Friday Bullet Points Roller Coaster

More bits and pieces that I feel like bringing up but which I don’t care enough about to turn into full blog posts.  And I wasn’t really in the mood.  Plus, my office chair was take over by cats.

And the top one gets all frisky if you move him...

And the top one gets all frisky if you move him…

So this is what you get.

Wild Times for WildStar

Fans of WildStar cannot be happy with the news of late.  The F2P conversion was done in hopes of reviving the games fortunes, but Korea’s Daewoo Securities, which keeps a close eye on NCsoft, thinks the game is going to tank in 2016.

Wildstar_logo

And if it wasn’t bad enough that analysts close to NCsoft were down on the game, former employees of Carbine, the studio which created WildStar, were following the long tradition of recriminations, exemplified by EA Louse and that guy from Turbine, have come out to tell people just how screwed up the organization was.  The whole thing was summed up on Reddit.

My take away: In the second decade of the 21st century they chose an old school, price per seat, source control system like Perforce, and then used it badly?  They could have saved a lot of money doing things wrong with any of the equally bad open source options available.

The Force Awakens Many Things

As I often note, timing is everything.  EA released Star Wars: Battlefront into the teeth of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens hype and, hey presto, despite mixed reviews (PC, PS4, Xbox, and Yahtzee) EA says they have made bank on the venture.

And, as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, even the Tortanic it seems.  EA says that, in addition to the above, they also saw a surge in revenue for Star Wars: The Old Republic as well, reporting subscription levels for the four year old game were at their highest level in almost the last three.  Quite a change from the time when John Riccitiello didn’t want to talk about the game on an investor call because it wasn’t a very important property for EA.

As I noted in a previous Friday post, even my daughter was keen to give SWTOR a try… and then the whole Boot Camp drivers issue got in the way.

One wonders how Star Wars Galaxies might have fared in this mood of revival.

Anyway, I hope this doesn’t go to EA’s head.  Not that I had a lot of hope in their plans for a “make nice” campaign plan, but it was something at least.

Paving the Way for Xenuria 2016

As part of the run up to the CSM 11 elections CCP reworked some of the CSM Whitepaper… again… including some updates about who could run for the CSM. The result was vague enough to make people think if the ran a blog they might not be eligible.  After some outcry there was a slightly less ambiguous version that still wasn’t all that clear, so CCP eventually had to come out and just say that if you were affiliated with The Mittani dot com you couldn’t be on the CSM, it being professional gaming media site compared to the fan sites that are EN24 and Crossing Zebras.

Or something like that.  CCP has a couple stories on that front, but I guess they have to put a question like, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Commumittanist Party?” on the CSM application.

This means that Sion Kumitomo, the loudest critic of the relationship between CCP and the CSM, is barred from running for another term.  Funny how that worked out.  A statement from the Church of Siontology expressed both smugness and a sense of relief at the rule change.

Meanwhile, the slate of candidates for The Imperium now looks to be Xenuria, Suzy RC Mudstone, and that KarmaFleet guy who links all those cat videos in local… and I’m not sure about those last two.  Onward the Goon plan for world domination!

Contest

Finally, you still have a chance to win ISK by entering the Signal Cartel anniversary screen shot contest.  Act now.

And that is all I have.  I will have to make my search minions work harder next time.

Same stories in here as the last time I looked...

Same stories in here as the last time I looked…

BB71- Spaceships Make the World Go Round

Well, maybe not the world, but there is no question that ships make New Eden go ’round.  And few things get EVE Online players in general, and me specifically, is new ships being introduced to the game.

Think of how many expansions where the hallmark feature was a new class of ship.

What did we get in the last couple months?  New faction electronic warfare frigates, new tier 2 faction logistics frigates, an ice mining frigate, and that brand new class of command destroyers.  That is a lot of new toys to play with.

Caldari Stork command destroyer lurking

Caldari Stork command destroyer lurking

And these new ships have a great effect on the game, shaking up play styles and fleet tactics and giving people new ways to play the game.  The command destroyers especially have changed things up and, with their AOE MJD, have become a staple of operations already.

But when is it too much?

