Category Archives: Pokemon

Pokemon Dialga and Palkia GameStop Download Event

It being an even numbered year… or such is my theory… Nintendo has again decided to give Pokemon players a chance to get their hands on an array of otherwise mildly difficult to obtain legendary Pokemon.

The first up are from the Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum generation, Palkia and Dialga.

Legendaries of the DS era

To obtain one or both of this pair you must trundle on down to your local GameStop to pick up a code to redeem with your game.

The code requires you to own a copy of Pokemon Sun, Moon, UltraSun, or UltraMoon, and the legendary you get depends on which copy of the game you have.  Those with Pokemon Sun or UltraSun get Palkia while those with Pokemon Moon or UltraMoon get Dialga.

But the divide doesn’t end there.  Those with Pokemon Sun or Moon get a level 60 version of their respective legendary with one set of moves, while those with Pokemon UltraSun or UltraMoon get a level 100 version of their legendary with a different set of moves and a held item.

Look, here is the chart if you want the details.

You can click on this to see it larger…

So the true OCD Pokemon fan has to have all four games… but of course they already do… in order to obtain all four legendary variations.

I will likely just get a code for my copy of Pokemon UltraMoon… mostly because through my own bit of obsessive “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” collecting, I already have the duo sitting in Pokemon Bank.  But I wouldn’t say no to another one.

Anyway, all of this, including the steps on how to redeem your code once you obtain it from GameStop, are documented over on the Pokemon web site.

There is a time constraint.  The codes will only be available during February and must be redeemed by May 28, 2018.

Happy collecting!

Addendum: I actually picked up a card after writing this.

The Dialga and Palkia card

The cards are much bigger than the last GameStop distro, being about 4x the side by my estimation.

The reverse side of the card

Friday Bullet Points Dipped in Nostalgia

It is raining again… which is a good thing in California… and a spate of different things have rolled across my screen, all of which interest me but which don’t quite warrant a full blog post yet, so we’re back to Friday bullet points.

Age of Empires Restrictive Edition

I was keen as mustard when it was announced last June that Microsoft was working on a remaster of the original Age of Empires.  While I was always more of an Age of Empires II – The Age of Kings fan… and I own the remaster of that already… I was still in for the original.

Age of Empires

After a long stretch of silence, there was finally some news about the game.

On the upside of things, the remaster will be available come February 20, 2018, so it will be here soon.

On the down side, the game will ONLY be available through the Microsoft Windows Store.  Leaving aside the whole “I don’t need another goddam Steam clone” and my lack of trust in Microsoft, the store itself tells me it won’t be available until the end of 2018 and that it won’t run on my device.

Also, it may require certain hardware

So I guess that pretty much lets the air out of any Age of Empires nostalgia I had as well as being a bad sign for any possible hope I had in their whole Age of Empires IV plan.

Rift’s Prime Number

From there we head over to Trion Worlds where their 2018 Rift On! producer’s letter.

Not a dye nor a floor wax

Trion looks to be eyeing the green fields of nostalgia as well, taking a card from Daybreak’s deck and promising something called Rift Prime, a subscription only version of the game that will come with a fresh server, reduced cash shop options, progressively unlocked content, and NO lockboxes.

I have said in the past that the one thing that would surely get me to roll on back to Telara was a retro server of some sort, so this sounds like it might be the time.  The instance group in pre-Storm Legion expansion Rift was one of my MMO high points.  Still, there are some mixed messages.

We plan to present RIFT at its roots as much as is possible to do, and look forward to sharing details over the coming weeks. The PRIME server will progress at a faster pace than the original launch and will eventually come to an end in spectacular fashion.

So back to the roots is good, and I expect that the servers will have to progress… by which I assume they mean unlock expansions… more rapidly that than the first time around.  I am curious as to what the spectacular end will be.

But then there is also this to wrestle with.

As a small teaser of what’s to come, dynamically matching characters to their current zone’s level, dungeons dropping loot specific to your character’s true level, caps on the number of professions available to a single character, and participation awards that carry over to your characters on existing servers.

Many upcoming live content changes that apply to existing servers will also apply to the new PRIME server, assuming they’re not restricted by progression locks.

That doesn’t sound very much like Rift at its roots.

Anyway, the current time frame is “spring” for Rift Prime which, as we recall from the Landmark launch, extends out to the first day of summer in the back half of June.  Syp goes on about the Rift Prime server idea at length, but I am waiting for more details before I crank up the thousand word minimum post-o-matic opinion machine.

Legendary Pokemon Return.. Again

It is an even numbered year so Nintendo is having Pokemon events to give away legendary Pokemon.

Didn’t we just get some of these?

Getting people to come to events to make Pokemon a more social game has always been part of the Game Freak/Nintendo plan, but didn’t we just spend 2016 having monthly legendary events?  And isn’t the ability to catch a bunch of these part of the sales pitch for Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon?

Oh well, if you missed out and don’t have the wherewithal for end game Pokemon, another series of events are coming for 2018 starting with a Dialga and Palkia event in February at your local GameStop.  In order to participate you must have a copy of Pokemon Sun, Moon, UltraSun, or UltraMoon.

Also coming up in February for Pokemon nostalgia buffs is Pokemon Crystal on the 3DS Virtual Console.

More on the Expense of Video Games

In something of a follow up on the raging discussion back at the end of November about how expensive it is to make video games, Raph Koster has returned with a new presentation and discussion about the cost of making video games.  So more charts and graphs and a list of suggestions await.  If nothing else you can bask in how little we pay per kilobyte of video game software these days I suppose, a measure which makes those old 143KB Apple II floppies seem like something of a gold mine.

