Monthly Archives: June 2014

June in Review, This Time for Real!

The Site

I do not have anything special to grouse about this month… WordPress.com hasn’t mucked anything up and the spam assault from last month has tapered off… so I thought I would go for an informational topic this month.

All the ways you can follow this blog.  Or all the ways I can think of.

As part of the “be the blog you want to read” philosophy here, I have tried to make it easy for people to be able to keep track of posts by connecting up the site to give people the option to use the feed that makes the most sense to them.

Possibilities

Possibilities

  • The Site Itself – You can come here and read the blog at the blog. Imagine that!
  • RSS – The site actually have not just one but two RSS feed which you can use to read full posts, but one seems to behave oddly now and again, so I have stopped publishing it.  That leaves the one here.  That feed provides the full content of each post.  But if you want the other one, it is here.
  • Twitter – The site publishes a link for each post to Twitter when it goes live, or when I accidently push the “publish” button when I mean to hit “save.” (Did that earlier, what a mess.)  My Twitter name is @wilhelm2451 and my feed is available here.
  • Facebook – As with Twitter, the side publishes to my Facebook blogging profile here.
  • Google+ – My updates are also published to my Google+ feed, which is about all that appears in my feed there.
  • Tumblr – If your main focus online is Tumblr, the site publishes an exerpt from the post there.  The feed for this site is so-so, formatting doesn’t always work out, but the feed for my other site, EVE Online Pictures, looks kind of neat with the current theme I think.
  • Flipboard – If you have an iOS or Android device, there is an app called FlipBoard, which I highly recommend for reading news and such.  In that app, you can search for either of my blogs and add them to your reading list. (But don’t add that “magazine” with the same name as the blog. I created that when tinkering and cannot delete it for some reason.)
  • WordPress Reader – If you have a WordPress blog, you can follow other WordPress blogs and view them in the reader that WordPress.com had.  I am not exactly fond of it, but it is better than it used to be and it serves the purpose of reminding me when people post.

Those are some of the methods you can use to keep track of the blog.  There are probably a couple other (what did I miss?), but those are the ones I use to follow other people.  But I tend to follow people only on one or two of those channels, so if you’re wondering why I may follow you on Google+ but not Twitter, it is likely because I am already looking at your stuff through one source already.  Doubling up doesn’t always add value.

I originally started thinking about this as a possible Newbie Blogger Initiative post, but never quite got around to it.  Maybe next year.

One Year Ago

At last year’s E3, Sony certainly seemed to have won the marketing war against Microsoft and the XBox One.

In EVE Online, the war for Fountain began, which currently looks like the peak of my null sec career.  The CFC invaded the Fountain region to take it from former member TEST in order control its economically valuable moons, something triggered by the release of the Odyssey expansion.  A side effect of all of this was that the “blue donut” chanting peanut gallery was shown yet again that war was possible. That did not stop them from moving straight to “not winning fast enough” as their next chant.  I suppose that gave TEST some comfort though.

I got a special BMW in Need for Speed World.  That 180 journey about finished that game for me.  I have had no real urge to go back, and with a couple of auto based MMOs coming this year, the next time I want to drive online I will have other options.

TorilMUD offered its own web client to connect to one of the older MUDs left on the internet.

Rift went free to play, and the instance group met up to give it a try.

I was wondering about feedback that MMOs give about equipment, wondering if we could use that as opposed to lots and lots of stats.  Also, something about equity.

And I finished up the Evendim zone in LOTRO for the nth time and sat, as usual, wondering how to bridge that awkward gap between levels 40 and 50.

Five Years Ago

People were upset about Blizzard not including LAN play in StarCraft II.  It looks like Blizzard stuck to that plan, as there will be no such feature when the game ships at the end of July.

The NeuroSky MindSet was released, but I still cannot cast fireballs in WoW using only my brain.

Then there was that Wii Bowling Ball controller.  Seemed more like a lawsuit magnet.

There was a new definition of hard core gamers.

I was complaining about the local newspaper being made up of 8 pieces of paper.  I have since stopped getting the daily paper.

