Category Archives: entertainment

Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop

Pokemon Sun & Moon have been out for about six months now, and we’ve not heard anything yet about the next release, so Nintendo is still promoting what it has.  There is still a Pokemon in the Alola Pokedex unaccounted for, Marshadow, who does look like a cross between a marshmallow and a shadow.  But as they dangle that before us, Nintendo also has another give away.

Between May 15, 2017 and June 5, 2017 you can go to your local GameStop to pick up a card for a special Lyncanroc Pokemon in its night time, full moon, werewolf-esque form.

Available for a limited time

Supplies of the cards are limited, so head to GameStop sooner rather than later if you want this Pokemon.  The code is only valid for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

Of course, you can always just evolve a Rockruff into this form by leveling him up past level 25 at night, but the GameStop version comes with a special set of moves and a held item.

Meanwhile, Nintendo also has another download offer going on this month.  Following the instructions at this link will let you download mega stones so you can have mega evolutions in battle for Pidgeot, Steelix, Heracross, and Houndoom.

May 2017 Mega Stones

As with the above, this offer is only good for Pokemon Sun & Moon and must be collected before the end of the month.

I continue to potter around in Pokemon Sun at my end, working on a project I will likely post about at another time.

Visiting the Blood Raiders Shipyard

As mentioned in the notes for the YC119.5 update, the Blood Raiders Shipyard is now a thing.  It is a special new PvE event… a null sec raid if you will… that has the possibility of dropping blue print copies of special Blood Raiders capital ships.

The first step in the whole thing is actually finding the shipyard.  There will only ever be one shipyard in space at a time and it will spawn somewhere in Blood Raiders territory, which spans the regions of Delve, Querious, and Period Basis.  In order to locate the shipyard you have to find one of the Blood Raider mining operations and follow ships from there back to the shipyard.

The Imperium incursion SIG went to work finding it after it was supposed to spawn, some time on Thursday, and by Friday the shipyard had been located in the system E-DOF2 in the Period Basis region.  The tale of its discovery is the subject of a post over at INN.

Having found the shipyard, there is the whole “blowing it up” aspect to master now.  As I noted in my post about the YC119.5 update, I am not sure if having the shipyard in our part of space is a blessing or a curse.  From what I heard about the trial runs on the test server, the Blood Raider reaction forces creamed every attacking force by burying it in numbers.  As noted in the story linked above, RED Alliance threw a small Rattlesnake fleet at the shipyard and promptly lost most of it.  INN had follow up posts about further attempts including a force of frigates trying to put the shipyard into reinforcement mode.

The shipyard is a special citadel and only has a single 24 hours reinforcement, which means you only have to go through two rather than three fights to kill it.  But so far nobody has has managed the first fight and it sits there in space unharmed.

Since this was something new in New Eden and not too far from home, I decided to fly down to take a look at the shipyard myself.  That meant setting a course for Period Basis and RED Alliance space.  I got out my alt, put him in his Buzzard (so he could scan down the site), and sent him south.

Headed to Period Basis

We are set blue with RED Alliance, so I didn’t have to worry about the locals shooting me.  However, with any space attraction, I did keep alert for possible gate camps on the way down.  Somebody is always looking to shoot tourists.  There were a couple of camps but, fortunately for me, they were blue.

When I arrived at the system I launched combat probes, cloaked up, and then made myself a safe spot from which to work.  For my first scans of the system I was looking for structures, but didn’t come up with any likely results.  I could have save myself some time if I had read the patch notes where it says;

They Blood Raider Sotyio does not show up on the tactical overlay, nor can it be probed down. The best way to find them is to try following a Blood Raider hauler (Bestower or Impel), coming to pick up minerals from a mining operation. There will always be a mining operation in the system with the Blood Raiders Shipyard.

I changed that to ships and found an extremely dense ball of Amarr ships, including Apocalypse and Bhaalgorn battleships.  I narrowed down my focus on that, getting 100% results pretty quickly, then warped in at 100km so I would stay cloaked.

And I landed right on the shipyard and was immediately uncloaked.

