Category Archives: EVE Online

Friday Bullet Points about EVE Online and Bonus Skill Points

It is Friday and, despite not playing much in New Eden myself this month, I have accumulated a few items I want to mention about EVE Online.

  • More Bonus Skill Points

Another bonus skill point event starts today.

Bonus skill points are the best skill points

Log in daily from today through Monday and get some free skill points to spend on skills you need… or to hoard  for some potential future need.  Alpha pilots will get 75,000 skill points if they claim every day while Omega pilots will be eligible for 250,000 skill points.

  • PLEX For Good

The PLEX for Good campaign to raise funds for the Australian Red Cross is still going.  You can donate PLEX, the cash value of which will be donated, through until January 26th.  Details on how you do this are at the link.

PLEX for Good

There is also a Stream Fleet event coming this weekend to raise awareness for the efforts and drum up more donations.

  • Download Your Year in EVE

I wrote about the Your Year in EVE videos CCP produced already.  You can see one of mine again if you need a reminder as to what they were.

If you enjoyed your video and want to keep it, you need to download it by January 30th.  CCP will be purging them after that date.  Fortunately, each video has a link included that downloads an MP4 copy of the video to your system.  That format is pretty much ideal for uploading to services like YouTube, which is what I did.

Everybody who got a video should also be getting a reminder in the email about the videos going away, but it you don’t check that email account very often here is another reminder.

  • 64-Bit Client Transition Complete

Last year saw the introduction of the 64-bit client which promised to make EVE Online a better experience when it came to big space battles, or even smaller ones as you would no longer have to go into “potato mode” just to be sure the old client wouldn’t exceed the 32-bit memory limit and crash. (64-bit was also necessary for ongoing MacOS compatibility.  Apple doesn’t hang about supporting legacy features the way Microsoft does.)

Getting people to move to 64-bit went better than expected according to a Dev Blog from CCP, such that they have declared the transition complete.

Every dev blog gets a graphic

Because of this the old 32-bit client will be officially sunsetted on February 26, 2020.

In addition, the system requirements for EVE Online will be raised, with 4GB becoming the new minimum RAM requirement and 23GB being the new minimum drive space allocation.

  • December MER

The Monthly Economic Report for December 2019 is out at last, so now people have all the data for the year so they can explore what went on.

December 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time – Everybody’s favorite chart

The Nosy Gamer has already been at it.  I don’t have much to say myself and am giving up the monthly posts about the MER.  They got tedious when I was reporting on them generally, so I went to focusing on specific items each month, but I think most people find the whole thing a snooze, so I’ll just play with the data on my own.

  • I Won a Thing

In conjunction with the Year in EVE videos I mentioned above CCP ran a social media contest around the hash tag #MyEVE2019.  Winners were picked at random and so I managed to make the RNG cut with this tweet.

Winners all got 500 PLEX which was delivered this week and the promise of a special SKIN to arrive at some future date.  I am going to keep the SKIN of course, but I am sending off the PLEX to the PLEX for Good campaign mentioned above.

EVE Online Gets Heavy Missile Buffs, Shield Slaves, and a New Event

CCP was keeping us in the dark.  They announced a new “Quadrants” plan, which sounded like quarterly releases, and which was said to start with something called “Fight or Flight,” but then did not go into much detail.  They even took the test server down to keep people from being able to see what was coming.  This did not pass without comment after the “Chaos Era” summer of “surprises.”

This image was not without information

It turns out that there were some hints… like what is the Drake spewing in that picture?  Yeah, Heavy missiles.  So today the update is live and the top item on the list is:

  • +5% to damage and explosion velocity of all Heavy Missiles

This is to encourage the use of heavy missiles, especially in PvP.  Heavy missiles ruled the roost for a while, early in the last decade, with the Drake being the platform of choice, before firewall tactics and nerfs combined to put the Drake and its weapon system on the shelf for fleet doctrines.

But that is not all.

Once again there is a Drake up front

In addition, the long asked for “shield slaves” implant sets have finally been added to the game.  I mean, the requests/demands for “shield slaves” have been a meme for years now. Naturally, they are not actually called “shield slaves,” but the set the armor versions are no longer called “slaves” either, but once something gets a name it tends to stick.

