Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Neglect of PvE and Low Sec

The side effect of not undocking due to a somewhat laggy hotel internet connection and a lack of a headset to join in on fleets is that I can write a blog post or two a day instead. There is a lot that is bubbling up from Fanfest.

Vov and Detta have been having these intense, technical discussions about tags 4 sec and their potential usefulness. I'm the simple minded one that finally said, "We know nothing about their spawn rates you are just making guesses." This is probably why they are good at intense technical game mechanics and I am not. The perception of a min/maxer is not one that I can or do automatically understand. Optimization for the sake of optimization rarely appeals to me.

The discussion dove into what makes something worth doing in different types of space. PvE in low sec is not much better then PvE in high sec. While CCP may not be walking along the path of inherent steps of space, Low Sec is more dangerous then high sec. Currently, low sec, outside of Faction Warfare does not have a payout that makes it better then high sec and Vov cannot figure out why.

Nor can I other then the fact that hte equations are antiquidated and no one has touched them because PvE is a mostly neglected category  At some point in the somewhat recent pass, I complained that PvE has been allowed to stagnate. I do not mean the changes such as improving the AI (it is better, I guess technically but I won't say I have more fun because of it) which was very recent and one thing. I mean that PvE content should be added with each expansion.

When I say PvE content should be added I don't mean new content requiring new code. I mean new missions and new sites and new DED complexes with the exact same mechanics should be added. The mission text should change. The room should be different. The spawns should be shaken up. It would be something that would have to be mapped and added to the massive bank of 'how to do missions by the numbers' that the player base has created. It would stop or at least decrease the chances of someone getting the same mission four times in a row and create variety the first few times around.

Even as I wrote this I thought that it would be cool if the missions that were added would have their mission story line reference back to the lore and live events that have been going on. Little things like that add a layer of immersion for lots of people. Those that don't read the story and just senselessly grind missions will continue to do so no matter what the mechanics  For many, who want to play Eve as a game with a story it would give them more access to that story.

But this was supposed to be about making ISK.  At the end of the day, Eve is always about making ISK. ISK is the big drive and the big limiting factor. The way the forumals work is that in high sec you get a certai ISK payout. As the security status of the system lowers the payout increases. This counts for bounties, mission rewards, and loyalty points.  The ISK gained from mission PvE comes from direct ISK injection i the form of bounties and mission payouts. The second way is from loyalty points.

Loyalty points are a somewhat more complex method of gathering ISK. They are not instant Bacon. A player must decide which faction they wish to gain loyalty points for and what they can use those loyalty points to purchase and supplement their income. Some people never pay much attention to them and some pay lots of attention to them.

And then there is Faction Warfare.  Faction Warfare is all about the gaining of loyalty points and converting them into ISK. This removes direct ISK injection and adds a layer of complexity. That's fine and well and good. What Vov was discussion was the way loyalty point payouts work in faction warfare and the way they surpass anything that can be done outside of Faction Warfare.

As a min/maxer Vov works through level 4 faction warfare missions. The negatives are you have to deal with FW militia that is able to kill you in high sec and low sec. You will also lose standings to the opposing factions and lose it very quickly. Faction standing is easy to lose and ridiculously, mind boggling hard to gain. On the upside, because Faction Warfare mission loyalty points are affected by the tier the faction is currently at when they are at their 4 the pay out is. Between the ease of the missions and the high level of the pay out the draw for a min/maxer is high and with a loyalty point to ISK conversation the ISK per hour can be in the hundreds of millions. He feels that it is obscene that he can make so much so easily and quickly.

My counter argument was "so what?" How can they balance the payout against a min/maxer without harming everyone? No matter how good faction warfare is I don't want to do it. I will never taste the liquid ISK that flows from its missions. It is balanced against me because I won't do it. How is stopping him not going to harm the average person.

His response was that the reason he goes to faction warfare is because it is so high. Not only is the reward incredibly high the reward is worth it elsewhere. He pointed out that a level 4 mission in low sec pays out a few k more loyalty points and maybe a million more ISK then a level 4 mission in high sec. A level 4 mission in faction warfare pays out a a magnitude more and that only increases with the tiers. Running missions or even doing anomalies in low sec has such a slight gain over doing the same in high sec that it does not cause anyone to wish to do it.

To avoid the math of faction warfare and the arguments of faction warfare I will move back over to the true point of my argument. Why is there not a more significant increase in payout for missions outside of high security space? Level 5's are nice but I don't think players that would pull their income from level 2 and 3 missions find level 5 missions a viable, immediate future. I also don't wish to answer every need to make ISK outside of high sec and without joining a null block to be "go to faction warfare". It goes against my entire little "help low sec" thing.

This is not a carrot post. I'm not discussion drawing people out of high security space and into low security space or null security space. If people want to come they will come. There are ventures that mine in the belts.  There are explorers that die in the sites. Those that want to leave high sec will leave high sec. What I speak of is feeding those that live in low sec.

While we spend a lot of time discussing giving low sec its own defined feel and reason, as I look around me of late I wonder why we don't have some of the very basics life needs. If risk = reward, even in a small way, why do our gains suck? The risk that is taken when one steps through the high sec gate into low sec is a sheer cliff. It is not just 10% more dangerous. On top of that, for those that go to live in low sec they are bound to low sec and null sec to make their ISK. But, the increased risk taken by the life style means an increased loss that is also taken. There is no pimped out mission boat that you crack out and use to cruse through some missions while reading the forums. You use the same ships that you are going to fight in or you use a pimped out boat that you try desperately to keep and you will sometimes lose.

Low sec lacks decent ways for its player base who stay in low sec by choice or choice given by game mechanics to thrive there. And unlike wormhole space, where they have to trade their goods to make the ISK the space already contains the basic building blocks. The bounties are there. The missions are there. They have just not been looked at or touched for a tremendously long period of time.

I was told when discussing many aspects of this that I speak of solo play. I do. Eve's mission system and bounty system does not reward corp play on very many levels. The payouts split. But, outside of that, for a new player they often need a certain amount of independence. Low sec is populated by small corporations of people who work together on many levels but the chances are high that there will not always be someone on to help. Having content for people to do when alone is very important. It does not mean that you play Eve solo to do something alone. I'd never define my game play as solo but I do many activities by myself. Yet, when I undock, and place myself out there to be hunted down the reason that I undock needs to have value to me. It can be that I am moving around to do something. That means I'll take a fast ship, built for speed and avoidance. It may mean I'm looking for trouble. I'd pick a different fit for that.

If I am going to go to make money I have a duel need. I need to be ready to face the NPCs in whatever situation they are in. I also need to be able to face whatever player situations I may face. I don't mission the same way that I would in high sec. I cannot do so. I've spent a lot of time being hunted down by people and avoided it. I've spent a lot of time hunting down people and maybe catching them and maybe not.

None of that is what I would experience in high sec.

I've often heard that becoming outlaw is a choice. It is. But is it a choice that should be punished by making the game suck? The innate loss of low sec is already there. The average low sec pilot is going to go through a higher number of ships on a day to day basis. They are going to need a higher number of ships available to them to deal with situations they come across. They are going to have to turn down rewards and make decisions not to do the things they want to go and do because of the situation that may currently be in space.

Soundwave spoke that not every player is entitled to success. That is true. However, success and basic gameplay are two different things. A neglected game mechanics such as the payouts for missions and anoms is still a neglected game mechanic.

Mission payouts need work. They need to be looked at more often then they are. People often ask why newbies turn to mining because its boring and no one should mine. They do it because it is the most profitable activity that they can do for quite a while. Everything else takes time and skills. People kind of sort of want to play right now. They may not play well but they want to play. Level 1 missions do not match newbie mining for income. They don't turn to level 1 missions because level 1 missions are done for standings and to get better missions.

