Category Archives: Pokemon

Adding Up a Year of Pokemon Go

I was a bit late to the party.  While Pokemon Go kicked off in July of last year, I did not jump on the bandwagon until a month later.

It wasn’t so much a matter of not wanting to join the rush on day one… even if that meant experiencing all the day one issues… as it was the lack of a device.  I only joined the smart phone set in August of last year, having held onto my LG “it’s just a phone” for long past its expected life span.

But while I was late to join, I have hung in with the game longer than most, judging by the numbers.

My sticking with Pokemon Go has likely been for a few reasons.

First, I do love me some Pokemon, so I am definitely in the target audience.  Being able to go outside into the real world and catch Pokemon… or sit on the couch and do so, since they show up in our neighborhood… was an immediate draw.  It isn’t quite like the core RPG games, but it is close enough.

Second, like a lot of phone games, it is pretty low impact.  I do not spend hours a day playing.  If I have a free moment I might pull out my phone to see

Third, it probably helps that I live in a pretty target rich environment when it comes to Pokestops and gyms.  The campus I work on has five Pokestops and a gym along a half kilometer circuit that I walk during the day.  There are two parks near our house with Pokestops and gyms as well.

Fourth, the change that added the daily bonus for catching and getting a Pokestop sped up the leveling process just as I was hitting the steep slope in the game, taking the edge off of that.

Fifth, the change to gyms and how you earn coins has also boosted my activity.  I challenge a lot more gyms and earn a lot more coins these days.  In fact, I earn so many more in a week compared to the old gym style, that I wonder if Niantic has erred on the side of generosity.  I went from maybe 10 coins a week to 100-200 a week, even with the 50 coin daily cap.  Of course, having something of a captive gym at the office that I can hold for a day a couple times a week might make me something of an outlier.  Some times I want people to take it from me so I can collect the coins and start again.

Sixth, the game keeps all sorts of statistics, and I love me some useless stats!  I’ll get to those below.

And finally, my wife still plays as well, so it is something we talk about and do together, much to the annoyance of my daughter.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light in the land of Pokemon Go.  A year down the road I do have some gripes.

The game still sucks battery life like no other.  When out and active, it sucks down at least 2% of your battery every minute pretty reliably.

The game does not reliably count steps/distance walked unless it is up and active.  I can’t just walk, I have to have the game up and going and in my hand.  At least you can set it to black the screen out if you invert the phone, which reduces battery usage a little.

The variety of Pokemon in any given area is pretty limited.  I was all excited when we went to visit my aunt one day and discovered her location was a hotbed of Magikarp.  Unfortunately, we were visiting her to help her move, so I have no reason to visit there again, and it is an hour’s drive, so I am not wandering up there just for Pokemon.

Earning candies to evolve Pokemon that do not spawn in your area is a big pain.  I have only managed to evolve one of the three initial starter Pokemon to its final form.  And I am still 135 candies away from evolving a Magikarp into a Gyrados.

The candy mechanic in general doesn’t jibe with the core Pokemon RPG expectation that you just need to catch one rare and then you can train it up.  You need to catch many rares in order to evolve and train up your Pokemon.  But if they’re rare, you won’t be catching very many.

5km eggs are just shit.  Nothing new has ever hatched from one for me.  When I have a bag full of 5km eggs it is demotivating.  A 2km or a 10km egg will get me to walk extra laps at the office.

As much as I like the new gyms, and even the mechanics for catching the raid Pokemon, actually defeating and catching anything rare requires more people to show up than I have ever seen.  If my wife and I cannot take a gym raid down, it just isn’t going to happen.

No trading, no playing against friends (or spouses).

I still can’t reliably beat a CP 2800+ Blissey.  If I see one in a gym, I just keep walking.  And, of course, I am jealous that *I* don’t have one.

Anyway, a year has gone by, the game has mostly evolved for the better, and I still enjoy playing, so I will likely keep going for now.

Statistics

After a year of playing, this is where I stand.

