Tag Archives: Civilization V

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.

WP.com 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, WP.com 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

gamer blogs
[no such thing any more]

cataclysm wow classic
[no such thing yet]

[no such image]

apple ][ pinball roms emuparadise
[no such thing here]

ccp monument iceland names list
[no such names at the moment]

как сделать появление текста как в звездном войне
[okay, go here]

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.

Playing the Different Generations of Civilization Today

Having written a bit about Sid Meier’s Civilization and its various versions over the last 30 years earlier this week, I was kind of interested to have some sort of brief reminder/comparison of the different generations.

A couple of weeks ago I was all up about the idea that you could play every generation of the Diablo series, would Civilization follow suit?

So I started going down the list… not in order, because chaos is my thing… but I will report them out in order from newest to oldest.

Civilization VI – 2016

This is the current version.  It is on Steam.  You can buy it and play it right now, it gets updates regularly, it has a bunch of DLC (19 that I see) that I have not purchased, it has a game pass of some sort because that is what AAA games get these days, and you can earn Steam achievements playing it.  It is also part of the Steam Workshop ecosystem for mods and such.

Civilization VI

While it probably runs better on my current machine than it did on the one I had when it launched, it is also 16+ GB to download.  That isn’t a huge amount in this day and age, but it is more that I was willing to invest in going back to play it.  If we got the one-time “strategy group” back together for Friday night games or some such I would grab it.  But for just me to play for maybe 2 hours… not so much.

I suppose, as a side question, is any of the DLC worthwhile?  Does it improve the game?  My impressions are all from the base game, which was unexciting enough… I am really not interested in how my cities look as long as they are producing units for war as an example… that I went back to Civ V.

Ability to play today: 100%

Civilization: Beyond Earth – 2014

I didn’t download this one.  I wrote about it previously.  We tried it as a group.  It didn’t really stick with me, feeling like a watered down Alpha Centauri mixed in with the almost maniacal love of unnecessary graphical detail that tends to grip the series.

Civilization Beyond Earth

That said, it is there on Steam, available for purchase and download, it has some DLC to buy as well, and the base install looks to be about 6GB.

Ability to play today: 100%

Civilization V – 2010

The first title in the series to launch on Steam, and it required Steam in order to play.  It was the reason I went back to Steam after Valve screwed up my original account during the Half-Life 2 retail code fiasco.  And, of course, it too had a problematic launch.  Like most Civilization titles it barely ran on my system back in 2010 and crashed a lot.  There is a reason that auto-save has been a feature of the game since Civilization II.

The new game experience, Civ version

It is still there and playable, though it can be a bit problematic.  I had to re-download it because the copy I had on my drive, last played in 2019, simply refused to launch.  A re-install fixed the issue and I was able to play.  It runs at a sprightly pace now, the computer opponents being very quick until you get into deep late-game with tons of units on the field.  I was able to get through a medium size game in an afternoon and evening.

The base game is generally available for cheap during any sale.  There are two expansions about which I am less than thrilled.  They are okay, but like a lot of Civ expansions they completely changed how the game felt.  There is also a ton of Steam Workshop mods and scenarios for the game.

Overall, a solid if somewhat divisive entry in the series.  It is, as noted, a title I have spent a lot of time with, it has Steam achievements, scenarios, and the things that make Civ fun.

Maybe my second favorite version of the game, interesting choices, the end of massive unit stacking, though still prone to some quirks and not as fast as I would expect a title this old to be.

Ability to play today: 95%

Civilization IV – 2005

We are now in the pre-Steam era, though I recall I bought my copy online and downloaded it over what passed for the internet back then, some flavor of ADSL.

I think my main bias against this version is that at launch it ran VERY slowly on my system and was part of the three game generation that insisted on being full screen and would crash when I tried to alt-tab out to look something up.  I wrote to their support about the issue and they told me I shouldn’t tab out of the game.  That was helpful.  They did eventually add a windowed mode, which has been a part of the series ever since.  At least that is my memory of events.  Maybe it was always there and I missed it back in the day.

My memories of it are also of a much more complicated game than previous versions… doesn’t that apply to every title in the sequence… but today it seems oddly light and sparse.  Plays fast and smooth… more so that Civ V I would say.  It also looks fairly good; the UI doesn’t look like it was from Windows 3.1,  Oh, and actually supports the Steam overlay so you can take screen shots, though there are no achievements.

There is also some DLC for it on Steam.  I only have the base game, so my quick replay used that.


Over all, rock solid.  Would recommend.

It is available on Steam in bits and pieces, or as a complete edition with all DLC for a much cheaper price over at GoG.com.

Ability to play today: 100%

Civilization III – 2001

In my brain Civ III is always “the new one” despite it now being more than 20 years old.  At launch, aside from being slow and demanding full screen, it seemed so much more complicated and busy and a lot of the wonders from Civ II which were game breaking in their power at times felt a bit diminished.  It also seemed so shiny and new.

Get it all on Steam

Today a lot of the UI feels really dated… not bad, but much closer to the earlier games in view an concept… and it has to be played full screen at a resolution that means all the open windows in the background will be completely messed up.  It also took a few tries to get it to launch and it crashed out to desktop… a completely resized and reorganized desktop because of screen resolution, something I will never stop complaining about… so once again we’re reminded why auto-save is a default option in the series.

That said, it plays pretty well.  It looks a bit it raw, but my current CPU meant that processing computer players during their turns was no big deal, so things went along quickly.

I had forgotten that this version was the start crazy stacking era.  In Civ II if you stacked units and one died, they all died.  In Civ III your optimum attack mode was a mega stack of units that the enemy could peel back one by one, but not before you took their city.

Still a good game, I like a lot of the mechanics.  The graphical choices feel dated now however, especially UI elements, and it is prone to crashes on my system.  It is available on Steam and at GoG.com.

Ability to play today: 90%

Alpha Centauri – 1999

I had a short (in retrospect), but hard core addition to this title.  It introduced a series of features, like boarders that I really liked.  I wasn’t completely keen on the magenta heavy landscape setting, and it was the first of the full screen versions of the game and is locked in a 1024×768 resolution.

But it is available over at GoG.com in the Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack, which includes the base game and the expansion.  After some big downloads above, this rings in at a little over half a GB, so pretty quick to get at broadband speeds.

The game plays well and has that ethereal other planet feeling.

Down on the planet

The main problem for me is that, as with Civ III, the full screen resolution lock will screw up every other window you have open.  It is also a bit unhappy about tabbing in and out.  Having a second monitor helped me a bit.

But otherwise, seemed pretty solid.  I did not play as much of this as some of the other titles, but it moved fast and was still good.  If you can put up with the fact it only runs full screen at 1024×768, this is still a very viable title.  If you get annoyed by the full screen business like I do, then it is less of a choice.

Ability to play today: 80%

Civilization II – 1996

Now we’re into the MicroProse era, where there is no support and a lot of uncertainty over whether this now qualifies as abandonware or if there somebody out there who will sue your ass if somebody like GoG tries to patch up a copy to work on today’s machines.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of this game more than 25 years down the road was that they bought fully into the Microsoft Foundation Class UI, which means it ALWAYS runs in a window that can be resized to fill your screen.  So it filled my 800×600 screen back then and it fills my 3440×1440 screen today, which is awesome.  Part of my resentment against the next three titles in the series is their strict adherence to the full screen mode at resolutions that seem tiny by today’s standards

A whole lotta Civ II on that screen

Granted, on my current screen the units are so tiny I need to play with my glasses on, but I need to do most things, including write, with my computer glasses on.

