Sunday, November 30, 2014

Eve Online Skills at a Glance v1.0

Sugar Kyle > I've been obsessively helping the latest wave of newbies
Veteran Player > problem is they need to find all the stupid things by themselves
Veteran Player> the same way we did, or they will just be guided along
Sugar Kyle > most of the help is figuring out the UI and how to find things
Sugar Kyle > like the right click menu
Sugar Kyle > we can ignore all of them and make them figure it out or leave
Sugar Kyle > or we can let them know a right click menu exists
I wanted to make a flow chart. I spent about two hours inside Google Documents using their drawing template to make spreadsheets. What I discovered is that so much of the information crossed referenced itself that I had no idea how to turn it into a comprehensible flow chart.

Skills are not as linear as they seem. Controlled Bursts for example only effect hybrid and laser weapons because projectiles are capless. Support skills don't have to be learned, even for some capital class ships, modules, or weapons. You can go your entire eve career without training armor and shield resistance skills or any sensor compensation skills.

Eve's skill tree is complex and it is flexible. I like that about it. It is also not the easiest thing to sit down and look at. I'd never thought twice about that until I spent the last week in rookie chat and kept linking skills for people who did not know how to find them.

I asked myself, "How do you find skills?"

There are a few ways. If you use 'show info' you get a window that pops up and has a tab called requirements. Each requirement has a show info icon you can select to find out more about the skills. The item will also tell you if you have or have not learned the skills or have not learned enough levels of the skills.

But that won't help you find support skills that are not required by anything but just help. The way those are found is by searching the market. So, I did a sanity check. I turned to my husband and explained to him how you use the market to look for skills. He said, "What?" and said that it did not make a  lot of sense to him to use the market to learn about skills.

No... no it does not. I am simply used to it and know how to use the market as a greater and more flexible tool than buying and selling things. I found the group window of the market early on and used that to pick up skills. Later, I used my ships and modules to help me. But... that is a lot of work and a lot of windows opening and losing and going back and forth.

I wanted to make something fairly simple and all in one spot. That is why I started with a flow chart. But as I started working on it I found that a flow chart did not quite work for what I wanted to do. So, I decided to do what was easiest and write it out which is where I got the tables from.

What I've made I'm loosely called Skills at a Glance v1.0. It is currently missing invention skills for T2 and T3 items. The goal is to build it into a website. The first response was, "I'd have made it a spreadsheet." Well, spreadsheets are not very readable in my opinion. I wanted one single document that could be converted into a PDF or loaded onto a website and read in a simple way.

I very much feel that a skill tree is needed in the game. For now, I'm putting forth my imperfect effort to gather up the very basic information for skills and put them into a format that is easier to look at. It needs a lot of refining but I'm happy with where it is.

I've hit a lot of frustrations.  The "required for" tab is not clear that you have to click on the mastery levels to see all of the information. I didn't realize that at first and wondered why so much information was randomly missing. That may absolutely be a me thing since that tab is new and I ignore the mastery aspect of th information tab.

Anyway, Corbexx is helping me figure out how to best lay out the T2 and T3 invention skills for readability. I'll probably put some details after the table of contents to expand upon what they are. I'm open to feedback to make this a better and more useful tool. Once it is cleaned up a few versions I will transplant it into a permanent blog page.

If you like it please share the link for it! If you can take the data and make a cooler tool, please do!

CSM9 - Day 211

It is one week before the Rhea release and five since Phoebe. Eve’s been interesting this week.

CCP Falcon posted policy changes to the EULA regarding multi-broadcasting and input modification. This has been an interesting piece of information to sit on as I've recently read and listened to people say that there was no way CCP would ever stop this practice in its playerbase.

Many people broke this down into ‘isboxer is banned’. It isn’t quite that cut and dry. However, what is banned are the days of 100 man mining fleets controlled with one key click and bombing fleets controlled in the same way. Isboxer is used for client optimization and that will still be acceptable. The issue with the program, and why its called out in particular although it is not the only multiboxing client on the market, was the advantage it gave. It was a topic that was often brought forward to the CSM and I have firmly been on the side that the multi broadcasting/input software needed to go. During the summit I asked CCP if they could detect it? I’m a multiboxer myself and I rarely have fewer than two clients active at any given time, but I have never used a program to broadcast commands to multiple clients at once. Some have mistakenly said that multi-boxing is being banned.

