Monthly Archives: January 2014

January in Review

The Site

This month I’ll ramble on a bit about Feedly.  With the demise of Google Reader, Feedly is where I ended up in my search for an online RSS feed reader.  It isn’t perfect.  It isn’t even as good as Google Reader was before Google+ came along.  But it is close enough to the post-Google+ version of Google Reader that I am okay with it.  I even opted in for Feedly Pro, which at this point only buys me a search field, but other things are promised for the future.  And I appear to need that search field.  Who are you bloggers who do not have any sort of search function available on your blogs? (Looking at Liore, amongst a cast of dozens.)

Anyway, it fills my basic needs, even if it appears to hate how WordPress.com formats pictures, appearing to toss them around in a fit of pique and sundering them from their captions when my posts are viewed.  And there is much I do not know, or have not noticed about the service.  For example, the other day Tobold was chuckling about how Feedly was attempting to prove what we all secretly believe, that he and SynCaine are the same person and just trolling us all on a grand scale.  Laugh while you can!  Somebody will prove it some day!

But I was wondering about Feedly recommending feeds, which he noted.  It doesn’t do that for me, though that might be because I have it set in the most minimalist form I could manage.  I don’t need anything fancy or pictures or a book format or anything.  I have FlipBoard for that.  I just want a list of titles to run through.  And I also saw in his screen shot… such a rare thing on his blog that we all should stop and gape (pro tip: png format for text like that, as JPEG will blur.)… that it also showed the number of people who are subscribed various feeds.  So, of course, I had to go find out how many people on Feedly were subscribed to mine.

FeedlyTAGN

That is actually a lot more than I would have guessed.  So much more that I suspect that the number is wrong.  I certainly would have put the number far lower.  Not that the number is huge.  Look what Massively has on Feedly.

FeedlyMassively

Still, if it is correct, I guess I am not faring too badly.  And I am doing a bit better than some on Feedly.

FeedlyTheMittani

Ah well, I can make Mittens feel better about that one.

FeedlyEN24

I bring this up not only because it is something to ponder… though that would be reason enough… but also because it pokes a big hole in WordPress.com’s stats page.  Theoretically, WordPress.com tells me how many page views I get on the site and, if I go into detail on a single post, how many people saw it through syndication.  Back in the days of Google Reader, the ratio of site to syndication views was at least 3 to 1 in favor of RSS feeds.  Checking recent posts, that ratio has swung in favor of on-site views, with the ratio having move to something like 2 to 1 in that direction.  And believe me, the numbers listed for syndicated views are nowhere close to the alleged number of followers that Feedly pegs me at.  So something, somewhere is amiss.  The usual state of affairs in the universe I suspect.

I am also curious about where those little hash tag entries come from for feeds and why I only get two.

One Year Ago

Firefly Universe Online.  Was that a hoax or not?  I still don’t know.  And does the acronym FUO seem mildly obscene?

Wizardry Online joined the SOE stable while Pirates of the Burning Sea was sent packing.  Who is laughing now?

We got our full group together in Rift and did our first instance of the year, dying at least 100 times combined.  This lead to a side post about bosses and gimmicks and what makes a challenge.

In World of Tanks the instance group was scooting around. We even created our own little clan.  Potshot and I were totally going French.

In EVE Online, after a sudden burst of war fever died down, there was a surprise battle where more than 2,500 ships clashed in Asakai when CFC FC Dabigredboat lead a supercap fleet in to rescue a stray titan.  The battle was so big that CCP did a Dev Blog about it.  Meanwhile, we were to be denied LEGO Rifters.

The DUST 514 open beta was officially open.  I still haven’t bombed anything from orbit yet.

Path of Exile went into full open beta as well.

Krono made its way from EverQuest II to EverQuest while I was wondering what people were spending their Station Cash on.

I was musing about MUDs again, and vendors who wouldn’t simply buy any crap you had for sale and dead rats.

There was a list of 20 games that defined the Apple II.

And I wrote out my yearly list.  This time it was goals, mostly because I was on vacation when I was supposed to be writing it.

Five Years Ago

Five years ago I was in a Middle-earth mood.  I had rolled up some new characters on the same server as a few notable podcasters and then started trying to catch up to them.  The small and friendly community in LOTRO helped out, so I was able to do the Great Barrow with a pickup group and not feel the need to drink heavily afterward.  Of course, I sometimes feel the need to stir the pot.  And then there was the whole icon thing.

