Sunday, June 29, 2014

An Unhappy Reevaluation

I think I've lost a battle that I was waging all alone, off to the side. Although I have my corporation and find a lot of my anchor in Eve many of my activities outside of PvP are done alone. They are things that I do simply because I wanted to do them. Others have been my way of justifying myself and making myself a valuable and useful person. This is a game where you can leverage your personal skills to make something for and of yourself. Being a mediocre pilot and lacking the talents of those around me when it comes to fighting and flying solo, I've struck out on a path to still bring something to the table.

I've commented that I stopped selling boosters earlier this year. Someone else slipped into my market, undercut me, and started to stock. It happened before but never anything overly permanent. This time, whomever is filling the market is doing well. They are doing better than I am.

I was changing out the last of my reactions the other day. I need to buy some blueprints to build from but I realized that I'm sitting on four billion ISK in boosters right now and no place to sell them. I built my own little bit of booster selling Eden and managed to get kicked out of it.

That leaves me with two paths. One is that I need to find a new place to sell boosters. This is not as easy as it sounds. The booster market is not what one would think it would be. Sales seem to be the individual who needs a handful or the alliance who needs hundreds. The markets are often bare but people don't even think to look for them. Add in the pain of moving them and the lack of contract abilities to manage them remotely and I find that my stubbornness is being ground down by reality.

I started making boosters because I thought they would be interesting and it sounded cool. I also filled a void no one else wanted to. I continued for those same reasons. Now, I'm honestly pondering pulling down my POS until my backlog sells. I've been bleeding ISK for months.

But to take my POS down is admitting to losing a battle I've been fighting for two years. A battle against the words someone said that pissed me off. And like other battles that I've waged where rational thought and stubbornness clashed I have to decide if this is the best thing for me. I'm not good with sales. I'm not that person that does a good job running out and meeting people and trying to sell them what I have. Plus, what I have was always small and focused around those around me.

I feel that my project has failed. I could keep it going forever, propped up by my other incomes. But, I have to ask myself if I am doing things for anything but my desire to prove my worth. And, if I've not managed to do so by now I don't think that it is going to help. The person who angered me so much never had a drop of respect for me, probably doesn't remember the conversation, and never logs in. I'm fighting a fight only I can see.

Do I mothball the project until I get some of these boosters sold? I have about four billion in standard boosters on hand. I never built improved and strong because the cost would not have repaid itself. My booster corporation has around nine billion in assets that have just collected over the years. Maybe I will liquidate some of it and come up with another project that can use it.

I've been asked why don't I chase the other sellers off the market. This is where my own philosophy bites me in the butt. They are selling for less than I can sell. I could chase them off and raise the prices. That goes against my entire goal of regional improvement and creating a place where things are sold for reasonable prices. The concept is going well it just happens that the person benefiting from it is not me. Unfortunate that.

I am a bit sad. Losing battles is not fun. Even self made ones that no one else knows about. Not succeeding at tasks is unpleasant. In this game where you build your empires you can also lose them. This is a small thing and something many would not notice. Yet, it is a large thing for me. it was one of my first acts of defiance and attempts to be someone worth having around.

I'm not done with or quitting the booster game. I just need to take a new approach. An approach that is less created off of stubbornness now that stubbornness has run its course of productivity. And, hopefully I will find it.

CSM9 - Day 56

Month two and summer is into full swing. That means it is quiet on the Skype and forum horizon.

Not that we do not talk to each other and those members of CCP that are around. We had a meeting on Friday and I was well pleased that I was home to make it. I simply cannot call in from work and being there and listening to recordings are very different things.

Most of my CSM duties right now are self made. My PvE little things project goes well. Other little things are being tossed my way too. I gather them all up and file them. We’ve moved a step closer to our CSM9 little things initiative.

We are just under a month from Crius. In a way its detachment from Kronos really overshadowed what a large, game shaking expansion this is going to be. This is the industry expansion that Eve has been waiting for and I don’t think that is going to sink in until after it is released. I've been joining in random teaching sessions in high sec on my alt about the fact that industry and refining and reprocessing is going to change. For those participating in the Crius development the test server was remirrored earlier this week. Many bugs fixes are in. The threads are rolling along productively on the feedback forum.

There is a discussion on the forums about ISBoxer and asking the CSM to pressure CCP to ban it. If such a topic or decision comes up I’m in favor of doing away with ISBoxer.

Inside my own social circles I am looking to the future. I do not know what is coming for ship rebalancing. I am making educated guesses based off what has already been rebalanced and what is left. I’ve opened up a thread in our Molden Heath forums for people to preload their thoughts and opinions. Because of the NDA I am trying to get things out of the door before they become NDA topics.  Plus, having seen Fozzie in action I need to preload myself for whatever he brings to the table.

In the area of sharing. Susan Black suggested I start a low sec Skype chat. I’m interested. The Molden Heath jabber server has a public chatroom. If anyone wants to sign up for it they can add me to their jabber lives if they wish.

I also got my husband still long enough to look at his travel schedule and book my rooms for Eve Vegas. If you are going, I will see you there. If you are thinking of going, go. I’m pretty easy to find if you are interested. Plus, I’m going to get a hoodie that says Sugar on it just to make it that much easier to figure out who I am.

Weekly reminder about my monthly Open Q&As. The next is July 13th at 1500 and 2200.

And that about wraps up this week. The slower CSM front has meant more normal game time. All in all, I’m having a lot of fun.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Broken Contract - Conclusion

The need for auditing is never clearer than when there is a mistake and you are the one on the short end of the stick and you are worried about things being a scam. Part two of today's adventure left me with a lot of communications and some missing items en-route.

My little contract fiasco wound up with me invited to their freighter channel. These guys appear to be legitimate freighters. He said that he has been out of the game for eight months. He had grabbed my ships and sent one of his corpmates down from Jita to Teon with them. It meant another few hours so I went out again. When I came back I had a convo that the new contract was up and everything should be settled.

I did another audit and I discovered that I was short three Comets. I didn't notice them the first time around. While a Comet is about 17 million ISK I wasn't going to let three of them just slip away into the void. I felt a bit bad. I should have noticed those Comets the first time around. However, I did notice them the second and the entire incident was not exactly my fault.

To look at the contract system again. Courier contracts do not list their contents on the contract. This is frustrating. Now, in an ideal world no one should make mistakes. However, it happens. I've broken courier contracts from corpmates before because the value was to high for me to move the shipment in one go across high sec. Or, the shipment was to large for a jump freighter. I could always throw the contract back in the face of the writer and tell them to get it right. That's not me. I have this thing where I'm happy to work with people when mistakes are made.

Still, I was getting my Comets before I accepted the contract. I wasn't in the mood to wait for the Comets to ship from Jita. The day goes on and TCS needs more items. They could go in the next shipment. The deal was simple. Contract me the Comets and I will then accept the contract with the collateral and everything else. He agreed and a few button clicks later I was set.

I did have one party offer to cover my cost if I would bite into a scam. Because it turned out not to be a scam I gave them their ISK back. I appreciated the gesture. In a way they were paying for me to write through the adventure.

But, I'd have written about it anyway. Eve is full of little adventures for me. It is not just the huge things such as the CSM that draws me. It is the little things. I've been watching my mining systems local chat. They sell Orca boosts to each other. They've also been updating each other on the Crius changes. That was interesting. Some people had no idea industry was going to change. I watch their war decs and the gankers at work as well. I find them interesting, these daily bits of Eve Online.

And so concludes my story for today.

A Broken Contract - Part Two

I am probably supposed to wait till tomorrow to continue these posts and stretch it out and such to build suspension and readership. However, that's never been my style.

After I wrote A Broken Contract - Part One I went and ran errands. When I returned I discovered that my courier had finally answered my Eve Mail.

