Category Archives: EVE Online

Friday Bullet Points Return Again

It is Friday and I have a few small items that I couldn’t bring myself to make full blog posts out of, so here they are in what for me passes for abbreviated form.

  • Tunnels & Trolls is here!

About two and a half years back, according to my Kickstarter record, I backed a campaign to produce a new Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls tabletop RPG rule book for a variety of nostalgic reasons.  Well, it has finally arrived.

Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe just out of the shipping box...

Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe just out of the shipping box…

Actually it arrived a few weeks back, but I haven’t gotten around to posting about it as yet.  There was a release party for it which Silverangel of Kitty Kitty Boom Boom attended.

The book itself is much bigger than the 1979 predecessor that I still have on my bookshelf.  Now to find some time to do what I always do with tabletop rule books these days… read through it and imagine all the great campaigns one could run without ever actually playing.

The book should be available directly from Flying Buffalo at this point as well as in digital format from DriveThru RPG.

  • NetherByte is Gone

The dying Minecraft hosting service NetherByte appears to finally be gone.  Having jumped ship a few weeks ago, I removed the whitelisting controls and let a few people wander around to see what was going on.  Over the weekend the dashboard and FTP access went down and, as of last night, what remained of our Minecraft world there is no longer accessible.

  • Asher and Boat

The Asher Hour podcast this week features that staple of null sec, Dabigredboat.  Asher and Boat discuss null sec, how fleet compositions have evolved and how life has changed in null, who the most overrated alliance is, favorite doctrines, and what ought to change.  A good listen and Boat barely goes into any long stories about the good old days.  Download it from Soundcloud, as Asher doesn’t seem to be keeping his old shows around, so it might not be there in a couple weeks.

  • Pirate’s Little Helper

Also on the Asher Elias front, a while back he brought up a utility that you can use in conjunction with EVE Online called Pirate’s Little Helper.  It runs on top of the game and gives you an analysis of targets within your system, so you can tell who is the noob flying around helpless and who is the cyno-bait waiting to drop his buddies on top of you for a gank.

You can also enter pilot names into the web site just to see what comes up.  My own report isn’t all that impressive, though it is accurate enough.  I haven’t done enough to earn a tag.  In space, nobody knows you’re a blogger.  A few examples from the site:

Also, Gevlon and The Mittani both appear to favor HML Tengus with faction missiles.

  • Trade Goods for Vegas

Largely due to my wife, I am going to be at EVE Vegas this year.  She will be there too, though she does not play EVE Online.  She will do something else during the panels, but has a ticket for the Chateau party.  That she will do well at.

She also felt that I ought to have something to share with friends and foes alike, and so ran some TNT buttons for me through Wacky Buttons, which turned out to be a pretty cheap, quick, and efficient service.  The buttons, 1 inch in diameter, look pretty good.



I will have a pocket full of those, plus some Reaver Bee buttons should I run into any of my fellow jacket pals in Vegas.

While we are getting to Vegas a day early to hang out other commitments, along with the vagaries of the Southwest flight schedule, means us having to leave mid-day Sunday.  Since the EVE Vegas schedule just got posted, now I can see that I will be missing quite a few panels.  Well, maybe next time.


Multibuy – A Vanguard Feature I Totally Underrated

When the Vanguard expansion for EVE Online hit last week, I was quick to highlight a few of the obvious “big” features that it delivered.

There was the boost in skills and skill points for new players.  Kind of a big deal, going from 50K to 400K skill points when starting off, though even if you’re just chugging along at 1,500 skill points an hour that puts you less than two weeks ahead.  Meaningful when you’re new, but not something that changes much for the long term.

Then there was the removal of Entosis Link module abilities from interceptors.  People can no longer troll with a cheap, interdiction nullified, speed boat.  The list of systems in play over at Timer Board seem to be down a bit.  Certainly I am getting less notifications when logging in about things being attacked, though I thought I heard somewhere that MOA moved down to Geminate for a bit to harass LAWN for a change.

Finally there was the combat battlecruiser rebalance that held the promise of bringing back battlecruisers.  Granted, we were already flying Feroxes for homeland defense fleets.  But now they are even better and there are already some possible Hurricane fits being passed around.

