Monday, January 31, 2011

Operation Smile: First Time In Low-Sec

It is a common article of faith that 90% of players in Eve Online never leave high security space.  Now, I can understand the fear of going into low or null security space and losing your ship.  Unlike most other MMOs, if you lose your ship, you can really lose a lot, even if you purchased insurance.  I spend most of my time in high security space, although I tend to travel through low-sec about once a week or so.

Well, here is a video that might shame those who are too afraid to leave the nice comfy arms of CONCORD.  This is a video of a 5 year old and her first trip into low-sec.  If she can do it, then anyone can.  And the video is just so darn cute!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Babes Of New Eden

In Eve Online, everything in-game gets taken out of game.  The new avatars are no exception.  At first, the character creator became the in-thing to post on YouTube, but after the 2nd or 3rd video, it got kind of old.  Well, someone came up with an idea to post female avatars on a site for people to judge.  Called Babes of New Eden, it is rather tastefully done.  I agree with CCP StevieSG that the site is rather addictive.  CCP is probably happy with the site, since it shows off all the variations possible with the character creator.  If anyone wants to point to what the character creator is capable of, this is the site that shows it off.

I won't be submitting Wandering Rose on the site, however.  She is a hard-working CEO too busy working at the controls of her blockade runner or, when needed, a Mammoth, to take the time to get a glamour shot made.  She only took the time to get a shot made because CONCORD is starting to require one.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sansha and Hauling

When I read this little gem from the forums about the first Sansha invasions, I smiled a bit.
"Zimse is currently being gate camped by Sansha frigates.
Repeat, zimse is currently being gate camped by Sansha frigs, IN HIGH SEC"
I thought CCP would have Sansha do this and I wonder why anyone is surprised.  But even though I expected it, I still have things to do.  Running a hauling corporation isn't just moving things from point A to point B, you know.

The biggest thing I need to do is acquire a Mastodon.  I meant to get one, but I'm getting really close to having enough money saved up for an Orca so I've let that slide.  If I wasn't going to by one, I should have at least started research to make a BPC.  After all, I do own a BPO for a Mammoth.  Wandering Rose would have to fleet up with Rosewalker in order to take advantage of his leadership skills, but a Mastodon is just what I need to keep flying in those dangerous waters that high-sec systems may become.

Another thing I need to do is start bookmarking high-sec systems, because you never know where Sansha will strike next.  I guess I should say start bookmarking them again, because while I do have a couple of systems well bookmarked, I need to get the systems between my home systems and the trade hubs of Rens and Hek prepared.  Purchasing an interceptor like a Stiletto would speed the process up a great deal.  Buying one is relatively cheap and besides, one of my goals for the year is to aquire as many different ships as possible.  Throw in the fact that I already trained to fly interceptors and the question becomes "why don't I already have one?"

Finally, I really need to fill up the remaining 3 character slots I have.  I have a trade skill alt for Gallente space and I need one to watch Jita and Amarr as well.  The third alt could serve as a planetary interaction/hauling alt to build construction blocks for ship construction.  Now that the new character creator is out, I don't have any more excuses for not creating the alts.  I do need to research the best training path for the PI alt, since that training time will take away from Wandering Rose's education.

So much to do, and so little time to do it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Avatar Pictures

I think every Eve blogger has done a post featuring pictures of their avatars. I understand why. The character creator is really cool. But I was a bit leery of it because in my characters' histories, Wandering Rose and Rosewalker are sister and brother. So I have to ask the question. Did I succeed in making them look like family?

Wandering Rose

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interesting Times

"These are the interesting times I spoke to you of before, Captain Rourke"
- Mr. Smith, Clear Skies 2

Things are getting interesting in Eve Online.  In Fountain, TEST continues to roll while Against ALL Authorities reclaims their losses in Catch from the past 4 months.  IT saw two of its major corporations, x13 and FinFleet, leave the alliance, leaving questions about a possible failscade hanging in the air.

On top of all that comes today's patch to put the Incursion system into place.  Sunday's massive battle in Yulai saw the Peak Concurrent User record broken, with many players introduced to massive lag spatial distortions (it's a feature, don't you know) for the first time.

