Category Archives: Pokemon Go

SuperData Sees WoW Rising and Crusader Kings 3 Holding On

SuperData Research published their monthly digital revenue chart for October so it is time to see what is up in video games.  As has become almost standard so far in 2020, their report opens up with another statement about how much video game revenue is up over the previous year.

  • Consumers spent $10.6B on digital games in October 2020, up 14% year-over-year. Consistent with ongoing trends, console spending grew the fastest, with earnings up 18% over 2019. This was especially impressive growth given that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launched in October 2019 and many of the biggest titles of the 2020 holiday season were not released until November. Earnings on other platforms rose as well, with mobile up 15% and PC up 10%.

Again, people staying home, or trying to, has led to more consumption on the video game front.

And then there is the chart itself.

SuperData Research Top 10 – October 2020

On the PC end of the chart the usual top four remain in place, swapping spots but otherwise the same crowd as always.  But in fifth position, or the first actually competitive position most months, World of Warcraft shows up.  This is not unexpected as the warm up for the Shadowlands expansion was in play.

Then there is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in sixth and Roblox in seventh spot.

And then we find Crusader Kings III still on the chart for October in spot eight.  It is down from fifth spot last month, but the surprise is that it stayed on the chart at all.  Games that are not online subscription or cash shop based tend to peak quickly and fade, usually just appearing for a single month.  But CK3 breaks the mold again.

That is followed by Fornite and Valorant, while World of Tanks fell off the list again.

On the console column, NBA 2K21 tops the list, followed by FIFA 21.  And down at the bottom of the list is Grand Theft Auto V.  It has been a regular on the list since it began, can it hold on much longer?

And on the mobile end of the chart Pokemon Go is back at the top of the chart.  It passed the 4 billion dollar total revenue mark during the summer and just keeps on going.

Then there is Genshin Impact, which made both the console and mobile charts.  SuperData has a bullet point about it:

  • Genshin Impact from miHoYo was October’s highest-grossing game. The title, which was released on September 28 on mobile, PlayStation 4 and PC, is an unprecedented international success for a game made by a Chinese developer. Genshin Impact features monetization mechanics commonly found in mobile games like collecting characters through gacha (where users pay for the chance to get random in-game items) and limited-time events. However, gameplay inspired by console role-playing games and action-adventure titles attracted players who may have avoided mobile gacha games in the past.

Last months number one, Free Fire, the shooter title from Singapore, carried on in third position in October.

Perennial list member Candy Crush Saga held on another month, securing seventh position.  And down at the bottom of the list is Honour of Kings, which had a run in first place for much of this year.  Still, don’t cry for its fall, being in the top ten overall still means it is probably raking in the bucks.

Other bullet points from the SuperData report:

  • FIFA 21 sold 1.5M digital units. Compared to the launch month of FIFA 20, launch month digital sales and revenue were both up (1.2M vs. 1.5M for sales). However Electronic Arts had a significantly shorter launch month period in which to sell FIFA 20 since it was released only at the end of September, while FIFA 21 went on sale at the start of October.
  • Watch Dogs: Legion from Ubisoft broke franchise records, selling 1.9M digital units.  Even though the game was only on sale for the final three days in October, its first month sales were significantly higher than Watch Dogs 2, which was released on November 15, 2016 and sold 431K digital units. The latest game likely benefited from several free giveaways of Watch Dogs 2 earlier in 2020, which built up the franchise’s audience.
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time from Activision Blizzard sold 402K digital units, a smaller total than recent remakes of titles in the franchise. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy sold 520K digital units in June 2017 (it released on the last day of the month), while Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled sold 552K copies in June 2019. There was likely less pent-up demand for Crash 4 and the title was also released during a more crowded release period than its predecessors. First-month earnings were, however, the highest of modern Crash games since Crash 4 launched at a standard $59.99 price point instead of $39.99, like the recent remakes.
  • Star Wars: Squadrons sold 1.1M digital units in October, putting it ahead of the launch of Star Wars: Battlefront II (1.0M) and behind Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2.9M).
  • The Star Wars IP attracted a sizable audience to the title even though it belonged to the niche space combat subgenre. In contrast to Crash 4, Squadrons earnings were lower than those of other modern Star Wars games given its lower $39.99 price.
  • SuperData will now regularly be reporting on the performance of game subscription services, which give users access to a library of premium titles at a fixed monthly price. Publishers and platform holders have invested heavily in Netflix-style subscription services in order to generate recurring revenue. SuperData is currently covering Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now and EA Play.* Combined revenue for these services in October was up 142% year-over-year and subscriber numbers rose 113%. Xbox Game Pass accounted for the majority of growth in both cases.