CCP Fozzie put up a few threads in Features and Ideas. The most active is the one about the Confessor, the new Amarr T3. This will be the first of the four racial destroyer T3s. They should be functional and with correct stats on Sisi at this time. Right now they are going to be allowed in small plexes. It is going to take a bit to settle down into its real usage vs the rush to use we will see during the first few weeks to months. Some are hailing it as an OP machine and others that it is not quite enough. I’ll be watching and see how this affects faction warfare over the next few months. If it becomes T3 Destroyer Warfare that happens to be in Faction Complexes, we’ll go from there. 
There are also some changes to pulse lasers of all sizes. Small beam lasers have been looked at as well. The scorch nerf is in and it is a mild nerf to Scorch and not the head shot some have suggested.

Lasers are also getting a balance pass. Small beam lasers are receiving a buff. All forms of Pulse lasers are being touched including my giga pulses for my Revelation. This is also a mild Scorch nerf. I have been told that scorch will still be OP.

All of the graphic updates for the PBR should be done on Sisi by Monday. If you swing by and eyeball your ship and it looks weird, glitches, or buggy, file a bug report please requests the art department. Asay had a fit of insanity and made albums of all of the ships that he could. It’s quite a beautiful stroll through high resolution loveliness. Amarr ships are stunning. Minmatar ships are bleh. Gallente and Caldari are in between.

The newbies are still around and getting older. CCP has allowed helpers to invade Rookie chat. They have also leaned heavily on player made resources. I thank all of the people who have gone in and gone to work helping in so many various ways. As I write this there are 3,300 people in Rookie chat and questions are being answered as fast as they are asked. The handholding has helped people not rage out in frustration. Instead, they are getting stuck in wormholes and sometimes rescued and sometimes destroyed. They are out having adventures and learning the game. I’ve adopted two and both are still here after a week. One is off solo exploring in null through wormholes. The other is corp hunting. Outside of my adoptees I’ve been in rookie chat answering and listening. Seeing all of the repeat questions has been absolutely eye opening. It gives me the serious itch to set up a low sec academy.

I wandered across a request for ‘green boxing’ on Reddit. I agree. It fits nicely with the more information movement. Although different shapes are also nice for those who are color blind. I’d also like logi on kill mails if we get into that particular wish list.

There is a star that can be seen from all over the cluster. I’ve been taking pictures from my home station each day and watching people try to figure out the puzzle. CCP has been dropping great teasers like this into game. Mix it up with Eve Now and the trickle of information has excitement high. 

It seems that seems to have a new front page. This was discussed during our time with the web team at the summit that the front page needed to be more of a one stop shop.

The collectors edition is also on sale for those who are still debating if they want one. It has been pointed out in several places that the plex price has not been discounted as the cash price has. I do agree with that.

The CSM election season is warming up. Sion, Corbexx, and Steve have all written announcements that they are running again. Mangala has posted that he is not running and FunkyBacon has announced on his show that he is not running. Asay has also said that he is not going to run again next year. I’m running again and expect to have my official announcement up next week. That makes half of us officially decided on if we are running or not again.

CCP Leeloo has promised to start taking applications on January 30th and the elections for CSMX themselves are to start February 25th. I’ve had some people who have announced come to me for advice or to ask me what the process of the CSM is like. I’m more than happy to share. It will be time for podcasts, interviews, and questions will begin as people look at candidates or try to discredit those who do not see Eve in the same way that they do. This is why there are fourteen people on the CSM. 

My opinions and thoughts are listed here each week and for the most part each day. I’m a bit older and a bit wiser but just as enthusiastic and happy to play Eve. I will continue my weekly posts to the end of CSM9. They will then hopefully flow into CSMX of the players are willing to support my continued efforts as a CSM member.

