A Keepstar Lives in Tenerifis

If at first you don’t succeed…

Last night saw the second Keepstar deployed in UALX-3 in the Tenerifis region come online successfully.

Home for Executive Dino

The circumstances of the past few days allowed this to conclude successfully.  The big fight over the first attempt to anchor a Keepstar in UALX-3 led to the node crashing after the Keepstar had been destroyed but before the attackers could extract themselves from the system, leaving many pilots trapped, logged off on the grid where the fight took place.  This area was covered by anchored bubbles by TEST who have been camping the area since the system came back up.

A field of bubbles waiting for people to log back in

With a fleet trapped and camped in the system and TEST able to anchor a cyno jammer to prevent reinforcements, the stage was set for the second Keepstar to online successfully.

I did not get to hang around and watch the Keepstar come online, but I was there earlier in the day to join in the camp and to watch the Fortizar that was anchored on the edge of the bubbled area come online.

Just before it started to anchor

You can see a large covering force around the Fortizar, with the bubbles nearby and the Keepstar, still a few hours from anchoring, in the background.

Once anchored, the Fortizar was a handy location for carriers to sit as they sent fighters out into the bubble camped area.

Meanwhile, as the camp dragged on, it seems that the FCs of the trapped fleet started telling members logged off but stuck in the bubbles to petition to have their ships moved by a GM under the theory that they were trapped.  I guess given a wide enough definition of the word they were trapped, but not in the way that CCP intended when it comes to asking for GM help, so CCP felt the need to issue a news bulletin on the topic.

UALX-3 Fleet Fights – Misfiling of “Stuck” Tickets

Over the course of the last twelve hours, we’ve been made aware of instructions being broadcast by the leaders of several alliances to file “Stuck” support tickets in order to have their capitals, supercarriers and titans moved out of the system of “UALX-3” by the GM Team.

This comes after a node death occured at around 09:00 UTC on July 19th, during a large scale engagement over an anchoring Keepstar, which resulted in the attacking forces being sieged in the system.

Our policies are clear when dealing with large-scale player engagements, and the GM Team will not intervene and move capitals, supercarriers or titans for pilots involved in these kinds of fleet fights, as per our Reimbursement Policy:

“Any losses of any kind resulting from a large-scale player engagement are not covered by this reimbursement policy.”

Furthermore, it is not possible for us under any circumstance to move ships sporting their own Jump Drive. This is clarified in our “Inaccessible Assets And Returning Players” article:

“Ships sporting their own jump drive are assumed to be capable of jumping themselves out quickly without the usage of a gate and no exception or move will be granted to these ships.”

Please be aware that the GM Team will not grant relocation of ships involved in large-scale player engagements, and that attempts at co-oridinated mass filing support tickets in order to avoid the destruction of ships involved in engagements of this nature may be considered abuse of the support ticket system.

Pandemic Legion an its allies aren’t going to get CCP to move them out, so the camp continues.  According to zKillboard it looks like there was an attempt to break out some dreadnoughts early this morning, leading to a series of kills,

But the camp won’t last forever.  People will either try to break out and either succeed or get blown up, or hunker down and wait the long wait until the locals get tired of deploying bubbles and sitting around waiting for people to log in.  Given that there are some titans yet to be accounted for, the camp may go on for a while.

Keepstar and Fortizar watching the bubble camp

And, of course, the next question is, “What now?”  Will deploying this Keepstar and trapping some of the attacking capital fleet blunt the attacks on TEST and its allies in the south?  Will the Imperium, which showed up in force for these Keepstars, stay in the south, return to Delve, or move back to the northern front once more to assail Circle of Two and Guardians of the Galaxy?

Then there is the propaganda war on Reddit, which has reached a high water mark of smug from the defenders.  Some examples:

A Keepstar Dies in Tenerifis and Another Appears

A pattern is starting to emerge in the current null sec war.  Keepstar fights are becoming a regular thing.  We might end up calling this the Keepstar War.

The latest round unfolded on Wednesday night/Thursday morning in the system UALX-3 in the Tenerifis region, close to the boarder with Catch.  TEST had dropped a Keepstar in the system the night before, a deliberate challenge to Pandemic Legion and its allies attacking from the southeast.

The attackers could not let the Keepstar online.  Killing a Keepstar as it anchors is a one shot deal, if they could manage it.  If they let it anchor and be fueled up, the attackers would have to go through the three rounds of shield, armor, and structure fights in order to dispatch it.  So there was a good deal of incentive to take care of business immediately and a fight ensued.

