Monday, September 30, 2013

Building Blocks and No Instructions

"You can literally make more ISK doing anything other than mining."
-Said almost everyone everywhere

When someone inquires about mining the responders will often throw their hands in the air and tell the person that mining is a waste of their time. They will unroll vast spreadsheets of staticail equations in which they explain the economically unsound choice of mining as a career path. It is very clear that mining is not an optimal income. It is a poor choice and one smugly pointed out to the new. Yet, miners continue to rush the Asteroid belts each day and clean them out despite the obvious ISK making options out there.

I am often puzzled by those carefully explaining to the miners why they should not mine. It is sad to watch the clumps of hair that wind up in their fists as they miners continue to mine. Nothing they say stops them. The miners continue to mine. They refuse to buy the minerals from someone else. They keep insisting that they are happy mining.

It is a communication issue. Not one of words but one of taste. I often see terms such as farming ones own minerals and 'the minerals I mine are free'. I think that the underlying problem with a lot of this is that the two sides are comparing two different facets of mining.

The economic game of Eve is very important. The player may casually engage in it or they may make it the basic structure of their game. No matter what they do they engage upon it. A side effect is that many players become focused on the economic ripples. Because of loss everything has a price. Because of loss replacement and the replacements after that become a focus. The economic sense makes sense. We have to be able to replace what we lose. We have to be able to afford what we need. The concept of money and maximizing profit becomes an important part of success.

I'll not refute any of that. I do not feel that I need to. I do not believe that most miners who mine consistently are unaware of the economics of the  situation. They, after all, sell or reprocess their ore. They grind standings for refining bonuses. They seek out buyers or place sell orders. They are far from ignorant of the economics of Eve or of the product that they place on the market. They fit for yield and train up Orca boosters to increase their haul. They work very hard to mine as well as they possibly can.

And when the economists come with their numbers they receive answers like, "It costs me less to mine it myself," or some such vague answer which causes spreadsheets to burst into flames and rage to bubble up. "Are you stupid?" they rant. "You can do anything else and make more ISK!" The miner offers some other defense that really doesn't work against the economics of the situation and a stalemate is accomplished when they tack fun into the equation to derail the argument.

"How can you have fun mining?" It is go to the asteroid, target it, press button, receive ore until the hold is full. Drop it off. Wash. Rinse. Repete. How is mining fun? It can't be. And more interactive mining suggestions are made to improve it and turn it into a 'fun' activity.

The core problem of trying to fix mining is that mining is not broken. It is not broken to the people who actually engage in the activity and prefer it over others. And there are two types that fall into this category. One type is the classic AFK miner who is doing something else and using other accounts to do something productive with their time. These are the more vocal voices. The second type is the person that enjoys mining and plays a very casual game of Eve online. I exclude botters from my discussion.

The key is resource gathering. I am a resource gatherer. Resource gathering is an incredible motivator for many people. I don't compare it to resource farming where you go and harvest twenty leaves of the brilliant blossom to reach an experience point. I mean that some people, many people, simply enjoy going out and pulling stuff out of the world. In Eve, it is ore and the minerals that come from it. It is also salvaging and looting missions.

As someone who is very much in these two categories it makes sense to me. I don't blitz missions because I enjoy looting missions. I mine because I like getting the ore and doing things with it. It may be selling it. It may be refining it into my personal needs. None of it makes technical economic sense. It does not need to. The satisfaction gained from the activity happens before the economics of the activity come into play.

Resource gathering and world building games are tightly linked. Often in God games such as Black and White there is an option after the objective has been achieved to continue to build and work on the world. Games like Sim City (I have not played the newest version) are World Building games that hinge on resources. In Sim City you build a city with a general goal to be successful. That's it. It is enthralled and satisfying even though most people fail and never have a city that is successful past a certain point.

The nature of Eve allows people to decide for themselves into what they like to do. And to not do. High Sec is full of people who want to fly spaceships around to mine asteroids to build more spaceships. High sec is also full of space truckers who move people's things from point A to point B for a paycheck. Eve is also full of these people but the highest concentrations are in high security space. These are people who play Eve for the world building and resource gathering parts of Eve. They may eventually try other things but that is what they like and enjoy as much as a PvP pilot enjoys explosions.

Let me not forget the metrics of success. For the miner is successful at his action. The salvager is successful at their action. They do not fail in what they do. They in in fact, quite productive. The question and point being made is that they can be more  productive. That will not always appeal to each party involved. To say, "You are shit and not making any ISK," only has them say, "But I have made ISK." The counter argument is, "but you could make more ISK by..." An argument is destroyed and created. The two people are having different discussions at the same time.

And you can tell them that Eve's world building is terrible. You can tell them that they won't make good ISK out of it. Sim City was released in 2003 and I still play it. Because I enjoy it. At some point the economics of the situation are out of the door for some people and instead they are focused on the simple fact that they like one thing over another. The pure clarity of numbers will not educate them. They are not ignorant. In this game of choice some people select the choices that will make them happy and give them personal pleasure. Maximizing their activities may not give them pleasure. Instead, this search for enjoyment may mean mining, not PvPing, not doing Faction Warfare, building their own ships, and in general playing Eve wrong while living in High Sec their entire career and loving the game.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eve Parodied to Pop music: "Polarizer"

A side effect of reading Eve as music played in the store. Warning. This is pop music for all the music purists. Nothing of interest beyond the cut. I'm sadly caught up in a rather creative spell due to trying to write fiction. This appears to be a random side effect.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rambling: Affected. Effected.

[Warning: Metaphorical condensation of frustrated reactions]

TCS: Opting Out of Speculation

The announcement of the Winter expansion plans has, as expected, thrown the market for a loop. People are buying gentries to build customs offices like crazy according to a tweet by CCP. The moment the interceptor changes were announced the interceptor market was wiped clean by speculators and stock pilers.

I admit, I logged on my market alt and grabbed a handful of the four interceptors that I fly before the market vanished or the prices soared up. I purchased them for me and not for TCS.

For TCS I found myself faced with an interesting dilemma. I could up the price of the interceptors that I had listed. I could pull the interceptors that I had listed. Or, I could wait.

I chose to wait. As expected, some purchased me out of interceptors a few hours later. Molden Heath is off the major paths so someone had to come region shopping to find mine. I let them sell for what I had listed them at. The focus on TCS has never been to ride speculation. I don’t plan to start now. It is a line between what I may do for myself and what I will do with my store concept for the community that it  is in.

Now, I have no interceptors on the market. I have one or two in stock. I think. My electronic assault frigates were also purchased. That is the most amusing thing. I have sold a total of 2 since the store opened. Now every single one is sold.

I decided that I am going to have to accept this gap in the market for right now. It is only a short term thing. The goal of TCS is not to feed a market speculators pocket. I feel that is what I will accomplish right now. For my boys, they can have the interceptors that I have hoarded at their original prices if they are interested. Besides that, I will wait to see what happens with the prices once the expansion comes out.

Everything is going to be in flux until the release. Then it will be a matter of supply and demand as people want to try new toys. I suspect that CCP released the change now, instead of in a ship balancing thread, for that exact reason. Suppliers have two months to amp up their production. And they will. Invention lines will start cranking out the ships. The more on the market the sooner prices will settle into their new price point.

This time I am going to try to skip the mistakes of Odyssey when it comes to buying speculation and expansion touched items when it comes to my store.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Small Ones

[Warning: Winter Expansion thoughts. Skip if already burnt out about it.]

Of course we are discussing the expansion today. After I stopped seeing only interceptors in my vision the comment about the new POS siphons being amazing came up.

I agree.

In my campaigne for low sec I have put a lot of emphasis on the residents of low sec being able to live and thrive in low sec. Often when I mention this people say that low sec is shit because the residents insist on shooting each other instead of bluing up and farming everything in sight. The focus is that a consumptive group such as a low sec PvP group does not have resourses because of their nature. If we want to have we need to change that nature.

Low sec has resourses that the residents should be able to secure, fight over, and live off of if they so wish. Not all groups will wish to invest in static structures. Some will and those that do will have an option. However, the nature of Eve made it that the resources CCP allotted to low sec were in fact resources given to null sec.

Because of the meta game with the current mechanics of timers and force projection a large group can prepare and make it to a fight and stomp a smaller group. I have no problem with that aspect of the game. But, when looking at static resources like moons, is that what CCP wants?

This combination of strength and force projection has given rise to the small, undefended moon. The moons tank is its corporate or alliance ticket. Instead of a large, fully defended tower locking down the resources a small tower is placed so that the ISK optimization can be maximized. The large groups that then hold these towers may use them to fund themselves or give them out as individual assets. Such is the nature of the players use of their abilities. I do not think that was CCP's far reaching plan. If anyone talked to a handful of Eve players are any given time they would be amazed that they could fleet up much less form ten thousand player interactive, stable groups.

