Monday, January 25, 2016

Puppy Update

Hey there,

Thanks for coming on my roller coaster ride when it comes to the dog side of my personal life. The decision to acquire Intuition coming just a week before my loss of Nyx is still a weird twist of fate.

Today, Intuition came home. We were delayed by the snow storm. Let me tell you that I am exhausted. I have shoveled snow all weekend while pacing and stressed. Would we get dug out? Would we get delayed again? I wanted my exhausting responsibility.

The car ride down wasn't bad. We got stopped in traffic a few times for the heavy duty plows on Interstate 95. Once we got past them it was smooth sailing. The GPS took us down some partially plowed back roads. Oh the glares I gave my husband over those. He was agreeing however. We made it.

How big he has gotten. He weighs 29 pounds at 10 weeks and 3 days.

We did all the final paperwork and loaded back up. Temperatures had warmed but we were dropping to below freezing again and the melt would cause the entire interstate to become black ice.

Ahh, travelling with puppy the first time. He was plenty carsick. I had all of that planned out. I'm to experienced at this. Heavy duty disposable shop towels to catch vomit. Regular towels to absorb drool. Blankets for warmth. The drive went super well.



Once home he went potty, met the big girls, met the cats, ate dinner, and now we're settling into our new life. Maybe once we have some natural light we can get some better pictures.

I'm totally worn out but its all worked out nicely. He is incredible. Great temperament. The entire day has not bothered him a bit. Hes alert, interested, and willing to take on more challenges. I'm having to wind him down for the day. I know hes way over stimulated even if he does not realize it.

He did take one nap in my lap. He doesn't fit. My goodness but don't tell him that.


We have a lot to learn. Steps for one. He is heavy and getting heavier. But for tonight we're going to just get through it. I work tomorrow but my mom will make sure he goes out and gets fed.

Phew. 

He isn't a replacement for Nyx. He does, however, fill a particular little void. I think he and I will have a very good relationship.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

CSMX - Post #42

CCP has published an update from CCP Seagull. For those that like video media go watch.

The week started with a polite poke from Tikktokk that the micro jump drive destroyer's were not working in low sec on Sisi. That news cascaded through the game. Theories abounded. Some cheered. Others booed. I went and poked Team Size Matters and asked them if there had been a change and if there had been can we open up discussion about it. While it was hard to not grip my pitckfork and chant with burning torches around the tar soaked hut.

CCP Rise came forward with clarification that they are not banning the MJFG from low sec. That error has been corrected.

Project Discovery has also gone live on the test server. I was introduced to the idea at Fanfest and told agreed that it was amazing and perfect for Eve's playerbase.

 Meanwhile, on Twitter CCP Fozzie announced that they are doing playtests of structures.

People got excited and asked a lot of questions. CCP Fozzie had few answers other then saying that this was an early play test.

It is nice to see that Structures are progressed to this point. It is something I'll be able to make that I wanted to see. I won't be seeing the changes to corporations and alliances it seems. Structures was a nice one and its been pleasant to be a part of their conception.

Skill Trading is going right ahead. I still see big divides between liking it and disliking it. I've talked with a lot of people about this. I've seen points on all sides. I don't consider myself neutral but I am fair enough to bring all sides to the table. None of that maters because it is going to happen. It is oddly, one of the things I am most unhappy about in Eve's future. I'm trying to sit back and wait to see what happens and ignore the utter distaste I have for this change to the game until I see what happens. I don't think I'm a big enough person to do that but I'll continue to try. I appreciate everyone who has participated in the discussion and given me new viewpoints.

While not a CSM thing the storyline is moving along with some type of player assisted built Citadel. I won't pretend to know what is going on with it. I support the storyline side of the game. I think its healthy and important even if I don't participate in it. Some may find it an interesting venture to look into so I add it on.

2016 seems to be getting started. The election season for CSMIX is underway. Good luck to those running. I hope they enjoy the election season more than I did. It is very nice not to be involved in any of that.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

To Play and Pay and Play Again

There are few thoughts in my mind right now that are not related to the weather and how much it will disturb my plans to pickup my puppy on Sunday.  My puppy food was even delivered today. However, I was hanging out on Twitter and caught the someone entering into a conversation that had happened a bit earlier in the day. Work ate my day off so I back tracked to see what was going on.

