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Shoes for Industry – Crius Deployed to New Eden July 22, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The first of CCP’s smaller, more frequent expansions went live today in EVE Online.  They call it Crius, which I keep wanting to type as Cirrus.

EVE Online - Crius

EVE Online – Crius

The Kronos expansion went live back at the beginning of June, the last of the expansions with a six month run-up to launch.  It was big and had bits and pieces for just about everybody.

With Crius, the age of the more focused expansion begins.  What does it mean?

That is a question with answers on several levels.

Crius itself is focused on industry in New Eden.  You can read the release notes for all the gory details, or the page devoted to the expansion, which at least has some pictures related to the changes for the more visually oriented.  Or there is the video.  There is always a video.   And music.  There is a Crius theme up on SoundCloud, where CCP posts all the EVE Online music.

Anyway, there are some general bug fixes and some small changes in other areas, but most everything is about industry.

Which isn’t very exciting to some.

Not that industry isn’t of absolute, vital importance to the game.  Without the great industrial concerns of New Eden we might very well be flying about in rookie ships with civilian modules, terrorized by that guy who just finished the tutorial and was flying a Bantam or a Kestral.  Every other ship in EVE Online has to be built by somebody.  Some player in the game buys the blueprint, collects the materials, runs the assembly job, and lists the result on the market for just about every ship hull you want to buy.  I am not sure I have played any MMO that depended so much upon player crafting.

So industry deserves attention.  I am just not sure that it grabs much attention.

I went through an industrial phase myself, and my eyes still start to glaze over looking at those patch notes.  I like that you now only need 100 of any ore to refine it.  I have several stacks of 487 units of some ore that used to require 500 to refine.  And it is a good thing that was mentioned at the top of the list, because it kept me from speed scrolling to the bottom of the notes for probably a good five seconds as I looked for something else that made sense to me.  I think it is easier to plant a POS in high sec now.  Maybe.

I’d better stick to the page with the pictures.  Go Teams!  They are a some kind of thing now.

Necessary stuff, but not exactly exciting.  No marketing team’s dream here.  The ingredients required for things to go boom, without any of the actually boom.

And it brings change to what is a fairly conservative group in New Eden.

The core of these changes were supposed to go into the Kronos expansion, but there was such a hue and cry over them and how they might change the dynamics of industry and rob this group or that of their livelihood that it got pushed off to Crius.  Industry is such a basic necessity to the game that even CCP, who have been known succumb to their rash viking heritage from time to time, felt they had better back off and think about this.  But eventually they came up with something that did not start a revolution amongst industrialists against the company, and that is going live today.

Which brings me to the big question, what do these changes mean to the game itself?

Damned if I know.

I am so long out of the industrial side of things that I can’t gauge what will be a popular win and what will be a milestone around the neck of this expansion.  But there are plenty of smart people in EVE Online who can explain things.  You can try these:

I am sure there will be many more posts on the topic.  The general sense seems to be that things will be a bit more expensive.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, the next focused expansion on the list, Hyperion, should be well under way.  We should start seeing dev blogs about that soon.

The CCP Train Schedule

The CCP Train Schedule

While the dates have already changed, we should still see Hyperion about eight weeks down the line if CCP can hold to its planned pace.

Quote of the Day – What Baltec Fleet Really Does July 21, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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7 comments

Dreadnoughts were literally a punchline of nullsec jokes until the five-minute siege timer, and now unless in blap mode they scuttle for cover like oversized space-cockroaches​, cap boosters firing wildly, when confronted with bright lights​.

-The Mittani, Traffic Control: Apex Force

The Mittani is continuing his pot stirring over at TMC with his Traffic Control series of columns.  This time around he is on about the current chestnut of favor, power projection, and how it has ruined null sec.  I was particularly amused by the dismissal of dreadnoughts, quoted in part above, as a good percentage of Baltec fleets I’ve stood up for over the last year… from midway through Fountain forward… have been called to cover dreadnought fleets.