So we have the new Nirvana implant set, and I must admit that is a pretty good name choice.  Shield super pilots are no doubt soon to be in Nirvana.

The mid grade set looks like this:

  • Mid-grade Nirvana Alpha +3 Perception 1% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 10% set bonus
  • Mid-grade Nirvana Beta +3 Memory 2% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 10% set bonus
  • Mid-grade Nirvana Gamma +3 Willpower 3% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 10% set bonus
  • Mid-grade Nirvana Delta +3 Intelligence 4% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 10% set bonus
  • Mid-grade Nirvana Epsilon +3 Charisma 5% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 10% set bonus
  • Mid-grade Nirvana Omega 25% set bonus

And the high grade set looks like this:

  • High-grade Nirvana Alpha +4 Perception 1% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 15% set bonus
  • High-grade Nirvana Beta +4 Memory 2% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 15% set bonus
  • High-grade Nirvana Gamma +4 Willpower 3% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 15% set bonus
  • High-grade Nirvana Delta +4 Intelligence 4% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 15% set bonus
  • High-grade Nirvana Epsilon +4 Charisma 5% Bonus to shield hitpoints with 15% set bonus
  • High-grade Nirvana Omega 50% set bonus

A low grade set is promised for the future, but for now it is just those two.

The next question is, naturally enough, how do we get these new implants?

There is an event for that.

Dragonaur Blitz Event

Between now and January 27th there will be sites in low sec that will drop blueprint copies for the various Nirvana implants.

The catch is that the site are only accessible in ships that have a bonus to heavy missiles, so you have to be flying one of the ships from this list.

  • Bellicose
  • Caracal
  • Caracal Navy Issue
  • Gila
  • Orthrus
  • Osprey Navy Issue
  • Scythe Fleet Issue
  • Cerberus
  • Sacrilege
  • Vangel
  • Enforcer
  • Rapier
  • Chameleon
  • Rook
  • Onyx
  • Cyclone
  • Drake
  • Drake Navy Issue
  • Gnosis
  • Claymore
  • Nighthawk
  • Damnation
  • Barghest
  • Praxis
  • Rattlesnake
  • Raven
  • Raven State Issue
  • Scorpion Navy Issue
  • Typhoon
  • Typhoon Fleet Issue
  • Marshal
  • Widow
  • Golem

That gives you 33 choices… mostly Caldari… to pick from.  But if you plan to use one of the remaining Raven State Issue ships, be sure let us all know!  I want to be on that kill mail.

Those are the big items on the list for the update, though there are some lesser items of note.

The first is a tiericide pass… color me surprised that they’re still working on this as I had thought CCP gave up ages ago… on shield boosters.  This means that shield boosters everywhere will have new names and such.  Be aware.  The patch notes have a list.

And the filaments from the Yoiul Holiday Festival have all been converted to calm abyssal filaments.  No more jumping fleets into random null sec locations for fun.  The conversions were:

  • DSHR-01 Filament migrated to Calm Dark Filament
  • DNCR-02 Filament migrated to Calm Dark Filament
  • PRNCR-03 Filament migrated to Calm Gamma Filament
  • VXN-04 Filament migrated to Calm Firestorm Filament
  • CMT-05 Filament migrated to Calm Gamma Filament
  • CPD-06 Filament migrated to Calm Electrical Filament
  • DNNR-07 Filament migrated to Calm Electrical Filament
  • BLTZN-08 Filament migrated to Calm Electrical Filament
  • RDLF-09 Filament migrated to Calm Exotic Filament

If you hadn’t even opened up the appropriate Yoiul crates, you will find that they now contain abyssal filaments.

And, in an ongoing series of nerfs for carriers, Siren fighters have had their microwarp drives replaced with afterburners, so their new speed boosts are:

  • Tech I Siren now has 200% speed bonus from Afterburner
  • Tech II Siren now has 250% speed bonus from Afterburner

There are, of course, a bunch of other changes and fixes, most of which are detailed in the patch notes for the January 2020 release.

The January update has been reported as successfully deployed.

