Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Burning Bridges

Thousands of bridges connect the players of New Eden to each other. They span countless distances in every shape, form and size. They are made of the glossimer wishes of wasted dreams and love stronger than iron. They are forged with knowledge and without. They are made of convince and need. Some are crafted with the finest tools, each centimeter inscribed with intense detail.

At times these bridges are spun from the thinnest strands of shared thoughts. Others are strong enough to cause an entire corporation to risk themselves for someone. Some cannot stand against the slightest misstep and others only seem to grow stronger as they are put under more strain. If anything in Eve is real, it is these bridges. They are woven both consciously and unconsciously. Some are crafted from the sweetness of innocence, edged in last and iced with sweet frost.

Across these bridges flow communication. The interactions of players are the traffic that they support. A dropped cup may melt away supports that were only the wisps of dreams. Others may fall into disrepair from neglect and decay into ruin with the passage of time. Some may stand, made of stone and weathering the years alone. A testament of relationships that bind others together. And others collapse before they are built, handfuls of sawdust and shattered concrete around a broken foundation that never become.

The bridges start and end. They are built to be crossed. They are not invincible however. Nor immortal. Landslides and storms, time and age, all of these things may cause them to fall. Some burn constantly. Their very fabric smoldering energy waiting to erupt. It is the traffic and the care of its keepers that barely hold back the destruction. A misstep or moments neglect may cause a weakness that can cause the entire thing to burst into flames.

Trust. Communication. Support. Help. Knowledge. Wisdom. Pain. Focus. Energy. Aggression. Everything that defines the interaction of people with each other is the traffic that becomes these bridges burden. Some can stand under it and others will fall. Across them, alliances will grow and corporations will fall. Relationships will move and their supports hold under the strain or shatter with the weight of it. Others will only stand because of the strain.

And sometimes, someone will set it on fire. It may be a match, tossed into the center. A flame composed of destruction that burns with an obsessed energy. It may be purposeful or it may be from utter neglect and negligence. Nothing one does can stop the burn as each footstep ignites the bridge. Not for water or hope or dreams will the fires stop until they have been burned to ash and blown away in a breeze.

It happens. Interpersonal relationships require more than one person's efforts. If another decides to light a match and walk away even as everything burns around them, then so be it. Even as the winds whip the hot ash they erase what was. And sometimes, for that person that so carelessly destroys a bridge that they demanded to be built as part of their personal destruction that destruction is their own choice.

What relationships we keep in Eve, how close or far, important or not, is always an individual choice. If someone wants to set fire to their association with me, I will let them let it burn. Sometimes there isn't a coming back from that for ether side. Fire is a cleanser. It destroys so things can regrow. I guess some toxic relationships spontaneously combust.

And that's not always bad.
So, so what
I'm still a rock star,
I got my rock moves,
And I don't need you,
And guess what,
I'm having more fun,
And now that we’re done,
I'm gonna show you tonight,
I'm alright,
I'm just fine,
And you're a tool,

Ramblings: Overlapping Rings

[TL;DR: Arguments based off of only personal taste are too shallow for the concepts the game holds.]
Blood is in the water. The scent of it is in the air. Around it sprawls a swath of destruction. The shattered remnants lay in a broken, mutilated salute to the enormity of power and the force of man. It is not a beautiful thing, this destruction, but it is amazing. Far as the eye can see, a sea of it spins around. Broken forms. Tattered hopes. Shredded dreams. In these moments there is no winner or loser only the echoing memories that brought this into existence. This being the sweep of destruction that glitters under the searing burn of the sullen yellow sun as it slowly swirls in a thick, uncoordinated cloud in space...
It was the responses to the 6VDT fight during the Fountain War that caught my attention. At first, I was caught up in frustration. For something that I was not personally vested in or interested in participating, I found the massive fight fascinating. Very fascinating. I watched a cloud of orange boxes with interest. Slowly moving orange boxes. Even with the server lag and the snarled complaints when the computers finally reached their maximum processing ability, I found it fascinating.

And I also found myself irritated. Irritated with the negativity that the event also caused. People did not have to be fascinated as I was. Individual interests are what they are. However, disregarding the entire event made little to no sense to me. Amazing things happened not in so much the syrup slow moments of battle but in the build up, commitment, and ripple effect of the entire fights birth, life, and death.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Playing Eve with Sound

When I first started playing Eve, I could drown in the sound. The music fit the feel of space. Undocking in Gallente Space was full of mystery and wonder. It was also gorgeous and the sweeping swirled echoes of the music accentuated the nebula that formed a backdrop for the ships engines and the flickering flash of hybrid turrets. The music soared and swept, roared and whispered under the crackle of the turrets and the bright explosions of the ships.
I loved Eve with sound. But somewhere along the way I turned it off and never turned it back on. I’m rather sure it had to do with chatting. Listening to the commands and relaying the information meant that I turned out excessive sounds, such as the world sounds. And once they were off, I did not miss them. I’m a creature of quiet by nature. I do not tend to have music playing and the main noise in my home is the click of nails as the dogs settle down.
About a month ago I turned my sound back on for a fleet. I forget why I did but I did. Since then I have not turned it back off. Originally, I stopped listening to the sound because of coms. I wanted to focus on what was being said because everything was confusing. With the recent sound changes to create a more audibly intuitive interface I've attempted to leave my sounds on and use them as a guide.

It is working. It has allowed me to notice when I am being shot for instance. I keep auto relock on my hauler alt. I catch people ship scanning me because of that. It is the sound of the target trying to lock that catches my attention. It gives me a little bit of extra  It has let me notice my fleet members or corp mates shooting me. Without them on overview and checking other windows the sound of being shot at can come as a surprise.

The scream of the capacitor being low gets me each time I jump a freighter or a carrier. But it is useful when I am in a frigate and managing modules. The beeps and whirs of locks and timers irritate me but I am trying to learn them. The woosh of the jump effect distracts me to my alt when she needs to jump again.

It may sound strange to suggest turning the sound on. Many people have never turned it off. But, just as many turn it off for reasons similar to my own. I do think it is worth turning on. The ambient music is rather calming. I'd love for it to have a bit more energy when you entered space or started combat.

The other thing I am using a bit more is the tracking camera. I don't use it when I am in combat but I do use it when I am travelling. They slowed it down a tad it feels from when it was first released. I'm using it to stop myself from drifting away from gates with misclicks. I also just like the screen movements when I am heading to a thing or focusing on a particular target. I use it more in PvE than PvP but I'm becoming more and more fond of it. I'd hate it if I could not turn it off.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Want Not for Waiting

With a roaring scream a beam of searing golden light burst down from above and illuminated my body. The intensity was such that every vein stood out in stark contrast against the radiance of my skin. For a moment, the beat of my heart echoed as a thousand angels raised their voice in sweet chorus to my achievement. Power flowed through me, crackling beams of electricity that arched into the air to sear the very fabric of reality around me...
My internal view of my skill point achievement and the actual, visual ones are a bit different I guess. Over the weekend, I finished Advanced Weapons Upgrades V. It is a x6 train and took most of the month to chew through. I had tossed it into my queue at the start of the month when I was away from the game for a few days. I used that momentum to  keep going.

I have stacks and stacks of skills to learn. My short trains tend to be a week long. While they do not feel long, knowing I can't fit certain doctrines causes frustration at that week. I often need or want a skill right now. My magical talent is that whatever I learn is no longer going to be called for for a few months if ever again.

When I complain about being a dog chasing its tail in regards to reaching or finishing certain skills it may sound as if I think I have no other place in a fleet. That is not true. I note the chase of the skill to point out that for most players, the first several years of playing Eve will be a skill point chase. On one hand I have a set of amazing abilities. I have T2 large blasters and large projectiles in both close range and distance. I have the ability to T2 tank ships, fly a range of maxed hulls and for the most part I can always bring something solid to a fleet.

