Tag Archives: EVE Vegas

Headed to EVE Vegas 2017

As this post goes live I am probably standing in line at the airport hoping that Southwest has their act together when it comes to my flight to Las Vegas.  That flight is taking me to my third year at EVE Vegas.

EVE Vegas 2017 – SOLD OUT

Once there I will likely be hobnobbing with the usual crowd of bloggers, podcasters, and other EVE Online media types who are, honestly, about the only people who know me there.  To my knowledge I will be the only one from my corp to attend and last year there was only one other pilot from my alliance in attendance, so prospects there are low.  Not that they would know me.  I am horrible at actually doing things with my own corp or alliance.

Pilots of the Imperium will be out in force though, and I hope to spot a few fellow Reavers.

Events at EVE Vegas include the usual company presentations… I expect we’ll get some new details about the Life Blood expansion coming later this month…, promotions for other CCP products, player presentations, the Saturday night party, and a special screening of Blade Runner 2049 with proceeds going to the Able Gamers charity.

There is a dev post up about the event with further details.

Those attending the event are also eligible for some discounts, which is probably a good thing as Vegas is not a cheap date.  It was $13 for a Jack and Coke at the Heart Bar last year.

For those not attending CCP will be streaming presentations on their Twitch channel and has a schedule up.

Streaming Schedule for EVE Vegas 2017

Anyway, I am off to Vegas to see what I shall see.

EVE Vegas 2017 coming October 6-8

One of the final announcements at EVE Fanfest in Iceland was the dates for this year’s EVE Vegas.  The EVE Vegas site has been updated with details and tickets are now available. (Though the super-early bird tickets are already sold out.)

Vegas Baby!

The dates are October 6th through 8th and the venue this year will be the Linq Hotel, one of the Caesar’s family of establishments.

The Linq on the strip

It is on the strip across from Caesar’s and not too far from other fine establishments and attractions/distractions.

Where on the strip

Last year EVE Vegas was on Halloween weekend at Planet Hollywood.  The venue was fine, but the dates meant flights and rooms were in-demand and pricey.  This year, at the other end of October, room rates look to be more modest and discount airfares are available.

So the question is, will you be able to make it to Vegas?

Following in the Footsteps of Vegas Alpha

At EVE Vegas one of the presentations was from CCP Rise.  Ostensibly it was about the new clone states, but it was really about his own experiment in-game playing a clone with only the skill set that an Alpha clone will be allowed come the Ascension expansion.  It was a great presentation in an goofy sort of way and I enjoyed it immensely.  You can watch it here if you like.

CCP Rise’s basic plan was to create an Alpha clone skilled character and see what he could do with it in real fights on Tranquility.  And so the character Vegas Alpha was born.  You can see his combat record over at zKillboard.  He set out to kill a Svipul and managed to do that and more.

In watching the presentation, I was particularly interested in his fit for the Gallente Thorax cruiser.  It is hull tanked, which seems like an interestingly deceptive choice.  When somebody is shooting you and the blow through your shields and armor, they are unlikely to suddenly spook and run away when they hit structure.  But that is where the bulk of the hit points are on this fit.  So I stored that fit away to play with another day.  Here it is in EFT format if you like.

[Thorax, Vegas Alpha]

Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler

Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Ion Particle Accelerator I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Transverse Bulkhead I
Medium Transverse Bulkhead I
Medium Transverse Bulkhead I

Acolyte I x5

That is maybe the third ship fitting I have posted in ten years.  The drones are different, but you can change that out if you like.

On Saturday night I was sitting around.  My wife was watching hockey, my daughter playing online with her friends, so I had some free time but no plan.  I wasn’t feeling like WoW, I’d already played enough Stellaris for the week, and there were not any fleets going in EVE Online, so I was just sitting there wondering what to do.  I decided to go fit up a few Thoraxes.

As I mentioned previously, I have a Gallente character that I have been training up to have all of the Alpha clone skills available to him.  Enter Reynaldo Fabulous again.  As of Saturday night he was still a couple of skills shy of a full Alpha loadout, but he was close.  Close enough that I sent him some ISK from my main so he could get out of his implant clone, fit five Thoraxes, and go on an adventure.  I undocked, set a course for Saranen, the only low sec system that sprang to mind, and headed that way.

Thorax away!

Thorax away!

The goal here was to find a fight and lose or, should I win, find another fight and so on until the ship got blown up.  The ship was insured, wasn’t that expensive, and what the hell, right?

This was, of course, pretty much opposite day for me, a bizarro world reversal of my usual intent when traveling alone in New Eden.  It is always work to not get into a fight, so actually getting into one ought to be easy, right?

Oh, the other side of the coin.

When I travel and don’t get caught I just think I’ve been lucky.  But here I was out in low sec on a Saturday night trying to find somebody, anybody to shoot at and not having any luck.  I was there to take the fight, any fight, it just wasn’t happening.  Sitting on gates, sitting on station undocks, going to anomalies, all came up dry.  Granted, I might have been less than patient, but trouble seems to find me when I am flying an industrial.

I wandered around from system to system, heading towards Okagaiken, another name I seem to remember, which got me into Black Rise and factional warfare.  I played with factional warfare for about two hours when it came out back in… wow, was that 2008… and haven’t really thought about it since.  But there were more people in these systems, so I thought I would see if I could catch somebody.

I first found a Kestrel sitting still in a site about 100km off from where I landed.  This being the best opportunity I had run across so far, I lit the MWD and headed towards him.  He didn’t seem to notice, though when I got about half way to him I saw that he was in LAWN, an Imperium alliance and started to wonder if I should shoot him or not.  Technically Reynaldo is in a non-Imperium corp, but the info page about that corp shows Wilhelm Arcturus as its founder, and shooting blues is frowned upon.  However, he woke up long before I got into range and warp off.  Decision averted.

