Friday, May 30, 2014

See The Way...

If you could only see the way she loves me 
Then maybe you would understand 
Why I feel this way about our love 
And what I must do 
If you could only see how blue her eyes can be when she says 
When she says she loves me 

In some ways Eve ruins many of us for other games. And while ruin is a strong word it is one I am in the mood to use. It creates a strong enough break that during these discussions over new players and how we can bring them to Eve we have created a hurdle that we need to jump.  We like to say that we are smarter than other players. We like to preen under the gasps and shocks from other gamers when they discover that we are successful in Eve. We rabidly protect the game in its current state and cast others out when we feel the need. And even as we do all of these things we tell them, "If only you could see the way I see this game that I play."

I've discussed before that my husband is not an Eve player. My husband does not want to become an Eve player. There is nothing that could happen to make my husband play Eve because he hates loss in a game. It destroys the game for him. He plays games to escape and relax and loss and complex challenge are things he has to deal with every day. He doesn't like them in his games.

And that leaves us with having to not only figure out how to retain people but how to find people who want to be retained. Every game loses players. Eve will always lose more than most because you lose your stuff in Eve. I don't mean PvP. I mean you lose stuff in Eve.

Every time I look at Eve Gate and its messages, I see a message from someone that I met briefly for a week or two. That message system we don't really use can maintain odd echos of the past. But, this person I met when I was four or five months old at the time. I met this player as I have met many players, in Eve Uni chat.  He was in high sec and I was in low sec. I wasn't settled into being in low sec yet. I was irrelevant in the scheme of things and overwhelmed by the scope of it.  But this player and I talked. We talked and he got himself a Ferox.

At the same time I was skilling into a Hurricane. I had embraced the concept of not flying things that you are not skilled to fly and I thought his Ferox was a bad idea. But he was a high sec miner and he was moving to become a mission runner. I was a low sec something or another. And so, I sat there that day he got and fit out his Ferox. It took hours. He had guides open. He had his modules picked out. He flew from here to there getting the best deals. He had waited and worked for and saved for this day. With his ship together he warped it to his very first level 4 mission and he died. He died pretty damn fast.

I consoled him. I tried to talk it out with him. He was calm. I told him he could fit a new Ferox and try a different mission. I think he died trying to loot his wreck as well. And in the end he said he had worked weeks for that Ferox and it was all gone before he could even blink. He logged off. I've never seen him again. His last message on Eve Gate was seven hundred and seventy four days ago. I just looked. He did not die to a gank. He did not lie in low or null. He died to the game and he left because of his loss.

Some will chuckle. Some will be amused by the classic tale of someone losing their shiny. Someone will probably think I'm saying that Eve shouldn't have loss. What I am saying is that the loss in Eve is what works for many of us. We know it. We talk about the rush from PvP. We discuss how meaningful our events are. Squeaking out of something after almost losing a ship is amazing.

But not for everyone.

It may be for more people than we realize. If we can get them to give it a chance.

I played Age of Wushu a few times. They had a button that you had to click yes for that said this was a PvP environment. Maybe it is that simple instead of being ever so complex. A simple wake up. A conscious agreement.

Could something as simple as a popup reminder work?

Edited for clairity in the last sentence. See comments if curious.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

So, Who is a solo player?

I saw three responses to Ripard Teg's PvE revamp idea that caught my eye. I pulled them for three reasons.

  1. I know them well enough to comment on their game play. 
  2. They all play solo differently.
  3. Three they all blog so the interested can read their versions of Eve.

Tur, Noizy, and Kaeda all objected to being pushed into forced group play.

  • Noizy is what I'd consider the classic solo player. His corporation recently gained another member who is an IRL co-worker, but beyond that he is alone. 
  • Tur is the stoic wormholer who has enjoyed very small corporation wormholing more than anything else.
  • Kaeda is my beloved corpmate.
It does not sound as if any of these gentleman are solo players. However, they all consider themselves to me. And on the weight of their reasoning I can toss myself in there as well. I don't think anyone would call me a solo player yet I have commented before that I play most of my game of Eve by myself. Some things I cannot even begin to share. Others I share because I enjoy spending time with the other player, not because I need to share (although there was a time when I did and struggled to do it alone). I love landing on grid in a 5/10 and one shorting every frigate and destroyer on the field l. I smile. I feel amazing. I enjoy myself.

Oh Sugar! You are not allowed to say that you enjoy something in Eve. You are supposed to mime that it is a terrible game for any number of reasons and smile condescendingly at anyone who insist they like it.

So! What is a solo player? 

Eve has often defied the proper definition of things. We discuss solo PvP where it is a single player behind two or three alts. I have labeled people who are in corporations with other people as solo players in this very list. I may not make sense but it does make sense to me. I'm an Eve player after all and my world definitions are very singular to Eve Online when I discuss these things.

The charts and graphs listed from Fan fest discuss the player that never joins in and loses. This has created a trend to focus on marking people participate. Yet, there are high participating players who still play a very solo game in many of the video game areas of Eve. I blame some of this one the mechanics of the game. Sharing in Eve is an after thought for most of the original PvE content. I've commented before that Eve needs better interactive PvP. A way to merge missions and co-op on am easier level and co-op can be very beneficial to the game. The best example is incursions and the worst example is the scatter containers. The former has defined high sec PvE and the later is being removed (to the joyful screams of the playerbase) a year after it was introduced.

So we know that solo players have a higher chance of leaving. We know that group play makes people stick to the game. What we do not seem to know is who is a solo player to decide on how to try to improve the game for a solo player. And we know that solo means alone but what level of alone causes someone to leave Eve?

That seems to be the question. Kaeda, for instance, does a lot of solo PvP. Yet, he is my beloved corpmate. He is on Jabber. He is active on the forums. He is a blogger (needs to blog moar). He PvE's alone and with people.  But all of his socialization are by choice not by necessity.

Would necessity make the game stick more or would we all just get more alts? I have spent my time in incursions. Yet, I enjoy my solitary life as an explorer more. I'm willing to give up the potential ISK from incursions for the random roll of exploration. My ships will slip through space and I will attack tha content (while being amazing one shotting things erryday). To force group play in PvE is to take the things I like away more and remove my stickiness from Eve.

Great sweeping change is find but it cannot ignore the needs of the individuals that play the video game part of Eve by themselves. I often hear, "but it is a MMO". I agree, it is. There are a lot of people logged in and I am one of them. Therefore I am playing Eve instead of Skyrim. The social soloists are many and have to be considered. After all, we don't want the solution to a problem to create another problem that needs a new solution.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nothing is Sure but Death and Taxes

I think it is a bit of a problems how easy it is to lose sight of the game for the playing of it. Bringing those two back into sync is important. I was commenting that I believe that lore reasoning needs to become common when things are added into the game. Someone was commenting about when will the Sansha incursion end and I started making up random reasons and tinfoil about Sansha's secret plots to justify the open ended aspect of incursions. It was all in good fun but it was also part of a larger discussion about topics.

And that led me to question how much sight we lose of the video game part of Eve. The answer, I believe, is a lot. We have well known players who never log in because they don't have to log in to play. While it is a very unique aspect of Eve as it scales into other things it becomes unpleasant.

On, Sunday I proposed a question about mining taxes. I started this because someone brought it forward to me as a very desperate problem. Right now, a corporation can tax bounties. If a corporation owns POCO (also known as COCO (corporation owned customs offices) by Rhavas) they can set a tax rate for use. Null sec stations can set tax rates for all sorts of things that I am somewhat fuzzy about. Beyond a handful of things a players income in Eve is his own.

It has been brought up in some Faction Warfare circles that they should be able to tax loyalty point gains because loyalty points are the foundation for their income. Mission runners, who are taxed on the NPC bounties they receive also receive loyalty points but at a much smaller rate. Beyond that, they receive mission rewards which are not taxed. However, one can say, comfortably, that a Mission Runner pays their taxes to their corporation.

A person that market trades or runs a market pays NPC taxes. They do not pay corporate taxes.

