Tag Archives: Meaningless Milestones

Runes of Magic at Twelve Years

I am still on the Runes of Magic mailing list so still get updates from them about the game every so often.  Most of it isn’t of that much interest to me.  It is a game I know about and even pay attention to now and then, but not one I ever really got into.  I mainly recall it for its significance at its launch, of being purpose designed free to play MMORPG in an era where titles that went free to play had generally just failed at the subscription mode.  That and the whole ten dollar horse thing, which was quite the amusing controversy in hindsight.

Anyway, I covered a bunch of that in my post about the game’s tenth anniversary, if that interests you.

Instead, I want to poke into the state of things here at the twelfth anniversary, which was actually last month, but the celebration lasts through until April 22nd, so there is still time to join in.

The big incentive seemed to be a new server, the “largest server ever” according to the promo copy in the email.

Runes of Magic turns 12

This fresh start server offered some bonuses for faster leveling:

  • 50% bonus for XP and TP
  • 75% bonus for item drops
  • Special Bonus Pack of Goodies

I just had to log in and get going.

Logging in went… okay.

On the bright side, I was able to get the new launcher, which found my old files and updated them quickly… the horrible old 2009 patch is finally gone…  and I was able to use my email address to recover my account and log in.  Sort of.

When I last played you needed a user name to log in.  Now it is your email address.  However, on getting logged in with that it assigned me a new user name… because user names are still a thing, just not for logging in I guess… so ended up with no old characters.  Those I could live without.  The diamonds… them RMT currency… that I bought back in 2009 and which were still around the last time I played, those were gone too.  That I am kind of pissed about.  I couldn’t figure out how to inject my old and support was no help.

I doubt I was going to play seriously anyway, but that is the sort of thing that confirms it.

Anyway, I got logged in and… there were no special servers, just the two US servers.

But I expected that.  Fortunately I know somebody who actually plays the game and had already told me about the new servers, which were actually launched back in February.  They wanted to have them up and running and solid before the anniversary hit I guess.

My friend told me how to get to the shiny new server, which is hosted in the EU.  In the launcher you have to click on the settings button and change your game region from North America to Europe.  Then you have to create a new account for that region… so I guess my diamonds wouldn’t have followed me there anyway.

In the game settings

The odd thing is that, once in the game settings you cannot get out.  Or I couldn’t see a way out.  There was no visible way to close the window and return to the main launcher.  This seemed bad… but then there is a little launch button to start the game… the light blue square with the arrowhead in it… so I guess maybe this is a feature.  It seems odd… but if that is the price of doing away with their old patcher, then I will gladly pay it. (I was able to close it from the task bar, but it still seems like an odd UI choice.)

Once into the EU server list… and they have a bunch more servers… the two special servers, one international and one German, are highlighted.

Hard to miss

Once I created a new character… well, the game is pretty much the same.  The UI is still a bit too busy for my liking.

How many buttons can you fit around the mini-map?

But it still runs.  In fact, it runs pretty well.  And an addon I applied back in 2017… still up to date.  I was even a bit surprised to find that the game scales up to run on the wide screen monitor I got last year.  At first, when I got into the settings, it seemed to have me locked down to old HD dimensions.  But after I quit and came back, 3440 x 1440 resolution was on the list.  Something got updated.  And more real estate makes the UI feel a bit less cluttered.

As for the special server, it certainly seems to have the bonuses as advertised.  I ran through some quests on one of the US servers, just as a baseline, then did them again on the new server and you are certainly getting more XP and more TP to apply to your skills.  And the game hands you a bunch of stuff already, but getting even more on the new server was noticeable.  I grabbed the free stuff from the shop, but was starting to worry about bag space.

The free thing in the shop

And then it was a holiday weekend, so there was even more stuff, including a temporary bunny mount.

Easter in Taboria

I did not spend a ton of time playing, but I was there long enough to confirm that Runes of Magic has stayed true to whatever it is trying to be.  If you liked it before, it is still there for you… and if you didn’t, well it hasn’t changed, so unless you have you probably won’t change your mind.

EverQuest at a Crossroads as it Turns 22

In the US at least, your 21st birthday is generally your last achievement “happy to get older” birthday.  At that point you can drink, smoke, gamble, and do whatever, where allowed.

Turning 25 used to be a bit of a goal.  There were a couple quiet unlocks, like the ability to rent a car without it being a huge hassle, that came with the age, but some of those have passed away since I turned 25.  Then, after most of your life looking forward to being older, there is often some euphoria momentum left.  But at some point you realize that you’re just getting old and the years begin to weigh on you, and you start to feel your age and wonder if it wasn’t a mistake to be in such a hurry to get there.

