Category Archives: World of Warcraft

Return to Azeroth – Summer 2018 Edition

Coming and going from the game is pretty much the norm in my own personal history of Azeroth.  It was, in its way, a precedent started when I first tried the game back in early 2005.  I played a bit then went away for about a year.  Then I came back with our EverQuest II guild and it has practically been a revolving door since then.

There have, over the years been stretches, long and short, away from WoW.  Sometimes I and some friends would pop off for another game for a bit, as we did with Lord of the Rings Online or Warhammer Online.  Sometimes the game drove me out, as during the Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor eras.

But somehow I always end up wandering back in to pick up with whatever new content Blizzard has to offer.  While I bitch about how things have changed at times, WoW does seem to be a soft landing to return to when compared to other MMORPGs.  I have been back to LOTRO and EverQuest II a few times, but the effort required to become basically knowledgeable as to what you’re doing is so steep and has changed so much over the years that it is very difficult to shake off the feeling of being completely lost unless I just start a fresh character and begin again from square one.

Not that such a venture isn’t fun.  I’ve probably run levels 1-40 or so in LOTRO more than a dozen times and have quite enjoyed it.  But mucking around in the Lone Lands for the fourteenth time doesn’t get you to Mordor.  And character boosts, something I’ve tried in both LOTRO and EQII tend to just compound the feeling of being lost, both in how to play your character and where you lay in the context of the story.  Being lost in a zone can be fun, but being lost when it comes to how to play or what your purpose is… that is decidedly unfun for me.

There is probably a whole comparative study waiting to be done about how various fantasy MMORPGs welcome lapsed users back and get them up to speed again.  I am not even sure how WoW manages to get me back on the right path.  But I now take it as read that I am going to come and go from the game as part of every expansion release and that I’ll just get by.

And so it has come to pass, one of the milestones that brings me back to Azeroth has arrived, the start of the pre-launch activities for the next expansion.  I knew the time was coming and had the Battle.net launcher… we’re back to calling it Battle.net right… up to get the pre-download going before the rush.

12.57 GB remaining to download

Since we were also hitting the first week of a new month I decided to resubscribe a bit early in order to get in some time earning prize tickets at Darkmoon Faire.  I still have my eye on that Darkmoon Dirigible mount.

But on logging back in I found that the pre-expansion activities were warming up.  There was a quest that popped up automatically that sent me back to Stormwind to speak to Mathias Shaw, the leader of SI:7.

I’m still not sure how he is speaking to me…

I headed off to Stormwind where I received the update that in turn sent me off towards Silithus.

I had to think for a moment about the best way to get there.  I discarded my old school impulse to get on boat when I remembered that Stormwind got a series of portals during Cataclysm, on of which sends you straight to Uldum, which is just a zone over from Silithus at the south end of Kalimdor.

On arriving in Uldum I went right to the flight point looking for a lift to Silithus only to find that the flight point I was looking for was missing.  I took a ride to the flight point at the north end of Uldum and then flew over into Silithus on my own.  Things there had changed.

That’s new…

Sticking out of the ground in the center of the zone was a giant sword with a pulsating point on its hilt.

Zone map for the event

I flew on to my destination where I set about a series of quests to gather information about what was going on… through the usual method of killing things… until Khadgar finally showed up.  After being used so much over the last two expansions he is feeling a big worn out as a narrative device.

But Khadgar was mostly just a sign post this time around, sending me off in search of Mangi Bronzebeard, with whom I eventually settled in to speak with on a Stormwind airship near the offending sword.

Aboard the airship…

Mangi had a plan.  He wanted to contain the power of the titanic offending weapon stuck into the middle of Silithus, a zone so unpopular that I am a bit surprised anybody noticed the thing was there, with my artifact weapon.

You want me to stick my sword where?

I guess I really only have a Malaysian knock-off Ashbringer.  You can tell by the faux Asian style when looking at it.  So I figured I ought to go along with the plan.  So I  went along and raised my weapon with a crowd of NPCs around me.

Ashbringer is absorbent

After that Mangi declared that the op was a success, that the giant dingus in the sands had been neutralized for the moment and they’d be in touch if they needed anything more from me.  Dismissed.

