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2018-01-16T15:17:52.580Z
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The penultimate week for our Fantasy Movie League fall season has passed.

Also, “penultimate” is one of those words I use whenever I have the opportunity.

With one final set of picks for week 13 yet to go, now would be a good time to think about joining our league for the winter season.  Clicking on this link will send you on your way.  I was wondering whether or not to keep going with this, but we have Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming up, which should be a wonderfully budget distorting venture.  Pricing for a weekend when the top movie is expected to bring in $250 million should be interesting.

But that is all in the future.  First we need to review what happened on week twelve, the week of Justice League’s launch, which saw the pricing as follows:

 Justice League - FRI         $636
 Justice League - SAT         $434
 Justice League - SUN         $334
 Thor: Ragnarok               $269
 Daddy's Home 2               $175
 Murder on the Orient Express $152
...

On coming back to World of Warcraft I was a bit bemused to find that one of my key pet battle addons, Pet Battle Teams, appeared to have broken again.  I had run into problems with it before, when Blizz changed the name of the pets window in the game, so I checked on that.  But that did not appear to be the problem.  So I setup my base catching team, the Terrible Turnip, Grunty, and Deathy, and continued to catch pets in the Broken Isles while I tried to get the addon straightened out.

Grunty in Action, Turnip Face Down

Grunty and Deathy are BlizzCon rewards and are two of my favorite pets.  They are unique and a bit OP and work very well for a lot of my general needs.  Grunty was the first battle pet of mine that hit level 25.

I tinkered with Pet Battle Teams some more, tried uninstalling and re-installing the addon, and eventually removed all data and started from scratch.

That last bit appeared to do the trick.  Somewhere along the line my team data went out of date and when I came back to the latest version of the addon.  That was a shame, as I had already set up teams to handle...

Over at Massively OP Syp published a Perfect Ten column about the perils of getting what you ask for in the form of WoW Classic.

WoW Client from Days Gone By

The list he came up with is almost charming in its scope, featuring things some people have been literally clamoring for in a vanilla server, like no Dungeon Finder and old school talent trees and new skills that don’t magically appear in you skill book.  And believe me, inventory space is still at a premium in WoW Legion today.  We have three damn hearthstones to start with.

So I started trying to come up with other aspects of vanilla WoW that people might have forgotten or actively suppressed from their memory.  So, to steal Syp’s idea and add to the list, here are a few that stick out for me:

Just Being Poor

Gold was scarce and you would collect every bit of gray trash to vendor just for the few silver coins it might bring.  One of my earliest memories of World of Warcraft is going to my class trainer and realizing that I did not have enough coins to train all of my skills.  This got a little better as time went on but, like so many things, it...

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

The traditional WoW Anniversary Tabard

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

13% for 13th Anniversary

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

The latest entries in the long-running core Pokemon RPG series, Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, go live today!

UltraSun & UltraMoon

Nintendo and GameFreak are returning players to Alola, the Hawaii-esque islands that previously served as the location for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

But, unlike some past generations, this won’t be a simple rework of the original story in Alola.  While the location and the basic range of Pokemon will be the same, there are new things afoot in the region for you to explore as GameFreak throws in a mix of names from past titles.  You will have a shot at catching some special Pokemon as all past legendaries be making an appearance (some on UltraSun, some in UltraMoon, because you know how it goes), so you can scoop up any you’re missing, if you are skilled and patient enough.

Legendaries from Titles Past

In addition to that they are even pulling past villains into the mix.  You will be faces with Team Rainbow Rocket, made up of the bosses from old foes such as Team...

For me things have been pretty quiet down in Delve for the last month or so.

Which isn’t to say a lot hasn’t been going on.  Just look at last week’s post about the Monthly Economic Report.  And then there has been the changes to moon mining that came at the end of October.  Lots of people have been very busy.

Just not me.

I haven’t mined in ages and rat so sporadically that all of my own bounty payouts from Delve, lumped into one figure, wouldn’t influence any region’s monthly total for any recent month, high, low, or null sec.

