Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Horribly Negligent of Me

It's been a while since I've posted here. I went on a vacation, and since I mostly post from work I ended up not posting at all. Also, it's been kind of a tricky time in my personal life, and my gaming habits have probably reflected the increased stress.

So I've essentially given up on Eve Online at the moment. We got war decced for a few days and I pretty much just logged on, set my next skill, logged off. Then I couldn't seem to break that pattern. I dunno, it just seems like there's no expectation of changes in the long term. For the next few years, I'll be doing missions or looking for wormholes and combat sites in wormholes. In another month or so I could probably try to move into a wormhole. But for what? So much of my enjoyment of the game was in figuring things out. Working on spreadsheets for missile damage, planetary interaction, mining, industry. Now that I've done this, the actual gameplay just isn't that compelling. I still love exploration, but I have to admit that it all feels pointless. If I find a site in a wormhole and clear it, I'll get maybe 12-30m isk. So what? Spend an hour mining and get 4-5m isk. Do missions and get some isk and standing. Do pvp and lose isk and make enemies. What's the point? Eve is a game where doing stuff doesn't progress your character. You only get better by simply existing. In short, eve no longer is making me happy, so no more playing eve.

I've actually gotten somewhat captured by Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood. A very well executed game. It's like they took the parts of the AC2 that I loved most and extended them. The full sync concept rewards you for doing nifty things instead of just bashing your way through it, leading to a lot more stealth gameplay, assassinations from blending or hiding, etc, while making those damn races a lot less punishing. If you can't do the race fast enough, you don't have to do it over and over, you just don't get the full sync. Going after borgia towers feels like you're an actual assassin, instead of just some warrior running around to kill enemies. Rebuilding rome and shop quests make you actually care about money and finding treasures. Seeing a flag/feather in eagle vision marks it on your map, and later on you get maps of all locations, and can see how many are left to find in each district, instead of simply knowing you need 30 more feathers, somewhere in the world. Everything to do with the assassin recruits is simply awesome. The various guild records/ranks encourage you to do fun stuff and recognizes when you go out of your way to be awesome.

But there are two things that are somewhat worse than the last game, I'd say. First, the story is just weaker. The first game had a great revenge/survival thing going where you felt like part of an epic tale. This one doesn't, the opening sequence is great, but after that you just kinda run around the city making life better for you and worse for your enemies. That's fun, but it's not very epic. Secondly, the conspiracy/the truth doesn't at all hold my attention. The conspiracies seem less 'amg, look at this blatantly bizarre thing in this old painting' and more 'look how we doctored these photos to make them seem sinister'. Ah well. The game suffers from being the middle game. All the setup was in the first game, all the conclusions will be in Assassin's Creed Revelations. Amazing gameplay, bad context.

I've also been playing a lot of world of warcraft. Used to be I'd just log on to raid and repost auctions every couple of days. Now I'm on 3-4 hours a night, pvping and chasing achievements. That's right, I'm doing pvp! :o I'm amazed myself. But it's oddly fun to have a quick little match. It's also disturbingly easy to get honor gear quickly. I've been playing less than a week and already have 3.6k resilience. I'm also looking up random achievements and trying to get them. Jumping on trampolines, killing rares, gasping under rainbows, etc.

I'm sure part of the reason why my attitude towards wow has shifted is due to the latest round of nerfs to the raid content. In a single night we went from 2/7 heroic to 6/7 heroic. I don't know if we'll ever get heroic rag, so it's possible that we're simply done. And the next raid won't be for months. :o We already have attendance issues, I can't imagine the churn we'll get doing farm content over and over for months.

Last night I started playing a new game called Glitch. It's a non-combat mmo. :o I don't have a strong opinion of it yet, I need to play more. I really need to get a house or some sort of base of operations.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finding a Book Recommender Site


In a bit more detail...

I've been using amazon's recommendation engine to find new authors to read, but they changed it, now it sucks. You used to be able to look up all the books you read, rate them, and then get recommendations based on your ratings. Now you can only rate books that you purchased at amazon. >.<  There's something called amazon betterizer (horrible name btw) but it just presents 6 books at a time chosen from god knows where and gives you a chance to 'like' them. So you keep getting spammed with best sellers from genre's you don't even read, and there's no 'hate' button to get rid of Twilight and books like Twilight, so the recommendations are terrible now.

I decided I needed a better recommendation site, and I'm amazed at how long it took to find a good one. My first try was Shelfari, which is actually associated with amazon. Pretty standard interface, search for a title or author, click to add it to your shelf, with an option to mark it as one of your favorites. I added a hundred or so, and asked for recommendations. There were none. Ah well, maybe they only do it every few days. Checked back a week later, still no recommendations. Utter disappointment. Then I started to figure it out, this site doesn't pay attention to what books you read or add to your library or rate. You do this to let your friends know what you read! And you invite friends to put up their libraries, too. Then the site just shows what books your friends are reading that you haven't yet. Terrible. >.< I want netflix style personalized recommendations.

The next site I tried was What Should I Read Next. This site has a really crap interface, I have to say. It reminds me of a test project I did back in high school when I was learning how to do sql. But at least it gives you recommendations. You search for a book, click on it, and it gives you other books that you might like. You can add them all to a big list and find books that are... I'm not sure. I check a bunch of books I like, tell it to find me more. Some of the results I recognize. Some of them I have no idea why they show up. Cookbooks and manga. I suppose somebody who likes one of my books must like this manga series. I was able to mark a few as books I didn't want to read. So how do I search for stuff based on the ones I like and the ones I don't like? If I check the rows of books I marked as don't like, will it find books recommended for liking those, or exclude books that are similar to them, or what? This site fails because I simply can't figure out what's going on. Do I want to build a big 'dislike' list, or will that skew my results? Not to mention that the results list is exactly what it sounds like, just a list of titles and authors, no indication what genre or even if it's an actual book, let alone a nice synopsis and cover art. Fuck it, I'm going somewhere else. A higher quality site.

In a search for a site that doesn't look so terribad, I stumbled over Library Thing. But then I realized it was no good. First of all, it boasts that it can connect you to people who read what you do. I'm not looking for a social networking site, or a book club, or whatever. I'm looking for good books to read. Reading a bit more, I found out that it's a pay site. >.< For a service that's clearly being offered for free on several other sites. I left this one quickly, not wanting to pay for something that would turn out to be another friend connect site like shelfari.

Was getting very frustrated at how difficult it was to discover something that seemed so simple, and cursing at the whole social networking thing invading my book recommendations, when I found GoodReads. This site does it right. First of all, it asks you to rate some books and then displays a list of genre's. No more cookbooks, I can just go straight to the section I'm interested in. Then it shows a big page full of book covers, with mouse-over synopsis and details, and under each cover a 1-5 star rating. Finally! No more of these stupid 'likes', I can actually rate things. What I found most impressive was how when I rated something highly, a 4-5, it would insert a new row one down into the grid of books, 'people who liked <title> often like:' these other books. What impressed the hell out of me was that after clicking the first book I found that I'd read, and following the chain of new rows, by the 5th 'You might also like' it had already found two of my favorite books! XD

Continuing with goodreads, I rated a couple hundred books, marked a few as 'I intend to read this but can't rate it now', and asked for personalized recommendations. The recommendations while I was rating were really nifty, but they were global. Of everyone who likes this book, those people also tend to like these other books. Now I wanted something more personalized. Given my ratings of these 200 books, they predict how I'll rate these other books, and then give the top 50. Ran into my first roadblock with the site, it was only giving me recommendations based off my 'I want to read this' row, but the recommendation page told me what to do, saying I needed to select my favorite genre's and then it would recommend based on those genre's. Don't think that's all very necessary, but whatever! Did that, went to the recommendations page again. Got a message that it was building recommendations for me, and will be done in two minutes. Ok. Came back a bit later, and it was exactly what I wanted! Recommended books, with a couple that I'd already read but forgot to rate in the top 10.

So now I've got a great new recommendations site, and a list to take over to XD

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Other blogs

Interesting posts for this morning.

Troll racials are overpowered talks about challenge with a focus on how it's reasonable for players to expect a game to present challenging content to them, rather than having to go out and find/make it. Especially when the game isn't advertised as a sandbox. Fair enough! 

One thing is that WoW has very very fixed progression. Pretty much every patch they level the playing field through new quested, heroic dungeon, and valor point gear. Current content is about how quickly you can learn the gimmicks for 14 encounters. Almost everyone can learn the first one or two. Almost no one will learn all 14, at least not for months. So there's your challenge, how far along that spectrum you are. It's so narrow! WoW is a huge, huge world with thousands of enemies, quests, achievements, and other activities, but the challenge in the game is only 7 enemies in one spot on the map. >.<

Tobold says there will never be stress-free healing, and I can't help but agree, for exactly the reasons he talks about. I've definitely been in exactly the situation he's talking about, as I've mentioned in earlier posts. I'd love to see a game where there is no healing. Everyone manages their own survival. Instead of being a healer, I'd love to be like, a bard, buffing my group, debuffing the enemy, clearing bad debuffs from my group. Instead of 'I keep you alive' it'd be 'I make you strong and make your enemies weak and vulnerable'.

Gevlon is lamenting the failure of his no-voice-chat project, and apparently only now discovering that success at a raid encounter has little to do with your actual output, and is more just about practicing the encounter until you learn the execution, or what he calls the gimmick or the dance. So he's just going to focus on pvp. Lawls. 

Here, the biggest issue I see with not having voice chat. Gevlon assumes that better raiders will simply execute better at everything they do. But that's not how it works. We all have limited attention, limits to how much we can keep track of at once. Certainly a good player is _capable_ of tracking boss ability cooldowns, enrage/frenzy timers, phase transitions, standing in fire, maintaining his rotation, and maxing his survivability. But the more things he needs to focus on, the less attention he can spend on any one of those. If someone is calling out lava waves, then I don't need to keep track of when the next lava wave is, and can focus more on my healing. With voice chat, a great player performs even better.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Interesting jobs article

Here's a post about jobs that I found interesting.

