Category Archives: YouTube

Quote of the Day – But We Did It Anyway

We definitely don’t want to sell skill points

-CCP Rattati, EVE Online Director of Product, OZ_eve interview

I don’t even have the energy to care about the actual selling of skill points now.  That ship sailed last year. I’ve accepted it as the new reality.  I just wish CCP would get their messaging in line with that reality.

On Monday CCP Rattati who, among other things, has been driving the economic starvation plan in EVE Online, did this interview on Twitch, which was then posted up on YouTube for your watching pleasure. (And now there is a transcript.)

He talks about the New Eden economy for about the first ~40 minutes, then the discussion moves to monetization.  You can find that quote at the top of the post at the 49 minute mark.

The interview happened on Monday, the video went up on YouTube on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday CCP literally started straight up selling skill points.

Personal Offer!

This is the sort of self-defeating corporate bullshit that just drives me crazy.  He is the Director of Product, did he not know that this was happening the same week he was saying that?  The usual paths are that the person is lying, stupid, or believes their audience is stupid, and I can’t really pin down which this is.

Now, you’ll want to talk about context, and you can justifiably point out that this was part of a discussion about the Expert Systems feature, the “rent a skill” plan announced last week.  As part of that he said that CCP had ruled out the idea of selling skill points to new players, preferring to rent them temporary skill increases… because new players won’t understand things like skill injectors or something.  Somehow giving them skills then taking them away will be more clear.

I remain unconvinced that this will somehow be better or make EVE Online more comprehensible to new players, but the details are still vague, so final judgement has yet to land.

But, even in that context, his statement not once but twice that they do not want to sell skill points seems pretty strong, as though it would apply outside the justification for renting skills.

He was also very firm a few minutes earlier that Pearl Abyss was in no way pushing CCP to sell skill points.  In fact, he was quite adamant that PA has taken a very hands off approach to EVE Online and that they have given no direction or advice on monetization, which seems to torpedo the idea earlier in the week that the whole Expert Systems thing was handed down by them, and based on their experience as a way to monetize the Asian market.  CCP Rattati said that this was all very much a home grown, Icelandic idea.

Then again, he also said CCP doesn’t want to sell skill points in the same week that the company did just that, so one might be tempted to point out that he has a credibility problem.

Anyway, if you want to hear how everything is totally going to plan with the economic starvation and resource redistribution plan and the rationalization of the rent a skill idea, this video will help you along.  I will say that the host does push back, gently at times, on some of the statements, so it isn’t a free run statement by the company, but CCP Rattati remained firm on his own positions.

I hope this will be my last post related to selling skill points for a while, but CCP will be CCP.

Related:

Looking Back at 2020 and Trying for Highs

2020.  What a year.

Every year I try to distill a bit of the world I focus on into highs and lows.  There is a history of posts here.

Sometimes I include a “middling” category, but usually not.  This year though I have had enough lows.  This year I am going to make a list of highs.  And I am going to try… though I make no guarantees… not to include sarcastic highs that are back handed jabs to highlight actual lows.  Your mileage may vary.

Video Games Overall

  • 2020 has been a banner year for video games.  SuperData Research has reported every month since the pandemic began in earnest that sales have been up over last year by double digits.  Lots of new releases, lots of good games, lots of revenue to keep the industry going.

Blizzard

  • The Shadowlands pre-patch events went well.
  • Shadowlands launched to big numbers.
  • WoW Classic remains strong despite the pull of the retail expansion.
  • The instance group’s return to WoW via WoW Classic has kept on rolling throughout the year.
  • Bobby Kotick says WoW is a billion dollar a year franchise.
  • Shadowlands and WoW Classic combined have revived the fortunes of WoW… though the pandemic helped some too.
  • The retail WoW level squish clearly did not drive too many people away and made getting into the latest content less of a chore.
  • It seems likely we’ll at least get some news about a classic The Burning Crusade server.
  • Had a fun run through Diablo II, which still plays pretty well 20 years down the line.
  • Blizz has been quietly fixing Warcraft III Reforged after its bad launch.
  • We got some scraps of information about Diablo IV.

