Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sell or Sell?

I expect this to be deleted once CCP catches up to it. (Update it was locked)

However, the level of derp with some people is amazing. We can sell character's in Eve on the Character Bazaar for ISK.
"In an effort to reduce the amount of character scams, GM workload and player frustration, the following changes are being made to the announcements concerning character sales or auctions for ISK. No other form of trade is sanctioned or supported."
Oh, I can smell the ban coming.

Doing Something: A Project

I realized that I was doing something wrong.

With Marc Scaurus ending his care of the Eve Blog pack I found myself waiting, worried, about who would take it over. Would they actually run it or would it die? Would it be updated? How would it change? What would be lost? What would be gained?

I found myself fretting over these things and waiting and watching. Waiting and watching. Wondering. And I realized, I was an idiot. Disgusted, I sat up, did a few web searches, and decided to do something about the situation.

Why was I waiting for someone else to take care of the situation? I felt that to lose the blog roll would be detrimental to the community. We barely have any places that list comprehensive lists of blogs. Most are based off of individual tastes or interests. We tend to prune off dead blogs or blogs that change in ways that are no longer compatible for us. EveBloggers.Com is just a resource. It isn't personal. And that is very important. For good or for bad, all of the blogs out there are part of the game. They are the history of Eve. The history of the individuals. I did offer to take EveBloggers.Com but I don't assume or expect to get it.

A blog isn't just about the blogger. It is about everyone the blogger writes about. It is about all of the people the blogger interacts with that helps to pick the letters and structure the words. Eve's blogs are part of Eve's written history. Dead or alive they all contain the past. And Eve is a game about its past as much as its future.It is a world where the players do things to each other and sometimes people record it. In this, we are all historians. I don't think that is the type of thing that should be missed.

Friday mornings and early afternoons tend to be quiet for me, in game. I really only had some store stocking to do. Nothing major or world shattering. I decided to just use Google for a start and structured a website focused around a handful of my wants. I've wanted to keep track of news articles about Eve. I've wanted to work on a more comprehensive resource list for Eve. I want Blogs not to be lost about Eve. I want. I want. I want.

I did.

It isn't anything fancy or spectacular. I picked Google sites to start the process and create the seed of a new, simple website. Beta phase or whatever it is called this day when something is a work in progress but still usable.

I named it New Eden Source. I'm not in love with the name yet but it is a starting point. I'll see if I can get the basics completed and fleshed out first. I'm not trying to be a news site or anything fancy. I just decided that if I wanted this stuff saved and I thought that blogs have value that I should go forth and do it instead of sitting around hoping someone else will do what I want. I expect EveBloggers to change when it changes hands and often people prune dead blogs. I wanted to save them before that happened. And more places with the same information can't hurt. Having all the eggs in one portals basket may be nice as a focus but bad if something happens to it.

That's my weekend project in a nutshell. I'm skimming blogs and plucking links as I find them. I went through and checked every link that I added. I put a note if they are active or inactive or haven't posted in a while. Some people I know post once every 3-6 months.  The dead links and the links to things that seemed to have nothing to do with Eve I edited out. There were few of them. I decided, when I wrote this post up, that I'd been at it for eight hours and I could take a break for the day. I'm pleased with my early process.

Special thanks to Foo for the motivation.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Being Fauna

People coming to low sec looking for fights. They say, "let's go on a roam into low sec for some PvP." Ships are selected, fleets are assembled, and the group gathers at the high sec to low sec gate. Do they take a deep breath? Do they glance around them at their comrades and flick a tongue across suddenly dry lips? Does the flow of adrenaline start even as the gate flickers and the sec status flickers from the ranges of blue to green to a richer, more somber orange?

When they sit on the edge of their wormhole and peer into the depth of named space...

When the last highway sign says, "No Bubbles From Here On Out..."

The predator and prey relationship of PvP in Eve is, for the most part, not clear. There is an entire art form to baiting for fights. Is that seemingly harmless ship, harmless? Is he AFK? Is that battleship stupid or bait? Cyno?

Who is the hunter and who is the hunted?

Low Sec, especially, is a place where people go looking for trouble. They gather together, or perhaps on their own, and decide today we shall go off on a roam. Today, we shall find something to shoot at. Today, we shall place ourselves in a position of risk (maybe, I see you 3-5 logi and that fleet of cloaked falcon...) and PvP...

But for the residents of low sec, they are both predator and prey. I'm reminded of hunters that go hunting not just for big game, but predator big game. The bear hunters and the lion hunters and those that attempt, in a way, to put some risk into their hunting. There is even similarities to the stalking aspect. Getting that predator out and looking around so that it can be taken down from a safe situation as long as everything goes as planed.

Thankfully, the residents of low sec are not always shot while drinking at a watering hole and later mounted to show their turrets blazing fire at a non-existent enemy while florescent lights reflect in their glass eyes...

We hunt spaceships and as we hunt spaceships we are being hunted in spaceships. It is where the excitement is. The interest. It is where the frustration of a non-productive hunt comes from. It is why many people come to the more dangerous areas of Eve and why some live there.

To hunt is to be hunted. I am predator. I am prey. They are two sides of the same.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gratification: Now or Later?

I often feel as if I have not been playing Eve for as long as I have. While I may not be new, I'm not a deep well of experience or knowledge. I'm ignorant of many things. I'm easily stomped by most people that I meet. I'm not particularly good at the game. Sometimes people tell me that they forget how young I am in the game. I have no idea why. It is not as if I have vast amounts of anything but text to unleash upon anyone.

This is Sugar.

I put Sugar's information out there so that someone reading this can see where I have gotten myself to since I started playing. Sugar is only one piece of me. I consider my primary 4 alts to be 'me' but Sugar is the face of me. She is a combat character focused towards PvP. I can now fly up to two racial battleships correctly (meaning T2 large guns in both T2 specializations. This is my idea of correct.) and several types of T2 frigates to cruisers. I still have massive holes in my ability. I don't have T2 large lasers yet, for instance, and now that I have T2 Blasters/Projectiles everyone keeps undocking in Laser Doctrines. Instead of looking at that as a subtle hint that they don't want me around, I just focus my skill training towards my future wants and needs (I need less subtle hints). Those two things are not always the same. 

In my forum skimming I stumbled across a thread where the poster, a newer player, feels that the skill point system discourages experimentation. Now, his thread might be a bit more abrasive then my interpretation but I diluted his irritation to pull the valid parts from it. The point of interest for me was not if CCP discouraged experimentation but how a newer player is reacting to the skill point system.

I think very few of us dream of going back to simpler times when we had under 100k skill points and fitting our first frigate involved selecting every item in the hangar and sticking it to the ship with special care going to mixed ammo types and a solid assortment of guns to deal with all ranges and possible situations in the next mission. Even starting new account often brings back memories of the abilities we come to take for granted on our more skilled characters.

I also think that new players look at that skill point hump and believe that once they achieve this skill point level or this skill they will be in a new, and more special place. That is why I point out my lack of large lasers. It seems that every time I accomplish something that to me is a vast accomplishment such as large T2 guns I get kicked down because I'm still missing something. It is the side effect of playing with people who have been playing so much longer than I have. I may sequel in pride and tickle my 30 some million skill point but they are not an instant invitation to the land of badassery.

One of the biggest problems I see with the skill point system is that people, consciously or not, seem to equate it to their normal and ingrained concept of leveling. Leveling in most games means that you get better. NPCs tend to be at one level and you at another. As those levels meet up and then change again you become greatly more powerful than they are. Without levels, skill points fill that void for many people. Or, they appear to fill that void.

The pattern I have noticed, in concerns to people feeling restricted as a new player, is that they do not feel competitive with other players on the PvP field. It is not that they cannot experience Eve. There is so much effort put out to show and teach people that they can be a productive member of a fleet or corporation while very, very new to the game. It is that they cannot go out and kick other players in the teeth from the get go, most of the time. I will not say always because the stories of the newbie that could will over flow the confines of this blog.
People want to win. People are used to entering a game, getting their feet under them and becoming a badass. Eve doesn't had that to them. They fit their ships - possibly well - and go out to get stomped over and over again. I don't think the stomping is bad it is just not clearly explained why they get stomped. I also do not think that the game can do but so much to explain why someone gets stomped. The information is out there but that involves people searching for it. We could have more comprehensive files in game (and perhaps we should) that people could access but that still involves them being willing to go out and find that information and read (or watch or listen too, maybe?).

It isn't an Eve problem. It is a perception issue and people falling under old and familiar habits. People are very used to having things given to them rather quickly. They come to expect it and the lack of it seems as if something is wrong.

But that does not mean that there is.

