Category Archives: EVE Online

Falling Back in Catch

CCP is going to try to fix the 4-07 system in 10 minutes. You will be booted. get safe

-Ping from last night

I had the flu… or a cold… or whatever the mucus based eldritch horror that was going around the office was… last week and through the weekend which, among other things, altered my video game activities.  So while there has been a war going on in Catch, of which I wrote previously, I haven’t had the wherewithal to go out on fleet ops.  Instead I have been playing things that are… interruptible… or which at least don’t require a three hour window of time.

I think I spent most of Saturday either napping or slumped sideways at my computer playing Minecraft and listening to an audio book, and that was done in part just to be upright so things would drain.

But the war has gone on without me.  Over at The Nosy Gamer there have been some regular updates as to changes in sovereignty and such, mostly collected under the Winter War 2017 tag.  Stuff has happened, including some awkward stuff.

As noted in a post over at Imperium News, a tackle on a TEST Leviathan was offset when an Imperium Ragnarok pilot hit “jump” instead of “bridge,” the classic bridging titan screw up, giving both sides a titan kill for the evening.

Picture source: unknown

Picture source: unknown

The evening’s fun was further complicated when Imperium forces went to extract their capital forces only to find that Against All Authorities, an absentee (and long standing anti-Goon) part of the Stainwagon Coalition, had put up a cyno jamming array in HY-RWO, a system which we had been using as a waypoint for capital operations.  We had to pile in some dreadnoughts to blow up this new bit of system infrastructure as we couldn’t get anybody from AAA to respond.

This led to a quick fireside chat yesterday where The Mittani explained the situation and that our response was going to be to pull back away from AAA’s territory and back towards Querious to cover the approaches there.  The whole thing was summed up in a modified piece of a comic from The Oatmeal which even The Mittani tweeted out as a representation of what happened.

Nope!

Nope!

We were no longer going to stage in central Catch and AAA could lose all their space.  Capitals would fall back to the gates of Qeurious while subcaps would be heading home.  So when I was finally feeling well enough for fleet ops again it was time to pack up my subcaps and head back to Delve.

So it was time to get myself setup for the return.  I had three ships to move and only two pilots.

Asher solved the extra ship problem by offering up space in his titan to Reavers, so I was able to hand over the Cerberus for him to carry back.  He also carried it out for me and I never actually flew it during the deployment.

The Cerb secured, I got myself setup in the Guradian I had in EX6-AO, loaded it up with anything I left in the citadel, and then logged in my alt so he could fly my Scimitar back with the move op fleet.

Only I had forgotten that he had not set his death clone of EX6, so when he got blown up back at the Fortizar battle in F4R2-Q, he ended up back in Delve.  I hadn’t bothered to get him back out to Catch and now the move op was about an hour away.  It was time to get him moving.  But how to get him out there without ending up with yet another ship to move back and without building up too much jump fatigue?

I realized that he still had a Clownshoe fit Sigil, the Amarr industrial we were using (along with the Nereus) as very annoying entosis ships back during the Casino War.  The Sigil warps fast, has a huge tank with a lot of passive regen in the Clownshoe fit, and would reduce any jump fatigue by 90%.  So I stripped out any excess modules and cargo, including the entosis module and all the stront, and headed off to the system with the jump bridge.

The Sigil proved its worth as I managed to get past a Pandemic Legion gate camp in T5ZI-S consisting of a Taranis, a Sabre, and a Kirin, along with several drag bubbles, that I managed to blunder into and escape from… though I am not sure if that is an endorsement of the Sigil or a rebuke of the gate camp’s competence.  They chased me to the jump bridge system but I kept out of their reach.

Once there I flew to the last system in Querious, parked the Sigil in the citadel there, installed a jump clone, and then docked up in the station in the system, which caused Pend Insurance to issue me an Ibis because I was docking in a station and had no ship available.  Free corvettes are still a thing you don’t get in citadels.

From there I flew the dozen jumps to EX6-AO successfully, avoiding a couple neutrals and a trio of CO2 interceptors, a Taranis, a Raptor, and another one I forget at the moment, one of which will come into play later in this narrative.

Happily at my destination, I docked up in the Fortizar, handed over the Scimitar to my alt, and waited for the move op to begin.

Once it got pinged I joined up.  Due to the usual confusion where at least 10% of any group never sees the ping or gets the instructions passed to them, the fleet filled up and there were lots of questions about moving caps.  That eventually led to us undocking and covering the gate to HY-RWO so a bunch of capitals could come to EX6 and either use the Fortizar there or jump to 4-07MU where another Fortizar was available.

Of course, it was about that time that a ping went out to indicate that there were problems in 4-07MU.  People in the Fortizar were having strange issues, couldn’t undock, had problems with modules, and other ailments.  Anybody jumping to the system was advised not to dock at the Fortizar, though tethering was okay, while people at the coalition level started trying to find somebody from CCP to look at the problem.  There was also a report on intel about TEST moving a capital fleet at about that time, an opportunity that passed because key people were stuck in the broken Fortizar.  Or so I heard.

