Category Archives: entertainment

CCP Offers Up Broken Monthly Economic Report for December

We got the EVE Online Monthly Economic Report for December last week and I waited a while to write about it because what they put out was simply and obviously wrong in places.  At least more so than usual, so I thought they might go back and fix the most egregious bit.  I am ever the optimist.

EVE Online nerds harder

But, since no update appears to be forthcoming, lets look at what they gave us and hope for better next time.

Destruction

The flaw in the December MER is the destruction numbers.  If you pull out the regional data for destruction, the top ten regions are:

  1. Delve – 3.23 trillion
  2. The Forge – 2.1 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 1.77 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 1.68 trillion
  5. Catch – 1.47 trillion
  6. Metropolis – 1.38 trillion
  7. Sinq Laison – 1.26 trillion
  8. Domain – 1.04 trillion
  9. Genesis – 832 billion
  10. Black Rise – 753 billion

The total destruction according to the regional data was 35 trillion ISK.  That put Delve down by more than a trillion from November, with overall destruction down by trillion.

The problem is that the number for Delve… and thus the total number for all regions… was very far from the actual mark.

With the war on and the huge battle at M2-XFE that started on December 30th and ran until downtime at 11:00 UTC on December 31st, many of us were expecting to see a huge jump in the destruction numbers for the Delve regional data.  The battle report showed more than 20 trillion ISK destroyed in that first fight.

Battle Report Header

That seems like a big miss.

I sometimes get a bit pissy about CCP and the MER because the numbers from one chart and data set do not line up with numbers from another chart and data set.  It seems like a summer intern project to write a little unit test to validate the data being pulled.  And this month is no different, but at least this time around another data set shows that the regional data is bad, at least for Delve.  So I will bring up the Produced, Destroyed, Mined chart.

Dec 2020 – Produced vs Destroyed vs Mined

This tracks the daily data game wide, with the thick line being the 30 day moving average and the light lines being the actual daily totals.  You can see there, at the end of December, the daily number jumps up off the chart, which has a top range of 6 trillion ISK.  Likewise, the 30 day average for destruction is pulled up, exceeding production.

CCP provides the raw data for that chart in a .csv file, so anybody can see what the actual amounts are.  The total destruction in the data for December is 74.83 trillion ISK, and the value for just December 31st, which covers the primary portion of the battle before downtime, is 23.26 trillion ISK.  (The second battle is in the data already, as it leaks out into the current date when they pull the report, and that totals up to 15, 4 trillion ISK destroyed on January 3rd.)

Of course, the data for that chart isn’t wholly accurate as well as there are three days missing, December 3, 4, and 26.  Still, they reflect the reality of the situation more than the alternative.

So the regional stats are off by a good 40 trillion ISK total, and at least the amount of that battle report for just Delve.  So a more likely ranking is:

  1. Delve – 26 trillion (estimated)
  2. The Forge – 2.1 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 1.77 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 1.68 trillion
  5. Catch – 1.47 trillion
  6. Metropolis – 1.38 trillion
  7. Sinq Laison – 1.26 trillion
  8. Domain – 1.04 trillion
  9. Genesis – 832 billion
  10. Black Rise – 753 billion

Anyway, here is to hoping they’ll set things right next month.

NPC Bounties

Moving on to NPC bounties, which were the big story last month, we see they are still way down.

Dec – and Faucets Over Time

The numbers began to crash when the ESS and the Dynamic Bounty System were introduced to the game in November.

Total bounties collect in November were 39.3 trillion, which was down from 55.9 trillion in October, the last full month without the new systems.  December, the first full month with the ESS and DBS changes saw that number tumble to 22.8 trillion ISK.

Even with the ESS payments, which amounted to 6.5 trillion ISK, that leaves the total at a little more than half of the value paid out in October.  This is a big hit to income.  The top regions for December were:

  1. Oasa – 1.62 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Vale of the Silent – 1.19 trillion (mixed small groups)
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.02 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Perrigen Falls – 996 billion (PandaFam)
  5. Insmother – 918 billion (Legacy)
  6. Cobalt Edge – 753 billion (PandaFam)
  7. Tenal – 739 billion (PandaFam)
  8. Metropolis – 737 billion (High Sec)
  9. Branch – 711 billion (PandaFam)
  10. Fountain – 699 billion (Imperium)

Of note is that a high sec region has entered the top ten, meaning that NPC bounties collected by mission runners are now likely a significant portion of the remaining bounty total.  There are no Forsaken Hubs in Metropolis.

Outside of NPC bounties, the sinks and faucets for December looked like this:

Dec 2020 – Sinks and Faucets

Commodities, which are drops from NPCs in wormhole space, Abyssal Deadspace, and the December holiday event (and maybe the bonds from robbing an ESS in null sec) and sold back to NPCs, continue be the largest ISK faucet into the game, ringing in at 40.59 trillion ISK.

After that there is NPC bounties, which are now in close competition with incursion payouts.  And then there is insurance, which if you look at the first sinks and faucets chart, saw a spike at the end of December, no doubt related to the battle at M2-XFE.

