Category Archives: Pokemon Go

July in Review

The Site

There has been some discussion of the summer slump that EVE Online has been in, with the peak concurrent user numbers taking a dive over the last month or so.  There are several theories and lots of possible influences on that number, not the least of which is that it is summer and pandemic restrictions have been relaxed so some people just want to go on vacation after 15 months stuck at home.

EVE Online gets the focus here because they let people see their online numbers all the time and there is a site dedicated to tracking them.  Other games are less forthcoming with these sorts of stats, which makes it look like it might just be a New Eden problem.

Looking at my own blog stats however, I see a similar trend when it comes to pages view when I bring up the week by week stats.

Weekly page views – May – July 2021

The current week is a little low due to the measurement being from Monday to Sunday, but you can see the trend down from May to July, which lines up pretty well with the weekly peak concurrent user number I have been tracking in my weekly World War Bee updates.

This is not to say that CCP doesn’t have other problems, but it feels like there is a bit of a slump in interest in video games after more than a year of people binging on them.

One Year Ago

The 2020 Steam Summer Sale finished up.  I bought some things.

In TorilMUD, aging was abolished.

SSG was compensating people for outages in Lord of the Rings Online.

Minecraft gave us the Nether Update.  I went out and found a crimson forest in the nether.

I was reflecting on Diablo II at its twenty year anniversary.  We didn’t know for sure there would be a remaster at that point.

Blizzard was getting us more details about the Shadowlands beta and launch.

In WoW Classic the instance group was finishing up Zul’Farrak and then meandering about Maraudon, which we finished up on our second run.

Blizzard was banning botters in classic while getting ready to open up the Ahn’Qiraj war effort event.  As part of the anti-botting effort they were limiting the number of instances players could spawn in a day, but we were at least getting some extra bag slots.

CCP cancelled their San Diego player event as Covid did not look to be going away any time soon.

I also resigned myself to the fact that, despite past promises, CCP was going to keep selling skill points in EVE Online.  (I’d feel better if they stopped being so dumb about it.)

In game we saw the launch of the Zenith Quadrant, the first part which was a small update to command ships, and an official capsuleer cemetery at Molea.  The June MER showed that mining was shifting to high sec after the resource changes.

But the bulk of my posts in July were about the opening of World War Bee, which I am just going to list out rather than try to create a paragraph narrative:

Five Years Ago

Pokemon Go was everywhere after it launched.  Everywhere.

I listed out the NBI Class of 2016.  I haven’t gone to check how many survived the year.

Daybreak turned off the last PlanetSide server and the game was gone… though it lingered on the server status page for a while.

Daybreak did launch a pair of special event servers for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  I was keen enough to go earn the special mount on the EQII server.

There was strange news for Turbine as their parent company, Warner Brothers, announced that they were transitioning into a mobile app development studio.  We wondered what that meant for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.

In Minecraft I was tinkering with maps and night renders while Aaron created a huge map room in game.

In World of Warcraft I managed to unlock flying in Draenor.  Just in time too, as the 7.0 patch was already pre-loading.  Soon the garrison gold mine would be turned off.  And then it hit, bringing new features.

In EVE Online the Casino War was winding down.  There was a Keepstar to chase, the alleged hellcamp, and some sovereignty exchanges in Pure Blind.  That wasn’t really going anywhere though.  We killed four titans in Okagaiken and blew up a CSAA just to show we were still fighting.  But in the end we admitted defeat and began packing for our trek to greener pastures.

Our destination was Delve, ever the region that calls to Goons.  But first we had to get through Rakapas.  I was there for a bit before I ended up soloing my carrier down to our staging in Sakht, accruing the maximum about of jump fatigue possible.

I also hit 160 million skill points while the Blog Banter spoke of malaise.

Ten Years Ago

Google+ was already starting to become annoying. (At the end of that post I also link out to an article that predicts that social media in general, and Facebook specifically, will start to fade by 2014.)

I tried Civ World, the Facebook interpretation of the classic Civilization series of games.  I didn’t like it.

In EVE Online, the results of the emergency CSM Incarna summit were released with CCP basically saying, “Ooops.”

I hit level 50 in LOTRO, got into Eregion, and actually saw the door into Moria.   Only a couple of years had passed since I bought the expansion. Gaff was ahead of me, as usual.   Meanwhile, Isengard was in beta, but nobody was supposed to talk about it.

Getting lost… rules.

EA, BioWare, and their new Origin service got together and combined my accounts without bothering to mention they were doing it in advance.  Just another day at EA as I understand it.  Customers come behind their own convenience.  Still, I was interested in their authenticator and how it stacked up against others.

Speaking of authenticators, SOE made one available as well that looked just like the Blizzard model.  But they cannot be swapped, one for the other.  I got the official line from VASCO on that.

And on the EverQuest II front, they announced that they were going to revamp Freeport, which I took as a waste of time.  (Plus, of course, Qeynos got shoved off until later.)  I am still not convinced that either revamp was worth the effort of the time spent downloading the assets.  But I am not sure Beastlords were either.  They seemed pretty broken when they launched.

The instance group wrapped up our last adventure in EverQuest II Extended.  There were a number of ways the game wasn’t right for us.  It wasn’t just the ugly mounts.

The pending closure of Star Wars Galaxies led to interest (and concerns) about SWG emulation.

But PlanetSide 2 news was coming.

I started playing Need for Speed: World, a driving MMO.  It wasn’t a bad game with the right music playing.

Zynga helped reveal the two faces of Tobold.

And World of Warplanes was announced, which got me wondering if this might not be a spiritual successor to Air Warrior of old. [The answer to that was “no.”]

Fifteen Years Ago

Twitter launched.  This blog has been entirely part of the Twitter era.

Microsoft was talking about a device to challenge the iPod and denying they would ship an XBox 360 with an HD DVD drive.  Being on the mark half the time is pretty good for them.

EA was trying to retain people by giving out more stock options and revising under water options while Take-Two Interactive was being investigated over stock grant shenanigans.

The ESA announced they were downsizing their yearly E3 conference.

The Civ IV – Warlords, the first expansion for the title, came out on Windows,

Twenty-Five Years Ago

The perhaps unfortunately named (and all the more so given the current scandal) CUC International purchased Blizzard Entertainment parent Davidson & Associates and Sierra Online, which became the heart of the new CUC Software.  The company later became Cedant Software, Havas Interactive, and eventually Vivendi Games.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  3. California Explores Gaming Power Usage
  4. Robbing Some Space Banks
  5. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  6. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  7. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  8. LOTRO Launches the Shadowfax and Treebeard Legendary Servers
  9. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  10. On Immersion
  11. The End of Scarcity Foreseen in EVE Online in Q4 2021
  12. The Fraternity Alliance Update and the Direction of the War

Search Terms of the Month

is imperiume tech stock the one that bill gates called the holy grail
[Google says “no”]

how to get to the scarlet desert eq
[I actually have a whole post about that]

sylvanas x anduin wordpress
[The math doesn’t add up]

minecraft warm biome near cold biome
[I have screenshots of an ice biome taken from a desert biome]

Game Time from ManicTime

I came into the month working pretty hard on WoW Classic, or at least alts there.  Then the war started heating up a bit in New Eden and I tried a playing a few other titles.