Back to my safe!

I quickly aligned back to my safe spot, bookmarked my position, and then warped back to my safe to cloak up for a return trip.  I warped back at 100km from my bookmark and landed far enough from anything that might decloak me to be safe for the moment.  My overview did not show much going on, just a few people shooting at the structure.

Initial overview…

That might have been some of the Succubus frigate fleet mentioned in the INN post.  What I did not see was any Blood Raiders on my overview.  In fact, I didn’t even see the structure, which reminded me that new things in the game often don’t get added to the overview by default.  I added the structure to my travel overview. (The pic above was after I did that.)  They I started looking around in space to see if I could see any Blood Raiders.  They were definitely out there, I could see lasers chasing the frigates around the vicinity of the shipyard.

The Shipyard with lasers

Those were dreadnoughts, which seemed to be strewn about the undock area of the shipyard.  But I knew there had to be more ships about.  I tried the default “ALL” overview that CCP provides and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had added the new ships to that.  I have, in the past, had to add things to “ALL.”  And with that I was suddenly aware of just how many Blood Raiders ships were lingering in the area.

Lots of Blood Raiders

The overview was full, with pages and pages of Blood Raiders ships.  There were dozens and dozens of ships out there.  I could see fleets of Blood Raiders ships cruising around.

A flight of Augoror cruisers orbiting the shipyard

Not many of the ships on grid seemed interested in the frigates flying about taking potshots.  In fact, so far as I could tell, only the Chemosh dreadnoughts seemed to be firing on them.  There was a gaggle of them on the undock and some more spread out around the shipyard.

Chemosh dreads on the undock

The subcaps seemed mostly interested in warping off to where every they go when they’re done with their task.  I could see the bright streaks of ships warping away every so often.  However, for every ship warping off I say what seemed to be a couple more stuck mid-warp.  There was a large number of ships either bouncing off the back of the structure or actually withing it that were bumping and bouncing and unable to enter warp.

Or such was my assumption.  I was trying to “look” at ships in space and could not do so with many of them, which is generally a sign they are trying to enter warp.  However, they stayed on the overview and I could, by maneuvering the camera around, see ships actually bouncing off the citadel or poking partially out of it.

The shipyard itself seem unperturbed by events.

Shields barely scratched… or not scratched at all really

The shipyard itself seems to be a standard Upwell Consortium Sotyio structure.  It even says so on the side.  Glad to see that Upwell will sell to anybody with ISK I guess.

Look for genuine Upwell marked structures!

The Blood Raiders opted for a spray-on logo though.  That is a special order item not available to mere capsuleers.

Blood Raiders are #01!

They also get the new logo features that came with the YC119.5 update including alliance logo and CEO portrait along with more spray on logos.

CEO Omir Sarikusa sends his regards

I was amused to see that the Blood Raiders shipyard get the same advertising screens around the undock as player deployed structures.

Waiting for “Vote for Xenuria” to go past again…

The Blood Raiders can get a special paint job and their own logos sprayed on the hull, but they cannot opt out of ads!  Anyway, I saw the big new thing in space and beat Mark726 to it no less!  He’s usually the first space tourist on the scene.

The Blood Raiders Shipyard out in Period Basis

Now to see about blowing the damn thing up.

I know some people are angry that CCP decided to try this version of their new NPC response AI in null sec.  And not just in null sec, but in the Goon corner of null sec no less!  “Grr Gons! Hat Gons!” and all that.  Why should they get the new PvE shiny?

The flip side of course is that this new shiny seems intent on destroying as many player ships as possible by dropping overwhelming forces on them.  I am not sure high sec would put up with that.  I am told that many mission runners like the predictability of rewards and that an AI intent on making things difficult might not be appreciated if that is the case.  That is ever the PvE carebear conundrum, a desire for interesting tasks mixed in with an aversion to any loss.

And who could CCP blob more ironically than the Imperium?  Blobbers blobbed  and killed by blobbing NPCs, film at 11.

Of course, that won’t sate anybody feeling left out, but I find it amusing.  And we shall see how long and how many destroyed ships it takes to destroy the first Blood Raiders Shipyard.

