Elf

No, I am not trying to trigger Syp.  Well, not just that anyway.

Any elf will do for our purposes…

Back in high school, a distance through time more easily measured in decades than years at this point, I took German as my foreign language.  I think the primary outcome of three years of the language is that my writing in English improved greatly.  One of those side-effects, you have to examine your own language in order to learn another one.

I think my greatest achievement in German was reading Catch-22 in the language, something that took me most of a summer, a copy in English, and my German-English dictionary.  Other than that, I retain very little of the language.  Enough to annoy my mother-in-law (who is German), catch the occasional bit of dialog in a movie, appreciate The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers slightly more, get that joke about the German novel where the last two chapters are nothing but verbs, and make a poor joke from a post title.

Anyway, the German word for “eleven” is “elf,” something endlessly amusing to a 13 year old boy, an age I have never fully ceased to be.  The title is a joke because I write about fantasy MMORPGs now and again… less lately than before… where the elf is a staple, and yet relevant because this is one of those anniversary posts… my eleventh.

The Annual WP.com achievement

I am clearly out of clever titles and amusing intros at this point.  Remember that anniversary post that was full of Soviet propaganda?  Or the one grounded in Winnie the Pooh?  Now I am hanging my hat on the fact that the German word for eleven is a mythical creature in English.  It’s all I’ve got, and I’m not even going to run with it.  I’m going to just break in the usual statistics for a bit and hope I can come up with something new to say before we get to the end of the post.

For those interested in some of my better attempts at anniversary posts, here is the list:

And from that we might as well get stuck into this.

Base Statistics

In which I attempt to quantify what I have done here in the last twelve months.  The change over last year’s totals are noted in parentheses.

Days since launch: 4,018 (+365)
Posts total: 4,416 (+341)
Average posts per day: 1.097 (-0.013)
Comments: 29,415 (+1,456)
Average comments per post: 6.66  (-0.2)
Average comments per day: 7.32  (-0.33)
Spam comments: 1,376,145 (+63,980)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 424
Average spam comments per day: 342.5 (-16.7)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 47.2 (+0.2)
Comments written by me: 3,873 or 13.1%
Images uploaded:  10,416 11,764 (+1,348)
Space used by images: 270MB of my 3 GB allocation (9%, down 69%)
Blog Followers: 1,340
Twitter Followers: 722
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 6 (one twice)

This is the first year of the blog where I wrote less than one post per day, hitting the publish button 24 fewer times in the last year than the year before.  That is about a month of weekday posts I did not do.  See the effect of MMO malaise?  Because, seriously, I didn’t take any long vacations or suffering from debilitating illness over the previous twelve months.  I just wrote less, something that generally happens when I am just not interested in a given topic, which in this case is my MMO hobby.

Still, the average over the full life of the blog is over a post a day.  And even 333 is more than a post every weekday, the goal for which I strive.  That would only net me about 260 posts so, while no Stakhanovite, I have exceeded my posting norm.  Not bad for an eleven year long streak.

With posts down, comments were also down, both overall… simply fewer comments than last year… and as a percentage of posts… people commented less per post.  My comments, as a percentage of the total, was up.  Probably me talking to myself.

One oddity in the stats above is the amount of space used by my uploaded images, which dropped precipitously since last year’s post.  For some reason WordPress.com reset my allocation last year.  Maybe it was a happy anniversary gesture.  Maybe it was a bug.  I suspect that nothing good will come of it and that some day I will log in and find every screen shot from 2006 through 2016 missing, having been deleted by some automated process.  But for now they survive.

Anyway, that is the basic gist of what happened here over the last year.  The remainder of the post is after the cut to keep the long list of mostly meaningless words and statistics from overwhelming the from page.  See you on the other side, should you choose to go there… or if you are looking at this in an RSS reader.

Continue reading

The Imperium Buys a Keepstar

During the recent CSM summit Aryth, one of the representatives from the Imperium, brokered a deal to buy a Keepstar citadel in the system of 68FT-6.  Let me bring that system up on the DOTLAN map.

Hey, isn’t that Impass?

Yes, that is in Impass, and the system 68FT-6 is the capital system for the Circle of Two alliance.

In one of those great moments that happen from time to time in null sec politics, CSM member The Judge, who appeared on the Imperium ballot despite being in CO2, finally got fed up with the way GigX, the leader of CO2 was running the alliance and sold him out.

The Imperium ended up with a Keepstar… ISK well spent… so I guess it was true, we could work with him.  (It isn’t the first Keepstar that GigX has lost.)

