Monthly Archives: July 2008

SOE Minicast #2

Alan “Brenlo” Crosby and Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske hosts this mini episode of the Official SOE Podcast.

Topics:

  • Fan Faire Count Down
  • Block Party Count Down
  • Happy 100th episode to Yivvits and MrBubble
  • Matt & Liz’s Ceremony (aka Jethal & Elquin for EQ2 people)
  • Hamstergate 2008 – Part 3: The Investigation Continues

The show is available on iTunes as well as from the official SOE podcast site.

The show was recorded on July 16th and runs for just fifteen minutes.

Detour to Darklight

Saturday night and there we stood in Azeroth. See, it isn’t all EVE Online here at the Sound Mind BBS… erm, the Ancient Gaming Noob. Sorry, had a flashback to the early 90s there.

We were in the Outlands again. We were also down 40% of the team.

Earl was hosting some sort of Guitar Hero/Rock Band super play session at his new house (give a guy more that 250 square feet in which to live and suddenly he has stuff to do on a Saturday night) while Bung was off at an undisclosed location. (Or I missed what Skronk said, or I forgot.)

We could have just gone out and for a few group quests, ground some experience, and called it a night, but it was pointed out that we were the three people in the instance group who had played EverQuest II. And since the Living Legacy promotion was still active, our accounts were all live. And it was also a double experience weekend in post-cataclysm Norrath.

So we camped in Azeroth and woke up in Norrath.

Skronk and Ula had already been playing a bit in Norrath as part of the Living Legacy program, as noted, and had a couple of characters ready to go. I, as mentioned elsewhere, have a full set of alts and no room to roll anything new. So our group ended up being:

15 Iksar Coercer – Dentiliak (Skronk)
15 Arasai Necromancer – Xola (Ula)
62 Fae Swashbuckler – Blintz (Vikund)

A bit unbalanced, but cheers for mentoring in EverQuest II. Blintz could become a level 15 swashbuckler at need, once grouped and in the same zone.

Getting to that zone though.

Blintz was over in the Loping Plains while the other two were already questing in Darklight Wood. A bit of a trip for Blintz, but at least I knew the way, having been there once before. And Darklight would mean quests that he had not done before, so he could at least earn some experience towards AA points. Too bad it wasn’t a double AA point experience weekend.

Anyway, travel. In to Kelethin then to Butcherblock, take the boat to Nektulos Forest, and then into Darklight.

I was amused to see that, after nearly four years, I get the same video error at the same spot in Nek Forest.

I was told at one point that it was my video card causing the problem. I have seen this now with five video cards, three nVidia and two ATi. I am starting to think my video card is not the issue. Ah well.

My trip was aided by fae glide and the fact that you can jump off the birds when you want. A nice feature if you’re a fae. Maybe less so if you’re a dwarf.

Once there, and mentored down, Blintz immediately ran afoul of the locals. Gone are the days when guards used to just throw you out of town. Now they kill you dead.

Not even my cheerful Frostfell outfit seemed to appease them.

Yes, it has been a while since I had Blintz out and about.

Unmentoring worked though, when I could manage it. Most of the guards were low enough level that I could just walk past them in my level 62 form, which was good, as a couple of the quest giver locations had guards at the door.

There was one guard who was not an attackable NPC like the others who did kill me twice. He ended up being an NPC I had to turn in a quest with. I found that there was a very small zone around him where I was could get close enough to hail him and interact, but where I was far enough away to keep him from one shotting my fae butt yet again.

As for what we did, there isn’t much to tell. Quests in the usual vein of MMO quests. We got to take advantage of the fact that when you mentor down, you get to keep all of your current level skills, so I was the level 15 running around with both evac and smuggle. Always invite a Swashbuckler to your party.

Xola and Dentiliak both got levels. Blintz got some AA experience and some experience debt from getting jack by guards. And we all had fun, capping off the evening with a little lightning.

There are these little black clouds that wander the zone. If you get too close to them, they zap you with a bolt of lightning out of the sky.

If you are a fae, or an arasai, and you fly past them, that bolt of lightning zaps you out of the sky. Doing that about a dozen times was worth the trip to Darklight Wood.