  • Level – 29
  • Total XP – 1,791,678
  • XP to hit Level 30 – 208,322
  • Pokedex – 186 unique caught
  • Pokedex – 219 unique seen
  • Kanto Pokedex – 126 caught
  • Johto Pokedex – 60 caught
  • Total Pokemon caught – 3,389
  • Most often caught – Pidgey, 485 times
  • Highest CP Pokemon – Vaporeon, CP 2574
  • Total Pokemon evolved – 429
  • Pokestops visited – 3,053
  • Distance walked (with the app open) – 358.5km
  • Eggs hatched – 152
  • Gym Battles won – 237
  • Hours of Gym Defense – 352
  • Berries fed at Gyms – 74
  • Trained at Gym – 26
  • Gym Raids won – 3
  • Pikachu caught – 56

Types caught

These are the types of Pokemon I have caught, types being the key to the rock/paper/scissors aspect of Pokemon battles.

Pokemon can be of two mixed types, so if I catch a Hoothoot, I get credit for both a Normal and a Flying type.  As such, the numbers below add up to more than the total Pokemon caught/hatched listed above.

  • Normal Type caught – 1,740
  • Flying Type caught – 1,128
  • Poison Type caught – 699
  • Bug Type caught – 510
  • Water Type caught – 411
  • Grass Type caught – 292
  • Fire Type caught – 219
  • Ground Type caught – 196
  • Psychic Type caught – 172
  • Electric Type caught – 117
  • Fighting Type caught – 103
  • Fairy Type caught – 90
  • Dark Type caught – 71
  • Rock Type caught – 66
  • Steel Type caught – 26
  • Ghost Type caught – 20
  • Ice Type caught – 16
  • Dragon Type caught – 2

The two dragon type were a pair of Dratini I caught as a passenger driving through Oakland when we were stuck in traffic near the Bay Bridge.  As with the Magikarp, another situation I am unlikely to find myself in any time soon.

So that is the game a year in.

June in Review

The Site

Another month of quiet decline in traffic.  I can hardly blame people though, I haven’t been writing about all that much which might generate traffic.  But if all I wanted was traffic I would write about World of Warcraft and Pokemon every day… or I’d be angry at EVE Online.  That is always a draw.

So not much to say there.

I do have one item that is related to the site, which is why I have never bothered to get a custom domain.  Part of that is because I couldn’t get the domain I wanted, tagn.com.  Well, not without paying a lot of money in any case.  Four letter domains are in demand.

But the other is persistence.  At some point I will tire of this and stop blogging.  But that won’t mean I will want all of this to disappear into the void.  I’d like to be able to find it in another ten or twenty years.  But am I going to keep paying for a domain?  Maybe not.

The same goes double for self-hosting.  While I would like the control, I am way past my interest peak in blogging, so the expense and the effort would be a deterrent.

All of which comes to mind because of Darren.  Back in the day he wrote the blog The Common Sense Gamer and did the Shut Up, We’re Talking podcast.

Header from the past…

He hasn’t written regularly in ages, but his RSS is still in my feed.  Suddenly, a couple weeks back, after a long, long time of radio silence, there was a post.  And then two.  And then several.  Was Darren back?

No, Darren is still done with all of this.  However, he self-hosted and was done enough to let his hosting service lapse.  Somebody else scooped up the domain name and started another gaming blog of the same name.

Is not Darren

And so all of my links over to Darren’s blog… mostly about ten dollar horses… are all broken.  Ted Nelson was right, this hard coded web address shit sucks.  I even mentioned this issue a couple of years back.  And so I will endeavor to prevent that by sticking with the address WordPress.com gave me, even though they seem set on making me get a domain of my own.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to find some time to fix those ever-so-important ten dollar horse links.  I can at least still find Darren over at the Internet Archive.

Clearly I need a tool to convert links on the site to a given domain to the Internet Archive version, as this is likely to continue to be an issue.

Edit: Turns out Darren did not self-host, so his blog is still available at tcsgamer.blogspot.com.  My links remain broken however.

One Year Ago

Daybreak’s Landmark finally went live just a few days short of summer.  However, it was the end of the road for PlanetSide and Legends of Norrath.

There was also the launch of the Isle of Refuge free trade server for EverQuest II.

There was a Newbie Blogger Initiative, for which I put up a post.