On the other hand, the doctrine dreamers flow with the changes to the game itself and the game is in a current, constant state of change. With the hand of re-balance flowing across all of the ships in the game, players like myself not new and not old are the hardest caught in the change when it comes to flexibility. Eve is about specialization but small gang work is about flexibility. While some small gangs may only fly armor tanked Guardian supported fleets, others use flexibility to their advantage to surmount the basic disadvantage of being a small gang inside of a game of numbers.

But flexibility is painful to achieve. It is an eventual goal but it clearly shows that Eve is a game of time. Doctrines spawn and fade away, leaving middle ground members lost amidst a maelstrom of choices where every path has potential and every choice may not be called upon for weeks or months. Drones or lasers next? I've opted for drones, tentatively, because they have the maximum spread of efficiency across all of my fits.

Of late I have read two forum posts that focus on the wait for skill points and the frustration of a new player. One has the ground work for a transcendence to ranting immortality. The other is smug arrogance wrapped up in a three week old package. Both speak of the same concern that is spread across many new players to Eve. The wait for skill points.

Advanced Weapons Upgrade V is an amazing skill that will unlock a lot of fits for me. This unlocking effect does not grant my access to things I did not have before. It improves my effective abilities and efficiency with various things. Such as fitting a full rack of Neutron Blaster Cannons on my Talos without sacrificing anything else. Eve players spend a lot of time focusing on the small, fine numbers that their vocal focus is so loud that it drowns other things out.

You are not useless with fewer skill points. When AWU V completed, I was not filled with vast amounts of energy as a new power source was tapped into and my potential expanded. I felt as if I should be because it is a useful skill and a celebrated skill but the difference is still specialized.

Normally, when discussing skill points new players are counselled to patience and reminded that they have a place. I agree with that. If one hinges their entire game upon the smooth voice of Aura calling out completed skill points, it's going to be a long, long time stuck in the station. Which would be very, very silly.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Colored Boxes

There was a large ball of orange squares ringed with red squares. Intermixed where blue-grey bubbles with the occasional gray or empty square floating about. In the center was an enormous structure that was blotted out by the squares surrounding it. It all made perfect sense and I found it fascinating.

Two events were happening in Eve on Sunday. One I found interesting. The other I did not. Many people have the reverse opinion of myself. Many more people were interested in both.

I have not followed the Fountain war closely. I've mostly eyed the Sov map with a distracted, distant air of interest. The battle that went down in 6VDT-H today fascinated me not for any personal reason for space ownership or alliance support but for the fact that I watched local count up to over four thousand people in the system. I watched Mad Ani's stream tick over eight thousand viewers. Over on the ATXI stream there were ten thousand viewers and a few hundred players engaged in a PvP tournament sponsored by CCP.

Many people who skip through twitch channels and stop by Eve ask what is going on. Many games involve lots of movements and graphics. Yet, thousands of Eve players are staring at a ball of orange edged in red with random circles. And they are enthralled. I am enthralled. For many, many different reasons but the fascination is there.

It is an awful lot of people engaging in an activity all at once for a goal.

The other night we were discussing how we fight. How scrolled out we are in battle. If we use tactical overlays or night. For all of us, a battle is not composed of our ship but it is composed of a series of moving, colored squares.

While Eve's graphics are amazing we often do not get to view them in space. In a way, they would be in the way. The represented colors and simplicity of the icons allows for faster processing of a situation. While images of entire fleets moving at once are awe inspiring they are not sensible when it comes to spaceships battling other spaceships. Eve is a three dimensional game in a fluid environment where technical distances trump visual each time. It is a RTS in a third person view where pictures create two dimensional images.

For small gangs it can be bright and shiny. Yet, we're really looking at the over view and at the targeted icons. You are listening to the fleet commander and focusing on your task. That may be pressing F1 to fire your guns or it may be focusing on a task such as locking down the logistics pilot or being the logistics pilot yourself while not being tackled. The visual beauty of the game becomes secondary to the task processing involved.

Representative icons are important at that time. Just as your team may have a particular colored bar over their heads or your side wears a color coordinated outfit in a fight. The orchestra of colored squares is important and when one understands what the squares are it becomes fascinating if one is interested. And the fascination is not in the representation itself but in what the representation represents.

The battle of 6VDT-H to me is a symbol of the scale of Eve. I don't actually want to participate in that scale on a personal level. It is not the game play that keeps me in game. I enjoy that it is there for people. It is the game play that keeps thousands of others in the game. I enjoy watching it as a spectator. For me, watching the push of thousands of players for their goal is one of the deepest draws of Eve. It is why Eve is so fascinating to read about for non-Eve players.

This particular image, shared across the game, moves into the orange ball above. The detail is closer and finer. Each square of color is an individual ship. While blob is a bad word and Sov null fights are a slow event, I cannot help but find a fascinating view of the game.

It is also representative of the different things one can get in the game. Massive battles or close in views. Huge alliances or individuals on a task to record the activities of other groups. They are all viable things to do.

Fun and interest are such common words and understood concepts yet hard to explain and express. The fight will go on for hours and hours and many involved will be passionate in their participation. Some will burn out from the experience. Others will be enthralled by it and seek to participate. Others will find it an incredible turn off that will burn into their concept of what is and is not fun in Eve forever.

I appreciate the streamers for this. I am not often interested in regular 'every day in Eve' streams but I find the streams for large events interesting. I feel bad for the demands made in the stream chat. There are also the people who pipe up to say that it looks boring and stupid and like a terrible game. For that, the AT stream is a bit more exciting. The camera man, not being any of the pilots, can ride along into the face of the battle and the visuals can be focused on.

It is a view into another world shared inside of a single universe. Thanks for letting me peek.

The Secret Life of the Low Sec Hauler

"I don't think it would be fun to spend all my time camping gates," someone said, "unless I have the completely wrong idea of low sec."

I'll admit. I do think that they have the wrong idea of low sec. Gate camps appears in all areas of space. They may be hole camps or whatever lingo wormhole residents use. They are not exclusive to low sec. Nor are they the entirety of content in low sec. I'd love to say that they don't exist but there is one in the area of space I live in that is reliably there, every single day. Yes there are gate camps in low sec but gate camps are not everything.

So, what do people do?

Sometimes, it is not what other people expect.

To me, the little things are the most amusing. For instance, I was sweeping ahead of the main fleet. A fleet that happened to be composed of Dominix heading back home. I wound up on a gate and noticed as I was landing a Bellicose and Genosis on scan. I stopped on the gate to get a gauge of where they were and the Bellicose is on the gate. He locks me up. I orbit the gate and lock him up back and tell my fleet what is going on. He fires (red boxes) and I point him and start shooting his drones. He seemed rather hopeful to kill me at that point. I could see why. A lone Jaguar, aggressing him back, on a gate, who he has pointed and disrupted. I was an easy kill. Except for the Dominox fleet that landed and killed him in two volleys when I hit 53% shields.

Life is a daily adventure of stuff. That stuff can be utterly boring or weirdly interesting. Such as finding myself duel boxing a cloaky hauler convoy to do an emergency refuel for someones POS. I'm often pzuzled at those that blindly insist that nothing happens in low sec and the residents only kill people. Sure, that is the bulk of it. That is the entierty for it for some people. But for others of us, we live a normal Eve life. We build things, fuel things, move things, and also kill things.

When the stressed question went up if anyone could help with this refuel, volunteers immediately piped up. And a convey of four T2 haulers slunk into low sec headed for null. It was only three jumps in and the gatecamp that was in null sec on the low sec gate was not very effective to catch a stack of T2 haulers. It must have confused them as over the course of a minute and a half a Prorator, Viator, Prowler, and Bustard jumped in and warped off. Each was in a different corporation as well. Ten minutes later we were all back through into low sec. This time, the singular member of the gatecamp still on the gate jumped into low sec with the Bustard. We then decloaked the entire fleet at the same time, cloaked and warped off. For a moment his overview flooded with industrial haulers. A rather random event for low sec.

