Category Archives: EVE Online

PLEX Prices After the Omega Sale

I wrote a post last month about how the price of PLEX in EVE Online had be climbing since the price increases that CCP implemented back in May of this year.  Actually, they began their climb the moment CCP announced the increase in subscription and PLEX prices, which is what markets do; they react to news.

Then CCP, in what can only be described as an economic “hold my beer” moment in relation to PLEX pricing, held a sale the following weekend where 30 days of Omega time was cut from 500 to 300 PLEX in game.

The New Eden Store Only

For some reason they only announced this sale on Twitter initially.  People bitched out that, but the word got out quickly all the same.

That sent PLEX prices soaring once more, boosting the volume of PLEX being traded beyond the April 22nd peak of earlier this year.

Whoops, I did it again!

I have heard, at least anecdotally, that some people who had been sitting on PLEX as an investment took the opportunity presented by this fresh spike in PLEX prices to sell and take their profits in ISK.  It was a good time to do so as there were points during the sale when somebody could have comfortably sold PLEX for well over 6 million ISK each, a big jump from the 4.2 million ISK price point that had previously represented the “PLEX is too damn expensive” price point plateau we had been in.

Somebody more diligent than myself totaled all of this up and posted the results over in r/eve.

The results of PLEXageddon weekend

That chart covers the regions where major trading occurred, with The Forge, where Jita and Perimeter, leading the charge.  That survey of seven regions had nearly 44 trillion ISK in PLEX traded during the sale, with 41 trillion being in The Forge.

That is a lot of PLEX, and it bring into question what the PLEX market is going to look like going forward.

The sale and people digging into their PLEX reserves to meet the demand at higher prices has passed.  The market is momentarily sated and the price of PLEX, while still higher than some would like, has dropped down from its peaks and is beginning to settle into something of a new normal for the moment.

For the moment.

Eventually the people who bought the PLEX to keep their accounts going will find that time running out and will want to PLEX again.  Demand will return and the supply of PLEX, the limited nature of which is what has driven the price up so far, will not have improved.  It will be worse.  I suspect that there is less PLEX floating around, but there will likely be as much ISK as ever chasing that supply, which may drive the price higher over time.

That is, unless CCP steps in to try and “fix” the economy again in its usual hamfisted way.  They already put up a sale on PLEX over the weekend, offering select packages at 15% off of their usual price.

However, they chose only a couple of the more expensive packages, 1,500 and 3,000 PLEX, for the discount.  Maybe those are popular sizes that people buy.  Maybe that will back fill any future PLEX deficit.  But I suspect we are seeing the usual routine of CCP trying to fix things by making a few very small adjustments.  Once that fails to fix things quickly they tend to reach for the sledgehammer.

I am now keen to see the September Monthly Economic Report and how this sale might have had an effect on measures like Velocity of ISK.  I am sure CCP Estimate will have me covered if he hasn’t posted the MER already.  Look for more about PLEX when I post about the MER.

Friday Bullet Points on Saturday about EVE Online

What do you do when you have a nice set of items for a coherent, single topic bullet points post and then Friday is the last day of the month so your month in review post gets that spot?

You declare Saturday an honorary Friday and just run with it.  So here are some short items about EVE Online that I probably could have cranked posts out of… but didn’t feel like it.

  • Empires of EVE Vol. II Audio Book

I received an email last week from the Empires of EVE Vol. II Kickstarter project I pledge to back in 2018 that the audio book version of the project was finally complete.  The physical book has been in my possession for a couple of years now, but an audio book release, as we got with the first book, had been a promise.

The sequel!

The audio book announcement was for backers only and contained a link that allowed us to download it.  The good news is that it is available.  The less good news is that it still needs work to be released for Audible.com, something that may not happen.  That is a shame, because once I saw the email subject line I ran over to Audible to buy a copy just to support the project and its author one more time.

Andrew Groen, the author, has had his own trials over the last couple of years, as have we all, and it sounds like chronicling the tales of the null sec empires is no longer on his agenda.  Two books is more than enough to ask of one person I suppose, but one can always dream of a third volume.  The downfall of The Mittani might have made a reasonable bookend to the series… at least until something else happens in null sec.

  • The Mittani Gone from GoonWaffe

Speaking of The Mittani, the word spread this past week that he had been kicked from GoonWaffe, the executor corp for Goonswarm Federation.  This news was greeted by cheers, jeers, and very few tears.

The corp history of The Mittani

I’m not particularly worried about him and his well being… he’s not even as old as I was when I started this blog… but I do wonder how he has filled the hole in his life that EVE Online used to occupy.  How much of your average week does it take to be a space emperor?  More than I am willing to commit no doubt.

  • Alliance Tournament XVIII Begins

Or, rather, it has already begun by the time this post goes live.  This weekend sees the Trials Tournament where teams that did not get direct entry into the AT or buy their way in with the silent auction are able to battle it out to earn a spot in the tournament.

Alliance Tournament 18

The linked post also shows which teams are already lined up for the AT as well as the tie breaker methodology for the tournament.  (Hint: fly Minmatar hulls)

  • Weekend Fleet Pack

Finally, while I usually don’t shill for CCP when it comes to special offers, this one connects to some interesting history.

CCP just announced what they are calling the Weekend Fleet Pack, that gets you 3 days of Omega time and 50 PLEX, all for the low price of $3.75.  Yes, that is $37.50 for 30 days of Omega at that price, almost double the going rate, but that is not the point.

Weekend Fleet Pack

This looks like it could be a smart move by CCP.  This allows a player to unlock Omega for 3 days, so if there is some big move op or fleet battle going on they can jump on in without committing to the $20 fee that is the base 30 day subscription these days.

And, once you’re in and invested, maybe you’ll see the light and subscribe further.  It could happen.

But what makes this interesting is that SOE had an offer kind of like this back in the day called the EQII Passport.

