Category Archives: entertainment

A Hole in the North

I heard Monday on comms that Pandemic Horde was packing up to move.  This was confirmed later via an article over at INN.  PH were going to leave their home in Fade, Pure Blind, and a bit of Cloud Ring, and move east to pick up space in Geminate.  That space was being vacated by the Russians who were going to consolidate deeper into null sec after Triumvirate gave up in Insmother.

The North Feb 15, 2018

That will actually put Pandemic Horde up tight against the rest of PanFam who sprawl across Tribute, Tenal, and Vale of the Silent, the latter sharing a border with Geminate.  That is probably a good move for them as it makes for a tighter center of mass for PanFam.

Move ops should be fun as people line up to try and catch them exposed on the path to their new home.

But it raises the question of who will move into the vacated space once PH finishes relocating?

Certainly the Guardians of the Galaxy Coalition, led by Darkness, seems a likely candidate.  One of their members, Mordus Legion, already holds some space in Pure Blind.  But do they want to shepherd that much space?

One of the oft commented upon/complained about aspects of the current situation in null sec is that you do not need to control nearly as much space to have sufficient access to mining and ratting to keep your members happy.  The Imperium, for the most part, is fine just in Delve, as the monthly economic report indicates.  Farms and fields.

The Initiative went and took much of Fountain when the previous situation there fell apart, not so much out of need as the fact that the space was there to be taken.  That put the reach of The Imperium up to the border with Cloud Ring and not so far from Fade and Pure Blind.  There went the neighborhood.  So PH’s move puts them a bit further from that mess.

Guardians of the Galaxy will no doubt scoop up the remains of Fade, which is small and in which they had maintained a foothold already.  The western half of Pure Blind however seems like a lot of space for them to keep an eye on.

And Cloud Ring seems right out.  Cloud Ring is already a bit of the Wild West with even some Gallente Faction Warfare pilots, off on a lark, grabbing the Assilot constellation in the region back in September, space that they still hold today.

I guess Cloud Ring could just roll along on its own, but western Pure Blind… GotG either have to take it to cover themselves or get somebody they can deal with to move in.  Maybe Tri is looking for a new home?

Then again, Pure Blind isn’t anybody’s favorite region… unless you like to hole up in the NPC in the middle and hot drop on the things.  So it will be interesting to see who ends up there and if they will live there or just hold it to keep somebody else from living there.

On the one hand, it is probably good that null sec is now all largely livable space without the useless systems that made people spread out.  On the other, if you told me five years ago that there would be chunks of prime, livable null sec that people wouldn’t want to bother with I might have laughed.

Anyway, we will have to see what develops in the hole in the north left by Pandemic Horde’s move.

One Hundred and Ninety Million Skill Points

That time has rolled around again.  Another meaningless skill point milestone, a new round number, made more meaningless by the advent of skill injectors, but at this point it is a tradition so I might as well carry on.

Past the 190 million mark

The story so far, for those wanting a quick summary of my skill point progression over the last decade or so.

Since the last check-in at 180 million I did an attribute remap to chase down some skills not focused on willpower and perception, which covers a spaceship command and a lot of the weapon skills, changing the emphasis to memory and intelligence.

Thanks to the way CCP thinks, I am committed to that remap for a full year, which puts me out to October.  You would imagine that a remap token would be something worth selling in the New Eden Store, but that hasn’t occurred to CCP quite yet.  They’ll sell skills directly to Alpha clones, but a skill remap would be heresy I guess.  So until then I am somewhat gimped if I suddenly need a new ship type trained up or a weapon skill.

Fortunately I have all the sub-cap skills up to IV and many of them to V, so that isn’t too likely.

Anyway, this change was to allow me to wrap up skills around scanning.  I was feeling the pain of that after using my alt to scan.  He has all the skills up the V and Wilhelm was still languishing with skills at level III of IV.  So that was my initial focus.

However, that wasn’t going to take anything like a year so, at this point, scanning skills are all done, pushed up to level V.  I haven’t had an opportunity to use them yet, but like so many of the skills I have trained over the years, they are there waiting if I should need them.

That done I started going through and tossing skills on that would be optimized by my remap, or at least not drastically hindered by it.