Next week, back to Azeroth. In the mean time, we return you to your regularly scheduled propaganda from New Eden.

Moves, Mining, and Missions

The EVE corporation I founded almost a year back, Twilight Cadre, as an experiment in corporation (mis)management has seen a burst of activity of late.

For most of its existence, the Twilight Cadre has been lead by me mostly by virtue of the fact that I was the only member with an active account.

After nearly a year, I still don’t know squat about how things work in the corp management window. Eventually I just made everybody a director and called it a day. (And no, you can’t join our corp until I fix that. I don’t know much, but I do know that the director flag is a license to steal.)

Not too long ago, a co-worker of mine, tired of the trials of 0.0 space, joined up to spend some time running missions and mining. His arrival brought about the move to Amarr space. He already had faction there and I was interested in harvesting some kernite.

When factional warfare came out, we packed up our belongings and moved the corp back to Caldari space for reasons that now escape me. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as usual, I cannot recall why.

Then a few weeks back, Gaff came back into EVE Online. He played a little bit before, so had a character already in the corp, but had not gone very far with the game, but was lured back by my writings on the subject. (Since I tend to write about my incompetence, it was surely a matter of, “I can do better than that!”)

Gaff got on, immediately got a second account going, as he tends to feel insecure with only a single MMO client on his machine, and started down the mining path using Halada’s excellent Complete Miner’s Guide.

The desire for more wealth in the form of Kernite saw him move to Amarr space. It even got a blog post out of him! And, since the lag in Lonetrek was making the game unplayable, I packed up my worldly goods again and moved back to Amarr space as well, plunking the corp headquarters down in Safizon, where the rent was cheap.

Moving is a pain in EVE. I need a freighter before I move again.

And, during the move back to Amarr space I came under fire a couple of times from pilots in opposing militias. There is a system along the way that only has CONCORD patrolling it, and they don’t care about militias, so suddenly I was fair game for people other than the pirates. That had to stop.

So I took the corp out of the Caldari militia. We were not doing much with factional warfare in any case, aside from making a few sales. If not a warrior, I am at least a war profiteer!

Once back in Amarr space, Gaff grew dissatisfied with mere kernite and decided to go after some low sec treasures. He managed to bring out some goodies in his hauler before somebody in an Ishtar came along and made junk out of his Osprey. Still, he probably netted out positive on the deal, like when lag killed his Caracal the other night. You can get his view here.

And then, just this week, Potshot (alias Skronk of the instance group) showed up in space, two boxing and trying to figure out how to make things happen in EVE. (His post here.) I told him it is easy to get back into the groove in EVE, once you get used to it, like assembling a zamboni blindfolded.  Without tools.  In the middle of the ice.  While a hockey game is in progress.  And it is the Sharks playing, only they are real sharks with lasers on their head.

Meanwhile, feeling the lure of alphabetically superior ore and million ISK rats, Gaff has been on the lookout for a corp that can get us 0.0 access. He has left the Twilight Cadre (something that took 26 hours because he had a “role” in the corp… I tried to evict him from the corp and found my dictatorial powers were more limited than I had thought…) and has already joined a new corp.

Being lazy, unwilling to move without a freighter, and generally happy with my little corner of space, I’m letting Gaff scout out the options before I do anything rash, like pressing a button. But that is the way things have worked with use over the last 14 years of gaming. He runs off, finds the good guild and then drags me along after the fact. I think I am still in some of those guilds….

In the mean time, when we all haven’t been moving or mining, it has been the usual mission running in order to gain standing with local NPC corporations. My work over the last year has paid off, as I have a standing of 8 with both Amarr Navy and Caldari Navy, but even I want more options when it comes to where I can refine ore or get level 4 missions.

Anyway, this all means that there will probably be no shortage of EVE related posts for some time to come, maybe even from all three of us.

Shut Up We’re Talking #30

Shut Up We’re Talking” one of the podcasts in the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective now has episode Thirty available.