After covering the caps, we moved off on our way back to Delve, out destination being 4-07MU.  That coincided with an update that CCP was going to bring 4-07MU down and back up again, which was broadcast as the ping at the top of this post.  Our estimated time of arrival at 4-07MU was going to coincide with that because or course it did.  Later The Mittani was on our coms and heard about that, among many other odd turns of event, and thought maybe we should give up on any current names and just call the whole thing “Murphy’s War” after the well known law that seems to govern, among other things, life in New Eden.

Otherwise though, it was a move op.  A slow move op, with battleships in tow, so we were limited to warping a 2.0 AU/sec, but a move op.  Jump through the gate, align to the next gate, wait for the fleet warp, do it all again.

The fleet ball warping yet again

The fleet ball warping yet again

But every op needs “that guy” who becomes the comedy star of the show.  It has been me on past occasions.  That night it was Parvulus Dei from the corp Into the Fray.

As we were moving along he called out on coms that he had made a mistake a jump or two back and had accidentally warp to the sun in his Rokh.  While there he reported that he had been tackled by a Probe, which is the Minmatar tech I scanning frigate.

Questions abounded about how he had managed this feat and Asher told him that since we had moved on he was on his own unless somebody in a small ship wanted to run back and save him.  We moved on our slow way while getting updates from him and from a couple of people who decided to run back and give him a hand.

After a chunk of time had passed… much more time that one would imagine would be needed to notice this… Parvulus Dei amended his status to indicate that he had, in fact, been tackled by a Taranis, a Gallente interceptor, and a considerably different ship in almost all regards.  This just made laughter and speculation swell on coms as people tried to figure out how one could mistake a Probe for a Taranis.  One guess was that he saw a combat probe on his overview, another was that the ship was named “Probe,” but I cannot recall if we ever got a definitive answer on this.

Help did reach him in time and the Probe-Taranis was blown up.  It turned out to be one of the CO2 interceptors I had seen coming out and had duly reported on the intel channel, complete with names and ship types, as being in that very system.  I don’t know what happened to the other two.

For the rest of the fleet there were ongoing jokes referencing Parvulus Dei and his side trip.  He caught up with us around the 4-07MU gate, where we had to wait as we did, in fact, arrive just as CCP took the system down.  Parvulus took this all very well and spoke up when somebody wanted to know who this had happened to and so on.  The only way to deal with being “that guy” is to just roll with it until it wears out.

Once we heard that the 4-07MU system was back up we did the prudent thing and just sent a couple of ships in to make sure it was working okay.

Hah hah!  No we didn’t, we shoved the whole 250 person fleet through the gate as soon as we possibly could before wondering whether or not that was really a good idea.

As it turned out, everything was fine.  We headed off to Querious and the jump bridge that would land us a couple of gates from home.  Along the way we drove off a gate camp with a few bubbles trying to catch people coming back solo.  After that we took the last gate, docked up in the Keepstar and called it “Op Success!”  Asher even gave us a PAP, which after getting 11 from him already this month seemed like a bit much, but maybe they hadn’t rained so generously on others.

Now I just have to go back and pick up that Sigil at some point.

YC119.1 Update Deployed Successfully

Changes were made and the update was deployed and the world kept on turning.

This time for sure!

This time for sure!

That last bit is quite literally so, as you will find this item in the patch notes:

Astro-Oil has been diligently applied to the rotational axes of temperate planets, allowing them to once again rotate freely.

No doubt some new religious sect has spawned somewhere in Amarr space based on this and some new tract will include a passage similar to Joshua 10:13.

As I noted on Tuesday when the patch had to be rolled back, there isn’t much in the way of new features in the drop.  It is mostly fixes and adjustments, which is fine.  I doubt anybody is going to claim there are not things in New Eden that need fixing or adjustment.  The updates page adds in a couple of SKIN lines that will be available in the New Eden Store at a later date, including the Nova SKINs for Mordu’s Legion ships.

Hot Surface Warning Markings on Mordu's Frying Pan

Hot Surface Warning Markings on Mordu’s Frying Pan

And then there is a song, because there is always a song.

YC119.1 Update Recalled, YC118.10 Rolled Back to New Eden

Today was patch day for EVE Online, and we were supposed to get the first update of 2017, or YC119 as it is styled in the distant future of internet spaceships.

The actual official patch graphic

The actual official patch graphic

However, according to an update from CCP, the code deployed with the update was problematic.

Due to an issue with the 119.1 release which resulted in server stability issues after its deployment, we will be re-deploying the 118.10 release while we work on a fix.

This led to an extended downtime as 118.10 was restored to Tranquility.  TQ was initially taken down just before 12:00 UTC when problems were first noticed, with the roll back being completed, with the server cluster eventually back online for players as of 13:15 UTC according to the forum update.

CCP did not say exactly what caused the instability and nothing in the YC119.1 patch notes jumps out at me as a likely suspect, the update seeming to be mostly adjustments to current features as opposed to anything new.  Maybe is was those Mordu’s Legion SKINs listed on the updates page.  We haven’t had a patch day failure in ages.

