Monthly Archives: May 2022

May in Review

The Site

Once again I had a plan.  I figured that my daily streak might be fun to end on day 777.

The target number

That was going to be the final number.  But then it fell on a Sunday and I had something scheduled for Monday and I only just remembered to screen shot that milestone before it was gone and now I am closing in on 800.  So maybe that will be the end of the streak.

As I have said in the past however, ending the streak will both be a relief and a let down.  The pressure will be off, but then if I ever decide I want to break my record I am literally 800 days away from getting there.  Or maybe it doesn’t matter and I should just ignore it.

One Year Ago

Nintendo finally announced the remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl that my daughter and I had been waiting for.

I was wondering how long the $15 subscription could hold out.  Turned out to be almost exactly one more year before EVE Online went to $20 a month.  But I was still trying to make some sort of point about pricing.

Enad Global 7 was telling us about some of the plans they had for Daybreak as well as their plan to put all their titles on their 4Games platform.

Daybreak was trying to make PvP a thing in EverQuest II again with the Tarinax server. while they launched the Mischief and Thornblade servers for EverQuest.

I finally hit level 60 in WoW Classic.  It only took 20 months.  We moved slowly… also, we got hooked on Valheim for a few months.

We gave Dire Maul East another shot.  I swapped my paladin into the group for a Dire Maul run, then one more before the big changes hit.

Meanwhile, there was a possible June 1st launch date for Burning Crusade Classic leaked, something that was quickly confirmed.  Of course, there were complications, like cloning and its associated cost.  (They rolled back the initial price later.) There was also the beta, which did not impress me.  The first load test seemed like it had problems, and the second had its own issues.

But the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch came without delay, which changed things for us.

And, as Burning Crusade Classic loomed, I reflected on the WoW Classic experience.

The Activision Blizzard Q12021 results were in and, surprise, WoW was the key revenue driver.  There would also be no BlizzCon for 2021… and that was before the scandals started to hit.

In Valheim we were decorating our base with trophies,

I was also fiddling around with War in the Pacific.

And then there was EVE Online where World War Bee was still chugging along… sort of.  There were also some changes from CCP landing, including the big industry update that made capital ships too expensive to bother building.  The null sec slump was about to hit.

I also had a random tale about working in a grocery store back in college, we were binge watching Fear The Walking Dead, experiencing Tenet,

And my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, turned 13 years old.

Five Years Ago

Nintendo announced the new 2DS XL hardware.  It seemed like a deal, since all it was missing was the somewhat unloved 3D option.  But it was a bit of a tease because the whole DS platform was done in Nintendo’s eyes.

Being a bit down on crowdfunding MMOs, I was wondering who was backing Ashes of Creation.

Daybreak was giving out free level boosts… again… in EverQuest II.

Over in the land of Everquest, the new Agnarr limited progression server went live with a promise never to progress past the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.  I wondered about the life of progression servers and if this attempt to make a perma-retro server might extend beyond Daybreak.

I returned to the land of the ten dollar horse of legend, Runes of Magic.  Once a trailblazer, an Asian MMO built for the west and designed on the free to play model, in some ways it is very much stuck in time.  And I am not just talking about the archaic patcher.  It still feels like it did back in 2009.  Which isn’t a bad thing, really.  Look how popular retro servers are now.  And it isn’t a bad MMO either.

I worked my way through to the first big city, explored the cash shop, and carried on through the month until the grind started to surpass any sense of nostalgia I was feeling.  As with many such games, if I was playing with a group it would have been fine, but as a solo venture it had its limits.

EVE Online turned 14 years old.  I was again looking at the monthly economic report where Delve was leading null sec in ratting and mining and the Rorqual remained the top mining ship.

The May update for EVE Online gave us new PLEX and the Blood Raiders ship yards.  New PLEX was a money making opportunity for some.  New PLEX went well enough that CCP decided to covert the Aurum they gave away for free sooner than expected.  And then there were the new small skill injectors.

The first Blood Raiders ship yard showed up in Period Basis.  I went to go visit it.  After some trial and error the Imperium went old school and reinforced it with a mass of T1 frigates.  I missed the destruction (and TEST swooping in with interceptors to steal the loot) but still managed to get blown up by the leftover Blood Raider forces.  A dread can one-shot an Ibis.

In other ops in New Eden we went to a brawl around an Astrahus in Catch and I manged to get my Cerb blown up trying to catch up with the fleet, which gave me an opportunity to try flying an interdictor.

In a bullet points post I noted that Blizzard called Overwatch its eighth billion dollar franchise, but I couldn’t figure out what the other seven might be.  Has Blizzard even had eight things one might call a “franchise” at this point?  Also, SuperData was splitting WoW into East and West versions again.