It was a huge fight, with ~4,000 people participating and hundreds of ships being destroyed as Pandemic Legion and its allies piled into the system.  The Imperium, now blue to TEST and the Legacy Coalition, showed up in force to help defend the Keepstar and things escalated into capitals and super capitals.

A screen shot from the fight

I was not at the fight, so that screen shot comes from Xsubdude’s Imgur gallery of pictures from the fight.  Definitely worth a look.

According to a Reddit live blog of the fight, which will give you a timeline, the losses were a follows:

PANDEMIC LEGION &EASTERN ALLIES LOSSES:

  • 9 titans
  • 18 dreads
  • 74 Force Auxiliaries
  • 628 subcaps
  • 729 ships total
  • 1.09T isk lost

IMPERIUM/LEGACY LOSSES:

  • 4 titans
  • 339 dreads
  • 613 subcaps
  • 956 ships total
  • 1.45T isk lost (figure includes Keepstar loss @ .3T isk)
  • 1.15T isk lost in ships alone

The large number of dreadnoughts represent TEST dread bombing the attacking titans and their support repeatedly.

There are battle reports circulating, though so many parties were involved in the fight it is hard to tell if everybody is lined up correctly.  It mostly matches the stats above, though since fighters get counted on battle reports, the total kills are higher.  I had to fix two parties at that link and I am sure it still isn’t wrong somewhere.  But I grabbed screen shots of the stats from DOTLAN the next morning and the 24 hour stat shows that UALX-3 and the Tenerifis region were high on the list of destruction.

Taken about five hours after the fight

The fight was set to carry on until down time, with both sides locked together and more forces poised to jump in, but the node crashed.  However, but that point the Keepstar was already dead, so the attackers had won both the objective and the ISK war.

So what do you do after you lose a Keepstar, lose the ISK war, and the node dies so you can’t even keep killing enemy titans?

Well, step one is to anchor bubbles all over the last known location of the hostiles so if they start logging in again you can pick them off.  The node crash left them all on the field so you might as well try to grab them.

A field of bubbles waiting for people to log back in

And, of course, you need a lot of watchers to grab anybody who logs back in.

All those blues are hungry for guests

And, of course, you bubble up the gates and generally try to keep a lid on the system so you have a good chance of blowing up anybody foolish enough to log back in alone after the fight.  The combined effort seems to have been effective in picking off people trying to log back in to escape, though that has been limited to subcaps.  Nobody has sacrificed a titan that way yet.

Finally, I guess if you’re Progodlegend, you drop another Keepstar right where you lost the old one.

Another Keepstar coming up!

The Keepstar War continues!  Even CCP seemed surprised.

And for good measure, you drop a Fortizar as well right next to where the bubble farm is.

Fortizar coming online

The Keepstar is set to come out at 02:00 EVE Online time, which will be 7pm in the evening for me.  We have other plans for the evening, so I am going to miss at least the open rounds of this next event.  But I have a stealth bomber in a safe spot in the system should I get home in time to look in on the fun.

Pandemic Legion and their allies already have a capital and super capital force on grid, so it will be easy for them to join in I suppose.  However, the defenders know right where they are, so can position themselves accordingly, and preparations are already under way for this next event, as well as for any break out attempt by the attackers.  There is even a rumor of a cyno jammer going up in the system, because after Keepstars it is cyno jammers as a possible theme for this war.

Where it will all happen

In a few hours we will see what both sides have planned for their Friday nights.

Other coverage:

Minecraft and the Update Aquatic

The Minecaft Aquatic Update finally went live this week for Java.  The update had been released for what is now the main Minecraft code base, which includes Windows 10 and all the console versions, the week before, but now everybody has it.

Minecraft under the sea

As the name of the update suggests, it was focused primarily on the under water aspects of Minecraft.  The ocean has been something of a dull place in the world of Minecraft up until now.

Yes, you could fish, farm squids, and delve into an ocean monument.  But for the most part water has been something to sail over in a boat, fill up your tunnels by surprise, and occasionally something to jump into when you’re on fire.

Now, after the update, the oceans are alive with things, fish and dolphins and sea turtles and kelp and coral and, of course, under water zombies, which are called the drowned.

Naturally I wanted to jump right into our world to see some of these new things.

