Category Archives: entertainment

LOTRO and the Great Server Merge

Way back in January we had the Lord of the Rings Online Producer’s Letter outlining the plans for the game in 2015.

Opposing the orcs and wargs of misfortune?

Opposing the orcs and wargs of misfortune?

I was personally somewhat underwhelmed by the plan for 2015, especially when compare with the Dungeons & Dragons Online Producer’s Letter, which seemed to be much more upbeat and full of promise.

Still, you take what you can get.   At the time Turbine was still pouring resources into the now failed Infinite Crisis MOBA.

Those “glass half-full” fans of Middle-earth can expect more attention to their game now that Turbine is past that and has no current prospects beyond doing iOS companion games for other people’s releases.

Anyway, back in January one of the promises was to deal with server populations.  Turbine wanted to get everybody onto more populated servers.  The pan will involved closing some servers as well as hardware upgrades and location changes for remaining servers.  This was described as a “large and complicated process.”  The basic gist was that some (or most) servers would be closed and players would be allowed to transfer to the remaining active servers, which was sort-of how Rift handled their server closures back when they were in their first post-launch contraction.

Of course, the team at Trion was clear up front that such transfers would be free while Turbine spent more than a week failing to clarify the transfer situation, dodging repeated direct questions about that fundamental issue while devoting time to addressing what I would uncharitably characterize as trivia by comparison.

Turbine eventually did indicate that the server transfers would not have an associated cost.  But you have to wonder, given how long it took them to answer that very simple “yes/no” question what they had in mind at the start.

There is a dev post about the transfers listing out the details.  It looks like ALL transfers will be free from whenever they start through October 1st, and after that the no-cost option will be limited to getting yourself, your kinship, and your characters off of a closed server.  That seems reasonable enough.  That just left us wondering which servers would be closed.

We now have an answer to that question.

US Servers Being Closed

  • Darrowdelf
  • Elendilmir
  • Firefoot
  • Imladris
  • Meneldor
  • Nimrodel
  • Riddermark
  • Silverlode
  • Vilya
  • Windfola

EU Servers Being Closed   

  • Anduin
  • Eldar
  • Estel
  • Gilrain
  • Maiar
  • Morthond
  • Snowbourn
  • Vanyar
  • Withywindle

That is the majority of the LOTRO servers, though as we read earlier this year via an insider leak, there was a great deal of optimism on how many people would play the game when it went free to play.

That leaves the following servers up and available as transfer targets:

Remaining US Servers

  • Arkenstone
  • Brandywine
  • Crickhollow
  • Gladden
  • Landroval

Remaining EU Servers

  • Belegaer
  • Evernight
  • Gwaihir
  • Laurelin
  • Sirannon

That leaves me in an odd situation.  I have characters on four servers, and three of them are getting closed. (Actually, I am in kinships on four servers, there might me a couple more characters scattered about.)  The gut reaction, I suppose, should be, “Yay! I can consolidate!”  Only I am pretty sure I would use up all the character slots available on the remaining server if I attempted to bring over every character from Firefoot, Nimrodel, and Silverlode.

And then there is the target issue.  While I have listed the four remaining US based servers, Brandywine, which I call home as well, has a special note:

Brandywine will be unavailable for incoming transfers for a time until population and load can be re-evaluated on new hardware

I am a bit surprised that Brandywine is the special case.  I thought Landroval was the cool kids server where all the special events happened.

Anyway, that is where we stand.  It looks like Turbine has done a lot of work to make transfers accessible.  Now we will have to see how things shake out once they turn transfers on and let people move.  I might let others rush in while I wait and watch for a bit.

Project: Gorgon – Kickstarter Success at Last!

It feels like success on this front has been a long time coming.  Eric Heimberg first rolled out a Kickstarter campaign for Project: Gorgon back in October of 2012 with a goal of financing art and audio assets.  The campaign did not make its goal, but Eric and Sandra Powers, his wife and co-developer, vowed to carry on, opening up a freely playable development version of the game for people to try.

ProjectGorgonLogo

On the strength of that, last year he launched another campaign with an even bigger target.  I was pessimistic due to some aspects of how the campaign was handled.  It did not come close to reaching its goal, but by the the development version of the game had grown into quite a viable demo.  You could tell this was going to turn into something, Kickstarter or not.