And I rather optimistically suggested that the Mineserver Kickstarter project might still happen.  Ha, ha, ha, I can be so naive.

Ten Years Ago

I played Portal finally.  Now Zoidberg makes the cake joke!

I wrote about camping rare mobs and how this all came from the fact that MUDs used to crash pretty often.

There was the start of the first Newbie Blogger Initiative thing.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, The Gates of Discord unlock vote shut down that expansion.  This caused some hard feelings.  And then it failed the vote again.

38 Studios went tits up due to managerial incompetence.  Not how you run a start up.  But the myth of what greatness might have been lives on, fostered primarily by those whose reputations would benefit from such tales.

The instance group was clearing out King’s Breach in Rift.

Diablo III came out and… error 37.  Then error 75.  And installer problems.  High expectations, huge sales, its always online nature, and memories of past Diablo games probably doomed it the eyes of many.  Still, we played it a bit.  I compared it to the beta version of Torchlight II, its primary foe in the click to kill genre.  I moaned about atmosphere and the influence of WoW on it.

And then I complained about talent trees.  Most people seem to like them more than I do.

But mostly I was on about EVE Online.  There was a summary of the first Burn JitaHulkageddon V came and sort of went.  There were spoils from the war in the north to be handed out.  OTEC actually got out there, putting aside differences, to defend its financial interests.  We blew up an IRC CSAA in Cobalt Edge.  There was a question as to whether PLEX was cheating.  I mined in null sec for the first time and didn’t know where to put stuff.  There were stats about Escalation and Hulkageddon and just ships being blown up in general.  And I made a post around John Smeldley’s tweet about Drakes and new missile graphics.  He dropped me a note in reply.  Turns out he is not only a huge EVE Online fan, but was in the CFC as well.  As Mittens would say, one of us.

Fifteen Years Ago

The then common discussions were going around, what made WoW so successful and what games might contend with WoW?  Some of the so called “contenders” were pretty silly picks.

Speaking of Blizzard, they also announced they were going to back to the StarCraft franchise with StarCraft II.  About time indeed!

The instance group was focused on LOTRO for the first time.  I had things to complain about, especially the state of the economy.  And, only a month in we spotted a level 50 player.  That must have been some hard work, as the game sort of petered out at about level 35 back then.  Still, Middle-earth was a pretty place.  It even had rainbows.

Dungeon Runners, the short lived NCsoft MMORPG launched

Vanguard was heavily in the news.  Sigil fell and SOE stepped in to pick up the pieces, though I wondered how long before the many problems with the game became attached to SOE.  I was also wondering about the impact of the game’s system requirements.

I was wondering how many more expansions EverQuest would have, while pointing out that you could get the game and all the expansions for only $15.

The owners of Allakhazam, long a staple of EQ knowledge, sold off their gold selling RMT wing, thus removing that taint and a host of gold selling ads from the site.

SOE officially announced the Rise of Kunark expansion for EverQuest II, keeping the game firmly on the nostalgia train.  Meanwhile, I had a suggestion for the new Arasai race.

Finally, there were some podcasts I thought people should listen to again.  I am not sure you can get most of them any more.

Twenty Years Ago

Final Fantasy XI launched.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. EVE Fanfest 2022 Keynote Hot Take – Meh
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. A Return to Stellaris
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  7. CCP Promises “a very special offer” if you Link Multiple EVE Online Accounts to the Same Email Address
  8. Reflecting on EVE Fanfest 2022
  9. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  10. Is EVE Anywhere Anything to Care About?
  11. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  12. EVE Online and Damage Meters

Search Terms of the Month

machine on 25-5-2022 demon diablo coyotes
[No idea on this one]

star citizen citadel
[Are they copying those too?]

секс симулятор онлайн для геев
[I am sure they are out there]

карта майнкрафта
[I recommend them]

Game Time from ManicTime

So what did I play this month?  On my PC it was just two games.  Just two.  Granted, it was a busy month, and my play time was down around where it was last month, which was well off my usual pace… but still, just two?  Yup, and really it was mostly one.

  • Valheim – 86.68%
  • EVE Online – 13.32%

Valheim did almost all the heavy lifting for my MMO needs right now.  I didn’t log into Lost Ark or go back to see what was fixed in New World.  It was either the Viking afterlife or the dystopian Viking space future for me in May.  If there hadn’t been a couple of big ops in EVE Online the percentages would have been even more lopsided.

