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December in Review December 31, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II, Month in Review, Need for Speed World, World of Tanks.
3 comments

The Site

WordPress.com continues to fiddle with the site interface.  They have very much the same attitude as Google on this sort of thing, where it often seems more important for them to get a cool new feature out than to check to see if it is actually better than what was in place… or even if it breaks what was already in place.  Oh, and they always implement features first then wait half a day or so before posting something to explain that whatever it is you are raging about was on purpose.  So it can be a matter of two steps forward, one step back, one step to the side, and cha cha cha.

So we got, for example, maps that do little to indicate anything.  My little flag counter widget in the side bar is much more informative.   They removed the ability to search on image files based on date… because screw searching by date I guess. They also broke, then later removed completely, RSS feeds that allowed you to follow tags and categories across all of WordPress.com, an incredible powerful feature that they let rot.

On the step forward side of things, they have decided to report unique visitors as well as page views as part of their standard statistics.  I don’t know why it took them so long, but as of December 3rd, they were there.  So the in the graph now, light blue is page views, dark blue is uniques.

Views and Uniques

I ran Site Meter here for a few months at one point just to see how unique visitors compared to page views, and the ratio back then was generally about 7-8 uniques per 10 page views.  Now looking at the new stats, it seems to be around 6 uniques per 10 page views, which I guess means that people are staying longer or clicking on more things.  I guess that is good.  It would probably matter if the site generated ad revenue or such.  For now it is just another bit of statistical trivia for me to mull over.

One Year Ago

There was the usual looking back at the Highs and Lows of 2011.  And, hand-in-hand with that, there was the look forward at games I might play in 2012.

One of those games was Diablo III and another Torchlight II.  They were both vying for the mantle of successor to Diablo II.  So I tried to define the essence of Diablo II.

I also had some demands for 2011 and had to look at how that worked out.

I began my journey into null sec appropriately, by killing myself.  Then I saw titans, lit cynos, and got blown up.  But hey, a ship blows up every six seconds in EVE.  There was a war on, and it was announced we were going to be driven from Deklein.  And there was something about ganking tourism and three flavors of ravens.

There was the end of Star Wars Galaxies, though people were saying it had been dead for years.

Star Wars: The Old Republic went live, completing the changing of the Star Wars MMO guard, for all the lack of actual change that brought about.

EverQuest II and its free to play twin, EverQuest II Extended, were merged into a single fighting force of extraordinary magnitude or something.

Richard Garriott de Cayeux went a little nuts talking about his Ultimate RPG, his great fondness for EA, and the failure of Tabula Rasa and Ultima 8.  He seemed to try to be getting EA to join with him by talking to the press… and not to EA.  And then it was the Mayans.

Closer to planet Earth, the instance group was in the Realm of the Fae.

And I proved my laser tag prowess against a bunch of little girls.

Five Years Ago

December 2007 seemed to be a busy time for the SOE.  First there was the whole “moving a whole guild from test to a live server” brouhaha.  Then there was the rumor of SOE being purchased by Zapak Digital Entertainment.  And, finally, there was the deal with Live Gamer to take over transactions on the Station Exchange servers, at which time Smed himself said that this did not mean that they were going to open the flood gates of RMT on any of their servers not currently served by SOE’s own Station Exchange RMT plan.  All of which I wrapped up in one post.

The yearly EverQuest Nostalgia Tour was off to the usual activities.

I put up my predictions for the “Next EverQuest II Expansion,” which I have yet to score.  I will have to get a post together comparing The Shadow Odyssey with my own guesses.

The Saturday Night Permanent Floating Instance Group was finishing up Blackrock Depths.

Dr. Richard Bartle brought up the “why so much fantasy” question for its regular beating to death.

I was interviewed over at World IV.  So far that is the only interview I have ever been asked to do.

I lost my first battlecruiser to pirates in EVE Online.  Meanwhile, after pissing away a lot of ISK on invention, I was not getting a lot of results.