The guy is basically saying that we should use technology to establish a sort of baseline quality of life with free food and housing, and then nobody would have to work except to buy entertainment and luxuries.

Biggest issue I see is that food and housing have to come from somewhere, even if it's the guy who maintains the robots that do the actual farming, or the engineer who developed the system in the first place, or the people who pay taxes so the government can do it. By saying that you have a right to free food and housing, you're basically demanding that someone else work for you without you doing anything to compensate him. You can pass the forced labor around, saying that the guy serving you is getting paid by a government who collects taxes, forcing the taxed to work for no compensation 15-30% of the time, but in the end it comes down to you getting something for nothing so someone else has to do something and get nothing. That's immoral, an injustice.

The function of society is to protect the autonomy of individuals. That means you have a right to not be hurt by others, to not be aggressed upon, to not be cheated or scammed from broken contracts, to not be coerced, to not be enslaved or held. These are negative rights, protective rights. Rights that keep others from making your life worse when you haven't done anything to merit it. As for positive rights, the right to be given free food, free healthcare, free housing, the right to free cable and internet, the right to your own yacht and personal butler, you don't deserve jack shit. Taking anything from someone who earned to give it to someone who did not is simply theft.

So how can we make it work? You can't get something for nothing, but people don't want to work and produce anything to trade for that 'something'. The only thing they can trade away is some of their autonomy. I can easily imagine some sort of system where there were 10-20 manors or houses that people could declare themselves for, and be subservient to, in exchange for health, food, and housing. Shrug, a back step towards monarchy, perhaps.

In the end, there are people who add a lot to society and end up becoming very wealthy, and there are people who mostly have to be supported by society and they live in poverty. We've chosen to deal with this by forcibly stealing from the wealthy and giving to the poor. An immoral, unjust choice, I would say. If you want a fair system, you need to give something to the wealthy that they would view of equal value to what is taken from them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Terraria's spawn design

Lately I've been getting back into Terraria. I'd already played it when it was first released on steam, got hellstone armor, made herb farms, etc. So I started all over again, new character, new world! Such a fun game.

Something in the game that I think is really nifty is that it all seems to be driven by the grass. :o Or if there's no grass, by what type of rock is on the screen. In areas with normal grass, you get slimes. In areas with jungle grass, you get jungle music and hornets. In areas with corrupted grass, you get corruption music and eaters of the dead. The nifty part of it is that it's the grass/rock that drives the areas, not the areas that cause the grass. I could easily imagine a design where you have a jungle area and when plants grow in the jungle they're most likely to be jungle plants. But instead, plants just grow, and where the jungle grass grows is what defines the jungle area. That's awesome. If I want to, I can make my own jungle area, by laying down a lot of mud and planting jungle grass.

I'd love to see that approach more commonly used in other games. You don't have to define the world, you just sort of let it become. Like I've been playing fallout new vegas. There's a random house in the first town. Some game designer when through that house, carefully placing all the items in it, crafting the house to provide exactly the experience they want, laying out all the trash items so they make sense. There's much to say about that approach that's good. It does give you a crafted world, that probably is more immersive. But what a huge cost, to spend all this time on a random house that many players won't even bother to enter! And because it is such a cost, there's only like 3 houses in the whole town. So the town population has to be like 12 people total. Which is boring. And what's in each house for my playthrough is the same that everyone else got in their playthroughs. Go to goodsprings house 1 to get a 9mm pistol on the third shelf to right of the door.

What if a developer never had to actually go into a house? Suppose we say a house is either wealthy, normal, or poor, and then associate it with one of say 10 factions. Every house needs to have a food place, a sleeping place, and a bathroom. So you've got 4 walls. Roll a random number based on the house's wealth to find out if each wall will expand into another room, where each expand eats into the overall wealth rating, repeat until you have your house size. Now divide your food/sleep/bath requirements into however many rooms were generated, perhaps with some modifier to make them avoid overlapping when possible. Adjust the size of each room for the number of functions it's covering. Now place objects against each wall of each room, where we're choosing randomly from among all those objects in that wealth band, room function, and faction. So a bedroom has like a 90% chance to spawn a bed if there isn't one already, then an even chance to spawn some number of desks, tables, chests, wardrobes, etc. A food room has a very high chance of spawning a fridge, then an oven, then a dining set, then a counter, etc. Now for each spawned object, fill that object with random items that total up to the wealth rating of the house. A table gains a set of plates and silverware. A shelf gains books or some random items. All that.

Now, instead of an game designer needing to place 5k objects in perhaps 300 houses, the game designer can say he wants 10 low wealth, NCR houses, 15 medium wealth scavenger houses, etc, place them in the world and not only will they all fill themselves, but it'll be different on each playthrough. You'll actually want to explore and find interesting stuff. As long as you have enough art assets and a decently complex room generator/filler, you could easily have 10-20k houses with hundreds of thousands of objects.

Maybe there are other issues besides development time that I'm not seeing. Perhaps storing all that info would be crazy, but I could imagine a house's contents not generating until you actually step into that house. Ah well. :o

Noob suggestions to make eve more fun

I've been playing Eve Online for a couple months now, so I'm totally qualified to judge where it's bad and what can be done to fix it. So this I will do!

Things I'd like to see in Eve:

- PvE combat situations that are more focused on damage prevention than tanking. Pretty much every mission I do is me vs 20 other ships. Getting hit by all of them while I slowly dps down their numbers is the rule for the game. What if instead there were missions where you fight one or two big, evenly matched ships? Then you might actually care about electronic warfare. If I'm getting hit by 20 targets, it makes no sense to sacrifice shields or dps to make one of those 20 miss you half the time. If you're up against one or two targets, reducing the effectiveness of a single target by half can be huge. I want e-war in pve.

- Randomness in mining. Right now, you've got rocks, you have your lasers, you know the mineral prices, and so you can predict with almost certainty exactly how much you'll make if you keep mining for 3-4 hours. That's boring. What if when a laser completed you had a chance to get in addition to the normal ore, a chunk of compressed/dense ore. Or a small amount of some other type of asteroid. Or a random rare gem or something. Make the chance very low, so that when it happens you'll go 'Woot! Proc'ed a gem!', but high enough that you can expect a few per hour. Random events, random drops, in repetitive activities helps hold the attention, and gives you a surge of happiness. When I'm doing combat sites, I think 'Will the named guy drop a rare item I can sell for a lot?', 'Will this wreck salvage into a nanoribbon?' I have an anticipation, hope, reward cycle going. I want there to be a similar cycle for mining.

- Large non-pvp construction projects in high sec. Right now, anything big is just about making ships for pvp. Super caps for your alliance to use against another alliance. That's boring. I want huge non-combat projects. Ring worlds, dyson spheres, orbital elevators, huge things. What about a 6-8 months long competing projects to build solar arrays in each of the 4 empire faction's territories? You'd get some sort of rechargeable module, say a 2-3% increase in cap recharge/shield recharge/boost amount/repair amount/tracking speed/missile explosion velocity/ship velocity, and it only works if you take it to the array every 3-4 days and recharge it. It just seems silly that we're all in space, and all we do is build things to shoot at each other, rather than something grand.

- Fewer troubles setting up player owned structures. You shouldn't have to invest 2-3 billion just to have a place to run your own research projects. The costs of setting up your own base are set around it being a nullsec base for a large corp or alliance, doing moon mining or rare ore refining or whatever. There should be cheaper alternatives for small group, solo players, who don't get the benefit of moon goo, but also don't have to pay that high a cost for setup.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Having fun

So apparently the latest thing in the blogging circles is to talk about what makes games fun. As a happiness-oriented gamer, this is right up my alley!

The main problem is that fun is so subjective. What's fun for some people is not at all fun for others. This means that a game can never 'get it right' in terms of fun, it can only appeal to larger or smaller audiences. I suppose I could talk about what I personally find fun.

First of all, I think people aren't being very precise when they talk about wanting to have fun. Fun is basically enjoying doing something. Unless coerced, everything we do is something that we want to do, that we've chosen as the best thing to do. We're always doing what we want. Fun is when 'what we want to do' aligns with an elevated mood over a duration.

I would divide the mechanism by which a game provides an elevated mood into 4 distinct aspects.

The first aspect is escapism. In the absence of any immediate joys or troubles, our lives still have a baseline level of happiness. A major part of choosing to play a game is to discard your real world baseline happiness for the game's baseline happiness. Being able to dissociate from the stress and troubles of relationship drama, paying bills, meeting expectations, managing a career, all that. Instead you can be an elf or a hobbit or a superhero or a spaceship captain. And these personas have their own troubles, true, but playing the game lets you somewhat easily overcome those troubles. It's very seductive to play as someone who has their shit together better than you yourself do. The more you immerse yourself in the game, the closer you can approach your avatars baseline. For really happy people, that can actually be a problem. :o People who are already happy need other aspects to keep them gaming. For everyone else, immersion can create stability.

The second aspect is about fulfilling real needs, and is often in direct conflict with the first aspect. We all have real world wants and needs, and not having these filled causes a loss of mood. One can play a game specifically to try to fill a need, and thus remove that loss of mood. If you feel stuck in a dead end job, a game with easily measured progression can add a sense of advancement. If you are shy, talking to people on an MMO can fill social needs. Competitive games can create a sense of victory that very few people experience in real life. Pornographic games provide fantasy and relief of sexual needs. Building games creates a sense of adding permanence to the world when in reality we're all transient. People searching for this aspect of fun don't want to escape into their games, they want to use the game to affect how they are in real life, to improve their real life baseline improve.

The third aspect of fun is about activity. This is where simply doing an action improves your mood. This is where there is the greatest difference among what people find fun. Some people quite simply become happier when jogging. I personally become desolate and certain that I'm about to die when jogging. :o Some people find the act of organizing and spreadsheeting fun. Some find that working on puzzles is fun. Some people enjoy making other people angry. Some people enjoy going really really fast. Some people enjoy being scared. Some people enjoy resource management. This is not about accomplishing anything, it's about when the action itself gives you a sort of high or rush.