EVE Online

The GEF deployment continued as we pushed FI.RE out of another region and then rolled into Tenerifis, their home region.  Fights happened, things carried on, content was created.  But it did seem that we eventually hit the end of their flood plains as we reached the last constellation before Detriod.

Pokemon Go

Some progress made, but it was kind of a tough month for Pokemon Go for me.  Not a lot of time to get out and take gyms or do raids.  Also, they raised the price of remote raid passes and took away the weekly 1 coin remote raid pass.

Level: 42 ( 52.8% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 711 (+5) caught, 734 (+4) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc

Valheim

As you can see above, this is where I spent most of my time.  We’re not in a rush, but there is always something to be done, something to explore, so new thing to discover.  And, of course, there have been new things added since we last played.

Zwift

I have been trying to work cycle time into my new routine with home and work, both of which changed up on me considerably.  So far, I haven’t found a way to get back on the pace I was on before, doing 100+ miles a month, but I am still getting on the bike… just not as often.

  • Level – 15 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 988.1 miles (+50.2 miles)
  • Time – 2d 4h 9m  (+3h 28m)
  • Elevation climbed – 40,200 (+984 feet)
  • Calories burned – 32,570 (+1,511)

Coming Up

Diablo Immortal lands later this week, with the release of the mobile version and the opening of the beta for the PC version.  I am still surprised that Blizzard made a PC version, but I guess they figured out who their core fan base is.

We are also supposed to hear about what special deal CCP will be offering to players who link 3 or more accounts on the same email address.  This could be great… or it could be a wet fart.  We shall soon see.

The EVE Online CSM elections are coming up as well.  There is always some drama in that I suppose.

Otherwise summer is on the horizon, though for me, like a lot of people in the US, summer really starts with Memorial Day, which was yesterday, and ends with Labor Day in early September.  But it does mean that the inevitable Steam Summer sale will likely appear.

Memorial Day 2022

The Soldier

by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

 

Quote of the Day – CCP and their Unshakable Belief in an FPS Future

CCP won’t let two failed shooters get in the way of making the perfect Eve Online FPS

Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Article Headline

I appreciate Rock, Paper, Shotgun calling out CCP’s obsession with building a first person shooter, or FPS.  They sent a correspondent to EVE Fanfest… which likely means CCP paid to fly one out and put them up… and RPS has been repaying that with a series of EVE Online related posts about things like new players, the business acumen of the games veterans, and something about the faction warfare and story arcs vision that was presented.

Project Nova no more

But this was the article that made me nod and grimace at the same time because it asks the apparently unanswerable question about CCP’s obsession with making an FPS.

I mean sure, Hilmar is in there for a quotes about this bowl being too hot and that one being too cold as they look for the right blend that will lead them to the “just right” ingredients for a shooter.

But the why, the raison d’etre of an FPS set in the EVE Online universe is never really answered.  We don’t know why they keep taking swings at that, why they have been burning money on the idea since the late naughts or whatever we call the first decade of the century.

I mean, it could be as simple as the team just likes shooters.  That would be the Blizzard answer.  They made an RTS because they liked the early RTS idea exemplified in DuneWoW was fed by a need to recreate EverQuest.  And we’re getting a Warcraft mobile game that looks like Clash Royale because they said a while back that a lot of their staff is into the mobile game thing.  They all have phones.

But I haven’t heard that about CCP, and I couldn’t begin to pick out what shooter might be the motivator, the inspiration to keep spending money on the idea.  And it isn’t even the EVE Online crew that would be working on it.  Iceland gets the leftovers from past shooters like DUST 514, while they hire fresh talent in London to make this new one.

Dusted off

And I guess there is a universe in which they might eventually turn out something good enough to survive. It could happen.  But a lot of things could happen, and there is not much to convince me of this shooter idea.

Yes, I know there are some true to the team lovers of DUST 514 out there who have a pile of reasons for why it was shut down.  But, as I have said in the past, there is no game or game feature so bad that it isn’t somebody’s favorite, and popular title will find a way.

Anyway, in a market not lacking for first person shooters, I do wonder if they will find something to differentiate it from the pack.  Simply being in the EVE Universe isn’t enough.

EverQuest Launches the Vaniki and Yelinak Progression Servers

Meanwhile over at Daybreak, after cancelling the Marvel IP MMO… which, again, got more press traction than anything else they have ever announced even when they were saying they weren’t going to do it… and launching the Varsoon server for EverQuest II, they also found time to bring two new special servers online for EverQuest, the Vaniki and Yelinak servers.

Vaniki and Yelinak

Once again we are reminded that EverQuest somehow has the audience to be able to push out two special servers annually, despite being a 23 year old game.  That is the installed base I often reference that can be farmed to ensure the longevity of titles.