There was an attempt to get Age of Empires II: Age of Kings going while people in the instance group were on vacation.  We did end up getting connected via a service called Game Ranger.

And then there was World of Warcraft.  They changed when you got mounts in the game allowing people to (literally and figuratively) fly through the Burning Crusade.  There was that whole WoW/Mountain Dew cross promotion which, if nothing else, got me another in-game pet.  I spent all my gold on the artisan flying skill, and then they lowered the price with the mount changes.  I got the achievement The Explorer.  And I bought an authenticator.  Viva account security.

New Linking Sites

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 June

  1. Kronos – The Last Big EVE Online Expansion
  2. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  3. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Level 85 in EverQuest… Now What?
  6. Authenticators… Are They Still a Thing?
  7. Civilization – Operation Torch and the Russian Front
  8. Quote of the Day – World of Darkness, World of Chaos
  9. Civilization – Embracing Spanish Confucianism
  10. On the Darkest Shore
  11. Should Blizzard Expand the Starter Edition?
  12. Civilization – Autocracy and the Pursuit of Happiness

Search Terms of the Month

mmos where you can gank people
[Oh, the places you’ll go…]

timeless isle mobs hit hard
[Why yes, yes they do.]

does everyone die on timeless isle
[Yes, see above.]

emerald dream server shut down
[It looks like it. #PrivateServerProblems]

eve online mining nothing in null sec
[I have been mining nothing in null sec for ages!]

wow how many 90s do you really need
[All of them.]

Civilization V

Our ongoing multiplayer game of Civ V continues to grind itself to some sort of eventual end.  As noted in a post last week, we are determined to play this until somebody wins, but once that happens we will likely have had enough of Civ V for a while.  When we first started on Civ V, we would also run single player games just to get our fill.  Now though, I think the one game is enough for us.

EVE Online

It has been a quiet month in New Eden for me.  There haven’t been a lot of ops running in my time slot, so aside from a couple jaunts down to Delve mid-month, I haven’t spent a lot of time in space.  But I did come up with a long term training plan, so that will keep me going.

World of Warcraft

The long wait for Warlords of Draenor continues.  I have a little box at the bottom of the side-bar counting down the time to the last possible date for WoD to ship.  Five months to go.  Not that I do not have anything to do except sit and stew.  My Loremaster project has kept me busy for a few weeks now as I try to knock out all the zones on Kalimdor.  And it has been fun sticking with each zone until the end of the quest chains.  Most of these zones I haven’t touched for years, and almost none of them since Cataclysm.  I just hope I don’t run out of steam.. or unfinished zones… too soon.

Coming Up

The summer continues.  For those truly feeling the pain of waiting for WoD to show up, Blizzard started sending out beta keys for the expansion.  I will have to keep my hands over my eyes (and probably stop following WoW Insider) as I want to come into this expansion fresh.  Still, I peek between my fingers now and again, and what I have seen looks okay.  Must stop peeking though!

My daughter though… she started asking me “Are we in beta yet?” right away.  She wants to go see the new expansion… with a pre-made raid geared character.  I know how that works out however.

The instance group isn’t quite on hiatus.  We get four of us most weeks, and all of us every so often.

EVE Online… without the prospect of a summer war, the long training plan and the occasional homeland defense fleet is all I have going for me at the moment.

And… and… no other MMOs really interest me at the moment.  I just stopped logging into Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I have a seven day key for WildStar from Liore that I keep telling myself I will use “soon.”  Common summer destination Middle-earth hasn’t been calling to me.   And SOE may have successfully beat all of my nostalgia for old Norrath out of me by this point, while the “next” version is beyond the horizon.  So, for MMOs, it is the one I have been playing since 2005 and the one I have been playing since 2006.  Strange, that.

Boosters Must go to Five

One of the things I always shoot for is to be useful when it comes to fleet ops.

That started off with making sure I could fly ships appropriate to the fleet doctrines in use.  Way back when it was Maelstroms, then Drakes, then Tengus, then Megathrons, and then Dominxes for a short bit when drone assist ruled the world and crashed nodes.   More recently we have gone to Apocs.

