Category Archives: WoW Classic

May in Review

The Site

I often start writing these monthly review posts well in advance.  They have a structure and a formula and very little of it requires me to be at the end of the month.  If I want to write but don’t have a topic I am invested in, I will often start in on one of these, filling out the framework.

Such was this month where, back on the 20th or so, I wrote this section, having felt that the big site event of the month had come and gone.

For this month it was when somebody linked an old post I did about voxels back when EverQuest Next was re-announced, in relation to something called Minetest, which is something like a voxel Minecraft I guess.  That generated a lot of referrals and I figured the most viewed post of the month had been set, it having passed the 800 mark already, when most months any post that passes 400 views is almost guaranteed to be the top of the list.

Aiming at a distant tower guard in Delta Force

Then, for whatever reason, my About page became popular… with bots no doubt… for about a week.  Enough to vault it into the top Most Viewed Posts this month, as you will see below.  It is, technically, a post.  That gave me something for this section.  I even took a screen shot to accompany the whole thing, but felt I should take one later in the month, when the final results were closer to set.

Then I wrote that one post in a fit of pique about Alta Fox trying to bully Enad Global 7 to set forth wrecking the company, draining its coffers for stock buy backs, so they could be enriched with no possible upside to the health or long term viability of the company.

Then that took off.  I ended up with a 2,000 page view day with that one.  There was a time when I was getting more page views than that as a daily average, but that was a decade back.  Now it is a good month when the average approached 500.  That is still more than I ever expected, but it hardly registers on the internet.

Basically, looking at my most viewed posts this month, the internet seems to be telling me that if I want traffic I should spend more time critiquing the excesses of late stage capitalism and reminiscing about voxel based 3D game engines.

One Year Ago

Blizzard, attempting to get into the mobile game space on its own, announced Warcraft Arclight Rumble.  Meanwhile, Diablo III turned ten years old.

On the flip side, Enad Global 7 and Daybreak announced that they were cancelling the previously hinted at Marvel based super hero MMORPGEverQuest did get two new progression servers, Vaniki and Yelinak, and EverQuest II got the Varsoon server.

In Valheim we built the grey pit to harvest grey dwarves.  This has become a semi-popular post for people trying to do the same.  We were also in search of silver, which meant building a mountain base, and looking to defeat Bonemass.

I had a list of five problems that I felt CCP was never going to solve in EVE Online.  I also wrote about damage meters in the game, which are alike and different from other MMORPGs.

But that was just a warm-up for EVE Fanfest.  We had been promised a lot, but the opening keynote didn’t deliver.  Overall, Fanfest just made a lot more promises without delivering anything substantial.  The return to expansions sounded nice… but the first one was months off.

CCP did, however, finally relent on the prices of capital ships.  Another of their economic theories dashed on the rocks of reality.  Meanwhile, the final days before the subscription price increase saw people buying in to save some cash and EVE Anywhere became available for Alpha Clones, but the announcement was so confusing that some news sites reported that the feature had entered alpha.  Also, CCP was being called out for still betting on an FPS as its future.

CCP did promise us something special for alts as long as we consolidated all our accounts to a single email address.

CCP also announced the candidates list for CSM17.

Actually in New Eden, the GEF headed to war in southeast null sec, first hitting Omist then pushing into Tenerifis.  That led to some real fights.

I brought up Wordle-like games that focused on the movies.

Josh Strife Hayes went and played LOTRO as the game turned 15 years old.

This American Life did an episode about NFTs, which were a plague at the time.

I got paid for the ads on the site for the very first time and we were still binge watching at our house.

Five Years Ago

My other blog turned ten years old, so I did a retrospective… here… since my other blog is a picture blog.

There was the big rumor post about plans at Daybreak that included winding down EverQuest and EverQuest II in favor of a new EverQuest game.  While some items on the list did come to pass ( Just Survive did not and PlanetSide Arena is effectively PlanetSide 3), the old school preservationist faction won out in Norrath and it looks like we’ll be getting expansions for some years to come.  Meanwhile, they were also giving out level 100 character boost in EQII again.

While I was on a WoW break of sorts, Blizzard seemed to be doing well enough in the financial report for Q1 2018.  Of course, they were feeding us tidbits to keep us interested while we waited for Battle for Azeroth, with pre-orders available since January.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, an RTS from the turn of the century, was still getting expansions.  You cannot keep a good game down.

I objected to a silly post about making the MMO genre “more accessible.”  It was all either blindingly obvious or too specific to be practical as a general rule.

I was still mucking about in Rift Prime, having made it into Scarlet Gorge, though it felt like something was missing.

Microsoft was planning to discontinue support for Minecraft on some older consoles after the Aquatic Update was released.

On the Kickstarter front the was big success for the Empires of EVE Vol. II campaign and a huge flop for the ill advised Flower of Knighthood campaign.

CCP was celebrating the 15th anniversary of EVE Online and I was going on about the importance of all the tales that make up the ongoing story of the game.

I was over on the test server trying out the upcoming Abyssal Space content, which I likened to dungeons.  Why not?  CCP calls things dungeons in their patch notes.

At the end of the month we got the Into the Abyss expansion for EVE Online and people were losing ships to Triglavians almost immediately.

That was preceded by what I called the great third part apocalypse as CCP shut down the old API interface, killing any number of third party applications that depended on it.  I was also on about their New Eden Store scarcity policy.

We got an update on when the elections for CSM13 would be held, while with the MER I was wondering if anybody would challenged the might of the Delve economy.

And then, actually in game, we were still running ops against GotG in the north, exchanging citadel kills and chasing after them into Venal and mounting some ops from there before returning to Pure Blind.

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

Internet spaceships become serious business as EVE Online launches.

SOE launched PlanetSide, their MMOFPS.

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

And the WordPress blogging platform was first released in May of 2003.

Fifty Years Ago

In May of 1973 Bob Metcalf wrote a memo at Xerox PARC with the title “Alto Ethernet” that contained the basic schematic for the networking hardware that would come to be known as “Ethernet.” This was just one of the many designs and innovations that Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center would create, which Xerox would then completely fail to capitalize on but which would go on to become the foundations of modern computers.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. Late Stage Capitalism Ruining Things: EverQuest Edition
  2. Delta Force: A Memory of Voxels
  3. The LOTRO 2023 Roadmap – No Consoles, No UI Updates
  4. About
  5. Changes at Netflix, HBO, and MTV
  6. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. How Many Skill Points are Enough in EVE Online?
  9. Another Chance to Get Your Name on the EVE Monument
  10. Twitter Alternatives as Elon Continues to Elon Fiddle
  11. The Viridian Expansion is Coming to EVE Online in June
  12. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II

Search Terms of the Month

wow zul’farrak can’t talk now trolls sergent bly
[ZF be like that mon]

using chatgpt with everquest
[Don’t let me stop you]

buying omega with plex
[Yes you can]

exiled kingdoms patch
[Haven’t actually played that]

website template wow
[Oh no, another potential blogger]

Game Time by ManicTime

Didn’t I say I wasn’t going to do this anymore?  I lied, though whether it was to you or myself is up for debate.  But apparently I find some usefulness in this section, so here it is again.

  • WoW Classic – 54.88%
  • LOTRO – 35.66%
  • EVE Online – 9.21%

Overall, since I was away for a good 10 days of the month, the total hours played in May were the lowest monthly total for the year… or since I started using ManicTime.

