Monthly Archives: February 2019

February in Review

The Site

I was away on vacation for a week this month.  Did anybody notice?  No?

Well, me being away must have been good because total traffic was up when compared to January.  Not bad for a month with three fewer days.  Of course, it helped a lot that I posted about Burn Jita 2019.  That drove a lot of traffic here.  I don’t have a follow up post about the even however because I was away for the entire thing.

On other site topics, we learned back in October that Google Plus was getting shut down.  At the time we were told it would end in August of 2019.  Then, in December, Google found some more security issues, and that date was moved forward to April 2.

They knew enough to avoid April 1

With that new date rapidly approaching, Google has been warning people of the impending end for the service.  But April 2nd isn’t the only date in play.

Come March 7th, Google Plus will stop allowing external applications like WordPress to post to the service.  In advance of that WP.com has been warning its users that support for Google Plus publication will be terminated in advance of that date.

WP.com letting people know

So if you follow the site through Google Plus… and I suspect that might be as many as three people… posts there may cease as early as tomorrow.  This could be the last post to Google Plus you ever seem from me.  (Or from Richard Bartle, whose blog also publishes there.  For me Google Plus is pretty much the Richard Bartle tracker.)

Unlike Facebook, which cut automated posting to combat “fake news” (with little success, since ignorance is generally a grass roots affair), I won’t be bothering to sporadically post links to my posts following the demise of the integration.  So if you follow me there and want to keep reading my stuff, you will have to find another service.

Twitter maybe?  It isn’t so bad if you are careful about whom you follow.

The posts are also pushed to Tumblr as summaries, and I haven’t been banned yet as part of the great Tumblr porn panic, where the algorithm doesn’t know much about art, but knows if nipples are involved it must be porn.

One Year Ago

I was wondering if EA might be a better company if they were owned by Microsoft.

Trion Worlds announced that Rift Prime would launch on March 7th, putting it a good two weeks ahead of the previous estimated “spring” opening.

SuperData Research released their review of 2017 and it seemed to be missing a key title.

In World of Warcraft it was Battle for Azeroth pre-order time.  I bought it so I could start unlocking allied races.  Not that I needed more alts.  I also did a little raiding with leashes and got the Mr. Bigglesworth drop.

In New Eden the Monthly Economic Report showed a dip in activity , at least in overall NPC bounties, as we all turned to the Million Dollar Battle that January.

CCP was also proposing changes to the CSM election process as well as updating their game news RSS feeds.

The February update for EVE Online saw a change that allowed players to attack Upwell structures at any time and changed it so that unfueled structures only had one timer after hitting the shields rather than two.  That led to a spike in destroyed citadels.  There was also the Guardian’s Gala event and CCP still calling mission spaces “dungeons.”  The coming March update promised players a new ship.

In game I hit the meaningless milestone of 190 million skill points.

Actually out in space, Pandemic Horde gave up their space in Fade and Pure Blind to move to the Vale of the Silent, leaving a hole in null sec for somebody to fill.

Daybreak finally declared H1Z1 out of early access, but the battle royale market had already moved on.  Fortnite, significantly, was now available on PC and consoles.

And Extra Credits was going over the whole lockbox thing some more.

Five Years Ago

A lot of people got their panties in a twist about Steam tags.  It was the literal end of civilization as we knew it… for about 30 minutes.

EA handed over the running of Camelot Unchained and Ultima Online to Broadsword.

I spent some time with Warcraft III attempting to discover the pre-history of WoW.

There was Diablo III version 2.0, and the changes looked promising.

On the World of Warcraft front, we were still talking about Warlords of Draenor.  Pre-orders were announced an there was a rumor that the expansion would cost $60, which seemed a bit steep.  Also, insta-90s looked to be coming as a cash shop item.  Would all of that stem the tide on subscription decline?

Meanwhile, I finished the last of the LFR raids, witnessing the downfall of Garrosh Hellscream.  For all of the complaints about LFR, I enjoyed my raid tourism.  The instance group did Grim Batol, then made the jump to Pandaria before returning with slightly better equipment for Heroic Deadmines.