Also, as a reminder, CCP also has a limited time PLEX For Good event running to raise funds to help victims of the wildfires in Australia.

PLEX for Good

The event runs through January 26th.  The cash value of PLEX submitted by players (instructions at the link) will be donated to Icelandic Red Cross for distribution to the Australian Red Cross.

Tales from New Eden – The Ghost Training GDC Presentation

Back at GDC 2018 up in San Francisco, CCP gave a presentation about the “ghost training” exploit that was introduced into EVE Online with free to play.  At the time this got some coverage, including over at Massively OP.  But to actually see the talk you had to be there or pay for access to the GDC recorded archives.

However, the GDC organizers post older presentations to their YouTube channel on a regular basis, and this session was posted in December so we are all free to watch it.

 

The presentation is just under an hour and opens with a few minutes of describing EVE Online before getting to the exploit.  It then unfolds with what the problem was and how CCP went to address it.

Interesting, and relatable to anybody in enterprise software, is how critical accurate and detailed steps to reproduce are, how unexpected results can come from interactions in complex and often aging systems, how the simple “just do this!” fix may not actually fix the issue (in this case it made things worse), and how assumptions about players/customers need to be validated.  That latter was especially important as the mood was “ban them all” both inside and outside of CCP because it was assumed this was primarily and deliberately being exploited by skill farm operators.

Some people were still banned, but the lighter approach the company chose to take meant that a range quite a few people remained customers after having their ghost training gains pointed out to them and given options to correct the situation.  In a game… in a genre… in an industry… where customer retention is vital for ongoing success, this seems like a wise approach.

My ManicTime Numbers for 2019

We have finally arrived at what I believe to be my final end of year post.  I have nothing else on my list.  So after this it will likely be a return to my more common ramblings and complaints.

I mentioned back in January of 2019 that I was going to track my game time with ManicTime.

The idea came from Endgame Viable and landing as it did right at the end of the year it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try.  And so with every month in review post for 2019 I added a short entry that listed out which games were tracked at what percentage of my play time they represented.

But, of course, I kept all those numbers in a spreadsheet so I could trot out the numbers for the full year once it was done.  And here we are with the list of all the games tracked.

  1. World of Warcraft – 44.49%
  2. EVE Online – 20.22%
  3. EverQuest II – 9.38%
  4. RimWorld – 8.46%
  5. LOTRO – 4.83%
  6. Minecraft – 3.96%
  7. EverQuest – 3.81%
  8. Path of Exile – 0.84%
  9. Dota Underlords – 0.82%
  10. Civilization V – 0.60%
  11. Diablo – 0.46%
  12. Defense Grid – 0.44%
  13. StarCraft – 0.43%
  14. MS Solitaire – 0.33%
  15. New World – 0.31%
  16. Teamfight Tactics – 0.19%
  17. EVE Aether Wars – 0.14%
  18. Combat Mission – 0.10%
  19. Age of Empires 2 – 0.09%
  20. GTA V – 0.08%

That list is pretty easily parsed into two sections.  There are the first seven games, which are measured in full percentage points, and everything else, which are in fractional percentage points.  That, in turn, lines up pretty nicely with this chart from a previous end of year post, where I graphed the games I recorded playing every month in the month in review posts.

2019 games played by month

Yes, that list is slightly different… WoW Classic is its own thing while a couple of the ManicTime measured games are not listed… but basically, the top seven on the list are games I played for more than a single month or so.

  1. World of Warcraft – 44.49%
  2. EVE Online – 20.22%
  3. EverQuest II – 9.38%
  4. RimWorld – 8.46%
  5. LOTRO – 4.83%
  6. Minecraft – 3.96%
  7. EverQuest – 3.81%

So what makes those seven games so special.  That six of the seven are MMORPGs is the most obvious.

World of Warcraft was always going to be a player on that list, but the launch of WoW Classic was what made it a lock for the top spot.  The first couple months I binged a lot on that.  And, as I mentioned in the December month in review, Blizz changed the name of the WoW Classic executable and ManicTime now tracks that independent of retail WoW, so we will get to see how those two diverge in 2020.

