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A Decade in Post-Cataclysm Norrath November 11, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II.
Tags: , , , ,

We are in the midst of a few different EverQuest II moments, and I am going to mash them together into one post as they are all mildly related.

The first is that today EverQuest II is launching a new expansion, the Altar of Malice.

A surprisingly well clad dark elf female

A surprisingly well clad dark elf female

The expansion is only launching for All Access subscribers.  You can literally buy the expansion but be unable to play it until November 25th while subscribers can play today.  This seems at best a transparent “subscribe dammit!” move and at worst just dumb, another round of SOE being SOE.  But what are you going to do?  I suspect that there is considerable overlap between people invested enough in the game to buy the expansion and subscribers, so this will probably just annoy a few corner cases.

The expansion is either the 10th or the 14th… or maybe the 11th… EverQuest II expansion.  At this point I am not sure how to count the three adventure packs… Bloodline Chronicles felt tiny, the Splitpaw Saga was huge, while Fallen Dynasty was just strange… and then there was the expansion (but not really an expansion) that was the so-called Age of Discovery.

Anyway, over the years SOE has kept EQII alive and expanding, and the Altar of Malice expansion builds on all of that with its feature list (and patch notes), including a boost in the level cap to 100.  It is landing at that number as a level cap just two days before World of Warcraft hits the same number.  Say what you will about SOE and its game, but they have kept it evolving over the years.  Not always in directions in which I have approved, but not everything has to be about me.

So congrats to SOE and the EverQuest II team for keeping it going for however many expansions we’re talking about.

Ignore those smug bastards on the EverQuest team (who also pushed an expansion today) when they start in on however many expansions they have shipped.

The second is the 10 year anniversary of the launch of EverQuest II.  That was either November 4th or November 9th, depending on which source I look at.  Did SOE do a head start or something?  Anyway, it has been a decade at this point.

A decade in and launching a new expansion!  That is getting along in gaming years.  There have been a lot of games that have come and gone while things have been cranking along in Norrath, both new and old.

The third item, which rambles on, is after the cut.


One Hundred and Thirty Million Skill Points October 13, 2014

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

I missed the big battle at CCP-US, where we traded a titan for 60 dreadnoughts, and the pipe-boming fiasco of Sunday afternoon, so all I really have at the end of the weekend is another round number to write about.  I have hit another meaningless milestone in the eternal quest for skill points in EVE Online.

I think the skill point thing was perhaps one of the best moves CCP made in designing EVE Online.  It is practically money in the bank, as some people will stay subscribed for ages because they are making progress on that front, even if they aren’t really playing.  And with the new limitless skill queue coming… money.

Anyway, the milestones so far, which act sort of my progress chart through New Eden as I have bounced from one thing to another over the years:

The pattern of milestones is a bit odd, though that too reflects to a certain respect my engagement with the game.  And, of course, I never hit 100 million skill points because CCP broke out Battlecruisers and Destroyers into racial skill with the Odyssey expansion, giving those of us who had them trained to five an instant boost of about six million skill points.  That jumped me from around 99 million to 105 million skill points, and spared you all one of these numbers blog posts.

Anyway, here we are at the next round number and here are how my skill point distribution stands.  Those categories marked with an asterisk changed since the last milestone, so that is where my training time went, while the numbers in parenthesis show how many skills out of the total number I have for each category.

Spaceship Cmd   35,466,680 (42 of 67)*
Gunnery         13,915,745 (36 of 39)*
Missiles        10,311,505 (21 of 24)*
Navigation       9,362,039 (12 of 13)*
Drones           9,309,104 (17 of 20)*
Leadership       8,507,855 (13 of 14)*
Armor            6,899,137 (14 of 14)*
Engineering      5,748,120 (12 of 14)*
Shields          5,643,314 (11 of 12)
Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)
Science          4,408,426 (21 of 39)
Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 13)
Electronic Sys   2,458,519 (6 of 15)
Targeting        1,521,805 (8 of 8)*
Scanning         1,412,995 (7 of 7)*
Neural Enhance.  1,384,785 (5 of 8)*
Subsystems       1,320,000 (10 of 20)
Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Corp Mgmt        1,108,784 (4 of 7)
Social             943,765 (5 of 9)
Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5)
Rigging            580,275 (10 of 10)*

Total         ~130,000,000 (295 of 398)

I am clearly guilty of trying to have one character do everything over the years.  I will recycle, once again, Jester’s skill point chart that gives a general view of the whole.

Skill Points Mapped Out

Skill Points Mapped Out

There are, as always, chunks of training time spent around optimizing for fleet doctrines.  But far and away the majority of my training time over the last cycle has been devoted to Leadership skills, with more than 6.1 million skill points accrued.