Re: Mistake made
From: Haibisukasu
Sent: 2014.06.27 14:04
To: xxxx  
There are 3 Stiletto, 2 Dramiel and 2 Taranis missing.
Re: Re: Mistake made
From: xxxx
Sent: 2014.06.27 17:36
To: Haibisukasu,  
Really? I'm so sorry I will go back and they to find it. I feel really bad about the mistake.
Re: Re: Re: Mistake made
From: Haibisukasu
Sent: 2014.06.27 18:08
To: xxxx  
The ships are going to be sitting in Teonusude still in your ship hangar. I advise you to cancel the contract and recreate it with the ships included. Make sure to check all the little boxes or just do it from the asset window so that you can shift+click all of the items on the station. I assume you do not stage out of Teon and you will not need to sort your personal assets.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Mistake made
From: xxxx
Sent: 2014.06.27 19:51
To: Haibisukasu,  
Just cancelled the contract.. Hoping your merch show up here  
In the end the ships did show up here. Here was Jita where he had unpacked and done whatever he had done. He convoed me again.
[19:57:03] Haibisukasu > hullo
[19:57:04] xxxx > Are you there?
[19:57:08] Haibisukasu > uh huh
[19:58:07] xxxx > Hey, you were right, they are sitting in Jita. Please let me go get them and deliver them to you...that's the least I can do.. I feel really bad what happened. Is that ok?
[19:58:24] Haibisukasu > yup
[19:58:45] Haibisukasu > I can't refund you until the courier is overdue and I can cancel it
[19:59:40] xxxx > Thanks. I have another Corp mate there and he can bring it out.. Give me a few mininutes... Thanks.  And I hope I get a chance to work for you again.
[19:59:59] xxxx > ok
[20:02:15] Haibisukasu > cool
[20:04:49] xxxx > I already put the collateral of 1 bill isk on the other contract correct?
[20:12:58] xxxx > You there?
[20:13:22] Haibisukasu > yes
[20:13:26] Haibisukasu > was in another window
[20:13:34] Haibisukasu > yes
[20:13:43] Haibisukasu > I suggest you cancel it and rebuild it when all items are avilable
[20:14:08] xxxx > just wanted to know if you still have the other contract for the collateral?
[20:14:23] xxxx > ok
[20:16:14] xxxx > contact you when everything is completed
I happily admit I'm semi-AFK. I don't even know why I still have Habi logged in. This guy logs in and logs out. I still find the entire thing strange. I'm not accepting a contract that is not completed and I can't figure out why this is hard. It does not have the polish of a scam but it just seems strange.

I'm a bit irritated. TCS is not stocked and that was one of my goals. I like to do it earlier in the day. Thankfully, the repair technician appears and my air conditioning is being fixed.

A Broken Contract - Part One

What a morning quandary I woke up to.

Last night I decided to write some public contracts to move items for TCS. The middle week went well and I rolled about 1.2 billion worth of items in two and a half days. Pleased, I decided that I'd use the overnight hours and my occupied early morning hours to see how the public courier contract system might go. I also decided that I would write my contracts as I normally did but lower the reward a bit and see how that went. I kept them below a billion ISK. One was for about 920 million ISK of random TCS needs and the other was about 600 million ISK in hulls.

It went well. Both contracts were picked up and delivered when I got up.  The contract that was just hulls was completed. The other contract had a mail waiting for me.
Mistake made
From: xxxx
Sent: 2014.06.27 12:29
To: Haibisukasu,  
Hi Haibisukasu,
I accidently openned the wrong create as I was carrying another crate along with yours and accidently openned yours.
I had to rpackaged your merchandise and forfit the reward but I need my collateral returned please..
Thank you and sorry for the mistake.
xxxx Freight 

Haibisukasu is the CEO of TCS and my main TCS market alt. They are all equal but she is my favorite. Because I wrote contracts to people from TCS she is the one who gets the eve-mails. Sometimes it was from Red Frog for various things. Today, it was the one listed above.

Well, that was annoying. I had planned to stock TCS in the morning before some some errands. I'm waiting for the AC repair person to hopefully arrive today. Now, I found myself double checking the list.

When you write a courier contract the contract information does not show you what was in the contract. Thankfully, TCS buys from the corporate wallet. It was easy enough to flip back and do a comparison of what should have been in the contract. I wasn't just going to go, "Sure" and click okay. You see, he had written me an item trade contract for the cost of the collateral so that he got his collateral back and I got my items.

That should have been simple but for two things. The first was that the contract was not cancelled and is still floating in the wind waiting to expire later today. I don't have that billion ISK from the contract failing. The second problem is that not all the items are there.

I've been doing this for a while now and my 'eye' has gotten good. I noticed that the list looked short. A comparison showed me that it was. I was missing seven hulls that had been included in that shipment. Those hulls came out to about two hundred million ISK.

For anyone that writes a lot of contracts for items and hulls the contract system is a pain. What he probably did was open his item hangar and select all and write a contract. The ships, however, are in your ship hangar. This exact pain in the butt aspect of contracts is why I love using the market delivery window to write my courier contracts out of. It creates less work for me because both hulls and items are listed there.

Anyone wonder why some of us long for a more better contract system?

So, I was left with seven missing ships. I sent him an eve-mail to tell him that he had overlooked the ships. I then  checked to see if he was online. He was. I decided to send him a chat to get things finished and my day back on track. Only, I guess he is AFK. I have received no response to my chat request or my Eve mail.

Now, I can assume malice in the missing hulls. I don't. However, I don't also assume a lack of it. I'm going to be neutral about this topic. He has about ten hours to correct his mistake. Otherwise I get the collateral and I can just buy everything. again. That leaves him in a bad place because he now has a stack of items I'm sure he has no use for. I'm willing to work with him but I'm not going to spend a week chasing down this situation to its resolution. I do have a business to run and I can't fully wrap my mind around how he managed to break the wrong contract. It is weird enough to leave me uncomfortable.

P.S: I know public couriers can be looked up. If someone is that energetic, more power to them.

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Eleven

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous Post: Revelations in Pieces

Spring is in the air and along with it comes to promise of Revelations II's launch in June. But, it is not yet June of 2007 and we have just worked our way out of a winter fraught with scandals that will follow Eve into its next decade.

Eve has 160,000 subscribers. Faction Warfare is one of the big promises on the horizon but it has not yet been released. Eve Voice is active and still going through its release pains and a major mission overhaul and expansion is underway. There is a very interesting statistic tossed casually into this developers blog by CCP Oveur:
We're also overhauling the top 70 mission encounters in the first Need for Speed agent initiative. It might not sound as much, but if you think that 1 encounter might have itself spawned 5000 times over a day, there's considerable "bang for the bucks" in making them more fun, challenging and perform better on the server and client.
That was early in 2007 and a mission might be run 5000 times a day. I suspect that the player base is doing an even better job at running those missions today. We may need to appreciate that there are so many distressed damsels out there.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Day in Space

It started the night before when I found myself in an Ishtar in null sec.

"That's why we fly Ishtars. We can't afford ammo," was Floyde's deadpan response when I was teasing (myself included) about our PvE. KD had asked if anyone wanted to do some Besieged sites and I had turned Vov down on a twisted wormhole journey to a 5/10 only to assist Floyde and Robinton on a 10/10 in null sec.

The state of low sec has been good. All of the new exploration sites and wormholes are downright intoxicating. Where huge swaths of space would be empty and you'd jump into a system and sigh, now we're slamming face first into stuff.

The corporation has started to use Siggy. These are wormhole mapping programs that we are now using to chart pathways using the increased k-space to k-space wormholes that were introduced with Kronos. This now means that four jumps can land you in a back end region halfway through Minmatar space to run a 5/10 complex instead of running the same old same old in the backyard. We are not going through wormhole space we are just using wormholes instead of gates. It's a lot of fun.

When I got up today I decided to go to Istodard and pull the dust cover off of my Legion. That ugly beast that I created so long ago has sat, unused, for a year when I walked away from exploration after Odyssey. The scatter containers are gone and there are lots of interesting sites out there. I've been wanting to find faction POS mods for instance so it seems like I should go and give it a try. And how rusty I was. How unfamiliar I am with things that were once second nature.

But this is Eve and we have chores. I switched out my POs reactions and dumped my silos. That done I waded into the depths of our pocket to shake the dust off.

I found my first ghost site. I was a bit worried after randomly slamming my Cynabal into a besieged site and almost dying until Altaen and Kenrin came and saved me. I was nervous because I know they blow up. However, my Legion was good for it. Four cans and an unknown amount of time. I microwarped to the first one and frantically burned through the hacking game. Thirty five shattered villard wheels as a reward. I was excited. On my way to the next can rats warped in. I said on coms, "This means its going to blow up doesn't it?"