The Vaniki server is on the level locked plan, which I am not sure I fully understand, but there is a whole FAQ posted about it, with a timeline included.

  • Open at level 40 with expansions up to Gates of Discord unlocked
  • Four weeks later: level 50 unlocks
  • Two weeks later: level 55 unlocks
  • Four weeks later: level 60 unlocks along with expansions up to Prophecy of Ro
  • Twelve weeks later: level 65 unlocks along with expansions up to The Buried Sea
  • Twelve weeks later: level 70 unlocks along with Secrets of Faydwer
  • Eight weeks later: level 75 unlocks along with expansions up to Underfoot
  • Twelve weeks later: level 80 unlocks along with House of Thule
  • Eight weeks later: level 85 unlocks along with Veil of Alaris
  • Eight weeks later: level 90 unlocks along with expansions up to Call of the Forsaken
  • Twelve weeks later: level 95 unlocks along with expansions up to Empires of Kunark
  • Twelve weeks later: level 100 unlocks along with expansions up to The Burning Lands
  • Twelve weeks later: level 105 unlocks along with expansions up to Claws of Veeshan
  • Twelve weeks later: level 110 unlocks along with Terror of Luclin
  • Twelve weeks later: level 115 unlocks
  • Twelve weeks later: level 120 unlocks

If I do the math right that give about 33 months of life for this server from launch to the final unlock, which after a decent interval, will no doubt be merged into the Vox server, the now standard landing place for special servers that have run their course.

The Yelinak server is a bit more traditional type of progression server, with a couple of new twists, detailed in its FAQ.

  • Ruleset: True-Box Timelocked Progression – New expansions unlock automatically every 8-12 weeks. (Early expansions unlock more often. The specific schedule is below.) Only one EverQuest client may be run per computer.
  • Experience: Progression standard. Starts off slower than live, but faster than EverQuest at the original launch and increases at Gates of Discord, Depths of Darkhollow, and The Serpent Spine.  At The Serpent Spine experience is as normal live servers.

Unlock Schedule:

  • Eight weeks after launch: Ruins of Kunark
  • Eight weeks later: Scars of Velious
  • Eight weeks later: Shadows of Luclin
  • Eight weeks later: Planes for Power and Legacy of Ykesha
  • Twelve weeks later: Lost Dungeons of Norrath
  • Four weeks later: Gates of Discord
  • At this point the schedule becomes consistent. Enjoy expansions for twelve weeks when a new level cap is unlocked, and eight weeks in expansions where the level cap stays the same.

True Box

  • This server starts with standard True Box. Only one EverQuest client may be run per computer.
  • When Omens of War unlocks, we will move to a Relaxed True Box. You may have up to 3 clients per computer logged into the server at the same time.
  • When The Buried Sea unlocks, True Box will be removed.

The “true box” thing seems to be an admission that a lot of people start off on these servers on day one… they often have queues to get logged into them… but that the population starts to fade as time goes on.  So no multi-boxing when the population is high, but as it tapers off… well, then few are likely to care if you three box, then six box I guess.

Likewise, the experience starts off slow and gets loosened up as the expansions unlock, so that by the time you get to The Serpent’s Spine (fall 2006) you’re working with the live server experience table.

Anyway, both servers were off and running… um… Thursday.  I am a couple of days late on this I guess.  But there is still time to catch up.  A lot of people don’t even start until the first weekend hits, knowing that the first 24 hours of any Daybreak launch is often fraught with misadventure.

Related:

Finding Silver and a Mountain Base in Valheim

There was some doubt as to whether or not we really needed to go through the effort and setup a base in the mountains.  So far we have managed to keep things consolidated within a single main base, using portals to get around where we need to go.

We have gotten away so far with just a few outposts here and there.  A couple of them grew to the point of being something akin to a base.  But we have tended to walk away from them once the local resources… copper, or tin, or scrap iron… have been exhausted.

And I probably have a pretty loose definition of a base.  A building isn’t enough, nor beds. And you have to build a workbench to build anything else, so that barely counts.  But insisting on there being a forge or a smelter might be too far.  A base is some place you stay and work out of, so it is more than an outpost, something that gets fixed up a bit and made to look nice.

Maybe like this?

A nice room in the mountains

Granted, we never planned to get there, it just happened.

I mentioned in my past post about finding some visible silver before we killed Bonemass for the first time that we would need to go up the hill again, so I built a little hut in a safe place on the side of the mountain and put up a portal to save us the trip up.

And that worked for a while, though the location of the portal was a bit awkward.  I had really planned to put it in an abandoned tower not too far away, but there were two stone golems prowling around it early on, and it is some effort to kill them.