These are definitely interesting times.  But is that a good or a bad thing?  Only time will tell.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I Didn't Mission This Weekend

This past weekend I fully intended to run some missions in Eve Online.  I really did.  I have a nice new battleship and if I run a few more missions I'll finally have the proper standings with agents who regularly give out kill missions.  But some things just got in the way.

First was planetary interaction.  Friday night and Saturday mornings are when I usually do my weekly runs to trade hubs with my products.  Things slowed down a bit Friday night as I got caught up looking at the production graphs for my extractor heads.  Oooh, graphs!  I'm really interested in how production changes from day-to-day in my extraction programs.

Well, I could make up the time on Saturday morning, right?  Wrong.  I'm working on my real life physical fitness and decided I needed a better stairstepper.  So I went out and bought a small mini-stepper that has a lot more resistance than my old one.  However, the dance music I had been listening to when working out no longer worked.  That was not a problem, since I have One Night of Roc on my iPod.  But the time I spent looking took away playing in the morning.

While I was hauling my products to market I picked up courier contracts to make a little extra money.  I got just a little carried away and wound up in the Gallente Federation.  I hadn't flown around those regions since I left Eve University and I couldn't really enjoy the sights then because we were fighting the Privateers.  Let's just say that the contracts were a bit more generous in the Gallente Federation than in the Minmatar Republic and by the time I got back home I was 15 million ISK richer.  But I was having so much fun I lost track of time and it was Saturday night and time for bed.

Well, I could run missions Sunday, right?  Not really.  I have a blogging project going on for Clone Pundit and I spend the day installing SQL Express, writing code and watching the Bears lose to the Packers.  I still have to polish up the code, but I think I'll have some good posts up over at Clone Pundit.

So that's why I didn't run any missions.  I'm such a terribad carebear.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Peak Concurrent User Mark For EVE Online

Incursion appears to be a smash with the player base of Eve Online as the EVE-Offline tracking site shows that a new Peak Concurrent User mark of 63,170 was reached today on Tranquility during the battle in Yulai.  The old mark of 60,453 was set 7 June 2010 during the time of Alliance Tournament VIII.

Looks like Chribba is going to have to rescale his graphs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Operation Smile: Clear Skies 3 Teaser Trailer

The initial news reports I had heard mentioned a March 2011 release date for Clear Skies 3.  But a post from John Rourke on the Eve-O forums indicates that the release may be pushed back to April or May.  But we got a teaser video released, and how can that not produce a smile?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Clone Pundit - Rosewalker's Blog

I love the world CCP created in Eve Online.  And with all the activities surrounding the game that players engage in, New Eden truly is a virtual world.  Heck, even assuming that each player has 2 accounts, New Eden has 4 times the population of my town and takes a lot more time to cross as well.

I also love reading about Eve.  Sometimes so much is going on that I can't experience in game that I spend my time reading about the game instead of playing.  I read the blogs and news sites and listen to podcasts.  When I travel overseas I also faithfully tune into Eve Radio to get my game fix.

With so much going on, I came up with the crazy idea to start another blog dedicated solely to Eve Online called Clone Pundit.  But I couldn't just start another blog; I had to come up with something to make it distinctive.  So I decided to emulate someone from the political blogosphere, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds and his blog, Instapundit.  Professor Reynolds makes a lot of short posts with no titles that links to a lot of sources.  He has a lot of memes running through his blog that he tells based on what others are writing or saying.  So I figured I could do the same.  It can't be that hard.

Well, it can if I put a few tweaks into the format.  I decided that to copy the Instapundit format that I need to find at least 6 Eve-related items to make posts about each day.  Not too tough as long as everyone is not too busy playing with the character creator.  Because Professor Reynolds posts constantly throughout the day (and I can't) I simulate the constant blogging by setting up my posts using Blogger's delayed posting feature.

Also, I decided that in order to try to get the feel of New Eden that I would write the blog as much as I could in-character.  So that led to Rosewalker writing his own blog.

Rosewalker, New Eden's Newest Blogger
Writing in a role-playing style does have some challenges.  For instance, how do you work in the patch notes for the expansion?  Or how about the upcoming live dev blogs using Eve Voice?  Or just dev blogs in general?  I think I'm getting the hang of it now.  And by writing in-character, I think the feel of Eve as a virtual world is starting to come through.