Regular host, Karen from Journeys with Jaye, now enjoying top billing, was joined by a cast of characters that looks remarkably like show twenty-six. They were:

Darren of The Common Sense Gamer, show founder, audio engineer, and sudden second fiddle
Scott from Pumping Irony
John, me, making my 10th appearance on the show

Topics:

  • Introductions
  • Listener Mail – From Blacktop and Seritaph. Blacktop calls us on our complete lack of vision on show #29 in going against the conventional wisdom and declaring that Blizzard’s big announcement would NOT be about Diablo III. Our folly, read about it here.
  • What we’re playing (EVE, EQ2, Wizard101)
  • WAR, What is it (still) Good For? – We look at the recent announcements from Mythic about feature cuts and speculate on what it means, what is good, and what worries us, prompted by all sorts of posts including those from Karen, Michael Zenke, Heartless, n3rfed, JoBildo, and myself.
  • WoW, Long in the Tooth? – Brought up by Tipa’s post about how well (or not) WoW is aging, since it is starting to get up there, at least in MMO years.
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog – Some of us had seen it, others had not, but Joss Whedon‘s web venture became the unofficial third topic of the show. Find it here, if you haven’t seen it.
  • Blog of the WeekRuur Squig
  • Out Takes – The original intro to the show which had Karen crying “Foul!”

The show runs just under an hour and you can get it here as well as via iTunes.

Another fine podcast tuned by the audio manipulating talents of Darren.

If you want to help support the show, digging it over at Digg.com couldn’t hurt!

Marauder Economics

Starting out with level 4 missions was a bit of a trial. A new ship, a Raven, to get used to with its active shield tanking requirement as opposed to the passive shield tank of the Drake. When faced with such troubles in the past, I tended to buy my way out of them.

When faced with a couple of tough level 1 missions, I upgraded to a destroyer.

When the Moa wasn’t working out for me and I lost two Caracals on level 2 missions, I went to the Drake, a battlecruiser.

When level 3 missions got tough… well, actually, the Drake was so good that it powered through all of the level 3 missions, so I never considered a replacement.

But the pattern of upgrading to solve problems was set.

So, when level 4 missions were a challenge, I started looking at the market.

CCP had introduced a new ship class not to far back, the marauder. This class was described as the mission runner’s dream. More capacitor, more CPU, more offense, more defense, and they even doubled the range of tractor beams when fitted to them.

Hot stuff indeed. And so new that they do not even have an entry for it in their EVE database.

So I looked into pricing for the Caldari flavor of Marauder, the Golem… and my jaw dropped.

Golem prices were in the 750-800 million ISK range, which is way out of my price range.

Fine, I thought, maybe I can build a Golem. So I started looking for blueprints in the contracts interface. And, sure enough, there were some, and the first item on the bill of materials gave me some hope.

The first thing you need is a Raven.

Well, I have one of those! That covers about 80 million in ISK cost right up front!

Of course, the single run blueprint itself was 60 million ISK, but at least I was 20 million ahead.

Golem BPC Materials
1 Raven – 84,752,935.98 ISK (calculated here)
45 Contruction blocks – 247,500.00 ISK
1052 Gravemetric Sensor Clusters – 24,196,000.00 ISK
3002 Graviton Reactor Unit – 300,200.00 ISK
1577 Magpulse Thrusters – 63,080,000.00 ISK
975 units Morphite – 9,750,000.00 ISK
1 R.A.M. Starship Tech – 40,000.00 ISK
3215 Scalar Capacitor Units – 45,010,000.00 ISK
3795 Sustained Shield Emitters – 151,800,000.00 ISK
7185 Titanium Diborite Armor Plates – 68,257,500.00 ISK
1415 Quantum Microprocessors – 31,130,000.00 ISK

Materials 478,564,135.98 ISK
BPC 60,000,000.00 ISK
MFG 1,910.48 ISK

Total to build 538,566,046.46 ISK

A lot of ISK, but less than the cost to buy the ship outright. I have actually had that much ISK at one time.

Plus, with the Raven already paid for, that brought the cost down to 453,813,110.86 ISK.

Let’s get started!

But wait.