One from the archive

Back in 2010 SOE floated the idea that you could get 3 days of game play for just $5.00… and it got a pretty rough response from fans.

In hindsight, I think the plan suffered from a few items, not the least being price.  But I think the fact that it was treated as a “once per 30 days” option was the real killer.  What were they thinking?  They wanted players to commit to 3 consecutive days of play in a month during a time when there was no free to play option.

In light of that experience, I think CCP’s cheaper price and more flexible terms might stand a much better chance of success.

September in Review

The Site

Last month I was on about email subscriptions and how they appeared to have broken for a stretch, then started back up.  Well, they seem to be completely broken again.  WordPress.com working its magic yet again.  So if you’re one of the 45 people WP.com thinks still subscribe via email… that number dropped suddenly as well… you’re probably not reading this.  Sorry?

Also, I have somehow carried on posting every single day, bringing the tally up to 916 days in a row.

Another meaningless milestone

That means I only need to do that for 84 more days to hit 1,000.  And there are 92 days left in the year.  I could get there by Christmas and give myself boxing day off… unless I have waited until the last minute for all of those end of the year posts.  We’ll see I guess.

That is about it for the 17th September in Review post… well, except for all of the usual stuff below.

One Year Ago

It was time to sum up the labors of Blaugust once more.

It was also anniversary time as the blog turned fifteen.  Also, WordPress was talking about putting “sponsored content” into blogs.

I also wrote something about 35 years of connected computing, it marking the anniversary of purchasing my first modem back in 1986.

I was wondering if the level squish had been a good idea a year after Blizz did it.  I still wonder if it was today.

In Burning Crusade Classic the instance group managed to get through the Blood Furnace as a foursome.

But we were kind of slowing down on that, and on our radar was Diablo II Resurrected, which launched at last.

Daybreak announced the Visions of Vertovia expansion for EverQuest II.  Then it was time for the Pandas and the pre-expansion catch up.  Meanwhile, over in EverQuest there was something about perks… for sale of course.  And Lord of the Rings Online announced the Fate of Gundabad expansion.

Meanwhile, Amazon finally launched New World.  Having played in some of the beta cycle, I was moaning about how the vision for the game had changed.

In EVE Online it was once again time for Caldari Union Day.  We also got the Gateway quadrant update, which included yet another new player experience, as well as a UI update for skills that once again proved that the one thing CCP UI designers value over all else is wasted empty space in the middle of informational elements.

CCP was also telling us that 24 million pilots had played EVE Online, though they were not clear about what that really meant.

The New Eden monthly economic report was showing us the impact of the end of World War Bee.  Meanwhile, CCP remain on its path to make players poor, their solution to MUDflation, while I was looking to my own finances in game.

Things were still happening though.  We blew up a Keepstar in Catch and CCP helped up blow up botters in Yulai once again.

I was getting setup with Zwift and our new exercise bike.  A year later I am still using it regularly, even if the stages of every ride remain the same.

We were also binge watching Ray Donovan and all of the Helen Mirren versions of Prime Suspect.

My wife and I went to Maui where we were involved in some minor driving adventure.

Finally, it had been 20 years since terrorists brought down the World Trade Center and I was reflecting on how it was very much a dividing line in history.

Five Years Ago

The blog turned eleven and so I brought out an elf.

I was talking about a typewriter.  The first typewriter I used.  I still have it.

Raptr announced that they would be shutting down at the end of the month.

GuildWars 2 launched their Path of Fire expansion.

Destiny 2 launched.  That’s an MMO, right?

Pokemon Gold & Silver were made available via the 3DS Virtual Console.

Crimson Leaf Games announced MegaWars – Dawn of the Third Age.

I took a look at Daybreak 30 months into is existence.  And, as I did that, we got the bad news that EQ2 Wire was shutting down after covering the game for nine years.  Then Daybreak announced that the Fippy Darkpaw server would be merged with the Vulak server… probably a few years too late to make any difference.

In EVE Online CCP gave us a heads up as to the coming Lifeblood expansion, complete with trailer.  Last I checked the site was still up, but running pretty much unattended.

I was running on about meaningful PvE progression in New Eden and going on about return on time invested and content on demand.

In space I was doing the Alpha Strikes event while the August MER showed that deploying to Hakonen cost the Imperium in mining and ratting revenue.

Then came the Warzone Extraction event to celebrate the non-VR version of the soon to be in maintenance mode EVE: Valkyrie.  It was a tough event by EVE Online PvE standards and I am sure it killed some newbies.

But the big EVE Online news of the month was The Judge betraying Circle of Two, selling their Keepstar to the Imperium (who later sold it to TEST) and the camp in 68FT-6 as alliance members tried to escape from their former home.  GigX was banned and CO2 seemed doomed.  It was one of those “Only in EVE” sort of events.

Andrew Groen was planning some EVE Online history lectures via a new podcast.  That only lasted five episodes before he went back to writing books on EVE Online history.

In a bullet points post I noted the passing of the EVE Gate site, that CCP cancelled their deal with Nexon for Japanese EVE Online support, that Ultima Online was talking about free to play, and that Daybreak wasn’t going to be handing out any more free content in Norrath for the foreseeable future.

And finally Chris Roberts was unironically talking about developer optimism in an interview.

Ten 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.

Fifteen Years Ago

I summed up my first year of blogging, the first in a long series of anniversary posts. 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 Five 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.  He was back with another post for the 25th anniversary.

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 ended up owning the rights to the title.

Forty Five Years Ago

Atari ships the Atari 2600 Video Computer System, getting the retail channel all setup for the best Christmas ever.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. Flight in Pre-Patch Outland
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  4. The Level 70 Boost Question for Wrath Classic
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  7. A Brief History of Goon Leadership
  8. CCP Lets EVE Online Players with Multiple Accounts Subscribe Secondary Accounts at a Lower Price
  9. Sixteen Years of Driving the Blog
  10. Arrival in a Level Squished Northrend
  11. What Will it Mean to Have a Bunch of 20 Year Old MMORPGs?
  12. Where Does WoW Classic End?