And I bought a new gaming computer full of Quad Core goodness.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  2. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  3. An Unfiltered (and Unfair) Impression of Wizardry Online
  4. A SWTOR F2P First Impression
  5. Travels with Commander Bond
  6. Love, Hate, and the T-28
  7. A Year in Null Sec
  8. Second Life Among Technology Fails?
  9. WoW Drops More Subscribers Than SWTOR Has Left
  10. In the Hardware Doldrums
  11. Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012
  12. First Peek at Retribution

Search Terms of the Month

gay league of legends porn
[Okay, Rule 34 strikes again I suppose...]

gf cfc
[Good fight to you too...]

continued opportunity to kill off halflings
[About all we can ask for]

EVE Online

Things have been quiet in EVE Online this month.  I haven’t been on the kill board since October.  I have ratted now and again, which is something I can do while listening to the news or an audio book… or while writing checks.  But fleet ops haven’t been very frequent with the end of the war in Tribute and Vale.  Time to find some new activity in EVE I think.

EverQuest II

The nostalgia tour sputtered out basically when I made it past the original content.  At level 50, the Desert of Flames content seems to be the most interesting to tackle, and it isn’t all that interesting after a bit.  So Sigwerd made it from 42 to 53.  He is fully equipped in mastercrafted gear again, should I want to make the run to 62 at some future date.  But for now, EQII has petered out for me.  Nostalgia always has a short shelf life.

Need for Speed: World

We have spent a bit of time in NFSW, where we have played it as a networked racing game, ignoring the rest of the world for the most part.  That is actually pretty fun.

Rift

The holidays have kept the instance group from doing much in Telara.  We did finish off all of the pre-Storm Legion five person instances, at least in “normal” mode.  Now we are getting ourselves equipped in the expansion.  With the new year we ought to be able to take a run at the first instance.

World of Tanks

This has become something of my main game for the last few weeks.  Basically, it is a shooter that concentrates on vehicles, where I have always done better.  In PlanetSide 2 I am always just a target on the ground.  So it is probably best to just stay with the shooter where it is all vehicles all the time.  I have made it to tier VI on a couple branches of the tech tree.  But each higher tier becomes a bigger effort.  We’ll see if I get to VII.

Coming Up

A whole new year.

The instance group will return to Telara.  I will continue to play tanks.  We will see if Need for Speed World was more than a week or two of fun.

But otherwise it will be a cold, gray month.  Lots of time for games and writing about games I suppose.

The KV-2 – Because Comedy Trumps December 28, 2012

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

Earlier in the week I was considering which path to take from the Soviet KV-1 heavy tank.  There were three options, the KV-1s, which seemed like the most popular choice, the T-150, which seemed like the best path to some really heavily armored Soviet beasts, and the KV-2, which seemed more like comic relief than a viable choice.

Yet here I am in possession of a new KV-2.

A stock KV-2

A stock KV-2

I still have a long ways to go until I get enough experience to buy the 152mm “derp” gun that can terrorize the field of battle.  But even with the stock 122mm piece, I can do a lot of damage.  My first shot ever was a nice hit broadside on a medium that blew up completely.  One shot, one kill.  I got the Reaper achievement, 3 or more one shot kills, in my second battle.

So it certainly has that going for it, even early on.

On the flip side, I have notice that people will go way out of their way to take a shot at you.  I have seen whole columns of tanks suddenly turn towards me as I become visible.  I cannot tell is this is a matter of joy at having a huge target to shoot at, or if it is more the sort of reaction one gets when a giant cockroach appears; Kill it! Kill it fast!

So I end up dead a lot.

The KV-2 as it often ends up

The KV-2 as it often ends up

Still, the one-shot aspect of things sort of makes up for it.  It seems that if I can catch a medium tank broadside, he’s dead in one shot.  And light tanks are often good from any angle if they will stop and let me draw a bead on them.

I have a ways to go to get to the 152mm fun gun.  To support it I am sure I need the upgraded tracks and turret, plus I should really get the engine upgrade.

KV-2 Upgrades

KV-2 Upgrades

The selling point though was that, with the KV-2, it turns out that the price of researching the T-150 is reduced to 13K experience from 24.5K.  So that path becomes a bit cheaper.  I wonder if that counts towards the research on the KV-1 line?

Anyway, it is the KV-2 path for me for a while now.

The Long Lancia – More Fun in Need for Speed World December 27, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Need for Speed World.
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1 comment so far

Not that Need for Speed World isn’t fun in and of itself.  I just think we have found a new source of even greater fun.

