Of the many long-term goals I have right now in EVE, getting into an Incursion fleet might be at the top of the list.
Game costs 300m+ to make. Probably another 300m+ spent in marketing hype. Another $30 or so spend on soon-to-be-regrettable tattoos (Hey cool tattoo, what is it? Oh this, it’s the logo from the biggest financial disaster from 2012. Yea drove the biggest publisher in the world to bankruptcy, and ruined the once-stellar name of the developer. Looks cool though right? Hello…?) And now TWO FREE DAYS? How can EA afford all of this madness?
Seems kinda odd too right? Like SW:TOR is an MMO (bhahaha) that’s going to be played for years and years by its player base (bhahahahahahaha), so why stress people out initially by going with no grace period, and now announce a pathetic two days?
It’s almost like BioWare is afraid people might only stick around for a few weeks or something, and want to make sure they squeeze every last day/cent out of people before the voice acting ends and the game-over screen rolls. Kind of a strange approach for the world hottest ‘MMO’ with thousands of hours of content…
The good news, PoxNora is on Steam.
Why is this important?
Because SOE owns PoxNora now, which would suggest you need to use their launcher to play the game. For those of you living under a rock, SOE + launcher = fail. It’s a scientific fact. To be fair, SOE is new to this whole online thing, so let’s give them some time. 1999 is like yesterday in Internet years, right?
So anyway, hopefully Steam means you dodge that bullet. I’ll find out at home tonight.
Ah, but already SOE has screwed me, and I’ve yet to download the game!
See back in the day I played PoxNora. It was actually my first RMT game, if memory serves me correctly. And I spend a decent amount of cash on it too. Pay-to-win baby! I was a monster at the game back in the day. Just wallet-crushing people left and right.
So of course when I login to my account at the PoxNora website, what do I see? Level 1 account without a dime spent. Awesome.
Now perhaps, when SOE bought the game, they dumped all existing accounts into the trash and started everyone fresh. That sounds absolutely crazy, but we are talking SOE here, so it might be possible. But even at SOE-level stupidity, I think this is a long-shot.
The next thought is maybe SOE is confusing my general Station account (back from when I tried EQ2 *shudder*) with my PoxNora account. Maybe. Problem is, my PoxNora login ID is/was the same as my Station ID, and the option to merge accounts is no longer possible (but of course SOE still has the button on the website, and it’s only once you click it that it says it’s no longer an option. Typical SOE ‘polish’). So how does one login to an account that uses the same login ID as an existing account? Do tell SOE.
And let’s see if they do. I’ve submitted a ticket. Over/under that it takes them a week to respond? And anyone want to bet the end result is not “account fully restored, enjoy your hundreds of dollars-worth of purchases”?
How long is one company going to keep itself alive from its one hit back in 1999? Unreal.
Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday, I got distracted by this old-school indy title called SW:TOR. Have you heard of it? It’s kinda cute. Very linear, short, and looks pretty dated, but not the worse way to burn a few hours. Just don’t go in expecting anything major and you should be good. See if you can pick it up for $5 on a Steam sale, good value buy then. Does wear out your spacebar though…
But given that this is mostly an MMO blog, let’s get back to talking MMOs.
CCP has released some stats about the game a week after Crucible launched. The short summary is that the new Battlecruisers were produced, used, and blown up, and that more people are playing EVE now than pre-Crucible.
That last bit is both “well duh, expansions = interest” and “but Crucible was just for vets” pondering.
The biggest criticism around Crucible was that it did not contain a real ‘seller’ feature that would make headlines and draw in new players. The lack of Pandas, many suggested, is only going to retain existing players, rather than bring in those oh-so-important newbies.
Now certainly one week of data, especially the week right after an expansion, is not a clear indicator that Crucible ‘worked’ and that EVE is back to its growing ways. On the other hand, how many ‘dying’ MMOs return to near-peak levels in their time, expansion or not? Come panda-time, is WoW going to hit 12m+ ‘subscribers’? (better question, will WoW have half that pre-Pandas?). When EQ2 releases an update, do they, even in the first week, return to peak levels? The answer is, of course, no.
As for bringing in new players with a panda-like gimmick, I don’t believe EVE needs that right now. There are plenty of under-developed systems already in the game. ‘Fixing’ factional warfare would do more for the game than adding another half-baked system on top. Hell, even fleshing out what Incarna started, while not of high importance to bittervets, would be a better move at this point than something totally brand new.
Which is not to suggest that CCP should be done adding stuff to EVE. Hell no. New ships, new game systems, new PvE and PvP ventures; all of that is good stuff, especially in EVE given how the game just expands rather than shifts. It’s just that at this moment, and for the expansion after Crucible, I believe more good would come of fixing what is there than leaving it be and adding on something new.
