Category Archives: Valheim

What I Have Played so far in 2021

2021 is past the half way mark now and, as usual, the months seem to have slipped by.  But it did seem like a good time to maybe stop and look at what video games I played in the first six months of the year.  Thanks to ManicTime I have a handy list to work with.

Unfortunately, ManicTime can only tell me what I have played.  It cannot make my list longer or more interesting.  Still, let’s see where I spent my play time budget.

  1. Valheim – 40.18%
  2. WoW Classic – 39.50%
  3. EVE Online – 17.89%
  4. War in the Pacific – 0.97%
  5. Burning Crusade Classic Beta – 0.43%
  6. World of Warcraft – 0.39%
  7. Runes of Magic – 0.31%
  8. MMO Tycoon 2 – 0.24%
  9. LOTRO – 0.09%

Not even an even ten games, though these are just games on my PC.  We can add Pokemon Go if I need the round number I suppose, but I don’t have times for that, so we’ll skip it.  Anyway, looking at that list we have:

  • Valheim

Proof that I do play new games now and again.  It came out of nowhere in February and distracted the instance group from WoW Classic for more than two months.  It is actually in second place now in my Steam library based on hours played, just barely ahead of RimWorld and out in front of Age of Empires II and War Thunder, but still quite a ways behind Civilization V.

  • WoW Classic

The title I expected to be in first place, though it isn’t far behind Valheim.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while it making the list is probably no surprise to you

  • EVE Online

I am sure it is a sign of the current state of World War Bee that my time spent in New Eden is less than half of the time played in either of the first two titles.  Still, it is in the top three that together make up about 97.5% of my PC gaming time so far this year.  I do wonder sometimes if I should give EVE a multiplier for play time because there is no other game I spend so much time playing while tabbed out in a browser looking something up, and ManicTime only counts the time when the game has focus.  Then again, I do also sit docked in a hangar doing nothing a good chunk of time too.

  • War in the Pacific

My apparent attempt to prove that I no longer have the patience to get into a complicated war game title.  22 year old me would have managed it.  Even 35 year old me might have made it.  But far side of 50s me isn’t getting there it seems.  I blame the tiny text and the lack of a zoom feature.  And even as a failed experiment it makes it into 4th spot, so I tried!

  • Burning Crusade Classic Beta

You can argue that this ought to be under WoW Classic, but it had its own executable and was tracked on its own line.  Plus, given how little time I spent in beta, about which I have posted, there is a statement on how little I played anything below this.

  • World of Warcraft

Oh retail WoW, I was so into your Shadowlands expansion right up until I got my first character to level cap and decided I didn’t want to do dailies and grind anima or whatever it is.  I was seriously excited about some of the zones.  I’ll probably come back next year when the catch up mechanics kick in and make everybody who did it the hard way feel like a schmuck.  I mean, unless you enjoyed the journey.  I don’t want to take that away from you.  Anyway, my time spent here is mostly the monthly Darkmoon Faire login… and I even missed a month of that.

  • Runes of Magic

This isn’t a bad game, and it even works on my big monitor.  It suffers from the fact that there are just half a dozen other games at least that I would rather play.  I got hooked up into it for its anniversary for a bit.  Actually, it is probably for the best I didn’t carry on, because I never got as far as having to rent bag space or the dreaded $10 horse, which would have made me pissy about them having converted my account somehow causing me to lose all my diamonds.  Maybe it is a bad game.

  • MMO Tycoon 2

A single player game?  Whaaaaa?  Purchased this on a bit of a whim at the end of last month.  It seemed like it might be a bit of a laugh.  How meta, the one game on my list that has no MMO characteristics is about simulating the creation of an MMO!  Me so crazy!

  • Lord of the Rings Online

Grumble, grumble, monitor size and UI scaling.  I do log into the game once in a while, though I suspect if I went back into ManicTime and added up the time spent in the launcher patching and added that to the list, it would push LOTRO down another position.  Some day SSG will get around to supporting large screens.

What an entirely predictable list!

The good news, I suppose, is that I have picked up a couple items on Steam so the list ought to be a bit deeper before year’s end.  Everything won’t be “the siege of 1DQ carries on” and “the instance group rides again!”

June in Review

The Site

After a bit of a traffic boom in mid to late May, something I mentioned in the May review, search traffic fell off quite a bit on June 1st.

Peak Search Impressions in May

Google is the main variable in my traffic.  Without that my daily visitors and page views are pretty flat.  The same few people show up here regularly, so if you’re one of those… Hi!

Anyway, I am always a bit curious as to what attracts Google results, and for the back half of May my position in Google search was related heavily the Dire Maul summoning stone.  Google gives you a nice little report about the last 28 days if you know where to find it in their search console stuff.

When you need that summoning stone

Nice positioning too.  I am the top result for most of those search terms.

Bing also has a search console that tells you about your traffic, and I likewise saw a spike from Bing for “Dire Maul summoning stone.”  However, traffic from Bing is approximately 5% of the Google traffic, so not as big of an impact on my stats.  Still, some traffic.

So my guess is that once the Dark Portal was open and we were all rushing into Hellfire Peninsula, the need to summon people to Dire Maul fell off and my search traffic went with it.

Here at the end of June “Dire Maul Summoning Stone” is still my top search term, but it is just not as popular.  “Jintha’alor Altar” is still there in 4th spot with about the same amount of traffic.  But “How to find a Warm Ocean in Minecraft” is on the list now as are two variations of “EVE Online cloak stabilization,” which relates to the cloaky camping nerfs CCP introduced this month.

One Year Ago

My daughter graduated from high school.  It was a pandemic graduation, but we made do.

My poll about voice chat indicated that Discord now rules that roost.

Pokemon Go gave us remote raid passes since we all had to stay home.

I was giving Minecraft Dungeons a try.  I finished the main story fairly quickly and found the game to be light and fun, but not very deep or replayable.  Other reviews were even less charitable.

Daybreak was still having problems with their Aradune progression server.

We were getting down to the final days of the Battle for Azeroth expansion in World of Warcraft and I was wondering how it would rank in the pantheon of expansions and how much the previous expansion plays into how people feel about the current or next expansion.

WoW Classic was still going strong enough that Blizz had to turn layering back on for several realms.  There was also the Summer Bowl and the campaign against bots.

The instance group was still working on Zul’Farrak, failing the stairs when Sergeant Bly and his crew died.  Then, the next time, Bly and his crew survived, but disappeared as we looted the field.

My hunter became my first character to hit level 50 in WoW Classic.

In EVE Online I was reminding people about why CCP gave Upwell structures asset safety… because they took it away with the Forsaken Fortress update.  Another case of people foolishly believing in company promises.  So we went out and shot our own abandoned state structures in Delve just to keep other groups from coming along and doing it.

Meanwhile, the CCP mineral starvation plan was driving mineral prices to an all time high.

We did, however, get new ships for the EDENCOM faction as part of the Triglavian invasion event as well as a Project Discovery update that moved its focus onto the coronavirus.  And we got character log off!  People had only been asking for that since forever.

The CSM15 elections kicked off, with the results being announced by mid-month.

Also a little something about how opaque the game UI can be.

Actually in space the GEF was still up north fighting over various objectives.  But that all came to a screeching halt when we we found out that most of null sec was planning to gang up against us and invade.  They denied it, but then the evidence was found.  Our deployment up north ended and we began consolidating the empire into our core space, pulling down the last Keepstar in Cloud Ring before the month was out.  World War Bee was coming.

We were playing some Minecraft and seeing how villages had changed.

I was getting promotions for an Atari branded online casino complete with its own crypto-currency.  I guess, as a brand, Atari still has some value.