  • WoW Classic – 51.04%
  • EVE Online – 24.36%
  • RimWorld – 12.44%
  • Flashing Lights – 4.64%
  • MMO Tycoon 2 – 4.51%
  • World of Warcraft – 1.06%
  • New World – 0.95%

EVE Online

Lots of little things going on in New Eden, but the war itself wasn’t very exciting.  PAPI decided to take the summer off at one point, then changes their minds and now are coming back for a final try to take our capitol.  They’ve only had a Keepstar next door since November.

New World

So yeah, I pre-ordered and have played a tiny bit in the beta.  Things have changed a lot since I was in one of the early betas a couple of years back at this point.  I am not sure I am happy with the direction the game took.  But more on all of that at a later date.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go Fest was the big deal this month.  My wife and I did a lot of that.  But the climb from 40 to 50… that’s a lot of xp.  To get from level 47 to level 48 you need 21 million xp, which is more than levels 1-40 combined.  You need to be pretty hard core for that, and yet I met a level 50 player during the event.  In talking to him, he just does everything I do, just a lot more often.  For example, he has caught almost 400K Pokemon, while my total is about 18K.

Level: 41 (69% of the way to 42 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 654 (+8) caught, 677 (+2) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: Heracross would finish my Johto Pokedex
Current buddy: Noibat

RimWorld

With the coming of the Ideology update for the game, I bought it and gave it a try.  I will no doubt have some words to write about what changed, but in general it is an easy game to sink back into even with the updates.

Steam Games

As I noted, I bought a few titles during the Steam Summer Sale.  You can see I’ve played them a bit in the Game Time section this post.  I plan to write something about each of them.  But plans often fall by the wayside.  I thought I would have a post up about at least one of them by this point, and yet here we are.

World of Warcraft

It was a bit more than the usual routine for retail WoW this month.  I did the Darkmoon Faire quests, but then I spent some time with pet battles when they had the bonus event running.  Still, over all, I didn’t spend much more than an hour with the game.

WoW Classic

I went into July strong on Burning Crusade Classic.  Or, at least the vanilla content as re-worked by the Burning Crusade updates.  I leveled my rogue from 21 to 37 while working on crafting and some other things.  And then the giant harassment scandal blew up at Blizz and, while my subscription hasn’t lapsed yet and our group is still playing a bit… we have paid for the privileged… we’re also discussing what we ought to do.

Coming Up

August means we will be getting some Q2 2021 financial reports.  Activision Blizzard should be interesting because it ought to give some insight into what the end of the lockdown in many places has meant to video games.

When it comes to WoW specifically the 9.1 patch came out at the very end of Q2, so the impact of that and the flow of players from retail WoW into FFXIV won’t be reflected until Q3 results.  And Q3… well, now that the state of California is after Activision Blizzard for creating and abetting a hostile workplace, I can only see things getting worse for the company.  They’re just another Riot and all their words about diversity and inclusiveness were just BS.  If you needed an actual example of virtue signalling… trying to ride on a popular wave that you don’t really care about… this might be it.  The question time for the Q2 call should be lit.

Then there is EVE Online.  August is traditionally a slow month for CCP as it is the nicest weather all year in Iceland, so they tend to emulate the French and go on vacation if possible.  But World War Bee still… rages?  I am not sure it has “raged” at all in the last six months.  But PAPI has promised an all out assault on the Imperium capitol, so maybe the rage will return to space, rather than hanging out in r/eve.

And, of course, it is the start of Blaugust, the annual blogging celebration.  It is not too late to join in.  There will be more about that tomorrow.

Pokemon Go Fest 2021 Complete

What they don’t tell you about Pokemon Go is how much inventory management is required.  You only have so much bag space and can only store so many Pokemon before you have to start making choices as to what to throw overboard.  Items from your bag you delete, while Pokemon get “transferred” to Professor Willow for further research or to be turned into hot dog meat or something.  I am not sure.

Anyway, about five years into this my wife and I are familiar with this, so while watching TV on Friday night we combed through our bags and storage getting ready for Pokemon Go Fest 2021.

Pokemon Go celebrates five years

I mentioned on Friday that the price had been marked down from $15 to $5, which was a price point we could get on board with.   And, I will say in hindsight that it was probably worth the price, though even if you didn’t buy the ticket you could still participate in a bunch of the events.

the 2021 event price

The main problem for us was that the event ran Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm local time, but my wife, a real estate agent, had an open house to run both days, which cut a good five hours out of the middle of the day for her.  So we got out early, as the even started and spent about 90 minutes working on first day events, which involved catching various Pokemon from a list.

Each hour featured a specific group of Pokemon and had an accompanying world-wide event to do things like spin Pokestops or make great throws which unlocked bonuses for those with tickets.  The rewards included super incubators, which sell in the cash shop for 200 coins generally.

After the open house we went out for an early dinner down town to catch the tail end of the event.  I managed to close out the four main tasks and got pretty far on the special task.  The main attraction of the first day were those incubators and finding the occasional new Pokemon.  I tend to focus on the “catch em all” aspect of the game, so there were not many new Pokemon to be found for me, but I did get Sawk, a big blue fighting type Pokemon that I had been looking for.

Day two was raiding day, and probably the day we put in the most effort. Before the pandemic raiding required you to go stand in physical proximity of the gym you wanted to raid with your friends.  When the plague hit Niantic came up with the remote raid pass which, in addition to probably being a huge money maker for them, allowed you to jump into raids for gyms that appear on your map and allows you to invite remote friends to your raid.

Once again we got out of the house just as things were kicking off and ended up sitting on the steps along the side of the old high school building next to the community center, which put us within physical proximity of four gyms.  If you were up close (and had bought the ticket) you had access to infinite raid passes for the day.  We ran into a group there on the steps that we had met before and raided with them for a bit.  The raids only lasted 20 minutes and then a fresh one would pop up, so we could cycle through the nearby gyms.

We were able to invite a friend of ours who lives up in the mountains where gyms are rare to a bunch of raids so she was able to get some of the tasks done and catch some new legendary Pokemon.

