Flying Unlocked in Legion

That actually went more smoothly/quickly than I thought it would.

When I came back to WoW in late October I was wandering around in search of a goal to get me back into the game and, naturally enough, flying was my choice.  I still had to unlock world quests, do the Suramar quest chains, and get myself revered with a series of factions.  But that seems like a decent mid-to-longer term goal.

A side goal in the whole thing was not to burn myself out on the game in trying to unlock flying as soon as possible.  I could have gone after world quests in a big way, running them down constantly, and have gotten tired of the whole affair pretty quickly.

Instead I mostly just rolled with the emissary quests, the daily set of world quests for a specified faction.  You do four of them and you get a nice bonus boost of faction.  I would do those, then move on to something else, like pet battles or working on an alt.

Soon enough I had a few factions at revered, and most of the rest close.  The exception was The Wardens, which seemed to be lagging behind.  They were only just honored when I had another faction already at revered.  So I made a point of hitting a world quest or two for them every day as well.

I also used the anniversary event to boost my faction yield.  Likewise, with Darkmoon Faire up this past week I made sure to ride the merry-go-round for the one hour faction/exp gain boost before I went off to do my quests.

Riding for a faction boost!

By Friday I had the Legionfall Commander achievement wrapped up, having done enough on the Broken Shore for that and the exploration achievement.

That meant the Broken Isles Pathfinder Part Two achievement was set, save for the fact that you need Part One as well.

It was then just The Wardens left, about 2,000 faction points shy of revered.  So I decided to binge a bit, sprint to the finish, using the last day of Darkmoon Faire to boost me a bit.  That got me close, a couple hundred shy of my goal. I would have kept going, but world quests for The Wardens dried up for me.

This morning however, there were two waiting for me.  I flew off and did one that left me just 45 points shy.  The second one was in an awkward corner of Suramar, and as I was planning how to best ride out there I realized that I had my daily Vanguard of the Silver Hand token to pick up.

Get One World Quest Free!

That lets you send out an NPC squad to run one non-elite world quest every 18 hours, which is effectively daily.  I headed back to the Paladin order hall, picked that up, stood over in a likely spot for a screen shot, and sent them on their way to pick up that final run for The Wardens.

The moment

It was actually a bit too dark where I stood.  My shoulders do stand out though!  That gave me a short cascade of achievements.

The Achievements of the Day

Now I wondered if I had to do anything else.  So I went back out into Dalaran to see if I could simply fly at that point.  Sure enough, off I went into the skies of the Broken Isles.

First Flight in Legion

And of course, that also means that flying is unlocked in WoW Legion for all of my characters.  I have been working my hunter up to 110 as one of my side tasks.  Now he will be able to fly to his quests as well.

Tistann over the Broken Shore zone

Now I have to figure out what to do next.  I will carry on with pet battles and alts.  I have Argus still to finish up. (And no flying there!)  And then I have to see if it is worth getting exalted with any of these factions.  At revered they all seem to have a battle pet for sale, and I like that, but I haven’t explored what exalted might get me.  Mounts?  Are there mounts?

Anyway, I’ve walked my last mandated mile in the main part of the expansion.  Now to fly free where I can, collect those remaining hidden treasures, and probably haul my daughter around to help her get flying unlocked as well.

Extra Credits – The Data Dilemma

Extra Credits this week takes a look at the data companies often use to measure success versus things they may be ignoring which can erode player trust in a given franchise or company.

Obvious comparisons to recent events are obvious.  Also somewhat interesting to me given my efforts to rank WoW expansions earlier in the week.  I suppose I could add in another version of the ranking with how much each one affected my trust in Blizzard.

Three Rorquals Down

After the previous night’s VNI fight, things started to go downhill a bit for me. First, as I noted at the end of the last post, during an interceptor roam through Pandemic Horde space, I managed to avoid the hostiles only to get popped by a Serpentis dreadnought.

