Category Archives: Pokemon Go

August in Review

The Site

This month I want to ask if anybody has noticed any issues with getting email updates from the blog.  I bring this up because I sure have.

I monitor the email delivery mechanism on three different email accounts.  One of them, which is subscribed to get a weekly digest every Monday, has been going fine.  But the other two, which are supposed to get daily updates… something went way wrong at some point in July.  Here is the inbox for one of them.

Some gaps are apparent

It looks like delivery has picked back up again, at least on that account, but there were issues.

Meanwhile, on the other account setup for daily updates, those stopped on July 26th and have not resumed.

The main difference between the two is that the first is somewhat recent, having only run from about 2015 or so, while the other, which stopped on July 26th, has pretty much run since the earliest days of the blog.  There is a folder in there that has an email version of almost every blog post I have written over the last sixteen years.

So I am curious if anybody else noted an outage.

Or course, that might be a silly question to raise here.  If you subscribe by email and have stopped getting updates you likely aren’t going to get the update that includes this post.

Still, I thought I would try.

One Year Ago

It was Blaugust of course, and we had almost 50 participants as the event opened up.  I wondered if it was better to have one blog or multiple, I was on about my RSS feeds, and wrote something about motivation and passion.

Niantic relented on some of their post-COVID feature roll backs, most importantly the range at which you can access gyms and Pokestops.

The Enad Global 7 Q2 2022 financials included the announcement that Ji Ham, once acting CEO of Daybreak, would not be acting CEO of EG7.

The Q2 2021 results for Activision Blizzard came out.  It was hard to tell if the state of California lawsuit and the stories relating to it were having an effect on the bottom line for Blizzard yet.  I was fairly sure that Blizzard had beshat itself such that the company would drop their name from the company letterhead.  I mean, the stories were ugly.

That didn’t stop me from jumping into the Diablo II Resurrected beta however.

The instance group was getting its epic mounts in WoW Classic.  That done we went back to give Hellfire Ramparts another try as a group of four.  We also went back to Blackrock Depths (for probably the 14th time) to scare up some stuff for Ula to disenchant.

Honest Game Trailers and Carbot were doing videos about Burning Crusade Classic.

I continued my exploration of immersion, this time looking at EverQuest and then EVE Online.

I gave The Fermi Paradox a try.

In EVE Online the days of World War Bee wound down to an end.  PAPI tired of the siege and the Imperium was able to retake all of its space very quickly.

I also wrote two Friday bullet point posts.  Past me loves to do those just to annoy future me I am sure.

The first one covered New World being delayed, Switch sales numbers, FFXIV subscription numbers, the Chinese government being down on video games again, the one year anniversary of EVE Echoes, and another free EverQuest II character boost.  Kind of a lot in that one.

The second one brought up Richard Bartle’s Designing Virtual Worlds book being available for free, Quantic Foundry research about cross-gender play, EA making lock boxes slightly less bad, and a video looking at what happened with Vanguard and EverQuest Next.

Finally, there was the tale of the missing tree on our street.

Five Years Ago

ArenaNet announced the Path of Fire expansion for Guild Wars 2.

In Lord of the Rings Online the Mordor expansion went live with all sorts of new… activities.  I was able to get in and claim my expansion items.

In a Friday Bullet Points post I was looking at financial numbers from Blizzard, NCsoft, and SuperData.  I was also wondering if Raptr was dead.

Age of Empires IV was announced, or hinted at, or something.  I wasn’t sure it was a good idea.  And StarCraft Remastered was launched.

The summer blogger Fantasy Movie League wrapped up, with Liore winning.

I was feeling the urge to go play a flight sim game.  The problem is that I am bad at flight sims game and no longer having the patience to get good at them.

In EVE Online there was the Hakkonen deployment, where the Imperium went to go tangle with NCDot and Pandemic Legion on their doorstep.  I will just list out the post rather than trying to weave a narrative from all the links.

As part of the ops, and because of the seeming impending demise of POSes, I did a post about blowing up POS towers from each of the four empires.  As of this writing the Player Owned Starbase is still a thing in New Eden.

There was also an update for EVE Online in August, which among other things remove the captain’s quarters.  There was also the Alpha Strike event later in the month.  The monthly economic report showed Delve was still booming.  I hit 180 million skill points.

In other news, Vince Draken was asked to step down from CSM12 and Andrew Groen’s Empires of EVE came out in audiobook form.

I summed up my year of playing Pokemon Go.  I started late.  I was tempted to do that again this year… but I had too many posts already in August.

I was pondering replacing my aging Logitech G15 keyboard.  I haven’t yet, mostly because I would miss the LCD display… and because it still mostly works, even if it doesn’t light up quite the way it used to.  A year later and it is still there on my desk.

And, finally, a game dev was arguing that a good video game ought to cost $1,000,  which got me into rant mode as whiny entitlement tends to do.  And I was pretty sure we already had a game that expensive in the form of World of Warcraft.  Blizz was just smart enough to not ask for all the money up front.

Ten Years Ago

Star Trek Online was totally not dying and Star Wars: The Old Republic was totally not struggling as it shed more customers and announced it was going free to play.

Then Vanguard suddenly went free to play ahead of schedule, no doubt trying to get in early and avoid the crowd.

It was announced that NCsoft would be closing down City of Heroes.

Torchlight II gave us a launch date.  But not before giving us a date for a date.  But there was no date for the promised MacOS version.

Turbine delayed Riders of Rohan, but continued pushing the crazy stuff you would see.

SOE decided that you can afford integrity only after you pay the bills, and threw in with lockboxes.  What happened to the implied social contract?

Guild Wars 2 went live at last, thwarting Blizzard’s nefarious scheme.

Also live was Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the successor to the original Half-Life based Counter-Strike.

I was paid up on my 1 year subscription for World of Warcraft, but Blizzard wouldn’t let me cancel further payment.  They must have been concerned about subscribers, having dropped more subs than SWTOR had left.

Speaking of year long commitments, Trion liked that Blizzard idea so much, they did it themselves and gave us an ugly mount for it right away.  Oh, and they got rid of faction group restrictions.  What population problems?  The instance group started on its attendance slide, with just four of us trying Runic Descent.  At least we had instant adventures.  Or was that instant levels?

In EVE Online, there was a revamp of mining ships.  I listed them out and wondered which would become the most popular.  In the end, the Mackinaw won I think.  All the while CSM7 seemed intent on proving that the thing they loved most in EVE Online was themselves.

Meanwhile, having been asked by TEST to leave the war down in Delve, the CFC got into a scrap with Northern Coalition over moons.  We fought in Venal and some monkeys lost a titan.  We were staging in QPO for a thrust into Tribute with the goal of taking a forward base at UMI-KK.

AWESOMESAUCE.LIVE was announced.  Only the fact that it was later cancelled preserved my faith in humanity.

Finally, I took the crazy train out of Barstow and threw out a few movie reviews.

Fifteen Years Ago

I won something in a contest!  A Warp Drive Active Shirt!

And speaking of EVE Online, I started down the training path to get my alt flying a Hulk.  As with most such ventures, it began with mining in the modest Bantam frigate and the oddly shaped Osprey cruiser.  Also, our corp, the Twilight Cadre was founded.  I also wrote up a piece on how to find an agent in EVE Online (without external resources) that was one of the most viewed posts on this site for quite a stretch. It only took CCP four years to make the whole thing less convoluted.

I also had a wish list for the game that included ship skins and a training queue.  Got those… eventually!  And I was deep into learning skills. Then there was a post about RMT and how CCP was already selling ISK, if indirectly. And I was still doing the Revelations expansion new player tutorial.

The instance group was still in Lord of the Rings Online.  There were updates expanding the game and all sorts of offers to get people to subscribe.  I was more annoyed by that horse dialog you get when mounted and how understated leveling up could be.

I received a copy of the first issue of EQuinox, the official EverQuest II magazine.  It was… thin.  And it had a dark elf on the cover.  You would think there were no other races in Norrath with all the play dark elves get.

Meanwhile, Qeynos harbor was full of rumors about Sarnak!

Legends of Norrath was announced at SOE Fan Faire 2007.  I was not there, but I listened to the presentation live while IM’ing with Darren about what we heard.  I never actually played LoN during its existence, aside from opening up free packs I got hoping for in-game drops.  Other than that, I am just not the collectible card game kind of person.

I purchased the Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa Pre-Order box, only to find that getting into the beta, as was promised on the outside of the box, was not as easy as I had hoped.  You had to get access to the beta forum to get the information, and the beta forum was not letting people in!

In a strange turn of fate, I happened to take a look at PlayOn on the very day they posted their WoW Random Guild Name Generator.  So I posted a quick link to it, which in turn became my most viewed post for a long, long time.  The popularity was related to some Google algorithm which put up this site on the first page of searches related to guild name generators.

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson stirred up the “why so much fantasy?” discussion about MMOs and I put out my own views, to which I now just link back whenever the discussion comes back up again.

I listed out five signs that would herald World of Warcraft becoming truly mainstream.  We did get an Azeroth version of Monopoly eventually.  I was presciently pessimistic about a Warcraft movie.

On the Guild Wars front, the final expansion for the game, Eye of the North, launched.  It differed from the previous two expansions in that you did not need to own any of the Guild Wars boxes in order to play.  Yes, everything came in boxes back then.  I still have the Eye of the North box.

Auto Assault, a strange and troubled MMO… vehicular MMOs are always troubled it seems… was shut down by NCsoft on this very day in 2007.

And, finally, it was ten years ago when TAGN hit the 100,000 page view milestone.  We have had a few more since then.

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  3. New Eden and the Year of Disappointment
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. CCP Lets EVE Online Players with Multiple Accounts Subscribe Secondary Accounts at a Lower Price
  6. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  7. Why is there Not Another MMO Like EVE Online?
  8. Why Be Mad at CCP?
  9. Blaugust Begins 2022
  10. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  11. EVE Valkyrie, Gunjack, and Sparc All Coming to an End on August 5th
  12. Meta putting its Best Foot Forward in the Metaverse

Search Terms of the Month

эффективная ферма стражей в майнкрафте
[We had one of those in our world]

гнозис и праксис в еве
[The Society of Conscious Thought ships have low skill requirements]

еве онлайн эзотерика
[By some measures I suppose]

Sometimes I do Russian search terms to be funny, but this month that was all I had.  Yandex has me covered in a way Bing never has.

Game Time by ManicTime

Two games?  Is that all I played in August?

Well, on my PC, yes.  As I note down below, the group slipped back in to WoW Classic pretty smoothly, even if we are still in Outland.  Anyway, the time split between the two was:

  • WoW Classic – 77.12%
  • EVE Online – 22.88%

Part of the reason that WoW Classic has dominated is that it is easy for me to chill for a bit in the evening and run some quests on an alt while listening to an audio book or podcast.  That was my end of the day relaxation this month.  Even with only two titles, I did end up playing a few more hours than I did in July.

EVE Online

I think I spent most of my time in game moving from one place to the next.  I got some extra ships out to our staging in Tenerifis just in time to turn around and start moving them back.  But I’ll get to that in tomorrow’s post.  I did undock for an op or two, but nothing of much note.  I kept my planetary industry going, my only source of income these days outside of my Imperium bonds.

Pokemon Go

There were some events and new raids to

  • Level: 42 ( 75.8% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
  • Pokedex status: 725 (+8) caught, 746 (+7) seen
  • Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 22
  • Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
  • Current buddy: Quillfish (need to do 10 raids with him before he will evolve)

WoW Classic

The instance group landed back in Azeroth and it was such a comfortable and smooth return it is kind of hard for me to believe that we only returned this month.  I mean sure, The Burning Crusade is still nobody in our groups favorite WoW era and we are really just there to ramp up for Wrath of the Lich King Classic… but Nagrand is nice.  Seriously, we are reluctant to finish up there, because the next stop… the Blade’s Edge Mountains… another zone I am not in love with.  But we only have to get to 68 to be ready for Wrath, right?

Zwift

I have gotten into a new rhythm with Zwift now.  I had been doing short rides three or four times a week for a stretch, then we hit the great disruption of a new job and a new schedule.  Now I have settled down into longer rides on the weekends.  I am still not riding as much over all, but I am back to getting in at least an hour a week on the bike.