I started Clone Pundit last Sunday and am up to 42 posts as of the time I write this post.  With any luck, anyone who reads the blog will be curious enough to start clicking on the links to all the blogs, podcasts, news sites and forum posts that I've highlighted.  If you possibly may be interested in the events in New Eden, head on over and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Preparing For Rift

I went and did it.  I pre-ordered Rift.  Perhaps not the smartest move, but I was able to lock in a $9.99 per month price for 6 months.  And I do want to see what the rifts and rift invasions are like.  I played Warhammer Online and hopefully the rifts will not be like public quests where once the initial wave of players passed through the world that the PQs became unplayable.  By getting in at the beginning I might get to experience the whole game.  Of course, since I won't be playing a lot, I'll probably fall behind anyway.

I do have to do a couple of things before March 1st.  I've already done the very important unsubscribe from World of Warcraft.  I know, how could I play that game?  Well, to tell you the truth, once I started playing Dragon Age, there was no reason to play World of Warcraft.

Mention of Dragon Age leads me to the second item of business I need to do before March 1st.  That's right, I need to finish the game.  I finished "The Landsmeet" on Monday and I only have to go through "The Final Onslaught" to finish the game.  Only?  I hear it is pretty tough.  But I really would like to only be playing 2 games at a time, so that gives me 5 weeks to finish.  And it may take me that long because I think I'll be playing Eve and I have a lot I want to do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Taking Care Of Business - The New Planetary Interaction

While most players of Eve Online were having fun with the new character creator, I kept my nose to the grindstone and redid all ten of my colonies.  I have to say I'm impressed with CCP's second iteration of planetary interaction.  Here are some of my thoughts after playing with the feature for a couple of hours.

First, the cost of getting into the business went way down.  Instead of paying 45,000 ISK for each extractor head, budding industrialists only have to spend 45,000 ISK for a master extractor that can sport up to 10 extractor heads.  I also liked the fact that I got my money back for the

The next point I liked is that, if I read my readouts correctly, I am extracting more P0 products than I did before the patch, and doing it with less extractor heads.  Of course, I am doing this in high-sec.  Output on low- and null sec planets may differ.  I write this because of all the complaining I have read in the forums.  I may have to train up a PI alt whose sole purpose will be to run a factory planet that runs on the excess production from the other planets.  Or perhaps training Wandering Rose up to Command Center Upgrades V would be a better long-term play.  I'll have to look into that.

The third thing I like is the charts and the sliding scale that allows planning for up to 14 days of production.  Okay, the slider is a bit of a pain, but I do like the way the graph shows you what your production is.  From what I can tell from looking at the graphs, I think that I can set the production for 2 days and then stop and start the production plan at any time.  If I do so after the graph shows the peak production period is past, then I actually increase production.  I'll have to play with it, but setting production for two days would help with my crazy work schedule in which I sometimes had 3-4 hours of non-working extractors because I had to work late.

Finally, the new system is much less of a click fest.  Instead of having to set 150-160 extractors every day, I will only have to worry about 20.  And with luck, maybe I will only have to click on those 20 extractors only every 2-3 days.  I can dream, right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Incursion Patch 1.1 Deploying Now

CCP has released the patch notes for the last part of the Incursion expansion and all I can say is "wow"!  I'm not going to paste them here; there is simply too much to do so.  Instead go to the patch notes page.  I will mention some things that stand out to me.  Notice that major items of the expansion, like the Sansha incursions themselves, didn't make my list.