Five Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

I had to get out my Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD.

Team Fortress 2 went free to play.  Begin the hat-based economy!

I was wondering if people were picking on Lord British.  This was before he started talking about his “ultimate RPG” and made picking on him a very entertaining sport.

We were not playing WoW, but guild accounts were being hacked.  And we were not even among those 600K WoW players that supposedly went to Rift.

LOTRO announced the Rise of Isengard expansion and offered up a exp boosting item for pre-orders.

I was wondering what launch conditions would be like for SWTOR.  Of course, I sort of figured it might launch before mid-December.

LEGO Universe announced it was going free to play.  At our house, my daughter enjoyed it for a bit, but eventually dropped it for Animal Jam.

CCP began a slow and deliberate campaign of alternating between shooting itself in the foot and sticking said foot in its mouth, all in the name of the Incarna expansion.  And my sentry drones were still boring.  And then LulzSec brought them down.  At least they had finally made it much easier to find an agent in the game.

SOE announced a new version of Station Access, its “all games for one low monthly price.”  Called SOE All Access, which had a price of $19.95 a month.  This was a welcome drop from the previous $29.99 a month price.

However, by this point, SOE had dropped The Matrix Online and had just announced they were killing Star Wars Galaxies, so there were certainly fewer games to play.  Of course, that was also back when they had some games that were not free to play already.

At least SOE was up and running after the PSN/SOE outage.  A pity they fumbled the marketing opportunities offered by their make good plan.

The instance group had finally gotten out of the damn starter zone in EverQuest II Extended, but the game still wasn’t sitting well.

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, the Ruins of Kunark expansion was opened up and then “finished” in short order.

And finally, on June 29, 2010 I created a Reddit account so I could reply to something on /r/eve.  Apparently I have yet to learn my lesson on that front.

Fifteen Years Ago

Sonic the Hedgehog turned 15, which I guess means it is 30 now.  Maybe I shouldn’t do call backs to birthdays.

Bill Gates announced that he was planning to relinquish his remaining full time positions at Microsoft in order to focus on his foundation.  Though Steve “Uncle Fester” Ballmer had been CEO since 2000, Gates was still Chief Software Architect and Chief Research & Strategy Officer (along with being chairman of the board).  More recently he’s been accused of trying to microchip us via vaccines and is in the midst of a divorce.

EverQuest II got the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack, the last such pack until 2015’s Rum Cellar.

Nintendo finally shipped the Nintendo DS Lite in Europe, though $3.2 million worth of them went missing en route from China.

Half-Life 2: Episode One was released as Valve briefly tried to pay attention to the core of their biggest franchise at the time.  Still waiting for Episode Three.

Titan Quest, one of the great post-Diablo II ARPGs launched.  It even got a remaster way before Diablo II.

Twenty Years Ago

Anarchy Online launched in what became one of the more tragic opening day break downs in early MMO history.  I mean, they were always bad back then, but AO had to introduce a free tial program, which eventually became a free to play option, to recover, making it one of the early free to play conversions.  The game recovered and carries on to this day, but it was a shaky start.

WWII Online launched as well and was also another troubled title.  And yet somehow it still survives to this day.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  3. New Eden and the Death of the Subscription Model
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Robbing Some Space Banks
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. EverQuest Launches the Mischief and Thornblade Servers
  8. CCP Rushes Warp Core Stabilizer and Interdiction Nullification Changes into EVE Online
  9. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  10. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  11. Where Does WoW Classic End?
  12. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend

Search Terms of the Month

dcuo pay for skill points
[I think that is more an EVE Online thing]

eve online female characters
[They’re mostly men]

ancient winter poncho
[No Ponchos!]

everquest 2 pvp server 2021
[Get there fast before it closes]

Game Time from ManicTime

This month ManicTime shows a pretty solid trend in my play time.

  • WoW Classic – 89.21%
  • EVE Online – 9.07%
  • MMO Tycoon 2 – 1.41%
  • Valheim – 0.19%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.12%

The launch of Burning Crusade Classic was clearly the focus of my play time in June.

EVE Online

Stalemate in the war, CCP’s ongoing economic starvation plan, the end of Covid restrictions, and the coming of summer have conspired to make New Eden a bit quiet.  Well, quiet save for the bits of the game where people are angry.  There was some desultory shooting of the monument in Jita at one point of packs and pop-ups, but that seemed to fade pretty quickly.  There wasn’t enough anger to sustain it, which means CCP successfully pushed monetization forward another step or tow.

MMORPG Tycoon 2

A Steam purchase, though not because it was on sale.  I saw Lum tweeting about it last weekend and asked if you could play with business models and monetization.  He said you could, so I grabbed a copy.  It is early access, but seems pretty solid so far.  At some point I will write a post about it and my first game, Attractive Nuisance.

Pokemon Go

I am a bit concerned about how much Niantic is planning to pull back from the changes put into the game during Covid.  Specifically, how close you need to be to a gym or Pokestop to interact with it is going to get cut way back, which seems a bit dumb.  It isn’t like you can spin one from a mile away, the change is a matter of yards/meters, but for a few gyms it means the difference from parking my car close by to get in or having to get out and walk across some grass.  Not a huge hassle, but enough to make it less likely that I will bother at all.

I did see a level 50 at last.  The highest person on my friend’s list is level 44 and they seem to be running out of steam.  But I was in a raid last weekend and saw this person:

Level 50 among us

I hadn’t even seen the requirements for levels 49 and 50 yet, as Niantic held them back when the new levels were unlocked.  But I guess they are in now.  So that person is starting to accumulate xp for the next level cap increase I guess.  Meanwhile I am not even half way to 42 yet.

Level: 41 (47.5% of the way to 42 in xp, 3 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 646 (+3) caught, 675 (+2) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: I accidentally transferred my Vanillite before I evolved it
Current buddy: Event Slowpoke wit a special evolve

Valheim

I did log in for a bit to check out the latest update and to make a maypole.  Still waiting for a major update before I resume a more active focus on it.

World of Warcraft

Once more my venture into retail WoW was just to run the Darkmoon Faire crafting quests in order to boost those skills up another 5 points.  At some point as the expansion is winding down and everything has been unlocked I will probably come back and finish things up.

WoW Classic

As noted above, the launch of Burning Crusade Classic dominated June for me though, given how much I have played, I certainly haven’t gotten very deep into the expansion.  My highest level character is 62 and is only just into Zangarmarsh.  Meanwhile I am already angry at level 70s with flying mounts swooping down to grab harvest nodes while I am fighting a mob that was blocking me from grabbing it.  Some things never change.

Coming Up

Umm… what is coming up in July?  Vacation?  I know some people are going on vacation.  My wife was at the mall the other day and told me that there wasn’t a piece of luggage to be had at any department store.  But I’m not going anywhere.  We have vacation plans for later in the year when, one hopes, the immediate rush might be over.

Otherwise what do we have?

More Burning Crusade Classic for sure.  Maybe something will happen in the war in New Eden.   A new pair of Legendary servers from LOTRO.  All this and more I suppose.  Maybe I’ll even buy something else at the Steam Summer Sale.

May in Review

The Site

Activity-wise, it was kind of an odd month.  Page views were falling at the end of April and that led to a very weak showing at the beginning of the month.  And then the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch hit and suddenly daily traffic doubled.  You can see from the most viewed posts list that people were interested in things that might help them level up their brand new Draenei or Blood Elf characters.

I also managed to continue on with the post a day record.  That doesn’t seem like a big deal… I this will be post 43 for the month of May… and it probably isn’t, but the way things work out I often end up with a week of multiple posts per day due to timeliness of a topic, then get to the weekend with nothing to hand.  Still, I made it.