 Spaceship Cmd 61,730,636 (60 of 75)*
 Gunnery 17,197,141 (36 of 46)
 Fleet Support 12,896,000 (14 of 15)
 Drones 12,652,303 (22 of 26)*
 Missiles 11,111,853 (22 of 26)*
 Navigation 9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Engineering 7,886,130 (15 of 15)*
 Electronic Sys 7,806,958 (14 of 15)*
 Armor 6,131,137 (13 of 13)
 Shields 6,074,039 (12 of 13)*
 Scanning 5,791,765(7 of 7)*
 Science 5,714,282 (21 of 39)*
 Resc Processing 4,756,183 (22 of 28)*
 Subsystems 4,096,000 (16 of 16)*
 Trade 3,399,530 (10 of 14)*
 Targeting 3,207,765 (8 of 8)
 Neural Enhance. 3,202,510 (7 of 8)
 Planet Mgmt 1,612,315 (5 of 5)
 Structure Mgmt 1,446,824 (6 of 6)*
 Rigging 1,312,395 (10 of 10)
 Production 1,157,986 (5 of 12)
 Social 1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Corp Mgmt 24,000 (2 of 5)

 Total ~190,000,000 (345 of 424)

That is a total of 345 skills by my count, up from 338 last time, so somewhere along the line I picked up 7 more skills.  Those with an asterisk went up since the last check-in.

Of course, Spaceship Command still reigns supreme as the top category after all these years and, despite the attribute remap, it still went up a bit this time around and a new skill was added.  That would be Minmatar Carrier, since the Nidhoggur is the current new hotness in the meta.  I don’t own one, but I could get in one and fly it if I had to.

A Nidhoggur with a Cerb shadow on it

At the top end of the list Gunnery and Fleet Support didn’t get touched, but Drones saw a boost as I started working on the level V versions of fighter skills in order to use tech II fighters with carriers.  This was spurred by my going on a capital training op that actually explained how to use fighters in terms I could understand, so I think I can do that now… though I think I already forgot how to send fighters to specific locations using that two-axis command.  We’ll see.

A few other slots got minor boosts, but Scanning, as one might expect from what I wrote above, saw the biggest boost overall, jumping over 2.7 million skill points since the last check in.  I have all those scanning skills to V now.

All that training upped the count of skills at level V, so my current spread looks like this:

 Level 1 - 1
 Level 2 - 4
 Level 3 - 43
 Level 4 - 91
 Level 5 - 206

That’s what you get at my end of the training cycle, a lot of skills.  As for what to keep training… well… I always have a queue at least two years deep.  I have to finish up those fight skills.  Then there are things like Neurotoxin Control and Neurotoxin Recovery to enhance my in-game drug usage… all Reavers are Quafe addicts… and others that align with my current attribute selection.  There is more than enough there to keep me going through the 200,000,000 mark.

I do wonder how much longer this series of posts will be viable.  In part, I wonder when I’ll just be done an start actually training an alt on my account.  But mostly I wonder about my ability to get at the data for these posts.

I have used EVE Mon for the data over the years.  However, support for it has fallen by the wayside of late and, while it did get an update recently, even if development for it is renewed with some vigor, it still faces the looming cliff of the death of the old API system in the spring.

Come the 8th of May the old API system, along with CREST, will be shut off and only the new-ish ESI API will be left.  I get the reasoning and we’ve certainly been given plenty of warning, but it will still mean the death of a number of third party applications that have popped up over the years as the authors decide if it is worth reworking their integration.

That’s the problem with community projects, which make up the bulk of EVE Online tools, they depend on players remaining invested with the game.  Once they wander off, support for their tool often stops.  I worry that come May 9th we might find something major like DOTLAN EVE Maps has gone missing.

Meanwhile, my experience with the new ESI API system, largely confined to the Neocom II app on my iPad, has been less than stellar.  Either that app is messed up or the new interface does not deliver data in an accurate or timely manner.  As I noted in my look at that app, it shows me two different skill point totals, neither of which are correct.

Of course, I could just log into the game and dig through my character sheet for the data.  However, it doesn’t total up my skills nicely by category the way EVE Mon always has.

My skill counts by category in game

Though EVE Mon is fallible as well.  It still showed the old 5 subsystems per empire skill plan, but that has been trimmed to 4 now, so it should be 16 total skills for the Subsystem category, not 20.  Such is life.

