Category Archives: entertainment

Headed to EVE Vegas 2017

As this post goes live I am probably standing in line at the airport hoping that Southwest has their act together when it comes to my flight to Las Vegas.  That flight is taking me to my third year at EVE Vegas.

EVE Vegas 2017 – SOLD OUT

Once there I will likely be hobnobbing with the usual crowd of bloggers, podcasters, and other EVE Online media types who are, honestly, about the only people who know me there.  To my knowledge I will be the only one from my corp to attend and last year there was only one other pilot from my alliance in attendance, so prospects there are low.  Not that they would know me.  I am horrible at actually doing things with my own corp or alliance.

Pilots of the Imperium will be out in force though, and I hope to spot a few fellow Reavers.

Events at EVE Vegas include the usual company presentations… I expect we’ll get some new details about the Life Blood expansion coming later this month…, promotions for other CCP products, player presentations, the Saturday night party, and a special screening of Blade Runner 2049 with proceeds going to the Able Gamers charity.

There is a dev post up about the event with further details.

Those attending the event are also eligible for some discounts, which is probably a good thing as Vegas is not a cheap date.  It was $13 for a Jack and Coke at the Heart Bar last year.

For those not attending CCP will be streaming presentations on their Twitch channel and has a schedule up.

Streaming Schedule for EVE Vegas 2017

Anyway, I am off to Vegas to see what I shall see.

Attribute Remap in New Eden

Every once in a while a discussion arises about attributes in MMORPGs and whether they are really relevant any more.  Derived from the same Dungeons & Dragons to computer RPGs to DikuMUD to MMORPGs, attributes were once the cornerstone of a character’s ability, the rolls you made to generate them determining the future and fate of your character.

TorilMUD – they wouldn’t even give you a straight up number

Your fighter really, really wanted a STR of 18 99/100 or whatever the peak was for AD&D back in the day, a roll many fighters seemed to have been able to obtain somehow.  The dice favored them.  And well the dice might, because you probably couldn’t carry your sword, shield, armor, iron rations, torches, and whatever loot you might run across if you didn’t get that roll.

But with the coming of MMORPGs and, more critically, MMORPG expansions, base stats were quickly overshadowed by stat boosts from gear.  I remember when SOE decided to discard weight as an impediment in EverQuest II.  At launch if you were carrying too much stuff you would be slowed down.  I remember being able to tell if somebody was carrying bank boxes through town as they would creep at a snail’s pace.  But after a few expansions everybody’s gear had so many stat bonuses that you could use those boxes in place of bags and carry all your coin and still move about unencumbered.  At that point measuring weight was of little value unless you simply wanted to inflict it on new players.

Anyway, whenever that discussion comes up I always enjoy injecting EVE Online into it because, like so much else in the game, attributes in New Eden are a different beast.

You might be surprised to find that characters in EVE Online even have attributes.  But they do.  Each character has five, the list and descriptions for which I am going to borrow from Neville Smit:

  • Intelligence – the speed at which you process information
  • Memory – how well you remember information
  • Charisma – the degree to which you influence others
  • Perception – your ability to understand the situation around you
  • Willpower – the amount of stamina you have to reach a goal

EVE Online is a more cerebral game I guess, lacking the usual strength, dexterity, constitution, etc of the traditional medieval themed MMORPG.

Furthermore, these attributes do not impact your game play directly.  Perception won’t make your overview easier to read, willpower won’t make your shields stronger, intelligence won’t make POS mechanics comprehensible, and charisma won’t make NPCs like you or do what you ask.

Nope.  The only thing attributes influence is how quickly you train skills.  Each skill in the game is linked to a primary and secondary attribute, and the higher the numbers for those attributes are the faster skill will train.  There is a whole article over at the EVE University Wiki about skills and learning.  Meanwhile, the usefulness/uselessness of attributes has been argued back and forth for ages, even making an appearance in Blog Banter #65, where we all went on about what should be done with them.

Their validity as a game mechanic aside, there are two approaches to dealing with attributes.  The first is to spread them out evenly so all skills pretty much train at the same speed… except skills involving charisma because you’ll be one point shy and somebody has to take the hit.

I’ve been that route off and on in the past.  As of that Blog Banter I linked I was in the level attributes camp.

Wilhelm Arcturus attributes in mid-2015

But you get the opportunity to remap your attributes once a year. (Though if you’re a salty old vet like me you probably have/had a couple of bonus remaps in your back pocket.)

