Monthly Archives: November 2015

November in Review

The Site

WordPress.com continues on its way to “improve all the things!” with its general philosophy of “if it is newer, it must be better, right?”  One of the things announced this past was a new “high speed” editor, a tactic admission that their old “new” editor was complete crap.

I remain happy only because the old editor, the one that help convince me to pick WordPress.com over Blogger, is still available.

And I am not alone in this.  I saw just this past weekend that Mabrick moved his blog back to the Blogger platform after tiring of the “improvements” to the post editor.  See, I’m not just a solitary old crank!  Somebody agrees with me!

WordPress has also introduced some new stand alone apps for using their site.  I do actually use the iOS app, which has been around for a while and through several gyrations, on my iPad to check the site.  I will say that they have at least figured out that when I go to the stats page it should default to the current day’s data and not their mildly interesting but not really useful “Insights” tab.

But Thursday at 7pm may not be the most popular point combined...

But Thursday at 7pm may not be the most popular point combined…

It also took me a moment to figure out this chart.

Posting Activity Chart

Posting Activity Chart

That is the last 12 months, by week, oriented vertically so that Monday is the top box and Sunday is the bottom, color coded by how many posts I made.  Gray is zero, light blue is one, dark blue is two, black is three.  Apparently I never post more than three times in a single day.  That is probably healthy.  The white boxes are the result of somebody’s OCD need to square off each month’s rectangle.

Again, I prefer the old stats page if, for no other reason, it doesn’t regularly error out with a script running in an infinite loop.  And that is my WordPress.com complaint of the month.

On another blog topic, I actually had to dig deep this month to find a couple of blogs that had me on their blogroll and which I had not previously linked in a Month in Review post for the “New Linking Sites” section below.  I eventually found two, but it took me a while.  There was a lot to filter through.  I had one site tell me that there were 19,962 links to the main page here.

So, if you have me on your blogroll and I haven’t mentioned you in a previous post, drop me a note and I’ll make sure to link you!  I want to get one more month out of this, then I’ll probably swap to “who is still alive and still links me in their blogroll” or some such for 2016.

One Year Ago

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Launched.

There was BlizzCon, about which I made the usual predictions.  I found the event itself vaguely dissatisfying.  But those who were bitching about lack of focus on WoW at BlizzCon 2015, go back and look at how little attention it got in 2014!  Otherwise we were in Azeroth collecting achievements and waiting for the expansion to hit.

Oh, yeah, the expansion hitWarlords of Draenor and server queues and all that.   Blizz was trying to fix that while I had to figure out who to play.  Blizz eventually gave everybody 5 days free for the problems.  But hey, they had 10 million subscribers on the hook again, up for the 7.4 million low point during the summer.  Doesn’t seem so low now, does it?

In EVE Online the Phoebe expansion arrived, bringing with it Jump Fatigue and the 10 year/50 skill long training queue.  Then they were on about removing other annoyances with the upcoming Rhea expansion.

In game the Reavers had finished up in Feythabolis with a bang and were off into Omist next, hunting the unwary before returning home again.

Rixx Javix was drawing spaceships.  He’s still at it.

And there was the This is EVE video that became wildly popular.

I reflected on EverQuest II at its 10 year anniversary.  Veterans of the game even got their own island.  Over on the EverQuest side of the house, The Darkened Sea, the 21st expansion for the game, went live.

And, finally, the power supply on my computer blew out, taking the motherboard and drives with it.  I had to rebuild, but was up and running again in a couple of days.

Five Year Ago

I was talking about group size and roles.  That has come up again, especially since SWTOR groups seemed to be limited to four players.

On the retro front, I played some Total Annihilation.  Still one of the best RTS games ever.

I took a look at the soon to be defunct EverQuest II Extended.  It seemed quite busy.  Of course, I went Station Access so I could peek into EverQuest II  (with some issues) and EverQuest as well.

The rump instance group was wrapping up another Summer in Middle-earth at the far end of the Lone Lands as well as in and around Ost Guruth.

At the same time, Turbine was putting crafting materials in the LOTRO Store.  Meanwhile, the OTHER LOTRO store, the real life one, wasn’t doing much for me.

CCP announced that they were removing learning skills from EVE Online.  I hit 60 million skill points and was going to get to reallocate some.

