Category Archives: Pokemon

December in Review

The Site

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, a lot of posts in 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Year Ago

We got the Ring of Scale expansion for EverQuest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

It was the final shut down for Warhammer Online.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I reviewed my goals and tried to sum up 2013.

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best selling PC Games from 2008:

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

Twenty Years Ago

The original Baldur’s Gate was released.

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

Most Viewed Posts in December

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

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

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

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

Spam Comments of the Month

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

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

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

Now YOU Can Grab Our New Web Traffic “Robot” That Works 24/7 to Bring You Free Traffic and Subscribers!
[Act now!]

This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
[Spam bots are the worst liars]

EVE Online

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

Lord of the Rings Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

RimWorld

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

World of Warcraft

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

November in Review

The Site

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

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

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

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

Milestone of a sort

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

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

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

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

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

One Year Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was dropping bombs in War Thunder.

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

There was also a moment of Apple II nostalgia.

I was having problems with the LOTRO patcher… again.

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

Ten Years Ago

We were all excited about expansions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in November

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

blizzard stock
[ACTI, and it is down]

everquest 3?
[Nope]

apps people pay 99 cents for
[Crappy ones?]

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

EVE Online

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

EverQuest II

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

Lord of the Rings Online

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

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

October in Review

The Site

Happy Halloween.

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

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

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

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

Fill in the gap between the top and the other ads

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

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

WP.com lets ads take over your browser session

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

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

One Year Ago

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

RimWorld was eating up a bunch of my gaming time.

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

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

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

The Reavers SIG turned three years old.

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

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

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

I hit level 30 in Pokemon Go.

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

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

Path of Exile finished up beta and was officially live.

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

The instance group was still running Foundry modules in Neverwinter.

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

Thirty Years Ago

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

Forty Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in October

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

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

sylvana windrunner rule 34 animated
[Really?]

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

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

EVE Online

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

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

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

EverQuest II

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

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

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

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

Coming Up

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Bullet Points Before EVE Vegas

Today is the start of EVE Vegas and when this post, scheduled in advance, goes live I will probably be on a plane for the short flight from Silicon Valley to whatever euphemism you care to use for Las Vegas.  Though, given the actual layout of the boundaries in the area, it is debatable whether or not I will spend even a moment in what is actually Las Vegas while I am in Las Vegas.  Call it a trip to Paradise instead I guess.

So while I am traveling I have some bullet points to post about.  This is good for current me, as these posts are easy to put together.  Future me, writing the month in review post in October 2019, will hate this because it is a pain to reference multiple topics in a single link in my usual format.  Current me is always burdened by the actions of past me and generally seems unconcerned about sticking it to future me.

  • One Week and No Cash Shop Apocalypse

The Pearl Abyss acquisition of CCP closed a week ago, on October 12th.

Together for reals now

So far the new owners have managed not to burn down New Eden with horrible game-breaking pay to win schemes.  Yes, they haven’t had much time, and they have an opportunity this weekend to spring that sort of stuff on us at EVE Vegas, but if you read some of the panicked threads on /r/eve after the acquisition announcement you might be surprised that New Eden isn’t already a cash shop dumpster fire.

  • No Commerce War in Perimeter

Back on Monday it looked like there would be something interesting going on in high sec with war decs sprouting between null sec groups looking to battle over the trade citadels in Perimeter, a system just one jump from Jita.  TEST even dropped a Keepstar in the system, a first for high sec space.

A Keepstar in Perimeter

However, Pandemic Horde, who previously held the Perimeter PLEX and Skill Injector market, announced to their pilots that they would be punting on defending this source of income, as well as any income from their home in Geminate, in order to concentrate on attacking the Branch region.  Branch is where GotG had to send the ratters and miners during the war in the north when Imperium forces were working to suppress such income generation in Fade, Deklein, and Pure Blind.

So TEST will be taking over the Pandemic Horde markets in high sec without a fight.  The TEST citadels are online and offering a very low tax rate, while the PH citadels look to be headed to destruction.  Hail to the new boss, same as the old boss, only at a slightly discounted rate.

  • 64-bit EVE Client on the Road Map

CCP has been bringing up the idea of a 64-bit client for over a year now.  It was part of the justification for shutting down the captain’s quarters and the built-in Twitch integration.  But I noticed earlier this week that the idea has made it to the Updates site, along with some other items we’ve been expecting, as part of the Winter update.