Getting it to run however… hrmmm.   First, you need a copy of Civilization II Multiplayer Gold, which has a 32-bit executable.  The previous versions were 16-bit and Windows gave up support for that when it went all in on 64-bit back with Windows 7.  Then you need to find the patcher that somebody did ages ago that fixes an issue that will keep it from launching (which I have squirreled away).  And you need to have the CD mounted because that was its copy protection.  I am sure there is a way to get around that, but I have an optical drive in my current machine still, so I just insert the disk… if I can find it. (And when I can’t find it, I have an image of the disk on my drive and some cheap software to mount it in memory.)

All of that said, if you can get it up and running, this game plays great.  It is still a huge achievement and honestly feels less dated than Civ III does.  I cannot overstate how good this game still feels.  Because of the UI framework choices a lot of things scale and look good even at a screen resolution nobody would have guessed at back in 1996.

This just looks so much better than Civ III pop ups

And, of all the titles I played since last weekend, this is the one that got me stuck in “just one more turn” mode, in part because the game plays so well and is so familiar to me, but also because it runs so damn fast.

Really, I wish somebody like GoG.com could take this on, because it really only needs a couple of modest fixes and it runs like a champ.  I would overpay for this.

Ability to play today: 10%

Civilization – 1991

I thought surely I was done for here.  The original 1991 Civilization, it pre-dates stainless steel, so you can’t get it wet.  I mean, there are not a lot of 30 year old video games that run, certainly not many which come up and ask me which of the then current video standards my system supports as an opening step.

Oh yeah, that era

I actually played the Mac version, which had slightly tuned up graphics, since back then color Macs could do 16-bit color by default.

Anyway, I was going to despair because Microsoft even has a service bulletin specifically about this game declaring it will not run on any 64-bit operating systems. I thought I was going to have to play a bit of FreeCiv, which has modes for Civ, Civ II, and Civ III rule sets.

I was not looking forward to that because, while I hate to dump on fan made passion projects like this, when I have tried to play it in the past I have found it to be an unsatisfying experience, where the UI conventions get in the way of the fun.

But the game itself has fallen into the abandonware side of the house and you can find web sites that host it so you can play in a browser.

I went and played it at Classic Reload, which didn’t trigger any virus or trojan warnings.

Civilization calling from 1991

Playing in a browser is a bit annoying.  It is certainly far from the ideal experience.  But, even with that hindering play, I have to say that the original title is still a very good game.

I mean, I knew that at some level intellectually.  It had to be good to have set off a 30 year series of games.  But sometimes the old versions of a game don’t live up to your memories.  That is not the case here.  The original Civilization would be kind of a strong title if it came out today with some update graphics and such.

I would certainly spend $10 on it if GoG.com could spiff it up and get it running at reasonable resolutions on my current machine.  Otherwise you have to scrounge a CD from somewhere… wait, no, this was on floppy disks.  Even I don’t have a 3.5″ floppy drive anymore.  Good luck there.

Ability to play today: 70%


I think the big, obvious revelation here is that there is a reason that they are making a Civilization VII; this has been a very strong series of games over the last 30 years.  I am still annoyed by some of the design choices the team has made over the years, full screen being the worst transgression on my list, but the core of the series has been pretty much carried forward for three decades.

I also feel very much renewed on my fan boy devotion to Civilization II.  But I have some renewed respect for Civ III and Civ IV and have been reminded how strong the original was.

The whole series isn’t as playable today as the Diablo series is.  However, everything after Civ II is available in some supported form from a service is you feel the need to go back in time.

And I am now a bit into the whole Civ thing, so we’ll have to see which one I end up playing the most this month.  Aside from the web version of Civilization, ManicTime records them all correctly with a recognizable name. (Which puts them ahead of EVE Online, which shows up as “exefile” in ManicTime now.)

But what if you have never played Civ and wanted to start today?

Civ VI is the latest version, so that has the focus and is probably a safe choice.

But if you want something at a bit of a discount or do not have a high end machine by today’s standards, both Civ IV and Civ V are excellent options.  Both feel reasonably up to date.  Civ IV is the end of the stacked unit juggernaut era and feels like the last title in its generation, while Civ V changed up the play style enough to be something of a divisive entry in the series for a while, but represents the path forward that the franchise has taken.  And Civ V also has easy access to mods on Steam, something built in from day one.

Or there is always original Civilization in a browser for old school fun.

Honest Game Trailers takes on Civilization

Honest Game Trailers showed up last week with an episode I could not resist.  I have been playing Civilization as long as the series has been a thing, which is past the 30 year mark now.

The core games in the franchise are, in my opinion:

  • 1991 – Civilization
  • 1996 – Civilization II
  • 1999 – Alpha Centauri
  • 2001 – Civilization III
  • 2005 – Civilization IV
  • 2010 – Civilization V
  • 2014 – Civilization: Beyond Earth
  • 2016 – Civilization VI

I am not interested in the console spin-offs, the mobile titles, and that horrible experiment on Facebook. (That was omitted from the list of games in the franchise.)  And, while it doesn’t carry the name, Alpha Centauri was really Civilization 2.5 in my book, so it counts.

The video itself is… kind of bland.

I mean, it gets into some of the absurdities of the game.  Everybody who has played long enough has a tyrant warlord Gandhi story.  And they at least alluded to the “one more turn” thing and how the first hundred turns are often much more fun than the micro management of the mid-game.

The flat world of original Civilization

But they really left off on a couple of key aspects of the franchise.  The first is that, at launch, every version of the game has been way too much for the current generation of CPUs.  My memories of Civ through to Civ V is my games taking less time with every computer upgrade as the AI opponent would speed up noticeably.

And the second, of course, is which version of the game is the best, a topic that can lead to virtual fist fights between friends.

My ranking, because of course I have one, based solely on time played as an indicator of quality, is:

  1. Civilization II
  2. Civilization V
  3. Alpha Centauri
  4. Civilization
  5. Civilization III
  6. Civilization IV
  7. Civilization VI
  8. Civilization: Beyond Earth

I have some strong feelings about different versions and their features.  Civilization VI, for example, never stuck with me and I still go back to Civ V if I want to play these days.  Meanwhile, the less said about Beyond Earth, a mere shadow of Alpha Centauri, the better.

Finally, there is the argument over which is the best 4X strategy game.  Even back in the 90s I would get into it with the whole Civilization versus Masters of Orion argument, with the Reach for the Stars voices chiming in from the sidelines.  There have been a lot of titles over the years.  The list on Wikipedia brings back some memories with titles like Spaceward Ho!

But has anybody really done 4X better than the Civilization series?

And just to finish this off I am going to go into the horrible block editor just to try and put a poll into this post to let people rage vote on their favorite in the series.

Which version will top the list?

(You must visit the site to vote and various ad blockers may hide the poll, so your mileage may vary considerably.)

My 2022 in Gaming So Far

One of the other things the Steam Summer Sale tends to spark in me is a review of my gaming so far in the year.  One thing that happened in the first half of 2022 was that a new title took over as my most played game on Steam.

My Steam top ten titles

I think Civilization V has been at the top of the list since I made my current Steam account back in 2010… and I did that because you had to have a Steam account to play.  I was kind of against Steam back then, but have clearly softened on it as an option over the years.

Now, however, Valheim has taken over the top spot, managing to do so in less than 18 months.  That says something about me or Valheim or both I suppose.

Anyway, Valheim got there by being my most played title so far in 2022 as measured by ManicTime.  Out of time spent gaming on my PC, this is how my play percentages break out.

  1. Valheim – 30.97%
  2. Lost Ark – 15.80%
  3. EVE Online – 15.70%
  4. EverQuest II – 11.78%
  5. Stellaris – 5.72%
  6. Pokemon Pearl – 5.07%
  7. New World – 4.10%
  8. Minecraft – 4.45%
  9. CM Red Thunder – 2.52%
  10. RimWorld – 2.04%
  11. FreeCiv – 0.59%
  12. Diablo Immortal – 0.39%
  13. V Rising – 0.34%
  14. EverQuest – 0.28%
  15. LOTRO – 0.16%
  16. World of Tanks – 0.09%

After Valheim we have Lost Ark and EVE Online pretty much neck in neck for play time.  I think Lost Ark got the advantage just because it takes so long to load.