Level 40 in Pokemon Go

As I mentioned in the month in review post, I managed to make it to level 40 in Pokemon Go at last.  My wife got here too, though about a week behind me.

The big four oh

In support of the whole idea that Pokemon Go is an MMO, hitting the level cap had both that climactic and anti-climactic feel to it that reaching the level cap does in a game like WoW.

On the one hand, you’ve climbed the xp mountain.  The goal has been achieved.

And, as I mention, the way the level curve in Pokemon Go is setup, the gap between level 39 and level 40 represents 25% of the total xp needed to go from 1 to 40.  That last step is a big one, and since I hit 39 back in April I have noted not just my level in the month in review posts, but the percentage of the way I had made it towards that final goal.

There was a lot of anticipation running through me as to how long it would take to reach the summit, so when I arrived it was kind of a big deal.  I got my moment, the big 40 on my phone screen, the pile of goodies that come with the level, and all of that.

But then there is the inevitable realization that once you’re at the top of the mountain, the climb is done.  As often happens to me in MMOs, I get focused pretty hard on getting there as I get closer and closer… and then suddenly the last bit before level zips past and it happens so fast that you feel like you never had a chance to savor those last moments.

And then after all the time focused on one primary aspect of the game, you’re done with it and left feeling a bit empty as your goal is suddenly reached.

I took a screen shot of my basic stats just after I hit level 40.

Status as of level 40

It is interesting to note that you keep accumulating xp even after you hit level 40.

My wife was a bit irked to hit level 40 after me as the account on her phone is a month older than the one on mine, so she had been ahead of me in levels for most of the chase up to level 40.  I caught up around level 36, then she passed me again, then I pulled out in front for the final stretch.

Part of the reason she is irk is that her stats on that page, for Pokemon caught and PokeStops visited, are more than 10K higher than mine on both counts.  That is few million points of xp she should have over me.

But I did better with Pokefriends.  I have 34 “best” friends in the game, and you earn xp for each of the four friend stages, the last two being worth 50K and 100K respectively.  She had about half that many when she hit 40, so that gave me a couple million extra xp on my own.  Plus, I managed to pop a lucky egg for a couple of best friend events, which doubles the xp.

Now that we’re both 40 and the xp race is done, the question is what to do now?  After all this time, it is kind of our thing, something we do together.

In the grand tradition of the mainline Pokemon RPGs, there is always the quest to catch them all.  There are still a bunch of Pokemon we’re missing.

And, more in the MMO tradition, there is raiding.  One of my wife’s friends has been including us in a group that coordinates to do gym raids, something that is also helping us fill in the missing Pokemon.

We did talk about trying one of the other Niantic games, specifically Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.  However, that didn’t seem to be taking off… or be much more than a re-skin of Pokemon Go with a Hogwarts motif… so we stuck with the our current game for now.

Pokemon Go has been upping its game this year too, with a lot of events.  And there is talk about either raising the level cap or adding another form of progression.

For now though, we’re working with the game at the level cap.  We can finally boost up our Pokemon to their max CP.

October in Review

The Site

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

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

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

Classic is as classic does

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guild Wars 2 launched the Heart of Thorns expansion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

EverQuest launches the House of Thule expansion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEGO Universe launched.

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

The PlayStation 2 launches in North America.

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

Forty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in November

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

warcraft orcs vs pirate
[Sure, I guess]

lotro cracked server
[They seem that way lately]

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

Game Time by ManicTime

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

September in Review

The Site

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

Just like California State Highway 14… sort of

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

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

Daybreak put PlanetSide Arena into early access.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

The blog turned nine years old.

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

World of Warships officially went live after its open beta.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

Well, there was that whole four year anniversary thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In World of Warcraft I finally got that Brewmaster achievement.

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

Twenty Five Years Ago

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

Thirty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in September

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

Search Terms of the Month

eve what amkes delve so valuable
[The bees]

how to kill marksp
[The mark needs to be skinned first]

eve online can you transfer skill poikts
[With skill extractors/injectors]

any public keepstars in eve?
[There is one in Perimeter]

Game Time by ManicTime

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

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

Crusader Kings 3

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

Diablo II

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

So we have that to look forward to.

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

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

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

SuperData has Fall Guys on Top for August

SuperData Research got their digital revenue chart for August out and, no surprise, revenues were up over last year for another month.

  • August digital games revenue totaled $10.8B, up 16% year-over-year. Digital console earnings grew the most and were up 88% compared to the same month in 2019. Revenue also rose by 15% on PC and 3% on mobile.

