Kerbal Space Program

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. 🙂

So the blog has been very quiet this last week. There has not been very much reason for this, other than generally being busy at home, and busy at work. Oh, and I have totally gotten out of the habit of writing which doesn’t help anything.

World of Tanks

My tanking this last week has been totally dominated by the April missions to get the T2 LT. This has meant I have played a lot of Tier IV light tanks. Indeed out of the 89 games I have played this last week 41 have been split between the T-80, the M5 Stuart, the M5A1 Stuart, and the Covenanter. This has had some benefits. The first has been lots of practice in scout tanking – to admittedly variable success. It does been I am slowly grinding out the Chaffee, as well as getting the crews of the T-80 and both Stuarts further trained (38 games between just those three). Both the T-80 and the M5A1 are about to 100%, and the M5 is in the mid-90s. I have also managed to get the Ace Tanker on the T-80. Indeed, having got it once I soon got it again in another match. Personally though I think the first of those matches was the most impressive, with probably some of my best ammo selection ever in game (tip – when facing Tier V heavies in a T-80, use premium ammo).

In other tanks I have played a few games on the GW Panther, but I am finding this mostly an exercise in frustration at the moment, though not one without high spots. In comparison I have absolutely stunk in playing the Alecto. I cannot get that tank right, almost no matter what I try. I finished eliting the M4A3E8 Sherman, and otherwise continue my grinds. I have been concentrating on the T29 this week, which continues very nicely. I have also gotten in some games in the IS-4, including this game which probably counts as my best Tier X game so far – despite a couple of absolute terrible shots at the end. Although hardly the best stats, what I liked about it was what I achieved. Lakeville Encounter, north start. Pretty much the entire team charged off into the town, as did I initially. Pretty soon though I reversed course and guarded the valley. First one, and then enemy T-62As came by, joined by a WT-E100, but I managed to hold them off long enough for support to arrive and stop their flanking move. Helped, I must admit, by the WT player who apparently couldn’t aim properly.

My concentration on the missions is so far working – I am very much on schedule. I am also intending to try and get some benefit this weekend from the Anniversary missions.

Kerbal Space Program

I mucked around with building a new rocket for an interplanetary probe mission. It was not successful – not enough oomph to get into orbit. I am going to redesign the launch vehicle because my interplanetary design I do want to test. Basically I need bigger rockets – fortunately I was still using the FT-series rockets so I have plenty of potential to upgrade.

To keep things ticking along however I sent another mission to Minmus using my now proven design, which was another success. I am considering amending that design to try and grab one of these Near Kerbin Objects that have been added in the Asteroid Redirect mission update.

Crusader Kings II

My second king was called the Cruel, possibly quite aptly. He certainly became fairly loathed. He did manage though to expand Tara’s reach in Ireland, by forming the Duchy of Leinster as well. Eventually he had something like three murder plots against him, and the one that succeeded was led by his own son and heir.

Which meant I got a Kinslayer as my ruler – a new experience. In many respects the son is a very capable ruler, in particular with absolutely stellar Stewardship. On the downside when he inherited he was heirless, or rather his heirs were his nephews who were of another dynasty. His ever loving sister, deciding her sons are better than brothers, has a plot for his death. So far he is still alive. Fortunately he and his wife managed to tolerate each other long enough to beget an heir a few years into his reign as well (it appeared that they generally disliked each other). That was actually the start of things looking up – the Pope absolved him of his Kinslaying (apparently removing Daddy wasn’t all bad), a further county was added to realm, and a new town has been founded in Dublin province. Oh, and his wife died of an illness, which mostly allowed him to marry the daughter of the Holy Roman Empire. Just before I stopped playing another child was apparently on the way.

Unfortunately I did miss a dynastic possibility of expanded in Desmond province, but I have managed to get a cadet branch of my dynasty to inherit the Duchy of Orkney.