If the deployable siphon siphons off moon materials from the POS the POS would have to be armed to attack the siphon. Also, a smaller group could detooth a POS and plant a siphon. This would force the POS owner to defend and repair their modules (or deploy more). It allows a smaller entity the ability to take advantage of living in the space that they inhabit.

You can become a pain in the butt. The larger group will have to expend resources to hold their moons. Having dozens (hundreds?) of moons being attacked by little siphons and small groups will become a task that has to be done unless they just don't mind sharing with the locals. They will lose profit or they will have to expend resources. Both are reasonable solutions.

I am a big believer in investing in your space. Low sec isn't safe. Even a group who has a solid hold on an area is going to have to defend itself from others who live in the area or the random people that come through or decide to move in.

One of my cries to CCP has been that we live in space but we do not have access to the resources that are there. we do not wish to be large groups. Have they heard some of these things? It would seem so.

Edit: Right now word is that POS guns will not automatically shoot siphons. It will be nice if this does not change. However, nothing is set is stone until patch day!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Obligatory Expansion Announcement Comment

The combs will come out. The threads will start. Eve's player base will begin a microscopic examination of the Winter Expansion starting now for the release. It is called Rubicon and I will be honest; my first thought was Rubix cube.

It seems that the entire 'breaking away from empire' theme is still full force and motivating the expansion. Some stuff was said. It is coming in two months. Some new toys are coming into place that may allow smaller groups to defend a bit better against larger ones or attack larger ones. Who knows, that will be pondered later.

Me? My mind turned off when I learned that interceptors will no longer be affected by Warp Interdiction Spheres aka Bubbles.

Bubbles are a personal hatred of mine. It is the way you land in them, snapped out of warp and dragged from the gate. I don't mind on grid bubbles as much as I mind catch bubbles.

I even understand gate bubbles to an extent. The protection of ones home space but when people bubble gates they are bubbling them to a rage of 100k from the gate. I want to call it ridiculous but I also have to step back and ask, what is ridiculous? Where is my place in judging the use of such things? I'm not sure and it is one reason I rarely stick my nose into things where I believe I am having more of an emotional reaction then a technical one.

I was reading a blog the other day where the writer was lamenting the loss of their bubbles. They set up bubble traps and often found themselves out shipped. The ship would destroy their bubble much to the sadness of the bubble camp owner.

As much as I'd love to rage and insult the bubble camper, can I? Where is my right to go to them and insult their valid gameplay choice? I can dislike it and choose not to indulge in it but can I call it wrong and call them names for not being me with my tastes, ideas, and goals? It is why I bite back my rage against bubbles and how gamebreaking I find them to be for myself.

But now, another ship that can ignore them. It makes me think that a fundamental problem of null sec, which is travel by neutrals, may be being addressed. I know that they wish to defend their space but one expects space to be defended with actual fleets. The thought of an interceptor fleet sweeping in and ripping across space is amazing. Unless CCP gives them the HP of assault frigates they will still be highly susceptible to gate guns making them a null sec strategy.

I know that I am supposed to rage over things. But, I'm happy. I'm happy as I was happy for crime watch and tags4sec. While the interceptor change may not be a Low Sec thing it will allow a shift of gameplay that affects my flying style. I did hear whisper of deployable cyno jammers with a 100k range? Now that would make for some interesting times..

Hopefully, CCP will actually give us exclusive content for Eve Vegas this year. That may be just me being greedy.

They are faster too, interceptors. I like that as well. But the bubble immunity. Mmm.

Origin of a Spaceship: Gold Magnate, History of the

Excerpt from: Origin of a Spaceship
History Of, The

Gold Magnate

  • Status: Extinct

History and classification of various sub-species of spaceship remain fragments in the records of Empire University Shipolgy files. Scattered notations made by researchers and filed away, unpublished in popular formula.

References of the Gold Magnate are found in poems. It appears this particular ship was bred in the stables of the Amarr Imperial House. It is hard to separate the appearance of this particular Magnate from the rest of that cultured stock due to the simplification of the name, 'Gold' or 'Golden'. Yet, history tells that this particular ship, gifted with a ridge of quill lick structures and a thick, golden head-crest, caught the fancy of the empire and was offered as a gift, straight from the imperial hand during a gladiator tournament of some kind.

It appears that the Gold Magnate was aggressive. Unlike its docile brethren who are common companions for explorers and young adventurers, the Gold Magnate was an aggressive fighter and ruled the stables with a terrible dominance. Was the placement of this spaceship one of benefit or not? It is unknown. It is just known that hte Magnate passed into the hands of the winner and from there left the stables.

After that, few references are heard except for a notification written to the stable keeper that the Gold Magnate had died in battle out in the edges of space. It passed out of known history into legend.

Current Times:

Legends grow over time. The stories once traded at the campsite become a point of fixation and obsession. Heros grow out of legends as do saints and monsters. The origin of the Gold Magnate is well known. Its birth in the Imperial Stables a point non contest. The bloodlines are without question. The imperial records are immaculate. It was of no surprise that breeding programs have been attempted. They have all failed.

Until now.

A formal announcement was made that two Gold Magnates had been born. Not even of the imperial stable but a private breeding facility had been pulling DNA from blueprints for a decade. Their announcement was that they had recreated what was thought the be lost. And their announcement brought with it not a wave of joy at the resurrection of a legend but a cry of shattered dreams and an assault upon their news conference. Amid the accusations of witchcraft and trickery much is unknown as to the future of these two, innocent Magnate.

The Imperial Throne has filed a formal complaint with CONCORD over the reclamation and resurrection of their private, genetic line. It is believed that the genetic scraps were pieced together from individuals sold from the imperial Stables and perhaps legends that the shattered wreck was salvaged were true. If so, the birth of these new Gold Magnates may be a sign that reverse blueprint engineering and reclamation salvaging will bring forth more extinct spaceships to current times.


The Imperial Throne won its contestment over the Gold Magnate pair and they were were returned to the Imperial Stables.

Source Material:

TCS: The Bumps in the Road

"I am logging in market alts in anger." They had just informed me that the Drone Damage Amps on the Bosena market were on sale for 10 million ISK.

Rage logins and using ships in anger are common terms tossed around. Allo went triage the other day for our battleship fleet and after he was done he said, "This is the first time I have triaged in anger." It is a very fun term. No one is truly angry. I toss that fact in because some people will miss it if not clearly said. It is more about a call to battle and at that moment as I started logging in market alts I was very mad.

I then found out that it was my own fault. One to many 0's when listing. Whoops. I fixed it. That is not the first time I have done that nor the most damaging. I still laughed at myself and adjusted the price. It is ISK lost. It is part of the game. It is no different than burning out your guns. Sometimes you make mistakes. Often they are stupid and completely preventable.

That at least is what I tell myself every time I am missing something on the market. I can't do everything. I can't be everything. Maybe with more tools or coding know how I could create vast, intricate, and amazing things. As it is I am one person with a general goal. To stop both insanity and burn out I have to admit I will make mistakes. Such as dumping my stack of T2 800mm Arties to someones cheap buy order because I pressed the button before I had not actually entered the price in the price window. Whoops. I never over price something that has a stack of 5. It is always things that have a stack of 50 thousand.

Running a market like Bosena is a different story to station trading. When margins become tight or stock stops moving I can't just dump it and move to something more profitable. The profit of the market depends on the completeness of the market. Slow moving but useful stock isn't dead weight. A low sec market is a market supported by PvP focused people. They need their ships to be fit. I have a stack of Heavy Missile Launchers that I have been sitting on for about five months now. When I commented someone goes, "Well they are not in favor right now but its nice to have them if someone wants them."

I do however put my foot down at flavor of the month fits. I give new items a few days to hit the trade stations and come down in price. I also buy very small stacks of these items. People will want them now but their price will plunge, dramatically during the first week or two of their release as more and more people acquire them and place them on the market. It is easy to wind up with overpriced stock. It will happen. It is not that I can completely avoid it. I will not be able to if I wish to provide my consumers what they want when they want it. It is that TCS will mitigate potential loss by buying 3 or 5 of a module instead of 20 or fifty.

How I wish to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth in frustration. Yes, they do want them and it is nice to have them hanging around. The management of them hanging around falls onto me. I have to give up the market order and sit upon the sunk ISK gaining no profit. Is this item worth it? I do not know. Should I shed or keep this item? Some items are not worth the market order that they consume. What do I do with it? Am I losing ISK? Do I care? What is the best? When have I cared about that?!

Most of the time I just I keep it. When I get caught up in one item I look at the cost of that item and calculate it against the weight of the store. I do not buy in huge bulk because of the above listed problems. It allows me room for errors. A 10 million ISK error in excessive, stagnant product is better then a 100 million ISK error. I can sit on 10 million ISK. I would have tears over 100 million and whine. It is frustrating but it is a part of the game. The boys will notice stuff delisted and ask me if I have any. I'll list it and they'll scoop the market clear because it was needed for a particular fit. The example is personal but it also reflects the inconsistency of need. If one is running the market for non-social connections the same situation will apply it will just not have direct communication. There are hundreds and hundreds of items for a full reaching range of PvP and PvE needs. Some are not going to be called on every moment of the day.

