Monthly Archives: January 2019

January in Review

The Site

On my side of the browser WordPress.com decided to change up the color scheme for the admin interface.  Ostensibly this was to improve the contrast, but any color scheme that involves fuchsia as a default might be going too far down the bright scale.  But the post about it said you could go back to the classic blue if you wanted.  Of course, it wasn’t the same set of blues, so it wasn’t really classic.  Also, the change messed up a few things, like the world map.  Things got fixed over time, but it was another in the long list of WP.com pushing something that wasn’t ready to be pushed.  The main surprise was that they actually announced it almost concurrent with pushing it.  Usually they change something, confuse people, field a bunch of questions, then finally post about the update.

Otherwise it has been a slow traffic month on the site.  For the first time since February of 2008 a monthly total dipped below 20K page views.  2018 came close to doing that early in the year as well, but then traffic rebounded.  Blaugust was very much a success in reviving traffic around here, though that tapered off as the holidays hit.  And now, in another cold new year, it is back to low ebb again.

Slow months show up in the most viewed posts pretty clearly.   As you can see below, the traffic tends to come into older posts via Google as opposed to newer posts from the current readership.

Finally, I am going to add a new section to the Month in Review posts starting this month, because clearly these posts are not long enough already, stretching out past 2,000 words of late.  But don’t worry, this new section will be short.  It will be a list, and everybody loves lists, right?

I saw over at Endgame Viable’s year in review post that he had a program for tracking play time… and application usage time in general… called ManicTime.

The free version of ManicTime does pretty much all I need to track game play time.  And, unlike Raptr or XFire from days gone by, it tracks the time you have the application up front as opposed to just the time it is running.  (Or, in the case of GW2, when the launcher was running, which accounted for most of my GW2 play time in Raptr.)  So putting stuff in the background stops the timer.  This gets interesting and/or amusing at times, since it shows your application swaps.  I tab out of EVE Online a lot.

Anyway, you’ll find the first stab at that down in the post.  I’m going to break it out by percentages rather than raw hours because I find that more interesting.

One Year Ago

There were the usual predictions and outlook and Steam Winter Sale posts for the year.  I am consistent, you have to give me that.

Satan was speaking to us about lockboxes.

I played Anarchy Online for a few hours.

There was Trogday.

I was looking into the Legion expansion in World of Warcraft for the new year.

Blizzard gave us four more bag slots… if we had our account security setup correctly.  A year later that little notification about the bag slots still comes up every once in a while.

I was on to pet battles again, collecting them, leveling them up, and looking into the Celestial Tournament.

Blizzard also gave us a target season (summer) for Battle for Azeroth and opened up pre-orders.

In EVE Online the January update moved the Agent Finder fully into The Agency.

But the big news in New Eden was brewing in the system 9-4PR2.  Pandemic Horde was anchoring a Keepstar there and the hype for the battle over it built pretty fast.  Dubbed the “Million Dollar Battle” in advance, it didn’t quite get there, though there were over 6,000 players in the system at one point.  INN spent time reviewing the whole thing.  Still, it was good enough for a Guinness Book World Record. (Yeah, that was in April, but I figured I would tie the whole event together here.)

I moved all of my games and data from my old Nintendo 3DS XL to a new 2DS XL.

In a bullet points post I was on about the Age of Empires remaster, which you could only get through the Microsoft store, Rift Prime plans, legendary Pokemon, the cost of making video games, and how BitCoin miners were buying up all the video cards.

And, finally, I was kind of bummed because, in this age of streaming, if you want to see recent movie releases at home, disks were still the most reliable method for the price… short of pirating the movies, of course.

Five Years Ago

Do I need to say more than B-R5RB?  That was, at the time, the biggest single battle in the history of EVE Online when it came to total ISK destroys, most of it in the form of 75 titans blowing up.  Lots of big numbers in that fight.  It made it to lots of non-gaming news sites.  And I was there.  I am on six titan kill mails to prove it.  The whole thing was a hell of an event after the crash at HED-GPearlier in the month.

