Monthly Archives: July 2017

July in Review

The Site

I got another mighty blog achievement this month.

Seventeen in one day… oooooh

I think the lesson here is “kitten posts mean more likes” since that is where most of the likes showed up.

One Year Ago

Pokemon Go was everywhere after it launched.  Everywhere.

I listed out the NBI Class of 2016.  I haven’t gone to check how many survived the year.

Daybreak turned off the last PlanetSide server and the game was gone… though it lingered on the server status page for a while.

Daybreak did launch a pair of special event servers for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  I was keen enough to go earn the special mount on the EQII server.

There was strange news for Turbine as their parent company, Warner Brothers, announced that they were transitioning into a mobile app development studio.  We wondered what that meant for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.

In Minecraft I was tinkering with maps and night renders while Aaron created a huge map room in game.

In World of Warcraft I managed to unlock flying in Draenor.  Just in time too, as the 7.0 patch was already pre-loading.  Soon the garrison gold mine would be turned off.  And then it hit, bringing new features.

In EVE Online the Casino War was winding down.  There was a Keepstar to chase, the alleged hellcamp, and some sovereignty exchanges in Pure Blind.  That wasn’t really going anywhere though.  We killed four titans in Okagaiken and blew up a CSAA just to show we were still fighting.  But in the end we admitted defeat and began packing for our trek to greener pastures.

Our destination was Delve, ever the region that calls to Goons.  I mean, look down at the “five year ago” section below. We were attacking the region then as well.  But first we had to get through Rakapas.  I was there for a bit before I ended up soloing my carrier down to our staging in Sakht, accruing the maximum about of jump fatigue possible.

I also hit 160 million skill points while the Blog Banter spoke of malaise.

Five Years Ago

In New Eden my hear went “Boum!

Elligium took its pandas and went home.

Blizzard set the date for Mists of Pandaria.

There was a Steam Summer Sale.

I was wondering if Torchlight II could live up to its potential.

Ultima Forever!  A shot across Lord British’s bow.

Rift decides to sell mounts for cash.  It wasn’t like they were going free to play though.

Let it be noted that not all Kickstarters fail.  There was the Defense Grid expansion Kickstarter.  I kicked in, they built it, I played it.  Simple as that, and much better than any 99 cent app I have purchased.  And I still get a free copy of their next Defense Grid game when it comes out.

I wondered aloud if nostalgia servers… official ones… would remain the sole domain of EverQuest.

Meanwhile SOE was talking about Vanguard’s free to play plan.

I was underwhelmed at the so-called “reskin” of Qeynos in EverQuest II.  The sorrow of Qeynos knows no end.

In EVE Online, there was war in Delve… again… if only I could get there.  There were battles in 49-U6U, C3N-3S, and DSS-EZ, a conga line in 319-3D (where we also watched the alliance tournament), and a flying titan in F2OY-X.  The tiny Wallpapers Alliance held out longer than Nulli Secunda, before being crushed.

Then having done the heavy lifting for TEST, the CFC was asked to go home.  TEST was going to be its own alliance, but we would all remain the best of friends in the big blue donut of love.  Anyway, it was time for a convoy back to Deklein.  Somewhere along the way I got a warning from CCP for causing lag.

And there was also a link to a list of things to do in EVE Online.

Ten Years Ago

Hey, it was the Revelations expansion in EVE Online that was news a year back, and I was running through the updated new player tutorial. It was a huge improvement, though I ran into a glitch or two.

The instance group was still off in Lord of the Rings Online for the Summer, though we were having issues at The Great Barrow when we weren’t playing Truth or Dare.

Vanguard was already planning server merges. 13 servers were being reduced down to 4.

EverQuest II got its own magazine… again (okay, it was an SOE magazine for Station Access subscribers the first time around, but it had an EQ2 scantily clad dark elf on the cover!)… in the form of EQuinox. And they were offering Rise of Kunark beta access to subscribers!

Dr. Richard Bartle, keeping to his strict regime of “one controversial fanboi enraging quote every summer” said he would like to improve the MMORPG species by turning off World of Warcraft Seemed kind of mild after the next year’s entry and reaction!