It was reported that Minecraft had sold more than 100 million copies.

Minecraft put out the Frostburn Update, version 1.10.  I was building the last stretches of what would become the 22km rail loop.

I also reflected on a year of playing Minecraft, then added in some statistics.

Blizzard had the Warcraft Movie open.  I didn’t like it, nor did that many people outside of China.  Meanwhile Blizzard was also explaining that WoW expansions were just going to take time.  While WoW Legion was still weeks away, my daughter and I went back to finish up Warlords of Draenor and get ready for the new expansion.  Meanwhile the whole Nostalius thing was still simmering.

And I was playing EVE Online.  There was the YC118.6 update, which brought us more overview tabs and the Shadow of the Serpent event, among other things.  Recurring opportunities, in which you could earn some skill points by undocking and shooting an NPC, were removed after their short runDX9 was also dead in EVE.  And there was Blog Banter 76, which was about FC’s and how vulnerable they should be.

But mostly I was flying in fleets out of Saranen as we kept up the tempo of operations in what would become the final full month of the Casino War.  There were just too many posts about that to try and sting them together in a single paragraph narrative, so I will just list them out:

Five Years Ago

I was asking people about voice software again.

I went on about the ridiculous nature of material tiers for MMO crafting.

My daughter finally found a game she liked on the PS3.

I was ranking how I liked to get my gaming news.

The first Civilization V expansion came out offering, among other things, a performance boost to those who paid.  Meanwhile, the story about the decade long game of Civ II came to light.

Everything we knew about EverQuest Next was declared obsolete.  It wasn’t all that much really.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Gates of Discord expansion was finally unlocked, but not before there was a tie vote.

Turbine announced the Riders of Rohan expansion, the first LOTRO expansion I declined to buy.  For somebody still in Moria, it seemed to offer few benefits for its increased price relative to past expansions.

In Rift I hit level 50, which is a special thing in game, and started tinkering with the then new instant adventure option.  Trion also announced the Storm Legion expansion, a sign of success for most subscription based MMOs.

In EVE Online I hit 80 million skill points and was playing Lemmings in DBRB’s fleet.  We also ganked a Chimera that was scammed into jumping to the VFK beacon.  This upset people.

And, finally there was Electronic Arts which, as part of its ongoing mission to be seen as the most arrogant company in gaming, tried to tell people that Origin was the Nordstrom to Steam’s Target level business model, unintentionally insulting Nordstrom, which actually cares about customer service before the fact, not just after it has screwed the pooch yet again.  EA says they “get it” but I have my doubts.

Ten Years Ago

I got all Buddhist on the subject on the raiders vs. non-raiders rift. I think what I said could be applied to some current controversies.

I ran down my list of complimentary comment spam.

I did a poll asking which software people used for voice coms.  At the time, almost nobody who responded was using game-integrated voice software.  Most people were using Ventrilo.

I took a picture of my gaming setup.  Still the same keyboard, monitor, and mouse ten years later.

We heard that Pirates of the Burning Sea would not only be published by SOE, but would be available via a Station Access subscription.

We were still playing Lord of the Rings Online.  Hitting level 20… not for the last time… I was out at the Forsaken Inn… also not for the last time.  The instance group, minus Earl, finished the first epic book… again, not for the last time.  And server queues, something common at launch, were starting to disappear after just two months.  This was odd, since the last great server queue experience was with WoW, where queues went on for over a year on some servers.

Vanguard, which announced server merges… again, not for the last time… gave rise to a discussion about future proofing games.  I held that just making system requirements huge… something that was an issue with Vanguard… was not the same thing.  I did wonder what would have happened had WoW had higher system requirements back in 2004.

After letting Blizzard’s announcement of StarCraft II sink in, I put up a post about the original StarCraft back when it was our office game of choice.

Darren was all worked up about crafting being the suck, so I started trying to list out all the things that might be wrong with crafting. Then Tobold suggested the whole “figure out recipes by trial and error” idea and I ran screaming from the room.

I said nice things about “Opinions of the Misinformed.”

