Tag Archives: Reddit

Looking for Offense

My mistake was going to /r/eve on Reddit.  Every nugget of useful information found there must be paid for by wading through post after post and comment after comment of nonsense.

I happened to wander in just after a post went up where somebody was outraged about CCP suppressing their freedom of speech.  We’re big on that this week since somebody said something we seem to agree with.  We’ll be down on it again as soon as somebody we don’t like says something we disagree with.  I guarantee it.

In this case the person in question appears to have been dropping mobile depots around Jita and naming them with messages supporting the protest in Hong Kong.

A CCP GM sent him a warning, which he posted in full, that he had been reported for “deliberately creating lag by excessive spamming of structures in a high population system.”  This was just a warning, it contained no sanction, just a link to the policies and an admonition to not do it again.

Now, I have to admit that I figured he must have been dropping A LOT of mobile depots to get that sort of warning.  I have reported on some of the things that people get up to with mobile depots in the past.

That is a lot of mobile depots

In that scenario you need to drop a lot of mobile depots to stand out.  As such, they seemed pretty sure that they were being singled out for political speech.

I suspect that the comments that came in reply to the post almost immediately were not what they were expecting.  Rather than support for Hong Kong the poster found people angry about them bringing politics into the game or thinking they had a right to free speech given the terms of service to which they had agreed.  The responses were nasty and the poster returned fire in kind.

I took a minute to log in an alt I had sitting in Jita and undocked to check out the mobile depot situation.  Unlike the screen shot above, Jita 4-4 seemed bereft of mobile depot spam.  Dscan showed a total of 8 withing the limits of scan range.  I checked a couple of the gates and found a few more, but mobile depots were not out in force.

So I went back to Reddit and replied, mentioning my observation of the current situation and asking the poster if they were sure if they were being uniquely targeted, because it seemed to me that CCP was trying to clean up the usual spam around Jita 4-4.

I received a short, apologetic response and the post was deleted.  Or as deleted as such things can be.  Nothing on the internet for more than a few minutes is ever gone for good.

I was actually a bit surprised at that response.  I have grown so used to people being unwilling to shift their point of view even an iota on the internet, people so keen to favor only facts that support their initial assumption and so ready to discount immediately anything that runs contrary to their contrived narrative.

It is just the way people tend to be.  I have long held the opinion that people make decisions first and fill in the supporting evidence needed to get there after the fact.  I catch myself doing that.  Some times it doesn’t matter.  Picking some music to listen to doesn’t require supporting facts.  Buying a new car though, or picking who to vote for, or making accusations of bad behavior, that should probably be based on facts, though I am quite convinced that is not the case more often than not.

Anyway, I was thinking about this in the context of the next couple of weeks.  We have EVE Vegas coming up next weekend and BlizzCon after that.  Both companies, CCP and Blizzard, are in bad odor with some of their player base.  No matter what they say at their respective events, some people are going to look for the worst, darkest, most damming interpretation of what is said and done.

It is one thing to speculate.  I do that all the time.  You get a few points of data and it is natural to try to string together a narrative or a motivation.  It is a natural response and can be fun.  Interesting discussions can come from such things.

Just don’t go full Gevlon and stop listening to facts that might contradict your carefully crafted conspiracy theory.  Be the person in my story instead.

The WoW Classic AMA and Layering

Another day and more things to mention about WoW Classic.  Earlier today some of the WoW Classic dev team took some time out to do an Ask Me Anything event over on the WoW Classic subreddit.

I’m going to need a new default graphic in a week

You can find the whole raw AMA here, or you can go read the nice, clean summary that WoWHead put together.

There were quite a few short and easy questions thrown out there with clear answers that I might sum up with:

  • No, you won’t be able to transfer from Live to Classic
  • No, you cannot send gold from Live to Classic
  • No, there won’t be character boosts
  • Yes, I found code I wrote back in 2005
  • Yes, we have contingency plans for crowding
  • No, really, we have contingency plans
  • Yes, we might consider transfers for Classic population imbalances, but we’d rather you pick a lower population server right now instead
  • Hunters were the hardest class to recreate and required a huge amount of work

But things went deep quickly when the team was asked about the plan and functionality of the layering technology that Blizzard is using on the WoW Classic servers, such that I want to reproduce it here:

We’ve seen some confusion about layering, both about how it helps support our launch, and how it’s supposed to behave while its active, so I’d like to both speak to it and clear up some misconceptions about it.