Perpetual was making crazy-insane statements about Star Trek Online… like no Galaxy-class starships for you! Ships that size were planned to be “space cities” and quest hubs. Back then I told Cryptic take note: If I cannot aspire to be Captain Kirk, I am not sure I want to play! Or just go read Tipa’s post on the subject.

The end of Auto Assault was announced by NCsoft and I took note and pondered a (silly) solution.

I stopped in front of SOE headquarters for a picture. (Mirror universe Wilhelm, with goatee.)

Microsoft finally announced a warranty extension due to the “red ring of death” problem with the XBox 360.

And Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw did his fist Zero Punctuation video.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  3. The Corrupt Developer Career Path
  4. Delve – We Mine Things and We Rat a Little Less
  5. Dual Monitor
  6. We’re on the Road to Mordor
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Given the Boot in Fallen Gate
  9. Producing Mechanical Parts
  10. Kitten Time
  11. Two Days to Delve
  12. The July 2017 Update Brings Revamped Strategic Cruisers to EVE Online

Search Terms of the Month

casino wars eve
[No longer a thing since casinos were banned]

wow insider
[Also no longer a thing since AOL canned it]

candy crush users hate update june 2017
[Not according to SuperData Research]

les informations sur la xl actinet
[I am not sure what an “actinet” is, XL or otherwise]

wii little big planet
[Sorry, that is a PlayStation exclusive]

EVE Online

The Reavers deployment ended.  Fun was had, but it is over.  Then there was mucking about in Delve, a capital op, and the usual bout of trying to figure out what I should train next.

EverQuest II

Well, as seems to be the pattern so far this year, my MMORPG flavor of the month seems to be exactly that, a month-long venture at most.  I started off on the Fallen Gate server, got to level ten in time to get the special mount, added a couple more levels, and then stopped playing.  Good thing I only subscribed for a 30 days.

Lord of the Rings Online

The promise of the Mordor expansion and the end of the War of the Ring after more than ten years of fighting and grinding grabbed my attention, and suddenly I was patching up LOTRO… as if you can use “sudden,” “patching,” and “LOTRO” in the same sentence… and trying to get reacquainted with the ins and outs of Middle-earth.  So I guess we have the next flavor of the month.  Will it last any longer?

Minecraft

I haven’t done anything in Minecraft this month.  Part of that was just having other games to play while lacking in any real project to focus on in our world.  The other part was that the latest version requires an update to the Overviewer application I use to make maps of the world in order to plan.  I really depend on that app a lot.  Unfortunately, the person who has done that in the past has moved on so the Windows part of that project is effectively dead.  Such is life with open source.

Pokemon

Pretty much the same situation as Minecraft, I ran out of things to do and stopped playing.  I keep an eye on the game and grab Pokemon when there are download events, but otherwise I am on a break from the game.  That probably isn’t a bad thing.  A new version is coming out later this year so maybe a break now will mean I’ll be refreshed and ready to go when that lands.

Pokemon Go

The recent update to gyms has gone pretty well for me.  I am earning a lot more coins thanks to the fact that there is a gym next to my office that trades hands during the day, but if you’re the last one in you are safe overnight and will get the full 50 coins.  So I went from earning maybe 10 coins a week getting into the old style gym to 100 or more with little change in effort.  Of course, this makes me wonder if Niantic is being too generous.  Are remote gyms unintentional gold mines?  Otherwise, I made it to level 29 and, thanks to the experience boost during the one year anniversary, made some good progress towards level 30.

My basic stats this month:

  • Level: 29 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 185 (+11) caught, 214 (+17) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 147km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Coming Up

Will there be a Blaugust this year?  If there is one, it won’t be Belghast driving it.

ANet will be announcing the next Guild Wars 2 expansion tomorrow.

In LOTRO the Mordor expansion looms.  I plan to simply boost into Mordor.  However, I won’t be doing that today.  The expansion has been delayed for the moment.  Can we blame Daybreak yet?

In a break with tradition there will be an game update for EVE Online in August.  The only item on the list for it so far is killing of the Captain’s Quarters to help clear the way for a 64-bit client.  While I won’t miss the quarters, I should probably go for one last visit before they’re gone.

In the Imperium, there is word that we will be deploying somewhere looking for a fight.  We’ve been given lists of doctrines and ships to bring, but no destination or time frame yet.

