Character Log Off Comes to EVE Online at Long Last

Players can now log out to the Character Selection screen instead of exiting the game when changing characters.

June 23 Patch Notes Update

Hallelujah the day has finally come!   If you have two characters on your account you can now swap between them without exiting the game and logging back in.  Now when you hit escape to get the settings and options window, there is a new choice down in the lower right, “Log Off.”

The middle one

When you click that for the first time you get a dialog asking if you want to return to the character select screen.

Why yes, please!

It is like a new day has dawned.  People have been asking for this for years.

Okay, I have to admit that logging out and exiting and logging back in are probably not that far apart when you look at the time it takes.  But it feels better at some level to just be able to log out.

And I am not sure how much of the EVE Online audience this will really affect.  The way skill training works, with one character training at a time (unless you buy multi-character training), there was a long stretch where this feature would have meant nothing to me.  I had the most basic of alts and never used them for anything.  Everything  was focused on my main, so swapping characters wasn’t something I did ever.

I had a second account… and a third… long before this would have ever been all that meaningful to me.

But nearly 14 years into playing this game, my two main accounts have alts with 50-70 million skill points on them that I often use for side tasks or high sec things.  I contract them things, or swap the training over to them now and then, and those actions always felt burdensome due to having to log out then click the launcher to log back in.

So now we have it.  I honestly didn’t think the day would come.

Consolidating for Casino War II

The word is out that war may be coming to us again.

In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us.  For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.

This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war.  If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.

Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions.  From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot.  The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind.  We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale.  That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth.  The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.

And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.

Watching big stuff jump and gate

The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium.  I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.

Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.

Capital will blob up

After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.

The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day.  Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action.  We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again.  I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.

Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.

Things are, of course, much different now.  Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was.  We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.

Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for.  With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec.  There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest.  It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third.  Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.

But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home.  Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them.  We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that.  We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.

So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?”  It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again.  And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.

But all this intel could have been wrong.  Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality.  People might be seeing shadows.  And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.

But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case.  And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread.  Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.

And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit.  Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then.  The tone on r/eve changed some.  Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes.  Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.

We shall see where this ends up.  There is work to be done all around between now and then.

Other coverage:

Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw you narrative.”  So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.

Blizzard Goes After WoW Classic Bots and Warms up for AQ

This week saw some WoW Classic news related to bots and cheating as well as a stress test on the public test realm.

Classic is as classic does

The big announcement was that Blizzard had banned 74K accounts for EULA violations.

We’ve recently completed a round of actions against players who were found to be cheating in World of Warcraft.

We rarely communicate publicly about this, because we’ve found that describing our sources and methods can make it easier for malicious actors to work around them, but we feel that it’s worthwhile to expand on the subject today, as many players have recently asked us for more details.

Including today’s actions, over the last month in the Americas, Oceania, and Europe regions, we’ve closed or suspended over 74,000 WoW accounts that were found to be in violation of our End-User License Agreement 68. The majority of these were found to be using gameplay automation tools, typically to farm resources or kill enemies much more efficiently than legitimate players can.

While today’s suspensions were applied in a batch (often referred to as a “banwave”), it is a top priority for us to identify accounts that are botting and remove them. Our team works around the clock, every day of the week, and many of the suspensions and account closures over the last few months have gone out in the middle of the night, or on weekends.

Like you, we play World of Warcraft. We understand what it’s like to spot a player in-game who appears to be botting. We always want to eliminate the botting player, if it can be proved that they are indeed cheating. And that raises a big difficulty in addressing this issue – we have to prove to ourselves that the accused player is not a person who’s actually controlling a character with their hands on a keyboard.

We use powerful systems to determine if the suspected player is using an identifiable cheat, and our heuristics (which we do not outline publicly) are constantly improving and evolving. But when we examine a suspect and these measurements aren’t out of line, we have to manually gather evidence against the accused player, which can be very time consuming and complex. It’s worthwhile though, because we never want to take action against a legitimate player.

Yes, there have been cases where a legitimate player appeared (to another player) to be botting. In those cases, where a legitimate player is reported and then cleared of wrongdoing, it can be very frustrating to the reporting player to again see what they think is a bot. We’ve also seen examples where the reported player was caught exploiting the game, and was removed from the game, and then quickly returned to doing the same thing on a new account with the same character name. That’s an infuriating sight for the players who initially reported it. We greatly appreciate your reports, and we understand how you feel about this.