Also, the iPhone launched, moving smart phones from curiosity to mainstream.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Is EVE Online a Gankbox?
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. In Which I Return to Tyria
  6. Ashes of Creation Kickstarter Campaign Closes Big
  7. The Steam Summer Sale 2017 Arrives
  8. Minecraft 1.12 World of Color Update Goes Live
  9. Keepstar Down in Auga
  10. Minecraft Grand Unification Theory
  11. The EverQuest Agnarr Progression Server to Remain Locked in Time
  12. The June 2017 Update Brings Null Sec Nerfs to New Eden

Search Terms of the Month

ashes of creation next big thing?
[I think there might be a few things before we get there]

rpm jenks speed
[Is that a VR title?]

warcraft marriage achievement unlocked
[Married in the game, or to the game?]

how much better is the hel than other supercarriers for ratting
[Oh man, did you come to the wrong blog!]

how to unlock all songs on rock band 2 wii
[Nothing ever dies]

do parrots in update 1.12 spawn in previously explored jungle biomes?
[I believe you need to explore fresh chunks to find parrots]

EVE Online

The summer of mild discomfort continues as people look for reasons to be angry at CCP, generally revolving around CCP not doing what they say, immediately, without considering the consequences.  The ignorant outsider is always a better judge of things than the people who actually know the code… says the ignorant outsider at least.

None of which has impacted me in the least.  I go on ops, do a little ratting in my Ishtar, and read about the drama.  There were new forums added for the game as well.  I got my achievement for doing the tutorial.  Other achievements are available.  Gamification of gaming forums, oh my.

GuildWars 2

Well, another month and another run at an old MMO peters out.  As with Runes of Magic the month before I just stopped logging in.  Not because I was hating the game, but I just didn’t feel much draw to keep going.  It wasn’t the zones or centaurs or the game mechanics or the personal story so much as it being just another fantasy MMO I was playing solo.

Minecraft

The server carries on and I am sporadically logging on to build things.  The 1.12 World of Color update gave me something to look into, but otherwise I have carried on as before.

Meanwhile, after a brief update about the whole Mineserver thing, that has gone back to radio silence.  Maybe we’ll hear something new by Christmas?

Pokemon

I am still pottering around a bit in Pokemon Sun, though that is clearly winding down for me.  It is probably best to give that a bit of a break given that new titles are coming late this year.  I did join in a couple of the online tournaments as a lark, and did as badly as expected.  Still, I will have to write up the results of one, as it does point to a pattern.

Pokemon Go

The big gym update hit last week.  I am not sure how much of a difference it really makes.  I still can’t beat a Blissy that is CP 2800 or higher, and if you can’t beat them then their CP doesn’t degrade and they are fixed in place.

My basic stats this month:

  • Level: 28 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 174 (+8) caught, 197 (+10) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 207km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Steam Summer Sale

The semi-annual sales event is upon us and I have actually purchased a few titles this time around, breaking the cycle of disinterest that I had shown the last couple of sales.

Coming Up

What is even going on in July worth noting?  Remastered StarCraft isn’t until August.

There is the possibility of an EVE Online patch update from CCP.  While vacation time for them has started, they usually only skip August completely.  We shall see.  Further carrier ratting nerfs are expected and the Strategic Cruiser revamp is already on the test server.

The Fantasy Movie League stuff will continue.  I am enjoying that… perhaps a bit too much even.  I now have the Variety film section in my RSS feed.

Then there is still the desire to find fantasy MMORPG happiness, but where to look?  Do I seek out an as-yet unexplored title and risk finding the ever present sameness of the genre?  Or is nostalgia what I need, one of the retro servers that Daybreak is offering up?  Am I attempting to recapture the unrecapturable he asked, just making up words at this point?

Anyway, another month looms.  But there is a holiday on Tuesday, which effectively means a four day weekend for me, so the next real post might have to wait until Wednesday next week.

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon Coming plus Pokemon Gold and Silver on Virtual Console

Nintendo had a brief series of announcements early this morning.  The expected Pokemon Stars, rumored to be the first Pokemon title for the Nintendo Switch was not on the list.  Instead, the Switch gets its own version of Pokken Tournament.

On the Nintendo 3DS front, Nintendo announced that the next titles in the core Pokemon RPG cycle would be Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, which will be available on November 17, 2017.

