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Remembering Our Time in Zul’Gurub April 18, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, World of Warcraft.
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Part of being able to blog regularly is having a routine.  There is a time I sit down and write and another when I review screen shots and so on.

For the Saturday night instance group, I usually sit down Sunday, start the post, sketch out what I will write, noting down some key events or interactions.  Later I go through the screen shots, which will usually stir up more memories. (Most of my screen shots are crap, but are often taken simply to capture some small detail that relates to the evenings events.)  Eventually I sit down and write the narrative out, insert the screen shots, and schedule the post.  (Anything that posts exactly on the hour here was likely scheduled in advance.)  Then Thursday morning rolls around, the post goes up, I look at it, gasp in horror at the typos, frantically try to correct them, and eventually let go and return to a stable state.

However, for the last instance group run, I totally forgot to do any of that.  Things came up at home, there were other games I wanted to play, other things I wanted to write about (I think I have had two posts a day running all week here, and I have a couple of fresh drafts I still need to finish… next week I guess) and suddenly it was a week and a half later and I found myself thinking, “Didn’t we to Zul’gurub just recently?”

Yes we did.

Now to try and actually blog about it well after the fact.

I do remember the line up… well, I remembered to take a screen shot of it.  We were:

  • Earlthecat – Level 86 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 86 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS

And the destination for the evening was the level 85++ instance, Zul’Gurub.

The previous week we did the raid-turned-instance Zul’Aman, which turned out to be a just-about-perfect difficulty run in a sprawling open troll themed environment.    Its companion instance, Zul’Gurub, proved to be a worthy follow on.

What I actually remember from the run after the cut.

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A Quiet Tower Shoot at KDV-DE April 18, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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There was another chance to shoot things with lasers last night.  Reagalan was leading a fleet into Pure Blind to finish off one of the towers that had previously put into reinforce.  The destination was KDV-DE.

We were a little slow getting off.  There was a call to meet up at the staging POS, where those of us in Apocalypses and Megathrons were sent back to the station to grab an alternate armor resistance hardener to put in our cargo bay.  Then, at just about the point where we had all done that, the order was changed and we were sent back to the station to swap hardeners, removing one of the standard fits for the alternate.  Finally, after my third undock, we all ended up at the staging POS, ready to move out.

At the VFK staging POS

At the VFK staging POS

Then it was off to the titan for a bridge out to the target, where we warped in, spread out, and began the shoot.  Black Legion was reported online and there was the expectation that we would again face a Zealot fleet to contest our operation.

We moved in our orbits around the anchor shooting the tower, a bit tense, expecting that we would soon be switching from standard crystals, which are appropriate for a structure shoot, to higher damage crystals that we would want to use in a stand up fight.

But no Zealots showed up.   No masses of hostiles appeared in local chat.

The tower went down with the usual satisfying explosion.

Tower down

Tower down

Then Reagalan pointed us towards home.

Honestly, we were not all that far away.  There was a jump bridge a couple systems over that would bring us most of the way there.  But Reagalan was being very slow and deliberate and not a little bit cagey about moving the fleet.  He refused to say our align points or destinations in coms.  We stood still for minutes at a stretch.  Nothing happened very quickly at all.

Eventually we made it to VFK, at which point Reagalan linked us a kill mail in fleet chat that showed a Black Legion pilot in a cyno fit Devoter who just happened to die to a CFC bomber fleet in 6GWE-A while we were waiting to jump into that system.

DoomBunny popped

DoomBunny popped

The plan was apparently to drop on us as we returned from the op, catching us potentially unaware as we headed home.  Instead we cruised through the system unmolested and docked up without a fight.

Landing back at VFK station

Landing back at VFK station

Which was a bit disappointing.  A good fight would have capped the night off.  But there are more ops planned and more towers to shoot this weekend.

As usual, tourist photos from the op after the cut.

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Quote of the Day – When You Have a F2P Hammer, Every Nail is a Microtransaction April 17, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment.
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The micro-transaction is so strong and it’s definitely a much better model. I think all companies have to transition over to that.