We’re ultimately working to unravel a challenging circumstance. Real money trading drives third parties to put an enormous amount of effort into circumventing our detection systems. As much as this is a very high priority for us, it is the only priority for profit-driven botting organizations. The bans we issue are simply a cost of doing business for them.

We’re working on further improvements to every part of the game that might address cheating issues more swiftly and completely, and we’ll continue to let you know as those next steps are taken.

Thank you very much for your feedback on these issues, and thank you for your reports!

Ars Technica even did a story about the “bot mafias” that were present in WoW Classic. and how they have messed with the economy, all no doubt in furtherance of illicit gold sales.

I know I have seen a bunch of gold seller spam email messages showing up on my characters lately.

I have multiple screen shots of similar messages

I have been using the “Report Player” button to respond to these, so hopefully I helped target a few bad actors.

In addition, Blizzard made a change to the number of instances a player can access during a single day.

As part of our ongoing efforts to eliminate exploitative and automated gameplay, with scheduled weekly maintenance in each region, we’re implementing the following change to our settings on all WoW Classic realms:

  • You may now enter a maximum of 30 unique instances (dungeon and raid) per day, per realm.

This restriction complements the current limit of 5 instances per hour. Now, when a player enters a dungeon or a raid, the game checks to see if they have entered 5 instances in the last hour or 30 instances in the last 24 hours, and if they have, they cannot enter the instance until enough time has elapsed. This check is across all of your characters on your realm.

These limits only apply to dungeon and raid instances, and do not apply to PvP battlegrounds.

I had run into the old “five instances per hour” limit while trying to get the Hydrocane to drop in Gnomeregan, but the overall cap will now close that out a bit more thoroughly I suppose.  (I didn’t need nearly that many instances to get the drop on multiple characters.)

And then, in a note about things to come, Blizzard also did a stress test on the PTR on Thursday to test Silithus and the Ahn’Qiraj (AQ) opening event.  They have already posted a summary of how that went.  We shall see if they do anything with the information they collected.

Finally, layering, which Blizzard had to turn on again for a few realms recently due to queues, has been worked on to make sure that it will function correctly when these events hit the live servers.

Honest Game Trailers and Zero Punctuation Reviews go after Minecraft Dungeons

As I was playing and writing about Minecraft Dungeons, I decided to avert my eyes a bit from some of the other press it was getting, if only to not influence my view while it was still starting to gel.

It is Minecraft and Dungeons

Now that I think I have written about all I am going to for the time being, I thought I would bring out a couple of video reviews of the game.

The first up is Honest Game Trailers.

 

Honest Game Trailers generally has two modes.  They either give titles they look at light hearted jabs at their weak points or else they go for the jugular.  This one is the latter as they savage the game as a low effort Diablo clone.

And then there is Zero Punctuation.

 

Yahtzee’s modus operandi is generally to be grumpy and dissatisfied with any game he reviews, grudgingly offering respect or compliments once he has vented for the few titles he eventually warms to.  In that continuum, Minecraft Dungeons falls into a valley of mild complaints that it is not really anything to do with Minecraft while being a competent if very lightweight action RPG.

And Yahtzee unable to either damn or compliment a game is almost the worst outcome, as it reveals an underlying lack of passion generated by the game.

So it goes.

As I said in my own post, there isn’t anything really wrong with the game.  It seemed fun enough for a bit.  But I also stopped playing it after a week once I made it through the main story and found that all you got after that was the same level with more difficult mobs.

Ruled by Discord

This post isn’t about the current state of affairs in the real world, though feel free to steal the title for your own post about the dystopian nightmare we’re living in currently.

No, this is a follow up to a poll I ran… a few months back at this point.

I did a post about The State of Voice in 2020 back in early March about voice software used during gaming, a follow up on a couple of past posts on this topic, which concluded with the traditional poll to get a sense of which voice software people were favoring these days.

The results were a lopsided victory for Discord.

When asked to specify their primary voice software package, there was no contest.

147 Responses to “What is your primary voice application?”

The Other responses were “Google Hangouts” and “Whatever someone else says we should use.”

