Tag Archives: Meaningless Milestones

EVE Online Turns 14

May 6th has rolled around again and our favorite internet spaceship games turns another year older.  It has been 14 years since the game launched back in 2003 and a lot has changed along the way.  The game itself has changed and looks much different today, as old screen shots show. (Image below from this gallery of 2004 screen shots.)

War Drive Active… to the future!

And the world outside of the game has changed dramatically as well.  Back in 2003 EverQuest was the top MMORPG with 550,000 subscribers, while the following things didn’t really exits yet:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Second Life
  • Facebook
  • Orkut (Google’s first run at a social media site)
  • MySpace (didn’t show up until August 2003)
  • Twitter
  • Imgur (where those screen shots are hosted)
  • Smart phones
  • This blog
  • Tobold’s blog
  • WordPress.com, where this blog is hosted

What was even happening back then?  We were apparently hanging out on Friendster and GeoCities and maybe had heard about LinkedIn, which launched the day before EVE Online.

Also, I had a 2 year old child and was facing the prospect of turning 40 soon.  Now I’m past 50 and the child wants to learn to drive.  Oy!

Anyway, in the grand tradition of the game, CCP has a little something for capsuleers who play the game.  The full details are posted, but this is what you get on each account:

  • 1x Capsule YC119 Capsuleer Day SKIN
  • 1x Festival Launcher
  • 200x Barium Firework
  • 200x Copper Firework
  • 200x Sodium Firework

I am glad they keep giving us new festival launchers.  Every time we have a fleet doctrine with an empty high slot I slap one on there and inevitably lose the ship and the launcher with it.

The SKIN is nifty.  You don’t see capsules running around in my part of space… not for very long anyway.  But if you are without a ship you can go around with a sharp looking red and white paint scheme.

14th Anniversary capsule SKIN

You have until May 23rd to log in and redeem your gifts.  And even Alpha clone accounts get them.  I checked and redeemed them on my own Alpha account.  Another year down and a decade and a half of the game is just around the corner, a mere 364 days away.

A Decade on the Road to Mordor

Ten years ago today Lord of the Rings Online officially went live.

Happy Anniversary

LOTRO was one of the first MMORPGs to go through beta and launch while I was blogging, and certainly the first one I jumped into at launch during the reign of the blog. (I was watching Vanguard during beta as well, but was dissuaded by my experiences there.)  One of my earliest posts was a response to the idea of such a game trying to tell the story of the books.

Yahoo Headline 2007, before Yahoo became malware

The path for LOTRO from beta through launch and to today has been somewhat symbolic of the post-World of Warcraft era for MMORPGs.  It was driven along initially on the wave of WoW-subscription number induced euphoria, where the sky seemed to be the limit.

Then there was launch and the rush to play and the problem of the game simultaneously being too much and not enough like WoW.  There were some fun little quirky features, like titles you could earn for actions… though the fact that those were secret (or at least not documented or traceable anywhere in the UI) meant most players never knew about them.  It is hard to sell yourself as different when you hide things I suppose, and a decade later I don’t think I have a single one of those special titles yet.

Meanwhile, for those who rushed ahead, there was bemusement as content fell of a good ten levels before the cap.  Subscriptions fell off, complaints mounted, changes and updates went in, and Turbine went forward with plans for an expansion; The Mines of Moria.  That was an amazing and ambitious expansion.  I pre-ordered that as well back in 2008, though I did not actually get into the content for a few years and it was several years after that before I was out of the far side of those caverns.

LOTRO was also a leader in the conversion to a free to play model citing a huge boost in players and revenue to accompany the change.  They were also ahead of the curve when it came to the grim reality of such conversions.  Player expectations as to what “free” really means can be harsh, that initial surge of new players never lasts, and once you start down the cash shop path, forever will it dominate your destiny and development time.

More expansions came and again Turbine was in the lead with pre-orders and special editions with cosmetic fluff thrown in to entice more money out of players.  But eventually expansions stopped and all revenue focus went into the cash shop and new items and new currencies showed up.

Then they began to fall behind the curve of the industry.  They were not too late to the game with insta-level boosts, but they failed to grasp that people want such boost to get to the latest content, the NEW stuff.  Turbine thought boosting people to the first expansion and level 50 was enough.  That was a worst of all possibilities idea for me.  Moria was nowhere near the current content and the first 50 levels that get you there are some of the best, most charming, most memorable content in the game.  Skipping The Shire and Bree and the Forsaken Inn and Weathertop and Rivendell and the beautiful scenery of Middle-earth to head down into a cave for ten levels seems like insanity.