Production

Turning to production, the regional data shows the following regions as the top of the list:

  1. The Forge – 21 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Delve – 7 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Lonetrek – 6.94 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 6.25 trillion (High Sec)
  5. The Citadel – 5.73 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Domain – 4.51 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Tribute – 4.22 trillion (mixed small groups)
  8. Esoteria – 3.73 trillion (Legacy)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 3.64 trillion (mixed small groups)
  10. Heimatar – 3.07 trillion (High Sec)

The Forge, and the high sec regions around it, which support the Jita market, remain strong.  Delve, home of the Imperium, led the production outside of high sec.  The war has kept production going.  Legacy production remained ongoing in Esoteria despite claims that they were set to abandon the region.  Oddly, two regions of small holders, Tribute and Vale of the Silent, made the top ten, but PandaFam in Oasa fell to 11th and off the list.

The total for production in the regional data was 107.84 trillion ISK, though since I’m double checking things this month, the production/destruction data only shows it at 74.83 trillion ISK.  However, that is missing three days.  I am not sure those three days would make up the gap, so it shows once again that the data can be questioned.

Trade

Then there is trade value, where the top regions were:

  1. The Forge – 429 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 51 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Sinq Laison – 20.6 trillion (Dodixie)
  4. Lonetrek – 16.25 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  5. Delve – 16.21 trillion (War Zone)
  6. Metropolis – 10.9 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 10.1 trillion (Rens)
  8. Essence – 5.55 trillion (Gallente High Sec))
  9. The Citadel – 5.34 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  10. Tash-Murkon – 3.65 trillion (Amarr High Sec)

Everything was about in the same zone as November, save for Delve, which was down about 6 trillion ISK.  That is odd because with both sides now based in Delve there ought to be more buying rather than less.

Mining

Finally, there is mining.  After seeming to plateau in November, mineral prices continued their climb skyward as CCP’s keeps the starvation economy plan in place.

Dec 2020 – Economic Indices

The October peak was an all time high point for mineral prices and now the spike continues.

Mining remained largely a high sec occupation, though Oasa in PandaFam territory climbed to the top of the list in December.

  1. Oasa – 1.27 trillion
  2. The Forge – 1.17 trillion
  3. Metropolis – 1.04 trillion
  4. Domain – 990 billion
  5. Sinq Laison – 824 billion
  6. Lonetrek – 751 billion
  7. The Citadel – 617 billion
  8. Tash-Murkon – 575 billion
  9. Perrigen Falls – 568 billion
  10. Everyshore – 559 billion

Aside from Oasa, which is up slightly, numbers are down in every region on that list.  Since the value of ore mined depends on the price, that appears to mean that a lot less mining went on in December, even in Oasa.  The total mined from the region data was 19.9 trillion in value, down from 23.7 trillion in November.

Since we’re skeptical of the regional data this month, I double checked it against the Produced/Destroyed/Mined data which, despite missing the three days indicated above, shows 19.8 trillion ISK value mined, down from 24.9 in November.  That is within the usual margin of error between the different data collection methods.

So it goes.

As always, you can find all the standard charts and the raw data used to create them… such that it is… in the MER dev blog.

Related:

29 Week of World War Bee

This was the week of fish and pigeons in the Imperium. The Mittani told us the story about his fish dying as well as a tale from his youth when, as a young child, he was chasing pigeons around and managed to grab one… then immediately let go because he didn’t know what to do with it once he had caught it.

Somehow this pigeon thing has become his metaphor for the situation in M2-XFE.  We have grabbed the pigeon… in this case, a multitude of hostile titans… and we better not let go.  I don’t think a pigeon is necessarily the best metaphor, but that has become it for the moment.

Pigeon metaphor aside though, events in the war remain focused on the trapped titans.  Locator agents report that there are at least 318 still logged off around the Keepstar grid in M2-XFE and PAPI needs to do something about it.  Or Legacy does.  It seems that the old titan hands from NCDot and Pandemic Legion are content to wait for months until the time is right in order to extract.  But they are also from an era when you had a dedicated titan alt, because they were essentially space coffins you could never leave before we got Keepstars.

The younger generation of players with big toys, those who have become used to skill injectors and being able to dock up a titan or super carrier like any other ship often have a “do all the things” character, and having that character trapped and logged off in a hostile system is a hardship that restricts what they can do.  Organizations with players like that are feeling the pressure to get them extracted.  That falls a lot on Legacy, though Pandemic Horde has its share of those anxious to escape.

And there is now a timer starting to loom over the situation.  The Imperium retook the ihub in MX-XFE back on January 6th.  That started a 35 day count down, at which point the Imperium will be able to setup an Ansiblex jump gate into the system, making reinforcement of the hell camp much easier, and cyno jammers, which will keep PAPI from dropping capital ships to support any extraction effort.  They have to get out by mid-February or face an even more difficult task.

Delve Front

There was a lot of activity on the Delve front, ihub contests, structures reinforced, and even a Fortizar dropped by PAPI in 1DQ1-A, the Imperium capital system.  But all of that seems to total up to PAPI looking for ways to occupy the Imperium, get our collective eyes focused elsewhere, so that they can do an extraction attempt in M2-XFE.  Somehow they always have a HAC fleet or two able to fly over there no matter what is going on, usually to the detriment of whatever operation they were allegedly involved in.  And then they run into the hell camp on the Keepstar.  So not a lot on the map has changed.

Delve – Jan 24, 2021

PAPI’s continued feints and thrusts into M2-XFE help keep the hell camp alive.  They have had a bit of success.  Just after downtime last week they were able to log in and jump out four titans that were on the Keepstar grid, but closer to their old Fortizar location.

Then on Friday night they made a big push and cleared all the bubbles above the Keepstar in order to attempt an extract of capital ships trapped up there.  Their pings on Discord sounded like they were going all in.

