Fountain, Wartime Jabber, and Points South

It isn’t much of a war, but it’s the only war we’ve got, so enjoy it

-Major General Charles Timmes, Military Assistance Advisory Group 1962

The war in Fountain continued from last week through the weekend.  By Thursday we had moved enough numbers to the region to stand up on every timer as well as to start reinforcing hostile targets on our own.

The enemy host was able to grab a foothold in Fountain while we were still getting organized.  D4KU-5 on the border with Aridia (Amarr low sec) fell while we were still involved with move operations.  An embarrassing loss of territory, but not a system with a station in it.

FW2015D4KUHowever, a push on Y-2AN0 and LBGI-2… both station systems, the latter being the system NCDot held briefly during their last fling in fountain… were both thwarted and both systems remained in CFC hands.

Y-2ANOThat is the extent of the strategic situation, with D4KU-5 timers set to run down today during Euro time, so the system might be back in CFC hands before I get home from work.  They will have held the system less than six days.

Generally I only keep Jabber up and logged in to the GSF feed when I am home and might be able to make a fleet.  But during a war I use the iOS Trillian client and keep myself logged in all the time.  The Jabber feed will include a lot of fleets I will never make, but there are wartime updates and bits of news and propaganda… like the assertion that Black Legion is steadfastly refusing to join its current allies in structure shoots or how BL’s leader has earned the nickname “Flee-lo Knight”… and basically keep me up on how things are going.

And I need Jabber up to stay in touch with how the war is doing, since I am not on the front lines.  No, the night after the big move op push to Fountain, Reavers had their own move op to push across the frontier and behind the lines of our foes.  We slipped through the gate to Delve and headed to the far end of the region to setup shop and start blowing up or reinforcing anything we could find.

Of course we’re in Delve.  Even the name of the place is like a magic incantation around Goons.

If your goal is to shoot Goons, all you have to do is lay in some ships and put a jump clone in one of the NPC Blood Raiders stations in the region and wait.  Goons will show up eventually.  They won’t pass up a chance and feel almost put out if they aren’t fighting there at least once every calendar year.    So while we could have staged out of high sec Amarr or gone deep into Period Basis, we ended up in Delve.

I suppose it is close to the war, so that we can lend (or get) support when needed, though I am not sure that is really in line with Reaver doctrine.  But our friends in Top Goon have been out our way, which has been nice.  And there are those NPC stations, which can be used to park clones and resupply losses.  Besides which, shooting structures plays out about the same in any region, so we might as well scratch that “must march on Delve!” itch for the GSF members, who make up most of Reavers.

So there we are.  I have spent a few hours on ops shooting structures.  Unlike past deployments, we seem to have actually brought an abundance of logi ships this time around.  I haven’t had to be the sole Basilisk in fleet more than once, and there have been a couple of times where it was requested that people swap out for Ishtars so that we have enough firepower to reinforce something while we’re all still young… or young at heart.

It has been the usual thing, shooting with occasional interference from the locals.  We were hitting a large tower with a small force… we were knocking down the shields at a rate of 1% gone every minute and a half, and since you have to get the shields down to 25% to reinforce, that was going to be nearly a two hour shoot… when a couple of the locals showed up and started deploying guns to try and stop us.  We had just enough firepower to offline the first couple of guns before they were up and ready to shoot, but we were clearly falling behind and could have been in danger had they been able to persist.  However, they stopped after about six guns.  The speculation was that they simply did not have any more on hand.

Then they moved to trying bomb us to kill our drones.  However, they started by hitting us with a single bomber, which won’t kill a sentry drone, and by the time they moved up to two bombers, we were all just sitting on our drones and able to pull them in before bombs hit.  Then they gave up on even that and we were able to reinforce the tower, though they did push the duration of the whole thing out to nearly three hours.

