Tag Archives: Reynaldo Fabulous

STO – Customize Your Head!

Proving that last night was a matter of the servers being too busy, I was able to log on to Star Trek Online this morning.

That got me into character creation where phrases, seen out of context, can be quite amusing.  For example, I chuckled every time I looked up and saw:


A while I found that phrase funny, it is certainly the truth.  You have two levels of character customization, extremely simple and Cryptic-style complex.  So you can, if you wish, customize many aspects of your head.

Some of your options...

You are not quite as free with your options as you are in Champions Online.  Uniform options are a bit limited, though you can go the “inflict pain through bad color choices” route in that area if you so desire.

When it came to character creation though, I went the “WWKD?”

What would Kirk do?

Kirk would get himself a decent haircut, a gold tunic, strike a heroic pose, and then get on with things.

And so Captain Fabulous was born, ready to report to the USS Wensleydale!

Ensign Reynaldo T. Fabulous

Now to actually find some time to play the game.

Giant Guild Hall!

Having re-upped for Station Access, I got out Reynaldo Fabulous to see what was happening on the Guk server.

I am a junior associate stand-by reserve member of Jaye’s Revelry and Honor guild on Guk, which is celebrating an anniversary tomorrow, so I thought I would check in at the guild hall.

And when call of the guild hall finished, I found myself in a much bigger guild hall than I remember.

Looking in from the entrance

There was a huge courtyard.  So big that I thought perhaps the guild had opted for an outdoor guild hall.

Of course, Revelry and Honor is always in the spirit of the holidays, so there was a large Frostfell display already up in the middle of the courtyard.

Holiday Spirit

No small display either

I soon discovered that this was not just an outdoor affair either.  A look at the map gave me some scope, but didn’t really convey the size.

Guild Hall Map

As it turned out, there was a lot going on inside as well.  In fact, there is so much going on inside, so many objects to load, that several times I got kicked out of the zone and had to reload back at the start.

And the map doesn’t even do this justice, as there are stairs up to multiple floors.  You can even get up on to the roof.

Looking out from the roof

If you look at the first two pictures, Reynaldo was positioned on the right side of the roof of the building in the background for that picture.  And a big building it is.

Reynaldo on the roof, for scale

As Reynaldo would no doubt say, truly a fabulous guild hall.

I hesitate to ask what it costs in upkeep every week.

Fleeting Fabulousness

The sixty day timer ran out on my box-on-the-shelf version of EVE Online.  So I had to make the decision whether to keep Reynaldo Fabulous in space or not.

Hot shot hauler pilot to be!

Keep me in coach!

I had intended him to be my Iteron V hauler pilot when I started him off.  However, an odd turn of events with the new player “double speed” skill training meant I had to delay one of the big skills or throw away 500K of double speed training.

So I started him on one of the other critical paths for any industrial character.  I got him working towards flying a Hulk.  He got within five days of flying the prime mining ship in the game.

And then I had to make the decision on whether to keep him going or not.  I decided not to renew him for the time being.

It is not so much that he isn’t useful.  He has a retriever mining barge and I got him out with the rest of the group on a couple of occasions to mine.  He helped clear out the huge veldspar field that is present in the mission Recon – Part 1.

My little fleet at work

My little fleet at work

And his contribution was not inconsiderable.  He could bring in ore at about 35% the rate of my main mining character who flies a Hulk and has all the related skills at level V.

But I am in a bit of an EVE slump currently.  I have not fired a missile in anger nor burned an asteroid with a mining laser in nearly a month.  My characters are all on long skills.  Things have been very quiet.

So with that being the state of affairs, I let Reynaldo’s account lapse.  Should I need a Hulk pilot, I know I one that is just five days away.  Until then he will be resting in the station, waiting for his time.

And so another tale of Reynaldo Fabulous gets cut short.

A Not So Fabulous Turn of Events

Reynaldo Fabulous has been pressing ahead with his training, tying up all of the learning skills in his plan by Saturday.  He trained up the first and second tier learning skills up to level 4 for everything by Charisma.  It was time to start the trek to Gallente Industrial V.

The only prerequisite left Gallente Frigate III, then five Gallente Industrial skills in a row, with the last being about 14 days.

Of course the first three went by quickly.  I queued up the fourth, which ran over a day, as soon as I could.

Finally, I went to queue up the level five skill and ran into a problem.

Previously there had been a loophole in the training bonus given to new characters.

You get double training speed up to 1.6 million skill points, after which you are, in theory, caught up to the people who rolled characters in the past that came with around 800K or skillpoints.  But any skill you started before you hit the 1.6 million point would continue to train at double speed.  So, if you were aware of this, you could wait until you got close to the end point of your double speed training and start up a really long skill and continue to benefit long after your bonus should have ended.