There has been some catch up for me to do as things have changed.  I needed some training for the Maelstrom fit, but we were all shield tanks back then and I was pretty well covered on that front.  Later we changed to armor tanks and I had some training to do.  And weapons have changed along the way, missiles, arty, rails, and blasters have all shown up at one time or another.  Recently, with the Apocalypse fit, lasers finally made it back and I was able to train up there, closing what I think might be the last gap I had in gunnery.

Once caught up on the main ship of the current doctrine, I have tended to train some of the support ships, starting with logtistics.  While it is not a role I really enjoy flying… the pet peeves of a logistics pilot are manifold, and everybody loves logistics at exactly two moments during a fleet op, when we save their ass and when there are enough of us in fleet that the FC shuts up about not having enough logistics, otherwise we’re invisible… I fill in when we are short.   Having finally picked up Amarr cruiser V a few weeks back, which got me the Guardian, I can now fly the tech II logistics cruiser for all four empires and am pretty close to max skills there.

The Guardian!

The Guardian!

So what is next?

Boosting ships have recently been much in demand.

Well, they have always been in demand, but of late we seem to be very short on pilots willing and able to fly boosting ships, which run the warfare links that increase the performance of all the ships in their fleet wing.  But of late the situation has gotten a bit more desperate.  There is one FC paying people to fly booster ships in his fleet, while the other night Reagalan posted a lower skill boosting fit in fleet, asking people to fly that as it was better than nothing.

So I decided to take the plunge and start training up to fly a boosting ship.

The problem is that even Reagalan’s lower skill, battlecruiser based boosting fit required a lot of level 5 skills under leadership, which is a problem.

It is a problem for the obvious reason, in that level 5 skills take a long time to train, and it is a problem in that people tend to optimize their character attributes, which directly affect training time for skills, towards combat related skills.

Or at least I was so optimized.  I trained spaceship command or gunnery skills at a fast rate, at the expense of skills in categories like social, trade, or leadership.  But most of those fleet boosting skills… or most of the ones I am missing… those fall under leadership.  And they trained hella slow with my attributes set as such.  So I used my yearly attribute reset and… well, I couldn’t bring myself to optimize for leadership and such.  There was only eight months of training at the slow setting.  But I flattened out my attributes, so I am only optimized for mediocrity in whatever I train for the next year.

So the plan, listing out only the level 5 skills I need, is:

  • Warfare Link Specialist V (need that for the Command Processor)
  • Skirmish Warfare V
  • Skirmish Warfare Specialist V
  • Armored Warfare V
  • Armored Warfare Specialist V
  • Siege Warfare V
  • Siege Warfare  Specialist V
  • Wing Command V

That lot will take me 191 days in a clone without implants.  I will shave some time from that by spending off days in my high sec clone that is fitted with +4 implants.  And Wing Command V is icing.  I could shave 40 days off the plan by just skipping that, but I want that in the long term.  I will probably push it out some, as after I finish up the rest, I still have a bit of training on the ship side of things to firm up the fits.  One of them requires a Legion as the hull, which I cannot fly as yet, though I am covered for the Tengu and Loki fits.  And could get into command ships in a day, though I understand that is like flying with a giant “shoot me first” sign on the side of your hull.

So that is my training plan for the balance of the year, which will move along at 1,800 skill points an hour without implants.  That will push my 130 million skill point post out a bit, though not as far as it would have been pushed if I trained all that without any remap.

Still, that should give me enough time to figure out what to do with a boosting ship once I have all the skills.

Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains

Astranaar… shit, I’m still only in Astranaar… Every time I think I’m gonna wake up back in Stonetalon.  I’m here a weekend now… waiting for a quest… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this zone, I get weaker, and every minute some Warsong grunt squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I look around the mountains move in a little tighter.

-Trianis, nigh elf rogue stuck in Ashenvale

My run for the Loremaster achievement continues.  After finishing up Darkshore with my fresh night elf rogue, I decided I should just keep rolling with him into Ashenvale.

Ashenvale.