The final aspect is about rewards and punishments. Its when an event occurs that causes a sudden shift in your mood, negative or positive. Solving the puzzle, killing an enemy, winning the battle, reaching the next level, finding epic loot, getting a high score. Getting killed, being yelled at, being cheated, losing your place, losing an accomplishment, having your time wasted, getting frustrated. All of these and more, the things we pursue, the sudden surge of joy and triumph, the sudden failure and giving in to despair. These produce surges in mood, that slowly revert to the normal. They have magnitude and duration, but the duration is generally short. A new boss kill followed by victory sex and a lap around the house makes for a hugely elevated mood, but only for perhaps a day or two.

This is the part where I talk about everything that's wrong in the gaming world and how to fix it. Except that doesn't really work. Again, it's all about audience. Everyone has their own balance of which aspects of fun they prefer. Some people are all about escapism, others are all about rewards. A game doesn't have a 'correct' choice, it can merely focus on different aspects and see what audience it attracts.

FWIW, my own opinion is that modern MMO's and WoW in particular are spending too much time focusing on providing ever higher rewards, the fourth aspect of fun, creating great surges of happiness now and then, but quickly reverting to a fairly low baseline happiness. The devs are chasing what players say makes them happy, instead of what makes them not unhappy. I'd like to see a lot more focus on the third aspect, providing lots of different activities that people can enjoy simply playing, without needing a shiny at the end to justify it. I'd like to see more work to prevent negative surges than to provide positive surges.

But I've long since realized I'm an outlier in almost everything, so I can't claim that following my advice would be more profitable, only that it would likely be more fun for me and people like me. :o

Tricked! Not having my computer

I was tricked! There was a minor problem with my work computer, requiring a reboot maybe twice a day to fix a display issue. Somewhat annoying, but quite easily ignored. But I told my sys admin about it and he had someone come out to look at it. The next day, hard crash. Failure to boot. The came out an replaced a part and it was a bad part! Now they've got me on some crappy spare computer that randomly seizes up and chugs trying to open an explorer window. >.< And it doesn't have chrome, and I don't have admin rights so I'm stuck using firefox. And it has on board sound, but no driver for it, so I can't listen to my music. D: This sucks! D:

This of course, has caused some time shifting. I'm spending more time at work simply reading. So I spend more time at home listening to music, web browsing, working on my spreadsheets, etc. And less time playing games. The past week I've raided a bit and I've played fallout new vegas a few hours and that's it. Disappointing. >.<

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricanes Suck

My weekend was less than the happiest of times. Lost power early in the AM of sunday, didn't get it back till late that night. I got a lot of reading done, but not much else.

Also, I've totally screwed up my thinking on the whole Eve PI spreadsheet thing. Give or take price fluctuations, I know that what I set up is maximally profitable. (well I think. kinda, maybe almost). But the problem is that it doesn't hold my attention. It takes far too much effort hauling around items, buying off the market, lamenting lost factory time from not having inputs, etc. So I get bored with it and let all my factories run empty. And make no profit at all. While instead I could set up a more reason system that's less profitable, but won't require much time/focus to keep it going. I have no idea how to spreadsheet for that, to predict how interesting I'll find something in a week or two. A couple weeks ago I thought my maximally efficient set up would hold my interest forever. That didn't work out. >.<

I actually shifted from playing Oblivion to Fallout New Vegas. I've had issues with the fallout games where I spend more time creeping around trying to get sneak attacks than actually having fun. So I set myself a rule. Whenever possible, no stealth. I'll still have to stealth if I'm trying to steal something, or crouch for better accuracy, but when I see an enemy I start shooting at him. So far I'm having decent fun with it. I'm playing 'good', so not much stealing, not killing many people I don't have to (need my star bottle caps! :o ). I'm not to vegas yet, but I've reached the outskirts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's all about maximizing utility

Gevlon is sure good at putting his foot in it.

I don't really understand why he makes these posts. It's like he's going out of his way to call someone an idiot. It seems so unpleasant.

It suggests he has a serious misunderstanding of the idea of utility. Utility is about happiness. Utility is about your actions effect on your mood. A high utility action is one that gives you pleasure/enjoyment, or that lessens unpleasantness/suffering. Gevlon acts as though the measure of utility is how much gold/money you gain.

I suspect that a lot of gevlon's thinking when he's trying to decide the correct choice is about reducing the situation to gold/time or gold/effort. His blog used to be primarily a WoW AH blog. I'd bet that if he were to try to work out an economic system, he'd spend a lot of time trying to figure out the 'right' prices to charge, or purchase at. In real economic thinking, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead people think in terms of conflicting desires. The amount one is willing to pay for an item is expressed as an indifference curve, the points where my desire for the sought after goods is equal to my desire for the goods I'd have to trade away in exchange.

Gevlon acts like he thinks everyone 'should' value gold far in excess of almost every other item in wow, and so being willing to trade away gold for the things he values very little is evidence of player stupidity. It doesn't matter that he values gold so much, it's that he thinks everyone else should value it the same as he does. That's not very rational.

But at the same time, he's quite free to be irrational and go on his blog and blast away at the people he doesn't like, calling them morons. If that's what makes him happy, he should go ahead and do it. It certainly wouldn't make me happy. And it certainly makes things feel unpleasant for me to read it, so reading it doesn't make me happy. Perhaps I should just unsubscribe? I dunno, the entertainment value most of the time balances out the unpleasantness some of the time, somewhat.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Games 08/25/2011

Sometimes I have days where I just accomplish absolutely nothing.

Yesterday I got home and started up warcraft. Moved some glyphs that didn't sell back up onto the ah where they can fail to sell again. Wasn't really in the mood for molten front dailies, but I did check deepholm to see if the rock chip pet daily was up. It wasn't.

I was sleepy, so I went to bed early in the evening, woke up around 4 this morning. Read for a bit, then pulled up Eve. Decided to do some exploration. Found two nifty things one system over. A combat site that is supposed to have expensive loot and a wormhole into a C1. Started with the combat site. Pretty standard, clear the first room so you can go the second, kill everything in the second. Except some asshole showed up while I was clearing the first room and jumped straight to the second, killed the faction loot guy right away. I mean, really, dude. I was already in the place clearing it. That was just rude. >.<

So I checked out the wormhole. Got in, looked around. No nifty things like pulsars or black holes, alas. No combat sites. >.< Only three other signals. Spent forever trying to track down the first one, a gravimetric site. Checked it out, had an arkanor rock in it, a few others like dark ocher. But I don't like gravimetric sites in wormholes, I'm never comfortable with them. I don't have a good mining ship yet, just an osprey. So I'd have to bring in the osprey and jet can mine, run away when things spawn and get my drake to clear them, bring back the osprey until I've mined a can or so, then bring in my badger to pick it up. It's lots of switching around, lots of bringing ships through a wormhole that I know will disappear within a few hours. I'm not brave enough for it. Maybe when I have a mining barge. :o

The other signals were wormholes. One lead to low sec, so I didn't bother with it. The other was the one that I came into the system through. Felt like an idiot when I finally scanned it down and oops, it's right next to my bookmark for the exit. >.<

So I ended up spending an hour or so in eve and accomplished not a single thing. Oh, I did run to a school and buy the mining barge skill. I'm a day from a retriever. Maybe I should hardcore up on the mining, get to a hulk. Would you want to fit a core launcher to a hulk or barge? Or do I need to have a second ship around in case I get stuck in the wh? Need to research.

I tried to play oblivion a bit, but it crashed right away. >.<

Then I just read a bit until I had to come in for work. :o

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Games 08/23/2011

Sometimes I get in the mood for a game I just can't think of. I want to find a game that's all about growth, about building a world or empire or business or city, where you're constantly balancing inputs and outputs trying to push towards some sort of optimum. Simcity is the obvious candidate, but quite frankly I've played that to death. Also, you play simcity and you don't really feel like there's any point you're heading towards. It's easy to make a good city that's crazy profitable, and grows as you zone more stuff. Now what?

AMG! Earthquake! :o

Older content in small groups

Yesterday I had probably my most enjoyable time in WoW that I've had since firelands was released. I logged on thinking to do some dailies and saw my friend was in Black Temple. I messaged him and he was soloing trash for rep. I asked if I could join and we had a lot of fun killing stuff. He'd already gotten najentus with the help of another friend who then had left. The two of us killed supremus and then someone else joined us for shade. We ran into a wall in reliquary with perma-disorientate. Then a couple more peeps joined in and we ended up clearing the place. Alas, no legendary.

But we were having a blast, so we said, why not? Let's go to hyjal! Suddenly it was all about killing bosses for old tier so we could transmogrify it in 4.3. I got a few pieces of my tier 5, a few of my tier 6. We cleared bt, hyjal, ssc, and tk. Got around 8k ashtongue rep, 8k scale of the sands. I love the music in BT.

It was a grand, fun time. Completely unrelated to progression. XD

Monday, August 22, 2011

PvE vs PvP progression in WoW

So over the weekend I got into an epic argument with a guildie. In hindsight I probably should have just let it go. Basically, I made a statement, he got upset about it and tried to show I was wrong, and I defended it. I should have just said that he's free to disagree. Ah well.

A friend was talking about going for a bear mount ZA run, and I said he should wait for a guild run instead of trying to pug it, as pug's are often very bad. We were lamenting this and I said that a way to improve troll heroic success would be to make it so pvp gear didn't contribute to your average ilvl that you need to get into a troll heroic (343). My complaint was that new level 85's can do a week of bg's and get 371 ilvl honor gear, and that lets them into the most difficult heroics, without any need to do the reg instances, then normal heroics, and finally get to troll heroics. This short-cutting to the hard group content lets peeps get into the run when they don't have enough experience grouping, and hurts completion rates.

Another random person in the guild who is a crazy pvp-focused person took immediate offense and got very angry. He said it was discrimination to not accept pvp gear as a means to get into heroics, as it is really hard to get pvp gear, and it was unfair to force people to go through a bunch of extra work just because they pvp.