A bonus bonus.

In hindsight, you would think that CCP would have seen this one coming, knowing the EVE Online player base as they do.  And even without that, I have to think there was a test case somewhere that would have shown what happened when somebody tried to queue a skill that went beyond the limit.  It is called boundary checking and people in QA ignore it at their peril.  Somehow though they missed it, or didn’t think it was important, and ended up having to fix it after the fact.

Now, the logical, independent of code complications, fix to me would be to just apply a 2x multiplier to any skillpoints trained up to and including the 1.6 millionth, and after that they run at a normal rate.

Of course, long experience has taught me that the logical fix can often be quite difficult.  Sometime you end up with the expedient fix instead.  That appears to be what we got.

Last night when I went to queue up Gallente Industrial V, I got this error:

No Gallente Industrial V today
The rather blunt force fix to the exploit seems to be simply to not allow you to start training a skill that will take you beyond the 1.6 million skillpoint barrier with the bonus, unless agree to throw away any remaining bonus.

Gallente Industrial V is an 800K skillpoint skill.  If I start training it now I will essentially be throwing away almost 500K of double speed trainin.  That is about one third of what you get, since you start with around 80K skillpoints.  So I don’t want to do that!

Now I am going to be delayed in being able to fly the Iteron V.

And I also have to spend some time with EVEMon figuring out the optimum set of skills to train to ensure I waste the least amount of my remaining 500K double speed skill points.

Certainly this is not the worst situation ever foisted onto an MMO player base, but this double skillpoint routine is part of the NEW USER EXPERIENCE.  This is yet another parameter with which somebody new to EVE Online is going to have contend.

And the “slap in the face” aspect of this whole fix, and there always has to be a “slap in the face” now doesn’t there, is that people who queued up long skills before the patch introduce this change did not get interrupted.  No, really!  One of the people in our little corp queued up a long skill on a new character that was close to the limit right before the patch.  After the patch he was still trucking along at double speed.

Now, if I had been the product manager… or producer in the game world I guess… and someboday had come to me and said that they were going to fix this exploit by adding more complexity  for new players while allowing everybody who was in the process of using the exploit to carry on and get the benefit, I might have pushed for a different solution.

One decision model that we have used at various companies at which I have worked laid things out into four categories, listed here in descending desirability:

  1. Right Action, Right Reasons
  2. Right Action, Wrong Reasons
  3. Wrong Action, Right Reasons
  4. Wrong Action, Wrong Reasons

An organization that hits on the first item, they do the right thing, and they do it for the right reasons, is doing well.  We all want to be doing that as often as possible.  However, most places I have worked that have done well end up doing the second quite a bit.  That is getting lucky.

CCP’s solution to this issue seems, to me, to be in the third category.  The problem needed to be fixed, right reason, but the actual solution is… sub-optimal in my opinion.  It puts a burden on a group of people least able to cope with it, the new players in EVE.

Again, certainly not the worst thing ever.  Players will get past it.  I doubt anybody would quit based on this fix alone.  But it is annoying, and sometimes it is the preponderance of little things rubbing the wrong way that makes people walk away from a game.

Anyway, I have to go figure out my plan for those 500K skillpoints.  I think I can get to 1,595,259 skill points and contribute to my next goal (a Hulk, of course) without training any skills I do not need.

Fabulous in Space

I picked up a copy of the new “box on the store shelf” version of EVE Online.

I actually bought it a few weeks back, shortly after it came out, but have been sitting on it wondering what I ought to do.  Finally I decided that what I needed out of a third account, at least in the short term, was a dedicated hauler in an Iteron Mark V, hopefully in time to support The Expedition.

And so Reynaldo Fabulous came to EVE Online.

Hot shot hauler pilot to be!

Hot shot hauler pilot to be!

And I got to experience the “new” new player experience.

At the character creation end of things they tried to trim things down to keep new players from facing a wall of text, but they may have gone a bit far.

You start off choosing your race.

The Selection

The Selection

But the information given about each race in the mouse-over text doesn’t tell you much about each race.

Amarr is the largest empire in New Eden, solely devoted to God, Emperor, and the spread of their faith.

The Caldari State is the epitome of civic duty and ruthless efficiency.

Championing freedom and liberty across the universe, the Gallente Federation is the only true democracy in New Eden.

Breaking free of Amarrian subjugation, the Minmatar Republic is a nation of resilient, ingenious, and hard working people who thrive on a tribal culture.

While perhaps offering brief insights into the nature of each empire, I am not sure if anything said really reflects what influences actual game play beyond how agents of a given empire greet you when you want a mission.

You really need some tangible differentiation.  I suggest the following:

Amarr – Their spaceships actually look like what you think a spaceship should look like, plus they shoot frickin’ lasers!