Earlier in the day I was helping to loot a POS that had been destroyed, by us. Moon goo. Stront. Modules. It all had to be scooped up and swept away to the station to be dropped in the corporation hangar. Having access to a cloaky hauler is an incredibly useful thing in low sec. You are not invincible but it is highly useful.

People sell things out there as well. It is amazing the sales that dangle just a few jumps out of high sec. Now, if one is silly enough to jump into Amamke and Rancer for said dangling fruit, that is desperation, ignorance, or obliviousness most of the time.  In other areas, people randomly drop stuff all over the game for exhaustion in moving them.

I often council people to take the time to get a cloaky hauler. It is frustrating when you are new. It is a 18-20 day train for most to get their racial industrial to V. But taking that time opens so many doors. Being able to move your own items and supply yourself or just access areas of low sec for something like distribution missions can really open up the game for a new player. It is a utility skill second to almost none for living outside of high security space.

And there are always emergency POS refueling runs that need to be done. Always.

Little Things

There is a little things post on the forums for players to list small aspects of the game that drive them crazy. Originally this was made by CCP I believe. It was removed and allowed to die after many things were addressed in patches. Of course, not everything was addressed and a new one created.

I decided to contribute to it today.

The message that you receive in each section of empire space when you are not supposed to be in said section of empire space is different to the reactions of the other three factions. I think this is a small, but fantastic thing. Because I travel through Caldari to Gallente to Minmatar space, almost daily hauling, I see these messages regularly.

Because, I spend the bulk of my time in a outlaw security status character that should never be in high security space, I see these messages and panic for a moment sometimes at the 'you' thinking I've somehow messed up. It is a side effect of not paying full attention to the screen but enough attention to note changes. Maybe I should auto-pilot more.

While this one works a bit better, I cannot help but feel that it should be directed. I should see "YOU" are a criminal within this solar system while everyone else should see my name announcement. Just as with the above message saying YOU to everyone when it should say it only to the person it is directed towards.

For all I know this is a major, world breaking undertaking to change. To me, it seems to be a little thing but it is one that I have always noticed.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

And All of Null

When Altaen asked (told) me to +1 for the fleet I was like... uhh... and realized that not only was I the only one in an interceptor for the fleet but I was no longer going to be able to convince Diz not to make me +1. No other interceptors had marked up for me to hide behind.

I flickered through excuses and possibilities to avoid the task. After another moment I decided to just roll with it. If I failed I'd be corrected. If I had questions I'd ask. And by now, I had a good idea of what I needed to do. It is probably time to polish some of the skills.

It still felt odd. I try to be quiet in fleets and do as I am told. Talking that much and relaying that much information was a bit uncomfortable. I am also bad at interrupting people who are talking. But, posting everything in fleet wasn't always working because not everyone reads fleet. An uncomfortable situation in the sense that it was unfamiliar and new. Somehow I managed to power through and jump into null.

And null sec was empty. Really, really empty. Our first goal was some thirty six jumps away. That wound up a bust. The second system was some thirty jumps from that. That also wasn't nearly as exciting as anticipated. For once, I had one of those empty null sec adventures I hear about. I felt privileged.

And for a dead roam where I killed nothing I still had an adventure!

I jumped into a bubbled gate.

My mind spasemed. Ahhh. Bubbles! Death! Death! Death! Ahhhh!!!! Wait no ships on the overview... okay... uh...hmm. Were they all going to uncloak and kill me?  Uhh. I held cloak and told the fleet where I was and that the gate was bubbled all to hell.

I burned out of the bubbles and got my bearings and tried to find the few ships in space. They managed to go dock while I was trying to figure out what to do. From what I understand, this is a normal way to defend a gate. Okay. Well. After a few minutes we moved on towards our goal which was a system glowing warm and red full of people.

The out gate was also bubbled.

I rolled my eyes a bit and waded into it to reach the actual gate. Once through it was smooth sailing until we reached our end point system. With fifty people in local and 20 Mackinaw on scan it seemed like a good idea.  Seemed. Except nothing happened but a Bantam undocking and redocking over and over. I flew in circles until I was tired of flying in circles.  Finally, a Tornado is seen on scans.

"Dropping a random bubble in a random place," goes Silver who was out of position for anything. The Tornado warps in at 80k off and warps off before I even pick up speed. That was the last that we saw. It was also our second system and sixty some jumps through null and our total  action was a Tornado warping in and leaving immediately.

"What's up with that sparkling blue stuff?" my husband asked from across the room. I got a huge smile on my face and tried to explain, quickly and simply the bubble and how it affects warp. I then got left behind as the fleet headed home. The interceptor pilot is hard to leave behind and it only took me a few jumps to catch up.

Off we went back home where there were of course fights to be had. The boys stopped to kill a pod along the way. I was suffering a fit of coughing and needed to afk for a few minutes so I choked and gurgled until I made it to Skarkon where I docked and allowed my body to vent its full anger. With that accomplished off to Istodard where I wound up reshipping and we eventually got a fight a bit later.

That fight I got to chase down a Scythe and it was put of of service at the start of the fight. Doing the tackle frigate thing means that my number of kill mails is often less than the rest of the fleet. I'd love to have all of the kill mails but I enjoy my various tasks, such as chasing logi and falcon, as well.

After that, I decided to succumb to being sleepy. I finished this little blip about my evening and decided to turn in. I finished my freighter run and logged off for the night.

Friday, July 26, 2013

TCS: Market Movement

It has been an unexpected side effect that at times, people have begun to seek my opinion on a low sec market. I am not sure if the idea is a common one that many do not pursue or if it is just a side effect of my attempts to share my market with others.

It may not be the smartest idea. Detta pointed out that someone may decide to come rain on my parade or stalk my haulers or in some way interfere with my process for amusement if not for simple dickery. I accept those possibilities and continue to babble in my poor, half stunted manner without proper graphs or charts or percentages.

The below image is item movement for a popular item.

I picked Navy Cap Booster 400s for several reasons. They are a commonly used item. They sell very well. I am also undercut in the cap booster market fairly regularly because it is a very easy market to drop some ISK into and make some ISK. The same goes for ammunition and common modules. I am often under cut by people selling their personal excess or doing some manufacturing or LP conversions of their own.

But what I want to point out is the movement of sales. This is a very common item that I go through quickly but the movement is not swift by the standards of trade hubs. It is also not rhythmic. Unlike a high sec trade hub where people are flowing in and out for hundreds of thousands of reasons a low sec market is focused, primarly, around its residents. Because its residents live in low sec that focus is going to base heavily around PvP.

PvP is not a static activity. While we may define it as spaceships blowing up spaceships that is a narrow sighted view for a market. Cap boosters are used in particular fits. If cap boosters are not being used that fit is not being flown, at the moment. But PvP fits are like changes of clothing. Some people have a style they always fly but most people have different outfits they like to wear depending on their mood.

That is why when people tell me they are entering a low sec market I tell them that they need to be patient and focus on complete circles of items if they want to see productive movement. While low sec is not composed and fed by doctrines as null sec is a particular amount of fit knowledge will help the investor go a long way in keeping and managing productive stock.

It is to be remembered that everyone loves a bargain. My motto of buy in Jita sell reasonably has caused me to reject offers of cornering my local market with other people. Instead, I just focus on carrying items. Letting them sit is the hardest part but as I have let them sit so have they started to sell more.

If one is searching for fast and best influxes of ISK a rapid market is the goal. A low sec market is a volatile place with ebbs and flows and heaves. It is a long term ride that pays steadily, daily, if tended and cared for. It is an easy thing to look at what Bosena has turned into now vs remembering what it looked like in March. In March there were a handful of scraps there.

Now, it is a market that is thriving enough that people are dumping their stocks locally for convenience because the sales are steady of not swift. While one side of me wants to stomp the competition and absorb all of the ISK and glory for myself, my further reaching thoughts still my hand of undercutting.

Eve is often about what you make of it. What you make of a situation, a moment, a task, an event, a goal, and of time. If one only searches for immediate gratification the results may often be rather more shallow than expected.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Empty Words of ISK

ISK makes Eve go round. It may be the force moving a null sec empire or it may be a new player struggling to finance that cruiser he saw undock from the rookie station. It covers every extreme and few, if any, are exempt from its call.

