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

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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5 comments

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.
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2 comments

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 (260 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.
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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.

WoW9AnnivPackage

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.

Addendum:

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.
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4 comments

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.
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9 comments

kvetch [kvetsh]   –  /k(ə)veCH,kfeCH/

noun
noun: kvetch; plural noun: kvetches

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

verb
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.

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Five Years of Spaceship Pictures May 23, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EVE Online.
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3 comments

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.

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

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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5 comments

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.

Redeemed

Redeemed

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.

AStidi20

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.

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April in Review April 30, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Need for Speed World, Rift, World of Tanks.
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7 comments

The Site

A Google moment turned April into a record setting month for the blog pretty much out of the gate.  My quick coverage of April Fools at Blizzard for this year managed to get on the first page of results for a number of salient searches and… well… sent a lot of traffic this way.

Page Views Gone Wild

Page Views Gone Wild

The previous record was actually set last April, though that was driven by links to my Burn Jita posts.  This year, Burn Jita wasn’t a hot topic and page views were about at the average-ish line across the event.

If you look at the gap between the dark bar, which is unique visits, and the light bar, which is total page views, it seems like people actually stopped to look at the links I had in the post, which included the past few years of April Fools.  The “Most Viewed Posts” section below bears this out.

Upon seeing the sudden spike in traffic, I tried to incorporate as many links out to other blogs as I could in order to “share the wealth” such that is was.  So a few other blogs got some traffic out of this.

April 1st and 2nd were about equal the whole month of February, which was when the impact of the Google image search changes showed up.

The downside of such a moment of Google fame is that the traffic is not very… sticky.  I would be happy if out of all those people, one or two returned and left a comment now and again.  And, of course, those two days will now skew the default graph on the stats page for a full month.  Plus I keep looking at those two bars and feel like I should be reminded of some historical moment.

Never Forget... something...

Never Forget… something…

As with the big dip in page views in February, the big spike this month is essentially meaningless in the big picture. I like to try and figure out why these things happen, and they make the part of me that enjoys statistics thrill.  But it isn’t like I get paid for page views.

And, of course, I bet Google is going to kill off some more page views come July when they kill off Google Reader.

I haven’t switched to a replacement yet.  I am waiting for the other providers to accommodate the surge before I move.

One Year Ago

Last April set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I also made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Five Years Ago

I made up something for April Fool’s Day.  I thought it was amusing.

Lord of the Rings Online celebrated a year of being live.  Book 13 introduced, among other things, fishing.  And my video problems with the game proved to be a bad video card, so I was actually able to get into the game.

Computer Gaming World/Games For Windows magazine ceased publishing as part of the ongoing demise of print media.

In EVE Online I made the big move from Caldari to Amarr space.  I also began producing Badger transports for fun and profit.  CCP introduced the whole Council of Stellar Management thing, which I dubbed The Galactic Student Council.  My opinion on it hasn’t changed much since.

Meanwhile in WoW one million people in China logged into WoW at the same time.  There is still no report on what would happen if they all pressed the space bar at the same time.  While that was going on, the instance group finished up the Slave Pens and the Underbog and began the long struggle with the Mana Tombs.

I was looking around for Tetris on the Nintendo DS.  You would think that would be easy, right?

And then it was Tipa’s turn to bang the EverQuest nostalgia drum, so I joined in yet again.

New Linking Sites

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

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in April

Per the top of the post, April Fools at Blizzard dominates the list this month.

  1. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013
  2. April Fools at Blizzard – 2012
  3. Blizzard Blindsided by Diablo III Auction House Popularity
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2011
  6. WoW Dance Battle System!
  7. Ignore Burn Jita? Is That Your Plan?
  8. April Fools at Blizzard – 2010
  9. Burn Jita Held Over for an Extended Run
  10. Age of Empires II – HD Edition, That’s What I’m Talking About
  11. What is it with Me and Storm Legion?
  12. Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Unleashed!