But by the time we had Bonemass down and had the wishbones on us to find silver, I had managed to knock down both of the golems.  Another one spawned before we spread out some campfires, but he managed to get stuck in a hole and now sits there getting attacked by drakes while we go about our business.

Drakes and golems don’t like each other.

Though even after we had the golem menace under control, I wasn’t sure it was worth the bother to even move the portal.  Like our other expeditions, we were here for resources.  And then I started finding silver.  Lots of silver.

We had trolled around with the wishbones in a couple of other mountain locations and had only found one silver vein, but on this mountain, up above the Grey Pit we built, silver seemed to be much more common.  And close together.

I think part of the reason we have so many huge holes in the biome now is that, for example, I found three silver veins… so far… close enough together that the reading from one would mess up the reading from another.

Three silver nodes within beeping distance of each other

So I spent more time wandering around and digging down trying to find the treasure.  But, in the end, I kept on finding it because we would dig one up, then once it was cleared I would go back there to start my search for another, only to find the wishbone was still beeping at me.  So I would keep digging and find another one.

The wishbone knows where to go

So eventually I decided I would just more the portal into the tower if only because it was marginally easier to get to the silver from there.  So took down the portal, built a workbench in the tower, then put up the portal there.

Then I decided I wanted to shelter the portal, which meant putting up a roof.  But the walls were coming apart.  However, I knew we had a couple of pieces of iron down at the Grey Pit, and with those I could build a stone cutter and repair the walls.

Repairing is never enough though, so I started filling in holes and making the whole thing look a bit better.  There was a ton of stone to hand… literally so… from digging up silver near the tower.  It too seemed to be a nexus of resources.

The silver around the tower

[Edit: That upper right silver marker was a silver vein with another silver vein underneath it.  Silver city here we come!]

Once I had it fixes up a bit, with a place to shelter, a couple of chests, and a fire, I let the crew know on Discord that the portal had been moved.

And then Brynjar got on, went to town, and I came back to find that room at the top of the post and was pretty sure we had crossed over from outpost to base.

Looking at the base from the silver trio area

It actually grew quite a bit from just the tower.  But, as I said, we had a lot of stone close by to work with.

Meanwhile, there was enough silver up there that we started working on our silver mining technique.  By accident we found out that if you undermine a silver node completely, it gets much easier to harvest.

A silver node not touching the ground

Then, when you actually mine part of it, after a couple whacks the whole thing collapses into silver and stone.  Since it takes less time to dig through stone rather than ore, it seems like an easier way to get the whole thing done… and you have to dig out most of that stone anyway to get to the silver.

A silver and stone bounty

Then you just have to pick it up and carry it back to base.  Silver is heavier than iron, copper, and tin, so we can only grab about 22 per load. But Brynjar made a path for us to follow through the snow, so we have a regular hauling route.

So we seem to be well setup in that base.

It also has one more feature.  Right outside of it is the altar needed to summon Moder, the next boss.  We haven’t even found one of the runes that give you the location yet, we just found the altar when running around.

Summoning Moder is just a short walk away

That screen shot is me on the rock above the door that leads to the room pictured at the top of the post.  We won’t have far to go.  The question is probably how much damage will Moder do to the base when we summon it?  We have a ways to go on that, but sooner or later it will happen.

CCP Announces the Candidates for CSM17

The road to CSM17 carried on yesterday as CCP did a live stream to announce the candidates who had qualified to run for the next term of the Council of Stellar Management.

CSM17 is approaching

I did not have the time to watch the hour long presentation, but CCP followed up with a dev blog listing out the candidates with summary cards that link their CSM campaign forum posts.

The candidates, listed out in alphabetical order, along with their alliance or corporation affiliation, are (names link to their forum post, group affiliation to EVE Who):

That is a total of 45 candidates on the ballot.  I was a little worried that the candidate list might be light this year as the forum posts were slow to pop up.  But we’re only two shy of last year’s 47 candidates, and only 10 will win, so that seems like competition enough.

So who are these people?   Let me try to sort them out in a few categories, though I won’t try to nail everybody down as I oft go astray when I try that and people get angry.

Incumbents

Not so many as before, as four members of CSM hit the term limits this time around and had to step out.  So that leaves:

Only three incumbents, which makes it feel like there might be a wide open field this time around… maybe.  But there are other considerations.

Previous CSM Members

A few past members have return to run for another CSM term.  They are:

That six candidates who have proven that they can win a CSM election.

So who is going to get elected?

Making it to the CSM has always been about having a constituency that will support you.  Random votes from passers by can’t be counted on and the turn out tends to be a self-selected group of voters who show up to vote for somebody in particular.