And then there was everything else, which I lumped into a bullet point list, drawing more attention to the fact that you could now mount festival launchers on your Archon than anything else.  Multibuy was in there somewhere, mentally dismissed by me as basically the flip side of multisell, which showed up with Phoebe.  I glanced at the dev blog for it, said “nice little feature” and moved on.

You can buy multiple things, how nice

You can buy multiple things, how nice

Unfortunately, in my cursory glance at the dev blog I missed the key item, which is summed up in a single button and which, if I had been writing the dev blog, I would have highlighted with giant flashing letters or, barring that, at least a big red arrow.

The big red arrow...

The big red arrow…

That is a “Buy All…” button in the in-game saved fitting window that lets you, with a single press of a button… um… buy all the things!

Multibuy instantly went from “How nice…” to “BEST FEATURE EVER!1!!1” in my book.

Literally, the main pain point in the game as I play it today was buying doctrine ships in Jita and making sure I had all the right items before I had them shipped out to our staging system.  You cannot press the “fit” button… another favorite of mine… to see if all the modules got picked up because rigs are one shot.  They get destroyed if you repackage a ship before having it hauled out to null sec, and you pretty much have to repackage for that.

Now I just import the fit into the game… thank you “Copy from Clipboard” feature… open it up,  press the button, and hey presto, I can buy it all!  And I can even buy multiples!

Sell me five Ishtar fits!

Sell me five Ishtar fits!

Once I saw this I was grinning like a baboon.

Baboons grin, right?  That is their thing, isn’t it, that and having a red ass?

Also, I think that is the original Reaver Ishtar fit I used as an example.  Not something we fly any more.

Anyway, I was so happy at this that I bought and shipped 10 Claw interceptors and associated fittings and shipped them all out to our staging system just because I could with a couple of clicks.

A Claw up close

A Claw up close

Then I fitted them all out and listed five on contract for pretty cheap just to get some of my money back.

(And then, in some sort of karmic circle of life thing, Norrec Lafisques, for whom that particular fit is named, bought a couple them, so I have that going for me… or something.)

Basically, instant quality of life improvement!  And, an added side benefit, since it prices out the hull and all the fittings for you, I also get a per-unit cost per ship without having to go back and add everything up manually.

Granted, buying whole ship fits right off the market really only works well if you’re buying Jita… or maybe Amarr… but since Jita seems to be the main supply point for our part of null sec, that works out for me.  I wouldn’t press that button in any other station.  We are pretty good at price gouging ourselves on in null.  Our Ferox fit had a rig change with Vanguard and, what do you know, the price of those went up ten fold.

All in all though, a great new feature.

Of course, as with any system, once you clear up one bottleneck you quickly find the next one.

In this case, I now really need some better way to organize my inventory.  I get by in Jita by keeping nothing in my station inventory, so when I am buying everything I buy gets shipped and when I am selling everything I have shipped in gets sold.  Nothing is allowed to linger aside from an Ibis and a couple of shuttles in the ship hangar.

That works great in Jita.

That doesn’t work at all for me in YA0-XJ or any other staging system where I may have stockpiled ammo or have drops looted from rats or after a battle or modules that have been replaced in doctrine fits or whatever other garbage I may have collected over the years. (A quick look at one of our coalition utilities shows I have 156,224 items in that station.  And while most of it is ammo, that still leaves a lot of items knocking around in the inventory window when I open it up. And the estimated value of all that is nearly 5 billion ISK, so now you know.)

So when I dump stuff into the inventory window to ship back to Jita… because you cannot contract it out of your ship’s inventory or a sub-container the last I looked… it gets mixed in with everything else and I inevitable end up sending a few items on a round trip.  This week I had a blockade runner filled with loot from ratting.  I shipped all that back to Jita to sell, but once I got it there I found a stack of Nanite Paste I needed back in the staging system as well as rigs for a couple of hulls I hadn’t gotten around to fitting yet.

So that is now my main pain point in the game, inventory management.

Of course, that is usually a major pain point for me in any game where you can accumulate things but have limited space… or even unlimited space, since even then you still have to be able to find things.

How CCP can fix that I am unsure, but I hope that is on their list somewhere.

