Elder Scrolls Online and other single player games

Both readers of this blog may recognize that I occasionally drift away from writing about EVE Online and venture into other games and genres. Never for long, no other game so far had the staying power with me but yes, I did write about World of Warcraft, Fallout 4, Planetside 2 and of course my anticipated disaster playing No Man’s Sky.  Likely quite a few others but those are the ones that I remember a little more.  Common to all these games is my lack of attachment, an “aloof” attitude, an unwillingness for me to get serious about the game, nothing compares to you, EVE Online in depth and complexity.  Case study Fallout 4.  I picked it up over the Thanksgiving Holidays and played it a ton. The captivating storyline, the excellent (in my opinion) combat, crafting and interaction system and the detailed post-apocalyptic, believable world drew me in.  Its an awesome game.  Last time I played? January 23rd according to Steam. Its not that I don’t like the game, I just “got it”, i.e. I understood how it works and where it will go eventually.   Sure, there are mods (which I downloaded), new questions, more villages to free etc but overall, I have all the content that I wanted – (discounted) money well spent.  In the future, I will likely go back and replay it in Survival Mode for the additional challenges but currently I see no need to continue.

Still my favorite companion

Still my favorite companion

Similarly with Skyrim.  Every time I log in, I love the game, the atmosphere, the scenery.  Skyrim as a game is just straight gorgeous, the quests are interesting and some are challenging.  It feels like I am reading a long, deep fantasy book, something I have not done since Lord of the Rings when I was 15 or so.  But I lack the tenacity to really read all about the Companions and other factions.  Just to know that the lore is there if I wanted to research it is awesome but also quite overwhelming.  Every time I find a lore book in the game and I read only the first sentence, I feel guilty.  As if I owed the developers to read the book.  I am level 38 ish in Skyrim and have many hours still to go.

skyrim

 

Enter Elder Scrolls Online. I bought it on a whim 2 (?) years ago when it went from recurrent monthly charge to a single payment.  I can get behind that model and bought it full price if I recall correctly.  I bought it because I had fond memories of WoW and wanted to recreate those memories in an updated game.  For a short while it worked, I even joined  a guild (they were super nice on TS until I mentioned that I am an EVE Online player.  Dead silence. Apparently, we have a reputation) but of course I couldn’t handle two MMORPGs at the same time and I quit soon after.  However, I recently logged in again and found the game and the graphics much improved (maybe my new graphics card has something to do with this).  The game looks good, the quests are interesting and deep, I have the feeling that there is a story behind every hill and the leveling is slow enough to enjoy the ride.  ESO is basically what WoW should be and I am having fun in small doses – never more than 30 minutes.  The crucial difference to my last attempt is that I play it literally as a solo game.  I don’t group, PvP, trade or craft with others, don’t care about guilds or dungeons, leveling or being social.  If I log off in the middle of a quest, so be it, no ties, no commitments.

Elder Scrolls Online

ESO has interesting and engaging quests.

 

Lastly, I had bough the indy game “Space Engineers” years ago for something like $19.  Basically, its “Minecraft” in space from a small software team who – predictably – develop content much faster than help files, resulting in an interesting game that is literally choked by its own features.  From reading the internet, I “knew” what amazing things you can do in this game but I had spent hours trying to connect a reactor to an engine.  I really wanted to love this game, build spaceships, crash them, show them off, shoot stuff and other people but the famous learning cliff was way too steep for me.  I wrote the game off until yesterday when something prompted me to log back in and give it a second, third, twenty fifth try.  And man, has the game changed since I last logged in. There are planets!   There is actually a tutorial!  I did the tutorial, a true mission where I have to drive, shoot and repair stuff.  When the tutorial ended, I was dumped at the old log in screen, asked to fend for myself in the old system.  Does this sound familiar to EVE players?  Anyway, Space Engineers is back on my list.

Space Engineers - my first ship.  She is ugly but she is mine

Space Engineers – my first ship. She is ugly but she is mine

 

Well, this concludes my current list of on/off games, likely taking a week break since I will be traveling, no games on the road..

 

Duck Season

 

It is no secret to my last remaining pair of readers that our corporation (Z3ro Return Mining) lives in C4 space with an ever-changing C3 neighbor.  Life and wormholes are like boxes of chocolates, you never know what you find when you open one; C3s are quite popular actually since they always have a connection to K-space and hence allow the riches of Wormhole life with the added advantage of easy access to the markets.