At some point the game, to define itself and its restrictions has to say, "No" to people. I don't know when that point is. However, I don't believe that giving people fully fit, T2 frigates in their first week of game play will 'fix' that problem. The rest of the game would adjust to the new normal and the new player would again be in the exact same position that they are currently in against other players.

The push of people against other people is what makes Eve so interesting and so frustrating. It is why someone can beat someone else of greater or lesser skill points. It is why skill points are only part of the equation and not the complete thing. nothing is going to replace the experience and skill that a player gains by simply, playing.

I don't find this to be a bad thing. I can see how it is frustrating to those that are simply here for a thrill and not the experience. But just because I may feel I can see and  understand some of their viewpoints do not mean that I agree with them or think that the entire game should flex to accommodate their desire for instant gratification.

There is an area where the game is trying to catch people without (I hope) giving up to much of the future depth for an immediate now. It sounds weird to tell someone, "Wait it gets better" in a game. Many feel they have waited weeks already.  But when people are asking for a faster and easier (if training large skills is hard as many find it to be asking for skill improvements sooner would mean easier) leg up on other players the subject needs to be understood in its whole.

The thread I referenced earlier says CCP does not encourage experimentation. That was never what the thread was about. The thread was about wanting a change of beating older players, early on, in frigates, not understanding that a proper fit is a piece of the key to success, not the entire thing. It is a tune about a single player getting to run around the game and try everything in a productive and successful manner to decide what they like in their first weeks of playing the game.

And maybe that is what should be pointed out. In many games you start alone and later you band together for content. While you will (almost) always band together with people to do many, many of Eve's activities being able to do them by yourself is future content not immediate. I may need to start a new character and see but as I end this I wonder if the information that is lacking for new players (from their game info) is the fact that Eve truly is a social game at its core, for early success and much of the later content. It is not that you cannot do things alone it is that you have to develop the skills to do it alone and the game can only help you with a piece of that.

Maybe an experiment for this weekend.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Choice and Action

I live in low sec. I engage in spaceship violence another other players. I do this in a way that brakes the virtual NPC laws of Eve and because of this I lose security status. The loss of security status comes with some penalties. These penalties are inconvenient to me. The bulk of them involve restrictions to high security space travel without being engaged in a hostile manner by NPCs. The other parts have to do with players being able to engage me without any assistance by NPC spaceships or structures in various parts of the game.

People with negative security status enter high security space all of the time. With a fast ship or in a pod one is able to avoid the negative and hostile interactions of the NPC police. This allows one to engage in business in high security space. This business may be moving from one place to another (there are low sec pockets in high sec space and low sec islands separated by high sec bridges), buying and selling, or more unlawful spaceship violence.

Quite regularly people ask why can outlaws still function in high security space. Why are not they cast out? Locked out of stations? Locked out of gates? Sent to do their penance or fully kept from high security space? Why does not CONCORD pop their pods? Why are they even allowed to enter in fast ships? Where is their accountability for their actions?

The accountability is right there. It is there as the pod flashes red. It is there when the suspect flag triggers. Anyone can kill them. Anyone. Yet, rarely does one. I've seen camps on the high sec side of a popular low sec gate. When bounties meant podkills some people would sit and pop pods all day long for ISK. It does happen. It can happen. Yet, it often does not happen.

What is often being asked is, "Why don't the NPCs kill them so that I do not have to [do it]."

How accountable are the people that do not want the riffraff of outlaws in their space to help clean up their space?

Some will read it as my wanting more targets. Or wanting people to participate in PvP who do not want to PvP. I don't. I simply wonder what part of their choice not to do anything about their problem situation are they accountable? Is this an area where it is a good and bad separation? The non-violent, peaceful resident of high security space is good and should not have to put time and energy into dealing with what they could deal with because they are the lawful ones? It want to detach these things from the 'good' guy and 'bad' guy dynamic where reactions and opinions are based off of preassigned morality and focus on the actual situation and solutions available to it.

Spaceship violence is a volatile thing in Eve. Many people do not want to engage in it. I fully support their disinterest in engaging in it. I will never tell someone that they have to go and do X, Y or Z (PvP in low/null/wormholes) to enjoy Eve. I know that many people get their enjoyment from their missions in their very special, beloved blinged mission boat.

But not engaging in spaceship violence in a game where you can engage in spaceship violence is a choice. Not popping an outlaw pod, shooting a suspect thrasher, shooting a suspect hauler as it totes away the gank is also a choice. I'm not asking people to come to low sec or run off and gank newbies. These are situations where one can do something about it.

Should the players or the game control these fine details? The game lets the players do so but some choose not to. That is fine if they said, "I do not wish for violence." But if they are screaming for the blood and corpses of the outlaw characters and screaming for the NPCs to do these deeds for them, in a game focused on social consequences where the tools to handle those consequences are given to them to do...?

Is the answer stricter hard coded rules? Or should players be expected, at some point, to pick up the flexible, shovel and bucket to build their sand castle and go and do what they want to have done? Are we accountable to the game or to each other? For my actions should Eve Online punish me or the residents of high security space when I kick around where I do not belong.

There are anti-pirate groups, anti-gankers, mercenaries, etc. More often however, the more aggressive types band together. The fragmentation of high sec as an entity may be what calls for these hard coded rules. But are they what we really want? Do we want the game code to answer our every question and situation?

What holds people back? Inexperience? Fear? Loss? They seem blood thirsty enough as they call for the people to be destroyed. Yet, going and doing it does not seem to be an option. If one is accountable for ones action, it seems that one is also accountable for ones non-action.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Internet Lawn

I'm full of opinions today. Enough to break my, "try to keep it to only three posts a day" rule.

Marc Scaurus posted on his blog today that he is giving away custody of EveBloggers.Com and the Eve Blog Pack. I've been waiting for him to do so for a while and to see what happened. Between TMDC and IRL his interest in other Eve Blogs and such, including his own, has waned. It happens. Life, the Universe and Everything else. Etc, etc.

He poses a thought at the end of his post:
"Now, I’m personally still of the opinion that we should probably just let these things go. They are a remnant of a time when blogging was the next big thing on the internet. And no offense to any bloggers out there (I still read a lot of you and appreciate the work you put into your projects), that’s just not the case anymore. One could argue that blogging has become, for many (but not all) in the EVE community, simply a point of reference that you can tweet to in conversations that require more than 140 characters. Blogging just isn’t the same these days, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing or something we should try to fight against."
I'm one of those Eve Bloggers that puts time into their project. I also participate on Twitter. However, Twitter would not and could not ever contain the information that a wall of text does, be it a blog, an article or a forum post. Also, Marc may not have noticed because he is a 'somebody' but many, many people on twitter, especially particular Eve Famous people, are very selective in who they have conversations with. It is not nearly as open a ground for chat and communication as it seems up front. But then, it is my habit to people watch, or in this case, twitter watch and notice these things.

The question is, if I am irreverent, where do I go to become relevant? Or should I just allow my posting and words to drift away into the sunset of nothingness because blogs are no longer a thing. One reason I blog is not to spam the people who spend time with me in game with my thoughts and pondering and musings. Yet, I do like to write them down and I do know that sometimes others do not mind participating in the event. I'm no reporter, journalist, expert, or anything else. I am one individual that is passionate about a game and shares and soaks in the varied daily aspects of actually playing the game.

I'm not here to report on CCP, have tinfoil hats over conspiracy, catch the best and juiciest meta-game gossip or interview people. I will never have beautiful graphics and lovely, cold, technical articles devoid of my view of the world. None of that is my thing. There is more to the world, in my mind, than the shiniest stars. When you look into the sky you see a sky full of stars but in those black places between each star are billions, upon billions that you cannot see. Just because their light does not shine as brightly as others does not make them any less interesting or possibly relevant to things.

Perhaps, it is just my justification for my own existence as a little spot on the internet. There is no place for me at TMDC or EveNews or any other 'news' or 'gaming' industry website. I have nothing to offer them. My creativity is made up of my reflections of the world and game around me mixed in with my love of writing fiction. There is no news. Nothing world breaking. No twitch stream and amazing game play to share.

The most interesting thing in Eve are the people in Eve. Their daily lives, the struggles, the conquests, the wins and the loses. These things are not restricted to just what is the most exciting. Maybe this is why I never found an interest in journalism and loathe the television News. I guess it makes me one of the not all that still like blogs and blogging. This post, I'd assume, qualifies as a fight against it.

But it is not. It is not as if someone is steamrolling my blog away and I must chain myself to it to stop it from leaving. My words are but my thoughts on a topic where it has been asked, is it relevant?