A miner pays taxes to refine ore. They pay taxes to the market when they sell ore or minerals. They do not pay corporate taxes on those things.

The list continues. Exploroers do not pay taxes. Yet, an expansion of exploration is wormholes. Wormholes do not pay taxer but the very nature of their environment forces group play where they split their rewards. This concept ripples out to miners where corporations will buy the ore from the miners directly for a set rate. The entire custom of renting is completely player driven and not supported by game mechanics but is one corporation paying money to an alliance that they rent for and the only thing making this money pass hands is social engineering.

It is undeniable that we need ISK to play Eve. But how much does a corporation need to play?

A corporation outside of null sec had few actual needs. Office rent is one that many will have to come to terms with.  Quickly the need list starts to ramp up and expand. Most often I am confronted with ship replacement programs as a reason for corporate level income.

But do corporations need ship replacement programs? Accept that I am not discussing full sov war. I mean, for any corp to succeed no matter its size is a ship replacement program needed?

Need does not mean it would be nice. Many things would be nice but fewer are needed. I, do not need ship replacement programs. I would not consider it in my reasons to join a corporation. I may also be very odd. Because of this, I have a hard time accepting one of the most common reasons people wish to tax their membership must be hard coded into the game.

I worry for the newer player more than any other. It may just be a result of my own first corporation. Taxes do allow a more casual and less dedicated corporate environment. The eternal quest to smooth player combat for the greater goal has proven that ship replacement programs work. And that may mean that they alone make it worth while to have easier ways to tax more things. Corporations would indeed become wealthier but would their membership?

Sadly, for to many money corrupts and so does ISK.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pod Journal: Communication

Meetings. Talking. I've spent a lot of time on coms of late. My headset needed a break.

Blog Banter 56: Home Field Advantages

Blog Banter #56

With Kronos and the upcoming industry changes following 6 weeks behind it, things are set for a vast upheaval in the coming months. Before he packed his bags and left Mord Fiddle asked some interesting questions
The common wisdom in EVE Online is that, beyond the odd high-value moon or Faction Warfare scam, there's little in low sec or NPC null sec to the attract ongoing attention of the big-dogs of null sec, with their large fleets and super cap doctrines. It's assumed that NPC space simply isn't worth the bother of controlling even if one could control it.
Is this about to change?
The shift in industrial inefficiencies from high sec to NPC low sec/null sec has begun, adding value to NPC space outside of high sec. In the recent B0TLRD accords CFC claimed two NPC null sec regions, Branch and Syndicate, as part of the CFC sphere of influence.
What is the future of low sec and NPC null sec as the economic center of gravity shifts from high sec toward null sec? 
Also, you can take this banter as a chance to discuss the ramifications of the style of play in low sec and NPC null sec if it does happen that major industry shifts there.

This blog banter topic annoys me. Not with Sir Kirith. For I thank him for taking the time out to deal with these questions. I was actually irritated at Mord for casually kicking aside low sec players with the seeming assumption that null sec will always be the be all and end all decision makers. I tasted a bit of anger because this is the very same bias that set me on the path to run for CSM. I was annoyed because like so many others in this game I am passionate about the game of Eve that I play and I do not care to be treated as a random after thought to someone's opinion.

Or I might say, "You don't know me." With a snap of both head and finger.

Before I started writing I read two responses. They were both from low sec residents. There are some stark thoughts laid out by Dravi (Faction Fit Pod Blog Banter #56) about this topic. I was amused because two pilots, of independent groups, who both live in low sec, in very different ways had lept onto the topics back and screamed defiance at the assumption listed in the topic.

The assumption that null sec rules all and that this shift, if it was not productive for null sec would automatically default to them just having and winning everything else. Game over. Null sec wins and low sec is cast aside and that is just how it is.


I'm not going to agree with the framework that even created this topic. Call me not bitter enough about things.  Perhaps, I am in truth the barbarian who stands upon the open plains and screams defiance at a sun they do not understand the science behind. And maybe I am naive in my ignorance, not understanding the complexities that run behind those that make massive interstellar empires and run the pulsing heart of civilization. And maybe my confidence comes from lack of experience and the small window of knowledge that I learn through which shines upon the lurid depths of low sec space.

And there is the simple fact that low sec is not null sec and the very mechanics of the place is also one of its greatest protectors.

Low sec's ecosystem is somewhat delicate. It flourishes It is an urban jungle where meals are picked from balcony gardens or small shops. It does not have the resources to support the major armies of null sec. I think that they would starve. In many ways, the movement into low sec would create the environment that currently cannot grab a foothold to exist in null sec. The ability for the barbarian hoards to climb up their gates and roar in defiance.

There is a cliff, when someone steps outside of high sec. Be they headed to null, wormholes, or low sec they stand on the edge of a chasm. Off in the distance the sun rises on an unknown land and below their feet the void beckons to those who believe. But this cliff may be a leap of pure faith to take but it is one that can be climbed with the ease of taking a step. If null sec were to move into low sec they face the simple problem that high sec exists right over there. For even the deepest of low sec is a shallow pool in terms of space. And the hoard has a impregnable fortress only a few feet away.

I do not believe that there is enough in low sec to bring forth the forces of null. I do not believe that there is enough value in what is in low sec to feed their vast machines. And those machines of war that grind so ruthlessly across the landscape of null security space are to wide for our streets and will mire in the mud of the streets.

I think many underestimate the value of owning space to players who seek their home in null sec. There is great value and motivation to fight for resources, but there is a greater one to fight for a homeland. To wash into low sec in a wave that can conquer it is to wash across the malleable sand and crash into the breakers of high sec. High sec is rich brew that will be only a few jumps away. And that fortress I mentioned? It is the fortress of temptation.

It is so easy to define other peoples actions in neat ways. It is easy to point out potentials of their leadership. But in Eve, even more than real life, the fact that the corporation is composed of the membership is apparent and at its weakness when placed into some situations. Membership must be entertained or they will leave. Because, at the base of it all we have a video game and the players of that game are not held in the same way as they would be in a real military.

Or such is my opinion.

That is why, when this question was posed in its original form I closed my eyes and decided not to comment. The tone suggests that if null sec wants null sec will just take and the only thing that stops them is it not being quite worth their time. And, in many ways, I am used to being brushed aside in this game. The meta game does not whisper about the importance of low sec. Why would it.

You can't own it.

You don't own low sec. You don't own its residents. No amount of changes to industry will create the base claimability that is important to those who indulge in the political structure of null. It is not a place for me or mine and the assumption that the politics of null control the lives of low comes from the same incorrect base that the assumption that low sec corporations cannot thrive in null comes from. An incorrect one that assumes the people there want to be there or in the case of this topic that the space is even such that would support them.

There is a reason that this space breeds the type of resident that it does. And I do not think we are so easily brushed aside.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

CSM9: Day 21

Things have moved at a frantic pace. Kronos is flowing forward and we are settling into our term a bit. A little of the shock has started to wear off to be replaced by enormous stacks of things that we as individual members would like to bring forward. This list increases by the day as people get in contact with us and bring good ideas to the table.

I was able to make two of the meet and greets and one of the stakeholder meetings this week. Next week I should be able to make all of the meetings except the one on Tuesday. Learning who to go for is a very important part of the job. I can take things to any developer but taking them to the correct developer is how I will get results.

We’re starting to post more on the internal forums as we ramp up. We’re getting our direct feedback/feed to channels together and in general Leeloo is a Genie I have decided who appears the moment we have a need. There is a certain amount of comfort to be gained that I envy in those who were here last year. They are well past this point. However, their experience is extremely helpful.

Which leads into the stuff announced this week.

These are being refined still. The feedback has been tremendous and appreciated. It has been read and processed and used to improve and refine this into the useful tool that we want it to be. There are now even more options for them. The redundancy issues have been discussed on the forum thread as well.

Faction Warfare Plex Changes
The Faction Warfare site changes are on SiSi. Please test these and give feedback.