This was due to me decision back in June to train to be a fleet booster.  Getting Leadership maxed out, which means all the way up to the Fleet Commander V skill, has been described as a year-long process that you just have to buckle down and dedicate your training to.  Certainly there are not a lot of happy, useful mid-points, at least not in our fleet doctrines.  You have to have a lot of level V skills to take on the role.  My first plateau, the point at which I might actually be useful, will probably come by the end of this year, at which point I will Wing Command V and the appropriate Warefare Link specialist roles trained up, along with the Command Ships skill, so that I can fly the Damnation command ship as an on-grid wing booster in Baltec fleets.

Damnation in a POS

Damnation in a POS

Let’s hope Baltec fleet is still a doctrine by then.  Given that leadership is shown as ~12 million skill points over all, my next milestone will no doubt feature mostly an increase in that category again.

All told, my character knows 295 different skills, up from 283 at the last milestone.

Level 1  - 4
Level 2  - 23 
Level 3  - 48
Level 4  - 71 
Level 5  - 149

Only four of the new skills were in the Leadership category, while another four went into Rigging, while the final four were in Targeting where I discovered I was missing the racial sensor compensation skills.  That discovery was largely because of the skill review at the 120 million skill point level, so I suppose these milestones are not entirely meaningless.

At the end of these posts I have traditionally put in a calculation about how far I am from flying a Titan.  Way back in time that tended to be a hilariously large number, to the point of seeming unlikely to ever come about.  As time has marched forward, I have managed to edge closer and closer to that ability, to the point that I last reported that I was about 50 days of training shy of being able to fly (but not fully equip) a Titan.  49 out of those 50 days were tied up in Capital Ships V, something I am unlikely to be training in the near future.  And so that number seemed to be static.

However, in the CFC, we have a utility that shows you where you stand on your skill progression if you want to fly in one of the capital fleets.  This shows you what skills you are missing and the minimum training level that the CFC will accept, so I can now list out how long it will take me to fly a fully operation titan.  In this case, the shortest path is to a Ragnarok, the Minmatar titan. (See its doomsday weapon in action. Not a super laser like the Avatar or Erebus.)

Free wheeling Ragnarok

Free wheeling Ragnarok outside the POS

This is largely due to the fact that I have trained up the skills to fly the Minmatar Naglfar dreadnought, and the capital ship level weapons skills apply in both cases.  The training plan to fly this beast looks like this:

1. Capital Ships V
2. Astrometrics V
3. Jump Portal Generation I
4. Jump Portal Generation II
5. Jump Portal Generation III
6. Energy Pulse Weapons II
7. Energy Pulse Weapons III
8. Energy Pulse Weapons IV
9. Energy Pulse Weapons V
10. Doomsday Operation I
11. Doomsday Operation II
12. Doomsday Operation III
13. Doomsday Operation IV
14. Minmatar Titan I
15. Minmatar Titan II
16. Minmatar Titan III
17. Minmatar Titan IV

According to EVE Mon, that is 6 unique skills, 17 skill levels, with a total time training time of 130 days, 17 hours, 44 minutes, 40 seconds.  The training time number was generated when I was in a clone without implants, and my attributes are sub-optimal, so I could cut that time down some if I so desired.  Any of the other titans would add another two days to the training time, which isn’t very significant.

Meanwhile, if I went the super carrier route, I could be flying an Aeon in about 105 days, thanks to the Amarr carrier skills I trained up for the Archon.

The Aeon looks half finished

The Aeon looks half finished

Of course, this is just an amusing numbers exercise.  I won’t be flying either a titan or a super carrier in the foreseeable future.  In part, that is because I do not have the patience to actually earn enough ISK to buy either class of ship.  I would be stretched to fork out the 3 billion ISK required for the Naglfar I have already trained to fly.  But mostly it is because titans and avatars pretty much require you to dedicate a character full time to them.  There is no docking up and swapping ships.  Once you are in your giant space coffin, you are stuck with it.

So, while an amusing metric, super capitals aren’t really a goal for me.

Anyway, off for the 140 million mark.  At least I don’t have to upgrade my clone until the 150 million mark.  Maybe I will be “done” training by then.

Sometimes you can even catch me in high sec buying skills or just sitting in my training implants clone.

