CoC: Yo dawg, we heard you liked CoC, so we put CoC in your CoC!

The big update to Clash of Clans is out, and its an interesting one. In short, you now have a second base to build that has new rules, including how attacking works. Its almost like SuperCell created a sequel to CoC, only they put the new game INSIDE the old game. Very strange, but it also makes sense in a lot of ways.

The new base is really a mix of all the lessons learned from Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, and Clash Royale. You have a single builder like in BB, and army camps function like boats in terms of having one type of troop per camp. The theme is still CoC, as are the graphics, though everything has a slightly different look. Attacking is now head to head like in CR, so you match up with someone, they attack your base and you attack theirs, whoever has the highest % wins. You can’t skip opponents/bases like you can in old CoC. You only lose trophies for a loss, not resources, and gaining resources from winning is capped. Once you win a certain number of times, you can’t gain more loot for that day, similar to how you can’t get more chests in CR until a spot opens up. Also the amount of loot you get per win is based on your trophies, rather than how much your opponent currently has.

Of course all timers can be skipped via spending gems, so this version of CoC has far more ‘opportunities’ to spend then the old one. Reddit is having a crying fit over this, but it will pass as nothing I’ve seen so far is too punishing; at most its similar to CR, and I think everyone playing CR at this point has accepted the pace and systems. The most jarring initially is the cap on loot from winning, because at the start you can attack back-to-back really fast, so you hit that cap very quickly. And since you are also upgrading fast, you run out of resources quickly early on. It feels bad initially, but again much like in CR, its more of a bad first impression than a real long-term problem. If we assume the attacking cap is 3 wins per day, that’s about as often as I attack in old CoC today, so really, not a huge change.

The only carryover from the new base to the old is that, once your new base hits a certain level, you have the option to change some of your old base defenses into the new style. The only item that is currently available in this format is the cannon; you can turn the current single cannon into a multi-cannon from the new base, which fires more shots in short order, and then has a longer reload. I can’t say yet if its outright better, or just different. I’m hoping the balance is such that its an option and better when used well, rather than outright better and an automatic upgrade when its available. We shall see.

Overall the update is good, though not as good as adding Boom Beach-style clan operations to CoC would have been IMO. More thoughts to come as I dig further into the new base and its playstyle.

Posted in Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

EVE: Fun over ISK/hr

Having the super carrier to rat in has changed my perspective on a lot of things related to ISK, because when you have a tool that can fairly easily generate you 300m+ ISK an hour, most other ISK-making activities just can’t keep up. This then raises the question of whether I do something to make the most ISK/hr, or whether I do something because its both fun and generates ISK.

At the end of the day EVE is a game, and it’s something I occupy my fairly limited free time with. I don’t depend on EVE for real money (somehow The Mittani has yet to involve me in the very real, definitely happening RMT carter that is all of null-sec), and even if I did, nothing I could do in EVE would even come remotely close to my job in the real world in terms of money/hr. So while I like the idea of having more ISK, and earning it in efficient ways, there is a limit to how far I’m going to push that, and if an activity isn’t fun (like say, super carrier ratting for hours on end, each day, for months), I’m not going to do it.

I bring this up because right now, on my combat pilot, I have two primary ways of getting ISK. The first is with the super, and the second is running 10/10 escalations in a Rattlesnake. The 10/10s aren’t bad ISK by any means, but they aren’t as high as ratting in the super. I do them however because its a change of pace, and while ratting is reliable, there is still a small rush of excitement related to the 10/10 when the loot finally arrives and you see whether the site was worth 134m (the worst result) ISK or 500m+ (there are some very rare, very pricey drops).

Somewhat of a similar situation on my industry pilot. Right now I’m producing a lot of fairly common fittings, both tech 1 and tech 2, to sell in our local market. The ISK is good, and mostly passive, but I still have to update orders about once a day. I was recently chatting with some marketing folks, and they suggested moving out of fittings and into ship production, especially larger stuff like capitals. I know that’s the direction I will eventually go in, but right now that pilot needs to finish training to fly a FAX, plus my science slots aren’t open to research ship BPOs, which take a long time to get into decent shape.

As a stepping stone, I have purchased a few smaller ship BPOs, mostly to see how that market plays out and what the trends are. I’m also fairly certain the margins are decent, so that will become another steady income source when its ready.

