Pokemon Dialga and Palkia GameStop Download Event

It being an even numbered year… or such is my theory… Nintendo has again decided to give Pokemon players a chance to get their hands on an array of otherwise mildly difficult to obtain legendary Pokemon.

The first up are from the Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum generation, Palkia and Dialga.

Legendaries of the DS era

To obtain one or both of this pair you must trundle on down to your local GameStop to pick up a code to redeem with your game.

The code requires you to own a copy of Pokemon Sun, Moon, UltraSun, or UltraMoon, and the legendary you get depends on which copy of the game you have.  Those with Pokemon Sun or UltraSun get Palkia while those with Pokemon Moon or UltraMoon get Dialga.

But the divide doesn’t end there.  Those with Pokemon Sun or Moon get a level 60 version of their respective legendary with one set of moves, while those with Pokemon UltraSun or UltraMoon get a level 100 version of their legendary with a different set of moves and a held item.

Look, here is the chart if you want the details.

You can click on this to see it larger…

So the true OCD Pokemon fan has to have all four games… but of course they already do… in order to obtain all four legendary variations.

I will likely just get a code for my copy of Pokemon UltraMoon… mostly because through my own bit of obsessive “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” collecting, I already have the duo sitting in Pokemon Bank.  But I wouldn’t say no to another one.

Anyway, all of this, including the steps on how to redeem your code once you obtain it from GameStop, are documented over on the Pokemon web site.

There is a time constraint.  The codes will only be available during February and must be redeemed by May 28, 2018.

Happy collecting!

Addendum: I actually picked up a card after writing this.

The Dialga and Palkia card

The cards are much bigger than the last GameStop distro, being about 4x the side by my estimation.

The reverse side of the card

Winter Movie League – Hog-whimperingly Silly

 There’s a hogwhimperingly silly performance from Helen Mirren…

-The Guardian, Winchester Review

Week ten of our Winter Fantasy Movie League has come and gone with low numbers due to the Super Bowl and no big new films arriving on the big screen.

Sure, there was Winchester, which featured Dame Helen Mirren.  But when a film causes our English cousins to abuse the English language to describe it, one cannot expect it to be a break out in the box office.  And yet, there it was at the top of the price list, an indication that somebody, somewhere felt it was going to carry the week at number one.

Winchester           $274
Jumanji              $261
The Maze Runner      $230 
The Greatest Showman $167
The Post             $126
The Shape of Water   $114
Hostiles             $113
Den of Thieves       $90
12 Strong            $89
Paddington 2         $75
Three Billboards     $71
I, Tonya             $61
Phantom Thread       $56
Star Wars            $46
Forever My Girl      $45

However even at the optimist end of the scale of forecasts it wasn’t going to be dominant, and as the week wore on enthusiasm sagged.  Even the Thursday night preview count, which wasn’t that bad really, failed to carry it forward and it ended up in third place overall for the weekend box office, failing to cross the $10 million mark.

But back at the early end of the week I based my first lineup around it, less because I thought the movie was going to be stellar than because I chronically underestimate the attraction of the horror genre.  My FML picks over time show a disdain for such films and, after having been burned enough time on that front, I decided to start with Winchester as an anchor and work from there.

However, once I found out there was an embargo on reviews… The Guardian published the review I quoted at the top, then had to remove it citing said press embargo… I left Winchester behind and never looked back.  Stopping the press from writing about a movie is tantamount to declaring it bad yourself, a generally futile effort to contain negative buzz.

With that out of the way the toss up for anchor was between Jumanji and The Maze Runner.  The general expectation was that The Maze Runner would hold first for another week, if only by a small margin, and since it was the cheapest of the pair, I ran with that.