Eight Years of Link Rot September 12, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: , , , ,

Years ago, back when we thought the World Wide Web was new and cool and we actually called it the World Wide Web and you had to have “www” in front of a web address because otherwise somebody might think you wanted Gopher access to their site for Christ’s sake, back then I read an interview with Douglas Engelbart.  Or maybe it was somebody else.  It could have been Ted Nelson.  Or maybe it was a dream.  I have learned that memory is unreliable which is why, in part, I write this blog.  Anyway, Douglas Engelbart is the guy who invented or bundled together the idea of just about everything you take for granted in computing today, only those ideas never quite came across as envisioned.  Basically, we messed it all up along the way.  It is what we do best.

And in this interview, some young reporter, gushing to be interviewing the person who came up with the very idea of Hypertext, asked him if this whole shiny new World Wide Web thing was the wonderful rainbow-streaked living embodiment of all he had foreseen.  Wasn’t this just what he beheld all those years back when he was given a nearly divine vision of the future?

And the response, from whoever it was… and I am paraphrasing here, because I cannot remember his actual withering retort… was approximately “Jesus Fuck No!”

And his objection didn’t even reference GeoCities.

No, he was pissed off that he had envisioned a vast interlinking of information systems that would allow the user to find all he needed smoothly and seamlessly, and what we had created was a mess of hand typed static URIs that would fail to connect the moment something in the path moved or changed.  We had taken his vision of Hypertext and created from it a living hell of link rot.  I don’t think he used the actual term “link rot,” though he might have.

And this was, as I said, during an earlier era of the web, before link rot was a really big deal.  Visionary that he was, he foresaw this as he foresaw so much else.  He could see the linkpocalypse coming.  Actually, it probably was Ted Nelson.  He literally hates HTML.  But it doesn’t matter, we’re still screwed, having been left with this sort of thing now.

The World Wide Web, as it turns out, is a place where we mostly used to be able to find stuff, but it keeps disappearing.  Often, the happiest result is getting the dread 404 errors, which have become common enough that we have taken to making them cute or pretty or different, so as to make the failure of one link or another more pleasant.

The EVE Online 404 error page

The EVE Online 404 error page

And 404 is good compared to the alternatives.  You are just as likely to get somebody cybersquatting on a URL with ads and malware.  This seems to be the common end for self-hosted blogs.  People stop updating, then stop paying the bill, and then the domain expires and the next day there is a spam page sitting there dispensing shit where once there was something of value.

Some days I hate the internet.

If it were not for the Internet Archive I am sure I would think myself crazy, remembering so many virtual things that have, for one reason or another, shed even their virtual existence and disappeared.

Basically, I am eight years down the road on the whole blogging thing today, and I can really see how annoying the whole link rot thing can be.  I can channel Engelbart’s rage… or whoever that was in the interview I cannot find… because internet.

I go back and look at old posts at least once a month, thanks to my month in review posts, and I end up running into more and more old posts with dead links.  I have always frowned upon posts with supporting arguments available only as links (the awful “go read this and come back” posts), but I am becoming more convinced that I need to quote as much as possible in blog posts, so as to make each post as self-contained as possible, that it might make sense five years down the road when the link to the source material has gone bad.  But I cannot copy things wholesale, as I do not want to steal the works of others.  So there is this middle ground of trying to include enough to support what I am saying, knowing whatever links I include may go away (as an example, SOE has a habit of just changing their web site hierarchy every two years because “fuck the web” I guess, so the data is generally still there, it just has a different URI), without actually stealing the works of other and actually encouraging people to visit other sites.  Community, yo.

All of which is something of an odd intro into my 8 year anniversary post (trivia: Blog created at 17:04 UTC on September 12, 2006), but here we are, eight years in and I am feeling the pain of being on the internet.  For those with more free time than sense, you can go back and look at past anniversary blog posts to see how I have held up over the years.

I had originally thought of going with Self-Portrait at Eight Years Old Wearing a Helm with Giant Horns as a post title, but I thought maybe I might be getting into references too obscure for mere mortals.  Plus I couldn’t come up with an decent image to go with that title, while images of 404 messages are legion.

Anyway, it is at this point I start trotting out various and sundry statistics and other bits of trivia, with some sort of forward looking message at the end.  If you are interested in that sort of thing, you will find it after the cut.  If not, well… there are plenty of happy destinations in the side bar.  And most of those links are still good!


On Being There – EVE Online Goes to Eleven May 6, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.

It is odd.

Every year on March 16, I write something about EverQuest’s anniversary.  Even when I am not actually playing the game… even when I haven’t been playing the game for ages… I will write a post about my memories of the game, how big of a deal it was back in 1999, and will often patch up, log in (that is at least is easy with F2P), and take a screen shot of the latest anniversary banner.

Valmont Mounted

15 years! The banner says so!

