Sunday, 14 December 2014

My Top Ten Games in 2014: The Bad

Man this list was hard. Trying to find ten games that were awful this year was tou... Oh wait, no it wasn't. It was easy as anything. Let's begin.

The Bad

No 10: Thief

This kinda sucks, because I actually really liked Thief. But it shouldn't have been a Thief game. If you took the game, called it Burglar or something, it would have been a great game. As a Thief game however, it fell down. Shame, because I love the franchise.

No 9: Guise of the Wolf

A bad game, with hilarious developers who thought it would be a good idea to attack TotalBiscuit when he panned the game in two separate videos. The only reason that it's not higher is that no one played it after the TB saga. The game itself is terrible, with glitches all over the place and some of the worst voice acting of all time. Helps to have a map.

No 8: Farcry 4

This isn't higher on the list because game isn't terrible, just horribly optimized. The PC release had this strange stuttering when driving at high speeds, and it drops to 30fps during in game cut scenes (not pre-rendered ones). The game itself is basically more of Farcry 3, and I loved that game. I hope they iron out the bugs in this one, because I really do want to enjoy this game.

No 7: Assassin's Creed: Unity

Another Ubisoft game. For some reason, Ubisoft is desperately trying to destroy any reputation they have with PC gamers. Assassin's Creed Unity works hard to destroy any reputation they have with everyone. Frame drops on all platforms, bugs and glitches all through the PC version and then in game micro transactions for breathing. I'd be avoiding this one for as long as possible.

No 6: Super Smash Bros 4 (3DS)

"But... you put Super Smash Bros 4 at second in your list of good games this year." You're right. I did. For the Wii U. The 3DS version takes the game, puts it on a tiny screen, forces you to use the terrible controls on the 3DS and removes the party play fun. Not only that, but the 3DS version is the reason characters like Zelda and Shiek lost their transformations. Grrr.

No 5: Wildstar

Wildstar had so much potential. An interesting combat style with all the indicators on the ground and twitch based combat. A cool cartoony sci-fi setting. Sentient robots with spiky hair. But the developers insistence on focusing on the "hardcore" MMO player essentially killed the game before it got off the ground. It launched with massive numbers, and people stopped talking about it within a month.

No 4: The Elder Scrolls Online

Unlike Wildstar, the Elder Scrolls was flawed from day one. Whenever the topic of the Elder Scrolls came up among gamers, nearly everyone always said, "How cool would it be to have multiplayer in them?" Unfortunately, Zenimax thought that meant they wanted an MMO, rather than just a co-op mode for Skyrim. I tried to like it, I really did. But they stripped everything I enjoyed about an Elder Scrolls game, took a dump on the existing lore, and then made a terrible MMO out of it. Sigh.

No 3: Planetary Annihilation

While I actually want to enjoy Planetary Annihilation, I hate it right now. It has both performance issues and balance issues. If you play in a full system, starting on different worlds, the game essentially becomes a race to see who can make a superweapon first, and the person who gets there wins. If you start on the same planet, the first person to sacrifice troops for tech will get steamrolled by the other player. I hope they can fix some of those balance issues, because I really want to like it.

No 2: The Sims 4

What the Sims 4 added to the Sims formula was fun and made a lot of sense. However, it took a lot away too. I understand the removal of the open towns, but it makes the game feel smaller, more like a collection of single spaces rather than a living, breathing town. Things that had become standard in The Sims 3 were removed, presumably to be brought back in later expansions or DLC. It really does reinforce the whole "The Sims isn't good until the next one comes out" stereotype.

No 1: Watchdogs

Watchdogs is a lesson. The lesson is this: Don't get hyped about video games. The hype was very real for Watchdogs, with people saying it was going to "revolutionize gaming" before it was ever released. What we got was far from revolutionary. What we actually got was just another open world third person shooter with a bland main character and a graphics downgrade.

The game also had some pretty big issues on PC. Like Farcry 4, when driving around the game will stutter, basically skipping a couple of frames as it loads in the textures for a new area. It struggled to maintain over 60 fps on even the most beefy rig. To make matters worse though, a modder found all of the E3 graphical settings in the game, as well as a fix for the stuttering. The mod basically fixed a broken game.

