Tag Archives: Raft

July in Review

The Site

A few months ago I mentioned that I had decided to confront the spam comment problem on the site by closing down comments on posts more than 800 days old.  I was a bit hesitant to do that, because I really don’t mind comments on older posts, so long as they are from real people.  But the whole spam comment thing was becoming a pain to deal with and I was more concerned about losing the occasional legitimate comment in the spam filter when there were a couple thousand comments in there than somebody leaving a message on a post about Air Warrior that I wrote more than a decade ago.  Sorry man.

Meanwhile, I have also been noting that ad revenue has been down.  The first couple of months I had ads on the blog it was bringing in close to $20 a month.  More recently it has been down around $10 a month.  That is fine, as it covers the Premium hosting plan I have with WordPress.com, but I always just wonder why things like that change.

And then about mid-month some comment spam bot hit the site, targeting more recent posts, and suddenly there were more than a thousand comments in the spam filter to deal with.  Just like old times.

Then I was looking at the daily stats for the number of ads served and saw a big spike, but that spike did not correspond with any sort of increase in traffic.  How strange.

“Spike” is a relative term here

What I realized a while later was that the spike in the number of ads served corresponded with the day that I got the burst of comment spam.

Spam bot comments generate ad revenue!

And here I had turned off the spigot on my own revenue hose by closing down comments on older posts.  Oh well.  As I said, as long as the revenue covers my annual hosting cost, I am fine.  But if you want to make more money, leave those old posts open up for comments!

Anyway, as always, if you’re going to visit here regularly I suggest using an ad blocker.  Let the comment spam bots pay my annual hosting fee!

Meanwhile, on the Bing front, nothing I have done in the Bing Webmaster Tools has managed to shake their embargo of my site.  Their graph… which is a copy of the graph Google uses in their own Search Console Tools, right down to the colors of the lines… shows my site as a flat line from June 8th forward.

But my WordPress.com stats show some traffic.

Search Engine traffic for July 2022

Now, I have said in the past, web traffic stats are garbage, useful for trends but not accurate enough to be more than a hand wave.  Still, I do wonder how it came up with four Bing and two Yahoo referrals, since Bing is resolute in saying they have sent me nothing.

Meanwhile, it was a banner month for Yandex and Baidu, who made up for the missing Bing traffic.  I cannot explain that either.

One Year Ago

There was the usual Steam Summer Sale.  When it ended it turned out that I actually bought a few titles.  That led me to sum up what I had played so far in 2021.

At home we were still binge watching TV despite there being a lull in the pandemic.  We watched Community, Hacks, Manifest, and The Kominsky Method.

My wife and I completed Pokemon Go Fest 2021, in part because the cut the price to $4.99.

Lord of the Rings Online launched the Shadowfax and Treebeard special servers for a fast or a slow run through the game’s content.  I was also on about how much stuff ends up in my bags when I start a new character in LOTRO due to my having been around the game since launch and owning all the expansions.

The instance group was into Burning Crusade Classic and finally creating a guild tabard.  We finally had some gold, in part because I was scarfing up thorium in Frostwhisper Gorge.  Meanwhile, I was MIA from Outland leveling up alts back in the vanilla content due to the eased level curve and better traits.

Somebody once again claiming they could dictate what immersion meant to other people got me on a kick to explore what immersion meant to me.  It is a complex and somewhat less than tangible topic, but I wanted to go down that rabbit hole.  Middle-earth was one of my first stops on that exploration.

World War Bee was hitting its nadir, with a declaration that PAPI was going to take the summer off.  But lots of people were taking the summer off it seemed as the PCU, which had kept around 30K most weeks, dropped down to 25K.  Fraternity, however, was getting tired of the war and demanded and end to it, so PAPI came up with a plan to win in four weeks.  CCP also said that scarcity would be over in Q4, which turned out to be a flagrant lie.

Anyway, this is what I wrote about EVE Online in July of 2021:

Then, past me, whom I really hate, wrote four freaking Friday Bullet Point blog posts that were each all over the map.

The first was about Crowfall shipping, RimWorld Ideology, some stats from the Burning Crusade Classic beta, and Minmatar Liberation Day.

The second mentioned the Steam Deck announcement, Pokemon Go anniversary items, the Diablo II Resurrected alpha, and the reserve bank keys coming to EVE Online.

The third was on about the New World beta, the Path of Exile expansion, EverQuest offering old items, and Blizzard’s big harassment scandal starting to come to light.

And the fourth carried on with MORE about Blizzard’s scandal, the Guild Wars 2 expansion, bards coming to Neverwinter, Crimson Desert failing to ship, and a panic about California having some power consumption recommendations for gaming PCs.

It was quite a July.

Finally, there was the traditional announcement that Blaugust was coming.

Five Years Ago

We adopted a new kitten.  He is much bigger now.