Finally in double digits is EQII where I was playing the Visions of Vetrovia expansion.

Down in single digits, after some single player stuff was the end of our run at New World.  I am not even sure what server I am on now.  There has been some talk about Amazon fixing some of the issues, but I am not sure there is a lot of desire to return there any time soon.

Then there is Minecraft, which has gotten a bit of a boost since The Wild update hit.  Below RimWorld are titles that have not been touched all that much.

So what will the back half of the year look like? Valheim is at the top of the list, but unless we get the update for the Mistlands, there isn’t much to do but muck about and build things.  Lost Ark and New World are unlikely to grow in play time, and EverQuest II, I left that unsatisfied with the last expansion.  That might need a break for another expansion or two before I find it on my list again.

EVE Online, of course, is going to carry on for now.  And Minecraft, which we only started playing in June, looks like it could keep going.

Solasta is something we just picked up this past week, and it has potential.

And then there is the coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic.  It looks to be a couple months away at this point, and we’re not really chomping at the bit for it right now… but give it some time and we might be primed to go back to Northrend.

That is where I stand at the mid-year check-in.

My Games of the Decade – A Look Back from 2019

I have noticed that a number of people and gaming sites are taking a moment to celebrate the coming change in the tens column of the year to take a look back at the last decade, the teens, and to pick out high and lows and bests and worsts and whatever.  As an end of year summary post is an easy pitch, so too must an end of decade summary pitch.

I didn’t do this back at the end of 2009.  I know, I checked and back in December of 2009 my posts… all 38 of them… showed only a low level of reflection, and that involved reviewing my gaming goals and predictions.  But the blog was just past the three year mark back then and I had yet to settle down and recognize how a recurring topic makes an excellent writing crutch.

With that in mind and some empty days to fill I thought I would join in on the retrospective action and pick out a list of what I consider to be my games of the last ten years.  I do have a decade of blog posts to refresh my memory here.

How I picked them is vague mixture or memory, blog posts, and any measure of how much time I spent with a given title over the time frame.  And, just to make this a bit more difficult, I am going to try to break these out into categories like some sort of award show, which will allow me not only to pick a winner, but then ramble on about other possible choices.


MMORPG is a special category in this list.  First because MMORPGs are the main focus of this blog and, second, because MMORPGs constantly renew themselves with expansions and updates.  So, unlike the other categories, I am not limiting this to games that launched this decade.  I would be hard pressed to pick an MMORPG I cared about that launched since 2010.  Maybe Rift?  And Rift fell apart for me with the first expansion.

So, with that out of the way…

Based on hours spent playing, number of posts written, and amount of time continuously subscribed, it would be impossible to pick anything besides EVE Online.  I’ve been playing EVE Online in a continuous arc since November 2011, when I came back to the game to see if the Crucible expansion would get the game back on course after Incarna.  And then I got tied up in the tales of null sec, where the stories are all player created, and have stuck around as a player/tourist ever since.  And, to loop back on how MMORPGs change, 2019 EVE Online is a lot different than 2011 EVE Online was.  Better or worse is up for debate, but definitely different.

As for other choices, World of Warcraft would probably place second, but a distant second.  I might even make it third behind WoW Classic if that wasn’t barely four months old.  Three disappointing expansions (Cataclysm, Warlords of Draenor, and Battle for Azeroth) and an inability to make things better has left me flat on the game.  They heyday of WoW was last decade, which is what WoW Classic is telling us.

And after that, what other choices could I justify?  I spent stretches of time in LOTRO, EverQuest II, Rift, Neverwinter, SWTOR, and a few others, but not nearly as much as either EVE Online or WoW.  So New Eden gets the nod, as nothing else comes close.

MMO – World of Tanks

I will make the definitional cut between MMORPG, where you can see or interact with hundreds or thousands of players in a virtual world, and MMOs, which are just online titles where a bunch of people can be in the same lobby, but actual game play is in limited arenas.

This was kind of a tough one, as I have pretty clearly spent more time playing War Thunder and I haven’t spent any time playing World of Tanks recently.  But when I do play, I like the way World of Tanks looks and feels, even if I am bad at it.  Also, I am way worse at War Thunder.

Other potential titles for me here included World of Warplanes (where I am even worse than War Thunder) or maybe World of Warships, though that never really clicked with me so my time with it is pretty minimal.  I never did play Destiny or the sequel or anything else along those lines, so World of Tanks it is.

Action RPG – Diablo III

This could arguably fall under the MMO banner, but I have chosen to break it out because there was actually some competition here.  The ARPG race this decade included Diablo III, Torchlight II, Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, and even Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, all of which I played.

In the end though, I have to give the nod to Diablo III.  It started off badly, with the real money auction house yielding results predicted before launch and an itemization scheme that seemed designed to make that situation even worse.  But somebody at Blizzard finally got the memo and, with the Reaper of Souls expansion, things were turned around.  The good game play and simple story let me click away happily for many hours.  I have spent as much time playing Diablo III as all of the competition combined.

On paper Torchlight II ought to have been the winner, with offline play and mods and such.  But all the mechanics in the world couldn’t save it from simply feeling bland and aimless.  And Path of Exile, while it felt closer to the Diablo II source of the ARPG genre, died for me under latency issues that they never fully solved and the desire to be something of an MMORPG which made going back later a pain as they had added so many additional bits and pieces to the game.

Grim Dawn probably gets short shrift in all of this.  I feel like I should go back and play that some more, but I never quite get to it.  If I were CCP, Grim Dawn would be my Faction Warfare updates… always on the list, but never high enough to get the attention it deserves.

While I do not go back with every new season, I have ended up playing and enjoying Diablo III more than any of its competition.

Strategy Game – Civilization V

For me, Civilization V is pretty much the culmination of the series.  I have owned and played the whole run, plus the side paths like Alpha Centauri (good) and Beyond Earth (not good), and Civ V is it for the decade.  And I write that having played Civ II, Civ III, Civ IV, Civ VI Alpha Centauri, and Beyond Earth this decade as well.

Civ V isn’t perfect.  It has flaws, both unique to itself as well as the usual flaws of the series (slow and overweight at launch along with the whole mid-game drag), and it was controversial at the time, but it has weathered the decade for me.  I was annoyed I had to make a new Steam account to play it, having rejected Steam after Valve screwed up my old account in the early HalfLife 2 era.  But I got past that.  I played it in 2010 and I was still playing it in 2019.  Hard to argue with that.

Other possible picks were direct competitors like Stellaris, excellent war games like Vietnam 65 and Unity of Command, literally the rest of the Paradox strategic game catalog, which I own, as well as RTS titles like Age of Empires II HD and a good chunk of the Total War series, all of which played and enjoyed.  But for my strategy title of the decade I cannot justify anything besides Civ V.

Builder Sim – RimWorld

I created this category pretty much to find a place for RimWorld.  I mean, I guess it is something of a genre.  The direct competitors for this on my list included Stardew Valley, Oxygen Not Included, Medieval Engineers, Space Engineers, and Kerbal Space Program RimWorld was pretty much a lock here… and then I looked down the list of games and found Minecraft.

Minecraft isn’t an MMO or MMORPG and is a full on multi-player builder sim and holy cow I spent a lot of time playing it this decade.

But, technically, Minecraft became available to backers in 2009.  So it is really a last decade game, no matter how much I played it.  The early access thing muddies the water.  And while it gets updates, it doesn’t get the MMORPG exemption in my book.

So RimWorld gets the nod, but with an asterisk for Minecraft.