Financial solvency has to happen. It may be in the form of a corporation or alliance or it may fall upon the shoulders of individual members. Someone, somewhere, has to be able to afford the things that are needed.

It is a very true thing that later in the game, once a player has settled in, ISK making becomes more of a chore or a task than a frantic moment to moment way of life. But even then, each player will have their own skill set when it comes to making ISK.

Similar to real life, some people forget where they came from (when they were poor newbies) and other's remember it and use it as an example of what they do not wish to go back to. I was listening to a conversation, early in the morning before work, where a player who used to struggle every month to earn their account subs PLEX had finally discovered incursions and become comfortably liquid. Comfortable enough that they were discussing creating an incursion fitted Sin and what a hilarious loss mail it would be.

I stand on the other spectrum. I remember how hard it was to earn ISK. I may casually fly more expensive ships but I appreciate the ISK that my ships cost me. I have never been able to understand the 'hilarious' loss mail where a ship is fit in an extremely expensive manner and placed in a situation where it is going to die. I remember seeing a certain null sec alliance celebrate their vast wealth like that when I first started playing. Now, not so well off, I sometimes wonder if echos of their own wastefulness haunt them. But in this situation, I try to accept that fun is defined in many ways. For me, financially comfortable decisions are fun. For others, wasting massive amounts of ISK as a sign of their space wealth is fun.

Of course, the newer players wish to venture into these realms of wealth. No matter what side they will stand on in the future, in the now they stand on the side of poor newbie. So, as they lament their current state and ask for tips, tricks, and ideas on improving wealth the next party enters the scene. 
He That Doth Save Us All > bah, anything can be done to plex the accounts, 5 mins a day is more than enough to plex 2 accounts a month
I will admit I have little time and much eye rolling here. The 'it only takes a few minutes a day to make billions of ISK' is often heard and rarely seen. Many of the people who make this much ISK already have a large amount of ISK. When people discuss TCS with me I explain that I entered with a large investment. I spent ISK to make ISK. None of that ISK appeared magically (unless you want to add in robbing the wormhole corporation).
Me > not everyone is going to be capable of actually doing the 'five minute a day pelxes your accounts a month' activities
I am reminded of a scam or an infomercial. Just contact this number and you will make thousands of dollars part time while asleep in the bathtub! Outside of my mild sarcastic reaction there is a simple aspect of economics where everyone cannot do the same activity and continue to make that profit. In another game where ISK was dictated by NPCs, perhaps. In Eve where that type of ISK is coming from some type of player on player interaction, no. No matter how shiny the module, enormous the margin, or thirsty the market, if every single person joins into that activity it will quickly lose its profitability.
 He That Doth Save Us All > that's quite false, literally everyone is going to be capable of that if they just decide that they want to quit the endless circle of playing just to grind
Now, I've commented before that I cannot get into some money making areas of Eve for trying. I cannot do PI. I try and I try and I try and I fail and I fail and I fail. I have never made one ISK off of PI. Likewise, station trading is beyond me. I can run an entire market but I cannot station trade to save myself. I fail at it in such a pathetic way.
 A Member of the Crowd > When I started playing I had a thought that it would be paying it self in a while. Then I discovered that was boring, so now I do what I think is fun instead :-)
One Who Wishes Conversion > kk, tell me how to do it and i give it a shot
People want to make ISK. They desperately want to make ISK. Tell us how. I settled back and waited (actually I watched the clock because I had to go to work). I was expecting to be told of the greatness of station trading or something along those lines.
 He That Doth Save Us All > exactly what I meant stop thinking about isk and think more about what's actually fun in the game. When  it's nothing but a grind every day, you'll get bored of it in no time
Oh, I could not help but think in amusement, you never told us what that thing was. Suddenly, it is not about five minutes to wealth but 'just have fun!'. Ten minutes later, with no other answers forthcoming, I logged out and went to work. Did he back out of the conversation? Did he have no great knowledge to give out? Did he want to hide his niche in life?

I cannot help but feel cynical. The great reward was not revealed and I wonder if there even was. Eve is full of bragging. I have this much ISK. I have this ship. I have that thing. There are so many tangibles such as kill mails, corporation history, and a past that often tends to follow that people soak themselves in the things that they can expound upon.

Basically, people lie. Some people can make a PLEX in five minutes. I know them. Is that the majority of the game? No. Is that something new players are going to achieve with a few simple insights? Probably, not.

Internet spaceship wealth is obtainable. Some will achieve this faster than others. Some will fall upon wealth and others will earn it. Some will squander it and others hoard it. Some will find happiness without wealth and others only inside of it. But one thing they will each do is find their own path to their income. No magical spells.

Often, just hard work, knowledge, opportunity, experience, and chance will combine into income. I know both fabulously wealthy players and fabulously poor ones that are happy. I also know ones that are miserable. Wealth in game is important but for most, it will not buy happiness. For some, it certainly will. But even then, as one casts a covetous eye of greed upon the wallet of another, look at them. Are they happy? Are they miserable and bitter? Are they wasting money to prove to themselves or you that they can waste it?

Before one succumbs to ISK obsession, just remember what it actually brings to the table. And before one sips from the cup of knowledge of another player: make sure that cup isn't empty.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Launch into the Sky

In December of 2011 there was a can in high sec that changed my life forever.
I was a week or so old and travelling around Gallente space mining. I had learned about anchoring secure canisters and I was very excited to start this awesome way to mine in a more secure fashion. I did courier missions as well. I was new and small but I had already subscribed to the game for the next three months and I was excited.
This particular can was located near Dodixie. I feared Dodixie. Every time I docked at the trade hub I passed through raging battles and iridescent explosions. I knew that death was just someone noticing my Catalyst and snuffing my little ship. After all, I had entered a PvP environment and I expected to die.
This can, however, was located near a gate. My overview was absolutely virgin and included everything in the game. Everything in space interested me and on my main screen I could see that the can was an advertisement for a corporation. A corporation with a minimum of 5 million skill points. I’m not sure I had 100k skill points at that time. 5 million would obviously grand me the powers of a god and open doors everywhere.
Of course, that is ignorance speaking. It doesn’t work that way. I wound up in a low sec PvP corporation with barely a million skill points to my name and zero knowledge of anything. I went to live with them for the next year and a half learning about Eve and learning to love Eve. But time changes and some needs cannot be met even in the most comfortable and beloved of situations and I started to think about leaving.
My decision to join 7-2 wasn’t made in haste, anger or anything else other than needing to move away from home to force change upon myself. Someone asked me why I changed corps when the day before I was telling them how amazing THC is. Leaving THC does not somehow invalidate how fantastic the people are. I grew up there. My boys have raised me and taught me everything. In a way it is like moving off to college and maxing out my first credit cards as I learn finical responsibility.
7-2 however, has an application that perspective members have to fill out. These types of applications are common. It is Eve after all. As I understand it, other MMO’s can be just as intense about joining. Yet, as I eyed 7-2’s application and the minimum skill point requirements I remembered that can in high sec.  I had learned that the number of skill points possessed did not grant immediate knowledge and ability. Plus, I’d be moving into a circle where there would be no warm, parental memories of raising me.
The application itself scared me. I waffled across it for a few weeks. Ship fitting is awkward. I steal my fits. I understand a lot of basic theory but I am not a fit goddess. I function better sitting down with someone that has a clue and then poking at EFT. Reverse engineering and then implementation works better for me. My confidence issues made me shy away from that aspect of the application for quite a while. I read other applications over and over and then suddenly something snaped inside. I realized that the fits required on the application were already in my hangar. I had managed to convince myself I had to come up with these fits from scratch.
But I didn’t. I flew with 7-2 all of the time. I had stacks of their fits in my hangar in their station. I’d just feed them what they had fed me. It would not be amazing and special but I am not amazing and special when it comes to fitting ships. Instead, I could show that I can and will fly what is expected of me. I’ve learned that many, many people cannot do that simple thing. My entire Eve life has revolved around it and what seems to be a weakness, in that light, is also a strength.
The next step was what took me the longest to put together. I had joked that if I ever joined 7-2 I would fill out the application in Haikus. While it was a flight of fancy I decided to follow through with my world. My inspiration was all of the corporations that have various arts and crafts for people to show a unique talent when being considered for a corporation. If I have an excessive amount of anything, it is creativity. I am also often whimsical and something of a dreamer. I decided to focus these aspects of myself and present them. I had no idea how it would actually go over when I presented the application. Would it amuse them or be seen as a troll? Yet, as I typed and typed and read references and beat the information out of Wikipedia I decided that if they didn’t like it they’d probably not like me as a corp mate. If anything, my application was my attempt to present my personality and what adding me to the corporation might bring.
What was a straight forward question and answer process turned into an almost week long project on my side. I wasn’t just going to write haikus I was going to write haikus that answered the questions. When I exhausted my ability to write haikus due to the nature of the questions I switched over to essays and research. I brought forward the same quarks that created the Origin of a Spaceship and poured into my application.
And I did it all because that is the type of person that I am. I could have trotted around and asked to join without an application. But, if I was going to write a bad one I wanted that to be known. I wanted to enter the corp on my own merits and not just ‘yay we like Sugar’ type thing. I don’t mind the ‘yay we like Sugar’ aspect at all but I didn’t want to fully ride on it. I decided to go in full force. I unleashed myself upon my application.