First, we’re absolutely committed to reducing to one layer per realm before our second content phase goes live, and the sooner we can get there, the better. The reason we can’t do that initially is that on launch day, everybody will be clustered in the starting zones, and having players so close together causes an exponential drain on server resources. In fact, the same number of players cause more server problems crammed into Northshire than they do spread across all of Elwynn Forest. We expect that even after the first couple of days, we’ll need fewer layers than we need for the initial hours of launch, and our stress tests have confirmed that expectation.

A related concern that was raised during our pre-launch test was that capital cities felt empty, but that only occurred because we left the pre-launch test running two days past its original end date, and we didn’t reduce the number of layers at all during that test. During our launch week, as the players spread out across the world, we’ll monitor activity and reduce layers as necessary, so the world continues to feel full.

Some players have suggested using sharding in low level zones to address launch demand, both because we talked about that at Blizzcon, and because it’s what they’re used to from our modern expansions. Unfortunately, while modern WoW has content designed to work with sharding, WoW Classic does not. The most obvious example of incompatible content is Rexxar’s famously long patrol path, but there are lots of other examples throughout WoW Classic. Since we want all that content to work as it was originally designed, we’ve made sure that every layer is a copy of the entire world, so you can kite Anachronos all the way to Orgrimmar, and you can ride the boat from Ratchet to Booty Bay with the same people alongside you the whole way.

Some players have asked us to use realm caps and login queues to handle the demand, and while those are tools we have at our disposal, we don’t want to rely on them exclusively, because they keep people from playing the game.

One of the most frequently reported problems during our tests was players transferring to a layer for what seemed like no reason. There were several bugs that caused this, and we’re confident we’ve fixed them. At this point, the only thing that should cause you to change layers is accepting an invite from a player on another layer. Additionally, it should always transfer the player who was invited to the layer of the player who invited them.

Nonetheless, after accepting an invite, the layer transfer doesn’t always happen immediately, because we don’t want to transfer you in the middle of combat, or before you get a chance to loot. During our pre-launch test, we saw a few reports of what seemed like random layer transfers, but when we investigated, we realized this was due to us making that transfer delay too long. The delay was so long that players could unintentionally chain one delay into another by starting combat immediately after looting. Because of those reports, we’ve fixed the transfer delay to give you enough time to loot, without being so long that you’re left wondering why you can’t join your friend. We’ll keep an eye on that, and we may decide to reduce it further.

We’ve also seen reports of people transferring suddenly at the entrances to capital cities, which was related to the transfer delays. If you’re waiting to transfer to your friend’s layer, and you enter a capital city, we ignore the delay and transfer you immediately. The long delays were making it more likely that you’d enter a capital with a transfer pending, and now that we’ve reduced the transfer delay, it will be a bit more clear that your transfer was the result of accepting a group invitation.

Regarding PvP, we saw many posts from players wondering if getting invited to a party is a good way to escape from PvP combat. I’m pleased to say there’s actually a separate, longer transfer delay following any PvP combat. We know a lot of world PvP enthusiasts are excited for WoW Classic, and we don’t want the additional layers to feel like they’re robbing you of your kills. When the time comes to withdraw from the fight, you’ll have to escape from your enemies and get to a safe place before you’re able to join your friends on another layer.

I’d also like to clarify how multiple layers work with logout. Early in our stress testing, players reported that logging out and back in would let you hop to a new layer to farm the same mineral or herb node on different layers. That was a bug, and we’ve fixed it. Your layer assignment now persists for a few minutes between logouts, long enough that by the time the game would choose a new layer for you, that node would have respawned on its own anyway.

I hope that all makes things a bit more clear.

That is quite a bit more that I knew or considered about the layering plan.  And, of course PvP complicates everything.  But the overall goal is to get the population down into a single layer while making sure that servers have populations large enough to be viable over time.

Another item of interest to me was the question of player caps on dungeons, which got the following response:

This was indeed a bug that we have fixed and you should be able to enter most lower-level dungeons with up to 10 players, as was possible in Original WoW 1.12. There are some dungeons that had specific caps by the end of Original WoW however. To be specific, all lower level dungeons available through Maraudon should have a player cap of 10, with Blackrock Depths, Scholomance, Stratholme, and Dire Maul being capped at 5 players.

As was the case in Original WoW 1.12, Blackrock Spire should also have a cap of 10 players.

Somewhere in the back of my brain I knew that you could have 10 players in a dungeon, but that was so long ago that it ceased to be a thing to me.  Also, we were rarely ever in danger of having too many people to go do a dungeon.  Our primary problem was getting at least five together for an instance.

Finally, there was an entertaining bug mentioned, which I will reproduce since it involves Skronk’s favorite priest spell:

There was a bug when two priests mind control each other the mind control itself would cancel out but the camera would still switch to each other. The result is both priests would be stuck watching each other move around which hilarious and very confusing.