Sigh, I should never have said anything back. You can't argue with pvp people. They try to win, not to grow in understanding. Instead I tried to enforce my idea that pvp and pve should be separate progression paths. I suggested that there should be a pve raid stat, like heroism or something, that would be the equivalent of resilience for pvp. This stat should be stressed and balanced in such a manner that ilvl 300 gear with resilience would be better than 378 raid gear with no resilience, and vice versa. So you could be at 359 on your pvp progression path, and 378 on your pve progression path, with completely separate gear.

He became quite mad at my 'cheapening' his hard earned pvp gear. He said it wasn't about the gear, it was about player skill. That there's like 9 tiers of pvp and matchmaking puts you into the right tier for you. He wanted a system where people could insta-kick bads from groups and all the bads would then have to play with each other instead of with us goods. Completely ignoring that some of those kicked would simply be new players or new roles, or even decent players who simply didn't have good gear. He saw the world as goods vs bads, instead of a spectrum of skill and gear levels.

I agree with him that it's not about gear, it's about player skill, and the best predictor of success in a new heroic is whether you've been able to succeed at a similarly difficult heroic. I'd be happy to make it so that to get into the next tier of heroics you had to complete the previous tier, like the raid attunements in BC. He became even more mad at this, what he saw as wasting time in boring stuff to get to the good stuff.

Sigh, this is making me not happy just going through it all again. So ima stop.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Games 08/19/2011

Woot! Heroic Rhyolith down!

It's kind of odd. We went into the encounter right at the start of the raid and had a couple really good attempts. Low stacks, good add control, everything fine, but then we wiped on the first stomp because lava flows were in our group up point, or because we weren't grouped up enough. We then had a bunch of really crappy attempts, for like two and half hours, getting overwhelmed by adds, getting up to 15 stacks and losing peeps, turners screwing up and even letting him hit the lava. Really, we were failing all over the place. People were losing hope and slacking off. Even I was a bit, although the larger part of that is that my performance starts to fall after 10:30 or so. I get sleepy. :o And then out of nowhere we had a spectacular attempt, got to phase two and killed him, no deaths! Was amazing.

I was surprised by the amount of jubilation from my fellow raiders. Apparently everyone really hated that boss. I didn't much care for him, but he wasn't that different than several of the other bosses we've done. I think 90% of their hate is that they can't meter whore due to the armor buff on the boss. :o

Anyway, we went on to spend the rest of the night wiping on heroic staghelm. That fight doesn't seem that hard, really. I'm a little skeptical of the strat we're using. We're basically keeping him in cat form almost all the time, just dropping back into scorpion for a moment to drop adrenaline stacks. Then we're moving all around to avoid fire the entire time. I'm very skeptical! I don't see why we wouldn't let him do 3-4 cleaves as scorpion. It would keep his damage debuff down, add longer between orb phases, and by not going beyond 4 stacks, would keep the healing not too difficult. Ah well! I think we might be able to kill him this week, even. It certainly won't take the month it took to get heroic rhyolith.

That would put us in the top 500 guilds in the world. And me in the top 1000 healers. :P That would be happy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Games 08/18/2011

Busy busy day at work. Haven't really had time to read blogs and post stuff. :o

Yesterday's gaming was rather weak. I didn't play very much, and when I did I quickly got bored and switched between games, hoping for one to catch my attention. I ended up getting maybe an hour of oblivion, running around clearing caves and ruins. Perhaps an hour and a half on eve, setting up my fourth PI planet and hauling low level commodities around, running a couple missions.

I actually spent most of the evening reading. First Lady-Protector by Modesitt, and then starting on Hyperion by Simmons. I really enjoy Hyperion, it really draws you in. I love the priest's story most, I think. Kinda :-/ on Kassad's. Martin's is interesting, but doesn't hold up on multiple reads. Rachel's story is so sad, it almost always makes me cry as I read through it. Lamia's story should be more interesting than it is. It's ok, but for such a central thing, setting up books 3-4, it should have more to it. The consul's story always bores me. I wish we could learn more about the true voice of the tree's story. I've always been crazy curious about it, and it goes entirely unexplained. Tragic!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More on tanking

I've been reading other blogs more about the threat mechanics change in warcraft. People sure get worked up over things. :o

I already expressed my opinion, but at the same time I have to wonder if I really am able to make a good judgement about it. I don't want to sound too elitist, but I'm far closer to the upper echelons than to the average wow player. My guild isn't too well progressed, but I say that looking up at the very well progressed guilds. We've killed heroic shannox, a feat which guildox says 3974 10man guilds and 1423 25man guilds have done, or perhaps 75k players. The easiest raid content at the moment, reg magmaw, has been killed by 50622 10man guilds and 1472 (really, that seems small?) 25man guilds, or about 540k players. So even among players who raid at all, I'm in the top 15%. And there are millions of people who never set foot in a raid.

That leads to a very different experience than the average player. I rarely do anything outside of raids other than ah'ing or the occasional troll heroic. Even when I do heroics it's usually as part of a guild group, with other 375+ ilvl peeps, or an alt of someone equally experienced. I have no idea how the average player sees zul'aman. Is it difficult for them? Is the timer unrealistically short? I know that when I did heroics for real, back when we were all wearing 300 blues, it was tricky, we had to use cc, and not going oom was a big deal. I remember having to drink between pulls and getting annoyed when peeps kept pulling while I was at 30% mana. Now I get annoyed when dps pull aggro and I actually have to heal them, instead of just splashing atonement heals on them from smiting.

Is this threat change an important change? I have no idea. It's not aimed at me and really won't affect me. Most of the major bloggers play in the same lofty circles as I do, so they don't really have a good idea either. You see a lot of whining on forums about things, but that's a vocal minority, so it's not a good measure of effectiveness. How can you judge what would be best for 11 million people? The number is almost out of my ability to comprehend that many people. If you were to talk to each of them for 5 minutes, without interruptions or sleep, it would take you over 104 years. If this change makes the game more fun for even 5% of the playerbase while pretty much not affecting anyone else, that would still be half a million people. I doubt that I'll even see a half a million people over my entire lifetime. How could they not make a change that would make gaming even slightly more enjoyable for the 80+% of the players who prefer to dps? o.O

Warcraft patch 4.3 and the latest hotfixes

So everyone is abuzz about the new announcements for WoW. How can I not add my own piece? :P

So in the future there will be new stuff. A new raid, new 5mans, some cosmetic stuff. More of the same! I suppose I'll care more about it as we get closer and when we've finished current content. Forget about the future stuff for now, it's not so relevant.

Right now, we've got some changes to tank threat mechanics and some nerfs to current content. I already wrote a thing about the threat changes on Tobold's blog, so ima just recopy it here, as it pretty much says my thoughts on things.

People seem too focused on how "they're making tanking easier" instead of on the more relevant "they're making dps not limited by the quality of their tank".

The main problem in group or multiplayer play is when another player is able to prevent you from enjoying the game as much as you would otherwise.  Look how this applies to a 5 man.

- If you get a bad healer, the tank's life is a lot more hectic, he has to spend more time working to stay alive instead of relaxing.

- If you get a bad tank, first your healer is stressed from having to keep him alive, and the dps are stressed from having to keep from pulling aggro.

- If you get a bad dps, it almost doesn't matter. A bad dps makes the tank's life easier. As long as all 3 aren't bad dps, it doesn't really affect the healer at all, as long as he has enough regen. The other dps aren't affected either.

Bad healers stress the tank, bad dps stress nobody, bad tanks stress everybody. It's unbalanced! What this change does is fix things so that a bad tank isn't as stressful to work with for a dps.

Games 08/17/2011

Yesterday I pretty much got home late from work, got ready for my raid, did the raid, and went to bed. Progression raiding is so time consuming! :o

But the raid went fairly well. We cleared heroic shannox easily, smashed through beth'tilac, baelorac, and alysrazor on reg, and settled down to wipe on heroic rhyolith the rest of the night. We really need to start doing heroic beth'tilac. That fight is just boring, now. I was healing below this week, and we always had a good 7-10 seconds of sitting around waiting for something to spawn each devastation.

Rhyolith is such a pain. The challenging part of the fight is hoping rng doesn't screw you on volcano activates. The night had two basic patterns of wipes. A) Volcanoes aren't flattened fast enough, so we end up with a 10-12 combined debuff stack and healing never really catches up from that. B) we fall behind on adds around the third spark, and the little fragments explode and kill people. The entire night of working on it we only got to phase 2 twice. The first time we had lava flows spawn right on our gather point, and lost 4 peeps when they got hit by a stomp and flows at the same time. The second time we lost 5 people on the second stomp, then kept the rest alive through the next 3 stomps and finally ended up dying to the increasing aoe damage. He had less than 100k hp left. >.< That was painful. It was me and the pally healing it. If it had been me and the holy priest, we'd have had it.

Holy pally is stepping it up, though! I have to admit it. I'm used to him sitting at around 2/3's of my healing. He was ending up at around 80-85% of my healing most attempts. That's good! Kept bitching about going oom and needing more mana, though. Suck it up! We're always just about to go oom at any moment. That's what healing is all about. :P I always try to save my fiend for just before the phase transition, when the fourth spark pops. If the turners have done a good job killing volcanoes, I'm at around 60% mana at that point. If they've not done so well, I'm at around 25-30%, if we didn't wipe before spark 4 from massive damage. This fight isn't really mana intensive, it's a combination of very bursty aoe and heavy sustained aoe. Perfect for a holy and disc priest. XD

We've also got a new healer we're breaking in, a tree. He used to raid with us a while ago as a deeps, and decided to come back as a healer. Shrug. He seems ok. About the same level as the pally. Needs better gear. We're taking turns subbing out for him to get him trash rep and reg boss kills. It's odd, but I don't feel like my raid spot is at all threatened at the moment. All through tier 11 I was a bit worried, as I had by far the crappiest gear in the raid group (I rolled a worgen for the first month of cataclysm isn't of playing my main, so I was well behind the rest of the group), and on good fights I could just about keep up with our holy priest, although he'd pull ahead eventually due to better regen. On some fights I was even falling to third place. :o Not a good situation! But in tier 12, through a combination of luck, good choices, and lots of gold, I'm not the best geared in the raid, but probably the best geared healer. And my healing output is sometimes just ridiculous. I'm hitting 25k hps on staghelm. 14-15k on most fights. I do maybe 120% of the next best healer, 150% of the worst. I'm not necessarily the most liked player, some of our more hardcore peeps find my cheerful/whimsical attitude somewhat grating (they don't like my singing sunflower! :o ), but I'm strong enough that I feel very secure in my spot. That's a comfortable situation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Games 08/16/2011

Very tired today. Did not sleep well at all.