Reinforcing the first tower

Baltecs babysitting dreads

Of those call ups, a good half of the time we end up just sitting on a titan, a fleet in being, as much there to dissuade any hostile move as to actually shoot something.  We only get to go out and shoot if the target system is beyond the range of a titan bridge.  And even then, as with recent run down to Delve, we have to move out, cover the system, wait for the dreads to arrive, let them shoot stuff up, then hang out while they head home before we can start for home ourselves.

I actually have all the skills required for a Naglfar dreadnought at this point.  It might be time to buy one so Baltec fleet can sit on a titan or scurry across space to protect me.

Progression, Nostalgia, and Special Servers July 21, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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5 comments

One of the questions that comes up all the time in the EverQuest forums is when will SOE launch the next progression server?  It may be the most popular question on the Progression Server sub-forum.

Second place goes to people asking for a Classic server, though those questions are somewhat undermined by both the fact that they are off-topic in that sub-forum and that there is nothing like an agreed upon definition of what a Classic server would actually include.  It ranges from just launch content out to the Planes of Power expansion, though there are a couple of voices that would stretch thing to just shy of Gates of Discord.

So the two most popular topics seem to be about getting a new special EverQuest server from SOE.

And why not?  SOE has something of a history with special servers for EverQuest, going all the way back to the initial PvP server to the first progression servers, The Combine and The Sleeper, which rolled out in June of 2006, to the Mayong 51/50 server back in 2009, to the current Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak’Aerr servers, with their time locked rule sets, which went live in February 2011.

Foggy, foggy Fippy

Foggy, foggy Fippy

So the assumption is that of course SOE is going to roll another one, it is just a question of when.  When will SOE roll out the next progression server?

My gut response to that is “never.”

There are lots of arguments for such a server.  It brings people back to the game.  It rewards long term fans.  It is popular, illustrated by the fact that both times they have done a progression server they have had to roll a second server to accommodate demand.  And in a time when the game is free to play, a luxury item like a special nostalgia server seems like a reasonable way to boost revenue.

On the flip side of all of that there is the problem with nostalgia.  That driving sense of nostalgia often doesn’t last long beyond the point when you return to the time/place/song you were nostalgic for.  I have read a couple of articles about how the internet is going to kill nostalgia as a sensation before too long.  When you have access to what amounts to a historically unprecedented amount of information in the comfort of your own home, the moment you feel nostalgic for something, you can track it down on the internet and watch/listen/read all there is available about, to the point that the sensation is sated.  Having access to the thing for which you are nostalgic replaces nostalgia with reality.  And, often times, the reality includes the downside, the reason the world moved on or the series got cancelled or that you never bought that band’s second or third album.

After "Vacation" there wasn't much point...

After “Vacation” there wasn’t much point…

So while the progression servers… or any special servers… tend to start off strong.  Things taper off over time.  Fippy Darkpaw was packed when it opened and remained popular for the first few expansions.

Crowd on the Kunark Dock

Crowd on the Kunark Dock

After a while though, the feeling begins fade.  Potshot and I joined in on the fun and were quite invested for a while, visiting many old locations in the game.  And while the great PSN/SOE hacking episode of April 2011 knocked us off the path, that episode might have done us a favor.  We ran around a little bit more after that, but for me at least, content after Kunark is still flagged as “that new stuff” in my brain, so our progress was arrested before we made ourselves sick on nostalgia.

But nostalgia does wear off.  And so it is that the question “When will Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak’Aerr be merged?” might be the third most common question on the progression server sub-forum.  In hindsight, SOE probably should have just bit the bullet and stuck with a single server, especially based on the history they had with The Combine and The Sleeper, which had to be merged less than a year into their lives, because now things are very quiet on both servers.

Unless you are in one of the raiding guilds.  They still play, racing to unlock each expansion and then hanging around, farming gear, until the next expansion.  But they are playing their own game and the rest of the server could be empty and it would not bother them.