I decided to go with three screens of that and then fill in from the lower end of the picks.  Star Wars was tempting, seemingly priced low enough to maybe take the best performer slot, but it hasn’t sustained as well as its big opening might make one think it should.  So I filled up five screens with I, Tonya as it was getting a boost in theater count and it was a film I wanted to see.  That left my pick looking like this:

My Winter Week Ten Picks

As it turned out my thoughts on anchor weren’t bad.  While Jumanji eked out a win in the box office, The Maze Runner’s lower price allowed better additional picks.  However, the best performer was higher up the price list.  12 Strong took that honor, the perfect pick for the week being two screens of The Maze Runner and six screens of 12 Strong.

Winter Week Ten Perfect Pick

217 players managed to get the perfect pick, none of them in the Meta League however.  And, compared to previous weeks, the payout for perfect was somewhat paltry.

In the Meta League the only one who was at all big on 12 Strong was SynCaine, so he won the week.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $52,944,678
  2. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $48,256,768
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $48,256,768
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $48,256,768
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $48,256,768
  6. Kraut Screens (T) – $47,571,678
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $45,995,775
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $45,803,359
  9. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $45,693,465
  10. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $45,675,426
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $45,492,946
  12. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $43,773,305
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $42,379,780
  14. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $40,975,374
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $38,835,284
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $38,835,284
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $37,840,701
  18. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $36,028,912

The Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

The most popular pick was two screens of The Maze Runner and six screens of Den of Thieves which four people in the Meta League ran with.  That was good enough for a solid second place, but not enough to change the lineup drastically.

That left the overall Meta League score looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,054,607,749
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,042,111,870
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $989,077,089
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $980,713,608
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $970,593,928
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $959,610,849
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $934,123,618
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $898,816,041
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $881,876,289
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $876,407,166
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $832,589,617
  12. Kraut Screens (T) – $799,184,518
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $798,620,115
  14. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $784,544,842
  15. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $783,670,549
  16. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $778,691,435
  17. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $777,995,235
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $767,559,428

There was a little bit of shifting positions in the back half of the pack and Liore continued her climb up from last place in the pack, but at the top end Ben extended his lead over Corr by a couple million while the race for third place seems yet up in the air.

Now there are only three weeks left in the season, but with the Super Bowl behind us and a couple of big releases headed our way there is still the possibility of a shake-up in the ranks.  Week eleven offers the following choices:

Fifty Shades Freed    $556
Peter Rabbit          $276
The 15:17 to Paris    $221
Jumanji               $126
The Greatest Showman  $101
The Maze Runner       $83
Winchester            $66
The Shape of Water    $51
The Post              $50
Hostiles              $46
12 Strong             $43 
Den of Thieves        $40
Three Billboards      $35
I, Tonya              $30
Darkest Hour          $29

For week eleven Star Wars, Paddington 2, Phantom Thread, and Forever My Girl dropped from the list.

Replacing those are three new films, Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit, and The 15:17 to Paris along with Darkest Hour returning to the list, likely due to an expansion of theaters showing it.

The big release is Fifty Shades Freed, the final film in the trilogy that started off as Twilight fan fic if I recall right.  It will no doubt top the box office, but will it be worth double the next film in line, Peter Rabbit?  I’d hazard a guess that those films serve different demographics, while Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris caters to a third.

Meanwhile Jumanji is still in play… why not 7x Jumanji and a screen of the also surprisingly persistent The Greatest Showman as a pick… and mixing and matching the new comers with some of the low priced options seems viable as well.

CCP Updates Their RSS News Feeds

As I mentioned… okay, bitched about… in Monday’s post, the coming of the new EVE Online community site disconnected the news updates from the old RSS feeds.  The feeds were still there, but no new items were being added after the change over.

RSS logo for an RSS post

CCP Avalon, responding to the grousing of the few of us who actually use RSS and a feed reader (or who populate web sites like Total EVE or the side bar of my own EVE Online Pictures via these feeds), sent out an update over Twitter earlier today with a new set of feeds for EVE Online news.

Since WordPress seems to want to mangle that Tweet due to URLs, the new feeds are as follows:

There are also JSON flavored versions of the feeds, if that is your thing.