"Yes," I was told.

"Oh." I made it all the way to the node for the last can before "Hacking Failed" and everything exploded. I was fine. A bit of shield damage. I had put on my armor repper just in case. I wound up with a bunch of shattered villard wheels. Those are selling nicely. I looked sadly at the empty grid where four more cans had once lived and warped off. I wound up selling them to Kaeda who needed them to build a blue print copy from a site he had run earlier.

After that, I decided to do what I meant to do when I first built my legion. I unloaded my spoils and ran off to Great Wildlands and started exploring. Over the course of the day I worked my way through most of the system and then decided to descend even deeper into null sec and work my way through Scalding Pass, Sov Null for Northern Associates. and a few chunks of Northern Coalition.

I kept finding pools of humanity. In NPC null there would be random systems with a tower around which huddled many, many ships. Sometimes there were a handful of players moving through but it was quiet. Eerily quiet if I compared it to my mining alt whose local was a steady stream of chatter. I found relic sites and one data site as well as another ghost site in my wanderings. I avoided populated systems and I came to realize that my Legion setup needed to change.

This is my original legion back from when Relic and Data sites had NPCs in them. Now I need something to make the hacking game out in null sec better. I've lost a few cans and my skills are maxed. Slowly I accumulated a cargo hold of goodies slurped out of the scattered sites that I found.

I did stop to undock Sugar and assist in a fight. I've developed habits to make safe spots off the beaten paths. There is no sitting cloaked at the sun at zero for me. I had very little fear. My Legion is cloaked and nullified. I slipped through the occasional bubbled gate and slunk into the depths of space, puzzled by the occasional silent faces in local. I did not worry about loss. This ship has paid for itself time and time again. It is simply fit for the task of exploration.

And so I wandered deeper. Further than I ever have alone. I swept into Wicked Creek and slipped through the lands of The Unthinkables. And I was alone. Yet, I was excited. I had planned to do this so long ago and I never had. I had fears of null that held me back and now they were gone. Or, maybe it was just personal growth that I had not noticed. Yet, I did not long to dock at home. Eventually, I logged out in space. I was to far to burn back home and things were going on in Molden Heath. Priorities.

And thus my day full of Eve ended with a fight in classic small gsnh warfare I do enjoy (the falcon was not ours). my mighty Throax was brilliant as it died. And I realized that I was so rusty I forgot to deploy my drones. Whoops. But I felt good. Good fights in local and a trip back home in my pod.

I may need some oiling. Nothing a few more fleets won't smooth out. All in all it was a good day out in space.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

3 Months of a 3% POCOpire

The idea of owning items in space is appealing. It helps us sink deeper into the world of Eve. In any game, owning stuff draws people in. There is something appealing about this place being my own, be it a system, a POS, or a POCO.

Player Owned Customs Offices are one of those interesting items in Eve. It is easy to never deal with or interact with them at all. Yet, they are landscape features and bits of the terrain. They are warpable objects in space. They are sources of revenue. They are a reason for combat.

My acquisition of a POCOpire was accidental. I started with Bosean simply because it was where I had Established the Cougar Store. Without banners, I thought that having the POCO labeled would be a mini advertisement for me. I could ‘own’ the system in a way. I had no idea if it would be worth owning but I decided to give it a try.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pod Journal: Point

This has been floating around in my head for about two weeks. It is why I haven't drawn anything else. Now, hopefully, I can move on. It didn't turn out half bad.

The Corporate Individual

I was reading Serpentine Logic's reddit response to my weekly summary where I discuss taxes. He says:
"Taxes is a philosophical/organisational issue as well as a logistical one. Corp taxes makes it easier to administer a corporation from the top down, since it's a bottom up wealth transfer."
I liked this response a lot. It made me go, "Ah. That's what is bothering me. What is a corporation in this game?"

When the original subject of corporate taxes was broached to me as a CSM member I had to hold back my knee jerk reaction. My knee jerk reaction was, "No! How dare you tax me! I'm free! Freeeeeeeee! I'll participate because I want to!" However, my rebellion is not always well thought and the topic of corporate taxes was much larger than my little burst of independence.

Also when discussing corporate taxes people go, "Ship Replacement". Now, as someone who has never had ship replace and does not desire ship replacement it is a reason that is hard for me to work through. It is very easy to say, "I don't care about ship replacement." I don't. However, other people seem to care. People say that ship replacement improves their game play and causes them to play where they might not.

It is, I believe, an obvious answer that greater flexibility is needed for corporation activities. But, before that we need to look at the fact that a corporation in Eve is no longer a simple social group for players to do activities cooperatively. Corporations in Eve have accounts, savings, corporation assets, ship replacement programs, rental agreements, bills, supplies, alliance taxes, paychecks. Corporations in Eve are no longer just a social group that works together. If anything they have mutated to a point where their individuality has to be addressed.

My original worry was for the new players that will wind up in the shark tanks of high sec corporations that will tax them to death for things that they will never fulfill. However, these corporations kill die from their own poor structure. Also, this already happens. I am reacting I believe to my own first corporation and not looking at the big picture.

The big picture is that Eve corporations are living, breathing entities and they need flexibility and they need income. In the beginning, Eve was a MMO. Players would play and fight and make money and the corporation taxes would absorb money. But, as Eve aged the players aged as well and they started to create their own game.

My own personal examples are my market, my boosters, and my exploration. These are my three main income streams and none of them are taxable by my corporation but the NPCs I kill in combat sites. I don't want to have any of these things taxed but I'm not sure if being able to tax them would be bad. After all, if I disagree with the tax I can leave my corporation. Although, that is easier said than done just because an option is not the one you want does not mean it is not an option.

We have corporate income and we have decided(?) that bottom up income is for the best. I think what I am looking for is accountability of the corporation to the members. I also feel that many people would say no to this. Yet, I wonder if we can introduce some type of reasonable fiance sheet that a corporation can produce. If the corporation gains more potential to support itself through its members should it also gain more accountability to its members to see what they are doing with the assets. If the answer is that members should trust their leadership then I would  ask why should we change corporation taxation when the leadership should just trust the members to pay their taxes as agreed.

I very much want to empower corporations. But, I want to empower the corporation and not just the handful of people who run them. My discomfort with increased revenues of taxes is not coming from thinking those things are bad but it is coming from leaving the members pouring those assets into the corporation.

We will have to figure out what we want from these more flexible, greater corporations. I do not think it should just be taking from the membership. Do we want a tool powerful enough for us to create a true paycheck system? Where PvP corporations can sell loot and such as the corporation and then a simple series of button presses will pay them out? Are corporations for the members or are members for the corporation?

How real do we want corporations to be?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Ore I Mine is Free

I noticed today that the price of Tritanium in Jita is just over 6 ISK a unit. Wow. When I started it was around two. Just in case I was having dreams of a past long remembered, I searched around and wandered upon Eve Market Data's price history graphs. With a few clicks I made it look as if I knew what I was doing.

The last price spike for Trit was Odyssey. That made sense because the material requirements were changing on a lot of ships. People were building now to save money and hopefully make money, later. It also somewhat explains the crash. There was a huge backlog of ships. Prices for many T1 hulls were depressed for quite a while.

I earned my first hundred million ISK mining my heart out in a poorly skilled retriever in Derelik. I never disliked mining. I quite enjoyed it. There was a time that I figured out how much ore I made per cycle. I did learn to do things that made more ISK and mining became a side project. I stopped it when ganking became a very popular thing. I just didn't want to lose a ship because of a gank. Plus, I was busy.

Now, I've come full circle. I am still busy but it is in a way that I can AFK mine. Instead of having that particular alt logged off I have her off on the corner, in a Skiff mining. I started a few weeks ago. I use the minerals to build various blueprints that I have on hand. It builds up nicely. I'll build a few hulls and feel good about myself. I enjoy it.

I know that I'm supposed to write how ashamed I am of mining and all that other stuff. I'm not. I like resource gathering. I have two accounts training into prospects an then those new low sec sites are mine. I've never understood why people attempt to convince me not to do it. I'd not be doing anything else with that alt or account. I'm not, not doing other things to mine. Mining is on top of all of those things so why shouldn't I do it?

