Tag Archives: ArcheAge

Gamigo Buys then Guts Trion Worlds

I used to be on the press mailing list for Gamigo, and the opinion I formed of them based on that wasn’t exactly stellar.  They seemed like a publisher of second tier MMOs that often had names which sounded vaguely like other, more popular games.

Wasn’t there a Desert Combat mod for Wargame 1942?

There is a market in being mistaken for somebody more popular I guess.

They also bought Aeria games a while back and added their MMOs to the list.

I think the title of theirs I most recognize is Fiesta Online, though I couldn’t tell you why.  Maybe Bhagpuss played it.  I’m sure he has played others off of the long list on their site.  There is nothing that looks offensively bad there, but nothing that looks all that appealing either.  As I said, second tier stuff, a crowd of familiar ideas in an already crowded market.

So I knew who Gamigo was when it was announced yesterday that they were buying Trion Worlds.  Sort of.  I knew enough that the news wasn’t good for people working at Trion, something confirmed not much later when it was reported that 175 of the 200 employees of Trion had been let go.

Having 25 people left gives them about enough staff to keep the servers running, maybe apply a security patch now and again, and transfer control to the new owners before being let go further down the road.

So I went to look into who Gamigo was and, of course, the answer to that is a bit murky.  Gamigo isn’t a stand-alone company.  It’s own site describes it as follows:

The gamigo group is one of the leading German companies in the gaming business with more than 250 employees.

gamigo offers more than 30 online games, focusing primarily on MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) of various genres. The portfolio includes first-person shooters (i.a. S4League and Ironsight), fantasy role-playing games (i.a. Fiesta Online and Aura Kingdom), and build-up strategy games (i.a. Desert Operations and War2Glory), as well as more than 500 casual games. This variety has been constantly extended by company aquisitions (i.a. Intenium, Looki Publishing, Aeria Games) and the purchase of games licenses (i.a. Fiesta Online, Last Chaos).

The B2B area has been enlarged too. gamigo follows a clear platform strategy and is constantly expanding through the acquisition and integration of new subsidiaries (i.a. Mediacraft and adspree media). It is gamigo´s main goal to build up a diverse, unlimited and global platform for online and mobile games, and to provide its services to other players on the market.

Besides 5 German locations, gamigo operates further international offices in Warsaw (Poland), Istanbul (Turkey), Chicago (US) and Seoul (Korea).

This comes with an inspiring chart.

All with 250+ employees

Nothing screams commitment like having 25+ MMOs and 500+ casual game supported by less staff than works on World of Warcraft.  Trion had 200 staff just to handle its five MMOs, Rift, Defiance 2050, Trove, Atlas Reactor, and ArcheAge, and it was only the publisher of the last.

(Also, the description of their business model in their consolidated financial statement makes for an interesting read.)

And Gamigo itself is in a nest of companies.  It is reported to be owned by Samarion S.E. which is, in turn, owned by Solidare Real Estate Holding plc according to Bloomberg.  And they are just a holding company for Solidare Real Estate Holding GmbH, a company founded by a Turkish family 15 years back, according to its web site, whose focus is building high density housing in Germany.  And even that rolls up to Suryoyo Holding GmbH, about which I couldn’t find much, at least not without handing out information of my own.

Somewhere at the top of the tree

So it is a money machine for somebody somewhere.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find Russian oligarch money in the mix at some point in the food chain, probably via a subsidiary in Cypress.

As for why Trion Worlds was sold, no company stands alone.  As we saw recently with CCP, when your investors tire of you not providing a level of return they expect, they will sell you on down the line.  CCP got lucky, relatively speaking.  Trion Worlds, less so.  Their backers (because Scott Hartsmann didn’t fund this venture out of his checking account) likely wanted out of an underperforming investment.  And so it goes.

No, no we are not.

