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EVE Online

I have decided to take something of a hiatus from World of Tanks.

This is primarily because at the moment I am just too tired. My daughter is going through a phase of rather disrupted sleep, and for various reasons I pull the night-time duty. Naturally my daughter is now also waking up relatively early (though generally very happily). Given I sometimes have difficulty getting to sleep at the best of times, this has now meant a relatively sleep deprived couple of weeks, and it is definitely showing when I try to play the game. My ability to notice what is going on in the match, and my ability to make good decisions, are both compromised, which altogether means I am just not having as much fun as I usually would.

So, a break for a couple of weeks to try to refresh and then reset. I won’t say I won’t log in at all, just giving myself an extended freedom not to even if I am feeling “okay”.

This naturally means I will likely playing rather more EVE. What I am doing in EVE generally doesn’t require fast reflexes or quick decision-making. Might also explore some other games as well.

This last week I have had a few days holiday, which combined with the bank holiday meant some really good time with the family. I just want to say that if anyone is based in the general area, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is a truly excellent place to visit. It is especially good with children of all ages, as they have masses of things to do and areas to play, in addition to looking at various animals from the commonplace to the exotic. We discovered the place last year, and this year we have season tickets.

In gaming terms I decided to take a break from World of Tanks this last week. I returned to the game yesterday, and had a fairly horrible performance. I am hoping better for tonight. I also indulged myself a little with a blast from the past – the not too distant past in this case, namely Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. A wonderfully casual game, probably my favourite of that entire series. I think the conceit of breaking the game up into a series of missions makes it particularly easy to just play for a set amount of time. Not the most complex game, or the most challenging, but diverting.

My other main game of the last week was EVE Online. Given we had some extended time together without our various works getting in the way both my wife and I managed to get some playtime in together. With Fanfest and its various announcements out of the way, not to mention the hopeful date for the Kronos update, I am very much in holding mode. Mostly this means running missions, partly for isk, partly for standings, and just reconnecting to friends. Also lots of thinking.

Alas, holiday time is over, which means back in the saddle for all sorts of things. I suspect more gaming ahead!

Having concentrated on completing the requirements for the T2 LT on Sunday I had three mostly non-gaming days for one reason or another on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This did rather impact what I have done obviously, meaning this entire post is going to be rather light – as the blog has been. Only played two games – my offline gaming night being taken up with having a friend over to watch Downfall.

World of Tanks

On Saturday I completed the light tank requirements of the mission, and on Sunday I knocked off the remaining requirements. All in all it was a bit of a grind – or perhaps more accurately the entire process was a bit of a grind. Whilst I know that a Tier VIII is probably going to be available via missions soon-ish, I must admit I am likely not to chase it down this time. It feels like it will be simply more work than I wish to indulge in.

Now that the T2 LT missions are complete though I need to decide to re-focus my WoT activity. Part of this is plain – continue to play at Tier X to improve myself there, and to continue my grinds up the E-50M, T110E5, IS-7, and Conqueror Gun Carriage lines. Also I wish to move up the Japanese low-tiers, and start working my way through the Tier Vs. The priority at the end is going to be unlocking the Cromwell (almost done) and Hellcat (well under way). Finally I have some crew-training projects, and also some partially-played Tier VIs that I wish to work through as well. Which order I am going to do all this in remains undecided however.

EVE Online

Very little in total. I am trying to assimilate the mass of devblogs now posted on the industry changes. Everything is changing, which convinces me not to restart my activities now. I will do so after the expansion. Right now it is Fanfest so a fair bit of stuff is getting announced.

I am intending to concentrate on other isk-making activities for the time being. One area of industry not currently changing, apparently is PI, so I may investigate restarting some small activities there. However I am not sure what will be viable now with player POCOs in hi-sec.