I was sure I much have missed something.  I logged my hunter on to run through the whole thing again, paying closer attention this time.

Mangi explaining how only my gun can contain this now…

I trigger the event and watched myself and the same set of NPCs try to absorb the power of the thingy.

An absorbing broadside

And, in watching this cut scene… one of those on the fly cut scenes that puts your character into the action… I though this time I noticed a change.  The event seemed to transform my hunter!

It turned me into a newt!

Then I realized that those were my shoulder pads, so outsized that when I turn a bit sideways they hide almost the whole of my head.  After that it was “off you go” and that was it.

What I was missing is that this event fully levels up whatever artifact weapons you have.  I didn’t notice that on Vikund, my paladin, since Asherbinger was almost there already.  But when I did the event with my mage, whose staff had barely anything unlocked, there was an accompanying achievement that clued me in.  I also did the Horde side of the event, which starts a little differently, but ends up with the same result, just on a Horde airship.

This time for the Horde

So that was it, a little bit of a lead in and/or closure as we hit the expansion transition, along with the usual catch-up mechanic that Blizz likes to throw in for the laggard crowd.  Use it quick, because that artifact weapon won’t be around after Battle for Azeroth hits.

Now I have to go and figure out what I need to do before the 8.0 update hits.  I understand that pet battle tokens and the shop are going to change.  I’d better look that up and spend my currency to upgrade whatever pets I have still waiting before the change.

And speaking of pets, at least when I was in Silithus I was able to pick up the last pet I needed in Kalimdor for the achievement.

That was the Qiraji Guardling that appears outside of AQ, but only during the summer.  So if you need one of those as well, now is the time.  You cannot get them near the wall because there is a phasing transition in the zone for the event, but if you go further in you can find them easily enough.

June in Review

The Site

I was away for more than a quarter of the month and yet still managed more than a post a day.  I got a little carried away working up posts for the week or so I was gone and ended up with more than I needed for that time.  I also expected I might be slow to restart when I returned, but CCP and the EVE Online community kept that from being an issue.  If this was an EVE-only blog I could come up with something to write about every day.

Meanwhile, just after I wrote up the ten year anniversary post about my other blog, noting that you could follow it (and this blog) on various services including Facebook, the integration piece I had been using for Facebook died.  Networked Blogs, which did this quietly and without issue for years stopped working and when I went to check I found out that Networked Blogs was now some other thing that did something else.  Scratch that.

But WordPress.com has direct integration with Facebook, so I fell back on that… which didn’t seem to work either.  At least not reliably.  So if you follow the blog on Facebook, you may never see this.

Also, I forgot to mention that you can subscribe to EVE Online Pictures on FlipBoard as well, the handy dandy news reading app I use on my iPad.  I don’t recall exactly HOW I got the blog on there as an option to which you can subscribe, but it is there.  And sometimes FlipBoard takes liberties in labeling my screen shots.

That citadel is woke

So there it is, another way to look at pictures of internet spaceships.

One Year Ago

Nintendo announced Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon as well as Pokemon Gold & Silver for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS Virtual Console.  Now it seems that the former were to be the last bit of Pokemon for the Nintendo handheld lineup.

Daybreak opened up the Fallen Gate progression server for EverQuest II.

There were Sega Genesis and Atari 2600 retro consoles being promoted, trying to milk a bit of that NES Classic magic.  I was not impressed, as there had been many Atari 2600 hardware and software retro options for ever.

Meanwhile Microsoft announced the Age of Empires Definitive Edition.  Nostalgia everywhere!

The Ashes of Creation Kickstarter campaign closed with a big take.

I tried out Atlantic Fleet, a ship combat simulator.  I also played some Mini Metro, which I picked up from the Steam Summer Sale.

Following my retro-flavor-of-the-month plan, I went back to give Guild Wars 2 a try.  Is GW2 old enough to be retro yet?  Anyway I rolled up a new character and followed the zone path, that being the most obvious thing to do.  I made it into the Harathi Hinterlands and level 40 before I wore out on the game.

Minecraft had its World of Color update, version 1.12 for those who like numbers.  Microsoft was talking about unifying all of the versions of Minecraft… except for the original, now called the Minecraft: Java Edition.  I was looking back at two years of playing Minecraft.

