Monthly Archives: October 2020

October in Review

The Site

I had a scare at the start of the month.  I mentioned that WP.com was planning to push their new block editor on users a while back.  Well, it hit me on the first, as a post I had left open in the old editor was suddenly floating in this white void of a web page.

I seriously have a problem understanding the philosophy of this new editor.  It looks like some pretentious design student’s wet dream, but it lacks practicality.  Or maybe just don’t get why every paragraph of text needs to be in its own special edit box that can be moved around the post.  Do people juggle paragraphs like that?

Fortunately the update push from WP.com hadn’t fully settled and later in the day I found that I could still use the classic editor if I made sure to click on the right options.

Classic is as classic does

The Add New button by default brings you to the new block editor horror, but you can still find the classic if you want.

And then there is the side bar.  IFTTT, which is part of the kludge that drives the dynamic blog links update, has decided to start charging, though you can have up to three simple items running for free still.  However, the day they announced their subscription option all three of mine broke.  They fixed the issue, but the subscription plan will be in place tomorrow and I won’t be surprised if all three stop working again.  I have a backup plan for two of them.

One Year Ago

BlizzCon was coming, so I spent some time speculating about what I wanted to see and what I thought we might actually get.  There was a lot in play.  Blizzard was also talking about WoW Classic and getting realms down to a single layer.  Layering carried on, but Dire Maul was added to the game.  Also free transfers and Hallow’s End.

And then the whole Blitzchung thing happened, casting a pall overBlizzCon and making #boycottblizzard the theme of the day.  Blizzard then took a few days to finally respond officially, and their response pleased nobody.

In WoW Classic we carried on, exploring the Ogre area in Loch Modan and starting our first run into the Deadmines, which became a two part post, with the follow up about getting to Van Cleef.  From there it was off to wander the Wailing Caverns.  We also did the running of the gnomes event.  Ula made a video about it.

Over at Daybreak it was time for more layoffs.  But Holly was on the EverQuest Show to talk about the game, expansions were announced, special servers were discussed, and there were still custom UI issues, all summed up in one bullet points post.   The pre-orders for EverQuest Torment of Velious were live.

Meanwhile, it was declared that PlanetSide Arena was just a stepping stone to PlanetSide 3.

CCP brought back the Skilling Spree event top EVE Online, which let you earn skill points by completing a daily task.  They were also straight up giving away skill points again.  Many skill points were there to claim.

The October update expanded the Triglavian invasion and updated the tutorial.  They also raised warp speeds on some ships to help us get around New Eden.  We also got a Halloween event and the howling interceptors update.

More importantly, the meeting minutes from the first CSM14 summit were released, in which CCP laid out its top four priorities for the game.  I couldn’t decide if “fix the stupid” was okay as the second item or if it covered so much stuff that we might never get to the third.  Certainly the MER showed that the “Chaos Era” might have fallen under that.  And I was wondering if gating missions behind standings was falling into that as well.

Of course, it isn’t a real CSM if somebody doesn’t step down or get kicked.  This time Killah Bee dropped out and Sort Dragon returned to the CSM in his place.  Meanwhile, there was always somebody out there ready to take CCP at their worst.

It was also time for the annual vision quest to EVE Vegas.  We learned about many things, like Team Talos and plans and what not.  We also learned that this would be the last CCP sponsored EVE Vegas event.

Out in space, the Reavers deployment was out looking for things to shoot.  When in doubt, shoot structures.  That’s the way we roll.  But that wasn’t panning out, so we took a wormhole back home and were in Delve before the Reavers turned five.

Meanwhile, Liberty Squad was still out as well, and we took a fight in FDZ.

And, finally, Raph Koster announced his new venture, Playable Worlds, while Mike O’Brien, formerly of ArenaNet, announced his new venture, ManaWorks.  Daybreak also released the EverQuest and EverQuest II sound tracks for purchase on most major platforms.  All of this was covered in yet another bullet points post.

Five Years Ago

I opened up the month with a post about the Mineserver Kickstarter campaign, a little box that promised to make hosting easy!  A pity is never came to anything… and that I basically threw money into nothing.

Then there was the now perennial complaint about customers being too cheap to by any and every 99 cent game.  It is because your 99 cent game sucks.

In EverQuest II, the Desert of Flames expansion unlock votes passed on Stormhold and Deathtoll, which made me ponder the pacing of nostalgia.  Daybreak seemed to want to go faster.

Daybreak also have expansion announcements for EverQuest and EverQuest II that included pricey special editions.  Milk ’em while you got ’em I guess.  But PlanetSide 2 was having problems attracting subscribers.

EverQuest II was consolidating servers, so it was farewell to Crushbone.

In Lord of the Rings Online, server consolidation was just getting under way as well.

Crowfall was still in development, but had announced some costly RMT castles.

Guild Wars 2 launched the Heart of Thorns expansion.

I picked up the Reaper of Souls expansion for Diablo III and made it through Act V.