EVE Online

It was something of a quiet month in New Eden for me.  With the war in the north winding down into a more contained “content” conflict and having moved all my stuff back to Delve, I didn’t have a lot to do.  I went out and harvested my PI, I went on a couple of fleets, I got on my minimum of one kill mail for the month, and I logged in daily to redeem all my 20th anniversary goodies.

Lord of the Rings Online

The Lossless Scaling experiment started me off in Middle-earth.  I have made it through into the Lone Lands once more, and ought to be a shoe-in to make it through Evendim if I remain enthused.  After that though… well, Evendim is the last zone I think of as fun.  We’ll see if I get beyond there.

Pokemon Go

Nothing much went on for us in Pokemon Go, except for me having a Pokemon in a gym in rural Oregon for nearly two weeks before they got kicked out.  Level 44 is closer, but still a ways away, and Niantic seems keen to screw with our routine.

  • Level: 43 (77% of the way to 44 in xp, 1 of 4 tasks complete)
  • Pokedex status: 770 (+3) caught, 785 (+4) seen
  • Mega Evolutions obtained: 24 of 35
  • Pokemon I want: Three specific Scatterbugs; Sandstorm, Icy Snow, and Meadow
  • Current buddy: Krokorok

WoW Classic

Northrend was starting to wear on me a bit as we entered May.  Then I was playing LOTRO for a while.  But then the Joyous Journeys xp bonus hit and the group was using it to get everybody to 80 and to work on some alts and we all started doing the Argent Tournament, so that come the last week of the month it was my main game again.


Not a good month for riding the indoor bicycle.  I was away for two weekends and had an injured leg for a third, leaving not much activity in May.

  • Level – 18
  • Distanced cycled – 1,629 miles (+27 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 62,297 (+735 feet)
  • Calories burned – 50,470 (+723)

Coming Up

There are a couple of big things coming up in June.

Probably the biggest, at least relative to topics I cover here, is the Diablo IV launch.  It goes live on June 5th or 6th depending on where you live for the world wide launch, with early access for the special pre-orders as early as tomorrow.  Blizzard is “confident” that the servers can handle the load they expect at launch.  I am “confident” that this optimism will age poorly.

Meanwhile, over in New Eden CCP will be launching the Viridian expansion for EVE Online.  So far we have been told that will bring Tech II capital ships and graphics upgrades to the game.  I am sure there must be more to it, but we shall see.

We are also getting the next phase of Wrath Classic.  Maybe I will be able to build Jeeves.

There will also be some more AI stuff next month.  You know it is the buzzword of the moment because over at VentureBeat literally every other headline is related to AI, it having replaced Metaverse, which in turn replaced Crypto/Blockchain in their obsessive focus on the latest hotness.

Wrath Classic Phase 3 Set for June 20th, The Joyous Journeys XP Buff has Returned, and WoW Tokens have Arrived

I may be able to finish constructing Jeeves in June.  Blizz hasn’t used the “p” word for the different updates to Wrath Classic, but some of the dedicated fan sites still use it and it is easier for me to think about phases rather than the name of a patch that dropped more than a decade ago.

The classic comes to classic

Anyway, whatever you want to call the next update, Blizzard announced the date in Monday’s This Week in WoW update:

Heed the Call of the Crusade the Week of June 20

It won’t be long before the Call of the Crusade goes out across the lands of Northrend. Wrath of the Lich King™. Here’s what’s in store-

Arriving June 20 with the update:

  • (New) Titan Rune DungeonsDefense Protocol Beta: Embrace the challenge of Titan Rune Dungeons, where you’ll take on a new higher-level difficulty in which creatures and bosses have a variety of dangerous new effects as well as additional health and damage. Bosses killed with Defense Protocol Beta active award loot from the 10-player version of Ulduar. The final boss will also award a new currency: Sidereal Essence. Sidereal essence may be exchanged for rewards from 10-player Hard Mode Ulduar gear at the Animated Constellation vendor in Dalaran.
  • Trial of the Champion– Head to the Crusader’s Coliseum at the Argent Tournament to begin the challenge in this 5-player dungeon.
  • The Argent Tournament: Join the Argent Tournament to undertake new quests and daily quests while showing off your jousting prowess for new rewards.
  • Wrath of the Lich King PvP Season 7 Begins

Opening on June 22 at 3:00 p.m. PDT (6:00 p.m. EDT)

  • Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader: Undertake the challenges of the Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader 10 and 25-player raid.
  • Level 80 Onyxia’s Lair: Face Onyxia in her lair in the level 80 version of this encounter

We look forward to seeing you on the tournament grounds.

No mention of my King’s Amber in that, so I won’t start making plans for Jeeves this moment, but once the patch notes I will know more I’m sure.

Our group will also have a new instance to try, which will save us from having to throw ourselves at heroics, as the Trial of the Champion will open up with the update.  Of course, it involves some of the jousting mechanics, so having Potshot dual-boxing healer and DPS may once again become a challenge.

And we’ll be getting more of the quests for the the Argent Crusade.  If I recall right, we ought to get heirloom gear that is purchasable for the tournament currency.  Back in the day I bought most of the heirloom gear on live that way.

Though it appears we’ll be getting an XP boost now, with the Joyous Journeys buff coming back with Tuesday’s update.  That gives a 50% XP boost, though you can turn it off by speaking to inn keepers around Azeroth.

Will that motivate me to work on some alt… perhaps even one still stuck back in Outland?


I already have two characters at the level 80 cap.  I think that was all I managed back in the day as well.

Also now in WoW Classic are WoW Tokens, the 30 day game time items that you buy for real world money and then sell at the auction house for WoW Gold.

WoW Token Process diagram

I suspect that this is a sign that gold selling has become an issue on Classic realms.  I know I have some gold spam in the in-game mail system just about every time I log into Bloodsail Buccaneers.  In fact, I think the only reason it has taken so long to show up is the work needed to integrate a 2015 system… they have been around for a while now… retro-fitted into a 2009 code base.  There are a lot of UI items and behaviors that needs to be accounted for.

I am somewhat indifferent to this change.  I earned my 5K gold for the high speed mount already on my main.  I know that it isn’t, technically, classic, but it does take a shot at limiting a problem as old as the game.

Of course, Shintar reports that some of the community is going ballistic over this.  My indifference makes this hard to care about, mostly because WoW Classic has included a long screaming match about what “classic” really is or should be since Blizzard announced plans to go there.  Are people really mad that a classic title doesn’t include all of the classic issues?

I’m not saying J. Allen Brack was right… we still remember who he is… or who he was, right?… just that he was probably speaking from the insight of how many problems were fixed over the years that had general community approval.  You throw those all away at your peril, but it is tough to go back in time and not have them.

Finally, as part of the phase 3 patch or whatever they call it, Onyxia is getting her level 80 boost.  We already got our WoW Classic bucket list goal of doing her as a group of five, but if you were holding off getting the legacy achievement, you have about a month left to do it.

Blizzard Announces WoW Classic Hardcore Mode is Coming

Rumors of this have been circulating in the wild since some code showed up in a WoW patch referencing a hardcore server mode, but last week Senior Game Producer Josh Greenfield announced on the Hardcore All-Stars stream that hardcore mode was coming to WoW Classic.

In this case, the central aspect of “hardcore” is perma-death, the idea that if you character dies on its journey through Azeroth, you are done and have to start over again.  There are other rules that some people follow, like no grouping for overland content or no using the auction house, but the death thing is the main feature.