This is the link to my 7-2 application.
Because I cannot post on the 7-2 recruitment forums as a member of MoldenHeath.Net I sent the link to the goggle document with my app. After a day, I finally nervously twitched and was sent the feedback for my application. It seems that they liked it. I was relieved and unwound from the tense, nervous knot that stifled my words and stilled my fingers. They accepted me and I spent time penning a goodbye but not goodbye letter to THC2 and accepted my new corporation.
And that is the story of my corporation change. I know that for some, changing corporations is like changing their shirt. For me, it was a large intense decision. My social group is my main point of contact in Eve. I could play alone but I perfer to play with the amazing people that I have come to know. And with that comes the good and the bad the positives and the negitives of others and of myself.
As always, thank you for reading and joining me on the journey that this blog has become. I hope you enjoy my application as much as 7-2 has.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Change of Chat

I've been cleaning my house and of course that made me want to revamp the blog a little bit. It is the middle of summer after all and that's the time for spring cleaning.

So, blog is changed about a bit. A new color scheme! These types of things make me excited.

Also, a change of chatroom. I've spent the last two weeks going over chatroom names so that I can give THC2 its public chatroom back to being its public chatroom. I'm not capable of doing anything obvious like naming it after the blog or TCS. I'm remarkably creative at random things. Detta wins the suggestion contest with Spoonful of Sugar. I found it adorable.

I've adjusted the about me to the side with that info.

To find me:

Twitter: @chellaranier
Email: chellaranier at
G+ : ChellaRanier
Eve Mail: Sugar Kyle
Chatroom: Spoonful of Sugar

Ta da!

P.S. For those looking for intel and spies (hahahaha) have fun!

The Sorrowful Abuse of Google Translate

This is a story about the pitfalls of Google Translate.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rambling: Personal Importance

[TL;DR: Sugar is having a serious day.]

A week ago or so, I was reading an application for someone applying to get into a corporation. The application and the corporation were not mine. I did know the parties involved. It is fascinating how you can watch at the parties involved and wonder if they see what you see or react in similar manners. When I have spent my time speaking to people interested in THC2, I focus my process upon a basic principle. Will the person fit in. Does their personality seem to or appear to have the potential to suit the personalities of others.

No amount of game skill or assets will compensate for someone no one wishes to be around. While that may not scale as quickly or importantly, for a small group who live side by side and depend on each other for daily basics, it is important. Groups can shatter, their core rotted by only one individual. While we do not know who may be that negative aspect sometimes various aspects of screening can make it show up.

When I speak of negative aspects or personalities I do not only speak of those who are attempting to enter a group with the express purpose of negative social interaction. I speak of those who enter a group and cause negative social interaction due to conflicts of personality. Some of these are not easy to see from the start and others are almost frightfully obvious.

And so, I watched, concerned when asked to name a close in game friend the response was that they don't make close in game friends that they keep up with.

Friendship is a fluid state. It has to be fed for it to remain healthy and to grow. If neglected it withers. It can mutate and change. People grow closer or further apart. Friendship will never remain static but there was a casualness to his answer when referenced with internet spaceship friends. Or, what I think of as situational friends.

I do not mean that all friendship, in Eve or out, must be close, bosom buddies. I'm sure many people exist in a layer of casual social groups in game. I do not disparage those things. Instead, I point to social groups who's strength is in their social connection. Enjoying the people that you fly with in and out of game can only strengthen the game. It is one reason why corporations who have outside of Eve focuses are so strong. I know people who always say 'us/we' and never mean their current corp and always mean their exterior Eve group who plays Eve. It is not a position of divided loyalty as complex layers of interlaced relationships.

The situation may have struck a bit close for me. At the same time, one of my most important in game friends was starting a period of forced hiatus due to life. Normal, social connections were severed and someone I looked forward to seeing every day was gone. My own emotional state produced confusion over how someone could easily shrug off that situation. Yet, the rational side of my mind demands that I remember each person will take a different meaning and impact from what they do.

Eve is played on a number of different levels. For some, to log in and play and log out is all they look for in their day. Others, find their friendships moving outside of Eve into other games and recreational computer activity. Some even meet each other in the real world and spend some time hanging out with the person they have come to find as a friend.

For good or for bad, relationships are the games fuel. When CCP began to hand out tools instead of  rules they set the scene of a complex, social interactions where content was created by the natural reaction of human interaction.

The link of internet spaceships is no greater or lesser than any other. Not everyone will become someone to move into your garage and set up camp. The little marking slogan, "Eve is real!" is one that makes the eyes roll. Eve isn't real. Eve is a game about internet spaceships. It is the people that are real. The ones behind the internet spaceships are what drives the machine.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Learning to Mission