The Cataclysm open beta was coming to an end at last. I think part of the problem with the expansion was how long people were freely talking about the expansion… and playing it… before it came out.  We all knew what the hot new hunter pet would be and how much the world was going to be changedCheap copies of WoW were not going to fix that.

Back in pre-Cataclysm Azeroth, I was summing up my Wintergrasp experiences and moaning about missing the damn Hallow’s End mask quest achievement again.

On the Pokemon front, I finished the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.  In your face!  And the march to the release of Pokemon Black and White was commencing.

The news seemed to be confused as to whether or not flying cars had come at last.

And, finally, in the completion of a boyhood dream of mine, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, officially releasing me from caring about major league ball ever again.

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 November

The power of spontaneous blogging.  A half-assed, spur of the moment blog post two days before the end of the month climbs to the #2 spot on the most viewed posts list.  The only thing that topped it was the LOTRO server merge post, which Google is favoring of late.

  1. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  2. Dating My Daughter – The Star Wars Test
  3. BlizzCon 2015 – Announcements and Need vs. Greed
  4. Legion in September 2016 is… about Average for Blizzard
  5. EVE Online, Kickstarter, and The Fountain War
  6. Quote of the Day – The Power of Fallout 4
  7. Finishing the Great Northern Road
  8. Of Sinks and Faucets and What People Do in New Eden
  9. Quote of the Day – The First Rule of Subscription Club…
  10. The Fountain War – Not Winning Fast Enough and Other Issues
  11. BlizzCon 2015 – Scoring Need vs. Greed
  12. In Which We Blob

Search Terms of the Month

world of warcraft banned for no reason
[Oh, I bet there was a reason]

trion rift is dead
[Not yet, though having to install Glyph killed it for me]

windows 95 dell
[Isn’t that the tech equivalent of saying “All your bases?”]

civilization 2 windows 10
[Civilization defeated in something of a blow out]

wow classes for couples
[How sweet!]

EVE Online

The Reavers deployment down to Curse to spar with TEST in the adjacent Wicked Creek region wrapped up.  Then we were into Pure Blind and pushing back on NCDot and the then current residents of Cloud Ring who were busy plinking at our sovereignty.  I participated some in that, but took the last week or so of the month off from the game, so skipped the push to bring the fight them.

Lord of the Rings Online

I am tentatively back into LOTRO.  I am going to try to press through, re-learn how to play my Captain after two years away and a skill revamp by Turbine, get through the lukewarm tedium of Lothlorien… no wonder the elves think immortality is a burden, I would too if I lived there… and into Mirkwood, an expansion I bought… six years ago maybe?  We’ll see how that goes.

And then there is server transfer dynamics as Gaff is playing, but his highest level character is on a different server from mine, and mine is on Brandywine, the only server you cannot transfer TO, so do I move stuff from Brandywine to Landroval, which characters do I send over, what do I do about various guilds, and so on and so forth.  Have to come up with a plan for that.

Minecraft

As noted, I finished up the Great Northern Road so that you can now ride a horse from the spawn point all the way to the Mesa biome about 6km north.  I then spent the the rest of the month building things along the road.  Tourist attractions and what not.  I did build a small tower and some stables in an area I am now referring to as “the horse fields,” since it is an open grassland area with more horses (and donkeys) roaming about than I have seen any place else on our world.

Xyd, Skronk, and Enaldi haven’t been on much, though Minecraft is a very project focused game for most of us.  When you finish building something you feel “done” until you figure out the next thing to work on.  Aaron though, he has another project lined up.  We’ll see how that turns out.

World of Warcraft

I bought a WoW Token, so I had 30 days of WoW time at my disposal, and yet little real inclination to actually play WoW.  After squandering the first week, I resolved to see if I can earn my gold back through garrison missions and a bit AH work.  Fortunately I invested in getting followers with the Treasure Hunter trait on my characters, so every mission for gold is multiplied by 2x or 3x.  I should be able to recoup my WoW Token given that.

Coming Up

Well, it is the end of the year.  That prefigures at least three standard, I do it every year, posts.  So you all have that to look forward to.

There is a new Star Wars movie coming out, episode VII of many.  While that doesn’t really have much to do with video games directly, judging from Saturday’s post, wrangling over the relative merits of Star Wars movies is a popular topic.  I might go there again.