Nosy Gamer has written his opinions about the new skill point trading system. I've expressed my own feelings that I am not a fan. I'm still not although I both understand and accept that Eve is going to change. However, the actual topic that caught my interest was Eve's playability.

Over the years I've played, I've been in many discussions about PLEX and payment for your game of Eve. Before I started playing Eve, I did not know that 'buying gold' was real. It never occurred to me that someone would pay money to get a bunch of game currency that they could earn on their own.

Looking back, I had little understanding of fast game play. I played games as I enjoyed them. I played games because I enjoyed them. I might not enjoy every piece of a game. That is one reason I got into sandbox types games. I hate racing challenges for instance. A game that makes me win racing challenges to continue will be a game I put down.

In the twisted strands of the Twitter conversation the question of playability emerged. Nosy finds a game that requires him to pay real money to continue is a game he does not want to play. Other's point out that they enjoy the ability to skip pieces of Eve's gameplay by obtaining PLEX and using it to skip activities they do not wish to do or accelerate into activities they do wish to do.

I'm not focusing on the fact that we all have opinions on value and our disposable income. Instead, the aspect of the topic that discusses a games playability caught my attention.

Often, I focus on the individual aspects of Eve as a game. If a player wishes to play the miner and another wishes to play the PvPer, I accept that both are acceptable ways to play the game. Each player has entered into the game and chooses what aspects of the game they wish to play. That leaves choice as a focus of playability in Eve. And from that I sift through the sand to see how buying advancement will change the balance.

Back when this was first announced it was pointed out that the Character bazaar was available for a player that wished to accelerate their playing. I agreed. I had no problem with the character bazaar simply because it kept money in CCP's pocket. But, I could ignore the bazaar in a way that I cannot ignore the skill training changes. To step away from liking or disliking the change the potential impact the change will have to the games climate is huge.

It asks, will Eve become a game where you have to pay to catch up?

I use italics for have because there are few things we have to do. We don't have to buy PLEX. We don't have to go to Jita. We don't have to do many things but if those things are not done will it put Eve into a state of unplayability?

In pay to win games where a player can leapfrog over everyone and step into badassery with the swipe of a credit card, what options are there for players who choose to approach the game without assistance? I ask a question because I am ignorant of the answer. I've not played other MMOs nor have I been drawn to any particular Pay to Win style games.

It seems the closest place to seek an answer would be to research the changes to World of Warcraft when they introduced the ability to buy a maximum level character from the start.

I want to believe that Eve will remain playable with the changes. After all, carving out your niche in the game has a lot to do with you as a person. Much of what I have enjoyed has had little to do with skill points and much to do with my approach.

In reality, I am confused, but thoughtful. I'm curious about how this will change Eve's environment. I'm now old enough that my appreciation and thought process for what Eve is will probably not change. But, there will be a new generation coming along and I wonder what their world will be like.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Creating Culture

When I started playing Minecraft I started to ask myself why things in Eve were bad. Why was it bad to lose a ship? Why was it bad to not be the winner at PvP? Why were so many game behaviors bad? Why did I cringe at things in Eve that I snickered in or sighed in frustration about in Minecraft? I played both games in a similar fashion. I even played the games with the same people. But one often left me feeling not so good about myself while the other made me willing to share the utterly stupid things I did now and then.

Eve has cultures. It has more cultures today then it did two years ago. It has many more then it did four years ago when I started to play. However, those cultures can easily define a person. Social pressure can be shrugged off and you can be told to ignore it but that does not negate its existence or its power.

How does one create a supportive environment? It was an interesting question that I was asked yesterday. The environment in question is one that would assist other players in dipping their feet into areas of Eve that they have considered to much of a challenge. It is a question I have asked myself many times over the last year and one that I do not have an answer for as of yet.