There's not much else to say really, but whenever someone says something will revolutionize gaming now (I'm looking at you No Man's Sky), I just think of Watchdogs.

So there you have it. My top ten bad games in 2014.

As always,


Saturday, 13 December 2014

My Top Ten Games in 2014: The Good

We're coming into the end of 2014, and it's been a big year for me. There's been highs and lows, as well as everything in between. So for a bit of fun, I've compiled some lists of the good and bad in 2014.To begin, lets look at my top ten good games in 2014.

The Good

No 10: Farming Simulator 15

I shouldn't love it so much. I really shouldn't. But damn if Farming Simulator 15 isn't good. It's just the right mix of good gameplay, physics based shenanigans and amazing multiplayer. At first glance, Farming Sim doesn't seem to be something I would enjoy, but for some reason I find it relaxing to maintain a farm. Plus the ability to go drifting in a truck helps.

No 9: Titanfall

I don't care what you think. It's on my good list. I don't care that people hated it because they got over hyped about it. I went into Titanfall knowing nothing about what it was going to be, and really enjoyed it. It's biggest faults for me were the lack of content on launch, and the lack of Australian based servers meaning I got crippling lag spikes. But that movement system was damn fun, and it had big stompy robots. It's just shame the community died so quick.

No 8: Mario Kart 8

No one said it was going to be a PC only list. Mario Kart 8 basically expands on the standard Mario Kart formula. Great party game and looks brilliant in 60fps on the Wii U. Not much else to say about it really. It's just good fun.

No 7: FIFA 15

I'm an unashamed fan of soccer, and playing the Fifa games is no exception. Fifa 15 on the PC added the Ignite engine that the PS3 and Xbox versions got in Fifa 14, vastly improving the physics of the game. I certainly don't recommend Fifa to everyone, but damn if I don't enjoy playing it.

No 6: Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby

The remakes of the Generation 3 Pokemon games. Gen 3 was always my least favorite in the Pokemon series for some reason. I'm not sure why I didn't like them, because I've been playing Alpha Sapphire a lot since it was released and really enjoying it. Using the same design as X and Y, but expanding on it in just the right ways, these games are more Pokemon fun.

No 5: Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

The expansion for Diablo 3 fixed a whole host of issues with Blizzard's action RPG, and then they went a step further and added servers for Australia. The reworked loot system makes more sense to me, and the Crusader is a bunch of fun to play as well. Add to this the adventure mode, cutting the need to continually replay the story to progress, and you have a great expansion. Good work Blizzard.

No 4: Trials Fusion

Trials 2 was the second game I ever bought on Steam, and I played it a lot. Trials Fusion is the latest one, and I played it a lot. The FMX tricks added were cool, but didn't really add much to the standard trials formula. But really, do you have to add something to that formula?

No 3: Hearthstone

Even though I was playing Hearthstone's beta before its actual release in March, it still counts as a 2014 game. I'm sure most of you know what it is, because its popularity has exploded this year. Also this year, Hearthstone got its first adventure mode: the Curse of Naxxramus, and it's first complete expansion: Goblins vs Gnomes. I'm sure Team 5 at Blizzard is super happy with the game, and they should be, because it's a tonne of fun.

No 2: Super Smash Bros 4 (Wii U)

I freaking love Smash Bros. It's easily my favorite fighting game series because of how much I enjoy it. The new one is no exception. You might notice that I specifically put the Wii U in brackets. That's because the 3DS version is terrible. But on the true home for it on the Wii U, Smash is just as fun as ever. Plus Lil Mac is awesome.

No 1: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

I didn't write about Shadow of Mordor. Not because I didn't want to, but because I was too busy playing it, and I absolutely love this game. Not only does it satisfy my Tolkien fan side, but it satisfies my great game side. Easily the best PC release I tried out this year, SoM runs surprisingly well on my 4 year old PC, albeit on medium settings. While benchmarking the game, the lowest framerate I got was 55 with my GTX570s in SLi, and an average framerate of 80. Lock the game to 60FPS, and it was rock solid at 60 basically the whole time.