  • Level – 16 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 1,179.9 miles (+75.4 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 47,612 (+3,275 feet)
  • Calories burned – 38,435 (+2,220)

Coming Up

Wrath of the Lich King Classic launches on the 26th of September.  The month will be a road to Northrend with the pre-expansion events kicking off, starting with the pre-patch, which landed YESTERDAY, which means we’ll have to figure out/remember what the class specs were like.

CCP should be returning to work after summer vacations.  Perhaps we’ll start getting some of the stuff they brought up at EVE Fanfest back in May.

Today is the last day for the Anor server in LOTRO.  I have to think about where to transfer characters from that or if I should even bother.  My main is probably worth moving.

And the blog will be celebrating another milestone next month, but we’ll get to that when the time comes.

June in Review

The Site

I guess the only real news about the site is the whole Bing delisting thing I posted about this past Sunday.

Bing stats running into June 2022

As I poked at that further I found that even just “wordpress.com” did not return results related to that actual domain, so I suspect that Bing just decided blogs there were all trash and they shouldn’t bother indexing them.  But then they index Tumblr, so who knows what the logic is?

I opened up a support post in the forum about it and got the usual amateur hour, garbage response that I have come to expect from WordPress.com support.  I mean, it is better than when they used to use volunteers that treated their opinions as facts, but they still don’t bother to think about the problem before sending an answer.

But, after almost 16 years there is almost no upside to trying to drag my blog somewhere else.  The devil you know and all that.

The upshot of which is that if you’re one of those people hasn’t bookmarked the site and who just types TAGN into a search engine to get here… again, the most popular search term to bring people to the blog… then don’t use Bing or DuckDuckGo.  But if you are using them, you probably can’t find me now, so happy trails to the four people who were finding me that way.

One Year Ago

The inevitable Steam Summer Sale arrived again.

It was no surprise when Facebook announced that they would be forcing Oculus users to login with Facebook credentials eventually.

In old Azeroth renewed, all eyes were on the Dark Portal because Burning Crusade Classic was launching.  The masses poured through the portal, leaving Ironforge and Orgrimmar empty.

While we went through the portal, we still had some things to finish up, so Ula and the replacements went to StratholmeEven a week later I was still working with alts back in vanilla.

Eventually though we got on our way and took a run at Hellfire Ramparts.  It did not go well.  And neither did our second run, though we were doing the instance with a group of four.

But there were other things going on in Outland.

Amid all of that, I was wondering where “classic” would actually end for WoW and what were the general prerequisites to even launch a successful nostalgia server.  Of course, even with success, Blizz was somehow letting the air out of the experience.

We also got the word that Diablo II Resurrected would be launching in September.  A lot of hopes were pinned on that title. (Hopes well rewarded in my opinion.)

Elsewhere, it seemed like Enad Global 7 was actually advertising for EverQuest, a change from the Daybreak era.

And in EVE Online the pace of World War Bee seemed to be slowing.  All my New Eden posts in one list:

And on the telly we watched Army of the Dead on Netflix.  We were also binge watching more series.

Five Years Ago

Nintendo announced Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon as well as Pokemon Gold & Silver for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS Virtual Console.  Now it seems that the former were to be the last bit of Pokemon for the Nintendo handheld lineup.

Daybreak opened up the Fallen Gate progression server for EverQuest II.

There were Sega Genesis and Atari 2600 retro consoles being promoted, trying to milk a bit of that NES Classic magic.  I was not impressed, as there had been many Atari 2600 hardware and software retro options for ever.

Meanwhile Microsoft announced the Age of Empires Definitive Edition.  Nostalgia everywhere!

The Ashes of Creation Kickstarter campaign closed with a big take.

I tried out Atlantic Fleet, a ship combat simulator.  I also played some Mini Metro, which I picked up from the Steam Summer Sale.

Following my retro-flavor-of-the-month plan, I went back to give Guild Wars 2 a try.  Is GW2 old enough to be retro yet?  Anyway I rolled up a new character and followed the zone path, that being the most obvious thing to do.  I made it into the Harathi Hinterlands and level 40 before I wore out on the game.

Minecraft had its World of Color update, version 1.12 for those who like numbers.  Microsoft was talking about unifying all of the versions of Minecraft… except for the original, now called the Minecraft: Java Edition.  I was looking back at two years of playing Minecraft.

CCP released the June 2017 update for EVE Online, changing the naming scheme once again.  That update nerfed null sec mining some more, tried to reign in super carrier ratting without nerfing fighter PvP capabilities, launched the Rogue Swarm event, and gave the game a colorblind mode.  Also, it had music.  We would soon lose music with updates.

The New Eden Monthly Economic Report showed that Delve not only ratted and mined more than most, but also had a big market and a lot of production going on as well.  Aryth called the MER the best recruiting tool the Imperium ever had.  If you wanted to make ISK, the MER told you where you wanted to be.

In space I was there to shoot a Raitaru, get in on a Keepstar kill, and cover some tower repairs in Fountain.  My alliance joined the Keepstar club.    And I opened a controversial topic in asking whether or not EVE Online was a gank box or not. (My observation after that is, for some people, any PvP is too much.)

And that whole Blogger Fantasy Movie League thing started, initiated by Liore the ringer.  I sort of set a format in that first week that I carried on with.

Finally, Blizzard gave us a date for the Necromaner mini-expansion for Diablo III.

Ten Years Ago

I was asking people about voice software again.

I went on about the ridiculous nature of material tiers for MMO crafting.

My daughter finally found a game she liked on the PS3.

I was ranking how I liked to get my gaming news.

The first Civilization V expansion came out offering, among other things, a performance boost to those who paid.  Meanwhile, the story about the decade long game of Civ II came to light.

Everything we knew about EverQuest Next was declared obsolete.  It wasn’t all that much really.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Gates of Discord expansion was finally unlocked, but not before there was a tie vote.

Turbine announced the Riders of Rohan expansion, the first LOTRO expansion I declined to buy.  For somebody still in Moria, it seemed to offer few benefits for its increased price relative to past expansions.

In Rift I hit level 50, which is a special thing in game, and started tinkering with the then new instant adventure option.  Trion also announced the Storm Legion expansion, a sign of success for most subscription based MMOs.

In EVE Online I hit 80 million skill points and was playing Lemmings in DBRB’s fleet.  We also ganked a Chimera that was scammed into jumping to the VFK beacon.  This upset people.

And, finally there was Electronic Arts which, as part of its ongoing mission to be seen as the most arrogant company in gaming, tried to tell people that Origin was the Nordstrom to Steam’s Target level business model, unintentionally insulting Nordstrom, which actually cares about customer service before the fact, not just after it has screwed the pooch yet again.  EA says they “get it” but I had my doubts.

Fifteen Years Ago

I got all Buddhist on the subject on the raiders vs. non-raiders rift. I think what I said could be applied to some current controversies.

I ran down my list of complimentary comment spam.

I did a poll asking which software people used for voice coms.  At the time, almost nobody who responded was using game-integrated voice software.  Most people were using Ventrilo.

I took a picture of my gaming setup.  Still the same table and mouse fifteen years later.  The monitor and keyboard were upgraded not that long ago.

We heard that Pirates of the Burning Sea would not only be published by SOE, but would be available via a Station Access subscription.

We were still playing Lord of the Rings Online.  Hitting level 20… not for the last time… I was out at the Forsaken Inn… also not for the last time.  The instance group, minus Earl, finished the first epic book… again, not for the last time.  And server queues, something common at launch, were starting to disappear after just two months.  This was odd, since the last great server queue experience was with WoW, where queues went on for over a year on some servers.

Vanguard, which announced server merges… again, not for the last time… gave rise to a discussion about future proofing games.  I held that just making system requirements huge… something that was an issue with Vanguard… was not the same thing.  I did wonder what would have happened had WoW had higher system requirements back in 2004.

After letting Blizzard’s announcement of StarCraft II sink in, I put up a post about the original StarCraft back when it was our office game of choice.

Darren was all worked up about crafting being the suck, so I started trying to list out all the things that might be wrong with crafting. Then Tobold suggested the whole “figure out recipes by trial and error” idea and I ran screaming from the room.

I said nice things about “Opinions of the Misinformed.”  Elsewhere in EVE Online the Revelations II expansion launched.

Also, the iPhone launched, moving smart phones from a curiosity into mainstream, indirectly enabling the “Don’t you guys have phones?” comment at BlizzCon 2018.

Twenty Years Ago

Neverwinter Nights, a BioWare title that would create many an aspiring game designer, launched.

Forty Five Years Ago

Budding Apple Computer launched the Apple II computer.  A successor to the Apple I, which came as a build-it-yourself kit, this was iconic beige case that ruled school computer labs for a decade.  A year later I would go to middle school at a campus that backed up to their Mariani Drive facility, and they setup a computer lab for us.  It wasn’t the first computer I ever used, but it was the one that set my mind towards owning a computer.  I would managed that eventually.

Atari, now five years old, opened the first Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater.  In its initial incarnation you paid a flat fee for a wrist band that let eat all the cheap pizza and play all the video games you wanted for a set time limit.  Honestly, kind of a dream come true for me at that age.  The business model changed over the years, going to more traditional arcade tokens, though the pizza remained substandard.  But kids don’t care.  Most recently the rodent mascot was being given the heave-ho as the chain remodeled all of their store fronts for a new look.  But it will always be a wristband, all you can eat/play place with animatronic entertainment to me.

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, rich from having sold Atari to Warner, the first of many owners of the brand, bought the rights to the Chuck E. Cheese idea from Warner/Atari before the month was out.

Fifty Years Ago

Atari corporation was founded in Sunnyvale, California.  An early commercial success in video games, I am pretty sure Pong was the first video game I ever played.  A little over five years later they would dominate the home video game market with the introduction of the Atari 2600.  I wheedled my way into getting one for Christmas that year.  It also made inroads into home computers with its Atari 400 and 800 models.  And then came the great video game crash… which Atari precipitated by pushing some really sub-standard titles and the company was sold and sold again to the point that the name today has been slapped onto everything from gimmicky hotels to crypto currency.  A sad destination for a once powerful brand, but it remains a name that attracts attention no matter what dumb ass scheme somebody tries to use it for.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Gallente Federation Day and the Federation Grand Prix Return to EVE Online
  2. CCP Promises “a very special offer” if you Link Multiple EVE Online Accounts to the Same Email Address
  3. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  4. CCP Lets EVE Online Players with Multiple Accounts Subscribe Secondary Accounts at a Lower Price
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  8. A New Kind of Blackout Comes and Goes for EVE Online
  9. Josh Strife Hayes and The Immoral Design of Diablo Immortal
  10. EVE Fanfest 2022 Keynote Hot Take – Meh
  11. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  12. EverQuest Launches the Vaniki and Yelinak Progression Servers

Search Terms of the Month

how to find tropical ocean in minecraft
[It is a warm ocean, and I supply a link in that post now]

jinthalor altar safely
[Probably not unless you’re level 60]

eve online how to get biosecurity skins
[Project Discovery or buy them in Jita for cheap]

eve plex prices dying
[Do you mean getting more expensive?]

eve online rising plex prices
[Yeah, what this person said]

Game Time from ManicTime

Valheim held the top of my play time numbers again in June, but wasn’t as dominant as it was in the previous two months.  Meanwhile, Minecraft… well, it is very easy to slip into it and spend a lot of time doing not much.

  • Valheim – 44.27%
  • Minecraft – 32.09%
  • EVE Online – 19.51%
  • Diablo Immortal – 2.85%
  • V Rising – 1.28%

In addition, two new titles made the list, Diablo Immortal, which I have already written about and uninstalled, and V Rising, which I will mention below.

EVE Online

The CSM17 election was held and the results came in.  In a surprise to nobody, null sec candidates won a majority of the seats, eight in all.  In addition a war has started up in the south east of null sec around Catch and Impass.  Otherwise, all was normal in New Eden.

Minecraft

Our group decided to give the new 1.19 version of Minecraft a go.  Things have changed quite a bit since we last played.  We started a new world with a specific seed, but still need to find our way back into the groove of the game.

Pokemon Go

Another slow progress month in Pokemon Go.  Not a lot of time to get out and take gyms or do raids or even spin a Pokestop.  Real life is just been in the way too much.

