Friday, December 19, 2014

Reasonableness

And with changes come discussion of said changes. Over several topics in the last few weeks I have harped upon the idea of reasonableness in balance and decision making. When someone tells me that something is to strong if done in an exact way I ask is that method reasonable?

Reasonable

  1. fair and sensible
  2. fairly or moderately good
  3. not too expensive

Reasonableness is a very flexible concept. Something can be reasonable on many levels. Using a hammer can be reasonably expected to be done by an averge person. Using an electron microscope can be reasonable expected to be done by the average scientist. However, not being accessible to the average person does not make the complexity of an electron microscope unreasonable.

Reasonableness and accessibility are a bit different although they overlap each other. You can add in words like general and such but what is reasonable differs from person to person. In Eve, I often have a discussion where someone discusses a topic. They discuss that topic well and point out how strong or weak or complex or easy it is. My response is often, "How does the average, reasonable player play?"

Many of us who read blogs, forums, eft warrior, and engage in Eve outside of Eve are somewhat super users. We talk, think, judge, weigh, create, and indulge ourselves in the game. Are we a reasonable standard? This topic has come up recently in our POS chat. Is having to have third party tools to function on a sustainable level reasonable? Is having to have IT people in your corporation to help you manage well enough to play with others reasonable. Is that the standard that we want the game to be built and catered to?

I can keep lobbing out examples, but I'm tired. It's a simple enough thought without another thousand words of explination.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Screen Layouts

Nosy Gamer wrote about a program called Eve-O Preview which helps to manage windows without multiple inputs. For those interested in the discussion about multiboxing and the future ban of input broadcasting across multiple accounts at one time there has been a lot of discussion on this topic and Nosy is a good source to expand outwards about the discussion.

I'm a multiboxer and I keep seeing people say that multiboxing is being banned. It is not. It is one click to control all the clients that is going away. Managing software is still allowed. It was that management software that Nosy looked at that made me decide to take this picture.


That is my normal setup. I don't use multiple account management programs and never have. Four accounts is about my average and they are rarely doing the same thing. From right to left I have, my normal web browser with its tabs, Skype going, I'm on TS, a second set of browser windows to work on the history stuff, Sugar hanging out talking, my industrial alt just arrived from a jump, my TCS alt working the market and updating orders for the daily buys, and a cyno alt moving around and setting up some new positions for me.

If Sugar goes into combat, all of the other accounts will be logged off or minimized. The windows will change and move depending on what I am doing. I like layering and with twenty seven inch screens it is easy for me to have a lot of visual room for each account depending on what I am doing.

I know not everyone has three screens and space becomes limited quickly. The tile method is what I have always done. More screens has made it easier to do. However, every time I read someone say that CCP is nerfing multiboxers I wonder where such a broad and outrageous statement comes from. That is followed by the belief that they are building multiboxing software for people to use instead.

I started multiboxing pretty early. Sugar's earliest duties involved being Chella's hauler down in Derelik. She still owns that one. Later my multi-boxing was about scouting myself around and finally it just became me being my own little fleet. Then I expanded into industry and markets and it became my other accounts puttering around doing stuff as time allowed.

It has never occured to me to use software. Of course, I'm the person that didn't realize that gold farmers were really a thing or that someone would create an automated bot to play their game. Eve has taught me a lot but even in my multiple accounts I'm a pretty basic person at heart. I like my gaphics on high. I like to see the game through my menus. I still don't multibox combat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Constructive Use of Time

"You seem quite the industrial player to be in Snuff Box."

It was an interesting conversation and I found myself doing what I often find myself doing in Eve. I defended a part of my game play. "I am a combat pilot," I pointed out. I listed Sugar's abilities. I listed Chella's. I pointed out my dreadnought abilities. I added in my fully trained link and recon pilot. I explained that I am a combat pilot and one that people would find useful. It is just that I do a lot of other stuff as well.

Wex and I have been given the title of Carebear due to our industrial project. I suspect that is because we've demanded a corporate hangar just for ourselves, we've set up a POS for our efforts, and we've raised Sujarento's industry index with our project.

On my own I make boosters, run a market, do logistics work if needed, and talk to people in local. It is the same story that I discuss every day but I find in these situations I'm justifying myself. "I can manufacture capitals for my corporation! That is very useful post Phoebe. I can do this... I can do that..." it is a continual justification process on why I'm useful when I do all of these things that are not PvP.