  • Insured ships that are put into a Courier contract will no longer have their insurance voided.
  • When you log in, you will now be notified if there are any contracts assigned to you. You can now easily jump into the contract in question.
  • Contract details will now show the security level of the system(s) in question. It will also show if any system en route to the system is a different security level than the current system.
  • Contract details will now show if a station is player owned and therefore potentially unreachable.
  • Contract details will now show if a system is unreachable with your current autopilot settings.
  • The ignored issuers list limit has been raised from 80 to 1000. It is filtered on the client instead of the server.
  • The number of top level items in a contract has been raised from 100 to 200.
  • The contracts start page now includes the count of all contracts assigned to your corporation for all members of the corp. The corporation and your private assigned-to list counts are split up into item exchange/auction and courier, each with relevant links.
  • Labels on contracts details now show the text "You will pay" and "You will get" instead of "price," "money offered" and "offered items."
Graphics Improvements
  • Changes to the way suns are rendered have been made to improve performance.
  • Changes to the way the Tactical Overlay is rendered have been made to improve performance.
  • Fixed windowed mode in the Windows client. This makes the client appear to be in full-screen mode while staying in windowed mode. This change frees up a bit of screen real estate for users.
 Character Creator
  • We are adding support for an optional third name during the new character creation process. This is being done in order to expand the amount of available names in the EVE database and avoid having to purge older names. When you create a new character, you will put in your first two names in one box with a space between the names, and then use the second box for your third name.
  • New Characters can have a selection of education options to choose from; this dictates their starting location.
  • Current characters will have a grace period before having to commit to a new character avatar and portrait. During this grace period you can take your time before finalizing your new avatar and portrait to suit your tastes. Once this grace period is over all characters will be forced to create a new and updated character portrait and avatar during the login process. A final date for the end of this grace period will be announced. 
 Player Owned Structures, Outposts and Stations
  • Jump bridges can now be successfully probed down.
 Agents & Missions
  • Level 5 missions should no longer send you to high-sec .
  • High-end ores have been removed from several sites and missions. 
Like I mentioned before, these are just items that interested me.  I really urge you to read all the patch notes so you don't get blindsided by some of the changes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

VIDEO: January Incursion Features

Since CCP will not release the patch notes for tomorrow's Incursion patch until downtime begins, I thought I'd post a video the CCP mentions on its YouTube channel page.  This video features a look at the new Neocom, contracts system, Incursion interface, updated weapons grouping and keyboard shortcuts.

For more on the Sansha Nation incursions themselves, CCP Soundwave had a dev blog that describes how the incursions will roll out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Too Much Transparency

Usually I like the transparency that CCP shows its players in Eve Online for all the technical things behind the scenes.  But in CCP Soundwave's latest dev blog, I think he went just a tad too far.
"If you like ships with lots of spikes that fly around and try to kill players, you’re in luck. Patch day is coming soon, which means you will all get to play with the Incursion feature shortly. On January 18, we will softly rub the hamsters in the server room till they fall asleep, prod them sweetly with foreign objects, and, if we’re lucky, they’ll wake up again with brand new content later that day. (If they don’t, we’ll have to place the largest order ever for very small coffins. Sadface)."
And this is relatively sane compared to the rest of the dev blog.  If you're not afraid of nightmares, give it a read.  Personally, I'm probably scarred for life.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shootings, Gamers, And The Blame Game

On Saturday an explosion of news, politics and media bashing hit the Eve Radio chat channel when news of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords hit the news outlets.  People who cared more about advancing a political agenda than what actually happened started denouncing the Tea Party and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin before we even knew the name of the shooter.  As I wrote in the chat channel, she was a Blue-Dog Democrat, which meant she could have been the target of almost anyone.

Perhaps I'm just showing my age, but does anyone remember a time that when a tragic event like the Tuscon shooting took place people would start to look for a connection to violent video games and movies?  Fortunately the facts, like the New York Times showed in a study, are a bit different.

The Times found, however, that the debate may have largely overlooked a critical issue: At least half of the killers showed signs of serious mental health problems. ...

*While the killings have caused many people to point to the violent aspects of the culture, a closer look shows little evidence that video games, movies or television encouraged many of the attacks. In only 6 of the 100 cases did the killers have a known interest in violent video games. Seven other killers showed an interest in violent movies. 

I know that people are quick to blame those they either disagree with or think are a bit unusual.  For many, people who enjoy video games fall under the latter category.  As someone whose hobby has been blamed for mass shootings like the one that happened in Tuscon Saturday maybe I am a bit sensitive to the whole pack mentality that demands immediate explanations.  But since we gamers didn't like getting the blame for events like Columbine, perhaps we should hold our fire until we find out all the facts.

