Tag Archives: CSM13

CSM13 Summer Summit Minutes and How War Decs are Killing EVE

CCP Larrikin pulls up activity data for players of corporations that have wars declared against them and it shows considerable activity drops in all activities during the war. They also show that the low activity continues after the war ends. Brisc Rubal noted that the numbers here were so stark, it would justify immediately removing war decs as a mechanic and promising a fix after the fact. The CSM in general were surprised at how stark the numbers were and noted it was clear this mechanic was having a significant impact on player recruitment and retention.

CSM13 Summer Summit Minutes, Economy Discussion

I ebb and flow in my interest in the CSM, which in its way reflects CCP’s own wavering commitment to the institution over the years.  And, of course, the topics being discussed and how much information we get affects my interest as well.  Some of the summit minutes have so much redacted that what is left just isn’t worth getting worked up about.

Not the space police, just the non-binding space oversight committee

This time around there were actually a few interesting topics.  The key one for me was war declarations, or war decs.  These have been complained about since I started playing EVE Online back in 2006.

There is a whole section devoted to war decs in the minutes, reflective of there being a dedicated session on the topic.  The minutes from that are somewhat interesting.  That section of the minutes opens with a pretty ominous note:

In the EVE Leadership meeting the CSM was presented with numbers resulting from research
into the state of war declarations in EVE and those numbers quite starkly showed how
asymmetric the situation is, and how war declarations allow a small number of players to
negatively affect a huge number of people, with low risk.

After that, however, the discussion in the minutes goes the way it has always gone.  Everybody knows war decs are a problem but there are always reasons why CCP won’t get rid of them completely.  Along with the all-time greatest hit, “we don’t want high sec space to be completely safe,” there is now the problem of Upwell structures which litter New Eden.  Without high sec war decs you can’t blow those up.

So the discussion flowed through a set of ideas guided by that, with talk of costs and victory conditions and the like.  The session notes end with a mention of how war decs favor the aggressor, how corporations who get war dec’d tend to just stop playing when there is a war going on, and how some organizations like Red Frog avoid the whole thing.

There was no real indication about a future plan for war decs or whether or not CCP would do anything about them in the foreseeable future.  While disappointing, that was hardly unexpected.  CCP hasn’t like the war dec situation forever so far as I can tell but hasn’t done much save tinker with it over the years.

The minutes then move on to the session on the economy where starts off CCP Larrikin by confirming that the current level of NPC bounty payouts is not sustainable and that most of it comes from carrier and super carrier ratting.  No surprise there.

It isn’t until the second page of the economy section, a point by which I am sure some people have already uttered, “yadda yadda yadda” and moved on to the next section, that we come to the paragraph with which I chose to open this post.

I chose that quote for a reason.  It takes away a lot of the ambiguity about war decs.

If you’re paying attention, you will hear people complain about war decs.  It tends to be anecdotal information.  Somebody got war dec’d and it sucked.  But somebody always has a story about how something in the game sucked, so how do you assign a priority to it?

Well, the CSM saw the data, and maybe CCP will share it with the rest of us at some future date, but the reaction seems to be enough.  War decs kill corps and CCP knows it, and likely has known it for some time.  Furthermore it is bad enough that CCP put the following line in the meeting minutes that they themselves edited:

…it was clear this mechanic was having a significant impact on player recruitment and retention.

CCP endorsed that statement by putting it in the minutes.  Remember that.

What is the all time, long term problem for EVE Online?  If you said, “player recruitment and retention” you get a prize.

Which brings me back to the section of the minutes that was specifically about war decs and the decided lack of urgency that comes through on the whole topic.  The discussion reads to me like it is a topic that needs to be fixed eventually, but which they can get to in the fullness of time when they have the ideal solution.  That quote from the economy section makes this seem like much more of a “hair on fire, do something now!” situation.  If it is really that bad, I’m with Brisc; turn the feature off.  We can live without war decs for six months or a year if it stops driving players away.

There are other parts of the minutes worth looking through.  The economy section, as noted, is worth a read.  There was also a whole session about the new player experience that explains, in part, why CCP ditched the epic NPE experience for the current version based in The Agency, something I wrote about last month.