Search Terms of the Month

seedofthedead “fail”
[Um, sure]

portable hole bag price
[Too damn much]

dune adventures in the imperium sand and dust download pdf
[That sounds pretty interesting really]

Game Time from ManicTime

Another month with two titles, with pretty much the same ratio between them.  I did, however, spend about 20% more time actually playing video games this past month, so I guess I shared that extra time out equally.

  • WoW Classic – 77.8%
  • EVE Online – 22.2%

At least I think it was just those two titles.  There was an update to ManicTime and, while the daily stats remained normal, the rolled up stats for the month got messed up and now seemed to be associated with the executable rather than the window name.  So, for example, WoW Classic and retail WoW both run as the same name, so I just see time for World of Warcraft.  Now I know I mostly played WoW Classic, but I did spend a bit of time in retail WoW redeeming that dragon mount and poking around.  But I cannot tell how much time.

As always seems to happen, my time tracking app seemed to get screwed up eventually.

EVE Online

Something must have happened in New Eden, I spent some time there.  I guess there were a couple of move ops home, my Planetary Industry to tend to, and at least one fleet op… the one where I lost the insured Ferox.  That was a net win.  I only have eight more in my hangar.

Pokemon Go

Still working our way towards level 43.  It may still be a while.  I did, however, finally get a Torkoal this month.

  • Level: 42 ( 82.7% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
  • Pokedex status: 733 (+8) caught, 751 (+5) seen
  • Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 25
  • Pokemon I want: Pachirisu
  • Current buddy: Golisopod (just because he looks cool)

WoW Classic

It was the big run up to Wrath Classic and getting mains and alts leveled up and then that first brief look at Northrend.  Really, it is about as simple as that.  We leveled up mains, leveled up some alts, and made Death Knights.  And we were happy doing it.

Zwift

I have somehow kept this up for over a year.  I may have to do a post about that.  But here are my stats as of today.

  • Level – 16 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 1,244 miles (+64 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 49,652 (+2,040 feet)
  • Calories burned – 40,232 (+1,797)

Coming Up

October is likely to be very much about Wrath Classic.  We’ll be heading there as a group this weekend for the first time.  Eventually we’ll get to the first dungeon and will have to work out how to get past the Prince Keleseth fight.  It will be tough with only four of us, but we’re working on ideas.

In EVE Online there could be some happenings… though Hurricane Ian ravaging Florida means that our Alliance leader is offline.  I do hope he is okay.  I’ll trade some downtime for his safety.

Also, CCP is starting to roll out some of the things they presented at Fanfest.  There might be actual game news to cover.

Otherwise Daybreak will be ramping up for its range of content launches in Q4 and holiday event will start showing up.

Faction Warfare Updates are Kicking Off in EVE Online

Promised at Fanfest back in early May and occasionally hinted at over the summer, the beginning of the Faction Warfare updates have finally landed in New Eden.

Faction Warfare, within the scope of EVE Online, is probably most akin to realm v realm in other MMOs.  But, with one server, you can’t fight other realms, as there are none.  Instead players align with one of the four major NPC empires (Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, or Minmatar), which battle over four regions of low security space, the Amarr facing the Minmata and the Caldari facing the Gallente.

That sounds exciting, but as a feature of the game it has often been neglected, been the subject of exploits, and felt the pain of collateral damage as features roll out for other aspects of the game.  So it was kind of a big deal to have CCP say they were going to focus on Faction Warfare at Fanfest.  Even groups with their own lists of long standing issues felt it was long past time for FW to get some attention.

So today’s patch notes include a big update about Faction Warfare.  There was a news item posted about the militaries of the empires going on alert with an accompanying dev blog, while in The Agency there is now a headline about the new Faction Campiagns.

Faction Warfare – Does it live yet?

There are two campaigns available, one for the Amarr/Minmatar side of the house and one for the Caldari/Gallente conflict.

The two campaigns

For the Gallente/Caldari conflict the copy says:

The Gallente Federation and Caldari State have placed utmost importance on controlling the Athounon system, and are attempting to build stargates leading back to Amygnon and Samanuni respectively, Capsuleers can assist either faction by occupying Athounon through factional warfare, and mining unique ore in the Serthoulde constellation.

And for the Amarr/Minmatar war the copy says:

The Amarr Empire and the Minmatar Republic are both attempting to develop new technology derived from Triglavian Stellar Transmuters. To advance this research they are fighting over control of prototype Stellar Transmuters that the Amarr has constructed within the warzone, as well as data collected from remote observation facilities spread throughout the local constellations.

Helping with the efforts of the empires will reward players with Loyalty Tokens… not to be confused with Loyalty Points, the usual currency of FW… where they can be used to purchase early access to the new faction hulls that are coming to the game.

The new hulls are:

  • Navy Issue Battlecruisers
    • Cyclone Fleet Issue
    • Ferox Navy Issue
    • Myrmidon Navy Issue
    • Prophecy Navy Issue
  • Navy Issue Frigates
    • Probe Fleet Issue
    • Heron Navy Issue
    • Imicus Navy Issue
    • Magnate Navy Issue

Attributes of the new hulls are available in the patch notes linked below, but my guess is that these must be good hulls because people have been complaining about them on r/eve since they showed up on the test server.

One thing that is not clear to me with the update is who is able to participate.  One of the pitfalls of FW has long been the need to join a corporation that has pledged itself to one of the factions in order to participate fully.  So it wasn’t something you could do casually on your main, like Abyssals, because it required your organization to commit.  If they didn’t, it might be something you did on an alt.