Daybreak Game Company (now including Standing Stone Games)

  • The games are set to be run by EG7, a company optimistic about being in games.
  • The company actually makes money.
  • The games they still have all actually make money too… well, maybe not H1Z1, but most of them.
  • The mystery of who really owns Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online was finally revealed.
  • EverQuest and EverQuest II both got updates and expansions this year.
  • EverQuest was able to play the special server card successfully yet again.
  • We learned that DC Universe Online has what would have been considered a huge player base in the pre-WoW era.
  • LOTRO got a 64-bit client.

CCP

  • The EVE Online franchise is a resilient part of the Pearl Abyss portfolio.
  • EVE Echoes, the mobile version of the game, has grabbed a lot of new players, and took less time to get out than Diablo Immortal.
  • The pandemic helped boost the PCU over 40K for the first time in a couple of years.
  • Hilmar said at the Youil Fireside that 1.9 million new people logged into EVE Online this year, more than the past three years combined.
  • World War Bee got enough players together organically to set two Guinness World Records.
  • Andrew Groen delivered Empires of EVE Vol. II, another great installment in the history of the game.
  • That Triglavian event wrapped up with an epic finale that tore systems out of New Eden to create a new Triglavian region.
  • CCP seems really, really serious about fixing the in-game economy.
  • PLEX for Good ran for both the Australian wild fires and pandemic relief.
  • Tech II salvage drones.  At least one person got their Christmas wish.
  • CCP finally rolled out the replacement for the old fansite program.  I did not make the cut, but a lot of streamers now how free accounts and extra PLEX to spend.
  • CCP still has hopes for an EVE Online based shooter game.
  • The CSM15 election saw a peaceful transition of power and nobody has been kicked off the council… yet.  Seriously, it is a rare CSM when somebody doesn’t get voted off the island.

Pokemon

  • Pokemon Sword & Shield launched at just the right time before the pandemic to become a staple of play.
  • The new Pokemon model on the Switch is expansions after the main game drops, and Pokemon Sword & Shield had The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra this year, which helped keep the game a hot property.
  • Pokemon Home showed up to provide a link to bring Pokemon forward from the DS era and transfer them in from Pokemon Go.
  • Niantic changed up Pokemon Go to adapt to the pandemic, giving us things like remote raid passes to keep us playing when we had to stay home.
  • Niantic also raised the level cap on Pokemon Go in a way that didn’t toss your accumulated xp by tying levels 41-50 in with both xp and special tasks.

Other Areas of the Video Game Industry

  • TorilMUD carries on for another year, making it a total of 27… and even added a new class this year.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons landed just in time to give many a shared virtual experience as we stayed home for the pandemic.
  • Minecraft got a big update to make the nether a more interesting place to explore.
  • Minecraft Dungeons launched, and was a nice, if somewhat simple, clicky ARPG.
  • EA managed to ship another decent Star Wars title, Star Wars: Squadrons, which is supposed to be quite good in VR.
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator had an excellent launch.  Again, another title that was supposed to be good in VR.
  • There was a Half-Life game.  That almost never happens.  And, one more time, Half-Life: Alyx was good for VR.
  • Crusader Kings III gave people the medieval royal soap opera simulator that they didn’t know they needed.
  • GuildWars 2 has an expansion coming.
  • A two year old game, Among Us, suddenly exploded onto the scene thanks to streamers.
  • New consoles!  The Xbox Series X/Series S and PlayStation 5 came out!