So there are no fun analogies for EverQuest turning 22 today.  Their official Discord channel still has the 20 year anniversary logo up, which kind of proves my point I guess.  That is a hell of a run, but like me, the game does show its age as soon as you look at it.

There is, of course, still a celebration.  A Producer’s Letter has been posted and there will be bonus XP and new quests and prizes, including an extremely tall hat.

The Othmir Fez

Even though the game’s youth is behind it, EverQuest is still moving ahead, still holding players and making money according to insights we received late last year.

Page 15 – Year to Date numbers as of Sep. 30, 2020

It is also the most profitable game in Daybreak’s portfolio.

Page 16 – Revenue and Earnings compared YTD through Sep. 30 2020

Not bad for a game that old.  A solid title and certainly in no danger of getting the SOE sunset treatment.  Enad Global 7 continues to highlight Daybreak titles in their presentations even as the continue scooping up more studios.

6 out of 8 of those are from Daybreak

However, happy talk and banner positions can only take you so far.  The game’s future lays with its new Swedish masters, and we don’t really know what that means yet.  We’re still in the honeymoon period.  It has been just over three months since the acquisition of Daybreak was announced, and that only closed at the end of December.  That isn’t a lot of time to have an impact… or a positive one.  There has been plenty of time to get the Gamigo treatment of slashing staff and crushing expectations, so perhaps we can breath easy on that front for the moment.

The question still remains about what the future holds for EverQuest and other titles in the Daybreak stable.  The Daybreak era was something of a trauma at times for some titles.  There was the bloodletting at SOE that was, in hindsight, a clearing of the decks for the sale of the division, the cancellation of EverQuest Next and the closing of Landmark, and the fumbling of H1Z1 after they briefly had a hit on their hands, along with the lies, half truths, and long awkward silences that became the hallmark of the Jason Epstein team.

But, in that era, the Norrath team quietly flourished.  There was an initial stumble when the declared an end to expansions in favor of smaller bites of DLC in the form of adventure packs, but community push back got annual expansions back in the plan.  And since then they have chugged along putting out an expansion for both EverQuest and EverQuest II every Q4 along with mid-cycle game updates and holiday revamps and special servers.  The time hasn’t been without its missteps… a vocal core of EQII fans remain a surly and restive bunch… and there have been layoffs and server issues and games down for a couple or days, but for the most part the games have carried on doing what they do without any real fear that they’ll be closed or reworked in some crazy, right angles to reality sort of way.

Let me reiterate: A paid expansion every year for both titles.

That is kind of an amazing rate of content growth in the genre.  EverQuest has had 27 paid expansions, and EverQuest II has had 16. (I don’t think Age of Discovery, which brought in free to play, was a paid expansion.  Was it?)

Companies don’t keep doing that unless they are making money on it.  Having the luxury of doing expansions is a sign of success, and not a lot of other titles have even come close.

So the question is whether or not EG7 will continue down that path, perhaps nurturing the Norrath titles to allowing them some additional resources for projects to enhance and update the aging titles.

Or does EG7 have other plans?

Their jump into video games through acquisition has an end goal somewhere beyond “let’s be a company that owns a bunch of video game studios!”  Some bright person in the board room has a series of steps up on a white board that ends with, “Profit!”

I assure you, somehow these add up to “Profit!”

What does this mean for Norrath?  The latest EG7 purchase was of Innova, a company that localized MMOs for the Russian market and runs a number of them there.  That seems like a move to expand more of their titles there, though EQII at least already has a Russian server. (Did Innova do that work?)

And even that seems like a stepping stone, not an end goal.

One has to wonder if the golden age of EverQuest might be over or if some new horizon beckons that will see it flourish even more so.  People are usually done growing by the time they turn 22, at least in physical height, and video game years are more like dog years than people years, making EQ a very old game indeed.  We will have to see if EQ7 has a fountain of youth up its sleeve or if the retirement home might be in the offing.  The Gamigo route is always a threat.

BlizzConline is Coming along with the Blizz 30th Anniversary

As I mentioned previously, BlizzConline, the virtual replacement for last year’s cancelled BlizzCon, is coming this month, kicking off on Friday, February 19th.

BlizzCon Online is the way I always attend anyway

With that date rapidly approaching, Blizz has started giving us details about what to expect over the two day virtual event.  There is even a trailer.