And my alternate choice, EVEBoard, where you can see my character’s skills laid out, also depends on the old API as well, so that won’t help much unless/until they upgrade as well.

So the next milestone is 200,000,000 skill points which, given the usual 7 month cycle, ought to hit at some point in September.  We will see then if

Winter Movie League – Rabbit Season

First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes…

-Tales of Peter Rabbit

Week eleven has come and gone for our Fantasy Movie League.

The week saw a boost in scores after the Super Bowl slump that was week ten.  We saw three new titles show up on the big screen that all had potential as an anchor, Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit, and The 15:17 to Paris, which were expected, and priced to reflect, landing in the top three spots for the weekend box office.

Fifty Shades Freed    $556
Peter Rabbit          $276
The 15:17 to Paris    $221
Jumanji               $126
The Greatest Showman  $101
The Maze Runner       $83
Winchester            $66
The Shape of Water    $51
The Post              $50
Hostiles              $46
12 Strong             $43 
Den of Thieves        $40
Three Billboards      $35
I, Tonya              $30
Darkest Hour          $29

The quest really was just how much each one would take in.

Early in the week there was a forecast post at Variety that predicted Peter Rabbit would pass Fifty Shades, which they suggested would only turn in a $21 million weekend, something that sealed my ongoing suspicion that they post trolling forecasts in order to get page views based on outrage.

As the week went on and literally nobody thought that Fifty Shades would bring in so little, it having an installed based invested in the story, even Variety allowed that it would probably exceed the studios mode modest $33 million prediction.  I am not sure who this installed base actually is, never having run into somebody who has anything good to say about the books or the movies, but they are out there.  It is a franchise on which Twilight fans look down and to which they seem to feel superior, yet it does okay at the box office, especially overseas.

Peter Rabbit, meanwhile, was the kids picture in a week when there wasn’t much in the way of competition on that front.  As with Paddington, I can not recall ever being enchanted with the Beatrix Potter rabbit milieu as a child, the Hundred Acre wood being more my thing, but this Edwardian era bunny retained enough fame that I at least knew who he was sufficiently to mock a middle-school classmate who bore the same name.  Still, this felt a bit like the sort of film you drag the kids to because you feel like you should as opposed to there being much in the way of literary merit to be explored.

Then there was The 15:17 to Paris, a Clint Eastwood film that featured the actual soldiers involved in the event reprising their actions from that day on the silver screen.  There previews for the film didn’t do much to grab me.

And, finally, on the anchor front, there was the holiday season stalwart Jumanji, which seemed to defy gravity week after week, staying viable as an anchor long after the blockbuster of Star Wars, which came out only a week earlier, fell into the filler category and then off the list of picks altogether.

In the absence of forecasts I thought seven screens of Jumanji, filling the eighth with the similarly buoyant Greatest Showman,  might be a viable pick.  That was where I started on Monday night.  And while I changed my lineup at least a dozen times over the course of the week… I can’t just look at a lineup on the screen, I have to pick it in the FML UI and eyeball it to make it feel real… I ended up back with that come Friday morning.

There were points when it seemed like 15:17 to Paris might be the anchor, or Peter Rabbit might be the key, and one forecast that had numbers that made one screen of Fifty Shades, two screens of 15:17 to Paris, and five empty screens look like a viable pick.  But in the end nothing came in that made switch from my initial pick.

15:17 to Paris was under review embargo, which is never a good sign, and declined to have any Thursday night previews.

Peter Rabbit, being a kids film, also didn’t bother with Thursday night previews.  I’m not sure what they would have told us in any case.  Who brings a kid young enough for that sort of film out on a school night.

Which left Fifty Shades, which did have previews, which were good, but not great, and seemed to be indicative of it doing $38-40 million over the weekend.  So my Monday pick stood.

My Winter Week Eleven Picks

A couple of other people went with my pick.  In the MCats League there wasn’t a lot of love for Peter Rabbit, but in the TAGN league Peter Rabbit held greater sway, with five people anchoring on it.

Then came the Saturday estimates and Peter Rabbit seemed to be exceeding expectation and was being tagged as the best performer.  Jumanji was still in the running for that, but 15:17 to Paris was falling behind expectations.  On Saturday it looked like I HAS BAD TASTE might have the perfect pick and win the week.

