Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Iceland in September - Day Two

Picture Album

There is now a boat in dry dock outside of my window which is better than the bulldozers and construction equipment.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Iceland in September - Day One

Album link here.

Sion says I am cynical. That amuses me deeply. I don't feel cynical. Perhaps, however, I am. I'm not an innocent to life nor am I a pessimist. Still, the title amuses me. I informed him that I am in fact a small, walking sun full of sweetness and light.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CSM9 - Day 133

This last week has been quite interesting and I'm happy that some of the stuff on our table has become public.

CCP Seagull released more of the things coming in Oceanas in a Dev Blog this week. I like this style of Dev Blog. I’ve seen it done back in 2007 and 2008 as expansions were released. They are good, dense recaps that one can hand out.

There are a new type of burner mission coming. This is good but they are still locked inside of the level four mission pool. The desire for burner agents and levels 1-3 burner missions has been shared with CCP by both the CSM and the player base.

The first steps of metacide (module rebalancing) are coming.  Only a handful of items have been released so far. This will be a game changer because everything we know about why we fit things changes with each pass.

The wormhole effects should help with spot checking and decision making as to what is on the other side. Of course, you still need to know what each class has for its color code. I do want to go play in a gorgeous blue one one day. Drowning in beauty of that nebula would be amazing. Then I’d talk in local… anyway…

Yes, a full null sec revamp is in the future. CCP Fozzie released a Dev post touching on the gathering of information that has been happening. I've been biting my tongue whenever someone asked if CCP is even thinking about null sec. Its nice to be able to say that yes, they are. Yes, the CSM is. It will be interesting to see how these sessions go. I don’t have a grand fix for null sec. Instead, I have spent my time worrying about where things often connected to null sec intersect low sec. That is mostly in the usage of Supers and Titans.

The big CSM news is that Matias resigned and Asayanami was given the empty seat. CCP Leeloo made the announcement and then Matias decided to write formally to the player base and not just CCP in reference to his decision. He had his reasons for running and he found out during the first month that the demands of the CSM seat would not work with his schedule. We hit the ground running. Kronos was launching just a month after our term started and the six week cycles have had us in constant motion. Every CSM has had members who went AFK for their term. I am glad that Matias realized that he’d not be able to be active in the position and to resign instead of just holding the seat.

The decision to promote someone to the seat was a good one. We could have continued to be a thirteen member CSM. Not removing an inactive member is also important. The players do vote that person into the seat. While I’d like policies for the removal of people who are completely inactive, creating them will have to be done carefully. Who people cast their vote for matters. Even if it means they cast their votes for people who they know will not be active or will be actively destructive.  We can’t respect one and not the other even if one is unpalatable. At the same time it does not seem unreasonable for there to be a limit to complete inactivity.

Asayanami was selected. Some people agree. Some disagree. Foo wrote a nice breakdown and explanation of the voting formulas and various options to elect a new member. There were congratulations and angry posts all in one. There was agreement that someone else should be selected and disagreement over how the selection took place. He got his NDA signed and back and access to the channels where he has been actively catching up on things. He made it to our bi-monthly meeting. Now it will be up to him to forge his path with the player base as it is up to each member to do so.

Teams broke and went home a week early. This was fixed and CCP credited the time. It left a problem of that Teamless week where people lost a lot of ISK trying to compensate for a bug that put them in a very bad position. This has been brought to CCPs attention in an effort to do more than just have the time credited.

I do not like this “exploit is not an exploit” confused nonsense with bumping Titans in POS shields out of POS shields.

Last weekend was the CSM9 Townhall #2. The recording quality is not great. Xander’s connection was poor and DJ Wiggles had problems with Mumble and his sound card setup. The CSM was asked why we ran it during the Alliance Tournament Finals. The answer was because we did not want to not have it. The timing was not good for those who wanted to watch the finals as they happened instead of the available recording of the events and we
understood that. However, we didn’t want to just not have it as well and we made our decisions. We will try to have the next Town Hall before Eve Vegas in October. We’re looking into moving to Twitch for the live broadcasting for those who do not wish to connect to Mumble and still submit questions. I’ll have to dig into that when I return home and get that up and running.

I completed my Summit project.

I’ve tried to condense topics down into a few sentences and given myself room for notes. The main goal is to help me keep track of these great topics people bring to me and to get as many answered or thought about as I can. The questions range from UI features like drone control range, to camera speeds and off to duels and markets and contract questions or points.

This next week I will be out of the office but in the office.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

When Game and Life Mingle

It is about bedtime for me, tonight. Tomorrow, I get off of work early (8 hours instead of 12!) to get home, make sure I'm set, and head to the airport for my overnight flight to Iceland. I'll be landing around 0630 local time and then my week will start.

