Category Archives: Pokemon

Pokemon Sword and Shield

But when I grew up, I put away childish things

-1 Corithians 13:11

Today is the launch date for for Pokemon Sword & Shield, the first new, “real” Pokemon game to come to the Switch since Nintendo and Game Freak pulled the franchise from the Nintendo 3DS handheld platform.

The core RPG line continues

Unfortunate KGB reference aside (the sword and shield of the party), the impending release of this game and the launch of the Switch Lite got my daughter and I discussing a potential return to the franchise.

The Switch Lite, an actual attempt at a handheld version of the Switch (because the Switch is way too big to qualify in the DS/3DS or PSP league… I present the Switch Lite as supporting evidence of this) was really the trigger event for this. My daughter and I have a long history together with Pokemon games, starting back with Pokemon Diamond on the DS Lite in 2008 and carrying on through into the 3DS era.  And portability… along with wireless connectivity… was always a big part of the experience.  Our solid little DS Lite units traveled with with us many places.  They were brought to Pokemon events, played in airports and hotel rooms and on cruise ships when there was idle time as well as around the house.

As somebody who pretty much always plays video games sitting at a PC there was definitely a liberating aspect to having a small, handheld gaming console that could be played where ever we went.

So my daughter and I talked about the idea of a Switch or Switch Lite and the new Pokemon game off and on over the course of the summer.  In the end, there was no conclusion reached… which was essentially a negative conclusion by default; we would not be buying a any new hardware just to play Pokemon Sword & Shield.

There were a bunch of little reasons that held us back; pricing, the way the new game was coming together, uncertainty about features.  However, none of those would have really stood in our way, except for the big reason, the real reason.  And that is the fact that my daughter has almost grown up.  She will be 18 soon.  She already has her first college acceptance notification. (University of Oregon)  She has a driver’s license and a car and a job and a boyfriend and a social life and all the dreams and worries and ideas that come with that time in your life.

And in the mix of all of that there isn’t a lot of time for Pokemon.

About six years back I wrote a farewell to Pokemon, thinking at the time that we probably wouldn’t make the jump to the 3DS platform.  But then my daughter came around and we played the games for a few more years.  There won’t be a similar reprieve this time.  A year from now she will be off to college and the seriousness and growing which that entails.

But there is always a future for childish things, once you’ve gotten past that embrace of adulthood and the seriousness that goes with it.  This blog is a testament to that.  And, after talking with my daughter about this, she did decide to start a fresh game of Animal Crossing: New Leaf on her old 3DS.

October in Review

The Site

Well, that was a month, wasn’t it?

Because I write this end of month summary, part of which tries to bring together what happened a year ago, I am often sitting here writing this and thinking about how big that year ago section is going to be twelve months down the road.  The October 2020 month in review will have quite a sizable “One Year Ago” section.

And next month promises to be even bigger.  But today it is Halloween.

Fifteen year old pumpkins

Looking through old digital pictures, there was a time when I put a lot of effort into carving pumpkins every year.  These days, I let the kid do it, and she has such the active social life that we’re lucky to get one pumpkin.  Oh well.

One Year Ago

Gamigo bought the games of Trion Worlds, leaving not much behind.

We heard that a lot of people play Minecraft, that there would be no Minecraft 2, and that pandas were coming.

We were told that Google Plus would be going away.

We learned that Mike Morhaime would be stepping down as CEO of Blizzard to be replaced by J. Allen Brack of the infamous quote.

Standing Stone decided to farm nostalgia with the LOTRO Legendary server idea.

We learned that the 25th EverQuest expansion would be The Burning Lands.  For EverQuest II the Chaos Descending expansion was coming.

I was on a nostalgia tour of EverQuest II that involved a quest chain that was literally a nostalgia tour of EverQuest II.  That got me geared up to run through The Withered Lands.  I made it to level 100 even.

There was a hint that Just Survive might.  And then we were told it would not.