I was dying and it was a bit unexpected.
My shields shattered in a flare of exhausted energy. My jaw was still clenched and my ears rung from the screams of the waning sirens as my first line of defense evaporated. Great chunks of armor were sheered away by the hot beam of laser fire. My Tempest rocked with the explosions of launched death of a dozen cruise missile batteries. 
“You’re fine,” came the calm voice of Morita. “I’m in warp.” 
“75% armor. Disrupted of course. I can’t hit anything.” 
“11 AU. No worries.” 
“50% armor. I’m going to warp out." 
“Nevermind. I’m pointed. Overheating my hardeners.” 
“9 AU” 
“25% armor. Pointed. Webbed. Disrupted. I’m also neuted out and my Hardeners are going to die shortly.” 
“I’m landing.” 
“This may be bad.”
The Archon’s reps landed at 75% structure. Blissful beams of energy swept over me and started to push back the bright bars of red. The frigates dropped point and I warped my Tempest out. With the Tempest gone the missile battieries focused on the carrier instead and I was able to come back, get some armor repairs and assist with finishing the mission.
I had grabbed the Tempest because the previous day, attempting to assist in the level 5 mission in my Sleipnir had me primaried every time I arrived on field. There was an Archon, a Navy Megatron and my Sleipnir. Every time my Sleipnir landed it was primaried by everything on field. Of course, as a shield ship the Archon reps only helped stop me from dying once or twice when I was webbed, capped out, and pointed by NPC frigate spawns.
After the fiasco with the Tempest, my ship for another op that I had grabbed because it was my only armor battleship in the area, I decided that I needed to build a proper mission boat or two if I was going to continue to do this. Level 5 missions have a love for neuts. With projectiles that it not a big issue when it comes to DPS and the neut batteries loved my Tempest which allowed the Archon to keep me repped.
There are fantastic gaps in my knowledge and education about Eve. I am terrifically ignorant in some areas and self-aware in others without a true, technical grasp. Of late, I’ve begun to lament my ignorance outside of my sphere of comfort. If I am going to grow in Eve, I am going to have to change some things.
I am becoming stagnant. I realized it the other day but the knowledge has existed for some months. In some areas I am growing but in others, areas related to spaceships themselves, my abilities are not progressing as well as they should. I do not feel as if I am where I should be when it comes to my relevant knowledge of technical aspects of the game. I am very comfortable in my little niche but I want to crawl out of it now, something I knew I should do but did not want before.
Focused learning vs osmoses learning is a lot harder. A lot of my knowledge has filtered into me over time and listening and learning. Yet, I find myself reading more technically focused things and I feel that I may grasp what they are saying but implementation would not go as well as it should.  I do not seek godhood. I seek competence.
At this moment, I have no idea how to fit a mission ship. It is a Low Sec mission ship but a mission ship nonetheless. My Sleipnir is a toned down PvP fit. Buffer instead of Ancillary Shield Booster. No shiny modules. A Scimitar always at its side.
I’d like to do more. Battleships for missions are something most players stumble upon early in the game. Battleships for PvP are something they may focus on later. Yet, even here I am somewhat reversed. I have taken battleships into PvP. Yet, a mission? Oh my, oh my, oh my.
It is ignorance. One that some may scorn and roll their eyes at. Asking for help in these things is always hard. “You don’t know that?” It may be one of my most loathed statements. Alone, it is the reason why I often avoid admitting my own ignorance. Not pride. Just frustration. Of course I do not know. That is why I ask. I’d like to correct that lack of knowledge. I was not born into Eve knowing everything. There are many things I have not experienced for various reasons. My path is unique to myself just as every players path is. I may come into some knowledge at different place points but the only shame in that would be to never seek it or reject it off hand.
When someone first comes to low sec, under the order of, “attack anything you find and die to learn.” One of the first things they learn about are gate and station guns. They have heard of those things. They have seen them on kill mails. But as their frigate/destroyer/t1 cruiser is shredded by the two guns that surround the gate or station they did not realize that this was what a gate gun is. Such is it for me when it comes to missions. They are something that I have never done and I will make mistakes in experiencing them at this level vs my experience of running DED sites in my Sleipnir/Scimitar combo.
It may not sound particular badass to say “I am learning to mission”. It may bring sneers from some. Missions are boring or stupid or whatever. Sure. They are also stable ISK. My hangars are filling with ships that are specialized for various fleets. I don’t mind but it costs ISK. I’ve also not been interested in exploring since Odyssey hit. I’m burnt out on it for now. I’m not looking for optimal I’m looking for something I can do productively in bits of time. When I want to go out and play Eve as in fly spaceships and do things with them because I find that fun.
The other thing about it is that it helps me fly better. I can look at all the theory in the world, understand the numbers, and be handed a ship but until I fly it and get a feel for it I will not know if I like it. Not being motivated by stats I have to feel the ship and see if I like it. The Prophecy works for me and the armor Hurricane does not. It may be a quirk of my personality but I have to like and enjoy what I am flying. That is part of Eve for me.
Gaining comfort in a ship, for me, comes from spending time in that hull. My Jaguar was one of my first daily drivers. I ratted in it back when I cared about my security status enough to go out every day and gnaw away at belt rats. I spent countless hours in my Jaguar and later in my (old) Hurricane. I’ve also spent many an hour in my Rupture. Yet, I dislike it and love my Jaguar and (old now Navy) Hurricane. Even if I do not like my Rupture I am comfortable with what it can do and what it can take. While fighting players is nothing like fighting NPCs learning the feel of the ship helps in both situations. Ranges of weapons. The responsiveness of tracking. It works for me. As stupid and wrong and I should just go and lose frigates to learn all of that as it is, it is a functional method that helps me out. I accept if it makes me a lesser person in the eyes of some.
After that most recent Tempest adventure, I need to carve myself a little better battleship. Something buffer. It can use hybrids (rails or blasters) or Projectiles (auto or arty). It will never be a 100% dedicated mission boat while it is in low sec. It will still need to kill people or get out of a situation, depending on what may try to hunt me down.
I do not expect to become a fitting guru. I am a non-technical person working off of feel and understanding instead of hard stats and rich calculations. I will not have a fit of the week/month/year situation. Fitting spaceships is like religion and politics, something I avoid discussion due to the inherent volatile arguments that tend to come from it. Also, I dislike the vicious negativity but that is another post for another time.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Complex Companionship

The other day, in local, a random day old character said that THC2 (The humbleless Crew) was a pet corp for 7-2 (Calamitous-Intent). When day old characters know that two groups work together such as THC2 and 7-2 I suspect that they may not be true one day old accounts hanging out in low security space. In fact, I wonder with amusement if someone has planted yet another alt into the area that we live to keep watch of our activities, movements, and numbers. It is a task that would bore me to tears before I even created the alt.

But, there I was, with this comment placed into local. I immediately tabbed to my other monitor and demanded from Altaen and DP that I get a new, blue collar on twitter. After all, if I was a pet, why did I have no accessories? Part of the reason of having pets in games is to have something else to accessorize as well as be adorable and follow you around. I fill the adorable field quite well. And I fly with 7-2 frequently I feel that covers the following them around field. Now, officially proving my status as a pet, I felt that I deserved a collar and some attention and money and care lavished upon me.

The subject of pets in Eve often corps up as a troll point in an argument or a bitter snark at CCP's developmental focus or goals to improve Eve's accessibility. It is a finger pointing to sneered upon MMOs. MMOs that are not Eve. And in these MMOs a player can often acquire a pet to follow their avatar around. But, Eve's Avatar's are the spaceship that you slip into. Your screen does not display your face, no matter how exciting the Origin trailer is. The closest Eve has to pets are drones and even then, for most of us, our drones are represented by colored boxes on our screen due to their very, very small size and Eve's vast visual distances.

And so, pets. We don't have them.

Or do we?

In the land of small gang warfare, fleets are also a symphony of alts. Alternate characters are complete, functioning characters. But they are not mains. They are not real like a main character is. When someone talks to me, I may respond from whatever character I have logged in but they will address me as Sugar because Sugar is my main. In fact, not addressing me as Sugar is a sure sign that they do not know that a character is my alts.

We create alts for various reasons. Sometimes it is to have a second, main character with another life. A lot of the time our creation goal is for a focused reason. We create link alts, industry alts, mining alts, scout alts, titan alts, hauling alts, trading alts, ad the list goes on. We often focus and specialize them and stop training them when they have created that goal. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the main is happily learning whatever makes us feel good or is needed.

Then, the time for a fleet appears. The alts are logged on and we cast our hand out and scatter them to their tasks. You, go scout. You, provide links. You are the falcon alt for honorable solo PvP!

Have you played Overlord? Overlord is one of my favorite games. It takes the concept of pets and twists it. Your actual Avatar is reasonably powerful but not overwhelmingly so. Your minions are your hands, your eyes, and your very actions. You play the game through your Avatar's control of them. You send them forth on tasks, direct them to do things in somewhat automated fashions and in a way fragment yourself through several perspectives.

The same thing is done in Eve. From our Cyno alts to our bait alts we have pets. Our pets are extensions of us but they follow us everywhere that we go. They are just not automated in their actions and must be activated by the player. But, this is Eve. What fun would it be if our Falcon alt always decloaked and saved us at the right time? None!

And to add more reinforcement to our alts as pets, one can look at the Character bazaar. Some in Eve will buy and sell their mains. The bazaar itself is mostly composed of what we call 'utility' characters. One strolls down its list, a finger pressed to the lip and scans stats and abilities. "I want a...." is the start of the process as the selection is made. The seller represents his goods with a jolly, "This is a finely trained, perfect Tengu character!" and the alt stares blankly from its generic portrait, its entire life the cocoon of an NPC corporation.