CCP released the June 2017 update for EVE Online, changing the naming scheme once again.  That update nerfed null sec mining some more, tried to reign in super carrier ratting without nerfing fighter PvP capabilities, launched the Rogue Swarm event, and gave the game a colorblind mode.  Also, it had music.  We would soon lose music with updates.

The New Eden Monthly Economic Report showed that Delve not only ratted and mined more than most, but also had a big market and a lot of production going on as well.  Aryth called the MER the best recruiting tool the Imperium ever had.  If you wanted to make ISK, the MER told you where you wanted to be.

In space I was there to shoot a Raitaru, get in on a Keepstar kill, and cover some tower repairs in Fountain.  My alliance joined the Keepstar club.    And I opened a controversial topic in asking whether or not EVE Online was a gank box or not. (My observation after that is, for some people, any PvP is too much.)

And that whole Blogger Fantasy Movie League thing started, initiated by Liore the ringer.  I sort of set a format in that first week that I carried on with.

Finally, Blizzard gave us a date for the Necromaner mini-expansion for Diablo III.

Five Years Ago

At E3 Sony certainly seemed to have won the marketing war against Microsoft and the XBox One.

CCP faced a DDoS attack that kept us from logging in.  They still managed to release the Odyssey expansion a couple of days later.

In EVE Online, the war for Fountain began, as the CFC invaded the Fountain region to take it from former member TEST in order control its economically valuable moons, which ended up there as part of the Odyssey expansion.  A side effect of all of this was that the “blue donut” chanting peanut gallery was shown yet again that war was possible. That did not stop them from moving straight to “not winning fast enough” as their next chant.  I suppose that gave TEST some comfort though.  Anyway, rather than try to fit all the links into a narrative, here are the related June 2013 posts from the war:

I got a special BMW in Need for Speed World.  That 180 day journey about finished that game for me.  I have had no real urge to go back, and with a couple of auto based MMOs coming this year, the next time I want to drive online I will have other options.

TorilMUD offered its own web client to connect to one of the older MUDs left on the internet.  They also made my old fumble trigger obsolete.

Rift went free to play, and the instance group met up to give it a try.

I was wondering about feedback that MMOs give about equipment, wondering if we could use that as opposed to lots and lots of stats.  Also, something about equity.

finished up the Evendim zone in LOTRO for the nth time and sat, as usual, wondering how to bridge that awkward gap between levels 40 and 50.

And Richard Bartle told us there was nothing before MUD1, Tesh was offering Tinker Dice, I wondered whether we still hated 60% of our dungeon groups, and, in a tidbits post, I wondered what SOE was up to with EverQuest Next, noted XBox One policy changes, and followed how worked up EVE Online players go when they tried to change up the Minmatar hauler lineup.

Ten Years Ago

The big news was Blizzard announcing Diablo III.  Of course, they didn’t announce a ship date.  Still, we were all primed for the announcement, there having been a surge in Diablo II nostalgia at the time.

The Empyrean Age was upon us in EVE Onlineif you could stay logged in.  CCP went looking for a fix and found one eventually.  When I could get a break on connectivity I went out to try a factional warfare mission.  It did not go well.

After that I moved back to Amarr space again and started in on level 4 missions.  The move did not go well either as I managed to lose two ships at once.  Damn suicide gankers!  I didn’t even know that was a thing until it happened to me.  While that was going on, the skill point meter rolled over to 20 million and explored the training differential between guns and missiles.

Meanwhile, around the house, Summer began and it found us playing with LEGO and Pokemons.

Norrath was calling as SOE launched their huge Living Legacy marketing campaign.  I picked up some nifty stuff in EverQuest, but never really got rolling with EverQuest II during the promotion.  Of course, not everybody was happy about the campaign.  The phrase “a slap in the face” was used by some. I never got around to a post about that involving the prodigal son (I still have the notes) though I did wonder what sparked this campaign.  Also, I was still annoyed by their then lack of a real time server status page.

And in Azeroth the instance group struggled through the Mana Tombs and started in on the Auchenai Crypts.  We were struggling, this being long before the great re-spec of 2009.

Fifteen Years Ago

SOE launched Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. Gone but not forgotten.

Linden Lab launched Second Life. It is still around, but it is no longer the future we’ve all been promised.  And their ads these days… are they’re trying for Third Life maybe?