Not only does it run well, it plays well. Despite using the Arkham style combat system of counters and special moves, the combat was fun enough that I was able to enjoy it. The stealth side of the game was well designed, and super satisfying. The story is good, the main characters are interesting and the conclusion made sense. However where the game really shines is the Nemesis System. 

The game generates a series of orc leaders who have their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. These characters can be really tough to beat, with the occasional one having no real weaknesses to exploit. But where the Nemesis System really comes into its own is when you die. If you happen to die in the game, the orc that killed you instantly gets promoted. If they are a regular orc, they will become a captain. They can then work their way up the power ladder, and eventually challenge a warchief. The best part of all of this? Your character has the ability to take control of these orcs by branding them, and can then help them become a warchief. It adds a lot of emergent gameplay to an otherwise single player game, keeping you immersed in the game.

Shadow or Mordor ticks all of the boxes for me. A good PC port, great world to get lost in, interesting characters and a good story. On top of that the gameplay is just fun, and I can't wait to see what else can be done with the Nemesis System in other games.

So there you have it. That's my top ten good games for 2014. Stay tuned to see the opposite to this list, the top 10 bad games of 2014.

As always,


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

How CCP Rekindled My Interest in Eve Online

I could be talking about how unhappy I am with Ubisoft for continuing to show how they don't care about releasing finished games that have had any form of QA, especially on the PC, with the release of Assassin's Creed Unity and Far Cry 4. I could also be talking about more Gamergate controversy. But I can't be bothered with all the negatives that have been bombarding my favorite hobby for the past few months. So instead, I'm going to talk about one company that I lost faith in turning my opinion around almost completely.

Eve is my second oldest gaming love. Starcraft would be my first, and that was another love recently rekindled with the amazing WCS finals at Blizzcon 2014, but we aren't talking about that. When I first saw Eve, it was at a friends house back in 2004, at a time when my PC was terrible and I didn't even have internet at home. He was mining in some little Caldari ship (I later learned it was actually the Ibis, the rookie ship for the Caldari), and was telling me that everything in the game was made by players, and every player was on the same server. At this point I had been playing Freespace: The Great War, and space games were a genre I loved.

It wasn't until late 2009 that I came across Eve again. By this time, I had constructed my first real gaming PC and had bought an Xbox 360 for some console fun. A few friends had come over to LAN (remember those?) and while the rest of us were updating or getting set up, one of the guys logged onto Eve to update skills. This prompted a conversation, and I ended up buying Eve at the end of the following week.

I stopped playing as much in 2013, mostly due to being burnt out on the community side of things, but also partly because I wasn't finding anything new and exciting between releases. You see, CCP used to have a six month dev cycle for Eve, meaning that twice a year an expansion was released. These expansions would generally have one or two major changes, balance fixes to both ships and in game career paths, and occasionally a new ship, module or structure. Some of the expansions were lauded as being amazing, while others lead to people shooting monuments in protest. In true CCP style, expansions were hit and miss, and the lack of changes that made any impacts to me burnt me out on the game.

Andie Nordgren (aka CCP Seagull)
So what's changed? First, a new executive producer for Eve Online, Andie Nordgren (CCP Seagull), was finally appointed. Seagull has gained the admiration of many old jaded bittervets by basically telling it like it is, without the spin that many came to expect from CCP. In fact, Seagull admitted that Eve had some very serious issues affecting the health of the game in an interview with CSM9 member Xander Phoena on his Crossing Zebras podcast. The honesty has been a refreshing change of tone from the previous "nothing is wrong, we're working on it," or the complete lack of comment that we usually got from CCP.

The other big change is a switch to a six week development cycle. Now instead of two large expansions each year, we get several smaller releases each year. The advantages of this style of development have become obvious. When something is ready to come out, it comes out with the next release, at a maximum of six weeks waiting time. Things no longer have to be rushed out for a release date, or pushed back as far if they can't make the deadline, so there are less broken features released.

