Category Archives: Rift

May in Review

The Site

May always seems so quiet after the bustle of April and the April Fools traffic it gets.  May is down 50% when it comes to page views.  I suppose that is what happens when not much happens.  The most viewed posts for the month reflect this as the old Google search favorites return to the top of the list while things I actually wrote in May are somewhat scarce.

So, looking further afield, what was the biggest thing to happen this month?  Probably GDPR.

Look for the EU Label

I am happy to announce that there has been no change to the privacy policy at TAGN, since I never had one since I don’t keep any data on you myself.  WP.com has some statement on that, since they actually hold all the data, but things around here are business as usual.  I’m not even sure that cookies warning comes up correctly.  But I don’t have ads here.  I pay not to have ads here.  No ads, no cookies for tracking ads.  It does pop up on my other blog.

One Year Ago

Nintendo announced the new 2DS XL hardware.  It seemed like a deal, since all it was missing was the somewhat unloved 3D option.

Being a bit down on crowdfunding MMOs, I was wondering who was backing Ashes of Creation.

Daybreak was giving out free level boosts… again… in EverQuest II.

Over in the land of Everquest, the new Agnarr limited progression server went live with a promise never to progress past the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.  I wondered about the life of progression servers and if this attempt to make a perma-retro server might extend beyond Daybreak.

I returned to the land of the ten dollar horse of legend, Runes of Magic.  Once a trailblazer, an Asian MMO built for the west and designed on the free to play model, in some ways it is very much stuck in time.  And I am not just talking about the archaic patcher.  It still feels like it did back in 2009.  Which isn’t a bad thing, really.  Look how popular retro servers are now.  And it isn’t a bad MMO either.

I worked my way through to the first big city, explored the cash shop, and carried on through the month until the grind started to surpass any sense of nostalgia I was feeling.  As with many such games, if I was playing with a group it would have been fine, but as a solo venture it had its limits.

EVE Online turned 14 years old.  I was again looking at the monthly economic report where Delve was leading null sec in ratting and mining and the Rorqual remained the top mining ship.

The May update for EVE Online gave us new PLEX and the Blood Raiders ship yards.  New PLEX was a money making opportunity for some.  New PLEX went well enough that CCP decided to covert the Aurum they gave away for free sooner than expected.  And then there were the new small skill injectors.

The first Blood Raiders ship yard showed up in Period Basis.  I went to go visit it.  After some trial and error the Imperium went old school and reinforced it with a mass of T1 frigates.  I missed the destruction (and TEST swooping in with interceptors to steal the loot) but still managed to get blown up by the leftover Blood Raider forces.  A dread can one-shot an Ibis.

In other ops in New Eden we went to a brawl around an Astrahus in Catch and I manged to get my Cerb blown up trying to catch up with the fleet, which gave me an opportunity to try flying an interdictor.

In a bullet points post I noted that Blizzard called Overwatch its eighth billion dollar franchise, but I couldn’t figure out what the other seven might be.  Has Blizzard even had eight things one might call a “franchise” at this point?  Also, SuperData was splitting WoW into East and West versions again.

And I rather optimistically suggested that the Mineserver Kickstarter project might still happen.  Ha, ha, ha, I can be so naive.

Five Years Ago

I celebrated the five year anniversary of a blog.  No, not this one.

EVE Online turned 10 (I even made a movie) and reminded us of its true nature, while DUST 514 finally went live for real.

Somebody was saying that there had only ever been two successful MMOs, EverQuest and World of Warcraft.

I checked up on the Newbie Blogger Initiative to see who survived their first year of blogging.

Camelot Unchained made its Kickstarter goal one day before their campaign ended.   Success at the last minute is still success.

The project code named Titan was rumored to have been pushed out to 2016. Meanwhile Activision-Blizzard announced that WoW had shed 1.3 million subscribers, dropping to 8.3 million total.  And then there was the problems with the Diablo III economy.  Rough times.

The XBox One was announced.  Or the name was.  I didn’t like it.

I made a chart about the relative natures of MMO economies.  I was also musing about dangerous travel.

We were starting to peek into NeverWinter as a possible game for the instance group, in hopes that we might have a hiatus from our long hiatus.  We also played a bit of Need for Speed: World.

Rift, ostensibly the game the instance group was playing (and which I was still playing a bit of), announced it was going free to play, which made me mutter about revenue models again.

Our EVE Online corp decided to go play some Lord of the Rings Online, and so my relationship with Middle-earth continued and I was quickly in the Lone Lands.

And finally, I wrote a bit about the first computer game I ever played, which led to some charts about my video gaming timeline.

Ten Years Ago

My daughter and I were finishing up the final battles in the base game of Pokemon Diamond as well as staging our own gym battles.

In EVE Online CCP gave us a date for the Empyrean Age as well as giving us all a gift on the five year anniversary of the game.  I still have that gift in my hangar.

Meanwhile I was building battleships, working the regional price variations, dealing with the realities of production, refining my Drake fittings, and laughing at a the EVE Online guide to talking smack.