That about spelled the end of N3 in the southeast as the Russians rolled in with CFC support.  My joke about the power blocs seemed to be true.  What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Blog Banter 52 was focused on the EVE Online community.  All sunshine and lollipops there, right?  Otherwise it was a pretty slow month in New Eden for me.

Speaking of bloodbaths, SOE announced they were going to close four titlesFree RealmsWizardry OnlineStar Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and Vanguard: Rise of the Saga.  Meanwhile, deadbeat Planet Side, which hadn’t netted a nickel of profit in years went 100% free to play.  Way to show favorites Smed!

Then there was how Hearthstone was going to inspire SOE to update Legends of Norrath, because SOE has been cast in the role of follower for a while now.  Also, never going to happen.

Then there was the question of when “Next” was, specifically EverQuest Next.  Things had gotten quiet already.

At least SOE made subscriptions cheaper, though not before pissing off their subscribers first.  SOE being SOE.

And then there was Lord of the Rings Online, which announced there would be no expansion in 2014… or raids or dungeons… which left people kind of wondering what was going to happen.  You want to know when people started to doubt the future of the game?  This was the moment.  I did point out that Turbine was not the only entity that tried to tackle Tolkien’s work, only to be brought up short at Helm’s Deep.  In the end my guess would be that the crisis at Turbine was Infinite Crisis, and that fell flat.

There was the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen kickstarter.  Brad McQuaid was back, asking for too much money and promising too many features.  We know how that works out.  Even SOE closing his last title couldn’t push his pledge totals up to what he wanted.

Then there was World of Warcraft.  People were wondering what classes to boost to level 90. and what the so-called stat squish was really going to mean.  They also, in hindsight, pretty clearly broadcasted the Warlords of Draenor ship date, only few believed it.

Our own group was still running through the Cataclysm expansion, catching up from our year or so away from the game in places like Deepholm and the Vortex Pinnacle.  I was also lusting for living steel and making friends with the Netherwing at last.

What else?  Oh yeah, EA decided that maybe SimCity should be a SimCity game.  I was wondering if level cap upgrades were an aberration.  There was some naming policy shenanigans.  And there was my yearly MMO outlook for the year as well as the usual predictions.

Ten Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

I noticed that the optical drive on our Wii started making a lot of noise.  It still makes noise ten years later, but it also still works, even if Nintendo has turned off almost everything related to it.

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

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

Ensemble Studios, who created the Age of Empires series, shut down.  But their games live on, with Age of Empires II remaining popular on Steam.

I hit the 1,000 post mark, which was cause for yet another milestone post and some reflection. (I’m closing in on the 5,000 mark a now.)

Oh, and I predicted a whole bunch of crap that mostly failed to materialize.  But that never stops me from trying again.

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

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  2. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  6. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  7. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  8. Delta Force – A Memory of Voxels
  9. My MMO Outlook for 2019
  10. New Years Predictions for 2019
  11. The First EverQuest II Progression Server is Coming to an End
  12. SuperData and the Free and Mobile Future

Search Terms of the Month

daybreak lifetime membership refund
[Good luck on that!]

guild name generator for animals
[Have you met us? We’re all animals]

eveequest 2019
[This the Pokemon/Norrath crossover?]

dreanor cant fly why do i have a mount then
[So you don’t have to walk?]

Game Time from ManicTime

Listing out the games that ManicTime tracked in January, here is how I divided up my time.

  1. LOTRO   –  36.40%
  2. RimWorld  –  33.56%
  3. EVE Online  –  25.25%
  4. Unnamed Alpha  –  2.90%
  5. Combat Mission  –  1.00%
  6. WoW  –  0.73%
  7. EverQuest  –  0.13%
  8. EverQuest II  –  0.03%

I had to consider what would be the cut-off for how little time I would list.  But I also wanted to keep track of games I spent time with, even a little time.  So I decided that if a game made the top 50 list of apps tracked in the month, it would make the cut.

The top application tracked was Firefox, the browsed I default to at home for most things, including writing blog posts.

EVE Online

I was off with Liberty Squad and their deployment to the east of New Eden.  I shot a lot of structures, which is fine.  Structure shooting is what we call “putting money in the bank” in Reavers.  Setting timers is investing time in hopes of a future fight.  However, I seem to have missed most of the withdrawals.  Oh well.