Eventually they figured that out and now you get jumped to Rohan with your insta-level boost, but I remain dubious about the idea as a general plan.  A seasoned player advancing an alt might take full advantage of the jump, but a new player is likely to be out of their depth.

And then there was the spin-off, where LOTRO and its sister, Dungeons & Dragons Online were folded into their own company by Warner.  Spinning of MMORPG divisions has been a thing, from Daybreak Games and its Norrathian legacy to Broadsword Games which keeps Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot going.

It has been a strange trip these last ten years.

But all of that was in the future back in April of 2007.  Ten years ago today I was in Middle-earth playing the game, having pre-ordered it.  That was back when pre-ordering could be done by buying a pre-order box off the shelf at Fry’s.  I still had to follow up and buy a retail box, but the pre-order box got me a head start and kept my account active for a while until I got the real game key.

And then, of course, there was the choice to be made as to which founder’s bonus to take.

Founders Choices

I went with the $199 lifetime subscription over the $9.99 reduced monthly subscription price which, looking back over a decade and more of MMORPG time, was probably the most sound investment I have ever made.  I have received more value for that money than I ever expected.

At the eight year anniversary I mocked the game a bit, pointing out that even by the longest measure… Frodo is warned by Gandalf to leave the Shire through to Bilbo and Frodo departing from the Grey Havens… the events of end of the Third Age in Middle-earth being reproduced in the game only took three and a half years.

At that point Minis Tirith was on the horizon still.  Two years later… again, more time than it took Frodo to get from the Shire to Mount Doom… and Mordor is in sight.  Update 20 brings players to the battle of the Black Gate.

Gandalf blazing in bleached white

I read about that and the tenth anniversary events and such and I feel like I should log in and take a look.  But then I read about the mix of joy and frustration with the anniversary events and remember that I am, as always, stuck behind several layers of content and I pass on to something else.

Look, could you just point me towards Mordor? I’m a bit behind.

This is ever the problem with MMORPGs that evolve through expansions and updates and levels and rigid layers of content.  I think I have patched up a few times since I opted for the Blessing of the Valar level boost, but every time I log in I look in my bags and cannot figure out what half the stuff in there is (the icons haven’t gotten any clearer in ten years while my eyesight has gotten worse) and the legendary weapon that the boost handed me… which isn’t ready to use, you have to find a vendor and go through some gyrations to make it work… and I wonder if I might just be better off rolling up yet another new character and playing through the first 30-40 levels yet again.  I think I must be close to 20 characters past level 30 at this point.

But Middle-earth yet abides, waiting for my return.  Some day that ring will be tossed into Mount Doom.  Of course, then we will have to get back to the Shire.  The tale isn’t done until the Shire has been scoured.

EverQuest Turns Eighteen

The date has come again where I tell you I still have that receipt from Fry’s for a copy of EverQuest dated March 16, 1999 and reminisce for a bit about the good old days and what a revelation an open, 3D world was back in 1999 and how far the game has come and how amazing that here, eighteen years later the game is still live and viable and getting updates and expansions.  I think you will find similar posts just about every March 16th (or 17th if I was lazy) over the life of the blog.  Ten years ago today there was a post here on the blog about EverQuest turning 8.

And there is nothing wrong with that.  Why shouldn’t I celebrate something that clearly left a mark on my life?  The EverQuest team is celebrating as well.

They can now buy cigarettes and vote

There are all sorts of things going on in old Norrath, with new events, bonus experience, and the return of old anniversary favorites.

You can even get a free level 85 boosted character between now and March 31.

Being level 85 makes you heroic by default

The offer is good for any account that has ever played EverQuest or any new account that is an All Access subscriber.

There is also a new Producer’s letter up that, among other things, promises a new Progression server called Agnarr that will stop unlocking content at Lost Dungeons of Norrath and simply stay there.  There is also an explicit statement that there will be an EQ expansion this year, as though we would doubt that at this point.

All good stuff for a game that continues to defy expectations and carry on despite its age.