So I started hitting other sites, looking for targets.  I actually got in range of a couple, like this guy.

Locking up Peon Neon

Locking up Peon Neon

Yeah, he was in a frigate and I was in a cruiser, but I was long past being picky.  That was actually my second go at him.  I warped into his site, he warped off, so I warped off, then I warped back to the site almost immediately and found him right back there again.  Cocky!  And I was almost on top of him so I was able to lock him up and throw all the goodies on him… and he shook off my tackle and warped away again.

I got some opportunity rewards for that, but no kill.

I did the things and got paid

I did the things and got paid

Oh, to feel the pain of being Rixx Javix, a hunter in a land of warp core stabilizers.

I had a couple more encounters like that before I got bored of the failed tackle routine.  I figured I was close to null sec at that point, I would take a gate there.  For sure somebody would shoot me in null sec.

Headed to Cloud Ring

Headed to Cloud Ring

I wandered through Cloud Ring, warping straight between gates, getting caught in unattended drag bubbles, motoring my way to gates, only once did I see another ship… an industrial who probably was cursing their ill luck but who got away safely before I could close.  Luck favored him rather than me in the end.

At this point I was past the two hour mark and was looking to resolve this in a fight sooner rather than later, so I set my course for DO6H-Q, that intersection between Fade, Deklein, and Pure Blind that is also, if I recall right, the capital system for Brave Newbies.  Somebody would be home there!

Traveling there was uneventful.  More unattended drag bubbles and empty systems.  I landed in DO6H-Q, but nobody was at the gate to greet me.  I warped around to a couple of locations only to come up empty, so I decided to go kick the hornet’s nest and warp to 100km off their station.

That got me some attention.  A small group landed on me, pretty much ensuring my doom, so I tried to pull range on them in the hope that I might be able to turn on one of my pursuers and finish them before they all piled on.  However, their tackle got on me pretty quick.  I closed with them and got him down to structure before I got hit with EWar and lost lock.  My drones were out and carried on the fight, but it wasn’t enough.  The ship exploded, followed shortly by my pod and I was quickly back in Jita where I started.  They got a little something for their evening, while I got an insurance payout and another opportunity bonus.

Death pays... at least the first time

Death pays… at least the first time

And that was that for my first Thorax run.  I have a few more handy, though I think the next time I give this a try I will go out earlier in the evening.  It was already late-ish USTZ when I started (PCU was ~20k), so maybe if I dial it back to late-ish EUTZ I won’t have to wander so far before I find somebody willing to blow me up.

Anyway, that was my Vegas Alpha inspired adventure, a clone that has since been biomassed.  Maybe someday Reynaldo will get a Svipul too.

 

SKIN Job

It has been interesting times for people who like ship skins in EVE Online.

I am a fan of ship skins myself.  At least the good ones.  Unfortunately, there have been precious few of those, especially for Minmatar.  Even Johnny Bench can’t get paint to stick to that much rust I guess.

But things have been getting better, and look to be improving greatly going forward.

We had the Purity of the Throne event, which provided a clean white paint job for every Amarr hull.  I wear that on my Guardian for a medical white logi look.

My Guardian with the white skin

My Guardian with the white skin

And then there was the Crimson Harvest event, which had its own set of skins.  But then EVE Vegas came along and a whole bright new future of skins opened before us.

At the keynote they announced a new skin, the Star Captain, for the Amarr Confessor hull.

Expected to be popular in USTZ

Expected to be popular in USTZ

Then there was also something about skins that would work across multiple hulls, a hint about new skin technology coming “soon,” as well as the announcement that current skins would be seeing a massive price drop come the Ascension expansion.  Examples given were:

  • Astero Sanctuary for 400 AUR (~75% down from 1540)
  • Hulk ORE development for 250 AUR (~90% down from 2390)
  • Revelation EoM for 400 AUR (~90% down from 3445)

Cheap skins for everybody!  As EVE Hermit succinctly put it, stop buying skins!  They will soon be much more affordable.

With the talk of skins up front, I decided to go to the Art & Visual Effects Update presentation, though it was not an easy choice.  There were gaps of time with just a single presentation, and then during that one hour there were three I wanted to attend.  CCPlease… schedule better.  But with the skins, and my general joy in the visual aspects of the game, that panel won out.

And while some of it was review of what had already been put in the game, there was plenty to look forward to in the talk as well, including new explosions.

But on the skin front, the big item was “Pattern Projection Technology.”

If you want to see that part of the panel, it is part of the day two stream recording on Twitch.tv and starts at 2:09:25.

This involved a demonstration of how, with the current set of models, CCP is able to more easily apply decals, patterns, and colors to ships.

Apocalypse battleship with some pattern and color variations

Apocalypse battleship with some pattern and color variations

Up on Imagur somebody posted a gallery of the ships shown from that part of the presentation, though unfortunately the gallery starts with a possible new model for the Chimera carrier, which was unrelated to the skins segment.  The pattern projection tech begins on image two and goes through some stages showing more and more complex patterns, along with some test skins they were able to quickly create with this.

Further on they showed some skins that they plan to have available around the Ascension launch, including the Versus set, which looks perfect thing for Red vs. Blue to use to rally people to their cause.

Red vs. Blue, each with a seed of the other

Red vs. Blue, each with a seed of the other

There was not much in the way of details when it came to when we might see some of these new skins.  However, the fact that skins will suddenly be much, much cheaper come Ascension indicates to me that we will see some pretty quickly after launch.

Of course, the pattern projection technology led to people projecting their own wishes and dreams on the future of skins.  I heard one person assume that players would be able to work with patterns, something that one might have been able to loosely infer from the keynote (there was a passing mention of patterns for fleets), but which was never said explicitly.  And then, of course, any number of people took the club symbol used in the demo and mentally put their corp or alliance logo in its place and said, “I want that!”  I didn’t see anything that said we were getting anything like that, but we can dream I suppose.