Lord of the Rings Online

I made it to level 50 as I carried on with the epic quest line.  I finished the first eight books and have been trying to round up the final seven so I can say I have done them all.  They have started to wear on me a bit, as the structure of those last seven seem designed as much to keep the player busy and running all over Middle-earth as anything.  At this point I only have Book XV left to do.  Once I finish that it might be time for a break from the game.

Pokemon Go

I slipped a bit on the Pokemon Go front this month.  I didn’t play for about a week around New Years.  It was cold and wet and I didn’t want to go outside.  But I live in California, so it is never cold or wet for long.  It soon turned sunny and warm again and I was out playing.  I did finally get my excellent curve ball thrown in for the task that lets you catch a Celebi.  Have I mentioned how annoying it is when the game forces you into AR mode to catch things?  With no sense of scale or distance… or scale and distance distorted by being projected in a small room… I expended a lot of Pokeballs to catch the Celebi.  Still, I got it eventually.

Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 385 (+5) caught, 405 (+5) seen
Pokemon I want: Rhyperior, the Rhydon evolution, but I still need about 70 candies
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have had RimWorld out again.  I find it a very compelling game to play in sort of the way I find Civilization games compelling; I always want to just finish up the next task or objective before I quit for the night.  And then a raid hits and I lose half my colonists.  It is usually easier to go to bed then.

World of Warcraft

I did log into Azeroth for a bit, though it was only really for Darkmoon Faire.  When I saw that they had fixed the trade skill quests there I wanted to drop in and see if it really was true.  It was.

Others

Now I feel like I have to account for everything on the ManicTime list.  I did play a couple quick rounds of Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin.  Still an excellent game.  I also logged into EverQuest and EverQuest II, mostly just to check on a couple of things in anticipation of upcoming anniversary events.  I don’t think I earned a single point of xp in either.  And the unnamed alpha title shall remain unnamed.  It actually has an NDA.  Remember those?

Coming Up

February, the shortest month of the year.

There will be the usual monthly update for EVE Online, but it already looks like it will be concentrated on small, quality of life items.  That is fine.  We can always use that.  But I am not sure when the “next big thing” will be coming.  We should also start hearing about the next round of CSM elections.  That will get people complaining.

I hope that we’ll hear a bunch of things from Daybreak.  The Producer’s Letters put out this month mentioned all sorts of plans to help celebrate EverQuest‘s 20th birthday.  Most of those plans had details to follow, so one would assume they would follow in February, as once we get into March things will be getting a bit tight.

In Lord of the Rings Online I should finish up Volume I of the epic quest line.  The word is that the Mines of Moria expansion will be opened up around March.  We shall see.  Part of me sees the Anor server as an opportunity to play through all the game and into the Mordor expansion.  Another part believes that the 1-50 game is the best part and maybe I should just stop there.

I also have a plan… we’ll see if it comes to pass… to put together a series of posts about some old games I dug up this month.  Maybe I will have enough for a theme week.  We shall see.

RimWorld Sometimes Be Like That

People I know have been getting into RimWorld of late, which got me back to playing it as well.  It exited early access back in October and had actually changed a bit since I last played.  The changes were mostly in the details rather than any grand direction, but I did spot a few.  Having to stay indoors due to some toxic fallout was a new one on me, for example.

Fortunately the few times I have been hit by that it has been a short duration event, though the description indicates that it could go on for a long time.

I usually play the default scenario without mods and my early game often follows a similar pattern.  I try to be careful in selecting the characters I start with, making sure I have some coverage on all skills.  Inevitably I realize later that the person I need to do something, like research, will end up also being the only person who can plant crops and they spend most of their time on planting.

And then there is the usual scramble for shelter, beds, storage, then cold storage to keep food fresh, then actual food, which involves some planting.  Then I try to get by on the few survival meals and the local berries and animals until the initial rice crop comes in.  And then the potatoes eventually are ready for harvest and I find that I have so many that my food storage is full.  But if I have gotten there at least I get through the first winter and can go on expanding from there.  If a blight hits the potatoes though, it can be tough.

