Category Archives: Pokemon

April in Review

The Site

As is usually the case, my post on April 1st about what Blizzard was up to for April Fools was the traffic peak of the month, and likely the traffic peak for the year, largely driven by Google throwing me a bone and showing me in the search results for related terms.  You can see my Google search stats below.

April 1st is always a spike

That is an enviable click through rate as I understand it.

April second saw an increased level of activity as well as people continued to check in on what Blizzard was up to.  But after that traffic slowed back down to the usual reality of 2019, which is about 500 page views a day.

Even April 1st was down, ringing in at roughly one fifth of the amount of traffic I got on the best April Fools, which was back in 2013.  But I was getting a lot more traffic back in 2013, averaging about 1,500 page views a day.  I am coming to the point of view, looking at old traffic and search terms, that writing about Pokemon was the secret to traffic.  Writing about WoW isn’t bad, and all the better if you have a rant about the game as shaking your angry fist at Blizzard still gets people stirred up, but Azeroth can’t really hold a candle to Pokemon.

Hell, even with April Fools the month of April barely had more page views than March, even accounting for one less day.  Maybe writing about EverQuest trumps WoW as well.  There is certainly a lot less competition on that front.

One Year Ago

April Fools at Blizzard was mostly about World of Warcraft.

Having unlocked the four allied races available with the Battle for Azeroth pre-order, I was set to take a break from Azeroth until the per-expansion events started.  The August 14th launch date had been announced.

Ultima Online‘s Publish 99 introduced a free to play option.

Speaking of things Lord British has touched, I also played some Shroud of the Avatar and then tried to figure out who it was really targeting.  That I uninstalled it later probably meant I wasn’t on that list.  I have not gone back to it since.

Pokemon Go got field research as a new activity.

On Rift Prime I was in Stonefield.  There was also a problem with claiming mounts.

There were two Kickstarter campaigns of note, one for Empires of EVE Vol. II and the other for the CIA agent training card game.  I backed them both.

For EVE Online Fanfest was on in Iceland, where the keynote announced the coming Into the Abyss expansion and the Triglavian menace.  There was a lot of other news and tidbits out of the event, which I tried to sum up on the following Monday.  CCP also got recognized by Guinness for the Million Dollar Battle.

Actually in game, we were busy up in Fade and Pure Blind, such that I am going to just list out all those posts as bullet points:

Good times in space.

But, in the end, the most bizarre moment of the month was probably when Daybreak, asked if Russian sanctions might affect them, went straight to declaring that they have never been owned by Columbus Nova, despite having told us they were for owned by them since the acquisition from Sony.  Then they went on to try and gaslight the internet (always a recipe for success) including editing their own Wikipedia page to remove all mention of Columbus Nova, then issued more statements, and then had a round of layoffs, all of which just succeeded in bringing more attention to their absurd situation, to the point that I had to write a summary post just to keep track what the hell was going on.

All of which could have been avoided if Daybreak had just said, “No, sanctions will not affect us.”  A warning to PR professionals everywhere.

That kind of took the air out of the announcement that the Angarr server on EverQuest had reached the Planes of Power expansion.

Five Years Ago

Spacewar! for the PDP-1 was up via emulation on the internet archive.

The Elder Scrolls Online launched, hitting its planned April 4th date.  I did not play.

I was diving in to Pokemon X & Y, having returned to Pokemon at last.

The strategy group played a game of Civilization V that ended with a win via nuclear terror.

The Kickstarter campaign for the book A History of the Great Empires of EVE Online kicked off.  We were also watching Pantheon: Rise of the Something was splutter along after failing its Kickstarter campaign.

In EVE Online proper there was Burn Jita 3, which seemed like less of a thing the third time out.  There was a video.  Then there was the CSM9 vote.  At least there were only 36 candidates on the ballot.

In null sec we were shooting Black Legion things, because that is what we did in the CFC.  I was just happy to be using lasers, those skills having been trained up amongst my 120 million skill points.  There were also some posts about being space famous and an attempt at in-game blackmail.

But on the broader CCP front, World of Darkness was officially cancelled.

On the iPad I was playing Hearthstone and QuizUp… for about a week.

Turbine announced that Beornings were coming to Lord of the Rings Online.

SOE gave me a key for seven days of Landmark, so I went and tried it out.  SOE also announced H1Z1 and began their love affair with Reddit and got their new All Access plan running.  While on the old school front, Dave Georgeson said SOE never plans to shut down EverQuest.

Warlords of Draenor was still a long ways away.  But Blizzard was doing well on other fronts.  The instance group finished up Zul’gurub.  And there was the usual April Fools stuff.

Ten Years Ago

Dave Arneson passed away.  He was, with Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, that so-influential gaming system that has shaped how we view fantasy swords and sorcery games for over 30 years now.  There would be no World of Warcraft as it is today without Dungeons & Dragons.

We also saw the launch of SOE’s Free Realms, which stuttered a bit on day one.  Soon though they had millions of people signed up for the game, but since it was free to play, not a common thing at the time, that was no indication of revenue.  My daughter tried to sign up four times, so that was at least four out of the millions.  SOE was advertising the game heavily on Cartoon Network.  But FR did not run on MacOS, and my daughter was running on an iMac at the time.  I knew she has signed up because her email used to get routed to me.

In EVE Online I was mulling over the Apocrypha expansion and configuring up a Cerebus to try out as a mission runner.  I was also doing invention to make tech II missiles, which meant data cores and research agents and such, and pondering the idea that maybe using your skills should increase your skill points or something.

As usual, there was much ado about World of Warcraft.

I was sniggering like a pre-teen about Cornhole.  Also, there was something about Honest Scrap that was a meme, back when memes weren’t just pop culture references.

I was looking back on two years of the Wii and the games we played on it.

On the TV we were apparently watching Castle and Dollhouse.

And then there were new comers as we brought home two wee kittens.

Fifteen Years Ago

City of Heroes launched in the US.  Closed down by NCsoft in 2012, the game has been much in the news this month past month regarding emulators and such.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2019 is Pretty Much No Fools
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  4. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  5. April Fools at Blizzard 2018 is Mostly Just World of Warcraft
  6. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  7. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  8. WoW Dance Battle System!
  9. Visiting the Katia Sae Monument
  10. Brisc Ban Nightmare Scenario
  11. A Handy Guide to Criticizing Games You Do Not Like
  12. Brisc Rubal Exonerated

Search Terms of the Month

does tetris get faster
[Ladies and gentleman, somebody who has never played Tetris!]

is fortnite popular still
[Fortnite is popular still]

orcs gay game pc download
[Not willing to play a gay orc online game?]

“everquest 3”
[You are well advised to put that in quotes]

what did brisc rubal do
[Won in the end]

лего хогвартс
[Google says that is Russian for “LEGO Hogwarts”]

Game Time from ManicTime

There are a lot fewer games on the list this month.  March had ten games on the list, while April has just four.  And I didn’t leave any off just because they had a tiny percentage.  I appear to have played just these four on my computer.

  • World of Warcraft 72.52%
  • EVE Online 15.21%
  • Minecraft 9.78%
  • EverQuest 2.49%

The total hours played was down a bit, but not by much.  I just played a lot of WoW in April.

EVE Online

The low key conflict in the east against Pandemic Horde, NCDot, and the rental areas of both carries on.  I did not spend as much time on ops as I did last month… some nights you cannot just jump in not knowing if an op will last 30 minutes or 3 hours… but I did get in and play.  I got my PAP links and on a couple of kill mails to prove I am still alive.

And, of course, there was the whole CSM13 drama where Brisc Rubal and two other players were banned in a very public way only to have CCP roll back the whole thing based on further investigation.  This was all apparently because somebody thought it was odd that somebody else was selling their Molok titan and felt the need to report it.

EverQuest

After the big 20th anniversary Norrath nostalgia binge that was March, EverQuest fell a bit by the wayside.  I logged in a few times, as the anniversary experience bonus carried on into April a bit, and was revived for Easter weekend, but otherwise there wasn’t much to report there.  I suspect EQ will not make the list for May.

Minecraft

This came up because we got the Village and Pillage update which added a bunch of new stuff to the game.  My daughter helped hype this up a bit in our house, as a group of her friends have a server.  That got me going on figuring out the new stuff and exploring yet again.

Pokemon Go

We had a reasonably good month of Pokemon Go at our house.  My wife and I being on the same team now helps.  Thanks to the luck of simply being at the right place at the right time we even managed to participate in a few level 5 raids.  That was exciting.  However, I wasn’t aware how hard actually catching the legendary Pokemon after those raids can be.  I threw a stream of Golden Razz Berries to try and help, but did not catch a single one.  Ah well.