How to Level Up in EverQuest II the Easy Way

There are three easy steps:

  1. Create a Daybreak account
  2. Wait until they offer a free character boost
  3. Profit!!!

For the last few years I think I have only leveled up in EQII when Daybreak offers yet another free character boost, like the one that they just made available:

Offer good through May 22, 2017

The information is also in the release notes for this week’s update:

LEVEL 100 BOOST PROMOTIONAL GRANT

  • All accounts created before April 20th 2017 will be granted a level 100 boost item that will increase a single characters level to 100 and grant a set of equipment appropriate to playing within the Proving Grounds, or beginning their adventure in Kunark Ascending zones.

  • Accounts created after April 20th may obtain the level 100 boost item by subscribing. Only a single boost will be granted per account.

So you can see why I suggest you make an account in advance.

My account was created on November 12, 2004, so I think I am safe.  With this I think I will have a level 85, a level 95, and two level 100 characters and I think I only ever played any of them up to level 70 back in the day.  I think this time around I decided to level up Reynaldo on the Halls of Fate server.  He’s been hanging around in the Revelry & Honor guild since 2008 at about level 50.

To get the level boost you have to use the /claim command to bring up the claim window.  The boost bauble is in the Promotions section.

Level 100 Boost Bauble

When you activate it, hey presto, you are level 100.  You also get a package of gear.

Gear for you

I could not open up the packet of level 100 equipment because Reynaldo’s bags were full of junk, because of course they were.  But I think I will leave his cosmetic gear set to the rusty armor he has been sitting in for most of the last decade.

Reynaldo in the Sinking Sands

Maybe some day I will get around to playing him again.  However, my luck with Daybreak level boosts has not been so good.  I boost up and then tend to find myself lost in uncharted territory.  Ah well.

But if you do boost yourself up, you will find that they are also running a double currency event in the game as well, because who cares about inflation!

Astrahus Brawl in GE-8JV

Monday night a ping went out from Asher Elias noting that he would be leading a fleet Tuesday evening.  I am always happy to go on an Asher fleet so I made sure I was home and ready to go at the appointed time.  I wasn’t sure what we were up to, but I was willing to  go along for the ride.

When the ping for the fleet went out on Tuesday as expected the doctrine was Cerberuses and Caracals.  We would be spewing heavy missiles.  I had a doctrine Cerberus ready, a ship I hadn’t flown since Asher took us up to Tribute for one of the battles around Circle of Two’s Keepstar in M-OEE8.  I still had the remote sensor booster fit from that fight that was used to boost Asher’s FC ship.  I mentioned that in fleet chat and he told me (and a few other pilots) to leave the remote sensor booster fit and do the same for this fleet.

Meanwhile another ping went out for CapSwarm, of which I am also a member, calling for a dreadnought form up.  The a ping for a frigate support fleet to take off the excess pilots from the Cerb fleet as it had filled to capacity very quickly.  A fight was said to be likely and the dreads seemed to indicate that a structure might be involved.

Dreads undocking from the Keepstar

It seemed to me that we might just be shepherding the capital ships to a target, where they would do the shooting while we flew cover, swooping in at the last bit to tag the target so as to get on the kill mail.  So off we went, taking a jump bridge as the caps jumped, then it was time to spread out and cover gates and the might dreadnoughts lumbered along.

Watching Naglfars take a gate

However, once there the situation was different than I had assumed.  There has been an ongoing series of battles in the Catch region around GE-8JV and V-3YG7 between the locals, made up of Brave Newbies, TEST, CO2, Drone Walkers, and FCON and a force being led by Pandemic Legion that includes their usual host of allies from the north.  PL already has a foothold in the region so fights have been coming up nightly.  SynCaine was in one of the fights the night before.

This particular fight was over the armor timer of a Brave Newbies Astrahus in GE-8JV.  Nothing to do with us in the Imperium really.  Some locals a couple regions over trying to fight off PL who has grabbed a foothold in order to farm them for fights.