You cannot just build a Marauder with your everyday manufacturing skills. Sure, you can build a battleship, but a Marauder is something more… as in you need to spend some more ISK and some more time.

You need to have the skill Battleship Construction up to level IV. And to get that you have to have Cruiser Construction up to level IV, which in turn requires Frigate Construction at level IV.

And, for the the Golem, you need Caldari Starship Engineering at level IV.

And, while you are at it, Mechanical Engineering must be at level IV as well.

Prices
Caldari Starship Engineering – 10,000,000 ISK
Battleship Construction – 22,500,000 ISK
Cruiser Construction – 900,000 ISK
Frigate Construction – 72,000 ISK
Mechanical Engineering – 10,000,000 ISK

MFG Skills Total – 43,472,000 ISK

Bringing the grand total up to: 582,038,046.46

Plus I need to spend 23 days, 4 hours, 39 minutes, and 8 seconds training the skills. And the time is only that small because I already own, and have some training in, Mechanical Engineering.

Still, we’re on track. Just get the materials lined up while I train, build the thing, and off we go!

Oh, wait, I need some skills to fly the thing.

I need Caladri Battleship to level V, Energy Grid Upgrades to level V, Weapon Upgrades to level V, Advanced Weapon Upgrades to level V, and finally, the skill Marauders to at least level I.

But I own most of those skills already! I just need Advanced Weapon Upgrades, a mere 450,000 ISK, and Marauders for… eep… 57,600,000 ISK.

Man, they seem to have decided to make up for how easy it was to get into a Heavy Interdictor… a ship to kill other people… by making Marauders… a mission running ship… a serious effort.

So, adding on the skills to fly the Golem, the total goes to: 640,088,046.46.

I have had that much ISK at one time, but not for long.

Still, I could get there again, plus the Raven is already paid for, as I keep pointing out.

And to train those flying skills: 90 days, 6 hours, 39 minutes, 42 seconds.

So if I start today and do not get side tracked, I can be flying my Golem on November 12th, 2008!

You level 4 mission NPCs! You’d best make plans! Because I’ll be coming for you in my shiny new Marauder any month now!

That is certainly more likely that my Titan dreams!

KOTOR(O) Contrarian

Well, it has been announced. Or confirmed. Or made clear.

BioWare is in fact making an MMO based on Knights of the Old Republic.

If they stick with that name and just append “Online,” I suppose KOTORO will be the new acronym on everybody’s lips. Very Japanese sounding when said aloud, at least to my ear.

And with all that, I have to admit I am disappointed.

Not so much so by the fact of the game itself, but by the build up.

When it was announced that BioWare was working on an MMO, everybody said, “KOTOR.”

When it LucasArts involvement was mentioned, everybody said, “KOTOR.”

At every turn, any mention of anything related to what massive title BioWare could be working on, “KOTOR” was the answer.

People declared it obvious, the worst kept secret in the industry, a sure thing.

So I was dearly hoping it would end up being something else. The contrarian in me just rebels against such smug universal conviction.

But, in the end, the answer was indeed, “KOTOR.”

Ah, well… it should be good in any case, once it gets here.

1.5 Million Experience Points To Go

I found some time to get log onto WoW Wednesday night and ground myself through the last bits of my level, getting Vikund to level 68. Appropriately enough, Vikund leveled slaying that staple of MMO beasts, the boar.

A purple boar with green spikes on his back. They do come in all sizes and colors!

That leaves, by my estimate, about 1.5 million experience points to go until Vikund hits level 70.

Which seems like a lot, I suppose.

After all, the most I have ever gotten for a quest reward is 12,000 experience, which puts me 125 quests away. But there is all that experience you get along the way, slaying those who oppose you, your faction, or you particular quest giver. Call it 70 quests plus collateral damage.

70 quests to level 70!

And then I will have accomplished something new. I have never managed to get a character to level cap in an MMO. The last character I had at a level cap was back in the days of Toril MUD.

So while the instance group may not make it through all of the five person instances before Wrath of the Lich King comes out, we should all make it to level 70 by that time.

Walking the Blade’s Edge Mountains

Two weeks away and the Saturday night instance group was already well into another zone, the Blade’s Edge Mountains.