September in Review

The Site

Well, one thing I never quite got around to doing this month was some sort of final, post-Blaugust wrap up.  Of course, Belghast has already summed the whole thing up, listed everybody out, and handed out awards.  I got the right to display this logo.

Made it all the way, second year running

Made it all the way, second year running

I was also going to collect up and link to everybody else’s summary to merge it all into some sort of mega meta summary or some such… and then my wife said it was time for dinner and I forgot about the whole thing until I found it in my Drafts folder yesterday along with something I was writing for the NBI… back in 2014 judging from the date… and that idea I had for picking the most negatively influential games I have played.  Anyway, these are the links I collected before I got distracted:

Maybe next year I will remember to finish what I started.

One Year Ago

Blizzard said no to its Titan project.

ArcheAge went live, was overwhelmed, and pissed off some people.  But everybody is happy now, right?

Destiny also launched and though I went nowhere near that, I was interested in Bungie’s seven design point.

Project: Gorgon was coming to the end of its second Kickstarter campaign and it clearly wasn’t going to make it.  On the other hand Defense Grid 2 was headed for release even though Hidden Path didn’t make all of their Kickstarter stretch goals.

Also on the developer front, Notch sold Minecraft to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars.  Since then sales have gone past the 20 million copies mark, which I am sure Michael Pachter thinks is nothing.

Rift was set to join the insta-levels club as part of their Nightmare Tide expansion announcement.

EVE Online had the Oceanus release.  We all remember that, right? Parlez-vous français?

Meanwhile the Lords of Null Sec put our their Null Deal proposal.  In actual space, we left Delve yet again to come home and clean up Deklein. We were out numbered at one point, but we ended up with a nice op at the end of the month.

As part of my Pokemon binge I finished up Pokemon White Version 2.  I still think that is a horrible name, but it was a good entry in the Pokemon RPG series.

In World of Warcraft I managed to get the Brewfest Kodo.  However, my Loremaster project started to fall apart in the Blade’s Edge mountains.  Well, we had more details about Warlords of Draenor to fuss over.

The strategy group was putting on a shameful display in Total War: Rome II.

I was wondering how long you had to be away before an MMO changed so much it became like a foreign country.

For the blog itself, I was on to the third iteration of my sidebar feed and it had been eight years since I started blogging.  And finally there was a review of the first Blaugust.

Five Years Ago

Well, there was that whole four year anniversary thing.

Planet Michael, the Michael Jackson virtual world, was announced.  How is that coming along?

The whole David Allen, Derek Smart, Quest Online public blame and shame fest ended when Quest Online gave David Allen some money and he went away.  Derek Smart could not help but throw in a couple final comments.  Good thing he’s been quiet since then… *cough*

CCP was talking about Public Fleets and such that were planned for their Incursions expansion.  That got delayed long enough for me to get tired of waiting.  Still, it was better than Incarna.

More interesting was a guide to suicide ganking in EVE Online put up by TooNuRacoon.

Meanwhile, I was kicking off my EVE Online screen shot contest.  All of the entries are now posted on my other site.

I tried turning an old joke into an MMO joke.  Some people got it.  Some did not.  Some got angry, because this is the internet and that is what people do on the internet.

I looked at cloaks in MMOs, and how little they resemble what we would call a cloak in the real world.

In World of Warcraft I finally got that Brewmaster achievement.

Lord of the Rings Online flipped the switch and went free to play.  We were truly among the free (to play) peoples Middle-earth then.  There were some issues with Turbine Points, though I did get my 5,000 point pay-off.

The instance group was still summering in Middle-earth.  The group was finally into the meat of the Lone Lands.  We also tried some skirmishes and talked about Anderson Cooper.

In LOTRO I also ran into somebody who was looking for a social environment similar to old EverQuest.  I wonder if he ended up on Fippy Darkpaw which, for a short time, had all the best aspects of early EverQuest.

New Linking Blogs

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 September

  1. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  2. When is WoW Legion?
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. EverQuest Expansion Plans and Progression Server Polls
  5. Once Upon a Lifetime Subscription…
  6. EverQuest Next Five Years Down the Road
  7. Flying Comes to Draenor
  8. Nine is a Magic Number
  9. GuildWars 2 and What Free Really Means
  10. Minecraft – Our World
  11. The Demise of NetherByte and the Portability of Worlds
  12. The Unusual Scent of Victory in Period Basis

Search Terms of the Month

i am getting adventurous dreams after wearing emerald
[You go… um… girl?]

pokemon x shot 3ds nintendo tea
[I like some Nintendo tea in the morning]

rerolled killed pantheon
[Not yet]

an ancient raft
[Like this one? I think that is an ArcheAge screen shot.]

