Tags: Civilization V
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Friday night we got ourselves together in the designated Google hangout in order to return to our game of Civilization V.
Mattman, Potshot, and I were ready to go, but Loghound had some guests to evict or some such, so we got the game warmed up and ready while he set about pointing people towards his front door.
Potshot restored the game from the previous week and Mattman and I were able to join just fine, so things looked good. Loghound just had to join and we would be set.
And then somebody else showed up in our game. Potshot kicked him. And then he returned, taking one of the AI seats. He got kicked again. Somebody else showed up, just to be kicked. Potshot fiddled around, changed himself to one of the AI seats, couldn’t figure out how to get back to the Ottomans again, and we all had to leave and restart the game.
While setting things back up, Potshot ensured that the game was flagged as private. We joined back up. And the parade of strangers continued to flow into our game, just to be kicked.
Later we figured out that if the leader clicked the not-very-obvious ready button, it locks down the computer players and then people can no longer just appear in your game. Until that point we were kept busy calling out people to kick.
Finally, Loghound secured his domestic situation… or abandoned it, I am not sure we actually heard what came to pass… got into the game and we were ready to pick up at turn 101.
Our first order of business was to destroy the Mongols. Our discussion in the hangout revolved around Loghound, having started as a close neighbor of the Mongols, being involved in a protracted and bloody conflict with Ghengis Khan to the point that he was falling way behind us in almost all civilization measures.
So we resolved to all declare war on the Mongols. Potshot, Mattman, and Loghound were all in the vicinity of the Mongols, while I was somewhat out of the picture. I knew where one city was, so I sent some archers there, though who they eventually sided with isn’t clear.
I managed to get a couple of shots in and even managed to capture a Mongol civilian. When informed that it had, in its turn, been captured from Japan (Loghound), and asked if I wanted to return it, I clicked “no” and remained quiet when, later, Loghound was wondering aloud where his captured settler had ended up. Well, it was only a worked when I got it.
The Mongols were destroyed and the spoils of their civilization was divided up amongst the chief participants in the war.
I got nothing… except that worker. Though, with the war taking place decade of travel away from my territory, I didn’t exactly put my economy on a war footing either, choosing instead focus on building infrastructure and the occasional wonder.
And then we moved into the period of the long peace.
Well, for some of us. Loghound felt he was far enough behind that he needed to continue his martial ways in order to play a role in world affairs, so remained in almost constant conflict with the Mayans or one of the city states throughout the evening.
Religions were founded. I spread the word about Neo-Zoroastrianism to my protesting neighbors, leaving my pamphlets wedged into their door jams when they refused to answer the door.
Otherwise I was in a bit of a tight spot. While I came out of the war flush in gold and happiness, with a booming economy, an efficient education system, and a culture that was the envy of all the neighbors, I was pretty much boxed in to my own little corner of Pangea. I eventually found a place to plant an additional city, but that was about the extent of my expansion. All of the other civilizations had more cities than I, and in the fullness of time I expect my little empire will be eclipsed. Even Loghound has more potential at the moment. His cities will grow, if he lets them. Mine are already reaching their capacity.
As we wrapped things up at turn 175, which put us at midnight, my little corner of the world looked like this.
The demographics charted showed me out in front in all but one key category, land area.
I am efficient, productive, technologically advanced, well armed, and trapped in a small area. What does Germany usually do in such situations?
Plus, just playing Sim City in a group setting isn’t exactly thrilling. It might be time for some conflict. I hear Hong Kong is lovely this time of year.
Siphon Extortion – Working as Intended April 15, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Null Sec
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Our alliance chief sent out a pastebin over coms the other day featuring a “nice towers, shame if something happened to them” extortion approach. (Name replaced with SG for “some guy,” which is his approximate level of notoriety.)
The whole thing went on and on with lots of threats and bluster and claims that TNT is the laughing stock of the CFC… a position I always thought FA… or maybe SMA… held. But whatever.
This bit of comedy was enabled by the addition of small deployable structures in Rubicon, specifically the mobile siphon unit.