 

The event will be free to watch live on the Blizzard site as well as replays.  There will also be support for a dozen languages for live stream or video replay.  Blizz has even done some interviews about how they reworked BlizzCon into an online only event.

The two days are set to play out as:

  • Day 1 will kick off at 2 p.m. PST on Friday, February 19, with an opening segment that includes a first look at some of the latest game content the development teams have been working on. Then for the next three-plus hours, you’ll have the option to tune in to one of the six different themed channels, so you can decide whether you want to sample a little bit of everything or dig deeper into the games you’re interested in most.
    .
  • Day 2 will pick back up at 12 p.m. PST on Saturday, February 20, with multiple channels once again, until the fun wraps up at later that afternoon. Throughout this second day, we’ll be shining a spotlight on the global Blizzard community, including the winners and outstanding entries in the Community Showcase contests and exhibitions.

All of the streams will be available to rewatch if you miss anything.

Meanwhile, Blizzard is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of their founding, back when Mike Morhaime borrows money from his grandmother to help start the company then known as Silicon & Synapse.

Blizzard – A long way from 1991

Blizzard plans to celebrate this anniversary by selling you a bunch of expensive cosmetic items.  Commemorate 30 years of gaming by giving Blizzard some more money.  Seriously, I was tempted to append “cash grab” to the end of the title of this post, but I was starting to feel excessively cynical, even for me.

There are three different celebration bundles you can purchase.

  • Essentials Pack – $20 includes
    • Moon-Touched Netherwhelp pet for World of Warcraft®
    • Tracer’s OSV-03 Rogue mount with Tracer Hero in Heroes of the Storm®
    • 30th Anniversary Overwatch® player icon and spray (coming soon) plus 5 Loot Boxes
    • A set of StarCraft® II and StarCraft: Remastered portraits commemorating three decades of Blizzard (coming soon)
    • 10 Madness at the Darkmoon Faire™ card packs for Hearthstone®
    • A pet and portrait for Diablo® III (coming soon)
  • Heroic Pack – $40 adds
    • Snowstorm mount for World of Warcraft
    • Raynhardt (legendary) in Overwatch (coming soon)
    • Random Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Legendary card in Hearthstone
    • Diablo III wings (coming soon)
  • Epic Pack – $60 adds
    • 30 days of World of Warcraft game time
    • 5 Golden Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs in Hearthstone
    • 3 Golden Loot Boxes for Overwatch
    • Diablo III Helm Transmog Items (coming soon)

There are bits and pieces in each for all of the current Blizzard titles, but if you only play one title regularly like I do, then the pricing might seem a bit dear.  As a WoW player the packs get me:

  • Essentials Pack – pet
  • Heroic Pack – pet and mount
  • Epic Pack – pet and mount and 30 days of game time

So, even if I was a dedicated collector of such things… and I can be… the heroic pack would be the limit to my needs.  Why would I pay $20 more to get $15 worth of game time?

So there it is.  We can start speculating as to what we might hear about come the 19th and whether or not any of this cosmetic fluff is worth the price Blizz is asking.

Two Hundred and Thirty Million Skill Points

Back once more for a meaningless skill point milestone, this one being more meaningless than most for reasons I will get to further down the page.  But first, a review of the story so far, my skill point trip from starting to play EVE Online back in 2006 up to today.

So here, in the back half of January 2021 I have crossed the 230 million skill point mark, with the points broken out in the following categories.

Spaceship Cmd     76,525,882 (69 of 85)*
Gunnery           25,214,747 (47 of 63)*
Drones            17,432,221 (22 of 27)*
Fleet Support     15,872,000 (14 of 15)*
Missiles          11,954,833 (22 of 26)
Navigation        11,346,275 (13 of 13)*
Engineering        8,939,855 (15 of 15)
Electronic Sys     8,159,689 (15 of 15)
Scanning           7,168,000 (7 of 7)
Armor              6,131,137 (13 of 13)
Shields            6,074,039 (12 of 13)
Science            5,714,282 (21 of 39)
Resc Processing    4,756,183 (22 of 37)
Subsystems         4,096,000 (16 of 16)
Trade              3,994,040 (11 of 14)
Neural Enhance     3,810,275 (7 of 8)
Planet Mgmt        3,298,275 (5 of 5)*
Targeting          3,207,765 (8 of 8)
Rigging            2,576,865 (10 of 10)
Structure Mgmt     1,446,824 (6 of 6)
Production         1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Social             1,130,040 (5 of 9)
Corp Mgmt             24,000 (2 of 5)

Total            ~230,031,984

As has become the norm for these posts, the categories that saw an increase in skill points are marked with an asterisk.