I don't know what to expect. I've been to Iceland before. I went to Fanfest, 2013. Still, going because of the CSM is different. I'm both nervous and excited. I'm looking forward to meeting some people. I look forward to talking about Eve. I hope to present myself and represent myself well. But, as always I never know how such things will go.

I'm not so much socially awkward as that I am an introvert. I do enjoy social stuff for my hobbies. However, my past with Eve events is a mixed bag of things often not being quite what I expected. But, unlike larger groups I'm expected to be here. I doubt it will be the wallflower experience that I have had at Eve Vegas and Fanfest.

The fun part about travelling for Eve is that I can indulge my travel blogging habit on my main blog. I may write normal Eve type posts. I may only write about what is going on and share pictures. It is a time when a reader can get to know more about me the person and see through my eyes or just skip over to next Monday when I'm back home. 

I assume I will have time to write. There is always a chance that I may not. However, unwinding from my day by musing over it is a pleasant way to end the day. As always I will share what I can. The rest will just be the impressions. I enjoy travelling to different places.

We will see how the week goes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Will Admit, I Do Not Understand

It is not an exploit if CCP has not deemed it to be an exploit. Yet, as I watched the latest Titan being bumped out of a POS I found myself not excited and thrilled but saddened. Somehow this thing that I was watching has been deemed okay. I'd love to say 'for now'. I hope that there is a 'for now' attached but I worry that is only hope.

I watched this. I was horrified. I watched this. I read this.

It looks like an exploit. It smells like an exploit. But, at the moment, it is not an exploit. I cannot, at this time, wrap my mind around why it is okay other than the fact that it has said to be okay. If someone came to me and said, "Hey Sug, let's go bump this thing out of its shields from outside of the shields," I'd assume that I would pick up a ban.

But not today. Not for this. Not for some reason.

Somewhere at the core I guess I can blame the POS code. I could blame the water physics of the game. I could blame the fact that spaceships are really circles with a pretty graphic in the middle. But blame isn't going to fix anything. Only a rule or a rework of some mechanic.

Can I expect people to self moderate themselves? With the recent drama going about, the answer appears to be no. In an ideal world of grape and strawberry skittles, the answer would be yes. In reality, as long as people can use something they will use it.

But what I find truly soul crushing is the outcome of this. With the mechanic not an exploit the groups that can use this will use this on each other. They will use it and push it and try to get CCP to come down as an exploit or change some aspect of the mechanics involved. Instead of decisive action now, we will have forced action after a trail of spaceship carnage exists. It will further damage faith in CCP. It will further reinforce the idea that the only way to get something changed is to abuse it until the change is forced.

How can I stand there and say people are wrong when they prove themselves right? I can say that there are other ways. There are, but those ways will be diminished. Rage and rampaging will seem to be more successful then reasoning and and waiting. Even if they do not they will seem to. And how would I be able to prove otherwise?

I suspect I know where the eventual outcome will go. I dislike the view of that future.

But everything must have a start. And in this, I have and will voice my opinion.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Fifteen

Previous post: Eve Online: Trinity

It is May of 2008 and CCP has started to structure Development Blogs that bring the full scope of the expansion in a neater package to hand over to the players. The summer expansion, Eve Online: Empyrean Age is bringing with it long made promises.

The original iteration of Faction Warfare will not allow alliances.
There are a number of reasons for this, technical and otherwise, the most important of which is that we just don't want the major power blocs to descend en masse and take over everything. It's obviously not a hard limit on the players involved, but it's designed to encourage the idea that if you're a major player on the nullsec political scene you're already doing something incredibly worthwhile and shouldn't let yourself be distracted by the petty machinations of the Empires.
This is not the Faction Warfare that we have now, but it is still its original shape. What CCP planned and what it will become is, as always, a different thing. Here it is clear that there is a desire for a clear separation of null sec and player driven content and the NPC/Player hybrid aspects. Littler do they know that years later, null sec groups would come to lick their wounds and refill their coffers thanks to the petty machinations of the Empires.

The other thing that is different about then and now is that CCP still has a focus of null sec being where everyone wants to go and low sec being not its own defined space, but a middle ground where people will prepare for their true player created life in null sec space.
 There are a lot of things that Factional Warfare could be. What it is, right now, is in its most basic form a gameplay bridge from high sec to null sec – from the safety of Empire to the wild lands of Alliance space. High sec and null sec have very differing communities of players with very divergent play styles, and while moving from one to the other is obviously possible, it's harder than it should be.
Factional Warfare provides a halfway house for players from Empire to get into the sandbox at the shallow end. It serves other functions too, for other types of player, but this is its primary function.
The game and the focus has changed but the foundations created during this time still populate the conscious mind of the game. In a way, this part of our past explains the growing pains and various problems of self identify in our future. What Eve is now and what Eve will be are two different games.