It is one of the saddest things that I find myself doing more and more. I often find myself explaining why anyone would keep me around for doing other things beyond exploding people. I have to stack up reason to make it okay that I spend a lot of time doing other things.

Eve doesn't exist in a PvP vacuum. I'm also not bright enough to keep my other habits safely hidden away on alts where they will not smear my reputation as a bad ass pirate. That is my own fault. Due to not being intelligent about hiding it and the fact that I think the entire process is a lot of fun.

I live and operate in low sec because I like it not because it is hte smartest thing to do financially. It makes life a pain in the butt. Moving things in. Getting things out. My mornings are often composed of cyno after cyno. Jumping in. Jumping out. Loading in minerals or ships or modules for the market or capital building or booster making. Sometimes I have to replace things for Sugar or buy a new doctrine. Sometimes I ship things out for sale. All of that is part of my life in low sec. Not just the times when one ship touches another ship.

I love that you can make urban renewal projects and invigorate an area. It's like cleaning streets and painting fences. It is hugely satisfying to see the end effort. I know that it has value so I really have to stop apologizing to people for having other interests. I'm getting on my own nerves with that.

"I'm so sorry that I like to build the things we use in house. Please forgive me."

Maybe there will be more battle reports then industrial reports in the future. The two require different amounts of time and I miss fleets these days because I have to make a decision on how to use my time. Someone said they wondered how the CSM would affect my writing. It has affected it like this. My topics have changed as my time, experience, and interests have changed and expanded. I don't write blog posts with the volume that I have in the past. I probably write more then I ever have.

Plus, I like it. The other day I read Revi saying how hes crisping around the edges and he needed to take a step backa nd free himself up some. My personal balm has always been having multiple things to do. It also means I wind up looking forward to doing things. Another CSM side effect is that I want to do some of these cool things that have entered to game or that I've helped change... when I find the time. For now I pick up what I can with my split attention and prior engagements. Actually playing and not just using a fancy IRC client is very important to me.

And, if people get tired of me being too industrial... well too bad.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snapping ISK At The Problem

neu·tral·i·ty - noun
  1. the state of not supporting or helping either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.; impartiality.
  2. absence of decided views, expression, or strong feeling.
I am a big fan of neutrals and wish it was conceptualized better in Eve. It often feels as if there is a 'them' and an 'us' in the game. But there are also 'those people'. Who are they all? Well, in a lot of ways they are the neutrals in Eve. Some are absolutely hostile. I've smirked a few times when I saw who I purchased something from. I can't not purchase from them. But we can't remove them from our pool of neutrals so its a bit of a mangled mass.

I've been asked a few times about Thera's market. Do I want to stock it? What do I think about stocking it? Will it thrive? Will everyone be rich?

Speculation isn't my favorite thing. I can't station trade to save myself. But things like market stocking for PvPers I am comfortable talking about. I have lots of little conversations with people who want to try to stock markets. I hug and pet them and tell them that they can do it. I did it and I had no idea what I was doing when I started. It isn't complex it is just a lot of work and continued effort.

I'm quick to say that my method of marketing is not the get rich way. I'm not a station trader. I don't buy low and move it to sell high. Instead, I commit to an area and work off of the fact that the community will have needs. A place like Thera will reflect and then magnify this concept. The market is a closed system with more consumers then producers.

The problem with setting up a market in Thera is getting the goods to market. You need haulers. You are working with wormholes. For reasons I have not yet come to understand, players love to camp. The concept of neutrality barely exists in this game.

This is the story of Eve:
"Hi! I'm coming through with a freighter of goods to stock your stations so that everyone can reship and continue to have good fights."
"PEW PEW FREIGHTER PEW PEW!"
Boom."Bring friends next time!"
And such another stare is instantly created and ended. I have no problem with killing haulers. It must be remembered that pilot may bring friends as suggested. Or, they may not try it again. One can say, "Use cloaky haulers" and "web them!" or some such thing. It isn't that easy. Those are an option but when we look at the consumption rate of a market for PvPers we have a simple problem of m3.

Space. Not the outside one full of supernovas.


I mean the space inside of our spaceship that we carry stuff in. I've lamented the woes of stocking a single low sec market. It can easily take two or three trips per session to move the amount of material that I need to move. There will have that problem and it will be harder.