In New Eden the Keepstar War was over and a massive move op got me back home to Delve.  There was even a video.  Then it was back to shooting stuff around home.

The Reavers SIG turned four years old.

We seemed to be headed to war in high sec in Perimeter, and shot the Panfam trading Fortizar.  That ended when TEST dropped a Keepstar, the Perimeter Trading Tower.

The October update was about balance, which meant killing ECM really, while the CSM 13 summit minutes mentioned how war decs were killing high sec.

I was headed to EVE Vegas where we would see Pearl Abyss, CCP’s new owners, for the first time.  Much info was shared and swag gathered.  I even gave a presentation.  But it was about blogging, so nobody saw it.  I summed it all up when I got home.  I was dubious about the announced FLEX structures.

There was some joyful hysteria as a DCMA exception was made for MMO preservation.  However, it required the owner of the source code give it over voluntarily, which seemed like a huge stumbling block to me.  Creating emulators was still verboten.

And then there was that Rules for Rulers video, which prompted me to read the source material on which it was based, which made me even more cynical about politics than I already was.

Five Years Ago

The SF Giants won the World Series for the third time in five years.  I was just happy when they won it once in my lifetime.  Of course, they haven’t done much in the time since, but I had my moment… three times!

I was wondering about guild progression and whether they should have levels.

I was disappointed at Trion installing HackShield on my system and only deigning to notify me of this after the fact.  That got their Glyph launcher off my system.

EA put a new twist on insta-level by introducing a limited 12x experience bonus offer that would essentially let Star Wars: The Old Republic players level up via just their class story, without indulging in the myriad side quests the process would otherwise require.  Basically, you could play just the good bits of the game.  Imagine that!

The strategy group was doing city assaultsriver crossings, and ambushes in Total War: Rome II.

At EVE Vegas there were development plans for the coming year, which included Tech III destroyers.  Jump fatigue was also announced.  But at least we were also getting a much longer skill queue. (Limited to 50 skills or ten years of training, whichever you reach first.)  That was much on my mind as I crossed the 130 million skill point mark.

The Reavers, a group within The Imperium dedicated to living in hostile territory and attacking enemy infrastructure, was formed.  Our inaugural operations went to Insmother , where we blew up plenty of stuff, and then went to Feythabolis.

Closer to home there was a capital brawl in our staging system.  That was part of some battles with Black Legion, where they would visit us and then we would visit them.  Or blob them.  I also experienced one of the classic EVE mistakes for the first time.  People seemed anxious to use their capital ships before the Phoebe expansion changed everything.

In World of Warcraft I summed up my summer campaign for the Loremaster achievement.  It was not a success.  I did get my Sha’tari Skyguard reputation to exalted though.  More mounts!

Meanwhile, the WoW 6.0 patch dropped and the count-down to Warlords of Draenor began in earnest.  I was looking at the new features in that.  The instance group also stirred in anticipation of the new expansion, mostly finishing off Mists of Pandaria.

Finally, Planetary Annihilation arrived at last, and proved once again that recreating past fun isn’t as easy as it should be.

Ten Years Ago

League of Legends launched, going on to become the most successful rip-off of Defense of the Acients MOBA, topping online gaming revenue charts and spawning a long chain of failed copy cats.  I still don’t get the appeal of the game or its genre.

Torchlight came out, giving a lot of people a Diablo-like injection of fun.  It didn’t have a lot of replay value for me.  Once I burned through the game once I was pretty much done, which made it unlike Diablo II, which I returned to a number of times.  But it was just $20 and gave us a taste of what Runic might be able to deliver going forward.

I was on a MUD history kick, with tales of exciting ways to die in Kobold Village, the Kobold Temple of the Unholy, getting lost in the Faerie Forest, and all the rooms in TorilMUD.

It was also the three year anniversary of the regular Saturday night instance group, and I presented a summary of what we had done.

