Thursday, March 31, 2011

Operation Smile: Clear Skies 3 Trailer

Following Fanfest I sense a lot of angst among the players of Eve Online.  Null sec players are upset about the changes to high end anomolies and the loss of income that entails.  High sec carebears are worried about what the changes to missions agents mean.  Will the changes mean a virtual nerf of level 4 high sec missions driving everyone to low sec?  What about mission hubs?

And me?  I'm just tired.  Getting home from work at 2am and then turning around leaving for work at 7:30am will do that to a guy.  That's barely enough time to write a blog post.

But a solution exists to solve all of these problems.  Minmatar battleships.  Well, Minmatar battleships if they are named Clear Skies.  Yes, just as things are looking down, we get a full length trailer to tide us over until Clear Skies 3 comes out in May.  And the way things are looking, we'll need a dose of Captain John Rourke and the gang.  But this should help get us through the next few weeks.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Alsbeth Is Coming

One of the problems I have is that with my schedule, I sometimes don't have time to play RIFT.  I'm going to have to take a break from researching blueprints and hauling PI products around to take part RIFT's first world event.  After all, I play on the Alsbeth shard and the shard's namesake is the star.  Here is the press release:
30-Day Update Heralds Massive Invasions, Unique Loot, and New Epic Raid Zone

Trion Worlds today announced the first worldwide, fully dynamic conflict event for the immensely successful MMORPG, RIFT™. The battle for Telara intensifies as world-changing invasions from the Plane of Death engulf the planet, giving Ascended heroes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a key moment in the game’s history. Beginning March 30th, players will witness the true power of Regulos the Destroyer, and the world of RIFT will never be the same.

This robust update comes less than a month after the game’s March 1st launch, making it one of the most aggressive post-launch content releases ever for a new MMORPG.

Unprecedented Invasions & Exclusive Rewards

Starting next Wednesday, Alsbeth the Discordant will lead massive invasions across every zone in Telara, raising legions of liches, ettins, and gravemakers to battle Ascended. Over the course of about a week, participating players of any level fighting these invaders can earn hundreds of new items including exclusive rewards, such as a Spectral Horse and a transmogrifying disguise that turns Ascended into the rotting undead. But be warned: once the rifts are sealed, these items are gone forever.

Raid Zone: River of Souls

If Ascended are successful in their efforts to drive back the invasions, they can journey to the “River of Souls” 20-man raid zone at the edge of the Plane of Death where Alsbeth the Discordant is reanimating the recently departed and recruiting them into Regulos’ army. Guardian and Defiant heroes will have to wade through these decaying hordes to reach Alsbeth and make her account for her abhorrent crimes.
I also hear that some class balancing (i.e. nerfs) are going to happen too.  I've linked the alpha notes and I'm really waiting to see what happens.  One good thing about not playing a lot is that I really haven't leveled very high (my highest character is level 20) so my game play really shouldn't change much.  But because my crafting isn't that high, I can only make 6 slot bags.  With all the one-time goodies, I need more bag space!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

They Told My If I Voted For Mike Azariah for CSM6 That ...

... the null sec alliances would not get their fair share of representation.  And they were right!

Let's just take a quick look at where the delegates who won election to CSM6 come from and the number of systems their alliances hold sov over (as of 28 March):

The Mittani - Goonswarm Federation - 67 systems
Seleene - Cascade Iminent - 12 systems
UAxDEATH - Legion of xXDEATHXx - 125 systems
Trebor Daehdoow - Initiative Mercenaries - 0 systems (held sov until end of February)
Killer2 - Morsus Mihi - 64 systems
White Tree - Test Alliance Please Ignore - 69 systems
Vile Rat - Goonswarm Federation - 67 systems
Meissa Anunthiel - Rooks and Kings (corporation) - 0 systems
Draco Llasa -RAZOR Alliance - 54 systems

So 7 of the 9 delegates are from alliances that hold sov in null sec, with an eighth whose alliance was kicked out of null sec about a month ago.  The last delegate, Meissa Anunthiel, is from the famous wormhole corporation alliance Rooks and Kings.

I like the fact that someone from a wormhole corp alliance made it to the CSM, but all the others come to the CSM with the perspective of null sec alliances.  But that's okay because the vast majority of players are in null sec, right?  Not really.  According to the Q3 2010 Quarterly Economic Newsletter (p.13), only 11% of all Eve players live in null sec.  Eleven percent get 78% of the seats?  And that's not including the representative from an alliance that would like to get back into null sec.

I'll let you decide if the null sec alliances are represented fairly or not.  I'm just worried that the total domination of the CSM by the null sec alliances will allow CCP to disregard the CSM as not being adequately representative of the Eve player base.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Watching Fanfest 2011 - Saturday's Coverage

I watched Eve TV's coverage of Fanfest on Saturday.  Quite frankly I was blown away by some of what I saw but I died at the end of the coverage.  Here are some of the highlights that caught my eye.

TQ's New Toys - This was a discussion about the database servers for Tranquility.  A lot of the information was shared in Friday's dev blog but there was some additional information given.  Some of the internal SLAs (service level agreements) were displayed, including less than 2 minutes for failovers.  Also, at least some of DUST 514 is going to run on Tranquility's database servers and that API takes up 10% of database use.  The planned DUST 514 use was compared to market and planetary interaction nodes.

Art - Much of what was shown was seen in the keynote on Friday.  One interesting piece of tech news concerning Captain's Quarters is that with only the one avatar that can be in the first iteration of Captain's Quarters that all the work is done by the client.  On following versions that allow multiple avatars, the servers will need to do a lot of work sending information.  So by rights the initial introduction of avatars in Incarna should not impact server performance.

CCP Presents -  First, I really hope the video of this presentation is posted quickly, because this presentation should be seen by all Eve players.  Here are some highlights.

The results of the CSM election were flashed up a bit faster than I could really read.  Showed results of CSM election.  The Mittani came in first, with Seleene second.

The next thing is that CCP is working with a lot of big names.  On the server side, CCP is working with IBM to increase capacity on Tranquility.  CCP has recently spent on $500,000 on server hardware.

On the client side CCP is working with Nvidia on graphics technology and the Carbon technology.  CCP is also working server side with Nvidia in connection with avatar rendering.  The Nvidia 8 series and above will have the character rendering occur on their video card's GPU, and if technology developement continues at its current pace, video cards will be able to support hundreds of characters using Carbon technology on screen.

CCP is also is working with another leading company, Framestore, in developing the new look to nebulas.  Framestore is a company that was nominated for its work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

CCP also gave players a look at some of the upcoming features in Incarna beyond Captain's Quarters.  These other areas where players can interact are called establishments.  These places will be places that sell mild legal boosters or engage in gambling.  Another idea involves a revamp in the contraband system in which to transfer contraband in high sec will require face-to-face meetings.  The other part of the contraband system will involve players hunting down smugglers instead of CONCORD or faction police.