We were comparing notes on Slack about the current state of our various games and I mentioned that I was entering what I would consider the end game with my current colony.  I had research up to the point where I could build components and advanced components, which freed me from yet another constraint.  I had two people with high intellect skills that were swapping off on research and were going at it so fast that I was going to be able to fill out the rest of the tech tree.  I had turrets up for some automated protection, IEDs planted around some of the usual attack routes, everybody who could carry a gun had a light machine gun or an assault rifle, save for my best shooter, who had an excellent quality sniper rifle, and I had half a dozen big dogs trained to help in defense. (And to haul, which is the most useful pet thing ever.)

My colony at that point had grown to 14 people.  Most of them were getting along.  Six of them had paired off into couples.  Morale was high.  Meals were lavish.  The place was clean.  About the only complaint involved tattered clothing, which is always a pain because each character clings to their favorite piece of worn clothing like an eight year old.  I make them drop their worst item, they go pick out a replacement from the warehouse of clothing I had setup, the complaint goes away.  Then I allow the old piece of clothing to be picked up, because it is laying on the floor where it was taken off and the character immediately runs back, takes off the nice new pants or whatever, puts on the old ratty pair, and then starts complaining about having tattered clothing again.

Anyway, things were looking good.  I could see the research wrapping up, me building some final items, and then getting the hell off the planet for the win.

However, the AI seemed to sense my hubris and decided to teach me a lesson.

It started off with a big raid.

There were eight in the raid, but it didn’t seem too bad.  They were forming to the south and were not attacking yet.  I looked at a few of them and they had pistols.  They weren’t going to be the push overs that another local tribe was, they were coming at me with spears and bows and I had been mowing them down and sending them flying pretty handily, but it should be manageable.

I grouped my fire team into a sandbag pit at the south of the camp and prepared to lay into them as they approached.  As they attacked things seemed to be going okay until one of the attackers got close and threw a grenade into my defenses, and then another.  That blew out the sandbags, tore a hole though a granite wall, destroyed a turret, and wounded everybody on my team, incapacitating five of them.

A couple of the wounded were still firing and the dogs were out and attacking, so they managed to defeat the raid, but now my colony was in a bad way.  In the rush to get things back together four of the dogs died, the other two were wounded while four of the incapacitated colonists died within the next hour, with a fifth dying off the next day when another raid hit and he was killed by the spears and bows group as I was low on defenders and had to haul him out of his hospital bed to help fight.

So my colony was a mess.  Defenses on the south were gone, there was a big hole in the main building, there was blood and mess everywhere, and no one had gotten around to burying the bodies.  Morale was taking a serious hit.  All three of my couples lost one person.  Everybody was despondent.

RimWorld is as much about crisis management as it is about base building.  I likened this situation to being a manager at a high tech firm after a big layoff, something I’ve been though.  You have less staff, the same amount of work to do (if not more), and morale is at rock bottom.

The only good news was that one of my non-violent colonists had managed to recruit the prisoner we had been working on, so I had a fresh person who could handle a weapon.  There was that and the smokeweed crop had matured, so I expected there would be some binges on that front.

When colonist morale gets to low they can suffer a mental break, at which point they go off and do whatever it is they takes them on their own.  Some wander or hide in their rooms.  My main researcher, who lost her husband, went off on a smokeweed binge.

But sometimes the reactions are destructive.  I had one colonist throw a tantrum and start breaking things.  That didn’t last too long and was pretty well contained.  But then another colonist broke and went on a fire starting binge.  He ended up in the cold storage for food, setting fire to the potato crop stocked in there.  Apparently frozen potatoes burn very well in enclosed spaces.  The fire in there got out of control, with the temperature rising above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, incapacitating the people who ran in, one by one, to try and put it out.

So I had to haul people out of the fire and just let it burn out.  Since it was by the kitchen and the dining area, all of my prepared meals went up in the conflagration.  Fortunately I hadn’t used wooden walls.  Stone kept the fire contained.