A couple of us scouted the then newly Free to Play Dungeons & Dragons Online as a possible next game for the instance group, but it didn’t stick.

I was able to buy the Adventurer’s Pack for Lord of the Rings Online and get the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for free.  Not as good of a deal as monthly subscribers got I understand, but a decent deal.  Of course, LOTRO has changed a lot since then.

In World of Warcraft October that year saw me finish off both the Brewfest and Hallow’s End meta achievements.  I was still left with one achievement for each holiday though.  Fun was had with pumpkins and the Headless Horseman.

The instance group returned to Utgarde Keep to take on Utgarde Pinnacle, at that time the last five-person dungeon in Northrend.  We were victorious and gained the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement.  But otherwise we were deciding on where the group should go next.

And Blizzard was busy merging everybody’s WoW account into a Battle.new account because… well, it wasn’t because of better security.

Fifteen Years Ago

The first Star Wars Galaxies expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, was launched, adding space combat to the game.

Thirty Years Ago

Prince of Persia is launched for the Apple II. It later becomes a hit and kicks off a franchise when ported to other, less dying platforms.

Maxis launches SimCity, which was a big success, but which led to people at the time to argue about whether it was really a game since you cannot necessarily “win” it.  Not the last time this topic would come up.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  3. Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains
  4. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  5. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  6. China Reckoning
  7. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  8. Blizzard Speaks
  9. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  10. Running of the Gnomes in WoW Classic
  11. Looking for Offense
  12. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?

Search Terms of the Month

does daybreak game company have any ties china?
[They only wish they could prostitute their values for money]

everquest old times
[Old time, aye, old times…]

is torment of velious going to be the last expansion for everquest
[Probably not, but we shall see]

how to watch star wars in order
[Lots of alcohol will help]

Spam Comment of the Month

Weblog feedback are often the nightmare that by no means ends.
[You read the comments, didn’t you?]

Manic Time

While WoW Classic continues to dominate my play time, I did spend less time playing.  Some of the freshness has worn off, so total time was about half of what I played last month.  Still, it is my nightly go-to game.  EVE Online saw a bit of a boost.  I doubled the number of hours played, though that did not add up to much.  With no SIG/Squad deployments going on I probably spent more time on utility tasks and login rewards than fleet ops.  And I patched up LOTRO and logged in to see if the new expansion was in the LOTRO Store yet.  It was not, but I have more than enough in-game cash to buy it when it is.  So the gaming time tracked was:

  • World of Warcraft – 84.16%
  • EVE Online – 15.72%
  • Lord of the Rings Online – 0.12%

EVE Online

As noted just above, I spent more time in EVE Online this month, just not that much on operations.  Reavers came back from its Cache deployment, after which I went on a few main fleet ops.  But mostly I was logged in for the login rewards, to tinker with alts, and to move my stuff from one Keepstar to another as we changed our staging Keepstar.  Logistics… actual logistics, moving stuff around… remains a big part of the game.  There are no banks that magically have all your stuff in every town.

Pokemon Go

I had a pretty big month with catching and evolving Pokemon.  I am still way behind on the Sinnoh Pokemon and the seasonal events have pushed the usual round of spooky breeds, all of which I have, into the forefront.

Level: 37 (+0)
Pokedex status: 463 (+19) caught, 488 (+21) seen
Pokemon I want: I have yet to see an Oshawott
Current buddy: Tepig

World of Warcraft

As with last month, I did log into the main game for a bit.  However, it was just to run the Darkmoon Faire quests with my main to notch his trade skills up by another 5 points.  Otherwise I remain as far from things like unlocking flying in Battle for Azeroth as I was a month ago.  At least that kept me from the fruitless hope of getting the headless horseman’s mount.

WoW Classic

Still my main game, still playing with the reconstituted instance group.  We are still moving slowly and there are many alts in our guild.  But Earl now has internet access, so is catching up to the group while we meander about with our alts.