People adopting self-inforced strict rules for their gameplay is hardly new.  If a game doesn’t come with difficulty levels then we’ll makes some up.  So Pokemon has the Nuzlocke Challenge rules and back in original Diablo we used to play a hardcore variant where you couldn’t go back to town once you entered the dungeon, so no vendor gear and no repairs, just what you could find along the way, and lots of other titles have similar ways to challenge yourself on a repeat play through.

It is just average, every day emergent game play, people finding ways to make a title a bit more challenging and, hopefully, fulfilling.  So, with WoW Classic now coming up on four years of service, people have gotten into the routine of looking for ways to keep the magic going in the old content.

One of the key problems is that the old content is entirely a set of solved problems, so the expansions and updates have to come faster to keep people invested.  So these sorts of personal challenges are a thing, because even the increased pace is still too slow for content that most have us have done before.

The question is WHY Blizzard has decided that they need to make an official mode for this.  I’m not knocking the play style, just wondering why it needs an official server to cover what people have managed to do on their own with some addons and like.

Yes, it is cool to have your playstyle validated with an official server setting and having the rules enforced universally by the code and maybe even having a leader board or you own personal history available is an excellent add to the whole thing.  I won’t dispute any of that.

But that isn’t the real “why” of this when I ask why Blizzard is doing this.

Blizzard is a corporation and, while developers are people and will do things just because they’re fun or cool, a corporate entity will, in the long run, only do things that it feels will generate a return on investment.  What do they expect to get out of this… and, honestly, how much are they going to invest in the idea?

The latter is key I suppose.  My first read of some of this was that they were going to roll up a hardcore server.  That is what we see in the code that was sniffed out back in March.

Realm Select Hardcore Warning

But the phrase being used now is “hardcore mode” which could be just a flag you set when you create a character, similar to the way it ended up in the Diablo series.  That would be a pretty cheap addition to make, just have the code prevent resurrection on death and you can wander the world as a ghost when you get in too deep with the Defias in tat cave out in Westfall.

But even with that minimum effort, they clearly expect more engagement in return.  And this is where I wish they would roll up a special server for hardcore because I would like some sense of how big that community really is.  I’ve spent the last 25+ years hearing various people saying “If only you supported my pet feature you would get a bunch more players,” usually from hardcore, full loot PvP proponents who loudly lobby for PvP in all the things.

Is this feature going to make an impact on WoW Classic subscriptions?

Now, if you’re a fan of this mode you’re disqualified from answering because of course you think it is the greatest thing and everybody will want to join in.  Likewise, if you hate the idea you aren’t exactly a neutral observer.  And if you are somewhat neutral… then you probably don’t care enough to have a strong opinion, so I don’t trust any of the reactions I see to be any sort of indicator of success.

Plenty of people loudly declared that WoW Classic would be a flop… and some still claim that despite all evidence… so unsubstantiated opinions of the fan base should be taken with the skepticism they deserve.

Which is why I really hope that Blizzard will put in the effort and roll up a dedicated hardcore server.  A stand-alone server dedicated to the premise that hardcore mode should be a thing seems like an excellent test of the idea.

Now, if this were Daybreak or CCP or some other modest sized studio, I might get huffy about diverting resources from already under served titles to go do an experiment like this.  But we’re talking about Blizzard here, which has the money and the resources… or used to have the resources, though the demand that work from home end and people return to the office daily has reportedly thinned their ranks and caused some concern about delivering Dragonflight content… so I am in favor of them running this as a test.

There are issues that may need to be addressed.  Syp, who has gone all-in on the whole WoW Classic hardcore lifestyle has a post up on MOP that lists out some, though it does pre-suppose a level of popularity that has yet to be demonstrated.

Anyway, like I said, bring it on.  I want to see how this plays out.  Blizzard has promised actual details at some future date, so we’re just waiting for that.

And if Blizzard has some free time, roll up a full loot, nowhere is safe PvP version of WoW Classic as well.  I want to see that theory tested while we’re at it.


Jeeves Delayed in Wrath Classic

With our run through The Oculus last week I was all excited because the engineering plans for Jeeves, the reusable repair and vendor bot, dropped for me.  Building Jeeves was on my list of things to do, so I started working on getting the pieces together right away.

The recipe is a bit complicate.  No mere harvestable materials in that recipe.  I would have to build some of the parts

Jeeves plans!

I started just going down the list.

The Field Repair Bot 74A was easy enough.  I had that recipe from vanilla WoW and had the parts for it in the bank.  Two of those were soon in my possession.

The Field Repair Bot 110G, on the other hand, I did not have the plans for.  That meant a trip back to Outland.

Fortunately, they are a pretty easy drop to get from a set of mobs in the Blade’s Edge Mountains, and I soon had that.  But to build what I needed… you get five per build, so I would need to build two batches… I would need two Khorium Power Cores, which require three bars of Khorium each, which in turn require two pieces of Khorium ore to create.  So an even dozen pieces of Khorium ore.

And the auction house was fresh out of Khorium.  Also, when it is there, it is very expensive.

So it was back out to Outland to cruise Nagrand and Netherstorm looking for Khorium ore deposits, which are rare.  Fortunately, when I did find a node, they coughed up at least 3 pieces of ore, so I only had to find four nodes.  That, however, took me two evenings of flying around because others are also out there looking for Khorium.  It is, as mentions, pretty pricey on the auction house.

That done, it was time for the Scrapbot Construction Kit, which needs a drop that comes from mobs in Storm Peaks.  The drop was easy enough.  It starts a quest and, if you plan in advance and bring the right materials with you, you can finish that pretty quickly.

Easy enough.

Then I got to 8 titansteel bars.  I had all the ingredients for those, but ran into a hiccup.  I had forgotten that back in Wrath that this recipe had a 20 hour cool down on it.  One bar per day.  It was going to take eight days to get those together.

But wait!  My Death Knight alt, Irondam, was also a miner.  He too could make titansteel bars.  So I mailed him half the ingredients, dropping the time to make to four days.

Now we were getting somewhere.

Then I hit King’s Amber and… well, that was the end of the line.  After looking on the auction house and checking with Potshot, whose alt Skronk is an alchemist, I was informed that King’s Amber is not yet in the game, that it would likely show up when we hit phase three of Wrath Classic.

We haven’t even hit phase two yet.  I have no idea when phase three might show up.  But until then, all these parts will be sitting in the bank waiting for me… though I am going to need some more frostweave bags from Ula.  My bank is full already.

[Or maybe we’re already in phase two and phase three is next month.  I don’t know.]

At Last, The Oculus Run

The time of dread was upon us.  Not all of us had memories of The Oculus from back in the day, but for those of us who did retain some sense of the place, it was not with happiness we recalled that time.

I actually cannot recall the run we did back in the day, but I remember a time when getting The Oculus as a Dungeon Finder groups was a sure fire train wreck.  I can recall spending an afternoon trying to get the instance done with a DF group only to have the lack of communication, knowledge, and the revolving door of people leaving after any minor set back turning the whole thing into a frustrating waste of time.

I also recall DF groups that would land in that instance and just mutually agree that we should just not bother.

Such were the foundations of my dread.  But we were going to give it a try.  So I flew out to Colderra in advance, just to get the lay of things.  And there, above me as I landed, was The Oculus, stacked up like an immense wedding cake… no doubt indicative of all the crumbs I had run into there in days gone by.

The looming tower over Colderra

I found the quest giver who had something for the instance and, as the rest of the group logged in for our run, they started the flight from Dalaran to our uncertain venture.  Only Ula had to be summoned to the meeting stone, busy as she was making 20 slot frostweave bags for us.

Very nice.

Our group for this outing was:

Ula still working away in Dalaran

Once we were all present we went to the instance portal, which is just above where the portal for The Nexus is in the zone.

