Eve Online – once again into the fray

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with EVE Online since I first played in Feburary 2009.  I’ve generally played EVE anywhere between a few months to nearly a year before moving on to other games.  Yet, unlike all those other games, I’ve always gone back to play EVE.  While I’d be anything but honest if I said EVE didn’t have it’s issues, and had a high learning curve, it’s rich and complex enough to keep my interest after nearly 10 years.  The only other game I’ve played more than EVE Online in the past decade is the World of Warcraft.

Honestly my biggest problems with EVE is that I never really found my place within it, and I’ve always found myself to be too impatient for the skill learning system.  Not that I dislike the system, but every few weeks or couple months I’ve decided I wanted to do something else in EVE and changed up my skill learning plan.  Consequently, I have over 66 million skill points spread out across a whole bunch of skill categories.  Whereas if I had just been patient enough to remain focused I’d be able to do a lot more, really well instead of doing a lot more stuff, only middling well.

I also never fail to regret letting my account lapse between stints playing EVE.  When I think of all the skill points lost from my account being inactive, it makes my heart ache.  For those of you unaware, EVE Online has a skill learning system based on real time learning.  Your character learns one skill at a time, in real time.  Each skill requires a certain number of skill points to complete its training, and your character accumulates those skill points, hour by hour (affected by various variables) until the correct total has accumulated.  Then you learn the skill and immediately move onto the next skill set in your characters skill plan.

There are hundreds of skills to choose from, and every ship you can fly, every module you can use, and every activity you can perform in the game require certain skills to fly, use, or perform.  And not just one skill, but often a range of interrelated skills.  Skills needed to fly and fit out lower level ships can be learned in a matter of minutes to hours, while skills needed to fly and fit out higher level ships can take hours to weeks, and even months to learn.  

You can begin to see why I tend to regret the periods of inactivity where my characters aren’t training, because inevitably whenever I start playing again I’m presented once more with the required time sink to complete the training I needed to previously complete, and have to start that back up instead of filling my skill queue with the next set of skills to learn.  A character as old as mine, kept learning all this time, would have virtually trained every single skill in EVE by this point, whether I really wanted those skills or not.

As I said, here I am once again, playing EVE.  While I did a lot of mining, and moving items around in the game over this long holiday weekend, I think I spent more time pouring over skill plans in my favorite application EVEMon (out of game skill planning tool).  I have multiple accounts, though I only re-activated three.  And this time I wanted to make sure I had clear goals in mind for each of them, and a skill plan to get me to those goals.

My main character is a little bit of everything.  66 milion skill points spread across mining, reprocessing, missiles, shields, various ship classes (up to Battleships), and a lot of things inbetween.  I haven’t quite maxed out all the missile skills, having largely ignored rockets and light missiles.  But I have max missile skills in everyting else.  At one point in the past I really wanted to fly stealth bombers, so I did max out all the skills required for that, except Cloaking 5 which I have yet to complete.  But over the weekend I set down a definitive goal and skill path for him such that I will hopefully get involved with the Bombers Bar again and have much fun blowing up a lot of ships while I work my way through the skills necessary to fly Electronic Warfare ships, and Logistic ships.  Eventually I want to get back into Null space and hopefully participate in fleet warfare again.  But in the mean time I can be happy flying with Bombers Bar again.

I’ve been much better at focusing with my second and third characters, however.  Neither is as old as my main character, both having around 35 million skill points at this point in their lives.  But as with my main, if I had simply kept these characters active they also would have virtually learned every skill in the game at this point.  My second character has been strictly industry (manufacture and research) and market related, and he’ll be finishing up the remaining market related skills he needs in the coming weeks before moving back onto more advanced manufacturing skills.  Eventually I want him to be capable of manufacturing everything up to, and including Titans.  I have industry aspirations, you see!

My third character has always been a bit of a compromise born from impatience.  I’ve always wanted to fly capital ships, most specifically Carriers.  But the skills necessary to do that can take a couple years to fully learn, most of which aren’t applicable to smaller classes of ships.  If I had set out along this path on my main, it would have been a couple years of time which I couldn’t have used to learn more useful things I’d need for corporation life in Nullsec.  Hence the compromise — I threw more money at EVE by starting a new character in a seperate account so learning on both characters could happen concurrently.  Of course now you can train all three characters on a single account concurrently, but even if that had been true back when I started my capital pilot I still probably would have opted for a seperate account because you can only have one character from an account logged in at a time.  

Why is that important you may ask?  Because moving ships, and items around in EVE can be a bother.  And most especially when you’re talking about moving ships and items from Highsec out into Nullsec space.  I learned a hard lesson about that back in 2010 when I first ventured into Nullsec.  While there’s still risk, the best way of moving ships and items into Nullsec is by jumping it.  To do that, you either will need to contract with a hauler, trust a corporation mate to do it for you, or do it yourself.  I’m not the overly trusting kind, so am unlikely to part with items that could total into the billions of ISK.  And contracting with an independent hauler is problematic on multiple levels.  Honestly, I’d just rather do it myself.  And a Carrier is a great way to move a lot of stuff around.  Carriers are capable of jumping great distances (a certain number of light years based on skill training of the pilot), all while carrying fitted ships and cargo holds full of other possessions.

But hauling is not the only reason to fly a carrier.  Ultimately you want to make a lot of ISK with it, and support fleets when called upon.  Eventually my main will be a capital ship pilot as well, but I won’t start any of that training until I can fly, and fit, every other class of ship in EVE first.

