Daily Archives: December 31, 2020

December in Review

The Site

Well, I made it to the end of 2020, and I should be happy about just that I suppose, though it isn’t like the world will change dramatically tomorrow, or the next day, or on January 20th, or whenever.  The same problems will face us and the same people will block whatever solutions might help people or alleviate problems.

2020 banner by my daughter

One thing that happens today is that Adobe officially stops supporting Flash.  You might have seen a few messages like this of late.

The end of Flash is here

This has absolutely nothing to do with the blog, but it is a moment of passing for a bit of code that had a huge influence on the web.  It has its roots back in the 90s in tech that powered games like Spaceship Warlock and Myst and was a gateway for many budding game devs to create projects that could be played by others.  There was a whole era of crappy Flash games in the early 2000s, some of which were not all that crappy really.

And it was the underlying tech for a lot of web animation of that era as well.  Homestar Runner was entirely done in Flash, as were many other greater and lesser known projects. (Shout out to Chris Coutts’ Tales for the L33T: Romeo + Juliette back in the day.)  It got into a lot of places.

Some of those bits of the web have been converted, preserved, or moved to other mediums.  Homestar Runner is on YouTube if you want to watch Trogdor again. (Also, Chris Coutts)

But a lot of stuff will just fall by the wayside and disappear.  Flash got a bad reputation, especially for security issues, but it helped build the web as we know it today.  And so we say farewell to it and the games it fostered.  This is why Farmville is also going away today.  Marc Pinkus went on at length on Twitter about the game, leaving out the bits where he stole it from another company and did a bunch of dodgy stuff for revenue and helped create the aura of Facebook games as “spammy pieces of shit.”  So it goes.

Anyway, here we are at the end of the year and post number 405 for 2020.  It was going to be post 404 with a cute “not found” joke, but then that titan fight happened last night.

405 puts 2020 behind 2019, which had 412 posts, but one ahead of 2018, which hit the 404 mark.  Did I make a joke about it back then?

One Year Ago

After many slipped dates and fan push back, Daybreak decided to shut down PlanetSide Arena, their attempt to re-capture some of that battle royale lightning that H1Z1 held briefly when it launched.

On the bright side, EverQuest launched its 26th expansion, the Torment of Velious.

I also made a pilgrimage of my own in old Norrath.

CCP experimented with a day of no downtime.  I heard later that this caused problems and the next downtime had to run long.  You just have to reboot New Eden once a day I guess.

CCP also brought in the HyperNet Relay gambling mechanic, the new wallet UI, and the Kicking over Castles update to make blowing up structures a bit easier.  We got the Naughty or Nice holiday event which included a station to refurbish melted snowballs.

The holiday season also came to WoW Classic and EverQuest II.

Blizzard introduced battlegrounds to WoW Classic early to stem the completely predictable carnage that came about from the introduction of the honor system.  We also got the key chain and paid character transfers.

In WoW Classic we hit our peak group size as six of us ran off to the Scarlet Monastery graveyard.  Back in vanilla a bunch of dungeons allowed raid groups of 10 players.  Skonk and I also got our paladins out for the Test of Righteousness class quest.

We were also back in Gnomeregan for some quest clean up with Earl.  I had to swap to my pally so he could tank.  And then we went back with a different group mix.  Then we went back in again to get Moronae the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.    Finally, we went back to Scarlet Monastery to run through the library.

Then I reviewed my WoW Classic characters four months into the launch.

On the retail WoW front I broke the story of the rejected squish ideas.

I was still running around tuning up my main in EverQuest II until the Blood of Luclin expansion launched.  Getting to Luclin was a bit of a chore, at least the first time through.  From there the run to level cap was pretty quick.

And, it being December, there were the usual reflection on the year gone by.  I looked at my games played, reviewed my 2019 predictions, looked at the books I read, and reviewed highs and lows of the year.

I also did a Decade in Review post about gaming related stuff.

And then 2020 hit.  But that is another tale altogether.

Five Years Ago

Thanks to The Force Awakens coming out, George Lucas was in the news and rationalizing his “Han didn’t shoot first” change.  I wasn’t buying it.  There were certainly other things he could have changed.

It was December, so I had to go over the usual posts, scoring predictions, looking back at the highs and lows of the year gone past, looking forward to what I might play 2016, and something about the inevitable Steam holiday sale.  I also made a chart to show what MMOs I was playing in 2015 because everybody else was doing it.  I totally forgot to make that chart again this year.

There was the Operation: Frostline expansion in EVE Online.

In New Eden I got blow up trying to slip a Caracal out of Fountain.  It happens.  On the other hand, I did get my first kill mark on another solo op.  I also hit 150 million skill points, an achievement soon to be made trivial by skill injectors.