1999 EverQuest Trivia from 2011… the level cap is 100 now

But the anniversary also brings up some questions as well.  A lot of MMORPGs have come and gone during the game’s run, and it is purported to still be one of the most popular/highly populated games at Daybreak.  This leads me to wonder how long can EverQuest last?  How long will it keep getting updates?  What combo of critical mass and notoriety does an MMO need to hit to achieve this sort of longevity?

I have failed to answer those questions before, though not for a lack of trying from time to time, starting with a post back in 2007 when I wondered how many more expansions the game would get.  This was at the time when the EQ team moved from two expansions a year to just one.  I guessed two or three.  So very wrong.  Currently Daybreak summarizes the game’s features as:

  • Experience 18 years of continuous development including 21 expansions of amazing content
  • Build your character through 100 levels of power
  • More than 500 zones to explore
  • Choose from 16 unique races and 16 distinct classes
  • Thousands of Alternate Abilities available to further customize your character
  • More than 50,000 items to earn and collect
  • Hire and control unique mercenaries to aid you in your heroic adventures
  • A robust in-game marketplace containing potions, weapons, armor, and mounts
  • Solo, Group and Raid across continents filled with perilous dungeons, eerie crypts, floating landscapes, and underwater adventures
  • Participate in several seasonal and holiday events throughout the year

Anyway, another year passes and Norrath still seems to be going strong.  Same time next year?

My past anniversary posts, just to keep track:

One Hundred and Seventy Million Skill Points

Another milestone in training as, even in the age of skill injectors, I continue to roll on forward the old fashioned way and let my skill points accumulate slowly over time.  Call me cheap… though because I have so many skill points a skill injector only nets me a 150K skill point gain, so I am cheap with reason.  Actually, I am about a day early with this post, but I had posts planned for the rest of the week and nothing for today, so here it is!  The posts never land exactly on the exact mark in any case.

Anyway, another seven months down the line brings us to another post.  Here is my skill point journey in New Eden so far, if you feel the need for the historic precedent behind this post:

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

 Spaceship Cmd   51,351,483 (55 of 75)*
 Gunnery         17,197,141 (36 of 46)*
 Fleet Support   12,896,000 (14 of 15)* new name
 Drones          11,704,870 (22 of 26)
 Missiles        10,836,471 (22 of 26)
 Navigation       9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Engineering      7,253,895 (15 of 15)
 Electronic Sys   7,189,415 (14 of 15)*
 Armor            6,131,137 (13 of 13) 
 Shields          5,994,039 (11 of 13)
 Science          5,462,151 (21 of 39) 
 Resc Processing  4,569,908 (22 of 28)
 Trade            3,271,765 (9 of 14)
 Targeting        3,207,765 (8 of 8)
 Neural Enhance.  3,202,510 (5 of 8)* 
 Subsystems       2,186,840 (20 of 20)
 Scanning         2,045,230 (7 of 7) 
 Rigging          1,312,395 (10 of 10)
 Production       1,157,986 (5 of 12) 
 Social           1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Structure Mgmt   1,084,784 (2 of 6) 
 Planet Mgmt      1,069,079 (5 of 5)* 
 Corp Mgmt           24,000 (2 of 5) 

 Total         ~170,000,000 (338 of 428)

The additional 10 million skill points saw an additional six skills added to my list, bringing the total up from 332 last time to 338.

Spaceship Command continues its reign at the top of the list.  Internet spaceships does seem to require training that is focused specifically on internet spaceships I guess.  That got a boost this time around from training current skills up to level V.  I finished Transport Ships V, trained Command Ships V for a bit before swapping out, and I have been working on Amarr Carrier V for the last few weeks.  That provides a boost both for me carrier and my fax machine, so seemed worthwhile as a long term goal.

Archon, also in Purity White, hanging off a Fortizar

Archon in white

Electronic Systems got a big point boost as I trained up Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration so as to be able to run the Tech II triage module on my Apostle.

Medical White Apostle

Medical White Apostle

On the new skill front, those were actually easy for me to remember this time around.  There were four skills in the Drones category related to fighters that I needed to train up so as to get my carrier skills up to the CapSwarm requirements.  The other two were under Neural Enhancements; Neurotoxin Control and Neurotoxin Recovery, which are related to the use of skill enhancing drugs.

Use More Drugs

Use More Drugs! The station ad commands it!