Anyway, back to the topic. Trit may go back down. I am not sure that it will. With the reprocessing nerf racing towards us at full speed I expect to see the minerals go up. The above chart nicely shows the bump that mining gained when the drone minerals stopped dropping after the Inferno expansion.

Now with the reprocessing changes facing us and the industrial revamp with Crius the market is in major fluctuation. 

I decided to build myself the Machariel's I mentioned the other day. I am going to assume the boys will cheer as I start accumulating billion ISK losses because it means I am out and about. My not undocking has become a bit more of a joke than I wish for it to be. I need to work at correcting that some.

But over in my third screen...

The actual title is "Why I am Mining Again" but I picked that one to poke Locke in the eye after our chat the other day.

Stuff Spread

I had to run Chella to Rens the other day. I was building things and Rens happened to have a particular piece at a very good price. When she got there, to my astonishment, there was an Orca sitting in my hangar. And, I found myself staring at this Orca. This Orca in my hangar. It was a while until my lips moved and I asked myself, "Where did this come from?"

It turns out that I purchased that Orca in December. I did it as a favor to someone who needed ISK. I wanted another Orca for a project I was going to do over the winter. Instead, I ran for CSM and that project fell to the wayside and the Orca sat in its hangar under a dust cover until I stumbled upon it again.

My asset list needs cleaning. I used to clean it regularly. But, sometime over the last year or so I've fallen out of the habit. I got more and more into PvP and I just dumped things in stations as I went. That stuff has accumulated and it is not as bad as many others, it is still much, much messier than I'd like.

I don't have hidden billions tucked away in these stations. Mostly, its loot dropped and the occasional ship I've left after a roam. I never roamed back home, alone so I have many abandoned ships. The abandoned ships I don't mind. They become useful when the fleet loses a ship and you can just hand someone a fit out ship to keep the fleet moving. The cluttered stuff bugs me.

Right now I am torn between sending Chella to do pickups and writing cheap courier contracts to see if people pick them up. I would just dump stuff in the nearest high sec station....

Aside: In the middle of writing this I heard Exile curse on coms. It turns out that they had taken a wormhole chain (how we love these new wormholes) and wound up at the other end of an unbookmarked nullsec hole with no prober. I went out to do a rescue, backtracked their path and had the fleet warp to me to bookmark their exit. I then headed home. I love rescue missions.

...or write the contract to the nearest high sec system. Then I could putter about and collect it all. It may be a good  project for these exhausted days when I'm slumped in my chair to tired to participate in much. I don't trust myself to stock the store at those times. After winding up with five thousand small scorch crystals I've become more careful.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

CSM9 - Day 49

This evening will be the first CSM9 Town Hall at 1900 GMT today, the 22nd of June 2014. I believe about half of the CSM will be in attendance. I will be at work.

With communication at the forefront of the post I will add that my next Open Q&A will be July 13th at 1500 and 2200. I am also planning a local meet for August and one for September.

It’s summer and that means CCP goes on vacation. That creates a change in the rhythm of things. With Crius a month away the dev team is working on getting it where it needs to be. For those on Sisi keep submitting bug reports. I don’t want something to get missed because you assume someone else has already reported it. Thank you everyone for the hard work. The feedback coming through has been fantastic. I’ve really climbed aboard the “split the build UI from the blueprint list UI train.”

CCP going on vacation does not mean Eve grinds to a halt. There are several smaller scale projects that are being mapped out. I hope they are all feasible and work out because they sound great. Once the initial planning stage is started we will be able to sink our feedback into the topic. July should mostly be Crius and then hopefully some more stuff coming with the patch after that. These are not going to be expansions but a steady flow of what is ready to come out, little fixes, and the occasional big thing. There is a lot in the pipe that is exciting for me. If I could shake it out tomorrow I would.

I’m happy with the additions to low sec. I don’t see it as the end. We have stuff coming with Crius. Then its going to be feedback consumption time. How is Kronos doing in a few months? How is Crius treating us? What do we need to tweak? Are we happy? I have to remember that I can’t do everything all at once.

Some of the CSM members are creating personal or group projects for themselves. I have a desire to speak for other people but I decided to stick to what I am doing and involved in.

 I’m pushing the little thing PvE fixes. I’ve received a lot of great feedback about problems and solutions.

Mike is working on an incursion little thing project that I am helping him out with.

I have another project that I will hopefully be able to discuss shortly and there is a group thing that should turn into something.

Mike had a pod cast episode where he compares CSM8 and CSM9. I only have CSM9 to work with. It is interesting listening to the discussion about more debates and such. I know I’m a factor in that. I’m not willing to back down on what I have to bring forward. It doesn’t mean that I don’t work with others. Lord knows, I do try. But, my opinion of the CSM is that we are fourteen people and it is our responsibility to our voters to bring the view we have to CCP. Even if we had officers I’d not let that stand in the way of what I need to say.

We are fourteen people. I think we work reasonably well together. We did not choose each other for companions. Yet, we spend a lot of time together sharing and consuming information. We often don’t agree. But that’s okay.

A good example on group discussions is corporate taxes. I’ve been chewing on this topic which has been a popular one brought to me. I’m not overly fond of taxes but it is an area where my free wheeling low sec pirate life may in fact cloud my judgement. So we talk about taxes when the topic is taxes. Some of us take those types of topics and go back to our constituents and ask them about things and we go back and look at it again. The goal is to come up with something reasonable and presentable instead of just trotting to CCP and saying, “We want more tax options.” Something like taxes touches everyone and it should be something the group engages in.

I also told Steve that he needs to give himself more credit for the API and CREST and Industry topics he has gone into battle for. It has been impressive and his energy boundless.

I’m finding that my personal theme is access, access, access. I see myself as a path to CCP for the players. I have some rules and responsibilities along the way but I want to bring as much to them in time that I have to bring it. I’m all ears. Talk to me.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ramblings: Crusades of Balance

This is a continuation of last nights thought. I was going to write something about absolute statements. I don't like them and try to avoid them. They are unproductive. People like to argue them just because they are there. But, I also feel that they tend to be incorrect. As someone who often refuses the labels others try to stick to me I try not to label others in absolutes. I'm sure that I fail.

Instead, in another conversation I looked not at the absolute statements but at the reason the statements were being said. And, mixed with my pondering over the nature of Eve I started to think that the statements were themselves a side effect of the most touted aspect of Eve.

The sandbox.

This is the game where you step in and make what you want to happen happen. That very thing that is so amazing about Eve is frustrating. And it does not seem unreasonable for people to attempt to define the world around them because the virtual world is not defined.

The problem is that we cannot define it. I was trying to figure out why people sneer. I wanted to move past the acceptance of human nature and understand the triggers behind it. Why they are so scornful to others? Why people who have no interest in high sec declare that level 4 mission runners cannot make the ISK that they make. Why people who have never left high scream and rant over the bounties of Sov null. I sometimes crouch at the sidelines of battle between solo and fleet pilots or listen to the rantings about what ship is worth it and what ship is not.

And all around me, people are making absolute statements. Hundreds of them. Dozens of them. And these statements are in fact structures. They are the stones, the mortar, the roofing of homes and games. It is the creation of win clauses. It is the lines that they will walk and the successes that they will judge themselves by. They are people defining their game of Eve.

Or, that is how I saw it today.

And that made me  decided that I needed some of my own. I realized, as I started to work through this rambling thought and combined it with the earlier post that someone might be worrying that I am running at full speed off the cliff of community burnout.


Combined with my Crisis Intervention concept I've decided that I just need to make sure that the positives of the Eve community are also brought to the surface. Evil is fun. So is good. And they are both there. It isn't about squashing the bad part of Eve. It's about showing that there is a balance. No one should be surprised that so many of us passionately love the community.

I've said more than once that by many definitions I am a bad guy in Eve. I don't see myself charging to high sec to become an anti-pirate anymore than I see picking up a null sec banner to have 'real reasons' to PvP. Instead, I'll keep doing as I always do. Talk about life in Eve. The good and the bad. I'll help newbies and occasionally decide to assist in a gank. I have no interest in being a moral compass for others to guide themselves by. But I also refuse to accept the labeling of the community as toxic. That is another of those absolute statements. I am part of the community. I do not believe that I am a toxic member and I am not going to accept that label.