A 64-bit client would help players during large null sec fleet battles as it would be able to access more memory.  The current 32-bit client dies at just past 3GB.  And anything that would make those battles more viable would be good for CCP, since they are pretty much the only things that gets the company publicity lately, barring being acquired by yet another company.

When will we see this and the other things planned for winter?  I am sure we will hear more about that at EVE Vegas.  But, while winter may be coming, it doesn’t actually start until December 21 and runs until March 20 in the northern hemisphere, though emotionally I would accept any date in December as counting as winter.

  • No Monthly Economic Report for September… so far

The usual MER for EVE Online is running late this month.  Posting about the changes and economic imbalances has become a monthly staple here, so I hope they haven’t given up on it.  I suspect that prep for EVE Vegas has gotten in the way, but maybe we will hear something about that at the event.  With my luck it will probably get posted while I am driving to the airport rendering this bullet point moot.  But that is why I hid it in the middle.

  • Crimson Harvest Event Returns Soon

Holiday events are always a bid odd in New Eden since playing the game mostly amounts to being in outer space.  And, in any case, CCP has been sporadic in its acknowledgement of holidays for most of the life of the game, save for maybe the time around Christmas.  But they seem to be settling into a routine, with the Crimson Harvest event, a pseudo-Halloween thing, coming again to the game.

2018 Edition

As has become the norm, this event comes to you as part of The Agency interface where you will get tasks to earn points to collect prizes.  This year there is a mention of mining as an option in addition to combat as well as being able to construct your own cerebral accelerators.

I don’t know what that really means other than CCP is trying to make these events appeal to a broader range of players.

  • Days of Summer Ending in Norrath

And, as a “screw you” to future me of next year, I can’t even keep the whole post focused on EVE Online.

The Days of Summer event in EverQuest II which, among other things, yielded a comically overpowers armor set for my recently turned level 100 character, is coming to an end.

I’m here for the event please

As with baseball, summer seems to run well into October in Norrath but comes to an end eventually.  So if you want to get the last quest, which takes you on a tour of Lavastorm, it is time to head to the Sundered Frontier zone and pick it up from Yun Zi.  If you don’t pick it up now… well… I really don’t know.  Does Yun Zi and his vendor Pas Yu go away at the end of the event, or do they just sit there handing out quests and updates until next summer?  I don’t know if Days of Summer, despite having a seasonal name, is treated like a seasonal event akin to holidays or if it is different.  Welcome to Norrath.

  • Sinnoh Comes to Pokemon Go

It is like I don’t even care about future me.

In the land of Pokemon Go Niantic has unleashed the fourth generation Pokemon, the ones introduced with the first titles on the then fairly new Ninetndo DS handheld, Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.  So I now have the first starter Pokemon I ever chose, Piplup.

Best penguin ever

I realize that Niantic has only released some of the fourth gen Pokemon, and some are only available in certain regions, but the fact that I have Piplup makes me pretty happy.  I hate to evolve him, as I do almost all of the starter Pokemon, but at least his later forms aren’t as crazy bad as some of the starter Pokemon.

I think if I catch a Shinx and show it to my daughter she’ll start playing Pokemon Go again.  That was her favorite Pokemon ever.  Time to test that theory.

So that is it for bullet points.  Monday’s post will likely be some sort of news round up from EVE Vegas.  I don’t care enough to lug a laptop with me to post live updates, so my scribbled notes and vague recollections will have to do.

September in Review

The Site

The site turned twelve, something about which I went on at length in a post mid-way through the month.

The official notification

It was also the month that saw the most likes in a single day on the site.

Such an achievement

I don’t know why.  I never know why.

It was also a month for some big news, acquisitions, closures, and new expansions.  All of that, plus the usual residual interest in the site after Blaugust, drove things to a pretty decent month when it came to page views.  It still isn’t 2012, but it was a very respectable month by 2018 standards.

Finally, for the third month running, the most viewed posts does not include a single post written during the month.  It isn’t unusual for older posts to become search engine favorites, but I have yet to figure out why some of those posts, making their third appearance on the list, are popular.

One Year Ago

The blog turned eleven and so I brought out an elf.

I was talking about a typewriter.  The first typewriter I used.  I still have it.

Raptr announced that they would be shutting down at the end of the month.

GuildWars 2 launched their Path of Fire expansion.

Pokemon Gold & Silver were made available via the 3DS Virtual Console.

Crimson Leaf Games announced MegaWars – Dawn of the Third Age.