My wife and I went to EVE Vegas where we partied and heard about the planned Citadel expansion.  I brought some give-aways for the trip, which I covered, along with Pirate’s Little Helper, in a Friday bullet points post.

Meanwhile, in New Eden I was very impressed with the multi-buy feature that came in with the previous month’s Vanguard release.  I was also wondering if space priests were a problem.  I also went pipe bombing for the first time.  The month’s Blog Banter wanted to know about my PC.  And Reavers celebrated their first anniversary.

Over in one corner New Eden SpaceMonkeys Alliance (SMA) stole ISK from EVE Online casino I Want ISK who, in turn, hired low sec mercenaries to camp SMA space, starting the embers of what would become the Casino War.

And the sad tale of CCP and White Wolf came to an end as CCP sold off the subsidiary and its neglected IP, World of Darkness.

Finally, in Minecraft, Aaron began his draining of an ocean monument, and I was interested in bases, several of which sprang up as I worked on the Great Northern Road.

Ten Years Ago

I had some hopes and expectations for BlizzCon.  They were pretty much unmet.  But Blizzard had already announced the Cataclysm ship date, so what else did I expect?

I asked if people ever look at the items in the blog side-bar.  People mostly do not.

EverQuest launches the House of Thule expansion.

I finished building my new computer.  Windows 7 64-bit was the wave of the future… unless you wanted to take that LOTRO survey.

The EVE Online screen shot contest wrapped up, winners were declared and prizes were sent out.

I was playing Lords of Ultima innocently enough and then somebody attacked me! Oh noes!

I was suddenly determined to “catch them all” and finish the National Pokedex in Pokemon SoulSilver.

The instance group was playing in LOTRO, which had been live as a Free to Play game for one month. In-game, we were subjected to the disturbing habits of some of the residents of the Lone Lands, while I indulged in one of my own habits, the mid-game character swap.  And then I made one post completely unreadable by making anagrams out of all the proper nouns.  I had to repost a corrected version.

bought Civilization V, which like every Civilization launch, had issues with my current computer.  The unwritten rule of Civilization is that you need to upgrade your machine in order for the game to play well.

LEGO Universe launched.

My daughter and I were drinking new and interesting sodas. and was really hoping that the SF Giants could make it to a World Series victory.

Fifteen Years Ago

Club Penguin, the browser based, kid friendly MMO, launched.

Civilization IV launched and, as with all Civ launches, the game really needed the next generation of hardware to run in its full glory.  I recall submitting a bug and getting a response telling me to stop trying to play with so many civilizations in a single game.

Age of Empires III also launched.  While it was well reviewed, and we all bought a copy, it never really eclipsed Age of Empires II in my heart.  The second game remains the pinnacle of the series for me.

Twenty Years Ago

The PlayStation 2 launches in North America.

Pokemon Gold & Silver arrive in North America.  Regional launches were a thing back then.

Forty Years Ago

Berzerk arrives in arcades.  I remember this game showing up and dropping a lot of quarters to play it.  It said things.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. The WoW Shadowlands Pre-Patch with the Big Level Squish Arrives Today
  2. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  3. The EverQuest Team Announces the Claws of Veeshan Expansion
  4. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. A Costly Imperium Victory at FWST-8
  7. A Tale of Two Keepstars in FWST-8
  8. LOTRO War of Three Peaks Launches Today
  9. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  10. The EVE Online October Update Changes Space and Commerce
  11. Are We Going to Get a Level Squish with Every WoW Expansion Now?
  12. EVE Online Blazes a New Trail with UI Only Mode

Search Terms of the Month

do warp core stablizers help with intradiction bubbles
[Legit question, answer is “no”]

eq upgrading an old character, will i lose anything?
[Just your self-respect]

warcraft orcs vs pirate
[Sure, I guess]

lotro cracked server
[They seem that way lately]

everquest the scalet desert from pok
[don’t get me started]

Game Time by ManicTime

A lot more time spent playing this month than the last couple, and I ended up launching a lot more titles this month as well, mostly due to the new monitor.

  1. EVE Online – 44.01%
  2. World of Warcraft – 36.26%
  3. WoW Classic – 15.02%
  4. RimWorld – 3.33%
  5. Age of Empires II – 0.92%
  6. Minecraft – 0.16%
  7. LOTRO – 0.12%
  8. EverQuest – 0.08%
  9. EverQuest II – 0.06%
  10. Grim Dawn – 0.05%

Of course, the war kept EVE Online high on the list.  But WoW Classic fell off quite a bit owing to the group not getting together as well as renewed interest in retail WoW due to the whole level squish thing.  Almost everything else on the list is due to my doing a test run to see if they would work with the new wide screen.  The only failure was Grim Dawn, which stubbornly refused to work.  A pity because, after finishing up with Diablo II (which absolutely won’t work on the new monitor) I was thinking about a return to Grim Dawn.  It will not be.

EVE Online

The war carries on, now about to reach its fourth month.  The start of October saw some of the largest battles in the game for ages, including one that set new records according to Guinness.  After almost two weeks of that the war settled down to a less exhausting pace.  But the war is far from done.

