Monty Python and the Holy Grail – The Serious Trailer September 21, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
Somebody took the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail and used clips from it to create a “coming attractions” style preview in order to imagine it as a serious movie. This was the result.
(link to original)
It is still hard not to laugh when you are familiar with the scenes they used.
Tags: Blog Banter, Lore
Mrs Caldari Citizen 561237412,
We deeply regret to inform you that your son, Caldari Citizen 564752873, was killed in action on July 28th. His ship, the Dongs Dongs Butttes Dongs, self-destructed for unknown reasons.
A Board of Inquiry was formed to address these issues. Captian xWeedLordXxXGoku420x was found to have acted properly on all counts when the court learned that he was 27 jumps from home and his ship was a stock-issue Slasher. He has been provided a new crew and Slasher.
In deepest sympathy,
(signed on his behalf)
In partial fullfilment of Blog Banter #48, which asks, “How important is the lore in EVE Online?”
Not very important at all.
There, am I done yet?
Okay, some of the lore does get impressed upon us at. The tutorial explains the EVE Gate and how humanity ended up in New Eden, though it never quite gets to why I feel the need to write “EVE” in all capital letters. It isn’t an acronym. It is just the way that CCP styles it. But back to lore. I bet some of you can even tell me which system in EVE Online the EVE Gate resides in.
The lore also explains the four main factions of EVE Online, their background and political system. And while I am sure players tend to skim over that sort of thing, I bet most can match up the faction with its political system. Go ahead, print this out and drawn a line between the faction and the description of it’s primary political philosophy.
Amarr Shareholder Rights Caldari Rounded Edges Gallente Worship of the Rust God Minmatar Aging Skinhead Rulers
And the lore of EVE Online does touch us nearly every day, influencing our decisions, shaping our goals.
There is the Consolidated Cooperation and Relations Command, better known as CONCORD. (As with the Amalgamation of Regional Militia (ARM), it sounds like the acronym came first, then some words were forced into place.) CONCORD is part of the lore and it heavily influences how PvP happens in large parts of space. Who you can shoot, what gates you can go near, how you fit your ship for a gank, and whether or not you are safe to fly in high sec space at all is influenced by CONCORD.
Likewise, the somewhat insane lore that dictates that you can insure ships influences behavior in game. The reimbursement policy of many an alliance assumes that you will buy the Platinum Insurance Package for your ship before you fly off into battle. I would love to see the balance sheet for the insurance system of New Eden. It is probably so out of balance that we should consider magic money to be part of the lore as well.
And then there are ships and ship design philosophies, which is probably where lore comes closest to touching every single player in EVE Online. Some of it is so ingrained that people might not even think of it as lore. That the Amarr like phallic shapes, that the Caldari think asymmetry makes them edgy and modern, that the Gallente think green doesn’t make them look fat, and that the Minmatar have figured out how to make metal rust in a vacuum… plus the various armament and tanking philosophies… influence our ship choices.
Some (or all) of those philosophies end up becoming part of the game framework of any long term player. And it is driven by lore.
So the lore is important to the degree that it does shape our play style choices. But the lore doesn’t stop there. No, it just keeps on rolling.
There are ongoing updates from CCP about the political struggles amongst the four major NPC factions, like that time… when that guy… crashed his ship into that station… and the Caldari and the Gallente went to war or some such… and the dead station was there in space for all of us to ignore as we went about our very important space business. And then Factional Warfare was introduced, left to stagnate for a while, and was eventually spruced up and incentivized so people would play it. And manipulate it. Because this is EVE Online. That was all part of one plan. I think.
There are the back stories to all of those infinitely staffed and supplied rebel/pirate organizations, like Sansha’s Nation and The Guristas. I am not sure how deeply involved with that back story anybody really gets when running missions or clearing anomalies, so long as there are more to shoot.
And then there are the lore details that most people don’t even get to. Like the fact that, according to the lore, ships have crews. That is canon right there bub, you do not fly alone. Somebody has to tend the fedos.
People discover, dig up, or remember the crew thing every so often. Jester wrote about it back in March, mostly to muse aloud about whether crews that live long enough ought to bestow benefits upon ship performance. He also put up this nice little chart that I can never find when I look for it, so I am going to steal it right from him.
Somebody in the Something Awful forums stumbled upon the ship’s crew aspect EVE Online, and the game discussion thread devolved into an exploration of that bit of lore for several pages. The quote at the top of this post is from one of the responses to the crew question, an example of the thousands of letters of condolence that one might imagine has to be sent out after battles like the one at 6VDT. Boodabooda’s signature might have been stamped on as many as 25,000 such notes just for Prophecy crews alone after that battle, assuming a crew of 100 and a 30% survival rate.
