The Power of Being Able to Say No September 24, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Being Serious for a Moment, The Real World Sucks, Titan
The big news in the cycle yesterday was Blizzard canceling the Titan project, their work-in-progress next generation MMO. We don’t know what it was, only that it was delayed at one point and now it has been cancelled.
This has led to any number of people to say, “Ha ha! Blizzard sucks!” or other equally inane things.
Let me tell you about what really sucks in the real world.
What really sucks is being in a company where you have to ship your product, whether it good or not, because otherwise the place will go out of business. When you have to release work you know isn’t quite ready or needed another design pass or just should have been shelved at some point, that sucks. Or when your product hits the market after a year of crunch only to find that the customers interested in it only want some small feature that got tacked on because it was easy… and they aren’t willing to wait for version 2.0, much less pay for it… that sucks.
But being in a company with enough financial independence to be able to say, “No, that’s not good enough, we’re not going to ship that,” that totally does not suck.
It is not easy. Every project gets a life of its own, and if the company has invested in the project and talk about it outside the company, turning things off can be, as Chris Metzen said, “excruciating.” And you have to be willing to ignore the whole sunk costs thing, because money has been spent. I have worked at a couple of companies that should have said no to bad projects, that would have been better off if they had, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it.
So seeing a company that is both secure enough in its market and knows what it is about enough to drop projects, that makes me envious more than anything. That is what I was told “real” companies do back in college.
So Blizzard will just have to carry on with its streak of best-selling, money making games by not shipping something they didn’t feel worked.
I am hoping to see something deeper on the subject once people get past mocking the market leader for an alleged failure.
For example, what does it mean for the MMO market that Blizzard doesn’t necessarily want to make another MMO? Is this opportunity for others, or just something that will scare off more investors?
And, of course, what does that mean for World of Warcraft in the long term? The billion dollar a year cash cow that is WoW is part of the reason that Blizzard has the flexibility to say no at this time. I expect that we will see even more focus on Azeroth to keep that revenue stream active. Let it go? How about never? Is never good for you?
Azeroth Needs to Stay Strong Until at Least 2016 May 29, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, World of Warcraft.
According to Venture Beat, the Blizzard project code named Titan, the potential next big thing from the company, has been sent back to the drawing board and is now unlikely to see the light of day before 2016.
Developers have been diverted to other projects while the core team starts over.
So, World of Warcraft will be paying most of the bills at least until then, which puts a little bit of pressure on the franchise after it dropped another 1.3 million subscribers last quarter. Still insanely profitable, but that line is headed in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, no Diablo III expansion has been announced yet. StarCraft II just got an expansion, so the next one is probably two years off. And Blizzard All-Stars, a free-to-play MOBA is reported to be coming along, but I cannot imagine that will be live before the end of the year.
More Than 2,500 Ships Clash in Asakai January 27, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: CFC, TEST, Titan
And I missed it.
I was eating dinner when the op got called, but my pal Gaff was along for the ride and gave me some updates as the evening progressed.
A snapsnot (broken out by alliances) showed as many as 2,667 players in the low sec system of Asakai, which sits in the Black Rise region of Caldari space. Gaff linked me this picture of the operation, which seemed to be going around. (More battle images here.)
Of course, so many players in a single system was a bit of a change. The system stats from DOTLAN show a big spike in everything but NPC kills.
This is another example of both the strength and weakness in EVE Online.
The game let more than 2,500 players converge on a single system and engage in battle.
The game was also bogged down with that unexpected load to the point that the time dilation feature, which slows everything down on the impacted node so the servers can keep up with the action , was itself not enough to keep things going slowly but smoothly. Extra lag, disconnects, and problems loading the grid were reported. And this affected people not in the system but in systems on the same node, which probably covers the whole of Black Rise.