Things have not gone well for GigX and CO2 since they betrayed the Imperium a year and a half back at the battle of M-OEE8 during the Casino war.  His immediate gains in territory were stripped from him once his erstwhile allies had sent us packing to Delve and he too had to head south to form up with TEST.

After acquiring space in the south things began to slowly deteriorate, both within the alliance and with neighbors, until things finally broke down with TEST, their closest ally, in late August.  Then war opened, with only a few siding with CO2.

And now this.  The Imperium holds their Keepstar and has a hellcamp setup to try to catch and blow up anybody trying to escape.  There is a temp blue situation with TEST so we can work with them on this.

Live from 68FT-6

(screen shot courtesy of Naice Rucima)

Meanwhile, TEST now controls all of the CO2 Fortizars, The Judge emptied the alliance coffers, and the line members have to be in a panic or looking for an out.  TEST has said they would accept corps and individuals from CO2.

This is going to take some time to play out, but I felt I had to put a pin in the date to remember when it started.  This could be the end for CO2.  It certainly seems likely to be the end for GigX, who was alleged to have threatened The Judge with an out of game visit and has reportedly been perma-banned for this.

Sources talking about what happened:

And so it goes.  I was going to write something up about today’s patch, but aside from new skills coming in for the moon mining update set for the upcoming Life Blood expansion, there isn’t much to talk about.  But now we have this instead!

Quests, Missions, and Return on Investment

One of the great compelling aspects of MMORPGs is progression, progression being defined as doing something… gain a skill, earn some gold, gain some experience, advance a story, open up new zones or dungeons… that advances you towards a larger goal.  I was all over that, along with what was meaningful and what might not be, last week.  Or, at least I strung together a bunch of words alleging to be all over that.  The rather subdued response could mean I sent everybody away to think… or that I just sent everybody away.

I am back for more.

Part and parcel of whatever variation of progression you choose, at least in PvE, is knowing that the time you spend gives you an expected return in the coin of the realm, be that gold, progression, faction, or whatever.  Knowing you can log in and do something in a given amount of time for a set reward can be a powerful thing.  But it can also be a limiting thing.

In a discussion in a comment thread a while back about PvE in EVE Online there was the usual gripe about the dull and repetitive nature of PvE in New Eden, accompanied by the call for CCP to make PvE more challenging, dynamic, exciting, or whatever.  Those words always play well, in part because they are just vague enough without solid context to mean just about anything.

However one person called bullshit on all of that in a comment.  His assertion was that what mission runners valued above all was the consistency of both knowing what they were going to get for their efforts and understanding what it was going to take to complete the task at hand.  It was the surety of the return on the time invested that kept people going after they learned enough of the game to move forward.

Great moments in PvE, two explosions at once… I clearly split my guns

And while I wasn’t on board with everything he had to say, I had to agree strongly that the almost guaranteed return on the time invested was likely the bedrock on which many a mission runner career ended up being based.  In the absence of broad scale progression like levels, the reward in ISK and LPs was about all one can hang their hat on when it comes to New Eden PvE.

There is a reason that bounties in null sec are the biggest ISK faucet in the game.  Anomalies are repetitive in the extreme, don’t really have much of a fig leaf of a story to cover your reasoning to warp there and shoot everything in sight, and the big excitement is that maybe you get an escalation at the end.  And even escalations, not all that common back in the day, have gotten much more rare as CCP attempts to put the reigns on the faction battleship supply.

Furthermore, as I noted on Talking in Stations a week or so back, the escalation option for many players is to sell the bookmarks to a group that will run them and split the rewards with you so you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone and have your payout expectations set in advance.

There was a skit with Bill Murray on Saturday Night Live way back in the day where he was on stage with another performer ( I forget who at this point) who would give him a treat every time he did something on stage.  Then, after one action, he didn’t get a treat, at which point he stopped to point out that he was expecting a treat.  He’d been given a treat for every action in rehearsal and during the warm up before the show and for every action up to that point, but now suddenly he didn’t get a treat when he clearly expected one and had to find out, mid skit, what happened.

This is sort of the dark side of MMORPGs, the conditioned behavior, in that we expect to get a treat… experience or gold or achievement or whatever… for every action.  We expect that our time invested ought to be rewarded and can get upset or demoralized when it does not.