And there was a discussion of the updated customer support policies, marketing and recruiting and community outreach which are likely worth a read.

But for me the primary take away from the 53 pages of minutes is that high sec war decs are bad for the game, CCP knows this (and has likely known this for a long time), and yet they are still dithering about a solution.  I’d be hard pressed to come up with something more important for them to look into given the statement in the minutes.

Addendum: Others covering the minutes

Introducing Your CSM13 Representatives

The voting ended on Monday, the ballot boxes were as stuffed as they were going to get, and, with no real venue or event going on to carry the announcement, CCP went to Twitch to broadcast the winners of the election.

Space elections are serious business…

Those on CSM13 fall into two groups.  First there are the incumbents.  Basically, anybody who was on CSM12 and who ran again made the cut.  Seven incumbents ran and they were:

  • Aryth – Goonswarm Federation
  • Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  • Sort Dragon – Darkness
  • The Judge – Goonswarm Federation
  • Jin’taan – Red Noise (formerly of CVA and TEST)
  • Suitonia – The Felines of the Egg of the Lisa
  • Steve Ronuken – Fuzzwork Enterprises

Aryth, at the top of the Imperium ballot, was also the biggest vote getter.  Sort Dragon, who was substituted in when Vince Draken was removed last year, managed to make the cut on his own this time.  Meanwhile, proving that betrayal is no barrier to success, The Judge managed to make it back on the council as well.

That leaves the three new people on the CSM, who were:

  • Killah Bee – Northern Coalition
  • Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  • Brisc Rubal – The Initiative

That gives you all ten members of CSM13.

The CSM 13 Winners

As you can see, null sec dominated the vote even more than usual, with only two players outside of 0.0 making the cut.

For those keeping track, 7 out of 10 people on the Imperium ballot (which I posted here with the full candidate list) made it onto the CSM this year, with only Mawderator, Sullen Decimus, and Commander Aze left out.  However, some of the people on the Imperium ballot had or built constituencies outside of the Imperium.  Still, the top four players on the Imperium ballot made it, which was one more than I really thought would. (I do wonder how many people outside of the Imperium voted for The Judge.)

On the stream CCP Guard said that there was a total of 29,417 votes, down a bit from the 31,274 that were cast for CSM12.  He attributed this in part in that no direct mailing went out during the election as none were slated the one week time frame of the election.  You can see where the CSM13 number stacks up historically.

Number of Votes Cast – CSM 1 through CSM 12

CCP Guard said that there will be a full dev blog about the election published, most likely tomorrow, with all of the voting data so you can check for yourself how things played out.  I will add a link to this post when that goes up.

CCP Guard on the stream

CCP Guard did say that Tikktokk Tokkzikk of Pandemic Legion appeared to be in 11th place, so if somebody needs to be replaced during the term, that will likely be who steps in.

In the mean time CCP is still working on getting the server back up.  The game has been down for a while now today.

Addendum: The server is now back up.  It seems that those faction Fortizars were a problem.

Addendum 2: The dev blog with the full voting details has been posted.

One Day Left to Vote for CSM 13

The polls for CSM 13 election will close at 12:00 UTC on June 11, which is 24 hours from when this post goes live.

Space election ending soon…

If you wish to vote you do not have much time left.  Instructions on how to vote are available in a CCP news post.

I listed out the candidates in a post when the elections opened up, but if you want deeper details there is the CSM Wire site.  However, you have one less choice at this point as Creecher Virpio has been removed as a candidate by CCP.

CCP Guard also did a Reddit AMA about the CSM and the election if you want more details and can stomach a trip to Reddit.

Election Time! Get out the Vote for CSM 13

The annual stuffing of virtual ballot boxes kicked off today at 12:00 UTC

The time to vote is now

CCP has a post up with instructions and links as to how to vote.  If you want to go straight to voting you can go here and login.  Or if you want to see the candidates, the official list is here, but I would recommend a visit to CSM Wire for a more detailed look.

As for who to vote for, that is always the question.  We got our first look at the candidates back at EVE Fanfest almost two month back.  Since then they have had time to campaign.

