Tag Archives: Meaningless Milestones

One Hundred and Sixty Million Skill Points

Another skill point milestone, made somewhat more meaningless than usual by the advent of skill point injectors, which lets players buy skill points from other players, so that those with enough ISK can have as many skill points as they want.

My skill points have all been “earned” the old fashioned way, via the skill queue and the waiting game.  That is less a point of pride and more an admission that I am a cheapskate, along with the fact that, with more than 80 million skill points, each skill injector is worth only 150K SP to me.  If I had a brand new character I would be much more inclined to inject skill points.

Anyway, here is my skill point journey so far:

At some point I imagine I will have “enough” skills, but I haven’t reached that point yet.  There is still a 700 day long list of skills in my queue that I want.  Also, I would never extract any of my skill points, as you never know when they might come in handy.  As I mentioned yesterday, all those mining skills from way back when were useful again as we had a mining op in Pure Blind to raise ADMs.

Rock crushing in a Procurer

Rock crushing in a Procurer

So here are how skill points are currently distributed on Wilhelm Arcturus.  An asterisk indicates that the skill point total has changed since last post.

 Spaceship Cmd   47,008,495 (55 of 75)*
 Gunnery         16,202,145 (36 of 46)*
 Leadership      12,803,000 (14 of 14)
 Missiles        10,836,471 (22 of 26)*
 Drones          10,070,483 (19 of 23)
 Navigation       9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Engineering      7,253,895 (15 of 15)*
 Armor            6,131,137 (13 of 13)* (skill moved/removed?)
 Shields          5,645,390 (11 of 12)
 Science          5,462,151 (21 of 39)* 
 Electronic Sys   5,141,415 (13 of 15)*
 Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)
 Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 14)
 Targeting        3,207,765 (8 of 8)
 Neural Enhance.  3,072,000 (5 of 8)* 
 Subsystems       2,186,840 (20 of 20)
 Scanning         2,045,230 (7 of 7) 
 Rigging          1,312,395 (10 of 10) 
 Social           1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12) 
 Structure Mgmt   1,084,784 (2 of 6)* (new section)
 Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5) 
 Corp Mgmt           24,000 (2 of 5)* 

 Total         ~160,000,000 (332 of 423)

Spaceship Command remains at the top, both in total points and in total points gained, up by about 6 million SP.  Flying ships trumps all.

There was some swapping about of skills and categories.  There was one less skill in the Armor category.   I am not sure where that went, but it took 768,000 skill points with it somewhere.  Then, with the release of citadels in New Eden, a new section called “Structure Management” appeared, which borrowed some skills from Corporation Management, like Anchoring and Starbase Defense Management, which accounts for all my skill points in the new category.

I added nine more skills to my list since the last update, bringing me to 332 skills, up from 323.  But I am not keeping up with the total number of skills, which is now at 423 (if I added them up correctly), a 25 skill boost since my 150 million skill point post back in December.

My skills, broken out by level are:

 Level 1  - 3
 Level 2  - 9
 Level 3  - 44
 Level 4  - 99
 Level 5  - 177

177 skills at level V puts me 8 up from last time.  There was also a general rise, as level IV and III skills went up in number, while levels I and II decreased.

Following my change over last time from tracking how long it would take to fly a titan to how long until I can fly all the subcaps as a random metric.   Here is the current list of sub-caps I cannot yet fly and the time required to train in order to get into them (rounded up to the nearest convenient value value):

  • Expedition Frigates (Prospect, Endurance)  – 10 days
  • Amarr Transports (Impel, Prorator) – 20 days
  • Gallente Transports (Occator, Viator) – 20 days
  • Loki strategic cruiser (subsystems trained) – 45 mins
  • Marauders (all factions) – 90 mins

That list got a lot shorter since the last post, standing at about 50 days now, down from about 80 days previously.

I knocked out interdictors and tech II logi frigates and the T3 destroyers and electronic attack ships and a few other, which were all a few minutes in order to get the minimum skill level required, though I trained them all well past that.  The biggest skill I trained for that list was Minmatar Battleships V, a 30 day skill, which gave me the Panther Black Ops battleship.  I can now fly a blops… well, all the blops… once I figure how.  There is always a gap between having the skill and having the actual skills to use that skill.

Our blops finally arrives

A Panther Blops

However, I am not sure what I would bother with when it comes to the rest of the list.  The Loki might be useful, and I could get it to level III or IV in a short enough time.  Expeditions frigate might be worthwhile at some point.  But do I need Gallente or Amarr transports?

Meanwhile, right now I am training up Tactical Weapons Reconfiguration V, with Minmatar Dreadnought V next on the list.  If suicide dread bombs are going to be the supercap killing machine, as they were at Okagaiken, I would like to have the option to join in on that at some point, and the Minmatar dreadnought, the Naglfar, is the dread of choice.

