Nulli Secunda updated their Alliance Tournament promo ad.
Strong alliances carry on in the face of adversity.
Nulli Secunda updated their Alliance Tournament promo ad.
Strong alliances carry on in the face of adversity.
I didn’t lose my job. It is still there. Just when I go to the office now, there is somebody else doing it.
-Some comic in the 80s
There is still a war going on in Delve against the remains of SoCo. Just when I go there now, somebody else is fighting it.
The news last night was that TEST asked its friends from the north to… well… go back to the north.
Endie, the chief spokesman for Goonswarm, a man with a gift for turning a phrase, put up a post reviewing the relationship between Goonswarm and TEST and how TEST, now the biggest holder of sovereignty in the game, wants to stand on its own two feet. Look at all those systems TEST now owns.
How TEST stands compared to other alliances.
This 150% jump in sovereignty came about after TEST blew the Horn of Gondor and brought down the legions of the north to drive SoCo out of Delve and Querious. (And, effectively, Period Basis.)
And we came. We came and we did our very special blob-tastic thing with relish and enthusiasm and blatant disregard for losses, driving the enemy before us in despair and causing them dock up and decline battle more often than not.
But now that we have accomplished that particular mission, TEST would like to take over. They would like to play in their new domain, tend their garden, have good fights, and generally not have our Hodor fleet op style scaring off all of the game in their new preserve.
As Endie put it, “The Boatman… has no “medium” setting.”
TEST is not ungrateful. They have their own public statement, posted by DurrHurrDurr, that also reviews the history of their relationship with Goonswarm. (This is one of those great things about EVE, history is held close, cherished and remembered. It isn’t something that falls away with new expansions or the long wait in between them.)
We will secure our legacy. We’ll start our own foreverwar with the mouthbreathing peasants of the South and the cockroaches of -A-. We’ll start our own family with our Honey Badger bros, and though this means we might spend more time with our waifu PL and adorable little children 99 and Tasha (now known as Tribal Band) we will not forget the lessons and support given to us by our GSF brethren. Though she might fret from afar and worry herself sick about our future, Mother Goon understands that this is something we need to do.
And so we are done, for now, in Delve.
There is, naturally, some disappointment at this turn of events. I count myself among those letting out a wistful sigh at the thought of all those potential battles we will be missing.
Like others, I was looking forward to pushing operations into Catch in the hope that -A- would put up a fight to defend those systems in a way that they failed to do in Delve and Querilous. I like fleet battles and going on operations to take systems or save towers. I like to be part of a mission with a purpose beyond getting a few kills. (Though I do love me some kills… or at least enough to demonstrate I was there.) I would have gladly gone along with an epic, night after night meatgrinder operational tempo, win or lose.
But according to The Mittani, who apparently shopped the region around to both friend and foe, nobody would want to take Catch off our hands and live there if we conquered it. Something about never being able to get the old -A- smell out of the place. And we are not going to take Catch simply to hand it back.
So it is back to the north. Back to occasional roams and gate camps. Back to the rare moments of excitement when a homeland defense fleet is called or one of the OTEC techmoons needs to be defended. (Though we’ll see how that cartel holds up with the planned changes.) Back to ratting and mining.
I am, however, keeping a jump clone and the ships I purchased down in Delve in an NPC station. This is TEST we’re talking about. There is a reason they feel they have something to prove.
In the mean time, things have been awfully quiet in Jita, haven’t they?
So far I have managed to avoid buying much in the Steam Summer Sale. I was out of the gate on day one with Portal 2, which was 75% off, and Harvest: Massive Encounter. That pair added up to a total of $7.49.
Since then I have managed to restrain myself, even when games on my wish list made the front page deals. In part because the deals were not sweet enough, but mostly because I am not sure when I would find the time to get involved with something as epic as Skyrim.
And the fact that there will always be another Steam sale in the future helps take the pressure off.
Still, I did break down when faced with a 90% off sale on Railworks 3: Train Simulator 2012.
As far as I can tell, it is essentially the train version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Literally. The people that make it originally made Microsoft Train Simulator for Microsoft. And then Microsoft decided that trains were perhaps a bit too niche and dropped it, so the software studio went off on their own path, which eventually lead to this.
