Category Archives: entertainment

Dread Goonristas Hiding Point

More than a thousand hostiles in Saranen with us… local was up to 2,600… and somehow the citadel survived and went online.  Unlike the previous night, no capitals were to be seen.

Now available in Saranen

Now available in Saranen

Yes, we lost the ISK war, including some other citadels set to go, but we got our new toy online.  Among the benefits is the ability to swap jump clones… if you want to move between implants… without a timer.

I arrived on scene just in time to experience the 10% time dilation and watch a bit of the fighting before we docked up.

Crucifier on the scene

Crucifier on the scene

Now when it hits its next vulnerability window the citadel will have guns on it to help with the defense.

Hurricanes and Fax Machines at Saranen

directorbot@goonfleet.com:

saranen importers: better restock hurricanes
93pi importers: better restock caps

~~~ This was a broadcast from kcolor to all at 2016-05-17 01:33:38.817622 EVE~~~

It was actually a busy day on the front porch of the Quafe Company Warehouse at Saranen V, moon 9.  But then, it has been a month of busy days despite our foes continuing to harp on the empty propaganda about us never undocking.  Again, another week and the top alliance at zKillboard remains unchanged. (Charts from May 6 and April 24 previously posted, rankings explained here.)

zKillboard Top Alliances and Corporations - May 17, 2016

zKillboard Top Alliances and Corporations – May 17, 2016

Pandemic Legion has picked up the pace and climbed the rankings, but Pandemic Horde, almost 9,000 strong these days, has been sliding down at the same time, to the point that it is in danger of falling off the list, ending up behind even my own alliance of 1,200 pilots.

I actually managed to undock three times yesterday and get on a few kill mails each time.

The first time was around mid-afternoon when Asher called up a fleet to chase off some NCDot Phantasms that were camping the undock.  This is why a some Imperium pilots like myself are pretty upbeat on the current situation.  Our foes come hang out on our doorstep until we’re ready to come out and play.  No roaming for content, it gets delivered.

We undocked in Hurricanes, The Imperium flavor of the day as it turned out, and chased them off, killing a few.  I happened to be doing a large file transfer in the background during the fight, which probably didn’t help my already slow reflexes, so I only ended up on a single Phantasm kill mail.  I was probably shooting the secondary by mistake if I got in a hit.

It was a nice quick op that wrapped up with us flying cover for some jump freighters bringing in more materiel to keep the war going before we docked up and stood down.

Most days that is all I can ask for out of an op.

After that the day went on, we had dinner, cleaned up afterwards, and were settling in for the evening when I sat back down at my desk and saw a series of frantic pings to get logged into Saranen to kill fax machines, the unfortunate yet immediately applied nickname for the new force auxiliary capital ships that came in with the Citadel expansion.

Again, it was Hurricanes and, while I was late to the party, I still logged in, got into Pittsburgh2989’s fleet, and undocked… to find there were indeed capitals and super caps on the undock.

Undocking alone into the middle of fun...

Undocking alone into the middle of fun…

The fleet was more than 100km away, too close to warp to but too far to burn to with caps hanging around and likely armed with the new high angle weapons for blapping subcaps like myself.  I aligned out to a celestial to bounce and warp back from.  Even as I was aligning out, more capital ships were jumping into the system.  But I could hear Pittsburgh2989 calling targets and fax machines going down, so my timing didn’t seem too bad.

I did the bounce, landed with the fleet, and anchored up.  Tidi was up and that transition out of warp so I could lock up and shoot felt like it took forever, but eventually was was on a target and shooting.  During a brief flurry of activity I managed to get on five Apostle kills, the Amarrian flavor of fax machine, along with one of the Talwars from a Pandemic Horde support fleet that showed up, a Cormorant that happened to stray into range between targets, and BlueMajere’s Apocalypse that was pissing Pittsburgh off for having survived through the fight right in the middle of things.

As we were doing this, more and more capital ships were jumping into the system off the undock.  The critical mass of the fight soon favored them as their fax machine logi increased as our Hurricanes were steadily popped.  Our fleets aligned to warp off, then warped back to the station to dock up.  That is the general plan, according to The Mittani on Sunday’s fireside chat; when our foes drop overwhelming numbers of capitals ships, we dock up and let them stare at the Quafe logo.