The much reviled Fountain War Kickstarter was finally cancelled, as it was clearly not going to get anywhere close to its $150K target.  But was that going to bank the flames of the brightly burning Goon hate? (hint: no)

The recently rebranded Imperium was taking its plans to low sec, either to generate content or display its arrogance depending on who was describing it.  We were also waging a war in Cloud Ring.

Turbine finally got their head screwed on right when it came to insta-levels in Lord of the Rings Online.  I was stomping around in the Mirkwood expansion trying to see in the dark.

In Minecraft I was building a prismarine outpost along the great northern road.  Aaron and I also killed the End Dragon.

On the EverQuest front, the Phinigel “true box” server opened, a retro progression server that was supposed to keep people from multi-boxing groups.

I summed up five years of Raptr tracking my game play with my top 20 played games.  There was LEGO’s somewhat nonsensical online name policy.  And I was playing Monument Valley on the iPad.

Ten Years Ago

That December I had one of my all-time most popular posts, Talking Cats Playing Pattycake!  You can thank me for not taking the hint and going all talking cats, all the time.  Or hate me for not doing that.  Take your pick.  And We Didn’t Start the Fire?  Nothing.

But I still had kitty pictures.  Awww.

I still think that if you label a window “Currency” it ought to show all your currency, not just the odd-ball stuff.

I was still feeling the sting of ThinkGeek teasing us with the iCade at April Fools, all the more so because some pretenders were on the scene.

Turbine was giving away 10,000 Turbine Points, which comes out to real, and possibly taxable, value in real world dollars.  The comments on the post were obviously not from tax professionals.

I visited EverQuest for long enough to find a house.  And then I was out of money.

In EverQuest II they were starting the run up to vampires.

And I summed up what we knew about The Agency to that point… which was bupkiss.

In World of Warcraft, Cataclysm launched.  If you weren’t in the beta, there were still scams promising to get you in.  There was the digital pre-order, which worked for me.  And one final hardware upgrade we needed at our house before the expansion launched.  And then there was picking a new character for the re-rolled instance group in Azeroth.

The U.S. release date for Pokemon Black and White was announced at last.

Finally, I wrote something that looked sort of like a review of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s book Mogworld.  And then there was something about zombies vs. werewolves vs. vampires vs. unicorns.

Fifteen Years Ago

CCP dropped the Red Moon Rising expansion on EVE Online, introducing a host of new ships including titans and motherships.  They also introduced a new tutorial and new player experience, so some things never change.

Asherons Call 2: Fallen Kings, the sequel to Asheron’s Call, was shut down by Turbine.  Revived again some years later, it and its predecessor were both shut down when Jeffrey Epstein, Columbus Nova, and/or Daybreak Game Company acquired the MMO portion of Turbine and created Standing Stone Games.  The open question remains as to who might own the AC/AC2 IP at this point.  Warner?  Daybreak?  EG7?  Jeffrey Epstein?  The Russians? [Edit: Massively OP says that WB still owns it, which means it is as dead as any IP can be.]

Twenty Years Ago

The second EverQuest expansion, The Scars of Velious, launched.  The icy continent of Velious brought frost giants, Coldain Dwarves, and more dragons to Norrath.  It also introduced The Sleeper, a once per server event.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Daybreak Revealed in Enad Global 7 Presentation
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. Minecraft Village Population
  4. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  5. WoW Shadowlands Sales Stacked Up Against Past Releases
  6. Robbing Some Space Banks
  7. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  8. EVE Online Ushers in the Holidays with Winter Nexus Events Starting Today
  9. Do You Need a Level Booster for Shadowlands?
  10. Drone Aggression Nerf and Tech II Salvage Drones Arrive in EVE Online
  11. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend
  12. Daybreak to be Acquired by Enad Global 7

Search Terms of the Month

what were brad’s aradune stats in everquest
[All 18s?]

velius porno 69 ano 14
[Make up your mind]

will scaling kill wow boring
[It wasn’t the best feature in BFA certainly]

how to rush through all wow expansions
[You don’t even have to do that any more]

eve dodixie losing status
[I’m not sure it had much to begin with]

can you buy skill points in eve online?
[Yes.  Next question.]

eve skill pints per isk comparison
[That’s a bit more difficult]

Game Time from ManicTime

My game play time went in something of a reverse flow in December.  I came off the big WoW Shadowlands binge at the start of the month, focused a lot on WoW Classic in the middle, and then World War Bee activity picked up in the back half of the month, culminating in last night’s titan slaughter fest.

  • EVE Online – 53.14%
  • WoW Classic – 34.20%
  • World of Warcraft – 11.78%
  • About Us – 0.88%

Oh, and I played About Us for about 90 minutes in the middle of all of that.