I kicked in a couple of bucks for this primarily because of the huge long list of DLC that is available for it. There is about $1,000 worth of DLC for this game on Steam. Wait, no, it is all marked down 50% for the Steam Summer Sale. So there is over $2,000 worth of DLC available for the game on Steam.
It isn’t that I don’t think trains are neat… I have the same little boy fascination with big machines that many men carry with them… but I really wanted to know what sort of direct-to-the-vein heroin this game is to be able to support that much DLC.
I guess I will find out.
Of course, one of the problems with Steam is then I have to wait a day for things to download through the soda straw sized pipe that is our DSL connection to the internet. But it is literally the best speed I can get without buying into AT&T’s U-verse package or the Comcast version thereof. Ah well, it is fine for day to day stuff, it is just when it comes time to download things measured in gigabytes that it feels slow.
And it probably cuts down on impulse buying. There are few things on Steam I can buy and play “right now!”
Anyway, pending research into rail-based drug habits, Portal 2 has been a big win in my opinion. I have now invested more time into it than I did in the original Portal, and I have not made it out of the main storyline yet.
Portal 2 carries on with your character from the original.
You are back at Aperture Science Laboratories, but clearly some time has elapsed. Things have changed.
But your goal is still the same, to get the hell out of the place. I have to say I am very impressed by the game. One of the recurring sensations I get is not knowing if I am going the right way, feeling like I might have taken a wrong turn, only to end up at what is clearly the next stage of the story. Having that happen more than once in a game is pretty unique.
Of course, part of the reason I think it works well is that they do not over use it. A lot of the time you are clearly guided to the next point of the story. And at other times they throw in a bit of reverse psychology.
Seeing as Portal 2 was so cheap, I offered to get a copy for my daughter. She was, after all, the person who started talking about Portal back in May that got me to finally play my copy of the original game. And she seems to know all about it in that osmosis way that kids just absorb information.
Which, honestly, is unusual for her.
I pressed her on why, and she said the game was too scary. I chuckled a bit and said that I didn’t think it was scary at all. But she said it was creepy and scary and she wasn’t sure she wanted to play it, even when I pointed out that there is a co-op mode which would allow us to play together.
That last bit tempted her, but she still declined.
Which made me think about the game again. It really isn’t scary to me. It is more humorous, really. But I am a jaded old man who has sat through more than my share of horror movies and the like. It takes something unusual or unexpected to make my heart race or pump up my adrenaline in a game these days.
It used to be that a blinking red ship in my overview in EVE Online would make me start and drive up my pulse rate. Now that seems pretty normal… so much so as to lead to casual stupidity.
But my daughter, at age 10, is susceptible to game created fear and anxiety. She gets immersed in the game whether she wants to or not, which I envy to a certain extent. It isn’t that I do not feel anything. I certainly get that butterflies in my stomach vertigo sensation whenever I have to jump off something really high in Portal 2, or even sometimes when just looking down. The game does a great job of feeling real in those moments.
But that is still not a major reaction. And things that scare my daughter, like an enraged GladOS, just seem like humor layered over a physics puzzle. I enjoy the puzzle. I enjoy the humor. But it is tough for me to take seriously.
So now when I play Portal 2, I have to take off my headset and turn on my speakers so my daughter can stand behind my office chair and watch me play. She is fascinated with the game, but still anxious enough that she wants to be able to run away, or at least hide behind me if things get scary. (Though she has not done either to this point… she just wants the option.)
We basically have our own version of co-op. And it really is co-op, since she often tells me where I should go or gives me things to try, and she is very proud of herself when she figures out the puzzle before I do.
But she still doesn’t want her own copy. Instead she is asking for Minecraft, because she got to play with it at a friends house.
And so the world turns.
(Though I thought it was just a movie based on the wider Warcraft IP. But you cannot say “Warcraft” in the media without pre-pending “World of” I suppose. And WoW is certainly the most popular form of the Warcraft IP.)
