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Lasers and Towers and Black Legion in Pure Blind April 16, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The tempo of operations has picked up a bit in Deklein.  The rumor on coms is that The Mittani has returned from some press junket and is getting all the veterans of foreign wars, now loafing about the region, warmed up and engaged so that we are ready to go when all eyes turn towards Jita.

As noted in the recent CEO update, the enemy is Triumvirate and Mordus Angels, who live in some of the NPC space in Pure Blind, because… well… because!  They like to shoot us, we like to shoot them.  They have towers in that space.  Attacking those towers forces them to come to their defense, giving us fights now and again.  It is the nature of the game.  It is the reason they are out there in NPC null sec.

So there was a fleet op called last night and I actually had time to go.  We had some towers to shoot and expected opposition from our foes.  I joined fleet as soon as it went up, jumped into my shiny new Apocalypse, undocked, realized I had forgot to insure it, docked back up again, got myself paid up, then undocked, ready to go.

DingoGS, the FC, herded us all towards the jump bridge to start our journey out to the first target.

Apocs landing

Apoc heavy Baltec fleet landing

We got a titan to bridge us out and made our way to the first tower in KLY-CO.

Arriving at the first target

Arriving at the first target

We spread out and started knocking down the defense module around the POS, at which point Triumvirate and Mordu’s Angels showed up, bringing along Black Legion to support them.

No, wait.  Looking at the battle summary, the previous sentence obviously isn’t correct.  Black Legion showed up with 60 ships, while Triumvirate and Mordus Angels could only scrape up 30 pilots between them to defend their own tower.  Let me fix that.

We spread out and started knocking down the defense module around the POS, at which point Black Legion showed up, bringing along some pilots from Triumvirate and Mordus Angels.  We’re back to fighting Black Legion again.  They were blue to us for a bit, when that gave them the sort of fights they were looking for.  That time has passed and now we give them the sort of fights they are looking for.

Anyway, there we were in our Apoc heavy Baltec fleet, ready to face the Ishtar menace that cause the switch from Megathrons, and the foe showed up in Zealots.  Lasers all around I guess.  So we went at them, bubbles went up, and we started in on a short, sharp skirmish that nabbed us a few quick kills, though we were unable to take down Elo Knight in his Damnation.  Not for lack of trying though…

Not for lack of trying though...

Elo Knight’s Damnation lit up

That seemed to end in our favor, as the other side retired.  We went back to shooting POS modules for a bit, then they dropped on us for a second round.  They went after our logistics while we started picking off Zealots about as fast as we could target them.  Their tactics proved to be quite effective, as went they went after our DingoGS, our FC, there was nobody left to rep him and he went down.  J Black then picked up the ball and began frenetically (though effectively) calling targets as though he was trying to will their destruction through sheer repetition.

Eventually Black Legion pegged on who was calling targets and J Black went down as well.  Things could have gone very badly for us about then, but other things were happening on the field.

A series of triage carriers arrived to support us with reps, and DBRB showed up with a bomber fleet just in time to kill all of our deployed drones in a couple passes.  I swear, I deployed drones when DingoGS called for them, they died within a minute, and when I deployed my backup drones, they were toast almost immediately.  Lots of bombs going off.

DBRB defeating the drone menace

DBRB defeating the drone menace

Okay, DBRB’s fleet got in some good hits, and such is the life of drones, but at the moment I was wondering what I had done to deserve that routine.

But the arrival of additional fleet units tipped the odds enough in our favor.  What started as a very even match turned heavily in our favor, so Black Legion extracted from the fight and we were left to put the tower into reinforce, with dreadnought support, unmolested.  You can see from the battle report that we paid a heavy price in Oneiros logistics support.

Battle Doc Summary

Battle Doc Summary

We were then able to move to then next few towers and put them in reinforce or knock them down at our leisure.  Then it was time to return home, our mission having been accomplished. (I found it amusing that Circle of Two had, appropriately enough

I got to take my new Apoc out for the first time on a fleet op and shoot my lasers in what passes for anger in such situations.  And while I was happy that ammunition supply wasn’t a problem… you just need a long lasting frequency crystal for each laser… I did find out that capacitor management can be an issue.  With the right/wrong set of crystals, you can empty your capacitor pretty fast.  We had some capacitor logistics support, but it was on the order of six ships supporting a few dozen Apocs, so I ended up having to turn off some modules, ungroup my lasers to shoot with less than the full battery of eight, and swap to more efficient crystals to keep power constant.  It makes me nostalgic for the glory days of the cap-stable Drake fleet, just running my MWD at all times and spewing missiles like no other.