Pokemon Go

Both my wife and I made it to level 40 in October.  There is a blog post under way about getting there and what you do once leveling is no longer part of the obsession.  It does take a bit of the pressure off of the need to maintain daily streaks or to do things just for xp.  But there are still plenty of Pokemon left to catch.

Level: 40
Pokedex status: 584 (+7) caught, 608 (+6) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 7 of 8
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Farfetchd

World of Warcraft

For once I can say I did more than just run the Darkmoon Faire quests for the trade skill advancement this month.  The great level squish came and changed retail WoW for everybody.  It remains an ambitious experiment as to whether or not it was worth the effort.  It is easier for new players to level up, it is easier to experience old expansions (though with the current class and talent structure), and it is easier to level up alts.  But is that all core to the main player base, or do most long term players just care about the latest expansion?

WoW Classic

Slow times for us after wrapping up Sunken Temple.  Ula and Skronk bought a new house and moved while Moronae had to build a new computer.  That meant not a lot of play time for the group, and my solo play time was focused on retail WoW.  But Blackrock Depths still beckons.

Coming Up

The WoW Shadowlands expansion launch is likely going to be the biggest of deals next month, at least for those with an interest in WoW.  Pre-expansion events start on the 10th, the expansion goes live on the 23rd.

The war carries on in EVE Online, but CCP has another series of changes set for November.  They plan to kill off the NPC bounty faucet by reducing payouts and forcing the ESS system that allows others to come in and steal your bounties before they’ve been paid.  CCP celebrated the Guinness records being set, but perhaps has failed to note that we’re willing to throw in ships into such battles because we can afford to.  When ISK tapers off and with minerals already more dear, there is no doubt a point at which groups won’t commit the numbers they have in the past as they will be too expensive to replace.  We shall see.

There will also be more news on the EverQuest and EverQuest II front for their respective annual expansions.

And, of course, this coming Tuesday is kind of a big deal here in the US, being a literal struggle over the future of the country.  The fate of the republic and any remaining faith in a representative government rides in the balance.

Farewell Commander Bond

I woke up this morning to the news that Sean Connery had passed away.

Sean Connery had a long career in film. He was well paid and played many roles over the years.  But for all of his other work, both excellent and regrettable, he will forever be associated with James Bond.

About to say his famous intro, ‘Bond, James Bond’ for the first time in Dr. No

In the 60s he helped cement the James Bond franchise.  By the third film, Goldfinger, the style and required tropes, from the opening, to the required plot points, to the nature of the villains, of any James Bond film were set in stone.  And with that he became the benchmark against which any future actor taking on the role would be measured.

He played Bond five times in the 60s in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, and Thunderball.  He came back again in 1971 in Diamonds are Forever after replacement George Lazenby declined to play the role again, lest he be typecast, and once Cubby Broccoli threw enough money at him.

And then he returned once more to the role in Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball, and outside of whatever continuity the EON produced Bond films have.  So that is seven total appearances as the character, for which, by the end, he was paid more than most actors will ever see in their lifetime.

But the appeal of Sean Connery was him being Sean Connery.  The role might have been James Bond, but he made it his.

There are actors who get lost in roles, who become different people with different scripts.  Actors like Daniel Day Lewis or Meryl Streep.  They can morph into what the script needs them to be.

With Sean Connery you got what you got, a tall handsome Scotsman with an oft imitated accent and a brash, confident demeanor.  The character was molded to fit him.  A Soviet submarine commander, Indiana Jones’ father, a Kipling hero, a Irish Chicago cop, a Franciscan friar, or a post-apocalyptic “brutal,” all of those roles ended up on him like so many tailored suits.  They clothed him, sometimes quite well, but did not change what you were getting.

While he had been retired from acting for almost two decades, he still casts a long shadow, especially for anybody taking on the role of James Bond.  He leaves behind a legacy on the big screen that will endure.

Blizzard Hangs On During a Quiet Q3

We got the 2020 Q2 financial results for Activision Blizzard yesterday, and it confirmed that the video game market is still doing pretty well.

Overall the combined company had a very good Q3 2020, well up over last year, though much of the good news came from the Activision side of the house, where they were still riding the Q2 Call of Duty launch for all it was worth.  The company is even talking about hiring 2,000 more people to keep up with demand.  That is a long way from the 2018 results when they were cutting staff.

Activision Blizzard Q3 2020 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 9

The Activision team was up almost 3x over their Q3 2019 net revenue.

Blizzard, while up, was only up a small amount over Q3 2020.  However, Q3 2020 was the start of the Blizzard revival where, after two quarters in the doldrums, WoW Classic launched and revived their fortunes.

Meanwhile, Q3 2020 was in something of limbo state as the Shadowlands expansion was slated for a Q4 launch.  There was little new to entice people players back.  There wasn’t even the expansion pre-patch to raise some excitement.

But the slide deck rightly looks for Q4 2020 to be a big deal.