The Steam Summer Sale wrapped up and I went over what I bought and what I considered buying, but then passed on.

Amazon Prime Day came and went and I realized I had been buying things from Amazon for 20 years.

I started using a dual monitor setup at home.  It took me a while to get used to it… I would turn off the second monitor a lot early on… but it seems natural enough now.

Gevlon was telling us about the corrupt game developer career path.  I bet you wish you knew it was just that easy to get rich.

The call of nostalgia got me to subscribe to EverQuest II for a bit to try the Fallen Gate progression server.  I got far enough to get the crazy mount.

In EVE Online Reavers were deployed in the east of New Eden where we helped blow up a Fortizar in the Great Wildlands.  CCP has used a picture from that fight a couple of times. It then took us two days to get back to Delve, during which we argued about BBQ sauce.

Back in Delve we covered the deployment of another Keepstar in the region.  I was also producing mechanical parts via PI.  And I tinkered around with one of my Alpha clones, running some of the profession quests and mining in a Vulture… I mean a Venture.

The July update for EVE Online brought us revamped Strategic Cruisers… the start of the reign of Loki supremacy… as well as an update to Project Discovery.

It was also announced that the captain’s quarters would soon be removed from the game.

We also got our first taste of The Agency in New Eden.  It was just an event at the time, though it would grow to be all things PvE soon enough.

And CSM member Jin’taan was advocating for cat ears in space.

I found that Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin still ran on my system.  A great old war game.

Albion Online launched.  I didn’t play it.

And, finally, Lord of the Rings Online got us to Mordor.  It only took ten years.  I bought in, but then there was the question of how to proceed… and with whom… and how to get back into the swing of a game I hadn’t played for ages.  I returned to one of my favorite places in the game, Annuminas

Ten Years Ago

In New Eden my heart went “Boum!

Elligium took its pandas and went home.

Blizzard set the date for Mists of Pandaria.

There was a Steam Summer Sale.

The Secret World launched.  I never played it.

I was wondering if Torchlight II could live up to its potential.

Ultima Forever!  A shot across Lord British’s bow.

Rift decided to sell mounts for cash.  It wasn’t like they were going free to play though… not yet, anyway.

Let it be noted that not all Kickstarters fail.  There was the Defense Grid expansion Kickstarter.  I kicked in, they built it, I played it.  Simple as that, and much better than any 99 cent app I have purchased.  And I still get a free copy of their next Defense Grid game when it comes out.

I wondered aloud if nostalgia servers… official ones… would remain the sole domain of EverQuest.

Meanwhile SOE was talking about Vanguard’s free to play plan.

I was underwhelmed at the so-called “reskin” of Qeynos in EverQuest II.  The sorrow of Qeynos knows no end.

In EVE Online, there was war in Delve… again… if only I could get there.  There were battles in 49-U6U, C3N-3S, and DSS-EZ, a conga line in 319-3D (where we also watched the alliance tournament), and a flying titan in F2OY-X.  The tiny Wallpapers Alliance held out longer than Nulli Secunda, before being crushed.

Then having done the heavy lifting for TEST, the CFC was asked to go home.  TEST was going to be its own alliance, but we would all remain the best of friends in the big blue donut of love.  Anyway, it was time for a convoy back to Deklein.  Somewhere along the way I got a warning from CCP for causing lag.

And there was also a link to a list of things to do in EVE Online.

Fifteen Years Ago

Hey, it was time for the Revelations expansion in EVE Online, and I was running through the updated new player tutorial. It was a huge improvement over what I went through when I started the game, though I ran into a glitch or two.

The instance group was still off in Lord of the Rings Online for the Summer, though we were having issues at The Great Barrow when we weren’t playing Truth or Dare.

Vanguard was already planning server merges. 13 servers were being reduced down to 4.

EverQuest II got its own magazine… again (okay, it was an SOE magazine for Station Access subscribers the first time around, but it had an EQ2 scantily clad dark elf on the cover!)… in the form of EQuinox. And they were offering Rise of Kunark beta access to subscribers!

Dr. Richard Bartle, keeping to his strict regime of “one controversial fanboi enraging quote every summer” said he would like to improve the MMORPG species by turning off World of Warcraft Seemed kind of mild after the next year’s entry and reaction!

Perpetual was making crazy-insane statements about Star Trek Online… like no Galaxy-class starships for you! Ships that size were planned to be “space cities” and quest hubs. Back then I told Cryptic take note: If I cannot aspire to be Captain Kirk, I am not sure I want to play! Or just go read Tipa’s post on the subject.

The end of Auto Assault was announced by NCsoft and I took note and pondered a (silly) solution.

I stopped in front of SOE headquarters for a picture. (Mirror universe Wilhelm, with goatee.)

