Monthly Archives: December 2019

The Steam Winter Sale Kicks Off for 2019

With the turning of the seasons comes a sale at Steam.  There is one for spring, summer, and autumn.  But the winter or holiday or whatever sale, that is the original big sale, the one that used to spark excitement and a frenzy of buying titles you never ended up playing.

Back for 2019

No doubt if you have a wish list on Steam you have an email in your inbox this morning telling you that a good portion of it is currently available at a discount.

There is also the usual Steam event with things to do to earn badges and such.  One of the day one actions was to put some items on your wish list, Steam no doubt still stinging from the summer sale when they managed to get people to purge their wish lists, to the chagrin of many an indie dev.

It is also time for the Steam awards voting.  The nominations were last month and now users get to pick from the most nominated titles.  As a crusty old MMORPG player who rarely plays the latest and greatest titles, I haven’t touched many of the nominated titles.  I think I own two of them.  But, like the general public on election day, ignorance never stopped me from voting.  Only laziness can do that, and I am not that lazy yet.

Anyway, it is here.  Time to shop… or browse… or earn a badge or two… or maybe log in and see if your account is still there or look at your game list for some sort of “games of the decade” post.

Putting a Man on the Moon

Tuesday was launch day and I was ready.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

I thought, having leveled a character up to 110 and pre-ordered the expansion, that I might be able to visit Luclin and play in the new content on launch day.

More the fool I, for this is EverQuest II, the only MMORPG that can hold a candle to EVE Online when it comes obscuring content and needing to do half a dozen things before you can actually get to the thing you set out to do.

So one does not simply walk to the moon.

Blood of Luclin was up and ready to go by the time I got home from work.  I let it patch up a bit while I did some tasks about the house… Tuesday is garbage night… before logging in to see what was new.

And there wasn’t anything waiting for me.

Often there is something in the mail or a summons or a quest that just pops up that lets you know where that new content you paid real world money for actually exists.  But this time it was quiet.  I was beginning to feel like I had bought real estate on the moon.

But Bhagpuss had mentioned something about having to do a quest that had been part of the pre-launch events in order to gain access to the new content.  Fortunately people were already on the job and there was already a Blood of Luclin timeline entry on the main EQII wiki, which lists out much of what you need to do for the expansion.

And right at the top it says that you must have completed the “Light Amongst Shadows: Spires of Mythic Passage” quest to get started. (Since then another quest that unlocks access, “Piercing the Darkness: Chasing Moonbeams,” was added to the wiki, but it wasn’t there when I kicked this off.)

Great! Super! If I have a concrete destination I can formulate a plan.  And that quest looked hilariously simple.  But, of course, that quest had a its own prerequisites.  I would have to go speak to The Duality, with whom I had spoken before on a past merry quest chase.  I had even been given an item that would take me to him at some past point.

A teleport key

That key would teleport me to him, and was probably the intro to the expansion that showed up and was dismissed by me at the time because I was busy running down one language or another.

Anyway, off to The Duality to get the briefing and be on my way.

The Duality speaks of Luclin

From there it was off to the Jarsath Wastes, which only sounds like a Star Wars location, to speak to another guy, who happened to be right there on the docks where I arrived.

Brind, tell me where to go

Brind sent me off to an instance on the other side of the zone, the entrance to which was helpfully marked by a guild marker, no doubt to help guide members who, like myself, had ignored what turned out to be a very important prerequisite quest.

My familiar and my pet get in for a group shot with the flag… Jeff always smiles for the camera

I was into the instance, at which point things slowed way down.  It was going to be one of those instances.

I was going to have to fight my way through a series of level 114 to level 117 heroic and heroic boss encounters, and it was going to go slow.  I was in a similar situation back in the Plane of Magic.

I had since upgraded all my gear, added all the various stat boosting pets, familiars, and mounts I could, unlocked ascension levels, and boosted the skills I could afford to in order to get past that sort of thing.  But now I was on the far side of two expansions since then, and what was fine in the Plane of Magic was clearly below par in the prelude to Blood of Luclin.

Daybreak gives you some help.  You get a special boost when you enter the instance, but it seems to boost using yous stats as its baseline, so if you stats suck, your experience may not be ideal.  But if I was going to get to Luclin I figured I had better start in on things.

Who wants some of this?

The trash mob groups were not horrible.  The 114 groups took a few minutes, but so do some of my big hit geomancer ascension attacks, so those were almost in sync.  I’d tear down most of the trash group leader with those attacks, then clean up the rest of the mob, rest a moment, then start on the next group.

I do sometimes wonder if I am fighting correctly.  My form is based on what I learned back in 2004, which meant running heroic opportunities as often as possible for big adds to damage and the occasional buff.  I am not sure if those are really worth the effort now, but I play the way I learned.

Fighting a big amphibian guy

The higher level trash came solo rather than in groups, which tended to make them easier to deal with.  They still took a while, but I could keep my damage focused on single target attacks.

The bosses are where things got bad.  As a rule, I was never in any danger of dying so long as I was paying attention.  My mercenary sat back and kept me healed and buffed and had plenty of mana… erm, power… it is power in EQII… in reserve.  It was my ability to slay things that was the problem.

In a boss fight

Bosses, even bosses at the same level as the trash, are always a step up in difficulty and often have their own special mechanics, including my least favorite, the power drain.

Straight melee damage in EQII is shit.  They don’t give you a couple of dozen different melee attacks because they want you to go all old school EQ and just swing your sword every 2.3 second.  Those special attacks are what makes things dead.

And most of them depend on you having something left in your power bar.

Thanks to monumental stat inflation, even with my below par setup, I can chain attacks for days without ever worrying about that power bar depleting.

So, naturally, one of the common boss abilities is to drain your power, slurping down that blue power bar of yours until it runs dry.  And then you are stuck with the could of abilities which don’t require power and your base level melee, at which point fights can stretch out.