I don't know. Is it? Am I? Is any of it? And what relevance is in question? Blogging is just another way to communicate. A place where people share their opinions in a very direct manner. There are no editors debating if the topic is interesting enough, or critical enough, or to or not explosive enough, checking word counts and trimming away the irreverent things. It's not professional. It's nitty, gritty it's down and chat in many ways. I can see how it becomes a lesser thing, a less interesting thing, when one moves into the professional realm. A toy of childhood that was once treasured and dreamed with and now is but a relic of the past.

Maybe I don't want to become a writer as much as I believe I do if that would be my future. Or maybe I can move forward without losing my past. And maybe I am irreverent and an echo that does not know it is about to fade from hearing. But I do like my little bit of internet lawn, while I chat over the fence with my neighbors about our day and about our tomorrow. I'll probably stay disconnected with reality and continue to blog regardless. Because I like it. Because I enjoy it. Because, when I was looking for information, the only place that I found what I needed was the blogs. I'll stay. And write my words, my guides, my stories and my thoughts for I write them simply because I wish to and that alone is reason enough.

Ramblings: Of Life and the Internet

[TL;DR: I am content with my video game and online focused life and chew over why it is not a 'real' life in the defines of 'having' a life]

This time I woke up with a cat hacking up a hair ball on my back. I was able to eject her from that position before she accomplished her task. But the sunlight filtered in through my blinds, and I stared out at a deep blue sky and rich, green foliage. Summer is here in the USA. Real summer where it gets hot and the sun is up a lot and its quite beautiful from an air conditioned window. And I mean real summer, like real spring and not an Icelandic Summer which is probably like a US late Fall considering what an Icelandic Spring/First Day of Summer is like... anyway...

With warm 'good' weather (I'm a fall/cool but not Icelandic cool weather person) people often go off to do other things. This is at times called, having a life. While I understand this longing for a life and do not begrudge anyone their lifetime adventures one of its side effect is people start to quit the computer to go off and do things and they do not have 'time' for the internet anymore. Or, they decide that the internet is a horrible creature invading their lives and must be cast off to have a 'real life'. I then here how their life/time/whatever has been wasted for the past X/Y/Z amount because of internet/game/non-life.

This is where I sigh.

At work, we often have discussions about things like the perception of the internet. My co-workers may harass me for being a gamer. I ask them what is the difference between my playing my various games and their watching football, often while consuming vast quantities of alcohol to the point that they don't really remember what happened during their pastime. We do things we enjoy in the same chunks of free time. Many of my co workers say that as soon as they get home they are intoxicated and stay that way over their days off. I don't drink so I am missing out, I am informed. Why is theirs defined as a life and mine is not? Often times they say because they can do these things with people or at places. I point out that I can and have done the same. It may not be every weekend but I am not a social person that has any desire to go out and hang out every weekend, or most weekends.

People go out and go to sporting games and socialize. How is this different from me going to meets and making IRL friends out of online friends? I've mentioned my best-friend before. We both just turned 34 (out birthdays are 2 weeks apart). We met at 16. She is riding her motorcycle down to my house next week to hang out with me over the holiday. We normally see each other once or twice a year (we live about 500 miles apart) but the last two years have been busy and messy for us both. I probably will not post much if at all for that span of time because writing takes a lot of focus. Instead, the two of us will play video games, cook food, make candy, and catch up to each other with face time.

Did I mention I met her online, in a chat room, eighteen years ago? We've both grown up, gotten married, she divorced her wife last year, and our lives have moved on while our friendship has stayed strong and been a focus and positive for both of us for over half of our lives?

How real is my life? I work an average of 90 hours every two weeks. I have a home, car, pets, hobbies. I like video games and spend a lot of time at them. I read and write not just about Eve but reading and writing have always been my major pass times. I'm fortunate to be at a point in life where I do not need a second job as I held for most of my adult life to make ends meet. I love my video games and spend a lot of time with them. Do they destroy my life and take away the reality of human to human interaction?

Would I ever have traveled to Iceland and soaked in the Blue Lagoon if not for Eve? Would I have run around Vegas with people I have met IRL because of relationships online? This October I'm going to go and see the Grand Canyon, something I've always wanted to do, after Eve Vegas. After all, its only a fourish hour drive there from Vegas. I meet people and go places, how is that not part of a life? I don't consider myself that well travelled but I have been to more places and seen more of the world, met more people and experienced more things than many of the people I know that have 'real' lives compared to my 'wasted' life.

As a teen I was involved in a MUD (text based online RPG). We had meets up in PA once a year. I wrote 30,000 rooms and built fifty areas for that game. One of the creators of that MUD went on to be hired by Blizzard because of the MUD and technical abilities he had developed there. He went on to be part of Star Wars the Old Republic. I smiled when I saw his name int he developmental credits. He is currently working on his own gaming company. Another of that games developers wound up with a job at my best friends company that she helped him get, years after we stopped playing the game, because he was the perfect fit for the position and because of that they are now employed by a company who likes primary colors in their world known name.

I know well that someone can enter a game to the detriment of their life. But they can do that with anything be it television, movies, any other hobby, drugs, alcohol or even work. Life, to me, is defined by what you do with it. What you make of it. I've never understood why one must throw down their computer, their internet acquaintances and find 'life' as if it can only be found out in the sun.

I know that there is a social stigma around video games, still. And social pressures can be, and often are enormous. For others it is going cold turkey, to break an addiction. That to, I understand. One can have to much of anything to the detriment of ones life. I've developed a pretty hard line for when I will go to bed and I enforce it upon myself even if that means leaving fleets and missing out on grand, in game adventures with those that I play with. That's part of being an adult and something anyone may have to do for anything in their lives.

Life goes on. Things come and go. Changes need to happen on various levels for various reasons. It just seems that the internet or games are always a demon hindering a full life, in these things. And it is not. I count myself fortunate for the chances, opportunities, and people I have met because of the internet and games. May I find more in the future.

The Woes of Communication

[TL;DR: A morning rant]

Communication is about giving information to someone or something else. It seems a simply enough concept. We communicate through words, through writing, through pictures, body language, hand gestures, signs, symbols, and anything else that works for us. We may do it in many, many different ways but its is there to exchange information between people. We start at birth with our parents and improve and expand upon this until we have created languages, imagery, mathematics and complex, theoretical sciences.

I am, therefore, constantly boggled at how terrible people are at it. So, some thoughts and words for poor communicators.

Eve lacks magic and I think sometimes people forget that. When I am in the station I cannot click on your name and 'teleport to group member'. Therefore, the only was I know what you are doing when you scream for help is for you to tell me. "Can I get some help here?" is a good start but it is not also an ending.

Is there a fleet up?
What do you need help with?
What type of help?
PvE? PvP? 
What ship types do you need incoming?
How many people are killing you or are you killing?
Where is this happening at?
Which of your several logged in accounts is it happening to?

I know it is a lot of information but something needs to come accross. When there is nothing but the sweet, serenade of crickets in the darkness, I can't help you. I don't even know what is going on. Or where you are. The pissy, "never mind" because you died doesn't do anything but make me think you somehow thought I am responsible by not helping. I guess I could blindly undock and warp around the system trying to figure out what is going on. I could spam fleet invites everywhere and hope that you accept it. I can also undock in my default ship, a Jaguar and burn in a fire because you took bait and a fleet of twenty is now burning you down.

I know that, in the heat of the moment, communication isn't easy. That is why the simplest thing people can do is have a fleet up and open to at least the corporation (or in our case, our associates as well) so that people can help you.

Or be on coms. I rarely hang out on them and tend to only join for fleet operations. I love the people I fly with. I have a good time on coms with them. I just don't like wearing my headset and I really enjoy silence and not talking when I am at home since those are two things that are denied me at work. Yet, as soon as I hear anything going down or a call for help I'm logging in as I'm undocking so that I can offer up another means of communication.

But it has to be taken. It doesn't have to be perfect. I understand as one is turning into a brief bit of brilliance that information may stutter and slow down. It is good to tell people running to help that you died however, so that they don't land in the trap that you took.

Okay, done ranting.

TCS: Diversifying

In television, an often seen plot is to some how have the cast interact with a dimension or world where everything is the reverse of what it is in the real world. The good guys are evil and the evil guys good. Governments that are free are oppressed. Sometimes the landscape and scenery are different. Sometimes the technology. It is a well used and ancient plot line. And one that I found myself in. Or at least, it felt that way when I realize that I was in a discussion about how my TCS alts had swamped the market with cheap goods. Goods so cheap in comparison to the area that the person I was speaking with thought that my TCS employee was making all of the items herself.

I explained that they were just a bit over Jita prices. I often comment that this is well under regional prices and that is still true, a lot of the time. Although, it is more and more common for me to see lower prices on more and more items these days. Slowly but steadily, TCS is pushing the region's general price down across many areas. While that means less ISK in my pocket as people can shop at more places it means better health for the region. Plus, TCS sales are picking up for the most part so something must be going right.

