Tag Archives: Pokemon Go

March in Review

The Site

As I mentioned at the end of a mid-month entry, I passed the 5,000 post mark.

Where I stand today… still not popular on Tumblr

I hit 1,000 posts more than ten years ago, a little more than two years into the life of the blog.  As I noted in my anniversary post last year, my style has gone from many short posts to fewer, much longer posts over time, so I guess that lines up.

There are about 3.8 million words spread over all of those posts, making a 750 word post the average for the site.  Given how many 200 word posts I’ve done over the years, like when I post a video on the weekend with just a few comments, that means I have some behemoths out there offsetting those.

One Year Ago

Project: Gorgon made it to Steam.

Shroud of the Avatar left early access.

EverQuest turned nineteen and launched a new server.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

I was thinking about the word “free” and how it really brings up negative connotations.  Basically, “free” is usually a scam, so why should we expect “Free to Play” games to viewed as anything else?

My other blog, EVE Online Pictures, qualified for inclusion as an EVE Online fan site.  Free account!  Or it was.  CCP is killing the fan site program.

Meanwhile CCP lost money through “derecognizing” an asset which would turn out to be the demise of World of Darkness as a project for them.  CCP was also taking a stab at cosmetic options for ships.

I picked my 15 most influential video games, and got some other people to pick theirs as well.

WalMart was going to get into the used video game market.  Did that ever go anywhere?  I don’t shop at Wally World.

Something called MyDream wanted to be a Minecraft killer or some such.

It was the end of the line for Free Realms and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures as SOE chief John Smedley vowed never to make kids games again.  While over in EverQuest the 15 year anniversary included the introduction of instant level 85 characters.  I gave that a try and got lost immediately.

Facebook bought Occulus Rift.  Meanwhile, Sony announced Project Morpheus which later became PlayStation VR.

Brad McQuaid was a month past his unsuccessful Pantheon Kickstarter and I was wondering what the plan was.

In a set of short items, I also noted that EverQuest Next Landmark became simply Landmark, two of the founders of Runic games left the studio to try their luck elsewhere, while King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga, went public and became one of the most shorted stocks on the market!  They were mentioned on the Planet Money podcast about shorting.  Of course, Blizzard ended up buying them, so I wonder how those shorts played out in the end?

The ongoing “Blizzard isn’t giving you…” series continued. while Diablo III: Reaper of Souls went live, an event which included the end of the auction house.  I had gone back to the game to try some of the changes.

Also on the Blizzard front Hearthstone launched. They did manage to find a hook to get me to play Hearthstone… or at least a couple rounds of it.  Five years later I would be surprised to find I have played more than 50 rounds of the game.

I was also musing about WoW and when the expansion would launch and the stat squish and guild levels and pseudo-server merges and my insta-90 choice and Warlords of Draenor being $50… which was at least better than it being $60.  While, actually in the game the instance group took on Zul’Aman.

We formed something I ended up calling the “strategy group,” if only to distinguish it from the “instance group” which started out playing some Age of Empires II.

And I wrote another installment of my ongoing TorilMUD series, this time about the Faerie Forest.

Ten Years Ago

In March 2009 we were excited about Pokemon Platinum around our house, although we weren’t really finished with Pokemon Diamond yet.

I spent a day up at GDC in San Francisco.

In WoW we finished up a short hiatus and started back in at the SteamVault.  My daughter was tearing up Warsong Gulch.  Meanwhile, the Lich King seemed to have laid a curse on my new video card.  Nothing I did ever seemed to change this issue, though it did seem to go away eventually.

In EVE Online, the Apocrypha expansion came out, and with it the classic graphics were swept away.  Adam though, was making his own adventures in New Eden.  Oh, and I bought a freighter.

Mythic was trying to tempt me back into Warhammer Online with 10 days free.

Somebody tried to put together a list of the Ten Most Important MMORPGs.  Like all such list, this one started the comments rolling.

It was launch day and I was already complaining about Runes of Magic… well, about the patcher in any case.

finished up what was then the last book of the Wheel of Time series.  The last Robert Jordan authored one.

The EverQuest 10th anniversary just wasn’t evoking the level of nostalgia in me that I thought it would.

And we had to say goodbye to an old friend and family member.  The picture my daughter drew is still up on the wall.  A decade later it still draws the occasional sad word later in the evenings when people are tired and a bit more emotionally fragile.

Fifteen Years Ago

Battlefield Vietnam, the follow up title to Battlefield 1942 and its expansions, hit the shelves.  This was probably the last shooter I played online regularly.  It never got a stellar mod like the Desert Combat, though it did have the Sweden vs. Norway mod that was… unique.  I also recall one of the maps had an issue that killed your frame rate if you entered a particular area.

Twenty Years Ago

Some game called EverQuest launched.  Heard of it?

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  2. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  5. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  6. Celebrating Katia Sae
  7. The Myrmidon Experiment
  8. Quote of the Day – No Porn
  9. What is a Niche MMORPG?
  10. Burn Jita back for 2019
  11. The EVE Online March Update Brings Restrictions for Alpha Clones
  12. Steam Policy Plays Out as Expected

Search Terms of the Month

sum baer iz durid
[Tehm whos bare durids, can B 4 tank?]

next eq2 expansion
[November]

is eqii dying?
[We’re all dying]

meaning of nazgun
[It should have the u-circumflex and be pronounced ‘Naz-Goon’]

feral bear porn
[There is something wrong with you]

Game Time from ManicTime

Month three of tracking game time is showing a trend of making these month in review posts even longer.  Just what everybody wanted.  Knowing exactly what I played means comments on more titles every month, and this month was especially confused with conflicting bouts of nostalgia competing with one another.  So the March list is the longest so far.

  • EverQuest 31.25%
  • World of Warcraft 15.87%
  • Lord of the Rings Online 12.94%
  • Path of Exile 10.60%
  • EVE Online 9.06%
  • Minecraft 5.73%
  • Diablo 5.72%
  • MS Solitaire 4.09%
  • RimWorld 2.45%
  • EverQuest II 2.27%

Diablo

Released on GoG.com as something of a surprise… was there any indication it was coming or did it just arrive one day… classic Diablo was something I had to buy.  I wasn’t sure I was going to play much of it, and certainly opening up this 1996 title reminded me how far we have come in gaming.  But there is a certain uncomplicated charm to it, and I ended up playing much more than I thought I might.  I have made it down to level 13 and am clearing that, though I had to take a break as the consta-clicking nature of it was making my hand hurt.  Click and hold for repeat attacks on a mob was clearly a feature we needed.

EVE Online

Operations in the east of null sec continue.  There was a bit of a swap or partners as Black Legion joined up with Fraternity.  Meanwhile, Pandemic Horde got a bit more serious about pushing back on our ops and we had some fights come to us in our staging.  Nothing huge or dramatic, though the month did end on a nice kill.  There were a couple of fights I might have written about had I not been swamped by topics already this past month.

EverQuest

Nostalgia fever.  I knew I would jump in for a bit for the 20th anniversary, but I wouldn’t have bet that EverQuest would top my play time chart.  All that travel time to the Scarlet Desert certainly added up.

