Category Archives: entertainment

Looking for Offense

My mistake was going to /r/eve on Reddit.  Every nugget of useful information found there must be paid for by wading through post after post and comment after comment of nonsense.

I happened to wander in just after a post went up where somebody was outraged about CCP suppressing their freedom of speech.  We’re big on that this week since somebody said something we seem to agree with.  We’ll be down on it again as soon as somebody we don’t like says something we disagree with.  I guarantee it.

In this case the person in question appears to have been dropping mobile depots around Jita and naming them with messages supporting the protest in Hong Kong.

A CCP GM sent him a warning, which he posted in full, that he had been reported for “deliberately creating lag by excessive spamming of structures in a high population system.”  This was just a warning, it contained no sanction, just a link to the policies and an admonition to not do it again.

Now, I have to admit that I figured he must have been dropping A LOT of mobile depots to get that sort of warning.  I have reported on some of the things that people get up to with mobile depots in the past.

That is a lot of mobile depots

In that scenario you need to drop a lot of mobile depots to stand out.  As such, they seemed pretty sure that they were being singled out for political speech.

I suspect that the comments that came in reply to the post almost immediately were not what they were expecting.  Rather than support for Hong Kong the poster found people angry about them bringing politics into the game or thinking they had a right to free speech given the terms of service to which they had agreed.  The responses were nasty and the poster returned fire in kind.

I took a minute to log in an alt I had sitting in Jita and undocked to check out the mobile depot situation.  Unlike the screen shot above, Jita 4-4 seemed bereft of mobile depot spam.  Dscan showed a total of 8 withing the limits of scan range.  I checked a couple of the gates and found a few more, but mobile depots were not out in force.

So I went back to Reddit and replied, mentioning my observation of the current situation and asking the poster if they were sure if they were being uniquely targeted, because it seemed to me that CCP was trying to clean up the usual spam around Jita 4-4.

I received a short, apologetic response and the post was deleted.  Or as deleted as such things can be.  Nothing on the internet for more than a few minutes is ever gone for good.

I was actually a bit surprised at that response.  I have grown so used to people being unwilling to shift their point of view even an iota on the internet, people so keen to favor only facts that support their initial assumption and so ready to discount immediately anything that runs contrary to their contrived narrative.

It is just the way people tend to be.  I have long held the opinion that people make decisions first and fill in the supporting evidence needed to get there after the fact.  I catch myself doing that.  Some times it doesn’t matter.  Picking some music to listen to doesn’t require supporting facts.  Buying a new car though, or picking who to vote for, or making accusations of bad behavior, that should probably be based on facts, though I am quite convinced that is not the case more often than not.

Anyway, I was thinking about this in the context of the next couple of weeks.  We have EVE Vegas coming up next weekend and BlizzCon after that.  Both companies, CCP and Blizzard, are in bad odor with some of their player base.  No matter what they say at their respective events, some people are going to look for the worst, darkest, most damming interpretation of what is said and done.

It is one thing to speculate.  I do that all the time.  You get a few points of data and it is natural to try to string together a narrative or a motivation.  It is a natural response and can be fun.  Interesting discussions can come from such things.

Just don’t go full Gevlon and stop listening to facts that might contradict your carefully crafted conspiracy theory.  Be the person in my story instead.

Friday Bullet Points Return to Norrath

There has been some news coming out of Daybreak since the layoffs announced last Friday.  I do not have a huge amount to say about any of them at this time, which makes them all perfect for another Friday Bullet Points post.

  • Holly Longdale on the The EverQuest Show

The EverQuest Show finally posted their previously teased interview with EverQuest and EverQuest II Executive Producer Holly Longdale.

For those not interesting in watching the 23 minute long interview, the EverQuest Show has also kindly posted a transcript on their site.

While Bhagpuss has a deeper look at the interview, things that popped out for me were:

    • EverQuest population is currently half on live servers, half on retro servers
    • Expects EverQuest to be around at least for another decade
    • The size of character database entries is a limiting factor
    • There will be another Norrath title some day

There is more in there, especially about the passion of the team, but that is what stuck in my brain and made nice bullet points.