Compare that to the results of the poll I conducted in 2012:

  1. Ventrilo – 73 / 25%
  2. TeamSpeak – 70 / 24%
  3. Mumble – 57 / 19%
  4. Skype – 35 / 12%
  5. I never use voice – 29 / 10%
  6. Game Integrated – 23 / 8%
  7. Console Voice System (Xbox 360/PS3) – 4 / 1%
  8. Other – 3 / 1%
    • I don’t regularly use voice at this time – 1
    • raidcall – 1
    • Steam – 1

That pre-dates Discord, which only kicked off in 2015, but it does show something of a shift.

Of course, neither poll is scientific and only represent the demographic of “people who read this blog and whose ad block software even allows the poll to be visible,” so isn’t provably reflective of the actual distribution of voice software usage out in the wild.

It is also impacted by, and reflective of, the downturn in traffic my blog has seen since that 2012 poll was taken, which happened around the my peak of popularity, such that it was.  So only 147 people responded in 2020, while 2012 saw exactly (!) twice as many responses, clocking in with 294.

And yet, the lopsided win for Discord still says something.  Discord is easy, cheap, and works.  When the instance group got back together for WoW Classic we went straight to Discord as our platform of choice.

Yes, that was, in part, because I already had an account.  But we all had Skype accounts as well, that being our preferred voice software back in the day, and Google Hangouts were a possibility as well, being the choice of the one-time Friday Night Strategy Game group.

Discord was just easy, has persistent group chat as well as voice, and has mobile clients as well.  I pay for a monthly channel boost subscription, which is supposed to get us better voice quality among other things, but we didn’t have any problem before I did that.

A Discord server basically gives us so many options over the alternatives that it just seemed like the obvious choice.

The second poll question asked which voice software options people used regularly.  It was a multiple select poll, so you could click on as many as you felt applied.  The results for that were… odd.

Responses to “What voice apps do you use regularly?”

The Other responses were, with one vote each:

  • meet.jit.si
  • Google Hangouts
  • MS Teams
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Nothing regularly but not nothing ever

Discord was still on top, but did not get as many votes as it did in the first poll.

There are a few possible explanations for this.  Some people may have only votes on the first poll.  Some may have felt that the second poll implied “aside from your primary” chosen in the first.  And some people may have only voted in the second poll, feeling that they did not have a primary.  Some combo of those, plus whatever else, may be in play here.

And it does show, again, a move away from what were the traditional voice hosting platforms back in the day, Ventrilo and TeamSpeak, at least in the “reads this blog and votes on polls” demographic.

  1. Ventrilo – 207 / 27%
  2. TeamSpeak – 177 / 23%
  3. Game Integrated – 115 / 15%
  4. Mumble – 108 / 14%
  5. Skype – 87 / 12%
  6. Console Voice System (Xbox 360/PS3) – 40 / 5%
  7. I still never use voice – 14 / 2%
  8. Other – 8 / 1%
    • roger wilco 3
    • Google+ 1
    • ooVoo 1
    • Tin cans and string 1
    • Steam Integrated, Cellphone, Smoke signals 1
    • But I will start to use voice for the first time when SOEmote starts. 1

I think I can spot the Bhagpuss answers in the “other” field on a couple of these.

So Discord “wins” I suppose.  I am still not sure about their business model.  They gave up the idea of competing with Steam as a game selling platform a while back.  But the proliferation of Discord servers… is there any sizable company or group that doesn’t have at least a few dedicated to it… seems to indicate that they have the attention of a lot of people.

Anyway, that is my little report on the state of voice in gaming right now.  We’ll see if I get back to it in another five years or so and who will be dominant at that point.

Minecraft Village Population

I mentioned late last month that we had gone back for a bit of Minecraft.  Skronk rolled up a new world on Minecraft Realms and we started running around.  During a bit of exploration… which in the usual Minecraft way felt like I wandered for days but ended up not being that far from our initial base… I ran across a town out in a plains biome.

A new town discovered

As our first town seemed to be well under way with everybody working on it, I decided to look further afield and managed to stumble back to the town I had run across.  I made that my project.  I had already thrown up a few walls to protect it on my first pass, but on my return I settled in to do the things I usually do when I set up shop in a village.

First up, once things are mildly secure, is generally to dig a mine.  This village had a house over a fissure in the ground, which is where I chose to start digging down to level 12, where the good stuff is.

