Daily Archives: July 5, 2012

SOE Crosses the Streams, Mixes Vanguard, F2P, and Brad McQuaid

I had to check the calendar… and then double check just to make sure this wasn’t some sort of April Fools mis-fire.

Here it is, early July, and Massively was reporting that Brad McQuaid was back at SOE and working on Vanguard and pointing at an SOE developer spotlight profile of him.

The man with “the vision” is back and on the team that is reviving Vanguard and remolding to the free to play model.  It… boggles the mind.

Not that I am anti-Brad.  He was the right person at the right time to make EverQuest, something for which he has won endless respect from myself and others.

Well, except for that Qeynos sewer faction…

But the right time was… well… the late 1990s, wasn’t it?

I mean, the first time around with Vanguard… there was something of a vision vs. execution gap to be sure, which ended in tears about five years ago, the demise of his company as it was bought out, and a lot of work by SOE over the next year to make the game playable.  So bringing him back seems to trend towards the “crazy/insane” end of the spectrum at first glace.

Then again, he is back as a game designer.  Regardless of past any past vision for the game, he is there to make things work within the confines of the situation as it stands today.  As much as ones emotions want to say, “Uh oh, something wacky is going to happen here!” or make some sort of “Steve Jobs returns to Apple” analogy, it just doesn’t fly.

What we really have is a member of the MMO industry in a new position.  Everybody needs a job.  People come and go all the time.  I just wonder how things feel for him and those around him to be back at SOE after all that has happened in the last 15 years.

What do you think?  News? Not news?  Any meaning at all in this?

In the Logi Channel at C3N-3S

Or “How I Lost All My Drones to Unannounced Fleet Warps.”

I did make it down to Delve, though not without screwing the pooch one more time.  Normally I would stick to my usual policy of describing every ship loss in excruciating detail, but this time I will just say that I got impatient and paid for it.

Third time was a charm… that and learning a little more patience.  At one particularly heavily camped system I just stayed cloaked at a safe spot and went and played Rift for a while.  Still, I know that part of that chart from yesterday’s post still applies to me.


Anyway, I made it down to our Delve staging station in a Buzzard, where I found exactly two Drakes up for sale, both of which were a slightly different fit than the Drake fleet doctrine last time I checked.  Or did target painters come back into fashion?  I am still catching up on posts and forums after my vacation.  Well, you take what you can get.

Safe… well, in a station… in Delve with a ship ready, I was rewarded in the morning with a fleet op.  There was a call for a Tengu fleet and a Drake fleet initially.  I was late to the party and missed the first Drake fleet, commanded by Dabigredboat, which was kind of annoying.  I like Boat fleets.  If nothing else, he tries to find something to make each one memorable and is usually pretty good about filling in the intel details on coms when he can.

After banging my head against the “join fleet” option for a while in the vain hope that somebody would drop, a third fleet was announced, centered on a core of Razor Alliance players.  They form up a couple of jumps over from where we were squatting, so I joined the fleet and jumped over to join them, avoiding the camp in between by actually looking at the solar system map and bouncing off a planet that would take me around anything.  See, I can learn… eventually.

There we formed up at a POS, all hanging 2000m off of the titan that was to bridge us in, when the FC began to assess what he had to work with; a lot of Drakes, way too many Sabres, and eight Scimitars.  The last was too few to support a fleet in his opinion and he said he was not going until we had at least 20 Scimitars.

And so, slowly, people swapped out.  We had 10, then 12, then 15, and finally 18 Scimitars.  Then the count didn’t budge.  The FC announced that the battle was already under way

I really wanted to get some kills up to offset my losses for the month, but I had all the skills to fly a Scimitar, even if my past experience as a space priest was pretty brief.  So I opened up contracts and went to see if there was one available close by.

Sure enough, there was one right there in the system.  And it wasn’t even over priced relative to the others available.  So I bought it, hit the station, re-shipped, joined the logi channel, and warped back to the fleet.

New, Darker Toned Scimitar Model

I was the 20th Scimitar.  And then two more joined while we were getting ready to bridge.  I could have stayed in my Drake.  Still not patient enough I guess.  But I knew if used my drones right, I could whore on a few kills.

We bridged to an adjacent system then took the jump gate to our final destination, joining the battle at C3N-3S.

Now go back to that last sentence and read it slowly enough that it takes you about five minutes to finish.  Yeah, we were in the time dilation zone.

On the bright side, at 10% Tidi, the job of a rookie logistics pilot is made much easier, since you essentially have ten times as long in real time to lock up those requesting shield reinforcement.  I think the only time I failed was when one of our Claymores wandered away from the anchor and our of range.

Things did not start off very well though.  Once into the system, we jumped to a point where we could see the battle, were too close to jump again into it, but too far to actually target anything.  Though, for no reason I could see, we did not simply turn on the MWDs and burn to the fight.  We just hung around and watched for a bit, though the impact of TiDi no doubt distorted my perception of how long we hung around not doing anything.