  • Torment of Velious

The EverQuest team announced the next expansion for the game, Torment of Velious.

Coming later this year

The producer’s letter that contained the new describes some of what we can expect from the expansion including:

    • Level cap raised from 110 to 115
    • 6 new zones
    • All the usual more quests, more raids stuff

Pre-orders will go live this coming Wednesday and there will be the usual array of collector’s edition goodies.  Beta for it is coming up soon and a December launch is expected.

  • Miragul Server

Also in the above linked producer’s letter it was announced that there would be a new progression server launched on November 5th to help celebrate the rapidly approaching EverQuest II 15th anniversary.  Named Miragul after the lich of Everfrost, it will start players at level 85 in the House of Thule expansion.

  • Blood of Luclin

There was also an EverQuest II producer’s letter which also announced the next expansion for that game, Blood of Luclin.

No expansion splash screen yet.

As with the EverQuest expansion it features some of the same expected items:

    • Level cap raised from 110 to 120
    • All the usual more zone, quests, more raids stuff

Not a lot of details there.

Pre-orders for Blood of Luclin will go live on November 5 with, as expected, plenty of collector’s edition goodies for those willing to spend the extra cash.  The expansion is slated for a December launch, with a beta period coming up.

  • Rivervale Server

As with EverQuest, the EverQuest II team is also launching a special server.  The Rivervale server will have no locked content and will allow players to start a level 90 heroic equipped character if they so desire.  It basically sounds like a fresh live server that requires a subscription.  Not that it is a bad idea.  Some people like fresh servers and not everybody likes the timed content unlocks.  No word on exp rate or other details.

  • Anniversary Events

As noted, next month sees the 15th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest II.  The producer’s letter also mentioned that special anniversary events will kick off on November 7th.

As with the interview on The EverQuest Show, Bhagpuss has also has a post about what we know about the expansions, servers, and events so far.

  • EverQuest II Custom UI Outage

No all is peaches and cream in Norrath.  They grim reaper of the layoff may have passed them over, but problems still lurk.  In an effort to track down a server lag problem that has been plaguing the game, all custom UI addons, including the ubiquitous EQ2maps, will be turned off this coming Tuesday, October 22.

The outage is not permanent, but how long it lasts depends on how quickly any problem is found.  It is hoped the outage can be turned off as early as Friday, but it will remain in place as long as it is needed to debug the problem.

Details and compensation are in a forum post.

And so it goes in Norrath.  More information on most of the above will likely be arriving soon.

The Strange September MER

CCP was quick to get the Monthly Economic Report for September into our hands this month.  Due to a number of factors, I have been slower actually getting to it.

Still, there is something to gawk at this month and I am going to go straight to my favorite chart this time around, which is the sinks and faucets over time.

September 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

And the key item on this chart is the gold line that represents NPC bounty payouts.  As I have noted, and as the chart shows, bounty payouts had been tapering off since their peak at the start of the year as CCP nerfed various aspects of null sec anomalies.  Then came the blackout in null sec and they fell off a cliff.  However, the player count also took a hit, so in mid September the blackout ended.

However, just a week before that we got the September update which introduced the cyno changes.

So if you look at that chart closely, examining its behavior between September and October, you can see that NPC bounties fell off even further.  They pretty much dropped off another, smaller cliff as capital ship ratting was pulled up short and the various null sec coalitions developed strategies with which to cope with the change.

In the Imperium people were told not to rat in capitals or supers until the was figured out, and I have heard that other groups did the same.

Eventually though new fits were worked out and strategies setup to counter the problem of not being able to light a cyno on your capital or super (or Rorqual) to get rescued if trouble showed up. (Hint: having an alt in a force recon with a cyno cloaked up on grid and ready to go is a big part of the answer.)  After that was settled the crabs once again undocked and commenced their harvesting yet again and we can see the line going right back up at the end of the month.