I spend very little time debating my profit margins with TCS. When I say very little I mean, for the most part, none. My goal of bringing reasonably priced items to low sec is the primary motivator for what I do. I'm still standing fast on not losing ISK but I have no problem with earning less ISK when the time comes for it. That is why my profits are so low on items like hulls.

However, I make my ISK by volume. It is the greatest strength that I have. My base profit on a stack of items will sometimes be only a hundred thousand ISK for a stack of low end modules such as T1 probes and cargo expanders.

The other area that I make my ISK off of is creative diversity.

My latest venture is T1 haulers. I listed a few Iteron a month or so ago because I had them in Chella's hangar from when she started and I never use them. They sold quickly. Very quickly. With T1 haulers being so cheap I decided to invest in a few of each type and see if they sold.

Haulers are one of those things you sometimes randomly need to have and don't tend to have hanging around. After all, when a carrier is tackled and killed the modules are really, really big and one needs a hauler of some sort to get them out. Or so I think.

In general, sales are going well and turn over is pretty steady with a solid increase of late. Things are fleshed out well enough that people are buying full fits + ammo the bulk of the time. I've added some pirate frigates into the mix and the occasional Cynabal as well a Sisters Probe Launchers sometimes. I don't actually make more off of the more expensive things. I'm just trying to have that variety out there.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Heart of Gold

I was reading a very angry rage quitting post on the forums. I'm always fascinated by theses posts. They seem motivated by the extreme need to vent frustration with the liquid courage of quitting allowing the person to transcend from sadness into a being of pure ranting power.

I do like to read these to figure out why people are quitting. They may announce the reason, but it is often more complex. If they continue to post, which they almost always do, eventually, the kernels of truth start to fall out. While the rage post itself may not be particularly constructive, figuring out why people are upset allows various aspects of the game to be looked at. It does not mean that things have to be changed just because one person has loudly thrown in the towel. I am just a believer of finding out the core of a situation.

The owner of this particular thread decided to start posting in caps to be a terrible troll to everyone on his way out. That is the emotion and rage talking. He wants to be heard otherwise he would not post. He is upset, otherwise he would have no reason to vent. He is still reading the thread, otherwise he would not answer. A side effect of my IRL job is that I deal with very angry, often irrational people all the time. One technique I have learned to work with this is just to let them vent and listen to what they are saying no matter how obnoxious and annoying they are about it because they will tell me what I need to know if I have the patience to listen to it.

So is the same for this poster. I have rewritten what he said due to his use of capital letters.
"I have always been a nice guy that you can trust and that you can count on, ask anyone that knows me and even ask Chribba, who has loaned me billions in the past and always got paid back. Chribba is literally the only guy that was ever nice to me and helped me when I needed it in this game, even though I have always been nice to everyone in game."
This is a very poignant and raw statement by the original poster that states his reason for being upset. He is a nice guy. He is always a nice guy. And with the concept of him being a nice guy bad things should not happen to him. He is not mean to others. He helps others, yet he is the one that winds up in the bad position. That does not sit well with him.

There is also the fact that he has not been helped, as he feels that he should have been helped or as he feels he needed help, by others in the game. His entitlement for being helped by others is directly connected by his statement of being a nice guy that helps people. Because he is nice and with the concept of nice the theme of good is brought in, he should not suffer bad things or to push it further, deal with evil.

The evil, bad thing he had to deal with was being ganked in an unfit T1 hauler. He posts the battleclinic link but the battleclinic link does not show what was in the plastic wrap. Thankfully, Eve-Kill does show what was in the plastic wrap. The ship scanner that scanned him will also know and make the decision to go for the gank or not.

His reasons:
"Considering it was only for 5 simple high sec jumps, and I was in a tanked, manually flown, fast align ship, I thought the risk/reward was good, if it wasn't for an overpowered ship that can instakill and instalock (some curse) when flown by 2 month old characters."
While I may live in low sec and identify with piracy, I am a space trucker myself and also a potential target to the high sec gankers out there. I attempt to mitigate this by watching what I carry. Sometimes I split things up between courier contracts to other people as well as moving things myself. I have access to jump freighters if I need to use them. I do shudder every time I jump into Udema but that does not mean that I assume every other system is going to be safe for me.

Vov is a ganker and he lost a ganked ships cargo the other day to to other people bumping his hauler and scooping the loot before he could get to it. These are the things that happen.

The second part of his anger is that he had an ISK tank that was not respected. ISK tanks are common in Eve. The basic concept is, "Because, my stuff is expensive only something as expensive should effect it because that would be balanced." This is most commonly seen in complaints about catalysts ganking mining barges and mission T3s and bling ships being killed for their potential drop.

ISK is not a balancer. It is one part of the whole but it is not the great balance that everything should fan out from.  Carrying 2 billion ISK worth of items should not somehow make you immune to only two billion ISK worth of ships lost to the gank. It is about choice. The Tornado that shot him could have failed that shot. I'm sure that pilot was working off of pure adrenaline trying to land the kill before he lost the target.

 And finally, I decided to skim Mr. Freezehunter's corporation history due to his plaintive wail that no one has ever helped him. I noticed that he has spent the last five months in a NPC corp after leaving Dreddit where he spent five days. This is his only character he says but he spends a lot of time in NPC corporations. It does make me ask: Where as his social relations after seven years in the game?

I have played for but a year and a half and I could never, ever, make the statement that no one has ever helped me. Even when it has annoyed and angered me, help has come from dozens of directions. Eve actually over flows with help. It may not be personal but the number of wikis, blogs, guides, videos and chat rooms that are there to do nothing but assist a player can leave a new player occupied for weeks.

He was ganked. He is more mad that he was ganked in a way he feels was not 'fair' then he seems to be over what he lost. Which was a lot. But his arguments really do not point out, "I am now poor" and more gnash their teeth against the fact that it should not have happened to him because he is a good guy. That it should not have happened to him when he attempted to prepare against it.

But for that to have happened, Eve would have to give up one of its strongest features:

You are not guarantied success, only the opportunity to try for it.

Patch notes For EVE Online: Odyssey 1.0.10

I woke up, bleary eyed, with a cat on my back purring in my ear and was thankful that today was a day off. I managed to leave the warm, shelter of my bed, make some tea and try to log into Eve as the kettle started the liquid of gods, aka tea. My launcher was already up from last night and when I asked it to log me in, it gave me the old log in screen and told me that I was running an incompatible version. Oh.  I've learned that one must close and reopen the launcher for it to start its update in these situations, when an update has gone through.

I might as well skim the patch notes as it updates. The update only takes a moment or two but I'm not moving quickly this morning. If one has not been following the patch notes for Odyssey I've found them interesting. Lots of character creator bugs are being nipped, something I'm thankful for. I often don't have all of the hairstyles load and that is very stressful when I am playing avatar barbie and designing a look for a character. Also, the changes back and forth with the exploration sites are becoming almost dramatic with spawning, not spawning, hacking, despawning, when, etc.  In fact, we had a conversation over the weekend about how exploration sites don't despawn until they are fully hacked. Now they will despawn again. When I was first testing them, as soon as you warped out they exploded. They don't seem to explode anymore. Having followed them closely since they were released on the test server, the changes and tweaks are very apparent to me.

What caught my eye, however, was this.

"Jumpgates have been resized to be compatible in scale for all variants between the different racial styles."
And I laughed. Because yesterday, I wrote "Anyone notice that a lot of gates got a bit bigger with Odyssey?"  I floated that it was a side effect of them making the new gates. Sard commented that it was a design decision. Today, there is a gate resize of some sort.

I'm amused.

RMT, Scams and Camo: A Boring Weekend

As one of my work weekends, and what turned out to be a hellaciously busy one, my Eve time was reduced to some store stocking and early bedtimes.

I was presented with a lovely little link to the Character Bazaar on the Eve Online forums. By the time I got around to sharing it it had been deleted. However, Chribba runs Eve Search which is a mirror forum of the Eve Online Forums. It is a useful place to find out what happened before the ISD edits and various edit and deletions that happen on the forums.

Here is the link.

I understand why it was deleted. While of great amusement, CCP tends not to want EULA breaking things sitting on the forums. The seller, when approached by the buyers, offered the character not for the 35 billion ISK he had advertised on the forums but for 1,100 IRL ISKies and not the Icelandic kind I suspect.

Within 15 minutes he had three conversations with three separate buyers where he told them that he was Russian, using a translator, and that they could buy the character for IRL money. They all turned him down. One of the more amusing things is that he is dealing with high skill point character traders. These are people with a lot of ISK. I spend all sorts of money on Eve but I would laugh in the face of someone that asked for or offered me money for my accounts. It just seems absurd to me. There is also that rule breaking thing.