The streak continues

I guess my goal now is 500 days in a row, which should happen before the fifteen year anniversary of the blog.  Go me.

One Year Ago

As Blapril came to an end I did a post about my top five most viewed posts over various points during the life of the blog.  After that there was the usual summing up of the event.  I also joined in and did my gamer profile again and did that “have you ever” quiz thing.

Daybreak was changing up the plan for the Rizlona and Aradune progression servers they had planned for EverQuest.  They launched, but not without the usual issues and overcrowding.  They also finally merged the Fippy Darkpaw server into the Vox server after its nine year run as a progression server.

Blizzard revenue and margins were starting to look up and we were getting hints of a Diablo II remaster.  However, BlizzCon 2020 was not going to happen.

The instance group made its first run into Zul’Farrak.

I went out and explored a bit in our old Minecraft world and we started tinkering around in a new world.

CCP was celebrating 17 years of EVE Online.  They also gave us PLEX trading in the companion app for… reasons.  We got the candidate list for the CSM15 election and the Forsaken Fortress update that made Upwell structures easier to kill.  Then there was the MER which showed mineral prices starting the rise and ratting numbers starting to fall.

I correctly predicted Burn Jita was unlikely to happen.  I also was looking to earn some ISK.

Out in space were up north defending structures in a couple places.  That led to the GEF moving to Cloud Ring for some action for fights.  We even got to fight in Notoras, the best system in low sec.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was announced, which sounded great.  It was later delayed.  There was also a promise of more Grand Admiral Thrawn from Timothy Zahn.

The regional groups forming in the US in response to the pandemic were starting to look like some post-US strategic game.

Five Years Ago

Overwatch went live.  Still haven’t played it.

DUST 514 went offline.  Never did play it.

Landmark’s official launch date was announced.  Never did buy it.

There was word about Pokemon Sun & MoonCivilization VIEverQuest II prestige servers, the tribulations of WildStar, and the WoW Legion Beta, all in one bullet points post.

One thing I did end up playing was Stellaris, which launched back in 2016 as well.

In EVE Online I saw my first citadel.  Now they’re everywhere.  There was also a free weekend on Steam that got a lot of accounts created, but which still faced the wall of the new player experience.  There was a Blog Banter about Project Nova and that brief experiment with recurring opportunities that granted skill points. There were also details from the CSMXI election and that whole 85% thing, which did not add up for me.

In space the Casino War was still a thing.  We were huddled up in the back room of the Quafe Warehouse in Saranen plotting ways to strike back and keep the war going.  We threw industrials at sovereignty.  That got us a foothold back in Fade for a bit.

Mostly though it was battles in low sec.  Asher led us out to battle in his Phantasm, we squared off against capitals, blew up some fax machines.  There were battles over structures in Saranen and we managed to anchor an Astrahus to face the citadels arrayed against us.  Lots of shooting, but not much changed.

Oh, and SynCaine joined KarmaFleet.  I even saw him on an op.

Outside of New Eden Blizzard could only talk about MAUs after renouncing discussion of subscription numbers.  Given the whole Nostalrius situation I was wondering what Vanilla WoW really was.  And the Warcraft movie was approaching.

In Minecraft I was planning a rail line and finding a path for it to run.  Aaron’s project of the month was a facility in the nether to make the collection of Ghast tears easier.

I was also momentarily nostalgic for Starsiege: Tribes… or for what I could remember of it.

And in TorilMUD the elves were no longer restricted to the isle of Evermeet until level 20.

Ten Years Ago

May 2011 was the time of the great Sony outage, with the PlayStation Network down for 24 days and Sony Online Entertainment down for 13 days.  It was a communication fiasco from start to finish, with bad updates almost daily.  About all they could do was promise us all goodies for when they finally came back up.

CCP was starting the build up to the Incarna fiasco with the introduction of Aurum.

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, there was agitation to vote NO on unlocking the Kunark expansion.  Such agitation shows up with every unlock vote.  But no vote failed until Gates of Discord came along.

The instance group was in EverQuest II… when it was up… and trying to get the hell out of the starter area.  We managed it, but it took a lot more time than I would have thought.  We started in on some dungeons and got ourselves a guild hall.

World of Warcraft subscriptions started to decline, down to 11.4 million (those were the days!) while Trion started offering free server transfers in Rift.

My daughter was asking me about Dungeons & Dragons.  There was a thread going around about making better MMO players.  There were clearly some bad players about.

And finally, as hot as things seemed to be around here, there was no rapture.  You just couldn’t buy a break that month.

Fifteen Years Ago

World of Warcraft lead designer Rob Pardo was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2006.

The Wii “steals the show” when it comes to the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.  Despite a drop in attendees, there are long lines to try out Nintendo’s new console.  This was the last E3 before the “new format” of 2007 and 2008.

The ESRB changed the rating for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion from “Teen” to “Mature” in part due to topless female art assets in the game that could be accessed by mods.  Former California Assemblyman Leland Yee (later Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate number 19629-111) took time out of his organized crime activities to slam the ESRB for missing these hidden art assets.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Robbing Some Space Banks
  3. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  4. Bloodmyst Isle – The Worst Zone in WoW
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. CCP Rushes Warp Core Stabilizer and Interdiction Nullification Changes into EVE Online
  7. Mischief is Coming to EverQuest
  8. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  9. Embracing the Iron Age in Valheim
  10. CCP Changes to Nullification and Warp Core Stabilizers hit the Test Server
  11. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  12. How Long can the Fifteen Dollar Subscription Hold Out?

Search Terms of the Month (Yandex Edition!)

летящие буквы как в звездных войнах фш
[Not sure, you mean like this?]

как украсить стену дома в майнкрафте
[Paintings?]

подводный риф 3.3.5 на карте
[Warm oceans are work to find]

схема Аннуминас kjnh
[I like Annuminas]

особняк майнкрафт данж
[I have a couple of posts about that]

забытый город камень встреч
[The Lost City of the Tol’vir?]

ферма призмарина майнкрафт
[Aaron made a whole farm for that]

cat is 4 fite
[Dude, speak English]

Game Time from ManicTime

May saw us hit the end of our hype cycle with Valheim.  I logged in and did a bit of exploring.  But focus clearly turned to WoW Classic and getting ready for the coming of The Burning Crusade expansion.

  1. WoW Classic – 63.39%
  2. EVE Online – 29.64%
  3. Burning Crusade Classic Beta – 2.90%
  4. Valheim – 2.22%
  5. World of Warcraft – 1.19%
  6. War in the Pacific – 0.66%

EVE Online

The war carried on into its eleventh month, with forces stalemated at the Imperium capitol constellation.  The enemy can still bring double our numbers if they ping for operations in advance, but haven’t been able to break into our home.  We, on the other hand, are somewhat limited by how far we can reach from that constellation.  TEST miners and ratters in Delve get dropped on regularly in their new home, but operations beyond that require groups to find bases far off, which takes them out of the Delve fights.

Pokemon Go

I set a new personal record for the longest time defending a single gym, managing 19 days, 1 hour, and 24 minutes.  We drove up to Portland to drive our daughter home from her first year at college and I got into a gym on campus… and then nobody kicked the defenders out for almost three weeks.  Other than that we managed to do all the events in May, which meant fighting a lot of Team Rocket grunts and leaders.