I was three hours into this instance before the last objective was in sight.  Most of that time had been spent in boss fights.  Some mechanics, like healing assistants, were easy enough to deal with.  And with my own endless healing merc, getting a boss that summoned help were no big deal.  But a few of them would drain my power and then it was a slog.  I clocked one at 40 minutes to finish off.

I had learned about this power drain thing in the Plane of Magic and had bought 75 vials of power regen.  Those were good for bringing back about 20% of your power, one bubble, but there is a delay between reuse and, of course, the boss can just drain even that little bit down again leaving you back where you started.

(An odd aside: It is interesting that health and mana potions have always been a thing in WoW, no doubt the Diablo series influence, but were really never a big deal in EQII except in special circumstances.  I don’t think I ever used on in EQII during its first decade.)

There is also an odd mechanic that faces you away from mobs, which effectively removes any melee attack which requires you to be looking at the mob.

My merc isn’t just mooning the mob

Add in the boss attacks that prevent you from attacking and if can be a long and frustrating experience.  You can imagine the joy of popping off one of your precious power potions only to find you ability to attack the boss turned off and having your power then drained away before you get to use it.

Eventually though I made it to the final objective, a stone I had to pick up.  In a moment of hope I realized I could skirt around the edge of the platform, bypassing all the mobs, to get to the stone.

The stone is right there

However, when you try to take it you are told it is being guarded.  Basically, you need to kill the bads before you can have it.  And the last boss was a big one with two helpers.

That is an encounter and a half

At level 117 to my level 110, this seemed likely to be another long fight.

I took this screen shot later, during the fight

It was way past my usual bet time and I was certain I did not have possibly another hour left in me to deal with this.  I seemed to remember that you could camp out in an instance like this and come back later.  Tired and done for the night, I figured I would risk it.

And it turned out I remembered correctly.  Wednesday evening after work I was able to log back in… though there was a moment of panic when the game froze as it was loading, but that turned out to be an EQ2 Maps problem.  I had run the updater to grab new maps and it downloaded the broken version.  But there was a fix for that.  Once in place I was back in where I left off.

It was off to the races and, as I expected, this final boss had the power drain mechanic, so I after a while I was down to popping a potion every once in a while in the hope that I could get some hits in.  At one point the doorbell rang as a package was being delivered.  I figured it was safe enough to just sit there and melee and took my time getting back to my desk, only to find that my merc had somehow pulled aggro and had gotten all of his power drained.  I pulled the boss back to me, hoping that my merc would regen enough power to keep me alive… but just as the merc got power I went down.

Would you like to buy a combat ress?

I figured I would blow the 89 coins for the instant ress as the boss was two thirds down at that point and both the helpers had been slain.  However, while I was down the boss had drained my merc’s power once again, so my revive did not last too long and I was soon dead again.  Then it was back to the start of the instance.

Fortunately they don’t believe in respawns at Daybreak.  But the whole encounter reset, which meant taking the boss and both helpers once again.  There was nothing else for it but to get stuck in a second time.

The second round went a bit better.  The boss seemed to focus on removing any debuffs I put on it before draining my power, so I tried to keep those going.  It helped some, but I was soon back to potions, and my supply was diminishing.  I was down to a dozen before the right was over.

The final boss looks a bit like Larry Storch from this angle…

It was still a slog, and added together both fights ran over an hour.

I don’t want to seem like I am complaining about this not being easy.  It is more a matter of it being long and frustrating.  In a lot of those boss fights I would have gladly doubled the bosses hit points if I could have spent less time standing around unable to do anything.  There were a few fights, like this final one, where being unable to act, essentially losing control over your character, made up much of the encounter, and I just don’t find that fun.

But I won in the end.  The boss went down, I collected the magic dingus, and was able to get out and back to The Duality to carry on with what was the easy part.  I basically met with him in his instance, then again at a set of the travel spires, where like the cable guy, he hooked me up by adding the Luclin channel to my lineup.

Waiting for him to get me connected

Now whenever I go to the spires, I get the option to go to the moon.

Luclin on the map

And it was a crowded moon, as there were two instances of it running.  I chose the second instance and went through.  One small step for me and all that.

Once I turned in the quest though I jumped from level 110 to 113.  That seemed odd.  I mean, if you’re going to add ten levels to the game it feels like a bit of a waste to give away three the moment you show up.  Trust me to complain about everything I guess.  I won’t give the level back now that I have them.  And I have to check if I have to go through this with every character or if I have unlocked spire access to Luclin account wide.

But for now Sigwerd was on Luclin at last.  I made it to the moon.  A strange new landscape awaits me.

Well, not so strange when compared to some of Norrath

My experience getting to the moon was different from some others.

  • Inventory Full – Bhagpuss had done the quest so went straight there
  • GamingSF – Telwyn starts on the other path to Luclin

 

EverQuest gets Expansion 26 – Torment of Velious

Every year we get to the point where Daybreak launches a new EverQuest expansion and I think back to a post I wrote in 2007 where I was guessing that they would get to the 10th anniversary, launch a final big expansion, and let the title fade away.  I mean, they were climbing down off of their “two expansions a year” plan.  That was surely the beginning of the end, right?

And now it is 2019, we were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the game earlier this year, and today Daybreak is launching Torment of Velious, the twenty-sixth expansion for the game.

How crazy is that?

Coming later this year

But it has been a crazy year.  A 2006 version of World of Warcraft, traveling under the guise of WoW Classic, might be the most popular MMO title in the west this year.  Remasters of old titles are becoming more common.  And Holly Longdale says that EverQuest player population has been on the rise since 2015, largely due to their progression server operations.

Nostalgia sells.

So if you go back to that 2007 post of mine, you can credit Michael Zenke in the first comment for correctly prognosticating that EverQuest would keep going for a long time despite his own previous misgivings.

Given that, nostalgia piled on top of nostalgia, with a return to yet another old Norrath location, seems like a good plan.  And so it is that the game will go back to Velious.