The new splash screen… with water… splash… get it… yeah

Unfortunately for this desire, one of the aspects of Minecraft is that a lot of things in a chunk are only created when it is initially generated.  All of the ocean areas I had visited already would lack most of the new features from the update. I could have, of course, just started a fresh world.  But I hate to throw away all of the work on our current world.  And Minecraft worlds are effectively infinite.  I had to go find some fresh ocean area in our current world. to check out, so I consulted the map.

The main land mass of our world

There I found a bit of as yet generated ocean not too far from rail stop 17 on the rail loop, which I have circled in red.  I chose that spot in part because I was not too far down the rail line from there.  So I rushed there, ran over to the dock I had built, supplied with a chest full of boats, and could see changes in the water already.  Some fish were swimming about.

Fish near the surface

Encouraged I hopped into a boat and rowed westward, looking for fresh ocean.

One of the limitations of Minecraft Realms is that they set your view distance a bit closer than I would prefer.  On the other hand, when things are loading closer to you in the ocean you can spot things under water via their silhouette, which is how I saw the kelp.

A bit of undersea flora seen

I steered for that and found an island nearby to stop on so I could explore a bit.  There I found more plant life growing under the waves.

Near the shore

Deeper down I could see beds of kelp.

Down in the deep blue

Of course, I rowed out there without much in the way of a plan.  I certainly didn’t pack in any supplies for a long expedition.  So when darkness came, as it always does, I didn’t have shelter or a bed or anything available.  I did have a bit of stone, torches, and jack-o-lanterns, so I lit up the little island a bit in order to keep the nightly spawns away.

But there are now under water zombie spawns, the drowned which I mentioned earlier.  They started appearing around my little island, so I had to spend some time fending them off… while trying to take screen shots of them as well.

A Drowned coming over my little dock, a nautilus in hand

I was able to survive the night, and not all of my visitors were hostile.

A sea turtle comes up to the shore

When the dawn came I got back in my boat and rowed around the area a bit more.  The morning saw some more sea turtles and fish near the surface.

Sea turtles in the light

Then I turned around and rowed back for the mainland… and managed to get off course.  But given the long stretched of north-south rail I have laid over the last couple of years, I knew I just had to row east until I hit land, then walk east until I hit a rail line.

This was, of course, just a scouting mission.  I need to setup transportation to some as yet ungenerated sea location in order to explore this more fully.  There are, as I noted, coral and other new sea life to find as well as underwater ruins and buried treasure on the sea shores.

Buried treasure is important because those chests contain the heart of the sea, on of the items required for the new conduit blocks that let you stay under water.  Lots more to explore under the sea.

Battle for Azeroth Patch Day Blues

We are over the line and officially into the days of World of Warcraft 8.0.  The Legion expansion is done and we’re on our way to Battle For Azeroth.  The pre-patch patch notes are there to be studied.

It is on its way…

There are even some new items on the map.

Battle for Azeroth map

Meanwhile the Broken Isles are getting ready to be permanently in the off-season, the mage tower has shut down, your pet tokens are called something else, your artifact weapon isn’t nearly as special, and there is a new login screen.

Another alert as well…

And, of course, all my addons need to be updated and all my talents have been reset on every single character.

I’ll be seeing this one every day for a while

Oh, and all the servers are down again.

Yes, I scrolled through the list to be sure

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your expansion.

It is to be expected.  And at least the servers haven’t been down all evening, and when they’re up the login problems seem to have mostly gone away.

And, in something of a wise move, Blizzard didn’t have a bunch of stuff on tap for us to run off and start doing right away.  The biggest part of the “What’s New” pop up when you log in mentions that maybe you ought to spend some time figuring out your talents.

What’s new? You managed to log in!

So that is three places on the UI nagging me about my spec from the moment I log in, the third being down at the bottom of the screen.

Yes, okay, I get it…

That one is actually the most disturbing… but not for what it says but because of where it is located.  All of that is now all by itself over in the lower right of the screen now.

This is not how I left things…

Objectively, that seems like a reasonable adjustment of the UI, collecting a bunch of non-hot bar items and pulling them away from there into their own little zone.

But the muscle memory is already making this change painful because I keep going to the spots where those items were.  They just aren’t where I expect them.

The changes compared

My daughter seemed the most aggrieved at this change.  The position of those moved items had been pretty much constant for most of her lifetime.  She still clings to the youthful belief that the world around her should not change, even though she now has a job, a driver’s license, and a car.  This is probably her version of the first time a professional sports team moved cities when I was a kid.  I was stunned that it could even be a thing.