I am also not sure how to adequately explain to people that Eve is full of scammers. I had someone tell me that they fell for the trade window scam. It is when they sell and item and do a direct trade. The person puts in the agreed upon price and then changes it quickly and hits accept. People tend not to double, triple, quad check and cheerfully hit accept as soon as the number seems right and poof, their ISK is gone. And in Jita.

One could spend days going over scam after scam and why they are scams but people continue to fall for them. I'm paranoid about these things. I even only open trade windows in Jita with the people I am trading with (alts/corpmates) through personal channels just to be super aware.

We do have people we trust in game even if we should never trust anyone. But, we decide how long to trust them. I have one friend who no longer has my trust to lend him small bits of money here and there because he has stopped paying me back for them. None of the amounts were very large, but when someone asks me for 10 million to cover them for something and can't turn around and pay it back and then forget and continue to ask for ISK here and there... yeah... my generosity dries right up. At the same time, I will do buys worth billions for people without upfront payment or with upfront payment and taking their stuff or ISK never crosses my mind. I have no idea how I will handle being ganked with someone else's stuff as of yet.

And then there is my last problem. Sometimes, I have to wonder if the thin line between love and harassment is to thin. Detta sends me a message while I am at work and asks me, "What about the Scorpion Navy Issue?" and I'm all, "What about it?" To which he shoots a cruel barb into me by saying, "It has the color you like, no?"

Yes. My filthy secret of urban and water camouflage lust. I have wept bitter, salty tears of sorrow and woe when Odyssey's V3 update of the Rhea turned it into a dull, lusterless monstrosity streaked with the color of orange rot from its awe inspiring beauty of blue, digital camo. I've never said that the color makes even the smallest bit of sense on a spaceship. It is that I have a dark passion for it. Yet here it mocks me on a missile based hull. How cruel doth CCP be?

Beyond my whimpering cries of sadness and loss...

I did manage to get some PvP squeezed in this weekend, even with it being a work weekend. The new carrier wrecks are... I don't know. The only one had a moth chewed look. The new one is just the carrier, but a dark, gray like it was covered in soot. I didn't take a picture because I was to busy wreck guarding in my super Jaguar. A faction Harb, Hurricane and Iskur failed to kill my Jaguar during this time. They then ran away from Altaen's Rupture leaving my Jaguar, in its majestic imagery guarded that wreck till it was fully looted.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Squinting into the Distance

Anyone notice that a lot of gates got a bit bigger with Odyssey?

The gate changes came in many ways.

We got new, V3d gates with a more exciting and interesting animation. These gates also came with a new jump animation that is driving some people crazy as this 37 page thread might suggest.

They came with new gate flashes. Some, gates, the flash is very subtle. People complained. We were told there was a gate flash. And then, there started to be a gate flash. It is still subtle but it is more noticeable then the first few days. I believe it was, at the very least broken, for a moment or improved upon because we stared and stared at gates and suddenly, one day, a visible animation. Some gates are brighter than others as well. Of course, I live in Minmatar space where the gate flashes are normally a dull pulse.

Whatever. The flashes have improved somewhat. We move on.

What is most noticeable is that everything above the system to system gates has become bigger. Constellation gates are now enormous. Regional gates are a joke. Where people would appear 40k away at the max they now appear 60-70k away. It almost works within my little idea I tossed out back in January that the easiest way to diminish the impact of gate camps would be to increase the size of the gates.

Now tackling someone on anything but the smallest gates is a complete bit of luck. Even cruisers can escape through the bigger gates and nano battle cruisers as well. And bigger gates are not rare. Eve is full of little constellations everywhere. Molden Heath is composed of six constellations and it is a small region.

I don't think this is a bad thing at all. It can be frustrating sure but missing kills is always frustrating in a selfish way. In the general picture I'd prefer something like this would cause a steady mitigation of 'gates mean death' then some other ideas people tend to come up with such as more gate guns or bringing CONCORD to low sec with a slower response time. This game and the constant changes in this game are a constant balance between what one wants and what one does not want in any possible way.

I suspect that the increase in gate sizes was a side effect of the new gate structures and not because of my ideas. Side effects like that are very common when changes come into play. I doubt the art department, when building the gate, or whomever places the structure into the game, spent a lot of time debating the ramifications of low sec PvP due to the new, more better pretty gates. Or, maybe they did.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Of ISK and Wealth

I took this photograph at Fanfest and I hadn't yet commented on it beyond putting it in a post for people to look at.

This particular graph is a useful one because the question of, "What is wealthy?" in Eve comes up a lot. When I first started. I was told that under a billion was space poor and you did not start getting space rich until you averaged around twenty billion ISK. Of course, if one listens to this conversation it tends to mutate around its audience. For some, tens of billions of ISK is meaningless and they quickly lose their perspective and begin to think of Super Capitals as reasonable, affordable purchases for the average player.

We tend to be surrounded by our social group. From that group we develop a normal and a reflection of that normal. The first million ISK wonder of a new player, with round eyes as their wallet ticks up and they are able to afford that first Destroyer to replace their free one is lost. The sweetness of that first cruiser purchase becomes a faded memory.

For some that is fine. The means to an end is the end to a means. Yet, being space poor and being space rich are questions people ask. I think it is good to see where people are. The chart says all players so we can assume they mean inactive accounts as well. Maybe? Who knows? CCP loves to give us information and then leave enormous holes in the details about that information.

What is not noted is corporation ISK. Many people, such as myself, have a large amount of their wealth sitting in corporations. This chart does not reflect that and because of that it does not give a complete overview of wealth. Chart in assets vs ISK and the entire equation topples on its head.

It is still an interesting chart. It is a snapshop of the daily life of the normal player. The player that goes out and hoards or spends their ISK for whatever reason.

Do most players have big investment projects or is that only a smaller, side portion of the game that play that type of game inside of the sandbox? Nothing in that chart reflects on TCS and its value. If I were to calculate its value it would be its assets, its ISK and its employees. This is because if I stopped running TCS I would liquidate the store and sell the characters.

Calculation of wealth is not only the wallet. It is assets and due to the fact that we can sell characters, they to are an asset. What value is Sugar, a well rounded combat pilot? What value Chella, a carrier and jump freighter, and logistics pilot? Or my scanning/scouting/booster building alts? Or my industry alt?  They are all assets with value if I seek to truly work out my personal ISK value in Eve as a player.

But in truth, I'd not calculate it that way. I have around five billion liquid ISK in my wallet. That is how I would calculate my value were anyone to randomly ask. I'd not toss in my hangar values because I assume my ships to be destroyed after I purchase them. ISK these days has become a source to fuel the stuff that I want to do. I'm a project person more than a wander around seeing what I get into person. My projects like TCS or my boosters or to feed my Hurricane Fleet Issue needs. I also like having the ISK just to have it but I have learned to spend it to make myself happy on my own terms. It allows me to do things like run the Rawrcar Doctrine.

What other people have in their wallet doesn't matter unless one is seeking a goal based upon it. It is a useful metric for how much one can have or can make if one is motivated in that manner. But many are motivated by nothing more than fueling their next project be that an invention line, a PLEX, a new incursion shiny or the next thing to undock into PvP. Many of the people that I fly with are ISK poor and they care not about their wallet. Other's fret their night away about their in game finances.

If you need numbers, enjoy the numbers, they are there for you. I don't think that very many people place their personal value by their internet spaceship pixel money but it is fun to know where one falls in the big picture.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Of ISK and Efficency

Discussing a fleet where our planned tactics and our execution of said tactics were of great differences, resulting of the loss of the bulk of the fleet it was said "that is a big victory for them."

Victory in this case was defined by the ISK calculation placed on the field. While it is common and true to say that there are different ways to determine who wins and loses it is also common to use ISK as a basic measurement.

A group may kill five hundred ships of their enemy and loose twenty over the course of a war. However, the twenty ships lost might easily be worth twice the cost of the five hundred destroyed. Who is winning there? Both? None?

Most of the fighting in Eve is full of these moments. Outside of sov war and wormhole evictions how does one judge these things? How does one judge what does not matter? For as much as I enjoy PvP for the sake of PvP, very little of our general fighting is done for a reason. We do have plenty of fights for tangible objectives. We are willing to unite as a community against larger threats. I do not dismiss all non Sov PvP as meaningless but a great majority of it is done for the enjoyment of it without further goal. That is where I question judgment.