As usual, Spaceship Command saw some increase.  This time around it was largely due to getting a Ninazu force auxiliary from my Reaver’s secret Santa.  I had Minmatar and Amarr carrier trained up already, but now I can add Gallente carrier to the list.  I suppose I should train Caldari carrier just to round that out, but I don’t really want to spend the ISK on the skill.

Gunnery also saw a boost as I wrapped up training all of the EDENCOM zappy weapons skills.  I’ve never flown one of the EDENCOM ships, but if the opportunity arises, I am ready.

Drones got some attention as well, largely due to the introduction of tech II salvage drones.  Dunk Dinkle spent years agitating for them, I figured I could put them in the queue and train the skill.

Navigation saw a bump due to my training up Jump Fuel Conservation V.  Jump fuel prices have gone up quite a bit with the CCP economic starvation plan and the increase in consumption due to the war.  While I don’t jump capitals all that often, it seemed like a reasonable investment and I did not have anything more critical in my queue at the time.

Then there was Planetary Management, where I trained up Planetary Consolidation to V so I could have sixth colony to neglect.  Actually, with demand and prices rising, I have actually been minding my colonies a bit more regularly.  Putting them on a seven day cycle made this a bit easier.

Finally, there is fleet support.  I saved this for last because this is the big reason for why I hit this milestone a bit sooner than expected.  Generally there are intervals greater than six months between these, often as much as a year, depending on what I am training or if I hand off to an alt.  But this time the gap between posts was a mere four month.

This was because, during the fight over the armor timer at the Keepstar in M2-XFE, I opted to be a booster for one of the capital fleets.

My Damnation in the orange of another explosion

As I finally got into the fight and was able to start boosting, I noticed that I only had Fleet Command trained up to IV, so I blew more than two million of my saved up skill points to jump that up to level V.  This was an important fight and I wanted to get the maximum range out of my boosts.

I think it gave me a whole 6km extra distance on my boosts.  Not sure that was worth it.

More surprising perhaps was that I applied skill points in the middle of the fight, at 10% tidi, with commands taking 6+ minutes to respond, and it actually worked and went through.

And, while I have used save skill points on occasion, my total has generally be 99.9% skill points earned the old fashioned way.  Now that total is tainted by the free skill points that CCP gives away.  Oh well.

As for my skill totals, they now break out like this:

Level 1 -   1
Level 2 -   3
Level 3 -  34
Level 4 -  85
Level 5 - 244

That is nine more skills trained up to level V.  And, of course, I can still fly all the subcaps in the game, which is my general goal for skills.

Now, where do I go next?  I actually have a ways to go with Salvage Drones V, so I will finish that up and then do a couple levels of Salvage Drone Specialization.  We’ll see if I ever use a salvage drone, but I will be able to if the need arises.  Then it might be time to hand off training to one of my alts.  My main alt, oft neglected, could be trained up to do PI as well.  We shall see.

EverQuest II Unavailable at its Sweet Sixteen

Yesterday would have been the usual date when I write something about another EverQuest II anniversary, for it was on November 13th 2004 that I signed on to play for the first time.  Roll stock footage of the early days.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 – Nov. 14, 2004

Some years I make a big deal out of this.  Last year, at the fifteenth anniversary, I wrote a long tale of the game. This year I was just going to log in and write a little something about the passing of another year.  However, Daybreak is having an outage.  If your client isn’t up to date, and they have pushed new content since I last logged in, you are out of luck.

Sorry, no update for you

This apparently applies to all of their titles, EverQuest gives me the same error, and has been going on for a few days now.  This seems like a critical issue, but Daybreak has fallen back into their usual bad habit of being uncommunicative.  Feldon of EQ2 Wire fame has been keeping an eye on this:

Daybreak has since banned him from the forums for poking at this issue as it drags on.  The company line is that they are helpless to do anything until their CDN provider fixes the issue.

For me this isn’t a huge deal.  I only wanted to peek in on yet another anniversary and see what was up, look at my characters, and poke around a bit.  I’m already invested in WoW retail and WoW Classic along with EVE Online at the moment, so my bandwidth for another game is limited.  But, you never know.  Last year I didn’t plan to play and ended up subscribing and playing for a few months.

Of course, for Daybreak this should be a big deal.  They are in the midst of their ramp up to their latest expansion.  They want people coming back to the game.  The pre-orders are available, the pre-launch events are starting, people should be coming back to the game.