I also mentioned something that involved punching Amy Tan that seemed to go down well.  According to Google, this was the only site it tracks that has ever used the exact phrase “punch Amy Tan.”  I think it is still pretty much a TAGN unique.

In WoW the instance group was working its way up to Ingvar the Plunderer.  This was the height of our “we suck” phase.  Meanwhile Blizz was busy patching in improvements.

While in EVE there was a bit of mission running plus I hit a monetary milestone and 30 million skill points.

I went looking for KartRider and found that after beta Nexon apparently folded up that tent and  called it a day, at least here in the US.

I noticed that the optical drive on our Wii started making a lot of noise.  It still makes noise five years later, but it also still works.

There was that whole controversy about Wikipedia deleting entries on MUDs and MUD history.  That lead to the creation of MUD History Wiki over on Wikia.  Many MUDs are still alive and well, and sites like the MUD Connector seem to still thrive.

I pointed to a post over at Massively that showed the top selling games for October of 2008 were almost all a couple years old or more.

I hit the 1,000 post mark, which was cause for yet another milestone post and some reflection. (I’m past the 3,000 mark a now and I’ll probably hold off on more reflection until the 5,000 mark, so you’re safe for a while.)

Oh, and I predicted a whole bunch of crap that mostly failed to materialize.  But that didn’t stop me from trying again this year.

And, like everybody else, I had a laundry list for the new President. He totally failed on all fronts!

New Linking Blogs

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Eastasia Routed at B-R5RB! 70+ Titans Down!
  2. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  3. A Horrible Community…
  4. Bloodbath at SOE – Four Titles Closing Down, PlanetSide Goes F2P
  5. SOE All Access Changes… yet again… And the Future
  6. Did Blizzard Just Hint at the Warlords of Draenor Ship Date?
  7. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Reaper of Souls
  8. My MMO Outlook for 2014
  9. In Which We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia
  10. Quote of the Day – WoW, Legacy Raids, and The Squish
  11. The Malthusian Trap of HED-GP
  12. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and the Realities of Kickstarter Funding

Search Terms of the Month

nation pokedex all 705 caught
[And I thought 485 was bad]

mountain dew code red with vanilla ice cream
[been there, done that]

why are bond villains so stupid
[Their motivations are mostly mundane]

many talk porno blog
[loves you long time]

EVE Online

After starting off the month bitching and moaning about being bored in null sec and mostly tending my training queue in a station in high sec, the war in the south heated up.  There was the big battle at HED-GP, which I avoided but which was worth writing about, and then the titan slaying festival at B-R5RB that I managed to sneak into towards the end of the fight.  Quite the time.   And then CCP pushed Rubicon 1.1 the next day, the bugs in which pretty much grounded null sec.  Ah well, such is the way of things in New Eden.  CCP will get it fixed, and that big fight will keep me subscribed for another six months.  And while the big battle has turned the tide of the war, it still isn’t over yet.

World of Warcraft

The binge in Azeroth continued through January.  I made a sky golem.  I got a second character to level 90.  I managed to get to exalted with a couple more factions in Pandaria.  I actually did a raid via the raid finder, which I would have posted about had I understood a bit of what happened.   I think it just reinforced the reason I am in a group that does five person content and not a raiding guild.  Still, fun continues to be had in WoW.

Coming Up

Well, there is a bunch of stuff coming up, though  I am not sure how much of it I will write about.

I probably won’t say anything about the SuperBowl.

While the launch fervor is building, I remain lukewarm about The Elder Scrolls Online.  The minor flare up about the pre-order and collector’s edition hasn’t helped that at all.  And by that, I mean that it didn’t make me care any more or less about the game.

EverQuest Next Landmark Minecraft, the part of the EverQuest Next story I don’t really care about, will go/has gone/might be into alpha today.  Smed has cautioned those who paid to be there to remember that this is alpha.  To his credit, he did say that SOE would offer refunds to people who didn’t like it.  SOE always wants to do the right thing, it just takes them a few tries to get there some days.