Otherwise, it has been the usual routine behind enemy lines.  The occasional gate camp to try and catch us moving around alone (and official doctrine is to never move alone or without a scout) and some attempts to interfere with our shoots, but no real organized defense as yet.  But we are starting to drop towers and make a nuisance of ourselves, so at some point the hostiles on the Fountain front will have to drop back to defend or we’ll actually start getting to real timers.  But with the way the war on the Fountain front is going, they may not have much left to do up there soon.

Addendum:

And NCDot lost D4KU-5 right on schedule.  Now we just have to sit on it for a bit.

NCLosesD4KUAnyway, the war doesn’t seem like it will go on much longer.  There has been a frenzy of ops running around the clock according to Jabber, but unless the hostiles have it in them to keep attacking, things could taper off very quickly.  Time to get on some ops while they last.  At least I got my combat drone out an onto one tower kill so I could prove I was there.

Some pictures from our time in Delve so far.

How Magic Beat the Bubble

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

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

Purportedly worth $25K in mint condition

Purportedly worth $25K in mint condition

The show description:

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

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

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

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

Reviewing My Kickstarter History

With some Kickstarter campaigns of interest running of late, like the Massively Overpowered funding campaign and the much-talked-about Crowfall campaign, I decided to look back at the projects I had funded to see how the whole Kickstarter thing has treated me.

NOT the official drink of Kickstarter

NOT the official drink of Kickstarter

Fortunately Kickstarter has a nice little page that lists out the campaigns you have supported.  It was then just a matter of figuring out where everything stood.

Successful Campaigns

1 – Campaign: The Jason Scott Documentary Three Pack

  • Date Funded: November 11, 2011
  • Date Promised: December 2015
  • Project Status: Not late yet

My first ever Kickstarter.  Jason Scott, who did the documentaries BBS: The Documentary and Get Lamp had a plan to do three more.  He wanted to cover tape as a recording medium, the 6502 processor, and video game arcades.  What is not to love about those three topics?

I was a little annoyed when he went out and did another documentary after getting funded, but the man is like a force of nature and cannot be controlled.  And I have no doubt I will get all three documentaries.  We’ll see if it happens by December.

2 – Campaign: Defense Grid 2

  • Date Funded: August 14, 2012
  • Date Promised: December 2012
  • Project Status: Delivered January 2013

Hidden Path Entertainment wanted funding to do a sequel to their game Defense Grid: The Awakening.  They only made their initial goal, which was enough to fund an expansion to the original game as opposed to a whole new game.  That got delivered just a month behind schedule, which is pretty good for a Kickstarter so far as I have seen.

Then they went on to get other funding for Defense Grid 2 and eventually everybody who backed the Kickstarter beyond a certain level got a copy of that, including me.

3 – Campaign: Planetary Annihilation – A Next Generation RTS

  • Date Funded: September 14, 2012
  • Date Promised: July 2013
  • Project Status: Delivered September 2014

Here was the promise of a successor to Total Annihilation, one of the three great RTS games of 20th Century, along with StarCraft and Age of Empires II: Age of Kings.

Of course, the project ran long, Uber Entertainment thought it was a good idea to sell pre-orders on Steam for less than the cheapest Kickstarter backer price, and when the game finally showed up I found it kind of blah.  Still, not the worst $20 I ever spent.

4 – Campaign: Project Eternity

  • Date Funded: October 16, 2012
  • Date Promised: April 2014
  • Date Delivered: March 26, 2015

Obsidian Entertainment said that they were going to make a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate and a few other great single player RPGs.  What is not to love about that.  And, again, $20, what the hell, right?  And while it is nearly a year late, it got there and I should get my Steam code next week for Pillars of Eternity, as the game has been christened.  We’ll soon see how it turned out.

5 – Campaign: Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

  • Date Funded: February 5, 2013
  • Date Promised: August 2013
  • Project Status: Soon

Tunnels & Trolls was the first RPG rules set that I spent a lot of time with.  We started with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but getting all three books was expensive back then and there was Tunnels & Trolls all in one book at less than half the price of of the TSR tomes.  Also, you could plunder that copy of Risk in the back of the hall closet and have all the dice you needed.  Anyway, I’ll write more about the rule set when I get the new edition.