A number of quality of life changes also made to the game have brought me back. The removal of the 24 hour skill queue limit has been the largest one for me. No longer do I feel like I have to log in to update skills, meaning that Eve has become less of a chore. The upcoming removal of clone costs has made me more inclined to put myself in situations where I might lose my pod once the change hits. The much needed UI changes have made information more accessible and easy to read. Another change that doesn't really affect me, but definitely has an effect for the new players is the removal of in corp aggression without consequence. Dubbed AWOXing by the players, this new change means that you can no longer shoot a corpmate without first dueling them, or else you end up with Concord destroying your ship. Alongside this change, you can now kick someone from your corp regardless of if they are docked or not. Where before you could only kick them if they were in a station, now it puts that action in a queue and they are removed at the next downtime.

All in all, CCP has changed it seems, and in my opinion that change is for the better. Some seem to be complaining that the removal of consequence free in-corp aggression and the removal of clone costs are CCP removing some of the harshness that Eve has become so famous for. While I love the harsh side of Eve, I fully understand why CCP is removing these things. AWOXing hurts new players and makes older corps and alliances more reluctant to recruit new faces. Clone costs were the very definition of a game mechanic that just exists to exist, not actually adding anything to the game beside a constant cost to gaining more skills or putting your pod at risk.

But the biggest thing to get me truly back to the game? This recent Eve trailer called "This is Eve". I'd recommend watching it in 1080p/60fps for the full effect.
I can't describe properly how much this actually represents what Eve is all about. Some of CCP's more recent trailers have shown someone flying a frigate like a fighter, as though the game is some sort of twitch based game. The "This is Eve" trailer shows what exactly makes Eve so unique and why it's player base is so loyal to the game. The player interactions. Eve is simply a means for thousands of people to build empires, partake in space politics, or even just be a guy flying with others.

Keep it up CCP. I love the new six week cycle, and can't praise CCP Seagull enough. But more than anything, keep making trailers that actually show people what Eve is all about: The people playing.

As always folks,


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Indie Dev Drama Llama: The Slaughtering Grounds

We were so close to the end of 2014 without another indie dev melting down about criticism. SO CLOSE! But don't worry, this one is at least hilarious, which kind of makes up for how annoying it is that yet another dev doesn't realise that reacting poorly to negative criticism really doesn't help their game do well.

The game in question is an FPS called The Slaughtering Grounds, developed by ImminentUprising and published by Digital Homicide Studios LLC. A little bit of research reveals that they only have one other game, currently in early access called Forsaken Uprising. Both games have received largely negative reviews by users on Steam, citing bugs and sloppy design as the main reasons to avoid them.

Jim Sterling made a video about The Slaughtering Grounds as part of his Squirty Plays series where he records himself playing a game for the first time and making comments about said game. In fact here's the video:

Soon after this video was released, this post appeared on the Steam page for The Slaughtering Grounds. It appears that the developer (because I'm assuming its one person who made this crap) has gotten their panties in a little bunch and decided to "review the reviewer" resulting in one of the most hilarious dev responses I've ever seen. I'm not going to link to the video, because that would make it too easy, but I'm sure another link that I've provided will take you there. Jim, in his usual way, had a laugh about this, and posted this video, having said laugh about the developers hilariously inept "review of the reviewer".

So again I find myself saying: Indie Devs out there, please don't react like this to critics. It makes a bad situation worse for you, because now no one is going to play your game. Yes, it's hard to get told something you worked on is bad, and your initial reaction will probably be to do something like ImminentUprising has done, but please don't. Take the criticism and use to drive you to make better games and you might not get judged so harshly next time.

As always folks,


Thursday, 23 October 2014


I don't like writing about this sort of stuff. In fact I've put this off for well over a month because I just didn't want to get involved in the whole thing, hoping it would blow over. But it seems like its only getting worse, and I need to get it off my chest.