UPDATE: When I wrote this, I did not know about the Wall Street Journal article linking the Tuscon shooter with the MMO browser-based game Earth Empires.  I guess the old calls for monitoring video games might pick up again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preparing for Incursion Part 3

This weekend I plan on doing a bit more hauling than usual in order to support my planetary interaction colonies in preparation for the last installment of the Incursion expansion.  Now, you may wonder if I'm taking the whole hauling corporation idea a bit too far.  After all, why would I need to haul around anything extra just because CCP is implementing another patch?

Simply put, I don't know exactly how the new character creation screen and master extractors will affect my play.  Take the character creator.  Will I need to redo the appearance of Rosewalker and Wandering Rose before they are allowed to re-enter the game?  I have heard that changing from the old school portrait to the new look is not mandatory right away, but I may have outdated information.  If I do have to change my appearance right away, I'm not going to just click on random appearance.  Both are main characters I have played for over a year and I want to do their appearance right.  I'm not going to rush through that important piece of character development just to pursue my planetary interaction gameplay and get a few isk.

The other major change for me is the new master extractors for planetary interaction.  While the master extractors will make my life easier in the long run, I do have to install them on 10 colonies.  Even if the whole process of surveying, placing the master extractor and setting up routes for the resulting products only takes 15 minutes per colonies, that is 2 1/2 hours of time I may not have to spare that first night.  And if I have to take care of my physical appearance first, I'm probably not going to get all of my colonies updated that first night.

That is where my elite hauling skills come in.  Over the last two weeks I have set aside all the excess production from my extractor units instead of selling them off like I normally do.  Each of my colonies has a spaceport with 10,000 m^3 of storage space that I use to hold all of my raw materials until my factories can turn them into tier 2 products.  Since each factory consumes 2,800 m^3 of raw materials daily, I figure I can store a 3 day supply of materials at each colony, more than enough to maintain factory production until I get my colonies updated.  Of course, I may not have a 3 days supply for each factory, but that just means I need to prioritize which colonies are upgraded first.

I'm doing all of this preparation and I haven't even discussed what the expansion is all about, the Sansha invasions.  As far as I can tell, I just need to treat them like an unexpected war dec from a corp that expects you to show up in their space and won't chase you more than 2 or three systems.  Of course, anyone in Eve outside the newbie corporations should live their lives expecting war decs anyway.  Or, to put it another way, Sansha happens.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finishing What I Started

I was talking with a friend at work about Dragon Age last week.  He is having a lot of fun playing the game and I realized I was still just a bit ahead of where he was at in the main storyline.  So with that inspiration, I picked up the game again after a several week hiatus and finished recruiting the dwarves to fight the darkspawn over the weekend.  I forgot just how challenging the combat is in Dragon Age.

Last night after doing my planetary interaction work in Eve and carrying out 3 courier contracts (add another 1.1 million isk to my total this month), I ate dinner and returned to Dragon Age for an hour.  The game is fun, although I couldn't manage to get the Queen's maid to distract the guards at the door during the "Rescue the Queen" quest so I had to kill them.  I'm also afraid I may have to backtrack a bit because when I rescued the Grey Warden in the dungeon he didn't tell me about the cache of Grey Warden weapons and armor.  I'm going to continue going and see if he will tell me about the cache after I rescue the Queen.

Dragon Age is a fun game with the advantage that I can pick it up anytime I want or stop the action in the middle of a fight if real life calls.  I only have 2 more segments to the main storyline to go.  I really would like to see how the story ends.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beginning The Dream

A couple of months ago I wrote about an idea to turn my Eve Online corporation, Khumaak Flying Circus, into a hauling corp.  This past week I started to turn that idea into reality.  In addition to the standard hauling I've done in support of my planetary interaction activity, I've picked up all the courier contracts that make sense to pick up.

What makes sense?  Well, if the contract fits inside a Mammoth (28,000 m3), then I'll pick it up as long as the payout is adequate.  For example, don't expect me to haul a 20,000 m3 cargo 5-6 jumps, demand 90 million isk in collateral and then only pay 58 thousand isk.  Sorry, but generally I can do a lot better than that collecting up a bunch of smaller contracts and making a long run.  I should say, did do better than that.