Then last night I got back on in again, a little late to catch Asher, but was able to join DBRB’s bomber fleet to join the defense of one of the citadels we have scattered about the north right now.

My Purifier with the Empress Catiz I jubilee skin

That did not go well however.  We never got a good run on them, and were probably shy of the numbers we needed to be effective, so lost some bombers, including my own, while the hostiles were able to kill the Raitaru.

Tempests inside the new blood orange hictor bubble

Still, these things happen.  I fetched a replacement Purifier out to our staging and then logged off for a bit to do some things around the house.  But I came back to find another Asher ping forming a fleet with targets in mind.  I was good to go for that and only a couple minutes late, but was able to get out and on the black ops battleship to wait with the rest of the fleet as things got set up.

The targets were a pair of Rorquals, the capital mining ships that have boosted the mining numbers all over null sec, up in Deklein.  The plan was to drop on them, bomb the Rorquals, kill their excavator drones with torpedoes, then see if we couldn’t maybe kill one of the Rorqs before the inevitable defense fleet showed up to see us off.

The time came, the bridge went up, and we dropped on the pair.  I let my bomb go on one of the Rorqs, then missed getting any of the excavator drones because I had a warp disruptor fit and was rushing in on one of the targets to hold it down and keep it from getting away.  I was a bit quick on that… or people were a bit slow with their bombs… because I ended up getting my shields stripped away and some armor damage from them.  But I got my target locked down and started blazing away at it with my own torps.

In on the first Rorqual

Asher called for everybody to start hitting it and it seemed to be going down pretty well when first one, then the other Rorq activated their PANIC modules.

Still taking fire while invulnerable in the PANIC bubble

This made the pair invulnerable for several minutes, during which I suspect they both expected to be rescued by a defense fleet.

By that point we had done what we had set out to do, which was kill some excavator drones.  Now we had the option to hang out and see if we could get one of these ships when the PANIC modules went down, but that meant also hanging about for a defense fleet we knew was coming and facing that peril in our flimsy bombers

The pair of them in their PANIC bubbles

We cloaked up and warped off to wait out the PANIC cycle as the defense fleet arrived in system.  A mix of Cerberus and Caracals with support, they did not seem very energetic in their attempt to defend the pair.  When the two Rorquals were vulnerable again the fleet did not go after the bombers, even the ones locking down their comrades.  Of course, we dropped in a distraction.

A cyno went up and we brought in a sacrificial Revelation dreadnought to try and pound down at least one of the Rorquals.  A Rorq is worth a few dreadnoughts on the market, so worth the exchange if we could get just one.

Revelation on the scene

The defense fleet seemed entranced to have a big shiny target of their own to shoot and focused on that while the dread and the bombers hit the first of the Rorquals.

Let the pounding commence

At that point I was headed in to help hold the Rorqual down when another bomber pilot let loose with a bomb to help speed things along and I caught it full in the face, destroying my Purifier.  People who had hit me previously were apparently down or gone, so Jinx Hita, the bomber pilot, got credit for a solo kill.

Freed from the demands of combat I hung around to watch the fight.  The hostiles left me alone for a while, so I was able to watch things unfold, including the destruction of the first of the Rorqual.

Rorqual down, op success!

Since I was still alive, on grid, and had done damage to the Rorqual recently, I appeared on the kill mail.  That’s what it is all about, right?

At that point we were ahead of the game, we couldn’t lose enough for the enemy to win the ISK war.  But we were not done yet.  The second Rorqual was going down fast, and even after the hostiles dropped a Minokawa force auxiliary on grid to try to save it, it was too late.  The second Rorqual went down.  Again, I was still alive and had done some damage, so got on that kill mail as well.

At about that point I caught somebody’s eye and my pod got popped and I was sent home to grab another Purifier.  As I started flying the new ship out to our staging, I heard the ongoing fight on coms, where our dread pilot was able to pop a Cerberus and a few Caracals before finally meeting their end.  That put the final tally at about 3.5 billion ISK lost by us versus about 24 billion ISK lost by the enemy.  And it all happened in 0P-F3K, which was my home system way back in the day when TNT was in Deklein.