Then there is the side effect of doing these posts at regular 10 million skill point increments.  Not only does it track my own progress, but it also tracks how skills themselves change over time.  For example, we now have the category Fleet Support, which is mostly a new name for what was once Leadership.  I am missing only Spacial Phenomena Generation, which is a titan skill.  But that change also heralds the changing in fleet boosts and structure.

Another fleet boost hitting

Imagine that boost effect on drugs

My skills, broken out by level:

 Level 1  - 2
 Level 2  - 8
 Level 3  - 45
 Level 4  - 101
 Level 5  - 182

182 at level V puts me five up from last time.

As for my “fly all the subcaps” metric that replaced my somewhat dates “fly a titan” metric, I did actually make progress on that.  Another of the Spaceship Command skill I raise to level V was Amarr Industrial, so I can fly the Amarr blockade runners and deep space transports.  That leaves the following on my list:

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

Of that list, only Gallente Transports is in my current queue, next up after Amarr Carrier.  So, as a metric, that list is getting as thin as flying a titan was.  While I should train up the Loki just for completeness, I am unlikely to train Marauders due to the expense.  Expedition frigates I might do on a whim some day, but they are not at all a priority.  That doesn’t leave much room for change.

So feel free to suggest a new metric, or else I am going to have to come up with one before the next post.  Granted, that gives me some time, as I expect that won’t come to pass until late August or early September.  However, I am likely to forget about the whole thing in the interim.  Maybe I could come up with a skill set that would be “enough” and allow me to move the training queue to an alt on my account.  But what would ever be “enough?”  And then CCP would add some new skills and I would have to chase those as well.

We shall see if I come up with anything before the next post.

Five Years in Null Sec

Back in December of 2011, even as Hilmar was telling the CSM that the era of the “Jesus Feature” was over, I was again subscribed to EVE Online.  Having unsubscribed after the debacle that was Incarna, I was back to see what CCP had done since then as they launched Crucible, an expansion that promised to get back to the nuts and bolts of the game and start a trend of fixing stuff that people had been complaining about for years.

I had to admit that it was pretty, with new nebulae and start gates that appears to be lined up to shoot you at the correct star even.

Jump Gate in Action

Jump Gate in Action

But as pretty as the update was, it wasn’t holding me.  I was back and looking at all the stuff I had in my hangar, leftovers from the various paths I had trod over the previous half decade in New Eden… mission, mining, production, arbitrage… along with 70 million skill points in training and felt no inspiration.  I was subscribed for a month and figured I would spend it toddling about looking at pretty things and then let my account lapse.

Even my friends, the people who came and went from our little corp, were all gone… all save Gaff.  Gaff was back and playing, but he was out in null sec where he had gone a year or so previously, and there was not getting there to visit, though he did stop by in high sec for the occasional romp.

He had tried to get me to join him in null sec in the past, but I am one of those people who gets stuck on “things,” and all of my things were in a station in Amarr space and I couldn’t imagine trying to get them all up to where he lived in Deklein.

This time, however, my commitment to the game was waning such that I was up to take a chance.  I filled out an application to join BSCL, got accepted, changed my home station, and self-destructed.

I was revived in the station at CU9-T0, the headquarters of my new alliance, TNT, but quickly scooted off to 0P-F3K, the system that BSCL mostly called home.  It was December 18, 2011 and a conflict had just broken out.  After the great VFK headshot Goonswarm had taken what was once DekCo, transformed into the Clusterfuck Coalition, or the CFC, once its boarders expanded, on the road after some neighbors to the northeast that were seen as threats.  The CFC struck out at them and these foes, White Noise and Raiden, announced they were set to come get us, promising to rid Deklein of Goons, a statement which was turned into the infamous cry of “VFK by February!”

It was war and I had to figure out what was what in a hurry.

I got to our staging system in VFK-IV, got on coms, got myself a doctrine ship, and was soon bumbling my way through fleets trying to figure out what was going on and not screw up.  But by December 21 I had already bridged off of a titan, been in a fleet fight, done a structure shoot, and had seen all sorts of new things in the game.  And probably more importantly I became part of the ongoing story that is null sec space.

Null Sec Sov. December 27

Null Sec Sov. December 27, 2011

Long after seeing a titan was no longer special and I had trained up skill points to fly in every subcap doctrine the coalition could come up with, being part of the sweep and story of null sec space has kept me interested in the game.  Before I came to null sec I used to drop my subscription and take a break every so often, usually after I wore out whatever goal or project I had been working on.  Since I came to null sec I have remained subscribed and logging in.