Modules at least are small. You can fit huge amounts into agile ships. But when it comes to raw materials it is going to take a while, and I hope not a long time, for Thera to stock itself. Bringing hulls in can happen but it will not be feasible for more then a certain few groups.

There is this idea I keep bumping into where people go, "Oh you'll make so much money!" and then they stare at the market person with a huge, hopeful grin on their face. It is as if the entire moving of the stuff and risking of the stuff part just melts into the back ground if they snap their ISK together and demand a market.

It doesn't. That person is being asked to dedicate time, assets and a fat, wallowing helpless ship. They will need to have a character dedicated to listing that will probably live there. That character or character's would also need to have refining or building skills. Hopefully, wormhole people will discover a love of mining and compressing that ore and selling it in Thera. It will be interesting to see how and if it pressures the compressed mineral market vs other areas like... say... null.

"But Sugar, there is stuff there! It is just expensive stuff! Come get rich!"

Let me explain that there is a difference between a market of opportunity and someone dedicating themselves to stocking things for you. The former can happen with anyone passing by. They drop some stuff off, make some ISK, and never the path shall meet. The later will dedicate a large amount of time to managing and maintaining the market. It is absolutely a full time game to do. Add Thera into the mix and they need a large dose of creativity and ingenuity as well.

How many of them do we have? The chances are not enough. Those that do are probably committed to their projects. It takes a few months to skill up a solid market alt. Orders have to be maintained. It is not an overnight process.

Spaceship violence is one of Eve's draws. It is also one of Eve's greatest hurdles for itself. It is not bad it is just part of the game as well. When asking someone to put that much on the line it has to be worth it. Snapping ISK together and waving it at them does not equate to being worth their time.

Eventually? Sure. Thera will wind up with at least one well stocked station and probably two. 

For now I am helping people develop market lists and brainstorm how and what they can do to get things stocked. It is a challenge for those up to it. I think it could be quite fun. But I feel the fuddy-duddy, leaned back with my jump freighters struggling to shove all of my stuff in to get to low sec.

I salute those trying to get it done in Thera. I have no wise words and special tips. It will be hard, there will be loss, and it can be a lot of fun. I hope that an independent market type crops up. One that does it because they want to do it. One that enjoys the challenges and hurdles. And I hope that people recognize the work that these players will be putting into improving the game for themselves and other people because there are much easier ways to make ISK then supplying markets in hostile space.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Change and Preservation

Four weeks until the Winter Summit. A few more until the CSM candidates submit to CCP. My monthly talk had a split focus. Much was what is going on, thoughts, answers, and responses. Some is what will be going on and my opinion of things as a potential candidate.

One of the side effects of having an informal talk session is that I don't get to prepare for anything. So when Niden asked me about my feelings towards the investment of veterans I talked in circles for a bit and touched on a few areas of it. I thought a lot about why he asked that. A lot of my current writing and talks focus on what I do with new players. In a way he did a little check. "Sugar, do you care about veteran players? Will you care for them and their investment in the game?"

Its a fair question regarding my focus on new players. I tend to pick things up and start running with them. I don't often have high level plans and convoluted strategies. I rather dislike the meta and that probably causes me to start from scratch more often then I need to. But, this isn't about the meta it is about how enthuasem can accidentally obscure the complete picture.

Niden asked. I answered.

There are things like giving skill points to new players. This has its own movement. I'm not sure how broad this movement is. I'm not a fan of it. It makes me uncomfortable. I know that expierence packs and instant leveling are quite the fad in a lot of games. It allows people to enter into the game and cherry pick content.

But I like playing the game. I like it a lot. And, staring at this problem trying to think it over I sometimes feel we have Eve Online and Eve Online: PvP. They exist inside of the same game. The very open world where you can log in at six and a half seconds old and run off to join in a fight is also Eve's personal demon.

People want to feel successful. They don't just want to be able to do. They want to be able to do those things and feel as if they are successful at them. We don't discuss starting newbies at a higher skill point level because they cannot do things. We do it because they cannot do things successful and waht they cannot do successfully is PvP competitively.