Tommy Palm of King.com, interview at IGN

IGN is becoming the place to talk about free to play and micro transactions.  And King.com, the new Zynga, certainly has reason to support that point of view.  They are making a lot of money and, true to Tommy’s word, you can “win” Candy Crush Saga without paying.  But they are also monetizing frustration, as has been pointed out by Laralyn McWilliams, which I am not sure gets them a lot of love.

Buy now or start over

Buy now or start over

People defend King.com by pointing out that a lot of people play through the whole game without paying or by noting how much money they make.  But I do not see many F2P advocates examining their monetization scheme (Laralyn McWilliams aside) and asking if that is the best approach.  The monetizing of frustration aside… which alone has kept me from giving a damn about any other game King.com has made… there is the question of buying progress.

Buying my way out of a level with their boosts… and as far as I can tell, there are no levels you cannot win on the first try if you have spent enough money… feels a bit like cheating.  It is like dealing out a hand of solitaire and then giving somebody $1.99 to tell you it is okay to re-arrange the cards so you win any given hand.  I would say that is, in essence, pay to win, except you are not actually playing against anybody but yourself, so I am sure somebody would take me to task.

So maybe it is more like pay to skip playing, in which case why bother playing?  That might explain why only 30% of players who beat Candy Crush Saga paid any money.  Where is the feeling of victory or the bragging rights if you paid your way through the tough bits?

Or to flip that around, I wonder how many of that 30% would admit to paying?  Sure, King.com knows they did, but would they tell their friends?

Anyway, you might excuse Tommy’s exuberance because of the corner of the market he is in and how much money his company is raking in.  They have likely spent more on TV ads for Candy Crush Saga than they did on actually developing the game initially.

But we also had David Georgeson talking about all games being free to play as well, and he definitely lives in a world where there is a lot of development expenses before you can start ringing up microtransaction dollars.

We’re effectively street performers: we go out there and sing and dance and if we do a good job, people throw coins into the hat. And I think that’s the way games should be, because paying $60 up front to take a gamble on whether the game is good or not? You don’t get that money back.

-David Georgeson, busking out in front of IGN

This is, of course, the utopian ideal, the big upside to the whole free to play thing, the idea that you only shell out money for what you like.

And I can certainly find examples to support this idea.

I spent a lot of money… bought the collector’s edition and a lifetime sub… on Star Trek Online, which ended up being a game I really didn’t enjoy playing.  A big fail on my part.

In comparison I spent no money at all on Neverwinter, which also ended up being a game I really didn’t enjoy playing.  But at least it was only time invested.

Those, however, are both negative examples.  Games where I was better, or would have been better off, with free to play.

But when it comes to the whole persistent world MMO genre, of which I am a big fan, I do not have any real positive examples where a free to play game really sold me.  Sure, I have played a lot of Lord of the Rings Online, even after they went F2P, and I was enthusiastic about EverQuest II Extended when it first showed up.  But those were converts from the old subscription model into which I had invested and I have had my ups and downs with both.  I think I am done with EQII, and if I return to LOTRO again, it will be because of Middle-earth and despite the microtransaction in every window nature of their business model.

So, while I am okay with microtransactions in many forms… I have enjoyed games like World of Tanks and War Thunder, and I think the iOS version of LEGO Star Wars has a great model where you get the base game and a few levels for free, then can buy additional content if you like the game… it doesn’t seem to work for me in certain areas.  The money-where-my-mouth is proof is the persistent world MMOs I am currently playing, World of Warcraft and EVE Online.

Fortunately, as small as the world of game development may seem, it still encompasses a broad spectrum of opinions on many subjects.  So while some are gung-ho on F2P, others are sticking with older models.  The Elder Scrolls Online just launched as a subscription model MMO, and WildStar plans to later this year.  Maybe EverQuest Next or Landmark or something else will change my mind, but for now I seem happiest with the alleged outdated model.

There is no one true path, and I always wonder and people who make declarations in defiance of that.  The industry cannot even decide on DRM.  We have had industry voices wondering while companies bother, yet just this week Square Enix was saying that DRM is here to stay.