Let's see, what did I do yesterday.

I played my new hunter alt a bit, in WoW. I'm an orc! A male orc! :o It's somewhat odd, since I'm used to playing sexy female blood elves, night elves, or draenei. I've only been playing an hour or so, but I have to admit, male orcs are very well animated. Simply running forwards, crouching to loot something, etc. Very smooth, natural looking motions. I don't care for the jumping, tbh, but meh! One thing that's an issue is that I've got a boar pet. That's no good. I need to get a turtle or something.

I downloaded a new addon for Oblivion called MMM, martigen's monster mod? Something like that? What it does is add a ton of new monsters into the game, causes them to roam in packs and fight each other. When I logged off to load it, I was standing on a rock looking across a valley and there was a wolf walking slowly across it. With the mod loaded, I logged back in and there were a couple hill giants across the way stomping on some carrion rats, there were some flying imps off to the side that immediately attacked me. On the opposite slope were some skeletons gathered. A lot more monsters than just the wolf! :o I didn't get a chance to play around with it too much, but it looks like it will make the game more interesting, dynamic, and fun. One thing I'm concerned about is that I killed the hill giants and they dropped a _lot_ of loot. Not sure how unbalancing this addon makes things.

Spent a few hours in Eve. It's probably not good that I'm so focused on PI. It's really odd, I know that it's not that great money anyway, but I still keep checking all my spaceports to make sure there's enough materials to keep my factories going for the next day, then going around in my badger collecting stuff to fill them up. I think things will get a lot more passive once I manage to build up a good week's supply of 60-70k of each of my inputs. That'll let me simply wait for other peeps to deliver stuff to me, instead of running around all over myself.

I ran a few level 3 missions. Hit a roadblock when my agent wanted me to go kill other faction ships and wouldn't let me abandon for hours. So I went scanning a bit. Found a wormhole nearby to a c2 system. The system was huge! I set my probes to 32au and spread them out well and still wasn't covering even a tenth of the system. I started running sweeps around orbits at the ecliptic, found 10-12 combat sites, perimeter hangers, etc. Then I found a radar site, and decided that would be my target. Ran out, got my drake, fitted it up for wh'ing and headed out to the site. Had some initial trouble clearing it as the trigger ships for the next wave used cap neutralizers. Didn't want to kill them first, and proc the next wave, but couldn't leave them too long and lose so much energy I couldn't warp away. The second spawn had a battleship, and I'm just sitting in a little drake, with tech 1 heavy missile launchers that I don't have that much skill for anyway. I eventually got him, but it took forever! While I was waiting for him to die, I ran around and collected all the radar goodies. Oddly enough, they weren't locked till you cleared the site, like they are in known space. Something to remember! :o The third wave was two battleships, and I just said fuck it and left. Decent haul, no nano-ribbons, alas, but I got a lot of subsystem research stuff. Doesn't sell great, but it'll probably turn into a few million when I haul it to jita.

Only other thing I did in eve was get a new ship, a badger mark 2! I'd been sitting in my badger, with 7.5k-ish storage, and that was decent, but I knew there were rigs that would improve that. But I didn't want to spend 12 million on rigs for a crappy starter industrial ship. With my badger mark 2, I went all out on rigs and cargo holds, got it up to about 19k m3 of storage. That's almost a full jetcan. :o

There's a raid tonight in WoW. Ugh, I don't really want to bother, I'm sleepy. >.<

Monday, August 15, 2011

Games 08/15/2011

Amg, I'm sleepy. I was up way too late last night and then had to get up early for work today. >.<

The weekend was really busy, gaming and otherwise.

First of all, I tried out a new game, The Bastion. I bought this game solely because Yahtzee reviewed it and didn't say it was horrible. I haven't gotten too much into it yet, but it's interesting and fun. The actual gameplay isn't too inspired. Run around on platforms, diablo 2 style, killing enemies and collecting power-ups. The interesting part is that the entire game is narrated. As you do stuff, the narrator says what you're doing. Like I was walking into an area and saw a monster. The narrator says 'Something appears in front of the kid. Is it a survivor? No, it's a gas fiend'. I kill it. 'Kid took it down easy'. If I had gotten hurt it would have added 'It got a piece of him, though'. I go around the platform smashing boxes looking for fragments. 'Kid just rages out a bit'. And so on. It's a very interesting take and it's surprising just how effective it is in making it feel that I'm creating the story instead of just watching it. I'm sure that under the hood it's not nearly as impressive as it seems, and the game is actually fairly linear, but it's definitely a new take on things, a direction I would like to see more games move in.

Didn't touch warcraft again till Sunday's raid. We didn't have a good group composition for Sindragosa, so we went back through blackwing descent and got peeps achievements. Killed magmaw without getting anyone parasited. Tried to do arcanotron without anyone getting hit with an ability, but somehow failed at it. Damn addon didn't show us we'd failed. :o Chimaeron with fewer than 3 deaths. Atramaedes with no one above 50 sound. Maloriak killing lots of adds all at once. Getting Nefarian below 50% by the time he lands. I had most of it already, but hey, it was fun to see the old content again. Overpower it all in our nifty, new firelands gear.

I've been thinking about starting a new character, perhaps a hunter. I know I just started a rogue last month and got bored immediately and didn't even break level 20, but hey that was a goblin. The goblin area might be visually interesting but it's so on rails and scripted that it gets terribly boring. I'll go with an orc. Sigh, why do horde races have to be so ugly? :(

In Oblivion I've started actually questing instead of just running around clearing dungeons. I still think the quests aren't well implemented. Too much 'go talk to this guy, now talk to that guy, then go talk to that guy, then go kill the first guy, then come back to me.' 15 minutes of looking for and chatting with npc's and 10 seconds of combat. I'm slowly pushing my way through fighter's guild quests. One of the addons I use gives me a nifty home, a castle that tracks your quest progress, gives room to leave collectibles, etc. So that's nifty.

Spent a lot of time playing Eve. There was some eve scandal that I didn't care about, didn't affect me, and I don't want to talk about. I wrote a nifty little program to take prices about planetary commodities and show how much isk each option can get you. It's a little complicated and there are two very distinct parts of PI and my program only covers one. The two parts are extracting resources from a planet and using those resources to build goods. My program only covers the latter part.

The basic idea is that there are 4 tiers of produced commodities, C1-C4. A factory can turn 3000 raw into 20 C1's, 40 C1's of two types into 5 C2's, 10 C2's of two types into 3 C3's, and 6 C3's of two types into 1 C4. So it's like a big production tree for each C4 with C1's as leaves. Also, each item in each tier goes into two or three items of the higher tier. So the prices for everything are all tied together. The limits for a player are the number of planets you can have production on, and the total amount of power and cpu on each planet. For me, I can run four planets with the fourth upgraded command center. What my program does is to try to find the isk profit per power. It's a bit complicated, the C4 commodities sell for far more than the earlier commodities, but if you want to make them from scratch, you need to devote lots of factories to make a single item per cycle. So sure, you have one factory making an item with 300k profit, but to get that you have to have 12 other factories that just feed into it, without any profit. Or you can buy half of the inputs and make the other half, reducing the profit per item generated, but also reducing the power required.

So here's what I ended up with. A c4 commodity, across all the factories feeding into it, starting from purchased c1's, substituting for directly purchased items higher tier items when appropriate, gives you a profit of about 7k per factory per hour. A c3 commodity gives you a profit of about 4.5k per factory per hour. A c2 commodity gives you a profit of about 5-6k per factory per hour. So never build to c3 and sell, always stop at c2 or go on to c4.

Comparing c2's to c4's. The profit of each is the benefit, the cost is the time required to keep each producing each hour. Both require a lot of transport time, buying the low tier items off the market and hauling them out to your planet. The c4's also require more time hauling goods in between planets, making your c2's at 2-3 planets, combining them all at one final planet to put into your c4 factories. But the output of c4's is smaller than c2's, and so requires fewer trips to market just to sell. Also, c4's are low volume, high volatility, while c2's have higher volume. Either way, prices are crazy volatile in eve. Right now I'm sticking with c2's. I don't have much of a build up of c1's, I have market orders, but I'm still having to spend time going out and buying c1's. Once I get more established, I hope to reduce hauling/trading time to perhaps an hour every two days. Also, you can't simply spam factories on your planets, you'll run out of cpu. It's always worth putting some extraction stuff down, and that'll generate some free isk also.

I currently have 4 planets. One of them isn't set up well, it was the one I used while learning about how this stuff all works in practice. I need to tear it all down, find a better planet, restart. The other three are set up with an extractor, 2-3 factories converting raw to c1, two spaceports, one for each bank of advanced factories, 8-9 advanced factories, producing two types of goods per planet. Don't have the list in front of me, but I'm producing something like 4 factories worth of polyaramids, biocells, supertensile plastics, microfibre shielding, and oxides. Of those, the biocells generate the best isk per power, but I'm making more than just them in order to limit my exposure. So call it 25 factories, each generating 6k isk per hour, 144k per day per factory, 3.6 million isk per day total. That's decent, but not great. People call PI passive isk, but that's ignoring all the hauling time. Imagining if I could scale up, 6 planets instead of 3, 12 factories instead of 8-9. That would be over 10 million isk a day, or almost enough isk per month to buy a plex. Hey, it's a good goal. :P

The other half of PI is the resource extraction, and I have no idea how to model it. The amount you can extract per hour varies so much on what type of item you're extracting, the quality of the planet, and the concentration of that item on the planet. Bacteria is abundant everywhere and sells for almost nothing. Precious metals are harder to find in good quantities, and cost a lot. But the extractor head itself is a very small part of the total power required to extract. Most of the power use is in the control unit. So there isn't that big of difference between using 5 or 6 extractor heads. So should you use 6 heads to feed 2 c1 factories for an expensive but rare item, 6 heads to feed 3 c1 factories of a moderately rare/priced item, or 3 heads to feed 2 c1 factories of a really cheap item. I really don't know. And it'll vary so much based on what planet you're on.