EVE Online is the static regular.  It isn’t the monthly top of the list unless there is a war… and, honestly it suffers somewhat from the fact that it is the game I spend the most time tabbed out of and in another window while playing and ManicTime stops the clock when the game isn’t the window of focus… but zKillboard has me recorded for every month of 2019 with a kill mail, though for August the kill mail was me.

EverQuest II is probably the biggest surprise on the list.  I wander back into it every year or so for a bit of time, and expected to again this year due to the 15th anniversary thing.  What I did not expect was to find the stars aligned just right for me to get hooked and lined up to run into a new expansion.  It ought to have been down with EverQuest.  Instead it banked nearly 10% of my play time for the year mostly in the last two months.

LOTRO was kind of the hangover game in the new year.  It was in kind of the EverQuest II position for 2018, where the LOTRO Legacy server thing saw it get a lot of binge play.  However that tapered off as I wrapped up the initial content, and did not pick up when Mines of Moria was unlocked.  It got a bit of time as I poked my nose in now and then to try out things like the new 64–bit client.  But for the  most part things ended when Moria began.

Minecraft saw a burst of activity when Microsoft released a big new update, the Village & Pillage thing.  However, once that wore off, things tapered off and I eventually backed up the world and turned off the Minecraft Realms server.

And then there is EverQuest with just under 4% of my time, which ended up being about 45 hours of play time.  That is more than I thought I might spend with the game.  Despite updates and expansions and all that, it is still a 20 year old title and I have been away from it for so long that it can be tough to find my way when I jump back in.  But I found a path to follow for a bit and got to be around for the anniversary.

Which leaves us with RimWorld, the sole single player game on the list.  How did that happen?

RimWorld is a very good combo of elements that appeal to me.  It isn’t constantly demanding.  You spend time adjusting or setting priorities rather than directly doing things.  It has that compelling “I just want to see what happens next” aspect to it, akin to the “just one more turn” thing that a good Civilization title gives you.  And it is pretty compatible with listening to podcasts or audio books.  Something I pick the game I want to play because I want to listen to something while I am doing it.

The question really is why I didn’t play more RimWorld if it has a feature set that appeals to me.  And the answer to that is “mid-game.”  Just like Civilization and some other titles, eventually you solve your critical problems and your path forward becomes clear and you end up just tuning and adapting a bit and solving little issues and pushing back on random attacks, but things are otherwise so in the bag that you know you’ll get there.

Looking at the numbers so far for 2020, EverQuest II is well ahead of the pack.  It is my current focus title for solo play.  That doesn’t mean it will stay there.  I have a habit of being into it for a stretch, the dropping it to return to WoW.  And WoW Classic is still a thing and the instance group has many dungeons ahead of it in the new year.  The interesting question will be if some new or unexpected title makes it into the full percentage point, multi-month play category for 2020.

But now, one final question.  Did ManicTime alter my game play habits?  This might seem a silly question to some, but it has long been proven that observation and measurement of people’s behavior will change that behavior, and it is something that I felt I needed to bring up at the six month mark of using ManicTime.  I am going to say yes, and unequivocally so, that ManicTime did influence my game choices and play time in some way.  The question is only how much.

I am pretty sure, for example, that my games played list for 2019 is only 20 games deep due to the knowledge in my head that I was tracking and  reporting on games played.  How significant was that I cannot say.  I would guess that the list might have had from two to five more titles on it otherwise.  There are probably a few games I might have launched had something in the back of my head not said, “Do you want to have to write about that in the monthly wrap up?”  I was determined to mention every game tracked early on, though I relented on that as time passed.  But it still sits there in my brain.

On the flip side, I am going to say that GTA V might not have even been launched had I not been measuring.  There may have been some internal mental pressure to get it on the list after having said I bought it during the Steam Summer Sale.  (We’ll see if my buying The Witcher during the Winter sale does the same thing!  I’ve already thought about it.)

So without ManicTime the list might have been as low as 19 or as high as 25 possibly.  And a “made from memory” end of year list might have even been much shorter.  That month to month chart above only has 17 titles from the ManicTime list.