NFSW had been revamped yet again since I last played.  The cars have all be reclassified into new brackets based on their performance.  Levels have been rendered all but useless in the game, save for unlocking certain cosmetic items in the in-game store which, if you think about it, is kind of dumb.  Why would you restrict people from buying some of your vinyl decals until they hit level 20, 25, or 30?  They have added a new kind of event, drag racing.  And they have revamped the items and driver skills so that they have various stages of quality.

But the heart of the game remains the same.  It is a serious pay to win design.

The best cars are all for sale in the RMT currency, Speed Boost (or SB).  And while the best, four star parts and skill upgrades cannot be bought directly, you can buy an unlock that means you will win only the best items when you race.  You can still win such parts without the unlock, but they are exceedingly rare.  I have several dozen races in and I have only seen one three star item.  You can spin that as buying convenience, but it still smells like pay to win to me.

Probably the best thing they have done is the revamp of car classifications.  It used to be that a certain car was in a certain bracket no matter what you did to it.  Now each car has a numerical rating, and the rating is based on the performance of the car.  The rating is made up from the cars handling, acceleration, and top speed stats.  That rating then determines the bracket in which your car races.

The brackets are, best to worst, A to E, plus S for super cars I guess.  Your base starting car is likely in the E bracket but can be upgraded to the D bracket with just a few parts.  You can buy cars in better brackets and improve them further as well.

Ideally, what this should mean is that when you join a random race in the game, the match making process should group you with cars of the same bracket.  However, the match maker seems to be tuned to deliver more races over maintaining parity, so you will regularly end up in races that cover three brackets.  If you are the C bracket car in a race with a couple of A bracket competitors, you had better be very good or they had better suck.

And sometimes they do suck.

I have been the C bracket car and beaten the guy in the A bracket Porsche.  But it doesn’t happen very often.

So racing can be fun, but you really have to be ready for an uneven playing field.  And if your skills are otherwise modest like mine, you had best be ready for a mostly losing record.  Not that that has changed much over time, pre or post revamp.

And then Earl and Potshot joined the game.

More after the cut.  Pictures and long winded descriptions.

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Looking Back at 2012 – Highs and Lows December 26, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, Sony Online Entertainment, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Tags: , ,
15 comments

Every year I try to come up with a list of highs and lows for the year.  You can go back and read my 2010 and 2011 editions if you so desire.  I often complain about the same things year after year.  As for 2012, this is what I recall.

Free to Play

Highs:

  • Another pile of games went from subscription to free to play as a default business model.  If you are a fan, you have lots of options now.
  • Free to play continues to offer the best “free trial” option for games.

Lows:

  • Clearly the dominant business model to the extent that being free to play no long bestows any sort of competitive advantage as it did back when DDO and LOTRO made the transition.  Merely going free to play will not save your game.
  • Being a primary source of income, with revenue targets to achieve, the in-game cash shop becomes a major focus of free to play games.  Increasingly, it is players who buy from the cash shop who matter most, even in games like EQII that push you to become a subscriber. Subscribing removes some annoyances and restrictions, but you are still pushed to buy from the cash shop.  They even hand you a bit of their RMT currency every month in order to prime the pump.
  • An early justification for cash shops and RMT currency was the idea of selling thing to players that could not be paid for via credit card due to transaction fees.  The idea was that players would be offered many inexpensive items that they would buy en masse.  Instead, items that cost less than $5.00, or one third of a months subscription, seem to be the tiny minority of items available… at least at the generally understood value of the RMT currency.
  • The vicious circle of discounting the RMT currency to drive people to purchase it, followed by cash shop discounts to soak up the ensuing currency glut may be emerging.
  • Some players seem to think they can get something for nothing.  They cheer when a game goes free to play, but then get upset when the inevitable reality emerges.  There is no such thing as free.

Turbine

Highs:

  • The pleasant Middle-earth charm of LOTRO can still be found.
  • The Riders of Rohan expansion has received much praise.
  • Still one of the few F2P MMOs that lets you earn their cash shop currency in-game.
  • Have I mentioned their music system lately?  Why hasn’t anybody shamelessly ripped this off?