So you can swap around your attributes if you know you’re going to be focused on a particular set of skills for a long stretch.  Back in the day getting all the skills to be a fleet booster, which required Fleet Commander V, was a year long investment, so you would remap and queue them up and be committed to that for quite a stretch.

Currently my attributes are optimized for training skills related to Spaceship Command and weaponry.  Perception and Willpower rule the roost in those categories.  At this point however, I am running out of practical skills to train.  I am not interested in getting into a super capital as I barely fly the two capital ships I own, and all of the sub cap skills I have are at least to level IV.  Do I really need Marauders or Black Ops or a couple others trained up to level V?

My attributes pre-remap… not sure why the point in Int now… with +4 implants

On the other hand, there are a whole bunch of skills that benefit primarily from Memory and Intelligence that I have had in my queue for a while.  I want to get all the Scanning and Fighter skills up to level V, boost up some of the Planetary Management skills, and so on.

So I loaded up my in-game skill queue with all of those skills, dropping any of the remaining Perception/Willpower skills, let that sit for a bit, the loaded them up in EVE Mon.

EVE Mon, while it hasn’t seen an update in almost a year… a worrying amount of time that makes me suspect the end might be nigh at some point… has some useful features for dealing with your skills and attributes.

First I created a new skill plan from my skill queue, an option under the Plans menu, opened up the plan, and then used the Attributes Optimizer option.  That told me I ought to max out Memory and throw any remaining points into Intelligence.

My attributes optimized

If I do that I chop more than 95 days off of my skill training time.  Of course, if CCP introduces a new ship with a new skill that I absolutely have to have, it is going to be a slow train because of this change.  And I am committed to it for a full year.  I have no bonus remaps left.  (My alt has two, which doesn’t help.  Also, sell remaps for PLEX maybe?)

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, so I tinkered a bit with what EVE Mon told me and found out that it isn’t quite the min/max champion.

Now really optimized

I’m not sure that 15 hours is a significant difference.  I’m just more surprised that EVE Mon didn’t choose the most optimized path.  I suspect that dropping two points off Memory and giving it to Intelligence boosts a bit because Intelligence is the primary attribute.

Anyway, I pulled the trigger on the change.  CCP warned me it would be a year.

Are you really sure?

So I expect that the next two skill point milestones I hit, 190 and 200 million skill points, will feature a lot of skills outside of Spaceship Command for once.

We’ll see where I stand in a year I suppose.  Maybe attributes won’t even be a thing by then.

Fall Movie League – I Should Just Let Tom Cruise

Week five of the Fall Fantasy Movie League had what seemed like several viable paths to success.

The pricing for week five showed the possible anchors.

 Kingsman             $256
 American Made        $225
 It                   $214
 LEGO Ninjago Movie   $168
 Flatliners           $143
 Battle of the Sexes  $72
 A Question of Faith  $42
 American Assassin    $40
 Home Again           $28
 Mother!              $21
 Stronger             $20
 Hitman's Bodyguard   $12
 Friend Request       $11
 Wind River           $10
 Spider-Man           $9

With those numbers you could anchor your week’s picks on three screens of Kingsman, four screens of American Made or It, or, if you were feeling daring, five screens of LEGO Ninjago, with enough room left in your budget to fill out the remaining screens from the low end of the price list.

With last week’s post I left little doubt where my allegiances lay.  Despite the pricing I was sure than All American action hero star Tom Cruise would be able to top a mediocre Bond film send-up (including an actual Bond film location) and a clown that lives in the sewers.

I was feeling it when I wrote that, and my picks were anchored on American Made.

And then I kept reading the entertainment news, which was pretty lukewarm on the movie, right up to Friday morning when the Thursday night preview numbers gave the film a solid “meh.”  Estimates, which were not strong to start with, dropped from about $16 million to $12 million, slating it for third place for the week.  So with less than an hour to go I jumped ship, leaving Tom for the Brits.

My Fall Week Five Picks (not estimates, despite what it says)

As it turned out, American Made did come in third place for the week.  I don’t usually go into the box office numbers directly, but this week was interesting enough to go there for the top three at least.

  1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $16,935,565
  2. It – $16,902,442
  3. American Made – $16,776,390

So American Made did place third.  But it still (barely) exceeded the initial estimate on which I based my Monday evening picks.  Kingsman, despite coming in first, failed to meet the $19 million mark it was predicted to make.  So, in a way, American Made won and Kingsman lost.  Sort of.