The battle reports floating about at that point showed us losing a lot of Hurricanes, but winning the ISK war with about half as much in losses as our foes.  Op success.  Participation links were generated, fleets stood down, and that seemed to be that for the evening.  We would leave the enemy to stew on our doorstep with no more kills to be had.

I walked away from my desk again, sat down and watched a bit of the Warriors game on TV, then went back to my computer to look through the screen shots I got during the fight and started putting together this post.

As I was doing that, another set of pings started popping up.  The enemy had started leaving Saranen, but in bits and pieces so that their numbers became assailable yet again.  Hurricanes were called for once more and people logged back in and filled up the first fleet, so that I ended up in the second fleet under Cainun.  Again, tidi was hitting hard to the point that we didn’t undock in a ball but in a chain of individual ships like the station was spitting us out in a stream.

We aligned and warped off, then back onto a spot to join in on the developing brawl,  There was a T3 cruiser fleet and some carriers and a some Pandemic Horde Feroxes on the field and even a few more fax machines to hit.  There was a rush to get points on the capitals, the high value targets, to keep them from getting away.

Our fleet was popping away at the T3s for a bit, though their logi seemed to be on the ball so our targets were catching reps.  We still managed to knock off a few as we closed with the capitals.  From there it was shoot and neut, as we had refit to carry energy neutralizers in order to deplete their capacitors.

While we were out a call when out for a Grinder fleet, which is Megathrons and Apocalypses, in order to blap stuff off the field.  Even Fearless Leader, The Mittani, got in a ship and undocked to shoot people.

The Mittani's Apocalypse

The Mittani’s Apocalypse

If you look at his kills, it is mostly Pandemic Horde Feroxes, so I am probably not zoomed in close enough to see the “Free Candy” sign on the side of the white, windowless Amarrian space van that he used to lure them in.

Then we hit the point where people were trying to hold down the last few foes as they warped off before the field around the undock was ours.  Cainun got popped along the way, but we had Pittsburgh2989 along with us, so he took over and kept us going.  People looted the field, there were high fives all around, more participation links were generated, and we then docked back up again.

The combined battle report I saw for both engagements combined put the ISK war well in our favor.

Saranen May 17 Battle Report Summary

Saranen May 17 Battle Report Summary

We lost a lot more ships… Hurricanes were dropping like flies at some points… but our ships were cheap relative to our foes.  We lost so many Hurricanes though that there was some worry about resupply.  The supply in Jita was way down, so I guess your economic tip of the day is to get some Hurricane hulls on the market.  With Welpcaines back as a doctrine, demand will likely remain strong.

So that was Monday in space, a good brawl where we got to blow up nineteen hostile capital ships.  No supers though.  Maybe next time.

Here are some screen shots I took along the way.

 

BB75 – Shooting in Stations

This month’s Blog Banter, number 75 in the series, asks the following:

What Does Project Nova Need to Be Successful?
At Fanfest CCP showcased their current iteration of the FPS set in the Eve Universe. Following on from DUST514 and Project Legion, Project Nova is shaping up to be a solid FPS with CCP taking the decision to get the game mechanics right first. However with so many FPS out there what will Nova need in order to stand out from a very large crowd and be successful? What are the opportunities and perhaps more importantly, the dangers for CCP? How can Nova compete against CoD, Battlefront and Titanfall to name a few?

And the topic of the month certainly hits the nail on the head.

EVE Online Forever

EVE Online Universe Forever

CCP has certainly found success with spaceships.  EVE Online is an enduring money maker, having just turned 13, and while the jury is still out on EVE Valkyrie in the long term, it certainly happened to be the right title at the right moment for VR and so will likely pay off the investment in the title.  But those two, and the board game Hættuspil, are about the limit of success for CCP.  Certainly DUST 514 didn’t pass that bar.

But at least CCP has some experience in that area now.  And they corrected one of the DUST 514 problems already by putting Project Nova on Windows, where most of its fan base resides.   But Project Nova still faces huge competition.

A prophecy?

A prophecy?

I think the last line in this month’s question undersells the market.