But now, with the only remaining cook incapacitated in a hospital bed, the colonists were reduced to eating raw potatoes, which added to the morale problems.  That set off one colonist who went berserk and started attacking people.  He happened to be a melee combatant too, so had a steel gladius equipped.  He killed everybody in the hospital room and the remaining dogs before he himself was shot dead.

Corpses and blood

Then there was another raid.  At least it was the bows and spears team again.  But after that I was down to three colonists, all wounded, the colony was a disaster, there were unburied bodies all over, and all I could think was that my statement about approaching the end game now seemed premature.

And, of course, the three remaining colonist were all complaining about their tattered apparel.

But that is the way it rolls some times with RimWorld.  And it is always fun to see if you can bring things back from the brink.

To the Ring Forges of Eregion

Eregion shouldn’t be there.  It shouldn’t be in the LOTRO Legendary server yet.  I shouldn’t be able to access it.

We’ll just stick with Legendary I think

As a zone, it was not part of the original launch content, or even a post-launch addition like Evendim and Forochel.  Eregion came in with the Mines of Moria expansion in early 2009.  It is the starter zone for Moria, the warm up that sets your location relative to the fellowship of the ring as well as the place where you pick up your legendary weapon so you can start that endless grind.

Not that the fellowship is all that hard to follow…

Also, as you progress through the zone, you start getting quests where the reward is experience for that millstone about your neck, your legendary weapon.  Only you can’t get one of those yet, so doing those quests are something of a waste.

Anyway, if you are keeping a list of all the ways that the LOTRO Legendary has included things that weren’t there at launch… and that must be a very long list by this point… you can add Eregion to it.

On the flip side, it would be hard to keep Eregion out.  Since SSG was determined to keep the effort as low as possible for this server, Eregion pretty much had to stay in because you can walk there if you so desire.  So, short of having a different map for the server… and I don’t think the patcher is up to even that level of complication, given how it seems to need to take its shoes off to count to twenty some days… we were just going to have to deal with Eregion being part of the first chapter of the server.

Eregion is also a bridge zone, a link between what happened in the original Shadows of Angmar content and what was to come in Mines of Moria.  It is where you prepare for your new life under ground.  It is also where the hand-off between Volume I and Volume II occurs, so I suppose it isn’t a stretch to argue it ought to be there.  You need to go there in order to finish up Volume I in any case.

And so it was that I launched into Book XIV of the epic quest line.  This book doesn’t center around a single zone, but rather sends you out again on a grand tour of various locations in Eriador.  We have the two halves of the ring Narchuil, so now we have to find out what happens next, all of which starts with Laerdan.

So, what’s it going to be Laerdan?

There is much running about across the landscape and a series of instances that tell what happened between Laerdan and his daughter Narmeleth, possessed by Amarthiel (and who can appear as here… or Sara Oakheart… as needs require) that I am sure would take years of therapy for either of them to work through all of what happened.

Questioning daddy before an audience

Trying to play nice, before getting rough

The whole thing is drawn out too far and makes you play as other characters with different abilities from time to time, something that always gets on my nerves when over-used.  You even have to run around and wake up sleeping orcs with a good, swift kick at one point, which might remind you of early quests in Durotar.

Eventually though it is off to Eregion, to the ring forges found there where the one ring… edit: nope, not the one ring… its companions (the three, seven, and nine), and an unknown number of lesser rings (including Narchuil) were made.

Map of Eregion

That all comes together at the instance at Tham Mirdain, down near Mirobel, in the southwest corner of the zone.  As before, this is a fellowship sized instance which, if you attempt it solo, you get a buff that makes you powerful enough to master it.

The instance is straightforward enough.  If you take on each group around an area it will save you some bother as they’ll all come to help if you go straight for the obvious main NPC there abouts.

In the end I made it through and found myself facing Amarthiel.  But Narchuil had already been reforged and she now wore it.

Pretty much the story of this whole quest line so far

She kindly offers to let me be the first to die to her new toy when Mordrambor, who has been running around after the ring himself shows up.  He also seems pretty confident that he holds the upper hand despite Amarthiel having the ring.  He has a backer, some power in his corner now, some heavy ammunition in his camp, but he isn’t saying who quite yet.