We’re going in there

In we went and I started to get some sense of having been there before.  But it was still a bit misty, buried below angst and antipathy.

Here we are

We made it around the first arc that makes up the first level with only one death.  The initial mobs are mostly non-elite, but they are also all ranged and spread out and tough to round up and when people dump AOE on them, bad things happen.

Still, we made it and ascended to the second level where we ran into Drakos the Interrogator, the first boss of the instance.  He had a lot going on, AOE and an ability that yanked everybody to him, but we managed to muddle our way through.

Fighting with Drakos

On defeating him the three prisoners he held are released, and each one has a type of dragon mount you can ride.  You need to get one because flying is required to progress.  But you have to be careful.  While any of the three will fly you around, the one you choose now is the one you have to use for the final boss fight.

I had read ahead on that and made sure everybody picked the dragon that aligned to their role in the group; ruby for tank, emerald for heals, and amber for DPS.

Getting our dragon game on

Of course, they give you some dragons with attacks, your first thought might be, “Can I just blast mobs with these?”  And the answer is “no.”  You can shoot the dragons and welps that fly around the instance, who will attack you if you get to close, but normal mobs on the ground can’t just be swept away by aerial onslaught.

Also, it speaks to how the beta went that one of the three available buttons on the dragon riding console interface is one that asks, “Where do I need to go?”  The problem with a 3D flying instance is that it is much harder to channel people to the right mob if you can’t just stick them in a tunnel or box canyon.

Anyway, we went and did the next group of mobs the old fashioned way, feet on the ground, while we had to fly between platforms to fly them.

Along the way we got a drop I was not expecting.

Jeeves plans!

Making Jeeves is clearly on my list of things to do for Wrath Classic.  So the whole run was paid for by my calculations at that point.

Anyway, that all leads to Varos Cloudstrider, another angry boss on a platform.  We deplatformed him.

Varos Cloudstrider shall stride no more

As you can see, there is also a chain of quests that is supposed to guide you through the instance… but they still had to put that directions button on the dragon.

After that we were flying up to the next level to find Mage-Lord Urom.  There are no trash mobs, Urom is just standing there waiting for you.

There he is!

However, he doesn’t actually fight you.  Instead he summons trash mobs for you to battle.  I guess that is a change and gets past the “why don’t trash mobs standing within line of sight assist each other?” question that haunts any objective look at most dungeon layouts in WoW.

You fight his mobs three time, then he goes to the center of the area where you finally get to take him on.  He has an annoying frost bomb spell that is an AOE DOT that you want to get off of as soon as you can… but you’re slowed, because it is frost!

And then every so often just jumps to the center of the ring and lets go a big AOE that you need to duck behind cover to avoid, which is difficult if you’re on his frost and moving slowly, and even more difficult if you’re playing two characters.  Bjorid was the first to go down… but not the last.

We managed to get through to the last few percentages of him and bring him down, but not before he laid down another floor of frost.  Then the quest mob who guides you through the instance popped up right where Urom died, so everybody walked over to him… or stayed there with him in one case.  Everybody besides me.

I had seen the frost bomb go down.  It was hard to miss.  I knew if it was there it was still putting out damage to everybody standing on it.  Everybody but the quest mob I guess.  A few ticks of that and soon the whole party was dead save me.

Baited on a free quest!

That was quite embarrassing.  But it is a good thing the tank is a pally and can ress.

Interestingly enough, I went back to our 2009 run and found a similar screen shot.

Urom dead, along with most of us

That time Earl and I stepped out of the frost.  We’ve not gotten better over time.

Once we got everybody back together and buffed up again, it was time to face the final boss, Ley-Guardian Eregos, a dragon who flies around.  That meant getting on the dragon mounts who, when asked where to go, basically said they had it handled.

Just waiting for us

I did not believe them.

So I went and looked up the strategy for the fight.  Then we executed that strategy as best we could, because it honestly didn’t make a lot of sense, referencing things we hadn’t see since none of us could remember the fight from 2009.

Then again, it was mostly just DPS do damage, healer heal, and tank be the tank, so the details couldn’t be that meaningful, so off we went.

We go into the fight

And, it worked.  After a couple rounds the instructions made a bit more sense.  Also, we all did our thing and soon enough the boss was down.

Boom.  We were done.  We not only got the achievement for the run, but being the last phase one dungeon on the list, we also got the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement.

Northrend Dungeonmaster List

The loot in the chest from the final fight was mostly so-so, though there was one jewel crafting recipe in there, and that is Fergorin’s trade.

Bracing Earthsiege Diamond

That was it.  We took a final screen shot with the defeated boss.

Victory in Northrend

Then we were done.  So the question is; what to do next?

Ula says she wants to try heroics.  But first we all have to get to level 80.  Meanwhile, Blizz does seem to be getting ready to test phase two. (Also in that post, game director pretty much admits Shadowlands wasn’t great.)

Almost Done with all of my Wrath Classic Phase One Plans

That headlines implies that I had some long list or plan when it came to Wrath of the Lich King Classic, which would be overstating things rather wildly.

The classic comes to classic

The only specific plan made by myself or our group was to try and do all the normal mode dungeons, with a general plan of “seeing” the expansion in something akin to how it was back in 2008.

And we are just a single dungeon away from the main plan.  We have yet to try the Oculus, the once instance that we have been deferring due to general bad memories of the place.  We’ll get to that.

But for my own, minor, possible goals, I seem to have run them down mostly.

I have, to start with, hit the level cap on not one but two characters.

I have, via various characters, done at least the core quest  lines for all of the zones except for Crystalsong Forest, which barely counts as a zone.

I’ve battles in Wintergrasp a few times, even managing to be on the winning team a couple of times.

Not the usual outcome

Wintergrasp, which I ran with great regularity back in the original Wrath time frame is both the same and different.  It gets decent participation and the same old routines that I complained about causing one side or the other to lose remain.

Horde – Secret Plan Z – attack with weak forces from all directions

And then there are the differences, which is more than the missing water.

Just riding down this frozen empty stream bed

Now neither side can get its act together on the attack at least half the time, so being on the defense gets you most of the way to victory.  It also just doesn’t feel as fun any more, though being a protection pally in the middle of the battle probably isn’t helping.

The Argent Tournament, on the other hand, did click with me for a stretch.  I got in there and did it most evenings, earning a series of exalted faction achievements.

Friends with everybody

I also upgraded some of my gear and and almost there for the Argent Hippogryph.  But the second stage of the tournament does arrive until phase 2, so I am starting to let that slide.

Still, doing that got me enough gold to get fast flying.

Another achievement

That encouraged me to dig in on engineering, first to get the turbo-charged flying machine built, so I would have a fast flying mount.

Leaving Dalaran on the flying machine

I had to work a bit to get the last 10 skill points for engineering, but at least having fast flying made patrolling for resources more viable.  I managed that and, along the way, the rest of the crafting tracks my main had.

All skilled up

There are a couple of useful things at the end of the engineering path, like the Northrend wormhole generator, which is basically a portal to some of the zones in the expansion.  Oddly, though I’ve used it about 30 times at this point, I have yet to have the mis-fire, where it teleports you into mid-air high over the zone.  I have a parachute ready for that event, but it hasn’t cropped up yet.  I wonder if they have that enabled?

I was also able to make Bjorid a nice gun at 450 engineering.

This goes bang

I still have a couple more things to track down and a couple of engineering recipes that I will have to go out and farm, with Jeeves being high on the list.  Otherwise we’re kind of in a bit of a holding pattern for phase two… assuming we can get the Oculus done.