Sunday estimates changed that up, with Peter Rabbit pulling further ahead, Jumanji holding, and 15:17 to Paris falling further back while SynCaine seemed slated for the perfect pick.

But when the final results came in I HAS BAD TASTE was back on top, winning the week in both the TAGN league and in the overall Meta league and getting the perfect pick.

Winter Week Eleven Perfect Pick

Only 90 people ended up with the perfect pick this week, which makes it a fairly rare pick showing how many options there were for week eleven.

That left the weekly scores as:

  1. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $97,045,535
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $91,912,175
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $91,846,527
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $89,389,439
  5. Kraut Screens (T) – $87,509,505
  6. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $86,804,702
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $76,606,751
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $76,606,751
  9. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $76,606,751
  10. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $72,652,251
  11. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $71,954,746
  12. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,375,527
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $65,171,127
  14. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $58,581,726
  15. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $56,637,124
  16. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $56,637,124
  17. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $30,440,880 (forgot to pick)
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $19,310,684 (forgot to pick)

The Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

Those heavy on Peter Rabbit ruled the roost… or the hutch I suppose… while those who were betting on 15:17 to Paris were way down the list.  Both Liore and The Filthy Fleapit failed to pick in time, which is reflected in their scores.

Those scores shook up the season ranks a bit.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,124,983,276
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,114,066,616
  3. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $1,067,518,310
  4. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $1,065,683,840
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,051,523,024
  6. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,027,231,052
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,023,513,057
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $968,253,693
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $958,483,040
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $957,397,767
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $897,760,744
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $895,665,650
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $886,694,023
  14. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $854,601,986
  15. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $851,343,686
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $824,196,552
  17. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $814,111,429
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $803,855,526

Ben and Corr stayed locked in their fight for first place, with Corr gaining a little on Ben.  However, both are still far enough out in front of everybody else that unless they forget to pick or blow their pick badly they will remain the top two in the Meta league.

Biyondios pass me and took third place overall and first place in the TAGN league, though we are close enough that those positions could easily change.  Pak also moved up a place and is within striking range of Biyondios and myself while Aure fell back to a distant 6th place.

I HAS BAD TASTE  was up one position while SynCaine popped up two spots. Logan jumped up three spots and Joanie went up two largely thanks to those who forgot to pick.

So with two weeks left the battle for first place continues while third place could go to three or four different people depending on how optimistic you tend to be.

Which leads us into week twelve, the penultimate week of the season, and a bit one at that.  Black Panther opens up this week and is expected to have a very strong box office.  It expected to dominate, so it has been chopped up into individual days.  But this is also the four day Presidents Day holiday in the US, so it is a four day box office as well.  So the price list looks like this:

Black Panther (FRI)  $501
Black Panther (SAT)  $451
Black Panther (SUN)  $348
Black Panther (MON)  $220
Peter Rabbit         $186
Fifty Shades Freed   $155
Jumanji              $87
The 15:17 to Paris   $68
The Greatest Showman $51
Early Man            $49
The Maze Runner      $39
Samson               $32
Winchester           $31
The Post             $26
The Shape of Water   $25

In addition to four slots going to Black Panther there are two new features, the Old Testament epic of Samson and the Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommet fame) stop motion animated Early Man.

That knocked out some of those Oscar nominees that had been hanging about Three Billboards, I, Tonya, and Darkest Hour, as well as the more recent Hostiles, 12 Strong, and Den of Thieves.

So the question this week is probably just which day of Black Panther do you anchor on?  Friday will be huge, all the more so with the Thursday night previews, but it is priced accordingly.  Saturday will also be big, but like Friday you can only have one unless you want some empty screens.  Sunday and Monday will be more modest, but you can have a couple and still fill out a lineup.

Or, if you’re still feeling it for Beatrix Potter, it is possible to get a lineup with Peter Rabbit as your anchor.  But how many rabbits will you need to beat a panther?  Likewise, you can get a lot of screens of Fifty Shades, but who will beat whom?

And, of course, finding estimates to help you out will be problematic.  Most estimates will likely be a three day weekend total, which will give an idea but not a number you can bank on.  And this is a big enough week that blowing it or getting the perfect pick could change your standings dramatically.

