SOE Finally Gets a REAL Server Status Page August 31, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: DC Universe Online, Server Status, Star Wars Galaxies
I have long complained that what passes for server status pages for SOE games like EverQuest and EverQuest II have often displayed information with little relationship to reality.
This is something that seems so easy, and which competitors like Blizzard have done so well, that I have boggled at SOE’s half-assed approach to the problem. I swear at one point the EQ status page was static HTML that somebody just updated manually… when they had the time.
Now though, that might finally be at an end.
SOE has launched their new unified server status page.
The page is a huge step forward.
Granted, it still needs some work.
Currently it only displays the status for EverQuest II, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, and DC Universe Online. I suppose the Vanguard servers are touched so infrequently that assuming they are up is safe.
And the region data column seems to be only partially populated. Test might pass for a region I suppose, but where is “live?”
And the sorting of the servers is obviously based on some database key not visible in the display. Alphabetical sorting by server name would be appreciated.
But otherwise, SOE seems to going in the right direction with this. I will have to check back on patch day and see if status and reality actually align now for SOE.
It is interesting to see that of the EQ servers, only Fippy Darkpaw and Antonius Bayle are running at a load level other than “low.”
SOE seems to be continuing work on the page. They have now added more games and tinkered with the information displayed, including the freshness of any given status.
Logical sorting patterns still seem to elude them, but you cannot have everything I suppose.
Destructible Driving Terrain August 30, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Need for Speed World.
Tags: Smashing Things
Certainly one of the joys of Need for Speed World is driving very fast into, over, and through things.
Street signs, lamp posts, post boxes, bus shelters, park benches, bike racks, soda machines, and many other odds and ends are there for you to smash through or send flying. There is even a nice little cafe with glass walls out at the golf course through which you can smash.
And then there are the big things.
Scattered throughout the world are some larger objects, conveniently highlighted with flashing red markers. These cause even more havoc than ordinary objects and can block the road behind you if you hit them just right. That can help you shake off a police pursuit.
There is the sign above at the golf course, along with a water tower, a boat, a dinosaur sculpture, a sign across a roadway, a truck loaded with pipes, and so on. But I think giant advertisements are among my favorites.
There are a couple of giant ice cream cones.
And the ever appropriate tire from the auto repair shop. (In front of a very Paramount Pictures looking mountain.)
And the giant donut.
But of all the destructible terrain in the game, I have a special fondness for the gas station.
Nothing else explodes.
Plus, I love hearing the little “ding, ding,” a gas station sound you will recall if you are old enough to have seen one that offered full service, just half a heart beat before I plow through the pumps and send the whole thing up in a fireball.
The Scars of Velious Open on Fippy Darkpaw August 29, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest.
Tags: Fippy Darkpaw, Progression Server, The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin
The second EverQuest expansion, Scars of Velious is now live on the Fippy Darkpaw Time-locked Progression Server.
There was no official announcement as far as I could see. Neither the forums nor the EQPlayers had anything on the subject. Of course, the forums seem to be reserved for complaining about guilds fighting over the same bosses and the lack of population on these server. Meanwhile, what passes for “news” on EQPlayers seems to be primarily focused on Station Cash and what you can buy with it.
So it was pretty much by accident that I went to check the status of Fippy Darkpaw this morning and found that Velious was now open… and two bosses down already this morning.
Two bosses down today means that it probably just went live, given how things have gone in the past.
The Ruins of Kunark went live back in early June and was “completed” in about two weeks, which started the 60 day timer for the next expansion, Velious. (I thought it was a 30 day timer initially, but it is 60 days.)
At this rate the next expansion, The Shadows of Luclin, should be available some time in November of this year. And the last expansion should be live on the server somewhere in the 2014 range.
LOTRO Screen Shot for a Sunday Morning August 28, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor, Lord of the Rings Online.
Tags: minor blasphamy, naming policy
I am sure there is a complicated trinity story behind this as well.
Is it a surprise or not that Gesuschrist went the lore master route?
I am also a bit disappointed that they didn’t just go with Gesus and then wait to get something like Kriest as a surname later on. Ah well.