The survivors left the scene and we were all happy with our success.  But even as we were starting to think about getting back home, word came down that another Rorqual was lolling about, oblivious to danger, not too far away.  High on two kills already, we were keen to try for a third.

I hurried at best speed back to our staging system to join those who had to reship.  However there was still a good chunk of the fleet that was off in Deklein, while our target was in Fade.

Soon we started running into that series of obstacles that can often pull apart an op.  We had to get everybody together at a third staging point, we needed two black ops battleships, we needed fuel for bridges, jumps, and cynos, half of us needed bombs, and we needed a plan.  The target, which had been joined by a second Rorqual at this point, was in a cyno-jammed system, so we weren’t going to be able to drop another dreadnought, and close to where we expected a defense fleet to form up and come get us.

Those of us at staging got bridged to the mid-point first, the Astrahus we had defended with the VNIs previously.  After two bomber losses that night I decided that the Empress Catiz I SKIN might be unlucky and changed to Rata Sunset.

My third Purifier of the night tethered at the Astrahus

We sat around there and listened on coms as the building series of complications tried to get sorted.  It seemed to me at several points that Asher was just going to call the thing off.  The plan, as it eventually shook out, was to slip somebody into the system, put a deployable warp disruption bubble between the anomaly with the Rorquals and the Fortizar in system where they would likely dock up, then spook one or both of them to get them to warp to safety, only to catch them in the bubble, drop on them, bomb them, point them, and kill them, all before a defense fleet a couple gates away showed up to wipe us out.

I could hear the skepticism in the whole idea in the voices of several people on coms and could see how it all depended on the hostiles obliging us at a few points.  And if it didn’t come off, we wouldn’t even get any excavator drone kills.  But we were all there, ready to go, and were far enough ahead on the night with the two previous Rorqual kills that we went for it all the same.

We listened as the drag bubble got deployed, the covert cyno was put in place, and then as the Rorqual, tipped off to flee, at which point it actually warped off exactly as we wanted.  The cyno was lit and the bridge went up.

A Redeemer black ops battleship with bridge up

As we arrived we were rewarded by the sight of a Rorqual caught in a drag bubble and waiting for us to go after him.

Landed on our target, already under fire

We plowed into him, Asher called for people to overheat their launchers to increase their rate of fire, as we tried to take him down before the enemy could react.

As we hit the Rorqual we saw a Rifter flying around us.  A few of us took a shot at him, but he seemed disinclined to get involved.  But then a Stabber showed up on the scene.  He was a lot more interested in getting some kills and he chose me out of the bunch.  I though I was surely going to lose my third Purifier for the night as he chewed through shield and armor and nearly 40% of my structure, but we popped him before he was able to finish me off.  Then it was back to the Rorqual.

Rorqual showing heavy damage

We were able to kill it as the local defense fleet showed up.  However they seemed a bit hesitant to jump on in and we cloaked up, warped off, and plotted our escape.

Then, of course, we had to get out of there.  This entailed a few awkward steps in getting fuel and black ops battleships together in the right location, bridging the fuel truck, transferring fuel, dealing with the people left behind on one bridge and the guy who went through the wrong bridge with the fuel truck, which was headed back into the system we were leaving.

Eventually that got sorted.  Asher said that those of us hanging about were free to burn back to our staging.  My Purified, having been repaired by the tethering service, was ready to go.  Of course, once I got one gate along one of the black ops pilots bridged people back home.  But I got there safe all the same.

We ended up getting out of the second drop having lost a pair of bombers while knocking out a Rorqual, a Stabber, and a Cormorant from the responding defense fleet.  About 100 million ISK loss for us and close to 10 billion ISK for the hostiles.  That, with the previous two Rorquals downed made for a pretty good night.

Below a gallery of screen shots from the evening, with a few that I couldn’t fit into the post along the way.