The feeds are up and live and populated with current and past items, so it wasn’t even a hard before/after cut over but a smooth transition.

So all is good in that little corner of the world again.  The side bar on my other blog has been updated and once I update Feedly those items should be showing up in the Gaming Company News feed at the bottom of the side bar here as well.

Social media is fine and dandy, but RSS is where you go when you want reliability.

Looking for Mr. Bigglesworth

On the collecting end of pet battles in World of Warcraft I am running out of easy pets to catch.  I’ve scoured most of the open world and the few pets I have left to catch there have some special circumstances like there needing to be a weather event in the zone, needing to stay up until midnight, or the season needing to be summer in the real world.

That in mind, I began looking into what other routes I would need to pursue to continue collecting, starting with some of the pets I see recommended over and over again.  Mr. Bigglesworth gets mentioned now and again, and while he didn’t make that top 20 list over at Warcraft Pets, I decided to see what it took to get him.

He is actually the reward for the Raiding with Leashes achievement and, as it turned out, I wasn’t too far off from getting that.  In fact, I needed to collect just one more pet.

Just one missing from the list

The Viscidus Globule comes from the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, AQ40 of old, a raid I have been in more than a few times in search of pets, mounts, and other items.  The drop rate is alleged to be pretty high for the pet.  The problems was killing the boss, Viscidus, who has one of those special mechanics.

In order to slay Viscidus you have to freeze him by spell, enchant, or weapon, and then hit him 75 times in 75 seconds or less to finish him off.

Vikund, my default “do all the things” character can wander through AQ with impunity, but soloing Viscidus is another matter.  I found him a weapon that would freeze the great blob via frost damage, but no amount of haste was going to get me those 75 hits in time to slay him.

Fortunately at this point I have a selection of level 100+ character to choose from and, in reading about how people have taken Viscidus down solo, the beast master spec’d hunter seemed to be a viable option.  All you had to do was get a ranged weapon that put the freeze on the slime, something you could do via various enchants or oils.

None of those seemed to be available at the Auction House however, and the long neglected enchanting skill on one alt came up dry as did another alt that was an alchemist.  However, there was a bow available from a Wrath of the Lich King quest line that would do the job.  However, while the bow was available from a vendor, it was bind on pick up, so Vikund, who had done the quest line up in the Storm Peaks could buy it, he couldn’t hand it off.

And Tistann, my hunter, had not done the quest line.  So it was off to the Storm Peaks with him to get it done.  Fortunately getting far enough down the quest line to be able to buy the bow didn’t take that long and, of course, being level 110 meant there being no risk while doing it.  Soon he had the Brunnhildar Bow.

This bow freezes stuff

From there it was off to the instance.  I had to think for a moment as to what would be the best way to actually get there.  Getting to Darnassus and taking the griffon the length of Kalimdor was my first thought.  But then I seemed to recall a portal to Uldum in Stormwind from back during the Cataclysm expansion.  The portal was still there and I was soon winging my way to the target.

Once there I was quickly trotting through the now familiar instance to Viscidus, avoid what I could walk around and slaying what I could not.  There is one stretch where you end up with dozens of arachnids chasing you that I usual just AOE once they all collect on Vikund.  With Tistann I avoided even that by just feigning death once I was through, speeding my way to the fight.

Spotting Viscidus

Getting in there and stuck into Viscidus wasn’t an issue.  His health was hardly a barrier.  Had he been a tank and spank boss and level 110 could have one-shotted him.  Instead he sits a minimum health until you do the special routine.

Viscidus waiting for the right moment to die

As the frost attacks built up Viscidus first changed color and then, when he was frozen, there was an announcement and a graphical indicator on him.

Viscidus frozen

At that point the counter was running and I needed to get in those 75 melee attacks, so I unleashed all the pets and called on Stampede and fired away, all of which easily totaled up to the required number of attacks and Viscidus went down.

Viscidus defeated

He just didn’t drop the pet.