Certainly Kingsman was a losing bet for me.  Failing to stick with Tom Cruise cost me $12,838,225 for the week, a substantial amount in a tight race.  The results for the week were:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $90,006,078
  2. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $84,479,623
  3. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $75,486,613
  4. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $73,795,879
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $73,572,570
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,964,624
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $72,269,815
  8. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $66,215,620
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $65,725,101
  10. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $65,135,309
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $62,535,831
  12. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $62,283,727
  13. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $59,342,586
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $45,107,607

Meta League legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
  • Liore’s Summer League – players from it marked with an (L)

That is actually quite a spread, with first place almost double last place.   Of course, it helps that Ben got the perfect pick for the week, something he shared with 432 other players.

And, in the final bit of irony for the week, the perfect pick was anchored on It, so I wasn’t going to take it going with either American Made or Kingsman.

Fall Week Five Perfect Pick

One of the going theories for FML is that the fewer titles you have on your eight screens, the more likely you are to do well, coupled with never leaving more than $35 of your budget unspent.  This week certainly fit the pattern. (One of the early tips I read was that if you have more than five titles in your line up, start over.)

So with week five behind us, the scores for the Meta League look like:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $426,618,660
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $418,649,323
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $411,592,128
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $395,709,358
  5. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $394,629,434
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $390,894,540
  7. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $389,502,165
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $388,472,947
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $366,888,558
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $328,928,233
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $317,583,158
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $307,814,023
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $275,977,850
  14. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $140,687,563

The lower end of the list is populated (mostly) by people who entered after the first week. (And Darren, who showed up on week four.)

So my last minute change meant me in 7th place overall rather than 4th.  But there are still eight weeks to go, and week six looks interesting.  The line up is:

Blade Runner 2049       $838
The Mountain Between Us $150
It                      $143
Kingsmen                $133
American Made           $131
My Little Pony          $126
LEGO Ninjago Movie      $109
Victoria & Abdul        $56
Flatliners              $44
Battle of the Sexes     $32 
American Assassin       $26 
The Stray               $16
Home Again              $14
Til Death Do Us Part    $10
Mother!                 $9

Blade Runner 2049 is the obvious big release for the coming week.

However, at that price is needs to a lot better than the $50 million box office that has been currently projected.  All else equal, my spreadsheet says it needs at least $65 million to be worth tying up your picks with a single screen of Blade Runner 2049.

So that leaves a range of suspects in the $100 to $150 range on which to build your picks.  There are two new entries in that segment, The Mountain Between Us at $150 which seems a bit under-priced at the initial near $12 million estimate, and at the other end there is My Little Pony at $126, which seems a bit over-priced in that segment.

Still, My Little Pony intrigues me.  On the one hand, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was hugely popular with its own serious fandom and such that, at its prime, would have driven something like this to a serious box office result.

On the other hand, My Little Pony and Bronies and whatnot was so five years ago that I haven’t seen MLP used in a meme in ages.  The show’s creators have catered to the fan base, but there have been a few alleged “jumped the shark” moments while the less said about My Little Pony: Equestria Girls the better.

Right now I am not sure which way to jump.  The Mountain Between Us seems primed as the early front runner, with My Little Pony as the dark horse candidate, but I still wouldn’t count out clowns, spies, and Tom Cruise as successful ventures this week.  And what if Blade Runner 2049 is good for $65 million or more?

Delve – A Return to Ratting and Mining

CCP Quant was really on his game this past weekend as the Monthly Economic Report for September was already available yesterday morning.  So it is time again to see what was going on in Delve.

During much of August there was a full deployment out of the region for The Imperium, leaving miners and ratters unprotected, which led to a significant dip in those activities.  For September the coalition was mostly back home, with a Judgement Day diversion to camp the Keepstar at 68FT-6.

September 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

NPC bounty payouts in Delve were back up, landing just shy of 7.9 trillion ISK.  That still puts them below the July number of 8.4 trillion ISK and well short of the pre-super nerf high of 8.8 trillion ISK.

Bounty payouts were also up in other regions, notably Branch and Deklein, where the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition lives.  That boosted bounties on the ISK sink/faucet chart to what seems to be the new normal.  It still seems too high, so I expect CCP will find another way to nerf things.

September 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

I am always interested to see how very steady the Agent Mission Rewards line is on that chart.  That seems to indicate a very stable and dedicated group of mission runners out there somewhere.

As with NPC bounties, mining was likewise back up in Delve.

September 2017 – Mining Value by Region

The miners were clearly more serious about getting back to work than the ratters, with 12 trillion ISK worth of value harvested compared to 10 trillion ISK in July and just over 2 trillion ISK for August.