First Person Perspective – Portal 2

Another force category.  When I was looking down the list of shooters I had played over the decade, thinking that FPS could be a category.  But then there were also a few outliers that were not really shooters but which had the first person perspective.  That led me to expand the category, which then went from me trying to balance Sniper Elite III and Doom to just handing things over to Portal 2.

And I think that is the right answer.  I played the game, I own the sound track, my daughter and I know the words to some of the songs, and it had enough cultural influence that, of the games I played, it has to be the winner.  Also, it was a very good game.  But I also own none of the Call of Duty or Battlefield titles from this decade either, so I am not much of a first person perspective fan.

Racing Game – Need for Speed World

I actually own a few racing games.  More than I expected, such that I decided I had better make this a category.  This is one area where console titles might fit in.  But when reviewing what I played, the one game I miss is Need for Speed World.

It had a lot of problems, not the least of which was being published by EA, but its simplicity and bits of destructible terrain and shared world and excellent customization options made it something I spent a lot of time playing.  And, honestly, there hasn’t been anything quite like it since.

Console Title – Pokemon SoulSilver

Proof that I am not much of a console gamer.  Yes, we have still have a Wii and a PlayStation 3 still. The former is now in a box and out of sight and the latter has spent more time streaming or playing DVD or BluRay discs than actually acting as a game console.  I did put in some time with both, most commonly with the LEGO Star Wars titles.  But that was really a last decade thing.  The Nintendo DS and 3DS series was really the console I played this decade, and for me that console is all about the Pokemon titles.

And if I have to pick one of the DS titles… and I’ve played them all… it has to be Pokemon SoulSilver, where I finally caught them all.

Mobile Game – Pokemon Go

As with console games, I don’t really play all that many mobile games.  Stretching the definition to include things on the iPad I probably have a few options.  I played Neko Atsume (in Japanese, back when it was cool) and Monument Valley and DragonVale and Words With Friends and Prose with Bros and some less memorable titles.  Ticket to Ride got a lot of play time, though I’ve faded on it over the years.  And let us not forget all the time I spent hate-playing Candy Crush Saga just to try to beat it without paying.

But the one mobile game I get out and play every day is Pokemon Go.

It helps that it is the one and only video game my wife plays, so we play together.

Crowdfunded Title – Defense Grid 2

This was a depressingly easy pick because almost every crowdfunded gaming title I have been involved with either hasn’t shipped (e.g. Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen) or was kind of shit (e.g. Shroud of the Avatar, Planetary Annihilation).  Some I haven’t played (Project: Gorgon) and others fell apart (Hero’s Song). This decade saw the emergence of crowdfunding, along with early access, but it hasn’t really been a boon for my own game play.

But the one outlier was Defense Grid 2.  I played that and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Its only problem was that it wasn’t quite as good as the original Defense Grid: The Awakening.

Pirate Server – Nostalrius

I guess the polite term now is “emulator,” but they are still pirate servers.  They still exist by stealing somebody’s IP and work, and the noblest intentions in the world won’t change that.  These days every shut down online game that ever had half a dozen loyal customers seems to have an emulator project going for it.

That means there are lots of such servers out there to choose from.  There are even competing projects for games like Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes, not to mention the actual server software from CoH out in the wild.  I am still waiting for the legal shoe to drop on that one.

But Nostalrius, and the family of WoW emulators that preceded it, have racked up a special achievement.  They got a company as conservative as Blizzard to roll out the version of the game they were trying to bring back.  These servers were popular enough to get the company’s attention and had enough support that the idea managed to get past the obvious corporate reluctance to go there.

Basically, WoW Classic is a thing due to the work that went into pirate servers like Emerald Dream and Nostalrius.  Bravo!

Best Hardware Purchase – Blue Microphones Snowball

Not really a game thing, though something that helped with gaming.  Having gone through various headsets with good earphones but crap microphones I decided to opt out of the voice side of the headset thing by buying a decent desk mic.  So during the 2018 Black Friday sales found the Blue Microphones Snowball on sale and bought it.  And it has served me well ever since.  I am now free to use whichever headphones I like and nobody complains that they cannot hear me anymore.  I am fully ready to be a podcast or streaming guest!  Of course, I have also reached a point of irrelevance such that people have stopped asking me to be guests on such things, but I am ready if my topics ever begin to trend again!

Worst Hardware Purchase – Mineserver

I almost skipped this as a section, being unable to think of any gaming related hardware I bought in the last decade that was worthy of scorn.  And then I remembered the Mineserver.

Technically, I didn’t purchase this, I backed it as part of a Kickstarter campaign.  The campaign, launched by tech columnist Robert X. Cringely in Fall 2015, it was supposed to be delivered by Christmas that year.  The campaign funded successfully and we got rosy reports initially.  This was going to be easy.

And then it wasn’t.  This is what I get for trusting in the word of somebody who is not technical to assess the technical issues of a project.  I should know by now that things that look easy to those on the sidelines are often not easy down in the code.  Also, Cringely’s next successful business venture will be his first.  I had forgotten about that.

This was also a bad example, amidst many bad examples, of how not to run a campaign post success.  Communication was sporadic.  The excuse was that he only wanted to report when there was good news, but apparently there hasn’t been any good news for a couple of years now.

Cringely was blowing smoke up our collective asses with some pie in the sky “maybe this will turn into a business and I’ll give you all shares” nonsense, but then his house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire and he has declined to update the Kickstarter campaign page or send anything directly to the supporters since.  Instead he occasionally makes reference to the campaign, mostly to blame people who are angry about the whole thing for the lack of any progress. In his world, all of the problems are the fault of the backers.  Money down the drain.

Best Game Purchase – Minecraft

This was a tough one.  There have been a lot of games I have bought and gotten a ton of play out of, that ended up being great and bargains at the price I paid.  Defense Grid: The Awakening was a candidate, as was the Mists of Pandaria expansion for WoW and even the first year of Rift.

In the end though, I am going to call Minecraft the winner, because the criteria here is purchase during the last decade, and while Minecraft became available in 2009, I didn’t buy it until 2015.

Even with renting a public server for a shared experience, the dollar per hour value of the game was pretty damn high.

Worst Game Purchase – Star Trek Online Lifetime Membership

There were a lot of competitors on this front, like every single game in my Steam library that I purchased and never played.  But none of them could measure up to the cost and impact of Star Trek Online.

I pinned such hopes on Star Trek Online and it ended up being so not the game for me.  While many will point to Warhammer Online as the end of hope for a MMORPG that would eclipse WoW or Star Wars: The Old Republic as the last gasp attempt at a big budget MMORPG, Star Trek Online was the boiling pot of hope that burned my hands and convinced me not to get invested in an MMO before it is live.  And no more up front lifetime subscription purchases ever.

Disappointing at launch with mundane and repetitive game play (even for an MMO), I probably ended up paying the most per hour played for it since the time of CompuServe and GEnie and hourly connection charges.  I tried to return to the game a couple of times, but Cryptic just piled on features to try and keep the game going, turning it into a confused jumble that still held no seed of attraction for me.  It was so bad I was surprised when it went free to play mostly because I was sure it must have already gone that route.

So if you want to know why I am such the cynic now, occasionally mocking those who get excited and invested in games based on a vague feature list and a few artists concept drawings, Star Trek Online is a big factor.  And yes, I know it is somebody’s favorite game.  Everything, no matter how bad, is somebody’s favorite.  If you enjoy it, carry on.  But for me it is an example of the kind of garbage, half-assed MMORPG effort that tarnished the genre and sped up its decline.  And none of that was helped by the game embracing things like lock boxes.

STO will be mentioned in the next few month in review posts as we get through its 10 year anniversary, but I doubt I will ever post about again until I write an obituary about it.  I generally don’t waste my time on games I do not like.  This post was an exception.

A New Decade

And so it goes.  I made it through this post and only had to reach into the past decade twice.