And if that means I have to prove that conceptt wrong then so be it.

A Non-Bitter Sip

I started to write an angry post. It was a result of my just logging off due to unending arguments. I was tired of absolute statements and people demanding that their way is the only one of reason. There are times when I wonder if people realize how ugly they make their own point. There are moments when it is easy to sink into the bitter, spiteful, vicious language and lose track of anything but pure negativity. Negativity is catching I've found.

Thank god for chat logs, eh?

I have two of them to remind me of sanity today. Things that happen because people decided not to reach down and find the biggest asshole that they could be and share that with the world. Instead they decided that hey, why not treat someone else decently just because they could.

Refreshing stuff.

I was contacted by one of my regular chatroom members about a market mistake. We discussed the market interface some. There are bad things in it there is no doubt. But, he discovered that he had made an error and in the process lost a few hundred million ISK he was not in the mood to lose. He decided to take a risk and reach out to the seller of the item and tell them what happened. And we know you are never, ever supposed to do that in Eve.

The response he received:
Lucky you actually ran into one of the few honest people in the game.  I can't remember exactly what i was asking for except it was somewhere between 1.7M and 1.8M.  So, if I take the midpoint of 1.75Mx17=29.75M + 2.271M in tax that was lost.
And it made me smile. It also made me sad. He isn't the only honest person in Eve. I felt a bit of a pang that such an act can be seen that way. No one has to reimburse someone back for their mistakes. Nor is their anything wrong with setting pitfalls out there for people to fall into. I may just be an idealistic fool to interested in bucking the norm in my actions and interests. But I thanked him for sharing because it is too easy to only look at negative things.

As did Diz's story from this morning. A story about a very inexperienced Vagabond pilot that wound up dying in a bling fit ship. He called for help in local as he say beside his wreck in a pod. You're not supposed to speak in local, Ever.
JM > anyone want some goods? I fucked up
Diziet Thomas > ?
JM > one sec Kill: JM (Vagabond)
JM > 425mm AutoCannon II 425mm AutoCannon II 425mm AutoCannon II Gistii A-Type 1MN Afterburner Gistum C-Type 10MN Afterburner Limited 1MN Afterburner I Gistum C-Type Medium Shield Booster Gistum C-Type Adaptive Invulnerability Field Domination Tracki...
JM > that in a can at my capsule
Diziet Thomas > ok
JM > all the rats are still here fleet?
Diziet Thomas > did you want us to share the loot with you
JM > if you want that would be cool if not thats cool too
Diziet Thomas > i will tell you what you can fleet me i will come over pick up your loot not kill you and split it with you in station
Diziet Thomas > fleet me
JM > ok
Diziet Thomas > and i will sort you out
 Diziet Thomas > coming to station
Diziet Thomas > i dont have all of it but i will go back and get the rest
JM > sweet keep what you want mate
JM > I figured better to not let it disappear
JM > Thanks you are awesome
Diziet Thomas > np brb
Diziet Thomas > got the rest of it
JM > cool
Diziet Thomas > thats everything
JM > wait you didn't keep anything?
Diziet Thomas > all good
Diziet Thomas > come back in something cheaper sometime and fight me
JM > will do been stuck complexing for awhile
JM > let Null Sec and haven't PVPed for a while.
Diziet Thomas > doenst matter cheap rifters are fun any old thing
JM > very true
JM > \o thanks again
It is nights like tonight, when I'm driven from my own chat before the wave of bitter, negativity that I'm reminded of all my favorite things. And I smile a bit, even as I sigh. Because reality doesn't allow anyone to live in pure fantasy. I'll keep taking the good with the bad. Because for every bittervet out there arguing over the intransient nature of their style of gameplay there is someone, somewhere, just playing.

Friday, June 20, 2014


I have a completely unsubstantiated theory about manufacturing and players. It may not be completely unsubstantiated but I do not have the abilities to gather the data. That turns everything into conjecture and thought based only by observations.

Eve's layout was, for the most part randomly generated. Over the years connections have been added and taken away. But those are rather few. For the most part, Eve was thrown out and shaken to see where it settled.

In many games you start at point A and move to point B. You move to C and off to D. With a spring you head to  E, hop to F, go back to D, look at G and start to wonder what is down around O and Y. But, rarely do you go back to A. As sandbox style games have evolved going back to areas becomes more common. You develop a base or home, a set of tasks and a place to go. You get places to leave your items and you head back there to resupply or store whatever goodies you have gathered.

Eve in many way violates that. We have storage at every station we can dock at. The market is not a singular shopkeeper or two but every player in whatever station they choose to use. The beginning may be the end and the end is only there if you decide that it is.

One of the best things the tutorial missions do is send a new player several jumps away. It helps to open up the world. For some it is the doorway to adventure and exploration. For others, it is nothing and like me they ran back home to crawl into their rookie station and feel safe and sound.

I was looking at this chart. But not for the reason people seem to look at it.

CCP is quite cruel and they have gotten very, very good at breaking information up so that we cannot figure things out from it. I looked at this and looked closely to see if the bubbles around Jita represented the systems around Jita. They did not and I was sad. I was sad because I believe that players have a habit of rippling out from a central location.

Jita. Rens. Hek.
Level IV hubs
Ice fields
Regional pipes
Level V hubs
Rookie systems

Have you ever seen a hulk in a starter system? Often great mining fleets work out of these areas, comforted by the soft blue of .9 space. In most games that would never happen but the horizontal layout of Eve causes it.  And we spread out by needs or desires but we also focus around points of interest.

And we become entrenched.

Originally, when I was having these thoughts I was pondering the change Crius will force upon many. Resources will move. For the entire length of time I have played people have spoken of dynamic, moving resources. Now, to an extent we will experience that. I hope we are ready for it.

I don't think we are.

I think that the ripples represent something about Eve's structure. Empty space is not necessarily bad. An Even spread would mean homogenization. And that is a truly bad word in this game.

To Fit a Rorqual

Poor Buttered Scone. He has no clothes.

Altaen asked if I was interested in expecting TCS into a free clothing service for locals. I told him, why yes, that was something I had been thinking about myself. On some type of small scale at least. The nature of Eve causes me to assume that someone will make an attempt to kill me if I do such a  thing casually.

But that is a later task to figure out.

For now I need to fit this beautiful monster and I wondered if I could convince someone else to make something amazing for me. Then I thought, well I could make it a thing and see if people wanted to make fits.

This Rorqual needs new clothes.

And if you do decide to make a fit and dress this Rorqual oh so nice, be so kind as to explain the method behind the madness. There is a lot to learn in a fitting discussion. Instead of the blogger telling the audience how they should fit a ship, I'm interested in the audience creating the fit instead. There are many, many ways to fit a ship. I'm always interested in how other people see Eve.

I consider it a reverse fitting post. Let's see if it catches on. And if so, we'll do some more.

Edit: I was curious what people would do buy they'd like to know what I want to do.

Clones. Tank. And some POSs refueling power.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TCS: Office Woes

While not a problem that is native to a low sec market, my office fees are for the most part directly related to the The Cougar Store.

I have two offices in Eve. One belongs to my alt that runs my POS. That office fee is around 30k ISK a month. I have a few million in the wallet that pays for the office and I ignore it from there. The reason I have an office is to use blueprints remotely. I may no longer need this office when the POS changes come and I can no longer use my blueprints remotely.

It is Bosena where my office matters. I use an office to manage the supply of my store across multiple accounts in a similar fashion to using my wallet. I can hand off deliveries (for I deliver my own items) to whichever TCS Employee I have logged in. I then drop the items into the proper hangars (I split them for easy, visual inventory) and then each account can sell from the hangars. As one order fills I can log on another and keep going.

This is how I have created a 'store' in Eve. It is something that does not exist in the game, which interests me. I wanted it that when you purchased from TCS you purchased from TCS not the individual member that listed. It is a small detail that I believe would make people happy. An investment in the individual business.

