Category Archives: Pokemon

Friday Bullet Points Gaze into the Future

Another Friday where I have a few items that I could probably force into full length posts, but I just don’t have the stamina to get there.  So I will pack them into one post.

Truth in Advertising?

There was a recent Star Citizen weekly update from RSI that seemed to unintentionally confirmed my suspicions.

It barely feels like it has been 25 years

The update itself was a lore item about some in-game entity celebrating its 50th anniversary, but the first glace at the top of the message made me wonder if they were admitting it was going to take 50 years to get where they plan to go.

Apple and OpenGL

One tidbit that came up at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference was the plan to deprecate OpenGL support with the Mojave release of the MacOS and in iOS 12.  This led to a panic about there being no more video games on the Mac.

I haven’t been to a WWDC since 1995…

OpenGL has been around for a long time and, among other things, its openess helped nVidia get in and dethrone 3dfx Interactive and their proprietary Glide API back in the day.  And deprecate doesn’t mean pulling it out wholesale.  It will still be there for a couple of years.  But if you find a problem or need an update, Apple isn’t going to help you.

Still, Apple will drop it eventually.  Past history says that will probably get announced in 2020 or so.  Apple would like you to use their Metal interface instead, and some companies have support for that on the way.  You can use Metal with World of Warcraft currently if your hardware and OS are current. (And probably should use it, as it fixes a crashing issue with WoW.)  But if you are a serious PC gamer you probably have a Windows partition on you Mac, if not a Windows machine already.

Blizzard and Diablo IV

It was noted that Blizzard had posted a job listing looking for a dungeon artist for an as yet unannounced Diablo project.  This led to a hysteria of complaints and the projection of personal feelings onto the idea.  Just Google “diablo iv” and look at the headlines. (And yes, I am going to call it Diablo IV at this point.)  Everything from “when are we going to get it?” to “Oh lord, no!” pops up.  So I figured I ought to note this as the week the controversy began.  We know nothing so far, but some people are already angry.

I for one welcome our new demonic overlords.

Despite the one-two punch of the auction house and the horrible itemization (the latter which I remain convinced was there to drive you to the auction house), Blizzard eventually got the game in order by killing the auction house and fixing itemization, making Diablo III a pretty decent game.  The “always online” bit is still annoying, but Blizz is hardly alone in demanding that.  And they have continued to tend the now six year old game, which is more than they ever did for Diablo II.  By any practical measure the game is a success and warrants a sequel. (It sold lots of copies on the PC and consoles.)

Hopefully Blizzard will run with what they have learned and stick with the roots of Diablo as the foundation for the next game rather than, say, making it a Battle Royale title or something.

Minecraft Subnautica

On a closer horizon, the Minecraft Java Edition 1.13 release, the Aquatic Update, looks to be slowly making its way to us.

Under the sea…

The update entered pre-release at the start of the week, whatever that means, so I think we should be getting the official release soon.  I have actually been avoiding our Minecraft server, knowing that I’ll want to go play when this hits.

Free Games for Amazon Prime Subscribers

In yet another benefit for Amazon Prime subscribers, you can now download any of five free games before the end of June.

Amazon Prime benefits

The games are Tumblestone, Treadnauts, Strafe, Banner Saga, and Banner Saga 2.  You need to have the Twitch client to download them (the Twitch client is what the old Curse client became when Amazon bought Curse… and Twitch) and you need to have linked your Twitch account to your Amazon account.  This sounds like a recurring deal, so there will likely be more games in the future as the Amazon Prime largess train continues on.

As an aside, the first version of this Amazon post I saw said it was six games.

Is it five or six?

However the image only shows five games and I didn’t click on the link until later, so I don’t know if there was a sixth game at one point, if a sixth game was planned but was removed and the word didn’t get out, or if it was always five games and somebody just messed up.  (h/t to Corr who first linked this to me and who had that second image handy.)

Pokemon Zygarde Download Event

Despite the impending end of Pokemon on the Nintendo 2DS/3DS, download events continue for the current core RPG titles.  During the month of June in the US you can go to your local GameStop for a download code for a shiny Zygarde.

Zygarde

This event is only for Pokemon Sun & Moon and Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon.  Instructions for claiming the legendary Pokemon are available at the Pokemon site.

Field Research and Pokemon Go

Niantic has slowly been refining and expanding the game play options for Pokemon Go.