The question for this month’s EVE Online Blog Banter asks:

We all like important internet spaceships right? The more spaceships the better right? Or are we getting too many to be easily to remember them all. A Mastodon on scan? That the hell is that and what does it do? Oh! Never mind!

Are we getting too many ships. Is it too complicated to remember them all and what their traits are? Do FC’s these days need an encyclopedic knowledge of ship types unless they want their fleet to DIAF. With more and more ships being released each year will we ever reach “too many” or do you think there can never be too many important internet spaceship types?

Are there too many ships in EVE Online? 

There are enough to devote a whole blog to pictures of them I suppose.

Back before the Odyssey expansion, which went live more than two and a half years ago, CCP was talking about reworking and detangling the mess of subcaps they already had on the field because the balance was such that there were a few good choices and a lot of bad ones.

CCP's chart, no is jpeg format

CCP’s Tech I and faction subcap chart before Odyssey

That chart doesn’t have the tech II or the pirate faction variations of those hulls, nor the ships exclusive to some non-empire factions.  And then there are capital ships.

A since then, even more ships have been added to the game, including new skills required to fly some of those ships, while other ships have been revamped and tinkered with.

The ongoing result is, for me at least, confusion and neglect.  I am confused while many a hull suffers from neglect because some newly released ship or re-balance pass makes one ship shine while another seems sub-par.

So if you want to camp gates today, you likely have a Svipul along as your old insta-cane isn’t what it once was.  In The Imperium two doctrines got the axe, one based around the Hawk and the other based around the Harpy because the Jackdaw simply does everything either of them can do better.  I think Clay Hakkari is still weepy about the Harpy doctrine.

And then there are the quirks, like the fact that sometimes the navy faction version of a ship is better at the same role as the regular one and sometimes that are fit only for totally different roles.

I know there are some New Eden grognards out there that live in EFT and Pyfa for whom the fitting game is satisfaction in and of itself.  But for people like me I just want to know what to fly.  Fleet doctrines at least simplify that aspect for me, but that still doesn’t solve every problem.

The skill training aspect still holds sway when a balance pass from CCP hits and you find that those skills you had been focusing on are suddenly no longer needed because there is a new “best” solution.  I am past 150 million skill points and I still run into that problem now and again, finding some skill I never noticed is suddenly required.  For people with less SP breadth than me, and new players especially, this is no doubt frustrating.

For example, with our deployment down south, we have picked up a stealth bomber doctrine.  Two, actually, but don’t get me started on that.  For that doctrine the ideal stealth bomber is the Purifier.  I can fly that.  It is a pretty little ship, and the only one of the lot that looks good with a SKIN. This is it with the Raata sunset SKIN.

That nebula in Khanid is so distinctive

That nebula in Khanid is so distinctive

However, I can fly it because I happen to have all of the racial frigate skills trained up to 5, plus the stealth bomber skill.  I can fly any of the stealth bombers at this point.  But for newer players on our deployment, and we are deploying with KarmaFleet so there are a lot of those, the choice of what to fly is much more limited.  Due to other coalition doctrines, they were encouraged to train up the Caldari skill path, so they likely have Caldari Frigate V as their only gateway into stealth bombers.  And, of course, for our needs the Caldari stealth bomber, the Manticore, is at the bottom of the stack rank of desirability.  The hulls were ranked:

  • Purifier (optimum)
  • Hound (good)
  • Nemesis (OK)
  • Manticore (only if you have no other option)

So we ended up with some Manticores on a fleet op the other night.  Actually, looking at our battle report, we ended up with some of each of the stealth bomber hulls.  If you have a keen eye you can spot them all in this screen shot.

Bomber fleet in action

Bomber fleet in action

Now, it worked out for us.  We melted ten Augoror Navy Issues and their support, including two Guardians, while only losing one bomber.  Yes, we had overwhelming numbers, but stealth bombers are soap bubbles when hit, so they should have taken a lot more of us with them.

That aside, it wasn’t really a unified doctrine.  And, of course, the supply chain for replacements is complicated by the fact that we have to support four different hulls, each with a different fit, while deployed far from home.

(Business tip: Now would be the time to ship Purifiers from Jita to Amarr. There was only one on the market there the other night.)