Freighter and Jump Freighter re-rebalance
Whew. This went from rigs to low slots during a lot of discussion and a building threadnought. In looking at this the question was not just customization but flexibility in customization. Rigs created customization but not flexibility. I, for instance, was not going to rig for cargo. Agility and tank were too important to me. While people often have many haulers having many freighters is another thing altogether.

The switch to low slots settled down many of the recurring questions and discomforts that the rig solution had. Some people wanted to know why even make the jump? Why not start there? Well, until we went through the process rigs made sense. Creating something that worked turned out not to be what was wanted. This is where feedback is valuable. This is where the familiarity of the past CSMs came into play. I learned a lot during this process as everyone (CSM/CCP/Good posters) worked for a better result.

I'm giving mad props to mynnna and Steve for being able to create spreadsheets of information out of thin air. Its damn frightening but incredibly useful when we are working over things. But I think they blink and wiggle their nose and poof. Kinda creepy. Good creepy. :P

New low grade pirate implants
I was hoping for my suggested name of bargain-grade implants but I’ll have to be happy with the new low grade. Previous low grade implants are now mid grade. Previous named, but not graded implants, are now high grade. The low grade are new with a smaller bonus. I liked these a lot because I felt they gave an entry level implant option to people who didn’t want to drop half a bil on a low grade set for their head. I had to bite my tongue on this one because I was very excited about it. I hope that it will provide a super nice entry level to fancy implants.

Mordu’s Legion
Coming to a low sec belt near you, flat black skillet battleships, pointy, paper cut inducing cruisers, and little black frigates that are perfect for the first date. These ships excite everyone around me. I will admit that I don’t have missile skills so I won’t be flying one anytime soon.

Medium Microjump Drives
Not on ABCs (Attack Battle Cruisers). This means no 100k jumping sniper fleets of attack battlecruisers.

Thank you to the people taking the time to make good posts, with complete thoughts and reasons for why you do or do not like things. We are reading. CCP is reading. And a lot of productive stuff is coming out of these feedback threads.

There are unfun parts. I learned how painful it is to not be able to tell anyone about a change. I had someone reach out to me and offer me hyperspatial velocity rigs after the Fanfest announcement. We discussed what rigs I’d want for my JF. And, when the revamped low slot discussion started, I couldn't say to them, “yeah I changed my mind.” And it sucked. It sucked a lot. And yes I signed up for it but that doesn't make it pleasant.

We may ask a question but we may not be able to give the answer given. Recently, with the freighter changes we have been accused of not communicating. It is easy for me to say, “What?” But, I’m coming to understand that people really would like a blow by blow update on what is going on. I can't do that. We have to give after the fact summaries. That is the nature of the beast. On every thread every member could chime in and say, “We are aware” or “we are working on it” but I think our over all forum presence has been steady with Mike and Steve leading the pack. Mynnna and Corbexx are also active and the rest of us wander in as we will. I’ve tried to post more on the forums. And when I do, I won't always agree.

CSM Outreach

I decided on June 8th for my Eve Uni chat. I am going to run two sessions and see how that goes. The purpose is to cover time zones to some reasonable extent. I have to write a summary about what it is. It is a meet and greet of me to people for the most part. I really don’t know what to write but I need to get that to Neville. I also pushed it back a week because I got the opportunity to go to Miami this week. I’ll be coming home on the 1st and didn't want to try to mix travel and talking.

I’ve never been a big chat on coms kind of person. I’m working at visiting people and meeting with them. I’m just not one to drop on other peoples coms without planning. I’m trying to be available and listen.

Steve is working on and turning it into a place with features. Nosy Gamer started CSM Wire. Being followed by stuff like this is kind of weird. Seeing myself quoted makes me stop and blink.

Some ideas from the week that I’d love feedback on:
  • Asked on twitter by Ali: “What if characters had flat attributes & no remaps, but everything else was as-is? Better? Worse?”
  • Faction Warfare plexes with no sec hits? (I’ve seen this before as a suggestion and its one I like)
  • Also, Faction Warfare plexes with more restrictions? T2 restrictions? T3 restrictions?
  • Taxes on mining? Yes? No? How?
  • Should we have a make mynnna have his name changed to one with a capital M campaign? I have to keep going back and editing out the capital M.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gradient or Cliff?

Let me dip my toe into the topic of player retention. I had a question posed to me on twitter.

This particular question interested me because I had proposed such a thing a while ago. I wanted to be super blogger and post the old post. I couldn't find it. However, Jean-Mira is better at digging through my words than I am and found it for me. Thank you!

Disclaimer: This is just an idea. It may be bad. It is not something I am actively promoting. Sometimes this CSM thing makes me paranoid.

I proposed a bridge system that would be not low and not high but somewhere in between. It would involve similar mechanics but new space. I'll outline the basics below.

The Idea: Revisit the Past

For those who do not know, Concord was once tankable. At first there was no Concord only the gate and station guns. Later, CCP added them after the faction police and slowly they tweaked up their power until Concord became inescapable death for offenders. So know that the current state of high sec was not its original state but one created to give some security to high sec.

I'm not a huge fan of nerfing areas of space. For one, it just causes rage and most of my ideas are just thoughts. If people are busy raging the entire thought part tends to get drowned out. For another changing mechanics of space in Eve will seriously, negatively effect some pilots. As much as I dislike the fact that some people do not tune into anything about Eve, they still have to be considered. Doing something like changing the security of a system or the method that security works that would place that person in a greater state of risk is a tricky maneuver.

 My idea had 'new' edge space that was controlled by NPC corporations but not the empires. The idea was that the NPC corporation police would be tankable. If one were to attack they'd come after you.  It wouldn't stop ganks but it would provide a backup to players who wished to be more aggressive.

It could harbor those outlaws who hover between kicked out of empire and not outlaw yet. If one so chose. Some protection but not protected. As high sec stands it is war decs, ganks, or get out.

Maybe we need more than that. Not more protection but more types of gradients. But even in that the question is where? I'd fiercely protect any part of low sec from being made safer. At the same time I'm not going to push to nuke parts of high sec. The middle ground is adding space and the idea was creating NPC mid sec that was not owned by the empires but instead owned by NPC corporations. Regions like Molden Heath are perfect for that. With only a small amount of high sec connecting to empire it is a natural buffer.

What I don't like about this idea - It is a bit to themepark feeling for me. Yet, if we need something what is that something to be? We know as a player base, because we verbalize it quite regularly, that there is something needed to help people ease into the more violent areas of Eve.

Why? Why not? The question of what lays in our future is an enormous one. Player retention matters. If we do not want to nerf what we have or buff what we do not wish to become we must think of alternatives. We have to be creative in this period where creation is possible because once the train starts to move we can only guide its path. CCP is going to develop possibilities. We need to do the same, as players, so that we can join in the path of Eve's future and not just react to it.

The idea is just an idea. I thought of it before the current theme of 'empire losing control'. It may or may not fit within that.

I also, frankly, do not think that any more dangerous space will ever be graded enough for someone not to fall face first off of a cliff.

P.S. - If the 'what about changing the world this way' thought posts irritate you and you feel its too CSM focused for regular blog posts let me know cuz I have a stack of them brewing. I'll post them on Sundays if so.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Learning Something New

It was Ueberlisk that noticed the two Naglfar by a POCO in Oddelulf. He went to tackle and called out in our version of an intel chat for DPS and points to lock them down. I was in my Talos, Lime Jello. I was in Lime Jello because I had been on the test server watching the new Talos warp animation. I was comparing the ships side by side to see if the animation had reskinned the Talos any or just added to it. The answer was that it was just an addition wihch is nice. I like the Talos even if it has a weird face like steps.

When Ueber called out for DPS I checked that I was full of ammo and empty of loot and undocked. As I warped I logged into coms and started to get myself sorted. For some, battleships are their default DPS. Maybe, I will get one for that. For me, it is the Talos.

Off I warped taking the long, long time that battlecruisers warp to get onto coms and connected with everyone. There is no fleet up but we know where we are going. Being in a Talos and not knowing what else might be coming I decide to drop in at 20k off the POCO. There I see KD in a Stiletto. Robinton was confused if it was Bosena or Oddelulf because the ping went out with the wrong system. I pointed the second Naglfar and started shooting the on lining depot.