PAPI straying near to hubris

However, the shredding did not appear to be enough.  They did extract five titans and maybe a dozen super carriers, but upon losing two super carriers, they gave up and went home, having lost over 100b ISK and inflicted about 53 billion ISK in damage according to the battle report, and leaving more than 300 titans still trapped.

Battle Report Header

The M2-XFE situation continues to be a drag on PAPI’s ability to engage in effective offensive operations.  Despite still being able to bring more pilots to any fight they choose, their effectiveness and willingness to fight and take necessary losses feels greatly reduced.

Catch Front

I did not hear much about the Catch front over the course of the last week.  Fights are still happening, some ihubs changed hands, and TEST lost a two Fortizars to the Stain Russians.

Catch – Jan 24, 2021

And that metaliminal storm that looked like it might head into Querious to follow the other one that went that route, changed its mind and moved back into the core of Brave’s space.

Other Theaters

Over in Querious the last Brave ihub was destroyed, leaving a lot of unheld systems in the east and center of the region.

Querious – Jan 24, 2021

Esoteria remains the same when it comes to ihubs, so I get to reuse the same map fragment yet again.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan 24, 2021

Like the team in Catch, the Esoteria crew managed to bag a TEST Fortizar and a Tatara as well.

And up in Fountain there was a bit of activity over ihubs as GaNg BaNg TeAm moved in to take a couple of ihubs on the far side of KVN-36.

My Participation

Leaving my alt in M2-XFE in a Rokh to participate in the M2 hell camp when I have some time has turned out to be handy as I am there and ready to go whenever there is a breakout attempt.  It often means I have two ships logged into the system as I will then get on with my main, join a fleet in 1DQ1-A, and end up in M2-XFE as well.  Usually it is just to defend the bubbles… or repair them if I am in logi.

Repair drones on a bubble generator

I did get into the big breakout attempt on Friday night and was able to get on one of the Nyx kills with my alt.

A Nyx exploding in M2-XFE

However, that was pretty much my big kill of the week.  On the flip side, I lost a Purifier to a gate camp because I was dumb and got decloaked.  Se I have added that to my loss list for the way.

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP released the Monthly Economic Report for December 2020 and it was broken, but I have a whole post about the MER tomorrow.

Siberian Squads has decided that they no longer want to be a part of Legacy Coalition.  Word is that they are going to head up north in null sec to do their own thing.

There was also a rumor that the English speaking portion of Winter Coalition, which is the part of PandaFam that Fraternity runs, were headed back home for a rest from the war.

Progodlegend and Vily held a Legacy Town Hall meeting yesterday, which started off badly when they tried to dump to many people at once onto their Mumble server and it fell over because it could not handle the load.  You would have thought that the second battle at M2 would have taught them a lesson about that, but I guess not.

The meeting then moved to Twitch, where they claimed that everything was going well in Delve, they still plan to move into Delve, Querious, and Period Basis.  Since that plan is taking longer than they thought they are making arrangements to allow their pilots to mine and rat in allied space as the fighting in Catch, Esoteria, and Immensea is hampering that.  Then there were questions and people said “uh” and “um” throughout.  You can listen to it here if you want.

The ihub contests in Delve that they had setup were all successfully won by the Imperium because they stood down to have the town hall.

Over in /r/eve somebody from Brave put up a bit of propaganda invoking the movie 300 and casting themselves as the Spartans.  Again.  This is a recurring theme from Legacy, even though they are effectively the Persians in the war, outnumbering us and invading our territory. I suggested that if they want to keep rolling with memes they consider this one.

The Imperium didn’t set our war goals

And the concurrent user count was up a bit this past Sunday.  Not a huge jump, but trending upward still.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996

Related

Pandemic Binge Watching and HBO Max

Last month HBO and Roku worked out whatever it is that was keeping me from being able to access the service on my Roku Stick, so I now have access to all the wonder and majesty that is HBO Max.  And it is a bit of a mess.

It is fairly obvious what the plan for HBO Max is in the evolution of HBO overall.  Back in the day, HBO was a service that let you watch a few movies that had recently been in the theaters along with a haphazard selection of older movies.  Then they started producing some original content with things like comedy specials and shows like The Wire and The Sopranos.   With Game of Thrones their original content was clearly the biggest draw for the service.  And now, in the world of the pandemic and theaters being closed, HBO has leveraged the situation to get some films to open on their services at the same time as their theatrical release.

Also, Netflix and Hulu have been doing pretty well with a bunch of old but popular shows, so HBO wanted to jump on that bandwagon as well, which brings us to HBO Max, which attempts to bring all of that together into a single user interface.

As I mentioned, it is a bit of a mess.

That doesn’t mean it is bad.  They have added some features that they were lacking when compared to other services.  You can now have a user profile, something I think Netflix has had for a decade at this point, so if your kid binge watches Sesame Street you don’t have that polluting your recommendations.

You can also skip over ads for other shows or the opening credits or the series summary with a press of a button now.  And these are good things.

But, at its heart, HBO Max is an attempt to have a lot more content without making finding something you want to watch any easier.  This is a problem every service has, so it is a matter of where it stands in the hierarchy of channels we use.  HBO Max does this a bit better than Amazon Prime or Hulu, but not as well as Disney+ and not nearly as well as Netflix.