Subjective. Objective. It is judgment and often that judgment works its way down to ISK. Waste and value for ones ISK are sensible themes. Yet, are they also limiting themes? If I fly a Cynabal it is because I want to fly a Cynabal. It is what fits my need. A Thorax or Rupture or Stabber or Omen are not going to be a Cynabal. I could fly a Vagabond but then it is a question of fin differences and small costs.

T1 ships are fantastic for many, many jobs. I do not cast them by the wayside or shun or scorn them for their basic, simplicity. But when one ventures into more costly spaceships it is often for a reason. Reasons where the details start to matter.

And that also brings with it greater loss. If  a fleet of shiny ships engages a fleet of T1 ships, and the fleet of T1 ships outnumbers them by a two or three or four to one, the shiny fleet may have an edge due to fitting abilities, hull abilities and pilot abilities, but when one ship dies costing 300 million ISK and it kills six ships on the way down buy they total, perhaps, fifty million ISK, who won? Who lost? What does efficiency matter in that situation?

It seems that it is a metric more than anything else. I asked for our killboard to remove the ISK to IRL Money conversion modification. I hated it. My ISK does not come from my IRL money. Why is it being converted into a comparison and represented as a loss of IRL money? It creates a measurement that is flawed and shallow. It is as shallow as the killboards themselves. And I am a killboard supporter and find htem valuable but their information is flawed because killmails only show one aspect of the battle, making it a shallow metric So much time is spent using comparisons that lack details to create something to judge quality by.

While some need metrics, the information that we have to freely structure said metrics on should not override all of the other details about the situation. Sometimes you have to talk to someone. That is an area where recording battles is, indeed, an over all positive for completeness. And more focus on completeness and less on ISK would cause fewer people who have the ISK to venture to not simply due to avoidance of efficiency as a standard of measurement. And I know, not everyone measure this way but enough people do and enough people do publicly that things as said such as, "It is a victory because of the ISK."

I well understand harming people in the ISK. I think it is a fantastic goal and one of the selling features of Eve. However, that does not mean that if I lose a Cynabal over a Thorax or Rupture that I have been harmed in my ISK. I may have six back in the station fitted and ready to go while the other person has but their Thorax and a grind or a plex to go to replace it. Who wins? Who loses? Who put more at risk? How would anyone even know the answer to any of this other than the individuals in the fight and then not even to each other.

But judging by only the cost of ISK in a situation that is three dimensional frustrates me. So here I rant about it.

Disclaimer: It should be noted that I am a very noncompetitive person and it is where my view on such things wanders off onto its own path.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Of ISK and Youth

I've been remarkably unmotivated this last week. A bit of a mental hiatus it would seem. I let a lot of my workload, outside of my store slack off for a little bit and spent my time reading for the most part. I even watched a few episodes of game of thrones and as a book reader walked away with a list of random complaints.

Anyway, mostly I have been thinking about ISK. I've made very little of it this month, personally. I like to point out that TCS's income and my own are two separate things. I made about 600 mil right after Odyssey deployed, days before the decryptor and salvage markets crashed under the bulk of vast, new riches. I've made about 100mil off of blink (it hasn't been a good blink month for me) and that is about it. Most of what I have done is spend my ISK on ships. I have a tendency to build 2-4 of any particular fit which tends to spiral my cost rather quickly.

I have a tendency to fly somewhat fancier ships these days. Jaguars are a T2 ship and ranging from 24-30 million ISK each these days in comparison to the Rifter that it is based off of that is a 400k ISK investment. That does not include fitting. Fitting my Rifter and fitting my Jaguar are very similar tasks when it comes to cost. My Jaguar has a bit more room to add more things but those things do not necessarily have to be more expensive. The reason I fly a Jaguar is because I tackle things on gates for my fleets. I need the EHP of the Jaguar to stay alive and I still sometimes lose them to gateguns. I lost one holding a tackle longer than I could live through earlier this week.

On the forums, in the new player area, there is a thread where someone confesses that they are terrified to go to lose sec and die. People give them the advice to get into a fast, agile frigate and give it a try without much loss. They went in their cruiser and instantly died, reinforcing that low sec is evil. However, I'm not worried about them. They failed to listen to the advice given. What was interesting is another new player posting in the thread.

He said:
"I do think however that when vets say 'do some research before you go into losec', what they mean is 'wait till you're a few months trained/rich'.
If someone could suggest a Tristan fit that would cost less thsn 20mil and 600k SP which will give me a fighting chance in losec, though, I'll be game for giving it a shot!"
I decided to write a reply based off of the second half of the above quote. However, both pieces are interesting subject matter.

The first is a completely incorrect interpretation. Most people suggest that a player does not wait but immediately plunges in over their head into low sec. They simply suggest they do it in the cheapest method that they can sot hat when they do lose their ship it barely hurts. The reason is to get them past the hurdle that many never cross where they are to scared to leave high security space and they are waiting for just a few more skill points to be ready.

When you are brand new and in your first few weeks you rarely have implants, you don't have clone costs because your skill points are under 900k, you have zero fitting skills and ISK so your frigates cost 1 million ISK at the most. It is the perfect time to get over the fears of the unknown.

The second part twines into the first part. What is rich and what is 'a fighting chance?'

Rich is defined by the individual and no one else. I know pilots whos wallet struggles to stay afloat but they are still happy to take their ships into battle time and time again. I have learned that many, many pirates are ISK poor. They may be asset rich but rarely as they ISK rich. And they are okay with that. Their ISK just gets them into the ships that they use to play the game.

Wallet waiting helps no one. Now, there is being stupid with your finances in this game. That is why the recommendations are for T1 hulls with simple, basic fitting if one is going to go out and explore. It also links into the second half of, "a fighting chance."

What is a fighting chance in Eve? It is often confusing to the new player that starts in the free noobship and moves to a frigate to comprehend the fragility of the larger ships they see roaming around the game. Those ships are so much bigger and so much more expensive they must be better. It must be simply a matter of upgrading your ship and the world will become your battlefield.

If only it were so neat as it seems in those first few days and weeks. My response to him was that no one can give him a fit that will give him a fighting chance in low sec because they do not know what situations he may come across. What people try to suggest is reasonable fits but even then, no one can predict what will happen. A blob, a blops, a more talented pilot with the understanding of the game mechanics? A gatecamp, a roaming gang all of these things can happen.

There is nothing that explains that. Nothing at least but the populace of the game. When you undock in a frigate it is not a guaranty that you will only encounter frigates. No matter how well fit you are, you may still be sniped by a Tornado on the undock. That is the good part of Eve. The fluid, unpredictable aspect of the game. I know I hate landing on a gate, with a fleet, and knowing that the chances of me making it off the gate are slim to none. Yet, I still try to make it out of the situation. I still cheer at my small successes even as I die.

ISK does not guaranty a win. Nor does it guaranty that someone is ready for something. ISK is something that a player will find it easier to make as they get into the game but it is something that not everyone will fall in love with making. ISK is something that some will never be able to hold onto for spending. ISK is something that can inhibit as much as it can assist goals and the future.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Of ISK and Tags

Like a cold, startling plunge into a pool on a hot day I docked into a Concord station and stripped away my outlaw security status. It actually took a bit more than that. I purchased some tags. I farmed some of my own. I dropped some ISK and finally I adjusted my security status up. I figured that I might as well use the feature I had talked about so often.

I felt no different. However, people are not as prone to shooting me all of a sudden. Surprise, surprise. One of my newest fun things to do is sit on the station while my cyno alt winds down and see if someone will go suspect by shooting her so that I can shoot them back. Not being flashy red means they don't get a freebee to shoot me anymore. My cynos are lasting much, much longer.

Now to talk about consequences.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Gunless

In a game about spaceships blowing up other spaceships in vast galactic wars that spawn enough excitement and amazement to bring the internet's eye, one would think that guns would be the key. And, in a way, it would seem that way. Even the names of our ships, battlecurisers and battleships, marauders and recons invoke the image of weaponization of such a scale as to cause the collective conscious of the watcher to catch its breath in amazement. It is the streaks of prismatic light across the battlefield, the shattering explosion of the spaceship, the trails of the missiles as they streak across the darkness and collide in a brilliance that draws our heart and mind that so often define this game.

But that is not all that there is.

For some, weapons are the last thing that they consider. The use of them, the need for them, it is not shunned. It is just not their place. Instead, they trust in others to bring these items of destruction forward and for them, they embrace a different path.

The path of the support ship.

Its a quiet one. There isn't much obvious glory. There is a lot of helplessness. The support character relies on others. The network of social interaction is strongest for them. For they will throw themselves into a situation that they cannot defend themselves from and they will do it with the belief that their fellows will come to their defense. And even then, they will also sometimes sacrifice themselves. In darkness, with no offensive abilities, a support character will vanish in a flare of instantaneous brilliance as they stand in the face of fire power that they cannot match. 