I will see about December 13th or 14th for my next open talk. Corbexx normally joins me at this and whomever else I can drag along.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Living in Lore Times

The Pod and Planet Contest has five days left. We have one more weekend people. Finish up! I'm trying to get my second entry done this weekend. I hopefully will make it, I'm okay with not. In the previous years I have submitted multiple stories. This year, this month has been busy and my creative energy hasn't been there. I did write the story that I wanted to write the most. I'm pleased with that.

When it comes to fiction and the lore of Eve, the star is getting brighter.

I've been taking pictures every day. What this leads up to? I don't know. CCP hasn't shared. However, a news story came out yesterday noting the sudden appearance.

I've been watching twitter, the forums, and reddit. I'm amused at how some of the old lore folk are treating the people suddenly interested as if they are leaf peepers. I think healthy interest in the lore is important for Eve's over all health. While we may make and play our own games, the world living and thriving around us is also important. It is an unexploited pool of goodies and fun.

I won't be doing lore speculation. It is not my thing. I'll just watch and take pictures and see what happens.

And write... back to my documents.

An Odd Sided Peg

What am I?
Am I corruption?

I seem to corrupt all that I touch. It does not seem to offend people but it is a strange trail that I leave in my wake.

Hello, bittervet corp. 
I am Sugar. 
I like newbies.

I wandered back into rookie chat after work today. I've been out of it for two days. I figured that with most of the USA that is not me having today off, it would be a good day to drop in and see how the channel was doing. The population was a bit over two thousand and the text was a lot slower. We're able to have more complete conversations and there are many who are now four or five days old and stretching their wings.

Strange things go full circle. Vadeim is back in my life and now in my alliance. I notice him feeling guilty in alliance chat. He has killed and podded a day old player. Tyler convos said newbie and sends him to my channel. Before I can talk to him he bails from my channel and leaves Tyler's conversation. Now, I like trying to help people but you can over push yourself on them as well. About half of the convos I try to start in rookie chat are rejected. I don't take it personally. I'm sure in most games it'd be creepy as hell for some random weirdo named Sugar to try to talk to you.

For some reason,
I cause pirates in my corp
to think about who they kill.
Sometimes... at least...

"Why don't you start a newbie corp, Sugar?"

Oh... time. Mostly, time. I cannot commit to something like starting a corp at the moment. The CSM eats the time I'd be spending on building a corporation. It'd be fair to no one. In the future? When I know more? When I am better, stronger, smarter, more able, knowledgeable, capable...

A little bit later the newbie popped back up in rookie chat. I was able to answer his questions and deliver my information. Hes fixated on how much he can get out of data/relic sites in low sec compared to high sec. It was not my most sucessful catch and release but I can say that I gave it a go.

It amuses me that my corpmates give me newbies. This is not the first or tenth time it has happened. I should probably move from 'huh, I wonder why they do that' to acceptance. I'll never be the scary blackbeard of Eve. I should have realized that back when I named Rykki's corpmates 'kitten fleet'.
[04:09:11] Brenda Esterkarzova > Low sec is very dangerous, just got nailed there. It is a very big risk but the payoff is huge if you can make it. You have to make the choice in the end and sooner or later you will have to visit it.
So, maybe one day. For now I'll practice. I fed my chatroom a newbie looking to do exploration. They have the basics down. Considering we spent a lot of the evening discussing exploration it seemed like a good fit. Hopefully it works out and they are not scared off.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Might Be...

I've been thinking a lot about how to describe Eve at its current point. Some of that comes from the flood of new players coing tot ehj game. They will never know pre-phobe teleportation mechanics. Five light years will be normal for them. And with one change a new generation of players are born to Eve. They will never have played during battlecruisers online. Dominion sov is a legend to them. The fall of bOB will be archaic history. Their world has always had the Venture, a compass, and an unlimited skill queue. Most will never experience a clone upgrade.

Change is not bad. Change is just change. Plo sent out a mail that he is closing Galactic Hauling Solutions. With the Phoebe changes it is just not attainable for him to keep up a competitive, smaller, low sec focused jump freighter service. Plo and I talked during the Phoebe changes. I hoped that what would happen to ease logistics would be enough for him to keep his smaller group running. I also knew that it might not be and that was a terrible and miserable thing to have to accept.