So the question probably is whether or not that line has momentum, whether or not it will keep on climbing back into the untenable zone where CCP will feel it has to step in again in order to reign in what was once the biggest ISK faucet in the New Eden economy.

We’ll be back to this chart when the October numbers come out for sure.

As for who grabbed the most of those NPC bounties, the chart shows that the usual regions were at the top of the list.

September 2019 – NPC Bounties by Region

The top ten regions for September were:

  1. Delve – 2.2 trillion
  2. Deklein – 1.5 trillion
  3. Cobalt Edge – 1 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 975 billion
  5. Fountain – 957 billion
  6. Branch – 699 billion
  7. Oasa – 686 billion
  8. Detorid – 528 billion
  9. Tenerifis – 496 billion
  10. Insmother – 454 billion

If the Imperium is home then Delve is at the top.

A lot of those numbers are down from the August, full blackout but pre-cyno change top ten:

  1. Delve – 4.39 trillion
  2. Insmother – 1.30 trillion
  3. Detorid – 1.23 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 1.05 trillion
  5. Querious – 753 billion
  6. Cobalt Edge – 705 billion
  7. Metropolis – 543 billion
  8. Omist – 526 billion
  9. Fountain – 515 billion
  10. Malpais – 514 billion

Delve was down by half in September, and other regions fell off as well, but not all of them.  Cobalt Edge, was up in the northeast of New Eden was up by 250 billion.  So location, reaction time, and the proximity of a war no doubt played into it.

The big sinks and faucets chart shows NPC bounties were down overall compared to August.

September 2019 – Sinks and Faucets

The August chart had NPC bounties at just over 21 trillion ISK, while for September that number fell by nearly a trillion ISK, with NPC bounties pegged at just over 20 trillion ISK.

That kept commodities out in front as the largest faucet in New Eden, though those fell a bit as well, dropping from nearly 24 trillion in August to 21.6 trillion in September.  While that is down some, the peak back in January was 26 trillion, so there hasn’t been any huge shift there.  It is the top faucet because NPC bounties (which were over 83 trillion back in January) have been brought low.

You can also see from that chart that more ISK came out of the New Eden economy this month than went in.

Since the blackout and cyno changes also impact mining operations, at least in null sec, I should probably spend a moment looking at those numbers as well.

September 2019 – Mining value by region

Pulling numbers from the spreadsheet, the top ten regions for mining were:

  1. Delve – 3 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.3 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.2 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 1.1 trillion
  5. Querious – 879 billion
  6. Lonetrek – 876 billion
  7. Sinq Laison – 848 billion
  8. Metropolis – 847 billion
  9. Fountain – 768 billion
  10. Genesis – 705 billion

Delve being on top should probably surprise nobody.  The Imperium is the top crabbing organization in the game, which also figured into Querious and Fountain being on the list.  And Esoteria should be renamed TESToteria.

But the rest of the list is high sec.

The numbers overall seem to be down from the August top ten:

  1. Delve – 3.62 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.59 trillion
  3. Esoteria – 1.46 trillion
  4. The Forge – 1.40 trillion
  5. Querious – 1.10 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.02 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 972 billion
  8. Metropolis – 895 billion
  9. Everyshore – 777 billion
  10. Tash-Murkon – 773 billion

However, mineral prices, on which these numbers rest, were also down in September.

September 2019 – Economic Indices

With the prices down, the value is down.

Finally I want to grab the destruction numbers for New Eden.  The blackout, the cyno changes, and the Chaos Era in general were suppose to be at least in part in furtherance of destruction.  Hilmar wanted to see more things blow up.

September 2019 – Destruction value by region

For September the top regions for destruction were:

  1. The Forge – 2.4 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.7 trillion
  3. Delve – 1.7 trillion
  4. Detorid – 1.6 trillion
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.2 trillion
  6. Domain – 1.2 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 1.1 trillion
  8. Esoteria – 906 billion
  9. Metropolis – 882 billion
  10. Deklein – 865 billion

We have high sec trade hubs, Delve, the war zone of Detorid, TESToteria, and Deklein, the last no doubt in relation to the increase in ratting that put Deklein in second place for NPC bounties.