The hook for the expansion goes as follows:

The lands and denizens of the continent of Velious are suffering. The icy landscape has seemingly come to life and is flowing oddly upward toward the sky. This restless ice is infecting and animating the inhabitants it touches, turning them into zombie-like beings with a strange icy infection that appears alive in its own way – moving and shifting over their bodies. What has caused this strange turn? And what could it mean? All adventurers are called upon to unravel the chilling mysteries that are the Torment of Velious.

As if living in Velious wasn’t torment enough.  The expansion has what sounds like some of the usual expansion things, with more levels, more zones, more quests, and so on.

  • Level Increase to 115 [from 110] – Take your character to all new heights with our new level cap!
  • 6 Expansion Zones – Uncover the mysteries in new zones on the continent of Velious. A new threat faces all and many creatures that have been familiar to Norrathians have been strangely transformed by living ice.
  • New Raids, Quests, and Missions
  • New Spells, Combat Abilities, and AAs
  • New Collections

That may be a bit samey, but I assume that is what people are willing to pay for, so you might as well give the fans what they want.  So here it is!

Congratulations to the Norrath team at Daybreak. They’ve kept going for more than 20 years.

Addendum: There is even a trailer for the expansion.

 

 

WoW Classic Gets Paid Character Transfers

As part of the patch last week, which was primarily about battlegrounds and key rings, there was a mention that support for paid character transfers had been added to the WoW Classic client but had not yet been enabled.

Well, now that has been enabled.

Classic is as classic does

With Tuesday’s update the interface has been unlocked that allows players to pay to move their characters to different realms, at least within a given set of rules.  The announcement said the following:

Paid Character Transfers are now available for players in WoW Classic who are looking to relocate their characters to a different realm within their region. There are a few things to keep in mind before you take the leap into making a home on a new realm.

  • Each transfer has a ninety-day cooldown.

  • Gold transfer limits specific level ranges are as follows:

    • Level 1-30 can transfer with up to 100 gold
    • Level 31-50 can transfer with up to 500 gold
    • Level 51-60 can transfer with up to 2000 gold
  • Characters cannot transfer from PvE realms to PvP Realms and RP realms cannot transfer to RP-PvP realms.

You cannot go from PvE to PvP, which I believe has been a long standing rule for character transfers, and you cannot transfer across regions, but otherwise you’re free to go where you want.  Is it time to abandon that PvP server?

The gold cap limit is both sad and amusing.  I have four characters past 30 and all told they don’t have 100 gold between them.  I’m going to be walking in Azeroth for a long time.

Reactions to this have been… mixed. The only real surprise for me was that nobody called it a “money grab” until the third comment on the announcement.  The move will certainly rankle as the addition of honor to PvP has made life miserable for some on PvP servers and the free character moves were all shut down on December 5 in the US and December 6 in the EU.

Anyway, there is now a shop button on the character selection screen where you can access this.  Of course, once you put together a cash shop UI it is a shame to waste it on just character transfers.  Bets on what goes in there next?

Blood of Luclin Expansion Arrives for EverQuest II

Daybreak has released its 16th EverQuest II expansion, Blood of Luclin.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

There was a little bit of nervousness about whether or not we might see the expansion today, despite it being the announced date, due to Daybreak being uncharacteristically quiet about the expansion on social media as the release approached.  Also, something about adornments popping off and orange ones not working.

But Daybreak appears to have gotten past that and has announced that the expansion is going live today and that players will be off to Luclin, one of Norrath’s moons. The servers appear to be up and ready to go now.  The expansion promo reads:

We will not wait for the shissar — that insidious race of snake people — to begin their invasion of Norrath! We, Norrath’s proven adventurers and artisans, will travel to the moon of Luclin to implore the moon-goddess herself to join us in stopping the shissar. If we all should fail, the shissar forces will slither across Luclin and arrive on our own doorsteps. Scouts to Luclin found the moon is not as easy to traverse as it might have once been and a great many threats await us. But nothing will stand in our way! Norrath unite!

Straight to the moon!  Also, I feel like “shissar” should be capitalized… and I am giggling a bit because Sunday’s Rick and Morty was also about a planet of sentient snakes.  Hell of a tie-in.

Features of the expansion include:

  • Level Increase to 120 – Take your character to all new heights with ten new Adventure and Tradeskill levels!
  • Experience new Mission, Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests as you explore the mysteries of Luclin and confront new and legendary lunar creatures.
  • Overseer Feature – Recruit and send agents to do your bidding and earn rewards!
  • Conquer all new Solo, Heroic, and Raid content, including new challenge modes, and contested Raid fights!
  • Reach for the stars with 10 levels of new Spells and Combat Abilities.
  • Expand your knowledge with new Achievements, Collections, and more.

Most of that seems to be in the “we get this every expansion” category, but the Overseer feature is something altogether new.  I am not clear yet as to what it will add up to, but we shall see.  There are patch notes up in the forums about the release which, among other things, include this gem:

Corrected location where players were becoming stuck in a crevasse.

You need no longer beware the crevasse.

This expansion is somewhat special for me as it marks the first time since Desert of Flames that I have a character leveled up and ready to go into the new content.  So I will be bumbling my way into the expansion this evening and trying to figure out what is going on… and probably something about adornments.  Expect further updates.

Addendum: And there did end up being a trailer for the expansion.

 

The November MER and the Surge in Outer Passage

The EVE Online monthly economic report is out for November so it is time to see if New Eden has settled down to a new “normal” now that the company seems to have finished with the “Chaos Era” and has laid off null sec nerfs for now.

The target for CCP for much of the year has been NPC bounty proliferation, so I we had best start there one more time.