Change has no taste when you first experience it. It will be sweet or bitter later. I'm currently watching low sec. With the removal of the presence of third party groups coming in and causing, some low sec groups have started to consolidate. From large group being 50-100 we are seeing groups of 200-500 form. I don't know if this is a temporary thing or a permanent thing. The personality of the people have kept them scattered before but perhaps this speaks of a certain level of need to hold and defend any type of territory in Eve. Combine time zones and assets and there is a tipping point a group will obtain.

For so long my world was a handful of people. Experiencing larger groups is not bad but it is still a vastly different world for me to explore. I don't know if I like one more then the other. Both are interesting and have different pros and cons. It helps with my perspective and understanding of things. That in itself is important. Low sec is large enough to have many types of play. I also want it to have many types of play.

My biggest worries are focused on how this upsurge of large groups will interact with small groups. Will we get medium groups or will it become the two extremes? I believe that because the nature of space prevents any true lock downs this can be avoided. I know that the two operate in completely different ways. But, it is a concern and one that I am fortunately capable of looking out for as long as I am on the CSM. I guess if I was not on the CSM I'd still rally behind it and have to join the CSM...

As for the newbies? They are starting to have their own stories. Here is one of some low sec mining adventures. And here is one of another venture into dangerous space. Some say that the trailers misrepresent the game and that they will leave in boredom. This alone shows that they will not. It is the every day game that brings us back. The interactions and adventures that come with logging in. If we can continue to support them when they are new and not berate them for going out and having suboptimal fun, I hope we can keep them sharing these stories as they play in the world that Eve is. Like this guy.


I can see the new super nova(?) from Sujarento.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gotta Check the Commas

I basically flushed 500 mil down the toilet with a market mistake and went, "Huh. Ah well," and moved on with my life. I had typoed an order a few days ago and someone got a heavily discounted hull or two. It is a reminder to slow down. I'm sometimes surprised that I manage to do well with my markets considering the constant mistakes that I make. It is my own fault. The window looks correct but a few (as in three) zeros are missing sometimes.

I often discuss how fun and satisfying the market is. Sometimes, it is just a lot of work. When I have everything running along, nicely balanced, it is mostly effortless. When that balance tips and the market derails, getting it moving again is a lot of work that is not so much fun.

For instance. Three months seems like a long time. It really does. Only, it is not. Not with market orders like I put up. Three months is a change in the meta. It is the summer. It is a time when everyone armor tanks instead of shield tanks. It is the collapse of the autocannon market. It is jump fuel changes. It is many things and everything. Three months is not a lot of time and when managing hundreds of orders, sometimes it vanishes in a blink.

It is human error and I am far from exempt from it. I like it, even as I do not enjoy the effects of it.  I may make more then other people. I somewhat feel that way. But, well it is the price of doing business for me. At the very least one can still do fine even when making a steady stream of mistakes as you go along.

There is an interesting flood of positive and negative emotion of late. "I don't mean to be a downer but..." happens a lot as people crash into a wave of positivity coming from the recent influx of new people trying Eve. We won't retain all of them. We may not retain most of them, but I do not think that showing them what people like about the game is a bad thing. I play because I enjoy it. I do not enjoy every single moment in a wild burst of adrenaline filled action. Every second of the game is not success and triumph. That's why the game is incredible. For those moments where it is.

They start out small. When I first started TCS, I hovered over my market app and refreshed it constantly from my phone while at work to watch things sell. Everything that sold was a success. Every bit of ammo, every rig and module. I celebrated them. Not because each thing was a huge wave of ISK coming into the game. I celebrated it because I was making those sales happen.

Even as I lose things I can still know that I tried. I have failed at so many things. And one might say that failure is an unpleasant sensation and makes Eve unfun. But I watch the new players celebrate figuring something out after a series of mistakes. I know that losing the ISK I lost will not harm me and it will teach me not to make that mistake again and make the game better.

Sure, Eve is not only positive and productive game play. I thought we all knew that. I thought that the simple fact that we can lose our ships, not come out of the other side of a battle, and have everything we have built burn down is what drives us to play. There isn't success without failure. Otherwise we'd be playing Eve Online: Bacon Button.