Now, there is some slop allowed in a doctrine like that.  But if you want to run a more unified fleet where you want a single, mainline DPS ship, as with our Rattlesnake doctrine, you have to provide lower skill  support roles or leave people out.  And if you want to fly the big ship, you may have a lot of training to do.

All of which means what?  That EVE Online is a complicated game?  That ship balancing is hard?  That when CCP introducing a new ship it is often over powered?  That over powered ships are eventually nerfed?

All of that and more I suppose.  This is why a lot of people don’t like the game, and while other people love it.  And I suppose it is a bit of an achievement that some of the oldest hulls in the game can still be viable.  What other MMO has in-game gear more than a decade old that is still viable.  I know somebody will have an answer for that, but it is still a pretty big deal.

I just count myself lucky to be in Reavers, because Asher is one of those savants that likes to play with fittings, so we get to go fly some experimental doctrines built around Typhoons or Claws or Ravens or Caracals or Rokhs now and again.  I’ll throw my ISK at those ventures just to die in a blaze of glory every time.

Anyway, this is a post for Blog Banter #71.  Fortunately, some wiser people than me are writing on the topic, so maybe you’ll find something more on point and less just venting and fist shaking from the list below:

I will add additional posts as they appear.

Quote of the Day – The Paywall Cometh

Ultimately this is a business decision, to best support RIFT moving forward into the future. We’re on the cusp right now of RIFT’s 5th Anniversary, and we’ve got great stuff planned for 2016. But that stuff takes engineers and designers and CS and QA and a whole lot of other folks.

-Trion Worlds, on their voidstone plan

Free to play must really be an incredible pain in the ass as a developer because, if nothing else, players will literally assume you mean “free” when you say “free.”

And, seriously, if you’re going to start in with, “Well, “free” doesn’t really mean “free” because…” just stop right there.  The idea was to provide content that players would feel was worth paying for.  If enough people aren’t paying, maybe it isn’t your player base that is the issue.

Or, maybe it is.

As we saw last year with the PlanetSide 2really struggling” post, some players are just never going to spend a dime on your game, no matter the incentives, if you are giving it away for free.  Some are poor.  Some are cheap.  Some just like the challenge of the limited free mode.  And some, I am sure, just want to take advantage.

You can get angry about this, spit nails, and use words like “entitled” all you want, but it was the company which made the game that set the payment terms, not the player.  If you are going to blame the customer for taking you up on your offer, looking in the mirror for the real guilty party is all I can suggest.

As noted in that “really struggling” post, no amount of incentives will induce some players to pay.  And if you cannot induce people with the carrot, well, there is always the stick.  And so Trion is making a change and removing the ability to unlock new equipment slots introduced with the last expansion through a long but free grind, thus forcing players who want to get the unlock from the cash store or by subscribing.  Sounds like a paywall.

Yes, there is a work around still.  Trion’s statement goes on to make the claim that you could earn the in-game cash to buy a REX, the sort-of Rift version of EVE Online’s PLEX, wherein you can use in-game currency to subscribe, more quickly than you could grind out voidstones in order to unlock those  same slots, all of which makes you wonder why they would bother.

Oh, right, somebody had to pay real world money for a REX for it to get on the market, and creating demand for REX will increase its value in-game, which makes it more likely that paying players will buy more.

So the slot unlocks remain free for some, so long as somebody out there is paying.  A somewhat porous paywall, but a wall all the same, and possibly a harbinger of things to come.

I’m really neither here nor there on whether this change is an outrage or a reasonable adjustment.  Even World of Warcraft has their WoW Token offer which they push vigorously enough. So is the old Rift motto getting more or less true as time goes by?

No, not Azeroth!

No, not Azeroth!

Posting this is more a matter of noting how the F2P MMO market is continuing to evolve as the difference between competing games seems to diminish.  The trend will no doubt continue.

But still, it isn’t like Trion is doing anything really outrageous like, say, putting lock boxes inside of other lock boxes.  That requires a whole different level of “customer focus.”

Addendum: And it looks like Trion is on the same track with Trove.

Through the Story in Season 5 of Diablo III

I kept on with my Season 5 Crusader, whom I posted about last week, moving through the story, saving Adventure Mode and rifts and what not for afterwards.  I like the story, and the waypoints… the places where you can stop and pick up again later without having to redo anything… are fairly well spaced.

