Category Archives: Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go and Remote Raid Passes

I will say that Niantic has worked pretty hard to keep Pokemon Go viable and interesting during this era of pandemic, when people are spending a lot more time at home.

They have thrown a lot of small changes against the wall to see what sticks and have not been afraid to change them up as time has gone on.  My personal favorites have been having eggs hatch in half their usual distance walked and for allowing double the amount of gifts to be stored in your inventory.  Also, they made incense actually useful for now.

At least another month of these

But the best new item so far for me has been the remote raid pass.

My wife and I together can handle 1-3 star raids, and maybe a 4 star raid if we’re doing pretty well, but a 5 star raid needs more people and, of course, five star raids are where the legendary Pokemon show up.

We had managed a few in the past.  We’ve been at the mall… remember the mall… when a 5 star raid hit and have been able to join in with a larger group.  But you have to be there at the right moment or it just isn’t going to happen.

With the remote raid pass we can now jump into raids that are within range of our location.  Given that there are six gyms within range of the couch in our living room, that means more opportunities than ever.  We have both been able to catch the latest legendary Pokemon in the rotation.

Reshiram and Zekrom from Pokemon Black & White

As somebody who has always been more of a “Gotta Catch ’em All!” player, this has been something of a boon when it comes to filling out the Pokedex.

Of course, remote raid passes cost coins.

Remote Raid Passes in the Store

But I am willing to spend coins on things that are useful.  Generally I save up and buy whatever the latest box is that has the most incubators for the price, but now I am good with remote raid passes as well.

Now we just have to wait for the rotation of featured Pokemon in the 5 star raids.  There are a lot of them I had missed in the past, so I have a chance at them if Niantic puts them back in the lineup.

SuperData Says Video Games Still Doing Very Well in the Pandemic

SuperData Research has released their digital revenue numbers for May 2020 and the video game market still looks strong.  Not as strong as April, but still way over last year.

  • Digital games revenue totaled $10.2B in May, down 3% from April’s record-breaking total of $10.5B. Games continued their lucrative streak in May even though the month had few major game releases and an easing of COVID-19 lockdowns. Digital console revenue fell 27% from April to May due to fewer new releases, but a 3% growth in mobile earnings offset this gap. Overall spending was still up 14% over May 2019 ($8.9B), with PC up 8%, mobile up 14% and console up 23%.

The chart itself shows that many of the usual suspects remained strong in May.

Digital Revenue only

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2020

On the PC end of the chart, the same top four titles remained in their usual positions.  But in fifth place Roblox suddenly appeared, jumping up from ninth position in April, followed closely by World of Warcraft, now  in sixth.

Then there is CS:Go, Fortnite, and COD:MW, with World of Tanks making it back on to the list month in tenth position.  Nine our of ten on the list were there last month, with only Doom Eternal dropping off, allowing World of Tanks back on.

On the console front, FIFA 20 climbs back to the top of the list, followed by perennial list member Grand Theft Auto V, which no doubt got a boost from the Epic Store giving it away for a stretch.  Then there is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which holds on to third position, staying at or near the top of the list for three months running now.

Minecraft Dunegons, which did not make the PC list, did break into the console chart in ninth spot, no doubt due to it being available for all major platforms… and having the Minecraft name associated with it.

On the mobile end of the chart Peacekeeper Elite, the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile for China, held on to the top spot, keeping the past champion, Honour of Kings, at bay.  Roblox, strong on this front too, grabbed third spot while Pokemon Go, which fell off the list last month, surged back up into fourth, while long time list member Candy Crush Saga held on in seventh spot.

Then there is NPD, which is finally back after not updating for a couple of months as they adapted to the new reality of Covid-19.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. Minecraft*
  8. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  10. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order

* Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

Comparing that list to SuperData is a bit more interesting this month as the overlap isn’t quite the same.  COD:MW is on top and a few titles that didn’t register with SuperData made the cut.

So it goes.  Video games remain strong during our new abnormal.

SuperData also put up another report earlier this month that took a look at the remaster gravy train that seems to be hitting with things like Final Fantasy VII Remake doing very well.  Those of us who watch the MMO sphere know that, done right, nostalgia can be an evergreen proposition.