So nostalgia wears out or the server advances to the point where the current expansion is no longer nostalgia and you end up with something more akin to a special raiding preserve as opposed to a home for old school players.

Thus I think that, given the cost of maintaining such a server and the limited pool of personnel that SOE has to devote to such tasks (as opposed to working on EverQuest Next) I think we may have seen the last special EverQuest server out of SOE.  Smed isn’t going to overtly point you to Project 1999, but SOE hasn’t shown much interest in stamping out such private servers of late either.

And what other game would be prime for such a nostalgia server?  EverQuest is somewhat unique in that not only were there a lot of expansions, but that expansions tended to leave old zones alone.  Blackburrow today looks pretty much like it did back in 1999.

Certainly World of Warcraft would spring to mind for many, but Blizzard effectively shut down that idea when Cataclysm reworked the original game.  There are parts of the old world that were no doubt better for the change, but you cannot go home again.  There is nostalgia for original vanilla WoW in part because you can’t go there any more, and Blizzard isn’t going to support two clients just so you can go back in time.

And what other games would be prime for nostalgia.  RuneScape has an old school server up now, and Dark Age of Camelot did one in the past.  But most other MMOs are too young or have changed so much that the work to create anything like a nostalgia server would make the whole thing a non-starter.  Lord of the Rings Online still delivers about the same experience for the first 40 levels, so who needs a different sort of server.  A few people pine for the early days of EverQuest II, but how would you even roll back to that?

Then there are games like EVE Online, where there is only the one server.

I asked in a post just about two years back if SOE was going to be the sole vendor of a nostalgic MMO experience.  Now I wonder if even they will keep that up.

But then there will be nostalgia.

Maybe, at some point, way down the road, nostalgia will become a viable business decision for some MMOs.

What sort of special server would you want to see?  What game should have a nostalgia server some day?

What Does It Mean to be a “Subscription MMO?” July 18, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, Sony Online Entertainment, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft.
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23 comments

I am on the press release list along with a lot of real media outlets, so my inbox is often stuffed with the raw material that is barely recycled for content a lot of places around the web.

I skim through them every day, but don’t bother to mention 99% of them as they tend to be rather thin on things worth talking about.

This morning through there was a press release from SuperData Research pointing at their June factoid report.  Lots of little bits of data in that from which you can barely come up with to points to draw a line about anything.

The highlight of the report though was a chart listing out revenues for the top subscription-based MMO titles for 2013, worldwide.

Top Subscription MMO Revenue

Top Subscription MMO Revenue

The top spot is unsurprising.  WoW, even down to something like 60% of its peak, still rakes in money like no other.  Then there are a couple Asian MMOs which you might have heard of if you have been paying close enough attention.  Lineage 1 is still NCsoft’s biggest money maker.

And then you come to Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lord of the Rings Online, where you might legitimately ask a question like, “Hey, aren’t those free to play?”

As the title of this post asks, what makes for a subscription MMO these days?  Because if we are talking about needing a subscription to play, several of those titles fall off the list immediately.

But if, as the list here suggests, merely offering a subscription option is enough to be called a subscription MMO, then aren’t we missing a title or two.

Specifically, I would expect EverQuest II to make the list.  I don’t have any hard data to back up that expectation, but my gut impression of the game is that it ought to be somewhere on the list ahead of Lord of the Rings Online, something that is backed up, in my mind, by the fact that EQII has no problems cranking out expansions and interim content for all ranges of player while LOTRO is publicly giving up on raiders for now and doesn’t seem to be able to scrape it together for an expansion in 2014.

But maybe EQII isn’t doing as well as I thought.  Or maybe SOE’s model somehow falls outside of what SuperData considered a subscription MMO.  Or, most likely, maybe SOE just didn’t cooperate with SuperData and its information requests.  And one could also ask about Final Fantasy XIV.