I sort of felt that the mobile siphon unit showed up a bit late in the EVE Online timeline. Imagine how much use they would have gotten back in the days when “moon goo” was a primary source of income? Instead siphons ended up on the scene over two months after even the Goons decided to join the null sec slumlord trend and launched the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere. That, plus the Brothers of Tangra and Northern Associates renter space now represents more than 900 systems (over a quarter of null, which clocked in at 3,524 systems the last I heard) and colors a pretty large swath of null sec space on the influence map.
Moons still get mined though, and they do provide income. And money drives conflict, so this extortion attempt was born.
We were, naturally enough, not buying what this guy was selling. Hell, we get a reward when we find siphons on our moons. Seed more of them, I’ll start looking in earnest. I could always use a bit of extra ISK. Add in the fact that he is in the Mordu’s Angels noob feeder corp… we’re actively fighting them right now according to the recent CEO update… and it seemed unlikely to succeed from the get go. Giving your foes money when you do not have to is rank foolishness.
Such is life in EVE Online.
Coming Soon: Alamo teechs u 2 play LOTRO April 15, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
With the announcement that Lord of the Rings Online will be introducing Beornings, the shape shifters/skin changers from The Hobbit, to the game, it can only be a matter of time before Alamo, teacher of all thing durid in World of Warcraft brings his lessons to Middle-earth.
The draft so far starts off with:
ALAMOES COMPLEET BERONIGS INSTURCKSHUN
1) OK, Sum beronigs is bare
2) Tehm whos bare, can B 4 tank:
ONLY BERONIGS DONT HAF SUM PEEPS IN THE HEAD AND A GUNZ LOL!
We will have to wait and see how that develops.
Meanwhile, the actual announcement around Beronigs… erm… Beornings… is pretty sparse so far. The actual quote from the Producer’s Letter:
Of Bears and Bees
Recently we confirmed that LOTRO will be releasing a new class this year. I’m pleased to announce that this class is the Beorning! This will be LOTRO’s first class since the Mines of Moria expansion introduced the Warden and Rune-keeper.
Beornings are noted in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a race of Man, with close origins to the Rohirrim and the Men of Dale. Most Men are not shape-changers, so we envision the Beorning as a light armor casting class with a focus on control of the battlefield. When a Beorning gathers sufficient rage, they may transform into a mighty bear.
We’ll be sharing early class designs with the new Players Council. Expect more details later this year, as the class progresses through alpha and beta.
A light armor casting class that may, upon building up sufficient rage, transform into a mighty bear? Alamo may need a re-write. Or maybe Turbine does. I am not sure that we have enough information to make sense of this new class yet. Is it really a class, or a race, or both?
Does LOTRO need a new class? Is this a way to get the current player base to play through old content, and maybe to sell a few of their “on again, off again” Gift of the Valar level boosts, in this year of no expansion? (Though you still have to play through Moria onward even with the boost.)
Of course, as a casual Lifetime subscriber who keeps playing through the original 2007 content, I might not be Turbine’s key demographic target. I was happy enough with the quirky old class structure and didn’t think the game needed to go to a specs and talent trees format that seemed to be copied from a 2006 version of WoW. But the kids seem to like it, and it isn’t like I am spending any money on LOTRO these days.
Is a new class, plus a few high end content updates, enough to keep LOTRO fresh in 2014?
Or will the Beornings be the “Cousin Oliver” to the “Brady Bunch” that the rest of the classes form?
And what will the people who complained about loremasters casting more magic in pursuit of a single quest than occurred in all of the Lord of the Rings say about a mass of Beornings appearing in the fields of Middle-earth? Bears, bears bears?
World of Darkness Goes Dark April 14, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: CCP, Dust 514, World of Darkness
CCP Games today announced that they have cancelled the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online (MMO) game project in development in their Atlanta, GA studio.
As a result of the change, 56 employees of the Atlanta studio have lost their jobs. Some team members have been offered roles on other projects inside the company, and CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.