There isn't anything wrong in sharing the joy of playing. The thrill of success. The end product of a long project. Sure, people won't get that tomorrow and the ones looking for Eve Online: Bacon Button won't stay.  But some will and that is the entire point of these things.

I'll probably keep being positive. I'll share the good things and the bad. I'm amused that my bitterest moments in this game have all been produced by other players. That may be some of the problems in Eve as well. Losing five hundred mill sucks, but its part of the game that I try to play. It will happen again. It has happened before.

Mistakes were made...
Games were played,
And I kept walking on.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Right Click is A Demon

Just in case anyone has worried that I've become glued to my machine, I took Sleipnir out on a ride today. The weather was amazing for late November and I had some errands to run. There is supposedly a snow storm on the way so it seems to be pushing a warm front before it. The weather was 75/23c and beautifully clear. Later, my husband came home early from work and we walked across the street to have dinner and enjoy the weather because supposedly it will be a snow hellscape in a few days.

View off my back deck this afternoon.

Then I came home and played Eve. The CTA is going well. The invasion of vets into rookie chat has continued. We're being allowed to stay if we are productive. This has been great. Questions are getting fielded rapid fire. We're dragging people into private conversations and hand walking them through their problems.

I love the right click menus. I use them all of the time. I've tried many times to use hte radial menu and I wind up slow and confused and I screw up a lot. However, answering questions and walking people through problems I learn that we still have a lot of information buried in right click menus. We need to get that information out of the menus.

  • People are still getting lost. The entire concept of jumping through stargates clicks for some and not for others.
  • There is nothing that tells people how to split stacks.
  • Refining doesn't make a lot of sense.
  • That mission where they have to make a shuttle and often wind up in another system to make it gets them confused every single time. I'm about to suggest we just drop the damn size of that shuttle down to fit in their rookie ships cargo hold.
  • The industry window is maybe locking up on people, maybe not. There are a lot of problems with building that second civilian afterburner. I think they are not delivering their job. Its confusing trying to work it out second hand.
  • Double f-ing click in space
  • Really, really, really we need a more intuitive skill tree that they can just unfold and look at
  • Make sure they have accepted the mission when they can't find what to do
  • Bookmarking... they are running off to explore and getting stuck in wormholes
  • Finding the agent mission listing is still confusing people. I don't know if they are closing their station services or just not looking for it.
I have also learned that I use almost no short cut keys to do things in the game. The tool tips make my life easier as I mouse over things to see what the short cut is. The few shortcuts I do use I have used so long I have no idea if I am hitting shift or control half the time. Sometimes I flub answers. It is quite the mental exercise at times.

Lots of people want to help. I commend that and appreciate it. However, some need to remember that people are in their first and second and third days. Helping someone through PvE or Mining questions is helping them get into the game so that they can learn other things. I am sure there are some who are day one, out of the gate, "PvP or GTFO" but a lot of people are just trying to master the basic commands and understand how to process the information that is coming in. I have no wish to discourage people who wish to help but I do council patience. It is hard to remember how early into the game they are.

It can be frustrating. I had someone ask how to turn off a sound. I told him to his escape and use that menu to adjust his audio control. He asked again. Someone else said to use the escape menu and explained that pressing escalate brings up a menu. He goes "BUT WHERE DO I TURN THE SOUND OFF!" and we said the audio tab which has sound selections. I don't think that we can do but so much. Maybe make sure the tabs are a bit more distinct from each other? I don't know.

What will be interesting is following this through the week as they learn a little bit more and start spreading their wings. I wonder what the weekend will look like.

For now, I am going to try to take tomorrow off and work on my second Pod and Planet submission. That ends next week and my second story is only a few hundred unfinished words.

What I Learned From a Weekend of Rookie Chat

 Dhonray Fernandez > im so lost...

The above is from Rookie chat as I write this. That has been a very common theme for the last two days.

To recap what has been going on, on Friday, CCP released Eve's latest trailer which has been quite the sensation. In less then 48 hours it saw over a million views. Articles have flown everywhere. I'm sure it was a mixture of the media bomb a game company sets out and the fact that the trailer is amazing and just saturated gaming communities all over the place. Reddit has been on fire. People are flocking to Eve and that is not just the random squeals of a fangirl.