UltraSun and UltraMoon

These titles will feature a new story line in the Alola region and will allow players to capture Pokemon not available in the original Pokemon Sun & Moon games.

This development hearkens back to the Pokemon Black & White and Pokemon Black & White Version 2, where the same landscape was used to tell a second Pokemon story.

There was also a Virtual Console announcement.  As I predicted back in January, Nintendo is carrying on with the old school Nostalgia by bringing Pokemon Gold & Silver to the 3DS via the Virtual Console.

For the GameBoy Color

The second generation Pokemon games will be available on September 22, 2017 and will, like the Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow versions of last year, be Pokemon Bank compatible.  No word on Pokemon Crystal however.

Pokemon Gold and Silver

My wish for a return to Sinnoh via a remake of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum will have to wait for another year it seems, though I hold out hope that we will get there eventually.

As for whether or not the Nintendo Switch will take over the core Pokemon RPG game line, that seems to have been refuted,  Nintendo seems committed to the 3DS/2DS handheld consoles.

Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop

Pokemon Sun & Moon have been out for about six months now, and we’ve not heard anything yet about the next release, so Nintendo is still promoting what it has.  There is still a Pokemon in the Alola Pokedex unaccounted for, Marshadow, who does look like a cross between a marshmallow and a shadow.  But as they dangle that before us, Nintendo also has another give away.

Between May 15, 2017 and June 5, 2017 you can go to your local GameStop to pick up a card for a special Lyncanroc Pokemon in its night time, full moon, werewolf-esque form.

Available for a limited time

Supplies of the cards are limited, so head to GameStop sooner rather than later if you want this Pokemon.  The code is only valid for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

Of course, you can always just evolve a Rockruff into this form by leveling him up past level 25 at night, but the GameStop version comes with a special set of moves and a held item.

Meanwhile, Nintendo also has another download offer going on this month.  Following the instructions at this link will let you download mega stones so you can have mega evolutions in battle for Pidgeot, Steelix, Heracross, and Houndoom.

May 2017 Mega Stones

As with the above, this offer is only good for Pokemon Sun & Moon and must be collected before the end of the month.

I continue to potter around in Pokemon Sun at my end, working on a project I will likely post about at another time.

Friday Bullet Points for a Warm Spring Day

Well, it has been warm in Silicon Valley this week, with temperatures up to 90 degrees at times.  After a wet winter that means that more than spring is in the air.  Pollen is a serious, palpable thing outside right now for those of us with allergies.  But a runny nose and a desire for some of those good old “makes you drowsy” allergy meds from my youth won’t stop me from at least doing a bullet points post.

Pokemon Go in the Grass

Bulbasaur knows what I am talking about!

Clearly in the spirit of my pain, Niantic is having a Grass Weekend mini-event for Pokemon Go.  Starting this afternoon and ending early Monday grass type Pokemon are supposed to be out in force.  In addition, lures dropped at Pokestops are supposed to last 6 hours rather than the usual 30 minutes.  Will that be enough to lure me out of the house?

Pokemon Sun & Moon Bean Collecting

Meanwhile, in Pokemon Sun & Moon, there is an in-game event around collecting Poke Beans at the Poke Pelago.  As with the Pokemon Go event, it runs until Monday.  The minimum and bonus thresholds have already been reached, so all you have to do to get some Festival Coins is register in the Festival Plaza, collect some beans, and then go back and update you status.  Details are at the link.  If you are a registered Pokemon Global Link player, you get double the Festival coins plus a level ball and some rare candy as well.

We’re well past the 6 million bean stretch goal…

Ashes of Creation Campaign Status

The Ashes of Creation Kickstarter that I wrote about earlier in the week seems to have hit the mid-campaign doldrums already.  After passing a million dollars in the first 36 hours, pledges have slowed down.  That is to be expected.  I will be interested if they have a mid-campaign plan after their very strong start.  Meanwhile, there has been some concerns about Intrepid’s Creative Director and CEO Steven Sharif and the depth of experience of the Ashes of Creation team.  Sharif has responded via an interview with Massively OP.