Those numbers are a bit down from August, especially around Jita it seems.  The August top ten:

  1. The Forge 3.2 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.9 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 1.8 trillion
  4. Detorid – 1.6 trillion
  5. Delve – 1.5 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.5 trillion
  7. Domain – 1.5 trillion
  8. Fade – 1.4 trillion
  9. Metropolis – 1.1 trillion
  10. Black Rise – 1.0 trillion

Overall the total destruction numbers according to the August and September regional stats spreadsheets were 39.7 trillion and 31.2 trillion respectively.  So destruction seems down, and not just in null sec where the crabs were docked up for a couple weeks out of the month.  The Forge being down by a quarter seems significant.

Did the 3 minute cap on being bumped before warping cut down ganks?

Anyway, that is the meat of things for me, and it gives me something to look at next month when perhaps things will have settled down enough to see a pattern.  Or maybe there will be chaos! Chaos!  CHAOS!

If you are interested in the data and charts, CCP provides them all here in a nice zip archive so you can dig into them and make your own lists and graphs.

Wandering the Wailing Caverns

The Wailing Caverns felt like a bit of a let down for me.  I imagine this is largely because, for an Alliance player at least, it comes after the Deadmines in the order of instances run. And if you’re high enough level to get through the Deadmines then you’re likely past the point where WC is going to be a huge challenge.  They occupy similar spots in the level curve.

Wailing Caverns from the Outside

They also make for an odd compare and contrast when it comes to early Blizzard dungeon design.  They both share some similar features, like an open world area before the instance populated by elite mobs complete with its own quests.  But where the Deadmines is a very linear ride… you literally come in the front and exit out the back with no real way to go astray… WC is much more sprawling and open.  You can get lost in there.  You can also create an unrecoverable screw up of a run in there.

But that is all getting ahead of myself.  First you have to get WC, something I started thinking about once we decided to carry on so long as our subscriptions remained active.  We had done some groundwork previously on getting to The Barrens and Ratchet back when we did our run to Ragefire Chasm.  We took the time to get flight points along the way so as to ease our return.

And then we shook up the group so now three of the characters who went to Ragefire Chasm have been replaced by three new characters.  We did a bit or work on that as well, though the fact that my character, Viniki, had been to Ratchet via Theramore had slipped my mind.  The problem with juggling alts… and I have too many now… is that I cannot always keep clear who has done what.  And I was worried that I had not been there with Viniki because I took the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine and got several discovery messages, meaning I hadn’t been there before.

So Saturday morning I got Viniki out and carried on from Auberdine, making the run from there to Astranaar and on into The Barrens where I discovered, upon opening up the map, that I had been to Ratchet already.  Still, I did pick up some flight points and with how classic works, you need some of those to get where you’re going.

I got myself to Ratchet, then decided to make sure I knew where WC even was.  I had a vague memory of it, but decided to explore a bit just to get it on the map.  No point in wandering in The Barrens as a group.  Fortunately I was able to stumble on it without too much effort.

Wailing Caverns, Ratchet, and the Crossroads

I didn’t recall it being quite so close to the Crossroads, but memory is a strange thing.  Then it was back to Ratchet to clear out my bags at the bank and hole up at the Inn for the night.  I knew Skronk could get there, and Obama as well.  They had both been out for Ragefire Chasm.  And with three of us around we could use Obama’s warlock summoning skill to bring Ula and Moronae to us.  I think Ula had made the run, but Moronae would need a summon or have to do it the hard way.  Fortunately Obama had a couple soul shards handy for the summoning.

Warlock utility in action

Gathered, we began the trot over to the instance across the very orange land that is The Barrens.

On our way through the big orange

Our group lineup for the run was as follows:

  • Ula – level 23 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 22 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 21 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 21 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 21 night elf druid

We grabbed the quests from outside the instance… they are in the left eye (as you face it) of the skull that forms the entrance to the the place.