I self identify as a gamer. I have grown up loving games, starting with my first ever gaming experience at a friends house: Sonic 2 on the Sega Mega Drive (the Genesis in the US). I truly fell in love with games playing Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War. Games defined a large part of my childhood, and some of my favorite memories are of playing games with friends, or even just on my own. As I got older, and games got more and more accepted in the mainstream, most of my close friendships were forged over a mutual love of games.

When the Gamergate stuff hit the fan in August, I really didn't have an opinion about most of it. It all seemed to be about one developer in particular, Zoe Quinn, and I frankly had never played any of her games (and still haven't). I don't care about her sex life, and most of the "evidence" seemed circumstantial at best, downright reaching at worst.

I'm starting to pay attention now though, and the more I see, the more it sickens me. Death threats and harassment on both sides of the argument, with each side thinking that theirs isn't doing anything of the sort. When people doxx others, threaten their families and force them to leave their homes, it becomes a major issue in my book. Because as soon as this hits the mainstream media, "gamers" are suddenly associated with these things and I frankly don't want to be labelled as someone who harasses others in any form.

I'm all for a more transparent media scene for gaming. I'm also all for more diverse characters in video games. That being said, I'm 100% against death threats, harassment and the general mob mentality that seems to have taken hold over the internet over the last few months. If you are one of the people who made death threats, whether you support Gamergate or not, sit down and take a long, hard look at just how worked up you got over something that makes very little difference to playing good games. I don't care how angry someone on the internet makes you, death threats are never a valid response to any argument. If you harassed others over this, try and remember that person on the other side of the screen is a person. Your actions affect them, just as theirs affect you.

Just be nice to each other people. It's not that hard.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Eve Online: SOMERblink closes down

Wow this last week has been insane in Eve, and it's all revolved around one name: SOMERblink. If you are like me, you may have only been peripherally aware of SOMERblink. I knew of their existence, just like I knew that there were members of the community who didn't like them. I also knew from listening to the Crossing Zebras podcast that they were involved in some sort of controversy almost a year ago. So when my twitter started melting from people talking about the latest Somer scandal, I decided to write a bit of an overview of the entire situation, starting with the scandal a year ago. Buckle in, because this one is a long one. Let's delve into it.

To explain the issues, you need to know what SOMERblink was. Started four years ago by Somerset Mahm (also known as Somer), SOMERblink allowed for people to gamble with their isk (the in game currency for Eve Online). The form of gambling is a system called a micro lottery, which operates similar to a raffle. People buy a ticket (or tickets), into the raffle (or as SOMERblink called them, Blinks) for a chance to win a rare or expensive ship, game item, or a PLEX. These tickets are limited for each item, meaning that you can't buy a hundred tickets for something you want (although you can buy out all of the tickets if you are fast enough). If Somer had just kept it at that, they would have been perfectly fine. But before we get into what they changed, we need to look at some previous issues Somer had with the community in Eve.

The layout of a typical game of Blink.
A little under a year ago, Somer and CCP came under fire from players in Eve for a planned giveaway at Eve Vegas. CCP had planned to give away some extremely rare ships, including a one of a kind ship that had been given out as a prize for winning the Amarr Championship in 2003, the Gold Magnate. When that ship was later destroyed in 2004, there was no way for anyone to obtain a Gold Magnate. Of course when CCP announced that they were going to be giving two of these ships to Somer to use in the lotteries, players were outraged that a piece of Eve's history was going to be given to a website who would profit a huge amount for its lottery.

Later in 2013, a mail was leaked from a SOMERblink employee stating that each member of the staff at SOMERblink would be receiving an Scorpion Ishukone Watch from CCP. These ships, which cannot be built in the game, are used by CCP as prizes for community events and are estimated to be worth between 15 to 20 billion isk. At the moment there are a known 132 of these. CCP's reason for giving these rare ships out? As a thanks to "one of the most awesome community sites we have." This caused a lot of controversy among the community, mainly because this deal all happened behind closed doors implying that CCP wanted to keep this a secret for some reason. Even other Eve based gambling sites distanced themselves from SOMERblink, with Eve-Bet stating that they thought those ships should be reserved for "more deserving winners and not sites that can afford to purchase them off the market like everyone else."