Otherwise, I am somewhat surprised at where LOTRO ranks.  SWTOR is still popular, if not WoW popular, and that its revenue is only 1.65x what Turbine gets for LOTRO seems odd, given the downtrodden way Turbine seems these days.  And Rift seems way down the line.  But that does seem to mostly line up with the 2013 end of year summary for the Digital Dozen over at The Nosy Gamer.  EVE is generally higher on the list than LOTRO, but otherwise it seems about right.  Does that give this chart more validity?  Or the Digital Dozen?

And, of course, one key item missing from this chart is how much subscription revenue played into the totals listed.

Because the follow up chart points out that subscription revenues have been decreasing since their peak in 2010.

Subscription revenue

Subscription revenue

Subscriptions are trending down, while microtransactions are… well…  sort of flat really if you look at that line.  They are not not rising up sufficiently to off-set the loss of subscription revenue overall, which seems to go against what some cheerleaders for the model would have us believe.

Which might be why we saw a couple of subscription based launches this year.  SuperData pulled out the very exact number of 772,374 for The Elder Scrolls Online subscriptions.  That would make for a nice revenue stream.  WildStar was mentioned, but since it just launched in June, there were no numbers.

I would really like to know how much of the revenue for a game like SWTOR or LOTRO comes from subscribers.  If that chart is to be believed, subscriptions still make up most of the revenue.

And what does all of this mean?  This isn’t the range of data I would like, but you look at the industry with the data you have, not the data you want.  But I am not prepared to go all Massively comment thread, where the trend seems to be “lying liars lie!” for everybody whose pet theory is not supported by the data provided.

Anyway, as noted, the full report is here.  If you want more data, you have to pay.

Addendum: Azuriel makes an interesting comparison between the above chart and other MMO data available.

Send More Ruptures! July 18, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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2 comments

I’d just like to congratulate the entire CFC on losing over 627 ruptures in the last five days.

Good work, all. Keep it up.

### Original broadcast from blawrf_mctaggart at 2014-07-17 01:28:10.494439 ###

It looks like my experience so far with Gamma Fleet Ruptures is not unique.

Ruptures undock

Ruptures undock to meet their doom

Gamma Fleet is a low cost doctrine that is supposed to be expendable.  Lose one and buy another while you’re waiting for your reimbursement because they are cheap.  But I am not sure if they are supposed to be quite that expendable.

Then again, maybe taking on bombers isn’t the right job for them.  That might be the “Never pet a burning dog” lesson of the campaign so far.

You might think we’d be down on Ruptures.  Well, I suppose we are a bit.  Calling a Rupture fleet is a way to get a laugh.  On the other hand, the supply chain has been in full swing getting ships out to Delve to replace losses and we now have hundred of Ruptures on contract just waiting to be blown up.  It has even caused a small bump in the price of Rupture hulls in Jita.

Rupture market for the last 10 days

Rupture market for the last 10 days

The wide reddish area, the Donchian channel, shows that pricing has been changing, with the gap between high and low sales widening as the average price jumped up a bit.

So we are invested in Ruptures.  Maybe.  A lot of fleet doctrines die out or get changed soon after a major deployment starts.  We didn’t end up the war in Fountain flying the same fleets we did at the start.  And I still have a Ferox sitting out in Curse left over from the fleeting “Non-ironic Ferox Doctrine” that was in vogue for about 20 minutes.  That was just long enough for me to buy one on contract.

And if we’re going to continue to chase bombers in Ruptures, I’ve taken the liberty of reworking the lyrics to the WWI tune Bombed Last Night to be our theme.

Bombed last night, Bombed the night before
Gonna get bombed again tonight if we never get bombed no more.
When we’re bombed, we die so damn quickly
God damnn the boxin’ bombers from PASTA and NC

They’re bombin’ us, they’re bombin’ us,
Only one Rupture left for the four of us.
Glory be to God there are no more of us
‘Cause one of us could fill it all alone.

I think I need something better for the last two lines, but it gets the point across all the same.