In EVE, there is the eternal question of, “what are we going to do now?”  It isn’t as much of a sandbox as Minecraft, but the game does depend on being able to set new goals, lest you burn out.  At least we have a new Proteus doctrine to look forward to, and some new ships with the December expansion.  I don’t want to put too much weight on Asher’s shoulders when it comes to finding fun for me, he does a lot of work for us already, but I do hope there is something for Reavers in December.

With Minecraft I am wondering what I should build next.  In WoW it is a matter of making back by gold.  In LOTRO, the quest to get to Mirkwood will continue.  Meanwhile, 2016 looms and I keep chanting to myself under my breath, “No, really, 1990 was just 10 years ago, the calendar is wrong.”

Dating My Daughter – The Star Wars Test

This started as a comment on MBP’s post on this topic, but quickly sprawled into enough text that I felt I ought to bring it back here and make it a post on its own.  All the more so since we just had a “Star Wars” Thanksgiving which included watching some of the movies and debating their relative merits with a fellow nerd.

And it has been a long time indeed...

And it has been a long time indeed…

So young man, when you come to pick up my daughter for a date and I ask about your favorite Star Wars movie, here are how I may view potential answers and how said answers may predict our own relationship.

Safest:

  • The Empire Strikes Back – Best Star Wars Evah!  Just a quick statement about what endears it to you and you are safe on this front.

Safe:

  • Star Wars – Nobody can argue with the classic that started it all.  Tell me about how it changed your life.  It is okay to mock some of the bad acting, but only if you acknowledge that such enhances the movie’s authenticity!  Just know who shot first.
  • I’m more of a Star Trek fan – An acceptable dodge, though you will be required to display deep knowledge and/or own an actual Star Fleet uniform.  Be prepared to rank the movies and the various series.  Tread carefully it you intend to mock TOS… and know what I mean when I write/say TOS.

Requires Some Effort:

  •  Revenge of the Sith – Can be justified, but you will be grilled on the topic.  Bonus if you point out what a bastard/fool Obi-wan was, leaving Anakin legless and on fire rather than finishing him off.
  • Return of the Jedi – May mark you as a bit young/immature if you express a love of Ewoks.
  • Star Wars – Things may be dodgy if you insist on referring to it as “A New Hope.”  I don’t care what George Lucas says, you aren’t dating HIS daughter, now are you?
  • One of the LEGO Star Wars specials – We can work with this.  Come let me show you my own LEGO collection.  Tell me which minifigures you like best.  Praise my limited edition Golden C-3PO!

Danger Zone:

  • The Clone Wars – First, you’d better know that there was a movie before the TV series.  Then you’d better own an action figure or a LEGO set or be prepared to explain how it and the TV series improved the Star Wars canon.  Saying “Ahsoka was hawt!” will not cut it!
  •  Attack of the Clones – Will need an essay, submitted in advance, on this one.  I WILL run phrases through Google to see if you plagiarized any of it.  Comparing it to US Middle-east foreign policy is walking a tightrope.
  • Phantom Menace – Almost no hope at all if you go this route.  Seriously, WTF?   You cannot disavow Jar-Jar and midichlorians fast enough to recover.  Will mark you as a fool or a troll unless you are prepared to show me an actual pod racer you built in your back yard.
  • Star Wars: Droids – How do you even justify this?  Some Boba-Fett backstory?  Anthony Daniels needed the money?  I’ll listen, but you’ll need to explain how C-3PO never brings any of this up during the movies without reaching for the “memory wipe!” card.
  • Star Wars Holiday Special – Only if you actually own an VHS copy of it.  Otherwise you will be branded an ironic poseur.  Take your piano keyboard tie and get out!
  • I only watch Anime – I can see how you met my daughter, but you’d best be moving the conversation to Hetalia, Space Battleship Yamato, or Attack on Titan or our conversation will dry up quickly and you’ll be stuck with me staring darkly at you.

Get Out:

  • Star Wars: Ewoks – Do your parents know you’re out after dark?
  • Star Wars: Rebels: – You were made to drink store brand cola as a child, weren’t you?
  • I only watch Anime and I once went to a convention dressed as Sailor Moon.  Here, I have some pictures… – You can never recover from this.  Do us both a favor and just leave now without making eye contact.
  • I don’t like science fiction – Who sent you?  Are you at the right house?

 

Down and Out in the Twenty-First Hall

I’ve mocked Lord of the Rings Online on occasion for taking so long to get to Mordor.  We’re past the eight year mark and we’re just getting a hint Minis Tirith might come to the game in some form.