The CSM13 candidate list

The ballot will present you with 47 candidates in a random sort order.  But who should you vote for?  That is always the question.

Greasy pole political metaphor in stair form

I thought this year I would list out the candidates by where they call home, just to see who represents what.  Even with a reduction in the number of candidates this year, I still don’t recognize most of them, even some in my coalition.

These lists are based on what organization the candidate calls home for the most part.  They can say whatever they want on their platform, but this is where they are from.  Those with an asterisk are CSM12 incumbents.

Null Sec – 31 Candidates

  • Afropty – Darkness
  • Aryth* – Goonswarm Federation
  • aspecialpinecone – Iron Armada
  • bastet 666 – Legion of xXDEATHXx
  • Bei ArtJay – Unspoken Alliance
  • Brisc Rubal – The Initiative
  • Cacique Yuhasz – TEST
  • Carbon Alabel – CVA
  • Commander Aze – The Bastion
  • Creecher Virpio – TEST [Removed by CCP June 8, 2018]
  • Cwittofur Cesaille – Da Imbalance
  • Damian Blackie – Fraternity
  • Innominate* – Goonswarm Federation
  • Jin’taan* – TEST
  • Kali Omega – Chaos Theory
  • Killah Bee – NCDot
  • Malakai Asamov – NCDot
  • Mawderator – Snuffed Out
  • Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  • Otto Bismarck – Tactical Supremacy
  • Parobro – Chaos Theory
  • Raphendyr Nardieu – Suddenly Content
  • Solar Taranogas – The Watchmen
  • Sort Dragon* – Darkness
  • Sullen Decimus – The Bastion
  • The Judge* – Goonswarm Federation
  • The Ludocrat – Goonswarm Federation
  • Tikktokk Tokkzikk – Pandemic Legion
  • Winter duFallen – Pandemic Horde
  • Xenuria – Goonswarm Federation
  • ZepWunderbar – Tactical Narcotics Team

While there may be 17 fewer candidates than there were last year, the numbers from 0.0 space seem as strong as ever.  Clearly null sec still believes that the CSM is important.  Or maybe it is that people who go to play our there enjoy diplomacy, deals, and sandbox politics.  But if you used you’re votes at random you would be more likely than not to vote for somebody who calls null sec their home.

Wormhole – 5 Candidates

  • Arielle en Distel – Signal Cartel
  • Claevyan – Surrounded by Wormholes
  • ExookiZ – Scary Wormhole People
  • Razorblade92 – Stranger Danger
  • Tifida – Outlaws

Not so many from wormhole space, but at least Signal Cartel is on the list.

Low Sec – 5 Candidates

  • Chainsaw Plankton – FaDoyToy
  • Kalen Tsero – Kalen Tsero
  • Saint Michaels Soul – Villore Accords
  • Silver Suspiria – Federation Uprising
  • Suitonia* – The Felines of the Egg of the Lisa

Low sec is always a strange beast, being in empire space and having factional warfare.  But it still gets a few candidates every year wanting to step up to represent it.

High Sec – 4 Candidates

  • Eurzadahn – Ikusaro
  • Lorelei Ierendi – Lorelei for C S M
  • Steve Ronuken* – Fuzzwork Enterprises
  • Syncopee Farnsworth – The Architects

High sec remains an outpost of the solo player, where it is hard to build a power base for an election.  While I haven’t done a head to head comparison, it feels like this is where the candidate list fell off a bit when compared to last year.

Other – 2 Candidates

  • Jaha Preynar – EVE University
  • Vincent Eneticum – Deep Core Mining Inc

I was not sure where to put these two since their organization didn’t really match or had changed since their candidacy was announced.

Anyway, that is my attempt to break out the candidate list in some meaningful way.  Again, if you wish to research the candidates in detail and read/hear their own words, the CSM Wire site has candidates information, statements, and links to interviews.

My own personal view is to beware the single issue candidate.  In watching from afar and talking to a few CSM members at EVE Vegas, a candidate going in with very narrow goals thinking they are going to change the game are likely to be ineffective.  As has been discussed before, the CSM lacks agency.  They cannot DO anything and CCP is free to ignore them, which they have demonstrated their willingness to do in the past.  CCP has referred to the CSM as a “governing body” previously (see the EVE Online timeline), but that is nonsense.  On a good day the CSM is a focus group with enough experience with the game to point out issues with CCP’s plans.  But I’ve been a critic of the idea of players electing the CSM since the idea was announced a decade back.