Coming Up

November will be a busy month.  I get to this section and start thinking not only about what is coming up but what I will feel I need to write about.

BlizzCon is literally tomorrow.  There are probably two, maybe three, posts in that.

We have the 15th anniversaries for both EverQuest II and World of Warcraft this month, along with related events and such.  Multiple posts there.  I’ve already written two of them.  Back in March, during the EverQuest 20th anniversary I got it in my head to write the 15th anniversary posts for EQII and WoW.

LOTRO has the Minas Morgul expansion coming out… I hope… and I’m expecting an update on the next EQII expansion, Blood of Luclin.

EVE Online has their last Invasion World Tour event in London, which will have some announcements, a couple of Team Talos updates, and the usual MER to write about.

Add in the usual SuperData post and the month in review and of the 21 weekdays in November most of them will have a post already.  And I might want to write about other things.  There is a Liberty Squad deployment in the offing and the usual updates about what I am playing.  It seems likely I will come close to a post a day in November.

Of course, things have a way of changing up as you go, so we shall see what November brings.

Pokemon Go Crowds in the Unova Region Pokemon

The latest big update to Pokemon Go was the release of the first Pokemon from the Unova region into the game.  That was the region that served as the setting for Pokemon Black & White and was the first setting for the game not based on a Japanese locale.  But location doesn’t mean the same thing in Pokemon Go, at least not in the sense it does in the core RPG series.

What it does mean is that players get new Pokemon to catch.

Including Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott

If you have caught them all, then having more to catch can be enough motivation to get out in the world again.  But what if you haven’t caught them all yet?

It has been about a year since Niantic started putting the fourth generation Pokemon, from the Sinnoh region, into the game.  Doubtless with an eye towards slowing down their release, lest they run out of official Pokemon to put in the game, staggered the release of those Pokemon.  They also put in a bottleneck in the form of the Sinnoh Stone mechanic, which I mentioned previously.

The elusive Sinnoh stone

That has left me with a backlog of Pokemon waiting to be evolved.  But at least I have those Pokemon and it is only a matter of time before the weekly task lottery finally delivers the required item enough times to wrap that up.  But I am still quite a ways from the gold medal for the Sinnoh region, much less catching them all.  After a year that seems a bit odd.

Meanwhile, the new Unova Pokemon are not exactly easy finds.  In seeing that, the problem seems to be how Pokemon Go is structured.

The core RPG Pokemon titles all have a base number of Pokemon in each game, usually around 150.  That gets you the regional Pokedex completion.  After that there is the National Pokedex, where you have to catch all known Pokemon, but that is really an end-game task.  There are usually special mechanics and the ability to trade in the online Pokemon auction house to get what you are looking for.

Pokemon Go, on the other hand, is a single game.  It now has to contain five generations of Pokemon within a single game.  After all, if you’re a new player who just downloaded the game, you want to be able to catch up.  And so if you look around you’ll still find Bulbasaur and Charmander and Squirtle roaming about with their first generation companions.  You will also see second and third generation Pokemon out as well.  And then the Sinnoh region Pokemon.  And finally, somewhere in the mix, the new Unova Pokemon.

In my experience seeing half a dozen wild Pokemon on you phone screen at the same time constitutes a “crowd” as far as Pokemon Go is concerned.  In that situation, where the new Pokemon represent less than one in five of the total Pokemon population, seeing something from Unova can be a bit of a challenge.

Which, I guess can be good from some angles.  It does make you pay more attention to the hunt.  But it also makes catching them all somewhat less likely.  If I am still behind on Sinnoh Pokemon a year later, the prospect for Unova doesn’t seem all that great.

And don’t get me started on the egg situation.  The 7km eggs you get from friends as gifts still seem oriented on the Alola Pokemon, which are just graphical variations of first generation Pokemon that don’t even have their own spots in the Pokedex.

