Daily Archives: August 16, 2007

A Career in Asteroid Mining

The 14 day trial expired on my second EVE Online account so I converted it to a live account with all the rights and benefits thus accorded.

This made me a bit cranky.  I know I am being unreasonable, but it annoys me that you have to pay $19.95 for the first month of EVE Online. 

After all, I did not have to buy the game off the shelf to play, I just downloaded it, so I am ahead in the deal, at least compared to most other MMOs. 

There is just something about that extra “initiation fee” first month price that irks me.  Not enough to stop me from paying it, for the second time.  Just enough for me to whine about it a bit.

With EVE Online though, they might get enough people dropping out after first month that they need the extra $5.00.  Space is vast and pitiless.

On the plus side, I think Brent at VirginWorlds gets a cut, since I used the link from his site to create the trial account… both of my trial accounts, actually.

And I can send myself some money from the other account now.  Go me.

Which was good, because I wanted to buy the new guy that Osprey cruiser for more advanced mining operations.  So Wilhelm, my main, fronted him the money, which he ended up making back rather quickly.

It seems you can actually make money mining.  Not huge money, at least not without a bigger time investment than I want to make at the moment, but decent money.  I had trained up his mining and refining related skills along the way, so his yield is decent at the moment.  It did not take too many runs in a system where I was able to find and mine some plagioclase asteroids to make up the cash invested in the new ship.

It is a bit tedious though. 

Mining doesn’t require enough attention that I can focus only that.

But it requires enough attention that I if I am mining on my laptop and playing LOTRO or EQ2 on my desktop, my ship spends a lot of time waiting for me to look over and take care of the next step.

Undock, warp out to my bookmark, target, start my mining lasers, then do a few fights with my ranger in Steamfont.

Look over, see the cargo bay is full, select the local station I am using, click dock, go back to my ranger.

Glance over again, see that I am in the station, unload my cargo bay, undock, and off I go again. 

There is a bit of excitement.  Once in a while a pair of pirates will spawn and attack me.

All I have for weapons on the Osprey is a standard missile launcher.  In fact, everything I have on it at the moment are items that were drops, so my investment is completely in the Osprey hull.

But the Osprey is tough.  One of the items equipped is a small shield recharger.  So as I mine and slowly fire off missiles at the pirates… or rats… pirates in EVE are generally considered to be players, while NPC pirates are called “rats”… I just recharge the shield if it drops below 50%.  It rarely happens though.  The ship has yet to take any damage outside of bringing down the shields a bit.

So back and forth I go, piling up ore to refine. 

Tabula Rasa Pre-Order

I was at Fry’s the other day… how often is that my opening to a story?

I was there picking up something for work, so naturally I had to cruise down the PC games aisle.

On the shelf, amid the many Burning Crusade Collectors Edition boxes, there was a new facing of pre-order boxes for Tabula Rasa priced at $5.00 each.

I should say “Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa.”  His name is part of the title, and the web site is http://www.RGTR.com.

Anyway, for $5.00, the box said I would receive the following:

  • Shell Bot or Pine-Ock non-combat pets will be by your side from bootcamp to battlefield
  • Two exclusive character emotes
  • Beta access to Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa
  • Three-day head-start on the live servers
  • DVD with game client, bonus wallpapers, and concept art

Well, pets aren’t my thing really, and what use would a non-combat pet be to me in bootcamp or on the battlefield?  And what kind of bootcamp let’s you bring pets?

Character emotes?  Hrmm, okay I suppose.

Beta Access!  Now this I like.  I have heard that the beta is in full swing and that they are even letting in anybody with a paid FilePlanet account these days. (see here)  I let my paid account lapse when I stopped playing WoW, but at least it is a sign they are letting people in.

Three-day head start on the live servers.  That could be okay, though I managed to squander a better deal with Lord of the Rings Online.

DVD with the game client and such.  I’ve sworn off giant downloads, so this sounded good.

I bought the box and brought it home.

Tuesday night I ran the install, let the patcher run for a little over an hour, used the supplied key string and added the game to my NCSoft account, which currently also has Dungeon Runners and an expired trial of City of Heroes, and saw the confirmation message hit my in-box.

So I launched game and tried to get in.

No joy.

While the outside of the box says “Beta access,” it is only when you get the box open that you get more details.

It seems that it is beta access when they are ready for you, at some unspecified date.  Since that is the major reason people will probably pick up this box, it seems more than a little deceptive to only explain the terms INSIDE THE BOX.

Now somebody reading this is thinking, “If you had listened to Massively Online Gamer episode 73 you would have heard about this already.”

Well, I did listen to episode 73.  And if you did as well, you would have heard Gary and Ryan say that RG himself decided that this claiming beta access on the box with the caveats inside was BS and that they were giving people access now.  Their enthusiasm and their statements about beta access clinched the deal when it came to picking up the box.

Only, they are not giving pre-order buyers access to the beta yet. Or so it seems.

Inside the box it and in the confirmation email it basically says, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

When I run the game client, it tells me that my account is blocked, but that I should go to the beta forums for details.

When I hit the beta forums and select new user, it asks me to log in with my account.  This goes fine and it asks me to create a forum account.

The things fall apart.

If I try to create an account outside the parameters specified, I get sent back to the main page with a message that, for example, my forum name needs to be longer.

If I enter all the information correctly, all I get back is an empty page with the following text:

500 Server closed connection without sending any data back

So it was Tuesday evening.  So it is now, Thursday morning.

I am not allowed into the beta and I cannot access to the forums to get any information.

So buyer beware on that pre-order box.  It isn’t of any use today, so do not buy it thinking it might be.

I’ll let you know if the situation changes.

[See the comments thread for updates.]