So the patch has been pushed back while CCP figures out what went awry.  We can still listen to the launch theme, which carries the now mildly ironic title, “The Ones We Left Behind.”

 

Opening the New War at F4R2-Q

A new war for a new year, and its first major battle hit yesterday with as many as 4,000 pilots in local as much of null sec declared sides in the war between TEST, Circle-of-Two, and their allies and the Stainwagon Coalition, whose composition I noted in a war preview post last week, and its allies, which includes the Imperium.

One of those fights - Local at 21:16 UTC Jan. 1, 2017

One of those fights – Local at 21:16 UTC Jan. 1, 2017

The location was the system of F4R2-Q in the Catch region where TEST and CO2 had each placed a Fortizar citadel to act as staging points for their invasion of the region.

On the Imperium side there was a pre-battle State of the Goonion where The Mittani spoke of standing by those who had stood by us during the Casino War and opposing those who proved faithless when the going got tough.

I was already in Asher’s just formed Machariel fleet before the address concluded, joining the logi contingent in a Guardian.  The fleet quickly filled up and we ended up with too much logi, so some of them were sent off to other fleets, but I stuck around preferring to fly with Asher and Arrendis and more than a few fellow Reavers.

This was clearly going to be a big op.  As our subcap fleet undocked and moved to where we would get bridged, there were a lot of capital ships hanging on our staging Fortizar.

Cap Fleet still not fully undocked

Cap Fleet still not fully undocked

We hung out waiting for out bridge for a bit, with the usual calls for people who were not in range of the titan or who had accidentally clicked in space and started wandering off.  Coms were busy as we were in the mode where multiple fleets share the same coms channel, so chatter had to be heavily restricted.

Tethered and Waiting for the bridge

Tethered and Waiting for the bridge

I did get a bit cocky though and logged in my alt and got him setup in a pointing Vigil.  I did not join the fleet, but made my way along the gate route to the destination system where I warped out to one of our staging towers where fleets were staging and went into a 150km orbit to just watch from above things.  TEST and CO2 did not have the luxury of towers in the system as, in a repeat of the battle of 6VDT-H (another 4K pilot battle), they let us sneak in and put towers up on all the moons in the system.  They were depending on their Fortizars for safe points.

And then we warped in and the battle began.

What does one say about a battle where the server has hit 10% time dilation and still cannot keep up, so people get disconnected, parts of the UI stop working, where no action is reliable, where ships get stuck in your overview and appear there long after they have gone?

Wilhelm got disconnected four times during the battle.  But things were moving so slowly that I never had to worry about warping back to the fleet.  Even during the peak, when it took me 20 minutes to log back in and load grid, I found myself still on anchor, still capping up my partners in the cap chain, all as though I had never left.  The main problem was once when one of my cap buddies dumped out of the chain at the same time and I had to get back in fleet, get the watch list up, target a new buddy, and start capping him.  That series of actions took 15 minutes.  And then the old buddy got back in and I was another five minutes getting things sorted back to the way they were.

On the other hand, when time is moving slow and your fleet is clearly going to be sitting on grid exchanging alpha strikes, which kill a ship in a single volley leaving nothing to repair, you can find time to do other things.  I managed to go take a shower, make lunch, take down the Christmas lights on the house, and eat dinner while watching a TV show.  I just had to check my position at every set of commercials.

When our fleet started taking a few losses, I put my alt in and had him paint targets as Asher called for it.  But then he got disconnected, so I let him be for a while, choosing to focus on logi.  We did save a few people… more than a few… when attempts at alpha strikes were done badly and ended up as ragged volleys that applied damage over what seemed like a long stretch of time.  We kept Asher alive a few times as opposing fleets locked him up in an attempt to headshot him.

A while later, when things had hit a routine as we sat near the CO2 Fortizar I logged my alt back in.  However, he had been some place bad while I was away, having had his armor peeled away well into half structure, though his shields were back to full.  As he auto-warped onto grid again he landed in the midst of a TEST fleet and the ship wasn’t long for the world.  I did managed to paint and shoot a Flycatcher and a Sabre as that Vigil went out in a blaze of glory.

Painters on, missiles firing

Painters on, missiles firing

I left him there in his pod as a vantage point for screen shots before eventually pointing him at the gate home where he was picked off by Solar Fleet camp on the gate that was happily taking out anybody trying to leave.  I watched a couple of Oneiros logi cruisers get popped before it was my turn.

That leads us to who took sides with whom.  I am waiting for a full accounting… or at least a battle report that will generate accurately… but it looked like Provi Bloc, led by CVA, came out in support of Stainwagon and we made them temp blue for the fight.  Meanwhile, the Drone Region Federation, the “other” Russians that don’t get along with the Stainwagon Russians came out to join TEST and CO2, which saw us fighting people we had teamed up with in the past, like Solar Fleet, and former enemies like the Dronewalkers and Legion of xXDeathXx allied.