The last bit is expired orders. I am terrible about this. I am so busy relisting items and keeping things stocked that I miss the stuff expiring. This is just something I need to stop being bad about. The market order window can be adjusted by time. Adjust it and update the order costs by whatever amount you want to update them. It costs 100 ISK to change the order price. This is how you don't lose your listing fees like I keep doing.

I'm not perfect! The main thing I've walked away with is just slowing down. When I rush I make mistakes such as over pricing things. When I rush I make mistakes such as buying over priced items before I realize that they are over priced due to pricing familiarity. When I rush I make mistakes like not fueling the jump freighter. The world isn't going to shatter if I stop and take a breath. Breathing every day is good.

Although many will not admit to their mistakes no one on the market is perfect. The market bloggers that I have read will all admit that they screw up. In game, the people one meets on the market may not have such a neat attitude towards things. Take it with a block of salt when people speak of their own perfection or ridicule a mistake.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What an Interesting Little Thing

I have multiple accounts. Some are lapsed for various reasons. Some are holding characters that I may recover in the future. I link all of my accounts to the same e-mail. I do this for many reasons. One is because I have zero plans on doing anything wrong where I need to hide who I am from CCP. The main reason is convenience.

When logging in today to resub one of my lapsed accounts (it lapsed about an hour ago) I noticed something I had never paid attention to before. Or, it may be that I had not seen it before. CCP has been adding to the web interface.

This particular area under Edit Account Information on the main account page also said "other accounts sharing: email address".

I clicked it and saw all of the account names linked to that. A very useful feature for losing account names and keeping track of things. What a nice little feature.

However, what caught my attention was a point of curiosity. Is this one of the steps forward to CCP figuring out who is playing? If I remember correctly, it was noted at some point in the recent past that CCP does not know who is who when it comes to accounts and that type of tracking was not in place. Doing something like linking my e-mail is super obvious. Having it in a nice, clickable link is a fantastic little bit of utility for me. It also means that it is a fantastic little bit of utility for CCP.

Sugar does something wicked against the EULA and its easy to go 'snip' and chain link everyone else that is also Sugar.

I don't think this is bad. While those who are doing things like botting at a higher level are not going to link all of their email addresses (one would think) more casual people will do rather glaring things like that without thinking. I do wonder if it is a side effect of CCPs ongoing project to connect various dots together, better.

Doing it Wrong More Better

This is about Jaguars. 
That means this is a serious post.
An important, serious post.
Because, Jaguars.

I got a present today.

This came after I came home from a very long, very miserable day at work complete with a headache Advil was not making much of a dent on to this eve-mail:

Blog Appreciation
From: Aziza Minz
Sent: 2013.09.24 22:32
To: Sugar Kyle,  
I've never commented on your blog, but I've been reading it for quite awhile now and I must say that I really respect both your POV and your writing skills.
As a reward for enhancing the value of my game, I've contracted you a Jaguar hull in Molden Heath to show my appreciation in a concrete fashion.
Keep up the good work and fly better than your enemies.
Aziza Minz
I could be all coy and blush. "Who me! Aww gee!" Instead I squealed and wrote him a babbling note of thanks for reading and for the Jaguar. It is very cool to meet people who read what I write. The feedback is valuable and it is pleasant in a warm, ego fluffing way as well. I'd love to be all quaint and humble but it thrills me. I do admit that I'd write even if no one read it but the reading encourages the writing as well. But not only to have someone give me kudos but to get a Jaguar as well?

Oh yes, happiness.

And as much as this is about me it is really about the Jaguar, or more chance, my love of Jaguars which some people have noticed appears to be a favorite ship of mine.

Vov and I have been chatting of late. Vov gets into these intense discussions about why he likes particular ships. He uses a lot of words such a force projection, nano, engageability, various DPS calculations, speed, ability vs tackle, and such things. On the other side I use words such as, feels right, kinda slow, lots of fun, to define my ships. Vov will often sigh and pet me on the head. Why he tolerates me I don't know. I grew on him I guess and now he is fond of me despite my lack of technical focus.

It is not that I am not technical to a certain degree. I have my spreadsheets (nothing fancy) and my calculations. I understand fall off, projection, rages, damage, tracking and all the important words when it comes to the mechanics of spaceships. The difference is that I do not fly my ships based off of their statistics. I fly my ships based off of my personal pleasure.

That is why I like the Jaguar. I am told the Jaguar sucks. I'm told this a lot. I'm told it enough that I get a bit pissed. I'm told that it used to be better. I'm told that it was nerfed. I'm told that it is not worth flying. I am told so many things that it takes a lot of my self control to still my tongue and stifle my anger. My world view of Eve and the view of those telling me that the Jaguar is a shit boat are very, very different. Somewhat incompatible in many, many ways. And I will not sit here and attempt to disprove everything that they say technically about the Jaguar because they are correct about the technical parts.

They are not correct about the shit part.

It is a matter of desire. What does a person want from their spaceship? For many people it is everything. The desire for everything is a greater factor in various ships being considered shit then those ships actually being shit.

While not a complete list of every kill I have ever had the above list shows what I fly the most. That happens to be a Jaguar which has now surpassed the Hurricane. And there is a reason that I fly the Jaguar and there was a reason that I flew the Hurricane.

I like them.

That's it. I like the ships. I like how the ships feel. I like how they respond to my commands. I am productive and successful in them. I am happy in them. When I undock I am in my grove in these ships that I fly obsessively. That grove creates pleasure at what I am doing which enhances my gameplay which keeps me in space which continues on and on and on and on. I cannot discover that just on stats alone.

For others the stats matter. Gathering and crafting what should be perfect and amazing is where they draw their pleasure in the game. I know that my Jaguar is considered suboptimal by some but the results that I bring to the table with my Jaguar help to balance out the technical suboptimality. If a doctrine is not called for or a certain type or need of ship not called for no one tells me, "Sugar, please go put your piece of shit back in the hangar and fly something useful." The people that I fly with would do so if I came out and failed to do anything productive in my Jaguars.

But, I don't. I come and I lay down the tackle. I normally live through it. The fact that the FC will leave me as the sole tackle ship on a roam with nothing else to tackle tells me that whatever I a doing I am doing right. I could do it better and I try to improve myself but in my chosen ship doing my chosen task I bring productivity to the table.

It has taken me a while to figure out what I like in a ship. The answers are speed and agility. For some it is tank. For others it is DPS. Some people love their favorite flavor of e-war. For me, it is the maneuverability of my ship. It is why the Hurricane nerf hit me so badly. My Sleipnir was nerfed as well. I did notice the mass increase, but the Sleipnir has other aspects to it that help compensate for it.

Why not Fleet Canes? It is their cost and their use int he fleets that we run. It is not that I find them to expensive. I fly Cynabals quite happily. It is the place where I would use them they would stand out in price (and thus be primary due to the ISK efficiency aspect of fights) or not fit into the fleet. It is a very, frustrating thing because I do love the Fleet Cane and find myself with no use for my beloved stack of them.

But not having a role in my current game style is fine. I think everyone who enjoys flying ships as a major aspect of Eve has a go to ship that they fly. It may be greedy of me to want more than one. For now it is the Jaguar. Unless CCP gives it the classic weight gain that they have been giving Minmatar ships I hope to keep it so. I do fear for my Jaguar. It is a little bit of a neglected stepchild by many but it fits me so very well.

For now I'll enjoy myself. I don't care for DPS I've found. My strenght is in my support abilities. The Jaguar functions brilliantly as a support ship. Balance in my opinion isn't just about each ship doing each thing but its a larger, more global image. I'll have to write something about that later.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stations are too Small

It is often noticed when battleships undock that the size of the station and the size of the spaceships do not quite meet. The stations themselves are very large structures. You can see their shape from well off grid while the player ships will vanish. Yet, when that one to one ratio is made the size difference gets ridiculous.

This could not be more apparent then when NC. used our home station as a mid point for whatever it is that large null sec alliances do. As local spiked to 200 and TiDi slammed in at 11% I did what any rational person would do and undocked to see what there was to be seen.

Around this point I realized that dying was a possibility. But that didn't stop me from hitting my insta undock and waiting for myself to slowly enter warp and slowly exit as ships continued to pour into the system and out of the station.

For those unfamiliar with jumping capital ships, the jump takes a large amount of capacitor. Docking instantly refills. This speeds up the travel time by a tremendous rate. The capital docks and undocks and can immediately jump again instead of waiting for capacitor to regenerate enough capacitor to jump again or starting up capacitor exchange chains to top everyone up.