I took a look at Daybreak 30 months into is existence.  And, as I did that, we got the bad news that EQ2 Wire was shutting down after covering the game for nine years.  Then Daybreak announced that the Fippy Darkpaw server would be merged with the Vulak server… probably a few years too late to make any difference.

In EVE Online CCP gave us a heads up as to the coming Lifeblood expansion, complete with trailer.  Last I checked the site was still up, but running pretty much unattended.

I was running on about meaningful PvE progression in New Eden and going on about return on time invested and content on demand.

In space I was doing the Alpha Strikes event while the August MER showed that deploying to Hakonen cost the Imperium in mining and ratting revenue.

Then came the Warzone Extraction event to celebrate the non-VR version of the soon to be in maintenance mode EVE: Valkyrie.  It was a tough event by EVE Online PvE standards and I am sure it killed some newbies.

But the big EVE Online news of the month was The Judge betraying Circle of Two, selling their Keepstar to the Imperium (who later sold it to TEST) and the camp in 68FT-6 as alliance members tried to escape from their former home.  GigX was banned and CO2 seemed doomed.  It was one of those “Only in EVE” sort of events.

Andrew Groen was planning some EVE Online history lectures via a new podcast.  That only lasted five episodes before he went back to writing books on EVE Online history.

In a bullet points post I noted the passing of the EVE Gate site, that CCP cancelled their deal with Nexon for Japanese EVE Online support, that Ultima Online was talking about free to play, and that Daybreak wasn’t going to be handing out any more free content in Norrath for the foreseeable future.

And finally Chris Roberts was unironically talking about developer optimism in an interview.

Five Years Ago

We heard that Warhammer Online was slated to shut down in December.

We also got the official word that Blizzard would be killing the auction house in Diablo III.

SOE was getting over some of their Station Cash screw ups.

In general I wasn’t too excited about the expansion outlook on the MMO scene.

In EVE Online the Rubicon expansion went live.  Our corp had a little drama as Gaff plotted to overthrow our CEO and created a new corp, Black Sheep Down.  As is usual, he was good for the intrigue, but once he became El Supremo, he got bored and stopped playing.  Happens after every coup… and there have been a few.  We went from being literally the worst corp in TNT to… erm… well, that didn’t change I guess.  We did run out to low sec for a fight and I put my alt in the corp to bolster our numbers because there was a minimum height requirement or something.

In general we were finishing up our deployment in Delve cleaning up after the TEST collapse and I hit 110 million skill points.  Also, there was the war between evebloggers.com and evebloggers.net.

The instance group, in a hint as to where we were headed, ran a series of WoW dungeon knock-offs in Neverwinter.

And it was time for the usual bout of autumnal nostalgia.  This time I returned to Azeroth, which made me ask the question, when is it nostalgia anyway?  My daughter and I and a friend had a plan to roll up some new characters on a new server.  Whatever it was, it felt like home.

And, finally, I covered the great resurrection exploit in TorilMUD.

Ten Years Ago

Warhammer Online went live, first with the head start and then for everybody.

As we saw with other MMOs, there were issues coordinating with friends about which server to choose, leading to yet another gripe post about the whole sharded existence we have had to put up with in MMOS.  I did wonder if the EverQuest II mechanism of multiple versions of a given zone might be worth it to get everybody on a single server.

The instance group was into WAR (after escaping from Durnhold Keep), though as a group we have some parameters that we had to work within.  And the battlegrounds in WAR were not playing out well.  And the type of quests that were in PvE led to some talk about which goal was worse.

In Warhammer itself, war were declared on gold sellers and Mythic was being very demonstrative about it.  Of course, it did not appear to stem tells from gold seller bots that seemed to sit active for days.

went on about those tips you see on the loading screen of many MMOs, spurred by a couple less than helpful tips in WAR.

In EVE Online I hit a major ISK milestone.  But I was building up ISK because I had my eye on a freighter.

The Empyrean Age 1.1 update was upon us, which included 2 changes designed to reduce the scourge of suicide ganking.  And nobody ever complained about that again.

Meanwhile CCP was offering up battleships for sale… model battleship for real cash, not ISK.

But the most important EVE Online event was probably Yahtzee Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation review of EVE Online Much shoe-on-head wearing and talk about tactical logistics reconfiguration ensued.

In EverQuest II, the Living Legacy promotion was ending.

I was wondering why there wasn’t a World of Warcraft animated series yet.  I think that might have been better than the movie we got.

LEGO Batman showed up.

And, finally, the site hit the two year mark.