The Kingdom of England so far has had a very interesting history. I started with William the Conqueror in charge. Eventually he fell to one of Harold II’s sons, one Godwine, who had been sheltering at my court. He in turn was later ousted by his brother, one Magnus, who also had been sheltering in my court. He in turn was challenged – but defeated – an attempt by another brother to seize the throne. I get the feeling that England’s dynastic complications might run on for quite a bit.

Otherwise the first Crusade against Jerusalem has just been called. I am basically going to ignore it at the moment. I think I am next intending to expand into Ulster.

EVE Online

I am still very much enjoying my return to EVE Online. A large part of my EVE activities this last week has been researching CSM candidates, plus yet more changed game mechanics and refreshing myself on other mechanics. I think this is going to last a while.

My activities though are starting to have more direction. For example, last night I started some courier missions on one of my characters that wants to be able to use a particular research agent. It will be a bit of a grind that, but courier missions have the advantage of being things I can walk away from (by pressing the dock button) very easily if Melian wakes up.

I really hope to write a couple of EVE posts in the next week.

Managed quite a bit of gaming over the last week, despite various health troubles. Getting some sense of how playing both World of Tanks and EVE is going to work.

World of Tanks

There is a chance this month to get the Tier II premium T2 LT tank for completing a series of missions. I am going to try to do this, and it appears to be achievable. It does require playing rather more SPGs and light tanks than I have been doing recently, but this is not perhaps a bad thing. It has meant some frustrating, and some enjoyable games so far on my GW Panther. Also some more practice with scouting.

Otherwise I have now had my first game on the Panther II. That was a disappointing loss. I have also managed a few more games on the IS-4. I am still getting used to the higher level of competition there. I really am going to try to play at least one game in it a day, however, as I figure playing Tier X is just a good way to improve overall. I am also have good success in training up a crew on the VK3601H for the VK4502 Ausf. A. My ordinary grinds though have already been somewhat disrupted by trying to fulfil the missions for the T2 LT, and this is likely to continue throughout the month.

World of Warplanes

Played some with my friend on Monday. On the whole not the most successful evening. Mostly I am just credit-grinding for the last piece of equipment for the Bristol 146 – and in the process also researching the Spitfire Mk I.

Kerbal Space Program

Well, the Asteroid Redirect Mission update has been launched. Certainly something to consider doing in the future. However, one of the great things about this update is that it is now possible to speed up time whilst in the Space Centre, and also in the Tracking Centre. A very great quality of life improvement.

I got Keldos back to Kerbin safely from the top of Minmus. Actually I happened to land him safely on the southern ice-cap, which was quite fun. I also made a simple design change to my current rocket series (by adding a probe control module on top of an empty command module) and rescued Jebidiah from where he had been stranded on the Mün. I put the launcher down just 2.6km away, which meant a relatively easy ride using the jetpack. This was, however, the second attempt. The first attempt … well, I forgot to extend solar panels so the batteries powering the probe module went dead. The inert probe is now leaving Kerbin orbit to spend a long time floating in an orbit somewhere between Kerbin and Eve.

I am undecided whether to next attempt to get an asteroid, or whether to do an interplanetary probe. I am leaning towards the latter. Or maybe even do something like purposefully strand Jebidiah on the surface of Laythe or something.

EVE Online

Still very much in re-orientation mode. I have spent some time mining, some more time missioning, but mostly just travelling around picking up bits and pieces. I wish to get back into T1 industrial activity, but I am unsure of where I want to setup my market. For certainty not one of the big market hubs, but somewhere a little quieter.

Another aspect of this is going to have to be re-organising my production spreadsheet. The “Spreadsheets in Space” meme does have a certain truth to it. Having cast around some of the other resources, I still think my old spreadsheet generally fits my purposes best, but it does require updating. In particular ship BPOs have a set of extra mineral requirements. While this may seem like “work”, it is in fact going to be a good way to get a better handle on what things are and are not profitable right now. Also of course there are some more modules in the game, and a handful of new destroyers and a new frigate. I have picked up some BPOs for those, and I will need to see if there are any others I require.

I also am going to go around and try and pick up some of the random stuff I have lurking around so many places. There is quite a bit of isk tied up in some stations that I might as well realise.

