potshot and I, the possible alternative game choices are pretty large.

I threw out “Boom or Vroom,” putting up World of Tanks versus Need for Speed World as an opening bid.  Potshot said “vroom,” so we were off to race cars for the evening.

This is the upside of the free to play model, that we can just decided to play that night, patch up, and get going without having to worry about a subscription or anything.

Of course, the first item up for discussion was, what should we drive.

The last time we got out onto the streets we started of with a variety of different cars, but finally decided we should all buy the same car and leave it stock, so that there were no vehicular stats tilting the races.  Our decision back then was to all buy the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione.

This time we thought we ought to get something new, so it was off to the car dealer.

We were tempted by the Ford Capri being offered.  That was a car we both grew up around as an import sold through Ford’s Mercury brand dealerships.  I still like the styling of the ’70-’73 models.  However, NFSW was only selling a very tricked out race version of the car.

Not Street Legal

Not Street Legal

Both Potshot and I lean towards vintage cars, but prefer street models, not the heavily modified race cars.  We grumbled a bit about the game not catering to our demographic with their more modern super cars and race prepped vehicles, and continued down the list.

I eyed the Jaguar E-Type for a minute.  If it had been the convertible or the 2+2 body styles, I might have insisted.  But they only had the 2 door coupe, which always looks odd to me.

Eventually Potshot found a car on which we could both agree.  It was vintage, a formidable racer, and not outrageously over-styled.

More after the cut.  Words, pictures, video, etc.

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April in Review

The Site

A Google moment turned April into a record setting month for the blog pretty much out of the gate.  My quick coverage of April Fools at Blizzard for this year managed to get on the first page of results for a number of salient searches and… well… sent a lot of traffic this way.

Page Views Gone Wild

Page Views Gone Wild

The previous record was actually set last April, though that was driven by links to my Burn Jita posts.  This year, Burn Jita wasn’t a hot topic and page views were about at the average-ish line across the event.

If you look at the gap between the dark bar, which is unique visits, and the light bar, which is total page views, it seems like people actually stopped to look at the links I had in the post, which included the past few years of April Fools.  The “Most Viewed Posts” section below bears this out.

Upon seeing the sudden spike in traffic, I tried to incorporate as many links out to other blogs as I could in order to “share the wealth” such that is was.  So a few other blogs got some traffic out of this.

April 1st and 2nd were about equal the whole month of February, which was when the impact of the Google image search changes showed up.

The downside of such a moment of Google fame is that the traffic is not very… sticky.  I would be happy if out of all those people, one or two returned and left a comment now and again.  And, of course, those two days will now skew the default graph on the stats page for a full month.  Plus I keep looking at those two bars and feel like I should be reminded of some historical moment.

Never Forget... something...

Never Forget… something…

As with the big dip in page views in February, the big spike this month is essentially meaningless in the big picture. I like to try and figure out why these things happen, and they make the part of me that enjoys statistics thrill.  But it isn’t like I get paid for page views.

And, of course, I bet Google is going to kill off some more page views come July when they kill off Google Reader.

I haven’t switched to a replacement yet.  I am waiting for the other providers to accommodate the surge before I move.

One Year Ago

Last April set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I also made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Five Years Ago

I made up something for April Fool’s Day.  I thought it was amusing.

Lord of the Rings Online celebrated a year of being live.  Book 13 introduced, among other things, fishing.  And my video problems with the game proved to be a bad video card, so I was actually able to get into the game.

Computer Gaming World/Games For Windows magazine ceased publishing as part of the ongoing demise of print media.

In EVE Online I made the big move from Caldari to Amarr space.  I also began producing Badger transports for fun and profit.  CCP introduced the whole Council of Stellar Management thing, which I dubbed The Galactic Student Council.  My opinion on it hasn’t changed much since.

Meanwhile in WoW one million people in China logged into WoW at the same time.  There is still no report on what would happen if they all pressed the space bar at the same time.  While that was going on, the instance group finished up the Slave Pens and the Underbog and began the long struggle with the Mana Tombs.

I was looking around for Tetris on the Nintendo DS.  You would think that would be easy, right?

And then it was Tipa’s turn to bang the EverQuest nostalgia drum, so I joined in yet again.

New Linking Sites

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

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in April

Per the top of the post, April Fools at Blizzard dominates the list this month.

  1. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013
  2. April Fools at Blizzard – 2012
  3. Blizzard Blindsided by Diablo III Auction House Popularity
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2011
  6. WoW Dance Battle System!
  7. Ignore Burn Jita? Is That Your Plan?
  8. April Fools at Blizzard – 2010
  9. Burn Jita Held Over for an Extended Run
  10. Age of Empires II – HD Edition, That’s What I’m Talking About
  11. What is it with Me and Storm Legion?
  12. Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Unleashed!

Search Terms of the Month

animal jam: non fair membership abilities
[Welcome to free to play]

trion merge with blizzard
[Heh, copy Blizz, yes, merge with Blizz…]

brothers in arms or camo for arty?
[Camo]

world of warcraft bdr g1b good 4 money
[A BDR G1B would rule in WoW… in WoT, not so much]

Spam Comment of the Month

Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation;
[From a spam comment linking to “genuine” Prada items]

EVE Online

A quiet month in New Eden for me.  Burn Jita was an exercise in precise, clinical destruction.  The fleet ops I went on all ended up with no action for me.  I made some money speculating on ice products.  A rumor went around before FanFest about ice changes, so I bought up half a billion ISK worth in Amarr and relisted it for double what I paid.  That sat until the announcement at FanFest, and which point it sold.  Easy money.  And then the price dropped back down.

Oh, yeah, and CSM8 elections.  Congratulations to the winners, which includes Jester, who will now have to suffer the fate of getting exactly what he asked for.

Need for Speed World

I have actually played this game every single day this year.  I log on, I do the gem hunt, I log off.  Elapsed time for each session is generally under 10 minutes.  It was part of my plan to see what sort of rewards you would get for the daily hunt as time went along.  I thought I would be done at that point.  But then they added achievements.  And for just another hundred or so gem hunts in a row, you get a special car.  So I am in for the long haul on that.

Rift

After sulking about Storm Legion for quite a while, I actually pressed on into it with a recommended solo build for my warrior.  It is okay.  Will I press on and finish though?  Meanwhile, the instance group… has failed to show up consistently since the beginning of the year.  So we still have yet to finish the first Storm Legion instance, Exodus of the Storm Queen.

World of Tanks

I continue working with my KV-4.  Tier 8 in a heavy has turned out to be pretty fun.  I do dread those matches with three or four SPGs on a side though.  You cannot hide under cover forever, and getting caught in the open is murder.

Coming Up

We will know how the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter saga ends in a couple days.  Success will mean City State Entertainment getting to work.  Failure will mean… well, we shall see what it means.

I have a blog anniversary coming up… for another blog.  But I am going to write about it here because nobody reads that blog.  Though, to be fair, it is all about pictures instead of words.

Neverwinter is going to show up.  I think it is open beta or pre-release or taking money from the general public as of today even.  I have been averting my gaze from it so as not to spoil anything in advance.  The call of Forgotten Realms will probably ensure that I will download that at some point, but I won’t be in for the day one rush.

Maybe… just maybe… the instance group will do Exodus of the Storm Queen this month.