Category Archives: EVE Online

My Time on Twitch in 2020

I thought I might be done with “2020 in Review” by this point, but then Twitch threw an email at me with a summary of my time spent on their service.  Hey, I love that sort of thing, so I am going to post about that.  (Also, showing up on January 15th means it probably includes all of 2020 and doesn’t cut off at December 1st like some other year in review items I could mention.)

Twitch is Twitch

I was actually a bit surprised as I don’t stream or anything, but apparently being a Twitch user… and an Amazon Prime user I’m going to guess… was enough for them to want to collect some stats for me.

The first item they covered was which video categories I watch the most.

My Top 3

EVE Online being on top is no surprise.  I am not sure I watch anything else on Twitch.  Music, in second place, is pretty much related to EVE Online since I will listen to the Mind1 stream during Saturday Night Swarm, even if I am not logged into the game.

Assassin’s Creed II however… I have to think I left an EVE Online stream up in the background and it then swapped over to that, as I have no recollection of ever watching any Assassin’s Creed streams.

The channels I frequent

I had to consider that one for a moment because, while I probably watch INN more than any other channel, that seemed like a lot.  The Meta Show is the only thing I watch regularly there, and I watch maybe half of those tops.  But then I realized that in big fights I often have INN open in the background to listen to Brisc tell me what I am seeing on grid… or not… sometimes I have it on with the sound off if things are happening.  But there were a lot of hours of that as part of World War Bee, so it seems legit.

And then they gave me a little recap graphic.

My 2020 Twitch Recap

I don’t even know what channel points are, but I apparently earned about 25K of them.  Also, those are my most used emotes, which seems about right.  I support the side now and then in chat by throwing in some Imperium eagles, usually with Frank in the middle.

So it goes.  You can see what I do on Twitch for what it is worth.

Life on the M2 Hell Camp

Feed us PAPs and hostile caps and we’ll keep logging in!

-Motto of the M2 hell camp

I’ve spent quite a bit of time of late in the hell camp in M2-XFE, sitting in my Rokh, waiting for a target to appear.

My Permaband Rokh on tether in the bubbles

“Camping” is a pretty common term in MMORPGs.  I was camping spawns back in TorilMUD before EverQuest was even a twinkle in John Smedley’s eye.  You sit and you wait for a mob to spawn or otherwise show up, and then you kill it.  And then you do it again… and again.. and again… until you get your fill or your rare drop or whatever.  It has its variations.  In PvP you can camp the respawn point in a battleground or the objective the enemy is trying to reach.

A “Hell Camp” on the other hand might be a special EVE Online term.  I haven’t run into it anywhere else.

A “Hell Camp” is an operation when you have an enemy or a hostile fleet or the like trapped, in a station or logged out in space, in a known location and you set up to camp them from down time to down time, every day, for as long as it takes, until they either try to break out or they offer terms you can accept to let them go.

Many a hell camp has been called, but sustaining them is difficult.  You really have to have the hostiles pinned down for it to be effective and you must field a force capable of sustaining the camp.  Attempts to hell camp the Imperium into the Quafe Factory Warehouse station in Saranen during the Casino War were largely ineffective.  We had enough people that we came and went when we wanted.  And, in the end, packed up and left for Delve without much hindrance.

Likewise, at one point Guardians of the Galaxy declared they were going to hell camp Reavers into a station in ROIR-Y during a deployment.  That lasted less than a week before they wandered off and let us be.  Such a camp isn’t a lot of fun over an extended period of time.

Which leads us to the camp in M2-XFE, where 337 334 titans sit trapped, along with scores of smaller capital ships, the remains for the fights over the Keepstar armor and hull timers.

That is a lot of titans.  Progodlegend said that PAPI was bringing one thousand titans to attack Delve, so that is about a third of what they promised.  Add in about 200 more destroyed in both battles and afterwards and we’ve trimmed their titan fleet by half… if we can keep a hold on the 334 that are logged out.

The Mittani has said that this camp is the most important thing for us in the war right now.  We’ve given up the Helm’s Deep camp and moved carriers and supercarriers to the M2-XFE Keepstar to sit with fighters out, ready to grab anybody who logs in.  We also cleared out hostile structures and deployed multiple additional Fortizars around the camp grid.

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid – Now featuring more Fortizars

How long will this last?

We’ve been at it for two weeks now and the camp shows no sign of slackening.  There is always a full fleet worth of ships on when I join, and an overflow fleet with 50-150 more hanging about, putting a sizable force on call around the clock.

It is helpful that being on the camp doesn’t demand much attention.  On my big monitor I have EVE Online open, full screen, in the background and then something else I am working on… like this blog post… in the foreground with just the overview and fleet history from the game displayed on the right side of the monitor.

That is enough.

My overview tab is set to show nothing save hostiles, so somebody logging in or showing up attracts the eye immediately.  I haven’t missed anything that has shown up in range of my guns, save for the interceptors that occasionally show up to try and pop bubbles.

A Nagalfar provides a momentary target for us

You can sit on coms and chat.  There is a channel just for the camp.  I prefer to do other things and wait for the overview to alert me to action.

It is nice that we get PAP links, marking our participation.  (I covered PAP links in another post a while back.)  But even those reach a level of absurdity when you get one every three hours for being logged on in the camp.

The fact that PAPI forces keep logging on trapped ships is probably the biggest thing keeping people active in the camp.  At this point I am sure PAPI knows the situation and has communicated it as far and wide as they are able, but people make mistakes.  Somebody logged their titan in too soon before downtime… they have been logging in just before downtime to recharge capacitor… and ended up getting blow up.  And there have been a few where I suspect that they clicked on the wrong character by mistake at the login screen… I’ve done that a few times… and then their stuck riding the warp back into the bubbles and sure destruction.

Every kill revitalizes those in the camp.

But there is also, as part of the Goon identity, the idea that we’ll do something like this for as long as it take, far longer than any other group in the game would, just out of sheer stubbornness and desire to prove that we can.  So the camp goes on.

Which doesn’t mean the war has stopped elsewhere.  The week has seen a bunch of subcap battles over ihubs and timers both in Delve and in Catch.  The fighting surges back and forth and billions in ships are still being blown up.  I’ve been on some of those this week.

But the camp remains, uninterrupted, waiting for the hostiles to attempt a break out.