Oh, and I was being propositioned in a standard Goon scam.  Damn Goons!

In World of Warcraft the instance group was doing some quests to level up a bit because the Mana Tombs were proving to be a challenge.  We also did some mucking about with alts.

And, in the industry in general, Turbine got $40 million dollars to play with (I wonder where that ended up?) while Age of Conan launched amid immediate declarations of success and failure.

Fifteen Years Ago

SOE launched PlanetSide, their MMOFPS.

3DO laid everybody off and filed for bankruptcy, leading to the end of the line for it and its subsidiary New World Computing, best known for the Might and Magic series.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. What Would Even Help This Genre Anyway?
  4. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  5. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  6. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  7. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  8. EVE Online Third Party Apocalypse Day
  9. Lost Dungeons of New Eden
  10. Rift Prime Time
  11. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  12. The Road to CSM13

Search Terms of the Month

do people still play everquest in 2018?
[Daybreak has never been owned by Columbus Nova]

google play talent tree rpg
[I’m not sure how that works]

what is impulse control eve online
[Not buying PLEX?]

swamp of sorrows or winterspring
[Hrmm… neither?  Winterspring maybe?]

games gay nude servers
[Would there be a point to non-nude servers?]

spanking organizer adult software
[I’m sure I saw a spanking organizer on Steam]

EVE Online

We got the big Into the Abyss PvE expansion for the game, which introduced Triglavian ships and modules, all obtainable via the deathtrap solo space dungeons known as abyssal pockets.

In game, in null sec, in the north, things were exciting for various reasons.  GotG announced they were going to stop trying to defend Fade and Pure Blind, which led to dissent in MOA, which lived in Pure Blind, and which decided to abandon its position there.  And then Circle of Two came over to take up stewardship in Fade, giving the Imperium groups deployed in Pure Blind a new set of opponents to spar with.

EverQuest II

The Daybreak team was handing out level 100 characters again, this time with gear that would keep you from being squashed like a bug when you hit the latest content, so I went and made yet another character, a Shadow Knight.  Despite a few hitches, I actually played a bit with him.  A post about it to follow at some point.

Pokemon Go

Still at level 32, but chugging along.  The change up in available Pokemon and the occasional events keep things interesting.  I did get one of those Alola Exeggutors… a few actually.  They were on every street corner yesterday.

My current state of affairs:

Level: 32 (+0)
Pokedex status: 327 (+15) caught, 349 (+7) seen
Pokemon I want: Still Lapras, still don’t have one
Current buddy: Spoink

Rift

I logged into Rift Prime for 21 days during May, collecting my daily prize until I got another mount, then stopped logging in altogether.  And that is likely the end of that for now.  Still a decent MMORPG, lots there to love, had fun in Freemach and Stonefield, it was great to be in the mass of players at low levels, but soloing along just wasn’t keeping me invested.

Coming Up

In EVE Online the CSM 13 elections are slated to happen from 12 noon UTC (EVE Time) on 4 June through until 12 noon UTC on 11 June.  Be ready to cast your ballot.

Also coming to EVE Online is the great null sec outpost conversion, where all those stations in conquerable null sec systems will be converted to faction citadels.  This is slated for June 5 and will result in a lot of assets that have been locked in hostile stations suddenly becoming available via asset recovery.  I expect some last minute grabs at stations over the weekend.

I may go play some more EverQuest II.  Maybe.  I have until June 7th to see if it is worth subscribing to… and I’d need to buy the expansion… for that one free level 100 heroic character.  Is this the whole “giving away the razor then selling the blades” thing at work again?

The Kickstarter campaign for The Flower of Knighthood will wrap up, though I cannot imagine why they haven’t cancelled it already.  While it has gotten some more pledges, it still hasn’t managed to collect, all total, as much as it needed to get every single day of the campaign in order to fund.  It is currently trending to hit 1% of its $600K target.

The Summer Fantasy Movie League is kicking off with new rules.  See the previous post for details and a link to join.  We shall see how that turns out.  I don’t usually mention FML in the monthly review post, do I?

Finally, summer will commence on the 21st, my daughter will be out of school, and I will likely have to leave the house and go on a vacation or something.

Something Missing in Scarlet Gorge

Yes, I am still playing Rift Prime, though I haven’t spent much time there over the last few of weeks.  I’ve made a bit of progress, but events in New Eden and a growing sense of ennui has dominated my play time.

Tiger racing through the sticks, trumped by spaceship politics

While I was caught up in levels… or so I felt… I did linger about Stonefield for a bit longer to wrap up a few achievements.  Alas, I could not find two more quests to get the achievement for that, but I did find the torch up on the rocks above Granite Falls for the Dancing with Squirrels.

Stop… Squirrel Time

From there I headed into Scarlet Gorge, the next zone up the chain.

Looking into Scarlet Gorge

I did notice that, as I passed into the zone there was a quest giver standing off to one side who gave me passage through the portal into Iron Pine Peaks.  That was nice, and I filed that away for later, because in my head, IPP was a higher level zone and not something I would bother with at that point.

