Category Archives: Pokemon

March in Review

The Site

What a month.  There was nothing much of note new on the site, but gaming life and blogging time and all of that was subject to some changes as the COVID-19 pandemic confined so many of us to home.  Fortunately my job is doable from home, but being there at my desk all day long does suck some of the joy out of gaming or writing.  If I’ve already been in my chair for nine or ten hours, there isn’t a lot of joy in staying there for a few more to play a game or write.

At least I can go sit on the couch and play Pokemon Sword.

My new Switch Lite

Good thing I got that for my birthday early in the month, as they are sold out now.  I have not yet succumbed to the mounting pressure to get Animal Crossing: New Horizon though.  My daughter loves it, but she isn’t sure it is a game I would like.

Otherwise it has largely been a constant series of, “Wait, did that happen this month? It seems so long ago now.” moments as the world falls further into whatever it is that we have going on now.

One Year Ago

I dug up my old Macintosh PowerBook 190cs, which I didn’t even remember I still had, and thought about writing about some of the games still on it.  However, I was unable to get it onto the network, so screen shots were difficult to obtain and I ended up running out of steam on the whole thing for the time being.

Activision Blizzard was hedging a bit on what effect their layoff of 8% of the company might produce.

Perfect World Entertainment officially killed of the Foundry in both Neverwinter and Star Trek Online, ending their player made content experiment.

Steam decided that they really did need to curate games on their site, a decision pushed by their inept handling of Rape Day.  The Epic Game Store, always eager to capitalize on Valve’s foibles, declared that there would be no porn in their store.

Gamigo killed off the Rift Prime retro server due to lack of popularity.  It remains my opinion that the Storm Legion expansion killed the game the first time around, so having it do it again was no surprise.

A data center move brought down and kept offline Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online for longer than expected.

Over at Massively OP they were talking about “niche MMORPGs,” a term as ill-defined as most in the gaming world.  Honestly, one could argue that MMORPGs are a niche genre.

Over at GoG.com we got a version of the original Diablo, and while it felt primitive it was still very playable and pretty damn good.

Niantic finally allowed players to change teams in Pokemon Go, allowing me to swap from Team Mystic to Team Instinct.

I was giving Path of Exile a shot again with their Synthesis update.

On the LOTRO Legendary servers the Mines of Moria expansion opened up.  That sent me off to Eregion in search of legendary weapons and such.

In EVE Online the March update brought new restrictions to Alpha clones.  They could no longer run level 4 or 5 missions.  People could buy skill books straight from their character sheet… for a bit of a markup.  CCP was also tinkering with null sec anomalies.  They were worried about too much ISK in the economy.  Skill Points though?  They were just handing those out.

There was a video of Burn Jita 6 in full 4K.

CCP Guard announced he was leaving CCP after 16 years of service.

In New Eden there were two notable ship losses, the first Komodo titan to die and a rare Gold Magnate.  I also got a ship blown up as part of my Myrmidon Experiment, though that was a much less expensive loss.

There was also the EVE Ather Wars tech demo, which went well enough, even if it did not get as many players in space as the company had hoped for.

But Katia Sai was being celebrated for visiting every system in New Eden.

I was pondering the proposed level squish for World of Warcraft.  My guess was that Blizzard would be too risk-averse to do it, but I was proven wrong later in the year at BlizzCon.  Blizz also revived Wintergrasp, the huge battleground from Wrath of the Lich King, which was fun to visit again.

Runes of Magic turned ten and I reflected on its place in the tale of the genre.

But the big news was EverQuest turning 20 years old.  I reflected on its history and celebrated its anniversary.  I covered what the team had to say, which included some good news as well as a bit of hubris.

And I was still doing my own play through of some EverQuest content.  I got a mercenary for my cleric, traveled to distant zones via dangerous paths, and even hit level 50.  It was a lot easier to get there than it was back in the day.  It was quite the tourist excursion!

Five Years Ago

I hit level 50 yet again.

The Elder Scrolls Online dropped the subscription business model.

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign was still running.  I was wondering if they had a mid-game plan.  They really didn’t, but the campaign still brought in $1.7 million, double what was asked.

EA closed down Maxis as an entity within its organization.  It is what EA does best.

It was a Turbine roast as an insider spilled the beans on problems that have plagued the developer of Lord of the Rings Online.

Rift hit its four year anniversary, but it felt like it had been around for longer than that.

I was wondering what a progression server would look like with EverQuest II.  But it was Sweet 16 for EverQuest, which was getting a new progression server for its birthday it seemed.

Blizzard announced that they were going to go ahead with their PLEX-like idea, the WoW Token.  The instance group was in the Iron Docks and farting around in garrisons.

CCP was talking about the next stage of the proposed sovereignty changes for EVE Online.  There was the Scylla release, which was overshadowed by Fanfest.  Also, the members of CSMX were announced.

In New Eden I attempted to fly an Ibis from Immensea to Deklein.  Then there was a rumor of war as the usual suspects attacked our sovereignty in Fountain.  That called for a big old move op which, in post-Phoebe New Eden, meant caps taking gates.  Then there was that system our foes took.  And once they were evicted from Fountain, it was time for a punitive expedition to Delve.