Level: 41 (38% of the way to 42 in xp, 2 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 643 (+10) caught, 673 (+11) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: Still need Eevees for the level 42 tasks
Current buddy: Eevee

Valheim

We still have another boss to slay, but that wouldn’t buy us anything, so our efforts have tapered off.  The small team that made the game can only manage a monthly patch for bug fixes while serious updates still seem far away.  I have no doubt we will return, and I do log in to do a bit of base building now and then, but our goals have pretty much been completed.

War in the Pacific

I put some more effort into this, grabbing a more focused scenario about the 1942 Burma campaign to see if that would get me up to speed more quickly.  It is hard to tell what I am doing still however.

World of Warcraft

As usual, not much time spent in the retail side of Azeroth.  I did Darkmoon Faire on my main, then actually did a few pet battles during the week that they had the xp bonus, getting a few more battle pets up to level 25.

WoW Classic

May was prep for Burning Crusade Classic.  Three characters to level 60 now, new specs explored, and some work on a fourth character who managed to go from 36 to 45 over the last week or so.  Plus I spent a bit of time in the beta.   Basically all eyes on Outland and the changes that come with it.

Coming up

Tomorrow at 3pm my time we transition into Outland as Burning Crusade Classic opens the Dark Portal.  Expect a report on that I suppose.

In EVE Online the war carries on, heading towards its one-year anniversary.  PAPI, the blue donut coalition, will continue to camp us in the south with their numbers advantage while also rolling over any small groups in the north to expand their own ratting and mining empires, basically doing what they allege the Imperium did.

Meanwhile, CCP has the CSM16 elections coming up on June 8th and their cloaky camper fix is likely to hit us suddenly next month as well, if recent company behavior is any indicator.

And… I am sure other things are coming up in June, but the war and the Dark Portal are both immediate and of interest to me.

Decorative Trophies for our Valheim Main Base

Work on the current round of construction on out main base has about wrapped up.  I am sure once we get the promised “hearth and home” update, which is set to expand building options, there will be further plans.  But for now it has settled and have a roof over out head… something missing during a stretch of the construction.

The main base as it currently stands

The problem with our base is that I built the first survival hovel right next to the trophy runes and that is a protected area that you cannot encroach into with your building.

The early hall seen from about the same spot

Now, with a main hall setup to maximize comfort in order to grant the maximum rested buff timer, we were looking for some more decor.  It was long the plan to hang up trophies of the various bosses in the main hall.

The first up on the wall was Eikthyr, the lightning stag, whose trophy is quite handsome.

Eikthyr in Chains

We also had an extra Bonemass trophy sitting around, though it is mostly just a blob and not very attractive.

That left The Elder and Moder to find.  We had only done Moder once, and just Crowbar and I, so we decided to head out and do the fight again.  I had marked a number of spots where dragon eggs could be found and we had actually set up the barricades again at the end of the last fight, so we were able to summon Moder pretty quickly.

Everything in place for Moder

We even went ahead and did it as night was falling.  Our gear was pretty much all upgraded to the plains level, so we felt we were ready.  Moder was summoned and off we went.

A poison arrow hits as Fergorin jumps out of Moder’s way

Despite a couple of interruptions by other mobs and the fact that Moder flattened all of our construction, we were able to bring her down without too much drama.  It just takes a bunch of arrows.

So we had the Moder trophy as well as some more Moder’s tears to store away in the crafting boxes.

Moder up in the main hall

That done, we decided we needed The Elder.  That took a minute to get settled because we had to think a bit about where The Elder was even located.  The now neglected Elder Base was the destination once we found the portal there.  Portal proliferation is an issue.

We had a pile of the seeds needed to summon him, plus a resupply of arrows, so we kicked off the event and went after him.

Return of The Elder

Being the second boss, we were more than geared up for him.  There was no drama like our first run at him.  I eventually eschewed the bow and just waded in and started beating on him with Frostner.  He was soon down and his trophy up in the main hall, though he didn’t seem all that happy about his fate.

Quiet you!

Of course, twenty minutes later, when digging through the storage boxes to try and find the serpent trophy I had nabbed some time back I ran into another trophy of The Elder, so the trip wasn’t really all that necessary.  (And I never did find the serpent trophy, which is sad, because it was very nice.  We’ll have to get another.)

The only trophy missing from our collection is Yagluth.  We’ll get to him when we’re ready.  There is a spot waiting for his immense crowned skull.

April in Review

The Site

Achievements.  WordPress.com introduced achievements this month, though they have had something akin to that for a while.  I’ve been getting notifications about the blog anniversary or when I get a record number of “likes” on posts in a single day for quite a while now. (43 is the current record.)  But I received an email from them announcing that they were expanding that, and on the first day they were available I received a pop up announcing my current post streak.

My first achievement

Today is, as an aside, my 398th day streak.  If I can manage to post two more days I will hit the nice round number of 400.

Anyway, that’s okay.  It is easier for me if they keep track of such things.  But starting this when you’re almost 15 years into the blog thing is also a little odd.  I am never going to surpass my all time most popular day/month, which was back in 2013.  I mean, it isn’t as bad a EVE Online introducing their Activity Tracker and just ignoring all activity that went before, but there are some peaks I am never going to achieve again.

Also, it really needs an achievements page, some place where it shows me what they’re tracking and what my current count is.  If you’re going to go for gamification, go all the way dammit.

One Year Ago

April Fools at Blizzard introduced googly eyes into Overwatch and gave us the traditional WoW patch notes, and that was about it.

I took a look back at WoW Tokens five years after their debut.  It also seemed like BlizzCon might not happen, after all, live events were being cancelled everywhere, though Blizzard was looking into alternatives.

In Battle for Azeroth I managed to unlock flying.

Over in WoW Classic the group was starting prep for Zul’Farrak by visiting the Altar of Zul and Jinha’alor.  That was sketchy enough that we spent a session just leveling up before we made our way down to Gadgetzan to start some quests there, with the expected diversion into Feralas.  I also found a crypt in the Badlands to explore.

Everybody being at home due to the pandemic led us to do a Blaugust blogging community event early.  Christened Blapril, we had a prep week, figuring out what to write week, a “getting to know you week” where I wrote about a road trip, listing out our favorite video game series, and then something about motivation.

Meanwhile, in WoW Classic news, Holly Longdale was now on the team, phase four was in place, some servers were still over populated, and Blizz was sending out some surveys about how to handle Burning Crusade Classic.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons released just in time for the pandemic and seemed to be everybody’s favorite game on the Switch for a while.

EVE Online was introducing their second quadrant, Eclipse, and kicking off The Hunt event.  The Hunt also coincided with the introduction of new implants.  There was also a PLEX for Good event for Covid-19, and the capsuleer generosity login campaign, and the Surgical Strike update that nerfed damage resistance modules.

CCP also started the ongoing daily login rewards thing, where you get some skill points every 30 days you log in.  The rewards were not great, but skill points are skill points.

And the beginning of the campaign season for CSM15 kicked off. while the monthly economic report was showing CCP’s mineral drought was raising prices.

CCP introduced a new Avatar model on the test server, so I finally got to fly a titan.  The pandemic brought players back to New Eden and the PCU passed the 40K mark for the first time since 2017.

Out in the east of null sec I was out with Black Ops dropping on PanFam ratters and miners.  And then there was a road trip north to fight the Conifers.

And, finally, I revealed my actual first computer.

Five Years Ago

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

DC Universe Online was ported over to the XBox One, one of the fruits of the separation from Sony, which allowed Daybreak to publish on consoles other than the PlayStation.

The whole Blizzard versus Nostalrius issue blew up when the company sent the private/pirate server a take down notice.  Blizzard actually responded to things, but those hoping that they might actually get an official nostalgia server were not optimistic at the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

Of course, there was some April foolery both here and at Blizzard.