Where Have All Our Video Cards Gone?

And finally, we can wistfully recall the glory days when we were able to go down to Best Buy and purchase a goddam video card.  Ars Technica has an article up about how all this Tulip bubble crypto currency boom is soaking up all the high end video cards.  I guess I will be stuck with a GeForce GTX 960 until this whole thing collapses.

Anyway, those were my bullet points for the week.  If you want more there are some over at Endgame Viable, most of which are not duplicates of items on my list.

December in Review

The Site

Welcome to the 350th and likely last post here for 2017.  I mean, unless there is some dramatic news like Daybreak announcing EverQuest III, this is pretty much it for the year.

For this section I will drop in a bonus, end-of-year list just because I like lists.  In this case, the list is of the five most popular posts from the site in 2017 with a little commentary as to why I think they topped the list.

1From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun

This is just a strange aspect of Pokemon Sun & Moon… and UltraSun & UltraMoon… in that, unlike past versions of the game, there is no National Pokedex to unlock.  As the post notes, Nintendo wants you to track that through the Pokemon Bank app, which is good in that it keeps track across multiple games, but bad because you cannot actually access it to see what you’re missing without going into Pokemon Bank.  Basically, people Google to try and find the National Pokedex and end up ere.

2April Fools at Blizzard 2017 – Not Much to Talk About

Google was kind to me for some reason this year.  Unlike the other posts on the list, which were spread out over the course of the year, this one had 90% of its traffic over three days.

3Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!

This one pops up on Reddit every once in a while, but with the announcement of WoW Classic it suddenly started showing up a lot more frequently.  Nostalgia for the win.

4Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?

I have no idea why this one gets the constant drip, drip, drip of traffic, other than the oft broached idea that there is a market out there for a successor to the now classic Diku MUD translation to a 3D world.

5At the Camp in 68FT-6

I think this one just gets people coming for the LOL picture.

Bubble arrangement for the win

Anyway, that is one more bit of 2017 blog trivia here on the last day of the year.

One Year Ago

As happens every December, I reviewed my predictions for the year, assessed the highs and lows, and made some attempt at a gaming outlook for 2017.  For the last I was feeling somewhat adrift… which turned out to be right on the money for most of 2017!

At Daybreak we found out that Russel Shanks had been replaced as CEO.  Still not sure what changed with that, if anything.

A little later former Daybreak CEO John Smedley announced the end of Hero’s Song and PixelMage Games.

Meanwhile Turbine was losing Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online to a spin-off called Standing Stone GamesAsheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 were to be closed and Turbine was slated to become solely a maker of mobile games.  Standing Stone Games also had some deal with Daybreak, they were even mentioned in the EULA, so maybe that was what changed.

In New Eden we had Blog Banter #78 which asked the pwipe question about EVE Online.

Then there was the rumor that CCP might be up for sale for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!  I followed that up with my thoughts as to what would happen to EVE Online if certain companies bought CCP.  EA, for example, would end up shutting down the game and closing the studio, if history is any guide.

I also listed out what I felt were the top five problems with EVE Online, then added a bonus item, because EVE is like that.

There was also the traditional Yoiul gifts, if the launcher would let you into the game and the last update for YC118, which included music.

Then there was null sec, where I was celebrating my fifth anniversary.  Down in Delve we managed to lose 600 billion ISK on our own cyno beacon.

In space the war in Tribute was heating up.  Asher led us up there to shoot targets of opportunity in M-OEE8 as Pandemic Legion and friends contested the timer on CO2’s Keepstar.  That was also the second day that the PCU passed 50K since the Ascension expansion.  I went back north on my own to be there for the death of that Keepstar.  The heralded the exit of TEST and CO2 from the north.

That in turn led to the opening of a Winter war down south, a war that eventually fizzled when the participants decided nobody wanted to fight a Fozzie Sov war, so new boundaries were negotiated instead.

Reavers went out to help one side in a structure fight in Catch and went to join in on yet another Keepstar fight.  That one survived but another one got popped.

I was mucking around a bit in EverQuest II, trying to find my way in new content.

In Minecraft my mansion road project required the application of TNT to blast a road through a jungle.  Minecraft also had nice packages and Skronk made me a cobblestone generator for Christmas.

And no December would be complete without a Steam Winter Sale, and no such sale would be worth its name without issues!

I didn’t notice it at the time, but a German gaming site called Plarium put me on their list of the 8 best MMO blogs.  Of course they also put Tobold, who doesn’t actually write about MMOs anymore and Tipa of West Karana, who hasn’t been updating for a while now, and themselves, which seems like a bit of ego, but still it was cool to find.  Also, it was probably a year and a half ago, but I just found it recently so I’m going to pretend the date is in US format because then I can mention it here.

Finally I was going on about companies making MMOs… and the people playing them… feeling that every single title had to be all things to all people, leading to dissolute efforts and titles that do a lot of things but don’t really stand out in any particular aspect.  Just because YOU like housing doesn’t mean every MMORPG absolutely HAS to have housing dammit. (Sorry Syp.)

Five Years Ago

I wrote a post looking at 50 years of James Bond.  It included ranked lists for people to argue about.

There was my standard Highs & Lows post for the year gone by, and I reviewed my questions for 2012.

Turbine announced that they were bringing back Asheron’s Call 2.  That ended up going mostly wrong in the end.

I was deep into my World of Tanks binge.  I was up to the KV-2 on the Soviet heavy line, choosing that path after the three way split at the KV-1. (And the T-28.)  I was also still working on the German tank destroyer line.