 

Got afflicted by the common cold earlier in the week, though thankfully that seems to be passing. Had some very pleasant family diversions over Easter that impacted gaming somewhat, as indeed did the cold, but still managed to do a fair bit – just not all that I had hoped. The fact gaming whilst having a cold meant I was not always in the best frame of mind has meant at times some great frustrations.

World of Tanks

I will be very glad when I have completed the April missions. Almost there! I have just 10 qualifying victories to go with light tanks and SPGs, and about eight to go with mediums, heavies, and TDs. I am aiming to complete them this weekend. I would have said tomorrow, but this evening has mostly been taken up with problems associated with my Sky box. The light/SPG missions I must admit are beginning to get a bit wearing. Both lights and SPGs suffer from the reality they are rarely able to exert as much influence on the battlefield as the other three classes – SPGs because they are too random, and lights because they are too fragile. Part of this comes no doubt from my own general inexperience at both classes, but also because I think Tier IV scout tanks must be one of the least influential tanks in the game. It is not all doom and gloom, however. I have managed some very successful matches, and I have also started to play the ELC AMX. It is not properly upgraded yet – which does make it a bit tricky – and its crew is not yet even at 100%. Both those situations are temporary however, and I can see myself really enjoying this unique little vehicle as time goes by. I am also now most of the way to unlocking the Chaffee on the M5 Stuart. I will persevere with that grind even once the missions are complete, since I am now so relatively close. My M5A1 Stuart crew is also getting nicely into its 1st crew skill, ready for sometime transferring to a higher-tier light. Finally I am enjoying the Bishop, and really starting to appreciate the very high shell arc of British SPGs. I am very much looking forward to the FV304, another unique vehicle. I have also managed to get the Ace Tanker medal on the Crusader (replay), which was quite satisfying.

The concentration on the missions has meant I have played far fewer higher-tier games (I can see the impact of this in my stats). Once I have the mission done I am going to have to get more serious again with my bigger grinds. I am also going to have to nail into a Tier V and Tier VI respectively I wish to push up. So many options!

Crusader Kings II

I could write a very long post about my play session in Crusader Kings II. Much has happened, but in a way what I would mostly write about is something that mostly has not directly involved me. At the end of my previous session I was beginning to eye the four counties in the duchy of Ulster, all independent. In one of these – Tyrone –  I manufactured an easy claim to, and conquered it as it was the only one without allies. Then the earl of Tyrconnel died, and about eight claimants to the throne spread themselves around every other Irish court, mine included. I went to war to install the claimant in the court (under the mistaken impression he would become my vassal – I had misunderstood a game mechanic). This was the start of the Tyrconnel Wars, as I named them in my head.

You see, once I had smashed the Tyrconnel army and taken the holding, and installed my own man, another Irish count declared war against Tyrconnel with his favourite. Tyrconnel didn’t have an army to defend itself. A second Irish lord did so at the same time, and after one’s claimant was installed the other promptly fell to and ousted him installing yet another. This went on for, I think, five or so six goes, and in the process largely exhausted the armies of the various counties of Ulster. This allowed me fairly easy conquests of the other two Ulster counties, after which I proclaimed the duchy of Ulster (really the Petty Kingship), and then persuaded the latest Tyrconnel claimant to swear fealty to me. Along the way, however I had gotten into a war with the Earl of Desmond – the south-westernmost province of Ireland. He had a claimant to the county of Ulster, and had declared war whilst I was sieging the holdings. After I overthrew the previous holder, the war carried over to me. I marched down to that end of the island and subdued him, but since I had no claim could not take the territory.

After all this I declared the Kingdom of Ireland, which is more or less where I left the game. However, it was just fascinating watching – and taking part – of this very turbulent 10-15 year period of history. Along the way my King has acquired the epithet “The Just”. The great love of his life alas died young, so he remarried for a third time to a Princess from Denmark. The two appear to get along reasonably well. Meanwhile the heir is now a grown man, with children of his own, and looks like he will be a competent ruler when his turn comes.