Activision Blizzard Q3 2020 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 7

Blizzard got the Shadowlands pre-patch out earlier this month, unveiling the big level squish for all to see and experience.  And now we have a date for the start of the expansion pre-launch events, November 10th, and the launch of the expansion itself, November 23rd.  Blizzard will be able to recognize revenue on all those pre-orders the day it launches.   The is usually a pretty big ka-ching moment.

However, outside of World of Warcraft there isn’t a lot of big news.  Hearthstone carries on, with a new expansion on the way.

Overwatch remains popular, though a year after the Overwatch 2 announcement it doesn’t feel like much has changed.  I flagged Overwatch 2 as one of the “big four” announcements at BlizzCon 2019, but I don’t pay enough attention to the game to know what has gone on since then, except for the fact I haven’t seen any headlines about it lately.

Diablo IV remains somewhere in the distant future.  I think I said 2022 last year when it was finally announced, and I might have been optimistic with that call.

And then there is Diablo Immortal, perpetually in some new stage of testing, but never quite ready to launch.  It can’t fail it they never release it I guess.

So Q4 is almost guaranteed to be big for Blizz, but unless Shadowlands gets more traction than Battle for Azeroth did, there isn’t a lot else to depend on after that.  For all the other franchises, it is still WoW that carries the load.

You can, as always, find all the numbers over at the Activision Blizzard investor relations page.

SuperData Says September Superb for Crusader Kings 3

It is time for the monthly look at SuperData Research’s digital revenue chart.  The September version was made available last week and it heralds another banner month for video game revenue.

  • Digital games earned $10.7B in September 2020, up 14% year-over-year. Games earned more across all platform types than during the same period in 2019. Mobile revenue was up 9%, PC rose by 8% and console earnings increased 40% as major fall titles began to hit the market.

The chart itself shows some of those fall titles.

SuperData Research Top 10 – September 2020

On the PC end of the chart, the usual order has been restored to the perennial top four, with League of Legends back on top.

However, it is fifth place that is interesting, as it sees Crusader Kings III from strategy game developer Paradox make it onto the list.

  • Crusader Kings III from Paradox broke records for PC strategy games, selling 1.1M digital units in September. The medieval dynasty simulator sold more units in its launch month than either Total War: Three Kingdoms from Sega or Sid Meier’s Civilization VI from 2K. Crusader Kings III did earn slightly less at launch than its closest competitors because it was priced at $49.99 instead of the more common $59.99.

A pretty big deal for what seemed like a slow motion medieval reality TV simulator to some (okay, maybe that is just me), but it is good to see it break into the list on launch. I’ll be interested to see how it fares in the Steam charts come the end of the year.

Following CK3 was World of Tanks, returning to the list after a month away, Roblox, in seventh place as it last month, and World of Warcraft, which moved up two spots since August, no doubt due to anticipation related to the coming expansion… anticipation that was thwarted when the expansion was delayed.

After that comes Fortnite and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to round out the list.

On the console column NBA 2K21 drove to the top of the list.

  • NBA 2K21 was the top-earning title of the month, selling 1.9M digital units. Digital console sales were up 19% over NBA 2K20 at launch, and in-game revenue similarly increased by 8%. The game benefited from the rescheduling of the delayed NBA postseason. In August, NBA 2K20 also performed better than usual thanks to the return of the NBA on TV.

That was followed by the remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, proving once again that nostalgia pays.

  • Nostalgia was a powerful sales driver in September. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 from Activision Blizzard sold 2.8M digital units, a significantly higher launch figure than the publisher’s previous remakes of Crash Bandicoot or Spyro games. Also in September, Nintendo’s Super Mario 3D All-Stars sold 1.8M digital units, which was by far the biggest launch ever for a Mario title on Switch.

Then there was Marvel’s Avengers, which also sold a lot of units, followed by Super Mario 3D All-Stars, mentioned above along with Tony Hawk.

With a pack of new titles dominating the console chart, Grand Theft Auto V fell to tenth position, the lowest I can recall ever seeing the perennial survivor.

On the mobile end of the chart there is Free Fire, the title from Singapore that popped onto the charts in third place back in July, then moved into second in August, now at the top.  Pokemon Go held in strong in second place, still ahead of Honour of Kings and the Chinese version of PUBG Mobile, Peacekeeper EliteCandy Crush Saga, my bellwether title, came in at seventh position.

Here is where I would normally put the NPD top ten in order to compare the above to US console and PC retail sales.  However, NPD has stopped sharing that data.  I am going to guess that the pandemic, which has pushed digital sales, had something to do with that.  They missed a couple of months earlier this year and now appear to have decided to stop sharing altogether.