What does it mean if you play Rift, Defiance 2050, Trove, Atlas Reactor, or ArcheAge?  Today, tomorrow, and next week, probably nothing at all.  The games will keep on ticking over, the servers will stay up, the cash shop will continue to prompt you to buy.  That is, after all, what Gamigo wanted out of this purchase, an expansion of its already large stock of online games.  There won’t be much shut down… well, maybe Defiance and Atlas Reactor.  I don’t know how well those two are doing.  But the other three will no doubt be sticking around.

But if you’re used to frequent updates or special servers or live events or getting responses in the forums (or even having forums I imagine) then you’ll probably find that is about to change.  Gamigo’s community outreach seems to be mostly in the form of Facebook ads.

I feel for those who got laid off.  I’ve been down that road a few times.  Fortunately for the technical team, the economy in the SF Bay area is very hot right now (Seattle as well) and their skills are all in demand… if they want to get out of gaming and get a pay raise.  If they want to stay in that industry… well, there is EA and Zynga close by I suppose.  But it is more likely people will end up moving, one of the costs of being in the video games industry.

As somebody pointed out in the comments of the post about this over at Massively OP, there were signs that something was up, listing out a series of stories the site ran that added up to what happened yesterday.

It is, in its way, the end of another story in the MMORPG niche.  Trion Worlds started as a feisty upstart, taking on Blizzard directly, trying to out-do World of Warcraft by being more nimble and more aggressive.  There was definitely some hubris in their messages at times, something I might be inclined to pin on David Reid of “Tabula Rasa – Triple-A and Here to Stay” fame.  For example, Trion was straight up claiming that the 600,000 players that dropped WoW at one point during Cataclysm (Remember when that was a big drop?) were playing Rift.

In the end though, being small and nimble also means not making any mistakes.  Blizzard has the mass to lumber through the ups and downs, but Trion Worlds had to get things right every step of the way or face imminent demise.

For me the Storm Legion expansion stepped away from what made the game great at launch, trading tight zone design for more space that meant schlepping back and forth for quests.  That is anecdotal, but I know others who couldn’t find their way through that expansion.

But whatever happened, Trion had to make changes.  The market pretty much demanded that Rift go free to play in order to survive.  They started with what I felt was an over-generous free model and had to tighten things up later, which is always hard to justify to your players.  They ran with new titles, Defiance with its tie-in with SyFy and Trove to tap the Minecraft niche with more color and options.  They tried to be a publisher and sales portal akin to Steam with their Glyph launcher.  And they became the US publisher for ArcheAge, hoping it would be lucrative enough to put up with the heat that always goes with having to front somebody elses’ work.

In the end, it wasn’t enough for somebody.  And so we say farewell.  Trion’s games will be absorbs into Gamigo’s list.  Those that can make money without much minding will carry on, and those that can’t will disappear.

I am glad I went back and played Rift Prime earlier this year.  It gave me a taste of the early game I enjoyed.

Others covering this story:

Does PLEX Work Anywhere Besides EVE Online?

CCP introduced PLEX, the Pilot License EXtension item that could be bought for real world cash and sold on the in-game market of EVE Online or consumed to extended your EVE subscription by 30 days a little over five years ago.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

It was very much an experimental move by CCP who proceeded with caution.  As you can see from the five year old screen shot above, when introduced, PLEX was stuck in the station in which you claimed it.  CCP didn’t want it becoming a loss mail item on day one.  Later, when it became clear that players were going to accept PLEX as a thing, CCP loosened up its restrictions on PLEX… and hilarity ensued, with the first major loss being 74 PLEX in a Kestrel.

PLEX has had quite an impact on EVE Online. It has been a major tool in the war against illicit RMT for the in-game currency, ISK, by giving players a legitimate way to effectively buy ISK.

It has become a major indicator of the health of the in-game market.  I think people mostly track Catalyst hulls, tritanium, and PLEX these days. (just kidding)

It has been opened up so that you can use it to enable other services or currencies.  You can use PLEX to enable the training queue for a second character on your account or convert it to Aurum to buy clothes at the New Eden Exchange. (Need more/better hats!)

It has allowed some players to play for “free,” where “free” means exchanging time for ISK and then ISK for PLEX. (If you think anybody is actually playing for free, please go read up on the time value of money.)