Likewise, there is a good chance that I will note, even if just in passing, anniversaries for EverQuest II and Lord of the Rings Online and occasionally even Star Trek Online, though I haven’t really played that last once since launch.

But I did play it at launch.  I played all those titles at launch.  And, in having done so, I feel some sort of special attachment to those games.  There is something about being there on day one, which is almost always, in part, a story of shared misery and overcoming flaws in order to play the actual game, that endears a game to me in some way.  Meanwhile, games that I started after launch… after the trauma of launch… well, I probably wouldn’t mention anniversary events for games like World of Warcraft or Rift if they didn’t make a fuss about them in game, and I never mention such anniversaries  if I am not actively playing the game.

Such is the case with EVE Online.

I started playing EVE in August 2006, just towards the end of the third phase of CCP, the march to 200K subscriptions, according to one of CCP’s 2014 Fanfest slides.

The Phases of CCP

The Phases of CCP

August 2006 put me past the dark ages… and truly rough edges… of the early game. (Some more early pics here.)

The iconic Rifter hasn't changed much

A Rifter during beta

The game itself launched in 2003, which meant I missed a good chunk of the early tales and events and suffering. But a lot of things have happened on “my watch” in New Eden.  While titans were part of the Red Moon Rising expansion that came out about 8 months before I started playing, the first titan wasn’t “born” until I was playing.  I Remember hearing about Steve, the first titan in game and the first to die.

A Piece of Steve

A Piece of Steve from the EVE CE

Meanwhile, it was still rough compared to things now.  I got to live through the end of the “no warp to zero” age, where the closest you could come to something by default… a gate, a station, whatever… was 15km.  So you either had to motor along slowly that last fifteen thousand meters to you destination… there is a reason I trained up every possible speed related skill very early on… or you had to have pre-made bookmarks for any regularly used to and from points which would warp you to a target in space exactly 15km beyond your intended destination, allowing you to land right on it.

I have also seen the dawn of things like wormhole space and factional warfare, as well as various changes to the graphics engine.

EVE as I found it

EVE as I found it

And I have been there for some of the big events in EVE Online, things that ended up generating headlines in the mainstream press, things like the first Burn Jita, or the battles at 6VDT-H and B-R5RB.

But even after all of that, even after more than seven years playing the game, I still feel like a bit of the outsider, like the a new player who still has so much to learn.

That is in part because of the depth and complexity of the game.  While I have mucked around in many aspects of the game, there are many more that I haven’t immersed myself in.  And even things I have tried and left behind become mysterious as the game changes and evolves so that my knowledge falls out of date.

But it is also in part because EVE is such a player driven game.  Much of the lore around the game involves conflicts between player organizations and in-game personalities.  You cannot go back and run an old raid or go through a low level quest line to come up to speed on this either.  Nor can you ignore it completely and be part of aspects of the game such as null sec, as past actions influence and inform what is going on today.

So I am not sure that I have bothered to note an EVE Online anniversary until last year because I still feel like the new guy.  And last year CCP made a big deal about the anniversary, having hit the decade mark, which in turn got both a post and a video out of me as I was there for the celebrations in Amarr.

This year is the eleventh anniversary, and aside from the potential for Spinal Tap references, the occasion is being marked in a more subdued way.  CCP has an anniversary dev post up and players are being given a few special drones along with some community activities to allow all players to collect a few more. (The max total will be 11.)

Guristas Gordon Gecko Drones

Guristas Gordon Gecko Drones

I am never quite sure how I feel about such items.  These might be the biggest, baddest drones ever to hit the game, but the game is driven by destruction so using them means most likely losing them. (How many drones have I lost over the years to smart bombs, fleet warps, and my own ships exploding?  Many, many.)  Which means I will probably tuck them away in some safe, high sec station as a keep sake… or a potential long term investment… and go on using normal drones.

Anyway, I think it says something about a game… or maybe just about me… that after more than seven years of playing that I still feel like a noob with so much to learn.

I am not sure that would be any different had I been there for day one.

One Hundred and Twenty Million Skill Points April 7, 2014

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

Months pass, seasons change, and suddenly I am at another round number with my main character in EVE Online.  You can see the timeline of round numbers so far:

At this point, coming up on 8 years of playing EVE Online… with a few breaks… and hitting a big number like 120 million, you might well feel like asking, “Are you through yet?”

Heh.  Ha ha ha!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Oh my, no.  As far as I can tell, nobody has trained everything yet and there are people who at least claim to have been subscribed and training continuously since day one back in 2003.  By way of illustration, I am going to borrow a chart from Jester and his post about alts in EVE Online.