But they are not there to match that fire power.

In the story of battle, the glory goes to the warriors. The songs are sun about the knights as the sun glistens against their armor. The battle call of a tank and the sonic ripping roar of a plane herald in the destructive power that they convey. It is about courage and commitment and the savage brilliance of determination. It is a lovely picture full of bright energy. But, that energy is not theirs alone. Behind them, there are others.  The logistics pilots that fly behind them, their greatest offensive ability their own piloting. The tackle ships that throw themselves into the heart of battle and know that death is a more certain option then life.  

It is the decision to hold point as the fleet lands, even as layers of armor are stripped away and the klaxon call of dissolving structure lets one know what is in the future. That moment when the decision is made to go all in and accept that loss creates gain.

It is the calm focus of the logistics pilot as they monitor their fleet and fly. As they monitor each other and go. And as they know that they may only have themselves to depend upon, their wits and their thoughts to make it through the battle. It is the decision to say goodbye as well. The order to be left on the field for the greater good of them all.

It is accepting the loss of being the cyno. Of knowing that you are but a target for all to see. It is the cloaky eyes that will never receive credit, but save more lives then any weapon ever has. 

It is even the falcon, a being of such incredible strength that is also full of terrible weakness. A moments mistake and ill roll of the dice and that is all that it takes to separate one from life.

The neut and the webs and the points and the scrams.. it is all living life at the edge of complete and total dependence on the fleet.  It is even the interdictor dropping bubbles on the field as their overview flares yellow.  The call of "links are on!" it is a  sweet sound as a group dives into battle. Only it is trumped by the call of, "point" as the tackle calls for the fleet to come in.

Across the space lanes are the ponderous trips of freighters from place to place. The quiet slicing of ore is in every system that we pass. The dozens of trips from one freighter to another.  These things are only some of the words of the ones without guns.

It is so easy to focus on all the things about guns. But there are times when the guns are not going to get the job done. They are important, and rightfully so, but they 

In a game about spaceships blowing up other spaceships in space there are an awful lot of spaceships that will never directly blow up anything. Yet, their value is great enough that they are defined as force multipliers. Others are the hands that grab or the eyes and the ears of those that go into battle. And together they make the fleet. Its very creation the combined efforts of many. The synchronization of a handful, a dozen, or even hundreds of people turn into something that is worth writing about in a way that can bring the combined focus of the internet to a game about internet spaceships.

And its about internet spaceships with a focus on the plural form. Because even a solo pilot is not a solo PvPer without another taking the field on the other side.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunday Summary

Sunday was a sleepy, lazy day. I spent most of the weekend slumped in my chair, wallowing in extreme laziness. I barely wrote anything. I sat over draft after draft and left the pages empty. If Saturday had not had my adventure in being ransomed I would have gone postless all weekend.

Not that I do not have ideas. The drafts I've created will filter out over the next week I suspect. I had ideas but no motivation. Instead, I spent Sunday floating around space, participating in various fleets for various objectives.

I flew a battleship out into glorious battle.

I can't say that I am in love with it. Its slow. I hate slow ships. I'll save them for when they are called for. I felt really useful as well, until someone called for an Oracle fleet. Sigh. Its a lose, lose battle still to be able to join all the fleets.

 Later, for a change of pace I flew a Cynabal into glorious battle. I fucked up and died. But I learned a lot about the ship. I like it a lot more than I have. This is why I have a stack of them in station. I may finally be figuring out what I like.

After that, I flew a Prophecy. Naoru helped me with some fits a few days ago and I finally have armor battlecruisers again. I tend to dislike armor ships. They are slow and clumsy and I get frustrated flying them. But, the Prophecy is so plump that its just okay that it is so slow and fat. I also learned that it is very, very small next to a Hyperion.

I stared into the swirling beauty of a cynosural field. They are amazing things, these little portals of energy. And so important to the functioning of Eve. Jumping in my supplies for TCS has made life much more fluid.

I'm halfway through the third book in a Song of Ice and Fire (aka the books for Game of Thrones). I read them back in the early 2000's but I've been reading them as I play Eve so that I understand what everyone is going on about in chat. Its helped.

And, I started planning out Eve Vegas in October. I purchased my tickets back in January. I don't know if anyone that I know is going. That has not yet been a prerequisite for me to go to Eve events.

At some point I downloaded Star Wars the Old Republic but I have not yet tried it.

I've lived and died and won and lost this weekend. Its been interesting and productive. I've missed fleets and think that as my cough heals from my cold I will step up my sociability a bit more and pull out of this alone spell that I have been huddled in for the bulk of this month.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Orca Adventures - Ransomed!

It was my own fault for not paying attention. Multiboxing and travelling can be bad for you. I didn't actually go AFK. I started to warp to the next gate and was waiting for my screen to flicker on my other monitor and tell me that I had arrived at the next system. Because I was doing something with another alt I lost track of time. I eventually looked over at my main screen to see my account warping but not going anywhere. How strange.

As I look at my screen, I see a Machariel heading for me and bumping me. I realize that I am 100k off of the gate and being bumped. Dread hits. I'm about to be ganked. I assume I am being knocked out of the range of gate and station guns. It is Udema after all and today was my day to pay the piper. I try to avoid Udema and Jita on the weekend but I hadn't been paying attention.

Well this sucks. I like this Orca. I made it after all.

I've been killed plenty of times but never ganked in high sec. This would be new. I turned on my DCUII. I hit my invuls but turned them off. I would need all of my cap for when the gank landed. I'd planned this a dozen times before in my head. There was a chance that with my tank going I'd make it through. A small one but one none the less. It is why my Orca is not max expanded. It also does not have cargo optimization rigs.'

My mind cast around for possible things. Could I get an alt there fast enough to spawn concord and web me? I didn't think so. Little of my life is spent in The Citadel. I'd have to eat this loss. It had been a good run so far.

It means a loss for TCS. I was carrying supplies for the store. That would suck. Yet this is why I never haul huge values. Had I miscalculated somehow? A quick check of my ships cargo still told me that I was moving around 400m in uninteresting things. T2 guns, a few hulls, some isotopes. Nothing interesting. Not even a billion ISK in cargo.

I was going to die. The pilot was in SniggWaffe, Sniggerly's feeder corporation. A bunch of flashy reds that I could see ganking to gank. I was going to die... I was going to... Wait. What would be the point of ganking me? I had not much for cargo. I don't think I'd pissed anyone off of late, overly much. My alt is a neutral and pretty uninteresting. She never talks or interacts with anyone. Just someone carrying cargo. Maybe I could make this harder for everyone involved. If they were going to gank me then so be it but there were such better targets out there if one was ganking for profit.

Why, oh why hadn't I paid more attention? I tried stopping and rewarping but I couldn't get an alignment down. Fine. Next goal, get back to the gate. I set my target back to where I had come from, some 140k away and started pulsing my MWD. He bumped me, I'd MWD and slowly I closed the gap back to the gate. He targeted me at some point. I have autotarget on for these exact situations. It also makes me look like more of a carebear. If he cargo scanned me I know he found that I had little of value on board. Maybe he had realized I wasn't worth a gank.

Oh? I double checked that it was the Machariel pilot. It was. I accepted.
[19:03:26 ] Him > sup
[19:03:39 ] Him > how much you pay for me to stop
[19:03:49 ] Me > bumping me?
[19:03:54 ] Him > ya
[19:04:17 ] Me > well is it amusing you?
Maybe I could keep him talking while I worked my way back to the gate.  Or something. I was thinking. I didn't really believe him. Like most of Eve I am doubtful of ransoms. I was surprised by the request. I wondered how much he would ask for.
[19:04:35 ] Him > 15 mil and i let you on your way m8
[19:04:43 ] Me > My options?
[19:04:56 ] Him > i keep bumping
And this is when I came up with my idea. I could give him 15 million, sure. But, he was bumping me and I didn't like it. My suborn side had kicked in. I'd die before I accepted his ransom! At some point he had wasted more time trying to ransom me then it was worth to ransom me. But, I wasn't in the mood to spend an hour playing with him. And such my plan was born.
[19:05:06 ] Me> for 15 mil?
[19:05:17 ] Him> i stop if you pay me 15 mil, yes
I noticed that my alt was sitting on a low sec gate. Whoops. I sent her off to a station so that I could better deal with this situation.

Fuck his ransom. I could log off in space and just go away. Didn't CCP introduce safe log off with Retribution? I'd never used it and my first efforts told me that I couldn't use it when approaching something. If I remembered correctly I wouldn't warp off but I would just go poof. And he'd lose his target. I hit stop and watched him approach me again. I had no timer flags. My safety was green. I believed this would work.
[19:06:35 ] Me > is it worth your time?
[19:06:45 ] Him > is it worth yours? lol
[19:06:52 ] Me > yes :)
What was worth my time was denying him his ransom. His Machariel slammed into me as my Orca flickered out of existence.