An office is not something that you have to have. It is a convenience and one that has to be considered in the big picture of your markets income. And today, I may have to look into another, sloppier strategy to continue how I do asset transfers with TCS.
Bill issued
From: Republic Fleet
Sent: 2014.06.17 18:01
This is an automatic message. A bill of 99,573,844 ISK, due Thursday, July 17, 2014 owed by you to Republic Fleet was issued Tuesday, June 17, 2014. This bill is for extending the lease on your Office at Bosena V - Moon 1 - Republic Fleet Assembly Plant.
My office bill has been steadily climbing this year.
  • February - 5,195,445 ISK
  • March -5,400,811 ISK
  • April - 9,699,071 ISK
  • May - 23,190,062 ISK
  • June - 32,418,393 ISK
I remembered reading some questions about officers when I first started. I wanted an office because it was something that would be mine. The Eveloepdia has my answer.
Please note: Note that office price is dynamic, and changes depending on the demand for offices in the station.
 The office price changes daily (at downtime) based on the number of free offices in the station. If no offices are free, the price goes up by 5%; if one office is free, the price stays the same; if more than one office is free, the price drops according to this formula: (Free_Offices - 1) / 23 * -5 (results in % change). The maximum drop per day is -5%, which happens when all offices are free. The minimum office rent is 10,000.00 isk.
The Evelopedia link had the thread from the old forums that has a study done of office prices that I once found. Bosena has twenty four offices.

I may have to give up my TCS office. I am not sure if I can justify a hundred million ISK just to trade a little bit less between my alts. They are on different accounts and they can be online at the same time. When I first started TCS the office fee was about 54 million ISK. It went down as people left the area but now it has crept back up.

I have a few weeks to decide but I suspect I will be pulling the plug on my office before this bill is due.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why oh Why?

"Why do you even play this game?"

It is quite a large sentence to contain only seven short words. It can be answered in so many ways. It can be asked in even more. It can be an expression of disgust insult or a bright eyed quest for information. It may be one of the hardest questions to answer and one of the easiest ones to respond to.

Dersen Lowery commented:
I wonder about people who profess a complete detachment from everything in game. If you aren't creating memories and narratives and making associations, then what are you doing? No activity is more fundamentally human than that.
I've often argued against Eve popular culture. My stubbornness caused me to embrace my own desires whenever what I did was questioned.  What is the point of having ISK if you do not spend it? That is a question so often asked to me. I want it. That is my answer and I need no other reason. The same goes for why do I play this game.

Because I want to.

But that, in itself, is not the true answer.

How can you fly a hauler? It's so boring!

Today I sent my freighter to Jita. I was selling some items that I had built and I planned to pick up a load of goods for TCS while I was up there. I manually flew until I was through Udema and then I let my autopilot pick up the last handful of jumps. I found myself in a caravan of auto-piloting haulers. Gigantic spaceships that we are, we dwarfed the ships around us as we ponderously approached the gate. Eve is a beautiful game and I have so many images captured as I warped across Empire space, trucking goods from one place to another.

If I were to ask someone why they played Eve if they didn't want to be a space-trucker, I'd be looked at as if I was insane. Yet, it is perfectly reasonable to others to ask me that question about the space trucking that I do as they wail and gnash their teeth because it is boring. Their whispered complaints that say, "It is not fun. It is not what I want to do. Why do you waste you time?"

I play Eve to build worlds. The world that I build may be my own. But, to build in a MMO is to build on the same street as other people. They may not live with you but they are your neighbors. They may not work with you but they too go to work. Perhaps you will pass each other on the street. Mayhaps you will see each other in the store.

I've come to love the world within world aspect of Eve. The people, the places, the things that happen, I find that I want to capture them and chronicled them and enjoy them as they happens. The brilliant joy of a challenge finally completed is exciting. I don't play for the meta game. I play for the moment. I play for those times that my Jaguar burns through the sky.

"Why do you even play this game?"

Oh, to the whispers that want to define everything their own way... I don't think we need a reason to play.  There need not be any goal. Those of us who wish said goals will create them in one form or another. But I believe that many people do wish to play and see what their game brings them. I may never be a major player of some huge alliance making news and driving the game. That, I suspect, is a good thing and a future that I do not mind facing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hangars Full of Memories

This is about something that I do very wrong in Eve. Susan black tweeted that she discovered a large rigged Falcon and it made me think of my special ships. I say special because people make sure that I know I'm to new to have anything that is old. But, for my short time in game, I have a collection of oddities with little, meaningful stories attached to them.

The other day, I decided that I wanted to try out the Machariel and an XXL-Jaguar. I have a Machariel. I've had one since I was six months old. I purchased it from LR when he decided to give up battleships. I have never flown it. The Machariel was a dream ship for me for a long time and the acquisition of this one and my eventual flight would signify my adulthood. Or so I convinced myself.

I decided a few days ago to ship it to high sec to retire as a hangar ornament and perhaps one day become a PvE boat. Some would ask why? The answer is simple enough. I like to collect spaceships to a certain extent. Just as I like my internet spaceship pixel money I like my pixel internet spaceships. I have several that I've collected that mean something to me for various reasons.

The Machariel is one of those but number two would be:

This is an old Hurricane that I learned to PvP in that time before Fozzie nerfed them into their current state. This particular ship is very special to me. I got it from CraftyCroc after I was killed and we went for revenge. The story is here. This was back when I was not even a year old and Eve was still Battlecruisers online. It was a very important fight for me and one of the first time I felt a little bit of confidence as to my actual abilities. I'd always looked at everyone else as 'real' pirates and myself as an interloper fraud who waited for someone to discover that she didn't belong there at any moment. And I wanted to belong. I wanted to be someone that the other members of the community would be proud of. So, for those who have never looked at my beginnings, that might be a place to see a younger me. I limped that ship home and wrapped it up in my hangar, unrepaired.  It still sits in Klingt to this day. I have no intention of ever moving it.

Next  is Redemption Strawberry. He is one of my stolen ships and one of two stolen ships that I use regularly. His story is here. I actually wrote a blog post about Redemption Strawberry that I have not published. It is a blog post that includes a fit that I created and I just haven't brought myself to post a fit. Unlike many of my special ships Redemption Strawberry is in use as a combat ship. However, I've only fielded him once and I doubt that he will see use in the near future.

The next two both came from the same situation. A wormhole theft with Vov. This is when he used me for ransom. But it all worked out and I wound up with two ships that I kept. One is a Viator with a stylized name which is common in some wormholes. I actually use this ship constantly. I do it because my other Viator was a gift given to me from Ender and that is an old, old spaceship. The second is a Tengu that sits in my scanning alt's hangar, unused and dusty.

I have other little odds and ends that I have collected. I have my first Cynabal that I built from the BPC that dropped in the first 5/10 that I ever found and completed and got a drop in. Lue helped me with that. Those are the ships, however, that have stories. Ships that I will not send into the consumption of the daily pewpew. They always say don't fly what you can't afford to lose. That's why I don't fly them. I will tuck Buttered Scone into this group. He was a gift sweeter than I deserve.

People talk about losing things gloriously and losing things hysterically. It's promoted. Avoid risk aversion and embrace loss. Create content and be bold. And I often agree with the sentiment but not for everything. And yes they are pixels but they are pixels that form memories, and these memories that I shall keep.

Crisis Management: Step One

The foundation kernel of my concept of help is a Crisis Management team. In truth, I need my own club concept for this. But for now, I will start small.

I decided that I need resources. Whenever you contact a Crisis Hotline they have help for you. People to talk to, doctors to see, shelters to go to, emergency services to call. I decided, for now, as I work through creating and founding this idea to start there.

I need to create a list of new player teaching corporations. Not a list of people who will take new players on. There are corporations in all areas of space that will take new or newer players and teach them the basics of the game. It is a pain knowing who these groups are.

It means I'd have to put some energy into (or deputize some of my volunteers) to do some basic vetting. But, I don't think that'd be but so hard. I already have a handful of groups in mind, but I know there are more out there. It'd be a mix of bringing them to light and starting some type of resources to list them. A resource that anyone wanting to dip into Crisis Management could access and use to help out someone in need.

It is one of my most common questions from new players and one of my most common complaints about the current corporation recruitment system. I need more corporations just for my own usage. Therefore, I may as well extend this out further and make it open and easily accessible.

And I'll go from there.

