Monthly Archives: July 2013

I’m Malshandir and So’s My Wife!

While waiting around for somebody to get out the facts on somebody in TEST with sufficient roles to steal 130 billion ISK worth of logistics equipment, I happened on the tale of one Thomas Freyer who is quite upset about  something over at EQ2 Wire.  It seems that Feldon, that tireless toiler around all things newsworthy in EverQuest II, had the temerity to list information about a character named “Malshandir” on his site.

Thomas Freyer claims to own the trademark on “Malshandir” in the EU and is flipping mad that somebody is using that name for an elf in Norrath.

No, that’s not it.

He’s mad that Sony let somebody name an elf “Malshandir” in their game.

No, still too logical, so that can’t be it.

Thomas Freyer is apparently mad that Feldon has a site that allows you to search on EverQuest II characters using data provided by Sony Online Entertainment, which in turn allows you to discover that some other person playing the game EverQuest II, owned by Sony Online Entertainment, created a character and named it “Thomas Freyer”… I mean “Malshandir.”  (This data right here, in fact.)

Feldon’s post on the subject contains all the relevant noxious quotes.

Anyway, this situation hove into view of the all-seeing and/or unblinking eye of Ken at Popehat, who explored the subject until satire happened.  Now it is going to be “come at me bro!” and “snort my dark elf taint!” from here on out.

Thanks to the Streisand effect, I suspect that the next time I roll up a new character in an MMO, any MMO, I will find that the name “Malshandir” has been taken.  Or so I dearly hope.

Addendum:  Silicon Angle has a post up on this as well., and there is a long thread over at Slash Dot.

Flying Cover in Kraken

TEST & the HBC mark 2 have been ragepinging for this moon all day and, hilariously, they have like 50 ships sitting on a titan with a sickly trickle of tired pilots joining them. This is their rage-formup. Can we show them ours?

Original broadcast from blawrf_mctaggart at 2013-07-25 00:54

That was the opening for the call.  Megathrons were needed.  Baltec Fleet was in demand.

This popped up just as my wife was saying that it was time for dinner.  So I launched Mumble, which takes forever to come up on my system, logged in to the EVE Online launcher, then wandered off to wash my hands and have dinner.

Once dinner was over, I walked back to my computer, finished logging into EVE, got on the right coms channel, and got into fleet, taking one of the two spots that were left by that point.

Fleet assembly can take some time, but we ended up with 256 pilots in under 40 minutes on a weekday night with dubious prospects for a fight.

I motored out to the titan to join the flock and await further developments.  Those developments were slow in coming.

Vertically stacked Megathrons Waiting

Our capital ships were out and putting things into reinforce, and we were on hand to oppose any major TEST sub-capital response.  But such a response was not evident.  Gevlon’s post today stated that capital ships are equivalent to morale or some such, and that without the ISK to buy them, you lose.  Though I thought that harnessing TEST carebears was going to solve the ISK problem, which would thus make TEST unbeatable,  so obviously I missed something in there.  But it is clear that the lack of Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition capital support is hurting TEST.

We sat for about an hour on the titan, during which I attempted to make some war propaganda.

Boodabooda is saved!

Things just got real

It is an old joke, but I have a soft spot in my heart for abusing Clippy.  And I even put it on Imgur so I can paste that URL into local just like the pros apparently do.  Go me.

And, of course, I took pictures of things.  I certainly have a lot of Megathron screen shots at this point.

Eventually we did get the call to bridge out to fly closer cover to the capital fleet.

Let The Megathrons Fly!

We ended up flying cover as all of the infrastructure hubs in the Kraken constellation were put into reinforce.

Welcome to Kraken

Welcome to Kraken

There was a TEST bomber fleet around when we were in Z30S-A, but they seemed to be mostly interested in spamming local.  I linked my propaganda attempt in local, where it was derided.  Go figure.  We moved around the constellation, leaving TEST behind, though we did catch one bomber on a gate.  It was dead long before I could lock on to it.  As we finished up there, The Mittani, who was actually logged into the game and leading capital ships, came on to our coms to give us an update on had gone on.

Essentially, as I wrote above, we were the on-call fleet in case TEST rallied enough troops to challenge the capital ships.  He thanks us for coming out to be a deterrent force, spending two hours either sitting on a titan or moving from system to system and shooting the occasional NPC.  We took back an R64 moon and put a bunch of stuff into reinforce.

Our fleet was then bridged back to our staging point in 4-EP12 to let those who had to call it a night log off.  Other fleets were formed up to continue the work in Fountain.  And, of course, the alarm clock ops continued again last night.  I woke to see TEST had lost sovereignty in another five systems.  And even more are queued up for tonight, with the rumor going around that TEST hadn’t been bothering to fully rep structures even when they had saved them recently.

