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World of Darkness Goes Dark April 14, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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8 comments

CCP Games today announced that they have cancelled the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online (MMO) game project in development in their Atlanta, GA studio.

As a result of the change, 56 employees of the Atlanta studio have lost their jobs.  Some team members have been offered roles on other projects inside the company, and CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.

The remaining team in Atlanta will focus on games in the EVE Universe, which will mark the first time since 2006 that the entirety of CCP will be working on a single universe.

-CCP Press Release

Well, that about wraps that up I guess.  This is the third and final cut, the World of Darkness team having faced layoffs back in 2011 and then again last year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and had been working on an MMO version of the IP seriously starting in 2009.  Since then though, little has surfaced about the project aside from bad new.

I suppose this answers the question from earlier this year about what software was “derecognized” as an asset by CCP as part of their 2013 financial report.

CCP is solely focused on EVE Online and spin-offs such as DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie.  We won’t get to see what CCP could do in the realm of fantasy now.

In the gaming world Zombies continue to rule, while vampire fortunes seem to be in a downward spiral.  I blame Stephenie Meyer.

Addendum: But CCP is still thinking about what to do with World of Darkness.

Obligatory Shock About Oculus Rift Post March 26, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Hardware.
Tags: , , ,
11 comments

So yeah, yesterday after the markets closed, Facebook announced they were going to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus VR is the company currently working on the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

And then a corner of the internet exploded.  I figured I ought to mark that moment in time so we can come back and revisit it later.

Sudden, and potentially rash statements were made.

A general revulsion with all things Facebook was expressed by some.

Basically, all the dislike of Facebook… and there is much to dislike about Facebook and it methods and its founder’s outlook… bubbled forth.  Answer this question: If Mark Zuckerberg asked you to strap this to your face…

Into the Rift

Into the Rift

…which movie would come to mind?  Aliens?  Clockwork Orange?  Lawnmower Man?

Would you envision fun things happening or bad things?  Or just boring things?

So we are currently in the shock phase of this announcement, which is making the whole “Disney buys Star Wars“thing look pretty tame, at least in our little corner of the internet.  After all, for a lot of people the Star Wars series was already ruined by episodes I-III, so what else could Disney do?  But a lot of people were pining some pretty big hopes on Oculus Rift being a step into the future of gaming.

And now Facebook has it.  Are we going to get Candy Crush Saga VR?  FarmVille 3D?  Are we going to get any sort of VR gaming experience at all out of this?  Zuckerberg isn’t exactly big on video games.  His past actions have been about extracting money from those games that choose to live in his domain.

Ars Technica already has a column up about what Facebook might do, which includes a lot of promises about what won’t happen… from the guy who no longer controls the company… so the brightest bit in that seems be the fact that Facebook bought Instagram and hasn’t destroyed it yet.  Maybe Zuckerberg will just leave them alone.

Then there is the Kickstarter aspect of the whole thing.  Oculus VR raised $2.4 million of its funding via a Kickstarter campaign… just before Disney bought Star Wars, to bring that back around.  People who gave money at that point forked it over for very specific reasons.  This was the way it was pitched:

…the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.

For video games.  That is what they said.  Will they keep saying that a few months after the acquisition?  And will it matter if more developers step away because of Facebook?

While Oculus VR likely has no legal/financial obligation to do anything but send out the promised T-Shirts and early units that people were entitled to for their pledges, do they have any sort of moral obligation after taking Facebook’s money when it seems likely that the vision sold will not end up being the vision pursued?

And, finally, there is the “Why sell to Facebook?” question.  Why would Oculus VR sell to a company that has so little interest in video games and so much invested in collecting and selling our data?  Were things just up for the highest bidder?  Were there too many strings attached to other offers? Did current investors force the move to cash out?

Because there had to be other offers.

Anyway, among other things, this puts the whole “CCP moving closer to Sony” thing in a new light.  Was the word already out that Oculus Rift might be moving away from video games?  Was CCP hedging its bets?  Is Sony’s Project Morpheus the new leader in that arena?