A Naglfar at the shoot getting hit by fireworks

A Naglfar displaying vertical supremacy

I can actually fly the base CapSwarm Naglfar, but those two skills will allow me to fly the upscale fit.  And then I have to actually find a hull and fit it.  Details.

I have also started abusing my alt account for skill goo.  I decided to set him up to farm skill points.  He was past 115 million, but I stripped out about 5 million points for skill injectors and now have him optimized so I can keep him stable with his skills and pull out a skill injector worth of skill goo about once a week.

The weekly cycle means I can be patient and get a better price, both for buying extractors and selling injectors.  The skill goo market is still very active… I price well above the current low offer and still sell within a day… so this is now pretty much a 400 million ISK a week income stream for me.  This has made me more ISK rich than I have ever been in New Eden.  I am not Gevlon rich by any means, but I can afford that Naglfar and a few replacements.

So that is where 160 million skill points puts me.  Given the ~7 month cycle time for me to train 10 million skill points, I should get to 170 million at some point in February of 2017.

Reflecting on a Year with Minecraft

In which I write a lot of words about a game… again.

As of today I have spent a full year playing Minecraft.  It was on Father’s Day last year that my daughter suggested we play together, a suggestion she has come to regret in that dismissive way that only teens can manage.

“Are you still playing that?” she says with that eye-rolling world weariness that she gives all such parental endeavors.  But I still remember our first little house in the game, and remind her of it.

A house on the hill

A house on the hill

A lot of time has passed in the world since.

According to Raptr I have spent more time playing Minecraft than any other game besides EVE Online and World of Warcraft.  Considering that I have been tracking with Raptr for five and a half years and I have only been playing Minecraft for one year, that says something.  My top five games on Raptr, as a percentage of time tracked, are:

  1. World of Warcraft 24.5%
  2. EVE Online 20%
  3. Minecraft 9%
  4. Rift 8%
  5. EverQuest II 7%

There are reasons that Minecraft has gone up the list so fast.  We’ll get to that.  But needless to say, I have spent some time with the game over the past year.  Bang for the buck, even with server hosting, has been pretty high.

And I have a pile of blog posts that follow what I have done, which I will just list out here as a retrospective, in case you want to catch up with the story so far.  In order from oldest to newest:

  1. Father’s Day Minecraft
  2. Further Exploration in Minecraft
  3. Minecraft and the Importance of Not Falling off of Things
  4. Minecraft and Bringing Light to Dark Places
  5. Sheep Stole My Mining Cart
  6. Minecraft and the Accumulation of Material
  7. Minecraft and the Gift of Fire
  8. Minecraft and the Hosted Life
  9. Paving the Nether
  10. Minecraft and Another Vision in the World
  11. Minecraft and Dungeon Making
  12. Major Minecraft Setback with NetherByte
  13. Don’t Throw Eggs at the Zombie Pigmen
  14. Minecraft – Our World
  15. Minecraft and a New Age of Exploration
  16. The Demise of NetherByte and the Portability of Worlds
  17. Into the Roof of the Nether
  18. So Close to Taming an Ocelot…
  19. The Barad-dûr in Minecraft – First Attempt
  20. Minecraft, Bases, and the Urge to Explore
  21. Minecraft – Under the Sea
  22. Minecraft and the Great Northern Road
  23. Finishing the Great Northern Road
  24. Minecraft and The Guardian Farm
  25. Prismarine Towers and Horse Field Dreams
  26. Minecraft – This is The End
  27. Our Automated Farms in Minecraft
  28. Upgrading to Minecraft 1.9
  29. Just Another Pig in the Wall
  30. The Move to Minecraft Realms
  31. Minecraft Rail Plans
  32. Collecting Tears…
  33. Finding the Northeast Passage in Minecraft
  34. One Hundred Million Copies of Minecraft
  35. Abandoned Mines and Prismarine Spans
  36. Minecraft 1.10 The Frostburn Update
  37. Minecraft and Closing the Rail Loop

So, after a year of this, I figured it was time to reflect on the game, the good bits and the bits that maybe aren’t so good… because I have to have that whole dichotomy thing I insist on bringing with me wherever I go.  Bear with me.

The Good

The game really scratches the whole “wordly” itch, something that used to be the domain of MMORPGs like EverQuest, Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft.  Your Minecraft world is a place to explore and live in.  That has, no doubt, reduced the time I have spent in what I would consider my more traditional domain, fantasy based MMORPGs.

In addition, the whole persistence aspect of the MMO genre is also covered.  We’re still working with the same world my daughter and I started a year ago today.  A work in progress.  It has been hosted at home and on three different hosting services so far, so not only does it persist, it is portable as well.

The multiplayer aspect is a big deal and, again scratches an itch that was otherwise the exclusive domain of the aforementioned MMORPGs.  That I was able to setup a server and have friends along to play in the same world was a big draw, one that keeps me coming back.  Going to see what other people have done in the world is a treat.

Then there is how each of us tackle the world.  Everybody has their own vision and things they like to do, and that makes looking in on everybody else all the more interesting.