I overheated on the depot and reinforced it with eight seconds left on the timer. At that point the first Naglfar warps off. Ueberlisk was refitting to a billion point Loki but he did not make it back in time. We started to lay into the second Naglfar and he initiates self destruct.

The chances are good that he is going to blow up before we can finish him. We're a Silitto, a Loki, a Navy Vexor, and a Talos. This is going to take a while. However, he ejected! Woah. We stop shooting and Robinton it turns out is a Nag pilot. He tries to get himself sorted and ejected to scoop up the hull when it explodes.

And that is how I learned that if you start a self destruct and eject the self destruct will still count down.

While a kill is nice I would have enjoyed getting the ship more. I love stealing ships. I have several of my own that have been loveingly stolen from other people. A Viator, a Tengu (sold two others also stolen) and a Proteus are my trophy ones. This Nag wouldn't have gone to me but it would have been amazing.

Oh well.

Now the boys are teasing me that I only undock to kill Capitals.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pod Journal: Cyno, Cyno

Crayons and colored pencils. Both are mediums I'm not overly familiar with. I just get at it.

Today, due to time and interest I decided to leave some bits unsketched. Some of it is just me figuring out the perspective of things. All of the curves and angles of the ships are hard. I also have little to no idea what I am doing. Since the goal is to not obsess I try to stop myself when I see that I am.

Ship is colored pencils. Background is crayons. I can't believe how hard it is to color with crayons. All of the soft pastel colors are driving me crazy.  I need to work on less attempt at replication and more interpretation I think.

TCS: Tools

Welcome to TCS.

This is a screen shot of my far right monitor. It is my utility monitor for some reason. My left monitor is my browser/skype/team speak monitor and my center is my main gaming screen. My right monitor also is my secondary gaming screen where I may have Minecraft or Civilization running if I don't have an alt available.

I've been asked a few times of late how I manage my store. I don't use spreadsheets. It may be a bit horrifying to admit but a lot of my stick I can just sit down and start naming. Give me the market interface and I can just blind buy about two hundred and fifty items. But, buying is one thing, restocking is another. I use Eve Mentat (Created by Thart) to keep TCS organized and together. Eve Mentat is a powerful third party tool. Without Eve Mentat maintaining Bosena and my sanity would be a terrible exercise. I'm not skilled to create amazing imported, calculating spreadsheets like Locke over at Eve Prosper. I need other people to make amazing tools for me.

Eve Mentat allows me to use my corporation concept for TCS. I have one alt that buys with the a separate corporation wallet. I do not buy with the main corporation wallet to save myself typos. Therefore I can never accidentally spend all of my money in Jita. A few typos early in the day taught me to be careful with my ISK.

All items sold are broken up into hangars for organization. The market alts then sell directly from the hangars. My market alts are all shades of blue or gold. This lets me know who and what I am looking at when I have four accounts logged in moving things around. My hauler/trade/mining alt is green to give her a unique value but also separate her from the combat windows.

Eve Mentat is much to good for me to use with my unappreciative fingers. If you look at the third column (the one right beside the eve window) that tells me what has been fulfilled (everything sold) and what has expired (I'm bad at this game). One thing Eve Mentat has taught me is that hte corporation API is very limited in many ways for a market. I'd really like to have more of a store but this is as close as I can get to mass combining everything. Eve Mentat holds a directors key from TCS' CEO. That way I can have all of my expired orders in one window.

There are all sorts of nifty functions to pull and compare prices, see averges, and do nifty market tricks. For running a market like Bosena under the Cult of Reasonable Prices, none of that is needed. I set my sell orders from my buy orders. What I use Eve Mentat for is to keep track of what I have sold.

I then buy from that list. No scrolling through the absolutely terrible 'orders' window of the market interface. I did that for the first few weeks and it was awful.  I'd check sell orders and check the market and check buy orders and then copy and paste those to my Jita alt in my alt chat room. It was terrible. This system is not perfect. Somethings slip through the cracks. I don't know if its me, the program, or the API. I'm going to blame the API. However it is 95% accurate and when you are stocking 600+ items that is more than enough.

I cannot express enough how invaluable third party tools are for Eve.

When I am at the other side, in Bosena, I go to my transaction history and flip back to everything I purchased. From that, I can set the new prices as I list everything I have from the corporate hangers. Since the buy orders came from the corporate wallet every alt can see what was purchased. They are nice and red as well, making them easier to find.

I keep a market interface up because I always do a 'find in market' before I list. I do this because sometimes I have two stacks of things. Sometimes someone has undercut me. Sometimes I want to undercut someone else. It lets me see how popular an item is and how large of a sales gap there is. While I love being the cheapest price in town I'm becoming rather happy with being in the middle of the pack. That means the local prices are coming down to Jita levels which improves life for everyone.

You can plug all of the alts in and follow ISK patterns and use all of the pretty graphs Eve Mentat can make. I never do. I play my market loose and casual because that is what I enjoy and that is what works. If running TCS has taught me anything it is that I can relax. I love to keep it in tip top shape but it has grown large enough that it can sustain itself for reasonable periods of time now. That is very, very important with the changes in my game life.

The most complex thing that I have to do is sync my desktop and laptop Eve Mentat's by running it before I go on vacation. This allows me to stock when I am out of town (yes I do) and when I get home do an update without missing much of a beat. Not everyone has that particular problem but if you switch between machines for Eve duties it is a little thing.

Some market links. These are websites which can be nice when one does not wish to load up a tool.

Eve Central
Eve Market
Eve Market Data Relay
Fuzzwork Market Display

Discussing this post, the Inferno trailer came up. The inferno trailer (the frist 75%) is my favorite one. But the quote from the mercenary fits my entire store concept nicely. I've said before that not everything in Eve is something CCP can fix. Sometimes, we have to get up and do it ourselves.

Progress... ...what is it? 
Out here progress is numbers
Millimetres, kilometres, 
Head counts, death tolls
This is progress.

Colonies burned
Ships destroyed
People killed
Money earned

It all comes at a price
and if the price is right
I'll set the universe on fire.

That's what my market is. It's part of why I share it. Some things we do have the power to change, as players. And sometimes you have to set the universe on fire to get it done.

Pod Journal: Front Page

Official Pod Journal Started

I doubt this will be a daily thing in the end. But for now, it is fun to just throw things together. I've been using a sketch pad but ordered a moleskin art journal to use. My medium may change. I'm still at crayon, colored pencil, and glitter pen because why not?

My drawing in the past has always been more natural things. I've never tried to draw tech so I'm venturing blindly into a new world since my only artistic training was from high school. It's been a few years since I did that. For some reason I'm sharing all of this really, really bad drawing.

Today, I just drew things. It is the Minmatar logo, the Sebiestor Tribe logo, an attempt at drawing ISK, the Molden Heath loop, and a few other random things.

I started working on the front page and just playing with colors and shapes. It got a bit odd. I think I'm going to need to shed the egg look that the blue has because right now it makes the Minmatar logo look like an organ which is a bit horrifying. I'll do something with it. Shed that weird egg look. I was just coloring for the sake of coloring and playing with the items. Dangerous stuff.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This Little Hauler is too....

In the middle of all of the hauling rebalancing a theme I see crop up across freighters, blockade runners, and deep space transports is wanting one ship to do the job. There were complaints that deep space transports could not launch modules and that blockade runners were to similar to each other.

I'm one of those Eve players that tends to invest in spaceships because I like them. My scanning alt flies Amarr because I wanted to learn Amarr. Chella flies a Viator because at the time, it was the biggest hauler. My scanning alt also handles my booster business and flies Amarr haulers because, I wanted to.

In my hangar there are many haulers.

When managing my POS for instance I flip between my Bestower and my Prorator depending on tasks. I will be replacing my Bestower with an Impel I suspect with the improvements on the deep space transports. I have a freighter for high sec hauling and I flip between that an my Orca depending on my cargo. I have a jump freighter for jumping and I use that, just for that.