Which is odd, because HBO Max was clearly trying to emulate Netflix in their own way.  But despite the fact that a lot of the same categories are up at the top of the page when you open the service… just added, popular, continue watching, items from your list… and despite my occasional annoyance at how brazenly eager Netflix is to start rolling video the moment you pause on some title… Netflix just does it better.

Part of this is that Netflix is easier to read from across the room on the couch.  They have titles in big bold print, while somebody at HBO decided that the title card for a show or movie has the name on it and that is good enough, forgetting how often that text can be tiny, in a frilly script, or made otherwise unreadable to older eyes.

And part of this is that HBO Max just doesn’t run very well on the Roku.  It is slow to load and slow to respond to inputs, which is a bad look next to Netflix, which is light and nimble and responsive even as it is more active and throwing video at every turn.  How can Netflix be so smooth with dynamic responses to selections and streaming clips on the fly as you move through a list while HBO Max, which is relatively static, chugs along, responding eventually to your inputs?

But there is also just the simple ability to find something to watch.  Maybe because my Netflix account is now about 20 years old, counting the old disks by mail era, they know what to serve up to me as options.  Maybe their algorithms are more sophisticated.  Maybe they just have better content.  But if we sit down on a Friday night and I pull up Netflix I am generally able to find something for us to watch on which we can both agree.

And, in the end, finding something to watch is the most important thing.  HBO Max promises more movies coming with their theatrical release dates, while Netflix has been telling me they’ll have a new movie every week this year.  We shall see how these two services compare over time.  While we are currently subscribed to both, I have to give the nod to Netflix at the moment.

Returning Again to My Gamer Profile

I have done the gamer motivation profile thing over at Quadratic Foundry a few times at this point.  It is one of those things that comes up every now and then, often part of something like Blaugust.  So you can read about my past runs… and how they differ every time… if you so desire.

However, I received an email from them last week that said they had something new for their profiles now.  They now have an array of nine gamer types to go up against Bartle’s now ancient array of Explorer, Socializer, Achiever, and Killer quadrants.  They are:

The Nine Gamers to oppose the Nine Riders

They are, if you cannot read the chart:

  • Acrobat
  • Gardener
  • Slayer
  • Skirmisher
  • Gladiator
  • Ninja
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Architect
  • Bard

You can read about them in detail over on the page that describes them.

So naturally I wanted to see which type I was.  That meant going back and running through the quiz again, which is always the largest flaw in such and enterprise.  As I have said numerous times, the questions are a bit… squishy.  What I deem important can change depending upon the game or situation.  And, as such, my profile changes every time I re-do the quiz, as it did this time.

If you have an account, as I do, when you re-take the quiz you get to see your previous answers and the fact that I end up changing at least half of them every time is a pretty good indication that the question don’t have hard and fast answers.  At least not for me.

So I am apparently and Architect/Skirmisher this time around.

I am at war with myself

  • Architects are solo gamers that enjoy planning, decision-making, and progression. They prefer slow-paced, relaxing gameplay where they can plan and build something grand and enduring.

I guess.  Certainly that describes my Minecraft style.

  • Skirmishers want fast-paced team arenas that are accessible and easy to jump into. They are highly spontaneous gamers who dislike games that require thinking and planning.

And that sounds like the polar opposite of architect.  So I like relaxed solo, fast paced team games, and I enjoy planning but dislike thinking and planning.  I am also a by the book cop who is a loose cannon who breaks all the rules or something.

My adjectives this time around were: Aggressive, Spontaneous, Driven, Gregarious, and Immersed.

That is kind of a lot, while my graph, which I have posted with each of these was:

Where my motivations lay

And, as usual, once you have the profile the site tries to recommend games.  My top ten matches (for PC and Nintendo Switch) were:

  1. Animal Crossing (series)
  2. Starbound
  3. Diablo (series)
  4. No Man’s Sky
  5. Stardew Valley
  6. Elite: Dangerous
  7. The Sims 3
  8. ARK: Survival Evolved
  9. Fallout Shelter
  10. Borderlands (series)

I own games from half that list, but never really got into them save for Diablo.  The first game I have really invested time in on the list is Minecraft, which made it on page three of the recommendations.

Of course, judging from the Massively OP post where they did their surveys, an MMO player needs to be a Bard.  If I read the description for Bard, that sounds a bit like me too.  Maybe less on the social interaction, but certainly the bit about being a part of a grand story.  So I probably answered the questions badly yet again.  But if you go back and take the quiz knowing what you want the result to be, is it any more or less valid?

I went back and changed very little… slightly more emphasis on one thing, a little less on others, but no answer moved by more than one position… and ended up with Bard/Bounty Hunter.

Bard yes, but a Bounty Hunter?

  • Bards are team players who want to chat and interact with other players in game worlds that are rich with lore, stories, discovery, and customization. For them, the game is a grand story that emerges from a community of players.

That is sort of me.  I am less of a chatter and more interested in interacting with the world.  Being part of a grand story that emerges from a community of players pretty much pegs why I play EVE Online the way I do, but not WoW or many other MMORPGs… largely because the grand story is scripted and has little or nothing to do with the community of players in those games.

  • Bounty Hunters are solo, action-oriented explorers who want game worlds that they can make their own through customization and discovery. They also enjoy power progression and unleashing mayhem.

I think the questions about explosives and being an agent of chaos are more influential than one might suspect.  That is the only thing I can imagine would get me on the Bounty Hunter type.  I am not really at “action oriented” explorer by my own measure.  Look how low my action score is both times.