Related to that, with my production output going up, I need more and more minerals, to the point that hauling them was becoming a burden. To fix this, I’m recently purchased a freighter, which is another nice little milestone in EVE. At about 1.1b in cost, its not a huge expense, but its something, and I now have access to the largest cargo ship class in EVE, which makes buying millions of trit or other miners much easier, even a few jumps out. It also makes hauling produces ships to market possible as well, which is pretty important.

Posted in EVE Online, Goons | 2 Comments

Investing in Pillars of Eternity 2 for fun and (hopefully) profit

Back in January I posted about the Pillars of Eternity 2 funding campaign on Fig, which ultimately ended up at 400% of its requested funding. Along with asking for money straight up, Fig also allows you to buy shares at $1,000 a pop. The more the game sells, the more you get in return, including hopefully more than the original amount you put in.

The time finally came to buy those shares, and I did just that. As I said in the original post, PoE2 just has to sell as well as PoE1 to make the investment worthwhile, and I’d be shocked if that wasn’t the case. But this is really less about the money (short of PoE2 being a blockbuster, the ROI here isn’t going to be anything amazing), and more about experiencing something new in gaming.

For the first time (well, second if you want to count the millions I made from pimping Darkfall back in the day), I’m not only rooting for a game to succeed because I like the genre and want to see more games like this, I’m now also rooting for it for personal gain, and (I think?) I’ll have a better view into how well the game actually sells and at what price points. That should be interesting and worth the upfront investment risk.

And yes, there is something comical about investing money to hopefully make money, while at the same time basically using money for entertainment (the sales data and the whole experience) around gaming, without the spending of money being on actually playing a game. Welcome to the future I guess!

Posted in Kickstarter, Random | 4 Comments

The Division, Grim Dawn, and mobile games

A random collection of thoughts about games, here goes.

The Division was free last weekend on Steam, and I played it for about an hour. It was… fine? Good graphics and setting, but I failed to really see the point of the game. I mean its not a pure FPS, and it’s not really an MMO, but I think it wanted to be a third-person sorta FPS with MMO-like features? Not my cup of tea either way.

I continue to play Grim Dawn, and I’m still really enjoying it. When the Diablo formula is done right, it really is entertaining, and Grim Dawn nails a lot of what works in that formula. In particular I like how what items you get somewhat shape the direction of your character, without completely changing how you play.

For example, my main character uses a 2h gun, with a heavy emphasis on fire damage. Naturally I look for +fire damage items, but for a bit I got a lot of +electricity and +chaos gear that was too good to pass up, and I was able to move some skill points around to work around that. From a gameplay perspective I was still throwing bombs and shooting stuff in the face, but from a power perspective moving those points around helped up my DPS, and I was able to do that again (in reverse) when I later found more +fire damage stuff.

In EVE I was part of a large battle a few days ago (can’t find a good battle report link, sadly) that was heavily in our favor against CO2/TEST/PL. The ping for the fleet came at a perfect time, but I didn’t have the required Mach battleship, and they were all sold on contracts. Luckily someone in the fleet was willing to loan me his while he switched to a Loki, and off we went.

The battle involved about 1000 people total, so Tidi wasn’t cripplingly bad, but was in effect just enough to make following the FC easier. We ended up butchering a lot of enemy Machs, T3Cs, and smaller stuff. This link is to my killboard, and you can see all the stuff I was in on on May 9th. Also of note, I’m approaching 1t worth of destruction, which is a nice little milestone.

Finally on the mobile gaming front, SuperCell has been hyping the next update to Clash of Clans as the games biggest yet, but they keep delaying revealing the details. There is a lot of speculation, and personally I’d love if the game got a version of Boom Beach’s operation, where the clan works together to take down tough NPC bases. Speaking of Boom Beach, our group (Supreme Cream!) in that is still up and running operations regularly, so if you play and want to join, go ahead and apply. Same goes for CoC, we still have a couple spots open. In CR we are always full, but I can open a spot up for a blog reader if needed.

Posted in Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, EVE Online, Goons, PvP, Random, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Wake up and sell some PLEX

Today is patch day in EVE, with one of the major items being the conversion of one old plex into 500 new plex. All market orders for the old plex were cancelled by CCP, so as soon as the server came up, new buy and sell orders had to be created. This, of course, lead to massive price swings and speculation.

Since I was up early for a work call, I got in just as the server came up, dumped most of my liquid ISK to my Jita alt, and started buying up new plex. In about an hour my funds were fully invested, and one hour after that I was able to sell all the new plex for a quick profit of a few billion.