Level: 42 ( 58% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 714 (+3) caught, 738 (+4) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc

V Rising

I alluded to V Rising, a recently in early access base building survival title in another post, because it seemed like it might be the next thing for our group after we finished the plains in Valheim.  But once I bought it, I didn’t get very far because I hated the movement/camera control system.  It reminds me of the Wizardry Online method, which I complained about in a post almost a decade ago.  WASD movement is relative to the camera, which doesn’t move automatically, but which can be moved, at least horizontally. I hated it.  And there was no map or mini-map in the starting area, which combined with the movement scheme meant I felt lost and then the sun came out and whatever.  It is early access, maybe that will get better some day.  But for now it is on my list of Steam titles I have played for about an hour.

Valheim

Our second run at the game took us through about two and a half months of play before we defeated the boss in the plains and finished up the progression the game had to offer.  The second run was good, and I will have some more to say about it.  The game has progressed, but it still ends where it did last year.

Zwift

As with Pokemon Go, the change in home routine has disrupted my exercise routine.  I did finally cross the one thousand mile mark.  That puts me at an average of about 100 miles a month, so you can see how much that has tapered off.

  • Level – 15 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 1,039.9 miles (+51.8 miles)
  • Time – 2d 6h 57m  (+4h 52m)
  • Elevation climbed – 42,293 (+2,093 feet)
  • Calories burned – 34,213 (+1,643)

Coming Up

It is summer… so not much I guess?

CCP will go into summer vacation hibernation.  The Steam Summer Sale will end next week.  Wrath Classic is probably still two months away.

I guess I’ll be posting about Minecraft and whatever happens in the latest war in null sec.

May in Review

The Site

Once again I had a plan.  I figured that my daily streak might be fun to end on day 777.

The target number

That was going to be the final number.  But then it fell on a Sunday and I had something scheduled for Monday and I only just remembered to screen shot that milestone before it was gone and now I am closing in on 800.  So maybe that will be the end of the streak.

As I have said in the past however, ending the streak will both be a relief and a let down.  The pressure will be off, but then if I ever decide I want to break my record I am literally 800 days away from getting there.  Or maybe it doesn’t matter and I should just ignore it.

One Year Ago

Nintendo finally announced the remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl that my daughter and I had been waiting for.

I was wondering how long the $15 subscription could hold out.  Turned out to be almost exactly one more year before EVE Online went to $20 a month.  But I was still trying to make some sort of point about pricing.

Enad Global 7 was telling us about some of the plans they had for Daybreak as well as their plan to put all their titles on their 4Games platform.

Daybreak was trying to make PvP a thing in EverQuest II again with the Tarinax server. while they launched the Mischief and Thornblade servers for EverQuest.

I finally hit level 60 in WoW Classic.  It only took 20 months.  We moved slowly… also, we got hooked on Valheim for a few months.

We gave Dire Maul East another shot.  I swapped my paladin into the group for a Dire Maul run, then one more before the big changes hit.

Meanwhile, there was a possible June 1st launch date for Burning Crusade Classic leaked, something that was quickly confirmed.  Of course, there were complications, like cloning and its associated cost.  (They rolled back the initial price later.) There was also the beta, which did not impress me.  The first load test seemed like it had problems, and the second had its own issues.

But the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch came without delay, which changed things for us.

And, as Burning Crusade Classic loomed, I reflected on the WoW Classic experience.

The Activision Blizzard Q12021 results were in and, surprise, WoW was the key revenue driver.  There would also be no BlizzCon for 2021… and that was before the scandals started to hit.

In Valheim we were decorating our base with trophies,

I was also fiddling around with War in the Pacific.

And then there was EVE Online where World War Bee was still chugging along… sort of.  There were also some changes from CCP landing, including the big industry update that made capital ships too expensive to bother building.  The null sec slump was about to hit.

I also had a random tale about working in a grocery store back in college, we were binge watching Fear The Walking Dead, experiencing Tenet,

And my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, turned 13 years old.

Five Years Ago

Nintendo announced the new 2DS XL hardware.  It seemed like a deal, since all it was missing was the somewhat unloved 3D option.  But it was a bit of a tease because the whole DS platform was done in Nintendo’s eyes.

Being a bit down on crowdfunding MMOs, I was wondering who was backing Ashes of Creation.

Daybreak was giving out free level boosts… again… in EverQuest II.

Over in the land of Everquest, the new Agnarr limited progression server went live with a promise never to progress past the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.  I wondered about the life of progression servers and if this attempt to make a perma-retro server might extend beyond Daybreak.

I returned to the land of the ten dollar horse of legend, Runes of Magic.  Once a trailblazer, an Asian MMO built for the west and designed on the free to play model, in some ways it is very much stuck in time.  And I am not just talking about the archaic patcher.  It still feels like it did back in 2009.  Which isn’t a bad thing, really.  Look how popular retro servers are now.  And it isn’t a bad MMO either.

I worked my way through to the first big city, explored the cash shop, and carried on through the month until the grind started to surpass any sense of nostalgia I was feeling.  As with many such games, if I was playing with a group it would have been fine, but as a solo venture it had its limits.

EVE Online turned 14 years old.  I was again looking at the monthly economic report where Delve was leading null sec in ratting and mining and the Rorqual remained the top mining ship.

The May update for EVE Online gave us new PLEX and the Blood Raiders ship yards.  New PLEX was a money making opportunity for some.  New PLEX went well enough that CCP decided to covert the Aurum they gave away for free sooner than expected.  And then there were the new small skill injectors.

The first Blood Raiders ship yard showed up in Period Basis.  I went to go visit it.  After some trial and error the Imperium went old school and reinforced it with a mass of T1 frigates.  I missed the destruction (and TEST swooping in with interceptors to steal the loot) but still managed to get blown up by the leftover Blood Raider forces.  A dread can one-shot an Ibis.

In other ops in New Eden we went to a brawl around an Astrahus in Catch and I manged to get my Cerb blown up trying to catch up with the fleet, which gave me an opportunity to try flying an interdictor.

In a bullet points post I noted that Blizzard called Overwatch its eighth billion dollar franchise, but I couldn’t figure out what the other seven might be.  Has Blizzard even had eight things one might call a “franchise” at this point?  Also, SuperData was splitting WoW into East and West versions again.

And I rather optimistically suggested that the Mineserver Kickstarter project might still happen.  Ha, ha, ha, I can be so naive.

Ten Years Ago

I played Portal finally.  Now Zoidberg makes the cake joke!

I wrote about camping rare mobs and how this all came from the fact that MUDs used to crash pretty often.

There was the start of the first Newbie Blogger Initiative thing.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, The Gates of Discord unlock vote shut down that expansion.  This caused some hard feelings.  And then it failed the vote again.

38 Studios went tits up due to managerial incompetence.  Not how you run a start up.  But the myth of what greatness might have been lives on, fostered primarily by those whose reputations would benefit from such tales.

The instance group was clearing out King’s Breach in Rift.

Diablo III came out and… error 37.  Then error 75.  And installer problems.  High expectations, huge sales, its always online nature, and memories of past Diablo games probably doomed it the eyes of many.  Still, we played it a bit.  I compared it to the beta version of Torchlight II, its primary foe in the click to kill genre.  I moaned about atmosphere and the influence of WoW on it.

And then I complained about talent trees.  Most people seem to like them more than I do.

But mostly I was on about EVE Online.  There was a summary of the first Burn JitaHulkageddon V came and sort of went.  There were spoils from the war in the north to be handed out.  OTEC actually got out there, putting aside differences, to defend its financial interests.  We blew up an IRC CSAA in Cobalt Edge.  There was a question as to whether PLEX was cheating.  I mined in null sec for the first time and didn’t know where to put stuff.  There were stats about Escalation and Hulkageddon and just ships being blown up in general.  And I made a post around John Smeldley’s tweet about Drakes and new missile graphics.  He dropped me a note in reply.  Turns out he is not only a huge EVE Online fan, but was in the CFC as well.  As Mittens would say, one of us.

Fifteen Years Ago

The then common discussions were going around, what made WoW so successful and what games might contend with WoW?  Some of the so called “contenders” were pretty silly picks.

Speaking of Blizzard, they also announced they were going to back to the StarCraft franchise with StarCraft II.  About time indeed!

The instance group was focused on LOTRO for the first time.  I had things to complain about, especially the state of the economy.  And, only a month in we spotted a level 50 player.  That must have been some hard work, as the game sort of petered out at about level 35 back then.  Still, Middle-earth was a pretty place.  It even had rainbows.

Dungeon Runners, the short lived NCsoft MMORPG launched

Vanguard was heavily in the news.  Sigil fell and SOE stepped in to pick up the pieces, though I wondered how long before the many problems with the game became attached to SOE.  I was also wondering about the impact of the game’s system requirements.

I was wondering how many more expansions EverQuest would have, while pointing out that you could get the game and all the expansions for only $15.

The owners of Allakhazam, long a staple of EQ knowledge, sold off their gold selling RMT wing, thus removing that taint and a host of gold selling ads from the site.

SOE officially announced the Rise of Kunark expansion for EverQuest II, keeping the game firmly on the nostalgia train.  Meanwhile, I had a suggestion for the new Arasai race.

Finally, there were some podcasts I thought people should listen to again.  I am not sure you can get most of them any more.

Twenty Years Ago

Final Fantasy XI launched.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. EVE Fanfest 2022 Keynote Hot Take – Meh
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. A Return to Stellaris
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. CCP Promises “a very special offer” if you Link Multiple EVE Online Accounts to the Same Email Address
  8. Reflecting on EVE Fanfest 2022
  9. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  10. Is EVE Anywhere Anything to Care About?
  11. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  12. EVE Online and Damage Meters

Search Terms of the Month

machine on 25-5-2022 demon diablo coyotes
[No idea on this one]

star citizen citadel
[Are they copying those too?]

секс симулятор онлайн для геев
[I am sure they are out there]

карта майнкрафта
[I recommend them]

Game Time from ManicTime

So what did I play this month?  On my PC it was just two games.  Just two.  Granted, it was a busy month, and my play time was down around where it was last month, which was well off my usual pace… but still, just two?  Yup, and really it was mostly one.

  • Valheim – 86.68%
  • EVE Online – 13.32%

Valheim did almost all the heavy lifting for my MMO needs right now.  I didn’t log into Lost Ark or go back to see what was fixed in New World.  It was either the Viking afterlife or the dystopian Viking space future for me in May.  If there hadn’t been a couple of big ops in EVE Online the percentages would have been even more lopsided.

EVE Online

The GEF deployment continued as we pushed FI.RE out of another region and then rolled into Tenerifis, their home region.  Fights happened, things carried on, content was created.  But it did seem that we eventually hit the end of their flood plains as we reached the last constellation before Detriod.

Pokemon Go

Some progress made, but it was kind of a tough month for Pokemon Go for me.  Not a lot of time to get out and take gyms or do raids.  Also, they raised the price of remote raid passes and took away the weekly 1 coin remote raid pass.

Level: 42 ( 52.8% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 711 (+5) caught, 734 (+4) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc

Valheim

As you can see above, this is where I spent most of my time.  We’re not in a rush, but there is always something to be done, something to explore, so new thing to discover.  And, of course, there have been new things added since we last played.

Zwift

I have been trying to work cycle time into my new routine with home and work, both of which changed up on me considerably.  So far, I haven’t found a way to get back on the pace I was on before, doing 100+ miles a month, but I am still getting on the bike… just not as often.

  • Level – 15 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 988.1 miles (+50.2 miles)
  • Time – 2d 4h 9m  (+3h 28m)
  • Elevation climbed – 40,200 (+984 feet)
  • Calories burned – 32,570 (+1,511)

Coming Up

Diablo Immortal lands later this week, with the release of the mobile version and the opening of the beta for the PC version.  I am still surprised that Blizzard made a PC version, but I guess they figured out who their core fan base is.

We are also supposed to hear about what special deal CCP will be offering to players who link 3 or more accounts on the same email address.  This could be great… or it could be a wet fart.  We shall soon see.

The EVE Online CSM elections are coming up as well.  There is always some drama in that I suppose.

Otherwise summer is on the horizon, though for me, like a lot of people in the US, summer really starts with Memorial Day, which was yesterday, and ends with Labor Day in early September.  But it does mean that the inevitable Steam Summer sale will likely appear.