The Blogger Fantasy Movie League is getting into its final weeks, with the 13 weeks finishing up at the end of this month.  We shall see who the winner will be… actually, it will be Liore… maybe somebody will take second place from me.  Given how I did this week it seems possible.

Covering another Keepstar Deployment

MAX DUDES RED CRAYON CTA RIGHT NOW

TITAN>SUPER>FAX>CARRIER>DREAD

WE NEED EVERY WARM BODY WITH A HULL

THIS WILL PROBABLY BE THE LARGEST SUPER FLEET FORMED SINCE B-R5 SO YOU PROBABLY WANT TO BE HERE FOR THE SCREEN SHOTS ALONE

-tiberizzle to allcaps

How could I say “no” to that ping?  Besides, it was Sunday morning, my wife and daughter were off to other things and I had no plans for the day.  So I clone jumped to the staging Keepstar, jumped into my Apostle, and got into the armor capital fleet.  The armor fleet passed 200 people, while the first shield fleet filled up and they had to roll out a second.  There didn’t seem to be any special fit required, aside from having a prop mod to speed up gate travel.

Once I got myself squared away I undocked and warped off to one of the citadels ringing the Keepstar so as not to be yet another massive object on the undock that people might bump into.  The force auxiliaries are not as big as a titan, but they are bigger than a super carrier and make carriers look like mere battleships in the fleet.

My Apostle in warp with Tiberizzle’s Wyvern super carrier

As the fleets settled down we were given a destination to gate to and off we went.  Traveling in a capital taking gates means jumping through a gate, clicking warp/jump for the next one, then running your prop mod as you align until your ship finally approaches the speed it needs to warp off.  Then you turn it off and, as it cycles down, you should warp… unless you bounce of of another capital, which has a habit of knocking your speed back down to below the warp threshold.

Then you just want to get through the gate at the far end without bouncing off of somebody as ships land in a streaming mass and ending up out of range to jump.

That gate has to be feeling the pressure…

On voice coms somebody was telling people to spam the jump button in order to avoid that fate.  I opted for the old auto pilot trick.  Since we had a destination, as I my Apostle headed to the gate I would turn on the auto pilot which would then jump me through the gate itself hands off.  You just have to remember to turn it off as you jump, as you could end up 15km off the next gate and slow boating for the next jump if you’re not careful.

Then you’re through the gate and everybody is spread out, uncloaking, and aligning for the next gate.

Capital fleet doing its align thing

We bunched up on a Fortizar as our first waypoint, then were given a new destination a few more jumps out.  There was sat on a Raitaru, bunching up in a giant mass of capital hulls.

Make room! Make room!

We sat there for a while, so I was pretty sure this was where we would be jumping from to get to our destination.  I still did not know what we were up to, if this would be my first capital op to involve a fleet action.  Things were quiet on coms and I wondered what was going on in the command channel.

Then the order came through to jump to cyno that had been lit.  The order was quickly amended to restrict faxes from jumping through, so everybody else jumped out leaving a convention of force auxiliaries on the Raitaru.

A meeting of faxes

There were complaints of tidi and bouncing and whatnot from those who had jumped.  After a few minutes that settled down and faxes were given the clearance to jump.

Entering the jump tunnel from the Raitaru

Once through I could see capitals strewn about the field, but that was all the client was drawing for me immediately.

Landing after the jump

This happens some times when you land on a grid with a lot of objects to draw.  Ships get drawn first.  After a bit though the client got around to filling out a Keepstar citadel where we were all hanging about tethered or bouncing.

There we are

You can see some titans a bit off that may have bounced a bit.

This was the point of the operation.  Whenever a Keepstar is set to go online a large capital fleet is assembled to protect it while it goes through its initial repair cycle, the point at which it is most vulnerable because a hostile force can blow it up without all that mucking about with timers, as happened with the Keepstar over in Auga about a month and a half back.

To prevent that a large force is mustered to sit on the Keepstar to dissuade any attack.  And so there we were.  No fight was likely given the forces we had on the field.

Sitting on the Keepstar waiting

This was the first Keepstar for our Imperium colleagues in The Initiative who, as it was going online, also won their match in the alliance tournament.

