Category Archives: Podcasts

Time Capsule – VirginWorlds SWTOR

As I sit and play solo I often spin up a podcast to listen to.  When I am on a binge I can burn through all my current listens and end up searching for old ones to listen to again.  This week I dipped into MMO nostalgia, turning on VirginWorlds Podcast #133 from November 3, 2008.

Brent’s voice is almost a point of nostalgia for me now, and hearing him talk about the massively multiplayer online gaming news back in the day when it was something a single podcast could handle.

But episode #133 was a special podcast, dedicated to a single game; Star Wars: The Old Republic.

In mid-October the news that was a surprise to almost nobody broke as BioWare at last confirmed that their MMO project was going to be based on the Star Wars IP.  Brent took it upon himself to sum up all we knew about SWTOR after a couple of weeks.  There was even a call out to Star Wars Galaxies, as John Smedley said the two games would be running side by side.

Yeah, we know how that really worked out.

Anyway, if you want to go back a decade and hear how the game was being presented, there is a 52 minute podcast that has you covered.

Coming Soon – Empires of EVE History Lectures

As I mentioned in my look at the audiobook version of Empires of EVE, the author Andrew Groen was looking for a way to continue telling the tales of New Eden.  Yesterday there was an announcement as to how that might go forward as a podcast.

Coming Soon…

The idea is to tell the stories of EVE Online in a more dynamic way.  As I noted about the audiobook of his work, Andrew Groen reading his book is not as engaging as Andrew Groen talking about the game in front of an audience.  The hope, I gather, is to try to capture some of what is special about seeing him speak in a podcast.

The details were shared as an update to the Kickstarter page for the book.

There is already an Empires of EVE area over on SoundCloud, which I have dutifully followed.  I am sure it will be available via other sources as well.

I am really looking forward to seeing how this plays out.  The stories of EVE Online, the player made lore of the game, is one of the most interesting aspects of the game, so I am always keen to see somebody learning it to save and re-tell.

The Asher Hour Episode 20 – Titan Kills and Other Fun Times

Asher Elias, the reputed 23rd best FC in The Imperium, is back with the 20th episode of his podcast.  Still no guest FCs on the show, but enough things have happened since Pandemic Legion moved out of Saranen to fill out a solo show.  The big topic of the show is the fight at Okagaiken, which saw four titan kills, but he covers some other events as well.

Also, as a note, you can find the Reddit comment by NCDot pilot X_D about them possibly getting too cocky here.

Friday Bullet Points are Lucky Even Today

Here it is, Friday the 13th, a date synonymous bad luck and a series of horror movies that, oddly enough, capped out at an even dozen.  How could they not make a 13th one?

Fortunately my wife’s family embraces the number 13 as their lucky number, so that cancels things out… right?  I’m still working from home today all the same.

Meanwhile, here are some items I feel like mentioning but which didn’t quite make the cut for a full post.  If there aren’t 13 of them, well… that’s just bad luck.

They Are So Cute When They Are Young

Nintendo is starting the slow drip of information on the official site about the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon games, and so this week Nintendo gave us the date for the launch, November 18, 2016.

Sun and Moon coming in November

Sun and Moon coming in November

We also got a look at the starter Pokemon for the game.

Which one will you choose?

Which one will you choose?

They are Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio, filling the traditional grass, fire, and water starter roles.  Starter Pokemon can be an emotional topic and people get quite invested in their choices.  Currently Popplio seemed to be losing the popularity race on Twitter.

The poll results

The poll results

I traditionally go with the water Pokemon, so Popplio is likely going to be my choice regardless of what people say about him.  Also he’s a seal, how is that not cute?  Meanwhile, is Rowlet wearing a bra or what?  Just asking!

Of course, Nintendo has a track record of turning cute into ugly with evolutions while punishing you by withholding key moves if you opt not to let your starter evolve.  Can’t they stay young and cute forever?  It is a complex issue.

Civilization Goes Cartoony

Firaxis announced the coming of Civilization VI, the next installment in the grand Civilization franchise…. and all anything people seemed to want to talk about was the new art style.  We are so shallow.

A first glimpse of Civ VI

A first glimpse of Civ VI

Alright, alright, I hear you saying that other details were somewhat sparse, so what else were we going to talk about.  I myself welcome a lighter look for the aging game series.  Anything to cut down on the resource demands of a Civ game is probably good.