Scarlet Gorge started as I remembered and I ran through the initial quest chain and followed it northward up the valley until it sort of stopped at about the mid point.  It felt like I missed a chain or a turn somewhere.  I rode further up and ended in mobs that were four and more levels above me.  That wasn’t playing.  My brain seemed to insist that there was more to do, but wasn’t pointing me at anything viable.

I did recalled that I needed to go up the sky tram at the starting hub to an encampment up on one of the peaks.  There I found myself just within the right level range, but that quickly led me into Scarwood Reach.  I was still just level 27 so that did not bode well.

In looking at the map however, I noticed that I had another option.

Map of my area

I can still find references to Iron Pine Peak starting at level 41, but that appears to have been revamped somewhere along the way and was now right in the level range for me.  I took a side trip up there into the snow and ice.

So I headed through the local portal and went to play in the snow.

The quest chain in IPP seemed familiar in that way things do when you’re been away for five years but still have bits and pieces of bouncing around in your head.  IPP was not one of my favorite zones, but I hauled around there through level 28 and into level 29.

Level 29 in the snow

That done, I actually hit the portal at the west end of IPP and headed back to Scarwood Reach where I started in on the quest line there.  For some reason Scarwood Reach is another zone that I remember pretty well, so I have been following the chain of tasks there.

I’ve been here before… I know where the artifacts spawn

Scarwood Reach as a zone is pretty good and I have move through it well enough.

Overall however, momentum in Rift Prime has clearly slowed down.  The guild I am in, which was semi-active, with everybody playing at least a bit each week, has now pretty much dragged to a halt.  I may be the only one who has logged into the game in the last two weeks.

As I mentioned at the top of the post, activity in EVE Online has been eating up a good portion of my gaming time.  But the ennui bit is also a factor too.  I’ve probably played more Age of Empires II in the last week than Rift Prime in the last two weeks.  I also had a good game of Civilization II going over the weekend, though that has reached a bit of a “me vs. the world” stalemate… which I still played for a while rather than log into Rift.

I’m not calling it yet, but my nostalgia time here seems to be in peril.

April in Review

The Site

April first is the one day of the year that Google remembers I have a blog and sends me traffic in numbers reminiscent of the “good old days” of blogging, before the likes of Tumblr, Twitter, and Reddit hove into view.  So my page views tend to spike a bit.

Who doesn’t love April Fools?

I get a bit of a compound boost from this as well.  Since I have covered Blizzard at April Fools regularly for a while now, I include a list of past posts which, unlike almost every other such list or link in any other article I put up, people actually click on these.  So my Top Posts list gets a bit skewed towards April Fools early in the month as well.

What you get at the start of every April

That reflects itself again in this post down the page in the most viewed posts section.  Rare is the item that can break into the dirty dozen every April, but a couple of posts made it.

Of course it is all downhill from here for the rest of the year on the page view front.

One Year Ago

There was, of course, April Fools, but Blizzard didn’t seem up to its usual level of effort.

Blizzard did make the original StarCraft free to play, no April Fools there.

I was wondering if the plan to make mobs scale with your ilevel was going to make going back to World of Warcraft a chore.  It seemed like a bad idea, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter much.

I was going on about the 3K Blissey problem in Pokemon Go.

Meanwhile I was finishing up Pokemon Sun and still felt like playing Pokemon, so went back to Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.

There was the Lord of the Rings Online ten year launch anniversary.   We would finally get to Mordor later that year.

Daybreak announced the Agnarr server for EverQuest, a retro server designed to stay retro as it would not progress beyond the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.

In EVE Online Reavers were out camping Circle of Two in Impass, shooting their ratters and such.  Asher later told us that this was to have us in place as they had a CO2 director ready defect.  This was before The Judge did his thing.  However that did not come to pass.

I was going on about corpses in New Eden, which have their own special place in the game.  I was also on about force auxiliaries and titan losses.

In Iceland EVE Fanfest was under way.  They had a presentation that gave some interesting data about what happened in New Eden over the last year.  CCP also announced the winners of the CSM12 election and when/where EVE Vegas would take place.  And there was a talk on the plan to convert Null Sec stations into citadels.  We’re still waiting on that last bit.

I also started looking at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report as a regular monthly item, something set off by how much ratting and mining was being done in null sec.

I sharpened up my scanning skills, all the better to hunt MTUs.  Also, according to CCP I lost 5 billion ISK in space wealth since the month before.

In Minecraft I finished up the long road to the northern forest mansion; it took an hour to ride it on a fast horse.

And then there was the crazy story of the Nintendo NES Classic, which they stopped producing even though it remained sold out everywhere.

Five Years Ago

I was remembering the SEGA Genesis and NBA Jams

Our Wii seemed to be collecting dust and destined for retirement.  Maybe one more round of Wii Bowling?

On the iPad I was fiddling around with Vinylize Me.