Good times, and thanks to CCP Falcon for the tip on the Goon forums about all of this. Good guys win again. Now to RMT that ISK through the official Mittens RMT machine.

Posted in EVE Online | 2 Comments

The problem with eternal Early Access

PC Gamer recently had a good article about Survival games (ARK, Rust, etc) almost never making it out of Steam’s Early Access, whether or not that was the correct use of the system, and if overall that’s a problem.

The initial reaction I had, and I’m sure most have, is that of course a game staying in EA forever is bad, especially if they also open up a cash shop or start charging for DLC. But what is EA really for games like ARK or Rust? (For more focused games, EA is most certainly for finishing your game prior to being done). How is EA different than a ‘released’ MMO? In an MMO we accept that the game isn’t ‘done’, and we also accept that sometimes systems get abandoned or the game’s direction changes. How is that different from EA really?

If ARK had called itself an MMO and ‘released’ 2 years ago, other than associating terms with the game, what would be different? As a player, you bought a game with a lot of content, some bugs, and devs that had more plans to continue updating the game. As they provided free updates in MMO ARK’s buy-2-play model, they also announced and released some optional payed DLC. Would there have been an uproar about this? Of course not, because that’s common and accepted in games like GW2, or The Secret World.

The perception problem for games like ARK is they really aren’t MMOs in the traditional sense of the term, yet from a developer standpoint, they work best when updated in a similar manner. ARK was fully playable and enjoyable 2 years ago, and was worth the price back then. Since that time its expanded greatly, but still isn’t fully ‘finished’ in terms of polish. That sounds a lot like most MMOs, doesn’t it?

And I don’t think ARK or games like it would have been better or more enjoyable if the devs had stopped adding features or expanding and just focused on polishing for an official release, as that would have taken a lot of time and returned little for the players. Yes bugs are annoying, but ARK has been very very playable for a long time, so we aren’t talking terrible stuff here, but rather minor annoyances in most cases, and the stuff that is really bad usually does get fixed. Again, how many MMOs can we say the exact same thing?

I think the best fix for this would be for Steam to change how EA works, perhaps limit how long a game can remain in that status, or add a new status for games that expect to be a work-in-progress for a long time (1yr+?). In part, EA is to let players know a game isn’t finished yet, but games like MMOs and survival games that aren’t abandoned are never done, so the EA tag is accurate, but misleading. The problem isn’t with the model, but with the label.

Posted in ARK, MMO design, Rant, Steam Stuff | 11 Comments

EVE: CCP Falcon is running a thousand ratting bots himself, proof inside!

Look, more alternative facts that Goons are dead. So dead we are the most economically active alliance in the game. The RMT Empire is alive and well, everyone to the party yacht while our hordes of bots get us unassailably rich for zero work!

Jealousy makes people say and do strange things. Mix jealousy with a healthy helping of dumb, and you get clowns twisting themselves into a pretzel to try to explain something that, in reality, is rather easy to see for anyone not suffering from crippling idiocy and paranoia.

If you are a moron, go ahead and believe this. I’m sure you believe Riot causes teams during the (live broadcast) of the LCS to also lag since they, like CCP, pick winners in their clearly rigged game! Or do what most people do, have a good laugh, and come back to reality when ready.

Let’s tackle the topic of high-sec citadels, since that’s by far the easiest one to understand. Anyone who logs into EVE will see that, most of the time, there is a 0% tax citadel up around Jita. When that isn’t the case, there is a .01% citadel up, so if you can’t wait, you can go use that. Who owns the citadels really doesn’t matter, as it changes often, and since you are likely selling only PLEX or injectors in those cits (almost everything else is still sold in Jita 4-4 for obvious reasons), either your stuff near-instantly sells (you posted at the current lowest price), or worse-case you get your stuff out of asset safety after a week should the order stay up long enough for said cit to be blown up.

Now, is there money to be made hosting these citadels? Yes. Is it ‘unbeatable wealth’? Of course not. Evidence? Those cits get blown up all the time, there has never been a long-standing established hub with a non-zero tax rate, and null groups have shown that when they want, they can clear the area, only for multiple cits to pop right back up offering 0% rates.

When the cost is around 6b to bring a cit online, basically anyone can do it, while it takes the coordinated time and effort of dozens if not a hundreds of pilots over the course of 3 weeks to remove them. By design, the system controls itself, while also providing a new venue of content for those interested (people hosting, other people blowing them up, on and on we go).

