Tag Archives: Meaningless Milestones

Thirteen Years of This in Azeroth

I stood there in the rain amongst the looted corpses and burning huts.

The scene, repeated over and over…

As I surveyed the grisly scene, the reasoning behind the task seemed less and less plausible.  Did I really have to kill them all and burn down their huts?  Was there some other way where both sides could have gotten what they wanted?

Well, at least that guy promised me some gold for this… and guys like that always pay… always about the same amount too… like there was some sort of industry standard price for this sort of thing.  Hrmm…

Maybe the next task will be different.

Happy Birthday World of Warcraft.

A Timely Anniversary in WoW

We are in the anniversary zone in World of Warcraft, the official launch date being November 23rd.  But Blizzard spreads out the celebration for a while, so anniversary events and such are live in the game.

The traditional WoW Anniversary Tabard

But the re-usable boost token is really on my side this year.

13% for 13th Anniversary

I am not so concerned about experience gains, but since I am in the reputation grind to unlock flying in WoW Legion, I will take every little boost I can get.  I still have a ways to go on reputation, so I’m using the bonus while I have it.

EverQuest II Becomes a Teenager

Part of me feels a need to mark these sorts of anniversaries.  Thirteen is significant in that is the age at which one passes into the tumultuous teen years, hormones all in a rage and stuck in between being…. and wanting to be… both a child and an adult.

I don’t have a stock EverQuest II graphic

EverQuest, the progenitor, went Free to Play on its thirteenth birthday, striking out to remake itself in a new mold like many a teen.

But MMORPGs are not people, and thirteen isn’t really the start of the teens for games the genre.  MMO titles crow up fast and adulthood can be reached in just weeks or months.  If anything, thirteen is well into middle-age, when routines have been establish, destiny pretty much set, and you have a stable of acquaintances who’ve already made up their mind about you long ago.  EverQuest going free to play at thirteen was not an act of teen rebellion but a bowing to reality.

Now EverQuest II is thirteen, as WoW will be in a couple of weeks.  I don’t know that there will be anything truly special about this turning of the calendar for either game.  But I am in a nostalgic mood.  It is autumn, I am back playing WoW and I have been poking my nose into TorilMUD again, having gotten ZMud up and running once more. (Expect more MUD posts.)

As part of all of that I was digging around and came across a Microsoft Word document.  It was a summary of EverQuest II from a person who had been in the beta and sent to a member of our Shades of Twilight guild on TorilMUD to convince them to come and play EverQuest II.  The document was passed on to Gaff who passed it on to me.  It is the answer to the question, “Why did you run off to play EverQuest II?” for our guild.

We ended up in a mixed group of migrating EverQuest players from a guild and our TorilMUD guild coming together to form Knights of the Cataclysm on the Crushbone server back on November 14, 2004.

Our day one guild on Crushbone

Crushbone had just been stood up, a second round server to hold the influx of players coming to the new game.  We got there largely due to the document I am including after the cut.  I do not know the original author’s name nor am I posting with their permission.  I am justifying this as a bit of history that describes a lot of the things that were in place in EverQuest II at launch.

Many, many words after the cut.  Real life names redacted.

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Elf

No, I am not trying to trigger Syp.  Well, not just that anyway.

Any elf will do for our purposes…

Back in high school, a distance through time more easily measured in decades than years at this point, I took German as my foreign language.  I think the primary outcome of three years of the language is that my writing in English improved greatly.  One of those side-effects, you have to examine your own language in order to learn another one.

I think my greatest achievement in German was reading Catch-22 in the language, something that took me most of a summer, a copy in English, and my German-English dictionary.  Other than that, I retain very little of the language.  Enough to annoy my mother-in-law (who is German), catch the occasional bit of dialog in a movie, appreciate The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers slightly more, get that joke about the German novel where the last two chapters are nothing but verbs, and make a poor joke from a post title.

Anyway, the German word for “eleven” is “elf,” something endlessly amusing to a 13 year old boy, an age I have never fully ceased to be.  The title is a joke because I write about fantasy MMORPGs now and again… less lately than before… where the elf is a staple, and yet relevant because this is one of those anniversary posts… my eleventh.