November 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

NPC bounties appear to have settled at a new plateau that is a bit below where things had settled before the Chaos Era over the summer.  Chaos, with the Blackout, saw a very steep drop, but that recovered once local chat returned, with the cyno changes having a fairly small impact overall.  Blackout aside, the changes that CCP did between February and June appear to have had the biggest impact on NPC bounties.  The overall monthly numbers for 2019 so far:

  • January – 83.8 trillion
  • February – 69.8 trillion
  • March – 71.4 trillion
  • April – 57.2 trillion
  • May – 55.5 trillion
  • June – 48.2 trillion
  • July – 29.1 trillion
  • August – 21.1 trillion
  • September – 20.6 trillion
  • October – 41.5 trillion
  • November – 44.8 trillion

The surprise this month was which region ended up at the top of the list for NPC bounties.  The top ten regions for November were:

  1. Outer Passage – 6.30 Trillion
  2. Delve – 4.86 Trillion
  3. Branch – 2.95 Trillion
  4. Deklein – 2.91 Trillion
  5. Cobalt Edge – 2.51 Trillion
  6. Esoteria – 2.40 Trillion
  7. Fountain – 2.04 Trillion
  8. Tenerifis – 1.95 Trillion
  9. Omist – 1.50 Trillion
  10. Malpais – 1.35 Trillion

Delve, last month’s top of the list, was up a bit, having done 4.7 trillion ISK in October, but Outer Passage, went from third to first, jumping from 3.7 to 6.3 trillion ISK in bounties.

Who lives in Outer Passage?  Right now Circle of Hell owns most of the systems in the region, but Fraternity, evicted from the south, along with allies Blades of Grass and Lord of Worlds have moved into the south end of the region, and they have every reason to want to build up a fresh war chest now that they are being sheltered by PanFam and NCDot.

On the mining front things were more in line with the usual expectations, which is to say that Delve was at the forefront.

November 2019 – Mining value by region

The top ten region list for mining value in November was:

  1. Delve – 4.55 Trillion
  2. Esoteria – 2.43 Trillion
  3. Outer Passage – 2.00 Trillion
  4. Querious – 1.39 Trillion
  5. Domain – 1.14 Trillion
  6. The Forge – 993 Billion
  7. Malpais – 953 Billion
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 910 Billion
  9. Feythabolis – 781 Billion
  10. Sinq Laison – 737 Billion

Compare that to the October top ten list:

  1. Delve – 3.7 trillion
  2. Esoteria – 2.2 trillion
  3. Querious – 1.19 trillion
  4. Domain – 1.19 trillion
  5. Fountain – 1.16
  6. The Forge – 1.1 trillion
  7. Malpais – 900 billion
  8. Lonetrek – 805 billion
  9. Cobalt Edge – 801 billion
  10. Metropolis – 795 billion

While Delve remained at the top, as with NPC bounties, Outer Passage again vaulted up the list, landing in third spot.  There is definitely some economic binging going on there.

Meanwhile high sec remained a viable mining location.  Overall, the amount of ore mined must have gone up fairly steeply, as not only are the numbers up for many regions, the price of minerals was down again for November, so the value or ore mined was less.

November 2019 – Economic Indices

While mineral prices are at a low point for recent history, the long term price indices shows that prices still remain above the all time low the New Eden economy saw back in 2010.

November 2019 – Economic Indices – Full History

The 2010 low point was related to the fact that, at the time, the drone regions in eastern null sec did not have NPC bounties.  Instead, the drone NPCs there, from which the area derives its name, used to drop minerals.  As such, to cash out of ratting there required hauling minerals to market in places like Jita.

As usual, you can find all the charts and the raw data available to download on the dev blog page for this MER.

Related economic posts:

Frostfell and the Feast of Winter Veil

The tip off was the lights hung outside the bank in Stormwind.  Those hadn’t been there on Saturday when I passed through town, but when I made it back on Sunday afternoon there they were.

The bank gets some holiday decor… too late for Diwali, so must be Winter Veil

Inside the bank there was even a decorated tree, reminding me very much of how banks used to decorate for the holidays back in the day.

Prominently yet awkwardly positioned

What with the alleged “War on Winter Veil” you don’t see such sites as often these days.  But here in WoW Classic the Feast of Winter Veil was upon us.

As a group we had been wondering when it would show up.  Other games I pay attention to had already gotten on board with the holidays, with EVE Online kicking off their Naughty or Nice event and EverQuest II launching into its annual Frostfell celebration.

One thing was that I couldn’t really recall how big Winter Veil was in the 2006 era.  We all knew enough to sock away a couple stacks of eggs for the annual auction house festival of price gouging when people need five of them to make cookies for Santa.  (Too many people remembered that, so you could barely clear 6 silver an egg, though that is still a hell of a markup.)  But as an overall event it didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as Frostfell did.

Over in EverQuest II Frostfell has always been a pretty big deal, and it has continued to grow in waves of dev enthusiasm over the years, interspersed with times of neglect.  There is essentially a whole zone set aside and decorated for the event.

Behold Frostfell Village

Yes, that is just the bay at one end of the Everfrost zone repurposed, with the water frozen over and the islands all decorated, with other additions added over the last 15 years or so.

The EQII zone methodology, which I criticize for not making Norrath feel like a world, lends itself to this sort of thing, allowing them to carve out a temporary seasonal zone, which has spawned its own series of related instances.

It was impressive back in the day when my daughter was little and seeing a red nosed reindeer flying around got her quite excited.  I have spent quite a bit of time over the years in this area, running the quests, collecting snow globes for housing decor, and whatever else has been going on.  The wiki page for Frostfell runs pretty long.

Snow Globe collecting over a decade back

There are hints of Christmas that people will recognize.

Santa’s sleigh flies about the zone

Though there are other aspects that might diverge from expectations.

May I introduce Santa Glug. He has daily presents.

Anyway, as noted, it is quite a production, and one that has been built upon over the years, which I have indulged in off and on.  Some of my characters wear winter hats from Frostfell year around.

Paladin in gold topped off with a blue Frostfell hat

And Daybreak pushes the event in game.  It is difficult to miss the setup, the collection items glowing on the ground around the home cities, and even if you bypass that they send all of your characters a note in the mail to remind you that the season is upon us.  I always find those still in my mail box when I log in some long neglected character in the spring or summer.

In WoW Classic things are a bit more subtle.  No notifications and some decorations up around some parts of town.  But I remembered enough to go to Ironforge where I knew the main event would be. (Though if I had looked a bit harder I would have found the quest in Stormwind that would have directed me there.)