Getting the new edition though…  The promised date was August 2013, and that was viewed as conservative because they were sure it would be done by July of 2013.  Well, here we are in March of 2015 and they keep sending out updates, but it is still somewhere over the horizon.

6 – Campaign: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

  • Date Funded: April 7, 2013
  • Date Promised: October 2014
  • Project Status: Alpha releases available to backers

The Lord British successor to whatever aspect of the Ultima series he is speaking about at the moment.   Clearly optimistic on dates, it is still in an unoptimized alpha state that does not run very well on my CPU.  But it is there and you can poke at it if you want, and it has been in that state for more than a year, improving slowly while trying to raise more money.  I am still waiting for it to get more solid before I devote any real time to it.

7 – Campaign: Camelot Unchained

  • Date Funded: May 2, 2013
  • Date Promised: December 2015
  • Project Status: First alpha just available

At some point Kickstarter became “spiritual successor” central.  Anyway, like the previous entry, I have written a few posts about Camelot Unchained, Mark Jacob’s run at capturing all the good of Dark Age of Camelot in an updated package.  Promised for December of this year, it just had its first alpha last week if I read the update correctly.

8 – Campaign: Planet Money T-shirt

  • Date Funded: May 14, 2013
  • Date Promised: July 2013
  • Project Status: I got a shirt in December 2013

Planet Money is one of the few podcasts I listen to regularly, in part because it covers a wide range of interesting financial topics, and in part because shows tend to run 20 minutes or less so I can listen to a whole episode during my rather short daily commute.  Their Giant Pool of Money episodes on the financial crisis were great stuff.

Anyway, Planet Money decided to do a practical project on how T-shirts are made, starting with the basic materials, raw cotton for example, and ending with people actually getting a shirt.  So there is a series of shows in their backlog about this.  The shirt showed up late, but it is nice.

Men's and women's versions of the shirt

Men’s and women’s versions of the shirt

I wear it around the house on weekends because, while it is soft and I like the graphic, it is a bit snug on me.  I am not sure anybody at the office needs to know that much detail about my body contours.

9 – Campaign: A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online

  • Date Funded: May 25, 2014
  • Date Promised: May 2015
  • Project Status: Still has two months to run.

Andrew Groen’s epic attempt to write the story of the null sec conflicts in EVE Online.  The campaign, which only asked for $12,500, funded in seven hours and hit nearly $100K.  I am not sure we’ll get the books on time, but his monthly updates have covered his progress in some detail.  He is even now up in Iceland, having given a presentation about his work.  But when we do get it, you can be sure I’ll review it here.

Failed Campaigns

And then there were the campaigns I backed but which did not fund.

1 - Storybricks, the storytelling online RPG – May 2012

I am still unclear as to what I was actually getting in exchange for backing this project.  They were working on a development tool, which doesn’t translate well for end users.  Believe me, I know that pain.  I have been working on development tools for the last 17 years.  But Brian Green was part of the project, so I kicked in before the campaign ended.  Eventually Storybricks got in bed with SOE for the whole EverQuest Next project, then the buyout happened, Daybreak ended their contract, and they folded up shop… dropping a final bit of crazy on us on the way out the door.  I am not at all sure what the trajectory would have been had this campaign succeeded.

2 - Project: Gorgon – An Indie MMORPG by Industry Veterans – October 2012

The first Project: Gorgon campaign.  Eric Heimburg wanted $55K, but barely got past the $14K mark.  Too obscure to get the backing it needed, the project soldiered on without it.

3 – Tinker Dice from Project Khopesh – June 2013

Tesh makes some dice.  While this first campaign did not fund, he later went on to have success in subsequent campaigns.