They can PvP. They will probably die. At the start of the month I took a new account and did the tutorials and ran off to solo faction war. I died a lot. I killed one person. I fought off two. I died my other thirty or forty fights. I died knowing what to do. I died properly fit. It was not that I could not PvP, it was that I could not PvP competively against anyone who happened to warp in.

Eve has no levels and few restrictions. I love it. It also makes things hard.

"If you put two players in the same ship with the same skills one will probably own the other. Skill matters as much as skills." - Sugar Kyle answering Niden.
That is probably my biggest worry about the active skills. They still won't know how to fly their ship. If I take a five year old player who has never done combat, fleets, or low sec into low they wills till struggle. There are things that they have to learn that no amount of preset skillpoints will give them.

And people have to want to learn. Perhaps it is my age. I love the journey of playing. I used to run after the fleet in my Rupture as they all warped away and my horrifically poor skills made me the last one off the gate. I was only months old. But I was out there flying and trying. I learned during that time. I learned how to play the game and the game is more then who shoots who more successfully.

I hear suggestions to give them enough to get into a T2 fit frigate. What I don't hear is giving them enough to get into a T2 fit barge or a T2 fit mission Raven. What that says to me is that the problem that is being tackled is the accessibility to competitive and successful Player vs Player content at a very early age.

Often the focus is on solo or very small gang flying. That is some of the harder stuff to do int he game. I know pilot after pilot that scares me to death in space and when they slip by in an Atron or Incrusus I know I'll probably die. That didn't happen because of their skill points.

But some of it does happen because of their skill points. I think it is very easy to focus on that and ignore the rest of it.

And there is the fact that people do not want to feel devalued for their investment. One can roll their eyes at a PvPer but I see it elsewhere. I've talked a lot about high standings. Whenever I have these talks I have started to lay down that when we discuss repair we're currently not discussing devaluing the effort that has happened with gains. We're trying to get people back to zero not advance them to ten.

Value in Eve is stretches across unexpected things. I am very proud of my markets. I can gush about them for hours. I can discuss the ebb and flow of buying in low sec. I love discussing it. Markets. And I'll do it all flushed and talking at hyper speed because it is a success. It s something that I did.

When you have a game where people are told to go and make their own world, you have to then remember that they are going to create their own success points. It is too easy to step on those.

So things like skill points make me uncomfortable. I know that they don't everyone but they do me. Accessibility has many, many forms. But if someone is going to get bored they are going to get bored. It may be worth it to CCP to retain them for an extra month or two. That is a sub. But, I get to look at things from the eyes of a player.

I like playing the game. I may be old fashioned. I've told the story of how I was wrong to play Diablo to discover the story. Diablo was about collecting gear I was told. Not the story.

Silly Sugar.

Yes, I want Eve to thrive. I want our population to grow some. I want the community to be hear for me when I log in from work. I am willing to challenge old truths. Change is good. Some change is bad. And as much as we challenge these truths that our conceptual foundations are built upon we also have to challenge the ideas that come along.

"But, Sugar these things are stupid!"

Are they? Because it is very easy and very common in this game to drop the stupid card on those who do not play, think, or do as one does. That's part of defining a game as well but that does not make them, their ideas, or what they do in fact stupid.

A Scamers Choice

I've spent a lot of the weekend in Jita pricing things. Click upon click upon click as I price checked hundreds of items. Plus, there is stuff to buy to feed the maw of the capital ship machine that we have become. We've risen Sujarento's industry index a few points. Irritating but impressive at the same time.

I ignore Jita local on my market alts. They have no need for it. That means it was Wex that noticed something interesting happen in Jita local that involved his alt.


The ISK doubler Fly Yellowsight spams Jita saying that people have sent ISK and received ISK. That made Wex quite fascinated to see his alt's name on a list of people who had sent and received ISK. Fly has one of those BIO's full of colors with a line of tiny text at the bottom. It helps people who taste the gambling feel that they have been clever. But, over the course of the evening we saw Fly call out Wex not once but twice as a winner.

How fascinating.

I've never believed that these scams are real. It is interesting seeing how fake these are when it happens to someone you know.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

CSM9 - Day 225

I’ll call this last week busy and interesting if you have been keeping track of the Rhea release. It has also been a productive CSM week as well and there is more to do.

Rhea was released on Tuesday. The actual release went well. I was pleased to have it as a day off and woke up to a lot of changes. While the launch itself went well, Rhea is not without bugs.