Someone will shout station trading and I will only roll my eyes. Not everyone is cut out to station trade. While not everyone is cut out to earn oodles and oodles of ISK there is a particular level that they need to progress in the game and that is why they turn to mining instead of running missions even if they dislike mining. Later it may be about ease and afk value but at first it is simply the fastest way for them to make the income to earn the things that they need. Such as a cruiser to do higher level missions.

People, playing a valid game style, need to be able to support the basics of the game style. They should be able to earn a cruiser. "Don't go outlaw" should not be the answer. Viability does not have to mean billions. It does not have to mean ISK fountains. It needs to provide the player with their basic needs if the needs are currently expected to be met in the area. And if there are things like missions in low sec I'm going to gain the expectation that they are there for players to do and function from them. I don't think they need to feed every need and desire for the eternity of the eve career. But for a new player just starting with the need to finance themselves the options need to keep up with the demands. It would be nice if they could make the same as a high sec newbie mining veldspar in a venture off something like missions.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Eve Side Chronicles: The Blue Lagoon, a Lighthouse, Dinner, and Snow

Photo album from Fanfest and Iceland is here.

It is my last day and I suspect I'll stop writing about Iceland and get back to writing about Eve. The other night, at dinner, I was sat by the window. The window is drafty. They always seem to be. The place is cold, I will give it that. But, the view was nice until a random ma knocked on the window, rubbed his face and lips against it, gave me the peace sign and kept going. It was amusing but it was also WTF. The other table in the restaurant was occupied by a group of Eve players. I will miss the chatter about the game that I would catch as I walked around the town.

I won't miss the random snow storms when I am standing on a cold beach with my hair still soaking wet from the blue lagoon with cold wind ripping off of the Atlantic and shredding through my inadequate spring time North American idea of a jacket.

The day started off with my husband convincing me to get out of the bed. I have been out and about more this last week then I do in a month outside of work and it caught up to me. I'm a home body and I find myself almost shuddering with exhaustion at this point in the trip. However, we leave tomorrow and today was supposed to be the blue lagoon visit. I managed not to talk myself out of it but dragged myself down to the car and off we went.

Iceland is a tundra of volcanic rock and lichen  The planes sweep away to the bases of distant mountains with the occasional house or small town sweeping in and out of view. It is bleak but pretty. I can almost forget how cold it is as my imagination slips off into heavily clad forms in fur cloaks working their way towards some unknown goal.

The Blue Lagoon was an interesting experience. A power plan that collects geothermal heat is right beside it. From the shows that you see about it, it seems as if you will just walk into some pool of blue water that is sparkling and beautiful and soak in the heat until you are done and walk off into the Icelandic sunset...

In actuality, the Blue Lagoon is a completely comercialized place. Its a bit pricey to enter. Bring your own towel, they are expensive. It is fully enclosed with a cafe and a restaurant, changing rooms and a spa and bar in the lagoon itself. You are given a wristband that will key to your locker and allow you to buy drinks.  There is also a lot of nakedness. I'm American, I'm body shy in public and the entire trotting around naked thing in the locker room was almost a deal breaker for me. I managed to slip into shadows, cover myself with a towel, understand that no one gave a damn about me but still feel embarrassed and follow all of the rules at the same time. It is, however, the one reason why I may never actually go back there.

But, once outside and in the water it is a nice experience  The water is warm and the ground uneven but smooth with a coating of fine black sand. The pool varies in depths all over the place. You can go to the edges and tan or find the little alcoves with their carved, stone benches. There is mud masks to play with, drinks to get, and lovely, lovely water to soak in.  We stayed for about two and a half hours before fatigue and hunger chased us out. There are walkways around lots of areas and some places where people can come take photographs. It is not nearly as uninhabited as the ads make it seem but the habitation isn't bad.

We got there around 1430 and by 1600 it was busy. When we finally got out of the water the place was packed full of people.

The naked thing had to happen again in reverse. There is a sign asking you to dry yourself fully and take off your swimsuit and put it in this nice plastic bag provided so that the changing area does not get wet. All of this naked stuff is just yuck. Again, no one paid attention to me or noticed. That doesn't make me like it any.

To be fancy dinner was at the restaurant. It was okay. Not the best meal I've had here I will admit but nice. The complimentary appetizer was a piece of smoked salmon the size of my finger tip, a singular crouton and dot of mayo.

Thankfully, I had ordered a salad that turned out to be a real salad and not just rocket.  I had a discussion the previous night with a bunch of UK people about rocket. I think the stuff is terrible but they all love the peppery taste. Bleh.

My mostly not rocket salad was good. It had melon in it. Normally I am not a fan of mixing fruit and salad but what the hell, right? I still ate all the fruit first. The beef tenderloin wasn't the best meat I've had since I've been here. I will admit that food is expensive but most of what I have had is oh so good. Once full, I got some type of native ice cream cone from the Cafe. It turned out to be really, really nasty. The ice cream was not as creamy as I expected and just nothing tasted quite right. The gift shop was also uninspired (if pretty), full of expensive things and furs. I've never seen so many real furs. It is kind of like trying horse. Some things are so very taboo and looking at all the fox fur stoles and rabbit fur hats and gloves and scarves of wolf and reindeer and everything else was odd. PETA would come with buckets of paint and have a field day. What I really wanted was a piece of rock from the lagoon. Oh well.

We stopped by the lighthouse on the way back to the hotel. Tomorrow, I've been promised a slow morning, a meal, and then a trip to the airport for another flight that hopefully will be a bit better. We did look into upgrading our seats but it seems that upgrading is not a thing that Icelandic Air does. They did offer to let us buy a complete set of new tickets at full price.

Eve Side Chronicles: The Curious case of Iceland and Griffiti

Photos of Fanfest and Iceland

I'm still in Iceland for another day. Meet the "come at me Bro" puffin with a lovely green backdrop provided by my husband's shirt. This puffin is coming home with us.

As I understand crime as defined, destruction of property is considered a crime. Destruction can be defacement and under defacement one can easily slot spray painting.

I have seen more of Iceland at night then during the day. This day was the first day after Fanfest. I have another day after this one and I head home the following afternoon. This is the first time that I slept in. I managed to acquire almost a full mornings sleep after I finished my last, endless ramble around four in the morning under the brightness of a freshly risen sun.

The task of finding food led us down a wind swept street and to a small, corner ship where my husband first acquired a beer our first night in.

We had been trying to figure out where the food was in this establishment and eventually, we discovered that the restaurant part was upstairs. Up a narrow, steep staircase with a heavy, textured wallpaper from a different era. The hostess stand was somewhat at the top of theie stairs and tables spread through.  We were given a window seat and menus.

I am not used to the difference in feel to small places like this. At home, I often avoid them because they are strange to me. When I go out of the country, I somewhat seek them out but the strange, intimacy and lack of the normal formal habits that I am used to for a public place leave me a bit disconcerted.

However, my view let me see the fact that Iceland is not free of people throwing their gum on the sidewalk.

Seeing things like 'american pancakes' makes me giggle. They had coco puffs as well. I settled for a 'hangover' sandwhich which you can pair with a 'hangover' milkshake that has a shot of Jack Daniels in it. After that, I wanted to wander to the graffiti park that is just past the Celtic Cross. I know some Urban neighborhoods make such areas to let people express themselves through their spray paint in a more controlled area.

There are so many layers upon layers. I've noticed that graffiti is everywhere. Often is is contained to fences and public structures vs buildings and homes.  There are no trains here so the railroad cars coated in graffiti are not seen. And a search about it shows that it is an ongoing situation. It is interesting to see. In many ways, it does not quite fit in. As I walk the streets it is everywhere.