Level: 36 (+0)
Pokedex status: 410 (+9) caught, 441 (+10) seen
Pokemon I want: Meltan, but I still have to catch a damn Aerodactyl to get one
Current buddy: Luxio

World of Warcraft

I guess if you wanted to summarize my April play time, you could just say I played WoW.  I got in with Darkmoon Faire, then hit the pet battle bonus week, and then there was the WoW 8.2 Rise of Azshara preview that got me on board to unlock flying and there we go.  Also, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was big on pet battles.  I did potter around a bit with at least one allied race alt.  My Highmountain Tauren is now in his low 30s.  But he started at level 20 and the prospect of getting him up to level 120 currently fills me with boredom.

Coming Up

EVE Online will turn 16, so there will be the usual gifts and giveaways and such.  There was also some speculation that we might get the named expansion in May, but now that seems like it might come in June.

Around mid-month we should get the Q1 2019 quarterly results for Activision Blizzard.  We shall see if it brings good news, and if good news means laying more people off.

In WoW we will probably hear more about the Rise of Azshara update.  I suspect they will have the achievement unlock requirements for flying set.  But the speculation is that it won’t release until June or even July.

I will carry on some with pet battles… on a new alt… and getting my rep up to exalted on my main.  Maybe I will actually bring an alt into BFA.  Probably my hunter.

LOTRO… I sort of fell off the wagon when it came to LOTRO.  I got into the Mines of Moria on the legendary server and actually made my way through the first couple of areas.  Then all those other games I played in March sprang up, so I never made it back.  I think I missed the 12 year anniversary in April.  Oh well.  Maybe I will make in back in May.

Team Instinct

Back when Pokemon Go first launched, two and a half years ago now, I thought there might be some advantage to my wife, my daughter, and myself all being on different teams.  The game was new and raw and clearly was going to develop over time.

And, it was always possible that it might not stick with us.  In fact my daughter, the Team Valor leg of our family team triad, stopped playing not too long after the game launched, never to return.

The surprise was more that my wife stuck with it.  It has become something we do together and really the only video game my wife plays with any regularity.

But by the time I figured out that she was going to stick with it and that being on different teams wasn’t going to given much in the way of advantage, I was already far enough in that I did not want to wipe my account and start again from scratch.

We still played together, me on Team Mystic and her on Team Instinct, seeking out Team Valor gyms to take down.  But then only one of us could take over and be in the newly conquered gym.

We tried fiddling with using each other to clear out a spot in gyms already on our teams.  She would knock out a somebody in a Team Mystic gym so that there would be a spot for me.  However, Niantic seemed to be wise to this idea and there was quickly a lockout timer that would keep you from joining gyms under attack.

Actually, that was probably just to keep people from piling right back in a gym as they were knocked out, but it prevented our scheme as well.

So on we went, playing together on two different teams.

And then Niantic finally announced a way to change teams.  Back in February they posted that a new item would soon be available from the in-game store, the new Team Medallion.

Team Medallion close up

The Team Medallion was going to cost 1,000 coins and could only be used once every 365 days.

The time limit wasn’t a big deal, as I only wanted to change once so my wife and I could be on the same team.  And the cost… well, as it happened I was closing in on that many coins as they announced it.  There is a gym at our office campus that I get in almost daily, so I earn coins pretty regularly.  I was saving up for the gift box with all the incubators they had at one point, but this was a bigger deal.

So I bought the token and did the big switch.  Then I had to change my outfit, which was pretty blue, to something more in keeping with the new team.  Team Instinct is all about the yellow.

On Team Instinct Now

Yes, Team Instinct has a bit of a reputation, to which I have alluded in the past.

General view of Team Instinct – July 2016

But that doesn’t matter so long as my wife and I can go drive around together now and take down gyms.

It did take me a few days to get used to not seeing the blue of Team Mystic as my colors… I tend to be very opportunistic about jumping into gyms that have a free spot… and my change clearly messed up the cycle of the gym at the office.  There used to be a regular point in the day when Team Mystic would take over, but now I need to either kick them out or find my own time slot to jump in.

Other than that it has been the usual routine for Pokemon Go.

I did luck out recently though.  Niantic released a new Pokemon, Smeargle, with a new catching mechanic.  You have to use the new camera item… yeah, I needed something else taking up space in my bag… to take AR pictures with some of your current Pokemon.  When you do that there is a small chance that Smeargle will photo bomb your picture.

Smeargle photobombing Allakhazam

When that happens Smeargle will show up around your area on the map and you can catch him.

The luck was that it happened for me on the third try.

My wife is still taking pictures of Pokemon everywhere, but no Smeargle so far.  I cannot help her with that, even if we are on the same team.

February in Review

The Site

I was away on vacation for a week this month.  Did anybody notice?  No?

Well, me being away must have been good because total traffic was up when compared to January.  Not bad for a month with three fewer days.  Of course, it helped a lot that I posted about Burn Jita 2019.  That drove a lot of traffic here.  I don’t have a follow up post about the even however because I was away for the entire thing.

On other site topics, we learned back in October that Google Plus was getting shut down.  At the time we were told it would end in August of 2019.  Then, in December, Google found some more security issues, and that date was moved forward to April 2.

They knew enough to avoid April 1

With that new date rapidly approaching, Google has been warning people of the impending end for the service.  But April 2nd isn’t the only date in play.

Come March 7th, Google Plus will stop allowing external applications like WordPress to post to the service.  In advance of that WP.com has been warning its users that support for Google Plus publication will be terminated in advance of that date.

WP.com letting people know

So if you follow the site through Google Plus… and I suspect that might be as many as three people… posts there may cease as early as tomorrow.  This could be the last post to Google Plus you ever seem from me.  (Or from Richard Bartle, whose blog also publishes there.  For me Google Plus is pretty much the Richard Bartle tracker.)

Unlike Facebook, which cut automated posting to combat “fake news” (with little success, since ignorance is generally a grass roots affair), I won’t be bothering to sporadically post links to my posts following the demise of the integration.  So if you follow me there and want to keep reading my stuff, you will have to find another service.

Twitter maybe?  It isn’t so bad if you are careful about whom you follow.

The posts are also pushed to Tumblr as summaries, and I haven’t been banned yet as part of the great Tumblr porn panic, where the algorithm doesn’t know much about art, but knows if nipples are involved it must be porn.

One Year Ago

I was wondering if EA might be a better company if they were owned by Microsoft.

Trion Worlds announced that Rift Prime would launch on March 7th, putting it a good two weeks ahead of the previous estimated “spring” opening.

SuperData Research released their review of 2017 and it seemed to be missing a key title.

In World of Warcraft it was Battle for Azeroth pre-order time.  I bought it so I could start unlocking allied races.  Not that I needed more alts.  I also did a little raiding with leashes and got the Mr. Bigglesworth drop.

In New Eden the Monthly Economic Report showed a dip in activity , at least in overall NPC bounties, as we all turned to the Million Dollar Battle that January.

CCP was also proposing changes to the CSM election process as well as updating their game news RSS feeds.

The February update for EVE Online saw a change that allowed players to attack Upwell structures at any time and changed it so that unfueled structures only had one timer after hitting the shields rather than two.  That led to a spike in destroyed citadels.  There was also the Guardian’s Gala event and CCP still calling mission spaces “dungeons.”  The coming March update promised players a new ship.

In game I hit the meaningless milestone of 190 million skill points.

Actually out in space, Pandemic Horde gave up their space in Fade and Pure Blind to move to the Vale of the Silent, leaving a hole in null sec for somebody to fill.

Daybreak finally declared H1Z1 out of early access, but the battle royale market had already moved on.  Fortnite, significantly, was now available on PC and consoles.

And Extra Credits was going over the whole lockbox thing some more.

Five Years Ago

A lot of people got their panties in a twist about Steam tags.  It was the literal end of civilization as we knew it… for about 30 minutes.

EA handed over the running of Camelot Unchained and Ultima Online to Broadsword.

I spent some time with Warcraft III attempting to discover the pre-history of WoW.

There was Diablo III version 2.0, and the changes looked promising.

On the World of Warcraft front, we were still talking about Warlords of Draenor.  Pre-orders were announced an there was a rumor that the expansion would cost $60, which seemed a bit steep.  Also, insta-90s looked to be coming as a cash shop item.  Would all of that stem the tide on subscription decline?

Meanwhile, I finished the last of the LFR raids, witnessing the downfall of Garrosh Hellscream.  For all of the complaints about LFR, I enjoyed my raid tourism.  The instance group did Grim Batol, then made the jump to Pandaria before returning with slightly better equipment for Heroic Deadmines.

I was wondering why PvP seemed to be a requirement for all MMOs.

I got into The Edler Scrolls Online beta and declared it Skyrim-like enough for me, then never played it again.

Brad McQuaid’s Pantheon: Further Falling of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign was winding down, doomed to failure.  There was talk about what would happen next.  Plan B anybody?

I ran another EVE Online screen shot contest to give away some items from the Second Decade Collector’s Edition which I scored for free… after having bought it for myself.  And then there was the monument and drone assist and campaign medals and the repercussions of B-R5RB to talk about.

And I wondered what was going to happen with people being given free reign in Landmark.