I fixed up the entrance to make it look nicer

As I hung around a bit, I noticed the villager count begin to go up quite rapidly.  I know that they changed how villagers spawned with the Village & Pillage update last year.  And I even played with a new found village when the update landed.  But there have been some updates since then and I wasn’t quite ready for how fast villagers proliferate now.  As I hung around improving the town, they started multiplying.

fountain time

Villagers congregate at the town center… also, my dog

Another thing that went in with the Village & Pillage update is that villagers now seek out a bed to sleep in at night.  Villages now come with more beds, but as the population goes up, so does the race to get a sleeping spot every time the sun sets.

This doesn’t make getting the night to pass easy.  Villagers also have a slightly earlier allowed bed time than players.  They all jump into bed before you’re allowed to.  It got to the point where a villager ran down the mine stairs and took my bed down there before I could get into it.

Fortunately, there were sheep about so I was able to make some more beds.  I even built another house in order to give the sprawling villager population places to lay their heads.

Villager flop house

I noticed that most of my new villagers were unemployed, wearing the plain brown rather than the attire.  I had to go look up why the villagers were not specializing, and it appears that they will only do so if one of the new work stations related to the professions are available in the town.

I went around town and built work stations for all the professions and soon the brown coated villagers began to specialize.

A shepherd and his loom

I soon had a town with all the professions covered, and some extra villagers to cover if I came up short.

One of the other changes is how iron golems are summoned.  If a couple of villagers get together and don’t see one near by, they can summon one, which led to a profusion of defenders in the village after a while.  There were fifteen wandering the grounds at one point.

Half a dozen golems in this picture alone

Anyway, I ended up doing quite a bit of work around the town.  I even started working on an upgraded wall.  We’ll see how far that goes.

The village so far, from the same angle as the first screen shot

But after a while there is always the urge to pack up and go explore.  There are some key biomes out there we need to find.  I’ve run into a few jungles nearby… you can see some bamboo in the town if you look close, and a jungle tree on the far side of town… but a mesa biome for colors would be excellent.

Fifty in Searing Gorge

I had been poking around with my hunter nearby where the instance group had been working, running down quests in Tanaris and Feralas, which got him into level 49.  But as those started to dry up I was looking for a new place to make that final push to 50.  In Tanaris you get that first lead-in quest to Ungoro Crater, but I did not want to get started too early there.  WoW Classic does not reward getting into quest lines too soon.  My pally committed the sin of getting quests done out of order and I’ll be grinding mobs for a level or three to get him out of that.

My memory failing me… I remember levels 1-30 no problem, but after that it is blur… I decided to consult WoW Head and their leveling guide for classic.

For levels 45-50 they suggested:

  • Tanaris
  • The Hinterlands
  • Feralas
  • Searing Gorge

I had pretty well worn out the first three, but Searing Gorge, that one had promise.  I even remembered there was an outhouse quest there.  I guess bathroom jokes stick.  And it is a short flight from Ironforge, once you have the flight point.  To get that you have to get there, and how to do that stumped me for a bit.

There is a tunnel, but it is locked and I don’t have the key.

The gate needs a key I do not have

There is also a path into Searing Gorge from the Badlands, but I couldn’t quite recall where that was.  So I went to Loch Modan and searched around the edges of the zone.  There are a couple of places that look like they might be a path through the hills around the zone, but are not.  I did eventually find the path though, at the west end of the zone, just south of the Horde camp.

Path from the Badlands is here

Once in I ran to Thorium Point, where the flight point is located, grabbed that, then loaded up on the quests there abouts.  Then it was time to get into the zone.

Surveying the zone from the flight point

One of the first things I saw when I was getting started was a mass of level 60 players on mounts landing at the flight point and then riding off.  There were a few dozen of them in a minute or so.

Riders passing by

I suspect that was a raid group (or two) headed off to Blackrock Mountain and the raids therein.  Thorium Point feels like the closest flight point to that.

Searing Gorge Map

Meanwhile, the zone offered me just about exactly what I was looking for.  I find grinding mobs with my pally to be tedious, but with my hunter it is light and easy, so when I was handed a couple of “kill 20” quests along with a few more that needed drops, I got stuck in to the grind.

Pausing for a light snack now and then

That kept me going though until level 50 and beyond.  I even got the key drop that starts the quest chain around the outhouse.  First you rescue the occupant, then get revenge for him… and fetch him some toilet paper… silk cloth for that.