April in Review

The Site

It has been a busy month.  I was away for 8 days and have been dealing with elderly parent issues even when I have been home.  Then I started a new job mid-month, which is always a huge change and brings its own fresh dose anxiety.

And yet, somehow I found time to write 33 blog posts this April.  Is my hobby really video games, or is it blogging?  Also I managed to keep up the daily post streak, which I said I was going to probably let go of at the 500, 600, 700, and two full years marks.  And yet here we are at day 761.  Go me.

As for the blog itself, it continues to chug along under the weight of my words.  Traffic has been down since the big Google Page Experience change back in February, when the altered their algorithm to favor sites that met their “good experience” criteria.  That led to a noticeable drop in traffic from Google.  Before that Google was sending me 300+ referrals a day, since then their referrals have broken the 200 mark only once.

You get used to the new normal pretty quickly though, and it can be interesting to see what still grabs Google’s attention and what does not.  For example, I apparently jumped on the Antiwordle bandwagon just in time.

Google Search Console Says

Also, if you get the blog updates via email you may have noticed a change.  WP.com started sending them out formatted for mobile devices.  But not for everybody  I get the daily update sent to two different email addresses just to keep an eye on it.  The more recent of the two gets the new format, while the older one… does not.

The older one dates back to the start of the blog and seems problematic overall.  For years it used to get an update of posts from the previous day at about 5am local time very reliably.  Now the update comes at all hours, or not at all some days.  It will go a week with nothing and then an email will arrive a 2pm with a week’s worth of posts in a single email.

The new one isn’t free from issues.  It seems sporadic on the delivery time and it misses a day now and then, and there is never a make up email.  So something isn’t perfect in the email delivery.

One Year Ago

April Fools was a quiet affair at Blizzard.

I put up a poll asking what part of the month in review posts people liked the most, and this section topped the results.  So I guess I’ll keep it up.

We got the word that Nielsen was shutting down SuperData Research, which it had acquired a couple of years earlier.  There would be no more monthly revenue charts to argue about.

Raph Koster was talking some more about his latest project, giving us an unreadable chart to illustrate a point about player economies.  He was also talking about cloud computing, which got me to write about the pros and cons of the thin client idea.  Raph came even came by and left a comment on that post.

The instance group was still hot on Valheim.  I was out scouting for base locations out in the plains biome.  Once we slew Moder, we started working on an island base on the coast of a plains area.  We were becoming good at dealing with deathsquitoes.

The plains has its own residents to take on. Meanwhile, we kept expanding our base, setting up a farm in it.  I was also out exploring even more.  I also got to battle Yagluth, the final plains boss, on another server.

Runes of Magic had their “biggest server ever” setup for the 12th anniversary of the game.

I was wondering if Lord of the Rings Online was in maintenance mode.  But EG7 has renewed their commitment to it since.  Over on the EverQuest front, the Mischief random loot server was coming online.

I also logged in and played a bit of WoW Classic.

In EVE Online World War Bee was still carrying on after 10 months.  However, CCP chose to introduce industry changes that made capital ships so expensive to produce that nobody was willing to go “all in” on another M2-XFE type battle.  PAPI would not commit its supers and titans to anything  besides structure grinds under a cyno jammer until the retreat from Delve a few months down the line.  The EVE Online posts from April 2021:

On the media front I wrote about Godzilla vs Kong and watching The Walking Dead.  I also wrote about out PS3, which turned 10 and had been used mostly for playing BluRay disks and streaming.

I was on about how throwing money at bogus MMO Kickstarter campaigns was no way to fight “big dev.”

And, finally, in a Friday bullet point post I mentioned the Diablo II Resurrected Alpha, EG7 completing its purchase of MMO publish Innova (which, a year later, they found themselves divesting themselves from), more about Runes of Magic, and CCP talking about the FPS shooter they said they weren’t talking about.

Five Years Ago

There was, of course, April Fools, but Blizzard didn’t seem up to its usual level of effort.

Blizzard did make the original StarCraft free to play, no April Fools there.

I was wondering if the plan to make mobs scale with your ilevel was going to make going back to World of Warcraft a chore.  It seemed like a bad idea, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter much.

I was going on about the 3K Blissey problem in Pokemon Go.

Meanwhile I was finishing up Pokemon Sun and still felt like playing Pokemon, so went back to Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.

There was the Lord of the Rings Online ten year launch anniversary.   We would finally get to Mordor later that year.

Daybreak announced the Agnarr server for EverQuest, a retro server designed to stay retro as it would not progress beyond the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.

In EVE Online Reavers were out camping Circle of Two in Impass, shooting their ratters and such.  Asher later told us that this was to have us in place as they had a CO2 director ready defect.  This was before The Judge did his thing.  However that did not come to pass.

I was going on about corpses in New Eden, which have their own special place in the game.  I was also on about force auxiliaries and titan losses.

In Iceland EVE Fanfest was under way.  They had a presentation that gave some interesting data about what happened in New Eden over the last year.  CCP also announced the winners of the CSM12 election and when/where EVE Vegas would take place.  And there was a talk on the plan to convert Null Sec stations into citadels.  We’re still waiting on that last bit.

I also started looking at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report as a regular monthly item, something set off by how much ratting and mining was being done in null sec.

I sharpened up my scanning skills, all the better to hunt MTUs.  Also, according to CCP I lost 5 billion ISK in space wealth since the month before.

In Minecraft I finished up the long road to the northern forest mansion; it took an hour to ride it on a fast horse.

And then there was the crazy story of the Nintendo NES Classic, which they stopped producing even though it remained sold out everywhere.

Ten Years Ago

April 2012 set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

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

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

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

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

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

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

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

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Fifteen Years Ago

Back in April 2007 we were wondering what was going to happen with Sigil Games Online after their less than stellar Vanguard launch. (*snort*) I threw out a few paths that the game might follow going forward, one of which proved to be correct.  Soon we would be free from the rambling posts of Aradune.  There was a failure of vision to be corrected.  But I bought a copy all the same.  It was marked down.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Vista, which launched the same day as Vanguard, was facing failures of its own, with Dell having to reintroduce Windows XP as an option for customers.  I know my own company was buying XP systems until Windows 7 came out… and became the new Windows XP.

In EverQuest II Gaff and I visited Emperor Fyst, I ran around in Nektropos Castle with the Everling clan, and complained about experience in Splitpaw.

While our WoW group was winding down for the summer, with Earl off to Broadway, the remaining four of us went off to Middle-earth with the launch of Lord of the Rings Online.  We had been playing in the beta, but eventually it came time to buy the game and sort out the founder’s options.  I had my first impressionsTitles were a thing!

I answered the musical meme question, “Five Reasons Why I Blog.”  Remember when those were “memes?”  Also, that seems awfully early in my career to be answering that sort of question.

I was also on about the pros and cons of player wipes, the requirement that one be able to solo in MMORPGs, and the problem of translating mechanics between games.

Van Hemlock was leet.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Diamond & Pearl in North America at last.  The EU would have to wait until July to get their copies.

Our Wii finally came out of the box.

And, finally, I had a problem with a video card that eventually had to be RMA’d, which sounds a lot like this April. I hope this won’t turn into a yearly thing.

Sixty Years Ago

One of the earliest computer video games, Spacewar! came into being, being initially playable on a DEC PDP-1 minicomputer at MIT.  This would evolve and move onto other platforms over the years, including an arcade version that I used to play in middle school in the late 70s.

As I wrote back in 2014, you can play the original Spacewar! in emulation over at the Internet Archive.  You can also play the Valve reproduction of the arcade game on Steam, if you know how to install it.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. CCP Raising the EVE Online Subscription Price to $20 a Month Starting May 17th
  4. The Trainwreck of 21st Century Lord British
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  7. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  8. April Fools at Blizzard 2022 in the Shadow of Many Things
  9. The One with the Lawyer from BASF
  10. Wordle and Things Like Wordle
  11. What Makes Housing Worthwhile in an MMO?
  12. The Coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic

Search Terms of the Month

Another all Russian edition.  I guess the war hasn’t stopped search terms.

дайсон сфер программ
[I think they have those in Stellaris ]

моды на бамбук
[Things pandas like]

ферма призмарина
[Aaron made one of those in Minecraft for us]

космические корабли ив онлайн моделька
[Not really sure on that one]

фон майнкрафт особняк
[I have a few screenshots here that might serve]

Game Time from ManicTime

Well, you can see where I spent most of my game play time this month.  Granted, as I said above, I was away and busy for quite a bit of the month, so the sum total of hours is the lowest of any month so far this year… half of what it was in January… but it is still a non-trivial amount of time spent messing around.

  • Valheim – 91.76%
  • EVE Online – 6.41%
  • LOTRO – 1.15%
  • Lost Ark – 0.69%

I was actually a bit surprised to see that I had logged into Lost Ark in April.  It feels like a long time since I last touched it.

EVE Online

It has been a bit of a month for CCP.  I have more posts talking about the game than about actually playing the game.  But, then, I haven’t been playing too much of the game, so maybe it isn’t all on CCP.

The deployment to the southeast of null sec carried on.  There are fights now and then, but I wouldn’t call it a war.  I managed to go on a few ops, got on my kill mail for the month, and basically did the minimum participation thing due to being busy.

The campaign does not sit still because I am busy though, and the staging stations keep moving forward, so I am behind one staging system and have ships strewn across three old ones.  My hope is that I’ll be able to get two expensive ships back home some day and then YOLO or asset safety the rest.

Lord of the Rings Online

Hey, it turned 15 this month.  Imagine that.  I did log in for a bit, though I probably spent more time patching up, and collected my anniversary gifts on what was probably the wrong server in hindsight.  Whatever, my bags were nearly too full to collect the gifts in any case, laden with gifts from previous years as they were.  There were some nice and generous items for 15 year veterans.  Maybe some day I will use them.

Lost Ark

Well, that ended quickly.  The sure fire sign that I wasn’t really all that into a game is that I simply stop even thinking about logging in.  And it isn’t like Lost Ark is out of sight.  It is there on my favorites list in Steam and I am in there every day to play Valheim.  I just don’t click on Lost Ark anymore.

Valheim

Back to ValheimAs Potshot noted, its worldliness is a draw for our group.  So we’re back with a fresh start, and doing a slow roll forward, not in any hurry to get to the next boss or whatever.  Ideally we’ll get the update for the Mistlands before we’ve tapped out again.  We got another tease about that biome, but it is still in the distant future.

Pokemon Go

Some Pokemon was played, though not so much as past months.  The mega evolutions might be a bigger deal going forward as Niantic has finally figured out that an expensive, temporary evolve isn’t all that viable for any but the most dedicated players.  That sure isn’t me.

Level: 42 ( 43.5% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 706 (+9) caught, 730 (+9) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc

Zwift

I fell off the bike this month, though at least it wasn’t literally.  I was away and then the new job meant trying to craft a new daily routine where I still need to find a spot for exercise.  I did manage to peddle a little bit on the weekends, but I am definitely off my stride for the moment.

  • Level – 14 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 937.9 miles (+37.7 miles)
  • Time – 2d 1h 37m  (+2h 12m)
  • Elevation climbed – 39,216 (+5,316 feet)
  • Calories burned – 31,059 (+983)

Coming Up

As I understand it, on Tuesday Blizzard is supposed to officially announce its long hinted at Warcraft mobile game.   Will it get a PC version as well to stop people from playing it in phone emulation mode on their PCs the way Diablo: Immortal did?  I guess we’ll find out.

Then, by this time next Saturday we’ll know all the things that CCP has planned to announce at EVE Fanfest.

Otherwise a lot of things will just carry on as before.  I suspect that Valheim will continue to dominate what play time I have when it comes to May.

Stuck in the Gym in Pokemon Go

We live in what seems to be a very active area when it comes to Pokemon Go.  There are half a dozen gyms and the same number of Pokestops visible in game from the couch in our family room.  The advent of the remote raid pass has allowed us to form up with a raiding group to do raids on a regular basis from our home.

We can often find raids in progress to join when new raids arrive.

The gyms themselves, they change hands between teams with great regularity.  It is rare to go more than 24 hours in a gym before being kicked out, and the gym closest to our house, located at a little park on a side street, changes hands two or three times daily, often in a predicable schedule.  Often Team Instinct will take it in the morning, then Team Mystic will take it in the late afternoon, and Team Valor always swoops in somewhere after 9pm to take the gym back.