Once I very, very slowly slid out of warp I turned around to head back to the station to rubberneck at the fleet. I love huge, coordinated moves like this one. Hundreds of people coordinated together to move a lot of stuff from one place to another. Over the course of an hour they moved six hundred or so ships. The groups were of jump freighters, carriers, and dreads. Each ship has a different jump range and the individual fleets made a lot of sense. While a normal task for a null sec organization the existence of it is one of the reasons I find Eve to be such an amazing game.

As I turned, I could still see the station although I was far enough off grid that I could no longer see the ships.

This is not a complaint about grid size. It is about the station size. As I slid back into space a safe difference away and arced above the fleet as they undocked it looked like this.

It is not that ships are undocking and overlapping. There is but a limit to space and art. It is how the hell do all of those carriers fit inside of the station.

I'm more than happy to accept a bit of reality twisting. Yet, I wonder, should stations simply become bigger? I do not think that they have yet had the V3 treatment. When they redesigned stargates they came out a bit larger and that is what brings the other half of my question forward.

If stations were larger how would that effect PvP around them? I am not a fan of station games at all. I am often puzzled at groups that undock and sit on top of their station waiting for people to come see what is going on. I understand the tactic that is station games even if I do not understand the appeal of it on a personal level. Bigger stations would make the problem worse in a way. The undocks don't have to change of course but the time it make it from one point to another would increase.

Should the undock ports be increase to the size that a carrier can almost feasible squeeze out? Beyond the odd, mutant look, the size of the ship vs the side of the thing that spits out the ship violates laws of physics. Maybe Eve has its own physics.

Of course there are "better things" that CCP can do with its time. That always pops up. However, I'm sure the Art time is working on stations already. The new skins will perhaps come with the winter. They have transformer Marauders to create and test at the moment. It is an idle idea. One tossed out into the wind. It is not a game changing idea. But sometimes, small things can be amazing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Intangible Stepping Stones

I wonder how people can play a game like Eve and cling so tightly to a one dimensional picture. I understand lack of interest more than outright rejection. It may be a reflection of the constant goal of defining the game that consumes some players.  But it is hard to define what is important to each person. Milestones can be big or small and sometimes to personal to share even while deeply celebrated.

As I write this post, I'm sitting upon a personal milestone. It is one of great importance to me. I worked hard for it. I feel that I earned it. And for some it is nothing and for others it is incomprehensible. But, if I let myself and what I enjoyed be defined by others, I'd sit in endless frustration. I learned that lesson the hard it.

The Fluffy Stuff:

It seems that it takes many words for me to say that I purchased my jump freighter. Yet, when I looked at my account and realized that I had reached the goal point I wanted to reach when I hit buy and I stared at the prices and made my decision to buy.. I was overwhelmed by a deep thrill of accomplishment.  The goal was not just to buy the jump freighter. I have had the ISK to do that for a long time. The goal was to buy the jump freighter without dropping below my personal liquid ISK minimum level which happens to be five billion ISK.

Why five billion liquid? I could use that to do other things! Or make ISK?

Well... I may run a market but I have never claimed to be a high roller who makes ISK turn into ISK. My ISK accumulation takes some focused effort on my part. I like to have a pool of liquid to engage in projects. Things like my RawrCat Doctrine are products of my current liquid wealth. The same when I went into the booster business and the same when I created TCS. The pool of ISK is a font of future bursts of productivity as well as general maintenance for myself.

I also like having ISK. I like it. I like seeing the numbers in my wallet. It makes me happy.

Milestone stuff is important. It gives substance to the intangible sandbox. For some it may be kills and rankings but for me it tends to be those little personal accomplishments that I stared at as a newbie. I remember seeing my first jump freighters leaping into the distance. I remember when I learned how expensive they were. I stared at the price of the necessary skill books and I swallowed the horror at the length of time as I plugged in the skills.

A lot of people get jump freighters and find they will never need them. I'm someone who can use a jump freighter every day. I have been using them multiple times a week since April and for that I have a lot of people to say thank you to. That is the funny part of personal goals. They sometime can't be achieved without other people. Vov for making my project his project. Corwin, Wex, and Uber for letting me borrow Jump Freighters with a scary casualness if one is fixated on trust issues and ISK costs. Its the encouragement the boys gave by buying from the store and trusting that I wasn't screwing them over.

It may make me a scrub or whatever other derogatory term some use that I have had assistance and support in the tasks that I have taken on. But, there is something similarly fantastic in being able to say that I accomplished these things with help. Because that help is what keeps me here. It fuels my game play. It fuels the blog. And on the dawn of an accomplishment I find myself wrapped in a soft, pensive pleasure that people helped me to get to where I am as much as I helped myself.

So often do we say, "play Eve with people," but really it should be tempered with, "play it with a good group of people." Good is subjective to the individual. It is whatever motivates you and that you enjoy or maybe even hate if that is where the motivation comes from.

The technical stuff:

I chose a Rhea. Freighters are basically the same. They are slow. They carry a lot of stuff. They are expensive. Past that the stats roll around to a few areas such as tank and agility. At the end of the day you are going to be ganked. However, some ships are more gankable then others. The Charon carries the most and for that it is made of paper and slow like a boulder sitting still. I decided that I will move to a Providence for the increase in tank and agility. I never fill my Charon to capacity except the occasional mineral build and when that happens I still need two trips.

Jump Freighters are more better expensive versions of their freighter kin. The Rhea is big and that is why I chose it over the Ark. At the end of the day if I am caught in low sec I am going to be screwed. In high sec I do not fly my Jump Freighter around giggling and licking my fingers. That is what my freighter is for. Being a member of a culture with ganking creates a perspective on destroying stuff just because it is shiny and some people gank Jump Freighters just because they are there.

And the future:

Last night turned into an unexpectedly productive weekend with my finishing Large Lasers and buying my Jump Freighter. I suspect Sugar is going to spend a few months topping off a few skills and finishing off some random prerequisite to do some of the projects 7-2 cooks up for itself. I have a market project that I need to sit down and develop fully and Eve Vegas coming up in less then a month.

My Eve future looks rather full and interesting with low chances of bitter on the horizon.

Unless they do bad things to the Jaguar with the winter Expansion...

A Semi Epic Poem

a Semi Epic Poem

A Whoops that Didn't Matter

I learned that triage markes sparkly colors wash across the Thanatos. It was a very pretty effect that I watched as I drifted off into space, unable to do anything for the five minutes that my triage would be active. We were having a class on logistics which included playing with our triage. We were also on the test server so what would be a panic attack on the main server was giggle worthy on the test server.

Last night, Aliak asked Van to run a class on logistics. 7-2 has closed recruiting for the moment to allow all of the new members to learn to mesh with each other. Even experienced pilots still have to learn each other. Language, lingo, behaviors, habits, fits, and such things are all different from group to group. We had a complex argument about fleet doctrine names the other day where people pointed out that hellcat was a known common term and other people pointed out that not everyone interacted in the same circles to know some fleet doctrine names as anything but silliness.

7-2 has several people that often fly logistics. They are all experienced players who enjoy that role. People will talk about the fun and importance of pewpew and being in someones face forcing the explosion. I understand it but I'm a firm believer that there is as much skill and interest in handling the other aspects of the fleet. Being able to do all roles is important and gives the corporation greater flexibility depending on who is available.

We pinned down Vanderie and he promised to run one. It developed into Wex recording and writing up a transcript as well. And people got excited.

Training is important. Eve tends to punish people for just running in screaming and shooting off lasers. I've shied away from focused PvP training on the test server because I worry about people and their competitive natures kicking in. When people discuss 'owning' and 'dunking' someone when its a training situation it just makes me uncomfortable. I'm not competitive and I tend to shut down when people enter that competitive mode and try to escape the situation.

I've spent some time flying around dying on the test server. I don't think I've ever killed anyone but I've learned a lot about the damage my ship can take. There appears to be a breed of player that lives on the test server and bases their self worth upon their PvP there. I've seen falcons used to save people from fights and every link and shiny module available. The fights are very often completely imbalanced compared to what you would meet in similar circumstances. But again, I've learned a lot about what my ship can take and that is also valuable.

 Something like the logistics training is more co-op. We built ships and undocked and talked and flew around doing basic maneuvers and getting to touch and feel the various modules. We played with being neutered out and got to focus on strengths and weaknesses in the logistics chain. We played with T1 shield and armor logistics as Van walked us through the various tasks a logistics ship might be called upon.

While most of us have done logistics and do logistics there is a difference between "yeah I do this" and sitting down to absorb it as a group with the focus on how we will do it, together in our fleets, in the future. Participation was voluntary and turnout was very good. That shows the interest of the future logistics pilots and that interest means a stronger logistics team who is there because they want to be there vs being there because they were forced into it.

The fun part of the test server was knowing that you know nothing and making all of the mistakes comfortably. Such as when Van was commenting about some aspects of the Triage module and why T2 triage is superior to T1 triage. That is when I hit the triage module while going to show info on it and wound up drifting off the undock. Instead of being an oh no, holy shit moment it was giggle worthy.