Is there anything else I need to do in phase one?  I am certainly not going to raid.  We might try some heroic instances once we’re all at level 80, but given our healer is also running a DPS player in the group, we’re kind of constrained on how well we can do.

April in Review

The Site

This may be the last post to get auto-forwarded to Twitter.  WordPress put up a blog post about how Twitter API access was coming to an end due to Twitter charging a lot of money for that now.  May 1 is the deadline to sign up for the new pricing for the API.  An additional email went out stating that from April 30th forward the API link would be severed, which sounds like yesterday’s post might have been the last one.  We shall see. did say they were looking into adding more integrations to sites like Instagram and Mastodon.  They also suggested people could try Tumblr, which they own now, as a Twitter alternative.  Say what?

Meanwhile, the daily post streak goes on.

You know, I had the chance, a good number, to step off the daily posting merry-go-round.  Wouldn’t 1111 have been a good stopping point?

The streak went on !!1111

And then I forgot I had something queued up for the next day and was writing ahead and the opportunity passed.  So here, at the end of April in the year 2023, I am still on the daily post routine.

In other news, I turned off the ads on the site for now.  Hopefully you didn’t notice because you browse the web with an ad blocker turned on, something I believe is a security necessity.  I was just looking at the site on my phone without ad block and decided that the ads really sucked and turned them off.  Earning $250 in 18 months didn’t seem like enough of a payoff.

I was tempted to keep them on until I hit $300, because you only get paid out at $100 intervals, but the other thing is that the quality of ads WordPress has been delivering has been abysmal.  The number of ads served up has remained fairly constant while the payout has consistently eroded over time.

But that is the story of the internet, now isn’t it?

One Year Ago

Of course things kicked off with April Fools at Blizzard, though a strange one in the shadow of the Microsoft buyout offer and all the company’s troubles.  The announcement of the Dragonflight expansion was certainly no joke.

However, the coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic was what really had our eye.

Either way, Blizzard needed something new, their revenues were down hard.

Meanwhile in not an April Fools joke, decided free blogs would get no storage space.  They changed their mind, but never shouted “April Fools!”

Lord of the Rings Online hit 15 years.

Wordle was the latest thing, and Wordle-like clones were popping up, each with their own angle.

I was wondering what made housing worthwhile in MMORPGs.

The instance group took a break from its struggles in Outland to return to Valheim.  It was time for a new world with fresh epic voyages of discovery.  There were new features, like the cartography table, to learn about.  We also had to battle all the bosses again, starting with Eikthyr and then The Elder. We got ourselves a base on the coast to further our exploration and found something new in the swamps.

Along the way Valheim got controller support, in anticipation of its XBox debut.  I was going to try it out, but never quite got to it.

All that meant we were pretty much done with Lost Ark.  I wrote up some reflections on our run at the game and linked to more Carbot videos.

EVE Online was still doing monthly feature updates.  For April we got the Rorqual conduit jump and some nerfs to citadels.  We also got the plan for the CSM17 election even as Xenuria was spilling tea about the CSM and CCP.  Somewhere in there I hit the 240 million skill point mark.

Meanwhile, after getting lots of players riled up by his flirtations with crypto, Hilmar declared that NFT meant Not For Tranquility.  I mean, we had signs that crypto was doomed… in the form of Lord British jumping on board that train wreck with something that couldn’t be a more transparent attempt to cash in on his name and reputation.  Too bad for him that he had already wrecked the latter.

Oh, and then CCP announced that they were raising the subscription price for EVE Online to $20 a month.  That was a blow that didn’t make anybody happy and started people panic buying PLEX in Jita.

Then, in one of those Friday bullet point posts I noted that EG7 divesting from Russia, CCP gave us a history of the EVE Online database, RimWorld was legal again in Australia, Diablo II Resurrected was getting ladders, and Playable Worlds got $25 million in funding.

I was stuck in a gym in Pokemon Go for quite a while.

I was also on about using Discord as a source of gaming news and updates.

I told the story of how knowing too much history got me out of jury duty.

And, finally, Elon Musk said he wanted to buy Twitter.  I figured he wasn’t a complete idiot, that he wouldn’t burn the place to the ground or anything.  There is a post that hasn’t aged well.

Five Years Ago

April Fools at Blizzard was mostly about World of Warcraft.

Having unlocked the four allied races available with the Battle for Azeroth pre-order, I was set to take a break from Azeroth until the per-expansion events started.  The August 14th launch date had been announced.

Ultima Online‘s Publish 99 introduced a free to play option.

Speaking of things Lord British has touched, I also played some Shroud of the Avatar and then tried to figure out who it was really targeting.  That I uninstalled it later probably meant I wasn’t on that list.  I have not gone back to it since.

Pokemon Go got field research as a new activity.

On Rift Prime I was in Stonefield.  There was also a problem with claiming mounts.

There were two Kickstarter campaigns of note, one for Empires of EVE Vol. II and the other for the CIA agent training card game.  I backed them both.

For EVE Online Fanfest was on in Iceland, where the keynote announced the coming Into the Abyss expansion and the Triglavian menace.  There was a lot of other news and tidbits out of the event, which I tried to sum up on the following Monday.  CCP also got recognized by Guinness for the Million Dollar Battle.

Actually in game, we were busy up in Fade and Pure Blind, such that I am going to just list out all those posts as bullet points:

Good times in space.

But, in the end, the most bizarre moment of the month was probably when Daybreak, asked if Russian sanctions might affect them, went straight to declaring that they have never been owned by Columbus Nova, despite having told us they were for owned by them since the acquisition from Sony.  Then they went on to try and gaslight the internet (always a recipe for success) including editing their own Wikipedia page to remove all mention of Columbus Nova, then issued more statements, and then had a round of layoffs, all of which just succeeded in bringing more attention to their absurd situation, to the point that I had to write a summary post just to keep track what the hell was going on.

All of which could have been avoided if Daybreak had just said, “No, sanctions will not affect us.”  A warning to PR professionals everywhere.

That kind of took the air out of the announcement that the Angarr server on EverQuest had reached the Planes of Power expansion.

Ten 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.

Fifteen 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 in unison.  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 to find, right?

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

Twenty Years Ago

Enix Corporation and Square Co. Ltd. officially merge, forming Square Enix Co. Ltd. I am not making this up.

PEGI, the European video game content rating system, came into use.

Thirty Five Years Ago

Gemstone launched on GEnie.  I played in the beta for it on GEnie and then was there for the launch.  It was the first command line MUD type game that I played.  I had played Stellar Emperor, Stellar Warrior, and Isle of Kesmai, but those were all terminal emulation focused titles.  Gemstone was more akin to Zork and titles like that which parsed text inputs for actions.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. Five New Eden Maps Better Than Either EVE Online In Game Map
  2. The LOTRO 2023 Roadmap – No Consoles, No UI Updates
  3. Twitter Verified User Marks Finally Disappear
  4. Blizzard April Fools No More
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Who Should Have Bought CCP in 2018?
  7. CCP Closing Down EVE Anywhere on May 24th
  8. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  9. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  10. Making the Grey Pit in Valheim
  11. The Cataclysm Classic Question
  12. Fraternity’s Keepstar in X47L-Q Destroyed without a Fight

Search Terms of the Month

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Game Time by ManicTime

I said I was going to stop posting this last month, in part because it just points out how few titles I really play and in part because I felt that posting this might be inhibiting my desire to play more titles.  And then, in April, I did in fact play more titles… so now to show I was right maybe?