When my wife had to get off to her open house our remote raid group got on text and we did some more raids from there.  Raid day let you earn 8 remote raid passes and there was a special event box in the shop to buy more.  I ended up burning through all my remote raid passes and buying more from the shop a few times.  It is a good thing I had been saving up my coins.  We kept going in bursts… if you used a lucky egg for double xp you were getting 40K xp out of each raid… until the event ran down and the last raids faded.

Because our remote raid group is pretty active I did not end up catching any new legendary Pokemon.  I had caught them all before, though I did get some upgrades and some candies to boost up the ones I already had.

We did complete the special event and got to catch the special legendary Meloetta.

Meloetta the musical legendary

Music was the theme of the whole event and you could choose the rock star or pop star path.  I went with the former and my wife went with the latter, which at the end unlocked some goodies and a pose for each of us.  My avatar is now playing air guitar while hers has a pop star diva pose.  I think she made the better choice.

Overall it was some fun.  Niantic put up a summary post about the event, with a few stats:

  • Trainers caught over 1.5B Pokémon.
  • Trainers spun over 900M PokéStops.
  • Trainers completed over 23M raids.
  • Trainers collectively walked over 125M kilometers.

I know I caught and spun and raided a lot more than usual over the weekend.  But I did most of it sitting down somewhere, so I didn’t add much to that last one.

But we got some stuff, earned a bunch of xp, and got to hang out.  It was a fine event for us.  But next time we’re going to have to see if we can get more of our usual group to come hang out on those steps by the four gyms.  We could have sat there all day and raided non-stop.

And now… now our bags are all full again.  Back to inventory management.

Friday Bullet Points on Deck for Summer

Back in the day I used to have a regular “mail bag” feature that took items from the blog inbox… reader submissions and press releases… that I thought might be interesting.  I don’t get much reader email these days and the press releases… where to even start?  Leaving aside the non-gaming updates, and the interview offers for random “experts” on even more random topics, the best one I’ve seen in months was about a Hello Kitty mobile app.  It even has a video, if that is your thing.

Bullet points though… I can pull those from anywhere.  All of which was a too long way of saying we’re back to the Friday Bullet Points thing again.

  • Steam Deck

Probably the big PC gaming announcement of the week was the Valve announcement of the Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck hardware

Basically it feels like Valve looked at the Nintendo Switch and said, “Yeah, we can do that and then some.”  No doubt experience garnered with the failed Steam Machine helped them along

It runs on the Linux based SteamOS, plays games directly from your Steam library, has a docking option that allows you to hook up a keyboard, mouse, and monitor if you so desire, and is supposed to be available by December, with pre-orders opening up today.

Pricing is “aggressive” according to the company, starting at $399 for the 64GB base model and rising to $649 for the 512GB top end unit.  It seems pretty cool.  There are games in my Steam library that certainly favor a controller for input, and $400 for a mini gaming PC seems like a pretty good deal.  But I’ll probably wait and see on this one all the same.

Picking additional coverage to link to is tough as literally any web site that has any connection to video games has an article up by now, so there is plenty out there about the device.  Still, IGN’s article links to a FAQ they put together with Valve, so I’ll link to that.

  • Pokemon Go Fest

Pokemon Go turned five this month and the annual Pokemon Go Fest is this weekend to celebrate.  I haven’t really felt the need to buy the $14.99 in-game ticket to join in on the event in the past.  Some things, like all the special raids, are there for everybody.  But this time around they knocked the price down to $4.99 and have a pile of thing available for those who buy in, so my wife and I spent the money.

the 2021 event price

It is summer, we can go outside again, and it isn’t like the war in New Eden will miss me for a couple of afternoons.  I also have to go feed somebody’s cat on Saturday, a walk which will take me past at least three gyms.

  • Pokemon Go Five Year Collection Event

It is lucky for Naintic that we bought the event tickets before we finished the warm up event.  For the five year anniversary there was a run to collect all of the starter Pokemon from the first six generations of the game.  They were out in the wild, so the first dozen or so were easy enough to collect.  But there are always a few who seem reluctant to show up.  We found out that the daily tasks related to the event always had one of the starters, so the night before the deadline we were out at the community center, which has a a bunch of Pokestops, doing tasks to try and get the last two we needed.

Take 5 pictures of a wild Pokemon was a common task

After some persistence, my wife ended up getting her final catch.  I got my final one the next morning… a totodile if you are interested… so we were able to collect the rewards.

All of the starters checked off

They were some Pokeballs (yawn), a few rare candies (decent), and a special encounter.  The hope was that it would be something good.   Instead it was the anniversary Pikachu.

5 year Pika

That would have been cool… had that Pikachu not been littering the pavement throughout the event.  They were everywhere.  I wasn’t even bothering to catch them.  My wife about exploded when she saw the reward for the effort.  So here is hoping we get a bit more from the weekend’s run.

  • Pokemon Go Raid Achievements

Earlier this month, in advance of the anniversary, Pokemon Go got some big updates on the graphical front.  It is no longer either day or night.  Dusk and dawn see the light change as the sun moves through the sky.  Shadows are also more realistic.  When joining a raid there are some splashy new graphics.  And, there are now raid level achievements for things like most damage, final blow, and best dressed.

My wife got the final blow, but I just make this look good

There are, of course, badges for getting raid achievements… achievements for achievements are my favorite achievements I guess.

I can hit hard when I want

The interesting one is the traveler award, which goes to the remote raid pass person furthest from the gym.  I’ve had one friend from Japan get the furthest I’ve seen so far.

That is pretty far away… I was about 1km from the gym

  • Diablo II Technical Alpha Updates

I am trying to be cool about Diablo II: Resurrected.  We’re not getting it for a while, so no need to get all excited about it.

The return of the classic

But then we get updates from the company about how the technical alpha is going and it becomes hard to sit on my hands.  I want to play.  As a pre-order I will get a chance in about a month I guess.  That isn’t too far down the road.  Time flies.

  • Reserve Bank Keys are Coming

Back when CCP was nerfing ratting by forcing the ESS on it last November, they setup a main bank, which can be stolen from ratters, and a reserve bank, which would require special keys that were not yet available.  Since then trillions of ISK has built up in the reserve banks across null and low sec space.

CCP has announced that the reserve bank keys are finally coming.  They have put the keys, which can be found in low sec sites, up on the test server so people can try them out.

I expect comedy will ensue.  A few keen players will get in, figure out the system, keep quiet about whatever flaws there are, and otherwise position themselves to act the moment that the keys are released on the live server, at which point there will be a rush for them.  The winners will likely be the preppers and large groups that will rob their own reserve banks.

I expect that the reserve bank keys will be live on July 27th unless some tragic flaw is found, reported, and actually investigated by CCP.  At least they put the ISK payout flow on a timer,  made the keys specific to a particular quadrant of New Eden, and gave us two flavors (5 minute and 15 minute) so all the reserve banks won’t be empty in a week of furious activity like they did with structures a while back.  And, like the main bank, the payout is in bonds that need to be redeemed at an NPC, so they can be lost even after the heist.