The Camelot Unchained Kickstarter had kicked off with a steep $2 million goal.  With only three days left to go the campaign was $400K short.  Not sure if Mark Jacobs’ dire vision of the future of F2P helped or hurt.

Meanwhile, Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign over the $2 million mark, having doubled its $1 million initial goal.

LOTRO turned 6 years old and I was wondering what lay it its future.

World of Tanks hit 2 years and I was pondering tank crew skills and finally driving the KV-4 along with some other new tanks.

Age of Empires II – HD Edition launched on Steam.

I took another run at Need for Speed: World, which had added achievements.

In Rift, I was wondering why the Storm Legion expansion just wasn’t grabbing me.  I tried to press on.  Meanwhile, the instance group spent evenings one person short trying to find something to do.

The Burn Jita 2 event kicked off.  People didn’t seem to be paying much attention to it before it started, but it got extended and ended up bagging 573 billion ISK worth of ships.

CCP launched its EVE Online timeline as part of its prep for the 10th anniversary of the game.  They’ve since thrown all of that away.  But the Dev Blog about it is still there.

I also had items from the mail bag about Darkfall: Unholy Wars, MegaWars IV, and World of Tanks Blitz.

And it was kind of a quiet April Fools at Blizzard.

Ten Years Ago

I made up something for April Fool’s Day, SOE’s Graphite Realms!  I thought it was amusing.

Homstar Runner was getting a game on the Wii.

Lord of the Rings Online celebrated a year of being live.  Book 13 introduced, among other things, fishing.  And my video problems with the game proved to be a bad video card, so I was actually able to get into the game.

Computer Gaming World/Games For Windows magazine ceased publishing as part of the ongoing demise of print media.

In EVE Online I made the big move from Caldari to Amarr space.  I also began producing Badger transports for fun and profit.  CCP introduced the whole Council of Stellar Management thing, which I dubbed The Galactic Student Council.  My opinion on it hasn’t changed much since.

I also managed to get my hauling rigged Mammoth blown up in low sec space, which got me thinking at the recent profusion of those new heavy interdictors.

Meanwhile in World of Warcraft one million people in China logged into the game at the same time.  There is still no report on what would happen if they all pressed the space bar at the same time.  While that was going on, the instance group finished up the Slave Pens and the Underbog and began the long struggle with the Mana Tombs.

I was looking around for Tetris on the Nintendo DS.  You would think that would be easy, right?

And then it was Tipa’s turn to bang the EverQuest nostalgia drum, so I joined in yet again.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2018 is Mostly Just World of Warcraft
  2. April Fools at Blizzard 2017 – Not Much to Talk About
  3. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  4. WoW Dance Battle System!
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2016
  6. April Fools at Blizzard – 2015
  7. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  8. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  9. April Fools at Blizzard – 2010
  10. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  11. Into the Abyss and Our Triglavian Future
  12. April Fools at Blizzard – 2014

Search Terms of the Month

do people still play everquest in 2018?
[You would be surprised]

palkia and dialga memes
[probably a thing]

daybreak games news april 24 2018
[According to Daybreak, there was no news that day]

“columbus nova” “daybreak”
[That’s not news!]

game with large armored “white tiger” creature
[Rift maybe?]

EVE Online

I watch some of EVE Fanfest live, and more of it as videos recorded while I was still sleeping.  Some big news out of Iceland this year.  But we’re in the gap between hopes and reality now.

In the game the deployment in the north carried on.  With Pandemic Horde gone the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition in Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein seemed to struggle with how to face an every growing guerilla war brewing in their space.  Some interesting defections occurred when they decided to just not fight us.  Now there is talk of GotG hiring mercenaries to fight us.  Stay tuned.

Basically, EVE Online ate up most of my gaming time this month.  I even tried out the abyssal pocket content on the test server just to see what that was about.

Minecraft

I have been pottering around in Minecraft.  It remains a good game to play when you want to do something while listening to an audio book or serious podcast.  I completed the long rail line to from the northern mansion and have just been tinkering around with other projects I’ve left around.  I need to do a couple of posts about our server.

Pokemon Go

I remain at level 32, but I have been doing some of the research tasks.  As I noted earlier in the month, those are a nice bit of structure to keep people playing.  I have ended up collecting a bunch of new Pokemon along the way.

My current state of affairs:

  • Level: 32 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 312 (+18) caught, 342 (+7) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it remains elusive
  • Current buddy: Grovyle

Rift

I kept on with Rift Prime this month, but did not spend as much time there as I planned.  EVE Online, as noted above, ate up most of my gaming time.  Still, I plan to carry on for another month at least, so I will go use some of my Rift funny money to buy another 30 Day ticket.

Shroud of the Avatar

After a weekend of focusing on this I haven’t really been back.  Like I said, space battles called.  I do want to continue with it some, or so I tell myself, but since it isn’t a subscription it sort of falls back in the queue most nights.  Even Minecraft has a monthly server hosting fee.