That is five ships of different size and ability to move stuff around. Each one is valuable to me for what it can do.Am I odd in that I don't look for a one size fits all option with my ships?

When I scan I have an Anathema and a Legion. I prefer the Anathema due to it being faster and more agile.

When I PvP I have three races of ships to choose from in both T1 and T2. I only fly two racial T3s.

Why would one hauler fit most of my needs? And when does that start to end? I think its ridiculous to have three different freighters for instance but I don't think its ridiculous to use five different T1 and T2 haulers. Obviously in there is accessibility both in skill points and cost that dictate what I feel is reasonable vs unreasonable. I may also be more prone to ship spread due to my environments effects on my stocking habits.

Do high sec pilots tend to have a large spread of ships or only a handful that they use? I know that I left the tutorials with a stack of haulers that I still have. I settled on my Iteron III (whatever one it is now) as the perfect hauler and I never went back from that one until I abandoned high sec all together and moved into T2 haulers for low sec.

I'm in a learning mood of late. I'm starting to see lots of dots that I'd like to connect a bit better. Maybe it is all the drawing.

Pod Journal: Space Trucking

Because I decided to blog about space trucking I pulled one of my images as inspiration. I got some crayons and colored pencils and went to work. Background is crayon, ship is colored pencil and some glitter pen. Not overly happy with it but I promised myself to draw them fast and just let them go as I explore the medium and try to learn to draw spaceships.

Edited to add my source as requested:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Meeting of Markets

Today is Creativity Day. This is dedicated to the Nosy Gamer. I'm 80% sure he'll like it.

Pod Journal: Sugar Undocked - Archon Down

Mynxee is doing a pod journal where she is drawing images from her eve adventure. Psianh was all, "You need to do it its so cool I started to."

Sure. Why not. Peer pressure. I caved.

I've been wanting to draw eve stuff for a while but I normally work in oil painting. My goal is actually to move to my drawing tablet and draw on the computer. I have a sketch pad that I use for random minecraft inspiration. But for tonight, for a first and quick effort I decided to do a quick sketch in pencil and glitter pen. Maybe I will get some color pencils and try that as a new medium.

I had to take a picture since I don't have the scanner software installed on my computer right now.

Reference material just in case it doesn't come across as well as I'd like.

Reference image:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Saving the World and Other Random Things

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports is a book by James Patterson. I like this series a lot. You have to throw out a healthy dose of practicality and enjoy the somewhat alternate universe. It is just crazy enough to be throw out able as well. Sometimes you just want to indulge in science fiction for the sake of alternate worlds.

Today, I was thinking a lot on Eve. I expect that is unsurprising. Last night, I was discussing (lecturing?) my corpmates on my ideas about how to save the newbies from the world. Hence the title, for I feel as if I am on a bit of a crusade of thought.

To top off my crusade, I logged on and  Vov had just ganked a hauler. Said hauler was moving 500 million in a T1 hauler. We all know that it is too much to move. Vov ganked said hauler who told him that he only had fifty million left. Now, Vov I know was lecturing him about the proper ship to move said goods in. That is good. However, I suspect that said gankee wouldn't be interested in listening when he was down to his last 50 million with all of his stuff gone.

I didn't get angry. I just felt like giving up a little bit. All of this constant energy to figure out how to save the newbies from their own ignorance so that they might make a place for themselves in the shark infested pool we call Eve. And here I was faced with the exact situation. Only, I didn't find it tough and charming. I just found it counter productive to all of my thoughts for the day. It is always easier to burn it down than to build it up. All of my thoughts shuddered like glass one moment before the perfect pitch breaks it. My thoughts of the future are fragile. The problems that I must solve and not break, are a strong reality.

What is a girl to do?

I joined the chat. Said gankee was getting pissy. So I gave him the 140mil sitting on Sugar and asked him to actually take a moment and listen to Vov's advice. Because, Vov does give good advice when it comes to explaining how to avoid being ganked. But, who wants to listen to their ganker? Who wants to be lectured when they are dead and in the hole with all of their possessions gone? I don't normally do this. I don't normally give people ISK. I'm a big believer in giving advice and educating people but today, I was tired. Work was kinda bad.

I wanted to save the world.

I think I just wanted to be nice today. The last few days have been full of negativity. It is what I signed up for but sometimes, I just want to sigh and take a step away from it. Take a breath of clean air and remember that in fact, everything is not terrible.

Because, its not.

I have a world to save. Maybe it will happen one thing at a time. Or maybe I will get to be part of the last battle.

Whatever. I'm up for it.

But not everyone is going to get ISK. :p

Now I have more thoughts to go and spin.

P.S. Rhavas asked if he stopped and calmed down. Yes. And he started asking questions.

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Nine

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous Entry: Red Moon Rising

2006 is almost three years since the launch of Eve Online: Second Genesis. Few trailers have been released during that time. 2006 had two. One for Revelations, which we will get to at a later time.  The trailer, "No Other Destiny" is not a expansion trailer. Instead, it is a story of Eve Online and it was powerful enough to receive three nominations for a Mackie. In this trailer CCP does something they do much better than the trailers ever convey: They tell Eve's story.

It is now March of 2006 and the scent of the Icelandic spring is in the air. CCP is in a good place. They are going to conventions and trade shows left and right. The community is growing. The test server is in play and CCP is working on Serenity, the Chinese mirror of Tranquility. The forums are being tweaked and a search function is being added (I assume they built their forums from scratch). The graphics are getting an upgrade to Direct X10 and optimization for Windows Vista.

Most important thing of the year. My precious Jaguar is being rebalanced to be more amazing. It will surprise no one that ECM is an issue. It still is today. However, along with the Jaguar rebalancing note that bringing issues onto the forums for developer discussion has a long history in Eve as does rebalancing.

2006 is a year with only one expansion released. However, unlike 2004 this seems to be intentional. CCP has a lot of features coming forward (such as Eve voice) but they are also working on the games structure. I find this fascinating because, eight years later, they are in the same place with rebuilding Eve's physical body.

However, the current release is named 'Kali' and it is scheduled to load in a series of smaller patches tarting in September of 2006. Faction Warfare is on this list. So is a contract system that I could say most current day players wished that we had:
This is the most extensive addition in this release, something which will affect players of all ages. Gives you the ability to manage corporations offline and create "missions" for players and corporations alike.
Boosters are being added to eight regions. Salvaging is happening. The Tier 3 battleships (Abaddon, Rohk, Hyperion, and Maelstrom) are on the horizon as well as some new, fresh battlecruisers. They are also adding space to the game with new regions.

Eve Mobile may truely be vapor ware. CCP wanted to produce it as early as 2006 and even had software to show at E3. The 2006 release is going to be very, very large and it is absorbing all of CCP's time.

If anything, these looks into the past show interesting echos.
The world we created still feels a little bit dull for players that are not much into PvP, alliance operations & politics and other activities that don’t involve other players. The group of players that come in mind that feel this lack are mostly the new comers and solo players. How do we fix that? 
This question was the introduction to a blog about the expansion of exploration content. CCP wanted to make a dynamic set of options for players to enjoy. There is a lot of ambition in these announcements and ambition that will not always make it through the final cut.

It is May of 2005 and Eve is three years old. The next alliance tournament is in June. Around this time CCP is producing a lot of dev blogs that explain what they are doing. The state of the current development, the state of testing, the state of the company, and their future plans.

Revelations is going to be an amazing expansion. In June, CCP Hammer details some of the things that are coming. These things include invention for T2 items. Salvaging wrecks to get salvage which will build the newly introduced rigs. Faction Warfare is still brewing. Also, way back then something that has never happened was in the hopeful future, the ability to buy and sell corporation shares. The structure of corporations shows that this was an intended addition but it is one that never happened. Also, the map is getting an update to what we know it as today. Boosters will also be entering the game. I now know that I can go to CCP Tuxford to ask why they feel incomplete. Scanning is also getting an overhaul.