эверквест Интор
[The EverQuest II Russian server lives I guess]

Diablo III

I spent some time playing this, far more time than I spent playing EQII, so swapped this in for the other on the side bar list of games I am playing.  It is fun, immersive, and I remain impressed with how good it looks every time I play.  It just isn’t a game that sparks much blogging interest in me.  Weeee, I followed the same linear path as everybody else and got some interesting somewhat randomized loot.

EVE Online

Just enough happened in New Eden to make me feel like I did something without me burning a lot of hours in the game.  A short deployment, a couple of fun roams, a couple of homeland defense ops, and here we are done with the month.  It wasn’t as interesting as a good war, but it was enjoyable.

EverQuest II

Post-cataclysmic Norrath fell off the end of the list.  I can only really play three ongoing video games at a time, and as noted above, Diablo III bumped EQII into the oblivion of fourth place.  A pity, as I was enjoying a bit of nostalgia on the Stormhold server… just not enough to actually play I guess.  Time to cancel that subscription.


Again this month, the game that eats up most of my gaming free time is Minecraft.  The game is definitely better with a few people playing in the world, so I am glad we have a hosted server so that the five regulars can play.  But with the bump in price due to changing hosts, I have again started thinking about the whole renting vs. owning calculation.  Expect a post again about that I suppose.

Coming Up

It is October and suddenly the end of the year looms as we rush towards Halloween and the blur of the holiday season that will inevitably spit us out at the far end in the bleak landscape of January.

And so much is coming up.  Daybreak is supposed to spill the beans on the EQ and EQII expansions… well, tomorrow… with an official reveal.  The GW2 expansion Heart of Thorns is coming out later this month.  SWTOR and UItima Online also have expansions slated for this month.  People will be passing judgement on the WildStar free to play conversion.  There is EVE Vegas, which signs indicate I may very well attend, and the reveals that CCP will have there.  And then there will be the run up to BlizzCon.  While that is actually in the first week of November, I am sure people will begin to speculate about what we might see there.

Which is all good because, as noted, I am not at all inspired to write about Diablo III, no matter how enjoyable it is, EVE Online content can rarely be predicted in advance, and I am not sure I have a lot to say about Minecraft at the moment besides server logistics and how I built yet another crude structure or fell off of some high place yet again.

So time to start thinking about the inevitable “hopes and expectations” post about BlizzCon I guess.  It is either that or take up the offer I got in email earlier to go review Aeria Games’ upcoming title Dragomon Hunter…. which would mean trying yet again to fit four games into a three game time budget.  Oh well,  I am going to bet that somebody Massively OP has that game covered already.

Vanguard in New Eden

Another month, another expansion bump from CCP.

I actually had to think for a moment about the title of this post as, not being an EVE Online blog, the name Vanguard might bring up the late and ever troubled (while it was around) Brad McQuaid project.

I am not sure I succeeded with that title, so let me just say now that there is no Brad McQuaid connection to New Eden… at least none that I have ever heard of.

Yes, CCP announced that full sized expansions would be returning, but they will also continue on with the scheduled smaller code drops to deliver smaller feature updates and fixes at regular intervals.

Today’s drop is Vanguard and I am going to say that the biggest item… there being no dev blogs or such on Vanguard features to indicate importance or scale… on the list of features it brings is the change for new characters.  Fresh characters in New Eden will show up with more skills and skill points.  You will essentially start 400,000 skill points into your lifetime of training, up from 50,000 previously.  That is maybe 10 days of training (and a bunch of ISK), but those first days in the game are important and can shape your destiny.

Neville Smit has posted before/after pictures of the skills being added while over at Th Nosy Gamer there is a far more detailed look at what skills are being added and what they mean to players.

The next up and probably most talked about change, at least in null sec, is the combat and Navy issue battlecruiser rebalance.

FC, can I bring my Drake now?