I live for strat ops and deployments.  “Join The Imperium and See New Eden!” was the recruiting poster aimed at me.  And not much of that has been going on.  We have a structure and sovereignty treaty with TEST, our neighbors to the east. North, in Fountain, the collapse of The-Culture created more of a buffer between us and people we would shoot regularly, with The Initiative moving in next to Pandemic Horde.  And while there is some sort of war going on involving Triumvirate and Solar Fleet, that is a distant place where we don’t have much in the way of friends.

And, of course, I’ve been playing a bunch of World of Warcraft over the last few weeks, which I do full screen so I can’t even see pings if I remember to launch Jabber, which I haven’t done for a bit.  So there might...

Devs promise to change Battlefront II until players are happy

-Ars Technica article title

It is the rare headline that gets me to laugh out loud, but this one managed it.

EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II woes around lockboxes and pay to win and the game in general continue unabated.  I’m not keen on EA when they’re having a good day… since a “good day” at EA usually means buying a studio they’ll close down sooner or later or screwing up a long treasured franchise… so this has been amusing to watch from the sidelines.

Fun created here… on an Orca graveyard!

Starting with what seemed to be like a “land war in Asia” grade mistake where players could unlock things either by playing or paying using the same currency, allowing players to immediately calculate an hours/money comparison, made more grievous by having it in a PvP shooter.  So the rage online was epic and the EA response on Reddit became the most down-voted item ever.  Call Guinness, we have another video game record for the books!

EA stuck to their guns… for a bit, then suddenly dropped the price of unlocks by a whopping 75% while trying to put all of this in back in the bottle by promising… well… you can see...

I didn’t come back to WoW just to run the Hallow’s End even again, but I came back when the event was live, so I figure I might as well carry on in my ongoing effort to get the elusive mount.

201 mounts, but not HIS mount

I don’t know how many years in a row this makes in futile pursuit of that one Hallow’s End prize I have yet to obtain.  But I keep on queuing up.  At least it is quick.

The queue generally pops in under five minutes

This year I only have two characters that can realistically run the event.  Out of a pile of six level 100s at the end of Warlords of Draenor only two have gone into Legion so far.  So twice a day, every day, I give it a shot.

Occasionally I get something good.  I got the Horseman’s Horrific Hood on my first run with Vikund, an ilevel 880 helm that was a big upgrade over what he was wearing.

I haven’t been much into our Minecraft server of late.  No great project has gotten me interested.  I have spent some time laying rails along the route to the mansion I found almost a year back, but supply and logistics started to wear me down.  Building the road, which takes an hour to ride on a good horse, was a long haul.  Laying mine cart track… and making the track and hauling it to the end of the line… turned into an effort I wasn’t up to finishing just yet.

Which isn’t to say the server has been empty.  Somebody went out and scouted out another mansion.  I am not sure who went out there… and that much further than the 20km I went… and back.  But that is our third mansion, the mystery mansion.

That is a long loop to the southeast

Also, I figured out how to get the map renderer working again.  It requires grabbing the binaries and replacing them in my current install, but that is pretty easy.  I am happy to have a current map again.  It lets me see what has been going on.

A couple of corp mates from EVE Online have been on the server some this year, Panadar (Hir) and Bob.

Panadar has...

World of Warcraft

Some big big news for Azeroth fans out of BlizzCon this year, the biggest of which was likely the new expansion, Battle for Azeroth.

Battle for Azeroth

I was genuinely surprised that this did not leak as much as past BlizzCon expansion announcements have.  I was also a bit unimpressed by the name.  I mean, Battle for Azeroth makes for a decent acronym unlike WoW Legion, but even Blizz pointed on that had used this phrase previously, though only as a description.

Also, Warcraft II

And so we have a new expansion headed our way about which I am not entirely enthused.  This is the problem with expansions; they eventually stretch an MMO out to in crazy directions and, unless you keep up and never take a break, it is easy to feel left behind or to ask when enough is enough?

I have in the past criticized Blizz for being unable to churn out an expansion in less than two years.  However, the flip side of that is we haven’t gone as crazy with content sprawl the...

The expected event from the opening ceremony of BlizzCon came to pass when Blizzard announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft.

Battle for Azeroth

The setting is a renewed struggle between the Alliance and the Horde.  Initial details and the cinematic can be found on the Battle For Azeroth site now up.