And so it goes.

Meanwhile, over in the Imperium we have been given our marching orders, with the recommended ballot posted yesterday.

  1. Aryth
  2. Merkelchen
  3. Innominate
  4. The Judge
  5. Brisc Rubal
  6. Mawderator
  7. Sullen Decimus
  8. Commander Aze
  9. Jin’Taan
  10. Steve Ronuken

I will be voting that in the name of self-interest, which is the same reason anybody votes.

The Imperium has enough voting power that the first two are pretty much a given to be elected unless something goes seriously wrong.  Innominate has a decent chance of returning to the CSM as well.  After that, however, candidates had best have a support base outside of the coalition in order to keep them in the running.  Jin’Taan and Steve Ronuken are very likely to make the cut as well, having their own support base elsewhere, which leaves six seats in question.

Anyway, the election ends on June 11 at 12:00 UTC.  You must vote by then or you won’t get to vote at all.  All Omega accounts can vote, so it you have multiple accounts subscribed you can log in each one and cast a ballot.

Finally, one last plug for the CSM Wire site if you want to do some candidate research.

CSM13 Elections to be Held June 4 to 11

After announcing the list of of official candidates and little more, CCP put out a dev blog today that finally gave us the official dates for the CSM 13 election.

Coming to a virtual space voting booth this June…

From the post:

The election will run for one week, from 12 noon UTC (EVE Time) on 4 June – 12 noon UTC on 11 June.

As they announced back in February the duration of the election itself will be shorter than usual. That is considerably less time than the CSM 12 election, which ran from March 2nd to the 27th last year, but still more time that they gave candidates to register for CSM 13 earlier this year.

The stated reason for shortening the election run was that most people vote on the first day or the last day, with little play in between.

The election will be open to all Omega accounts, so if you have multiple accounts you can vote early and often.  The candidate list was given to us back at Fanfest.

The CSM13 candidate list

That probably isn’t much help, even if you click on the picture to view it full size.  However, as the dev blog points out, Nosy Gamer has his CSM Wire site up to date.  You can go there to read what is known about each candidate.  Or you can go look at the official candidate list.

The original estimate was that the election would happen sometime in the April/May time frame, but things will get pushed out.

The CSM 13 time line that we have so far:

  • Applications are open – March 19 to 23
  • Application processing – March 23 to April 11
  • Candidates for CSM 13 announced – EVE Fanfest, April 12-14
  • Voting – June 4-11
  • Election Results Announced – Some point shortly after the elections close
  • Summer – CSM 13 onboarding & orientation
  • CSM 13 Summit 1 – September (likely dates are Sept 3-6)
  • CSM 13 Summit 2 – February

Now that we know when voting will commence we have an idea how much longer candidates have to inject themselves into the consciousness of the electorate.

Monday Musings after EVE Fanfest 2018

EVE Fanfest 2018 is over.  We are in that strange time between announcements and reality when hope and fear can run wild, before Dev Blogs nail things down and updates show us what we’re really getting.

EVE Fanfest XV

I did not get to watch as much of Fanfest as I might have liked.  Living on the left coast of the US, currently 7 hours behind UTC/EVE Time, a lot of the early presentations happened while I was still asleep.  I wasn’t going to alarm clock that.  But I did get to see a few, and it looks like the ones I missed are slowly making their way on to YouTube so I can follow up.  But here on the Monday after is a quick recap of what I think I saw over the weekend.

Fifteenth Anniversary Goodies

CCP told us what they’ll be handing out to players for the 15th anniversary.  Alpha clones will be getting some things, while Omegas will be getting that and more.  There will be an array of ships and skins and clothing items handed out, so long and you remember to log in your account in the 30 days before the anniversary date, which is May 6.

Into the Abyss

While I am against EVE Online expansions that aren’t just one word… maybe two words, but seriously, screw you Exodus: Red Moon Rising… there are some interesting items stacked up for Into the Abyss.