The Sony project was interesting when Oculus Rift was there as well, but alone it seems destined to become yet another proprietary piece of Sony hardware.  Sony VR will require you to purchase a PlayStation 4.  And that may keep Oculus Rift in play even with Facebook looming large over it.

As the dust settles after the big shock, people are starting to muse about what this really means.  I suspect we will be doing that for a while.

Of course, every such announcement has its bright side.

And then there is the humor aspect.

We shall see how this all develops.  If nothing else, I have a tickler now to check back on this in a year.

CCP – Losing Money and Getting Closer to Sony March 19, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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9 comments

A couple of interesting/odd things around CCP this week.

CCPlogo

The first is that CCP released their 2013 financial report (you can view it here), in which indicate that they lost $21 million for the year.  It says so right there at the bottom line.

However, if your reaction is, “OMG, Tobold was right! CCP is doomed!” you should calm down.

As Jester covered in detail, the loss came from a capital asset… in this case, software which they no longer feel will generate revenue… being “derecognized.”

Bascially, they wrote some software that they felt had value  because of potential revenue it might generate and called it an asset at some point, adding to the total value of the company.  Now they have decided that the software in question does not have value, again revenue potential comes into play, so they have to take it off the books.  To the shareholders, the company effectively “lost” that much in its overall valuation, but no actual cash money disappeared or changed hands.  The operational aspects of the company were profitable and, as expected, completely dominated by EVE Online, which generated most of the $74 million in revenue from games. (Which is a $9 million boost over 2012.)

So the real question has become, “What software got ‘derecognized?’”

Contenders seem to be World of Darkness related development, “walking in stations” code from the Incarna era,  or maybe some aspect of DUST 514, though the latter, as a whole, did actually generate some revenue in 2013, if not as much as CCP hoped.

The whole thing is muddied up by the fact that CCP dropped the financials out there without any accompanying press release or explanation.  This is no doubt why certain gaming sites, who would likely jump on such a headline as sure-fire click bait, haven’t put up stories about it yet.  “CCP Loses 21 Million Dollars in 2013″ is a winner on that front, right?  But nobody has told them what to think, so they have yet to act. (I, meanwhile, will act without thinking at all!)

Well played CCP.  More as that develops.

Meanwhile, David Reid tweeted last night CCPs virtual reality game, EVE Valkyrie, which has been shown with the Occulus Rift headset up to this point (and which is reportedly getting closer to an actual consumer model), would also be coming to the PlayStation 4 using Sony’s VR headset, currently flying under the code name Project Morpheus… because The Matrix (and not some NASA lander project).

Nifty stuff.  CCP was already close to Sony through DUST 514, which remains (much to the dismay of many EVE Online players) a PlayStation 3 exclusive title.  Now CCP is getting closer still, being in a position to help boost Sony’s new peripheral with software that is already generating “oohs” and “ahhs” from those who have had a chance to play with it.

Over at The Nosy Gamer, there is also speculation that this further tightening relationship between Sony and CCP might also aim to help Sony crack the China market with the PS4 by porting DUST 514 over so they would have a free to play, made in China FPS game to bring to the table.  Or something.

But, going back to the CCP financial statement, one other theory being bandied about is that the “derecognized” software isn’t anything in particular, at least not a whole project being terminated, but rather a collection of odds and ends bundled up to be removed from the books in order to clean things up for a potential financial move in the coming year.  If CCP was going to be involved in a merger or get a major new investor, it would certainly be prudent to have their valuations rock solid.

And, of course, here is Sony, back in the picture again, potentially in a big way, with new technologies and a chance for “firsties” on the VR front in the console wars.

Completely circumstantial… and barely that… but it is enough to make you go, “Hrmmm…”

$10 Gets Your Character’s Name on the EVE Online Monument February 27, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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4 comments

The cut-off date for character names to make it onto the EVE Online monument thing is fast approaching.  From the original announcement:

The monument will stand atop a half meter tall metal-plated concrete platform that will have the names of all the “main characters” of all active EVE Online players etched upon it. This list of active, paying players will be captured on March 1st, 2014—no exceptions. In addition, CCP will be honoring EVE Online players who have passed away by adding their names to the monument, as described in the following section.