It is often the exact same people.  Team Valor we call the pink team, because every evening the same people put a Chansey and a Blissey in the gym.  Then, in the morning, the same Team Instinct person will kick them out and put in a shiny Chansey.

Sometimes there will be theme gyms, like this all Eevee one

And this is often repeated for the other gyms close by us, with the same player names recurring.  It changes up as we get further from our house, and down at the community center, where  there are half a dozen gyms, a whole different group of regulars appear.  But the gyms turn over and you are pretty much assured if you get into a gym in the morning that you’ll get some coins by the end of the night.

We don’t even bother taking the gym near us in the evening because we know Team Valor is coming, so why bother for just a couple of coins.

But then we go somewhere… as I may have mentioned, I was away all of last week… and not every place is quite like that.  When I arrived at where I was staying, I went out for something to eat and spotted a couple of Team Valor held gyms that were all low health, so I cleared them out, jumped in, and went on my way.

Then I stayed in those gyms for days.  One or two other players joined me, but the gyms never filled up.  There were three total I jumped into, and it took two, four, and seven days for me to get kicked out of all three.  The last gym I basically got in as I arrived and was notified I was being kicked out as I was waiting for my flight at the airport.

And this is not the first time this has happened.

Sometimes it seems reasonable.  My wife was stuck in a gym for almost two weeks once because it was really only accessible from the freeway, so somebody had to be stuck in traffic to take the gym.

But other times we simply seem to be in areas that just are not that into Pokemon Go the way our corner of Silicon Valley is.  I am not saying all of Silicon Valley is still crazy for Pokemon Go, but it is rare to linger for two days in a gym almost anywhere I have been here.

Oh, and it is almost all adults playing.  Our whole Pokemon Go raiding group is in their 40s and 50s, some of them using the accounts their kids made and abandoned.  When we run into somebody at a gym when we’re actually out of the car… cruising for Pokemon is very much a thing I guess… and they have kids along, more often than not the kids are impatient for their parents to finish up their gym battle and get going.

Or that is the way that the game seems to evolved in our part of the country.  It is no longer groups of kids out looking for Pokemon.  It is couples driving around the neighborhood, parking to take a gym or driving super slowly to be able to spin the three Pokestops on that block.  I know the cars that our local Team Valor group drives, I’ve parked behind them on the street at the park and had berry wars with them.

March in Review

The Site

It looks like I might get paid soon.  If the final numbers for the month are correct, I may have cracked the $100 mark for ad revenue since I enabled ads back in October of 2021.  I was at $88.59 earned when the month began and it looks like I am comfortably past the $12 mark for this month, so I could be there.

It looked dicey for most of the month, then somebody linked my 2009 post about Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID! in /r/wow and that put me over the top.  Some things never die.

The goal was always to pay for the premium hosting option, which runs about $100 a year.  So that may have paid off.

Of course, it is one thing to think I should get paid and another to actually see the cash in my PayPal account.  We shall see how speedy WordPress.com is on that.

Meanwhile, I passed another posting milestone.

A post a day in San Jose

731 days adds up to two years straight of posting every single day.  You too can manage this, if only you let go of your standards and just hit the “publish” button on whatever you have to hand!

As for how long this streak will continue, I am pretty sure it will end in April.  It is going to be a busy month and my goal was just to get to the two year mark in the end.  Still, I kind of hate to let it go because it is one of those things that, after you have invested 731 days in it, the whole thing resets to 1 as soon as you skip a day and then topping your previous record is two years away.

But it is that sort of thinking that got me here in the first place.  Better to just let it go at some point.

One Year Ago

EverQuest, under the EG7 banner, turned 22 years old.

The beta for Burning Crusade Classic opened up, starting the march to the launch of the next classic experience.

My wife and I both hit level 41 in Pokemon Go.

Raph Koster started telling us about what Playable Worlds was up to, but it was all very vague.

But a lot of the month was spent writing about Valheim.  That was definitely the apple of our group’s eye as we made it to a month of playing it and were still going strong.  That was long enough for Honest Game Trailers to do a video about it.

Having defeated The Elder, we were off looking for iron in the swamps.  Iron turned into a key focus for us.

We finally found Haldor the Trader in our game.  I also figured out fishing.

Having geared up, we went after the next boss, Bonemass, with an elaborate plan.  Then it was off to the mountains of Valheim, which led to a new set of experiences.  I also made our first Dragur Fang Bow.

The other major topic for the month was EVE Online where we still had World War Bee going along with some CCP actions, which I will sum up as a list:

Finally, I summed up some more pandemic binge watching.

Five Years Ago

EverQuest turned eighteen.  Now an adult, it still lives in Daybreak’s basement and grumbles about how it used to be the center of attention before all these younger siblings showed up.

Blizzard officially announced that StarCraft, even older than EverQuest, was getting a remaster.  We suspected it was going to happen, but it was nice to get the official word.

Flying was unleashed in the Broken Isles with the Tomb of Sargeras update to WoW Legion.

The Nintendo Switch launched.  But I was still playing Pokemon Sun on my 3DS XL, binging on the Alola Pokedex.  Then I had to figure out where the National Pokedex was.  It turns out it is in Pokemon Bank.  I was hoping for a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Disney shut down Club Penguin, hoping to force players onto their new mobile app, Club Penguin Island.  Mobile is always better, right?  It did not end well, with Club Penguin Island closing down in just two years.  Way to fumble success!

In Minecraft, the long road to the forest mansion I found was nearly done.

In EVE Online I took a trip out to Oasa and back.

We got the YC119.3 update that nerfed Rorqual mining a bit and gave us warp bubble decay among other things.  Music was included.  A follow on patch let us see our estimated space wealth.

Blog Banter #80 was on the topic of the CSM, something about which I has opinions!  It was a timely topic as the voting for CSM12 was just kicking off.  In the mean time Gevlon declared that CCP was picking winners… though not CSM winners I guess.

We had a dev blog about refineries coming to New Eden.  Moon mining was going to change and it seemed like the end of the POS was coming at last.  There was also an announcement about changing PLEX, breaking it up into 500 pieces and replacing Aurum with PLEX.  But not that free Aurum they gave you, though they relented on that after some outcry.

I was nostalgic for old ship models in New Eden and talking about the tension between grouping and solo again.

And, finally, we had to say good-bye to our cat Oscar after 17 years.

Ten Years Ago

The family and I went and visited the USS Iowa while it was docked up in Richmond.

I was wondering how important pictures were in blog posts.  I think I’ve gone pretty far in favor of them since.

April Fools spirit hit Wargaming.net a little early.

It only seemed like Zynga was desperate back then.

I took a quick peek back into Need for Speed: World.

We found out when Diablo III was slated to ship.

Raptr said I could be the top WoW player they tracked… if I just played another 18,999 hours.

I also rolled a new character on a new server in LOTRO because… why not?

In EVE Online voting commenced and The Mittani won the chairmanship of the CSM 7 by a large margin.  And then he named names during his alliance talk and was removed from CSM 7 and banned from EVE for 30 days.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, we were being taunted by a LEGO Rifter that we were doomed never to see and Derek Smart was telling everybody DUST 514 was doomed to fail.  Well, he got that one right I, and doesn’t seem too far off on Star Citizen so far.

Meanwhile, the war in the north was heating up again even without The Mittani.  The CFC was picking up systems in Tenal as bases of operation for the upcoming offensive.  Then there was the bloodbath at C-J6MT.

In Rift, we had a couple of runs at the Foul Cascade.

EverQuest turned 13 and went free to play.  That saw more than a few of us run in to give it a try.  Fall nostalgia in the Spring.  We ran the tutorial, tried out mercenaries, and created a guild.  I am not sure what became of our little group.  Nostalgia is like that.

It was also announced that Vanguard would be going free to play as well, leaving PlanetSide the only hold out on that front Meanwhile on the Fippy Darkpaw server, LDON and LoY went live… I think.

Then I was trying to find another blog name that used the TAGN acronym as a setup for an April Fools joke.  That totally fell flat.

Speaking of names, I was wondering if Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 were the least creative names in the series.  Whatever, there were download events.

Then there was a mailbag post about the Path of Exile beta, EON Magazine going digital, something about Roger Ebert, and a few other items.

And, finally, I attempted to bring together as many memories from the early days of Air Warrior as I could.

Fifteen Years Ago

In EverQuest II, my swashbuckler Blintz became my highest level MMO character at the time, hitting the level 50 mark.  I was also going on about the pain of the alchemist trade and offline selling in the game.

Meanwhile, I was still griping about the rise in the price of Station Access, but at least I got something of an answer as to how my Station Access dollars were allocated.  SOE was having problems with their email marketing though.

In World of Warcraft the instance group, after a couple attempts finally finished up Uldaman in one of the more memorable fights of our time as a team, was then coming to a temporary stopping point at Zul’Farrak. Work would keep Earl too busy to play with us for the next few months. Meanwhile, a load of my other friends in WoW disappeared due to server splits.

Proving that random grouping has been a problem for a long time, there was a discussion going around about being able to rate people with whom you have grouped.  That option doesn’t seem to have come to pass.

CCP was whispering in my ear about resubscribing for their Revelations expansion.

EverQuest turned 8 years old and the blog itself hit the six month mark.

And, finally, I had a comically large arrow stuck in my head.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  4. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  5. A New Kind of Blackout Comes and Goes for EVE Online
  6. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  7. EVE Online Gets Battleship Buffs and a Mining Event for March, Plus CCP Starts Selling Ships
  8. Five Bad EVE Online Ideas that will Never Die
  9. A Return to Stellaris
  10. Amazon, Twitch, and Lost Ark
  11. An EVE Online Play to Earn Announcement is Coming at Fanfest
  12. Progress in Lost Ark

Search Terms of the Month

eve online news ships
[Nothing on that front I’m afraid]

глобальная карта майнкрафт а
[Maps for Minecraft are always in demand]

hellcamp
[This one time, at hellcamp]

custom character naked gay
[If it is an avatar, it it really gay on its own?]

Game Time from ManicTime

This month was kind of a search for something to play.  Lost Ark was the top option, but I find that I can only play so much of that in a day.  EVE Online is always situational; I go play when something is happening, but that isn’t all the time.  So I dragged out a few other options.

  • Lost Ark – 51.67%
  • EVE Online – 16.46%
  • Combat Mission – Red Thunder – 15.59%
  • RimWorld – 12.64%
  • FreeCiv – 3.63%

Combat Mission – Red Thunder

As noted in my post about it, I originally wanted to play Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, but it was not having my 34″ monitor.  Not surprising from a game that is about 20 years old.  So I dove into what was essentially the revised version, though even Red Thunder is from 2014, so not exactly new.  My feelings are a bit mixed.  It works, but seems like a bit less of a game than the original, then tries to make up for it by putting more units on the map.

EVE Online

A deployment, first to Esoteria, then to Feythabolis, has been the main focus of my time in the game.  That and tending to my PI farms, which is pretty much my only source of income these days.  Still, it did keep me busy.  According to the KarmaFleet participation app I went on 16 fleet ops in March, which doesn’t include move ops.  That isn’t exactly huge compare to some people.  There are a lot of people more into the game than I am.  But 13 of those were in the last week of the month.  That is a lot more ops than I went on in

FreeCiv

I thought I would give this a shot and, as a free title that is essentially an open source community project, it has a lot of depth.  That’s what nearly 25 of continuous work gets you.  It is also more than a bit obtuse when it comes to the UI and its depth takes some work to find.

Lost Ark

This is really the only fantasy MMORPG I am playing at all at the moment, which is a bit of a strange turn for me.  The group is playing it and I have been running around playing solo as well.  It is both a light commitment, at least up to level 50, and free to play, which is a hard combo to beat at the moment.

Pokemon Go

We got some new Pokemon to catch out in the world as the Pokemon Sun & Moon collection started getting doled out, including the first couple of legendaries in raids.

Level: 42 ( 33.8% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 697 (+12) caught, 721 (+16) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 18
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Rockruff

RimWorld

Another return to an old favorite, this time with an eye towards exploring the Ideology expansion now that changes to it have finally settled down.  It remains a good story generator and a time sink that can make hours go by.