But she does have a point, that basic bar layout has been around for a while.

Paladin bar from 2007

Of course, where there is a complaint there is a solution.  I suspect that in the not too distant future that somebody will come up with an addon that will put everything back in the arrangement to which so many of us have grown accustomed.

Ah well.  Still not bad for a first night.  This is why they do it during the week, so they’ll have problems sorted out and stuff will be updated and ready to go come the weekend.

I was able to log in my tailor and craft yet another hexweave bag.  And of all of my dead addons Rematch, the pet battle addon, was update by the time I got home, so I was able to do a little pet battling.  And so far as I can tell, the real pre-expansion events don’t kick off until next Tuesday.  Plenty of time to get things ready.

Summer Movie League – No Chance for Ants

Week seven of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is now in the books.

The week brought us into the post-blockbuster part of the summer, where the films expected to garner $100 million or more on their first weekend were in the rear view mirror and the league was going to have to duke it out in a battle between smaller new releases and the residual power of the big launches. The lineup for the week looked like this:

Hotel Transylvania 3       $523
Skyscraper                 $394
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $387
Incredibles 2              $201
Jurassic World             $174
The First Purge            $111
Sorry to Bother You        $74
Sicario 2                  $45
Ocean's 8                  $40
Uncle Drew                 $38
Won't You Be My Neighbor   $30
Tag                        $21
Three Identical Strangers  $16
Whitney                    $14
Deadpool 2                 $11

At the top of the anchor list was the new Hotel Transylvania 3, which was expected to top the box office over the weekend and vie for the kids market with The Increcibles 2. But it also came with a fairly steep price. You could have one screen of that. It wasn’t so expensive that your couldn’t mix and match, but you couldn’t depend on just it.

Next, trying to score on the action adventure from was Skyscraper, where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson battles a burning building that has taken his family hostage… or something… I’m not sure, really. That is the impression the trailer left with me. Whatever it was, I wasn’t buying it.

Then there was Ant-Man and the Wasp. It did not do as well as hoped its first week out, but it still seemed a viable choice if only it could keep to about a fifty percent drop in revenue.

After that we have The Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World battling it out. Last week they were in nearly a dead heat, but The Incredibles 2 lower price point made them the pick. This week it looked like the situation could be reversed.

Then we get into the filler, which ranged from the expensive end with The First Purge was down to Deadpool 2.

For an anchor I went with four screens of Incredibles 2 for my Monday hot take pick, making it the fifth consecutive week I went with the film in at least one of my leagues. I couldn’t get behind Hotel Transylvania 3. I just don’t like the franchise, which makes me believe the worst when it comes to box office. Skyscraper seemed like a risky bet. The trailer was muddled, as noted, and not compelling at all, unless you have to see every picture The Rock makes.

I considered Ant-Man for a bit, but the buzz was that the movie was going to suffer a serious second week drop off. Which left me down with Jurassic World and The Incredibles 2.

In the end I wasn’t shaken from my streak when it came time for the TAGN League to lock. I went with 4x The Incredibles 2 and 4x Sicario 2, a double quad sequel pick.

Unfortunately for me, Jurassic World was the anchor to go with. For not much more than my 4 screens of The Incredibles 2 I could have gotten five screens of dinos. Again, when the estimates started coming in the two movies were neck in neck for revenue, which meant spoils for the cheaper of the two.

There was a stretch of time during the estimates when Three Identical Strangers had the best performer bonus, but in a no bonuses league that didn’t make much of a difference. In the end the league results for the week looked like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $89,719,218
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $86,544,778
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $86,217,724
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $86,217,724
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $83,686,706
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $83,625,423
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $81,544,984
  8. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $80,575,792
  9. Kraut Screens – $74,997,493
  10. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $72,506,522
  11. I HAS BAD TASTE – $72,506,522
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $72,169,038
  13. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $72,143,824
  14. aria82’s Cineplex – $66,907,804
  15. Joanie’s Joint – $64,160,163
  16. grannanj’s Cineplex – $61,162,190
  17. Too Orangey For Crows – $61,162,190

SynCaine was the only one to go with 5x Jurassic World, so he won the week. He didn’t have the perfect pick, but he was still out in front by over $3 million.

After SynCaine there was Corr, Goat, and Pak who all went with Hotel Transylvania 3 and three screens of Jurassic World. Then Vigo, Ben, and Darren were a step behind them, anchoring on Hotel Transylvania 3 but without dinos, so it seems like that franchise was a reasonable choice for anchor. After that, mid pack, came me and my four screens of The Incredibles 2, $9 million back from first.  I was the only one all-in on Pixar this week.