I had to wait for the instance lockout to run down and try it again a few days later.  The second time around the Viscidus Globule dropped and, on collecting it I also got the Raiding with Leashes achievement and Mr. Bigglesworth as a reward.

Pets obtained!

I put Mr. Bigglesworth at the top of the leveling queue and had him up to level 25 the next day, so I have him ready if I need him.

Mr. Bigglesworth Ready

Obtaining Mr. Bigglesworth also put me another cat along in the quest for the cat collecting achievement.

Not quite crazy for cats yet

I need two more cats for that and the Crazy Cat Man title.  I think at this point I have all the easy ones off of that list.  I guess I should have purchased a Guardian Cub back in the day.

And now I have move on to Raiding with Leashes II.

The second achievement

I am actually not doing bad on that one either.  I’ve been to Kharazan for other things like transmog and such that Vikund is exalted with the Violet hold.  But the drop rates for the pets are not so generous as they were with the Viscidus Globule.

Delve – Did the Million Dollar Battle Make a Dent?

CCP Quant was quick again to get up the Monthly Economic Report so we can see what happened in New Eden in January.  The new community page layout changed the way you interact with the report a bit.  You can no longer just click on a chart to see it full size.  Instead you have to right click on the charts and select the option to open them up in another tab.

Not a huge deal… unless you use Firefox… but annoying and pointless.  CCP could have done better.  Also, the sorting of charts was odd this time around, and a couple of the interesting bar charts got dropped.  Again, not huge but annoying.

The huge deal, for me at least, is that CCP seems to have killed off the RSS feeds for their community sites.  CCP seems to only care about Facebook and Twitter these days, both of which monkey with what you even see in your feed, so are completely unreliable.  RSS isn’t new and sexy, but it is solid and reliable… and so CCP has abandoned it.  Another metaphor in that I am sure.

CCP has yet to respond to any questions about RSS.  They probably expect that nobody uses it and that nobody will notice it is gone.  And who knows, they might be right, but so far it is just silence.

Anyway, the million dollar battle that wasn’t happened during the latter half of January as the Imperium mobilized and headed north with their big toys to shoot a Keepstar in Cloud Ring, so this month’s question is whether or not that had any impact on the report.

First up is mining value, where Delve continues to dominate.

January 2018 – Mining Value by Region

You can click on that chart, or any chart in this post, to see a larger version.  No need to muck about opening new tabs… or another browser if you use Firefox.  It isn’t hard.

The bar chart shows Delve relative to other regions.

January 2018 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

The value of ore mined mined however was down to 8.1 trillion ISK in value from 11.5 trillion ISK in December.

But as I mentioned last month, that value is based on the market value of minerals in New Eden, so a drop in that price lowers the ISK amount mined, even if the total volume remains the same.  So what happened to mineral prices in January?

January 2018 – Economic Indices

Mineral prices actually bounced a bit and went up.  So I think we can see a palpable reduction in mining in Delve in January.  Now, did the battle cause it or did everybody just have to go back to work in the new year?  I don’t know, but something did have an impact.

The next indicator is everybody’s favorite to love or hate, NPC bounties, the one that shows actual ISK being brought into the economy of New Eden.

January 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

Last month bounties in Delve were just shy of ten trillion ISK, this month they are just over 9 trillion ISK.  That is still a lot, and Delve remains at the top by a fair margin… Branch, the next highest number, is just past half of Delve… but still a bit of a decline.

CCP opted not to include the bar charts associated with bounties, so we’ll skip right to the sink and faucets graph.

January 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

That chart shows a clear dip around the third week of January when a lot of null sec was suddenly pulled into this battle.  Not that big of a dip though, and it spiked back up and continued its ongoing ascent, leading once again to the musical question, “Is CCP going to do something about this?”  Certainly nothing has been discussed in public.  Soon we’ll all be able to afford titans… unless inflation kills us.

On the trade value by region front, the bar chart that excludes The Forge region, with Jita and Perimeter, shows the Delve market continues to boom.