Caldari – You get a wide choice of slow asymmetrical ships that shoot missiles.  But you don’t have to do much to hit with a missile.

Gallente – The French in space.  Really, that is all you need to know.

Minmatar – They fly really fast ships that look like they were welded together in a junkyard.  It is like The Road Warrior meets Star Wars.

I went with Gallente because I don’t necessarily find “French” a pejorative, because I actually like the looks of the Citroën DS, and because I wanted primarily to fly one of their ships.  On the last I assumed that starting as Gallente would give me a leg up on that goal.

Then you have to choose a bloodline, because inter-breeding is apparently a no-no in New Eden.  This is a choice out of three, none of which have a description worth mentioning.  I chose Gallente as my blood line, since then Reynaldo would be Gallente Gallente and look like he should be in Duran Duran.  Neither Intaki nor Jin-Mei offered anything as amusing.

Then there is the choice of ancestry.  You can pick from Activist, Miner, or Immigrant.  Man, these people really are French!  I went with “Miner” in hopes of being among the third of the population who actually keeps the republic going.

And then you get to choose your sex, which as far as I know, only affects your avatar creation choices.

You do not get to do anything with your attributes.  That is completely out of the character creation process now.  As far as I can tell, they just balance them all evenly and send you on your way.  You do, however, get two attribute resets after your character is created.  After the second one you have to wait for a full year before you get another shot and attribute changes.

If you chose male, you are then presented with an avatar that looks remarkably like Darren from The Common Sense Gamer, which you then must alter to shake that particular “I’m playing as Darren” thought.

Once you are done making your “not Darren” avatar, you can enter the game.  You actually have the option now to start in a station or in space.  However, the drop down menu for that is so small and dwarfed by the “Enter Game” button that I am going to bet that no more that 20% of people will ever notice it is there.

Not that it matters, because once you start the tutorial, you’ll be going between space and station on command.

The tutorial.

I honestly couldn’t bring myself to go all the way through another version of the EVE Online tutorial.  I got far enough in to see that they bring you up to speed on some useful things.  For example, almost immediately they give you a damage control I module that you cannot fit because you don’t have the right skills.  Then they give you the skill you need to use the module.  22 minutes later, after training the skill, you can actually put it on the ship.

Now if the tutorial had really been true to the game, it would have added one more tab that said, “Get used to this, you’ll experience it over and over again!” in big red letters.

I went as far as getting the first mission.  I decided I did not want to start making enemies just yet so I flew off to one of the university stations where they sell skills.  Then I logged on my main, sent Reynaldo 20 million ISK.  With that I bought a stack of learning skills and started laying the groundwork for my ongoing training plan.  There is about a week of getting all of the learning skills up to level IV, then I can start on the path to the Iteron Mark V.

In the mean time I can fly around in my new InterBus shuttle, one of the special items you get with the EVE Online box edition.

The InterBus gives you wings

The InterBus gives you wings

And, just to close the loop, the actual time advantage one gets towards the Iteron Mark V by starting as Gallente is just over 2 hours.

Ah well, time to figure out how this double training speed is really going to affect me.  So far it seems to confuse EVE Mon now and again.

What a Difference a Hat Makes

Last week I asked what the most fabulous class was in Middle-earth with an eye towards guiding the creation of my inevitable alt (or alts) on Nimrodel.  The poll, as of this writing, shows the following results:

Minstrel            49
Burglar             11
Hunter               8
Warden               7
Lore-master          7
Heavy Armor classes  3
Rune-keeper          1

The minstrel class was the clear winner, getting an overwhelming percentage of the votes.

So I rolled up a hunter.

You see, I had tried a minstrel before and it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.  Plus I picture Reynaldo as more fabulous through deeds than through singing of his deeds.  He does not need to advertise his fabulous nature, he just is fabulous.

Plus my wife frowned on any sort of “Tiny Tim” online activity.

So Reynaldo the hunter was born.  And the hunter’s garb looked good on him.  He was almost fabulous.  Almost.

Tight britches? Check.

Well cut tunic?  Check.

Well turned boots? Check.

Stylish hat?  Umm… no.

The hats he found were just ruining his look and, frankly, character models in Lord of the Rings Online have a tough time going without a hat.

Reynaldo suffered through a series of narrow brimed Alpine models, a couple of the Andean knit variety so popular with the Burning Man crowd, and the inevitable over-turned soup bowl hard hats that made him look like a lineman for the county.

But fortune favors the fabulous.  At level 10 he got the drop he was looking for.

He got the wide brimed hat with plume.

Fabulous!

Fabulous!

Now with his bow on his back and a dagger on each hip he fights to rid Middle-earth of Sauron’s taint and to collect enough cash to register his last name.  No titles for him.  It is enough just to be fabulous.