There are a couple of points where they feel a bit too close together.   For example why, in Act V, are there waypoints present literally the moment you step outside the Survivor’s Enclave, which has its own waypoint, for a couple of the story threads?

But too close is better than too far.  I rarely felt like I had to slog along forever between waypoints, even if I ventured up every side path I could find.

It was interesting to up the difficulty from Expert to Master as well.  There was clearly a period of time after I made the change that things were much tougher.  I died a couple of times soon after the change, but after a while the gear drops caught up with the difficulty and I could once again just pile into the middle of normal mobs and go to town.  I had to be more careful with elite mobs and bosses, a bit of mobility goes a long way in those cases.  Getting out of all those arcane beams is always a good idea.

The only boss I had any real trouble with was Urzael in Act V.  I died twice, very quickly, once his health dropped by about a third and triggered his second stage of attacks.  But, again, the solution was mobility to avoid his burst damage, then back in close to just tank and out heal the rest of his damage.  I favor gear that heals me some with every hit so beating on things is my general solution to taking damage.  The third run at Urzael was a success.

The change to Master also sped up my level progression and it began to look like a race to see whether I would hit level 70 or finish Act V first.  I went into the final fight with Malthael at level 69 with a few bars of experience left to go.  The question was, would the Malthael give me enough experience to get me there.  Well, this is how it turned out:

Fight finish, level cap hit, achievements achieved

Fight finished, level cap hit, achievements achieved

The race ended in a dead heat.  On slaying Malthael I hit level 70 and finished Act V in one simultaneous flash.  A friend of mine happened to be in game as well and got treated to a splash of achievement notifications in his chat window.  I could not have made these two events happen together on purpose if I had tried.

So the story is done and I now have a character at level cap.  Here is what he looks like, having put on the new pieces he got after the battle. (His profile is here.)

Chadwick the Crusader

Chadwick the Crusader

Now I have to wrap up the last two of the first round of Season 5 goals, which involve bounties and a rift.

First objectives

This hasn’t changed since last week

I should probably also look into what skills I ought to be running with.  So far I have just picked what has looked fun and seems to work, but I am going to guess that, if I want to progress through the various Torment levels, I will have to be a little less ad hoc in my approach.

Of course, that assumes I will make it into the Torment levels.  I must admit that the story drives me much more than the end-game of bounties and rifts.  The reason this is my first level 70 character is because the last time I finished the story I got bored with the end game and wandered off to do something else, leaving my previous Crusader at level 67.

I suppose I will have to see what other rewards Season 5 has to offer.

 

Why Did the Hero’s Song Kickstarter Fail?

Well crap, I just wrote this whole post last night and they cancelled it this morning literally as I went to check to see where it stood.  But I am not wasting all these words!  I will be validated, dammit!  Most of this is still on point, and I am not re-writing it simply to tune it for what just happened.

“Whoa, whoa, hold on there Hoss!” I hear you say, “That Kickstarter campaign has like 22 days left to run.  How can you say it failed?”  Well, because of this:

HerosSongCancelled

But let’s just pretend that didn’t happen for the moment.

I must admit that this is true.  There is a long stretch of time left, leaving the campaign plenty of time to recover and make its $800,000 goal, and maybe even a stretch goal or two.  Hero’s Song might yet make its money.  Stranger things have happened.

Nor am I trying to root this campaign into failure.  I have no particular problem with it nor with Smed himself, who seems like a decent person, somebody you could have a beer with and talk about video games.

What I am running with for this post is what I shall declare here as “Wilhelm’s First Hypothesis on Video Game Kickstarter Behavior,” based on observations I have recorded on this blog, which indicates that if you don’t hit the 20% funding mark in the first 48 hours, the campaign is lost.  I was on this two years ago.

Here we are past day seven and the Hero’s Song campaign is sitting at 18%.  It needs to bring in more than $27,000 a day to succeed, something it only did on day one.  The average take per day is up to this point is just a little over $17K, according to the data at KickTraq.  Unless there is a miracle in the offing, things look grim.