Meanwhile, I hope we’re all spending our dollars on things we actually enjoy playing.

Lasers and Towers and Black Legion in Pure Blind April 16, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The tempo of operations has picked up a bit in Deklein.  The rumor on coms is that The Mittani has returned from some press junket and is getting all the veterans of foreign wars, now loafing about the region, warmed up and engaged so that we are ready to go when all eyes turn towards Jita.

As noted in the recent CEO update, the enemy is Triumvirate and Mordus Angels, who live in some of the NPC space in Pure Blind, because… well… because!  They like to shoot us, we like to shoot them.  They have towers in that space.  Attacking those towers forces them to come to their defense, giving us fights now and again.  It is the nature of the game.  It is the reason they are out there in NPC null sec.

So there was a fleet op called last night and I actually had time to go.  We had some towers to shoot and expected opposition from our foes.  I joined fleet as soon as it went up, jumped into my shiny new Apocalypse, undocked, realized I had forgot to insure it, docked back up again, got myself paid up, then undocked, ready to go.

DingoGS, the FC, herded us all towards the jump bridge to start our journey out to the first target.

Apocs landing

Apoc heavy Baltec fleet landing

We got a titan to bridge us out and made our way to the first tower in KLY-CO.

Arriving at the first target

Arriving at the first target

We spread out and started knocking down the defense module around the POS, at which point Triumvirate and Mordu’s Angels showed up, bringing along Black Legion to support them.

No, wait.  Looking at the battle summary, the previous sentence obviously isn’t correct.  Black Legion showed up with 60 ships, while Triumvirate and Mordus Angels could only scrape up 30 pilots between them to defend their own tower.  Let me fix that.

We spread out and started knocking down the defense module around the POS, at which point Black Legion showed up, bringing along some pilots from Triumvirate and Mordus Angels.  We’re back to fighting Black Legion again.  They were blue to us for a bit, when that gave them the sort of fights they were looking for.  That time has passed and now we give them the sort of fights they are looking for.

Anyway, there we were in our Apoc heavy Baltec fleet, ready to face the Ishtar menace that cause the switch from Megathrons, and the foe showed up in Zealots.  Lasers all around I guess.  So we went at them, bubbles went up, and we started in on a short, sharp skirmish that nabbed us a few quick kills, though we were unable to take down Elo Knight in his Damnation.  Not for lack of trying though…

Not for lack of trying though...

Elo Knight’s Damnation lit up

That seemed to end in our favor, as the other side retired.  We went back to shooting POS modules for a bit, then they dropped on us for a second round.  They went after our logistics while we started picking off Zealots about as fast as we could target them.  Their tactics proved to be quite effective, as went they went after our DingoGS, our FC, there was nobody left to rep him and he went down.  J Black then picked up the ball and began frenetically (though effectively) calling targets as though he was trying to will their destruction through sheer repetition.

Eventually Black Legion pegged on who was calling targets and J Black went down as well.  Things could have gone very badly for us about then, but other things were happening on the field.

A series of triage carriers arrived to support us with reps, and DBRB showed up with a bomber fleet just in time to kill all of our deployed drones in a couple passes.  I swear, I deployed drones when DingoGS called for them, they died within a minute, and when I deployed my backup drones, they were toast almost immediately.  Lots of bombs going off.

DBRB defeating the drone menace

DBRB defeating the drone menace

Okay, DBRB’s fleet got in some good hits, and such is the life of drones, but at the moment I was wondering what I had done to deserve that routine.

But the arrival of additional fleet units tipped the odds enough in our favor.  What started as a very even match turned heavily in our favor, so Black Legion extracted from the fight and we were left to put the tower into reinforce, with dreadnought support, unmolested.  You can see from the battle report that we paid a heavy price in Oneiros logistics support.

Battle Doc Summary

Battle Doc Summary

We were then able to move to then next few towers and put them in reinforce or knock them down at our leisure.  Then it was time to return home, our mission having been accomplished. (I found it amusing that Circle of Two had, appropriately enough, exactly two people in fleet, one of whom was J Black.)