It has been a long time since we first started talking about decorating ships.

You would fly this, I know it

I’m pretty sure this has been around since ~2007

CCP has been through a couple of false starts along the way.  But I think with the tech in place to make skin creation easier along with better pricing come Ascension means we will see more skins in space… at least on the undock or in fleets.  It is still tough to see other people’s ships when passing in space, but you can see your own.  And I want my ship to be colorful.

EVE Vegas – Like Finds Like and Other Things

Back from EVE Vegas and I am still tired.  And, since it was Halloween on Monday I flew back home just in time for more things going on.  No rest for the weary.  I heard that CCP chose the weekend because they thought it would be a good date for a party, but I am not sure anybody has problems finding a party on Halloween.  But I was there.

Various bits of EVE Vegas

Various bits of EVE Vegas 2016

Lots of interesting things were announced or talked about during the event.  My favorite tidbit of data involved how many citadels there were in New Eden.  The count, as of the art presentation (which also gave us the new explosions video) on Sunday, was:

  • Astrahus – 6,690 with 90 more coming online
  • Fortizar – 747 with another 30 in progress
  • Keepstar – 14 in space

That is a lot of citadels deployed in New Eden.

They didn’t say how many Keepstars were being deployed, but one went up in our own staging system last night.

Goons have a Keepstar

Goons have a Keepstar

Its deployment probably went unnoticed because our staging system has citadels the way Jita has station.

Anyway, lots of stuff at EVE Vegas that people are writing about.  You can find summaries over at The Nosy Gamer and at NevilleSmit.com (post 1, post 2, and post 3)

I have some thoughts of my own rattling around my head, especially about the bright future of ship skins in New Eden, but I am tired and there are kids outside looking for candy so I am going to save that for another day.

Instead I want to look at some minor bit of EVE Vegas that I find interesting, which is who I spent time talking with at the event.  The list, in no particular order:

There are probably a couple missing from that list, but since I generally can’t even remember what I had for breakfast by the time lunch rolls around most days, the fault is mine not yours.

Mark726 and I at the Chateau party

Mark726 and I at the Chateau party

So yes, there is a pretty clear pattern there.  That list is mostly people in EVE Online fan media whose work I had listened to or read before Vegas and who were, in most cases, at least somewhat aware of me and my blog.  (This blog, and not EVE Online Pictures, my official fan site blog, which nobody knows exists.)

Myself, Neville Smit, and Nosy (Note the unintentionally on point sign in the lower left)

Myself, Neville Smit, and Nosy (Note the unintentionally on point sign in the lower left)

And just to sort of round that theme out, I know Gabby through Twitter (she was literally the first person I spoke to at EVE Vegas last year) while Debes used to comment frequently on EVE posts here (until I went to null sec), so they really fit the pattern as well.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t talk to anybody else.  I spoke for just a bit with Robby Kasparic, who contributes to Imperium News and is in Reavers, and meant to get back to chat with him some more but never quite managed it.  For example, I also met DBRB, who is exceptionally pleasant in person, Lady Scarlet, and The Mittani at various points during the event.  But those were all in passing moments and as like as not I was forgotten pretty quickly.

Out of 800+ people at the event, that really wasn’t a lot of people.  I spoke to two CCP people during the whole thing; CCP Logibro, to give him a TNT pin to add to the collection he had on his badge lanyard, and CCP Guard, because I was on his team for the trivia quiz. (Hint: Always be on Mark726’s team for such events.  His team won while ours came in last with 9 points out of 40, though CCP Guard knew the answers when it came to questions about events in 2003.)

And part of that is because of me.  Manic Velocity gave a talk title “Scaling the Social Cliff of EVE Online” where he spoke about how it can be a problem for an introvert like himself to come to events like EVE Vegas and actually talk to strangers, which I would have loudly agreed with if I wasn’t too introverted for that.  It is nearly impossible for me to walk up to a group of strangers already talking and join in.  I’ll look away and walk past and hate me for being me while I look for somebody I know.

But another part is in my motivation in going to Vegas, which isn’t primarily to party or gamble or drink exotic alcoholic milkshakes, though I may indulge in that sort of thing.

Holsteins - That is a slice of pumpkin pie on the left milkshake

Holsteins – That is a slice of pumpkin pie on the left milkshake

And I certainly went to the Chateau party.

The DJ was pretty spot on picking music for the EVE Vegas crowd

The DJ was pretty spot on picking music for the EVE Vegas crowd

But I think my prime motivation in going to EVE Vegas was to talk about EVE Online with other players, and doubly so in the face of announcements that CCP puts out at these event.  And actually talking about the game, its people, and various related issues from running a stream to what makes a news site “work” for readers is difficult to do with more than a few people.  Even at the blogger lunch that Marcus Scarus threw together, where there was not a huge crowd, we broke into smaller groups at times to talk about different topics.

So talking to a lot of people wasn’t necessarily a key objective.  Talking to some of the “right” people was, and I think things turned out pretty well with the list of people above.  Thanks for spending time talking with me.

Also, a special shout out to Dirk MacGirk because conversation is enhanced when somebody hands you an awesome T-shirt.

The Open Comms Show T-Shirt, graphics by Rixx Javix

The Open Comms Show T-Shirt, graphics by Rixx Javix

So now to figure out how to get to Vegas again next year.

Also, in closing, there is one more odd aspect to all of this, which is what do you call people?  And how do you introduce yourself?  We all have our real name, our in-game name, and sometimes a different name under which we blog or stream.

When I met The Mittani we ran into him at the Cosmopolitan.  He introduced himself as “Alex” so I returned with, “John,” both our real life names.  But he came our way because I was standing with Noizy, whom he has met in the past, and started talking to him.  However, I still don’t know what Noizy’s real life name is and only vaguely recall his in-game name.  There isn’t any great message in all of that, just a glimpse at the oddity of our various identities.