VNI Victory in Fade

I HATE this kind of BR because it looks like we didn’t fight a lot of guys but what actually happened was they didn’t kill anything and the only living ships on the BR from their side are the ones that smartbombed their own ships that did die.

-Asher Elias, post-op ping

I have been slacking on the New Eden front of late.  I haven’t really logged on since that mid-November hot drop up north.  Things to do, pet battles to fight, and so on.

It already being a week into December I figured I had best check in and at least see what was going on.  As it turned out I got back in Jabber at an opportune moment.  Not only were we still deployed up north, so I was parked in the right station still, an op had just been announced.   Going along on the op would require me to purchase a new ship however.  The Vexor Navy Issue was the ship of choice.

The VNI, as it is commonly called, is a faction cruiser, a drone boat, and, in my experience, often the favored ship of low budget ratters in null sec who take on anomalies with the doughty little craft.

A VNI in station showing its distinctive color scheme

It has enough speed and shields when fit correctly to survive forsaken hubs and the like, but it isn’t a hard target.  Those who come into our space to hunt ratters often choose to go after VNI pilots because they are viewed as easy kills if they get caught unaware.

But the VNI is cheap… well, cheaper than an Ishtar and much cheaper than a carrier… so if you get a few anoms in the ship has paid for itself and you can afford to get another one.

So not exactly a combat ship of the line in my experience.  But Asher always has something new going on and I’ll buy into whatever doctrine he has in mind just to be able to go along for the ride.  There were some up on GSF alliance contract so I got somebody to buy me one in advance so I would be ready.

Being me I also looked to see if I had a SKIN for the VNI.  Oddly… or perhaps not… I had no SKINs for that hull.  While the VNI is actually a sharp looking ship, I always like to look a bit different.  However, out in the deployment station there weren’t any SKINs on the market for the VNI.  But CCP has a new SKIN set for Gallente up in the New Eden Store, the Kopis Edge style.  Somebody described the look as Gallente trying to disguise themselves as Amarr, but the cruiser SKIN was only 55 PLEX so I bought one and activated it.

Khopis Edge VNI

I got myself set for the op then busied myself with other things.  As I waited I saw a ping come up for a TNT op.  My alliance is also up north, though hanging out in a different system.  They too were calling for a VNI fleet, which made me wonder if the null sec meta had changed in some way since I had last been on.  Two separate VNI ops on the same night, though the TNT op was forming a good 30 mins before the Reaver op.

Of course there wasn’t really two ops as I found out a little later, but a single op.  My alliance and my SIG were joining forces for a fight.  The destination was DW-T2I in the Fade region where the Imperium had dropped an Astrahus to annoy the locals, in this case Pandemic Horde, and force them to come out and fight.  Dropping on their ratters and miners wasn’t enough, we wanted to shoot them in larger numbers.

As our op came together TNT made their way to us and we joined up on the way the the target system.  There we found the friendly citadel already into its timer with a PH Tempest fleet, supported by some anti-bomber destroyers, already hitting it, the timer paused at 11m 49s.

The state of things on our arrival

We landed on the citadel and tethered up.  After getting ourselves together and anchored on Asher, he had us drop sentry drones in small groups around the Astrahus.  When everybody had their drones deployed we were given a target to lock up and began shooting.

One, two, three, four, the hostile logi, tech II Guardians, were blown up as the Astrahus gunner joined in with void bombs and points when he could.  The hostile response was to try and pick off some of our drones and to smart bomb, presumably to shake off any tackle that might come their way.  Our drones were not going to come get them.  Sentry drones are immobile.

PH smartboming away

They managed to wipe out some of their own logi support with the smart bombs, but not much else.  After we shredded their logistics support they turned and warped off.  A few stragglers were tackled and blown up, but most got away.  Our losses so far were a single Sabre against 8 Guardians, a Damnation command ship, a Tempest, a Loki, and a Stiletto.