And then there was NCDot who came on down just to shoot targets of opportunity on both sides of the fight.  Have to respect that.

The fight went on and on as reports of the two Fortizars had them inching slowly to their doom.  Eventually the CO2 Fortizar exploded at 03:11 UTC and the fight shifted to focus around the TEST Fortizar, which had been erroneously reported as dead at 23:30, but which didn’t actually die until 04:14.

Somewhere along the way I managed to get a combat drone out and on each of the Fortizars in order to secure myself a spot on the kill mail.  I also was able to get in on a few of the opposing dreadnoughts at the end when the enemy had essentially given up shooting us and was trying to extract what they could from the field.  When the TEST Fortizar went up there was a short period of mopping up as tidi finally rose above 10%.

As the system emptied out, the game sped up, which was almost disorienting.  Things that had been essentially moving in slow motion for hours were suddenly running at full speed.  And then in a euphoric fit, Asher said he would make us ten participation links, one for each hour the fleet was out, something he no doubt immediately regretted as then he had to go make the damn things.  I would have been happy with a few less and a quicker trip home.

However, we did have to cover capitals as the went back to staging.  Fortunately we were only a gate and a jump from home, so it wasn’t a long haul.  We caught the bridge and covered a gate for the supers, then docked back up for the night.  And just in time too, as the new season of Sherlock was set to start on PBS just 11 minutes after I logged out.  But it had been a long day in space.

Fleet time - 10 hours 41 minutes

Fleet time – 10 hours 49 minutes

That leaves the result of the battle.

We won the objective.  TEST and CO2 lost their Fortizars and will continue to stage from NPC null sec space for now.  While they are pushing this off as no big deal, just a matter of a couple of gates, when your plan is an invasion and you are repulsed, you have lost.

Then there is the ISK war.  On Reddit, which is largely the sphere of TEST, our foes are claiming a stunning victory, claiming to have killed as much as 600 billion ISK in ships over the course of the battle.  They are oddly quiet about their own losses however.  They are likely less, so they have probably won the ISK war. How much less remains in question until things settle down and a battle report can be generated.  I cannot reliably fetch my own profile on zKillboard, much less a battle report.  All we have right now is ship losses.

DOTLAN report on ships destroyed

DOTLAN report on ships destroyed

But the question arises as to who can afford losses and who can’t.

TEST and CO2 just lost all of their space after a couple months of war in Tribute.  They are currently living in NPC null sec and do not have any territory from which to extract wealth.

I do not know the state of Stainwagon, though they have been hanging out in their space for a long time, so it should be safe to assume they are not poor.

Then there is the Imperium, which has been working to restore it coffers since the end of summer in Delve.  Look at the November economic report and note which region has the largest amount of mining going on. (And again in December.)  We lost 600 billion in ISK worth of ships in our own system less than a month ago and were still happy to go to war.  So I do not think the losses will dissuade us from our cause.

Also this is just the first major battle of the war.  Both sides can afford to dismiss what happened and claim it as a victory.  But which side is going to be able to sustain the fights, the losses, the day long events spent in 10% tidi?  That question has yet to be answered.

So the war is on.

Also, I am totally set for participation links for the month, with 11 in already.

Here is coverage of the battle on other sites, which I will update as more show up:

And then some screen shots from my 10 hours in space yesterday:

2017 – Predictions for Another New Year

Has 2016 stopped looking our way yet?  Yes?  Good.

Glad to be done with that, because a new year is like a new roll of the dice right?  Completely independent of the last year/roll?  Aren’t they?

My daughter even drew me a brand new pic for a brand new year.

kidpixtigerredraw2017

That is her re-draw of a picture she did in 2009 to celebrate getting her first mount in World of Warcraft.  Her talent has grown over the years.

Anyway, here we are again at the arbitrary point in time where we declare a “new” year and start yet another roam around the star we call the sun.  And with that, I will carry on my own minor tradition of greeting the new year by attempting to foresee what may come to pass.

Previous runs at this sort of thing:

Given past low scores I persist in making predictions.  So here is my list for 2017.  All predictions are worth 10 points each, with partial credit possible.  And, just a reminder, these are predictions and not wishes.  I am not rooting for many of these things to come to pass, it is rather that I fear they will.  A list of my actual wishes would look different and probably be even less likely to happen.  Such is life.

1 – Long in the Legion – Blizzard is going to use their ongoing content additions to WoW Legion as an excuse to not announce a new World of Warcraft expansion in 2017.  BlizzCon will come and go without a word about a new box and people will predict that it means the death of the game.

2 – Roll Credits – A second Warcraft film will be announced… for the Chinese market.  There will be no plans for a theatrical release in the West.  The announced plan will have it arriving as a dubbed straight-to-video option on the market some time in 2018.

3 – Really Big Storm – Blizzard is going to make radical changes to Heroes of the Storm in 2017 in an attempt to get it at least somewhere in the same market as DOTA 2 and LoL.  Different modes, different maps, and better stats will be featured, the latter accompanied by changes that will make individual contributions stand out much more.  So rather than talking about a new WoW expansion, Blizzard will be talking about this.