Crusader Kings II

With both Sons of Abraham and Rajas of India acquired and installed, it was time to start up a game. I have started up a game in 1066, William the Conqueror start, as the ruler of Dublin. A nice place to try and get a handle on this marvellously complex game. So far I have inherited Leinster from my father, claimed and conquered a third, and have just laid claim to a fourth. Along the way I am now on my second ruler.

This is very much a training game, as I am not sure yet who I want to try on to first try and play through to the end.


Two momentous events in my gaming life this week: Tier X and EVE. Gaming overall feels very exciting right now. Lots of possibilities stretching out ahead of me.

World of Tanks

The big news of course is that I have acquired my first Tier X, and I have now also played my first game  – a victory at that. The credit grind continues however, as I have a number of purchases coming up. The first of these is simple enough: moving the crew of my Panther onto the Panther II and commencing playing on that tank. I also now have a number of Tier V tanks I wish to get: The Type T-34, Bishop, AT 2, ELC AMX and Pz Sfl IVc. I also wish to get the Tiger II, the M36 Jackson will very soon be researched (I have about 5k exp to go to elite the M4A3E8 Sherman) and I am chugging away quite merrily towards the T32.

All in all this reflects what is going to be my biggest restraint moving forward: credits. I imagine this is going to see me playing my premiums a little more often – which is not a hardship.

Talking of premiums I have had a great deal of fun recently in the T14. It is currently one of my favourite premium tanks. While it suffers a little in firepower, it has a very bouncy front and a generous health pool, which allows it to be very effective in Tier V and Tier VI matches (it has preferential matchmaking so no Tier VIIs).

I have also continued to have some good success in the M5A1 Stuart. Not consistently, but far more regularly than ever was the case. Indeed just last night I had a wonderful Tier VIII match which saw me to over 2k spotting damage and kill a Tier VII arty, and be alive at the end of the match.

World of Warplanes

I played around on Monday for a time – but it was not a terribly successful session. I cannot really claim to have achieved very much, in particular I only modestly increased my credits.

Kerbal Space Program

The Mun and Minmus are being plundered for all the science that they are worth. Indeed, I am quite confident I could complete all the available research from just using my current basic rocket design.

This means I have slowly leaving behind the realm of game-given objectives (get Science) to more personal, sandbox play again. Top item on this list is to rescue Jebidiah Kerman, still stuck on the Mün. Second item is probably something like getting a Kerbonaut safely to and from another planet – probably Duna.

EVE Online

Oh much has changed, and much has stayed the same. Currently I am really just mucking around. Hacking mechanics have changed since I last played, so I spent an evening running around trying to find Data and Relic sites. I have some idea how this works now. Various ships have changed, and I am still getting a handle on that. Some new ships and modules have been introduced as well. At some point I will need to go through my BPO collection and find out where the gaps are.

The real question is what do I want to do in EVE? Well, I think it will take a little while to answer that. I will probably mostly be hi-sec based, though if other elements align I would like to do some poking around low-sec now and then. I do want to get some small-scale industrial stuff sorted out, hopefully setup in a way that will allow it to build up. I need to decide on a system for that. All in all I am intending to take things slow for a further while, and see where the journey takes me.




Last night in Kerbal Space Program I intended to do another return trip to Minmus. I got distracted.

The trip out was easy enough, but as I arrived at Minmus I realised I had a nearly perfect polar orbit. When I landed things were even better – I was less than 3 degrees away from the pole. So, after taking samples and planting my flag, I took brave Keldos Kerman, and went to find the pole.

The screenshot above shows me at longitude 90 degrees. Success! Actually it was rather tricky at the end – there were various weird camera angle effects at play and the actual spot was very tiny. I probably spent the better part of an hour getting there, and I so chuffed I did. Sometimes computer games give very … ah … “individual” thrills. 😀

As it happened my original landing was only about 2.4km away from the pole. Pretty good for a totally manual landing.

Arrived so fast I almost missed it.