And I cannot always tell when it is artwork and when it is graffiti  Not being able to read anything it says does not help the situation. The city is rather neat and clean. The people that are out in the restaurant turned bars and clubs at night are 'smartly' dressed. I'm amazed by the sheer number of mini-skirts in the frigid cold air but looking good has always been more important than comfort.

It doesn't give the impression that the city is not safe or run by roving gangs. It is just everywhere that you go.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: Retribution Roundup

The first thing that I heard when I got to the hall was from a friendly member of goonswarm discussing the Rumor that 'isotopes are being removed from the ice belts and we will hear more at the Keynote".  So, complete Rumor but the other story I read later was that Ice was being removed from high sec as well. We will see what we find out. The above is 100% rumor at the time I am writing the blog.

I first attended the Retribution Roundup. It was an overview of what Retribution meant. I can see how it is not interesting or exciting but ignoring what was for what will be isn't the best idea in my mind. I also liked Retribution a lot so decided to try to take some notes and see how it went. It was hosted by CCP Soloman who I felt was a very good presenter  interesting and engaging. His obvious passion for being a project manager showed through. Especially when he showed us project manager books and how richly engaging they were.

The project managers do love their thing. They explained how they start with tons of ideas and start filtering and cutting them down to what will fit into the expansion. They assign high priority to some things. I didn't understand the project manager lingo that he used but it seems that everything is assigned a series of points that show how important they are.

Tactical Combat Features had 95 points assigned to it.  The Fog of War should not apply to the UI. He defined how they are trying to move things out of that spreadsheet feel and into a more interactive game.

New Destroyers that gave different weapons options had a high priority 125 points assigned to it.  He says the numbers they are seeing (the numbers were not shown) show that they are very popular.

Bounty Hunting - The Poster Child for a Broken Feature. It has an importance of 134 points. He said that trillions of ISK placed and claimed since the system went live.

Balancing Ships - 154 points
I believe he said that logistics frigates have helped shape up small gang PvP. I'm not certain because that sounded insane. Maybe he meant or said T1 cruiser logistics. Unless small gang means litteral, small spaceships all of a sudden. Unless logistics frigates are very popular in FW?

He went on to say that despite nerf whining when people lose their favorite ship (I am guilty) it shakes up the game and the meta. Its good for the game.

Crime Watch - It had 264 points one of the most sizable deliveries they have made.
Greyscape and Masterplan were the leads for redoing the aggression mechanics.  He gave thanks to player feedback and CSM 7. FW was upgraded and improved. Drone Regions are up to speed. The Second reiteration for the Unified Inventory and that now it is in a good place.

There was a general murmur of "no not really" about the Unified Inventory being in a good place. He continued that it was. It is a challenge to take a system that older players had become used to and to also give newer players a system that they would find intuitive because it is similar to the interfaces they use every day for other things.

As a personal aside, when he commented about the Drone Regions I was like, "Really?" I even have a note written beside it that says really? I mean they are better with bounties and some loot but up to speed? No, they are not there yet. We still skip drone exploration sites as not worth the time.

They are continuing the V3 as well. Also a nod to salvage drone introduction  They redesigned the stabber, the mega and the tempest. He said that the mega was the only change that caused a threadnought and if that was what was upsetting people the most things were not that bad.

Q and A time:

Q: Retribution was great. Will there be further work on the Unified Inventory? It is better then it was but it still needs work.
A: They have been looking at it. Go to the round table about it for further discussion. More details in the keynote.

Q: Right now it seems that the graphics team is the bottle neck to adding more stuff. What is being done to make stuff adding faster?
A: He would not say that it is a bottleneck. What they have to do is very well known and they work to improve all of the time. However, standards are very high to keep Eve gorgeous.

Q: Procedures for the new player - is there a team that is working on it from a delivery stand point? Things that have no obvious way to be learned in game? Some in game source for them to do this?
A: They want the interface to be intuitive so that people do not have to read for hours before playing. There are so many players who have written good, thought out guides with great detail on these things. They are not trying to pass it onto the player but at the same time the players have stepped up and filled the void as experts.
A: The evelopedia is there and they have given some of the weight of filling it to the players. They have syndicated a lot of material from Eve Uni for instance. The players are a rich source of expert knowledge.

Q: What was the best feature that did not make it?
A: Having more information from the effects bar.

Q: What else didn't get in from the way the graph looked at the start (I didn't take a picture of it) it seems that there is a lot that didn't get in.
A: The graph does not directly express "this made it" and "that did not" it is more an example of ideas being trimmed down to manageable, producible size
A: They are always trying to design ahead of what they want to do and for the future. Dueling is an example of something not ready at expansion deployment but ready by the time the first major patch came through. Also some of the things they started in Retribution will be features in Odyssey.

Q: A guy who has a high sec bounty and feels that his freighter is now a loot pinata because of it. He says he was not bad but he got the bounty because he has fan girls. Will there be a time when bounties go away with time?
A: He doesnt' know if they have plans to get rid of bounties through other ways. It was a hotly contested topic with CSM 7.
Q: "So I'm screwed."
A: They don't want there to be a way to go to a dark corner of the game and grind off a bounty

Q: V3 - Can we get an upgraded texture package? When you scroll in close the ships still look bad.
A: It would be large and they want to limit client size. Maybe they could do a download texture for people that want it. (The audience was then asked if they wanted it to great cheering and yeses. They will see about it and it appears that they decided to do so before Fanfest ended.)

Q: Looking to add more battleships to the lineup?
A: Yes they are always looking to add more. Go to the ship rebalancing. Battleship usage has decreased. There is a lot of internal discussion about what they want battleships to do. (They also forgot to not use the old 'tier' descriptions for outlining battleships).

Q: When bounties are placed have they thought about adding a conformation box to double check the amount? He managed to add too many zeros to a bounty once while intoxicated.
A: "Excellent"

Q: Wormholes - Are they doing anything for wormholes and T3s? They have been in the same place forever.
A: They would like to - Would we like to see frigate T3? BS T3S? Indy T3s? The crowd cheered for all of it. Capital T3s? Big cheers to that in which everyone was ordered to put their hands down.

They feel that wormholes are in a good place in general. As they look at how other mechanics affect them like POS life they are looking for new content to make them more juicy. Wormhole round table - probe it down and go there. Remember the personal hangers are coming into play.

Q: Ventures outside of high sec? He has never seen this. Did they do a follow up to see if it is being used as intended?
A: It is not a ship problem but a resource one.

Q: The affect bar shows the same icon for a scram as a disruptor. Can we get a different icon?
A: That may have been something that he axed on the table. Whoops.

And thus ended the first session on my first day.

TCS: A Week of Neglect

I am mildly overstating. I did stock heavily last Tuesday and I did do a rig restock a few days ago. It has also not been an entire week.

However, my store is in a shambles. Someone else is stocking hybrid and projectile ammunition at the moment. Lots of stuff is gone but because I have around 450 buy orders active right now figuring out what is gone is a lot harder then I expected without my tools.

Little things like screen setup matters. With only one screen on my laptop there is a lot of back and forth tabbing between various accounts. I have become more proficient at using Eve Mentat as a fast sorting restocking list then I realized.

I've been trying to get some of it done. I was a bit too frustrated to deal with it until I saw someone I know purchase all of my liquid ozone and relist it double the price. The market for ice materials has been insane with the announcement to the changes in ice mining. Like the American Oil companies, the value of what is already there doubles the moment someone can increase it. It is something about he market that I hate and it goes against my grain.