Now with all of these people interested in Eve we need to get them to stay. Peaks like this happen whenever we make it to the news. Most try it and then leave. Well, this time the newbie supporting community has come out in arms. It was a CTA to rookie assistance. The main page of /r/eve is newbie advice. CCP has done a CTA it seems with developers flooding rookie chat. The ISD has been out in force and players are making alts just to answer questions. Eve Uni has thrown together a huge program of classes to help people. It has been amazing. Brave is absorbing people by the hundred, corporations are opening their doors and loosening their restrictions.

 Stepside Riraille > Hoiy shit people are helpful in Eve.  My first day ;)

By, Sunday afternoon I was exhausted. Rookie chat moves at such a pace that its like running and yelling into a train pulling out of the station full of newbies going, "Weeee! How do we use the train!" as CCP, ISD, and players chased after them on foot trying to explain about brakes, energy, mass, and momentum, and horse power.

It is fucking adorable and absolutely refreshing. I know that some people hate rookie chat and I've never understood why. Its a nonstop train of enthusiastic players wanting to learn the game. Answering questions is like catch and release. You throw it into a pool of hungry maws and hopefully it feeds them.

                             Octo Mandias > thank you all, i love you and i love this game

What I have learned:

  • People just get lost in space. They are not understanding that they can interact with the objects in space.
  • Windows need to be pinned or something when they start. They are accidentally closing and minimizing them and losing them.
  • The mission where they make a shuttle confuses them if they have to move the shuttle.
  • The industry interface acts a bit wonky at times and locks down blue prints.
  • Rookie missions do get bugged.
  • Petitioning with F12 is not clear.
  • Double clicking in space still needs to be a thing.
  • The asterid belts are depleted which confuses people. We need more rocks or more belts or something.
  • The academy mission Aura gives people confuses them because they think the station is the mission object
  • Something needs to make the wallet more clear
  • CCP Rise's test people where more curious then some we are helping
  • Some people just log in and ask for help if its all not clear while ignoring the Aura prompts
  • Their starting overview needs to be a bit better
  • People really don't read
  • The whole gate jumping concept does not click for some as quickly as it should and they get stuck and lost
Jester Tsero > hey guys my mission is to mine minerals but when i right click and warp to an astroid belt i don't see any asteroids....
  • Really the empty belts are a thing
One of the biggest ones is that there needs to be an ISIS type menu for skills. A skill tree that shows them all and how they branch out to each other. People are struggling to find skills. I know I used the groups section of the market window a lot but that seems to be a big hurdle for many.

There is some trolling but remarkably little. Some frustrated yellers when they cannot figure out a mechanic. But, with the army of helper players in there we're working through most problems and getting people sorted and settled. The ability to high light someones name is a life saver for keeping the discussions organized. Some just find it to fast and to hectic and they want more one on one help. I find it amusing because it means we've convinced them that they will receive help from other players with game basics.

Ore sites are super popular. You tube tutorials for scanning are useful. There was a very offended two day old player that found a data site in low sec and got killed by a member of goonswarm right after they got nine million ISK in loot out of it. I'm not perfect. I forgot trials had a 24 hour skill queue limit. Also, some people don't like the attempt to break things down into plain language and scold and use technical language. I don't worry about it overly much.
[04:30:25] seedy Obliterator > so would any of you say ths game is pay to win?
[04:31:47] Sierra Devore > seedy Obliterator EVE isn't pay to win, because while you can get ingame currency for RL money via PLEX you can't buy any actual advantage over other players. There's no items that can only be gained through paying that are better than normal ones.
[04:32:23] seedy Obliterator > thanks for the help
[04:32:49] seedy Obliterator > who are you guys and why do you help others?
[04:33:01] Lixeti Hekki > seedy Obliterator we just feel like it :)
[04:33:06] Kazak Vuld > seedy Obliterator Because they need help.  More newbies makes the game better.
[04:33:26] seedy Obliterator > This is a different community to what im used to
[04:34:12] Kazak Vuld > seedy Obliterator For a bunch of bastards that like you scam and kill each other, we're not to bad.
[04:35:20] Leon Cursed > seedy Obliterator The tight packed EvE comunity is always at new players service to help them understand a tricky but emence fun game, Take guidance from them, Learn and above all, have Fun

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CSM9 - Day 204

It does not feel that long ago that I was writing CSM9 - Day 7, and starting this project of documenting my time on the CSM. This week has been a quiet one for me. A good bit of that is my fault. I was in a class for work all week and then work on Saturday. That all limited my time on Skype and caused me to miss one of our meetings. I spent the evenings catching up. Fortunately, some interesting things have happened.