But we were not there to third party.  We were actually there to help Brave Newbies, working with them and TEST to shoot Pandemic Legion and its allies.  But it was a bit complicated.  We mostly didn’t shoot at Brave, and restrained ourselves from shooting TEST too much, but their other allies, such as CO2 and FCON, enjoyed no such prohibition on our part.  At one point during the fight an FCON Svipul fleet hove into range and we shot it up with gusto.

But mostly we shot Pandemic Legion and their friends, who were out there with Machariels and some dreads of their own.

Hostiles Machs ahoy… the target is painted

Our fleet was there to kite, moving fast into range to spew missiles but never sitting still long enough to get pinned down, Asher leading us from his Phantasm.  I even remembered to take the right drugs for the op.

Some drugs are good, mkay

The flight time bonus for Antipharmakon Toxot (part of the reason few use drugs is you cannot tell what they hell they do from the name) is for missiles, effectively giving them an extended range.  Missiles take time to move from launcher to target, but they will chase things down so long as they have the range to get to them.

The fight itself was both fast and slow.  Zooming around in the fast cruiser fleet put us all around the battle.

Cerbs and Caracals zooming through bubbles

However, there was also time dilation to deal with.  It wasn’t as bad as in some fights, but it got bad enough a couple of times that I was having problems cycling my launchers on to new targets.  They would get stuck in the red flashing cool down state and I would have to hit F1 a few times to clear them.  A side effect of that is a couple of times the next target was gone before the launchers cycled, so the missiles would launch against Asher, who I had to keep targeted to run the remote sensor booster on him.  A volley now and then barely scratched him, though if he had been blown up… and a group tried to headshot him at one point… it might have been a bit awkward to be on his kill mail.  We’re not NCDot.

As it turned out the dreadnoughts, who I thought might be playing the starring role in our effort, were merely a force in being for the fight, hanging out in the vicinity as a warning to others against escalating to supers.  They just sat and waited.

Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long.  The armor timer limited the amount of time we were going to stick around, though I honestly never saw if the Brave lost the timer or if Astrahus repaired itself and reset the whole destruction process.  At one point I saw the citadel repairing, but I didn’t see the end result.  It wasn’t ours and there wasn’t a kill mail to be had on it this fight, so I wasn’t paying close attention to that.

Our fleet did well enough.  We had a few deaths, mostly due to people falling off the anchor and flying off into space on their own due to a mis-click or not having their MWD running.  The ECM frigate fleet that went with us however got roasted.  I think the FCON Svipuls were shooting them while we were shooting the Svipuls.

There is a battle report that shows the results of the fight.  Of course, results are in the eye of the beholder.  That report is laid out from our point of view, with green being us, red being the people we were trying not to shoot, and blue being those we shot early and often.

GE- Battle Report, Imperium Perspective

If you were one of the locals, you might sort the columns in a different way.  My only regret was that I did not divert off course long enough to get on Dirk MacGirk’s kill mail, though looking down the list I see at least one of the pilots in our fleet took that route.  It is always just a bit more fun to get on the kills of the space famous.

But once the object was complete… for somebody… it was time for us to rally up and then escort the dreads back home.

Cerb fleet together

That was slow, but not intolerably slow.  The dreads were willing to build up a little extra jump fatigue at the end of the night, so just about three hours after we started to form up we were back at the keepstar with the capital ship size bee floating above it.

Capital of the Imperium

And since it was at the three hour mark, we got a second participation link.  So in one fleet I got some kills, a kill mail of my own (top damage and the final blow, so another kill mark on my Cerb), and half my participation quota for the month.  5/5 – would fleet up again.

INN has a post up about the fight, which is much more high level than this.  I only saw it after I finished up this post.  Technically the Imperium wasn’t there to third party because we were helping one side, though we effectively third partied because I think we ended up shooting everybody at some point.  I am on one Brave and five TEST kill mails.  Oops.

Addendum: This fleet is also where I first heard about Swarm Simulator, a time waster browser game my daughter called “Cookie clicker with just numbers!”