The summer of 2006 is slow when it comes to CCPs activity. There are discussions about the changes but the office is on vacation or working. The dev blogs are more contact and communication oriented. There is a lot of discussion about the future A patch hits in the end of August but it is a code only no content patch.

It is September of 2006 and Eve has passed the 30,000 PCU (Peak Concurrent Users) mark. And while things look amazing they are not. Tranquility is having problems again. But CCP is working on it.

Fortunately, while CCP is doing their thing Eve is progressing as normal. The Eve Investment Bank scam happens. This was back when contracts were based off an escrow and auction system where you could make loans. This was being replaced in the upcoming expansion with the new contract system which we know as the current one (which they are again looking at refining and improving.)

During in a blog discussing the new invention process, the next expansion's name is revealed. Revelations will, as noted earlier, being invention into the game. There is a notation that there will not be battleship invention because there are no Tech 2 battleships in the game.

The fall cascades quickly. Fanfest is late in the year still, unlike its current early year location. There are tournaments happening and the general scope of Eve is full steam ahead. The slow and steady pace of the expansion bursts into energy through October and into the start of November. Eve Online: Revelations will be released on November 29th, 2006.

Next post, we will look at Reveltions release and what CCP was able to bring to the table compared to what they attempted to bring. But, before I go, there is one note from Fanfest 2006 that is very, very interesting.

At Fanfest 2006 CCP announces that they are "working on a system to render and animate full-body characters within Eve. The system will be used to represent your character in-station and other locations where a capsuleer would crawl out of his pod, take a quick shower, throw some clothes on and mingle with other capsuleers".

They have named it, "Walking in Stations".

2006 Eve Online Dev Blogs
No Other Desteny - You Tube
EVE Online News - No Other Destiny Nominated for Mackie - MMORGP
Eve Online Economy Suffers 700 billion ISK Scam - Softpedia

Sunday, May 18, 2014

CSM9: Day 14

Monday, I woke up to forum access. That means I woke up and read a thread linked in Skype and then reminded myself not to sleepy post. I say weird, often bitchy things when that happens. I’m proud of my restraint. I also had a personal agenda to get the MD/DC/VA meet completed and signed off on so that people could make their plans to attend.

The industry delay from Kronos to the next phase in mid July was announced. We had discussed that at the end of the previous week and everyone was on board with the delay. There are a lot of people who say they have no trust in CCP due to broken features that are never fixed. While a delay would not make people happy because people want things, the delay is exactly what was needed to do what people wanted done. This is the incorporation of feedback and suggestions along with time to test the changes.

It is only week two so there is a lot of learning who to go to for things still and learning what people can and cannot do. Kronos is winding down which means most of the discussion is focused around things for Kronos and things about Kronos. Once the next expansion comes up we will see how that develops with suggestions, questions, and answers. I’m hoping that there will be a lot of feedback from the playerbase about industry that we can use to come up with a polished project for the next release.

CCP Leeloo has put in true work and set up meetings with all of the times over the next two weeks. This covers a lot of Q&A ground and helps us know who to take things too and what everyone does. It looks like I will be able to make half of them. The hard copy of the NDA is also in the mail. I didn't need to sign in blood if anyone was wondering.

This is all learning for we new members. As we are brought into the process I try to stick in ideas as I can. Sometimes we talk about the possible future. Sometimes it is about the presents. There are things that are easy to agree on cohesively such as the delay to industry. There are other things where various members disagree because we come from different areas of the game. It is amusing to watch Funky and I echo each other all over the place or team up to express our low sec oriented views for things. I find myself looking at topics not just as it would do for me or low sec but also what I or low sec would do to it.

There is still a lot of feedback from the election process and the voting results. There is no squishing of opinions or thoughts going on. When we talk to CCP we talk to CCP as a bunch of individuals in the same conversation. There isn’t some process where the null sec members get to control the discussion and the non-null sec members have to sit out. In fact, I feel a bit of a confrontational type but I’m attempting to dive head first into every topic from whatever angle I do have on the topic. Sometimes that is as small gangs, sometimes as markets, sometimes as industry, sometimes as just a regular player.

This week was full of discussion and feedback over various things that are now out on the Features & Ideas forums. Things often start as discussions, move to forum posts, and then get set up for public discussion. We’ve been encouraging people to post on the forums. It creates references instead of just being, “well someone said to me,” we can point that stuff out. Greyscale wrote his epic post about how to give good feedback to catch his attention.

---This is the part where I set the post on fire ---

This week some changes came out that some people liked and some people hated. I’ll try giving a hand at what I thought about them  When ideas or changes come up it is not CCP asking us what would we like to do with things. CCP Fozzie has clear ideas as to the direction that he wants to go. From there we give feed back and reasons for or against or sometimes just what we would do with something. We try to think about if we would or would not use it, how we would or would not break it, and such things. Sometimes he agrees, sometimes he does not. Again, we do not approach this as a committee. There are fourteen people with fourteen different opinions. Things get tweaked. Then they go to the forums and they get tweaked again.

People, leave your feedback. I’d suggest CCP Greyscale’s feedback guide as well. But it gets listened to. I’m going to keep saying that over and over again. Please tell what you do or do not like and what reasons you do or do not like them. Explain how and why they are or are not good for you.

Wormhole Connections
I like this. I know some people dislike the fact that there will be more signatures to sort. Sorting out the wormhole signatures is not super hard to do. Corbexx is planning to write something about this to help address some of the problem and make sure that people are informed. I love the idea of more straight connections.

Tool Tips
Yes, these are being looked at with all of the feedback that has come in. TiDi tooltips. Whoops.

DST - Deep Space Transports
Yay! Yay moar room! Yay overheat! They still align like pigs and because of spool up the MJD may not save them from gatecamps. They will still have the MWD/Cloak trick. Also, guns and tank may prove interesting for some. The increase in cargo capacity makes scouting them in very much a thing for people trying to move a reasonable amount of items around, some hulls, some fuel, etc. While they may not bust through a gatecamp the chances of living through a suddenly fleet situation increases. Also, I may get one just for looting the field after a capital fight. In general, I like them. I’d love more base agility and less wallowing pig.  The new skill dependent bonus makes training them to V worthwhile. I also wanted drones for the Gallente one :P

Blockade Runners 
Everyone gets two high slots and the ability to hold 10k m3 fully expanded (this means a packaged cruiser) with a warp speed boost per level trained. I don’t think anyone was surprised by them. The warp speed per level makes training to level V have some value now. Yes, there is some homogenization. However, leaving them unhomogenized made some of them ‘not worth it’ compared to others leaving people with no racial path.

Freighters and Jump Freighters
Joy was not my first reaction when I saw the JF cargo nerf. I use all of my current cargo all of the time. I was expecting 15% or so, not about 30% in the nerf. I want to tank and hyperspatial rig my jump freighter and to do so I will lose a lot of room and have to double the amount of jumps I do to move the same volume. it stings a lot. I’m highly dependent on this ship and the change directly increases a lot of my work. I don't want to cargo rig it. This is a nerf that hurts.

Freighters I was a bit more neutral on due to the current state of ganking. If they are worth enough as they wallow through HS they will be ganked. Carry more tank less. Tank more carry less. The gank will always be focused around the cargo value. I fully believe most people will immediately slap on cargo expanders and make their freighters easier to gank for more volume. At no point were we going to get our cake (freighters and jump freighters are they currently are) and eat it too (rigs on top of their current stats). The ability to customize them also immobilizes them in their rigged state. Why not slots? Modules are incredibly powerful and balancing them to have module fits is another complete nightmare and render base freighters into some caricature of themselves.

What about capital rigs? Right  now I expect the prices to nose dive as people catch up to them. We had the same reaction when capital rigs were introduced and the prices dove into the ground after the expansion.  Now there will be a steady market for them. Freighters are obtainable by the many, many people of high sec and they will need rigs for them. I don’t think this market should be judged by its current state.

There is still a lot of discussion in this subject. Please contribute to it. If you yell at me, please yell constructively so that I can use it productively.