 

June in Review

The Site

After a bit of a traffic boom in mid to late May, something I mentioned in the May review, search traffic fell off quite a bit on June 1st.

Peak Search Impressions in May

Google is the main variable in my traffic.  Without that my daily visitors and page views are pretty flat.  The same few people show up here regularly, so if you’re one of those… Hi!

Anyway, I am always a bit curious as to what attracts Google results, and for the back half of May my position in Google search was related heavily the Dire Maul summoning stone.  Google gives you a nice little report about the last 28 days if you know where to find it in their search console stuff.

When you need that summoning stone

Nice positioning too.  I am the top result for most of those search terms.

Bing also has a search console that tells you about your traffic, and I likewise saw a spike from Bing for “Dire Maul summoning stone.”  However, traffic from Bing is approximately 5% of the Google traffic, so not as big of an impact on my stats.  Still, some traffic.

So my guess is that once the Dark Portal was open and we were all rushing into Hellfire Peninsula, the need to summon people to Dire Maul fell off and my search traffic went with it.

Here at the end of June “Dire Maul Summoning Stone” is still my top search term, but it is just not as popular.  “Jintha’alor Altar” is still there in 4th spot with about the same amount of traffic.  But “How to find a Warm Ocean in Minecraft” is on the list now as are two variations of “EVE Online cloak stabilization,” which relates to the cloaky camping nerfs CCP introduced this month.

One Year Ago

My daughter graduated from high school.  It was a pandemic graduation, but we made do.

My poll about voice chat indicated that Discord now rules that roost.

Pokemon Go gave us remote raid passes since we all had to stay home.

I was giving Minecraft Dungeons a try.  I finished the main story fairly quickly and found the game to be light and fun, but not very deep or replayable.  Other reviews were even less charitable.

Daybreak was still having problems with their Aradune progression server.

We were getting down to the final days of the Battle for Azeroth expansion in World of Warcraft and I was wondering how it would rank in the pantheon of expansions and how much the previous expansion plays into how people feel about the current or next expansion.

WoW Classic was still going strong enough that Blizz had to turn layering back on for several realms.  There was also the Summer Bowl and the campaign against bots.

The instance group was still working on Zul’Farrak, failing the stairs when Sergeant Bly and his crew died.  Then, the next time, Bly and his crew survived, but disappeared as we looted the field.

My hunter became my first character to hit level 50 in WoW Classic.

In EVE Online I was reminding people about why CCP gave Upwell structures asset safety… because they took it away with the Forsaken Fortress update.  Another case of people foolishly believing in company promises.  So we went out and shot our own abandoned state structures in Delve just to keep other groups from coming along and doing it.

Meanwhile, the CCP mineral starvation plan was driving mineral prices to an all time high.

We did, however, get new ships for the EDENCOM faction as part of the Triglavian invasion event as well as a Project Discovery update that moved its focus onto the coronavirus.  And we got character log off!  People had only been asking for that since forever.

The CSM15 elections kicked off, with the results being announced by mid-month.

Also a little something about how opaque the game UI can be.

Actually in space the GEF was still up north fighting over various objectives.  But that all came to a screeching halt when we we found out that most of null sec was planning to gang up against us and invade.  They denied it, but then the evidence was found.  Our deployment up north ended and we began consolidating the empire into our core space, pulling down the last Keepstar in Cloud Ring before the month was out.  World War Bee was coming.

We were playing some Minecraft and seeing how villages had changed.

I was getting promotions for an Atari branded online casino complete with its own crypto-currency.  I guess, as a brand, Atari still has some value.

Five Years Ago

Daybreak’s Landmark finally went live just a few days short of summer.  However, it was the end of the road for PlanetSide and Legends of Norrath.

There was also the launch of the Isle of Refuge free trade server for EverQuest II.

There was a Newbie Blogger Initiative, for which I put up a post.

It was reported that Minecraft had sold more than 100 million copies.

Minecraft put out the Frostburn Update, version 1.10.  I was building the last stretches of what would become the 22km rail loop.

I also reflected on a year of playing Minecraft, then added in some statistics.

Blizzard had the Warcraft Movie open.  I didn’t like it, nor did that many people outside of China.  Meanwhile Blizzard was also explaining that WoW expansions were just going to take time.  While WoW Legion was still weeks away, my daughter and I went back to finish up Warlords of Draenor and get ready for the new expansion.  Meanwhile the whole Nostalius thing was still simmering.

And I was playing EVE Online.  There was the YC118.6 update, which brought us more overview tabs and the Shadow of the Serpent event, among other things.  Recurring opportunities, in which you could earn some skill points by undocking and shooting an NPC, were removed after their short runDX9 was also dead in EVE.  And there was Blog Banter 76, which was about FC’s and how vulnerable they should be.

But mostly I was flying in fleets out of Saranen as we kept up the tempo of operations in what would become the final full month of the Casino War.  There were just too many posts about that to try and sting them together in a single paragraph narrative, so I will just list them out:

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, on June 29, 2010 I created a Reddit account so I could reply to something on /r/eve.  Apparently I have yet to learn my lesson on that front.

Fifteen Years Ago

Sonic the Hedgehog turned 15, which I guess means it is 30 now.  Maybe I shouldn’t do call backs to birthdays.

Bill Gates announced that he was planning to relinquish his remaining full time positions at Microsoft in order to focus on his foundation.  Though Steve “Uncle Fester” Ballmer had been CEO since 2000, Gates was still Chief Software Architect and Chief Research & Strategy Officer (along with being chairman of the board).  More recently he’s been accused of trying to microchip us via vaccines and is in the midst of a divorce.

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

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

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

Titan Quest, one of the great post-Diablo II ARPGs launched.  It even got a remaster way before Diablo II.

Twenty Years Ago

Anarchy Online launched in what became one of the more tragic opening day break downs in early MMO history.  I mean, they were always bad back then, but AO had to introduce a free tial program, which eventually became a free to play option, to recover, making it one of the early free to play conversions.  The game recovered and carries on to this day, but it was a shaky start.

WWII Online launched as well and was also another troubled title.  And yet somehow it still survives to this day.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  3. New Eden and the Death of the Subscription Model
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Robbing Some Space Banks
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. EverQuest Launches the Mischief and Thornblade Servers
  8. CCP Rushes Warp Core Stabilizer and Interdiction Nullification Changes into EVE Online
  9. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  10. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  11. Where Does WoW Classic End?
  12. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend

Search Terms of the Month

dcuo pay for skill points
[I think that is more an EVE Online thing]

eve online female characters
[They’re mostly men]

ancient winter poncho
[No Ponchos!]

everquest 2 pvp server 2021
[Get there fast before it closes]

Game Time from ManicTime

This month ManicTime shows a pretty solid trend in my play time.