Through the simple math conversion (Real World Money to PLEX, PLEX to ISK) it has given people a dubious way to assign real world value to losses sustained in EVE Online, so now every huge battle report that makes the headlines at the BBC must include an obligatory dollar amount which gives people the false impression that you buy ships in the game for real world money or some similar nonsense.

(I am kind of disappointed that Edward Castronova, who spent so much time writing about the EverQuest economy, never spent much time writing about EVE Online where things have gotten at least a little closer to his virtual economy vision.)

And, of course, PLEX loss is a staple of loss mail porn as people unwittingly, to be charitable, try to transport billions of ISK in PLEX in ships that cost a million ISK or less.  Of course, every PLEX destroyed during such a loss is a win for CCP as that is a promise for 30 days of game time they do no longer have to honor.

I think we can safely declare PLEX a success.  Certainly, CCP has not suffered from having it, and the game has continued to grow since its introduction.

Success, of course, attracts imitation.  Since then a number of PLEX-like items have popped up in other MMOs.  We have:

  • KronoEverQuest & EverQuest I and maybe other titles.
  • CREDDWildStar
  • GRACEAnarchy Online
  • DUELDarkfall
  • REX – Rift
  • APEX – ArcheAge

Did I miss any?

The thing is, I have no real sens of how well the various PLEX-like currencies have worked in these other games which, even if they have a comparable player base to EVE Online… and you would need a lot of smoke and mirrors to make Darkfall or Anarchy Online appear to have a tenth of the subscriptions… they do not have the single, unified market of EVE, being chopped up into distinct servers, each with their own economy.

I have been peeking at the Krono market as I have been playing EverQuest II lately.  There seem to be about two dozen on the market at any given time, with the low end hovering around 3,000 platinum coins for one Krono.

I currently have 300 platinum coins, and feel quite well off for having that much.  But I am also playing a level 70 character and remember the days when earning your first platinum coin was a big deal and having 300 gold coins made me feel quite well off.

At 3,000 plat, the market seems somewhat static.  The number of Krono for sale does not fluctuate much from day to day, so I have to wonder how much traffic there really is. (Though, granted, the trade channel is where you go if you want to sell something RIGHT NOW, but it is also so spammy that I tend to keep it off.)  And I am on the Freeport server, which is one of the high population servers, somewhere behind Antonia Bayle, where all the cool kids used to hang out, and Splitpaw in activity, so what I see on my server might not reflect what is happening on other servers.

But my gut is that Krono hasn’t had the impact on Norrath that PLEX has had on New Eden.  And with WildStar having problems keeping people subscribed, I am not sure there is a comparable case to EVE Online when it comes to PLEX… yet.

Because suddenly World of Warcraft hove onto the scene.  Last week Baishok put up a post about things coming to Azeroth in the new year which included this entry half way down the post, between garrison improvements and heirloom storage, under the innocuous heading of “New Ways to Play.”

We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold. Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system. A few other online games offer a similar option, and players have suggested that they’d be interested in seeing something along those lines in WoW. We agree it could be a good fit for the game, and we look forward to any feedback you have as we continue to look into this feature.

Everybody paying attention immediately saw this for what it was, PLEX comes to World of Warcraft.  This was met by various levels of excitement of despair, depending on various rational or irrational points of view and analogies.

Ages ago I wrote a post wondering if the World of Warcraft in-game economy could support something like PLEX in the way that the EVE Online economy has shown in can.

On the plus side, World of Warcraft does have a more vibrant economy than most of its peers.  There is a lot of gold floating around looking for places to be spent, given the number of alliance choppers I have seen running around since they went up for sale.  With the unification of economies across Horde and Alliance on servers, there are no more economic ghettos where one faction hugely outweighs the other.

Finally, here is a game that has an illicit RMT problem of epic proportions and which really needs a legitimate way for people to buy gold since it has become crystal clear over the years that people are going to buy gold no matter how many horror stories you tell them about account hacking and credit card fraud.

Plus, once you’re selling level 90 characters, what other taboo is there left to transgress?