Kicktraq Status - Jan. 25

Kicktraq Status – Jan. 25

Miracles, however, tend to be thin on the ground here in reality, and while Massively OP is clearly in Smed’s corner on this one, even they seem to be running out of things to say.

So why didn’t Hero’s Song make that 20% mark?  Why do I think it isn’t going to make its final goal, much less any stretch goals.  Well, as usual, I have a list… a list of reasons that I think may have had a negative impact on the whole campaign.

Confused Presentation

I happened to see Smed’s Tweet about the campaign starting just as it went out and immediately went to see what was going on.  Much to my chagrin, I couldn’t figure out what platform the game was even running on.   I assumed it would be on Windows, but the screen shots looked like it might be slated for the Nintendo 3Ds.

That eventually got straightened out, but I am still sort of lost in what the game they are pitching actually is.  It is hardcore, online, action RPG, so it seems in the Diablo vein perhaps, but then they say it is a Rogue-like at one point, and then it has so many classes and different magics and shared worlds  and the ability to host it yourself and a bunch of races and too many classes and no main quest and… hrmm…

It isn’t like I am against all of that.  I like a lot of it.  But I am still not sure what to make out of it.  It all sounds very MMORPG-ish.  Is that right?

And I am somebody who has gone back and re-read sections of the description and even skimmed through Smed’s AMA on Reddit.  What will somebody just passing by make of all of this.  It just doesn’t have a simple hook.  I mean, Lord British could say, “Remaking Ultima!” and Mark Jacobs could say, “Remaking DAoC!” and even Brad McQuaid could say, “Remaking EverQuest!” and you got what they were about.

I am not saying it has to be easily pigeon holed, but word of mouth is a lot easier if you can describe something simply and work from there.  I don’t know how I would describe this fairly yet accurately. Graphical Rogue? Pixellated Diablo? 2D Ultima Online?

Bad Tiers

Another item that was wrong right out of the gate were the tiers.  Or, to narrow it down, the base tier.  You had a game that was going to go to retail for $19.99, but the minimum you could pay and get a copy was $25.

When you’re asking people to front you money for some software down the road, also asking them to pay more now than they would later is a bit of a punch in the gut.

Yes, they fixed that before the end of the first day, but how many people came, looked at the tiers, did the math, and said they would check back when it was done, never to return again?

Meanwhile, there isn’t a lot of compelling reasons to pay more than $15.  The digital sound track… well, Syp is probably there for that.  There is no discount for the Collector’s Edition, so no reason to jump on that.  Wallpapers and strategy guides are non-starters while early access might rake in some hardcores who really, really want in, but that isn’t much of a mass draw.

They did throw in T-shirts and hoodies as an option, and that actually got a bit of a spike in the total on Sunday, but it seemed to be mostly from people going up a tier to get something, as the number of new backers was fairly small.

So far they have just over 3,000 backers, which is impressive.  But the average pledge is just $45, which is even less impressive when you consider that somebody is in for that $10,000 tier.  70% of the backers are in for $25 or less.

Low Price

Part of the problem here is that the price of the game is going to be $19.99.  You have to sell a lot of units to get to $800K.  Furthermore, I am a bit worried about how they plan to run servers and such with no cash shop or what not and just the base price to keep things going.  I know he wants to keep away from the monetization tar baby, but I hope they have some additional revenue plan, like expansions.

Hardcore

Why did Smed have to run with this word?  Seriously, I think if you’re in tune with the gaming news sufficiently to have even heard about the Hero’s Song Kickstarter campaign, you qualify at some level as hardcore.

But Smed’s been on this divisive “hardcore” kick before.  Just last year he had that quip about those “disgusting PVE carebear servers” for H1Z1 which, while done in jest, still managed to annoy a fair share of people.

In the end, the word itself is mostly meaningless, serving only to divide players.  Those that don’t see themselves in the mold of the hardcore will turn away from the project, while those who self-identify as hardcore are as like as not to question whether or not Hero’s Song is hardcore enough.  Just having PvP doesn’t make something hardcore.