Some speak of pets when they refer to sub levels of social groups. It goes back to the feudal system that Eve consciously or unconsciously functions under. And while pet may be used as an insult at that point it is not a true example of what a MMO pet is. The alt character is much closer. Players, or more often, corporations or alliances who live under the umbrella of a larger, more powerful group with hopes of advancement and reward may be used as meat shields and may be tame but they are still independent, individuals.

Unlike alts.

No. I believe that the alt character is the true Eve pet. it fits with the flow of the game. They are expensive. Complex. Incapable of doing things on their own. Necessary but a pain. Addictive. Time consuming. Oh yes, you do have pets in Eve. They do not need to be trailed by sparkling rainbows and lurid visual effects to mark them as a pet as they trail behind your ship. Of course, if one has ever used 'keep at X range' it is a lot like being followed. Add some shield or armor repairs or perhaps a cap transfer or a sensor booster and you even have a shiny visual.

Image from Deluxe Pet Collars

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Le PewPew: So... This is a Tornado?

I am always apprehensive in new ships. Mix that with a FC who I am comfortable with but not yet familiar with and every action I do I double thing and fret over. Did I pick the right gate? The proper warp path? Did I hear jump? Align? Did I hear the gate right? The names are unfamiliar. I don't think I've ever been to Placid. I haven't been this tense in a long time.

Every action makes me twitch with nerves. I'm nervous enough that my responses are a bit slow and I'm second guessing myself with each movement. My last showings in artillery ships have been poor. Instead of avoiding it and moving to a tackle position I decided to push past my issues and not default to my familiar comfort. I like the FC even if I am not comfortable with him as a FC yet. I do not know his voice, his manners, his terms, and all of the dozens of little things that come from constant work under a FC. But, I am comfortable enough to do what he wishes and lose ships under his orders. But, my shyness kicks in. My lack of confidence in my abilities. Its time for deep breaths and one foot in front of the other. I hate disappointing the FC and I feel disappointing right now.

We took a wormhole to adventure.

Off we go into new space. We immediately have to divert, avoid a frigate gang and then plunge into null to go to some station. I've not kept up with what is going on in null sec. People are fighting. Something will eventually happen. The amount of propaganda all of the groups are spewing out has tinted everything to subversive attempts to sway the audience.

I find null sec uncomfortable, still. But, there we were, warping to a station. Everything seemed fine. I had heard the optimal and I was worried I had misheard. If I died I'd die and well it happens. Still. I'm uncomfortable there and found myself in warp. Due to my over caution at moving around mixed with my other worry that I was mishearing the gates even though my autopilot was set I was a knotted ball of stress. And as I'm entering warp, TiDi slams into the system and a Mega fleet appears on the station?

We landed and were told to burn away and warp. TiDi was only at 27%. Warping through molasses gives you plenty of time to drop safe spots. We landed on the other gate at range, which was good, because Wolf fleet. Sigh. Possibly rail megs. Wolves. Awful situation for Arty Tornados. More bouncing and we decided to head out and roam somewhere else? Cloud ring? We were in Cloud ring?

Back through faction warfare space. I'm not used to it as well. Frigates everywhere. I felt like everything was going to land on me and kill me. I know lots of people solo roam in Tornados. I'm going to assume they had a better clue about what is going on with the ship. I'm clinging to my optimal in my head. I hope I have it right. I don't know. I want to learn this but so much of my history has been tackle and brawling. I feel rawly new. I've also failed at arty every other time I have flown it. I refuse to forget to move. I watch distances. I don't know what is going on and everyone else's comfort with the area and situation is making me feel very, very, very incapable.

We went somewhere else and wound up in this mad dancing race against another fleet with a Legion and some cruisers and frigates. We bounced back and forth and wound up in a bubble where the call was made to shoot the legion. The rest of the fleet lands, people get pointed somehow. I've managed to burn 100k off of the bubble towards my safe spot and I'm switching scripts trying to shoot things in what was a somewhat chaotic situation. I didn't even realize that people had died until a secondary FC took over and half the fleet was down down. The call was to extract. My dogs are pacing and won't settle down. I'm yelling at them to lay down because f their endless pacing and their nails are clicking on the floor. I need to clip nails I can see. I  also need them to lay down and leave me alone. This is why I let them out before this started, fed them, did all of their maintenance and as soon as the situation goes sideways they are .... argh....

We extracted. Naoru got caught, the rest of us got out. As we are extracting, I am trying to pay attention to where we are. We are somewhere in Syndicate. I know nothing about this place. Every single system has a mass of numbers and letters for the names. I seem to be the only one without a clue as to the area. They were discussing various paths and systems on coms until I finally ask them to shut up with the system name chatter until I have caught up or our autopilot was accurate about where they wanted to go. Everyone else is perfectly comfortable in null sec and their ships and what they are doing. I may be the stupid and inexperienced one in this but I have finally gotten up the courage to ask people to shut up and make themselves clear when I don't understand them and with new system names and random letter/number combos I need clarification. It used to be that I would sit in silence and get lost or ask in private chats. Now, I keyed up and made demands. A lot of it was frustration from not knowing where I was or where we were going. I felt that I kept missing the orders that everyone else heard so well. All I knew was that this entire area is a bubble soaked land and I still loathe bubbles.

Everyone says that null sec is empty. Yet, I rarely ever seem to find that. When I have tried to venture in on my own I spend hours camped in systems and warping from point to point. Gates, celestial, and other objects are bubbled. Fleets that always seem to be the perfect thing to kill what I am flying come in. I suspect it is just an exaggeration of the negative experiences I often experience in null sec. Everything changes just enough to toss me off of my stride.

Interdiction Bubbles are an interesting point of distaste for me. It is catch bubbles that drive me so crazy and the fact that anchored bubbles can just be left to rot in space. The mad dash to avoid fleets while avoiding bubbles becomes crazy and I just want to rage at them. They are left everywhere. It seems something that should be in some way, tended. But at the same time, I am incredibly biased against them. I cannot say that my thoughts or opinions on them have any rational or sensible ground as that they are born of pure emotion. I find them terrible. Anchored bubbles are the sole reason I hate going into null. I know people love them. I know people think bubble camping is amazing. I know that null sec is no rules and it is supposed to be fantastic. I still find little joy in it. For fleets, I will go. Beyond that, I have not yet found null a place I want to spend my game time. Maybe one day. Maybe not. I'm tired of waiting for an epiphany that may never come.

I'm trying to take new situations and events. If I stay in a Jaguar forever I will stunt my growth and I do long to be a more confident and competent combat pilot. I'm not one to fall under the drugged allure of DPS. The Tornado is reasonably graceful and agile for what it is. I did not find it unpleasant to fly. I just found not knowing what to do with it unpleasant. That, however, will improve with time and for now when I get the chance to use these ships and these fits I am going to step into my discomfort zone bit by bit. I may not be able to convince myself to undock in a ship and go out and solo roam but I can put up my comfortable ship and expand my skill set.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bounty Pool Focus

Earlier today I wrote some words about my curiosity over the motivation abilities of bounties.

Altaen responded with this comment:
"I agree...for most of those that were already participating in PVP in a regular basis, bounties do not really motivate at all...but I do think it's really cool that there is some ISK trickling in for the PVP I would have been doing anyway.
And it's entirely possible that there are plenty of people that weren't already PVPing frequently could actually fund some cheap PVP frigate replacements off of even infrequent successes while learning to PVP."
He made a series of good points. I am pleased that he commented.

In many ways, Altaen is my polar opposite. He is male for one. That may be a major fact point in him being an opposite creature to myself but beyond that, Altaen is a PvPer, fleet commander, solo pilot, prior-anti-pirate and chronically broke because he'd rather blow up other ships and lose his ships in the process than to PvE. I fly with him a lot and we live in the same community and social group inside of the game. This makes my breaking down his comment a bit different than someone who lives outside of my Eve world.