  • Civilization II – 27.63%
  • Civilization V – 19.26%
  • EVE Online – 15.99%
  • WoW Classic – 15.21%
  • Civilization VI – 10.16%
  • Civilization III – 3.91%
  • Civilization IV – 2.42%
  • Valheim – 2.27%
  • Alpha Centauri – 1.73%
  • Civilization – 1.42%

Civ II and Civ V were the winners in time spent, though I will say that I played Civ II through the whole move op from Pure Blind back to Delve, tabbing into EVE Online only when it was time to do something.  So CCP thinks I player 3 hours or so of EVE… 6 hours really, because I was running two accounts… but ManicTime thinks I mostly played Civ II.  That is a constant problem tracking EVE Online time, as I spend so much of it tabbed out of the game.


I played a lot of the Civilization series, both in the number of titles I played and in the number of hours spent.  It is still a strong series.  That said, I might have sated myself.  In all that play time I never quite got one of those games where you really want to see it through.

EVE Online

I came into April pretty active in New Eden, with the war going on in Pure Blind and all.  We had bagged three Keepstars in Pure Blind in March, and managed to kill the X47 Keepstar after winning the amour timer through downtime.  But that seemed to be the limit.  Those two Keepstars in Venal were let go.  You can only have people alarm clock so many times for a Chinese time zone fight.  So we hauled most of our toys back to Delve, left a couple fleet options up there, and Fraternity dropped a fresh new Keepstar in X47.

Pokemon Go

We continue to send gifts and collect postcards in order to further our Vivillon count.  I now have 10 of the 20 total, with 6 more I will be able to evolve one I have the candies.  And all those postcards mean friendship levels which deliver xp, so I actually made some decent progress towards 44.

  • Level: 43 (68% of the way to 44 in xp, 1 of 4 tasks complete)
  • Pokedex status: 767 (+9) caught, 781 (+10) seen
  • Mega Evolutions obtained: 23 of 34
  • Pokemon I want: Three specific Scatterbugs; Sandstorm, Icy Snow, and Meadow
  • Current buddy: Amaura


I did get out Valheim for a bit this month.  I was kind of looking for a game where I could just do some stuff that would pay off later, but the group hit a bit of a plateau after defeating the boss in the plains, and we have to go do that again to get the drops we need for new Mistlands crafting.  Meanwhile, I don’t quite have the energy to go all in on creating a Mistlands base.

WoW Classic

I have been slowing down a bit on Northrend front.  The instance group has only one dungeon left to do to have seen them all, at least before phase two shows up.  I have two characters at the level cap and I am losing momentum on the dailies and the like.


I did get back on the bike more so than I did in March, when I rode a rather uninspiring 27 miles.  My very modest monthly goal is 50 miles and I barely got half way there.  This month, however I managed to exceed my goal.  Not great, but better than my low ebb.  And it probably helped that the power wasn’t out and I wasn’t traveling, as was the case in March.

  • Level – 18
  • Distanced cycled – 1,602 miles (+88 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 61,624 (+2,7353 feet)
  • Calories burned – 49,920 (+2,321)

Coming Up

EVE Online turns 20 years old on May 6th.  I expect we’ll see something big from CCP on that front… though they have been pretty quiet about things up until this point.

I suspect that Twitter drama will continue.

Activision Blizzard drama as well.

And AI stuff.  That is everybody’s favorite thing right now.

Maybe we’ll hear something about Wrath Classic phase 2.  Or maybe Cataclysm Classic?  I don’t know.

Other than that, at least on the blog front, it seems like business as usual.

Some Small Gripes About Wrath Classic

We have been having a good time in Wrath Classic.  We are almost done with the current set of dungeons, have done a few events, chased some achievements, and generally enjoyed ourselves.  Wrath Classic has been good.

But not perfect.  Not that it was perfect back in the day.  There are always problems.  For about a year in the original I had an issue where my client would crash if I was in Dalaran for more than about five minutes.  It only went away when I upgraded my video card, but I didn’t have a bad video card to start with.

So I though I would take a moment to drag out the things that irk me.  None of them are game breaking… well, not completely… but they are things that get on my nerves.

  • Draw Distance

This isn’t new to Wrath Classic.  It has been an issue throughout the WoW Classic era.  The draw distance for live interactable objects and mobs is ridiculously short.  While it comes up as an issue all the time trying to see even bosses in dungeons, on if my favorites is up in Ulduar where the summoning stone is just a short walk from the flight point… but you cannot see it.

Invisible Summoning Stone

I can even see a couple of other players around that stone, but cannot see the stone.  The trees beyond it, fine, the stone, no.

I doubt Blizz will do anything about it at this point, but it is one of those things that manages to be surprisingly annoying on a regular basis.

  • The Launcher still says Play

This is more of an “has it always been this way?” sort of gripe, but when I click on the “Play” button to launch WoW Classic it changes for a moment, then goes back to saying “Play” pretty quickly.  Meanwhile, the app itself takes its sweet time doing anything, no doubt taking a deep breath and psyching itself up a bit before committing to a launch, an interval that is just long enough to make me question whether the whole launch has been scrubbed and I might need to click the button again.

And the button is sitting there saying “Play,” which only compounds my doubts to the app’s commitment to the whole venture.

The app generally does something just before I go for the button again, but the interval is enough to make me think about it.

I thought perhaps the button returning to “Play” might be something for multi-boxing, but you have to go swap accounts to do that.  Maybe Steam has just spoiled me with the states of its “Play” button.  Or maybe the gripe here should be that the app takes a little too long to launch.

  • The Way WoW Names Screen Shots

I am following the format I learned in college, which recommended sticking your weakest points in the middle of your presentation.  That way they get lost or forgotten between your big opening point and your strong closer.

Anyway, the fact that WoW names screen shots in such a way that they don’t show up in chronological order when you sort by name is something I find irksome.  I don’t get into arguments about how the US does its dates versus the EU because it generally doesn’t matter. (BTW, we write the dates that way because that is the way we speak them.  Stop trying to apply logic, it is a language thing and the English language defies all logic.)

But when we’re doing things on the computer you will do dates in file names that makes them sort chronologically even if you sort by name.  I do not want to see shit like this.

WoW Screen Shot Sort

I know, somebody will say “just sort by date then!”  And I do.  But my apps don’t always follow suit.  In particular Windows Photo Viewer can only order files by name.

My graphics apps

I could use another app, but WPV is so light and fast and allows me to flick through screen shots so quickly and easily that I won’t give it up.  Alternatives take seconds to render images while WPV is as close to instantaneous as one could reasonably expect.

So at the start of every new year I rename my WoW screen shots folders by prefixing them with the year so I won’t find myself with screen shots from different events mixed together.

But seriously, lots of other titles do this correctly.  EVE Online has done it right since before WoW launched.  I suppose I should be happy that Blizz at least gave up on the .tga file format of the early days of the game.

  • Starting Quests from Items that Drop

We’re still in minor annoyances, but this one comes up regularly.  If you get a drop that gives you a quest, when you click on that item and the quest window pops up, it doesn’t go away when you accept the quest.

I clicked accept and it is still there

Yes, I can just close the window.  This isn’t a “stop the presses” bug.  But quests from drops became more common in Wrath… or it feels like they did, maybe because of this bug… and the quest window isn’t behaving as designed.