Soon it will be 2020 and a new decade will be upon us.  Not that an arbitrary changing in numbering means anything really, but we like to put things into nice neat categories even if we have to make them up.  I certainly made up a couple above.

I do wonder what the video game industry will be ten years down the line.  Mobile has become the big money maker while things like VR, hailed as the future, languish due to various technical and physiological reasons. (The puke factor is real.)

I especially wonder about games in my MMORPG category, the shared world online experience that seem to go on and on.  Ultima Online and EverQuest are still going past the 20 year mark, while World of Warcraft and EVE Online are now past 15.  Will we be celebrating 25 and 30 year anniversaries when 2029 is coming to a close?  Will I still even care?

July in Review

The Site

I wasted a perfectly good rant about the new WordPress.com mobile app and its many flaws in last month’s review post, tacking it on to the end of an already sufficient ramble, so this month I’m going to write about search engine traffic.

As I note in every anniversary post, the vast majority of traffic that lands here comes via search engines, and the lions share of that comes from Google.

Google also wishes me a happy birthday, something I find oddly disturbing

Bing, in second place, provides 3% of the search engine traffic and all other search engines combined… Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, Yandex, Baidu, AOL, MyWay… total up to 2%, which leaves Google with 95%.

Basically, when Google doesn’t show me, traffic takes a hit.  When they changed their parameters in early 2013, traffic here was cut in half and has been trending down ever since.  And, for whatever reason, traffic from Google has been way down over the last few months.

Until the Darkpaw Games thing from Daybreak came up and the blackout hit EVE Online null sec.  Then there was a sudden pop in search engine related traffic, which the Google console tells me was drive by the search terms “Darkpaw Games,” “EverQuest 3,” and “Battle Clinic.”  The latter was the old site that used to host a kill board alternative to ZKillboard.   “Battle Clinic” only lasted for a couple of days, but “Darkpaw” and “EverQuest 3” just keep on going.

And, you can see down below in the most popular posts section, that the post about Darkpaw Games led the way.  We’re not back to 2012 levels of traffic… or even 2016 levels of traffic… but it was interesting to see some search terms suddenly take off.

One Year Ago

I built my daughter her first Windows PC.  It was so cute!

Amazon was giving Prime members a free copy of Pillars of Eternity.

The annual Steam Summer Sale came to a close.  I reviewed what I purchased, or almost purchased, as well as some of the stats that Valve provided.

I was on again with my Leuthilspar Tales from TorilMUD., this time writing about the Sylvan Glades zone, which was something of a disappointment.

In Minecraft there was the Aquatic Update.  It wasn’t all smooth sailing and I ended up downloading our world and batch updating it before uploading it again.  And then I was off to find a warm ocean.

I was back in World of Warcraft and finishing up some Legion stuff and getting on with the lead-in for Battle for Azeroth.  I went over some of what Legion did for us, then the 8.0 update hit and I had to get used to new stuff with BFA.

There was also a Kickstarter campaign for Stay Awhile and Listen – Vol. II, about the development of the Diablo series.  Kickstarters for books tend to work out pretty well.

I had a summary of Abyssal Pocket stats that CCP Fozzie presented at EVE Down Under.  We also got an update that removed wagering on duels, killed off the dread “Fozzie Claws,” and fixed some Abyssal deadspace bugs.

I also noted the tenth anniversary of the EVE Blog Pack, a group I have been kicked out of more than once.

Also turning ten was DOTLAN EVE Maps.

Out in Null Sec space, Mordus Angels folded up shop and Circle of Two moved into their space in Fade.  This was enough to rouse the Imperium, previously content to let SIGs and Squads harass the north, to roll up on Fade and drop a Keepstar on the doorstep.  We went immediately after the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I, but were thwarted when it turned out we didn’t know how cyno jammers worked.  But we were there for the long haul.

Anyway, we had a distraction down south, where PanFam was going after TEST.  They blew up a TEST Keepstar and TEST responded by just dropping another one.  That one lived.  Meanwhile the PanFam fleet was trapped in bubbles cover where they would login.

PanFam did escape a couple days later.  Also, there was the alliance tournament.  That was all in a summary post.

And then we were killing Keepstars in Aeschee and Kinakka.  No end of destruction in New Eden.

Finally, Blaugust was almost upon us, and it was set to be a combo of Blaugust and the NBI, a festival of blogging.

Five Years Ago

There was a site put up by eBay about game return on investment.  Unsurprisingly, it indicated that used games are a deal in that regard, so you should go buy some on eBay.

There was the passing of yet another Steam Summer Sale.

SOE forgot to pay their domain name registration.  Meanwhile, Landmark was available for a deep discount after the Steam Summer Sale, leading to speculation about its future.

SuperData Research was listing out the Top Subscription MMOs while not defining what they really meant by the term.

Anarchy Online introduced a PLEX-like currency, GRACE.

The community manager for LOTRO was busy telling raiders and PvMP players that they weren’t getting any new content because they added up to less than 10% of the player population.

finished up Pokemon Y on the 3DS.

In my attempt at the loremaster achievement in WoW I ran through Desolace, Feralas, and Thousand Needles one week, Felwood and Un’goro Crater the next.  Then it was Winterspring, Swamp of Sorrows, and the Blasted Lands, the Cape of Stranglethorn, and the final bit of the Eastern Kingdoms.  I was on a roll.

in EVE Online we were commuting to Delve, where maybe there was going to be a war, and chasing Brave Newbies around (then getting pipe bombed) when there wasn’t anything going on.  That was back when we owned Delve.  Fights went on sporadically for a while and many a Rupture was sacrificed simply try a fresh doctrine.  So many Ruptures.  Apocs did better.

Meanwhile the Crius expansion hit New Eden, making industry better… it did get better, right?

In EverQuest, on the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server, the vote to unlock the Underfoot expansion failed, making it the second expansion ever to get voted down, the first being Gates of Discord nearly two years before.

With that I was wondering what other MMOs might go for the retro nostalgia server thing.  Not WoW, I was sure of that at the time.

I was also on about housing in MMOs, what has really worked for me and what has fallen flat and why.  This included some projection as to what garrisons might end up being in WoW.

Our epic game of Civilization V saw expansionism and direct conflict with the Aztec empire.

Ten Years Ago

I won a contest.  Granted, all I got was a T-shirt.  But that was probably more than you got.  And it was due to a video game.

Mythic announced a version of Warhammer Online for the Mac.  Not sure that helped anything at all.

I was, as usual, asking silly questions like why does Tetris gets faster.  Okay, it was an analogy, but it was still silly.

Oh, and then there was the horse.  Remember the $10 horse?  I did a poll about it and everything.  Boy, that seems like small potatoes these days.  I mean, that was a cash shop game selling a horse for $10.  Now WoW and EQ2 will sell you mounts that cost much more.

Gary Gannon announced that GAX Online was going to close in August, bringing to an end that experiment in gamer community building.

I asked what people considered cheating in an MMO.  It included another poll.  I was doing polls that July.

I did a parody of Tipa’s Daily Blog Roll feature.  That is some pretty rich stuff in hindsight.

In EVE Online I got another step closer to mining perfection.  I was also fiddling around with a fit for a Dominix.

In World of Warcraft the instance group hit Violet Hold and Gundrak, but couldn’t get the team together for Halls of Stone, so went back and did some Burning Crusade heroics just for kicks.

Then the instance group took a run at Onyxia.  The old school Onyxia.  She’s since been remade.

My daughter somehow got to Dalaran at level 16… without having the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

And even as we were doing all that, we were starting to mull over what we should do once we were level 80 with no new expansion in sight.  It only took us a year to try another game.  At about that time, my hunter alt hit level 80.

I also dredged up the old Alamo Teechs U 2 Play Druid post from the WoW forums.  Philosophical question:  Would Alamo have posted that if RealID had forced him to use his real name?

