Category Archives: entertainment

Pandemic Binge Watching and Some More Channels

Previously on Pandemic Binge Watching I wrote about the three long established streaming services that have been staples of our watching habits, even before the current series of unfortunate events.

Hulu is the little channel that could.  We originally got it in order to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, then cancelled.  But it is the service I keep coming back to.  I had to get it to get through all of Archer after that fell off of Netflix.  At one point a year of so back I had a plan to simply replace our Comcast cable lineup with the local channel and sports package you can through get through Hulu, but was brought up short on the details.

My wife is a hockey fan, and we can get the channel that carries all the Shark’s games, but on Hulu it runs 20-30 seconds behind the cable broadcast and my wife was quickly annoyed that her game night texting buddies would announce somebody scored before it ever made it to our screen.  That is literally a deal breaker here it seems.  A pity, because I was good with every other aspect of it, especially picture quality.  Comcast put in a really bad compression algorithm a year of so back, so their HD service barely looks like HD anymore.  The streaming services look much better.

Hulu has a lot going for it.

Upside:

Some very good original content.  I mentioned The Handmaid’s Tale already, and did a post previously about Catch-22.

The channel really excels at being the place to go watch seasons of things once they have wrapped up on cable channels that do not have their own streaming service yet.

Hulu has a bunch of subscription options.  You can go cheap if you can handle some commercials, or opt to pay a bit more to remove them, and add on a number of additional options, up to and including a basic cable replacement.

Downside:

Their interface hides the depth of the channel more so than some competitors I could mention.  If Netflix is a hyper puppy trying to get your attention, Hulu is an old sheep dog that can’t be bothered some days.

Not so much original stuff as you might imagine.

Really needs some of the features that Prime and Netflix have adopted to skip show intros and the like.  I realize this is related to the relationship they have with networks and what not, and that they are getting some of the features going, but still.  I do get a bit pissy when content from other networks won’t even let you fast forward past promos.

Current Status:  Subscribed and using the service to subscribe to Showtime rather than get into Showtime’s app.  Also still watching Bob’s Burgers.

 

On paper Disney+ should be a subscribe and never leave channel for our family.  It has all of the MCU movies, all of the Star Wars movies and (almost) all the shows, all of the Disney catalog that they’ll still admit to, and it has every episode of The Simpsons.  I should literally be parked in front of that channel forever.

Upside:

Inexpensive at $7.00 a month.  Can get it bundled with Hulu.

Literally everything 14 year old me could want.

The Madalorian was pretty good.  We watched that every week through its first season.

Downside:

The Hulu bundle made you take the ad sponsored version of the service last I checked, plus you have to take ESPN as well, in which I have no interest.  The faux seasons pro sports are putting on now are not enticing at all.

I’m not 14 any more.  I have seen almost everything on the service already.  Hell, I have a significant fraction of it on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Not much new/original content

No Star Wars Holiday Special?  Are you kidding me?

Current Status:  Currently not subscribed, but another season of The Mandalorian is coming up soon.

Starz came to us when they had an offer back in March to get 6 months of their service for $30.  The thought was that we could finish up Outlander, but that stopped clicking with us after a couple seasons.  We came for that, but stayed for The White Queen and its follow on series, which I mentioned previously.

Basically Starz is a lesser version of HBO, an old school cable movie service that has expanded into some original content and its own stand-alone streaming app.

Upside:

Always has dozens of movies available to watch on demand.

Some very good original content

Downside:

Really a lesser version of HBO in too many ways.  Not so many movies you’d watch, not so many original series that you’d stick around for.

The UI design of their app always leaves me feeling I need to press the button to start a show or movie one more time that other apps.

Easily the hardest app for me to read text on from the couch.  They expect you to read the show/movie titles from the thumbnail.

Current Status:  Just lapsed, but The Spanish Princess 2 is coming up, so could return I suppose.

Apple TV+ is the latest channel we’ve tried.  I have been wary of it in the past because Apple has run it like the iTunes store in the past, where it is essentially a store front to sell you content, and there are a lot of other options in that market.  Also, it required an Apple device in the past.  Recently they have made it an app that I can get on our Roku and they have added a subscription and some original content.

I have been tempted to try it if only to watch The Morning Show, which has gotten good buzz, but my wariness as to what else one gets with their subscription has left me cold.  It is easier to figure out the difference between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max that to get that info out of Apple.

But then Long Way Up was announced and my wife is a big Ewan McGreggor fan and watched Long Way Round and Long Way Down, so suddenly we had to give it a try.

Upside:

At $5.00 a month, the cheapest subscription service so far.

Available soon in a bundle deal with Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and iCloud.

Some original content, including Greyhound.

Some additional content from other sources available as well.

Splashy fresh UI.

Apple has the cash to fund content worth watching.

Downside:

Easily the most annoying service to sign up for in my experience so far.  You cannot sign up through Roku… somebody tell Epic Games… their web site is barely functional, and it is unclear to me if you can even sign up if you don’t have an iOS device.  I mean, I think you can, but my experience suggest it won’t be easy.

The original content is extremely limited.  I think I’ve named most of it already.  There is not a lot of “there” there.

Plays like an old school service, metering out an episode a week for their shows… though I suppose they really need to, given how little of it there is, in order to keep people subscribed.

The additional content is nothing special.  I think it is literally a subset of what I get on Hulu as part of that subscription.

98% of the service is there to offer you up rent or buy options.  It is the iTunes store on your TV.

That splashy, fresh UI is overwrought and unclear at times and doesn’t always render correctly on the Roku.  But their website doesn’t always render correctly on anything besides Safari, so go figure.  But at least it mostly works on the Roku.  Apple does not make a Windows or Android client.

Hard to tell if it is a work in progress that needs more time or if Apple arrogance levels have exceeded their eWorld peak, back when I heard Apple execs saying they would own the online experience because they could rebrand a literal copy of AOL.

Current status: Subscribed at least until we finish up get the last episode of Long Way Up.

Diablo II Act Five and some Thoughts

In my brain Diablo II ends with Act IV.  I mean, you kill Diablo, whose name was on the box, just like in the original, you feel like you’re done.  So once that was done, my arrival in Act V and the town of Harrogath, home of the barbarians, felt a bit strange.