We were having a bit of fun in Need for Speed: World.  I even made a holiday video.

In Rift we were having some trouble getting a full group together, so we were doing some lower level instances as a group of four.  I was also struggling with the whole dimension thing.

Gaff and I took a quick peek into EverQuest II.  Nostalgia didn’t last long.  I also took a one-time shot at Wizardy Online.  It just wasn’t a game for me, but not every game has to be.

I was looking back on a year in null sec in EVE Online.  The Retribution expansion went live.  Also I hit 90 million skill points.

I crammed together all the ads I could find from the EVE Online splash screen.  The then new launcher killed off those ads… sort of.  They’re just elsewhere now, but not so easy to screen shot.

Ten Years Ago

December 2007 seemed to be a busy time for the SOE.  First there was the whole “moving a whole guild from test to a live server” brouhaha.  Then there was the rumor of SOE being purchased by Zapak Digital Entertainment.  And, finally, there was the deal with Live Gamer to take over transactions on the Station Exchange servers, at which time Smed himself said that this did not mean that they were going to open the flood gates of RMT on any of their servers not currently served by SOE’s own Station Exchange RMT plan.  All of which I wrapped up in one post.

Another EverQuest Nostalgia Tour was off to the usual activities, including grousing about keyboard settings.

I put up my predictions for the “Next EverQuest II Expansion,” the whole “predicting Kunark” thing from the year before having gone to my head.  I was also looking at crafting after the Rise of Kunark expansion shipped.  I hit level 61 and then 62, but I wouldn’t get much further for a long time.  And I was looking at shrunken owlbears and trolling in Darklight Woods.

The Saturday Night Instance Group was in World of Warcraft and finishing up Blackrock Depths.  This was back in the days where you didn’t just run an instance in 15 minutes with some strangers then queue up again in dungeon Finder for the next one.  Our first run got us through the detention block, our second run got us to Lord Incendius, and our third run finally finished off the instance and got us on our way to Marshall Windsor and Lady Prestor.  That was basically four Saturday nights dealing with one instance.  Good times.

I was also happy about a feature of the WoW Armory.

Dr. Richard Bartle brought up the “why so much fantasy” question for its regular beating to death.

was interviewed over at World IV.  That was back when I was somebody I guess.  At least somebody worth interviewing.

I was annoyed at Lord of the Rings Online, which was updating a lot of files and killing my video card, but still wasn’t giving me a horse.

lost my first battlecruiser to pirates in EVE Online.  Meanwhile, after pissing away a lot of ISK on invention, I was not getting a lot of results.

We also got the Trinity expansion, which had some issue… like deleting the boot.ini file on people’s drives.  #NeverForget

CCP was also telling people to get out of Jita, it already having grown to be the trade hub of New Eden.  A couple of jumps over in Hageken somebody built one of the first space designs I had seen.

I bought a new gaming computer full of Quad Core goodness.

X-Fire was still a thing and putting out stats about what their users were playing, including MMOs.  EVE Online figured on the list, as it did on the F13.net poll about MMOs.

There was a Duke Nukem Forever trailer, just six years after the last one.  The game still wouldn’t come out until 2011 and remains the yardstick for delay to which even Chris Roberts may still aspire.

And the best selling PC games of 2007 were:

  1. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
  2. The Sims 2: Seasons
  3. Command & Conquer 3
  4. The Sims 2: Bon Voyage
  5. Supreme Commander
  6. Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar
  7. The Orange Box
  8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  9. BioShock
  10. The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff

Twenty Years Ago

Quake II launched, which I recall being mildly controversial and leading to a Quake vs. Quake II division in the community.

The Pokemon anime episode Cyber Soldier Porygon aired, causing hundreds of kids to have seizures due to the rapidly flashing animation.

Also my wife let her recently laid off boyfriend… me… move in with her for reasons I still don’t quite understand.  Any objective outside observer who had ever seen my apartment would have called it a bad idea I am sure.  Also, I had a cat.  An unemployed man with a cat.  What was she thinking?

Forty Years Ago

The Atari 2600 was on store shelves everywhere and I got one for Christmas.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Elf
  5. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  6. Reviewing My 2017 MMO Outlook – What The Hell Happened?
  7. The Demise of BattleClinic
  8. Reviewing My 2017 Predictions
  9. Flying Unlocked in Legion
  10. A Tipping Point for My Time in New Eden
  11. Feature Creep – On The Cost of Making Video Games
  12. Yule Lads Tell Players to Work for Their Damn Yoiul Gifts

Search Terms of the Month

best heroic character everquest
[Aradune?]

eve online grinding sucks
[It you think you’re grinding, it probably sucks in any game]

rift cancel subscription
[I did that quite a while back]

does tetris speed up
[You have never played Tetris I would guess]

plex online
[That’s what some people call it]

daybreak legends what the hell is ap
[No idea man]

EVE Online

I was in for our northern deployment and managed to get on some fun ops.  We blew up some stuff… and got blown up ourselves.  Still, I have four kill marks on surviving ships from these ops and only lost three ships, so that means I win right?

On the Yoiul end of things I remained surprised that CCP was intent on making us work for our presents.  I suspected they would relent and give us something for logging in on the 25th, but no such luck.

Pokemon Go

This month saw the release of the third generation Pokemon into the wild after getting a tease at Halloween.  That meant new Pokemon to catch and evolve.  Also, for the first time ever, I saw a Lapras out in the wild… and then used the wrong berry on it and it fled after I threw the first Pokeball.  So I still do not have a Lapras.  But with the new generation there have been plenty of other Pokemon to catch.  The stats this month:

  • Level: 30 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 239 (+29) caught, 274 (+37) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Slowbro
  • Current buddy: Slowpoke to earn candies to evolve him… true to his name, this is going slow

Steam

There was a sale.  I haven’t purchased anything… yet.  There is still time though.