I did point out that one of the largest and more invisable of hurdles would be the fact that people are taught that losing things in Eve is bad. Even though several learning methods promote loss, dying is bad. In our game world with its killboards that track everything people use information as a weapon. They may not have the facts. That slows few down. Making up pieces that reasonably fit into the scenerio is acceptable.

A group can form its own culture and reject others. That is commonly done. However, it takes strong leadership and commitment by its members to do so. Rejecting societal norms is hard. It becomes harder in a game where there are already assumptions as to why we play.

One of Eve's greatest fascinations for me has always been its lack of normal paths. Sucess is defined by the individual. That sounds simple enough but it is more complex then that. Sucess is not just win or lose. It is not only defined in dominating another. It is often the simple task of finding ones own game.

Making a culture is a long term commitment that requires fierce, inner support. It also requires self confidence. It requires group confidence. It is a small word for a large goal.

There are plenty of groups in Eve who have done this. Some are big. Some are small. Some are well known. Others are quiet.

What does it take for these groups to find sucess in bringing others into their definition of Eve?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

To gather all the sand

An interesting question was asked about an offical source for CSM communication. I smiled a bit when I read it. It is a regular question that returns often. How do we have one spot when people communicate in so many different ways? How do we capture everything people do and no overwhelm those seeking information? While it is a question posed in a tone of interest in the CSM at a the time of year when interest is highest, it highlights a fascinating problem that I've spent a lot of time thinking about.

Before I ask how do we communicate better, broader, and more accessable, I have to ask can we? Can we create a singular source that will be everything for everyone? The question sets its self up for a no.

Could we create multiple sources that focus each thing? I thought about it for a moment. We have blog lists, pod casts, lists, forum searches, twitter hash tags. Yet even that quickly grows holes. Private forums for groups and corporations get left behind. Twitter vs reddit vs tumblr vs slack quickly fragments focus. Oral vs Auidable vs Video all have their following.

This is another post without an answer. Thankfully, I am not a wise monk under a cold montain waterfall having vanillia wafers with bears (I'm pretty sure it goes that way).

My thoughts and methods have always focused on a way to naturally or reasonably allow people to produce and consume in their comfort zone. But, maybe that is not to be.

Do people need hurdles to appreicate information? Can we make things universally accessable? Does cross implimentation across multiple platforms help? Is the feasability of reality and limitations both technical and fincial supposed to be considered during the questioning process?

If I speak into the void and never know if I am heard are my words lost?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

CSMX - Post #41

Things have been quiet between the CSM and CCP. That does not mean CCP has not been up to things. The patch notes and skimming the forums have shown a lot of activity. The patch notes are live for the January 12th, 2016 release.

On January 5th, 2016 CCP Fozzie made a feedback thread about allowing logistic frigates into small FW complexes. In the three pages of response the answer, "yes" was rather unanimous. In the patch notes for January 12th, 2016 we see that logistic frigates are now allowed into small complexes. I assume that feedback and development decisions worked well in that situation. There was some comment about the lack of entry into the small complexes at release. While it did not make 'sense' for those that compared it to larger, logistics brethren, I preferred it. I prefer cautious approaches to potentially overwhelming changes and I will point to command destroyers as an example.

On the 5th, CCP Paradox was also asking for testing feedback from the test server with the changes to the 'buff bar'. I've mentioned buff bar a few times and people stare at me. We're discussing the icons over your HUD that tell you what e-war is making you happy (or unhappy). This is part of some movement CCP has made to give more visual information in the immediate in space HUD instead of having to check menus, sub-menus, and read what is doing what. The changes discussed in that thread will be going live on Tuesday as well.

The Capital Focus group has woken from its slumber. CCP Larrikin posed a question about inherent warp core strength of capitals. It gives me a side thought. Currently, infinity points are infinity points. Should this continue? I am not for or against infinity points in their current implementation. I simply feel that inherent warp core strength.

Also on the 6th (busy day) there are new camera controls on Sisi for the camera changes that are coming in. Those camera changes have not been approached with a lot of love so far. The general idea is sound but the lack of 'classic' mode has had people very unhappy in my interactions with them. Take a minute to look at the latest iteration.