Taking suggestions.

Monday, June 16, 2014

W to the D

"How will you save the world, Sugar?"

"One thing at a time."

It may be that I won't save the world. I'm not in the mood to deny myself the opportunity. War Decs are a topic that come up over and over again. The forums, the blogs, my campaign, my candidacy, in chats, in mails, war decs are a never ending topic.

"War decs are broken, Sugar."

I think war itself is broken, at least by the terms of civilized society. I've pondered in the past that the very term war has a deep, visceral meaning for us. To declare war on another group is more than saying, "Gonna come fight you!" No. You've planted your flag and said that this is war. This thing is war. This is the time when we come to end these things.

I don't think war can be something that isn't broken in the end. It is formed of so many things and then you swirl a game with no ending and no beginning into it.

"We need to fix them, Sugar."

Maybe we just need to fix our approach. Every discussion about fixing war decs starts to impose rules upon them. Once we start imposing rules we are creating a complex situation. It seems to make sense but trying to force people into a mode of game play tends not to work. What does work is encouraging people to follow a particular path.

"But you said there is no carrot nor enough stick to make people do what they don't want to do."

I don't think that trying to force people into behaviors is workable. It is appealing. It seems sensible. But I don't think we will get results. I don't think that means we cannot look to do or create things that change or modify behaviors.

I started the conversation with an idea stolen from Epi at the Eve Meet last Saturday. The question was, "What is an individual player can enter into a war dec as an ally without taking their corporation?" And I liked this. I liked this idea because I could see someone in an environment such as my own breaking off to go and occupy themselves by white knighting. I felt that the weight of the corporation having to enter into the dec as an ally is a hindrance. I do not think that leaving your corporation should be the solution. Our corporation anchors so much of what we do in this game. But, to be able to do more things as an individual would be amazing but not as an individual aggressor. I don't care for the idea of being able to wardec an individual.

But, I don't think that single players will solve everything. I do think allowing people to white knight easier would be very interesting.

But I want a real mercenary system. I think that having one would improve the war dec system and change the bulk (but not all for nothing will ever change all) of high sec war.

"But Sugar, there are mercenaries now."

Yes there is. There are mercenary groups now. There are mercenary groups that are good at being mercenary groups. They are but a handful. And you have to know how to contact them. You have to know how to use outside of the game resources to find these groups, vet these groups, and decide on these groups. It involves a reasonable amount of research and then trust.

It should be a successful player made mechanic. Eve thirsts for war. But, I think that the hurdles that a mercenary corp has to overcome are to large. They need tools for their clients to find them. For them to start small and grow. The people who don't work outside of the client are often the people who need them the most. We need to do more to give those tools to the players who do not know how to look for those tools.

"Oh well. They should engage."

It is funny. We so often talk about freedom of choice while demanding others do what we want them to do. It is no different with this. I can believe whatever I want to about how people should engage, should embrace the greater social concept of Eve, should, should, should, should, should ! But I can should till the end of time. People are not engaging in something that they should be. This is needless complexity.

It means that there is something missing. A piece needed for the rest of the connection to grow. It is no insult to the handful of successful mercenary groups out there, but they are only a handful of successful groups. They should be atop an entire field as the cream of the crop. But instead, they are the only options.

I left a single lined concept on Mike's blog the other day. I said that the expansion and flexibility of the system should happen instead of a rework. This is that idea spurred by my chat. I think that yes, something is broken. But it may not simply be 'war decs' themselves.

Let those who will not or do not wish to do violence pay another to do it. Let those who seek reason for war find it. And let those two things happen, easily and clearly.

Polar and Non-Polar Natures

I felt clever earlier today. I was thinking about the stories in and of Eve. It was a after echo of a thought left over from a discussion that was not quite an argument. It mixed with a topic I once thought to write but never finished and combined with some things that I've read of late.

There are two stories in Eve. There are the player stories and the lore. There should be one story. The lore should be a pillar and the player population should wrap and weave around it. Supported by it and with it. Instead, the two are oil and water. Both liquids sitting in the same cup but they do not mix.

In a world of dreams and wishes, I wish that Eve's story was not so much better developed, for it is a very good story, but more important. I've said it before but I'm in the mood to say it again. The odd thing is that I don't want to be a player in Eve's story. I want to be a player in Eve's universe and the story flow around me.

It is like the villagers in Skyrim. I've installed the mods to create more villagers and random encounters. I've added to the animals and the trees. Not because I need these things to play Skyrim. It is because a richer, more vibrant Skyrim amazes me.

It is one thing I wish I had with Eve.

The second thing is that I actually am tired of how dark so many of Eve's stories are. It is such a violent place. Grim and dark. So, I went and watched a cartoon for a bit. Eve needs some more bright colors, I think. I almost feel that we depress ourselves with the dark colors and imagery. I'm to blame as much as anyone else. My own stories are often bleak and dark with violence.

Someone said, "Well how do we get this new, happier Eve?" And I shook my head. I'm not asking for Eve to be newer or happier (although some brighter colors here and there would be nice. A teal. A dash of chartreuse...). I was thinking about the amusing and whimsical. Even in the things players do...


The other direction of the thought is our solo players. I asked the other week about solo players. There were a lot of fascinating response. I also talk to a lot of solo players. "Sugar, don't let CCP forget about us. We are part of the story too." And they are, but as we walk down the path of content where our content is only the players they will left behind if we don't make sure they are not.

The theme so far is the Empire's losing control. It's a big push of the story and it works. However, I think that we focus so much on losing control meaning lost control and that we have to fill the void to replace it. It makes sense with things like POCO (In truth COCO [Corporation Owned Customs Offices]) control of high security space and capsuleer created produced everywhere. And its a cool concept but it is water and the solo players are oil. They don't quite fit into that framework.

Someone commented that Empire will not go away. I agree with that. It won't. It shouldn't. There is a place for it. There are people who want to be there. There are those who truly enjoy the game of Eve online. And their smaller stories, their adventures and dreams, also make up the game.

It may be a reflection of what I consider to be my fierce individuality. For as much as I love my corporation I am also a singular player within it, and within the game. My identity matters. My wishes and dreams, failures and successes impact others in small and large ripples and they create content to. Content that we create as individuals.

That content may never build star gates but it does deserve some love. The two do mix and they are both in the same place but one does not fully melt into the other. And Eve is a game of stories. It is something that is important not to forget.

Little Stories

There is something about being helpless that kicks another part of your survival instincts into gear. Life is different in a defenseless ship and I found myself scowling when I realized I could not log off due to my freighter being targeted. The Machariel bumped me and irritated, I started scanning space for an answer to my problem.

Why, oh why, had I jumped out of my ascendancy set? Oh yes, someone was shooting my jump freighter and I needed to go get my Rorqual. Right. Damn it.

However, I think my bumpers were just bumping to bump and maybe take time to get a really good cargo scan. I had three T2 bulkheads and 800 million in cargo. There are better ganks out there. I stopped worrying when I noticed I had aligned to war. The Machariel was busy bumping more than one freighter and I was at the keyboard even if autopiloting.

What were my options beyond not autopiloting? Working with only defense is a challenge. I was scarmbling a webbing alt when I warped. I like to think that I was cleaver and made it out but in reality I do not think that I was worth ganking. And that was my real defense. Not being worth it. Preplanning. Making judgement calls that may or may not have been good.

Eve is a weird game at times. It is a game of survival more often than not. Sure, we fight for fun but removed from an arena or defined challenge situation we make decisions good or bad. My freightering is not about the class sense of PvP. Yet, my pulse was thumping. All of my planning would or would not pay off. My decision making was limited and it might or might not work out. I had set myself up to survive and now it was being tested.

And I lived.

It is a little story. One freighter of the thousands that track across the space lanes. One more escape. Today was not my day to lose my freighter. Yet.

It is the little stories that make up Eve for me. Other's may find different callings. But for me, the day to day life of my fellow pilots fascinates. The wins and loses the accomplishments and failures.  Good and bad the heartbeat of Eve is not the big, flashy Events. It's the Ventures that escape and newbies that first undock in the depths of the nebula. It is when someone runs to me to tell me they finally achieved something they've been trying for or that moment when I can help someone that's helped me so many times before.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

CSM9 - Day 42

I would say that this week has been the first one that I would label as quiet. That does not mean we were not doing things. I just feel that I detached my phone from my hand a bit more than I have been. But I read a lot. Reading the invention conversations have been educational.