Winterspring, Swamp of Sorrows, and The Blasted Lands July 17, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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7 comments

My summer Loremaster project moved its first character out of vanilla WoW… well, post-Cataclysm vanilla WoW… or whatever we want to call the 1-60 part of the game these days… and into The Burning Crusade content.  Trianis, my night elf rogue, started off on these three zones at level 53, but by the time he finished up the last one he was level 61 and ready to go through the dark portal and into the Hellfire Peninsula.

Looking out from the Portal

Looking out from the Portal

Last time around he had finished up Felwood, run through the Timbermaw tunnel, and had emerged into Winterspring.  Taking that on was just the natural progression, so in I went.

Winterspring

Winterspring Map

Winterspring Map

More after the cut.

(more…)

Fippy Darkpaw – Underfoot Unlock Vote Fails July 16, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest.
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6 comments

Another update in my sporadic attempts to cover and track the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server timeline while neither playing on the server nor actually paying all that much attention to EverQuest in general.

The rumor which I mentioned yesterday appeared to be true.  Last night my computer was finally able to find its way to the EverQuest forums… I wasn’t really interested in doing any work at my end to compensate for SOE’s blunder… and found the following from Roshen of the community service team:

The players on Fippy Darkpaw have voted not to unlock Underfoot at this time. This vote will remain available and players will still be able to vote to unlock Underfoot. The server will check every other Monday for the outcome of each voting period.

So for the first time in over two years, since the last of the three Gates of Discord down votes, it appears that an expansion unlock vote has failed on the Fippy Darkpaw server.

Dwarves feature...

Maybe they don’t like dwarves?

I do not really know why it failed.  At this point the raiding guilds appear to be the largest segment of the population on the server, and they have generally been very much in favor of advancing to the next expansion.  There was, as I noted, a rumor in the forums that members of one of the raiding guilds wanted more time to farm the Seeds of Destruction content for gear before advancing, but it doesn’t seem like one guild could swing the vote that way.  Then again, there were the usual complaints about the voting system not working for some people, so maybe they could.

Otherwise, I am not sure what it could be.  I haven’t heard that the Underfoot expansion itself, which went live back in December 2009, was particularly objectionable.  Yes, it had the “jump on the bandwagon” addition of achievements, which managed to capture a lot of the bad aspects about them without much of the shiny happy goodness, but otherwise nothing really noxious came with the expansion that I know of.  Maybe it is a meta game thing between the guilds.

No matter what though, it will have to wait until the next vote.

Meanwhile, there was a sad trombone moment for the accompanying Vulak’Aerr progression server, which also got a chance to vote on the Underfoot expansion, which turned out to be in error.

The vote for Vulak’Aerr to unlock the Underfoot expansion should not have happened on that server. The team plans on reverting this server back to Seeds of Destruction. Players on Vulak’Aerr will need to defeat the content from Seeds of Destruction before they can vote to unlock Underfoot.

Get back to work Vulak guilds!

So the Seeds of Destruction expansion remains live on both of the time locked progression servers at this point.

Seeds of Destruction cover

Seeds of Destruction cover

And on the game goes.

The timeline of the server, as I have been able to chart it over the years.  As always, if you have any dates I can add to this, leave me a comment.

  • Fippy Darkpaw server goes live with classic EQ content, February 15, 2011
  • Classic EverQuest competed, February 24, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark unlocked, June 6, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark completed, June 19, 2011
  • Scars of Velious unlocked, August 29, 2011
  • Scars of Velious completed, September 14, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin unlocked, November 21, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin completed, December 4, 2011
  • Planes of Power unlocked, February 13, 2012
  • Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Legacy of Ykesah unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, May 7, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, May 21, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, June 4, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlocked at last, June 18, 2012
  • Omens of War unlocked, September 10, 2012
  • Omens of War complete, September 12, 2012
  • Dragons of Norrath unlocked without a vote, November 13, 2012
  • Prophecy of Ro completed, April 26, 2013
  • The Serpent’s Spine unlocked, July 16, 2013
  • The Serpent’s Spine complete, July 19, 2013
  • The Buried Sea unlock vote goes up, September 23, 2013
  • The Buried Sea unlocked, October 7, 2013
  • The Buried Sea complete, October 9, 2013
  • Echoes of Faydwer complete, ~end of January 2014
  • Seeds of Destruction unlocked, May 1, 2014
  • Seeds of Destruction complete, May 12, 2014
  • Underfoot unlock vote fails, July 14, 2014