I logged back in after fifteen minutes to find myself alone. I landed back, 80k off the gate and warped  off on my way to deliver to my store. I debated that I should have tried to cloak when he was 20k off and planning to bump me again and see if it made him miss. Then I could have aligned and been on my way. These ideas come up at the worst times.

And that, my friends, is my fuck you to being ransomed.

Friday, June 14, 2013

TCS: Riding the Expansion

Odyssey was bound to bring changes. However, in my relative inexperience and ignorance I didn't expect the market to do all the terrible things that it did. I expected some of it. I flirted with speculation and stockpiled on various things. I understood that some prices would change but I didn't expect to stare at the window of 30+ million is CovOps frigates.

The Laws of Supply and Demand are simple:
  1. If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
  2. If demand decreases and supply remains unchanged, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
  3. If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
  4. If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
Eve lives under these laws. Players make the items and place them on the market. Items are only worth what people will pay for them. People will pay for what they need. Odyssey meant that everyone wanted CovOps frigates and they sucked the market dry. The market rebounded by increasing the price and suddenly I am stuck with 30+ million ISK CovOps frigates in my market.

I could wail and gnash my teeth and say that I should have stocked up. In reality, I don't have the ISK to stock up in that manner. It is not an option and never has been. Nothing is wrong with that. None of that stops me from feeling strange at major price jumps.

Plus, the entire mineral rebalance and change to T2 production creation has skewed the prices all over the place. A lot of my discomfort comes from the fact that I pass along price fluxuations to my buyers. I don't buy huge stacks of items most of the time. If I buy thirty of a module at one price and the next time I buy it to refill the price has decreased or increased, I directly pass that on. Most of the time it is only going to be seen as a few thousand ISK here and there. These types of changes are enormious.

Buzzards were the first to go up. Then Cheetahs.

I found myself going , EEP! over these changes. I did buy a few Buzzards on autopilot one day and that is how I noticed I paid 36 million for them. I took a deep breath, listed them, and they sold. But now, I saw the price increase everywhere.

I  decided ti shy away from restocking CovOps frigates for a few days. The market sometimes bucks and heaves and then it starts to settle back down. However, I saw my own beloved Anathema start to creep up in price. The most unloved of all CovOps that it is.

The interesting thing is that when I first started buying Anathema's last May they cost me 17 million ISK. At some point they plummeted down in price. That was just around the time that I stopped losing Anathemas. Sigh. But now the prices were up across the board. The demand for CovOps frigates was still strong. I found myself selling cloaks, launchers, probes, analyzers left and right. I was uncomfortable with the price increase but it was not as if I was increasing them for my own amusement and it was not as if people do not want them.

I just do not know where the market will go. One never wants to gather massive amounts of stock that will not go. For now, I'm buying one one or two deep and letting it sell before I replace it until the market decides what it is going to do. These may be our new prices or they may not be. I won't know and don't know. We speculate but there is a reason that speculation is defined as:
"Speculation is the practice of engaging in risky financial transactions in an attempt to profit from short or medium term fluctuations in the market value of a tradable good such as a financial instrument, rather than attempting to profit from the underlying financial attributes embodied in the instrument such as capital gains, interest, or dividends. Many speculators pay little attention to the fundamental value of a security and instead focus purely on price movements."
With TCS (and in general) this is not me. I am still a part of this world and must deal with the side effect of it.  It is new to me even if it is old to others. But it is an area I wish to be cautious about. The market is full of pitfalls. Just as people randomly manipulate items, prices rise and fall and people get trapped on the wrong end of the graph. I'm trying (perhaps in vain) to avoid that.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ramblings: It's Always Wrong to Someone

[Where Sugar mulls over aspects of negative interactions]

  1. open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation
  2. an expression of contempt or derision
  3. an object of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision : something contemptible
There is a lot of scorn in Eve. It is multilayered with dozens of textures. It exists all over the world of PvP and enough of it is hypocritical to boot that it makes me shake my head.

I don't speak of smack talk. I understand the banter of sides against each other and the desire to rile people up. I see enough people lose their cool over it. I've done so myself. Not insomuch PvP situations but more in deciding to no longer speak with some who cannot communicate without cupping their hands to share a bit of scorn-filled derision. And quite often, it is directed at someone who is doing something in a way that they do not agree with.

"Doing it wrong."

In a game with so many ways to do things it is fascinating how many people are angered over people achieving a successful result in a different way. I see this most often in arguments about solo PvP vs Gangs vs Blobs. Another area is the use of ECM or the assistance of logistics. I fully understand how someone may wish to challenge themselves and finds frustration when they are met with unconquerable situations. After all, we do want our way. Even if that way is a battle that is lost but the fight during the battle is full of challenge and exhilaration.

And so scorn. Scorn over gangs, blobs, ecm, frigates, nano, bubbles, cloaks, blops, hotdrops, the list goes on and on and on. Everyone will hate someone else's tactic at some point, especially when that tactic is directed at them. However, what amuses me yet makes me shake my head is the hypocritical attitude of those who find their own situation turned back upon them.

The solo pilot with the 1-3 link alts following that rages about a two man gang or another solo pilot with a link alt.

The pilot with the falcon and logistic backup angered when his quarry up-ships and out ships him.

Such as the other day. I ran around a bit, actually undocking. Naoru called that he had aggression at the station with people who play station games. One was known, a 'solo' pilot who runs with two link alts. I don't mind people having link alts. I mind them declaring themselves engaging in solo PvP. But, mayhap they define solo PvP is defined by being the only DPS ship on the field and I should silence myself.

Link alts are a touchy subject. They can magnify a ships ability when used properly. I watch people bait others out and activate their links using gate and station guns to their advantage while what seems to be a fairly even fight goes rapidly downhill for the unlinked subject. I have no problem with how they choose to play. I just choose to not engage them if I can. But one tires of station games and baiters who proudly declare their prowess and one decides to take care of the situation. And sometimes one choose to engage in an activity not because one loves the activity or wishes to do it but because one wishes to support those that matter to them.

And so, after they die, the rage is fascinating. "A carrier?" they say over and over again because yes, we undocked a carrier to drop reps at some point during the six minutes that it took us to chew through his linked, brick tanked armor ship as we took gateguns and dealt with third parties that were not willing to come off the station but were willing to slip themselves onto any potential kill mails. Yet, there was so much rage when the plan to not die did not work out. Anger that the other parties were not dead and the scorn focused on the carrier.

One force multiplier is okay but another is not. I doubt any logistic ship would have been acceptable in that situation. But I find it funny how it being a carrier makes it worse. I've heard that before, "if the carrier wasn't there." Oh? Why? The same sadness is not there for the links or is it for the links? Is nothing ever allowed or it is only allowed in particular quantities by one person. May I use ECM Drones but not Falcon or are they both always bad unless they are being used against me because then it is fair?

Honor. Dishonor. Cowardice. Judgement. So many words, each dipped in scorn. Always applied to another that has a different tactic. Often times the tactic is not respected. I'm no font of angelic innocence. My disgust of station games is my worst sin. It is a viable tactic with its own counters and offenses, yet I loathe it and celebrate deeply when someone who indulges in it fails. I find myself irritated when it is directed at those I fly with for having different tactics with another and the automatic desire to denounce their methods instead whispers across my thoughts.

I've watched another group rage at members of Team Liquid for their use of nano, damage projection, speed, and kiting to tear apart forces many times their own size. There is so much scornful anger littered with slurs over it. Brawling is fine but kiting is terrible because, why? One does not win? One cannot control the urge to chase and follow the lure or because one is not given what they want?

If one brings a frigate and another ship is undocked, one that will instantly consume a frigate, the other pilot is tiresome because they did not bring a frigate to the fight? A fight is a battle between forces. No one said that anyone has to downship for said fight to happen. One can deny the fight by removing oneself from the situation in the same way that one denies the blob. But to be scornful of them not entering the situation on terms set by another, much less terms that will decrease their position is an endless cycle in Eve's cold, comments.

Do what I want, not what I do. Do what I want, even as I do. Play your own game... my way. I'm amazed that people get along as well as they do sometimes. But it is why we form groups and make friends or make enemies, be it as it may.

There probably is real sense to it. No deeper rhyme and rhythm other than the desire to win. I ask questions and seek understanding where the chances are high, there are no answers or discoveries to be had. I ponder what is often nothing more than moments of emotion and spite glazed over opinion.