SuperData Recombines WoW Again for May Chart

The SuperData Research Top Ten chart for May 2017 is out.

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2017

The decision as to whether or not to split World of Warcraft into East/West or represent it as a single unit has swung back again.  Last month they were split, this month combined again.

The combined WoW number still dropped a notch, falling from 5th to 6th place, while Overwatch moved up a slot to 8th place on the PC chart.  The top four spots on the PC chart remain unchanged, while DOTA 2 landed on the charts in the 5th spot.  It was last seen on the chart back in February, where it was holding the 10th position… or 9th position when the chart was refactored to combine WoW yet again.

World of Tanks remains behind WoW for yet another month… though I do wonder where it would stand with WoW split into two.

Meanwhile, I am left wondering what the difference between Fantasy Westward Journey Online II and New Westward Journey Online II.  I suppose one might just be the original Fantasy Westward Journey.  SuperData needs to fix their shit I think.

On the mobile chart Pokemon Go dropped off the list for the first time since launch.  The game just deployed a revamp of gyms and added gym raids, so we shall see if that is enough to get it back on the list next month.  That Candy Crush Saga returned to the list should give them hope.

Other items from the SuperData report:

U.S. digital slows down but still shows year-over-year growth. U.S. digital revenue is up from April 2016 but down from March 2017. Free-to-play MMO, console and mobile all had high-single-digit revenue growth, more than offsetting slight declines in social and premium PC revenue.

U.S. digital revenue up year-over-year. Gamers spent over $1 billion across all platforms in May, up from April, during what is typically a lackluster point in the year. Growth came primarily from mobile revenue.

Overwatch shows continued growth. Overwatch digital revenues are up from April but down from May 2016, when it launched. Additional Content revenue hit a new high in May on the back of a one-year anniversary event.

Injustice 2 has a solid launch on consoles. We estimate Injustice 2 sold almost 500k digital units on console in May after launching mid-month. This puts it at number four in the top 10 console rankings this month in terms of digital revenue.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 gets another DLC release.  Black Ops 3 grew month-over-month and beating out Infinite Warfare. The jump, which vaulted the game past Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, came from the PS4 release of the “Zombie Chronicles” DLC.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds has another big month.  PUBG had another solid sales month in May with 791,000 units sold, bringing life to date digital sales above 2 million units through May. June looks to be another massive month for the game.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege breaks into console top 10 for the first time since January 2016, thanks to the continued “Year Two” support from Ubisoft.

The Steam Summer Sale 2017 Arrives

As predicted/expected/hoped, the Steam Summer Sale went live at 17:00 UTC today.

Summer Sale Comes Again

I have been much less ambivalent about the upcoming sale than I have been in past years.  I am feeling the itch for a new game or three.  So as soon as the sale went live I checked my wishlist and… nothing I added recently is on sale.

Ah well.

This year the activities are driven by quests to obtain sticker by performing various activities.  Going through your discover queue is the obvious one, but there are other tasks.

Sticker pack for checking my prefs

Of course, the immediate heavy load on the store meant that such tasks led to errors, but it will smooth out once the rush to find the inevitably comically mis-priced items has died down.

Since my wishlist let down my initial rush of enthusiasm, I’ll have to stalk the store to see what I can find.  Or maybe I will buy something I really want at full price.  It’s been known to happen.

How are you feeling about Steam this summer?

The Necromancer is Coming

Last year and BlizzCon Blizzard promised two things for Diablo III.

The first was the original Diablo experience mocked up in the Diablo III engine… with Diablo III assets.  The Darkening of Tristram event.  We got that in January, and while the experience was not very old school Diablo, it was, as I opined, at least some new content to play through in the game.

The second was the return of the necromancer class, which we will get next week in the form of the Rise of the Necromancer DLC.

The necromancer arrives soon

One of the questions unanswered at BlizzCon was how much the necromancer DLC would cost, because it was made clear it wouldn’t be free.

The answer is: $15

Not a bad price for DLC I guess.  For your fifteen bucks you get access to the necromancer class, a bunch of cosmetic fluff, two additional stash tabs (PC master race only), and two character slots. (details here)

But no content.

So if you miss the necromancer class from Diablo II and want to see it remastered in Diablo III, this is probably an easy choice.  A new class through the current content is likely draw enough for fifteen bucks.

But if you are indifferent to the class… I played it back during Diablo II and it was interesting, but not a class I finished the game with… it is also easy to pass on.  I thought Blizz might have a hook in there, something to attract those for whom the class and the fluff aren’t much of a draw.

And I know, I sound like I am expecting too much for that price, though I will point out that Blizz has added whole new areas for free in the past… and there was the Darkening of Tristram event I opened the post with, which was free as well.  So a bit of content would not have been wholly out of the question to my mind.