I figured this, that materials become more abundant on planets as those planets are located in more dangerous places. The best planets are in worm holes or nullsec. As a carebear who pretty much just stays in empire, I'll never run into real high quality planets, so it's best for me just to go for lots of factories, rather than lots of extraction. Someday I'll experiment more and find out. :P

Friday, August 12, 2011

Games 08/12/2011

The raid last night didn't go so well. Our class balance just sucks at the moment, 2 pallies, 3 priests, 2 warlocks, 2 rogues, deathknight. We didn't have bloodlust, and were missing a lot of raid buffs. Without lust, they didn't even want to try to work on ryolith, so we just killed him reg. We experimented on reg a bit with seeing how long we can hold staghelm before making him switch. The first attempt lead to a wipe from way too many copies hitting the tank. Second time killed him easy, but I was having real mana troubles by the end.

Then we hit a brick wall at rag. We've killed ragnaros several times before, and while I don't think we've ever killed him without a death, most of our wipes have been in phase 3 with the meteors. Last night we were failing all over. People not getting out of fire, getting hit by waves, standing in the wrong place, etc. Most disgusting is that we kept dying every time at the second intermission from sons reaching the hammer and exploding. Not just one or two sons, but like 2-3 at a time, all from one side. No matter how we switched the dps around, there was  always one side consistently failing on their sons. As a healer, I'm able to slow maybe one of them, and I was trying to help, but there's very little agency for healers at this part of the encounter. We get the raid to that point and then the dps have to get us past it. And they weren't. Three solid hours of wipes and then a couple of our better deeps logged on and were subbed in and we killed it second attempt after that. Still, what a huge waste of an evening.

But at least firelands are clear for the week already. There's talk of working on sinestra on sunday. We've tried that twice before. A two heals encounter, first tries were me and the pally, then we switched it to me and the holy priest. Might mean that I'm up for sitting next time. Wouldn't mind that, I've got other games to play. XD

Seamless transition to other games. I popped on to eve briefly, set my PI extractors to a new program, double checked my skill queue. Ran a load of junk to jita, brought back a couple C1 goods, 3 days supply or so. I actually spent more eve time yesterday not playing eve. I wrote up a program that tries to find the most added value per power grid of various PI processes. I think it maybe kinda works, perhaps? I decided to write it in python since I haven't really had much experience with python, and I wanted to get better at it. But I'm not so good at the testing part of things. Ah well.

I was talking to a guy in corp chat and I had to realize just how easily distracted I am in Eve. I started out all 'zomg, I'm going to be the best miner I can be' and then realized I should maybe do some missions to get rep so I can have a better refine rate, and was all 'ima pve in my battlecruiser with missiles, pew pew!', and then I  realized just how much fun it is scanning for stuff using probes, finding radar sites, getting escalations, etc. And now I'm all hardcore pursuing setting up planetary interaction. Wonder what I'm going to latch onto next? :P

I touched in briefly with Oblivion. Did the mission where you kill off the gang of women who were stealing from men by luring them out to a farm outside anvil. Found a nifty ruin full of vampires, that I didn't want to deal with yet. I'll wait till I'm a bit higher before dealing with the whole vampirism thing. One thing about Oblivion, I remember back when it came out they were touting how the landscape was generated using all these climate models and whatever, to be realistic. The problem is that this makes it fairly boring. I always compare to the Gothic series of games, another huge wide open world, but in Gothic the maps all feel very crafted, refined to provide an experience and promote exploration. In gothic I find myself checking around turns and little depressions, finding out of the way chests/lootable corpses/etc. In oblivion, I start to do that and quickly realize that no, there isn't anything interesting there. Just more boring hills. All the interesting things are at marked sites, usually in another area you get to by clicking a mine door or ruins entrance. The outside world has nothing worth paying attention to, so when I'm outside I pretty much just stare at my compass as I go, waiting for marked sites to pop up on it. Is a shame, since the world is so pretty. But so useless. Oblivion is a game that doesn't need an overworld map. If leaving an area just presented you with a list of other areas to go to and you could click where you want to go, it would be the exact same game experience. That seems a shame.

Heard about an interesting game on Zero Punctuation called The Bastion. The review looked pretty good! When Yahtzee says a game isn't horrible, that's quite a strong endorsement. :P I'll buy it when I get home.

Sigh, wish I was home now. Work is so boring. And I've already gotten more accomplished this week than I aim to achieve, so today is just sitting around keeping busy, and trying not to get stressed. I was reading The Lord-Protector's Daughter by Modesitt, but I finished it. I have the next book in the series, but it's a hardcopy, at home. And hours to go before I can leave. >.<

My mood: Meh. 5/10

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Games 08/11/2011

Didn't have much time to play games yesterday, was busy.

Played eve a bit, checking in on my PI stuff. Worked on my spreadsheet more. I have to confess, the whole thing is getting too complex for me to spreadsheet cleanly. I need to program it.

Spent some time in oblivion, exploring lots of shops that are added in Better Cities. Toy shops and tailoring shops. :P I also found a named guy in some ruins who dropped a mace and started a quest. I've played through the game several times before, and I swear I've never seen this quest before. Awesome to still be finding new things in it after all this time.

Raid tonight. Ugh, I don't want to raid, I'm sleepy. Sigh.

My mood: Decent. Started out kind of amused/whimsical, but work killed that fast. 5/10.

Price of Labor

Tobold is writing about riots and mistakes made by businesses and notes that a business exists to create added value, the profit from which is then given to investors, instead of both investors and workers. Earlier in the same article he laments the high youth unemployment rate. I respect Tobold, but he clearly doesn't understand how the price of labor works.

First of all, businesses are not about adding value, for the benefit of society or whatever. Businesses are about chasing a higher yield, a higher return on investment. If I had a few hundred thousand lying around, and my goal is to get more money, I have a few options. I can put my money in a bank savings account, getting a 1% return. I can buy treasury bonds for a 2% return. I can put money in a balanced investment portfolio and get a 4-6% return. Or, I can start or invest directly in a business and hope for a higher return. Tobold's suggestion is that the profits from a business should be re-balanced, with a reduction for investors and an increase for labor salaries. That's a minor thing if you're company is already generating a 20% return and would shift to an 18% return. But if implemented across all businesses, it would mean that those businesses only making a 7% return, which now are still a better investment than stocks, would only make a 5% return, and so there'd be no reason to have that business at all. If Tobold's advice were followed, it would lead to factories and small businesses closing and fewer new ones being created, causing more unemployment.

It always frustrates me when I hear people bitching about how unfair it is that a company ceo earns 10 million  a year while some of his employees only earn 22k a year. What people don't understand is that the ceo is going to earn 8 million anyway, even if he didn't bother to run the company, just from taking the money he would have invested in the company and instead investing it elsewhere. Instead, he chased a higher yield, getting an extra 2 million and in the process employing hundreds of people and creating added value.

But all of that is completely ignoring the other side of the equation, the price of labor. What those salaries 'should' be. Like it or not, people have different talents and abilities, and some skill sets are more in demand by society than others. A doctor doesn't make a couple hundred thousand a year because doctors deserve a higher salary, rather it's because people demand healthcare, doctors provide healthcare, and not many people have the skill set to become doctors. If magically 90% of the population had a doctor's knowledge and experience, while also becoming weak and frail, then the salaries of doctors would drop to 30k and people who can carry boxes would jump to a 200k salary. Salary is determined by 1) how much society values what a job produces, and by 2) how many other people can also do that job.

Unemployment is caused by two things, they're not both required, either one will cause unemployment.

1. Job creators (businesses) failing to attain high enough yields, leading to a reduction in new capital investment and the closing of businesses on the margin. This can be caused by rising costs due to labor (minimum wage, work eligibility, etc), higher raw material or production costs (such as the oil price rising), taxation (of both business yields and again as income/capital gains), a reduction in how much society wants your added value (watch consumer confidence), or a shift in how other investment options perform relative to  businesses (watch the fed's interest rates).

2. Government intervention pricing people out of the labor market. There are people whose skill sets do not give them the option to earn a high paying job, or who have limitations on their productivity from medical problems, time availability, travel difficulties, etc. The marginal value of their labor ends up very low. If the government puts price controls on labor, for example by saying you can't hire people for less than a certain amount, then those people whose labor value is below that amount will never be able to find jobs. If there are requirements regarding providing health care or pensions or other benefits, the same thing occurs. It's an interesting side note, but the point of those programs is to make things better for workers. Is it justice to remove 2% of the labor force to cause better work conditions for 5% of the labor force? For 10%? Removing 10% for 50%? How much suffering should the gov cause in a small group to improve the average of the total group?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Games 08/10/2011

Yesterday was a raid night. We did heroic shannox, regular beth'tilac, alysrazor, and baelorac. The raid actually ended early because we didn't want to go work on heroic ryolith without bloodlust. Was fairly uneventful. Apparently we got a new healer, a tree, and he got rotated in for some trash and a couple fights. I'd judge that he's better than our holy pally, but not as good as our holy priest, and certainly not me. I'm happy to switch things up now and then, gives me a chance to skip a night or two, avoid burnout, but changing classes or adding peeps makes it harder to compare older logs to current logs. With a druid instead of a pally, I spend less time prayer of healing spamming and more time pre-bubbling or topping off the tanks. I'm still ranking more often than not. I usually beat my previous record by a very tiny amount of hps each week. Suppose it means my gear is slightly improving or I'm getting that much better at anticipating incoming damage.