Whilst King of Ireland there are still four provinces I do not control. Connaught I think will most likely voluntarily swear fealty, but it appears that Munster will not. The wars of Irish unification are not over yet, and I am going to try to get them all done with during King Sean’s reign. That would be fitting, and a fitting journey for a man who came to power by killing his cruel and capricious father, but is now known throughout the world as a kind and just ruler, and as a scholar, the man who tamed his irascible people and brought them into the twelve century!

Or something like that 🙂

Kerbal Space Program

KSP is one of those really neat games where you can “play” it without actually logging in. By that I mean I spent plenty of moments this week thining about the re-design of my interplanetary rocket. I am trying to decide whether to go for another un-manned mission, or whether to send Jebidiah out again to possibly get stranded on an alien world. I am also toying with several different rocket designs. At some point I will move from the theoretical and into the construction, but probably not this week.

EVE Online

EVE was very much on the backburner this week, and was the game that suffered most from the limitations on my time. I did get some Distribution missions done on the sly. Not earning great isk of course, but doing well enough in the standings gain for a particular corporation I will likely do again at points. I also started what will likely be a slow laborious process of locating and selling off scattered assets. Largely these are bits and pieces of mission loot lurking around.

Once again though EVE is going to take a backseat this weekend, a decision made easier by Burn Jita (though in all honesty I would not expect to be particularly troubled by BJ3 on the whole, unless some Goons get very lost). It is depressing though. I checked Dotlan today about 1400. Burn Jita 3 appears not to have stared early, but right on downtime. From roughly 20-30 ship kills/hour and 20 pod kills/hour, give a take a few, for the days prior, between DT and 1300 there were about 250 ship kills 60 pod kills. Between 1300 and 1400 about 570 ship kills 150 pod kills, and this is where it so far looks to be stabilising, and perhaps now dropping as the EU timezone signs off (I am writing this at midnight). Sometimes I look at my fellow hi-sec dwellers and shake my head.

Otherwise I am engaged in that other EVE activity – trying to work out how the hell the devs are going to try and break the game in the forthcoming expansion. I would say improve it – and they might well! I mean, it has been known to happen – but six years of watching CCP allows me to exhibit a certain distrust of CCPs follow-through. 🙂

The latest EVE Devblog, Building Better Worlds, continues to reverberate. There is no doubt great changes are coming to EVE, and I am not sure it even possible to overstate how game-shaking these changes have the potential to be (depending on lot on the specifics, which CCP has so far failed to provide). Another announcement this week shows the second side of EVE Online, with the dates for the third iteration of Burn Jita. To which I must rather admit to shrugging my shoulders. Goons (et al) are off to do it again.

I should explain this. When I first subbed in EVE there was a thing going on called Jihadswarm. It was a Goon-organised suicide ganking campaign against Hulks. Indeed it was the forerunner of what later became Hulkageddon, and it was itself preceded by other hi-sec gank campaigns from groups like MoO back in the early days of EVE. Of course, it was a much smaller operation back then – the game was smaller for one thing, and so were the Goons.

We are now six years later – and Goons are still organising suicide ganking campaigns in hi-sec. Some things never change.

Another of the things that never change is also the way so many players do not pay attention to what is going on in the game. Lots of folk will get caught out, and lose their ships, cargoes, pods, and iskies in Burn Jita. It happened in Jihadswarm, it happened in all the Hulkageddons, and it will happen now once again in Burn Jita 3.

 

The CSM 9 vote is slowly coming to a close. I finally made my vote this evening. My vote list was dominated by non-block candidates – we shall see how it looks when all said is done. However, with 14 votes beyond the first five or so I was mostly filling in names with only cursory expectation. My top votes (in no particular order) went to Steve Ronuken, Ali Aras, Sugar Kyle and Mike Azariah.

In elections I generally hold to the rule that if you don’t vote, you lose your moral right to complain. EVE Online is not precisely a democracy, but nevertheless I think the same principle holds true.