Free from the privy

The outhouse is behind the Dark Iron dig site that is along the road that runs down the east side of the zone.  There is also an escort quest down in the dig as well which has the usual “NPC walks straight into mobs and every time he stops you know an attack is coming” mechanic to it.

I still have a couple more quests to finish up there, but my goal was achieved.  I made it to level 50 at last.  And I was the first in the guild too, though only just barely.  Moronae is very close to level 50 at this point I am sure.

Level 50 hunter

Of course, with an even numbered level came skill upgrades to buy.  He was closing in on being able to buy a mount before he hit 50.  Now he has a ways more to go.

It is also about time to go hunt down some skill upgrades for my pet.  I am a bit behind on that.

After I am done in Searing Gorge, my level 50 to 55 options are:

  • Blasted Lands
  • Un’Goro Crater
  • Azshara
  • Felwood

I have a quest for Un’Goro already, and the skinning there would be good, but I also got the level 50 hunter class quest, which sends you to Azshara.  I feel like I should peek in on that first.

Either way, I am going to have to step up the pace a bit if I want to have a level 60 character before WoW Classic turns one years old.

Further Thoughts on Minecraft Dungeons

I think people are mostly in agreement that Minecraft Dungeons isn’t a very deep game.  The question, for me, is more whether it was worth the price.  If it had been a full price, $60 game, the answer would have be a clear negative.  But for just $20, is it worth getting mad about?

It is Minecraft and Dungeons

I’ll give that a firm “maybe.”

The game itself is light and easy.  Despite the hurdles of purchase, it runs smoothly and well with only the rare rough edge. (The delay between closing the in-game map and having the game respond to inputs is just long enough to be annoying.)  There is little to object to when it comes to how the game plays.

The game is short.  The thin story… defeat the Arch Illager… took me a little more than six hours to work through, and I spent some time experimenting with gear and enchantments (and setting up screen shots) along the way.  By the time I got to the final boss I was level 23.

The last fight in the story

I am pretty sure a more focused run could knock it out in much less time than that.

Who are those people in the end cinematic?

Once I’m done with the story in most games I am generally done with the game.  While finishing the story unlocked a new difficulty level, that seems a bit less than compelling.

After the story, do it again

Going back to replay levels isn’t bad.  As noted, the mechanics of playing are light and easy and fun in a simple sort of way, and I found on my first run that notching up the difficulty in order to get better drops did open up some more side-dungeons in the various areas.  But you don’t get anything new, just the same ten areas you just finished.

I had to crop and merge to make this one map

There is a marker there for “Island Realms,” but that is some DLC that has yet to be released.  We will have to see how soon “soon” really is.

No islands for you yet

Replayability is also hindered by the fact that there are no classes, just the default Minecraft adventurer.

There is a hint of classes in the gear.  The armor you choose to wear corresponds to class roles that you see in MMORPGs.  It would be interested for a group who plays together to focus on specific roles via the armor they choose.  But for a solo player there isn’t a lot of point.

So it might be worth $20 to the right person, but as I noted in my first post, it seems a bit thin for the price otherwise.  Not that it isn’t fun, but if you had $20 to spend on an ARPG, there are other options.

For just $10 you can get a copy of the original Diablo over at GoG.com.  It feels a bit raw these days, but it has atmosphere, story, and three classes.

For the same $20 you can get the remastered Titan Quest Anniversary Edition on Steam.  It sprawls well beyond Minecraft Dungeons in content, and has expansions if you want more.

And for just five dollars more, you can get the Grim Dawn base game over at Steam, which has a lot more depth and content than Mincraft Dungeons will likely ever have and is more recent than the first two suggested alternatives.

Then there is Diablo III and Torchlight II and Path of Exile, the latter of which is free to play, if you want more ARPG options.

But, if you’re like me and have played all of the above and want something in that vein that is light and easy and fun, Minecraft Dungeons isn’t bad.  (And if you have the Xbox Game Pass for PC it is free.)  Just know that there isn’t a lot of “there” there when it comes to the game… though being able to have a pet llama that attacks your foes by spitting on them is not nothing.

Me, my llama, and my bat

As for the coming DLC… I feel like I might skip that unless they really step up their game.  We shall see.

EVE Online Gets New Ships and COVID-19 Research with the June Update

CCP continued on with the Quadrant 2 of 2020 plan with a content filled patch today.