If my memories of Darkvale were faded recollections of running up and down a zone over and over, what could I recall about Ashenvale?  A series of uninspired quests at the start, with nagas and Blackfathom Deep to your right and furbolgs on your left.  At the far end of the zone, satyrs, the Warsong lumber camp.  In the middle that lake with the water elementals.  And in the middle, Astranaar.

I mostly remember running back and forth to Astranaar.

The zone hasn’t changed all that much.  Sure, there is a great big patch of it on fire in the middle now… that seemed to be one of the key Cataclysm theme, let’s set thing on fire.  But otherwise the scenery looks about the same.

Ashenvale exposed

Ashenvale exposed

There are some new quest chains in the zone that help sew the whole thing together and make sure you move from place to place.  Some of the Cataclysm themes, like Garrosh Hellscream is a jerk, are present in the new quests, and at a couple of places they set up an interesting conflict.  I like the quests around Warsong, where the Horde and Alliance quest chains are working at cross purposes.

More after the cut.

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Looking to the Steam Summer Sale for the Next Game

Our game of Civilization V goes on.  I just posted the Week 8 update yesterday.  Things are going well enough and we remain interested, amazed, and enthusiastic to complete the epic journey to victory that this has become.  I am going to guess that we have a good four more weeks of play left in the game (not counting July 4th, which will probably be an off week for all of us) before somebody gets a corner on a peaceful victory condition and either wins or unleashes a nuclear holocaust that eventually ushers in a domination victory over a radioactive landscape.

Chuck Hestonia nuked and open

Remember Chuck Hestonia!

But, as Potshot noted the other night, as cool as this experiment with a multi-month game of Civ V has been, when we get to the eventual end point of the game, our immediate reaction is likely not going to be, “Let’s do this again!”  A certain amount of pig-headed stubbornness is carrying us along at this point, making us determined to see this through.  But when we are done, we will likely be ready for something new.

We have started the discussion about the next thing at what seems quite the opportune time, as we are in the midst of the Steam Summer Sale.  While some are down on the whole thing this year… and I admit that once you have been through one or two, the excitement of things being on sale does wear a bit thin… there is certainly no reason not to take advantage of period of favorable pricing.  So a list of possible candidates has started to coalesce, which I am going to trot out here.  Comments on the games so listed are welcome, especially any insight on how the game might play in a four person multiplayer situation.  And, of course, you can offer up alternatives as well.

But, before you comment to promote your favorite game of the moment, I want to bring up some parameters that will likely apply to the choice.

First, this is not the MMO group.  MMORPGs are probably not going to fly here, so piping in with WildStar isn’t going to make for a useful comment. (Given that I haven’t even used the 7 day key that Liore gave me a couple weeks back, “WildStar” probably isn’t a useful comment on any post here at the moment.)

The game should also be substantially playable in a single evening.  Clearly the Civ V experiment shows that we can play a game over several weeks, I am just not sure we want to jump back into that right away.

And I am going to come out generally against turn based games, as some of us become quite absorbed in the decision making process with others are not very patient.  Turn based isn’t a deal breaker in the right situation, but any scenario where three of us end up waiting on the fourth to make his move will either need to be a game that is generally fast in pace or a game that includes a turn clock.  So while Eador: Masters of the Broken World sounds interesting when SynCaine writes about it, I am not sure we can handle its depth and keep a game running.

With that in mind, here is what has been proposed so far. (Mostly by me.)

Total War: Rome II

SGRome

Loghound put out Total War: Rome II as an option.  I know people who like the game.  Gaff has played through it.  I have played a couple of the past games in the series.  If this is like its predecessors, the tactical game is very much in the detailed RTS vein, so no turns or anything.  I am just not sure how multiplayer works or if it is suitable for a group of four.  Also, there are some minor concerns about how much processing power the game might take.  But after Civ V, we ought to be okay if we stick to machines from this decade.