I was wondering why PvP seemed to be a requirement for all MMOs.

I got into The Edler Scrolls Online beta and declared it Skyrim-like enough for me, then never played it again.

Brad McQuaid’s Pantheon: Further Falling of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign was winding down, doomed to failure.  There was talk about what would happen next.  Plan B anybody?

I ran another EVE Online screen shot contest to give away some items from the Second Decade Collector’s Edition which I scored for free… after having bought it for myself.  And then there was the monument and drone assist and campaign medals and the repercussions of B-R5RB to talk about.

And I wondered what was going to happen with people being given free reign in Landmark.

Ten Years Ago

My 8800GT video card died.  That was the second one to go.

I had been looking at my dis-used GAX Online account and wondered what gamer social networking needed to be viable.  Since then, GAX Online has shut down.

PLEX showed up in EVE Online ten years ago.  It doesn’t seem like it has been around for that long.  And then there was the whole Goonswarm disbandment of Band of Brothers, and act that effectively ended the Great War, and which made the BBC news.  This led to talk of how much control players should have over their destiny.

In game I got the mining foreman mindlink as a storyline mission drop, I upgraded to a Raven Navy Isssue, and finally bought the freighter for which I had been training, and got some ships blown up in the Worlds Collide mission… again. There was EVE Vegas, which was just a player run meet up at that point.

I was still active in Lord of the Rings Online, playing characters on the Nimrodel server.  Looking for a class on which to affix the Reynaldo Fabulous name, I put up a poll on the subject.  While Minstrel won the poll, Reynaldo ended up being a hunter with a fabulous hat.  And when I wasn’t fooling around with alts, I was leveling up my captain who made it all the way to Rivendell at one point.

While over in Azeroth, it was revealed that my mom plays WoW.  I wondered at how active Westfall seems to be most of the time.  But the answer to that seems to be the Deadmines, which I ran my mom and daughter through. (No dungeon finder back then!)  There was a little pet drama with my daughter who wanted a raptor.  I also managed my first exalted status with a faction in WoW, the Kalu’ak in Northrend.  I wanted that fishing pole.

On the Wii, we had Wii Musicwhich was crap, and LEGO Batmanwhich suffered a bit from being yet another variation in the successful LEGO video game franchise.

And then there was the usual blog war shenanigans as somebody was still looking to blame WoW and WoW players for Warhammer Online’s failure to meets its subscriber goals.  I think we’re all over that now, right?  Warhammer did what it did on its own faults and merits in a market that was well known before they shipped.

Fifteen Years Ago

The aptly named Gates of Discord expansion for EverQuest launched.  While Smed called its bug-ridden launch “SOE’s worst mistake in five years” it did see the game to its subscription peak of 550K and introduced instancing as the default dungeon mode, something WoW would make a genre default soon enough.

The creator of the original Castle Wolfenstein game from 1981, Silas Warner,  passed away at… oh dear, my age.  I played that game a lot back on my Apple II.

Twenty Years Ago

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, arguably one of the best entries in the Civilization series, ships.  My only nit-pick is that it ran full screen at pre-set resolutions so, unlike its predecessor Civilization II, if you play it today it either has to be in a small window or distorted full screen on your likely much-bigger-than-1999 monitor.

Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance also launched, one of the better Star Wars titles.  But Star Wars was never plagued by bad titles the way Star Trek has been over the years.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. Burn Jita back for 2019
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  4. Burn Jita 2019 Kicks Off
  5. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  6. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Trying Out the Guardians Gala Sites
  9. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  10. No Good Expansions*
  11. The First EverQuest II Progression Server is Coming to an End
  12. Activision Blizzard – Famine in the Midst of Plenty

Search Terms of the Month

is raptr dead or what
[Or what!]

darkfall unholy wars 2019
[Keep on dreamin’]

anything else like all access from daybreak
[XBox Live maybe?]

eve online passie tank vs buffer tank
[Passie tank better than a failie tank]

library of congress “server code”
[The Library of Congress server code is open source]

give usual predictions of new year
[Covered that back on the first of the year]

Game Time from ManicTime

Month two of time tracking with ManicTime. My gaming division of time for February.

