Tag Archives: Mystery Code

The Return of the Mystery Code

The Mystery Code is back.

Yes, that Mystery Code Kronk

Being away for a week… literally at sea for several days with only some extremely slow satellite base WiFi which would barely load the main Google page when the whole ship was awake and trying to use it… means I feel there is some catching up to do.  Everything that posted last week, save for yesterday’s post that I wrote on my iPad at LAX while waiting for our flight home, was written in advance and scheduled to post.  But there are things I would have posted about last week, had I been home, if only to mark that they happened.  There is never a completely dead week.

Anyway, the first, and probably easiest item on the list, is the return of the Mystery Code.

The Mystery Code was part of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition package that CCP put out back in 2013 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the game.

All the stuff

A number of things were included with that, including a coffee table book, a CD of some of the well known sound track pieces played by the Icelandic  Symphony Orchestra, and a copy of the board game that CCP created to help get funding rolling for their crazy internet spaceship plans, a Rifter shaped USB hub, and that little black card with the title “Collector’s Edition Mystery Code.”

The Mystery Code Card

I still have the card from one of the two Collector’s Editions I ended up with.  (I bought one, then CCP later gave me another one via a PR company they were using on the idea that a) I would write about it and b) that would make some amount of difference in the world.  I gave away the second Mystery Code in a screen shot contest.)  I did not have to dig too deep in my office to find it.

Mystery Code Card

The idea of the Mystery Code was that people who shelled out a hundred bucks or more for this collection of fluff and nostalgia would have something special that would set them apart going forward.  Initially it got you a PLEX (back before the 500 for 1 split), some cosmetic items, and a special ship in the then upcoming EVE Valkyrie.  But the idea was that there would be other exclusive items available to Mystery Code holders going forward.

Unfortunately, CCP didn’t really set expectations as to how often we could expect rewards or what they might be.  I guess that is the “mystery” aspect of it all, even though they tried to demystify it in a blog post. They key quote from that I suppose is this tidbit:

This is just the beginning of what the Mystery Code will unlock. In the future, whenever we have big things happening—not just across the EVE Universe but across all CCP games—you will find a Mystery Code element to enjoy.

There’s much more planned we can’t discuss right now, but you can rest assured that as we continue our journey into the Second Decade with you, the Mystery Code will be your perfect traveling companion.

Much more planned.  There isn’t a specific promise of regular intervals, but it isn’t hard to read into that a potential bounty beyond what we have actually received so far.

This has led to a regularly recurring series of posts over on Reddit over the years about what the hell happened to the Mystery Code.  As noted in this thread, we have received a couple of items since, but the Mystery Code has otherwise remained somewhat aloof and we haven’t seen anything show up for a few years at this point, back in February 2015.

With the 15 year anniversary of EVE Online this year there was some restrained hope that we might see a revival of the Mystery Code, but with layoffs and restructuring and general changes at CCP there was also speculation that the company might not even have the capability of handing out goodies to those holding the Mystery Code.  Its days seems well in the past.

And then, as I was swilling Pacificos at Mauricio’s in Puerto Vallarta, CCP broke its years long silence on the Mystery Code and gave us something.  We got:

  • 1x Men’s SARO ‘Black Troop’ Combat Suit
  • 1x Women’s SARO ‘Black Troop’ Combat Suit
  • 1x Pacifier SARO ‘Black Troop’ SKIN (Permanent)
  • 1x Enforcer SARO ‘Black Troop’ SKIN (Permanent)
  • 1x Monitor SARO ‘Black Troop’ SKIN (Permanent)
  • 1x Marshal SARO ‘Black Troop’ SKIN (Permanent)

The cosmetic combat suits are nice I guess, if you like that sort of thing.  At least the top half of them show up in your portrait in-game.  But the SKINs, which are black and white police models with what appears to be red and blue flashing lights… those are very nice.  I am all over that.

Mystery Code SKINs and outfits

As soon as I was able to log in after my return home the whole set was there for me waiting to be redeemed.

Ready to claim

If you have a Mystery Code you have to redeem these items within 90 days or they will disappear.  Don’t let this linger, grab them soon.

So there we go, the Mystery Code is still alive and has delivered after a long hiatus.

Now, of course, the timer starts again.  I expect that at some point before next Fanfest a thread or two will pop up on Reddit wondering if CCP will ever give Mystery Code holders something else.

Show Me The Planets Contest Results

I realized at some point late yesterday afternoon that I had a contest to wrap up today.  It has been a busy week.  Winners had to be picked, prizes arranged, and a post had to be written.