Coming May 29

It is good to see that CCP can do updates almost every month and still are able to package up something like a real expansion once or twice a year.

Triglavians Are Coming!

I wrote a post about this on Friday.  I’ve seen a few more details, but not enough to renounce that post or have much to add.  Abyssal Pockets will be a thing as will entropic disintegrators .  I need to go back and watch the video for the Triglavian panel.

Final Date for Null Sec Stations

Only about six months after the initial estimate, stations in null sec will finally be transformed into special faction citadels.  First announced at Fanfest 2017, the scramble for stations will now commence as those who hold them on June 5, 2018 will be memorialized.  Also, this will be the great asset recovery for null sec as everything locked in hostile stations will now be in citadels, allowing players to get their stuff back… for a modest fee of course.

Structure Futures

The end of the POS, player owned starbase, is night.  Planned small structures will replace the cyno beacon, cyno jammer, and jump bridge functionality.  Those will require ihub upgrades.  And then there will be the great refunding and re-purposing of modules and blue prints related to the noble POS before it finally disappears from New Eden.

There is a plan for propaganda structures that corps and alliances will be able to deploy around their space.  I am sure running into enemy space just to shoot their symbols will become a thing.

There is also talk of possibly maybe some day giving players access to the pirate faction forward operating base structures in order to fill a gap left by the removal of POSes.  You could bring a POS with you into hostile space, find an open moon, and deploy it in an hour, giving yourself a base of operations quickly.  An Astrahus or Raitaru take 24 hours to deploy and are up on everybody’s overview the whole time.  We shall see.

Activity Tracker

CCP will be adding in a feature to track both more broadly and deeply what you have been up to in New Eden and what you haven’t tried yet.

Activity Tracker base view

Unfortunately a lot of the data for this has never been collected in the past, so it will only start filling in once it goes live.  As such my own tracker will likely only show activity in the capsuleer combat section, my days of mission running, mining, industry, invention, and what not being things of the past.

As a side effect of this kill mail data will be more complex… probably killing zKillboard in the process… and will allow logi ships to get on kill mails.  I guess I am okay with that.  I just got on kill mails as logi in the past well enough, using the time honored whore drone method, but whatever.

Three Pillars of EVE Online

What CCP Seagull put forth as the primary foci of the EVE Online team.

The look like hexagons to me

I expect this to be turned into a meme very soon.

CSM13 Candidate List

While most of it ended up on Reddit early, we did still get pictures and names of all the candidates that were slated for the CSM13 ballot.

The CSM13 candidate list… I hope CCP Falcon isn’t covering somebody there

I haven’t heard when the election will actually be, but the campaign can now really begin since people know who will be on the ballot.  At a total of 49 that is less candidates than previous years.  Last time around there were 64 candidates.  I suspect less may be better, but it is still 49 people on a ballot, most of whom the average player will no nothing about.

Empires of EVE Vol II

The Kickstarter for this is off and running and already past 6x its goal, so it looks like we’ll be getting another fine Andrew Groen book on the history of null sec.

The Rixx Javix Payoff

Warp Core Stabilizers not being allowed in Faction Warfare sites?  This smells strongly of a ploy by CCP to get Rixx to say something nice about them.

Other CCP Games

We learned a bit about Project Nova and Project Aurora.  The former, a PC remake of DUST 514, is alleged to be close than we think while the latter, now called EVE: War of Ascension, is expected to be available on mobile devices later this year.

A Wedding

There was a wedding at Fanfest this year.

A moment they will no doubt remember forever.

Camera Work

Being remote from Fanfest sucks, and not just due to the time zone differential.  Those of us at home are at the mercy of CCP and how they choose to run their stream, including how the cameras are deployed and used.

There is nothing I can say that really describes that moment when CCP ran the new 15 Years of EVE Online trailer and, part way through, the camera cut to the audience so people on the stream were treated to the vision of a bunch of nerds sitting in the dark watching the thing we really wanted to see.  The only upside was that at least I could only see one fedora being worn in the crowd.