Possible alternatives: Any of the Total War series, I think I bought them all in a past Steam sale

Company of Heroes 2

SGCompanyOfHeroes2

I tossed Company of Heroes 2 on the list as a more modern alternative to Total War: Rome II.  I actually own this via a past Steam sale and have played through the tutorial, but not much else.  As with Rome II, I am not sure how suitable it is to four player for a multiplayer match.  Also struck me as a bit “arcade-ish” in the tutorial, though that might just be the tutorial, and if it isn’t, it still might not necessarily be a bad thing.  And Gaff likes it.

Possible alternatives: The original Company of Heroes, the second Combat Mission series.

Driver: San Francisco

SGDriver

Driver: San Francisco was my suggestion in order to shake things up and try something that did not involve us throwing armies at each other.  Instead, we could throw moving vehicles at each other.  The game got good reviews, is pretty reasonably priced for the summer sale, the multiplayer options sound interesting, and it involves driving around San Francisco, an area we all know well enough to at least know when we’re lost or not.  Against all of that, I do not know anybody who has actually played it.

Possible alternatives: Need for Speed: World, a billion other driving games

Boarderlands 2

SGBorderlands2

Borderlands 2 is well reviewed, very popular, and has a four player co-op mode that I understand works very well.  Another game I already own thanks to a sale at Amazon for a Steam key.  And another game I haven’t played very much of as I stink.  But are we ready for a shooter?  And, more importantly, are we ready for a shooter where we don’t get to shoot each other?

Possible alternatives: Call of Duty series, or any other co-op shooter, some of which even include zombies.

Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator

SGArtemis

No, not the card game… though that might be an idea… Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator is basically the game vehicle for playing out your Star Trek bridge fantasies.  This is a long shot, but I bring it up because a friend (and occasional reader BlueLineBasher) gave me a copy and I haven’t done anything with it.  This might be good for a single Friday lark, but we would have to pick somebody to be captain who would take it at least semi-seriously.  Alcohol might be required.

Possible alternatives: Urmm… are there any?

Ticket to Ride

SGTicketToRide

I didn’t even know Ticket to Ride was available on the PC until I saw it on the Steam Summer Sale list.  This is one of those awesome board game conversions that keeps all the great bits of the original game while removing the bad bits… like placing all those little train counters and then picking them up again when the cat attacks the game board.  It is one of my favorite games on the iPad.  But the game is easy enough that my past experience doesn’t give me any real advantage.  While it it turn based, it does tend to be fast paced, and against real people it can be a rage-inducing cut-throat experience.  So it has that going for it.  But are we up for board games?

Possible alternatives: Other digital version of board games such as Settlers of Catan or some Carcassonne variant.

StarCraft II

SGStarCraft2

As an alternative, we could just forget Steam and go for the update to the original perfectly balanced rock, paper, scissors RTS, StarCraft II.  While it did not make as big a splash as the original, that was in part because Blizzard tried very hard not to mess it up, so it ended up being mostly StarCraft brought forward to the current decade… which is a good thing.  It isn’t on sale, but Blizzard is in its own summer doldrums right now, so it is possible they might cut us a break before our Civ V game wraps up.

Possible alternatives: The original StarCraft, something from the Command & Conquer series

Total Annihilation

Total Annihilation

Potshot actually brought up Total Annihilation, my all-time favorite RTS, and I am using that as an excuse to list it.  The physic in it is great, the variety of units almost boggles the mind, it still looks damn good for a game from 1997, it is available for cheap (and DRM free) over at GoG.com, and because of its age it now runs great on just about anything… which probably includes Mattman’s antique coal fired Ye Olde ThinkePayde portable difference engine.  And, of course, it has simple victory conditions (kill the commander) and nuclear weapons.  The Achilles’ heel is that I love the game and my knowledge of it will give me an unfair advantage.

Possible alternatives: Speak not to me about Supreme Commander, it is but a pale shadow of Total Annihilation… but maybe Planetary Annihilation when it ships.

Summing Up

So those are the choices that come to my mind.  I would certainly be interested in hearing about multiplayer experiences with any of these games, especially involving four players.

And, because I haven’t had a poll in a while, I will put one up so you can indicate your favorite pick without having to much around with the whole comment thing.