That somehow translates to June 2020

The big items from this update are three new ships being introduced to the game.  These are three EDENCOM ships.  EDENCOM is a military command setup by CONCORD and the four empires to combat the Triglavian invasion. (See the video from The Scope for the tale.)

Sourced from Upwell, the new ships also feature a new weapon system, the Vorton Projector, similar to the Arcing Vorton Projector that Keepstars can mount, which reaches out to hit multiple targets.

A Keepstar reaching out with its lightning

The first ship is the Skybreaker Frigate.

EDENCOM Skybreaker

Its stats are:

EDENCOM Frigate bonuses (per skill level):

  • 6% bonus to all shield resistances
  • 5% bonus to Small Vorton Projector damage

Slot layout:

  • 1 High Slot
  • 4 Mid Slots
  • 3 Low Slots
  • 1 Turret Hardpoint
  • 0 Launcher Hardpoints
  • 3 Rig Slots
  • 400 Calibration

Fittings:

  • 44 PWG, 235 CPU
  • Defense (Shield / Armor / Structure) : 800 / 210 / 320
  • Base shield resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 20% / 20% / 50% / 50%
  • Base armor resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 50% / 45% / 25% / 10%
  • Base structure resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 33% / 33% / 33% / 33%
  • Capacitor (amount / recharge rate) : 425/ 157.50s
  • Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass): 330 / 3.6 / 967,090
  • Warp Speed: 5 AU/s
  • Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
  • Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 55km / 609 / 5
  • Sensor strength: 12 Gravimetric
  • Signature radius: 37m
  • Cargo capacity: 158m3

The second is the Stormbringer Cruiser.

EDENCOM Stormbringer

Its stats are:

EDENCOM Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):

  • 6% bonus to all shield resistances
  • 5% bonus to Medium Vorton Projector optimal range

Slot layout:

  • 1 High Slot
  • 6 Mid Slots
  • 3 Low Slots
  • 1 Turret Hardpoint
  • 0 Launcher Hardpoints
  • 3 Rig Slots
  • 400 Calibration

Fittings:

  • 970 PWG, 390 CPU
  • Defense (Shield / Armor / Structure) : 4,000 / 600 / 1,200
  • Base shield resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 20% / 20% / 50% / 50%
  • Base armor resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 50% / 45% / 25% / 10%
  • Base structure resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 33% / 33% / 33% / 33%
  • Capacitor (amount / recharge rate) : 1,860 / 441s
  • Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass): 200 / 0.52 / 11,640,000
  • Warp Speed: 4 AU/s
  • Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
  • Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 75km / 273 / 7
  • Sensor strength: 19 Gravimetric
  • Signature radius: 130m
  • Cargo capacity: 473m3

And, finally, there is the Thunderchild Battleship.

EDENCOM Thunderchild

Its stats are:

EDENCOM Battleship bonuses (per skill level):

  • 5% bonus to Large Vorton Projector damage
  • 5% bonus to Large Vorton Projector rate of fire

Slot layout:

  • 2 High Slots
  • 7 Mid Slots
  • 5 Low Slots
  • 1 Turret Hardpoint
  • 0 Launcher Hardpoints
  • 3 Rig Slots
  • 400 Calibration

Fittings:

  • 16,500 PWG, 880 CPU
  • Defense (Shield / Armor / Structure) : 13,500 / 4,620 / 6,600
  • Base shield resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 20% / 20% / 50% / 50%
  • Base armor resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 50% / 45% / 25% / 10%
  • Base structure resistances (EM/Thermal/Kinetic/Explosive): 33% / 33% / 33% / 33%
  • Capacitor (amount / recharge rate) : 7200 / 1125s
  • Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass): 95 / 0.136 / 102,141,000
  • Warp Speed: 3 AU/s
  • Drones (bandwidth / bay): 25 / 25
  • Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 118km / 103 / 7
  • Sensor strength: 26 Gravimetric
  • Signature radius: 485m
  • Cargo capacity: 861m3
  • Frigate Escape Bay: 1 Unit

As with all battleships now, the Thunderchild has a frigate escape bay, so you can put a Skybreaker frigate in there if you want to keep to the theme.

There are fifteen variations of the Vorton projector weapons being introduced for these ships, five for each of the hull sizes.  So there will be small, medium, and large versions in Tech I, Compact, Scoped, Tech II, and Faction flavors.  The ammunition varies in range and emphasis on kinetic or electromagnetic damage, with tech II versions available as well.