Outside the bank in Ironforge

My memories from the vanilla era are pretty vague.  As noted, I recall the milk and cookies for Great-Father Winter, as Santa is known in Azeroth.

Great-Father Winter is a dwarf here… only his helpers are goblins

As it turns out, there is a bit more to it than my memories of the time can bring up.  The WoW Head page for the season shows a range of quests as well.  There are a few easy ones that send you around Ironforge.

The dwarves have their own big tree in the back

There are also a few bigger quests that send you out into the world.  We will have to see how doable some of those are for the group, which is hovering about in the low 30s when it comes to levels.  But the season is upon us and, like so much else in WoW Classic, I am probably taking a closer look at it now than I did back in the day when this was all fresh and new.

PlanetSide Arena to Shut Down

Didn’t I just mention the possibility of a late Friday press release from Daybreak in my predictions post?  Well, here it is, though it doesn’t have any impact on my scoring because I had already heavily discounted PlanetSide Arena.

Even as the company was celebrating the 7th anniversary of PlanetSide 2 last month, things looked grim for the only “new” game from Daybreak, the battle royale title set in the PlanetSide franchise.  The bubble finally burst Friday afternoon with this announcement from the development team, which popped up on Twitter at 3pm Pacific time..

Hello Everyone,

After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down PlanetSide Arena servers.

While our team set out with an ambitious vision for a game that combined the massive-scale combat and camaraderie of PlanetSide through a diverse collection of new game modes, it has become clear after several months in Early Access that our population levels make it impossible to sustain the gameplay experience we envisioned.

As a result, PlanetSide Arena will formally shut down servers on January 10th, 2020 at 5:00 PM (PST). We are actively working with Steam to ensure that all players who made purchases during Early Access will automatically receive a full refund to their Steam Wallet after servers shut down in January.

Thank you again for your loyalty and support during Beta and Early Access. Your feedback was invaluable, and your enduring passion for PlanetSide remains the bedrock our community is built upon. As painful as it is to close this chapter so quickly, we remain deeply committed to this franchise, and look forward to continuing this journey through the PlanetSide Universe with all of you.

Andy Sites
Executive Producer, PlanetSide Franchise

—-

F.A.Q.

How long can I continue to play PlanetSide Arena?

PlanetSide Arena will remain available for play until Friday, January 10, 2020 at 5:00 PM PST, after which point all game servers will be shut down.

Can I still purchase DLC (Legendary or Recruit Edition) or Virtual Currency (Battle Coins) from the Steam store page?

No, as of today we have removed all DLC and hard currency purchase options from Steam. You can still use any virtual currency you have in your account (Battle Coins and Certs you earned through gameplay) until servers shut down on January 10, 2020.

How do I find out if I’m eligible for a Steam refund?

All players who made in-game purchases of DLC or virtual currency will automatically receive a refund to their Steam wallet shortly after servers shut down on January 10, 2020. You will retain access to the items you previously purchased until that date. For more details regarding Steam refund eligibility, please visit this link.

I have a further concern and want to contact Customer Service. How do I do that?

Our Customer Service is available to address all your questions and concerns.  Please contact help.daybreakgames.com for all matters pertaining to all of our games, including PlanetSide Arena.

Will I still be able to play PlanetSide Arena in any fashion after the servers go offline?

No, once servers go offline on January 10, 2020, PlanetSide Arena will not be playable in any way.

And so it goes.  The title, announced almost exactly a year ago, delayed in launch, and rather soundly rejected by the PlanetSide community when it finally hit early access in September, will be shutting down for good in the new year.  All money spent on the game will be refunded, which may earn the company a little goodwill.

There is no word on what impact this might have on the PlanetSide 3 plans at Daybreak, though the layoffs that hit the company this fall were reported to have targeted the PlanetSide team.  The company had announced back in October that PlanetSide Arena was a stepping stone project towards a that goal.

The game history as I recorded it here:

Other coverage:

Reviewing my 2019 Predictions

The wheel keeps turning and we have arrived back in December again, which means getting back to stuff I said in January.  I predicted some crazy stuff then, much of which is just embarrassing in hindsight.  But hindsight is an exact science, while the future can be an impenetrable fog on a cold January morning.

While there are still a couple weeks left in the year my general rule is that if it hasn’t happened by December 15th it isn’t going to happen.  So barring a 4pm press release from Daybreak later on today I think I am safe calling it now.

This is a regular feature and, as such, you can go back and review how it has gone before… if you have that much free time.

But if you do not want to dwell on the past… then why are you here, that is my favorite thing… we can get right down to this year’s prediction scoring.  As usual, unless otherwise noted, predictions are worth 10 points each, with partial credit available.  So off we go!

1 – Early Classic Date

WoW Classic will launch on May 28, 2019.  As is the standard for this sort of guess at a date, I knock off 2 points for every week I am off.  That is about as concrete and clearly defined as a prediction can possibly be.  The early date will be to coincide with the end of the six month subscriptions that Blizz sold back in the fall as Battle for Azeroth isn’t holding people otherwise.

I was way off on this.  Blizz being Blizz shipped WoW Classic later than I expected.  And Blizz just went with another six month subscription offer to get people to stick around in BfA0 points.

2 – Classic Rush

The WoW Classic launch will be 2004 all over again.  There confluence of nostalgia and the end of the Battle for Azeroth expansion will conspire to cause WoW Classic to overflow quickly.  There won’t be enough servers leading to long queues to get on to the servers available.  This will lead to new servers being spun up and the classic server split routine from back in the day.  Blizzard will publicly compare the day one WoW Classic crowds to how things went at the WoW launch in 2004.

I hit some points on this one.  Maybe not exactly like WoW in 2004, but queues and not enough servers and all that were clearly present.  I’m taking 5 points for this one.