I got to take my new Apoc out for the first time on a fleet op and shoot my lasers in what passes for anger in such situations.  And while I was happy that ammunition supply wasn’t a problem… you just need a long lasting frequency crystal for each laser… I did find out that capacitor management can be an issue.  With the right/wrong set of crystals, you can empty your capacitor pretty fast.  We had some capacitor logistics support, but it was on the order of six ships supporting a few dozen Apocs, so I ended up having to turn off some modules, ungroup my lasers to shoot with less than the full battery of eight, and swap to more efficient crystals to keep power constant.  It makes me nostalgic for the glory days of the cap-stable Drake fleet, just running my MWD at all times and spewing missiles like no other.

This fleet op also put me on the kill boards for the first time since January.  While I have been on a couple of fleets this month, I have either flown logistics or just sat on a titan until we were stood down.  Up to this point I had only been on six kill mails in 2014.  Granted, those six were titans at B-R5RB… but still, I have been slacking some this year.

Finally, I have a gallery of screen shots from the op after the cut.  Tourist Wilhelm abides.

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Civilization – The End of the Mongols and the Coming Conflict April 16, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Other PC Games, Strategy Group.
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Friday night we got ourselves together in the designated Google hangout in order to return to our game of Civilization V.

Mattman, Potshot, and I were ready to go, but Loghound had some guests to evict or some such, so we got the game warmed up and ready while he set about pointing people towards his front door.

Potshot restored the game from the previous week and Mattman and I were able to join just fine, so things looked good.  Loghound just had to join and we would be set.

And then somebody else showed up in our game.  Potshot kicked him.  And then he returned, taking one of the AI seats.  He got kicked again.  Somebody else showed up, just to be kicked.  Potshot fiddled around, changed himself to one of the AI seats, couldn’t figure out how to get back to the Ottomans again, and we all had to leave and restart the game.

While setting things back up, Potshot ensured that the game was flagged as private.  We joined back up.  And the parade of strangers continued to flow into our game, just to be kicked.

Join our game? That's a kicking.

Join our game? That’s a kicking.

Later we figured out that if the leader clicked the not-very-obvious ready button, it locks down the computer players and then people can no longer just appear in your game.  Until that point we were kept busy calling out people to kick.

Finally, Loghound secured his domestic situation… or abandoned it, I am not sure we actually heard what came to pass… got into the game and we were ready to pick up at turn 101.

Our first order of business was to destroy the Mongols.  Our discussion in the hangout revolved around Loghound, having started as a close neighbor of the Mongols, being involved in a protracted and bloody conflict with Ghengis Khan to the point that he was falling way behind us in almost all civilization measures.

So we resolved to all declare war on the Mongols.  Potshot, Mattman, and Loghound were all in the vicinity of the Mongols, while I was somewhat out of the picture.  I knew where one city was, so I sent some archers there, though who they eventually sided with isn’t clear.

The Mongols as I saw them...

The Mongols as I saw them…

I managed to get a couple of shots in and even managed to capture a Mongol civilian.  When informed that it had, in its turn, been captured from Japan (Loghound), and asked if I wanted to return it, I clicked “no” and remained quiet when, later, Loghound was wondering aloud where his captured settler had ended up.  Well, it was only a worked when I got it.

The Mongols were destroyed and the spoils of their civilization was divided up amongst the chief participants in the war.

Spain, the Ottomans, and Japan remain

Spain, the Ottomans, and Japan remain

I got nothing… except that worker.  Though, with the war taking place decade of travel away from my territory, I didn’t exactly put my economy on a war footing either, choosing instead focus on building infrastructure and the occasional wonder.

And then we moved into the period of the long peace.

Well, for some of us.  Loghound felt he was far enough behind that he needed to continue his martial ways in order to play a role in world affairs, so remained in almost constant conflict with the Mayans or one of the city states throughout the evening.

Religions were founded.  I spread the word about Neo-Zoroastrianism to my protesting neighbors, leaving my pamphlets wedged into their door jams when they refused to answer the door.