There are a few people who have worked hard enough to develop their own name in the game.  There are a couple of those who I think will make it.

And then, of course, there are the null sec bloc candidates.  Each block can generally get one or two candidates on the list, depending on how they work things out, while the Imperium can usually manage three.

So position on the bloc ballot is important.  It also means that the eight candidate from Imperium alliances, six Goonswarm and two from The Initiative, are unlikely to get elected unless they have a constituency outside of the bloc, because those of us in GSF always vote freely for exactly who Mittens tells us to exactly in the order specified. (Which is a running joke, though it is mostly true still.)

Likewise, for who those in PanFam or whomever.

With that in mind, I am going to take a stab at a winners list, with some placeholders for general ballot position from the blocs.

  1. Brisc Rubal – The Initiative.
  2. Steven Ronuken – Fuzzwork Enterprises
  3. Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion
  4. Phantomite – Snuffed Out
  5. Luke Anninan – Fraternity.
  6. GSF Ballot Slot 1 (Maybe Kazanir)
  7. GSF Ballot Slot 2 (Maybe Angry Mustache)
  8. Pandemic Horde Ballot Slot 1 (or 2 if 1 is Kenneth Feld)
  9. Torvald Uruz – Abyssal Lurkers
  10. One of the wormhole candidates if they can get their act together

Wildcards – Candidates who could very much upset my prediction:

  • Pandoralica – Has a strong following outside of the Imperium
  • Redline XIII – Host of the second most popular EVE Online talk show
  • Arsia Elkin – 11th place last year, so why not 10th this year?

Anyway, that is my completely uninformed guess as to how things will turn out.  But we’re not at the election yet.  We are still in the campaign period, and candidates could still stand out from the pack or disqualify themselves from consideration.  The rest of the CSM17 election cycle is:

  • 25 May-5 June – Campaign period
  • 7-14 June – Voting period
  • 16 June – CSM17 Announcement

So voting won’t begin until the end of the first week of June.  Given that CCP promised multi-account holders a “very special offer” on June 1st, I will be interested to see if that brings more Omega accounts back to the game to vote.

Related:

Enad Global 7 Cancels Its Daybreak Marvel MMO Project

Say farewell to any dreams about a Marvel Universe Online landing with Enad Global 7, as they announced in a press release that they were giving up on the project and writing of the money invested in it so far.

Enad Global 7

The press release was short and to the point and surprisingly not released at 4pm on Friday afternoon.  But they had an earnings announcement to do, and you have to get the bad news out with that.  The actual text for posterity:

EG7 plans to reinvest Marvel development resources across multiple long-term projects

EG7 today announced it will be discontinuing the development of the Marvel project at Daybreak Games. Based on the re-evaluation of the development risk profile, size of investment, and the long-term product portfolio strategy for the group, the board has decided to change the development priorities and reallocate resources within the group to focus on alternative long-term projects. The company had planned to invest more than SEK 500 million in the Marvel project over the next three years. The company will now diversify this investment across multiple, smaller size projects within the group, including the previously announced major upgrades to The Lord of the Rings Online and DC Universe Online, and new game opportunities with our first party, original IPs. Along with this reallocation, the company expects a write down of approximately SEK 230 million in project related assets in Q2 2022. As one of the long-term investments, the change to the Marvel project plan will not impact near to medium term revenues and profits other than the balance sheet and P&L impact related to the write-down.

You will note the not very subtle spin about investing in other projects… projects they already said they were investing in previously.  Does that mean they are investing more in things like LOTRO and DCUO?  I don’t know.  Maybe?

The assumed reason for the cancellation of the project is the departure of Dimensional Ink studio head Jack Emmert, whose history with super hero MMOs is the stuff of legend.

EG7 even called him out

His leaving, along with whoever he took with him to go work at NetEase, was apparently enough to scuttle the project.  That is always a hazard if a project depends on specific individuals.

This is pretty much a calamity for Daybreak as it continues their lifetime streak of bringing no new projects to launch since the SOE era.  Seriously, H1Z1, EverQuest Next, and Landmark were all under way before Daybreak, so the sum total of Daybreak initiatives looks like the spectacular failure of PlanetSide Arena.

Not only that, but the Marvel project might have been the most widely covered thing that Daybreak has ever announced.  My Google alerts about the company were lit up for days following the tease that they were making a Marvel IP based MMO.

Of course, what I was already calling Marvel Universe Online should have been a slam dunk.  DC Universe Online is already the most popular title in their stable and generates the most gross revenue. (EverQuest, so very cheap to maintain, and such a pillar of the genre, matches it for net profits though.)  Daybreak would have had to go really, really wrong to mess this up.