I am reminded of spending a whole evening grinding mobs with a group back in early EverQuest and then having a bad spawn or a mob wander up or get trained onto us, getting killed, and essentially losing all of the progress I had made.  That was always a disheartening moment.  For all the arguments about having enjoyed yourself up until that moment, the loss of what you had played/worked for tends to cancel that out and then some.

MMORPGs have tended to mitigate that since the early days of EverQuest.  In World of Warcraft death’s sting is pretty light, no progress is lost, and you can run back and try your hand at things fairly quickly.

In New Eden however the destruction of one’s ship can still represent a setback in the only progress a lot of people use, ISK accumulation.  One of the hardest things to get used to in EVE Online is that losing a ship is something to be expected, a normal part of the game.  It took me a long time to get past that.  I have seen people argue that they would never play EVE because they equate a ship in New Eden with gear in WoW, and the idea that you could somehow lose all of your hard earned purple raid gear is anathema to some people.  The whole “only fly what you can afford to lose” is nonsense talk to people who come from worlds where you never lose anything.  That there is a whole complex economy happy to sell them replacement ships doesn’t matter, loss is bad.

And even when you have accepted that ships are temporary, there is still that ISK setback and the inconvenience of getting a replacement.  So PvE in New Eden tends to be the pursuit of the optimized ISK gathering experience, and null sec anomalies win on that front.  Missions are arguably at least mildly more interesting, but a boring anomaly is very consistent in reward and difficulty and you don’t have to travel to find one.  With no real progression outside of ISK accumulation, people tend towards the easiest path.

But that is setting up for failure if your primary focus in PvE.  Anomalies are deadly dull.  I will never be really space rich or own a super capital ship because I cannot bring myself to run more than one or two on any given day.  Instead I use them to fill in the gap between alliance ship replacement payouts (you never quite get what you paid, or for peacetime ops you only get a small payout), to buy new ships when doctrines change, and to cover my own losses when I am off doing dumb things just to see if I can. (I was told I was very dumb for flying my Typhoon back from the deployment, fun and/or challenge not being a mitigating factor in the minds of some.)

In a sandbox game like EVE Online which lacks what I would consider long term, meaningful progression, how do you build “better” PvE for players?  What does “better” even look like given that, for many people, additional complexity or difficulty is often viewed as a negative and the accumulation of ISK or LPs are the only real long-term incentives?

Even people who choose more difficult content like burner missions optimize for them, so that when CCP changes something without mentioning it in the patch notes it can cause some heartburn?

And where does that leave CCP’s ambition to convert new players from PvE to PvP?  Because the return on investment… measured in fun, excitement, or kill mails… for PvP in New Eden can be even worse than PvE.  Much worse.

EVE Online Curse

Sitting in a bubble during a gate camp and waiting…

The problem with sandbox PvP is that it depends on other people, and we’re all notoriously unreliable.  And all the more so in New Eden where you can’t just pop up again at the nearest respawn point fully equipped and ready to have another go.

Yet another on the list of reasons I fly in null sec is that not only do I see some of the more large scale PvP battles, but for the most part somebody else does the work of figuring out where to be and when, then just calls on people like myself to come and help make it happen.  People like Asher Elias and Jay Amazingness and a host of other people put in a lot of effort to find fights that will keep us all happy to hang around and respond to pings.

Even then I would say that maybe, possibly, very optimistically one in four operations end us up with us shooting at hostiles, leaving aside structures and the occasional passing target of opportunity… which usually gets scooped up by the guy not running the doctrine fit because he has two scripted sebos in his mids for just such an occasion.

And even then, actually getting the much worshiped “gud fight” is a rare bird indeed.  Most roams or gate camps or whatever tend to end up as ganks of singletons who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and can’t quite get away.  It is no wonder that final timer structure shoots tend to get a good turnout.  At least we all get to fire our guns and a kill mail is almost guaranteed.

So I ask, in the context of the progression the game offers, the tendency for players to optimize for the desired outcome, and CCP’s fantasy about turning PvE players into PvP players, what does better PvE look like in New Eden?

EQ2 Wire to Shut Down after Nine Years

In what I can only call a blow to the extended EverQuest II community, Feldon of the site EQ2 Wire has decided to call it quits.

The site, which has been in operation for just over nine years, has been my go-to for news and updates about EverQuest II.  Feldon has been something of a crutch for me, helping me keep track of a game I care about but haven’t played in any serious way in at least five years.

Unfortunately, Feldon has also moved away from the game.  In his post announcing the end of his coverage, he pointed to that, his deteriorating relationship with Daybreak, and the fact that he has many other things going on in his life as factors that led to his decision.