Anyway, the glint of positive in this for those who want the movie to come to fruition… and I count myself among them, even if I suspect it will be comically bad, because we need comically bad movies… came in the reason for Raimi’s departure/removal from the project. They key quote from Crave Online:
Actually, they don’t have me directing World of Warcraft anymore because when I took the Oz job, they had to move on to another director. They had to start making it.
Emphasis is mine.
He is off to make Oz: The Great and Powerful, but production had to go on. They had to start making it.
So we might yet see if a Warcraft movie can do for WoW what two Dungeons & Dragons movies did for D&D! Too bad that chances of a Bruce Campbell role in the movie just went down. Still, there is plenty of space for epic casting.
Bonus Item: The Fear the Boot podcast watched and talked about both D&D movies in one episode, if you have never seen them but want to hear about them from people who are passionate about role playing games. You can find the episode here.
I am a sucker for Jabber fleet formation messages that promise an imminent fight. In fact, much of my time in null sec space has been Jabber driven. I don’t spend much time just hanging around or sitting on gate camps, but a fleet call goes up on Jabber and I am at my desk and I am there. I am sort of the null sec minute man, in a half-assed sort of way.
Anyway, as these posts tend to go, there was an alert on Jabber calling for a fleet with a fight imminent, your typical “go! go! go!” situation.
While the form up point was in F2OY-X, the starting point for most operations so far in the Delve War (or whatever we call it now that the actual fighting in Delve has tapered off), our first jump was to a system I suspect will become more and more important over time, 49-U6U.
49-U6U was a system that was at least contested by the SoCo, though it rolled over to Goonswarm back on the 10th. It is an important system at the moment by virtue of having a station and being in Querious on the border with Catch. That makes it a natural staging point.
However, we were not going to Catch. At least not for long. We caught another titan jump bridge deep into catch, then burned along, gate to gate, into Stain, an NPC controlled section of null sec, where Gentleman’s Agreement has been putting up towers in an attempt to… I don’t know, really.
As usual, I am ignorant of the strategic objectives. It could be to establish a foothold on another route into Catch to facilitate on upcoming invasion of the region. Or it could be just a way to draw SoCo out into a fight.
If it is just the latter, it has been quite effective. SoCo no doubt does not want another CFC/HBC foothold on the border of Catch, so they come out to play. And so that was where we headed as well.
This is actually another new section of space for me.
On the map above, you can see Delve and Querious, marked with little yellow dots. Those represent systems I have visited in the last two weeks, the dots growing and changing color as my activity in the area goes on. You can compare that with high security space at the top of the picture. Those systems I have visited many more times during my years in the game. And Delve and Catch have no dots, because I had not been there.
We rolled into Stain only to catch another titan bridge that put us deeper into the region as a blocking force. We then began moving back towards the system in contention, DSS-EZ, acting as something of a blocking force. We were following a SoCo fleet, trying to catch it before it got to DSS-EZ I would imagine. We did catch one Rokh on a gate in X1E-OQ, but that was our only real contact with the enemy fleet until we arrived back in DSS-EZ.
Once back there, we were confronted with the SoCo fleet, which was heavy on Rokhs and had two Thanatos carriers in support, pretty much right there on the gate. It was then time to jockey for position. DBRB burned us away from the hostiles, as we came through within range of some of their long range units but outside of our own missile envelope.
DBRB pulled us far enough away that we could do a short warp into their midst, and then the fight was on.
We seemed to be doing very well initially. We were able to knock down a couple of their recon ships, some of their Rohks, and best of all, first one then two of the carriers went down. Those are nice, high value targets.
Our own losses seemed to be quite minimal for a stretch, but then SoCo got its act together and began popping Drakes.
You can often tell when a fight is not going your way just by the change in tone on voice coms. The logistics pilots began to growl on coms about the Drake pilots not calling for reps soon enough, the logi pilot theory being that the smart bombs that were hitting us could only be killing Drakes if the Drake pilots were absolute morons.
However, what was really happening was that the Rokhs were coordinating their attacks and killing off Drakes in a single volley. Shortly after the carriers went down, I got primaried and blown up, with almost no transition time between first hit and me sitting in a pod. There was no watching shields break and armor get stripped away. I happened to be looking at the control to check my ammo when it happened, and it was more a matter of “hey, where did my modules go?”