  • RimWorld 37.58%
  • WoW 26.12%
  • EVE Online 20.09%
  • EQ 14.28%
  • Minecraft 1.24%
  • LOTRO 0.68%

LOTRO went from top of the heap in January to not much activity at all.  I also binged on a stretch of RimWorld, which replaced LOTRO at the top.  WoW and EQ, which were negligible last month, saw big boosts as I went to those places for my MMORPG fix. And EVE Online stayed about the same.

EVE Online

I was fairly active in fleets during the first half of the month as Liberty Squad brought “freedom” to the inhabitants of The Kalevala Expanse. (I have to look up the name of that region every time. My brain thinks anything that starts with “Kale” should end with “yuck.”)

However, for the back half of the month I was busy with other things, including being away on vacation last week.  As such I missed some big fights in null sec, all of Burn Jita, and the whole Guardian’s Gala event.  I heard that the latter was a bit messed up, but beyond that I couldn’t tell you much beyond it.

EverQuest

Nostalgia for times now 20 years in the past is swelling.  I logged in for a bit in order to get myself back up to speed on the game.  Or down to speed, depending on how you look at it.  That brought me through the Gloomingdeep tutorial.  Will that be enough of a warm up before the big anniversary event?

Lord of the Rings Online

I finished up Volume I of the epic quest line, putting a cap on my Shadows of Angmar experience on the LOTRO Legendary server.  Actually, I did that last month, but only got around to the final post this month.  After that I was sort of done with LOTRO for the time being, and haven’t bothered logging in more than once or twice since then.

Minecraft

I did spend a bit of time playing Minecraft.  I didn’t do anything complicated or start any new public works projects.  I just pottered around a base, improving it, building up some paths and such.  I just wanted to do something simple while listening to an audio book.  Minecraft is often perfect for that.  I am still waiting for the Village & Pillage & Panda update to hit.  It seems like we’ve been waiting for that for quite a while now.

Pokemon Go

Not a lot to report here.  I am closing in on level 36, largely due to several people hitting the “Ultra Friend” level, which is good for 100,000 points.

Level: 35 (+0)
Pokedex status: 388 (+3) caught, 415 (+10) seen
Pokemon I want: Meltan, but I still have a several tasks to go in order to get there
Current buddy: Togetic

RimWorld

I have carried on with RimWorld, and with the colony that had such a disastrous turn, about which I posted earlier in the month.  I’ll have to carry on with that story.  As I have said before, RimWorld has that “one more thing” aspect to it that will keep me up late when I had sworn I was going to go to bed early.  There is always something else to do.  Also, as an MMO player, having a game you can pause and walk away from is a nice change as well.  On the other hand, I think my pausing and walking away might be inflating RimWorld‘s play time stats.  There is always another problem.

World of Warcraft

Finishing up the epic quest line in LOTRO lined up just right with the start of Darkmoon Faire in WoW, so I went and did that since they’ve fixed the trade skill quests.  I also finished up both the exploration and quest line achievements for Drustvar.  That opened up World Quests for me.  While faction grinds are generally bad, taking them in daily four quest bites isn’t such an ordeal.

And then they had a week of double experience for pet battles, so I was in on that as well.  I do that with an alt, who is now level 112 but has never been into the BfA content.  Gaff also joined in on the WoW front, so there have been times with all of three people in guild chat, myself, Gaff, and Earl.  Earl is never not playing WoW.

Coming Up

EverQuest turns 20 in just over two weeks.  I’ve mentioned the special servers already this week, but I suspect that there will be other special things going on as well.  Gnomish things, among others I guess.

I expect that we’ll hear something about EVE Online CSM elections.  And there will be the monthly update.  Otherwise the low intensity wars in Perimeter and the east side of null sec seem set to carry on.