Behind me was a group who either anchored on Ant-Man or who went with Hotel Transylvania 3 but sank themselves by betting on Whitney. That got the worst performer nod this week, dragging down an otherwise solid anchor. Whitney was in 17th place in the overall box office rankings.

And, finally, there were the final four who bet on The Rock only to find that Skyscraper seriously under performed, the bottom two who also bet on Whitney, for a double whammy. Ouch.

All of that left the season scoring looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $683,641,387
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $676,893,229
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $663,451,223
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $660,325,535
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $653,427,734
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $651,729,082
  7. Kraut Screens – $643,798,519
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $637,656,707
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $628,872,961
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $624,110,761
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $621,961,128
  12. grannanj’s Cineplex – $594,509,349
  13. aria82’s Cineplex – $579.687,945
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $568,115,307
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $546,096,525
  16. Too Orangey For Crows – $550,949,081
  17. Joanie’s Joint – $542,749,314

I managed to hold on to the top spot despite a mid-pack finish, but Corr is closing in on me. SynCaine also benefitted from his clear victory this week, moving up a bit. But with a lower scoring week the ability to make drastic changes was diminished. That leads us to week eight and the choices we have.

Mamma Mia 2               $526
The Equalizer 2           $403
Hotel Transylvania 3      $334
Ant-Man and the Wasp      $210
Skyscraper                $167
Incredibles 2             $149
Jurassic World            $135
Unfriended 2              $103
The First Purge           $61
Sorry to Bother You       $42
Sicario 2                 $29
Ocean's 8                 $24
Leave No Trace            $23
Uncle Drew                $21
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $20

With four new films making the cut, four older ones are dropping off. Week eight says good-bye to Tag, Three Identical Strangers, Whitney, and Deadpool 2.

In their place we have Mamma Mia 2, The Equalizer 2, Unfriended 2, and Leave No Trace.

Mamma Mia 2, or Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again to give it the name on the title card, is the sequel to the 2008 movie which was based off of the 1999 musical that involved taking a bunch of ABBA songs from the 70s and early 80s, and trying to weave them into a story. The original movie made bank so it seemed likely that somebody in Hollywood would try to force a sequel, so here we are. They managed to secure most of the key cast and even have Cher on board. The long range forecasts for the new film have it hitting about $35 million for the opening weekend. The original only hit $27 million its opening weekend, but it was up against The Dark Knight, just to put into perspective how far back that was. Mamma Mia 2 doesn’t have to compete against Batman this time around, so I suppose the real question is whether or not there are any ABBA songs left that didn’t make it into the first movie.

Opening up against Mamma Mia 2 is The Equalizer 2, the sequel to The Equalizer from 2014, which itself was based off of the late 80s crime drama of the same name. But hey, it has Denzel Washington in it. The first movie opened to about $34 million four years back, but the current film is tracking closer to $27 million, putting it a little shy of the “85% rule” for sequels.

Unfriended 2 is down in the filler tier and is, of course, a sequel. Ten out of fifteen titles this week are. And people complain about video games being mired in sequels. Unfriended, a social media horror story (as if that isn’t reality every day now) was a Blumhouse production, a company that specializes in low budget films, hoping to strike it big with an occasional big success. (There was a Planet Money episode about how they work.) The original brought in over $60 million on a $1 million budget, so with name recognition a sequel was a natural. Unfriended 2 is not directly tied to the original and tracking puts it at just $7 million for the weekend. But as low budget films sometimes bring big returns, so do low priced FML picks.

Finally there is Leave No Trace, which should have been on the list last week since it did better than Deadpool 2 or Whitney. This will be its fourth week of release and I am not sure if it is expanding its theater count this week. In the bottom end $20 to $24 pack it feels like the least likely one to pick unless it has some card to play I am not seeing.

So there we go.

For my Monday night hot takes I went with 6x The Incredibles 2, because how often do you get to anchor on the same film six weeks running, mated with a screen each of The First Purge and Sicario 2. Still, by the time I need to finalize picks for week eight I might swap to Jurassic World because the two films have been so close in revenue the last couple of weeks and dinos are cheaper again this week.

Make your picks soon. The league locks in less than 24 hours after this post goes live.