A good exchange from our perspective.

A gaggle of Mordus Legion Cormorants showed up about then and tried to take a shot at us. But after losing a couple of their ships for none impact on us they buggered off and found a wormhole to Delve where I understand they found a warm reception.

There was still time to go before the Citadel would be safe, and Asher figured they would be back with their Tempest fleet, this time with force auxiliary support to keep them from getting popped.   So he had us dock up, abandoning our sentry drones for the moment, but leaving them all on grid, and swap in some heavy drones in our bays.

The sentry drone menace still on grid

We then undocked and resumed our lolling about the citadel, anchored on Asher, waiting to see if they would return as expected.

Crowd of VNIs anchored up

Pandemic Horde did show up again as expected, their Tempest fleet landing at range to keep away from the sentry drones.  The began firing, pausing the citadel timer again, this time with just under a minute to go.

Not much time left…

We turned for them and launched heavy drones this time, sending them after the hostiles before their fax support showed up.  But no force auxiliaries ever arrived.  They were back with the remains of their force just to see if they could find an angle to hit the Astrahus without us killing them.

That plan proved to be futile.  We knocked out a Loki first as they tried to head shot Asher.

Their Loki going down to drones

After that we began to chew up the Tempests again.  They started to smartbomb but were far enough apart, and their caps were denuded by several well placed void bombs, that it was not seem very effective.  Half a dozen Tempests went down before the rest escaped.

A Tempest about to explode

They left behind their own drones, which we mopped up, leaving the field to us.

An Acolyte II’s shield flaring from hits

Meanwhile the citadel timer ran down so it was safe for the next six days.

Safe for now

All told, according to the battle report, we popped 45 enemy ships… well, they killed a few of their own, but we’ll claim them… worth about 6.2 billion ISK for the loss of a single interdictor.

Unfortunately, as Asher noted in the quote at the top of the post, since they barely killed anything besides their own ships, only those we blew up and those that smartbombed their own comrades appear, plus whoever got our dictor.

From there we were able to head home, enjoying Asher’s joke, which was to fight them in the same sort of ratting ships they are usually flying when we hunt them.

Later we went hunting for their VNIs in interceptors and I got popped by a Serpentis dreadnought.  I learned that they will point and neut you pretty fast, and all the more so if you boost your signature by lighting your microwarp drive so he can target you faster.  You live and learn… or die and learn.  I did get my pod back home in one piece, denying the an easy kill I suppose.

Winter Movie League – Slow Start

The Winter edition of the Fantasy Movie League kicked off this past weekend.

The TAGN League got a boost in numbers with the coming of the winter season, jumping from seven players to an even dozen.

It was, however, a bit of a mixed start for some of us.  Well, at least for me.

Of course, it was predestined to be a slow week, wedged in between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and with few new titles showing up.  And those new titles that made the list were all in limited release.  How big of a box office can a new Woody Allen film expect when it is only showing on five screens?

The lineup of options looked like this:

Coco                           $417 
Justice League                 $280 
Wonder                         $230 
Thor: Ragnarok                 $134 
Murder on the Orient Express   $132
Daddy's Home 2                 $126
Three Billboards               $74 
Lady Bird                      $66 
The Star                       $60 
Bad Moms Christmas             $44 
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $36
The Man Who Invented Christmas $14 
The Disaster Artist            $13
Call Me By Your Name           $8
Wonder Wheel                   $6

The question was, as always, how to spend your budget, fill out your screens, and end up with the maximum revenue.  The options were many this week though, and the revenue projections a bit desultory.  It is like the industry doesn’t care so much about slow weeks.

I went around and around on what to anchor on, and I think I setup variations on all of the likely suspects.  Coco was expensive, but sure to lead the box office.  Justice League still had me doubting.  Seven screens of Thor and one filler seemed like an option.  And then there were those limited engagement titles, The Disaster Artist, Call Me By Your Name, and Wonder Wheel.  With low prices, small screen counts, and conservative revenue expectations any one of them might have popped up and become the price/performer of the week.