And so it goes.  As noted up at the top, you can find the whole AMA here, or the more concise summary over at WoWHead.

Other related posts or recaps:

Post NDA CSM Tales

The past week of tales of bots and invasion plans and what not got me peeking in /r/eve on Reddit, something I tend to steer clear of.  As with many open forums the signal to noise ratio is too high and I prefer to follow somebody on Twitter or elsewhere who will pull out the choice tidbits worth reading rather than chase them down myself.

But today my curiosity with what was going on in EVE Online paid off, as Jester of the now silent Jester’s Trek blog, known in-game as Ripard Teg, had an AMA going Reddit earlier today.

The only time I can recall seeing him in space

Jester was on CSM8 and his five year NDA expired recently, so he decided to, if not tell all, then at least provide insight on his time on the CSM and his dealings with CCP.

You can find the Reddit post here.  He has tried to reply to serious questions and has recounted a few tales he had previously promised to tell, including the reaction of CCP executive staff to the Dominion trailer.

There is certainly some new information to be gleaned from his responses.  The tale of his posting about Erotica 1 and the bonus room controversy certainly sheds new light on the affair, and not in a way flattering to CCP.

Probably the biggest surprise for me were kind words said about the former CCP Pokethulu, David Reid, who is now running MetaArcade.  My somewhat sour outlook about him involves his hyperbole around Rift and the infamous Tabula Rasa is Triple-A and Here to Stay story over at Massively when he was president of the newly created NCsoft West, shortly before they announced they were shutting the game down, something that ground Editor-in-Chief Michael Zenke’s gears quite severely.

It can be hard to discern from the outside what sort of impact any one person has on a company, but Jester seems to think he was doing a good job given the resources he had.

Aside: While digging up the Tabula Rasa story on the Wayback Machine I ran across what may be the first post fretting about titan proliferation in New Eden.  Band of Brother’s 13 titans were viewed as frightening.

March in Review

The Site

This month, many words about the site.

For reasons unclear to me, the automatic WordPress.com syndication to Google+ stopped working for me in the last month or so.

Well, technically, it still works perfectly for me… but only for me.  Everything that gets syndicated is shared only with myself.

GPSharedOnlyWithYouAs far as I can tell, nothing has changed at my end.  The transition seemed to have happened somewhere between the 22nd and 23rd of last month, because on the 22nd things were sharing just fine!

GPSharedPubliclyBut after that items were only shared with myself.  Looking through Google+ for some setting or change brought me no joy, while the settings within WordPress.com are minimal.

Looking at the WP.com support forums though, it appears I am not the only one seeing this issue.  However, given that WP.com is not answering any threads opened about the topic, instead choosing to close them without comment, seems to indicate that I am not going to find a solution there.  I have a manual work around, but that requires me to go into G+ every day and republish every item.  And then they appear twice in my own feed, which is kind of annoying.

So, if you were following my blog via Google+… which I think would make you Potshot, Tipa or Brian Green, my G+ following being fairly limited… and you noticed I suddenly stopped posting there, this is why.  Of course, if you only follow me there then you may never see this.

Elsewhere automatic syndication remains active, so I am still a menace on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Meanwhile, in the midst of a somewhat sleepy month here there was a sudden spike in page views when Reavers CO Asher Elias posted my Higgs Anchor Rigs tale to /r/eve.  That was a big enough one day boost to secure that post the top spot on the “most viewed” post list below and to prove that people in /r/eve/ will click on just about any link put in front of them.

Then there was this:

Which made it sound like my MMO Blogesphere side bar feed was about to die.  Since that came up I got a notification that my Rube Goldberg implementation only has until April 4th, then it is gone. Time to figure out a new course on that one I suppose, because it is the one thing readers here click on regularly according to the stats.

Addendum: Got a note this evening indicating that IFTTT and Pinboard might come to some agreement that will keep them working together.  At least it won’t shut down on Monday as planned.  We shall see.

And then, in a minor odometer moment, one of my post categories actually rolled into four digits.  With this post, the top five most used categories (aside from “entertainment” which is everything here) now are:

  1. EVE Online – 1,000
  2. World of Warcraft – 999
  3. EverQuest II – 612
  4. EverQuest – 492
  5. Lord of the Rings Online – 360

CCP wins the race to one thousand.  Is this an EVE blog or a WoW blog now?  Random people keep telling me it has to be one or the other.

One Year Ago

I hit level 50 yet again.

The Elder Scrolls Online dropped the subscription business model.

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign was still running.  I was wondering if they had a mid-game plan.  They really didn’t, but the campaign still brought in $1.7 million, double what was asked.

EA closed down Maxis as an entity within its organization.  It is what EA does best.