January 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, The Forge Excluded

Though the battle might have sparked some sales to get into doctrine ships, only those who produce fighters will have likely seen a boom in the post-battle market.  So many fighters sacrificed.

In production Delve again remains second to The Forge, the economic heart of New Eden.

January 2018 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

Again, lots being built in Delve… fighters especially I imagine… but not much of it was consumed by the battle, so the build up in the region continues.  You think I am joking about titans, but there is a push to get more of the Imperium into the big ships via the “make ISK, but skill injectors, skill up to a titan, make more ISK, buy a titan” path.

Finally, there is the overall summary graph that I like to include each month.

January 2018 – Regional Summary Stats

In summary, while the million dollar battle had some visible impact on the economic activities in New Eden, it wasn’t that much.  You can see where it was on one of the additional graphs.

January 2018 – Peak Concurrent Players by system

There were lots of players in and about the Cloud Ring region.  However, the wheels of industry continued to turn all the same.

Anyway, another month and another economic report.  You can look at the full report which includes additional charts and all of the raw data if you are interested in the New Eden economy.  Just mind the horrible new site that is hosting it.

SuperData and the Curious Case of the Missing WoW Money

SuperData Research released its 2017 report looking at how much money was spent on video games, sliced up into different segments.  You can download the report from them, it is free, unlike some of their other reports.

Yes, I know, SuperData’s numbers are flawed, though probably not in the way you think.  As a market analysis firm, they have relationships with the companies on which they report.  They are not some group of rando outsiders om Spokane making wild guesses by looking at Steam charts and trying to get data out of the App Store.  They get financial information directly from most of the companies they track.

The companies cooperate because there is a quid pro quo in play.  SuperData only covers a limited number of companies generally, but those companies tend to be publicly traded… or have aspiration to go public some day… or are in bed through licensing with another company that is public… and they want analysts to say nice things about them because that may boost their valuation and, thus, their stock price.

The flaw in the data often comes from what the companies choose to give analysts and how they package it.  I speak from experience on this.  I recall one year the marketing director at a company coming to me to ask me about what new features we were working on for our main product.  He was working on our annual puff piece for Gartner to tell them how great we were.  So I listed out the key items from the road map and he gave me a sour look and said that we told Gartner we did all of that last year or the year before, he wanted something new!

So yeah, the analyst is only as good as the data they get, and companies will lie… though when it comes to financials, they can’t make stuff up if they’re a public company.  They can, however, withhold data or refuse to break things out in a way that the analyst would want.

All of which brings us back to SuperData and their 2017 report.  They have several nice charts which, unlike their monthly reports, have dollar amounts attached.

SuperData 2017 Mobile Market Chart

There is a lot of money in mobile games.

Then there is the free to play PC games chart.

SuperData 2017 F2P PC Games Market Chart

League of Legends dominates that with over $2 billion in revenue in 2017, something I am sure Tencent wants its institutional investors to know.  But the low end of that chart is a lot lower than the low end of the mobile chart.

Then there is the Premium PC chart, the traditional “buy the box” model, though the top end of the chart has DLC and other additional revenue streams.

SuperData 2017 Premium PC Games Market Chart

Hey, look, Guild Wars 2!  Shipping a new box in 2017 no doubt helped them to get there.  Also, you can probably go back and look at the first three quarters of earnings reports for NCsoft in 2017, add up the GW2 revenues on those, subtract that from the number on the chart, and have a good guess at what the Q4 number will be. (Should be about 46,560 on the GW2 section of their usual chart, which is measured in millions of South Korean Won, if I calculated that correctly. That would be a big boost from Q3.)  If that is on the money, then there is only one possible source.  And if it is different… well, then we’ll have some evidence of something else.

I am dubious about Minecraft. That seems like a lot for just the PC market, though that may be because I focus on the Java Edition, which is its own beast.  The other, unified cross platform edition has all sorts of DLC, even on Windows 10.  And, again, who knows how Microsoft packaged up the data.  They might have said, “This is the Minecraft number,” declining to break it out.