Blogging and the Like

  • Hey, the blog is still here!  Both of my blogs.
  • This blog is also experiencing a bit of a revival… or a dead cat bounce… as traffic has been up a lot over last year.  It is still a far cry from the heady peaks of 2012, but I guess the pandemic didn’t just boost video games.
  • I wrote a lot of posts in 2020.  This post number 403 for the year.
  • I actually got close to 800 followers on Twitter… and then they purged a bunch of bots and I fell back down.  Also I strayed into the political with the election and no doubt scared some people off.
  • We had a double event year with Blapril and Blaugust.
  • Lots and lots of plumbing related spam comments this month… like tens of thousands. If your comment got stuck in the spam filter I probably never saw it due to that.  Hrmm, that wasn’t a high, was it?

Television, Books, and the Media

  • I watched a LOT of television this past year.  There is probably another post on that coming, though I have done those Pandemic Binge Watching posts along the way.  While not everything was great, there were a lot of good shows available.
  • My reading routine was disrupted by the changes the pandemic brought.  I have to find a regular time in my schedule for that or it won’t happen.  But still I managed to read a lot of books in 2020.
  • I spent a lot more time reading the news… and I do not shirk on that front on a normal year.  No doubt this is some attempt to foster a feeling of control in the world, but I suppose I learned a lot.
  • Podcasts and YouTube content kept me going at times, with new faces popping up like Julie Nolke and Sarah Cooper.

Personal Life

  • We’re in the back half of December and I still have a job and haven’t caught COVID-19.
  • I have somewhat adapted to my new life where I spend 23 hours a day, seven days a week inside at home.  Nothing tests your introvert status than forced isolation from the world I suppose.
  • Daughter made it through her first semester of college living on campus and came out with both good grades and good health still.
  • I bought an exercise bicycle for home and have been very good about using it regularly… except over the holidays when my now weak grasp of time fell completely apart and I only know what day it is when I open up the blog.
  • I started depositing checks via my phone.  This was largely because my credit union finally added that feature to their mobile app.
  • Let me reiterate; family still healthy and safe.

This ended up being a somewhat shorter list than past years.  In part that is because the scope of my game knowledge has been funneled down to a few titles of late.  But mostly it is because I am better at writing negative entries I bet.  The post would be more than double in length if I let go on that front.  But we’ll let sleeping dogs lie, for now at least.  There will be plenty of time for that in 2021.

But if you’re dying for some 2020 sick burns, Honest Trailers has you covered.

Take that 2020!

My Year in EVE Online 2020

As CCP did last year, they setup a way that you can generate a video summarizing what you did in EVE Online.  You may have recieved a promotional email about it.  Otherwise, there is a dev blog post.  There are a couple of changes since last time though.

Me in New Eden in 2020

In 2019 they grouped up your characters and made the video four you.  My video for Wilhelm Arcturus included data for him and 9 alts.  That probably explains why the “skill points earned” value was so high.

This time around it is only for Omega accounts and you can pick the character you want to be featured in the video.  It does appear that you can only make one video per account, so do your main first.  My secondary account has two characters active in different spheres and I could only make a video for one of them.

You can also choose what aspects of the game you wish the video to feature.

Select which categories interest you

I was at a bit of a loss after picking PVP Kills and Most Valuable Kill Mail.  Since you need to pick five, I added in Market, Wealth Generation, and Planetary Production.

As with last year, they allow you to download your video, as it will disappear in a month or so.  I grabbed mine and uploaded it to YouTube.

For those who don’t want to watch it, or if it goes away some day, I took screen shots of some of the key metrics it reports.

Skill points

Everybody gets the skill points screen.  I gained 14,746,215 skill points.  I think I spent some time training an alt on my main account, so that is probably not completely optimal, but still pretty good.

Travel Stats

Everybody also gets the travel stats.  Those numbers are down considerably from last year.  On the other hand, they aren’t the sum total of nine different characters, so it is hard to tell if I traveled more or less in 2020.

Favorite somethings…

There is also a favorites listing.  I don’t spend as much time just sitting in station as some I suppose, though that still seems like a high percentage of my time online.  That I play in null sec makes the security area no surprise.  The Guardian is the logi ship I flew a lot in the first half of the year.