It was a Turbine roast as an insider spilled the beans on problems that have plagued the developer of Lord of the Rings Online.

Rift hit its four year anniversary, but it felt like it had been around for longer than that.

I was wondering what a progression server would look like with EverQuest II.  But it was Sweet 16 for EverQuest, which was getting a new progression server for its birthday it seemed.

Blizzard announced that they were going to go ahead with their PLEX-like idea, the WoW Token.  The instance group was in the Iron Docks and farting around in garrisons.

CCP was talking about the next stage of the proposed sovereignty changes for EVE Online.  There was the Scylla release, which was overshadowed by Fanfest.  Also, the members of CSMX were announced.

In New Eden I attempted to fly an Ibis from Immensea to Deklein.  Then there was a rumor of war as the usual suspects attacked our sovereignty in Fountain.  That called for a big old move op which, in post-Phoebe New Eden, meant caps taking gates.  Then there was that system our foes took.  And once they were evicted from Fountain, it was time for a punitive expedition to Delve.

And The Mittani declared that the power blocs of New Eden would never die.  We shall see.

My daughter and I tried out Diablo III on the PlayStation 3.

I put together a review of my Kickstarter history… I should do that again.

Finally, it seemed as though some of the MMO news sites were paying attention to bloggers again… at least briefly.

Five Years Ago

Rift officially launched.  And while I wasn’t playing, the social media options integrated into the game made it feel like I was there.  And I don’t mean that in a good way.

Pokemon Black and White came out, which became the theme for my birthday.

World of Tanks was talking about going live in April.  There was, of course, a pre-order offer.  There always is these days.

Potshot and I made it to GDC thanks to Darren, where we were able to hobnob with the likes of Brian Green and Damion Schubert.

March of five years ago found me spending time in EverQuest.  It was on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server last year, which at that point was still set in the original EverQuest zones.  Potshot and I were doing some classic things, like getting stuck in the Ocean of Tears and making alts.  And running out of money.

There were the newbie armor quests to work on, which required travel to Freeport at one point, something as hard as we remembered.  We also visited Unrest, North Karana, the Desert of Ro, and Najena.

It was also the 12 year anniversary of the EverQuest launch, and nobody was more surprised that I that I was playing the game 12 years later.  But no corpse runs please.

The instance group, still in Cataclysm Worgen form, spent a couple of nights in Scarlet Monastery and then went to Razorfen Kraul.

I put up a poll asking people which of several items in my drafts folder (current population: 57) I should buckle down on and finish.  I think almost everything on the list except the winner is still in my drafts folder.

And I came home one day to find the TV had died.  Emergency CPR (read: banging on the damn thing) brought it back to life temporarily, but clearly a replacement was going to be needed.  It was, after all, a few years older than EverQuest.

Ten Years Ago

World of Warcraft hit 6 million subscribers.  Eventually it would double that number.

Twitter launched, but who in the hell wants a platform limited to just 140 characters?

Brent, going by the “Prognosticator” handle back then, launched the VirginWorlds podcast which began what was, for me, the golden age of MMO podcasting.  His site is still up and chugging away and you can go and listen to VirginWorlds episode 1 if you care to relive the world of possibilities that seemed to be ahead of us for MMOs back then.  It was a different time.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Belghast, who runs the blog, is in the “must post every day” club.  If there are 31 days in the month, he’ll have 31 posts on his site.  He doesn’t even take weekends off.  And every day he posts many words about the MMOs and other games he plays.  Then, every August, he runs a community event called “Blaugust” where he invites his fellow bloggers to join him in his post-a-day routine.  I’ve kept up with him each time so far.  He is also much more active in fostering community in our corner of the internet.  I talk about that community once in a while, he tries to make it really a thing.  Oh, and he does a podcast as well.  I get tired just thinking about all that.  So go visit him and say, “Hi!”

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

I remember when Meclin first went to null sec and told me about this site.  It seemed confusing, but I was mining in high sec in the same system every day.  I didn’t need all that.  And then I went to null sec, and the site became as necessary is air.  I have said in the past that EVE Online’s in-game map is a very impressive.  Show it people who don’t play and they will be in awe.

But it isn’t very useful.

Yes, it is more useful than it used to be, but it still mostly getting by on looks alone.  And the new map is even more slanted in that direction.  So if you want to know what is where, what the best route is, who owns what system in null sec, or what systems are being attacked, DOTLAN is THE place to go.  I am constantly looking at the site and regularly use screen grabs of maps there for posts.  I need to donate some more money to Wollari just thinking about all that.  You do too!