There are also modules to improve rate of fire and damage for the new weapon systems.  They are:

  • Vorton Tuning System I
  • Compact Vorton Tuning System I
  • Vorton Tuning System II

And there are, naturally enough, skills to go with all of this.  The new skill list is:

  • EDENCOM Frigate
  • EDENCOM Cruiser
  • EDENCOM Battleship
  • Vorton Projector Operation
  • Small Vorton Projector
  • Medium Vorton Projector
  • Large Vorton Projector
  • Small Vorton Specialization
  • Medium Vorton Specialization
  • Large Vorton Specialization
  • Vorton Power Amplification
  • Vorton Arc Guidance
  • Upwell Encryption Methods

We got a few of those skills with last week’s Gathering Storm login campaign.  A new event, the Lighning Strikes event, has now gone live.

Lightning Strikes is live

Running from now until June 29th, it allows players to find Upwell Covert Research Facilities in the Anomaly Scanner in Low-Sec and Upwell Connected Null-Sec.  Running those sites will reward players with Skillbooks and Materials for the new EDENCOM ships.

All of which would make for a pretty big patch day, but that is not all we get.

Also coming today is Project Discover Phase 3.

More Project Discover

The new focus for Project Discovery is the coronavirus.

In collaboration with scientists from McGill University, BC Cancer and front-line COVID-19 clinicians including Dr Andrea Cossarizza, a Professor of Immunology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine in Italy, players will be able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by analyzing data produced by flow cytometers. Flow cytometry is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of cells, especially those of the immune system that are important in the body’s response to infection with SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19

That looks huge and there will be an intro stream on Twitch at 19:00 today to help launch the project.

And, in addition to all of that, another round of module tiericide has hit with this patch.  CCP even did a new dev blog about tiericide, just to remind us all what the intent was and how to interpret what they are doing.

This time the pass is for Shield Resistance Amplifiers, the passive shield resist modules.  The list of module changes is quite lengthy.  However, at its roots there is a normalization of names following these rules:

  • EM Ward Amplifier to EM Shield Amplifier
  • Explosive Deflection Amplifier to Explosive Shield Amplifier
  • Kinetic Deflection Amplifier to Kinetic Shield Amplifier
  • Thermal Dissipation Amplifier to Thermal Shield Amplifier

All of which appears to me to be the core of the patch.  There are still the usual fixes and updates, but the above are the big bits.

CCP has announced that the patch has gone live.  The extended downtime was barely that long at all.

For all the details CCP cared to share you can read the patch notes.  In addition there are the usual General Feeback and Known Issue threads in the forums related to the release.

WoW Classic Gets Summer Bowl and Future Hints on the Test Server

Another look at what is up in WoW Classic, with this past week seeing Blizzard bringing something new to the mix in the for of the WoW Classic Summer Bowl.

Sign ups start soon

This is a 10 v 10 Warsong Gulch double elimination tournament that will take place on the WoW Classic live servers using the “war game” feature that was recently added.  There will be North American and European versions of the tournament.

Warsong Gulch is the capture the flag battleground loved and loathed by many, scene of many an epic run or heinous stalemate.

You can sign up your NA team here, or your EU team here.  EU signs ups close on June 18th, while NA sign ups close on June 25th.  In addition, there is a full set of rules for both NA and EU players.

Meanwhile, the Public Test Realm patch notes from last week give us a hint as to what is coming up for WoW Classic.  That includes:

  • The 20-player raid zone, Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj, will be available, but the the 40-player raid zone, Temple of Ahn’Qiraj will only be available on live realms when unlocked
  • Tier 0.5 dungeon questline, items, and vendor are now available
  • WoW patch 1.10 Dungeon loot table adjustments, increasing the drop chance of epic items, and many new caster DPS items
  • Alterac Valley fixes
  • Authenticator Bag Slots

That last one, with Blizzard giving players four extra slots on their default bag if they have the authenticator hooked up to their account, is clearly something that came in well past classic, having shown up in January of 2018 with the 7.3.5 patch for the Legion expansion.

Four more slots

My guess is that Blizzard is trying to incentivize people who came back for just WoW Classic to secure their accounts.  My hunter won’t complain about getting four more bag slots, that is for sure.

Since these updates are just landing on the WoW Classic PTR, it isn’t clear when they will be coming to the live servers, but I would guess that some time after the Summer Bowl would be likely.