So, instead, I will just wrap up with two additional bullet points from the September report:

  • In September, the mobile version of Among Us reached nearly as many players as Pokémon GO did during the peak of its popularity in August 2016. While the indie game originally launched in July 2018, interest in the game skyrocketed during the past summer as popular Twitch streamers took up the game. However, the high player numbers have remained subdued as in-game spending was limited to a handful of cosmetic items and the ability to remove ads. The game’s mobile revenue was not enough for it to break into the top 40 on mobile. Earnings were, however, still extremely high for a game made by only three developers.
  • Rocket League’s transition to a free-to-play business model paid off for developer Psyonix (now a subsidiary of Epic Games). Player numbers nearly tripled in September, up 193% a week after the shift. Revenue-wise, total digital sales from September 23 to 30 (when the game was free to play) nearly matched the three previous weeks. The game’s esports ecosystem should also benefit from a boost in potential viewers on streaming platforms such as Twitch.

That one about Among Us is timely, since on Saturday I was posting about some rando from the games industry who wanted streamers to pay to stream games.  This shows the power that streamer can have.

WoW Shadowlands Coming November 23rd

This time for sure!

Blizzard announced that the World of Warcraft expansion Shadowlands, delayed from its previously planned launch date of October 26th, will go live for players on November 23rd and 24th, depending on where you live.

The world-wide launch plan

For me, in California, the launch time will be 3pm on Monday, November 23rd.  As it is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, I already have that time planned off for work.  I’ve learned never to take a vacation day for a launch, since that just ensures that disaster will ensue… I begged my way out of half a shift back when Gemstone launched on GEnie back in the day and it was literally unplayable… if I already have the day off, well, what the hell.

The dividing line will be Central European Time, the Paris time zone, where the expansion will go live at midnight on November 24th.

This launch date will secure the Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands launch gap as the longest time between expansions for the game.

  • WoW Launch to The Burning Crusade – 784 days
  • The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King – 667 days
  • Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm – 754 days
  • Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria – 658 days
  • Mists of Pandaria to Warlords of Draenor – 779 days
  • Warlords of Draenor to Legion – 656 days
  • Legion to Battle for Azeroth – 714 days
  • Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands – 832 days

Meanwhile, the pre-launch events will kick off on November 10th with a scourge invasion.  We can look forward to that in order to warm up for the big day.

And there is a fresh story trailer to go with today’s announcement.

 

And, just to add on to things, November 23rd is also the 16th anniversary of the game’s launch, so there will probably be some anniversary high jinx mixed in with the expansion going live as well.

We will be there soon enough.  Enjoy the lull to warm up and catch up.

The Second Battle at FWST-8 Renews Two Guinness Records for EVE Online

It was a huge and costly battle, especially for the Imperium, as we clashed over the Keepstar being anchored in FWST-8.  And, even at the time, people were wondering if it would set a new record.

CCP had already been recognized by Guinness for the “Million Dollar Battle,” otherwise known as the “Siege of 9-4RP2,” which saw 6,142 players concurrently involved in the fighting.  So when the local count rose past that number it seemed like it might happen.  I caught a few screen shots with the count well into what might have been world record range.

6,446 in local

But there is what the UI shows… which during a heavily loaded time dilation fight can be problematic… and what gets officially registered at the server.   At 9-4RP2 people reported numbers in local much higher than the official count because people who were disconnected were part of the total.  Still, it seemed likely a record had been set.

So much stuff on grid!

Today that record was confirmed.  CCP published a press release announcing the award while Guinness posted the record officially on their site.

And it is actually two records.  The Guinness site says:

On this day, the space-based Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), EVE Online broke two Guinness World Records titles, the largest multiplayer videogame PvP battle and the most concurrent participants in a multiplayer videogame PvP battle.

The epic battle saw 8,825 players taking part overall and 6,557 playing concurrently at its peak.

EVE Online (developed by CCP Games, based in Reykjavík, Iceland) is renowned for its large-scale conflicts and the game has seen record-breaking encounters for largest battle and most concurrent players multiple times; they were previously set during 2014’s “Bloodbath of B-R5RB” and in 2018’s “Siege of 9-4RP2” respectively.

In this “Players” is distinct from in game characters, as CCP says there were 11,258 characters used in the fight.

Once again EVE Online shows it can still make the news.  Another epic event occurred, a world record was set, and I can claim I was there.

The focus of the battle

The war carries on and, while some denigrate as “fake” or unimportant in the scheme of things in New Eden, it also proves that Null Sec can pilots can have an impact.

CCP’s press release in full:

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS has shared additional information about this achievement in this feature: EVE Online’s Record-Breaking Fury at FWST-8

By the Numbers: A total of 8,825 players participated in Fury at FWST-8 with 11,258 characters from 114 different alliances in an engagement that lasted 14 hours, breaking the previous GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title of 7,548 players. The peak of Fury at FWST-8 saw 6,557 concurrent participants, breaking the previous GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title of 6,142 peak concurrent participants.

Both of these records were previously set by EVE Online during 2014’s “Bloodbath of B-R5RB” and in 2018’s “Siege of 9-4RP2” respectively.