4 – Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen – January 2014

Brad McQuaid decided he was going to get into the whole spiritual successor funding thing with a throw back to EverQuest.  He asked for too much money… at least more than his name and reputation could draw… and spread his focus too wide in my opinion.  The project is theoretically still going, but post-campaign funding has been problematic at best.

5 - Project: Gorgon – A new approach to MMOs – August 2014

The second coming of the Project: Gorgon kickstarter campaign.  By this point there was a solid, playable game to be supported.  Asked for $100K, got just over $23K in pledges.  Eric Heimburg just isn’t a name with much draw, and as has been discussed before, the project name itself isn’t doing him any favors.  The project doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia.  Still, Project: Gorgon lives and you can go play it right now.

Summary

Overall, Kickstarter has worked out pretty well for me.  I have managed so far to back only projects that have come to fruition. (I don’t count the failed campaigns.)  I like to think that I have chosen wisely, picking only campaigns run by teams with a track record of success.  But it is probably more likely that, in backing just a few projects, I managed to get lucky.

There was clearly a stretch of time where I was more enthusiastic on the whole Kickstarter thing.  That has faded somewhat, and you will no doubt notice some omissions from the list, popular projects I opted to pass on.  There is no Crowfall on my list, as an example.

The only project I have mild regrets about not backing is the Ogre Designer’s Edition campaign from Steve Jackson Games.  I played Ogre and G.E.V. back when they came in a zip-loc bag, so there was a strong nostalgia factor present when the campaign launched.  That said, I am not sure what I would do with the 29 pound box that resulted when the campaign raised nearly a million dollars when they only asked for $20K.  I don’t have anybody to play table top games with and I have more than enough stuff around the house I do not use, so another huge box in a closet probably wasn’t necessary.

So that is my Kickstarter tale.  I am still waiting on some projects to finish, and every single project I have backed has been late to one degree or another, but things have still turned out okay so far.  How have you done with Kickstarter?

CSM X Winners Announced

Live from Iceland, complete with the red PowerPoint “spelling error” underlines, we have the winners of the CSM X election.  Out of 75 candidates, these are the 14 who topped the vote.

CSM X WinnersIt looks like the permanent attendees (guaranteed travel to Iceland for meetings) are Sugar Kyle and Manfred Sideous, while half of the council looks to be made up of Null Sec bloc candidates, including CFC members Sion Kumitomo, Endie, and Thoric Frosthammer.

CCP will no doubt follow up with full voting details, but for now we know the makeup of CSM X.

Congratulations to the winners!  And we’re safe from Xenuria for another year.

The Elder Scrolls Online – No Subscription Required

I mentioned a while back that The Elder Scrolls Online was ditching their subscription required business model and heading down one of the various paths to free game access.  Well, that date arrived this week, overshadowed a bit by St. Patrick’s day I suppose.  I got a note via email pitching the new tagline for the game, Tamriel Unlimited.

TESONoSub

And so it was that the reality of the current MMO market overcame some of their initial guiding principles, such as:

The fact that the word “monetized” exists points to the heart of the issue for us: We don’t want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for – with our system, they get it all.

-Matt Firor, General Manager of ZeniMax Online, on the original subscription model choice

Things will now be “monetized” in Tamriel, the world in which The Elder Scrolls Online is played.  The newly added Crown Store will sell cosmetic and convenience items and additional content added to the game will need to be purchased unless you choose to maintain the optional subscription.  And, of course, you still need to buy the box in order to play, something that will no doubt stay in place at least until sales of the upcoming PlayStation and Xbox versions of the game taper off.

No "separate but equal" message in this picture...

No “separate but equal” message in this picture…

All of which isn’t to say that this is not the right decision for the game.  There was certainly some skepticism about TESO going with the subscription model back when they announced it in late 2013.  They seemed to be bucking the trend, heading in a direction that proved false for so many games before it.  And, as it turns out, they didn’t even last a year, having dropped the subscription model just shy of the April 4th launch anniversary.