At least we've hit Gondor

At least we’ve hit Gondor

The events of the books on which the game is based were wrapped up in three and a half years, and that time line generously includes a couple years or post-war activity.

But my own progress in the war of the ring has been desultory even in comparison with Turbine’s progress.  I made it to the far side of Moria back in August 2013, and so completed the game’s first expansion, which went live in November of 2008.

Not exactly Mister Speedy.

Which isn’t to say I haven’t played a lot of LOTRO over the last eight years.  I have characters on five servers… soon to be consolidated down to two… or maybe three… and I have had good times playing LOTRO.  I have most certainly gotten my lifetime subscription investment out of the game.  I just tend to run out of steam with my characters somewhere around level 40.  After the Lone Lands and Evendim the experience becomes a bit uneven in my opinion and I tend to stop and make an alt of something before I get to Moria.

So the fact that I have a character on the far side of Moria says something.  Moria was actually very good.  It started slow, but built up to be quite a bit of fun after I got past the opening area.

And then ended up on the other side in Lothlorien and things sort of fell flat.

To Lothlorien

Lothlorien, land of ageless elves and lifeless quests

Moria had a story and different quests and kept me engaged.  Lothlorien seemed to fall back into the defacto kill/collect ten things… generally killing orc or collecting things from orcs… in a land that, while pretty enough, had no real unique feel to me.  So my progress dropped off.

And then, of course, came the Helm’s Deep expansion and the great skill revamp that brought us what looked like WoW talent trees, circa 2005.  That both changed the quirky but unique feel of LOTRO classes and made it feel like I was going to have to re-learn how to play my captain from scratch after having made it to level 61.

The Captain's Specs

The Captain’s Specs

The zone and the class changes conspired to keep me from playing the game much over the last two years.  My main character, my captain on the Brandywine server, basically hung out in the Twenty-First Hall of Moria that whole time, it being the closest place with a bank.

I logged in at least once a month to keep my account active and collect my 500 Turbine points… points which I then used to buy what appears to be the last two full-on expansions for the game, Riders of Rohan and Helm’s DeepSo I could move forward with the game, owning all the content at this point, I just needed to find the motivation.

Then Gaff appeared to be getting the LOTRO bug.  He decided to re-subscribe and started on with his highest level character, pushing on to Mirkwood.

So I shook off some of the cobwebs, cleared some of the fluff out of my Captain’s bags, and rode back out to Lothlorien to see if I could get invested.  I also had to pick a spec and figure out some new skills.  I need to find a decent guide to playing the captain, but I muddled through, picking the DPS spec and trying to pick things that improve damage.  I also think my legendary weapon, a halberd for my captain, needs to be replaced.  Even with its DPS fully upgraded, it is barely better than a couple of one hand swords I have gotten as drops.

I killed some orcs.  And some more orcs.  And collected more stuff from them, occasionally burning some things they built, because screw orcs.  And eventually I managed to get into some of the story again, catching up with the as-yet-unbroken fellowship… I even spoke to Boromir… and was actually introduced to Celeborn and Galadriel.

We live in the woods, so our natural stance is wooden...

We live in the woods, so our natural stance is wooden…

This gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, I might be nearing the end of the bland sameness of Lothlorien and could be inching my was slowly towards Mirkwood.  I would dearly like to get there, if only to get into the second game expansion.

We will have to see if I can stay invested.

And then there are the server issues.  Gaff is playing and it sounds like he might have made it to Mirkwood already.  However he is on the Silverlode server with the Nazgun.  I only have a level 35 Rune Keeper on that server, so to play there I would have a long way to catch up.

Of course, the Silverlode server is going away.  However, while there are free transfers to other servers, Brandywine, where my captain resides, is not on the list.  The Nazgun is headed to Landroval at some point, and I can actually get a free transfer OFF of Brandywine (it is apparently the highest population US server) to Landroval, but I am not sure if I should… or if I could.  I already moved a bunch of characters there from Firefoot, so I might not have enough slots left to bring more than one or two characters.  And the Nazgun is holding out on moving for some reason, so actually playing with Gaff is problematic at the moment.  Then there is WoW, where I have 21 days left on my token.  No easy decisions.

Life in the MMORPG lane I suppose.

Not Ready for a Return to Azeroth

I have to hand it to Blizzard.  They took their WoW Token idea and made it very easy for players to buy one to get back into the game.