For eve I actually spent a lot of time not actually playing eve. I'm working on a planetary interaction spreadsheet. Is fun times. I did run my industrial back to jita to sell off a bunch of stuff and pick up a load of biomass. Not much more to say.

I played oblivion more. Cleared a couple mines, explored a bit, leveled, got some iron armor. Still haven't bothered with any quests yet. I'm just enjoying the world. I'll probably start joining the guilds soon, doing their early stuff. The quests in oblivion are particularly poorly done, with so many just having you run from npc to npc talking to them. Where's my 'go clear out this dungeon so we can begin excavating ancient artifacts' type quests that were in morrowind?

Markets bounced up a bit. Dead cat bounce? :-/

My mood: Feeling fairly calm. Enjoying spreadsheeting. Bit anxious about a work meeting that's coming up. 5/10.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Games 08/09/2011

Yesterday I spent a few hours getting started in Oblivion. Rolled my char, a knight type elf girl. Ran around killing crabs and picking up nirnroot, like you do. I have to confess, I've always found the main quest of oblivion rather boring. I get bored around the time where there's an emergency at weynon priory, at which you do fuck all, then ride to a big castle and listen to 10 minutes of roleplay. It's much more fun just to run around the world, doing quests, becoming powerful, looking for nifty constant effect gear.

When I first played oblivion, I didn't really understand how the leveled stuff works. In say, morrowind, there'd be places where lots of really tough monsters were, and when you were new, you just couldn't go there yet. It actually created a nice sense of progression, where you first had to quest nearby the major cities, then slowly conquer the roads in between them, and finally begin to push back into the wilderness. In oblivion, it's completely different. Everywhere you go you'll find mobs at your level, they all scale to match you. All the mobs drop gear appropriate for your level, all the chests have contents generated on the fly to match you. It essentially means you can go anywhere at all and still be able to kill stuff and get interesting loot. Which is somewhat convenient, I suppose, but it does take away from the feel of 'conquering the world' and since you can never get an edge on mobs, you never feel like you're becoming excessively powerful.

Getting back to what I didn't understand about the leveling when I first played. The key thing to remember is that everything resets. I didn't realize this, so my first playthrough was very very limited to places where a quest directed me. I didn't want to enter a new place early, and then have the level-matching loot system set all the loot to my low level, I wanted to do the quests to level up first, then go exploring so it would match to my high level. But that doesn't matter! You can clear a place, level up a few times, go somewhere else, wait 2 days, and that place will be full of monsters and chests again, at your new level. There still isn't that much reward for exploration, since loot and such is randomized and level matched you'll never find that zomg epic sword, but at least the game doesn't outright punish you for exploring a place before you're 'supposed' to get to it. :P

Other games! For eve, I didn't really have much time to do anything. I'm making a push to get social skills up to iv so that I can remap away my charisma. Then I'll..... I dunno! I know I want to get to tech 2 heavy missile launchers, and that will probably be the best way to improve my mission/standing grind. But I also do want to get a good mining boat, so I can participate in my corp's mining ops. And I recently took an interest in planetary interaction. My corp keeps telling me I should train drones more. I still can't use tech 2 active shield hardeners. And I really regret not having the standard core competency certificate. So many different directions to go in. o.o

I ran a few missions till they wanted me to go fight other empire factions and I can't abandon that for hours without standing loss. Then I started messing around more with PI. My initial effort was pretty feeble, a small little thing that makes a couple hundred thousand isk worth of toxic metals per day. It seems like everyone goes for building up a huge vertical enterprise, and then stop at the highest they can go comfortably. One guy in my corp uses 3 alts to fill in the entire production line from raw resource extractors all the way to C4 products. Says that it pays for the plex for one of his 3 alts. Sounds like a lot of hassle to me, with no alts. :P So I'm trying an experiment! I started a new planet, set up about 2/3's of the power grid like you're supposed to, extracting resources and turning them into C1 products. But I reserved half of my power grid for advanced industrial factories. I ran around and grabbed a lot of cheap C2 stuff and imported it all down to my planet. The factories will slowly convert it to C3 stuff. I did some simple spreadsheeting, and it looks like I'm going to see a 40% return on the cost of buying the C2 stuff, if the price of the C3 holds. Either way, it's an experiment to see if it's possible to make money this way. I figure that since I'm sitting in empire, I'll never find high quality planets for extracting resources. But for factories it doesn't matter what quality planet you're using. We'll see how it goes.

WoW raid tonight. I'm actually starting to get a little tired of raiding 3 times a week. Maybe I should take a break from it a bit.

My mood: Definitely dropped pretty low last night, but I feel better this morning. Call it 5/10.

I really need to learn not to follow day to day stuff about the markets. It's too depressing. Today I dropped to a net loss for the year. I'm 13k poorer than I was two weeks ago. >.< Sigh.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Games 08/08/2011

Was a fun weekend. I spent a lot of time doing other stuff (not as much as I would like, but still :P ) and so didn't have as much game time as other weekends. Had a new dining table delivered, also. It's big, it didn't seem anywhere near this size at the store as it does in my apartment. o.O

For warcraft. Sunday was a raid night. I was partially right about ryolith. Healing with my heal lead (holy priest) is much easier than healing with the other healing officer (holy pally). When it was me and the holy priest there, I didn't even feel like my mana was being stressed at all. I saved my fiend almost all the way to p2. But this disguises the more important point. We're not failing due to healing, even with the pally in the raid. A very clear pattern emerges, wipe after wipe, of our volcano debuff getting up to a combined 9-10 stacks or higher and then healing never really catches up again. A lot of that is range, with peeps running all over the place so we can't use very effective group heals. Ah well. We didn't get the kill. Maybe next week. I dunno, we're not even getting consistently to p2. Maybe our peeps doing the turning are horrible, but maybe there really is just too much rng about which volcano gets fiery next.

Anyway, after we gave up on ryolith, we switched to reg and killed him so we could clear the place before reset. Staghelm is such a fun fight for disc priests. I always end up doing like 50-60% of the healing, with 3 healers. Spam poh when you know that all your aegis's (aegises? aegii?) will be used up by the next cleave. Having everyone already grouped up for barrier is awesome, too. Our heal lead is all sadface about how he doesn't have a raid-wide mitigation/healing cooldown (divine hymn sucks), and he's not leading on healing. I get the feeling he'd go disc priest except I'm already around. o.O Rag was uneventful. Felt kinda like we were short dps the whole raid, tbh. Maybe the ryolith attempts made people sleepy. On a plus side, I got a sexy new necklace with spirit on it. Small upgrade, only 372->378, but hey, I'm happy. :P

Spent some time in eve, but it didn't really feel like I actually got that much done. Ran some 3's. Did a long annoying rogue drone exploration site, but it didn't escalate, nor drop anything good. I need to do more 3's and get my rep up enough to get better refining yields, for drone parts and stuff. Ran around in a wormhole a bit (brought my core probes on my drake this time!) Found a radar site, took forever to pound down the first couple waves. Then the third wave warped in, two battleships and some frigates. O.O Bit beyond me. Oddly enough, they didn't aggro immediately. I was able to grab 4 of the 8 archaeology bins before I strayed close enough to aggro them. Got a bunch of wrecked stuff, wrecked weapon, wrecked thruster, etc. Someone in my corp said that they're worth a half million to a couple million each. Fun times. There were a couple normal deadspace areas (perimeter whatevers, hangers?) but I didn't want to press my luck on the wormhole back home staying up. This time. :P There was this amazing visual in the worm hole space. At first I thought it was the sun, but then I realized it was just part of the background. A big pulsar or black hole or something. Light beams radiating out of it and a sort of aura of light flowing out at intervals into the clouds around it. Should have taken a screenshot! :o

In the blog community. Nothing too objectionable today. Tobold is talking a lot about the announced Diablo 3 real money trade auction house where you can sell your in game epics for real money. I dunno, it's a nifty idea. Maybe I'll even buy or sell a thing or two. It's a bit early to judge how it'll work out, I want to see it in practice.

Gevlon is talking about how boss fights are unrealistic, as there's no reason to think that a real life boss will be physically stronger or more powerful than his underlings, merely more influential. I'll go with that, but I don't see it as much of a problem in WoW. When the final boss is a dragon, you kind of expect the dragon to be more powerful than the humans he deals with. In current content I think they handle this very well. In firelands, you never really get an impression that all the bosses are working together. Instead, you've stepped into a new realm, where there are various Powers who are fighting among themselves, and you have to clear the others in order to get to staghelm and rag. The trash reflects this, with spiders attacking everything else, flamewakers binding elementals, etc. Going back to the original idea, it's worth noting that in real life, the difference between a footman and a knight was pretty much just the ability to afford a suit of armor and maintain a horse. Being the leader of a group has its perks, and even if any grunt would be powerful with the stuff the boss has, it's the boss that has it. :P

Spinks is talking about player generated content and the blurring of the player/developer distinction it causes. I'm all for player created scenarios, I loved that aspect of City of Heroes. Apparently Star Trek Online has them too? I didn't know that, maybe I should try that game again sometime. It's free to play now, I think. But yeah, turn players loose on content generation and they'll create elaborate and fun areas, just for more likes or pluses or rating. It's like with oblivion, the original game is fun, but it pales next to what they addon community has developed in the years since it was released. Even ignoring all the porn, stuff like Better Oblivion Cities are just amazing. I think it's a real tribute to how well the game was designed to allow a complete enhancement of the imperial city and still not crash and break half the quests.