On the down side, even with economies unified on servers, and across servers when it comes to the co-joined, merged in all but name servers, there are still a hundred or more individual economies to look at.  Servers that had 8 hour queues when Warlords of Draenor dropped might fare differently than servers that never even got to a medium population load on opening night.

And then there is Blizzard’s tentative nature.  World of Warcraft is the goose that lays golden eggs, quarter after quarter, and they are justifiably nervous about screwing that up.  So, even after having had five years to look at how PLEX has worked out in EVE Online, two years to observe Krono over at SOE, and having run their own “cash to item to gold” experiment with the guardian cub three years back, Blizzard is still “exploring the possibility” of the whole idea.

I know I mock SOE from time to time for jumping into ideas with both feet before they have thought things through… and then being forced to adapt and change in front of a live studio audience.  But here we are at the other end of the spectrum, where Blizz probably has all the data they are ever really going to get and they are out there being coy about the whole thing.

Yes, this could just be a trial balloon to see if the people who actually pay attention to these things explode at the idea.  And yes, the whole real money auction house plan in Diablo III, which worked out so badly in the end, does loom over this, a point many people in the forum thread are quick to compare this to.  However, I would argue that the RMAH in Diablo III, which allowed people to buy in-game gear directly for real world money and, more importantly I think, allowed people to cash out and walk away with real money profits, was a different and beast altogether and lead to problems people were calling out during beta.  Furthermore, even the in-game gold auction house was a serious problem, leaving real money aside,  Blizzard didn’t just close of the RMAH, they closed down both sides because both sides were killing the game.  The auction house as a whole was the problem, not just the real money aspect.

World of Warcraft, on the other hand, has existed with an auction house for a decade at this point.

None of which gets around to answering the question in the title.  I really have no concrete feel for how something like PLEX does affect a game aside from EVE, which remains unique in many ways in the MMORPG ecosystem.

I don’t think a PLEX-like item is a done deal for WoW either.  Blizzard is very cautious about its main source of revenue and, as we saw over the last year, would rather sit and do nothing than do something that might go wrong.  Add in the stink left over from Diablo III and my gut says it is only even odds that Blizzard will adopt something like this in 2015.  We certainly won’t see it until the summer if they do.  But that timing might make it a good hedge against another content drought.  People might stay subscribed longer if they could just pay for their subscription out of the giant pile of gold they have accumulated in their garrison.

Do you think PLEX-like items in other games are working out?  Do you think something like that will work in WoW?

Others on the idea of a PLEX-like item in WoW:

Quote of the Day – Warning! Lark’s Vomit!

Well, I hardly think this is good enough. I think it would be more appropriate if the box bore a great red label “Warning! Lark’s Vomit!”

Inspector Praline of the Hygiene Squad, Crunchy Frog sketch

That isn’t actually the quote of the day, which has to do with ArcheAge and the way it installs (but does not uninstall) the ineffectual HackShield anti-cheating rootkit on your system.  That just sums up my reaction to the quote, which comes from a Massively exclusive… something.

I’m not sure what to call it.

It doesn’t look like an interview.  Certainly nobody from Trion is mentioned.  It looks more like Trion had a lawyer respond to some questions submitted by Massively.  For some reason the question revolved around the legality of installing HackShield.  Is the gist supposed to be that if a company can do something, they shouldn’t be called out for doing it?  Anyway, this was a bit of what was said:

Yes, the program is always installed completely legally and with permission of the user as goes everything else that comes as part of the “patch” that they choose to install in order to play the game. The Hackshield logo is also prominently displayed on-screen while the program is loading and users are fully aware that the program is installed, and is running upon launching ArcheAge.

As Inspector Praline put it, I hardly think this is good enough.  Telling me you’ve installed this sort of thing by prominently displaying the logo after the fact is a bullshit response.  When I installed ArcheAge, I would have mostly likely cancelled the install and went off to other things.  But I did not have that choice.  So I am going to suggest that Trion use this logo for ArchAge going forward:

AAWarningHackShield

And, should the user go forward, I would then have a warning come up with the installer BEFORE the install process has taken place.  Maybe something like this:

AAsurgeongeneralswarning

That would satisfy me, though maybe the Surgeon General isn’t the right go to person for network security.  Well that, and if the ArcheAge installer would actually uninstall HackShield, rather than leaving the service behind running on my system.