Citadel Changes Feature in February EVE Online Update

The February update for EVE Online has been deployed and it brings a host of changes.

Love is in the air… or space… or whatever

As noted in the headline, the biggest changes are probably to citadels, which got the
“Upwell 2.0” firmware update.  Or so they say.  This is covered in detail in a Dev Blog, including changes that were made after it was initially published, so I won’t repeat all of that.  Instead, a few highlights.

Low Power Mode – This is a new state for citadels that have no service modules active which, one would assume, means that they aren’t being used for much besides docking and tethering.  When in low power mode any attack will get to skip the second round of assaulting the citadel, skipping the armor cycle and having to just do the shield and structure rounds.  Shield hit points for structures in low power mode are also reduced by 33%.  This should make clearing unused or abandoned structures, something of an issue in high sec currently, easier.

Updated Vulnerability and Reinforcement Cycle – The timing of attacks have been changed.  Probably the biggest aspect of that is now one can attack a citadel and finish the shield cycle at any time rather than having to wait until a specific weekly vulnerability window.  After that attackers have to come back during a time chosen by the defenders.

  • An initial attack that can occur at any date and any time chosen by the attackers
  • A second attack that occurs in the timezone of the defenders, on the day chosen by the attackers
  • A final battle that occurs in the timezone and day chosen by the defenders to allow them a last stand

CCP posted a news item suggesting that owners of citadels set these new timers before the update.

The flow of attacking an Upwell structure now follows this flow chart.

How to explode a citadel

There has also been an overhaul of citadel weapon systems that includes the removal of void bombs, which were restricting the composition of attacking forces to doctrines that could hold up while being neuted out.

Moon mining is now available in wormhole space and in 0.5 high sec systems, two items promised since last year.

Again, there is a huge list of changes covered in the dev blog (and clarified in some cases in the patch notes) for those interested.

On to other items, Assault Frigates got a balance pass to make them more attractive, so they are all now a bit faster, a bit lighter, and have 30% more capacitor.  In addition the Ishkur, Retribution, and Jaguar got some extra attention, which is covered in this thread and the patch notes.

There is also a new series of Assault Damage Control modules that may be fit only to Assault Frigates or Heavy Assault Cruisers.  The new modules give less passive resistance, but can be activated for a short period (13-17 seconds depending on the type) to provide a 75% boost to resists, after which it takes 150 seconds for the module to recycle.  We shall see if this makes Assault Frigates or HACs more useful in a universe where battlecruisers, strategic cruisers, or T3 destroyers are usually a better or cheaper option.

Then there is the Guardians Gala Event, which kicks off today and runs through to the 27th of the month,

Guardians Gala Comes Again

The event consists of sites that will pop up on your overview all over New Eden which you can attack for loot.  They will show up in The Agency interface.  The sites come in two flavors this year, normal and VIP.  The VIP sites are alleged to require more than one ship according to CCP, but I’m sure somebody will come up with a fit to solo them.  There is a scouting report for the event over at The Nosy Gamer.

Among the prizes this year are slot 8 stasis webifier enhancing implants and Eros Blossom SKINs, which are pink… and you know how we all love pink SKINs.  In addition some Eros Blossom SKINs (and pink fireworks as well) will be available in the New Eden Store for PLEX.

On NPC structures, Bloodraiders and Guristas shipyards will now no longer be locked into a select set of regions but will now spawn all over low and null sec.  I do not see a mention of whether or not there will be more spawns, but I assume that at least the Bloodraiders, which used to be limited to a single spawn, will be increased in numbers.

And both the shipyards and the forward operating bases will have a cap put on the size of their defense fleets.

Objects seen on missions (which CCP still calls “dungeons” in the patch notes because they hate me and want to give me an aneurysm) have been updated for the V5 shader so are probably a lot shinier than they were before.  They might even look better too.

Finally, there is a line item in the patch notes that indicates that CCP has updated the Wwise audio engine in order to improve audio stability and performance, which I am sure will get any number of readers to respond with, “EVE has sound?”  Audio has long had performance issues in the game and people who end up in fleet fights generally turn sound off just to eke out some additional performance from the client. (Closing Local helps too.)  I’ve run this way so long that I’ve become used to fight in space being silent affairs aside from voices on comms.   But silence is probably right for battles in a vacuum.