This fleet op also put me on the kill boards for the first time since January.  While I have been on a couple of fleets this month, I have either flown logistics or just sat on a titan until we were stood down.  Up to this point I had only been on six kill mails in 2014.  Granted, those six were titans at B-R5RB… but still, I have been slacking some this year.

Finally, I have a gallery of screen shots from the op after the cut.  Tourist Wilhelm abides.

(more…)

Siphon Extortion – Working as Intended April 15, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Our alliance chief sent out a pastebin over coms the other day featuring a “nice towers, shame if something happened to them” extortion approach.  (Name replaced with SG for “some guy,” which is his approximate level of notoriety.)

SG > 250 mil a week and i leave tnt towers alone.
SG > Will save you lots of money...
SG > hmm...  or i could just go all out on you guys.
SG > But let us negtiate. how much are you willing 
     to pay for peace of mind, not having to check 
     towers every day

The whole thing went on and on with lots of threats and bluster and claims that TNT is the laughing stock of the CFC… a position I always thought FA… or maybe SMA… held.  But whatever.

This bit of comedy was enabled by the addition of small deployable structures in Rubicon, specifically the mobile siphon unit.

Mobile Siphon Unit deployed

Mobile Siphon Unit deployed

I sort of felt that the mobile siphon unit showed up a bit late in the EVE Online timeline.  Imagine how much use they would have gotten back in the days when “moon goo” was a primary source of income?  Instead siphons ended up on the scene over two months after even the Goons decided to join the null sec slumlord trend and launched the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere.  That, plus the Brothers of Tangra and Northern Associates renter space now represents more than 900 systems (over a quarter of null, which clocked in at 3,524 systems the last I heard)  and colors a pretty large swath of null sec space on the influence map.

Null Sec - April 14, 2014

Null Sec – April 14, 2014

Moons still get mined though, and they do provide income.  And money drives conflict, so this extortion attempt was born.

We were, naturally enough, not buying what this guy was selling.  Hell, we get a reward when we find siphons on our moons.  Seed more of them, I’ll start looking in earnest.  I could always use a bit of extra ISK.  Add in the fact that he is in the Mordu’s Angels noob feeder corp… we’re actively fighting them right now according to the recent CEO update… and it seemed unlikely to succeed from the get go.  Giving your foes money when you do not have to is rank foolishness.

Such is life in EVE Online.

World of Darkness Goes Dark April 14, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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CCP Games today announced that they have cancelled the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online (MMO) game project in development in their Atlanta, GA studio.

As a result of the change, 56 employees of the Atlanta studio have lost their jobs.  Some team members have been offered roles on other projects inside the company, and CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.

The remaining team in Atlanta will focus on games in the EVE Universe, which will mark the first time since 2006 that the entirety of CCP will be working on a single universe.

-CCP Press Release

Well, that about wraps that up I guess.  This is the third and final cut, the World of Darkness team having faced layoffs back in 2011 and then again last year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and had been working on an MMO version of the IP seriously starting in 2009.  Since then though, little has surfaced about the project aside from bad new.

I suppose this answers the question from earlier this year about what software was “derecognized” as an asset by CCP as part of their 2013 financial report.

CCP is solely focused on EVE Online and spin-offs such as DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie.  We won’t get to see what CCP could do in the realm of fantasy now.

In the gaming world Zombies continue to rule, while vampire fortunes seem to be in a downward spiral.  I blame Stephenie Meyer.

Addendum: But CCP is still thinking about what to do with World of Darkness.

Lasers at Last April 10, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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I might be coming out of my EVE Online malaise… a bit.  Aside from corp day ice mining, I haven’t really logged on to do anything in the game aside from update skill queues.  And I even let that slip at one point.

Oh myBut as the binge in Azeroth has tapered off some… more on that later… I have begun to turn back to null sec space.  I still have ships and such scattered all over the southeast part of space.  I have no idea what I will do about that.  Getting down to Curse… or back out again… has a new element of danger now that the Marmite Collective has us war dec’d.  And the ships are not terribly valuable.  A couple of Dominixes that are no longer part of a fleet doctrine since the great drone assist nerf finally dropped with Rubicon 1.3.