I can hear somebody out there asking why they should care.  Why shouldn’t Trion install this on their system?

Well, I might be more sympathetic to that point of view if they mentioned some tangible user benefit in installing HackShield. Does this, for example, enhance the security of my own account?  Or is this just a blanket admission that, again, the client is in the hands of the enemy and all users are presumed to be cheats.    Trion standing behind the software might buy some good will as well.  But Trion telling me they don’t like it, but changing it would have pushed out the ArcheAge release by 6+ months isn’t making me feel warm and fuzzy.

My personal beef starts with the fact that I did not sign up with HackSiheld’s creator, AhnLab, Inc., and have no standing or relationship with them, but Trion seems to be declining to take responsibility for anything AhnLab does, so where does that leave the end user?  SynCaine has been making SOE comparisons, but did SOE spent much time pointing fingers at the original developer when it came to games like Wizardry Online and Dragon’s Prophet?

Meanwhile ArcheAge seems to be experiencing more than its fair share of hacking these days.  This sort of thing happens to a certain extent with every online game, but if you control the anti-hacking aspect of the game, you can respond to this sort of thing quickly, before it destroys your economy.  That makes Trion’s statement that HackShield will stop the vast majority of hacking attempts ring a little hollow.  But how does one balance those two points of view?  Is Trion overselling HackShield (while still saying they don’t like it) or would ArcheAge be almost infinitely worse without it?  Or both?

And the software itself… I have a long dislike of this sort of thing, going all the way back to the early days of PunkBuster.  Letting a third party handle your anti-cheat protection adds up to abdicating control on that front, and while the claim is that false positives are rare, there isn’t much you can do when you are the one triggering such.  You can make comparisons to Blizzard and their Warden technology, but at least Blizzard owned Warden and could change it when they so desired. (And Warden would, you know, actually uninstall with WoW.)

Finally, there is the system security front, which I am a bit more paranoid about these days after my company had me take a few classes on that front.   Now I see attack vectors all over.  So just color me hyper-sensitive there.

Now most of that is just my personal subjective baggage.  I didn’t like HackShield after I read up on it, so I uninstalled ArcheAge and then used Google to help me figure out how to get HackShield off of my system.  Job done.  You are free to make your choice on that subject, balancing your own paranoia (or lack thereof) against your desire to play the game.  I will admit that I might be more forgiving if I was invested in playing the game.  It is easy to uninstall the game that didn’t interest you all that much in the first place.  It is likewise easy to overlook the flaws of a game in which you are completely invested.  (Day one EverQuest springs to mind.)

But I still feel that Trion claiming, because I agreed to something in their EULA which said they could do whatever they wanted, that they should be immune to criticism for not bothering to tell me that HackShield was being installed until after the fact, thus depriving me of the ability to make an informed choice until it was too late, is, as I noted above, a bullshit response.

Your lark’s vomit?  Do not want!

(insert your favorite do not want picture from the internet here)

ArcheAge Went Live and Everybody Went Crazy or Something

Normally I note when MMOs that are popular in our little corner of the web go live, if for no other reason than to track dates and such.  Somehow I missed my cue when ArcheAge went live… um… the other day?  Last week?  There was some sort of head start and such.  I sort of lost track.  But anyway, it went live and people went crazy.

ArcheAge_logo_450

Certainly, lots of people in the neighborhood seem to be playing it.  You can find all sorts of posts about it at:

As far as I can tell, Trion launched the game at exactly the right moment, in the lull where WildStar has begun to fade… erm… set out to create MegaServers(tm)… whatever… but Warlords of Draenor is still a couple months out.  And so ArcheAge became the oasis to which everybody flocked.