Finally, the soon to be famous Future Vision trailer was unveiled.  If that is what the Eve universe is going to look like in a few years, well, I don't think any game will match it.  Of course, how long did it take CCP to implement walking in stations, which right now is just walking in a room?  But I so want to believe in the vision.

CCP Panel - After seeing that video, I kind of zoned out on the question and answer session that followed.  I did write down two items that were noteworthy.  The first is that CCP will never sell their Carbon technology.  For them, it is their ace-in-the-hole they believe gives them an edge over all other companies in the industry.  The second is that vanity items will probably come out for sale in June.  There are a lot of details that need to be worked out, but that seems to be the plan.

Incursions and Character Creator - I hope the videos come out soon, because I basically zoned out on these two sessions.  Between the awesomeness of the CCP Presents presentation and having watched about 18 hours of coverage while waking up early both days, I was wiped and just wanted to go to sleep.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Operation Smile: EVE: A Future Vision

CCP just relessed a new trailer during the CCP Presents presentation at Fanfest called EVE: A Future Vision.  This is a vision of the merger of Eve Online and the hopefully soon to be launched DUST 514.  This is the type of vision I have for a science-fiction game.  Simply awesome.

The Mittani Wins Chairmanship of CSM 6

CCP just released the results of the CSM elections.  I couldn't get a list of all the winners, but The Mittani received the most votes and will be the chairman.

UPDATE:  The results have been posted on the forums.  The winners (with vote totals) are:

The Mittani - 5,365
Seleene - 3,813
UAxDEATH - 3,320
Trebor Daehdoow - 3,306
Killer2 - 2,925
White Tree - 2,539
Vile Rat - 2,240
Meissa Anunthiel - 2,086
Draco Llasa - 1,986

The alternates are:

Elise Randolph
Prometheus Exenthal
Two Step
Darius III

Friday, March 25, 2011

Watching Fanfest 2011 - Friday's Coverage

Watching EVE TV's coverage today was pretty interesting.  I didn't try to live blog because I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the day off.  But I just couldn't resist taking some notes.

General - They like drinking and porn.  Tech porn, graph porn, etc.  Also, strong language is used, just in case you want to view some of the videos later.

Design Democracy - The artist didn't want to draw Gallente ships.  That was an interesting dynamic that ran throughout the panel.  Just watching the interaction between the host, the artist, and the audience was good.  And the ship wound up looking pretty cool.  There was some epic fail involved when the CCP folks didn't know what a "top thingy bit" was.

API - Just a few minutes about the API team, but Wollari got some well deserved face time to discuss Dotlan's Eve Maps.

Content - CCP is interesting in that they acknowledge that the game can be made better.  Or perhaps more accurately that mistakes were made.  Most of the content team was on stage answering questions.  One admission is that the story articles that have been written over the last few years just haven't been integrated into the game and that is what the Immersion Project is about.  Other news is that another live event is planned for this year, but is delayed because the two devs who ran the Sansha live events are tasked out for Incarna-related tasks.  And the Sleepers?  Expect more story near the end of the year.

QA - Eve Online does have a reputation of being a bit geeky.  You know that CCP knows that about its player base when the QA staff not only gets their own panels, but when one of the panel is televised as well.  But given some of the problems in the game, players not only want to know what CCP is doing to fix and prevent problems, but CCP wants to tell the player base how they can help.  And a quote just struck me: "Errors are tasty."

And if you see a frigate that looks like a cockroach, its not a bug.  It's just QA doing some work.

Keynote - I'll be interested to hear players' reaction to claim that servers are doing better with lag than ever before but still are trying to make the cluster better.  The introduction of the forum whine index is something I hope to see as a regular feature.  Also, the devs acknowledged they will never catch up as more players will pile on as capacity increases.  But think they can raise the capacity level of Jita to 2,500 and might be able to get lag-free fights up to 1,200.  Announced that they just spent $50,000 on a server and will be the first company to use a new undisclosed processor from Intel and a never before used server from IBM.  In the technology field CCP is leading all companies, not just the gaming industry.

On the UI improvement front, a new fonts for the UI being used and will appear on Singularity soon.

CCP Soundwave gave a talk on Incursions and his team's efforts to reduce some of the annoying little quality of life issues in the game.  He first talked about the reasons for expansions like Incursions.  Not only does CCP feel the need to improve and expand the Eve universe, but also to expand the game experience and increase the number of activities to stay ahead of the competition.  CCP Soundwave threw out Star Trek Online as an example of the competition and how that gave already has avatars.

Some of the small issues that Team BFF is going to roll out in the near future (hopefully) are changing the mission agents to only giving out one type of mission (kill, courier, mining, etc.) and only have 1 agent in a station that can give out all four levels of missions where appropriate.  Other nice quality of life issues are a scanning revamp, the ability to visually tell BPOs and BPCs apart and not having to stop your skills queue in order to insert an implant into a clone.  And did I mention adding some additional default settings to the overview?  As CCP Soundwave said, the current overview system basically says to new players, "Welcome to Eve Online.  Here's a Rubik's Cube.  Go fuck yourself." 

On the graphics front, the lead art developer mentioned that CCP is working on allowing players to have custom paint jobs and corporation logos on our ships.  He also showed some work on Captain's Quarters, which led into a general discussion of the upcoming feature in Incarna.

CCP has posted dev blogs about Captain's Quarters, but the lastest pictures and even the short film clip blew me away.  I'm still not sure about being forced to use the 3D interface instead of the 2D ship UI, but I know that if I wasn't in a hurry I would definitely want to lounge around in the new housing.  I really want to see things like market tickers and news feeds of events in low and null sec. 

War on Lag - I was called by work during this event so I didn't get to catch everything.  But I did hear that CCP was concentrating on server lag and won't really look at the client lag until the server-side issues are under control.  I write "really", because although the client isn't the focus of attention, brackets are getting looked at now.

Apparently at another session, an IBM rep said that lag is not caused by the server hardware, but by the software, and the CCP dev had to agree, which is why a team is going through and optimizing the code.  Even though Python does not multi-thread, the CCP devs are getting such improvements in optimizing the code that they are not going to port the code into another language like C.

Security - I'm not sure the CCP name of the lead presenter for the security discussion because I took one look and yelled, "OMG, that's Darius JOHNSON!"  That's right, the former head Goon is now leading the efforts on security.  Some of his presentation covering phishing was already presented as a dev blog, but the CCP security task force also covers botting and hacking.  The current system to petition botters is inadequate so a new system inspired by that involves just clicking on a menu option to submit a bot report.  CCP is also going to introduce authenticators to aid in account security and passed out the first of them to the attendees of Fanfest.  The authenticators will not be mandatory and I think I heard those choosing not to use authenticators will have another method of authentication.