Another type of contract I shy away from are those 12,000 m3 contracts that ask you to jump through low sec.  Make the size under 4 thousand so I can fit it in my Prowler and I'll think about accepting it.  Why wouldn't I want to send a Mammoth through low sec?  Let me give you my experience fulfilling courier contracts in a Prowler Saturday.  The first system I jumped into had a Kestrel sitting on the gate.  After picking up my first two cargoes, I jumped to a gate and had a Thrasher arrive at the gate the same time I did.  And when I picked up my last two contracts, the low sec station I visited had a pirate sitting in the station.  I wasn't TOO nervous about this given I was flying a blockade runner in systems I had previously bookmarked.  But in an industrial?  No way.

One fact about hauling I knew going in was that to get into hauling requires a lot of money.  Having to put down a 70 million isk deposit for a 2 million isk contract is actually a pretty good deal.  So part of going through the courier contracts is determining what I can afford to pick up as well as the size of the contract.  Right now I can handle cumulative collateral amounts of 100 million isk.  That has meant turning down some nice contracts.  But remember Eve rule #1; don't fly what you can't afford to lose.  And this point, I need to limit the amount of collateral I would lose if I lost my ship and someone scoops up the courier container.

So far this year I've delivered 34 contracts worth 7.6 million isk.  I can make a lot more money doing other things, but I've discovered that doing courier contracts is rather addictive.  I stayed up way too late Saturday night doing them.  But at least I'm not mining!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pondering The Nature Of Bots

The Eve Online community is in an uproar over the recent exposé on botting (the use of programs to automate the actions of capsuleers without the player needing to be at the keyboard) and RMT.  CCP’s Unholy Rage campaign highlighted the negative effects that botting has on Tranquility’s performance and the increased isk flow from mission botting in null sec space that the Dominion sov changes made possible contribute to (and perhaps even drive) inflation in the economy.  While others look at the serious consequences of botting, I’d like to examine the role-play aspects of the problem.  What is the nature of the bot?

By definition, a bot is a capsuleer who does not control his or her own actions.  Instead, the bot is controlled by a computer program that governs the pilot’s actions for most if not all of the pilot’s waking hours.  I use the term “waking hours” loosely, as the program places the capsuleer’s brain into a dream-like state and allows the pilot to function up to 23 ½ hours out of every day.  While the bot is vulnerable to other capsuleers while the program is running, the superiority of the capsuleer over the normal population is such that even at a reduced level of effectiveness bots can still defeat non-capsuleers handily.  The ability to operate 23 ½ by 7 gives the bot the ability to generate income far above the average capsuleer, and in New Eden, isk equals power.

Are bots capsuleers who should be pitied or despised?  Myself, I cannot imagine willingly undergoing any procedure that would allow a computer program to take over my body.  My personal belief is that bots are performing their activities against their will.  How could that happen to near-immortal and powerful pod pilots?  Are the bots recruited by unscrupulous individuals with promises of godhood only to be tricked into never-ending slavery once they complete their capsuleer training?  Does a conspiracy exist in the cloning facilities that steals clones and captures capsuleers as they jump from clone to clone?  Are bots just unfortunate people seized in pirate or slaver raids selected for eternal damnation?  Or perhaps the bot has changed clones one too many times and is so mentally unstable that he thinks he is a ship and putting him in the dream-state is a blessing instead of a curse.  In the cruel world of New Eden, putting a mentally crippled pod pilot like that to work would not surprise most hardened spacers.

Perhaps I’m mistaken.  History is replete with examples of those who made a bargain with the Devil himself for wealth and power.  Having given up a measure of humanity for the wealth, power and privilege of being a capsuleer, some may see giving up even more of their humanity for even more wealth worth the sacrifice.  Perhaps the dream-like state is a form of addiction that capsuleers can only experience while flying their ships.  Or perhaps the bot has incurred so much debt that the only way to pay it back is to submerge his humanity in order to perform an endless isk grind.