EVE Online

There was still World War Bee to keep me busy.  With the enemy camped on our doorstep fights have been easy to come by.  Somebody is always trying to provoke the other side into doing something dumb.  I’ve seen fights over anything from bait titans to a bait Raven in T5ZI-S.  And then there was the Catch deployment, where Reavers went out to join in with The Initiative to lay siege to Legacy Coalitions backfield… some more.  And then there was the battle in M2-XFE yesterday and early this morning.  We will have to see how that affects the war.

Pokemon Go

We got released to start working our way to level 50 this month.  The xp climb is very steep, but there are also a series of tasks, sort of feats of strength, to accomplish before you can level up, even if you already have the xp.  The big one for level 41 is to catch 200 Pokemon in a single day.  I managed that sitting in the parking lot at the ER at just after midnight where a couple of Pokestops were close by. (Daughter is fine, but why do these things always happen so late at night?)  They don’t let people hang out in the ER due to COVID-19, so I had little else to do while I sat and waited for a few hours.

Niantic also started releasing Pokemon from the Kalos region (Pokemon X & Y) into the game.

Level: 40 (50% of the way to 41 in xp, all but one task complete)
Pokedex status: 611 (+18) caught, 637 (+21) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 9 of 9
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Zwelious

World of Warcraft

What else was there beside the Shadowlands expansion?  I made it to level cap, chose a covenant, and have messed around with that some.  I am not as taken by the whole thing as some… I don’t feel compelled to log in every night… but I am not unhappy with it either.

WoW Classic

I think “Blacksmithing and Blackrock Depths” sums up much of my time in WoW Classic this month, though I did spend some time with my alts as well.  Doing the blacksmithing stuff got me to get my druid out to harvest kingsblood and my pally out for any spare iron, and I ended up playing them as well.  I also did a bit of the Winter Veil activities, though not the whole routine.

Coming Up

2021!

But, as noted at the top, a change of arbitrary numbers won’t change the plight we’re in.  Tomorrow is just another day and it is quite possible the new year will vie with the old when it comes to total misery caused.

Here you can expect the usual.  There will be a post tomorrow looking into the new year.  I have a 2020 games post still brewing.  Otherwise I will likely play the same games, write about them in the same style, and report and comment on bits of news that are related.

We still need to go back to Blackrock Depths in WoW ClassicShadowlands is still calling.

There is a rumor that PAPI might try to make a big push against the Imperium come January.  I suspect if they can break into 1DQ1-A or Helm’s Deep they will have destroyed enough of our stuff to declare victory and go home to rest for a bit.  It has been a long war of sustained combat.  And, as mentioned in my earlier post today, there was that big titan battle over a Keepstar timer.  Will that change anybody’s plans?

Titan Massacre at M2-XFE

We had been warned to be on hand for possible fleets yesterday.  The armor timers for three Imperium Keepstars under PAPI cyno jammers were set to come out and we were going to try to make them pay for the effort this time around.

I was busy during much of the day, but I could see the pings coming up announcing fleets.  It looked like the enemy was going to try for the Keepstar in M2-XFE.  The other two Keepstars were ignored and repaired while both sides focused on the remaining one.

When I finally had a chance to log in I flew out in an ECM burst Malediction just to take a look.  Both sides were grouped up, two masses of titans and supers facing each other, the Imperium fleet on the Keepstar and the PAPI fleet below it, shooting the structure.  The timer had been paused at just about the 10 minute mark.

My arrival

As I was scooting around, tethering up, and looking for some way to be annoying, the Imperium titans, which had been tethered, opened up with a doomsday barrage on the PAPI fleet.

Titans open fire with Doomsdays

That was the point that the battle became real.  There were over 5,000 names in local, a number that grew past the 5,500 mark as the battle carried on.

Exchange of fire

At that point I flew my Malediction into the midst of the hostiles and set off the ECM burst.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to commit to the fight.  But then my wife and daughter went out together and I decided to join one of the subcap fleets.  I parked my interceptor in one of our structures, destroyed my pod to revive back in 1DQ1-A, where I grabbed a Rokh to join Mister Vee’s fleet.

While M2-XFE had cyno jammers setup by the hostiles, they were bringing them down now and then to jump in reinforcements, which allowed us to jump in our own reinforcements.  Since the system was running at 10% tidi, the five minute up/down cycle of the cyno jammer lasted almost an hour for those of us jumping in from normal speed space.

I got in and joined the fun, shooting fighters and subcaps of opportunity.  Tidi worked in my favor as my ECM burst hit a titan that was blown up after I returned in the Rokh, so the game counted me on the kill mail.  It shows my ship as a Rokh, but my weapon as an ECM burst.  I fulfilled my goal of getting on at least one titan kill. (I also got on the 10 billion ISK MTU kill mail.)