Domis in a green sky on the way to battle

Once proud space potatoes are now all docked up

I still have the Domi I flew at B-R5RB sitting in the station there, along with a jump clone.  I will probably just give that one an appropriate name and leave it be.

And I have ships and jump clones at other key places in the EVE universe.  I am ready to jump to the action at a moments notice… if my jump clone isn’t on cool down already.  I have Baltech fleet Megathrons most everywhere.

Our backbone since Fountain

Our backbone since Fountain

As it turns out, I might not even have to jump all over EVE.  According to the latest CEO Update, we have a nice little skirmish going on up in Deklein.  So there is that.

But what has really piqued my interest and gotten me to log back in is the opportunity to fly a new ship… a new ship with lasers!

Yes, I am goofy in that regard.  I have flown in fleet doctrines that have use missiles, and railguns, and projectile weapons, and drones in just about every variation so far.  But I haven’t done anything with lasers.  But now the Apocalypse battleship is part of the Baltech fleet doctrine… which I guess means that the fleet doctrine info-graphic needs to be updated.  Anyway, they are in high demand, as our current foes run with Ishtars, which are pretty much immune Megathrons, as was pointed out to us in the update.

So, of course, I ran out and bought one off contract.

Loafing about in VFK

Loafing about in VFK

I was only mildly surprised that I had all the skills needed to fly the doctrine fit.  During a lull last year I put a bunch of training time into lasers knowing that one day they would come back into fashion and wanting to be ready for once, rather than doing my usual catch-up routine.  I immediately took the Apoc out to belt to shoot some rats… because lasers.

No, really, lasers!

No, really, lasers!

I will need to grab some more crystals so I can have ~colors~ on demand.  The white of multi-freq is a bit dull.

Straight lines converge

Straight lines converge

So now I am keen to go press F1 for real and watch lasers bloom… or fly… or whatever lasers do… lase I guess.  So far I have only managed to sit on a titan for half an hour with my new ship.  Hey, it was good for a participation link… and I am awfully shy of those lately.  But I hope to see some action soon.  Because lasers!

EVE Online – CSM9 Voting Begins April 8, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The time has come to elect a new Council of Stellar Management in EVE Online.  CCP even has a fresh new logo for ninth CSM.

CSM9_Logo_450px

Voting runs from now through April 22.

CCP has a nice page up describing the voting process and the changes from last year, along with a statement about how vitally important the CSM is to them.  And maybe it is.  But as The Mittani proved back during Incarna, and Jester demonstrated again with the whole Erotica 1 thing, the CSM and its members have real power, but only when they take things out of school and oppose CCP publicly.  Otherwise the CSM comes off to me as more of a special insiders club.  They have value I am sure, but do they represent us behind that NDA screen?  And does CCP have to listen to them?

So while CCP Dierdra Vaal has the EVE Vote Match site up to help you sort through the candidates to find out which ones publicly claim to support things with which you might agree, or at least consider important, I always look at those results and wonder, “Will this person be ready to take it out of school when the time is right?  And will they know when the time is right?”  You don’t stand in opposition for trivia, you do so for things that really matter… in our pretend internet spaceships game… or something.

Which one of these would go there?

Which one of these would go there?

I do not have any endorsements.  I am a line member in a null sec bloc and I haven’t read the post telling me who to vote for yet or picked up my talking points cheat sheet.  Theoretically I could really get behind a “Send Xenuria to Iceland” campaign just based on the apoplexy it would cause.  Those would be some CSM minutes I would enjoy reading.  And I must declare that the best candidate name on the list has to be Awoxing Pizza-Spymaster McBlushooter from Brave Newbies.  We shall see if that name can carry him through.

Anyway, voting is live.  The CSM election dev blog has a link that will send you to the ballot to cast your votes.

One Hundred and Twenty Million Skill Points April 7, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Months pass, seasons change, and suddenly I am at another round number with my main character in EVE Online.  You can see the timeline of round numbers so far:

At this point, coming up on 8 years of playing EVE Online… with a few breaks… and hitting a big number like 120 million, you might well feel like asking, “Are you through yet?”

Heh.  Ha ha ha!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Oh my, no.  As far as I can tell, nobody has trained everything yet and there are people who at least claim to have been subscribed and training continuously since day one back in 2003.  By way of illustration, I am going to borrow a chart from Jester and his post about alts in EVE Online.