EverQuest II

I did not spend much time at all in new Norrath.  I basically logged in to get the special gift they were giving out for the EverQuest 20th anniversary.  It was a painting for your home. which I hung up in mine.  Then I noticed how crowded with stuff my basic Halas apartment had become, so I started looking into upgrades.  I actually bought a larger Halas house, and now I need to get all my stuff setup there.  Moving is always hard.

Lord of the Rings Online

The Mines of Moria expansion opened up on the Legendary server and I started in on that.  That meant fiddling around in Eregion for a while before heading underground.  Once you’re in Moria there is no swift travel horse route back to Rivendell or Bree.  Probably a good thing.  I have consulted enough with Elrond.  Plus it is embarrassing to go back there and see Aragon standing around when he allegedly got into Moria ahead of you.

Microsoft Solitaire

I clicked on this during a fleet op where we were waiting on a black ops waiting to hot drop on a target.  It is something to fiddle with while waiting on things in fleets.  Basically, this time would have been counted towards EVE Online if I had just stayed in that window.  But who does that?

Minecraft

I wanted to listen to an audio book, but I cannot just sit and listen.  I have to be doing something while I listen.  That’s just me.  Usually I am driving.  But sitting at home and wanting to knock out the last couple hours of an audio book usually means playing a game, one that doesn’t have a lot of text to process, since that is single threaded in my brain.  Minecraft is about perfect for that.  I didn’t have a grand plan.  I just explored a bit and upgraded a couple of bases, digging mines and building infrastructure.

Path of Exile

I started off pretty strong on this when the Synthesis season dropped.  I made it into Act II and into the mid-20s level-wise.  Then Mines of Moria opened up in LOTRO and the EverQuest anniversary hit and Wintergrasp was back in World of Warcraft and that was about that.  It was just superseded by events.

Pokemon Go

The change to Team Instinct has made playing with my wife better/easier/more fun now that we’re on the same side.  We go battle over a gym in a part near us with another couple we know who is on Team Valor.  Neither side is above throwing berries remotely just to make those fights annoying.  We’re horrible people.

Also, made it to level 36.  Now to do the 2 million point climb to 37.  I need more friends.

Level: 36 (+1)
Pokedex status: 301 (+13) caught, 431 (+16) seen
Pokemon I want: Meltan, but I still have a several tasks to go in order to get there
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

I started out the month playing this.  I thought it might dominate the month, being another game that you can sit and look at and tinker with pretty easily while you listen to a podcast or audio book.  However I fell out with it fairly quickly as other games showed up.

World of Warcraft

I binged on renewed and revamped Wintergrasp when it was the pick of the week for battlegrounds.  Most of my play time was probably during that week.  But I still long in every other day or so to pick up some world quests and do a few pet battles.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is April Fools.  Let’s see if we can get through it without being either a complete fool or a total wet blanket.

Google Plus will be  gone from public use come April 2.  Farewell to my three followers there.

I saw a mention that we might hear something soon about CSM elections for EVE Online, but nothing concrete.  I would have thought we would have heard something by now, as traditionally CCP starts talking about that around February.  But with the world tour schedule and CCP Guard having left, the CCP team might be a bit busy at the moment.

In game, the Imperium is not going to join in on the war in the east… unless you count SIGs and squads.  Then we are totally in on whatever happens.

In LOTRO I’ll likely carry on into Moria.  I’m over the threshold and hidden from sunlight already.

We’ll have to see if I carry on with EverQuest after the 20th anniversary month wraps up today.

Team Instinct

Back when Pokemon Go first launched, two and a half years ago now, I thought there might be some advantage to my wife, my daughter, and myself all being on different teams.  The game was new and raw and clearly was going to develop over time.

And, it was always possible that it might not stick with us.  In fact my daughter, the Team Valor leg of our family team triad, stopped playing not too long after the game launched, never to return.

The surprise was more that my wife stuck with it.  It has become something we do together and really the only video game my wife plays with any regularity.

But by the time I figured out that she was going to stick with it and that being on different teams wasn’t going to given much in the way of advantage, I was already far enough in that I did not want to wipe my account and start again from scratch.

We still played together, me on Team Mystic and her on Team Instinct, seeking out Team Valor gyms to take down.  But then only one of us could take over and be in the newly conquered gym.

We tried fiddling with using each other to clear out a spot in gyms already on our teams.  She would knock out a somebody in a Team Mystic gym so that there would be a spot for me.  However, Niantic seemed to be wise to this idea and there was quickly a lockout timer that would keep you from joining gyms under attack.

Actually, that was probably just to keep people from piling right back in a gym as they were knocked out, but it prevented our scheme as well.

So on we went, playing together on two different teams.

And then Niantic finally announced a way to change teams.  Back in February they posted that a new item would soon be available from the in-game store, the new Team Medallion.

Team Medallion close up

The Team Medallion was going to cost 1,000 coins and could only be used once every 365 days.

The time limit wasn’t a big deal, as I only wanted to change once so my wife and I could be on the same team.  And the cost… well, as it happened I was closing in on that many coins as they announced it.  There is a gym at our office campus that I get in almost daily, so I earn coins pretty regularly.  I was saving up for the gift box with all the incubators they had at one point, but this was a bigger deal.

So I bought the token and did the big switch.  Then I had to change my outfit, which was pretty blue, to something more in keeping with the new team.  Team Instinct is all about the yellow.

On Team Instinct Now

Yes, Team Instinct has a bit of a reputation, to which I have alluded in the past.

General view of Team Instinct – July 2016

But that doesn’t matter so long as my wife and I can go drive around together now and take down gyms.

It did take me a few days to get used to not seeing the blue of Team Mystic as my colors… I tend to be very opportunistic about jumping into gyms that have a free spot… and my change clearly messed up the cycle of the gym at the office.  There used to be a regular point in the day when Team Mystic would take over, but now I need to either kick them out or find my own time slot to jump in.

Other than that it has been the usual routine for Pokemon Go.

I did luck out recently though.  Niantic released a new Pokemon, Smeargle, with a new catching mechanic.  You have to use the new camera item… yeah, I needed something else taking up space in my bag… to take AR pictures with some of your current Pokemon.  When you do that there is a small chance that Smeargle will photo bomb your picture.

Smeargle photobombing Allakhazam

When that happens Smeargle will show up around your area on the map and you can catch him.

The luck was that it happened for me on the third try.

My wife is still taking pictures of Pokemon everywhere, but no Smeargle so far.  I cannot help her with that, even if we are on the same team.

February in Review

The Site

I was away on vacation for a week this month.  Did anybody notice?  No?

Well, me being away must have been good because total traffic was up when compared to January.  Not bad for a month with three fewer days.  Of course, it helped a lot that I posted about Burn Jita 2019.  That drove a lot of traffic here.  I don’t have a follow up post about the even however because I was away for the entire thing.

On other site topics, we learned back in October that Google Plus was getting shut down.  At the time we were told it would end in August of 2019.  Then, in December, Google found some more security issues, and that date was moved forward to April 2.

They knew enough to avoid April 1

With that new date rapidly approaching, Google has been warning people of the impending end for the service.  But April 2nd isn’t the only date in play.

Come March 7th, Google Plus will stop allowing external applications like WordPress to post to the service.  In advance of that WP.com has been warning its users that support for Google Plus publication will be terminated in advance of that date.