Disney Virtual Reality Studios and Schell Games launched Toontown Online.  It has been gone for almost five years, but is available in emulator form as Toontown Rewritten.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. What is EVE Project Galaxy?
  3. Quote of the Day – We Just Work Here
  4. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  7. Quote of the Day – The Dumbest Thing Ever Said About PvP
  8. When the Steam Summer Sale Hits While You Are on Vacation
  9. WoW Classic – Blizzard Picks a Vanilla Point
  10. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  11. The Return of the Mystery Code
  12. The Demise of BattleClinic

Search Terms of the Month

kids with guns rent feythabolis
[If you have a gun, why not just take?]

when you put all your stats in strength and charisma
[You get Kronk?]

eve brave newbies good ratting system
[Somewhere in Impass I would guess]

pathroomsize
[As in “three pedroom, two path?”]

what update do you need to make an saddle on nitendo 3ds xl
[The horsey update?]

EVE Online

There was a lot going on in the game in June.  Abyssal Pockets were all the rage as the end-of-May Into the Abyss expansion carried on.  Stations in null sec became faction Fortizars.  There was the Federation Grand Prix event which, even though I wasn’t thrilled with, I ended up finishing on my alt.  It was easy enough if you did a couple runs a day.

I didn’t do many fleets however.  Being away for a stretch in back half of the month and our deployment in the north standing down for a rest in the first half meant not much going on.  That should get back going in July.  And I did get in on one nice end of the month kill.

Fallout 4

My one Steam Summer Sale purchase… so far.  I’ve started in on it and am a few hours in.  We’ll see how this runs its course.  At least I didn’t buy it and then NOT play it.

Pokemon Go

It turns out that Pokemon Go isn’t really viable at sea, where cell service isn’t a thing.  That was a week of no progress.  But we came back from vacation to find the new friend features enabled.  Pokedex progress has slowed down a bit, as I have caught or evolved all of the easy stuff at this point I think.  The new Alola forms of more Pokemon are out and about, but they don’t count as new, just variations on the current list.

Level: 32 (+0)
Pokedex status: 331 (+4) caught, 350 (+1) seen
Pokemon I want: Still Lapras, still don’t have one
Current buddy: Cascoon

Steam

The Steam Summer Sale kicked off and remains active into next week, so still time to shop… or earn cards.  Every sale I am compelled to earn cards for a badge.

Steam also said they were going to let most any game on their service whether they liked it or not.  Then they demonstrated that when they say “trolling'” they mean something they don’t like and that was about the end of that idea.  They also promised more and better tools for sorting through the trash heap their service has become.  We’ll see.

Coming Up

I think all eyes will be drawn to World of Warcraft before the end of the month.  The Battle for Azeroth expansion goes live in mid-August, which means that the preliminaries, the first 8.0 patch… 8.0.1 I hear, since we can never have a round number… will likely drop some time after mid-July.  Blizz has already started pushing the data files and I hear there is actually a start on the quest that will replace your artifact weapon.  The pending patch will be the signal to return, though I might re-sub a bit early to get in on a last Darkmoon Faire before the patch hits.

We might get the under water Minecraft update we’ve been waiting for.  Version 1.13 was actually expected to go live in May, but it is a big one and there have been bugs to quash.

And… and… well, it is summer.  Something else must be coming along.

WoW Classic – Blizzard Picks a Vanilla Point

With the looming launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion for World of Warcraft, I haven’t been expecting to hear much about WoW Classic.  For the most part, my expectations have been met and rightly so.  Talk of WoW Classic would just get in the way of the expansion, better to leave anything big for BlizzCon in November.

So I was surprised to see a Dev Watercooler update from Blizzard about WoW Classic.

Classic Vanilla Flavor

The update has some discussion of the technical issues and changes that the development group has had to deal with.

Probably the biggest bit of news in the whole thing is that they seem to have picked a version that will be WoW Classic.  From the update:

The first—and among the most important—decision we had to make was which version of the game to focus on. As many of you have noted, the classic period was two years long and full of changes. Core features like Battlegrounds were introduced in patches after WoW’s original launch, and class design similarly changed over time. After careful consideration, we decided on Patch 1.12: Drums of War as our foundation, because it represents the most complete version of the classic experience.