On the LOTRO front it seems like a lock that the Mines of Moria expansion will be coming our way on the Legendary server.  I am still not certain how strongly I’ll be in for Moria.

March otherwise looks to be a quiet month.  Spring starts towards the end, at least in the northern hemisphere, and of course daylight savings time starts in the US, for states that observe that (I wish California would opt out even though that would literally mean a bunch of work and testing with time zones yet again in my job), so I will be cranky(er) from sleep pattern interruption and people will be asking what “PDT” stands for again.

What else does March have in store for us?

Malcanis to Favor His Chosen with Skill Book Delivery

Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of  ‘new players,’ that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players.

-Malcanis’ Law as generally quoted

It isn’t that I don’t get CCP’s idea.  Their dev blog this week about making skill books easier to buy is something that will help new players.  I both see the logic in this and agree that it will probably help out new players.  No longer will they have to figure out the market and where to find the skills they are trying to buy.

The plan is to allow people to buy skills directly from the skills tab of the character sheet.

Buying from the character sheet

Purchasing from there will inject the skill directly into your character.  No more hunting around in your hangar trying to find the skill.

In addition, any info window that has a skill requirements tab will also let you buy skills directly from there.

Purchase from info window

It is not tough to see how this might things simpler for new players.

But as soon as I saw this my mind went rather to players out in null sec and wormhole space, players far from NPC stations that sell skills, and what a boon it will be for them.  If you’re out there on an alt and realize that you’re short a key skill for something, it will likely be immediately available to you through the skills tab.

Special skill books that require LP to purchase won’t be available, but anything that is generally available will be on demand if this change goes in as planned.  Life will be much easier for those who live away from empire space.

There will be some changes to pricing.  This direct injection purchasing will cost more than purchasing from NPC stations.  That is something that might drive a new player to save some ISK by going direct.  But if you’re beyond the fringes of empire space, you’re likely going to pay a bigger mark up from anybody reselling near you.

Which, of course, brings up a secondary question about the skill resell market.  Many an enterprising new player has made their first foray into the joys of arbitrage by purchasing skills from an NPC station and bringing them to Jita or Amarr or another likely system to resell them for a markup.  Likewise, there are entrepreneurs out in the distant corners of New Eden who fill the skill needs of their fellow pilots while enriching themselves.

What happens to that market?

There is already a floor on skill prices set by the NPC station.  Now there will be a ceiling set by the direct purchase price.  And anybody looking to make money in that particular game will have to live in what I imagine will be the very short space in between.

As I wrote earlier, I can see why CCP is doing this and even agree.  But I also see the bigger advantage that will go to the established player base outside of empire space.  Malcanis would be proud.

Others writing about this:

FML – Moving from Winter to Spring

This week saw the final round of the Winter/Awards season for Fantasy Movie League.

While I am still holding out for the summer blockbuster season before I return to focusing on the league as a regular feature here, if you wanted to join in for a practice season now would be a good time.  I will put a link in the comments after this post goes live.  The links expire, so I don’t want to put it in the post in advance.

As for the season just passed, here were the final top ten scores.

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $964,413,237
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $941,196,773
  3. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $861,126,227
  4. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $786,513,610
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $784,396,889
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $739,435,908
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $707,973,439
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – $696,783,637
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $682,821,329
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $621,049,944

That is the same people in the top three slots as my mid-season summary, though the final positions changed a bit.

Goat and I were neck and neck, with me behind by a mere $600K, at the end of week ten.  But then I made bad picks on the last two weeks.  Goat and SynCaine both went with the Alita lineup in week 11 and How to Train Your Dragon plus Happy Death Day 2U lineup in week 12 that were both runaway picks, weeks where if you don’t get those you fall way behind.  That lifted Goat and SynCaine well past my score.

That I was even in contention was probably a bigger surprise.  I didn’t win a single week, while SynCaine and Goat won 10 of the 12 weeks combined. I just didn’t make a really bad pick until the end.