So there we sat.  Jay Amazingness said that once it was online we would sit out our jump fatigue before we headed home again.  That was going to be a while so, to entertain us Jay asked a pilot in a Phoenix dreadnought if the fleet could doomsday his ship if Jay bought him a new one later.  He agreed and warped off to another citadel before returning to be in range off us but at a distance.  On command all of the titans fired on him.

Doomsdays away

I did not have a very good angle setup when the doomsday fire went off, but Jay linked us a better screen shot in fleet, which I have borrowed.

Jay’s view of the doomsday fire

To stretch out the shoot the Phoenix pilot activated his Emergency Hull Energizer which boosts resists to 99%.  However, even with that the weight of damage being thrown at him was so much that he exploded fairly quickly.

Phoenix down

That left us some time to sit around and stare at the fresh wreck or take a break while our collective jump fatigue timers ran down.

Phoenix wreck lit by an explosion

As I was looking for a good screen shot of the Phoenix wreck, it was lit up by something that happened behind me.  While I missed it, The Initiative blew up an Archon on the undock to sanctify the Keepstar going online or just to join in on the fun.

After that we mostly sat about.  There wasn’t anything like a BBQ war in coms, which was probably a good thing.  With about 15 minutes left on jump fatigue we were roused out of our torpor and given a destination.  We set out to take some more gates to put us in range of home.

We had to wait a bit as there was a titan running behind.  Somebody needed a bathroom break, but only after we started out taking gates.  He eventually just jumped to us, leaving him within range of home and giving him the option to either double jump, and take a jump fatigue hit, or just wait it out and use the safe cyno later.

I don’t know what he chose, but the rest of us took the cyno once it was up and landed back at home.

Back at the staging Keepstar

Unlike the move op the other night, we were not cyno’d into the Twerk zone, there being some fear that a titan might bounce, escape the model, and end up flung hundreds of kilometers away.  I’ve seen that happen.  While the ship would likely not be in immediate danger, it is best not to take chances with expensive toys.  After all, PL keeps dreads on hand for such opportunities.

And that was it for the operation.  Another capital op for me, though I have yet to use my Apostle to rep a single ship.

John Hartley took some video of the fleet which includes us landing on the Keepstar, featuring some titan bounces, and the doomsday shoot of the Phoenix at the end.

 

A Minor Venture Adventure

I had the desire to do something in New Eden.  Unfortunately, that desire hit as my main and my alt sat in laden ships in a citadel half way through a trip home from a deployment.  I could have jump cloned one or both of them out, but I wanted to make sure I was there and ready to go.

Time to get out another character.  But which one?

Theoretically I have a dozen characters in EVE Online spread over four accounts.  In reality, most of them do not add up to much.  Some of them were created to grab an amusing name, like Claude Ring or Escher Alias.   Others I had plans for, but never really went anywhere, the general issue being that you can only train skills on a single character on an account at a time.  So, for example, neither of the other two characters on the same account as my main ever get any training time because I have never been done training everything in Wilhelm’s queue.

Just never going to happen.

However, I have an account sitting around with a couple of Alpha clone characters.  I tried following in CCP Rise’s steps at one point, but with all of the Alpha skills trained on him I was free to roll up another Alpha on the account and start him training.  Having a Gallente Alpha, I went for Amarr.

I have kept him training sporadically.  With the one day long queue, I put a few skills in and then forget about him for a few days… or a week… or a month… then go back and start him up again.  Last time around he had just finished up some mining related skills.  Also, he had collected a Venture mining frigate as part of some give away from CCP… was that from Christmas?  Anyway, I logged in and saw him sitting there in the Venture and decided to go mining.

The Agency doesn’t support mining missions…

I had run my Amarrian friend through the new player experience and looted along the way, so he had a couple of extra civilian mining lasers sitting in his hangar.  So I fitted those, grabbed a couple of Warrior I drones for defense, and undocked to go try this ship out.

The Venture came into New Eden long after my career in mining was over.  Back when I was at the low end of mining your first goal ship was an Osprey and you mined asteroids that looked vaguely like potatoes.

Space was different back in 2007

And you had to train up to get into that Osprey.  The Venture though, a new player gets the skills to fly that on day one.  It is small and handy and has an ore bay, something that also wasn’t a thing back when I mined as a profession.  And, if you follow the industry career tutorial, you end up getting one for free.

So I took it out to a system near Amarr, headed to a belt, and mined some Veldspar for a while.