It was at least implied back at Fanfest that CCP planned to break down that barrier to FW, but the patch notes, while one might infer something like this, does not call it out explicitly.  So, as usual, your mileage may vary.

Related

Two Hundred and Fifty Million Skill Points

Back to New Eden again and another milestone moment as my main character in EVE Online hit 250 million skill points.  I carry on with this mostly because this has been a regular series of posts since I started playing the game way back in the day.  Since the introduction of skill injectors having any given number of skill points is possible if you have enough real world cash.  I have not gone that route, though I can’t claim any real purity since I’ve accepted my share of free skill points for login rewards and such.  But this series does, in its way, track my progress through the game.

Here is the full history for those with too much free time on their hands:

As I noted at the 240 million SP mark, my progress has generally slowed down over the last few years.  If I am diligent I end up getting 10 million SP about every 8 months.  But I have been spreading out the training with my alts on the same account fairly regularly.  So I am closing in on 300 million SP across my account.

My account skill point spread

If I had maintained sole focus on Wilhelm, I would likely be at 300 million SP on him today.  I still jump him into the +5 training clone in Jita when I know I am not going to play for a couple of days.

But I don’t focus on him solely because having alts is useful now and again.  If nothing else, all three of them now do Planetary Industry, so I have incrementally more income on that front.

Also, there was a bit of a slow down when I spent February as an Alpha clone, so no training was completed then.  Turns out being an Alpha clone kind of sucks when you’re used to having a couple hundred million skill points enabling you, so I came back to Omega in March.

Anyway, lets see where the skills on my main character stand as of this milestone.

Spaceship Cmd    80,297,970 (71 of 85)*
Gunnery          36,069,569 (50 of 63)*
Drones           19,564,708 (23 of 28)
Fleet Support    15,872,000 (14 of 15)
Missiles         12,252,872 (22 of 26)
Navigation       11,346,275 (13 of 13)
Electronic Sys    9,821,179 (15 of 15)*
Engineering       8,939,855 (15 of 15)
Scanning          7,168,000 (7 of 7)
Armor             6,131,137 (13 of 13)
Shields           6,074,039 (12 of 13)
Science           5,714,282 (21 of 39)
Trade             4,626,275 (11 of 14)
Planet Mgmt       4,352,000 (5 of 5)
Resc Processing   4,585,347 (10 of 31)*
Subsystems        4,096,000 (16 of 16)
Neural Enhance    3,810,275 (7 of 8)
Targeting         3,207,765 (8 of 8)
Rigging           2,576,865 (10 of 10)
Structure Mgmt    1,446,824 (6 of 6)
Production        1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Social            1,130,040 (5 of 9)
Corp Mgmt            24,000 (2 of 5)

Total ~250,265,220

As usual, the categories that changed since last check-in are marked with an asterisk.

This time around Gunnery gained the most skill points, adding nearly 8 million to that total.  Gunnery has the most skills of any category besides Spaceship Command, so I suppose that isn’t surprising.  Spaceship Command still has almost double the SP, but Gunnery was clearly my focus.

Why Gunnery?

The Vorton specialization skills for the EDENCOM ship weapon systems, which fall under gunnery, have finally become, if not cheap, at least not ludicrously expensive.  This, and the fact that there was a buff to the EDENCOM ships to make their special weapons more effective, means that we might actually use some of these hulls for special operations at some future date.

Vorton weapons in use

So I went all in and trained all of those up to V, plus rounding up some of the support skills that make them more effective.  I’ll probably never end up killing anything with them, but it wouldn’t be the first set of unused skills on my list.

Spaceship Command also saw some SP added, as it almost always does.  I was rounding out the Precursor ship skills to level V, another set of skills I will likely never use.  Oh well.

Electronic Systems got some fresh skill points.  I think Weapon Destabilization made it to IV.  Not a big deal, but it might come in handy at some point.

And, finally, Resource Processing got some skill points?  That is almost crazy talk around here, as I haven’t mined in years and have no real desire to do so since CCP’s resource starvation plan.

But then the coalition was asking people to start doing gas mining, because we need gas products in order to build capital ships.  So I trained Gas Cloud Harvesting up to V.  I had the skills for the Prospect already, so I fitted one out, got my scanning alt out and went into low sec in search of gas sites.

3+ hours later, having not spotted a single gas site, I headed back for home swearing I would never waste another moment in this game on resource harvesting.  More wasted skills, but at least I got a learning experience out of it… I learned that I no longer have the patience for that sort of thing.

So it goes.  That about sums up the skills I trained up since last check-in.

Overall I have 361 skills injected and trained to at least level I.  That is down from the 367 I had at peak, before they redid the Resource Processing skills, but up from the 357 I had from the 240 million SP post.

My skills are scattered as follows:

Level 1  -    1
Level 2  -    3
Level 3  -   15
Level 4  -   80
Level 5 -   262

That is ten more skills at level V.

Of course, the question is always what to train next.  My skill queue remains in the 600 day range, but very little on it would enable anything new.  It is mostly rounding out the 80 level IV skills to level V.

It might be time to turn the queue over to one of my alts again.

The Initiative Behaving Badly

This bit of null sec drama has absolutely nothing to do with me, but I still want to note it down just in case it comes back to haunt anybody at a later date.  Also, it is Imperium drama, which means it is close to home.

The short story is that when The Bastion folded up shop a while back, The Initiative took over its space in Fountain, buying out its structures, flipping the sovereignty, and giving everybody time to get themselves situated in new alliances.

Then they took one of the Fortizars that had formerly belonged to The Bastion, let it run out of fuel, blew it up, and looted all the stuff that dropped.  Another loot pinata, akin to things we saw in the rage wormhole (all wormhole structures are loot pinatas) or with the former Army of Mango Keepstar earlier this year.

The Initiative logo in spaceships

So where is the drama?