And then there is the alternative scoring methodology which, as a reminder, hands out a score to the top ten finishers each week, with first place getting 10 points, second getting 9 points, and so on down the line, which is an attempt to remove the scoring volatility that some weeks show when the FML team is off in their pricing.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 96
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 85
  3. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 84
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 69
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 65
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 55
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 48
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 44
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 41
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – 37

In that scoring SynCaine came out in first place, well ahead of Goat in second and myself in third.

While SynCaine only won 4 weeks to Goat’s 6, SynCaine also never fell out of the top ten on any week while Goat did so twice.  Despite never winning a week I held on to third place by consistently staying in the top five finishers every week, save for the final two, where I placed sixth.

And so it goes, another season down.

The Spring season will be a long one, running 14 weeks, ending after the US Memorial Day weekend. That seems late, and puts the start of the Summer Blockbuster season out until the first week of June.

If I had been paying closer attention I could have changed the duration of the Spring season for the TAGN league.  However, now that the season has started, we’re stuck with 14 weeks.  No changing after a season goes live.

I am thinking about possibly changing the Summer season.  I could cut it up into two or three shorter seasons; maybe two six week seasons (or a six and a seven) or three four week seasons (or two fours and a five to line things up).  That would let people come and go on vacation without them messing up a whole season as well as stopping that inevitable second half drag where anybody who started off with a couple of bad weeks feels they are totally out of contention.

Anyway, feedback on that idea is welcome.

SuperData says Digital Sales Were Down in January

As we roll into the end of February, SuperData Research has their digital sales numbers for January, and the headline was that sales were down year over year, with the PC platform down 29% when compared to 2018.

I guess we got everything we wanted for Christmas this year.

Anyway, the chart is available.

SuperData Research Top 10 – January 2019

On the PC side, Fortnite fell from fourth to fifth spot, allowing the long standing top four to reunite.  League of Legends fell out of first place, something that started to happen last year, replaced in the top spot by Dungeon Fighter Online.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds remained behind rival Fortnite, though they are adjacent on this list now.

World of Warcraft, again tagged as “West,” remained in seventh position, one step ahead of World of Tanks, which regained the eighth slot from Sims 4, which fell to ninth.  And in tenth position, DOTA 2 returned to the list, replacing Hearthstone West.

On the console side, FIFA 19 jumped ahead of last month’s top duo, Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, while the venerable Grand Theft Auto V hauled itself up into forth position yet again.

And on the mobile end of the chart the top five remained unchanged from last month, shaking out as Honour of Kings, Pokemon Go, Fate/Grand Order, Candy Crush Saga, and Clash of Clans.

Nothing too exciting on any of the lists.  But next month’s charts should show the impact of two EA titles, Anthem and Apex Legends.  That pair ought to shake things up a bit.

Other items from the SuperData post:

  • Worldwide digital game spending declined on Console, PC and Mobile in January. Consumers spent $8.4 billion on digital games across all platforms in January, down 6% year-over-year. Premium PC had the biggest drop off of any platform with a 29% decline. Meanwhile, console revenue also decreased by 3% even including a favorable comparison from Fortnite due to tepid performance from top Premium Console franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, FIFA and Overwatch.
  • Fortnite dips month-over-month after a strong end to the year. Fortnite revenue on all platforms combined declined 48% month-over-month in January, although sales are still up significantly year-over-year. This comes after a peak month in December and points to an increasingly lumpy revenue profile heading into 2019.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Online (beta) fails to pick up momentum. RDR2 Online (beta) revenue fell by 14% month-over-month in January due in part to declining MAU levels. Combined sales from both RDR2 Online (beta) and GTA V Online, which makes about 5x more than RDR2 Online (beta) from in-game spending, were flat year-over-year versus GTA V Online alone last January. (Note that Red Dead Redemption 2 Online (beta) is still not fully launched, which may create an unfair comparison against full-fledged live service offerings such as Grand Theft Auto V Online.)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate unit sales decline sharply. We estimate that Super Smash Bros. digital units were down 83% from December, indicating that sales were more front-loaded than usual, as well as closely linked to Switch hardware purchases during the holiday season. In-game spending increased month-over-month as more players purchased the Fighter Pass.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s high engagement levels aren’t translating into revenue gains. CS:GO MAU grew 8% year-over-year in January after benefiting from the switch to a free-to-play model in November. However, digital revenue fell considerably compared to last January as new users showed lower conversion for in-game spending.