Ten Years Ago

My 8800GT video card died.  That was the second one to go.

I had been looking at my dis-used GAX Online account and wondered what gamer social networking needed to be viable.  Since then, GAX Online has shut down.

PLEX showed up in EVE Online ten years ago.  It doesn’t seem like it has been around for that long.  And then there was the whole Goonswarm disbandment of Band of Brothers, and act that effectively ended the Great War, and which made the BBC news.  This led to talk of how much control players should have over their destiny.

In game I got the mining foreman mindlink as a storyline mission drop, I upgraded to a Raven Navy Isssue, and finally bought the freighter for which I had been training, and got some ships blown up in the Worlds Collide mission… again. There was EVE Vegas, which was just a player run meet up at that point.

I was still active in Lord of the Rings Online, playing characters on the Nimrodel server.  Looking for a class on which to affix the Reynaldo Fabulous name, I put up a poll on the subject.  While Minstrel won the poll, Reynaldo ended up being a hunter with a fabulous hat.  And when I wasn’t fooling around with alts, I was leveling up my captain who made it all the way to Rivendell at one point.

While over in Azeroth, it was revealed that my mom plays WoW.  I wondered at how active Westfall seems to be most of the time.  But the answer to that seems to be the Deadmines, which I ran my mom and daughter through. (No dungeon finder back then!)  There was a little pet drama with my daughter who wanted a raptor.  I also managed my first exalted status with a faction in WoW, the Kalu’ak in Northrend.  I wanted that fishing pole.

On the Wii, we had Wii Musicwhich was crap, and LEGO Batmanwhich suffered a bit from being yet another variation in the successful LEGO video game franchise.

And then there was the usual blog war shenanigans as somebody was still looking to blame WoW and WoW players for Warhammer Online’s failure to meets its subscriber goals.  I think we’re all over that now, right?  Warhammer did what it did on its own faults and merits in a market that was well known before they shipped.

Fifteen Years Ago

The aptly named Gates of Discord expansion for EverQuest launched.  While Smed called its bug-ridden launch “SOE’s worst mistake in five years” it did see the game to its subscription peak of 550K and introduced instancing as the default dungeon mode, something WoW would make a genre default soon enough.

The creator of the original Castle Wolfenstein game from 1981, Silas Warner,  passed away at… oh dear, my age.  I played that game a lot back on my Apple II.

Twenty Years Ago

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, arguably one of the best entries in the Civilization series, ships.  My only nit-pick is that it ran full screen at pre-set resolutions so, unlike its predecessor Civilization II, if you play it today it either has to be in a small window or distorted full screen on your likely much-bigger-than-1999 monitor.

Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance also launched, one of the better Star Wars titles.  But Star Wars was never plagued by bad titles the way Star Trek has been over the years.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. Burn Jita back for 2019
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  4. Burn Jita 2019 Kicks Off
  5. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  6. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Trying Out the Guardians Gala Sites
  9. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  10. No Good Expansions*
  11. The First EverQuest II Progression Server is Coming to an End
  12. Activision Blizzard – Famine in the Midst of Plenty

Search Terms of the Month

is raptr dead or what
[Or what!]

darkfall unholy wars 2019
[Keep on dreamin’]

anything else like all access from daybreak
[XBox Live maybe?]

eve online passie tank vs buffer tank
[Passie tank better than a failie tank]

library of congress “server code”
[The Library of Congress server code is open source]

give usual predictions of new year
[Covered that back on the first of the year]

Game Time from ManicTime

Month two of time tracking with ManicTime. My gaming division of time for February.

  • RimWorld 37.58%
  • WoW 26.12%
  • EVE Online 20.09%
  • EQ 14.28%
  • Minecraft 1.24%
  • LOTRO 0.68%

LOTRO went from top of the heap in January to not much activity at all.  I also binged on a stretch of RimWorld, which replaced LOTRO at the top.  WoW and EQ, which were negligible last month, saw big boosts as I went to those places for my MMORPG fix. And EVE Online stayed about the same.

EVE Online

I was fairly active in fleets during the first half of the month as Liberty Squad brought “freedom” to the inhabitants of The Kalevala Expanse. (I have to look up the name of that region every time. My brain thinks anything that starts with “Kale” should end with “yuck.”)

However, for the back half of the month I was busy with other things, including being away on vacation last week.  As such I missed some big fights in null sec, all of Burn Jita, and the whole Guardian’s Gala event.  I heard that the latter was a bit messed up, but beyond that I couldn’t tell you much beyond it.

EverQuest

Nostalgia for times now 20 years in the past is swelling.  I logged in for a bit in order to get myself back up to speed on the game.  Or down to speed, depending on how you look at it.  That brought me through the Gloomingdeep tutorial.  Will that be enough of a warm up before the big anniversary event?

Lord of the Rings Online

I finished up Volume I of the epic quest line, putting a cap on my Shadows of Angmar experience on the LOTRO Legendary server.  Actually, I did that last month, but only got around to the final post this month.  After that I was sort of done with LOTRO for the time being, and haven’t bothered logging in more than once or twice since then.

Minecraft

I did spend a bit of time playing Minecraft.  I didn’t do anything complicated or start any new public works projects.  I just pottered around a base, improving it, building up some paths and such.  I just wanted to do something simple while listening to an audio book.  Minecraft is often perfect for that.  I am still waiting for the Village & Pillage & Panda update to hit.  It seems like we’ve been waiting for that for quite a while now.

Pokemon Go

Not a lot to report here.  I am closing in on level 36, largely due to several people hitting the “Ultra Friend” level, which is good for 100,000 points.

Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 388 (+3) caught, 415 (+10) seen
Pokemon I want: Meltan, but I still have a several tasks to go in order to get there
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

I have carried on with RimWorld, and with the colony that had such a disastrous turn, about which I posted earlier in the month.  I’ll have to carry on with that story.  As I have said before, RimWorld has that “one more thing” aspect to it that will keep me up late when I had sworn I was going to go to bed early.  There is always something else to do.  Also, as an MMO player, having a game you can pause and walk away from is a nice change as well.  On the other hand, I think my pausing and walking away might be inflating RimWorld‘s play time stats.  There is always another problem.

World of Warcraft

Finishing up the epic quest line in LOTRO lined up just right with the start of Darkmoon Faire in WoW, so I went and did that since they’ve fixed the trade skill quests.  I also finished up both the exploration and quest line achievements for Drustvar.  That opened up World Quests for me.  While faction grinds are generally bad, taking them in daily four quest bites isn’t such an ordeal.

And then they had a week of double experience for pet battles, so I was in on that as well.  I do that with an alt, who is now level 112 but has never been into the BfA content.  Gaff also joined in on the WoW front, so there have been times with all of three people in guild chat, myself, Gaff, and Earl.  Earl is never not playing WoW.

Coming Up

EverQuest turns 20 in just over two weeks.  I’ve mentioned the special servers already this week, but I suspect that there will be other special things going on as well.  Gnomish things, among others I guess.

I expect that we’ll hear something about EVE Online CSM elections.  And there will be the monthly update.  Otherwise the low intensity wars in Perimeter and the east side of null sec seem set to carry on.

On the LOTRO front it seems like a lock that the Mines of Moria expansion will be coming our way on the Legendary server.  I am still not certain how strongly I’ll be in for Moria.

March otherwise looks to be a quiet month.  Spring starts towards the end, at least in the northern hemisphere, and of course daylight savings time starts in the US, for states that observe that (I wish California would opt out even though that would literally mean a bunch of work and testing with time zones yet again in my job), so I will be cranky(er) from sleep pattern interruption and people will be asking what “PDT” stands for again.

What else does March have in store for us?

January in Review

The Site

On my side of the browser WordPress.com decided to change up the color scheme for the admin interface.  Ostensibly this was to improve the contrast, but any color scheme that involves fuchsia as a default might be going too far down the bright scale.  But the post about it said you could go back to the classic blue if you wanted.  Of course, it wasn’t the same set of blues, so it wasn’t really classic.  Also, the change messed up a few things, like the world map.  Things got fixed over time, but it was another in the long list of WP.com pushing something that wasn’t ready to be pushed.  The main surprise was that they actually announced it almost concurrent with pushing it.  Usually they change something, confuse people, field a bunch of questions, then finally post about the update.

Otherwise it has been a slow traffic month on the site.  For the first time since February of 2008 a monthly total dipped below 20K page views.  2018 came close to doing that early in the year as well, but then traffic rebounded.  Blaugust was very much a success in reviving traffic around here, though that tapered off as the holidays hit.  And now, in another cold new year, it is back to low ebb again.

Slow months show up in the most viewed posts pretty clearly.   As you can see below, the traffic tends to come into older posts via Google as opposed to newer posts from the current readership.

Finally, I am going to add a new section to the Month in Review posts starting this month, because clearly these posts are not long enough already, stretching out past 2,000 words of late.  But don’t worry, this new section will be short.  It will be a list, and everybody loves lists, right?