Of course, mining value isn’t as straight up comparable month-to-month as bounties.  The problem is that the price of ore and minerals change, and if you look at the price indexes, you can see that mineral prices are on the rise.

September 2017 – Economic Indices

Since the mineral price index is up that much, the actual amount mined in Delve could have been less than July.  However, the output was almost assuredly more than August.

And then there is production.

September 2017 – Production Values by Region

As with ratting and mining, production jumped back up with our return home, with the value jumping up from 12 trillion ISK to almost 20 trillion ISK in value produced, putting the region just behind The Forge, the center of production for Jita sales. (Though you can add in Lonetrek and The Citadel when it comes to Jita production.)  While, if mining value is pegged to the market, then production is doubly so I suppose, but at least you can peg it to other regions.

Then there is the final chart I like, the regional summary, that puts a range of things side by side.

September 2017 – Regional Summary Stats

That stacks up Delve against other key regions in the game, where it ranks #3 for trade value and tops the chart for net imports.  For all that mining and production we do, apparently we still have to import a lot of stuff from Jita.

There are many more charts with the report covering a variety of aspects of the New Eden economy, which you can find here.

Warzoned Out

The Warzone Extraction event has a bit more time to run but I am done running the sites.  I have “finished” the event in that I have collected all of the guaranteed rewards.

Warzone Point Count – Also, drones engaging Eosian Safeguard

The boosters obtained at 20, 70, and 170 points were not of much value.  The cerebral accelerators though were at least useful to speed up the training of an alt or two and could be sold on the market.

The big reward at the end

There is a summary of the event over at The Nosy Gamer that reflects my own thoughts to a certain degree.

I also went in with something of a sub-optimal fit for the event, a Heavy Assault Missile armed Drake with a passive tank.  While it was able to handle the task, for the scale of the sites it was big, slow, and awkward.  I could have built up a much more efficient ship for the event, but I would have likely spent more on that than I earned on the event.

Still, it could handle things, I just had to be patient.  The only real tactical problem that came up was when a Sleeper force including two Wardens showed up.  The Wardens are the armor repping Sleepers and they will rep any ship you attack.  I had to kill them first because they could out rep my attempts to kill the frigate because the damage application issues hitting such small ships with HAMs plus their resists let a single Warden out-rep my damage, while launching drones with frigates active was mostly an easy way to lose drones.

The Wardens were big enough however that I could kill one while the other was repping it.  However, their tactical behavior consistently led me to a difficult spot.  Unlike the other ships webbing and scramming, the Wardens felt no need to hang around within my missile envelope, limited to 25km with the short range HAMs, even with my max missile skills.  So I would kill one and then damage the other just before it wandered out of range.

Then I was a bit stuck.  Being webbed I couldn’t catch it and it could keep the frigates around me alive with its reps.  So the only option was to risk drones.  The remaining Warden was well within drone range, 60km for me with skills alone, so I launched them and sent them after my repping nemesis.  Then it was a race.  As soon as the drones set on the Warden all the frigate Sleepers would drop me and go after the drones.  The drones had to kill the Warden quickly.  Fortunately the Sleepers would concentrate on a single drone which, when it started taking armor damage, I would recall.  The frigates would chase it back to me, then return to assist the Warden, and which point I could re-launch the damaged drone to rejoin the fight.

Once the Warden was down it was time to recall drones again and finish off the frigates with missiles, the go after the bigger ships, generally culminating in chasing down that one Sleeper battleship that liked to get out past 60km while I was blowing up his friends.  Even from that range he would keep neuts on me, so I never had and cap handy to use my prop mod.  On the other hand, he didn’t web me either so I could eventually catch up even going only 196 m/s. (I inevitably used all the speed boosters that dropped just to catch up a little faster.)

Again, as with any PvE event you can repeat, the first couple of times you learn the ropes, after which it becomes a matter of applying what you learned, quickly devolving to simple repetition.

The event itself had a couple of problems to my mind.

First and foremost, it was a bit of a death trap.  After running several events under the banner of The Agency that were easily soloable with any combat ship… I did Lucky Strikes in a stealth bomber a few times… putting up an event where you’re going to get scrammed, webbed, neuted, and killed in short order unless you have just the right sort of fit seems like a good way to make people mad.  If you didn’t have a passive tank or had weapons that needed capacitor, you were in trouble.