World of Warcraft

I unlocked flying and started working on some alts and have been doing a lot of pet battles and collecting and such.  I even managed to get that fox kit in Northrend that only spawns when it is snowing.

Coming Up

A Brand new year.  Some crazy ass predictions are already queued up for tomorrow’s post.  Stay tuned to see what I think 2018 might bring.  And I did an MMO Outlook post as well.  Then we’ll get back to the usual routine.

In EVE Online CCP seems intent on killing off the current, reliable Agent Finder feature in favor of something that mostly works in The Agency window.  People have voiced concern in response to this, but CCP has not acknowledged any of it.  Press on regardless… who needs to find more than a dozen agents anyway?

Actually playing the game I suspect our northern deployment will carry on.  The locals are getting serious about us having dropped a Fortizar on grid with our staging station in NPC null.

In WoW the pet battle crusade will continue.  I think I have managed to scoop up just about all of the caught or easily obtained battle pets.  It is probably time to turn to the “raiding with leashes” achievements to get some more of the raid pet drops.  I’ll need to clear out my bags for that.

The Steam Winter Sale will wrap up soon.  As of this moment I have not purchased a single title, but I still have time.

Otherwise it looks to be more of the same, with Kickstarter projects delaying or failing to deliver, early access cash grabs falling apart, loot boxes for everything, and nothing new or exciting under the sun.

Pokemon Crystal Coming to 3DS Virtual Console

Back when Nintendo announced that Pokemon Gold & Silver were going to be released on the Virtual Console for the Nintendo 3DS hardware line, I was a bit surprised at the omission of the third title in the generation, Pokemon Crystal.

Pokemon Crystal for Game Boy Color!

With the first generation games all three title, Pokemon Red & Blue along with the later arriving Pokemon Yellow, were released at the same time.  This time around however, Nintendo seems to want to follow the original release pattern.  Pokemon Gold & Silver were released back in September.  Now we have just gotten the word from Nintendo that Pokemon Crystal will be available next month.

Virtual Console Bound

I suppose this is consistent with how things ran back in the day.  For a stretch Nintendo and Game Freak had a pattern of releasing a pair of titles, each with Pokemon exclusive to one or the other, then following up with a revised version that allowed players to catch them all, and a few more, on one combined title, slightly updated, but set in the same region.  This continued on through Pokemon Platinum, the follow on title for Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

After that the plan seemed to be to rework and old title, like Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver, or release two more follow on titles, as in the case of the current Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon.

Anyway, if you’ve gotta collect all the titles, you will be able to pick up Pokemon Crystal come January 26, 2018.

November in Review

The Site

I got a couple of boosts to traffic this month.  The first came with the BlizzCon announcement about WoW Classic.  That got the WoW Reddit group to go looking to link bits of WoW nostalgia, which included my post that attempted to recreate the Alamo druid post.  The WoW subreddit is a popular place and for a few days Alamo was the top destination on my site, beating the main page handily, while Reddit eclipsed Google as a source of traffic for about 48 hours.

That died down as BlizzCon receded in the rear view mirror and people began to bicker about what “Vanilla” WoW really means.

And then I got linked on BuzzFeed.

That sounds a lot more impressive that it actually was.

What happened is that somebody on BuzzFeed needed a picture for a Christmas quiz and grabbed the picture of the Elf soundtrack I included as part of a bad joke for my 11th anniversary post.

My URL on BuzzFeed… there… I highlighted it…

Honestly not very many people clicked on that link… why would they… so it wasn’t like a BuzzFeed landslide on my site, just a noticeable bump in traffic for a day or so.  And, of course, it isn’t exactly like I was liked for something *I* actually did, I just happened to have that picture handy.

Still, it is nice that BuzzFeed is one of the sites that is diligent about linking to sources and I cannot complain about a little bit of additional exposure this month.  So it is all good.

And, finally, Raph Koster showed up in a comment thread, answered a bunch of questions, then consolidated it all in a post on his site with a link back here to note the origin which added a bit more traffic. (Also, seeing him take on all comers with a pleasant tone and without direct confrontation in the comment thread about his post over at Massively OP was good fun.   I admire his skill in that and his ability to stay on point and not get distracted. The Reddit thread seemed more challenging.)

All in all not a bad month for traffic in light of the long term decline in page views here.  Not as good as April, but it looks like overall page views for 2017 will exceed 2008, though will still be less than half of 2012, the peak year for the blog.

One Year Ago

I got back from EVE Vegas and reviewed a bit of what I saw including SKIN changes.  I also borrowed CCP Rise’s Vegas Alpha fit for a trial run.  Of course the Ascension expansion and Alpha Clones were the big deal.  Logging in when the expansion hit wasn’t always easy, but the PCU passed the long distant 50K user mark.

Then suddenly it was election night.  I was in a fleet during which the winner projections turned on their head.  At least we got a tower kill.

Meanwhile back in our old home in the north, the war in Tribute started to come alive.  Sort of.  A bit.  Well, there was some propaganda.

BlizzCon was underway a week after EVE Vegas, and I first projected what I wanted to see/thought I might see and then reconciled that with what I actually saw.  It took a while for me to see Weird Al though.

Project: Gorgon was back to crowd funding.