That said, I suspect that the changes would have been confined to the “less than a full percentage point” part of the list.  I can attest to being tracked having made small changes to my behavior, but I doubt it was going to suddenly make me start playing something I didn’t already have a mind to play, nor keep me playing a game that had grown  stale.  I said nice things about RimWorld a couple paragraphs up, but it hasn’t gotten any play time recently.

And so it goes.  Heisenberg was right.  But people will over think so many things that I find it difficult to worry about, even as I over think it.

Black Sheep Done

The true enemy of organizations in null sec are not hostile in your systems, or SBUs on your gates, or bad fleet doctrines.

The real killer is entropy, the slow wasting away of your corporation or alliance or coalition until it is just a shell of its former self.

Me, September 2013

That was some “deep” insight from me after being in null sec for a little less than two years.  Still, it is true enough, and the story of null sec has its share of tales about once mighty groups that wasted away from within then crumbled when the next crises that came along.  And that applies to any gaming group or guild in any game.  If people stop showing up for your party eventually the party is going to get cancelled.

This time it has come around to where I live.  In early December we got a note indicating that our corp, Black Sheep Down, would be closing up shop.

This was not a huge surprise.  We had never been a big group to begin with and never had as an aim to become one.  Our corp, born amongst some guild drama back in 2013, was an off-shoot of the first null sec corp I was in, BSC Legion.  It was actually the same tale of diminishing numbers and flagging participation that led a group to splinter off and form the new corp, Black Sheep Down.  I recorded all of this in a blog post, naturally enough.

EVE Online Black Sheep Down

Not really a logo, but something I threw together

Now, about six years down the road, the wheel has come around and the new corp has run down.

There was no need to rush off.  The corp will linger on in the alliance for a while to allow people to find a place to land and, as such, I stuck about for December.  I noticed that somebody had made me a corp director as part of this, clearly a mistake, and I abused this and spent some time making awards.  I paid for them, and awarded some to the old hands who were still around.  But there were also some SIG things going on in December and I didn’t want to leave until they were done because when you change corps in the Imperium it resets all your memberships and you have to go back and re-apply to everything.

Eventually though I will need a new corp, and with the new year upon us it is probably about time to get started.

There is a default choice.  A corp in TNT with the name Dynamite is acting as something of a consolidation option for some of the smaller groups, including our old corp BSC Legion, which showed back up in TNT after some adventures elsewhere, including a stint in Circle of Two alliance.

That is the easy option, one that maintains the status quo for me.  If I am not too keen on it as an option, it is mostly because I have been a pretty bad corp mate for the last few years.  I mostly fly with the SIGs and squads, and have since Reavers formed up a little over five years ago.  So not only do I not hang out of fly with my corp, I end up mostly playing in a very GSF-centric world.

So perhaps the obvious option would to find a spot in a GSF corporation.  That would solve a few deployment related issues, like stuff being listed on alliance contracts when I am not in that alliance or the ever popular “I linked it in alliance chat.”  I even have a 2008 date on my Something Awful account, so I could try to bluff my way into the inner sanctum of the true Goons that is GoonWaffe.  But I doubt I could pull it off.

Instead KarmaFleet is probably the best option.  They have taken half a dozen people I have thrown their way including SynCaine, Brent from VirginWorlds, and Darren of the old Common Sense Gamer.  I ought to have a chance there, and their participation requirements are low enough that even in the midst of peace time ennui I ought to be able to clear them without feeling pressured.

That would maintain the status quo for me… so long as I can get back into the various SIGs I was in.  I’m in a couple of informal ones that I fell into at one point or another that I will have to figure out.

But the status quo is a bit stale right now.  The Imperium isn’t in any wars and nothing appears to be on the horizon.  The latest “keep the troops happy” initiative involves running about in wormhole space.  Other than that there is homeland defense and the occasional roam.  But war and its relentless tempo is what has kept me going for much of my time in null sec.

So I could pack up all of my stuff, have it shipped to Jita, drop my affiliation with the Imperium, and go find a null sec group that is actually fighting… and who will take me.  Eight years in the CFC/Imperium makes me an unlikely spy, right?  Also, even after all of this time in New Eden and in null sec I am a bit of a scrub with an unimpressive kill board. I swear, if the average FC just shouted “Wilhelm, turn your UI back on!” two or three times during a fleet op they would very likely be correct in suggesting that I was once again “staring out the window” at space and spaceships with the UI hidden.  I just like looking at the game and the ships in flight and the pretty explosions sometimes… which can get in the way of things like putting reps on people.  My bad.  So I would need to find somebody desperate or with a low barrier to entry.