Last Monday, Oreamnos Amric and myself find ourselves alone at home, Orea is our CEO, Alliance Boss, Supreme Commander and Dear Leader.  He also manages our corp payouts so I suck up to him.  While Orea is doing accounting things, I open our C3 with my scouting Proteus whilst having my alt in a Stratios on standby in our hole.  D-scan shows me 3 Tengus, a tractor unit and a mess of wrecks.  I quickly move, cloak and with narrow beam find out where these site runners are and within 10s, I have eyes on them from 100km. Continue reading

Planetary Interaction in High Sec – pocket money for casual players

As both my remaining, loyal, handsome and intelligent readers may remember, I have a little alt-corp that lives in a High Sec pocket somewhere behind low / null systems.  I use this team to afk-mine belts Veldspar (because the rocks are so big) in Retrievers or Mackinaws, export the minerals to Gallente space where I do “industry”, i.e. make random stuff for which I have mats when I remember and then I forget to sell it.  In addition, my little group does PI on nearby planets that serve as nearly 100% passive income source. Continue reading

Happy Birthday to me!

7 years in EVE Online today!

 

Epigene is my “main” character, he is the one I associate most with.  He started with the clear goal to be a miner, industrialist and mine his own ships, then blow them up in lowsec.  That plan didn’t last long – mining with a Exequror got pretty old after a few hours.  So he became a mission runner.  Then a wormholer.  And staid a wormholer. Until he became a Faction War guy.  Then a Wormholer.  And yes, a merc.  Now a wormholer.

100mil-sp

 

So here is to another 7 years in New Eden!

 

(and yes, I recycled the screenshot from a previous post, sue me)

 

Impulse buying and other stories

It is an interesting time in EVE Online at the moment, with alpha clones supporting consistently high log-in numbers, citadels and engineering complexes sprouting faster than they can be destroyed and solid wars keeping players and main stream media engaged.  Yes, EVE has never been in a better place; our generation’s lament “EVE is dying” is dead.

It does beg to question what comes next.  The engineering complexes came out late last year and collectively we gave CCP a well-deserved Christmas break, not expecting any serious updates.  Sure, we now anticipate the release of drilling platforms that will serve as the end of the maligned (or loved) POS.  The death of pulsing, blue ball is neigh and while I fully understand the reasons behind the move, I will also be a little sad to see it go.  The whimsical soap bubble of safety, floating by itself in a J-system has always had the appearance of a makeshift hunter or logging camp promising safety and vulnerability at the same time.  Instead we get solid looking structures, mega cities that we can imagine filled with thousands of hopeful humans living at the mercy of us godlike capsuleers.  Especially in J-space, where would the survivors go when an Astrahus finally succumbs to an onslaught of foes?  It is not in human nature not to prepare for these events and I imagine the Sisters of EVE organizing caravans of rescue ships every time one citadel goes into structure.

Alright, enough philosophy.  How about my last weeks?

Well, its been one of those periods where not a single specific event shaped my online time but rather a bunch of little things that are individually amusing and collectively a mirror of what is possible in EVE, maybe even representative of the breadth of the game itself.

Here follows the summary of a few events in no particular order. Continue reading

Good Bye (Riddance) 2016

Well, Christmas is done with much food, alcohol, laughter and friends and while the tree is still up, the end of the year brings a more contemplative mood.  And rightly so, 2016 was a weird year, nobody would disagree with that.

Personally, it was a year full of work-related disappointments and frustrations but other than that, I have nothing to complain about.  I exercise much more, weigh (a little) less, am in much better health than last year.  Yes, 2016 has been good to me.

Gaming-wise, the three defining things this year were: Continue reading

Friends with benefits

As both of my remaining two readers may remember, I live in Wormhole Space, more specifically, a C4 with a static C5 and a static C3.  Just in case you don’t know what that is, this means that we have two connections at any given time plus whatever other holes spawn into us.  But it also means that every day we have new neighbors and since neighbors in Wormhole space are generally armed to the teeth we tend to fly with the assumption that everyone is out there to kills us.  And vice versa, of course.  But we do like our C3 connections since it is generally our supply line to empire space where fuel and sundries are brought in and PI and gas products are shipped out.  And thus, the other night we open a new connection and commence a little scouting before we commit the haulers when our scout reports a second set of Sisters probes and a T1 Imicus on D-scan. That generally indicates that a brand new player just had come in from High Security space and is looking for hacking sites which arguably are by far the most money a an Alpha clone can make / hour. Continue reading