Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Plans for 2020

Wow, I survived another year! First off, Happy New Years to everyone out there who have taken a break from playing games. This is the time of year people look around and figure out what to do for the upcoming year. I think I was a bit too ambitious last year, so for 2020 I won't call them resolutions. But I'm going to make some goals anyway.

Last year I think I did okay on the MMORPG front. I finished playing Elder Scrolls Online, completing all three story lines in the base game and the Morrowind expansion. I figured with a character with over 350 veteran points I could call the resolution a win. I then completely neglected my single player game goals and started playing Final Fantasy XIV. My character currently is a level 36 white mage, with all gathering classes between 32-34 and all crafting classes between levels 28-33. I even joined a free company.

In EVE Online, I pretty much ignored my goals. I really do want to start a grand exploration tour based out of Amarr low sec, while at the same time complete the Gallente COSMOS missions. Instead, I got sucked into running some of the new Triglavian content. Plus, after talking to Johnny Splunk at EVE Vegas, I'm back in Signal Cartel, but on an alpha account. He says cloaky ships are overrated, so I figured to do some wormhole exploration. I'm not so sure about that, but for what I do, flying around in a Heron instead of a Cheetah, while nerve-wracking, hasn't resulted in any losses yet.

The little video CCP sent everyone kind of showed I slacked off in EVE in 2019. My best performances were gaining over 69 million skill points, putting me in the top 5% of the players. The video also listed me as an industrial player. One sign of slacking is that I only mined 273 million ISK in ore in 2019. However, I did manufacture 336,000 items, ranking me in the top 16% in that area of the game. On the downside, I only managed to build one battleship. But a Marshal is not a bad ship to build. I also exported 111.6 million ISK in planetary interaction materials. I'm surprised the figure was that high.

In 2020, I want to tone down the goals as real life will probably get in the way. In EVE, I want to take the time to sit down and understand all the systems and tools Signal Cartel uses. The corp expanded tremendously over the past couple of years and I need to catch up. Plus, I need to learn how to use Tripwire again. After that, I do want to go on that grand exploration tour in a Stratios.

I also have a weird subject I want to dive into in 2020: SKINs. I have hundreds of the things and have never applied a single one to any of my characters. I'm going to change that this year. My net worth will take a tumble, but I'm a pack rat and wasn't going to sell my extras anyway.

In FFXIV, I'm going to keep the goal simple. I want to get white mage and all the crafting and gathering classes to level 50. I also want to get into the Heavensward main scenario quests (MSQ) by the end of the year. That's not as easy as it sounds. I am currently 167 main story quests away from the Heavensward content. I would love to finish the Heavensward expansion by the end of 2020, but that's 298 quests away. I don't think that is going to happen.

On the single player game front, I don't think I'm cut out for strategy games anymore. At least, one as complex as Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations. I finished the tutorial missions, but that's about where everything ended. I do want to play Tropico 5, as I like city builders and enjoyed Tropico 4. If I can find a good tower defense game, I'll try that out. But I play to spend most of my gaming time in EVE or FFXIV.

On the blogging front, I should reach the 2000 post mark sometime near the end of the year. I managed to exceed my goal of 100 posts in 2019 with a total of 108. I think I can bump that up to 120 this year. How much more work is one more post a month?

Due to certain decisions made by CCP, I will wind up posting about politics in 2020. That's right, the introduction of gambling as a part of EVE Online will mean I need to follow the actions of governments and posturing of politicians in 2020. The outrage over loot boxes in video games caught the attention of governments, so I'll have to pay attention to the regulatory regimes enacted over the next 12 months. The United Kingdom will have a heavy focus as EVE's Tranquility shard is located in London. I'm sure I will have to cover the subject in the United States as well, considering the presidential election ongoing here.

On a related subject, I plan to write more about the basics of real money trading in 2020. I haven't really written about the subject in a few years. After reading some articles by gaming journalists about the lack of negative effects on game companies, I think I need to update the arguments. I mean, some people who get paid to write about online video games seemingly don't understand the costs of charge backs due to credit card fraud on game companies. The lack of knowledge gets on my nerves.

One thing behind the scenes I plan on not doing is keep track of the black market as closely as I have. For the last 4 1/2 years, I've visited and recorded the activity on Player Auctions every night. With a change on the site masking the amounts of skill injectors and PLEX sold, the task doesn't really have as much value anymore. I do intend to keep tracking activity for the next three months, as the amount of shops that have either sold ISK or posted offers over the last 90 days has declined to 51. I'm curious as to if the trend will continue. Plus, gambling.

When writing about EVE, I want to get off the beaten path. Articles about life in Signal Cartel are nice because we poke our noses everywhere. Also, I think the corp does more than people realize. Plus, related subjects like Tripwire and the new bookmark system come into play.

One other subject I want to get into is monetization in EVE. I know a lot of players were concerned when Pearl Abyss purchased CCP. Having played Black Desert Online, I share that concern. The addition of the Hyper-raffle thingy didn't help matters either. Now that I have more experience, I'd like to tackle the subject in a little greater depth.

I do plan to post about Final Fantasy XIV. As the biggest MMORPG in the west this side of World of Warcraft, I do need to write about the game. Looking on Steam, I've played the game for 179 hours with no posts so far. If for no other reason, I need to go into the glamour system and the looks of characters in FFXIV. I also am intrigued by some of the other systems, like the retainers and the Grand Companies. Plus, I really do need to compare the cash shops in FFXIV and EVE.

Finally, I want to take a little closer look at Star Citizen. Sure, with my interest in real money trading, how could I not want to look at the massively crowdfunded game? But as systems come out, I might want to examine the vision in the Chris Roberts product. At CitizenCon in November, details about the economy emerged I found fascinating. As a game some considered a potential EVE-killer in 2012-2013, I think the game deserves some attention, even if I have no plans to play at this time.

Hopefully I haven't set myself goals that I can't meet. The expression "keep it simple, stupid" comes to mind. In the meantime, have a happy New Year and fly smart.

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