The Kickstarter campaign for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen will finish up before the end of next month.  As of last night I would have guessed it wasn’t going to make it.  It got a boost from the announcement that Vanguard was closing, and the Reddit AMA that Brad did helped things, but it didn’t look like either was going to be enough.  And then there was the announcement that there would be a cross promotion with Lord British and Shroud of the Avatar.  Support both and get something special.  While I remain skeptical of the fickle nature of the fondness Lord British can show, this could help out a lot.  Will that be enough?  At this point there needs to be a really big finale for this campaign to fund.

While there is still a war on in EVE Online, the news seems to indicate that it might be winding down before too long.  What will this mean to the three sided power structure in null sec?

Raptr sent me a summary of my year in gaming 2013 which actually surprised me.  That’ll get a post.

Warlords of Draenor might go into beta… or might at least announce when beta will begin, which will likely start the 6 month count down to the go-live date.  I still have to figure out which class to insta-level to 90.  And then there will likely be more of the usual with the regular group in Azeroth.

A Busy Night at the South End of Kalimdor

Last weekend we launched ourselves into Uldum and got through The Vortex Pinnacle, the instance in the sky.  That still left us two instance to do in Uldum, the Lost City of Tol’vir and The Halls of Origination.  Uldum is the instance hot-spot in Cataclysm I guess.  Fortunately, we were all online again on Saturday night.  Our group was:

  • Earlthecat – Level 84 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 84 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 84 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 84 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 84 Gnome Mage DPS

We had all managed to hit level 84, either during last week’s run or on Sunday as a catch-up.  As we got ourselves situated outside of the Lost City of Tol’vir, Skronk was telling us about a new priest skill he got.

Out by the Tol'vir summoning stone

Out by the Tol’vir summoning stone

Called Leap of Faith, it apparently allowed him to target a member of the group and pull that person to him.

Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

We were not quite sure when that might come in handy.  We speculated on about the healer pulling people not paying attention out of the fire or whatever gunk they were standing in, or maybe grabbing the tank and hauling him back to save the healer.  We were not sure when such an ability would come in handy, so it was filed away for later as we went into the instance.

More after the cut.

Continue reading

Into a Wine-Dark Immensea

The big battle at B-R5RB continues to cause ripples in the war.  The first bit of new that came down after I got home from work was that we are moving staging systems.  We will be bidding farewell to G-0Q86 and all of its lack of charm.  There seems to be universal relief at that.

We will be heading to a CFC owned system deep in the Immensea region.  On the bright side, being in the midst of hostile systems, will ensure that there is plenty of action.

On the down side, the logistics of getting myself and some ships there may be a challenge.  Part of that is because I cannot get back to G-0Q86 in Curse directly, as I am still stuck with my Domi in B-R5RB.  That is actually further into Immensea that our new staging system, yet still far enough away, and with enough hostile systems in between, as to make it very unlikely that I could just fly there using jump gates.

The Situation in Immensea

The Situation in Immensea

Sure, it looks like Nulli Secunda (S2N, or the green systems, on the map) is pulling out of Immensea, but that will likely mean more hostile activity and more danger in the short term.

So it is looking like I have to take a jump clone out of B-R5RB.  But I do not have one back in Curse, because I do not have standing with the NPCs who own the station so I couldn’t dump one there before we headed out for the big op, something I would normally do.  So I have to jump to one of the clones I have scattered about New Eden.  I am glad I trained up so I can have 9 jump clones.

The temptation is to jump back to Deklein, the home I haven’t seen in ages at this point, grab my carrier, which has sat in station since the day I bought it, and try to fly it down to G-0Q86.  Then I could load up my ships and make the jump to the new staging system.   That last bit is the easy part.  Getting down to G-0Q86 is the tricky bit.  I need three station stops in low sec with somebody there to light a cyno at each.  So that will take a bit of doing.

In the mean time, I did manage to contract my backup Domi to my alt, who was able to take it on a convoy to the new staging system.  So I have a Domi waiting for me there.

Getting out of G-0Q86

Getting out of G-0Q86

If needs be, I can fly down in an stealth bomber or an interceptor… isn’t that how I always get down to Curse and beyond… and link up with my Domi that way.  But I have a small pile of ships to deal with in Curse still and Immensea is a step or two further away from where I will have to start.  Everything in EVE Online can be an adventure though.  You just have to accept that you’re going to lose your ship, and then if you happen to get through okay, it feels like a win.