Anyway, so it goes.  Pokemon Go remains popular and profitable and a lot of the changes made to the game over the first three years have been pretty good.  But there are three more generations of Pokemon still out there, so the crowding looks like it will only get worse as time goes on.

 

Three Years of Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go celebrated its third anniversary last month, but I started playing a month late.  That was still early enough to have witnessed the huge initial popularity of the game, though possibly without a few of the initial teething issues.

And I have been playing it pretty much daily ever since.  Granted, it probably helps that our office campus has five Pokestops and a gym, which makes playing daily pretty easy.  The field research thing also puts a little pressure on to play daily as well, so my wife and I still go out on weekends together to go do a raid or two or to spin some Pokestops downtown or around the community center.  That my wife plays too has also helped its longevity around here, especially since we’re now on the same team.

As a game it has evolved and grown over the last three years, mostly for the better.  The change up to gym battles and the expansion of gyms to more locations was a pretty big deal when it hit… almost two years ago now wasn’t it?  And the events have gotten better over time.  The recent Team Rocket event was interesting, if a bit confusing for me at times.  I spent some of my Pokecoins on the Team Rocket outfit for my avatar, so there were a couple of times where I was wondering why there were two Team Rocket grunts hanging out by a captured Pokestop.

Oh yeah, that is me

One thing that Pokemon Go has that will be familiar to MMORPG players is inventory management.  You have limited bag space, though it can be expanded by spending coins.  Yet somehow, no matter how much bag space I have, I always managed to fill it all up.  I am currently at 950 slots and I still end up getting a message about my bag being full when I spin a Pokestop now and then.  Oddly, I don’t have a similar problem with the Pokemon storage, which likewise has limited space.  I have upgraded that a couple of times, but mostly I am pretty harsh about who gets to stay and who gets transferred.  But in my inventory, I cannot bring myself to delete  any of my huge pile of full revives and full heals.  I might NEED those some day!  As it always goes with inventory management.

What I haven’t managed to to in three years it get to level 40, the level cap for the game.  It took me a bit over a year to hit level 30, but as I pointed out in a post about that, the exp required to get there was only 10% of the total required to get to level 40.  At that pace, getting 10% of the way in 14 months, it should take me nearly twelve years to get to level 40.

I think I am a bit ahead of the twelve year pace though.  I currently stand at about 10% of the way into level 37.  That is largely due to Niantic adding in additional ways to earn experience.  The friends list, where you can exchange gifts with your friends daily, is of particular note, since you earn 100,000 exp when you achieve maximum friendship.

I don’t really focus too much on exp.  I remain, as in the core Pokemon games, focused on catching and evolving Pokemon.  My stats there are not too bad, since the other thing I don’t do much of is big raids.

Pokedex Stats

The game also gives you a bunch of other stats, which I suppose you can compare with my one year post.  Where I stand.

  • Level – 37
  • Total XP – 9,710,552
  • Pokedex – 436 unique caught
  • Pokedex – 460 unique seen
  • Total Pokemon caught – 8,721
  • Highest CP Pokemon – Slacking, CP 4,163
  • Total Pokemon evolved – 1,157
  • Pokestops visited – 9,401
  • Distance walked (with the app open) – 1081.7 km
  • Eggs hatched – 858
  • Gym Battles won – 1,638
  • Hours of Gym Defense – 4,462
  • Berries fed at Gyms – 1,884
  • Field Research Tasks Completed – 430
  • Best Friends with – 9 trainers
  • Gym Raids won – 100
  • Pikachu caught – 119
  • Pokemon Traded – 18

I suspect that my wife and I will carry on until we at least hit level 40 due to habit or sunk cost theory or some such.

We did consider jumping on Niantic’s latest game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, but the large similarity to Pokemon Go, including the need to keep the game open on your screen in order to play, pretty much meant choosing between one or the other, so we decided to stick with Pokemon Go for now.