And now we shall see what happens.  The market is still crowded with competitors and dropping the subscription model is not a guaranteed key to success.  In just the last month or so we have had a look into the turmoil at Turbine, we have seen the newly minted Daybreak Gaming Company shed a lot of staff because its games could not support their financial weight, and just yesterday there were headlines about Perfect World Entertainment cutting staff as well due to financial issues.

Free won’t wash away your sins.

Anyway, TESO still has a few cards in its hand.  It can still get revenue from box sales and it has the two console versions headed to market this June.  It may not have to monetize every nook and cranny with a button to buy something, as happened in LOTRO.

All that said, I still remain convinced that the best case scenario for Bethesda was to create a four (or more) player co-op successor to Skyrim so that people could roam the wide world with a few friends… Tamriel always struck me as a large and lonely place… maybe even with a Minecraft-style private server option where you could control the setting and apply mods.  That, to me, was the winning hand.

Heading to Fountain – The Chaos of Move Ops

A move op should be the simplest of all fleet operations.  The point of the exercise is merely to move a fleet of ships from point A to point B.  There is no plan to shoot anything, no hostiles to find, and generally little in the way of doctrine to deal with, at least when it comes to subcaps.

It should be just a matter of piling in the car and driving together down the road.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

The fleet commander’s job in a move op is to avoid trouble.  There is no target to shoot, just a destination to reach, and the FC’s duty is to get his whole fleet there in one piece.  The FC cannot go haring off, leaving people behind, because a limited opportunity target has presented itself.  And a move fleet tends to get strung out over several systems if allowed to free burn any distance, as the speedy frigates zip ahead while the lumbering battleships try to keep up.

There were literally problems in the five jump move op from QPO-WI to YA0-XJ that I wrote about the other day, with people falling behind or not hearing the FC because they had to step away from the computer for a bio break.  And that was before there were hostiles involved.

But there is a war going on in Fountain, something Endie has summed up in a post with his usual flare. (Also, click on the gif he has linked.  It is a pretty cool view of caps landing on what looks to be the J5A gate.)  And with that there wasn’t just one move op yesterday, but many, as our coalition tried to shuttle thousands of ships across New Eden.

The trip was just 25 jumps according to DOTLAN, something that shouldn’t take all that much time, but getting there was a two hour journey.

DOTLAN shows the route

DOTLAN shows the route

It would have been much less back in the old, pre-Phoebe days, when people could freely use jump bridges, but jump fatigue means everybody taking gates.  And I mean everybody.

I got into the 02:00 UTC move op fleet for subcaps which was being run by Reagalan.  Another move op had just gone out, but it was a taxi interceptor fleet for those who had somebody in a carrier haul their ships out to 4-EP, or who just planned on buying ships once they got there.  But I couldn’t go with that op because I wanted to get my Basilisk out there and ready for Reaver ops, otherwise I could have just used a jump clone and called it a night.  I still have one stashed in 4-EP from the last big war in Fountain, back in 2013.

Anyway, the first order of business was to sit around and wait for a bit while people piled into fleet or announced that they were some huge number of jumps out but would be there soon.  There were actually multiple move ops going on at the same time, including a capital move op, and part of our assignment was to be there to shepherd the big ships.  A nice plan in theory, but given the kitchen sink assortment of ships I wasn’t sure what we would actually do if we faced any opposition.  Somebody was asking who the anchor would be if we had to fight, betraying that blind optimism in the idea that there must be a plan somewhere.  My thought was that if we reach a point where we need a combat anchor, we’re probably screwed.

Undocking in YA0 was quite a site, with masses of capital ships streaming out of the station and slowly aligning for their first gate.

The crowd at the YA0 undock

The crowd at the YA0 undock

Of course, just the act of undocking a few fleets worth of ships put the system into time dilation.  Nothing like stretching out waiting by making time run slower!