And, finally, there is the consoles chart.

SuperData 2017 Console Games Market Chart

Consoles seem to be about shooting people and playing soccer.

There are no billion dollar earners on either of those last two charts.  GTA V on console is worth a quarter of League of Legends when it comes to annual revenue in 2017.  Then again, half a billion dollars is still nothing to sneeze at, and it is a hell of a lot of money for a game that shipped on consoles back in 2013.  But, then again, League of Legends showed up in 2009, so being new doesn’t have much to do with revenue I guess.

Anyway, interesting charts to look at and compare.  Each of the numbers are probably true in the right context, but the chances of us knowing that context is pretty slim.

But in looking at all of that, there was a glaring omission in my book.  World of Warcraft is nowhere to be seen.  After all, it has appeared on every monthly SuperData chart in 2017.  Why would it not appear in the final report?

My first thought was that it just didn’t fit nicely into any of the categories.  And I suppose that might be the case, but I doubt it.

My gut says that Blizzard wants it this way.  As noted above, analysts are at the mercy of those providing the data, and I think the only way that SuperData would have skipped WoW is because Blizzard held back that data or told them they couldn’t use it in a publicly available report.  I back this up with how Blizzard has tried to obscure information about WoW in their financial reports.

At first that was because of the subscription drop panic.  But later, when it became more thorough, I began to suspect another reason.

I think that this is all because Blizzard is trying to remove the idea that the company is dependent on WoW for the bulk of their revenues.

There was a time when that was the case, when it was WoW paying the bills and a few people buying Diablo II or Warcraft III battle chests bringing in what amounted to some spare change.  But Blizzard has moved on from then.  As noted in the past, BlizzCon is now about more than just WoW.

When WoW went through its post-Warlords of Draenor subscriber dump, I think Blizz realized that they needed to shed the image that Blizzard = WoW and nothing else.  They don’t want people to think that if WoW dies, Blizzard dies.

As part of that Blizzard began to pay a lot more attention publicly to the other titles in its catalog, which has expanded quite a bit since 2008 or so, when WoW was pretty much it.  So in the charts above you see Hearthstone in free to play and Overwatch in premium PC games.

But you don’t see WoW, not because it didn’t make enough money to place, but because Blizz doesn’t want that to distract from its other titles.

I also think this is the reason that WoW got split into East and West earlier in the year, so that other Blizzard titles would be seen to have passed WoW.  That wasn’t some rando analyst choice.  Analysts don’t do that, they like their data to be consistent over time.  That gives it a greater sense of validity.

And I know WoW would make the charts.  We can derive that from past data.  Throughout 2017, World of Warcraft was on every SuperData monthly chart, and for 10 out of 12 months it was ahead of World of Tanks, which did make the chart.  WoW was also ranked ahead of World of Tanks at the first six months of 2017 summary from SuperData.

So I think we can safely say that WoW made more than World of Tanks, which itself brought in $471 million according to the charts above.  And WoW making even a dollar more than that amount would put it well ahead of Overwatch ($382 million) and Hearthstone ($217 million), the next two highest earners in the Blizzard stable.

We don’t know how much World of Warcraft actually made in 2017, but it was likely in excess of half a billion dollars, and could be a decent chunk more than that.  I could probably find out if I wanted to spend two grand on SuperData’s MMO and MOBA report, but I am not so inclined. Still, even my guess is not bad for a game from 2004.

And it seems likely that WoW will pop up a bit in SuperData’s monthly charts for January and February with the Battle for Azeroth pre-orders having hit on Tuesday.  The payment system was bogged down from the effect of people trying to throw money at Blizzard.

So World of Warcraft isn’t dead.  It isn’t even resting really.  It seems to me to be more a matter of Blizzard having the problem in not being able to create something to surpass WoW.   So rather than submitting their other titles to that measure, they’re trying to hide it.