So, for the moment, things seem to be going very much our way in Fountain.  But how long will this happy time last?  We have taken a bunch of systems, about 30% of the total, but only 3 of the 36 stations in the region.

And what of TEST’s allies?  Will Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion return to stiffen TEST’s resolve and stifle the freely roaming CFC capitals?  Are we heading towards a denouement in Fountain, or have we merely reached, to use Churchill’s words, “The end of the beginning?”

The War in Fountain While I Slept

Since this past weekend the CFC has been “alarm clocking,” which is to say, fighting in what would otherwise be non-peak, working or sleeping hours for US and EU time zones.  The war has moved on to Australian time.  Ops have been planned for 08:00 UTC/EVE Time, which is 1am for me, which is too late for me to start anything on a weekend when I can sleep in, much less on a weekday when I have to get up and to go into the office a mere five hours later.  I am starting to yawn by 21:00 my time.

So I must salute those who have been making these fleet ops, which includes a number of the key fleet commanders.  They have made significant progress on the sovereignty front, and every morning when I wake up and check DOTLAN maps, TEST has lost sov in even more systems.  Last week I was able to sum up the CFC progress with a little map segment from the north end of the region when writing about our new staging system.

North Fountain - July 20, 2013

North Fountain – July 20, 2013

And we were happy to have that.  It proved our staying power and the slow and steady pace became our watch words.  When you are on the defensive, as TEST has been, you are losing if the enemy still holds your territory, and we certainly hadn’t been kicked out yet.

Today I have to drag out the whole region map to display all the systems turned in the last few days.

Fountain - July 24, 2013

Fountain – July 24, 2013

That is a pretty dramatic change in just a few days, TEST having lost sovereignty in a quarter of the 115 systems in Fountain, and one that should keep the not winning fast enough comments under control, at least momentarily.  Compare the Fountain system changes for June, where TEST and pals were pushing back hard and there were systems changing hands multiple times, with the Fountain system changes for July, which has been a constant theme of TEST loss and CFC gain so far.

There have been updates from The Mittani on CFC progress.

Of course, the balance of power has changed recently.  Northern Coalition, according to their recent state of the alliance, has been back in the east of null sec to fight the resurgent Russians of SOLAR FLEET, bringing Pandemic Legion along with it.  And NC has been strong in the AUTZ for a while now.  During the war in Tribute last year, one of the things we had to overcome was there ability to operate and dominate in that time slot.  There was an active recruitment effort on our side for what was dubbed “Arsehole Squad” to counter this. (And advantage the Goons have with their numbers is that, when there is a specific problem, they can form a special group, and fill it with qualified people, to deal with it.)

I am not sure we ever overcame NC dominance in that time zone, but we were able to make things annoying, which in the end made NC walk away from the region because the war had ceased to be fun and the threat of a hellish sov grind loomed.

So when it came to Fountain, NC was again able to use that time zone to their advantage.  The time zone war kept both sides in check.  But with NC out of the picture for the moment, the CGC rushed in to take over that time zone, which has lead to TEST losing systems and their allies in Tribal Band pleading for participation from its membership.

How long will this last?

If we are going to continue torturing the D-Day analogy in an attempt to apply it to Fountain, then the first part of the war was the bloody fight for Caen and Villers-Bocage.  At the forty day point we had only secured a foothold in Fountain.  Now we seem to be in the breakout and mad dash for across France for Paris, though I am not sure what system in Fountain would qualify as Paris.  Heady times and big gobs of territory being taken.

And while that was a great victory, a lot of hard fighting remained in the war after that.  Likewise, while we have made many gains, NC will be returning to Fountain at some point.  If nothing else, it is the only real war they have, given how they appear to be driving back SOLAR FLEET.  And if they are serious, we will be back to fighting and time zones and shooting SBUs and the slow grind of such things.

And the war in Fountain will continue.

We Bid Adieu to Another Steam Summer Sale

In the end, it is difficult to find anything directly negative to say about Steam and their annual Summer sale.  Complaining that something isn’t discounted enough tends to ring a bit hollow.

SteamSummerSale2013

Sure, I was a bit bemused at the Brave New World expansion for Civilization V going on sale just two days after it launched.  Valve seemed a somewhat embarrassed about that as well.

But lots of things were on sale.  Literally everything on my wishlist was marked down at least 25%.  The fact that I did not purchase everything on my wishlist probably says something about the nature of my wishes.

Towards the end of the sale, while chatting with Gaff, I did end up purchasing two games.

I picked up Chivalry: Medieval Warfare for $6.24, a price it seemed to hit three or four times during the sale.  In the end, I am glad it was that cheap if only because it is practically impossible to play the game with my trackball.  Two key attacks require using the scroll wheel, which means removing my fingers from the trackball mid-fight, so I can either aim my attack or make my attack, but not both.