Pee vee pee

For the PvP category… well, I got on a lot of kill mails.  That is ~80% of what zKillboard claims I did for 2020, but most everybody seems to be finding issues with these stats.  I guess if we’re all being measured using the same flawed system then the rankings are okay.

As for getting on that many kill mails, I am going to credit a few ECM burst ops for a lot of that, since I am otherwise in a logi ship most of the time.  ECM bursts are a quick way to pad your kill board.  The pod kills are most certainly victims of ECM bursts.  When it comes to value destroyed I have been shorted some due to the fact that none of the four Keepstars in NPC Delve that we blew up generated kill mails.  I should have been on two of them for sure, while would have been at least a couple hundred billion more ISK.  Oh well.

Most valuable kill mail

My most valuable kill was a Nyx we shot in Tenal back in February of 2020.  I think we were up there to help Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition when PandaFam was rolling over them.  We were almost all in bombers, so it was likely a hot drop.

Market stats

On the market I had 513 transactions.  I sold 3.3 billion ISK worth of something, but I cannot remember what.  That balanced out the 2.6 billion in ISK I spent I suppose.

Where the money comes and goes

I ended up spending a billion more ISK than I made.  That isn’t a big enough deficit for me to go into government work or run a Silicon Valley start up, but I’m still losing money.  Aside from the 3.3 billion ISK I made on market sales I don’t remember, the rest is probably from Alliance SRP payments and some ISK transfers from my high sec PvE alts.

Planetary Inaction

My Planetary Interaction stats are poor.  This is because I haven’t bothered to get more than three planets running and I constantly forget to restart extractions.  Somebody suggested putting them on a four day timer when I started back doing PI, but I had to move that out to a seven day timer… and can still go for a couple of weeks before I remember to check.  Oh well.

So that is my year in EVE Online I guess.

I also uploaded the video for my primary alt, who did some ratting at one point this year.

Given how little of that he did, he still ranks okay.

You can check out videos from others as CCP is encouraging people to post them with the #MyEVE2020 hash tag on Twitter.  And if you click on the video links that go to the CCP site, you will see that this is also being used as a marketing scheme to get people to try the game.  If you sign up from the video page you will get a bonus 1 million skill points for your new character.

Addendum: CCP posted a dev blog about the video data.  One key item is that the data collected is from Dec. 1, 2019 through to Dec. 1, 2020.

Among Us

I did actually play a popular game this year.  I played Among Us.

Among Us

I was going to say a “new” game, but it came out in 2018, so it is only newly popular thanks to becoming the game to stream on Twitch at some point this year.  But this year was it, even getting a Honest Game Trailers video.

Liore, formerly of the Cat Context blog, invited some people to come play for her birthday and I made the cut and got to try the game out.  I bought the version on Steam for $5.00, though you can play it on your mobile device for free, and you can play across different platforms.  They make money selling cosmetics and pets for you character.

I went and practiced a bit before the big birthday match, but I was still pretty lost when the time came.

Not that the game is all that complicated.  We had nine people all on voice coms together.  When you start the game somebody is selected as the imposter… or, if the group is big enough, two people are selected.  The main crew has to run around and do tasks.  Completing all the tasks give them a win.

The imposters run around and sabotage the tasks in order to stop the crew from winning.  Some sabotage, if left unaddressed as a timer counts down, will cause the crew to lose.

Or the imposters can just kill people for the win.  This is actually much easier when you don’t know what is going on as there is a big button that says “KILL” to click when you get near the crew members.

I got picked as one of the imposters for the first game and I set about killing people with my fellow imposter.

When one of the crew discover a body an emergency meeting is called and you can discuss what you saw and your suspicions and then people vote on who they think the imposter is.  This is the only time you’re suppose to talk while playing… unless you’re dead, in which case you have to be quiet.  No outing your killer as a ghost.