And The Mittani declared that the power blocs of New Eden would never die.  We shall see.

My daughter and I tried out Diablo III on the PlayStation 3.

I put together a review of my Kickstarter history… I should do that again.

Finally, it seemed as though some of the MMO news sites were paying attention to bloggers again… at least briefly.

Ten Years Ago

With the March 2010 month in review I was able to announce that the site had passed the one million page view mark.  A minor milestone.

FarmVille.  We all tried it as research for Shut Up We’re Talking #60.  We didn’t inhale.

ran through GDC and had dinner.

I was waxing nostalgic for some flavor of Rome.

EA was saying very stupid things about how many subscribers Star Wars: The Old Republic would need.  It is never too early to set the bar for failure.  Also they were threatening to taint 38 Studios.

I was also wondering about greater challenges in MMOs.  Must all paths be equally easy?

I held an April Fools contest, which got a few entries.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver launched and, after some delay,  I was picking that initial Pokemon.

I was still invested in Star Trek Online… I was trying…. well, they were giving us lifetime subscribers some perks.

In EVE Online I hit 50 million skill points.  I also had my first Tengu.

World of Tanks was staring to announce some of their progression trees, starting with the Russian and American sets.  Those have changed a lot since then.

The instance group was beginning to embrace the Dungeon Finder.  However, after Mauradon we found we still had to do a chunk of external legwork to prepare for our Sunken Temple run.  I also got a chopper along the way, on my birthday no less.

And, finally, that whole Derek Smart/Alganon thing was just kicking off.

Fifteen Years Ago

Monolith, backed by Sega and Warner Brothers, launches The Matrix Online in the US.  It hits Europe a month later. The title is soon taken over by Sony Online Entertainment, which runs it until its closure in 2009.

The Bloodline Chronicles adventure pack is released for EverQuest II.  It is free for Station Access subscribers.  Among other things it gives the game destructible walls.

Twenty Years Ago

Sony launched the PlayStation 2. Available initially only in Japan, it had ten launch titles.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Overseer Feature, Progression Servers, and Free Heroic Characters Coming for EverQuest Anniversary
  4. The State of Voice in 2020 with a Poll
  5. The March Update Brings Market and Moon Changes to EVE Online
  6. New Servers and Server Merges and More with the EverQuest Anniversary
  7. The Windstalker Leaves Norrath
  8. The Passion of the Overseer
  9. Visiting the Katia Sae Monument
  10. An Uldaman of Vague Memories
  11. Blizzard in the Badlands
  12. Seeking the Hydrocane

Search Terms of the Month

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[Somebody knows what they’re looking for]

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[That is going to be a bit or a stretch. A MUD maybe?]

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[All normal CONCORD rules apply]

null sec infrastructure to spawn mining belts
[infrastructure hub]

what plane in war thunder has the most bombs
[Going to guess it is the B-29]

wilma flintstone memes
[I don’t even]

Game Time from ManicTime

Time tracking shows I spent most of my play time with WoW Classic.

WoW Classic – 64.13%
RimWorld – 13.25%
Pokemon Sword – 10.93%
EverQuest – 5.10%
EVE Online – 4.32%
EverQuest II – 1.92%
World of Warcraft – 0.34%

You would think I would be further along, but I always find time to potter about.  Also, Pokemon Sword isn’t tracked by ManicTime, being on the Switch and all, but the save page in the game gives you an elapsed time played report with each save, so I can include it in the mix.

EVE Online

While I did not spend that much time in New Eden in March, the time I did spend was fairly active.  There was a move op north to Venal, followed by some fights, and then a move op home.  Structures were shot, ships exploded.

EverQuest

With the 21st anniversary going on I decided to poke my nose in while my all access subscription was still running.  I used the heroic upgrade on my cleric from last year’s anniversary, which promptly made his spells an unfathomable mess.  But I did end up playing with the new Overseer feature.  While it has a mobile game air to it, the EQ version has more depth than the EQII one does, so I do keep logging into play it.

EverQuest II

I fear my momentum has faded in EQII.  After grabbing the expansion last year and driving a few characters up to the level cap, both for adventure and crafting, I sort of lost interest and wandered off.  I did a bit of the Overseer thing, but it isn’t all that compelling.

Pokemon Go

My drive to the level cap slowed down somewhat.  The friend rewards, which are worth 100,000 points when you hit the highest level, drove me the last couple of months.  However, daily gifts have tapered off as people hole up at home and can’t get out to Pokestops.

Level: 38 (83% of the way to level 39)
Pokedex status: 526 (+14) caught, 556 (+11) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Dewatt

Pokemon Sword

As noted previously, I got Nintendo Switch Lite and a copy of Pokemon Sword for my birthday, which was about a week before we all had to go into hiding, so that is some timing.  I am three gym leaders in so far and it is shaping up to be a pretty solid entry in the genre.  The villainous team is a little more buffoonish than normal, but we’ll see how that plays out.  I just have to get myself setup to pull screen shots from the game so I can post about it.