I managed to struggle through the initial tutorial, but the guy who attacks you immediately afterwards killed me so easily due to my fumbling with the balance of aim and attack that I quit the game.  I need to steal my gaming mouse back from my daughter if I want to play this.

In the last hours of the sale, I decided that being just one dollar from my target price shouldn’t stop me from buying The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  And then I opted for the deluxe edition, which was more expensive.  Go team logic!  Given that it was at the top of their sales chart at the end, a lot of people were with me on that one.

My experience with Skyrim, limited though it might be, was much better.  While combat is similar to Chivalry, I did not need the scroll wheel and I was able to zoom out into a third person view, which years of MMOs has trained me to use, and which made me feel more comfortable and situationally aware.

I got through the opening scenes, followed my fellow prisoners in escape, fell off of the tower and ended up following the sympathetic guard, which at least Yahtzee seemed to think might not be the brightest of plans.  Sympathetic or not, his lot was just about to lop my head off, no?  Anyway, now I am dressed like him and running around in some tunnels.  I would have gotten further, but it was time for dinner.

Probably the most amusing and/or embarrassing time during the sale was when Gaff was trying to get me to buy things he just purchased on the theory that we might play them together.  It turned out that I had purchased most of them already in past Steam sales, yet had not played any of them.  The argument against buying anything new during the sale, certainly.

I did get him to not buy the Train Simulator 2013, which was marked down something crazy, like 95%.  They want you to be able to buy their thousands of dollars of DLC.  I repeated the list of cons from one of my posts about the game, and the fact that the game pauses when you tab out was a deal killer.

At the end of the sale my Steam profile level remained exactly the same, helping to reinforce my complete lack of understanding as to what it means.

Only level 4

Still only level 4

I played some games during the sale.  I played a lot of Civilization V, which earned me some Steam trading cards.  So I have some of those.  Again, not sure what they do or why I should care, but I am armed with some now.

So here we are, at what must be one of the quietest times for the Steam sales team.  Who buys something the day after the big Steam Summer Sale?  Yes, they still have a couple of items on sale.  Something is discounted at all times.  But after so many things were marked down, it is almost a let down to look at the store now.

And, of course, what this has really done is taken our training to not buy anything except during the big sales.  I certainly got the big rolled-up newspaper over the nose for pre-ordering Brave New World for only a small discount when it was marked down even further just two days after launch.  Way to go Steam.

Do you feel the same way?  Do you have a pile of unplayed games due to such Steam sales?  Will you wait for the big Steam sales rather than purchasing in between?  Have they trained you yet?

And how many more days until the big Steam Holiday Sale?

Tinker Dice – Not Much Time Left

About 28 days ago I posted about Tesh and his Tinker Dice Kickstarter campaign.  Since the campaign was set to run for 30 days, that means there is not much time left to pledge.

Tinker Dice

Tinker Dice

And pledge you must if you want a set of these dice.  The campaign started off strong, as they tend to do, with a flurry of pledges.  However, things began to languish in early July and the project now sits at 40% of the requested funding level.  Projects often finish off with a last minute rush of pledges, and the last day of a campaign can be as strong as the first.  However, there is a long ways to go for this one, and without some momentum it seems doomed to founder shy of its target.

A Prophecy of Murder in G95F-H

Less than a day in our new home at 4-EP12 and we are already out exploring our new neighborhood.

Actually, somebody had already been out and about in the neighborhood, as we had a tower in one of the systems, G95F-H.  On the DOTLAN map that system looks fairly distant, being 8 jumps away and in another constellation.  But in the actual shape of space within the game, it is much closer, within range of a titan bridge from 4-EP12.

Using the in-game map

Using the in-game map

It is hard to tell with the thumbnail, but expanded you can see the two system.  Along the top of the map are the familiar string of systems leading back to the edge of the region and the J5A system.  (Edit: Here is a much better jump map from DOTLAN’s navigation planner.)

The Jump - With Systems Visible

The Jump – With Systems Visible

Anyway, the tower in G95F-H had been put into reinforce and intel had it that TEST was going to come out to try and finish the job. So the call went out for Baltec fleet.

The "How To" of Baltec Fleet

The “How To” of Baltec Fleet

We ended up with two fleets, one under Vily and one under Mister Vee.  Gaff and I and a couple of other corp mates actually ended up in Mister Vee’s fleet together.

As has become the natural order of things, just the strain of the two fleets undocking put the system in 10% time dilation.  If I were to write my friendly and helpful CSM representative about something, it would be the way that such transitions drag the system down.  It is one thing when we are fighting in a huge battle and there is a lot of flying hardware to track.  But a couple hundred people undocking ought not to push the system to its limits.  Null sec issues, I know.