I saw over at Endgame Viable’s year in review post that he had a program for tracking play time… and application usage time in general… called ManicTime.

The free version of ManicTime does pretty much all I need to track game play time.  And, unlike Raptr or XFire from days gone by, it tracks the time you have the application up front as opposed to just the time it is running.  (Or, in the case of GW2, when the launcher was running, which accounted for most of my GW2 play time in Raptr.)  So putting stuff in the background stops the timer.  This gets interesting and/or amusing at times, since it shows your application swaps.  I tab out of EVE Online a lot.

Anyway, you’ll find the first stab at that down in the post.  I’m going to break it out by percentages rather than raw hours because I find that more interesting.

One Year Ago

There were the usual predictions and outlook and Steam Winter Sale posts for the year.  I am consistent, you have to give me that.

Satan was speaking to us about lockboxes.

I played Anarchy Online for a few hours.

There was Trogday.

I was looking into the Legion expansion in World of Warcraft for the new year.

Blizzard gave us four more bag slots… if we had our account security setup correctly.  A year later that little notification about the bag slots still comes up every once in a while.

I was on to pet battles again, collecting them, leveling them up, and looking into the Celestial Tournament.

Blizzard also gave us a target season (summer) for Battle for Azeroth and opened up pre-orders.

In EVE Online the January update moved the Agent Finder fully into The Agency.

But the big news in New Eden was brewing in the system 9-4PR2.  Pandemic Horde was anchoring a Keepstar there and the hype for the battle over it built pretty fast.  Dubbed the “Million Dollar Battle” in advance, it didn’t quite get there, though there were over 6,000 players in the system at one point.  INN spent time reviewing the whole thing.  Still, it was good enough for a Guinness Book World Record. (Yeah, that was in April, but I figured I would tie the whole event together here.)

I moved all of my games and data from my old Nintendo 3DS XL to a new 2DS XL.

In a bullet points post I was on about the Age of Empires remaster, which you could only get through the Microsoft store, Rift Prime plans, legendary Pokemon, the cost of making video games, and how BitCoin miners were buying up all the video cards.

And, finally, I was kind of bummed because, in this age of streaming, if you want to see recent movie releases at home, disks were still the most reliable method for the price… short of pirating the movies, of course.

Five Years Ago

Do I need to say more than B-R5RB?  That was, at the time, the biggest single battle in the history of EVE Online when it came to total ISK destroys, most of it in the form of 75 titans blowing up.  Lots of big numbers in that fight.  It made it to lots of non-gaming news sites.  And I was there.  I am on six titan kill mails to prove it.  The whole thing was a hell of an event after the crash at HED-GPearlier in the month.

That about spelled the end of N3 in the southeast as the Russians rolled in with CFC support.  My joke about the power blocs seemed to be true.  What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Blog Banter 52 was focused on the EVE Online community.  All sunshine and lollipops there, right?  Otherwise it was a pretty slow month in New Eden for me.

Speaking of bloodbaths, SOE announced they were going to close four titlesFree RealmsWizardry OnlineStar Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and Vanguard: Rise of the Saga.  Meanwhile, deadbeat Planet Side, which hadn’t netted a nickel of profit in years went 100% free to play.  Way to show favorites Smed!

Then there was how Hearthstone was going to inspire SOE to update Legends of Norrath, because SOE has been cast in the role of follower for a while now.  Also, never going to happen.

Then there was the question of when “Next” was, specifically EverQuest Next.  Things had gotten quiet already.

At least SOE made subscriptions cheaper, though not before pissing off their subscribers first.  SOE being SOE.

And then there was Lord of the Rings Online, which announced there would be no expansion in 2014… or raids or dungeons… which left people kind of wondering what was going to happen.  You want to know when people started to doubt the future of the game?  This was the moment.  I did point out that Turbine was not the only entity that tried to tackle Tolkien’s work, only to be brought up short at Helm’s Deep.  In the end my guess would be that the crisis at Turbine was Infinite Crisis, and that fell flat.

There was the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen kickstarter.  Brad McQuaid was back, asking for too much money and promising too many features.  We know how that works out.  Even SOE closing his last title couldn’t push his pledge totals up to what he wanted.

Then there was World of Warcraft.  People were wondering what classes to boost to level 90. and what the so-called stat squish was really going to mean.  They also, in hindsight, pretty clearly broadcasted the Warlords of Draenor ship date, only few believed it.

Our own group was still running through the Cataclysm expansion, catching up from our year or so away from the game in places like Deepholm and the Vortex Pinnacle.  I was also lusting for living steel and making friends with the Netherwing at last.

What else?  Oh yeah, EA decided that maybe SimCity should be a SimCity game.  I was wondering if level cap upgrades were an aberration.  There was some naming policy shenanigans.  And there was my yearly MMO outlook for the year as well as the usual predictions.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago I was in a Middle-earth mood.  I had rolled up some new characters on the same server as a few notable podcasters and then started trying to catch up to them.  The small and friendly community in LOTRO helped out, so I was able to do the Great Barrow with a pickup group and not feel the need to drink heavily afterward.  Of course, I sometimes feel the need to stir the pot.  And then there was the whole icon thing.

I also mentioned something that involved punching Amy Tan that seemed to go down well.  According to Google, this was the only site it tracks that has ever used the exact phrase “punch Amy Tan.”  I think it is still pretty much a TAGN unique.

In WoW the instance group was working its way up to Ingvar the Plunderer.  This was the height of our “we suck” phase.  Meanwhile Blizz was busy patching in improvements.

While in EVE there was a bit of mission running plus I hit a monetary milestone and 30 million skill points.

I went looking for KartRider and found that after beta Nexon apparently folded up that tent and  called it a day, at least here in the US.

I noticed that the optical drive on our Wii started making a lot of noise.  It still makes noise ten years later, but it also still works, even if Nintendo has turned off almost everything related to it.

There was that whole controversy about Wikipedia deleting entries on MUDs and MUD history.  That lead to the creation of MUD History Wiki over on Wikia.  Many MUDs are still alive and well, and sites like the MUD Connector seem to still thrive.

I pointed to a post over at Massively that showed the top selling games for October of 2008 were almost all a couple years old or more.

Ensemble Studios, who created the Age of Empires series, shut down.  But their games live on, with Age of Empires II remaining popular on Steam.

I hit the 1,000 post mark, which was cause for yet another milestone post and some reflection. (I’m closing in on the 5,000 mark a now.)

Oh, and I predicted a whole bunch of crap that mostly failed to materialize.  But that never stops me from trying again.

And, like everybody else, I had a laundry list for the new President. He totally failed on all fronts!

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  2. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  6. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  7. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  8. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  9. My MMO Outlook for 2019
  10. New Years Predictions for 2019
  11. The First EverQuest II Progression Server is Coming to an End
  12. SuperData and the Free and Mobile Future

Search Terms of the Month

daybreak lifetime membership refund
[Good luck on that!]

guild name generator for animals
[Have you met us? We’re all animals]

eveequest 2019
[This the Pokemon/Norrath crossover?]

dreanor cant fly why do i have a mount then
[So you don’t have to walk?]

Game Time from ManicTime

Listing out the games that ManicTime tracked in January, here is how I divided up my time.

  1. LOTRO   –  36.40%
  2. RimWorld  –  33.56%
  3. EVE Online  –  25.25%
  4. Unnamed Alpha  –  2.90%
  5. Combat Mission  –  1.00%
  6. WoW  –  0.73%
  7. EverQuest  –  0.13%
  8. EverQuest II  –  0.03%

I had to consider what would be the cut-off for how little time I would list.  But I also wanted to keep track of games I spent time with, even a little time.  So I decided that if a game made the top 50 list of apps tracked in the month, it would make the cut.

The top application tracked was Firefox, the browsed I default to at home for most things, including writing blog posts.

EVE Online

I was off with Liberty Squad and their deployment to the east of New Eden.  I shot a lot of structures, which is fine.  Structure shooting is what we call “putting money in the bank” in Reavers.  Setting timers is investing time in hopes of a future fight.  However, I seem to have missed most of the withdrawals.  Oh well.

Lord of the Rings Online

I made it to level 50 as I carried on with the epic quest line.  I finished the first eight books and have been trying to round up the final seven so I can say I have done them all.  They have started to wear on me a bit, as the structure of those last seven seem designed as much to keep the player busy and running all over Middle-earth as anything.  At this point I only have Book XV left to do.  Once I finish that it might be time for a break from the game.

Pokemon Go

I slipped a bit on the Pokemon Go front this month.  I didn’t play for about a week around New Years.  It was cold and wet and I didn’t want to go outside.  But I live in California, so it is never cold or wet for long.  It soon turned sunny and warm again and I was out playing.  I did finally get my excellent curve ball thrown in for the task that lets you catch a Celebi.  Have I mentioned how annoying it is when the game forces you into AR mode to catch things?  With no sense of scale or distance… or scale and distance distorted by being projected in a small room… I expended a lot of Pokeballs to catch the Celebi.  Still, I got it eventually.

Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 385 (+5) caught, 405 (+5) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I still need about 70 candies
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have had RimWorld out again.  I find it a very compelling game to play in sort of the way I find Civilization games compelling; I always want to just finish up the next task or objective before I quit for the night.  And then a raid hits and I lose half my colonists.  It is usually easier to go to bed then.

World of Warcraft

I did log into Azeroth for a bit, though it was only really for Darkmoon Faire.  When I saw that they had fixed the trade skill quests there I wanted to drop in and see if it really was true.  It was.

Others

Now I feel like I have to account for everything on the ManicTime list.  I did play a couple quick rounds of Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin.  Still an excellent game.  I also logged into EverQuest and EverQuest II, mostly just to check on a couple of things in anticipation of upcoming anniversary events.  I don’t think I earned a single point of xp in either.  And the unnamed alpha title shall remain unnamed.  It actually has an NDA.  Remember those?

Coming Up

February, the shortest month of the year.

There will be the usual monthly update for EVE Online, but it already looks like it will be concentrated on small, quality of life items.  That is fine.  We can always use that.  But I am not sure when the “next big thing” will be coming.  We should also start hearing about the next round of CSM elections.  That will get people complaining.

I hope that we’ll hear a bunch of things from Daybreak.  The Producer’s Letters put out this month mentioned all sorts of plans to help celebrate EverQuest‘s 20th birthday.  Most of those plans had details to follow, so one would assume they would follow in February, as once we get into March things will be getting a bit tight.

In Lord of the Rings Online I should finish up Volume I of the epic quest line.  The word is that the Mines of Moria expansion will be opened up around March.  We shall see.  Part of me sees the Anor server as an opportunity to play through all the game and into the Mordor expansion.  Another part believes that the 1-50 game is the best part and maybe I should just stop there.

I also have a plan… we’ll see if it comes to pass… to put together a series of posts about some old games I dug up this month.  Maybe I will have enough for a theme week.  We shall see.

December in Review

The Site

Here we are at the last day of 2018 and the 402nd and final post of the year… unless something big and/or stupid comes up and I feel compelled to post about it before the end of the day.  I think we’re pretty safe though.  Who announces things on New Years Eve?

402 posts is kind of a lot for a single year, especially when my goal is just a post every weekday. I didn’t post every single day.  You can see by the chart below I missed more than a few days.

Graphical Representation of Days Posted – I added the day guide to clarify it

The gray squares mean no post.  But I made up the missing days with double, and occasionally triple, post days.  Those are the darker squares.  I did not post more than three times in a single day.  I usually like to leave a time gap of a few hours between posts, since it is my impression that some visitors only read the top post.  And most things I write aren’t all that time sensitive.  I make a point of writing about things soon after I have done them, things like fleet ops, more because my memory is fresh than anything else.

(The same chart for my other blog is all just black squares as I never post more than once a day.)

Anyway, a lot of posts in 2018.

But 402 is not the most posts in a single year.  The current ranking is:

  1. 2007 – 490 posts
  2. 2011 – 488 posts
  3. 2012 – 442 posts
  4. 2010 – 406 posts
  5. 2018 – 402 posts

2007 is explicable in that I hadn’t really settled down on what I wanted to do, so I was posting a lot of very short and random stuff.  The run from 2010 through 2012 corresponds with the peak of the blog in many ways; traffic, posts, games I was playing and writing about, interest in new games, and so on.  That probably represents the final gasp of the pre-cynical era for me.

Well, pre-cynical relative to my current outlook anyway.

There is also a correlation between the wave of Kickstarted and early access games and the end of blog’s peak era.  I’m not saying they’re connected, but the coming of one seemed to herald the end of the other.

In total words, or even average words per post, 2018 is at the top of the list

  1. 2018 – 427,278 words (without this post, so add another 2K words)
  2. 2014 – 395,517 words
  3. 2013 – 346,436 words
  4. 2015 – 342,813 words
  5. 2016 – 334,911 words

That gives me another correlation.  Traffic has gone down as my word count has gone up.  Again, I cannot definitively say that one caused the other… I’m not going to follow the madness of Gevlon and assume correlation means causation without evidence… but it sure looks suspicious.  Or it would, except, as I noted in the highs and lows post on Friday, traffic to the site went up a bit this year.  So who knows what it all really means?  As I have said in the past, there are many factors in play here, including Google’s search result algorithms.

One Year Ago

We got the Ring of Scale expansion for EverQuest.

Nintendo and Game Freak released what might end up being the last Pokemon title to arrive on their handheld hardware in the form of Pokemon Crystal for the Virtual Console.

I was kind of bummed when Blizzard took away my sunglasses.  But I was still out fishing and doing pet battles in World of Warcraft.  And, most important of all, I unlocked flying in the Legion expansion.  I also spent some time trying to find an objective way to measure my favorite WoW expansion.

CCP launched the Arms Race expansion for EVE Online which included expanded Alpha Clone abilities and special skill injectors just for them.  The Agent Finder also got moved into The Agency completely.  Meanwhile, the Yule Lads weren’t delivering presents to us in New Eden.  We had to go find them ourselves.

I also hit a tipping point in the game, where now most of my time playing was now in null sec.

Actually out in space Reavers were deployed into Pure Blind and were quite active in December, with the following posts about fleet ops:

There was the usual set of review posts for 2017.  I looked at my predictions, my MMO outlook, highs and lows, and some MMO bloggers.

And there was, of course, a Steam Winter Sale.  I was in the “not enthusiastic” part of my relationship with Steam.

Five Years Ago

It was the final shut down for Warhammer Online.

It was also the end of the road for World of Darkness at CCP, which shut down the project and laid off much of the staff.

CCP did give me a copy of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.

Actually in EVE, I was looking at flying a dreadnought, looking at my hull tanking certificate, and actually went on a couple of ops, blowing things up in NS2L-4 and BW-WJ2.

Shroud of the Avatar was an actual thing.  You could log in and see stuff.  Granted, a year later it was still in alpha and had a long way to go, but at least progress was being made I guess.

Turbine threw their hat in the ring with their own insta-level scheme for Lord of the Rings Online.  It got you all the way to the doors of Moria.  I was not impressed.  Not only was the level cap well beyond Moria at that point, I tend to believe that the best content in the game is the 1-50 run.  But that is the nature of level based games.

Blizzard put a cash shop in World of Warcraft.  But don’t call those microtransactions, because they are not.  Microtransactions require an intermediate currency.  If you’re selling in straight up dollars, pounds, and euros, it isn’t a microtransaction.

The instance group in World of Warcraft ventured under the sea and into the Mount Hyjal region, then ran through the Throne of Tides and Blackrock Caverns instances.  Meanwhile, I had an alt finish up The Burning Crusade for me.  And then there was my character a level cap, swamped with options including Timeless Isle.

I reviewed my goals and tried to sum up 2013.

I did some book reviews of a sort, looking at The Kindly Ones, The Circle, and some space operas.

Finally, we were very sad at our house when our cat Fred died.  We still miss him.

Ten Years Ago

December seemed to be all about the micropayments and the like.  Sony Online Entertainment surprised some by putting Station Cash driven stores into EverQuest and EverQuest II.  The selection wasn’t great and the pricing seemed a bit off, but I was more interested to know what other SOE products would get the Station Cash treatment.

In EverQuest II I ran Reynaldo Fabulous from creation to level 50 in an very short (to me) stretch of time.  And then I stopped.

And then EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be microtransaction financed.  Or maybe they didn’t.  It ended up that way eventually, but three years later when it launch it was very much a subscription game in the classic sense.

In Azeroth we were still coming to grips with the Northrend instances.  In Utgarde Keep we managed to kill off Prince Keleseth, but couldn’t hold it together to finish the instance.  Outside, we were running around doing quests.

Meanwhile, somebody was working on a WoW code, akin to the old geek code that used to clutter many a .sig file back when Usenet was cool and we knew the spammers by name.

I actually found some time to play Lord of the Rings Online.

And on the MUD nostalgia front I was reminding people what quests used to be like and sharing some really bad limericks.

Best selling PC Games from 2008:

  1. Spore
  2. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
  3. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
  4. The Sims 2: FreeTime
  5. Spore Creature Creator
  6. Sins of a Solar Empire
  7. The Sims 2: Apartment Life
  8. The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
  9. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm
  10. The Sims Castaway Stories

Twenty Years Ago

The original Baldur’s Gate was released.