In addition, the authentication servers will capture the IP addresses for each login session and save them for 30 days.  So if players ever wonders about their account activity, they can go back and see if an unauthorized machine accessed their accouts.

Other security measures are shrouded in secrecy to not tip off the botters and hackers.  One thing Darius did say was that there would be no massive repeat of Unholy Rage.  Instead, CCP would continually ban players found violating the EULA every day.  He called it conducting a "slow burn."  I thought of it as conducting a war of attrition instead of a "shock and awe" campaign.  The only "shock and awe" he plans on conducting might be targeting all the types of bots sold by a particular website so that the bot seller's user forums light up and catch on fire.

I think the one message CCP wants players to take away was stated on one of the slides:

"If you are botting, it is the perfect time to stop." 

Economy - A lot of the content of CCP Dr.EyjoG's lecture will show up in the next quarterly economic newsletter so I won't go over everything, but he did give out some interesting information about the future.

First, the money supply in the game is growing faster than he'd like.  Currently the money supply is growing 2-3% per month and he would like to see that cut back to 1-2%.  That means we should expect to see new money sinks entering the game.

The second remarkable item is that market activity is an indication of unhappiness in the player base.  During the unhappiness last summer the market cooled down while the forums lit on fire.  Apparently there are other economic ways of showing displeasure with matters than just canceling accounts.  Or were lots of accounts being canceled during this time?  Hmmm.

The third is that for the first time, Dr.EyjoG may be ready to intervene directly in the economy for the first time due to the major role PLEX currently plays in the market.  According to a slide,
"EVE Central Bank may, or may not, take actions to intervene with the PLEX market if its stability is severely threatened.  Important to note that it does not mean that there is a specific target for PLEX prixes or money supply in the future."

And finally, Dr.EyjoG would like to see more economic data provided to players so we could see more player economic analysis.

Pain vs Brain - What a spectacle!  And believe it or not, I was on the seat of my couch watching the end.  The commentary was basically from boxers but the match was won on the chess board.  I really hope the entire event makes it to YouTube! because people started jumping on the live stream and I missed some of the introductions.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The School of Hard Knocks

My industrial pilot Wandering Rose has somehow managed to get a combat role when I run missions.  Originally she just flew alongside Rosewalker salvaging while he ran through missions.  Salvaging while missioning has a tendency of discouraging ninja salvagers.  And because she had good defense and fitting skills because I wanted her to fly transport ships well, she could tank a surprising amount of incoming fire. 

By the time I started running level 4 missions, Wandering Rose was flying a salvage-fitted Hurricane.  While I was learning how to run the missions, I wound up fitting a couple of 650mm artillery pieces in place of a salvager and a tractor beam to help out against the smaller ships harassing Rosewalker's Maelstrom.  Eventually I decided to let Wandering Rose fly a fully combat-fit ship with 6 450mm autocannons and 2 assault missile launchers.  That worked really well.  So well I decided to have her train up to use tech 2 guns.  The only problem is that with her spotty education she had problems learning the advanced autocannon skills necessary to really dish out some pain.  So she has to go back to smaller ships in order to learn the basics required to use the larger weapons installed on battlecruisers.

Or, in other words, I screwed up her skills queue and I can't fit tech 2 guns this weekend.  Instead Wandering Rose will finish up Small Projectile Turret V and then learn Small Autocannon Specialization up to IV.  Next weekend will be fun.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Watching Fanfest After All

I'm taking Friday off to watch Fanfest.  And why not?  I haven't taken a day off all year, not even for the great snowstorm of 2011.  I'm not sure if I want to get the HD feed or not.  I'm still torn between just laying on the couch to watch or running a mining op and watching on the laptop.

So what finally made me decide to take the day off?  The Pain vs Brain chessboxing match.  The pre-match video is pretty good and I've got to see how it turns out.  Besides, only EVE TV would show a chessboxing match immediately following a one hour economics lecture.  And I really want to see that one too.  With so much goodness on Friday, I just couldn't resist.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hammer And Anvil

I don't spend all of my time in Eve Online figuring out ways to build tech 2 ships.  Sometimes I run level 4 missions.  I especially like the rogue drone missions because they give out so many minerals I need to make tech 2 ships.

When I search the Internet looking for fits for my Maelstrom, auto-cannon fits without propulsion mods seem really popular.  But since I always dual-box PvE situations in Eve, I'm developing another tactical doctrine for running level 4 missions.  The concept involves fitting out a battleship (currently a Maelstrom) with artillery because I like to reach out to 90 klicks and hit other ships.  Of course, artillery fit battleships are vulnerable to fast ships like frigates and destroyers.  That's where my second ship, and auto-cannon fit Hurricane comes in.  If a small ship like a frigate or cruiser is able to survive traversing the Maelstrom's kill zone, the Hurricane is usually able to take out the pesky ships rather rapidly.

This tactic works really well on missions when the ships land right next to frigates fit with webbers and scrams.  The Maelstrom enters the deadspace area, draws all the aggro, and then the Hurricane, combined with the gang's ten drones, makes short work of the offending rats.  This tactic also frees up the Maelstrom's guns to take out more distant targets (like stasis towers) that pose a longer term threat to the successful completion of the mission.

I've been working on the tactic because this weekend Wandering Rose, my industrial pilot who also pilots my battlecruisers, will finish up learning Medium Autocannon Specialization to 3 and I'll be able to outfit the Hurricane with tech 2 guns.  At the same time, I need to finally decide which tech 2 guns to buy for my Maelstrom since Rosewalker can now use large tech 2 autocannons and artillery.  With the success of these tactics I'm leaning toward fitting artillery and then purchasing autocannons later on to experiment with.

I know that most people find missions boring.  But between spending a lot of time involved in industrial activities and playing RIFT, I'm not burned out doing them and actually look forward to doing missions like The Blockade and can't wait to finally get to do a level 4 version of Worlds Collide.  Besides that, I get to play around with gang compositions trying to figure out how ships fit together best.  Figuring stuff out is always fun.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keep My Game Out Of The Real World

Sometimes my thought process is a little, to put it kindly, out of the box.  But I was taken aback when during the coverage of the Libya airstrikes yesterday that the vision of Eve Online's Tyrannis trailer flashed through my mind with President Obama's voice reading the lines.  And then I thought about things for a few minutes and then thought about how some of the more undesirable things in Eve are making their way to the front pages of the news.  A scary thought as New Eden is a dark and dangerous place.  Keeping these things out of the real world is what our politicians and leaders are supposed to do.  Here are some of the issues I wish I were not seeing:

A growing money supply and inflation - As players paying attention to the Eve economy can tell you, New Eden is facing inflationary pressures caused by the use of bots that make money through collecting bounties on pirates.  In the real world, the U.S. Federal Reserve is engaged in measures like QE2 which involves buying up U.S. Federal debt.  Many are concerned this growth in the money supply will lead to inflation, even possibly hyper-inflation.  Or, to but it another way, "I can't eat an iPad."