For those who have been following along at home, the Forsaken Fortress update back in May of 2020 changed the rules for Upwell structures.  After that landed, unfueled structures would no longer send their contents into asset safety, reneging on yet another CCP statement.  So if you let a structure run out of fuel, then blow it up, nobody who has anything in the structure gets their stuff back.

The Fortizar in question was reported to have coughed up something on the order of 300 billion ISK in stuff when it was blown up.

That is a lot of stuff.  I mean, the tale of BOSS bilking Fraternity out of 100 billion ISK rated a story over on Massively OP.  This is three times that number in ill gotten goods.

As it turns out, this Fortizar was a staging base for The Bastion when it returned to Fountain after World War Bee, the place where people moved their stuff as they settled back into the constellations that had been their home before the war.

They later put up a Keepstar and moved into that, but people leave stuff behind when they think it is safe.  So when the Fortizar was blown up, that 300 billion ISK in stuff was all from Imperium members.

This is something you do to your enemies, not your allies.

So how did The Initiative justify this?

  • It was their Fortizar to do with as they wished
  • They only agreed to take down the Keepstar
  • They marked the Fortizar “Do Not Use” for six months
  • They told Imperium leadership about their plan

That is some grade A bullshit rationalization.  The first two are pouty toddler level arguments.  The third doesn’t cut any ice because the coalition marks structures “Do Not Use” all the time, but never blows them up, so there would be no expectation from anybody that this would be the result.

Then there is the final one about telling Imperium leadership.  You’ll note they don’t say who they told (somebody in corps diplo who didn’t realize the ramifications perhaps?), nor do they reference how their informing leadership resulted in pings about the impending destruction, nor how this information was brought up on the weekly coalition fireside.  That would be supporting evidence of their intention to inform.

No, they did the bare minimum to covered their asses because they wanted the ISK.

And you only have to look at the killmail to prove that.

They didn’t invite their alliance do come and join in on some content, much less the coalition.  No, the killmail has five people on it, all from their leadership, for a kill done in late EU time on a week night when everything was quiet because they didn’t want to draw any attention to it.  They knew they were doing something shitty and they wanted to do it while nobody was watching.  Thieves in the night.

The only reason I know about any of this is because some former people from The Bastion are pissed off about this screw job so Brisc Rubal devoted 50 minutes of last week’s Meta Show to rationalizing the actions of The Initiative.

He said he was a lawyer and could argue both sides, but if that was his demonstration of how he could be an advocate for both sides of a case, I wouldn’t hire him for a job that required it.  It was all a set up of weak objections knocked down one after the other with arguably weaker rationalizations.

He should have followed in the steps of his leadership in The Initiative and just kept his mouth shut and avoided drawing attention to the while thing… and all the more so because it made for possibly the most tedious 50 minutes ever on the Meta Show.

The summing up of the argument was that people playing the game count and people who aren’t playing don’t.  The leadership of The Initiative wanted their stuff so they took it.

So it goes.

Anyway, as I noted at the top, I am only laying this out because I wonder if this won’t come back to bite somebody in the ass at some future date.  We shall see.  But it already looks like they’ll be digging into that pile of ISK to pay out some SRP.

The Rising Price of PLEX

I do not follow PLEX too closely in game.  I neither buy it with ISK to keep my account subscribed nor sell it to raise ISK.  Generally I buy some when I want a SKIN from the in-game store and leave it at that.

But PLEX has been around for most of the life of the game at this point and is very much ingrained in New Eden.

Old PLEX before the 1 to 500 split, which would make it 600K

And because it has become such a part of the game, even I end up hearing about the price of it when it starts to rise.  And rise it has, with running around 4.5 million ISK, putting the in-game ISK price of 30 days of game time at around 2.2 billion ISK.

That is a fairly steep jump from the 2.7 million ISK that PLEX was selling for earlier this year.  So what happened?

The surface level explanation you will often hear is that this is a reflection of the price increase for subscriptions and PLEX that CCP announced back in April and put in place in May.

And, on its surface, that sounds reasonable.  If people are going to pay more for PLEX then maybe they want more ISK for their real world cash?  I would, wouldn’t you?

The problem with this is that there is no direct linkage between the real world price of PLEX and the in-game price.  Just because you want more ISK for your PLEX doesn’t mean you can get it.  You can see from that historic image that old PLEX, which is 500 of the current PLEX, used to sell for ~300 million ISK, equal to about 600K per current PLEX.  So the market has some say in the price.

Yes, you can list your PLEX for however much you want on the market, but buyers in New Eden won’t pay more than they have to.  You have to compete with other people selling PLEX, all of whom want to cash out into ISK, and PLEX makes up a significant portion of the New Eden economy, as the velocity of ISK chart from the MER shows us ever month.

August 2022 – Velocity of ISK

That chart says, to me at least, that 20-25% of ISK transactions involve PLEX or PLEX related items, all of which influence the price of PLEX.  That is enough movement in the market, and mostly in and around Jita, to keep the price of PLEX steady.  The market can find an agreed upon value of PLEX.

PLEX Prices in Jita for the last 12 months

You don’t see a lot of volatility in the market for a lot of that chart.  The price hung on between 2.5 million and 3 million per PLEX for quite a stretch there.  The market had found its equilibrium.

Then, of course, there is that spike and then the ongoing rise to the current price range.  What happened there?

PLEX Price and the price increase announcement

The bare graph that makes up the bottom of that image is the daily trading volume for PLEX and, as you can see, the day that CCP announced the price increase volume spiked.  People clearly expected the in-game price of PLEX to go up, so speculators and those wishing to lock in their price bought up a lot of PLEX.

As demand rose, so did the price, just like my economics professors back in college said they should.  There was an initial rush, then the price peaked and dropped back down a bit, likely due to a few early birds taking their profits and the market hitting a point where people were taking a breather to see where this was going to go.