Zwift

I actually kind of hit a sweet spot in Zwift in March, getting on the bike and peddling for much longer than I usually do.  My minimum effort has always been 20 minutes per session, but I had a week of hitting 35 minutes per session.  That gave me a bit more distance this month, though that week seemed to be an outlier high and this week I wasn’t feeling it as much.  I wonder if it is related to how interesting the audio book is I am listening to while I ride?  Anyway, going down the Interstate 80 route from California, I have now peddled myself into the southwest corner of Wyoming, having left Utah in the rear view mirror.

  • Level – 14 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 903.2 774.8 miles (+128.4 miles)
  • Time – 1d 16h 55m 1d 23h 49m  (+6h 54m)
  • Elevation climbed – 33,855 (+4,354 feet)
  • Calories burned – 30,076 25,924 (+4,152)

Coming Up

Today is the end of Q1 2022, so any number of companies will begin working on their quarterly results, which we will likely see reported at some time in May.

And tomorrow is April Fools Day, which people either love or love to complain about.

On the 19th of next month we should be hearing from Blizzard about the next World of Warcraft expansion.  A WoW expansion announcement is always a big deal, but this one has a lot more riding on it given the state of malaise that Shadowlands brought to the game as well as all of the internal and legal issues the company has been facing.  Plus, it would be nice to impress the new owners with something hot.

We should also see the launch of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the delayed ultimate version of the LEGO Star Wars series from Traveller’s Tales.

Otherwise, it might be a light month around here.  As I noted at the top of the post, there are a lot of things I need to do in real life next month, so there might not be time for much posting or many video games.

We shall see.

February in Review

The Site

Another month flies by and we are at the 186th month in review post.  Part of getting older is wondering how time goes by so fast.

I did, however, get another meaningless achievement this month.

700 Days in a Row

We’ll see if I keep going.  If I get to the end of March I will have gone two years straight.

February was also a light month for traffic.  It is already a short month and world events seemed to draw people away over the last week.  I get that.

The odd bit is that ad revenue was way down relative to the dip in traffic, barely cracking the $10 mark.  And it seems a different problem from last month, where ads served was way up but revenue was down, reflecting low quality ads being pushed.

This time around ads served was way down as well, much more so than the down turn in page views might suggest.  Either more core audience all has adblock loaded up… and I commend your good sense in that… or ads simply aren’t being served up.  Some checking showed that there was at least some of the latter going on.

Checking from my iPad with Safari, which is not set up to block ads, I was seeing nothing come up for a couple of days.  I don’t know if that is WordPress.com’s problem or the ad broker they are using, but the well of ads was running dry at times in February.  That never seems to happen with Words with Friends.

We’ll see how next month goes.  I’m still on track with my goals even at $10 a month from ad revenue.  That is enough to pay for the premium hosting package.

One Year Ago

It had been a year since the first documented death in the United States from Covid-19.

It was also the end of Silicon Valley retail staple Fry’s Electronics.

Nintendo announced that they were going to finally do a remake of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.

Out of nowhere, so far as I could tell, Valheim showed up.  I took a look and very soon our group was playing together.  We went out hunting deer, along with the first boss, set sail to find the Black Forest, stormed ashore and setup a base, fought trolls and smelted bronze, then set sail to find the Elder, the second boss, fought an epic battle with that, and wandered into the plains and died to deathsquitoes.  It was quite a time.

Then there was BlizzConline (and Blizzard’s 30th anniversary), which was spoiled a bit by leaks, but which featured the Burning Crusade Classic announcement along with Diablo II Resurrected and other news items.

The Activision Blizzard Q4 2020 earnings call showed WoW was carrying the ball for Blizzard, while SuperData Research showed WoW up on the Shadowlands launch and ongoing WoW Classic momentum.

Actually in WoW Classic, I was working on my paladin, who was catching up to the group, we spent some time getting materials for enchanting, and we were still working on Blackrock Depths, though we got down to the final quest there.

In EVE Online, World War Bee carried on, with PAPI starting to come out of their post M2-XFE slump and CCP’s economic changes sending mineral prices climbing.

And I went on a bit about the difficulty of entering the MMORPG market.

Five Years Ago

Daybreak shut down Landmark less than a year after it officially went “live.”  That’s what extended early access will do to you.

In EVE Online applications to run for CSM12 opened up.  The CSM itself was reduced from 12 members to just 10.  That allowed CCP to potentially fly all members to summits, but also reduced the likelihood of more voices outside of null sec being elected.

Blog Banter #79 explored the benefits and pitfalls of being a long time veteran of New Eden, while CCP posted a nice graph tracking the 25 largest corporations over time.  The graph only had starting numbers, so I provided the ending numbers.

We also got an update that introduced insurance to citadels and kicked off the Guardian’s Gala event.

Actually in game I was blown up by battle Rorquals as well as spending time moving my stuff to a new home system, sitting on a titan, sitting on a Keepstar, survived my first capital op, and dipped my toe into the spectacle that was Burn Jita 2017.  I also had a new favorite EVE Online screen shot.

I wasn’t playing World of Warcraft, but that didn’t stop me from trying to find information about it in Activision Blizzard’s annual financial report.  Good luck there.  I didn’t even bother this year.  Meanwhile, in an unexplained turn, SuperData Research divided WoW into East and West on its monthly Top Ten chart.  I still suspect that was an attempt to make Overwatch look better.

Not only was I not playing WoW, I wasn’t playing any fantasy MMORPGs.  Standing Stone was trying to get me to log into Lord of the Rings Online with the promise of a new mount.

I was confronted by a metaphor for a MMO Kickstarter projects when somebody decided they wanted to make an Apocalypse Now based MMO.

I was still working on the mansion road in Minecraft.  I hit a setback along the way… fell into lava surrounded by creepers… but still made it past the half way point.

And finally, after taking a bit of a break, I was back into Pokemon Sun, working my way towards filling the Alola Pokedex.

Ten Years Ago

I made a video celebrating the first year of the instance group, which formed up back in 2006.  It was focused on what was essentially vanilla WoW and had a serious nostalgia vibe to it.  It got some views.

Then I made a video about Sunken Temple in the same vein that pretty much nobody watched.  That instance always got mixed reviews.  (And my video of the EVE battle at EWN-2U was more popular than both combined.)

Somebody stole our guild on Lightninghoof.

And Blizzard was making money, optimizing clients, and selling new mounts.

In EVE Online, the war in the north had gone kind of quiet.  There were some big battles over tower (e.g. EWN-2U, which was my first epic fleet battle, and 92D-OI), but the sov grind had not begun.  There was some fun around VFK.  I also noted that a “green” kill board seemed to be the norm for individuals.  Meanwhile, CCP was making money and giving us the occasional fun statistics about the game.

Trion gave us actual loot pinatas as well as a check box to turn off exp in Rift.

And, probably most importantly, we got standardized build templates for common rolesRift’s soul system is still deep and complex for those who want to theory craft, but for mere mortals it became possible to just get a workable build and go play.

As a group in Rift we made it to the Darkening Deeps.

I also figured that, due to the way Rift was progressing, it wouldn’t go free to play unless WoW did.  Wrong on that in the long term I guess, it went free to play ages ago now.

On Fippy Darkpaw, the Planes of Power expansion opened up.  For many the PoP expansion marks the dividing line between what counts as “classic” EverQuest and what is considered “the new crap.”

And EverQuest Mac was saved from the chopping block, going free for… as long as it stays up I guess.

Fifteen Years Ago

I wrote a lot of posts.  Not the 59 posts of the month before, but 41 is still a lot of posts.  Half of them seem to relate to stages of heritage quests in EverQuest II.

Back then Kendricke (remember him?) dropped by with the news that Sony Online Entertainment applied for a trademark for “EVERQUEST II RISE OF KUNARK,” thus confirming my guess from December that Kunark would be location of the EverQuest II expansion due near the end of 2007.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site did not show anything for my guess for the 2008 expansion. (Return to the Planes of Power FTW!) The USPTO did show that SOE at one time had the trademark for, “EVERQUEST: THE DEMISE OF ARADUNE,” which was mildly ironic from a Vanguard point of view. I wonder what they had planned for that title?

Of course, SOE also announced a price increase for Station Access shortly thereafter, always a buzz killer. This was immediately blamed on Vanguard.

Meanwhile, SOE launched The Buried Sea expansion for EverQuest.

I also started off in the Lord of the Rings Online open beta which eventually lead to the instance group spending the spring and summer in Middle-earth before returning to Azeroth.

And speaking of Azeroth, a year ago we were just starting to get into the fun that is Uldaman. And somewhere along the line I swapped out my rogue Blintz for my paladin Vikund, who has remained with the instance group ever since.

I also compared how long it took me to level a swashbuckler up to level 40 in EverQuest II versus how long it took me to get a hunter to the same level in WoW. 

Also, Gaff got flight form in WoW and was really happy with it.  There is flying in WoW, and then there is druid flight form, which is in a league of its own.

I listed out five insane MMO things I wanted, which were not all that insane.  Includes the first time mentioning that I wanted EverQuest redone using WoW’s engine.  I was also on about people picking famous names for their characters, how WASD was messing with my typing, and something else about modelling stealth.

I was looking into the distance to see what Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising might offer.

Peggle launched.  Do you remember Peggle?  It was from PopCap.  Do you remember PopCap?  The game was all the rage on the GFW Radio podcast.  Do you remember the GFW Radio podcast?  Do you remember GFW?  How about Jeff Green?  You know I met him once, way back when he covered modems for MacWeek.  Anyway, it all ended up at EA, including Jeff.

And, finally, my wife got me a Wii for Valentine’s day that I couldn’t use until Easter!

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Mario Kart 64 launches, the second version and maybe the first truly great entry in the Mario Kart series of games.  This one is worth buying whenever Nintendo revives it on later platforms.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. Guardians Gala Returns to EVE Online for YC124
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  5. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  6. Embracing the Iron Age in Valheim
  7. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  8. Pearl Abyss Promises a Blockchain Economy while CCP Prepares for EVE Fanfest
  9. The CCP World War Bee Press Briefing
  10. Off to Another New World in New World
  11. Looking Into Lost Ark
  12. Opening Weekend with Lost Ark

Search Terms of the Month

john carmack create facebook horizon world
[I don’t think you can lay that all on him]

Разработчики установили в eve online стальной памятник девушке
[I’m not sure they were really a “girl” technically]

огромный дом в майнкрафте локация
[Where ever you want to build it]

everquest ruins of kunark back of box
[I don’t think I have that here]

Game Time from Manic Time

Well, there was a bit of a change up in the list this month.  Two weeks ago EQII was at the top and Lost Ark wouldn’t have made the list.  I did, at one point, think about playing Crusader Kings III.  There was an update, and I like the stories that come out of it for other people.  I even patched it up and got it ready, but didn’t end up playing.

  1. Lost Ark – 42.78%
  2. EverQuest II – 37.23%
  3. New World – 10.61%
  4. EVE Online – 5.92%
  5. Pokemon Pearl 1.80%
  6. EverQuest – 1.65%

EVE Online

The month started out with my account lapsing and me spending some time figuring out what I could do as an Alpha clone.  That developed into me mostly not logging on at all once the Guardian’s Gala login rewards were over.  I suspect there is a message in that.  Like many other aspects of the game, free to play hard mode is much harder in New Eden than it is in other MMOs.

EverQuest

The game turned 64-bit, which was a thing I guess.  It was enough to get me to update the client, create a new character, and play through some of the tutorial again.  I kind of enjoy that once in a while.  I had some mad vision of doing a year long event to run a character from creation to level cap, all in the 64-bit era… and then I wandered off and did something else.

EverQuest II

I came into February very strong on EQII, playing it more than anything else for the first half of the month.  I got several character up to the new level cap for both adventure and crafting and started working on the adventure signature quest line… and kind off fell off there.  Expect a post about that this coming week.

Lost Ark

This sort of came out of nowhere for me, and was a bit of a slow burn at that.  With EQII tapering off and not logging into EVE, I had a hole in my play time just when Lost Ark showed up.  I tried it on a lark, kind of liked it a bit, kept playing, and started getting into it.  Here, at the end of the month, it was my most played title.  I had to convert it from a tag to a category here on the blog because the instance group started playing it.