FC, can I bring my Drake now?

This has vets happy, since we remember a golden era of battlecruiser dominance where we flew Drake and Hurricane doctrines every day.  I miss my 2012 pera-MWD Drake of doom.

So these old hulls… old being defined as anything that was around when I started playing in 2006… are getting a buff.

The problem is that it just isn’t 2006… or 2012… anymore.  These ships can’t stand toe-to-toe with the strategic cruisers still, which can fit a battleship level tank if needs be, nor are they as versatile, not having a subsystem swap option to make them interdiction nullified or able to use black ops bridges or whatever.  And in the post-Phoebe world of jump fatigue battlecruisers are slow travelers when you have more than a few gates between you and your destination.

So they are a cheap… and now a little bit better… option on the home defense front or for nearby deployments, but if you’re going to go far my gut says that alliances will bring harder, more survivable, more expensive ships to fight.

But we’ll see.  Maybe Reavers will be drop Tengus and pick up Hurricanes.

(A run down of the changes over at Crossing Zebras.)

And then, also a big deal in null sec, the ability to fit Entosis Link modules has been removed from interceptors.  The trollceptor is dead, but I am sure something will rise to take its place.

After that, we have:

  • Physics based rendering (PBR) being applied to stations and Amarr and Minmatar strategic cruisers.  Make more shinier.
  • Jump invulnerability timer: You will now have a visual indicator as to how long your cloak will hold after you jump through a gate or wormhole.
  • Wormhole polarization timer: You can now see when you will be able to jump back through a wormhole.
  • A multi-buy option for the market, the flip side of the multi-sell option introduced previously. (Dev Blog up now.)
  • New Guristas burner missions.
  • Blue Tiger skins for a range of Minmatar ships.
  • Festival launchers no longer require a launcher hardpoint, just a free high slot.  Launchers for all your carriers!

Then there is the typical range of small fixes along for the ride on this particular release vehicle.  And new issues for new features…

There is a release page for Vanguard and a set of patch notes which tell most of the story of the release between them. (But never the whole story.)

That is what Vanguard brings us… well, all that a theme song.

Throwing Claws Around Cloud Ring

After a week or so in Fountain shooting towers and getting the occasional fight (EUTZ had a couple of good ones I heard) the Reavers withdrew from their staging and headed back to home.  Asher convoyed a chunk of us out this past weekend, avoiding a large Pandemic Legion fleet that apparently didn’t know we were there and managing to work around a LowSechnaya Sholupen fleet that looked to be actively hunting us.  Fortunately we were in a part of Aridia at that point that had a number of cross connected systems, so they went one way, we went the other, and we ended up looping around them and off to our wormhole without direct contact with the hostiles.  Op success and I didn’t even leave yet another 300 million ISK Basilisk parked in a distant station.

And there we rested, the Reavers standing down again.

Not that there aren’t things to do.  Northern Coalition decided to come to the north from which its name was initially derived to try to coordinate with Mordus Angels and stir up some action in Pure Blind.  There have been an ongoing series of ops in the region, enough to keep everybody busy.

Plus Asher always has his eyes open for other non-deployment actions for the Reavers, such as the planned recon fight against Ron Mexxico and Pandemic Legion.

Then there are always the doctrine experiments.  We’ve gone out with him, had fun, and occasionally died horribly, in a variety of ships over the year or so that Reavers have been a thing.

And so it was that this week Asher said he was having a batch of what he called “Fozzie Claws” imported so we could go out on a roam.  The Claw is, of course, a Minmatar interceptor, like the Stiletto it is a tech II variation of the the Slasher.

A Claw up close

A Claw up close

Always keen to try something new and, having recently passed 145 million skill points, likely having the skills required, I bought one when they came up on contract.  (There are still gaps in my training though. When the Ron Mexxico fight came up I found that I had never even injected the skill for recon ships.  There is always some new skill I need.)

The fit was… interesting.

I generally fly logi, so am no expert on interceptors.  But still, strapping on an interceptor with no web, no point, and no propulsion module seemed… odd.  Sure, the three guns and the missile launcher, those were good in the way that firepower always is, though the range seemed awfully short.  I don’t generally spend much time… alive… at the under 12km mark around hostile ships.  Sensor boosters make for a quick lock, so I got those in the mids, but the warp core stabilizers though, that was new.