The remaining bullet points from SuperData’s digital revenue report for May:

A free giveaway of Grand Theft Auto V on the Epic Games Store caused PC player numbers to jump 245% from April to May. Launched seven years ago, the title continues to be a major draw, and the traffic from the promotion crashed the Epic Games Store. PC player numbers were only a quarter lower than the console version and PC revenue more than doubled as players purchased in-game content. Despite the surge in revenue, however, the console version continues to outearn its PC counterpart 4-to-1.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, another Take-Two Interactive title, was also given away for free on the Epic Games Store and PC player numbers surged 477%. PC revenue grew by 52% thanks to the promotion and the release of new in-game content, including a season pass.

May’s biggest new release, Minecraft Dungeons, attracted 1.8M players — but elements of its business model limited its revenue potential. The Microsoft title, an action role-playing game (RPG) spinoff, did not earn enough to make it to the top 10 PC games of the month and was only number nine on console. The title had a low upfront price ($19.99), and players on Xbox One and PC did not have to purchase the game directly, since it was available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

Peacekeeper Elite from Tencent hit an all-time revenue high and was the highest-earning game overall. The game is a China-localized version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile, which also hit a revenue high during May and is especially popular in markets like India and Southeast Asia. The success of the titles shows there is strong demand for fast-paced multiplayer titles on smartphones. Gamers in North America and Europe may prefer to play these types of games on PC or console, but mobile is the platform of choice for hardcore gamers throughout much of the world.

Pokemon GO spending rose 60% month-over-month to thanks to a combination of warm weather and even more options for playing at home. Earnings for the game typically rise during the summer months, and May 2020 was no exception. Earnings reached their highest point since September 2019 and were up 45% year-over-year. Due to COVID-19, developer Niantic began selling remote raid passes at the end of April, which allowed players to join in-game battles without the need to travel to certain physical locations.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive earnings and player numbers fell from an April all-time-high as competing title Valorant prepared to launch. After months of upward momentum, CS:GO revenue shrank by 9% and user numbers fell 6%. During this time, Valorant, the rival tactical shooter from League of Legends maker Riot Games, was in beta and potentially siphoned away CS:GO players.

May in Review

The Site

I managed to break the blogger feed on the side bar.  It actually stopped working on its own and as I dug around I noticed that Pinboard said I had 32,768 entries there, which is exactly 2^15, which I suspected meant that I might have hit an upper limit on entries.  So I cleared all entries and… then nothing there has worked reliably since.

So I have an alternate feed now in the side bar which was, honestly, much easier to setup and get going, and seems more reliable.  However, I have less control over the feed so I cannot, for example, inject the blog name into the feed, so it is just post title, date, and author.  There will no doubt be a blog post about this when I get it settled.

Meanwhile, the blog has seen a bit of a traffic boom this month.  As usual, this traffic bump appears to be completely based on the whims of Google search, which suddenly doubled in impressions and clicks for my site.

Google’s own graph

Things were about normal in March, then there is the usual big April 1st spike, after which traffic and impressions taper off.  And then, suddenly, on May 6, they about double and I couldn’t tell you why.  It might be related to the Activision Blizzard financials.  There are a bunch of searches for “wow subscription numbers.”  But that should have tapered off after a few days.  Instead things appear to have kept going.

Also, in the usual post-Blaugust tradition, I have carried on after Blapril and posted every single day in May as well.  I am not sure that has an effect, but historically the September after Blaugust is usually a pretty good month for traffic as well, so maybe that plays into it.  Mysteries of the internet.

One Year Ago

Back in May of 2018 there was a rumor leak about Daybreak, so a year later I went back over them to see what came to pass.

Blizzard revenue margins dropped considerably.  As if to prove the point, WoW dropped off of SuperData’s digital revenue chart.

To hide that in the news cycle Blizzard gave us a date for WoW Classic. I wondered if the Cataclysm expansion was a necessary prerequisite for WoW Classic.  I also was speculating as to what would happen with WoW Classic as it aged.

The beta for WoW Classic had been up for a while, but they decided to do a stress test, so they let everybody in for a bit.  Of course I went!  And I did the following week as well.

In what we now call retail WoW I was off collecting the Children’s Week pets.

Blizzard also gave us a peek at their 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition.

The Mittani uttered the words, “Gevlon was right” in a public forum.

EVE Online celebrated its sixteen year anniversary with a sixteen day login campaign.  The Invasion expansion was slated for the end of the month.  Its arrival brought more Triglavian fun to the game as well as the big revamp of The Agency interface and some war dec changes.