Deckard Cain is always there waiting for me

That isn’t to say I am knocking the Lord of Destruction expansion.  It brought a lot to the table, like new classes and the coveted upgrade from 640×480 to 800×600 video resolution.  But the actual content… it only stuck with me in a very vague way.  Something about being in ice tunnels and catapults… though that latter might have been from Diablo III, which itself is already eight years old at this point.

And you don’t even get an opening quest to send you off into the wild.  I mean, sure, you got the pep talk about Baal, so you know who the final boss is, but beyond that you don’t even get a “good luck storming the castle.”

So I just headed out the gates to see what I could see.

Cain’s words about Harrogath being untouched only apply to inside the town.  Just outside are the armies of hell who have the place under siege.  And there were catapults to destroy, so I did at least remember that bit.

You only get the first quest at the far end of the first zone, once you have cleared enough stuff out.  Then it is back to town for an update and a plea to go into the next area and release captured barbarians.

The next zone is more of the same.

I will say that the zone tiles were all new, so it wasn’t a repeat of any of the last four acts.  And there are new mobs, some new mob mechanics, and all that, but I wasn’t feeling a lot of attachment to it either.  That may be due to the new zones being somewhat sprawling in an aimless sort of way.

I freed the barbarians, the reward for which was the ability to put some sockets in a piece of gear.  I bought the highest armor class piece of chest armor I could find, put sockets on that, then put two runes in it, which ended up being the last item upgrade I did during the game.

My memories of Diablo II don’t include crap itemization and drops, but here I was in Act V and I was still wearing a couple of items from Act I because I had yet to find anything better.  And I think the most recent piece of gear was from Act III.

Basically, there isn’t any feeling of planned gear progression.  Some of the stuff at the vendors gets better as you level up, but not radically so in most cases.  My rogue companion had a very good bow with two sockets that I picked up in Act II and I never once saw anything better drop or show up at a vendor.

My stash was overflowing with gems and runs and whatnot, just waiting for a good item to use them on, and I got nada.  I complained about pre-expansion itemization in Diablo III, where it felt bad, but at least it did progress somewhat regularly and, more important, it got fixed with the expansion.

Anyway, I carried on, found the start of the ice caves.  There I realized how nice the open plains had been to me.

Having spec’d as a Hammerdin, as I mentioned last time, I was pretty dependent on that attack in order to kill things.  You launch the Blessed Hammer and it spins around you in an ever widening spiral, applying damage to any mob it passes through.  A pretty good attack when you’re in the thick of things, though the spiral does open up wide enough between orbits that it does miss mobs at times.  It only stops when the hammer fades after it has traveled its full distance, or it runs into something solid, like a wall.

Caves are nothing but walls, so my Blessed Hammer often faded as soon as I launched it.  So I learned to train things back to open areas to make better use of it.  Eventually I found one of the people I was looking for as a follow up quest.

Really, I only vaguely remember why I came here…

There was a quest update, and then more caves.  I could feel myself starting to lose interest in the cave crawl, something not helped by the fact that waypoints seem poorly scattered.  There were the usual full complement of them, but I somehow managed to miss three of them along the way.

I ended up popping out of the caves into an open area again, where I faced a boss challenge blocking my progress.  Something different at least.

Challenge accepted!

This was at least in a nice, open area, where my Blessed Hammer could be used to full effect.

Beyond them was the Worldstone Keep, another indoor crawl.    The mobs ramped up a bit in there and tended to come in large groups.  I hit a few points where I got overwhelmed and died and wondered if I should really bother carrying on.  The closest I came was when I died trying to get my gear back before I could toss a fresh town portal, so there was going to be a long run back to where I was.  But I persisted.  I felt I was close enough to the end that I should hang on.

And I did come to the throne of Baal.  There he throws five waves of special baddies at you, including some old favorites, as they appear to be a group from each of the previous acts, plus a special new group for Act V.  The most recognizable group was the councilors from Act III, largely because they and Mephisto were the only memorable bits of that act.

There were issues and a couple of deaths and a some regret that I didn’t thoroughly clear the whole level before I started on these event spawns, but I managed to defeat them.  Then Baal disappears through a portal and you get to follow him in for the final fight.

This way to Baal

When you get in, you find you are fighting two Baals.  There is no doubt an endless supply of testicle jokes in that.

In the chamber there is a real Baal and a fake Baal.  They look alike.  There is apparently a way to tell them apart by their name tab, but in the end fake Baal is less tanky so it becomes obvious which is which.

It is another fight with a lot of running away, using portals back to town to refill potions, and scrambling about to stay out of the way of Baal’s big attacks.  Keeping on your feet slows things down, but eventually I got the best of him.

Baal down at last

That is the queue for Tyrael to show up for another one of his expositions.

He is always impressed, isn’t he?

After that, you are about done.  You get the victory screen where it announced you have a new title.

Slayer Wilhelm at your service

And then you are tossed back out to the character screen where you can choose to start over again at two of the three difficulties.

Hell remains locked

That is it, I made it through.

Final Thoughts

Despite the low resolution and the distortion caused by the game being rendered at a 4:3 screen ratio, the whole thing was very playable 20 years down the road.

In various ways the experience of playing through was both better and worse than my memories.  A lot of the game is very well tuned and timed.  The waypoints are… mostly… spread out just right to make for nice play sessions in manageable chunks.

The play though showed, once more, that Act I is good and connects you back to the original Diablo.  Act II then takes everything up a notch and gives you a brand new feel and locale.

Then comes Act III, which isn’t bad, but which doesn’t have a lot of flavor to it.  It feels like a bit of a slog just to get to the fight with the council and Mephisto.

Act IV is short, but lively.  And, of course, you face off against Diablo again here.

After which there is Act V, a level that feels like an expansion level, tacked on and perhaps unnecessary.  It wasn’t horrible.  The team clearly had some ideas they wanted to try out.  But the whole act felt like they stretched it out more just to make sure you felt like you got your money’s worth.

Having done a play through, the question becomes what to do next.  I am not particularly keen to run through the same content at Nightmare difficulty.  I am just not that engaged.

I could try another class.  The paladin has been my go-to for ages.  I might try out a druid or an assassin, the expansion classes.  I am not sure I have ever played them at all.