Interrogation is not her strong suite, let me tell you

And then we find out as Mordirith, who I thought Golodir and I had defeated back at the end of Volume I, Book VIII in Carn Dum deep in Angmar.  Reports of his death, however, were greatly exaggerated.

The trio re-united in Eregion… Mord has a dragon mount now!

To cut to the basics, this was all a ruse to test Amarthiel.  She failed, Mordrambor is awarded the ring by Mordirith.  Amarthiel is rightly pissed and tries to defy Mordirith, which works out about as expected.

Mage fight! Mage Fight!

It was kind of like the duel between Harry Potter and Voldemort… only they are both evil and you’re probably screwed no matter who wins.

The power of the Nazgul prevails and Amarthiel lays broken and sobbing on the ground as Mordrambor takes the ring from her.  And then Laerdan shows up, because this is the grand finale I guess, and promptly gets himself smote by Mordrambor because he called Mordirith by his middle-school nickname or something.

And so the scene ends.  Mordirith flies off on his dragon.  Mordrambor disappears… I guess the ring gave him that power, as previously he had to exit scenes on his own two legs.  Laerdan is… well… not dead.  Elves don’t die, being tied to the fate of Arda for all time, so he could come back.  But his current body was laying there lifeless. And Amarthiel is just sprawled on the ground, her plans undone.  The narrator says you capture her, but that is played off screen.

And that was it for Book XIV.  Just one more book to go to finish out Volume I of the epic quest line.

Structure Shoots and Eagles in the East

I have probably been more active in New Eden than my posting would indicate.  I’ve been out with Liberty Squad, which is one of the Imperium groups that has deployed out the east of null sec to tangle with Pandemic Horde and its allied.

Freedom Squad – Of Course We Fly Eagles

The thing is, a lot of ops do not really have much to report.  We go out and reinforce a structure.  Sometimes we get to kill one, like that Athanor a couple of weeks back.  That was mildly interesting because it was mid-frack, so we go to see the moon chunk disappear.  But an op to reinforce a structure, or even to blow up something small, that doesn’t always yield a tale worth telling.

An Oracle wearing the Blaze SKIN at a Raitaru kill

Meanwhile, I don’t hear enough about the strategic picture to make much of a comment on that either.  I get a sense that things are not going well for PH over in The Kavala Expanse region, where the ADMs are low and almost all of the ihubs have either been destroyed or are reinforced.   My alliance, TNT, even took the TCU in A-YB15 after destroying the ihub, probably just for fun.  The TCU declares ownership of the system, puts the alliance name on the map, but it is the ihub that upgrades a null sec system to make it livable and useful.

Meanwhile, we have to go pretty far into PH space to find Ansiblex jump gates to knock out.

An Ansiblex jump gate offline and waiting to be blown up

We caught that one down in RQOO-U and blew it up, snapping another connection.  We had to dodge bombs coming from the Fortizar near which it was anchored, but that wasn’t enough to deter us… or even keep those of us in the logi wing very busy.

Not that there haven’t been fights.  I’ve heard tale of them.  But I seem to have spent most of the month missing the ops where the locals show up.  I know they are around.  We got a peek at them last week when we slipped in with some bombers to get on the killmail for a Triumvirate Fortizar that was unwisely hanging about in a war zone without an allies about.

Another Fortizar brews up

We had initially tried to bomb the Pandemic Horde fleet coming in to the shoot, but managed only to bomb a couple of our own.  My bomb, launched a bit late, got a solo kill on a blue capsule.  I don’t feel bad though.  Black Ops bombed us the other day when we were both going after the same target.  It happens.  And somebody learned not to MWD ahead of the pack on a bomb run that day.

Anyway, after a lot of quiet ops over the last couple of weeks, it was nice to show up yesterday and have some ships at which to shoot.

It started with us forming up and flying out in Eagles again.  We sat on a titan for a bit.

I just like screen shots of titans

Then we were bridged into Erstet, in low sec Metropolis, where NCDot was assailing a friendly Azbel with a few dreadnoughts supported by a Minokawa force auxiliary.  We went after the dreads, hitting a Phoenix first.