So when the third Kickstarter campaign launched last week, I was feeling nervous.  While the amount being asked for was small when compared to similar MMO projects… asking for $20K in a market where Shroud of the Avatar, Camelot Unchained, and Crowfall all ended up well past a million dollars… I was still worried that the campaign might miss as its predecessors did.

But this campaign seemed to reap the groundwork laid by the past failures.  While the first time around simple awareness of the project was an issue, this past week there was coverage of Project: Gorgon across at least the MMO segment of the gaming press, enthusiastic blog coverages (Syp in particular seems quite taken), and even some industry names backing the project.

And so it was that yesterday, with 22 days left to go in the campaign, Project: Gorgon hit its funding goal at last.  That seems like it was fast enough, yet it feels like it was also nearly three years in getting there.  A big congratulations is due to the Project: Gorgon team!

Of course, with success comes new challenged.  With a Kickstarter campaign more money is better, but to encourage people… and remind them that the whole thing isn’t done yet… you need stretch goals.  And so we have two stretch goals for the campaign.

I like the first one, as it is aimed straight at giving backers something special.

$25,000 Stretch Goal – Unique Backer Mount

  • An exclusive backer mount skin will be created and available to players once they obtain the horseback riding skill in-game. All backers at the Horseback Explorer level or higher will receive the mount as soon as available.

That seems modest, doable, and worthwhile.  I wonder if that will motivate some backers to move up to the $75 Horseback Explorer level.

The next stretch goal is… bigger.

$30,000  Stretch Goal – Exclusive Backer Character Race: Dwarves!

The Dwarves are stout, dour subterranean people and Kickstarter Backers will have exclusive access to them during the alpha and beta period! Kickstarter backers below the Patron level will be able to unlock the Dwarven class through in-game objectives, while those at or above the Patron level will have them automatically unlocked once available.

The personality of Dwarves varies greatly as some are introverts, some can be a bore, and some are precision craftsmen, while others solely decide to rely on their exceptional strength. There is one thing they all have in common, they love the underground and it’s the only place they truly feel at home.

Dwarven players will be able to unlock the secrets of the ancient race, they include:

  • The ability to track your position underground,
  • Spells that let you hide in stone momentarily,
  • A combat stance that makes you unmovable,
  • Long-forgotten weapon-crafting techniques.

These secrets come with a dark side, however, for their patron god Ormorek is also the god of bitterness, self-doubt, and lost innocence. In ages past, Dwarves were their own worst enemies, and players who unearth these ancient techniques will have to battle with ancient foes — both within and without.

An additional race represents a big investment as so many art related assets then have to be scaled and tuned to yet another body style.  That seems like a pretty big item for another five thousand dollars.  But that is just my view from the outside.

Anyway, the campaign continues.  Go check it out if you have not so far, or play the game as it stands today to see that it is a real thing.  There is still more than 20 days left to go and the pledges look to be continuing to come in.

It is Blaugust and You Are Already Late!

It is that time again.  August is upon us, the month that historically brings the least news and sees the fewest game launches.  It is hot out, the Euros are all on vacation, True Detective is wrapping up, and it just feels like it might be the right time to take a break from blogging.  Who would even notice, right?

So let’s hold a blogging event!

blaugust_2015_logo

Belghast over at Tales of the Aggronaut is going to try to push all willing to try and post every single day during the news and interest drought that is August.

There are, of course, rules.  You can read them all here, but to summarize you have to make a minimum effort post on your blog every day this month, and then you have to link up your post over in the Blaugust forum on Anook.com.

Of course, here it is, the first day of August, and if you’re just reading about Blaugust now, you’re already late!

But don’t worry, you can catch up.  Or, if you’re quick, you can still post today and not be behind at all.

I am not sure how I will fare this time around.  Last year I ground through without much of a problem.  This year though… well, it is still August, school is starting soon, work is busy, I have a summons for jury duty next week and a low number which ensures I’ll be spending time at the courthouse.  We shall see.

Hopefully we’ll have some Blaugust group topics for people to dig into.  Or, if you want another source of help, WordPress.com is having a Blogging 101 event this month as well, and will send you a topic to write about every weekday.