The other very interesting thing is that the 49 system region Black Rise was created for Faction Warfare. In particular for Caldari Faction Warfare because they lacked a good low sec area. It is the first region of space added to Eve since its creation in 2003. CCP PrismX did the bulk of the work.

But it is the end of May in 2008 and the results of the first CSM election is in. There are a few familiar names there.

In the days leading up to Empyrean Age the Dev blogs are coming hot and heavy to promote the newest content. The rank and combat systems for Faction Warfare are explained. They originally had amazing names for the ranks that they should have gone with. The combat system shows that faction warfare complexes were once anomalies that were scanned down and then spawned a beacon. There is also a goal to have embedded reporters and a constant information stream about the conflict in the warzone for people to read. This went away at some point and that is a shame.


Empyrean Age is released June 10th, 2008 and its focus is Faction Warfare. It is also linked to the first Eve Online Novel Eve Online: Empyrean Age written by Tony Gonzales which was released in January of 2008. I find it interesting that CCP chose Empyrean Age for the name of this expansion which is about warfare and destruction when the meaning of Empyrean is:
The Empyrean was thus used as a name for the firmament, and in Christian literature, notably the Divine Comedy, for the dwelling-place of God, the blessed, celestial beings so divine they are made of pure light, and the source of light and creation. 
With Empyrean age came a general PvE overhaul. Empyrean Age added one hundred and fourty faction warfare missions to Eve. In the midterm releases CCP announces that there are 220 PvE missions coming to the game over the next few months.

One of the very first patch notes reveals an interesting quirk of the war declaration system and the fix that was made for it.
Joining a Fleet with a player who is currently involved in a war will no longer make you a valid target in that war. CONCORD will now respond if a player who is not involved in a war is aggressed within a gang in High Security space.
The Omen Navy Issue, Osprey Navy Issue, Exequror Navy Issue, and the Scythe Fleet Issue are introduced to the game. The four faction warfare NPC corporations are also created for this expansion. The Magnate is also released, evening the Amarr ship line up's offering to the other factions.

A new POS role of Caretaker is added to allow people to empty silos. The Faction Warfare NPC corporations are given loyalty point stores that mirror the corresponding Navy or Fleet loyalty point store. There appears to be a plan for future individuality but this is the introduction of what will be a war of devalued loyalty points between Mission Runners and Faction Warfare players into the future.

CCP gives us the ability to align to a celestial allowing us to align to things not on grid. There are lots of tweaks to ships and modules. Corrections, rebalances, cargo added here and there. There is also an interesting note about tutorial missions:
Character Creation & New Player Experience
The Aura Tutorial will no longer prevent new or rookie players from engaging in combat in 0.0 space
The API is tweaked to allow for Faction Warfare information to be pulled.

CCP is making an effort to do something with Eve Story line. With a book written and an expansion focused on a complex play style full of politic sand intrigue the time is ripe for them to move Eve's story forward. Their goals are huge and if they accomplished them they'd create an amazing living story where player action and world events both grew and a shared history was created.

The Evelopedia is created. Before mid to end of 2008 there was only the various Wiki's created by players and whatever information was scattered around CCP's website. The Q&A team also took some time to write about their various tools and how they use them to test Eve. Yes, test.

CCP is still slowing Eve down. The age of nano has come and gone and you can no longer fit half a dozen microwarpdrives in your midslots. However, they need Eve to be even slower. Warp Scramblers are going to be changed in the near future so that they shut down microwarp drives. All webs used to do 90% reduction. That will be reduced and 90% webs will become a specialty to the Serpentis pirate hulls of the future. Nanos, overdrives, and polycarbon rigs are all nerfed as well.

CCP also develops a more consistent way to give data exports to the players.

As summers are, this one is very quiet. However, CCP sweeps back into action in August by buffing Concord and decreasing response times. The reason is because people are dying before Concord can get to them. CCP also introduces a harsher standing loss. Per the Dev Blog:
 It is too easy to gain back lost standing, taking only a few days to erase all the damage done by ganking. This is about to change. 
Before now security standings were static through the game and the security status of a system did not mean anything. This was reworked so that standing loss and security levels reflected each other. This is also the introduction of chain ratting for weeks to recovery standings losses for PvP. But, what is also clear to me is that low security space is not its own individual area. It is simply, lower security empire as reflected in the blog as well:
This means that 1.0 will now be the safest of places, where aggressions and kills will be severely penalized and can quickly outlaw the aggressor from higher security levels. Conversely, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 will see a decrease in penalty, but not a big step down. This should move most ganking to the lower security areas where it belongs. 
I have a lot of personal interest in this bit of information simply because it supports the fact that low sec became its own area of space outside of any plan or design. If anything the development of Faction Warfare and the security changes in this dev blog laid foundations for clear separation of low sec as its own, unique area of space with its own rules and actions beyond being lower security empire.