Microsoft finally announced a warranty extension due to the “red ring of death” problem with the XBox 360.

And Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw did his fist Zero Punctuation video.

Twenty Years Ago

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos launched, the third and final major installment in the Blizzard Warcraft RTS franchise.  From a graphical and story perspective it was very much a prototype for World of Warcraft.

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Neverwinter Nights, the proto-MMO that ran on AOL and not the BioWare game of the same name, was shut down after running for six years on the service.  Given the rate of change computers went through in the 90s, that was quite a run.

Forty Years Ago

Timex Sinclair released the TS1000, a modified version of the Sinclair ZX81 that was modified for US TV signal compatibility.  I had one of them for a brief period later that year.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Fruits of the Cultural Revolution
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. EVE Valkyrie, Gunjack, and Sparc All Coming to an End on August 5th
  5. CCP Lets EVE Online Players with Multiple Accounts Subscribe Secondary Accounts at a Lower Price
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  8. The June Update Brings DirectX 12 Support to EVE Online
  9. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  10. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  11. Things Like Valheim in a Post MMORPG World
  12. CCP Promises “a very special offer” if you Link Multiple EVE Online Accounts to the Same Email Address

Search Terms of the Month

lm-composite molecular condenser
[That’s a new one… no idea]

to get to the elder in valhiem do i need a boat?
[Probably? Eikthyr is the only guaranteed walkable boss]

what happened to battleclinic.com
[All good things…]

rimworld crap game
[RimWorld no crap, RimWorld good]

rimworld dangerous bad game
[Seriously, where is this coming from?]

Game Time from ManicTime

July saw some new titles appear as well as an old title top the list.

  1. Minecraft – 36.33%
  2. Solasta – 25.70%
  3. EVE Online – 22.78%
  4. WoW Classic – 8.03%
  5. Raft – 6.99%
  6. World of Warcraft – 0.18%

However, July was also absolutely the lowest play time number of the year so far overall, running at just over half the time spent playing in June, which was the previously low ebb of the year.  But, as you can see, a perennial favorite here has reappeared on the list.  Will going back there get me playing more?

EVE Online

Well, that was a month in New Eden.  We had the downfall of The Mittani, which constitutes a major change in the political landscape of null sec.  The Imperium got a harassment policy and reporting process as a result of the fallout.  And even CCP woke up from their usual summer snooze to remind people they shouldn’t be bad and… well, they went back to sleep after that.

I didn’t exactly blaze a trail in game either in July.  I went on a couple of ops, but overall I didn’t spend a lot of time playing.

Minecraft

The month started out strong with Minecraft.  It seemed like something that would keep our attention for a while, what with all the new things that came into the game since we last played.  And that lasted for about two weeks.  Minecraft is an excellent game when you have a project in mind.  I can play for hours listening to an audio book or some pod casts.  But if I don’t have something driving me it can feel kind of empty.

Pokemon Go

I kept plugging away at Pokemon Go, though the fact that I now leave the house about once a week has slowed me down somewhat.  If it wasn’t for remote raid passes and the fact that incense now works decently, I would be even further behind my wife.  She’s a sales rep, so she leave the house all the time while I work from home.

Level: 42 ( 66.6% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 717 (+3) caught, 739 (+4) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Wimpod

Raft

We spent some time with Raft.  As I said in my post about it, not a bad game.  It didn’t grab me and it doesn’t seem to be a fit with for the group, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits.  And hey, I played another new game.

Solasta

Potshot and I spent some time playing this, and it has its merits.  It is very much a representation of table top fantasy role playing games.  But, in our group, I think that might be just a thing the two of us like.  It wasn’t an easy sell… or any sort of a sell… to anybody else.

World of Warcraft / WoW Classic

Yeah, I have resubscribed.  We’ll get to that in the coming week I am sure.  But all of the play time counted above was pretty much just yesterday.

Zwift

At some point I am going to write a post about where all my gaming time went over the last few months, but it has been at low ebb, with July ringing in the fewest hours spent playing so far this year.  This has also had an impact on exercise.  I still get on the bike, but not as often as I might like.

  • Level – 15 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 1,104.4 miles (+64.5 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 44,337 (+2,044 feet)
  • Calories burned – 36,215 (+2,002)

Coming Up

It is Blaugust tomorrow… so you can probably expect tomorrow’s post to be something Blaugust related.

There is, of course, the return to Azeroth to ponder.  I still really haven’t made a plan, so it seems like I’ll be improvising until I figure one out.  But the group seems keen to return after having been away.

New leader of the Imperium Asher Elias is trying to get the coalition serious about our war in the southeast against FI.RE.  That could be interesting and, if his call is heeded and it draws a response from our traditional foes, might even help the currently sagging online numbers for the game.