The game itself is set to ship on October 12, 2016 and will be the industry standard $59.99 for the basic version, and $79.99 for the deluxe edition which will include the obviously planned in advance DLC.  It will probably be four more civilizations that they will end up throwing in with the first expansion in any case.

The question isn’t if I will buy Civ VI, but when.  Given the screw jobs that have happened with Steam sales showing up just weeks after Civ releases or expansions go live, the fact that Civ games are inevitably resource hogging, bug filled, crashing messes at launch… they put in auto-save after every turn for a reason…, and the fact that their last release, Civilization: Beyond Earth was as dull as dishwater and an insult as a successor to Alpha Centauri, and I am thinking I might pass on a day one purchase.  I’ll see what things look like at the Steam Holiday Sale… or maybe the next Steam Summer Sale.

WoW Legion to Beta

I don’t suppose the timing really matters all that much now.  We already have a launch date, so the usual metrics around things like beta-to-launch calculations will be purely academic.  So the important bit is that the WoW Legion beta is now live, having gone up last night.

Beta for those who care...

Beta for those who care…

Blizzard has the initial release notes along with a detailed intro into the features of the expansion.

I do not do beta any more, going so far as trying to avoid information about the release, as I find it spoils my enjoyment when a release goes live.  I feel like I’ve already played it and my enthusiasm quickly wains.

Still, I look forward to hearing some general reactions to Blizzard’s plan for the expansion.  And, of course, the big question is when will the 7.0 pre-expansion update drop?  My bet is on August 9, 2016.

EverQuest II Prestige Servers

The Norrath dev team at Daybreak… we can call the EQ/EQII team that now, since there are no other Norrathian projects now… is looking into what other special sorts of servers players would like.  And so there is a poll waiting in your mailbox in EverQuest II about prestige servers.

Just three options...

Just three options…

As with things in Azeroth, special servers at Daybreak have their proponents and detractors.  Foes of the idea are annoyed that there is no “none of the above” option so they can directly express their displeasure at dev resources being used on projects they don’t care about.  (As the poll notes, they can do so indirectly by not voting, since I am sure that Daybreak will notice if only a few people respond.)

I’m not sure I would play on either server option myself, though that is because I am still pottering around on the Stormhold nostalgia server.  The thing is, the long poll for expansions is content creation, and these sorts of servers just use content that has already been created, so the hand wringing about delaying new stuff isn’t all that valid.

Not That Wild, No Longer a Star

The NCsoft Q1 2016 financials are out and, while things look good for the company as a whole, and most of its properties, WildStar is the noticeable exception.

Q1 2016 results

Q1 2016 results

After an initial boost in revenue with the free-to-play transition, sales have already slumped to below where they were when the game was subscription only.  Of course, this shouldn’t have been a huge surprise given the moves NCsoft was making with Carbine back in March.  This is more the confirmation of what many suspected.

Oculus Rift Retail Rage

So for a brief stretch of time last Friday you could go to a store or Amazon and buy an Oculus Rift unit.  They sold out quickly and you can probably find more than a few re-listed for a well beyond their $599 list price on eBay.  I see one on Amazon for $1,099.  But if you were at the right place at the right time, you could have spent your weekend playing EVE Valkyrie.

But if you pre-ordered a unit back in January, you’re probably still waiting for it to show up.

And so there is a bit of righteous anger out there about the company snubbing the people willing to buy in early in favor of those who waited.  I didn’t buy in either way, but I would have been pissed were I still waiting around for my pre-order to ship.

As Jerry Seinfeld might have put it, taking pre-orders isn’t the important part.  Anybody can take pre-orders.  It is the delivery that matters.  Also, the comments on that linked video are hilarious AND on topic for this post.

CSM XI By the Numbers

I am sure others will dive into the details on this, but CCP just posted the Dev Blog with the details of the CSM XI election.  Charts and explanations and raw data are all available there.

CSM11_logo

It is interesting to see how the two winning blocks stuck fairly well to their suggested ballots.  You can see the top three Imperium candidates, Aryth, Innominate, and Xenuria, getting elected in rounds one, two, and three.  Other tidbits include the fact that players from the US and UK cast half the votes, that most votes came in during the first two days of the election, and that the more recent your account, the more likely it seems you are to vote.  Accounts created back in 2006, when I started, made up only 4% of the voting pool, while those from 2015, 2014, and 2013 represented 14%, 15%, and 16% of the vote respectively.