Fortunately, if you are on the fence about coming back to have your semi-obscene or pop-culture based character name engraved in a tiny font on something which will be placed somewhere around Reykjavik harbor, CCP has a deal for you.  For just $10 (for those who pay in US currency) you can reactivate you account for 30 days.

For you, $9.99

For you, $9.99

Clicking on that screen shot will get you nowhere.  But if you go to the EVE Online site and go to the account management section (somewhere off the EVE Universe menu at the top right) you’ll see the offer.

While there is has been some controversy about CCP spending money on such a thing… shocking, I know… I have to wonder if there isn’t really some evil genius in this.  They haven’t said how they are paying for this monument, or even who is actually paying for it.   They are essentially putting it on public land, which I bet will get them a big tax break.  And I am sure that this will lead to at least some boost in subscriptions.  Are they essentially mixing crowd funding and tax breaks to cover any costs here?

Monument, pictured in a temperate marsh

Monument, pictured in a temperate marsh

Between this and the pop in new trial accounts after the battle at B-R5RB made the news, I suspect we’ll see a press release or some other announcement about subscriptions reaching a new peak.

If only CCP can hold on to them over the long term.

B-R5RB and the Death of Drone Assist February 10, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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4 comments

Or how I will end up  pressing F1 again.

Drone assist is going to be brought down to size by CCP in a somewhat blunt force sort of way.

But this is a good thing… at least in my opinion.

I have mentioned drone assist in passing before.  I even predicted the nerfing of drone assist in my 2014 predictions post, though that was an easy one. (Though I am still only partially correct at this point.)  But I figured it might be time to talk about what drone assist really is and why nerfing it might be a good thing, as well as why CCP waited until now to announce they were going to do it.

Drone assist first showed up on my radar back in the Fountain war as part of TEST’s “we can’t seem to stop being poor, so no more expensive ships” Prophecy fleet doctrine.  They tried to use it at G95F-H and had little success.  But it was clearly a coming doctrine.

So what is drone assist?  For the purpose of illustration, I will describe what I have experienced.

After the war in Fountain, when drone assist was making its self felt, CFC high command declared that the feature was over-powered and that we would prove it by abusing the feature until CCP fixed it.  We docked up our Baltec Fleet Megathrons and bought new ships for two new drone doctrines, Prophecy fleet and Dominix fleet.

As far as I can tell, my investing in a Prophecy was a waste of ISK.  I have never undocked it. (Same with the promised “non-ironic” Ferox I bought.  I suspect now that the Ferox doctrine was just a troll to unload some excess hulls.)  But Dominix fleets became quite the thing and I flew with the great green space potatoes on several occasions, tearing up a hostile fleet now and again.

Domis in a green sky on the way to battle

Dominix fleet ahoy

Here is how a Dominix fleet operation plays out.

We moved to our destination.  The FC warps us around until he finds a good spot for us.  When he is satisfied, he calls for the fleet to stop in space and deploy the drone indicated.  For Dominix fleet, this means either Bouncer II or Garde II sentry drones.  Everybody then assigns their drones to the designated person, usually the FC.  And then we all sit around while the FC kills stuff, getting on kill mails via our assigned drones.

The fleet generally sits idle, though the doctrine has energy neutralizers fitted on each Domi, so sometimes we fly into range to use those.  That was what we were doing at B-R5RB.  (In fact, that was all we were doing in B-R5RB.  Drones were veboten.) But usually we just sit.

We just sit because sentry drones are special.  They are long range sniping drones with negligible mobility.  They have enough motion to get back to your ship, but only if you haven’t strayed very far.  So unless we want to abandon the drones… which we do when the situation calls for it… we just sit on them while the FC does his thing.  No pressing F1.  No aligning.  No nothing.

Garde drones... maybe firing, maybe asleep...

A Domi and a pair of Garde sentry drones

What the FC does is target hostiles.

Every time the FC targets a hostile, all of the sentry drones assigned to him align and shoot at the target in mass volleys of firepower.  In a Dominix fleet with 150 Domis along and on station, which is a good but not great fleet turn out, that means a potential 750 drones acting on the FC’s command and putting out something like 250K hit points worth of damage with each volley.

