Friday Bullet Points from Waikiki

  • Sunny and warm; February in Hawaii is about perfect summer weather
  • Umbrella drinks in plentiful supply
  • About as Vegas-like as Hawaii can get, in a good way
  • Lots of Japanese tourists wielding selfie sticks
  • Jellyfish warnings at the beach
  • Taxi fares all end up being about twice what people tell you they will be
  • Wife’s birthday planned for Farrell’s 
  • No Super Bowl craziness to deal with
  • Headed to Pearl Harbor tomorrow
  • Will be arriving back home when everybody is finally leaving

Also, we can see Diamond Head from our hotel room.

 

Diamond Head in the evening light

 
And, having climed up to the peak of the crater rim, I can confirm that you can see our hotel room from the summit.

Addendum: Our rental car for a drive around the island, a mid-life crisis worthy bitchin’ yellow convertible Camaro.

  

Pokemon 20th Anniversary Download Events Kick Off with Mew

Later this month Pokemon will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

There will be all sorts of things going on to mark the occasion, but for the serious Pokemon player, the download events will be a key element of the whole show.  There will be 11 special mythical Pokemon to download this year, starting this month with Mew.

The Mew you can have...

The Mew you can have…

To get Mew you have to run out to a participating GameStop to get a code that will enable the download.  My daughter and I have already been to our local GameStop.  This is what the card looks like, front and back.

Mew GameStop Card

Mew GameStop Card

This download event is limited to the 3DS versions of the classic Pokemon RPG series, Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire.

For more about what they are doing to celebrate 20 years of Pokemon visit the Pokemon 20 site.

  • March – Celebi
  • April – Jirachi
  • May – Darkrai
  • June – Manaphy
  • July – Shaymin
  • August – Arceus
  • September – Victini
  • October – Keldeo
  • November – Genesect
  • December – Meloetta

LEGO Star Wars – The Force Awakens Sounds Pretty Cool

Okay, the trailer for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens has me a bit excited.  I have gotten a bit jaded on the whole Traveller’s Tales LEGO games in the last couple of years.  While they add in new mechanics with each generation, the new stuff hasn’t always sat well with me while the old stuff hasn’t changed much.  But then I watched this.

That was pretty cool, very much in the sort of humor that Traveller’s Tales like to inject into their games.

And the whole thing got a bit better when I noticed at the end of the video, the supported platforms include the PlayStation 3.

Look at all the platforms on which it will be released...

Look at all the platforms on which it will be released…

That is pretty much the only platform I have that could run the game, since their LEGO games are really unsatisfying for me on the PC.  I suppose I could get it on the 3DS.  That probably wouldn’t be so bad.  But it likely wouldn’t be as satisfying as having it on our TV.

And, finally, there was this bit of news that the game would bridge some of the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

That is not as crazy as it might sound.  Playing the original LEGO Star Wars games was not only fun, but it was a really good way to bone up on locations, characters, and events.  Playing through the now incorrectly named LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga was almost like taking an undergraduate course in Star Wars.

Anyway, it is coming our way on June 28th.  We might have to get this at our house.

DUST 514 to Shut Down on May 30, 2016

And so it goes.  It seemed like an odd idea to create an adjunct to EVE Online on the PlayStation 3.  We all had PCs, right? (Plus PlayStation 3 support is going away at the end of 2016 if I recall correctly.)  Anyway, it officially launched back in May of 2013. (Open beta started in January of that year.)

Dust514Trans

Now the time has finally come to say good-bye, the game lasting just over two years.  Something on the PC will follow on at some point it seems.

Here is the announcement from the forums:

Dear DUST 514 Community,

CCP’s development team in Shanghai has been working on a prototype for a first-person shooter for PC with the goal of building a great FPS set in our sci-fi universe of New Eden (the universe in which EVE Online, DUST 514, EVE: Valkyrie, and Gunjack are set). Their experience is being utilized to build a new game from scratch using Unreal Engine 4 while harnessing all our learnings from DUST 514. This is in many ways an evolution of Project Legion, the concept we announced at EVE Fanfest 2014, but without the limitations of technical debt and development paths we quickly discovered in that effort that could never serve as a future-proof technology base for a full production game. This new project is still in an early phase of production, and we feel like we’re on the right track and plan to give an update at EVE Fanfest on April 21st as a part of the free livestream of the event. Since this new game will be different from DUST 514 (although keeping many of its great parts), we will provide tiered recognition rewards to our loyal DUST customers, details to be announced.

We are very proud of what we’ve learned and accomplished with DUST 514 on PlayStation 3 over the past three years and it is an honor to be a part of such a dedicated community. We consider DUST 514 one of the best free-to-play offerings on the platform, but the years have caught up with us. It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that DUST 514 will be shutting down on May 30th, 2016. We therefore will not be releasing the 1.3 update as we had planned. Players will continue to be able to play for free on our servers until then, but all further PSN packs and purchases have been removed and disabled from the in-game marketplace and the PlayStation Store. Players with existing Aurum will be able to continue to purchase items from the in-game marketplace.

Thank you for being a part of DUST 514 on the PlayStation 3. We look forward to the next chapter, and hope you’ll be a part of it and continue the journey with us.

I’m still annoyed I never got to kill anybody in DUST 514 via orbital bombardment in EVE Online.  I suppose somebody can be smug today as DUST 514 joins World of Darkness on the unfulfilled dreams list for CCP.  I hope that VR stuff is working out for CCP, because otherwise it is just us capsuleers keeping CCP afloat still.

Diablo III Season 5 and into Chapter IV

I’ve kept on with Diablo III and my quest for the Season 5 goodies.