I was certainly keen to find out how this would work.

Of course, there was a plan, even if my limited imagination could not see it.

Asher called us up after leading an op in Pure Blind and we assembled in YA0-XJ and got in our Claws.  Once we undocked he sent us racing off to Cloud Ring.  At least in an interceptor movement across regions is still quick.  When you’re able to move at 8 AU a second, there are systems were you spend more time waiting for the gate transition than you do flying through the system.  We were at our destination fairly quickly.

Cloud Ring, abandoned by The Imperium as part of the Fozzie Sov realignment, has been a hotbed of activity.  J4LP… or Fweddit, to call them by their main and best known (and best named) corp… tried to fill the power vacuum when The Imperium pulled out, but was set upon by various entities such as Pandemic Legion and their newbie friendly subsidiary Pandemic Horde, Lethal Intent, Black Legion when it was still a thing in null sec, The Irukandji, Suddenly Spaceships, and even The-Culture from across the Fountain border.  Systems have see-sawed back and forth, and our Imperium allies, SpaceMonkey’s Alliance have jumped into the fray as well.

Basically, fights happen in Cloud Ring and, as it turned out, Asher’s Claw doctrine depended on fights in progress.   Once we arrived in the region we went cruising for hostiles and, once we found some I got a taste of what the doctrine entailed.

We would all hang in space, aligning where told, while Oxygen, who had a ship fit for probing, would scan down a hostile.  He would then fleet warp us all to the target.  However, he was exempt from fleet warps, so we would all warp off while he remain, having essentially “thrown” us at a target.

When we landed… and if we found ourselves within our rather limited engagement range… we would lock up the target, open fire, and then Asher would warp us back to Oxygen after a volley or two for another throw.  A small target would generally be dead by then and we would be back and ready for another throw soon enough.

Of course, a small target would also die very quickly under the hail or 220mm artillery fire, so it was time to learn how to lock and fire quickly.  To the speedy went the kill mails, while I fumbled for quite a bit until I got a system down.

From there we went off stalking targets.

Lock range… and just gun range… were important factors.  We had to land right on top of a target to be able to bring it down before it was time to warp off.  Oxygen had to identify a target and warp us to it while it was still there.   Even moving at 8AU a second, a fast moving target would often be well out of our range by the time we landed.  Even I could appreciate that there was clearly as much “art” or “feel” for where and when to throw us as there was science.

But it was a lot of fun.

Again, being used to the lumbering logi and bigger ships in general, zipping around space in an interceptor.  There is a sense of speed and agility in landing, shooting, and warping off.  You’re like a bird of prey.

And we did catch some targets.  We butted in on a running fight between an SMA Drake fleet… seeing Drakes in action brought back a surge of nostalgia for 2012 and the reign of the perma-MWD Drake…  and some WAFFLES Gilas supported by Scimitar logi.  We bounced around trying to get a good shot at somebody, but the Gilas were to well hardened and the Scimitars were moving fast enough that finding the right opportunity was a challenge.

We were in and out of that battle, but after a lot of throws we didn’t get any direct kills.  We did manage to hit a Scimitar that SMA finished off for us.

We had better luck with some Pandemic Horde pilots we seemed to be hanging about in space in Prophecies doing…something.  We got thrown at a couple of those and managed some kills.  Those were ships that took a lot more than a couple volleys to take down, but the pilots seemed to be rather docile.  If they had launched some drones they could have taken a bite out of our fleet, but they seemed more keen to run.

Fortunately, somebody couldn’t fly a Claw and brought a more conventionally fit Crow with a point, so we were able to hold them down long enough to kill them. (kill one and kill two)

We almost got a third, but we found him on a gate, which lead to a bit of a stand off.

We sent the Crow through to grab him when we jumped, but he didn’t seem keen on jumping.  He was waiting for us to engage so we would be stuck behind a 1 minute aggression timer when he jumped.  So a couple of us started shooting him, slowly wearing him down.  However, a Prophecy can have a lot of EHP, so he was content to wait us out for a while.

Eventually he jumped through and the Crow pointed him on the other side.  We all jumped through as well, locked him up and opened fire.  However he went straight back to the gate and had enough armor left to get there before we could bring him down.