Soon to be a post at EVE Online Pictures…

I also had the Yoiul Festival Skin for the ship, so ran with that as well.

A handy enough little ship, though the civilian mining lasers were slow.  Once the ore bay was nearly full I took off back to Amarr to look for some upgraded mining lasers.  I sold my Veldspar straight to a buy order and found some better lasers.  I thought about a mining upgrade as well, but had already set off again, so put that on my list for later.

I picked up another load of Veldspar and headed back to Amarr to sell that.  There I decided to see if that was the best plan.  The buy orders for raw Veldspar seemed okay.

Veldspar in the raw

But the rule back in the day was to never to sell ore.  The guides always said you should refine your ore and sell the minerals.  That was the way to greater profit.

However, things have changed.  I refined the ore only to find that the remaining Tritanium were worth less than I would have gotten for the ore.

Lesson learned

And that does not count the 20K ISK it cost me to refine the ore.  Better to sell the raws as a newbie these days I guess.

I took that ISK and bought a Mining Laser Upgrade I module in order to speed things up.

The third time out I dropped into a belt and started mining only to see some hostile NPCs in the belt with me.  I launched my drones and sent them after the closest of the cruiser-sized rats only to find that they were not the usual specimen of belt rat.  My Venture exploded before I could warp off.

Autothysian Lancers are bad news

Well that was bad news… not to mention yet another something I never had to deal with back in the day.  Now my Venture was gone and I was sitting in my pod.

However, things were not hopeless.  First, getting a ship destroyed is one of those new player achievements that earn you some ISK.  The payout was 200,000 ISK for losing a ship worth 160,000 ISK.  And then there was the default insurance payout.

The payout

That was worth another 106,000 ISK, which made the destruction of my Venture a profitable turn of events.  Plus I had already made a couple of Ventures worth of ISK from the first two runs.  I was able to buy a new ship in Amarr and head back out again.

Shiny new replacement Venture

I wanted to get a closer look… and maybe a few screen shots… at the NPCs who blapped me, but they had moved along by the time I had returned.  My wreck, however, was waiting for me, with all the modules still there.

Back to the scene of the crime…

If I had not been in such a hurry to refit I could have saved myself a little bit of ISK.  The modules were very cheap relative to the ship and the ISK already earned.  So it was back to orbiting and mining.

Back to the clutter of the belt

There remains a zen-like peacefulness to mining.  It is something easy to do while you listen to a podcast or an audio book or chat with people on coms.  That is especially true early ones mining career, when it takes a while to burn down a rock.  Later on, when you’re running strip miners and tech II crystals and it just takes a cycle and a half to finish off an asteroid and you’re juggling a couple of rocks and watching the scanner to see how much each has left so you can cut the cycle early and move on without wasting time… well… life does become more hectic.

So it was nice to go through the peaceful bit, if only to remember what it was like.  And it was also nice to see that even mining the most common element in New Eden was still a decent way to build up some capital to buy ships, replace old ones, purchase new skills, and all of the other foundation work that sends you off in the various ways of the game.

Not that I am going to go back to mining.  But as an activity it was at the root of all I ended up doing in the game.

 

Two Days to Delve

We had been deployed long enough.  We got some good fights, annoyed the locals, and blew up a Fortizar, but things were starting to slow down.  Asher had been busy with Alliance Tournament practice, things were brewing on the home front, and there was the promise of a different adventure on the horizon.  It was time to pack up our belongings from our favorite fishy referencing system in Curse and get back to Delve.

Of course, packing up is easier said that done.  We came out with two fleet doctrines and added a third while we were there, and being remote means keeping an extra ship or two on hand for each doctrine along with extra ammo and charges for things like boosts or interdiction bubbles.

The latter was exacerbated by Asher’s fondness for a Boy Scout level of preparedness, meaning we carry mobile depots and modules so we can refit to match the occasion, leading to full cargo holds and an oft repeated meme.

If we could strap things to our ships, Asher would make us…

On the bright side, we also brought carriers and dreadnoughts over to Curse, so there was some space available to carry extra ships.

As the time to the move op home ticked down, I made arrangements.  Ships I was unlikely to ever use again were stripped, repackaged, and shipped to Jita.  I organized what was left, decided what would just stay in the NPC station to await our eventual return, and tried to figure out how to get the rest home.