CCP Peligro Tweeted out a chart about who gets banned for botting in New Eden.  CCP had also been trying to nerf ratting and mining, so that was the focus of my MER review that month.

The CSM14 election was coming up and Jester did a Reddit AMA about his time on the CSM as his NDA had finally expired.  I also had a bullet points post about CSM14 candidates and rewards and a coming war and such.

Out in Delve I got to undock my dreadnought.

With Liberty Squad I went on ops to Amamake and into Etherium reach that resulted in explosions.  I also got to drop on some Rorquals with Black Ops.

But people were focused on the coming Imperium attack on the north and where it would land.  Even as we formed up and moved vast fleets to the north of null sec, our target was still speculation, though once we set up shop in the east of Pure Blind it looked like Tribute was the target.  There was a rush to see if we could kill the PanFam staging Keepstar, but when that failed we settled in to burn down the region.

In Minecraft I was growing bamboo and looking for the new village types that came in with the Village & Pillage update.  The I went looking for pillagers.

Connor at MMO Fallout announced that the site was winding down… and then he changed his mind.

And I watched the Catch-22 miniseries on Hulu.  I liked some of it, but there were issues for me.  There always are.

Five Years Ago

A bucket list item achieved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The war in Fountain and Delve was over, NCDot had been pushed back yet again, and we were moving back north as our empire contracted.  Entosis stuff was looming.  Black Legion caught us taking a badly planned convoy through KVN-36.

Meanwhile, down in Querious, the Reavers were playing with Ravens.  Up in the north, TNT was moving out of Deklein and into Tribute as part of our Fozzie Sov plans.  And I hit 140 million skill points.

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

I was unemployed thanks to the great mortgage meltdown, which you would think would leave me a lot more time for gaming and blogging.  But the anxiety of looking for a job for the first time in 12 years… and the first time in 20 years where there wasn’t just one out there waiting for me… made for a quiet gaming and blogging month.

Yes, I did start to poke my nose back into LOTRO.  A game where I didn’t have to pay a subscription seemed about right. (I have a lifetime subscription.)  That meant getting back into the swing of the game and figuring out what had changed.

We actually got THE DATE for the release of StarCraft II.  How did that turn out for everybody?  I skipped the whole thing.  Maybe when the StarCraft II warchest version comes out with all the expansions I’ll look into it.

The Agency came to Facebook, in the form of The Agency: Covert Ops.  A Mafia Wars-like game, without the multi-level marketing aspect, it had its good and its bad.  I liked the puzzles.  The dogs with guns… and the submarine fight… not so much.  Who knew that would be all of The Agency we would ever get?

Meanwhile SOE was transcending bad taste with their EQII PWNZ marketing campaign.

EVE Online got the Tyrannis expansion, though I wasn’t paying much attention there.  Something called EVE Gate was introduced… later closed and now being proposed again I think… as well as integration with DUST 514… also later closed and effectively proposed again with Project: Nova. Pattern here?

There was some Pokemon fun going.  I was twinking the Pokewalker while our cats worked against me.  The cats won in the end.

We also went to see the Pokemon Video Game Championships in our area.

And the Horde remix of the instance group was wrapping up Dire Maul and Stratholme.  Then, having hit 60, we let the Dungeon Finder guide our way into the Outland.

Fifteen Years Ago

Sony unveiled the PlayStation 3 in a pre-E3 announcement while Microsoft announced the XBox 360 on MTV.

Pokemon Emerald, the final third generation Pokemon game and the last GameBoy Advance Pokemon release, arrives in North America

Forty Years Ago

The Empire Strikes back, arguably the best movie in the whole series, debuts.  Or, as I sometimes think of it, the last great Star Wars movie.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Darkpaw Announces and Adjusts Plans for the Rizlona and Aradune Time Locked Progression Servers
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga is Coming
  7. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  8. EQ Aradune and Rizlona Servers off to the Usual Rocky Start
  9. New Servers and Server Merges and More with the EverQuest Anniversary
  10. Where is the Scenario Mod for This?
  11. Burn Jita 2020 Seems Unlikely
  12. Hints of a Diablo II Remaster

Search Terms of the Month

iowa wooden deck
[You’re far from Iowa friend]

robert jordan wheel of.time repetitive writing
[Clip that and you’d lose a book worth of text]

eve online auction house no more undercut
[Well, no more .01 ISK undercut]

how to make bamboo grow faster in minecraft
[You’re kidding, right?]

wve onlune mist active cirporations
[Your fingers are on the wrong keys]

mmo when you can play as kobold
[Uhh… I don’t know]

where’d holly windstalker go?
[Blizzard]

Gaming Time from ManicTime

A bit of a surprise for times this month.  If you had asked me on the first I would have probably guessed that EVE Online would be at the top, with WoW Classic maybe not too far behind.  And then I launched Minecraft.