And the discussion went on to wonder where all these crew members come from. How do you recruit the thousands of warm bodies needed to work the internal systems of the ships in your fleet. At 6VDT we had more than 900 Megathrons in the system, which could represent more than 270,000 crew members. Who signed them up? How did they get out to 4-EP? Who feeds them? What motivated them to join one side or another? Are citizens of the various empires press ganged into serving? Are conditions down on the planets of New Eden so terrible that a likely death in the vacuum of space seems like a reasonable choice and where most of your life is spent in a station in the middle of contested space? And to whom do these crews hold allegiance?
Sometimes it might not be in your best interest to look too closely at the game lore.
But I will change my opening statement and grant that the lore is important, at least as a framework for our lives in New Eden. It just is not that important in terms of the story of our own experiences in EVE Online, the tales we tell and the memories we create through playing the game. In the end, player made lore behind a list like this:
16:04 Alliance Band of Brothers has been disbanded
16:04 Corporation Keiretsu has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Relentless Construction has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Tin Foil has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Black Eclipse Corp has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Reikoku has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Destructive Influence has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation TAOSP has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Black Nova Corp has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation gettingaDeathSquad has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Justice. has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Evolution has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation FinFleet has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Oh Canada has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Umbrage Inc. has left alliance Band of Brothers
is far more important than where the Guristas came from (and why they keep coming back) or what happens to your crew when your ship gets blown up… again.
Other, more serious entrants in the Blog Banter:
- How To Be Terrible At Eve: A Guide – Blog Banter #48 – Lore
- Sand, Cider and Spaceships – BB48 – In The Future, In a Star Cluster Far, Far Away…..
- Warp Drive Active – Blog Banter #48 The Importance of Lore
- Eveoganda – BB#48: Lore is our Soul
- Astral’s Eve Trial By Fire – Blog Banter 48
- Emergent Patroller – Blog Banter 48 – Our fictional cultural heritage
- Mabrick’s Mumblings – BB48: Pile of Bricks
- Faction Fit Pod – BB#48 – Life of Lore
- Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah – Lore. What is it Good For?
- Sered’s Lives - Blog Banter 48: Suspension of Disbelief
- Space Business, Serious Business – To fluff or not to fluff
- Low Sec Lifestyle – Blog Banter #48
- Jester’s Trek – My story is the same as yours just one chapter ahead
- Roc’s Ramblings - Blog Banter 48 – Lore
- Life on the Bubble – Art of War Alliance – BB47: You Just Don’t know
- Fiddler’s Edge – Eve Lore: Blog Banter 48
- Morphisat’s Blog – BB #48-Eve Lore
- Ugleb’s Journal - BB48 – Lore: the conflict driver
- Aggressive Logistics - BB48 – The Dystopia Effect
- A Journey Through The Mind - Blogbanter: I reject your reality and substitude my own
- Poetic Discourse - The Caldari Alliance Championship 2005 (or Alliance Tournament I)
Tags: Chris Roberts, Starfleet Dental, YouTube
Starfleet Dental, having moved on from Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2, now has its sights set on Star Citizen.
And with such a change in focus, there must be propaganda.
(Direct link to video)
Another fine Starfleet Dental video. Ample conditions and possibilities to realize national cooperation indeed! It is like Dear Leader is speaking directly to ME.
But it made me think about Star Citizen, and all the more so since the game came up in corp coms the other night.
Up until then, the game had been something of a fuzzy blur in my peripheral vision. When it came up on coms, I could just pull up some general information from my brain… space game… a Kickstarter campaign… the guy who made Wing Commander. Somewhere along the line Gaff mentioned some people in EVE were invested in the idea of the game.
But when one of my corp mates said he pledged four figures to the project and that another guy in the corp was likewise invested in the high three figures, I was jolted upright thinking, “Is this even a ‘thing’ yet?” I had to go look this up and figure out what was going on.
The Kickstarter finished up last November. They asked for half a million dollars and got over two million through Kickstarter, along with even more through direct pledges. The Kickstarter page says that they made it to the 5.5 million dollar stretch goal, though Wikipedia says they set a record by getting 4.2 million in funding. Either way, a lot of money was thrown at this project. And the money has continued to roll in, as you can apparently still get in on the action with a pledge, so that the current take appears to have topped 15 million dollars.
And Star Citizen certainly seems to promise a lot. The game is a “rich universe focused on epic space adventure, trading and dogfighting in first person.” It will be available as an MMO-like online form, a single player campaign, a private server version that is MOD-able, and as a floor wax if I read this right. All with no subscription and no pay to win.