Activision Blizzard still Touting MAUs

The Activision Blizzard first quarter results were announced yesterday.  You can find all the data, such that it is, over on their investor relations site.  Blizzard and King were tied as the first quarter net earning powers, with King ahead it gross revenue but Blizzard having a higher margin.

Revenues on Slide 10 of the investor presentation

And yet the big “we’re doing good!” metric remains Monthly Active Users, or MAUs.  I have griped before that MAUs are meaningless without context.  The fact that the two net earners have wildly different MAU numbers (41 million for Blizzard, or less than Activision, and 341 million for King) seems to require at least some details about their disparate business models.

Meanwhile, the report also celebrates Overwatch becoming Blizzard’s eighth “billion dollar” franchise, making me strain my brain to come up with that many.

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Warcraft
  3. StarCraft
  4. Diablo
  5. Hearthstone
  6. Overwatch
  7. Heroes of the Storm
  8. Lost Vikings

They must be slicing and dicing what constitutes a franchise to get eight billion dollar earners… or Lost Vikings was more popular than I imagined.  Also, I would argue that WoW is a continuation of the Warcraft franchise.  But marketing will segment how they see fit.

Anyway, back to the land of Benedryl for me.

April in Review

The Site

It has been a bonus moth for blog, with page view seeing a 50% boost over the previous month.  It still isn’t back to 2012 numbers… and never will be… but it was interesting to see the numbers jump up a bit.  Of course, I know why the number jumped up.  It was for the same reason the blog gets something of a bump every April.

I posted about April Fools at Blizzard.

A look at the list of most viewed posts this month tells the tale… sort of.  I generally don’t list the main page for the blog on that list, because it would simply be the top entry most months.  But this month it would be in second place, pulling in about 40% of the page views of the April Fools post.  Google was very nice to me for April Fools.

Still, it wasn’t as good as last April.  I did not get nearly as big of a bump from Google last year for April Fools… like 15% of the page views… but I was writing about the Casino War in EVE Online last April, something that stirred passions in a few.  And then there was the drama about WoW, nostalgia, and the Nostalrius, which was enough to carry the month to 40% more page views than this year.  Life in the page view lane.

Also I hit another meaningless milestone, crossing the 700 follower mark on Twitter.

I first started on Twitter back in 2010, so at this rate I will hit 1,000 followers at some point in 2020… provided Twitter doesn’t purge inactive accounts, as that would probably reduce my followers by half.

My Twitter feed combines the output from this blog and my EVE Online Pictures blog, along with occasional direct comments by myself.  The screen shots from the other blog are far and away the most likely to get liked or retweeted.  Even CCP Seagull has been known to retweet some of those screen shots.  There is probably a lesson in that.

One Year Ago

I wondered about the concept of the last good day in the context of MMOs.

The whole Blizzard versus Nostalrius issue blew up when the company sent the private/pirate server a take down notice.  Blizzard actually responded to things, but those hoping that they might actually get an official nostalgia server remain disappointed.

We did get a ship date for WoW Legion.  And, for once, nobody complained about Blizzard targeting a competitor with their chosen date.  At least not that I heard.

The Casino War was going badly for the Imperium.  I mean, sure, Dinsdale Pirannah was predicting a Goon victory, but he was in a small minority.

The Mittani held a state of the Goonion and logs documenting CO2’s betrayal were released, but that didn’t stave off black Thursday in Tribute as TNT’s holdings got steamrolled.  The war was getting serious.  First SMA and then FCON left the Imperium.  FCON showed up in Immensea soon afterwards while Darius Johnson tried to take advantage of the war by attempting to restart the original GoonSwarm.

There was a short Russian complication in the northeast that threatened to widen the war, but which eventually blew over.  No relief for the Imperium was to be found on that front.

There was to be no last stand at VFK-IV.  We pulled back to the Quafe Factory Warehouse in Saranen and attempted to fight back against the tide while I wondered what would constitute a victory.

There was some talk of names for the war.  I did not like the names coming from either side and stuck with Casino War, the name which Nosy Gamer coined and which went straight to the heart of the conflict.