New World

Ah, New World… I don’t hate it, but it does manage to disappoint on such a regular basis.  Amazon games is working on it still, but their list of fixes for February was a bit underwhelming.  That, and being dropped into a new server where the bad things people have been talking about started affecting our game play… and it was time for a break.

Pokemon Go

The month ended with the Johto Tour, which was a good day’s fun.  My wife and I did the free part of the event, because $12.00 is kind of a big ask for a bit of content, and were happy enough with that as it took us nearly all afternoon to finish up.  The downside of the event was that it very much focused on past content, so was a good catch-up for newer players, but there were no new Pokemon out there for us.  I did get a shiny Raikou though.

Level: 42 ( 27.9% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 685 (+5) caught, 705 (+5) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 18
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Floette

Pokemon Shining Pearl

Playing this remake was a good time, but I have to admit that once I got through the Elite Four and Cynthia, I was kind of done playing.  That is the culmination of the story, the basic win scenario, and after that everything is somewhat self-directed.  I’ll do a final thoughts write up on the game at some point.  Overall though, I quite enjoyed it.

Zwift

Much to my surprise, I am still doing this regularly… three or four times a week… six month down the road.  It would be very easy to just stop, and there are times when I want to skip even my rather minimal routine.  But somehow I have carried on.  This must be what adulthood is like.

Meanwhile, my distance cycled puts me about from my driveway into the middle of Salt Lake City, Utah, which is where the Winter Olympics were held 20 years ago.  I didn’t watch them then, and I didn’t watch them this past month in China either.  Keep on peddling.

  • Level – 13 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 774.8 miles (+90.3 miles)
  • Time – 1d 16h 55m (+4h 45m)
  • Elevation climbed – 33,855 (+4,354 feet)
  • Calories burned – 25,924 (+3,113)

Coming Up

March is upon us and it is Mardi Gras tomorrow.  Most people won’t care, but a branch of my family is from New Orleans, so it will be jambalaya, red beans and rice, and king cake at our house tomorrow.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

March also brings my birthday.  Pokemon Legends: Arceus is on my list, so I might be playing that later on this month.

Then there is Lost Ark.  No doubt this will come up a few more times on the blog.

There is a possibility that CCP will makes some changes that might loosen up the economy and make larger scale warfare viable again in null sec.  I’ll go back to Omega for something interesting.  The battleship changes look interesting to a lot of people.  But EVE Online is still in kind of a messy state.

I might try to figure out what Elden Ring is.  A lot of people are suddenly into that in my Twitter feed, but telling me it is like Lost Souls doesn’t help me, because I never played that.  Also, it is $60, has some issues, and I don’t get how the co-op works, so I can wait.

January in Review

The Site

Well, I got this achievement at least.

They said I had a satanic streak…

Otherwise is was mostly life as usual for the blog.  WordPress.com broke links, waffled about it for a couple of days, then fixed them again.  Pretty good for them, as they still sort of worked while they were broken.

And then there was the ad revenue.  This month the site served up more ads than ever, coming close to 125K ads displayed compared to 99K last month.  However, revenue was down.  December’s 99K ads were worth a little over $23, while the 125K ads this past month were worth just about $16.  Ad quality clearly plays into the revenue side of things, and I didn’t get high quality ads this time around.  Still, $16 keeps me on track to pay the annual hosting for the blog at the Premium service level, which runs $99 a year.

One Year Ago

For my new year’s post I chose to ask questions rather than make predictions.  I’ve always been told that there are no bad questions, though that statement usually precedes attempts to prove it wrong.

I also reviewed the games I played in 2020 and attempted to guess what I might play in 2021.

Twitch told me what I watched there in 2020 and I did that Quantic Foundry gamer profile thing again.

SuperData Research also did their review of 2020 which, along with its penultimate monthly chart, as their end was on the horizon.

There was that GameStop stock craziness.

I wrote a timeline of SOE/Daybreak Games.

The Steam Winter Sale ended with awards and stats.

I was wondering what LOTRO needed, since it clearly needed something.

People were wondering when we were going to get Burning Crusade Classic, with the current rumor being early May, which seemed too early to me.  But we ended up getting it in early June, so I guess it wasn’t that far off.

The instance group was still working on Blackrock Depths, this time for a love potion.  Then we went off to Dire Maul East for a change of scenery.  Dire Maul North proved too much for just the four of us.  We also hunted for recipes out in the Burning Steppes.  Meanwhile, my paladin was catching up to the group in levels.

And then there was World War Bee, which kicked off the new year with the another huge titan battle, though this time the results were much more one-sided.  The war bullet points:

Somewhere along the way I hit a year in KarmaFleet and the 230 million skill point mark.

There was also more binge watching and we had HBO max finally, so I took a look at it and its app.

And, finally, January 20th was a happy day.

Five Years Ago

As with most years here at the blog, it began with predictions.

Nintendo was telling us all about the Switch console, due in March.

I barely had predictions post before Daybreak announced they were closing Landmark, ticking one off the list for me.  That got people freaked out about other Daybreak titles, so I reviewed the list.

That also led me off onto a semi-sarcastic rant about an EverQuest successor.

It was also high noon for Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2.

With a new iPad I lost all my progress on Candy Crush Saga, so forswore the title forever.

I was also tallying up the results of my purchases from the Steam Winter Sale.  I don’t get why people like Stardew Valley so much.  Just not my thing I guess.  I did play a stretch of Train Valley however.

The long mansion road project was starting to hit home with me, but I kept on moving forward village by village.

In EVE Online I hit the 170 million skill point mark.  All those skill points and I still don’t use my capital ships.  After a false start we got the first update of YC119.  It had music.  It was also the kick off of the CSM election season.

In null sec there was a big battle at F4R2-Q that seemed to herald a new war.  However coordination problems with the local defenders saw us pulling back to Catch.

And in Diablo III we were waiting for the Darkening of Tristram event.  I ran through it quickly once, and then again to get some more achievements.  It was kind of neat, but it wasn’t the original Diablo.

Ten Years Ago

I asked 12 questions for 2012. Some of those questions are still pretty legit.  I also did what was for a while the annual LEGO minifigure round up.

I updated the About Page to its “Infrequently Asked Questions” format.  Has it really been like that for five years already?  It is probably due for an update.

There was that whole SOPA thing.  We still live in peril of its return.

I struck a couple of games from my watch list, as it seemed I would never go back to play them again.

I bought an iPad for our cats… judging by the pictures.

LEGO Universe joined the ever increasing list of departed MMOs when its free to play conversion failed to save it from extinction.

SOE gave us the subscription matrix for the EverQuest free to play transition.  As part of that conversion, EverQuest Mac was targeted for extinction as well. (Spoiler: It survived… for a while)  Meanwhile, somebody had an EverQuest cocktail shaker on eBay.

Prompted by comments from others, I asked why those who sought an old school MMO experience were not out playing Vanguard.

Blizzard said they were going to be too busy in 2012 for a BlizzCon.  Speaking of Blizzard, I hit level 85 at last in WoWAnd then there was a panic about Diablo III maybe launching in February. (It didn’t)

Turbine announced that their fall LOTRO expansion would be Riders of Rohan.

There was an odd divergent current about Star Wars: The Old Republic, with some declaring it dead already (one month in) while others were still in “best game ever” mode.  My favorite (now deleted, but still on the Internet Archive) angry post called it a hate crime.

I was starting to moan… more loudly… about how free to play makes an MMO focus heavily on cash shop content… to the detriment of the game in my opinion.  This was prompted, no doubt, by those wings.  Smed, on the other hand, was very happy about free to play.

In EVE Online the war against White Noise came to a close, leading to a quiet time in the north.  But a conflict with Raiden was looming.  during the lull, I recalled my first PvP death in EVE and celebrated that Garde drones now actually went *pew* *pew*.  Boring no more!

In Rift, the instance group was kicked off its server.  We regrouped on a new server.  We were also warming up and starting to work as a group again in the Iron Tombs and the Darkening Deeps.  That last was a struggle.

The Type 59 tank was pulled from the cash shop in World of Tanks.

And, finally, there was Pop Muzik.

Fifteen Years Ago

I wrote 59 blog posts, which remains a monthly record here at TAGN.  Of course, that was before Twitter, so I was more likely to do shorter posts.  If I had the patience I would track the average word count per post per month over the life of the blog to see how I changed from short posts to more of a long form/long winded approach.

I gave a brief recount of 2006 in what I find is my first high/low post on the blog.  I had forgotten that I had done that post.  I also uninstalled some games I was no longer playing.  I was also looking forward towards Lord of the Rings Online.

The MMO blogesphere starting talking about generations of MMOs, and I asked if we had even gotten past the first generation, then quoted Wikipedia’s take on the generation debate.

The instance group in World of Warcraft finished up the Scarlet Monestary and rolled through Razorfen Downs.

Blintz, my fae swashbuckler in EverQuest II was just digging into Zek, The Orcish Wastes, one of my favorite zones in post-cataclysm Norrath, as well as hunting for Blood Talon in order to get my dwarven work boots.

Scott Hartsman described some of the goals for the EverQuest II expansion that would eventually become The Rise of Kunark.  I also discovered that Sony slipped a promo for the Transformers movie in with the Echoes of Faydwer installation.  That was back when SOE was under Sony Pictures.

I played in some of the Vanguard open beta, once I got it downloaded.  The team was still working on a lot of polishing and features. The launch date was announced somewhat late, but when the game actually launched (on the same day as the much maligned Microsoft Vista), I declined to buy the box even though it was on Station Access.  I thought one of the game’s potential flaws might be the inability to make a “hot” character. A female half-elf was the best I could manage.  The character models were not pretty despite a profusion of sliders and options in the creation process.

Blizzard launched The Burning Crusade without the usual first day disasters that generally accompanied expansions back in the day, though I couldn’t figure out why I bothered to buy a copy.  I was wondering how long it would hold its $40 price tag.  It stayed at that price for quite a long time.  These days we sometimes get a discount before a game even goes live.

Given that expansions were on my mind, I was wondering what the best timing for expansions really was.  EverQuest was still doing two a year back then, while Blizzard took more than two years to get to its first one.

I gave a brief review of Massive Magazine issue #2.

And I found that SOE had provided the industry standard definition for the word “soon.”

Twenty Five Years Ago

The original Diablo shipped, stirring up a new genre in its wake, the ARPG.  You can still find a playable version of the original at GoG.com.

Thirty Years Ago

Atari Corporation, as it then existed, dropped production, sales, and support for the Atari 2600, the Atari 7800, and the Atari 8-bit computer family.  The 2600 series was supported for 15 years from launch, and has since been renewed in emulators in software and hardware form many times.

Forty Years Ago

Sega launches Zaxxon, with modeled a 3D environment with an isometric perspective and was, as I recall at the time, amazing looking.  I could just sit and watch the demo run in the arcade.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. Probing and Hacking for Fun and Profit in the EVE Online Doctor Who Interstellar Convergence Event
  3. Doctor Who and Daleks Invade EVE Online with the Interstellar Convergence
  4. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  7. Embracing the Iron Age in Valheim
  8. Microsoft Plans to Acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 Billion, Promises Joy and Community
  9. Daleks are Coming to EVE Online
  10. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  11. Predictions in the Face of 2022
  12. The Army of Mango Alliance Attempts a Self Destruct to Flee Fraternity

Search Terms of the Month

goonswarm propaganda best
[I mean, it is pretty damn good at times]

eve fax
[Yes, though without the special paper]

eve minokawa
[See ‘eve fax’]

r-arkn aom keepstar
[Not anymore]

usnavy marauders
[Those are not like EVE Online marauders]

Game Time from ManicTime

The month saw New Eden back on top as I ran the Doctor Who event to see what it was all about.  I had a bit of a Stellaris binge and EverQuest II were not far behind.

  1. EVE Online – 26.29%
  2. Stellaris – 22.95%
  3. EverQuest II – 21.56%
  4. Pokemon Pearl – 19.10%
  5. New World – 9.11%
  6. Forza Horizon 4 – 0.66%
  7. World of Tanks – 0.34%

EVE Online

Things continue to churn in New Eden.  Even in peace there is always some destruction and drama going on.  I saw somebody complaining on /r/eve that null sec wasn’t warring hard enough to keep them entertained, but we blew up and looted a staging Keepstar that might have been the biggest loot pinata in video game history.  You just can’t please some people.