That last one is they key here.  According to Steam we’ve already had 30 titles released so far this year that match both “FPS” and “multiplayer” as keywords.  And while they are not all stars or even good or likely direct competitors, they are mucking up the market.

So many titles...

So many titles…

So we have a crowded market where the big players toss out a new, big budget, best selling titles at least once a year (along with a retro title now and again), and only a few titles endure and remain popular over time.  Given that, CCP has some options:

Play to your base – Give it an off-planet, space theme and put it in the EVE Online universe.  I only saw a bit of the footage from Fanfest, but it looked like fighting in stations or citadels was already on the list.  It felt a bit like Marathon updated to me.  Maybe give people a bit of the in-station experience that a small part of the player base craves.

Link with EVE Online – This is a bit more risky.  While a given, and something that would get EVE players interested, CCP should not make anything in one game depend on the other.  We were promised orbital bombardment with DUST 514, but I never ended up dropping rocks on anybody.  On the flip side, links with New Eden could make for a more enduring title, which I think might suit CCP better.  I do not think of them as a studio able to crank out a new title yearly.

VR perspective – CCP already has work invested in VR, so their claim to fame could be in bringing the first space themes FPS to market.  Granted, that would limit, rather than increase, their audience at this point, but it plays to a potential strength that CCP is trying to establish.

I am not sure that any of those would guarantee success even if Project Nova is good.  I am not convinced that being good is enough in a market where being the latest Call of Duty seems to be the key to financial success.  I think the best that CCP can shoot for is to be enduring, like EVE Online itself, to make something that has a solid and interesting base which can improve and evolve over time.  What that looks like though… I do not know.

Of course, my FPS days are long behind me.  I haven’t been any sort of good at the genre since the days of Desert Combat.  I don’t wish Project Nova anything but success, but I am not sure how you get there from here.

And just a couple blog banters ago the topic was what other games set in New Eden should CCP pursue, and my own entry was about as far from an FPS as one could get.

Anyway, that is my submission for Blog Banter 75.  Others answering the call:

Friday Bullet Points are Lucky Even Today

Here it is, Friday the 13th, a date synonymous bad luck and a series of horror movies that, oddly enough, capped out at an even dozen.  How could they not make a 13th one?

Fortunately my wife’s family embraces the number 13 as their lucky number, so that cancels things out… right?  I’m still working from home today all the same.

Meanwhile, here are some items I feel like mentioning but which didn’t quite make the cut for a full post.  If there aren’t 13 of them, well… that’s just bad luck.

They Are So Cute When They Are Young

Nintendo is starting the slow drip of information on the official site about the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon games, and so this week Nintendo gave us the date for the launch, November 18, 2016.

Sun and Moon coming in November

Sun and Moon coming in November

We also got a look at the starter Pokemon for the game.

Which one will you choose?

Which one will you choose?

They are Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio, filling the traditional grass, fire, and water starter roles.  Starter Pokemon can be an emotional topic and people get quite invested in their choices.  Currently Popplio seemed to be losing the popularity race on Twitter.

The poll results

The poll results

I traditionally go with the water Pokemon, so Popplio is likely going to be my choice regardless of what people say about him.  Also he’s a seal, how is that not cute?  Meanwhile, is Rowlet wearing a bra or what?  Just asking!

Of course, Nintendo has a track record of turning cute into ugly with evolutions while punishing you by withholding key moves if you opt not to let your starter evolve.  Can’t they stay young and cute forever?  It is a complex issue.

Civilization Goes Cartoony

Firaxis announced the coming of Civilization VI, the next installment in the grand Civilization franchise…. and all anything people seemed to want to talk about was the new art style.  We are so shallow.

A first glimpse of Civ VI

A first glimpse of Civ VI

Alright, alright, I hear you saying that other details were somewhat sparse, so what else were we going to talk about.  I myself welcome a lighter look for the aging game series.  Anything to cut down on the resource demands of a Civ game is probably good.

The game itself is set to ship on October 12, 2016 and will be the industry standard $59.99 for the basic version, and $79.99 for the deluxe edition which will include the obviously planned in advance DLC.  It will probably be four more civilizations that they will end up throwing in with the first expansion in any case.