Finally, I was told several times that there was one other person from TNT, my alliance, who attended EVE Vegas.  However, this always came up when I arrived and he had just left, so I never actually met him.  Ah well, maybe next year.

Friday Bullet Points – STO, SuperData, Legends of Norrath, and EVE Online

It is another Friday where I have some topics rattling around that I want to mention but am not really keen to make full posts about.  And so we return to bullet points… the format of which seems to have moved away from actual bullet points over the last few posts.

STO on Consoles

Start Trek Online never did much for me, but it does keep chugging along as the title made the jump to consoles last week.

Never not final frontier

Never not final frontier

Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios have brought the six year old game to PlayStation 4 and XBox One, updating the control scheme for the consoles so that players can enjoy all those episodes of content, some console exclusives, and the joy of lock boxes, from the comfort of their family room.  I am mildly surprised at the move.

The Ghost of Legends of Norrath

And speaking of lock boxes, the late SOE/Daybreak collectable card game Legends of Norrath may have gone west back in August, but the spirit of its loot cards carries on, haunting the cash shop.  Loot cards from the second season of the game… which must put them from about 2008 I would guess… will be available from the Daybreak Store in simulated foil packs that prevent you from knowing what you’re going to get until you’ve paid for it.  This was done previously for season one of the game.  While I am sure there is some hard core completionist out there looking to complete their collection, I couldn’t begin to tell you what any season had to offer, so for me this isn’t even a pig in a poke, but mystery wrapped in an enigma and listed in the cash shop.

SuperData July Numbers

I just like the SuperData charts every month. (June’s here)  A single chart by itself can be dubious, but a series of charts created using even flawed data gathering methodologies can provide unintended insights.

SuperData Sez - July 2016

SuperData Sez – July 2016

I don’t have any such insights yet, but there is the chart.  More of the same, with Pokemon Go making its debut at the top of the mobile chart.  We’ll see what the August chart looks like soon enough, once it shows up on the SuperData Blog.

EVE Omega Rewards

With the coming of the very New Eden flavor of Free to Play this November, some of the usual parts of the transition parade have made their appearances, including a bonus package to remind current subscribers that they are indeed special snowflakes and of great value to the company.  There is even a special ship, the Society of Conscious Thought destroyer the Sunesis, the name of which I expect to be mangled on coms should we ever see one in space.

The Sunesis looks a bit flimsy

The Sunesis looks a bit flimsy

However, in order to get any of that bonus pack you have to have an account subscribed and in good standing by 23:59 UTC on September 16, 2016.  Considering that today is the 16th and that this post is going live at 17:15 UTC, that doesn’t leave you much time to get on the spaceship gravy train.

EVE Vegas

EVE Vegas is coming at the end of October and I am on board to attend.  The list of announced speakers include Dave Andrews of Just for Crits who is going to be giving a talk about EVE Online bloggers and streams as we glare at him, daring him to call us out.  Also, he used to work for SOE, so I have a few, “Seriously, WTF?” questions for him.  Might have to wait until drinks have been flowing for a bit at the Saturday night party.

Vegas baby!

Vegas baby!

The event is not that far off, to the point that I ought to be encouraging people to buy their tickets NOW before they sell out, but it sounds like tickets are still available in quantity.  I think the dates chosen, October 28-30… the weekend before Halloween, which falls on a Monday this year… was perhaps sub-optimal, as people often have plans for that and, of course, it is a party weekend in Vegas so cheap rooms and discount flights are sparse.  On the bright side, this is probably one weekend where any cosplay will totally not stand out.

More information about the event is available at the official EVE Vegas site.

Friday Bullet Points from Beyond the Blog

Or just some tidbits I want to bring up which didn’t quite justify posts of their own.

Nintendo and More Nostalgia Validation

As part of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, Nintendo released Virtual Console version of the original Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on February 27th of this year.

Old games come to the Virtual Console

Old games come to the Virtual Console

They just reported some sales numbers, which included more 1.5 million copies of those three titles.  Not bad for 20 year old games.  Of course, as I noted, vanilla Pokemon, if you will, plays pretty well.

EverQuest II hits Game Update 100

I can’t recall if EQII has gone through every number, 1-99, with updates, but still, hitting 100 is something of note.  And this update has a bit of a nostalgia twist to it.  While I’m not exactly thrilled about the owl mounts, the re-use of Zek, the orcish wastes zone for additional content has me happy.  It has always been one of my favorites among the original zones, probably for its consistent/coherent “orcs, orcs, orcs” theme.

I won’t be playing it however.  For openers, I think my highest level characters are still in Kunark… which is late 2007 content.  And then there is the fact that I am still pottering around on the Stormhold nostalgia server, where I am level 22.

Nostalgia on Wayne!

Nostalgia on Wayne!  Often the theme of this blog.

However, Stormhold still seems to be lively enough.  There aren’t five versions of The Commonlands running any more, but Freeport always has a couple versions running due to population.  Still, it is nostalgia one way or the other.  That seems to be a theme of late.

Blizzard Might Give You a Free Copy of Warlords of Draenor

Way back after Blizz announced the Warlords of Draenor expansion, I had a post about phishing attempt offering a free version of the expansion.  One of the key tells was Blizz giving you a free copy of… well… anything.

Of course, things change.  As Keen reports, Blizz now has an offer out to long lapsed subscribers offering them some free game time as well as a FREE copy of Warlords of Draenor.

Nostalgic old WoW logo, image swiped from Keen and cropped

Nostalgic old WoW logo, image swiped from Keen and cropped

Blizz must be staring at the reality of a long spring/summer until WoW Legion hits.  They stopped announcing subscription numbers last year, but it would be hard to imagine they have gone up from 5.5 million in the last six months.