Is there a base left uncovered with that?
They were not done yet. I am just going to list some of the key bullet points.
- A huge universe to explore, trade and adventure in
- Constantly expanding and evolving universe
- Micro [weekly or bi-weekly] updates rule!
- The conflict never ends
- Actions of the players impact the universe and become part of its history and lore
- Allowing user generated content is a key design goal
- It’s about the gameplay and your interactions with others
- Fully dynamic economy driven by player actions
- Money isn’t everything
- Space is empty but you’re never really alone
- Bigger ships offer bigger multi-player action
- Intelligent Flight Control System (IFCS)
- Dynamic Ship Maneuverability
- Ship Components matter!
- 10X the detail of current AAA games
- Everything you would imagine would move or articulate on a spaceship or a device – does!
- Range of scale never seen before in a game
- Really feel the scale of ships and space battles
All of which sounds totally awesome. A wondrous new dawn for the long neglected space sim genre may be upon us. If you search for related videos on YouTube or just Google the name, you will find a relentless wave of enthusiasm out there for Star Citizen, to the point that it is almost difficult to find anything concrete about the game.
Which is enough to set off alarm bells in the back of my head.
So much pent up joy for a game that won’t be in anything like its final release state until some time in 2015 by current estimates.
I can only recall past promises from other games and myself and guild mates getting too invested, pinning too many hopes and dreams, on things that never quite came to pass. Sitting in coms playing EverQuest II while gushing about how Vanguard was going to be the REAL successor to EverQuest. Brad McQuaid would save us. Or the whole cycle up to the launch or Warhammer Online. And, as pointed out elsewhere, promises of an all encompassing space sim have failed us before.
Not that I am calling bullshit on Chris Roberts, or making a claim of equivalence with that last link. The man has a enviable track record, which is a large part of what is building up the enthusiasm. But there was Freelancer, which shipped late and ended up being a different bird than initially promised. And the bar being set for Star Citizen seems unbelievably high to my skeptical eye.
But it is still tough to stifle the part of me that wants this all to be true and as good as described and that wants to throw money at my computer screen in the off chance that it might improve the likelihood of this dream coming to fruition.
Fortunately I am older and wiser than… well… younger and dumber me.
And I have other games to play while I wait for Star Citizen to come to pass in whatever form it ends up taking.
One of those games is, of course, EVE Online. I have to imagine that a good chunk of subscribers to EVE play the game because it scratches the space sim itch for them. That is certainly an aspect of the EVE package for me. So the two games seems to be, if not in direct conflict, sharing a similar demographic. I wonder what one will mean to the other when the time comes?
How about you? Are you getting invested in Star Citizen yet?
And what is Starfleet Dental going between now and the launch of the game, currently expected in 2015?
More Propaganda from the War in Fountain July 26, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Humor.
Tags: CFC, Fountain, Null Sec, TEST
1 comment so far
I have continued to collect propaganda from the was that people have linked in local. You can see the last batch I posted here.
I decided that I had best post what I have today, given the uncertain state of the war. TEST got robbed yesterday by a disgruntled director and then later stood down all ops. The changes in Fountain for July have all been TEST losses so far. PNQY-Y and four other systems fell to CFC alarm clock ops last night. And while the new TEST military director has brave words for the alliance, they seem to sum up to “let’s go die hilariously.” So on to the propaganda!
While I pitch this as TEST vs. Goons, one of the most prolific creators of propaganda during the war has been Marne Deville of Gentleman’s Agreement, an alliance in the CFC. He has also created some of the best and most memorable pieces and his work is well represented in local. You will find some of his work below. Aside from those, which are signed, and one that I recognize from Alizabeth Vea’s forum signature, the authors are unknown. I post them with the usual caveat that if your work is shown and you want it removed, please let me know.
Propaganda after the cut.
Quote of the Day – On Ruining Video Games July 18, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
Tags: Cracked.com, Quote of the Day
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Microsoft backpedaled like an anarchist on a tandem bicycle
Robert Brockway, on Microsoft’s post-E3 change of heart
That quote sort of epitomizes why I go read Cracked.com on a regular basis. It made me laugh.
I am not even sure if it makes sense as a metaphor. I had to Google “anarchist” and “tandem bicycle” to see if there was some obscure reference with which I was unfamiliar. The best I came up with was two French men on a bicycle.
I suppose that is close enough.
But even as I am chuckling at such things, I get the suspicion at times that Cracked is really a cover to discuss serious issues under the cover of humor. The quote above came from the article 4 New Video Game Realities that will Kill the Industry, which actually gets at the heart of a couple of things that bother me.