Quantum Cores Now Required in Upwell Structures

Today is the day that Quantum Cores are required for all Upwell structures that provide tethering.

There is 100 billion ISK in cores

Quantum Cores were introduced in a Dev Blog back in September of 2020 and the cores themselves were seeded into the game as part of a patch that month.

The schedule for their deployment to the game was

  • Seeding – September 8, 2020
  • Required for new structures – October 13, 2020
  • Required for existing structures – January 12, 2021

Now that the final date has passed, any currently deployed Upwell structure without a Quantum Core will face the following restrictions:

  • The structure will not provide any tethering support to nearby ships.
  • The ship fitting service will be unavailable to any ships docked within the structure.
  • The ship/module repair service will be unavailable to any ships docked within the structure.

In addition, any NEW structure that is deployed as of this date without a Quantum Core installed will remain in the onlining vulnerable stage where the hull HP layer is exposed and the structure is vulnerable to destruction.

So structures already out there will still require the usual pass through the armor and hull timers.  My mention of a possible new “happy time” of destruction yesterday was incorrect.

The idea behind Quantum Cores was to curtail some of the structure spam in New Eden… again… by making Upwell structures more expensive and awkward to deploy as well as providing an incentive for people to blow them up.

The first two come with the price and size of the cores, which have to be purchased and transported to the structure being deployed.

The Quantum Core Menu

Those prices inflate the cost of deploying structures significantly.  An Astrahus can be had for about 800 million ISK in Jita and a Raitaru just under 400 million.  And the high end, a Sotiyo is about 22 billion ISK in Jita (nobody sells Keepstars it seems) and the core adds another 10 billion on top of that.

The need to buy cores was part of the reason why the Imperium issued war bonds at the end of last year; there was a spike in our liquid ISK requirements.  Likewise, I mentioned that TEST was pulling down some structures in order to avoid having to spend the ISK to core them.  So they are having an impact of sorts.

As for the incentive, when you kill a structure the core drops 100% of the time and can be sold back to the NPC vendor for the full price it cost to buy, so there is a 600 million ISK incentive to blow up an Astrahus and 30 billion ISK incentive for a Keepstar.

A tidy sum if you can collect.

As for whether things will go as CCP plans, we shall see.  I am pretty sure people blow up structures already just for the joy and the kill mail.  And I know that making deploying a structure more expensive and awkward to deploy will keep some people from bothering.

But when I looked out on the array of structures in 1DQ1-A this morning on the main Keepstar grid and didn’t see a single one with the “CORE ABSENT” status, so if somebody was hoping the Imperium would be unanchoring structures they might be a bit disappointed.

27 Weeks of World War Bee

The past week saw both sides adjusting to the new reality after the battles over the Keepstar in M2-XFE.  The Imperium has used their momentary advantage in morale to take back ihubs.

On the PAPI side, Progodlegend issued what has been called the “Dunkirk” update in which includes a mea culpa about knowing that jumping into the second fight at M2-XFE was a bad idea but that nobody wanted to be the person who called it off.  Also in the update:

  • Shifting to a “much simpler and much more fun game plan”
  • Breakout plan for trapped capitals under way
  • Titans lost at the fight will be reimbursed; may need to go to third parties for hulls
  • May issue war bonds to cover mounting costs

It has been reported that TEST is unanchoring some structures to avoid having to pay for quantum cores, the theory being that they can pay for SRP or pay for cores, but not both.  Critiques of the prosecution of the war have been rife, with Vily even being compare to George McClellan.  Certainly this past week did give PAPI a taste of the Seven Days Battles of the Peninsula campaign.

On the Imperium side, the M2-XFE system has been camped from downtime to downtime since the first fight and there are usually two fleets running because one is inevitably full.  Camping that space has become a priority as there are said to be 337 titans logged off in the bubbles under the Imperium Keepstar.  Some Imperium members have been offering to buy trapped ships, which led to at least one Wyvern logging and getting blown up.

On the weekly fireside chat Saturday The Mittani urged us all to man the M2-XFE camp as it is our key threat to PAPI assets at the moment.  When asked about negotiations, he did say that he would offer a golden ticket out of the trap to any single alliance that offered the best terms.  While he did not expect anybody would take the offer, he did explicitly exclude TEST from it as they are the ones who sowed the seeds of war and who thus must reap the whirlwind.  TEST is estimated to have more than 90 titans trapped in M2-XFE.

And then, on the finance front, the first series of Imperium war bonds has been sold out.

Delve Front

While Delve has been the primary focus of the war for week, these past ten days have pulled most everybody away from the secondary fronts.  The Imperium has setup a downtime to downtime camp, complete with bubbles, around the M2-XFE Keepstar.

In furtherance of this, the Imperium blew up the Fortizar PAPI had setup on the Keepstar grid to act as a staging point for attacks.

The PAPI Keepstar begins to explode

In its place the Imperium dropped its own Fortizar just in case any supers or titans managed to log off on tether.  PAPI defense of the Fortizar was limited to a small group of interceptors there to harass the attackers.

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid

Those bubbles groups are:

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid – Annotated

The primary trap is where the titans from the first battle have (mostly) remained logged off since downtime on Dec. 31, 2020.  The secondary trap is the point where PAPI titans, supers, and other capitals jumped in for the second battle, the location of some “ghost” titans.

Maintaining that camp has been declared the coalition’s highest priority due to the estimated 337 titans trapped in the system.  Jay Amazingness has been named the Bubble Czar to make sure that we have correct coverage of the areas where hostile ships are logged off.

The camp itself continues to feed people kills, which helps keep it going.  I have been on enough to have caught a titan and a few faxes.  Every so often somebody will log on… either by accident or in futile hope… and they get blown up.  There have even been some ghost titan kills, which means that not all the empty fit titans that were blown up during the second fight were moved back to their starting point.

You only die twice

PAPI sends interceptors and other small ships out to attack the anchored bubbles now and then, which also feeds the camp and keeps it engaged.  Give us PAPs and some kills and apparently we’ll sit logged in all day every day.

PAPI was in a funk early in the week and the Imperium used that time to work on some of its own problems in Delve.