The question isn’t if I will buy Civ VI, but when.  Given the screw jobs that have happened with Steam sales showing up just weeks after Civ releases or expansions go live, the fact that Civ games are inevitably resource hogging, bug filled, crashing messes at launch… they put in auto-save after every turn for a reason…, and the fact that their last release, Civilization: Beyond Earth was as dull as dishwater and an insult as a successor to Alpha Centauri, and I am thinking I might pass on a day one purchase.  I’ll see what things look like at the Steam Holiday Sale… or maybe the next Steam Summer Sale.

WoW Legion to Beta

I don’t suppose the timing really matters all that much now.  We already have a launch date, so the usual metrics around things like beta-to-launch calculations will be purely academic.  So the important bit is that the WoW Legion beta is now live, having gone up last night.

Beta for those who care...

Beta for those who care…

Blizzard has the initial release notes along with a detailed intro into the features of the expansion.

I do not do beta any more, going so far as trying to avoid information about the release, as I find it spoils my enjoyment when a release goes live.  I feel like I’ve already played it and my enthusiasm quickly wains.

Still, I look forward to hearing some general reactions to Blizzard’s plan for the expansion.  And, of course, the big question is when will the 7.0 pre-expansion update drop?  My bet is on August 9, 2016.

EverQuest II Prestige Servers

The Norrath dev team at Daybreak… we can call the EQ/EQII team that now, since there are no other Norrathian projects now… is looking into what other special sorts of servers players would like.  And so there is a poll waiting in your mailbox in EverQuest II about prestige servers.

Just three options...

Just three options…

As with things in Azeroth, special servers at Daybreak have their proponents and detractors.  Foes of the idea are annoyed that there is no “none of the above” option so they can directly express their displeasure at dev resources being used on projects they don’t care about.  (As the poll notes, they can do so indirectly by not voting, since I am sure that Daybreak will notice if only a few people respond.)

I’m not sure I would play on either server option myself, though that is because I am still pottering around on the Stormhold nostalgia server.  The thing is, the long poll for expansions is content creation, and these sorts of servers just use content that has already been created, so the hand wringing about delaying new stuff isn’t all that valid.

Not That Wild, No Longer a Star

The NCsoft Q1 2016 financials are out and, while things look good for the company as a whole, and most of its properties, WildStar is the noticeable exception.

Q1 2016 results

Q1 2016 results

After an initial boost in revenue with the free-to-play transition, sales have already slumped to below where they were when the game was subscription only.  Of course, this shouldn’t have been a huge surprise given the moves NCsoft was making with Carbine back in March.  This is more the confirmation of what many suspected.

Oculus Rift Retail Rage

So for a brief stretch of time last Friday you could go to a store or Amazon and buy an Oculus Rift unit.  They sold out quickly and you can probably find more than a few re-listed for a well beyond their $599 list price on eBay.  I see one on Amazon for $1,099.  But if you were at the right place at the right time, you could have spent your weekend playing EVE Valkyrie.

But if you pre-ordered a unit back in January, you’re probably still waiting for it to show up.

And so there is a bit of righteous anger out there about the company snubbing the people willing to buy in early in favor of those who waited.  I didn’t buy in either way, but I would have been pissed were I still waiting around for my pre-order to ship.

As Jerry Seinfeld might have put it, taking pre-orders isn’t the important part.  Anybody can take pre-orders.  It is the delivery that matters.  Also, the comments on that linked video are hilarious AND on topic for this post.

CSM XI By the Numbers

I am sure others will dive into the details on this, but CCP just posted the Dev Blog with the details of the CSM XI election.  Charts and explanations and raw data are all available there.

CSM11_logo

It is interesting to see how the two winning blocks stuck fairly well to their suggested ballots.  You can see the top three Imperium candidates, Aryth, Innominate, and Xenuria, getting elected in rounds one, two, and three.  Other tidbits include the fact that players from the US and UK cast half the votes, that most votes came in during the first two days of the election, and that the more recent your account, the more likely it seems you are to vote.  Accounts created back in 2006, when I started, made up only 4% of the voting pool, while those from 2015, 2014, and 2013 represented 14%, 15%, and 16% of the vote respectively.