As it stands though, I’ll likely let this slide.  But if the necromancer is a must-have for you, look for it on Tuesday!

Is EVE Online a Gankbox?

Syp has been angsty about the “gank culture” of EVE Online this week.  He started on Twitter.

Then he turned that into a post on Massively OP where he declared EVE Online to have a “gankbox” culture.

I had to go look up “gankbox,” as this was a new term to me.  According to Massively OP:

Gankboxes are sandboxes that place such an emphasis on unrestricted free-for-all PvP that ganking comes to dominate the entire game, to the detriment of the rest of the world design.

As somebody coming up on eleven years of playing the game, that does not describe EVE Online to me at all.  New Eden is not a place of unrestricted, free-for-all PvP.  Sure, out in the wilds of null sec space or in wormholes you can shoot at other players without consequence, but in low security and high security space, where Neville Smit tells me most of New Eden plays, there certainly are restrictions on PvP.

In low sec you have guns on gates and stations that will shoot at people who initiate combat, there are suspect timers and kill rights that make people who shoot you vulnerable to attack even in high sec space, and the whole security status system that can make travel to high sec a dicey proposition if you sec status gets too low.

And that is low sec space, which hosts faction warfare, where people are alleged to be shooting each other all the time.

In high sec space, CONCORD lands on you and blows up your ship if you just start shooting at other people, something that I would call a pretty serious restriction on PvP.  Somebody has to declare war on you to shoot you without restriction in high sec, and they can’t do that if you’re still in an NPC corporation.

Which, of course, isn’t to say that people don’t get blown up in high sec space.  It happens all the time.  I’ve been on both ends of that.  I have been blown up traveling the space lanes of high sec.  And I have helped blow other people up as part of Burn Jita and Burn Amarr in the past.

An Obelisk freighter goes up

And suicide ganking is a thing in high sec space every day.  But it has restrictions and it can be avoided with some care.  People engage in it as a for-profit venture, so simply making sure it isn’t profitable to gank you goes a long way to making your journey a success.  You can start by getting the hell away from Jita.  As the center of commerce in New Eden, it attracts all the bad elements, so the further you go from it, the quieter and safer things tend to become.

But the term “gankbox” seems completely off base.  Ganking does not dominate the game.  I live in Delve, PvP barely dominates the game.  We mostly mine, shoot NPCs, build things, and sell them to each other, as the monthly economic report demonstrates.

I will cop to EVE Online have a bad reputation however.  It has provided some cringe worthy moments in gaming.  And even I called out the game’s reputation as one of the top five problems I feel the game has.

But a reputation isn’t reality, it is a perception.  You aren’t going to get ganked and scammed by Goons the moment you undock into the tutorial in your noob ship.  Syp couldn’t have “looked” and the gank culture, because it doesn’t exist as he describes it.  He just let one aspect of the game’s reputation color his point of view.

Sure, people get blown up and get mad, as in this classic Reddit post.  But you’ll note two things in that thread.  The first is the pilot’s disregard for security status, and thus his own safety.  Second is that down in the comments he eventually says he is over his moment of frustration.  Life in New Eden, and on Reddit, where flaws get magnified 100x.

For all of that though, I will predict that Syp wouldn’t like EVE Online.  He seemed to get a bit flustered by RuneScape, which at least follows some recognizable MMORPG conventions.  EVE is just plain right-angles to reality confusing if you’re coming from other games in the genre.

Back to my top five problems post, the game’s name, age, and reputation stop people from playing, but it is the the user interface, the complexity of gear, and (my bonus item) the horrible, mis-used, and sometimes arcane terminology common within the game are much more likely to be a real issue than the game’s reputation.

EVE Online is a place where veterans of the game learn about features by accident all the time.  I saw this gem just the other day.  I don’t have to undock to tinker with overview settings.  Who knew?  For a new user it can be confusing as hell.  And that doesn’t even get into the sandbox nature of the game where, once you’re done with the tutorial, the game leaves you to figure out what you want to do.

All of which is me picking on Syp, which he probably doesn’t deserve.  But I would like to see him try the game and reject it for one of it many real flaws rather than running away due to a flaw he thinks it might have. (Also, his posts on Massively OP about EVE might use the games terminology correctly more often.)

When I think of ganking and annoying player behavior, my mind always goes to WoW.  I have experienced a lot more direct bad user behavior in Azeroth than in New Eden.  But I play EVE and not WoW currently.

To round back to the post topic, do you think EVE Online is a “gankbox” or not?

Blogger Fantasy Movie League – Week Three

In which we really start to see systemic optimization.

Week three of our blogger Fantasy Movie League once again seemed to present two possible paths forward.

The choice seemed to be between Wonder Woman, still going strong at the box office having outperformed last week’s big release, The Mummy, and Cars 3, the new challenger.