I wish I was watching what they were watching… also, fedora

Being CCP, they ran the trailer twice… and cut to the crowd again during the second run.  At least they cut during a different segment so that, in two consecutive runs I think I saw most of the trailer.  But I still had to wait until it hit YouTube to get it all in one go.

Each presentation I watched had its own camera screw up, like when Elise Randolph put up a slide of FCs as part of his presentation but the camera stayed on him so we got to watch him, turned away from us and looking at the slide on the big screen, rather than the slide itself.  We were allowed a brief glimpse of the slide after about a minute of Elise’s ass, but it wasn’t enough to pick anybody out.

And none of that was helped by the fact that they felt they needed to keep a corner of the screen reserved for the speaker when showing slides, which covered data on the slides more than a few times.

Yeah, I know, it is tough to be in the booth and make the right calls at times, but when you’ve making the wrong call… change the camera.

Other Things

Then I turned on Twitch at one point and saw what appeared to be CCP staff on a Japanese game show climbing stairs slathered in slippery liquid.

Too little left to the imagination

I have to admit, CCP Guard captured my reaction pretty well.

Look, I just work here…

And, during the warm up intro to EVE Fanfest, CCP Guard pulled out what was perhaps one of the more ironic screen captures from the early era of the game.

For Bumping?

I am not sure what happened since then, but bumping pretty much enables suicide ganking and Burn Jita.  Times have changed.

Anyway, such was Fanfest from afar.  EVE Vegas is coming in October again for those of us unwilling to fly across eight time zones.

March in Review

The Site

Probably the most annoying thing for me has been the unreliability of the blog roll feed side bar widget.  It has been broken more often this past month than any previous time I can recall.  There are times when it just fails to get the RSS feed and shows an error, but this time around there were problems with Pinboard which had some internal issues that caused it to fail to generate the RSS feed at all and, then, when that was fixed, remained stubbornly resistant to tagging posts based on which Feedly feed they came from, which meant the RSS feeds were there but were not getting new items.

This is what I get for using a Rube Goldberg setup that requires at least four services to work correctly and consistently. (And it isn’t always clear which one is to blame.  Sometimes WP.com just times out getting the feed.)

It got to a point where I added a status widget to comment on what was up.  I don’t know if anybody actually noticed that.  The side bar of the blog isn’t a very often used feature.  I can see that some people click on items from the feed when it is working.  However, I suspect I am the biggest user of the feature. (My clicks don’t get counted in my own stats.)

Meanwhile, WP.com has given me a new metric so I am going to use it quarterly to give myself some new data point to post about.

TAGN – Q1 2018

Of course, because I took that screen shot for this post before it went live, this post isn’t counted.  Add one more post and another 2,300 words or so and you’ll be set. (That puts my average words per post back above 1,000.)  Or maybe I’ll update that screen shot after this goes live.  It takes a day for it to update though, and I’ll probably forget by then.

Anyway, I seem to be on track for 336 posts and 330K words this year.

One Year Ago

EverQuest turned eighteen.  Now an adult, it still lives in Daybreak’s basement and grumbles about how it used to be the center of attention before all these younger siblings showed up.

Blizzard officially announced that StarCraft, even older than EverQuest, was getting a remaster.  We suspected it was going to happen, but it was nice to get the official word.

Flying was unleashed in the Broken Isles with the Tomb of Sargeras update to WoW Legion.

The Nintendo Switch launched.  But I was still playing Pokemon Sun on my 3DS XL, binging on the Alola Pokedex.  Then I had to figure out where the National Pokedex was.  It turns out it is in Pokemon Bank.  I was hoping for a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Disney shut down Club Penguin, hoping to force players onto their new mobile app, Club Penguin Island.  Mobile is always better, right?

In Minecraft, the long road to the forest mansion I found was nearly done.

In EVE Online I took a trip out to Oasa and back.

We got the YC119.3 update that nerfed Rorqual mining a bit and gave us warp bubble decay among other things.  Music was included.  A follow on patch let us see our estimated space wealth.

Blog Banter #80 was on the topic of the CSM, something about which I has opinions!  It was a timely topic as the voting for CSM12 was just kicking off.  In the mean time Gevlon declared that CCP was picking winners… though not CSM winners I guess.