Skill Points Mapped Out

Skill Points Mapped Out

Those divisions are rough cuts, not exact counts.  You will note, for example, that I have 9 million SP in drones, 1.5 million more than the 7.5 million on the chart.  I have yet to train fighters or fighter bombers, which would count towards capital ships, and I still have a large amount I could train, at least for specializations.

But as a quick view of where skill points can be trained, and how many there are, the chart is a sufficient illustration.  It shows 270 million skill points possible, so I am not even half way towards being done.

Not that I would ever want to be done.  In capital ships especially, there are a lot of skills I wouldn’t bother with.  Why would I, as an example, ever train all four racial titan skills up to V?

Well, to be a completionist yet… but otherwise that seems like a silly (and expensive) venture.

Instead, as Jester put forth in another post, people tend to train into roles.  And that drives people to have second accounts, because if you want to perform two roles… especially early on… it is much easier and much quicker to divide your efforts and specialize.  I started off my second character that way, pushing him into industrial roles while my main trained subcap combat skills.

However, over time, they two characters have grown more similar.  When I got my alt out again about a year ago, I put him on the path to duplicate the combat skills of my main so that I could have two characters capable of flying fleet doctrine ships.  This was motivated by the fact that we now have staging points in four corners of the galaxy and I had been caught a couple of times with a fleet going up where I was not while my jump clone was still on cool down.  So now I have two characters that are becoming more and more focused on combat sub caps.

Anyway, 120 million skill points buys me a big chunk of that chart, but not all of it by any means.

Here is where my skills stand.  The numbers in parentheses represent the number of skills in that category, while the asterisk indicates if the point total for a category changed since the last round up post.

Spaceship Cmd   34,410,952 (41 of 67)*
Gunnery         12,753,934 (30 of 39)
Missiles        10,278,191 (20 of 24)
Navigation       9,323,289 (12 of 13)*
Drones           9,053,104 (16 of 20)
Armor            6,345,000 (14 of 14)*
Engineering      5,747,620 (11 of 14)*
Shields          5,643,314 (11 of 12)*
Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)*
Science          4,408,426 (21 of 39)
Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 13)
Electronic Sys   2,458,519 (6 of 15)
Leadership       2,447,530 (9 of 14)
Subsystems       1,320,000 (10 of 20)
Scanning         1,301,230 (7 of 7)
Targeting        1,223,765 (4 of 8)*
Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Neural Enhance.  1,162,510 (5 of 8)*
Corp Mgmt        1,108,784 (4 of 7)
Social             943,765 (5 of 9)
Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5)
Rigging            326,509 (6 of 10)*

Total         ~120,000,000 (283 of 398)

The category seeing the biggest change is probably armor.  This is because our fleet doctrines have moved from shield tanked ships… Caldari and Minmatar… to armor tanks ships… some Amarr, but mostly Gallente.  I realized that while I had the minimum skills for such ships, I had a long way to go towards being proficient, so a lot of training time has been spent filling in that gap.  Last time around I had rounded out gunnery.  Not sure where the big point increase will come next time.

The other boosts have largely been around capital ships.  I have a carrier that I needed some more skills for and I am now capable of flying a Naglfar dreadnought, though I haven’t actually purchased one yet.  I have a few more skills to train up in order to be able to join in cap fleet operations… plus I haven’t actually had my carrier out of the hangar since I bought it, so I am not inclined to invest heavily in another hangar queen.

Archon in 0P-F3K

It is still just sitting there

Of course, since I have been barely logging into EVE over the last month or two… or maybe three… I might need that carrier to haul my crap out of null sec when the corp decides to kick me for being a slacker.  I think my last fleet op was B-R5RB, though I did come out for corp day to mine ice.  Life in space.

Actual skills I have injected stands at 283 now, up from 260 previously.  Those break out as follows:

Level 1  - 9 
Level 2  - 14 
Level 3  - 53 
Level 4  - 69 
Level 5  - 138

The new skill are primarily capital ship or armor tanking related.  The 9 additional level 5 skills are all in armor tanking.  Those cover so many ships that they seemed like a good investment for the long term.

As for my long running measure, how far away am I from flying titan, that has not changed.  I noted last time that there were only four skills left to train:

  • Factional Titan Skill I (I could choose any one): 1 hour, 36 minutes
  • Jump Portal Generation I: 1 hour, 38 minutes
  • Astrometrics V: 12 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes
  • Capital Ships V:  49 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes

At this time there is not much to be gained by investing in any of those.

So that is where I stand.  The only other big change is that I had to upgrade to a higher level clone, so now it will cost me even more every time I get podded.  On the bright side, CCP cut the price of clones a while back, so the latest upgrade puts me back to about the same price range I was in before the cut.  It doesn’t make me happy… 30 million ISK on top of every death is annoying… but it is what it is.