At the root those small changes altered my motivations a lot more significantly than I would have guessed.

Are my motivations a lie?

That also changed my adjectives to:  Aggressive, Spontaneous, Completionist, Gregarious, Deeply Immersed, and Creative.

You can see my current profile in detail here.

With the change of profile, my game recommendations changed… a bit.

  1. City of Heroes
  2. Slime Rancher
  3. Animal Crossing (series)
  4. Star Wars: The Old Republic
  5. The Elder Scrolls Online
  6. Fallout Shelter
  7. The Sims 3
  8. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  9. The Elder Scrolls (series)
  10. Dragon Age (series)

I guess I should be happy some MMORPGs made the first page this time, though I have to question City of Heroes being a recommendation.  You cannot legally play it currently, as it is only available via private/pirate servers.  Also, like the other MMORPGs that made the top ten, it was never a game I could get into really.  Not my thing.  And, of course, WoW and EVE Online appear nowhere on either recommendation list.

So there we go.  Am I what the first pass through the quiz said I was or the second?  Should I go take it again until it gets me right?

Thwarted in Dire Maul North

We hadn’t really made a plan after the previous week’s diversion into Dire Maul East.  However, we had made it through successfully, had the key to get into the rest of the complex, and were looking for something to do, so we decided to carry on in Feralas.

Feralas in WoW Classic

Skronk said that Dire Maul North was the next destination, and I honestly couldn’t recall.  The high end of the level range is packed with dungeons and they are something of a blur in my brain all these years down the road.  Our group for the afternoon was:

  • Viniki – level 58 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 58 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 58 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 58 gnome mage

But before we went to Feralas we had a bit of leftover business to which to attend.  In Dire Maul East we picked up those gems after the final boss and brought them to Moonglade to jump start a quest.

Two gems left to collect

On our way to the instance we decided to wrap that up, which required a trip to Silithus.  Since we had not been there before, we flew into Un’Goro Crater and took the path into Silithus.

Actually, I had gone ahead over the course of the week and completed the quest as it had a shield upgrade for me.  That meant I knew the way to where we needed to go.

The wrecked town in Silithus

Alone it was a bit of a pain to get myself into the building where the chest you need to collect is.  As a group we rolled through pretty quickly.

Chest found… also, my new shield is visible

From there we ran back to the alliance camp in the zone, picked up the flight point, and flew back up to Feathermoon in Feralas.  The boat was, once again, just in time for us and we were soon within the Dire Maul compound.  This time we headed to the back of the main open area, the north end, to the door.  It was locked, but we had the key.

The door to Dire Maul North

Once in and setup, we got off to a pretty strong start.  We managed to work our way around the open main area and get to the steps to pull Guard Mol’Dar without aggroing any of the packs of hounds that are down there with him.

The Guard commeth

He was an straightforward fight, as was Stomper Kreeg after him, though the drunk effect from fighting Kreeg stuck with me for a good long while after the icon for it went away.  I was weaving about as I ran, which wasn’t an opportune thing to have happen as things started to get a bit thick on the ground for us.

We were attempting to make our way to Guard Fengus and his chest, which has another key, but the groups of mobs on the way were very close together, with wanderers moving in between.  This was made more difficult by the fact that the mobs in Dire Maul North were a couple levels higher than those in the east, ranging from 58 to 60, which made their aggro radius tricky to watch.  Honestly, the aggro radius for the mobs there seemed to be extra wide, though maybe the size of ogres distorted my perception.  But at times I would edge into range to shoot one for a pull and find that I had already had them with proximity aggro.

Still, we managed to thread our way through, knocking out groups we needed to as we moved and bypassing the rest, until we were able to pull Guard Fengus off to a safe corner.  Well, it seemed safe until that add wandered up.  Still, we won, though Moronae went down in the fight.  Time for the first ress.

Bringing Moronae back

But we got him and got the key and were headed into the deeps of the instance, which was when things started to get a bit hairy.

We were fighting the first group on the way in when an Eye of Kilrog floated up on the group.  I said something like, “I think we need to kill that… fast” but we were already engaged in a fight and did not get it in time.  The Eye of Kilrog opened up a portal and two Netherwalkers hopped out and joined the fight against us.  They were both level 60 and basically kicked the crap out of us before we could get our act together.

We’re all dead, save Skronk, who is banished and about to die

That meant a release and run back.  We got back in the instance and threaded our way back to the Netherwalkers who, conveniently, stayed where we left them, far enough from the remains of the group we had been fighting that we could take them on their own.

We were able to take them and move on down into the main room, avoiding further mishap with fights.  We managed to pull Guard Slip’kik away from the other mobs on his patrol path and take him down.

Slip’Kik pulled back

Up to this point I haven’t mentioned drops from the bosses mostly because we were getting rooked on the RNG.  Mail every single time, despite the fact that the loot table had some nice items in there.  There were some upgraded shoulders I would have like had as a possibility.  But we were denied every time.

We spoke with Knot Thimblejack about his quest, but didn’t have the materials… no planning here… so decided to skip on past that.

Knot prepared for him

And after that the road got pretty rough for us.  There were a series of groups around the ramp that led up to the next level.  Something about that ramp tickled some memory in the back of my brain, something negative, but we carried on.  On pulling one group we got them around the corner only to have an Eye of Kilrog come up behind us and go unnoticed until it was too late.  Another wipe.