It is sad to hear he his giving up his role in the EQII community.  I have often repeated that I wish there was a Feldon for EverQuest and Rift and a few other MMOs out there.  But it can be a lot of work and his efforts have not always been appreciated by SOE and Daybreak, so I can only thank his for all his has done and wish him well in whatever he chooses to pursue.

I do hope he will keep the site up for now, if only out of selfish reasons… I don’t need another raft of dead links here, as I have linked out to EQ2 Wire often.

He has stated that he will continue to maintain the EQ2U Players site for now as it still gets a significant amount of traffic from player look ups.

When fan sites like this depart, it points out both the strength and weakness of online gaming communities.  On the one hand, the efforts of a single player can touch a wide swathe of the community.  But our tendency to depend on such sites is exposed when they depart and we feel the hole they have left in our world.

And so it goes.  Good luck Feldon and thank you for all you’ve done!

Daybreak 30 Months In

30 months seems like a nice round number for a review.

I was thinking about Daybreak over the weekend.  It has been about two and a half years now since they ceased to be SOE and began living the “indie” lifestyle as Daybreak.  Freed from the shackles of their PlayStation overlords there was the promise of being able to do new things… mostly on XBox.

First though, they had to clean house.  That started with staff cuts.  They cut games, Dragon’s Prophet, PlanetSide, and Legends of Norrath, though they had already cut some games as SOE to get ready for the deal.  Then they killed off the long suffering EverQuest Next project and released Landmark, only to close it down less than a year later.  That left them with a tidy array of games.

Daybreak Lineup – Fall 2017

DC Universe Online

Profitable on PlayStation, DCUO was the beneficiary of the whole “we can develop for XBox!” plan, getting an XBox One client last year along with the promise of being able to play on servers with Windows players.  I can’t recall if that ever happened.  The game does get regular content updates and likely continues to be profitable.

EverQuest and EverQuest II

The foundation of the company.  I remain of the opinion I expressed on a podcast a year and and a half ago, that these two titles are in the strongest place they have been in a long time.  Both games get yearly content expansion and regular updates and Daybreak has continued to successfully play the nostalgia card with both titles, rolling out fresh servers focused on old content.  Those are consistently the most popular servers though even I, a big fan of the idea, wonder how long these titles can live largely on that sort of thing.

H1Z1 – King of the Kill

The surprise break-out battle royale aspect of the H1Z1 saga, it still hasn’t managed to exit Early Access despite Daybreak’s parent company considering the game launched 30 months ago.  And there is a question as to how long its reign of success will last now that PlayerUnknown’s Battleground is now the darling of battle royale titles and Twitch streamers.  You cannot live on selling $5 in-game hoodies when a new game is stealing your audience.

Yeah, who owns Battle Royale now?

Having to differentiate yourself from your new competitor… which has sold 10 million units already… is never a good sign.  Meanwhile, the promised ports to PlayStation and XBox have never materialized.

Just Survive

The aptly named twin of King of the Kill and once the main focus of the plan.  Then the battle royale idea proved more popular, the game was split into two titles, with Just Survive mostly neglected for the next year and a half.  The biggest announcement during that time was that Daybreak was removing the “H1Z1” prefix from the title.  That came with the promise of a big revamp, but I don’t know if that will be enough to undue the damage from the time of neglect, which has left a recent legacy of “mostly negative” reviews for the game.

PlanetSide 2

The successor to PlanetSide and Smed’s favored child, it is hard to gauge how well it is doing in the post-Smed era.  It continues to get balance changes and updates.  On the other hand, almost two years back the Daybreak was saying that the title was having problems on the revenue generation front.  When you’re giving it away for free and not charging to play the core of the game, people will take advantage of that, a business model that remains the same today.  Has this gotten any better?

Something New?

The above is just the way things go with titles that are on the market and have to survive over time.  Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.

What differentiates a going concern from a company just riding out its end days and milking its current titles is ongoing development of new games.  And I haven’t seen any of that from Daybreak.  Moving one five year old title to XBox was nice, but hardly a substitute for new work.

All six titles in the Daybreak lineup come from the SOE era.  H1Z1 might have gone into early access shortly after the Daybreak deal, but it was announced and work was in progress well before then.

The only thing new under the sun for Daybreak has been a deal with Standing Stone Games to handle some aspect of LOTRO and DDO operations.  But that is hardly a substitute for new work, especially since SSG is a company clearly riding out its own end game scenario.  No matter how much money Daybreak is getting from that deal, it clearly has an expiration date.