Of course, this offer has only gone out to people who didn’t purchase Warlords of Draenor, which is making me think about my pre-order of WoW Legion.  Given that my post-Cataclysm experiences in WoW have generally been best when I am late to the expansion party… being a year late to Mists of Panderia was excellent timing… I am tempt to just cancel my pre-order and wait a year or so until Blizz is ready to give me a free copy of WoW Legion.  Or until they open a retro server.  One or the other.

DC Universe Online and on XBox One

Well, the first title for the company formerly known as SOE has made it to the XBox.  As promised earlier this year, the five year old DC Universe Online has gone live on the Microsoft console platform.

XBox One! Would you like to know more?

XBox One! Would you like to know more?

Back during the Daybreak transition, this was one of Smed’s selling points, the ability to get titles on to XBox.  We shall see if it was worth the effort.  But at least they made their “Spring 2016” target.  Making dates is generally a good sign.

Diablo III Season 6 Starts Tonight

Just a passing note on this.  I had a lot of fun with Diablo III and Season 5… right up until the moment I got that last achievement and stopped logging in.  Goal driven much?  Still, the Season thing seems to work well, especially for those of us who are goal drive.  And here comes Season 6.

It has a 6 on a leaf, because leaves are seasons or something

It has a 6 on a leaf, because leaves are seasons or something

However I am not sure at this point if Season 6 is in the cards for me.  I might need to skip a season to keep it fresh.  I would want to play a fresh character again, but not another crusader, so I would have to figure that out.  And I would have to see if the rewards appeal to me at all.

EVE Vegas is Coming

One of the final announcement at EVE Fanfest this past weekend was the date for EVE Vegas this year, which has sort of become the US EVE Fanfest.   The official EVE Vegas site has all the details.

The would be Halloween weekend

The would be Halloween weekend

Tickets went on sale while players were still in Iceland and the early bird discount tickets were gone in a flash.  I am tempted to go.  I had a good time last year.  However, Halloween weekend seems like an awkward time to plan such an event.  It will definitely not be an “off” weekend for the strip, which means prices for everything will be up and venues will be crowded.  Not a problem for the party animals I am sure, but for a grumpy old guy who prefers discussion groups with maybe four or five people, this might not be the ideal date.  Anyway, tickets are going fast so my decision to go or not might be made for me.

Anyway, those are all the items that I had on my list of notes.  Tomorrow there will be an end of month post and then we will be in May.

Leaving EVE Vegas

If you follow my Twitter feed at all… and hell, it is there on the side bar down towards the bottom, so no excuse even if you don’t… you probably figured out that I went to EVE Vegas this past weekend.

EVE Vegas Baby!

EVE Vegas Baby!

My wife and I actually flew in Thursday afternoon to have a bit of time for ourselves in Vegas before events started to take their course.  And then, suddenly it was Sunday evening and I was in a cab to the airport and the whole thing was winding down.

So, in order to try and organize my thoughts, possibly for future posts, I am going to go over some highlights of the whole thing.  This is more stream of consciousness than any attempt at a strict summary of things.

Keynote

The EVE Vegas Keynote was the big reveal, the introduction to the upcoming features, some of which had been talked about before, like the upcoming structures, and some new ones, like the capital ship rework.  Both of those appeared to be slated for the Citadel expansion in the spring.

Coming Spring 2016

Coming Spring 2016

There were also some smaller items, coming sooner, such as the new ice mining frigate. the endurance, and new hit effects for ships.  For the latter, some shield hit effects were shown,  and they look really cool. (They start at about 50:30 in the keynote video on YouTube.)

There are also changes coming to the camera.  You will be able to move the camera with being focused on a ship or other in-space object and you’ll be able to focus on things more than 100km away.  There is also a first person mode in the works.

Then there were media and goodies.  CCP had stuff for sale at the convention and announced that some items would be available before Christmas through the site Think Geek.  There was a mention of Andrew Groen’s upcoming Empires of EVE book that so many of us pledged for in the Kickstarter way back when, and a new initiative between The Mittani.com media and the author Jeff Edwards to create a pilot’s view telling of the 2013 war in Fountain. (For those who need a reminder, I have my own timeline of the war.)

Then CCP Seagull finished up by thanking us all for coming, said she would see us at the pub crawl, waved, and walked off stage.  The audience then, almost as one, stood up to leave… at which point somebody came out to remind us that the EVE Valkyrie keynote was up next and we should all leave.  I stayed for that… though I cannot recall a single thing… but most people wandered off.  Sucks to be the poor relation.

Anyway, unlike Noizy, I came out of the keynote quite upbeat.  Yes, that was in part because nearly every game related item they spoke of involved null sec, though I would point out that capital ships are a thing in low and WH space, while citadels will be everywhere… except Thera… which is where Noizy lives, so I guess I can see his point of view.

Social

A mistake on my part was to arrive in Vegas without any plan to meet up with anybody.  Going to a convention where I know nobody personally and, thus, have little or no chance of actually recognizing anybody and being somebody who can find it difficult to approach and start speaking to strangers, especially if they are already in a group and talking… well, not an optimum scenario.

Still, I muddled through, largely thanks to my wife, who was a sales rep for years and is the type who makes lifelong friends in the line at the grocery store.  Of course, there were some false starts.

In line for badge pickup… because a couple hundred of us decided that we needed to pick up our badges right at 11am when registration opened… I resolved to speak to the people around me in line.  So I turned to the two guys behind me who were chatting and said that we were all obviously EVE players and asked what part of the game they played in.

And they said that no, they did not actually play EVE.  Their boss plays EVE and he had sent them down to collect his pass.  This is who I end up standing next to.

Though it wasn’t too bad.  They were game devs and they had both tried EVE at some point.  They worked on the game Gray Goo, which is available on Steam.  So we talked about video game industry stuff, the price of living in Vegas, and where to find alcohol cheaper than the cash bar that was setup near the registration desk.  My wife had them covered on that front. a conversation that spilled over to the people in front of us.