CCP also did a community spotlight dev blog about DOTLAN a few years back if you want to read more about it.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Me and the Medium Higgs Anchor Rig
  2. Betrayal at M-OEE8
  3. The Imperium Abandons the Vale of the Silent Region
  4. EverQuest Next and the End of the Classic MMORPG
  5. The WildStar Headshot
  6. Setting Sail with Yacht Fleet
  7. Upgrading to Minecraft 1.9
  8. Will EVE Online Get a Bounce from M-OEE8?
  9. SOE and Its MMORPGs
  10. Market Saturation and the Cash Shop
  11. Skill Injectors, Meet Experience Injectors
  12. Contemplating that Last Stand at VFK-IV

Search Terms of the Month

how to 2 box everquest on phinigel true box server
[You are  a bad person]

syncrude shutdown march
[I think SynCaine is planning to carry on]

how many characters are in wheel of time
[Too fucking many]

pantheon rise of the fallen will the trolls be playable
[No, the trolls will remain in the forums and comment threads]

playstation how to use daybreak cash?

psn soe settlement how to use daybreak cash?

ps3 how to use station cash?

how to use daybreak cash psn dcuo

bought dc market cash but can’t use it
[There is some problem with Daybreak Cash on PSN I guess]

Diablo III

Well, I carried on and played through Season 5 right up until the moment I competed the set dungeon for the final baseline achievement… and then I totally stopped playing.  There is a lesson in that somewhere.  Anyway, it is off my currently playing list and will likely remain so until at least Season 6 starts… whenever that happens.

EVE Online

To put it mildly, shit got real in our small… now smaller… corner of null sec.  The war has been given a few names.  The Second Great War, or World War Bee, starring Goonswarm in the role of Band of Brothers.  Noizy dubbed it The Casino War, because one side is being proudly financed by an online gambling site. (Making it one of The Mercenary Wars in Matterall’s expansive write up.)  Then this week it was suddenly The Easter War, because CCP likes… bunnies and Cadbury eggs?  Seriously, CCP claims this is what most people are calling it, but I never heard the term until they started using it this week.  I get the feeling that, in hindsight, we might end up calling this the Propaganda War, as spin on both sides is getting quite thick.

Anyway, I expect we will be seeing a lot more of that from both sides as the war continues.  It will all be a good read a year from now.

EverQuest II

After writing about all sorts of Daybreak topics this month, including the cancellation of EverQuest Next, I had a rather unsurprising urge to go wander around Norrath.  I picked EQII and the Stormhold server for my focus, and spent some time doing the quest lines in The Commonlands.  It was both nostalgic, a lot of things haven’t changed in 11 years, and a bit disappointing, a lot of annoying things haven’t changed in 11 years.  Still moving myself slowly forward in hopes of getting to Nek Forest.

Minecraft

I wasn’t playing too much Minecraft until our server bill started to loom.  That got me in and playing as I was looking for a new home.  I settled on Minecraft Realms, which has worked out well so far.  That got me back in and working on a huge new “public works” project, which I will post about at some point… as soon as I get around to posting about my last such project.

Pokemon

Pokemon celebrated 20 years back in February and I bought a copy of Pokemon Blue for the Virtual Console from the Nintendo eShop.  As I spent some time traveling early in the month, I actually got to spend some time focused on the game. (Nothing like a couple of five hour plane trips to make time for that.)  I have been pleasantly surprised by the game, though perhaps not for the obvious reasons.

Coming Up

Tomorrow is that day where the unfunny think they are funny, the grumpy act grumpier, and the wise treat any headline as though it were posted on Reddit.  It is only for a day, but since nothing on the internet is ever fully gone, your regrettable mistakes will last forever.

The war New Eden will carry on.  After the hammer blow of the CO2 betrayal, things feel like they are hitting a new equilibrium, with a war of attrition over command nodes running every night.  Each side either needs a new tactic, a new defection, or the other side to stop showing up to make big gains.  Rumors say that there will be an official State of the Goonion tomorrow.  One has to ask if April Fools is setting the right tone?

Meanwhile, the new expansion looms, bringing with it citadels and capital ship changes.  Will that change the face of the war, and will the war still be going when it hits?  April promises to be interesting.

As noted above, I hope to make it to Nek Forest in EverQuest II.  I am not sure how well nostalgia will sustain me there however.  The original version of the zone was a punishing horror show, so I don’t really miss that.  The last time I did anything in the zone though, the whole thing had turned into a tedious amount of running half way across the zone and back for quest updates.  Maybe Echoes of Faydwer will go live by then.  I already have a crafting guild request to go to Butcherblock, which won’t be live on the server until that expansion hits.

I also want to buckle down and finish Pokemon Blue… then write about it.  Or maybe just write about it.  Something.