Then, leaving aside my dubious alliance history and lack of demonstrable game skill, who would even be worth joining?  TEST? Pandemic Horde?  Darkness?  Somebody else?  Where is the war at?  Which way to the front?

So something to think about here in the new year.

I do know that if I decide to dump the whole null sec thing I’ll probably just stop playing.  The territorial aspect of null sec, and the histories that have grown up around it, interest me in a way that missions or holiday events or random roams just to shoot strangers in the face completely fail to.

What Would I Like to See in 2020

So far this year I have done predictions and a forecast of my own likely game play pattern for 2020.  It is time for something more upbeat here on the first Monday of the new decade.

The problem is that I am a bit of a pessimist by nature.  I am a product of my environment and have been part of too many rosily optimistic ventures that have been about as well grounded in reality as that of the gnomes in South Park.  Four out of five start ups fail because they cannot satisfactorily answer that second section. If I never hear another exec wave away objections to a vague plan with a quote from Field of Dreams I would be quite happy.

So even in a post predicated in optimism I feel the need to stay somewhat grounded.  No miracles.  No “just be good so you get a million customers” sentiments.  Which, of course, makes this post a tad more difficult.

World of Warcraft

Just make Shadowlands not suck?  I’m already off track.  See, this is going to be difficult.  Hrmm…

Okay, maybe get this whole level squish thing right?  I am warming to the idea of being able to run an alt from 10 to 50 through which ever expansion I choose.  But I also wonder about the itemization and how it might make all those parallel experiences lose any uniqueness when it comes to equipment. Also, I know they said they thought about this, but still make sure the favorite of running old raids is still viable at level cap.  And whatever you do, don’t make mobs scale based on ilevel.  That went so badly in BFA.  You could literally screw over all new players… unless the plan is to force them to buy character boosts, which is something not included with the Shadowlands base expansion.   Please don’t do that either.

Class rework.  Make classes great again or something.  WoW Classic has shown how well simplicity can work.  It was imperfect, but the designers can work from that.  At one point I had seven different classes at level cap.  With BFA only two of them were any fun to play.

WoW Classic

Again, a place where I could go crazy with pie in the sky wishes, like wanting Blizz to develop fresh new content on the WoW Classic platform.  But that just isn’t going to happen, so I have to reign myself in.

Given that, I want a path forward to later expansions.  I don’t know how Blizz is going to do it, but if five years down the road there are not classic experiences availabe for The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, I will be angry.  That is the Cornetto Trilogy of WoW.

What the best path forward will be remains to be seen.  Separate fresh start expansion servers?  Transfers off of WoW Classic to expansions?  Expand WoW Classic into the new content?  No matter which way they go somebody will be pissed off.  And I suspect that Blizz will end up needing to create a version of the client for each era, which will no doubt lead to them bitching about having to keep a total of four clients up to date.  But this is a gold mine and will pay for itself if worked correctly.

EVE Online

All I want is vision.  Of course when CCP is talking about vision we complain about all the little broken things they ignore, and when they work on tactical items like balance and all the little broken things we go on about a lack of vision.

That said, I still think the lack of a longer term vision for the game is hurting EVE Online.  As I have opined before, people who like space games tend to be the type of people who get caught up in vision and the promise of the future.  Making sure the NPE doesn’t drive people away is a good goal, but it doesn’t spark any sense of adventure or wonder at the possibilities.  As lame as player made star gates ended up being, just the idea of them and what they might be was probably worth something.  We need a vision.  And visions are cheap, though it does help if one goes with a vision that has some grounding in the possible.

EverQuest

There are so many things I would like to see done with EverQuest, not the least of which is a redone modern client.  I would happily take all the old content, doled out in annual increments, named EverQuest III or whatever, if they could just throw together a client that ran even half as smoothly as WoW Classic.  That is probably too much to wish for, but if somebody like Pearl Abyss bought the Norrath part of Daybreak… hell, I’d take a Black Desert Online looking version of EverQuest too.