WP.com letting people know

So if you follow the site through Google Plus… and I suspect that might be as many as three people… posts there may cease as early as tomorrow.  This could be the last post to Google Plus you ever seem from me.  (Or from Richard Bartle, whose blog also publishes there.  For me Google Plus is pretty much the Richard Bartle tracker.)

Unlike Facebook, which cut automated posting to combat “fake news” (with little success, since ignorance is generally a grass roots affair), I won’t be bothering to sporadically post links to my posts following the demise of the integration.  So if you follow me there and want to keep reading my stuff, you will have to find another service.

Twitter maybe?  It isn’t so bad if you are careful about whom you follow.

The posts are also pushed to Tumblr as summaries, and I haven’t been banned yet as part of the great Tumblr porn panic, where the algorithm doesn’t know much about art, but knows if nipples are involved it must be porn.

One Year Ago

I was wondering if EA might be a better company if they were owned by Microsoft.

Trion Worlds announced that Rift Prime would launch on March 7th, putting it a good two weeks ahead of the previous estimated “spring” opening.

SuperData Research released their review of 2017 and it seemed to be missing a key title.

In World of Warcraft it was Battle for Azeroth pre-order time.  I bought it so I could start unlocking allied races.  Not that I needed more alts.  I also did a little raiding with leashes and got the Mr. Bigglesworth drop.

In New Eden the Monthly Economic Report showed a dip in activity , at least in overall NPC bounties, as we all turned to the Million Dollar Battle that January.

CCP was also proposing changes to the CSM election process as well as updating their game news RSS feeds.

The February update for EVE Online saw a change that allowed players to attack Upwell structures at any time and changed it so that unfueled structures only had one timer after hitting the shields rather than two.  That led to a spike in destroyed citadels.  There was also the Guardian’s Gala event and CCP still calling mission spaces “dungeons.”  The coming March update promised players a new ship.

In game I hit the meaningless milestone of 190 million skill points.

Actually out in space, Pandemic Horde gave up their space in Fade and Pure Blind to move to the Vale of the Silent, leaving a hole in null sec for somebody to fill.

Daybreak finally declared H1Z1 out of early access, but the battle royale market had already moved on.  Fortnite, significantly, was now available on PC and consoles.

And Extra Credits was going over the whole lockbox thing some more.

Five Years Ago

A lot of people got their panties in a twist about Steam tags.  It was the literal end of civilization as we knew it… for about 30 minutes.

EA handed over the running of Camelot Unchained and Ultima Online to Broadsword.

I spent some time with Warcraft III attempting to discover the pre-history of WoW.

There was Diablo III version 2.0, and the changes looked promising.

On the World of Warcraft front, we were still talking about Warlords of Draenor.  Pre-orders were announced an there was a rumor that the expansion would cost $60, which seemed a bit steep.  Also, insta-90s looked to be coming as a cash shop item.  Would all of that stem the tide on subscription decline?

Meanwhile, I finished the last of the LFR raids, witnessing the downfall of Garrosh Hellscream.  For all of the complaints about LFR, I enjoyed my raid tourism.  The instance group did Grim Batol, then made the jump to Pandaria before returning with slightly better equipment for Heroic Deadmines.

I was wondering why PvP seemed to be a requirement for all MMOs.

I got into The Edler Scrolls Online beta and declared it Skyrim-like enough for me, then never played it again.

Brad McQuaid’s Pantheon: Further Falling of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign was winding down, doomed to failure.  There was talk about what would happen next.  Plan B anybody?

I ran another EVE Online screen shot contest to give away some items from the Second Decade Collector’s Edition which I scored for free… after having bought it for myself.  And then there was the monument and drone assist and campaign medals and the repercussions of B-R5RB to talk about.

And I wondered what was going to happen with people being given free reign in Landmark.

Ten Years Ago

My 8800GT video card died.  That was the second one to go.

I had been looking at my dis-used GAX Online account and wondered what gamer social networking needed to be viable.  Since then, GAX Online has shut down.

PLEX showed up in EVE Online ten years ago.  It doesn’t seem like it has been around for that long.  And then there was the whole Goonswarm disbandment of Band of Brothers, and act that effectively ended the Great War, and which made the BBC news.  This led to talk of how much control players should have over their destiny.

In game I got the mining foreman mindlink as a storyline mission drop, I upgraded to a Raven Navy Isssue, and finally bought the freighter for which I had been training, and got some ships blown up in the Worlds Collide mission… again. There was EVE Vegas, which was just a player run meet up at that point.

I was still active in Lord of the Rings Online, playing characters on the Nimrodel server.  Looking for a class on which to affix the Reynaldo Fabulous name, I put up a poll on the subject.  While Minstrel won the poll, Reynaldo ended up being a hunter with a fabulous hat.  And when I wasn’t fooling around with alts, I was leveling up my captain who made it all the way to Rivendell at one point.

While over in Azeroth, it was revealed that my mom plays WoW.  I wondered at how active Westfall seems to be most of the time.  But the answer to that seems to be the Deadmines, which I ran my mom and daughter through. (No dungeon finder back then!)  There was a little pet drama with my daughter who wanted a raptor.  I also managed my first exalted status with a faction in WoW, the Kalu’ak in Northrend.  I wanted that fishing pole.

On the Wii, we had Wii Musicwhich was crap, and LEGO Batmanwhich suffered a bit from being yet another variation in the successful LEGO video game franchise.

And then there was the usual blog war shenanigans as somebody was still looking to blame WoW and WoW players for Warhammer Online’s failure to meets its subscriber goals.  I think we’re all over that now, right?  Warhammer did what it did on its own faults and merits in a market that was well known before they shipped.

Fifteen Years Ago

The aptly named Gates of Discord expansion for EverQuest launched.  While Smed called its bug-ridden launch “SOE’s worst mistake in five years” it did see the game to its subscription peak of 550K and introduced instancing as the default dungeon mode, something WoW would make a genre default soon enough.

The creator of the original Castle Wolfenstein game from 1981, Silas Warner,  passed away at… oh dear, my age.  I played that game a lot back on my Apple II.

Twenty Years Ago

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, arguably one of the best entries in the Civilization series, ships.  My only nit-pick is that it ran full screen at pre-set resolutions so, unlike its predecessor Civilization II, if you play it today it either has to be in a small window or distorted full screen on your likely much-bigger-than-1999 monitor.

Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance also launched, one of the better Star Wars titles.  But Star Wars was never plagued by bad titles the way Star Trek has been over the years.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. Burn Jita back for 2019
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  4. Burn Jita 2019 Kicks Off
  5. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  6. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Trying Out the Guardians Gala Sites
  9. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  10. No Good Expansions*
  11. The First EverQuest II Progression Server is Coming to an End
  12. Activision Blizzard – Famine in the Midst of Plenty

Search Terms of the Month

is raptr dead or what
[Or what!]

darkfall unholy wars 2019
[Keep on dreamin’]

anything else like all access from daybreak
[XBox Live maybe?]

eve online passie tank vs buffer tank
[Passie tank better than a failie tank]

library of congress “server code”
[The Library of Congress server code is open source]

give usual predictions of new year
[Covered that back on the first of the year]

Game Time from ManicTime

Month two of time tracking with ManicTime. My gaming division of time for February.