Lows:

  • Not actually playing LOTRO, there is little chance I will see any of that cool new Rohan content… well, ever.
  • The heady days of F2P success have clearly worn off, and Turbine’s WB overlords have been cracking the revenue whip.  So we have the despoilment of Middle-earth moving forward in the cash shop.
  • Really one of the great passive-aggressive community relations fiascos occurred when Turbine asked for comments on their awful hobby-horse idea with the caveat that they didn’t want to hear anything negative.  That sort of thing never turns out badly.
  • And the F2P divide continues.  You can be a fan of the game, but unless you are buying stuff from the cash shop, you don’t mean anything.  And so some long time fans of the game seem to be moving on.  Eru wept!

Sony Online Entertainment

Highs:

  • EverQuest still going 13 years in and now has parcel delivery through the mail, more zones, five new levels, and hotbars that look like they are now from this century.
  • EverQuest Mac got a call from the governor while on death row, so lives for a while longer.
  • Planetside 2 launched!  That is a massive shooter!
  • Vanguard is alive and free to play and getting content updates!  And Brad McQuaid is back working on it.
  • The Krono experiment will make for an interesting change to watch.
  • Vague promises of a more sandbox-like EverQuest game in EverQuest Next in hopes of breaking the “me too” MMO mold where everything is basically based on EverQuest.  Sounds interesting, but we’re a long way from reality.

Lows:

  • They screwed up Station Cash valuation through heavy discounting and cash shop blanket discounts to the point of requiring SOE to stop selling expansions and gold subscriptions for Station Cash.  This in turn puts more pressure on the cash shop people to sell a couple of useful items and piles of cosmetic crap.  Meanwhile, the triple Station Cash sales continue because, of course, they have trained us to hold out for that.
  • SOEmote.  Science experiments are cool and all, but SOE is starting to accumulate a few too many such things in its basement.  Voice control, Station Launcher, will SOEmote join these on the scrap heap eventually?
  • EverQuest Online Adventures fell by the wayside.
  • Didn’t SOE already have a sandbox-like game in SWG?  The word is that Lucas was behind NGE and the closure, but SOE still has blood on its hands.
  • The EverQuest time locked progression servers seem to be dying from neglect, which is ironic because every player on those servers is a subscriber.  That is a requirement.  So I guess we see where a server full of subscribers ranks in the free to play world?

CCP

Highs:

  • No major player revolt provoking crises.  There is always some drama and things to piss off players, like the inventory changes.  But there was nothing that came anywhere close to the uproar when flying in space was set aside in favor of space Barbies with the Incarna expansion.
  • Really some cool new features in this year’s EVE expansions.
  • A year in null sec was a whole new experience for me.

Lows:

  • With no crisis to rise to, the EVE Online CSM went back to being just a marketing tool. I can see no tangible benefit to players from CSM7.  Roll on galactic student council.
  • DUST 514?  Have you heard of it?  Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you while you were playing PlanetSide 2.
  • So, yeah, null sec.  The wars are over.  What now?

Blizzard

Highs:

  • WoW still has more players than any other subscription MMO you play… not that there are many of those left.
  • WoW remains immensely profitable.
  • Mists of Pandaria shipped, putting WoW back over the 10 million players mark.
  • Diablo III shipped at last, and sold a lot of boxes, both real and virtual.

Lows:

  • Pretty much done with WoW for now.
  • No StarCraft II expansion yet.
  • Diablo III shipped about five years too late.
  • Customer support dickishness around the ability to shut off future payments when you signed up for the Annual Pass.  You can be a dick about many things, but when you start refusing to stop billing credit cards, you have crossed a line.
  • The Blizz obsession with hacks and cheating turned Diablo III into an “always online” experience that lead to the Error 37 fiasco and much complaining about things like server downtime and patch days.
  • The Diablo III auction house, a clear reaction to the illicit RMT that happened in Diablo II and WoW, managed to kill off the “item hunt” part of the game for some.
  • The level based difficulty of Diablo III meant having to play through the whole game in normal mode just to ramp up some challenge.  Some people will be happy to play through the game four times with each character.  I am not one of those people.
  • Stark failure to plan for more content once Diablo III was played out.
  • Titan?  Hello?