More in reality-ville, I honestly think the best I can hope for is ongoing annual expansions and maybe a new special server now and then.  Oh, and a heroic insta-level character boost that goes higher than level 85.

EverQuest II

The other Norrath franchise is strange because it is both crazy insular and focused on its core audience while being, at times, deeper than the ocean.  And the team is still not afraid to try new things every expansion.

So while my main wish might be a more comprehensible game… I don’t know how, as a new player wandering in off the street, how you even get started in such a way as to make the game stick… part of its charm at this point is its level of incomprehensibility.  I write what might seem like angry posts about the crazy level of effort that sometimes goes into getting things done, but that is what keeps me engaged.  However, I have no idea how somebody gets the wiki together.  I look at the flow of some of the signature quests and wonder how long it took to figure out some of those steps.  It still struggles from all the same problems, like too much old, outdated, and opaque content, odd, confusing, and sometimes archaic mechanisms to guide you places, the strange focus on the potency stat over all others, and way way too many skills.

With all those problems I cannot come up with an simple or realistic change.  I mean, I kind of want a Station Cash sale, but I am pretty sure there are still burnt fingers in accounting from that.

So I guess my wish here is to keep on being weird?

Lord of the Rings Online

Even more than the Daybreak team, Standing Stone Games feels like a group that doesn’t have a lot of slack for ambitious projects that won’t either bring in money, like an expansion, or that are required to keep the game viable going forward, like a 64-bit client.  So asking for a better patching mechanism to replace that “let me inventory all your files on the fly then go grab the files I need and copy them over one by one” isn’t going to make it.

Neither is some of the new content I might like.  One of the oppressive aspects of the MMORPG genre is the “moving ever forward” aspect of it.  So we’re never going to get, say, an alternate leveling path that would bypass Siege of Mirkwood.  Wouldn’t I love that?

So down in reality-ville, maybe fix the legendary weapon system?  That is a serious mill stone around the neck of the game, an awkward, demanding, do I really need to go back to a settlement and reforge this piece of crap again mechanic that they should have let go of when we passed out of Moria.

That, however, probably won’t be enough to get me to go back and play.  So maybe a special rules server?  I realize that one of my predictions this year was that SSG would go that route and do it badly.  But that doesn’t mean I cannot wish they would come up with something fun and new and interesting.

The MMORPG Genre

I realize that, as somebody whose wish list so far is made up of a set of games, the newest of which launched in 2007, I am not your ideal customer.  Or I am exactly your ideal customer as I will clearly become invested in your game and stick with it long term.

If the former is true, stop copying the games I already play and do something new that will attract a different target audience.  I’ve made it pretty clear with my dollar votes that I am not going to run off to play your game due to the graphics being 43% better or the elves being 19% sluttier.

If the latter is true… well… same story I guess.  Why would I put in the work to get invested in your new version of WoW if you are mostly retreading the old version with some minor variations?  Again something new.

Of course, the problem is that anything really new likely won’t fit nicely into my internal definition of what an MMORPG is or should be.  So, really, I have nothing here.  But I felt I needed to explain why.

Steam

Just curate.  You know you want to.  You’re effectively doing it already.  Just admit that there is, in fact, some bar a title needs to clear in order to find a space in your store.

I get it.  I get that having the biggest pile of games is a marketing point.  But I could illustrating the 2008 mortgage lending crisis of the with Steam.  It started out with quality, but then over time, to keep things going, it became necessary to mix in a lot of low value shit that kind of ruined it for a lot of people… like indy devs with actual quality titles who haven’t a hope in hell of getting noticed.

Honestly, I think the biggest rock that the Epic Store could throw at you is that your service is ten pounds of shit stuffed into a five pound bag.  It is hard to navigate and filled with things people don’t care about.  And once Epic gets a store that worth being something beyond second place, they might go there.  Steam is safe for the moment because Epic doesn’t have the critical mass to be anybody’s exclusive.  Steam is the only place you can have almost everything you want.  They even got EA and Microsoft to bend to their will and admit last year that they need Steam.