4 – CEO of the Kill – I am going to re-roll last year’s prediction and say that Daybreak is going to get a new president… a real new president, not the current Columbus Nova overseer… with actual game industry experience; console or mobile experience, take your pick.

5 – More Than Just a Title – Daybreak also has a lot of positions open on its home page, which seems to indicate that they have some new project plans under way.  We will hear about the first of those projects in 2017, and the biggest shock will be lack of support for the PC platform.  In a world where Daybreak’s sweetest paying title is probably DC Universe Online on the PS4 and where Nintendo is cranking out hit after hit on mobile (or at least licensing to companies making hits for them), Windows will seem like yesterday’s market.

6 – Milestone Really – Yesterday’s market will get smaller at Daybreak as well as they close down Landmark and the aptly named H1Z1: Just Survive.

7 – Trash Cash – The change with H1Z1: King of the Kill getting its own currency was just the start of death of Daybreak Cash good across all games.  The real money currency market at Daybreak will continue to fragment, with DCUO and PlanetSide 2 getting their own currency.  Only EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Landmark will keep Daybreak cash.  As with King of the Kill, there will be an open period where you can transfer your Daybreak cash to one of the new currencies.

8 – My Card – When the currency revamp is complete, Daybreak will launch new retail game cards for some, but not all, of the currencies.  Daybreak cash won’t get cards.

9 – Point Break – At Standing Stone Games, the statement about nothing changing will last for a bit, and then changes will come.  Among those will be changing Turbine Points to have new, game specific names, since you couldn’t transfer them between LOTRO and DDO in any case.

Those new currencies for SSG titles will be part of Daybreak’s currency revamp and you will be able to buy into the new currencies with Daybreak cash for a limited time.

10 – And Access for All LOTRO and DDO will be on Daybreak All Access before the end of the year.

11 – Hardcore Death – NCsoft will announce the end of WildStar by the end of 2017.  Another re-roll from last year.  Yes, I know you love it, but look at the numbers the NCsoft financial statements.

12 – Cloud Imperium Crisis – Push will come to shove at the house of Star Citizen in 2017… as in the need to shove something out the door that they can sell, both to generate revenue and to establish some credibility that they can ship something.  Star Marine will end up as a stand-alone purchasable product by the end of the year.  You won’t need to buy it if you’re already invested, but it will only be available after its “launch” a la carte.

13 – Hello World – Hello Games will continue to quietly grind out updates for No Man’s Sky, eventually turning it into a decent single player space sim/RPG.  Game sites will re-review it and give it a positive nod.  Multiplayer however will remain a lie that will haunt the game and its developer.

14 – Future Gates – CCP will wait until FanFest where they will finally announce the next step in their road map forward.  The announcement will be new space.  It will be available only through one-way gates that will only allow frigate sized ships to pass and once you’re on the far side you’re stuck there.  No death clones back even.  Return will depend upon completion of a giant, dozen-keepstar level of effort project has been completed by your corp/alliance/coalition.  Said gates will not allow capital ships to pass, but you can always bring blueprints.

15 – PCME? PCU! – The lasting effect of the Ascension expansion will settle down to a PCU count of about 3- 5K addition players online at any given time over the pre-expansion numbers.  For a game that runs on one server that handles time zones around the globe, that adds up to a lot of additional people, but it still isn’t the heyday of 2013 and the “EVE is dying” chorus will continue sing its near constant refrain.

16 – Switcharoo – The Nintendo Switch will hit store shelves come the Fall, but the big deal for this “is it a bit handheld or a small console?” unit will be the announcement that versions of Pokemon Sun & Moon will be available for the unit, so you will finally be able to play Pokemon on your big screen TV and even stream it on Twitch or Yahoo or Facebook if you want.  But you still won’t be able to take screen shots.

17 – Let’s Hear It for the GameBoy – Following on the success of the 3DS Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, Nintendo will follow up with an ongoing series of legacy Pokemon titles, with the generation 2 titles of Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal next up.

18 – Forsaken AvatarShroud of the Avatar will finally hit its launch state and announce it is live and ready for the wide world to join in.  However, in yet another hard lesson about early access, sales won’t jump.  The core audience has already bought in and new comers will be scared off by the reviews on Steam that are the outcome of the early access run.  If it even appears on the front page of Steam’s the top seller list, it won’t stay there for very long.

19 – Not ShippingCamelot Unchained, Crowfall, Pantheon: Rinse and Repeat, and Amazon’s New World will all be no-shows on the release market for 2017.

20 – Back on Track – After another year of tinkering with the game, NCsoft is going to put the screws to Arena Net and a new expansion will be announced for GuildWars 2.  That will give ANet something to talk about for months. It will also kill of any Heart of Thorns purchases given past behavior.  And, sure enough, as the new expansion gets close HoT content will become free.

Extra Credit Wild Ass Guess – Daybreak hires an ex-Riot person as chief exec and announces they going to make a MOBA!  Double points if it is Norrath based!