EVE Online is no stranger to massive in-game conflicts. Every time a big battle breaks out or our community comes together for a cause, it’s always a sight to behold,” said Hilmar V. Pétursson, CCP Games’ CEO. “CCP may have created EVE Online, but it’s our community who built the universe of New Eden. Their ingenuity created the impressive logistics networks, both in-game and in the real-world, to field such a high volume of ships in one battle. Our players deserve all the credit that made these record-breaking achievements possible. Their support and dedication are what makes EVE Online the game that it is today.”

Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief for GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS added, “The limitless potential of EVE Online provides once again an epic, record-smashing battle that’s a test of both human and technological prowess. No game has the kind of passionate, invested, and empowered community that EVE Online enjoys, which is why it’s still, nearly 20 years on, reigning supreme as the ultimate MMO space game. Congratulations to all those involved – even those off licking their wounds will agree it was a battle to be remembered for a very long time.”

“We’ve been sitting on the edges of our seats this entire war. The player-run factions in our game often rival those of real-world governments, with some even adding US politicians into their ranks, so we knew it was only a matter of time before something big happened,” said Bergur Finnbogason, EVE Online’s Creative Director. “It still blows my mind that EVE’s players are able to break these records for massive player battles. Setting two world records for a single battle is humbling and just shows the amount of dedication EVE Online players have for our game.”

Since July of this year, a massive player-driven conflict between alliances has been unfolding in EVE Online. Dubbed “World War Bee 2”, upwards of 130,000 players have battled it out in a war for in-game territory and geopolitical dominance. World War Bee 2 is the third such universal war since the game’s release in 2003. Fury at FWST-8 is just one of many battles in the war as players continue the fight.

Fury at FWST-8 was the PAPI coalition’s attempt to establish a beachhead Keepstar citadel in the region known as Delve, which would have enabled PAPI to strike deeper into the Imperium coalition’s territory with their forces of supercapital-class spaceships. To prevent this, the Imperium fought long and hard to destroy the Keepstar and push PAPI back. As a result, 6,746 ships and the Keepstar structure were destroyed, with 362 capital-class ships lost on the battlefield. Assets worth a total of 1.443 trillion ISK (in-game currency) were lost in this battle, equating to $18,712 USD, of which 705 billion ISK worth was destroyed completely, equating to $9,148 USD.

Some EVE pilots who participated in Fury at FWST-8 shared their impressions of the battle: “The FWST battle was the latest example of the iconic EVE Online battles that everyone reads about, and being able to say ‘I was there’ is a great feather in the cap for everyone involved. Even more impressive to me was the camaraderie and teamwork leading up to the kill. When we’re still around playing this game in the years to come we may not remember all the minutiae of the battle, but we’ll absolutely remember that we were there fighting side by side and having fun with our space tribe.” – Klavas (USA) – Goonswarm Federation, Imperium

“The scale of the fighting, the numbers of players involved on both sides, and the extent of the losses in FWST-8 and the weeks that followed has been incredible. I have fought in nullsec for nearly 15 years, nothing I have done before even comes close. Every player involved has been tested to the limits of endurance, it’s the stuff nullsec players have dreamt of for years.” – Hedliner (UK) – Pandemic Legion, PAPI

“Fights like FWST-8 don’t happen very often but they are what makes EVE, EVE. I was impressed that the servers held up as well as they did. It’s the second time I’ve been involved in setting the record for most concurrent players. Hopefully, all good things come in threes?” – Killah Bee (Germany) – Northern Coalition, PAPI

“The battle in FWST is undoubtedly a historic event, not only for EVE Online and the MMORPG genre, but for video games themselves. Our alliance and coalition campaign commanders undertook a colossal amount of work and planning to make this happen, not only for this specific battle, but throughout the past two weeks.” – strbrr (Russia) – Northern Coalition, PAPI

“The battle of FWST-8 is among the few, incredible moments of EVE Online, those we hear of in the media, those we tell about to the new players with a proud ‘I was there’. Participating in the biggest battle of the history of video games along with thousands of players all across the world, and the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself as everyone gave their best in the face of impossible odds is a memory I’ll never forget.” – Naice Rucima (France) – Goonswarm Federation, Imperium

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The Crimson Harvest Event Returns to EVE Online for Halloween

CCP doesn’t believe in being early for holidays, so the Crimson Harvest event kicked off today, just two days before before Halloween.  I think I’ve been trying (and failing) to get the Headless Horseman’s mount in WoW for over a week now.

Crimson Harvest 2020

Between now and downtime on November 10th, event sites will spawn around New Eden.  Finishing them will yield a variety of rewards including ISK, ship SKINs, fireworks, Crimson Harvest apparel, blueprints for a new Blood Raider modified Mobile Tractor Unit, powerful faction modules and implants, and limited-time Cerebral Accelerators.

In addition there will be a four player T1 frigate Abyssal Proving Ground event as well as the return of the improved loot drop mechanic for PvP.  Between now and downtime on November 10th 90% of modules will drop from ships blown up in PvP actions.

And there is also a sale on Omega time and some special SKINs in the New Eden Store.

Details are available via this news post.