MMJD - Medium Microwarp Drives
I wasn’t in love with this outside of Deep Space Transports. I see a future of attack battlecruisers fleets sniping and bouncing away. At least no one will ask if they are viable. There is the cool down and the spool up. I proposed less range than the LMJD (large mirco jump drive) around 75k. I thought that it was a smaller ship so it had a smaller drive. I also thought that one could make tactical lines instead of everyone being together. I thought about on grid pouncing on logistics. I thought that it would be less room to chase them down and tackle them considering scrams are going to become a vital member of fleet comps. I’m a long point type of girl and I’ve never enjoyed chasing things down only not to reach them in time.

On the topic of good feedback, Kaeda pointed out the impact to kiters with this. I didn’t think of this particular aspect. I’m a bit embarrassed to have missed it but such is learning. This is also one of the most frustrating parts of the NDA. How to get around it to gather feedback during the early part of the discussion without tripping over the NDA part. I feel that I should have worked harder to figure out a non NDA violating approach to this topic. I’ll improve.

I think they have an interesting future but I don't think they are where they need to be right now. This is another area where productive feedback as to the negatives is the best way to approach this. As with the freighters, if you yell at me, please do it in such a way as to give me something to work with. I'm not saying to love it. I'm not suggesting not to be unhappy. I'm just asking you to hate it constructively.

--- End of the Fire ---

CSM Outreach

We had a MD/VA/DC meet last night! It went super well. According to Jamwara I am “logical to a fault”. We had 14 people, Mord popped in for a few hours. There was lots of talking. We had one non-playing spouse so I kept stopping the conversation to do interpretations. At one point when trying to describe what BNI’s CEO was describing BNI as to her I said something along the lines of:
“To try to explain this. Most players get adopted by an adult. That adult teaches them basics of the world like how to look both ways before crossing the street so that they are not hit by cars. BNI is like a group of first graders. But there are 500 of them. They just run into the road with no idea they should look left or right and the sheer mass of them stops any cars. A few are sacrificed but the bulk of them get across.”
Towards the end it was amusing. Psianh was just drinking a full beer without knowledge of who it belonged to. Everyone was wonderful and I am pleased with the time. It gave people time to get there and head home. We will plan another one before the end of June.

My Eve Uni chat should be on June 1st. It’s just “Hi, I’m Sugar, talk to me.” I don’t have a time yet and suggestions are welcome. If I need to do two of them I will (if Eve Uni is willing) to cover time zones. I know I hate when I miss things because of time zones so I’m more than happy to do two to try to maximize coverage. I need feedback on this. It is a big part of my attempt to correct the comments I keep hearing is that people feel the CSM is inaccessible. It is also why I went to Eve Uni. They are a neutral group and their mumble is open and not exclusive to anyone.

I’ve been trying to reach out to people in game. I’m in chat rooms, I’ve written mails, I’ve been trying to have meetings. I’ve wound up on coms to listen to random people who don’t want to type/eve-mail/forum and collect their ideas. If you want a meeting or a chat or something tell me, please!

We also put up a contact us post on the forums.

And I think that's this week.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Uncertain Depth

I wrote a little, silly post to amuse myself about a new module I was proposing called the milkshake. Now, there was nothing serious about my post or my thoughts. I was being ridiculous. However, Altaen said that he'd love such a module. One where it was activated and the player was turned into a beacon that anyone could warp to.

I was a bit surprised. One of the things I like about low sec is the unpredictable nature of the hunt. I actually like that you may not get anything or you may bite off more then you can chew. You never know. It is one reason that I've wondered if I don't 'see' PvP correctly. I am fine with hunting for PvP and not receiving PvP because I enjoy the entire action from wandering onto coms to fleeting up with the boys and working together to find and hunt things.

I'm deeply suspicious that I'm very alone with this. I've often been frustrated when people get irritated that PvP is to much work. My opinion has always been that no one is entitled to PvP. After all, we are players hunting other players. Those hunted are ether hunting or avoiding. The entire exchange is about people interacting with other people with all of the variables involved. I like that and I accept that some days that means I won't get what I want.

So, when Altaen said he'd love that beacon ability two things came to mind.

The first was: Is this what people want? A simpler way to PvP in all places? I ask not as a criticism but out of curiosity. It is not what I want. But, I know there are grumblings for easier access to instant PvP. I know that my corpmates have a tremendous appetite for PvP. I'll get tired and want to go off and do other things while they are still out looking for things to fight with. It is always more and never less.

The second was: What happened to the sun and belts? These are easily warp to things. Of course the pilot has to be found via dscan but why don't we use them more? Or use them anymore? I know that someone will tell me how they or someone else is at the sun or a belt all the time. It is still a warpable beacon.

A module however screams come directly to me I'm here and wanting action. I don't think that it is particularly healthy.

I very much like Eve the virtual world. I like the universe where the player lives and has to go out and make what they want to happen, happen. I enjoy the unpredictability of it even when it is inconvenient. I get stressed warping my jump freighter to a high sec gate and taking down a tower is high intensity experience as I'm just waiting for someone to decloak and do to me what I have helped do to others in the same situations before. It is the same reason that I am focused on tanking my freighters. I know what I  have helped to do to others in that same situation I put myself in.

I've never considered myself a role player but in some wys I am very settled into the world concept of Eve. It may be why I have avoided many preplanned events. I enjoy the unknown future more than the known one. It may also be a matter of what is in a game and what are we here to do in it. I've never been a min/maxer. I wander in, I play my heart out and focus on enjoying myself. I never worry about optimal or best. It may be why I will never be a very good Eve player.

I've always fought pretty aggressively against arenas for the sake of arenas. I've never found them interesting. While this is not an arena it is a gateway idea. I think that immediate and easy PvP will amuse some. I don't think it is a long term solution. It is too shallow. While the fun of fighting may happen and the reward of winning and the risk of loss may happen, removing all the other elements also strips away its depth.

Or I may be absolutely wrong.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Organization and Focus

While I have always related more with Eeyore, there is something about the CSM akin to Pooh and his often chronicled issues of gorging on honey until he cannot escape from the tree. With things to read and catch up on and discuss it feels a bit like an information overload. It also makes it disturbingly easy to fill up on Eve without doing Eve things. While that is expected it has the unpleasant side effect of making me feel out of touch. While it may or at least should get better when things are a bit less new it is still unpleasant to feel disconnected.

Awareness of a problem is how one combats it. While debating is a very consuming pastime it does not leave a lot of productivity in its wake. In fact, it leaves a lot of non-productivity in its wake which exacerbates the problem. I'm seeing this in my writing some and in my gameplay a lot. At some point, I will reach a new equilibrium.

For now, I'm just looking at what has been productive.

A few weeks ago I said that I was going to take down my large tower and switch it out for a medium. On Monday, I did that. Space was slow and I had a few corpmates floating around to back me up. For those who do not know the joys of owning a large POS the take down is not fast. Unanchoring takes an hour. It took another half an hour or so for me to scoop up all of my modules with my Bestower before I could offline it. I also had to dump the fuel and strong.

Once the tower was down, I had to flip and online the new one. That only took fifteen minutes to anchor and then online. Then, fuel, stront, and modules back up and all of my reactions bubbling along. The entire process took about three hours to do. I remember why I was putting it off for so long. However, the fuel savings make it worth it. For any not travelling along with my journey, I only had a large to research blueprints. I've been researching and selling Blue Print Originals for about a year. I have made very little money from it. I was debating getting into T2 invention but I do not see myself actually getting into it as an activity while I am on the CSM. For now, I shall do my book learning before I get my hands on education.

In the middle of that, I managed to catch the tail end of a fight the boys were having with another group in a belt. They needed scrams. With my POS crew docked waiting for timers to count down Sugar was able to flip into a scramming Jaguar and go assist. I have this little personal goal of trying to be on at least one killmail a month. I really, really need to make more effort to get out in space. I'm starting to get down and depressed at my activity levels.