World of Warcraft

I petered out on Azeroth for the most part last month, so I let my subscription lapse in April, and that was that.  I did get an invite to the Battle for Azeroth beta, but like the alpha, I have no real interest in spoiling the content before it goes live.  I will be back when the pre-expansion events start to hit.

Coming Up

We’ll all be watching Daybreak in May to see what else might bubble up now that they’ve stirred the pot enough to get everybody staring at them.  We’re all waiting on the current rumor that Daybreak owns Standing Stone Games via Jason Epstein’s cat or some such.

On the internet spaceships front it will be a big month for EVE Online.  The list of items include:

  • 15 year anniversary events and player gifts
  • Operation: Conscious Interruption event
  • The Into the Abyss expansion
  • The death of the the old API and the 3rd party app holocaust
  • The run to grab null sec stations before they become faction citadels
  • CSM elections, or at least a date for them

And then there is the ongoing deployment in the north to keep GotG from being able to do their day to day ratting and mining.  They are hiring Black Legion to fight us and there is a rumor that MOA is going to pull back from Fade and Pure Blind altogether, though not until the June 5th null sec station conversion, so we’ll see how that plays out.

There is a huge update for Minecraft in the offing that will introduce a lot of new sea life.  I’d be happy to see that in May.

The Spring Season of Fantasy Movie League will wrap up this month, and the season ending on the Memorial Day weekend holiday and the launch of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Other than that, carrying on with whatever else it is I play these days.

No Trove of Mounts for You Today!

I have not been playing as much Rift Prime this month as I might have.  Other things have been taking up my game time like the fun in the north in EVE Online.

Still, being the completionist nut that I am, I have been logging in just about every day to collect my daily reward, mostly because on the 21st day you get a mount.  This morning was day 21… I missed a day somewhere… so I logged on to get my mount.  Damn straight!

The last box is the best box

I clicked on the claim button and… nothing happened.  Which was odd, because there is usually something that comes up in the chat window and the ability to claim goes away.  So I clicked it again and still nothing.  On the third click I noticed that an error was coming up in small red text above the rewards window indicating that my inventory was full.

Trying not to notice the alignment…

Well, dopey me, my bags were full, no wonder I couldn’t collected the mount.

Only my bags were not full.  There was ample space in my bags.  So I started tinkering around with inventory, selling a couple of items to see if maybe a little more space would help.  I checked my bank, which also had free space, just in case that somehow counted.  I looked at the mounts tab to see if there was some restriction there.  I dismounted from my own mount, just in case there was some flag that wouldn’t let you collect a mount if you were mounted.  Stranger things have happened.

But nothing helped.  Meanwhile the game, as it is wont to do, was continuing the remind me that I had a daily reward to collect, blinking a button and putting a special little icon up on the mini-map.

Yes, I know…

So I went to Google to see if this was a known issue, but there was nothing related.  So I headed to the forums.  At the top of the bug reports section I found somebody saying that they were having the same issue.  There is always a moment of relief that it isn’t just me having a problem.  A response to the report was given, consisting of a link to a post in the Rift Prime Vigil General Discussion forum.  There I found that the ability to claim the trove of mounts had been turned off.

DAILY CALENDAR: TROVE OF MOUNTS IS TEMPORARILY DISABLED

The Daily Calendar reward “Trove of Mounts” has a bad loot table and has been temporarily disabled.

The Trove will be fixed and unlocked in the next patch. No CS ticket is needed.

The box was giving out duplicate mounts (something it should NOT do) or no mounts at all. Any player that managed to collect their Trove in the hour it was available will be given a replacement Trove of Mounts after the patch goes out. Again, no CS ticket is needed.

Our apologies – I know many of you were very much looking forward to your next mount

So the ability to claim was… well, it wasn’t really turned off.  I guess making the test for inventory space always return that it was full was the most expedient way to disable the feature, but it is a bit of a pisser to spend 30 minutes screwing around trying to figure out the issue, when the problem is that I might not get a mount, or maybe a dupe.

Anyway, we’ll see if they can fix this before the month is out.  But the UI keeps reminding me that I have a reward to collect.

Catching Up in Stonefield

After my side experiment with an alt I went back to my cleric main and returned to Stonefield, the zone that is, in fact, mostly stone and fields.  Aptly named indeed.

Stonefield

However, just because Trion had adjusted the quest experience didn’t mean that I was automatically back on track.  I was still easily a level behind and had to spend a bit of time back tracking to make sure I hadn’t missed any quests as well as running the four daily quests in Granite Falls until I had gotten myself back into the sweet spot.

Despite some disdain I have heard for Stonefield, I still like it.  It isn’t up to the standard set by Freemarch, and it does seem to have been named quite literally, being made up of a lot of stone with some fields scattered about, but it has its moments.  There are some good quest lines to follow and a bit or irony.

For example, if you watch the loading screens, you might see this message go by.

Also applicable to Silicon Valley

I happened to see that one just in time to get to the point in a quest chain where the Defiants decide to summon a titan with their technology.