Preparations in The Burning Steppes

I haven’t had much about the group in WoW Classic recently.  In part that was due to some interest in the Shadowlands pre-patch… and Skronk and Ula moving… but most recently it was because Moronae’s computer died and he had to put together a new one.  And some of us like to take their time researching before they throw together a new rig.  But his new Ryzen 5 powered system was up and running this past weekend, so we were able to get back to it.

We last left off in September when we finished our final Sunken Temple run.  From there the path headed to Blackrock Depths.  But one does not just walk into Blackrock Depths, as they say.  BRD is another one of those multi-week events, and the first step is preparation.  There are many quests to grab and lead-ins to find.  The fist on the list was in Ironforge, where we spoke with the royal historian who stands off to the side of King Mangi Bronzebeard.

Listening to the historian

She has a quest, the first step of which is to listen to her tale.  Then she wants you to head out to Searing Gorge.  But for us the next stop was Kharanos, down the road from Ironforge, to update another lead-in quest for the instance.

That was a quick round trip, after which we headed to the flight point to fly off to Loch Modan.  There were no quests for us in Loch Modan, but it is the nearest flight point to Searing Gorge and the flight path at Thorium Point.  That is the closest flight point to the instance, so we rode around into the Badlands and through the gap into Searing Gorge.

Path from the Badlands is here

We rode to Thorium Point and picked up the flight path and then took the bird to our next destination, Lakeshire in the Redridge Mountains.  That is the nearest flight destination to Morgan’s Vigil, the Alliance encampment in the Burning Steppes, which is also where Blackrock Mountain is, home to several instances including Blackrock Depths.

The Burning Steppes, squeezed in between Searing Gorge and Elwynn Forest

We arrived in Morgan’s Vigil, a sleepy little Alliance outpost.

A flight point, a barricade, and a few tents

There we picked up basically all the quests and headed out to work on them.  Some were going to end up in BRD.  There was a vital quest up in a cave in the northeast corner of the map with

Cyrus has a quest for us

The problem with the quest from Cyrus Therepentous is that completion is not shared with the group… it is a drop from an elite mob he summons… and the quest mob can only be triggered every 10 minutes.  Once again, we were probably better off with a party of four, as it would only take us 30 minutes to run through each of us.  In the mean time we went along the north side of the zone.

There is another quest hub along the north wall, up a ramp over some lava.  More quests to grab, and one to update.

The other quest hub

There I had to drop some quests as my quest log was filling up.

Those quests had us running around a bit in the ruins just south of the cave.

Out in the ruins

Then it was back to one quest hub, then the other.  We made our way around the eastern half of the zone pretty thoroughly.

Oh the places we’ve been

Strictly speaking we didn’t have to go do the quest with the ogres in Deadmaul Rock and over past the Pillar of Ash, but screw the ogres.

 

And then there was a series of trips to be made as one quest chain sent us back to Redridge then to Stormwind where we had an encounter with Lady Kartana Prestor.  I’m sure we won’t run into her again.

Katrana, young Anduin, and Bolvar Fordragon

Prince Anduin looks so… badly rendered.  His feet are huge.  And then there is Bolvar, most recently seen in the Shadowlands cinematic.  He looks better here… though maybe not as good as he did out in Northrend.

Bolvar and Dranosh and their smoldering look

Then it was back to Redridge and back to Morgan’s Vigil to finally cement that quest line.

We also had to go back to Ironforge to update the royal historian.  Doing that got us a quest from King Mangi Bronzebeard himself… well, all of us save Moronae, who forgot to do the “listen to the historian” part of the quest, so we may have to catch him up a bit on that.  There is no “party sync” in WoW Classic.

But after our running around, we now have a list of quests ready to go for the instance.

The list so far

And those are just the ones from outside of Blackrock Mountain.  There are a couple more to pick up there, including the one from Franclorn Forgewright, which you need to be dead in order to obtain.  I might need to delete a few more quests.

But next time we should be able to head in and at least get started.

EverQuest II Announces the Reign of Shadows Expansion

Where EverQuest goes, EverQuest II must surely follow.  We got a Producer’ Letter announcing the next EverQuest expansion two weeks back, now we get one announcing the next EverQuest II expansion, the Reign of Shadows.

Reign of Shadows

The 17th expansion for EverQuest II is going to take players to the dark side of Luclin, carrying on from last year’s Blood of Luclin expansion.

The lead in reads:

Emperor Ssraeshza and his unyielding throngs of insidious zealots and enslaved minions have laid claim to the ancient citadel of Vex Thal. The march of the nefarious snake-like shissar must end there, deep within the heart of the dark side of Luclin.

Face terrible challenges and forge great alliances in regions unseen by Norrathian eyes in centuries: Echo Caverns, Shadeweaver’s Thicket, Grimling Forest, Shar Vhal, and Vex Thal. Heroes will be made in the shadows!