Pirates - Really?  Piracy is an accepted play-style in Eve Online, but something that was wiped out in the 1700s, right?  Maybe in the Caribbean, but not off the Horn of Africa.  Piracy is alive and well on the high seas in the 21st century.  When I start reading articles on how to avoid pirates that could apply to traveling in low-security space, I really start to wonder what is going on in the world.

Mercenaries - I love reading the stories about Mercenary Coalition's The North Reloaded campaign and the Noir. Mercenary Group's Declarations of War podcast, but that doesn't mean I like to see the proliferation of mercs in the real world.  But that is exactly what I see.  The latest instance is in Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi was on the verge of losing the country until mercenaries helped turn the tables on the rebels.  In New Eden, the Drone Russian Forces hired Pandemic Legion to stave off a Northern Coalition attack.  Are we witnessing the same sort of thing in North Africa today?

The trailer that started it all - Here is the trailer that inspired this post.  The words that brought our president to mind will follow beneath the window.

"I don't care for violence, but it is often a necessary evil.  I began this journey intending to create, not to destroy.  I looked to the stars and vowed that one day I would have a paradise to call my own.  To those who offered me their trust, I was a great benefactor.  Master of wealth and prosperity...

"But the spread of influence takes an iron will.  Your interests might align with some, and with others, collide with the force of suns.  You are much more powerful than you think.  Creation is so precious, and greed so destructive.  Your choice will make a difference."

Perhaps CCP, in its effort to make the ultimate science-fiction simulator, has created a world so like the real one that these types of comparisons are inevitable.  But the real world is not a video game, so forgive me if I expect our leaders to not allow some of the darkness that exists in New Eden to walk the face of the Earth.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Operation Smile: Perpetuum Jazzile's Africa

Every so often whenever my computer updates, the default sound device gets changed from my external speakers to my head set.  That is annoying when playing RIFT because, unlike Eve Online, RIFT has in-game sound.  Wearing a headset for hours is okay as part of a fleet, but when just running around RIFT, a headset sucks is sub-optimal.  But I've come up with a sound track to use while adjusting my sound to the proper levels and devices.  Perpetuum Jazzile's version of Toto's Africa.  I first heard about the Slovenian choir while listening to Eve Radio and while not really MMO-related, the video makes me smile.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rift Patches March 17-18: Patch 1.02 and Hotfix 8

NOTE: This article is about RIFT Patch 1.02, not Patch 1.2.  I regret the error in the original title.

One problem that has plagued the early days of RIFT has been account hacking.  Trion came out with Patch 1.02 Thursday that introduced the Coin Lock system to help prevent hackers from stripping players' accounts.  But apparently a big gaping hole existed in the system that was closed with Hotfix #8.  So hopefully this major issue will at least, if not halt, at least subside.

But the developers have added and fixed more than the account security systems.  Here are the details of the last two days code changes:

Rift 1.02 – 3/17/11
COINLOCK FEATURE — Account Security
  • If your account is logged in from a significantly different location, your characters will be ‘Coin Locked’ until an additional ownership verification is made.
  • A Coin Locked account will receive an e-mail to their registered account address containing a code to enter in-game to unlock the account.
  • A Coin Locked icon will appear on the bottom center of your screen if your account is in this state.
  • While you are Coin Locked, characters on your account cannot:
    • – Access the Auction House.
    • – Send Mail (can still receive and view mail or remove items).
    • – Sell to vendors.
    • – Salvage, Runebreak, or destroy items.
    • – Trade.
    • – You can continue to play and gain coin and items, but cannot get rid of them.
  • If you are Coin Locked, click on the Coin Lock icon and enter the code found in your e-mail from Trion.
  • You can also have Coin Lock emails re-sent to your email address by clicking the button on the Coin Lock interface.
  • Once you have verified ownership from a new location, that location is whitelisted for future account access.
  • If you cannot access your email or are otherwise unable to change your Coin Locked status, contact Customer Service.
  • Reporting mail as Spam now works a lot more like the chat and /tell spam system.
  • Sending mail that the game filter recognizes as spam results in an additional coin charge.
  • Mail you receive that has been flagged as spam will go to the Spam tab of your mailbox UI.


  • Made a number of changes to how NPCs react to higher level characters:
    • – Characters under the effect of Exposed no longer have an additional chance to be dismounted.
    • – Reduced the minimum aggro range of monsters significantly below a character’s level.
    • – Increased the rate at which aggro range reduces as a character’s level increases relative to a mob.
  • Fixed Forest Disruptor companion so his footsteps are not as loud as a full-size Treant.
  • Runic Descent: Expert: Corrected an issue where this instance could end with players still inside.
  • As a result of the above change, the Captured Soul NPC will be re-enabled after this update.
  • Moonshade Highlands: Rational Ward: Fixed issues with quest not updating.
  • Greenscale’s Blight: Ongoing tuning for Duke Letareus, Infiltrator Johlen, Oracle Aleria, and Prince Hylas.
  • Greenscale’s Blight: Prince Hylas is immune to player abilities that reduce healing taken.
  • Greenscale’s Blight: Fixed an issue that could cause Greenscale’s protective Life Aura to occasionally not spawn.
  • Akala: Reduced health of Stone Wardens in the Akala outdoor raid to make the first phase possible with 10 players.
  • Akala: Akala’s Aegis of Stone and Gift of Laethys buffs can no longer be purged.

Hotfix #8 – 3/18/11

* Characters cannot be deleted while an account is Coin Locked.
* Characters cannot accept CoD mail if they are coin locked.
* Decreased the cooldown between requests to re-send Coin Lock key emails.
* Logging into an account with an existing connection will now force the connected account to fully exit the game.
* We now correctly refund your money in edge cases where you bid on an auction while it is no longer available.
* Being feared should no longer allow you to be scared right through solid objects or underground!
* Reduced Plaque of Achievement rewards from second-tier Expert Dungeon quests to 4 per completion.


* Fixed a bug involving zone event Wardstone targets being destroyed by NPCs just before an event begins.
* The Battle for Port Scion, Whitefall Steppes: Using Riftstalker’s Flashback will cause you to drop the Sourcestone.
* The Battle for Port Scion: Stealth abilities no longer work when carrying Sourcestone.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mike Azariah For CSM 6

The voting for Eve Online's Council of Stellar Management (sixth edition) ends on March 23rd.  While doing my due diligence before voting, I visited the CSM Vote Match website that allows people to match their views with the views of all the candidates on 40 outstanding issues in Eve Online today.  That visit confirmed something that I already pretty much wanted to do anyway.  So today The Nosy Gamer officially endorses Mike Azariah for CSM6.