And, of course, the variety of hosting options out there make sharing your world easy.

The sandbox nature, the ability to not just explore, but change the world factors in my enjoyment.  I spend most of my time either building things, or collecting resources to build things.  Crafting and farming enter into this as well.

There are still some nice things to find in game, like villages, desert temples, abandoned mines, dungeons, along with the whole nether and end experience that give you something to work with in the sandbox.

Survival mode provides the requisite friction to make building, exploring, and whatever seem… game like maybe?  If I set the world to creative mode and could just create things out of thin air and build whatever I wanted, flying around and placing blocks, I would have likely tired of the whole thing fairly quickly.

Which is not to disparage creative mode in general.  A lot of people like that, my daughter included, and that is great for them.  But for myself, in order to scratch that itch that video games satisfy, the environment has to impose constraints to work against.  In Minecraft survival mode that manifests itself in the day/night cycle, hostile mobs, the need to gather resources and move them to the site where I want to use them, the time it takes to travel places, and even little things like falling damage, food requirements, and the need to work around things in the environment like water and lava.  Certainly the possibility of death brings spice to things, but even things like item wear and inventory management forces you to adapt.

The requirement to collect raw materials is actually one of my favorite bits of the game.  I spend a lot of time mining in Minecraft.  Funny that.  I dig down to level 12, set up a central area with storage and an auto-furnace, and start throwing out shafts every third block.  I put on an audio book or a podcast and I can mine away for hours.  It can be quite relaxing… or exciting if I dig my way into something under ground.

There is a certain joy in the simplicity of the game, from graphics to actions.  I am not a fan of pixelated graphics for their own sake, but Minecraft has hit a happy balance for me.  The simple nature of the basic game “feels” in accord with the graphics.  The game itself is an odd mix of sophistication and doing things in what I might unfairly call “the easy way.”  The game graphically looks like something from a past era of video games, but in ways couldn’t exist outside of the current era.  Our world currently occupies about 1.2GB of drive space and requires fast internet to load and play effectively on the server.

So it looks like it could be from the 80s, but needs resources that have only become generally available… things like high speed internet and cheap 1TB hard drives… much more recently.  You couldn’t do this on an Apple ][ or a 486 Windows 3.1 PC or probably even that 400MHz Pentium II Windows 98 box with a TNT2 card I had around the turn of the century.  However, even with those requirements, its simplicity makes it feel happily retro.

Finally, there is the whole mod situation, which extends from simple client mods like texture packs, to handy additions like a mini-map, to server mods to change the very nature of the game.  There is a wide world of choices out there which I have yet to scratch the surface of at this point.  All I have really used is Minecraft Overviewer, which renders your world into Google Maps format so you can see it all.  I love this.  And it even has a UI now, so you don’t have to learn the command line if you don’t want.

The Downsides

The world in Minecraft can be a repetitive place.  For every interesting bit of scenery there is another plain or forest or desert or ocean that looks very much like the last one I saw.  Exploration can end up being very much a race to find something, anything interesting in a world of sameness.  I feel like I am most likely to get lost because any stretch of forest looks pretty much like any other, causing me to work out my frustration by setting things on fire.  Burn, forest, burn.  I’ll find another just like you over the next hill.

The downside of persistence is that sense of wanting to hang on to your work.  There are times when I want to just start another world, but then I look at all the work done on ours… and I don’t want to redo that.  I don’t even want to play on other worlds because if I want to play Minecraft, I want to spend the time improving our world… for specific definitions of “improving.”

Sharing your world with others is very cool, but actually doing things with other people can be annoying.  It can be surprisingly difficult to do simple things like travel overland together.  The whole first person view thing makes keeping and eye on other people a chore.  And, in this sandbox which is focused so much on building, we do tend to just build away on our own little projects.  I did get significant help on resources for the rail project from both Skronk and Aaron.  But you tend to let people do what they’re doing because it is their project.

Sharing is also… complicated.  Now and again I want more people to join in on what we have, but who can I really trust?  Who will be compatible and who will just come in and just blow up our stuff.  The joys of a destructible world!  Doubly so since a couple of us have our kids on the server now and again, so there are minors to protect, which lets out almost anybody who plays EVE Online as a possibility, because we’re all horrible people.

The weight of the sandbox nature of the game can be a burden.  When you have a project, all systems are go.  But when you have finished it… well, you have to come up with another project or else just potter around with what you have already setup.  And, frankly, pottering around mostly involves waiting; waiting for crops to grow, waiting for villagers to get something interesting up for trade, waiting for your automated production marvel to make the stuff it makes, or just waiting for the sun to come back up again.

I feel a bit of emptiness in some of my projects.  When my daughter and I first started, she built us a shelter that was just what we needed and no more.  It was pretty cramped.  Then she built the house we moved to, which was nice.  It had a few rooms, but there was something going in on each room.  Then I went and built a castle.  I had a vision of many rooms, each with a function.