Life in the danger zone.
Once in a pod I was left alone, but I could see people in fleet chat typing in “-1 Drake” as they got popped. I moved out of the bubble and set my destination for our starting point, F2OY-X, which was 27 jumps away through hostile territory. My options, however, were limited. I could hang around at a safe spot and wait for the fleet to withdraw or I could try to get somewhere I could get another ship and be ready to come back if there were to be reinforcements.
I started off towards home. I didn’t think I would make it. 27 jumps through null sec pretty much guarantees you will run into a gate camp at some point. And, sure enough, I went through a gate and ended up in a bubble in X4-WL0. I broke cloak, said hello, and asked to be sent home please. I think that gave them a moment of pause, as they locked me up pretty quick, but then took a minute to actually kill me. I was still in their bubble when they did, though I had been moving out on the off chance they might think flying back in a pod was worse punishment than buying a new clone. They opted for the kill.
And so I was back in Delve where I found no Drakes available for sale on contract. Well, none in the vicinity and certainly none that were fit to Drake fleet doctrine specs. But the fleet was pulling back in any case. There was to be no reinforcement fleet.
The kill board results for the ongoing battle in DSS-EZ, which actually isn’t that screwed up this time around (only a few people showing up on both sides of the fight, shows a fairly even fight. We were slightly outnumbered overall, though it is hard to tell who was there at what time. SoCo won on total kills and on the ISK front, losing 16 billion to our 21 billion. And they knocked out the towers that Gents were setting up.
So a tactical victory for SoCo.
But on the scale of the ongoing war, the CFC/HBC wins in the long run with these sorts of exchanges. The resources available to be committed will allow us to grind down SoCo over time. SoCo needs to win big in these sorts of battles to push back the barbarians at their gate.
The Wallpapers Admiration Society that sprouted up on the forums and comment threads when their heroic stand came to light did not have much influence in the end. War is war. They were cornered in their system waiting for the inevitable.
A follow up attack two days later was too much, and yesterday TEST picked up the last system opposing us in Delve.
Thermopylae. Masada. Wake Island. T-IPZB.
So Delve has fallen to an invader. Again.
Looking at the system histories at DOTLAN, you can see that this is just another turn of the wheel. T-IPZB, before Walltreipers Alliance owned it, had belonged at various times to Band of Brothers, Goonswarm, KenZoku, Pandemic Legion, and Ewoks, among others. Now it belongs to TEST. Who will it belong to in a year?
I suspect that the Walltreipers Alliance, having shown what they are made of even as some of their erstwhile allies were quitting the field, shouldn’t have trouble finding a new home somewhere.
Meanwhile, TEST has almost finished sweeping up Querious as well, the former home of Red Alliance. That leaves most of the western edge of the galaxy in CFC/HBC hands. Sovereignty map from the usual source.
There is a lot of blue on the western edge of the galaxy now, though I see that the Viking Empire is still there. I guess somebody changed their mind about that summer vacation home. (Oh, this happened.) Still, TEST now holds sovereignty in more systems that any other alliance.
This conquest was accomplished, according to Endie’s math, by 4,234 in-game characters, many of whom traveled across the galaxy to be there, and who had a logistical tail equally as long. A bit less than the fearsome horde of 50,000 that people sometimes mention. Though, we did have a force multiplier when it came to intel.
All of which leads to the usual follow up question: What next?
There is Period Basis to the south, with the remains of Nulli Secunda and the Vera Cruz Alliance, and there is Catch, the home of Against All Authorities. We’re down there, we’re geared for war, and the summer is only half over. Are we going on or are we going home?
I was on the Something Awful MMO forum looking at opening posts. Each game has such a post (or, often, several posts) that are full of information about the game in question. For example, I mentioned in a previous post that the EverQuest thread may contain the best summary of the game ever. A lot of the game threads start off similarly jam packed with details.