I also wrote something about magic quadrants.

Sanya Weathers had one of the best quotes about MMO gamers ever, made all the more amusing by its truth.

Battlefront.com released a completely new version of their original WWII Combat Mission series.

Wargaming.net released World of Tanks.

SOE’s spy themed MMO, The Agency, was officially cancelled.

We got a PlayStation 3.  And then the PlayStation Network got hacked.  At least I could still play Blu-Ray disks and stream Netflix.

The instance group got together and decided to try out EverQuest II Extended, the one-time separate free to play version of EverQuest II.  However, the game immediately began to kick us in the teeth for daring to do solo content as a group.

Being there in EQIIx also meant looking at what the cash store had to offer.  Some of this stuff is gone now in the post merger era of EQIIFlying mounts are still around.  And some idea, like selling max-level characters, would have to wait a while to come back.

And Potshot and I were still playing EverQuest.  We moved on from Unrest to Lake Rathetear and spent an evening there.  Then it was on to Kerra Island and finally we made it to Runnyeye, at which point SOE also went down due to the PSN hacking.  That pretty much ended our EverQuest adventures for 2011.

I did have to explain EverQuest to my daughter.  Her foundation in MMOs is World of Warcraft.

Fifteen Years Ago

ArenaNet released its first post-launch Guild Wars expansion, Guild Wars: Factions. It only took them a year, too.  Right, Blizzard?  See?

Auto Assault went live, perhaps the first “troubled at launch” MMO I am personally aware of that failed to get past its issues.  The game ended up being shuttered by NCsoft 19 months down the road.  It was, for a while, the poster child for MMO launch failures.

Nintendo announced the name of their new console, slated to replace the GameCube.  Known up to that point only by its code name “Revolution,” Nintendo said it was going to call it the “Wii.”

Viacom spent $102 million to purchase Xfire.  According to Viacom: “Xfire and its users fit squarely into the Company’s multiplatform strategy to build an engaging universe of music, gaming, entertainment, news, networking and interactivity for focused audiences.”  They also thought NeoPets were worth splurging on as well.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2021 is a Very Quiet Affair
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. What Does LOTRO Need?
  5. Robbing Some Space Banks
  6. Embracing the Iron Age in Valheim
  7. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  8. SuperData Reviews 2020 Digital Game Revenue
  9. Death on the Plains in Valheim
  10. Diablo II Act Five and some Thoughts
  11. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  12. How Close to Half Way in WoW Classic?

Search Terms of the Month

lists for a game where a man is in a village who goes put of the village to catch bulls sometimes pixels or bee or catch fish and go to the village to sell them and also have magical power like thunder,fire etc and also fight things like octopus,and trolls apk pure games
[That is some search term]

holly longdale height
[a bunch of results for this, and she is tall]

underwood champion typewriter models with tabulator and backspace keys
[Another very specific search, but I do have a typewriter post here]

can you build tunnels in valheim?
[No, you have to dig a ditch then roof it over]

Game Time from ManicTime

In April I actually played a few more things besides Valheim.  Granted, I still played a lot of Valheim, but a few other titles got their turn.

  1. Valheim – 70.20%
  2. WoW Classic – 13.48%
  3. EVE Online – 8.13%
  4. War in the Pacific – 5.46%
  5. Runes of Magic – 1.91%
  6. LOTRO – 0.43%
  7. World of Warcraft – 0.39%

My overall play time for the month was less than the time I spent playing Valheim last month though.

EVE Online

The war in Delve saw a bit of a slump for much of the month of April.  The Imperium and its allies were mostly focused on burning down the space that Legacy Coalition left in order to colonize Delve, Querious, and Period Basis.  However, things are apparently spicing up a bit now, with PAPI making some efforts to take the remaining constellation in Delve.

Meanwhile, CCP implemented its big industry changes.  Now we just need about six months for the supply chains to settle down before we can tell how much everything is going to cost.  Also, it would be kind of nice for CCP to ease up on the mineral starvation thing.  We shall see.

Lord of the Rings Online

In writing about the game again this month… and complaining about the state of the game in general… I did log in for a bit to bang my head against the legendary item mechanics just to remind myself how much I dislike being, for example, in the middle of an instanced quest mission and having the game pop up and tell me I need to go back and reforge my weapon.  That and the teeny tiny eyestrain-o-vision of their UI and horrible iconography (which, honestly, was a day one problem) on my wide screen monitor makes the game unplayable so far as I am concerned.  But don’t worry, SSG has… no intention of fixing any of that.  Oh well.

Pokemon Go

We slowed down a bit after the burst of raiding activity our group had at one point.  We also missed out on a weekend event that had a decent chunk of xp related to it.  But, the balance on that was it had an hour time limit on it and I only logged in and noticed it was happening when there was 12 minutes left to go.  I still actually still managed to capture all but two of the Pokemon needed before time ran out.  But close doesn’t win you the prize.

Level: 41 (23% of the way to 42 in xp, 2 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 633 (+5) caught, 662 (+2) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: Need Eevees for the level 42 tasks
Current buddy: Eevee

Runes of Magic

I jumped in to take a look at what GameForge had going on for the title’s 12th anniversary, including the new super bonus server they setup in the EU region.  In reviving my account (I am still out a bunch of diamonds) I started getting updates from them in email again including special items… which were delivered (eventually) to my NA region characters.  I can have one or the other, but not both I guess.  Otherwise the game is still busy and playable if you’re into the F2P bag rental plan.

Valheim

We defeated Moder and set up a base in the plains.  We have harvested enough resources that I think everybody in the group can get their gear upgraded fully.  We actually have something of a dark metal glut, as it isn’t used for very much.  Otherwise things have slowed down somewhat as April got some of us outside and in the yard.  Yagluth is the only current boss left for us to slay, otherwise we have been base building, exploring, and gathering resources.

War in the Pacific

A war game in the mix!  I bought this in April and… well, there is a story to be told here.  I will have a post or three about the game I am sure.  Let’s just say that, so far, I have not bested the Empire of Japan.

World of Warcraft

Once more I went in to do Darkmoon Faire stuff and collect the free battle pets that came our way this past month… though I had a little trouble with the latter.  Maybe that will be a post.  I felt like posting about it at the moment it happened, but distance is making me care less and less about that particular transaction.

WoW Classic

After being  idle on this front for quite a while I got back out to start working a bit in anticipation of the coming of Burning Crusade Classic.  The expansion is coming, though how far away it is still remains a question.  But I will have at least a couple characters ready to step through the dark portal when it arrives.

Coming Up

May brings our daughter home from her first year of college.  Due to Covid-19 the school skipped the usual spring break stuff so as to wrap up the semester a bit early.

Meanwhile, we’ve had little rain out here on the west coast, so it is time to prepare for another summer of fires.  Last year we went from fires being in some distant part of the state to being able to see the smoke coming off of them in the middle of Silicon Valley.  This is probably going to get worse unless we get some last minute rain or everybody gets out and starts raking I guess.

It seems quite possible that we will get the pre-expansion event for Burning Crusade Classic this coming month.  The time seems ripe and Blizz has been putting up notes in the character select screen to remind us that we may soon have to choose a path forward for our characters.

In New Eden the war against the Imperium will no doubt carry on.  The current level of effort by the attackers does not portend an early exit by the Imperium.

CCP will also finish vetting candidates for the CSM16 election and we will get the final candidate list.  The election, however, does not happen until June.

Showdown with Yagluth

On our server we’re still pottering about in the plains, gathering resources, building bases, and exploring.  There is no hurry to get to what is currently the final boss, Yagluth.  In fact, we need to go back and slay Moder again just to get a head to hang on the wall in the main base.

