Thursday, January 30, 2014

Biggest Battle in Eve Online's Ten Year History, Over $300,000 USD Worth of Virtual Weaponry Lost

By Bixyl Shuftan

The game Eve Online on Monday Jan 25th saw the biggest battle in it's history. The "Battle of B-R5" involved 2,200 players between two alliances of two factions each, and the loss of hundreds of ships on both sides, including about 90 Titans, an unprecedented number lost in a fight.

In Eve Online, the competitive nature of the game results in occasional warfare between factions of players. With diplomacy and dealmaking, sometimes the result is fights between alliances of factions. And the game allows major factions to build some pretty big ships if they have the resources and time.

In Eve, the biggest ship that can be built is the appropriately named "Titan." These ships are truly gargantuan in both size and cost. In the game, they are kilometers long and "capable of disrupting the tides of planets." How much does it take to build one? A total of 3400 hours, months to build, and about 7600 US dollars worth of game currency. If committed to battle, they're a force to be reckoned with as it's main weapon can blow away smaller vessels with a single shot. But it's not indestructible, and can be lost. Because of it's cost in time and resources, the loss of one is the loss of a strategic asset. It doesn't happen too often. In the past, a faction than managed to wipe one out and put it up on Youtube could enjoy some bragging rights for a while. More recently, there were some fights that saw the loss of a few. In February 2011, 12 Titans were lost in the Battle of Uemon.

What caused this battle? A space station controlled by one alliance of two factions ended up for grabs after they lost ownership of it. Not because of enemy action, but because the rent wasn't paid on time, possibly because of espionage. The station was the alliance's headquarters in their war against another alliance, and the opposition jumped at the opportunity to try and take it. Success would mean their enemy would be prevented "from accessing a great deal of their strategic assets and war material." Faced with losing the base, and with it probably the war, the defenders made the decision to risk their Titan ships. The attackers brought in theirs, the result being a unique battle in Eve's history, "for over 100 of them to just leap into a toe-toe slugging match where their chances of survival are quite low is... unheard of. These two powerblocs are really taking an insane risk here."

Compared to a game like "World of Warcraft" in which a player getting clobbered results in the armor needing repairs worth roughly a fraction of an hour's worth of game cash, the losses in BR-5 were truly staggering. Iris Ophelia put it, "To understand the true scope of what happened in Eve last night, imagine instead loosing that same round ... And then loosing your car ... And that unfinished manuscript you've been putting all your free time into for months. ... 90 times."

One player posted in Facebook chat, "I lost a dreadnaught, but I'd been planning on loosing it gloriously for a while. ... Sadly, the node was totally borked. I never even got to fire a shot, since my grid never loaded for my client, but everyone who was already on field and had grid loaded nuked me in spades." Of his corp, FinFleet, "We got prison sodomized."

The battle went on for a while, until reinforcements for the attackers gave them the edge. The defenders then gave the order to withdraw to try to preserve what they could. The attackers continued to press their advantage scoring more kills and adding to the losses. "Both sides had lost an incredible number of dreadnaughts, and the price of Tritanium has been creeping upwards, anticipating the flurry of industrial production to come. While the final kill numbers aren't in yet, this fight has already blown past every single record for damage done in Eve."

And blown past every single record in damage done to dollars invested in virtual goods.

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(Click Here if the video fails to load)

*Update* For more information, check out Eve Online's Twitter feed at:

Sources: Polygon, New World Notes, Reddit Eve Online B-R5 Thread, The Mittani

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, January 24, 2014

Getting a Luskwood Avatar In InWorldz

By Bixyl Shuftan

One issue some friends of mine have with InWorldz is the lack of variety of furry avatars. Although the Wingless freebie avs apparently have been around for a while, for some, this isn't enough. Some find the design a little dated. Others find them quite different from the particular look their used to. And of course people usually want as many choices as possible. While some might be tempted to get a copybotted avatar, this isn't a good idea. InWorldz's residents consider those just as bad as those in Second Life, if not worse.

So it seems for now InWorldz residents are limited to either sticking with the Wingless or learning to make their own avatar. As most are not really builders, the second seems like not really an option. So what about getting someone already skilled at making avatars here? If you're a user of Kinzart Kreatures (KzK) avatars, you can pretty much forget about having your look in InWorldz. On their Tumblr, the KzK spokesman branded Second Life residents thinking of moving to the smaller grid as cowardly, and dismissed the virtual world as a "haven for thieves and copybotters alike."

Luskwood had a different answer. Michi Lumin and others on the Lusk team have accounts on InWorldz.  Talking with Michi, she told me since I was a customer of theirs, they'd send me a copy of my red Fox avatar to me in InWorldz. Just allow for some time for it to arrive. After a few weeks, Michi sent me a message to look for a package when I returned there from Drew Luskwood. And heading back, I found a new box in my inventory, one for a Luskwood Red Fox. So I rezzed it on the ground, unpacked, and changed avs ...

And I was back to my familiar look from Second Life. Well, almost. I have a preference for flexi-tails, so I kept the one from the Wingless. Here's the avatar at Podex InWorldz.

Drew, whom is considered part of the Luskwood Core on his profile,  had sent a message asking if I got the avatar. I answered, and we had a short conversation.  Drew told me Luskwood wasn't quite ready to be setting up kiosks in InWorldz. They were waiting for the place to become a little larger, notably in the number of residents logging on daily. For now, they would have a limited presence in the smaller Grid, delivering avatars to individuals.