As is often the case, news of such a big even spread quickly, and both The Mittani and EVE News 24 had live reporting about the battle in progress, while a thread about the battle made it to the top of posts on Reddit. (Though TEST is from Reddit, so go figure.) Included in the reporting was a count of over 3,000 ships in system at the very peak of the battle.
Of course, this all comes immediately after a week of escalating tensions between TEST and Goonswarm over a long simmering conflict between TEST and Goonswarm ally and CFC member Fatal Ascension. While a devastating sovereignty war was averted, there was a mutual reset between the two sides and shooting has been encouraged. TEST appears to have put the FA angle into their post battle propaganda.
The Mittani himself was a little more subdued about the battle results.
And now the post-battle analysis is under way, and no doubt will include everything from portents of doom for the Goons, to calls of fakery, to simple jibes at Goon FC Dabigredboat, to awe at the simple fact that such a huge battle even took place, to the ongoing discussion about whether or not null sec is dead.
Because, of course, this is EVE Online, where just because the shooting is over doesn’t mean the battle is done.
Addendum: And because it is EVE, it makes the mainstream media. Gotta love this game.
Addendum 2: Now CCP has a Dev Blog about the battle.
Addendum 3: Okay, two Dev Blogs about the battle.
In Which I Stoop to Gevlon’s Level… April 17, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EVE Online, Null Sec.
Tags: EVE News 24, Titan
Or, perhaps, in which EVE News 24 hits a new low point.
Because there I am on the site, a few posts up from Gevlon. One of my blog entries has been syndicated and posted over there for all to read, set free from its safe little home here at TAGN.
Of course, I had just been bitching to somebody somewhere that EVE News 24 was really dropping the ball when it came to covering events in the north end of null sec. So when Riverini asked if he could syndicate some of my reports from that end of space, it seemed a little hypocritical to say no this time around. (He asked me once before, back in February.)
And so, there is a post of mine up on the site.
Of course I cannot go look at it, because then I might read the comments.
I am not ready to read the comments.
I did get to write my own tag line, which I did off the cuff in about 20 seconds, and it shows.
Wilhelm Arcturus, he’s played internet spaceship related games since the early days of MegaWars III, and expects to get the hang of things any day now. He reports on EVE from an individual capsuleer’s point of view at TAGN.
Ah well, I will just have to console myself with the ISK I will get for each item they choose to syndicate over there. Each is worth at least two Guristas forsaken hubs, which is about all the ratting I can bring myself to do on any given night.
Speaking of Gevlon, he seems to want to join the Goons as part of his Titan plans. I suspect a Goonswarm recruiting officer will be contacting him in-game very soon. In fact, such officers are probably stepping over each other to get to him first. They can hear the jingle of ISK in a player’s wallet at least three regions away.
But should he find his way into Goonswarm… or into one of the alliances in the CFC up in Deklein and Branch, which is probably a better bet… he will find that the Goons have a capital ship building group that will build any ship he has the ISK to pay for. Like the delivery system, there is an order status page and everything. Or so I am told. I am not really in the market for a capital ship at this time.
I did dream at one point of flying a titan. I think they were a little more awesome back then, with the area effect doomsday weapon and all that.
Still, Gevlon has the most important thing you can get in EVE Online: A goal and a plan to get there.
Everything else is just details.
A Titanic Proposal October 3, 2007Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Ship Building, Titan
In which the author takes complete leave of reality, virtual or otherwise, and then puts a lot of random things in bold type.
Krones over at Plaguelands has been playing one of my favorite EVEMon games, which is:
HOW SOON CAN I FLY A TITAN?
Actually, he was writing about a bit more than that in his post, but he mentions doing this in there, I swear.
Playing this was something I started doing as soon as I found out what a Titan was.
At first I thought a Titan was some sort of giant, armored, space Trojan, but it turned out I was just looking at the Amarr version.
Side Note: All non-authoritative posts about Titans, and you don’t get much further from authoritative than you do around here, must, by custom, make reference to the phallic shape of the Amarr Titan. There is a good shot of its shape linked to this post. The Amarr Titan is actually called an Avatar, a name that would certainly fit if it showed up in Second Life, where phallic Avatars are quite common.