Anyway, look at all the people who have signed on for the event.

July in Review

The Site

The site got its 25,000th comment back in June, which I mentioned on Twitter at the 24,999 mark, and then totally forgot to follow up on.

So now, a month later than anticipated (if only by me), I can declare that the 25,000th comment was left by Silverangel of Kitty Kitty Boom Boom who left a tangential comment about the size qualities of .gif files on a post about 64-bit gaming!

But that is the way blogging frequently is.  You can write 2,000+ words on a topic, include one sentence about a some unrelated item, and THAT sentence will be what gets a comment.  I find this phenomena hilarious, though I must also admit I am frequently that person as well, making the essentially off-topic comments on a post because something catches my eye.

Anyway, there is no prize for this, just a hastily created achievement unlocked graphic.

Because achievements!

Because achievements!

Of course I saved in .gif format.

One Year Ago

There was a site put up by eBay about game return on investment.  Unsurprisingly, it indicated that used games are a deal in that regard, so you should go buy some on eBay.

There was the passing of yet another Steam Summer Sale.

SOE forgot to pay their domain name registration.  Meanwhile, Landmark was available for a deep discount after the Steam Summer Sale, leading to speculation about its future.

SuperData Research was listing out the Top Subscription MMOs while not defining what they really meant by the term.

Anarchy Online introduced a PLEX-like currency, GRACE.

The community manager for LOTRO was busy telling raiders and PvMP players that they weren’t getting any new content because they added up to less than 10% of the player population.

I finished up Pokemon Y on the 3DS.

In my attempt at the loremaster achievement in WoW I ran through Desolace, Feralas, and Thousand Needles one week, Felwood and Un’goro Crater the next.  Then it was Winterspring, Swamp of Sorrows, and the Blasted Lands, the Cape of Stranglethorn, and the final bit of the Eastern Kingdoms.  I was on a roll.

in EVE Online we were commuting to Delve, where maybe there was going to be a war, and chasing Brave Newbies around (then getting pipe bombed) when there wasn’t anything going on.  That was back when we owned Delve.  Fights went on sporadically for a while and many a Rupture was sacrificed simply try a fresh doctrine.  So many Ruptures.  Apocs did better.

Meanwhile the Crius expansion hit New Eden, making industry better… it did get better, right?

In EverQuest, on the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server, the vote to unlock the Underfoot expansion failed, making it the second expansion ever to get voted down, the first being Gates of Discord nearly two years before.

With that I was wondering what other MMOs might go for the retro nostalgia server thing.  Not WoW, that is for sure.

I was also on about housing in MMOs, what has really worked for me and what has fallen flat and why.  This included some projection as to what garrisons might end up being in WoW.

Our epic game of Civilization V saw expansionism and direct conflict with the Aztec empire.

Five Years Ago

The late Paul the octopus created the largest page view day ever in the history of the blog, later to be surpassed by Cats playing Patty Cake and Alamo.

I was told I write like Cory Doctorow… or maybe Ian Flemming.

My daughter was Banned from Club Penguin.  Tears were shed, lessons were learned.

EverQuest II Extended, the free to play EverQuest II, was announced.  I wondered whether trying to play it without paying at all would be a challenge in and of itself.  Meanwhile, there was some evidence that EQII accounts had value.  That stunning news no doubt got them going on the authenticator they announced at Fan Faire this year.

I completed 100 levels in The Agency: Covert Ops.  I was unemployed, what can I say?

StarCraft II launched.  I still haven’t bought a copy.  I’ll wait for the battle chest in a couple of years.  It isn’t like I am going to be very good at it this time around.  I was barely adequate at the original.

Hulkageddon III ended, and it even had a video wrap-up.  And then PLEX was made transportable in space.  I wonder if they waited for Hulkageddon to be over for that?

In another Summer hiatus season, the instance group started another run at LOTRO.  This time it was Bung who was out, having the dual issues of moving and having a new baby to care for.  Those of us in Middle-earth hung out with old friends.  That put off deciding who my main character was, by letting me roll another one!

Blizzard gave up on some of their RealID plans thanks to much public kvetching.  Shortly there after, the ESRB came out against Real ID as being bad for consumer security while proving they too were bad for consumer security.