Mike's answers lined up better with my views than any other candidate's.  While most other candidates apparently are chasing after the null and low-sec vote, Mike's views tend towards those who enjoy the high-sec lifestyle but aren't afraid (or at least are willing) to dip into low-sec every now and then.  At least that's where I place myself in the game.

But as many of the candidates have pointed out during the campaign, the members of the CSM are not game designers and really serve more as a sounding board for CCP than anything else.  While The Mittani attempts to form a power bloc of null sec representatives on the CSM, I think someone with a different perspective is needed.

Mike's perspective, as everyone who has read his blog knows, is different.  He has a role-players perspective on the game and yet is able to link the RP to the reality of how the game works for non-role players.  And he backs up the words on his blog with action.  With the coming of Incursions he formed the Gallente Hero channel as a way to combat the Sansha menace outside the traditional corporation/alliance structure.  Of course the logic was heavily influenced by role-play. 

But that is the kind of immersion that candidates like The Mittani say Eve needs more of.  But while some candidates are QQ'ing, Mike is going out now and grasping the opportunities that exist now.  And while I respect The Mittani not only for what he has accomplished in the game but for the thinking he has displayed in his Ten Ton Hammer columns, I don't think he goes far enough when he says he wants to bring CCP to our ideas. 

I want a candidate that is going to make CCP live up to its own stated ideas.  In Mike's writings I see the vision of Eve as the ultimate sci-fi simulator that CCP is striving for.  And in Mike's actions I see a player who grasps opportunities that others miss.  That is what Mike would bring to the Council for Stellar Management and hopefully some of that will rub off on others once he is elected.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Slacking In RIFT

As I listen to podcasts and read blogs, I can't help but feel I'm a slacker where RIFT is concerned.  Three weeks after the RIFT head start began my highest character is still a level 17 rogue.  True, I have a level 14 cleric and a level 11 warrior, but I just haven't felt the urge to really get on the leveling bandwagon.  Every time I hop into the game with the intention to level, I get distracted by a rift or, like last night, a boss shows up that I just have to run after and kill.

I think I really just need to concentrate on one aspect of the game because I don't have time to do everything.  The whole special currency for crafters looks really interesting and I should document that just to see how that works.  And then I still need to chase after rifts in order to unlock additional souls.  Both my rogue and cleric have 4 souls now and the game feels like I need to get the rest of the souls available before leaving Silverwood. 

Hmm ... see what I mean?  That's two things.  So maybe I concentrate on those and don't worry about leveling, even though the players who are leveling "slowly" are way ahead of me.  On the plus side, I definitely won't be one of those players complaining about the lack of content in a couple of months.  If I hit level 30 on any of my characters by Memorial Day, I'll be greatly surprised.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making My Mastodon - Ship Components & Material Effic

Now that I have a Mastodon blueprint copy, I decided to make all the parts necessary to make a Mastodon.  However, I can't gather all the raw materials myself because many of them come from moons, so I'm going to try to purchase them on the market.  So what is on my shopping list?  Here are the components I plan to build.

Deflection Shield Emitter (375)
Electrolytic Capacitor (300)
Fernite Carbide Composite Armor (5250)
Ladar Sensor Cluster (135)
Nanomechanical Microprocessor (1800)
Nuclear Reactor Unit (45)
Plasma Thruster (75)

Making all of these items is not cheap.  First, the blueprints cost 4.5 million isk each.  Each item requires a separate advanced science skill and the skill books cost 10 million isk each.  I had some of the skills already because of the work I do with research agents, but for those just starting out the price is rather ... pricey.

Of course, purchasing the advanced moon materials required to build the items is also going to be pricey.  I compiled the list I need to make a Mastodon.

Fermionic Condensates (45)
Fernite Carbide (274,800)
Ferrogel (495)
Fullerides (5,100)
Hypersynaptic Fibers (270)
Nanotransistors (11,235)
Phenolic Composites (2,025)
Sylramic Fibers (3,375)

Now, I didn't use a decryptor when inventing my blueprint copy, so this is the list is for a BPC with a material level of -4.  A 50% wastage factor isn't pretty, is it?  Looking back, I really should have used a Calibration Data (+3 ME Modifier) or Advanced Theories (+1 Max Run Modifier, +2 ME Modifier) decryptor.  So last night I took a quick trip to low-sec and found a station where I only had to wait 3 days for a copy slot and started making more Mammoth blueprint copies.  Now since I plan on using an Advanced Theories decryptor, I followed the advice on the Evelopedia and am making them max run copies.  Sure, I have to wait 3 weeks for the run to finish, but that will give me time to actually buy all of the moon materials using buy orders instead of just picking up sell items.

I have the feeling that even if I only succeed once that I'll save money just on the moon material costs.  As it is, I think actually purchasing a ship off the market is actually cheaper.  But then again, I'm building the ship for fun, not to make money.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vile Rat Is Not A Wise Man

In Eve Online, the elections for the 6th Council of Stellar Management are currently under way.  Three candidates, Goonswarm Federation chief The Mittani, White Tree from Test Alliance Please Ignore, and Goodwaffe diplomat Vile Rat are running as "The Three Wise Men".  Well, with everything Mittens has done in the game, he deserves the title.  And after using the CSM issues site and finding out how much I agree with White Tree, I will grant him the title "wise".  But Vile Rat?

I have a major issue with one of the answers Vile Rat gave concerning passive income generation.  Here is the statement and his answer.

Statement:  "All forms of personal passive income (such as RnD agents) should be removed."

Vile Rat:  "No effort income generation is an isk faucet.  The original BPO lottery was a dumb idea and the current iteration is also a pointless flow of money into a game suffering from a lack of income scarcity as it is."

While I can agree with the original BPO lottery being a dumb idea, the rest of the statement shows a pretty disgraceful ignorance of how the Eve economy works.  Disgraceful, at least, if you are running for CSM.  First off, research agents produce datacores, not isk, so don't bring new cash into the game like missioning does.  Players get their money from other players, not NPCs.  Isk faucets involve payments from NPCs, like mission rewards or the bounties a player gets from ratting.

Second, creating tech 2 blueprint copies involves paying money to NPCs (at least in public facilities) not receiving money from them.  Trust me, I'm learning all about that now.  Paying money to NPCs is actually an isk sink.  Big difference.

I agree with The Mittani's answer to this question, "Passive income is key for people who have jobs or want to PvP."  But if Mittens came up with the campaign slogan "The Three Wise Men", he came up one man short.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Eve University Gets More Payback

When selecting a corporation to join in Eve Online, doing a little bit of research always helps.  One often overlooked consideration is whether the corporation you applied to has ever war-decced Eve University.  Why?  Because the people running Eve University have long memories and are always looking for revenge.