However, as I completed the castle, I noticed that I really only used the room that I had setup initially to shelter in over night, plus some empty space around it where I put in chests for storage and built an auto furnace.  That and the automated farm on the roof are about all that the castle has in it.  The problem is that there is nothing to “do” in the castle.  I don’t need any rooms outside of the one where I sleep.  Likewise, in the area I refer to as The Kremlin, I have built several towers, a stable, and a large two story building, all of which are starkly empty inside because I still just sleep at night in the little room I dug in the side of the mountain when I first arrived.

Enaldi and Skronk have built the most amazing Italian town in our world.  Great buildings decorated inside and out.  They set it up with NPC villagers so that they go about their business around the town square.   It is the most wonderfully alive place in our world.  I love it.  But, in the end, there still isn’t anything to “do,” it is just decorative.  Enaldi and Skronk, to my knowledge, don’t log in to “play” in their creation.  They just add more to it.  Just building more and more can feel a little Sarah Winchester now and again.  (I live not far from her house.)

And, without that sense of function, I have stopped putting up large buildings for the most part.  Bridges I like, because they have a function.  But putting up a castle or the like doesn’t appeal to me now because they just end up feeling empty and lonely.  So I work out my anger by marring the landscape with giant public works projects.  I have seriously considered making the rail project double tracked.  Or maybe a six lane highway right through the middle of the continent.

Meanwhile, the friction which keeps the world interesting can also make it annoying at times.  The day/night cycle especially.   If you are on alone, you just hit a bed when the sun goes down and then the day begins anew.  But if other people are on and in the middle of something… nobody cares about day or night deep in a mine, nor when they are AFK waiting for their automated device to crank out some supplied… you have to coordinate or interrupt them or just deal with the night side of the cycle.  And, in the way of things, the day always feels too short because you’re getting things done, while the night feels like it goes on forever because you’re stuck inside or you’re fighting zombies, skeletons, and the seemingly endless supply of creepers the game loves to spawn.

I am unhappy with the behavior of water in the game.  Lava too, but I don’t want to create rivers of lava in the world.  Okay, that’s a lie, I would totally create rivers of lava as well if I could.  But working with water to create anything like a river just involves too many runs with a bucket.  I could just turn on creative mode and do that, but then there goes the magic of friction in the world.  And I want water to flow.  I want to drain lakes and flood mines.  Instead water just sits there or, at best, runs off for a few blocks, gets tired, and gives up.  It does make very nice waterfalls at times though.  I will give it that.

I have also had some poor experiences with hosting services.  There are so many to choose from and there is no real way to tell how things are going to work out.  Who knew NetherByte would fold up shop suddenly?  I suspect that our problems with MC Pro Hosting were related to them co-hosting us on an over taxed machine, so performance went to hell during peak hours.  I understand that problem, but for what we were paying I expected more.  Minecraft Realms has been good, and it is probably the simplest solution, certainly it is the one most integrated into the product, and the price is right, but you give up a lot of control options there.  So I remain vaguely dissatisfied on that front.

Finally, I have, to this point, spent exactly zero time with mods.  Part of that is because in my long history with video games I have developed a love/hate relationship with player developed mods and extensions to games.  I like them, but I have been burned enough times that I also try to keep them to a minimum.  Part of it is a desire not to screw up our world based on experiences related to the former.  Part of it is that it is nice just to be working with the simplest possible set of rules.  And, finally, since we now host on Minecraft Realms, we cannot have any server mods, and even if we could, they would all be broken right now because Realms is always running the latest release version.  There are still mods out there that haven’t been brought up to version 1.8 and we’re now at version 1.10.

Also, totally off the farm here, but I hate when versions don’t get zero padded and the plan is to change the digit count.  For me the sequence should be either this:

1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0

or

1.07. 1.08, 1.09, 1.10

Where I grew up, 1.1 = 1.10.  But that might just be me.  I still like monospace fonts too.

Summary

If you are reading this and just love Minecraft beyond life itself, don’t take my comments too much to heart.  The day I cannot find something to complain about is probably the day I show up dead.

For me, understanding what I do not like about a game, and why, is as important as understanding what I do like.  No, I cannot just play the game.  It just isn’t in me.  And, I will add a the long standing policy here at TAGN is that I almost never bother to write about games I simply do not like, and certainly not at depth.  This is just a bit of my collected thoughts after a year of playing the game.

I logged in and played yesterday, I will likely log in and play again tomorrow or the next day.

EverQuest at the Edge of Seventeen

Today is the day, the anniversary date that I note every year, the day that EverQuest launched back in 1999.  Seventeen years have gone past since I first stepped into Norrath.  And the amazing thing is that we are not talking about the game in the past tense seventeen years later.

EverQuest

That is kind of amazing, the way that some MMORPGs hang on for so long, the way they attract a dedicated core audience that sticks with them for years on end.  Back in 1999 EverQuest was getting released along side such games as Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, Homeworld, and Pokemon Yellow.