The smaller ships were not so bad.  RatKnight1 took my Scimitar, two interdictors, and three Vigils in his carrier.  That left me two Typhoons, a Damnation, and a couple of covert ops scanning ships.  I decided to leave a Typhoon and the cov ops behind, along with jump clones, so I could go back to hunting Fraternity deployables at some future date.  They were leaving MTUs around for me to shoot for a while.

That meant flying home a Typhoon and a Damnation.  A lot of people chose to fly their Typhoons back, battleships being awkwardly large, though I did see smaller ships along as we moved.

My Damnation near one of the local Minmatar gates

Tuesday night the appointed hour came and we all logged on and got into the fleet, captials and subcaps sharing the same fleet and voice coms, something that always leads to a bit of confusion.  Actually, most of us had been logged in for hours before the fleet, leaving the system empty under the threat of a few dozen Imperium pilots hanging about with nothing to do.

Then came the call to undock.  Capitals undocked first and jumped off to wait for their first dose of jump fatigue to wind down and for the sub caps to catch up.  Then the subcaps undocked, heading for our first waypoint on the road home.

The rag tag fleet in motion

We made it to the appropriately named system 0SHT-A, where we met up with the capitals.  The system is on one side of a inter-regional jump gate that the capitals had to take in order to continue on the way home.  The distance covered by the gate is beyond the capital jump range, so they either take the gate or travel a much longer, and more dangerous, route home.

The capitals logged on and got undocked and ready to go as the subcaps went through the gate to U-QVWD in order to cover them.  They came through and jumped to the next cyno.  However, as that was in motion, the locals showed up with a Loki fleet.  The system is an obvious choke point, so them showing up wasn’t any act of amazing foresight.   Any Imperium fleet traveling through the area is likely to show up in that system.

We sat there on the gate with a bunch of hostiles in local as the carriers and dreadnoughts came through and made their jump.  The Loki fleet showed up on grid, though far off from us just as the last few capitals were coming through.  Asher had us point towards the Astrahus we have in the system and somebody put up their fleet boosts… likely Asher… just in case a fight started.  I took that cue and ran the boosts on my Damnation for a cycle as well.  And then the Lokis warped to us, just as the last dread was jumping away, and Asher warped us to the citadel where we tethered up in safety… except for Asher, who left his boosts running, something that sets an aggression timer and keeps you from tethering or jumping through a gate.  He had to warp off and back to get safe.

We were not totally outnumbered by the Loki fleet, but they were a coherent combat fleet while we were a mix of various doctrine ships traveling together for safety in numbers rather than looking for a fight.  We were not going to challenge them.

So we all docked up.  The capitals had docked up at their end.  All we could do is wait.  However the Loki fleet seemed to be patient, so Asher called the fleet for the night, got us our participation link, and said we could go but asked that we stay logged on if we could just to keep our friends in the Loki fleet hoping for kills they were not going to get.

So ended the first night of the move op.  We were scheduled to reconvene the next night to finish the run home.

Wednesday night had most of us sitting at the login page waiting for the word to get into the game and resume our journey, there being no desire to show up early and tip off the locals again that we were in town.

Waiting to log in

As people got themselves set and got onto voice coms, the subject of pizza came up because Thomas Lear was ordering Dominoes for dinner.  What started as a condemnation of the position of Dominoes in the hierarchy of pizza quickly devolved when the New Yorkers on coms adopted the standard line that there is no good pizza outside the five boroughs of New York.

Having worked with people from New York in the past… one of the oddities of Silicon Valley is that so many people here are from somewhere else, so you learn which parts of the country think their the only ones who can do a given thing… I opted to stay out of that discussion since you might as well argue with a brick wall as a New Yorker on that topic.

Then, however, the topic somehow slid into the relative merits of regions BBQ styles in the United States, at which point it seemed like the SIG might break up as passions flared and intemperate phrases were tossed around about coloration and the appropriateness of vinegar and other ingredients in something as sacred as BBQ sauce.  Quick thinking saw a straw poll put up on the topic asking us stand up for whichever variety we supported.

BBQ Poll in Fleet

I did not bring up Alabama white sauce lest I be accused of some form of heresy and be branded as beyond the pale of polite company.  I voted for Kansas City style, less out of any true passion than because it is the style I grew up with and what is used at my favorite local BBQ place, where I have been eating since I was a kid.