Episode 18 of the Asher Hour

Asher Elias, head of the Reavers and the 23rd 15th best fleet commander in The Imperium has a new podcast out after a long stretch of silence.  This time around it is just Asher talking about the war, fleets, and what it is like on The Imperium side of the fight.  Not party-line propaganda, but Asher is still enthusiastic and positive about what we can do in the war and where we may end up.

So that is what I had kicking around.  Of course, now that I have all those items cleared out I am starting to wonder what I will write about next week.

Oh, wait, I have 57 unfinished items in my drafts folder.  Maybe that isn’t such a big deal.

In Which I See a Citadel…

…and make good on a threat.

We got the Citadel expansion in EVE Online… what… two weeks ago?

For two weeks, citadels have been a thing.  I have been seeing news items and blog posts and guides about them.   People have been praising them, complaining about them, building them, and blowing them up.  I even saw a Jabber ping saying that MiniLuv had ganked somebody hauling a Fortizar, the large citadel, and that it dropped, so they scooped it up to be used later.

I just hadn’t actually seen one myself.  I wasn’t even sure where I might find one, citadels locations not being something that gets broadcast on DOTLAN.  So I asked #tweetfleet where I might go citadel spotting.  A couple of options presented, the most convenient of which were around Jita.

I have an alt in Jita.  Actually, I have a couple there, but I took the one I could remember and name, undocked and warped off to the Perimeter gate, jumped in to that system, and saw… nothing.

Well, I saw plenty of things.  There were lots of ships going to and fro, a couple of people obviously scanning for valuable cargo, the usual celestials and what not, but no citadels.

And then I remembered that this was a new item added by CCP.  The company really has only two options when it comes to adding new items to the overview; defaulting them on and visible, or defaulting them off and essentially invisible.

CCP always seems to goes with the latter.

While I appreciate the chaos and comedy that adds to the game… how many people were popped by T3 destroyers or command destroyers they didn’t “see” because they were turned off in the overview, and how many tech II logi frigates lived to fight another day because CCP had given them overview stealth by default… I am not convinced that is really the right choice.

Anyway, I opened up the overview settings and added citadels, along with the other new items in the same category, to my travel overview and, hey presto, I was now aware of two citadels lurking in Perimeter.  Some people were buying into the idea that all you had to do is put up a citadel outside Jita, lower the tax rate, and the riches would roll in.

I picked one, warped to it and took my first look at a citadel in space.

Behold, a citadel!

Behold, a citadel!

That is an Astrahus, the medium size in the medium, large, extra large continuum of citadel sizing.  It is even kind of pretty, but I immediately wanted to know what was going on around it.  What are all those lines and bits in space?  The whole thing looked a lot more… busy… than your standard space station or POS.

So I started to struggle with the camera in an attempt to get a closer look.  I had already put the focus of the camera on the citadel, so I figured I would just zoom on in and look at the details.

However, the in-game camera has a limit on how close you can zoom it in to something directly.  Everything in New Eden has a bubble of “personal space” which the camera is not allowed to violate, at least not directly.  So I could get a little closer, but not actually close enough to see details.

I guess those are space lanes...

I guess those are space lanes…

There are, of course, ways for space paparazzi like myself to get past this personal space limit.  I put the camera back on my ship and sailed in for a closer look.

The wee velator heads in...

The wee velator heads in…

I gathered that the lines were some sort of nod to there being docking/undocking lanes of approach and what not, like pilots in New Eden ever color within the lines.  But there were all sorts of other little bits that I wanted to see up close, little yellow rectangles and orange squares and so forth.  So as my little ship closed in, it dragged the camera with it until these items started to resolve themselves into the visible.

Getting closer...

Getting closer…

The yellow bits turned out to be warning signs about the status of the citadel.  It had been put into a sieged state during a previous vulnerability window I gather, so was in danger of being destroyed at some future time slot.

SIEGED!

CAUTION! SIEGED!

On the other hand, I am still not sure what the orange square is about.