  • RimWorld 37.58%
  • WoW 26.12%
  • EVE Online 20.09%
  • EQ 14.28%
  • Minecraft 1.24%
  • LOTRO 0.68%

LOTRO went from top of the heap in January to not much activity at all.  I also binged on a stretch of RimWorld, which replaced LOTRO at the top.  WoW and EQ, which were negligible last month, saw big boosts as I went to those places for my MMORPG fix. And EVE Online stayed about the same.

EVE Online

I was fairly active in fleets during the first half of the month as Liberty Squad brought “freedom” to the inhabitants of The Kalevala Expanse. (I have to look up the name of that region every time. My brain thinks anything that starts with “Kale” should end with “yuck.”)

However, for the back half of the month I was busy with other things, including being away on vacation last week.  As such I missed some big fights in null sec, all of Burn Jita, and the whole Guardian’s Gala event.  I heard that the latter was a bit messed up, but beyond that I couldn’t tell you much beyond it.

EverQuest

Nostalgia for times now 20 years in the past is swelling.  I logged in for a bit in order to get myself back up to speed on the game.  Or down to speed, depending on how you look at it.  That brought me through the Gloomingdeep tutorial.  Will that be enough of a warm up before the big anniversary event?

Lord of the Rings Online

I finished up Volume I of the epic quest line, putting a cap on my Shadows of Angmar experience on the LOTRO Legendary server.  Actually, I did that last month, but only got around to the final post this month.  After that I was sort of done with LOTRO for the time being, and haven’t bothered logging in more than once or twice since then.

Minecraft

I did spend a bit of time playing Minecraft.  I didn’t do anything complicated or start any new public works projects.  I just pottered around a base, improving it, building up some paths and such.  I just wanted to do something simple while listening to an audio book.  Minecraft is often perfect for that.  I am still waiting for the Village & Pillage & Panda update to hit.  It seems like we’ve been waiting for that for quite a while now.

Pokemon Go

Not a lot to report here.  I am closing in on level 36, largely due to several people hitting the “Ultra Friend” level, which is good for 100,000 points.

Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 388 (+3) caught, 415 (+10) seen
Pokemon I want: Meltan, but I still have a several tasks to go in order to get there
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

I have carried on with RimWorld, and with the colony that had such a disastrous turn, about which I posted earlier in the month.  I’ll have to carry on with that story.  As I have said before, RimWorld has that “one more thing” aspect to it that will keep me up late when I had sworn I was going to go to bed early.  There is always something else to do.  Also, as an MMO player, having a game you can pause and walk away from is a nice change as well.  On the other hand, I think my pausing and walking away might be inflating RimWorld‘s play time stats.  There is always another problem.

World of Warcraft

Finishing up the epic quest line in LOTRO lined up just right with the start of Darkmoon Faire in WoW, so I went and did that since they’ve fixed the trade skill quests.  I also finished up both the exploration and quest line achievements for Drustvar.  That opened up World Quests for me.  While faction grinds are generally bad, taking them in daily four quest bites isn’t such an ordeal.

And then they had a week of double experience for pet battles, so I was in on that as well.  I do that with an alt, who is now level 112 but has never been into the BfA content.  Gaff also joined in on the WoW front, so there have been times with all of three people in guild chat, myself, Gaff, and Earl.  Earl is never not playing WoW.

Coming Up

EverQuest turns 20 in just over two weeks.  I’ve mentioned the special servers already this week, but I suspect that there will be other special things going on as well.  Gnomish things, among others I guess.

I expect that we’ll hear something about EVE Online CSM elections.  And there will be the monthly update.  Otherwise the low intensity wars in Perimeter and the east side of null sec seem set to carry on.

On the LOTRO front it seems like a lock that the Mines of Moria expansion will be coming our way on the Legendary server.  I am still not certain how strongly I’ll be in for Moria.

March otherwise looks to be a quiet month.  Spring starts towards the end, at least in the northern hemisphere, and of course daylight savings time starts in the US, for states that observe that (I wish California would opt out even though that would literally mean a bunch of work and testing with time zones yet again in my job), so I will be cranky(er) from sleep pattern interruption and people will be asking what “PDT” stands for again.

What else does March have in store for us?

SuperData says Digital Sales Were Down in January

As we roll into the end of February, SuperData Research has their digital sales numbers for January, and the headline was that sales were down year over year, with the PC platform down 29% when compared to 2018.

I guess we got everything we wanted for Christmas this year.

Anyway, the chart is available.

SuperData Research Top 10 – January 2019

On the PC side, Fortnite fell from fourth to fifth spot, allowing the long standing top four to reunite.  League of Legends fell out of first place, something that started to happen last year, replaced in the top spot by Dungeon Fighter Online.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds remained behind rival Fortnite, though they are adjacent on this list now.

World of Warcraft, again tagged as “West,” remained in seventh position, one step ahead of World of Tanks, which regained the eighth slot from Sims 4, which fell to ninth.  And in tenth position, DOTA 2 returned to the list, replacing Hearthstone West.

On the console side, FIFA 19 jumped ahead of last month’s top duo, Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, while the venerable Grand Theft Auto V hauled itself up into forth position yet again.

And on the mobile end of the chart the top five remained unchanged from last month, shaking out as Honour of Kings, Pokemon Go, Fate/Grand Order, Candy Crush Saga, and Clash of Clans.

Nothing too exciting on any of the lists.  But next month’s charts should show the impact of two EA titles, Anthem and Apex Legends.  That pair ought to shake things up a bit.

Other items from the SuperData post:

  • Worldwide digital game spending declined on Console, PC and Mobile in January. Consumers spent $8.4 billion on digital games across all platforms in January, down 6% year-over-year. Premium PC had the biggest drop off of any platform with a 29% decline. Meanwhile, console revenue also decreased by 3% even including a favorable comparison from Fortnite due to tepid performance from top Premium Console franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, FIFA and Overwatch.
  • Fortnite dips month-over-month after a strong end to the year. Fortnite revenue on all platforms combined declined 48% month-over-month in January, although sales are still up significantly year-over-year. This comes after a peak month in December and points to an increasingly lumpy revenue profile heading into 2019.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Online (beta) fails to pick up momentum. RDR2 Online (beta) revenue fell by 14% month-over-month in January due in part to declining MAU levels. Combined sales from both RDR2 Online (beta) and GTA V Online, which makes about 5x more than RDR2 Online (beta) from in-game spending, were flat year-over-year versus GTA V Online alone last January. (Note that Red Dead Redemption 2 Online (beta) is still not fully launched, which may create an unfair comparison against full-fledged live service offerings such as Grand Theft Auto V Online.)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate unit sales decline sharply. We estimate that Super Smash Bros. digital units were down 83% from December, indicating that sales were more front-loaded than usual, as well as closely linked to Switch hardware purchases during the holiday season. In-game spending increased month-over-month as more players purchased the Fighter Pass.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s high engagement levels aren’t translating into revenue gains. CS:GO MAU grew 8% year-over-year in January after benefiting from the switch to a free-to-play model in November. However, digital revenue fell considerably compared to last January as new users showed lower conversion for in-game spending.