The first two were relatively manageable when compared to the third.  I always forget what a minor pain it is to move things from email to my hard drive and then back up into WordPress while making sure I do not lose anything along the way.   You would be surprised at the number of ways you can mess that up when shepherding a pile pictures along the way.

In the end there were 43 images submitted by 19 different people.  Thank you all for participating!  Here is the list of those who sent in pictures, in order of when I received them.

All of you adhered to the rules, so far as I can tell, and a good percentage of you managed to follow the instructions.  I did not penalize anybody in any way because they didn’t rename their screen shots so I could identify the owner or because they decided to branch out to file formats beyond .jpg and .png.

I did save off all entries that were not JPEG into that format, just for the sake of size.  Some of you are running at 2560×1440, which makes for a sizable .png file.  I do not believe that picture quality was compromised in anyway way.

I was interested to see what people would choose to submit.  Some of you went right to the heart of the matter.  I have a number of entries that are just planets.  Others chose screen shots where planets were a looming presence, watching over our actions in space.  And they do flavor the game and give a sense of scale to what we are doing.  Have you seen a titan next to a planet or a moon?  It is so tiny that you can zoom out until it disappears and the planet will barely have changed size on your screen at all.

Cormorant Docking - Trails On

One of my favorite early EVE screen shots

So it is time to get to the winners, and all the entries, right after the cut.

Continue reading

Show Me The Planets Contest Reminder

My contest to give away a Mystery Code from the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition has just a few more days to run.  You can find the full rules and other details here, but in brief, you have until Saturday to enter.

The latest entry I have is from Kirith Kodachi, and it really puts the emphasis on showing me the planet.

State Protectorate station over Eha III

State Protectorate station over Eha III

So far I have entries from:

  • Alikchi
  • Ripard Teg/Jester
  • Robyn Aurilen
  • Jack Holt
  • Kirith Kodachi

Which means that the field of competition is not all that big.  If you enter now, the range of choices is still small enough that you could easily stand out and win… with the right screen shot.

I am still waiting to hear from Mark726 of the EVE Travel blog who, the last I heard, was paralyzed by choice in attempting to narrow his options down to just three entries.

Show Me the Planets Contest – First Entry

So Alikchi sent me a screen shot less than 15 minutes after yesterday’s contest announcement went up, giving him at least the “firsties” honor.  It was a shot ofa Moros blazing away during the “Shoot Blues, Tell Vile Rat” op in UMI-KK in September of 2012.  It even comes with a kill mail to mark the eventual death of the dreadnaught during the event.

Moros Blazing Away

Moros with guns lit

I always post the first entry I get, both to prove that somebody actually entered and to give people something of an “over/under” measure when it comes to their potential entries.  This is now the benchmark.  You should ask yourself if your entry is better than this one.

An EVE Online Screen Shot Contest – Show Me the Planets!

I’ve been down this road before.

I have something special to give away.  Here, somewhere on my desk, is a Mystery Code from the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.

The Mystery Code

Not at all like my desk

CCP gave me a copy, for free, after I had already purchased one for myself.  I gave away some of the bits and pieces to friends, but I held back the Mystery Code because I wanted to have a contest.

According to the CCP web site, the Mystery Code :will grant owners special benefits related to future CCP products and events” including:

  • 1 x PLEX
  • New and exclusive “Phanca” Cybernetic Arm
  • Exclusive “Templar MkII Prototype Fighter” for EVE: Valkyrie
  • More Mystery Code content will be announced soon!

Essentially it sounds like your account will be flagged to get some additional goodies at some future date.  And hey, a PLEX.  Gotta love that.

So I am having yet another screen shot contest.

How To Enter

Take a screen shot or dig through your old EVE Online screen shots.  The only restriction is that the shot must have a planet or a moon somewhere in view.  A spherical battles tation large enough to be mistaken for a moon is an acceptable substitute.  Example shot:

Buzzard and a Planet

More examples here.

You don’t have to have space ships or stations or titans or nebulae to be considered… but I can’t say that such things won’t help your chances.  Just have a planet or a moon.

Rename that screen shot to something I can associate with you.  Your character name would be good.  Append a digit if you are sending more than one picture.

Send your screen shot(s) to wilhelm2451 [at] yahoo [dot] com with the following information:

Your in-game character name:

A brief description of the picture: (ship types pictured please, other details if you can, actual system/planet would be awesome)

Attribution information: (Who should I say took the shot, link to your blog, corp, MySpace page, whatever)

See, simple.

Now for the fine print.

The Rules

A little less simple.