Search Terms of the Month

animal jam: non fair membership abilities
[Welcome to free to play]

trion merge with blizzard
[Heh, copy Blizz, yes, merge with Blizz...]

brothers in arms or camo for arty?
[Camo]

world of warcraft bdr g1b good 4 money
[A BDR G1B would rule in WoW... in WoT, not so much]

Spam Comment of the Month

Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation;
[From a spam comment linking to "genuine" Prada items]

EVE Online

A quiet month in New Eden for me.  Burn Jita was an exercise in precise, clinical destruction.  The fleet ops I went on all ended up with no action for me.  I made some money speculating on ice products.  A rumor went around before FanFest about ice changes, so I bought up half a billion ISK worth in Amarr and relisted it for double what I paid.  That sat until the announcement at FanFest, and which point it sold.  Easy money.  And then the price dropped back down.

Oh, yeah, and CSM8 elections.  Congratulations to the winners, which includes Jester, who will now have to suffer the fate of getting exactly what he asked for.

Need for Speed World

I have actually played this game every single day this year.  I log on, I do the gem hunt, I log off.  Elapsed time for each session is generally under 10 minutes.  It was part of my plan to see what sort of rewards you would get for the daily hunt as time went along.  I thought I would be done at that point.  But then they added achievements.  And for just another hundred or so gem hunts in a row, you get a special car.  So I am in for the long haul on that.

Rift

After sulking about Storm Legion for quite a while, I actually pressed on into it with a recommended solo build for my warrior.  It is okay.  Will I press on and finish though?  Meanwhile, the instance group… has failed to show up consistently since the beginning of the year.  So we still have yet to finish the first Storm Legion instance, Exodus of the Storm Queen.

World of Tanks

I continue working with my KV-4.  Tier 8 in a heavy has turned out to be pretty fun.  I do dread those matches with three or four SPGs on a side though.  You cannot hide under cover forever, and getting caught in the open is murder.

Coming Up

We will know how the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter saga ends in a couple days.  Success will mean City State Entertainment getting to work.  Failure will mean… well, we shall see what it means.

I have a blog anniversary coming up… for another blog.  But I am going to write about it here because nobody reads that blog.  Though, to be fair, it is all about pictures instead of words.

Neverwinter is going to show up.  I think it is open beta or pre-release or taking money from the general public as of today even.  I have been averting my gaze from it so as not to spoil anything in advance.  The call of Forgotten Realms will probably ensure that I will download that at some point, but I won’t be in for the day one rush.

Maybe… just maybe… the instance group will do Exodus of the Storm Queen this month.

Two Years of Tanks April 12, 2013

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

World of Tanks is turning two years old, their launch date corresponding with Yuri’s Night back in 2011.

WorldofTanks2year

The game has come a long way since its launch two years ago.  I always point at patch 8.0 and the physics update as being a major turning point for me, bringing me back to the game.  But they have added so much to the game over time.

The celebration this weekend includes all sorts of special offers and boosts.  5x experience for your first victory of the day is usually enough, but there is a lot more than just that, as Mrrx detailed in his post on the subject.

For me, the discounts on tier VIII tanks, equipment, and crew retraining means that I will likely be driving my KV-4 before the night is through.  I will have enough credits to buy it, kit it out, and transfer the crew I have been training up for it in the Churchill III. (It is my old KV-2 crew, and is close to 100% on their first skill/perk.)  And I think I even have enough free experience to get through the gun upgrades.  I should be set to start out on the climb to my tier IX tank goal.

In fact, the KV-4 discount is keeping me from coveting the KV-5, which is available for a limited time again in the Gift Shop.

And there is a special second anniversary code that you can enter to get a few freebies, including a day of premium.

2NDBDAYTANKS

That code is single use and expires on April 24.  You have to log into the World of Tanks web site to redeem it for your account.  Last night they tweeted that so many people were redeeming the code that the process was lagging tremendously.

So I expect I will be playing a fair amount of tanks this weekend.  It should be interesting.  These sorts of events always draw in a mix of players, often making the public match maker even more lopsided than usual.  I expect a lot of people complaining about how horrible their team is, but I expect I will be too focused on learning a new tank to care much.

Two Thousand Tank Battles March 26, 2013

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

World of Tanks has been around for a while at this point.

It was a little over three years ago when we started hearing about the game.  We are a couple months past the two year marker since we were trying out in open beta.  And we are about three weeks shy of the two year anniversary of the game going live.