The first thing he points out is frequency of PvP. I don't consider myself a frequent PvPer because I gauge my activity by those around me. I am often on the bottom of the killboard when it comes to kills per month. Because of this, I assume that I do not PvP frequently. But frequency is more than a static number of kills. It is both participation and lifestyle. What I forget, due to the nature of my own social structure is that while I may not PvP very much by the standards of people around me I seek PvP at a more frequent rate than many other players in the game.

In using that as a measure, the next question is for someone who does not PvP frequently, what would a bounty payment mean to them? To expand upon it I next ask a larger question:

Who are bounty payments supposed to appeal to?

I play Eve. In my selfish, self centered fashion I assume that things added in the game are meant to affect me. But, when stepping back from my mirror of infatuation with me, I note that things are added to affect those things vs reaching out and touching individual players. My first question was, "Who are bounty payments supposed to appeal to?" but then I expanded it again to:

"Does CCP have a target audience for bounties in the first place?"

CCP has attempted to target various audiences to greater and lesser success. What they have been doing, instead, if adding things to the game and then watching how those things affect the game as the players interact with them. It is adding buckets and shovels and sand to the sand box instead of pre-constructed sandcastles. Will we make moats? Will we just beat each other with the buckets? CCP has said that they don't know what we will do with what they give us and often we do things that they did not expect or think of. We also have a tendency to not do what they intended with things.

If I expand this to bounties, my focus on, "Is a bounty worth it to me?" is an incorrect focus. The focus instead should be closer to Naoru's interaction with bounties. He is using them not as a tool to get people to kill other people but as a tool to extract tears out of someone who sends him raging eve mails over the bounties.

Altaen appreciates the ISK and while I appreciate the ISK the depth of our different appreciation shows that I have become somewhat of an ISK snob do to my comfortable finances. The ISK snobbery has the side effect of tinting what something is worth to me. I write a lot about it being okay to use expensive toys but I have obviously also forgotten the sting of losing cheap toys when you are financially tight. It is unintentional snobbery but one I'm glad has been brought to my attention.

This forces me to look at the fact that I am obviously not the target audience for bounties. Also, that audience may not be looking at bounties as a straight ISK pull to equate to the various risks they are putting out. If a group were to kill me, and they rarely make kills, the bounty payout would be a few million each depending on how many there were. For them, that along with the success of the PvP kill would be very sweet I believe.

And thus, I find myself caught in an unfamiliar place. I was judging something by the value of straight, black and white metrics when it is in fact a very gray area full of fuzz and Eve randomness. The telling point should be the tears. The tears that pour from the fingers of those that find themselves bounties for no other reason than someone else's amusement.

In bounties, people can buy amusement. That amusement may be at the cost of another but such is amusement often obtained in Eve. Instead of wondering why bounties are not formatted to appeal to me personally as a player, I instead ask, "Are bounties adding enough content to the game?"

It would be nice to get another update on the bounty numbers, this far in, to see if they are still showing a solid ebb and flow in placements and loss. Without it, having read bounty tears recently on the forums and seen the escapades of my own corporation members, by the metric of adding content, I say that they are doing that just fine.

Now if CCP would just allow bounties to be placed and show up on the forums...

Bounty Pool Pull

"You should just set your ISK on fire and toss it out of the station undock."
-Sugar Kyle

Such was my comment to Naoru after he placed a 20 million ISK bounty on me after we discussed that he kept wasting his ISK on placing bounties on randoms. Not that the ISK has not brought him tears. It has. In fact, as of today his bucket is overflowing enough that hopefully he will produce a blog post about it over at Flak Bait at some point soon. Maybe he can consider my eye rolling to be tears as well.

I rarely pay attention to bounties, my own or anyone else's. Occasionally I have one slapped on me by someone I know. I find the entire event a waste of good ISK. In doing so I did disregard the placement of bounties for other reasons, such as tears. I'm not much into tear extraction and it is rarely a motivation for me.

It made me think. What is the motivation for placing a bounty on someone these days? It makes you feel good? You feel as if you struck back? What particular application do they really have to motivating others to go kill for you?

The difference in the before was that some people... people who did not mind sitting on gates for hours... could make ISK out of popping flashy red pods for their bounties. With the previous mechanics tied to the security status of the player, a bounty was most likely going to sit upon someone with negative security status. Mix that in with the lack of CONCORD action upon outlaw pods in high security space and it had the potential to have plentiful ISK pay offs. People with outlaw security status very often venture all over the map. It enrages many high sec dwellers that NPCs do not pop pods anymore. A reddit thread pointed out when that mechanic was changed in 2003. When bounties were related to pods they were hard to collect outside of wormholes and null sec.

Now, bounty can be placed on anyone. Lots of people have bounties. Many people are still very angry about their bounties and feel that they are unjustified. I am neutral on the entire thing because I refuse to spend ISK putting bounties on people. Yet, bounties have become a subculture and to say, "I think it is silly to do," is how I wind up with my corpmates putting bounties on me.

I understand why it is amusing for someone who is angry about it. Naoru keeps getting eve mails from one person and it has become a back and forth bounty placement that has me shaking my head. But, from his giggles he is having a good time for his ISK. That alone is wroth it.

Yet, is that why most people place bounties?

The placement if bounties is to encourage and reward the killing of other players by players for players. He is the bounties I have acquired in the last month in the course of my PvP efforts.
2013.07.15 02:31:33 Bounty Prize 7,692.31 ISK 2013.07.15 00:35:01 Bounty Prize 12,500.00 ISK 2013.07.15 00:30:02 Bounty Prize 1,496,427.17 ISK
2013.07.14 00:32:56 Bounty Prize 460,000.00 ISK
2013.07.13 02:56:28 Bounty Prize 275,000.00 ISK
2013.07.13 01:18:23 Bounty Prize 58,185.37
2013.07.13 01:12:15 Bounty Prize 0.10 ISK 2013.07.12 02:22:29 Bounty Prize 8,577,269.61 ISK
2013.07.12 01:39:43 Bounty Prize 2,362,169.25 ISK
2013.06.30 21:02:40 Bounty Prize 266,095.93 ISK
2013.06.30 20:57:41 Bounty Prize 600,201.80 ISK 2013.06.30 19:23:35 Bounty Prize 1,628,194.89 ISK
2013.06.30 19:18:33 Bounty Prize 261,918.58 ISK
2013.06.30 18:32:40 Bounty Prize 700,482.72 ISK
2013.06.30 18:27:41 Bounty Prize 194,784.06 ISK
2013.06.28 02:16:14 Bounty Prize 895,072.18 ISK
2013.06.18 15:35:17 Bounty Prize 33,333.33 ISK 2013.06.17 04:12:31 Bounty Prize 27,406.30 ISK 2013.06.17 03:11:56 Bounty Prize 25,000.00 ISK 2013.06.16 19:05:36 Bounty Prize 0.03 ISK 2013.06.16 19:00:37 Bounty Prize 154.80 ISK 2013.06.16 06:22:46 Bounty Prize 1,437,607.33 ISK 2013.06.11 22:34:13 Bounty Prize 1.06 ISK
2013.06.11 17:47:18 Bounty Prize 200,000.00 ISK 2013.06.11 03:55:46 Bounty Prize 0.09 ISK
I still do not see the ISK motivation. But, I know that people feel that others are motivated to kill people for the bounties. They send you little notes when they place bounties on you. I'm not talking about the people who like to be spammed with bounty notification of payout eve-mails. I'm speaking of the people who truly believe that the bounty system motivates players to attack other players as part of the greater meta game.

My current bounty is 35 million ISK. I'll lose most of it the next time I lose something that is not a Jaguar. My average Jaguar loss is about 40 million ISK. I doubt that the 35 million ISK on my head is motivating people to chase me down and kill me. But people will continue to put bounties on people and tell them that now people will hunt them down.

In general the Dev's seem to be happy with the bounty system. A lot of ISK goes in and a lot of ISK goes out. It is functioning and people find it worth while to use for whatever reasons they are finding it worth while to use. Such as tears or their own belief that it makes a PvPer more likely to get killed.

But as a motivator? I still don't see it.