Episode 18 of the Asher Hour

Asher Elias, head of the Reavers and the 23rd 15th best fleet commander in The Imperium has a new podcast out after a long stretch of silence.  This time around it is just Asher talking about the war, fleets, and what it is like on The Imperium side of the fight.  Not party-line propaganda, but Asher is still enthusiastic and positive about what we can do in the war and where we may end up.

So that is what I had kicking around.  Of course, now that I have all those items cleared out I am starting to wonder what I will write about next week.

Oh, wait, I have 57 unfinished items in my drafts folder.  Maybe that isn’t such a big deal.

Couch Podtatoes Podcast Episode 80 – A Daybreak Retrospective

In one those “a joke that ends up with a life of its own” moments, a “demand” that I appear on a podcast ended up with me actually appearing on one.

Izlain at Me vs. Myself and I apparently drew the short straw amongst the podcast community and so I ended up on the Couch Podatoes Podcast episode 80.

CouchpodtatoeGraphicThe topic discussed was Daybreak Game Company, formerly Sony Online Entertainment, and how they and their games have fared over the year since that transition.  We track the timeline, gush about the state of EverQuest and EverQuest II, ponder DC Universe Online and PlanetSide 2, cast a critical eye on the H1Z1 split, and wonder whatever became of EverQuest Next.

For those interested, you can find the podcast here.

It has actually been a while since I was on a podcast.  I think the last one I was on was the VirginWorlds five year anniversary podcast, and the ten year anniversary is next month.  Doing the podcast was fun.  I enjoy talking about video games.  Actually listening to myself on the podcast is another matter.  My voice never sounds like I think it sounds and I can hear every malady that afflicts me in it.  I am clearly not completely over that bout of pneumonia I had in December.

Anyway, there it is!  Enjoy!  And a big thanks to Izlain for having me on!

(Also if you’re not into the “what are you playing” segment, which I must admit, as a listener, can be tiresome, you can jump to the 10:50 mark where the meat of the discussion begins.)

Towers Still Give Kill Mails

In the age of Fozzie Sov, with jump fatigue, Entosis Link “warfare,” unrest in large sections of null sec, and updates every six week…  just listed them all out and on about half of them my brain was, “Oh yeah, that one, I remember it now”… there is a certain comfort in the fact that you can still go shoot a player owned starbase, or POS, in the same old way to which we’ve grown accustomed.

Not that I have any particular love for POS shoots.  But they have remained a staple of null sec… and low sec… operations throughout my time out there.  My first big fleet op in null, nearly four years back, was a POS shoot and included my first kill mail (it is interesting to see who of the 561 pilots on that kill mail I recognize as active today; The Mittani is in there), and I have been on many more since then.

Attack on the last tower

Shooting a White Noise POS in December 2011

And they do give kill mails, which can be a surprising draw.

Shooting a POS September 2015

Shooting a POS in September 2015

You can debate kill mails and what they mean and how we should count them or score them or flaunt them or ignore them, but people like them all the same.  A ping for a fleet that just says “POS shoot” will earn groans… and command is aware of that, so they never say “POS shoot” in a ping unless it will be a kill.  If they add that, then people will pile in.

A kill mail is surprisingly important to people.  I do not know anybody who talks about the quantity, or even the quality, or their kill mails.  Aside from the occasional amusing one… I hope they didn’t spend all of Gevlon’s money on that… that gets shared around, they don’t get talked about a lot where I fly.  Yet getting one is still a big deal.  I think it is more a matter of recording a moment of time where you were in space and in a fight and making a difference.  Even in a fight you lose, it is cheering to be able to have drawn a little bit of blood from a foe.  I try to get on at least one kill mail every month as something of a heart beat to prove I am still alive in the game.  This can be tough because I usually fly logi, but I keep a combat drone handy just in case.  Again, kill mails are important to me for a somewhat oblique reason.

And the absence of kill mails is something which people have pointed at as a flaw of Fozzie Sov.  While sitting around and shooting ihubs, TCUs, and SBUs, is a thing of the past, so are the kill mails for those items.  Instead, somebody in an interceptor waves their magic Fozzie laser over a thing while the rest of the fleet stands guard.  It saves on ammo, but we still have to hang around, and it isn’t any more exciting if the other side fails to show… and the other side usually fails to show.