So he got away, but not before we put some fear into him I am sure.

We had a few people who could have taken us at range and picked us apart run off.  A couple dozen Claws dropping in your vicinity can be unnerving, and I supposed nobody suspected that we would be running around without an MWD fit to allow us to close or give chase.

All good fun and a new experience for me.

Along the way, in 00TY-J to be exact, I was recognized by Orion Sa-Solo, newly part of WAFFLES, and he called out in local.  We follow each other on Twitter.

Somebody in fleet had to mention this to me as I tend to keep the message column for local compressed as far as possible… because how often does somebody say something useful in local… so it is mostly just a list of names for intel purposes.  Thus prompted though, I waved back, as such things go.

[ 2015.09.23 04:47:44 ] Orion Sa-Solo > Wilhelm Arcturus heyo
[ 2015.09.23 04:48:19 ] Wilhelm Arcturus > Hey hey!
[ 2015.09.23 04:48:28 ] Thomas Hornigolds > Spai
[ 2015.09.23 04:48:46 ] Orion Sa-Solo > a damn good one too dont you forget

Ships passing in the big night sky of Cloud Ring.  We were off to another system a minute or two later, but I’ve seen another #tweetfleet person in space!

We flew about for a bit more, but things seemed to be dying down in the region, so we were soon pointed for YA0-XJ or other systems or other systems closer to home.

An interesting tactic, being thrown about in a short range interceptor.  But I’m still not sure why they got the name “Fozzie Claws.”

And I have a few screen shots from our time out in Cloud Ring.  Click on the images to see larger versions in a gallery view.


Quote of the Day – Lord British and Sandbox Newsworthiness

If you look at what Blizzard does really well, like Diablo.

Lord British, to The Observer on sandbox games

We haven’t had a good Lord British quotable article for a while.  He hasn’t flirted with EA or Zynga or called his fellow game designers lazy for quite a while.  But here he is, finally back, and with a sick burn on Blizzard.


Yeah, yeah, am I right?

Okay, I snipped that quote out of its context and you could take it in a number of possible ways, but that is still Lord British, speaking in an interview about his sandbox MMORPG, mentioning what Blizzard does well, and then going for what I might have ranked as the third item on the list, after StarCraft, which was an esport before esports were a thing, and perhaps World of Warcraft, which is actually in the MMORPG genre he is attempting to re-enter and which has been eating everybody’s lunch for a decade now.

Something of an “Elephant? What elephant? No elephant in this room!” moment for me.

And lest you think he just has words for Blizzard, he also takes a shot at NCsofts Lineage, a game still more popular today than Ultima Online at its peak.

Anyway, a bit of silliness that made me chuckle.

Still, there is some merit in the article.  It gets into sandbox MMORPGs and Lord British is very quick to equate Shroud of the Avatar with EVE Online, which ranks pretty high on the “successful sandbox MMORPG” list for most people, aside from Tobold.  And in the next breath he puts SotA up there with Star Citizen as an important sandbox game slated to release in the next year.  Also, did you know he’s been in space?  A clear head start into the heads of the EVE Online team!

Okay, maybe I haven’t gotten to the merit part yet.

But there is an interesting thread in the whole thing about reporting on events that happen in-game that is largely the preserve of the sandbox end of the genre.  This is why Lord British wants his game to be equated with EVE Online, because things that happen in New Eden actually make the news in the non-gaming press now and again.

To get that sort of thing going in SotA, Lord British mentions that they are working on a way to enable “reporters” to be able to cover live events with special views.  This contrasts with the approach CCP has taken, which was the subject of another Observer article that asked why they were not supplying special ships so reporters could cover battles…. to which CCP essentially responded by gesturing at its player base, rolling its eyes knowingly, and shaking its head.  We would exploit that in a heart beat.

And all of that ties into another article at The Observer… I had no idea they paid this much attention to video games… which interviewed The Mittani about his news site and which has its own thread about what games are structured so that interesting, newsworthy things can happen and be reported on.  EVE Online is a natural for that, as we have seen, but Mittens also brings up H1Z1… though given the tight relationship between TMC and Daybreak I am not sure how much credence to give that.