Up is where it went.  After the post-frenzy pause the price continued its upward climb.  The actual price increase date, May 17th, is in the middle of a very consistent upward slope, indicating that the market was already looking for its new equilibrium.

There are is an up and down bounce in the middle of that price climb… the valley for that is on June 7th, the start of Minmatar Liberation Day, so my guess would be a corresponding end of quarter PLEX sale… which also sees a spike in transactions, which in turn pushes the price back upwards.

Then, around August 20th or so, the price hits a plateau.  There is another minor surge in volume, and then the price levels out and remains, a new equilibrium having been achieved.

Trade volume of PLEX remains down, having fallen off around June 15th to a new normal.

So the question remains, did the real world PLEX price increase, which saw the cost of 500 PLEX go from $20 to $25, cause the in-game price to go up?

Yes, but not because people buying PLEX wanted more ISK for it.  As I noted above, the market has to go along with your price plan.  That image up at the top of the post of PLEX at 300 million ISK, which is old PLEX so you can divide that price by 500 giving you the equivalent of today’s PLEX selling for a mere 600K ISK, shows that the real world price lacks the leverage on its own to set the in-game price.

Instead, what I think we are seeing is the result of people simply buying less PLEX for real world money.  With fewer units of PLEX being listed on the market, the ISK competition to obtain them is more intense, raising the price on the market.

This is also interesting because we’re still in a period where ISK faucets into the game remain tight so, in theory, with less ISK coming into the game the price should be seeing some downward pressure from that in addition to the pressure the current market price is exerting.

The volume going down suggests that part of the reaction to the price increase is that some people are simply not PLEX-ing as many accounts.  But, as we saw in the August MER, there are still a group of players with plenty of ISK to spend on PLEX.

August 2022 – Wealth Distribution

As I noted when that came out, 67.7% of the active ISK held in New Eden is in the hands of 5% of the players. That means they have 1,003 trillion, while the other 95% of the game shares only 494 trillion.

Some people can afford to PLEX their alts… though those people are probably also making ISK on market speculation, including on PLEX.  The lesson of the free market is almost always that the rich somehow managed to get richer no matter what is going on.

Anyway, that is my speculation, that the price increase back in May has reduced the amount of fresh PLEX coming into the game, raising its price on the market.  And I know that is basically saying “the price increase caused it,” which it the one line explanation, but I don’t think simply saying that goes far enough, so you have this post.

I obviously have no direct knowledge of the actual volume of PLEX sales, but it would be interesting to know if CCP’s 25% price increase back in May ended up netting them more or less revenue.  Or, to put it another way, are high in-game PLEX prices a bad sign for CCP?

Addendum:

Skill Extractor Prices in Jita for the last 12 months

I am throwing the Skill Extractor price chart in here due to a comment about how all PLEX related items have gone up, but especially because of all of those items, the slope for Skill Extractors most closely mirrors the PLEX chart.

Addendum 2:

On Friday Sept. 23, CCP announced a special deal, 1 month of Omega for 300 PLEX.

The New Eden Store Only

As usual, CCP is bad at communication, so people were looking in the web store for the cash price to be reduced.  This is an in-game deal only.

But this deal has pushed the price of PLEX way up from what I mentioned in this post.  Sell orders are closing in on 6 million ISK per and buy orders are above 5.5 million.

Now, technically, at 300 PLEX per 30 days, the price of PLEX would have to go up to about 7.5 million ISK per in order to cancel out any ISK savings, so there should be a ceiling on the PLEX price due to this sale.

On the other hand, if you were buying PLEX with ISK to do something else, you’re screwed.

We’ll have to see where the price lands after this deal runs out.  It could depress the price a bit, having sated some demand, or it might stay higher.  I’d add the price history graph to show the spike, but it is broken in-game at the moment.

Addendum 3:  As the day has gone on, the price of PLEX has settled down.  The allure of another million ISK per PLEX looks like it got some of the speculators to liquidate some of their PLEX, so the price is resolving itself to around 5 million ISK per now.

Related:

A Brief History of Goon Leadership in EVE Online

With the ascension of Asher Elias to the leadership of Goons in EVE Online, I started wondering about past leaders.

Look for the Goonion label!

They come up now and the in tales, and the more notorious their actions the more likely they are to be mentioned.  But I have zero first hand knowledge of other leaders, aside from Darius JOHNSON showing up in the middle of the Casino War to try and form something of a “true goons” alliance as leader of Ten Dollar Bond, a reference to the fee one needs to pay to become a posting member of the Something Awful forums.

The appeal to purge the alliance of all but “true goons” has been a recurring theme.

There was a whole age of leadership problems and bad decisions that predated the era of The Mittani, which ran from May 2010 until July 2022.  I went to go find out who had been running the show before I arrived.

This meant going to the GoonWiki.

The GoonWiki is… uh… a place of many words.  Or was a place of many words.  It is gone now, having been replaced by a fresh, new wiki full of useful information, but purged of the wealth of information that it contained.

Not that the information was easy to find or of equal value.

Various scribes over the years had taken up the crayon in order to half heatedly record the happenings of a given era… or to rewrite things they felt were unflattering… before wandering off, distracted by some other project or sleep or their everyday lives, leaving behind a largely incoherent and often conflicting collection of writing where dates, names, actual narrative, and any helpful context was thrown by the wayside if the author could make a joke about somebody’s personal grooming habits, drug use, or extreme bad judgement.

It is as though somebody was trying to recreate the writing process for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as described in the books.

Braver men than I have avoided the place studiously, and wiser have dashed themselves on the rocks of its chaos in a vain attempt to find meaning or explain why naming the alliance SOLODRAKBANSOLODRAKBANSO [LODRA] was funny even for a minute.

And the further back in time you went, the more unlikely the tales seemed… if only due to the coherence issue.