I know many of my own prices will have to go up due to this effect. I can't make it go away.  All of my own isotopes were gone before the keynote even ended. However, seeing someone I know do it to my market is I guess market PvP. However, like any type of PvP we all have our own opinions about honor and Bushido. ISK has never been the motivating factor for my store. That is why I had to make the rule that I will not lose ISK on what I am making due to my personal guilt in charging people for something that I am doing.

This will be the same thing. The difference is that I never promised myself I will make no more then X profit  Just that I will not lose money.

So, I am going to restock and undercut. I can't stop people from doing what they do. I can only react to the best of my ability. I may have to raise the cost of my items because the cost of the supply has increased. I don't have to let someone buy me out and relist over me when I can step in and undercut them back.

I'm not into playing games but I am a bit angry. I guess I could write a strongly worded eve-mail that would get me laughed at. Instead, I'll handle the situation. He can just undercut me until I am at a place where I can not move without losing ISK. That is fine. I can at least deny him as much of the gain as possible.

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: Low Sec Chats

I was pessimistic about my game future on Friday night. I was excited about Tags 4 Sec but terribly worried about the overall future for Low Sec. Rumors, murmurs  holes in knowledge and guesses were painting me a positive picture for Eve and a bleak picture for myself.  Those two things are not the same. Eve can be wildly successful while the things I love fade out and change. I was worried.

Looking back upon the day, before I comment on the day, I will say that I learned what worries me the most. The size of small gangs in the inhabitalness of low sec is a major worry of mine. Social game play is a major focus and massive scope is a major focus. Small gangs can give social game play but we can not give greater scope. In a discussion I will detail further down I realized that I was repeating a concern I had not fully voiced or realized to myself.

I am worried for the residents of low sec because of their small size. Nothing stops larger forces from coming and wiping us out except for the fact that it is not worth it. Adding worth to low sec directly endangers the current residents. The current residents are not large groups and that is what makes us so dynamic and our social situations so intense and unique. But what makes life here so interesting is also what makes us so inherently fragile.

Let me start the day.

The previous evening (I often start the days not on the days...) I had Sard Caid asking me a question that I could mostly answer but not answer well enough to satisfy him.  I did the smart thing and directed him to CCP Masterplan. Sard then managed to expand his question beyond twitter so I wound up offering myself up as a proxy at the Low Sec Round Table that was planned for Saturday. Masterplan agreed. Sard then wrote a thesis paper which I will try to condense down a bit.

The question focused around gate gun mechanics. Are they functioning as intended? At first I was like, "well yes" but after people who are not out laws broke down the question I understood a bit more where the points of note were (I think).

The Low Sec round table was after the Resource Re-balance round table. That was a full session. I managed to slip in with Ueberlisk in tow and settled down to write about what people asked. Round Tables are just big Q and A's with ideas tossed back and forth as well.

Kaeda starts off the session with asking Sard's Question.  It rolls around to this:

When someone attacks a neutral in low sec (someone not pirate) they receive a security status hit and gategun aggression. Once they warp off and warp back the gateguns do not reaggress. This allows the aggressor to have unlimited access to pewpewing the neutral without further gategun aggression. Is that what was intended? With the guns behaving this way it is harder for the solo pilot. It is harder to force tackle off the field. You are on your own after that initial aggression now that they can shed the guns.

The answer: This is intentional. The side effects were weighed and they are happy with the way it has brought tackle and such things back into the game.

This question had never come up for me because I have not have a security status above -5 for a long time. Being somewhat simple minded I simply understood gateguns as something that shot me and that I didn't want to die to. Because I've always been the aggressor and often tackle one thing after another I'd pick up aggression again and always assumed it was because I had shot at the target again and the target was not -5. I am bad at Eve.

There were more questions about getting security gains from shooting players with lower security status. They shared dreams and hopes but nothing is out there that is on the books.

The reason the criminal flag exists in low sec for pod kills is so that people can get ot -10. If they only got to sec hits from suspect flags it'd take forever or never happen for them to hit -10.

There was discussion about the barrier of security status to high sec. Right now, you are kicked out of high sec quite early. Well before you go outlaw. There was a dream/thought (no planning) that security status response in high sec with Faction Polite is what would scale. It would affect out laws and if you were in a .5 you might get a slow response or just a frigate while you get full police response in 1.0. Concord is not going to be turned off. Greyscale made that clear.

There was a discussion about making Low Sec more valuable for people that lived there. That there is no risk mitigation like in null sec. Null sec residents put in huge amounts of time and energy into making their space safe. Low sec is just a land of prey and fighting. They'd like to see something that gives groups reasons to settle down and hold the system that they live in. But its just thoughts at the moment.

Someone asked about separating High Sec into islands surrounded by low sec pools. They'd love to do it but don't think see that as something that is going to happen due to the current structure of the game. It would be too unsettling.

Someone wanted to bring some type of limited bubble in. Grr. It got shot down pretty quickly.

The super carrier/titan problem is understood. But there is no 'fix' in the books. The room was interestingly divided at this point. It was a those with vs those without on the subject.

Someone had an interesting idea they tossed at the Devs about deployable star gates that might be short lived to allow small gangs to move around and flank larger groups.

Greyscale said some things that made me happy. He basically said that the answer to low sec is not to make it like null sec. He would love for low to be more like a ghetto back alley with fighting in narrow corridors where the gangs that live there have an advantage. It was an image of guerrilla warfare where the size of the small gang was its advantage and the large group was hindered because it was not a massive preplanned battlefield situation. They don't know how to make it happen but they want it to be its own, unique area of space.

Someone said that one nice thing about the old complexes was not being able to use MWD in them. They'd like unique features like that in places again.

That brought up the 1/10 and 2/10 thing. They said that they knew it was not about farming for those who wanted them back but about the mechanics to fight that was the cool thing. They discussed it internally when they decided to do it. Moving the static complexes to the exploration system made sense. However, they want to do something for low sec to replace what they have lost. It is one of the things that they are thinking over and trying to visualize.

Why don't off grid boosters get suspect flags? It is because of the boosting code and the technical mess that is. There was also another emphasis that off grid boosting is bad.

Someone asked for more information about where fights are happening in low sec. They are going to try to get us more information about where the fights are happening so that faction warfare vs non-faction warfare space can be looked at properly.

Someone complained that 150km warps are to short and it should be well over 200 at the minimum. Not well received in the room or by anyone I think.

Greyscale said that they don't have plans to expand Faction Warfare into more of low sec. They would rather make non-faction warfare space better then roll all of it into faction warfare. This was based off of a suggestion that neutral parties be able to receive some type of gain from faction warfare or to bring in the pirate factions.

Interesting idea proposed: What if wormholes bleed their effects into the low sec/null sec they opened into a little bit. It was very interesting.

That's what I caught from the session.

I then went off the hunt down CCP Masterplan. I have had a lot of positive Dev interaction. They so want to know what we are doing and thinking and feeling and wanting and understanding about the process. I have been deeply impressed by it. I dragged Nosy Gamer into it as well. We both had some negative reflections about some of what we had heard the previous day. Nosy will probably be able to write his own blog post if he so chooses. He let me talk too much and should have kicked me more but I was being a bit passionate about these things.

I went over Sard's stuff and really it was the same as what Kaeda had asked at the start of the session answer wise.

My worries about low sec being absorbed into Faction Warfare were soothed in the session. It was talking with him thou, that I realized, how worried I am about begin a small entity and not being able to survive because of the powers of force multiplication. We can never escalate enough. They are adding some 300 moons to low sec but will we be able to hold them? Right now low sec has resources but the good resources are not held by the residents unless they are allied with a major null power. For the most part, we live there but we can not live off the land fully. I don't expect it to change. Just more null sec forces owning all of the best materials in low sec, again.