Except, of course, some people cannot currently.

So I’ll just note the anniversary without logging in.  I hope they get their act together soon… at least on the patching issue.  As an overall wish for the company that is probably too much to ask.

Related:

Addendum:  After I wrote this Daybreak made some progress on the issue, the PlanetSide 2 team being the only one to broadcast it, though I still could not get logged in  They let you bypass the launcher patching, but then it fails on the in-game patching service, so the game is still unplayable, at least for me.

Also dug up was the fact that Daybreak is still using the Sony domain for some of its services more than five years after they were split from the company.

Level 40 in Pokemon Go

As I mentioned in the month in review post, I managed to make it to level 40 in Pokemon Go at last.  My wife got here too, though about a week behind me.

The big four oh

In support of the whole idea that Pokemon Go is an MMO, hitting the level cap had both that climactic and anti-climactic feel to it that reaching the level cap does in a game like WoW.

On the one hand, you’ve climbed the xp mountain.  The goal has been achieved.

And, as I mention, the way the level curve in Pokemon Go is setup, the gap between level 39 and level 40 represents 25% of the total xp needed to go from 1 to 40.  That last step is a big one, and since I hit 39 back in April I have noted not just my level in the month in review posts, but the percentage of the way I had made it towards that final goal.

There was a lot of anticipation running through me as to how long it would take to reach the summit, so when I arrived it was kind of a big deal.  I got my moment, the big 40 on my phone screen, the pile of goodies that come with the level, and all of that.

But then there is the inevitable realization that once you’re at the top of the mountain, the climb is done.  As often happens to me in MMOs, I get focused pretty hard on getting there as I get closer and closer… and then suddenly the last bit before level zips past and it happens so fast that you feel like you never had a chance to savor those last moments.

And then after all the time focused on one primary aspect of the game, you’re done with it and left feeling a bit empty as your goal is suddenly reached.

I took a screen shot of my basic stats just after I hit level 40.

Status as of level 40

It is interesting to note that you keep accumulating xp even after you hit level 40.

My wife was a bit irked to hit level 40 after me as the account on her phone is a month older than the one on mine, so she had been ahead of me in levels for most of the chase up to level 40.  I caught up around level 36, then she passed me again, then I pulled out in front for the final stretch.

Part of the reason she is irk is that her stats on that page, for Pokemon caught and PokeStops visited, are more than 10K higher than mine on both counts.  That is few million points of xp she should have over me.

But I did better with Pokefriends.  I have 34 “best” friends in the game, and you earn xp for each of the four friend stages, the last two being worth 50K and 100K respectively.  She had about half that many when she hit 40, so that gave me a couple million extra xp on my own.  Plus, I managed to pop a lucky egg for a couple of best friend events, which doubles the xp.

Now that we’re both 40 and the xp race is done, the question is what to do now?  After all this time, it is kind of our thing, something we do together.

In the grand tradition of the mainline Pokemon RPGs, there is always the quest to catch them all.  There are still a bunch of Pokemon we’re missing.

And, more in the MMO tradition, there is raiding.  One of my wife’s friends has been including us in a group that coordinates to do gym raids, something that is also helping us fill in the missing Pokemon.

We did talk about trying one of the other Niantic games, specifically Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.  However, that didn’t seem to be taking off… or be much more than a re-skin of Pokemon Go with a Hogwarts motif… so we stuck with the our current game for now.

Pokemon Go has been upping its game this year too, with a lot of events.  And there is talk about either raising the level cap or adding another form of progression.

For now though, we’re working with the game at the level cap.  We can finally boost up our Pokemon to their max CP.

Sunday WoW Items Before Shadowlands

We’re into November, and a bunch of stuff is coming up in World of Warcraft, not the least being the Shadowlands expansion.  But that is out on the 23rd, and a few things are in between then and now.

The November 1 calendar entries

Darkmoon Faire

It is the start of the last Darkmoon Faire before the expansion, and the first one since the big level squish.  You can get a final five points in any of your Kul Tiran or Zandalarian professions before Shadowlands profession updates arrive.  My main is just 3 points shy of finishing engineering, so I’ll be in there with him.  You have until Saturday night to get that done.

I’m also going to see if I can figure out the deal with heirloom gear.  Most of mine seems to be useful only through level 34 now, which isn’t so useful in a 10-50 alt leveling context.

Day of the Dead

It is also your chance to run the Day of the Dead event.  Get on this right away though, as it is a single day event.