Addendum: And it sounds like Pandemic Legion will be leaving the war in the south in exchange for being allowed to extract assets from B-R5RB.

Quote of the Day – Hearthstone, SOE, and Historical Inevitability

Actually after seeing what Blizzard did with Hearthstone it’s given us some other ideas…. LoN is an awesome card game. We can take that to the next level.

John Smedley, Reddit AMA on plans for Legends of Norrath

Okay, that is actually a quote from a few days back, but the Reddit Ask Me Anything that John Smedley did last Friday is a gold mine of quotes.  I have to salute Feldon at EQ2 Wire for picking out some of the prime samples for his post.

And I have to hand it to Smed for not flinching from some tough question and answering things the way he did.  He laid out a lot things there, and not all of them were flattering to SOE.  He also left a lot of meat on the table to discuss, from SOE operating Vanguard at a loss for “a long time” to consolidation of IPs plan (again, is DC Universe Online safe with that going on?) to EverQuest Next being headed for the PlayStation 4 (not good news in my book, at least when it comes to a ship date… or user interface choices).  You could get a month’s worth of blog posts out of that AMA.  I am sure bloggers will be feeding on this all week.

But the item quoted at the top… I think speaks volumes in just two sentences.

The online collectible card game Legends of Norrath was launched back in late 2007, when it was integrated with EverQuest and EverQuest II, giving players a game to play within a game.  No mixed message in that.  Later it got its own stand-alone client, but the integration with the EverQuest games was still prime.  Legends of Norrath borrowed the stories and metaphors of the EverQuest games for theme and mechanics, and offered up in-game goodies for players of the two MMOs along with throwing out the occasional reward to the community by including somebody on a card.

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

And, as far as I know, the game has been a success.  It survived the great purge of the Denver and Tuscon studios that seemed to spell the end of online card games being anything like a focus at SOE. (There are some good historical Smed quotes on the old SOE Blog, and some interesting posts from others about company plans. I am surprised it hasn’t all been sent down the memory hole yet.)  Legends of Norrath survived along with Magic The Gathering: Tactics, though the latter is slated to be shut down at the end of March.  Another aspect of the recent blood bath I guess.

And then along came Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

HearthstoneWhite_450

Actually, it hasn’t really come along yet.  It just got out of closed beta and is now downloadable by anybody who wants to be in the open beta (Europe too now) and who has a Battle.net account.

Hearthstone compares directly to Legends of Norrath.  It is an online collectable card game based on the lore of a popular MMO, it is free to play with its own client, you can buy cards, play against other online, and so on.

However, unlike Legends of Norrath, Hearthstone isn’t integrated into World of Warcraft.  For now the linkage is only in lore and sharing a Battle.net login with WoW and your other current Blizzard games.  Also unlike Legends of Norrath, Hearthstone has gotten a lot of praise from both inside and out of the MMO player community.

Not that I have heard people slam Legends of Norrath, but it never seemed like a big deal either, not the way Hearthstone has been hailed.  Part of that is no doubt the fact that Blizzard games are much more visible, popular, and highly rated than games from SOE.  A lot of people will try anything Blizzard ships.  Simple truth: Blizzard has a lot more fans than SOE.

And part of that is no doubt the application of Blizzard magic to the Legends of Norrath idea, which made Hearthstone shinier, easier to get into, and more appealing to players for whom collectible card games were never really a thing to do.  Plus there is the promise of an iOS and Android version of the game.  The iPad will likely be the Hearthstone platform for me.

This is, of course, pretty much a parallel to EverQuest and World of Warcraft.  SOE got out there first and succeeded, but then Blizzard took what they saw SOE doing and created something an order of magnitude more successful.  And so I suspect will be the case with Hearthstone.

Of course, not everybody loves Hearthstone.  As the hardcore early EverQuest players derided World of Warcraft (even as EverQuest tried to become more and more like WoW ), so some serious CCG players have declared that Hearthstone is a shallow game only fit for casual scrubs, bitter that people are not playing “more deserving” games.  And so it goes.

But the generally favorable reviews of the game got even me to download the Hearthstone open beta, and I am well into the “CCGs are not for me” camp. (I tried the Pokemon CCG a few times, but never enjoyed it.)  I haven’t actually played it yet… or even launched the app… but I have it downloaded.  And that brings me to yet another SOE vs. Blizzard parallel.

