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.

To Be Fabulous in Middle-earth

My belief in the inevitability of my creating an alt on Nimrodel is as firm as any good communist’s belief that the inner contradictions of capitalism will inevitability lead to its downfall.

One of the things I miss a bit from my last run through EverQuest II is my character, Reynaldo Fabulous.

A name like that gives a mere avatar some personality.  It sets a style.  It has panache.

So, while I fell back on one of my tried and true names when I rolled up my captain, I was thinking about recruiting Reynaldo or one of his family (should the name be taken already) to see if I can reproduce that same effect in Middle-earth.

But the first question that came to my mind was, what class in Lord of the Rings Online is sufficiently fabulous?

I am biased against the heavy armor classes, Captain, Guardian, and Champion, if only because I already have one of each.  Plus the heavy armor look isn’t… fabulous.  Not in Middle-earth.  At least not up to level 30.

So I have decided to put up a poll to help determine which class in Lord of the Rings Online the Fabulous family should pursue.

Which class should it be?

You can, of course, try to sway me against popular opinion with a comment.

Fabulous Gifts

After posting that Reynaldo Fabulous had hit level 50, he found a gift in his mail box the next time he logged in.  Kilanna had run him up a suit of induim armor to bring him up to tier 6 spec.

reyindium

The coloring happens to be perfect for adventuring in the Sinking Sands.

Then, later that day, guild-mate Jute (who has many characters whose names start with “Shay” and who appeared on SUWT #39) sent Reynaldo a fabulous Frostfell suit for his appearance tab.

holidayrey

The helm he had on hand.  It seemed to fit the look better than the indium helm.  Now he just needs a tower shield with a fir tree on it to finish off the look.

Thanks to Kilanna and Jute for keeping Reynaldo Fabulous… well… fabulous!

Fifty and Fabulous

It seems like just the other day that Reynaldo Fabulous was level 40 and thinking about starting the heritage quest for the Legendary Journyman’s Boots.

Oh, wait, it was just the other day.  Monday in fact.

And now it is Wednesday and Reynaldo has turned fifty and is still fabulous.

I mentioned on Shut Up We’re Talking episode #40 that having access to the Revelry and Honor guild hall pretty much felt like cheating.

Frankly, the way experience has gone for Reynaldo, the whole game feels like cheating!  And I love it!

Did I miss an announcement about double experience for the holidays?

I’m a progress and achievement addict.  I am often most driven by that little experience bar.  When it’s pace quickens, so does my pulse.

Yes, at times it does seem like a whirlwind tour of Norrath and perhaps if I had not been there and done that in most of the zones so far I might feel a bit cheated, leaving so many grey quests behind and all.  Or I might feel the need to create an alt and do it again.

And speaking of tours, Reynaldo stopped killing things once he hit level 49 and traveled to 50 solely on discovery experience.  A run through the Desert of Flames expansion was good for 97% of that level.  He just had to peek into the Island of Mara to get that push over the edge to 50.

All that discovery experience was good enough to get him past 40 AA points as well.

I cannot imagine that the pace will continue to be so brisk.  Still, going from a character I rolled just to get a screen shot to my second highest level character ever in EQ2 has been quite a heady experience.

The main problem is keeping up when it comes to gear.  Kilanna just made me this fulginate suit and now I need an indium set.  And about the time I managed to harvest my first ebon cluster I need to start grinding for some cobalt.

I was considering dropping EQ2 to try to focus on making it to Moria, but now the game is like a novel I cannot put down.