Trion Worlds

Highs

  • Rift continued to evolve and add features to keep players active.
  • Rift launched an expansion, the classic “next move” for a successful MMORPG, that added more content, new styles of quests, and player housing.
  • Trion managed to keep to the subscription model for Rift, thus avoiding the ruination of immersion that cash shops inevitably bring.
  • The instance group made it through all the pre-expansion instances in Rift.
  • I managed to get a level 50 character of each of the four classes before the Storm Legion expansion launched.

Lows:

  • Declining subscriptions, soft server merges, lots of “WoW did it first” additions.  They have spun the server merges as a “good” thing and have gotten all of the servers into clusters for warfronts and the like.  But less people means less subscription money.
  • Layoffs.  Not sure yet what this impacts, but it clearly isn’t a sign of sunshine and lollipops.
  • Rise End of Nations seems doomed.  But I couldn’t play it in any case as it refused to run because I have my default text scaled to 120% in Windows, or so said the error message, and I am not going to reset that every time I want to play a game.
  • Cash shop interface is already in Rift, foretelling a transition to eyesore mounts and ugly cosmetic gear… though, honestly, I am not sure I could tell the difference in Rift.

World of Tanks

Highs:

  • The physics revamp was a huge improvement for the game in my opinion.  Power slide that TD down a hill!
  • Free to play that can actually be free without being oppressive.
  • Made gold ammo available for standard credits.

Lows:

  • Got bit by that NA/EU divide.
  • In the end, it is just a shooter dressed up in vehicles.  I will get bored of the same maps and the same tactics in every game sooner or later.

Steam

Highs:

  • Lots of big sales.
  • Still a reasonable way to buy games and keep them updated.

Lows:

  • Has basically trained me never to buy a game until it is at least 50% off of list price.
  • Even with heavy discounts, I have pretty much stopped buying because I don’t really need any more games.
  • I need to delete some of the games I have on my system because there are too many updates downloading.
  • Came home to find the internet down, which meant I could not play any of my games on Steam once I booted up my computer.
  • I still don’t see why anybody would buy or download an MMO from Steam.  I don’t want to log in and start Steam just to turn around and log in and start the MMO, which will then patch itself.

Misc. Gaming

Highs:

  • GuildWars 2 shipped at last.
  • Torchlight II shipped at last!  And it is pretty good.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic actually has an expansion planned.
  • Kickstarter seems to be getting people excited about games.

Lows:

  • As is typical, the Guild Wars 2 fanboys remain pretty much blind to any faults.
  • Torchlight II still isn’t Diablo II.  But expecting that it would be was probably too much.
  • SWTOR basically slammed the door on the subscription model’s dick, while introducing some new noxious ways to implement free to play.
  • City of Heroes gets the axe based on opportunity cost.  It was making money, just not enough money.
  • Glitch fails to get the quirky/greedy balance right, has to close.  I never played it, but I hope something was learned.
  • Most Kickstarter projects don’t make their funding goal, and apparently most that do make it find that they have underestimated the money they really needed or the time it was going to take to get the project done.  Sometimes things are delayed because the funding went way past the goal and the developer decided to add in all sorts of new things, as with Steve Jackson Games and their Ultimate Edition of O.G.R.E., but that seems to be the exception.  Of the six projects I have backed, two failed to meet goal while three of the other four are way behind schedule.  (Go Defense Grid team!)  I am not saying that Kickstarter is a bad thing, but you have to go in with your eyes open.  It is less Wall Street and more “The Producers” than you might expect.
  • Streaming.  I completely fail to get that whole fad.  Why would I want to sit in front of my computer just to watch somebody else play a game?  And really, most of us aren’t as witty and amusing as we think we are.  I’ll just actually PLAY a game, thank you.

Well, that was all I could come up with.  But sitting at the end of the year looking back, I am sure I missed or forgot some key items.

What else should be on the list of highs and lows for 2012?

Holiday Fun in Need for Speed World December 25, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Need for Speed World.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

This year I decided to make a holiday video.  Here is driving on the snowy golf course in Need for Speed: World.

Direct link to the video, which is available in sizes up to 720p.

The music is Holiday for Strings from the Jon Rauhouse album Steel Guitar Heart Attack.