Quote of the Day – Tannhauser July 17, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
Tags: Opera, Popehat, Quote of the Day, Tannhauser
add a comment
Wagner could have just said “enter the entire Monster Manual, which humps.”
Ken White, Popehat Goes to the Opera: Tannhauser
I actually have a version of Tannhauser in iTunes. After reading that post, I must go listen to it again… once I stop laughing.
Go. Read. Still cannot breath here.
Boat’s Oddity July 14, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Humor.
Tags: DBRB, Fountain, Null Sec, Suas, YouTube
Music from Suas of Little Bees fame.
(direct link to video)
Suas actually did the music a while back, and it was great. But then the in-game visuals were added by TerminatorV250 and it became a media spectacular.
That is the war in Fountain. There are a couple of points where I swear that my ship has to be on screen. My screen shots from the war seem to cover some of those very events.
Boatman of the song is, of course, Dabigredboat or DBRB, who forgot to update his clone after getting podded early in the war and lost the skill Fleet Command V. I checked, and that skill would take me about 60 days to train. Ouch. And ‘throns are the Megathrons, the Gallente battleship that is prominent in both the war and the video.
Anyway, this is the song of the war for me so far.
Lyrics after the cut. Happy Bastille Day.
The Propaganda War in Fountain July 12, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Humor.
Tags: Fountain, Null Sec
When two forum based entities come into conflict, one thing you can depend on is a lot of propaganda. And so it is in Fountain.
After the cut is an array of propaganda pictures I have collected along the way. They get linked in local by both sides. They are usually just in somebody’s Imgur account and sources are completely unattributed. Basically, I don’t know who made any of these, so I apologize in advance for using your work with giving credit. If you want me to remove and item that is yours, drop me a note. And, if I have missed a good one… also drop me a note and I will add it to the mix.
I have not included any of the animated .gif files as they tend to be huge and I am considering how best to display them while not making the page take forever to load.
The Problem with Bond Villains… February 23, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
Tags: Bond James Bond, James Bond, Movies
A friend of mine was complaining about the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall.
He did not like the movie because the Bond and the MI-6 team did several things that he felt were… well… dumb. Dumb to the point that they ruined the movie for him. And, I had to admit that some of the items he listed had merit.
However, I still had to laugh as he didn’t seem to have any problem with the villain’s plan until I pointed out that the bad guy could have accomplished his goal, wrapped things up nicely, and gone off to live happily ever after in the first 30 minutes of the movie had he not been bat-shit insane.
And that is a major aspect aspect Bond Villains. To get in the cross hairs of 007, you practically have to be certifiable.
I wrote a piece back in December, Travels with Commander Bond, which included some lists of some of my favorite aspects of the film series. However, I felt one list was clearly missing, the list of my favorite Bond villains.
The problem was that, while the other lists sprang to mind pretty much fully formed, when I think of Bond villains, things get a bit confused.
Certainly some quips come to mind. “I don’t expect you to talk Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” is a favorite.
But then I start thinking about henchmen. Rosa Klebb, Odd Job, Jaws, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd… but they are just the hired help. They aren’t running the show. Then there are the various incarnations of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Does he count as one Bond villain, or is he a different villain in each movie?
Then there are the plots.
And here is where thinking too hard about Bond movies starts to fail you, because the schemes, when examined, can underwhelm. Wikipedia has a nice list of Bond villains from the movies, what their plan was, and the result. Simplifying the plans down to desired results, out of 23 films, I count the following motives:
Money – 14
Surprisingly, to me at least, this seems to be the most popular motive. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise. Twice it is in the name of drug cartels. But a lot of the time… especially in the SPECTRE years… it seems to be an already fabulously wealthy organization spending a lot of time and money on a result that, even if successful, would have paid off less than just investing in US Government securities. Max Zorin, for example, wants to destroy Silicon Valley in order to increase his company’s market share. That is his business plan! I suppose you have to go to some lengths to look evil relative to Bill Gates… though this pre-dated most Microsoft shenanigans… but still, couldn’t he have just lured away a few key execs? He already had immense wealth.
Start a War – 3
Actually, starting a war comes up four times, but I am not counting Elliot Carver because he was trying to start a war merely to expand his media empire… so, really… money. And I am not sure I should count SPECTRE’s attempt in You Only Live Twice, since they are doing it for a third party. But since they spent enough money to create a secret space program more advanced than either the US or USSR (whom they want fighting) and hid it in a dormant volcano, I have to imagine that the return on investment will be pretty poor. And, of course, in none of these movies does the whole war scenario really seem like a good idea.