Then again, they might not.

In the end I decided to go with what felt like a somewhat conservative pick.  I didn’t gamble on any of the limited screen wild cards and stuck with titles in the middle of the pack.  I anchored on two screens of Wonder, which seemed like they would do at least as well as one screen of Coco, a screen of Thor, and five screens of Three Billboards, the latter expanding to more screens for the week and getting good reviews.

My Winter Week One Picks

Things did not roll my way however.  Two screens of Wonder ended up being worth less than a single screen of Coco, Thor fell just short of ten million, and Three Billboards did not deliver the five million I was hoping it might, and was nowhere close to being the best price/performer.

Instead the perfect pick for the week was Coco, four screens of Thor, and three screens of The Disaster Artist, the later being the best price/performer of the week, a selection worth $81,711,083.

Winter Week One Perfect Pick

359 people got the perfect pick this week.  Fortunately for me, none of them were in the Meta League.  The scores for the Meta League shook out as follows:

  1. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $75,519,870
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $73,279,975
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $72,587,036
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $67,129,287
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $66,253,316
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $65,368,920
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – (T) $63,798,462
  8. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $63,798,462
  9. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $63,168,780
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $62,974,020
  11. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $60,469,634
  12. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $60,364,687
  13. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $58,309,063
  14. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $58,309,063
  15. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $58,309,063
  16. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $56,162,985
  17. Kraut Screens (T) – $53,873,432
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $53,195,938
  19. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $53,195,938
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

So the Meta League grew to 19, from 13 last season, with five new players in the TAGN League and Liore returning to MCats.  That is good, though it means I need to collate a longer list each week, so more room for mistakes.  Expect more mystery asterisks and such.

Logan came out on top for the week, no doubt a good feeling after ending up last season in the back half of the pack, though SynCaine, who topped the TAGN League, was not far behind.  Logan anchored on two screens of Coco while SynCaine was all-in on Thor.

I was way down the list, coming in at 16th.  However, I take heart in the fact that it was something of a slow week and the gap between myself and Logan is under $20 million, not an unreasonable gap, and the overall gap between first and last was $27 million, not an insurmountable distance this early in the season.

Still, this is not a time for complacency.  The weeks roll by and if you don’t close the gap you’re done.

We have one more week to go before Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the holiday break brings down big box office numbers upon us.  The choices for week two are:

Coco                         $390
Justice League               $177 
Wonder                       $169
Just Getting Started         $152
The Disaster Artist          $150
Thor: Ragnarok               $126 
Daddy's Home 2               $95 
Murder on the Orient Express $88
Lady Bird                    $73
Three Billboards             $68
The Star                     $58
Bad Moms Christmas           $47
The Shape of Water           $34
Roman J. Israel, Esq.        $20
Darkest Hour                 $13

 

Pricing did not change dramatically in most cases.  Coco is still expected to be the top in the box office with Justice League and Wonder trailing behind.

Three films fell off the list, The Man Who Invented Christmas, Call Me By Your Name, and Wonder Wheel.  They were replaced by Just Getting Started, The Shape of Water, and Darkest Hour, the latter two in limited release.

That leaves a lot of options for the week, with any of the top six films potentially serving as an anchor, with the mix being anything from one screen of Coco to seven screens of Thor and everything in between.  Four of those six are probably predictable in their results, with The Disaster Artist, now in wider release and with good reviews, and Just Getting Started, with Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Renee Russo on the poster, being the wild cards.

My gut says that The Disaster Artist, being a film about making another specific film, might be a bit too inside-baseball to be a runaway success, but at its price it is worth considering.

Meanwhile Just Getting Started sounds like another contentious buddy comedy where opposites have to put their differences aside in order to survive, ala The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  Basically  The Mob Lawyer’s Bodyguard, if I were to give it a new title.  Still, it is a formula that has worked over and over again.  The question is, are we talking Beverly Hills Cop or The Last Boy Scout here?