The Smed Factor

Smed has a name in the industry, people know him.  But his name also comes with a lot of baggage.  Not all of it is his fault, but he was the boss at SOE for a long stretch, and when you’re the boss, everything is your fault.  Hacking in PlanetSide 2, broken raids in the Planes of Power expansion, the NGE, letting Vanguard stagnate and die, closing FreeRealms, the failure of The Agency, the confused state of EverQuest II at launch, holding SOE Live in Vegas so many years running, forgetting to pay for the domain name that one time, you name it, somebody will blame it on Smed.

That’s a lot of potential grudges smoldering out there.

And on top of that, while he has a reputation based on running SOE, the games that SOE created tend to be associated with other people.  Brad McQuaid and the TorilMUD combo made EverQuest and he had Raph Koster there for Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest II, Scott Hartsman there to rescue EverQuest II, Holly Longdale there to CPR EverQuest and EverQuest II back to life yet again, plus a few other names in the mix.  But I don’t really associate Smed himself with any particular game, except maybe PlanetSide, and only because he declared it his favorite at one point.

Which isn’t to deny that a lot of people, both inside and outside the industry, like him.  I like him.  And, to paraphrase Gag Halfrunt, Smed is just this guy, you know?  His name will get attention for the project, but not all of it will be favorable.

Development Timeline Credibility

This is more a reaction to my own career and the way almost every video game related Kickstarter has played out, but I have serious doubts about their October 2016 launch.  Another Kickstarter hypothesis I am working on is a standard multiplier for such timelines.  I started with 2x, but I think that may too optimistic.

Anyway, this one may be more of a matter of previous campaigns poisoning the well for Hero’s Song, if it is a factor at all for people.  I appreciate the detailed timeline, I just think that backers may have been burned too often on that front.

The Need Question

I’m not sure why they need my money up front.  I know Smed has said they are in for a million so far and believe they need another $800K to finish the game up, but do they need it from this Kickstarter campaign?  If they campaign fails, are they still going to make the game or are they going to fold up shop and go home?  Are we going to get fewer classes, fewer features, no self-hosting?  What is the downside of this campaign failing?  What is the compelling case for supporting this game with money up front nearly a year in advance?

That part of the tale should be very clear, in writing, on the campaign page… and it isn’t.

No Pre-Campaign Ramp Up

This is the part that really grinds my gears.  This was just plain dumb.  Smed literally announced his new company and its Kickstarter on Twitter the morning it started.

Yes, he had a couple of gaming sites ready to cover the launch.  But you know what would have been better than absolutely zero pre-launch news… literally ANY pre-launch news.

“Hey! Surprise!” is not the hallmark of a good marketing campaign.

Look at past successful campaigns.  Lord British had his big count-down and announcement before the Shroud of the Avatar campaign.  Mark Jacobs was talking about a Kickstarter campaign for Camelot Unchained weeks in advance.  The Crowfall team was in the news and getting people hyped up weeks before their campaign launched.

This is what successful campaigns… two million dollar campaigns… look like:

Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar – 55% in the first 48 hours

Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained – 35% in the first 48 hours

I am too lazy to go get the Crowfall chart, but they made almost 80% of their goal in the first 48 hours.  That is what success looks like.  17% at the seven day mark has the stink of failure all over it.

In my opinion what Smed should have done was have the big reveal and news stories and the AMA about two weeks before the campaign, during which time the team could gauge the feedback, clarify points of confusion, and generally get the word spread so that the opening day would be a big success.  Because success begets success, and when a campaign opens up and gets a huge spike, people will jump on board even if they aren’t sure because everybody else is jumping on so there must be something there.

The SOE Curse

I’m not sure if this is really a factor, but I find it amusing to trot out.

You see, almost exactly two years ago another well known SOE name launched a Kickstarter with very little warm-up, had a confused yet ambitious sort of “it will do everything” message, appealed to the hardcore, and was asking for $800K.  Yes, we are at the two year anniversary of Brad McQuaid and his Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign.

Okay, the parallels are not exact and a bit silly, but it is one of those things that makes you go, “Hmmm…”  We shall see if Hero’s Song can match Pantheon’s take.  Brad

What Next?

So I think the campaign is a forlorn hope at this point.  So what?  What should Smed and his team do now?

Well, they should either go for that double-secret backup publicity plan that will send pledges through the roof or they should fold up their tents and go home for now.

And I since I doubt they have such a secret plan, I will focus on folding.