The remaining team in Atlanta will focus on games in the EVE Universe, which will mark the first time since 2006 that the entirety of CCP will be working on a single universe.
Well, that about wraps that up I guess. This is the third and final cut, the World of Darkness team having faced layoffs back in 2011 and then again last year.
CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and had been working on an MMO version of the IP seriously starting in 2009. Since then though, little has surfaced about the project aside from bad new.
I suppose this answers the question from earlier this year about what software was “derecognized” as an asset by CCP as part of their 2013 financial report.
CCP is solely focused on EVE Online and spin-offs such as DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie. We won’t get to see what CCP could do in the realm of fantasy now.
In the gaming world Zombies continue to rule, while vampire fortunes seem to be in a downward spiral. I blame Stephenie Meyer.
Addendum: But CCP is still thinking about what to do with World of Darkness.
Pantheon: Mostly Fallen… for Now April 14, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
Tags: Brad McQuaid, Kickstarter
A few weeks back I took a look at the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and the state of affairs since it failed to meet its goal on Kickstarter.
I was particularly interested in how crowd funding would work in and environment where there was no critical mass to achieve. My guess was that people would feel differently about just handing money over versus pledging money in a system where it would not be taken unless some minimum value was achieved.
The Kickstarter campaign was pledged $460,657 from 3,157 potential backers. As of last night the post-Kickstarter campaign stood a this:
That is half as many people pledging, and they are pledging almost a third less per person than during the Kickstarter campaign. And the numbers have not been growing substantially since shortly after the Kickstarter ended, which lead to this announcement on the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen site yesterday.
In the past few months we have seen some of the most passion bubble up from the Internet than we have in some time; all for an idea of a game we all want to see happen. It has been an exciting time for all of us.
Over the first month of development through crowdfunding, we’ve been able to achieve what was needed to be done in order to gain investor interest. That is, we’ve shown there is interest in a game like Pantheon, we’ve built the term sheets and business plan, and now have a prototype we can show to potential investors.The downside now is that our initial resources have depleted, which regrettably means that development is going to slow down until finances can be secured. It’s not something we want to do by any means, but as we cannot guarantee paychecks to the team, they each need to be able to spend time on other things to pay the bills.Once we’re able to get that level of funding we can then secure much-needed studio space and be able to pick up the pace of production dramatically. We are deeply thankful to this community for getting Pantheon to this critical point, where we have been able to put together an attractive package to present to potential investors.
In the interim, any donations made at this point until further notice will be going directly to maintaining the website during this phase, and not towards development.
So there it sits. You can now donate to keep the web site functioning while they seek further financing, but work on the actual game has pretty much ceased. I suppose one must commend them for honesty, but it does make it difficult to see how Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen will progress from here. A failed Kickstarter campaign followed by an unsuccessful attempt to crowd fund directly cannot be helping their case.
Is this the end for the game?
Landmark – In Which I Claim April 11, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
My seven days of Landmark wind up today, so I thought I would use a little bit of the remaining time to take one more look.
My main goal was just to stake a claim, just because I could. I was prompted by Liore’s guide to doing just that, because I realized I had all the materials. So why not? So I got on last night, after the update and the downtime and look for a place to call my own. First, I made my claim flag.
Then I started looking around for a likely spot.
I wasn’t all that picky, but I also did not want to wander too far from the spires and the crafting stations… and apparently neither did anybody else. So finding a claim turned out to be a little tricky. I did end up being able to wedge myself into a spot between all the buffer zones.
You can see the amount of buffer SOE gives claims… that is the red zone… relative to the size of an actual claim… the little orange cubes. But they didn’t quite squeeze me out.
Then it was time to figure out how to do something with my little patch of Landmark. Initially I was not too impressed.
How long would it take to construct something using tiny little blocks? Then I figured out that I could make the blocks bigger with the scroll wheel. I discovered this by accident, trying to zoom the camera out. The camera controls are pretty primitive, and I keep trying to move the camera to get a better shot of something, only to run into a wall. Ah well.