And, yes, New Eden has always been a harsh place.  But when you set a pattern of events by The Agency being fairly easy, litter sites around high sec, and encourage players to go get them with only a vague warning, then you’re going to kill a lot of player ships.

Be warned though; you might encounter some resistance while searching the wrecks! We advise you to bring some firepower.

Searching on “Eosian” over at zKillboard tells the tale, even leaving out the low and null sec players who got zapped by other players while they were neuted, webbed, and scammed.

CCP will be CCP I guess.

Speaking of which, the second issue that will be familiar to any long term player because it happens every time; the event NPCs were not visible on the overview.  Even the default “All” overview had to be fixed.  I expected this and reacted in the usual way, manually adding NPC types as they showed up.  But I am sure more than a few newer players were surprised/alarmed/blown up because of this.  It would be really cool if CCP could do something about this some day.

Finally, there is the big issue for me, which is SKINs, and the fact that I didn’t get any.

I blew up well over 200 Sleepers during the event and never got a single SKIN drop.  I knew there were some to be had.  Not only did CCP mention them in the event announcement, but the SKIN list in-game showed four Valkyrie SKINs not available in the PLEX Store; SKINs for the Merlin, Moa, Naga, and Scorpion.

Valkyrie SKINs listed

As an economic venture I could have spent my time elsewhere for better return.  As a fun activity the event wore out and became repetitive after a couple of days.  So, for the most part, I kept going to see if I could get a SKIN drop, and I never saw a one.

Fortunately others did get SKINs, as they were all up for sale in Jita.  The Merlin SKIN seemed to be the most common drop.  There were many listed on the market and I was able to grab one for under 6 million ISK.

Merlin SKIN for me

The Moa SKIN was a bit more rare, and thus more expensive, but I grabbed one of those as well.  The Naga and Scorpion SKINs however seemed very rare indeed, with only a couple on the market last I checked.  That put them beyond my SKIN splurge price.  I might have grabbed them anyway if I flew either hull regularly, but since that was not the case I let those two slide.

Anyway, so goes another in-game event.  With the coming of the Life Blood expansion, part of which is a change to The Agency event structure in an attempt to make it into something where people group up to complete them, I do wonder if CCP is going to make the error of excluding solo players from events.  We shall see with the first post-expansion event I suppose.

Addendum: I uploaded some screen shots to the post and then forgot to add them in.  A further gallery of Warzone-y things then:

September in Review

The Site

I got another WordPress.com achievement.  Go me.

A New Record!

I think I hit that largely based on the impending death of Raptr, which is a bit sad when you consider it.  Still, go me.

Also, I got quite a spike in traffic this month from the Warzone event in EVE Online and from being linked in a post over at PC Gamer about the Circle of Two heist/betrayal.  The latter used my LOL Keepstar screen shot and nicely linked me as the source.

LOL bubbles at the Keepstar in 68FT-6

The Warzone event traffic, no doubt representing people trying to figure out how the event worked, seems indicative of CCP perhaps not thinking things through.  Or at least not communicating sufficient information about the event, especially in light of how past events under The Agency banner have been run.  (And how easy they were relative to Warzone.)

Anyway, one of my search terms of the month below is dedicated to CCP.

One Year Ago

It was the tenth anniversary of the blog.

I was looking back at day/night cycles and full zone respawns of yore.

My wife’s Pokemon Go account was hacked, but I recovered it pretty quickly.  That post brings in a lot of search engine traffic looking for ways to hack Pokemon Go accounts.  So many bad people.

Daybreak announced that both EverQuest and EverQuest II would be launching Kunark focused expansions, with Empires of Kunark slated for the former and Kunark Ascending for the latter.

Smed was taking his Hero’s Song project back to the crowdfunding arena again, this time via Indiegogo which, unlike Kickstarter, lets you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.

I was going on about problems EVE Online has getting new players to stick with the game… again.  We also had the YC118.8 Update which revamped a the look of mining barges and some frigates, among other thing.  It also launched the Purity of the Throne event that had me chasing white skins for Amarr ships.

There was also the ascension of Caitiz of House Tash-Murkon to the Amarr throne.  All those ships are still lined up in Amarr for some reason.  Did they have to wait a year for the first Jubilee?

And Alpha Clones would soon be a thing, so I was wondering what you could do with one.

In post-Casino War events the Imperium finished conquering Delve and a state of normalcy was starting to come to pass.  I also got my last ship out of Deklein.

And then there was World of Warcraft where the Legion expansion was off and running.  There was even an app for it.  I started off slowly as I figured things out and moved clockwise around the Broken Isles.  That didn’t stop me from checking up on my Draenor garrison though.