January in Review

The Site

On my side of the browser WordPress.com decided to change up the color scheme for the admin interface.  Ostensibly this was to improve the contrast, but any color scheme that involves fuchsia as a default might be going too far down the bright scale.  But the post about it said you could go back to the classic blue if you wanted.  Of course, it wasn’t the same set of blues, so it wasn’t really classic.  Also, the change messed up a few things, like the world map.  Things got fixed over time, but it was another in the long list of WP.com pushing something that wasn’t ready to be pushed.  The main surprise was that they actually announced it almost concurrent with pushing it.  Usually they change something, confuse people, field a bunch of questions, then finally post about the update.

Otherwise it has been a slow traffic month on the site.  For the first time since February of 2008 a monthly total dipped below 20K page views.  2018 came close to doing that early in the year as well, but then traffic rebounded.  Blaugust was very much a success in reviving traffic around here, though that tapered off as the holidays hit.  And now, in another cold new year, it is back to low ebb again.

Slow months show up in the most viewed posts pretty clearly.   As you can see below, the traffic tends to come into older posts via Google as opposed to newer posts from the current readership.

Finally, I am going to add a new section to the Month in Review posts starting this month, because clearly these posts are not long enough already, stretching out past 2,000 words of late.  But don’t worry, this new section will be short.  It will be a list, and everybody loves lists, right?

I saw over at Endgame Viable’s year in review post that he had a program for tracking play time… and application usage time in general… called ManicTime.

The free version of ManicTime does pretty much all I need to track game play time.  And, unlike Raptr or XFire from days gone by, it tracks the time you have the application up front as opposed to just the time it is running.  (Or, in the case of GW2, when the launcher was running, which accounted for most of my GW2 play time in Raptr.)  So putting stuff in the background stops the timer.  This gets interesting and/or amusing at times, since it shows your application swaps.  I tab out of EVE Online a lot.

Anyway, you’ll find the first stab at that down in the post.  I’m going to break it out by percentages rather than raw hours because I find that more interesting.

One Year Ago

There were the usual predictions and outlook and Steam Winter Sale posts for the year.  I am consistent, you have to give me that.

Satan was speaking to us about lockboxes.

I played Anarchy Online for a few hours.

There was Trogday.

I was looking into the Legion expansion in World of Warcraft for the new year.

Blizzard gave us four more bag slots… if we had our account security setup correctly.  A year later that little notification about the bag slots still comes up every once in a while.

I was on to pet battles again, collecting them, leveling them up, and looking into the Celestial Tournament.

Blizzard also gave us a target season (summer) for Battle for Azeroth and opened up pre-orders.

In EVE Online the January update moved the Agent Finder fully into The Agency.

But the big news in New Eden was brewing in the system 9-4PR2.  Pandemic Horde was anchoring a Keepstar there and the hype for the battle over it built pretty fast.  Dubbed the “Million Dollar Battle” in advance, it didn’t quite get there, though there were over 6,000 players in the system at one point.  INN spent time reviewing the whole thing.  Still, it was good enough for a Guinness Book World Record. (Yeah, that was in April, but I figured I would tie the whole event together here.)

I moved all of my games and data from my old Nintendo 3DS XL to a new 2DS XL.

In a bullet points post I was on about the Age of Empires remaster, which you could only get through the Microsoft store, Rift Prime plans, legendary Pokemon, the cost of making video games, and how BitCoin miners were buying up all the video cards.

And, finally, I was kind of bummed because, in this age of streaming, if you want to see recent movie releases at home, disks were still the most reliable method for the price… short of pirating the movies, of course.

Five Years Ago

Do I need to say more than B-R5RB?  That was, at the time, the biggest single battle in the history of EVE Online when it came to total ISK destroys, most of it in the form of 75 titans blowing up.  Lots of big numbers in that fight.  It made it to lots of non-gaming news sites.  And I was there.  I am on six titan kill mails to prove it.  The whole thing was a hell of an event after the crash at HED-GPearlier in the month.

That about spelled the end of N3 in the southeast as the Russians rolled in with CFC support.  My joke about the power blocs seemed to be true.  What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Blog Banter 52 was focused on the EVE Online community.  All sunshine and lollipops there, right?  Otherwise it was a pretty slow month in New Eden for me.

Speaking of bloodbaths, SOE announced they were going to close four titlesFree RealmsWizardry OnlineStar Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and Vanguard: Rise of the Saga.  Meanwhile, deadbeat Planet Side, which hadn’t netted a nickel of profit in years went 100% free to play.  Way to show favorites Smed!

Then there was how Hearthstone was going to inspire SOE to update Legends of Norrath, because SOE has been cast in the role of follower for a while now.  Also, never going to happen.

Then there was the question of when “Next” was, specifically EverQuest Next.  Things had gotten quiet already.

At least SOE made subscriptions cheaper, though not before pissing off their subscribers first.  SOE being SOE.

And then there was Lord of the Rings Online, which announced there would be no expansion in 2014… or raids or dungeons… which left people kind of wondering what was going to happen.  You want to know when people started to doubt the future of the game?  This was the moment.  I did point out that Turbine was not the only entity that tried to tackle Tolkien’s work, only to be brought up short at Helm’s Deep.  In the end my guess would be that the crisis at Turbine was Infinite Crisis, and that fell flat.

There was the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen kickstarter.  Brad McQuaid was back, asking for too much money and promising too many features.  We know how that works out.  Even SOE closing his last title couldn’t push his pledge totals up to what he wanted.

Then there was World of Warcraft.  People were wondering what classes to boost to level 90. and what the so-called stat squish was really going to mean.  They also, in hindsight, pretty clearly broadcasted the Warlords of Draenor ship date, only few believed it.

Our own group was still running through the Cataclysm expansion, catching up from our year or so away from the game in places like Deepholm and the Vortex Pinnacle.  I was also lusting for living steel and making friends with the Netherwing at last.

What else?  Oh yeah, EA decided that maybe SimCity should be a SimCity game.  I was wondering if level cap upgrades were an aberration.  There was some naming policy shenanigans.  And there was my yearly MMO outlook for the year as well as the usual predictions.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago I was in a Middle-earth mood.  I had rolled up some new characters on the same server as a few notable podcasters and then started trying to catch up to them.  The small and friendly community in LOTRO helped out, so I was able to do the Great Barrow with a pickup group and not feel the need to drink heavily afterward.  Of course, I sometimes feel the need to stir the pot.  And then there was the whole icon thing.

I also mentioned something that involved punching Amy Tan that seemed to go down well.  According to Google, this was the only site it tracks that has ever used the exact phrase “punch Amy Tan.”  I think it is still pretty much a TAGN unique.

In WoW the instance group was working its way up to Ingvar the Plunderer.  This was the height of our “we suck” phase.  Meanwhile Blizz was busy patching in improvements.

While in EVE there was a bit of mission running plus I hit a monetary milestone and 30 million skill points.

I went looking for KartRider and found that after beta Nexon apparently folded up that tent and  called it a day, at least here in the US.

I noticed that the optical drive on our Wii started making a lot of noise.  It still makes noise ten years later, but it also still works, even if Nintendo has turned off almost everything related to it.