Otherwise I was in a bit of a tight spot.  While I came out of the war flush in gold and happiness, with a booming economy, an efficient education system, and a culture that was the envy of all the neighbors, I was pretty much boxed in to my own little corner of Pangea.  I eventually found a place to plant an additional city, but that was about the extent of my expansion.  All of the other civilizations had more cities than I, and in the fullness of time I expect my little empire will be eclipsed.  Even Loghound has more potential at the moment.  His cities will grow, if he lets them.  Mine are already reaching their capacity.

As we wrapped things up at turn 175, which put us at midnight, my little corner of the world looked like this.

Germany needs Lebensraum

Germany needs Lebensraum

The demographics chart showed me out in front in all but one key category, land area.

Demographics at Turn 175

Demographics at Turn 175

I am efficient, productive, technologically advanced, well armed, and trapped in a small area.  What does Germany usually do in such situations?

Plus, just playing Sim City in a group setting isn’t exactly thrilling.  It might be time for some conflict.  I hear Hong Kong is lovely this time of year.

Siphon Extortion – Working as Intended April 15, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Our alliance chief sent out a pastebin over coms the other day featuring a “nice towers, shame if something happened to them” extortion approach.  (Name replaced with SG for “some guy,” which is his approximate level of notoriety.)

SG > 250 mil a week and i leave tnt towers alone.
SG > Will save you lots of money...
SG > hmm...  or i could just go all out on you guys.
SG > But let us negtiate. how much are you willing 
     to pay for peace of mind, not having to check 
     towers every day

The whole thing went on and on with lots of threats and bluster and claims that TNT is the laughing stock of the CFC… a position I always thought FA… or maybe SMA… held.  But whatever.

This bit of comedy was enabled by the addition of small deployable structures in Rubicon, specifically the mobile siphon unit.

Mobile Siphon Unit deployed

Mobile Siphon Unit deployed

I sort of felt that the mobile siphon unit showed up a bit late in the EVE Online timeline.  Imagine how much use they would have gotten back in the days when “moon goo” was a primary source of income?  Instead siphons ended up on the scene over two months after even the Goons decided to join the null sec slumlord trend and launched the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere.  That, plus the Brothers of Tangra and Northern Associates renter space now represents more than 900 systems (over a quarter of null, which clocked in at 3,524 systems the last I heard)  and colors a pretty large swath of null sec space on the influence map.

Null Sec - April 14, 2014

Null Sec – April 14, 2014

Moons still get mined though, and they do provide income.  And money drives conflict, so this extortion attempt was born.

We were, naturally enough, not buying what this guy was selling.  Hell, we get a reward when we find siphons on our moons.  Seed more of them, I’ll start looking in earnest.  I could always use a bit of extra ISK.  Add in the fact that he is in the Mordu’s Angels noob feeder corp… we’re actively fighting them right now according to the recent CEO update… and it seemed unlikely to succeed from the get go.  Giving your foes money when you do not have to is rank foolishness.

Such is life in EVE Online.

Coming Soon: Alamo teechs u 2 play LOTRO April 15, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
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With the announcement that Lord of the Rings Online will be introducing Beornings, the shape shifters/skin changers from The Hobbit, to the game, it can only be a matter of time before Alamo, teacher of all thing durid in World of Warcraft brings his lessons to Middle-earth.

The draft so far starts off with:

*************************************************

ALAMOES COMPLEET BERONIGS INSTURCKSHUN

*************************************************

1) OK, Sum beronigs is bare

almobear1

2) Tehm whos bare, can B 4 tank:

m1a1tankahi

ONLY BERONIGS DONT HAF SUM PEEPS IN THE HEAD AND A GUNZ LOL!

*************************************************

We will have to wait and see how that develops.

Meanwhile, the actual announcement around Beronigs… erm… Beornings… is pretty sparse so far.  The actual quote from the Producer’s Letter:

Of Bears and Bees
Recently we confirmed that LOTRO will be releasing a new class this year. I’m pleased to announce that this class is the Beorning! This will be LOTRO’s first class since the Mines of Moria expansion introduced the Warden and Rune-keeper.