  • WoW Classic – 89.21%
  • EVE Online – 9.07%
  • MMO Tycoon 2 – 1.41%
  • Valheim – 0.19%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.12%

The launch of Burning Crusade Classic was clearly the focus of my play time in June.

EVE Online

Stalemate in the war, CCP’s ongoing economic starvation plan, the end of Covid restrictions, and the coming of summer have conspired to make New Eden a bit quiet.  Well, quiet save for the bits of the game where people are angry.  There was some desultory shooting of the monument in Jita at one point of packs and pop-ups, but that seemed to fade pretty quickly.  There wasn’t enough anger to sustain it, which means CCP successfully pushed monetization forward another step or tow.

MMORPG Tycoon 2

A Steam purchase, though not because it was on sale.  I saw Lum tweeting about it last weekend and asked if you could play with business models and monetization.  He said you could, so I grabbed a copy.  It is early access, but seems pretty solid so far.  At some point I will write a post about it and my first game, Attractive Nuisance.

Pokemon Go

I am a bit concerned about how much Niantic is planning to pull back from the changes put into the game during Covid.  Specifically, how close you need to be to a gym or Pokestop to interact with it is going to get cut way back, which seems a bit dumb.  It isn’t like you can spin one from a mile away, the change is a matter of yards/meters, but for a few gyms it means the difference from parking my car close by to get in or having to get out and walk across some grass.  Not a huge hassle, but enough to make it less likely that I will bother at all.

I did see a level 50 at last.  The highest person on my friend’s list is level 44 and they seem to be running out of steam.  But I was in a raid last weekend and saw this person:

Level 50 among us

I hadn’t even seen the requirements for levels 49 and 50 yet, as Niantic held them back when the new levels were unlocked.  But I guess they are in now.  So that person is starting to accumulate xp for the next level cap increase I guess.  Meanwhile I am not even half way to 42 yet.

Level: 41 (47.5% of the way to 42 in xp, 3 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 646 (+3) caught, 675 (+2) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: I accidentally transferred my Vanillite before I evolved it
Current buddy: Event Slowpoke wit a special evolve

Valheim

I did log in for a bit to check out the latest update and to make a maypole.  Still waiting for a major update before I resume a more active focus on it.

World of Warcraft

Once more my venture into retail WoW was just to run the Darkmoon Faire crafting quests in order to boost those skills up another 5 points.  At some point as the expansion is winding down and everything has been unlocked I will probably come back and finish things up.

WoW Classic

As noted above, the launch of Burning Crusade Classic dominated June for me though, given how much I have played, I certainly haven’t gotten very deep into the expansion.  My highest level character is 62 and is only just into Zangarmarsh.  Meanwhile I am already angry at level 70s with flying mounts swooping down to grab harvest nodes while I am fighting a mob that was blocking me from grabbing it.  Some things never change.

Coming Up

Umm… what is coming up in July?  Vacation?  I know some people are going on vacation.  My wife was at the mall the other day and told me that there wasn’t a piece of luggage to be had at any department store.  But I’m not going anywhere.  We have vacation plans for later in the year when, one hopes, the immediate rush might be over.

Otherwise what do we have?

More Burning Crusade Classic for sure.  Maybe something will happen in the war in New Eden.   A new pair of Legendary servers from LOTRO.  All this and more I suppose.  Maybe I’ll even buy something else at the Steam Summer Sale.

May in Review

The Site

Activity-wise, it was kind of an odd month.  Page views were falling at the end of April and that led to a very weak showing at the beginning of the month.  And then the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch hit and suddenly daily traffic doubled.  You can see from the most viewed posts list that people were interested in things that might help them level up their brand new Draenei or Blood Elf characters.

I also managed to continue on with the post a day record.  That doesn’t seem like a big deal… I this will be post 43 for the month of May… and it probably isn’t, but the way things work out I often end up with a week of multiple posts per day due to timeliness of a topic, then get to the weekend with nothing to hand.  Still, I made it.

The streak continues

I guess my goal now is 500 days in a row, which should happen before the fifteen year anniversary of the blog.  Go me.

One Year Ago

As Blapril came to an end I did a post about my top five most viewed posts over various points during the life of the blog.  After that there was the usual summing up of the event.  I also joined in and did my gamer profile again and did that “have you ever” quiz thing.

Daybreak was changing up the plan for the Rizlona and Aradune progression servers they had planned for EverQuest.  They launched, but not without the usual issues and overcrowding.  They also finally merged the Fippy Darkpaw server into the Vox server after its nine year run as a progression server.

Blizzard revenue and margins were starting to look up and we were getting hints of a Diablo II remaster.  However, BlizzCon 2020 was not going to happen.

The instance group made its first run into Zul’Farrak.

I went out and explored a bit in our old Minecraft world and we started tinkering around in a new world.

CCP was celebrating 17 years of EVE Online.  They also gave us PLEX trading in the companion app for… reasons.  We got the candidate list for the CSM15 election and the Forsaken Fortress update that made Upwell structures easier to kill.  Then there was the MER which showed mineral prices starting the rise and ratting numbers starting to fall.

I correctly predicted Burn Jita was unlikely to happen.  I also was looking to earn some ISK.

Out in space were up north defending structures in a couple places.  That led to the GEF moving to Cloud Ring for some action for fights.  We even got to fight in Notoras, the best system in low sec.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was announced, which sounded great.  It was later delayed.  There was also a promise of more Grand Admiral Thrawn from Timothy Zahn.

The regional groups forming in the US in response to the pandemic were starting to look like some post-US strategic game.

Five Years Ago

Overwatch went live.  Still haven’t played it.

DUST 514 went offline.  Never did play it.

Landmark’s official launch date was announced.  Never did buy it.

There was word about Pokemon Sun & MoonCivilization VIEverQuest II prestige servers, the tribulations of WildStar, and the WoW Legion Beta, all in one bullet points post.

One thing I did end up playing was Stellaris, which launched back in 2016 as well.

In EVE Online I saw my first citadel.  Now they’re everywhere.  There was also a free weekend on Steam that got a lot of accounts created, but which still faced the wall of the new player experience.  There was a Blog Banter about Project Nova and that brief experiment with recurring opportunities that granted skill points. There were also details from the CSMXI election and that whole 85% thing, which did not add up for me.

In space the Casino War was still a thing.  We were huddled up in the back room of the Quafe Warehouse in Saranen plotting ways to strike back and keep the war going.  We threw industrials at sovereignty.  That got us a foothold back in Fade for a bit.