That is enough damage to sweep battleships and battlecruisers off the field with a single volley, and sufficient to worry any capital ship pilot that doesn’t have logistic repair support.

This is, of course, any fleet commander’s ideal situation.  It is what we always try to achieve in any fleet doctrine, the focus of fire by the whole fleet on a single target in order to blow it out of the sky.

But with guns or missiles, human factors make this concentration of fire difficult.  People have to be in position, have to lock up the designated target, and have to fire all of their guns or launchers at that target when the FC says to.  But people won’t see the target, or will be out of range, or will have the wrong ammo loaded, or will split their guns and shoot multiple targets, or will just be slow in performing even if they do everything correctly.

So damage output from a standard gun or missile doctrine ships tends to look like a bell curve, with more and more guns getting on target over time until the maximum amount of damage is being put on the hostile ship.  This gives the hostile fair warning.  He will see a bunch of ships in his overview locking him up.  He will see damage start to build.  If he is on the ball and has decent logistics support, he will have to time to call for reps and will have a decent change of survival.

With drone assist, damage comes on like a wall with all drones firing as one for all practical purposes and, with only one person targeting, any warning of the incoming pain likely lost in the clutter of the overview.

This advantage made drone assist fleets the way to go.  The CFC did it, and our enemies in the south, N3 and Pandemic Legion did it as well.

In fact, our foes were using the feature much more effectively than we were.  Their slow-cat carrier fleets, with a spider-web of self supporting armor reps and remote capacitor boosting, and a mass of drones on drone assist, were pretty much unassailable by sub-caps.  Some changes to Domi fleet went through to try and counter this, as well as a push towards dreadnoughts, but the only way to break the slow-cat doctrine was with super captials, super carriers and titans.  And our foes held the advantage on that front.

So CCP had a problem.

First there was the effect drone assist had on combat, with the perfect FC alpha attacks by obedient drones while most of the players sat about waiting for orders.

And then there was the load problem.

For purposes of combat, each drone is a ship, and the server running the system where the battle is running has to keep track of each and every one.  And with drone proliferation, server load went up.

Each little "X" is a drone...

Each little “X” is a drone…

And so we ended up with fights like the one at HED-GP or at E-YJ8G, where there were a lot of pilots involved and where the number of drones being launched just compounded the server load issues.  We fought the node and the node won.

E-YBadMessage

I am sure CCP wanted to do something about drone assist because of the server load issue alone.  They put up a Dev Blog about HED-GP and the load caused by drones. It was clearly an issue, and the predictions seemed to favor more node crashes as the war went on.

But, for in-game political reasons, CCP could not tinker with drone assist.  While both sides were using drone assist, it was clearly working better for N3 and Pandemic Legion.  So to nerf it in the middle of the Halloween War would mean nerfing the prime effective doctrine of one faction.  That in turn would lead to very shrill cries of favoritism in the forums and elsewhere.  So CCP had to sit on their hands and hope that the nodes would hold.

Then came the titan bloodbath at B-R5RB.  (Now in infographic form.)

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

In the wake of that, Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition pulled out of the war, pretty much deciding the outcome.  There were battles left to be fought, but the course of events had achieved an inevitability.  The colors on the influence map would move, systems would change hands, and the war would splutter to an end.  Side agreements kept some areas untouched while the heavy weights extracted concessions from the lesser alliances.

CCP could safely announce that drone assist was being nerfed.  After the next Rubicon patch, a single pilot will be limited to having 50 drones assigned to him.  That isn’t the most elegant of solutions, being rather a “one size fits all” sort of thing that impacts carriers, which can launch more drones, than sub-caps.  But it will complicate the use of drone assist in large fleets and remove the “all drones on target” aspect of the feature.  The hope appears to be that we will all go back to other fleet doctrines.  I still have a couple Megathrons tucked away.  And there is that Ferox.

I think they could seal the deal on drone assist by changing things so that only the pilot assigned the drones gets on the kill mail.  That would cause a good deal of internal pressure in various alliances for dropping the doctrine… or at least people would stop assigning all their drones, holding some back to get on kill mails.  We do love our kill mails.