Those three games were all very popular and have all been remastered in the last couple of years.  But there was a gap along the way where very little was said about them, during EverQuest kept on going.

Yes, the whole expansion plan, and EverQuest was churning out two a year at one point… you hear that Blizzard… meant that new content was always arriving in the game.

A splash screen of all the expansion splash screens

A splash screen of all the expansion splash screens

But great swathes of Norrath still look pretty much like they did back in 1999.  And enough people have remained opted-in to their monthly subscription to keep the game going.

And how are things looking at seventeen?

Last year, after the sixteenth anniversary passed, I would have been tempted to say that things were not looking so good, that the end of MMO middle-age was coming and retirement was at hand.  Daybreak was talking about not doing any more expansions for the game.  They were talking up another progression server, but in the past SOE had done those then pretty much ignored them afterwards, letting any community enthusiasm fade in the neglect.  It was going to be bites of DLC and cash shop items for the looming golden years.

But now, a year later, things look good.  Daybreak hasn’t fumbled the progression server idea the way SOE used to, embracing it and keeping people up to date on things like unlock votes.  Expansions are back, because how can you pass up something that allows these sorts of price points.

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

And even now, this month, Daybreak is already talking about the NEXT expansion.

That NEVER happens.

SOE had, in the later years of its life, often left their Norrath fans wondering if they were going to get an expansion at all until late summer or early fall before finally admitting they had something for a November release.  But here it is only March and Holly mentions the expansion explicitly in her recent Producer’s Letter.

The expansion for this year is well under way and looking incredible on the art front as well as design. We are really jazzed about where our new adventures will take you, and we’re excited to see what you think when we are ready to share more!

EverQuest, which looked like it was headed for a walker, a First Alert pendant (“The server’s fallen, and it won’t come back up!”),  and a spot at the old age home suddenly looks like it is driving around in a bitchin’ new convertible with a fresh set of hair plugs.

Life is Good

Life is Good

(Life is Good guy is the property of Life is Good.)

And, of course, there are anniversary events in Norrath as well, including a drunken gnome race this afternoon.

Who knows where the game will be in a year, but it looks to be in a good place right now.  It is just the cynical bit within me that wonders if the good news we’re getting this week is to compensate for the EverQuest Next news we got last Friday.  Then again, it might be fitting.  The fact that a game like EverQuest can thrive for seventeen years is part of the reason EverQuest Next was in peril in the first place.

One Hundred and Fifty Million Skill Points

Another skill point milestone looms as, after a little more than 9 years, I hit the 150 million skill point mark with my main character in EVE Online.  The past milestones:

As I keep telling myself, at some point I will hit a threshold where I will feel I can start on an alt on this account.  But I haven’t gotten there yet.  Here is how my skill points are currently distributed:

 Spaceship Cmd   40,998,538 (48 of 75)*
 Gunnery         13,915,745 (36 of 39)
 Leadership      12,803,000 (14 of 14)
 Missiles        10,783,785 (22 of 24)*
 Drones          10,070,483 (19 of 21)*
 Navigation       9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Armor            6,899,137 (14 of 14)
 Engineering      6,485,895 (14 of 14)*
 Shields          5,645,390 (11 of 12)
 Electronic Sys   4,743,141 (11 of 15)*
 Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)
 Science          4,408,426 (21 of 39)
 Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 14)
 Targeting        3,207,765 (8 of 8)*
 Neural Enhance.  2,824,000 (5 of 8)* 
 Subsystems       2,186,840 (20 of 20)*
 Scanning         2,045,230 (7 of 7) 
 Rigging          1,312,395 (10 of 10) 
 Social           1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12) 
 Corp Mgmt        1,108,784 (4 of 7) 
 Planet Mgmt        769,335 (5 of 5) 

 Total         ~150,000,000 (323 of 398)

This time around CCP threw in some new ships so Spaceship Command went up by a significant chunk.  We had T3 destroyers, so I trained up the Caldari version, the Jackdaw.  Then there there were the new command destroyers, which looked to be comedy gold with their AOE MJD, so I trained that up as well.

Jackdaw in sniper mode with the new shield hardener effects

Jackdaw in sniper mode with the new shield hardener effects

Then there was the doctrine change, where we went to armor strategic cruisers, the Proteus and the Legion.  I rushed off to train those up, which might be useful at some point.  But I realized that I was more likely to fly logi, for which I had long been trained up, and that I hate losing skill points when I get blown up in a strategic cruiser, so those are pretty much in the bag for some future occasion.

Finally, I filled in some gaps.  EWar has been a thing on fleets, so I trained up a bit of that to be more effective.  I picked up tech II rockets and light missiles, which I had overlooked previously.  And I got that 10th jump clone, though I still don’t feel like I have enough.