And I need to figure out a new scheme for my side bar.  My current plan is to try Pinboard’s mortal enemy Delicious.  A test version is even now lurking at the bottom of the side bar.  If that doesn’t work out though, it will be back to a static blogroll for a while.

Daybreak and Forums and Reddit

I have always been of the opinion that online games ought to have official forums.  There a costs, both financial and in political games, but those seem to me to be balanced out by having an area under the company’s control that services the percentage of the game population that wants a forum.

As we have seen, if you depend on a forum out of your control to support your game, it can quickly go toxic.  Your biggest fans, who are the type of people who would set up such a thing, can become your bitterest foes if they feel wronged.  Even Mark Jacobs, who was dead set against having official forums for Warhammer Online eventually relented.  And there was certainly no similar question when it came to Camelot Unchained, the forums were a given.

Of course, once a company has forums and a segment of their user base invested in them, there seems to be a strong temptation to simply use the forums for everything.  There is a receptive audience that will comment on anything you post.  I gather that it can start to feel like you’re talking to the whole community, rather than what can often be a very small subset of the community, in the official forums, so why not use them for announcements and such.

I sometimes feel like CCP is veering in that direction, though they will then put out a huge and detail Dev Blog or something else on their main site, away from the forums, so that people outside of the forums are at least aware that a discussion is going on.

SOE/Daybreak, on the other hand, has often felt over dependent on its forums over the years.  They have favored their forum followers with special insights, dev access, and used them as a primary form of feedback on many occasions.  To follow EverQuest II, for example, without spending time in the forums every day, you need a site like The EQ2 Wire.  You won’t seem a tenth of what you probably know if you depend on the news feed on the main web page.

SOE has, at various times, attempted to remedy this.  They have had dalliances with Facebook and Twitter and every so often they form some sort of partnership with Zam or Wikia or somebody to be an official news source.  These ventures have never really played out well, serving as more of a distraction and, of course, pissing off the long time official forum followers.  In the end, it has always been “back to the forums.”

Until H1Z1.

If you go to the main Daybreak site (which is still there under the SOE domain two months down the road) and look for forums, you will find links for every game… except H1Z1.

No H1Z1 forums for you!

No H1Z1 forums listed

There is actually a forum listed off of the actual H1Z1 site, but the emphasis since the game was announced has been on Reddit.

Smed started doing Reddit during PlanetSide 2, and when it came time for H1Z1 he and the company went full bore on Reddit, leaving the forums behind.  The General Discussion part of the H1Z1 forums points to Reddit and Twitch.  The forums are for news and support issues only.  If you want to talk about the game, the official place is Reddit.

Which isn’t the end of the world.

Well, until SOE starts pushing other game discussions towards Reddit, and then there is some wailing and gnashing of teeth.  It seems like the EverQuest II devs are now headed towards Reddit,  The EQ2 subreddit may soon be an official thing.

Never having been a part of the EQII forum community, I must admit to a wee bit of schadenfreude at their privileged position being assailed.  And, certainly, anybody who has complained about SOE’s moderation tactics, where the community team loads up the dread SOE MOD 4 to locks threads and delete posts according to some sort of Brownian motions as oppose to a clear pattern, ought to at least see some positive aspect in escaping that aspect of the SOE forums.

Not to mention being banned, as happened to Feldon of The EQ2 Wire

Not to mention being banned, as happened to Feldon of The EQ2 Wire

The thing is, here we are again at something I mentioned at the top of the post.  Here is a game company that has essentially outsourced their forums to a third party that they cannot control.

Yes, Daybreak can depend on the fanboy veto, the Reddit down vote, to hide the cranks and complainers and those who offend the true believers with their impertinence.  They were always there in the forums, fawning over every official statement, but now they have some power.  They can smite Daybreak’s foes by clicking that down arrow.

If they show up and if they click that down arrow.  Otherwise the leading topics might not end up being very Daybreak friendly.

Not all happy, supportive topics

Not all happy, supportive topics

When RadarX said, “What I can tell you is downvoting works most of the time.” I am not sure that is what he meant.  That is the site of a company letting go of control and finding out it might not be all that great.

While Daybreak has been trimming back their official forums, I am not sure they are destined for the scrap heap yet.  I certainly hope they are not.  There are long stretches of game history recorded only in those forums… because of that long SOE dependence on them that I mentioned previously.

What do you think?  Official forums?  Reddit?  Both?  Neither?

Addendum: Some of this lead to an open dialog on forum moderation and bans and such.

The Decade Long War in Civilization II

I saw a post up at Ars Technia about a game of Civilization II that has been going on for 10 years.  This initially came up as a thread on Reddit when the player recounted his experiences with the game so far.