  1. Minecraft – 43.20%
  2. EVE Online – 32.22%
  3. WoW Classic – 16.58%
  4. EverQuest – 6.65%
  5. World of Warcraft – 0.69%
  6. RimWorld – 0.66%

It is really easy to put on a podcast or an audio book and while away the hours with Minecraft.  Meanwhile, WoW Classic has languished a bit as the group has been busy so hasn’t had a chance to get back to Zul’Farrak.

EVE Online

With the Goon Expeditionary Force deployed, there has been some opportunity for fun in space.  I am definitely in a mood where I only log in for fleets and not much else.  I have gone on some fleets, but perhaps not as many as I thought I would.  But we’re still out there in Cloud Ring.

EverQuest

I have been mostly poking along with the Overseer feature here, though I did log in and make a character on one of the new progression servers.  The Overseer got some updates, and there is a post about it in the making.  It remains, to my mind, superior to the EverQuest II version of the feature.  As for the progression servers, I am likely going to give this round a pass.  I poked my nose in for a first day glimpse, but without a group already stood up and ready to go it is more than I care to take on.

Minecraft

I mentioned Minecraft and a new world appeared.  My post about exploring our old world inspired Skronk to roll up a fresh on on Minecraft Realms, so we’ve been playing with that for about a week or so now.  I guess I had best move it up into the “games I play” list again.

Pokemon Go

Having hit level 39 at the end of last month I am still in the midst of the long climb to level 40.  Niantic’s quality of life changes to support pandemic play, like remote raid passes, have helped out.  I caught my first raid legendary, the Terrakion.  However, for every legendary I catch, four more seem to get away.  Oh well.

Level: 39 (19% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 541 (+10) caught, 569 (+9) seen
Pokemon I want: Some of these Unova Pokemon where I only have one
Current buddy: Axew

Pokemon Sword

I made no progress this month.  I didn’t even pick up the Switch Lite except to move it when it was in the way of something.  I think it is a nice little unit, but I haven’t worked in where it fits in my play time.  I used to sit on the couch when nobody was home, turn on a TV show I had seen before (reruns of The Wire FTW) and play, but now there is never a time when nobody is home.

World of Warcraft

I thought at the start of the month that I would totally get my Horde alt out and to level cap now that I have unlocked flying and there is double XP available until the next expansion.  It should be easy mode, a quick tour of the Horde story.  And then all I did was a bit of Darkmoon Faire.  I guess I can recycle that plan.  Maybe next month.

WoW Classic

Things slowed down some in WoW Classic, mostly due to the group being busy with other things in life.  We managed to get started in Zul’Farrak, but haven’t managed to get back for a return trip.  It is still on our agenda though.  Maybe next month.

Coming Up

A preview of June’s month in review: I will no doubt be complaining about the new editor WordPress will be forcing on us.  I’ve been using the old editor for over a decade and have heard little good about the new one.  But the old one may be dead tomorrow, so expect some curse words. (They say it will still be there, but in the past they have broken things like that on purpose to force people to change.)

It seems likely that, should I be able to still write posts, there will be some updates about the deployment in EVE Online, something about the instance group in WoW Classic when we get back to ZF, and maybe a further thought or two about Minecraft.

The CSM15 elections start tomorrow for EVE Online.  I bet you can already foresee that post coming.

I did buy a copy of the new Minecraft Dungeons, which I will probably try out later today, so perhaps something about that will pop up in June.

Otherwise, summer is coming, my daughter is graduating from high school, the weather is warm, and we’re coming up on three months of “stay at home” and even I am feeling like I need to go to the mall or something.  We shall see how we manage.

April in Review

The Site

April is usually a big month for page views.  The Blizzard April Fools post usually gives me a boost in search engine traffic for a day or two.