We were all up a level or so from the Deadmines run the weekend before, which made most of the mobs in the caverns on the way to the instance, the foyer of WC I guess, gray to us.  Still, there was a bit of comedy to be had as I, running ahead of the group, fell into the hole in the final ramp that leads down to the instance.

Seriously, somebody should put up a sign

That never fails to get a laugh.

Once I got out of the hole, we carried on the few yards to the instance where things began in earnest.

I could probably write a detailed, blow by blow narrative of the trek through WC, but I am not sure it would be good for either you or I.  A run consists of a lot of fighting groups of two or three, with the local druids gone bad making up a good portion of the mobs.  Sleep is their theme, as they kept putting a sleep charm on people throughout the run.  But even with that things went okay.  Occasionally we had adds or a bad pull, but even six deep into the trash mobs we managed not to lose anybody.

Having looked up the instance before hand, I knew that the “correct” method was to go west, slaying the two bosses that way, Lady Anacondra and Lord Cobrahn.

Arriving at Lord Cobrahn

They both dropped leather items from the fang set, the belt and the leggings.  Since we only have Moronae who wears leather, he was doing pretty well for openers.

Then you loop back and head east to get into the meandering ways of the dungeon.

The path starts off easily enough.  We ran across Kresh, the turtle who drops a shield that would have been a huge upgrade for me.  But he can also drop a crap shield, and the crap shield is what we got.

Then the way begins to wander.  You get choices in direction and it is not always clear which way you should go.  I recall at some point being told to follow the mushrooms, that they would not steer you wrong.  But at one junction the mushrooms seemed to be going in the wrong direction, so went the other.  And that brought us to Lord Pythas, who looks like just another druid of the fang hanging out in a cave.  He too coughed up an item from the Fang set, our druid continuing to do very well for himself.

From there we had a few paths and both Skronk and I started looking at maps.  There was a momentary threat of wife/mom aggro again, so it seemed like expediting our travel might do us well.  However, WC is a very three dimensional instance and two dimensional maps are not always helpful.  We thought about simply bypassing Skum, the next boss.  However, it looked like we had to pass right by him in order to get to the big boss we needed, so we stopped to take him down.

Die rebel Skum

He dropped the glowing lizardscale cloak, which again seemed like a good druid item.

From Skum it looked like a straight path up to the two bosses at the end of the trail.  We were actually able to bypass some mobs along the way, WC caves being broad enough to just slip by some clusters at our level.  There was a moment of anxiety when we reached the part on the path where you have to jump over a gap in the path.  Everybody made it, but we could all imagine somebody falling and needing to be retrieved.

From there it was just up the path a ways to the big open platform.  At one end was Lord Serpentis, at the other Verdan the Everliving.

On the platform

Lord Serpentis has two mobs near him, but one of them wasn’t even close enough to be bothered to join the fight.  You can see the errant druid at the right side of the screen shot above.  Bringing down Lord S got us the savage trodders, a pair of mail boots that were actually an upgrade for me.

After that we turned to Verdan the Everliving, who is a very big boy indeed.  It was here that we had the most difficult fight.  Verdan isn’t complicated, he doesn’t have any special mechanics, but he does hit hard.  I had to use a heal potion not too far into the fight, which made me a bit nervous.  Later, looking at Recount stats, Verdan hit me for more damage than any other boss by a fair margin.  In fact, he hit me for 3% of the damage inflicted on me for the whole instance, and we fought a lot of mobs along the way.

In the end though, we brought him down.  He dropped the seedcloud buckler, which was a pretty big shield upgrade for me.  It is actually much better than the shield off of Kresh, though it doesn’t have the distinctive look that the turtle shield does.  Still, I was happy to get the upgrade.  We took a group shot at that point since there was some concern that wife/mom aggro might return unexpectedly.