WoW 9th Anniversary Present November 19, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
1 comment so far

I noticed on Twitter today that Blizzard was retweeting congratulations on World of Warcraft’s 9th anniversary.  So I wasn’t too surprised to log in and find something in my in-game mail box.

From the WoW team

From the WoW Dev team

But what was the celebration package?  Just a little buff to use during the anniversary week.


It also launches a firework when you use it.

Not exactly the Onyxia whelpling pet we got four years back, but still a nice little treat.  I am probably more interested in the reputation gain that the experience boost.

And there is also a feat of strength achievement to go with it.  I have those back to the 4th anniversary, which is when they put in achievements, however I missed last year’s when I wasn’t playing.

Another year has gone by.


The Celebration package also changes your tabard to something special when used.

9th Anniversary Tabard

9th Anniversary Tabard

Limited time only I am sure.

One Hundred and Ten Million Skill Points September 17, 2013

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

The beat goes on, as does my obsession with nice round numbers.

It is time again to talk about where I stand with skill points in EVE Online.  Another milestone, another post tracking my skill point progression in New Eden.

The story so far:

You will note that there is no entry for one hundred million skill points.  I was sitting at just about 99 million skill points when the Odyssey expansion dropped.  One of the big changes in that was breaking out battlecruisers and destroyers into  racial skills.  So before Odyssey there were just the skills Destroyers and Battlecruisers, afterwards there were those two skills for each of the major factions, Amarr, Minmatar, Caldari, and Gallente.

CCP's chart, no is jpeg format

The new path with Odyssey

In order to preserve the concept that no update will keep you from flying what you could already fly, players were given credit in each of the eight new skills relative to how many points they had in the two old skills and prerequisites.  Since I had both skills trained up to V, I got the maximum skill point boost, which sent me from ~99 million to ~105 million skill points in a single patch.

So, technically, I have never had exactly 100 million skill points.  And that is how CCP saved you from at least one of these posts.

And, just to mess up my ability to track my progress even further, Odyssey 1.1 just dropped the other day, and it included a re-organization of skill point categories, along with some renaming of skills.  The categories are probably more understandable.  They just don’t nicely map to what has come before.  So we have something of a reboot of the category chart this time around.  Here are are the skill points laid out by category:

Spaceship Cmd   33,008,465 (37 of 67)
Gunnery         12,075,111 (30 of 39)
Missiles        10,278,191 (20 of 24)
Drones           9,053,104 (16 of 20)
Navigation       7,566,399 (11 of 13)
Shields          5,632,000 (10 of 12)
Engineering      4,834,275 (10 of 14)
Science          4,408,426 (21 of 39)
Resc Processing  4,291,323 (21 of 28)
Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 13)
Electronic Sys   2,458,519 (6 of 15)
Leadership       2,447,530 (9 of 14)
Armor            1,871,530 (10 of 14)
Subsystems       1,320,000 (10 of 20)
Scanning         1,301,230 (7 of 7)
Targeting        1,159,765 (4 of 8)
Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Neural Enhance.  1,154,510 (4 of 8)
Corp Mgmt        1,108,784 (4 of 7)
Social             943,765 (5 of 9)
Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5)
Rigging            188,494 (6 of 10)

Total         ~110,000,000 (260 of 398)

This time around I appended the number of skills in that category I have trained versus how many there are in the category total.  That gives a sense of how many total skill points there are available in a category.  A category that only has five skills, like Planetary Management, is never going to be high on the list because there just aren’t that many skill points to train in it.  I have trained almost half (48.87%) of the current skills in EVE Online.

EVEMon also shows the percentage of skill points for a given category I have actually trained.  Those numbers are surprisingly small.  This is because, for any given skill, the level 5 version of the skill requires 5-8 times as many skill points as levels 1 through 4 combined. (Multiplier pulled out of my ass based on glancing quickly at some level 4 vs 5 training times.  Feel free to correct me.)  So you go to level 5 skills only when you need to or when you think a skill is important enough to your operations to refine it that extra bit.  Generally, the benefit from levels increase in a linear fashion, unlike the skill points required.

At the top there is, as always, Spaceship Command.  It has the most skills, it is the category that holds the keys to the basic ships across the board.  That gives you a sense of how many ships there are in EVE Online.  Yes, some of the skills like, say, Amarr Titan, unlock exactly one ship.  But the frigate skill for any of the factions unlocks, as you can see in that chart embedded above, unlocks a good six different ships and sends you on the path to more.