This seems like it might be enough for now.  I still fully expect to see a further run at this, with perhaps new skills that handle both the ability to assign drones and how many drones an individual pilot can can control through assignment.  Maybe we’ll see that in the fall expansion.

Of course, the fact that the war was in its denouement did not stop shrill complaints about favoritism.  This is EVE Online, where the forums will get shrill about most any issue… or non-issue.  But the comments were probably less shrill than they might have been.

So it looks like the writing might be on the wall for drone assist.  Unless/until somebody figures out a loophole to exploit.  This is EVE Online after all.

In the mean time, we will all have to pay attention in fleets once the change is in place.  Even having to stay engaged enough to target the right hostile and press F1 will be a step in the right direction for me.

The EVE Online Monument – They’ve Seen Some of Those Names, Right? February 5, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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6 comments

The big… well, sort of big… okay, barely noticed by those outside of the game… count down on the EVE Online web site has finished, and the big reveal has been… um… revealed!

CCP is building another monument.  This time it is going to be in the real world rather than the virtual.  A quote from the web page devoted to the monument,

We would like to, as best as we can, reflect the same beauty that you have shown us. To make you into art. To honor you in the real world as much as you have earned in the virtual. To immortalize the already immortal pilots of EVE.

To that end we are creating a monument to all EVE players whether they are currently flying or who have long docked their ships. A monument to players who are living and with us or who have sadly passed on.

CCP will immortalize players by engraving the names of the primary character on each account on the monument.

The Planned Monument

The Planned Monument

The criteria for name inclusion is described as:

The monument will stand atop a half meter tall metal-plated concrete platform that will have the names of all the “main characters” of all active EVE Online players etched upon it. This list of active, paying players will be captured on March 1st, 2014—no exceptions. In addition, CCP will be honoring EVE Online players who have passed away by adding their names to the monument, as described in the following section.

I wonder if this will create a subscriber spike as past players consider activating their accounts to be included on the monument?

The monument itself will be placed in a public space at Reykjavik harbor, not far from the CCP offices.  There will be an online web app to allow people to examine the monument and find names.  The monument is expected to be in place by April 30, 2014, followed by at least three update patches.

As linked above, more information about this can be found at the EVE Monument site.

B-R5RB by the Numbers – CCP Dev Blog Details the Fight January 29, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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3 comments

The big fight on Monday is over, but the analysis continues.  CCP, ever the heroes when it comes to providing details about EVE Online, has weighed in with a Dev Blog Post about the Bloodbath at B-R5RB.

You should read it.  It has charts, graphs, a narrative, talk about technical impacts and time dilation, and all sorts of fun stuff about the battle.  This is why we love CCP.

An Avatar doomsday strikes home

An Avatar doomsday strikes home

As a tease, and so I have the numbers to hand going forward, here are some of the details:

  • Around 21 hours of total fighting
  • 7,548 unique characters belonging to those two coalitions participated in the overall battle (i.e. landed on at least one killmail).  6,058 participated directly in the B-R5RB system with 2,670 in system at max
  • This wasn’t the largest single battle in terms of numbers of participants in system at once. That record still belongs to the battle for 6VDT-H, which reached 4,070 pilots in system.
  • 717 unique player Corporations
  • 55 unique player Alliances
  • Titans losses – 75 (74 in system, one on its way to the fight) N3/PL lost 59 titans and CFC/DTF lost 16 titans
  • Titan losses by type: Gallente Erebus – 37, Amarr Avatar – 25, Minmatar Ragnarok – 13, Caldari Leviathan – 0
  • Supercarrier Losses – 13 (12 in system, one as it tried to escape the system)
  • Dreadnought Losses– 370 (356 in system, 14 in connected skirmishes as both sides attempted to stop the other from bringing reinforcements)
  • Carrier Losses – 123 (109 in system, 14 in connected skirmishes as both sides attempted to stop the other from bringing reinforcements)
  • Approximately 775 doomsdays were fired, which is about 24% of all the doomsdays fired in the last two years inclusive. The Battle for HED-GP, which preceded this one in the Halloween War, had about 200 doomsdays.
  • Estimated economic impact: 11 TRILLION ISK.

That is just scratching the surface of what CCP has posted.  Meanwhile, a few other numbers have bubbled up.