The Annual WP.com achievement

I am clearly out of clever titles and amusing intros at this point.  Remember that anniversary post that was full of Soviet propaganda?  Or the one grounded in Winnie the Pooh?  Now I am hanging my hat on the fact that the German word for eleven is a mythical creature in English.  It’s all I’ve got, and I’m not even going to run with it.  I’m going to just break in the usual statistics for a bit and hope I can come up with something new to say before we get to the end of the post.

For those interested in some of my better attempts at anniversary posts, here is the list:

And from that we might as well get stuck into this.

Base Statistics

In which I attempt to quantify what I have done here in the last twelve months.  The change over last year’s totals are noted in parentheses.

Days since launch: 4,018 (+365)
Posts total: 4,416 (+341)
Average posts per day: 1.097 (-0.013)
Comments: 29,415 (+1,456)
Average comments per post: 6.66  (-0.2)
Average comments per day: 7.32  (-0.33)
Spam comments: 1,376,145 (+63,980)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 424
Average spam comments per day: 342.5 (-16.7)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 47.2 (+0.2)
Comments written by me: 3,873 or 13.1%
Images uploaded:  10,416 11,764 (+1,348)
Space used by images: 270MB of my 3 GB allocation (9%, down 69%)
Blog Followers: 1,340
Twitter Followers: 722
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 6 (one twice)

This is the first year of the blog where I wrote less than one post per day, hitting the publish button 24 fewer times in the last year than the year before.  That is about a month of weekday posts I did not do.  See the effect of MMO malaise?  Because, seriously, I didn’t take any long vacations or suffering from debilitating illness over the previous twelve months.  I just wrote less, something that generally happens when I am just not interested in a given topic, which in this case is my MMO hobby.

Still, the average over the full life of the blog is over a post a day.  And even 333 is more than a post every weekday, the goal for which I strive.  That would only net me about 260 posts so, while no Stakhanovite, I have exceeded my posting norm.  Not bad for an eleven year long streak.

With posts down, comments were also down, both overall… simply fewer comments than last year… and as a percentage of posts… people commented less per post.  My comments, as a percentage of the total, was up.  Probably me talking to myself.

One oddity in the stats above is the amount of space used by my uploaded images, which dropped precipitously since last year’s post.  For some reason WordPress.com reset my allocation last year.  Maybe it was a happy anniversary gesture.  Maybe it was a bug.  I suspect that nothing good will come of it and that some day I will log in and find every screen shot from 2006 through 2016 missing, having been deleted by some automated process.  But for now they survive.

Anyway, that is the basic gist of what happened here over the last year.  The remainder of the post is after the cut to keep the long list of mostly meaningless words and statistics from overwhelming the from page.  See you on the other side, should you choose to go there… or if you are looking at this in an RSS reader.

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One Hundred and Eighty Million Skill Points

In which we explore the musical question, “Do I have enough skill points yet?”

The answer is clearly, “No!”  At least not yet, not in a world where there are more sub cap related skills to learn and where Asher comes up with new doctrines that are helped by having skills to level 5.

And so it goes.  I have two other characters on my main account who are starved for skill points… I threw a skill injector at one so he could at least run a cyno… while Wilhelm Arcturus, my main, continues to keep a training queue that is two years deep.

Anyway, the story of Wilhelm’s skill point progression so far.

And now he is at 180 million, seven months after the last post, right on schedule.

Actually, he hit 180 million about a week and a half ago.  But this is one of those posts that can sort of go as I have the time, so long as it still lands in the same month.  I had other things to write about over the last week or so, enough other things that I doubled up daily posts for a couple of days and I still have a few topics in the “catch up before it is too late” bin.

Anyway, this is my skill point distribution as of when I pulled the numbers for this post.  Categories that saw a change in skill points are marked with an asterisk.