At some point the cut was made and we were given our first waypoint on the route to Fountain and told to start burning ahead a bit. It was at the first gate that we were joined by the biggest ships in the fleet, the titans.

Titans landing on the gate in YA0

Titans landing on the gate in YA0

The supercaps, unable to dock, had been logging in at their home POS.  As we started moving out they had been given the green light as well and began to tag along with us, heading through the same gates.

That was a very odd sight for me.  Up until the Phoebe changes, even seeing a titan warp in system was something or a rare event in my experience.  Titans used to live inside of POS shields, using their jump drives to drop into systems to fight, then jumping back out when done.  Actually seeing a titan aligning and making their off-angle, sideways warp over and over again was something new.

Our fleet rushed ahead to the first waypoint and then waited as the capital ships caught up.  Then we would rush ahead… and even battleships feel fast when paced against a titan… to the next waypoint.  At one system I had gone through the gate and was watching the titans decloak, align, and warp off to the next gate.  I sat and watched them go and then warped to the gate myself, arriving with plenty of time to spare in order to watch those same titans finish their warp and finally land on the gate themselves.  Titans are slow.

That is what reigned in our progress, keeping our fleet from dashing ahead and wrapping things up.  We would move, then hold, then move a couple more jumps, then hold.  But the reward was getting to watch all those capital ships streaming past.  The new kids in Karma Fleet, the “just about anybody besides Gevlon and Xenuria can join” new player GSF corp were getting an eye full of special snowflake ships.  I think every supercap was represented on the way to Fountain.

Capital ships decloaked and trying to align

Capital ships decloaked and trying to align

The only thing we lacked was hostile interference.  A determined group of suicide Sabers or other interdictors could have bubbled up gates and really made our lives miserable, slowing the op down to… well… even a slower crawl than it already was.  That would totally be something we would do.  I am pretty sure DBRB has run that sort of op on past occasions.  But no hostiles showed up to bother us.

There was speculation as to why they did not show, the leading theory being that elite PvP organizations do not like to die as that tarnishes their kill board.  That lead into a long dissertation on the views and attitudes of organizations like Black Legion and how the eschew ship replacement programs, lest getting blown up lose its sting.  That went on for a bit.  There was a lot of chatter on the op, to the point that it was mentioned several times that the main Euro time zone move op was not nearly as talkative.  Having run more than a few ops with our European cousins, I will say that they do show a bit more coms discipline at times, but if they are silent it is only because certain Germans have been muted or are not on the op. (Looking at Xel.)

Finally we grouped up on the last gate before Fountain, the J5A-IX gate in B-DBYQ, the old staging system from which we launched the 2013 Fountain war.  There we sat as the capitals streamed in to join us. (Okay, I am going to link that gif too, it really sets the scene well.)

Caps landing on the J5A gate

Caps landing on the J5A gate

Then it was through the gate and into Fountain.

In J5A we all decloaked and sat as the capital ships, within jump range of their staging POS and willing to accrue a little jump fatigue space ebola in order to wrap things up, activated their jump drives and streaked out of the system.  And then one of the Archons lit a cyno there on the gate in J5A.

Apparently he wanted to record the jump out with FRAPs, but had assigned the same key to activate the record option as was used for the high slot where his cyno generator was located, so there we were.  And once a cyno is lit it has to run its full cycle, which in this case lasted 10 minutes, while the ship in question just sits there. (And here is the video he took!)

That generated some lively talk about how the poor guy would have been blown up for holding up a fleet during a combat op as well as tips about keeping your liquid ozone, the fuel for the module, in your fleet hanger and only moving it to your cargo bay when you need it.

The ten minutes rolled by and eventually the last capital ship jumped off to where ever they were staging.  Then it was our turn to head out.  The plan was to take the jump bridge from J5A to cut out a few jumps.  But then it turned out that one of the Domi pilots in the fleet had about five days of space ebola on him, so we opted to spare him further jump fatigue debt and just ran the five gates to 4-EP.  There was a small gate camp along the way, but when 160 ships land, that sort of operation tends to scatter.  We left no stragglers for them to catch, and were soon landing on the station, which had been put into reinforce.