 

 

Civilization – Autocracy and the Pursuit of Happiness

We had something of a small turnout for our game last Friday.  It was just Potshot and I, with Mattman still on vacation and Loghound busy until late that evening.  Still, part of the idea behind this epic length game was that people could drop out from one week to another and have the AI take over for them so the game could continue to progress.  And, if it had to be two players on, then Potshot and I were probably a good pair, as we had been working together on our continent, unlike Loghound and Mattman, who went to war about as early as they possibly could, leaving at least Mattman somewhat weak in a neighborhood of hostile AI players.

We started off the game, wondering what might happen now that both Loghound’s Celts and Mattman’s Chinese empires were being run by AI players.  The AI players tend to be somewhat bizarro world in their behavior, and the AI did not waste any time getting straight to it.

The Celts, with whom Loghound had been mercilessly hounding Russia last week, taking city after city, launched almost immediately into a public denunciation of the Chinese because… I don’t know… eff Mattman?  The Russians then forms a mutual admiration society with the Chinese…

R2Wk8RussiaChina

and then with the Assyrians…

R2Wk8RussiaAssyria

and then… I don’t know.  They all sat around and glared at each other I guess.  China advanced far enough to choose an ideology and went with Freedom… and then the people of China overthrew the Freedom ideology and demanded Autocracy, or so reported the People’s Daily.

R2Wk8ChinaRises

Freedom just isn’t in the cards for everybody I gather.

More after the cut.

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A Long History of Gear Obsession

Back in the mid-to-late 90s, back when I was playing TorilMUD, there was a point when a couple of people had been caught cheating… multi-boxing or exploiting game mechanics or some such… and the game had to come up with punishments for such transgressions.

The people who ran the at the time came up with a few levels of action, which included deletion of characters and banning people permanently.  But the for the first offense rumor had it… rumor, because while the staff had policies about this sort of thing, they were not documented for the player base, but the whole community was small enough that word got around about nearly everything if you knew who to ask… that the punishment involved a choice.

The choice was:

  • Removal of half your levels from your main character
  • Removal of all gear from your main character

And, of course, as we sat around in experience groups chatting about this and that while waiting for the zone to respawn, this topic came up and we declared which choice we would take.  Universally we opted for losing levels.  In fact, in exploring this topic, I think we were in favor of being busted down to level 1 if we were allowed to keep out gear.

All Slots Filled

Gear, circa 2000

Levels were replaceable, and in a game where there was experience loss on death… and level loss with enough deaths was a thing back then… working on experience and leveling up often continued for players at level cap.  We had all been through the leveling process.  We knew the ins and outs and could find groups.  Leveling up was work, but work we knew how to do.

Gear though… gear was a different story.  This was a time where gear commonly had class, race, or alignment restrictions, but level restrictions were almost unheard of.  And there was not such thing as attunement.  A rare item might be flagged as “no trade, and some items were “cursed,” which meant you could not drop them without somebody casting a spell on you, but most items could be traded to other players or handed off to low level alts.

Plus gear often made your character… or made you character viable.  If you had knocked my level 50 warrior back down to level 1 but left him with his gear, he would have torn his way back to level 40 in very little time solo.  While being able to solo was generally over by level 20 for a fresh character, and alt with good gear could easily go to 40 and possibly to the level cap at 50 with the right outfit.

Obtaining gear though… that was the hard part.

As I mentioned in a previous post, gear was available once per server boot.  If you wanted an item from a particular mob and somebody else had already killed it during the current boot, you would have to wait until the server crashed and restarted again. (Or until a kindly GM decided that the server had been up long enough and we needed a reboot to keep us all busy.)

While a good proportion of items were on a given mob every single time, some were random.  Of course, the better the item, the more likely it was to be random.

Then, to obtain the best items, you had to run zones, the TorilMUD version of raiding.  That meant getting together a group of 16 people of the right mix of classes, getting yourself included in that group, and spending anywhere from 1-8 hours taking down a zone. (No zone, to my recollection, took beyond 2 hours if done right, but mistakes happen.  I recall a City of Brass group that took 4 hours just getting to the zone because things went horribly wrong in the Plane of Fire.)