All told I have 323 skills trained (up from 295), distributed as follows:

 Level 1  - 4
 Level 2  - 16
 Level 3  - 40
 Level 4  - 94
 Level 5  - 169

169 skills at level V puts me 11 up from last time.

As suggested in the comments of my last skill point post, I am going to give up on the time to fly a titan metric, as it no longer changes.  I have trained about all the capital skills I plan to for the time being.  Instead, I am going to track how many sub-capitals ships I have left to train for.  As it turns out, with 150 million skill points in the bag, I can fly a lot of sub-caps… but not ALL of them.

So here are the sub-caps I cannot yet fly and the time required to train in order to get into them (rounded up to the nearest convenient value value):

  • Electronic Attack Frigates (all factions, 4 ships) – 30 mins
  • Expedition Frigates (Prospect, Endurance)  – 10 days
  • Logistics Frigates (tech II, all factions, 4 ships) – 30 mins
  • Amarr Tactical Destroyer (Confessor) – 30 mins
  • Gallente Tactical Destroyer ( Hecate) – 30 mins
  • Minmatar Tactical Destroyer ( Svipul) – 30 mins
  • Interdictors (all factions, 4 ships) – 30 mins
  • Amarr Industrials (Bestower, Sigil) – 30 mins
  • Amarr Transports (Impel, Prorator) – 20 days
  • Gallente Transports (Occator, Viator) – 20 days
  • Loki strategic cruiser (subsystems trained) – 45 mins
  • Marauders (all factions) – 90 mins
  • Panther Black Ops Battleship – 30 days

That comes out to just about 80 days of training time.  A couple surprised me.  I will probably train into the frigates, the tactical destroyers, the interdictors, the Loki (oops on that one), and eventually the Panther, if only because I want Minmatar Battleship V.  Marauders and the industrials seem unlikely however.  Of course, to fly any of them well I will need to invest more time that indicated.

So that is where 150 million skill points puts me.  Given the ~7 month cycle time for me to train 10 million skill points, I should get to 160 million come the end of July 2016.  Unless I start flying strategic cruisers in fleets and lose skill points.

Meanwhile, my alt is about to pass the 110 million skill point mark, and needs about 120 days to fly all the sub-caps.

EverQuest II – US Server Merges Complete, Kingdom of Sky Rejected, and Other Tidbits

The server merge… or server consolidation… or whatever they ended up calling it… plans for EverQuest II, officially announced back in August, are now complete.  Nine of the low population servers have been consolidated into three.

As somebody who had characters spread across four servers, Crushbone, Guk, Freeport, and Stormhold, I can now say that… I still have characters spread over four servers.  They are now named Maj’dul, Halls of Fate, Skyfire, and Stormhold.

So no help for me on that front.

The old servers were grouped and merged as follows:

  • Butcherblock, Crushbone, and Oasis servers into Maj’Dul
  • Everfrost, Guk, and Unrest servers into Halls of Fate
  • Freeport, Nagafen, and Permafrost servers into Skyfire

The ever-popular Antonia Bayle server was left to its own devices, while the even more popular Time Locked Expansion Servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, roll on as before.

Servers outside of the United States have not been touched as yet.  If you want an EverQuest II PvP server, your options now are Deathtoll and that Russian server… Harla Dar?

There is an official FAQ about the merges as well as a helpful why aren’t things working FAQ reproduced over at EQ2 Wire.

I suppose I can bask in the warm glow of each of the characters on those three servers having nine more titles to choose from.  It appears that I got three variations of titles for each of the three servers,  So my character Reynaldo from the Guk server can be “Of,” “Descendant of,” or “Native of” Guk… or Everfrost… or Unrest.  Not sure why he got all three, but there it is.  I think I’ll stick with the old school “of E’Ci” title to show my old Norrathian cred.

Also, Reynaldo has years old guild mail from Revelry & Honor in his mailbox.  Lots of it.  I should probably go delete that at some point.

Meanwhile, on both the Stormhold and Deathtoll nostalgia servers, the Kingdom of Sky unlock vote went down to defeat.  From the forums:

Hail Norrathians,

This is a quick update to let you know that the vote to unlock Kingdom of Sky did NOT pass on either Stormhold (PvE) or Deathtoll (PvP) in November 2015.

Don’t worry if you’re one of the players that was excited about Kingdom of Sky content, because the vote will become available again in 30-days.

So no floating islands in the sky this month.

All this... is for later...

All this… is for later…

I still think a vote every 30 days is too quick, but Daybreak seems keen not to let the EQII retro servers turn into a stale death march of boredom, as tends to happen on the EverQuest time locked servers after the first few expansion.

I was going to proudly report how I voted no on the unlock… and then I went and looked at my screen shot and… well… I guess I voted yes.

Official ballot

Official ballot

I am not sure why I did that.  It seems unlike me.  But hey, glad to see that I went down to defeat.  Go me!