The latest example: Empire of Duckeye.  Back in December 2009 the two-person corp (well, Duckeye and his alt) decided to execute a faildec against Eve University.  Basically, a faildec is a wardec in which the corporation attacking the Uni just doesn't provide the student body any targets.  But whether you take out the Uni POS or just make people station spin, the Uni will remember.

Perhaps more importantly, the Uni's graduates never forget, and they are everywhere.  Especially in wormholes.  And on March 5-6, a joint Eve University/Adhocracy Incorporated task force destroyed an Empire of Duckeye POS in wormhole J112404.  Eve University reported on its website:

And perfect it was – within the first hours of the infiltration, E-UNI and their ADHC allies had set up an operational POS of their own to stage the combat from. Reports began to come through that Duckeye was rapidly self destructing the ships he had stored in his POS, to prevent them coming into enemy hands. One such notable ship loss was a Legion class advanced cruiser – an extremely expensive ship that is highly sought after.
“It is unclear at this time how many assets were destroyed by Duckeye himself to prevent us from seizing them,” an ILN Commanding Officer noted. “A Carrier class ship was also spotted, but it was logged offline in deep space so as not to be spotted or engaged.”
I'm not sure that the Unistas realize that Empire of Duckeye is no longer a one-man operation.  Dotlan currently shows the corp with 14 members and the Battleclinic killboard for the corp shows multiple members.  I wonder if those members know that part of the reason for their loss is that Duckeye wardecced the Uni over a year ago.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Somber Industries Response To Scandal

On Saturday's Eve Online columnist Brendan Drain published an interview with SOMBER.blink's Somerset Mahm about the site.  Since the interview was conducted before Brendan knew about the latest revelations about the RMT scandal broken by Eve News24, he arranged for Somerset Mahm to address the issue in the comments.

"Re: the RMT issues that have recently cropped up. Blink takes an active stance on trying to combat RMT. We don't allow you to cash out Blink credit (the easiest way to quickly launder ISK), you have to play your credit on the site. We also don't allow transfer of credit between accounts-- even though this feature has been requested and we'd love to implement it. We are, from what I understand, audited fairly closely by CCP because of the sheer amount of ISK that runs through Blink. Because ISK goes into Blink and back out to the same person, not a different player, this immediately defeats much of the potential for laundering-- the transactions are still linked to the player that was holding the bought ISK to begin with.

"I filed petitions as soon as the recent events came to light, and did receive GM responses although they could not confirm what actions will be taken. Several accounts will be removed from the site as it does appear that they have been permanently banned. [emphasis mine]

"At the most pragmatic level, however, there is little we can do other than cooperate fully with CCP. We receive no special insight as to the source of ISK and we have no CCP-Batphone to use. Rest assured that we're 100% against the practice of RMT, as it kills the game we love."

So it appears that CCP is going through the copy of the database that Eve News24 provided the makers of my favorite game and are applying the Banhammer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another RMT Scandal In Eve - Fanfest Should Be Fun This Year

Eve News 24 is known for its anti-RMT (real money transfer) stance and scored another coup when it obtained access to a copy of's transactions data base going back to April 2010.  The latest Eve News 24 RMT expose has gained coverage in such mainstream MMO websites as Massively, Slashdot, MMORPG and Ten Ton Hammer.  CCP is going to announce their latest actions and plans in the fight against RMT at Fanfest in a couple of weeks.

To make things even more interesting, CCP announced yesterday that EVE TV will be covering Fanfest again on March 25-26, with an estimated 18 hours of coverage.  I'll be working on that Friday so I really hope the information is televised in an event on Saturday.  CCP is usually pretty good about posting these types of things on its YouTube! channel, but I would really like to see the event live.  Heck, I may even hook the laptop up to my big screen TV to watch.  Then again, CCP Soundwave on a 61" screen?  Maybe not a good idea.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

T2 Production: Remember To Make Notes

One of the things I discovered last night is that I need to take better notes about what I am doing in my T2 production.  Fortunately I discovered my mistake when creating T2 blueprint copies of drones instead of ships.

According to the formula in the Evelopedia article on invention, the most production runs I can expect from a T2 BPC of a drone like a Warrior II is 10 if I do not use an encrypter to enhance my invention run.  Also, if I understand the math correctly, the BPC produced will have 1/10th the number of runs that were on the input blueprint copy.  So in order to produce a Warrior II BPC with 10 runs, the input Warrior I BPC needs to have 100 runs on it.

I think I proved that in reality.  The first time I made Warrior II blueprints, I used Warrior I blueprint copies that had 100 runs on them and my output blueprint copies had 10 runs.  Last night, I used Warrior I blueprint copies that only contained 10 runs, and as expected according to the math, I produced Warrior II blueprints with only 1 run on them.  Ouch!

Needless to say, I am now writing down everything I am doing concerning T2 production, because mistakes are expensive.  I am also going to take the rest of those 10-run Warrior I blueprints and use them to manufacture drones.  I might as well get some use out of them since I can't use them to make T2 blueprints.

But all is not doom and gloom in my tech 2 ship building program.  So far this week I have produced 1 Mastodon blueprint copy and 3 Prowler blueprint copies.  Combined with the 2 Cheetah blueprint copies I already invented, I'm pretty happy with the way my plans are progressing.  But before advancing any farther, I am going to wait until the weekend when I have time to do a bit more research to make sure I didn't miss any important facts about the process.  After all, building internet spaceships is serious business!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Epic Forum Posts

Official forums often have a bad reputation as places sane players should fear to go.  But since my sanity is in question (I am a hauler pilot, after all) I visit the official forums anyway.  Last night I found two threads worth noting.

The first thread comes from the RIFT forums.  After you read this thread, you'll almost never have to read another thread in any game again.  This was the opening post:
Rambling description of my MMO gaming experience that dates back to Meridian59 all through every MMO ever developed. Intent is to establish myself as an "expert" in MMO design and management giving the following outlandish statements I'm about to make credibility.

Positive sandwich talking about the things that the game does well, then placing a game breaking negative that must be changed or the game fails, followed by a reiteration of the previous positive comments. Insert vague references to supposed facts supported by fabricated statistics.

Conclude post with a dire warnings of inevitable doom should said changes not be made, up to and including cancelation of accounts from the entire European Union. Include link for details to sign online petition.


Forum Troll 

On page 15 a fourth Trion employee, a developer, jumps into the fun...

Standard reply talking about the various ways to alleviate 'game breaking negative'. Include list of well liked features not related to original complaint.

Reveal that we also share some of the same opinion but must think of the well being of the players as a whole. Tell of own personal experiences within the game to provide a personal connection to both the player and other readers.

Conclude post with exclamation that company is very passionate about important issues. Thank Forum Troll for being as passionate about game as we are.