Day One of New PLEX

With yesterday’s YC119.5 update the previously announced change over for PLEX showed up, so I had to log in and see the change.  We now have new PLEX.

New PLEX in-game Description

Foolishly I forgot to note how much Arurum I had on my main, I was carrying a balance of over 1,000, but I couldn’t recall exactly how much.  But I had 195 PLEX listed for him when I opened up the New Eden Store, so it was likely somewhere around 1,365.

Then I checked my alt.  He had the usual 300 Aurum, so did not get that converted.  However, I am not sure what became of it either or if I will ever see it again.  He did have two old PLEX sitting the station at Jita 4-4.  Those did get converted to 1,000 new PLEX, which was sitting in the station where the old PLEX had been.  He wasn’t in Jita, but I found the new PLEX using the search option in Assets.

Right-clicking on it in Assets listed the option to move it to the new PLEX Vault.  I had to actually read the description of PLEX (above) to be reminded where the PLEX Vault was.  I started by looking for yet another button on the Neocom, but it is actually part of your inventory listing.

It says PLEX Vault…

However, the option to move PLEX to the PLEX Vault does not appear to work remotely.  I tried the option a few times, but nothing changed.  It is bad design to give the user an option and provide no feedback, and I saw no errors while trying to do this.  Still, I figured out that I needed to be in the same station and clone jumped to Jita.  From there I was able to move the 1,000 PLEX to the PLEX Vault.

In the PLEX Vault

The PLEX vault is very much oriented towards selling PLEX to players naturally enough.  PLEX operations are in three small boxes, but buying PLEX covers four larger boxes with bright piles of PLEX shown, as if it were a physical thing, which can be expanded into even more PLEX purchasing options.

We have PLEX in the quantities you want…

The nature of the beast when you have a cash shop, as we have seen in every other MMORPG that has gone that route.  As more money comes from it, the more important it becomes.

And somebody out there is probably buying PLEX in $500 increments, but it sure isn’t me.  That would be about 40 billion ISK at the current market price, less transaction fees, or 900 days of game time.

And speaking of market price, while there were opportunities to make some easy ISK early after the PLEX transition (as SynCaine did), by the time I logged in later in the day the markets seemed to have settled down.  As I noted yesterday, PLEX was about 1.3 billion ISK per before the transition, so I estimated that it would settle around 2.6 million per for the new PLEX out of habit if nothing else.

In Jita you could grab a PLEX for a little less than that.

May 9, 2017 PLEX prices in Jita

In Amarr the price was a little higher, but not dramatically so.

May 9, 2017 PLEX prices in Amarr

So the new PLEX era is upon us.  We shall see how the price goes from here now that it is the universal RMT currency.  Prices in the New Eden Store have been adjusted for PLEX.  SKINs, which is all I ever buy from there, seem to run from about 40 PLEX for a frigate SKIN to 200 PLEX for a capital version.

Now to figure out where that 300 Aurum ended up and if I will ever get the ~42 new PLEX it ought to yield.

Others writing about PLEX:

The EVE Online YC119.5 Update Brings PLEX Changes and More

First, I have to get on my soap box about CCP and its naming scheme for patches.  Last year I assumed that the number after the decimal point (the 5 in the title of this post) indicated the month of the year.  And then the YC118.7 update came out in August and I was told that the number only indicated which patch number for the year, something that CCP kept up consistently through YC118.

Now we are in YC119 and we are getting the fourth patch of the year, but it is called YC119.5, no doubt because it is May, the fifth month of the year.  Make up yer freakin’ minds CCP!

That aside, today’s patch brings the big changes to PLEX which CCP announced a while back.

Some sort of PLEX graphic, also you can see my alliance logo next to Brave’s

After downtime today old PLEX, along with the Aurum currency, will be gone, replaced with new PLEX.  All PLEX listings will be removed from the market.  Then…

  • Any old PLEX you have will be converted to 500 new PLEX.
  • If you have Aurum in excess of 1,000 units, it will be converted to new PLEX at a ratio of 1 PLEX for every 7 Aurum.
  • If you have less than 1,000 Aurum, likely the 300 free Aurum that CCP gave you at some point, that will be converted at a later date.