It seemed pretty clear that Cars 3 would take the top spot.  But FML isn’t about picking the box office winner, but picking eight movies based on a budget, with a bonus available for picking the best price/performance movie of the week.  Cars 3 might do better, but would it be worth the price?  It would limit what other movies one could pick.  And you couldn’t pick Cars 3 AND Wonder Woman.

Cars 3                    $719
Wonder Woman              $478
All Eyez On Me            $327
Rough Night               $243
The Mummy                 $167
47 Meters Down            $105
Captain Underpants        $78
Pirates                   $71
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 $60
It Comes At Night         $34
The Book of Henry         $31
Baywatch                  $29
Megan Leavey              $25
Alien Covenant            $11
Everything, Everything    $10

I decided to take a chance this week.

As often happens, as the week progressed I changed my mind and redid my picks.  I do that enough that I would like to be able to save my “shadow” picks just to see how they would have done.

Way back on Tuesday of last week there was a lot of optimism around Rough Night.  Initial guesses put it at $16 million for the week, but that surged past $20 million at one point.  With Cars 3 pegged at $50 million and Wonder Woman less than that, putting Rough Night up on three screens would likely beat either and still leave me room for decent secondary picks.

I was down with three screens of Rough Night.  And then Wednesday rolled around and people who saw previews started talking and reviews started coming out and estimates fell dramatically and ended up being optimistic even then.

So I tinkered around with some other picks.  My daughter was determined to pick Wonder Woman and All Eyez on Me, the latter based on what she was seeing on social media, which turned out to be a decent call.

I ended up sticking with my desire to avoid the two leading contenders.  So when the week’s picks were finalized on Friday morning, the Blogger league had six people going with Cars 3, found people sticking with Wonder Woman, and me all-in on The Mummy.

My Mummy selection and its yield

The Mummy, on five screens!

My logic was that all The Mummy had to do was 50% of its opening week, not an over-optimistic level of performance to my mind, and it could be the optimum pick for the week.

As it turned out, Tom Cruise couldn’t carry that much water and it fell short of the mark, leaving me in 5th place for the week.  However, I was not that far behind the pack as none of us picked the optimum lineup for the week, which was Wonder Woman and seven screens of Pirates of the CaribbeanPotC turned out to be the optimum price/performance choice of the week, rewarding an extra $2 million per showing.

Weekly Top winners

A hell of a way to run a multiplex.

The scores for the week ended up being:

  1. Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $95,601,042
  2. Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $89,038,632
  3. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $88,324,978
  4. Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $87,349,717
  5. Void’s Awesomeplex – $85,782,636
  6. Murf’s Matinee Mania – $80,261,527
  7. Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $79,249,812
  8. Ocho’s Octoplex – $76,340,371
  9. Bel’s House of Horrors – $75,251,356
  10. Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $74,075,088
  11. Clockwork’s Cinesplosion – $50,587,837

Surprisingly, Liore did not finish on top this week, with Braxwolf taking the top spot.

Wonder Woman was not a panacea this week.  While it was the main pick of the top two finishers it was also the anchor of the last place entry.  Picking neither Wonder Woman nor Cars 3 got me 4th place.

Weekly wins so far:

  1. Liore – 2
  2. Braxwolf – 1

Liore did not, however, lose much ground by coming in third and remains firmly out in front of the pack.  Season totals after week three.

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $327,705,530
  2. Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $294,905,717
  3. Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $294,546,672
  4. Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $286,728,185
  5. Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $281,706,342
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex – $279,942,008
  7. Void’s Awesomeplex – $277,486,309
  8. Bel’s House of Horrors – $260,469,411
  9. Clockwork’s Cinesplosion – $252,962,484
  10. Murf’s Matinee Mania – $243,483,792
  11. Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $203,347,469

I managed to just hold on to second place, while Braxwolf’s strong finish for the week jumped him up to fifth.  The race remains for second place as the gap between first and second place is about the same as the gap between second and eighth place.

Still ten weeks left to go, which leads us to the week four lineup.

Transformers              $560
Wonder Woman              $286
Cars 3                    $278
All Eyez On Me            $104
The Mummy                 $73
Pirates                   $58
47 Meters Down            $55
Captain Underpants        $45
Rough Night               $39
Tubelight                 $34
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 $32
Beatriz at Dinner         $17
Megan Leavy               $16
It Comes At Night         $13
The Book of Henry         $11

Transformers: About Last Night is the big fish in this week’s pond with box office estimates ranging between $60 and $75 million.  That is enough to make it the likely anchor for most picks this week I suppose.  If you do go with it you then have to back fill with what you hope will be this week’s Pirates of the Caribbean.

But if you avoid Transformers: The Last Goodnight, then you have considerably flexibility to experiment with screen builds… as I will now call them.

You can go all-in on Tupac… All Screenz on Me

So we shall see if this is a transformative week or not.