I’ve been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be. Naturally I play other games and have a life, but I often return to this game when I’m not doing anything and carry on. The results are as follows.

  • The world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation.
  • There are 3 remaining super nations in the year 3991 A.D, each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands.

It sounds almost like the world from Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty-Four, where three sides are locked in eternal warfare that does nothing but keep the three governments… two theocracies and a communist state… in power via an endless state of emergency.

We’ve always been at war with Eurasia… I mean the Vikings!

The ice caps have melted due to global warming brought on by constant nuclear war and the world is now covered by unproductive swampland.  There are no more large cities.  90% of the population has died off from its peak 2,000 years earlier.  Military production takes precedence over all other improvements.  Military power is balanced, with all three nations possessing all of the possible technologies.  And war is eternal, with each cease fire broken by the next turn.

This is probably the most extreme example of what the end-game in Civ II can turn into.  But the author is not without hope.

My goal for the next few years is to try and end the war and thus use the engineers to clear swamps and fallout so that farming may resume. I want to rebuild the world. But I’m not sure how. If any of you old Civ II players have any advice, I’m listening.

The whole thread has become hugely popular on Reddit and makes for an interesting read and has even spawned its own subreddit with fan fiction, artwork, and theory crafting.

June in Review

The Site

I passed the 2,000 post mark earlier this month.  That is more than one post a day since I started, though size and quality vary greatly among posts.  I will have to find some way to see how many total words I’ve written.

This month also saw the breaking of the daily page view record for the site yet again.  This time around somebody linked a rather old post on Reddit.  Reddit is a new experience for me, I’ve never used it and have never before been linked there.  The traffic from the link broke the old record by about 10%.  The link also made Reddit the #1 referral source, doubling a month of VirginWorlds traffic in a single day.

The post in question is at the top of the list of most viewed posts for the month.  Yeah, that one.  A prognosticating octopus, cats playing patty cake, and now that.

This is the sort of thing I couldn’t make happen if I tried.

One Year Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?  They were to the Summer of 2010 what CCP is becoming to the Summer of 2011.

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened a couple times since and is barely news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through the Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.

Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following site for linking here.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  3. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  4. EVE Introduces a New Currency – Aurum
  5. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  6. Monitize Your EVE Online App or Service… For a Fee…
  7. CCP – If The Players Won’t Create Drama, The Company Is Happy To Step In…
  8. The Slow Rise & Sudden Demise of LEGO Universe
  9. Trion – Those 600,000 Missing WoW Players, They Play Rift
  10. SOE Station Access Returns to 2004… And Then Some
  11. Star Wars Galaxies to Close in December
  12. And To Cap It Off, My Sentry Drones Barely Go *PEW* *PEW* At All

Most Common Search Terms of the Month

  1. world of warcraft
  2. how to catch zorua
  3. eve aurum
  4. how to catch zoroark
  5. guild names
  6. onyxia
  7. blood elf porn
  8. turbine points
  9. ancient gaming noob
  10. dire maul location
  11. guild name generator
  12. thorin

Notable Search Terms of the Month

draenei pokeball
[Will they fit?]

فار ابيض صغير

[More white mice]

10 most pressing world issues 2011
[This post is the first item returned for that search]

castle dollhouse plan
[Are they building something, or trying to produce a new TV series?]

eve online getting your bearings
[You can see exactly where you are if you jump off that cliff labelled “learning curve”]

what is the wilheim experience
[Sorry, this is the Wilhelm Arcturus Experience]

Spam Comments of the Month

You cannot post new topics in this forum…..You cannot reply to topics in this forum…..You cannot delete your posts in this forum…..You cannot edit your posts in this forum…..You cannot create polls in this forum…..You cannot vote in polls in this forum…

[And you cannot comment on this blog post.]

Most characters give little thought to their The guild names that make news such as Thott’s Everquest guild Afterlife Thott now runs the popular World of Warcraft site that bears his name are not the ones we remember for their names. Some guild names will make you smiles and other ones are just so cool that they deserve special recognition. Perhaps the ones that are most memorable are those that make a play on a band name.

[I think they were trying to make this look like a ping-back.  Linked to somebody’s Business Review site.  And they obviously have no idea how long Potshot and I spend thinking up guild names.]

wher exactly can I download pokemon black without paying?

[No idea wher, bro.]

EverQuest

Fippy Darkpaw is headed towards the next expansion, Scars of Velious.  Haven’t been back all month, but I keep meaning to visit.

EverQuest II Extended

This remains my main game for the time being.  Gaff and I have been on a lot and our guild is moving slowly towards level 40.  Getting the whole instance group to show up though… well… as I have said, there might be a reason we seem to have a hiatus every summer.