Landing on the station at 4-EP

Landing on the station at 4-EP

That is the shield timer running down, just the first event in the Dominion sov station taking lifecycle.  And when the time gets close, we will just undock and hold the station, it being our staging system and all.

Once docked up I remembered to set my death clone to the station, so when I get blown up I won’t have to make the trek across space yet again.  Fountain is an active war zone with hostile gate camps all over.

I also went through the stock of ships I still had sitting around from the last time we staged out of 4-EP.

FM4-EPShipsI think the Scimitar might be useful, if it is fit correctly for Tengu fleet, and the Basilisk I brought is correct for current doctrine.  The rest of the ships on the list though represent more of a history than anything else.  I actually thought I lost that Hurricane on an op ages ago, but I guess not.

That was it for me for the night.  Op success, everybody moved safely, and it wasn’t even a trail of tears.  But, then, we didn’t have to go all the way to Delve either.  And now in position to join ops as they come up.  The war is on.

Meanwhile, here are some of the screen shots I took on the way to Fountain.

Get Meganium, Typhlosion, and Feraligatr By Subscribing to Pokemon Bank

Nintendo has an offer up that will allow you to get the fully evolved versions of the starter Pokemon from Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver, each with a bonus special ability.  All you have to do is be up-to-date with Pokemon Bank.

Pokemon, with banking logo

Pokemon, with banking logo

Nintendo giving people special Pokemon… even starter Pokemon from past games… isn’t a new thing.  They have been doing it since the most primitive networking days of the GameBoy.  I wrote about a download even for the Pokemon Black & White starter Pokemon just about a month back.  (That event is still active, so don’t miss your chance.)

What makes this event ever so slightly different is that rather than being just a promotion for the installed base, it is really a subscriber bonus that is showing up at just about the time people will need to resubscribe.

Subscriptions?  Resubscribe?  In Pokemon?

Well, yes… at least with Pokemon Bank.

Pokemon Bank is an online service for the Pokemon franchise.  It was put in place to allow users to move Pokemon between versions of the game without having to have two Nintendo DS/DSi/3DS hardware units (OMG, solo play wins out over social again!) and to give players a place to store Pokemon beyond the limits of any particular game.

All you had to do was get your Pokemon into Pokemon Black & White or Pokemon Black Version 2 & White Version 2 via the old fashioned method in place since Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

From that point you could then use the special Pokemon Transporter application on your Nintendo 3DS to send your Pokemon on a one way trip out of the DS/DSi generations of the series and into the 3DS generation and Pokemon Bank.

Pokemon Bank - $5.00 a year

Pokemon Bank Process

Once in Pokemon Bank any 3DS generation version of Pokemon could withdraw or deposit your Pokemon.  I wrote about running Pokemon through the process back in September, if you want more detail on it.

The thing of it is that, in order to fund this service and keep it a viable, ongoing proposition for Nintendo, they charge a yearly subscription fee for it.  For the princely sum of $5.00 you get a year’s worth of access to Pokemon Bank.

And, as I mentioned a little ways up the post, Pokemon Bank has been out for a little more than a year now, so that first year’s subscription has started running out for the early adopters.  Faced with this, Nintendo could either send out nagging reminders asking people to re-up for another year of Pokemon Bank or, I suppose, they could just put out a special offer only available to those who have active Pokemon Bank accounts.

Well played Nintendo, well played.

All you have to do is log into Pokemon Bank between February 27, 2015 and November 30, 2015, at which point you will then be able to download the special Pokemon.  Details about the even are available here.

Meanwhile, Nintendo is tentatively glancing in the direction of smart devices like iPads and such, while still vocally sticking to its long tradition of control over both software and hardware.