I will follow my usual practice of picking what I think is a good screen build, then I will look at the box office predictions and see how badly I have likely erred.

Two Years of Minecraft

Two years in and my general reflections on Minecraft haven’t really changed.  As I wrote last year, as a game it does scratch the exploration, building, and persistence itches, yet is often falls flat on the purpose front.

And so I do not spend much time building castles or villas or other grand living spaces, as once built there isn’t much you can do with them.  Instead I thrive on overland infrastructure, blazing trails, building roads, bridges, and rail lines, and making practical rest stop and production areas along the way.

This approach has led me to the inevitable laying of track along the north mansion roadway that I spent several months building.  Happened with the last road I built as well.

A new rail stop along the way

A fast horse is faster than a minecart for travel, and can go where you want, but you don’t need to manage a minecart.  A minecart doesn’t wander off… mostly… doesn’t need a corral, and won’t die in the middle of nowhere leaving you to walk home.  You just make another minecart or keep it in your inventory and when it is time to travel you put it on the rails and off you go.

So I am laying tracks.  Tracks require resources… iron mostly, of which I am perennially short.  But among the improvements I have done along the line at every rest stop is dig a mine and an auto furnace.  That can be slow going, but at many of the stops I piled up an excess of iron because I was mostly interesting in getting cobblestone to lay down the road.  So I have some resources to draw on… and Aaron gave me a few stacks or iron blocks, which got me quite a way down the line.

It does keep me logging in, which is the ultimate test.  As I have noted in the past, what I say I enjoy doesn’t always line up with what I will actually do, so I have to side with my actions as opposed to my intentions.  If I keep building road and rail projects, that must be what I like!

Not that the last year hasn’t delivered new things.  There were three updates to Minecraft which delivered  polar bears, llamas, and parrots… among other things.  They were:

All of which added things to the game that extended my play time with it.  Not bad.

So another Father’s Day has passes and I am still playing… and on the same world.  That means that my stats for that world are pretty much my overall stats for the game.  As I did last year, I’ll put up a few stats (after the cut) just to mark where I stand.

Continue reading

Keepstar Down in Auga

I was done with work today just in time to get online and get over to see another Keepstar citadel get blown up.  This one belonged to the No Handlebars alliance and was being anchored in the low sec system of Auga in the Heimatar region.

My alt had a jump clone in Amarr, just 7 jumps away, so I popped him over there, grabbed a Purifier stealth bomber, and headed towards the sound of the guns.  The Imperium had a few fleets in system when I arrived, so I was able to join up and warp to people until I ended up on grid with the target.

Purifier uncloaked by the Keepstar

NCDot looked to be sponsoring the Keepstar as they showed up in force to defend it, with a super capital fleet tethered up on the citadel and a T3 cruiser fleet engaging attackers.

NC Dot supers hanging on the Keepstar

When I arrived I took a few shots at the Keepstar, but it looked like the defenders might carry the day.  The 15 minute repair timer had been stopped at 9 minutes, but the attackers were pretty consistently falling below the 7,500 DPS mark needed to keep the timer from advancing.  The timer kept starting up again, and once it reached zero, the Keepstar would be anchored and secure.

When there was still about 25% structure left to destroy, the timer fell to 1 minute.  It seemed unlikely that the attackers could do a quarter of the damage necessary.

Timer paused at 1 minute

However, more attackers had arrived including a fresh reinforcement fleet from Imperium space.  Fighters from the defending super carriers chased subcap fleets around, but one set of attackers would warp off only to have another set land and resume the attack from another position.

I had to run along and warp myself off a few times as I caught the attention of interceptors now and again.  I was a bit worried I might not get on the kill mail as my last couple of attempts to warp in and take a shot landed me very close to hostile fleets… attackers and defenders.  A lone stealth bomber is a soft target.  But then the last hit point was gone and the whole thing started to brew up.

Explosions starting to appear

And then there was the grand super bright explosion that always catches me by surprise.

The explosion starts to fade

The kill mail was up very quickly and my alt had damaged the structure recently enough to be counted among the almost 1,700 pilots who on the tally.  That is a lot of people, considering I only saw about 2,200 pilots in system at peak.

Local shows 2,202

There was some speculation as to what might happen with NCDot’s super capital fleet once the safety of the Keepstar tethering was removed.  There was a chunk of titans hanging around.

Titan when they could tether

However, nobody had anything on hand capable of giving those supers any sort of concern.  The left the scene, and I did shortly there after.

That is the fifth Keepstar to be destroyed in New Eden, though only four appear on zKillboard, as the first failed to generate a kill mail.  I’ve went to two of those kills, the one today and the Circle of Two Keepstar that died in M-OEE8.  It hasn’t gotten old yet.

A few more screen shots from the even below.

 

Addendum: INN, which reported the Keepstar coming online, has a video summarizing the event as well.