But not the EVE Online thread. It is less about the game and more about the reputation the Goons have in game and why you should come join in on the fun. This is probably natural enough, as the EVE Goons have their own enormous wiki about EVE Online, the scale and depth of which is amazing. One of the best benefits of being in my alliance is that we have full access to that wiki.
But in skimming through the EVE OP, I did find one nice item that helps explain EVE Online.
That chart shows the high level options you have in EVE Online. It even includes scamming.
Edit May 11, 2016: Since Evelopedia is dead, the web version of the chart is no longer very useful. But somebody has created a spiritual successor to the chart, which you can find here.
This picture taken at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on July 1, while we were returning from our vacation. Our plane was the 737 behind it, a couple of gates further down the concourse.
(Signs you’re in Texas: They have a Fox News store in the airport.)
I took this picture for a long time employee of Continental Airlines, which recently finished its merger with United Airlines. The combined company kept the United name but the Continental colors and logo.
This airplane (N75436 – Google that to find more pictures) was painted in the livery to celebrate Continental Airlines’ 75th in 2009.
I will have to stow away the Continental logo items I have with some Pan Am stuff I have in a drawer. They might be worth something some day.
Oh, it is that time of temptation again. It is the dread Summer Sale at Steam.
For 10 days Valve will tempt us with incredible discounts on a wide variety of game titles.
This will lead many of us to buy titles we might not otherwise consider… and, often enough in my case, games that I certainly should not have considered.
But the price… the games can be so cheap! I have seen things marked down 80% or more off of retail. For example, the first day’s featured deals.
This is how I ended up owning the entire PopCap library despite the fact that I really only wanted Peggle Nights. And no, it was not cheaper to buy the whole library. I was just swept up in the moment and 90% discount.
This year I am going to stick to things on my Steam wishlist. That is a reasonably well vetted list of games I am actively interested in, though I do see a couple of games I left on it back when Valve had a contest that would win you the top 10 games on your wishlist, but only if you had at least 10 games. I will have to drop those, as my wishlist is now big enough not to need padding.
And, on day one, right out of the gate, two items from my wishlist came up.
Also popping up on day one was Harvest: Massive Encounter, a little game that looked interesting, but not quite interesting enough until it was marked down. I put it there as park of my search to find more tower defense games, though honestly nothing has stacked up to Defense Grid: The Awakening so far.
Total cost for the pair, $7.49.
I haven’t had a chance to look at Portal 2 yet, as it was a sizable download. But Harvest was small, so I was able to launch it almost right away.
It appears to be a mix of RTS and tower defense with a few game mode and level choices, but otherwise very simple in design. It is kind of what I hoped Gratuitous Space and/or Tank Battles would more like. (Neither of those titles quite clicked with me.)
Anyway, worth the $2.50 it was list at.
Now what will Valve throw at me next? And can I stick to my plan?
I am kind of hoping that Endless Space will make the cut for a discount, because I really need yet another game like that to distract me. (Isn’t the updated Civ V enough? No?) I have seen a bit posted about it. However, it just launched, so it might be too soon.
What is on your list for the Steam Summer Sale?
Health Warning: If you are one of those people who gets angry reading about people doing stupid things, click on a link to another site or something quick, as gross and obvious stupidity follows and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for undoing the effects of your blood pressure medication or anything.
Do you ever have one of those moments when you’re about to do something stupid, and you know in your gut that you shouldn’t do it… but something else in your brain tells you to go ahead and do it anyway…. and you do it?
This happens to me every so often, and it is often accompanied by some sort of minor disaster.
In my youth, I let it talk me into doing things in real life.
That is what I call my dumb brain, though you might as easily equate it with the devil on my shoulder whisper in my ear.
As I have grown older, I have learned to listen to the other part of my brain, the part warning me not to do (or say) stupid things. That is my smart brain. It knows actions have consequences and can assess whether I want to pay the consequences pretty accurately.
So these days, in real life, dumb brain’s influence is limited to minor things, like ordering appetizers at restaurants where I know I probably wouldn’t be able to finish my entree if that were the only food I was allowed all day.
But in video games… well, what are the real consequences? It is just a game, right? Plus, sometimes dumb brain sends me off to do things that end up being a huge amount of fun. Of course, sometimes I’m totally screwed.