And, in something of a reductive cycle, the first video game version of the physical Pokemon Trading Card game, itself based on the Pokemon Red & Blue video games, was released on the GameBoy in Japan.  In a nod to simplicity, it was called the Pokemon Trading Card Game by the time it arrived in the US.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  2. Finding Evendim
  3. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  7. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  8. A Short Rant About the State of the MMORPG Market
  9. Gamers are Not a Unified Demographic
  10. Daybreak Offering a Lifetime All Access Deal for $299
  11. Some Better Luck with Operation Permafrost
  12. My Five Books of 2018

Search Terms of the Month

lotro emulator
[Let’s not go there quite yet]

whats the orcs name from warcraft
[Azog? Gorbag? Grishnakh?]

how much.gold.can.a.portable.hole.hold
[All of it?]

eve online spider tank
[I don’t think that is a thing any more]

images of people reenlisting inside a battleship barrel
[Gun barrel? Pork barrel? Pickle barrel? I am not sure I get this.]

Spam Comments of the Month

Do not underestimate the power of contemporary flowers.
[Well, alrighty then!]

When guests click on advertisements, publishers earn money.
[So that’s how that works!]

No matter funeral particulars you favor, it is important that you make your wishes clear in writing.
[Just put me on the curb with garbage on pick up day]

Now YOU Can Grab Our New Web Traffic “Robot” That Works 24/7 to Bring You Free Traffic and Subscribers!
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This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
[Spam bots are the worst liars]

EVE Online

My time in New Eden this month was dominated by the events in wormhole J115405, known as Rage, where the Initiative setup operations to destroy Hard Knocks structures there, including the first Keepstar deployed in the game.  After that I mucked around with some high sec alts playing the Operation Permafrost event and logging in every day for the holiday rewards.  The only other item of note was that, after a bit too much red wine on Christmas Eve, I signed up for Liberty Squad, one of the Imperium SIGs and squads that are responsible for much of the activity during what one might otherwise call peace time.  We’ll see how that plays out.

Lord of the Rings Online

I carried on with the Legendary server, keeping up a pace of logging in almost every single night.  At least until I got to the holidays and the Misty Mountains.  Those two together caused me to slack off a bit.  But I remain determined to get through the epic quest line and up to level 50 before SSG gets around to unlocking the Mines of Moria expansion.

Pokemon Go

I managed to make another level this month, largely thanks to the bonus points you get for achieving friendship levels with other players.  Still, it is a long way to level 40.  I am also stuck on the task where you have to make an excellent curveball throw.  This is the second time that has come up.  I got it done the first time, but this time around I have yet managed it.

Level: 35 (+1)
Pokedex status: 380 (+9) caught, 400 (+9) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I need about 70 candies
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

RimWorld left early access and went live a while back this year.  Some people I read/know started playing it this month, which got me back to playing it a bit.  It is still an epic consumer of free time.  My usual loop tends to have me playing for a stretch, then some huge bad event hits and I save and go away for a while.  Then I come back later, clean up the mess, or the corpses, or both, and carry on.

World of Warcraft

My account hasn’t quite lapsed, so I keep thinking I’ll go play a bit.  I did log in to get the holiday present and achievement.  But other than that it is in limbo.

Coming Up

Happy new year I guess.  I’ll have to remember to put the right year on checks.

Of course, the first thing out of the gate every year here is a predictions post.  Look for my doom and gloom about 2019 tomorrow.  Also, some sort of MMO outlook for the year will likely show up as well next week.

The Steam Winter Sale will wrap up come Friday morning.  I’m sure there is a post in what I bought… if I end up buying anything.  So far I haven’t purchased anything for myself.  I did grab a title for my daughter however.

With the new year there will also likely be some news and forward looking statements from various studios about what they plan for the year.

In addition to all of that, I still have quite a few half done posts in the drafts folder to work on.  I shan’t fall off the face of the internet, at least not for lack of topics.

Otherwise it will be EVE Online and Lord of the Rings Online and Pokemon Go I suppose.

November in Review

The Site

This month I started putting links to posts here on Facebook manually.  I’m not sure why.  Probably because I still manually post them to the Blaugust Discord channel as well, and once I am doing that why not do another site?

My posts used to get posted to the Wilhelm Arcturus timeline on Facebook automatically.  Then Facebook blocked the automatic posting of links to timelines a few months back in an effort to look responsive to people claiming that the company was in some way responsible the results of the 2016 election.  Hiring a firm to promote George Soros conspiracy theories is fine it seems, but random individuals feeding their work into their own timeline is a threat to democracy.

Honestly, after writing that last sentence I am wondering again why I even have an account there.  I don’t believe they influenced the election at all, because in my experience most people make their decision first and then rationalize it after the fact with cherry-picked data.  (See Gevlon for an extreme example.)  But that doesn’t mean Facebook isn’t a loathsome company run by an ongoing PR nightmare of a CEO.  So I might not even be there tomorrow.  It isn’t like Facebook generates any significant traffic.  Posting links this month did increase traffic… actually doubled it… but double means about 60 referrals.  I get more than that when somebody popular (i.e. not me) shares one of my links there, so I am back to not being sure if it is worth the effort.

In other, less dramatic news, the blog hit another minor milestone, crossing the 5 million page view mark.  I think the last such milestone I noted was 1 million page views back in March 2010.  So 4 million since then.

Milestone of a sort

5 million page views is probably what a popular site gets in a day, if not an hour, but it seems like a big number for my little blog.

The site is also coming up on 5,000 posts.  So, on average, each post has over 1,000 page views.  In reality, most people land on the main URL and read from there or hit one of about 30 posts that have anywhere from 10K to 65K views.  About 10% of posts have 1,000 page views or more.

The visitors number on that graphic is a bit deceptive.  WordPress.com didn’t start counting visitors until the end of December 2012.  However, 2011 and 2012 were the peak years of the blog.  Since then popularity of the blog began to fall off in 2013, the visitors entry only represents a “past my prime” sort of number.

Still, April 13, 2013 remains the most popular day ever on the blog.  Looking at the post for that day, my theory about there being an inverse relationship between effort and popularity seems to be confirmed.

Finally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, posts related to Lord of the Rings Online saw a bit of a surge this month, as the most viewed posts section below indicates.

One Year Ago

It was BlizzCon.  Blizzard, while pretty much ignoring the Diablo franchise, did announce the next World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, as well as WoW Classic.  There was much discussion after BlizzCon wrapped up.  I brought up a list of things that would likely be different in WoW Classic compared to live.

Actually in WoW I was into Suramar and my class hall campaign, timewalking in Northrend, and picking up again with pet battles.  The WoW thirteenth anniversary event was timely as it gave a boost to faction gains, something I was working on to unlock flying.  Also, as predicted, I failed to get the headless horseman’s mount yet againThis is fine.

In EVE Online we were off on what would become a nearly year long deployment to the north of New Eden.  I was worried about these upcoming Alpha clone skill injectors.  CCP also had a screen shot contest.  And I did a write up about the Neocom II app for iOS and only got a few material facts wrong.

I was trying to get my copy of ZMud 7.21 up and working again.  This comes up every so often.

I had to get ZMud going so I could finish up my post about the Elemental Glades in TorilMUD.

EverQuest II became a teenager, turning 13.  For its birthday it got the Planes of Prophecy expansion.

In Minecraft I was touring our world looking at some of the epic structures.

There was some crazy talk out of EA.  And that was before the Star Wars: Battlefront II fiasco started to boil over, with Disney stepping in to check EA.

Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon launched, marking the end of new Pokemon titles for the Nintendo handheld line.

And a video on YouTube ended up prompting a long discussion about how much it costs to make a video game.

Five Years Ago

TorilMUD, measured through its lineage via Sojourn MUD, hit the 20 year mark.  So I was playing that before there was any sort of Warcraft.

Time was running out on Warhammer Online, but they were going to give people a last chance to see the place… for free.  A pity I couldn’t get my account to work.

There was a scathing quote of the day about what “social gaming” had come to mean.

The Tears of Veeshan expansion launched in EverQuest II while we said farewell to EverQuest: Macintosh Edition.  Meanwhile, EverQuest veteran Aradune was back in play talking about a new MMO he had planned.

As for SOE, they were also being called out for selling Founder’s Packs for EverQuest Next or Landmark or whatever.  I was also wondering about the alleged new combat might imply that latency was no longer an issue.

The Rubicon expansion for EVE Online went live, complete with lots of stats.  The update did not save us from the node crash at E-YJ8G.  Big fleet battles, with thousand of drones in play, were taxing the servers beyond their limits.  Meanwhile, there was the Long Guy Fawkes Day… another node crash, but only after 6 hours of crushing TiDi… and we were headed back to Curse again.

EVE Online community site EVE Bloggers found a new home at last.

BlizzCon rolled around and I was speculating about what they might announce.  The actual big news generated much excitement for WoW players with the Warlords of Draenor announcement, though few thought it would take a year for them to ship it.  There was a silly moment where they declared something impossible.

I was already back and binging on the WoW, but the rest of the instance group came back as well after the announcement… and we basically did what we should have done a few years back, we got out the old group and picked up where we left off.

I was dropping bombs in War Thunder.

I wondered why we couldn’t just turn off achievements.

There was also a moment of Apple II nostalgia.