And, finally, once you had completed a given zone, you had to roll on items.  People would put in bids on a given item, numbers would be assigned to people, and a random roll would be done to determine who got the prized item.  So you could get in a group, go through a successful run, and still end up empty handed and waiting for a reboot so you could try again.

Of course, this doesn’t sound all that strange today.  Sure, bind of pick up, gear attunement, and level restrictions on gear have axed the whole twinking of alts to a certain degree.  But gear still rules, and there are still some twinking options, like heirloom gear in World of Warcraft.  Rare is the MMORPG where gear is not a major focus.  Sure, there is reputation, titles, mounts, pets, achievements and what have you, but gear does seem to drive people more than anything else.  I went to Timeless Isle not so much because I needed something new to do but because it was an efficient way to gear up at level cap.  I am past wanting to commit to raiding, but I still will seek out the best gear I can.

Have shovel, want mallet!

Have shovel, want mallet!

And what happens when an MMORPG doesn’t focus so much on gear?  We seem to bring our gear orientation with us all the same.  Darkfall didn’t specifically de-emphasize gear, but with full loot of PvP victims in place, people sought to protect their good gear by going out to battle in cheap drops.

Likewise, one of the main fears people have in EVE Online centers around loss.  People with a gear orientation coming into New Eden can be quite discouraged by the fact that when your ship explodes it is gone and you have to buy a new one.  The can often, abstractly, see the benefit of such a system.  Destruction of ships drives the market, makes industry viable, and basically keeps the player economy going despite the game being full of magic sources of in-game currency like most other MMOs.

And I must admit to letting out a resigned sigh when my own ship gets blown up.  I’ve gotten past attachment to individual ships.  You can always buy another just like it.  And the ISK thing isn’t a big deal, especially when you are eligible for reimbursement.  But actually getting a ship together if you don’t have a backup can be a pain.  If their aren’t some on contract, you end up having to head to a trade hub, buying what you need, and then shipping it to where you want to use it.  Again, an economic opportunity for some… shipping corps are a thing in EVE… but a bit of a pain if you want to do something but, instead, have to clone jump and spend a day in high sec buying parts and arranging transport.  That is just the way it works when you need a specific ship with just the right fit.

Because it all comes down to an obsession with gear in the end.

Summer Reruns – The War in Fountain

Technically summer starts tomorrow according to the conspiracy of pendants and calendar makers, for whom there must be a set of fixed dates for something as nebulous as a “season,” but I still think of summer as just being June, July, and August, those being the span of “summer vacation” from school when I was a child.

And here we are in the latter half of June, with E3 behind us and the annual Steam Summer Sale under way (see, Steam is with me!) and I haven’t anything new to write about.  Sometimes I just get to the Friday post and draw a blank.

But that is okay, I’m all about nostalgia most days of the week, so it is time to drag out the Summer Rerun post format and bring back some posts on a specific topic.

This time it is the War in Fountain from last year, which ran from early June into August and saw the demise of TEST Alliance as a power on the null sec sovereignty map.

Reinforcements bridge in

6VDT-H Fight

This is essentially my diary from the war.  I just so happened to “be there” for a lot of the key moments, from the first battles over J5A in Caracals and Tengus to the clean up at L7-APB in Megathrons and dreadnaughts.

These posts reference a number of other sources and, as is the way of the internet, have suffered from a certain amount of link rot.  The biggest missing pieces are battle reports from EVE News 24, which appears to have purged all of their pre-2014 posts.  So supporting reports are pretty much limited to The Mittani.

In addition, I did a couple of posts about the propaganda war in Fountain, which was as hard fought as any aspect of the campaign.

And, finally, there is what I consider the video of the war:

There are so many “I was there” moments for me in that video that it, as much as anything, brings back the feelings I had during the campaign.

So that is the war in Fountain.  It represents my high water mark for involvement in EVE Online so far.  While there have been wars and deployments since, including the battle at B-R5RB, nothing has matched Fountain to this point.  It is up there with being in West Karana in early EverQuest or the instance group in vanilla WoW on my list of great MMO times.

Now to go watch Boat’s Oddity again.