Now I want to play oblivion but I'm stuck at work for 6 more hours. >.<

My mood: Still elevated, but feels fragile, declining. 6/10.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Games 08/06/2011

So I just had my first major loss in Eve. Entirely my own fault. Scanned out a wormhole, got my drake and went through, cleared up a sleeper site, got back to my wormhole and it was gone. With my scan ship back on the other side. Had to self-destruct. The drake was insured, of course, but refitting it cost another 20million isk or so, and I still need to buy a new set of +3 implants, probably set me back perhaps another 40 million? Ah well. These things happen. I'm trying not to get upset about it. Think I better spend some more time running missions to make up the isk. :P

I've been trying to set up oblivion, that I just downloaded from steam. I've been trying to gather up addons and having lots and lots of trouble getting them to work. Spent a couple hours thrashing back and forth trying to deal with crashes and worse, when it doesn't crash but just doesn't work, without any errors or indication of why it doesn't work. Finally worked out the main problem was that the steam version I have has the last modification date of the archives really recent, more recent than the mods I'm trying to get it to work with, so the whole archive invalidation thing doesn't work. Finally found an option to change the last modify date back several years, and now it works. There's just a few more I want to add, and then I can start actually planning my character. I'm thinking I'll go with a heavy armor knight type. I've beat the game as a stealthy char and as a mostly magic char, but I've shied away from the pure physical damage chars. I do want to finish the game again before skyrim comes out. When oblivion came out I never really could get back to morrowind, even though I enjoyed it far better than oblivion. Ah well.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Games 08/05/2011

More sad from the markets. Sigh.

Firelands raid last night. Killed heroic shannox fairly easily, once we figured out how to deal with the one person capable of breaking face rage getting face raged herself. :P Slowly pushed through beth, bael. 2 heals for alysrazor, so I volunteered to sit, as I'm not so confident of my execution on that fight, and it was getting late anyway. Think they might have gone on to try ryolith a few pulls. shrug. That's the focus for sunday's raid. I worry that we'll spend too much time against ryolith and both not get him and not clear the rest of the place. That would be fail all around.

In eve I ran a few more 2s, then got bored and decided to do some exploration. Lots of boring combat sites, archaeology site with some crap t1 salvage, radar site with all empty containers (tragic). Did get one escalation from a combat site. Lead me all around and eventually into lowsec (scary). Got a lot of faction ammo that I won't use and sells for crap, and the end reward was a high meta pirate faction passive armor hardener (against thermal? I think? forget). I'm a shield tank, but hey, it's one more thing to add to my collection of nifty stuff. Sells decently too, 10-15 million isk, if I'm suddenly caught short of money.

Disagreed with a politics post over at troll racials are overpowered. Klepsocovic seems to think that everything sucks because 'we clearly do not have equal wallets and never will' and that we need big government to fix all this. Because the horri-bad guy that is so unproductive he can't get a job lifting boxes for minimum wage is totally as valuable to society as a doctor with his own private practice making 300k a year, amirite? XD

Gevlon had an interesting post where he suggests that people need to be careful not to invest money in things that other people don't value as much as you would. A very odd position from this anti-social type person. I commented that it was a bad decision to trade away your own happiness (clearly the ultimate value) merely for more money (which has no intrinsic value itself). Oddly enough my comment got moderated and didn't show up. heh.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Games 08/04/2011

The markets are making me sad and I wish I owned more gold. >.<

Ah well! Didn't have much time to game last night, as I had late meetings at work, so this will be a quick update. :P Didn't get home till 6.

I checked in on WoW to see if we were going to try to run today, since we missed yesterday. Alas, we were not. Ah well, raid tonight. Assuming our MT can get online. XD

For Eve Online, I finally got enough standing to start doing 2's at my new home. And since I'd grown so used to blitzing 1's in my cruiser, I figured I'd better upgrade, so I got my first battlecruiser, a Drake! This thing has such a crazy tank, I'm sitting at like 14k shields, compared to the 3k my cruiser has. I spent some time gathering up stuff for it, shield extenders and such, and then ran a bunch of 2s. I decided to try out mining 2s and was totally disappointed. Takes forever, not to mine, but to get from asteroid to asteroid, and then from can to can in my industrial. I'll pull back from mining missions until I have some sort of mining barge.

I also started planetary interaction! I picked an ice planet and I have like no PI skills, so I'm not doing it very well, but I started extracting resources and turning them into P1 products. Set it up real quickly last night without really understanding all that goes into it, and this morning I had 100k isk worth of metals. That's like nothing, but presumably it scales as you get more skills and turn stuff into p2s, p3s, etc, and it's entirely passive.

Had a thought. In eve, the primary denomination of currency is misk, million isk. With high end stuff being talked about in terms of billion isk, a thousand misk. I suppose that must mean that Eve uses the short scale for billions! By the long scale, a billion is a million millions, not a thousand millions. A thousand millions is a milliard. Does that mean iceland uses the short scale too? Or did they switch it to be more comfortable for Americans? Who knows!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Games 08/03/2011

WoW was a big failure last night. Our MT lost power just before the raid was about to start and our third backup tank decided he didn't want to pve anymore, just arena. We could have still gone on to work on Ryolith or Baelorac but our MT is by far our best tank, and peeps didn't want to spend hours wiping. Our MT managed to get back on an hour and a half later, but by then half the raid had logged. Ah well. I got some archaeology done while waiting and reposted all my glyphs to AH.

One extra thing. I got a wow mail from another disc priest who had occasionally been all social and gushing over my awesome gear, asking if we were recruiting for a hardcore raid spot. I referred him to our heal lead, of course, but also suggested that it's unlikely, as we're way oversaturated on healing. When I logged on later, our heal lead was online, and I told him about the person I'd sent his way. Apparently, before I'd even gotten the mail, one of our non-raiding officers had invited the priest to guild. Our heal lead seemed very angry about this. I armoried the new dude and he doesn't even have 359 average ilvl, he's around 355. That's terrible this far into 4.2. There's no excuse for not having 2-3 valor point 378 pieces to pull you up. Having 359 average ilvl means you're ready to start tier 11 heroics, not the tier 12 heroics we're working on. Most of us are all up at 372-376. This priest is no threat to me, but I do expect some drama in the future. Maybe it'll be epic enough to spill out of /o so I can see, too. :P

No raids, so I spent the evening playing eve and reading Imager by Modesitt. I'm still trying to build up gallente rep and corp rep at my new home by blitzing through 1's so I can start doing 2's. There's a security and a mining 2 at my home. I wonder if the mining 2's might be fun. :P I read on forums that one way to push up your faction rep is to do the career tutorial agents of the other factions, so I spent some time training gallente frigates, so I can use the tutorial frigates. I'll see how that goes tonight.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Games 08/02/2011

World of Warcraft:

My most recent long play session was on Sunday. We tried heroic staghelm, just to get a feel for the encounter. ZOMG, those scythes hit people hard in scorpion mode. Even with prayer of healing spam we're still losing people at 6 or 7 adrenaline. My heal lead says we need to stagger our raid cooldowns so there's a scythe in between each, to let us reach 12-13 stacks on the first scorpion phase. I'm unconvinced. Shrug.

We gave up on heroic and killed it reg. Staghelm is such an awesome fight for disc priests, I always come way out ahead. Scorpion phase is sustained aoe heals, not burst, so disc works really well, and cat phases are mostly tank healing, which is also a win for me. I try not to gloat, but the dps peeps only look at the healing meter, not the absorbs meter. It's a balance between looking good enough that they don't resent my presence, yet still being humble enough that I don't piss off my fellow healers.

They still do resent my presence a bit. 3 healers, 2 of whom are officers, one of which was in the guild we merged with that got us our best dps peeps. But he's not so good, a holy pally that comes in at maybe 60-70% of the healing of me or our holy priest heal lead. Married to our top dps. With 2 healable encounters, our officers have to balance between keeping them happy by bringing in the pally and heal lead, or pushing progression and bringing in me and our heal lead. They just see me taking the spot of their friend. Ah well.

Next raid is tonight. Heroic ryolith is the progression edge. I sat the thursday raid where they worked on him before, so I'm going into it new. Fun times. If I'm not sat again, at least. XD Our MT and raid lead said he wanted me in tonight for it, but I owe our heal lead. He won tier shoulders last time and then later on gave them to me, saying he didn't want to break his set bonus yet so they would just be banked for a couple weeks. An obviously false reason for passing to me, with 5 other players on our token! I'm grateful, but I'm not sure yet what it'll cost me in the long run. Am I being placated? o.O On the other hand, fuck yeah, 4 pc! :D

Eve Online:

I just moved homes! I used to be in caldari space, the forge, but it was so crowded all the time, I didn't feel safe jetcan mining and had a lot of interference while exploring. One by one I moved all my ships to my new spot in Everyshore, where the average peeps in space is less than 10, while still being only 2 systems from the constellation trade hub. Only problem is, Everyshore is gallente and I've been blowing up gallente npcs in my caldari missions for weeks. >.< I don't have access to any level 2 mission npcs, so I'm running level 1's, trying to build up corp rep. Is a bit tricky because several level 1's have ship requirements that won't let my cruiser enter, and I didn't bring over my missile frigate and my gunnery skills suck. Means that I'm hopping between 3 different corps, declining missions that require frigates or that have me kill other empire faction ships (fool me twice!), then going on to the next agent till I can decline again without standing loss.

For skills, I switched it up and trained social a bit, for the standing help. Next up is missile operation V. When that's done, I think I'll go for drones a bit. My drones suck, but that's been ok so far because my caracal has crap for drone space anyway. When I move up to a drake, I'll need to use more drones.

I was tempted to place some ore buy orders, but I don't have anywhere near my new home that gives a 100% refine. Sigh, I need better standings.

Other games:

Had my parents over for a visit on Saturday and showed them Alice Madness Returns. They agreed it was creepy. They found portal 2 very funny.

I bought Catherine, and played it for maybe 20 minutes or so. Looks interesting. I dunno, I'm a little ambivalent about the way they're presenting the adult content stuff. Seems like there's this clear division, there are your normal games and those are fun, and there are outright porn games, and those are fun times, and this is kind of in the middle. Shrug, when I get more time I'll see it more.

Bought a game from the peeps who did Reccetear. Haven't even started it yet. o.O