I was having problems with the LOTRO patcher… again.

And, after having read Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire at its 20th anniversary, I got around to reading the other two books in the series.  The title of that post is a spoiler.

Ten Years Ago

We were all excited about expansions.

For EverQuest II, there was The Shadow Odyssey that showed up around the four year anniversary and which gave us the bear mount.  If you bought retail you also got the pewter bear which went on to feature in so many Tipa cartoons and my own parody thereof.

In EVE Online, the Quantum Rise expansion was available, granting those of us in New Eden certificates, among other things.

While it wasn’t out yet, Turbine was warming people up for the Mines of Moria expansion for Lord of the Rings Online.  It sounded great.  It just took me forever to get there.  At least I got the T-shirt… erm… the cloak.

And then there was a little thing called Wrath of the Lich King.  Yeah, that.  Sort of a big deal for some, setting sales records at the time.

The instance group did its last Outland instance (well, the last one at level) and then began poking our noses into Northrend to start the grand tour of the new expansion.  We even got into the first instance.  We also took a shot at the Headless Horseman.  To this day I still don’t have his mount.

On the flip side, Warhammer Online passed from regular play rotation.  We left, never to return.

Finally, I was keeping the nostalgia ball rolling with a look back at how information used to be regarded back in the days of MUDs, a notable MUD NPC, hitting level cap in TorilMUD, a question about Anarchy Online, and a hazy recollection of a GEnie game called Stellar Warrior.

Twenty Years Ago

In a trifecta month, Half-Life, StarCraft: Brood War, and Starsiege: Tribes all launched.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Who is My Middle-earth Main Anyway?
  2. Finding Evendim
  3. Crafting Again in Middle-earth
  4. LOTRO and the Legendary Server Idea
  5. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  6. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  7. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  8. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  9. Home From EVE Vegas 2018
  10. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  11. Gamigo Buys then Guts Trion Worlds
  12. Why Fan Expectations for Blizzard are Hopeless

Search Terms of the Month

lotro anor server queue
[Don’t get me started]

lotro anor vs ithil population
[Going to say sun > moon]

blizzard stock
[ACTI, and it is down]

everquest 3?
[Nope]

apps people pay 99 cents for
[Crappy ones?]

arti kata1- a lot of gold for killing 2- the daily reward for watching 6000 videos is increased all in all that a day is offered 3- energy is not wasted 4- rapid level increase 5- increased inventory size to 2 billion)) 6- vip included 2
[I don’t even know how that gets you here]

EVE Online

Kind of a quiet month for me in New Eden.  We did have the Onslaught expansion and two Monthly Economic reports show up, so I didn’t lack for things to post about.  But I only went on a couple of fleet ops and, while I was resolved to run more Abyssal deadspace sites with my high sec alt, I never really got around to it.  Mostly I was tending skill queues and writing about the theoretical rather than the actual.

EverQuest II

My latest dalliance with EverQuest II seems to have come to an end.  I cannot jump between more than a couple of games.  I like to be able to focus and get into a game.  I enjoyed my time, but the game does have a rather jarring transition between content that interrupted what was otherwise a smooth run.  At least I spent a bunch of my Station Cash.  That should make Daybreak happy, or at least somebody in accounting.

Lord of the Rings Online

The LOTRO Legendary server was the flavor of the month for November.  Despite being bad at promoting it and reticent to declare an actual launch date… and the whole thing being rather shy on things to distinguish it from the normal live servers… it was quite a success.  After past optimism on the server front as Turbine, SSG went safe and stuck to a single server, opting to open a second only after the first was well and truly overrun with players.

Being back in Middle-earth has been fun, though that is easy to say when I am still in the midst of content I know and enjoy.  I might even make it to 50 before they unlock the Mines of Moria expansion.  But I have my doubts as to whether there is anything they can do to make anything after Moria fun.

Pokemon Go

This remains the one game my wife and I play together.  I just wish it would let you change teams, as she is Instinct and I am Mystic.  I would pay for a team change token.  But being on different teams hasn’t stopped us from going out to do research tasks and knock down gyms that are help by team Valor.

Level: 34 (+0)
Pokedex status: 371 (+8) caught, 391 (+16) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I need about 80 candies
Current buddy: Eevee, for the special research task

World of Warcraft

I did managed to hit level cap.  120 wasn’t all that hard, I just fell off the horse when distracted by other things.  I was a bit sullen at yet again being denied the Headless Horseman’s mount, but I did get on and do a bit for the WoW 14th anniversary event.  But by the time Pilgrim’s Bounty showed up I was heavily invested in LOTRO, so my time in Azeroth had tapered off quite a bit.

Coming Up

A new year is in the offing, which means those standard end-of-the-year posts.  There are predictions to review, highs and lows to chart, my January gaming plan to go over, and whatever else I write about every December.  Maybe I’ll pick my books of the year or examine what it was I played in 2018.

The usual holiday events will no doubt be in full force in games soon enough, along with a Steam Winter Sale.  Neither stirs much excitement in me at the moment.

EverQuest will get its 25th expansion next month.  I am sure that will be a moment of note.

And I will have wrapped up the TAGN FML league for a while.  I am going to take winter and spring off from that with a plan to return again for another summer blockbuster season.

As for play time, it seems likely that the LOTRO Legendary server thing will keep my attention.  I am currently working on how to make a LOTROmon joke as a post because, not only do your characters never die (they merely lose morale and are defeated, which seems akin to how Pokemon faint), but the servers are named Anor and Ithil, Sindarin for sun and moon, which were the names of the last real Pokemon games from Nintendo and Game Freak.  I think if I could find a sleeping Snorlax analogy I’d be set.

October in Review

The Site

Happy Halloween.

A happy kitty pumpkin I carved… a long time ago actually

The strange traffic patterns here continued here for the fourth straight month and I am at a loss to explain it.  It is unusual for no posts from the current month to make the list, much less four times in a row.  And while a few posts on the list make some sense, you have to get down to 25th place before you hit a post from October. (Gamigo Buys then Guts Trion World, which was popular and linked elsewhere is in position 25.)

I cannot tell where some of this is coming from as the referrers count is much lower than the total visitors or page views, though that is not unusual.  Some sites just don’t show up in that list for various reasons, including Massively OP.  I can see the traffic hitting those pages in the Flag Counter reports, and it is from all over the US on Windows, iOS, and Mac OS, so it isn’t just one guy hitting refresh.  So I just don’t know.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com continues with its ever encroaching ad placement.  You won’t see it here, as I am on a yearly plan that turns ads off, but if I hit other WP.com sites with a browser that doesn’t have Ad Block of some sort (which I have to have for work), I end up seeing more and more ads.  The latest is an add that drops down from the top of the page to obscure what you’re reading.

Fill in the gap between the top and the other ads

This is one of those things that makes me shake my head.  Ad blockers were not created because people don’t want to support online content, they were created because the ads grew obnoxious enough for people to look for a way to block them.

And then there was this beauty.  I took a look at my other site using Chrome on my iPad, where there is no ad block extension, to use a link from the sidebar and had my whole session hijacked by an ad.

WP.com lets ads take over your browser session

I love those faked comments at the bottom from two and three years ago.  And this ad led into another and another.  I couldn’t get back to my other site.

And so WP.com has inadvertently joined in on promoting ad blockers by becoming an ad shitshow.  Well done.  I could not recommend WP.com as a platform it you plan to blog.  Go make a Blogger account for that, and make sure you have an ad blocker if you visit a WordPress.com site.

One Year Ago

I wrote about how we used to yell and sell in Waterdeep back in TorilMUD, which predates that auction house stuff we have today.

RimWorld was eating up a bunch of my gaming time.

The then still in early access H1Z1 had King of the Kill removed from its name, reverting back to just H1Z1.  This was due to as-yet-still-unrealized plans by Daybreak to bring the game to China where they couldn’t have “kill” in the name.  They have since changed their mind and renamed the game again.  It is now H1Z1: Battle Royale, or maybe Z1 Battle Royale.  It is honestly hard to tell/care at this point.  All I know is it will probably have another new name before this gets to the “Five Years Ago” section in 2022.

In New Eden I had finished up my time with the Warzone Extraction event.  I also remapped my attributes, something that affects the learning rates of skill.  You don’t do that lightly as you’re stuck with the remap for a year.  I also went and rounded up data cores.  I should probably do that again.  It has been a year.

I was headed to EVE Vegas and wrote up my report when I returned.

The Reavers SIG turned three years old.

In space we went out to Aridia to clean up the neighborhood.

As the month headed towards its end CCP released the Lifeblood expansion for EVE Online which changed moon mining, upgraded The Agency, and added a bunch of PvE content.  There was also a joke about lighting farts to be made.

However, following EVE Vegas, where VR was heavily emphasized, and the Lifeblood expansion, CCP had a round of layoffs and effectively stopped developing for VR.  Among teams hit hard was the community team.

I hit level 30 in Pokemon Go.