Still, with bigger blocks, I decided to build upwards, so as to maximize the eyesore nature of my attempt.
I ended up creating a spiral set of blocks around a central spire in order to keep building higher and higher. Eventually I had to start making the spiral bit wider, as I started falling off now and again, and the higher you go the more annoying it is to get back up when you fall.
Speaking of falling, I did manage to fall through the earth.
It isn’t really an MMO beta if you haven’t fallen through the earth yet. So I am set on that achievement.
Eventually I ran out of green earth material and had to switch over to a worked stone pattern that looked like wood. Then I started to tire of the whole thing, so I built a platform, jammed a huge sphere onto it. Seeing that I still had materials left, I jammed a big cube on top of that. Then I went looking for a way to take a screen shot of my monstrosity.
Again, camera controls are primitive.
I ran up a nearby hill and tried to capture its ungainly nature. You can sort of see it. Physics need not apply.
Then I went back down to the base to sign it in yet another material I hadn’t used up.
I learned how to write in blocks back on the Atari 2600. The “Video Graffiti” mode in the Surround game cartridge taught me much.
And that was about it for Landmark.
I did pay up my claim for as long as I was allowed. But in 5 days and 22 hours it will be gone.
We’ll see if I end up getting an extension on my seven days in Landmark. I suspect that if you don’t opt-in and buy a Founder’s Pack at that point, SOE is done with you, but you never know. And, of course, even if I do get an extension, there is no guarantee that I would have any more to do in any case.
You can find my temporary awkward carbuncle on the face of the Lowland zone on the Courage server.
Addendum: Bhagpuss found me. Do we have a new game here? Claim hide and seek?
H1Z1… Because… Zombies? April 10, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: Because SOE, H1Z1, PlanetSide 2, Zombie Apocalypse
I think it is just that sort of dedication that brought about the NGE, no? I guess if SOE can figure out that Landmark isn’t an EverQuest game, maybe they can eventually sort out who H1Z1 is really for as well.
So far all we have for official word is a web site with a moonrise, some spooky music, and a link to the H1Z1 subreddit, Smed’s current favorite venue. I guess Reddit is the demographic he wants to reach.
The H1Z1 subreddit has a “what we have learned so far” thread that attempts to summarize what is known. The state of affairs as it currently stands:
- First Person or Third Person shooter
- Zombie Survival
- Night is dark and full of terrors
- Player versus Player at it’s core.
- More than just zombies in the world
- Base Building, Town building, Fortress creation
- Can burn down things others build.
- Lots of crafting. Probably the biggest thing about the game.
- Vehicles are already in. Possibility of aircraft in the future.
- Based off the United States.
- If you die, you lose your gear. It stays on your corpse.
- “No skills or levels”.
- “Thousands of players”. I’m willing to bet this will be larger, playercount wise, than planetside 2.
- There will be Hunting.
- PC first, PS4 later. “Well, we are Sony” when asked about the PS4 version.
- In terms of cross-platform play, Planetside 2 will not be doing cross platform due to the logistics of updating the game on the PS4 vs the PC. I expect that this has not changed so I don’t see cross-platform play happening. SOE has made no comment on this point however, so I could be talking out of my ass.
- “If you can run Planetside 2, you can run H1Z1 better”.
- “Orders of magnitude larger than Planetside 2″.
- Based of Planetside 2. Shares no tech with Everquest Next (so no Voxels).
- Built in voice chat options.
- Free to play
- Part of the All-Access subscription that SOE is launching this month. $15/mo for premium sub in all SOE games.
- “you seriously don’t need to spend a dime. We’re still figuring out the monetization but we will telegraph our plans early and let people comment and we’ll listen if they don’t like something and come to a place where people feel good about it.” -Smed, in this thread
- Early Access ($20ish, on steam) in 4-6 weeks.
I’ll just leave that there as a baseline to compare against as things move forward.