Mostly though it was battles in low sec.  Asher led us out to battle in his Phantasm, we squared off against capitals, blew up some fax machines.  There were battles over structures in Saranen and we managed to anchor an Astrahus to face the citadels arrayed against us.  Lots of shooting, but not much changed.

Oh, and SynCaine joined KarmaFleet.  I even saw him on an op.

Outside of New Eden Blizzard could only talk about MAUs after renouncing discussion of subscription numbers.  Given the whole Nostalrius situation I was wondering what Vanilla WoW really was.  And the Warcraft movie was approaching.

In Minecraft I was planning a rail line and finding a path for it to run.  Aaron’s project of the month was a facility in the nether to make the collection of Ghast tears easier.

I was also momentarily nostalgic for Starsiege: Tribes… or for what I could remember of it.

And in TorilMUD the elves were no longer restricted to the isle of Evermeet until level 20.

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

World of Warcraft subscriptions started to decline, down to 11.4 million (those were the days!) while Trion started offering free server transfers in Rift.

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Robbing Some Space Banks
  3. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  4. Bloodmyst Isle – The Worst Zone in WoW
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. CCP Rushes Warp Core Stabilizer and Interdiction Nullification Changes into EVE Online
  7. Mischief is Coming to EverQuest
  8. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  9. Embracing the Iron Age in Valheim
  10. CCP Changes to Nullification and Warp Core Stabilizers hit the Test Server
  11. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  12. How Long can the Fifteen Dollar Subscription Hold Out?

Search Terms of the Month (Yandex Edition!)

летящие буквы как в звездных войнах фш
[Not sure, you mean like this?]

как украсить стену дома в майнкрафте
[Paintings?]

подводный риф 3.3.5 на карте
[Warm oceans are work to find]

схема Аннуминас kjnh
[I like Annuminas]

особняк майнкрафт данж
[I have a couple of posts about that]

забытый город камень встреч
[The Lost City of the Tol’vir?]

ферма призмарина майнкрафт
[Aaron made a whole farm for that]

cat is 4 fite
[Dude, speak English]

Game Time from ManicTime

May saw us hit the end of our hype cycle with Valheim.  I logged in and did a bit of exploring.  But focus clearly turned to WoW Classic and getting ready for the coming of The Burning Crusade expansion.

  1. WoW Classic – 63.39%
  2. EVE Online – 29.64%
  3. Burning Crusade Classic Beta – 2.90%
  4. Valheim – 2.22%
  5. World of Warcraft – 1.19%
  6. War in the Pacific – 0.66%

EVE Online

The war carried on into its eleventh month, with forces stalemated at the Imperium capitol constellation.  The enemy can still bring double our numbers if they ping for operations in advance, but haven’t been able to break into our home.  We, on the other hand, are somewhat limited by how far we can reach from that constellation.  TEST miners and ratters in Delve get dropped on regularly in their new home, but operations beyond that require groups to find bases far off, which takes them out of the Delve fights.

Pokemon Go

I set a new personal record for the longest time defending a single gym, managing 19 days, 1 hour, and 24 minutes.  We drove up to Portland to drive our daughter home from her first year at college and I got into a gym on campus… and then nobody kicked the defenders out for almost three weeks.  Other than that we managed to do all the events in May, which meant fighting a lot of Team Rocket grunts and leaders.

Level: 41 (38% of the way to 42 in xp, 2 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 643 (+10) caught, 673 (+11) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: Still need Eevees for the level 42 tasks
Current buddy: Eevee

Valheim

We still have another boss to slay, but that wouldn’t buy us anything, so our efforts have tapered off.  The small team that made the game can only manage a monthly patch for bug fixes while serious updates still seem far away.  I have no doubt we will return, and I do log in to do a bit of base building now and then, but our goals have pretty much been completed.

War in the Pacific

I put some more effort into this, grabbing a more focused scenario about the 1942 Burma campaign to see if that would get me up to speed more quickly.  It is hard to tell what I am doing still however.

World of Warcraft

As usual, not much time spent in the retail side of Azeroth.  I did Darkmoon Faire on my main, then actually did a few pet battles during the week that they had the xp bonus, getting a few more battle pets up to level 25.

WoW Classic

May was prep for Burning Crusade Classic.  Three characters to level 60 now, new specs explored, and some work on a fourth character who managed to go from 36 to 45 over the last week or so.  Plus I spent a bit of time in the beta.   Basically all eyes on Outland and the changes that come with it.

Coming up

Tomorrow at 3pm my time we transition into Outland as Burning Crusade Classic opens the Dark Portal.  Expect a report on that I suppose.

In EVE Online the war carries on, heading towards its one-year anniversary.  PAPI, the blue donut coalition, will continue to camp us in the south with their numbers advantage while also rolling over any small groups in the north to expand their own ratting and mining empires, basically doing what they allege the Imperium did.

Meanwhile, CCP has the CSM16 elections coming up on June 8th and their cloaky camper fix is likely to hit us suddenly next month as well, if recent company behavior is any indicator.

And… I am sure other things are coming up in June, but the war and the Dark Portal are both immediate and of interest to me.

April in Review

The Site

Achievements.  WordPress.com introduced achievements this month, though they have had something akin to that for a while.  I’ve been getting notifications about the blog anniversary or when I get a record number of “likes” on posts in a single day for quite a while now. (43 is the current record.)  But I received an email from them announcing that they were expanding that, and on the first day they were available I received a pop up announcing my current post streak.

My first achievement

Today is, as an aside, my 398th day streak.  If I can manage to post two more days I will hit the nice round number of 400.

Anyway, that’s okay.  It is easier for me if they keep track of such things.  But starting this when you’re almost 15 years into the blog thing is also a little odd.  I am never going to surpass my all time most popular day/month, which was back in 2013.  I mean, it isn’t as bad a EVE Online introducing their Activity Tracker and just ignoring all activity that went before, but there are some peaks I am never going to achieve again.

Also, it really needs an achievements page, some place where it shows me what they’re tracking and what my current count is.  If you’re going to go for gamification, go all the way dammit.

One Year Ago

April Fools at Blizzard introduced googly eyes into Overwatch and gave us the traditional WoW patch notes, and that was about it.

I took a look back at WoW Tokens five years after their debut.  It also seemed like BlizzCon might not happen, after all, live events were being cancelled everywhere, though Blizzard was looking into alternatives.

In Battle for Azeroth I managed to unlock flying.

Over in WoW Classic the group was starting prep for Zul’Farrak by visiting the Altar of Zul and Jinha’alor.  That was sketchy enough that we spent a session just leveling up before we made our way down to Gadgetzan to start some quests there, with the expected diversion into Feralas.  I also found a crypt in the Badlands to explore.