Given that CCP appear to be making revolutionary changes to industry, one of the most basic and fundamental parts of EVE. Indeed I am tempted to say that industry is the most fundamental part of the game.

Anyway, now I have voted, I probably should take the next step and make my views known a little more often. After all, those that do not speak can never be heard…

Getting back into EVE proceeds full pace. Admittedly this weekend I am not in the game very much – the Anniversary missions in World of Tanks have rather tempted me, but one of the great things about EVE is that certain things can be setup to run when one is out of game – market orders, research, and most basic of all, skill training. However, since I am going to be writing more about EVE in the future, it seems like a good place to take stock of my characters in EVE.

Back when I used to play more regularly I had three accounts. Currently I have re-activated two. I do not intend to re-active the third account long-term, but I do intend to move the primary character off that account onto my other accounts – but that may take a few months whilst I arrange things. Anyway, here is my character list.

Account #1

Primary Main – My first EVE character. He currently has 102.5 million skill points, plus about 800k un-assigned. I always figured I would leave un-used until I found a skill I really needed to train right that instant. I started him off as a miner – then moved into industry and some trading, with mission running on the side. In time he also developed skills in exploration and PI. There are plenty of games in his resume of course – in particular he can still only mostly fly ships of his native race. However, once I have completed my current Catch-up/Summer Expansion skill plan I want to diversify.

stnylan – Jita Alt. This character sits, if not in Jita, then in a system in The Forge. Good enough for Jita Alt purposes. Otherwise he is the only character whom I care to name. Actually, I took the name to prevent anyone else nabbing stnylan.

Account #2

Secondary Main – This character was created purely to support my primary character. At first that meant being a hauler to support mining ops. Then it was to be an Orca, and in due course a freighter pilot. Then another character that could do research, and also a source of extra build slots. The another PI character. Along the way I also turned him into my primary invention character, to the extent he now has all the regular Invention skills at 5. He currently has something like 72 million skill points, and is not currently training.

First Alt – Originally designed as a research alt to stay at my then-corp’s POS whilst I jaunted around elsewhere. That remains his primary purpose, though in time I also turned him into a PI alt and a salvage alt. He currently has almost 9 million skill points, and is training up a few skills in preparation for being moved onto account #1 to make space on this account for the character from my third account.

Second Alt – Originally another research alt, albeit one with very limited pretensions. He was used for copying blueprints for corp sales to help support my then corp. He subsequently became another PI alt. I have never quite gotten around to finish his research training, but I will probably do so when First Alt’s training schedule is complete. Currently he has just under 4 million skill points.

Account #3

Alternate Main – This character was actually created before Secondary Main iirc. From the outset this was going to be my pvp character, and I created him with the intention of getting in a FW corp (which was then a very new thing). I did so … and discovered two things. To put into context, this was only just after a year since my breakdown, I was still on medication, only recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and only just getting back to work. Joining a very active FW corp was, looking back, setting me up to fail on the social front. Similarly I also discovered that ship pvp had a tendency to provoke my panic attacks. The second of these things delayed me starting to play World of Tanks by at least six months, and the first was a major consideration before I joined the QSF community. I should say I did have fun in my FW corp whilst I was able to stay there, but eventually I left. Since then he has kicked around the cluster a bit. I have never gotten back into pvp, though I came close a couple of times. He has been steadily training – I believe he has 80-90 million skill points, but I am not currently in a position to check.

Also on this account were two further low-skill alts, which I used to keep an eye on other market hubs.

At some point in the next few months I will re-active this account. By then I would have moved First Alt onto Account #1, and whilst I will take advantage of the extra training time by about day 20 I will move Alternate Main onto Account #2. I would expect him to do most training on that account, as Secondary Main and Second Alt are mostly well set for their supporting roles as is.

So that is a very brief overview of my characters, what they can do, and what I intend to do with them over the next few months. As always, every plan is subject to revision, especially if CCP throws in a curveball or two.