I should/could play each class through at least Act I… maybe Act II… to compare the classes.  We shall see what I feel up to.

But for a 20 year old game, it isn’t so out of date as you might think.  Playing through does make me wonder how a remake or remaster would play.  The temptation to update things that feel “wrong” in 2020, like the respec option, would be strong.

The 49-U6U Fight Foreshadows Battles to Come

A large battle went down last night in 49-U6U, with over 3,000 pilots in system and a trillion ISK in losses.

Right there in Querious

It was a fight over an armor timer on an Imperium Fortizar, one of the structures we still have in that system in Querious.  I joined up with Lazarus Telraven’s Rokh fleet to go out and help defend the timer.

Rokhs on the move

The invaders had been sending out pings to rally the troops for this fight, no doubt feeling a bit stung when, last Friday, they declined to contest the armor timer on this very same structure even though they outnumbered us.  Their advantage then was insufficient.

Last night they got the numbers, outgunning us on the field by about a 2 to 1 margin.

The fight started when the timer finished its count down.  We had subcap fleets on the Fortizar with fax support for reps.  They had subcaps on hand as well, but started dropping dreadnoughts near us almost right away, the first group landing pretty much on top of the Fort.

On the Fortizar

The Rokh fleet started shooting a TEST nightmare fleet and managed some kills but, as the fight escalated and people kept piling in, the server began to stagger under the weight of commands.  And a struggling server can be a capricious factor.  Back at the KVN-36 fight, the node went down and won us the timer.  This time around the node stayed up, but balked at our super carriers jumping in, with a bunch failing to jump and those that made it getting disconnected.

That stopped the battle escalation in its tracks.  Titans were not deployed and the supers started getting pulled back.  The fight devolved to an attempt to kill as many attacking dreadnoughts as possible.  We were told to stop fighting, tether up, and to get to our Keepstar in system to grab an interdictor to hold down enemy dreads.

That was easier said that done.  I sat for about 20 minutes trying to get my drones taken care of… somebody’s smart bomb managed that for me in the end… my guns to cycle down and for tethering to finally grab me.  And it was a near run thing too.  As I was watching the aggression timer count down the last 20 seconds… at 10% speed due to tidi… a hostile Munnin fleet that was rolling through the scrum decided to target me.  I could see their yellow boxes turn to red as their damage started to land on me.  I overheated my hardeners and hoped for the best.  The timer ended and there was a long wait as my shields dropped below half to almost one quarter before tether hit and I was invulnerable.

I’m going to say that tethering is pretty OP, even when it saves my ship.

Then it was just a matter of getting over to the Keepstar… through a field of warp interdiction bubbles.

Bubble, bubbles everywhere

I spent quite a while trying to motor off in a direction that would get me a clear line of warp to the Keepstar.  I went and did the dishes while that was going on.  When I was back it seemed like every time I seemed to be clear, the server would decide that a Sabre had launched its bubble before I had initiated warp and I would be back to trying to get clear again.

Meanwhile more and more Sabres were being bridged in as bubbles when up all over to hold down hostile dreads.

Bubbles all over the place

Eventually I managed to warp off and made it to the Keepstar, but by then it was getting late for me on a work night.  The battle seemed to have reached its crescendo and was now wandering slowly to its conclusion.  I decided to go to bed.

The Imperium lost, undoubtedly and without question.

We lost the objective.  For all of our dread killing the enemy was able to keep applying damage to the Fortizar and it is now set for its final timer this weekend.

We also lost the ISK war by a two to one margin, with the battle report showing us having lost over 756 billion ISK in ships while the attackers lost shy of 380 billion ISK.

Battle Report Header

Two thirds of our ISK loss can be chalked up to the 16 super carriers that we blown up after  jumping in, a tally that includes a Vendetta faction super carrier.  That Vendetta was 19% of our ISK loss in a single ship.  Luckily the two other Vendettas that jumped in got away, or the count would have been much higher.  But that is the risk you take when you allow your pilots to bring their expensive toys to the fight.  The 300+ interdictors we sacrificed to hold down enemy dreads… we might have gone a bit overboard on that… added another 25 billion to the total.

The bulk of the enemy losses came from the 90 dreadnoughts that we managed to kill on the Fortizar, close to a quarter of the 375 they dropped into the battle.

And yet, even having suffered an undeniable defeat, things are not downcast on our side of the war.

Yes, people are pissed about how the servers decided to roll this time.  The first post up about the battle was over at INN complaining about that.  However, somebody is always pissed at the servers when tidi goes beyond 10% and things just stop working.  Generally both sides are, as it leads to missed opportunities.

But there is also the knowledge that this fight is a sign of how hard the invaders are going to have to work to defeat us.  This fight wasn’t even in Delve.  This fight wasn’t even on a Keepstar.  This fight didn’t even escalate to titans.  This fight wasn’t even all that consequential.  There is another timer to go.

But this fight was just a taste of what is to come.  This was the first trillion ISK battle in what may end up being a series of them.  The question is who is going to get sick of this sort of thing first?

In the slow motion scrum of battle

Since Vily has declared this to be a war of extermination, I am guessing we’re good doing this at least a hundred more times.  What other choice do we have?

Of course, that idea must weigh on him as well.  If you look at who showed up to the fight you will see that, once again, PandaFam was there doing the heavy lifting, as they have throughout the war.  If they get tired of this and go back home… which is what they did during the Fountain War, abandoning TEST to their fate… the invasion will be over.

That isn’t going to happen any time soon, but neither is the conquest of Delve.  We’ll have to wait to see who can last the longest.

Other Coverage:

SuperData has Fall Guys on Top for August

SuperData Research got their digital revenue chart for August out and, no surprise, revenues were up over last year for another month.

  • August digital games revenue totaled $10.8B, up 16% year-over-year. Digital console earnings grew the most and were up 88% compared to the same month in 2019. Revenue also rose by 15% on PC and 3% on mobile.

The pandemic continues to boost the video games industry as 2020 stays ahead of 2019.

  • Digital games have earned $82.8B through the first eight months of 2020, a growth of 13% from the same time span last year. Gaming revenue took off in March as COVID-19 lockdowns spread worldwide. Since then, each game device type (mobile, PC or console) has generated higher year-over-year revenue. 