The pandemic continues to boost the video games industry as 2020 stays ahead of 2019.

  • Digital games have earned $82.8B through the first eight months of 2020, a growth of 13% from the same time span last year. Gaming revenue took off in March as COVID-19 lockdowns spread worldwide. Since then, each game device type (mobile, PC or console) has generated higher year-over-year revenue. 

But it is the chart that we like to look at, and the August chart has a shakeup of the usual order on the PC end of things.

SuperData Research Top 10 – August 2020

And, as I wrote above, the usual order on the PC side of things got a shake up in August, with Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout topping the chart.

  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout had the highest-earning launch of any PC title ($185M) since Overwatch in May 2016. The innovative take on battle royale, published by Developer Digital and developed by Mediatonic, was free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, but 8.2M players still paid for the PC version. The breakout success of Fall Guys was especially impressive since it came from a relatively small development team. The game’s chaotic, wacky gameplay was a big draw on gaming video content platforms like Twitch, where it topped the viewership charts in the lead-up to launch.

I had not even heard of the game… or I had ignored it… until the SuperData chart came out, but there it is on top for August.

That pushed the usual top four, which I think of as the LCDF lineup due to their frequent ordering, down a notch as their usual order changed up, with Crossfire in second, League of Legends in third, Fantasy Westward Journey Online in fourth, and Dungeon Fighter Online in fifth.

The bottom half of the list saw Fortnite back up in its spot relative to the LCDF titles after having fallen in July, seeing a revenue boost in August.

  • Fortnite revenue grew 76% month-over-month on PC and console, more than offsetting its falling mobile revenue. Player spending jumped in late August thanks to a new season of content featuring cosmetic items based on Marvel Comics characters. This is in sharp contrast to its mobile revenue, which fell by 62% after Apple and Google removed the game from the iOS App Store and Google Play as part of the ongoing legal dispute between Epic and the two technology companies. (Our published mobile revenue totals do not encompass the Android version of Fortnite available outside of Google Play.)

Fortnite was followed by Roblox in seventh, CS:GO in eighth.  New shooter Valorant was down from fifth in July to ninth in August, and World of Warcraft managed to stay on the chart in tenth position.  World of Tanks fell of the list for August.

On the console chart Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took the top spot back as last months number one, Ghosts of Tsushima fell back to sixth position.  FIFA 20 and Fortnite followed in second and third, with the venerable GTA V in fourth position.

And at the mobile end of the chart, Pokemon Go continues its summer reign in the top spot.

  • Pokémon GO continued its upward momentum in August and broke its all-time earnings record. The game generated 25% more that its previous revenue peak achieved during August 2016. It benefited from warm weather and frequent limited-time events that appealed to its passionate player base. Pokémon GO has historically performed best in the summer and revenue will likely begin a seasonal decline in either September or October.

Then there is Free Fire, the title from Singapore that popped onto the charts in third place last month.  It has worked its way past Honour of Kings and into second place.  Behind them in fourth position is Peacekeeper Elite, the mobile version of PUBG available in China.  PUBG Mobile, the version for the rest of us only rings in at eighth position, just ahead of Candy Crush Saga.  However, PUBG Mobile may be in for a fall, as it has since been banned in India.

  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile was the 8th highest earning mobile title in its last month before being banned in India. The game was frequently the country’s highest-grossing game before India’s government furthered a widespread crackdown on Chinese apps (Tencent has operated the mobile version of PUBG). Also in August, the game’s overall revenue and player numbers did not change significantly, which indicates that bans of the mobile version of Fortnite did not lead to a mass player exodus to PUBG Mobile.

NPD also has their top ten chart forAugust available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Madden NFL 21
  2. UFC 4
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  4. Ghost of Tsushima
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  10. Mortal Kombat 11

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

As usual, this list continues to indicate how much consoles still depend on physical retail distribution.

So it goes.  Another month of pandemic remains good business for some.

August in Review

The Site

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

August means some sort of Blaugust

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

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

A post a day keeps… something away…

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

One Year Ago

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

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

PlanetSide Arena also resurfaces with a new plan.

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

There was more talk about lock boxes and bad analogies.

I hit three years with Pokemon Go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

It was Blaugust and a lot of people played along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

Massive Blips went away.  I miss it.

I made my position on raspberries perfectly clear.

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

Cryptic and Atari announced they were doing the game Neverwinter.

Runic started talking about Torchlight II.