For those hoping that this will be a Landmark or EverQuest Next based zombie game, disappointment is already in the cards. The cynic in me sees this as PlanetSide 2 tech re-purposed as a zombie game with some PvE and building elements.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There could be a market for this, so long as it doesn’t degenerate into the aimbot hack hell that PlanetSide 2 became. It doesn’t thrill me at the moment, but a shooter with more to it could have a draw.
Of course, the cynic in me also wants to know how it will work in a world where you already have a lot of choices on the zombie front?
How will SOE differentiate H1Z1 from the pack?
I suppose we shall see.
Others talking about H1Z1:
Lasers at Last April 10, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Apocalypse, Baltec Fleet, Because Lasers, Null Sec
I might be coming out of my EVE Online malaise… a bit. Aside from corp day ice mining, I haven’t really logged on to do anything in the game aside from update skill queues. And I even let that slip at one point.
Oh myBut as the binge in Azeroth has tapered off some… more on that later… I have begun to turn back to null sec space. I still have ships and such scattered all over the southeast part of space. I have no idea what I will do about that. Getting down to Curse… or back out again… has a new element of danger now that the Marmite Collective has us war dec’d. And the ships are not terribly valuable. A couple of Dominixes that are no longer part of a fleet doctrine since the great drone assist nerf finally dropped with Rubicon 1.3.
I still have the Domi I flew at B-R5RB sitting in the station there, along with a jump clone. I will probably just give that one an appropriate name and leave it be.
And I have ships and jump clones at other key places in the EVE universe. I am ready to jump to the action at a moments notice… if my jump clone isn’t on cool down already. I have Baltech fleet Megathrons most everywhere.
As it turns out, I might not even have to jump all over EVE. According to the latest CEO Update, we have a nice little skirmish going on up in Deklein. So there is that.
But what has really piqued my interest and gotten me to log back in is the opportunity to fly a new ship… a new ship with lasers!
Yes, I am goofy in that regard. I have flown in fleet doctrines that have use missiles, and railguns, and projectile weapons, and drones in just about every variation so far. But I haven’t done anything with lasers. But now the Apocalypse battleship is part of the Baltech fleet doctrine… which I guess means that the fleet doctrine info-graphic needs to be updated. Anyway, they are in high demand, as our current foes run with Ishtars, which are pretty much immune Megathrons, as was pointed out to us in the update.
So, of course, I ran out and bought one off contract.
I was only mildly surprised that I had all the skills needed to fly the doctrine fit. During a lull last year I put a bunch of training time into lasers knowing that one day they would come back into fashion and wanting to be ready for once, rather than doing my usual catch-up routine. I immediately took the Apoc out to belt to shoot some rats… because lasers.
I will need to grab some more crystals so I can have ~colors~ on demand. The white of multi-freq is a bit dull.
So now I am keen to go press F1 for real and watch lasers bloom… or fly… or whatever lasers do… lase I guess. So far I have only managed to sit on a titan for half an hour with my new ship. Hey, it was good for a participation link… and I am awfully shy of those lately. But I hope to see some action soon. Because lasers!
Birth of a Civilization April 9, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Other PC Games, Strategy Group.
Tags: Civilization V
The Strategy Group got together last Friday night for our first run at Civilization V.
We managed to browbeat Potshot into upgrading to the Gods and Kings and Brave New World expansions, which I understand was cheaper than trying to just get Gods and Kings, which was our target content. That gave us religion as an aspect of the game, though tourism was not yet within our grasp. We all got into our Google+ hangout, got ourselves a bit ogranized, and
As we did in our test run last week, Potshot hosted and select the game options. We went with the Pangea map in order to make sure we were all on one landmass. All victory conditions were allowed. Barbarians were on, but not extra raging. Difficulty level was Prince for all of us. We threw two computer controlled civs into the mix. We elected to go with random civs. And off we went.
Certainly at the start it felt very much like a single player game. Well, the turns took a bit longer than an early game, as we settled down into the routine. There was some getting used to the fact that you have to click “next turn” or hit return to end your turn, and after a couple of fumbles and “wait, is everybody waiting on me?” moments, we all finally figured out that if you select “next turn” and then go back and do something, the “next turn” state is abandoned.