Addendum: Or, since I accidentally published this early, you have more than 24 hours.  Once again I hit the publish button instead of the save button.

WoW and the End of Legion

We are in that transition time.  The World of Warcraft 8.0 patch lands today.

This heralds the start of the run up to the Battle for Azeroth expansion launch in the middle of next month.

From the Blizzard site

With Blizzard planning a world-wide simultaneous launch, we’re actually going live mid-afternoon of August 13th here on the west coast of the US.

It is also the official end of the Legion expansion for the game.

WoW Legion farewell tour

It isn’t as though Legion is being purged from the game. If you have a character that levels up into the expansion’s range you can still get your artifact weapon and run through all the zones and dungeons and what not. If you haven’t purchased Battle for Azeroth you can hang around at level 110 and work on faction and unlock flying just like many of us did before today.

However, Legion will no longer be the focus of the game. The bulk of the player base will be moving on. Right now the pre-expansion events will start taking people away, and once the new expansion itself hits Argus and the Broken Isles will be much more quiet. Using LFG for dungeons may take some time, and LFR for the expansion raids will likely be untenable. Class changes coming with BfA will also alter the Legion experience. And, of course, some achievements and events will no longer be accessible. The Legion experience is over and the game is moving on.

So I am going to take a bit and reflect on Legion in its first moments of being part of WoW‘s past rather than present.

Zones

I still think it kinda looks like Outland…

I liked the zones. Each of the initial four had their own flavor. I think I liked Stormheim the best. After that Suramar was an adventure in and of itself. The stealth/disguise game play could be a bit much after a while, but it gave the zone its own dimension. Moving beyond that, Broken Shore wasn’t anything special, but Argus was good, in its own no-flying sort of way.

World Quests

I liked those, at least as a variation on the standard daily quest mechanic. The Emissary Quest aspect of it gave a nice, compact set of daily quests to do without burning yourself out griding. The Kirin-Tor quests were perhaps the most problematic. At least the ones where you had to teleport around, though they became incredibly easy once you unlocked flying. And I was happy to have pet battle world quests available.

Dungeons and Raids

I don’t have much to say on this really. Lacking a regular group with which to run the group content I had to rely on the Dungeon Finder. That tends to be an unsatisfying experience to me. Groups are focused on getting the dungeon done and moving on as fast as possible, while I like to stop as see what is going on. You can’t do that when you’re chasing a tank who is running at full speed to get to the last boss and get out. But I wouldn’t be able to do the dungeons at all without LFG, so there is that.

Raids I am less concerned about. I have never been a raider in WoW. They tend to be slower anyway, and I am only there in LFR in full on tourist mode, so things work out.

Still, I ended up not doing much group content during the expansion.

Artifact Weapons

I was okay with the artifact weapon idea. As a player I am not very good at keeping my gear up to level, but my weapon is always the exception. I want the best I can get and will hunt down upgrades or stalk the auction house. The artifact weapon meant that I didn’t have to keep track of that even.

Some of the artifact weapons looked good… or would have if they hadn’t been literally everywhere.  I transmoged my Ashbringer to a Mists of Pandaria model that looked about the same shape just to see if I could confuse anybody.  Other weapons were pretty bland.  I wasn’t keen on my hunter weapon.  I had a pile of transmog options that looked better than any variation of Titanstrike.

Flying

Blizz is still firmly on the fence about flying. You can’t have it to start with. You have to run through the expansion without it. Then at some point they unock it and then you and your alts can fly, but not in every zone. This time around there was no flying in Argus.

However Blizz giving us that whistle that let us recall to the nearest flight point fixed a lot of the drudgery aspect of not being able to fly. You have to be on the ground to do the quest, fight the mob, collect the thingies, or whatever. It is just getting back to the nearest settlement or on to another one that concerns you most of the time. Especially when you’re doing world quests in order to unlock flying! This made the lack of flying much nicer.

Classes

I ended up with seven characters at 110 in Legion, so I guess I ought to have some opinions about classes. Paladin and Hunter remain my favorites, though the spec split for Hunters didn’t do much for me. I was excited about the split when they announced, then stayed with beast mastery the whole time because ranged weapons and pets are what the Hunter class is all about for me.

The Death Knight and Warrior classes also worked well for me.  I am good at running up to things while wearing a pile of metal and beating on them.