Delve – Jan. 10, 2021

The Imperium started by taking back all of the ihubs in the NJU-QV constellation, which includes M2-XFE and is the route into the Fountain region.  The ihub blitz carried on and flipped more than a dozen ihubs, about half of which were systems containing Keepstars.  The systems hit were:

  • KEE-N6
  • M2-XFE
  • 5-CQDA
  • I-E3TG
  • ZXB-VC
  • S-6HHN
  • 4X0-8B
  • 23G-XC
  • D-W7F0
  • SVM-3K
  • 6Q-R50
  • UEXO-Z
  • 9O-8W1
  • 1-2J4P

Towards the end of the week PAPI started putting up a stiff resistance, and the struggle over the D-W7F0 ihub was a long fight. By the weekend the invaders were able to field enough pilots to keep the Imperium from flipping the 1-SMEB and M5-CGW ihubs.

Catch Front

The aftermath of the fights in Delve relegated the Catch front to a distant second over the last week, which was probably fine with Brave.

Catch – Jan. 10, 2021

The Watchmen space continues to remain empty and the two metaliminal storms in the region both seem to be making their way towards Delve as if they want to join up with the storm already there.

The one bit of influence the region has was when The Initiative reinforced a TEST Keepstar down to the final timer, which required Legacy to show up and make sure it did not get blown up, something that coincided with an ihub contest in Delve.  There was also a fight over the ihub in FAT-6P, a system on the Legacy Ansiblex jump gate network that went to the Imperium, disrupting their travel infrastructure, though Legacy regained the ihub to restart the time until they can use the system again.

Other Theaters

Even more so that Catch, Querious was very much a backwater after the events of the last week or so.  Some small changes, but not a hot spot.

Querious – Jan. 10, 2021

While the Imperium has been focused on Delve, northwest Esoteria remains a camp in the middle of Legacy space and a spot from which to launch attacks.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan. 10, 2021

And over in Fountain The French ConneXion has picked up a couple of ihubs that were sitting empty.  I do not know if this is the start of something, but the two systems the grabbed would make for a nice Ansiblex jump gate conneXion.

My Participation

While the ihub struggles tend to be in EUTZ I managed to get into fleets that help turn the NJU-QV constellation and was there for the see-saw struggle over the D-W7F0 ihub.  I was also around for the destruction of the PAPI Fortizar in M2-XFE.  And then there has been the camp in M2-XFE, which is something I can log into and put in the background so that just my overview and the fleet window are poking out behind whatever I am working on.  If a target pops up I can click over and shoot.

That was all fairly low key and I did not end up losing any ships over the course of the week, so my loss count remains:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

Just a bit of New Eden war trivia, but I was out on an op and saw a vaguely familiar name pop up in fleet chat.

Haargoth Agamar returns to the game

Haargoth Agamar was the player who, close to 12 years ago now, disbanded Band of Brothers back during the Great War, one of the great moments in EVE Online.  World War Bee has brought back a lot of old names and we can add one more to the list.

Meanwhile, CCP has been doing their usual bang up job when it comes to presenting a coherent message to the user base.  While they’ve spent the last year nerfing the ability to earn ISK in game, they still want to push wealth as an objective in the New Eden.

Get Wealthy!

As you can imagine, this has irked a few people.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)

And, finally, the requirement to have quantum cores in all structures hits this coming week.  Quantum cores were introduced with the September update and, since October, new structures have required them.  January 12th is the date that all structures will need them or ship fitting, tethering, and ship/module repair services will be disabled.  Without a core structures will also be vulnerable to immediate destruction.  No timers or return trips will be required.  I expect this will be another “happy time” for Upwell destruction.

Related

My Games Played for 2020 and Looking Forward into 2021

I am a little behind on my usual end of year posts with this.  Generally I have a wrap up and a looking forward post at some point in late December… but then I found a bunch of other things to write about.  I was only reminded of it when Belghast posted his charts.

2020 banner by my daughter

There is a history here, as there is with so much on this blog.  It started with something akin to goals, a list of games I wanted to play, often very specific games.  Then it became games I was likely to play.  Then it turned into something like a long term weather forecast with some easy calls (it will be warm in the summer) and some possibilities.

And so it was that I wrote a post way back when about what I might play in 2020.

The list was broken up into several categories:

The Sure Things

  • WoW Classic
  • EVE Online
  • EverQuest II

The Likely Candidates

  • WoW Shadowlands
  • RimWorld

Possibilities

  • Civilization V
  • Stellaris
  • World of Tanks
  • Minecraft
  • The Witcher

The Long Shots

  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • EverQuest
  • Diablo III
  • Elite: Dangerous
  • New World

I Should Make Time

  • Project: Gorgon
  • Grim Dawn

So, now that the year has gone by, what did I actually play?  ManicTime has some numbers for me.  I am only listing the top ten because after that the times drop down to mere minutes played.

  1. WoW Classic – 33.33%
  2. EVE Online – 32.69%
  3. World of Warcraft – 14.02%
  4. EverQuest II – 6.03%
  5. Minecraft – 5.25%
  6. EverQuest – 2.16%
  7. RimWorld – 2.08%
  8. Diablo II – 2.02%
  9. Pokemon Sword – 1.24%
  10. Minecraft Dungeons – 0.75%

At the top is a close race between WoW Classic and EVE Online, with a gap smaller than ten hours played total between them.  I guess Azeroth wins over New Eden overall, since retail WoW is in third place.  Everything else shakes out from there.

As has become the custom of the neighborhood, I have a chart.

2020 games timeline

At the top are WoW Classic and EVE Online, both of which I played throughout the year.  I also put Pokemon Go on the chart.  It isn’t tracked by ManicTime, being on my phone, but I played every day in 2020.

Technically, looking at my times, I also played retail WoW every month, but there were months where that did not represent a significant investment.  I have made those months where I pretty much just did Darkmoon Faire and some pet battles as a narrow streak.  And once the level squish came and then the Shadowlands expansion launched, I spent quite a bit of time there.

EverQuest II and Minecraft had their runs.  The former was me finishing up the Blood of Luclin expansion to the extent I felt I needed to, and Minecraft was a bit of a pandemic diversion setup by Skonk.  I played a bit of EverQuest after the anniversary gave us another heroic character boost, though I ended up mostly tinkering with the Overseer feature.