An extra shot is just $2.00 more, making them reasonably potent

An extra shot is just $2.00 more, making them reasonably potent

Soon several people had very large beverages in tow.

I did end up talking to some other people in line, including fellow Reaver Victor Fel.  But I was not particularly social.  I spent a lot of time at sessions and such sitting by myself.

Dinner Friends

I did however, manage to find some people to hang out with.  Thanks to the fact that Gabby uses an actual picture of herself for her Twitter profile, so I was able to spot her at breakfast in the PBR Rock Bar. (Which, by the way, serves the most excellent tater tots as a side with many of their breakfast items.  This was the only place we ate at twice.)  Later we caught up with her and some of her fellow corp mates from Signal Cartel, the people who run the EVE-Scout site that is so near and dear to the hearts of many space travelers.

Rather than go on the pub crawl, which was sold out in addition to likely being beyond my ability to handle, my wife and I joined Signal Cartel for a bit of Las Vegas exploration.  We were headed to Lotus of Siam, a place alleged to be the best Thai restaurant in the US.  I am not sure who says this, but that was the story and we were willing to run with it.

There were nine of us with a vague idea as to were the place might be at the cab stand.  But we figured how could a Vegas cab drive NOT know where the best Thai restaurant is.

We ended up split across three cabs.  The guy at the cab stand knew where we were headed and gave the driver the cross streets to head to, but before we got to the street in front of the hotel, the driver had lost all of that and was asking where we were going.

Pro tip: Short term memory is a very important trait for a cab driver.

We told him what the guy at the cab stand said and he started off in what we assumed to be the right direction, burning down the road in that little cab like he had an extremely lucrative fare to pick up after he dropped us off.  At one point, when he was weaving in and out of lanes and thrashing that poor little motor for a bit more speed, my wife dryly asked what sort of race car he was driving.  The driver, bereft of both short term memory and a sense of irony explained that it was a Scion xB and a very reliable car.

We did manage to arrive at the destination, though not before the drive had to pull out his Android phone, get Google maps running, and have my wife say the name of the restaurant so that he could get directions again.  I was a bit worried, as from the street side the place looked like it might be abandoned.  But the parking lot side of the building showed it to be open for business.  Gabby paid for the cab and, though I bought her a beer, I still owe her some money from that ride.  Next Vegas?

Of course, with nine of us showing up on a Friday night, there was something of a wait.  Fortunately they had a huge bar area… large enough that one might wonder which that wasn’t a dining area… where we were able to push some tables together and sit around and talk for a bit.  In a stroke of luck, Johnny Splunk brought along his wife Jamie who, like my wife, doesn’t play EVE, so they were able to have a non-video game conversation at one end of the table while the rest of us recounted tales of internet spaceships.

Eventually we were dragged from our reverie and had some dinner.  It was decent Thai food, but no better than the Thai place I go to near our house, so it seems like there is a very fine line separating “best” and “runner up” in the whole Thai restaurant category.

Sitting at Dinner

Sitting at Dinner

I like this picture because due to the way we present ourselves and my own short term memory issues (I could never be a cab driver or a waiter, I forgot stuff in two seconds) this is the only common baseline I have for everybody’s name.  I know some of their real names, I know some of their in-game names, for those who blog I know their blogger handles, but Twitter is the only place where I can identify almost everybody.

Anyway, a great time was had and a few of us decided to walk over to the Las Vegas monorail for the trip back to the hotel.  This involved a stretch through a pretty sketchy neighborhood… and, as always, everything in Vegas seems closer than it actually is… but we arrived safely and took a ride on the rail.

The Party

The party at the Chateau club at the Paris Hotel was quite a thing.  We were running late but felt we had best eat BEFORE starting in on the drinking.  As there were no snacks or hors d’oeuvres at the party, just free alcohol, that turned out to be a good plan.  My wife and I hung out with the Signal Cartel team for a bit and then circulated some.

EVE Vegas Party Time

EVE Vegas Party Time

We ended up talking to some smaller groups of people around the edge of the party.  The stratification seemed to be large groups of null sec players clumped about and smaller packs of low sec and wormhole pilots a bit further out.  I am sure this says something about the social structure of EVE Online.

We sat with a couple of low sec pilots from Edmonton for a bit, and my wife got to show her hockey chops as the Oilers now have Todd McClellan as their coach after he was cut by our local team, the Sharks.  We also hung out for a bit with a Provi bloc pilot who, when he found out I was in TNT, wanted to know where the hell we went during the Provi invasion.  He lives in one of the constellation that TNT was supposed to attack, but then we got called back to defend UMI-KK against MOA.

We also saw this guy

We also saw this guy

We stayed past the 11pm mark, at which point the EVE players got pushed over into a roped off section of the club to keep us away from the high rollers.  I suspect we did not stay long enough for such high rollers to show up however, as I didn’t see anybody ordering thousand dollar magnums of champagne from the menus they laid out.

Eventually we decided to call it a night, at which point we were faced with the trial of getting out of the club.  There are stairs, but that is an emergency exit only.  You have to line up for an elevator… and then walk a ways to line up for another elevator… before you are back in the casino.  This may have been the only club I have ever seen that had a line as long to get out as to get in.

EVE Valkyrie

During a lull I spotted a short line for the demo and queued up for a try.

I was happy to find that the VR headset would fit on my own fat head, something that is more of a problem than you might think.  When the game came up I immediately started moving my head around to test the whole VR aspect, which prompted the person from CCP to ask if things were okay.

Fortunately I was given a pretty good briefing on the controls.  How missiles work was explained correctly, which I gather from talking to some other people, was not always the case, so I was able to blow some stuff up.  The Gatling gun was more problematic.  I *think* I hit some things with it, but aiming was odd.

