Friday, April 10, 2015

Gaming and housework

Those aren't things that usually go together are they ?

I'll come to the link in a little while.

Some games can be really brutal on your ability to escape from the keyboard. Whether it's 2 hours of continuous action in Warcraft, where a step away from the keyboard can lead to disaster. Or the indeterminate time of a roaming patrol in the space game Eve, where leaving the keyboard can lead to you being left behind. And you have to roam in packs in Eve as stragglers often get picked off.

Online games are especially brutal on your opportunities to get away. They rarely have a pause button and even the games based on repeating rounds can lead to quite some time without a break. Dota can last up to an hour and League Of Legends took a while too.

Need to loo ? Better have a bottle to hand. (Yuk)

At least in the Warcraft, you could pick your moments when your absence wasn't critical. And to avoid being left behind, you could /follow the raid leader* (or other person) so you could keep up.

*It was a privilege I had for quite a while to be on Guildlink's officer chat. Where our revered raid leader, the lovely Overqueen Sarai, would run herd on us apes. This was in the day of 40 person raids and you can imagine how difficult it could be to coordinate all of those people and have breaks suitable for all. And you do need those breaks. Anyway ... officer chat would occasionally have Sarai giving "follower count". It got as high as 5 (hazy memory!) at some times. We never /followed Sarai. We could see her chuckling comments in the hidden chat where she was attempting to tow her follower chain through the lava pools.

Beware the chuckling raid leader.

I jest. Guildlink, while it lasted (up until the Burning Crusade beta) and was having Good Times, was a genuine pleasure to be involved with. I've not had better times in an online game since then, although the Eve crowd were always awesome out of game.

So about this housework ?
I've been playing Elite Dangerous a fair bit over the holiday. As you can see, it can be quite a pretty game ... There's not that much variation in the cosmos presented but what's there, is gert lush. From boiling suns, to eclipsed planets, to the variation in the space stations you dock with :
That's a Coriolis station, a design harking back to the days that the first Elite game hit the BBC (and those other pretender platforms that were never as good as the BBC*)

*Yes - I was a BBC boy back in the day, the Spectrum was too unreliable and the Commodore 64 was ... I dunno. Not a BBC. This was the equivalent of today's Xbox vs Playstation console wars. People would pick a favourite and defend it to the death.

I must have been in my second freighter, a Lakon Type 6 (ugly boxy thing) called "May Carry Cookies", when I took that. I'm now in a Very Shiny Asp explorer ship which has been upgraded considerably. I'm quite enjoying piloting that and blowing away any pirate foolhardy enough to knock me out of the high speed supercruise*.

* Elite Dangerous has a slow speed dogfighting and docking mode but for travel inside a system, Supercruise is used. This is a warp drive (in the Star Trek term) which folds space. So far I've seen the speed reach Warp 9, or 729 times the speed of light (speed times light = the warp number cubed). It does help to keep the mind awake, calculating the warp number while travelling in system.

Elite is an online game, although you can play it in a solo mode. You're still always connected, with the reason being that the economy in game is driven by all of the players interacting with the server. 1000 players buy Copper in a system, there won't be much Copper left there and it'll drive the prices up. I like that idea, it's what assuaged my concerns where I thought it should have an offline mode. The solo mode stops other players trying to pirate you. There's been players in this game for a very long time now, so they have some Very Shiny Ships which would quickly deal with my upgraded Asp ...

So how does the housework fit in ?

I've been running the rares routes. There is a 71 stop trading route taking in every station that sells rare goods that you can only get in one place. (The 70 stop salesman route is better - it's more efficient in jump distance and more even in cargo space needed). The further you go between seller and buyer, the higher profit you get for your rares. I'd typically get 600-1000 profit per tonne with normal goods, the rares can get 15000-25000 profit per tonne.

It's a get rich quick scheme. Definitely more satisfying to play than the place to place hauling I'd been doing before in the game. That didn't seem to be getting me anywhere so I was getting frustrated and bored. The rares route is far more gratifying.

But ... and this is where the housework link comes in ...

You only get a small amount of your quota of rares when you first arrive at the station selling them. To get lots, you have to wait for the game economy to tick over. This takes 10 minutes ... Of replying to a Cupid's Gift text message (the highlight of these for sure!), sorting out the playlist on iTunes, looking at all the new messages on Twitter and Facebook, to ...

Doing the housework.


Here's another screenie :
Did I mention it's a pretty game ?

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