While fixes might not make headlines on news sites, they do make players happy, and happy players attract other players looking to join in. And once there, they, and those who brought them, end up sticking around for a while. Some a very, very long while.
Yesterday I talked a little about my recent marketing ventures, but I left out one aspect of doing business in EVE: the ever-present possibility and haunting feeling of walking into a trap.
Unlike most (all?) MMOs, the economy in EVE is, in many ways, a well-oiled machine. There are countless pilots with YEARS of marketing experience who are all competing to make the most ISK possible, and they are very good at what they do. And given the depth and breadth of the economy and what’s possible, I fully believe the truly great MMO economic minds match wits in EVE. To borrow a sports analogy, EVE is the big leagues, and only the truly great make it here. So if there is a massive profit to be made, they are the ones making it, and have the knowledge and ISK to make sure that they are the ones pulling in the biggest gains.
At the same time, there are also pilots with YEARS of experience pulling of complex scams. The best con-artists in EVE make Bernie Madoff look like an amateur, and the extent of some of the social engineering that goes into these things is pretty crazy. You simply won’t find people spending months, let alone years, infiltrating a corp or setting up a long-con in other MMOs. If something looks too good to be true, odds are it’s someone setting you up in New Eden.
Combine the above with the fact that EVE itself can be a somewhat complex place, and anytime I come across something that I can make some ISK in, my suspicions always rise and I wonder why no one else has done this before. After all, EVE has been out for 7 years now, has 400k+ pilots, and all of them play on one server. The odds that I’ve found some magical source of ISK that no one else has before is pretty slim, right?
Well no. Most of the time the answer is not nearly as complex or insidious.
If I can buy something at location A and sell it for a 10% gain at location B, but the volume is limited to hundreds of thousands of ISK, the reason that opportunity is out there is because the big fish can’t be bothered by something so insignificant. If I come across what looks like a 100m+ profit for minimal work, the odds of THAT being a scam are pretty good, or would require an investment of a few billion ISK up front.
And while all those pilots are all playing in the same universe, this does not mean they are evenly spread or ‘fighting’ in one global server auction house. Finding profitable deals in low population regions is far more likely than pulling off something great in Jita or another major trade hub. The volume will be lower, and the profits will come in at a slower pace, but that might be just what you are looking for when getting started.
At least that’s what the scammers want you to think.
CCP manages to make even the act of giving out gifts an interesting gameplay decision. Other studios should take note.
Along with a long list of ‘stuff’ to select, CCP has also given out two implants recently, both of them a +3 boost to a stat along with a 1.5% bonus to CPU and Capacitor. If you plug in both implants you get a set bonus.
Now +3 to a stat is decent-enough, but it is a significant step down from the top-end +5 implants. Of course those don’t give the other bonuses, which then raises the question: would you rather have more CPU/Cap, or train skills faster?
For me this is a tough one. On the one hand, at 27m and 21m SP on my two pilots, I have plenty of needed training left. On the other, my CNR could really use more CPU, and more Capacitor is always a good thing. Because I play daily, the option to have a training clone (all +5 implants) and a combat/whatever clone won’t work for me.
I’m leaning towards the +3 implants. Any bittervets have some thoughts?
Note: The reason my CNR is having CPU issues is because I use an XL shield booster, rather than a medium booster like I often see in other fits. I’m also still using T2 ballistic units rather than faction ones (that whole not-enough-ISK thing). I like the XL booster because it provides a great “oh shit” fallback if you need to pop a few scramming frigs and get out of a mission. I’m sure that once I finish up some training, and get some more faction mods into it, that will become less of an issue, but for now the XL stays.
One of my favorite ‘features’ in EVE is how markets are broken up into regions, at least in terms of averages and being able to see what is listed and where from any given station. I enjoy this because prices can, and often do, vary wildly from region to region, even in stations that are just one jump from a region border.
Over the weekend I did a fair bit of hauling and trading between my region and one just four jumps away. It was very profitable, and a lot of fun. As I was doing this, I started working on the break-even point for items if I was to buy and reprocess them into minerals. I believe there is so money to be made in that field, especially now that my Indy pilot is so close to perfect refining. Of course such an activity being profitable, and being profitable-enough to be worthwhile is always the question one has to ask when doing anything in EVE (although I also factor in that silly concept called ‘fun’ into the equation as well, but I’m weird like that).
Now if I could only stop spending ISK as soon as I get it. I’m no closer to the Rattlesnake, Orca, Charon, or any other ‘big’ purchases I want to make at some point. Hey, just more goals to work towards.