  • Looting Stacks of Items

One that you’ll see if you do the daily Dalaran cooking quest.  Your reward is in a package and when you open it you generally get a small stack of Northern Seasoning.  But auto-loot will only loot the first two, so if you get three to five in a stack, the loot window just sits there making everybody feel uncomfortable until you drag your cursor all the way up to the upper left hand corner of the screen to click on the rest of the stack and finish the transaction.

Playing this on a 34″ monitor makes this just annoying enough to put it under gripes.

  • Water in Wintergrasp

Not the open world Wintergrasp, which HAS to have water in it because there is a fishing daily that requires it.  No, it is when you go into a Wintergrasp match you find that all the water is missing.

Just riding down this frozen empty stream bed

Again, not exactly the crime of the century, but it does change the dynamics of the battlefield by removing barriers that can slow people down and also depriving Death Knights the ability to show off with their Path of Frost skill.

  • Memory/stability problems in the client

And the big closer, which isn’t even something I can take a screen shot of because it just sort of happens.

It feels like if I play for two hours or more I will eventually hit a state where the WoW Classic client will stop responding to input.  At first it will be unreliable, requiring me to do something a couple of times until it responds.  But not long after that it will stop taking most inputs.  I’ll still be in game, I will still be able to move around and such, but vendors won’t open up, my bags won’t respond, clicking on things in the world won’t get the expected action.

Now, this could be crappy AddOns… I have Questie, which gets its fingers into everything, and Auctioneer, which has seen better days… but the strange decaying of responsiveness still feels like the client isn’t managing resources correctly.

And, unlike the “client crash if I am in Dalaran for more than 5 minutes” routine I mentioned at the top, other people in our group see this crop up as well.

So those are my gripes, my minor complaints about WoW Classic at the moment.

Are there any other small grievances I should be aware of?  I threw this together off the cuff… like almost every other post here… and feel like I’ve forgotten one or two.  I didn’t have enough for a top ten, but I thought I would be closer than to it than seven.

Hanging Out with Arthas and Culling Stratholme, as One Does…

Last weekend we were down to just two choices when it came to dungeons left unfinished for us.  We had The Oculus and we had The Culling of Stratholme.  That seemed like almost no choice at all because several of us have bad memories of The Oculus while we seemed to collectively have almost no memory of The Culling of Stratholme, save for it meant another visit to the Caverns of Time.

Well, not “another” visit, at least not in the context of WoW Classic, as we successfully avoided it by failing to get there as part of The Burning Crusade.

Even getting there was a forgotten art.  I was waiting for Ula to get on so she could get us a portal to Theramore so we could fly down to Tanaris and ride over to the caverns, when Fergorin mentioned that there might just be a portal to get there over in the Violet Tower in Dalaran.  And, sure enough, he was right.

Just step through to get there

You can find it just up the steps in the tower off to the left.

We hopped through and found ourselves in the right place, with the summoning stone outside so we could grab anybody who didn’t happen to be in Dalaran.

This all looks familiar

We got Beanpole out with us then, while we were waiting for Ula to get online, I went looking for how to actually get to the caverns.  I recalled there being a dragon one needed to speak to in order to get a ride, and I found him.  He actually had a quest.

That isn’t much of a cash reward…

What I had forgotten was that the moment you accept the quest you are mounted up on a dragon and flown off, down deep into the Caverns of Time, a long way from the summoning stone.

Welcome to the Caverns of Time

So I told everybody else to not accept the quest until the summoned Ula… though I suppose we could to done the warlock ritual of summoning if they had… while I wandered around down at our destination.  I did the welcome quest which has you walking slowly around the place and listening to a lot of dialog that was going in one ear and out the other… or would have had I been listening at all… or reading… is it even voiced?  I cannot recall.

Anyway, I did find which of the paths led to Stratholme.

It has to be this one

Meanwhile, the rest of the group was together, took the quest, and flew on down to meet me.  Our lineup for the run was:

The group

Bjorid had hit 80 to use a gun I had been able to craft with engineering which was a significant upgrade.  Given that Bjorid and Fergorin are both run by Potshot, having boosted auto-attack DPS seemed like a good idea.

We went into the instance, talked to Chromie, who is always in the middle of these time travel things, and emerged out of some inn keeper’s basement.

Look, we just got here…

From there it was out into the Lordaeron to find some tainted grain… it is always the grain… hey, it was the grain in The Last of Us as well… hrmm… until we caught up with Arthas going through management routines he learned from watching Office Space.

I am king, and unless you do what I say I cannot be king anymore

Yes, Arthas is going to destroy the city in order to save it and we were along to make sure everything went just as it was supposed to while Arthas did his thing.

Yes Arthas… hey, you want to just buy Twitter instead?

Meanwhile, the residents are unaware save for the after affects of the infected grain.

Arthas makes a joke

We started remembering bits and pieces of the run.  I thought this was another instance we ran just once back in 2009, but it turns out we did it again during Cataclysm in order to try and get a mount drop from the heroic version.   Anyway, the running around and fighting various groups came to us, though we managed to wipe on one mini boss.  Eventually though we wrapped that up and caught up with Arthas at the town hall, where we began to journey with him.

And he is in a freaking hurry all the time.  Our problem wasn’t fighting any particular set of mobs, it was Arthas becoming the second most aggressive escort mob after Pengail in the Lone Lands.

No, YOU are not making this easy

We ended up losing Arthas a couple of times because we would get stuck into some group of mobs with him, then he would be up and after the next group before we could recover, shouting for our help.

You know, you could just wait a moment or walk slower or something

Fortunately, if Arthas dies time just rewinds back and you meet him at the last checkpoint and get to chase him through all of it again.

We did find we could keep pace with him more easily if we just let him solo any non-elites he ran across, but elite we had to help him with.  And then he would be up and at them again.

Oh come now, just have a drink with us or something

Eventually we made it around town and to the final fight with Mal’Ganis, which was easier than chasing Arthas, though it was a bit of a tease.  You don’t get to slay him because he has things to do in Northrend.  And so does Arthas, who can’t wait to get headed to Northrend.

Have fun, we’ll… uh… see you later

We got some loot from the chest and the achievement for the run.

Stratholme culled

Then Chromie showed up to gives us a pep talk, thank us for the effort, and to let us turn in the quest for the instance.

She shows up in dragon form, but goes all gnome again

We had once again kept time safe from the meddling of… oh, I’ve forgotten who was up to no good this time. But somebody was about.

All of which leaves us with just The Oculus to do before we’re out of Northrend dungeons… or at least the dungeons available so far.  Phase 2 will bring a few more, but that might not drop until June if rumors are correct.

March in Review

The Site

There are a lot of months where I am really scratching my head and wondering if this section of the monthly review is worth the effort.  And there there are months like this were I have something strange to share and I am glad I have it.

For reasons unknown, March saw a rise in users from Kazakhstan.

Very nice

The countries are generally sorted by the population of English speaking citizens, but somehow our friends in Central Asia made the cut early in the month.

The Kazakhs fell off somewhat past mid-month, allowing Sweden and France to overtake them by the end of the month.  Still, that was a bit unusual.

Also, for those of you following the new JetPack app that has been pushing, I left the old WordPress app on my phone until the day they threatened to pull the stats from it… and they did, indeed, pulls that stats from it.  I can still view and edit posts, but stats are a no-go.

On Year Ago

Nintendo announced the coming of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet.

Blizzard gave us a date for when they would announce their next expansion. and it sounded like Diablo Immortal might finally launch in 2022.

I was kind of done with EverQuest II and Visions of Vertovia after a couple month run.  The game itself was getting a community resource council, such councils being in vogue again.  I have no idea what became of that.