In what I can only call a surprise turn of events, given the company’s outlook up to this point, Blizzard also announced that they were working on a restoration of vanilla WoW.

Classic Vanilla Flavor

Called World of Warcraft Classic, there were no details presented as to when or how this might come to pass, just that it is now officially a work in progress. We shall see what comes of with this.  But they have a video at least.

 

Third Party utilities are part of what makes EVE Online the game it is.  Without them it would be a much poorer experience.

I have been using the Neocom app on my iPad for a few years now.

Neocom for iPhone & iPad

It hooks up through the API interface and lets you view all the usual bits of information about your EVE Online characters.  You can see you wallet, your skill queue, your in-game mail, you financial information and such.  Basically it has about everything I could ask to keep an eye on, and is all bundled up in a reasonably attractive package.

So I was definitely interested when I heard that there was a Neocom II app available.

This version is made with moon goo

The Tech II indicator on the upper left corner turned out to be fairly apt.  The requirements are higher and you cannot fit as many characters.

Neocom II is a rewrite of the original Neocom app that dispenses with the old and now somewhat neglected API interface in favor of CCP’s single sign on interface.

In some ways...

Posting something from my long, ongoing series of memories about TorilMUD always brings out a few of the usual suspects, and my tale of the economy of Waterdeep was no exception.

Xyd, who got me into TorilMUD back in 1993 asked when I was going to post about the zone known as the Elemental Glades.  A strange but essential part of the Leuthilspar Tales series, I have meant to get to that for some time.

The request set me on a path again, but I did not have enough information.  Memory is fleeting and it has been more than a decade since I probably did anything in that zone.  I could sketch a basic outline of the zone, the role it played for us as young elves on Evermeet, early attempts to crack into what the zone really was, and the eventual successful discovery of what the place was really about.

But, for me, a story like that needs details.  It is often the little things that trigger more memories and add depth to a tale.  And to get those details I would have to return to TorilMUD and visit the zone, walk through the rooms, and rediscover the clues left for us.

Actually logging in wasn’t a big deal.  I use Cygwin every day from my...

Week nine of our fall Fantasy Movie League is now past and the pre-Halloween weekend was a boon for scary movies.

The week started off with a toss up over which movie would make a solid anchor based on the initial pricing and revenue estimates.  The choices were:

Jigsaw                        $277
Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween     $214
Subrubicon                    $150
Geostorm                      $126
Happy Death Day               $90
Thank You for Your Service    $89
Blade Runner 2049             $67
Only the Brave                $59
The Foreigner                 $55
It                    ...

Another year and the same result; no headless horseman’s mount.

I think this image is older than the mount in question

Told in the comments of the last post that the event now scales pretty broadly, I hauled out more characters to run it on Sunday, a few more on Monday, and last night, as Hallow’s End prepared to fade, I went through other servers looking for likely candidates to press into service.

A lot of dusty old characters, neglected for years, were suddenly sent into action, including the inevitable hunter who still had a quiver with ammunition equipped.

I will say that the Heirlooms system was extremely useful, as there was a lot of questionable gear on some of these guys.  I had to choose a spec, assign talents, and throw some heirloom gear onto them and send them into the fight.  A few even leveled up.

I actually did pretty well with random hunters.  I am actually glad I have so many strewn about on various servers.  I also sort of figured out how to do DPS as a mage after a couple of tries.  Rogues though, I probably shamed the rogues guild with my feeble stabs.  The one character/class I didn’t get to run was the Demon Hunter.  As it turned out, the one I rolled last year...

The Site

Odd that this, a month in review post, is also my yearly Halloween post.  That is kind of anti-climactic… unless you really like these posts I guess.

Meanwhile, the only amusing site-related bit for the month was this message I got over on Facebook.

My flaming fart joke falls afoul of Facebook

Yes, you can follow the blog on Facebook by friending Wilhelm Arcturus there.  Friend him, he’ll accept.  It is just blog posts from here, EVE Online Pictures, and updates from Good Reads, if you’re interesting in what I am reading.  I don’t play crappy Facebook games any more because, so far as I can tall, all Facebook games are crappy.  Thanks Zynga!