And yet, here we are.

Then there was the Q1 2022 quarterly report, where they noted income was up year over year, largely through acquisitions, the stock price was down, Daybreak is still the largest single contributor towards revenue, Ji Ham is still acting CEO, and that Innova, a Russian company, is no longer an issue, double pinkie swear.

There wasn’t a lot of new in there, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it, save for this slide.

EQ7 Q1 2022 – Looking Forward

You can see they are still betting on a boost from Amazon’s second age Middle-earth show and that they still want to invest in the things they have said they wanted to invest in previously.  At least H1Z1 isn’t being promoted quite so vigorously… and I say that only because they appear to have no plan for it, so they shouldn’t be promoting it.

So it goes.  The high hopes of 18 months ago seem to have fallen, sapped by the reality of Daybreak at the gaming industry in general.

Related:

CCP Promises “a very special offer” if you Link Multiple EVE Online Accounts to the Same Email Address

Do more with united accounts

-CCP marketing email

One of the push-backs on the price hike EVE Online players got last week was the fact that many players run multiple accounts.  CCP encourages that, and it means that however much your personal subscription rate went up, it can likely be multiplied by more than a single account.

That Omega costs more now

As part of the price hike CCP said they would look into doing something to relieve some of the burden on players who run multiple accounts.  This was something they brought up during the Fanfest keynote… for about 20 seconds… without any details, disappointing many.

Now some of us have received an email encouraging us to make sure all of our accounts are linked to the same email address by June 1st.  If we do so we will be eligible for “a very special offer.”

The message delivered

Of course, the whole thing hinges on the phrase “More detail to come!”

Nowhere does it suggest that the “special offer” will involve a price break or other incentive to run multiple accounts.  It doesn’t say it won’t be that.  It doesn’t say anything.

Still, why not?  I have six EVE Online accounts, two of which have never been anything besides alpha, and four of them were using the same email address already.  So I logged in to the EVE Online site and went to account management and updated the other two.  That probably means I will only get one my year in New Eden video at the end of the year, but it seemed like a sacrifice worth making.

What will the special offer be?  We will have to wait until next week to see.  My second account, which I opted not to continue paying for, lapses at the end of the next week, just before the CSM17 election starts, so it is up in the air if CCP will given me incentive enough to have two votes this time around.

Addendum: The Very Special Offer arrived.

The EverQuest II Varsoon Time Locked Expansion Server Launches Today

Check another one off of the EverQuest II roadmap that Daybreak gave us back in January, as the Varsoon time locked expansion server they promised for May is arriving today.

Varsoon today

Such servers are no longer anything new for EQ or EQII, but the team does continue to refine the formula with each launch.  This time around expansion unlocks will be on a 16 week timer, save for Desert of Flames, which is only worthy of 12 weeks.  That means you have 16 weeks to play through the content with the main lump of players who start today in order to experience the old content as it was meant to be, with that aforementioned lump of players all in the same expansion and zones.

They have posted a FAQ in the forums about the server.  One of the key items is that you need to be a Daybreak All Access subscriber in order to join in.  Special servers are for subscribers only.

Other tidbits from the FAQ:

What’s Happening on Varsoon?

Varsoon is a Time-Locked Expansion (TLE) server where expansions unlock automatically. This server will be very similar to the Kaladim TLE except that Varsoon will also be a Free-Trade server. Which means items that are normally heirloom, will be able to be traded with other players.

Return of the Hoods

The hoods and villages will be open for Varsoon, like Big Bend, Longshadow Alley, the Baubleshire and Nettleville. Quest content in these villages will remain changed, but the hoods themselves will be there to access and reminisce.

Overseer

Q: Will the Overseer System be available on Varsoon TLE server?
A: Yes! The Overseer System will be available on the Varsoon TLE server.

That latter is interesting.  It isn’t so much that the feature is completely out of bound for most of life of the game so far.  It is more a matter of wondering how they will itemize the rewards.  They can barely be bothered to update the reward system for the Overseer feature on the live servers, so you end up with stuff a couple of expansions out of date.  I assume they have done some work for this server, but will it change every 16 weeks or just muddle along in some semi-useful state?

In addition, Daybreak has also announced the Summer Jubilee, which will run from June 2nd until August 24th, and which will be an umbrella event that covers Tinkerfest, the Scorched Sky Celebration, and the Oceansfull Festival.