Still, while I cannot explain the origins of the corporate structure, what happened in Syndicate in the proto-alliance era, the relationship between GoonFleet, GoonWaffe, and GoonPlatoon, or why one individual or another was put in charge at any given time, I managed to put together something akin to a timeline, which I have broken down into some arbitrary eras.

Origins

The pre-alliance era, when there were several corporations.  Remedial is judged to have been the first leader of the unified tribes, though leadership was clearly not taken all that seriously for a stretch.

  • September 2005 – October 2005? – Remedial
  • Somebody else maybe?
  • December 2005 – Tribal Overture
  • December 2005 – Yeep
  • December 2005 Firstname Lastname
  • December 2005 – February 2006 – Remedial
  • February 2006 – Yeep or Dr. Draw
  • Feburary 2006 – June 2006 – Remedial

In June 2006 GoonSwarm alliance is formed.  Maybe Remedial is in charge.  The records do not state, instead focusing on the main corporations.

  • June 2006 Cefte is de jure CEO of GoonFleet proper as Hoegaarden is CEO of GoonWaffe

Then we begin alliance leaders.

  • June 2006 – July 2006  – Hoegaarden
  • July 2006 – May 2007 – Remedial

The Great War – Sept 2006 to Feb 2009

Sir Molle declared “There are no Goons” and Goons begged to differ.  War were declared, ending in the disbanding of Band of Brothers.  I included Remedial again at the top as his leadership spans eras.

  • July 2006 – May 2007 – Remedial
  • May 2007 – June 2007 – The Mittani
  • June 2007 – Nate Hammertown
  • June 2007 – March 2008 – Sesfan Qu’Lah
  • March 2008 – April 2009  – Darius JOHNSON

The Mittani’s first tenure as leader was short and primarily marked by him calling out CCP for continuing to rig things in favor of Band of Brothers in the wake of the T20 scandal, leading CCP to push back against these allegations.  It is alleged that CCP implied they would take legal action if he continued and he stepped down as leader, though I can find no record of these threats, veiled or otherwise.

Goons and Empire and the Fall

GoonSwarm defeats Band of Brothers and reigns supreme until Karttoon betrays everybody.

  • April 2009 – July 2009 – Zapawork
  • July 2009 – February 2010 – Karttoon

Because he was away on an extended vacation, Karttoon failed to make sure there is enough ISK in the correct account to pay the GoonSwarm sovereignty bill.  Sovereignty droppped and the alliance lost all of its space.

Karttoon returned and used this as an excuse to steal the alliance, kicking everybody out and taking everything he can with him.  Karttoon held both the GoonSwarm alliance as well as the GoonFleet corporation, the latter being tucked away in the Band of Brothers alliance that was formed when the old one was disbanded in order to prevent them from getting their name back.  He later claims he was going to do this anyway.

Related:

Goons Reformed

Having lost the alliance, a new one is formed even as Goons are allowed to crash on Tau Ceti Federation’s couch in Deklein.  Darius JOHNSON comes out of retirement to lead Goons once more.

In February SOLODRAKBANSOLODRAKBANSO is formed.  That lasts until the end of May 2010, when the joke is finally declared dead.

Goonswarm Federation becomes the new alliance on June 1, 2010.  GoonWaffe becomes the primary corporation.  Somewhere along the way Darius JOHNSON exiles ElitistOps, creating a rift that remains until they come back to Goonswarm Federation to help defend Delve during World War Bee.

This also begins the Clusterfuck Coalition in Deklein, which rebrands in 2015 as the Imperium.

  • February 2010 – May 2010 – Darius JOHNSON
  • May 2010 – July 2022 – The Mittani
  • July 15, 2022 – July 28, 2022 – TheAdj
  • July 28, 2022 – now – Asher Elias

Darius JOHNSON stepped down from the leadership role to become a developer at CCP, allowing The Mittani a second shot at leadership, and he held on to that role for the next twelve years, until his downfall earlier this year.

Then TheAdj filled his seat until Asher became the new leader.

And that brings us through to today.

I had actually planned to do a section at the end of this post with short biographies of notable leaders, but the old Wiki disappeared before I got very far, so this is all I have.

That is probably for the best.  Did I mention the writing style of some of the old articles?  I was trying to scrape together a coherent, four sentence paragraph about Remedial from his Wiki entry and… well, that was just not going to happen.

You can find some of the names from the early days popping up again in other groups.  As noted Darius JOHNSON came back during the Casino War to try and make a “true Goons” alliance.  You can also find Hoegaarden as head of Clockwork Pineapple, another offshoot of Goons.  Karttoon came back and hung around in ElitistOps for a bit.

We’re supposed to get the historical Wiki back at some future date as an archive.  Until then, I offer this up as a bit of the history of New Eden.

One Way Trip to Perrigen Falls

Apparently the rule is that if there is ever a wormhole connect that will land us in PanFam space we are obliged to throw some cheap ships through it just to see what sort of trouble we can get into.

So when the ping showed up asking for a Ferox fleet for a one-way trip, I was in.  First, I hadn’t been on a combat fleet so far this month.  My self-imposed rule is to get on at least one kill mail a month as a sort of “proof of life” that I am playing.  If I cannot manage that I ought to just unsubscribe.

Second, I still have a pile of ships sitting in my hangar left over from World War Bee, including more than a few Feroxes I could part with, the remains of The Mittani telling us to stock up for the anticipated final battle of 1DQ1-A that never came to pass.  I was more than willing to part with a couple of those.  So I joined the fleet, hopped in one, insured it in the hope of the promised of a one-way trip being true, and off we went.

Ferox fleet on its way

There was a Thera wormhole over in NPC Delve… if you don’t have Signal Cartel’s EVE-Scout Thera wormholes shared bookmarks handy, you should subscribe… which we jumped into.

Another wormhole, in case you haven’t seen one recently

Once we jump into There, it was a long warp to an exit wormhole.