RimWorld

RimWorld got the Royalty expansion, which adds a new dynamic to the game.  I have that out and played through some.  But even if you do not get the expansion, the launch of it also brought a bit update patch for the base game that includes a lot of nice improvements.

World of Warcraft

As usual, my time spent in retail WoW was mostly around Darkmoon Faire, though I did log in to grab a map of Gnomeregan for a post, and found that I had forgotten that they had nerfed some of the outside area as well.

WoW Classic

A lot of time spent playing WoW Classic.  I was grinding for a mount and working on some alts, but the big effort was around UIdaman where, after three weeks, we took down Archaedas.  Now comes the time to prep for Zul’Farrak.

Coming Up

It is Blapril, so expect some blogging reflective posts and as much linking out to other participants as I can manage.

It is also April Fools tomorrow, though given the current state of the political scene in the US, I am not sure anybody will notice.  Much of the last couple of months has involved public figures saying things that should have ended with “April Fools!” but somehow did not… more so than usual.

EVE Fanfest should have been kicking off soon, but that was cancelled in what seemed like forever ago, though it was just a month back.  Still, it has been reported that CCP will have some news and a new trailer for us.

And it seems like a fine time for video games, especially online games.  But April promises to be as relentless with bad news as March was, so the end of the month will probably feel like another year has gone past.

A Nintendo Switch Lite

I had a whole post brewing in the back of my head for this week about the Nintendo Switch.

That was largely driven by my daughter, who got one for Christmas.  She, like myself, had been somewhat blasé on the console.  But when Nintendo announced Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the device, she changed her mind.  Leaving aside Pokemon, Animal Crossing was probably her favorite title on the DS series.

So she asked for a Switch Lite, the more portable variation of the Switch Console, and found one under the Christmas tree back in December.

However, Animal Crossing: New Horizons wasn’t out yet.  It is still two weeks away even as this post goes live.  So, to give her something to do I threw in a copy of Pokemon Shield, the latest of the core Pokemon RPG titles, which launched back in November.

The core RPG line continues

She has quite enjoyed the game and has told me that it is a solid title within the framework of the core RPG series. (I think the fact that her boyfriend also got a copy and that he had never played a Pokemon title before helped with her enjoyment.)  She finished the main story and I have been bugging her to crank out 500 words for me about it to post here, because I haven’t played it.

But her response has been such that I was going to write up a post committing to the idea and would buy a Switch Lite myself if Nintendo announced that the next core RPG title ended up being a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.  I was hoping for that on the DS line, it being the oldest titles yet to be remade, and I was deeply disappointed when Nintendo and GameFreak abandoned the 3DS before they got there.

And then my wife and daughter got me a Switch Lite for my birthday this past weekend and of course I had to go buy a copy of Pokemon Sword to have something to play on it.

My new Switch Lite

Also pictured, a Kirkland Mister Meeseeks keychain and a vintage MAD Magazine from 1969, both from my daughter.

So now I am all-in with Pokemon on the Switch I guess.

The hardware is nice.  The unit is light, though it does not feel as solid as any of the DS/3DS units we have owned.  I sort of miss the second screen and the built-in stylus of the old hardware as well.  But the screen on the Switch Lite is very good, though it isn’t big enough to keep me from having to wear my reading glasses when I use it.  And it is a touch screen and works with a couple of the third party styluses that I keep around for pecking out anything of length on my iPhone as my big hands and sausage-like fingers are not ideal for precision clicking.  So I have that going for me.

Possibly best of all, the Switch has a button on the front, recessed to you don’t click it by accident, that allows you to take screen shots.  Pokemon Sword screen shots mean Pokemon Sword posts… at least once I get an SD card for the Switch.  So expect that.

And, finally, there is Pokemon Home, the Switch platform replacement for Pokemon Bank.  I have a bunch of Pokemon in Pokemon Bank, including a large collection of legendaries.  All of those can make a one-way journey to Pokemon Home, from which they can be accessed in Pokemon Sword & Shield.  So I am going to have to work on getting Pokemon copied over.  Pokemon Bank is/was a subscription servers (though it was only $5.00 a year), but they’ve given lapsed returning users like myself a five day free access period.  We’ll see what I can get copied over.

I have Pokemon that came from earlier generations (I played Pokemon Emerald and Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen on the DS Lite, as it had a GameBoy Advance cartridge slot) that have gone through a variety of copy and transfer processes just to get to Pokemon Bank.  Nintendo is pretty conscientious about that, even if it is sometimes like jumping through hoops. (There is even a rumor of Pokemon Go connectivity.)  So I am not going to leave anybody behind if I do not have to.

On the DS/3DS front, as expected, all of the back end services have been shut down.  I am not sure how Nintendo can still sell Pokemon games on the 3DS platform now that a lot of the promised functionality has been cut off, but whatever.  Time to abandon that ship I guess.

So there we are.  On to the Pokemon trail yet again.  I still want the remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.  But I can bide my time until then.

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]

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[Old time, aye, old times…]

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

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[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.