Anyway, that is my working theory.

Meanwhile, a bonus chart from the report, and one I am sure Blizzard really likes, the esports viewership.

SuperData 2017 esports Viewership Chart

The measure on that chart is “average monthly unique viewers” for 2017.

(Also, as a side note, they chopped the market up into Twitch 54%, YouTube 22%, and everybody else making up 24%)

Blizzard likes that chart because Heroes of the Storm gets a mention, and it is the only place it is likely to get one.  StarCraft II is also there.  But Heroes of the Storm gets barely a tenth of LoL’s viewership, and less than a quarter of DOTA 2’s.  More interesting is that it also only gets a quarter of Overwatch’s viewership and less than 20% of Heros of the Storm’s viewers.

StarCraft II, son of the original esports champion StarCraft, seems a bit sad down at the bottom of the list.  But Blizzard does have four games on the list (and WoW isn’t one of them) which added together, had more average viewers than League of Legends.  Not bad.

Also, Hearthstone is Blizzard’s most popular esports game.  Imagine that!  We’ll see if the whole Overwatch league changes that in 2018, but for now that is how it stands.

Falling into Battle for Azeroth Mania

Look at all those people clogging up Blizzard’s payment system because they HAVE TO HAVE their pre-order today! Sheep!

-Me, Tuesday Afternoon

Okay, I’ve unlocked my Highmountain Tauren allied race and raise my digital deluxe edition pet to 25.

-Also Me, That Same Evening

It isn’t like I don’t have enough things on my “To do” list in Azeroth.  But at some point on Tuesday evening I said, “What the hell!” and joined in the frenzy and pre-ordered Battle for Azeroth.

Battle for Azeroth

They say all online purchasing decisions made after 8pm are a mistake, but I did this at 7:30pm, so I’m in the clear I guess. *cough*

Of course, Blizzard wasn’t making things easy.  They dropped a patch earlier in the day to support the pre-order update and it was having… issues.  Issues like not showing any of your characters.

Breath into the paper bag and login again…

That seemed to be a random error.  You could log out and back in again and you might get your characters.  And if you did get them, then foolishly logged out… never log out on a night where there are login issues… you might not get them the next time you tried.

Anyway, I did get in and found that you could order the expansion from within the game.  I’m not sure if, by that point, it was a better option than the normal Blizzard store, but it worked.  I was set.

Then I swapped to my level 110 Horde character… because for my first time ever in WoW I have a max level Horde character… so I could work on unlocking the Highmountain Tauren.  That was the one of the current four allied races that interested me.  And it is a good thing that was the one, because I still have some work to do on the other three.  Part of my “To do” list is to finish up Argus.

So I got the quest pop for allied races which brought me to Orgrimmar where there is a new embassy building for this sort of thing.  It was, naturally enough, kind of a crowded place.  There you get to pick which allied race to pursue.  I only had the one option.

Tauren… you can have Highmountain Tauren

The game warns you to choose carefully as you can only have one allied race quest chain running at a time.  But the Highmountain quest chain… that is where you go to do it… only takes about 30 minutes.  After that you get a portal back to Orgrimmar where you turn in the last quest, get the achievement for unlocking that race, and are cleared to make one.

So I logged out and went to character creation.

Creating a Highmountain Tauren Warrior

I wasn’t sure what to go with, but warrior seemed like a viable option.  I already have a Horde druid and hunter.  And so I have a new character.  He started at level 20, which he needed to use the special mount that comes with each allied race.

The Highmountain mount is moose-like, which seems a little odd when you see a Tauren with moose antlers riding what seems to be a moose as well.  It is a bit like he is riding his second cousin or something.

Moose on moose action outside Orgrimmar

And now I have another level 20 character knocking about.  I am not sure when I will find the time, if ever, to level him up.

Of course, if I really wanted to, I could use the level 110 boost that came with the expansion.  I have no idea what else I would use it on.  But I think I will let that sit for a while before I use it.