Friday Bullet Points about Pokemon Go

I have several minor things I keep wanting to write about when it comes to Pokemon Go, so here I am on a Friday lumping them all into one bullet points post.  At least this will all be about one topic.  For once I am being considerate of future me writing that month in review post I guess.

  • Three Years

Pokemon Go launched three years ago this month, which seems strange.  It does not feel like the game has been around that long, yet here we are.

Three years of Pokemon Go

While there aren’t the crowds out playing the game the way there were in the summer of 2016, it still seems quite popular.  It is a fixture on the SuperData revenue chart and my wife and I run into people playing fairly regularly.  They are often people our age… you know, old people.  There is probably a message in that.

My own anniversary with the game is in August, as I started a month late.  I didn’t have a smart phone up until that point, Luddite that I can be.  Expect a post about that next month.

In order to celebrate the anniversary, Niantic has a series of events planned for the summer.

  • Meltan at Last

After months of hoping to be able to finish off the special research task I was finally able to catch an Aerodactyl, the last step I needed.  The Aerodactyl came up as a reward from a daily research task.  I never actually spotted one in the wild.  But that meant that I could collect the special Pokemon Meltan.

Meltan is finally here

Of course, when one door closes another opens.  Now that I have Meltan I can work on evolving him into his final form.  However, that requires 400 Meltan candies and Meltan doesn’t spawn in the wild so the only way you can earn them is by walking with him as your buddy.  But, as a double bonus, you only earn a candy every 20km you walk with him.  That would be 8,000km for all 400 candies.  I like to walk, but not that much.  I’ll have to save up my rare candies for him.

  • Hail to the Slaking

Last month the Pokemon Go community day featured Slakoth, which was good for me because Slakoth almost never appears in our area.  My wife and I were out at the mall when the event hit and took full advantage, catching many a Slakoth, including a few shiny ones.

Shiny Slakoth, Best Slakoth

I caught enough to be able to finally evolve Slakoth through both of its variations into Slaking.  Not only was that another pair of Pokemon off the list, but the Slaking I got is now the highest CP Pokemon in my bag.

Slaking is not lacking

He isn’t as painful to fight as a Blissey would be at that CP, but he does make people work if you want to kick him out of a gym.

  • Sinnoh Stone Drought

Niantic, in an attempt to slow people down as they worked to “collect them all” introduced the Sinnoh Stone as part of the fourth generation Pokemon in the game.  It applies to some, but not all, of the Pokemon of that generation.  You have a chance to get on when you finish seven daily research tasks.  However, in my estimation, that “chance” is no higher than 1 in 4.

The elusive Sinnoh stone

So now I have a queue of Pokemon ready to evolve, lacking only the Sinnoh stone ingredient.  And every week, when I get to that seventh day research task, I swear when I don’t get one.  Oh well.  This week I got one, so Togetic got evolved at last.

Togetic getting stoned

Gotta collect em all!

  • Raid Pass Deletion

Where I work I can walk a 500m path that takes me past 5 Pokestops and a gym.  This means that my bag is always full and that I am pretty good about earning coins regularly.  I end up buying bag space and gift boxes that have lots of incubators.  One of the things that you often get from gift boxes are premium raid passes.  I am sure these are important to people who raid often, but they don’t really come into play unless you do more than two raids a day regularly.  I don’t raid very often, so they tended to just collect in my bag since the game pretty much forces your daily raid pass allowance on you.

At one point I had about 35 of them in my bag and could do nothing about them because they were one of the items you could not delete.  So they just took up space… until a couple weeks back when Niantic finally got the word.

Premium Raid Pass

I noticed the little garbage can icon, which meant that I was finally able to delete the excess.  I keep 10 in my bag, just in case my wife and I go out and hit some raids over the weekend.  So now they are not taking up quite so much space.  But, if I want rare candies to evolve Meltan, maybe I need to raid more.

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.