I was back in Deklein for the night. We had been given permission to go rat if we wanted. That had been expressly forbidden since the deployment to Delve, and I wanted to rat to make up some of the ISK I spent buying ships and such in Delve.
I wasn’t running out of money or anything, but I do like to keep a pretty deep reserve in addition to the cash I am buying and selling with daily. And I was edging down to that mental line that separates that from the reserves. But a few anomalies would set that straight.
I clone jumped back to my home system, only to find a red in local. No ratting for me. I at least know better than that. The intel channel then announced the presence of my red, which wasn’t a big help.
And I was hungry for a bit of ISK and I had just clone jumped across the galaxy and was stuck in Deklein for 24 hours until I could clone jump back.
This is where the part of my brain that wants to protect me told me to just log off and call it. But I didn’t want the night to be a waste.
So I undocked, hit the safe POS, then hit the gate to the adjacent system, which is also a prime spot for ratting.
As I jumped into the next system, hanging in space not 10km from me was a red. The overview said it was a Purifier.
My the smart part of my brain is telling me to either burn back to the gate and jump or to hit the safe POS in the system. But the message is the same, avoid contact at all cost.
Dumb brain is in action though. After a few seconds it matches up “Purifier” with “stealth bomber” and says, “It is a glass cannon! You can kill that, no problem!”
Smart brain is saying, “No! You suck at PvP! You WILL find a way to screw this up!”
Dumb brain counters with, “There is only one red in system. Come on, it will be easy! Just light it up!”
Smart brain brings up the chart.
Dumb brain says, in that Kent Dorfman voice, “This is going to be great!” (Though usually it sounds more like Larry Kroger’s conscience.)
Smart brain, realizing my internal discourse had devolved into movie quotes at this point, starts to throw out, “It’s a trap!” but it is too late. I’ve already broken cloak and started to lock up the Purifier, which is still just sitting there.
And, for a few seconds, it seems like things are going to work out. I have the target painter on him. My missiles are tearing him up pretty quickly. The main worry in my mind at that moment is that he is just going to warp away. All he has done is warp scramble me. It is like he wants to hold me there or something.
Then, of course, the red from the other system jumps in. It is a Gila, a faction cruiser. He locks me up and starts tearing me up and I know already this is going to end badly. The Purifier warps off just as somebody in the intel channel mentions that this new red is the alt of the first and he has just popped into the system.
Yes indeed, it was a trap.
Okay, I was at least smart enough to turn on hardeners and the shield booster, maybe I will live long enough to get help. On a normal night, this system is alive with blues. Tonight though, it seems like everybody has deployed to Delve and almost nobody has come back to rat. I ask for help giving system in gate on the intel channel, which is not the right channel to use and which really only serves to broadcast my stupidity to the maximum number of people possible.
So I’ve got the ship in motion, I’m wondering if I can make it back to the gate, but then realize that the aggression timer is now on so I cannot get out that way, when I notice that I am already taking damage in armor. I got there awfully quickly. Locking up the Gila seems like a waste of time at that point, but it isn’t like I am doing anything else, so I give it a shot.
And then I am into hull and then sitting there in my pod, which also gets locked and destroyed, something that at least gets me back to Delve. So long Tengu!
At about this point somebody responds to my call for help, but I tell them it is no longer required as I am dead.
Fortunately my alliance leader was there, the only other person in the system in which I got killed. He didn’t know who I was before then. He certainly does now. He was able to console me by telling to “grow a fucking brain” and to read the damn intel channel. I’ll probably get a reprimand sent to my corp CEO for public display of stupidity. Of course, my corp CEO only knows who I am because I was the guy bitching about wanting to make back some money ratting.
Clearly I am winning popularity contests all over space!
Just one of those days in EVE.
Fortunately, I can afford to replace the Tengu. Frankly, if I got off my butt and sold some of the stuff I have cluttering hangers in high sec space, I could replace it a few times over.
No, the major cost of this was being stupid in public yet again.
I can at least serve as a warning to others I suppose.
It was all kind of like this, except the ship cost a lot more and theoretically I should know better.