The machete is the clincher

The machete is the clincher

But he also throws out the potential for SotA, having its roots in Ultima Online and such.

So I guess the question of the day what other MMORPG has as much potential as EVE Online for the newsworthiness of in-game events?  Will the BBC and other non-gaming news organizations be covering player events in Shroud of the Avatar… or Star Citizen… or any other sandbox MMORPG the way they have EVE?

Anyway, hat tip to Neville Smit who got me started on this with a tweet:


Call Me CCP Ishmael…

This month’s EVE Blog Banter, number 67 in the series, asks us to assume that, through some tragic yet unspecified set of circumstances, we have been vaulted into the leadership of CCP and now have our hand on the tiller of EVE Online.  We are then to chart the course for the company from there.

Oh, and we were supposed to pick our official CCP handle.  I probably put more thought into that than the rest of this post, eventually landed on CCP Ishmael.  The Ishmael from Moby Dick, not the Old Testament Ishmael.

And so I have set myself up to beat to death both a metaphor and a literary allusion in a single post.

Hilmar never looked so good...

Hilmar never looked so good… wait, that’s Ahab…

Because, if nothing else, you could spin the story of CCP and EVE Online as one of overriding obsession, the search for the white whale that is perfection in balance and fun and savagery in New Eden.

Remember Incarna?

Remember Incarna?  A white whale if ever there was one…

Furthermore, like Ishmael, I have found myself something of a narrator of the progress of the game as the years have gone by.  Like Kirith Kodachi and EVE Hermit, my main character recently passed the nine year mark, and over that time I have written a lot of words about the game and spent a lot of time in my internet spaceship.

And, like the Ishmael of the book, while I am part of the story, and reflect upon it frequently, I am still on the outside of what really goes on in the brains of those steering the ship.  I can speculate, but I can never really know.  This is pushed further by my own tendency to be a tactical, rather that strategic, thinker.

All of which means that if you put me on that ship in a position of responsibility, it is as likely a not to go under, with me floating around on a coffin or in a pod or some such.

Gold pod away!

A small pod in the vast ocean of space

Anyway, this Blog Banter seems designed to let people come up with broad, sweeping strategic changes… why else would I need to be put in charge… to fix null sec or low sec or industry or simply to chart a new path forward into the future, as oppose to tactical level features and the like.

But all I have got is tactics.  If you ask me to fix Fozzie Sov, all I have is tweaks and adjustments, most of which have been brought up already.  The only one I haven’t seen is to have attackers dispense with the Entosis Link module and just shoot command nodes when they come up in order to take an objective, so we get to go with guns and kill mails as opposed to the magic laser ship.

I have a platform and no real big agenda.

So I am going to go back to tactics and request a feature I want.  Or, I guess that since I am in charge in this scenario, make CCP implement it.  Go me.

A while back CCP added in icons above your capacitor display to indicate if you were being jammed or webbed or pointed.  Something debilitating, aside from damage, is being applied to your ship and a red highlighted warning icon comes up to notify you.

A great, simple feature, necessary information put somewhere you can see it.

What I want are some additional icons.  Icons for non-debilitating items.

I want an icon to go up when you are getting shield reps, another for armor reps, a third for hull reps… heh…, an icon to show when you are getting capacitor, and that sort of thing.  Highlighted in blue or green or some other non-red, generally means good, color.

I want to know when good stuff is hitting me as well as bad.

Yes, you can see that if you have enough free space open on your screen and are zoomed in on your ship.  But a lot of people fly with their screens nearly covered and zoomed out far enough to see the whole battle as opposed to individual ships.

I don’t want an individual icon for every person hitting you, just one icon showing that you are, for example, getting shield reps which you can mouse over to list out who is applying reps to you.

This is, of course, a small and very tactical feature from somebody who flies logi most of the time, so it scratches an itch for me.  I want people to know when they are getting reps so they’ll stop pounding on the “need shield!” button and I want a quick visual indicator as to whether our cap chain is running or not and if the right person is chained up with me.  All things that I could figure out in other way, but which I want up front and easy to see.

That’s it.  That is all I’ve got.  Clearly if CCP ever had to depend on me, it would be doomed.

Anyway, others are taking a crack at this topic as well.  I will list them out below.