But over on the Cat Context server, they were ready to go.  You may remember them from Fantasy Movie League or, more recently, my preview run at The Elder, where I went over to their server to give the fight a try before we did it on our server.  (That fight went well, on our server most everything went wrong.)

I asked if I could tag along again for their attempt and they graciously invited me to join in.

On our server I used some of the resources we were stockpiling and finished upgrading Sigwerd’s gear, save for his weapon.  I decided to stick with Frostner for now, rather than going for the Porcupine.  I grabbed a few fire resist potions, as I heard that was a requirement, loaded up on some arrows, and then logged off and on to their server.

Once there I found my way through their portal network… every world ends up simulating a regional airport plan with portals eventually I guess… and ended up with the group out on the plains biome at a portal build close to Yagluth’s altar.

The group together

It looked like we were ready to get straight to it, until it was mentioned that they hadn’t actually collected the totems yet.  You need five totems to summon Yagluth.  The totems come from fuling camps, so we set out to go find some camps.

This, of course, went comically bad.  We somehow were never able to pull less than four fulings at once and often got more.  And, as night fell, we ended up running into wandering packs of fulings as in addition to the groups from the camps.  Everybody died at least once, and a couple more than once.

Down in a pack of fulings

Maybe Corr didn’t die.  He seemed to be around to cover people as they ran back.

There he is, back where I died

Anyway, after much comedy on the plain the totems were eventually secured and we ran all the way back to where we started, to Yagluth’s altar, to get set up for the fight.

Back and ready to go

As with past boss fights, you set up items, click on the altar, and the boss shows up.  There is also the standard rune stone there with some cryptic clue about what you’re supposed to do.  This one is perhaps a bit less helpful than others have been.

What does that even mean?  Is he a fuling then?

We ate some food and took our fire resist potions, then Corr did the needful and we were greeted with the big intro message.

Ah, there we go

He rose up out of the ground and came for us.

Funny, you don’t look like a fuling…

It is hard to see in any of the screen shots, but he is a giant skeletal torso.  His legs have gone missing, which just makes him moving about that much more creepy.

Also, he has his own heavy metal sound track.  Generally I keep the music turned down, listening, especially in the plains, being such an important survival trait, but Aure said we had to turn that up once the fight began.  He has a Swedish metal sound track that seems wholly appropriate to his character and the fight.  So I turned that up and we carried on.

The fight was fairly straight forward.  He throws around some fire, so you can end up with a burning DOT on you, but the fire protection potion mitigates that to such an extent that you might not even notice.  Fire hasn’t been a strong damage type in Valheim so far.   I’ve set myself alight on so many campfires that my resistance to fire is probably maxed out.  Certainly surtlings in the swamps never did me much harm with their fire attacks.

Of course, I didn’t stand in the fire to find out exactly how harmful they might be.  He slams his fists down for a big AOE hit with an after effect and breaths fire now and again.  We seemed able to avoid most of that and nobody died during the fight.

The plan was to sit at range and hit him with frost arrows, but that was taking time.  Eventually we just moved up into melee range, got in close behind him, and use whatever weapon special attack we had.

Yagluth at melee range

The Frostner big swing attack was doing a lot more damage for me than the bow was able to manage.  But Yagluth is a skeleton of sorts, and piercing weapons and arrows tend to be less effective on those in the game.

So we got in there and beat on him and dodged his attacks until we finally brought him down.

Victory over Yagluth

After that it was clean up time.

He drops several items called “Yagluth Thing” that currently have no use in the game, but which will no doubt be used to unlock whatever the next level of crafting is in Valheim.  And, of course, you get the trophy, which is a giant skull with a crown, which you go hang up on the last stone back at the spawn point.

Hanging the trophy

That unlocks a new buff which gives you a boost against fire, frost, and lightning.  But there isn’t much else.  According to the wiki, fuling base attack events cease with Yagluth’s defeat, though I have heard that fulings also become more common in the world as well, like skeletons, and will show up at night in other biomes.

And that is about it.  Sure, Yagluth’s skull makes a great conversation piece in any trophy room or display, so going back to slay him again to have one to hang up in your base is a likely scenario.  But Odin doesn’t show up or free you from Valheim, as Hugin mentioned back when he dropped you into the world.  The All Father hasn’t finished enumerating the tasks required of you yet, so you get to hang out and wait until he… or the small team in Sweden… gets around to it.

We have Yagluth’s location scouted out… we found that rune stone on our first real run into the plains… and I have explored the map around it and even set up a portal a short distance from the altar.

Yagluth’s Island

When we’re feeling ready, we can go get him.  But we’re not in any hurry.  While I am sure we want his head for a trophy, his buff isn’t all that alluring at the moment and his death does not yet unlock anything new.  We’ll get to him some time though.

Further Exploration in Valheim

I have to admit that one of the draws of Valheim for me is the obscured world map that you have to go visit in order to reveal what is there.  But there have always been something of a limit on how far a field one might dare go.  I have run into some surprised when trekking through strange territory.

Oh hey, you’re new

Early on, when your gear is in the first tier or two, you have a lot to fear.  I had to be wearing just the basic leather armor in that screen shot because that was the first troll I spotted, so I certainly wasn’t wearing any troll hide.

Going out into strange territory could turn into a mess pretty quickly, especially if you found yourself straying from the merely hazardous black forest into the downright deadly plains.

Still, I have kept on carefully widening the area we have uncovered on the map, poking my nose into places and wandering along the edges of the more dangerous areas.

Spying out the plains

However, for the moment I am now at the pinnacle of gear in a game where a few additional points of armor can make a huge difference in your survival.  While a two star fuling is still a hazard that I need to take care with, the fear of deathsquitos is largely gone.

He’s a mean one

Once able to one shot me, those plains buzzers would be a mere annoyance were I not keen to collect their stingers for arrows.  I move towards each once I spot, take their attack on my shield, then swat them out of the air.

Come at me bro!

So I no longer fear to wander the plains, or any other biome at this point… though I still try to avoid being out at night in the plains when groups of fulings are wandering about looking for trouble.

A greys vs fulings gang fight on a biome border

And I have been using this sense of… if not impunity, at least strength… to get out and explore farther afield.  And the basic tool of exploration in Valheim is the boat.  Nothing moves as quickly or can steer clear of trouble or annoying entanglements.

At sea exploring

I chose the Karve over the longboat due to the nimble nature and shallow draft.  I have had the longboat out before and it is great for hauling, but I’ve also gotten it wedged into some tight places reminiscent of the recent events in the Suez Canal.  The Karve is just easier to deal with for exploration, especially when that channel you were sailing up turns out to have an isthmus that you either need to dig out or carry the boat across.

This time I was able to dig through between fuling attacks

So I have been sailing quite a bit over the last week or so, passing landmarks and finding new places to camp.

Another Bonemass spawn location

I wonder what it would have been like fighting Bonemass right on open water.  Well, if we were going to be up a tree either way, probably the same I guess.

Part of my plan has been to find safe-ish locations adjacent to the as yet unused biome types in order to put down portals that we can use later as a foothold for exploration.  Ideally I try to find a stretch of meadows in the vicinity.  Not only is that generally safe, but usually has a supply of wood near by and often comes complete with some pre-existing structures to work with as a starting point for a base.

Coming ashore at one of the many little meadows bases I have set up

So far I have found a couple of potential footholds near mistlands biomes.  I haven’t gone into them to explore, mostly due to the level of darkness that is enforced in them.  I suspect having that helmet light is going to come in handy when we end up there.