And to confuse things further, Gesuschrist is a female elf. (Title “Friend of the Wild” Guild “The Rapture”)
Where’s your messiah now?
Items from the Mail Bag – Back to School Edition August 26, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, Mail Bag.
Tags: 38 Studios, Star Trek, Zynga
Time for the monthly look into what has found its way into the inbox of the blog email account that didn’t make it into any other posts.
Surprisingly, I did not get any offers from bots to write spam injected guest posts for the site, nor requests that I send people to read interesting articles not really related in any way to the site. Instead, this was the take:
- Zynga sent me a note to let me know they were having a back to school sale on in-game currency. That one took a second to sink in before I went, “Ah, you think with the kids at school, mom can get back to FarmVille.” (Or is it PioneerVille these days?) That is probably a more canny viewpoint than I care to admit. I keep thinking, “Who buys currency in these games?” Then I look at Zynga’s valuation and have to admit it must be a lot of people.
- 38 Studios and Big Huge Games sent me a notice about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which just wouldn’t display correctly in Yahoo mail. But Yahoo mail just forced another update on me recently, so I have no idea who is at fault. Anyway, the provided a link to view it elsewhere, and the key item for me is that it is shipping on February 7th of next year, and even that is just so I know when to look for other people to post about it. I have no plans to buy.
- EverdreamSoft dropped me a line to tell me they are going to release their iPhone game MOONGA on Facebook. Of course they are. Never heard of the game, and unless they have a plan it seems likely to sink from sight on Facebook in short order. Or get knocked off by Zynga. The game itself appears to be yet another trading card game, so it is probably not for me in any case.
- Nexeon Technologies, which I initially guessed was some branch of Nexon (it isn’t), wants me to know about updates to their MMO, Face of Mankind. My first thought was that this must be a new game, quickly followed by a second thought about how we seem to be running out of decent names for games. But then I looked at the Wikipedia article and found that they chose this name quite a ways back and that it has been live in some form since 2006. (it is on the chart!) I had never heard of it. And that name… really?
- Ibrahim, who operates the site in the UK called PictureOne, wants to do a link exchange. That is so late 90s. And I don’t do straight up link exchanges. My blogroll policy is long, complex, and still incompletely formulated. Blogrolls are complicated. I am looking to get a first draft of the policy out in the next couple of years. (Plus I notice that people view link exchanges as temporary, free to remove from their end once you link to them, like those sell-out bastards at MMO Crunch. I pulled their link in turn, that’ll show them!) In fairness, at least his site does not appear to be infested with malware like an Italian site that sent me a similar message, and it appears to be about MMOs and gaming. So good on you, Ibrahim.
- Firefly Studios wanted to make sure I knew they were going to show Stronghold 3 and Gamescom. If I read their press release, it differs from console games in that it is medieval based and voiced in bad Ren-Faire accents, though that last bit is just a guess. Oh, and it is a Windows game, so I am not sure why they brought up consoles games in the first place. Trying to inflame those PC vs. Console emotions no doubt.
- Mike at MMO Raid wants a link (there, you got one… another one!) and to let me know I can submit my articles to his site, by which I previously thought he meant write for his site. Instead he seems to be shooting for the aggregation site thing instead, which means submitting your articles to be listed there. The site has had more than 900 articles submitted, though they appear to have mostly been submitted by Mike himself, so I would guess he is looking for a little help. His site looks clean, only clips an excerpt, and directs people back to the original site for the full story, so I guess I can at least declare the site “not a bad thing.”
- My mom wanted to let me know they are planning a Star Trek themed resort in Jordan. I am sure that will keep people from overthrowing the king. Not that King Abdullah II is in the class of, say, Asssad or Mubarak, but he is the richest guy in the country and he wants to spend a lot of money on his rather narrowly focused obsession, which is the sort of thing that might make the average crown subject a bit restive. Still, live long and prosper, Abdullah II, and good luck on your quest. (My mom actually sent this to the blog mail account through the form on the About page, so it counts.)