Items in the New Eden Store will be priced in new PLEX.  There will be a new thing called the PLEX Vault that means you will never have to fly around with PLEX in your cargo hold… but you know people will do it anyway.  And your estimated total wealth might drop considerably because the historical value for new PLEX will zero when the game comes back up.

Old PLEX was running at about 1.3 billion ISK each when I last looked, so new PLEX should have a valuation of about 2.6 million ISK each.  But with the transition, some chaos and comedy will no doubt ensue.  Look for some individual units of new PLEX to be listed in Jita at the old PLEX as people try to take advantage of those not paying attention.

The original and follow up dev blogs cover these changes in detail.

Meanwhile, I am going to have to find a new generic PLEX graphic, as my old one will finally be totally out of date.

And old price for old PLEX… PLEX that couldn’t even leave the station!

Also showing up with today’s update is the addition of Blood Raider’s ship yards.

Look for the Blood Raiders logo of quality

This new NPC complex (there will only ever be one active at a time) will drop capital ship blue print copies for the Dagon force auxiliary, the Chemosh dreadnought, and the Molok titan.  The new NPC AI that comes with the ship yards will respond to attacks with forces in measure to make any assault difficult.  Here are the bullet points from the patch notes:

  • Blood Raider Shipyards are Sotyios, built and owned by the Blood Raider faction. Only one can exist at a time.
  • They can be found in Blood Raider 0.0 Space (Delve, Querious, Period Basis).
  • They Blood Raider Sotyio does not show up on the tactical overlay, nor can it be probed down. The best way to find them is to try following a Blood Raider hauler (Bestower or Impel), coming to pick up minerals from a mining operation. There will always be a mining operation in the system with the Blood Raiders Shipyard.
  • The Blood Raiders will viciously defend their Shipyards. They use advanced fleet tactics (Tactical Warps, Logistics, Electronic Warfare Support) with powerful ships, including Dreadnoughts.
  • The Blood Raider Sotyio only has a single 24hr reinforce cycle. Once into reinforce, it can be seen as per any other Upwell structure.
  • Destroying the Sotyio will leave a wreck, which has standard Sotyio loot (salvage and minerals), and may also drop rare modules and capital blueprint copies for the Dagon, Chemosh and Molok.
  • It takes some time for the Blood Raiders to build their first Sotyio. You can find it on Thursday (2017/05/11)

Given the tales I’ve heard comping from practice runs on the test server (400 cruisers dropped on a battleship force and effective dread bombs dropped on super capitals) I am not sure if this is a gift to null sec or just a clever way for CCP Larrikin to fulfill his wish to see more dead capital ships.  Anyway, I expect comedy to ensue until we figure it out.

Also on the list is new stars.

One of the new star models and a Keepstar

CCP has redone the graphics for stars so they are now colorful balls of rippling plasma that come in 15 eye watering flavors.

CCP is also killing off the legacy scanning UI.  From this release forward you only have the new UI to work with.  Since I actually prefer the new UI, this sounds fine to me, but I imagine this will cause some pain to others.  Sorry man.

The YC119.5 update also includes:

  • Maximum duration of contracts changed from 3 to 4 weeks
  • Color coding of fighter health bars
  • Alliance and Corp logos on citadels, along with the leader’s portrait (pictures of The Mittani everywhere in Delve now)
  • Ship hangar lighting improvements
  • Promotional CONCORD ships Pacifier and Enforcer added to the game (but not yet distributed to Fanfest attendees)
  • Removal of ability to manufacture starbase (POS) compression, reprocessing, and assembly arrays along with labs as part of the transition to citadels and engineering complexes
  • New cinematic intro, which you can compare to past efforts at The Nosy Gamer
  • Lots more fixes and tweaks

Details for all of this can be found in the YC119.5 patch notes and the updates page.  The patch itself has gone live and is ready to explore.  There was an issue reported with single sign on, but that seems to have been fixed.

Finally, no update for EVE Online goes live without a new music track, so we have YC119.5’s theme, The Luminous Eye.