Revenge – 2
This is at least a raw, emotional motivator. It just doesn’t come up very often. SPECTRE wants revenge for the death of Dr. Julius No (After all, the R in SPECTRE stands for Revenge! It is part of their mission statement in a way that smart financial planning is not.) and Raoul Silva wants revenge because he simply isn’t as tough as James Bond. Alex Trevelyan claims he wants revenge, but his revenge involves stealing a lot of money and covering his tracks, so I put him in the money column.
Utopia – 2
Kill all of humanity except for a chosen few, who will repopulate the world. In one the chosen were going to hide under the sea, and in one they were going to hide in space. This plot came up twice in the 1970s, back when we thought we were destroying the Earth (global cooling) and running out of resources. I am glad we’re past that now.
Just Doing My Job – 1
In For Your Eyes Only, Aristotle Kristatos steals the ATAC device for the Soviet Union… because that is who he works for. And when the plan fails, his boss doesn’t even seem that upset. Maybe the most realistic plot ending ever in the world of James Bond.
Random Asshattery – 1
I am not sure it is ever fully explained WHY Dr. Julius No was messing with the US space program in Dr. No. I guess SPECTRE was funding it, though it could have just been a hobby. Or it might have been version 1.0 of SPECTRE space program. It could have been meant to start a war eventually, or used for extortion. But in the movie Dr. No just seems to enjoy pissing off NASA.
So the prime motivator for a Bond villain appears to be money, followed by, but not exclusive from, insanity. After all, in Live and Let Die, Dr. Kanaga’s drug cartel plans were built around readings from a tarot deck. Then there is how all these guys plan to kill Bond after they inevitably capture him during the course of the film. Like that SNL skit said, when you capture Bond, don’t screw around, just shoot him and be done with it.
And don’t even get me started on the poor rank and file of these villains. How do they recruit them? And what entices people to work for these guys? I have to think the death benefits for your family must be excellent, since these villains kill their own rank and file on a regular basis. Their HR staff must be going crazy.
So, in the end, it is very hard for me to pick a favorite James Bond villain because they are all so bad at what they do.
It is almost like they are put up there simply to make James Bond look good…
Well, without them, we wouldn’t have had the Austin Powers series.
Roll on Dr. Evil. Your plots are not half as mad as they could be.
EverQuest: More Popular at Launch than WoW is Today… February 15, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Humor, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Air Warrior, Camelot Unchained, Friday Blog Wars, sarcasm, Trolling Tobold
But only if you use the Bizarro metrics.
For example, on Planet Tobold, it ISN’T how many who play your game that matters, but how many people DIDN’T play you game.
Taken to logical extremes, there are more than 7 billion people today who do NOT play World of Warcraft today.
However, back in 1999, when the first player logged into EverQuest, there were only 6 billion people not playing it!
A clear victory for SOE, putting it a whole billion “non-players” ahead of Blizzard!
But wait. Back in 1987 when Air Warrior was finally rolling, it only had 5 billion people not playing it!
Who is the most successful online game now, bitches?
Meanwhile, SpaceWar, running way back in 1961 had a mere 3 billion people not playing it!
A clear victory in the unpopularity race!
And yes, I am stretching Tobold-logic to humorous extremes on purpose. But even trying to work the negative player numbers in a serious manner… potential player populations, target populations, subscription rates, and what not… seems like building a castle in a swamp.
Of course, so does trying to measure how many people remember a game. I suspect there are games out there that more people remember than actually played them. But how do you even begin to measure that and, more importantly, how does that equated to success?
Being remembered certainly doesn’t pay the bills.
Nor does historical significance which, by definition, is an assessment of something that happened far enough in the past that it has ceased to be contemporary and actual becomes history. Real history, in the serious academic studies sense, only starts when those who were there to witness it… and thus have invested opinions about it… pass on and things that had to be held secret to protect governments and individuals alike are released to the public.
Which is to say that neither I nor Tobold can really make anything besides guesses now about how the future may view this era when it comes to MMOs and the like.
But when you’ve soured on a genre to the point that your agenda seems to be deny that any MMO with numbers south of 250K can possibly be a success merely because WoW exists and heap scorn on anybody who wants something different, I guess you have to take whatever crazy ammunition you can find.
I am certainly not saying WoW isn’t a success. It is certainly what keeps Activision-Blizzard funded for the three quarters each year when they don’t ship a new Call of Duty game. But success is not an absolute bar, now set so high by WoW that nobody can ever succeed again. Mark Jacobs’ Camelot Unchained plans are not an automatic failure merely because he is targeting a small audience. It is an experiment. It has risks. It has to live in the current MMO ecosystem.
But that alone doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Of course, even Mr. Jacobs isn’t above pulling out a silly metric himself now and again.