Voting time… the imposters can see each other marked in red, the crew cannot

The winner is then sent to their death and you find out if that pick was correct.  The first game out people did not guess very well and Elly and I, the imposters, won.

Imposter syndrome for the win

However, people got a bit more canny as time went along and we played more matches.  Also, the RNG kept picking me as one of the imposters, so I think I became suspect by default after a few matches.

The crew wins

When I wasn’t an imposter, the game was a bit more nerve wracking and it was easy to start suspecting people who seemed to be following you around.  Either way, you have to be aware of your surroundings and who is passing by and where people were when the body was discovered.

They can see me through the window… and I can see them

Overall it was a fun little game.  I would play it again.  It is probably best played with five friends or more.  You can play random games on the internet, but I suspect that would be less satisfying that voting on people you know.

EverQuest II Reign of Shadows Expansion Goes Live

I think the EverQuest II team had a bit more luck with their launch that the EverQuest team did with their launch last week.  The EQII team, after having the game down most of the morning, brought the servers up a little after noon Pacific time and they have been rolling on since then.  No emergency downtime.

And so we welcome the Reign of Shadows expansion, the 17th expansion for the game.

Let slips the moon cats!

It is time to head to the dark side of Luclin.  The marking blurb for the expansion says:

Emperor Ssraeshza and his unyielding throngs of insidious zealots and enslaved minions have laid claim to the ancient citadel of Vex Thal. The march of the nefarious snake-like shissar must end there, deep within the heart of the dark side of Luclin.

Face terrible challenges and forge great alliances in regions unseen by Norrathian eyes in centuries: Echo Caverns, Shadeweaver’s Thicket, Grimling Forest, Shar Vhal, and Vex Thal. Heroes will be made in the shadows!

The features list includes:

  • Play as a Vah Shir! The first new race in the game in five years.
  • 20 Reign of Shadows Prestige Advancement Points and 10 new Reign of Shadows Prestige Abilities.
  • Maximum Guild Level increased to 350 with an all new content-driven guild leveling mechanism.
  • Discover new Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests as you investigate what secrets lay concealed in the endless gloom.
  • Master all new Solo, Heroic, Challenge Heroic, and Raid content in the perpetual shade of Luclin’s dark side!

The new race is a big deal, as it brings the Vah Shir, the EverQuest feline race from Luclin, to the game.  The rest sounds a bit like the usual “new zones, new quests, new raids, new collections” sort of stuff that make up the bulk of any expansion.

One of the things mentioned with the Producer’s Letter when the expansion was announced was a revamp of part of the Alternate Advancement system:

Launching with Reign of Shadows, archetype and class Alternate Advancement abilities are getting a full revamp so that every point has an impact on how your character plays. These changes should not affect Kaladim in a significant way and we do not plan on having them affect future TLEs either. To see these changes before the launch of the expansion, please login to beta when it opens and check them out.

The patch notes for the expansion list them out in detail, sorted by class, which makes for very log web page of changes to sort through.  I’ll have to log in to figure it out.  Until then, there is always the trailer.

Reign of Shadows, and the EverQuest Claws of Veeshan launch, will be the last two expansions for the franchise under the Daybreak banner.  Come the end of the month Daybreak will change over to Enad Global 7 as the acquisition is set to be done by Dec. 31st.

And, as Bhagpuss points out, Frostfell has launched in game, so holiday events are in full swing as well.

EverQuest Claws of Veeshan Expansion Struggles to Launch

On the one hand when a company is launching the 27th expansion for its game from 1999, you might reasonably expect that they have the process down.

On the other hand, an MMORPG has a lot of moving parts and the EverQuest team at Daybreak is pretty small in size compared to the crew supporting World of Warcraft, and even Blizzard had some issues with the Shadowlands launch two weeks back.

But the Claws of Veeshan expansion went live at some point last night or this morning.