And, in the midst of this, I have hit my own milestone.  As the headline says, I now have 2,000 battles in WoT.

Which, considering that the launcher icon on my desktop says “World of Tanks closed beta” isn’t really that many.  Even starting on day one,  I am a solid 10,000 matches behind Mrrx, as an example.  I play a lot more casually than some.  My average is a little less than three battles per day, though there was a big gap when I did not play and then a huge upswing in matches after the physics update with version 8.0.  But it is a milestone none the less, and since I have no new tanks to write about this week, I thought this would be my update.

At the 2,000 match mark I had 998 wins, 984 losses, and 18 draws.  So I am on the winning side about half the time, which means I am about as influential as a coin toss I guess.  Here is a picture with some stats.

Basic stats at the 2,000 match mark

Basic stats at the 2,000 match mark

I also get blown up a lot, surviving only 28% of my matches.  I would like to credit this to the fact that I often try to plug the gap in our lines and end up alone facing a couple hostiles.  But it is more likely because I get as impatient as anybody and the fact that far too often I sit exposed to get off “just one more shot” before moving to a new position.  And then arty falls on me.  And I blow up.  Again.

This also shows my top 10 most played tanks.

At the top of the list is the dread Type 59.  This is the tank that makes most credits out of my garage, so I tend to fall back on playing that whenever I need some cash.  I have been playing it daily again in order to earn some credits towards the KV-4.  It does help that it is a reasonably fun tank to play.

Second on the list is the Churchill III, which is also fun to play and earns decent credits by virtue of being cheap to repair.  It also has the advantage of being a premium Soviet heavy tank, which means crews from my other Soviet heavies can earn experience in it as well.  So I have tended to use it to help my Soviet heavy crews get two bites at the apple when it comes to the bonus experience from the first win of the day.  Right now, the crew for my eventual KV-4 is training up their first secondary perk/skill in this tank.

Then there is the StuG III, which might be my favorite tank so far in the German tank destroyer line.  It is the one I gone back and played the most since I picked up the Jagdpanther.

Our Logo on a StuG III

StuG III in the garage

It also has one of my highest win percentages.  The only tank with a higher percentage… and at least 25 matches… is the Char B1.

Desert B1

Most winning tank

It is a strange beast.  If you get a tier IV match, you can rule the land.  In a tier V match it is in serious trouble.

And then we get into my Soviet heavies, with the KV-1, the T-150, and the KV-3.  Since I have been pressing up the Soviet heavy line, it is no surprise that these are on the list.  The KV-1 is no surprise, as it is the most played tank in the game.  But it is the T-150 that remains one of my favorites, to the point that I think I might sell the KV-1 for credits and a garage slot when the time comes for the KV-4.  And the KV-3 is no slouch either, though with the big gun on it now I need to get in closer to hit things.

And the list wraps up with more German TDs and the KV-2.

All of which is reflected in some nice charts from WoT Labs. (Thanks HZ.)  Despite my usual alt-itis and desire to try every tank on the tech trees, I have actually been reasonably focused.

Battles by Class and Country

Battles by Class and Country

Almost two thirds of my battles have been either in German tank destroyers or Russian heavies, with some French heavies add on to get past the 66.67% mark.

Light tanks are scattered because every tree starts with a light tank.  SPGs are divided up between French and Russian.

And medium tanks are mostly Chinese thanks to the Type 59, along with some Russian, which I suspect is mostly due to my time in the T-28 trying to get into the Soviet heavy line.  Medium tanks, for the most part, have not been my thing.

Battles by Class and Tier

Battles by Class and Tier

And when you break the chart out by class and tier, you can see the numbers clarified a bit.  Since the TD numbers are exclusively German, that slice of the pie pretty much works out to Pzjg. I, Marder II, Hetzer, StuG III, Jgpz. IV, and Jagpanther, which is the unlabeled slice, since I haven’t played it much yet.

And, after 2,000 battles, my rating, using the various scoring methods, is… average.  I mostly won’t lose the match for you.  Which is frankly about the best I think I can hope for, given my play style.

We will see if I get any better over time I suppose.  Or if something like World of Tanks Blitz, their recently announced iOS/Android version of the game, distracts me.