Dead again as the Netherwalkers beat us down

On the way back a patrolling Ogre managed to get the better of Moronae and I, though Ula and Skronk managed to finish him off, so Skronk was able to ress the two of us so we could carry on.

Embarrassing

The patrol had banish Skronk and I was a millisecond late on my health potion.  It was not a good look.

We came back and managed to clear the bottom of the ramp, but in attempting to clear the area at the top of the ramp we ended up with another Eye of Kilrog attack that wiped us again.

Wipe on the ramp

Honestly, we were killing about half of the Eye of Kilrog patrols as soon as they showed up, but you just have to get one mid-fight when you’re busy and things can get quickly out of control.

We were also starting to notice some really odd draw distance issues.  The mobs on the platform at the top of the ramp were fading in and out of visibility even though we seemed to be plenty close to them.  I know there have been some other draw distance issues in WoW Classic before, but here we were dealing with things on the edge of aggro range popping in and out our sight.  We managed, but it was odd.

We pushed on and cleared the platform and made it up the next ramp, thwarting an Eye of Kilrog along the way.  We found we could bypass most of the mobs on the next platform and were able to get in and up the hall to within sight of Captain Kromcrush, the next to last boss.

The captain is up ahead, the final boss back beyond that

We had to deal with one more group.  Unfortunately that got out of hand… that banish is a killer at the wrong moment… and we ended up wiping in the hallway.

Down in the hallway

You can see behind us some of the groups we were able to bypass.

Still, we got one guy down and were so close to the captain, so we ran back to the instance again.  But when we got there, we found we had been long enough that the instance had started to respawn.  We got a patrol right in front of us, but past him groups were appearing again.

That first guy

We were looking at the need to fight our way through at least half of what we had cleared on the first pass through.  That wasn’t going to happen, so we called it.  Ula opened a portal to Darnassus for us to put us near a flight point.  Those that had not turned in the quest we started out with were able to fly off and turn it in, reaping the reward.  We’re all starting to get close to 59, so it might be a little easier once we cross that number.

Two Hundred and Thirty Million Skill Points

Back once more for a meaningless skill point milestone, this one being more meaningless than most for reasons I will get to further down the page.  But first, a review of the story so far, my skill point trip from starting to play EVE Online back in 2006 up to today.

So here, in the back half of January 2021 I have crossed the 230 million skill point mark, with the points broken out in the following categories.

Spaceship Cmd     76,525,882 (69 of 85)*
Gunnery           25,214,747 (47 of 63)*
Drones            17,432,221 (22 of 27)*
Fleet Support     15,872,000 (14 of 15)*
Missiles          11,954,833 (22 of 26)
Navigation        11,346,275 (13 of 13)*
Engineering        8,939,855 (15 of 15)
Electronic Sys     8,159,689 (15 of 15)
Scanning           7,168,000 (7 of 7)
Armor              6,131,137 (13 of 13)
Shields            6,074,039 (12 of 13)
Science            5,714,282 (21 of 39)
Resc Processing    4,756,183 (22 of 37)
Subsystems         4,096,000 (16 of 16)
Trade              3,994,040 (11 of 14)
Neural Enhance     3,810,275 (7 of 8)
Planet Mgmt        3,298,275 (5 of 5)*
Targeting          3,207,765 (8 of 8)
Rigging            2,576,865 (10 of 10)
Structure Mgmt     1,446,824 (6 of 6)
Production         1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Social             1,130,040 (5 of 9)
Corp Mgmt             24,000 (2 of 5)

Total            ~230,031,984

As has become the norm for these posts, the categories that saw an increase in skill points are marked with an asterisk.

As usual, Spaceship Command saw some increase.  This time around it was largely due to getting a Ninazu force auxiliary from my Reaver’s secret Santa.  I had Minmatar and Amarr carrier trained up already, but now I can add Gallente carrier to the list.  I suppose I should train Caldari carrier just to round that out, but I don’t really want to spend the ISK on the skill.

Gunnery also saw a boost as I wrapped up training all of the EDENCOM zappy weapons skills.  I’ve never flown one of the EDENCOM ships, but if the opportunity arises, I am ready.

Drones got some attention as well, largely due to the introduction of tech II salvage drones.  Dunk Dinkle spent years agitating for them, I figured I could put them in the queue and train the skill.

Navigation saw a bump due to my training up Jump Fuel Conservation V.  Jump fuel prices have gone up quite a bit with the CCP economic starvation plan and the increase in consumption due to the war.  While I don’t jump capitals all that often, it seemed like a reasonable investment and I did not have anything more critical in my queue at the time.

Then there was Planetary Management, where I trained up Planetary Consolidation to V so I could have sixth colony to neglect.  Actually, with demand and prices rising, I have actually been minding my colonies a bit more regularly.  Putting them on a seven day cycle made this a bit easier.

Finally, there is fleet support.  I saved this for last because this is the big reason for why I hit this milestone a bit sooner than expected.  Generally there are intervals greater than six months between these, often as much as a year, depending on what I am training or if I hand off to an alt.  But this time the gap between posts was a mere four month.

This was because, during the fight over the armor timer at the Keepstar in M2-XFE, I opted to be a booster for one of the capital fleets.

My Damnation in the orange of another explosion

As I finally got into the fight and was able to start boosting, I noticed that I only had Fleet Command trained up to IV, so I blew more than two million of my saved up skill points to jump that up to level V.  This was an important fight and I wanted to get the maximum range out of my boosts.