The first way SOMERblink tried RMT.
Now we get into the part that Somer changed. While all the attention was on Somer and SOMERblink from these two events, FunkyBacon, an eve blogger who also hosts an Eve Radio show posted this blog post about SOMERblink. In it, he details a way that Somer had been making money by what was ostensibly selling isk. Like selling gold in WoW, selling isk for real money (RMT) is not allowed in by CCP as detailed in the EULA (specifically section B of Conduct). How was Somer able to do this? FunkyBacon used the image to the right to detail how this worked. SOMERblink had a link to a website called Markee Dragon who sell Eve game time codes that can be exchanged for PLEX - an in game item that can either be used to add 30 days of game time to the account, or traded on the in game market in exchange for isk. In return for directing traffic to their site, Markee Dragon give Somer a referral bonus. Somer then gives the player 200 million worth of credits to be used on his site (essentially giving the player 200 million isk, but only for gambling use).

NoizyGamer, another blogger who talks a lot about RMT and botting in MMOs, made a post that was extremely well researched and in depth on the whole situation. His research lead to a discussion with the Chief Operating Officer of Somers previous GTC reseller - Shattered Crystal. During the conversation, Noizy found out that Somer had been let go as an affiliate after a bidding war on the referral bonus percentage. Standard referral bonuses are 5%, but Shattered Crystal had to let Somer go after the bidding hit 8%, and with the volume of GTC that the link on the SOMERblink website had sold, Noizy estimates that Somer was making around $7500 a month with his incentive to buy from him, if he was indeed at 8%. Eventually, CCP were forced to make a change to the rules regarding selling time codes, and Somer had to stop offering the bonus credits.

Screenshot from NoizyGamer's blog. Find it here.
And that leads us to last weekend. A reddit post on /r/eve shows how SOMERblink have setup a new form of credits, called PLEX Credits. Members of the CSM are alerted to another possible RMT scheme by Somer, and FunkyBacon makes another post explaining what he understands is going on. The biggest part of all this? Somer claimed this had been "vetted and approved by CCP," which lead to concerns that CCP was again allowing some form of incentive from SOMERblink to buy from their affiliate link, rather than elsewhere. CCP Falcon, the community manager over at CCP, posted a thread on Evo-O acknowledging that they were aware of the situation and they were reviewing the proposal that Somer had provided to the sales team at CCP, along with the legal and information security teams.

The biggest question I've seen asked is this: How is this RMT? Once again, FunkyBacon provided us with an updated version of his previous diagram to show exactly how:
Seriously guys, go read FunkyBacon's blog. He's even a CSM member.
In this situation, the player clicks on the affiliate link on the SOMERblink website, taking them to Markee Dragon, where they buy PLEX as usual. Markee Dragon pay Somer the usual affiliate cut. Doing this gives your account on SOMERblink a PLEX credit. This credit is basically a token that SOMERblink use to guarantee that they will buy that PLEX back - at a higher than market price. That reddit thread that I linked earlier estimated the price that Somer would give was around 45 million isk more than market price in Eve (average PLEX price in Eve is currently around 780 to 790 million isk), so a total price of 830 million isk. The best part of this in my mind, is that as FunkyBacon pointed out in his blog post, if SOMERblink then use that PLEX in one of their lotteries, they bring in 936 million isk, meaning they profit a little over a 100 million isk. It truly is a brilliant scheme: Somer profits in both isk and real life cash.