In downloading and installing Hearthstone, I found out that to use it required the still-in-beta Battle.net launcher… erm, excuse me… the Battle.net Desktop App.  Oh, and that replaced the launcher for all of the current Blizzard games, including World of Warcraft and Diablo III.

The Hearthstone install did not warn me about that and I was PISSED!

I was pissed because I have been through the single, unified launcher/updater wringer before.  Of course, that was with SOE which was trying to push their version of that sort of thing quite a while back.

Station Launcher of yore...

Station Launcher of yore…

The fact that Station Launcher never quite worked right was compounded by the fact that the SOE website kept telling people to use it after they had stopped supporting and it had ceased to function.  I had to open a support ticket to get the response of “don’t use that” from SOE.  So my anger was entirely based on having problems with this sort of thing before.  I would have avoided downloading Hearthstone had I known what it meant.

Only, in the ongoing parallel between SOE and Blizzard, the new Battle.net launcher… Desktop App… just works.  I log into Battle.net through it and can kick off World of Warcraft just fine.  It shows me all the news tidbits that the WoW launcher did and, in addition, shows which of my Battle Tag friends are online and in which game.  No problems at all.

My anger was thus short lived, which brings me back around to the quote at the top of this post.  SOE deciding to copy Blizzard, who copied SOE in the first place seems to be the natural order of things.  I am sure somebody can make quite a list of the things that SOE copied back from Blizzard.  So it is no surprise to me that, upon seeing what Blizzard has done with Hearthstone, that SOE has been moved to action.  Because, when left to their own devices, SOE can come up with some clunkers. (Not to mention being a bit tone deaf at times.)

I suppose the only thing wrong with Station Launcher was that SOE didn’t leaving hanging around long enough for the Blizzard version to appear so that they would know what to do.

B-R5RB by the Numbers – CCP Dev Blog Details the Fight

The big fight on Monday is over, but the analysis continues.  CCP, ever the heroes when it comes to providing details about EVE Online, has weighed in with a Dev Blog Post about the Bloodbath at B-R5RB.

You should read it.  It has charts, graphs, a narrative, talk about technical impacts and time dilation, and all sorts of fun stuff about the battle.  This is why we love CCP.

An Avatar doomsday strikes home

An Avatar doomsday strikes home

As a tease, and so I have the numbers to hand going forward, here are some of the details:

  • Around 21 hours of total fighting
  • 7,548 unique characters belonging to those two coalitions participated in the overall battle (i.e. landed on at least one killmail).  6,058 participated directly in the B-R5RB system with 2,670 in system at max
  • This wasn’t the largest single battle in terms of numbers of participants in system at once. That record still belongs to the battle for 6VDT-H, which reached 4,070 pilots in system.
  • 717 unique player Corporations
  • 55 unique player Alliances
  • Titans losses – 75 (74 in system, one on its way to the fight) N3/PL lost 59 titans and CFC/DTF lost 16 titans
  • Titan losses by type: Gallente Erebus – 37, Amarr Avatar – 25, Minmatar Ragnarok – 13, Caldari Leviathan – 0
  • Supercarrier Losses – 13 (12 in system, one as it tried to escape the system)
  • Dreadnought Losses– 370 (356 in system, 14 in connected skirmishes as both sides attempted to stop the other from bringing reinforcements)
  • Carrier Losses – 123 (109 in system, 14 in connected skirmishes as both sides attempted to stop the other from bringing reinforcements)
  • Approximately 775 doomsdays were fired, which is about 24% of all the doomsdays fired in the last two years inclusive. The Battle for HED-GP, which preceded this one in the Halloween War, had about 200 doomsdays.
  • Estimated economic impact: 11 TRILLION ISK.

That is just scratching the surface of what CCP has posted.  Meanwhile, a few other numbers have bubbled up.

So they still have a lot of capital ships to spend in the war… unless, of course, a lot of them in the station at B-R5RB, the loss of which is what set off the battle.

Something missing from all of this that I would love to read: The diplomatic conversation between Nulli Secunda, which dropped the ball on the sov bill and set off the fight, and PL/NC, who were the hardest hit by the fight, at least when ISK is used as a measurement.