Entries must be your own screen shots.  Use of promotional material from CCP will disqualify you immediately.  We’ve all seen them…  well, I’ve seen them because I really like pictures of spaceships…  so don’t bother.  And the internet has tools for searching on that sort of thing… don’t make me get out the tools!

Use of the work of other people without the express written consent of Major League Baseball… or the person… is also forbidden.  Implied oral consent isn’t good enough.   Just be good and use your own screen shots, okay?

If I have already linked to or posted a screen shot of yours on EVE Online Pictures, you may not submit it for this contest.  Sorry.

You may enter up to three screen shots.

You must submit your entry via email to wilhelm2451 [at] yahoo [dot] com.  The subject of the email should say something like “EVE Online Contest” so I can find it easily in the spam folder if Yahoo happens to have taken a dislike to you, your domain, or your country.

You can send me a link to your entry via email if you prefer, but your entry should be obvious from the link.  If you send me a link to your EVE album in  Imgur or Flickr or whatever, I’ll probably browse through it, but I won’t pick an entry for you.

Your picture should be in .jpg or .png format.  If you send me a .bmp, I will likely convert it to one of those formats before posting it.  If you send me a picture in a format that PaintShop Pro cannot open or a corrupted image, I will send you a notification that your entry is invalid.

You can ask for clarifications or further information in the comments section following this post, but all entries must be sent via email to the address specified.

You must submit your entry Noon Pacific Time of Saturday, March 1st, 2014.  That will be 3pm Eastern Time or  8pm (20:00) UTC. which happens to also be in-game time in EVE Online.

If you are a winner, the Mystery Code will be sent via email to the address you used to enter the contest.   If you really, really want the physical card, I will drop it in the mail to if you provide an address.

The code and card are unused, but I make offer no warranty on what CCP will actually give you when you enter the code.  I just believe what the web site tells me.  There is a rumor that, if you enter a Mystery Code, you also consent to let CCP Guard sleep on your couch if he happens to be in town.

The winner will be announced in a post on Firday, March 7th, 2014.  The winning screen shots will be posted on this blog.  All screen shots submitted will, over time, be posted, with attribution, on EVE Online Pictures.  Unless your picture is crap.  I won’t be posting crap.  Don’t send me crap.

A second place prize of 100,000,000 ISK will be awarded to the runner up in the contest if there are at least 10 individuals entered.  I reserve the right, at my discretion, to toss some ISK to pilots submitting other worthy entries.  Not as much ISK as second place, but some ISK is better than none, right?

While I may consult with others to help winnow down the field of entrants, the winner will be decided by me and me alone.

Any questions, ambiguity, or disputes will be resolved by me alone and all decisions will be final.  There is no appeals process.

The EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition

A couple weeks back Jeff of Lewis PR dropped me a note asking me if I wanted a free copy of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.

I naturally assumed that this was some sort of scam because, EVE Online.  Right?  I ignored it.

Trooper that he is, Jeff persisted in trying to give me something for free, and around the third note from him I finally responded with my suspicion that this was a scam.  By that point I had looked up the company, which turned out to be up the freeway in SF and did, according to its web site, represent CCP.

He said that suspicion was not an uncommon reaction.  Once we got on the same wavelength he got my address and the very next day a big box dropped on my doorstep containing the whole big thing.  It is heavy.

All the stuff

All the stuff

And it is heavy because it has a ton of stuff in it.  The first things you see are the big things, all nicely tucked into the box.  There is the model of the Rifter, probably the most recognizable ship in the New Eden, which is also a USB hub.  I am not sure how many people will actually use their Rifter model as a hub… just having the Rifter model itself seemed like enough for me… but you have that option.  Me, I am leaving my free of cables so I can run around the house with it and strafe the cats when the situation calls for it.  (I like that the official YouTube video about the USB Rifter got about a third as many views as the video of somebody “flying” their Rifter through the CCP offices.)

There is also a copy The Danger Game, which was the first product that CCP created.  I am not sure what I can really say about this, except that this was the first product CCP shipped, and it brought in the money to bankroll EVE Online.  So it has that going for it.  There is a fuller story narrated by CCP Guard on YouTube.

And then there is the the book, EVE – Into the Second Decade.

This is the meat of the “big” items in the box.  Coming in at just over 190 pages, it describes the birth and evolution of the game EVE Online.  While heavier on illustrations than details, it does take a pretty extensive look at the first decade of EVE Online.  It is coffee table book comparable to the 10 year celebration tome that SOE put out to celebrate 10 years of EverQuest.