The test server is a very amazing tool. Some groups use it with a ruthless regularity and others have never thought to add it to their toolbox. Class day was an absolutely amazing and productive two hours of our day. I'm very glad I was able to attend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Fights Where Time Stands Still

I get the shakes still when I fight. Normally now, it is anticipation. We are about to do something and the adrenaline hits right as things are about to kick off. This rush is different from the rush of shocked reaction that happens when you first start to PvP or even when you are well versed in it but wind up in a surprising interaction.

I read reading Always a Noob which is a new blogger to our blog community. He comments in his entry for Blog Banter #49 about being a noob and not knowing anything. It made me remember the confusion of things and the first time that I was killed by a player. 

"It happened so fast!" I still remember the other player orbiting me at dizzying speeds and destroying my Catalyst. Just poof I was dead and poof my pod was gone! Seconds! How? My god! I couldn't react! Yet now, I wonder how people don't get their pods away from a Talos. When I have those musings I have to remind myself that there was a time when everything was so fast and so startling that the influx of information overload caused time to spin out of control. (the pod linked above should have gotten out, by the way)

At some point time and experience starts to step it. It is not that the fight is not exciting. It is that the adrenaline rush becomes more than a reflex, knee jerk action. Instead of everything going faster than an eyeblink and you shaking in a station while trying to hit "accept" for a new clone the fight slows down. Natural mental TiDi kicks in as our "fight or flight" reactions kicks in at full speed.
Function of physiological changes
The physiological changes that occur during the fight or flight response are activated in order to give the body increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running. Some of the specific physiological changes and their functions include:
  • Increased blood flow to the muscles activated by diverting blood flow from other parts of the body.
  • Increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugars, and fats in order to supply the body with extra energy.
  • The blood clotting function of the body speeds up in order to prevent excessive blood loss in the event of an injury sustained during the response.
  • Increased muscle tension in order to provide the body with extra speed and strength.
  • The pupils dilate to help see with increased clarity.
  • Increased perspiration to prevent over-heating due to the increased metabolic rate.
This is what some people hate about PvP. Others love it. And it happens. The shakes. Sweaty palms. My hands are normally bone dry. Except when I PvP. Then they are not. But that is my last worry.

There I stand, all drugged out on nature and Eve as glorious battle explodes across the screen. Everything narrows, for tunnel vision is a very common side effect, and the fight stretches out on and on and on. Actions. Reactions. Counter maneuvers. The rat-tat-tat of the FC. The things that we will later tease each other out as stress enters peoples voices. The rush and sudden drop as the fight ends. An hour? How long was it?

Six minutes.

Oh.  Well then. It felt longer. Maybe an hour? Well no it wasn't an hour... half an hour? No... six minutes? Really?

It is like coming up for air. The world slips back into action. The background snaps into focus. And alive or dead (hopefully alive and holding the field) nerves are strung out and silence swells into sound as everyone resurfaces and the after action chatter starts.

I'm often puzzled by people who say that Eve's PvP is not engaging, boring, and involves no ability. I have to remember at that times that PvP is a blanket term. It is Player vs Player and that covers everything from baiting new players to the Titans dropping doomsdays and all the ganking in between. I have to remember that not everyone will experience taking odds and making gambles. Even as I write this I listened to the FC of a fleet go, "We have to go!" as the fleet bounced playing kiting and range games against a much larger fleet. They are not running to dock up. They are repositioning themselves and slowly working the other fleet into a bad position as they pick each other off.

But all of that is later. Not the first fight. Not the second or third. It eventually happens if one engages in PvP. It does not make things less exciting. It makes them more understandable. I've gone from being a participant that is trying not to fall overboard to holding an ore and trying to manage the boat. Trying...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Eve Dreams

I had an Eve dream which I posted on twitter.It was halarious enough, and I remembered it well enough, that I'd post it for people to snicker at me.

I woke up around 0700 and I laughed because it was Saturday. Wake up or go to sleep? I woke up so early because I am normally up at 0500 for work. I decided, sleep! Back I drifted off after pulling my cat off of my face where she was trying to greet me.

Normal morning picture with this kitty. She has recently gone blind but that hasn't stopped her from not realizing this and still find my face to be in every morning. But, anyway, its Saturday, mmmm sleep... and back I drifted to start playing Eve.

I was in my Jaguar flying towards a stargate when I saw an Orca coak in front of me. I realized that it couldn't warp when cloaked so I burned right for it and bumped into it. It decloaked and I started to point it but it warped away. I warped after it and suddenly we are in a field on a planet, but obviously this is normal.

So there is the Orca and I'm chasing it and it is evading me. It dodges me (this is a dream remember) and flies away really fast, skimming the grass. I chase it down and find it and start to point it as it warps away again! Where? It warped up to one of the bulletin boards that is floating in the sky (because we're on a planet in a field). I follow after it and bump it as I try to target it but none of my targeting is working. I'm trying to click in space (except my view is not a monitor playing Eve) to target it. I just can't target it and it manages to warp/fly off as I'm chasing it down hitting my targeting and nothing happening.

Then it flies into a mall and up some steps where it bashes into a wall and bounces off into an elevator which closes. I woke up incredibly frustrated. Grrr! Why didn't my lock work. What was wrong with my keyboard? Of course, I started to wonder why the Orca flew up a set of steps and twisted into an Elevator as well.

So. Yeah. Dreams.

A Special Cog

A woman like this you've never seen,
Come fly beside my sleek machine.
A touch from the tips of my turrets is bliss,
It's for you to decide, to take on a  girl in her ride.
-Sugar Kyle

It was like the toll of a thousand bells. A ringing gong that echoed through the atmosphere rippling the air as it passed. The vibrations sank down to the very bone until every nerve and cell echoed the call as confetti erupted into the sky.

Large Lasers V is complete. In one moment I have achieved a major goal that I had this year and doomed 7-2 to never fly another Laser fleet when I am online. The second may not be fully true. It feels true. I have a tendency to learn something and the flavor changes. Yet, it is still an accomplishment for me. This opens up the third large turret type and greatly expands my ship options that I can put on the field.

I, personally, wait until T2 weapons before I consider undocking in anything these days. Before I had my first set of T2 weapons I stayed in a cruiser. I did not undock a Hurricane until I could fully T2 fit it. That took six months of training to happen. The reasons I have these restrictions is because of Low Sec and living with PvP focused groups. If I was in null sec with a significantly larger group of people the force multiplier would accommodate the skill point gaps. Large weapons are a large train.

The small gangs that I run with are about taking on odds larger than yourself and taking on fights that you may not win. That is what the doctrines are for. Plus, knowing what everyone has on the field makes life easier for the FC to make calls. When you look at two ships one that you can fit well and one that you can sit in the one that you can fit well is probably going to make a difference in the fleet. I was also raised on fitting things properly fit for their task and flying them well by being properly skilled into them. Just being able to undock it does not mean that you can fly it and my boys impressed that on me early.

The other day, Altaen complimented me on getting the final blow in my Tempest. Flying battleships is a big change for me and a major bit of personal game growth. I still don't enjoy them and have a habit of buzzing around the field (slowly). Yet, that fleet was a call for battleships and triage to face the battlecruiser/battleship/cruiser gang that had come looking for us. That is the reason that I have learned to fly battleships. It is not that I have any desire to fly battleships.It is that I enjoy fleet operations and I have developed an appreaction for doctrins as much as I enjoy shaking the station and seeing what falls out.

I think when people hear doctrines they think of the draconian requirements many large groups come up with for various reasons. Eve Uni is famous for grounding certain types of ships as not to encourage the war decs they are spammed with. Null Sec groups have doctrines they want people to fly in so that their fleets are harmonious, properly fit, and they dangle ship reimbursement as the carrot to keep people in line. People fit doctrines for many reasons and it often seems counter intuitive to a person asking why they are doing what someone told them to do.

I point out that in games like Diablo and (WarCraft?) there are sets of equipment that you go after because they are the best. The high end gear is a goal for many people. The reason that gear is a goal is because it allows you do become the bad ass you entered the game to become. You are not really wearing a rotting, uncured wolf skin because its awesome and expresses your individuality. You wear it because you are level 2, poor, killed a wolf with a broken stick you found in a trash can, and its bleeding pelt does more armor protection then your rotting leaves of modesty according to a magical scroll some dude at a school gave you. So, you wear it and shiver in the mountains with leaves wrapped around your feet and splinters in your hand eating raw wolf meat dreaming of a rusty sword.

Doctrines are no different from people obsessing over gear sets to avoid the above scenario. Eve isn't about linear progress where you start in a Rifter and end in a Ragnarok doing level 4 missions with a badass level of sixty. Instead it is a game of hard counters and random possibility. Shield Myrmidons are amazing even with their bonus for repair modules. It does not make sense but it works perfectly for Eve. They are a way to focus a group into less random and more designed. There is a reason random fleet comps are called 'kitchen sink' fleets. And a kitchen sink fleet can be successful but that is rather more about the pilots.