But it is the chart that we like to look at, and the August chart has a shakeup of the usual order on the PC end of things.

SuperData Research Top 10 – August 2020

And, as I wrote above, the usual order on the PC side of things got a shake up in August, with Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout topping the chart.

  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout had the highest-earning launch of any PC title ($185M) since Overwatch in May 2016. The innovative take on battle royale, published by Developer Digital and developed by Mediatonic, was free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, but 8.2M players still paid for the PC version. The breakout success of Fall Guys was especially impressive since it came from a relatively small development team. The game’s chaotic, wacky gameplay was a big draw on gaming video content platforms like Twitch, where it topped the viewership charts in the lead-up to launch.

I had not even heard of the game… or I had ignored it… until the SuperData chart came out, but there it is on top for August.

That pushed the usual top four, which I think of as the LCDF lineup due to their frequent ordering, down a notch as their usual order changed up, with Crossfire in second, League of Legends in third, Fantasy Westward Journey Online in fourth, and Dungeon Fighter Online in fifth.

The bottom half of the list saw Fortnite back up in its spot relative to the LCDF titles after having fallen in July, seeing a revenue boost in August.

  • Fortnite revenue grew 76% month-over-month on PC and console, more than offsetting its falling mobile revenue. Player spending jumped in late August thanks to a new season of content featuring cosmetic items based on Marvel Comics characters. This is in sharp contrast to its mobile revenue, which fell by 62% after Apple and Google removed the game from the iOS App Store and Google Play as part of the ongoing legal dispute between Epic and the two technology companies. (Our published mobile revenue totals do not encompass the Android version of Fortnite available outside of Google Play.)

Fortnite was followed by Roblox in seventh, CS:GO in eighth.  New shooter Valorant was down from fifth in July to ninth in August, and World of Warcraft managed to stay on the chart in tenth position.  World of Tanks fell of the list for August.

On the console chart Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took the top spot back as last months number one, Ghosts of Tsushima fell back to sixth position.  FIFA 20 and Fortnite followed in second and third, with the venerable GTA V in fourth position.

And at the mobile end of the chart, Pokemon Go continues its summer reign in the top spot.

  • Pokémon GO continued its upward momentum in August and broke its all-time earnings record. The game generated 25% more that its previous revenue peak achieved during August 2016. It benefited from warm weather and frequent limited-time events that appealed to its passionate player base. Pokémon GO has historically performed best in the summer and revenue will likely begin a seasonal decline in either September or October.

Then there is Free Fire, the title from Singapore that popped onto the charts in third place last month.  It has worked its way past Honour of Kings and into second place.  Behind them in fourth position is Peacekeeper Elite, the mobile version of PUBG available in China.  PUBG Mobile, the version for the rest of us only rings in at eighth position, just ahead of Candy Crush Saga.  However, PUBG Mobile may be in for a fall, as it has since been banned in India.

  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile was the 8th highest earning mobile title in its last month before being banned in India. The game was frequently the country’s highest-grossing game before India’s government furthered a widespread crackdown on Chinese apps (Tencent has operated the mobile version of PUBG). Also in August, the game’s overall revenue and player numbers did not change significantly, which indicates that bans of the mobile version of Fortnite did not lead to a mass player exodus to PUBG Mobile.

NPD also has their top ten chart forAugust available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Madden NFL 21
  2. UFC 4
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  4. Ghost of Tsushima
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  10. Mortal Kombat 11

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

As usual, this list continues to indicate how much consoles still depend on physical retail distribution.

So it goes.  Another month of pandemic remains good business for some.

Checking Up on Alts in WoW Classic

I have been mostly on about the instance group in WoW Classic for the last few months.  That is both because that is where I have spent most of my play time as well as the fact that the tales of the group tend to be nice, discreet stories that have a beginning and and end.  The paths of my alts, out in the world leveling up, tend to be messy, with starts and ends that are more a function of my play time available than having reached the end of a particular zone or quest line.

But I have carried on with alts, at least a couple of them.  As tends to happen, I rolled up a bunch of alts and some have fallen by the wayside.  I have a few still lingering in their 20s and another in his mid 30s.  I have kept up with two of them though.

One of them is Wilhelm, my paladin.  I thought he might have been a lost cause, as he hit something of a wall at about level 40 where at-level mobs were starting to get the better of him and grinding them out was starting to feel like a real grind, where he had to stop and recover after every fight.

However, at the end of Zul’Farruk a polearm, Khoo’s Point, dropped as a bind on equip item after a fight.  Nobody needed it so I asked if I could have it for Wilhelm and, as it turned out, it was just the thing he needed.  The boost in damage over what he had been swinging suddenly made him viable again and I got a few levels on him before I found another polearm at the auction house.

Wilhelm running down another quest

He has made it up to 45 and is about set to start poking about in Searing Gorge.

Then there is Tistann the hunter.  He is my main alt, so to speak, and also the guild leader.  I like to keep him up with or a bit ahead of the dungeon group.  He was my first character to get to 50 back in June.

Once he wrapped up Searing Gorge he had a quest to go out to Chillwind Camp in the Western Plaguelands, which actually has a couple of quests that were manageable at his level.  He grabbed those and the Argent Dawn commission, and killed some undead, but the quest chain there ramps up pretty quickly, so he got on the bird and headed elsewhere.

While the post-40 leveling process is known for sending you all over creation, you do get to settle down for a bit now and then.  In Un’goro Crater you can chase down some quests without too much running about… or at least running to other zones.  There is plenty of running about in the zone.

And some things running at you

After that it was off to Felwood, which is kind of a pain to get to in the first place.  And once you get there you get a work out again.

Felwood map

The quests start down in Emerald Sanctuary, but the objectives range further and further up the map.  The first quest is close by, but you end up hunting stuff all the way up around Felpaw Village, which can make for a long ride back and forth.  But at least you can grab the flight point, which is south of there.

While I think of Un’goro as an ideal place for my hunter, since he could skin, Felwood worked pretty well for me.  There are a lot of quests where some patience for grinding mobs will serve you well.  When I am in the mood, that can be quite relaxing.  You just carefully slay mobs and work your way to your target.

Made my way to Xavathras

There are some underground adventures as well, with the and escort quest in the mix, because of course there is.