Anyway, the update is now live.  You can read up on it in the Patch Notes or on the Updates Page.

Argus and the Alliance Allied Races

With the coming of the Battle for Azeroth pre-order I was in and had one of the allied races, the Highmountain Tauren, unlocked straight our of the gate.

Moose on moose action outside Orgrimmar

Furthermore I had a second allied race, the Nightborne, pretty close to being unlocked.  You can go use WoW Head’s Legion Attunement page to see how close a given character is to unlocking the allied races.  As it turned out I fell off the final quest line about three quests before it was done.  Once I got back on that track I was able to get the requisite achievement.

Suramar achievement achieved

That, in turn, unlocked the Nightborne Elves for me as well.

More elves, wheee…

So I had the Horde allied races covered.  The Alliance allied races… is being allied with the alliance make you an ally ally or just part of the Alliance… were not available to me.  In what I will claim is yet another example of residual Horde favoritism from the Chris Metzen era, you could unlock the Horde allied races in the core areas of the Broken Isles, but the Alliance allied races required you to go to Argus.


Argus, like Gaul, is divided into three

It isn’t so much that Argus is bad.  In fact, it follows closely the zone design philosophy for WoW Legion, where zones are actually small but feel big due to good design.  The problem is flying.  Once Blizzard gives you flying it feels like they’re punishing you when they take it away.  We’ve been over that many times, but it is still true.  Once the genie is out of the bottle you’re cooked.

I ran once character up to the level cap, went away for months, came back once flying was made available, worked to unlock that, and only then started on alts.  Flying makes running through a zone trivially easy as you avoid any unwanted entanglements.  This is doubly handy when you just want to zip in and get a few world quests out of the way.

And then you get to Argus and there is no flying.  There are not even flight points.  You just unlock what are essentially teleport nodes to get around.  So, while I started in on Argus, I tended to leave it alone in order to concentrate on efforts elsewhere… like in places where I could fly.  Also, Darkmoon Faire, and Love is in the Air, and pet battles kept me busy.

Eventually though I hit a point where I had some time and Argus was still there waiting for me.  In fact, getting the Darkmoon Faire “Test of Strength” quest done prompted me a bit to get out a slay some stuff on the ground.

As noted, not so bad.  The usual amount of stomping about the various land masses and occasionally trying to figure out how to get from point A to point C when mountain range or chasm B is in the way… stuff you never worry about with flying… but otherwise not an excessive amount of schlepping along in the usual knees bent running about advancing behavior.  And the story sticks you in the cut scenes now and again, which I always seem to enjoy more than I should.

Some guy wearing green googles showed up…

A couple hours of quiet time with my wife and daughter out of the house was all it took to get the achievement side of unlocking the Alliance allied races.

An achievement has never been so wrong about me…

So that both Alliance allied races are unlocked by the same Argus achievement is good.  That they need me to get exalted with both of the Argus factions is… less fun.  As noted above, flying and world quests… and world quests are the way forward for faction… go together like two things clearly meant to go together actually going together.

And my having ignored Argus for a while means that I have a ways to go on both factions.

My current standing with allied race unlocks

And I am only that far along with the Alliance allied race faction unlock effort because we had a faction bonus week that overlapped with Darkmoon Faire and its bonus faction merry-go-round booster, which I renewed liberally, and that I am doing this all on a Human character that gets its own boost to faction accrual.

Riding for a faction boost!

Still, I don’t have to unlock the allied raced TODAY.  I can move along, wait for the emissary quests to roll around for Army of the Light or Argussian Reach or Kirin-Tor, the latter which gives you a boost to the faction of your choice, and end up unlocking both in time.

Because the next question is what to do with these unlocked allied races.  I am not sure I need four more alts.  I am not sure I what classes I would make them or if I really need the overlap that would come with making yet another character of a class I already have.  I still haven’t finished the Demon Hunter starter quest line, leaving my Demon Hunter lingering about waiting for me to get back to him.

And then there is the usual problem of the level 110 booster that came with the Battle for Azeroth pre-order.  Do I want to use it straight out on one of these allied races?  Do I want to get any of them to level 60 first to fill in any sort of trade skill gap I might have when I boost them, because boosting from level 60 also means boosting trade skills as well, or is there some other character I should boost instead?