Mostly I was just impressed with being in the VR space environment and seeing the big ships.  I could see CCP giving their new first person camera view a VR option.  But I didn’t walk away dying to get a VR headset.  15 year old me would have had to be dragged away from the game, but current me is a bit more jaded.  At least I didn’t feel any motion sickness.

Cosplay

My wife made an Interbus Jacket for me, which is the official Reavers jacket.

Jacketpals unite

Jacketpals unite

It was crafted from the finest materials the Minmatar Republic could provide… which is to say that it was done up largely with duct tape.  Not quite my in-game avatar come to life, but what can you do?

Wilhelm Arcturus in game

Wilhelm Arcturus in game

However, Reavers were not heavily represented at EVE Vegas, so far as I could tell.  I ran into Viktor Fel, but that was about it.  And not many people outside of Reavers know that we wear this jacket, so I while I got a few compliments, though the comment “We don’t see many Interbus Cosplayers” probably sums up the average reaction.

I was a bit nervous about wearing the jacket.  There is a pretty large impulse to not draw attention in my psyche.  But for the most part people didn’t seem to notice.  When it wouldn’t fit in the luggage for home, I just wore it through the rest of the last day, in the cab, and through both Las Vegas and San Jose airports.  Nobody looked twice.

Still, I did get my moment in this sun, a pose with Maximilian Singularity VI.

Looking into a bright future...

Looking into a bright future…

And, having dressed up as such, I then HAD to buy the Interbus luggage tag that they had for sale.

That yellow matches my duct tape!

That yellow matches my duct tape!

The only other cosplay I can recall seeing was this guy.

Chicken guy

Chicken guy

I had to explain to my wife what a chicken had to do with EVE, though honestly I was stumped for a bit until he let his Fweddit flag fly.  I hear they are recruiting, if you want some fun in Cloud Ring.

Vegas Itself

Las Vegas feels like a very appropriate place to hold an EVE Online convention.  For practical reasons alone it is pretty reasonable.  It is setup for these sorts of events.  It has many distractions.  It has a large and pretty well run airport that handles direct flights from a lot of locations.  People can get there, stay there, and find things to do.

But for all the lights and excitement, it can be as hard of an environment as New Eden.  If you forget for a moment that the place exists to separate you from your money, it will quickly remind you.  I ordered a Jack & Coke and a Vodka Cranberry for myself and my wife at the Heart Bar down in the casino and would have done a spit-take if I had had a drink in my mouth when the bartender laid out the drinks and said it would be $23.50 for the pair.  Plus a tip, you know.

Over at Bellagio I got two scoops of mint chip ice cream and goggled a bit when that came up as $7.50.  That seemed extreme until I ordered a single scoop from a place across the street and it rang up as $6.25.  The Bellagio serving had about four times as much ice cream and seemed like a deal after the other place! (Also, it was very good ice cream.)

And let’s talk about cigarette smoke.  It is always bizarro world odd going to Vegas from California.  It is a short flight, but we’ve been in the process of banning smoking for 30 years.  I don’t think people have been allowed to smoke indoors for the last 20.  So to be in a place where smoking is fine in most every public venue is strange… and painful.  Smoke in the eyes, smoke in your face, the burn in the back of your throat from being around it for a while.  That was why I was buying ice cream, to sooth my throat.

Then there is the reality of Vegas, which includes a lot of people working there… look at all those people in the casino… who are likely priced out of the glamour of the whole thing and live off the strip in a place that was essentially carved out of a desert.

I think Vegas was best summed up by a scene that took place outside of Planet Hollywood on our first day.  A person working for tips… and they are all over the strip… dressed up in a somewhat worn and dirty Hello Kitty costume accosting a pair of tourists who had taken a picture with her (or him, who knows) but hadn’t left a tip.  It was like a Sanrio version of Goodfellas, with Hello Kitty ready to get all, “Fuck you, pay me!”  Put Joe Pesci in that suit and let the camera roll.

Other Bits

I am sure I am forgetting half a hundred other things, but a few items that spring to mind that I want to call out.

Andrew Groen’s presentation about his book The Empires of EVE.  He has a great voice and stage presence and now I want to back the Kickstarter for him reading the audio book version.  He only had 30 minutes on stage, but could have kept us all interested for two hours if he had been given the time.  Really cannot wait for that book to arrive.

CCP Quant’s presentation and the return of the EVE economic newsletter, coming again in November.  Numbers!  We love numbers!

Max Singularity’s NASA session.  The man is passionate about far more than New Eden and gave a moving presentation.

The Broadcast 4 Reps video.  Help your fellow capsuleers when they need it.

A lot of being able to sit down and talk about the game with other EVE Online players.  Noizy and I sat at a table in a quiet area between sessions to talk about the CCP Quant presentation which itself sprawled into other topics.  As interesting as the presentations were and as much fun as the party was, I want more of that.

I’ll mention Signal Cartel again! It was great to meet you guys.  Mynxee was back in the original EVE Blog Pack with her old Life in Low Sec blog back in the day.

And, finally, I have to give a huge shout out to my wife who pretty much made the trip possible.

My wife and I at the party

My wife and I at the party

She put up with the internet spaceship stuff, and still managed to have fun… enough fun that she was already talking about next year.

Now to get back to playing video games.  The irony of such a convention is that I was away from games for four days.

Friday Bullet Points Return Again

It is Friday and I have a few small items that I couldn’t bring myself to make full blog posts out of, so here they are in what for me passes for abbreviated form.

  • Tunnels & Trolls is here!

About two and a half years back, according to my Kickstarter record, I backed a campaign to produce a new Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls tabletop RPG rule book for a variety of nostalgic reasons.  Well, it has finally arrived.

Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe just out of the shipping box...

Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe just out of the shipping box…

Actually it arrived a few weeks back, but I haven’t gotten around to posting about it as yet.  There was a release party for it which Silverangel of Kitty Kitty Boom Boom attended.