Orange square is orange... and square

Orange square is orange… and square

As I was doing this the EVE Online client locked up.  I managed to get out of the client window… I play full screen… via control-alt-delete and launching the Task Manager, at which point I was greeted by a Windows alert saying that the “CCP ExeFile” had stopped working.

I’ve been seeing this quite a bit of late, but previously it had only been happening when I was tabbed out of the game.  Getting close to a citadel seemed to be aggravating the issue… or causing a new issue.  This happened half a dozen times while I was looking at citadels during this session, enough for me to open up a bug report.  I sent off a screen shot and a few of the .dmp files that the client creates when it crashes and hoped they could find something.

I actually got a response later saying that the problem seemed to be coming from a third EVE Voice library was causing the crash and that I should turn off EVE Voice.

Of course, I already had EVE Voice turned off so, in sort of reverse tech support logic, I turned it on then off again just to see if that did anything.  We shall see if the crashes continue.  Take note if you are seeing something similar I guess.

Anyway, I logged back in and docked up in this sieged citadel, which was about the same as docking up in a station, so I undocked again.

From this citadel I could actually see the other citadel in Perimeter.  They were on the same grid, though in space anything smaller than a moon fades to a dot in a couple hundred kilometers.  So I warped off to that one to see what might be different there.

Second citadel stop

Second citadel stop

The second citadel was another Astrahus and so was much like the first.  The primary difference was that this one was not sieged and so lacked the little yellow warning signs all over the docking area.  Those were replaced by green signs which announced that the citadel was invulnerable.

CAUTION! INVULNERABLE!

CAUTION! INVULNERABLE!

I am not sure why invulnerability rates a “caution” warning, but there it is.  The orange squares had been replaced by green ones, so I am going to guess that they were some sort of additional warning about the sieged stated of the other citadel.

Of course, now that I had seen a sieged and an invulnerable citadel, I felt compelled to complete the set and find one that was vulnerable.  I flew through the systems adjacent to Jita in search of more citadels.  I found some, including the one in New Caldari which I mentioned in a tweet, but none of them were vulnerable.

That isn’t surprising I suppose, given that the vulnerability window for a medium citadel is 3 hours a week.

Anyway, there it is, I saw a citadel… or actually several.  Op success.  I think the only thing left to do is try to give them some sense of scale, so here is my wee rookie ship passing by the right tower (if you’re facing the docking area) of and Astrahus.

Upwell Consortium

Upwell Consortium

You can see two lines of light terminating at my ship.  The one angling up and to the right is the ship’s exhaust trail.  The other one is the tethering effect, which is something that kicks in if you have the right standings and are within the outer circle of lights arrayed about the structure.  I took that screen shot and then the client locked up again and I called it a night.  My alt is still floating about in New Caldari.

And now that I have added in that nice sense of scale, let me just screw that up with this image that has been going around since citadels showed up.

That sort of messes with you, doesn’t it?  But at least there is a titan in the background to give you another measure of size against a know “big” thing in space.

I am not the only one who went out looking for citadels this week.  EVE Hermit had his own encounter.  He just didn’t spew out quite as many words in the process.

Elves Unchained in TorilMUD

I have not written about TorilMUD in ages.  Honestly, I haven’t even logged in to check up on the place in a long time.

TorilMUD_logo

But the old world of text that I started playing in more than 22 years ago lives on and gets updated from time to time.  The last time I mentioned it was when they announced the end of their harsh death penalty, which was the model that EverQuest used back in the good/bad old days.  That was about a year back.

That have had a couple of other updates posted to their Tumblr news site since then, but last night one showed up that I had to mention.

The main topic of the update was the introduction of a new class of spells called “cantrips,” which my brain immediately parsed as “can trip.”  Hrmmm…

But what caught my eye about the update was this item listed under “other changes”

Elves can now start in Baldurs Gate and Silverymoon. They can also use the Leuthilspar elfgate as early as level 1. Free the elves!

Free the elves indeed.

For those unfamiliar with the game… which is probably everybody reading this… one of the quirks of TorilMUD up until this change was that elves had a single home town in which they could start.  That was Leuthilspar, on the island of Evermeet, a location those familiar with the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting might recall.