Anyway, how do you play?
You open up EVEMon… you have EVEMon, right? If not, go get it here and set it up for your character already. (You need a character in EVE Online as well, so if you don’t, don’t bother grabbing EVEMon.)
Anyway, open up EVE Mon, create a new plan, go to the ship browser, select the Titan of your choice (Caldari Leviathan for me, please), and click the “Add Skills to Plan” button.
It is likely that you will get a “Suggestion” at the bottom the window that will help bring in the date a little bit. Go ahead and add that to the plan as well.
For Wilhelm, my main, the answer consists of 22 skills with a total training time of:
168 Days, 15 hours, 14 minutes, and 19 seconds.
That assumes perfect end-to-end skill training, something that even I am not obsessive-compulsive enough to accomplish.
With some time slippage between skills, I could still reasonably be capable of flying a Leviathan by April Fool’s Day, 2008, if I start on the plan this week.
Even my miner, who is considerably behind Wilhelm in skill points, could been guiding that Leviathan around in EVE by June 1st, 2008.
Both plans are dominated by a few long duration skills:
Advance Spaceship Command V: 27 Days
Caldari Battleships V: 43 Days
Capital Ships V: 76 Days
Three skills, 143 days of training.
Of course, this plan assumes a few other things as well.
The first is that I have the attention span to fulfill the plan. I have 18 days to go before my miner can fly a Hulk and I can barely stand it. It is far more likely that around day 40 I would suddenly decided I wanted to be capable of building a player owed space station and veer off on some other training plan.
The second is that I could somehow afford it. These skills cost money. The total estimated cost for the skills is 5.5 billion ISK, a number I am about 5.498 billion ISK shy of at the moment.
The most expensive one is the Caldari Titan skill, which is 5 billion ISK alone.
That pretty much dwarfs the second in line, Capital Ships, which is a mere 400 million ISK.
And the third and final assumption is that I could actually do something with this skill if I actually overcame the previous assumptions.
EVE Mon tells me that a Titan is worth about 50 billion ISK. That is a lot of dough, Jack.
The problem is, I cannot just go out and buy one, even if I had 50 billion ISK jangling around in my pocket. This isn’t a Caracal, a ship I now have experience buying.
I have to build the damn thing.
Building a Titan requires skills in and of itself, dominated primarily by the 67 days for Capital Ship Construction V. At least that skill is only 75 million ISK to purchase.
So skills to build and fly put me out to August 1st, 2008.
And while I am out picking up those skills, I might as well buy the blueprint I will need for the final assembly of the ship, which runs a steep 63 billion ISK, but which is at least readily available.
And then we get to the bill of materials for the Titan.
Oh boy! Look, we don’t even want to start listing this out, do we? Go in game, find the blueprint on the market and look at the bill of materials. I need over 6700 parts of 16 different types to assemble this dream ship. Alliances spend a lot of time building these pieces. But let’s assume we can buy them readily on the market. A cursory look at the price of parts shows them between 5 and 9 million ISK a piece, so that is where the 50 billion ISK price comes in.
Then, with my skills all set, the parts on hand, and the blueprint ready, I just put it all in the oven for 8 weeks and, boom, my very own Titan!
I just have to have 120 billion ISK sitting around and about a year of training and construction time. I would actually only need about 55 billion up front to get the skills rolling and to start buying up the parts, and could hold off on the 63 million blueprint until near the end. That gives me plenty of time to earn the money for it!
And I had best earn a little extra money, since I probably want to equip the ship when I am done.
Then, within a few days of being done, somebody will come by and blow it up I am sure.
The one thing I do wonder, after the all of the silliness above, is whether it is worth it to skill up Capital Ship Construction and start building parts that could be used for a Titan. Is there any market there, or are alliances pretty much self-sufficient when it comes to production?