Just because we can summon a titan…

Of course, nobody asked the titan’s opinion on all of this and he runs amok and eventually you have to lure him back and slay him, which is a bit of a challenge as he is elite and hits like a truck.  And if you’re a level low it is even more fun.  So kiting him around was the order of the day, something doable by my cleric with his healing familiar to keep him alive.

Turning to finish him off

I’ve run through the zone, made it up to level 26, and have gotten a chunk of the achievements from around the place.

Achievement for stealing from NPCs

And the exploration achievement I got much sooner than I expected.  No need to find that corner I missed.

Exploration done

But I remain stuck on one key achievement that I want, which is for finishing up quests.  The achievement is triggered when you complete 73 quests and I am five shy of that number.  I know it is doable… or was doable… because I did it before, back in 2012.

Quest count…

I just have to find those five missing quests.

Quests seem to come in three flavors in Rift; those handed out by NPCs, carnage quests you get for killing one of a mob type, and quests from drops.  Each has their own problem.

NPC areas and their quest givers can be overrun by various rift creature manifestations, so you might missed them.  For carnage quests, you have to find and kill one of the creatures, and some of the quests are for killing one creature alone.  And quests from drops are always problematic because you might not get the drop.

We shall see.  I don’t want to move on until I have that achievement.  The completionist in me demands it.  But I have the lead-in quests for Scarlet Gorge already as well.  That post from 2012 I linked above actually has a couple of hints, so I have something to run down.  And I’ll kill some stuff along the way, just to see if I get a quest drop.

Do you have a quest drop for me?

I also have to get that squirrel achievement. Can’t leave without that.

Meanwhile, I carry on.  I remain invested enough to grapple with the next zone.

I also saw that I was getting close to the end of my 30 days of patron access, necessary for Rift Prime, so I logged into Rift to buy another 30 days with my pile of otherwise unused gems.  I found that, since I was still a patron I got a bit of a discount on my next 30 days.

How much for 30 days?

Normally it is 2,400 gems, but since I was still active it was only 2,160.  Nice.

I realize I haven’t playing as diligently as some.  There are people who hit level 50 in the first week or two who are now demanding that Trion unlock the next thing, which Trion has been cagey about when that might occur.  But I am not so far behind as to be alone.  I still run into enough people to make running around and closing rifts and such a viable activity.

March in Review

The Site

Probably the most annoying thing for me has been the unreliability of the blog roll feed side bar widget.  It has been broken more often this past month than any previous time I can recall.  There are times when it just fails to get the RSS feed and shows an error, but this time around there were problems with Pinboard which had some internal issues that caused it to fail to generate the RSS feed at all and, then, when that was fixed, remained stubbornly resistant to tagging posts based on which Feedly feed they came from, which meant the RSS feeds were there but were not getting new items.

This is what I get for using a Rube Goldberg setup that requires at least four services to work correctly and consistently. (And it isn’t always clear which one is to blame.  Sometimes WP.com just times out getting the feed.)

It got to a point where I added a status widget to comment on what was up.  I don’t know if anybody actually noticed that.  The side bar of the blog isn’t a very often used feature.  I can see that some people click on items from the feed when it is working.  However, I suspect I am the biggest user of the feature. (My clicks don’t get counted in my own stats.)

Meanwhile, WP.com has given me a new metric so I am going to use it quarterly to give myself some new data point to post about.

TAGN – Q1 2018

Of course, because I took that screen shot for this post before it went live, this post isn’t counted.  Add one more post and another 2,300 words or so and you’ll be set. (That puts my average words per post back above 1,000.)  Or maybe I’ll update that screen shot after this goes live.  It takes a day for it to update though, and I’ll probably forget by then.

Anyway, I seem to be on track for 336 posts and 330K words this year.

One Year Ago

EverQuest turned eighteen.  Now an adult, it still lives in Daybreak’s basement and grumbles about how it used to be the center of attention before all these younger siblings showed up.

Blizzard officially announced that StarCraft, even older than EverQuest, was getting a remaster.  We suspected it was going to happen, but it was nice to get the official word.

Flying was unleashed in the Broken Isles with the Tomb of Sargeras update to WoW Legion.

The Nintendo Switch launched.  But I was still playing Pokemon Sun on my 3DS XL, binging on the Alola Pokedex.  Then I had to figure out where the National Pokedex was.  It turns out it is in Pokemon Bank.  I was hoping for a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Disney shut down Club Penguin, hoping to force players onto their new mobile app, Club Penguin Island.  Mobile is always better, right?

In Minecraft, the long road to the forest mansion I found was nearly done.

In EVE Online I took a trip out to Oasa and back.

We got the YC119.3 update that nerfed Rorqual mining a bit and gave us warp bubble decay among other things.  Music was included.  A follow on patch let us see our estimated space wealth.

Blog Banter #80 was on the topic of the CSM, something about which I has opinions!  It was a timely topic as the voting for CSM12 was just kicking off.  In the mean time Gevlon declared that CCP was picking winners… though not CSM winners I guess.