Anniversary Event

World of Warcraft turns 16 this year, and the anniversary of the initial launch coincides with the launch date for Shadowlands.  I guess they did not want the two events interfering with each other or confusing anybody, so the anniversary event starts today and ends on November 22nd.  The 23rd is reserved for Shadowlands.

End Date

The event itself is a modest example of the genre.  You get a package in your mail box with some time warped tokens, a quest starter for a time walking event, a firework, and the usual xp boost token.

16 years means 16% boost

I am going to guess that Blizz doesn’t want to go into Shadowlands while giving people an xp boost.  They’ll save that for later.

The Headless Horseman’s Mount

Once again I queued up for the Headless Horseman.  I was half-hearted when Hallow’s End started, but was motivated by Belghast’s post about going all out for it.  Having done an audit of all of my characters, I knew that I had 18 characters who were level 20 or higher after the squish, the minimum level to run the Headless Horseman’s instance.

The first couple of the days I just ran with the dozen eligible characters on the paired servers, Eldre’Thalas and Korialstrasz, that I think of as home.  At the end though I dug out some old characters, spec’d them up, and ran with anybody I could get in the queue.

But, after the final run this morning as the event wound down, I found myself once again without the mount.

Not mine

Lots of masks, a lot of candy, a few rings, one sword, but no mounts.

On the bright side, I didn’t do horribly with the rando alts.  I’d probably go back and spec a couple of them to tank specs just to shorten the wait in the queue, but I didn’t do too bad.  I only had one bad group along the way, which wiped on the event three times before I bailed.  I was tanking that one with a level 50 pally and was putting out more DPS than the rest of the group combined.

Next year in Scarlet Monastery I guess.

Two Hundred and Twenty Million Skill Points

Didn’t I say I was done with these posts back at 200 million?  See how much you can trust me.

This time around the milestone sort of crept up on me by surprise.  I had diverted training on my main account to an alt for a stretch, but then a few things showed up that I wanted to train and I put the queue back on Wilhelm.  That was a ways back, but I swear that the total count was only about 218 million when I last looked.  Suddenly, yesterday, it was past 220 million and time for a post. (This does not count the ~3 million unused skill points I have waiting for some urgent need.)

My skill point history so far:

That is pretty much my career in New Eden.  This time around  a couple of the usual suspects saw most of the skill points.  My standings:

Spaceship Cmd   75,646,193 (68 of 85)*
Gunnery         21,207,181 (46 of 63)*
Drones          17,036,708 (22 of 26)
Fleet Support   13,351,107 (14 of 15)
Missiles        11,954,833 (22 of 26)*
Navigation       9,660,314 (13 of 13)
Engineering      8,939,855 (15 of 15)
Electronic Sys   8,159,689 (15 of 15)
Scanning         7,168,000 (7 of 7)
Armor            6,131,137 (13 of 13)
Shields          6,074,039 (12 of 13)
Science          5,714,282 (21 of 39)
Resc Processing  4,756,183 (22 of 37)
Subsystems       4,096,000 (16 of 16)
Trade            3,994,040 (11 of 14)*
Neural Enhance   3,810,275 (7 of 8)
Targeting        3,207,765 (8 of 8)
Planet Mgmt      2,983,941 (5 of 5)*
Rigging          2,576,865 (10 of 10)*
Structure Mgmt   1,446,824 (6 of 6)
Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Social           1,130,040 (5 of 9)
Corp Mgmt           24,000 (2 of 5)

Total         ~220,227,747

Values that changed are marked with an asterisk.

As usual, Spaceship Command say the bulk of the skill point gain, going up by about 5 million, or half the total since the last checkup.  This started when the EDECOM ships showed up back in June and Asher suggested that we might try doing something with them in Reavers.  So I can fly them all now, and have most of them to level V.

EDENCOM Skybreaker

I have not, in fact, flown any of the EDENCOM ships.  I have not even SEEN one of them in space.  Asher said that sourcing them would be a pain, and that they were not very good in any case, so it fell off the Reavers plan.  But should that change, I am ready!  Maybe next week’s update will make them more viable.

That plan also explains the pop in the Gunnery number, since the Vorton Projector that goes with the EDECOM ships falls under the Gunnery category, as do the supplementary skills.  That ate up a good two million more of the points trained.

Missiles got a small jump, shy of a million, but I honestly cannot recall what I trained there.  Probably one of the advanced skills to boost Tech II damage.