Outside of the Casino War, I took a look at two books about EVE Online.  There was a Rooks & Kings video from the Serenity server. The Citadel expansion was released, bringing Upwell Consortium structures to New Eden.  There was a Blog Banter about what the most important announcement out of Fan Fest was.  And Xenuria made it onto the CSM at last.

Outside of New Eden, I gave Pokemon Blue a try and was surprised to see how fully formed the first versions of Pokemon really were.

Google was telling me that pretty much every game was dead.

And there was, as always, April Fools at Blizzard.

Five Years Ago

April 2012 set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE Online, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Ten Years Ago

Back in April 2007 we were wondering what was going to happen with Sigil Games Online after their less than stellar Vanguard launch. (*snort*) I threw out a few paths that the game might follow going forward, one of which proved to be correct.  Soon we would be free from the rambling posts of Aradune.  There was a failure of vision to be corrected.  But I bought a copy all the same.  It was marked down.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Vista, which launched the same day as Vanguard, was facing failures of its own, with Dell having to reintroduce Windows XP as an option for customers.  I know my own company was buying XP systems until Windows 7 came out… and became the new Windows XP.

In EverQuest II Gaff and I visited Emperor Fyst, I ran around in Nektropos Castle with the Everling clan, and complained about experience in Splitpaw.

While our WoW group was winding down for the summer, with Earl off to Broadway, the remaining four of us went off to Middle-earth with the launch of Lord of the Rings Online.  We had been playing in the beta, but eventually it came time to buy the game and sort out the founder’s options.  I had my first impressions. Titles were a thing!

I answered the musical meme question, “Five Reasons Why I Blog.”  Remember when those were “memes?”  Also, that seems awfully early in my career to be answering that sort of question.

I was also on about the pros and cons of player wipes, the requirement that one be able to solo in MMORPGs, and the problem of translating mechanics between games.

Van Hemlock was leet.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Diamond & Pearl in North America at last.  The EU would have to wait until July to get their copies.

Our Wii finally came out of the box.

And, finally, I had a problem with a video card that eventually had to be RMA’d, which sounds a lot like this April. I hope this won’t turn into a yearly thing.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2017 – Not Much to Talk About
  2. April Fools at Blizzard – 2016
  3. EVE Online CSM 12 Winners Announced
  4. WoW Dance Battle System!
  5. A Barrier to My Eventual Return to Azeroth
  6. Corpses in New Eden
  7. Null Sec Outpost Conversions and the Great Asset Recovery
  8. The Fall of Club Penguin
  9. A Decade on the Road to Mordor
  10. The Ongoing Tension Between Solo and Grouping
  11. Null Sec – We Rat and We Mine Things
  12. Nintendo and the NES Classic Edition

Search Terms of the Month

lord of the rings rambling large
[I ramble larger than most!]

eve online dying 2017
[EVE Online has always been dying. So have I.]

terry pratchett was more successful than rowling
[Only for very specific definitions of “success”]

how many hours does a heroic character save everquest
[In my case, all of them]

EVE Online

After Reavers came back from camping in Impass at the start of the month I haven’t done too much in game.  TNT and Space Violence are deployed to Catch, and I have a pilot out there, but the ops are almost exclusively EUTZ, so I have been on exactly one.  So I have taken my ops where I could find them and ratted a bit.  Even Ishtar ratting adds to the might total of null sec bounties.

EVE Fan Fest was the main focus of the month, with people happy or disappointed about what CCP did or did not say.  The usual story, everybody feels their part of the game is the most important and if only CCP would focus on the right thing then New Eden would flourish and time would roll backwards and the PCU would skyrocket.

Minecraft

I finished the road to the north Mansion, which covers 26km as it winds its way northward from the rail loop.  That done, I stated fishing about for the next project.  I began work on some upgrades around the north Mansion and even laid the ground work for the horse speed tester I wanted to build, but haven’t really done much when it comes down to it.

Pokemon

The Pokemon binge continued this month as I picked up a copy of Pokemon Omega Ruby from the online shop and ran through that.  I finished the main story, caught Groudon, and am working on other legendary Pokemon.