Now, doctrines can be bad. The people making them can become so invested in their belief of their amazing fitting abilities that they bully their corporations into brilliant balls of failure. Calling something a doctrine does not make it good. Undocking fifty of said poorly fit ships does not make it amazing. But that is also about knowing who you fly with and the decisions that you make when you choose to fly.

But when you are at the point where a fleet doctrine is called for the situation isn't about you anymore. Eve is about working with people. It is about a common goal that you are a part of achieving. Sometimes that means swallowing one's desires and docking the Jaguar. That's part of my responsibility as a fleet member. It doesn't mean that I'm not an independent person. It does not mean that I am a mindless cog in the wheel. It just means that at this time, I am accepting the fact that my game intersects with other peoples games and while each snowflake is individual and unique when they melt, the water looks the same.

How to Waste a Billion ISK

Most of the fleet is still shaking our heads at the moment.

You see, Altaen was out in solo warrior mode in a Cynabal facing down a four man Battlecruiser fleet (myrm, myrm, cyclone, harbinger). Vand offered assistance and glorious Talos were undocked. I was in a Jaguar. Off, Van, Floyd, and Robinton went in Talos with me streaking ahead in a Jaguar. We spared with Altaen's feet and they decided they did not like us and ran off to the high sec pocket.

Molden Heath has a five system high sec pocket two jumps out of low sec. While we tried to guess which gate they would come out a tenish man cruiser fleet was seen a system away. They spiked local and we immediately lost interest in the hiding battlecruisers and chased down the cruiser fleet. We played gate jumps and they decided to engage us!

Explosions happened and they decided to bail before everyone died. That is a change for that group. They used to do last man standing. We chased them down but we were unsuccessful with catching the stragglers.  We then went back to loot the field when local spiked with a Navy Raven.

Wat? Like hounds our heads swiveled to the scent. We decided to bolt for the high sec gate with one person left to watch the low sec gate. There was a chance that they had come in from high sec but the chance was greater that they were making a run for continuous Empire from the low sec island. This is not an uncommon trip made to bring things in and out. We catch all sorts of interesting things like Orcas, Freighters, and shiny battleships. Our gamble paid off and we landed on the gate with the Raven Navy Issue. Yay!

Coms were tense. It is amazing how much information we relay at that point. If he had a micro jump drive we were going to be screwed. None of us had short points. If he was stabbed we'd not have enough points to overcome his stabs. However, we'd make a heroic attempt at it with bumps and tenacity because it was there.

That particular gate is a large, constellation gate where people can easily spawn 40k away from each other. Sadly for the shiny, shiny Raven he spawned 10k from the Cynabal and Jaguar. Point. Point. Bumps. Talos burn. Raven down. And followed by his pod.

We then learned that the seal club was out in force. No micro jump drive. No warp core stabilizers. Just a Raven trying to bolt to high sec, balls to the wall, throttle to the floor, hair down, heels off, and taking on the world with a Slave Beta in his head.

I'd not be writing this with all honesty if it were not for what happened next.
Bounty placed on you
Sent: 2013.09.21 04:06
Ammaterasu placed 200,000,000 ISK in bounty on your head.
He then proceeded to place the same bounty on each member of the fleet. With that type of ISK he could have finished off his slave set instead. However, he topped it off with:
Kill right on you made available
Sent: 2013.09.21 04:10
The kill right Ammaterasu has on you has been made available to all for 0 ISK.
As always, I have a head desk moment. Low Sec PvP corporation of outlaw sec status people. We are freely shootable in every sector of space. I had also cleared my bounty a few days ago. Thankfully, it is meaningless.

A killmail that wasted a billion ISK.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Achievement Unlocked?

What started off as a comment on Twitter gained momentum and eye rolling from my side as my disinterest in the topic flared to life. I often attempt to suppress my negativity into focused, productive points. Sometimes, I find myself snorting in disgust and rolling my eyes as my fingers take on a life of their own. This is one of those times and it is completely due to my personal disinterest in the subject.

This is one of those times I don't expect much in the way of agreement with my opinion.

Said subject is achievements. I found that a Wikipedia page about them.
Achievements are included within games to extend the title's longevity and provide players with the impetus to more than simply complete the game but find all of its secrets. They are effectively arbitrary challenges laid out by the developer to be met by the player. These achievements may coincide with the inherent goals of the game itself, such as completing a level, with secondary goals such as finding secret power-ups or levels, or may also be independent of the game's primary or secondary goals, such as playing a certain number of times, viewing a video, beating a certain number of online opponents or completing a level in a certain amount of time. Certain achievements may refer to other achievements - many games have one achievement that require the player to have gained every other achievement.
The topic is achievements and the fact that Eve does not have an achievement system. The certificate system might be construed in a sideways fashion to be one. From the above, it may be obvious that I have no interest in an achievement system. However, I will say it clearly. I think achievement systems are silly and they have no appeal to me. I will also point out that it is my opinion and that other people may find loads of appeal and draw to the feature.

When expressing an opinion about something like an achievement system I do not think that it is right fro me to act as if my opinion is the only one that matters. It isn’t. I like that Eve does not have an achievement system but I will also not lay on the ground thrashing and ranting that the acquisition of one has destroyed my game and I must leave Eve in disgust forever.

I cannot understand the appeal of achievements. I'm not motivated by someone throwing me a bone or rewarding me for doing what I would do. The last game that I cared about achievements in was SSX and that was because the achievements were based around completing the tricks which were the entire point of the game. At one point my husband uploaded my Xbox or Playstation awards to send to my account and the poor thing vomited all over the number of unclaimed achievements that I had. I didn't even know there was a special place for them because I did not care. I have never claimed a certificate with Sugar or any other character other than Chella. I do not think I have claimed a certificate with Chella after my first month of pressing all the buttons.

But that is me. Achievements are ways to direct players to content and exploration. Many games have nonstatic content these days. Quests where NPCs are running across the map or unmarked adventures that the player can get into by picking up a piece of toilet paper from somewhere. The achievements nudge and push players towards exploration. I'm the person that reached level 25 in Skyrim before I completed the quest that let me kill the first dragon. That is something like the second quest. I just ran off in a random direction and never came back.

I decided that I should try to be positive on the subject. Or if not positive, productive. Ranting is easy. Dismissal is easier. What I have noticed is that I appear to be in the minority about it. Whether it is from actual interest or simple something that people have become used to and therefore notice when it is gone, there is interest in achievements. The problem with achievements is that they are often ridiculous.

When I play games occasionally a random message pops up and tells me I am amazing for playing the game. I think this is silly. What I find more interesting and more along the lines of information acquisition and mapping would be statics. A page/panel/list of ship kills by type, jumps made, ammunition used, stations possessing access, corporations joined... whatever... statics. Somewhere that people can see and follow in a neat list. Many, many games have these and I'd often watch my husband scroll through to see how many people he had run over with a firetruck or whatever else the game was tracking. I find that a bit more appealing because people flip through the list and go, "Oh, I didn't know you could..." or "I haven't tried..." vs "You have killed 100 monsters. You are the great slayer!" when you are level 3. Yay! The great slayer just like every other person in the game.

Another idea, if there are going to be achievements or achievements are the true goal and focus of the support group is to tie it into the Lore. It would give players another reason to go out and seek things. One problem with Lore in Eve is that I've learned about a lot of it after I can no longer access it because of low sec. The other problem is that much of it is tied to standings. To many players walk away from the standings grind. It speaks of a fundamental problem in the structure of standings and PvE but that is another (much larger) topic.

I am sure others, who are enthusiastic about the topic and the idea would and will have eloquent words to explain how amazing it is to kill ten wolves and get a title. Or how much deeper the subject is. I know that for many people putting something out there for them to achieve makes them want to achieve it. I don't feel that I have achieved anything but dancing through those hoops. But, again, that is me and my perception of things. I don't possess the 'have to have them all' drive about things.

In the deepest pit of truth I don't care if the game does or does not have achievements. If some window flickers to tell me that I am now the skull scourge, I don't care. If it helped catch people or satisfy them about the game because that is some huge missing aspect of the game then so be it. What I worry about is how interconnected the achievements would be to the game. Would they be something that I was forced into or would they be an optional extra as so many things are. The moment an achievement gives something or improves an aspect of game play it becomes a mandatory task to do. And that I would resent.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Growth and Stagnation

For any who stare at the title of this post with greedy eyes and fingers already flexing to produce the responses that drip from the tip of excited tongues; let it be known that I speak of people in the game and not the game itself in the words beyond this sentence

I am a people watcher. I watch them in game and out. It makes it very hard for me to block people because I enjoy watching them. I like to listen to what people say and then watch what people do. The two often diverge in amazing ways. I puzzle over the reasons and wants of my fellow players. After all, they are all members of my world and the interconnectivity of Eve causes their push and pull to affect mine. It may be casually through a shared chat or globally through threadnoughts and systematic player lobbying to CCP.