Googly eyes at the hero select screen in Overwatch was the big item

August generally sees a boost in page views as well due to Blaugust.  So turning that into Blapril ought to have been a double whammy.

The Blapril commeth

And I suppose I did get a boost from the both.  Traffic was up noticeably from March, this month being the most active for page views since last September when WoW Classic traffic was driving people here.  But it was down from last April, which was down from the April before, and so on.  My peak page view date is April 1, 2013, and it has been a slow decline ever since.  Even the pandemic and stay at home orders can’t make blogs popular again.  But I persist.  If I wrote for page views I wouldn’t write how I do currently.  Sometimes it is better to quietly write what you want than to write to seek attention.

One Year Ago

April Fools, once a grand tradition at Blizzard, was pretty sparse.

Google Plus went away.

The Minecraft Village & Pillage update landed.

CCP loudly announced the removal and banning of CSM13 member Brisc Rubal.  And then in what I described as the “nightmare scenario,” CCP hedged, promising to investigate further.  And then they exonerated Brisc and restored him apologizing for all the trouble. A disastrous example of “measure once, cut twice” by CCP.  And Brisc didn’t get his reputation back.  I still see people who think he must have been guilty and somehow worked a deal or threatened to sue in order to get CCP to back down.

CCP also announced the CSM14 election timeline.  Brisc opted to stay away from that.  And the April update brought capital nerfs, especially for the Rorqual.  Hilmar was starting on something about player retention.  And CCP unveiled the Katia Sai monument in Saisio.

Actually out in space myself in EVE Online, I was flying with Liberty Squad as we visited The Spire for a fight over a Sotiyo as well as busting some other structures and setting some timers.  There was also an op from Delve to Lonetrek and another Reavers Race.

NantWorks handed H1Z1… or Z1 Battle Royaleback to Daybreak, having failed to make a go of the challenge of reviving the game.

I reviewed a bit of the coverage the EverQuest 20th anniversary got.  There was also some changes to the Selo progression server, which reflected on what players wanted versus what Daybreak was offering.

I was also playing World of Warcraft, binging on pet battles and catching some new pets.  We got some news about the approaching update, which would unlock flying in Battle for Azeroth.  That promoted me to get the first part of the pathfinder achievement done.  I also got my first alt to level 120, though he hadn’t even been to Zandalar or Kul’Tiras.  Pet battles will do ya.

And I came up with a guide to criticizing games you do not like.

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Imperium was declared, with Max Singularity VI as our spiritual leader.  Also, Karma Fleet was launched and Xenuria got in and was a Goon for like ten minutes!  How crazy was that?   I’m sure that will never happen again.  Right? [Narrator: Xenuria has been in KarmaFleet since August of 2015.]

Blizzard’s WoW Token idea went live, and the US regional version immediately dropped below the opening price.  It recovered and went up eventually, but it took a while.  They also had a beta for the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void expansion for which I was not prepared.

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

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

While we’re there, Guild Wars turned ten.

And there was this Liebster thing, which feels like it happened a lot further back than it did.

Ten Years Ago

Video games as art?  Did we flay Roger Ebert enough over that?

Turbine was purchased by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.  No word on a Harry Potter MMO as yet, though we did get LEGO Harry Potter.

Crimson Leaf Games brought out their rework of Megawars III / Stellar Emperor.  1986 style online game play at a much cheaper price.

SOE announced a new subscription plan for EQII, the EQII Passport.  Framed by at least one person as “1/3 the price for 1/10 the access” it surely must have been the right plan for somebody.

And speaking of paying for games, I wondered where Facebook credits were headed.  They seemed like a bad deal for games relative to paying companies like Zynga directly.  Despite speculation that they would be the ONLY currency allowed on Facebook, that has still not to come to pass.

And while talking about Facebook games, I couldn’t bring myself to play Mafia Wars, so I secured a deposition about the game from a friend.

In EVE Online somebody was trying to blackmail Gaff’s corp.  This was an out of game threat though.

Blizzard introduced the Celestial Steed (aka the sparkle pony or the greed steed) to the Blizzard Store.  Blog reactions were mixed, but the queue to buy the mount on day one got 140,000 transactions deep.  That is a lot of horsies, which meant they were everywhere in the game pretty soon.  The Lil’ XT companion pet that was introduced at the same time also made its own mark on the world… until Blizzard toned it down.