Pokemon Sun & Moon were coming and I got ready by wrapping up Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.  I took Pokemon Sun while my daughter went with Pokemon Moon.

In Minecraft Aaron was using the in-game maps to create art to hang on his walls.  Then there was the update with forest mansions… and llamas!  That meant going on an expedition to find my own mansion.  And once you have your own mansion, you have to do something with it.  Like burn it down.

Daybreak, in looking after Norrath new and old, launched the Kunark expansion twins, with Empires of Kunark going live for EverQuest and Kunark Ascending going live for EverQuest II.

And, finally, in a bullet points post on Black Friday it was death to The Mittani, a new Google widget in my side bar, and some Pokemon news.

Five Years Ago

We said farewell to City of Heroes.

Pong turned 40.

Star Wars: The Old Republic made their free to play transition.  Hot bars were for sale.

dipped a toe into GuildWars 2.

I was feeling in the doldrums about computer hardware.

The Register was wondering if Second Life was a failure.

SOE was on their usual autumnal roll.  They introduced Krono, their PLEX-like currency.

PlanetSide 2 went live.  I even patched up and tried it.  Pity about it becoming aim hack central so quickly.

EverQuest II Chains of Eternity went live, leading to some EQII reflection on my part.

The EverQuest expansion Rain of Fear launched, leading to one of my occasional ponderings about how long the game will go on.  Meanwhile, on the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Dragons of Norrath expansion was unlocked.  That marked the potential end of my coverage of the server as SOE seemed uninterested in promoting it or anything about it.  I was only getting updates when they went wrong.

Over in Rift we were patching up as Storm Legion went live.

The British tank tree showed up for the first time in World of Tanks.

We were running movie ops in EVE Online while I was wondering how the Retribution expansion might change events like Burn Jita.  As it turned out, it did not change things one whit.

Time Magazine wrote up their 100 Best Video Games of All Time while Complex Gaming gave us a list of 50 with EVE Online at the top.

And I was rambling on about motivation and what makes a good story in an MMO.

Ten Years Ago

I was going on about MMOs on a single server again, focusing on EVE Online and why its unique set of circumstances allows CCP to get away with everybody on one shard.

CCP also changed the name of player groups from gangs to fleets, befitting a game about ships.  Player usage of the terms took a while to catch up.  I think I still heard people talking about “gang links” at least five years later.  CCP also announced that their Power of Two campaign boosted subscriptions past 300,000 and broke a record when the game passed 50K players online at once.

I was still mining away in New Eden, trying to optimize my yields.  I also hit 10 million skill points in EVE and bought my first Drake.

I found an old parody screen shot from the early days of Air Warrior.

I was thinking about all that vendor trash that just disappears.

I was moaning about EverQuest and accessibility again.

Also it was time for the Rise of Kunark expansion, if I could find a copy.  You had to buy that stuff at retail stores back then.  But I eventually found a copy and took the boat out to Kunark.  I hit 58, 59, and then level 60 for the first time in EverQuest II.  I was also claiming my four year veteran rewards.

SOE was still working on fixing Vanguard.

My daughter and I were playing LEGO Star Wars: The Compelete Saga on the Wii.  I even put together a review of it.  Still one of my favorite games on the Wii.

And in World of Warcraft the instance group was finally all level 50 and taking on the remains of Maraudon. Then we were off to up Sunken Temple in a way that gave us a before and after snapshot of the WoW 2.3 patch. (Which took forever to download back then.)  I was also trying ride on the outside of a boat.  I hate missing the boat.

Tabula Rasa launched, beginning its short run before being shut down by NCsoft.  The cover shown in the Wikipedia article still makes me want to say, “Multipass.”

Also launching a decade back was Rock Band.  You could now play the drums.  Take that Guitar Hero!

Finally, Perpetual announced that Star Trek Online would be delayed leading to another headline contest.

Twenty Years Ago

Bungie put out their RTS Myth: The Fallen Lords, which I remember being pretty excited about after seeing a demo.  And then I went off and played Total Annihilation and forgot about it, while Bungie eventually went off to create Halo and mostly forgot about it as well.  Now I suddenly want to play that RTS again.

Also, the last episode of Beavis & Butt-head aired and the bladder testing epic Titanic opened in theaters. (I had a large soda and the last hour of the movie is constant water moving and flowing…)

Most Viewed Posts in November

The list this month was mostly driven by WoW Classic nostalgia and the ongoing search for why there is no National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun & Moon… and now Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, though EA’s woes pitched in and helped a bit.

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  4. Elf
  5. What Other Pains will WoW Classic Bring?
  6. Blizzard Announces Battle for Azeroth and WoW Classic
  7. Disney Checks EA Over Battlefront Microtransactions and Other Hilarity
  8. Feature Creep – On The Cost of Making Video Games
  9. VR Development Dead and Layoffs at CCP
  10. WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches
  11. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  12. Monday Morning BlizzCon Thoughts

Search Terms of the Month

world of warships polish tree
[Looking for a screen door on a submarine joke?]

download gay porn games for free
[They have to be free now?]

eve online all time high concurrent users
[65,303 on May 5, 2013]

eve online how long does it take to fly a marauder
[I think the real question is how long does it take to lose one?]

EVE Online

It has been something of a quiet month for me in New Eden.  I went on a few ops during a deployment up north to drop on ratters and miners, but have not really had the blocks of time that such things demand.  House guests and holiday activities kept me distracted.

Of course, I write that knowing that a couple of sections down I’ll mention how much time I spent playing WoW, often in large chunks of time.  I might just be a bit worn out on New Eden at the moment.