RimWorld had an update that I wanted to try out.  That was good for a bit of a run, though like so many build and conquer games, it suffers from the mid-game malaise once you get your base setup well enough.

I had a great run through Diablo II to celebrate its 20 years.  The game still lives up to its legend, though I would like it to run at a resolution higher than 800×600.

I received a Nintendo Switch Lite for my birthday with a copy of Pokemon Sword, which I played for a stretch.  I just wasn’t that into it.  For a Pokemon game to grab me I have to be in the right mood and have a real goal.  I couldn’t quite get either this time around.

And then there was Minecraft Dungeons, which is a serviceable and solid but shallow ARPG whose main attraction is being set in the Minecraft IP.  I played through the story, but it doesn’t have a lot of replay value save to boost up stats so you can face harder monsters that drop gear that let you boost up your stats further.

So that was 2020.  What of 2021?

As with last year, there are some sure things this year, games I am actively playing right now so that has already been decided.  They are:

  • WoW Classic
  • EVE Online
  • Retail WoW

And, given the news, we can add one slight variation to that list:

  • WoW The Burning Crusade Classic

After that, however, the future is a bit fuzzy, and part of the problem is hardware related.

As I wrote about last year, I have a 34″ 3440 x 1440 wide screen monitor now, and I love playing games on it full screen.  But not every game I have plays nice with it.  The three titles I am playing now all happen to work great with it, but others struggle and have issues or won’t run at all.  I actually tried to play Grim Dawn, which was on my “should make time” list for 2020, but it was not having it at all.  It would not even launch correctly with the new monitor hooked up.

And there is a further constraint, which is my video card.  I currently have a EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB card and, given the price of college and my wife being somewhat under-employed for the last year, spending a few hundred bucks on a new one is way down the priority list right now.  So whatever I play needs to work on the big screen with that video card.  WoW Classic and retail WoW both manage very well, with a few settings dialed back a bit, and EVE Online works like a champ, all settings maxed out, save for fights where the ships on grid get past the 2,500 mark.

But most newer games require a lot more horsepower to drive all those pixels.  There is no way I am getting something like Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption II or Black Desert Online or anything like that to run well.

Meanwhile, a lot of older stuff is a bit shaky.  As I wrote back when I got the monitor, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and LOTRO all sort of work, but have some issues, while Minecraft gives me motion sickness on the wide screen unless I dial back the field of view so far that I might as well just play it on my phone.

First world problems, I know.

Another angle is strategy games.  Things like RimWorld not only run fine, but the large screen improves the experience.  Maybe it is time for a bit of Civilzation V again. (I’m, betting Civ VI has too much going on visually to work with my video card at that resolution.  It is the way.)  Maybe I’ll pick up World of Tanks again when I need something fresh.

Of course, the lack of desire for something fresh is part of the problem as well.  I’ve been kind of okay playing the same stuff all year.  We shall see how I feel in 2021.

World War Bee Six Month Review

Time to sum up the story so far, if only to organize what I have written.

Munnins and Ishtars together in EI-O0O

The war officially started on July 5th with the end of the non-invasion pact between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition.  But nothing like that just happens on a single day.  The roots of the war go back much further and various points have been pointed to as where things began to head towards the state of affairs today.

I am not going to go down that rabbit hole.  Instead, I am picking as the start of things, the date when it became public that Vily and Legacy Coalition had been working PandaFam to attack the Imperium.  That extends the timeline by a couple weeks, but that was when things started moving… and when I started writing about the war and tagging it as such

Below is my post journey through the war so far in headline form.  This includes some events outside the war zone that involved the involved parties.  Each link goes out to the post named naturally, and often the headline is sufficient to tell you what to expect.  But somehow… and this was entirely unplanned… I ended up writing a weekly summary post.  For those posts I have added a few sub bullets to hit on the topics mentioned beyond just the state of the fighting.

And that is where we sit some six or so months into the war, with 71 posts documenting the path I’ve taken.  The battles over the M2-XFE Keepstar has given the Imperium some breathing room to push back on the invaders, but the war is still in Delve and PAPI still has a Keepstar one gate over from our capital.  There is much left to do.

Related:

The Imperium Retakes the NJU-QV Constellation in Delve

The likelihood of a another fight soon over the Keepstar in M2-XFE diminished greatly last night when the Imperium flipped the ihubs in the entire NJU-QV constellation which includes that system.  Shortly after the second fight that saw PAPI forces face a lopsided loss when the server was unable to handle their forces attempting to jump in after the Imperium had setup more than 4,000 ships on Keepstar to defend it, Imperium pilots went out and reinforced the ihubs in the constellation.  The timers came up last night.

The Delve NJU-QV constellation in green

The Imperium, motivated by PAPI’s misfortune, formed up four fleets and a large number of entosis ships to contest the timers.  PAPI was reported to have assembled a force capable of contesting the timers, but stood down rather than do so.  As the evening progressed, one ihub after another fell until the constellation was back in Imperium hands.

The Delve NJU-QV constellation restored to Imperium control

Much was made of the taking of the NJU-QV constellation previously, as it cut the Imperium off from the Fountain region and was to serve as the springboard of PandaFam’s re-invasion of that region.  The latter petered out, but there were still multiple Imperium Keepstars in the constellation that faced the threat of destruction once PAPI waited out the 35 timer and was able to deploy cyno jammers to keep the Imperium from jumping in when the Keepstars were contested.  However, that went astray when a newbie Imperium pilot reportedly kept shooting the cyno jammer.  Per Asher Elias:

You may not know this but the M2 ihub jammer was stopped by a couple month old :shobon: newbee shooting the jammer to pause it. This new player is directly responsible for nearly 300 dead enemy titans. Every ship counts.

That led to a bit of classic Goonswarm propaganda being updated yet again.

Every Ship Counts

That opened a hole that allowed the Imperium to kill their cyno jammers and deploy three of their own.  While the Imperium could not jam the system, the cyno jammer mechanic only allows three to be deployed in a single system, so we had a flash of the old “defensive SBU” tactic of the Dominion sovereignty days, which helped the Imperium to get setup on the Keepstar for the second fight.

Meanwhile, the Keepstar grid in M2-XFE remains bubbled and camped by Imperium forces eager to get in on another super or titan kill.  I lucked in on an Avatar kill when a FinFleet pilot decided to risk it and log in.  Chance was not with them.