On the Skyrim front, the game’s depth continues to impress me. I’m now level 27 on my second playthrough, having ‘finished’ three towns, the mages guild, and some of the rebellion chain.
As you level up, so does the world and its loot. It’s not as drastic as in Oblivion, but it happens. One cool thing I’ve seen is that as potions get more powerful, they get bigger. This makes searching random caves/forts easier, since if I see a big red bottle on a shelf, I know it’s a worthwhile item. Same goes for gear; it’s easy it quickly glance at a weapon rack or table and see it’s full of iron/steal gear, or that there is a nice glass or ebony piece.
Similar to the above, you know the chest next to the alchemy table is going to have alchemic ingredients, just like you can expect the chest next to the forge to contain gear or metal bars. While the occasion ‘random’ chest will contain something of nice value thanks to the random itemizer, you can usually easily predict where and what the real treasure is going to be, like at the end of a cave, the ‘boss’ mobs chest, or from a quest.
Speaking of leveling up, I like how Skyrim mixes up who you face. In one fort I was exploring this weekend, the majority of the enemy mages were apprentices, who were not all that difficult. Occasionally I would face a mage one ‘tier’ higher (forget the name now), which presented a bigger challenge but was still very doable. However, one area had a larger collection of enemies, and among them was a third ‘tier’ mage, who hit like a truck. The first time I went into that room my corpse went flying before I even knew what hit me, and it took me a good five or six attempts before I finally succeeded. A very rewarding experience, and a great job by the game to mix in a little challenge into what is normally a fairly easy game (in terms of how often you die anyway).
The more I play, the more Skyrim hammers home the fact that it really is one of the better games, let along RPGs, to come out in recent years. That I am actively looking forward to the DLC confirms this for me even more so.
Last night I made the decision to leave DiS and begin working on my own corporation, Inquisition FiS Division. A lot of things factored into this decision, and I want to go into those here and also talk a bit about what I hope to do with INQ-E (the corps ticker).
My main issue with DiS was its lack of direction. Initially when I joined the plan was to have the corp be a training ground for new pilots, who would eventually move into the ‘main’ corp in a 0.0 alliance. Because of changes within the alliance, the role DiS was set to play was also affected. These things happen. The lack of direction was also impacted by the corp’s leadership being busy with things outside of the game (totally understandable), plus the additional burden of dealing with their alliance’s new direction.
Another factor was the corp’s growth. While a few new pilots had joined, they were all from this blog. If DiS was an already established corp, this would not have been an issue, but of late, and especially during the last war, it was not uncommon for no one to be online, and playing EVE solo is the fastest path to unsubbing. Issues like a lack of voice chat and message boards did not help.
As these things were happening within DiS, I got an offer from another reader to join his high/low –sec alliance. This would give me access to a large group of players, while still keeping things fairly casual. Having the OPTION to do roaming PvP or low-sec activities, while still being able to just sit in empire and mine/mission/chat if I wanted, was very appealing.
And then there is running a corp itself. I like running things in a sandbox. I like seeing something I’m attached to grow and prosper. I like being responsible for providing content to others (because in turn that’s content for me), and for setting a plan and seeing that it succeeds. Combine this with the fact that EVE gives a corp so many different paths, and so many different ways to succeed, and the lure is pretty huge. And while my gaming time is down from its peak back in my hardcore WoW days, it’s still pretty decent, and so I fully believe I can be online and around enough to make things happen.
My first goal is to just get whoever is interested into the corp in-game, and into Inq’s vent/message board, be they the existing players that have already come into the game or anyone reading right now thinking about giving the game a shot. One goal for INQ-E is to have it be a corp new pilots can join and learn the game in, while also hanging out with like-minded people and having something other than “more ISK, more SP” to look forward to. At the same time, I’d welcome any and all vets as well, to hopefully not only assist the new guys, but also to help mold the corp and get us where we need to be.
Inq application link (ignore that EVE is not listed as a game we play). Be sure to post an application as soon as you create an account, as our forums get a lot of spam accounts and they get deleted if no legit post is made.
Once that is accepted, grab the vent info, and be sure to bookmark the message board. It’s a fun/funny place, and will help you get to know the rest of Inquisition as a whole. We play a lot of different games, and all games are better when played with others, so this is a pretty big win/win for joining up.
Finally, apply to the corp in-game. Be sure to indicate the name you used on the boards/vent as related to your EVE pilot if they are different, as this will help keep that connection straight.
For those without an EVE account right now, my 21 day trial invites have refreshed, and I have 18 remaining. If you are interested, please drop a comment here, and I’ll hook you up.