Still, I think I hit the mandatory minimum of participation links to not get kicked from my corp.  We’ll see what happens next month.

Pokemon UltraMoon

Despite no huge urge to get back into Pokemon at the moment, I did have enough credit on my Nintendo Shop account to pick up Pokemon UltraMoon, so it has been downloaded to my 3DS XL.  I’ve played a little bit, enough to see the story is both the same yet different, but haven’t jumped in with both feet yet.

Pokemon Go

I keep on going in Pokemon Go, though I never play while driving.  Instead I can have my teenage daughter drive me around to Pokestops now that she has her learner’s permit.  That is safer, right?

  • Level: 30 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 210 (+6) caught, 237 (+1) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Slowbro
  • Current buddy: Slowpoke to earn candies to evolve him

World of Warcraft

I have been binging a lot on Azeroth.  There was a discussion somewhere recently about MMOs being hard to get back into when you’ve been away for a bit.  I’ve bitched about that myself more than a few times.   But I will say that WoW, while not perfect in that regard, is still pretty good.  I managed to get myself back up to speed with my ret pally, found a goal to pursue (flying), and side tasks to keep the main goal from getting stale (events, pet battles, trade skills, and alts) that I really look forward to spending some time in WoW every evening.

Coming Up

It is the end of the year which means I have a bunch of standard posts to do, things like reviewing my predictions from January (looking bad, as usual), checking to see if I played any of the games I said I might play (always doubtful), and trying to sum up the year in a series of highs and lows.  Expect them to show up over the course of the month.  I have already started them all, now to finish them.

We have the Winter Movie League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi to look forward to.

Then there is an EverQuest expansion coming along with one for EVE Online.

There is the inevitable Steam Winter Sale.  Maybe we can bring back the argument over whether Steam sales cater to price sensitivity, yielding sales that otherwise might not have happened, or literally steal food from the mouths of starving developers because nobody will buy anything ever now due to the inevitability of it going on sale on Steam.

And posts about games, games I am playing… which is mostly WoW and Pokemon UltraMoon with occasional forays into TorilMUD now and again.  So expect another long, dull month I suppose.  It is cold out, what else have you got to do?

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon Launch Today

The latest entries in the long-running core Pokemon RPG series, Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, go live today!

UltraSun & UltraMoon

Nintendo and GameFreak are returning players to Alola, the Hawaii-esque islands that previously served as the location for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

But, unlike some past generations, this won’t be a simple rework of the original story in Alola.  While the location and the basic range of Pokemon will be the same, there are new things afoot in the region for you to explore as GameFreak throws in a mix of names from past titles.  You will have a shot at catching some special Pokemon as all past legendaries be making an appearance (some on UltraSun, some in UltraMoon, because you know how it goes), so you can scoop up any you’re missing, if you are skilled and patient enough.

Legendaries from Titles Past

In addition to that they are even pulling past villains into the mix.  You will be faces with Team Rainbow Rocket, made up of the bosses from old foes such as Team Magma, Team Aqua, and Team Galactic.

The desultory Team Skull looks to be left out

Pokemon games are pretty much the only reason I own a Nintendo handheld.

However, I have not ordered either title yet.  I played a lot of Pokemon Sun earlier this year, completing the main story and running down the post-game activities as well as completing the Alola Pokedex.  But I am not feeling the Pokemon urge at the moment.

I am also a little worried about how well it will run on my original model Nintedo 3DS XL.  Pokemon Sun bogged down quite a bit on the older, slower hardware and I doubt that the new titles are going to be better, so I am waiting to see if that comes up as an issue with the new titles.

Still, I cannot wait too long.  As usual, Nintendo has some “buy now!” incentives, including giving players a master ball if they register themselves on Pokemon Global Link between today and January 29, 2018.  A master ball is guaranteed to catch even the most reluctant Pokemon in the wild.  You usually get one per game to catch an elusive legendary, but now you may have two.

Anyway, you can read more about it at the official Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon site.

 

October in Review

The Site

Odd that this, a month in review post, is also my yearly Halloween post.  That is kind of anti-climactic… unless you really like these posts I guess.

Meanwhile, the only amusing site-related bit for the month was this message I got over on Facebook.

My flaming fart joke falls afoul of Facebook

Yes, you can follow the blog on Facebook by friending Wilhelm Arcturus there.  Friend him, he’ll accept.  It is just blog posts from here, EVE Online Pictures, and updates from Good Reads, if you’re interesting in what I am reading.  I don’t play crappy Facebook games any more because, so far as I can tall, all Facebook games are crappy.  Thanks Zynga!

Anyway, Facebook seemed to think that the lighting of farts was an indicator of spam.  Or such is my guess.

Given all the absolute garbage that gets “suggested” to me by Facebook, not to mention all of the alleged Russian sponsored political ads that Facebook is trying to pretend didn’t happen, flagging my post as spam seems almost comical.  That’s some top notch work there Facebook.  I bet it wouldn’t be spam if I paid you some money.  Glad you’re on the job.

I filled out the form declaring that my post was not spam.  Well, it isn’t spam any more than anything I post here is spam, but spam is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.  I haven’t been back to check to see if they agreed.  That account is a bit on auto-pilot.

Happy Halloween all the same!  Go “like” this post on Facebook or something!

One Year Ago

Amazon’s game studio announced some games including the alleged MMO New World.  Being given almost no information about New World did not stop some people from banging the hype drum, boosting expectations, and generally setting themselves up for disappointment.

Also announced was the Nintendo Switch, which would allow millenials to play video games at roof-top parties if the trailer was to be take literally.