As people tried to patiently point out to Gevlon, and that continues to fly straight over his head, The Mittani makes MORE money off taxes from our market up in Delve than anyone currently makes in Jita off a citadel, for a hell of a lot less effort (more on this later). This makes sense if you understand even a little about how null empires work; no large group would survive leadership telling people to deploy to high-sec to structure-bash 24/7/365 to keep the Jita area clear for just one market citadel to stay up with a high-enough tax rate to make it worthwhile. In addition to structures going up for the 3 week window that you can’t shut down, the minute there aren’t enough pilots to destroy those cits, or the force isn’t large enough to stop a hired group from stopping them, the whole thing collapses. And whenever a 0% cit is up (which again, today is most of the time), your market cit with a high-enough tax rate is sitting idle. Guess which is going to happen sooner; enough null group pilots get bored and stop showing up for structure bashes, or the supply of people dropping 6b cits reaches and stays at zero?

With that explained in painful detail for even the slowest of clowns, let’s talk about why the dead and defeated alliance know as Goons is causing Delve to be the most economically active region in the game, and why ratting income overall is up in the game.

The biggest factor is pilot maturity, which was greatly accelerated by the introduction of skill injectors. Ratting in a VNI with decent skills and without uber-min/maxing gets you about 30m or so ticks. Ratting in a better sub-cap with better skills might get you 50m ticks. Carrier ratting gets you 70m ticks. Super Carrier ratting gets you 100m ticks. If someone is really dedicated to min/max ratting, those numbers all increase. Prior to skill injectors, even if you could afford a super carrier, you either had to buy that pilot or wait for your skills to train. And then there was the issue of getting the hull, which was also far more difficult prior to citadels. That’s not the case anymore with injectors/cits, which of course leads to more people moving up the ratting tiers faster.

Combine this acceleration with Goons pumping out capitals and super capitals at massive rates in Delve (thanks Rorqs!), at very affordable prices, and it’s safe to say it’s never been easier for a Goon to afford and acquire a capital or super capital in EVE to rat in. Likely the same can be said for PL, NC., TEST, and anyone else who owns and correctly uses null space.

Now take the above and further combine it with the fact that Delve is ‘safe’ for non-idiot ratters, the fact that we aren’t currently at war, and that our systems have been upgraded and corps organized to spread people out, and boom, exploding ratting income. All of which is taxed by the alliance, meaning bigger coffers for stuff like expanding ship replacement programs, carrier fleets, and other fun/powerful benefits. Plus RMT yachts of course, can’t forget the yachts.

It’s almost like Goons are benefiting from a null system designed to rewarding people for living in their space, something the greater null community wanted for a long time and that finally CCP delivered on. Shocking that one of the better organized groups with highly talented people at the top who put in an amazing amount of behind-the-scenes work to make it all run would be so successful. What horrible game design rewarding those people and the tens of thousands under them over know-nothing clowns that just cry about things (that may or may not actually exist in reality) from the sidelines. Can’t believe such a game and the clearly corrupt developers behind it are posting record revenue 13 years after release.

And please, for the clowns chirping from the sidelines, continue to ignore that all of this only works because not only does said talented leadership put in the time and effort to entertain thousands, but said thousands also organize themselves in defense fleets to make ratting ‘safe’, show up for Ops to defend the interests of the alliance, and the work of all of the people behind the scenes putting doctrine ships up on contract, filling markets, fueling towers and structures, running things like our hauling service, our newbie programs, our training classes, and the metric shit-ton of other stuff that is in place to keep it all going and to be attractive enough to continue to being in new people. Things that aren’t required in high sec, in smaller groups, or for solo players.

But don’t worry, I’m sure any minute now someone is going to come along and create the perfect MMO to cater to you and the massive market you represent. Just please hold your breath until it happens, ok?

Fake-edit: Perhaps the most hilarious part of all the bitching that how this is all unfair and undefeatable and blablabla is that literally anyone can join Goons or the other major null empires. So long as you aren’t such an insufferable assclown that even freaking TEST would rather scam you then retain you, you too can reap the rewards of being part of a group that works its ass off to entertain you… err I mean CCP has selected to be the winner while knowing most of the ISK is being funneled out for RMT profits!

Posted in EVE Online, Goons, MMO design, Rant | 3 Comments