 Spaceship Cmd 59,729,416 (59 of 75)*
 Gunnery 17,197,141 (36 of 46)
 Fleet Support 12,896,000 (14 of 15)
 Drones 11,704,870 (22 of 26)
 Missiles 11,059,167 (22 of 26)*
 Navigation 9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Engineering 7,253,895 (15 of 15)
 Electronic Sys 7,189,415 (14 of 15)
 Armor 6,131,137 (13 of 13)
 Shields 5,994,039 (11 of 13)
 Science 5,462,151 (21 of 39)
 Resc Processing 4,569,908 (22 of 28)
 Trade 3,271,765 (9 of 14)
 Targeting 3,207,765 (8 of 8)
 Neural Enhance. 3,202,510 (7 of 8)
 Scanning 3,028,369 (7 of 7)*
 Subsystems 2,199,294 (16 of 16)*
 Planet Mgmt 1,612,315 (5 of 5)*
 Rigging 1,312,395 (10 of 10)
 Production 1,157,986 (5 of 12)
 Social 1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Structure Mgmt 1,084,784 (2 of 6)
 Corp Mgmt 24,000 (2 of 5)

Total ~180,000,000 (338 of 428)

Of course, there is Spaceship Command up at the top still.  And, as usual, it saw the bulk of the new skill points show up, getting almost 8.5 million of the 10 million new skill points.

Probably the biggest addition there was training up to Command Ships V.  I can now fly a boosting ship like the Damnation and, with the right implant, provide the best possible fleet boosts.

A Dark Damnation

Of course, there is the question of how often I might do that.  I fit out a Damnation for the Reavers deployment to H-ADOC and flew it a few times there.  But then we got back home and the fit for main fleet is different and I had the Armor boosting implant and fleets seem to want the Information Warfare implant, so I either have to destroy an expensive implant to swap or manage clones carefully.

Clone management is easier with Citadels, if you have one handy that is set up for it, but I am also running out of extra clones to hold implant sets.  Asher has implants required for some doctrines, so I have a number of clones tied up with various implant sets already.  Life is complicated.  Poor me.

I also hit Interdictors V, just to have that handy, as well as Minmatar Strategic Cruiser V, because it sounded like the Loki might be the coming thing after the T3 revamp.  But I haven’t flown one yet.  I also tossed in Marauders due to a rumor that there might be such a doctrine, and Mining Frigate V, because it was a short train, picked up a couple of sub caps I couldn’t fly, and was at a time when I wasn’t burning to train something else.

After Spaceship Command I did invest a little time in Missiles.  With Defender Missiles becoming a thing after so many years, I trained those up a bit.  I also racked up a couple levels of specialization for missiles types, since we now fly a couple of missile doctrines.

Subsystems, the subsidiary skills for strategic cruisers, went up some despite the fact that CCP removed four of the skills, one from each empire, and refunded the skill points. (Which I put into Command Ships V, which took a few days off of that.)  However, with what seemed like enthusiasm for the Loki, I trained all the Minmatar subsystems to V and made sure I was at IV or V for all the skills for the Legion and the Proteus.   The net result was that the total skill points in subsystems went up.

I also trained up to Command Center Upgrades V under Planetary Management to give me enough power/CPU to run an extra extraction head on some of my planets, since there always seems to be an imbalance in the two resources I am harvesting.  Now the lower output resources gets an extra extractor.

And, finally, I started training up scanning.  My alt is all level V in scanning and I have gotten used to having that sort of ability handy, so now I want to duplicate it on my main.  This always happens, I get something on one and want it on the other.  I actually have a list of skills in my queue that I want to re-spec for, including scanning, once I am done with a couple more Spaceship Command skills.

Oddly, for the probably the first time in the history of these posts, I ended up with the same number of skills two posts in a row.  I had 338 skills last time and I have 338 skills this time.  Of course, that must mean that I trained four new skills as CCP took away four skills.

Anyway, this is how my skills shake out by level trained.

 Level 1 - 1
 Level 2 - 7
 Level 3 - 42
 Level 4 - 98
 Level 5 - 190

190 skills at level V puts me up 8, while 98 at level IV is an increase of 17 skills at that level.  I rounded up a few level II and III skills it seems since last time.