There was that whole controversy about Wikipedia deleting entries on MUDs and MUD history.  That lead to the creation of MUD History Wiki over on Wikia.  Many MUDs are still alive and well, and sites like the MUD Connector seem to still thrive.

I pointed to a post over at Massively that showed the top selling games for October of 2008 were almost all a couple years old or more.

Ensemble Studios, who created the Age of Empires series, shut down.  But their games live on, with Age of Empires II remaining popular on Steam.

I hit the 1,000 post mark, which was cause for yet another milestone post and some reflection. (I’m closing in on the 5,000 mark a now.)

Oh, and I predicted a whole bunch of crap that mostly failed to materialize.  But that never stops me from trying again.

And, like everybody else, I had a laundry list for the new President. He totally failed on all fronts!

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  2. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  6. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  7. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  8. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  9. My MMO Outlook for 2019
  10. New Years Predictions for 2019
  11. The First EverQuest II Progression Server is Coming to an End
  12. SuperData and the Free and Mobile Future

Search Terms of the Month

daybreak lifetime membership refund
[Good luck on that!]

guild name generator for animals
[Have you met us? We’re all animals]

eveequest 2019
[This the Pokemon/Norrath crossover?]

dreanor cant fly why do i have a mount then
[So you don’t have to walk?]

Game Time from ManicTime

Listing out the games that ManicTime tracked in January, here is how I divided up my time.

  1. LOTRO   –  36.40%
  2. RimWorld  –  33.56%
  3. EVE Online  –  25.25%
  4. Unnamed Alpha  –  2.90%
  5. Combat Mission  –  1.00%
  6. WoW  –  0.73%
  7. EverQuest  –  0.13%
  8. EverQuest II  –  0.03%

I had to consider what would be the cut-off for how little time I would list.  But I also wanted to keep track of games I spent time with, even a little time.  So I decided that if a game made the top 50 list of apps tracked in the month, it would make the cut.

The top application tracked was Firefox, the browsed I default to at home for most things, including writing blog posts.

EVE Online

I was off with Liberty Squad and their deployment to the east of New Eden.  I shot a lot of structures, which is fine.  Structure shooting is what we call “putting money in the bank” in Reavers.  Setting timers is investing time in hopes of a future fight.  However, I seem to have missed most of the withdrawals.  Oh well.

Lord of the Rings Online

I made it to level 50 as I carried on with the epic quest line.  I finished the first eight books and have been trying to round up the final seven so I can say I have done them all.  They have started to wear on me a bit, as the structure of those last seven seem designed as much to keep the player busy and running all over Middle-earth as anything.  At this point I only have Book XV left to do.  Once I finish that it might be time for a break from the game.

Pokemon Go

I slipped a bit on the Pokemon Go front this month.  I didn’t play for about a week around New Years.  It was cold and wet and I didn’t want to go outside.  But I live in California, so it is never cold or wet for long.  It soon turned sunny and warm again and I was out playing.  I did finally get my excellent curve ball thrown in for the task that lets you catch a Celebi.  Have I mentioned how annoying it is when the game forces you into AR mode to catch things?  With no sense of scale or distance… or scale and distance distorted by being projected in a small room… I expended a lot of Pokeballs to catch the Celebi.  Still, I got it eventually.

Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 385 (+5) caught, 405 (+5) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I still need about 70 candies
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have had RimWorld out again.  I find it a very compelling game to play in sort of the way I find Civilization games compelling; I always want to just finish up the next task or objective before I quit for the night.  And then a raid hits and I lose half my colonists.  It is usually easier to go to bed then.

World of Warcraft

I did log into Azeroth for a bit, though it was only really for Darkmoon Faire.  When I saw that they had fixed the trade skill quests there I wanted to drop in and see if it really was true.  It was.

Others

Now I feel like I have to account for everything on the ManicTime list.  I did play a couple quick rounds of Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin.  Still an excellent game.  I also logged into EverQuest and EverQuest II, mostly just to check on a couple of things in anticipation of upcoming anniversary events.  I don’t think I earned a single point of xp in either.  And the unnamed alpha title shall remain unnamed.  It actually has an NDA.  Remember those?

Coming Up

February, the shortest month of the year.

There will be the usual monthly update for EVE Online, but it already looks like it will be concentrated on small, quality of life items.  That is fine.  We can always use that.  But I am not sure when the “next big thing” will be coming.  We should also start hearing about the next round of CSM elections.  That will get people complaining.

I hope that we’ll hear a bunch of things from Daybreak.  The Producer’s Letters put out this month mentioned all sorts of plans to help celebrate EverQuest‘s 20th birthday.  Most of those plans had details to follow, so one would assume they would follow in February, as once we get into March things will be getting a bit tight.

In Lord of the Rings Online I should finish up Volume I of the epic quest line.  The word is that the Mines of Moria expansion will be opened up around March.  We shall see.  Part of me sees the Anor server as an opportunity to play through all the game and into the Mordor expansion.  Another part believes that the 1-50 game is the best part and maybe I should just stop there.

I also have a plan… we’ll see if it comes to pass… to put together a series of posts about some old games I dug up this month.  Maybe I will have enough for a theme week.  We shall see.

SuperData and the Free and Mobile Future

SuperData Research put out their 2018 Year in Review report last week. (It is erroneously titled as 2019 as of my writing this.)  You can’t just look at it on their web site.  Instead, it is available in .pdf format and, while it is free, you do have to go through all the motions of “buying” it, save for providing a credit card.  They did the same thing last year.  The effort isn’t huge if you want to see some data.

One of the things they want you to know right away in the report is that they were acquired by Nielsen back in September.  So there is that, though I am not sure that has meant any changes in the short term.

Last year’s report was interesting for a few reasons, but what topped my list was the fact that World of Warcraft was missing from the report entirely.  Logic seemed to dictate that games that made their year in review charts, yet were consistently below WoW in revenue… and I speak specifically of World of Tanks… seemed to at least bring into question either the validity of the annual summary or the monthly charts… though there is no reason that both cannot be suspect.

So I was keen to see the report for 2018 to see if there was a repeat performance on that front.  And there is… sort of.

The problem is that SuperData chose a different way to slice and dice the game market, dividing the market into free to play and premium across all platforms.  That isn’t necessarily bad, but it does leave out any sort of “apples to apples” comparison with 2017. Still, numbers are number and lists are lists and I have long expressed a love of both, so here they are.

SuperData 2018 Year in Review – Free to Play digital revenue

The footnotes indicate that this chart was made with preliminary data for December and that Honour of Kings is known as Arena of Valor in the west.

The first thing to note, and the report goes into detail on this, is how much Fortnite dominated.  That number is across all platforms, but is huge all the same.  It is no wonder that Epic Games felt they could step up and challenge Steam.  They have a big enough world-wide audience, and no doubt enough money in the bank, to make it a pretty viable alternative.

The second is how much of that list is made up of mobile titles.  Pokemon Go is not all that far behind League of Legends, perennial list topper on the PC end of the monthly charts.  And while LoL has been down this year, I keep hearing people say that Pokemon Go was just a fad that peaked back in 2016.  That doesn’t seem to be the case. (Though, if you go look at various reported revenue numbers for Pokemon Go, they seem to be all over the map, so while it is doing well, I don’t know if it is doing as well as this chart indicates.)