EverQuest turned 23.

The group was still playing Lost Ark.  I was on Twitch getting drops for watching people play the game… or, in truth, not watching but just leaving Twitch open in the background.

My solo character was moving along in Lost Ark, seeing epic battles and getting a stronghold and figuring out what was shared between characters on my account.  All of that got me looking at Steam achievements and some issues there.  But it was the flavor of the month.  Even CarBot was into it with videos.  I even made it to level 50, which is some sort of break point in the game.

The group itself ran through the Morai Ruins and a couple other instance while looking for mokoko seeds… and more mokoko seeds.

When it came to EVE Online I recounted five bad ideas that never seem to die… though it was really ten bad ideas, because EVE Online is like that.

On the side of good ideas, CCP had a PLEX for Good campaign for Ukrainian refugees.  The usual details followed, and they ended up raising more than half a million dollars.

Of course, CCP can never just have a win.  They also started selling full fit ships with the Prospector pack, a move so brazen I started wondering if their current economy destroying plan was put in place just to sell ships for cash.  This led to a streamer protest, a new kind of blackout for the game.

I was sure we were going to get some sort of crypto or pay to earn announcement next, what with Hilmar tweeting (and the official EVE Online account retweeting) about how he was pals with a pack of crypto grifters.

Meanwhile, the MER showed that economic activity was clearly slowing down.

Actually in New Eden, the GEF SIG was moving to Esoteria to shoot at FI.RE because they were letting Pandemic Horde use their structures to attack us.  Then it was into Feythabolis.

I was trying out Combat Mission: Red Thunder and FreeCiv… and the Ideology expansion for RimWorld.  I was also wondering when we might go back to Valheim.  But I stopped playing Words with Friends.  I think variations on Wordle replaced that.

Finally, we were binge watching too many mysteries at our house.

Five Years Ago

Project: Gorgon made it to Steam.

Shroud of the Avatar left early access.

EverQuest turned nineteen and launched a new server.

In EVE Online the player run Burn Jita event was back for 2018.  Many ships were destroyed and I took a bunch of screen shots and tried to count the cost.

Up in Pure Blind we killed some dreads and I got a kill mark on my guardian.

CCP let out more details about the road to CSM13.  There was a pretty short interval in which to register your candidacy.

The March Update for EVE Online dropped the jump fatigue cap to four hours and introduced The Hunt event.

There was an INN editorial about the metaphorical masks we wear in EVE Online.  I asked if we donned the masks on purpose or if our masks were shaped by the game itself.  I was also blog warring with SynCaine over the idea of instanced null sec battles.  It would break the game in my view.

Rift Prime went live and I spend a good chunk of time playing that.  I was in the guild The Fishing Defiants with Liore and some of the cats she used to herd.  The daily gifts and the chat could be overwhelming.

I played through Freemarch pretty quickly and moved to the east end of Stonefield.  Trion was tinkering with the experience curve, but they gave us some informational tidbits about the server.

And a Kickstarter campaign for the World of Warcraft Diary looked doomed from the outset.  But the author vowed to regroup and return.

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

March 2003 saw the end of production for the original GameBoy and GameBoy Color models from Nintendo, which had been produced since 1989.

In North America we got Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire.  There used to be a lag time between the Japanese launch and the localized launches for the rest of the world.

Shadowbane, another run at the “open world PvP will be great!” idea for MMORPGs, launched back in 2003.  Another victim of the “wolves and sheep” issue… sheep will leave if they are constantly terrorized by wolves… it managed to stumble along through various reworks until finally closing in 2009.

Ashen Empires also launched back in March of 2003.  While it has been through multiple owners and its own series of revamps (they finally added a freaking quest log to the game in 2020), it carries on as of this writing.

Twenty Five Years Ago

StarCraft hit the shelves 25 years ago today.  As I recall we all went to Fry’s at lunch to buy a copy the day it came out.  You can still buy a remastered copy from Blizzard if you want, or download the original for free last I checked.

Thirty Five Years Ago

On March 8, 1988 Activision changes its name to Mediagenic because “reasons.” (Activision remains the name of a subsidiary, along with Infocom and their business software unit.)  In 1991 Bobby Kotick buys into the company and changes the name back to Activision in 1992.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. More than 6,000 Players Clash in X47L-Q as Keepstar Battles Commence in Pure Blind
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. The LOTRO 2023 Roadmap – No Consoles, No UI Updates
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. D-Day for Diablo IV – Blizzard Announces a June 6th Launch Date
  7. The Cataclysm Classic Question
  8. Pax Dei offers a Vision of EVE Online in a Medieval Setting
  9. The WordPress App vs the JetPack App
  10. The Age of Diablo
  11. CCP Once Again Fails to Read the Room, Announces Funding for Blockchain Title
  12. Making the Grey Pit in Valheim

Search Terms of the Month

does baelgar knock back
[Bael’Gar does knock back]

nihilist sculpture death corpse cosmos universe
[Pretty sure this is in New Eden somewhere]

gamer blogs
[There are some still]

Game Time from ManicTime

I’ve decided to stop posting the ManicTime numbers monthly.  They have an odd effect on me in that I feel the need to record and write about anything that appears on the list which has, at times, inhibited me from actually playing games now and then.  I’m going to leave the app running, but it will be more for that end of the year “what did I play” sort of thing.

EVE Online

It was a busy month in New Eden for me, at least relative to recent months, perhaps the busiest month since the end of the last big war when we were dogging PAPI’s retreat from Delve.  According to the Imperium participation app I went on 20 fleets in March.  Only a few were on the front lines in Pure Blind though.  Instead my main effort was in the Alpha Clone homeland defense fleets.  My alpha alt got on way more kill mails than my main this month.  Maybe I left the wrong character at home.

Pokemon Go

Another month of saving postcards for Scatterbugs in order to evolve Vivillons.  I have now evolved seven of the eighteen and have the Scatterbugs for eight more that I will be able to evolve once I have saved enough box tops… or postcards.

  • Level: 43 (52% of the way to 44 in xp, 1 of 4 tasks complete)
  • Pokedex status: 760 (+4) caught, 774 (+3) seen
  • Mega Evolutions obtained: 24 of 34
  • Pokemon I want: Three specific Scatterbugs; Sandstorm, Icy Snow, and Meadow
  • Current buddy: Amaura

WoW Classic

We carried on in Northrend.  As I noted in my six month passing post earlier this week, Wrath has its charms and there are clearly things I still enjoy about it.  We still have some dungeons left to run there too.  But if Valheim got the Ashlands biome finished, I might suggest it was time for a change of scenery… at least until phase 3 of Wrath lands.


After a slow month in last month it was some work getting back on the bike again, what with travel, being sick again, and just not feeling like it.  And, of course, after months of building up some endurance I feel like I am back at square one.  But I did get on the damn bike.

  • Level – 18
  • Distanced cycled – 1,542 miles (+22 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 59,347 (+456 feet)
  • Calories burned – 48,155 (+556)

Coming Up

Well, you know what tomorrow is.  Expect a post, but maybe not the post you expect.

This week also saw me hit the three year mark for posting every day, something that has become a bit of a burden.  This post is day 1,098 in a row, and tomorrow, for which a post has already been written, will be 1,099.  If I am smart I’ll take Sunday off, break the streak, and not worry about this sort of thing ever again.

Otherwise it is April, and that means I need to get my taxes done.  And my mother’s taxes too.  Don’t ask, it isn’t a happy story.  As I have managed to procrastinate this long, I expect I might be spending some evenings working on that rather than playing video games.