Everybody being at home due to the pandemic led us to do a Blaugust blogging community event early.  Christened Blapril, we had a prep week, figuring out what to write week, a “getting to know you week” where I wrote about a road trip, listing out our favorite video game series, and then something about motivation.

Meanwhile, in WoW Classic news, Holly Longdale was now on the team, phase four was in place, some servers were still over populated, and Blizz was sending out some surveys about how to handle Burning Crusade Classic.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons released just in time for the pandemic and seemed to be everybody’s favorite game on the Switch for a while.

EVE Online was introducing their second quadrant, Eclipse, and kicking off The Hunt event.  The Hunt also coincided with the introduction of new implants.  There was also a PLEX for Good event for Covid-19, and the capsuleer generosity login campaign, and the Surgical Strike update that nerfed damage resistance modules.

CCP also started the ongoing daily login rewards thing, where you get some skill points every 30 days you log in.  The rewards were not great, but skill points are skill points.

And the beginning of the campaign season for CSM15 kicked off. while the monthly economic report was showing CCP’s mineral drought was raising prices.

CCP introduced a new Avatar model on the test server, so I finally got to fly a titan.  The pandemic brought players back to New Eden and the PCU passed the 40K mark for the first time since 2017.

Out in the east of null sec I was out with Black Ops dropping on PanFam ratters and miners.  And then there was a road trip north to fight the Conifers.

And, finally, I revealed my actual first computer.

Five Years Ago

I wondered about the concept of the last good day in the context of MMOs.

DC Universe Online was ported over to the XBox One, one of the fruits of the separation from Sony, which allowed Daybreak to publish on consoles other than the PlayStation.

The whole Blizzard versus Nostalrius issue blew up when the company sent the private/pirate server a take down notice.  Blizzard actually responded to things, but those hoping that they might actually get an official nostalgia server were not optimistic at the time.

We did get a ship date for WoW Legion.  And, for once, nobody complained about Blizzard targeting a competitor with their chosen date.  At least not that I heard.

The Casino War was going badly for the Imperium.  I mean, sure, Dinsdale Pirannah was predicting a Goon victory, but he was in a small minority.

The Mittani held a state of the Goonion and logs documenting CO2’s betrayal were released, but that didn’t stave off black Thursday in Tribute as TNT’s holdings got steamrolled.  The war was getting serious.  First SMA and then FCON left the Imperium.  FCON showed up in Immensea soon afterwards while Darius Johnson tried to take advantage of the war by attempting to restart the original GoonSwarm.

There was a short Russian complication in the northeast that threatened to widen the war, but which eventually blew over.  No relief for the Imperium was to be found on that front.

There was to be no last stand at VFK-IV.  We pulled back to the Quafe Factory Warehouse in Saranen and attempted to fight back against the tide while I wondered what would constitute a victory.

There was some talk of names for the war.  I did not like the names coming from either side and stuck with Casino War, the name which Nosy Gamer coined months earlier and which went straight to the heart of the conflict.

Outside of the Casino War, I took a look at two books about EVE Online.  There was a Rooks & Kings video from the Serenity server. The Citadel expansion was released, bringing Upwell Consortium structures to New Eden.  There was a Blog Banter about what the most important announcement out of Fan Fest was.  And Xenuria made it onto the CSM at last.

I also gave Pokemon Blue a try and was surprised to see how fully formed the first versions of Pokemon really were.

Google was telling me that pretty much every game was dead.

And there was, as always, April Fools at Blizzard.

Ten Years Ago

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

I also wrote something about magic quadrants.

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

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

Wargaming.net released World of Tanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2021 is a Very Quiet Affair
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. What Does LOTRO Need?
  5. Robbing Some Space Banks
  6. Embracing the Iron Age in Valheim
  7. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  8. SuperData Reviews 2020 Digital Game Revenue
  9. Death on the Plains in Valheim
  10. Diablo II Act Five and some Thoughts
  11. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  12. How Close to Half Way in WoW Classic?

Search Terms of the Month

lists for a game where a man is in a village who goes put of the village to catch bulls sometimes pixels or bee or catch fish and go to the village to sell them and also have magical power like thunder,fire etc and also fight things like octopus,and trolls apk pure games
[That is some search term]

holly longdale height
[a bunch of results for this, and she is tall]

underwood champion typewriter models with tabulator and backspace keys
[Another very specific search, but I do have a typewriter post here]

can you build tunnels in valheim?
[No, you have to dig a ditch then roof it over]

Game Time from ManicTime

In April I actually played a few more things besides Valheim.  Granted, I still played a lot of Valheim, but a few other titles got their turn.

  1. Valheim – 70.20%
  2. WoW Classic – 13.48%
  3. EVE Online – 8.13%
  4. War in the Pacific – 5.46%
  5. Runes of Magic – 1.91%
  6. LOTRO – 0.43%
  7. World of Warcraft – 0.39%

My overall play time for the month was less than the time I spent playing Valheim last month though.

EVE Online

The war in Delve saw a bit of a slump for much of the month of April.  The Imperium and its allies were mostly focused on burning down the space that Legacy Coalition left in order to colonize Delve, Querious, and Period Basis.  However, things are apparently spicing up a bit now, with PAPI making some efforts to take the remaining constellation in Delve.

Meanwhile, CCP implemented its big industry changes.  Now we just need about six months for the supply chains to settle down before we can tell how much everything is going to cost.  Also, it would be kind of nice for CCP to ease up on the mineral starvation thing.  We shall see.

Lord of the Rings Online

In writing about the game again this month… and complaining about the state of the game in general… I did log in for a bit to bang my head against the legendary item mechanics just to remind myself how much I dislike being, for example, in the middle of an instanced quest mission and having the game pop up and tell me I need to go back and reforge my weapon.  That and the teeny tiny eyestrain-o-vision of their UI and horrible iconography (which, honestly, was a day one problem) on my wide screen monitor makes the game unplayable so far as I am concerned.  But don’t worry, SSG has… no intention of fixing any of that.  Oh well.

Pokemon Go

We slowed down a bit after the burst of raiding activity our group had at one point.  We also missed out on a weekend event that had a decent chunk of xp related to it.  But, the balance on that was it had an hour time limit on it and I only logged in and noticed it was happening when there was 12 minutes left to go.  I still actually still managed to capture all but two of the Pokemon needed before time ran out.  But close doesn’t win you the prize.

Level: 41 (23% of the way to 42 in xp, 2 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 633 (+5) caught, 662 (+2) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: Need Eevees for the level 42 tasks
Current buddy: Eevee

Runes of Magic

I jumped in to take a look at what GameForge had going on for the title’s 12th anniversary, including the new super bonus server they setup in the EU region.  In reviving my account (I am still out a bunch of diamonds) I started getting updates from them in email again including special items… which were delivered (eventually) to my NA region characters.  I can have one or the other, but not both I guess.  Otherwise the game is still busy and playable if you’re into the F2P bag rental plan.