Then there is the premium game chart.

SuperData 2018 Year in Review – Premium digital revenue

The footnotes again note that this includes preliminary data from December and that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds revenue does not include anything from mobile versions of the game.  This chart is limited to PC and consoles.

Probably the first thing that pops up when comparing the premium chart versus the free to play is that, save for PUBG, nothing on the premium chart made enough money to make it onto the free chart were they combined.

And then there is the question of where World of Warcraft lays in this mix.  It appeared on the PC charts from January through October (though it fell off in November) and topped League of Legends back when Battle for Azeroth shipped, but it doesn’t make the cut for premium.  But somehow Overwatch, which barely made the charts over the course of 2018, did.

Unlike in 2017, I cannot even use World of Tanks, which WoW scored ahead of for ten months running, as a signpost, since WoT didn’t make the cut either.

Of course, if I were to subscribe to SuperData’s Arcade report, I would likely have access to data that would clear this up.  However, that costs money, much more that I would like to spend, so I am left looking for clues in the incomplete data.

I think there is a hint in another slide.  SuperData breaks out the overall digital market, which raked in an estimated $109.7 billion dollars in 2018, into various groups.

  • Mobile – $61.3 billion (56%)
  • F2P PC – $17 billion (15%)
  • Premium console – $10.7 billion (10%)
  • Social – $7.3 billion (7%)
  • Premium PC – $7.2 billion (7%)
  • Pay to Play PC – $4.2 billion (4%)
  • F2P console – $2 billion (2%)

Mobile runs away with the market here, with 56% of the take.  But it is an all digital environment too.  Nobody is going to GameStop or Target or Amazon for a mobile game in a box.  And almost 70% of that came from Asia.  Of the remainder, the North America spends nearly double the amount that Europe does on mobile games.

According to SuperData, F2P makes up $87.7 billion of the market and, again, Asia consumes most of that, with more than 60% spent there.  Europe spends more than the NA on F2P PC games, but about half as much when it comes to F2P console titles.

As one might expect, premium on PC and consoles is strongest in the west.  Europe and NA spend about the same total, but Europe is split about even between PC and console while in NA about three quarters of premium dollars are spent on console titles.

And hanging about along the way is “Social,” which I assume is some subset of F2P, and “Pay to Play” which sounds a lot like the subscription model, which I think is where they stuck World of Warcraft.  It is in an awkward position now when it comes to categories as the game itself has no up front costs… you can download the client and start playing up to level 20 without a subscription and up to level 110 with one… so isn’t really a premium game, which implies buying a box.  But it also isn’t really F2P… though even if they threw it into the F2P bucket, I doubt it earned enough in 2018 to make that chart.  WoW earning a billion dollars in a year stopped being a thing quite a while back.

The “Pay to Play” category probably also includes things like the Xbox and PlayStation subscription models as well, which probably make up the lion’s share of that category.  So don’t get your hopes up on MMORPGs.  WoW, and maybe FFXIV, are probably the only two games in the genre big enough to even register on that front.

And so it goes.

I read the comments over at Massively OP where every time a mobile MMO comes up the crowd holds their nose like somebody passed gas and cash shops and lock boxes are viewed with opprobrium.  I read those sorts of things and I agree, because I am in that crowd.  But the joke is on us.  Mobile is big enough to dwarf our favored genre and free to play makes up such a big market segment that you can barely see the little corner of pay to play where our favorite games live.

So if you want to know what Blizzard will be showing mobile games at BlizzCon again this year, why even Daybreak is in that strange NantG Mobile deal, there it is.  Mobile is where the money is and free is anything but.

Then there is Fortnite, which made about double what WoW ever made at its peak.

The SuperData’s report has more to offer, including projections for the future of digital, looks into streaming, and some numbers about VR.  If you are interested you can sign up to download it from their site.

December in Review

The Site

Here we are at the last day of 2018 and the 402nd and final post of the year… unless something big and/or stupid comes up and I feel compelled to post about it before the end of the day.  I think we’re pretty safe though.  Who announces things on New Years Eve?

402 posts is kind of a lot for a single year, especially when my goal is just a post every weekday. I didn’t post every single day.  You can see by the chart below I missed more than a few days.

Graphical Representation of Days Posted – I added the day guide to clarify it

The gray squares mean no post.  But I made up the missing days with double, and occasionally triple, post days.  Those are the darker squares.  I did not post more than three times in a single day.  I usually like to leave a time gap of a few hours between posts, since it is my impression that some visitors only read the top post.  And most things I write aren’t all that time sensitive.  I make a point of writing about things soon after I have done them, things like fleet ops, more because my memory is fresh than anything else.

(The same chart for my other blog is all just black squares as I never post more than once a day.)

Anyway, a lot of posts in 2018.

But 402 is not the most posts in a single year.  The current ranking is:

  1. 2007 – 490 posts
  2. 2011 – 488 posts
  3. 2012 – 442 posts
  4. 2010 – 406 posts
  5. 2018 – 402 posts

2007 is explicable in that I hadn’t really settled down on what I wanted to do, so I was posting a lot of very short and random stuff.  The run from 2010 through 2012 corresponds with the peak of the blog in many ways; traffic, posts, games I was playing and writing about, interest in new games, and so on.  That probably represents the final gasp of the pre-cynical era for me.

Well, pre-cynical relative to my current outlook anyway.

There is also a correlation between the wave of Kickstarted and early access games and the end of blog’s peak era.  I’m not saying they’re connected, but the coming of one seemed to herald the end of the other.

In total words, or even average words per post, 2018 is at the top of the list

  1. 2018 – 427,278 words (without this post, so add another 2K words)
  2. 2014 – 395,517 words
  3. 2013 – 346,436 words
  4. 2015 – 342,813 words
  5. 2016 – 334,911 words

That gives me another correlation.  Traffic has gone down as my word count has gone up.  Again, I cannot definitively say that one caused the other… I’m not going to follow the madness of Gevlon and assume correlation means causation without evidence… but it sure looks suspicious.  Or it would, except, as I noted in the highs and lows post on Friday, traffic to the site went up a bit this year.  So who knows what it all really means?  As I have said in the past, there are many factors in play here, including Google’s search result algorithms.

One Year Ago

We got the Ring of Scale expansion for EverQuest.

Nintendo and Game Freak released what might end up being the last Pokemon title to arrive on their handheld hardware in the form of Pokemon Crystal for the Virtual Console.

I was kind of bummed when Blizzard took away my sunglasses.  But I was still out fishing and doing pet battles in World of Warcraft.  And, most important of all, I unlocked flying in the Legion expansion.  I also spent some time trying to find an objective way to measure my favorite WoW expansion.

CCP launched the Arms Race expansion for EVE Online which included expanded Alpha Clone abilities and special skill injectors just for them.  The Agent Finder also got moved into The Agency completely.  Meanwhile, the Yule Lads weren’t delivering presents to us in New Eden.  We had to go find them ourselves.

I also hit a tipping point in the game, where now most of my time playing was now in null sec.