Skill Points Mapped Out

Skill Points Mapped Out

Those divisions are rough cuts, not exact counts.  You will note, for example, that I have 9 million SP in drones, 1.5 million more than the 7.5 million on the chart.  I have yet to train fighters or fighter bombers, which would count towards capital ships, and I still have a large amount I could train, at least for specializations.

But as a quick view of where skill points can be trained, and how many there are, the chart is a sufficient illustration.  It shows 270 million skill points possible, so I am not even half way towards being done.

Not that I would ever want to be done.  In capital ships especially, there are a lot of skills I wouldn’t bother with.  Why would I, as an example, ever train all four racial titan skills up to V?

Well, to be a completionist yet… but otherwise that seems like a silly (and expensive) venture.

Instead, as Jester put forth in another post, people tend to train into roles.  And that drives people to have second accounts, because if you want to perform two roles… especially early on… it is much easier and much quicker to divide your efforts and specialize.  I started off my second character that way, pushing him into industrial roles while my main trained subcap combat skills.

However, over time, they two characters have grown more similar.  When I got my alt out again about a year ago, I put him on the path to duplicate the combat skills of my main so that I could have two characters capable of flying fleet doctrine ships.  This was motivated by the fact that we now have staging points in four corners of the galaxy and I had been caught a couple of times with a fleet going up where I was not while my jump clone was still on cool down.  So now I have two characters that are becoming more and more focused on combat sub caps.

Anyway, 120 million skill points buys me a big chunk of that chart, but not all of it by any means.

Here is where my skills stand.  The numbers in parentheses represent the number of skills in that category, while the asterisk indicates if the point total for a category changed since the last round up post.

Spaceship Cmd   34,410,952 (41 of 67)*
Gunnery         12,753,934 (30 of 39)
Missiles        10,278,191 (20 of 24)
Navigation       9,323,289 (12 of 13)*
Drones           9,053,104 (16 of 20)
Armor            6,345,000 (14 of 14)*
Engineering      5,747,620 (11 of 14)*
Shields          5,643,314 (11 of 12)*
Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)*
Science          4,408,426 (21 of 39)
Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 13)
Electronic Sys   2,458,519 (6 of 15)
Leadership       2,447,530 (9 of 14)
Subsystems       1,320,000 (10 of 20)
Scanning         1,301,230 (7 of 7)
Targeting        1,223,765 (4 of 8)*
Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Neural Enhance.  1,162,510 (5 of 8)*
Corp Mgmt        1,108,784 (4 of 7)
Social             943,765 (5 of 9)
Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5)
Rigging            326,509 (6 of 10)*

Total         ~120,000,000 (260 of 398)

The category seeing the biggest change is probably armor.  This is because our fleet doctrines have moved from shield tanked ships… Caldari and Minmatar… to armor tanks ships… some Amarr, but mostly Gallente.  I realized that while I had the minimum skills for such ships, I had a long way to go towards being proficient, so a lot of training time has been spent filling in that gap.  Last time around I had rounded out gunnery.  Not sure where the big point increase will come next time.

The other boosts have largely been around capital ships.  I have a carrier that I needed some more skills for and I am now capable of flying a Naglfar dreadnought, though I haven’t actually purchased one yet.  I have a few more skills to train up in order to be able to join in cap fleet operations… plus I haven’t actually had my carrier out of the hangar since I bought it, so I am not inclined to invest heavily in another hangar queen.

Archon in 0P-F3K

It is still just sitting there

Of course, since I have been barely logging into EVE over the last month or two… or maybe three… I might need that carrier to haul my crap out of null sec when the corp decides to kick me for being a slacker.  I think my last fleet op was B-R5RB, though I did come out for corp day to mine ice.  Life in space.

Actual skills I have injected stands at 283 now, up from 260 previously.  Those break out as follows:

Level 1  - 9 
Level 2  - 14 
Level 3  - 53 
Level 4  - 69 
Level 5  - 138

The new skill are primarily capital ship or armor tanking related.  The 9 additional level 5 skills are all in armor tanking.  Those cover so many ships that they seemed like a good investment for the long term.

As for my long running measure, how far away am I from flying titan, that has not changed.  I noted last time that there were only four skills left to train:

  • Factional Titan Skill I (I could choose any one): 1 hour, 36 minutes
  • Jump Portal Generation I: 1 hour, 38 minutes
  • Astrometrics V: 12 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes
  • Capital Ships V:  49 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes

At this time there is not much to be gained by investing in any of those.