Mister Vee got us all on the titan and, except for a couple of people who brought Tempest Fleet Issue battleships to the party… and who were asked to trade them out for something more appropriate, which included The Mittani coming into coms to say that such ships would not be reimbursed as they were not part of the doctrine… we seemed to have our act together.

We bridged out and warped to the tower, where Mister Vee had us spread out and orbit it just outside of the range of the shield, so we looked like we were sailing around on a crystal sphere.  The timer on the tower showed just a few minutes left.

The Countdown

The Countdown

Spread out and waiting, the word came that the elusive Prophecy fleet, which left us waiting just the other day, was on its way.  As the timer neared zero, a cyno was lit and hostiles began filling up local.  The timer finished, the tower came out of reinforce, and Mister Vee said, “Here they come.”

They landed on grid.  They were bubbled up.  And they were murdered.

Take a look at the battle summary over at dog-net.org. (Edit: Battle Summary is back, but you can still see the raw data at this report at eve-kill.net.)  Here is the key table.  Blue is TEST and ally loses, red is CFC losses, capsules are not included in the ship total at the top.

G95_DogNetKillSummary

We outnumbered them, 470 to 284.  We out gunned them, with a large battleship force facing battlecruisers and bombers.  And, frankly, we out fought them.  They laid alongside us to duke it out, got bubbled, and paid the price.  Their attempts to use the crazy drone capabilities of the Prophecy (drone link augmentors and drone damage amplifiers were part of their standard fit, so I assume they were going to assign all drones to assist the FC ala Jester’s Techno Chicken fit description) did not come to fruition.  Meanwhile the Megathrons were chewing them up to the point that I turned auto repeat off on my guns, as one broadside per target was generally enough.  Of course, if the odds are against you, your fleet doctrine might not be your problem.

If you look at the full report, you will see that it was pretty much just TEST and Tribal Band facing us.  If that is how they manage without their allies, I am going to have to go along with Kirith Kodachi’s estimate that TEST is screwed.  We filled up two fleets and had to turn people away.  Getting participation isn’t an issue for us at the moment.  My main problem during the battle was locking and firing at targets before the were destroyed.  Even Mister Vee sounded a bit nonplussed about the ease of our victory.

102 Prophecy and 24 Hurricane battlecruisers destroyed.  Mister Vee had us “fofofo” in local.

We fofofo

We fofofo

The “fofofo” tradition goes back to the days of Ultima Online according to the Goon wiki, from which I stole these pictures.

Let us "fofofo"

Let us “fofofo”

Why we actually do it is still a bit murky, but who am I to gainsay such a tradition?

And then, as the enemy that remained withdrew, several carriers jumped in to rep the tower.  Finally, a titan jumped in to bridge us back to 4-EP.  All in all, a great event for padding kill totals for us, but what must have been something of a morale breaker for TEST.

We shall see.  While one battle does not make a war, TEST’s performance without its allies does not bode well for them.

As per usual, some pictures of the operation taken along the way.

4-EP12 – Moving To Fountain Proper

The word went out last night that the invasion of Fountain was taking a step forward.  The system J5A-IX that we fought so hard for more than a month back just made it to sovereignty level 3, which meant that a jump bridge could be laid down to connect that system to 4-EP12.

A jump bridge lets us avoid traveling through four systems with the accompanying jump gate, tidi, fleet coordination, and potential gate camp issues.  The route forward becomes B-D to J5A to 4-EP.  So the decision was made to have everybody redeploy to 4-EP12.

North Fountain - July 20, 2013

North Fountain – July 20, 2013

All of which meant it was moving day.  And, as things tend to go in EVE Online, I managed to accumulate quite a bit of stuff in our staging station in B-DBYQ.  Noticeably absent from my list of stuff was any sort of hauler.

Fortunately, the haul to 4-EP is short, unlike the deployment convoy route from Deklein.  Plus my pal Gaff happened to have his carrier available and was able to haul most of my ships over in a matter of minutes.  I flew the last couple of big ships myself.  Meanwhile, the jump freighter operations that serve the CFC jumped right into action and added 4-EP to their list of destinations.  So for a bit of ISK I was able to get all my ammo and supplies on the list for delivery to our new station.  I expect it will all be there tonight.

Six cynos lit at 4-EP12 Station

Six cynos lit at 4-EP12 Station

All of which puts the bulk of our forces right in the midst of Fountain.  A large number of systems are now just a single titan bridge away, while TEST and its allies are still in Karan in the low-sec region of Aridia, which requires them to use a titan bridge just to get to Fountain.  And while the map of Fountain at DOTLAN is not accurate when it comes to distances between systems, that does put the CFC a lot closer to potential fights than TEST.

The question is, how do things go from here?  Poetic Stanziel is asking if TEST ought to just give up now.  What does TEST have left in their bag at this point?