Civilization VI launched and became the first Civ title I did not acquire at the soonest opportunity.  It just didn’t excite me.  Instead I was getting my strategy game fix with Stellaris.

I reviewed the Mineserver Kickstarter campaign a year later.  The units were nine months late with no end to the wait in sight.

I made it to level 20 in Pokemon Go.  There was also a Halloween event.

Tom Chilton of unfortunate quote fame let out another one when he said that World of Warcraft had over 10 million subscribers again after the Legion expansion launch.  Blizzard, having taken a vow of silence on subscription numbers the year before, denied everything and claimed he was mis-quoted.

Over at Daybreak they were discontinuing game cards and taking H1Z1: King of the Kill off of Station Cash as an RMT currency.  They did give us firm dates for the two Kurnak based expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.

In EVE Online, while we were fortifying Delve our foes in the Casino War began to turn on each other, with Pandemic Legion and their followers declaring their intention to take Tribute and Vale of the Silent away from Circle of Two and TEST.  All I could do was give a Nelson Muntz, “Haw-haw!” at that turn of events.

Still, that wasn’t half as much fun as CCP declaring casinos against the EULA with the coming of the Ascension expansion.  Our foes would have to actually earn ISK in-game.  I wondered what that would do to the economy.

We also got the YC118.9 update which, among other things, meant the death of the in-game browser.  We did get breast cancer awareness skins.  Yay, pink skins!

At our end of New Eden there was a lot to do.  I was fighting the Blood Raider menace with my Ishtar and looking for ways to help the coalition.  Reavers turned two years old and were blowing up citadels and fighting over timers in Querious.  The coalition itself was ranging up into Fountain with a new doctrine.

And in World of Warcraft the Legion got its first post-launch content drop while my own enthusiasm for the expansion was starting to wane.

Finally, I was at EVE Vegas, but since it lasted through Halloween I didn’t post about it until November.  Also, a new version of my blogger feed was operating in the side bar.

Five Years Ago

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series.  That made the second time in my life, which was one more than I had any reason to hope for.

Disney bought out Lucasfilm, claiming ownership of Star Wars.  Panic ensued.

Zynga was well into its troubles, leaving me to wonder how Lord British viewed his partnership with the imploding company.  Certainly the Zynga business plan seemed… childish?

I had a sudden crescendo of activity around World of Warcraft, culminating in Blizzard finally letting me cancel my subscription.  There was the Panda launch and people declaring success or failure.

Instead I was off in the Emerald Dream pirate server attempting to relive what WoW was like back in 2006.  In involved a shovel.  Vanilla WoW nostalgia drove a sudden surge of traffic to the blog.

The first Project: Gorgon kickstarter kicked off.

I was invited on a pre-release tour of the Storm Legion expansion in Rift.  Then there was the big update to the soul system, some adventures in Lantern Hook, and the Autumn Harvest Festival.

In World of Tanks the word of the day was Sturmgeschütz.

Storm Eagle Studios was again worried about my marriage.

There was some trolling about free to play.

Lord of the Rings Online launched the Rider of Rohan expansion.  I eventually picked it up for Turbine Points… or LOTRO Points… or whatever.  I haven’t actually played through it yet.

In EVE Online we got the Retribution expansion that updated all that crime watch stuff.  At least visible timers ended up being cool.

EVE-Kill was looking for donations to keep everybody’s then-favorite kill board up and running.  It has since died, so I guess that didn’t work out in the long run.  Also in that post, there was a new EVE site up called The Mittani dot com (worst name ever), something about sound in EVE Online (who knew?), and the dawn of miner bumping.  This is why I hate those bullet point posts one, five, and ten years later.

I was off on a CSAA killing mission that got me accused of cognitive dissonance.  I was feeling warm and cozy in null sec.  We were also pursuing our foes in Tribute and the Vale of the Silent.

I was wondering how EA Louse’s comments about Star Wars: The Old Republic were holding up two years after he made them.

I was complaining about games (or, in my 30+ year old example, a game master) that try to impose their story on your character.   I don’t mind being a part of the overall story, but my characters have their own stories and motivations and I do not like it when games put their own words in my character’s mouth.

And, finally, there was the case for seat belts.

Ten Years Ago

For about 20 minutes the blog had a different theme.

In EVE Online I finally finished my training and was actually flying a Hulk!  Being mining focused, I went out and calculated which asteroids were the most profitable to mine.  Veldspar rated surprisingly high.  I was also calculating the cost of producing light missiles, probably the only time I really used a spreadsheet for EVE Online.  “Spreadsheets in Space” is a lie.

I also figured out that with 120 billion ISK and a year of training, I could fly a Titan, but I couldn’t fire the main weapon system.

Blizzard made its first big cut in the amount of experience needed to get to level 60 in World of Warcraft.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

There was SOE’s Station Access Savings Calculator.

EA announced it was buying BioWare for $860 million.  It seemed like MMOs might be in EA’s future again, as BioWare was already known to be at work on one.  Meanwhile, I was trying to work up a set of criteria on evaluating whether an MMO would be a success or not.

I was going on about THE REAL PROBLEM with voice chat in video games.

Mario Kart Double Dash was our Wii game of the moment.  My daughter was also playing Webkinz, though some of her friend’s got their mothers to play for them.

I found one of the rare Golden C-3P0 mini figures in a LEGO package.  I was also looking at the stack of old Dungeons & Dragons books at the used book store up the street from work. (Both my work and the book store are long since gone.)