We had a dev blog about refineries coming to New Eden.  Moon mining was going to change and it seemed like the end of the POS was coming at last.  There was also an announcement about changing PLEX, breaking it up into 500 pieces and replacing Aurum with PLEX.  But not that free Aurum they gave you, though they relented on that after some outcry.

I was nostalgic for old ship models in New Eden and talking about the tension between grouping and solo again.

And, finally, we had to say good-bye to our cat Oscar after 17 years.

Five Years Ago

Dave Georgeson of SOE said MMOs should never die. A noble sentiment at the time, it rang a bit hollow just a year and five SOE MMO closure announcements later.  Business is business.

I got a seven day pass to Azeroth from Blizzard.  It was nice.  I had some fun, but I wasn’t ready to go back full time yet.

Meanwhile, Blizzard was saying they were blindsided by the popularity of the auction house in Diablo III.  They were nearly a year late on that revelation.

On a similar theme, EA launched a new version of SimCity, pretty much ignoring the obvious expectations the franchise came with.  I could only wonder if they learned anything from their efforts.

The instance group was doing some Rift content as a four player group.  This was the time of our long hiatus, though we got a full group now and again.  And when it was just the three of us, we ended up playing Neverwinter Nights 2 instead.

In EVE Online we were chasing around Deklein, flying the Tech Fleet doctrine, and bagging a carrier or two.

EON Magazine was closing its doors, marking the end of an era in EVE Online.

EverQuest hit its 14 year anniversary, and there was some talk about the camera view’s influence on the game’s popularity.

I was still playing World of Tanks and had hit the 2,000 battle mark.  I was out there with the KV-3 and the ARL 44.

I finished up all the things in Wayfaerer Foothills, which sort of ended my time in Guild Wars 2.

Then there was the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, which seemed more marketing tool than funding effort, and which hit its number in 11 days.  Still, Lord British felt the need to stir the pot by declaring most game designers suck… and are lazy… and are not as good as him.  Then he claimed he was taken out of context and not just saying things for cheap publicity.  As the month closed, his Kickstarter was wrapping up, but Camelot Unchained was coming.

It was announced that Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was getting updated to run on modern machines with better graphics.  That set me on five other older games that I wished would get a similar revamp, which I think was more useful than just declaring that game developers need to innovate.

Finally, I was looking for input on some actual, real world things.

Ten Years Ago

I was again ruminating about the whole “Why So Much Fantasy in MMORPGs?” thing, this time on the shores of chaos.

We started to see the end of the “Brent hand picks the news” era over at VirginWorlds.  The reign of myself and CrazyKinux was near to an end.

I got a Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond for my birthday!  Then a copy of Pokemon Pearl showed up as well to complete the set.  On Friday’s I was looking for a balloon.

EverQuest celebrated its 9th anniversary.  A very nice time line print of the game was posted over at the EQ Dev blog to celebrate, along with a video.

In Lord of the Rings Online some sites were speculating about future expansions.  And then Turbine announced The Mines of Moria Meanwhile, I was trying to give out some founder’s referrals.  I never gave them all out and, at this point, I don’t think they are a thing anymore.

In World of Warcraftpatch 2.4 was the latest end-of-the-world panic.  I was trying out Alterac Valley trying to get a mount, not reading that I needed to get exalted reputation to buy it.  I was also racing against a boat.  Meanwhile the instance group made it to Shattrath and then hit the Blood Furnace while my wife and her friends were drinking apple-tinis.

In EVE Online I learned that there was a cap of fifty days on production lines.  I was also trying to break up with an R&D agent and fitting out a new Drake.  We got a “log off” button with the Trinity 1.1 patch.

Official forums were the talk again for a bit, as Marc Jacobs said he wasn’t going to have them for Warhammer Online.  No, the Warhammer Herald (to be created in the image of the Camelot Herald) was going to be enough.  Well, we know how that worked out.

It was announced that SOE would be moved in the Sony organization from reporting up through Sony Pictures to reporting in through the PlayStation organization.  There was also the EQ2Flames drama where the forum was uninvited from all future participation in SOE events, at which point the site went all out to burn any remaining bridges with SOE. (From VirginWorlds Podcast #109)

And, finally, ten years ago Gary Gygax left us.  We still miss him because we still feel his influence every day.

Twenty Years Ago

StarCraft hit the shelves 20 years ago today.  As I recall we all went to Fry’s at lunch to buy a copy the day it came out.  You can buy a remastered copy from Blizzard if you want, or download the original for free.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  7. Rift Prime Time
  8. The Road to CSM13
  9. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  10. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  11. Spring Movie League – Wrinkle in the Mix
  12. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More

Search Terms of the Month

top subscription based mmo titles
[Pretty much WoW and FFXIV at this point]

bufn jita
[bufn it good]

portable hole wallpaper
[I have a problem visualizing that]

everquest next landmark emulator
[Oh dear no]

delta force 2 fps
[Maybe you need to upgrade your hardware?]

project gorgon meme
[I am not sure it is popular enough for that]

EVE Online

I was in for some of Burn Jita early in the month and went on ops when I could, however it has been a busy month around our house and the time slot for normal ops, which often require setting aside a couple of hours even for a “quick” op, has kept me from being online much during the back half of March.  Other than that there has been the somewhat tepid start of the run up to the CSM13 election.  I’m not sure CCP thought through the results of the changes they implemented.  It feels like they slowed everything down too much.  You can’t really cover a campaign very well until there is an official list of candidates.