(I had to search for an action buddy movie that failed to gross more than budget for that comparison.  It is a very successful story structure.  Even some titles I remember being bad were modestly successful.)

Anyway, one last week before Star Wars: The Last Jedi dominates our picks.

Arms Race Expansion Brings Expanded Alpha Clone Abilities to New Eden

The Arms Race expansion is upon us today and Alpha clones have been unleashed… sort of.

Bigger ships in your future Alphas

As I covered in a previous blog post, Alpha clones will now be able to access up to 20.5 million skill points, the expanded skill range including all empires, Tech II weapons up through cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships with Tech I gear.

The Skill Point Divides

The sticking point, for me, is how an Alpha clone acquires those extra 15 million skill points.  If you’re a veteran Omega and you drop down to Alpha, those are now yours to play with.  If you’re just an Alpha though, CCP has a magic potion for you, a Daily Alpha Injector.

LOL! Drink a pot noob!

That is either buying Omega training speed one day at a time or selling skill points for cash, depending on how you look at it.  My discomfort aside, which probably applies to free to play monetization in general because I am an old school purist in that regard, I will be interested to see how this plays out.

While that is no doubt the biggest item coming with today’s expansion, there is more to be seen.

Siting a desire to increase “friction” when hauling or deploying capital ships, CCP has made changes to fuel size (reducing the size of isotopes yet again), consumption, and associated jump fatigue.

  • +56% fuel use by Black Ops Battleships
  • +100% fuel use by other ship-based jump drives
  • Reduction of the maximum jump fatigue cap by 20%
  • Further reduction in isotope volume by 40% (to 0.03m3)
  • +20% increase in jump freighter fuel bay volumes

So hot dropping and jump drive movement will cost more.  Expect the prices at your favorite null sec shipping services to go up a bit.  But you will be able to carry even more fuel to offset that, so you’ll be less likely to run out of gas even if you’re using much more.

And then there is the reduction in the jump fatigue cap.  Back with the Phoebe update you could wreck a character for weeks by jumping too much.  Eventually a cap of five days of jump fatigue was put in place, so you could go jump happy one weekend and then be good again a week later.

I have achieved maximum jump fatigue

A 20% reduction makes it four days.  I guess that is good, I just wonder how many people that will affect.  My limited experience with capital ship ops has shown me a group that is very, very conservative about accumulating any fatigue.  They’ll wait 45 mins or take many gates to keep people under an hour because having a cap fleet with jump fatigue hinders tactical flexibility.  I am sure somebody out there is happy they’ll only hit four days now, and it will help when and if the day comes that we need to burn out the drives to get to the next big fight, but I don’t see this changing much in a world where having admitting you have a day of fatigue marks you as an weirdo.

Likewise changes have been made to fuel block production and T2 materials, though that is an area well outside the realm of my knowledge in New Eden, so I don’t understand what these changes will mean, save that I imagine something will be more expensive.

There is a new event kicking off called Arms Race which will start tomorrow and run through the 12th.

Arms Race event

Given the logo I expect it will be typical of events we have seen via The Agency this year.  After that wraps up the annual Yoiul Festival will commence on the 19th.

The expansion also includes some graphical updates as a number of in-game objects being re-rendered.  Warp disruption bubbles are also getting a graphical update to improve their render performance and to make them less likely to white out space when we deploy them by the dozens in null sec fleet fights.

An example of the “white out” that comes from over-bubbling

We are also getting a new in-game asset in the form of a monument to celebrate Project Discovery.

The Sisters of EVE Project Discovery Monument

According to INN the monument will be located at planet III, moon 2 in the Lanngisi system in Metropolis.  I expect this will spur Mark726 back into action and yield a new update over at EVE Travel.

Otherwise the update brings the usual series of fixes.  Resource Wars is getting some tuning along with a plethora of UI an text changes and corrections.  Hopefully the promised fixes for the launcher and login server… getting online has been problematic at times and the launcher has had a habit of forgetting your login information regularly… will be good.