There was also the Doctor Who event, which I ran through.  I’ll have a write up on it as it ends at downtime tomorrow.  Safe to say, like the game itself, it had its ups and downs and was likely inscrutable to any outsider.

EverQuest II

I hit the level cap again playing through the Visions of Vetrovia expansion.  It actually wasn’t that hard, as I wrote late last week.  It was, however, very much an EQII experience, which is neither a good nor a bad thing necessarily, but it is a thing.  I also managed to touch very little of the actual expansion content, because the game is focused on instanced play.  However, they do tend to offer solo versions, so there is still more to explore.

Forza Horizon 4

Some driving was indeed done, but I have hit a point where I got the driving need out of my system for a bit and where I have done a lot of the easy things in the game and the map is such a mess of things to do now that when I do log in I spend too much time trying to figure out where I should even go next.  And then I drive around way too fast and crash through fences, hedges, trees, and whatever else gets in my way.  At least that never gets old.

New World

The holidays finally ended there last week.  Some people leave the tree up too long I think.  The groups spent a few play sessions trying to get to the next dungeon in the game, the one at level 35.  We’re not exactly speeding out way through the game, but we’re not in a big hurry either.

Pokemon Shining Pearl

I made it through to the Elite Four and defeated Champion Cynthia, thus pretty much completing the central story of the game.  But, in Pokemon, there is always more to be done.  I still have more to catch before I can even begin to claim I have caught them all.

Pokemon Go

Another month climbing the long, long road to level 50.  I didn’t really do much out of the ordinary, a few raids, spun a Pokestop daily, and managed to get in one of the local gyms to earn some coins regularly.  I also managed to miss a day and got my daily catch and daily spin cycles out of sync, which always annoys me.  But I have them aligned again now.

Level: 42 ( 19w.7% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 680 (+3) caught, 700 (+3) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 18
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Inkay

Stellaris

Having purchased some of the latest DLC for the game, I dove in and played.  As I noted, I would consider it a classic “one more turn” game that can keep you up past your bedtime, but technically it doesn’t have turns.  But it will keep you up late dealing with each new update or event that comes in.  And if they’re coming in too slowly, you can just speed the game up.

World of Tanks

I poked about in this for a bit at the beginning of the month, so I have some stats for 2022 I suppose.  But once I got on the Stellaris binge in the evenings, my tank time sort of dried up.

Zwift

I have been at making sure I get on the bike 3-4 times a week.  I think the fact that I post this here is a motivator because, even though I am sure I am the only one that pays attention to my numbers, that they’re out in the open makes me self-conscious about them.

As for distance, I have now essentially gone from our house, though Portland, Oregon, and just over the Columbia river into Washington state.

  • Level – 12 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 684.5 miles (+100,1 miles)
  • Time – 1d 12h 8m (+5h 12m)
  • Elevation climbed – 29,501 (+5,088 feet)
  • Calories burned – 22,811 (+3,385)

Coming Up

We’re already a month into 2022 and, while it is cliche to say so, what the hell?  Time goes by too fast.

February should bring us the Activision Blizzard Q4 2021 and 2021 overall financials.  We’re all eager to see that I am sure… though with Microsoft buying them, I am not sure how much they really matter anymore.  And once Microsoft swallows them I doubt they’ll be more than an obscure line item on the MSFT financials.  Enjoy it while it lasts I guess.

Daybreak has a few things going on, including an odd new Lore & Legend special server for EverQuest II and a 64-bit upgrade for EverQuest.   Also, they’ll no doubt be picking the EverQuest Community Resource Council, but that is all hush hush.

Guild Wars 2 has the End of Dragons expansion slated to launch last I checked, and it will include fishing.  So keep an eye open for that.

The Last Day for Harry Potter Wizards Unite

The time has come to say farewell to Harry Potter Wizards Unite.  Niantic’s attempt to find success with Harry Potter the way they did with Pokemon shuts down today.

This looks more exciting than the game ever did

The announcement came back in November, when Niantic said that they would be taking the game offline.  While no reason was specified in the statement from Niantic last year, the elephant in the room was the fact that Pokemon Go was making more every month that HPWU brought in over the first two years that the title was live.  And when you license a big name like Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling wants her money and not excuses.

I explored why I felt the game failed back in November, which has a lot to do with it feeling too much like Pokemon Go and not enough like a real Harry Potter experience.  To sum up, Pokemon Go makes you feel like a Pokemon trainer out in the world, while HPWU never succeeded in making me feel at all like a wizard.

If you want another look at the title, Nerd Slayer did a Death of a Game video this past week about it, exploring the reasons it may have failed to hit its mark.

Of course, while it never achieved anything like the success of its sibling, it still made more money than most video games ever manage and probably leaves behind a host of fans for whom it was “their” game.

So it goes.

The 500 Hour Mark

I saw a question going around Twitter last week asking people to list out video games that they had played for 500+ hours.

Artwork provided by my daughter

This apparently stemmed from the developers of Dying Light II saying that the game would require 20 hours to play through the main story, 80 hours to finish the main story and all side quests, and 500 hours to “max out” the game by going down all possible choices and whatever, which generated some minor controversy and whatever.  Articles have been written, posted, and probably forgotten by this point.

I honestly don’t even know what the game is about.

But, as tends to happen, a side discussion about time spent with games came up with people listing out games they have spent 500+ hours playing.

And that is where I want to go with this.  After playing video games for more than 45 years I have to have more that a few titles with which I have hit the 500 hour mark.

Here is the thing.  I kind of want to be sure about it.  There are a lot of games I have spent a lot of time playing, but have I really spent 500 hours?  That is equal to a full time, 40 hour a week job for about three months.  And people, myself included, often wildly overestimate how much time they really spent with a game.

For example, I figured that Civilization V would make the cut.  I played a ton of that in the last decade.  But Steam clocks me in at just 425 hours played.  That is a lot, but it isn’t 500 hours.

And Civ V is the game I have the most time with on the Steam platform.  I have several games there I feel I have played thoroughly which only have 20-40 hours recorded.

But then there is something like Valheim.  I played that for a few months just a year ago.  I have 280 hours played on it, which still isn’t 500 hours, but is over half way there in under a year.  So it doesn’t have to be a title that I have played for a decade, it can be a title I focused on a lot in a limited time frame.

So I am going to break my titles out into confidence levels.  Some things I have numbers for.  My monthly ManicTime measurements enter into things as well.  I started using that to measure game play time back at the start of 2019, and there are titles I have hit 500 hours with since then.

Verifiably Have 500+ Hours Played

  • TorilMUD

I played this regularly, with a few breaks, from 1993 until late 2004.  The current running version, which represents the third one I have played, shows I have over 100 days played, which gives me 2,400 hours played at least, and that came after the last pwipe in 2002.  So there could easily be more than double that invested in the game.  Would I bet on having played 5,000 hours?  Maybe not, but it seems possible.

  • World of Warcraft

Yeah, pretty easy on this one.  Given all the time spent with the instance group, having played through WotLK from launch until Cataclysm, and time devoted to later expansions like Mists of Pandaria and Legion, I am probably past the 500 hour mark at least four times over, if not more.

  • WoW Classic

I am going to differentiate this from WoW, in part because they have different clients, but also because all of my WoW Classic time has been tracked by ManicTime.  And ManicTime puts me in at 775 hours played.  Yikes.

  • EVE Online

After fifteen years, this is pretty easy.  Once again, even my ManicTime measurement for the last three years puts me past 500 hours, and that is impressive given how much time I spend tabbed out of the game when I play.  I swear I am logged in twice as long as ManicTime tracks.

Almost Assuredly have 500 Hours Played

  • EverQuest II

I could probably get EQII into the above category if I went in and did /played on half a dozen characters.  I played it a lot in the first year and then have come back to it at various times.  I have a lot of alts spread over the few remaining servers at this point.

  • Civilization II

I have absolutely played more Civ II than Civ V, and since I have a benchmark for Civ V via Steam, it stands to reason that I have the hours in for it.

  • Minecraft

Have you seen how much time I spent building roads and rail systems?  Minecraft had the advantage of being something I could play for hours while listening to podcasts or audio books.

Pretty Sure I have 500 Hours Played

  • EverQuest

I mean, come on, I must have 500 hours in for this.  This one gets into the mists of time though.  I did play a lot back in 1999 and 2000.  But  I no longer have the account I used back then and I am fairly confident I haven’t put in that much time with my current account.  So I feel like it is over 500 hours, but I don’t have anything to really anchor it to.

  • Lord of the Rings Online

While I really never get far beyond Moria, I have been back into the game enough times now that I must be well past the 500 hour mark.  I have played through the original content many times at this point.

 

It is Quite Possible I have 500 Hours Played

  • Rift

I wasn’t even thinking about this, then I went back and looked at some old posts about Raptr and the time tracking it did, and I hit Elite in Rift for hours played.  It was the WoW replacement for quite a stretch.  Add in the Rift Classic experiment and I feel pretty sure I am there.

  • Civilization

I played the original pretty obsessively back when it came out.  I never went back after Civ II came out, but it was a few years before that happened.

  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

This came after Civ II and there was quite a stretch between that and Civ III where this was the big strategy game.  I liked this a lot more than Civ III and a bit more than Civ II, but it had problems in the long term as it was locked into a few full screen resolution sizes from the 90s, while Civ II was just a window that even today resizes to the fit my current huge monitor

  • Age of Empires II

I think I make the cut on this one just due to longevity.  I have played this off and on since it came out more than 20 years ago.  It used to be a staple at work on a Friday night back in the day, and Steam say I have about 100 hours played with the HD remaster.

  • Pokemon Go

The math works here for the most part.  My wife and I have been playing for almost five and a half years at this point, so 500 hours requires less than 15 minutes a day on average.  The only thing keeping me from being completely on board with this is figuring out what really constitutes “playing.”  Me tapping on my phone screen, yes.  But how about me going for a walk to get steps?  Does the walk require intent?  Does spinning a Pokestop make the whole duration of the walk count as playing, or just when I have eyes on the screen?

The Mists of Time are Thick, but I think I made 500 Hours

  • Wizardry

Have I mentioned the annotated, hand drawn maps I made of the game back in the day?  I have a couple of Apple II titles that probably make the cut, but this one left behind physical evidence.

  • Ultima III

The last in the Ultima series before Lord British got all moody and introspective.  I played this to death, and then bought an editor that let me make my own modded version of the game, which I then played some more.  Also, my girlfriend at the time wore makeup with the Ultima III brand, completely unrelated.

  • Lode Runner

There are a lot of Apple II games that I played for a bit, and then there are a few that I played for ages.  I played a lot of Lode Runner, solving all those levels and then making my own levels.

  • Stellar Emperor

I spent a lot of time… and money… playing this back in the day.  I won the game once.

  • Klondike

This was the first really good solitaire game that I found on the Mac back in the day.  I used to play it obsessively at times.  It had a scoring system that rewarded smart, efficient play, and I developed a whole philosophy of play to adapt to it.

  • NetHack

Maybe, sort of, if you count the time I spent digging through the code and modifying it to see if I could make the game better… better for me at least.  It was a bit of an obsession for me in the early 90s.

Missing From the List

  • Diablo Series

While I have played all the titles from the Diablo series, often intensely at times, it has tended to be in short bursts.  I might have played them all for a combined total of 500 hours, but no single title has hit that mark.

  • Pokemon

Again, my combined time playing Pokemon, by which I mean the core Pokemon RPG games on the GameBoy, DS, and Switch, no doubt adds up to more than 500 hours.  But I have not spent 500 hours on any single title.  The champion was probably Pokemon SoulSilver, when I caught them all.  My blog post of that shows I invested 243 hours getting there.  Nearly half way to 500, but half way doesn’t count.  I probably spent closer to 50 hours on most of the ones I finished.

  • Atari 2600 Games

From 1977 to 1983 the Atari 2600 was my only real home video game outlet, so I am sure I played many more than 500 hours.  But did I play any one game that much?  Maybe Adventure or the Indiana Jones game… but most likely the Blackjack cartridge.  The fourth game on that was Poker Solitaire, and I could sit and play that for ages.  But that was so long ago, I really can’t commit to saying I have 500 hour into any of those cartridges.  They were not deep games.

So that is my guess at the games I have invested 500 hours into.  But when you’re into the back half of your 50s, you’ve had a lot of time to get there.