But CSM stuff isn’t all about talking to CCP. On the outreach and communication front I feel that things have accelerated. I’m pleased. My talk with Eve Uni on Sunday went well. I received a lot of feedback and eve-mails and the occasional e-mail have been coming in. It is leaving me a lot of information to filter. Some I can present now, some will have to wait for other things to happen first. Some are hopes and others are dreams but all of it is valuable. It helps me form an image of what the players want and how they see things.

I think I’ve also developed that player vs CSM balance. I’m still not out and about as I was, but I’m joining fleets again and doing my normal player stuff. On the flip side my chatroom is nice and active with a range of topics. I also have no shame about throwing other CSM members at a person if I can get a hold of them. I guess I am settling in.

I hope when it comes to communication, outreach, and listening, people are happy with me. If not, tell me before I wander down a path unwanted. There is a lot of feedback that I’d like to hear about Kronos changes, especially on the Faction Warfare front. I’ve been keeping up with discussions on that topic. I also heard a complaint that made me very excited. Someone complained that there are so many cruisers out and about in low sec now. I smiled.

That leads to Crius. People are testing and providing feedback. This is a big, big change that is coming in. It is a daily topic in Skype.

Usage restrictions are being lifted from .4 space. I was glad to see CCP Greyscale announce this on the test server feedback thread. This was a question in my campaign and I spent a good bit of time thinking about it and decided that it will be a good thing.

However, a new restriction is that new corporations will have a seven day wait before they can drop a POS. This is a war dec avoidance measure. POS should/may become more appealing due to improved costs. This means assets out in space and that means people war decing those assets in high sec, potentially.  A lot of people do not like it. I’m neutral about it. I will be interested to see if war decers really come to grind POS over and over again. I cannot help but feel it will outlive its potential interest, quickly.

I’ve been rampaging around a bit. I dropped into Lockefox’s twitch stream while he was playing with the UI to see how he liked it and then ask him to write up his feedback. Ali has also been streaming her industry practice on the test server and I’ve set up my manufacturing lines to see what I do and don’t like about it. I do agree with Locke that the blueprint list at the bottom of the interface needs to be separated from the graphical UI for screen real estate reshuffling.

If you have not heard, CCP Punkturis announced that you will be able to flag yourself to not accept fleet warp and that you will be able to fit modules you do not have the skills for.

The first is a small but highly useful change. I like it a lot. The ‘control your ship’ side of me says that it should be default. I know that many people feel that would make life too hard for fleet commanders. It is where I get stubborn. People should be paying attention by default.

The second will make life easier for anyone who fits ships for other people. I’d love if it also opened the door to a future contract ability to sell fit ships. That’s a dream/goal on my list not a NDA thing. However, the side effect of this change is that you can now fit rigs that you could not before. It invalidates most uses of the Jury Rigging skill. There was already a work around for that since other people could fit your rigs and you just soaked up the penalties. The positives are worth pushing this forward. I assume that rigs will be updated in the future module rebalancing. I don’t like leaving things open ended like this. I feel that the quality of life improvements are worth it.

Outside of that I’ve been asking some questions and listening to a lot of feedback as well as working on the little things PvE project.


The First CSM9 Townhall is June 22nd, 2014 at 1900.

My next Open Q&A will be July 13th, 2014 at 1500 and 2200. The last one went well and hopefully we will have plenty to talk about and even more people attending the next. I will hopefully do a better job with filling in quiet spots and drag any of my fellow CSM members that I can get my hands on to join in. I have a new headset and it seems to be working loud and clear.

The VA/DC/MD meet in DC went very well. I’m saying we schedule the next for August and then one for the end of September. I’m going to get them on the forums early so that people can plan.

In game I am still trying to have meetings or just find people to harass for feedback and thoughts.

Feedback Request!
I've been thinking a lot about taxes. Corporation taxes to be exact. What are your thoughts on what we should and should not be able to tax on by our corporations and why?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


For the last week, in random places, I have been asking a question.
What if kill rights never expired?
 The idea came from Art Hornbie. I've been rolling it around in my head and listening to other people react to it for a few days now.

Over time, I've read a lot of proposals about dealing with the bad people of Eve Online. A lot of them say that people who PvP should be cast out of high sec and never allowed to return after their first act of violence. Never ever, ever, ever, ever. Grr.

I've never agreed with that. I might not have thought about the kill right thing as much if we were not post-crimewatch. But, we are. Kill rights used to be gained for sneezing wrong in empire. Now they are gained two ways. A criminal action in high security space and podding in low security space.

Kill rights can be made public. Currently they expire in thirty days. At the end of the day that isn't a long time. One call to war, a few busy weeks IRL, and poof the kill rights expire and they are never used. What if they hung around until activated? What if that noob or hauler pilot held a grudge and planned in six months, a year, two, to take you down when you were not expecting it.

But, Sugar! You have said that the kill right system isn't useful!

Yes. I have said that. I've said that in relationship to myself. An outlaw that lives in low sec is free to everyone to kill. When I enter high sec I am free to anyone to kill. I've died to enough high sec gatecamps now that I'm much more cautious about taking short cuts. It isn't that I think they'd be super useful. It is that I think they'd be sometimes useful.

It would make people think. Chella, for instance, never does combat where she would gain a killright. That is because I use her in high sec at times. It is not a big thing but it is a choice that I make because of the mechanic.

What are the negatives? I was told that PvPers should not be punished to harshly. But, we're talking about kill rights. You get them two ways. They are rarely accidental. One of the main issues I could see would be selling a character. That and people thinking it is a dumb idea. Perhaps activation should turn on the thirty day countdown.

It may be that forever is to long. Six months? A year? Eve is a long game after all. And I've been finding something about the past following in the form of kill rights striking.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Dream Made Pixel

There is a possibility that I am not supposed to think of a Rorqual as the flagship of my fleet. Yet I have decided to. And with great delight I welcome Buttered Scone to my hangar.

This was when he was a plain Scone a moment before.

Moving straight to the point, Buttered Scone was a gift. I received an eve-mail with a contract link as a direct response to my blog post where I discuss the Rorqual as my dream ship. A contract written to me for a Rorqual. I messaged the person and immediately broke down into gibbering giggles while drooling and licking my own fingertips. It was quite the excited mess.

I went through the huge thought roller coaster I do whenever someone gives me a gift. Should I take it? Should I politely explain to them I don't deserve it? Should I snatch it before they realize they made a mistake? What to do? How do I handle this?

I decided to gracefully accept it. I can squeal and bounce up and down with elegance and serenity. Honest. Then I asked if it was okay for me to write about it. Then I worried about writing about it. Was it bragging? Would it seem weird? And after fretting for a bit I decided I was being stupid.

I was happy.

"Why a Rorqual?" someone will ask me. They may lay out all sorts of reasons based around the ships purpose, my usage potential, and the stats and state of the current meta that I don't care about. Maybe someone else would. But for me? Well...

"It has a Q in it's name." You see, I have a fondness for what I call 'odd' letters of the alphabet. They are letters that are not used with the regularity that I might enjoy. Q, X, Z's I love them. I don't know why but the first time I saw the Rorqual's name it was gorgeous. It sounded amazing, and it even transformed. An industrial capital ship. It seemed so incredibly bad ass that I latched onto wanting it. So there I was, staring at this amazing, weird looking ship with a Q in its name.

And how I wanted one. I'd feel little splashes of envy when other people undocked theirs. I had no idea what I would do with it. I can make jump clones, sure. But, I was never able to justify any type of sane reason to have one. The last time I almost pulled the trigger I stopped myself and used the ISk to start TCS. I was looking at them again when the industry changes were announced to see if I could find one on the cheap. I kept trying to justify it but I couldn't. And I really, really wanted to. After all, I got the skin for my mystery code off of my Collector's Edition. I had to get one now! Right? Right wallet?

Now I have one.

Eeeeheeeheee! :gibber:

Now, I can spin it in its hangar and dream of consuming asteroids like Unicron eats planets.