Blizzard revamped Parental Controls again.  As much as I have griped about them, they are better than any comparable controls I have seen, even in games that offer that as a feature.

World of Warcraft Magazine issue #2 showed up.  Issue #4 would arrive 9 months later.  No word on issue #5 as of now.

And, finally, somebody was trying to make yet another flying car that failed to live up to our expectations.  Have none of these scientists ever seen The Jetsons?

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogrolls, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. The First EverQuest II Progression Server Polls and Some Details
  2. SOE Finally Gets a REAL Server Status Page
  3. A Call for Space Carebears
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Next WoW Expansion to be Announced August 6th, Just After Subscriber Numbers Get Released…
  6. Learning to do the Fozzie Sov Shuffle
  7. Quote of the Day – The Dreaded Rear Admiral
  8. Quote of the Day – Smart Money
  9. Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime MMO Ennui Blues
  10. EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Servers Today
  11. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  12. Sheep Stole My Mining Cart

Search Terms of the Month

angles of attack audiobook torrent
[Don’t be that person]

when will flying drop in wod july 2015
[I’d say you answered your own question]

amateur money porno
[I think that is one of those “pick two” situations]

empires and allies zynga scew up
[Yes indeed!]

eve online horrible
[Well, yes, but it is shared adversity experience]

EVE Online

Fozzie sov came and New Eden began to burn… or sizzle… or whatever it is that happens when you turn on an Entosis Link module.  Pulsating within a little green circle?  Anyway, there are a lot of systems in play according to Timer Board. (400+ as of the moment I am writing this.)

Reavers have been out hitting distant regions to test the new system while Pure Blind has been an ongoing fight due to the fact that almost nobody in The Imperium lives there.  Still not sure if the sov changes are better or are simply going to make more alliances collapse in exhaustion.

EverQuest II

The Time Locked Expansion servers opened up, and I rolled up on the PvE flavor, Stormhold.  So far, so good.  It isn’t the old days, but it is different enough from the Live servers to be an experience unto itself.  There is a lesson in this.

Anyway, I have a level 11 SK in Freeport, am having a good time, and am looking for a guild, since there is no way I am going to create one myself.

Minecraft

Minecraft remains a thing I have been playing.  There is, as I mentioned, a certain peacefulness to the game.  My daughter stopped playing and now only watches me over my should now and again, until it becomes too frustrating to bear, then she has to walk away.  I don’t do things the right way.  That is what it is like being 13.

War Thunder

This sort of slipped off of my rotation.  I think Minecraft and EverQuest II ate up the bit of time that I had been devoting to the game.  Also, I was motivate by the daily prize thing for a bit, as at Day 25 there was a possibility of getting something useful.  Instead I got a gambling token thing that was pretty much no value.  My gut response was a bit negative.

World of Warcraft

I haven’t logged in since the week that the 6.2 patch went live, so I should probably take WoW off of my “Games I Play” list and move it to “Games I Watch.”  There hasn’t been any frustration or a wave of “I’m so sick of this game!” or anything, just zero motivation to log in.

Coming Up

Activision-Blizzard results for Q2 2015 will be announced on August 4th, followed by the next WoW expansion on August 6th.  The subscription numbers they report will likely determine whether or not Blizzard felt they needed some immediate good news and/or a distraction in August rather than waiting for BlizzCon.

And it is a good thing that is coming, because next month is also Blagaust and we’ll need stuff to post about, and those two dates will be grist for the blogging mill!  We can’t count on Derek Smart to keep us entertained all the time!

Meanwhile, a friend at work has been talking about Diablo III, so I started poking my nose into that a bit.  We’ll see if it goes anywhere in August.

And then I have some new projects coming up at work, my daughter goes back to school in the middle of the month, and I have been summoned for Jury duty as well, so it might end up being a tough month for posts.

Minecraft and the Accumulation of Material

I am beginning to see why Notch chose the name Minecraft.

At least in survival mode, I spend some time building or exploring or farming or whatever, but I spend more time mining than anything else.  There is something of a Zen serenity to it, just digging away under ground.  I can put on an audio book, head down to the mine and swing that pick axe for hours and feel content.

Of course, that generates a lot of raw material.

That is a lot of harvested stone...