With the World of Warcraft 11th anniversary hitting this month, I decided to see if I could log in with a level 20 or under via the Starter Edition to get the the obligatory Feat of Strength “being there” achievement so I could brag about it and pretend I was subscribed at the time or some such further down the road.

But when I logged in and got to the character screen, Blizzard popped up a dialog that said I had 200K gold sloshing around on various characters and wondered aloud in a not-so-subtle bit of copy if I wouldn’t like to just drop 35K gold on a WoW Token right now to reactivate my account.

WoW Tokens have gone up in price; not to the 90K gold some were predicting, but they are at least up past the original 30K opening price.  Still, I figured I could afford it, so I pressed the button, restarted the client, and was good for another 30 days.

I then collected and put on the Edwin VanCleef costume and the Inflatable Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker that were part of the anniversary package.

Vikund as Van Cleef

Vikund as Van Cleef

That got me two achievements.  Also, there was the now usual anniversary booster.

11tokenthing

Then I was standing around in my garrison, so I went back to business and collected the items from my followers who had all been out on missions since July.  That got me an item that yielded another achievement.

Then I spoke to King Varian Wrynn, who happened to be standing around in my garrison, took the quest he was offering, and went off to build a ship yard for my garrison.  Another achievement there.

Ships, I need lots of ships...

Ships, I need lots of ships…

That lead me on into the intro quests for Tanaan Jungle.  I did that then started on the quest chain in the jungle, ran through a few of those quests, and then called it a night.

And then went a full week before I realized I hadn’t logged back in again.

I am not sure there was anything wrong with Tanaan Jungle, though running through the garrison routine started to put me to sleep.  I suspect I am just to ready yet for another return to Azeroth.  We still have a long way to go until WoW Legion hits, even if the eternally optimistic keep saying that it COULD ship before summer.

I was interested to see who from the instance group was logging in.  Earl had been on recently.  He never unsubscribes and is a dedicated player.  And Bung had been on recently.  The rest of us in the guild though had been offline for months.  So perhaps the time is not yet ripe for a return.  I think that will have to wait until we get a firm date for WoW Legion.  At that point we can get back in, finish up Warlords of Draenor as a warm up and then set sail for the Broken Isles.

Still, that leave a hole in my usual routine, not having a fantasy MMORPG I am actively playing.

Minecraft and The Guardian Farm

I mentioned at the end of a previous post how Aaron walled up and drained the area around an undersea monument.  Impressive stuff.

Dry monument

Dry monument

As it turns out, he was not done yet.

I had not been paying attention to his monument as I was off in my usual routine of base building in an attempt to populate a bit of the great northern road.  So it came as some surprise when he dropped us an email about his ongoing efforts with the monument.  (Screen shots provided by him, shrunk a bit by me as they were very large.)

First he decided to trade out the sand wall for a glass wall around the monument.

Monument with an undersea view

Monument with an undersea view

According to Aaron, the original effort with sand required about 8,000 blocks of sand in order to wall off the whole thing, plus some additional sand segment the whole thing up in to sections to be drained.

On the bright side, he then has plenty of sand on hand to convert into glass blocks, burning through 15 full stacks of coal in the process. (There was no handy source of lava I gather.)

Once that was done, the “what next?” question struck.  After pondering just moving in and living in the monument, Aaron decided to strip it away.

The monument stripped back a few layers

The monument stripped back a few layers

That completed, he went to work and built a monument guardian farm in the space where the monument used to reside.  More work and more glass.

Guardian farm complete

Guardian farm complete

And there it was.  I had to visit this new structure… though it took me a bit.  It is as impressive in person as you might imagine.

The guardians spawn in the large tank then eventually fall through the porous bottom… made so by signs… into a flowing water that drives them over the edge and through a layer of lava.

Dropping through the lava layer...

Dropping through the lava layer…

The lava is also held in place by wooden signs which, unlike all other wood in the game, fails to catch fire when in close proximity of lava.

The fish then drop onto the killing floor where the expire through a combination of burning and the blunt force trauma of the fall.

Flaming fried fish

Flattened flaming fried fish

Below that floor is a series of hoppers that route the remains to a sorting machine that drops the resulting items into appropriately labeled chests.

All sorted out for you

All sorted out for you

You end up with fish, prismarine crystals, and prismarine shards.  The shards appear to be the most common, followed by crystals and fish.  The shards and crystals can be combined to create sea lanterns, though you need five crystals and four shards, which means you have a lot of excess shards.  But the shards can be used to make prismarine bricks as well, a blue-green block that I will have to build something with at some point.