Random Developer

Definitely an epic post and a must read since almost all of the posters joined into the spirit of the thread.  But not totally all-inclusive.  Over in the Eve Online forums something funny happened.  Someone made the 47,378th post in the Crime & Punishment forums asking the denizens there why they play the way they do.  (For those who don't know, C&P is known as the home of pirates, mercs, and griefers.)  The thread turned into a tribute to Queen, twisting into a parody song at the end.  For those that just want to see the final composed lyrics, Ignition SemperFi compiled all the contributions into one post.  If I could sing, I'd sing the song myself.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cheetahs Are Cooler Than Turtles

No, the title does not refer to animals.  In both RIFT and Eve Online I spent a lot of time this weekend traveling in each game.  In RIFT I was constantly traveling back and forth either doing quests or chasing after rifts or invasions.  Doing the quests and invasions are pretty cool, but I really hate the travel on the back of the turtles I received for purchasing the Digital Collector's Edition of the game.  If I just do a short burst, then stay in one spot for 15-20 minutes, the travel doesn't bother me.  But when I have to travel for 60 seconds every five minutes?  Ugh!

Not so in Eve.  I was a week overdue collecting all of my data cores from my research agents spread out across New Eden, so I jumped in a Cheetah covert ops ship (because one of the agents is in low-sec) and made the 80+ jump circuit to visit them all.  I don't travel AFK, so I was at the controls during the entire journey, only taking breaks when I reached a station.  I actually find the 90 minute trip rather peaceful.  I just put on a podcast and enjoy the scenery.  Of course, New Eden being New Eden, things aren't all that peaceful.  Someone managed to aggro the gate guns at one of the high-sec gates.  And I'm not sure why at a couple of gates pilots had drones deployed, especially when they didn't have any corp mates with them.  Watching how people behave at gates is one of the things that makes long distance travel in Eve interesting.

TL;DR - One minute on the back of a turtle, bad.  90 minutes in a Cheetah, good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

RIFT Patches March 4-5

The team at Trion really doesn't believe in letting problems linger in RIFT.  The last two days have seen two more hotfixes deployed.  The fixes are coming so fast I had to go to RiftWire to get the notes on hotfix 4.  The notes from hotfix 5 come from the launcher.

Hotfix #4:
  • Fixed an economy bug involving the Runebreaking ability.

  • Greenscale’s Blight: Lockout timer has been changed from 3 days to 1 week.
  • Players can no longer reset Expert or Raid instances that are locked to their party.
  • Increased the bonus granted by Hit and Focus against Expert Dungeon and Raid mobs.
  • Increased the Dodge and Resistances of Expert Dungeon and Raid mobs.

Hotfix #5

* Removed the 'turtle costume' left over on mounted characters whose turtle mount entitlements were removed for the end of head start.
* Tracking abilities no longer trigger global cooldown, which also reduces their effect on Rift contribution.
* Konstantin will no longer be tricked into respawning after being killed.
* Opening a received mail will not start the 3 day expiration timer.
* Mail containing account-level entitlement rewards will not expire.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My First T2 Ship BPC

Although I am writing a lot about RIFT, if I only have time to play one game in a night, that game is still Eve Online.  Last night is a good example.  After doing the maintenance on my planetary interaction colonies for the evening, I shifted into tech 2 production mode.  I am still in the process of creating tech 2 blueprint copies and the first ones rolled out of the labs last night.

I was attempting to turn copies of 5 Probe blueprints into Cheetah blueprints.  I had heard that the success rate for this is around 25% unless additional components are added to the invention process that I did not add.  When I finished my PI activity, I still had 30 minutes to wait before I knew the results of my invention attempts.  So what did I do?  Went out and bought more blueprints that I could copy, of course!

Since one of my goals is to own every sub-capital Minmatar ship, I decided I will make all the tech 2 frigates instead of purchasing them on the open market.  So I did a quick search and purchased the blueprints for the Slasher, Breacher, and Rifter and started the copy process.  When the copying is finished in about 2 weeks (yes, I'm using public copying facilities) I can attempt to make BPCs for the Jaguar, Wolf, Claw, Stiletto and Hound.  I also went out and purchased a copy of Frigate Construction, because I saw that I need that trained up to III in order to make these ships.  What about Vigil blueprints?  Well, who really flies the Hyena anyway?  Although who knows?  Maybe I can sell some to the anti-ganker squads when Hulkageddon V rolls around this summer.

Once I got everything squared away, I still had to wait 5 minutes for the invention jobs to finish.  If the weather outside just included a bit of snow, it would have felt like Christmas.  And when I got to open my presents, I found that two of the five invention jobs suceeded.  So I am now the proud owner of 2 Cheetah 1-run blueprint copies.

I have plenty of blueprint copies I can play with while I wait for the frigate blueprints to finish copying.  Next up is a ship I really want: the Mastodon.  I started up 5 invention jobs to create Mastodon BPCs and I'll know Sunday whether I succeeded or not.

Hmmm ... Mastodons.  And if I can make them, I can afford to lose one.  And I've really been curious to see how they perform in low-sec.  This could lead to further adventures.  Aren't sandboxes great?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Six Slot Bags

Sometimes switching between a science fiction game like Eve Online and a fantasy MMO like RIFT produces a bit of culture shock.  Take, for instance, item space.  In my 18 months of experience playing Eve, I have never run out of space for my stuff.  Not so in any of the fantasy MMORPGs I've played, and RIFT is no exception.

Part of the attraction of purchasing the collector's edition was that it came with a 24 slot bag.  Was it worth $10 extra to get a 24 slot bag and a 60% speed travel mount for every character I create.  Hell yes!  But each character in RIFT can carry 5 bags, so upgrading those slots with the biggest bags I can find is a priority in every game I play.

Now, the NPC vendors I've found in RIFT sell players 6 slot bags for the low, low price of 23 gold pieces and some change.  Now that is an incentive to start up the manufacturing profession of Outfitting if I've ever seen one.  (Okay, I don't really need an excuse to craft, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

To create a six slot bag in RIFT requires an Outfitter skill of 30, 7 bolts of burlap and 5 coarse thread.  The thread is purchased from an NPC vendor for 20 silver pieces each.  The burlap?  Burlap drops from humanoid mobs.  That's right, no boring harvesting; just go out and kill stuff!  (Note to Eve players: harvesting in RIFT is a lot more exciting that mining, so it's boring to everyone but us).

Making bolts of burlap requires two pieces of burlap to make.  So not only does making bolts help level your Outfitting skills, it helps free up bag space until you can start making bigger bags.  And if you really want to create a basic crafter that produces something besides bags, just add the runescrafting and butchering professions.  That way, you can make the items required to get your Outfitting skills up to 30, then use the runesbreaking skill to break down the item you just made into components to level the Runescrafting skill.  And Butchering?  Some items for Outfitting require the Butchering skill on certain types of dead mobs to obtain.  Yes, more killing!