I discussed some of my thoughts that have started to develop for Tags 4 Sec. I can see fleets like mine scattering through the belts as we roam to try to scoop up these NPCs. I think that they have a potential to be a good payout for a newer player but I don't think they will give that newer player sec gain accessibility.

And that spread to a comment about losing the 1/10 and 2/10. I said, "they don't spawn in low sec" and Masterplan agreed with me. "That is the problem," I added.

My basic outline was that all of the eyes look at the vets and not at the new players that are an important part of life infusion in low sec. We encourage new players to not be restricted to high sec. They also want to be pirates. They want to come to low sec. They cheer as they lose their security standings. But once they are out they cannot go back. With low sec only spawning 4/10 and 5/10 they don't have anywhere to feed. Are we really expecting anyone to live off of level 1 missions? Mission payouts in low sec suck. They are not improved. Anoms in low sec suck. They are often not worth doing.

Someone who has moved to low sec early already embrace a greater risk to just do their daily game play. They also, when they join a corp have a responsibility to properly train their character into the combat they will be doing. Yet, they have no way to live and thrive. They are the people that need 1/10 and 2/10 complexes but they cannot even scan the sites down to do them because they do not spawn in low security space. They have little to no food that is not high sec or charity social things  While that is nice low sec is also a very lonely place. You have to be able to make ISK on your own. You are engaging in a large amount of social gameplay with your corp teaching you Eve and learning how to PvP but you need to be able to replace your losses. You need to be able to pay for your fits.  A side effect of the improved combat speed is that it causes an increased loss speed as well and the ISK gain has not improved.

What are we feeding our new players? Sending them to static complexes was a thing and they can't do that anymore. They cannot even access the 'low level' content that is in place for them because it does not spawn where they live. The cliff to earn a living in low sec is quite steep already and now it is even steeper. If Eve is not going to be a series of stepped progression then something needs to be in place for low level players to even make an equivalent income in low sec as they do in high sec. They don't have that now. The difference in rewards for missions is not worth the ammo it is going to take them to do it. They can't blitz missions for isk at two weeks old but they can tackle a ship and lose a tackle frigate or cruiser. Ships are only getting more expensive and the ways for them to replace those ships are not keeping up.

We are not going to tell them to go join FW and orbit buttons. A FW newbie can orbit buttons and make isk. FW missions GUSH loyalty points. Low Sec missions are barely better than high sec missions but with a risk multiplier that is silly. Bitter vets are bitter. Asking them to take in newer players is hard enough but asking them to also financially support them is pushing many, many limits.

Ninja Edit: I did ask about the 5 minute sec status gain changes. He said that  90 some percent of people functioned on about 4-5 ticks an hour. Or at a sec gain every 15 minutes. Only a small percent min/maxed to get the very fast gains. Yes, that was a slight nerf to the min/max crowd and they know that. One that is off set by the Tags 4 Sec.

At the end of the round table I was asked, "So many notes, are you a blogger?"
As I wrote this post I stopped to count my pages of notes. I've written over 50 pages of notations. To him I said, "Yes I am." It surprised me that someone noticed. I think that is my second random interaction from another player that I did not already know.

50 some pages of that gibberish. It has been invaluable. Thank god for hot chocolate and hot tea. Gets me through the 'I should be asleep' times. 4am and the sun is coming up.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: Some Stats

These are some stats I snapped pictures of off of one of the monitors. I realized it was changing screens and when I looked it had all sorts of interesting tidbits of information. I stood through the cycle and tried to capture all of the images. Some could be better so I will retry tomorrow.

Album link is here. Photos are under the cut.

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: In which I hunt down the elusive dinner

Here is my album of pictures. It is a mixture of Fanfest stuff and Iceland stuff and food (because everyone wants to see what I am eating).

The hotel delivered complimentary Quafe. I do not know if they did it the first day because we didn't have the room cleaned. They come with a cute card from CCP. The room was reserved through the Fanfest stuff. I was wondering about the case of Quafe I saw someone pushing the other day.

Speaking of the hotel, I learned last night that the heat is through the floor which is tiled with underfloor heating. My husband kept it so cold the first night that I figured there was no heat and I'd have to live like that forever, dying of the cold. However, when the heat turns on and the floor warms up its not bad at all. Death steps back out of the room and I can not have everything in my suitcase on.

The morning was another lovely hotel breakfast. My mystery melon from the other day was replaced by ripe pineapple. The little sausages are delicious. Watching people load up on bacon is deeply amusing. The breakfast is quite nice and a satisfying way to fuel myself before the day starts. I've not been eating at Fanfest so my meals are breakfast and wherever I have been going for dinner.

Off to Fanfest. I don't know why I try to get there so early. Well, let me withdraw that. I do. I'm an obsessive person about being early to things. With an hour before the World of Darkness presentation started I found myself outside. I took a moment to take some pretty pictures of Iceland.

Once inside I tried to snap some shots of the various people in costumes and the hall. The album also have the slides that I got pictures of.

The day was long. I was able to meet a few more people much to my pleasure. In general, I still walk around in this little cone of not being looked at by anyone. I never thought I was that frightening but it is what it is.  However, I've not been eating during the stuff, being to busy running around. I wandered back to the hotel, wrote two blog posts, woke up my husband, and went off to seek food.

I went a bit more prepared. In a fit of intelligence I brought a pair of my fingerless arm warmers with me. I started wearing them in cold weather last year and the wind that rips off of the cold, cold water and down the streets seemed like ti qualified as cold weather. It was a good call and I had my most comfortable night time improperly dressed for the weather walk that I have yet had.

My polish is chipping.

The Pub Crawl was starting when we finally headed out. They were broken up into groups with flags. There was much roaring and cheering as they crossed streets and met other Pub Crawls. It was blob on blob as they cross jumped the street.

The place I wanted to try was an Asian restaurant. However, their kitchen was closed at 2100 and it was 2115. It seems kind of common. Places stop serving food and turn into bars that don't serve food. I'm used to Virginia that has all sorts of rules about bars serving a certain amount of food vs alcohol. Dejected, I swore to return another day, earlier and try the place out. It smells super good.

A street down I turned and saw a sign with a delectable looking steak above it. A deeper inspection showed that their dining area stayed open till 2230! Woo! Dinner was fantastic.

I had horse, which I feel guilty about. Its such a taboo thing in America. But it was delicious and I have no regrets. I like trying new stuff when I travel. I'm also learning why people like potatoes  The potatoes I have been eating over here are delicious. They are sweet and delectable. Nothing like the blehness of a russet potato from the store at home.

So then I leave and snow! Snow is hard to photograph so I took a flash shot into the sky. White dots = snow!

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: Dust 514, Planetary Conquest, and Low Sec

I regretted not going to the Dust 514 Keynote when I learned that they officially announced what we all knew, that Dust 514 Planetary Conquest was coming to Molden Heath.  I decided to correct my knowledge gap and go to the Dust 514 sessions that involved Planetary Conquest and see what I could learn.

I know very little about Dust and this is not about Dust. It is about what Dust will do to Non-Faction Warfare Low Sec. I want Dust to succeed but I am not personally interested in it. It is a first person shooter and all of the fascinating gameplay does not take away from the fact that its run around and shoot things in a first person view. The only time I am sucked into First Person views is exploration games like Skyrim and Fallout.

Anyway, I was there to hear about Molden Heath. I sat with Ueberlisk. I am pretty sure that we were the only Molden Heath residents there.

All of the temperate planets are going to become controllable  They will be randomly split into 5-24 districts. These districts can be claimed by Dust corporations. There, they can build infrastructures. They will have three types.