Daybreak Updates Its Norrath Anniversary Progression Server Plans

As I have no doubt mentioned a few times already, and will likely mention again before we’re there, this coming March 16th is the 20th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest.  This is a big deal for me, having been there for the launch, and for Daybreak, as this is the oldest title in their catalog and the foundation of the company that was once Sony Online Entertainment.

So naturally enough Daybreak has some special things planned for Saturday, March 16th, including the launch of four different special servers.  Two are focused on the original EverQuest while the other two are in EverQuest II.

That we’re getting two EverQuest II servers seems a bit odd to me, as that title has its fifteenth anniversary coming up in November of this year.  But maybe they just want to get in on their ancestor’s glory moment.  We’ve already heard that EverQuest II is getting an expansion this year, so maybe that will the the focal point of its 15th anniversary.

Anyway, the official rules for these four servers seem to be set, so let me review what we have here.

The rules for the two EverQuest progression servers were announced a couple weeks back and met with some push back from the players.  Daybreak said they would take this under consideration and came back on Friday with an update heralded on Twitter with this message:

Hail, Norrathians! We heard your feedback, and have made changes to the upcoming Selo and Mangler Progression Servers so that you can get excited about finding a new home in Norrath on March 16th.

So what did they change?

Selo – Ultra Casual becomes Fast

The Selo server was probably the most controversial because Daybreak said in advance it would be “Ultra Casual” and then didn’t define what that meant.  As one might expect, that let everybody interested in the idea set their own mental expectations, so when the rules for the server came out they seemed for many to be at odds with their personal view of the situation.  The Selo server was going to start three expansions in, be true box, unlock an expansion every month, and offer faster experience gains than other progression servers, but still slower than live servers.

Beware of an old game in a hurry

Reading the forums, that seemed ideal for the hardcore raiders, who as a group are always antsy for the next raid unlock, but not exactly casual.  Meanwhile, if you read any of the forum posts on this topic, what constitutes casual is a pretty wide topic.  I personally expected mercenaries or multi-boxing to be allowed and probably experience at the level of a live server.  Others were calling for slower progress, or less experience, or whatever their hearts told them.

Anyway, Daybreak fixed all of this by changing the description of the server from “Ultra Casual” to “Fast Progression.”

Seriously, looking at the FAQ for the Selo server, nothing else has changed.  Given that, I would claim that the message I quoted above was pretty much a lie when it comes to the Selo server.  I’m not saying there was a right answer for everybody who was complaining, but this looked like no answer at all.

Mangler – Plain old Progression Server

Mangler was supposed to be the hardcore server.  Again, what constitutes hardcore is up for debate.  Some people want slower progression, others want to wear the hair shirt and have slow exp.

Hair of the dog

As with the Selo server, Mangler was supposed to start with the Shadows of Luclin expansion, but move more slowly with a much more oppressive experience curve.

In the update, Daybreak has relented and will start a progression server on the 20th anniversary of the classic launch at classic content.  That seems fitting.  But with that, they decided it will be standard progression server, with 12 week unlocks until the Gates of Discord expansion and 8 week unlocks there after for any expansion without a level cap increase.

There is a FAQ up for Mangler, but if you’re familiar with any of the last few progression servers, you won’t find anything new.

Nagafen – Another Shot at PvP

On the EverQuest II front, the previous big news was Daybreak trying to revive PvP with the Nagafen server.  PvP servers have tended to be self consuming for EverQuest II, with the population dying off, followed by players complaining in the forums, then SOE making changes which have tended to only to make things worse.  But they’re willing to give it another try, so if you’re willing to subscribe to all access, you can have a PvP server to play on.

Nagafen’s all consuming fire

The server will be free-for-all PvP and will only allow you to make a single character per account.  You can kill anybody from any faction, with the only safe areas being Qeynos and Freeport.