Dragons, always dragons

The plan was the usual noon launch window for the expansion, and the forum post announcing the availability of the expansion went up at three minutes after noon.  I saw the announcement hit Twitter via the official EverQuest account, then three minutes later saw the follow up saying they were investigating a crash issue.  The servers were locked and spent most of the rest of yesterday locked or down as status reports popped up sporadically.

As late as 11:40pm last night there was an announcement that all servers would be down for emergency maintenance for two hours, after which I think the person who does their social media went to bed as there have been no further updates.  Dreamweaver was probably tired out from hunting down and banning any Feldon related accounts from the forums.

But the patch works and when I checked this morning the servers seemed to be up, unlocked, and ready for business, so perhaps things are ready at last.

The expansion itself sees the game return to Velious with the following lead-in:

Velious is overwhelmed with writhing ice. Frozen undead swarm everywhere. The few survivors throw aside old hatreds, for now at least, and band together to survive. The heroes of Norrath arrive to help them, but they have not discovered the source of the deadly ice. The remaining giants of Kael Drakkel, now more able to move around their city, carve a tunnel out to the Cobalt Scar. It is time for the bravest heroes of Norrath to challenge the dragons of Velious and put an end to the deadly magic that has tormented the citizens of the continent

And so it goes.  You can find the patch notes here.  I expect there will be a few more issues to resolve with the expansion, but once settled EQ tends to be pretty solid and reliable.

Addendum:

I forgot to add in the expansion trailer.

Crag Boar Rebellion and the Sunken Temple Video

Ula somehow found the time to produce a video of the instance group that pulls together our various runs in the Temple of Atal’Hakkar, the Sunken Temple.  She posted it over at her blog, but I want to post it here as well so I remember where to find it.

This is actually the third instance group video about that instance.  As we prepped for our 4 person runs she also put out a trailer to highlight our coming adventures in the swamp of sorrows, which included some of our first run.

And then there is the ancient video I did about the instance group and the Sunken Temple back after Blizzard had trimmed down the instance to meet the needs of the dungeon finder to deliver a boss fight in 30 minutes or less.

The post with that video contains extensive director’s commentary about making the video, the instance, and our group, written at a time when we thought we would never see it on anything but a pirate server ever again.

That is our Sunken Temple collection… so far.

Honest Trailers Looks at Streaming Services

I just want to point out that I wrote my two posts about streaming services, yesterday’s and the previous one, before this video came out.

That said, the profusion of streaming services and their popularity now during the pandemic makes it a timely topic, and the Screen Junkies teams looks into services beyond what I have explored so far.

 

Of course, since I just wrote about some of those services, it is interesting to see where my opinion aligns or diverges from theirs.  Also, I forgot that Netflix was no longer the place to watch Friends as HBO paid a bunch of money to have it on HBO Max.  I might know that if I could access HBO Max rather than whatever HBO service I’m allowed to have on the Roku.

Still, I feel solid with my own assessments.

And even Honest Trailers cannot plumb the full depth of channels out there.  My wife keeps asking me at bed time, when the lights are out and I have no electronics handy, if we can get Acorn or Britbox or some other oddball channel because she saw an ad for a show that we might want to watch and it is on that particular service.  And don’t get me started on trying to explain how the PBS app works.

If you are really hot on this topic, then you will probably enjoy the Honest Trailers Commentary video that goes along with the above, where they run through the trailer and talk about why they said what they did and expand upon their opinions.  I enjoyed it.

Carbot and Diablol 2

Carbot Animations has a Diablo II series of videos running on YouTube, akin to the Diablol series they ran early last year for the original Diablo.  As with the previous run, it combines audio from the original game with the Carbot animation style.  They are a few episodes into the series.  You can find the playlist here.

My favorite so far covers the Blood Raven fight in Act I.

This nicely corresponds with the 20th anniversary of the game… no doubt intentionally… and my own replay through the game.