Tempers cooled as everybody was able to vote for their choice.  There seems to be a calming effect to being able to have your view counted.  The discussion then somehow moved to the prevalence of spam in Hawaii and eventually sputtered out as the call to log in came.  The caps logged in and made their jump and then the subcaps got into the game, undocked, and continued the journey back to Delve.

Nobody formed up to oppose us as we settled into the usual routine of jumping and aligning as we Asher warped us from gate to gate.  An Imperium Jackdaw fleet caught up with us and moved with our fleet for a while, reducing the likelihood of anybody showing up to challenge us.

Aligned out for another warp

Along the way we learned that not only does Thomas Lear have bad taste in pizza… the only aspect of the pizza discussion on which we could all agree… but that he had never been to a concert in his life.  So that was added to the list of his sins.

Eventually we wandered into Querious, then Delve, and found ourselves in jump of the Imperium staging Keepstar.  From there it was onto a titan and a bridge to the cyno which, by tradition was lit inside the model of the citadel, a position known as the “twerk zone” because of the way ships bounce around when they land.

Damnation in the Twerk zone

From there we could bounce around if we liked or dock up and be done for the evening.  Our deployment was over… except for the people who did not make the move op.  There is always somebody who can’t make it and needs to be extracted at a later date.

As with the fleet, I expect any comments on this post will focus on the critical issues of BBQ sauce, pizza, and what concerts Thomas Lear should attend in the wilds of Kansas.

The Corrupt Developer Career Path

In which we see how logic is useless with bad data.

This all started innocuously enough with Wolfshead angry about life as video game developer.  His ire, deflected momentarily from his usual target of Blizzard, was aimed at the video game industry itself and the fact that being a game dev can be a really crappy career choice.  The pay is low, the hours are long, job security is fleeting, and there is a long line of gullible young people willing to take your place if you try to buck the system.

This is not a new tale.  Having lived close enough to Electronic Arts for them to be covered by the local paper regularly, word of how shitty the video the games industry can be is something I have been aware of since the late 1980s.

Fun created here… on an Orca graveyard!

Wolfshead called it an example of  the “worst excesses of capitalism,” by which I assume he means supply and demand.  Seems legit.  Oversupply lowers pay and working conditions while scarcity raises tends to raise them. That is the whole “invisible hand” that Adam Smith was going on about indicating that you should look for work elsewhere.  Sort of an invisible middle-finger.

Oddly though he also went off on progressives who run operations where life is not intolerable, which comes off a bit muddled and counter to his main point.  He rather ironically denigrates people who care about fair trade coffee, then turns around and says gamers need to demand better working conditions for developers.  Progressive ideals are fine when they benefit you I guess.  I expect him to follow up with a post calling for fair labor video games.

But the net message is that being a video game developer can suck.  Another brick in the wall that should block you from ever wanting to work in the video game industry.  You go down that path despite the reality, not because of it.

However Gevlon was having none of it, even doubling down when challenged.

In Gevlon’s world, nobody does anything without getting compensated.  Young developers don’t line up for crappy pay, long hours, and no job security simply for passion or to follow a dream.  That whole “do what you love” is bullshit.  If you go there, there has to be a payoff!  These young developers go into the video games industry intent on lining their pockets by becoming corrupt developers!

Artist concept of the decision process

This whole idea fails the sniff test almost immediately.  It smells like bullshit and defies the logic Gevlon himself lays out.

First, if money is actually the REAL motivator, as opposed to the dream of working in the wonderful fantasy world of video games, then there are a lot better ways to go about it than risking your career, future employment options, and possible legal and tax complications, by becoming a corrupt game developer.

A developer could, for example… and I realize this is a huge stretch… get a job elsewhere in software development.  There are many jobs in software available.  Most of them pay better than the video games industry.

Basically, ample other opportunities exist.  You do not go into video game development as an individual contributor with an eye towards making bank.  And doing so with the idea of essentially creating a criminal enterprise is absurd in the extreme.

It isn’t as though there are no corrupt devs.  Stories do surface now and again about somebody taking advantage of their position.  But those are more matters of opportunity rather than somebody’s career goal.  People are weak.  Oh, and their careers got ruined once they get caught.  Like a lot of segments of software development, video game development is a small community and word gets around even if you don’t make the front page of Kotaku.