There is a growth curve in any game when and where you learn the game. It may be fast or it may be slow. How you approach the game the first time you log it up and how you approach a game that you have put time and energy into changes. The understanding of the game matures. The experiences from the game changes the reactions to the game. The player grows and eventually goes to move towards completion of the game. It may be through completing the games path or by no longer playing due to loss of interest or time or whichever reason fits.

Eve lacks completion. That is a positive of its nature. It also leaves many people abandoned and adrift because they have no goal. Making your own goal is a very appealing add but not everyone that reaches out to enter into that aspect of the game finds themselves capable of it. One of the positives of corporations is that they help unfocused people focus. It may be frustrating to the content creators of a corporation but not everyone produces and people who consume are often needed. Many people, once a structure is created, thrive.

Some players, however, never settle. They reach a point where they plateau and never expand from there. It is a common point where social groups start to fragment. Friends made as new players start to grow distance from each other. Also, external culture clashes start to happen. Players who once would fly together have absorbed enough of their inner culture that it tints their exterior.

I am in no way exempt from my own words. I still spend some social time with players who have never left high security space except fort he occasional frantic dash into low sec or a sprint through a wormhole. The divergence of their play in Eve and my own is sometimes shocking. We play the same game but speak different game languages due to the cultures that we matured in.

All of that is expected. Eve is a big game with a lot of options. I would not label stagnation the act of staying in high security space. Many people will stay in high security space and become productive players with complex, interesting existences. While many will say that PvP is the reason to play Eve, I'd point out that I dislike people placing assumptions as to my enjoyment of activities.

There are many ways to stagnate in Eve. One can tire of missions, tire of inclusions, burn out on production lines, tire of Sov, tire of PvP, and in general any activity listed. One of the ways that most fascinates me is PvP pilots that have stagnated in their PvP. As I said, I watch people. One person in particular can never find a place to settle but refuses to leave high security space for PvP while craving the content that exists outside of high security space.

If I want to build super capitals spaceships I have to go build them in Sov Null. Part of creating content for myself or my group is creating the path to the goal. To follow that same train of thought, if I want complex PvP I have to go seek complex PvP and not complain that PvP is not what I want it to be at any given moment. There is the fact that people are people and PvP content comes from other people. They have a terrible habit of not doing what we want when we want it.

But, I am always drawn to complaints about low sec. I may be wrong in my confusion but I find it odd that someone who would bait new players, participate in high sec wardecs, and in general make sure that their PvP is in a control environment would complain that there is nothing in low sec when they have gone to low sec and time and time slammed head first into the content they claim to want. But that content comes with a price and being unwilling to pay that price causes another price to pay. That price is stagnation.

Sometimes you have to do something you dislike to do something that you like. It does not seem to make sense in the context of a recreational video game. But not everything we do for recreation is always fun. Sometimes, they are important building blocks where the appeal sits in the piece that they add to the goal then the actual piece itself. I cannot help you if you are not willing to help yourself. That mantra applies in this case and I find myself watching this person flutter against the bars of a cage of his own making as he ignores the key sitting on the floor in front of him.

I don't consider stagnation and taking a break the same thing. One can tire of any activity. Eve has an interesting habit of exhausting people as well. Sometimes a vacation is needed from the hobby due to its consumptive nature. The person taking a break is doing something about their situation. As much as I'd like to say that one cannot grow tired of Eve, some do and some will. That is the nature of the beast and the demon that CCP must fight. But, Stagnation? That is a person's personal choice not to change.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

jEveAssets - Eve-Online Asset Manager

I decided to try jEveAssets. It is an Eve Online asset manager that has been getting a lot of good word of mouth among those that I play with.

Over the course of my playing, assets have started to sprawl out of control. Most of these are tucked away in low sec stations. Ether they are loot drop offs or ships dropped off mid roam and never recovered. The loot is nothing special, just regular T1 and T2 things. Expensive loot goes to the link alt or dedicated cloaky hauler who will gather and sell it after the fleet. The little stuff just gets gathered and dumped into hangars.

I'm a container user in Eve. This is the average look of my hangars. Now, I have learned to use the filter to sort through items. I use it extensively for TCS. But for my everyday needs? Station containers all day, erryday.

The side effect of being a container user is that I cannot use the asset list productively. The in game asset list does not search containers for you. You can remotely search them and because I have all of mine neatly labeled (random contains things like skill books and blueprints) I can find what I need. My industry alts have containers labeled ore (if they mine) and minerals (if they build). My booster maker has booster/gas/pos related containers. Etc. My life is organized.

But I cannot use the in game asset search.

One of the things I discovered when I started to use Aura for Android was that it had a comprehensive list of my items. My mind, slow to catch on because I am not a coder of any level, realized that of course the items are just information dumps and Eve chooses to sort them as it chooses. Third parties can take this raw information and use it or open it up, such as Aura did.

That made jEveAssets an interesting option that I wanted to try. I could get a comprehensive list of what I owned. If I was fortunate it would also let me have a comprehensive list of what the Cougar Store owns. A lot of the applications that I use do not have high level corporation details and the developers have focused their time on individual accounts vs the corporate accounts. I'd also like to point out that I am not complaining. I cannot create these projects and I appreciate what they do create. I will not judge a product as bad or poor because it does not have features I want. If I want them I can get off my butt and learn to make them instead of complaining and negatively reviewing others for having different wants, needs, and desires.

Assets are an interesting part of player wealth. Wealth is often calculated as liquid ISK. Liquid ISK is the ISK that can be spent at this moment sitting in the player wallet. Then there are assets that we create to make ISK such as manufacturing and production lines or mining ore to reprocess or sell directly. Those are the same types of asset that we would see in most games where we collect our pelts from the wolves we kill and sell them at the local market.

But the other things in Eve our gear so to speak, hulls, modules and rigs, are also assets. Not only do PvP killboards keep a running tally of the amount of ISK each item is worth on the market but the items themselves have worth on the market. There is no soul binding. My stuff can be your stuff. I can eject from a ship in space or simply hand over everything that I own until there is nothing left but the implants plugged into my clones. It makes calculating assets an actual measurement of wealth.

Once I loaded everything up I built new API keys in for the program. I built one for each account and one for each of my two corporations. They do not have to be full API keys. Once built, I plugged it all in and asked it to look at everything.

The total, once I deleted some items from the count that belong to my Capital Ship building company, is about 70 billion in assets + ISK across the accounts. I am not sure if I am surprised or disappointed. I am still far from my goal of 100 billion ISK. The completel, easily searchable list is nice. It also seems to be drawing from my corporate assets which gives me a nice, broad snapshot.

I like this program and think I will spend some time playing with it. It does remind me that I am going to have to spend some time consolidating assets and rescuing spaceships from unused places about the game. That, however, is another adventure.

Saga Response - A Continuation

For those following the silly Saga there has been no in game response but there is another blog post response to read. If you are not into spoilers read it first before continuing. I know many have been amused.

I received no in game response and doubt that I will be making a direct blog post response to him. After reading what he wrote I realized that I did not do a good enough job expressing my lack of interest intermixed with my distaste for his approach. I should have added, "please go away" but I was to busy being clever and cute.

His reaction to send me a response crafted around my obvious desire for him and to treat me as a gold digger after his stuff left a sour taste about this entire thing. I'm sure many will find it well done and amusing. I know that it is all roleplay. I still find it incredibly disappointing that his reaction moved in that direction with a third party screen.

So, I've been put in my place over the entire thing. I find it rather sad that the response is to make sure I know that it is cute that I think so much of myself but a clear indicator that he is so amazing. Especially for someone that has been acting weird as hell and making statements that hover over my personal insult threshold and only stayed over it because of the joking nature. Only that joking nature is obviously going to stay where it is and my place inside of this particular saga as he writes it is not to be any type of strong, independent spirit. Nope, its 'quaint' in his own words. I'm terribly disappointed and a bit insulted. But, this was never about me. I was target for his creativity and passive or active I am but a piece of scenery in this story.

If I receive no in game response I will not move further. I had hoped for some type of fun, if silly exchange of creativity. I'm disappointed but I have no one but myself to blame for not crafting a better response.

Oh well. Not everything turns into a work of interconnected poetry.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Response - My Admirer Saga

Altaen kicked me squarely in the creativity with his comment. Mixed with responses of others to no longer be silent I have entered into battle with a cold heart and a chilly stare.

[Warning: Mild Roleplay below the cut]

Eve... uhh... Admirer

I have an Eve stalker admirer. Where this post goes, nobody knows. Before I move forward with the rest of the post please understand that everything is in good humor and I am not being harassed.