And speaking of last time, at the one hundred and seventy million mark I noted that I was in danger finishing up my benchmark metric of being able to fly all of the sub caps.  Last time I only had the Endurance and Prospect mining frigates, the Occator and Viator Amarr transport ships, the Loki strategic cruiser, and Marauders.  I can fly all of those now, which I think means I can fly all the sub caps.

Everything else on the Spaceship Command list is related to capital ships.  I suppose I could fantasize about flying all the capitals, but that seems a bit silly… and expensive.  Training up the Jump Freighter skill might be useful, since I have Caldari Freighter trained up already as well as the Navigation skills related to capitals.  That would give me the Rhea.

Maybe Spaceship Command will stop growing so much every time.  After I get the two remaining strategic cruisers to V, what else will I need.  Marauders IV maybe.  But after that, do I really need, for example, Black Ops V?

I suppose we’ll see when I hit 190 million skill points, which ought to come around some time in March of 2018.  And if you’re just dying to see what skills I have trained, you can see them all here.

Adding Up a Year of Pokemon Go

I was a bit late to the party.  While Pokemon Go kicked off in July of last year, I did not jump on the bandwagon until a month later.

It wasn’t so much a matter of not wanting to join the rush on day one… even if that meant experiencing all the day one issues… as it was the lack of a device.  I only joined the smart phone set in August of last year, having held onto my LG “it’s just a phone” for long past its expected life span.

But while I was late to join, I have hung in with the game longer than most, judging by the numbers.

My sticking with Pokemon Go has likely been for a few reasons.

First, I do love me some Pokemon, so I am definitely in the target audience.  Being able to go outside into the real world and catch Pokemon… or sit on the couch and do so, since they show up in our neighborhood… was an immediate draw.  It isn’t quite like the core RPG games, but it is close enough.

Second, like a lot of phone games, it is pretty low impact.  I do not spend hours a day playing.  If I have a free moment I might pull out my phone to see

Third, it probably helps that I live in a pretty target rich environment when it comes to Pokestops and gyms.  The campus I work on has five Pokestops and a gym along a half kilometer circuit that I walk during the day.  There are two parks near our house with Pokestops and gyms as well.

Fourth, the change that added the daily bonus for catching and getting a Pokestop sped up the leveling process just as I was hitting the steep slope in the game, taking the edge off of that.

Fifth, the change to gyms and how you earn coins has also boosted my activity.  I challenge a lot more gyms and earn a lot more coins these days.  In fact, I earn so many more in a week compared to the old gym style, that I wonder if Niantic has erred on the side of generosity.  I went from maybe 10 coins a week to 100-200 a week, even with the 50 coin daily cap.  Of course, having something of a captive gym at the office that I can hold for a day a couple times a week might make me something of an outlier.  Some times I want people to take it from me so I can collect the coins and start again.

Sixth, the game keeps all sorts of statistics, and I love me some useless stats!  I’ll get to those below.

And finally, my wife still plays as well, so it is something we talk about and do together, much to the annoyance of my daughter.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light in the land of Pokemon Go.  A year down the road I do have some gripes.

The game still sucks battery life like no other.  When out and active, it sucks down at least 2% of your battery every minute pretty reliably.

The game does not reliably count steps/distance walked unless it is up and active.  I can’t just walk, I have to have the game up and going and in my hand.  At least you can set it to black the screen out if you invert the phone, which reduces battery usage a little.

The variety of Pokemon in any given area is pretty limited.  I was all excited when we went to visit my aunt one day and discovered her location was a hotbed of Magikarp.  Unfortunately, we were visiting her to help her move, so I have no reason to visit there again, and it is an hour’s drive, so I am not wandering up there just for Pokemon.

Earning candies to evolve Pokemon that do not spawn in your area is a big pain.  I have only managed to evolve one of the three initial starter Pokemon to its final form.  And I am still 135 candies away from evolving a Magikarp into a Gyrados.

The candy mechanic in general doesn’t jibe with the core Pokemon RPG expectation that you just need to catch one rare and then you can train it up.  You need to catch many rares in order to evolve and train up your Pokemon.  But if they’re rare, you won’t be catching very many.