Still, Drew and others at Luskwood were impressed with InWorldz's rate of growth. It might not be long before Second Life's first avatar company has vendors in this virtual world.

Now if I can only find a fedora and light brown trenchcoat ...

Bixyl Shuftan.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review of Cube World

From Xymbers Slade

I've been around, I just grew tired of writing for a couple years and thought I might pick up the digital pen again.

I recently heard of a game out on the internet called "Cube World" (, marketed as "a voxel-based exploration RPG." Run by two people, it at the outset looks like some kind of Minecraft spinoff, but after I bought the game, I found that nothing was further from the truth. There's no building one's home or a base in Cube World, instead resting in inns and at various campsites found along the course of one's travels. It's very "pixel-ish" (but that's what one gets working with voxels, not that that is a bad thing) and looks like something Minecraft might be if it were done in a colorful, more basic style.

There are multiple races and classes with small skill trees (which I haven't messed about with any yet); I ran about as a human watching the procedural landscape generate for a good two hours instead. Races include Human, Elf, Dwarf, Orc, Goblin, Undead, Frogman (which looks like Frog from Chrono Trigger, a direct homage perhaps?), and Lizard Man, though I couldn't see any special racial bonuses between the various races. There are also several classes (Warrior, Ranger, Mage, and Rogue) each with two specializations (Warrior has Guardian and Berserker for example) to play around with.

Upon creation of a character, one enters a seed number (worlds with this seed number will always be alike, same as Minecraft) and a world name though I found out negative numbers can't be used as a seed, nor can word strings or anything like that. Hitting M brings up a map revealing the chunks of the world as they load up, with a town never far off, and battlegrounds the further you go from where you start. Get close enough to a battleground or "boss" area and you'll get a quest to wipe out the ruler of that area, which is easier said than done. Movement is with WASD (No key remapping, which was a turn off for me, I *loathe* WASD movement) and clicking the mouse buttons swings your weapon. There are multiple types of enemies to beat on, from bugs to animated onions to "biters" to boss monsters like ogres, and since you have to manually target or move to dodge, surviving such encounters is far harder than it looks. If you die, you respawn at what appears to be a statue of some kind somewhere nearby.

Ok, wandering around hitting monsters is fun enough, and there does seem to be crafting involved (which is something I haven't gotten involved with yet in any great detail). Towns have districts where you can trade, sell, craft and whatnot, so living out of them is very viable as you work to gain levels and become more powerful. Still, as I played it more and more I found myself asking "This is all nice and pretty, but what's the point?"

Cruising the forums briefly, I asked a few questions about the game having just bought it and all. There's no building of one's home or a base (yet --- looks like a planned feature). There are multiple quests (and what appears to be daily quests, as the game has an internal clock) for treasures and "Platinum Coins". I'd had problems with multiple mobs at once (a starting player is very weak) and while wandering there are often wandering parties of neutral or friendly NPCs. These guys, I learned, won't help, but if I lure monsters to them, they'll beat them up for me. It looks like there is a pet system (as I'd asked "how to deal with multiple mobs at once in a "boss like" area --- the answer is to tame a pet, which I have not yet figured out). I was surprised when I asked if I should have waited until more features were added and someone said "yes." There's no "ending quest" to beat the game, no "hardcore mode" for if you die you lose everything (maybe I'm too biased toward permadeath now).

Glancing at Wikipedia, it says that the game started in June of 2011 (by comparison, Minecraft would release its full first version in November that same year). Now I'm thinking 2011 up until now in 2013-2014 is more than enough time for multiple updates, but there doesn't seem to have been many at all. To be fair, there's only two people working on this: the creator and his wife. By comparison, the award-winning Cave Story was one guy over five years. I ran about the Cubeworld world for a good long time and thought "This could be fun, but there needs to be something more." There ARE multiplayer servers, so I hear, but I did not go looking either on the forums for newbie friendly servers or seeking out my own via google or anything.

So, after playing the game for about two or three hours, what do I think? This game has *potential*. I think Cube World could give Minecraft a major run for its money if it had more updates, more things to do, and more depth (or maybe I haven't tried hard enough, I've barely scratched the surface of the game so far). Its bright, colorful style is a breath of fresh air from the constant PVP and griefers of Minecraft. I think with the proper funding and if the creators had a proper programming/content team, they'd have a real hit on their hands that could compete on the level of Minecraft's popularity. I'm not even kidding. I did get constantly annoyed at getting killed so easily when I first started, and I'm not keen about no remapping of the keys, and throughout all of this I keep getting a "He's trying to reinvent the wheel" vibe here (but I think we can blame being overshadowed by hits such as Minecraft for that one).

I'm going to give Cube World three dragon hoards out of five, with the door wide open for a full 5-of-5 hit, because oh gods so much potential lies untapped here if done right. It's cute, bright, colorful, and probably has a lot more depth to it than I've tried looking for. But until there's more of an end goal/quest, more biomes, keymapping, and other things (besides the hang gliding and pet riding, two things I've gotten nowhere near trying yet), this game, while inexpensive, is going to live in Minecraft's shadow undiscovered.

Cubeworld is $20 USD, and can be found at (though a free account is needed to be registered to purchase the game).

Xymber Slade