Addendum: The Mittani has a good companion post up about the battle that goes into ship costs and sovereignty and other details with an aim to making them understandable.

Eastasia Routed at B-R5RB! 70+ Titans Down!

(Today’s title is a reference to a post about null sec I wrote last week, in case you’re going, ‘Huh?”)

What to say about the fight at B-R5RB?

It was a battle to eclipse Asakai, the capital ship engagement that took place exactly one year before.

It was one of those events that demonstrates the scale of the possible in EVE Online in terms of players involved and resources consumed as well as the time frames required.

The first notification that a fight might be going down was broadcast about 8am PST yesterday when it was reported over at The Mittani that sovereignty dropped on the system B-R5RB after down time.  Nulli Secunda forgot to pay their recurring sovereignty bill (you get a reminder and it pretty much adds up to pressing a button) and so they lost the system.

They set about restoring their sovereignty while Russian and CFC units started poking around to investigate what was going on in what Pandemic Legion and other N3 forces had been using as a staging system for operations in the war in the south east.

If what I heard on coms last night was correct, Lazrus Telraven took the command decision for the CFC to go “all in” on contesting the system.  The fight was on.

I’m going all in.  Get here.

-Lazrus Telraven, convo with Mister Vee

I was at work, done with my morning tea and busy poking away at test application.  These things always seem to start on Euro time while I am at the office.

I checked Twitter throughout the day as EVE-Kill, which tweets every expensive ship loss, and ever super capital makes that grade, called out the losses one by one.  If you want to know when something big is going down in New Eden, that is a Twitter account to follow.

Titan kills kept getting reported all day long as capital fleets piled into the system.  Several live streams were up.  When I finally got home, I checked into the Pandemic Legion stream to see what they were saying.

Pandemic Legion Live from B-R

Pandemic Legion Live from B-R

They were reporting 20 Russian/CFC titans down for 38 N3 titan losses with less than 2,000 people in system.  There was a call for a Dominix fleet about then, so I logged in and joined up.  However, we were left hanging in a POS for quite a while before being dismissed.  There was nobody available to bridge us anywhere, all the titans online were engaged in the fight.  I logged back off and went and had dinner with the family, then watched the Sherlock that got recorded Sunday night.  The wedding episode.  Fun stuff.

After that and a bit of cleaning up I headed back to my computer.  By this point the Pandemic Legion stream had stopped counting losses.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

When I shoved off earlier it sounded like the fight might be winding down.  There was loose talk about extracting our forces, some of whom had been on for nearly 12 hours at that point.  There was also a call for reinforcements for the Dominix fleet I had left earlier.  A titan had been found to move us around and the fleet had been sent out eventually.  I got back into my Domi and out with some other reinforcements (eluding the Dirt Nap Squad camp in our own staging system) only to be sent off to a system a few jumps from the main fight in order to shoot structures.

Joy.  A structure shoot during the biggest event in a long time.

We were there to try and draw off some of the capital ships that were assisting N3 in the big fight.  This had apparently worked a couple of times previously.  Carriers had been dropped on Domis, or so I was told.   But by the time I was out with the fleet N3 had lost interest in what we were doing.  Eventually Reagalan, our FC, decided that the venture was fruitless and arranged a bridge back to G-0 for us.  The fleet was standing down.

But that was only for a short break.  A new fleet went up on Lyris.  The Mittani himself got on coms to tell us we would be bridging into the fight in B-R5RB.  We were to refit out Domis to have four energy neutralizers in our high slots and get on the titan.  Our job was to drain the capacitors of hostile titans so that their repair modules would cease to function, making them easier to kill.  We were not to launch drones.  Nobody wanted to crash the system at this point… nobody on our side anyway… while there were still at least a dozen titans on the field to kill.

After a short wait, the bridge went up.

And then there was a much longer wait in the warp tunnel to B-R5RB.

Reports were that the system was responding much better than it had been earlier in the day.  Modules were responding to commands within a few seconds and things were generally working.  But time dilation was still at 10% and updates in the UI were sketchy at best.  So riding the bridge into system took quite a while.  I spent 15 minutes in limbo, from the point I selected the “jump through” option to when I was actually up and systems systems functioning in B-R5RB.  Somewhere along the way the system lost track of me and warped me off to a safe spot, so that when I finally loaded I had to endure what I would call a Zeno’s Paradox warp, where the distance to the final destination kept dropping in half, but never seemed to want to finish.  I think I was down to 122 meters until warp bubble collapse before the system finally decided I was there.