And then in one of those bullet point posts that I always hate a year later when it comes time to do the summary I covered Star Trek Online going to consoles, Legends of Norrath card packs, rewards for Omega players in EVE Online, and the then upcoming EVE Vegas.

Finally, No Man’s Sky launched, capping off yet another dismal episode of fan behavior.  After getting death threats for delaying the launch, Hello Games finally shipped the game only to have the fan base explode even more so when it was discovered that features that were straight up said to be in the product… multiplayer being the prime suspect… were not.  Still, it made a lot of money and features have since been added and it got its own Honest Game Trailers video.  There is, no doubt, lessons to be learned here.

Five Years Ago

The World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria launched, adding a panda race to Azeroth, right on Ultima Online’s 15th anniversary.   I think the shark jumping trope jumped the shark that day.

I was falling out of WoW myself, though still not allowed to unsubscribe. Being locked out of the Theremore event due to item level helped kill any enthusiasm I had for staying with the game.

Torchlight II showed up.  I was still waiting for the Mac OS version so I could play with my daughter.

In the land of EverQuest, the Rain of Fear expansion was announced, while EverQuest II went straight to truth in advertising and revealed an expansion called Chains of Eternity.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, Omens of War went live and was finished.

SOE was talking about some form of Wizardry that was online.   PlanetSide 2 was planned for the end of the year… sort of.  And then there was Player Studio and all that implied.

The next chapter in the Darkfall saga was announced.  And they had a new game/expansion or some such.

In EVE Online, the CSM was looking for a way to… well… screw most of the people who actually vote for the CSM.  I stranded my null sec Drake in Jita and I compared Traffic Control to a hostile FC.

In a more serious vein, the real world reached into our game took a fellow player.  Even tragedy cannot displace idiocy though.

My goal to get my fourth class in Rift, a mage, to level cap before Storm Legion had me in Stonefield.

BioWare, not done with their trend of announcing public metrics they eventually failed to meet, committed themselves to a new content schedule for SWTOR.  Later we found out that “adding items to the cash shop” counts as new content.  Meanwhile, I pondered the SWTOR lore choice.

The Lord British saga continued as he opted to jump in bed with Zynga!  He, of course, expressed great fondness for Zynga, while I wondered what his sith name would be, since he was clearly going the Anakin Skywalker route.

I remembered Spaceship Warlock.

Free to play was still under discussion.  An article in Game Developer Magazine included the warning to not assume profitability just because people are going on about revenues.  And yet all I hear about are revenues when it comes to free to play.

The people at Stormpowered Studios started in against marriage.

And the blog turned six and felt very clever about it.

Ten Years Ago

I summed up my first year of blogging.  I also participated in a meme… back when that wasn’t an picture thing… about the power of four.

Auto Assault was gone, another NCsoft title shut down.  I was wondering if Tabula Rasa might follow suit.

I started thinking about what an expansion would look like for Lord of the Rings Online.  I was also browsing in Othrikar.  But I was more curious as to why the game just wasn’t as much fun as, say, World of Warcraft.

On the Wii it was Mario Party 8 and the Virtual Console.

In EVE Online I finally fixed the sound driver issue that was making the game crash. Hah, I used to run EVE with the sound on!

In other New Eden events, I was flying the Mammoth as a hauler to support mining ops in my Retriever.  Jet can mining and training up to Mining Barge V and salvaging.  I was also getting lost with the corp and station interface.  Another wish list there.  At least I found the “warp to 0” options quickly.  I still wasn’t quite sure what people meant by “tank” in the game though.

I was still running missions and had advanced to cruisers on that front.  And I was losing them as well.  I also had to queue to log in because there were 21K people in the game.  Traffic control was coming up as well.  CCP was working on the issue.

Our summer vacation from Azeroth was over with the return of Earl.  We were back to running instances, starting with Zul’Farrak.  Of course, then we realized nobody had the mallet, so we had to go get that.  I still have it in the bank.  I was also out searching for mithril.

SOE announced that their combined Station Launcher would be available for beta soon.  I don’t think it ever left beta before it was finally scrapped.

I was reminiscing about the Thundering Steppes in EverQuest II, a zone I was playing in less than three years before.  Early onset nostalgia I guess.

There was the loaded question about who counts as “press” in a world where blogs exist.  People seem determined to embrace arbitrary rules on that front, something that always leads to suppression of opinions with which they disagree.