That is a lot of harvested stone…

My castle began spawning more and more chests as I stored away piles of cobblestone and other materials.  Of course I had to store it away, all of it can be used as raw material for some future building project.  I’m not even sure how you can get rid of things in the game, aside from dumping them in lava.

As I accumulated, I began to think about starting a new building project.  I had been out exploring a bit more and decided that this time I would head due east, into the sunrise, start a new camp, and build a newer, bigger castle complex, leaving the old one behind for now.

Back view of the castle at sunset

Back view of the castle at sunset

So I loaded up on cobblestone and started building the eastward road.  Building was the optimal term, as to the immediate east of my castle, over a single ridge, was a wide, low valley.   So I essentially built a cobblestone bridge across the valley, two blocks wide so I wouldn’t fall off, with regular side pedestals for torches.  For a while I was expending cobblestone at quite a rate.

And then I hit the next set of hills and my road building turned into tunneling and cobblestone and dirt began to accumulate again.  And as I dug further and further, it became more and more annoying to run back home, or at least back to one of my shelters along the route.  So I decided that it shouldn’t just be a road, but a railroad.  And so another mine cart track project was born.

Riding into the sunset

Riding into the sunset

When I started that I was worried that I would run out of gold bars for making powered track to keep my mine cart rolling.  However, the resource that quickly began to dwindle was iron.  For every powered track your mine cart can roll over a flat track somewhere between 27 and 32 blocks before it starts to slow.  Or so I have read, given that you launch your cart with three closely spaces powered track segments to get the cart up to full speed.

I thought I had a lot of iron, and then I started building rails.

Eventually I hit a mountain plateau area just as I was getting very, very low on iron.  I decided to stop there, make a new base camp, and then start building… and mining.

My new compound

My new compound

I rode back to the castle, put together a mine cart with a chest, filled it with cobblestone and my last bits of iron, and pushed it onto the powered rails… only to watch it slow down and stop halfway to the next powered segment.  That 27 to 32 estimate only seems to apply to carts you’re riding in, not cargo mine carts.

So I got into a mine cart of my own, launched down the track, and basically pushed the other cart down the line.

There I unloaded, built a bit of a perimeter, hung out the usual array of torches, then used my remaining iron to build tools to go mining.  A new mine was born, and I dug down to level 12 and began pushing shafts off in search of minerals… primarily iron.

However, things were not going well.  There was a lot of lava where I hit level 12, which meant working around hot zones.  Meanwhile, I wasn’t finding much iron at all.  I did start finding some emeralds, which I had never run into in the wild before, but iron was scarce.  I started using cobblestone picks to dig, saving my remaining iron versions for times when I might need it.

Feeling like I needed some better plan, I went to Google to search for where the best level was to mine for iron ore.  The consensus seemed to be that for straight up shaft based mining, level 12-16 was still the sweet spot.  Just dig three high shafts every third block and you’ll find a lot of stuff.

But there was an alternate suggestion.  If you did not want to dig a mine, caves were offered up as an alternative, less work option for iron.  You can spot the ore and only have to dig selectively rather than burrowing constantly, and wearing out your tools in the process.

And, as it turned out, caves were something I had access to in abundance.  As I was digging my way down to level 12 I had to cross a wide underground cavern.  So I can up digging at level 12 and began exploring that… and by exploring I mean looking for veins of ore and putting torches everywhere.

Down in the cavern

Down in the cavern

You can see my cobblestone bridge across the cavern at the very top of that screen shot, with the torch on it.

And, sure enough I was able to spot quite a bit of iron ore on the walls of the main cavern as well as its many side passages.  My iron crises seemed to slacken for the time being.  Of course, being in an open cavern meant dealing with friends.

Another zombie coming at me

Another zombie coming at me

Zombies seemed to pour out of the darkness at me from time to time, in groups of four or more, accompanied by the occasional sniper skeleton.  And I could hear more zombies through the walls.  Sound is really an important thing in Minecraft.  There are a lot of games I can play with the sound off, but Minecraft isn’t one of them.

I also spotted some moss covered stone on one side of the cave.  I remembered seeing something about that, and at least it was something different, so I started digging my way up to harvest that… and as I did I opened up a room full of zombies.  They came pouring of of the room and I had to run away and build a wall in order to catch my breath and heal up.