But we still have towers.  The graphics have been updated and some of the details have changed, but a POS shot today isn’t much different that a POS shot back in 2011.  Everybody gets on grid, the defenses, if there are any, get shot offline, then everybody shoots the stick… the control tower, the central structure for a POS… and hopes that the defenders didn’t bother to fuel it up with Strontium Clathrates.  If the defender has, the tower will go into a reinforced mode and we’ll all have to come back when the timer runs down if we want a kill mail.

A tower timer is supposed to allow both sides to be able to prepare for a fight.

But if the defender has neglected to “stront” their tower… and the attacker doesn’t know the status on that until the tower shields get down below the 25% mark… it is possible you’re going to get a kill mail tonight.

And that is what the Reavers have been up to of late, shooting towers, setting timers, hoping that the owner forgot to fuel up, and getting the occasional fight, all in the chaos of Fountain.

We’ve been there for a while now, which if you follow kill mails of known jacket pals… kill mails are intel amongst other things… and care about what we’re up to you could have figured out, so I suppose this is safe to write about now.  I try to balance operational security with my desire to record what I have been doing.

Yes, back to Fountain, which is probably just behind Delve and Querious when it comes to null sec regions where I have never lived yet have spent a lot of time flying in and through.  And, as was pointed out on a fleet the other night, Fountain also seems to be the breaker of alliances.  People who live in and own space in Fountain seem to head to low sec or crumble.  TEST, Brave, Fatal Ascension, and most recently Black Legion have all lived there and ended up being changed by the experience.  I think only LAWN came out of the region unscathed, and that was likely because the LAWN gnomes felt at home in a region with constellations named after things like unicorns and griffons.  Mythical creature solidarity.

Is it the region or the people it attracts that does this?

Anyway, the region is, as noted, now in a state of some chaos with Black Legion’s sovereignty being picked up by a range of successor groups, including an alliance named, perhaps a moment of hubris, The-Culture.  Love the reference, but can they live up to that name?

The Balkanization of Fountain

The Balkanization of Fountain

So the region, which also remains convenient to home, has become a place to blow up some towers and, as noted, look for the occasional fight. (Map clipping from the usual source.)

A tower goes down

A tower goes down

One of the oddities of alliances coming to the edge of collapse in the region is that it is fairly valuable space.  The ratting is good and we invaded the place back 2013 for the stated reason of taking the moon income. (There is my timeline of the Fountain War for those interested in reliving the “good old days.”)  So it is a place worth holding.  We will see who ends up with it in a few months I suppose.

In the mean time, there is no point in not exploiting a few of the better moons.

Putting up a tower in Fountain

Putting up a tower in Fountain

That will generate some income… or at least attract hostiles for fights.  Plus it “feels” like EVE Online as we know/knew it, shooting something out in space with the possibility of danger lurking.  And it gives us something to do besides watching the comedy of Northern Coalition, who wants fights, and who has teamed up with Mordus Angels, who clearly does not want fights, trying to coordinate together to do something in Imperium space.  They make a timer and call it ~content~.  And so it goes in the New Eden of Fozzie Sov.

Finally, on a side note, Reavers chief Asher Elias has started a podcast to talk about null sec and ships and doctrines and getting fights and has posted the first episode over at SoundCloud, with the first guest being Ron Mexxico of Pandemic Legion.

How Magic Beat the Bubble

I just mentioned the Planet Money podcast in Friday’s post, having supported a Kickstarter for one of their stories.

PlanetMoneyAnd, as I was catching up on some episodes this weekend I hit on one that was actually related to gaming – Episode 609: The Curse of the Black Lotus.  The game in question is Magic: The Gathering and the title refers to one of the early rare cards, the Black Lotus, that became very valuable in the secondary collector’s market.

Purportedly worth $25K in mint condition

Purportedly worth $25K in mint condition

The show description:

In a classic bubble — housing for example, or tech stocks or Beanie Babies — the fun ends in a crash. Things go belly up, and people can lose a lot of money.

The creators of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering faced such a bubble. The cooler they made their cards, the more the resale value increased — and threatened to send Magic cards the way of the Beanie Baby.

Today on the show: how the folks who made Magic cards came up with a plan. A plan to once and for all conquer the science of bubbles, and make a collectible toy that could live forever.

And the whole thing is 17 minutes long, an easy and interesting listen.