So those are my guesses at the new year.  At ten points each, that is a possible of 200 total, with an extra ten extra credit points for the wild guess of the year.  I will be back in eleven and a half months to score that, and if I do better than 40% it will be yet another Festivus miracle.

Others forecasting events of 2017:

 

December in Review

The Site

I was going to write a happy note about WordPress.com and their new stats page, which I have studiously avoided since it came out as its layout and information seemed to me to be a step down from the previous version.  I will admit though that it make things easier to see in the scope of a calendar year or a month.  It had that going for it.

And then on the winter solstice WP.com killed the previous version of the stats page and now forces users to go to the new one.  Dammit.  Among the things missing with the new page are the two page view charts I use for my anniversary posts.

Also, the new stats page is broken for me for approximately one third of the day.  I think this is due to my blog running on UTC… which was the only choice back when I started it… and my local time being UTC -8.  I never bothered to swap the blog time to match my local time, but WP.com seems to know my local time and simply stops showing me stats between 4pm local and midnight local.  Nice job there WP.com!

The Stats are a Lie

The Stats are a Lie

Fortunately, one of the early versions of the stats page… not my favorite, but one that at least has the right data… is still accessible.  Also, the mobile app shows the right stats regardless of time.

Oddly, WP.com hasn’t done their “year in review” option for blogs yet.  Usually that is up right after Christmas.  They appear to have given up on that for individual blogs and now have a year in review page for the whole WP.com family.

And speaking of stats and years, if somebody could click on that random post link on the side bar or some similar action about 2,500 times, the blog would totally have a nice round number for page views in 2016.  Just do it before 23:59 UTC.

One Year Ago

Thanks to The Force Awakens coming out, George Lucas was in the news and rationalizing his “Han didn’t shoot first” change.  I wasn’t buying it.  There were certainly other things he could have changed.

It was December, so I had to go over the usual posts, scoring predictions, looking back at the highs and lows of the year gone past, looking forward to what I might play 2016, and something about the inevitable Steam holiday sale.  I also made a chart to show what MMOs I was playing in 2015 because everybody else was doing it.  I totally forgot to make that chart again this year.

There was the Operation: Frostline expansion in EVE Online.

In New Eden I got blow up trying to slip a Caracal out of Fountain.  It happens.  On the other hand, I did get my first kill mark on another solo op.  I also hit 150 million skill points, an achievement soon to be made trivial by skill injectors.

The much reviled Fountain War Kickstarter was finally cancelled, as it was clearly not going to get anywhere close to its $150K target.  But was that going to bank the flames of the brightly burning Goon hate? (hint: no)

The recently rebranded Imperium was taking its plans to low sec, either to generate content or display its arrogance depending on who was describing it.  We were also waging a war in Cloud Ring.

Turbine finally got their head screwed on right when it came to insta-levels in Lord of the Rings Online.  I was stomping around in the Mirkwood expansion trying to see in the dark.

In Minecraft I was building a prismarine outpost along the great northern road.  Aaron and I also killed the End Dragon.

On the EverQuest front, the Phinigel “true box” server opened, a retro progression server that was supposed to keep people from multi-boxing groups.

I summed up five years of Raptr tracking my game play with my top 20 played games.  There was LEGO’s somewhat nonsensical online name policy.  And I was playing Monument Valley on the iPad.

Five Years Ago

There was the usual looking back at the Highs and Lows of 2011.  And, hand-in-hand with that, there was the look forward at games I might play in 2012.

One of those games was Diablo III and another Torchlight II, while Path of Exile represented a dark horse third. They were all vying for the mantle of successor to Diablo II.  So I tried to define the essence of Diablo II.

I also had some demands for 2011 and had to look at how that worked out.

I was back in EVE Online and I began my journey into null sec appropriately, by killing myself.  Then I saw titans, lit cynos, and got blown up.

But hey, a ship blows up every six seconds in EVE Online.

There was a war on, and it was announced we were going to be driven from Deklein.  And there was something about ganking tourism and three flavors of ravens.  Also, pretty new nebulae.

Meanwhile, in the bigger picture, Hilmar Pétursson, CEO of CCP declared that the era of the Jesus Feature was over for EVE Online.

There was the end of Star Wars Galaxies, though people were saying it had been dead for years.

Star Wars: The Old Republic went live, completing the changing of the Star Wars MMO guard, for all the lack of actual change that brought about.

EverQuest II and its free to play twin, EverQuest II Extended, were merged into a single fighting force of extraordinary magnitude or something.

Richard Garriott de Cayeux went a little nuts talking about his Ultimate RPG, his great fondness for EA, and the failure of Tabula Rasa and Ultima 8.  He seemed to try to be getting EA to join with him by talking to the press… and not to EA.  And then it was the Mayans.

Closer to planet Earth, the instance group was in Rift running the Realm of the Fae.

Toril MUD was still alive and had just added nine more zones to the game.

Playboy Manager the MMO.  Never ended up being a thing.

And I proved my laser tag prowess against a bunch of little girls.