The newbie starter areas will only allow you to attack people +/- 4 levels from your own, while in the open world you will be restricted to +/- 8 levels, save for the level 40+ zones, where there will be no restrictions at all.

The Nagafen server FAQ covers the plans for seasons, itemization, and expansion unlocks.

Kaladim – A New Gimmick

Finally, there is the Kaladim time locked progression server.  I think there is a message in the fact that Daybreak thinks they can launch a plain vanilla progression server for EverQuest, but for EverQuest II they need something to spice it up.  Not that I am against a gimmick.  I like me a new gimmick now and again.  But it seems odd that Kaladim needs one while Mangler does not.

Kaladim is a dwarf place, so a dwarf

When it comes to the Kaladim server the twist is that you will be able to earn account-wide rewards for completing heritage quests and special account-wide titles for collection quests.

In addition, you will be able to go to the old starter home areas.  This is something of a mixed blessing to my mind.  On the one hand, it will be nice to see old areas of the game that have since been removed.  On the other hand, few things were as disappointing as the racial ghettos of the two starting cities when EverQuest had a unique hometown for every race.  While I missed the old Isle of Refuge starting area, my memories of Greystone yard in Qeynos are mixed at best.  Barbarians and dwarves started there, and little about the place reflected either race.

Also, I had never heard anybody refer to these areas as “hoods” until the Kaladim announcement.  When I saw the word “hoods” I literally thought there was going to be some new cosmetic head gear.   But I guess they cannot call them ghettos, the way I do.  I am certainly using that word in the pejorative sense.  And they aren’t home towns, but places where they are sorting our refugees from the great cataclysm.  No wonder I have little affinity for them.

Anyway, as with the previous three servers, there is a FAQ for Kaladim that goes into more detail.

Which to Choose?

So that is four new servers, all launching in March 16th in celebration of the EverQuest 20th anniversary.

Honestly, I am not enthusiastic about any of them.

If I was part of a group that was keen to visit any of them, I would probably go along.  But for just me, there isn’t much of a call for any of these four.  In this they are unlike the LOTRO Legendary server, where I knew that I could at least progress through and see all the sites on my own.

So where does that leave my plans for the 20th anniversary?

I think I might just stick with the Vox server, where I am already through the tutorial and in the Plane of Knowledge with my cleric.  I am not sure if there will be anything special for him at his low level, but There will be banners and special NPCs to see if nothing else.

It also raises the likelihood that I will head off into Moria once SSG figures out when that will unlock on the Legendary server.  I don’t expect Daybreak to make any changes to the servers announced at this point, but we shall see.

Shall I Venture Forth into Moria?

The Lord of the Rings Online Legendary server has been a big success for me personally so far.

I went back, played through the Shadows of Angmar content, revisited old favorite places, and expanded my reach into things I  had not done in the past.  Op success.

Where legends are revisited

It wasn’t perfect.  I did most of the run solo.  Friends I had played with in the past were not interested in returning (having the lifetime subscription made returning easy for me, but I am not sure I would have gone if I had to pay) and I didn’t end up finding any sort of regular group.  I joined a Kinship, then never did anything with them.  I was moving too slow at first, so was behind the curve and not able to join in on instances with them.

And by the time I had caught up and was through with the epic quest line, I was feeling done with Shadows of Angmar.  Initial plans I had about alts and such faded after three months of focus on the game.  It was a “three monther” I guess.

But the Mines of Moria expansion is coming.  Standing Stone, in its usual indecisive, foot shuffling way, suggested in its recent producer’s letter that Moria will probably open up some time in March, that being the nearest of futures I suppose, all while avoiding making direct eye contact.

Given my general feeling of success when it came the run through Shadows of Angmar, I am seriously considering a return bout for the Mines of Moria.  But I am not sold on it yet, so I am going through the pros and cons of such a venture.

Pros

Refreshed – After a month away from LOTRO, I might be ready for a fresh expedition.