As something of an MMO tourist, being in a null sec alliance and part of a contentious coalition has afforded me the opportunity to witness many of the noteworthy events that have sometimes made it to the mainstream news.  To abuse a former CCP advertising catch phrase, “I was there” for:

  • My first “big” fleet fight in EWN-2U which saw the newly released time dilation mechanism in play (post)
  • Burn Jita of various flavors (Burn Jita tag)
  • Z9PP-H when CCP fumbled the node and saved TEST (Post, though I left just before that happened)
  • The Lazamo at 3WE-KY (post)
  • 6VTD-H at the end of the Fountain War (Post with lots of links about the battle)
  • HED-GP when we were killing nodes with drone assist (Post)
  • B-R5RB, which remains the most expensive battle in New Eden history (B-R5RB tag with several related posts)
  • M-OEE8 and the great betrayal of the Casino War (Post)
  • Defeat in the Casino War and the great migration to Delve (Delve 2016 tag)
  • M-OEE8 Keepstar fight with the most pilots ever to pile into a single system (Post)

Those are points in time that a lot of people will remember.  I think the one big event I totally missed was Asakai, which happened while I was at work and was done before I got home.  And these are just peak events.  For each great clash there are many smaller battles.

And even when there isn’t a wider war going on… which is usually when some vocal non-null sec players start chanting about “blue donuts” and “stagnation”… there is always something going on, even if it is just planning and building for the next conflict.  We can’t sustain constant war, it takes too much out of people.

And the story continues.  That series of discreet events I listed out are just points on the arc of a much wider and ongoing tale of which so many people have been a part.   Some actors and organizations come and go, others change sides or become part of new organizations.  If you read Andrew Groen’s book Empires of EVE, that is just part of the story, a great snapshot from null sec, but only a snippet from the ongoing saga of 0.0 space.  War, alliances, spies, betrayal, conquest, victories, defeats, old hands, bitter vets, new bros, null sec has it all.

Null sec sov Dec. 20, 2016

Null sec sov Dec. 20, 2016

Granted, null sec isn’t a game niche for everybody, and there are aspects of it that do get tiring.  After a couple of years of mostly being in the blob of main fleet, the whole effort was starting to wear on me.  If you look back at January of 2014, when B-R5RB happened, I am only on six kill mails.  They were six titans from that battle, but I wasn’t doing much else and my Dominix got left behind in the system after the Russians collapsed and lost all of that space.

And then Reavers came along with ops where 100 ships is a big turn out for an op and got to do all sorts of different sorts of fights all over New Eden.  And that isn’t a constant activity.  We deploy for a bit, have some fights, then come back home to do other things.

All in all though, being part of null sec is pretty much what made EVE Online finally “stick” for me.  Every time I think maybe it is time for a break, something new comes up in the story and I decide to stick around a bit longer just to see how that plays out.

A Decade Under the Influence of Online Games

Here we are, ten years and more than four thousand posts later, and I am still notably bad at online games.  But I persist.

Being there achievement, blogging version

Being there achievement, blogging version

The title is actually wrong, but I couldn’t come up with a better one.  I can prove I have been playing online games for 30 years.  I even have physical artifacts from the era.  Hell of a year for games… and movies.  I’ve merely been blogging about them for the last decade.

Anyway, for those keen to review past attempts at anniversary posts, here is the list:

I actually did a lot of work on those posts around years five and six.

Base Statistics

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

Days since launch: 3,653 (+366)
Posts total: 4,075 (+368)
Average posts per day: 1.11 (-0.02)
Comments: 27,959 (+2,401)
Average comments per post: 6.86 (-0.04)
Average comments per day: 7.65  (-0.15)
Spam comments: 1,312,165 (+34,173)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 408
Average spam comments per day: 359.2 (-29.6)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 46.9 (-3.1)
Comments written by me: 3,531 or 7.9%
Images uploaded:  10,416 (+1157)
Space used by images: 2.3 GB of my 3 GB allocation (78%, up 8%)

I continue to post about once a day, but all other metrics remain in decline.  Even spam comments were just one third of what they were last year.  What does it mean when even spam bots are tiring of your blog?

Then I go over to Feedly and look at the stats for the blogs feed and is says crazy things like this:

9,000? That cannot be right!

Seriously, it says this

9,000 followers can’t be right… hell, even 9 stories a week is optimistic.  The stats from the blog say 7 tops.

Meanwhile, the site (noted down below) that sent me the MOST referral traffic shows up with this number.

Being on the CSM doesn't help on Feedly I guess...

Being on the CSM doesn’t help on Feedly I guess…

So there went logic out the window I guess.

The next highest number I could find in my feeds was this:

WoW, really not as popular as me it seems...

WoW, really not as popular as me it seems…

I call shenanigans on the whole thing, unless my site is just a magnet for people addicted to RSS feeds and daily-ish posts.

Life on the internet.  Anyway, those are the basic numbers.  More detailed nonsense is available after the cut… unless you’re reading via RSS, in which case it is all there in your reader of choice, because I love you right back RSS junkies.

Continue reading

Ten Years of Internet Spaceships

Ten years ago today I signed up for EVE Online, made a character… Wilhelm Arcturus… yes, EVE Who says August 30, but 03:58 UTC was still August 29 here in California… and undocked for the first time in New Eden.

Wilhelm Avatars Through the Years

Wilhelm Avatars Through the Years

Or tried to undock.  The freakin’ tutorial back in 2006 had me sitting in the station, in my pod, but kept telling me to open up the hangar.

Still, I somehow managed to get in a ship, undock, kill the elusive pirates, and advance into the serious business that is internet spaceships.  When I started the game was going strong, passing 100,000 capsuleers according to the old timeline graphic (and this dev blog).  Also, the game broke the 30K PCU mark!  The current expansion was the forgettable Bloodlines which, so far as I could tell, only really added a few character creation options.

Bloodlines - March 2006

Bloodlines – March 2006

Okay, tech II modules came into being as well with Bloodlines, along with a few other details.

But Revelations was on its way soon.

Revelations - November 2006

Revelations – November 2006

And with Revelations would come salvaging, invention, rigs, many bugs, and motherfucking warp to goddam zero, something that changed everybody’s lives.  Seriously, that was the end of the “uphill, both ways, in the snow” era for travel by gates.  (Sugar Kyle has a post up about that era and its events.)

It was a strange and wonderful time.  MMORPGs were a thing, World of Warcraft caused a lot of “if we build it, they will come” moments as its subscription base continued to climb, causing even Richard “Lord British” Garriott to say at GDC that you would be foolish not to be making such games. (As opposed to when he said that about Facebook games.)  Blogs and podcasts about MMOs were all the rage and a flourishing community of people seemed to coalesce around VirginWorlds to discuss and debate the relative merits of various entries in the field.  This blog was still two weeks from going live and I was still debating possible names.  A pity I went with the one that seemed the most amusing at the time.

EVE Online was in the thick of those discussions because back then, as now, there wasn’t really anything else quite like it.  And one item that kept coming up was the fact that you couldn’t get out of your ship.

We had long discussions back in the day about whether or not simply being unable to interact face to face would limit the appeal of the game.  Space is huge and very lonely and, even where ships congregate, a passing ship is just a cold machine that doesn’t even have a dance emote.  That was a hot topic and CCP was on the case even back then.  Of course, after seeing what more than five years of work gave us in the Incarna expansion, a lot of people (myself included) changed our minds on whether or not it was worth the effort.

No, a far bigger problem with EVE Online to my mind, the one that persists through to today, is the fact that in order to play the game effectively a capsuleer must avail themselves of the many external utilities that players have created to support the game.  If you want another variation on “EVE is Dying!” take a look at how things are going in that arena.  Battle Clinic has gone away, EVE Mon support seems to be tottering, EVE Fitting Tool was last updated back in May, Pyfa is likewise behind, and over on Reddit, /r/eve has sucked all the joy out of any discussion of the game by becoming the primary focus for several key groups and where a mass of howling morons are more interested in adding their voice to the comments than considering whether or not their comments adds any value.  It is Sturgeon’s Law run amok.  It makes me miss the Kugutsumen forums badly.

And in a world where if Wollari decides he’s taking down DOTLAN EVE Maps we’re all doomed, what has CCP been up to?  Back in 2006 I was pissing and moaning about the in-game map, which was pretty but useless for actually getting information you needed in any expedient way.  CCP has worked on that map for years and made it somewhat useful.  At least I can see where my fleet members are.  And after that, they rolled out a new map, which is even prettier but, in terms of usefulness, brought us back to 2006 or earlier.  I think even CCP realizes they fucked up there and I won’t be surprised to see a release note about how the new map has been removed from the game at some future date.  Wasted opportunities while the game remains as dependent as ever on the charity of players.

But my purpose wasn’t to rant about CCP’s stewardship of the game, though it is hard not to slip into that now and again, hindsight giving one such clear vision.  It was to meander a bit through what was going on a decade back in and around New Eden.

There was the great Intergalactic Bank scam, a ponzi scheme wherein somebody set up a bank, took deposits, promised to pay interest, paid some out of the ongoing deposits, and then folded up shop and ran off with more than 700 billion ISK.  Brent had a good summary on the VirginWorlds podcast (episode 27, with a follow up in episode 29), where he brought up one of the key post scam issues: How do you get back at somebody who doesn’t have a space empire, just a pile of ISK?  And this was before ISK casinos allowed a few people push their agendas through payouts while remaining immune to any response.  CCP was more interested at the time, as they are now, in any illicit RMT transactions involving that stolen ISK.  They were even hinting about a plan they had to make ISK selling obsolete, though it would be another 3 years before PLEX would land in the game.

It has also been almost ten years since CCP partnered with Vivox to bring voice coms directly into the EVE Online client, thus removing our need to use external voice software like TeamSpeak or Mumble.  Hah, hah, hah!  Seriously though, does anybody use the built-in voice?  Or does turning on sound still cause a big performance hit to the game?  I haven’t had sound on for years.  This was another topic covered by Brent on the VirginWorlds podcast (episode 29).  That podcast is a gold mine for anybody who wants to get a glimpse of the MMO scene a decade back.

My own history in New Eden has had its ups and downs.  I ended up cancelling my account after my first three months in game, then came back to it a few months later.  I created a second account 11 months after my first, when I started the great trek to master mining.  Two years in I created another blog just to post pictures of the game.

During that second period I ran missions, did manufacturing, invention, played the market, did some hauling, dipped a toe into factional warfare, learned to scan well enough to get in and out of wormholes (which I have since forgotten how to do), and generally stuck in high sec for about four years, after which I took a break.  I came back for Incarna and unsubscribed almost immediately upon seeing what was being offered, then came back again for Crucible, when CCP promised to actually start working on the broken stuff in the game.  About then Gaff offered me a chance to run off to sov null sec, and I have been there for almost five years now and have seen many of the most publicized moments from that time.

I have 1,080 posts up on the blog that focus on EVE Online in some way or another that cover topics from the big fight at B-R5RB to simply moving my ships from one location to another.

According to Zkillboard, up to this point I have been on 2,038 kill mails, a large portion of which are structures.  One of the things I did upon arriving in null sec was train up to fly logi, which I offer up as an excuse for my low total.  Also, I remain bad at EVE.

Still, there are some memorable kills on the list.  While my trophy page on Zkillboard shows I have never been on a kill mail in wormhole space, that I have never managed a solo kill (so close that one time), and that I have never killed any mining ships, I am on ten titan kill mails.  Those are always fun.  Oddly, I am also on ten super carrier kill mails.  One would think those would be easier to get.

And after all this time, EVE Online remains a strange game.

It remains a pain to get into.  It seems to dare you to like it.  You really have to make up your own story in order to stick with the game.  I think that one of the reasons null sec remains popular with outside observers… though not I would guess not as popular as we might think… is that it represents a long running space soap opera, a story of conflict and powers rising and falling.  It is an accessible story in a game that generally refuses to give you a story.  I know that being within the framework of that story has helped keep me interested in the game for the last five years.

Wilhelm - current avatar

Wilhelm – current avatar

Still, sometimes I undock just to look around in space and get a sense of its vastness and beauty, something I have done since I started in New Eden.

Cormorant Docking - Trails On

Cormorant Docking – Circa 2007

That isn’t enough to keep most people playing long term, but it is a hook that can get you on your way.

So here I am, ten years in and still playing regularly and planning to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Jacketpals unite

Me, being my avatar – EVE Vegas 2015

A pile of other MMOs have come and gone in the time EVE Online has been hanging about and being different.  Not bad for a game that has been dying for almost as long as it has been live.