All servers queued, some with restrictions

All servers queued, some with restrictions

Being too successful is the best problem to have, but it is still a problem.  I even downloaded it over the weekend to take a peek.

I finally bit the bullet and let Trion install their Glyph gaming sales portal so I could log into Rift, and once I was there it was just a couple more clicks to have it install ArcheAge as well.

I was a little annoyed that they installed HackShield, an anti-hacking root toolkit, without bothering to warn me in large, flashing red letters, as I would have stopped the install right then and there.  I understand the need for such things, but I will avoid them if I can based on past experience with things like PunkBuster and such.  Basically, to play the game there is now another company in the mix, AhnLab, Inc., that can cause problems.  And there will be problems.  Some portion of legit users are always hit by these measures, so they basically send the message that it is okay to screw over a few of the innocent so long as we catch more hackers.  And then there is always the possibility of it being used as an attack vector.  Bleh.

And I wasn’t even going to have the potential to hack.  Being non-Patron scum, I was only able to check out the queues to get onto a server.  There was some variance, with the older servers being queued up past the 3K mark, and even had restrictions on what characters you could create.

More than an hour indeed...

More than an hour indeed…

More than an hour was a pretty light touch compared to reality.  While I am sure that patrons were being shown to the front of the queue that held me back, I let the whole thing sit there for a couple hours and it seemed that the queue moved me up about 700 places an hour.  The newer servers were at about half total queue it seemed.

Just 1,400 or so...

Just 1,500 or so…

The calculation eventually resolved to tell me my wait time would be about 20 minutes.  That was clearly optimistic in the extreme for prime time on Saturday afternoon.  Not that it mattered all that much to me.  I was just there to kick the tires.

But for others it has be a problem, and the whole queue situation has plenty of people talking about what ought to be done.  Hardcore Casual, Blessing of Kings, and Keen & Graev have all piped up on that front.

All of that has masked, to a certain extent, worries about the land rush in ArcheAge.  With housing being in the actual world rather than in some form of instance, the supply would seem to fall far short of the potential demand.  That has people worried and a whole side topic about illegal farms, which aren’t actually illegal has popped up.  However, stealing from them is illegal.  Go figure.

Anyway, it has all been an interesting read from the sidelines so far.  Trion is promising compensation for patrons over the whole queue thing and has worked to get more servers online.  But will this all end with them announcing the formation of MegaServers a few months down the line?  I suppose we shall see.

Small Items for a Wet Friday Morning

Mother nature seems determined to keep my lawn from dying during the drought out here, so delivered some more rain last night.

Of course, this is supposed to be the start of an El Niño year out here, which traditionally means a wet, wet winter is coming.  So expect us to flip the record over from side A (“Not Enough Rain”) to side B (“Too Much Rain!”) come autumn.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t think of anything worthy of a full post… and you know I’ll make a full post out of almost nothing… so here are a few tidbits that have been rattling around.

ArcheAge Founder’s Pack

Free to Play MMO titles have begun to develop their own traditions as they have evolved.  One seems to be the “Founder’s Pack,” a pre-order of sorts granting various benefits, usually including guaranteed beta access and some of the local currency.  As this has become a staple, the only parameter left to explore seems to be how much will the market bear when it comes to price.  Trion is testing the upper limits with ArcheAge, asking for $150 for the top tier pack in the shop.

ArcheAge

Take that SOE and your $100 Trailblazer’s pack!

ArcheAge Thoughts

I have had very few thoughts about the game.  This has been primarily because of the long tradition of bad Asian MMO imports over the years that has so thoroughly poisoned the well of expectations on that front.  And billing it as the “Ultimate Fantasy MMORPG Sandbox” just stokes the fires of skepticism in me, as does the long list of “be all the things!” features.

ArcheAge_logo_450Others seem less skeptical.  It looks like Cuppy and Liore are going to go give it a try, so you can read up about it on their sites.

As for me, I am still trying to figure out how to even pronounce the name.  Is that first “e” silent or not?  If it is, then the name reminds me of ArchLord, another on the long list of poor Asian imports, which isn’t exactly a good association.  But if you pronounce the “e” then it will sound like Archie Age, and I will be gravely disappointed if it doesn’t take place in Riverdale.