The Books Compared

The Books Compared

The books are quite similar as the both describe the foundations, the launch, and the arc and developments of the respective games, leading looks forward to the future, with EverQuest Next figuring in one and DUST 514 in the other.  Where the EVE volume differs is how much more focused it on the players.  There are little tidbits that mention things like Hulkageddon, Burn Jita, and the boot.ini episode.  That is sort of like SOE bringing up Planes of Power bugs, the Mystere incident, and Fansy the famous bard as part of their memories of EverQuest, something that just wouldn’t happen.

And when the chapter about the Incarna expansion hits… entitled The Long Walk… CCP is pretty clear that the player base was in revolt.  The follow on chapter that picks up the story… after a detour into DUST 514, is Redemption Arc.

Add in the guest essays from various people in and around the game and this is something to have, not a detailed history but a trail of images, impressions, and emotions that really evoke a sense of connection to the game.  Good stuff.  The best of the big items and something I really wanted.

And then there is the little box within the big box.

The first thing in the little box is the music from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra’s performance of some of the music from EVE Online from Fanfest back in April.  I missed this performance because, like so many CCP events, it happened while I was at work, but I have been dying to hear it.  So now I have a new twist on a series of tracks that are among the most played on my iPod.  The songs on the CD are:

  • Stellar Shadows
  • Below the Asteroids
  • Shifting the Balance of Power
  • Rose of Victory
  • I Saw Your Ship
  • All Which Was Lost
  • A Surplus of Rare Artifacts
  • It Ends Here
  • The Jovian Front
  • Smoke from Down Below
  • Merchants and Looters

Tucked in around the the music CD are the game code cards.  There is one for EVE Online, the contents of which CCP has detailed on their site.  Implants, cosmetics, a special ship and some blueprints come with the code.

The Nefantar Thrasher was pre-order only, sorry

Then there is a code for DUST 514, which is part of the EVE Online universe… though not a part in which I participate.

There is a 60 Day new account code that you can give to a friend… or use to create another alt.

And then there is the Collector’s Edition Mystery Code which was… for a while… a mystery.  Then they announced some of the items, which included a PLEX, more in-game cosmetics, a special ship in the upcoming EVE Valkyrie (which looks a lot like one of the EVE Online drones), and some of what they call in-game collectables.

Templar Fighter

Templar Fighter

I think that, like some of the entries in the collector’s edition book, the in-game collectables give some insight to how CCP views the game and the players.  They could have dropped in a bunch of things that celebrated game milestones like expansions and such.  Instead, they are focused on player achievements.  There is a set of tokens for each of the alliance tournaments celebrating the winner.  And there are a bunch of one-off items, like ticket stubs for the premier of Clear Skies.

Premier of "Clear Skies"

Premier of “Clear Skies”

Others include notable events from the history of the game as created by the players.

These are actual in-game items.  They do not do anything within the game, but you can sell them, trade them, or store them away for another day.  Like the implants and other in-game items you get with the collector’s edition, they are not locked down to your account.  You are free to do with them as you please.  I have seen the “golden pod” implant, which goes in a special socket and survives clone jumps and being podded, on the market for several billion ISK.

So what to make of all of this stuff.

If you are a hard core EVE Online player… well… you probably already own a copy of this.  But if you somehow missed it, you can still get one via the EVE Store or Amazon.com.  The list price is $150, but Amazon has had it available as a flash sale for as low as $99 at some points.

Is it worth the price?  Hard to say.  For me, yes.  I wanted the book and the CD, which are probably worth at least $45 right there.  Add in the PLEX and a substantial bit of the cost is covered by tangible items of value.  I am not sure what I would have paid for a Rifter model… I would have paid quite a bit for the LEGO Rifter, which gets a mention in the book… and The Danger Game isn’t much of a draw for me.  And the rest is digital, stuff made of ones and zeroes and accessible to me only as pixels on a screen.

It was worth it to me.

At this point you are probably thinking, “Well of course it was worth it to you, you got the damn collector’s edition for free!”

Well, I did get a copy for free.  But I had already pre-ordered the whole thing before it came out.  So I speak from the perspective of somebody justifying their expense, not as somebody who got something expensive for free.  Or something.  I paid for a copy and am content with that.

Collector’s editions always carry some controversy.  If you don’t like them, they can seem a naked cash grab.  If you do like them, they can be a way to own something extra, something special, from a game you enjoy.  I can go either way on the topic, depending on the game and what is being offered.

Now I have to figure out what to do with this other copy of the collector’s edition.  I promised I wouldn’t turn around and sell it on eBay.  No fun in that anyway.  I think bits of it might serve as prizes for a contest.  Maybe something after the holidays, when things settle down a bit.

I already know somebody who is interested in the USB Rifter.  I owe him for some home made salsa.