EverQuest II also turned 11 years old this week.  Or maybe it was last week.  I see different dates in various places.  It was either the 4th or the 9th by most accounts, or maybe the 6th, but SOE celebrated it last year on the 10th.  I suppose that just symbolized what a long strange road and all of that.  To celebrate that, Daybreak has their 12 year veteran award all set.

On per account

On per account

I am so out of touch with the game that I have no idea what those tokens are for.

They had to roll out the 12 year reward because purchasing the first four expansions gave people a 90 day… um… boost… to their veteran status.  Don’t ask me why this seemed like a good idea or a needed incentive back then.

As it so happens today, Friday, November 13th, is my own 11 year anniversary with the game, having rolled in just after launch when the second round of servers were opened up to take overflow from the initial servers.  I wrote about all of that last year, so I won’t dredge it all up yet again.  You can read that tale here.

And, in what might be considered an ironic twist, my Daybreak All Access subscription expired yesterday.  I cancelled it at the start of the month because I hadn’t been playing on Stormhold as much as I thought I would.  I haven’t been playing any fantasy MMORPGs recently.  It is just odd that it should expire when it did.  What were the odds?  (1 in 30… so not that long of a shot actually.)

Finally, we stand on the edge of the first post-SOE expansion for EverQuest II, Tales of Thumbelina… ern… Trials of Terre Haute… no… wait… I’ve got this…  Terrors of Thalumbra!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Set to come out next Tuesday, November 17th, Daybreak has decreed that there shall be double XP from whenever they said until the expansion launches… at which time you may resume grinding at the usual rate.  Time locked expansion servers are exempt from this because you wanted an authentic experience, right?  Nobody made you roll a character there!

And that is what seems to be going on in post-Cataclym Norrath this week.

A Year of Reavers

In putting together the usual month in review post for Saturday, I noticed that my first post about Reavers came up in October of 2014.  A quick check of our super secret section of the GSF forums shows the first posts on October 14 of last year, so I am a couple weeks late on the anniversary, though less than a week off from my post about our first op.

The Imperium holds itself and its many players together through a variety of special interest groups, or SIGs.  The Imperium is, in its way, a microcosm of EVE Online.  On the outside looking in, you may view The Imperium as a whole by your interaction with one of those groups.  MiniLuv, the high sec freighter ganking group… which turns a tidy profit through its actions… gets a lot of attention despite being a rather small group.  There are other combat groups like Space Violence, Top Goon, Black Ops, Bomberwaffe, and CapSwarm.

Groups have their symbols or logos

Groups have their symbols or logos

There are also groups that do wormhole ops, faction warfare, incursions, industry, shipping, escalations, and other such things.  Some are official, some just small ventures.  Some take all comers, while others have skill or ship restrictions or require somebody to vouch for you.  You can roll into Space Violence pretty easily, but they might want to check you out a bit for Corps Diplomatique, you don’t get into CapSwarm unless you have the skills and own the right hull, and for GIA they will want more than just a bit of skin off the nape of your neck.  Some love newbies and dilettantes, others want old hands and dedicated players.

While I try to err on the side of caution when writing about the inner workings of The Imperium, you could see all of this yourself (unless you’re Gevlon) by joining Karma Fleet.  There is a whole sub-forum devoted to recruiting people to these groups.

You do not have to join any of these groups to fly in The Imperium.  There are plenty of coalition-wide fleets, and some of the groups will ping for outsiders to bring up their numbers.  They are there to help you find something you like to do and other players to do that with.  And your alliance and corp will likely also have additional options for you.

I went through the first three years in the CFC/Imperium as just a non-affiliated line member, joining only CrapSwarm, the group for people with a capital ship (in my case an Archon) and minimal skills, but not yet skilled up to fly in CapSwarm.  I think I once got a ping about a move op for that.

Even not joining any of those groups, I did not lack things to do during that time, as this blog will attest.  Eventually though, I began to drift.  War time was always exciting, but between such conflicts ops could be dull.  I tend to prefer ops with a goal, something beyond sitting on a gate in an fast locking ship and popping strangers flying through.

And then came the Reavers.  Formed from the ashes of Freedom Squad, Reagalan’s US time zone “let’s go shoot things” group, it was announced by The Mittani during an internal State of the Goonion talk (and later revealed in an alliance update) and was to be headed up by Asher Elias.  It was put in place as a reaction to the changes coming with the Phoebe expansion, specifically jump fatigue.

I seem to recall the name Reavers being a placeholder, and a Firefly reference, and then nothing better came up, so it stuck.

Reavers forum bee

Reavers forum bee

In a null sec of far flung rental empires, the ability to bridge, jump, or otherwise move fleets rapidly across many light years was being curtailed.  In a war, a group with a large area to defend would have to commit to the front lines of any conflict.

In this situation, Reavers were to go deep into the enemy’s territory, far behind the front lines, and cause havoc by blowing up SBUs, reinforcing towers, siphoning mining operations, setting timers, disabling station services, snapping jump bridge connections, and generally making such a nusance of ourselves.  The enemy would thus be forced to decide between fighting on the front lines or putting out fires deep in their rear areas.