Nobody can leave captivity without their stuff

And a couple of the quests send you off to other zones, which wouldn’t be so bad, but that flight point is a long way off still.  I actually ran to the Azshara flight point once, just to see if it was closer, but it is about the same distance.

Out to watch a ceremony before I ride, then fly, then ride for the turn-in

Eventually you get the quest that sends you on to Winterspring, which takes you through the Timbermaw tunnel, a location of some renown.  Fortunately, this was not my first Felwood rodeo, and being in no hurry, I went and ground out a bit of reputation with the Timbermaw Hold so that I did not have to fight my way through them.

Unfriendly means they don’t attack

I was able to run through the tunnel unmolested to start in on the Winterspring.

First stop, Denova Snowden

I was 54 at that point, and Winterspring is just a bit above that if you want to play it safe.  I persisted for a bit.  A hunter with a decent pet can get away with some things I won’t try with my pally later.

I made sure to get the flight point at Everlook and picked up a bunch of quests there.  I did the ones I could, but some of them either send you directly, and others eventually, back to the Plaguelands.

So it was back there, where I started off at level 50, to hunt more undead.

A Plaguelands panorama

And it was there that I hit 55, which is sort of the last milestone before level cap.  That was also where I started feeling like I was really going to make it there.  From 55 to 60 is not a trivial grind but, going back to the leveling guide, I still have most of Winterspring and Western Plaguelands to work through.  I’ve barely seen any of the the latter.

Where I’ve been from Chillwind

And I have not even started in on Blasted Lands, Azshara, Burning Steppes, or Eastern Plaguelands.

I have enough content between me and level 60 to just follow that along to 60.

And then I have to get my paladin through all of that as well, which is a very different experience.   But I’ll leave that for another time.

The EVE Online Rolling Thunder Update Attempts to Breath Life into EDENCOM Ships

Last week CCP announced that we would be getting a “balance pass” for EDENCOM ships with an update they are calling Rolling Thunder.  That is an impressive name, even if it got some bad press back in the 60s. But can CCP live up to it?

That is actually lightning, you cannot hear thunder in space

The problem is that EDENCOM ships, introduced with the update back in June, with the splashy vorton projector “hit multiple targets” weapon systems, have failed to catch on in New Eden.

We got a frigate, a cruiser, and a battleship variation, each with its own skill, and the accompanying small, medium, and large weapon system, each again with its own training requirement, along with some subsidiary skills to improve their effect generally, all of which started a mild bit of hype about how cool these new ships were going to be.

And then not much happened.

I mentioned that I trained up all the skills to level IV or V… and some of those skills were freaking expensive, being available only from event drops… because there was some thought about using them for a Reavers doctrine.  But that got dropped because the ships suck and they are difficult to source.

I assume that they do suck because people who know ship fitting better than I, even when being generous about the EDENCOM ships, say that they fill a very niche roll at best.

As for being difficult to source… in short supply and expensive when you can find them… there is an obvious bottle neck there in that you can only buy them with EDENCOM Loyalty Points earned by fighting for the EDECOM side in the current set of Triglavian invasion events.  When you can buy a fully fit Ferox for about the same price as the just the hull of the EDECOM Stormbringer cruiser, why would you bother with that hull unless it is very OP?

So CCP is going to try and fix this.

On the cost/availability front, the fix is pretty straightforward:

  • DED LP Offers for all EDENCOM items have had LP cost reduced by 90%

Make things cheaper to buy and they will be cheaper on the market as more people try to sell them.  We hope.

As for making the ships better, they are getting a couple of tweaks:

  • Optimal Range increased for all Small Vorton Projectors by 30% [hit further]
  • Damage reduction factor down for all weapon sizes (this means mitigation from target speed plays a smaller role) [hit harder]:
    • Frig → 0.6 to 0.4
    • Cruiser → 0.65 to 0.5
    • Battleship → 0.82 to 0.7
  • Damage increase to all Small and Medium Condenser Packs for Vorton Projectors. (Tech 1 and Tech 2) [do… something?]
    • Small Condenser Pack damages have been increased by 20%
    • Medium Condenser Pack damages have been increased by 20%

These actually seem like fairly modest changes on the performance side.  We will see if these, combined with the radical price reduction, get more of these ships on the field.  I have yet to see one in the wild myself.

In addition, a new three day login event will coincide with the update, starting after downtime on September 25th, that will hand out SKINs for these ships, boosters that improve their performance, and, of course, skill points.

If they really wanted us to use the ships, maybe they should just give us all one of the hulls.  It would tank prices on the market, but it would get some in space.

In addition to the EDENCOM focus, some other ships are getting a bit of a buff.  The two lesser force auxiliaries, the Lif and Niazu, are getting a bit of a boost.

  • Lif
    • 7.5% bonus to shield booster amount becomes 7.5% bonus to shield booster amount and cap booster amount
  • Ninazu
    • 7.5% bonus to armor repair amount becomes 7.5% bonus to armor repair amount and cap booster amount

And then there are a couple of buffs for black ops battleships.  The first is an easy one.

All Black Ops have had their Fuel Bay capacity increased from 1250 to 2150

Now the blops pilot won’t have to shovel so much fuel from the fuel truck mid-bridge with larger fleets.  This is a happy, quality of life improvement aim at what the ships are mostly used for these days.

In addition, all of the blops are getting a bit of a boost to some of their default shield and armor resist values.  This hearkens back to the days when people would drop on targets in a blops solo.  These days they are mostly used for throwing covert ops capable ships around space, but I am sure there is some freebooter out there still trying for solo blops kills who will be happy to hear about this.

Details about the blops resist values and other information can be found in the updated patch notes.

BlizzCon Online Coming February 19th 2021

It has been a few months since Blizzard announced that BlizzCon was cancelled for 2020.  That update held out the possibility of some alternative to the in-person event that Blizzard puts on most years down at the Anaheim convention center.  Today we got an update.  There will be a BlizzCon Online in early 2021.  BlizzConline.

BlizzCon Online is the way I always attend anyway

The opening says:

Attune your chronometers, flip your hourglasses, set a notification on your phone—however you mark the passage of time, save the date for BlizzConline™, set to take place February 19–20, 2021!