Version 1.12 brings us all the way back to late August of 2006, literally weeks before the instance group started its journey in Azeroth. (Full recap of the instance group in Vanilla available in this post.)

Us back in the day

All of the Vanilla raids and dungeons had been in place for a while and Blizz was just tuning things as they worked on the first expansion, The Burning Crusade.

I personally cannot remember much else back that far, but you can find patch notes for it all over the web.  From that I can see that 1.12 did indeed usher in cross-realms battlegrounds as one of its features. (Old WoW Insider did a look back at the 1.12 update back in 2011 that you can still find on Engadget if you want narrative and context.)

Anyway, that was a decent nugget of new, a point in time having been picked.  Fans of Captain Placeholder are no doubt disappointed, but it seems like a reasonable place to call Vanilla to me.

SuperData and How God of War and Fortnite Ruled April

The SuperData Research Digital Sales numbers for April 2018 have been released.

SuperData Research Top 10 – April 2018

On the PC side of the chart the status quo ante of the top three was restored as League of Legends, which dropped to second place in March, returned to its usual position at the top of the list.  The Dungeon Fighter Online insurgency was put down.

Elsewhere on the PC list, Fortnite held on to fifth position and World of Warcraft held on to sixth.  Popping onto the list in the seventh spot was HearthstoneWorld of Tanks held eighth position for another month while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dropped from seventh to ninth and CS:GO held tenth again.

On the console chart, Fortnite held the top spot for another month, while the newly released God of War ran up to second position as a PlayStation 4 exclusive.  FIFA 18 held on to third while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds remains buried by Fortnite on the console front, completely missing from the list.  Also disappearing is the XBox exclusive Sea of Thieves which broke into the console chart last month.

I do wonder whether H1Z1 will be able to make the chart, sqeezing back into the battle royal market it lost a hold of.  The report is that 1.5 million people downloaded the H1Z1 beta.  We shall see if that translates into sales going forward.

On the mobile chart Pokemon Go and Candy Crush Saga both held onto spots, but Lineage M, which brought in so much revenue for NCsoft in their last quarterly report, fell off.

Other items from the SuperData Research report:

  • Fortnite can’t be stoppedonce again it broke the record for most additional content revenue in a single month by a console game.
  • Fortnite breaks another record. Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March.
  • Console spend was up a whopping 44% in April due to the record-breaking success of both Fortnite and God of War
  • God of War has the largest console exclusive digital launch to date. Sony’s new exclusive title sold an estimated 2.1 million digital units at launch in April. This is more than double that of the second-largest Sony exclusive launch, Uncharted 4.
  • Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age. GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.
  • Honour of Kings hits a new high. Honour of Kings further cemented itself as the top grossing mobile title in the world with another $185 million in revenue generated during April, up from $171 million in March and $149 million last April.

Blizzard Second Among Equals in Q1 2018 Quarterly Report

Yesterday saw the release of earnings information for Activision-Blizzard for the first quarter of 2018.

As I have complained about in the past, the company has gone to great lengths to scrub all but the most basic data from these reports over the years.  Long gone is any talk of subscription numbers or line items that single out subscription revenue.  They have even reduced emphasis on their bullshit monthly average users metric.  As soon as something stops looking good they stop talking about it.

Still, they can’t hide everything.  As a public company they have to give some standard information in formats acceptable to the accounting and investment industries.  So we have, as an example, slide 9 of their presentation.

Revenues on Slide 9 of the investor presentation

This is generally where they brag about what went well.  Last year in Q1 for Blizzard in was World of Warcraft, still high on the Legion expansion, and Overwatch.  At that point Blizz was behind King for revenue, but tied with King for income, giving them the lead in margins.

This year Blizz has fallen back from that.  We expect the Activision side of the house to be in third place in any quarter when they did not have a Call of Duty release.  Still, they did pretty well year over year, largely based on Call of Duty digital sales if I read that right, but at least they have managed to get revenue out of it over more than a single quarter spike.

King grew as well.  Like each of the three segments of the company, they rely heavily on one title, Candy Crush Saga in this case.  But they managed to milk that for a lot making them both the top earner and the best in margins.