There there are the “shoot things” skill.  I have spent a lot of time training gunnery of late.  I had a lot invested in missiles and drones already.  Then it goes into flying ships (navigation) defenses (shields) and the ability to operate modules (engineering).

After that we start to drop into the “Wilhelm is all over the board” skill points.  Resource Processing is a mining thing, and I haven’t mined in ages.  Subsystems is for strategic cruisers.  I can fly a Tengu or a Loki.  I just never do.

I don’t even own a Loki

I also threw in some time to train Planetary Management at one point with an eye to getting some semi-passive income going.  I trained all the skills up to 4 and then haven’t done anything with it.  My usual method of operation.  I have a lot of skills trained up that I have never used.

Meanwhile, if I am going to continue to fly in armor tanked fleets, I need to invest some time in the Armor category.  I have a lot of points in shields, but not so many in armor at this point.

As noted above, I have trained 260 skills in total.  That is up 37 skills since the 90 million skill point check-in.  Of course, I got six new level 5 trained skills for free as part of Odyssey.  My 260 skills map out as follows:

Level 1  -   4
Level 2  -  15
Level 3  -  51
Level 4  -  61
Level 5  - 129

Nearly half of my skills are trained up to level 5.  That is 17 more level 5 skills than there were at the 90 million skill point mark.  I suppose that shows commitment or some other mental defect.  Level 4 skills are up 10, level 3 skills up 7, level 2 skills remained the same, and somewhere I picked up 3 more level 1 skills.  Checking EVEMon, those three skills were all gunnery specialization skills so I could mount tech II guns of various types.  I guess I didn’t think they were worth training beyond that at the time.

Finally, there is the metric I have used for every one of these updates.  How much training time until I can fly a titan?

The total currently stands at just shy of 62 days, which is a 4 day drop over the last update.

That does not seem like much, given that I have been investing in capital ship related skills.  I will have finished jump drive calibration V by this coming weekend… unless I change to something else.

Basically, only four skills stand between me and flying a completely unfit titan at this point.  They are:

  • Factional Titan Skill I (I could choose any one): 1 hour, 36 minutes
  • Jump Portal Generation I: 1 hour, 38 minutes
  • Astrometrics V: 12 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes
  • Capital Ships V:  49 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes

Which gets us to 61.87 days.  And that is with my high sec clone with the +4 implants.

I probably won’t get much closer than that, unless feel the need to get capital ships V trained at some point.  While flying a titan makes a nice theoretical goal, my character Wilhelm is a generalist, with skill points spread all over hell and back.  Turning him into a super capital ship pilot would be a waste, as once you are in a super you are pretty much stuck there.  You cannot dock up and swap ships.

Avatar and Ragnarok Titans

If I was going to create a titan pilot,  would start a fresh character from scratch and train him up with only the skills he needed for the job.  Plans for another time.

So that is where I stand on the skill point front.  As long as I keep that training queue filled, the total just keeps growing.

The Seven Year Kvetch September 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: ,

kvetch [kvetsh]   –  /k(ə)veCH,kfeCH/

noun: kvetch; plural noun: kvetches

-a person who complains a great deal.
-a complaint.

verb: kvetch; 3rd person present: kvetches; past tense: kvetched; past participle: kvetched; gerund or present participle: kvetching

-to complain.

Yes, one of the joys of being an American is pissing all over the English language by letting in any damn word we please.  I love our language, how it changes and evolves over time.  I think it is the hallmark of us, as an immigrant nation, that we embrace people and cultures into our so-called melting pot, but that we also swipe some of the best words people bring with them as well.  In contrast,  I remain appalled by countries that have official government departments that dictate and enforce proper spelling and usage.  Color me the anarchist in that regard I guess.

Sure, the chaos makes the language difficult to learn fully, being so full of idiom and context, but it is great fun.  Straight from the fridge daddy-o.

So here we are at my 7th blogiversary (ha ha, suck that purists!), where I celebrate my continued deliberate and premeditated abuse of the language.

WordPress sends their regards

WordPress sends their regards

And since I love linking back to past posts (recycling!) you can find, if you are so inclined, posts marking this date from past years.

Now that I have gotten past that irrelevant introductory exuberance, it is time for the usual dreck.   Beyond this point lies list after list of pointless data followed by my usual summary of events, complete with dubious and/or obvious conclusion.  There is the story of my life; always able to summarize the data, but lost when actually trying for some sort of ending or closure.  I am never quite sure what it all means, and I try not to pretend otherwise.

If you are like me and like numbers and lists for the sake of them or want some sort of quantitative look at what happens at this blog, you may find some of this interesting.  It includes my usual reveal of actual traffic numbers.