5km eggs are just shit.  Nothing new has ever hatched from one for me.  When I have a bag full of 5km eggs it is demotivating.  A 2km or a 10km egg will get me to walk extra laps at the office.

As much as I like the new gyms, and even the mechanics for catching the raid Pokemon, actually defeating and catching anything rare requires more people to show up than I have ever seen.  If my wife and I cannot take a gym raid down, it just isn’t going to happen.

No trading, no playing against friends (or spouses).

I still can’t reliably beat a CP 2800+ Blissey.  If I see one in a gym, I just keep walking.  And, of course, I am jealous that *I* don’t have one.

Anyway, a year has gone by, the game has mostly evolved for the better, and I still enjoy playing, so I will likely keep going for now.

Statistics

After a year of playing, this is where I stand.

  • Level – 29
  • Total XP – 1,791,678
  • XP to hit Level 30 – 208,322
  • Pokedex – 186 unique caught
  • Pokedex – 219 unique seen
  • Kanto Pokedex – 126 caught
  • Johto Pokedex – 60 caught
  • Total Pokemon caught – 3,389
  • Most often caught – Pidgey, 485 times
  • Highest CP Pokemon – Vaporeon, CP 2574
  • Total Pokemon evolved – 429
  • Pokestops visited – 3,053
  • Distance walked (with the app open) – 358.5km
  • Eggs hatched – 152
  • Gym Battles won – 237
  • Hours of Gym Defense – 352
  • Berries fed at Gyms – 74
  • Trained at Gym – 26
  • Gym Raids won – 3
  • Pikachu caught – 56

Types caught

These are the types of Pokemon I have caught, types being the key to the rock/paper/scissors aspect of Pokemon battles.

Pokemon can be of two mixed types, so if I catch a Hoothoot, I get credit for both a Normal and a Flying type.  As such, the numbers below add up to more than the total Pokemon caught/hatched listed above.

  • Normal Type caught – 1,740
  • Flying Type caught – 1,128
  • Poison Type caught – 699
  • Bug Type caught – 510
  • Water Type caught – 411
  • Grass Type caught – 292
  • Fire Type caught – 219
  • Ground Type caught – 196
  • Psychic Type caught – 172
  • Electric Type caught – 117
  • Fighting Type caught – 103
  • Fairy Type caught – 90
  • Dark Type caught – 71
  • Rock Type caught – 66
  • Steel Type caught – 26
  • Ghost Type caught – 20
  • Ice Type caught – 16
  • Dragon Type caught – 2

The two dragon type were a pair of Dratini I caught as a passenger driving through Oakland when we were stuck in traffic near the Bay Bridge.  As with the Magikarp, another situation I am unlikely to find myself in any time soon.

So that is the game a year in.

Prime Day and Amazon-a-versary

Today is Prime Day at Amazon, a day in which there are special deals for Amazon Prime members.

Prime Day 2017

The main deals are on Amazon products like the Kindle or the Echo.  Not exactly as interesting to me as the Steam Summer Sale, but I’ll go take a look all the same.

Today also happens to be an anniversary for me with Amazon.  Twenty years ago today, July 11, 1997, I placed my first order at Amazon.com.  You can go see all of your order history on your account page, which can be both fascinating and disturbing.

My order was for a book, because at the time Amazon was pretty much an online bookstore.  But they were expanding into music CDs as well.  The whole thing wasn’t profitable yet, but it was the dotcom era and people were interested in grabbing market share first and making money later.

That second bit was the catch of course, and the downfall of companies like Netscape.

I went to Amazon.com twenty years ago because they had selection beyond even the largest local bookstore.

Today the profitable enterprise that is Amazon it is my first stop for all sorts of things.  I recently bought a replacement filter for our refrigerator from them.  It has become to people today what the Sears catalog must have been for those in rural settings back towards the end of the 19th century, and then some.  They own Twitch and the Internet Movie Database and Goodreads and Alexa and Audible, each of which touches my online life.

Amazon is hardly perfect, but they do seem to be here to stay.