EVE Online

How to even summarize the last month of EVE?  My own experiences are so tiny in the backdrop of total forum war.

EVE is being hammered over a combo of bad turns.  There was the licensing fee for monetizing 3rd party apps which wasn’t really a bad thing, but was communicated so poorly… it was so vague that every negative “what if..” you could think of couldn’t be discounted… that it put the community in a bad mood.

Then came Incarna and the Noble Store and the new currency, which pissed some people off.  Then there was the pricing, which pissed off another segment.  Then there was the internal newsletter that talked about the possibility of selling things like special ammo and faction status, which really set a lot of people’s hair on fire.

And if that wasn’t enough to stir the pot, the rest of Incarna failed to impress a lot of people, me included.  Sure, the agent finder is good (though years late) and I want to try out the revised-yet-again new player experience.  But the Captain’s Quarters turned out to be amusing for a very short duration and turning it off to claim back the system resources it needed (or to make you system usable it you had an ATi video card) left you with the dreaded static station door picture.

Oh, and we got upgraded turret and beam graphics.  Mostly.  Don’t get me started on sentry drones again.

I cancelled my account 4 days into Incarna.  Not in rage over anything in particular, but because it brought nothing new to the table for me and actually made a few things worse.  I was not inspired to find something new to do in the game.

This who Incarna blow-up should make for an interesting “One Year Ago” post next June.  Now to see if CCP can fix it.  The CSM Incarna summit is even now going on.

Facebook

I started playing the new Zynga game Farms & Allies or whatever it is called.  It is clearly another step in the evolution of games that Zynga has stolen created, building on FarmVille, FrontierVille, CityVille, and the work of Charles Ponzi.

You still do not actually interact with anybody else in real time, but you can attack other players and NPCs while you build your empire.  In a few more generations Zynga might actually be making “real” games, whatever that means.

If you’re playing, send me an neighbor invite soon, since my track record with Zynga is to get fed up with repetitive nature of their games in a few weeks time and leave, turning off all possible access I can with Facebook. (Because otherwise Zynga will flood you with messages.)

On the flip side, I stopped playing SOE’s Dungeon Overlord because I hit a point, not very far into things, where the only way I could figure out to continue the game was to spend money, and I frankly didn’t like it enough to do that.

I might have spent some money if I could have used Station Cash from my main SOE account, but Dungeon Overlord only accepts Facebook credits, which I am told are the Deutsche Mark of the Beast.

Other PC Games

I bought Gratuitous Space Battles on a whim.  I had a discount code and it looked interesting.  I may not have given it enough of a chance, but the space battles seem to be more tedious than gratuitous.  You set up the battle, then you watch the battle.  But I found watching the battle to be a chore… and I’m not all that sold on the fun of setting up the battle.  And yet I find practically the same mechanism in a game like Combat Mission to be quite engrossing.

PlayStation 3

The PlayStation Store came back online at last and I was finally able to download my free games as part of the Sony “make good” program.  I guess I should consider myself lucky, as I understand the PlayStation Network still isn’t fully operational in Japan.  After consulting with my daughter, we went with:

  • Super Stardust HD – An update to the game Asteroids.  Bright, shiny, loud, but not especially deep or engaging.
  • Wipeout HD + Fury – Mario Kart in futuristic hovercraft racers.  Bright, shiny, loud, and with a techno beat sound track, but Mario Kart.  Okay, there are a few race modes that Mario does not have, but we’re talking evolution, not revolution.

I wouldn’t have paid money for either game.  My daughter and I have played a bit of both, favoring Wipeout for the most part.  She likes the music.  In the end though, she downloaded the demo for Fancy Pants Adventures and probably spent more time with that than we did with the two free titles.

But the PS3 still makes a fine machine for watching movies in Blu-Ray or streaming Netflix in HD.  I think we stream more Netflix with it than all other uses combined.

Coming Up

We will see how the summer hiatus season affects the instance group and whether we will stick with EQ2.

I still have time on my EVE account, so I would like to spend an evening going through the updated Incarna new player experience.  Maybe that plus the new agent finder will make the expansion worthwhile to new players… and CCP might need some new players if they don’t get things settled down.

Then there is Star Wars Galaxies.  I grabbed the client.  I have All Station Pacsess or whatever it is called this week, so I am already subscribed.  I told myself I am going to take some time to visit the game one last time.  But honestly, I only played post-NGE and only for a short time, so I’m not actually all that invested and don’t really have any places I feel I need to visit “one more time.”

I’ll probably end up just running the tutorial and taking some screen shots of C3P-0 and Han Solo.