  • Tinkerfest — June 2, 2022 to June 15, 2022
  • Scorched Sky Celebration — June 30, 2022 to July 13, 2022
  • Oceansfull Festival — August 11, 2022 to August 24, 2022

I mention this because special rules servers, including Varsoon, will get their own version of the event.  Anyway, Bhagpuss has more to say about Jubilees than I do.

So, at some point today… I am sure the plan is noon Pacific time, but experience shows that later in the evening is more likely… the Varsoon server will unlock and the rush through the content will begin.

Action in Tenerifis

I managed to have some free time when a big op was planned on Saturday, so was able to actually see some action up in Tenerifis.  This was a planned op with a few objectives, so I was able to get on and ready before we undocked to get on a titan.

Getting on the titan for another op

The first on our list of things to do was to go babysit a coalition Fortizar that was set to deploy.  The bridge went up and we were sent on our way deeper into Tenerifis.

Off we go

We landed deeper in the region, ready for action.

Landing after the bridge

Once there we just had to hang around and wait for the timer to count down before it could then start its final 15 minute deployment.

A new Fortizar about to finish

That part of the op passed without incident… or without enemy interference.  Somebody in our fleet by the name of Smoky DaBud started shooting the Fortizar despite it being friendly and being told multiple times over coms to knock it off.  We were promised a Fortizar to shoot, but this wasn’t it.  Eventually our FC, Apple Pear, unable to get Smoky to stop, broadcast him as a target and we shot him instead.  Boom.

At least we got on one kill mail for the fleet.

Once the Fortizar was deployed, a titan jumped in to bridge us to our next location, 46DP-O, deep within Tenerifis.

There we took up station at one of the gates to pop any of the locals or their allies from getting in to interfere with what we had going on.

Battleships holding the gate

We were there to fly cover and guard against the inevitable heavy assault cruiser response fleet the locals would pull together to stop our fun.  Multiple missions were going on and we were only part of a couple bits and pieces.

The gate duty saw some targets, but you had to be fast to lock them in time.  This was one of those times when being closer to the data center in London helped, and being in California meant even when I was on the ball I rarely got a shot off before the target died.

Eventually they got a cyno up past the gate and brought in a Cerberus fleet to counter us.  We pulled back to defend the Apostles hitting the ihub.  There we engaged with the Cerbs as they tried to swoop in and get a capital kill.

Bubbles controlling the grid around the ihub

That saw some kills, but it was after that when the real action began.  Once the ihub was set our focus was on the staging Fortizar the enemy had in the system.  We setup with a couple other fleets, The Initiative in Navy Apocs again and an Eagle fleet that flew in from 1DQ1-A, to set a time on the Fort.

The setting for the final part of our fleet

There the

Cerbs showed up again, running in and out to try and pick off targets of opportunity, while our long range guns tried to pick them off.  They focused on a couple of the Apostles that were on grid with us, acting as logi for the battle ships.  Coordinating with the gunner in the Fort, they managed to pop one of the Apostles.

The Apostle blows up

That was a blow, and our most expensive loss of the day, zKillboard figuring it being worth 5.6 billion ISK.

The Cerbs went after a second Apostle that was on grid with us, pouring missiles in at it while our logi wing went off to try and help it.

Missiles incoming

We managed to keep that Apostle alive until it was free to jump out.

We then ran off to cover some titans that were on the field with us.  As we landed one of our hictors put up a bubble, which was not something you should do.  Bubbling your own caps gets you shot.

Titans in an unplanned bubble

We had a series of bad bubbles during this fleet and Apple Pear, who is often one of the more chill FCs, was starting to get pissed off at this.  Some days we can be a trying group to lead.

After that the Fortizar was reinforced and we started heading back towards home.

Armor fight when that timer is done

However, the enemy wasn’t keep to let us slip away unscathed and chased us for a bit, slowing down our extraction.

Piling up on a gate on the way out

There were some more losses as stragglers who were not aligned or who didn’t get out of bubbles got picked off.  But that only lasted a couple of systems before we were away and back to the Fortizar we had covered earlier.  There a titan gave us a bridge back to our staging.

Bridging back at the end of the op

And that was it.  All told the action lasted about 3.5 hours.  The battle report for the whole encounter over multiple systems ended up looking like this:

Battle Report Header

Again, the number of losses seems pretty small relative to some of the clashes back during World War Bee, but this is… mostly… just a SIGs and squads deployment against a secondary group from PAPI.

Things came out in our favor, but we were clearly pushing in force on the op, and there was action going on across several systems.  Nearly 20% of our ISK losses were that one Apostle and a Paladin that got popped as well.  Some people like to bring expensive toys on ops, but they do attract attention.

That was only one of the ops that went off over the weekend, and the map of Tenerifis may look even more bleak for the locals by the end of the week.