So that is where I stand.  The only other big change is that I had to upgrade to a higher level clone, so now it will cost me even more every time I get podded.  On the bright side, CCP cut the price of clones a while back, so the latest upgrade puts me back to about the same price range I was in before the cut.  It doesn’t make me happy… 30 million ISK on top of every death is annoying… but it is what it is.

 

Coming Soon – Burn Jita 3 April 6, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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People have been wondering in the EVE forums if Burn Jita is going to happen again this year. There has been no official announcement so far.

But finally, we have a clear sign… someone has started making posters for it!  The rule is always, first Photoshop, then action!

Zombie Metaphor Time

Zombie Metaphor Time

Self-proclaimed Goon nemesis Gevlon has already been proposing a plan to defeat Burn Jita this time around.  Has to be better than last year’s approach that largely involved ignoring the whole thing.  That worked out so well.  The PLEX to dollar count, beloved link bait metric of gaming sites, pegged the losses at $27,000.

What is going to happen this year?

Addendum: Further hints that it is coming.

Friday Morning Blizzard Roundup April 4, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, EVE Online, World of Warcraft.
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It is Friday and Blizzard has announced a bunch of things this week, wisely waiting until after April Fools day. (Unlike CCP, which did a Dev Post on drones and Summer expansion forum posts on mining ships and Nosferatu upgrades on April 1st just to torment us. I am still not convinced they are real.)

Several of the Blizz are worth noting, but I am not sure there is a full blog post in any single one yet, so I figured I would just lump them all together.

Reaper of Souls Sales

Blizz reported that Reaper of Souls, the Diablo III expansion, shipped/sold over 2.7 million copies in the first 24 hours after going on sale.  They sold a bunch as pre-orders, but were only able to ship… well, unlock… and recognize revenue on last week.

I am not sure how to parse that number.

It is surely a big number, and probably makes Reaper of Souls one of the top sellers for March, even adding in all comparable platforms.  Go PC gaming.  That number beats The Burning Crusade, which managed 2.4 million copies on the first day.

But with an installed base of at least 12 million players on the PC for a game that has been out for nearly two years, that sounds a little shy of a “hopes and dreams” number for Blizz.  They will still be pushing a wheelbarrow of money to the bank, but they were probably planning to make a few trips.

Did the rough start or always online kill off interest in the game?  Or are a lot of us still playing fresh characters through the original game to soak in the full “Loot 2.0″ experience?

The press release says that the expansion “breathes new life into Sancturary,” I am just wondering how much life.

Warlords of Draenor Alpha

Nobody out there is still holding out hope for a late spring/early summer release for this expansion, right?  We’ve all moved this to our “things to do over Christmas” list, haven’t we?

Anyway, Blizz said that the expansion is now in Alpha, which is no doubt a poke in the eye for those who were all ready for the beta announcement.  For those hoping for an early Fall release, Eldacar tweeted a graph showing the time from “Friends & Family Alpha” (are we even there yet?) to release for past WoW expansions.

F&F Alpha to Release

F&F Alpha to Release

The average is 6.6 months, which puts us nearly into November… if WoD is average and if we are at the friends & family start point.  So it is possible we’ll being playing on Thanksgiving… maybe even Canadian Thanksgiving… but Halloween will likely be free of such distractions.

And, as always…

Warlords of Draenor Patch Note Fun

Lest you think we’ll be bored waiting for Warlords of Draenor, Blizz has also published the first Alpha Patch Notes for the release, so that the hardcore fans can start panicking and complaining right now.

There is a lot to take in.  Even the TL:DR summary is 17 bullets long.  I have to spend some time digesting that.  But I can already see items in the summary that will make people run around screaming as though their hair is on fire.  This should be fun. (Is it really a return to Vanilla 1.0?)

The random perks thing sounds interesting.

And one key take away appears to be that the promised/threatened stat squish probably isn’t coming until the big pre-expansion patch.

Chat in the Battle.net Launcher

Blizzard also updated the Battle.net launcher this week.  I am not sure how widespread it is yet.  I got it when I downloaded Hearthstone, but not sure if it has been pushed to everybody.

But now, in addition to being able to see all of your online Battle Tag and RealID friends in the launcher, you can now chat with them as well.

So I’ll just add that to Steam, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Skype, Jabber, Microsoft Lync, Raptr, TeamSpeak, Mumble, and RaidCall as another possible way people can try and chat with me while I am AFK.