While circumstances are keeping us from gathering in person this year, we’re putting together a little something early next year to channel the spirit of BlizzCon into the form of an online show. We still have a lot of planning to do, and it’ll be some time before we’re ready to share more details—but we wanted to provide a heads-up on how you can be a part of the online fun.

Details are sparse at this time, though there is a plan for some events like a community showcase, which will include:

  • Cosplay Exhibition
  • Cosplay Contest
  • Art Contest
  • Digital Storytelling Contest
  • Talent Spotlight
  • March of the Murlocs

The deadline to sign up for these events is January 4, 2021.  Details about each and a link to sign up are included in the announcement.

Eleven Weeks of World War Bee

When we started this war, we knew that we were fighting this to the end,” Vily told Polygon. “For us, this is a war of extermination. This is a war to the death. We are aiming for the removal of Mittani and The Imperium from Eve Online. […] We are here to purge them.

-Vily, in an interview with Polygon about the war

When, further on down the road, somebody asks what the goal of the war was, I will reference this quote.  It is one thing to say it in your alliance update, or on /r/eve, or in some other dark corner of the internet, but when he has given it to the mainstream gaming press, that is now the benchmark by which he will be measured.

Vily is allegedly aggrieved because he was “fired” by the Imperium, something he explains in that article.  However, people who were around at the time remember him leaving amicably.  And the Imperium has, up through the last CSM election, put Vily on their ballot because he was viewed as somebody they could work with.  Also, there is that long non-invasion pact we had with Legacy when PanFam was their enemy.  Not behavior consistent with the Vily narrative.

Anyway, he and Progodlegend continued to push a narrative that Goons are bad for the game,  forming a huge blue doughnut against us while repeatedly using a scene from 300 where the Spartans claim “warrior” as their profession as part of his narrative.

Somehow the Imperium are the Persians in this scenario, the farmers and other non-combat types who are… completely outnumbered by an overwhelming force attacking their territory?  That doesn’t sound right.

And it is especially suspect when you look at the MER and see who is farming.  But I’m just a brainwashed Imperium line member (per Vily), so maybe I’ve mislearned that historical metaphor.

On the bright site, TEST has changed its tune on operational tempo.  February is no longer the target date for VD Day (victory in Delve).  They have decided they will only need until the end of October, though that might only be the 1DQ1-A victory date.  It only took until week eleven to declare that the invasion has begun.   We will see if they actually attack in Delve some time soon.

The Northern Front

There isn’t a “Northern Front” to speak of now.  All but four of the invader’s ihubs have been removed by The Initiative as of this writing.  They even got the staging Fortizar.  Anything left behind will end up in Hophib via asset safety.  The Initiative even visited there.  Basically, the attackers are gone, we aren’t doing much there other than clearing out the remains, and nobody lives there for now.

The Southern Front

Querious is now where the action is.  Last week I speculated about whether the invaders might be making for NPC Delve given their run of attacks on the northern systems that lead there.

However, their eyes were apparently focused on another target, the 49-U6U system.

They first dropped a Keepstar in 1M4-FK, which seemed a little short of where they might want to be for NPC Delve, though it was a single jump from their staging in Khanid low sec.

Then they put up a Keepstar in P-ZMZV, which definitely ruled out NPC Delve as the immediate goal.  Instead they were using that as a staging to take the ihub in 49-U6U, an operation where they got out 3,000 pilots for node contest.  That was more than enough to take the ihub.

Querious – Sep 20, 2020 – Invasion route and ihub status

The system is important to them because it is on the direct route from Catch to Querious.  Those who have been following along at home might remember that PandaFam and Legacy concentrated all of their supers and titans in two Keepstars, laid down expressly to dock them, early in the war.  That seemed like it might be their invasion route.

Where they started out and the current focus

And then, of course, those ships sat there and did nothing while KarmaFleet camped the gate in 49-U6U with a cruiser gang.

Later the invaders laid down a chain of 13 Keepstars to move the supers and titans all the way around to Fountain to bring overwhelming force to bear on the Imperium Keepstars in Fountain.

Once done there, they moved to Khanid low sec to focus on Querious.  Now their attention has finally turned to 49-U6U.  It seems like they could have force the gate a while back, but maybe they don’t have the thousand titans about which Progodlegend was boasting a few weeks back.

Now, with the 49-U6U ihub in their hands, we can no longer cyno jam the system if we want, so they used their advantage to… make the slowest move op ever, gating one dreadnought at a time through the gate into Querious to jump them to their new staging in P-ZMZV.  They were paranoid enough to be worried about getting caught by Imperium supers and titans that they wouldn’t put more that one dread on grid at a time… covered by three subcap fleets around the gate… but not paranoid enough to just use the chain of Keepstars to jump their caps around into Querious the long way.  It seems odd.

Systems in titan range of P-ZMZV and supply routes

Meanwhile, there is still an Imperium Keepstar and Fortizar in 49-U6U.  They reinforced the Fortizar, but then stood down for the armor timer when they found they did not out number us sufficiently to take the fight.  Who were the Spartans in that scenario?

But they’ll have to fight us on Keepstars and Fortizars in range of our caps at some point.  So far they have only faced subcap resistance, with some dread and carrier support, and had to bring out their own supers to overcome that.  It is going to be fun when we have titans on the structures waiting for them.

My Participation

This week was Slippery Pete week for me, the name referring to a Tengu doctrine fit with the covert and interdiction nullified subsystems.  This allows them to use black ops jump bridges and pass through warp disruption bubbles.  They are slow to align and not at all tanky, but can blap targets out to 200km and warp off before you can get to them.  You don’t hold the grid with them, you warp in on a group attacking a target and savage them from range then warp off, only to return from another direction and pick off more targets.

Petes on the move

I got in a Pete fleet four nights running during the week, and we managed to frustrate hostiles attacking our structures in Querious, saving a Fortizar while bleeding the enemy and making them jump their caps out prematurely, even killing an Apostle, a Thanatos, and a Revelation along the way.

Petes on the Apostle kill

Petes are a lot of fun and inflict a lot of damage for very few losses when used correctly.

I was also on the ops around 49-U6U.  Friday night I was in the wall of battleships there to defend our Fortizar in the system.

Battleships massed

That was the Fortizar timer I mentioned above where were were outnumbered by the attackers declined to take the fight.  So we reinforced the ihub in the system, so now they’ll have to at least form up to defend it because we have a whole SIG dedicated to entosis ready to contest it if they do not.