The preconfiguration for the autopilot to avoid Jita is introduced. At the same time CCP has looked at the world map and added a few new jump gates here and there to allow people to be able to move through space while never having to go through Jita to get anywhere else in Eve. Jita is also scrubbed clean of Agents and they have also given up hope on sending capsuleers to Jita for missions. To top it off, Jita is getting its own personal server attention to improve the quality of life while people shop and scam.

Empyrean 1.1 is here. CCP has taken action from the player wishlist they have created and added small quality of life improvements to the API such as:
  • Clone info to the CharacterSheet.
  • Roles and Titles on CharacterSheet.
  • Title lists for corporations 
  • Roles and Titles of corporation members 
  • Container log for corporations
  • Standing lists 
  • EVE API corporation shareholder list 
Seventy missions have been added for rookies and 100 new missions have been added to the rest of the normal mission pool. The warning message for jumping into low sec now only exists when jumping from high sec into low sec, not on every gate or in and out of null. Also POS killmails are now generated properly. But 1.1 is mostly a long list of fixes and corrections for typos, modules, skills, ships, missions, items, changes, and more.

The first CSM term is about to end. It's been almost six months and that is how long the terms were and why we are at CSM9 in 2014 when the CSM only started in 2008.

We're halfway to the next release. I'd love to keep writing but it is time for this collector of history to go to sleep and end the fifteenth installment of this series. Next time, we will finish the walk down the path that leads to Eve Online: Quantum Rise.


Official Eve Online: Empyrean Age Expansion Page
Eve Online: Empyrean Age trailer (YouTube)
2008 Eve Online Dev Blogs
Eve Online Patch Notes
Eve Online Evelopedia
Eve Online: Empyrean Age (Amazon)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TCS: The Unstated Stuff

I woke up a few days ago thinking about my market which may be attributed to the fact that I was working on it right before I went to sleep. I was thinking about one of the most common questions that I am asked which is, "How do I get started?"

It is not reasonable, to me, to expect individual characters to make three or four or five market accounts to run a market. Some people will do it. Many of the successful market bloggers have an army of characters to handle their market transactions. I also have my alt army that is dedicated to maintaining my orders but I do not believe that you can only be viable in a market with an alt army.

And no number of alts will give you time that you do not have. I find myself tighter than I used to be for time.. What would be a pleasant morning working through my stocks may take me a day or two to get everything purchased and shipped. Moving items myself beyond jumping it from high sec into low sec is almost unheard of these days.

It has made me think a lot about focuses of my market. My orders have condensed down some. I feel a bit of shame that I am not offering up as many items as I used to but I have to be reasonable. Two alts still allow me up to six hundred orders. That is plenty to keep people in ships and items.

What I've mostly dropped is meta modules. I keep the common metas and the rare ones have to go. What I dislike about this is that I feel as if I am excluding newer players who cannot T2 fit their ships. However, I have to make choices and during the time that I have run this market I can say that my meta items just do not more like my other ones except for missiles.

Meta missile launchers move. Yet, the entire issue with guns is that they cover such a large range of orders as do all of the ammo types.

I find that when people ask me "What" they should sell I don't suggest everything. In fact, everything is hard because what will sell, what may sell, and what did sell are all different things. Instead, I've of late been advising people who want to start a market to look into fueling capitals and exploration ships and modules. Combat ships should come when some capital is built up due to the expansive needs of fitting.

It would seem that combat ships are the lifeblood of a low sec market. Yet, people do more than PvP. People simply say all that they do is PvP. I've watched my sale of haulers and scanning frigates, cyno ships and warp core stabs for to long to believe that PvP is all that is in the heart and soul and need. The non-PvP areas tend to thirst for  the basic, utility needs in life.

There are surface needs and then there are deeper needs. It is amazing how often someone could really use a hauler. Like right now. Wow it'd be useful. Also, the deployable market is woefully neglected. The simple lack of availability causes lack of usage. It'd be nice to assume everyone prepared and shipped in and planned what they needed to do more then shoot other people but...


*wheeze* Let me catch my breath. Tee hee. *gasp*

It is about what people need not always what they want. Otherwise, they will ask you to stock a Vindicator for that day they may want one.