That leads us to one of the key arguments against this corrupt developer proposition; the lack of news stories about this.

If being a corrupt developer was a career path people going into video game development were actually, consciously pursuing we should be seeing a lot more news about corrupt developers.  His argument pretty much needs this to be taken seriously.

Where are all the stories?  Please, post links in the comments if I am wrong, but I’ve got nothing.

We know all about Kickstarters taking your money and running and about game companies over promising and under delivering.  Players complain incessantly about price gouging by greedy companies  But the biggest developer “corruption” story of the last few years was an unsubstantiated allegation that a indy developer used personal contacts to get a better review.

The stories just aren’t out there and the only way you can explain that away is by turning the whole thing into a conspiracy where management and the industry are in on the corruption and we enter the realm of Dinsdale where players are paying off companies.  At that point companies are working against self-interest allowing corrupt devs, since even Gevlon insists that protecting the integrity of a game is vitally important and why would they share the booty with line devs in any case.

Well, that, and the fact that the number of game developer positions where being corrupt would get you paid is probably pretty limited in and of itself.  Further evidence that people don’t go into this industry with corruption in mind as a career goal.

The only real evidence that Gevlon can produce to support his theory is that bugs in code exist and some of them take longer to get fixed than he thinks they should.

That has an easy response.

Gevlon, as I have noted elsewhere, is an ignorant amateur outsider when it comes to software development in general, and all the more so when discussing the situation involving any particular video game, so his determination as to what should be easy to fix and how long it should take carries exactly zero weight.

This is not an insult, but a statement of fact.

I am an ignorant, amateur, outsider when it comes to treating cancer.  It seems like you should just be able to cut that shit out and be done with it.  Also, Jesus, doesn’t radiation give you cancer?  And the chemicals in chemotherapy were derived from mustard gas!  Why would you use that on people?

So if you see me hanging out the oncology department at your local hospital, feel free to discount any advice I might give you.

The difference between those two situations is that I know and admit that I am the ignorant amateur outsider and Gevlon does not.  He thinks his assessments are meaningful.

They are not.

Which leaves him with very little to support his hypothesis besides his idea that people don’t spend time doing things that do not bring them the greatest financial benefit.  At that point you have to start asking why he spends time blogging.  That is giving something away for free, something that has value.  Imagine the page views his posts would get from enraged fan boys on a site like Massively OP!  He doesn’t even run ads on his own site, so he fails by his own logic.

To summarize:

  • The alleged financial motivation to become a corrupt developer is nonsensical and counter productive; there are easier way to make more money and people do value things besides a paycheck.
  • Positions where being a corrupt game developer would pay off are extremely limited; real money trading has to be involved somehow.
  • No substantial external evidence exists that anybody is pursuing this career path in any numbers; where are the news stories?
  • The remaining evidence offered lacks credibility; Gevlon is not in a position to know and his own logic argues against him.

So while I would not deny that corrupt game developers may be out there, it seems more like something subject to occasional circumstances where opportunity arises and not a career path anybody set out on to offset the poor pay offered by their chosen industry.

The burden of proof lies on Gevlon to prove that that the situation is otherwise and so far he has failed completely on that front.

SuperData Research Says Pokemon Go is Back but not in the Top Ten

The SuperData Research numbers are out for June 2017.

SuperData Research Top 10 – June 2017

On the PC side of the chart, the top six entries remained the same compared to the May chartWorld of Warcraft is still listed as a single entry rather than being broken out East/West.

Further down the list, World of Tanks was down a slot, losing seventh place to the hot new awkwardly named kid on the block, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.  Likewise, Overwatch lost ground, dropping to tenth position, being overtaken by comparatively long in the tooth title ROBLOX.  The miracles of massive online games I guess.

Dropping from the PC top ten were Counter Strike: Global Offensive and New Westward Journey Online II.

At the other end, while SuperData noted in the text accompanying the chart that Pokemon Go saw a significant boost in June due to the gym and raid update, it was not enough to get the game back on the list.   Candy Crush Saga, which returned to the list last month dropped from seventh to eighth place, but somehow hangs on in the top ten revenue list after all these years.