Fresh Out of Ruptures July 16, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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5 comments

Bombs and smart bombs are becoming a theme for me in Delve.

The other day our Harpy fleet got caught on a jump bridge, bubbled, and smart bombed into pieces.  That is apparently a known Pasta tactic.  The warp disruption bubble disables the jump bridge so the fleet landing on it is stuck there as soon as the bubble goes up.  And then the battleships drop in and start smart bombing the the knowledge that they can survive while their frigate foes will likely perish before they can retaliate.  We were probably lucky to kill a couple during that run.

Last night was a whole lot worse.

There was a call up on Jabber for a short duration fleet to take care of some hostiles sitting in our staging system, F2OY-X.  The fleet was going to be either Ruptures or Harpies depending on how many people showed up.  Asher Elias was the FC and he had a plan.

The numbers appeared to dictate Ruptures.  I had two docked up in the station.  There was a change to the fitting requested and some special ammo to be purchased.  This was going to enable us to kill some bombers that were running about the system.

We undocked and got ourselves together.  We didn’t have enough logistics, not that it would matter in the end, but the FC spent some time trying to get people to switch.  I nearly did… I bought a Scythe on contract… but really wanted to shoot something.  I had never flown a Rupture before, so it was a new thing.

After some moving about the FC got us lined up on towards the 1DH gate.  There was a Caracal fleet there acting as bait.  We knew it was bait.  The FC told us it was bait.  The moment we landed within range to shoot them, we would get bombed.  Our goal, with each Rupture fit with a sensor booster in place of a hardener, was to shoot the bombers as they came in for their run.

The fleet warped into range of the Caracals, which just hung about ignored by us.  Then bombers landed and launched their bombs which hit us square on as we were locking up and firing.  I think we got two.  Our fleet, however, was ravaged.  My Rupture was gone.  The logis, flying off to one side as they should, survived, and a few of the Ruptures made it, but it was a bad exchange for us.

Worst of all though was the fact that I didn’t get a good screen shot of all those bombs going off.  It was seriously beautiful, but in my haste to get the shot  I hit the escape key rather than they key I have mapped to turn off the UI and snap a screen shot.  I’d lose a couple of ships for a good screen shot most days of the week, but this time it was a bust.

No bombs, just settings

No bombs, just settings

Those of us who lost ships warped back to the station.  Podding people did not appear to be on the agenda, which was fine with me.  My clone costs almost as much as a Rupture.

However, the station was out of sensor boosters this time around, so we went with the stock Gamma Fleet Rupture fit.  I bought some more of the special bomber hunting ammo and undocked to join the fleet.  There was some carping about a participation link at this point, people having lost ships, but the FC was disinclined to generate one so soon into the op.

At this point there was talk of running out to fight Brave Newbies.  Then the word came down that a Brave Newbie Drake fleet was in the area.  That sounded like an ideal target and there was much enthusiasm for shooting them.  But first we were going to take another run at the bombers in system.  The bait was now on the station undock, so the FC maneuvered us around to get us lined up to warp in at just the right spot.  That set, he warped us in with essentially the same plan; shoot bombers as they dropped from warp to launch.  However, we were not exactly in the right spot and, I swear on this, the last order I heard before the bombers hit was, “Prop mods on!” to speed us up a bit to get us in position.

Of course, that just meant most of us had our microwarp drives on when the bombers hit, boosting our signature radius and making us all the more vulnerable to the incoming bombs.