So they still have a lot of capital ships to spend in the war… unless, of course, a lot of them in the station at B-R5RB, the loss of which is what set off the battle.

Something missing from all of this that I would love to read: The diplomatic conversation between Nulli Secunda, which dropped the ball on the sov bill and set off the fight, and PL/NC, who were the hardest hit by the fight, at least when ISK is used as a measurement.

Addendum: The Mittani has a good companion post up about the battle that goes into ship costs and sovereignty and other details with an aim to making them understandable.

Quote of the Day – CCP Layoffs and World of Darkness December 11, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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2 comments

CCP today made strategic adjustments to the staffing on the team working on the World of Darkness project in Atlanta that resulted in the elimination of approximately 15 positions at the company.  The change was due to our evaluation of the game’s design and ongoing development needs.  While this was a difficult decision, CCP remains committed to the franchise and our promise to make a compelling, rich, and deep World of Darkness experience.

Ned Coker of CCP, following rumors of layoffs

Not much to be said except that there is no “good” time to be laid off.  I have been down that path a couple of times myself, though never right in the teeth of the holidays.

The move was focused on the World of Darkness team, which also faced a cut back in October of 2011.  The 2011 cut reportedly reduced the team working on the project to 60, and now 25% of that group has been cut.  No matter what mollifying phrases are used, this cannot be seen as a positive spin for the future of a game based on the franchise.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and have been working on an MMO version seriously since 2009.

Tidbits for a Friday Post – Mammoths, Xboxes, and What is Next June 21, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest Next.
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5 comments

A few items that I couldn’t really muster a full post… or much passion… about, but which I wanted to at least mention in passing so I could bring them up again in a year to see what happened.  That is one of my things.

EverQuest, What is Next?

I thought SOE must surely be trolling us.

I figured that they must have gone on some sort of bender after getting the MMORPG.com Best of Show Award at E3 with a game that almost nobody saw and which nobody can talk about. (Must be all the StoryBricks stuff, eh?)

Seemingly high and feeling cocky after those accolades, SOE announced that the final name for EverQuest Next would be… EverQuest Next!

Really?  Who was up watching TNG reruns at 3am and thought, “Hah, this will be great!”

But no, they seem serious. They have registered the domain and such.

I mean, I get it… sort of.  Or, at least I have been there.

When a project gets a code name and you use it a lot, it takes on a life of its own.  People within an organization will use internal code names for products for years after they shipped, much to the chagrin of marketing. (I have often been admonished by marketing over the years with phrases like, “Stop calling it that! That is not the name of the product!”)

Why not just go with what everybody is calling the product already, right?

But my own experience with many a badly named product makes me feel that, in the long term, sticking with EverQuest Next is going to be regretted.  To start with, what do you call the next game in the franchise?

Still, I went and made an EverQuest Next category for the blog.  I am sure we will be talking about it much more in the not-so-distant future, though I am trying not to pin artificial hopes and dreams on it quite yet.

Microsoft and Xbox One Policies

It was interesting to see how quickly Microsoft changed its mind on a number of the policies that made Sony so popular at E3.  Though, after the Adam Orth Twitter fiasco not too long ago, not to mention all the grumblings when this sort of thing was just rumors, one wonders why they needed to get that far in order to see the light.

Of course, some people are skeptical at this change of heart.  Microsoft isn’t as despised as Electronic Arts, but there are still trust issues.  I think that, for the most part, people don’t think Microsoft will shoot itself in the foot again on this issue any time soon.

So all that is left of the PlayStation 4 win at E3 is the $100 price premium for the Xbox One, which I suspect will become a non-issue in the absence of the other items.  The $100 gap seemed like a an obstacle when part of that list, but if that is all that stands between you and the next version Halo, it won’t seem like all that much.

More amusing to me though are the responses… of lack of responses… to this change of policy from some vocal individuals in the industry who were aggressively defending Microsoft’s initial plan.  One is already loudly proclaiming that consumer feedback had nothing at all to do with Microsoft’s retreat.  Keep on keeping on, man!