Stunt Rock.  I need say no more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

Twenty-Five Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in August

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

Search Terms of the Month

project discovery 40 million isk per hour
[Tell me more]

eve online notoras
[They have icecream]

can a drake null sec rat
[A Drake can do anything… except light a cyno]

felwood or un’goro first
[Un’goro]

Spam Comment of the Month

Hey mate are you selling your blog by chance?
[Everything has a price!]

Gaming Time from ManicTime

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

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

Anyway, game times:

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

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

Diablo II

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

More World War Bee in EVE Online is a given.

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

More Diablo II certainly.

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

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

SuperData Say Pokemon Go was All Go Go Go in July

SuperData Research got their monthly chart out for July last week and I am going to squeeze in a post about it here on the last day of August.

SuperData Research Top 10 – July 2020

On the PC side of the chart, the usual top four remain in place, though League of Legends regained the top spot on the chart after being down in second for June.

Valorant, the shooter from Riot, moved up a spot.  It showed up on the scene in sixth place, but moved to fifth this month, swapping positions with RobloxWorld of Tanks, which fell off the list last month, returned in seventh spot, just ahead of World of Warcraft.  And bringing up the rear are CS:GO and FortniteThe Sims 4, which was in tenth spot for June fell off the list.

For consoles, the much talked about Ghost of Tsushima topped the chart.  Per the report:

Ghost of Tsushima sold 1.9M digital units in July to become the fastest-selling new PlayStation IP. The game far outpaced the early sales of other new franchises launched on PlayStation 4: Horizon: Zero Dawn sold 1.9M units in its first two months on the market in early 2017, and Days Gone sold 1.3M units in its first two months after launching in late April 2019. Ghost of Tsushima also set the record for the biggest console game ever launched during the month of July. The Last of Us Part II, also a PlayStation exclusive, set the June record only one month prior. A lack of alternative entertainment options due to COVID-19 has contributed to the success of recent PlayStation titles during what is historically a quiet season for new game releases.

GTA V pulled in fifth place, just ahead of Fortnite, and Pokemon Sword and Shield made it on to the list thanks to the expansion for the game launched on the Switch.  Paper Mario: The Oragami King also got a mention from SuperData:

Paper Mario: The Origami King sold 555K digital units in July. While its performance was nowhere near those of the last big Switch exclusives, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (5.0M) and Pokémon Sword and Shield (2.7M), the game did better than Fire Emblem: Three Houses when it launched in July 2019.

And on the mobile end of the chart Pokemon Go rose to first place based on a dedicated, if smaller, following.

Pokémon GO had its second-biggest revenue month ever. Earnings were just 0.4% lower than in August 2016, when the game was a global phenomenon. Now, however, it relies on a dedicated core of high-spending players, and July 2020 user numbers were just 15% of what they were in August 2016. July revenue was up thanks to the ‘Pokémon GO Fest’ in-game event on July 25 and 26. The event required a $15 fee to access a range of challenges and activities.

Meanwhile, the venerable Candy Crush Saga remained on the list, holding on in tenth position.

SuperData also pointed out the game Free Fire, which grabbed third place in July.

Free Fire has become the number two [three?] mobile game by carving out a niche in emerging markets. The mobile battle royale title from Singaporean publisher Garena has the distinction of being the world’s top Southeast Asian-published game. The game runs well on affordable, low-spec mobile phones and regularly tops the charts in markets like India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

I’ll have to keep an eye on Free Fire going forward, representing the markets it does.

NPD also has their top ten chart for July available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Ghost of Tsushima
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  3. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  4. The Last of Us: Part II
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mortal Kombat 11
  8. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  10. Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

Being focused on retail, the NPD list is heavy on console titles, as they depend on physical sales much more than PC games.  And, while Ghost of Tsushima tops the list as expected, half the list is also Nintendo products, showing again how much they depend on retail over digital sales.

 

July in Review

The Site

Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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

see what we’re working with here?

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

Life in tech.

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

March wasn’t quite there

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

One Year Ago

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

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

Pokemon Go hit its third birthday. StarCraft got cartooned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I tried out DOTA Underlords.

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in July

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

bloodmyst isle tedious
[Yes]

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

minecraft burning forest
[guilty]

nfs diggy donuts
[Hell of a file system]

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

Game Time from ManicTime

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

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

Diablo II

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest

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

Minecraft

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Go and Remote Raid Passes

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

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

At least another month of these

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

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

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

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

Reshiram and Zekrom from Pokemon Black & White

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

Of course, remote raid passes cost coins.

Remote Raid Passes in the Store

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

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

SuperData Says Video Games Still Doing Very Well in the Pandemic

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

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

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

Digital Revenue only

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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