Pokemon Go

I have been somewhat low key with Pokemon Go over the last month.  The high the level, the bigger the gap to the next one, and I have only made about half way to the 250K exp needed to get to 28.  And that progress has been primarily due to the first catch of the day, first Pokestop of the day, and seven day streak bonuses.

My basic stats this month:

  • Level: 27 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 154 (+5) caught, 179 (+7) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Final evolution of any of the starter Pokemon
  • Current buddy: Noctowl, who earns a candy every kilometer.

Coming Up

It is May tomorrow, which means May Day/Loyalty Day (the latter is causing people to freak out because they think Trump is somehow responsible for that nearly 100 year old non-event of a day), Memorial Day (which will mean a B-17 flying around the neighborhood), Mother’s Day, the start of the summer movie season, and FanimeCon here in Silicon Valley.  My daughter wants to go to that with some friends, while I will people watch and get street passes observing on the periphery.

On the video gaming front, this month’s patch for EVE Online has a couple of big changes, including the PLEX revamp… and… is anything else happening?  Hrmm…

I have been looking about for some new game to hold my attention, even going back to World of Tanks just to see how that has been faring, and to remind myself how bad I am.  I think I might have found something to occupy me for a bit, but we’ll get to that in May.

Refresher in the Hoenn Region

Pokemon Omega Ruby was pretty much the only video game I spent any real time playing this past weekend.  I did log into EVE Online to keep my planetary interaction operations going, and I updated and played a match in World of Tanks, but that was about it.

Of course, part of that was because my wife and I have been binge-watching Breaking Bad over the last week or so.  Binge watching TV means sitting on the couch, away from my computer.  But the 3DS handheld and Pokemon can sit with me on the couch.  I listen to the dialog from the TV as I play, putting the game down to watch the show when talking leads to action.

The combined activities meant I was able to get through the first six gyms in Pokemon Omega Ruby as well as resolving the main Team Magma/Team Aqua plot point.

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

That is one of the differentiation between the two games.  In Omega Ruby you fight Team Magma and are somewhat assisted by Team Aqua, while in Alpha Sapphire the reverse is true.  Both teams have a Bond villain scale plan for exploiting the powers of a legendary Pokemon in order to change the world and both realize the folly of their ways and come to you, the young hero, to resolve the problems they have wrought, all before you’ve even finished the last two city gyms.

It does feel a bit odd… or maybe anti-climactic, though since you the Hoenn region was facing a cataclysm, that term might be a bit too on the nose… to resolve what is ostensibly the main story line so far ahead of facing the elite four and winning the Hoenn league championship.

Then again, the real story line is, as ever in Pokemon, your own.

The whole thing has been a good refresher for the pair of games.  When they came out back in late 2014 I was coming off of the binge cycle and only played part way through, so when Pokemon Sun & Moon were looming I quickly picked up my copy of Alpha Sapphire and finished off the last essential bits… story line, elite four, and championship… before putting the game down to pick up Pokemon Sun.

Having run through it again I now know where I stand in the context of both games and can probably go chase down the post-championship legendary Pokemon in the pair.

Of course, going back to Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire meant doing without some of the game improvements that came in with Sun & Moon.  I do miss the simplicity of storage box management in the new games and it is a pain to have to return to gimping your team by having to make them learn specific HM moves like Surf and Fly in order to be able to move around the world. (Teaching a Pokemon an HM also used to lock it into that game.)  I also keenly miss the ability to remove status conditions after battle via the refresh option (have to drop a potion instead) and being able to put eggs into the Poke Pelago to hatch them.

On the flip side, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire have some nice features of their own.  The built in region map is good and the local map that tells you whether or not you have caught all the Pokemon types that spawn in the vicinity is very handy.  The ability to soar over the landscape on Latios/Latias is  pretty spiff, and the Pokemon stats training is nice, though not as convenient as the Poke Pelago.

The one thing Nintendo does do is kill most of the back end support for a Pokemon title once a successor has been shipped.  While download events still happen, all the title specific special items have been turned off as has the social connectivity and the Global Trade Station access.  So if I want to wheel and deal and trade Pokemon I get from the game I need to use Pokemon Bank to get them into Pokemon Sun, at which point I can use the GTS there.

Anyway, I am still plugging away at Pokemon for now.