Actually out in space Reavers were deployed into Pure Blind and were quite active in December, with the following posts about fleet ops:

There was the usual set of review posts for 2017.  I looked at my predictions, my MMO outlook, highs and lows, and some MMO bloggers.

And there was, of course, a Steam Winter Sale.  I was in the “not enthusiastic” part of my relationship with Steam.

Five Years Ago

It was the final shut down for Warhammer Online.

It was also the end of the road for World of Darkness at CCP, which shut down the project and laid off much of the staff.

CCP did give me a copy of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.

Actually in EVE, I was looking at flying a dreadnought, looking at my hull tanking certificate, and actually went on a couple of ops, blowing things up in NS2L-4 and BW-WJ2.

Shroud of the Avatar was an actual thing.  You could log in and see stuff.  Granted, a year later it was still in alpha and had a long way to go, but at least progress was being made I guess.

Turbine threw their hat in the ring with their own insta-level scheme for Lord of the Rings Online.  It got you all the way to the doors of Moria.  I was not impressed.  Not only was the level cap well beyond Moria at that point, I tend to believe that the best content in the game is the 1-50 run.  But that is the nature of level based games.

Blizzard put a cash shop in World of Warcraft.  But don’t call those microtransactions, because they are not.  Microtransactions require an intermediate currency.  If you’re selling in straight up dollars, pounds, and euros, it isn’t a microtransaction.

The instance group in World of Warcraft ventured under the sea and into the Mount Hyjal region, then ran through the Throne of Tides and Blackrock Caverns instances.  Meanwhile, I had an alt finish up The Burning Crusade for me.  And then there was my character a level cap, swamped with options including Timeless Isle.

I reviewed my goals and tried to sum up 2013.

I did some book reviews of a sort, looking at The Kindly Ones, The Circle, and some space operas.

Finally, we were very sad at our house when our cat Fred died.  We still miss him.

Ten Years Ago

December seemed to be all about the micropayments and the like.  Sony Online Entertainment surprised some by putting Station Cash driven stores into EverQuest and EverQuest II.  The selection wasn’t great and the pricing seemed a bit off, but I was more interested to know what other SOE products would get the Station Cash treatment.

In EverQuest II I ran Reynaldo Fabulous from creation to level 50 in an very short (to me) stretch of time.  And then I stopped.

And then EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be microtransaction financed.  Or maybe they didn’t.  It ended up that way eventually, but three years later when it launch it was very much a subscription game in the classic sense.

In Azeroth we were still coming to grips with the Northrend instances.  In Utgarde Keep we managed to kill off Prince Keleseth, but couldn’t hold it together to finish the instance.  Outside, we were running around doing quests.

Meanwhile, somebody was working on a WoW code, akin to the old geek code that used to clutter many a .sig file back when Usenet was cool and we knew the spammers by name.

I actually found some time to play Lord of the Rings Online.

And on the MUD nostalgia front I was reminding people what quests used to be like and sharing some really bad limericks.

Best selling PC Games from 2008:

  1. Spore
  2. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
  3. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
  4. The Sims 2: FreeTime
  5. Spore Creature Creator
  6. Sins of a Solar Empire
  7. The Sims 2: Apartment Life
  8. The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
  9. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm
  10. The Sims Castaway Stories

Twenty Years Ago

The original Baldur’s Gate was released.

And, in something of a reductive cycle, the first video game version of the physical Pokemon Trading Card game, itself based on the Pokemon Red & Blue video games, was released on the GameBoy in Japan.  In a nod to simplicity, it was called the Pokemon Trading Card Game by the time it arrived in the US.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  2. Finding Evendim
  3. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  7. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  8. A Short Rant About the State of the MMORPG Market
  9. Gamers are Not a Unified Demographic
  10. Daybreak Offering a Lifetime All Access Deal for $299
  11. Some Better Luck with Operation Permafrost
  12. My Five Books of 2018

Search Terms of the Month

lotro emulator
[Let’s not go there quite yet]

whats the orcs name from warcraft
[Azog? Gorbag? Grishnakh?]

how much.gold.can.a.portable.hole.hold
[All of it?]

eve online spider tank
[I don’t think that is a thing any more]

images of people reenlisting inside a battleship barrel
[Gun barrel? Pork barrel? Pickle barrel? I am not sure I get this.]

Spam Comments of the Month

Do not underestimate the power of contemporary flowers.
[Well, alrighty then!]

When guests click on advertisements, publishers earn money.
[So that’s how that works!]

No matter funeral particulars you favor, it is important that you make your wishes clear in writing.
[Just put me on the curb with garbage on pick up day]

Now YOU Can Grab Our New Web Traffic “Robot” That Works 24/7 to Bring You Free Traffic and Subscribers!
[Act now!]

This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
[Spam bots are the worst liars]

EVE Online

My time in New Eden this month was dominated by the events in wormhole J115405, known as Rage, where the Initiative setup operations to destroy Hard Knocks structures there, including the first Keepstar deployed in the game.  After that I mucked around with some high sec alts playing the Operation Permafrost event and logging in every day for the holiday rewards.  The only other item of note was that, after a bit too much red wine on Christmas Eve, I signed up for Liberty Squad, one of the Imperium SIGs and squads that are responsible for much of the activity during what one might otherwise call peace time.  We’ll see how that plays out.

Lord of the Rings Online

I carried on with the Legendary server, keeping up a pace of logging in almost every single night.  At least until I got to the holidays and the Misty Mountains.  Those two together caused me to slack off a bit.  But I remain determined to get through the epic quest line and up to level 50 before SSG gets around to unlocking the Mines of Moria expansion.

Pokemon Go

I managed to make another level this month, largely thanks to the bonus points you get for achieving friendship levels with other players.  Still, it is a long way to level 40.  I am also stuck on the task where you have to make an excellent curveball throw.  This is the second time that has come up.  I got it done the first time, but this time around I have yet managed it.

Level: 35 (+1)
Pokedex status: 380 (+9) caught, 400 (+9) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I need about 70 candies
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

RimWorld left early access and went live a while back this year.  Some people I read/know started playing it this month, which got me back to playing it a bit.  It is still an epic consumer of free time.  My usual loop tends to have me playing for a stretch, then some huge bad event hits and I save and go away for a while.  Then I come back later, clean up the mess, or the corpses, or both, and carry on.

World of Warcraft

My account hasn’t quite lapsed, so I keep thinking I’ll go play a bit.  I did log in to get the holiday present and achievement.  But other than that it is in limbo.

Coming Up

Happy new year I guess.  I’ll have to remember to put the right year on checks.

Of course, the first thing out of the gate every year here is a predictions post.  Look for my doom and gloom about 2019 tomorrow.  Also, some sort of MMO outlook for the year will likely show up as well next week.

The Steam Winter Sale will wrap up come Friday morning.  I’m sure there is a post in what I bought… if I end up buying anything.  So far I haven’t purchased anything for myself.  I did grab a title for my daughter however.

With the new year there will also likely be some news and forward looking statements from various studios about what they plan for the year.

In addition to all of that, I still have quite a few half done posts in the drafts folder to work on.  I shan’t fall off the face of the internet, at least not for lack of topics.

Otherwise it will be EVE Online and Lord of the Rings Online and Pokemon Go I suppose.