Click here for large version. Thanks to Noizy again for this picture.
So the question has to be asked. If this was "vetted and approved by CCP," why did Somer shut down SOMERblink when CCP Falcon posted that they were investigating the situation? Noizy gives us some insight here in an update to the situation he posted the day after his initial post. Somer posted a link to an email chain between himself and the Vice President of Sales at CCP, Lisa Bell-Cabrera, and a copy of the proposal to her. Unfortunately, the email chain can no longer be accessed, but Noizy did get a screenshot of the proposal shown above. It's interesting to note that under the section marked Justification, Somer explicitly says that "Blink provides no extra isk or bonus Blink credit for buying through the link." However they are technically providing extra isk, by buying that PLEX at a higher price than a player could otherwise sell it. It's a bit :tinfoil:, but it's certainly possible that Somer intentionally worded the parts about buying the PLEX back vaguely so it seemed like there was no additional ISK being provided. In any case, the whole proposal reads like a shady sales pitch, and

And that leads us to where we are today. A rather sharply worded message was posted at the top of the SOMERblink website that read:

Hey friends,
Thanks for all the years of Blink that we've spent together. It's been a long four years-- some of it longer than others! Unfortunately, as of today, Blink is going to go on extended-- perhaps indefinite-- hiatus. CCP has gone back on everything they said several months ago, and the resulting environment is so hostile that it's not one we want to try to operate in, if CCP throws us under the bus.
If you have prizes waiting, they will be fulfilled. You can claim prizes as normal. Bonk tickets have been refunded to your account balance. We will begin refunding all account balances of people that have played in the last 6 months, starting with balances over 10 million ISK. As always, we're not in the business of stealing your money. It's been an absolute pleasure to meet many of you, through Blink, Eve, and our lotteries channel. Thank you for the experience.

CCP Falcon also posted the official response to the whole situation on the forums. In it, he details the fact that none of the ideas for promotions that Somer had provided were approved by the appropriate people "namely, the Legal Team," and that Somer had "no basis to assert that the live promotion was "approved by CCP"". In an interesting twist, Somer's characters were all banned permanently for violation of the EULA and Terms of Service, meaning they will have to start a fresh account to play Eve if they choose to come back.

If there is one positive I can find about the SOMERblink scandal, it's that they are paying back isk to players despite the fact that they could easily shift that over to other accounts and be space rich. Maybe it's because they are already space rich from all the earnings of Blink that they feel they should pay them back. In any case, its a small silver lining to what is otherwise a very rocky story. I can't help but think that if Somer had simply put some sort of advertising on the site to make money, none of this would have happened. They could have even still had the link to Markee Dragon to earn the affiliate cut from time code sales alongside the ad revenue. Instead, Somer got greedy, and had to try and come up with these schemes to earn fast money. Protip: If you have to be deliberately vague in a proposal, your proposal is probably shady.

If you haven't exhausted yourself on this topic, I'd highly recommend reading all the linked blog posts from NoizyGamer, FunkyBacon and the forum posts by CCP Falcon. They go into so much more depth than I can in a single post, and each one of them is a really good read.

So if you stuck around to the very end of this long winded post about the life and times of SOMERblink, congratulations. I'm off to go and shoot some rats for a while. As always,


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Broadcast for Reps

I don't have a whole lot to say today, I just really wanted to share something with you.

This was posted on the Eve subreddit, in a thread regarding Robin Williams, who recently passed away. Robin committed suicide, and had a history of depression alongside alcohol and drug abuse.

To get personal, I've struggled with depression for many years. I generally don't talk about it with anyone. I'm only writing this today because this image made me tear up and feel so much better about Eve's community. This image has touched me in a way that, I felt that I needed to share this with others, because no matter where you are from, we all play the same game.

I quit Eve last year, while I tried WoW, as I was totally burnt out on the community and needed a change of pace. This lead to the most active time for me writing, as WoW offered many new avenues to learn about. However, I've been back quietly playing Eve for the last few weeks. Just some mining and trading here and there, nothing too insane.

Now I'm so glad I did. The Eve community often gets a lot of people commenting on how ruthless we can be. And it's true, we can be ruthless. Our game is one of the most competitive I've ever played. But on the other side, the vast majority of the Eve community are just cool people. They play the game in a way they enjoy, and in game conflicts remain in game. I've had corp CEO's who showed more interest in me than actual people I know in real life. The few Eve players I've met outside of the client are really fun people.

So to close, no matter who you are, or even what game you play, you are never alone. Tell someone if you need help.

Broadcast for reps, and the logi wing will pick you up.

Fly safe, and game on.