EVE – The Death of High Sec Industry

CCP posted a dev blog about proposed changes to industry for the summer expansion.  And, as usual, drama/rage/hilarity ensued.  That is just the nature of things in EVE Online.  The net net, if I read things right, was that, aside from changing the UI and removing some serious annoyances, if everybody just kept on doing what they did now, prices could go up by as much as 15%, but there would be incentives, in the form of lower production costs (to offset the risk) to start building things in null sec space.

A few people went the drama route, exemplified by Mord Fiddle, who attempted the Smothers Brothers routine of “Mom always liked you best!” for his big exit post.  Only it wasn’t actually funny, and wasn’t trying to be.  It was just drama.  Meanwhile, Dinsdale Piranha, in a “broken clock is right twice daily” moment, was clearly feeling vindicated in his long standing “CCP and the null sec barons” conspiracy theories.  Even Jester seemed to be straying off the range a bit with what sounded like a “go null or go home” conclusion. (And a bit of drama in the post title.)

Meanwhile, in the strange bedfellows department, the issue drove usually bitter foes Gevlon and Mynnna into the same camp on the topic, putting many on the lookout for a plague of frogs or some other biblical level event.  Lots of numbers and logic involved in their arguments.

My own point of view is that the strongest force in the universe is laziness, and that most people who have set up an industrial operation will just stay in place, the markets will correct a bit, and life will go on pretty much as it has before.  A few people will slip out to null to see if things can be done more profitably.  But considering that the three biggest 0.0 slumlords (Northern Associates, Brothers of Tangra, and the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere) have alone opened up over a quarter of null sec (963 of 3,524 systems) to rentals (and have agreed not to fight over those bits), there looks to be space for those who want to give null a shot.

Others weighing in on the topic:

I suppose we will see come the summer.  That is my answer for everything lately.

GARPA – A New EVE Tool For You

In a what was a bit of a surprise, Goonswarm’s science and research division released the GARPA Topographical Survey app for general use.  This is the space map and route planning application that, along with DOTLAN EVE Maps, sustained me during my first year in null sec.

Of course we all use a newer, web based tool, from the fine minds in the Razor Alliance, for route planning and navigation in-game.  But the GARPA Topographical Survey app is still pretty neat.  I can tinker with it for hours.

EVE – Burn Jita Begins

Burn Jita kicked off at some point last night.  There was a big convoy op to fly all the last-minute slackers from VFK to Jita.  And then there was an emergency in Fountain and another fleet had to run off in that direction.   I showed up late, but was able to join the fleet thanks to the fact that I kept a jump clone and a few random doctrine ships in our old staging base from the war last year.

Anyway, be advised that, if nothing else, time dilation will be hell in Jita for the balance of the weekend.  And if you want to make people laugh, link this image in local and tell people you paid a lot of ISK for it.

Burn Jita 72 Hour Pass

Burn Jita 72 Hour Pass

Some days it is like people aren’t even trying.

Lord British – Shroud of the Avatar Continues to Be a Thing

Pre-alpha release 5 of Shroud of the Avatar was made available to some level of backers this week, which included me.  I patched up and logged in just to see the state of affairs.

I now have a mustache

I now have a mustache

The game is still in a very raw and essentially unplayable state, but you can poke around and see what has been done.  I couldn’t recommend trying at full screen and full resolution though.  The graphics look good.  I am not keen on the movement controls, which are the FPS style “steer with mouse, move with WASD where A and D are strafe and not turn” configuration.  Anyway, things move on.

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014

The NBI is back again for 2014 and I have been slacking on doing anything about it.

NBI_Logo_450But rest assured, things are happening over at its permanent home on the web.  If you are interested in started a gaming blog or want to help out those who do, go over and join in on the fun.  The official start date is May 1, so I still have time to catch up.  You can go ask them anything if you like.

And that about covers the items I had.  Now to go back to staring out of the window at the rain.