The Keepstar camp gets another kill

Despite a persistent PAPI claim that all the supers and titans from the second fight either died or where ghost kills and restored to the T5ZI-S Keepstar, bubbles and dictors have been deployed above the Keepstar as well as below it.  And the upper bubbles have yielded some kills.  I watched a Nyx that managed to log out during the second fight get warped right back to its logout spot in the midst of all those bubbles, where it too was blown up.

The Nyx in its final moments

Some half-hearted attempts have been made to try and free the trapped capital ships left behind after both fights, but the promise of more kills has kept the camp strong so far and any form up by the hostiles has been met by a counter-form by the Imperium.

For the moment the Imperium has been able to check PAPI’s momentum in Delve.  But that does not preclude them being able to get their act together again and continue their onslaught.  The war isn’t over yet.

26 Weeks of World War Bee

Here we are on the first Monday of the new year.  A lot of us are back at work.

And the war?

The war is now at about the six month mark.  That is a long time for continuous operations.  The great war lasted for three years, but was a series of intense periods of fighting broken up by quiet periods where both sides rebuilt.  We’re still fighting and have reached levels of destruction never before seen in New Eden.

I was worried that the week between Christmas and New Years would be quiet, so had a couple of small items to hand to fill out this opening section of the weekly post, like the fact that Asher Elias, 23rd best FC in the Imperium, is now at the top of the kill mail list for Goonswarm Federation Alliance.

Asher in first position

He passed Bratok Srayona, a pilot nobody could really recall, and who was active between February 2012 and August 2017.  They apparently went on a lot of fleets and got on a lot of kill mails.  He was the epic line member of the alliance in his time.   I must have flown with him, looking at some of his kills, but never knew him.

Then there was the fact that the Imperium began issuing war bonds to support the fight.  This has been viewed by PAPI as a sign of weakness, a last desperate attempt to stay in the fight, a sign that we were on the brink.  But it raised more than a trillion ISK in the first hours of issue, so it will sustain us for a bit.  One billion ISK will buy you one bond with a return rate of 10% per year, with payments due on the first of the month.  That one bond will earn you about 8.33 million ISK every time the first rolls around. [edit: changed from 8.4 to 8.33 million ISK]

But all of that was eclipsed by the battles over the Keepstar in M2-XFE where, during the armor and hull timer fights, the two sides may have destroyed more than 300 titans. (~250 for the first fight and maybe as few as 50 or as many as 170 for the second.)  CCP is going to have to do a dev blog to give us an official count because, unlike the presidential election, there are actually some irregularities in play here.

No matter what though, trillions of ISK went up in flames as the Imperium and PAPI clashed in the battles that so many were hoping for.  It was an epic week in New Eden.  The Monthly Economic Reports for December and January are going to be interesting.

There was also a monthly loss report put together for December.

Most expensive losses

This includes the titans from the first M2-XFE fight, but not the second.  The balance of loss remains fairly close, with the Imperium losing 16.5 trillion ISK to PAPI’s 15.9 trillion.  For January though, PAPI might already be close to 10 trillion ISK in the hole.  And there are, as of this writing, still a significant number of PAPI capital ships logged off on the Keepstar grid in M2-XFE that are being camped around the clock by Imperium forces, so there may be some more losses when PAPI makes a serious break out attempt.

Delve Front

Titans exploded in huge numbers in M2-XFE, a system previously of no particular consequence that has now entered the realm of legends.  There are a number of articles specifically about that event and, rather than retelling the tale here, I will link to them specifically at the end of this post.

With much of the week spent focused on the Keepstar in M2-XFE, the map did not change dramatically.

Delve – Jan. 3, 2021

A few ihubs changed hands, the most important likely being the one in PUIG-F, where an Imperium Keepstar is anchored.  Taking that ihub back reset the 35 day clock on PAPI being able to install cyno jammers and reduce the structure without the Imperium being able to drop supers and titans to defend it.

And then there is the metaliminal storm, which has wandered into the Helms Deep defended systems.  This is actually a bonus for the Imperium as the storm disables the ability to cloak, so there won’t be any sneaking up on an anomaly to light a covert ops cyno for a hot drop.

Catch Front

At the beginning of last week I was pretty sure this was where the action would be.  The Initiative and Reavers and other Imperium groups were out and setting fire to the place.  The Watchmen Alliance was falling apart and its sovereignty was collapsing.  We were reinforcing the ihub in Brave’s capital system and getting fights over it.  Good times were being had.

Catch – Jan. 3, 2021

Even the two metaliminal storms seemed to be on the move in the region… and an incursion popped up in The Watchmen space, like they needed something else on their plate.  And then on Wednesday all eyes turned to Delve and M2-XFE and operations went mostly quiet in the region.

One interesting item did come up later in the week.  With all the focus on M2-XFE, The Initiative put the TEST Keepstar in 0SHT-A into the hull timer.  We could have another Keepstar fight this week… just in Catch.  We’ll see if anybody shows up for it tomorrow.

Other Theaters

Querious remained a secondary point of conflict, as ihubs were reinforced and occasionally changed hands.

Querious – Jan. 3, 2021

The biggest win for the Imperium was the GOP-GE ihub, as that system hosts another Keepstar of ours.

Over in Esoteria the insurgent forces continue their work against TEST, expanding their reach a bit further while eyes were on the big titan fights.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan. 3, 2021

My Participation

I somehow managed to stumble into the right place at the right time all week.  I was in the fights in Catch early in the week and then managed to show up just at the right moment in M2-XFE for the first fight, witnessing the opening titan salvo as I tethered up at the Keepstar.

Titans open fire with Doomsdays

And then I was back again for the second fight, where we were able to pick off PAPI titans as they loaded into system, leading to a lopsided slaughter.

The PAPI titan blob with faxes being whittled down

So I had a few more “I was there,” or at least “I can say I was there,” experiences in New Eden.

I also lost a few more ships, including two more Ares interceptors moving around Delve and a Scimitar at one of the fights in GE-8JV, which brings my total war losses so far to:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP gave us the option to make My Year in EVE Online videos, which had the option to include the most valuable kill mail you were on.  And then, two days later, M2-XFE happened and a lot of us had an even more valuable kill mail for the year that wasn’t in the clip.  Oh well.