The Reavers themselves would arrive via wormholes, carrying all they needed in their Ishtars.  They would live in, and log out from, safe spots and refit via mobile depots.  They would, scout, hit targets of opportunity, set timers, call in coalition support for particularly juicy targets (like capital ship assembly arrays), but otherwise safe up, cloak up, and log off should the enemy show up in force.  Our existence was to be denied, we were never to speak in local, we were to be a rumor and a story to scare renters with when it was dark out.

And such was our modus operandi for a while, so long as the large rental empires remained.

Naturally, the stealthy nature of our group also made it difficult for me to write about.  Other EVE Online players do occasionally read my blog.  Even The Mittani was momentarily aware of this site at one point a few years back.  I couldn’t write after action reports, or what passes for such here, when it came to daily ops or our location or targets or such without compromising operational security.  Still, I summed things up occasionally, wrote about successes or battles after the fact, and generally kept some track of what we had been up to, trying to share out details sparingly or only after they had been revealed via other sources.

Of course, null sec changed over the last year.  The big rental empires shrank, then faded for the most part, remaining now just in the north east of null sec. (Maps from the usual source.)

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

And with that, the tactics of the Reavers changed.  We went from living in safes to holing up in NPC stations.  For two campaigns in Querious, we lived out of high sec space which, if nothing else, made resupply very easy.  We’ve gone from Ishtars to Tengus, with some special docrtines along the way, including an all to brief stint flying Ravens. (Reavans!)

Smart bombs activated

Ravens with smart bombs activated

We’ve gone from those deep behind enemy lines deployments where we avoided contact to cozying up next to somebody’s home,  hitting their stuff, and looking for fights… because there aren’t a lot of big empires left to hide in.  We have changed as null sec has changed over the year.

And, in that year I have felt like I have been a part of a special group.  I’ve made an effort to go on every Reaver op I can.  I have been out for every deployment.  I changed up my avatar to meet the jacket pal spec and even wore a rough copy at EVE Vegas.

Jacketpals unite

Jacket pals unite!

I might be the least well known Reaver inside the group.  I almost never speak on voice coms… to the point that Asher was surprised to learn at one point that I actually had a mic, I just never use it… but I still feel like I belong.  I have learned a lot along the way, got to do fun things, and felt like we had a mission in the coalition.

So here is my retrospective, all my Reaver posts from the first year of the group.

That is 27 posts that cover a good portion of the first year.  Going through all of that I noticed that I missed a few ops.  There was our past run at TEST and a Rokh op that had us in Fountain with Brave Newbies that I never got around to posting about.  But I have at least a timeline of sorts that shows where we started and what we have been up to.

As for what the Reavers will be doing a year from now in null sec, we shall see.

Nine is a Magic Number

Yes, I was testing you… it’s nine. And that’s a magic number

-Dewey Finn, School of Rock, misquoting Schoolhouse Rock

However the magic being referenced here is mostly a product of stubbornness or persistence or force of habit as opposed to anything that one would find amazing or entertaining.

Also, references to my childhood

Also, reference to my childhood

Yes, here we are again, another anniversary, the ninth time through this sort of post.  If I were married to the blog, something my wife might suggest was the case at times, Hallmark would be suggesting I buy it something of pottery or willow or perhaps leather if you prefer the modern view.  Instead all it is getting is words, just like every year.

But just to keep on the video game theme, WordPress.com even popped up an achievement for me at 17:05 UTC, which I guess is when I clicked the create button nine years back.

WP9YearAchievement

“Good blogging” is making something of an assumption there I suppose, but I appreciate the sentiment I guess.

Meanwhile, past runs through this sort of post for those who just need to know what came before.

I think I have settled down into a pretty regular pattern at this point.  I went well out of my way with some stats in the early years, in part because they were easy to derive with only a year or two of data to sift through.  Now I just present what is close to hand and hope for the best.

Base Statistics

An attempt to quantify what I have done here in the last twelve months.  The change over last years totals are noted in parentheses.

Days since launch: 3,287 (+365)
Posts total: 3,707 (+360)
Average posts per day: 1.13 (-0.02)
Comments: 25,558 (+2,346)
Average comments per post: 6.9 (+0.0)
Average comments per day: 7.8  (-0.1)
Spam comments: 1,277,992 (+104,525)
Average spam comments per day: 388.8 (-12.8)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 50 (-0.6)
Comments written by me: 2,994 or 11.7%
Images uploaded:  9,259 (+1244)
Space used by images: 2.1 GB of my 3 GB allocation (70%)

Eventually we’re going to need a bigger boat or something for all the picture I upload.

Further stats, summaries, a mildly off-the-rails semi-rant, and a forward looking statement are hidden below because I seem to be going on and on this year.  ~4,000 words after the cut for those interested in such things.

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