And I returned to World of Warcraft, having taken a break.  I once again failed to get the headless horseman’s mount.  And I was wondering if Blizzard would announce the next WoW expansion at BlizzCon.  It seemed pretty likely.

Five Years Ago

EverQuest: Mactinosh Edition was slated to shut down after a ten year run.  Meanwhile, EverQuest Live launched Call of the Forsaken, the game’s 20th expansion.  The Fippy Darkpaw server made it to The Buried Sea expansion.  And in EverQuest II, insta-level characters were set to become a thing.

Also, Daybreak got DC Universe Online onto the PlayStation 4 where it reportedly continues to do quite well.

With the release of Pokemon X & Y, which required upgrading to Nintendo 3DS hardware, I was saying farewell to the series.  Little did I know I would be pulled back in a few months down the road.

As part of some NBI event I attempted to recount all the guilds I had joined over the years.

Somebody was attempting to remake the old Kesmai game Stellar Emperor.

Path of Exile finished up beta and was officially live.

After a post-F2P boom, Trion went back to paring down the number of servers for Rift while its servers in China were shut down completely.

The instance group was still running Foundry modules in Neverwinter.

I was trying out War Thunder.  After failing to get through the tutorial for World of Warplanes, I opted for its competitor, which seems better suited for the inept like me.  I was able to get out there and be a target for other players while bombing at least.

In New Eden our gate camp deployment to the Curse region was wrapping up almost as soon as it started.  It felt like we had just snuck in.  It was time to go home to the quiet of Deklein for a while and wait for the Rubicon expansion.  While there I finally bought my first capital ship, an Archon carrier.  It went for its first jump and then stayed docked for almost a year.  Of course, I found out I had a lot of stuff sitting in hangars around New Eden.  Nine million things, to put a number to it.  And CCP was setting up classes for new players… which was great if you lived in the European time zone.

I was pondering the “journey vs. destination” question with MMOs while feeling a bit wistful that World of Warcraft holidays were not offering much new.

Marc Pinkus, founder of Zynga, declared he was bored of games.

And we finally ditched AT&T DSL for Comcast cable-modem internet, resolving the bandwidth sharing problems at our house.

Ten Years Ago

In one of the worst kept secrets in video game development it was announced that BioWare’s MMO project was in fact Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Their subscription goals were, of course, quite modest.

I celebrated my 15 years of playing Sojourn/TorilMUD with the first in a series of posts.  Nostalgia FTW!  And I guess that makes this the 25 year mark.  My, how time flies!  I probably need a post about that.

And speaking of Nostalgia, Tipa was out looking for EverQuest blogs.  I’m not sure any were discovered.  EverQuest itself launched its fifteenth expansion, Seeds of Destruction, which brought NPC mercenaries to the game to assist players.

The instance group formed up a guild and was running in Warhammer Online.  We had our best night and our worst night, plus a few that were somewhere in between.  All in all though, things were not as exciting as we had hoped.

Mythic was trying out incentives to get better server balance while starting to talk about new stuff coming soon.  Not a word about the quest log however.

In EVE Online Potshot, Gaff, and I were playing with fleets and I was flying a shiny new ship.  Also the EVE Blog Pack was defined.

Finally, I stared logging into World of Warcraft again to get things lined up for the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion.  I managed to survive through the controversial scourge event and was intrigued by the shiny new achievements.

Fifteen Years Ago

A shooter named Call of Duty launched.  Now Activision’s annual revenue pretty much depends on shipping a sequel to it.

Lineage II launched as well.  The successor to the original Lineage, which was in last month’s post celebrating its 20th anniversary, it had the usual problem of MMORPG sequels in never living up to the success of the original.

Twenty Years Ago

The Rise of Rome expansion came out for Age of Empires.

Thirty Years Ago

The Sega MegaDrive launched in Japan.  Mentioned mostly because I ended up with a Sega Genesis, the name used in the US, a few years later.

Forty Years Ago

Really, am I going back that far now?  Yes I am!  Back in October of 1978 Space Invaders arrived in North America.  I posted about that event.  It was a big deal back in the day.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  2. Honest Game Trailers – Animal Crossing
  3. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  4. Rift Prime Time
  5. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  6. February in Review
  7. Spring Movie League – Cats and Birds and Bruce
  8. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  9. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  10. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  11. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More
  12. How Many People Play EVE Online?

Search Terms of the Month

seagels stop it now
[It is spelled “Seagal” and he’s just the cook]

what game has more people playing everquest 1 or everquest 2 in 2018?
[The original by all reports]

sylvana windrunner rule 34 animated
[Really?]

epic journeys and random encounters (world of warcraft) hentai
[I was with you until that last word]

china gay 3d game pc
[The state probably won’t okay that]

EVE Online

The Pearl Abyss acquisition of CCP was finalized and there was EVE Vegas.  While the latter brought news of the future, my time in game was actually pretty low key.  I did get my one kill mail in for the month as I joined in on shooting one of Pandemic Horde’s high sec structures.  Otherwise I spent some time with the Crimson Harvest event and that was about it.

It has been a bit of a tough month on third party sites.  First Total EVE went down due to a problem with their provider.  Then EVE Files which, among other things, hosts the null sec influence maps, had a RAID failure and went down, taking with it a lot of New Eden history.  The influence maps are created elsewhere, but have been publicly archived on EVE Files.  There are backups, and Chribba started moving some of the videos stored there to YouTube, but how this will work out is unclear.  And then there was a scare with the DOTLAN infrastructure earlier in the month.  The EVE Online ecosystem is fragile and getting more so as it ages. [Total EVE is back up.]

And then there was the Monthly Economic Report for September, which failed to materialize this month.  I don’t know if that is over as a thing, but this is the first time CCP has missed a month since they got serious about it over two years ago.

EverQuest II

I made my way to level 100 at last, though that doesn’t seem like much of an achievement when I tell you I started at level 96.  But that leaves out the real adventure of returning to the game, which is simply figuring out where to go.  Anyway, I paused for a bit at level 100 to do some of the Halloween event stuff.  That was probably to stave off deciding on which path to choose now that I am at 100.  This is never easy.

Pokemon Go

I made my first “Best Friend” in Pokemon Go.  It happened to be my wife, so true in game as in the real world.  It turn out that making a best friend yields quite a good chunk of experience.  Here is what you get by levels of friendship:

  • Good Friends – 3,000 xp
  • Great Friends – 10,000 xp
  • Ultra Friends – 50,000 xp
  • Best Friends – 100,000 xp

I was about 40K shy of level when the best friend event happened, which pushed me right into level 34.  Still a long way to go to level 40, but I have some more friends on my list to help me along as our friendships level up.  You do need to send 90 gifts to get to the best friend level, and my current problem is always running out.  I need Pokestops to be more reliable at dispensing gifts.

There was also the introduction of 4th generation into the game, which gave us all new Pokemon to catch.  That helped boost my Pokedex count.

Level: 34 (+1)
Pokedex status: 363 (+24) caught, 375 (+18) seen
Pokemon I want: Dragonite… pretty much no progress on this
Current buddy: Wailmer… past 330 candies now

World of Warcraft

Sort of stopped playing WoW it seems.  This is me being me.  At some intellectual level I want to finish up the Kul Tiras campaign and get my main to level 120, but somewhere deep within me is the bit that gets me to log in and play, and that bit isn’t having it.  Oh well.  This seems to be following my usual pattern of diving into a new WoW expansion, playing for a bit, then going away for six months or so until the issues are settled.

Hallow’s End did get me logging back in some, but the mount of the Headless Horseman still eludes me.  While waiting for the queue to pop my main hit level 118.  Who is the slowest to level now, eh?

Coming Up

BlizzCon is the day after tomorrow.  Those at the event or watching from home with the Virtual Ticket don’t get a cute pet or mount in WoW this year.  Instead it will be a chance to try WoW Classic.  The Barrens and Westfall will be available to download and play.  I expect this to be examined in minute detail and the topic of articles and blog posts for at least a week afterwards.

There was word that we might get the LOTRO legendary server on November 6th, but there is no official announcement that I have seen.  And the LOTRO Twitter account later denied everything.  It would be nice if there was a date front page, center on the LOTRO web site.  The problematic nature of this server aside, SSG failing to do a decent promotional run up to its open… which, again, would be well served by something like a big count down timer to build up some excitement… is just typical of how the game has been handled for over a decade.  There is a quote from Tolkien that I can’t find at the moment, about the race of man failing to live up to its potential that seems to fit very well to LOTRO as well.

There will also be the new expansion for EverQuest II coming on the 13th.  I’m still too far back to worry about buying that, but it will unlock some new content and more crazy stat boosts.

And then the word is that WildStar will be shut down by the end of the month, so it is your last chance to take a look… before somebody gets an emulator project off the ground.

Finally, Daylight Savings Time ends in the US… for locations in the US that observe the change… this coming weekend.  It will be slightly less dark when I drive to work now.