- And, finally, Bronte wanted to let me know that his comments seem to be getting stuck in the spam filter. Yeah, it was the spam filter… *whistle*
Finding Hoes in Oatbarton August 25, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
Tags: Evendim, Oatbarton
After getting into the revamped Evendim more than half way through, I was interested to see if the whole zone had been truly improved or if I had managed to go straight to the good stuff in Annuminas. The zone has been updated since the last time I ground through it.
Previously Evendim had a dubious reputation, having plenty of those “run/swim across the zone, kill something, run back, get update that tells you to run/swim back and kill something next to the thing you just killed” sort of quests.
Now though, some of that has been amended. The quest hubs tend not to send you so far afield. And sometimes those that do send you far can be completed in the field and new objectives gained. There is also a new pattern to quest hubs, where you will speak to one central person at a given hub, and they will give you a quest to help certain people in his area, giving you a sort of meta quest for the area.
So I made it a goal to get through all of the quest hubs in Evendim.
Fortunately, I had a couple of characters at level 30, which looks to be about the optimum level to start, despite the zone being advertised for levels 32 and up.
You arrive in Evendim following the famous/infamous Lone Lands Oatmeal Problems quest, which leads you to the first quest hub in Oatbarton. (I think this may be the first time I actually completed that quest!)
Oatbarton is in Evendim, but it is part of The Shire as well. I received updates for Shire deeds while in the area, but got credit for completing Evendim quests.
The first hub is a very Shire series of quests, where you have to help a group of hobbits tidy up their little enclave in time for some sort of hobbit event… like 3rd lunch or something.
As such, the quests are more of the fetch, find, and carry variety, focused on things that hobbits like… such as sheep and hoes.
You can view this as an amusing distraction from the usual find and kill quests… or you can view it as tedious and time consuming, just like real farm work.
The actual area where most of these quests take place works against you though. Its tight and tiny maze of hedgerow surrounded fields make the Bocage seem like West Texas. You will spend a good bit of time figuring out how to get from point A to point B while you harvest, round up stray animals, and generally tidy up after the hobbits.
You do end up having to kill a few animals as you run around. They have problems with rodents it seems.
For pests like crows, you will have to slay a few, but will eventually be offered another solution.
The only problem I had was that one of the meta quest objectives is to help a couple of hobbits that are not in the general area but are, in fact, on the far side of Oatbarton. Once I figured that out, I was able to find them without issue, but there was some frantic running around looking for the missing hobbits for a bit.
Those quests are in more of the usual find and kill vein, though each with their own twist. Once I accomplished those, I was able to head back to the initial meta quest giver and collect a nice purple Runekeeper stone for my guy.
There is a task board in the middle of town, and the tasks in Oatbarton raise your standing with the Mathom Society, the Shire faction. However, you slay so few creatures that you will be lucky if you have enough drops to fulfill more than one or two of the tasks.
Still, if you want to get in with the Mathom Society, you are still set, as each of the quests in Oatbarton has as a reward, a gift mathom. You can head back to Michel Delving to the Mathom Society house and turn those in to raise your standing.
Getting back to Michel Delving is a bit of a pain. There is no direct flight to Michel Delving, and unless you have the stable master at the main hub at Tinnundir on your list, you end up taking a few hops before you get to your destination.
But once there your standing will get quite a boost. I had 27 gift mathoms when I completed the area. There is a quest at the Mathom house to turn in your first one, which gets you 1,200 points of faction. After that, each gift mathom you turn in gets you 700 more points, which adds up quickly.
That was enough to get me from 300 points of faction and neutral standing (I completed ONE task in Oatbarton) to past half way into Acquaintance standing in one shot. I am well on my way to having a bunch of hobbit pals.
After that it was bunch of connecting flights back to Oatbarton where I had a quest to head on down the road to the next quest hub at Dwaling.
I left it there for the night. The next hub looks like it is facing trouble and will require more fighting and less collecting.
The Oatbarton section of Evendim took me about two hours to run through the first time, though I was admittedly lost trying to find the last two hobbits for a good chunk of time. My second run went through the quest line, now that I had figured out the kinks, in about 75 minutes.