But then there was a call for boosters for the titan and super fleets.  Asher pinged out to Reavers to get some boosters, so I went to answer the call, which took me out of the fight for almost two hours.  I went to dock up and leave my ship so as to self-destruct again to get back to 1DQ again.  However, by that point the server was under a lot more pressure, and docking took a long time and left me with a black screen that took a long time to clear.  The client went unresponsive and I have to exit and try to log back in.  That took ages, but eventually I was back in and in my pod.  Then it was time to self destruct.  That took a while as well.

I may have pressed the button a few times

Eventually though I ended up back in 1DQ where I had a Damnation command ship ready to go.  The cyno jammers were down again, so I was able to take the slow bridge back to M2-XFE, where I got in one of the capital fleets and started boosting.

My Damnation in the orange of another explosion

With that setup, I felt ambitious and got out my main alt and flew him over in another interceptor.  As he flew over I contracted the Rokh to him, and he was able to dock up, collect the Rokh, board it, join Mister Vee’s fleet.  That took about an hour to accomplish, but I managed it, after which I set him up on my little second monitor in UI-only mode and shot targets of opportunity as I heard them called.   Along the way I tagged some hostile titans with him, and now he his on more titan kill mails than my main.

The command ship had a target painter, so I was able to get on a few kills with my main, but all the big toys were out of range of that.

The hostiles won the objective, reinforcing the armor timer and setting the structure up for the final timer.  That will come out in about two days.  But the fight kept on going.

The exchange of kills was fairly even, favoring PAPI by a few kills for much of the fight, but as the evening drew on past midnight Pacific time and towards downtime, which hits at 3am where I live, the exchange of titans began to favor the Imperium, though ships from both sides kept blowing up until the server shut down.

Ships still exploding around the Keepstar

The tally for this fight will be huge.  I am writing this as the battle is winding down, so the final numbers have not settled, but for titan kills I last saw 10 Leviathan, 18 Avatar, 87 Ragnorak, and 126 Erebus titans destroyed.  That is almost 250 titans down and there will no doubt be more on the list once things settle down.

But this battle far exceeded B-R5RB back in 2014, the previous high water mark for the Tranquility server, when 75 titans were destroyed.  This fight went well beyond that, though the destruction was much less lopsided than the earlier battle.

Expect follow up posts about this fight.  Not only were many titans destroyed, but the total cost of the fight will easily exceed 20 trillion ISK according to early battle reports. (Edit: Now that things have settled down, adding the report header.)

Battle Report Header – Updated as new kills have shown up

To put that in perspective, the total destruction in Delve in October, which saw five huge fights in NPC Delve, only amounted to about 11 trillion ISK according to the October MER.  (11 trillion ISK was also the amount of destruction wrought at B-R5RB, so this fight eclipsed that in ISK as well as losses.)

And there will be some clean up to do after downtime, as many people just went to bed after that and they will need to have their capitals, supers, and titans extracted.

Another historic day in New Eden.  We shall see what the post battle repercussions lead to.  This should certainly inflate the December MER.

Addendum:  Now that I have had a bit of sleep and zKillboard has caught up, the titan loss totals look like this:

Imperium Titan Losses:

  • Erebus – 66
  • Ragnarok – 42
  • Leviathan – 10
  • Avatar – 5
  • Vanquisher – 1

PAPI Titan Losses:

  • Erebus – 63
  • Ragnarok – 50
  • Avatar – 14
  • Leviathan – 1

Total Imperium: 124
Total PAPI: 129
Total Titans Destroyed: 252

[Edit: This is getting updated as kill mails show up. ]

[Edit: CCP now has official loss numbers, 257 titans total]

You can tell which titans are considered the least tanky.  Both sides shot the Erebus and Ragnaroks first.  The first titan to die belonged to the appropriately named Titanic Death, while the last was Sandrin Stone, who blew up just before downtime kicked everybody out.

To expand on titan numbers, the count of them on the battlefield was:

Imperium:

  • Avatar – 317
  • Erebus – 137
  • Ragnarok – 135
  • Leviathan – 82
  • Vanquisher – 2
  • Molok – 2

Total 675

PAPI

  • Avatar – 248
  • Ragnarok – 193
  • Erebus – 111
  • Leviathan – 90
  • Molok – 2
  • Vanquisher – 1
  • Komodo – 1

Total 646

Combined Titan total: 1,321

That is a lot of very expensive ships thrown in on a Keepstar armor timer.

For the battle report, the difference in the ISK totals pretty much comes down to that Vanquisher faction titan loss on the Imperium side.  Otherwise it was a pretty even exchange on the titan front.  Now we will no doubt see both sides going on about how the other cannot afford to replace their losses.

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