Trade saw some training, this time for the Advanced Broker Relations skill that came in with the March update.  And Planetary Management went up when I decided it was time to earn some ISK and I thought maybe PI would be a plan.  But I am bad, I forget to check on it for weeks at a stretch, so it probably hasn’t even paid back what I have invested in it.

As for Rigging, I know exactly where that went.  Or I thought I did.  I remember putting some skill points into Armor Rigging V when I figured out it would give me just a little bit more speed when flying and armor rigged ship.  But I wrote about that last time.  So my guess is that Launcher Rigging got the points this time around, since that is the only other Rigging skill at level V.

And that covers my last ten million skill points.  My level distribution is currently:

Level 1 -   1
Level 2 -   3
Level 3 -  37
Level 4 -  89
Level 5 - 235

As for where to go next… it looks like Black Ops V is the current skill being trained, another one for Spaceship Command… and a lot more level Vs after that.  Maybe I should swap back over to my alt again.  I can fly all the subcaps on my main again, so until CCP adds some more I’m probably good.

Condition Report for the Fourteenth Interval

Conditions were superior during that interval

-Corr, speaking of some past period of time

It is that time again.  Another blog anniversary has rolled around.  I have now been doing this for fourteen years.

WordPress.com says hi

Fourteen seems like a long time.  It is about a quarter of my life at this point.  But, then again, beyond a certain age you find a lot of things that have hung around for significant fractions of your life.  I’ve been driving my current car for 17 years, I’ve been married for 21 years, I have shirts in my closet that still fit that pre-date the blog even.  And don’t get me started on the little things that collect around the house, items that do not have any real value but which I hang on to for whatever reason, like the front license plate to my first car, which was towed off to the junk yard back in 1986.

So, in a way, fourteen years doesn’t seem like all that long ago.  Also, the number fourteen doesn’t strike me with much in the way of inspiration.  Sure, it is the sum of two prime numbers and the age I was when I started high school.  I’ve also had a job pretty much continuously since I was 14.  But nothing really struck me for a post title besides Wilson’s fourteen points.  Me and history.

I’m also a bit lost for a graphic representing that number.  Thirteen had the whole bad luck superstition around it, and fifteen at least has a Taylor Swift song going for it, but fourteen… I suppose there is a state highway 14.  Whatever.

California State Highway 14

Past efforts, with better titles, if you are interested.

Like so many things on this site, there is now a set pattern of items I share annually, so we might as well get on with it.

Base Statistics

The same thing every year, looking at how the various needled moved over the last dozen months.

Days since launch: 5,114 (+366)
Posts total: 5,609 (+394)
Total Words: 4,378,757 (+411,478 words, not including this post)
Average words per post: 781 (+20)
Post Likes: 12,090 (+2,578)
Average posts per day: 1.097 (-0.01)
Comments: 33,780 (+1,329)
Average comments per post: 6.03 (-0.19)
Average comments per day: 6.61 (-0.23)
Spam comments: 1,482,548 (+18,381)
Average spam comments per day: 289.90 (-23.1)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 43.8 (-1.8)
Comments written by me: 6,857 or 20.3%
Images uploaded: 16,210 (+1,635)
Space used by images: 1.5 GB of my 3 GB allocation (49%)
Blog Followers: 1,888 (-40)
Twitter Followers: 775 (-1)
Tumblr Followers: 34 (+0)
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 7

For some of you that will be enough stats.  Others will want to dive deeper, which you can do after the cut.

Continue reading

Fourteen Years of Spaceship Meta

Another year has gone by since I started playing EVE Online.  Fourteen years ago today I rolled up my first character using a name I had originally made up back in 1986 to play another online spaceship game.  This pre-dates the launch of the blog by two weeks, so EVE Online was the last new game I started playing before I started this mess.

New Eden Me

I don’t really have much to say for this anniversary.  I think I have told and re-told the tales of my early days enough and I barely do anything new anymore.  New Eden is like a story that keeps going, a book I cannot quite put down.  Some chapters were so good that I can put up with some more pedestrian times in the hope of something interesting coming up again.

Like a war.

Well, we have a war, a good one, with lots of stuff blowing up and potentially a climactic ending.  A last stand in 1DQ1-A would be something… though I thought a last stand in VFK-IV would be something as well, and we didn’t get that.  But I’ll write about the war some more later.

Today I thought I would reflect on something else.  In looking for something to write about I started thinking about all the ships I had flown and how the meta of the game dictated many of those choices.  Even early on, when I was wandering about solo and chasing the goal of mining perfection, there was an optimal path forward.  You went from the Bantam to the Osprey to the Retriever to the Hulk.