The Scythes were well positioned again… hail to the logi anchor for being on the ball… but many Ruptures went “Boom!” all to quickly for logi to save us.

We got our participation link after that.

Ruptures are supposed to be cheap, expendable brawlers to jump in en masse, so losing a couple wasn’t a big dent to the wallet, but I’d still like to get on a kill mail before one explodes.

I made it back to the station.  There was some talk about what to do next.  Ruptures were momentarily out of stock in the system.  I decided to call it a night at that point.  I had started a bit late for a work night in any case and talks of roaming out for an hour or so were no longer thrilling me.  Life in New Eden.

You can look at the kill stats for the time frame of those encounters.  That is a lot of dead Ruptures relative to hostile kills.  And you can see a lot of the pilots listed twice.

Including me

Including me

You will also note on that listing a couple groups of bombers made up of pilots with variations on the same name.

Septuplates!

Septuplates!

There is an example of the recently controversial IS Boxer debate, wherein a good bomber pilot has his skills effectively multiplied and is able to do perfectly timed runs solo.  All good and legal according to CCP, differentiating them again from some other games in the genre.  Better to just not take the bait as we did… though we did knock off one of his clones at least, making him 14% less effective I suppose.

But I am still annoyed that I did not get a good screen shot of the bombs going off on either run against us.  That is what I really wanted!  Life of a space tourist.

So a few other shots will have to do.

If It Can Go Wrong, It Will Go Wrong… At SOE July 15, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment.
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8 comments

I was actually trying to get to the EverQuest forums this morning.  There was a rumor going around about the Fippy Darkpaw Progression Server.  It was possible that one of the raiding guilds was going to down-vote the unlock of the next expansion, Underfoot, because they wanted a couple more weeks to farm gear from the current expansion live on the server, Seeds of Destruction.  There hasn’t been a down vote since the Gates of Discord fiasco back in mid-2012, when that expansion was voted down three times running before finally going live in June.

Pure rumor, with likely nothing behind it, but it is so rare to hear anything about the server that I thought I would follow it up and see it anybody mentioned on the results on forums.  Only I couldn’t get to the forums.

Sony Online Entertainment appeared to be down.

more titles in the past than in the future

A quick run through the usual sources turned up a post by the ever vigilant Feldon at EQ2 Wire, who noted that SOE had somehow forgotten to renew one of its underlying domains, sonyonline.net, and that, after a considerable grace period, fell off the internet.  Since SOE uses that domain for its own name resolution for its sites and games, that pretty much kicked the company offline.

It is Tuesday, we were expecting downtime in any case, right?

Word is that SOE has reclaimed the domain and that it should be propagating across the net even as we speak.  If you are in a hurry to get to an SOE site, Feldon has some tips over at EQ2 Wire on how to speed things up.

The question remains though, how did this happen?  The rumor is that the email address receiving such notices from Network Solutions had gone unattended.  That is speculation, of course, but I have enough experience to know that if  you lay enough people off, something important like that will get missed.  And, hey presto, your domain resolves to a site offering EverQuest and WoW gold!

What I saw on my iPad this morning

What I saw on my iPad this morning

Interesting that EverQuest gold (which should be platinum) is still a thing.  I thought inflation, F2P, and general old age issues had killed the currency market for EQ.

Anyway, not exactly in the same league as the 12+ days of downtime SOE experienced back in 2011, but it is still an SOE thing.

Addendum: Smed speaks

I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but who gave Network Solutions the “wrong email?”

Better.

Addendum: TechDirt sums it all up.

A Weekend in Delve and Other Bits July 14, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: , ,
3 comments

I was somewhat otherwise occupied this past weekend, and so did not get many chances to partake in the Thunderdome that is currently Delve.  Things were clearly going on, Jabber was lit up quite frequently with fleet requests, enough so that even on my limited time budget I found a couple of opportunities.