And then there is Blizzard whose revenues grew, but not by as much as the other two.  Income from that is down over last year and margins are now back in third place.

Q1 2018 Revenue and Income

The upside news from the Blizzard front seems to be mostly about keeping Legion going with updates and pre-sales of the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion.  Overwatch League is also mentioned, but I am not sure how much I buy that given that it is also listed under the reasons why margins have slipped.

Blizzard’s investments in “key growth initiatives” is blamed for the reduction in margins.  On them, the one I wonder about is “mobile incubation.”  With King on board I though they were handling all the mobile.  Then again, with King on board and dominating revenue, income, and margins, maybe there is a push to get the Blizzard brand on mobile in a form that makes money.

We shall see.  I suppose it is nice to see World of Warcraft still so strong, but Blizzard needs one of its newer titles to pick up some slack here as WoW declines, be that decline gentle or not.

Anyway, the reports, presentation, and audio from the call are all on the quarterly reports page of the investor relations site for Activision-Blizzard.

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.

SuperData Shows League of Legends Dethroned and Fortnite Still Booming

SuperData Research has their numbers for March out and it shows an unexpected (at least to me) change with some of the usual suspected.

SuperData Research Top 10 – March 2018

League of Legends lost its first place spot on the PC list.  If you go to the SuperData tag here and scroll down the past posts, you will see that League of Legends has held that spot since the list was a thing.  It has been there for so long it seemed like it was just locked in place.

Of course, it was supplanted by Dungeon Fighter Online, a Korean game big in the China market that has been hanging around second or third position for as long as LoL has been in first place.

I’m not sure if League of Legends is sagging a bit or if the Season 4 release for Dungeon Fighter Online was that popular, but we have a new player in first position for now.

Further down the list Fortnite pushed into fifth spot while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, fifth last month, dropped down to seventh place behind World of Warcraft.  World of Tanks held on to the eighth slot while Far Cry 5 joined at ninth, taking that spot from Hearthstone, and CS:GO held on to tenth.

On the console list Fortnite broke into the number one spot in March, followed by popular new comer Far Cry 5, pushing down FIFA 18, Call of Duty WWII, and the long in the tooth GTA VSea of Thieves also hove into view on the list while Monster Hunter: World fell from fourth to tenth spot.

And on the mobile list Pokemon Go and Candy Crush Saga swapped positions compared to the February list.

It seems like things are still full speed ahead for Fortnite and their conquest of the battle royale genre.

Other items from their update:

  • Dungeon Fighter Online has generated the highest revenue of any Free-to-Play PC game in March on the back of their third anniversary celebration and a limited event that challenged players to level up new characters for special items.
  • Tencent’s mobile kart-racing game, QQ Speed, has generated over $100M in revenue for its third month in a row.
  • 2015’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III continues to hold an impressive audience despite being two iterations behind this year’s Call of Duty: WWII. Developer Activision is continuing support for the game, releasing a new mode and map this month.
  • Fortnite had quite a March. The game has overtaken the previous “king of battle royale,” PUBG, in terms of revenue generated and monthly active users across all platforms. It also hit the #1 spot by revenue on iOS in the United States in its launch month and has the highest conversion rate of any free-to-play PC game in March. There’s no other way to say it: the game is a phenomenon. Fortnite generated $223 million across all platforms (console, PC, Mobile) in March, up a whopping 73% from February. Drake, a new season of the Battle Pass, and a John Wick skin all contributed to the massive growth.
  • Far Cry 5 marks a strong return for the franchise. Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 sold an estimated 2.5 million digital units across console and PC. On console, Far Cry 5‘s digital launch was up nearly 500% compared to Far Cry Primal two years ago. This points to not only the underlying health of the Far Cry series, but also to growing digital download rates for AAA console games in 2018.
  • Sea of Thieves has early success but with a caveat. Sea of Thieves had 1.7 million monthly active users on console and 283,000 on PC during its launch month. However – more than half of these users obtained the game through the limited free trial offered as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. This leaves some unanswered questions concerning the long-term success of the title.
  • Candy Crush hits another multi-year high on mobile. Candy Crush had its most successful month since 2014. King’s flagship mobile title has been showing double-digit year-over-year growth since mid-2017.