And then we got bombed.

Here was where the fleet took most of its losses for the battle.  The logis were out of the way, so I took no damaged, having anchored up like I was supposed to.  Even the one Warrior II drone I launched in my kill whoring fever survived, having not made it into the target zone for the bombs when they went off.

And then we got fleet warped off to an asteroid belt to lick our wounds.  Good-bye drone.

There the logis took care of everybody’s shields and those of us with armor repair drones sent them out to work on those who had taken damage to armor.  Meanwhile, on coms, the FC started getting some flak for not just burning in to the battle.  During that conversation it came out that one of our fleet had actually burned in and was sitting in an ideal spot for the fleet to work from.  And so, without warning, we were fleet warped back into the battle.  Good-bye armor repair drones.

Once there, the routine of battle began.  Targets were called and dispatched.  As one of the logis, I watched for shield reinforcement calls and took care of that, while launching my remaining Warrior II drones and assigning them to various pilots in the hope that they would get in some hits a put a couple of kills on the board for me.  It was also at about that point that I saw our supercap fleet jump in and join the battle.

Titans on the field

We already had dreadnoughts in the battle, and I even saw a wreck left over from one that got destroyed, but the titans were now in and piling on.

Bubbles and Logis

The Pandemic Legion Twitter feed posted a nice panoramic view of the battle, which is better than any screen shot I managed to take.  As with most pics on my site, click on it to see it full size.

The Panorama of Battle

It was a big fight.  I saw more than 1,700 people in local at one point.  And both sides were reshipping and returning pretty quickly.  Our fleet was designated the reinforcement fleet at one point, but filled up and so another fleet was formed to bring people in.

It was during that point in the fight, as I was flying around with all modules on, that I realized I should have probably checked the fit on this scimitar.  The key indicator was noticing I was about to run out of capacitor power.  I had to shut down the MWD to keep shield reinforcement up and running.  This was not a cap stable fit, at least not for my skills.  There was a Damage Control II and a PDS II swapped into the lower slots.  I was going to have to manage my power rather than run with all spigots on.

Fortunately, nobody was really paying attention to us.  Our logi anchor kept us on the far side of the fleet from the enemy so nobody bothered taking a shot at the slow moving logi flying the corner cutting path trying to keep up with the anchor.

And then, as these things happen, the enemy started to fade.  One last Maelstrom, probably somebody who had just refit and was rejoining the battle, jumped into our midst and paid the price.  Shiny new missile explosion graphics!

Maelstrom lit up

But after that, things were suddenly quiet on our part of the field.  Stuff was going on in the distance, but well out of range.  The first sign of victory.  The FC let us off the leash to loot the field, which was a mess of unclaimed goodies at that point.

The messy overview setting…

And then, when I was about in range of my first wreck, which oddly enough was the remains of Qtipp’s ship, who happens to be the leader of my corp, we were fleet warped to a gate to try and cut off some escaping foes.  No loot and my remaining drones were left behind.

More running around, more shield repairs, more TiDi.

We jumped through the gate, hunted for a bit more, then sat on the gate and waited for some other fleets to move out in hopes that the TiDi would relax for our own trip home.  It was during this lull that somebody on the logi channel mentioned to me that they too had gotten caught by a drag bubble on the way down to Delve.  This was how I found out that Riverini decided to syndicate my post about dying en route to EVE News 24.  Stuff I think will work for the site, he never takes.  But an “I stepped on my dick” story, that he can’t seem pass up! Hah!

Anyway, TiDi did relax.  We jumped off to meet up with the titan that was assigned to bridge us home.  It happened to be DBRB’s Leviathan.  That was all I saw of him the battle.

I guess we won.  It can be hard to tell exactly what was accomplished when you’re just a foot soldier in the war, which is why I like DBRB’s fleets, because he is very good at filling us in on those sorts of things after the battle.

I personally ended up with no kills, no loot, and no drones, but I also took no hits and I think I did okay with shield reinforcement.  But as I said, TiDi makes that job a bit easier and we weren’t under a lot of pressure most of the time.

Later, The Mittani sent out an update on Jabber announcing that 3CN-3S was one of the systems, along with 319-3D, their main staging system, that the enemy seemed to be willing to put up big numbers in and fight for.  After the battle we were poised to take 3CN-3S and expected another big fight for the final show down.

However, apparently we put too many people on the field and Nulli declined to show up.

There are a few choice quotes in that audio file.

And so Nulli Secunda lost sovereignty in 3CN-3S this morning without a fight, putting them down seven systems in the last week.  C3N-3S is now a TEST outpost.

I hope this isn’t the end of resistance in Delve.  I just got there.

Edit: There is now a report of the battle up on EVE News 24 called, rather appropriately I thought, Burned on the Fourth of July, that gives an overview of the scope of what went on and includes a video.