  • Production Facilities
  • Cargo Holds
  • Research Labs

Currently only Faction Warfare interacts with Dust. The changes will allow the Eve side of the Dust Corporation/Alliance to receive bonuses to Planetary Interaction on the Planet and Player Owned Star-bases anchored on the moons around the planet.
  • Production Facilities - Will Increase PI
  • Cargo Holds - Decrease Manufacturing time at POS
  • Research Lab - Decrease POS Fuel Usage
I was not sure if these things were big enough carrots. I went to the Round Table for this and asked. The Devs said that they can adjust the reward up if they need to.

My concern was this: They are asking for corporations and alliances to move into low sec and anchor a POS to receive these rewards. Molden Heath is full of pretty aggressive residents. All the POCOs are owned. If someone wants the PI reward they will have to take the POCOs. The Devs felt this was great because it creates conflict. I agree but my question is, is the increase enough for people to want to deal with taking a POCO and defending the POCO constantly? And if the increase was great enough that the answer is yes will it just be yet another case of null sec powers rolling through and stomping over everyone else and controlling another resourse.

I cannot see the manufacturing time increase to be enough. People don't want to keep those types of assets in space in low sec.

The decreased POS fuel usage is nice but again, is it that big enough of a deal to be a carrot?

The Devs feel yes and pointed out that we might not be the ones stomping but someone might come and stomp us.  This is very, very true. As a small gang group we already deal with the simple fact that no matter how good, prepared, organized  or capable we are, we will be eradicated by a large enough group. Is that what they want? That large group will then come in and plant itself on the resource until the end of eternity.

Is that conflict?

Then later, Druur then told me that they were discussing changing all of Low Sec to Faction Warfare in the FW Round table.  "The players?" I asked. "No the devs."  WTF? I've expected it to happen. It is a hammer fall situation. Eventually, someone is going to look around and decide that all of low sec should be FW and people will say it makes sense and living in low sec will be about dealing with Faction Warfare and the unique non-FW low sec will go away.

I wound up pissed enough that I was cursing up the storm for most of the rest of the evening until I calmed down in the keynote. Low Sec needs attention, I agree. Yet, it does not seem as if Low Sec residents are sought out for these changes. Now that FW has gained popularly it feels like not being in FW is to be a subset of a subset (someone that lives in low sec).

The interesting part is that I made a note about something else said during the Planetary Conquest presentation. Foxfour was explaining that the low sec Dust battles spawn in the systems that have the most plexing happening by members of FW. This made me wonder what was going to cause fights outside of PC in MH. It made me worry that FW might be slated to come out way. I hate being the harbinger of doom or making random, wild guesses out of my ass. Yet, I was still worried and when Druur mentioned the feeling that 'FW should be Low Sec' I started to get more worried.

I was also, already angry.  When the presentation started they explained that they are not bringing this to null sec because they do not want to break null sec and have null sec angry with them. I am sure that the side effect of, "we will break this in low sec instead because we don't care if they are upset" is not what was intended. It is what I picked up and I got a bit mad.

I know that Low Sec is my little platform over here to the side. Its mocked by null sec, wished to die by high sec, and seen by Wormholes as an exit or something to come poke at the natives in. The CSM 8 elections focused on people with little to no interest in low sec. We are Eve's bastard children but I picked up this dreadful feeling that we were about to be excised completely as the solution to what and who low sec is.

I want dust to succeed. I want CCP to succeed. I am just starting to wonder if in that path of success the individuality of non-FW low sec is going to be one of the sacrifices they will be making. Its hard to say 'look at me' when you are such a small, unimportant number to a business that does have to look at its numbers. If non-fw focused low sec pilots vanished what blip would we make on the radar?

I hate to ask that question. I want to stand up and announce that we are the most important thing eve. Yet, I have to be a bit rational. The impressions are creeping in from all sides and as much as I may scream and kick at them, I'm one small, unknown voice screaming to protect a niche. How viable, at the end of the day, will that really be?

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: World of Darkness

CCP had a closed World of Darkness review. They did not want video footage leaking out to the press when they are not ready for a release.

Number one: It will not be released next year.

Number two: I did not take any pictures or recordings of the lovely preview the gave us after asking us not to record it. All pictures are from the still shots that they showed as us their basic idea/demo of things. We were not asked to put our cameras or phones away at this time and many pictures were taken. These are all concept stills but they show the feel of the game which I think is important.

TL;DR: I think that they are making a beautiful and interesting game with potential but no world breaking secrets are here.

Onward into this. I'm a big fantasy fan. I am not a twilight fan. However, World of Darkness has potential in my mind if it has the same vicious sandbox thing that CCP has moved forward with Eve. They have to separate themselves from the cookie cutter box and the best way is to not be a themepark in a world of themeparks it seems.

For a game that I often hear commented on as "That stupid vampire game" the was a nice turnout for the presentation.

The team for World of Darkness is small. Dust 514 has been a huge push. However, they are there and they are doing their thing steadily. 2012 was focused on tool building for later world building and creation. They have taken the time to build all of their own tools and use those tools to create a world that they can manipulate with ease.

They have been fleshing out their system.

Movement is a big priority. They want the character to feel powerful and capable. They want the combat to feel like two super natural creatures ripping at each other. They want the city to be a three dimensional environment where you run, jump, climb and fight over every part of it. As a fan of three dimensional worlds I can say that this adds an amazing amount of content to a game.

They are looking to have political social structures that are not just about meeting people but honor and betrayal, schemes, spies, and everything in between.

It seems that the lucky CCP employees get to play test internally a lot. They also enjoy killing each other. This is going to be a PvP game where you can run through the streets killing other players if you are capable enough. Yet they want that interactive social driven game play as the focus.

They are also working on a web based interactive system that will allow you to keep contact with people out of game. Basically, the real version of Eve Gate but more better. I assume this is all part of their Crest build in the long run.

They are working on things like the AI, the NPC interactions and the Clothing style. This game is very fashion focused.

Then they showed us the tools. They have made it so that they can create, manipulate  and shade in their environments quickly and with a high degree of customization. They have a great system that works around the internal numbers in the game for how players can jump and interact with objects to make functional levels.

We got to see a lot of pretty art work.

My slideshow album for World of Darkness is here.

The bit of footage that we saw was a bit of internal demo. The character moves through the world, its raining and the rain and wet textures are lovely. She bites some dude, then climbs a wall, walks through a club, jumps over a ledge, and gets into the fight. The most interesting moment for me was when the character leans against a railing and the body position changes as she looks into the distance. It was very natural. The combat has very powerful sounding effects. More biting and then two more possible opponents creep out of the shadows. Then it fades away. The clip is about 3 minutes long but it was very powerful.

I didn't stay for most of the Q and A.

The first question did ask if they were going to be more adult focused. They said yes and that Eve's audience is int heir late 20's and 30's averge.

No, the asker went on. He meant are they going to handle adult themes like full frontal nudity.

The problem with that is that it is a global game. The example used was that red blood is banned in Germany and frontal nudity in America. They have to work with everyone. When they allowed clothing to be fully looted they had lots of naked people everywhere all of the time. They will make a more adult game but it has to be reasonable at the same time.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eve Online Fanfest: Day Two Wandering Iceland

Fanfest 2013 Photo Album

I am separating out my travel ramblings from the Fanfest stuff. The Fanfest stuff should be labeled as to what Event I am writing about. This is just me musing over Iceland and general impressesions, dinner, books, and RMT.

Power is one of those things that you take for granted until you don't have it. My life is filled with electronics and watching my batteries die during the period that I was converterless was terrible. Also, my flat iron does not work here because it draws to much energy. My poor hair will slowly turn into its normal wild mass as I struggle to work with a blow dryer. By next tuesday they may classify me as a native creature.