Players have gotten better, more frequent, and more diverse events with the game.  I was especially good with the recent event that focused on the first generation Pokemon, making them more readily available and boosting the candies awarded on catching them to help people fill out their Kanto Pokedex.  I was also good with the last community day, which featured Mareep, one of my favorite Pokemon.

Mareep the Sheep

But one of the more interesting things of late in Pokemon Go was the introduction of Research.  Those are essentially little tasks to complete, for which you get a reward.  There are two flavors of research, field and special.  For each you have a series of tasks to complete for which you receive and overall reward on top of the bennie for each task.

Field research tends to be the easier group to complete.  For those you get a stamp each day for the first on you complete, earning a prize when you get enough stamps.

One more stamp for a prize

The field research tasks range from easy to annoying.  You pick them up at Pokestops and my very first one was to visit 10 Pokestops.  I happened to be in our local downtown area, which has a dozen Pokestops fairly close together.  I had that done in a snap.

Other ones, like catching a few Pokemon of a given type or getting a candy with your current buddy, or evolving a Pokemon were pretty straightforward.  Others were less so.  At one point I had this lineup.

Throwing me a curve ball

I would love to be able to complete the middle task, catching 3 Treecko or Mudkips.  But seeing that they are pretty rare around where I live and work, that is a tough one.  I still have that one as of this writing, with on Treecko caught so far.

The other two involve throwing curve balls… something I didn’t know how to do in the first place… and having them land multiple times in a row.  Getting my curve ball mojo running that well was a challenge indeed.  I actually ran through all of my base Pokeballs and a good chunk of my Great Balls knocking out those two.

The problem was that I’d find the sweet spot on a Pokemon and get that first “nice” throw (“Great” and “Excellent” also count) and then catch it.  Then I would have to hit again with a different Pokemon who was often a different size or further away on the field, leading to a miss and resetting the counter again.

Still, I got there, finishing up the 5 consecutive curve balls first, only to be rewarded with another curve ball task to replace it.  Fortunately it was just three that time.

And, once I had my stamps for that round, the reward was a shot at Moltres, a rare Pokemon.  Fortunately I had some golden razz berries from raid battles in my bag for just such an opportunity.  Caught him on the first throw.

Moltres obtained

That was worth the effort on the “collect ’em all” front.

If I get an opportunity like that when I finish up a seven daily field research tasks I’ll be pretty happy.  Of course, I am sitting at number seven today and my options are not so good.

My current task list

I need to hit a Pokestop for a third option, because the first two may take some time.

I also need to do another raid battle to wrap up my final special research task to see what that brings.

Anyway, Pokemon Go keeps on improving in small increments over time.

Pokemon Dialga and Palkia GameStop Download Event

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

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

Legendaries of the DS era

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

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

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

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

You can click on this to see it larger…

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

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

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

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

Happy collecting!

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

The Dialga and Palkia card

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

The reverse side of the card

Friday Bullet Points Dipped in Nostalgia

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

Age of Empires Restrictive Edition

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

Age of Empires

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

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

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

Also, it may require certain hardware

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

Rift’s Prime Number

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

Not a dye nor a floor wax

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

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

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

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

But then there is also this to wrestle with.

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

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

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

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

Legendary Pokemon Return.. Again

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

Didn’t we just get some of these?

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

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

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

More on the Expense of Video Games

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

Where Have All Our Video Cards Gone?

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

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

December in Review

The Site

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

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

1From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun

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

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

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

3Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!

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

4Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?

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

5At the Camp in 68FT-6

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

Bubble arrangement for the win

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the best selling PC games of 2007 were:

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

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

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

Forty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in December

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

Search Terms of the Month

best heroic character everquest
[Aradune?]

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

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

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

Steam

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

World of Warcraft

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Crystal Coming to 3DS Virtual Console

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

Pokemon Crystal for Game Boy Color!

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

Virtual Console Bound

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

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

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

November in Review

The Site

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

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

And then I got linked on BuzzFeed.

That sounds a lot more impressive that it actually was.

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

My URL on BuzzFeed… there… I highlighted it…

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

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

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

Project: Gorgon was back to crowd funding.

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

We said farewell to City of Heroes.

Pong turned 40.

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

dipped a toe into GuildWars 2.

I was feeling in the doldrums about computer hardware.

The Register was wondering if Second Life was a failure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

I was moaning about EverQuest and accessibility again.

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

SOE was still working on fixing Vanguard.

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

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

Most Viewed Posts in November

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

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

EVE Online

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

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

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

Pokemon UltraMoon

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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