There are a bunch of changes coming to CREST for those that understand them. I'm not one of those people. CCP FoxFour has put up a development blog on the developers portal. I believe these changes are heading towards less reliance on the in game browser and how tools can be made and support added to remove that reliance.

CCP Leeloo also posted the upcoming CSMXI information for those interested. I am not going to be doing analysis of candidates and hurf blurfing about the future and how I was the best CSM ever and 'my CSM was better than your CSM'. I hate that. I've talked to candidates who have wanted to talk to me. It is an interesting experience. I'm quite often told that things don't or won't work as I've discussed or won't and don't bother them or cause problems for them as they have myself. Its an odd experience and often leaves me vaguely puzzled.

What I will say for those looking to pick for the next election. The CSM does not necessarily lead to a greater love for the game. A candidate that has not been active or interested in Eve will probably not find a sudden surge of interest, time, and affection for a stressful position that offers little personal reward. A person who cannot speak to others will not develop the ability to converse calmly and thoughtfully with differing opinions and various view points. The person is being elected not their promises, their corporation, or their alliance. And with each person comes their own baggage, from life to school to work and family responsibilities. Consider more than a ticker or a promise that allies closely with a personal desire.

Anyway, I'm open to questions as always about things. I'm not thrilled about the summit in May so soon after the elections. It takes months for most people to settle and spin up into productivity as they figure out what to do. I think September was a better place. The summer just isn't since people go on vacation and its a relevantly slower period of time. And yes, I expressed my opinion on that.

We're supposed to start back up on Monday. We will see how that goes. We moved to Hipchat in November and its not been as active as Slack and Slack was not as active as Skype. With the Summit supposed to be next month its time to get my books gathered and closed. I have a stack of things that have never been gotten to.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Passive Strike

The last time I made a killboard entry was January 3rd, 2015. It wouldn't be considered much of a kill. I popped an AFK pod on the station. Before that, it was December 13th, 2014. In December, I was frantically preparing for the Winter Summit which was only a month away. A huge amount of changes had hit Eve and we had changed our personal schedules a little bit.

I was also campaigning for CSM10. In March, I was reelected and I was confronted by someone who pointed out that I was inactive. How could I be a CSM rep when there was nothing on my killboard?

Like many situations, I tried to explain. Like many explanations, mine sounded like excuses. I was busy doing CSM stuff. I worked. I was struggling to time zone well. My husband wasn't travelling so I couldn't come home from work and play with no attention to anything else.

And, as so often happens when someone holds me to a standard I don't believe in, I got mad. I was building capitals at the time. I was running a market. I was doing CSM stuff. I was participating in various educational things. I was so busy that PvPing was something I did not have time to do and I was called inactive. It wasn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last time but I realized I was sick and tired of it.

I walked away from PvP and went on strike from it without telling anyone. It was my own personal pool of bitterness. If I was going to be judged only by what was on my killboard then let them eat cake. I'm pretty sure that is a famous quote. I walked away from PvPing to see if I could bring value without it. The answer, for the environment that I have spent so much of my Eve time in was no. It left me with a lot to ponder and ponder I have been over the months.

But PvPing I have not been. After a year on strike, I still feel the same way about it. I don't actually care. I PvPed because I enjoyed the social aspect of it. My attempts to solo have failed due to boredom. I have no attention span when bored. I don't care about pushing myself for some goal. I don't care about being the best. I just enjoyed hanging out with people but that makes me much to casual to be driven by PvP. I'm driving by my social connections in game.

What does my future hold when it comes to my adventures in blowing up other space ships?

I don't know. It is going to depend on where I wind up and who I wind up with. I enjoy PvP. I also enjoy not PvPing. It, for me is part of the game not why I play it. A year of not doing it makes me feel exactly the same. Maybe a bit less stressed not having to worry about making fleets on time, getting everything else done so I have fleet time, not messing up for other people.

In summary. If you don't PvP for a year you may be less stressed if PvP was something you were neutral to in the first place.

Maybe not my most interesting experiment.