I’m going to take the upcoming few months to re-acclimate myself to EVE.  Its been 11 months since I last played and quite a bit has changed.  I’ll fly around with Bomber’s Bar, and in the Spring I’ll probably start looking for a Corporation to join out in Nullsec.  This doesn’t mean I won’t be playing WoW, as I have no intention to quit.  There’s time enough to do both.

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MDI and the importance of the Mythic + system

mythic+This past weekend Blizzard brought the Mythic Dungeon Invitational to Blizzcon.  Although it was an “All Star” appearance, rather than the MDI finale that concluded a few months ago, it was a start to what I hope grows into something bigger.  I mentioned in my previous blog post that I’d like to see Blizzard structure the MDI similarly to the Arena system, where teams compete throughout the year by participating in multiple tournaments and accumulating points to qualify for a Blizzcon finale.  Blizzard has seen how popular the MDI and Mythic + systems are and in as much as Blizzard has iterated on the system to date, it’s something that could become so much more.

While there would be a lot of details to work out in such a system, what I wanted to focus on with this blog post was my worry that Blizzard may strangle Mythic + popularity by making entry into the system too difficult.  In Legion we saw an explosive growth in Mythic + participation; a system totally new to the game that captured the interest of a wide swath of the player base. Not only because it was a great way to farm AP, but also because it gave an alternative path for gear progression,  weapon transmogs, and a few achievements. Continue reading “MDI and the importance of the Mythic + system”

Blizzcon 2018 thoughts

kdc4lhuygqf31541110792499Blizzcon 2018 is in the can, and I have many thoughts to share about it.  Foremost is that I’ve come to strongly believe Blizzcon needs to add a third day in order to better accommodate the variety of eSports entertainment.  Particularly the MDI, which I feel even more strongly needs to conclude at Blizzcon, instead of at a separate mid-year tournament as it did this year. It’s worth noting that the first and second MDIs occurred in Legion and it would have been difficult to bridge that over given BFA’s release.  But moving forward Blizzard should plan the MDI to coincide with Blizzcon as they do the Arena grand finale. They can use periodic qualifying tournaments throughout the year with a point system to determine which top teams ultimately go on to Blizzcon.

Quick tangent regarding the Mythic+.  I’ll have more on this in a separate blog post later, but I think Blizzard needs to exercise great care not to tamp down enthusiasm for Mythic+ at a point when they need it to grow.  Now, back to Blizzcon!

All that being said, I very nearly didn’t watch Blizzcon this year.  I don’t attend in person, but with the exception of one year I couldn’t because of business travel, I’ve always purchased the virtual ticket.  Let us just say that I was ambivalent about purchasing the virtual ticket this year. It was a “last minute” decision made on Thursday night, but for weeks prior I had made up my mind to skip this year because of the price increase and my ebbing enthusiasm for Warcraft.  While I enjoy many other Blizzard games, World of Warcraft is the only one of their stable which I am deeply passionate about. And warcraft is the only Blizzard game I play regularly.

Continue reading “Blizzcon 2018 thoughts”

I have a blog?

PhearalIt appears its been nine months since I last posted to this blog.  Wish I could say I had a good excuse for abandoning it so soon after creating it, but I’d be lieing if I said anything other than pure laziness was the cause.  So let me start over and catch you up with what I’ve been doing these last several months.

Not long after my last post in February I took a few month hiatus from WoW for work and personal reasons.  It wasn’t anything I specifically planned, but I didn’t start playing WoW again until June.  In the intervening time, and for some period  after, I didn’t game a lot.  When I did I was mainly playing World of Warships, and Star Trek Online.

World of Warships is a fun, free to play “shooter” based around you as a warship.  Ships are split into class, tiers, and country of origin.  You earn XP by playing matches and leveling up through a specific class line, and tiers in the country of choice.  Its a bit grindy, though you make quick progress through the bottom tiers, but it begins to take more effort to level up beginning at tier 5 or 6.  Tiers 8 and 9 can take significant effort (read as time investment) before your effort is finally rewarded by achieving tier 10, which is currently the highest achievable level of warships.

Continue reading “I have a blog?”

I let go

It’s been quite a while since I inaugurated my blog back in December.  And while it may appear from my lack of update here that nothing has occurred between then and now, nothing could be further from the truth.  I let go, which is to say I server transferred my main and joined Zeroes to Heroes on Stormrage as planned right after the turn of the year.

It’s been nearly two months, and I’m happy to note the move exceeded my every expectation.  The guild is one among a family of confederated guilds.  Its bustling, the players are friendly, and the community culture is inviting and rich.  Coming from my background of years in a guild that wasn’t much like this, it feels a little bit like I’m a child again waking up on Christmas morning.  Even two months later I still find myself smiling when I’m playing, with all the activity going on.  For anyone looking for a similar experience, I invite you to check out SpartySmallwood’s twitch stream.  Watch his streams, and particularly his Best in Slot “stream cast” on Sunday afternoons.  Give him a follow and if you feel the community is for you, use the !Guild command in twitch chat to find out who you can contact about joining.

Letting Go

My first foray into playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) was back in 2002 when I first logged into Star Wars Galaxies.  From that moment until today I’ve been hooked on the style of game, which offers persistence, multiple avenues of progression, and most importantly, the ability and opportunity to play with others.  Even though I’m not the most social of people – it’s not that I don’t want to be – playing with others of like mind is what I enjoy the most in an MMO.   Unfortunately though, that is what I’ve been lacking for the past couple years.

Continue reading “Letting Go”