Fifteen Years Ago

Valve released the first version of Steam, mostly to replace the World Opponent Network they bought from Sierra.

SOE released the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion for EverQuest, bringing instanced small group content to the game.  Their ads specifically mentioned the new “dungeon crawl” experience.

Twenty Years Ago

Pokemon Red & Blue for the Nintendo GameBoy and GameBoy Color launched in North America.

Delta Force launched in the US.  I have written about it and voxels and the coming of 3D accelerated video cards in the past.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  2. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More
  3. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  4. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  5. Winter Movie League – Denouement
  6. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  7. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  8. Rift Prime Time
  9. Spring Movie League – Wrinkle in the Mix
  10. Honest Game Trailers – Animal Crossing
  11. The Road to CSM13
  12. February in Review

Search Terms of the Month

are there any games as good as everquest
[No]

everquest franchise dead?
[Also no]

minecraft complaints
[It is so blocky to start with…]

minecraft how to make warm ocean
[Declare it the toddler pool]

how to hand in madness within wow
[I think most of the madness is outside of WoW]

Spam Comment of the Month

Yes! Finally something about facebook advertising.
[I nearly approved this just for irony’s sake]

Black Desert Online

Since Pearl Abyss was set to buy CCP I thought I would take a look at the game that people keep putting forth as a cash shop pay-to-win horror show.  I haven’t done much past the tutorial so far, but it does have its own look and feel.  It ain’t WoW, which isn’t a bad thing.  We’ll see if I end up playing enough of it to be able to make a post.

EVE Online

The war in the north has come to and end with a peace agreement signed earlier this month that came into effect yesterday.  We will be packing up and leaving the north for a month and won’t pester GotG for at least six months.  That will make for a quiet October as people get home and pick up mining and ratting again to make some money.  That will make some time for other things, since I haven’t ratted or mined or done PI in a year at this point.  Maybe I’ll watch some TV.

EverQuest II

This came out of nowhere… or out of the thin yet cooling air of autumn.  Anyway, suddenly I was keen to go and play in Norrath towards the end of the month.  And I did.  And I continue to do so.  We shall see.

Pokemon Go

I finally caught a Lapras, so I can take that off the list finally.  In two years I only ran into one once, and it ran away after the first throw.  This month Niantic changed the Pokemon mix back to favor first generation and now I’ve caught five.  Still, it was an exciting moment when I caught that first one.

It was also the month of many friends.  One of the special research tasks required you to add three new friends.  After struggling for a bit and only finding one, I posted my friend code on Twitter and got more than a dozen in a short time.  I deleted the tweet after a while as it was a bit too successful.  Now I have 19 friends to find gifts for, most of whom are from Japan.  That is probably more friends than I have in real life.  But it is kind of neat as each gift has a picture that goes with it, so I’ve seen some new places… and the 7-11 logo.  There must be a Pokestop at every 7-11 in Japan or something.

Level: 33 (+0)
Pokedex status: 339 (+4) caught, 357 (+3) seen
Pokemon I want: Dragonite… Dratini are so rare where I live
Current buddy: Wailmer

World of Warcraft

My efforts in Azeroth sort of petered out over the course of the month.  I went from daily logins during Darkmoon Faire to basically logging in for a bit each weekend to get a little further along with my main on Kul Tiras, who is still just level 117 at this point.  This is sort of how non-addicts play video games I hear.  Admittedly, this slackening of attention might not have been entirely out of boredom with the game as during this period of time my wife and I also binge-watched the first three seasons of Better Call Saul and the first season of Castle Rock and most of the first season of Handmaid’s Tale, and some of that show on Hulu with Hugh Laurie, as well as knocking out season five of Bojack Horseman with my daughter and getting through season three of Archer and the first few episodes of season 2 of Ozark on my own.

That is actually a lot of television.

So perhaps WoW isn’t wholly to blame.  I just spent a lot of time on the couch rather than in front of my computer.

Coming Up

BlizzCon is actually on November 2nd which, while not next month, is close enough that I am sure we’ll be hearing more news and speculation as to what Blizzard might be showing.

I expect some more news from Daybreak.  We got the title of the coming EverQuest II expansion, but no details.  In addition, there is still an EverQuest expansion that they ought to be talking about.

In EVE Online things will probably be somewhat quiet.  The war in the north is over for now and we have committed to taking a month off.

There is also EVE Vegas coming up mid-month.  I will be attending again.  I will actually be speaking.  But don’t worry, I am only talking about blogging, so you won’t be missing anything if you’re not there.

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.