The instance group was in WoW still, playing horde characters on the Lightninghoof RP-PvP server.  We we working on Dire Maul, attempting a successful tribute run after having run around Blackrock Depths.

Since the instance group was getting close to finishing up the classic WoW dungeon and wondering if we should press through the Burning Crusade content (as short as it passes), we started exploring other games as possible alternatives.  This lead us to try out Runes of Magic for a bit.

There was April Fool’s.  I had a contest while Blizzard went over the top, as used to be the case.

And, finally, the cruelest 2010 April Fool’s tease, the iPad arcade stand.  On the bright side, while it started as a tease, it ended up becoming a real thing.

Fifteen Years Ago

Guild Wars: Prophecies launched, with ArenaNet going with a “buy the box, play for free” business model for its new MMO, though they wouldn’t call it one at the time.

Twenty Years Ago

The first expansion for EverQuest, The Ruins of Kunark, launches.  We got ten more levels, new races, and a new continent to explore.

Nintendo sold its 100 millionth GameBoy/GameBoy Color.  That total eventually passes 118 million units sold, only tapering off with the arrival of the GameBoy Advance a year later.

Sony announced that the PlayStation 2, which launched the month before, was so sophisticated that the Ministry of Trade would place export controls on it as it could be used for military applications.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2020 is Centered on Overwatch
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. The Hunt Goes Live in New Eden with New Implants
  4. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. New Servers and Server Merges and More with the EverQuest Anniversary
  7. I Fly a Titan At Last
  8. CCP Launches a Surgical Strike on New Eden
  9. WoW Tokens Five Years Later
  10. CCP Quietly Starts a New Login Campaign in EVE Online
  11. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  12. My Actual First Computer vs My First Real Computer

Search Terms of the Month

“world of warcraft” “subscriptions” “2020”
[“sorry” “just” “MAUs” “now”]

is dragonvale dead
[It is dead to me]

sto game sexiest female uniforms in the game
[It is Star Trek]

eve online apparel account wide
[No. In fact, it has to be in your current station to use.\

Game Time from ManicTime

I played, or at least logged into, more games in April than in March, with the time break down looking like this:

  1. WoW Classic – 38.49%
  2. EVE Online – 25.29%
  3. World of Warcraft – 12.57%
  4. RimWorld – 8.91%
  5. EverQuest – 7.45%
  6. Pokemon Sword – 4.89%
  7. EverQuest II – 1.98%
  8. LOTRO – 0.42%

WoW Classic remained the top choice, though not by the long margin it was last month.  I go into the reasons below, but overall I spent less time playing games in April than I did in March as well, which I mentioned in a post earlier this week about motivation.

EVE Online

I did get out and on a few ops at the start of the month, though even the tempo of ops has slackened with the changes that CCP applied mid-month.  Super carriers being more vulnerable means that they don’t undock, so there are fewer to save and/or blow up.

EverQuest

I am not really “playing” EverQuest in anything like the traditional sense.  I have been messing around with the Overseer feature instead.  It does, as some have noted, seem to have more in common with a phone game than an MMORPG, but they gave it just enough depth and progression to keep me logging in every day.

EverQuest II

I am really not playing this, not even the version of the Overseer they have.  Darkpaw updated the feature, actually giving it a bit of progression.  But it still lacks what depth the EverQuest version has, seeming to be more of a magic prize machine rather than a game.  Oh well.  I also used my level 110 trade and adventure boosts on a new character, and then haven’t played them.  But they are geared up.

Lord of the Rings Online

I patched this up and logged in for a short bit.. I was certainly in for a lot less time than the patch process took.  The patcher hs never been a strong suit of the game.  I was primarily interested in purchasing the Minas Morgul expansion with my LOTRO points, SSG having said it would be available in the online store come March.  Here it is, the day before May and it is not yet available.

Pokemon Go

I hit level 39 at last just a couple of days ago.  That sounds like I am almost 98% through the leveling game, but since the gap between 39 and 40 is five million points, or 25% of the total points to level cap, I suppose I am only 75% of the way there.

Level: 39 (2% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 531 (+5) caught, 560 (+4) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Servine

Pokemon Sword

I did play a bit of this, though not as much as I intended.  As a game on the Switch Lite, it is something I can play away from my desk, where I now spend all day for work.  However, I need a kind of quiet place to focus.  I used to go play on the couch when nobody else was home, but we rarely achieve the state of “nobody else home” these days.  Still, I made it through the sixth gym.