There is a HUGE reluctance to call it quits in such a situation.  I have seen campaigns literally 99% shy of their goal ride it out to the bitter end in some sort of hope over reason play that the word will get out at the last minute and the campaign will be saved.

That isn’t going to happen.  The first day of any campaign is almost always the biggest day.  If it isn’t, then you’ve really done something wrong.

This is reluctance seems to be especially true if there is some response and you get some pledges.  How can you just walk away from $136K?

Except, of course, if you don’t make your goal you get nothing at all, so you aren’t walking away from anything because it was never yours.  And you cannot cut your funding goal once the campaign has begun, so there is no way to just get the money.

So in my limited perspective, amateur Monday morning quarterback point of view, Smed and company should just pull the plug.  They should get together a nice explanation of their shortcomings on the campaign, admit fault where it is true, and announce that they will be back for another run once they have addressed their issues.

There is no winning in letting this run out to the bitter end and letting people see just how far short the campaign ended up.  And there is no shame in admitting mistakes and coming back for another run.  I mean Project: Gorgon had to have three Kickstarter campaigns to get its extra funding.

Anyway, that is where I stand.  But just to be even more of a nuisance, I am going to make two polls to finish up this post. (Also, AdBlock seems to remove polls, so if you don’t see them, that might be why. Or it might just be FireFox.)

The first is what factor do you think has most hurt the Hero’s Song campaign the most?


And then, of course, what do you think the Hero’s Song team should have done this point?

 

We shall see what happens.

Okay, we saw what happened… so I suppose we’ll see what comes of it.

Reavers Move South Again

We had known that a Reavers deployment was in the offing for a couple of weeks now.  There had been talk about doctrines and changes to fits.  There had been some briefings about what to pack and who we might bring along with us.  But when Asher started doing briefings for KarmaFleet, who would be joining us for the deployment, things were clearly getting close.  Then we were told to be ready to move and to have our security status at least up to -2.0 as we would be moving through high sec.

The things is, with these sorts of things, operational security dictates that the line members be kept in the dark as much as possible so that information doesn’t leak and we find the route to our deployment camped by hostiles.  We were all guessing where we might go, but Asher wasn’t telling.  I was hoping for a return to Querious as I already had some ships at our old staging system lined up.

The first call for a move op came on Saturday just as The Meta Show was wrapping up.  Pilots at our various staging bases were given directions as to where to head.  I had to log in and decide what I was going to fly out to the deployment.  I had a couple of the doctrine ships with me in D2-HOS, but figured I had best take a Basilisk for the first run.  We always need logi, so having that on hand seemed the best idea.  And we had been told that we would be staging out of a station and that shipping from Jita would be arranged, so we could buy and ship additional ships out later.

I undocked the Basilisk and warped to catch up with the fleet leaving the system via the jump bridge.  Various groups were moving from stations around Deklein and Pure Blind converging on the Torrinos gate in EC-P8R, one of the gateway systems between null sec and empire space.  We would form up there for our run into low, then high sec space.

It was there, while waiting for people to arrive that we got our first kill of the deployment.  Granted, it was a blue on blue kill when, after Asher said we could clear some of the warp disruption bubbles on the gate, one of my TNT compatriots thought launching an electron bomb into the bubbles was a good idea.  He didn’t even get a kill mark on his Purifier for the Cheetah, since he blapped a fleet member.

We're so proud

Our first kill of the deployment. We were so proud

Sitting around on the gate for a while, we did manage to bring the deployment back to an “ISK positive” state as we were able to knock off some of the steady flow of ships attempting to slip into null sec through the gate.

Hanging Around on the Torrinos gate

Hanging Around on the Torrinos gate

I even managed to launch a combat drone and get on the kill mail for a Hurricane that sat on the other side of the gate for a while… letting us all get ready… before jumping in to his death.

After a bit of a wait, punctuated by enough kills that we started to joke about the Torrinos gate being the deployment, Asher got our attention and had us set our destination to Sarekuwa in Lonetrek.  Those who had failed to get their security status up sufficiently were sent off to burn there and dock up while the rest of us were to move as a group just in case we ran into somebody who had a war dec against anybody in the fleet.  Then it was off to fly through high sec, ~100 ships causing a small bow wave of time dilation, and leaving behind a pile of spam in local, as we passed though Caldari space.