And then I was on grid amongst the battle of titans.  The field was a mass of warp disruption bubbles and giant ships.  There were titans strewn about, as the N3 ships were trying to move out of the bubbles to escape.  But each was pinned down.  Meanwhile, hundreds of super carriers, carriers, and dreadnoughts hung about the field, secondary targets when compared to the big fish.  My screen shots are in a gallery after the cut at the end of this post, but they do not do the fight justice.  It was like no other fight I have been in.

But it was time to get to business.  We moved to the first titan on our list, bushy2, and began to neut him down.  Things went slowly.  We drained him and then watched the capital ships burn him down.  We moved on to Chris baileyy.  My capacitor and velocity read-outs in the UI stopped functioning.  We applied neuts as the next target was called, Mandrake Seriya.  Then it was Ryan Coolness, then Needa3, and then Maggy Lycander.  Doomsdays flared from our titans, burning down the drained targets as dreadnoughts and super carriers kept up a constant stream of fire.

In all, from the time I dropped into system to the point of the 6th kill more than two and a half hours had gone by.  It was now midnight my time and 16 hours had passed since the fight started to develop.  It was well past my weeknight bed time.  But what to do?  There was no way I was getting back to G-0 at that point, and I wasn’t keen to stay up until at least downtime, three hours hence.  So I just left myself logged in and following the fleet, turned off the monitor and hit the sack.  What the hell, I got on some titan kills.

When I checked in the morning, I had been logged out for downtime, but there was no kill mail for me, so I appeared to have survived.  My Domi is sitting in B-R5RB waiting for me to log in again.  But there are lots of ships in that state.  Our forces managed to kill the final N3 titan about 90 minutes after I went to bed and then started in on the super carriers until downtime.  And, in looking at the coalition broadcasts, there will be camping and mop-up operations going on for some time to try and catch N3 capital ships as they log back in to try and escape.

You can see the ebb and flow of the fight in the report from DOTLAN.

DOTLAN kills for the last 24 hours

DOTLAN kills for the key 20 hours

There was the initial rush, the mid-period when the system was at its slowest, then as things started to thin and the Russian/CFC forces started to get the upper hand, the kills increased until downtime, which is the red bar.  And then kills resumed.

Or kills tried to resume.  Today is also the Rubicon 1.1 patch, which appears to have broken any number of things.  There are reports of friendly stations shooting people and CONCORD issues and all sorts of fun things… because CCP.  We shall see which side all of that favors, if any.

And what does all this mean?   This wasn’t the biggest fight in terms of people involved or total ships killed, I think 6VDT-H still wins there, but it surely must be the most expensive fight in the history of the game.  CCP put up a coy tweet about the total titan losses.

That is 75 titans down in one day, each one of which cost at least 100 billion ISK.  Some of them were more than double that, when fit with officer modules.  I think, over the last seven years, I might have had a total of maybe 10-12 billion ISK all combined, so for me that is a staggering amount of destruction.  Call it at least a 7.5 trillion ISK day as an opening estimate.  I am sure CCP will roll out the stats as soon as they can.  In the mean time, they are in there with an offer to help rebuild!  Expect prices in Jita to go up on speculation alone.

As CCP_Fozzie asked, "Too soon?"

As CCP_Fozzie asked, “Too soon?”

And now the post-battle has begun, as people try to figure out what really happened in that 20 hour stretch in New Eden.  There will be lots of reports in the gaming press and even the mainstream press I am sure.  There will be a crazy, nothing to do with reality, dollar amount attached to the losses in this battle.  Some links so far:

Massively remains oddly absent from the list of sites covering this.  If I got all my news from them, I’d think it was just another ho-hum week in space.  Even my local paper is ahead of them.

As for what it means to the three big null sec coalitions… I don’t know.  I imagine that NC and Pandemic Legion have enough reserves that this won’t hurt them too badly in the long term.  They will rebuild.  In the shorter term, their ability to project power and drop supers onto fights has been diminished.  We will see how that plays out.

And for me, well, I am on six titan kill mails and I saw another giant battle.  Good enough for me!