And, on one of my voyages southward, I ended up on a new biome, called the ashlands.

Welcome to the ashlands

I was actually on the edge of the mountains, which is why it is snowy.

I was a little bit paranoid walking into the new biome as there were flaming creatures visible stalking about the terrain.  And then I realized they were just surtlings, which I have faced often enough in the swamps, so need not be afraid.  More coal and cores!

So we have a small base setup near that for future use.  I am continuing my voyages while I am up to being able to tangle with the largest creatures currently in the game.

In Our Base on the Plains in Valheim

As I wrote previously, it seemed clear to me that we were going to have to build a base in the plains once I had read that barley and flax would only grow there.  Some sort of farm would need to be set up.  And then, of course, there was the next tier of metal.  While we could haul it back to our ever sprawling main base, my experience with collecting silver from the mountains indicated that a forge and smelter in the area would be viable.

So when Crowbar pointed out a likely island in the plains, we set about making a somewhat utilitarian outpost on the spot.

Plains island base

The first priority was production and a few of the first items laid down, once we had laid out a stone pad foundation, were, from left to right, a windmill, a smelter, a kiln, and a blast furnace.

The production corner of the stone pad

The windmill might be my favorite of that group, if only because it made the behavior of the wind in the game something to notice beyond when I had set sail.  The wheel and tail assembly at the top rotate with changes in the wind, facing into it like a real windmill.  But it also brought to my attention that the wind doesn’t blow at a fixed rate.  While I suspected that it might when out on the Karve, it is hard to tell.  But the windmill blades spin relative to the speed of the wind, or not at all if the air is calm.

Which would all be so much trivia if it didn’t affect how well the windmill worked.  You use it to grind harvested barley into barley flour for cooking, and how fast it grinds is directly proportional to the speed of the wind.  I understand that you can mess up your production with poor windmill placement, though we seem to have done okay.  It grinds away and we have an excess of flour now.  The only bothersome bit was the sound of the spinning blades, which in the right wind sound a bit like heavy footsteps running towards you.  Tuned into sounds, as you have to be when you play Valheim, that gave me a start a few times before I got used to it.

The smelter was built to process iron scraps, since I knew we would need some of that.  I also hauled some copper and tin from another base to get us some bronze in case we needed a bit.

The kiln I might have skipped on.  All it does is make coal, and you can bring coal through a portal.  But it also doesn’t take much to build.  I remember when five surtling cores seemed like a big investment.  Now we have a chest full of them sitting around.  So there it is.

And then there is the blast furnace, which makes all sorts of noise as it smelts black metal scraps.  My main disappointment was that it doesn’t replace the smelter.  Oh well.

But not everything can sit around outside, so we put up some buildings.

Buildings in the plains base

They are in the form of my “I ain’t building no damn chimneys” mis-matched roof design, something I borrowed from the roof venting in our own house.  They started as a mirrored pair, then I roofed over the part in the middle since I was tired of getting wet walking between the two or when using one of the portals there.

The building on the left became the indoor crafting area.

The crafting room

There we have some large storage chests, which was as good of a reason as any to get some iron, as they keep down the chest clutter a bit.  I am also all in on iron torches, which stay lit much longer than the wooden kind.

Next to that is the spinning wheel which turns flax into linen thread.  That thread is required for many of the gear upgrades.  The spinning wheel is dull compared to the windmill.  You just fill it up and it spits out spools of thread.

Then there is the artisan table, which requires Moder’s tears to construct, and which enables to building of the blast furnace, spinning wheel, and windmill.

And then there is a fully upgraded forge for crafting with our new found materials.  Behind me in the screen shot is an upgraded workbench for items requiring that.

The workbench

That is used mostly for making needle arrows and the occasional lox hide cloak.

The other building is the sleeping quarters, which is pretty compact.

The sleeping quarters

There are four beds on a platform over the hearth, which seemed very Russian to me, though maybe having a bed over the stove in a peasant izba is a bit out of date.

There is also enough decoration to boost the comfort level to 14, which gives 18 minutes of rested state, something that boosts stamina and health regen.  I also put up cooking racks to roast up some lox meat on demand.  I thought about building a cauldron as well, but the cooking area at the main base is just a step through a portal and we have a lot of supplies built up there for food.

Finally, there is the field.  We split out the compound to give us room to grow barley and flax when we found it.  I started off with just a bit of barley too.

Carefully planting my first bits of barley

Soon though I had a field of barely, enough that we pushed out the far wall to give ourselves a bigger field.  And then we found some flax and I went to town on growing that.

Flax and barley on a foggy morning

You can see I have the flax well spaced.  Early on, when we only had a little, I was paranoid about losing any of the crop.  Now our chests are spilling over with the excess and I am a little more free with it.  But I have still stored some away at other bases just in case.  We have a strategic reserve of flax and barely stashed away.

Overall, despite the utilitarian plan for our base, it has actually shaped up into a nice little outpost.  Things are handy but not in the way, the island location keeps us safe, and supplies are just a portal or a short walk away.

And, of course, it is on the plains, which can give one quite a pleasant view when the weather and the sunlight decide to cooperate for a bit.

Looking out from over the front gate, another day on the tenth planet

We’ll probably get in trouble with some eco type for importing a few firs and a strand of pine trees into the plains… invasive species… but they look pretty good out there.

Meeting the Neighbors in the Plains

Having carved out a little corner of a plains biome and successfully fortified it as a base, it was time to look further afield.  It was time to go introduce ourselves to the locals.

Plains island base

I will say, for openers, that the island location that Crowbar picked has worked out well.  We occupied enough of the place that nothing spawns there or on our causeway to the mainland.  Even NPC raid events seem to have trouble dealing with the location.  We had some skeletons beating on the doors once, but when we got the  ground shaking message about a troll raid they all spawned at the far end of the causeway and fought with the local spawns while Crowbar and I sat on the wall taking shots at them with our bows.

In fact, the only mob I’ve seen come up the causeway without being invited (by arrows) has been Odin, and he hardly counts.

Just leave your pamphlets on the mat

But out on the far side of our moat awaits the plains and all the mobs that wander it.  Well, the few mobs that wander it I suppose, as there isn’t a lot of biodiversity.

There are, of course, the deathsquitos, the first plains mob to slay me, and for quite a while an absolute terror in my eyes.  Now, geared up considerably since then, they are, like real mosquitoes, more of a nuisance.  They can be a pain if they show up in the middle of a fight or spawn in a group of six (which happened to Crowbar and he still managed to kill five of them), but when I see them out on the plains I move straight towards them, shield up to take their attack, then bonk them with the hammer.

Come at me bro!

Their needles make the highest damage arrows in the game, so I will go out of my way to farm them.

And then there are the Lox, the mighty bison that wander the plains… or sit around waiting for you to show up and shoot them.

Shooting Lox from Rocks

If you can find a vantage point from which to shoot them they’ll run around all confused.  That guy far off, he came back.  They are drawn to their spawn point it seems.  And they are worth shooting as their meat makes for mighty food.

And then there are the fulings, the goblins of the plains.

The new neighbors not happy to see me

You kill the deathsquitos for arrows and the Lox for food, but the fulings are the main target in the plains, and they are all over the place.  They are also the most dangerous due to being social and traveling in groups.  That is especially true at night when they wander far and wide in groups of 3-5, which can be a nasty shock if you’re just trying to get back to base after a long day of hunting.

And while fighting them out in the open is fun, it is their bases that are the big draw.  That is the source of barely, flax, and the totems to summon the next boss… and black metal scraps, which are the next tier for some gear.  I mentioned building the blast furnace to smelt it immediately after slaying Mode.