The book itself is much bigger than the 1979 predecessor that I still have on my bookshelf.  Now to find some time to do what I always do with tabletop rule books these days… read through it and imagine all the great campaigns one could run without ever actually playing.

The book should be available directly from Flying Buffalo at this point as well as in digital format from DriveThru RPG.

  • NetherByte is Gone

The dying Minecraft hosting service NetherByte appears to finally be gone.  Having jumped ship a few weeks ago, I removed the whitelisting controls and let a few people wander around to see what was going on.  Over the weekend the dashboard and FTP access went down and, as of last night, what remained of our Minecraft world there is no longer accessible.

  • Asher and Boat

The Asher Hour podcast this week features that staple of null sec, Dabigredboat.  Asher and Boat discuss null sec, how fleet compositions have evolved and how life has changed in null, who the most overrated alliance is, favorite doctrines, and what ought to change.  A good listen and Boat barely goes into any long stories about the good old days.  Download it from Soundcloud, as Asher doesn’t seem to be keeping his old shows around, so it might not be there in a couple weeks.

  • Pirate’s Little Helper

Also on the Asher Elias front, a while back he brought up a utility that you can use in conjunction with EVE Online called Pirate’s Little Helper.  It runs on top of the game and gives you an analysis of targets within your system, so you can tell who is the noob flying around helpless and who is the cyno-bait waiting to drop his buddies on top of you for a gank.

You can also enter pilot names into the web site just to see what comes up.  My own report isn’t all that impressive, though it is accurate enough.  I haven’t done enough to earn a tag.  In space, nobody knows you’re a blogger.  A few examples from the site:

Also, Gevlon and The Mittani both appear to favor HML Tengus with faction missiles.

  • Trade Goods for Vegas

Largely due to my wife, I am going to be at EVE Vegas this year.  She will be there too, though she does not play EVE Online.  She will do something else during the panels, but has a ticket for the Chateau party.  That she will do well at.

She also felt that I ought to have something to share with friends and foes alike, and so ran some TNT buttons for me through Wacky Buttons, which turned out to be a pretty cheap, quick, and efficient service.  The buttons, 1 inch in diameter, look pretty good.

Buttons

Buttons

I will have a pocket full of those, plus some Reaver Bee buttons should I run into any of my fellow jacket pals in Vegas.

While we are getting to Vegas a day early to hang out other commitments, along with the vagaries of the Southwest flight schedule, means us having to leave mid-day Sunday.  Since the EVE Vegas schedule just got posted, now I can see that I will be missing quite a few panels.  Well, maybe next time.

 

Tech 3 Destroyers and Other Tidbits from EVE Vegas Keynote

EVE Vegas is running this weekend.  The one time player driven event that has turned into a CCP sponsored affair, complete with a keynote speech full of new treats.

CCP Seagull kicked things off with a theme and overview of how CCP is looking at the upcoming changes.  The idea is that CCP wants to create things where they cannot predict the outcome, because they if they can then we can as well.  So roll on emergent game play.

Playing and Outplaying

Playing and Outplaying

She reviewed the titan themed expansions so far this year…

The new expansions so far...

The new expansions so far…

And talked a bit about items we have heard mentioned before.  Then she gave us the release plan for 2015.

2015 Release Plan

2015 Release Plan

That is 10 release for 2015, plus the two we have left this year, Phoebe and Rhea.  This all led into a bit more overview on what the upcoming phases of change they are planning.

Going through a phase

Going through a phase

Phase 1 is looming, with Phoebe dropping in just a couple of weeks, but Phase 2 is where the shape of null sec might change.  She then wrapped up with a revised version of the road map for EVE Online.

Where we are...

Where we are…

This is a bit trimmed down from the old one.  The green line shows where CCP feels they stand, so industry is pretty much done but many more major changes are left to come.

CCP Seagull wrapped up and handed the stage over to CCP Fozzie who got to talk about some more specific items related to the Rhea expansion coming in December.  Most of that is still under wraps, but there were a couple of neat things.

Quick look at Rhea

Quick look at Rhea

The art change consisted of an update to the Blackbird/Falcon/Rook ship model.  There was a very early mock up of what they want to do with the some of the most loved/hated ships in the game, but CCP Fozzie said that it would likely bristle with antennae when it was done.

Then there was a new ship type announced, currently codenamed “Tug.”

The Tug

The Tug

This will be a freighter sized ship that will be used for carrying around multiple fitted sub cap ships.  A mock up of the ship was shown.

The model is still early on, so no textures have been applied, but CCP Fozzie did say something about the art team pushing the envelope when it come to the number of polygons used.  I suspect that this will be a popular ship.

Then CCP Fozzie spoke about the research race/contest that had been going on for the last week.  The results were in, which he announced, along with what it would mean.

Research Race results

Research Race results

Each of the empires will get their version of the end result in the order in which they place… and what they are getting is Tech 3 Tactical destroyers.

Tech 3 Destroyers

Tech 3 Destroyers

The Amarr should get theirs as part of the Rhea expansion, which other races getting theirs with following expansion.  There were even some mock-ups of potential models for the Amarr tactical destroyers shown.

Amarr tactical concepts

Amarr tactical concepts

He also showed mock-ups of the Caldari version, because apparently the Caldari were in first place in the race until almost the end, so the art team started in on what looked like the winning team early.

Caldari tactical concepts

Caldari tactical concepts

As with the “Tug” announcement, there were no final names or any stats for the ships.

That about wrapped up CCP Fozzie’s time, and he then gave way to CCP Seagull again who spoke of exciting times coming in the game with all of the changes they have planned.

Others talking about they keynote:

Also, the video of the keynote is up on YouTube now.

And on a related topic, CSM member Sugar Kyle has summarized some of the CCP roundtables.