And finally there were naked zones and wondering how to make PvP (and PvE) better.

Twenty Years Ago

Ultima Online launched.  Raph Koster has some accumulated memories of the game from over the years and a link to a video… and then he wrote some more about the game as it came about, what influenced it and what it influenced.

A little title called Total Annihilation also launched 20 years ago today.  With a real three dimensional environment and line of site constraints, it was ahead of its time and remains an underrated title to my mind.  Cave Dog, the developer, went bust ages ago and, through the twists and turns of the video game business, Wargaming.net of World of Tanks fame now owns the rights to the title.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. At the Camp in 68FT-6
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. The Agency Warzone Extraction Event in EVE Online
  4. Running some Warzone Extraction Event Sites
  5. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  6. Alpha Strike in New Eden
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. The Imperium Buys a Keepstar
  9. EQ2 Wire to Shut Down after Nine Years
  10. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  11. Missions and Content on Demand
  12. Quests, Missions, and Return on Investment

Search Terms of the Month

mallet of zul’farrak
[Still in my bank somewhere]

eve learning curve
[It is still a thing]

how to get to scarlet monastery
[Do people still walk there?]

torchlight 2 updates 2017
[That seems unlikely]

do you need to play pvp in mmorpg
[Only in the good ones]

future everquest game
[Maybe some day]

i’m thinking of resubbing to wow 2017
[Me too…]

eve online warzone extraction wtf?
[A question asked by many]

EVE Online

Well, after the CO2 betrayal caper things got sort of quiet.  I tinkered with alts and did some of the Warzone Extraction event sites, but there wasn’t a lot to draw me to New Eden after the camp at 68FT-6 drew down.

Guild Wars 2

There is a new expansion and people I know are playing which makes me sort of thing about maybe trying it some more.  I patched up at least.  My highest level character is 41 and hanging about in Harathi Hinterlands, which has to be the most Azeroth sounding zone in the game.  Otherwise, not a lot to report.

Lord of the Rings Online

I managed to get through another month of avoiding Mordor.  Seriously, I bought the expansion, have the character boost, but have not stepped foot into that dark land.  Then again, I hear it is brutal solo.  I did try to carry on with a character I boosted to level 95 previously.  However, the first place he was sent out of Rohan was the paths of the dead, which was also pretty tough for somebody still getting back into the swing of the game.

Minecraft

One of the members of our server built some giant monuments in the game, something I have been meaning to do a post about.  However my own efforts there have been somewhat desultory.  I log in, I work for a bit on the rail line I have going to the north mansion, then I log off.  Also, Minecraft Overviewer still hasn’t been updated for Windows, and I miss being able to update my map of the world.  The pain of open source and waiting for somebody to step up and do a build for you. (I’d give it a shot if you need a full version of Visual Studio.)

Pokemon Go

No big changes as the game carries on.  I still make sure to catch a Pokemon and hit a PokeStop every day.  There are rumors of third generation Pokemon showing up some day, but nothing concrete yet.

  • Level: 29 (+0, though I am closing in on 30)
  • Pokedex status: 189 (+1) caught, 222 (+3) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados, since the new legendaries are nigh on impossible
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 80km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Also, after months of saying she really wanted a Snorlax my wife finally had one hatch.  One evening she was reading a game message aloud, “Snorlax has battled hard…” and I was all, “When did you get a Snorlax?”  It had come from an egg earlier in the week and she hadn’t even noticed.  She just started putting it in gyms as soon as it showed up.

Pokemon Gold & Silver

I picked up a copy of Pokemon Silver from the Nintendo Store and started off on that adventure.  We’ll see how Pokemon from 1999 compares with Pokemon from 1996 and 2016.

Coming Up

Well, as I mentioned earlier in the month, there will be no more Raptr tomorrow.

Potshot had been tinkering with Medieval Engineers and, since it was on sale (and had been on my wishlist for a while), so I picked up a copy as well.  A post about it seems likely should I be able to engineer anything.

After the decapitation of Circle of Two in EVE Online we seem to be in another consolidation stage in the south end of null sec as former members of the alliance settle in with new groups.  Things will likely remain quiet for a bit on that front.

Still, we have the Life Blood expansion to look forward to as well as EVE Vegas, which I will be attending.

We’re likely to get more details about the upcoming EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions.

And, while BlizzCon itself isn’t until the first week of November, speculation as to what Blizzard will be talking about will no doubt be a hot topic in October.