So is this what the Daybreak experience is going to be?  A long ride into the sunset shepherding an ever dwindling stable to titles onward until the last one drops?

Delve – Deploying Means Less Ratting and Mining

The New Eden Monthly Economic Report for August 2017 is out, and while there are some surprises, the economic performance of Delve isn’t one of them.

The Imperium spent most of the middle of the month of August deployed in the north, staging out of the low sec system of Hakonen.  This meant less people ratting and mining, but probably more important, less people defending the home region of Delve.  That led to a sharp uptick in carrier and Rorqual losses.  So, as one might expect, NPC bounties were way down for Delve.

August 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

Hitting close to 3.6 trillion ISK in bounty payouts, that put the region down almost 5 trillion ISK from July, when the payouts totaled 8.4 trillion ISK.  The August take was just 42% of the July number.

Still, that left Delve ahead of other heavily ratted regions such as Branch, Cobalt Edge, Outer Passage, and Period Basis, all of which remained fairly steady month over month.  The overall effect of the deployment can be seen in the ISK sinks and faucets chart.

August 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

The bounty payouts dip and recover on the chart as the Imperium deployed then returned home.  That dip represents a little over half of Delve’s contribution to that chart, so you can see that it is significant, but also that bounties are being paid out elsewhere too.  With Delve gone bounties would still the largest ISK faucet in the game by far.  And, of course, 92% of bounties are still paid out in null sec.

It is also interesting to note the bump in insurance payouts and transaction tax and broker’s fee deductions during the deployment north as the Imperium bought out supplies in Jita and then lost piles of Typhoons.  The interconnectivity of the economy is one of the powerful aspects of EVE Online.

On the mining front Delve was likewise down during the deployment.

August 2017 – Mining Value by Region

The dip in mining is even more dramatic that bounties, with the value assessed at 2 trillion ISK, down from over 10 trillion ISK in July.  That is an 80% cut, though it is not surprising.  Rorquals, the mining ship of choice in null sec space, were heavily targeted during the deployment.  Many were blown up… the value of ships destroyed went from 1.4 trillion to 2.2 trillion ISK… while smarter miners chose not to expose their fancy ships to the danger.

Likewise, production in Delve was down as well, dipping by 50% as people threw themselves into the deployment.

August 2017 – Production Values by Region

The key economic figures summary chart also shows Delve dropping by half when it comes to trade value as well when compared to the July numbers.

August 2017 – Regional Stats

So that is the economic impact of the Imperium taking its show on the road for a few weeks.

However, we’re back in Delve again now, the defenses are back in place, and ratting and mining are relatively safe occupations for the wary again.  I expect the numbers to bounce back to July levels this month, perhaps even exceeding them as people put in a bit of effort to make up for losses and lost time.

 

Fall Movie League – The Labor Day of Our Discontent

I got a request last week in the comments on the final post about the Blogger Fantasy Movie League asking to keep on keeping on with the Fantasy Movie League thing and the posts related there to.  Since I planned to carry on picking movies, and since that is one more request I get from an actual reader than I get for most topics, I decided to carry on.

And so we move into a new season with what I will call the Fall Movie League to distinguish it from the previous season.  I put out a call for people to join it, first in the comments on that final post from the previous season and then in the final section of the August in Review post.

That, I will admit, was only slightly more effective than buying a yellow pages ad for the whole thing as far as the number of people who might see it goes.  But there it is.  I did get two takers, SynCaine of Hardcore Casual and somebody who I believe is Isey from I HAS PC.  Maybe.

And facing the three of this past weekend was a series of options aging before us on the screen even as we made our choices.

 Hitman's Bodyguard   $252
 Annabelle: Creation  $154
 Leap!                $134
 Wind River           $126
 Logan Lucky          $115
 Dunkirk              $106
 Hazlo Como Hombre    $93
 Spider-Man           $79
 The Emoji Movie      $73
 The Nut Job 2        $66
 Girls Trip           $64
 Tulip Fever          $63
 Despicable Me 3      $51
 Birth of the Dragon  $47
 Wonder Woman         $44

The big new film of the week, Hazlo Como Hombre, didn’t even break into the top five of the choices, possibly because it is Spanish.  And then there was Tulip Fever, not the sort of contagion to set the box office alight.

So the choice of anchors seemed to be Hitman’s Bodyguard, a fine and funny film but entering its third week of box office dominance, and Annabelle: Creation, a horror flick which was has been hanging around at the the top of the list for a week more.