But elves were not just required to start in Leuthilspar, they were required to stay on the island of Evermeet until they hit level 20… because… well… level 20 was a special level back in the day.  It was the “coming of age” level.   You could petition for a last name.  You were finally allowed to see your stats as numbers rather than possible ranges.

Do I take Heroic strength?

Do I take Heroic strength?

And, if you were an elf… or a half-elf that chose to start in Leuthilspar out of some sense of masochism… you were finally allowed to use the elf gate at the east end of town and leave Evermeet for the big city, Waterdeep.

This was a significant moment in the life of any elven character because, back in the day, Evermeet was a bit of a dump.  There was the town itself, where the guards would slaughter you if they caught you fighting… and remember that whole harsh death penalty thing.  So, for adventures you had to head out to Kobold Village, which was fun but contained its own perils, the Faerie Forest, a place to get lost in, and the Elemental Glades, which had its own issues.

Short of starting in one of the evil race home towns, which were designed to be a challenge for experienced players, Evermeet was the worst of the home towns.  This wasn’t because its local area was bad.  Starting as a gnome, a halfling, a dwarf, or a barbarian meant having absolute crap content to hand.  But they could all head to Waterdeep, around which there was ample content for leveling up, content with plenty of drops that groups could tackle from levels 1 through to about 40.

Leuthilspar Locations

Leuthilspar Locations

Elves had to make do with what they had, and while the zones were not bad, they lacked in equipment drops.  You could always spot a newly arrived elf in Waterdeep because of the paucity of their gear.  They might have a bronze sword, a pearl earring, a bit of string tied around their finger, and the inevitable cloak of forest shadows.  And, of course, these elves would be gawking a the locals, amazed at all the gear they had.  Good gear.  With actual bonus stats and such.

Of course, the newly arrived elf couldn’t afford to buy any of that gear, because they had likely left Evermeet with only a few coins in their pocket and not much of value to sell or trade.  And it was always some work to get into groups because you couldn’t compete with the well geared locals.  But if you persevered, you could close the gear gap and catch up with the rest of the world.

And you were a member of a special club.  You had made it through the privations of the elf homeland.  You would, of course, help any new elf you saw standing at the gates of Waterdeep, trying to unlock them after they had closed for the night saying the word “peace” over and over. (That unlocked the gates of Leuthilspar at night, but for Waterdeep you needed the key that Lord Piergeiron carried on his person or a rogue with a high lockpick skill.)

And, as an elf, you might never go back home.  If you were a cleric or a druid, so your word of recall spell would bring you back to Leuthilspar, you might frequent the place after level 20.  But other classes had to take a ship to the Moonshaes and travel quite a ways in order to find the elf gate that would return them to their original home.  It generally wasn’t worth the effort.

Because I started most of my main characters on Evermeet, getting through those first 20 levels is very much a part of my memories of the game, much more so than any of the early zones in the main world.  I even wrote a series of posts about them under the tag Leuthilspar tales.

Over the years the lot of the elves was improved.  One of the players Xyd and I started playing with way, way back in the day, Rylandir, went on to become one of the game admins for a while and created a number of zones for Evermeet.  The first in, the Eldar Forest, was especially helpful, had some good quests, and dropped some gear.  Level 20 elves eventually stopped showing up in Waterdeep looking like beggars.

And now… well, elves can run straight to Waterdeep… which is probably a good thing.  The population of TorilMUD has dwindled over the years.  No longer can you log in on a Friday night and find more than 100 players online.  But there does seem to be 20 or more around whenever I take a moment to check in.

But there was a time, long ago, when the life of an elf of Evermeet was desperate and poor.  Somehow we survived.

Now that I look at my list of Leuthilspar Tales, I think I need to go back and finish it up by writing something about the Elemental Glades, the third… and strangest… zone of Evermeet from back in the day.

And, if all of this talk about the old days of TorilMUD has you in a nostalgia reverie, here are a few other choice posts about the good old days:

Or you can just look at the whole TorilMUD category.  There are only 56 posts total.

Some of those posts are old enough at this point that I am even feeling a bit of nostalgia for the point of time when I was able to remember that much about the game.  Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

And, of course, if you are interesting in the game… because it is still up and running… you can find out more about it at their web site.