I think I finally stopped logging into AOL Messenger.  You can no longer chat with me there.  And ICQ.  I think I gave up on that at last.

Did I ever tell you I had a five digit ICQ number?  True story.

April Fools Forever

Blizzard put up a page that lists out all of their major web site April Fools jokes since 1999.  Call The April Fools Archive, you can go back and find some of their best stuff.  I love when a company takes the time to preserve and present things like this.  I wish SOE would take note here, as they seem to toss things down the memory hole on a regular basis.

Still, not everything is on Blizzard’s list.  I though the funniest thing this year was the fake WoW 6.0 Patch Notes.  It is one of those things that is for the community as it pokes straight at contentious items with a laugh.

 

March in Review March 31, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo III, entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, World of Warcraft.
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The Site

WordPress.com, ever fodder for for this section of the monthly round up, popped up something amusing this month.

Leet?

Leet?

We all love the number 1337 right, being “leet” in “leet speak” and all that.  But the pop-up does make me wonder a bit.  I am close to 3,200 posts here, but only 1,337 were likeable?  Okay, the whole “like” button thing didn’t show up here at WordPress.com until quite a while after I had started blogging, but still.  If it were not for C.T. Murphy, I wouldn’t even have 1,337.

Meanwhile, on my “other” blog, EVE Online Pictures, WordPress.com congratulated me on having 500 posts.

500! It's a round number!

500! It’s a round number!

Which confused me, because I have nearly 800 posts total over there.  However, I started posting under a different nom de plume when I launched the blog.   It was done for dubious reasons.  That whole story is here.  So what this really meant was that I changed over to just posting as me, Wilhelm Arcturus, 500 or so posts ago.

And, finally, I applied for official EVE Online community fan site status for EVE Online Pictures, and it was accepted… which shows you just how low the bar is for that sort of thing. (I decided to give it a shot after reading one of many posts on monetizing blogs.)

Between my Italian pals! Ciao!

Between my Italian pals! Ciao!

While that lead to a very minor boost in traffic, the big thing is that my main account is now a “fan site account” which means it is free so long as I keep the site active and fill out a form every few months.  The main change for me was having to put up a couple of legal disclaimers, which was no big deal.  The impact here is that I will likely remain subscribed to EVE Online for the foreseeable future, as keeping the other blog going doesn’t require a ton of effort. (And I got a pile of pictures for the site this month.)

So you can consider me bought and paid for by CCP, but I doubt it will change what I write here in the slightest.  After all, this isn’t the fan site, the other one is.

One Year Ago

Dave Georgeson of SOE said MMOs should never die. A noble sentiment at the time, it rings a bit hollow a year and five SOE MMO closure announcements later.  Business is business.

I got a seven day pass to Azeroth from Blizzard.  It was nice.  I had some fun, but I wasn’t ready to go back full time yet.

Meanwhile, Blizzard was saying they were blindsided by the popularity of the auction house in Diablo III.  They were nearly a year late on that revelation.

On a similar theme, EA launched a new version of SimCity, pretty much ignoring the obvious expectations the franchise comes with.  I could only wonder if they learned anything from their efforts.

The instance group was doing some Rift content as a four player group.  This was the time of our long hiatus, though we got a full group now and again.  And when it was just the three of us, we ended up playing Neverwinter Nights 2 instead.

In EVE Online we were chasing around Deklein, flying the Tech Fleet doctrine, and bagging a carrier or two.

EON Magazine was closing its doors, marking the end of an era in EVE Online.

EverQuest hit its 14 year anniversary, and there was some talk about the camera view’s influence on the game’s popularity.

I was still playing World of Tanks and had hit the 2,000 battle mark.  I was out there with the KV-3 and the ARL 44.

I finished up all the things in Wayfaerer Foothills, which sort of ended my time in Guild Wars 2.

Then there was the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, which seemed more marketing tool than funding effort, and which hit its number in 11 days.  Still, Lord British felt the need to stir the pot by declaring most game designers suck… and are lazy… and are not as good as him.  Then he claimed he was taken out of context and not just saying things for cheap publicity.  As the month closed, his Kickstarter was wrapping up, but Camelot Unchained was coming.

It was announced that Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was getting updated to run on modern machines with better graphics.  That set me on five other older games that I wished would get a similar revamp, which I think was more useful than just declaring that game developers need to innovate.

Finally, I was looking for input on some actual, real world things.