Beornings are noted in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a race of Man, with close origins to the Rohirrim and the Men of Dale. Most Men are not shape-changers, so we envision the Beorning as a light armor casting class with a focus on control of the battlefield. When a Beorning gathers sufficient rage, they may transform into a mighty bear.

We’ll be sharing early class designs with the new Players Council. Expect more details later this year, as the class progresses through alpha and beta.

A light armor casting class that may, upon building up sufficient rage, transform into a mighty bear?  Alamo may need a re-write.  Or maybe Turbine does.  I am not sure that we have enough information to make sense of this new class yet.  Is it really a class, or a race, or both?

And what do we do with this guy now?

And what do we do with this guy now?

Does LOTRO need a new class?   Is this a way to get the current player base to play through old content, and maybe to sell a few of their “on again, off again” Gift of the Valar level boosts, in this year of no expansion? (Though you still have to play through Moria onward even with the boost.)

Of course, as a casual Lifetime subscriber who keeps playing through the original 2007 content, I might not be Turbine’s key demographic target.  I was happy enough with the quirky old class structure and didn’t think the game needed to go to a specs and talent trees format that seemed to be copied from a 2006 version of WoW.  But the kids seem to like it, and it isn’t like I am spending any money on LOTRO these days.

A bear with a plan!

A bear with a plan!

Is a new class, plus a few high end content updates, enough to keep LOTRO fresh in 2014?

Or will the Beornings be the “Cousin Oliver” to the “Brady Bunch” that the rest of the classes form?

And what will the people who complained about loremasters casting more magic in pursuit of a single quest than occurred in all of the Lord of the Rings say about a mass of Beornings appearing in the fields of Middle-earth?  Bears, bears bears?

 

World of Darkness Goes Dark April 14, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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CCP Games today announced that they have cancelled the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online (MMO) game project in development in their Atlanta, GA studio.

As a result of the change, 56 employees of the Atlanta studio have lost their jobs.  Some team members have been offered roles on other projects inside the company, and CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.

The remaining team in Atlanta will focus on games in the EVE Universe, which will mark the first time since 2006 that the entirety of CCP will be working on a single universe.

-CCP Press Release

Well, that about wraps that up I guess.  This is the third and final cut, the World of Darkness team having faced layoffs back in 2011 and then again last year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and had been working on an MMO version of the IP seriously starting in 2009.  Since then though, little has surfaced about the project aside from bad new.

I suppose this answers the question from earlier this year about what software was “derecognized” as an asset by CCP as part of their 2013 financial report.

CCP is solely focused on EVE Online and spin-offs such as DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie.  We won’t get to see what CCP could do in the realm of fantasy now.

In the gaming world Zombies continue to rule, while vampire fortunes seem to be in a downward spiral.  I blame Stephenie Meyer.

Addendum: But CCP is still thinking about what to do with World of Darkness.

Pantheon: Mostly Fallen… for Now April 14, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
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A few weeks back I took a look at the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and the state of affairs since it failed to meet its goal on Kickstarter.

PROTF04

I was particularly interested in how crowd funding would work in and environment where there was no critical mass to achieve.  My guess was that people would feel differently about just handing money over versus pledging money in a system where it would not be taken unless some minimum value was achieved.

The Kickstarter campaign was pledged $460,657 from 3,157 potential backers.  As of last night the post-Kickstarter campaign stood a this:

PRotFApr13

That is half as many people pledging, and they are pledging almost a third less per person than during the Kickstarter campaign.   And the numbers have not been growing substantially since shortly after the Kickstarter ended, which lead to this announcement on the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen site yesterday.

In the past few months we have seen some of the most passion bubble up from the Internet than we have in some time; all for an idea of a game we all want to see happen. It has been an exciting time for all of us.