The Mammoth and The Art Department

There is a forum post up about revamping the industrial ships in EVE Online.  Industrials are the low end haulers that most players start out using. The plan is to try and give every ship of that class a viable role.

Not a bad idea.

Over the years CCP has added ships rather haphazardly at times, leaving some ships as second best at everything, so nobody bothers to fly them.  Lately CCP has been revisiting and revamping ship classes to try and create a place in the universe for everybody.  Last August it was mining barges.  Then it was frigates, then cruisers, then battlecruisers, and most recently battleships.

However, one of things mentioned in the industrial revamp post was a plan to swap the roles of two of the Minmatar haulers, the Mammoth and the Hoarder.  The Hoarder would become the largest capacity hauler while the Mammoth would be given some other task in life.

This was kind of a “WTF?” item in the middle of an otherwise sane… well, sane for CCP forum post in any case… discussion of a hauler revamp.  A lot of people out there, like myself, followed The Complete Miner’s Guide back in the day which recommended the Mammoth because it was the biggest hauler you could get into quickly.  The sausage-like Iteron V could haul more, but you needed Gallente Industrial V to fly it, which took more than a month to train.  The Mammoth could be yours in hours and, with further training and the right fit, could haul a jet can worth of ore, making it a nice fit for a miner.  The Mammoth became very popular.

My Mammoth and Retriever – September 2007

So people wanted to know why CCP would want to make everybody who flew a Mammoth for its capacity trade it out for a Hoarder.

The answer that came back was that the art department did not like the Mammoth model for purely aesthetic reasons.  They wanted the Horder model to be the main Minmatar hauler.  This lead to a lot of “But, I love the way the Mammoth looks!” replies to the thread (a few Hoarder fans chimed in as well, and I must admit that ship isn’t as ugly as I recalled) along with the perhaps more logical “Why would you screw some people over for this trivial reason?” argument.

In the end, the art team apparently wasn’t that invested in the change and let it drop in the face of some forum noise.  Pick your battles and all that.

Jester (twice) and Nosy Gamer (and now Funky Bacon) have relevant quotes, links, and discussions about this issue and the overall proposed industrial changes, if you are interested.

My world view is a lot less complex.  I like the Mammoth model and don’t really want to have to swap out three rigged Mammoths for no good reason.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t actually put me out that much if I had to.  So, whatever.

CCP Celebrates 10 Years of EVE Online by Reminding Us to Train Long Skills on Patch Day May 22, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: , ,
6 comments

Whoops, the new launcher than came out today had… issues.

Which I think makes it an official EVE Online feature!

It even got Winterblink to make a Warp Drive Active comic about it.

CCP took their old launcher, which just used to show some news and ads along with checking to see if you game was up to date, and downloading updates if you needed them, and moved the whole login/authentication process into it.

New EVE Launcher

New EVE Launcher

So when it had problems, people couldn’t log in.

And if you could log in, and you had multiple accounts, you might have noticed that using the tab to get to the password field changed which account you selected.  I also saw a message from somebody saying that the new launcher ate their UI settings.  And that it was made from asbestos.

I was able to get in myself, though I came along later.  And others who had problems found that you could still launch from the ExeFile.exe.

All in all, no big deal.  We’ll get a fix soon.  Just another day in Iceland.  It isn’t like they went after the boot.ini file again!

We are never going to let that one go.

But it is a change, and there is one thing I will miss.

I will miss the big splash screen that came up every time you launched the game.  I always felt that was part of the game.

Retribution - The Last Splash Screen

Retribution – The Last Splash Screen

I will also miss the little ads that CCP would pop up on the splash screen, ads that informed us about sales on PLEX, EON subscriptions, new features, DUST 514 beta, Burn Jita, the Alliance tournament, Skyward Sphere, and a bunch of other such things.  Even the old launcher was so announced.  And, of course, they made fun of Diablo III launch issues.

CCP pokes fun at Blizzard

CCP pokes fun at Blizzard

Last year I captured as many as I could and put them together in one picture.  The old launcher ad is in there.

Click to enlarge... 3MB file

Click to enlarge… 3MB file

I have been capturing them again this year, with an eye to creating another such picture.  However, now we appear to be at an end of such ads.  So I suppose I should get to work on putting that together.