That battle though, it managed to pop up the peak concurrent user number for the week, getting it close to the 40K mark.  CCP Explorer put the count across the three key systems as well past 13K, giving Delve 37% of all pilots logged in at the peak.

If the servers could have handled it, we would have almost doubled the world record set at FWST-8.  However, the servers were not up to that task, not by a long shot.

Remember that when somebody says null sec is a tiny fraction of the game that nobody cares about.  The fight itself made for the third highest concurrent peak of the war, reversing the downward trend we had been seeing over the last few weeks.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)

Related

 

PAPI Thwarted at Final M2-XFE Keepstar Timer by the Early Bird Imperium

After the mighty massacre of titans at the Keepstar armor timer in M2-XFE on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, all eyes in the war were on the system for the battle over the final timer.  Expectations were high on both sides for a repeat of the earlier blood letting.

That PAPI plan, after getting logged out at downtime after the first fight, was to stay logged out there until the final timer was up, bringing up some reinforcements to jump in to support the forces already there.  Or so their actions indicate to me.

The Imperium plan involved a tactic as old as war itself: Get there first in great numbers.

PAPI had some early move ops to get reinforcements in position, which led to a few losses along the way.

An early start on titan losses

Rorgan Darator is said to be a Progodlegend alt, which makes those kills extra special.

The Imperium had a State of the Goonion at 20:00 UTC, five hours before the Keepstar timer.  The SOTG had to be move to Twitch as the Mumble server was struggling to handle all the players attempting to log in.  While a Fireside on a Saturday can run out to 45 minutes, SOTGs tend to be short and to the point.  The Mittani got on with us, told us the plan, then sent us off to do it.  We started jumping capital ships into M2-XFE right away… some had jumped before the SOTG… deploying them below the Keepstar, close by where the PAPI fleet logged out.

The mass of supers and titans below the Keepstar

That huge formation of capitals was on grid for hours.  There were more than 4K people in system at that point, way before the fight began.  This is the oldest play in the book in New Eden, getting into a system early and being ready before the enemy.  Tales of this tactic go back to the Great War and before.

We were there… my alt in his Ninazu in the fax fleet… when PAPI finally started to jump in their fleet from T5ZI-S.  Their choice was to go in way above the Keepstar, away from our titans.  That put them out of range of our titans (and our titans out of range of theirs), but the supercarriers sent their fighters up after them.

PAPI titans up high in the bubbles

They had 6K people in their staging system and we had 4K in the system already (amounting to more than 25% of the nearly 40K people online in the game at that point) when they started jumping in and… the math just didn’t work out.  The server, already in heavy tidi when we were just sitting around doing nothing, began to chug and grind and commands began taking minutes to complete, so that the hostile titans were landing on grid and were not able to load fully or react before the fighters were on them.  Titans began blowing up in ones and twos and threes.  It turned into a one-sided fight very quickly.  The count of dead PAPI titans kept growing.

But the server was still an issue in other ways.  Some of the kill mails in the long list on zKillboard show the titans to be unfit, which explains how they died to the fighters so quickly at times.  The fighters were on them before the server could pull up and load their fit.  There were also reports that some titans, on being blown up, loading back up in the station from which they had undocked undamaged.  Over at Talking in Stations they began counting both kill mail losses and wrecks on the field, and the wrecks were showing up at about half the rate.

When this started going very wrong for PAPI they tried to put the brakes on things, but too many were already on the way.

So the actual number of dead titans may remain unknown unless CCP comes out with a dev blog, but the battle reports last night were crazy lopsided in favor of the Imperium, with about 100 billion ISK lost on the Imperium side compared to more than ten trillion ISK lost to PAPI.

Battle Report Header – Probably a Worst Case Scenario

The armor timer fight was a massacre of titans, but the final timer ended up being a massacre of PAPI.  The final accounting will come at some point.  Over at zKillboard the loss list looks to be ~170 titans, plus the five killed before the fight.  If even a majority of those are legit, PAPI could be looking at 100 titans destroyed for no titan kills.  This was B-R5RB in an evening.

And then there was the Keepstar, which repaired successfully, so we won the objective.  They need to start over again in order to destroy it.

My main, once again in a boosting ship, ended up having to wait until things were well under way before he was able to bridge in.

Flown out on titan wings

By the time he got there the call went out to pull down boosts and other things that might be contributing to server lag.  So there I was, in the system… well, I got kicked out, logged back in, waited for 40 minutes at the login screen and then a long stretch with just a black screen, but eventually I was through again… with no real role.  So I went motoring up the Keepstar to see if I could take a few pot shots at hostile titans to get on a kill mail or two of my own.   I managed to get on two, both of which had clearly loaded into the system.  They were not ghost targets.

Our titans did the same, warping up to the top of the model, to start picking off the remainder of the PAPI fleet.

Imperium titans now in range

Now that the fight is over, the post-game analysis will start.  That is already well under way on Reddit, with memes proliferating.  Some will seek to blame the servers for the loss, and certainly server performance played a role.  But the servers favor nobody specifically, and allowing the Imperium to setup on the Keepstar with thousands of pilots, to the point that tidi and lag was constant, and thinking they could jump a fleet in on grid and engage without issues was a serious mistake. (Grath Telken puts it more directly in this Twitch clip, though his full statement is even more brutal.)  People will be playing out how it should have been done all week or trying to justify the plan as a good one.  But none of that will change what actually happened.

Certainly pleas to CCP to undo losses will go unfulfilled.  There is a long history of such requests being denied, so starting now would be a very bad look, and all the more so since they have been going on and on about the problem of super and titan proliferation.  Give back dead titans people jumped into a fight?  Not going to happen.

Then there is PAPI going forward.  The first fight only whetted people’s appetites for more slaughter, but this fight was a serious setback for PAPI, a major loss.  They are not defeated in their conquest, but they will have to asses their strategy.  They successfully killed the NOL-M9 Keepstar in Delve by putting up a cyno jammer and keeping us out of the system so they could blow it up unimpeded.  The system’s location helped with that.  If they want to kill more Keepstars they will have do it the safe way, with no slip ups.

But first they have to get out the capital fleet that logged off in the system after the first fight.  They didn’t log on and are still in the bubbles the Imperium laid out for them.