Verdan down after the fight

From Verdan you then have to work your way back to the start of the instance to speak with the NPC, the Disciple of Naralex.  I think one of the reasons that WC brings up memories of drudgery is that back in the day, back in 2006, back during our first run, we turned around from Verdan and walked all the way back the way we came.  And that can be a long walk.

Had we poked around a bit back in 2006 we might have noticed the hole… another hole… in the floor well behind Verdan that drops through into a pool of water not far from where we set out, about where we ran into Kresh.  That shortens the way back considerably.  Fortunately, here in 2019, we had since learned about this exit and so took it directly.

Back at the entrance we found the Disciple of Naralex.  He doesn’t have a quest, which is an odd mechanic, but once you’ve slain the other bosses in the instance you can interact with him to start the big event of the dungeon.

Starting him on his way

This is an escort event… not a quest… which leads you around to the final boss.  Once we started it I remembered that the general no fail plan was to go clear out the path first, then go back and set him in motion because if he dies then the run is over.  You cannot revive him and restart the event, you have to reset the instance and start from scratch.

And the Disciple of Naralex has some of the usual quirks of NPCs being escorted.  He is more in the Sarah Oakheart category when it comes to speed, but with an annoying tendency to ignore mobs the group is fighting around him.  That means he keeps on going while you’re engaged, walking straight into the next group of completely obvious mobs just down the path.  We had him wander off a couple of times and at one point I had to run from the fight we were having to taunt mobs down the way off of him.

Clearing the path ahead of time is clearly the pro tactic.  However, we made it, leaving behind unlooted mobs in the scramble to keep him safe.  He gets down into the final room and starts his ceremony.

Cover me while I do some stuff

That brought us to the final stage of the event, which was actually shorter than I remembered it.  You get two waves of mobs coming at you before the final boss appears.

Mutanus Arrives as we stand amid the viscera of the opening acts

Mutanus has an extra powerful sleep charm he uses during the fight, one that cannot be broken by players, but other than having to wait down the timer on that, things went pretty smoothly.  Mutanus was down soon enough.  He dropped the Deep Fathom Ring, which had the casters all salivating.

And that was the end of that, instance complete.

We still had a bit to clean up afterwards.  There was the Trouble at the Docks quest, which has you looking for the goblin named Mad Magglish.  He spawns outside of the instance, in the elite area, even though the quest is flagged as WC.  But the outside counts as well.  He is also stealthed when he spawns, but we found his corpse in looking for him, so that gave us a clue as to where to camp him.

There were also the quests we had.  We only finished one of the pair from the left eye, and that one sent us back to Ratchet.  Once there Obama and Moronae signed off while Skronk, Ula, and I went to track down the final quest.  We had to head back out into The Barrens to find the final turn in.

Orange sunset over an orange land

One of the interesting things about The Barrens is that you can run all the way up a lot of the hills in the middle of the zone, something you may not even notice if you’re grown accustomed to the “hills are zone walls” methods common in the genre.

The final quest turn in ended up being in a house at the top of one of those hills.

Great view, but a long commute

And with that we were done for the day.

Only after the fact did I go back and check out my posts about our past runs through WC.  They were illuminating to some extent.

October 22, 2006 – We do the whole thing, but with only four players.  Earl was missing, so I am not ever sure who was the tank with a mage, priest, rogue, and warlock.  The voidwalker I guess.

November 19, 2009 – We return to the instance as part of our run on the Horde side.  We fail to clear the path for the disciple ahead of time and he dies, scrubbing the end of the run.

January 13, 2011 – We use the dungeon finder to transport our new all worgen (plus a gnome) group to see what changed for Cataclysm.  We earn the achievement, the guild achievement, and get a special prize for completing the instance.  Also, Kresh dropped his shell shield.  I have a screen shot.

Another round to add to our history with this dungeon.  It is interesting to see what I mention and what I don’t as time goes by.

Next on the list is Shadowfang Keep.  There is probably another travel adventure in that.