On the other hand, if you are expecting to find an amusing anecdote about how I screwed up or got lost again, a nostalgic look at some past game, or an incoherent rant about some bit of gamery that is annoying me at the moment, you will likely be disappointed at what you find after the cut.  You have been warned.


Five Years of Spaceship Pictures May 23, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: ,

Every so often I get the urge to run off and start another blog, as though this one wasn’t enough.

Sometimes I think I have a funny idea.  Sometimes I repeat something I have already done.

And for some reason, I always feel the need to make up yet another pseudonym.  I don’t know why.

But over the last seven years of blogging (because there was a blog before this one) I have only stuck with this blog and one other.  The rest all sit, neglected.  I didn’t even get past the creation stage with some.

Aside from this blog, my only other… success… is EVE Online Pictures, which turns five years old this week.  And I am surprised it has made it that far.

The first and only banner for the blog

The first and only banner for the blog

For the last five years I have posted 2 or 3 pictures a week, every week, all from EVE Online.  And since I do a yearly anniversary post here every year, I thought maybe I ought to do one for my other blog after five years.

I am doing it here, because this is the “words” blog.  That is just the “pictures” blog.

The big question is why does that blog even exist?  I could have easily done picture only posts here as a regular feature.  That is certainly my thought in hindsight.  It surely would have made things less complex.

I think I wanted to see how a picture only blog would fare on its own.  By the time I started it, I was nearly two years into this blog and had, thanks largely to VirginWorlds, garnered a regular readership beyond any reasonable expectations.  So I decided to see what would happen with another blog… kept scrupulously separate for about a year… with a different sort of format.

So EVE Online Pictures was born.

As noted above, I am also surprised that I have kept it going for five years.  Compared to this blog, traffic has always been sparse (despite what WordPress.com said at one point), and fell off precipitously with the changed to Google image search back in February.  Feedback is rare unless I misidentify a ship.  I keep words to a minimum, so there are few opinions expressed to go back and review later on.  And, as much as I go on about blogging for myself, traffic and comments do help in keeping this blog active.

Then there was a gap from mid 2009, when Potshot and I gave up on our wormhole expedition, through to Incarna, when I wasn’t really playing the game.  I held a contest to get pictures to post.  The contest entries make up 111 of the 580 posts on the blog.  So at least 20% of the posts on the blog are not even my screen shots.  And that does not include pictures I have borrowed from other sites. (Always with acknowledgement and a link back.)

And yet I have carried on.  The last year has been especially fruitful for pictures.  Being in null sec has let me take lots of screen shots of battles and ships of the sort you never get in high sec.  And so the blog carries on.  And I expect it to continue on as long as I am playing EVE, and then for a while after that as I mine through the thousands of screen shots I have amassed.

There are more details about EVE Online Pictures, including statistics similar to the stats I have been keeping for my yearly posts about this blog.


Party in Amarr – EVE Celebrates 10 Years May 5, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.

This was the big 10 year anniversary celebration weekend for EVE Online.

10 Year Ad Banner

10 Year Ad Banner

CCP was handing out goodies… cosmetic gear, special ships, and fireworks with launchers to mount on your ship.



To see the fun, you really needed to log into one of the key trade hub systems, which are Jita, Amarr, Hek, or Dodixie.

Jita, of course, is the most popular.  However, I think it lost out compare to Amarr.  My main happened to be in Amarr, while I had an alt in Jita, so I was able to check out the fun at both stations.  And while each had fireworks, and both had almost the same population in local, Amarr had Chribba and his Revelation.

Capital Ship at the Amarr undock

Capital Ship at the Amarr undock

Of course, not being a reinforced trade hub like Jita, Amarr also had time dilation.


20% was the best I saw it while I was on.  It fluctuated between 12% and 17% for quite a while, then dropped to 10% as more people piled into the system.  The price we pay I suppose.  There was no time dilation in Jita.  But, as I said, there was also no Chribba.  So I think Amarr got the better show.

Chribba rolled out his Revelation for a while.  Then switch to a Widow black ops.  He appeared to open a jump bridge a few times, as we got a distortion field around the undock, similar to what you see when a titan opens a bridge, only this was darker in color.  And then he got out the Revelation again.  Most people seemed to be targeting his ships with their firework launchers.

I think CCP was in on the act as well.  I saw CCP Falcon in local, and for a while Amarr station was within a green sphere of light.  And I guess CCP Fozzie was around as well.

Pretty neat stuff.  Not something you see every day in Amarr.  I have a pile of screen shots after the cut.