After some hemming and hawing, I decided that squeezing in five screens of Annabelle was better than two or three screens of Hitman as my base.  Then the question was what to fill in the next three screens with.  I ended up with Wind River and two screens of Despicable Me 3.

This turned out to be a reasonable set of picks.

Fall Movie League – Week One Picks

Of course, while those numbers don’t look bad for a four week old release, you have to remember that this was a holiday weekend, so Monday was counted in the totals as well.  That put another $1.5 million on Annabelle’s totals, in what has been described as the slowest Labor Day weekend box office in 20 years.

It wasn’t the perfect pick though.  Perfect was anchored on two screens of Hitman’s Bodyguard and one of Annabelle, with an extra helping of Despicable Me 3, which benefited from $2 million per screen boost that goes to the best price/performer of the week.  Only 7 people out of about 17 thousand got the perfect pick, which earned them $69,602,040.

Fall Movie League – The Week One Perfect Pickers

You can also see the second best pick at the end of that list, which was shared amongst five people and yielded $64,455,715.  My picks were the third most lucrative, which put me in a tie for 13th place overall for fall, a position I share with a lot of people.  I think I may have also chosen the most popular pick.

So at the end of the first week the standings in the TAGN Movie Obsession league were

  1. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,309,390
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $58,113,660
  3. I HAS MOVIES – $51,635,092

SynCaine went with four screens of Annabelle, but didn’t get DM3 into the mix, while… again, I think it is Isey… eschewed the obvious anchor films and bet heavily on Leap! and Wind River.

The slowness of the week means that the gap between first and last isn’t all that great.  It wasn’t like that time Liore skunked us all on the first week and took a lead never to be broken.  Yeah, nobody is going to let that go any time soon.

And speaking of Liore, apparently my 13th place overall finish in week one was enough to attract the attention of her hardcore movie fan league.  I was invited to join their ranks based on my performance on the worst movie weekend of the year.

I accepted and was immediately dismayed to discover that my first week score didn’t count for their league as I joined after the second week started.  That left me with a score of zero in a group that did fairly well for the week.  However, I am told that Ben asked the FML team to include my first week score in their league.  (Thanks Ben!)  Now I am king for the week with a slim lead of about $3.6 million.  We shall see how I fare in more expert company.  I’m not sure I should list out the rankings for that league though.  Not everybody appreciates publicity.  But there I am.

Which brings us to the the second week of the season, where the choices are:

It - Friday        $467
It - Saturday      $342
It- Sunday         $214
Home Again         $143
Hitman's Bodyguard $71
Wind River         $55
Annabelle          $45
Leap!              $38
Dunkirk            $31
Logan Lucky        $29
Spider-Man         $25
Despicable Me 3    $18
Girls Trip         $16
The Emoji Movie    $16
The Nut Job 2      $12

In the words of Bart Simpson, there are a lot of low cards in that hand.  Also, Wonder Woman has finally dropped off the list… thanks a lot Stephen King… after a 14 week run.

Basically, there is the release of another Stephen King movie and a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.  My hot take is to bet on Reese.

It is clearly expected to dominate the box office, so much so that it is the first film since Spider-Man to be split into three different days just to make the picks more interesting.  It est omnis divisa in partes tres and all that.

But I am just not feeling it for It.  Then again, I haven’t been much into horror movies since the 80s, so the whole “Make Clowns Evil Again” vibe doesn’t really thrill me.  Also, being just a pronoun means I keep losing the title in my typing. Where is it? Is this it, or is it this?

Then again, the reviews for It are good… better than Dark Tower… while the reviews for Home Again are not looking good, falling south of even Hitman’s Bodyguard.  But in a week when It is the only other new thing at the cineplex, will people opt for Reese just to see Reese?  I mean, I would.  Plus Reese is cheap this week.  I can have Reese on six screens, and nothing speaks to me like cheap Reese on six screens.  I may need a cold shower.

Anyway, I am going to have to mull this over, play with my spreadsheet, and maybe wait to see what Variety says.  This is what happens when I start paying attention to the box office, suddenly the movie section at Variety is in my RSS feed.

You can still join my league by finding the links in the posts indicated up at the top.  I’d link it here, but I figure if you really want in you can prove it by expending a little effort.  You can compete on a weekly basis or, if you’re hot shit, you can try to take me down from my current spot in first place.  My leaning towards Home Again might be an opportunity.