Phoenix shields flaring under impact

However, we were not able to out pace the Minokawa and its ability to rep, so a couple of dreadnoughts from out side were called up and jumped in, after which we managed… after much struggle… to deploy a cyno inhibitor on the field in order to keep NCDot from reinforcing their structure bash.

The extra firepower turned the tide and the Azbel was saved.  We exchanged a few subcaps for a Revelation, two Phoenixes, and the Minokawa force auxiliary, the wrecks of which stayed on the field.

The remains of the fight

We had to hang about a bit after that.  This took place in low sec, where things are complicated.  Our way back home was through high sec, so we had to wait out suspect timers.  This wait was extended because some of us in the logi wing had combat drones handy and got on a couple of the kill mails.  However, if you rep or cap boost somebody with a suspect timer then you too get the suspect timer, and we were all in Basilisks running a capacitor chain, so it became a self-refreshing round of suspect timers until somebody mentioned we would have to go through high sec, at which point we dropped the chain and tethered on the Azbel to wait out the 15 minutes.

Emboldened by our successful op, Thomas Lear, who was leading us, flew us off to another structure to reinforce it.

Eagles on the move again

Pandemic Horde gave chase with an Ishtar fleet, trying to get around us to cut us off and, if intel is to be believed, ended up with us sitting between them and home.  Finding themselves cut off instead, they then decided not to engage, docked up, and jump cloned back to their staging, leaving their ships parked for another day.  I cannot speak to the truth of that, but it does sound like an odd move.  There are other ways in and out of their space, as we were soon to learn.

After reinforcing another PH structure, Thomas decided that we would go deeper into their space and reinforce one more before calling it a night.  I have no idea what we were going to shoot though, because when we arrived in the system a Black Legion Munnin fleet, led by Elo Knight.  We were apparently not going to take that fight and spent the next hour trying to break contact with them and eventually flying the long way around south through the Great Wildlands and Metropolis before arriving back at our staging system once more.

And so it goes.  We made it back home again, and were out long enough to earn ourselves a second PAP.  But I still have managed to avoid anything akin to an actual fleet fight for over a month now.

PlanetSide Arena Launch Pushed Back to March

Back in mid-December we got the big announcement that Daybreak’s new game was essentially a retread mash up of PlanetSide 2 and whatever they are calling the Battle Royale part of H1Z1 these days, which itself was build off of PlanetSide 2 as I recall.  And thus PlanetSide Arena was born… or was at least revealed.

Not the worst thing Daybreak could announce.  Not something that interests me, but not completely off-base I suppose.  It still seems a strange move to attempt to jump into the battle royale arena, which H1Z1 pretty much proved was viable, with a new-ish product that is pay to play when it will have to compete not only with Fortnite and PUBG but also their own game, which is free to play.  Such is the way of things I guess.

Anyway, the announced launch date at the time was January 29, 2019, or this coming Tuesday as I write this.

That seemed aggressive, though who can say since they were borrowing heavily from PlanetSide 2.  And launch could mean early access or some other dodge.

However, apparently that date did end up being too aggressive, because this past week Daybreak announced that the actual release was to be postponed until March 26, 2019.

Season One move to March

The key passage from the announcement was:

What we’ve discovered during playtesting is that while we’ve made significant strides towards that goal, there are crucial feature enhancements and core systems improvements we can make that will lift PlanetSide Arena to the level it deserves. This game is a passion project for our team, with massive potential to occupy a unique space within the PlanetSide series and the overall shooter genre. And while we agonized about this decision down to the deadline, we ultimately decided taking extra time to supplement our feature set, fully optimize engine performance, and improve server infrastructure was absolutely necessary to deliver the quality, polished game the PlanetSide community deserves.

If the work needs to be done, it needs to be done, but I always get a bit of an eye twitch when a team shows up just before a deadline and says they need more time… a lot more time… to get things done.  I’ve been through that before on projects.  Then again, maybe this is a sign that Daybreak made enough money on lifetime subscription sales in December that they can afford to take the time.