The instance group finished up Zul’Farrk and went after one wing, then the other, in Maraudon.  We were closing in on level 50 across the group.  I also got a horde character to level 40… I think he is still level 40 today. I was also excited to get a 16 slot bag drop!  Also, being able to craft from items in the bank, as we now can, would have helped me a lot.  Meanwhile I finally read some quest text closely.

Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising was put on indefinite hold, which lead to a headline contest.

In the post-launch downturn for Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine was out polling players about what they wanted… and what they would pay for.

As usual, with the coming of autumn, the rains, and a new expansion I again became nostalgic for EverQuest.  I was also playing around with some ideas for Secrets of Faydwer packaging.

Also, Team Fortress 2 launched.

Twenty Years Ago

Age of Empires and the first Grand Theft Auto launched.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  3. Lost in Legion
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Home From EVE Vegas 2017
  6. RimWorld Ate My Gaming Time
  7. The Demise of BattleClinic
  8. VR Development Dead and Layoffs at CCP
  9. Daybreak 30 Months In
  10. Lifeblood comes to EVE Online
  11. Three Years of Reavers
  12. Attribute Remap in New Eden

Mildly amusing that the end of month post Lost in Legion made it up to third place on the list so quickly.  Writing about WoW attracts views.  Also amusing is how the top two posts on the list have persisted for so long.  There is a reason for the first, there being NO national Pokedex in Pokemon Sun & Moon, however the second seems… odd.  Are people really looking for an EverQuest successor?  They keep coming here in search of that.  I’m not sure my post is much help in that regard.

Search Terms of the Month

eve jaspet mining strategies
[Go find some in your Venture and mine it. Warp off if somebody shows up.]

eve online change name
[As bad as the name is, I don’t think they’re going to change it]

new everquest game
[Maybe, some day… probably not an MMO though]

any games succeeded everquest
[Technically EverQuest II I suppose]

level 20-25 planarite bow rift
[The way you level up, you won’t use it for long I bet]

“october 15 2017” torilmud
[An oddly specific date]

blizzcon predictions 2017
[I sort of did that yesterday]

why make flying in draenor so difficult
[Wait until you get to Legion buddy]

EVE Online

There was EVE Vegas.  We also got a big update with the Lifeblood expansion last week.  The repercussions of that will likely take a while to settle down.  But actually, in-game, I did not do a lot in New Eden.  I went on one actual strategic op, got two PAP links, and that was about it.  Oh, and I remapped my attributes.  I’m barely down from that high.  Woo.  Perhaps The Agency revamp and the Crimson Harvest event will give me something to do.

RimWorld

Holy moly, this is probably why I wasn’t playing EVE Online… or anything else… for at least half the month.  Steam says I put in a lot of hours playing RimWorld… which isn’t a game you play so much as tinker with and adjust and watch until you realize it is way past when you planned to go to bed.  I eventually hit a threshold with it, but for a while that was pretty much all that was running on my computer.

Grim Dawn

This was on a Steam sale when the game launched an expansion.  It had long been on my wish list, so I decided to grab it.  I haven’t spent too much time with it, but it really seems to be the ideal Diablo clone; same enough that you get it right away, but different enough to not feel like a straight up copy.  Unfortunately the timing was bad and I started off in WoW and have slacked off.  I’ll have to return to it and write something about it, but SynCaine was effusive about it back in March and so far I agree.  Tops Diablo III, Path of Exile, Torchlight II, and the Titan Quest remaster in my early, and perhaps premature, opinion.

Pokemon Go

I hit level 30, a milestone indeed, though the path from there to level 40 is much longer than the path I have already trod.  Then there was the Halloween event which offered double candy, something that helped my finally evolve a Magikarp into a Gyrados.  It takes 400 candies to get there and Magikarp are rare in my neck of the woods.  My next goal is to get a Blissey because I want to be that level 30 jerk with one in a gym that can’t be taken down by people level 25 or under.

  • Level: 30 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 204 (+15) caught, 236 (+14) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Blissey
  • Current buddy: Chansey, because I only need 10 more candies to evolve it to Blissey

Pokemon Silver

I started off playing for a bit, but let that fall to the wayside with the coming of RimWorld.  I haven’t even gotten to the first gym yet.   Still, it is playable and clearly a solid entry that helped cement the Pokemon saga as a staple of Nintendo’s handheld titles.  I own a 3DS XL to play Pokemon.

World of Warcraft

I resubscribed.  I want to fly in Legion.  I am still figuring out where I left off a year ago.  But I will say returning to WoW and all of its polished smoothness is still a good feeling even when I’m mildly frustrated about what the hell I should be doing.  I seem to be on course now, immersed in a task, though the mount of the Headless Horseman still eludes me.

Coming Up

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. 

So we have that to look forward to.   Seems apropos this year. 

But by the time that rolls around BlizzCon 2017 will have come and gone and we’ll be more the wiser… or not.  Despite my prediction back in January, it seems likely we’ll all be talking about a new expansion for WoW rather than Guy Fawkes.  I waxed a bit about that in yesterday’s post.

I expect we’ll have a broader look at the upcoming expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II, the latter being set to arrive during the last week of the month.

Given the big expansion in EVE Online I’m not sure we’re slated to get a November update.  They may just be pushing bug fixes through until December when they have a few more items in store.  And the disruption that layoffs and re-orgs cause lends more weight to “not much going on in November” idea.

Nintendo will be launching Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon in the latter half of the month.  I should get that pre-ordered to get my discount on Amazon and make sure my old 3DS XL is charged up.

And then there is the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, the gateway to winter, Christmas, New Years, and a bunch of predictable annual posts.  We’ll get there soon enough.