Valheim

We defeated Moder and set up a base in the plains.  We have harvested enough resources that I think everybody in the group can get their gear upgraded fully.  We actually have something of a dark metal glut, as it isn’t used for very much.  Otherwise things have slowed down somewhat as April got some of us outside and in the yard.  Yagluth is the only current boss left for us to slay, otherwise we have been base building, exploring, and gathering resources.

War in the Pacific

A war game in the mix!  I bought this in April and… well, there is a story to be told here.  I will have a post or three about the game I am sure.  Let’s just say that, so far, I have not bested the Empire of Japan.

World of Warcraft

Once more I went in to do Darkmoon Faire stuff and collect the free battle pets that came our way this past month… though I had a little trouble with the latter.  Maybe that will be a post.  I felt like posting about it at the moment it happened, but distance is making me care less and less about that particular transaction.

WoW Classic

After being  idle on this front for quite a while I got back out to start working a bit in anticipation of the coming of Burning Crusade Classic.  The expansion is coming, though how far away it is still remains a question.  But I will have at least a couple characters ready to step through the dark portal when it arrives.

Coming Up

May brings our daughter home from her first year of college.  Due to Covid-19 the school skipped the usual spring break stuff so as to wrap up the semester a bit early.

Meanwhile, we’ve had little rain out here on the west coast, so it is time to prepare for another summer of fires.  Last year we went from fires being in some distant part of the state to being able to see the smoke coming off of them in the middle of Silicon Valley.  This is probably going to get worse unless we get some last minute rain or everybody gets out and starts raking I guess.

It seems quite possible that we will get the pre-expansion event for Burning Crusade Classic this coming month.  The time seems ripe and Blizz has been putting up notes in the character select screen to remind us that we may soon have to choose a path forward for our characters.

In New Eden the war against the Imperium will no doubt carry on.  The current level of effort by the attackers does not portend an early exit by the Imperium.

CCP will also finish vetting candidates for the CSM16 election and we will get the final candidate list.  The election, however, does not happen until June.

March in Review

The Site

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

AYearOfPosts2021
Filled in the blocks for a full year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

Gamigo CEO Remco Westerman was unironically going on about synergy.

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

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

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

I was also trying to farm the Hydrocane from Gnomeregan.

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

CCP threw more skill points at us.

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I put up a poll asking people which of several items in my drafts folder (current population: 88) I should buckle down on and finish.  I think almost everything on the list except the winner is still in my drafts folder.

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

Thirty Years Ago

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in March

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

Valheim

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

Arriving at Level 41 in Pokemon Go

Back in December of last year Niantic unlocked the next ten levels in Pokemon Go.  The game, having been capped at level 40 for over four years, was finally going to give people some new advancement goals.

The catch for the next ten level was that, in addition to the usual exp grind, players were going to have to complete some specific tasks along the way.  For some, those who had been at level 40 for a long time and who had continued to accumulate exp, the tasks were the real gates to the next levels.

For people like my wife and I, who hit level 40 less than a month before the new levels were unlocked, the exp hill was going to be the main limiting factor.  I finished the four tasks, which included catching 200 pokemon in a single day, long before I was even close to level.  We both managed to tip over into level 41 this month, with the exp being the final gate as expected.

A level up at last

With the level you get some prizes.

Some gifts for your level

But then you are quickly back to looking at the exp curve to get to level 42.

The tasks to get to level 42 are not too tough.  They are:

  • Evolve Eevee into each of its forms
  • Use items to evolve Pokémon 15 times
  • Make 3 excellent throws
  • Use 200 berries to help catch Pokémon

Only the Eevee evolution task is going to take some effort really.  And part of that is because the basic evolves are random chance. (The naming trick only works on your first evolve, which I did years ago.)  I had been saving up some Eevees for this, and then got seven Jolteons in a row.  Time to catch some more Eevees.

In the end though, the exp will be the final gate for most levels.  The level gradient looks like this:

  • levels 1-39 – 15 million exp
  • level 40 – 5 million exp
  • level 41 – 6 million exp
  • level 42 – 7.5 million exp
  • level 43 – 9 million exp
  • level 44 – 11 million exp
  • level 45 – 13 million exp
  • level 46 – 15 million exp
  • level 47 – 18 million exp
  • level 48 – 21 million exp
  • level 49 – 25 million exp
  • level 50 – 30 million exp

There are ways to speed up gaining exp.  My biggest score was when I used a lucky egg, which doubles all exp earned, then had somebody transition to a best friend, another to ultra friend, finished my weekly pokestop spin and pokemon catch, did two five star raids with our group, and had some evolves along the way.  That was worth about 350K right there, though that was the stars aligning just right as the best friend was somebody in our raid group, so we were able to coordinate.  Otherwise, a good day gets us a raid and the usual catch and stuff, often rings up less that 20K exp and there are a lot of days where it isn’t even 5K.

As for the tasks, looking at the list posted over at Polygon, only the tasks for levels 49 and 50 seem like they are big enough to be a significant barrier to level.  And, even then, the exp curve for those are so big that you will likely have plenty of time to work them out.

But we’re still just working on level 42, which for the most part means working on exp and catching every Eevee that shows up.

February in Review

The Site

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

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

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

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

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

Valheim on Steam

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

One Year Ago

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

Daybreak was warming up for the EverQuest 21st anniversary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The we were off to Razorfen Downs.

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

I was wondering about MMOs and their middle age problems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

LOTRO had a welcome back event… even though it was free to play, so coming back wasn’t all that hard… unless you count time spent waiting for the patcher.

There was yet another sign of the coming apocalypse.

NetDevil got pulled out of LEGO Universe.

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

Van Hemlock was slumming back in MMOs for a bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

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

Thirty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in February

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

Search Terms of the Month

goons papi eve meta explained
[Good luck with that]

keepstar meme
[Yes]

keepster broom
[What?]

how do keepstars protect themselves
[Memes, brooms]

eve echoes burn jita
[One can only hope]

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

Valheim

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

January in Review

The Site

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

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

Flipboard

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

One Year Ago

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

SuperData Research had their own review of 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

It was the end of another Steam Winter Sale.

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

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

People were troubled by a potential paywall in Rift.

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

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

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

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

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

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

wrote a bit about The Force Awakens.

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

EuroGamer tried to tell us PlanetSide 2 would be out by Q2 2011. (It eventually shipped in November of 2012.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, finally, Pokemon was coming to town.

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

RuneScape launches as a Java based browser game.

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

Forty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in January

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

Search Terms of the Month

elf heroes with flying.mounts
[not asking for much]

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

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

does trion still exist
[Only in our hearts]

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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