Oh, and you totally needed a Mammoth to haul ore on your alt.  That was the optimum configuration.

Mammoth and Retriever… with jet can… back in 2007

That all got shaken up later on.  They redid the mining barges and exhumers, then added mining frigates.  You need never mine in a combat ship any more as you climb the ladder to the Rorqual, the current mining pinnacle.

But change is the way of things.

Early on the Rifter, the icon frigate of New Eden for so long, was what you flew.  Now you don’t.  Maybe you fly a Kestrel instead, or an Atron, if you want to go do some frigate PvP.  Just not a Punisher.  Two mid slots are never enough.

It is fun to think about the cycles over time, of balance passes bringing one hull or another to predominance and then further tweaks casting that same hull down.  When I came out to null sec, the Maelstrom was the CFC ship of the line and the Hurricane the battlecruiser of choice.  I had a Digi-cane at one point, though I couldn’t tell you what that signified.

Then there were some changes and the era of the MWD Drake came into being, moving along at 1,300 m/s and spewing heavy missiles.  That was good because back then I had few skill points, but I had invested heavily in shields, heavy missiles, and the battlecruiser skill. (Back when it and destroyers were just a single skill for all empires.)  Then some counters came up and then heavy missiles got a nerf and we were on to something else.

Meanwhile the Malestroms gave way to the Dominix when drone assist was the thing.  Then came Megathrons then the Apocalypse and then a mix of the two.  We were hot on the Machariel for a bit, then the Typhoon off and on, and then back to the Megathron.  The Rokh and the Abaddon show up now and again as well for special tasks.  Oh, the Rokh showed up again just last week in a new doctrine:

To this day I remain mildly amused at the spot the Ferox now plays in null sec fleets.  To have suggested it as a doctrine back in the day would have been met with derision.  I remember an early attempt to form a doctrine around it had to be called the “non-ironic Ferox doctrine” just to indicate that it was serious.  Now you can’t show up to a fleet fight without tripping over Ferox wrecks, while a Drake on the field is a rare sight indeed.  We actually blew up an NSH Drake the other day and I was practically shocked.

The a balance pass comes, the meta shifts, and a new ship becomes the doctrine flavor of the month.  How many times have people complained, at least out in null sec, that the game has become Ishtars online, or Lokis online, or Feroxes online?  If we’re talking destroyers then it is Cormorants online for sure.  Or maybe Jackdaws online.  Caldari hulls seem to be doing pretty well.

The only sure things are that eventually something will change and that somebody will start complaining about the new meta, whatever it ends up being.

Well that and that some ship will remain left out.  The balance pass doesn’t promise every hull a chance.  I’ve never flown a Hyperion, for example.  The Harbinger was popular for about five minutes during a break with the Ferox.  But the Ferox came back and I never got to fire the lasers on the Harby in anger.  And we had a Cyclone doctrine for about 15 minutes one summer afternoon years back.  I know because I have a screen shot.

Orbiting the customs office in some Cyclones

Cruisers also seem neglected, save for the Caracal.  But they tend to be fragile.  I think every Rupture I ever flew ended up getting pipe-bombed.  So heavy assault cruisers rule the day.  I have at least flown some of those in combat.  The Ishtar, the Cerberus, and the Munnin seem to always have a place.  Eagles were popular for a season, and Zealots seem to come and go.  The Sacrilege is a hot item currently, and I see a Vagabond now and then, but I don’t think I have ever seen a Deimos in the wild.  Probably not suited to the kitey bullshit… the term of art these days… that FCs favor.

And then there are the faction ships, especially faction battleships.  They come and go or have special roles.

The nice thing is that after fourteen years I think I can fly any subcap you throw at me.  I even trained up the EDENCOM hulls to V since they were released.

The story of the game and your own history with it can be told in many ways.  Expansions.  Skill points.  Battles.  ISK.  Or even the ships you flew and when you flew them.

Addendum:

The Greybill linked to some videos about ships and their popularity over the years in EVE Online.  You can find the videos listed below:

Those graphs are for the game overall, so don’t always reflect the null sec meta.  In battleships you could see the drone assist era with the Dominix at the top.  But after that the Machariel rules the roost, likely based on low sec, as it is a fairly rare doctrine in our corner of null sec these days.  Though, that said, null sec is also Feroxes and Munnins online most days, so battleships do not get that much weight out where I live in any case.