I am sure something else will show up next month, but I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

Fippy Darkpaw – A Merger Too Late

Long has been the tale of the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server and it has been quite some time since I last posted about it.

Fippy has been around for a while now

I started out playing on the Fippy Darkpaw server back when in launched in early 2011.  Potshot and I had our old school adventures for a time there.  And much fun was had. (You can click on the Fippy Darkpaw tag and scroll way down to read about us playing if that’s your thing.)  However the great big Sony hack that brought PSN and SOE games down for a couple of weeks killed our momentum and we fell out of the habit of playing and that was that.

But the server went on.  Such servers have their own lives.  I continued to follow major events on the server… votes and expansion unlocks… but at the time SOE was so bad at publicizing the server that I had to depend on people complaining in the forum about problems with new expansions to figure out when something changed.

I will say that Daybreak did get on board with their special servers and now broadcast updates prominently.  Good for them.

Eventually I gave up on following the server.  I made it to the Underfoot expansion in July of 2014 and that was about it.  Somewhere I said I would probably have two more posts at some future date, when Fippy Darkpaw merged with its twin the Vulak server and when the pair were eventually rolled into a live server.  That was the fate of the previous progression servers, The Sleeper and The Combine.

Now the first has come about, the Fippy Darkpaw server is slated to be merged with the Vulak’Aerr server in the latter half of October.  October 18th, to be specific.

My initial reaction was wonder that it took this long to get to a merger.

The two servers were the result of the usual unbounded enthusiasm that a new retro server tends to bring out in the EverQuest community.  That enthusiasm has a limit however.  After having two full servers for a short amount of time Daybreak/SOE tended to end up with one viable server and one sparsely populated one.  So people were calling for a Fippy Darkpaw/Vulak merger at least five years ago if not earlier.  But somehow the two marched forward on their own, probably more out of neglect than any actual plan.

Daybreak has since launched more such servers and has gone on to bring over multiple zone spawning technology from EverQuest II in order to handle the initial surge of players without having to double down on server creation.  The community split/merge problem has been reasonably addressed.

However, they still have two pairs of launch twins, Fippy Darkpaw/Vulak and Ragefire/Lockjaw.  The older pair now has a merger in their future and I expect that the newer pair will get the same treatment as well at some point.

The question, I suppose, is who will this impact?  Both sets of servers do not see much in the way of load these days.  There is a tendency to jump on the latest retro server when it shows up, and with Phinigel and Agnarr servers having shown up, a lot of people have moved on.  In my opinion the best part of any such server is everybody starting fresh.  But some community forms and sticks with servers even after the new server smell fades and the short term enthusiasts like myself wander off.

Anyway, something else to add to the tale of the Fippy Darkpaw server events.  According to the FAQ at the end of the announcement, the Fippy Darkpaw server is currently on The Darkened Sea expansion, which means it has only moved on five expansions since I last reported on it. That leaves only The Broken Mirror and Empires of Kunark to complete before catching up with the live servers.

My event list up until this point:

  • Fippy Darkpaw server goes live with classic EQ content, February 15, 2011
  • Classic EverQuest competed, February 24, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark unlocked, June 6, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark completed, June 19, 2011
  • Scars of Velious unlocked, August 29, 2011
  • Scars of Velious completed, September 14, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin unlocked, November 21, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin completed, December 4, 2011
  • Planes of Power unlocked, February 13, 2012
  • Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Legacy of Ykesah unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, May 7, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, May 21, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, June 4, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlocked at last, June 18, 2012
  • Omens of War unlocked, September 10, 2012
  • Omens of War complete, September 12, 2012
  • Dragons of Norrath unlocked without a vote, November 13, 2012
  • Prophecy of Ro completed, April 26, 2013
  • The Serpent’s Spine unlocked, July 16, 2013
  • The Serpent’s Spine complete, July 19, 2013
  • The Buried Sea unlock vote goes up, September 23, 2013
  • The Buried Sea unlocked, October 7, 2013
  • The Buried Sea complete, October 9, 2013
  • Echoes of Faydwer complete, ~end of January 2014
  • Seeds of Destruction unlocked, May 1, 2014
  • Seeds of Destruction complete, May 12, 2014
  • Underfoot unlock vote fails, July 14, 2014
  • Daybreak announces Fippy Darkpaw/Vulak merge – September 22, 2017

And so it goes.  It looks like there will be a couple more entries on this list before the server goes away.  Also, this was totally going to just be the last bullet point on the previous post until I realized that I had a tradition of over-long posts about the Fippy Darkpaw server to uphold.