I was also around for the hostile move op through 49-U6U, though they were so cautious that there was never an opportunity for a fight as they ran their caps through the gate one at a time.

However, later that evening they got careless and Kun’mi and his dread group dropped on a TEST titan, killing it on their Fortizar in 4-07MU.  They responded with a dread fleet smaller than the group that dropped on the titan… I guess all their friends moved already… and a brawl ensued.  I jumped in a Ferox fleet that burned in to support the dreads and got on a few hostile dread kills (and one fax) as we helped clear tackle so our own caps could extract.

A Revelation goes up as we fly past

The battle report shows things fell our way.

Battle Report Header

I ended up getting caught on the gate trying to get out, so lost my Ferox, but it was still a hell of a fight, run and gun and go go go.

So I ended up the week with having been in a few good fights, having gotten on quite a few kills, all for the loss of one Ferox.  My loss total for the war across all accounts is now:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Other Bits

The invaders remain careful… hesitant at times… and no doubt the titan kill I mentioned above is an indication as to why.

Their leadership is telling their members that we’re already dead, that the end is a foregone conclusion, that victory is theirs to take.  It is all the slanted rhetoric of war, and I would expect nothing less.

But, at some point, they are going to have to get on grid with one of our Keepstars within range of our supers and titans, something that has yet to happen, and put that rhetoric to the test.

Maybe.  I guess.

I mean, Dunk Dinkle was on Talking in Stations saying that they don’t want to do that, that they might never do that.  Instead they want to keep laying down a bunch of Keepstars to try and bait us into fighting on their grid.

I remain mystified about this apparent plan to build a Maginot Line of defensive Keepstars in hopes that we’ll attack them.  It worked so well for the French in 1940.  Or maybe the Italians invading Egypt in 1940 is the better metaphor.  I don’t know, and I might fall back into a “that’s not how invasions work” routine if I am not careful.  Though, if they get one close enough to us, I am sure we will attack it.  We have attacked defended Keepstars before, and won.

It the end, it seems pretty silly.   If you’re going to run a war of extermination (see quote at the top of the post), don’t you have to actually go in and get the people you plan to exterminate?  How are they going to makes us leave the game if they don’t have a plan to blow up our stuff?  How do you achieve the declared victory condition with that mindset?

Anyway, the lack of offensive spirit in our foes probably explains why the Sunday PCU counts for the war remain tepid.  You need a big battle to get big numbers.

  • 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

I fear we may have blown the horn of Goondor too soon.  The enemy remains tentative.

Other articles about the war this week:

(I’d link something other than INN, but EN24 just reposts CCP press releases these days and the New Eden Post has an apparent article quota of about 2 per month, and they blew one of them on EVE Echoes so far this month.)

The End of the Line for the DS Series at Nintendo

The Verge reported that at some point in the last week or so Nintendo updated their Japanese site to indicate that the remaining units in the DS lineup, the 3DL XL, 2DS, and 2DS XL are “out of production.”

If you go the US Nintendo site, mention of the DS line of handheld console has been completely scrubbed, save for the support area, where it now lives in the “Other Systems” category with the Wii, the Wii U, and older generations of the DS line.

So ends Nintendo’s dual screen handheld line.  The Switch was not supposed to replace it, not according to Nintendo at least, and the initial Switch model was certainly bulky enough compared to the pocket sized DS line to support that argument.  But then came the Switch Lite and the writing was on the wall.

Though, to my mind, the real death knell of the DS line was Game Freak moving core Pokemon RPG development to the Switch.  In our family we played some other games on the DS, but it was primarily the Pokemon console, and those core titles were always best sellers on the platform.

The end was always coming some day, and I haven’t really played anything on my 3DS XL for ages, but it is still a bit of a sad note.

On the flip side, the DS line had a hell of a run.

Released in late 2004, when the PlayStation 2, original XBox, and GameCube were the current console generation, it persisted through to pre-orders for the PlayStation 5.  The hardware went through a series of revisions, starting with the DS, then the DS Lite, then the DSi and DSi XL.  Then came the 3D plan, with the 3DS and 3DS XL, the latter getting a couple of revisions during its time.  Finally, in order to satisfy the budget end of the spectrum, there was the 2DS, unique in its form factor, and the final entry in the lineup, the 2DS XL.

That last entry, which was also the last model I owned, was basically the 3DS XL with some improvements and a the 3D option remove.  It was, in its way, the pinnacle of the line, 3D ending up being more of a gimmick than a serious feature for most people.

But we had a number of the various models along the way.

Back in early 2008 we bought a pink DS Lite for our daughter to keep her entertained on a trip that included a six hour flight.  Later that was joined by a cobalt blue DS Lite of my own, since Pokemon seemed like a lot of fun.  My daughter and I played a lot of Pokemon together.

Pokemon Diamond and the DS Lite

The WiFi features of the early units were ahead of their time.  It could be a bit finicky, but it was a deep feature.  Pokemon Diamond and Pearl had its underground feature that allowed players to interact in the caves and visit each other’s bases. (And steal their flags!)  There was online trading between players around the world.  And I was extremely impressed with the WiFi integration with the Wii as demonstrated by games like Pokemon Battle Revolution and Pokemon Ranch.

And my little cobalt blue DS Lite was, and remains, a solidly built unit.  It went on a lot of trips and I never had a problem with it.  Battery life was excellent.

My daughter got a DSi at one point, then a DSi XL, which I thought was a great improvement.  Age was creeping up on me by then and the little DS Lite screen was starting to be blurry to me.

Then the 3DS line came along.  We skipped that initially, there being no real incentive to go to a little 3DS from the big DSi XL, but Nintendo eventually came out with the 3DS XL.  My daughter wanted one for Christmas and, once she had one, I got myself one for my birthday a couple months later.  We were back and playing Pokemon again.

And Pokemon was always the main game for us.  I think the peak for my daughter and I, the point when were were the most into it, was during Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver.  The game was good and the tropes of the core RPG series still felt fresh to us.

There was the Pokewalker, the pedometer which allowed you to unlock Pokemon by getting out and walking… or, you know, cheating.  It communicated with the DS Lite via the IR port.  Only one Pokewalker went through the wash.