My first run in with a furling base was a tower, which turned into a bit of a slog as, once I cleared the fulings outside, the few inside refused to come out.  I sniped a couple off the top of the tower, but ended up having to go in hand to hand for the last two… one of which was a two star furling and killed me with one shot when I missed a block.  Oops.

But that was close to base so I was able to run back and finish things off, getting to the top of the tower and the chest there, which held eight barley.

On top of the tower

From that bit much barley was grown.  But flax, that took a lot longer to find.  Crowbar and I started scouting for more bases, and in our wide area of plains there were a few to choose from.

Crowbar, ever tactical, built up a platform on one of the giant stones that are scattered about the plains, thinking to snipe the fulings.

Shooting down from a great height

Unfortunately, the stone was a bit too far away to be effective, so we ended up just sneaking up to the base, surmounting a nearby stone, and sniping from there.

Popping the furlings from range

We were able to clear the base, which only had a scattering of fulings, two shaman, and no berserkers pretty easily.  They were all spread out enough that we didn’t get more than three at a time.

The base had some more barely… that quickly became common in our inventory… and some black metal, but no flax.

We moved on to the next base, another tower, and then the next after that.  There we had some fun with berserkers.

Eat that poison arrow!

Once again we had a rock to run to and shoot from which was too steep for the fulings to climb, so we could snipe from safety.  However, I managed to run out of stamina on a bad pull where we got a bunch of fulings and couldn’t get back up on the rock.  That was another corpse run.

Back for my gear

The run back was a bit dicey, but I have learned to eat some food and build up some hit points before I make the attempt.  I ended up outrunning two groups of fulings and a deathsquito successfully.

We cleared the camp, and found some more barley, plenty of black metal scraps, and a couple more totems, but no flax.

Int wasn’t until we were about five furling camps in before we finally ran across a few flax planted in a bed.  We grabbed that and headed back to our base to cultivate it.  That was a bit of a long haul and I ended up putting up two more portals in the base named Scout1 and Scout2 so we could run around and drop a portal to get back home when we needed.

Our plains domain

On the map the furling camps are marked FC and the current positions of our scouting portals are SC1 and SC2.

Of course, you cannot haul the black metal scraps back through the portals, so we have ended up running those back the old fashioned way.  When we first got there I would run them into the meadows biome and that camp, then haul metal by boat up to the plains base, but I’ve gotten confident enough to just keep running the whole way these days.

Except at night.  Like I said, groups of fulings roaming around can be an issue when you run into them.

And my usual worry, that this new method of metal procurement would be a bottle neck to production… well, we have ended up with a lot of black metal scraps to refine.  Iron though, which is required for the armor upgrades… that I have ended up having to haul in by boat from across the straights and the Bonemass swamp.

Sailing through a storm

But our supply situation is coming together.  More on that next time.

Little House on the Plains

Having defeated Moder in somewhat less time than we might have anticipated, Crowbar and I immediately set out to scout some plains biomes for a potential base.  I was ready for this, having spent some time out and scouting for a plains biomes for that very purpose.

Spying out the plains

While I had a few candidates, the best bet still seemed to be the base we had built up as a staging point to tackle Bonemass.  It had the advantage of being in a nice open meadows area… which I had since planted with trees for a wood supply… not too far from plain both north and south, connected to a mountain biome for stone, and a short sail from the swamp Bonemass was in, which also happened to have a select of crypts for iron scraps.

My camp across the straights from Bonemass

We would need to haul resources to this new base because of the whole “no metal through portals” thing and because the plants… barley and flax… we would need to cultivate only grow in the plains.  So we would have to commit to a full base/farm complex to get things done.

The first thing I had done after the boss fight was bring some Moder’s tears through to that staging base and build a blast furnace, mostly just to see it, but also to process some of the metal scraps we had collected from furlings.

The first blast furnace

I had thought for a bit that maybe we could just base in the meadows and simply farm in the plains, but the base was a bit of a hike from the plains in either direction, so it felt like we would have to at least move the base closer.  Fortunately it wasn’t much of a base, just a building, a portal, a smelter (for Bonemass iron), and that blast furnace.

So Crowbar and I set out to scout for a good site for a base, encountering some of the local wildlife almost as soon as we hit the line between meadows and plains.

Some more lox meat for the table

We’re still working on the best way to tackle a lox, but kiting them with bows seems to be pretty effective.  You just have to watch out for other things while you’re running around.

Deathsquitos no longer elicit the terror they once did, back when when we were younger and had just defeated The Elder and ended up having to die multiple times on a corpse run.  I still keep a sharp eye out for them to take them down at range with a bow, but my armor is good enough now and my hit points high enough from food that I can survive that first hit and turn to smack one as it comes in for another run.

A bugged bug

I shot that particular deathsquito about a dozen times before I was satisfied that it wasn’t actually there or active.  But I kept an eye on it all the same.

The furlings though, I can still get in over my head there.  A normal furling on the plains is no problem.

This guy? No problem

But you can take a shot at one and suddenly find out he had 3-5 friends and things can get out of hand very quickly.  And the one star and two star versions hit considerably harder than you might expect.  A miss-timed block against a two star furling is an invite to being one-shotted.

We’ll work on that.

We ran across a set of ruins on the edge of the meadows that had some base potential.  It even had the rune stone that revealed the location of the next boss, Yagluth.  So we had that marked down.

The ruins on the edge of meadows

But we kept on scouting until we found a little island not too far into the plains, just on the coast, which seemed a likely spot for a base.  It would be secure from the wandering residents and on the water so we could ship in metal that couldn’t come by portal.

The island spotted

So we walked back to the staging base and collected up some essentials… wood and stone and some iron and so on… so we could make workbenches and a stone cutter and a portal, piled it all into a Karve I had handy, and set sail back up the coast to the island.  The Moder power came in handy as the wind was straight against us so I was able to fix that.

We landed and got out hoes and picks and set about scraping out a level area.  Crowbar put up a small building and I built the connecting portal to the staging base.  We were then able to jump back and pull in more supplies.  The staging base also had a portal to a mountain base I had built.  I broke down that portal, brought the materials through to the new base, and set it up there so we could start hauling in stone for walls around the place.

We ended up working away for a few hours and then again the next day, until we had a nice little base built.  We built a causeway to the mainland once we were feeling secure.

Plains island base

I planted those trees because I had some beech seeds on me.  They were going to be a wood supply, but they actually make the base easier to spot when sailing by, so they will probably remain as they are.  The also look nice.

I then reworked the portals so that there was a direct connection from our main base at the spawn point to this new base, and from there you could jump to the staging base or the mountain base.

Portal routes to the new base

I should probably bring the Bonemass portal through to the plains base as well, as we’ll likely need to hop over there to harvest some iron scraps from the crypts the haul back.

I also did some scouting to get a sense of how much plains biome we have to work with.  In my journey I ended up circling our area and spotting quite a few furling camps.  We will need to assault those to find barely and flax.

Our plains area

You can also see the spot where I died to a two star furling while doing a scouting run around the mountain biome to see how big that was.  I ended up having to run back naked across the whole biome to grab my stuff, wolves chasing me.  Fortunately I ate a serpent stew, lox meat, and some sausage so I had a lot of hit points and stamina.  Then, at my corpse, a deathsquito latched onto me and chased me back.  Fortunately they cannot hit naked fleeing people.  Also, it decided to fight with the wolves once they caught up, so I was able to keep running and eventually put my gear back on.

So we have a lot of area to explore.  The furling camps feel like a group exercise.  Once we get some flax, which is suppose to be rare, and start growing it, we can begin upgrading our gear.

Life on the plains.