Shipping Shipping

One of the first things I did was get my alt out in Jita and buy up some things I thought I might need for the war.  The war is new and the supply of ships and consumables has not caught up with the demands of a few hundred pilots arriving wanting to fight and replace losses.  Wars depend on logistics in EVE as in the real world.  Some contracts for key ships were starting to show up, but I sent myself a few hulls, fittings, and a supply of ammunition and such from Jita via one of our coalition haulers just to make sure I things on hand while the supply chain was ramping up… and to ensure I didn’t have to pay some of the highway robbery prices that sometimes show up before the market stabilizes.

Shipping is actually a bit pricey because the shippers all work out of Jita by default, and F2O is a long way from Jita.  An Amarr to Delve run would cut off a couple of jumps, but it is off the trade route.  Jita owns it all in that regard.

Win Fleet

I didn’t just get pipe-bombed over the weekend.  I did manage to get into one fleet that had a good run.  There was a call up for a Harpy fleet to go catch some Northern Coalition Caracals that were roaming nearby.  We managed to catch them near the gate in FWST-8 where we tore them apart. [Link points in the right direction now.]  It took us a bit to start breaking their tanks as their logi seemed to be quite on the ball, but we hung on until they started to fall.  This was helped by the fact that their choice of weaponry, heavy assault missiles, was sub-optimal for damaging wee frigates, so our own logistics were able to keep up.  A fleet of Ruptures dropped in towards the end, which makes the odds look more heavily weighted in our favor than they were for most of the fight.  Only the last few kill mails show any Ruptures involved, and the Ishtars on the chart were doing something else in system, so we were not blobbing as much as that report might indicate.

I also saw my first Nugoeihuvi Edition Caracal during the fight.

NC Caracal Fleet

NC Caracal Fleet

So somebody is buying those custom ship skins.  I might do so as well if they were available for any ship I happened to fly regularly.

Anyway, that was a short, sharp fleet battle that at least put me on a few more kill mails.

Stood Down Fleets

I also managed to get online and into a few fleets that ended up being stood down.  You still get a participation link for such fleets… they also serve who only sit and wait on a titan… but we don’t log in just for participation links.  We log in to shoot stuff.

One fleet stood down as an opportunity passed.  Just the nature of fleets in motion.  We got on and undocked only to find that the foes had other business to attend to.

Another was stood down for lack of booster ships in the fleet.  I am still training the skills to be able to fill that role, but that goal is still a good 120 days off, so I will probably be good for the next war unless the summer in Delve lasts into winter.

And the final fleet I was in that stood down was over position.  Black Legion was in system with us and neither side would put themselves at a disadvantage just to get the fight started.  They wouldn’t come to us and we wouldn’t go to them.  So we hung around on the station undock for a while before calling it quits.  That is one of the problems with this not being a sovereignty war, your fleet can stand down without any loss.  There is no moment of truth where everybody has to either show up or lose their work.  Timers suck, but they do bring people to battle.

The Mittani Resurgent

Not actually Delve related, but something that seemed to come up this past weekend.  The Mittani (the person, not the site), who has been, outside of GSF CEO updates, rather neutral in tone of late… well, neutral in tone for him… on The Mittani (the site, not the person) has suddenly come alive.

There was the announcement of a new regular feature by him, followed up by a column on the new player experience and what CCP ought to consider doing.  That got a lot of reaction, in part because his ideas probably weren’t what you might expect.  That in turn was followed by a another promised regular feature called Mittens’ Mailbox where he answers question sent to him or that come up in comments on his posts.  The first one had all the dirt you could want, including how TEST’s own intel was compromised during the Fountain War last year, how often he logs into the game, and who the enemies of the CFC really are.  Even if you hate him and rage at all his says, it is good stuff, the sort of thing that keeps the meta game spinning.

Addendum: And he is on a roll, with the next topic on the null sec stagnation front.

Addendum 2: Just in case you haven’t gotten enough of The Mittani, there is also an interview with him about getting into EVE and starting TMC posted over at Pollen.