Skill Point Bonus Time Again in New Eden

I really wish more people had picked SKINs in that survey CCP did about a year back on what sort of rewards we like.  Apparently we all put skill points at the top of our list so now it is all skill points all the time when CCP wants to give us something.

So CCP announced this morning that it is now Bonus Skill Point Week.

When in doubt hand skill points out!

The routine is the same as it has been in the past.  From today, October 16th, through October 24th, log in every day after down time (which is at 11:00 UTC) with every account to claim some free skill points.

This time around CCP did not say up front how many skill points one could accrue over the course of the week, but the usual split between Alpha and Omega clones is in place.  Basically, you get some skill points as an Alpha, but you will get more, probably a lot more, as an Omega, and the login screen will show you just how many more as an enticement to subscribe.

How to collect your skill points are covered in the announcement linked above, but I am sure you could figure it out if you just logged in to look.

This event joins the return of the Skilling Spree, which came back at the start of the month, as the events for the season.  I am sure some are holding out hope for a new Crimson Harvest, the graphically stunning event that ran last year around this time.  We shall see.

Speculation as to why CCP has decided to throw more skill points at us, what it might mean to MAU/DAU numbers, and how this might relate to the one year anniversary of the Pearl Abyss acquisition and the bonuses related to it will no doubt come up as a topic over on /r/eve.

I, for one, won’t turn up my nose at the offer of some free skill points.  The effort is low enough that I’ll log in my Omega and Alpha accounts.  I don’t think I’ll go so far as upgrading any of the latter however.

Five Years of Reavers

Here we are on Reaver’s founding day.  I’ve always pegged the date as around the middle of October, but somebody said on an op that October 15th was the date and that is good enough for me.  So happy fifth birthday to the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

I have a special affinity for Reavers.  I happened to wander in and join right as it was formed from the remnants of Freedom Squad.  I flew ops with Freedom Squad, but never joined officially, so Reavers was the first Imperium (or CFC back then) group I became a member of.

Also, being there from the start I feel like I know a lot of the story of the SIG.  While I have not been on every op, I believe I have gone on every deployment.

Finally, being a member of Reavers has let me experience a lot of things that you don’t always get to do on main fleet or homeland defense or during big war operations.  There have been a few points where I have felt tired of New Eden, but a new Reavers deployment has refreshed my interest and kept me going.

So, as I do every year, I will try to summarize what the SIG has been up to over the last twelve months.  You can find past summaries here:

To go along with the now established tradition of these posts, I’ll start with a look at the null sec influence map, comparing the current state of null sec with what it looked like last year.

October 2018 and 2019 compared

Delve and surrounding regions stayed largely the same, with Red Alliance disappearing from Period Basis.  The region fell to the Imperium to hold, lest somebody else try to move in.  The north and east saw quite a bit more change.  Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) shook up its membership, with Slyce leaving, while Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition were driven out of the north due to the “Glass Tribute” campaign this past spring, sending them to reform in Malpais, which was their rental space.  Further south, new names have popped up around Fraternity, which remains at war with TEST and its Legacy Coalition.

As for Reavers operations, it was a fairly quiet year for a number of reasons.

To start with, the shape of war has changed.  Back in the day Reavers would go off behind enemy lines during a war to act as a distraction.  We did peace time operations as well, but those were more to keep us busy and annoy some of our traditional foes than part of any grand strategic plan.

Circumstances have flipped Imperium doctrine on its head.  SIGs and squads are now the harbingers of war, going out to camp in hostile space and stir up trouble until a war sees possible, at which point the fleets mass to come join us and our operations are folded into main fleet.  And all the more so with Reavers, as Asher is the war time sky marshal, running all the big strategic ops.  So, things like the “Glass Tribute” campaign Reavers end up in main fleet rather than having their own deployment.

And then there is Liberty Squad, new US time zone group that formed up about a year or so ago.  There is a lot of overlap between the Reavers and Liberty Squad rosters.  Being on a Liberty Squad op is almost like being on a Reavers op, as almost all the voices on coms are the same.