The Arms Race expansion has been successfully deployed.  For a full accounting of the changes… or as full of an accounting as we every get… there are the Patch Notes and the Updates page for the expansion.

Others with notes about the Arms Race expansion:

 

Why My Alts Can Fish

Okay, a past post may have explained my odd attraction to fishing in MMORPGs.  Or maybe it didn’t.  But if there is fishing in a game, I’ll be there.

On the Shadowmoon Valley shore

But fishing really only needs one character.    I generally pick somebody to be my fisherman and send them out to fish around the world, following whatever plans the game happens to have for the vocation.

Something on the hook

In World of Warcraft though my alts end up fishing as well.

Maybe not all of them.  I draw the line at different servers and there are a couple of low level characters I rolled up for a specific reason that I have since ignored.  But alts I actually play tend to have their fishing skill raised up past 75.

The reason is Darkmoone Faire.

Behold, Darkmoon Faire

Darkmoon Faire rolls around once a month in Azeroth, starting on the first Sunday of each month and running for a week.  And every month it comes by I am there in Elwynn Forest to join in on the fun… or whatever it is that one calls the activities at the faire.

The faire has been around forever, at least in the reckoning of the years of Azeroth.  It used to pop up in different locations and its portal even made appearances outside of Shattrath in Outland, back when people used to be there.  But I was never really much for the faire back then.  It wasn’t until Cataclysm that I started visiting regularly.

It was during that time frame that the faire adopted its more regular monthly schedule, with portals outside of Stormwind and Thunder Bluff, so it was much easier to find.  And, of course, Cataclysm was also a dark time in WoW for the instance group.  We found the expansion unsatisfying and the rework of the old world distressing, so left for other pastures before too long.

Well, most of us did.  I went in on that deal where I subscribed to WoW for a year to get my copy of Diablo III, so I was stuck with paid time on the game (and Blizz wouldn’t even let me turn off auto-renewal despite having paid in advance).

I wasn’t playing a lot during that time, but every month I would roll into Darkmoon Faire with my main and then a growing number of alts.  It started as a way to slowly advance the trade skills I was otherwise not using.  With every fair there is a quest for each profession that you can run once which advances you 5 skill points.  That is not a lot, but it is something… and it is often something that can get you past a dry spot in the profession progress curve.

Of course, fishing is a profession, but I wasn’t all in on that quite yet.

Once I had made the faire a regular stop I started looking at the prize tickets that were piling up.  Each quest gives you a few and you can earn a few more by playing the carnival games.  Soon the prize tickets became as important, then even more important, than the profession skills.

Through the parallel progress of a pile of alts, each earning some tickets with every passing faire, I have been able to accumulate almost all of the heirloom armor available (as well as upgrading all I have from level 60 to 90), all of the pets, and most of the mounts.  I am currently saving up for the Darkmoon dirigible mount, which came in with patch 7.3, and which costs 1,000 prize tickets.  That might take me a while.

Since the acquisition of prize tickets became a goal, I expanded to get fishing going on my alts, since that was one of the professions for which a quest was available.  It did require me to get each alt up past the skill level of 75, into the second tier of the profession, which you have to do to be able to take the quest.  But once there each alt that visits the faire spends a few minutes down at the dock fishing up the required catch to add some additional tickets to their monthly take.

My hunter down at the end of the faire

Of course, the faire has other attractions.  Knowing the faire was coming I saved up some of my WoW Legion faction upgrade tokens.  If you ride the merry-go-round at the fair it boosts experience and faction gains by 10%.

Riding for a faction boost!

That isn’t a huge boost, but when you are sitting on a bunch of tokens it can make a difference.

Anyway, I mention this because Darkmoon Faire is here again this week and I and my alts will be showing up to visit, to boost our professional training a bit, to collect more prize tickets, to do the pet battles, and to fish.