Feroxes in Thera… know your nebulae

That wormhole dumped us into Perrigen Falls, which is one of the regions Pandemic Horde owns.  We were on one side of a gate and a PH Keepstar was on the other, so we jumped in and anchored up to see what we might be able to shoot.

Getting off the gate in MJ-5F9

They clearly had an inclination that we were coming and had parked a couple of HAW dread around the gate and had some interdictors handy to try and bubble us and hold us in place.

We got out of the bubbles and warped off, the back on grid again, looking for a place where we might be able to take down one of those dreadnoughts.  That would have been a fine prize.

Trying to pop a Phoenix on the gate

We ended up warping in and out a few times, losing a few ships with each run, but were not able to get a good spot where a capital might fall.  We did managed to pop a few subcaps along the way, but we were hemorrhaging Feroxes by the third warp in.  We only came with a few logi, so we were not going to last long on grid.  We certainly couldn’t stand up to dreads setup to shoot subcaps.

As we were warping out after one run my Ferox was the primary.  The ship exploded and my pod carried on with the fleet warp.

Just my pod in the fleet now

I exempted myself from warps to keep from slowing down the fleet, then warped myself back to the gate to get the pod express home.  I was obliged immediately, my pod was tackled and popped in short order.

They got me, just like I had hoped

I got to see the pod death screen, which seems to have been updated.  The shell of my golden pod, part of the 10 year anniversary box set (along with the Mystery Code… and don’t get me started about the Mystery Code), was visible.

A golden shell broken open

And that was about it.  The battle report showed we lost all but one ship, and I am not sure how that one ship survived.

Battle Report Header

We lost badly, but we expected nothing less.  There was always the hope that we might catch them unawares, but that rarely works out. (Sometimes we come out on top, but not often.)  My own Ferox got hit by a couple of dreads and a paladin, which added up to most of the damage.

I also got the insurance payout, plus some additional ISK for SRP, and managed to get a Ferox out of my hangar.  And I got on a few kill mails, so my monthly goal was accomplished.

I was happy enough with that result that when the FC asked who wanted to go again, I grabbed another one and insured it.  But word came down from command to knock that off now that PH was alerted.  Still, it was a bit of fun on a week night.

What Will it Mean to have a Bunch of 20 Year Old MMORPGS?

I know we already have some MMORPGs that are over 20 years old.  EverQuest turned 23 earlier this year, Lineage hit 24 last week, and Ultima Online has its 25th anniversary celebrations coming up soon.  Even Anarchy Online has managed to shamble past its 21st birthday.

Welcome indeed… we’ve been here a quarter century

But we’re getting past the point where that first generation of financially successful MMORPGs have passed two decades and are rapidly coming up on the next generation, the successors that tried to learn and adapt what was learned from the first titles to cross the 100K player mark.

We are now about a half a year away from EVE Online turning 20.  This coming November World of Warcraft and EverQuest II will hit the 18 year mark.  And after that pair hits 20 we’ll see some long surviving title like Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online hitting 20.

I was just going on yesterday about 16 years being kind of a long time in the life of a person, a significant portion of their lifetime experience.  Hell, part of the reality of this blog is not so much that it has been around for 16 years, but that I have been writing about and playing the same half dozen games for most of the time I have been writing it.

What does 20 years mean in a genre that is only 25-50 years old, depending on where you want to mark the starting point?  If you subscribe to the notion that video games are for kids, what does it mean when you have a set of titles that are old enough to be considered adults?

MMORPGs kind of broke the mold when it came to video game development.  You used to make a game, ship it, maybe do a couple of patches and maybe an expansion if the game was a big freaking deal, then you moved on to the next title.  In the end, selling boxes was the goal.  You might rework the same game… how many annual Madden titles have we had after all, or Call of Duty, or even Wizardry if you want to go back to my youth… but you shipped the game and started on the next one.

MMORPGs though, they just keep going.  Or some of them do.  There are, of course, some bodies along the side of the road to 20.  Some less successful titles were thrown overboard to keep various companies afloat and their senior execs in lemon scented moist towelettes or whatever.

But for a set of titles, if they hit a certain critical mass of core players and establish just the right amount of social bonds, they seem to be able to go on forever.

Yeah, sure, they are past their peak.   There aren’t 250K players in Ultima Online anymore, or 400K in Dark Age of Camelot, or 500K in EVE Online, or 550K in EverQuest, or 12 million in World or Warcraft, or however many in whatever other aging titles you care to mention.  Their prime is in the past.  But they managed to hold onto enough players to remain viable, even profitable.  Very profitable, in some cases.  EG7 is never going to let go of EverQuest if it keeps up, nor will Blizzard ever abandon WoW, which still pays most of the bills even in its decline.  The only thing that will kill them is gross mismanagement… and even WoW seems to be able to handle that.  (EVE Online though, that remains a test case for management that wants a different game.)

Even if new content is out of the question, there are always events and special servers and a host of tricks and enticements to keep people playing and paying.

It used to be Mark Jacob’s gig to go on about how the market for MMORPGs was vast beyond anybody’s measure. (A quote of one of the many times he said something like that.)  But I do wonder what it means to have a market where the old competitors, rich in content, history, and memories, are hanging about as the occasional new entry shows up and tries to compete.

I’ve gone on about the peril of the market for new entries, and the thing isn’t unassailable if you’ve learned the right lessons from the past.  Go see how Lost Ark has been doing, a title that had its act together, versus New World, an entry in the genre that seemed determined to forget every lesson ever learned.

I do not have any deep insight or huge conclusion to wind up this post with.  It is just something that occurred to me as I was tidying up yesterday’s post about my blog turning 16 and how its fortunes have tracked along with some of the games I’ve written about.  I’m past my peak as a blogger as well, but enough of you show up and drop a comment now and then to keep me going… and enough comment spam bots land to load up ads to pay the bills.