Pokewalker on my Belt

There were many download events, the ones where you had to go out to Toys R Us or GameStop to collect.  We event went to the regional championships just to see what was going on.

And, of course, Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver was the game where I caught them all for the first and only time.  I got the National Pokedex first, which qualifies you for the achievement in the game.  But that was only 485 Pokemon, because they don’t make you get the rare, event Pokemon.  But I managed to hunt them down, getting the final one by playing Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs to get an egg that could be transferred into Pokemon SoulSilver , which would then hatch a Mamphy, with could be bred with a Ditto to get an egg that would hatch  a Phione, the last Pokemon I needed.  I had 493 Pokemon registered, back when that was all there was.

Back when 493 was all there was

I think we might have burned ourselves out on Pokemon with that run.  We played Pokemon Black & White, but were never that into it, as we skipped Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 when they came out, though I went back and played White 2 later.  It was a decent entry, and actually bucked a few of the tropes of the series.

Then there was the dead time, when the new Pokemon titles were on the 3DS, but we didn’t go there until the XL models came out.  Those saw a return to Pokemon for us and a modest revival of our passion for the games.

We played through Pokemon X & Y, Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, and Pokemon Sun & Moon, though we stumbled a bit with Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon.  We bought it, but neither of us finished it.  We were again in the “too samey” phase again.  But my daughter did devote a lot of time to Animal Crossing: New Leaf after Pokemon faded.

And that was it.  Literally the day after my wife bought me the 2DS XL for Christmas, Game Freak announced that there would be no more Pokemon games on the DS platform.  The Switch was the future.

The 3DS hung around, and even saw a bit of a sales spike at one point after that, but without Pokemon there to anchor the platform, it seemed like time was drawing down on it, which brings us to this past week.

The units are still here.  I can still play Pokemon if I want.  But the support services have been fading since the Switch came out.  None of the DS series Pokemon games can use their global trade center or other connectivity that made the games so vibrant.  That has all been turned off.  And soon enough the store and all the other bits that Nintendo has to maintain will go away.  Like the Wii before it, the DS series will become isolated, stand alone game consoles.

Still, as I said, a hell of a run.  Almost 16 years have gone by since the first units shipped, and you can still play games made for the very first DS on the final 2DS XL units.  And it was a platform for some crazy ideas.  Let’s just start with the whole two screens idea, one being a touch screen.  Then there were the IR ports and the cameras and then 3D support, which included freaking 3D camera capabilities along with AR support along with all the things Nintendo did with WiFi along the way.

Seriously, they got Netflix to make an app to stream their video service on the 3DS series.  I tried it.  It was crap quality, but you could watch stuff.

So it goes.

If I want to play Pokemon today I have a Switch Lite.  It is a nice little unit.  The screen quality is very good.  But it won’t replace the DS series in my heart.  There is too much of my life tied up in that.

Other eulogies for the DS platform:

Quote of the Day – This Cynicism is Inconceivable!

My biggest disappointment with modern internet discourse is that there’s a significant amount of cynicism, especially in forum or reddit debates, and a portion of people assume the worst.

-Chris Roberts, forum post in response to player complaints

This is one of those “irony is dead” moments.

I mean, I’ll give him his “you’re looking at this from the outside” so you don’t know what is really going on, which is true enough.  But that also speaks to transparency.  We’re on the outside looking in, so we depend on what Chris Robert’s and his team tells us.

We are now eight and a half years down the road from the Kickstarter campaign, almost six years past the promised launch date, with a game that is still in alpha, with many promised features not yet available, and which has consistently and repeatedly missed promises.  All the while, Chris Roberts has milked his following for $300 million for a game that hasn’t shipped yet.

In that atmosphere, it seems comically oblivious to bemoan the state of cynicism on the internet when his actions have created a situation where cynicism is the natural, normal response.  Chris Roberts is in a world of his own making.  To whine about people not believing him after he has, to be polite, misinformed people since day one strains credulity.

Yes, I get the optimism inherent in software development, and can wax for pages about why it is more art that science and how almost any big project is built on a foundation of quicksand.  But at some point your optimism starts to work against you.  The people you’re trying to keep with you will get to one blown promise, one missed date, one broken feature too many and will feel the fatigue of the effort of believing.  You will lose their trust, they will turn on you, and they won’t believe any more of your empty statements.  You don’t have to be Derek Smart to figure out that the plan is a lie and that the milestones of progress are mirages that remain firmly fixed on the horizon.

And he cannot stop.  At the end of his post he says:

I can promise you the gameplay I described is not a pipe dream, nor will it take 10 to 20 years to deliver

We’re already more than eight years down the road, so ten years seems like optimism at this point.  How can you even write that and not feel your fingers burn from the self-delusion?

So my gut response to the quote at the top of the page is, “Tough shit!  You made this bed, you sleep in it!”

Seriously, the cynicism is there because he and his team have repeatedly promised people things that have failed to come to pass.  Most people are not stupid enough to keep believing every new promise after so many have been broken.  Some will, because they have invested so much in the projected, financially and/or emotionally, but a rational person will stop accepting things at face value from somebody with a track record like Chris Roberts.

And it isn’t like Chris Roberts is alone in this arena.  I lost my faith in Camelot Unchained earlier this year when Mark Jacobs announced that they were working on another gameCU was already in the years delayed category as well, having also failed to meet many milestones, so credulity was at the breaking point.

Then there was Lord British, who pushed out Shroud of the Avatar and ran, leaving backers with something that didn’t much match what was promised up front, save in the most general ways.

Nearly every crowd funded MMO projected has disappointed and sowed the seeds of discontent along the way.  I am surprised when anybody these days even floats the idea of crowd funding an MMO because it has been proved to be a path to disappointment.

And this is cast against a culture of undeserved hype from the video game industry overall, of over promising and under delivering, of demos that don’t reflect reality, and of reviews where the acceptable score range to keep your site in game company advertising is 8-10 out of 10, that has laid a groundwork of cynicism.  A game developer must sail in a sea of skeptics who will doubt their every promise because so many before them have polluted the waters.

Chris Roberts ought to know this.  He has been in game development since the late 80s.  He should know better.

But apparently he does not.  And so he whines about the unfairness of it all, this cynicism that he helped create.