As to whether this section was improved, I cannot say. I never ran it before the zone was updated. It certainly has a Shire quest feel to it though, so if you like that you are set.
And if you don’t, well… there is some fighting to be done just down the road.
Seventy Million Skill Points and Out August 24, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Incarna, Learning Skills, Meaningless Milestones, Skill Points
I came back to EVE Online for Incarna, to see if there would be anything new that would bring me back into the game. And, in my usual method, I picked the three month subscription. The would have given me plenty of time to explore the Incarna expansion, had it held anything for me.
Which meant that my subscription time has been spent doing what a lot of EVE subscriptions do, training skills. There was enough time for me to hit another skill point milestone. So, as I did at the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 million skill point mark, here is where I stand at 70 million skill points.
Spaceship Command: 18,084,237* Gunnery: 8,358,825* Science: 6,808,636* Missiles: 6,620,426* Engineering: 6,583,849 Drones: 6,455,156* Industry: 3,539,500* Electronics: 3,117,673* Trade: 3,271,765 Leadership: 2,332,334* Navigation: 1,777,805 Mechanic: 1,426,568 Corp Management: 1,108,784 Social: 1,015,932 Subsystems: 151,765 Total: ~70,000,000
Asterisks indicate areas that changed since the last post.
Spaceship Command, always at the top of the skill point chart, surged forward and nearly double due to my skilling up to fly ships from other factions… mostly so I could take screen shots of them for EVE Online Pictures.
The increases in the skills listed above actually add up to more than 10 million skill points. Spaceship Command alone went up nearly 9 million.
Since my last milestone at 60 million, the learning skills got pulled from the game, which freed up 4.8 million skill points for me to reallocate back in December 2010.
That change is also why my total known skills went from 209 to 197.
Skill level distribution now looks like this:
Level 1: 1 skill Level 2: 30 skills Level 3: 28 skills Level 4: 52 skills Level 5: 86 skills
And, that one key measurement, how many days of training would it take me to fly a Caldari Titan, went UP this time around, by a little over a day. I am now over 69 days away from the basic flying skill, almost all of which would be tied up in learning Capital Ships I through V. I am not sure why the timeline went up since I last checked. It probably relates to how I set my attributes after the removal of learning skills.
But now my subscription is coming to its end. In a little over a week, my account will lapse.
I have explored most of what I wanted to in EVE. Potshot and I never did get that space station built in wormhole space, w-space being pretty well camped these days, and I never once poked my nose into a 0.0 system, but such is life. By the time I was done in empire space, I did not want the commitment that 0.0 requires.
And I suppose this casts the future of EVE Online Pictures into doubt. I have enough screen shots to get through the rest of the year at the current rate of two pictures posted a week, but after that I might have to put that site on hiatus.
I Suppose That is Role Playing of a Sort… August 23, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
Tags: Annuminas, Evendim
The other day Potshot and I each had a character lined up to finish the main quest line in Annuminas. This was the ranger banner quest, and there are two areas that are covered by signature level mobs which make a solo approach very challenging.
Too challenging for me, anyway.
But as a pair I figured this would result in a series of good, but manageable fights, and we could knock out this quest line. The new and improved Evendim quests are like that; you want to finish them.
There was another group forming up in Annuminas, and they asked if we would like to join with them. Knowing that we had very specific goals, and a weekday night time frame, I politely declined.
I guess “screw you” is not one of the built-in emotes.
But I certainly took this as a sign that I had made the right choice. Kohath was awfully quick there on the “/screw you.”
I sometimes forget that there are segments of the LOTRO community that take not being WoW to extremes, which includes an attitude somewhat akin to, “This is LOTRO and we group here and if you refuse to group aren’t playing the game right and should go back to WoW.”
I have run into this problem on a few occasions for failing to group on demand.
Fortunately, it is a reasonably rare occurrence, and has come up even less often since the game went free to play. Either there are more people with whom to group or there has been an influx of less demanding people.
And, for the record, we did complete the quest line. While we did face a defeat on one objective, that just made knocking it out at last all the sweeter.