Five Years Ago

In March 2009 we were excited about Pokemon Platinum around our house, although we weren’t really finished with Pokemon Diamond yet.

I spent a day up at GDC in San Francisco.

In WoW we finished up a short hiatus and started back in at the SteamVault.  My daughter was tearing up Warsong Gulch.  Meanwhile, the Lich King seemed to have laid a curse on my new video card.  Nothing I did ever seemed to change this issue, though it did seem to go away eventually.

In EVE Online, Apocrypha came out, and with it the classic graphics were swept away.  Adam though, was making his own adventures in New Eden.  Oh, and I bought a freighter.

Somebody tried to put together a list of the Ten Most Important MMORPGs.  Like all such list, this one started the comments rolling.

It was launch day and I was already complaining about Runes of Magic… well, about the patcher in any case.

I finished up what was the last book of the Wheel of Time series.

The EverQuest 10th anniversary just wasn’t evoking the level of nostalgia in me that I thought it would.

And we had to say goodbye to an old friend and family member.  The picture my daughter drew is still up on the wall.  It still draws the occasional tear later in the evenings when people are tired and a bit more emotionally fragile.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in March

You can tell when I have written nothing exciting all month, some old nuts and bolts post rises to the top thanks to Google.

  1. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  2. Level 85 in EverQuest… Now What?
  3. Warlords of Draenor to be a $50 Expansion? And Something About Insta-90s
  4. Picking My 15 Most Influential Games
  5. Blizzard Isn’t Giving You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor
  6. The Mighty Insta-90 Question – Which Class to Boost?
  7. Show Me The Planets Contest Results
  8. Report from New Tristram
  9. How Blizzard Got Me to Play Hearthstone
  10. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  11. The Insta-90 Choice is… Death Knight
  12. CCP – Losing Money and Getting Closer to Sony

Search Terms of the Month

that moment when a ex friend still manages to steal your beer
[That pretty much cements the ex-friend status]

is there aplace where some one can get donated plex for eve
[I'm not sure that is how it works.]

how did the lego universe story end
[Quietly]

Age of Kings

Our floating Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings group managed to get in a few matches over the course of the month, including our disastrous encounter with actual, real people.  The question is whether we will carry on.  Player against the computer gets dull fast, playing against each other remains imbalanced, and playing against live people… is a challenge mostly confined to seeing how much we can slow down the inevitable steam roller.  We might need a different game.  Maybe something more in the turn-base strategy genre, playable by four people.  Ideas?

Diablo III

Loot 2.0 and the coming of the Reaper of Souls expansion for Diablo III revived some interest around the game.  I rolled up a new barbarian… can you used the term “rolled up” when your only options at start are name and sex?  Anyway,  went out and played most of the way through Act III and found the game much improved for the effort.  However, I didn’t run out and buy Reaper of Souls, or even finish Act III.  Even at my most engaged, the game never got higher than second place in my mental “what do I want to play?” list, where I barely play the third place entry and fourth is lucky if I launch the game.  Still, maybe at some point.  The expansion sounds exciting.

EVE Online

EVE Online spent most of the month sitting in that fourth place position, as reference above.  There is no real war going on.  We’re back to cloaky campers in the systems I might rat in just to earn some ISK.  I have ships scattered all over the game that I should corral and bring back to staging systems, something that can be an adventure when I am in the mood, but which has just seemed like work of late.  And our corp, which hasn’t kicked me out for idleness yet, has gone through a leadership change.  Gaff is out.  And with that change, the “more POS towers!” faction is running the show.  We had a corp day to mine ice, which I attended.  The op was to gather ice to fuel our towers, and most of the talk was about where to get the rest of the ice we’ll need to fuel our towers.  Because we have a lot of towers.  Because, towers.

I did find out that one of the reasons things have been so quiet is that strat ops are no longer getting rebroadcast from Goon coms to our own.  So if I want strat ops, and that is pretty much all I want, I have to log into their coms, not ours… which is not a big deal, as I am on their coms most of the time anyway.  If I had actually bothered to post something from my SA forum account in the last six years, I’d consider just applying to Goonswarm to cut out the middle man.