On Tuesday night they had to take the server down due to a duplication bug. It is not common for CCP to do an emergency reboot. But this particular exploit was bad enough that they acted immediately. CCP Falcon released a news story detailing the exploit. 

The UI is buggy. It is laggy. There is no gamma correction. There are no personal UI colors. CCP has regressed and gone back to modal windows after they said they were going away from them and had started to remove them. This is the Rhea issues page. This is the Rhea feedback thread. The developers have bundled the first few posts with the problems. Flip through the dev posts and post your feedback. Please.

There are some PBR issues. It was pointed out that the high resolution shots are much prettier but the low resolution shots are much worse. A lot of people play Eve on low graphics. I’d love to see a better middle ground for low graphics that are a bit less mushy looking. The thread has been very active. CCP Darwin is new to CCP but a long time player and he is very active in these threads as is the rest of the art team.

Trial accounts are not being wiped until Monday the 15th.

If you have been following the in game news or lore a press release from the Sister’s of Eve has admitted that they lost a colony on Rhea’s release date. Concord has followed up with an official statement reference the apparent super Nova and the Sister’s of Eve colony located in a previously unknown system named Thera. If you like the game lore keep your eyes and ears open. Daniel Jackson has been keeping track of the star and  he has made an animated .gif of its expansion and explosion.

Opt ins: Remember, when trying out the new map you opt in under the escape menu. You will then get a new icon on your neocom that is the new map. F10 will still give you the old map. To opt into manual piloting you need to go to the escape menu -> shortcuts -> navigation -> assign the keys. I think we should opt in new players or at least some new players and see if they automatically use them when out in space.

There was an o7 show on Thursday. The link to the twitch recording is here. It is a recap of the last year with a lot of player interviews.

In general it is time to work on Rhea’s bug fixes and Christmas is around the corner. Things have been quiet on the CSM side of things with what CCP is up to. I’m happy to say that CCP Foxfour has heard some of the worries from people who are not comfortable with SSO and is looking into adding an official information page for third party developers to direct uncomfortable users to. This is something that came to me and I’m happy to see the work towards a resolution.

With four weeks until the summit I am shifting gears into information collection and documentation for the summit. I know that people will be out of the office over the holidays. Hopefully, player’s will be in game and I’ll continue to have the productive discussions that have been coming to me about things. It is an odd mix of working on current projects that will play out over the next few months and trying to write summaries for what I have done so far this session. There feels like that is so much more to do. More topics, reviews, the general health of low sec, PvE, new players, null, corps, POS, capitals, mining, industry, markets, contracts, writing the winter minutes on time, and more fill my thoughts going forward. It makes review harder than I expected even with the documentation that I’ve done since CSM9 was elected.

Corbexx and I had our Wormhole and General PvE soundboards. The method of these soundboards is for the players to sit down and discuss various topics. Do we agree? Do we disagree? Do we have a lot of different opinions? CCP Affinity listens to us work through our problems instead of guiding us and possibly not getting our reactions. My job was to bring up questions that I had and that had been sent to me by those who could not attend and to keep the conversation going. I slip a few of my own in there are well.

The recording for the wormhole PvE session can be found here. They discuss sites, life in wormhole space, how to have better sites, broken sites, scanning, and I ask questions about more shield love in wormhole space because someone asked me to ask.

The recording for the general PvE session can be found here. We talk standings corrections, lp stores improvement and decoupling from FW, we want group content, exploration, more access to npc nullsec, level five missions, more dynamic missions, don’t forget to leave content for people who are happy, spitball any idea that pops to mind and cover a damn good amount of ground in an hour.

Thanks goes to Silvonus of Sleeper Social Club for doing the recordings and putting them up on soundcloud.

We are looking into collecting some new players and having one for their impressions and thoughts on the game. Corbexx also has a clothing soundboard scheduled for tomorrow with some of the art team. Focused on hats? Tired of the same colors? So are other people and I expect this to be a lively discussion. It is both amusing, frustrating, and a very interesting fact that the clothing soundboard has received the most discussion and interaction so far.

My Open Q&A will run today, December 14th, at 1500 and 2200 GMT. I need to get my access to the Eve Uni forums corrected so that the calendar reflect this properly. I am planning for another one January 12th to get one last session in before the Winter Summit.