Fortunately, they seemed to get hung up in the various water obstacles in the cavern, so I was able to work my way back, slaughtering them as I went.  Eventually I worked my way back into the room, put up torches, and found myself confronted with a monster spawner.

I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and it looked ready to unleash some more zombies, so I hit it with my pick… and it went poof.   I was left in a room with a green moss floor and a chest.

The chest on the mossy floor

The chest on the mossy floor

I looted the chest, which had an enchantment book, a saddle, and a music disc along with some raw materials.  So my first encounter with a number of things.

Enchanted book

Enchanted book

From there I kept searching for ore, and managed to build up a stockpile of iron.  I should be able to mine for a while.

So I surveyed my new area, which felt so far away from our original camp.  It was on a hill, with snowy peaks to one side, a forest across a wide river on another, and swamp visible in the distance.  More biomes to explore.

The lake in my front yard

The lake in my front yard

And then I decided to see exactly how far I had gone.  Minecraft keeps all sorts of stats on what you have done in a given world, another reason to love the game.  Among the stats is the distance you have traveled by mine cart.

Some distances

Some distances… it is the falling that will get you

So I got my mine cart out on the track, noted down the number in the stats, then road it all the way back to my original castle and looked at the number again, then did some subtraction… then put the numbers in the right order and did some subtraction again… and ended up with 0.91 km.

910 meters.  A little over half a mile.  About a 10 minute walk at a modestly determined pace.

And my rail line to the village from last time is only 460 meters, or roughly half the distance.

It is a big world and I have barely been anywhere at all in it.

But there happens to be a village off in the distance from my new base.

Roof lines in the distance

Roof lines in the haze

So I will have to head there soon.

 

Next WoW Expansion to be Announced August 6th, Just After Subscriber Numbers Get Released…

Blizzard has announced that they will be doing a big reveal of the next expansion for World of Warcraft at Games at Gamescom on August 6th.

Mana for a slow news day...

Mana for a slow news day…

So maybe August won’t be such a slow news month after all.  That will give people plenty to talk about, analyze, and project their wishes and dreams upon.

The venue is a bit odd.  Not to dis Gamescom, but this sort of thing is usually reserved for a BlizzCon keynote speech, when all the faithful are focused on their game of choice and it can serve as a lead-in to a whole range of panels to dig deeper into the details.

But really, it isn’t the venue we should be thinking about, it is the date.  Aside from an unfortunate correlation with a 70th anniversary (who will complain that Blizzard is upstaging that on purpose?) and my parent’s wedding anniversary (go ahead and upstage that, please!), the date seems set to come in just after we get the Activision-Blizzard quarterly results for the second quarter of 2015 and, most importantly, the WoW subscription numbers that will come with it.  That hits on August 4th according to the investor relations site.

For the first quarter of 2015 the subscription numbers were down to 7.1 million.  Now there is a rush to get the next expansion announced early in August, a slow news month, well before BlizzCon, and just after the quarterly report?

I love me a good conspiracy theory, and this one has all the makings of such.

Is Blizzard trying to drum up some good news and sugarplum visions of the future to offset bad news on subscriber front?  Is this Blizzard in a panic or not?

What do you think the subscription numbers will come in at?  Stable at 7 million?  6.5 million?  6 million?  5 million?  Less?  More?  Here, have a poll!

[Added after the post went live.]

I guess we know what the WoW panels at BlizzCon will be focused on at least.

Never Enough Jump Clones

This past weekend I finished up Advanced Infomorph Psychology, a good 20 day skill that got me my 10th jump clone in EVE Online.

I love me some jump clones, that is for sure.

That means I can be flying around in space in one clone and then, upon docking up, “jump” to and occupy any of those 10 clones I have sitting around in other stations.  It is a handy way to get around New Eden.

Yes, there is that 19 hour wait between jumps. (Of course I trained up that skill as well!  A 24 hour wait was too much, but 19, or even 20 hours, is just about right.)  But that means I can jump at the end of the evening and have the timer set for another jump by the start of the next.

And what do I do with all of those jump clones?

Well, I keep one at the coalition staging system so I can jump there to join fleets.