I also restocked TCS. I need to do that again, today at some point. I also need to catch up on all of the buy orders that expired. I am terrible at that. Absolutely, positively, terrible and waste a lot of ISK I shouldn't waste. I can't even promise to work at being better because I think it is an empty promise. I discovered that some of my buy orders expired because I didn't have my accounts set up to sell properly from when I reinstalled my client at the end of last week. The default sell time is 1 day. Let's say I spent a lot of time recovering from that particular action. However, that did get me to Jita where I was able to sell some of my built up stock.

I then turned around and dumped that ISK directly back out into Amarr Carrier for Chella. I think she has the most expensive brain out of all of my accounts which I rather like considering she was my first character. However, that means she now needs an Archon. Bleh.

I ended by making headway on my POCO post. It, however, has pushed the History posts aside. I should pick back up on them next week. I'm pretty sure that I missed some trailers but I'll get that all sorted.

As for now I need to run errands some of which are, to my amusement, Eve related. Tomorrow is the MD/VA/DC meet in Bethesda.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rambling:There is No Carrot nor Enough Stick

[TL;DR: Intro to defining low sec, alpha build thoughts]

In Minecraft there is a item called a carrot on a stick. This item was originally used to ride pigs as a method of transportation. You made a fishing rod, put a carrot onto it, tossed a saddle onto a pig and off you went. There was some convenience to it but mostly it was amusing. The pig would go anywhere the carrot on the stick pointed, following it without looking where it is going. If you take that pig over a high enough ledge you earn an achievement, "When pigs fly." The pig doesn't fly. It just blindly follows the carrot.

Sticks have an interesting place. They are used to hold the carrot out. The stick is the push and the carrot a lure. When one becomes frustrated at ones Mminecraft pig, the stick can be used to beat the pig to death. There is no motivation other than receiving a pork chop (which is a lot of motivation for some).

Per Wikipedia:
The "carrot and stick" approach (also "carrot or stick approach") is an idiom that refers to a policy of offering a combination of rewards and punishment to induce behaviors.
In Eve the carrot and the stick translate, roughly, into nerf and buff. However, they do not translate cleanly. To nerf or buff a ship or ability to rebalance the game is a completely different act than to nerf or buff an activity or aspect of the game with an intent to more players to or from an area.

One reason I have not worried about the fears to move people out of high sec into other parts of the game is because people will not move. There is no carrot nor enough stick to make them do something as huge as moving in the game. Even nerfs just cause people to double down and figure out new methods that fall inside of their perceived tastes.

When I started writing this I was thinking about the worries people have that CCP is trying to chase them to null sec. I don't find this to be the case. The shift of balance may not be appreciated but I don't think it is a direct drive to push the people currently doing things to null sec. It is instead a motivator to get the people currently there to actually do things. I the middle of that some people will choose to jump ship in ether direction. Some to null sec and others onto the 'screw' this train because being nerfed sucks.

And there isn't an easy way to nerf someone but a nerf isn't always about the application of stick. Applying stick is about nerfing with intent to move. Sometimes nerfing happens because it needs to happen or because balance is going to change. Sometimes nerfing happens accidentally, and that is often the case of low sec, my true thought topic.

Right now, with Kronos, low sec is suddenly getting attention it did not seem that it was going to get. CCP is now paying attention and they are paying attention in a way that I like.

"Sugar, moar people in low sec please!" often translates into more targets or fights. "I don't want low sec to be cluttered!" is the other argument. Nor do I but we really, really do want someone to be here. How does that happen? Many aspects of Eve now cannot be picked up in low sec and moved in a viable method. Let me show you a chart from 2012 that may help to explain this.

This chart is from a dev blog after the release of inferno that discuses the barge changes. I don't actually care about the bulk of the chart for this particular post. What I care about is the bottom. If you look at the bottom of a chart there is a red line. That is not trim. That is how much of the games minerals were mined in low sec. This chart has not gotten any better and if anything it has only gotten worse with the battlecruiser nerf, the cruiser buff, and the rise of interceptor gangs.

And that is fine. What I am hopefully saying is that no amount of carrot or stick will get people into low sec as they currently play Eve. We will not be transporting great mining fleets to comp placidly through the belts of Molden Heath. Not for more than a few days at least.

And that is okay.

I don't think that everything needs to be the same. I don't think that we should be driving people into low sec to do exactly what they currently do somewhere else. Instead, things that people may want to do should be developed and they should be developed in a way that the person can successfully do it.

That is why I am excited about the Mordu's Legion and the new ship skins. I'm excited for non-microtransaction ship skins. I am more excited that they will be in randomly spawning low sec content. The same goes for Mordu's legion ships. I can't even fly them properly because I have no missile skills. But they will be available in low sec in such a way that people will have to go out looking for that. That means people are out in space, hunting for things that will fill their bellies with ISK. They are moving, scanning, aware, hunter and hunted. And that is the low sec that I want to see.

I want to see one where people decide to come in and do things. Not all of them will stay. In the carrot and stick methodology, the goal is to keep people in low sec by giving them a way to do what they currently do elsewhere. Instead, I want people who are interested in being in low sec and living off of options that give them a chance to succeed and a chance to fail.

Brando and I were discussing the industry changes. We'll be testing them heavily and our hope is that viable building can happen in low. I was talking to Altaen about transporting goods and he suggested deep space transports get a ship hanger that lets them move a fit cruiser or two after he asked. That question was spawned after I explained that I want people to be able to productively move around in low sec without so much inconvenience that its soul shattering (dozens of blockade runner trips to fill a POS) or higher end game play (jump freighters are expensive and need a specialized set of accounts).

I think for the industry changes to spawn something (and what that something is I don't know) to change low sec it will have to be a thoughtful combo of industrial changes along reasonably obtainable by the average player logistic possibilities. It will have to be something that someone who is self motivated will say, "Hey! I think I can do that."

I think I am starting to create my definition of low sec.

P.S. Raw carrots rule. Cooked carrots drool.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monotony Past

I decided to take a little time to get out into space on the test server. The Kronos items are starting to appear. CCP recently announced that they are pushing back the industry build for another six weeks. The reason behind that is so that they can properly test the changes. They received a lot of feedback from the dev blogs and even more at Fanfest. They listened and started working it in. The side effect is that the industry changes will be delayed for a few more weeks while the rest of the content is pushed forward.

I was very involved in testing with Odyssey. Exploration was a main activity of mine and Tags4Sec were also introduced. I test from my perspective as a low sec pilot doing these sites as part of their daily money making tasks. With Kronos, I hope to do some of the same. We will be getting a new pirate NPC that drops ship blueprints. I'll also play around looking for ore site spawns and eventually I'll do a very bad job at playing with industry in some sub-optimal way to get a feel for it.

I am quite bad at finding new features on the test server. New builds drop and about an eighth of a second later people have uncovered goodies, such as when dual character training came up. I'd have missed that completely. I test serer like I play which may make me bad at testing. However! I don't let any of that stop me.

No rig slots for my freighters yet! However, station skins appear to be in and I admit that they are gorgeous.

I wandered over to Molden Heath in the dumbest way possible. I auto piloting, on the test server, through low sec. I have no idea why I did it and about halfway there I realized that it was stupid. However, I was doing things on other accounts such are moving items and making jumps to deliver for both corporation and store. The auto piloting thing was dumb but I did it anyway. Some of the most amazing scenery is right around gates.

I was reminded of my desire to have a bit more tech overload in the game. I'd love to have more billboards that show different things. I've stated my desire for faction warfare billboards that announce the war zone stats. I'd love to see adds from NPC corporations and warnings from Concord. 

I auto piloted home and met the new Bosena. 

And while I still can but cover my eyes at the space camouflage, it has character now.

The station skins are racial. It makes for some pretty stunning images. The most arresting, for me, is Ueber's home in Oddelulf.

Black and red with a slight glow and burning torches around its edges are the perfect accent for the Dragon of Oddelulf.

Station skins are a small thing but I think they are amazing in the way the path drawn through space is.  Now you will have a visual indicator when you warp to the wrong station. The monotonous sameness is gone in many ways. More than the names the skins separate the different corporations that occupy a system.

It is also pretty.