Warping on through high sec

Moving on through high sec

We met up in Sarekuwa and formed again for the run to the next waypoint, which turned out to be our final destination.  We were heading to Querious.  I was at once happy… our operations in that region are part of the Reavers legend, including the taking and heroic defense of the station at ED-L9T… and annoyed because I already had two Basilisks parked at our staging for the region, so I would have flown something else had I known.

Querious is, of course, a different place compared to our last visit.  Darkness and their friends are out and Pandemic Horde, Brave Newbies, Northern Army, are now residents with some others.  Phoebe Freeport Republic is moving in, having left Scalding Pass.  Even Red Frog appears to have a system in the region.

The state of Querious - Jan. 25, 2016

The state of Querious – Jan. 25, 2016

So it looks like Querious could be a region of fun.

The last leg of the run out was uneventful and we arrived at the Reaver home away from home once again.

Landing on an old familiar station

Landing on an old familiar station

Small ops started pretty much right away, though I had to run after the deployment cruise and didn’t get back into a fleet until the next day.

At that point we had a Ferox fleet going out with Entosis things to do.  There had already been a run at the station in ED-L9T, but it had been repulsed by the locals, so we were off to try for some other stations.

I have to say, as an aside, that the new UI feature that came with the January update which shows beneficial effects on your UI is the best thing ever as a logi pilot who is in a capacitor chain.  I can see when the chain is up and who has me.

Cap chain buddies shown

Cap chain buddies shown

So I am very happy about that.

Along the way we popped a couple of pilots from the corp Isogen 5 who were running around the area.  They alerted us to a Brave Newbies ratting carrier, after which we agreed to stop shooting them so we could help them shoot the carrier instead.  Our tacklers ran out ahead as we followed along.

The Archon was caught.  A couple of friends had run over to help him, but they were brushed aside as we went in for the kill.

Archon held down and waiting to die

Archon held down and waiting to die in a Haven

We got the ship, worth about 2 billion on the kill report, and the pod, which ended up having a set of High Grade Slave implants, which made it worth more than the ship.  A happy diversion, but then we had to get back on our way to our target before the vulnerability window closed.

We were headed to OGY-6D, a Pandemic Horde system, in order to Entosis their station.  We got there in time, passing through some of PH, got in the system, and set up on the gate to catch them if they followed up in.  As we sat in readiness, an Entosis ship warped to the station and started his work.

Entosis in progress

Entosis in progress

Pandemic Horde seemed content to stay on their side of the gate while we did our work.  As it appeared they wouldn’t be coming in, Asher sent another Entosis ship off to start on the ihub, however the vulnerability window closed before the end of the Entosis link module’s warm up cycle ended, so the ihub was safe for the moment.

When the station was done, our Entosis pilot rejoined the fleet and there was a decision to be made; should we fight Pandemic Horde or just try to blow past them and head home?  The numbers were against us, but we decided to give it a go and piled into their side of the gate, in K7D-II, to see how we might fare.

Things did not go our way.  Our boosting ship got caught trying to slip through to setup, so we were without the benefit of that.  We decloaked, formed up, and started what became a short, bloody fight where we were coming off the worse.  PH had some very effective EWar hitting our logi.  We kept Asher’s command ship alive and only lost one Basilisk, but they were tearing through our Feroxes, so we aligned out and headed for home.  A surprising number of us were able to warp off despite them having several of us tackled as the order to align out was given.  The battle report shows we lost a lot, but we probably should have lost even more.

All in all, not a bad first outing in Querios for me.  A nice carrier and pod kill for a warm up, the strategic objective accomplished, and a bloody fight on the way out.  And the deployment has only just begun.

One side note.  There is Pandemic Horde video up about the fight in D2-HOS that was part of a post I did last week.  They were very proud about the Jay Amazingness headshot during the fight, before they got wiped out, but in the last moments of the video (at about 8:10) somebody speculates that Goons might get mad and invade Querious over it.  Quite the prophetic statement.  I wouldn’t call us an invasion, but there are Goons in the region now.

Meanwhile, a gallery of the screenshots I have so far.