I do wonder if we’ll get the EVE Online monthly economic report tomorrow.  CCP Estimate has been on top of that.  But, more so, I wonder what the numbers will tell us given the state of the PCU in July.

We’ll no doubt be getting some financial results from Activision Blizzard.  They’ll short and to the point without a call or a slide deck, but they still have to report something.  They can’t hide in Microsoft’s financials yet.

And I am sure there will be more.  It will be August already, and I am not sure how that happened.  But there we are.

Adrift with Raft

In our ongoing search for the next group game Potshot found the game Raft on Steam and thought it looked interesting.  Ever willing to go along for a ride… look how well that raft worked out in Valheim… I grabbed a copy as well and we went sailing.

Raft was chosen because it was another co-op survival title and because we’re clearly done with Valheim again for now and Minecraft… it just isn’t grabbing us.  So it seemed like it might be time to set sail with Raft.

Fooling around on something like a boat…

True to the title of the game, you start out on a raft.  You have a 2×2 raft and a plastic hook.

The Hook

You’re just out there in the middle of open water without much in the way of instructions.  Not that instructions were really necessary off the bat.  You got that hook and there is a bunch of trash floating in the ocean for you to grab.  You throw the hook out and reel stuff in.  That gives you resources to craft other things… like another hook when yours breaks, which it is almost sure to do the moment you see something special floating past you want to grab.

Also, you can repair your raft… because there might be issues to deal with on that front.

He’s eating my raft

There are, of course, sharks in the water, so you want to avoid falling in.

So you float along grabbing wood, plastic, palm fronds, and the occasional bounty that is a barrel or chest.  One of the key bottlenecks for my initially was rope, which I only ever saw in the occasionally barrel.

The lack of rope kept me from crafting a paddle along with a few other essentials.  I found enough to craft a hammer, which let me repair and expand the raft a bit.  Otherwise I kept on drifting, watching the occasional island float past.

There goes one now

It wasn’t until I had been at it for a while that I found the recipe for rope in the crafting menu.  It turned out that palm fronds become rope, which quickly loosened up that constriction.

I also found the intro… most of which I had figured out before I stumbled upon it.

Welcome to the raft

By that time Potshot had joined me, the whole point of the exercise being to play this as a co-op title.

He has a hook too

So together we gathered trash from the ocean and built up our supplies and collection of tools, even managing to get to an island now and then… though that went comically bad at one point as we had not yet crafted an anchor, a one-use item that will hold your raft in place while you root about ashore.

So Potshot went drifting off while I was stuck on the island, though I was eventually able to rejoin him through the medium of death.  In addition to collecting sea trash, you have to keep your health up, which means finding food and drinkable water.  The health bars begin to loom.

Everything is find now, but wait a bit…

As you health diminished the world grows dim and, eventually you fall over.

Now you’ve done it

Once you cast off this mortal coil we call life, you respawn back on the raft… which is how I got back together again with Potshot after he sailed off.

Unfortunately, one of our mistakes was kicking off the game in “normal” mode rather than one of the easier settings, because when you die you lose a bunch of your collected trash.

Talk about a death tax

It doesn’t seem to go after your tools, but it can knock down your ocean plastic supply pretty quickly.  So our focus became that of staying alive… well that and not getting eaten by the shark and keeping the raft in decent repair.

There he is again

We slowly built up our infrastructure.  To avoid too much loss due to death, a chest was crafted to hold some supplies.  It didn’t hold much, but it was better than nothing.

I had crafted a plastic cup early on, but never found any fresh water to put in it.  But Potshot managed to put together a small desalinizer in order to create some fresh water on the raft.

Just add fire and some salt water

That kept us alive somewhat longer and allowed us to bicker over who forgot to refill the thing with sea water after having drank all of the available fresh water.

Meanwhile we mostly drifted, stopping at the occasional island to find some food, and collecting trash from the ocean.

We’re never going to clean this all up

At one point we spotted another raft, a much better looking one than ours, and paddled towards it, then jumped overboard and swam to it.  But it sank when we climbed aboard and we ended up having to scramble back to our raft as the shark went after us again.

I did eventually realize that  our raft was the only thing moving on the ocean, drifting ceaselessly forward, which everything else was pretty much still in the water… except for that shark.

Things might have gone more smoothly if, as I mentioned above, we had chosen the easy setting.  We eventually hit a state of semi-equilibrium, where we could stay alive if we just didn’t do anything dumb.  But we never seemed to be making any headway towards raising our standard of living of setting ourselves up like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.

It doesn’t seem like a bad game, and I am sure we haven’t explored it enough to give any sort of definitive judgement.  But it also didn’t really grab us.  Or at least it didn’t grab me.  I wasn’t thinking about when I could get back in and play some more.

And, of course, it lacks that persistent world aspect that Valheim and Minecraft allow.  You can join your Steam friends when they are playing, but if they leave the world goes away.