Physics done silly made for some pretty amusing jumps in the snow.  Certainly amusing enough to keep you distracted for a while.

A few additional pictures after the cut, if you are interested.

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Three Way Split on the KV-1 Tree December 24, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
Tags: , , ,
8 comments

I have been playing and enjoying the KV-1 Soviet heavy tank.  After the effort of getting there, is nice to be able to take a punch. I have gotten a few of the requisite “Steel Wall” awards for taking many hits in a battle.  In one engagement I took 42 hits from a set of light and medium tanks as I rolled up a flank.

Happy Holiday KV-1

Happy Holiday KV-1

So I settled in to enjoy the KV-1 and its heavy armor and decent gun, knowing that training for its successor was going to be a while.

Time moves on, and I have played a chunk of World of Tanks and have found myself suddenly in possession of enough experience to start in on the next tank in the Russian heavy tree.  The thing is, from the KV-1 there are three choices.

The Three Faces of KV

The Three Faces of KV

The three choices are the KV-1S, the KV-2, and the T-150.

On the surface, the choice is easy.  I go with the KV-1S, which a lot of people choose, get gun upgrades and continue on to the mighty IS line of heavy tanks.  I lose some armor protection, but it seems to be the popular choices, which generally means the best one, or at least the safest one.

The KV-2 primary appeal is the giant 152mm “derp” gun which can one-shot so many lesser vehicles.  To bring that gun to bear though, you have to deal with a vehicle that is huge, slow, awkward, and almost comic to look at.

The KV-2

The KV-2

It looks like the sort of thing that a young boy would produce if asked to draw a tank with a big gun.

And then there is the T-150, which seems to to primarily offer a more interesting gun, the 107mm ZiS-6, along with a more powerful engine which, presumably, also mean a little more speed on the battlefield.

The KV-2 seems to be the least attractive option.  Aside from comic appeal, there is much to say against it, not the least of which is that as a step on the tree it is essentially a dead end.  You go from it to the T-150, so it can be safely skipped.

The KV-1S, as I said, seems to be the popular choice.  While it has less armor that the KV-1, it has the big gun and leads to the very heavy Russian tanks.  It also can be uses as a stepping stone to the T-44, T54, T-62 series of main battle tanks.

But the T-150 has that interesting gun, and it leads to its own line of heavy tanks, derivatives and improvements on the KV line, all slightly less well armored but interesting none the less.

So which one should I choose?  That is the Christmas question.

Looking at EVE Online Through a Year of Ads December 22, 2012

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

Proof that I may take too many screen shots.

At some point more than a year back, I started taking screen shots of the ads that CCP puts up on the splash screen of EVE Online.  I thought I might do something with them at some point.  Today I went through the 3,000+ screen shots I have taken in EVE this year (it should be a long time before EVE Online Pictures runs out of material) and copied out all of the splash screen ads that I grabbed and put them into a single picture.

Here it is, 68 ads:

Click to enlarge... 3MB file

Click to enlarge… 3MB file

I doubt this is anything like a comprehensive gallery of ads.  I think at one point I stopped taking screen shots of the PLEX related ads.  And there were a few with the loading alert up in front of them because I had logged myself in without stopping long enough to take a screen shot.

Still, even with my abbreviated list, there are a lot of things covered.  Selling PLEX and copies of EON are well represented, but so are events and expansions and new features and elections and so on.

Not the worst way to view EVE Online in 2012.

More Barriers to Playing with Friends… December 21, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, World of Tanks.
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19 comments

I have often complained about the strict server architecture of MMOs and how they keep you from playing with your friends.  World of Warcraft has ever been the prime example.  I know so many people who play or who have played WoW, but most of them play on servers Eldre’Thalas where I have invested the vast majority of my time and effort.  And so our paths rarely cross.  I have made characters on other servers from time to time, but inevitably my focus can really only be on one server and there are only so many alts you can play.

And this sort of tale goes back to the early days of EverQuest, when friends rolled up on different servers and so we never played together.

In the last week or so I have run into two more examples of this sort of torment.

First, Potshot and Earl from our regular Saturday night group decided to jump into Need for Speed: World, the driving game I have played and written about now and again.

However, since I last played, EA has added a new server, Chicane, which is where new players appear to get routed.