The shower is also the entire bathroom. Or, if I exaggerate a bit it is most of the bathroom. The corner/third/square that is the shower has a slant and drain. There is a plastic half circle on a hinge that you use to stop the water from drenching everything. Maybe people here don't splash as much? I don't know but I manage to drench the bathroom and the toilet paper had to be emergency rescued and relocated to a high shelf. It is very space saving but I can't help but feel that I'm dancing around the bathroom splashing water. The water also smells of sulpher a bit and it is rather drying. Thankfully, I tote along an entire mini-bathroom with me.

The toilet is also inset into the wall. It is space saving and neat to the eye but I can't help but wonder how a leak is handled.

Anyway, leaving my musings on the intricate wonders of the Icelandic Hotel Bathroom, breakfast was upstairs on the eighth floor. It is called the Sky Lounge but it has breakfast that is just walk in, get a seat and load up on food. It was full of Eve players and again I was disoriented by the lack of directions for what to do. It is not that I do not know what to do or how to eat food. It is that I am used to waits, and hostesses and signs with information on them. When all of that is absent I spend my time worrying that I am in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing.

On top of that Xander was tweeting how busy the line was getting to get into the Event. It was only 0930 and the first event at 1200. I was like, WTF? My husband convinced me to stop panicking that I would not get into the Event and eat breakfast.

Once fed I wandered over to get in line. There was a lot of wind. Some people struck up conversation with me and I didn't feel quite so weird and awkward. The line moved fast and we were soon out of the cold and twirling around inside. It seemed impossibly busy. There were lines everywhere. In the end, I wound up sitting outside of the Retribution Roundup for an hour after accidentally wandering into the CCP only area along with a few other people just exploring the building. I scuttled out when a distressed Dev was running around wondering why they didn't have their area blocked off and sat by the room.

There were massive lines for the PvP tournament and the Pub Crawl. I read twitter and waited and people watched. It is interesting how people travel in packs. PL is a huge presence and they move in energetic blobs. Goonswarm is also swirling around in high numbers. There are tons of corporate and alliance shirts and hoodies. Being by myself means a lot of alone time. People look at you and dismiss you. I'm not one of their people. They don't know who I am and I am not who they are looking for.

However, the various talks proved to be interesting. The Round table rooms are small and get stuffy quickly. The Wormhole Round Table turned into a bit of a mess when massive numbers of people showed up to an already last minute event. Then they moved it to the game area and really they were not set up for it and sound was a big issue.

I did wind up speaking with CCP Explorer for a while. I gave him his chocolate bar and he went through a moment of "wtf?" and worry. However, he remembered it was something, looked it up and came and chatted when he saw me a bit later. His son was there as well and I did ask permission before I fed him caffeinated chocolate. I wound up meeting a whole bundle of Devs at that point including Masterplan and Paradox. I fed everyone chocolate and felt that my project was at least a success on the most basic level. It is amusing that I would find it easier to socialize with developers rather than players but that is how that session wound up going. I went to several things, I found Ueberlisk (King of Oddelulf, yo) as well and got to chat with him for a few minutes. I got a hold of Druur who had wandered off to do the exercise thing. Siuil finally surfaced after the Crimewatch/Low Sec discussion. He is such a social butterfly.  That is pretty much all I met when it came to people. Maybe tomorrow will change.

I skipped the Dust Keynote because I was tired and hungry.  Dinner wound up being Sushi. I tried horse. It was quite good. I felt a bit guilty because it is so looked down upon in America. Sushi pictured is not all me. It was half and half. :) This was at Sushibarin.is and it was excellent. The chief convinced me to try the horse and I am glad that he did. I also had some delicious but somewhat salty miso soup.

Next shopping. I was lusting for Eve books. The Eve Store at the Harpa only had Templar One and only in hard back by the time I got there. That would not do. Off to a book store to buy some Eve books and see if I could pick up a few local authors in English. That is one of my biggest hobbies when I travel. I love reading books from other cultures. The day to day aspects of life are so different and it is an intimate look into how others live and think.

Also, ISK? RMT? Ban hammer incoming? Oh noes!

I wrote a good bit, mostly about the Crimewatch/Low Sec. I also have written most of the Retribution Roundup and I have Soundwave's presentation as well. We will see what surfaces as completed.  Bed a bit earlier today because it will be a longer day and all the Q and A and transcribing my own handwriting is exhausting work.

Eve Online Fanfest 2013 : Crimewatch and Low Sec

This will hopefully be a part one of two. This was the presentation and some questions in one of the main halls. There is supposed to be a round table tomorrow that I will do everything in my power to attend.  As this was the most interesting thing for me I'm writing about it first and in the most detail.

There will be a Dev blog with all of the slides out next week, we were told. The stream was also recorded and I assume it will be put up somewhere to be watched.

Crimwatch began with a brief overview of the old system and the reason for the changes. It is old news but always nice to hear. The groundwork was laid in inferno which was mostly back end changes. One thing mentioned was that Interdiction Sphere launching gate lock. It is currently working as intended and is not broken in any way. He knows that there was a period of time where it was broken and changed and rebroken so he made sure that its current state of working was as intended.

One thing he also comments is on the logoff nerf that they did. It made people commit to the fight and they approved of that. If people wanted to drop a carrier into a fight they had to commit it. No more disconnect before it could die. For the size of the changes there was very little fallout over the complete change of the aggression mechanics and the overall response has been positive.

The overall ship value being destroyed has increased. Null sec always has the highest values except during that one little low sec battle back in January in Asakai.

I found that very interesting. My group has downsized ships a lot since the patch but that means more people have upsized out of I assume frigates into cruisers. Security status hits for aggression have also increased in frequency.

The safety chart was interesting. At first everyone had their safeties on but that was also a reflection of the fact that the persistent safety was not yet implemented  Once it was the graph shows interesting things.  High sec and low sec are mirrors of each other with safety use. He is surprised at the general lack of the middle safety button. Null and low are also very similar which may reflect the passage of people in and out of those two regions.

What's next? Next is tags for Sec. When that came up I was excited. It looks like they have their plan and they are building it. Hopefully, it makes it into Odyssey.

First they are changing how they store security status. It seems that like so many things in Eve to first fix or improve it they have to redo it. Right now, on the technical side security status seems to be stored with your regular standings. This means that your security status makes your -standing to concord. They are going to separate this. Security status will be its own area separate thing from standings. This will let them change how the rules to security status works easily without breaking lots of other things.

Once this is released everything will be copied over. However, after that works out they are going to reset everyones Concord standings to 0. It gives everyone the option to use concord agents. However all the current rules of outlaw standings will remain in effect. It will just be moved over to the security status instead of the standings. It took me a minute to understand it but I think I got it. Hopefully.

Ratting as we know it is going to change. They are going to change the current cycle ratting loop. It seems as if it was never intended and it is a little bit broken. It also doesn't make sense and it is a pain in the ass. People don't know how to 'rat' properly for sec. Someone teaches them.

Now it is changed a bit.

And onto Tags for Sec. This will cause endless forums tears I am sure. I hope that they reach all of these goals and will be able to release it to us.

I did a pretty good job with the entire taking pictures of the slide thing.

Basically, a 'rare'ish beltrat will spawn only in low sec belts. It will drop tags 100% of the time when it spawns. There are four types of tags and four types of rats. The tags give a particular amount of sec. Money will also be added. This is only redeemable in Lowsec Concord stations. One of the questions fits well in here. The question was will this make it to easy for pirates and another asked if they now had an I win butto for sec.

The over all response was that the sec is still being earned. Someone has to earn the isk. Someone has to rat for the tags. As long as these things are done the sec gain has been earend. It has just been moved around. It is no longer kill rat rat rat kill. Now in a way someone else may pay for the sec with their ratting time or their isk making time and you are paying for it by obtaining it and spending ISK. The mechanics is not about the person ganking earning back their sec with a boring forever grind. It is about the sec costing a certain amount of time in the game.