We had a dev blog about refineries coming to New Eden.  Moon mining was going to change and it seemed like the end of the POS was coming at last.  There was also an announcement about changing PLEX, breaking it up into 500 pieces and replacing Aurum with PLEX.  But not that free Aurum they gave you, though they relented on that after some outcry.

I was nostalgic for old ship models in New Eden and talking about the tension between grouping and solo again.

And, finally, we had to say good-bye to our cat Oscar after 17 years.

Five Years Ago

Dave Georgeson of SOE said MMOs should never die. A noble sentiment at the time, it rang a bit hollow just a year and five SOE MMO closure announcements later.  Business is business.

I got a seven day pass to Azeroth from Blizzard.  It was nice.  I had some fun, but I wasn’t ready to go back full time yet.

Meanwhile, Blizzard was saying they were blindsided by the popularity of the auction house in Diablo III.  They were nearly a year late on that revelation.

On a similar theme, EA launched a new version of SimCity, pretty much ignoring the obvious expectations the franchise came with.  I could only wonder if they learned anything from their efforts.

The instance group was doing some Rift content as a four player group.  This was the time of our long hiatus, though we got a full group now and again.  And when it was just the three of us, we ended up playing Neverwinter Nights 2 instead.

In EVE Online we were chasing around Deklein, flying the Tech Fleet doctrine, and bagging a carrier or two.

EON Magazine was closing its doors, marking the end of an era in EVE Online.

EverQuest hit its 14 year anniversary, and there was some talk about the camera view’s influence on the game’s popularity.

I was still playing World of Tanks and had hit the 2,000 battle mark.  I was out there with the KV-3 and the ARL 44.

I finished up all the things in Wayfaerer Foothills, which sort of ended my time in Guild Wars 2.

Then there was the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, which seemed more marketing tool than funding effort, and which hit its number in 11 days.  Still, Lord British felt the need to stir the pot by declaring most game designers suck… and are lazy… and are not as good as him.  Then he claimed he was taken out of context and not just saying things for cheap publicity.  As the month closed, his Kickstarter was wrapping up, but Camelot Unchained was coming.

It was announced that Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was getting updated to run on modern machines with better graphics.  That set me on five other older games that I wished would get a similar revamp, which I think was more useful than just declaring that game developers need to innovate.

Finally, I was looking for input on some actual, real world things.

Ten Years Ago

I was again ruminating about the whole “Why So Much Fantasy in MMORPGs?” thing, this time on the shores of chaos.

We started to see the end of the “Brent hand picks the news” era over at VirginWorlds.  The reign of myself and CrazyKinux was near to an end.

I got a Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond for my birthday!  Then a copy of Pokemon Pearl showed up as well to complete the set.  On Friday’s I was looking for a balloon.

EverQuest celebrated its 9th anniversary.  A very nice time line print of the game was posted over at the EQ Dev blog to celebrate, along with a video.

In Lord of the Rings Online some sites were speculating about future expansions.  And then Turbine announced The Mines of Moria Meanwhile, I was trying to give out some founder’s referrals.  I never gave them all out and, at this point, I don’t think they are a thing anymore.

In World of Warcraftpatch 2.4 was the latest end-of-the-world panic.  I was trying out Alterac Valley trying to get a mount, not reading that I needed to get exalted reputation to buy it.  I was also racing against a boat.  Meanwhile the instance group made it to Shattrath and then hit the Blood Furnace while my wife and her friends were drinking apple-tinis.

In EVE Online I learned that there was a cap of fifty days on production lines.  I was also trying to break up with an R&D agent and fitting out a new Drake.  We got a “log off” button with the Trinity 1.1 patch.

Official forums were the talk again for a bit, as Marc Jacobs said he wasn’t going to have them for Warhammer Online.  No, the Warhammer Herald (to be created in the image of the Camelot Herald) was going to be enough.  Well, we know how that worked out.

It was announced that SOE would be moved in the Sony organization from reporting up through Sony Pictures to reporting in through the PlayStation organization.  There was also the EQ2Flames drama where the forum was uninvited from all future participation in SOE events, at which point the site went all out to burn any remaining bridges with SOE. (From VirginWorlds Podcast #109)

And, finally, ten years ago Gary Gygax left us.  We still miss him because we still feel his influence every day.