I addition, the whole thing is located on a chunk that spawns slime at night as well.

Slime visitor

Slime visitor

Some trivia provided by Aaron about his structure:

  • Once torn down, the materials which made up the monument fit into roughly 5 or 6 double chests.  Temple in a box for Christmas!
  • The first filter of the farm alone is comprised of 1,296 signs – which took 702 chunks (~11 stacks) of wood to make.
  • I’m not sure what my “sand blocks used” tally was before this started, but presumably it wasn’t much in that I’d only used sand for the glass to the roof of my home base.  Now that number sits at over 44,000.  The “times mined” number is within a hair’s breadth of 60,000.  (Yes, I went through a ton of shovels.)
  • The interior volume of the spawn chamber is 25,920 blocks.
  • The initial length of the “fall damage” section of the kill unit was too short and I ended up quickly accumulating dozens of guardians bouncing around on the hopper pad.  This meant I had to extend the fall column while it was occupied and new little friends were dropping in at a horrible rate.  That was fun.
  • By the time that was done, I had to dig down another couple levels (sadly stopped by bedrock) in order to expand the storage at the end of the sorter because the drops were come in too fast.
  • During demolition, I found that there was a pretty sizable chamber wrapped around 3/4 of the perimeter of the temple with no entrance or egress – which means I totally missed it during my initial drying-out of the interior.  Man, were its occupants pissed when I finally broke in.

And then he also made a beacon, which required him to spawn and defeat a wither to acquire a nether star, and then put the beacon on top of a pyramid of material blocks.  In his case, he went for blocks of emeralds, having farmed his villagers for the materials.

Beacon, deep within his base

Beacon, deep within his base

The beacon itself shoots a beam of light into the sky that is about the most visible object you can create in the game.

Beacon lighting the sky

Beacon lighting the sky

So that is what he has been up to.  At some point I will have to write something about his base, which includes a slime block based elevator that almost never kills anybody anymore.

EverQuest Phinigel Server – A True Box Progression Server

The EverQuest team is prepping another nostalgia run with a new progression server, which will mean that there will be a total of five such servers in play with Fippy Darkpaw, Vulak, Ragefire, and Lockjaw still chugging along.

The nostalgia is strong in Norrath.

Named for Phinigel Autropos, the last known knight of the Kedge, this is going to be a special progression server according to Daybreak.

Phinigel awake...

Phinigel awake…

The Phinigel time locked progression server is aimed at addressing some of the more common complaints about the past round of servers, specifically Ragefire and Lockjaw.

To this end, you will only be able to log into the server with one client from a single computer.  Multi-boxing a pile of characters from a single computer will be blocked.  As the Daybreak team put it, if you want to multi-box you will have to do it the old-fashioned way.

A Computer for every client

A Computer for every client

(Real old-school would have had a half dozen scrounged 15″ CRTs.)

In addition to this, the whole open world raiding log jam will be addressed by having both open world and instanced versions of the big bosses.  From Daybreak:

The big raid targets from each expansion will be instanced. While bosses like Lady Vox, Lord Nagafen, and (/cough) Phinigel Autropos (hey, THAT’S where we got the name!) will still spawn out in the world, groups of players will ALSO be able to have these targets available to them via Raid Instances.

The instanced raids’ targets have an account-wide 6.5 day lockout and will have the same difficulty as the non-instanced version of the raid target. Note that raid bosses on progression servers have had their difficulties increased since the launch of Ragefire.

So the bosses will be out in the open if you want to compete for them and hidden away in an instance on a timer if you just want to raid and not deal with external guild drama. (Internal guild drama is still on you.)

And, finally, voting will be dispensed with and expansions will unlock on a regular, 90 day schedule.  People can just be angry about that schedule being too short/long rather than claiming vote fraud.

So what will EverQuest players find to complain about in the forums this time around?  I have no doubt they will find something.  Recruit a friend is always popular.

All of this kicks off on December 9th.  We’ll see if the tradition holds and Daybreak has to open up a second server, though with all of the multi-zone instancing work they have done, I hope they can keep the population on a single server.