Minecraft

I have logged in a bit now and again.  Minecraft remains excellent for times when I want to listen to a podcast or audio book that requires more mental attention that your typical MMORPG leaves free.  Mining and building in Minecraft leaves enough bandwidth for me to listen to Planet Money or the Arms Control Wonk podcast and not loose track of what is going on.  So work on the long overland rail line to the norther forest mansion continued.  In fact, it is almost done.

Pokemon Go

And, speaking of games that don’t take a lot of mental bandwidth, I managed to get to level 32 in Pokemon Go largely through my persistence in playing for at least enough every day to catch at least one Pokemon and visit at least one Pokestop, giving me the daily and weekly bonus xp.

My current state of affairs:

  • Level: 32 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 294 (+10) caught, 335 (+12) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it remains elusive
  • Current buddy: Pupitar; needs four candies to evolve, but I only get one every 5km

Rift

With Rift Prime I was back into “not Azeroth” again.  And it has been pretty good.  It wasn’t the overwhelming nostalgia wave that hanging around in front of Qeynos killing snakes and kobolds with a mass of other people can bring on… though it is really in Blackburrow or West Karana that I start hitting nostalgia overload… but it was, and remains, good.  As I have said way too many times, the zone Freemarch zone design is very good.

Of course, there have been problems with the server.  And Freemarch is like the Deadmines in WoW, and early slice of good design after which the content can vary wildly in quality.  But for the moment I am on board with it for another month.

World of Warcraft

With the coming of Rift Prime and a busy month something had to give.  Play time in Azeroth was way down.  I did log in just enough to keep progress going on unlocking the last two allied races… I am very close on both… but otherwise I haven’t done much since Darkmoon Faire.  The next Darkmoon Faire will likely seal the deal for my allied race unlocks, at which point it might be time to set WoW aside to wait for the coming Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion events to kick off at some point this summer.

Other Games

I did load up Shroud of the Avatar now that it has officially released, and have been giving it a bit of a test drive.  It is kind of interesting in sort of a built-from-scratch new-yet-retro awkward sort of way.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is April Fools… but it is also Easter.  Will Blizz be up to its usual hi-jinks over a holiday weekend?

We will see if the new quest mechanics in Pokemon Go lead to more play… and more pay… for the game.

For EVE Online Fanfest is coming up on the 12th.  We will see if CCP has anything new to announce.  One thing we should get is the candidate list for the CSM13 election.  And maybe a date for that as well?  Am I asking too much?

At some point in the coming week my 30 days of Patron status is going to expire and I will have to decide if I carry on with Rift Prime or not.

I’ve put in an hour or so into Shroud of the Avatar, but I feel like I could spend more time with it, that it would be worth the effort.  We’ll see if I find the time and inclination.

I might also finish up that rail line in Minecraft.

Rift Prime Data Points

The dev update notes from Trion this week indicate that Rift Prime is pretty popular.

With Tiger mount his time is spent, lagging in that zone event

The update itself was to address concerns about lag people have been experiencing on the Rift Prime server during zone events.  In explaining the plan they dropped a few interesting facts that speak to the popularity of Rift Prime:

  • This may come as a surprise: Some of the zone events on Prime are bigger than even the biggest, record setting events RIFT had during its beta and original launch.
  • Since then, souls and abilities have gotten more numerous, more complicated, and more resource intensive, primarily in their use of server CPU.
  • Even with the newer hardware that the Prime cluster is running on (it’s a beast – the newest in the company), we’ve all experienced that at times it is not always able to keep up with the mass of data.
  • The reason this may affect you even when you’re personally not in a big zone event is because large numbers of people sharing your “player service” are.

So Rift Prime has seen the largest zone events ever during the life of the game.  I think this pretty much sells the idea that such servers are popular.  You can argue about whether the nostalgia factor is the draw or if it is just the idea of starting again on a fresh server where everybody is level one is what brings people to them, but this reaffirms the popularity of such servers overall.

This also corrects my own pet theory, that Trion wasn’t really sold on the idea of Rift Prime and so used whatever hardware they had to hand to stand it up.  Instead we’re apparently playing on the biggest, baddest hardware that Trion has.  Nice to know.

Finally, it is interesting to me at least that abilities that were added or updated after Rift’s early peak have come back to haunt the game with the boost in popularity it has achieved with Rift Prime.   A quote on that:

However, nothing on Live compares to the crazy things that a couple of abilities were doing on Prime. (We’re looking at YOU, Elemental Barrage and Wrathful Exuberance!)

And so it goes.