World of Warcraft

Azeroth still looms large in my daily gaming, in part because I am on the auction house and daily quest treadmill.  That isn’t a bad thing.  I have a set of goals which keep me coming back.  It is when I have no goals that these sorts of things become drudgery.  The guild remains active over the weekends.  Gaff, no longer worried about running a corp in EVE Online, has joined us and brought along a friend.  So they are diving into Pandaria and doing all the usual alt-a-go-go routine.  The guild is lively enough that we’ll get to level 25 before summer I am sure.  The instance group also has enough content ahead to get to summer and our usual hiatus.  What will happen come the fall if the launch date for Warlords of Draenor is close to the first day of Winter?  I couldn’t tell you.

Coming Up

The Elder Scrolls Online launches this week.  The head start kicked off yesterday, mere mortals to be allowed in by the end of the week.  I am not buying the game as yet, but I will mark the launch date.  Have to get that into the “one year ago” and “five years ago” system.

I have a post coming up this week about new hardware and a new game I have been playing.  We’ll get to that on Wednesday I think.

The instance group carries on, World of Warcraft remains a thing.  EVE Online, likewise, remains on my list.  Diablo III… we shall see.  It has fallen into fourth place for now.  Or maybe lower.  I didn’t play it at all over the past weekend.

And then there is tomorrow, when we get to sort out the obligatory from the inventive.  I have nothing planned, so I will probably just point at others.

Small Items for a Cold Friday in March March 28, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest Next, Hardware, Torchlight II.
Tags: , , , ,
4 comments

It is even a bit chilly here in Silicon Valley.  I put on a jacket last night.  And there has been some rain this week, breaking up the run of warm and sunny days we have been experiencing of late.  Not enough to end the drought, but enough to keep the lawn watered.

It is Friday and I have a bunch of little, half-started posts and other tidbits that I am going to roll up into a single entry.

It Is Just Landmark

SOE, in a good move, decided that their Minecraft-like building game, with a promise of things like science fiction areas, wasn’t Norrathian enough to be considered an EverQuest title.  So it is now just Landmark.

LandmarkChange

This is not only how I have been referring to the game for a while now, but something that was part of my 2014 predictions.  Go me.

Now SOE just has to do something about the whole EverQuest Next name, something I brought up in another Friday post.  That is a cute name for development, but not so good as a shipping title.  Unless it is also going to be EverQuest Last, the name could become an albatross around their neck at some point.  Fortunately, we now have precedent for a name change.

Thank you Landmark! 

The Gamification of Texting

A friend sent this link to the Android version a keyboard addon for mobile devices.  As you master the Fleksy keyboard and its various functions and features, you will earn achievements!

Apple product owners may get a chance to join in as well,  as Fleksy is updating the iOS version for achievements as well.  To use the Fleksy keyboard, your app must be “Fleksy enabled.”

How Old is Your Hardware?

Pasduil wants to know.  He’s taking a survey.  You can find it here.

Bully Bullied by Bullies?

Erotica 1, the pilot behind the EVE Online controversy du jour, the Bonus Round recording (I could not recommend that you follow that link), has chosen to withdraw his name from the Council of Stellar Management elections scheduled for next month.  In his statement, after opening with a paragraph that included the line, “Some people just can’t be reasonable…”, he complained about Goons and “white knight carebear moral highground people” and threats to his physical safety (but no reference to this), then said he was withdrawing because his passport had expired.

This is where we all shout, “Didn’t want that seat on the CSM anyway!”

That CSM Election

It is coming up.  Should you care.

Candy Crush IPO

King, maker of the game everbody loves to hate, Candy Crush Saga, and one-time trademark troll, went public this week.  According to some, the IPO failed.  It failed because the opening price… the price King got for its shares… was $22.50, but afterwards the price dropped down to around $19.

In a way, this seems like a perfectly fitting IPO for the company.  King got the maximum value they could for their stock, filling company coffers, the founders and early investors who were in for a tiny fraction the IPO price still got their big cash-out opportunity, and the people and institutions who jumped on the stock at the IPO price got told they could sell now if they wanted to buy a $3 per share unlock or they could wait until whenever the price went up again.

A Farewell to Runic Games?

I was already wondering what was going to become of Runic Games.  We haven’t heard much from them, except about what they are not going to do.  They are not going to make a Torchlight MMO.  They are not going to work on anything new for Torchlight II.  They are not going to have a Mac OS version of Torchlight II.

So when two key founders leave to form a new studio, one might not seem rash wondering aloud if Runic Games is not going to be shipping anything else ever again.

Did burnout from Torchlight II kill the company, or was it Perfect World Entertainment buying in that did it?