I think it gave me a whole 6km extra distance on my boosts.  Not sure that was worth it.

More surprising perhaps was that I applied skill points in the middle of the fight, at 10% tidi, with commands taking 6+ minutes to respond, and it actually worked and went through.

And, while I have used save skill points on occasion, my total has generally be 99.9% skill points earned the old fashioned way.  Now that total is tainted by the free skill points that CCP gives away.  Oh well.

As for my skill totals, they now break out like this:

Level 1 -   1
Level 2 -   3
Level 3 -  34
Level 4 -  85
Level 5 - 244

That is nine more skills trained up to level V.  And, of course, I can still fly all the subcaps in the game, which is my general goal for skills.

Now, where do I go next?  I actually have a ways to go with Salvage Drones V, so I will finish that up and then do a couple levels of Salvage Drone Specialization.  We’ll see if I ever use a salvage drone, but I will be able to if the need arises.  Then it might be time to hand off training to one of my alts.  My main alt, oft neglected, could be trained up to do PI as well.  We shall see.

United Eden Login Event comes to EVE Online

Following on from the return of support for the Japanese language in the EVE Online client with the December update, CCP has announced the United Eden login event.

United Eden for Alpha and Omega

The event features some more Zakura SKINs of similar color schemes to the battleship SKINs currently available in the New Eden Store.  The even SKINs are for the Slasher, Tormentor, Kestrel, and Tristan hulls, as well as a capsule SKIN.

In addition there are fireworks, facial augmentations, and some skill points.

As usual, Omega pilots get all the goodies, while Alpha clones are limited to just the frigate SKINs.

Omega selection

The login campaign requires that you log in on four separate days over the course of the week long campaign, which ends at downtime on January 26th.

Another Level 50 in WoW Classic

We are not too far away from WoW Classic having been up and running for a year and a half and I have yet to get a character to level 60.  I have the usual excuses.  I’ve been distracted by other games, not the least of which was a stretch in WoW Shadowlands.  And, naturally, my efforts in the game have been diffused by too many alts.

But I am sure I will have some level 60s by the time we get around to The Burning Crusade Classic.  While doubtful of the alleged May launch date, I am sure we will hear about it in full at BlizzConline, which is just a month away.

As for my having level 60s, I feel confident on that front because I now have three characters on the far side of the level 40 doldrums.

Well Viniki, my gnome warrior and tank for our group, faced no such doldrums.  If you’re doing dungeons there is plenty of content to keep you going.  He will likely be the first to 60, being close to 59 already and with the group still facing a series of dungeons before we’re done.

Over in Dire Maul East

Then there is Tistann, my hunter, who was level 54 already when I last checked in on my alts in WoW Classic.  But a hunter might be the most relaxed way to level up in WoW Classic.  My hunter is level 57 now, though probably would have been level 60 had I not been diverted into retail WoW for a stretch.  Between him and level 60 there are a few zones as yet untouched, so he will get there.

And, finally, my paladin Wilhelm managed to get up to level 50 this past week.  He actually rolled on to level 51 before I even got a chance to start writing this.  With that last check in he was up to 45, but the climb from there to 50 was a bit of a chore.

There are quests to be done, though a few of them take some finding.  I wanted to try and lean on quests as much as I could because grinding mobs with him felt like a chore.  So there was a lot of traveling about to pick up a quest here that was finally viable, then a quest in another zone that I could manage.

One of the realities of the 40-50 climb is that at some points you just have to stop and grind out mobs for a bit to get that next level to make the next quest or two viable, and that was pushing me away from the pally because grinding mobs with him felt like a lot of work with too much downtime.

Of course, part of that was my fault.  Early on I had picked up a build from a guide over at Icy Veins and had been sticking to that.  However, on reflection, I am going to guess that it was more oriented towards being a retribution pally in a dungeon group.  Thinking there had to be a better way I decided to try the WoW Head pally guide and its build, and ended up with something a lot more manageable when it came to mana and health.  It still takes a while sometimes to beat down a mob, but you’re able to move on to the next one more quickly.

And then I got lucky.  A ret pally is only as handy as his weapon and I managed to luck out on a bargain priced 2H hammer late on a Sunday night.  The buyout price was more than I had, but the bid price was relatively low… Auctioneer does that as part of its algorithm I have noticed… so I bid on it and went to bed.  The next day when I logged in I had a new hammer waiting for me in the mail, the Taran Icebreaker.

The big hammer

Not only was it an upgrade on damage alone, but it also has a nice proc as well.  My 2H hammer skills were pretty low, but that just takes a bit of time and soon I was hitting on level mobs with it for full effect, which helped me move along.

Picking up Cuegro’s Gold

The quests were still what they were, but grinding some mobs to round out a level now and then became less of a chore.  And then, once I hit 50, some quests opened up in the Western Plaguelands, which is a paladin fun zone.  I actually rode up and got the flight point early and ground out some mobs just to get to level.  Then it was on.

Take that undead

So now he is on his way.  I still have to keep an eye on quests and levels and roam around between zones… after a start in WPL I went over to Felwood for the opening quests there.    If I can keep focus I might have three level 60s soon enough.  Of course, focus is a challenge.  I mentioned my sudden blacksmithing obsession, and that led to a burst of engineering work on Wilhelm, who now has the Gnomish Death Ray trinket… which is good, because he is otherwise lacking in trinkets, not counting the Argent Dawn commission.

Do not use when at low health

But once I get back on track, I could get there.