Of course, all of my time and effort has been invested in the old server, Apex.

And, as you might guess, never the twain shall meet.  There are no server transfers that I can see.  At least my account appears to work and, after a day or so, it actually recognized that I had some of the RMT currency, Speed Boost, available and let me access it on the new server.  But now in order to play with Potshot and Earl I need to give up a garage full of cars and start again from scratch.

That probably isn’t quite as bad as it sounds.  Well, the starting from scratch part at least, since they appear to have revamped the game yet again and, while there are still driver levels, those levels seem to have lost all of their meaning.  But not being able to drive the cars I have collected… well, that sucks.

And then there is World of Tanks.

I play on the North American server naturally enough and I have been bugging some friends to try the game out, including long time pal Gaff.

Gaff also plays EVE Online with me… or I play with him… anyway, there we are in EVE, which has one server for the whole world (outside of China) and thus attracts quite an international mix.  Our alliance, TNT, is heavy with European players.

Our alliance also has a clan in World of Tanks and channels on our TeamSpeak server dedicated to that.  So when Gaff finally got off the dime to try WoT, he ran off to where our alliance mates were playing.

They were, of course, playing on the EU World of Tanks server.

And there is no mixing of the North American and the European servers.  They require different clients and they do not share accounts.  You cannot, it seems, even use the same email address to play on both servers.

So once again, to play with friends, I have to give up all the time and effort invested.  Before I had gone on this latest WoT binge, I might have considered it.  But now, with me driving towards a tier VII German tank destroyer and a tier VI Russian heavy tank, not to mention gold invested in their crews, I see starting again as a huge barrier to swapping servers.

I suppose I should be happy that they at least let you roll an account on the EU server from outside the continent .  That isn’t always an option.

But it is still a barrier.

So once again, EVE Online has something that I think others should try to emulate.  I play on the same server as every blogger out there going on about EVE Online.  I just never see them… or play with them… for other reasons.

But at least the option exists.

World of Tanks Sees 230,000 Years of Play Time in 2012 December 20, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, World of Warships.
Tags: ,
5 comments

And the year isn’t even done yet.

Wargaming.net sent out a press release about 2012 that included an info graphic with some statistics about World of Tanks.  And, since I like that sort of thing, I thought I would pass it along.

You really need to click on this to see it full size

You really need to click on this to see it full size

Those are some nice round numbers, which means they are probably reasonable estimates, at least if you subscribe to the theory that the more precise a huge number is, the more likely it is to be bullshit.  That particular theory arose from a study of United Nations statistics, where there appeared to a correlation between precision and simply making things up.

Interesting to see that the Soviet KV series of tanks is so popular in its various forms.  And then there is the Type 59 in China, which is still for sale on their server still and is, of course, a Chinese tank.  It is no longer an option in NA/EU.

Type 59 still available behind the Great Wall

Type 59 still available behind the Great Wall

As for next year, Wargaming.net has this to say:

Our key objectives for the year 2013 are many – deliver two new online free-to-play worlds, continued the expansion of World of Tanks with creative and passionate new content, and further reinforce our ties with our community,” said Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi. “We will also continue to explore new possibilities offered by the free-to-play MMO space to provide players with unique gaming experiences and unite as many people as possible in our free-to-play universe.

So World of Warplanes and World of Warships in 2013?

I suppose we shall see.

Four is All You Need to Finish Mathosia December 20, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
Tags: ,
2 comments

Four just seems to be our number.  Again, last Saturday night we could only summon four out of our group of five.  Of course, the same thing happened the week before, only I was the missing person that time.  Still, we had four people and two more dungeons in the old, pre-expansion world of Telara, Mathosia.  So we got our group together for a shot at it.  We were:

  • Zahihawass level 50 cleric
  • Hillmar level 50 cleric
  • Earlthecat level 51 warrior
  • Gizalia level 52 mage

And as you can see, the new expansion is leaking into our group.  By this point Earl and Gizalia were fully outfitted in Storm Legion gear, which we thought might be enough for balance out the lack of a group member.  So we headed out to Charmer’s Caldera the last of the original dungeons in the game.

First step into Charmer's Caldera

First step into Charmer’s Caldera

More after the cut… the usual load of pictures and such.

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