And, finally, my daughter was trying to get me to help her make WoW videos to post on YouTube.

Twenty Years Ago

Billy Mitchell got the first perfect score in Pac-Man, though his record has since been expunged due to accusations about cheating.

Forty Years Ago

The Sony Walkman was introduced and portable music has not been the same since.  A pair of classmates of mine had a father went to Japan on business regularly and who brought them each one of the brand new devices back from one of his trips.  Those were the first two I ever saw.

I think I still have a late 80s/early 90s model with dual tape decks and recording capability sitting in a drawer somewhere.  But now my phone does all that and more.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Is Darkpaw Games the New Future of EverQuest?
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. EVE Online Summer Season of Skill Points
  6. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  7. Local to be Blacked Out in Null Sec Soon
  8. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  9. Pondering all these Free Skill Points
  10. Null Sec Blackout to be Maintained Indefinitely
  11. Hilmar and the Chaos Era of EVE Online
  12. How do you solve a problem like the Drifters?

Search Terms of the Month

stuck in wow waterfall
[They’re trying to move to agile, but it takes time]

eve online starter pack 250k skill points or one million
[One million]

what does everquest get in god expansion

eve where to find missions
[See, the UI is fail]

eve online untraceable bot
[you wish]

Game Time from ManicTime

Definitely more titles on the list this month.  Still, when it comes down to it I played EVE Online a lot and then everything else a little bit.

  1. EVE Online – 60.34%
  2. Dota Underlords – 11.99%
  3. Defense Grid – 6.97%
  4. StarCraft – 6.73%
  5. RimWorld – 4.97%
  6. World of Warcraft – 3.75%
  7. Civilization V – 2.35%
  8. Age of Empires 2 – 1.48%
  9. GTA V – 1.43%

Age of Empires 2

We have been talking about AOE2 at the office some of late, which got me to launch the game and see if I could still manage something of a build order.  My ability to focus on multiple things at once has diminished significantly in the last 20 years or so.

Civilization V

I mentioned last month that I got out Civ V largely because the Steam summer sale events rewarded you for playing games that had achievements.  I am not great at Steam achievements, but Civ V is the game where I have earned the most.  It didn’t do me any good though, the Team Corgi still won.

Defense Grid

As with Civ V, I got out Defense Grid largely because of the Steam summer sale event.  However, Defense Grid is still a great tower defense game and, while I have “won” the game, it remains full of achievements I have yet to unlock and modes I have yet to beat.

Dota Underlords

On Steam but not related to the Steam sale, I ended up trying one of the titles in the new genre of the month, auto battlers.  It is in early access, so it is free and changing and in need to tightening down.  But it remains oddly compelling.  Also, once I was losing badly, so walked away to answer the door to come back and find I had won the four rounds unattended. It is strange like that.

EVE Online

What didn’t happen in EVE Online this month?  Triglavians, Drifters, the null sec blackout, skill point handouts, crazy talk from the CEO, and a proposed tax increase.  The Chaos Era is upon us.  I spent a lot of time writing about EVE Online, though I did manage to log in for long enough to go on a few ops as well.

Grand Theft Auto V

This was my one Steam Summer Sale purchase.  After starting off in the tutorial for a bit, I decided that this was the sort of game where I needed a chunk of time and the right mood in order to get into it.  Sometimes that works out.  But then there is the Valkyria Chronicles, about which I said the same thing.  Steam says I played 9 minutes of that back in 2015.  Haven’t hit the right mood yet I guess.

Pokemon Go

Had a good month here, with my wife and I getting to run around to find Team Rocket Pokestops.  I have a post about that brewing.  I also added a bunch of friends by posting my friend code on Twitter in order to satisfy one of the special task requirements.  Now I keep running out of gifts to give them.

Level: 36 (+0 but so very close to 37)
Pokedex status: 432 (+7) caught, 457 (+4) seen
Pokemon I want: Luxray, which was my daughter’s favorite Pokemon back in the day
Current buddy: Bronzor


RimWorld remains my go-to quiet time want to play and listen to a podcast or audio book game.  It is also a game you play over the long term and one that is pretty easy to pick up after you have been away for a bit.  I still have a post brewing about it, and with a need to post every day next month I will probably get to that in August.


I bought the StarCraft Cartooned graphics pack.  I didn’t need it.  I don’t play that much StarCraft.  But it was very cute and the Carbots team gets some of the money.  That is about the only financial support they’re going to get from me, but at least they got that.  And I did end up playing through the campaign some again, so I got some use out of it.

World of Warcraft

A slow month for me in WoW as the play percentage above shows.  We got the Rise of Azshara update and I pretty much fell off the horse when it came to Azeroth.  I think that was mostly made up of me doing Darkmoon Faire stuff.  But maybe it was time for a breather before WoW Classic.

Coming Up

August seems to be shaping up as a busy time.

First, there is Blaugust.  I know Bel’s calendar say that this whole week is “Prep Week,” and that some people have posted about it already, but I don’t start in on Blaugust until it is actually August.  You will get my contribution towards prep week tomorrow.

The Chaos Era looks to carry on in EVE Online.  We will see if Hilmar’s forecast of weekly disruptions or CCP Falcon’s desire for a dystopian hellscape of an internet spaceship game comes to pass.  Meanwhile the null sec blackout and the free skill point dispensing continues unabated.

SynCaine and my daughter’s boyfriend have both suggested I try Riot’s Teamfight Tactics as an alternative to Dota Underlords.  Both have said TFT is better, simpler, shorter, or whatever.  However, both of them have played a lot of League of Legends, from whence the TFT units come, so that might be swaying them.  Still, I may give it a try.

But the biggest thing of all coming up in August is WoW Classic.  I expect it to be crazy crowded with long queues and the usual launch circus.  Once that hits it will likely overshadow most other topics for at least a week.

June in Review

The Site

I was excited momentarily when I saw another WordPress.com blog had a switch on their side bar that allowed you to turn on and off “night mode” on your blog.  This mode makes your blog dark, which solves the war between those who want black text on a white background and white text on a black background.

The magic switch

On seeing that I immediately started looking up how to add that to TAGN.  And I found out how.  It is a plugin, and to be able to add plugins you need to have a business level account with WP.com, which runs past $300 a year.  Given that is over 10x what I pay today (I have a no longer available “No Ads and CSS editing” plan for $30 a year), night mode won’t be here any time soon.  I just don’t care about you, the reader, that much.  Sorry.

I did also see that WP.com had re-arranged their plans yet again.  I hadn’t gotten a note about that, but the range now includes some more reasonably priced options.

The June 2019 personal plans

The Blogger plan is only slightly more than what I pay now, so I might be tempted by that for the other site, if only to remove ads.  The Premium plan would even be within my means for this site, if I had any use for most of the features.  Therein lies the problem.  I don’t even want a custom domain name.  After more than a dozen years as tagn.wordpress.com, why would I want to mess with that.  All I really want is ads removed and enough storage space for my many screen shots.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com pushed a new version of their mobile app last week that not only shows less information, but insists on showing stats based on the time zone you happen to be in as opposed to the time zone to blog is set to.  My attempts to engage with WP.com have been met with the usual blank looks and unhelpful replies.  This does not make me want to give them more money.

On another front, I got sick of the Blog Roll Feed in the side bar failing to load.  It was always a bit problematic, but of late it seemed to be failing to load almost all the time.  So I dug into my Rube Golberg setup and found a problem that should have prevented it from loading ever.

This comes up more often in software than you might hope in software.

Anyway, I redid how everything connects and it seems to be much more reliable now.  So op success for what is now v.7 of the sidebar feed.  It isn’t bullet proof… it is still a hack… but it shows data now more often than it did previously.

One Year Ago

I was done with DragonVale.

