Daily Archives: August 8, 2012

Revised Roles and Mining Ship Memories

The distortion of time.

In my mind it does not seem so long ago that I downloaded Hadala’s Complete Mining Guide and set myself on the path to mining proficiency in EVE Online.  I bought an Osprey, created a second account to haul ore, got my little gang out in the belts and started on the ISK and skillpoint trail.  I had a plan.

Old models of… everything

And yet that second account, which I have active again, has a character with more that 50 million skill points now.  That was all almost five years ago.

Meanwhile, actually following like that plan seems like it took forever, training up and saving ISK for the next ship.  Yet I had a Retriever in less than a month, and was flying a Hulk in less than three.  Then it was simply a matter of optimizing.

Retriever and Mammoth

I tinkered around with ice mining, grabbing a Mackinaw and training a few more skills.  Later the Orca was introduced and I trained up for that.

Orca and Hulk Back in the Day

But that was all a few years ago and not much has changed since when it comes to the actual mining process.  Yes, the Rorqual showed up.  Prices have fluctuated.  Mineral prices have gone up and down, and the cost of a Hulk has changed quite a bit.  They were around 300 million ISK when they were still a new ship.  I bought my first one for close to 100 million ISK.  Lately, the price has been up again, in the 250 million ISK range thanks to changes in materials.

Well, not much has changed until today.

(You are now safely out of nostalgia and links back to ancient posts.)

Today we got the Inferno 1.2 patch.  You can read the full patch notes or Winterblink’s excellent summary. (Excellent because it pretty much sums up my feelings on a lot of it.)

Winterblink, however, skipped over the mining ship changes.  That is fine, as I want to bring those up.

CCP has decided, after years of neglect (and how many features in the game could be so described?), to change things up for mining barges and exhumers by recasting the whole set in new roles.  So I am going to contrast the new roles with how the ships were viewed back in the heyday of Hadala’s now officially out of date guide to mining.

A look at the barge and exhumer updates after the cut.

Continue reading

Vanguard Goes Free to Play Early

Almost six years ago the trailer for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes had the tag line “Set Yourself Free.”  Well, now the prophecy of that line has come to pass.

Vanguard was slated to go live as a free to play title on August 14th.

But instead, surprise, it is live and free as of yesterday.  Or I guess it is.  The statement over at the new Vanguard site reads:

In case you haven’t seen the news, we’ve announced the official date for the Vanguard Saga of Heroes free-to-play launch: Tuesday, August 14, 2012!

We didn’t want to keep you – our most loyal and dedicated Vanguard citizens – waiting any longer, so we’ve released all of the free-to-play features for you to experience FIRST!

Since SOE has a single, unified account system, I have to imagine that “dedicated” citizens includes anybody paying close enough attention to have noticed that post.  You certainly seem able to download the client and such at this point

SOE has also posted the final feature matrix for launch.  It remains a two tier system, eschewing the middle, or Silver tier that EverQuest and EverQuest II have, but a few details have changed since SOE originally posted about it.

First Day Feature Matrix

If you compare that with the earlier one, you will see that they have changed brokers and mail access.  You now just paying higher in-game fees to use those services.  There will also be no restrictions on chat access for free players.

Meanwhile, the standard inconvenience restrictions on things like item quality, total in-game coins, quest log entries, remain in place to push people to subscribe.

The Vanguard Marketplace is also open now and will be offering things in the categories of “Services, Mounts and Pets, Housing, Appearance and Equipment.”  I will be interested to see what ends up in the cash shop.

There is also a new FAQ up about the game.

All of which now leaves PlanetSide as the sole monthly subscription title in the SOE arsenal of online games.  SOE has bet heavily on its particular flavor of the free to play model. It is what I might call the “push to subscribe” subset.

John Smedley says that PlanetSide is not going away when PlanetSide 2 launches. (Smed’s twitter account seems to be the new official news source for PlanetSide 2. He was clearly telling the truth when he said that PS was his thing.)  But I do not think it can remain a subscription game, so I wonder what the plan is.

[Addendum: Massively has an interview with a bit more information posted.]