Season 5 - All this can be yours

Season 5 – All this can be yours

As I have noted in the past, I am not really all that enthusiastic about Adventure Mode or rifts…  tt least not as a solo pursuit, and since I have only been playing Season 5 solo, it seemed likely that I might run out of steam once I finished the story.

But, while I may find little enthusiasm for slaying large quantities of mobs just to collect gold and sort through equipment drops, actually having a set of goals changes things.  I can immerse myself in checking off boxes for an extended period of time, being a somewhat task oriented in real life.  I like getting things done and the illusion of progress.

And so I have carried on and managed to work my way through the first three chapters of the goals… the journey as it has been spun… without too much problem.  A decent set of discreet tasks, helped along by the fact that if you accomplished any of them before unlocking the list of goals for a specific chapter, you still got credit.

I also notched myself up in difficulty, first to Torment 1 then Torment 2, neither of which made things drastically more difficult.  I do have a lot more gold now though.

And then I unlocked the Chapter IV goals for Season 5. (All the goals for Season 5 are listed out on this Reddit post.)

  • Penchant for Enchants: Replace a property on an item at the Mystic
  • Keeping it Low Key: Slay Xah’Rith the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher
  • The Key to Success: Slay Nekarat the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher
  • Mercy: Kill Zoltun Kulle at lvl 70 on T2 or higher (gives 2nd Haedrig gift)
  • Seeya: Kill the Sigebreaker Assault Beast at lvl 70 on T4 or higher
  • Great Expectations: Reach GR20 solo (gives 3rd Haedrig gift)
  • Set me free: Complete any set dungeon (doesn’t need to be mastered!)
  • Up all night to get lucky: Equip all slots with lvl 70 legendary items
  • Key Decisions: Slay Odeg the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher
  • Key Wee: Slay Sokahr the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher

I actually had two of them done, and most of them seemed doable, so I got stuck in on a couple right away.

Another item from the list...

Another item from the list…

The Zoltun Kulle fight was surprisingly easy, and got me two new pieces from a set, though one of them wasn’t nearly as good as what I already had equipped.  That leads to the age old question of whether or not the bonus for wearing four pieces of the set was worth it or not.

four down, six to go

four down, six to go

I am, however, a bit skeptical of a couple of the items on the list.

Notching up to Torment 4 difficulty for the Siege Breaker ought to be okay.  But getting to the point where I can solo a level 20 Greater Rift might be a challenge, in part because I’ll have to figure out how to do that.  I haven’t been there before and  I imagine it will involve some grind, and grind is the enemy of my attention at this point.

Meanwhile, completing a full dungeon set and equipping level 70 legendary items in every equipment slot both sound like “go grind rifts” which, as noted, is where my interest in playing starts to break down.  Still, I remain a bit surprised I have gotten this far.

Crusader in gold

Crusader in gold

Charming Nonsense about the CSM

There was a bit of internet space drama over the weekend.

My exposure to this was on The Meta Show where The Mittani, head of Goonswarm and a former CSM member, along with Laz and Thoric Frosthammer, head of LAWN and a current CSM member, spoke about the recent changes to the CSM whitepaper which ended up excluding anybody associated from The Mittani dot com from running for CSM, but not any other EVE related sites.  The show isn’t up on YouTube yet, but should be in the Meta Show channel at some point this week, if that is your thing.

I mentioned this whitepaper change in my Friday post, so I won’t retrace my steps too much.  The upshot was that The Mittani and Thoric had a good time spinning a conspiracy theory based on the fact that the rule changes excluded exactly one current CSM XI candidate from running, the restive Sion Kumitomo.

CSM11_logo

It is The Meta show after all, so a perfectly fine meta topic to run with.  CCP Leeloo was already on record, long before the show even started, saying that the rules were not put in place for that purpose and that if CCP wanted to exclude somebody specifically they would just do that and not bother with this sort of rule lawyering.

CCP Falcon though couldn’t leave well enough alone and felt the need to return fire as noted on a number of sites.  Here is the quote that is making the rounds:

Falcon Speaks...

Falcon Speaks…

To be fair to CCP Falcon, The Mittani had taken his conspiracy theory on the road and was trolling other venues with it, so he probably felt some retort was required.

You can spin that however you like.  On Reddit there is a lot of cheering that Mittens got smacked down, though when Gevlon isn’t fully behind some striking out at The Mittani you have to start asking questions.

For me though, that drama isn’t really the interesting bit.  Drama blows over and disappears.  No, I like this line from CCP Falcon’s comment:

…there are areas of the whitepaper that CCP have no control over, such as the rights of a CSM delegate.

What complete nonsense.  I do not believe that at all.  There is no area of the whitepaper over which CCP does not exercise complete and absolute control.  This is literally playing right into my initial analogy about the CSM from back in 2008, when I called it the Galactic Student Council.

You can tell the student council that they get to choose the theme for the homecoming dance, and that will stick right up until the moment they choose something controversial, at which point the school administration will override the decision.

Likewise, CCP can tell the CSM that they have control over some aspect of their existence, right up until the point that the CSM does something CCP doesn’t like, at which point CCP will demonstrate exactly how much control the CSM really has, which is none whatsoever.

Smacking The Mittani… whatever.  Perpetuating this sort of nonsense about the CSM having some actual independent power… that is just too much to swallow.

Anyway, this drama has pretty much ensured that Xenuria will have a top spot on The Imperium’s CSM ballot.  I think that Mittens would send them Gevlon as well if he could arrange it.  I wonder who else will be on the ballot.  There are still a few days left for candidates to register.  Of course, then we will see if CCP decides to weed any of them out.