Blizzard picked the version of the game that would become WoW Classic.  Version 1.12 would be the destination for nostalgia.

With Pokemon moving on to other platforms, it was clear that the Nintendo DS/3DS/2DS platform was on its way out.

In New Eden it was time for the CSM13 election.  Surprise!  Null sec candidates won most of the seats yet again. #NoCollusion

Running Abyssal pockets seemed to be all the rage.  The Federation Grand Prix, on the other hand, was something of a disappointment… unless you were selling shuttles I suppose.

I was also time for the great outpost conversion, where all those stations dropped in null sec over the years were converted to faction Fortizars.

We were also wondering what EVE: Project Galaxy was.  I guess we still are, since it hasn’t shipped yet.

Somebody said something dumb about PvP in EVE Online, then went on to get banned.

Star Citizen was roundly trolled for rolling out a ship that looked a lot like an EVE Online ship, and they took that trolling badly.  It happened to be the same ship that we used for a race.

I also went on a main fleet op, which is something I do every so often to remind myself why I do not go on main fleet ops.

And then there was the return of the Mystery Code in EVE Online.  There was a lot of stuff going on at CCP.

And it was a year ago that Steam announced that they weren’t going to judge games, they were just going to let everything onto their service… unless they considered it “trolling,” which sounds like a judgement to me… or if it was on the version of their service in China.  The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China pretty much demands curation of all aspects of life.

But the Steam Summer Sale was on, so who really cared about all that?

I wrote something like a review of the game Vietnam 65.

Daybreak gave us all another free character boost in EverQuest II.

I did a summer reruns post about 80s video games.

Finally I did a Friday Bullet Points post that included Star Citizen, Diablo IV, Apple killing support for OpenGL, the pending Aquatic Update for Minecraft, free video games for Amazon Prime subscribers, and perhaps my last Pokemon download even post ever.

Five Years Ago

I toasted the Newbie Blogger Initiative class of 2014.  Long may they post… those that remain in any case.

WildStar launched… and started its journey to F2P and eventual closure.

SOE finally broke its ties with the ill-fated and ill-conceived ProSiebenSat.1 deal.

Derek Smart was telling us why to charge for beta.  Lord British was getting serious with virtual real estate.  Meanwhile, DC Universe Online was doing well on the PlayStation.

It was summer and the short lived strategy group was looking to the Steam Summer Sale for a new game.  Meanwhile we were still playing our epic game of Civilization V.

We heard about how CCP handled/mishandled World of Darkness.

CCP launched the last of its expansions with a six month lead-time.  Kronos was the end of the line for twice yearly expansions.  I set off on the training plan to be a wing/fleet booster in EVE Online.

I also did a summer reruns post about the Fountain War in EVE Online.

In Azereoth, my attempt at the Loremaster achievement had me in Darkshore and then on to Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains .

Meanwhile the Warlords of Draenor alpha was starting, so I had to avert my eyes.  So I started pondering things like how Blizzard should change the starter edition of WoW.

The instance group, heading towards its regular summer hiatus, was hitting the Mogu-shan Palace.

I took a look at a long history of gear obsession.

And I was wondering if authenticators were still a thing.

Ten Years Ago

People were upset about Blizzard not including LAN play in StarCraft II.  It looks like Blizzard stuck to that plan company-wide, as every game since has been always online.

The NeuroSky MindSet was released, but I still cannot cast fireballs in WoW using only my brain.

Then there was that Wii Bowling Ball controller.  Seemed more like a lawsuit magnet.

There was a new definition of hard core gamers.

I was complaining about the local newspaper being made up of 8 pieces of paper.  I have since stopped getting the daily paper.  We still get the Sunday paper however.

There was an attempt to get Age of Empires II: Age of Kings going while people in the instance group were on vacation.  We did end up getting connected via a service called Game Ranger.  Now you can play it live on Steam.

The in-game map in EVE Online was showing me where I had been and where all my stuff was.  Pretty neat.  CCP added a new map since, but they had to leave the old one in because the replacement still hasn’t achieved feature parity.

And then there was World of Warcraft.  They changed when you got mounts in the game allowing people to (literally and figuratively) fly through The Burning Crusade.  There was that whole WoW/Mountain Dew cross promotion which, if nothing else, got me another in-game pet.  I spent all my gold on the artisan flying skill, and then they lowered the price with the mount changes.  I got the achievement The Explorer, but that didn’t mean I was necessarily an achiever.  And I bought an authenticator.  Viva account security.

And then there was the Midsummer Fire Festival.

The instance group was deep into Wrath of the Lich King.  We did Ahn’kahet: the Old Kingdom and Drak’Tharon Keep when we were all available.  When not we went back to TBC and did some heroics with four of us just for kicks.

And then there was FarmVille, a Facebook game that had our attention for a brief moment.  It went live ten years ago.  It won awards and faced criticism from a range of sources.  Even Martha Stewart was on Zynga’s case for a bit.  And, of course, it set the standard for spammy, cash hungry crap games on social media.

Twenty Years Ago

The Half-Life mod called Counter-Strike had its first public beta release.  Valve hired the two people who developer the mod, acquiring the code and name as well, and it was developed into the stand-alone title Counter-Strike.

Thirty-five Years Ago

The first version of Tetris was released.  It might have made an appearance on more platforms than any other commercial title, and variations on it are still appearing.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. Is New Player Retention Fixable in EVE Online
  6. Drifters Hitting Null Sec Upwell Structures
  7. Three Problems MMORPGs are Never Going to Solve
  8. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  9. That EVE Online Starter Pack Controversy
  10. WoW Classic Stress Test Redux
  11. The Alleged Purity of Leveling
  12. Failed Headshot in Tribute

Search Terms of the Month

best way to raid with mouse/keyboard in eq2
[Can you even do so without mouse/keyboard?]

redeeming starter pack eve online
[There wasn’t much redeeming about it]

wow classic support 32 bit?
[A big negative on that]

Game Time from ManicTime

Overall time was down by 30% this month.  I must have been doing other things, like writing blog posts about everything that happened last week.  WoW also seemed to be down, though I’ll get to why in that section.

  • EVE Online 40.10%
  • WoW 27.47%
  • RimWorld 21.79%
  • Civilization V 6.16%
  • Minecraft 3.99%
  • LOTRO 0.50%

EVE Online

There was quite a lot going on in New Eden in June, what with EVE North, CSM14 elections, selling skill points, and the war in Tribute and Vale, I had lots to write about.  And then the Drifters started hitting our structures, future war plans were suspended, and we all went back to Delve to PvE.  Oh well.  The 64-bit client seems to work though.  I used that all month.

Lord of the Rings Online

I did, in fact, play a bit of LOTRO this month.  I wanted to grab the 64-bit client, which didn’t take too long, relatively speaking.  LOTRO updates always take longer than they should because the patcher is archaic.  But I managed it.  Then I logged in and was in Bree and had to remember how to get back to Moria.  And then Mirkwood opened up a few days later on the Legendary server and my interest waned completely.


I ran out of steam somewhat when it came to the Village and Pillage update.  I found villages, improved them, fought pillagers, did a bunch more exploring, and then came to the usual “now what?” part of the game, at which point I tend to stop logging in so much.  We’ll see if the bug hits again.

Pokemon Go

I had a pretty good month with Pokemon Go.  I didn’t level up, but I got some break throughs, such that there is a blog post in progress on this, that would have gone last week… but last week managed to fill itself up.  So I’ll get to that.  Otherwise, the usual stats:

Level: 36 (+0)
Pokedex status: 425 (+6) caught, 453 (+6) seen
Pokemon I want: Togekiss
Current buddy: Prinplup


As Minecraft faded, RimWorld came back into the picture.  Both are games you can sit and play while listening to podcasts or audio books, which I find relaxing.  Having won the original scenario a couple of times, I wanted to do the next more difficult scenario.  You start with five colonists and almost no technology.  That led to a some restarts as all my colonists died again and again.  But I got past that finally.  There is a blog post in the works as to where that led.