Anyway, Facebook seemed to think that the lighting of farts was an indicator of spam.  Or such is my guess.

Given all the absolute garbage that gets “suggested” to me by Facebook, not to mention all of the alleged Russian sponsored political ads that Facebook is trying to pretend didn’t happen, flagging my post as spam seems almost comical.  That’s some top notch work there Facebook.  I bet it wouldn’t be spam if I paid you some money.  Glad you’re on the job.

I filled out the form declaring that my post was not spam.  Well, it isn’t spam any more than anything I post...

One of those “note the time and date” posts, Massively OP reported earlier today that CCP was backing away from development of Virtual Reality games, closing their Atlanta office and selling off the studio in Newcastle responsible for now VR-optional Oculus Rift launch title EVE: Valkyrie.  This will mean a job loss for as many as 100 CCP employees world wide, including 30 in Iceland.

EVE: Valkyrie in stasis

CCP says that they will continue to support their VR products but will no longer be investing time into new development for EVE: Valkyrie, EVE Gunjack, or the recently launched Sparc.  That sounds nice, but once you cut the development team restarting on a VR project won’t be easy.

Hello VR captain’s quarters?

In addition to a renewed focus on EVE Online… because what else is making them any money… CCP will continue with development of the shooter known as Project Nova as well as the EVE Universe themed mobile game Project Aurora, which was demoed at EVE Vegas earlier this month.

CCP Falcon had the following to say on Reddit:

With regards to EVE, it’s kind of bittersweet that this puts us in a more solid position going forward, as a lot more focus...

It is that time of the year again and BlizzCon looms, just a few days off.  I am now in the midst of my internal monologue BlizzCon Virtual Ticket debate.

Virtual Ticket Decision Time

The Blizzard watching portion of online gaming journalists seem to think it is pretty much a lock that the next World of Warcraft expansion will be announced on Friday.  If that is the case, then I definitely want the Virtual Ticket.  As I have said before, there is often as much in the way people say things as the text they are speaking.

I have found, in years past, the quick transcriptions and summaries of video game journalists to not only fail to deliver the “feel” of a presentation but to occasionally boarder on near deceitfulness, albeit unintentional, when passing on information.

A problem of journalism in all areas of the press.  I used to swear at the local paper because every story I had first hand knowledge of would invariably contain errors in material fact.

Anyway, if there is to be an announcement about the next WoW expansion, I want to get the Virtual Ticket so I can watch and re-watch key presentations.

And certainly such an announcement seems likely, if only because of historical precedent.  Every other BlizzCon tends to be an...

Our Fall Fantasy Movie League run is now eleven weeks in, leaving only two more to go.

The week eleven box office was clearly going to go to Thor: Ragnarok again, and the goat-driving god of Asgard was priced appropriately for that.  The week’s picks were.

 Thor: Ragnarok               $659
 Murder on the Orient Express $284
 Daddy's Home 2               $266
 Bad Moms Christmas           $105
 Jigsaw                       $34
 Boo! 2                       $25
 Geostorm                     $19
 Thank You for Your Service   $18
 Happy Death Day              $16
 Blade Runner 2049            $14
 Only the Brave               $13
 Victoria & Abdul             $10
 The...

Timewalking has been in World of Warcraft for a while now.  This is where they open up dungeons from past expansions, reworked to support players in the current expansion.

Re-using old content and making it viable in the current context/meta of the game is something I am totally in favor of.  I just haven’t participated in the whole Timewalking thing up until now.

That is mostly because I haven’t been subscribed and playing for about the last year, so I missed the previous events.  Now that I am back though I took an evening to look into what was going on.

I was lured in by the fact that the current event is for dungeons from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which was provably the peak of my interest in WoW.

That was the only expansion I stuck with from day one through until the next expansion drop.  Unfortunately, the next drop was Cataclysm, about which I have a list of gripes, and which started my pattern of starting expansions, go away for six months to a year, then coming back to finish them off after Blizz has unlocked all the content and fixed the more egregious issues.

(As an aside, Wrath of the Lich King was launched nine years ago yesterday.  That seems like a long time ago now.)

However, now that I...