Moria itself – The place is huge and epic and really unlike any other MMORPG expansion that I can think of.  Has there ever been an expansion set almost completely underground?

New Discoveries – I’ve only been end-to-end through Moria and out into daylight on the other side once.  I am sure I missed something along the way.  I was getting antsy to get out towards the end there.

The Crowd – The one time I did make it through Moria I think Helms Deep was the current expansion, so I went through a very quiet version of the underground complex.  It might be nice to see it crowded with people.

Progress – It might be nice to move through the game with each unlock.  I own all the expansions, but really haven’t played much beyond Moria.

Lifetime – Hey, since I have a lifetime subscription, it won’t cost me anything extra.  I am already paid up.

Cons

Competition – March also sees the 20th anniversary of EverQuest hit, and when it comes to the nostalgia factor, EQ > LOTRO.  That does depend on what Daybreak has on tap, but there it is.

The Crowd – Honestly, there were a lot of people in Moria relative to how Tolkien described it.  The dwarves moved in pretty damn fast behind the fellowship, especially considering there was a war on.  What will it be like in that constrained space with tons of players milling about?

Moria itself – As majestic and wonderful and large and well appointed as Moria can be, it is still a goddam cave, and we don’t call somebody a “caveman” as a compliment.  In my one run through it I wanted to get to the end in part because I wanted to get outside under the sky again.  Ten levels in Moria made me miss the usual bear/boar/wolf tropes of Shadows of Angmar.

Eregion and Lothlorien – There is a bell curve of interest when it comes to the Mines of Moria expansion.  Eregion on the near side is nothing special, and Lothlorien on the far side is uninspired enough that I was tempted to go back into the cave after a bit of sunshine.

Legendary Weapons – Somebody will claim to like legendary weapons, but I am going with Stockholm syndrome when that comes up.  I hate legendary weapons and I wish Turbine had dropped the idea the moment we get out of the cave.  Having to constantly tend to the needy baby that is your legendary weapon is just unfun.  Identifying, advancing, reforging, adorning with gems and runes and whatever else, all of which requires you to go back to camp, is an endless chore.  And don’t get me started on all of the legendary weapons that drop that you cannot use, since they are class specific.  Just what I need, more inventory issues and something else I need to bring back to camp to deconstruct.

Progress to What? – The problem with getting past Lothlorien is that it just leads into Mirkwood, which lives up to its reputation from The Hobbit.  It is a dark and boring place… literally darker than Moria in my memory.

Conclusion

I am undecided.  My enthusiasm is at war with my pessimism.  I left Eregion alone once I had finished the epic quest tasks there and had done enough quests to unlock the first stable master.  And much of the zone is skippable if I recall right.  You just have to get on the right path to get into Moria and then into the hole.

I will likely start off down the Moria path.  Whether or not I end up persisting probably depends as much on other options as anything.  As I said, the EverQuest 20th anniversary has a possibility of providing a viable and even more nostalgic alternative.  Then there are some friends who are talking about giving Path of Exile a run when the next season of it commences.  And there is always WoW.  It is easy to slip into playing that.  I guess we will see by the end of the month where I fall on this.

Burn Jita 2019 Kicks Off

Is downtime over yet?  If so, then Burn Jita 2019 is live.

Will CCP warn people with their shiny new launcher?

I warned you a couple of weeks back that the event was on its way.  Well, today is the day.

If you want to see freighters exploding, it is a good time to hang around the gates in Jita.  Watch for a swarm of Coercer destroyers either landing nearby or passing through a gate to hit something on the other side.

Coercers undocking for their next run

You can follow them to see the pretty explosions, and even shoot them if you like.  Free killmails if you get a blow in before CONCORD finishes them off.

Coercers going up en masse… might as well shoot them

But the big explosions will come from the many freighters and jump freighters that will be blowing up.

Lasers on the Providence

Just be sure you don’t hit the target by mistake.  Then CONCORD will be after you too.

It will be a good weekend for space tourists, the explosion curious, and those looking to pad their killmail count.

If you’re hauling goods in a freighter though… it might be a good weekend to take off.