Paladin’s journey

That will probably be it though.  My next highest level character is my druid, who is still level 36.  I was holding him back in case Earl made it back to the group and we needed to re-assign roles or some such.  Best not to think of him, because while hope for Earl’s return has faded, I could get tied up in another run through the 40s with a restoration druid.

 

28 Weeks of World War Bee

It was a week of continuing to come to grips with the post-M2-XFE situation for Legacy, as other alliances in the coalition had meetings, including Brave and Warped Intentions.  The Brave meeting was notable for Dunk Dinkle, whose usual mellow countenance was replaced by an angrier, expletive spouting Dunk.  Since he is one of the titan pilots still logged out in M2-XFE (I saw his Leviathan during the fight) he has some reason to be on edge.  And then there is the situation in Catch and Brave’s need to neglect Delve and any break out attempt in order to defend their own space from “knuckleheads.”

We also might be coming up on an infrastructure hub crisis.  The war has seen ihubs destroyed in unprecedented numbers.  Every time a system swaps hands, a new ihub had to be hauled out and deployed.  We’ve already seen in some less hotly contested areas like Querious a lack of desire by both sides to expend ihubs on systems not deemed strategic.  But it sounds like stocks of Planetary Interaction materials, from which ihubs are built, might be running low.  It might be a good time to start on PI.

The Delve Front

The situation in Delve has largely revolved around PAPI trying to come to grips with their situation and regain momentum in the war.  They need to keep pressure on us in Delve and, of course, they need to do something about their trapped titans, supers, and other capital ships.

On the former, the week did heat up some as PAPI tried to re-assert control over ihubs in the region after we used the post-M2 calm to snatch many key systems back.  That has led to a bunch of fights over timers, though the number of systems actually changing hands has not been that big.

Delve – Jan. 17, 2021

The hell camp in M2-XFE continues, to the exclusion of other strategic camps for the Imperium.  The Helms Deep camp has been abandoned for now, so I have removed it from the map for now.  Those systems do not seem to be in play at the moment however.

PAPI has pressed on the M2-XFE camp several times in attempts to clear bubbles.  They have also been trying to drop Azbel’s in the system to get themselves a defensible foothold from which to work.  But so far, after two weeks, the camp is holding fairly strong.

Meanwhile, the situation in M2-XFE looks like this.

The M2-XFE Keepstar grid

The hostiles have been logging in some ships every day just before downtime (11:00 UTC) in order to try and cap them up so that, when the breakout comes, they will be able to jump out.  However, Imperium forces have been countering that for neuts and focused void bombs and the like every day so this could be a long process.  We shall see who has the patience to sit this out the longest.

The Catch Front

Catch picked up in activity over the last week as The Initiative found some more friends to come in and help assail Brave and Warped Intentions.  Brave has held onto their territory so far, but has had to clash repeatedly to do so, often coming up on the short side of the fight when the numbers are counted.  This has kept Brave focused on Catch rather than Delve.

Meanwhile, space that once belonged to The Watchmen has started to get picked up by Dreadbomb, expanding out of Providence.

Catch – Jan. 17, 2021

While Catch has shed one metaliminal storm, which moved on into Querious as expected, the other one is hanging out in the middle of Brave space.  It might move on towards Querious and Delve as well.

Other Theaters

In Queirous the Imperium has popped Legacy Coalition ihubs in a dozen systems, the bulk of them having been held by Brave.  Neither side has been keen to drop a fresh ihub in many systems in the region though, so that made for a fresh batch of unclaimed locations.  Meanwhile, that metaliminal storm that looked to be heading out of Catch made its way into Querious and might keep moving into Delve.

Querious – Jan. 17, 2021

Over in Esoteria The Bastion and its Stain Russian allies haven’t expanded their ihub holdings this week, so I can re-run last week’s map.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan. 17, 2021

They have, however, been shooting structures, including planetary customs offices and the like in order to be a nuisance and prevent TEST members from picking up their PI materials. (Which, as noted above, can be used to make ihubs… or structure fuel blocks… or a number of other essential items.)

A fruitful evening of POCO kills

The Bation’s main FC Qicia was on The Meta Show this past weekend to talk about what has been going on in the region, which included TEST flying a Munnin fleet out from Delve to defend structures in Esoteria.

My Participation

I have been on the M2-XFE hell camp for a while every day, helping out to cover the USTZ hours.  As I have said before, PAPI keeps logging in just enough targets to keep everybody happy and hopeful.  I have also made it out on a few for some of the ihub skirmishes.

Out in Eagles with Mister Vee

The week saw no ship losses for me, so my count for the war stands as follows:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

As I mentioned over the course of the week, we hit the date where structures need Quantum Cores in order to provide station services like repairs and tethering.  Also, new structures that are deployed now need a core to come online, otherwise they will never enter that state and will remain immediately killable.

This is the big money moment for many alliances.  As I mentioned previously, TEST was pulling down structures in their space, likely to avoid having to core them.  The Imperium started issuing war bonds in order to cover that bill.  While I have yet to receive my shares in the corporation that is being used for the war bonds, they did boost up the number of shares available from the default 1,000 to 21,000.  At a price of 1 billion ISK per share, that is potentially a lot of liquid cash.

Share count

That does not necessarily mean that they raised 21 trillion ISK from the offer, but they did get enough to drop cores into our critical structures.

And the peak concurrent users for the week remained about on par with the previous week:

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713

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