I keep another one at our alliance staging system in case I want to join a TNT fleet operation.  That would require me to log into TNT Jabber, something I have been very lax about lately, but I could if I wanted.  I just tend to be deployed out with Reavers, so what goes on at the alliance level is generally pretty far away.

I have a clone in the system I now rat in down in Tribute, about a dozen jumps from the alliance staging system.

There is one in Jita, so I can jump there, buy things, and have them shipped out to null sec, or partake in the many great opportunities being tastefully advertised in local.

I have another one tucked up in Amarr space in one of the university stations that sells skills, in case I need to buy yet another skill. (Current count: 307)  That clone also has a set of +4 attribute implants, since attributes are still a thing for the moment.  So even if I don’t need a new skill, I often just jump to that clone if I won’t be on for a couple days to boost skill training speed.

I have another one in the Amarr Navy Logistics station one jump from Amarr, which happens to be a station where I can install jump clones, having worked my way up to an 8+ standing with both the Amarr and Caldari Navies back in the day.

Then there is one down in Delve, with a ship, that was pre-positioned back during a Reaver deployment in case we got called upon to go assist Pizza with something.  Not sure I need that one any more.  Pizza still holds NOL-M9 down there, where the clone is, but not a lot else.

I have a clone in Fountain, in 4-EP12, along with a Caracal and a pile of ammunition.  I’d fly the Caracal out on a whim, but there is too much stuff in the station for it to carry.  So I keep the clone there to keep the ammo listed on the market.  Anybody need 200K rounds of Antimatter Charge L (from the Baltec fleet era) or 184K rounds of Scourge torpedoes (same era, but siege bomber fleet doctrine)?

And, finally, I have a jump clone in B-R5RB that has been sitting in that station, along with Dominix I was flying, since the great battle down there about a year and a half back.

N3 titans scattered about

I was one of those little dots chasing that Avatar titan

I keep that one for sentimental reasons.  I nearly collected the ship back when The Initiative held the system and we deployed down there to help them back in January, but never quite got around to it.  Now the system is in hostile hands and it seems unlikely that we’ll ever own that station again.  But stranger things have happened.

So those were my nine clones, sitting around in stations all over New Eden, plus the clone I am currently using.

Now I have one more clone I can place.  Of course, I don’t HAVE to go put it anywhere, I could hold it aside for a rainy day or some sudden need.  But there happens to be a window of opportunity with the alignment of a couple of events.

The first is that the Reavers happen to be down in Curse to play Entosis Link games with the locals just to see what we can get away with.  The other is an “accidental” change to how jump clones work, announced by CCP yesterday.

Apparently they broke the standings requirement for jump clones.  Previously, in order to install a jump clone in an NPC controlled station, you had to have a standing of 8.0 or greater with that corporation.  As I mentioned above, I worked for quite a while on Amarr and Caldari Navy missions way back in the day in order to be able to install jump clones at need in high sec.

Now though, according to CCP:

Before the release, minimum standings of +8.0 were required with an NPC corporation in order for a pilot to be able to install a jump clone in their stations. This is no longer the case, and capsuleers can freely create jump clones in whichever NPC station they choose to do so.

So jump clones installation for everybody.  Go use it quick before CCP makes up its collective mind about whether or not to “fix” this.  They seem to content to let it stand, but it is also summer and the vacation mindset might be influencing their view.  They might sober up or the cold might set in again and put them in a more stern state of mind.

I might have been angry about having ground all those missions if I had just finished them last week, but I did that seven years ago and can barely remember how long it took.  It does seem to put paid to organizations that were allowing people to make jump clones, and there is the remaining question about what use are standings now.

Anyway, that means I ought to be able to install that tenth clone down in Curse in one of the NPC stations with cloning services.  And then, at some future date, late on a week night, I can fly out, one by one, the ships I left behind from that deployment to Curse we had nearly two years ago.  Not that there is anything of great value there.  Just a couple of Harpies, a Burst, and a Ferox along with some ammo and fittings.

I think I will do the same with that jump clone down in Delve.  I’ve always been the good soldier and pre-deployed ships and clones where told.  The problem is that I appear to be in the minority on that front, and so every operation needs to start out of the coalition staging system in Deklein.  And since the destination is always a secret when we set out, we end up flying for an hour and wind up five jumps from my jump clone and doctrine ship, which continue to gather dust.