Ten Years Ago

The short-lived Massive Magazine, dedicated to our chosen niche video game genre, put out its first issue.  I bought a copy.

I told a Christmas story from 1977 about video games.

I followed up on my initial Stellar Emperor post with one about how I won the game.

My daughter and I were chasing Rudolph across the Frostfell zone in EverQuest II.

Digg starting listing podcasts and there was a call to help Digg some of the MMO related podcasts. These days I am surprised when I see that Digg is still a thing.

The Commonlands in EverQuest got a make over. The two zones also got combined into a single zone.

I compared the Butcherblock chessboard in EQ and EQ2. I was also running around Runnyeye with Gaff.

I correctly predicted the venue for that year’s EQ2 expansion, Kunark, which I will never let anybody forget.  I was also wondering about SOE’s trajectory given the changes that came in with Echoes of Faydwer and The Serpent’s Spine.

And in World of Warcraft the instance group did Gnomeregan and started in on Scarlet Monestary.  I also noted that gold spammers were using in-game mail in WoW.

I also had five features I wanted WoW to steal from EQ2.  I think we got one of them in the form of the WoW Armory.  But no, housing was not on the list.

Derek Smart came up as a topic for the first time on the site.

Finally, in a bit of EVE Online history I didn’t write about at the time, though I was vaguely aware that it had happened, the first titan built, an Avatar named “Steve,” owned by Ascendant Frontier, became the first titan destroyed when it was lost to Band of Brothers in C9N-CC on December 11, 2006. The pilot, CYVOK, logged out with aggression, was probed down, and the titan was destroyed.

The Wreck of Steve

The Wreck of Steve… also, 2006 UI

There is a memorial wreck in the system to mark the event.

And, finally, just to make this section even longer, the top ten best selling games on the PC in 2006:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. The Sims 2: Open for Business
  3. The Sims 2
  4. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  5. Star Wars: Empire at War
  6. Age of Empires III
  7. Civilization IV
  8. The Sims 2: Nightlife
  9. Guild Wars Factions
  10. Zoo Tycoon 2

That was back when Sims ruled the list.  I had forgotten that Guild Wars sold as well as it did too.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Claim Your Daily Yoiul Gifts in EVE Online!
  2. What Happens When They Buy EVE Online?
  3. A New Broom at Daybreak?
  4. Top Five Problems with EVE Online
  5. New Eden For Sale?
  6. A Standing Stone Gathers No Momentum
  7. Make My Alpha Clone
  8. Pokemon Go Account Hacked and Recovered
  9. Losing 600 Billion ISK on Your Own Cyno Beacon
  10. WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches
  11. In Which I Ramble About Being All Things to All People
  12. The Steam Winter Sale 2016 Begins

Search Terms of the Month

is warhammer return of reckoning safe?
[It better not be!]

stellaris is everything that civilization
[should be? hates? rejects? eats for lunch?]

eve online sex
[If there is anything EVE prevents, it is sex]

sto female elf
[Now you’re trying to cross the streams again]

eq dwarf hate purple armor
[Dwarf should buy some dye]

flying mount business model
[Sell them for money?]

EVE Online

It was all sorts of explosions in New Eden at the start of the month, but with the holidays and family and commitments, I wasn’t really able to set aside much time for internet spaceships.  I only logged on in the latter half of the month to do some Planetary Interaction stuff and poke around a bit.

EverQuest II

As with New Eden, I started off the month strong in Norrath, but then that tapered off as the holidays hit.  Only so much time in the day.  I am still up for further exploration of the new-ish content.

Minecraft

I actually spend a lot of time in our world as the month progressed.  With a big project lined up, it was easy to drop in, do a bit of work, and log back out as I had the time.  The road has been moving southward, though there are times when I look at the progress I have made relative to the work left to be done and I wonder if I have bit off more than I can chew.  And once I get that next bridge done I have another jungle to blast through.  Time for more TNT.

Pokemon Go

I even slowed down some on Pokemon Go as it started to rain in our corner of California.  It is an outdoor sort of game, so my daily walk around the work campus (which has 6 Pokestops) tailed off as water fell from the sky.  I did manage to catch a couple of Santa Hat Pikachu, but Ditto continues to elude me.  And I did a last minute lucky egg for double XP and evolved myself to level 25 last night.  Also, I hatched a Magby, which is number 240 in the Pokedex, which indicates that we’re getting new Pokemon with the new year.

All alone at the bottom of the list

All alone at the bottom of the list

End of month stats:

  • Level: 25 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 106 (+7) caught, 134 (+5) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Ditto
  • Current buddy: Kadabra

Pokemon Sun & Moon

Again, I seemed to have put down the Pokemon Sun for the last week or so as the holidays blew through.  I made it through the third island and the interlude afterwards, but now need to pick up the story, get to the final island, and get Nebby to stay in the damn bag.

Steam

I actually bought a few items during the Steam sale, and am eyeing at least one more, so there will no doubt be a post-sale posting to discuss that.  I will say that at $2.99, Dirt 3 offers some pretty decent driving fun.