Twenty Years Ago

StarCraft hit the shelves 20 years ago today.  As I recall we all went to Fry’s at lunch to buy a copy the day it came out.  You can buy a remastered copy from Blizzard if you want, or download the original for free.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  7. Rift Prime Time
  8. The Road to CSM13
  9. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  10. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  11. Spring Movie League – Wrinkle in the Mix
  12. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More

Search Terms of the Month

top subscription based mmo titles
[Pretty much WoW and FFXIV at this point]

bufn jita
[bufn it good]

portable hole wallpaper
[I have a problem visualizing that]

everquest next landmark emulator
[Oh dear no]

delta force 2 fps
[Maybe you need to upgrade your hardware?]

project gorgon meme
[I am not sure it is popular enough for that]

EVE Online

I was in for some of Burn Jita early in the month and went on ops when I could, however it has been a busy month around our house and the time slot for normal ops, which often require setting aside a couple of hours even for a “quick” op, has kept me from being online much during the back half of March.  Other than that there has been the somewhat tepid start of the run up to the CSM13 election.  I’m not sure CCP thought through the results of the changes they implemented.  It feels like they slowed everything down too much.  You can’t really cover a campaign very well until there is an official list of candidates.

Minecraft

I have logged in a bit now and again.  Minecraft remains excellent for times when I want to listen to a podcast or audio book that requires more mental attention that your typical MMORPG leaves free.  Mining and building in Minecraft leaves enough bandwidth for me to listen to Planet Money or the Arms Control Wonk podcast and not loose track of what is going on.  So work on the long overland rail line to the norther forest mansion continued.  In fact, it is almost done.

Pokemon Go

And, speaking of games that don’t take a lot of mental bandwidth, I managed to get to level 32 in Pokemon Go largely through my persistence in playing for at least enough every day to catch at least one Pokemon and visit at least one Pokestop, giving me the daily and weekly bonus xp.

My current state of affairs:

  • Level: 32 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 294 (+10) caught, 335 (+12) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it remains elusive
  • Current buddy: Pupitar; needs four candies to evolve, but I only get one every 5km

Rift

With Rift Prime I was back into “not Azeroth” again.  And it has been pretty good.  It wasn’t the overwhelming nostalgia wave that hanging around in front of Qeynos killing snakes and kobolds with a mass of other people can bring on… though it is really in Blackburrow or West Karana that I start hitting nostalgia overload… but it was, and remains, good.  As I have said way too many times, the zone Freemarch zone design is very good.

Of course, there have been problems with the server.  And Freemarch is like the Deadmines in WoW, and early slice of good design after which the content can vary wildly in quality.  But for the moment I am on board with it for another month.

World of Warcraft

With the coming of Rift Prime and a busy month something had to give.  Play time in Azeroth was way down.  I did log in just enough to keep progress going on unlocking the last two allied races… I am very close on both… but otherwise I haven’t done much since Darkmoon Faire.  The next Darkmoon Faire will likely seal the deal for my allied race unlocks, at which point it might be time to set WoW aside to wait for the coming Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion events to kick off at some point this summer.

Other Games

I did load up Shroud of the Avatar now that it has officially released, and have been giving it a bit of a test drive.  It is kind of interesting in sort of a built-from-scratch new-yet-retro awkward sort of way.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is April Fools… but it is also Easter.  Will Blizz be up to its usual hi-jinks over a holiday weekend?

We will see if the new quest mechanics in Pokemon Go lead to more play… and more pay… for the game.

For EVE Online Fanfest is coming up on the 12th.  We will see if CCP has anything new to announce.  One thing we should get is the candidate list for the CSM13 election.  And maybe a date for that as well?  Am I asking too much?

At some point in the coming week my 30 days of Patron status is going to expire and I will have to decide if I carry on with Rift Prime or not.

I’ve put in an hour or so into Shroud of the Avatar, but I feel like I could spend more time with it, that it would be worth the effort.  We’ll see if I find the time and inclination.

I might also finish up that rail line in Minecraft.