Screen shot gallery after the cut.

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Will Vanguard’s Closure Help Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen?

On Friday afternoon SOE chucked a huge stone into the lake of MMOs, and now we are watching how the ripples spread and wondering what they will impact.

more titles in the past than in the future

more titles in the past than in the future

What does Friday’s blood letting say about SOE’s all-in attitude on free to play, or about one company running more than a couple of MMO titles?  Should we avoid the niche titles from SOE and NCSOFT, as they appear vulnerable to closure at a whim compared to similar titles where that is all a given company has going for it? You seem safe playing in Norrath (on Windows) and in whatever the PlanetSide universe is called, but other titles… not so much.  How long does the contract for the DC Universe Online IP go?

Will people who invested a lot in cosmetic gear in Clone War Adventures or Free Realms feel burned and thus be less likely to spend money now that these two cosmetic funded titles are being shut down with 9 weeks notice?  Has SOE poisoned the well on this front?  And what does Smed’s “no more titles for kids” pronouncement mean?  I guess the myth that many MMO players were kids with daddy’s credit card has been dispelled.

Have we seen enough Asian MMOs ported to the US market only to languish and fade yet?

Can Smed be naive enough to believe that a vague promise to former Star Wars Galaxies players about SOE’s next, unannounced title being for them, that they can come “home,” means anything?  I am sure that those driven out by the stick that was the NGE are pretty sure that their home is elsewhere these days.  And as for those who remained, how many stuck with the game just because it was set in the Episodes IV-V era of Star Wars?  Is a different IP going to scratch that itch?

And then there is Vanguard and Brad McQuaid and the kickstarter for his new game, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.

PROTF04

On the one hand, part of his “trust me” appeal for the Kickstarter campaign is his leadership in producing two enduring MMORPGs, EverQuest and Vanguard.  Sure, Vanguard had a tough launch.  That was just the situation at the time and he had to roll with it.  But once it was “fixed,” the game was good.

So SOE “sunsetting” (Because that makes us all feel better than just saying “closing” or “shutting down” right?) Vanguard kind of puts a pin to the balloon of that argument.  *POP*

Because if Vanguard was good enough, popular enough, and profitable enough, SOE wouldn’t have found security updates to be too difficult.  Money talks, and enough money gets your fixes done.  So we can assume there wasn’t enough.

So Brad now has one successful, still running MMO on his resume, even if it has been drastically changed from back in the day, and one that is being shut down… the announcement for which went out during his Kickstarter.

And then there was the talk about Brad buying Vanguard from SOE.  Fine, I know a small crowd of fans were really for that, but for me that was a red flag moment.  My concern for Pantheon, should it fund successfully, is that it will end up being another case of trying to do too much and ending up launching with an unready product.  A small team really needs to pare down projects to the essentials to deliver.  I still cringe that PvP is on the stretch goals, as that seems like a distraction, something totally outside of the vision set out for the game.  And it doesn’t matter that they will likely not make it to that stretch goal, it is the fact that they even consider it an option that worries me.

So, in the middle of a campaign for a new game, sudden talk about buying up the old game seems like a moment where somebody should be saying in Brad’s ear, “Stay on target!”

On the flip side, I wonder if the timing of this announcement from SOE… delivered after lunch on Friday, the time slot chosen by PR people who hope the news will be too late to make a splash in the news cycle and will end up forgotten by Monday… might turn to something of a boon for the Pantheon Kickstarter campaign.

Certainly, there is the potential to get the news about the Kickstarter in front of a few more faces.  The coverage of the closure of Vanguard inevitably rolls around to what Brad is up to now.

And Vanguard shutting down puts paid to some of the comments I have seen about the Pantheon up to this point, which basically amount to “Why do I want this when I already have Vanguard available?”  Well, you won’t have Vanguard around for much longer.

Will these two points help boost the Kickstarter campaign?  It currently sits at just over $238,000 of the $800,000 initial goal, with 26 days left to go.  That seems like a lot, but pledges have fallen short of the daily minimum to make goal since the initial surge of support.  So the campaign clearly needs a shot in the arm.

Can this news do the job?  It looks like there was already a small uptick in people supporting the project over the weekend, and there is some sentiment about for supporting Pantheon as a replacement for Vanguard.  But is it enough?