3 – Classic Plans

By the time BlizzCon roles around… we’ll get to BlizzCon itself in a bit… there will be a panel, or at least a mention in the keynote, about WoW Classic and moving on from vanilla into some of the early expansions.  How to do an expansion like The Burning Crusade without necessarily progressing the vanilla servers will be a key point of contention, with transfers and boosts straight to level 60 being discussed.

Eh, not so much.  WoW Classic got a mention in the keynote for sure… I mean, duh… but otherwise all WoW focus was on ShadowlandsWoW Classic plans will be next BlizzCon for sure, but this year it is 0 points.

4 – Classic Acceleration

By September 1, 2019 the WoW Classic rush will be over.  As we have seen time and again, the initial pile-on to play on a nostalgia server peaks pretty quickly as players, familiar with the old game and reliving their experience, move much more quickly through the game than back in the day.  This will lead to complaints about dead servers and calls for server merges or free transfers.  This will be even worse if Blizz goes full purist mode and doesn’t use the sharding tech that allows more people to use a single zone/server.

This one is tough.  Certainly progress for a lot of people has been much faster than back in 2004.  I think the percent of the population at the level cap is probably much higher than it was at a similar point in WoW history.  And populations have tapered off some, as one would expect.  My indicator is how many auctions are up in the AH on Saturday.  Early it was in the 500s, now it is below 400.  But a lot of people are still playing and I haven’t seen a dead server complaint yet.  I still run into people in low level zones doing the same quests.  It feels kind of like 2006 WoW… which I guess is what it is.  The Blizz sharding stuff worked I guess.  But 0 points for me.

5 – Next WoW Live Expansion

The early launch of WoW Classic to cover the Battle for Azeroth collapse will mess with the Blizzard’s timing the way that Warlords of Draenor did.  Look for Blizz to cover their sagging Q2 2019 earnings by announcing the next expansion in August, just after Activision releases their quarterly earnings report.

Nope, they waited until BlizzCon to announce.  0 points.

6 – The Long BlizzCon

There will be a BlizzCon 2019 on November 8 and 9.  The main stage will be taken over by new titles as Blizzard announces no fewer that five projects.  Three of them will be mobile titles and an actual PC Diablo franchise game will be another.  However, a Diablo II remaster will go missing yet again.

Well, it was November 1 and 2, so I was off by a week.  And, counting Shadowlands and Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, there were… uh… one, two… two and a half new projects?  There was nothing about mobile mentioned.  But the Diablo II remaster went missing again.  I’m going to give myself 3 points.

7 – Full Steam Ahead

Expect Steam to stay strong despite Epic, Discord, and Amazon trying to undermine it with better deals for developers.  Steam can and will play that game while carrying on as the one stop shop for all games PC.  Devs won’t get as big of a cut on Steam, but the installed base and success stories will keep any but the biggest studios from cutting ties.

Pretty much.  Epic made waves by luring away titles that were offered for pre-order on Steam to become Epic Store exclusives, but that didn’t go 100% in their favor either.  There was some backlash.  Microsoft gave up and starting putting titles on Steam.  Even EA made a half-hearted compromise with Steam.  They will sell their titles there again, but you still need Origin installed to launch them.  10 points.

8 – All Things PlanetSlide

PlanetSide Arena will launch… or go into early access or whatever… as planned at the end of January.  It will sell some boxes and make Daybreak some quick money.  But it isn’t going to steal back the Battle Royale market for the company.  Before spring turns to summer it will be showing peak numbers on Steam down near the H1Z1 end of the spectrum, lagging far behind PUBG and nowhere close to whatever Fortnite will report on its own.

Well, I got the ship date wrong.  It was September, not February.  I should never believe Daybreak.  But as for the rest?  It didn’t grab any market and became something of a divisive point in the PlanetSide community who didn’t want a re-hash of Battle Royale.  It isn’t dead yet, but rumor has it that Daybreak laid off most of the staff working on it.  7 points.

9 – Sayonara Norrath

I am going to go with the Prophecy of May and say that this will be a fateful anniversary year for EverQuest titles.  The 15th anniversary for EverQuest II and the 20th anniversary for EverQuest will see both titles celebrated, given special new content, and then put in what will be effectively maintenance mode.

Pessimism about Daybreak often ends up correct, but I think I am wrong on this.  We heard a lot around the EverQuest 20th anniversary about how the franchise has more players than it did back in 2015.  These two games will keep going, bascially because they have a core customer base and make money.  Expansions for the foreseeable future, but 0 points for me.

10 – NantGo Away, I’m No Good For You

The NantG Mobile joint venture between Daybreak and NantWorks will deliver on none of its promises.  They’ll keep H1Z1 alive, but there won’t be any new Z1 Battle Royale (unless they just straight up rename H1Z1), there won’t be any new esports league, there won’t be an esports venue next to the LA Times, and there won’t be any mobile version of Z1 Battle Royale, and there won’t be any hint, word, or anything about any EverQuest game, mobile or otherwise.

All that and they gave all the code back to Daybreak.  A complete flop.  10 points.

11 – Something Has Gotta Daybreak

All of this is going to add up to hard times at Daybreak.  By December 1, 2019 it won’t be the company it was on January 1, if it exists at all.  It will either be acquired wholesale by another company or be parted out, with somebody like Gamigo taking the the three traditional MMORPGs (EverQuest, EverQuest II, and DC Universe Online) while the rest either tried to stand alone with the what I will call “the children of PlanetSide” or being folded into the NantWorks joint venture.  I’ll be writing a farewell history of the studio before the year is out.

Well, things didn’t get that bad.  There were more layoffs, but the company is still afloat.  But the fact that they were creating alternate company names and social media accounts indicate that this wasn’t exactly miles from the truth either.  0 points, but I still feel like it could have gone this way and may still next year.

12 – Standing Alone Games

Standing Stone Games will feel the impact of Daybreak’s misfortune as well as the sting of losing a key LOTRO developer.  They will carry through the first half of 2019 on momentum, but the latter half will leave people wondering what is up as they scramble to fill the void that Daybreak’s collapse will leave on their marketing/publishing front.  The company will soldier on, but you won’t be getting anything like a 64-bit client from them.