When I was first made aware of the situation I closed my eyes and hoped that it would go away. I decided not to write about it, even though it has been amusing, because it was silly.

Lhorenzho is a member of Mirua Bull's corp and appears to me to be a roleplayer. He likes to get fixations on female characters (players?). He has a blog and although he has been accused of being an alter ego of Miura Bull, Miura insists that he is not and he has been backed by members of R1FTA who have been in coms with both of them.

I don't read Lhorenzho's blog because I do not like his writing style. It is very energetic and descriptive. It is also to frantic and full of slang for me to relax and read. I know many people find it very amusing. But, I am not a regular visitor. Therefore, it had to be pointed out to me when he developed a fixation for me. His previous fixation was Ava Starfire who is a Minmatar roleplayer.  Ava did write about him at some point. I assumed that he was confused and picking the wrong person and would grow bored and find someone else to do his roleplay on.

He has left a comment or two on my blog although he has deleted some of them as well. I've ignored him for the simple reason that I do not like talking to roleplayers. I have no problem with role players. I just do not wish to engage in a conversation with someone that may be 100% synthetic towards their role play goal. I feel that I cannot trust my conversation to be a conversation or be a conversation with someones role play character. It is a quirk of mine. I spend way to much time trying to be honest with myself and while I do not think role players are dishonest the duel player of their personality does not mesh for me.

Therefore, I've ignored Lhorenzho. That is not my normal reaction to people. However, after reading his blog and the occasional interactions I decided that I was not interested in his fiction. It seems that behind the scenes that I can see the issue has been escalating a bit according to Miura and Vincent. I've not cared.

Until today. Well.. I still don't care.. but I decided that the level of weirdness had reached the point where it should be shared with those that wish to see it. The decision making process started when I noticed Chella had an Eve mail.  Chella for the most part gets corp mails and incursion mails. When I saw it was from Lhorenzho I raised an eyebrow. Then I read it. I picked my eyes up off the floor where they had rolled out of my head and fallen into a dusty corner.
need your help
From: Lhorenzho
Sent: 2013.09.16 22:30
To: Chella Ranier,  
Dearest Chella,
A person i considered an ally in my campaign to win the heart of sweet Sugar, one Noaru something or other has allowed my pleas for help to fall on very deaf ears. I now appeal to you, a person who has shown in the very limited contact we have had (you have at least acknowledged me in the past) to be more open to assisting a lovestruck hombre get a leg up in his quest to convince the beautiful Sugar Kyle to at least cast an occasional glance his way. A furtive smile or some fluttering eyelashes is all I ask at the moment.
Can you convince her to throw me a bone? I am perilously close to crossing that fine line between ardent romantic pursuit and pathetic needy clinginess. I am beginning to not like the man I am becoming. Even my so called wingman, Miura Bull is beginning to distance himself from me. Chella, I need your assistance!
I will forever be in your debt.
There is something creepy but amusing at his approaching my alt. I was debating a response when Naoru logged on and forwarded me an Eve mail.
From: Lhorenzho
Sent: 2013.09.16 14:36
To: Naoru Kozan,  
After i spoke to you earlier, I stopped in Istodard to pick up a couple of rigs and who should be docked up in station but one of my fave heartthrobs, the delectable Sugar. Of course, she continues to shut me out completely offering nary a wave or word of greeting. I feel like the world's bluntest ice pick trying to chip away at a supercold chunk of ice! Why can't she be more like Chella? I have become so despondent lately over her chilly reception that i have taken up with  Serenity135. Any port in a storm as they say. I still hold out hope that you will act an intercessory for me and begin to thaw SUGAR out to the point where she will look my way with other than pure disdain in her eyes. Take care Naoru.
From the looks of things he is getting tired of me. However, Eve mailing me escalated the situation. Treating my alt as an individual who is not me is him being a role player. I consider my alts aspects of myself. Semantics really. It was weird to be asked about myself to myself. Also amusing. Mostly, I am amused.

I assume that he will take this as as some type of recognition or acknowledgement. Game on.

Monday, September 16, 2013

TCS: Weekend Shoping

Questions are fun. I try to share what I do with people when they ask.This particular one came in at the the same time I was working through the store for the deployment. 
Weekend Price Hikes
From: Jyakai
Sent: 2013.09.07 14:50
To: Sugar Kyle,  
Miss Kyle, a quick question.
In regards to major trade hubs, do you see a price hike in modules and items due to the weekend rush, or is it just the recent patch that made some of the modules jump so erratically?
Weekends are interesting in Eve. They follow what I guess is the majority of the worlds habits of being off work on Saturday/Sunday. People flood to Jita to sell what they have been gathering during the week. The prices start to drop as people compete to get things sold quickly so that they can restock and start their cycles over again. The crash happens and everyone bails back to where they came from.

The market is a living thing. It is easy to look at it and consider it static such as the local market you shop at. On the level of the average player buying items that they need fluctuations of ISK here and there isn't noticeable. If my Experimental 1MN microwarpdrive cost 20k instead of 18k I don't notice. But, for someone buying huge volume that is a piece of their overhead and for someone trading that is a chunk of margin.

Market manipulation is a very real thing. One reason I do not enjoy shopping in Rens for common items is that the market is much more prone to manipulation by a few individuals due to its size. The manipulations are small enough not to hurt the regular consumer trying to refit a ship and head back to Derelik. For me, when my Experimental 1MN microwarpdrive are suddenly listed at 120k instead of 20k, I have a problem because that greatly affects my stores prices.

But, it is only 100k! Sure it is. That is why it is such an insidious thing. Those that manipulate the market are scoring 100k per item for a commonly used module. Those who buy it go, "it is only 100k". Those of us who are buying to resell will pass that increase in price. it is a cascade effect and it may not be a big deal but it is a very real situation and one that I might not have noticed if I had never started managing a low sec Market. On the flip side prices tend to go down nicely and it is a good time to stock up on items. Everyone is trading things in for ISK or for other things.

Items in Eve have a value (in game) to the players that are not based off of the items technical (as in defined by the games pricing mechanics) price. That value is player created for the most part. It comes from quantity and need. People do things like buy stacks of Meta guns and reprocess them for minerals because the size of the gun is smaller than the size of the minerals the gun turns into. This is called compressing and allows more to be moved at a time. Meta guns come from mission runners. Many mission runners do not salvage. Others reprocess lots of what they do. The meta market instead of being flooded by the most common activity in the game (killing NPCs) isn't because selling those items for a profit is not profitable enough for most players who create or acquire those items.

Because people have time the space lanes are even more dangerous. However because people have time the space lanes are even more populated. The loot pinatas undock in all of their oblivious majesty and their bloated, rich hulls make hauls like mine appear to be gaunt, starving skeletons. I scan the killboard to see what is being lost. Also, those pinata's affect the market. It is not just the case of the person moving to much stuff. What else is there are full T2 production lines. Months of moon goo and moon goo reactions. Time and the accumulation of items gained by time vanish and that means less sells at the market when the loot fairy is unkind.

My store will easily move a billion a day in product on the weekends compared to the 500-800 million it averages on the weekdays. I try to preload items and my hangars to help compensate for some of that. It does not always work. Quite often they outpace me or I just do a poor job of guessing what might be used.

Then Sunday everything slams to a halt. The market is loaded with items. Everyone is getting things moved and ready for the week. People have to go back to work on Monday. The games population starts to drop. And the market starts to rebound as its items are drained off for use or reuse and prices creep back up over the course of the week. Remember that people manipulating items on the market as their job are skilled. They may have dozens of orders for the same items creating price arcs and gaps and creating a more valid look to the value of what is selling. In this way they draw the other sellers in who are also attempting to get the most for their ISK.

It isn't a perfect equation. It is what I see as a buyer and a reseller. For those that play their wiles in the subtle forces of manipulation the world is going to have a different look and feel to it. The buyer must beware of these manipulations. Have a good idea of the price of stock. Don't buy blindly and if a price seems off stop and check it. It might be worth skipping and buying it a few days later or elsewhere. A lot of what we pay for at the hubs is convenience. There is as much a convenience fee in Jita as there is in null sec. It is different and may not be as costly but it is there and we pay for it.

This was also the response I sent to the above question.
Re: Weekend Price Hikes
From: Sugar Kyle
Sent: 2013.09.07 18:16
To: Jyakai,  
Hey there. This is a lovely question and I'll probably devote a post to it. Thank you.
The answer is that the weekends are often the best time to buy. Everyone is dumping their stuff. Over the week the prices creep back up and then drop again on the weekend.
Each patch brings in changes. A lot of the volatility comes from the market settling back down as people now use different products.
However, when you are working across a large patch of items such as a market is going to need you will come across more market manipulation. Keeping a general idea of what stuff is worth stops you from accidently buying over valued items (happens to me now and then) while people manipulate particular markets.
Station traders are a pain in your ass.
And they are!