So Epic is trying to poach exclusives to make themselves matter until they can get a quality critical mass.  At that point they can start talking about what a huge pile of garbage Steam is.  Yes, I know EA tried that back when they introduced Origin, saying that they would be the Nordstrom to Steam’s Target.  But EA is rampant capitalism dressed up as a video game company and couldn’t back up their words.

Others

I tend to ignore pretty much everything else in gaming, unless it becomes a meme or so popular that it is getting a lot of press.  So maybe something that would distract for my MMORPG obsession for a bit?

Anyway, we will see what the year brings.

My Year in EVE Online

CCP did a cool end of year thing in that they produced videos for players that summed up their activities in 2019 in EVE Online.  This ended up with them rendering 214,713 videos for players, links to which they sent out via email.  I had such an email show up right away.

The video opening

The videos follow a set template, as one would expect, only diverging towards the end depending on whether you spent your time mostly doing PvP, PvE, or industry.  You can see my video here.

They allow you to download an .mp4 of your video, so I did that and then uploaded it to YouTube as the server hosting the videos for CCP appeared to be under a lot of stress.  Also, who knows how long they will keep it around.

My stats from the video:

  • 2,381 Jumps
  • 7,771 Warps
  • 812 Systems Visited
  • 245 Market Transactions
  • Most sold item: Scordite
  • 38,266,092 Skill Points Gained
  • On 258 Kill Mails
  • Most Killed Pilot: Logistician4
  • Most Killed by: Kilo181
  • Podded 8 Times

That doesn’t mark me as a stand out in any way, unless you consider that I mostly fly logi.  Getting on 258 kill mails means I am a bad logi pilot, with combat rather than repair drones in my hold.

Some of this is amusing.  My most sold item was Scrodite, which considering I did very little mining in 2019, and none on my main, is odd.

That isn’t even all that much Scordite really

I suspect I found some stashed away in a high sec station and sold it as we were flying by.  I do that on ops that go through high sec, check local stations to see if I have anything sitting then and then try to sell it quickly, before we move out of the region or my order range.

The most killed pilot looks to be an alt that somebody used to drop warp disruption bubbles in Delve.  I was there to help clean that up I guess.

The pilot who was on the more of my kill mails than any other is in Elitist Ops, which was in PanFam when we were mucking around in Geminate and then in Snuffed Out when Liberty Squad when up to play with them.  I only lost 18 ships/pods/deployables in 2019, so he was on four of my kill mails tops.

I was trying to figure out exactly which 9 alts were being counted with Wilhelm.  I certainly have more than 9 characters across multiple accounts.

This being a CCP venture, there was, of course, a dev blog to explain how videos were compiled.  The base criteria to get a video was:

  • Active Omega subscription at some point in 2019.
  • Omega time per email had to be greater than or equal to 30 days, for all users belonging to an email combined. Active playing time per email had to be greater than or equal to 25 hours, for all users and characters belonging to an email combined. That is log on, non-AFK hours.
  • Only valid emails were included, for instance, several Steam users had not verified their emails through our Account Management Site, and these were removed as no emails are associated with their accounts.
  • Stats were not collected for characters deleted this year.
  • Banned users were excluded.
  • Unsubscribed emails were excluded.
  • Players that did not have adequate activity to be categorized were excluded.

That email address seemed to be the key made me go dig through a few other accounts.  Back in the day I used to keep different accounts as isolated as possible, with different email addresses and payment methods.  And, sure enough, my main alt got his own video.

That video is clearly just for the one account.  Sel also had a PvP year.

Then I found another video for an account that I had kept active for cynos.

I think his usage was largely theoretical, given the stats.  I did, however, roll him out for the events where you killed some NPCs to get skill points.  I put him in a Venture and would stick him in a belt on some Veldspar with combat drones out until he zapped enough belt rats.  That explains why he got the industry path for his year.  I’m a surprised he made the minimum level to be counted, but I guess that bar was pretty low.

That totaled up to 15 total mains and alt, which seems about right to me.

As silly as bits of those are… I am a poor representative for these stats… it was pretty neat for CCP to go do this.

If you want to see more such videos, a lot of them were linked on Twitter using the hash tag.