With no Daybreak misfortune there were no repercussions.  I’ll have to remind myself next time to stop making predictions that assume previous predictions come to pass.  And just to rub my nose in it, not only did SSG launch a new expansion for LOTRO, they also delivered a 64-bit client.  Imagine that!  0 points.

13 – Non-Shippers

The following titles won’t ship in 2019, defining “ship” as being available for sale with having to hide their unfinished state behind terms like “early access,” “beta,” “alpha,” or anything that falls into that realm.  2 Points per title on this one.

  • Squadron 42
  • Camelot Unchained
  • Atlas
  • Torchlight Frontiers
  • Crowfall

10 points.  Not a one of them on the list made the criteria.  We didn’t even get Camelot Unchained into beta.  It is starting to make Star Citizen look positively progressive in getting test content to users.

14 – CCP Anomalous

The ISK problem in New Eden will be one of CCPs targets for 2019, so expect null sec anomalies and the rats that infest them to change to try and slow down the titan and super gravy train while not stomping too hard on the line members in the VNIs.  Mining, however, will remain unchanged.  Ore doesn’t bring ISK into the economy and should be self regulating based on price.  It isn’t, but it should be.

Spot on here.  CCP went straight at super and titan ratting for a few months, changing fighter damage application, anom respawn times, HAW weapons on titans, and so on.  And then came the Blackout and the VNI nerf and it was the line members who paid the price.  Ah well, they started on the rich, but eventually slaughtered the poor.  5 points for things before the Chaos Era.

15 – High Sec Changes

The War Dec changes will lead CCP to change up how suicide ganking works as well.  Right now it is too by the numbers, a solved problem for most cases.  CCP doesn’t want high sec to be safe, but right now the gankers kill with impunity and need a shake up.

Maybe, a little bit.  They finally implemented that “warp in 3 minutes or your money back” scheme and made auto pilot warp to 10km rather than 15km.  That annoyed gankers a bit.  2 points.

16 – Low Sec Attention Span

CCP has to do something radical for low sec in general and faction warfare specifically.  My guess is that low sec will continued to be screwed in general, but that CCP will decide they need to greatly restrict, if not outright ban, the deployment of Upwell structures in FW space.

I figured this one was going to be a complete miss, but the last game update in December changed a bit of how Upwell structure tethering will work in FW.  Give me 2 points for that at least.

17 – CSM XIV

CCP will change up the election process yet again, trying to get the candidate list out further before the actual elections, but it will be for naught.  Eight of ten seats will still go to null sec alliances.

Nah.  Same old election scheme.  But if you count Olmeca Gold as a null sec candidate… it is where he lives and hunts, so I do… 8 out of 10 seats went to null sec.  5 points.

18 – POS Bash

Player Owned Starbases, already left with little relevance in the game, will see their end come June, when CCP finally pulls them from the game, symbolically burning the source code on the summer solstice.  And so will go the POS, long a staple of the game.

Nope.  All the blueprints are gone so you cannot make any new ones, but if you have one still deployed you can still hide within POS shields even today.  0 points.

19 – Key FOB

The POS announcement will come earlier as part of CCP introducing a new Upwell structure, the player forward operating base.  The FOB will be something akin to a corp/alliance sized mobile depot that will allow players to repair, refit, and resupply.  It will lack tethering or defenses and, give how cheap a Raitaru is, will barely get used.

Again, no sale.  0 points.

20 – 3DS Exit

Nintendo, after paring down the platform releases to almost nothing, will announce the end of their long running handheld line.  They will cease manufacture, blow out the last units, and throw themselves fully onto the Switch.  It will be the end of the Pokemon era.  Pokemon will just be another game, not something that made a platform worthwhile.

I am annoyed to say that Nintedo is still pushing the 3DS/2DS line on their website a year after it was effectively dead.  The only reason I can see for buying one is as a replacement for a failed unit for somebody who has an investment in older games.  There are a lot of older games out there.  But the online support for most of them is long gone.  0 points.

21 – MADE Pirates

Pirates of the Burning Seas will end up being the first MMORPG to make it into The Museum of Digital Art and Entertainment.  The unique state of its current ownership will create a situation where the game will actually be preserved, mostly because it won’t survive on its own.  And that will be it.  The games people ache to see enshrined, SWG or CoH, will never get there.  The only possible entrants will be games so small and unknown that few will notice.  So The Saga of Ryzom will be a possibility.  The MADE should work on preserving MUDs.  That is something they could make happen.

Pirates of the Burning Sea found a player  group to support it.  MADE remains without an MMO to call its own.  0 Points.

22 – Shlock Boxes

No wide spread change to the legal status of lockboxes or the selling of power or pay to win.  Some small jurisdictions might try to put something in place, as happened in 2018, but nothing will go in that will change the bottom line.  There simply isn’t a political power block against this sort of thing that could make any difference for politicians.  At best it will be used as a political football to try and divert attention away from other things.  For example, the NRA doesn’t care about video games… until there is yet another mass shooting, at which point they need something to blame.  More of that.

At the end of the day, with all the talk that spun around gambling, nothing really changed when compared to 2018.  10 points.

23 – A Prime New World

Amazon’s survival sandbox whatever MMORPG New World won’t be ready in 2019, but the company will announce special benefits for Prime members when the game does launch.  I hope it will be something more than expedited delivery from the in-game version of Whole Foods.

Nope. New World has disappeared into a black hole for months after testing.  Apparently it might end up being a thing next year, but I’ll believe it when it actually launches.  0 points.

24 – Behindcraft

While Microsoft and Mojang haven’t given up on Minecraft – Java Edition, which is the Mac, PC, and Linux version of Minecraft that lacks a cash shop, it has clearly slowed down development.  The rest of Minecraft has pandas and new cats and stuff while Java is getting development snapshots still.  This trend will continue as the Java code base won’t release the panda update until March and that will be the only update to be released for Java in 2019.