I am not so good with squishy stuff.  I leveled a combat Rogue from 1 to 100 during Warlords of Draenor, then struggled to play him during Legion.  I boosted a mage to 100 and then died so much I leveled him to 110 via pet battles.  I helped my druids, one Alliance and one Horde that way as well.  The Alliance one still isn’t 110 yet.

And somehow I never quite got around to working on my Demon Hunter.  I rolled him up early in the expansion, yet he is still in the starter story.  Never finished it.  No gliding about for me.

Order Halls

An attempt to fix/refine the problematic garrisons of Warlords of Draenor. It was tough to pretend you were anything special when you’re running around in an area with a lot of people all wielding the same “unique” weapon as you. How many Ashbringers are there?

I’m with the bland

Still, having only a few followers and missions available removed the follower management mania of garrisons. I never felt order resources were as critical as garrison resources.  I did run down all my class quests for my Pally, but never felt the need to do it with alts.

I liked the Paladin order hall the best.  It was likely the easiest one to get around.  It was certainly the one I spent the most time in.  But for travel to and fro, nothing beats the Warrior order hall.  When I told my daughter that you simply jump into the sky to get there she thought I was kidding.

Trade Skills

Again, after Warlords of Draenor pretty much made trade skills pointless by giving everybody access to everything in their garrison I know they had to do something.  But I guess there was no going back to the harvest and grind.  Instead they went forward with quests and multi-level recipes and what not.  When I found I had to do dungeons in order to advance trade skills lost interest, even with my Paladin, who is an engineer and who I always max out.

Here is what I did for trade skills during Legion.  I sat my tailor in his garrison after he hit 110 and had him make hexweave bags, so now all my characters are loaded up with 30 slot storage.  And then I did Darkmoon Faire.  I suspect I advanced more via the latter than I did in the Broken Isles.

Overall

A while back I tried to quantify which WoW expansions I enjoyed most based on factions as a metric.  The theory was that the more time I spent doing something like grinding faction, the more likely it was that I enjoyed the expansion.  It was probably as good a metric as any.  In that list I worked the number so that Wrath of the Lich King, my gut favorite expansion, came out on top, with 8 of 11 major factions exalted, or 86%.  Now it is time to look and see how I did with Legion.

Legion Faction Count

I guess by that metric I have a new champion.  Unless there was some major faction I missed, I am 9 for 9, which gives me 100%.

Now there were some special circumstances.  I had to get revered with six of those in order to unlock flying in the expansion.  And, later on, I had to get revered with four of them to unlock the four pre-BfA allied races.  Still, I did do my bit for grinding, largely thanks to world quests and the emissary quest system, which put it all into daily bite size pieces.

By another measure, time spent playing, Legion is only average.  I spent about a year playing Legion out of its near two year run.  I played WotLK from its launch to the launch of Cataclysm, the only expansion I stay with for the full term. So, as it goes, Legion is likely mid-pack in my favorites; behind WotLK and Mists of Pandaria certainly.

Now a days for somebody like me who doesn’t have a regular group, who doesn’t raid, who doesn’t do any PvP… I know there must have been at least one new battleground introduced with Legion, but I couldn’t tell you the name…, who did a bit of Time Walking, but who mostly plays solo and does some pet battles and works on some alts, there is about a years worth of content in a WoW expansion.

Which is fine.  Taking a break is good.

Anyway, tonight is probably the last night for the Legion login screen.

One last look

When I get home tomorrow it should be version 8.0.x and have the Battle for Azeroth logo.  But what that brings is another story altogether.

MER – Pre-War Delve Numbers

CCP has released the monthly economic report for June 2018, and it might turn out to be an interesting report for comparison sake.  June was a month of dull peace in Delve, with ratting and mining and production and commerce rolling along unhindered.

But now, in July, we have conflicts in null sec.  Pandemic Legion has deployed to the southeast to join in on the attacks on TEST and the Legacy Coalition while the Imperium has taken PLs absence from the north as an opportunity to roll north, drop a Keepstar, and start pounding on Circle of Two and Guardians of the Galaxy.  That not only pulled a bunch of capsuleers north, but also the super capital umbrella that protects Delve as well, leaving those who didn’t get the word (which always happens), or thought they were invulnerable, open to attack.

So we can look at the June numbers as a baseline for how war changes output in Delve.  And we can start, as usual, with the mining numbers.

June 2018 – Mining Value by Region

We even have the bar graph back this month.

June 2018 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

Delve is, as usual, far ahead of every other region in mining output, and second place is Querious, which is also controlled by the Imperium and the host to the monthly “locust fleet” operations to harvest moon output in the region.  The scourge of the Rorquals I suppose.