If you’ve pre-ordered… which you can only do on Steam… you get to play a bit earlier in what they are calling the “Founders Season,” though I imagine that will add up to being the beta/stress test, which can be fun, hilarious, and frustrating by turns.

Anyway, no PlanetSide Arena until March now.

An EverQuest II Expansion Coming in 2019

We saw a Producer’s Letter for EverQuest already this week, which was focused on the 20 year anniversary celebration.

Following that up is a Producer’s Letter for EverQuest II which indicates that both sides of the House of Norrath will be doing some celebrating in March.

The celebration will start with a new server, which will be up as a beta next week.  Called Nagafen, it will seek to bring back the PvP style that was once part of the game.  We’ll see if PvP nostalgia fares better than it did originally, as PvP servers and PvP outside of battlegrounds was shut down due to lack of interest in the past.  Of course, this quote seems to be hedging a bit on the whole plan:

If it gets a good following in Beta, we’ll look to launching it live!

Maybe if they add a battle royale mode…

There will also be celebration and events on the Plane of Mischief in EQII as well as a new progression server, both to coincide with the 20 year anniversary in March.  As with the two planned EQ progression servers, the details for the EQII progression server are not out yet.

EQII is also having its own anniversary event this year, as it is turning 15 come November.  Included with that will be another expansion to the game that will “take you to a whole new unexplored location of lore and legend” according to the Producer’s Letter.

There isn’t much in the way of details, so we’ll have to wait for that to show up.

Addendum:

Bhagpuss has his own post up about the Producer’s Letter at last.

Daybreak Prepares for the Coming EverQuest 20 Year Anniversary

The often quiet Daybreak has surfaced to address the coming EverQuest 20th anniversary.  That’s right, EverQuest turns 20 this coming March 16th.

In a producer’s letter from Executive Producer Holly “Windstalker” Longdale… I hadn’t seen anything from her is so long that I wasn’t sure she was still with Daybreak… laid out some general expectations about what the company has planned.

Original Box Art

In game the letter says that there will be “brand new land, raids, and rares with a story about preserving our past, and it’s free.”  That is something for the regulars, the people who still congregate to play on the live servers.

For the extended fan base, which includes those of us lapsed Norrathians, who like to watch from a distance but who haven’t played the live game with any serious intent for years, there are a couple of new progression servers planned.

Progression servers are the SOE/Daybreak specialty and have proven quite popular when given the attention they deserve.  But Daybreak knows they cannot just roll out the same old thing every time, so these two new servers will be variations on the usual theme.

While the rules have not been revealed yet, one will be targeted as “hardcore” and the other “ultra-casual.”  Sign me up for the latter I guess.  I’ll be interested to see the rule set for both.  And both servers will launch on March 16th to coincide with the 20 year anniversary.

Starting then will keep them far enough from the impending launch of WoW Classic, slated for this summer, which I suspect will own the retro server market for some time.

And maybe with two servers launching on the same day there won’t be a huge queue.  Or maybe there will be.  I’d take it as a good sign for the franchise if there was one.

In addition to that, the producer’s letter says that a real life fan event is possibly in the works.

We’re working on pulling together an EQ fan event so we can hang out with you, our honored guests.

There are no details, and the tentative nature of that statement means it might not pan out.  But if it does, it will likely happen over the summer.  More details are promised come March.

In addition, Daybreak is asking for player submissions of short videos, 20 seconds or less, about how EverQuest changed your life or 15 second videos of your main character in game, to be included as part of an a 20th anniversary album that Daybreak will put out on Facebook this year.  If that interests you, you can submit your video via this page.

It has been a long time since EverQuest launched.  It was a very different world back in 1999.

There is no sign or word about the predicted end of content for the game, something that came about as a rumor back around the beginning of May last year. (After one of those layoffs.)  That some of what was stated has come to pass lends those rumors credence.  But things can change.  And  I wouldn’t expect to hear anything about that before the anniversary, lest it mar the event.  So we’ll hear more about what Daybreak has in store soon I hope.

Meanwhile, Bhagpuss has his own look at the producer’s letter and the coming 20th anniversary events.