And, as always, in order to play on the Phinigel server you will have to have Daybreak All Access active on your account.  I’ll have to see how I feel when the launch date arrives.  I am currently not playing any fantasy MMORPGs at the moment and it is strange.  Of course, Gaff is now trying to get me back to LOTRO, so we shall see…

In Which We Blob

The purging of Cloud Ring continues, though mostly while I am asleep.  Waffles and Pandemic Horde changed their vulnerability widow to be during AUTZ, so the Entosis Link ops have been left to Lemba’s Korean’s in DOKDO and Arsehole squad, the AU/NZ time zone SIG in The Imperium.  So I wake up in the morning and can see the fleet pings that went out overnight.

While The Mittani’s optimistic six day forecast now seems… well, optimistic… the purge doesn’t seem to be in doubt.  The desired end state though… I’m not sure what that is.  We don’t want any hostiles living in that region, so we are purging them.  But we don’t want to take the sov ourselves, so we didn’t, for example, drop a TCU in W-4NUU after we killed the Pandemic Horde TCU, which allowed them to drop one and take the sovereignty right back. (Though reset to 0, so the system is easier to take/retake.)  And we have seen that our only friend in the region, Fweddit, can’t hold the whole region by itself, so I am not sure who we expect to come live there.  Who wants to live next to us?

Anyway, there has been day by day coverage over at The Nosy Gamer under the Kickstarter War tag.

Having avoided Cloud Ring completely, I did get into one fleet over the weekend, once that ended up in a fight.  There is a story about it up at TMC that I find a bit confusing.  The copy makes it sound like the whole thing was a surprise when, in fact, there were pings out for a “max dudes stratop” nearly 24 hours in advance.  Maybe I have misunderstood.  I guess we did pour in over time.

Anyway, the pings were out far enough in advance for me to get down to our staging system in Pure Blind and be online and ready to go.  Well, mostly ready to go.  I ran down in an interceptor and wasn’t keen to buy a doctrine ship off contract until I knew what fleets were going up.

When the ping for fleets went out, the initial options were Tengu fleet or Harpy fleet.  Later Cawk fleet was added to handle all the people piling into the system and trying to get into a fleet.  I opted for Harpy fleet because, if nothing else, a Harpy is cheap and warps faster than a Tengu and looks better as well.

Harpy out and flying about

Harpy out and flying about

Also, with three Basilisks lost already this month, I might be past my limit on reimbursement.  No need to risk losing a Tengu or a Basi.

Anyway, I got into fleet and immediately began looking forward to the next Reavers deployment.  It has been a while since I have been in the main fleet during an op.  Somewhere around 500 of us showed up, got in fleets, and starting flying towards some distant destination, leaving time dilation and tasty stragglers for MOA in our wake.

We reached UMI-KK about an hour after I joined the fleet, a system where I had both a jump clone and a Harpy standing by, so if I had known I could have saved myself the first part of the journey and the price of a Harpy.  The cost of op sec.

We didn’t have to go the whole way by gates.  We did take one jump bridge.  When we arrived there, the guy who said he had a three day timer before he could take a jump bridge and was told we would be taking one, again announced his timer issue.  I suppose he expected us to all slog an additional half dozen gates to keep him safe.  We took the jump bridge and let him fend for himself.

We left one Harpy behind

We left one Harpy behind

From the far end of the jump bridge it was a few more jumps through tidi until we finally arrived at MR4-MY in Geminate.  Our FC was hurrying us along at that point, as it sounded like the fight was going to end soon.  Sure enough, things certainly seemed to be in progress when we got there.

Fight in MR4-MY

Fight in MR4-MY, many bubbles

After some mucking about just out of range of all of the fun, our FC pointed us at the two biggest targets on the field, the two Archon carriers supporting the NCDot fleet.

The prized on the field

The prized on the field

Everybody loves a capital ship kill.  And certainly everybody seemed to get on those kills.  There were 741 involved parties on the first carrier kill, and 717 on the second.  I also managed to get on the kills of a Proteus, a Damnation, and a Devoter.   But that was about it.  After that, the field was clear and it was time to head back home.

The battle report shows 865 of us blobbing 121 of them, inflicting 43 billion ISK in damage for about 5.5 billion in losses.  That is the old CFC way.

And then it was another hour getting back to our staging system.  The whole thing went a little longer than three hours, so at least we got two participation links for the effort.  But it was a reminder of what big fleet fights can be like in the main fleet, with time dilation, hours of travel, uneven levels of skill, and coms that made me hide in the “no chatter” channel.  After that, a Reavers deployment feels like a vacation.