For me the game started out poorly. I was in one of those positions where I might have just started over had it been a single player match. I used to do that a lot with Civilization II, running through starting positions until I got a decent one. I do that less so with Civ V because it is still new enough to be slow starting up.
Anyway, I ended up with the Germans, which was pretty good. I was stuck in a strip of land between the coast and a mountain range, which did cover my flanks and seemed pretty safe at first.
However, that feeling of safety quickly faded as multiple barbarian camps formed up at either end of my stretch of territory. I spent something on the order of 2,000 years battling barbarians as they attempted to swarm my city. They captured an early settler and I ended up having to put production into full military mode for a while in order to suppress these uprisings.
And the kicker was that I didn’t even get the benefit I expected. One of the German special features is that barbarians will sometimes convert to your units when you defeat them. I didn’t get a single one when I needed it, though I did finally pick up a couple at the very end of the battles. And I did recapture my settler, which was good fortune. I was eventually able to get that second city going.
Meanwhile, I had also spotted Potshot and his Ottomon empire to the south of me. I set to trying to block off my coastal plain and catch up on the expansion.
Potshot and I establish diplomatic relations and kept a wary eye on each other as I tried to get another settler up front to keep myself from being boxed in.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the map, somebody was having a serious run-in with the Mongols.
We blame Potshot for having that Mongols DLC. This is the second time they have shown up and been an issue.
But for the most part we spent our time expanding our empires and laying down the foundations for the rest of the game. I managed to come into contact with Mattman eventually and established diplomatic relations with him. I never saw Loghound or the Mongols, who were beating the tar out of him at one point. And somewhere out there the Mayans are hanging out. We ended up calling the game at turn 100, which put us at about midnight real time, and just past 800 AD in the age of the game.
It took me 4,800 years to develop that far.
The game was saved and we plan to pick it up again some time this week.
All and all it seemed to be a satisfactory start. There wasn’t much contact between the four of us, but we are now growing in size that we will be right up against each other soon. And then there are the Mongols. We did have one disconnect incident during our time, but we were able to restart the game and bring everybody back and carry on without issue.
I will note that, checking on Steam throughout the weekend, all four of us ended up playing quite a bit of Civ V. We should be warmed up for the continuation of our joint game.
EVE Online – CSM9 Voting Begins April 8, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Council of Stellar Management, CSM9
The time has come to elect a new Council of Stellar Management in EVE Online. CCP even has a fresh new logo for ninth CSM.
Voting runs from now through April 22.
CCP has a nice page up describing the voting process and the changes from last year, along with a statement about how vitally important the CSM is to them. And maybe it is. But as The Mittani proved back during Incarna, and Jester demonstrated again with the whole Erotica 1 thing, the CSM and its members have real power, but only when they take things out of school and oppose CCP publicly. Otherwise the CSM comes off to me as more of a special insiders club. They have value I am sure, but do they represent us behind that NDA screen? And does CCP have to listen to them?
CCP Dierdra Vaal has the EVE Vote Match site up to help you sort through the candidates to find out which ones publicly claim to support things with which you might agree, or at least consider important, I always look at those results and wonder, “Will this person be ready to take it out of school when the time is right? And will they know when the time is right?” You don’t stand in opposition for trivia, you do so for things that really matter… in our pretend internet spaceships game… or something.
I do not have any endorsements. I am a line member in a null sec bloc and I haven’t read the post telling me who to vote for yet or picked up my talking points cheat sheet. Theoretically I could really get behind a “Send Xenuria to Iceland” campaign just based on the apoplexy it would cause. Those would be some CSM minutes I would enjoy reading. And I must declare that the best candidate name on the list has to be Awoxing Pizza-Spymaster McBlushooter from Brave Newbies. We shall see if that name can carry him through.
Anyway, voting is live. The CSM election dev blog has a link that will send you to the ballot to cast your votes.