Today is my two-year anniversary in World of Tanks – and what a journey it has been. I have over 8000 battles now under my belt, within a few hundred thousand of getting my first Tier X, and am playing this game as good as I have ever done. I have also joined a Clan and started to get to know some really nice people.

A couple of weeks ago I noted this anniversary was coming up, and had various plans for a big post. None of these came to fruition. Time flies.

Except when it crawls, and two years also casts a long shadow.

I started to play World of Tanks in the main because I was looking for a more casual game. It was clear that my primary game of the previous years (EVE Online) would not be something I would want to actively continue with the arrival of my daughter. In due course I stopped playing EVE, and pretty also pretty much stopped playing LOTRO (I became a bit disillusioned over the course LOTRO seemed to be taking). I had also mostly stopped playing my major offline games – the various Paradox Interactive titles.

Wind forward two years. Life is different now. My daughter is older for one thing, and being a father is an adventure in its own right. However, some of the reasons why I wanted to play a casual game have now abated somewhat. Melian sleeps a good deal better than she did, meaning my evening gaming is relatively rarely interrupted. Also, although I am still prone to go absolutely giddy and gushing over how great my daughter is, I am no longer as emotionally overwhelmed. That is not quite right. Being married, and becoming a father, remain huge events in my life. It is not that their place has shrunk – it that I have grown, meaning I feel now to have more headspace for other things.

This can be seen perhaps in the last year or so with my playing of Kerbal Space Program, a game that is definitely more intellectually demanding, or my hopes to get playing Crusader Kings II once the new expansion launches this Tuesday.

Another aspect of this might be though in that I am starting to look for something other than tanks. I still very much wish to keep on playing World of Tanks. I have a great deal of fun, and I do not want to lose that. All the same, I am starting to want something more.

This weekend, I logged into EVE.

Well, I have obviously not managed to write any further blogposts this week. I think that is a partial side effect of getting back into the swing of things at work. Amongst other things this has meant me getting slowly more and more tired, to the extent I actually had an early night yesterday – which was a very good decision.

World of Tanks

I was uncertain whether or not to get the Tiger II in last week’s special. Eventually I decided not to, and in effect to downgrade the priority of acquiring the tank. Instead I spent some credits on bits and pieces of equipment, ground out the wins to complete the Tier VIII mission and its 350k award, and credits more generally. That was also basically the theme of the rest of the week. I now have just under three million credits, so with a bit of luck that IS-4 will be mine this weekend.

I also managed to elite the AMX 40 and M5A1 Stuart. In the latter I continue to have some increased success in the scout tank role. I really do want to have regular scout tank games, as I can feel the improvement now and I don’t want it to go all to waste. Plus I feel it will help make me a better tank driver in general. I have almost finished eliting the Valentine as well – one more game should do it. I will probably then proceed to concentrate on the Alecto as my next Tier IV to do. I am also intending to start work on one of the many Tier Vs I have hanging around – probably the T49 so I can work towards the fabled Hellcat.

My other longer grinds continue as they do. I am beginning to feel more comfortable in the IS-3, and have now had a First Class game. Mostly though these grinds are still at fairly early stages. With my IS-4 crew grind now reaching its end, however, I have decided to train up the crew I currently have in my VK3601H a bit. This crew I think I will stick into the VK4502P Ausf. A, but again I want the first crew skill to be well advanced, if not actually to 100% before I transfer it over.

Once I have gotten the IS-4 it will need a few hundred thousand credits to be able to fit it out properly. After that I will also look into getting the Panther II up to spec and the crew there transferred over. After that I am likely to start concentrating on acquiring a number of new Tier V tanks and below that I have unlocked recently.

Kerbal Space Program

This has been my go-to game this week when not tanking, in part because I have gotten on a roll. My new rocket design has successfully landed in over half of the Mün’s biomes now, gathering lots of lovely science data. I now have (I think) all the scientific instruments researched, so I am going to make a small revision to the design and start sending missions to Minmus. A couple of those should hopefully get me enough Science to unlock the technologies I want before I start doing things like sending out probes and landers to other planets.