RimWorld

I thought I was going to play a lot more of this in April.  It is, in its way, a pretty good game to play while you listen to an audio book or a podcast or whatever, and I am pro multitasking in that way.  And I did play some.  Just not as much as I thought.  Part of that was just not feeling like playing anything, but the fact that RimWorld suffers from the classic mid-game problem added to my lack of play time as well.

World of Warcraft

I did actually play some retail WoW this past month.  As I posted, I unlocked flight in Battle for Azeroth.  And with flying now available on all my alts as well as the 100% xp boost that will be available until the Shadowlands expansion hits, I have been tempted to play more.  I did work on a Horde alt some, but I am not really invested yet.

WoW Classic

As with most of the past six months, WoW Classic continues to top the play time chart.  But it also has the biggest month over month drop in time played.  It has a double whammy in that not only to I sort of have to stoke myself up to log in and play, I also have to figure out what I want to do as my prime alts, who are all in the around level 40 trough where quests ramp up faster than you do.  It wasn’t so bad with my hunter, as it is easy to just grind mobs with him, especially if I can skin them as well.  But my pally… he is sitting at 40 and I now remember why my pally back in vanilla seemed stuck at 40 forever.  The instance group is carrying on, but on the whole we’re not logged in nearly as much.

Coming Up

Another month.  Isn’t that enough?  So tired.

Well, there is the Blapril roundup for sure.  One last time to link out to everybody.  If history is any guide, the title of that post will be The Labors of Blapril.

There are some EverQuest bits and pieces coming up.  I’ll probably get to that tomorrow.  I also want to write something further about the Overseer feature.

There are updates and such for EVE Online expected as well.  Maybe that rather dry login campaign will wrap up and be replaced with something a bit more engaging.

In World of Warcraft Classic it seems likely that the instance group will enter Zul’Farrak.  It is also possible that I will hit level 50 with at least one character next month as well.  Maybe I’ll even figure out where to go with my level 40 paladin.

I am still tempted by the double xp in retail WoW now that I have unlocked flying.  I could maybe get my blood elf paladin to level 120 without much effort beyond seeing the story on that side of the game.

What else is coming up… Mother’s Day and Memorial Day in the US…the Activision-Blizzard Q1 earnings call… and probably a few other things I am forgetting.  Oh, another month of stay at home here as they have apparently have been under counting cases where I live.  Apparently in suburbia we just die at home and don’t tell anybody.

March in Review

The Site

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

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

My new Switch Lite

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

I hit level 50 yet again.

The Elder Scrolls Online dropped the subscription business model.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

ran through GDC and had dinner.

I was waxing nostalgic for some flavor of Rome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in March

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

null sec infrastructure to spawn mining belts
[infrastructure hub]

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

wilma flintstone memes
[I don’t even]

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest

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

EverQuest II

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

Pokemon Sword

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

RimWorld

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

February in Review

The Site

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

The thing with the flags and numbers

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was on about there being no good expansions again.

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there was Juche.

And, finally, a farewell to Leonard Nimoy.

Ten Years Ago

We learned SynCaine’s dirty secret.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

The Dragons of Norrath expansion launched for EverQuest.

Twenty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in February

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

Spam Comment of the Month

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

Again, think outside the trapezoid

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest II

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

January in Review

The Site

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

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

Citrus nightmare fuel… also 80s counter top tile

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, and there was LEGO Rock Band out.

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

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

But the month was primarily about Star Trek Online.

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

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in January

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

darlpaw games
[so close…]

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

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest II

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

December in Review

The Site

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

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

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

Twenty Five Years Ago

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in December

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

fozzie sov mechanics
[They suxor]

nantworks just survive
[It did not]

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

daybreak all access lifetime
[That was last year]

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest II

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

October in Review

The Site

Well, that was a month, wasn’t it?

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

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

Fifteen year old pumpkins

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

One Year Ago

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

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

We were told that Google Plus would be going away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reavers SIG turned four years old.

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

Thirty Years Ago

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in October

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

Spam Comment of the Month

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

Manic Time

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

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September in Review

The Site

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

Classic is as classic does

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

Blizzard said no to its Titan project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Five Years Ago

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

One Hundred and Twenty Years Ago

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

Most Views Posts from September

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

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

Minecraft

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

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