Finally, there is the war itself.  Leaving aside Vily’s extermination policy, even evicting the Imperium from Delve seems problematic now.  Locking us out of a system with cyno jammers and gate camps is one thing, but how do you get in and fight us in 1DQ1-A, our home system, where all our ships, big and small, are waiting to greet any invader, where we can be formed up on grid before an attacker can start finish jumping in?  And if you can’t kick us out of our home system can we be defeated directly?  Does PAPI have the wherewithal to lay siege to Delve for months more to wear us down to the point such an attack is possible?

For now the war goes on, but everybody will be watching for PAPI’s next move.

Related:

2021 and Questions for a New Year

Welcome to the first day of 2021.  A new dawn on a new year greeted us this morning.

2020 plus 1

Traditionally the first day of the year sees a post from me about the upcoming twelve months.  Usually it is predictions, but as the history of links shows, I occasionally diverge and try something else.

This year is going to be one of those “something else” years.  This year I have questions.

Oh, I have many questions about what 2021 will bring.  Many questions.  But for the purposes of this post, I am going to keep them focused on video games.  And, when it comes down to things, asking a question is just one step removed from a prediction.  A prediction is just an attempt to answer the question, but even formulating the question requires a bit of speculation as to what the future may bring.  You just look less wrong because, hey, you were only asking a question!

What will a return to normalcy bring to the video game industry?

I remember from my history classes that a return to “normalcy” was one of the campaign slogans of Warren G. Harding, which made it in to the word we have today.  And here in 2021, we have been offered a vision of normalcy. If the vaccines work, if the pandemic subsides, if some new horror doesn’t step in to fill the COVID-19 void, we could, come the summer, be back to some of our old pastimes.

Movie theaters. Restaurants. Sporting events. Family gatherings. Air travel.

All that and more may return.

That will leave less time for video games.  2020 was a story of success for many video game companies as we all stayed home.  Does the end of the pandemic portend a market crash and layoffs and all the other things that come with an industry down turn?

Also, some of us will likely have to go back to the office.  I know that some managers and most of HR hate having the employees out of sight.  Back to open plan fish bowls for some people. That will mean an increase in productivity for some, including in the video games industry, which has blamed the pandemic and work from home for some delays over the last year.  Will they get back on schedule or just find new excuses for delays?

Overall, what will the impact be?

This is probably the big general industry question.

Will Shadowlands hold players?

Blizz made a few risky changes last year, including the level squish.  But making Shadowlands an expansion where getting to level cap is basically the intro and the rest of the expansion is all what one might call “end game” is another level.  It is a change and a gamble and we will have to see how it plays out.

Will we get more classic WoW content?

The rumors and leaks seem to indicate that we will see The Burning Crusade Classic at some point this year.  However, there are serious questions as to when we’ll see it and how it will be rolled out.  There have been surveys asking players how they should handle TBC.  They won’t want to kill off the vanilla vibe that has worked so well for them, so transfers or new servers seem likely, but we don’t know anything really.  As for when, there was a rumor that May was a launch target, but that seems laughably quick for the slow and steady Blizzard bunch.  Maybe some time in the fall?

Will Diablo Immortal ship?

It has been two years now.  More of us have phone now.  Some of us have even upgraded our phones since BlizzCon 2018.  Are you going to ship this thing or what?  If it is any good at all it will do okay.  The BlizzCon 2018 reaction was largely due to you pitching to the wrong audience after having hinted about Diablo IV.  Just let people have it.  It couldn’t possibly be taking this long to finish it, could it?  This is just Blizz being conservative and not indicative of some horrible problem with the game, right?

Does Blizzard have anything new planned?

In a way, 2020 returned Blizzard to 2010, where so much of the revenue came from World of Warcraft that almost no other game really mattered when it came to the bottom line.  While Blizzard isn’t quite back to WoW being the only game in their portfolio that matters yet, but Diablo IV is years away, Hearthstone can only put out so many expansions per year, Overwatch is static, and they’ve put StarCraft on the shelf with Heroes of the Storm.  If they don’t have something big, then we’re back to all Azeroth all the time.

What does Daybreak under EG7 really portend?

It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.

-Gimli, The Lord of the Rings

Here we are in a new year with a new company running Daybreak and they sound like they want to be serious about video games and expand their holdings and invest in the titles and IPs they have just acquired.  But what will really come to pass?  Lots of people have been bitten hard by the reality of the video games industry.  You have to make enough money to maintain your current project as well as fund any new projects.  Daybreak was hard pressed to do that on their own, will EG7 be able to change that?

Will Norrath continue to boom?

As bad as Daybreak management could seem at times, there is an argument to be made that EverQuest and EverQuest II rolled right along, got an expansion every year, got a big updates, ran holidays, and did all the things expected of such games quite steadily during the Daybreak era.  It was, in its way, a golden era with little in the way of shake ups to disturb them.  Gone were dumb ideas like SOEmote… as well as any hope for a new EverQuest game.  What happens now?  EverQuest seems secure, profitable as it was, but EQII was the low earner with the smallest customer base in 2020.  Does EG7 keep pouring money into that?  Is there plan?

What happens with H1Z1?

Somewhere behind EverQuest II is H1Z1, which didn’t even get a mention in the EG7 presentation when it came to numbers.  The acknowledged it as a valuable Daybreak IP, but how much of that was fluff?

Where is Cold Iron Studios?

Not even acknowledged by EG7 so far, so the question about them remains.  Where are they in the EG7 corporate structure?

What does ArenaNet do after all the departures?

Yes, there is still a plan for another expansion for GuildWars 2, and the game isn’t going anywhere.  But when the leadership wanders off… usually for reasons of dissatisfaction… that is a bad sign.

Where does CCP go next with New Eden?

The Trigalvian invasion is over.  A new region, Pochven, has been carved out of New Eden.  The huge, two year event has come to its conclusion  So what is next?  What will be the next venue to expand the lore of New Eden and give players something fresh to explore?

Will CCP stop strangling the New Eden economy?

CCP spent 2020 treating the player base like a bunch of ISK addicts and has been trying to dry us out.  The impacts of their efforts have been quite clear in the monthly economic reports.  The company has said that this situation is temporary, but how will they get to something less onerous without letting players return to old habits?  If they introduce new revenue streams that players reject, then things won’t get better… and CCP has something of a history of new ideas that don’t pan out… but if they restore the old streams then they might has well not have bothered.