The features list includes:

  • Play as a Vah Shir! THAT’S RIGHT OUR FIRST NEW PLAYER RACE IN 5 YEARS!
  • 20 Reign of Shadows Prestige Advancement Points and 10 new Reign of Shadows Prestige Abilities.
  • Maximum Guild Level increased to 350 with an all new content-driven guild leveling mechanism.
  • Discover new Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests as you investigate what secrets lay concealed in the endless gloom.
  • Master all new Solo, Heroic, Challenge Heroic, and Raid content in the perpetual shade of Luclin’s dark side!

The new race is a big deal, as it brings the Vah Shir, the EverQuest feline race from Luclin, to the game.  The rest sounds a bit like the usual “new zones, new quests, new raids, new collections” sort of stuff that make up the bulk of any expansion.

However, they do mention an attempt to revamp the whole Alternate Advancement system.

Launching with Reign of Shadows, archetype and class Alternate Advancement abilities are getting a full revamp so that every point has an impact on how your character plays. These changes should not affect Kaladim in a significant way and we do not plan on having them affect future TLEs either. To see these changes before the launch of the expansion, please login to beta when it opens and check them out.

Alternate Advancement, which was an early way to channel experience into something besides levels with new expansions, have grown unwieldy over the years.  I think AAs came in with Kingdom of Sky and the company has piled more into them with every update since.  We shall see if they can come up with a better system.

In anticipation of the new expansion a “Gear up, Level up” event will kick off this Thursday, October 29th, to get people ready for the new content, while pre-orders and beta for Reign of Shadows are planned for November 10th.

Addendum:

The Howling Interdictors Update comes to EVE Online

Last year Team Talos brought us the Howling Interceptors update around Halloween.  This year we get Howling Interdictors.

Howling for you

Interdictors are a popular ship in null sec, deploying as they do the warp disruption probes with generate a 20km diameter radius warp disruption sphere or bubble.   Bubbles are generally a part of any null sec fight as they can keep a hostile fleet from warping off, keeping them from getting away allowing you to shoot them.  Or sometimes you’re in the bubble.  Either way, they are not an option in empire space.

Bubble, bubbles everywhere

The big change is the addition of a new type of probe that can be used by interdictors, the web stasis probe.

Stasis webification probe

Like the modules of the same name, the stasis webification probe will reduce the maximum velocity of any ships within its sphere.  That sphere is half the size of a warp disruption probe, only 10km in diameter radius, and it has a short warm up duration.

Now to see how it will get used.  I know at least one capsuleer who has wanted this sort of probe, and I guess it might be used as a counter to “kitey bullshit” and other “trash tier tactics,” but we will have to wait an see.

In addition, three of the four interdictor hulls received updates.

The Sabre was passed over, being null sec’s default interdictor.  I know FCs who just call for Sabres rather than interdictors, since that is what you get most of the time anyway.

The Sabre is even endorsed by Permaband

The Eris, a rare sight on the field, received the most changes, most in an effort to make it a bit more nimble.

  • CPU increased to 250 tf (was 210)
  • Power Grid increased to 71 MW (was 64)
  • Max velocity to 316 m/s (was 305)
  • Signature radius to 78 m (was 85)
  • Mass reduced to 1,100,000 t (was 1,200,000)
  • Gallente Destroyer bonus changed to “5% bonus to small hybrid turret rate of fire per level” (was 10% bonus to small hybrid turret optimal range)
  • Interdictor bonus changed to “15% reduced mass penalty from armor plates per level” (was 5% bonus to small hybrid turret rate of fire)

The Flycatcher, which you do see out now and again, got a little more CPU and a little more tank, but stays with its damage bonus locked to kinetic.

  • CPU increased to 290 tf (was 280)
  • Caldari Destroyer bonus changes to “10% bonus to missile kinetic damage” (was 10% bonus to missile explosion radius)
  • Interdictors bonus changed to “10% increased shield HP per level” (was 10% bonus to missile kinetic damage)

And the Heretic, which can be a feature on armor fleets, though you still get Sabres because Sabres, got a little more CPU, Power Grid, and tank.

  • CPU increased to 270 tf (was 240)
  • PG increased to 70 MW (was 60)
  • Amarr Destroyer bonus changed to “10% increased armor HP per level” (was 10% bonus to light missile and rocket max velocity)

In addition to all of that combat interceptors, which were part of the Howling Interceptors changes, were revisited againthis year, getting a 100% boost to the effects of overheating on afterbruners and microwarp drives.  They will go very fast.  CCP is even holding a contest to see how fast people can make them go.

Also along for the ride with this patch are some fixes to improve the viability of the new Triglavian region in New Eden:

  • Significantly increased the Standings values gained from killing NPCs related to Triglavian Space
  • Corrected Standings incorrectly gained from Rogue Drone content unrelated to Triglavian Space
  • Reworked the Triglavian Wormhole site distribution rules
  • It is now possible to warp to 0 in Triglavian Wormhole sites
  • Increased the time between NPC spawns around Triglavian wormholes
  • Increased the drop availability and variety of Triglavian Space Filaments

There are a few other small fixes, but that is the primary content of today’s update.  They have all been appended to the October patch notes.