And then, of course, there are two more allied races to be unlocked once the expansion hits, the Zandalari Trolls and the Dark Iron Dwarves, the latter seeming an odd choice for an Alliance allied race given all the trouble they’ve cause in the past.  But the lore is malleable.

These questions will probably linger until summer when the pre-expansion events kick in and I come back from playing Rift Prime or whatever I am likely to try a couple months down the line when I tire a bit of Azeroth.

Extra Credits – Why Do Games Cost So Much To Make?

After running a video about why AAA video games should cost more than $60, something we’ve heard a lot, they followed up with a video about what it costs to make a AAA video game.

This, of course, feeds back on discussion that started back in November around another video that was trying to assess, incorrectly, the cost of making video games.


CCP and Proposed Changes to CSM Elections

CCP announced yesterday that the minutes from the CSM12 Winter Summit are now available for your perusal.

CSM12 still rolling along

The minutes, as always, seem as much a tool to irritate as to inform.  That is just the nature of the beast.  The minutes are a brief record… in 77 pages… of people talking about EVE Online, do people actually doing anything about it.  And the CCP people often respond to ideas or questions in the same way, that they’ve discussed or thought about this or that, but never had time or never got to it.

Because there is the reality of software development; you always have more ideas than time and everything always takes longer than you think.  If, sitting on the outside looking in, you think something should be easy… like, say, remove the DUST514 references from the chat windows… it is probably because you lack the knowledge surrounding it.

So they are there, read them, mine out the few chunks of data, try to read the tea leaves that form the rest, and move on.  Exploding on the forums probably won’t help anything, but if it will make you feel better you can join in.

One item to which CCP decided attention to in their dev blog post was a proposed change up to the CSM elections.  As somebody who has never been a fan of the players electing a focus group… I called the whole thing the Galactic Student Council nearly a decade back… changes in the election process often strike me as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; the new layout may be nice, but it isn’t going to change the end result.

In the case of the CSM, popularity or being the candidate of an organized group, as opposed to deep game knowledge, wins.  And, of course, null sec is the most organized out of necessity, so guess who is pretty much guaranteed to secure at least half the seats?  So that we get anybody with deep knowledge of aspects of the game is as much chance as anything, though we don’t seem to have as many vanity candidates winning recently.  It seems that people eventually figured out what a “free trip to Iceland” really meant.

Not that I think deep knowledge could change things or “make” CCP do anything.  I like to imagine new, dewy-eyed and determined CSM members showing up in Iceland set to change things and walking away ashen faced like they just got a tour of Voronezh Meat Packing Plant #12.  As with sausages, it is probably best that you not look to hard at how software is made.

Anyway, I digress.

The changes being proposed are, as I read them:

  • Move the CSM elections to a point later in the year
  • Increase the amount of time for campaigns
  • Reduce the actual time spent voting
  • Announce the results sooner

The first point seems to come from the experience of the current CSM members who felt that after Fan Fest, when development starts to slow down a bit as summer vacations begin, would be a better time to bring new members on board.  I don’t think it is a CSM12 conspiracy to extend their own tenure for a couple months, but you never know.

The second, extending the time from when we know the official candidate list through until voting begins, seems to be rooted in the charming belief that the people who aren’t paying attention and who never vote might change their minds if only there was more time to try to distinguish between the huge grid of avatars from which they get to select.

The third point, reducing the actual duration of voting, seems to contradict the above, but really what it means is that CCP has data on actual voting as opposed to campaigning.  They say most people vote on the first day or the last day, basically those were were aching to vote and those who said, “Oh crap, I’d better vote!”  That seems to make sense, but I am sure somebody will cry “voter suppression” over the proposed change.

And then there are the results, which CCP knows pretty much straight away, but which they sit on for weeks and weeks so they can announce them at Fan Fest.  I guess we’ll just have to do without that particular aspect of Fan Fest which, as somebody who will only ever see Fan Fest over a live stream, works for me.

So sure.  Make the changes.  I strongly suspect that they won’t alter the expected outcome and will just give the same people who complain every year about the same things regarding the elections another bullet point or two for their list as we roll on into CSM 13.