Unfortunately for us Earl had other plans for the night of my return to the group, so we went off questing. The group was:

67 Paladin – Vikund
68 Warlock – Bungholio
68 Mage – Ula
69 Priest – Skronk

Since I was behind, it meant a ride out to to Sylvanaar to grab the alliance flight point in the zone and to start picking up quests. And picking up quests meant first dumping a bunch of uncompleted quests from another zone. I had already cleared out all of Zangarmarsh, so the remains of Terokkar went.

Of course, the first thing I saw in Shattrath was some pally with my hat, only in a different color.

Earl and Vikund

Earl and Vikund

I wonder where that one comes from?

Anyway, we got out there, I collected the quests I could find, and then we started off, at which point I had to deal with my next big issue.

After our last outing with Exarch Maladaar, I began thinking that if only we had a little more damage we could have taken him down.  So I took Vikund back to the paladin trainer and re-spec’d him as a retribution Paladin.  It was something of a whim and, of course, I didn’t do anything like reading up on the subject.  So I probably picked the wrong things into which to sink my points, but there it is.

Retro noob paladin.

And, in the spirit of that moment, Skronk went out and re-spec’d as a shadow priest.

Healing is overrated.  When you kill stuff dead, you don’t need healing, right?

We will be putting that theory to the test some time soon.

But my issue with Vikund was figuring out how to play now that the skills I learned to work with over the last 55 levels were gone, replaced by new skills.

Skronk had the last few weeks to figure out the shadow priest thing, but I was starting from scratch.

By the end of the evening, I had worked out a pattern to get the most damage going for me.  Put up sanctity aura, cast then judge seal of the crusader, cast seal of vengeance, and then whack stuff with crusader’s strike whenever possible.

Unfortunately I still don’t have a damage parser for WoW (the last one somebody recommended is now unsupported, so who can recommend one?) so I cannot tell how effective I really was, plus we were fighting normal mobs, so they were dying too fast to get a feel for how much damage I was putting out.

But Vikund does seem to take a lot more damage and use a lot more mana.  That is a bit different.

The evening itself was enjoyable.  I held forth on my cruise adventures after accidently putting myself on mute, so the team was spared from my vacation tales for the most part.

The quests were, for the most part, the usual variety of kill a bunch of these, find a bunch of those, collect a bunch of drops, and so on.  Still, while Blizzard follows a pattern, they do manage to throw a curve ball once in a while.

And such were the quests with Tally Zapnabber and his Zephyrium Capacitoriun, a device that flings the users to various locations in the Blade’s Edge Mountains.  And so we got launched all over.  Here is Vik coming down in some disturbingly sharp terrain.

So many sharp points

So many sharp points

Watch out for those spikes!

Ula incoming!

Ula incoming!

And some of the discovery messages were probably not what you’d want to see while hurtling through the air.

Look at the size of them...

Death’s Door? Sounds like a nice place.

All fun and nobody died on impact.

We made some progress on levels.  I got to get warmed up again after a couple of weeks away from Azeroth and got a little more familiar with the retribution spec. (Advice welcome!) And Vikund is within striking distance of 68 now.

So next week, if we can all get on together, it might be time for a trip back the Auchenai Crypts to finish up our quest and settle our score with Exarch Maladaar.

The Official SOE Podcast #39

Alan “Brenlo” Crosby and Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske host this episode of the SOE Podcast, with Jason “Pex” Ryan reading the news.

  • SOE Game News
  • Podcast Follow ups
  • Listener Email: Conrad Max
  • Fan Faire
  • SOE Block Party – Coming up July 26th
  • GenCon Meet and Greet
  • Interview with Erica “Laikas” Corrado, the community team intern
  • Living Legacy
  • G.I.R.L. Winner
  • Dramatic Rant
  • Interview with Kyle “Kander” Vallee, EQII Designer
  • EverQuest II – The Void Storms
  • Star Wars Galaxies New Site and the Card Game, plus Game Update 5
  • TV and Movies
  • What are you playing?
  • Out Takes

The show is available on iTunes as well as from the official SOE podcast site.