Either way, the vast majority of capsuleers, at least publically, rail against bots and their masters.  And with good reason.  Bot masters are nothing but slave masters.  I should say worse than slave masters, because at least ordinary slaves will eventually receive the release of death from their bondage.  Bot slaves can only hope for the death of their masters or perhaps death at the hands of a CONCORD strike force targeting the bot and all its clones.

What about the technology that makes the creation of bots possible?  Where does it come from?  Do the control programs come from Jovian space?  Rumor has it that Jovian-based alliances like CCP Engineering are working toward eliminating the 30 minutes of downtime bots experience every day so that bots can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Or does the technology come from the Sansha Nation?  Has the sale of the technology to ruthless corporations and alliances in null security space funded the recent incursions by the Sansha into Empire space?  Perhaps Sansha is selling more than the technology.  Perhaps Sansha is selling the bots themselves and the raids have been “recruiting drives” to meet the demand.

What is the truth?  Most take the simple way out, don’t look beyond the surface and try to shoot the bot.  Others, like CONCORD, engage in investigations and attempt to eliminate the problem with extreme prejudice.  But has anyone bothered to look at the life of the bot?  I’m sure powerful forces would prefer we didn’t.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RIFT Launches March 1st

If you read my blog and podcast roll, you probably already know that RIFT will launch on March 1st.  Now, as Massively points out, Trion took a poke at World of Warcraft in a television commercial they plan to launch.  While everyone is looking at the World of Warcraft angle, I'm looking at another game.  That's right, RIFT Executive Producer Scott Hartsman is going to go head-to-head with the latest expansion of the game he used to head up, SOE's EverQuest 2.  The last I heard, Destiny of Velious is scheduled for release on February 11th.  With all the nifty pre-launch offers (including access to all future beta events), RIFT is looking at attracting EQ2 players disgruntled with several of SOE's decisions during the Sentinel's Fate expansion.  And as a former EQ2 player, I think I'd rather play the new game headed up by the guy who did great things with my old game than play what EQ2 has become.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Alt Tears, Worst Tears?

I am just about at the point where I want to create alts to watch the major market hubs for not only markets but for courier contracts.  What's stopping me?  The thought of having to redo the looks of all my alts.  Now, I am a confirmed, non-recovering altoholic, but when I create an alt, I want to get the looks of my new character completed upon creation.  I'm looking forward to redoing the looks of Rosewalker and Wandering Rose, but for any other alts?  I think I'll just wait until the last part of the Incursion expansion comes out before rolling up any more characters.

This line of thinking just leads me to a question.  Just how much QQ will occur when all the people with the max allotment of alts realizes they will need to redo their appearances?  I've heard that players will have the option to keep their current appearance for awhile, but that period will end sometime, probably when Incarna is finally released.  Do we have enough bottles for all the tears?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stepping To Roc

Sometimes being involved with a virtual world like New Eden that overflows the computer screen has some real life benefits.  For example, I normally listen to country music but I also listen to Eve Radio, which exposes me to lots of different music I would otherwise never listen to.  For instance, I discovered that dance music works a lot better than rock when exercising on a stair-stepper machine. So I ditched the rock for two mixes by ER's DJ Moz, the Invader Moz mix of Fiendflug's Kahle Bedrohung and his mix of Terrorfakt's Bells of War.  The high energy music really helped me keep up the pace.

It's the beginning of a new year and while I'm 40 pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of 2010, I figure I need to lose another 20 pounds.  So I set off in search of some new music to get me the rest of the way to my goal.  I'd been hearing some of Roc Wieler's songs on podcasts and liked what I heard, so I set off to find his music.

I think I found enough music to last awhile.  Roc has 3 albums available on iTunes, One Night of Roc, Mendre and Bio.  After listening to the samples, I wound up buying Mendre and One Night of Roc.  I have a playlist on my iPod from Mendre that I'm working out to.  Right now I'm partial to Exasperate, the title cut Mendre, Tribalism and Sansha Nation.  But I like some of the songs on One Night of Roc, like RealXStasy and Wormholed.  I especially like slower-paced Sacrifice.

I'm continually amazed at the creativity displayed by so many people who play Eve Online.  The fact that I get to listen to some Minmatar influenced music while getting some much needed exercise is just another unexpected perk from playing in the sandbox.