The UI interface for this involves a drag bar it seems. It looked quite spiffy.  I need to trot out to dinner so I will add the Q and A later.

Edit: Back from Dinner I will now add the Q&A that I caught for this. This time I hand wrote notes so I hope I can read my scrawl.

Q: Can tags take sec above 0?
A: No. They will not take sec above 0

Q: Suspects: Some way to combat lag? When you attack suspects but their timer is ending and you hit attack but miss the timer ending due to lag and die because of it.
A: Use the orange/yellow safety setting. It will not allow you to do any illegal attack. It is one reason he is so surprised so few people use it. It is exactly what that situation is for.

Q: Tags for Faction Standings?
A: Initially no. Maybe? (a shrug and left off there)

Q: Will ganking cause Concord standings to drop?
A: No. This is part of the decoupling security standings from faction standings.

Q: The make or break point is how many tags it will take to increase sec. What are they doing about this?
A: They can tweak it and they will if they need to. They will be watching it very closely.

Q: Rogue Drone sec gains are broken. You don't always get the highest drone killed's sec. Also the sec gain is less than it is with other NPCs.
A: The inconsistent gains comes from the fact that Rogue Drones do not have a faction. They are aware of it and CCP Bittek is working on it.

Q: Can the Safe logoff timer be smarter? That you can activate it and it count down your suspect timer or engagement timer and then safely log you off without having to wait out the timer and then activate the logoff timer.
A: Something to look into.

Q: Will you be able to escape Concord systems? Right now if you jump into one the gate locks and you die.
A: Yes because all Concord standings will be set to 0.

Q: Will we continue to receive sec gains from fleet ratting?
A: Yes. No intention to remove that.

Q: We can leave the systems and the new sec changes will follow us?
A: Yes

Q: This makes it an IWIN button for pirates. The carebears will cry. What about when they rage against this new trick for pirates?
A: You are out ratting right? Taking the risk? Getting people into low sec belts to be shoot is a good thing.
A: (Grayscale) They are moving the work around that you currently do to gain sec. The work is still there it is just done in a new way.

Q: Rarity of the tags? By system sec the spawn rate will be determined?
A: There will be a gradual degree of rarity

Q: Will we see sec gains for shooting people who have lower sec then we do?
A: Not now, no. They have not yet seen a way for it not to be abused.

Q: People buying PLEX and with that buying tags and gaining their sec with no personal work is that a problem?
A: No. The work has been done to earn the security status. If someone wants to use a PLEX that is fine. The work for the sec has been done.

Q: Any plans for spawn rates? Will they have Sleeper AI? Bounties? Normal Sec gain?
A: "That is like seven questions" but Yes, normal sec. Yes they will give bounties. They will sometimes drop normal loot. They will be salvageable. They will have the standard beltrat AI.

Q: Will this mean that sitting in my anoms in my carrier will cause me to gain security status three times faster?
A: No. They are balancing it and feel they will avoid that problem.

Q: Will it be easy for stealth bombers to farm the sec tags?
A: Yes and No (they won't say more for now)

Q: Removing the DED complexes: Are they putting something in to give low sec more places to PvP now? Some type of landscape for people to go fight at?
A: No immedate plans but yes they are aware of the damage they did to some PvP in low sec when they removed the static complexes. These were being used for farming and not generating the fights they should have.

Q: Will they be changing the old tags?
A: No. They don't want to create a shock to the market due to stockpiles. That is why they are starting with a brand new item and they will let the market set the price.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eve Online Fanfest 2013: Day One: Fanfest Eve in Reykjavík

My Fanfest 2013 photo Album. I am going to try to be good and caption the photographs.

I woke up around 1800 local time. The view from the room is nice. It is on the third floor. The sound proofing from the hallway is terrible. People like to hang out and talk, very loudly.

This place seems not to remember hours ago when it was making me trundle through slush covered streets and crying for lack of a menu. It is bright and sunny and not a hint of snow.

The first task was to find a power converter. That had been forgotten. The front desk gave directions to a bookstore as the best place to find one. Finding the bookstore was a simple enough event. It is not the place that I would go for a power converter but the proper 'place' for things is different everywhere. I'm terribly envious that there is a bookstore (or several since I have seen a few). They have all vanished from the area that I live at.

There is Eve stuff everywhere. There are businesses with Eve focused ads for drinks and foods. Welcome Eve Fanfest posters at the hotel and the street. The bookstore has a display up for Eve as well. It was very nice. While taking one picture two gentlemen engaged my \husband in conversation about how cool Eve was. He nodded vaguely and I, ignored and taking the pictures found myself amused as they go, "Yes another Eve player!" and head off on their own adventures.

After that I went back to the hotel, feeling a bit more sane now that I had power.  I showered and dressed and headed off to the Celtic Cross to see about the whole #tweetfleet meet thing. That ended with me standing outside of the building and staring at its packed interior, turning around, and walking off. Maybe I will get to meet someone tomorrow. My big mistake was not in making any definite plans. Going, "I'll go and talk to people and see how it goes," was a rather stupid thought for me. I've never succeeded in inviting myself to things other people are doing.  As I passed the groups of Eve players chattering happily with each other I could have kicked myself for not having plans. But, I don't have corporation or alliance mates and those I do know are busy with social gatherings. I will still pack my chocolate tomorrow and wear my new Awake Chocolate shirt and see how that goes. It is good to see so many players floating around. The overall mood is very happy and cheerful.

The Harpa place is very pretty and truly right across the street. I can see it from the corner of my window and it is the main view out of the front of the hotel. The landscape is a bit flat. To one side, snow capped hill(?)like things. To the other the city which is growing considering all of the construction. I managed to trip over the uneven brickwork quite often in my nicer shoes. My others were still wet from the snow during the morning.

Dinner was at a Argentina Steakhouse called Argentina Steakhouse (as far as I can tell). It was down this little walkaway with uncovered trusses that appeared to be descending into the dark.  At its end was a wooden wall with a door matching the wall inset into it. I stared at the door. It seems that you are just supposed to open it and step in to suddenly restaurant.

It was a nice place, cozy. I think its the type of cozy that other people translate into romantic. There is no romance in my soul so it was just a bit dark and made photographing the food something that wasn't going to happen. The food was amazing. The salad was rocket. I thought I had escaped that when I left England and I could not find a head of iceburg or romaine lettuce anywhere. But, it seems that salad equals rocket in Iceland as well.

Nighttime is gorgeous  The sunset, supposedly at 2130 but it is not a fast sunset. At 2300 the sky was a series of bands from the deepest of midnight to a glorious royal blue trimmed in a band of gold on the opposite horizon. Even now, at midnight there is still a glimmer of light on the horizon that softens everything into the muted cool depths of blue.

There are a lot of bars here in the center of the town. The crowds were not crazy rowdy as they poured in and out of them. I have no experience with bars. But, they seem quite popular and more common than places to find food. I keep having issues with crossing the street where I wait for the car to pass and the car stops and waits for me, making me feel like a jerk. I'm used to the land of run you down and honk that you had the nerve to waste their time with your walking. It is an odd contrast to how aggressive the drivers are with other cars.

I also have the impression that the crime rate is not quite as high as I am used to as the norm. At the front door, which was a bit out of the way of the actual dining area of the place where I ate, people just hung their coats up on the coat rack. Passing a place being renovated, tools had been left out for the night. I'm going to assume at 2300 hours they are no longer on site working. Shops leave their doors open with no chimes and people left their desks and registers with a note that they would be back.

It is a stark place with a raw attractiveness to it. The sky is such a searingly bright and clear blue.