Delve was up 600 billion over May, which is fairly impressive because the mining value measurement depends on the price, and prices were again down in June.

June 2018 – Economic Indices – Three Year Snapshot

If the price of minerals is still headed down but mining value in Delve is up, that means a lot more ore had to get mined.

Mineral prices aren’t close to their all time low yet, as the long term chart shows.

June 2018 – Economic Indices Long Term

But the trend is still way down.  Cheaper prices make it harder to get rich as a miner… unless you’re running a fleet of Rorquals… but they also make manufactured items cheaper overall in Jita.  If you’re not a miner, this is probably good.  If you are, it probably pisses you off.

On the NPC bounties front, Delve also held on to its top spot.

June 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

Again, we have the bar graph back.  Several of those went missing for the May report.

June 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

Delve, despite its dominance, was down almost 2 trillion ISK compared to May.  Meanwhile Branch was up, the place where the groups in the north have fled to escape the attentions of the Imperium SIGs and Squads.

Fade was up, almost doubling from May’s 396 billion ISK number by hitting 747 billion ISK.  That is no doubt due to Circle of Two moving in and settling down in the region and having the first half of the month free of attacks as the Imperium took two weeks off in June to give its pilots a break.  I suspect that number will be down in the July report due to the return of the Imperium.  Rumor has it that GigX has forbidden anybody to rat in anything more expensive than a VNI or mine in anything better than a T1 barge.

The share of bounties across sec status remains heavily tilted towards null sec.

June 2018 – NPC Bounties by Sec Status

High sec, which was trending up a bit over the last couple of reports, was back down to 6.2% of the total, while overall bounty payments saw a slight decline over the course of the month.

June 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

On the trade front The Forge was in no danger of losing its top position.  Jita remains the place to go to buy and sell.

June 2018 – Trade Value by Region

The bar graph shows the dominance of Jita more clearly.

June 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph

That dominance is such that they have to make a bar graph without The Forge in order for people to see how other regions stack up against each other.

June 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, Forge Excluded

There we see Domain, home of Amarr, still comfortably in second place, with Delve trailing behind in third.  After that are the three other New Eden high sec trade hubs, then Geminate, home of Pandemic Horde.

For contracts however The Forge is not as dominant.

June 2018 – Contracts Trade Value by Region – Bar Chart

There are a lot of contracts in Jita, but Delve is not far behind.  As usual, I suspect this is because a lot of things like fleet doctrine ship sales, capital and super capital sales, buy back schemes, and some raw material sales are done via contract.  Still, overall, contracts remain a small item in Jita relative to the main market.

Then there is production.

June 2018 – Production Values by Region

Previously Delve was the top region for production, though the three regions in the vicinity of Jita still combined to well out produce Delve.  However this month Delve slipped, dropping from 40 trillion ISK in production in May to 33 trillion ISK in June, putting it in close competition with The Forge, which held steady with 32 trillion ISK.

What happened in Delve?  Did we run out of pilots rich enough to buy a titan finally?  Is that why The Mittani was was extolling us to get alts into supers if we already had a main in one?

Anyway, production was down.  We will see if a war suppresses it further or if losses… should we join battle in any serious way… will spur production in order to replace them.

And so this month’s chart of interest is the destroyed value by region.

June 2018 – Destroyed Value by Region

War in New Eden may make this chart interesting to compare with next month’s chart.  But I also wanted to compare it against May’s chart to see what Into the Abyss did to the numbers.  I was wondering if the losses in abyssal pockets would up the numbers.  But abyssal pockets aren’t in normal space, so in places like The Forge, ever a hot spot for suicide ganking, destruction numbers actually went down 800 billion ISK.

So Into the Abyss didn’t change the chart, but I suspect war might.  So we will revisit this one again next month.

Finally, I will close with the usual regional comparison chart.

June 2018 – Regional Stats

That just nicely summarizes the stats for a few key regions.

Those were the June numbers.  But now, in July, war is on, both in the northeast around Fade, where the Imperium is pressing on CO2 and GotG, and in the southwest, where Pandemic Legion is leading a large but loose coalition of alliances against the TEST and the Legacy Coalition.  If both conflicts carry on, the numbers could change up quite a bit.  But wars can also end suddenly.  We shall see.

Again, you can find the monthly economic report here.  It includes many more charts than I choose to review and has all the raw data if you care to make your own.