Last night I made 3 six slot bags and need to make 5 more for the two characters I currently have and another 4 bags for the last character I plan to create this weekend.  That's a lot of mobs I need to kill to get the burlap to drop, but given the quest system in RIFT, I don't really have to go out of my way to find them.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Crafter's Journey

I've traveled a long winding course in my MMORPG crafting career since I first put hammer to anvil in World of Warcraft's village of Goldshire back in 2005 to make a pair of boots.  I guess I really love crafting, or perhaps was fortunate that I grew bored of WoW, because WoW's crafting system did not turn me off of crafting totally.  I didn't really mind the system that let me gather a bunch of materials, then park my toon at the forge and click the create all button.  After all, that was a great time to get up and get a soda and fix a sandwich.  For me, the trick to making crafting interesting was figuring out how to gather the materials I needed to make the items.

WoW's crafting system did have two major drawbacks when I played the game back during the vanilla days of 2005-2006.  The first is that a character's crafting level was tied to his/her adventure level.  Ugh!  The second was that to get to max level in your profession basically required raiding?  Really?  I never understood why a crafter could not just concentrate on his craft and had to adventure.

2006 came along and after 9 months of wandering Azeroth I was so sick of WoW that I swore off all MMOs.  That lasted approximately one month when I heard about another game called EverQuest 2 that was allegedly much better.  So I bought the game and found out EQ2 was better than WoW.  One of the things that made EQ2 better was the crafting system.  First off, I could have one character harvest all the types of crafting materials.  Next, crafting ability was not tied to adventure level.  Yay!  So I could concentrate on adventuring with my ranger and crafting with my army of crafting alts.  And I had crafting alts.  By the time I left the game in 2009, I had reached the level cap of 80 in all 9 crafting professions.

The other thing that made EQ2's crafting system better than WoW's was the crafting mini-game in which a crafter basically plays whack-a-mole to create an item.  Crafting actually involves skill and hand-eye coordination.  Then hire a talented game developer like Emily "Domino" Taylor to evolve this system further by creating tradeskill writs, crafting instances and crafting quests and SOE had (and still has) a crafting system that arguably is the best in the industry.  Domino is still my favorite game dev of all time.

But all was not right in Norrath for me.  After 3 years of crafting, I started to suffer pain in my left hand from all the button pressing involved in crafting.  Another problem was the cost of EQ2.  In order to have 9 crafters on my account, I had to subscribe to the SOE Station Pass.  When I began playing, the character limit per account was 6 (later changed to 7).  But by ordering Station Pass, I got an extra 4 (later 5) character slots.  Hence the crafting army.  But Station Pass did not have any discount plans for ordering more than one month at a time.  Boo!

Paying extra was okay when SOE games were the only ones I played, but in 2009 I became interested in another game, Eve Online.  I had heard about the game, but I didn't really become interested until the fall of the Band of Brothers alliance and listening to Dianabolic and The Mittani battle it out on The Funky Bacon Show on Eve Radio.  I finally took the plunge into New Eden in August of 2009 and liked what I saw.  With my guild breaking up, combined with the next EQ2 expansion, Sentinel's Fate, coming out in February 2010 instead of November 2009, I made the move to New Eden full time in October 2009.

Eve Online was an eye-opener as a crafter.  Eve has a reputation as tough, and if you want to really play in the big leagues in the best MMO economy, New Eden is the place to play.  A person just can't jump into manufacturing.  In order for making my own products to even make financial sense, I had to learn a lot of skills.  In space, a character can't just wield a pick-axe.  No, in the year YC113, you need specialized mining ships to obtain ore and the skills to fly them properly.  A proper industrial carebear also needs skills to exploit planets of raw materials and the ability to process those materials into products to sell or use in further manufacturing processes.  The budding industrialist also needs a network of research agents and the skills to invent things.  And perhaps most importantly of all, the industrialist needs the start-up isk to make everything possible.

After 18 months of not making much more than ammunition and drones, I'm finally ready for the big time.  That's right, tech 2 production.  I've got colonies on 10 worlds in 5 systems in two constellations.  I've got a network of research agents that reaches out across 4 regions.  I have an industrial command ship that greatly expands my mining capability for the more common ores and a small flotilla capable of smashing level 4 missions in order to gain the more uncommon ones.  I've got the skills to make blueprint copies and shortly will have the skills and basic tools to make tech 2 ships.

In short, I'm about to reach the pinnacle of my MMO crafting career and guide a force of literally thousands of non-capsuleers in creating some of the most complex and awesome items in the MMO world.  And then CCP comes out with the character creator in Incursions as a prelude to Incarna. I had a great time making my characters, but as I picked out the clothing, I looked at the choices and said to myself ...

"I hate those boots.  I wish I could make my own."

I now have the urge to actually get my hands dirty again in addition to directing a vast enterprise from a pod full of goo.  So where can I make a pair of boots?  RIFT.

Yes, RIFT harkens back to those days of old where I collected a bunch of materials, stood by a crafting station and then left to go make a sandwich.  But the boots are much better looking and useful.  Also, because RIFT just launched yesterday, not a lot of information exists on exactly how to do everything.  So I'm trying to figure out the best combinations of professions for the three Guardian characters I plan on creating in order to streamline my supply chain.  After all, sending things via the mail system costs money.  And I'm not really sure what I can make or how valuable crafting really is at the higher levels.

I've had a blast as a crafter over these last 6 years.  I think I'm just about where I really want to be.  After all, doesn't everyone want to have an empire, even if it pales in comparison to many around you?  And don't many successful people just putter around with some of the simpler things they did when first starting out?  Right now, I fit that description.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Late Night Rift Patch - February 28

The RIFT official launch is today and last night the dev team launched one last patch.  I'm not sure exactly how I like this policy of patching the game at any time.  Maybe the practice will end once the official launch hits.  But for now, here are the notes I found on my launcher.

* Ancient Wardstone area quests now automatically shut down one hour after completion or failure. You will need to use your Ascended Power to reactivate the wardstone.
* Fixed a bug with last login time not saving correctly for guild members. The existing display will be updated the next time a guild member logs in.

* Forces of the Plane of Death: Changed to require sealing of any Death Rift in Freemarch for updates.
* The Means of the Endless: Drop rate of the Attunement Shard increased to 100% from the Endless Nightbringer.
* Follow That Gnar: The Gnar should be easier to follow, and not disappear from the path.


* A Hymn of Frost and Flame: Enkarus Scourge mobs spawned during this quest no longer give experience or loot.

* Past is Prologue: Quest can now be completed normally by all Guardian players.

* There is now a shorter AFK timer for Warfronts, and players exceeding it will be immediately kicked out.
* The Black Garden: Holding the Fang while on the 'ledge' of your respective faction starting area will award fewer points.
* The Codex: Players should no longer be able to get into the Vault through clever jumping.

* Reporting spam will now also automatically ignore the the sender.