World of Warcraft

I let my account there lapse, and will probably set my daughter’s to lapse as well, as she hasn’t been logging in either.  After a busy summer and fall in Azeroth it feels like time to let that simmer while we do other things.

Coming Up

2017, and the sincere hope that it ends up being better than 2016.  Probably not going to happen, but one can always hope.

Tomorrow is the first of the year and will feature my usual predictions post.

In New Eden war is coming and the Imperium is deploying to join in.  I have to find a convoy out there so I can join in.

EverQuest II has a double XP weekend going through the new year, so I feel like I should take some advantage of that.

I want to finish Pokemon Sun then go back and work on the Pokedex.  I have been moving slow to fill up as much of it as possible, but it hasn’t been a determined effort as yet.

And then there is that list of potential games for 2017… though a lot of them need to finish development first.

Winter War in South New Eden

After the giant mess of the M-OEE8 Keepstar battle, Circle of Two announced that they would be pulling out of the north end of null sec.  Neither they nor their allies, TEST, would defend their remaining holdings in Tribute or Vale of the Silent, allowing Pandemic Legion and NCDot to scoop up great swathes of the two regions to turn into rental space.  Same as it ever was.

The question then became where would these two alliances head.  They vowed to stick together to take new space, but there was speculation as to where.  The decision has finally been made; CO2 and TEST, joined by FCON and The Drone Walkers… not sure why they are showing up, but there they are and their space in Tenal is being taken… will be attacking the Stainwagon coalition, which is spread over the regions of Paragon Soul, Esoteria, and Impass along with bits of Feythabolis and Catch.  According to the Coalition Guide, Stainwagon is made up of:

  • Soviet-Union – 2060 pilots
  • Against ALL Authorities – 1151 pilots
  • Desman Alliance – 956 pilots
  • C0VEN – 1038 pilots
  • Good Sax – 306 pilots
  • FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT STELLAR SYSTEMS – 1409 pilots
  • pwn-O-graphy – 275 pilots
  • Wings Wanderers – 1335 pilots
  • The Afterlife. – 656 pilots
  • Kids With Guns Alliance – 2435 pilots
  • Swords of Damocles – 374 pilots
  • The Volition Cult – 2408 pilots

That gives them a combined total of about 14K pilots. (Yes, pilots don’t necessarily align to actual people, but it is the only measure we have.)  You can see those alliances grouped up in the south on the current influence map from the usual source:

Null Sec Influence - December 30, 2016

Null Sec Influence – December 30, 2016

TEST, CO2, FCON, and the Drone Walkers bring over 17K pilots to the fight and represent a smaller leadership group, which may make them effective beyond their numbers against the dispersed Stainwagon Coalition.

The alleged political reason for Stainwagon being the target is their past friendship with Goons, though if that had to count against alliances then we’d have to bring up TEST, CO2, and FCON as fellow members of that club as well.

The REAL reason is more likely contained in a quote from TEST (and former GSF) FC Vily over at EN24 that I would sum up, in my own words, as “Nothing personal, but they have space and we think we can take them.”  Ever a good enough reason for war in New Eden.

Some alliances the Stainwagon coalition did indeed come out in support of the Imperium during The Casino War (part of the Russian complication in April which also saw the Drone Walkers show up) and that relationship has been maintained, including allowing the Imperium to pass through the Catch region to hit FCON on occasion.  In return the Imperium will be coming to their aid to fight against what has become known as the Circle of TEST coalition and whatever hangers on they bring.  The Imperium has over 20K pilots on their roster, which is some weight to be throwing around.

War is coming, which is always good for the game.

But there is also a strategic question to consider.  Circle of TEST has stated that their goal is to find space where they can build up their super capital fleet.  Currently PL and NCDot have dominance on that front, having bounced back easily from their losses at B-R5RB just about three years back.  That is PL and NCDot’s ace in the hole, the fall back “I Win” button when the outcome of a battle is in question.

Right now the Imperium is on a crash capital and super capital building binge to close that gap, and have had time to setup and rebuild in Delve, something that PL and NCDot no doubt see as a threat.  But will they allow another defeated enemy in the form of Circle of TEST to also setup shop in the south and begin cranking out capital ships that may trim back the advantage PL and NCDot hold?  Or does conflict in the south suite them as the build their new rental empire in the north?

And what of the powers closer to hand?  The Imperium has already declared themselves in the fight.  Will Provi Bloc and the Drone Region Federation be content to left Circle of TEST move in so they can build up an offensive force in their back yards?  Provi Bloc generally keeps to itself, and the DRF has some animosity built up against Stainwagon.  Will third parties piling into the area change any of that?  Do the new neighbors look good or would they prefer the status quo?

So we will be going into the new year with a new war with its own set of New Eden-wide political and alliance questions.  A new chapter in the ongoing tale of null sec space. (I’m tentatively tagging this as “Stain War 2017” until a better name comes up.)  And, of course, there will be propaganda, sometimes the best part of these wars… especially when TEST is involved.  I grabbed a couple of samples from /r/eve:

Coverage of events so far: