Tag Archives: Meaningless Milestones

A Decade of Internet Spaceship Pictures

It is probably a good thing that I only track my other blog here in five year increments rather than the sort of yearly posts I do for this site.  Eventually though time flies past and suddenly you’ve been posting pictures of pretend spaceships on the internet for a decade and you wonder how it happened.

In short, EVE Online Pictures turns ten years old today.

The original banner for the blog

A bunch has happened since I posted at the five year anniversary, and yet things still feel very much the same in some ways.  The graphics of EVE Online have evolved and improved.  A picture from today looks different from a picture from five years ago which looks different still from pictures taken a decade back.

At some point I had to change up the theme on the site, as I had to do on this site, because WP.com was breaking things for older themes.  EVE Online Pictures now uses the Piano Black theme.  Also, unlike TAGN, it has ads all over it.  Over time WP.com has gone from “your visitors may see some ads” to “we’re going to get ads all over your shit” when it comes to free blogs.

Here I pay not to have ads.  Over there I have been less inclined to pay, mostly because the site gets so little traffic anyway.  Its main benefit to me is counting as a fan site so I get one of my accounts comped by CCP.  So the accountant in the back of my brain is reluctant to give away any of the economic upside of that blog by plunking down $48 a year just to have no ads.

You get other features with the basic plan, but none of them interest me.  For example, after ten years at the same address, getting a new domain name seems like a very bad idea.

If somebody could convince me that no ads and a new domain name would double my traffic… I still wouldn’t be interested.  You’ll know why when I get into the numbers.

The story of how the blog came to be… more dubious ideas… was covered five years back.  I’ll link to that post again in case you are interested.  But basically for the last ten years I have put up 2 or 3 pictures a week, every week, with occasional bursts of more pictures (during the Fountain War I put up a picture a day for two months) and a video now and then on the weekend.  The current schedule is a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Basic Statistics

Days since launch: 3,652
Posts total: 1,507 (up 927)
Average posts per day: 0.41 (up 0.09)
Comments:  201 (up 36)
Average comments per post: 0.13 (down 0.15)
Average comments per day:  0.055 (down 0.045)
Spam comments:  35,371 (up 6073)
Average spam comments per day:  9.68 (down by 3.29)
Comment signal to noise ratio:  1 to 176 (up 35)
Images uploaded:  1,418 (up 859)
Space used by images: 447 MB of my 3 GB allocation (up 204 MB)

What do those numbers say about EVE Online Pictures?

Well, first is that I do not get very comments at all, with just 36 comments being posted in the last five years.  Even spam comments have been down during that period.  I also have a lot of space left to upload more screen shots.  My early worry was that I would run out of space.  Not something I needed to give much mind to I guess.

Some Numbers

I’ll put the big chart up front, as I did five years ago, so you can see exactly how much traffic the EVE Online Pictures blog gets.  First, the total page view numbers.

EVE Online Pictures Total Page Views by Month

And then the daily averages.

EVE Online Pictures Average Daily Page Views by Month

You can click on either of those charts to see them full size.

Overall, you can see that traffic volume there is nothing to write home about.  If you go to the TAGN eleven year anniversary post you will see that almost every year this blog gets more traffic than EVE Online Pictures has had in its ten years of existence.

There are a few reasons for that, not least of which is that the site gets far fewer posts.  And the posts themselves are just pictures.  People can see the pictures without bothering to click through to the site if they follow me via a number of syndication channels.

Unlike this blog however, traffic at EVE Online Pictures is not in decline.  There was a significant drop in early 2013 when Google changed how they did image searches.  You can see that hit to traffic in February 2013.  But after that it is pretty steady, holding at about 30K page views a year.

Demographics

As I noted, the language barrier isn’t as big a deal when you have a blog that is mostly pictures.

EVE Online Pictures traffic sources

Countries with large English speaking populations are still represented, but I do get a lot more Russians there than I do here.  Well, at least as a percentage of the total visitors.

Incoming

Who sends traffic to EVE Online Pictures?

  1. Google
  2. EVE Bloggers
  3. Total EVE
  4. TAGN
  5. Twitter
  6. EVE Online Forums
  7. WP.com dashboard
  8. Der Held von New Eden
  9. Reddit
  10. Facebook
  11. WP.com Reader
  12. Massively (not Massively OP, the old AOL site)
  13. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
  14. EVE Online Community site
  15. Google Reader

Of course, Google is at the top of the list, and its total is well over three times the traffic all other sites have ever sent me combined.  Such is the power of the Page Rank.  You can see why people freak out when Google makes any sort of change to their search algorithms.  Anybody who drops off the first page of results suffers a percipience drop in traffic.

EVE bloggers, in its various forms, has provided a decent amount of traffic over the years.

Total EVE has the site in there because I bribed somebody to include it in the EVE Blog Pack list.  I think it has a legit place on that list.  It is all about EVE OnlineTotal EVE hasn’t been around as long as EVE Bloggers so it isn’t higher up the list, but it matches or exceeds EVE Bloggers most days of the week.

Then of course, I send traffic there from this site.  This post will add a bit to that I bet.

For a brief flicker of time the official forums used to send traffic to the blog.  One of the community team discovered the site via Twitter and began including a link to a picture now and then in the regular This Week in EVE post.   And then, as that was ramping up, CCP cut most of their community team and that regular post fell by the wayside.

The WP.com dashboard is people clicking on their stats page wondering what this site is that is sending them some traffic.  I have a lot of EVE Online blogs and a set of news and informational feeds in the side bar of EVE Online Pictures.

Then there is Der Held von New Eden, literally the only blog I know of out there, aside from this one, that links to EVE Online Pictures.  No love for a long time fixture of the community.  At least screen shots know no language barrier.

Once in a while somebody a link gets posted to Reddit.  Actually, looking at the number of page views I would change that to just once.

As with this blog, every EVE Online Pictures post gets piped to the Wilhelm Arcturus account on Facebook where pretty much only my mother sees them.

Old school Massively, several years gone at this point, still holds a spot on the list because they linked back to the site to acknowledge a screen shot they used.  Massively OP isn’t anywhere on the list.

Kirith Kodachi doesn’t have a blog roll, but he must have linked to me at some point.

The EVE Online community site is basically CCP’s list of EVE Online fan sites.

And then there is Google Reader, a blast from the past.  It will be five years gone this coming July.

Outgoing

Honestly, the site doesn’t send much traffic anywhere.  I would be surprised if anybody noticed that they were getting traffic from the EVE Online Pictures.  For the most part it is the rare post that even has a link out.

Occasionally somebody will click on something in the side bar where I have a list of EVE Online related sites and EVE Online related news feeds from CCP and key third party sites.  But for the most part people land on the site, look at some pictures, then leave without a trace.

In that scenario, the sites that do get clicks now and again are:

  1. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  2. EVE Monkey
  3. EVE Online Ships
  4. West Karana
  5. OmbEVE (defunct)
  6. Jester’s Trek
  7. EVElopedia (defunct)
  8. EVE Null Sec Influence
  9. EVE Kill (defunct)
  10. EVE Online Forums
  11. The Mittani dot com (changed to INN)
  12. DOTLAN EVE Online Maps
  13. EVE Online community sites
  14. EVE Bloggers
  15. EVE Tanking (defunct)

The inertia of time.  A third of the sites on that list are gone or no longer at that address.

Of course I am the biggest beneficiary, and why not?  If I post screen shots from a big fight I will sometimes link back to a related post here for further info.

EVE Monkey, West Karana, OmbEVE, and Jester’s Trek all had links out to the for pictures they posted.  Those sites aren’t gone, but they are dormant.

And the rest are people actually clicking on the side bar I guess.  All told those listed add up to just over 5,500 clicks, which is about three a month over the last decade.  Not a significant source of web traffic for anybody.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. B-R5RB Infographic
  2. Space Cockroach
  3. Sansha Battle Station
  4. Asteroid Mining Station
  5. The Maze Complex
  6. Myrmidon
  7. Raven and Rokh
  8. New Asteroids
  9. Rifter
  10. Angel Cartel Battleship Opens Fire
  11. Ragnarok Jumping in with the Fleet
  12. Cormorant Classic
  13. The Mighty Rorqual Transitions
  14. Caldari Jump Gate
  15. New Cladari Jump Gate Model

The B-R5RB infographic is the biggest draw by far, the one thing that Google still finds on the site when people search.  Of course, somebody else made that.  The top five are all the results of Google, as is number eight on the list.  General interest in asteroids and asteroid mining tricks people to coming here.

After that the rest of the list were linked on some other site or in a forum post.

For the most part a post gets traffic the week it is posted and never gets another click after that.

Most Used Categories

For the site I tried to set up categories for what I felt would be logical ways to divide up pictures at a higher level.  I went with the four empires and then some specific items, ending up with 24 categories over the years.  I suppose I could have gone with ship classes or something else, but this is what I started with and some times it is better to carry on consistently how you started out rather than trying to change horses mid-stream.

  1. Caldari
  2. Amarr
  3. Gallente
  4. Minmatar
  5. Space Station
  6. Planet (also used for moons)
  7. Space Objects
  8. Explosions
  9. Contest Entries
  10. Citadel
  11. ORE
  12. Classic Graphics
  13. Ringed Planet
  14. Drones
  15. YouTube Video

Ships identified as Caldari are the most common on the site, the category having been used 492 times, followed by Amarr at 479, then Gallente at 373, and finally Minmatar at 355.  I think that split mostly reflects my starting off as Caldari back in 2006, so a lot of early pictures were focused on those ships. (Or the Guristas versions thereof.)

Explosions is probably the best tag, followed by Ringed Planets, while Classic Graphics is a interesting look at the past.  Of course, when I created that category there were only “new” and “classic” graphics.  Since then there have been a number of revisions to how things are rendered as well as ship models, so I suppose the concept of “classic” has been somewhat diluted.  But in the context of the site it means the way the game looked when I showed up.

I excluded one category from the list.  Every post has the category “EVE Online” attached.  Tags and categories are powerful things at WP.com and one of the things you can do with them is make an RSS feed of a category or tag.  If you have a WP.com blog and you write about EVE Online, you should definitely use the “EVE Online” as a tag or category. (Here is the feed for EVE Online category or tagged posts at WP.com.)  For heaven’s sake, don’t use just “EVE,” you don’t want to know what else gets lumped in that feed.

Most Used Tags

Tags are a lot more whimsically applied.  They include the specific type of ship in the picture (and are mostly correct) or the system or some detail in the shot like Caroline’s Star.  But mostly it is ship types.  And there are a lot of ship types in the game, which probably explains why I have 450 different tags.

  1. Drake
  2. Megathron
  3. Jump Gate
  4. Apocalypse
  5. Revelation
  6. Archon
  7. Avatar
  8. Naglfar
  9. Erebus
  10. Tengu
  11. Maelstrom
  12. Dominix
  13. Hurricane
  14. Typhoon
  15. Ragnarok

Of course the missile spewing doorstop that is the Drake tops the list.  I flew it a lot before I went to null sec and then it was a doctrine ship for over a year once I got there.

Likewise the Megathron was a doctrine ship during the Fountain War.

Jump Gates… they are in a lot of shots because that is where fleets tend to bunch up and where fights often happen.  And then there are titans.  When I got to null sec I took a lot of screen shots of titans because I had never seen any before.  I still take lots of screen shots of them.

The Future

I plan to carry on as I have.  Three pictures a week isn’t an onerous level of effort.  It is easily worth doing given that it nets me a free account. (CCP still makes money off of me though, I have two other Omega accounts at the moment and I have been known to buy PLEX to get SKINs from the New Eden store.)

My posting process is pretty straightforward.  I tend to sit down for a bit on a weekend and go through pictures, queuing up posts for weeks ahead of time.

The only tricky bit is to try to include some variety in the pictures posted… I try not to post several pictures in a row from the same battle or of the same ship type… and to not repost the same screen shot.  I’ve only done that a few times over the course of the blog, but I have caught myself thinking “that looks like a good shot to post!” only to find that I already post that weeks or months earlier.

I am also picky about posting things that give a view of things that people might not see every day.  That tends to mean lots of titans.  If I gave up on my own personal rules about repetition and just started posting every decent screen shot I took, I could probably post a picture every day for the next couple of years without repeat.

Overall, a decade in, I am happy with the site.  It never took off or became nearly as popular as this blog, but it has been steady over the years and is now something of a time capsule of EVE Online visuals over the last decade. (And earlier, since I drew from older pictures at times.)

Probably the only regret is that I have hung on to the same 1600×1200 monitor over the life of the blog so far, so all the screen shots are that size.  I did recently upgrade to a slightly larger monitor, so at some future date when my current queue runs down, screen shots will start appearing in 1920×1200 resolution.

So, after about 2,500 words, I will invite you to come visit the site if you like internet spaceship pictures.  New posts are syndicated out to the following sites:

  • Tumblr (I need a better theme here)
  • Twitter (I do say things here occasionally)
  • Facebook (Pretty much just blog posts from both my sites)

I guess I need an Instagram account as well.  Maybe some day.

Or if you don’t care for any of those, you can just go to the EVE Online Pictures site directly and use the Page Down key to scroll through all 1,500 pictures thanks to the infinite scroll option of the theme I use.  We’ll see how things look again in another five years.

Fifteen Years of New Eden

EVE Online is fifteen years old today.  It launched on May 6, 2003.

It feels kind of strange, thinking about that.

I thought of myself at the time as having arrived late to the party when I first logged in back in 2006.  MMOs were still kind of new then.  WoW and EQII were coming up on two years old while EverQuest seemed positively ancient at seven years.  I played all three of those early on, the Norrath pair at launch and WoW a few months after, but still during the initial population surge when everybody was still new.

I know from experience that there is clearly a fresh happy fun time when a game is new and everybody is just discovering the world and the social dynamics are still in flux and groups and organizations were still coalescing and, aside from those who were in beta, there wasn’t a generation of old hands to look down on you.  Everybody is equal when they’re all standing out in front of Qeynos or Freeport at level 1.

EVE Online was already three years old when I decided to go take a look.  I think we were pretty sure even back then that after a few years MMOs hit a state of decline.  EverQuest seemed to be some sort of unlikely outsider, having peaked four years in.  And even the hugely popular WoW seemed like it might taper off.  So EVE Online… in that moment I could have easily been convinced I was going in to take a peek before if faded away.

Still, I created my character in August of 2006, not much past the three year anniversary of the launch.  That pre-dates the start of this blog by a couple of weeks, and the blog will be twelve years old come September.  So things turned out, but it wasn’t clear to me that it would go this way.

Arriving in the game I found that starting late came with a big penalty.  Due to the way skill points accrue I would be forever behind anybody who started ahead of me.  Also, advancement via skill points was simply a waiting game.  I had to buy and train skills, some of which took days and weeks to complete, before I could use a given ship or module.

EVE as I found it

And the game itself seemed to want to do me in.  The tutorial was a good example of what happens when somebody who knows how to do everything tries to write a document to teach somebody who knows nothing.  There were a lot of assumptions and unexplained terminology.

And, through the tutorial and sent off to my first agent… located at Jita 4-4, which is where all Caldari pilots were sent after the tutorial, which is my theory as to why Jita 4-4 became the trade hub of New Eden… I was handed the mission Worlds Collide which I attempted to do in my civilian module fit Ibis.

That did not end well.  I logged off after I was obliterated and it was questionable if I would ever log back in at that moment.

But I did.  And I trained up a bit and mined for some ore to make some ISK.  I also tried courier delivery, leading to my first ever null sec loss as I auto-piloted my way into Pure Blind.  That kill mail is lost now, no longer visible as neither zKillboard nor my in-game profile go back that far.  But it was another set back. (Though auto pilot wasn’t so bad back then, since there was no warp to zero yet.)

Still, I found something compelling about the game.  I managed to finish Worlds Collide by doing it in a destroyer.  Missions after that were less difficult.

Out with my Cormorant

I ran Avenge a Fallen Comrade dozens of times.  It seemed to be in heavy rotation.  When missions got tedious I left the game, but came back a few months later.

Shooting the final structure, look at that UI… square targeting markers

I got on track to master mining and rolled up my first alt account within a year of starting the game.  I went from mining in an Osprey to a Hulk.

Space was different back in 2007

I kept running missions as well.  I kept training up.  I did manufacturing.  I did tech II invention.  I gave up on all of that and played the market to make my first billion, and then my second.

All the while the game expanded.  New things were added, old things refined, mistakes were made and left to linger for ages before being corrected.

I came and went, playing for stretches then taking breaks.  I read the news about things going on in other parts of the game.  Null sec was a mystery to me.  And then in late 2011 I finally moved out there and saw a whole different aspect of the game.

And now I sit here and the game is fifteen years old and I am coming up on my twelfth anniversary.  As it turns out MMOs can last a long time.  EverQuest is 19 now at is still set to get another expansion this fall.

A dozen years into EVE Online I still have moments of awe just looking out into space and the scale of things, our tiny ships and stations in a huge universe.

Cormorant Docking – Trails On

CCP has some gifts for players on capsuleer day. Today seemed like the right day for that, but I guess we get to redeem them tomorrow.

Things also seem a bit more subdued when compare to the 10 year party.

Anyway, we shall see how things shape up.  The twenty year mark is now just five years off.  That would be quite a milestone, but a lot of things can happen between now and then.

EverQuest at Nineteen Launches a New Server

I see it around me
I see it in everything

-My Sundown, Jimmy Eat World

Here we are at EverQuest’s nineteenth birthday.  Cue the usual tale about buying it at Fry’s on the way home from work back on March 16, 1999, arriving home, installing it, and being instantly hooked.

And, as I have opined before, if you had told me I might still be able to play the game in 2018, that it would still be live and viable and getting expansions, I am pretty sure I would have at least politely agreed to disagree on that.

Back in 2007 I put up a post wondering how many more expansions we could expect from EverQuest.  The game just turned eight years old, the producers had announced that they were cutting back to a single expansion every year, the Sayonara Norrath video had already been making people misty eyed for a couple years, and I was guessing that it would make it at least to the ten year mark, maybe getting expansions out to twelve years.

In reality last year saw the Ring of Scale expansion launched, the 24th expansion for the game and here we are again for my annual homage to the world of Norrath.  How does it do it?  How has the game lasted so long?

Sure, it isn’t the oldest game out there.  It isn’t even the oldest MMO.  But a lot of things its age are quirky niche games in an already niche genre or are being run more as a hobby or labor of love than as a viable business venture.

EverQuest has followed the industry trends over the years, easing the death penalty, instancing content, focusing on quests, and going free to play.  They have even taken a shot at upgrading the graphical quality of some of the early zones. I am not sure how much any of that has really helped though.  Did free to play bring enough new players?  Did anybody like the reworked Freeport and Commonlands?

What keeps EverQuest going?

I think it helps that Daybreak owns the IP.  A licensed IP means writing a check to somebody else every month, not to mention the need to protect the IP, which means the owner might not want it attached to some maintenance mode shanty town.

Likewise, I think that its age is actually a benefit.  It stands out as one of the early archetypes of the genre, the trail blazer of what became the path most followed.  Also, having been initially built in during a time that pre-dates the rise in popularity of the genre meant that much of the game had to be built from scratch.  That means less third party tools and middle-ware that has a regular license fee attached.  It isn’t as simple as just having enough money to pay the electric bill and the network connection fee (and the domain registration, let’s not forget that… again).  I am sure there is a hefty database in there that has an annual maintenance contract.

So, while EverQuest does cost money simply to run (probably more than you or I think), and even more to keep people maintaining it, the absolute base line level to keep it alive is considerably less than a game like Star Wars: The Old Republic, which has bills every month for a licensed IP, the HeroEngine on which it was built, and probably a pile of additional middle-ware and tools for the team, not to mention the revenue expectations of EA which, as a public company, has to trim products that are not performing. (I bag on EA a lot, but they are a product of the Wall Street environment.)

But the strongest card in its hand seems to be nostalgia, wherein it also benefits from its age.  If you wandered into the MMORPG genre in 2008 or later, you might have picked one of any number of games… though you probably went for World of Warcraft.

However, if you started playing before the year 2000, you likely played one of three titles, Ultima Online, Asheron’s Call, or EverQuest… and it was probably EverQuest.  Even if you moved on to other games, or moved to WoW and never looked back like a lot of people… EverQuest remained the foundation of the genre for a lot of players.  While the subscriber base peaked just past 500K, millions of people came and went from the game by the time WoW showed up at ate the genre.

And so EverQuest plays on that, and rightly so.  It works.  Expansions revisit old themes like elemental planes, pirates, or dragons, along with old locations such as Faydwer and Kunark.

But most of all this nostalgia is harnessed via special servers.  This is the magic… and money making magic, since you have to opt-in on an old fashioned subscription in order to play… that seems to keep people interested and returning to old Norrath.  Subscriptions for the nostalgic and expansions that hearken back to familiar themes for those who never left.

And so it only seems natural that today, on the game’s nineteenth birthday, Daybreak is launching yet another time locked, true box, instanced raiding, multi-zone spawning, something something, progression server, Coirnav.

Coirnav the fast and bulbous

Coirnav the Avatar of Water is a raid boss from from the plane of water, thus rolling back on that elemental planes theme I mentioned above.

There is a FAQ for the Coirnav server, though as far as I can tell it matches what they did for the last such server, which I think was Agnarr.  I believe with this there will be six such progression servers running for EverQuest, which leads one to the question of when should they end and be merged back into the live servers.  The problem is that EverQuest has so many expansions to unlock that every 12 weeks you still end up with a five year mission.

But roll on nostalgia if it keeps people interested and playing/paying.  I believe the best part is the first few months when everybody is new and the possibility of finding new people to play with is very real.  Once you get past Ruins of Kunark things settle into the more traditional fixed groups we know from many other MMOs.

I won’t be joining in for this round.  I had a good time with the Fippy Darkpaw server (which is still running) back in 2011, but I am not sure I am ready for any sort of serious return. (Follow the tag for the life and times of that server.)  I read somewhere that the internet has brought about the post-nostalgia era, since nostalgia means a longing for something gone and you can now find just about anything on a web page somewhere.  Certainly the knowledge that EverQuest is there and that I could go wander around the world and play for a bit should I ever want keeps me from missing Norrath as much as I might.

Future grad students will have a bounty of information about all of our trivial thoughts when they look back on the dawn of the 21st century.

Anyway, here is to nineteen years of EverQuest!

It is a nostalgia post, so I might as well close with a nostalgia video.  Here is the updated 720p version of Sayonara Norrath from 2004.

I am not sure it needed to be upped to 720p.  Certainly the graphics from the game were not up to that standard at the time.  But I still get a little misty eyed seeing all the old locations go by.

One Hundred and Ninety Million Skill Points

That time has rolled around again.  Another meaningless skill point milestone, a new round number, made more meaningless by the advent of skill injectors, but at this point it is a tradition so I might as well carry on.

Past the 190 million mark

The story so far, for those wanting a quick summary of my skill point progression over the last decade or so.

Since the last check-in at 180 million I did an attribute remap to chase down some skills not focused on willpower and perception, which covers a spaceship command and a lot of the weapon skills, changing the emphasis to memory and intelligence.

Thanks to the way CCP thinks, I am committed to that remap for a full year, which puts me out to October.  You would imagine that a remap token would be something worth selling in the New Eden Store, but that hasn’t occurred to CCP quite yet.  They’ll sell skills directly to Alpha clones, but a skill remap would be heresy I guess.  So until then I am somewhat gimped if I suddenly need a new ship type trained up or a weapon skill.

Fortunately I have all the sub-cap skills up to IV and many of them to V, so that isn’t too likely.

Anyway, this change was to allow me to wrap up skills around scanning.  I was feeling the pain of that after using my alt to scan.  He has all the skills up the V and Wilhelm was still languishing with skills at level III of IV.  So that was my initial focus.

However, that wasn’t going to take anything like a year so, at this point, scanning skills are all done, pushed up to level V.  I haven’t had an opportunity to use them yet, but like so many of the skills I have trained over the years, they are there waiting if I should need them.

That done I started going through and tossing skills on that would be optimized by my remap, or at least not drastically hindered by it.

 Spaceship Cmd 61,730,636 (60 of 75)*
 Gunnery 17,197,141 (36 of 46)
 Fleet Support 12,896,000 (14 of 15)
 Drones 12,652,303 (22 of 26)*
 Missiles 11,111,853 (22 of 26)*
 Navigation 9,660,314 (13 of 13)
 Engineering 7,886,130 (15 of 15)*
 Electronic Sys 7,806,958 (14 of 15)*
 Armor 6,131,137 (13 of 13)
 Shields 6,074,039 (12 of 13)*
 Scanning 5,791,765(7 of 7)*
 Science 5,714,282 (21 of 39)*
 Resc Processing 4,756,183 (22 of 28)*
 Subsystems 4,096,000 (16 of 16)*
 Trade 3,399,530 (10 of 14)*
 Targeting 3,207,765 (8 of 8)
 Neural Enhance. 3,202,510 (7 of 8)
 Planet Mgmt 1,612,315 (5 of 5)
 Structure Mgmt 1,446,824 (6 of 6)*
 Rigging 1,312,395 (10 of 10)
 Production 1,157,986 (5 of 12)
 Social 1,130,040 (5 of 9)
 Corp Mgmt 24,000 (2 of 5)

 Total ~190,000,000 (345 of 424)

That is a total of 345 skills by my count, up from 338 last time, so somewhere along the line I picked up 7 more skills.  Those with an asterisk went up since the last check-in.

Of course, Spaceship Command still reigns supreme as the top category after all these years and, despite the attribute remap, it still went up a bit this time around and a new skill was added.  That would be Minmatar Carrier, since the Nidhoggur is the current new hotness in the meta.  I don’t own one, but I could get in one and fly it if I had to.

A Nidhoggur with a Cerb shadow on it

At the top end of the list Gunnery and Fleet Support didn’t get touched, but Drones saw a boost as I started working on the level V versions of fighter skills in order to use tech II fighters with carriers.  This was spurred by my going on a capital training op that actually explained how to use fighters in terms I could understand, so I think I can do that now… though I think I already forgot how to send fighters to specific locations using that two-axis command.  We’ll see.

A few other slots got minor boosts, but Scanning, as one might expect from what I wrote above, saw the biggest boost overall, jumping over 2.7 million skill points since the last check in.  I have all those scanning skills to V now.

All that training upped the count of skills at level V, so my current spread looks like this:

 Level 1 - 1
 Level 2 - 4
 Level 3 - 43
 Level 4 - 91
 Level 5 - 206

That’s what you get at my end of the training cycle, a lot of skills.  As for what to keep training… well… I always have a queue at least two years deep.  I have to finish up those fight skills.  Then there are things like Neurotoxin Control and Neurotoxin Recovery to enhance my in-game drug usage… all Reavers are Quafe addicts… and others that align with my current attribute selection.  There is more than enough there to keep me going through the 200,000,000 mark.

I do wonder how much longer this series of posts will be viable.  In part, I wonder when I’ll just be done an start actually training an alt on my account.  But mostly I wonder about my ability to get at the data for these posts.

I have used EVE Mon for the data over the years.  However, support for it has fallen by the wayside of late and, while it did get an update recently, even if development for it is renewed with some vigor, it still faces the looming cliff of the death of the old API system in the spring.

Come the 8th of May the old API system, along with CREST, will be shut off and only the new-ish ESI API will be left.  I get the reasoning and we’ve certainly been given plenty of warning, but it will still mean the death of a number of third party applications that have popped up over the years as the authors decide if it is worth reworking their integration.

That’s the problem with community projects, which make up the bulk of EVE Online tools, they depend on players remaining invested with the game.  Once they wander off, support for their tool often stops.  I worry that come May 9th we might find something major like DOTLAN EVE Maps has gone missing.

Meanwhile, my experience with the new ESI API system, largely confined to the Neocom II app on my iPad, has been less than stellar.  Either that app is messed up or the new interface does not deliver data in an accurate or timely manner.  As I noted in my look at that app, it shows me two different skill point totals, neither of which are correct.

Of course, I could just log into the game and dig through my character sheet for the data.  However, it doesn’t total up my skills nicely by category the way EVE Mon always has.

My skill counts by category in game

Though EVE Mon is fallible as well.  It still showed the old 5 subsystems per empire skill plan, but that has been trimmed to 4 now, so it should be 16 total skills for the Subsystem category, not 20.  Such is life.

And my alternate choice, EVEBoard, where you can see my character’s skills laid out, also depends on the old API as well, so that won’t help much unless/until they upgrade as well.

So the next milestone is 200,000,000 skill points which, given the usual 7 month cycle, ought to hit at some point in September.  We will see then if

A Tipping Point for My Time in New Eden

What was going on in December six years ago?

The instance group was still early in its adventures in Rift.

EverQuest II merged with the EverQuest II Extended F2P experiment.

Diablo III seemed to be on the horizon, along with Torchlight II and Path of Exile.  My annual MMO Outlook post wasn’t very MMO-ish.

Star Wars: The Old Republic was arriving on the scene while Star Wars Galaxies was being shut down.

Lord British was being coy about his ultimate RPG, how fond he was (or was not) of EA, and how nice it would be if EA would let him use the Ultima IP he sold them way back when.

We starting to worry about the fact that the Mayan calendar seemed to call it quits in 2012… again, Lord British on the scene here as well, he seemed to be talking a lot back then… until we all got a new one in the mail from our Mayan insurance agents.  That was probably a good thing, since the contact information on the old one was pretty far out of date.

And I was back subscribed to EVE Online for the Crucible expansion.

Crucible – November 2011

Having voted with my wallet and unsubscribed after the Incarna fiasco, I was back to see if CCP was really changing course or not.

Crucible dropped at the end of November 2011 with a promise to focus on fixing the game that already existed in New Eden as opposed to dumping new features on us.  As Hilmar told us, the era of the Jesus Feature was over and the patch notes foretold a lot of incremental look and feel improvements for the game.

Things were pretty in Crucible, I gave CCP that.  But it was still the same game overall and I had worn out most of the paths in high sec that were available, having run missions, manufactured, invented, mined, and played the market.  After a few days of looking at space and ships and such I was already feeling a bit done with things.

And then my pal Gaff suggested I come out to null sec where he was.

He had been out there for a while and had asked me to come out previously, but I was always tied up with what I was doing.  I get hung up on my “stuff” and all of that “stuff” was in a station in Amarr space, much closer to Delve than Deklein.  The idea of packing it up and moving was too much and I would always put off joining him until I was “ready,” whatever that meant.

This time, however, I hadn’t been around my “stuff” for months.  My attachment to it was pretty weak, as was my attachment to the game itself in that moment.  I was pretty sure I was going to unsubscribe anyway, so I said I would go.

So six years ago today was my first null sec post where I joined the corp Gaff was in, set my home to their main station, and self-destructed to awake and find myself in Deklein.  From there it was fleet ops and space battles and ships and effects I had never before seen in the game.

From that point forward I started seeing new things and playing in a new way.  In the six years since the sovereignty map has changed (what it looked like back then), the mechanics have changed, the fleet metas have changed, the graphics have changed, moon mining has changed, jump travel has changed, skill injectors arrived, Alpha clones became a thing, and null sec has gone from being a pretty restricted club to being pretty accessible via large new player organizations with low barriers to entry like KarmaFleet, Pandemic Horde, and Brave Newbies.

Also, I’ve been part of an invasion of Delve at least four times.

But all of that has kept me invested in EVE Online and came at a time when I was ready to step away from New Eden once again.

As for the tipping point, with the coming of my sixth year in null sec it also means that along the way, in the last few months I suppose, I passed over the line where most of my in-game time went from being in high sec space and doing the PvE things I mentioned above… which I still do sometimes, but not as my sole vocation… to being mostly null sec based.

I suppose the real question now is, am I a bitter vet yet or not?

Thirteen Years of This in Azeroth

I stood there in the rain amongst the looted corpses and burning huts.

The scene, repeated over and over…

As I surveyed the grisly scene, the reasoning behind the task seemed less and less plausible.  Did I really have to kill them all and burn down their huts?  Was there some other way where both sides could have gotten what they wanted?

Well, at least that guy promised me some gold for this… and guys like that always pay… always about the same amount too… like there was some sort of industry standard price for this sort of thing.  Hrmm…

Maybe the next task will be different.

Happy Birthday World of Warcraft.

A Timely Anniversary in WoW

We are in the anniversary zone in World of Warcraft, the official launch date being November 23rd.  But Blizzard spreads out the celebration for a while, so anniversary events and such are live in the game.

The traditional WoW Anniversary Tabard

But the re-usable boost token is really on my side this year.

13% for 13th Anniversary

I am not so concerned about experience gains, but since I am in the reputation grind to unlock flying in WoW Legion, I will take every little boost I can get.  I still have a ways to go on reputation, so I’m using the bonus while I have it.