I mean… sorta.  Java got the update in April, so close on that I guess.  But the updates have gone to something of an annual cycle, so getting another update… as opposed to bug fixes… was never in the cards to begin with.  2 points for being close on that date.

25 – Avatar’s Shroud

Shroud of the Avatar will see further constrictions, if not an outright closure, in 2019.  Like most early access games, it used up the goodwill of all but the most dedicated fans as it was being built out and now nobody is left interested in buying a copy.

Lord British has grown bored and his remote mechanical telepresense has rolled off into the sunset in Austin.  Potalarium is… no more I think.  Some other company owns the game, being setup as a last ditch effort to keep it alive.  Predicting the online aspects of the game going dark in 2020 wouldn’t be an outrageous stretch.  10 points.

26 – Guild Wars 2 Continues

The pattern seems to be an expansion every could of years.  That is about as deep as my insight into the game really goes at this point.  But given that, I expect they will announce an expansion this year set for launch in 2020.

Nope.  Not really.  They’re just re-arranging the deck chairs over there at ANet these days.  0 points.

27 – Cattle Royale

As we saw the final rounds of the MOBA shake out with Blizz cutting back on Heroes of the Storm, the culling of the Battle Royale pretenders will commence in earnest.  Anybody for whom Battle Royale is just a mode tacked on to an already solid franchise, as with CS:GO, won’t have much to worry about, but anybody all-in on that alone… that isn’t Fortnite or PUBG… will be dead or dying by the end of the year.  This will be most unfortunate for the late comers that show up this year.  Also, how they hell am I even going to score this one.  See what I mean?

I’m giving myself 1 point for H1Z1, Z1 Battle Royale, and PlanetSide Arena.  They all stunk on ice and remain alive only because somebody has an unrealistic hope still.

Bonus Wild-Ass Prediction

Sony buys back some, if not all, of Daybreak from Jason Epstein at the bankruptcy sale at discount prices.  If Daybreak is headed for a fall, who has the most to lose?  At this point, aside from Daybreak itself, Sony makes a tidy sum on the PlayStation 4 from DC Universe Online and, for the moment, H1Z1.  Maybe they also make a bit from PlanetSide 2, but I’d be surprised at that.  20 bonus points if it comes to pass.

No bonus points here.

Double Bonus Wild-Ass Prediction

Daybreak announces a new EverQuest title, sells pre-orders, never makes it to early access, and shuts everything down without any refunds.  I want 40 bonus points if that happens.

And none here either.

Score

Out of 270 possible points this year I managed to only earn a meager 82 points, giving me a 30% success rate, such that it was.  Still, not my lowest percentage ever!  I was at 25% in 2017, and have done worse than that.

As with Jeane Dixon, I am sure people will forget all the failed predictions and just remember the time I called the next expansion for EverQuest II and being based in Kunark or last year when my wild-ass prediction was that CCP would be acquired.  After all, that is all I am ever going to mention, right?

So another year has passed and now I have to think about what the next year will look like.  Will I go with New Year’s predictions again?  Or should I try something else to see in the launch of a new decade?  Is it time for another turn at something like goals, questions, or aspirations?  Tune in on January 1st to find out.

Others reviewing predictions:

The Holidays Come to EVE Online with Login Rewards and More

The Holiday season has started in New Eden as CCP kicked off the Naughty or Nice event early today at downtime.

Most of you have been naughty I am sure

Gone are the Yoiul Lads of old, replaced by the now familiar, and recently updated, daily login reward interface, which is the cornerstone of this year’s event.  There are 13 days of gifts to login and collect, though you have through until downtime on the morning of January 7th, 2020 to collect the last one, so you can miss a few days if you’re traveling to see family.

As usual, everybody gets a gift, but Omega clones get more each day.

Kicking of the Login Rewards

Of course, if you’re an Alpha clone (non-subscriber) there is a button right there to upgrade, and if you do you’ll be able to go back and collect any gifts you missed.

The daily gifts include many of the usual items like special holiday ship SKINs, festival launchers, snowballs, cosmetic items, and the like.

Contents of a Crate

But something new is in the mix, a series of travel filaments.  These will open up a portal that will take as many as 20 ships within a 6,000m radius of the activation to a location in null sec space.  If you want to have an exciting random roam with your friends, here is a chance for something new.  It might be enough to see if you can get back alive.

Also starting today is another even that will let players earn skill points daily.

Killing, chilling, whatever it is a spree

This is the return of the long running Skilling Spree event from the summer and fall, with a change.  Instead of logging on to blow up 1 to 10 NPCs every day, this time the goal is to hit the NPCs (or other players) with snowballs.  And the rewards vary rather than being just a simple skill point reward every day.  Sometimes it is skill points.

Easy enough on the Jita undock

Sometimes it is something else.

I could earn a filament

This, of course, means you will need snowballs, so don’t waste the ones you get from the Naughty or Nice boxes.  Also, if you have melted snowballs leftover from past years, because you’re like me and never clear out your hangar, you can take those to the Meltwater-Snowball Exchanger at Yoiul Festival Snowball Exchange stations in high sec space.  You can see beacons out for there, including in Jita, which is probably the most actively used one.

The beacons will lead you to a Meltwater snowball exchange station, which looks like a festive Astrahus.

Meltwater-Snowball Exchanger Astrahus

The exchange rate is 10 melted snowballs for 1 fresh snowball.

A melted snowball is just water, right? Can I give you water?

That sounds a bit steep, but then what is the value of a melted snowball really?

Or you might want to save your snowballs for the Luminaire Snowball Fight, which will take place on Sunday, December 15th, at 21:00 EVE Online time.

All in all, not a bad event.  There are no combat sites to run.  That sort of event seems to have fallen by the wayside, though with the Triglavian invasion still going more combat sites might be redundant.

I like that there are new SKINs, but I always like when there are new SKINs.

A Vexor wearing the Aurora Universalis SKIN

And the travel filaments… those should make for some fun.

Anyway, there is a post up about the events, though the details are a bit scant.