Because of this, Asher put off doing deployments for a while to let Liberty Squad come together.  So my posts for this year cover more Liberty ops than Reavers.

Still, it was not a year without operations.  So I will run down the list I have based on the last twelve months of posts.

In December we went to wormhole J115405, otherwise known a Rage, to help evict Hard Knocks.  This was setup by The Initiative, who deserves all the credit.

The Initiative logo in spaceships

However, they invited other groups to come participate, and Reavers went as a group.

After that there was a long dry spell for Reavers as Liberty Squad deployed out to harass Pandemic Horde in Geminate.

We did have a couple of Reavers races, set up by Ranger Gamma.

After that there was the war in Tribute, which ran up to the Drifter invasion of null sec and the launch of the Chaos Era.  Liberty Squad did a bit during that, and I spent some time on Zungen Ops, which I get pings for by being in Reavers, but there were no Reavers deployments until recently.  With things quiet elsewhere, Asher formed us up and we went out to Insmother, passing through Legacy Coalition space to join in against Winter Coalition, moving to Cache there after.

That was an old school Reavers deployment, with us living in space without a station or structure to base from.  Mobile depots for everybody.

Swapping out my cloak

However, that also put a bit of a crimp on the numbers.  People who missed the move op out had to find their way out into the middle of hostile space, some opting not to bother.  Numbers were low for ops at times and we ended up coming home this past weekend.

And that is where we stand currently at the the end of five years, back home from a venture out in the wilds of Cache, where we were living in space, shooting at structures, and looking for fights.

My posts do not cover all the Reavers ops.  I know I missed a few out in Cache, and some good ones too from what I hear.  But I believe that covers the deployments the SIG has done over the last year.

Warp Speeds Raised in New Eden

Once upon a time, in the bygone days of New Eden, all ships entered warp with equal rapidity.  Once aligned you went to top speed pretty much up to your destination.

And then CCP decided this was wrong.  With the Rubicon expansion changes were made, and acceleration and deceleration were made part of the equation.  It was all covered in a dev blog, because of course it was. (More numbers over at EVE Uni.)

When battleship warps became really slow

This made traveling with battleships a painful process, as they were slow to accelerate, slow in warp, and slow to decelerate.  Moving bigger ships became annoying and there was no greater pariah than the person who brought a battlecruiser to a cruiser fleet, causing fleet warps to slow down to their level.

Today however CCP made a change.  There was a somewhat less than informative announcement that warp speeds had been changed.  It is short enough to quote in full:

Warp Drive Active – Warp Speed Changes Now Live!

Got somewhere to be in New Eden?

Every Cruiser, Battlecruiser and Battleship now warps faster than before.

Travelling via autopilot will also be faster now with the warp in distance changed from 15km to 10km.

Head into New Eden to find out more!

Fortunately, Reddit is there for us to figure out the changes.  At the top of the thread there is a post which lists out what changed generally, but I am going to steal a chart posted by Sticky Mess (whose flair says Suddenly Spaceships) which goes into finer detail.

Image credit: Sticky Mess

So subcaps from cruisers on up will now move faster in the warp stage of their travel.  People have been asking for this for a long time.  I guess after the Chaos Era CCP felt they needed to throw out a quality of life improvement for everybody.  Judging from the calculations, an increase in warp speed should also shave off some time at both the acceleration and deceleration ends of each warp.

The other interesting, but less discussed bit, was auto pilot warps now landing at 10km off their destination, down from 15km.  That number has been at 15km since I started playing EVE Online back in 2006. (Obligatory “I played before ‘warp to 0’ was a thing.”)  It has been that since forever so far as I know.

So what will that change mean?

Yes, auto pilot trips will now be shorter in duration.  Ships on auto pilot will now be exposed to attack for less time on each gate.  I suppose that will give scouts less time to scan them for ganks in high sec, though the window is still pretty large for that and ganks themselves seem to happen on the other side of the gate when ships are preparing to warp and bumping them can delay their departure.

Anyway, something new in New Eden today.