How Will World War Bee End?

Assuming it ends in 2021.  We are about at the six month mark of the war and, while the invaders have pushed their way into Delve, the Imperium hasn’t rolled over and given up.  The great predicte evac has yet to occur.  The extermination goal, oft repeated by Vily, seemed unlikely to be accomplished at the start of the war and seems no more likely today.  That is especially true when Pandemic Horde, which has done the bulk of the work in the war, says that is not one of its goals.  At what point does PAPI declare victory and move on to other things?  And can TEST afford to see the war wind down with the Imperium vowing revenge on them for starting the war in the first place?

The war has set recorders for losses in both ship numbers and ISK value as well as total players participating in battles.  Will it end with a bang or a whimper?

Will Nintendo announce a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl?

We’re overdue on this.  Seriously, one of my major gripes about Game Freak dumping development for the 3DS line of devices is that when it came to remakes Pokemon Diamond & Pearl were next on the list.  They are the oldest titles of the Pokemon main line RPG titles that have not had a remake.  My daughter and I are so on board with this as a game idea.  But Nintendo and Game Freak have a different play and Pokemon Sword & Shield looks to be taking its time to play out, with two expansions so far.  I fret that we’ll never get this remake and that the current title is being treated like an MMO and will carry on for years.

Will crowd funded MMOs finally find their way?

Seriously.  There seems to be three paths for crowd funded MMOs up to this point.  There are the quirky little hobbiest games like Project: Gorgon or Shroud of the Avatar.  There are the “we totally missed our promises and have no ship date in sight” titles like Star Citizen and Camelot Unchained.  And then there are the ones that just took the money and folded up shop.

Right now I wouldn’t back a crowd funded MMO, endorse one, or even write a post mentioning one to draw even an iota of attention to it because the track record on that front is so abysmal that I feel complicit by my past enthusiasm.

Is there anything new possible for MMORPGs?

Yes, we have MMOs and games treated as services as pretty much the default way to deal with titles these days for a lot of studios.  Grand Theft Auto V, a game from 2013, appearing on the monthly SuperData Digital Revenue chart every month for the last five years of so is testament to that.

But I am talking about MMORPGs, where you play a character in a shared, persistent virtual world.  Ultima Online, EverQuest, World of Warcraft, and EVE Online are key in defining the genre.  The problem is, all of those titles are still there.  Furthermore, WoW Classic and EverQuest retro servers, seeking to recreate the early experiences of those games, are significant draws in the genre.

Is it possible to create something new in the genre, something different?  Or would anything different enough to be interesting end up classified as something else?  Is WoW the unbreakable definition of the genre now?

Will I play anything new this year?

You think the MMORPG genre is stale?  Look at my posts about what I have been playing.  If it were not for WoW Shadowlands, you might mistake some of my posts from 2020 as being from 2006 or 2010.

I suppose I did play a couple of new things.  There was Minecraft Dungeons and Among Us.  But for the most part, it was the same titles long covered here.  Am I the problem with the MMORPG genre?

Will VR get a killer app this year?

I should go back and see if I still have any of those VR sales projections from a few years back which predicted everybody and their mother would have one of those devices strapped to their heads by now.  VR headsets have gotten better and cheaper and some good games have come out, but I have yet to see anything that would make me jump on that bandwagon still.  Consoles seem to be the way forward at the moment.  And now I get unsolicited email from analysts talking about “XR,” which is VR mixed in with AR, to give them a bigger market to talk about… and probably so they can make new projections that cannot be compared apples to apples with their old ones.

Will the industry be smart enough to keep regulators away?

I am looking at you EA.  You managed to make lockboxes a headline issue again in the middle of 2020 by putting an ad for them in a children’s toy catalog.  Once the pandemic is in the past… and I dearly hope it will be some time this year… legislators looking to make some headlines for attention may turn back to lockboxes and gambling and the safe refrain of “won’t somebody think of the children?” yet again.

Will We lose Section 230 Protection?

Not strictly a video game issue, but it would have its impact on that industry as well as others.

You can read all about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of the United States over at Tech Dirt, which has a post about it and the many bogus arguments against it, but in a nutshell it protects people hosting sites on the internet from liability for what users may say or write.

For example, if I post something libelous on Twitter, Section 230 says you can sue me but not Twitter.  Easy to understand, right.  Twitter, or Facebook, or Massively OP, or you on your blog, are not liable for the wrongs of users.  It essentially allows the internet to be interactive.

And it is under political assault here in the US, most visibly by Trump, who is angry about the fact that Twitter very occasionally tries to make him comply with the terms of service he agreed to abide by when he signed up for the platform.

Those assailing Section 230 like to pretend they are defending free speech, but the opposite is actually the case.  There is a high correlation between rich people against Section 230 and rich people who like to sue anybody who says anything negative about them.

If Section 230 is repealed, if you write something objectionable on the internet, the hosting site can be sued.  They will then have the choice between spending money to fight a legal case over your dumbassery or deleting what you wrote and promising to keep you and anybody else from posting such things.  How do you think that is going to work out?

Removing Section 230 would basically give the litigious veto power over internet content and hosting services would start to behave in ways to avoid getting sued, which would mean disallowing comments in many places and preemptively deleting most anything political.

And if you don’t think that is going to spill over into your favorite online video game forum, you are wrong.

The only bright side is that while many people hate Twitter and Facebook, other tech and telecom companies are starting to realize that this would affect them as well, so they’re beginning to pull the appropriate strings on the politicians they’ve paid for in order to keep things as they are.

What will I do when the blog turns 15?

I mean besides write a long post full of stats and start including a “Fifteen Years Ago” section into my month in review posts?  Having almost 5,800 blog posts gives me data set of information that I always feel I could do more with.  Though, that said, you’ll get a bit of historical data next week, driven largely by the tenuous historical record that is this blog.  We’ll see how that flies.

What Else?

That is all I have right now.   am sure there are a lot more questions I want the answers to in 2021.  What did I miss?

Anyway, we shall see if I get answers this year. Some of them are clearly going to have simply “no” as an answer which, while unsatisfying, is still an answer.  At least I do not have to score questions, just figure out what happened with them.  Roll on 2021.