World of Warcraft

What with the war in EVE Online and not much new happening in Azeroth, WoW time slid quite a bit.  The percentage shown even includes the WoW Classic load test, since the final WoW Classic client registers with ManicTime as the same as the live client.

Actually, something big did happen.  We got the 8.2 update and more content and the chance to unlock flying.  Due to EVE Online, I haven’t even started on any of that.

Steam Summer Sale

Despite my guess last  week, the Steam Summer Sale is not the same old thing.  No, they have some new ideas, and some old ones, and they have had odd results.  First, you have to choose a team and nearly everybody decided to go with Team Corgi because corgis are cute.  So Team Corgi wins a lot.  I went with Team Tortise, which won a day after Valve gave us a way to sabotage other teams effectively and everybody hit Team Corgi.

Then there was the chance to win something from your wish list.  They did this years back, and it got people to add games to their wish list.  Now we all have so much crap on our lists that Valve threatening to give us a random game from it for free triggered a mass wish list purge, much to the horror of devs, who get stats on that.  That was amended so that you will now win the first game on your wish list, so you don’t have to banish all the five dollar indy crap from your sight.  I did so anyway, paring my wish list from 71 to 11 games.

Finally, to earn points and such in the event you have to buy games (duh), play some specific games and complete special tasks within them, or play a game that has Steam achievements.  I did the latter, which is how Civilization V made it onto my ManicTime list this month.   I would have just played RimWorld, but it does not have Steam achievements.  Oh well.

Coming Up

We have another week or so to run with the Steam Summer Sale, so we shall see if I end up buying anything.  My daughter is pestering me about a couple of titles.

In World of Warcraft I have the whole Rise of Azshara update to explore.  With almost two months to go before WoW Classic I should have enough time to unlock flying.

With null sec wars in EVE Online called off on account of CCP, there will likely be a return to SIGs and Squads being the place to actually play the game.  We’ll see what CCP has planned for this Drifter invasion, but it isn’t making people in null sec happy.  The Drifters aren’t actually killing structures and don’t even drop loot.  They are just a plague sent to afflict us.  We’ll survive, but there had better be a point to this.

And, otherwise, it is July.  People used to say August was the dead month for video games, but then Blizz started launching things in August, so now July is it I guess.

Extra Credits and the Steam Data Leak

Back in July there was, for a brief time, a way to see some interesting data on a whole bunch of games available on Steam.  The total number of players for games on Steam that met certain criteria, such as having Steam achievements, was visible.  Naturally, people jumped on that while the opportunity existed.  There is an article over at Ars Technica about the whole thing which includes a downloadable .csv formatted file with all the data if you are interested.

The achievements portion means that a lot of games don’t make the list.

We don’t know how many people have played EverQuest or EVE Online on Steam, for example. We do have a number for EVE Valkyrie.  That came in 4376th place with 15,182 players.  And DC Universe Online made the cut and has had 2.8 million players on Steam.  But free is a pretty big advantage and that number doesn’t have anything to do with how long people played or if they ever used the cash shop or otherwise spent a nickel on the game.

The crew at Extra Credits did a video looking at the list and exploring some of the tidbits they found.  It is fun and worth a view.


One of the disparities they point out but do not fully explore is the difference in players between Civilization V and Civilization VI.

Civ V sits in 14th place with 12.7 million players while Civ VI is down in 90th position with 3.6 million players.  Their proposition is that people are waiting for all the DLC to hit before making their purchase, something I don’t quite buy.   Having played both, I don’t think Civ VI brought much to the table aside from even greater graphic detail that you’ll want to shut off to make it run well.

But you would only really know this is you played it.  So I think this might also reflect the somewhat divisive reception that Civ V has received.  I know some old Civ fans who were not happy with Civ V and who thus probably never moved on to try Civ VI.

Add in the problem with Civilization: Beyond Earth (2.6 million players on Steam) which was… well… it wasn’t the second coming of Alpha Centauri, that’s for sure… and you can imaging that Civ VI might have been fighting against Sid Meier’s previous games as much as the reviews it got.  My gut says that Civ VI getting all of its DLC done won’t get it to Civ V levels of sales.

It does warm my heart that the HD remaster of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings has had 5.8 million players on Steam.  That is both the peak of the series as well as possibly being the peak of the RTS genre… leaving aside StarCraft of course.

And, of the more than 13K titles on the list, over 8K of them have less than 10,000 players, with last place on the list going to Disco Elysium, which has had three players.

Somebody had to be last

But it has achievements!  And, of course, it hasn’t even been released yet, so those three are probably just the Steam or dev staff.  But I thought it deserved a mention since it was last on the list.

Anyway, there is some data to play with if you are interested.

Civilization – The Glorious People’s Victory over Imperialist Aggression!

All good things must come to an end… and even the dentist will eventually decide he has gotten the last bit of plaque from your gum line with that iron hook and cease his infernal gouging and scraping… and so it was with our game of Civilization V, entering into its 14th week of play.   As I mentioned last time, a number of victory conditions were beginning to hove into view and become distinct possibilities.

Things picked up as they had left off the previous week.  Mattman, Potshot, and I were online and in the game, ready for turn 751 to commence.  We were expecting Loghound as well, but as the appointed hour rolled around he wasn’t online, so we pressed on.

I managed to hold on to Babylon for the first turn, thwarting Nebuchadnezzar’s feeble counter-attack, and went on to take Akkad, the next city in line.

Rolling over Babylon

Rolling over Babylon

Potshot managed to roll over another Babylonian city to the north at the same time, so it was starting to look like the end of their empire.  After the mountainous terrain past their former capital was an open plain, the perfect venue for my combined arms assault.  It looked like Nebuchadnezzar would be joining Harun al-Rashid of Arabia as a leader without any cities left to lead.

Arabia was still nominally in the game, as we had not tracked down his final units.  Choosing the option that kept empires alive so long as they still had units was such a mistake.

Meanwhile, Mattman and his Chinese empire were buying influence with city states again.  With the world leader election about 10 turns off, one of the victory conditions I mentioned, his ambition was transparent.  So I decided to liven things up with a little ploy of my own.

More after the cut as we work towards the end of the game.

Continue reading

Civilization – The Fall of Babylon

The more people smoke herb, the more Babylon fall.

-Bob Marley

Babylon falling was certainly one of the possible scenarios as we went into the 13th session of our game of Civilization V.

Did you hear about the Netherlands?

Babylon awaits

This time around Loghound was off at a family event, but Mattman was back from camping, so he joined Potshot and I in the resumption of our campaign to reach some sort of victory condition.  But first we had to have trouble with Google.

In an attempt to avoid the problem last time, where Google seemed disinclined to let me join the event hangout, I went ahead and created the even for this week, stealing that job from Loghound.  However, while I created an event, I somehow did not attach a hangout to it and so… it was just an event.  I am not sure what good an event is in Google+ without a hangout.  It is more than a meeting reminder, since you can check in and such.

So Mattman, spotting my error, created a hangout and invited Potshot and I and, of course, Google wouldn’t let me join.  No idea why still.  Eventually I created a hangout and invited the other two, at which point we were joined together in all the audio/video splendor that this digital age allows.  Basically, three middle-aged guys on the a video conference call.

Finally we were able to get started, which meant letting the first turn drag out for a while as Mattman came to grips with how the AI had been handling his empire while he was away.  The phrase, “Deep, cleansing breaths” was muttered a number of times between sounds of exasperation.  But eventually he was able to reign in the AI’s deficit spending and “600 ship navy” plan so we could move on with the game.

More after the cut.

Continue reading