Over the first month of development through crowdfunding, we’ve been able to achieve what was needed to be done in order to gain investor interest. That is, we’ve shown there is interest in a game like Pantheon, we’ve built the term sheets and business plan, and now have a prototype we can show to potential investors.The downside now is that our initial resources have depleted, which regrettably means that development is going to slow down until finances can be secured. It’s not something we want to do by any means, but as we cannot guarantee paychecks to the team, they each need to be able to spend time on other things to pay the bills.Once we’re able to get that level of funding we can then secure much-needed studio space and be able to pick up the pace of production dramatically. We are deeply thankful to this community for getting Pantheon to this critical point, where we have been able to put together an attractive package to present to potential investors.

In the interim, any donations made at this point until further notice will be going directly to maintaining the website during this phase, and not towards development.

So there it sits.  You can now donate to keep the web site functioning while they seek further financing, but work on the actual game has pretty much ceased.  I suppose one must commend them for honesty, but it does make it difficult to see how Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen will progress from here.  A failed Kickstarter campaign followed by an unsuccessful attempt to crowd fund directly cannot be helping their case.

Is this the end for the game?

Landmark – In Which I Claim April 11, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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My seven days of Landmark wind up today, so I thought I would use a little bit of the remaining time to take one more look.

My main goal was just to stake a claim, just because I could.  I was prompted by Liore’s guide to doing just that, because I realized I had all the materials.  So why not?  So I got on last night, after the update and the downtime and look for a place to call my own.  First, I made my claim flag.

Claim Flag

Claim Flag

Then I started looking around for a likely spot.

I wasn’t all that picky, but I also did not want to wander too far from the spires and the crafting stations… and apparently neither did anybody else.  So finding a claim turned out to be a little tricky.  I did end up being able to wedge myself into a spot between all the buffer zones.

Red means no!

Red means no!

You can see the amount of buffer SOE gives claims… that is the red zone… relative to the size of an actual claim… the little orange cubes.  But they didn’t quite squeeze me out.

Then it was time to figure out how to do something with my little patch of Landmark.  Initially I was not too impressed.

Little Blocks

Little Blocks

How long would it take to construct something using tiny little blocks?  Then I figured out that I could make the blocks bigger with the scroll wheel.  I discovered this by accident, trying to zoom the camera out.  The camera controls are pretty primitive, and I keep trying to move the camera to get a better shot of something, only to run into a wall.  Ah well.

Still, with bigger blocks, I decided to build upwards, so as to maximize the eyesore nature of my attempt.

Ascending into the sky

Ascending into the sky

I ended up creating a spiral set of blocks around a central spire in order to keep building higher and higher.  Eventually I had to start making the spiral bit wider, as I started falling off now and again, and the higher you go the more annoying it is to get back up when you fall.

Speaking of falling, I did manage to fall through the earth.

Oh, that shouldn't be there

Oh, that shouldn’t be there

It isn’t really an MMO beta if you haven’t fallen through the earth yet.  So I am set on that achievement.

Eventually I ran out of green earth material and had to switch over to a worked stone pattern that looked like wood.  Then I started to tire of the whole thing, so I built a platform, jammed a huge sphere onto it.  Seeing that I still had materials left, I jammed a big cube on top of that.  Then I went looking for a way to take a screen shot of my monstrosity.

Again, camera controls are primitive.

I ran up a nearby hill and tried to capture its ungainly nature.  You can sort of see it.  Physics need not apply.

My platform things

My platform things

Then I went back down to the base to sign it in yet another material I hadn’t used up.

Guess who?

Guess who?

I learned how to write in blocks back on the Atari 2600.  The “Video Graffiti” mode in the Surround game cartridge taught me much.

And that was about it for Landmark.

I did pay up my claim for as long as I was allowed.  But in 5 days and 22 hours it will be gone.

Claim Upkeep

Claim Upkeep

We’ll see if I end up getting an extension on my seven days in Landmark.  I suspect that if you don’t opt-in and buy a Founder’s Pack at that point, SOE is done with you, but you never know.  And, of course, even if I do get an extension, there is no guarantee that I would have any more to do in any case.

You can find my temporary awkward carbuncle on the face of the Lowland zone on the Courage server.

Addendum: Bhagpuss found me.  Do we have a new game here?  Claim hide and seek?