Eve Down Under happened this weekend. There was a keynote with several interesting bits. They revealed a new in game mapping system. Joystick support has been moved up to the ‘should be coming’ point, and a new trailer was released.

The new player sourced trailer is excellent. As a player it makes me go, “Hell yes!” Non players have been reacting well to it. It is technical enough to echo the game but clear and emotional enough to catch people. The assumption from non-players that this is acted scripts has been soundly squashed by Eve players as they come across it. It is a very interesting look into the assumptions people make about marketing.

I’ve been doing some answers on Reddit. Long, long answers. I’ve also made a new account to sit in rookie chat and help. CCP, the ISD, and the GMs have been busy but there are over two thousand people in the rookie channel. I’ve been dragging people out for 1 on 1 problem solving. I’m finding people are getting lost, very lost. I’m walking them back through their missions and through the systems they are in. I’m showing them DOTLAN and in general just giving them someone to lean on while they work through confusion.

Steve has done a slow roll of the ‘things’ project. The things project is an attempt to crowd source ideas and topics in such a way that people can vote and CCP can see the results. At the start of our term we discussed our desire to do this. Steve was waiting for SSO so that people would have to log in for their voting. With that done he let its existence be known in a few places and went from there. Now, however, I’d like to give it a bit more exposure.

I have also asked Steve to give me a section for War Decs as I seek to pool and work through all of the excellent feedback, thought, and opinion that I have been receiving on this subject. With the Winter Summit two months away, I need to make sure I am prepared and to do that, I need all of you. Otherwise I am only representing myself. I’m quite comfortable doing so but I think that I can do even better than that.

To add to that, Steve has also started a lexicon. I do envy his skills. I have one that I started writing a while ago. It is quite an exhausting endeavor to remember and catalog that much information.

Corbexx, Mike, and I have all had people come to us and ask about scout sites for incursions. I chatted with CCP Affinity about this and she let me share that the calls to rebalance scout sites have been heard. We’re not going to see this until sometime in the first quarter of next year. Her time is already booked for Rhea and beyond. Still, another thing done and taken care of.

Corbexx also had another of his wormhole meetings. I’d have attended. He told me it was last week when I was off. Then he goes, “Oops!” It turns out that it was instead, this week when I work. I think he planned it that way!

We are just over two weeks to Rhea.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Eve in Plain Language

Ahh, the trailer! What a buzz it has stirred. I've spent some time on Reddit answering questions. I have done the same the last few times we have made a stir there. I also, deeply enjoy writing out the concepts and visualizations to people who have not played. It may come as a surprise, but I do enjoy writing about the game.

I've also started a side kick account so that I can spend some time for the next few weeks in Rookie chat helping.

Back on Reddit, the comments are full of people who make negative remarks. Spreadsheets in space. It sounds more fun then it is. It is 99% boring. I disagree with that and instead of telling people that they are wrong I just tell them what they are missing by believing that.

There is also the fact that Eve is full of lingo that does not make sense. So, I decided to answer some questions and attempt to break Eve down into plain language. My goal was to try to capture some of the game and structure for the game. It has a ton of holes and it is over simplified but the devil is in the details and the players are the devils.

This user asked:
I wish someone could abridge, commentate and give the summary of some real eve events. Reading stories are super thrilling but when you're watching 30 min videos of something you don't understand, it doesn't give the same vibe.
And I responded with:

Maybe not quite what you want but....
In our current point in the game we have just had a release at the start of November that changed our instantaneous teleportation abilities (jump drive). The change decreased the distance and frequency that we can use this skill. This was done by decreasing the number of light years that can be crossed. Only some ships can use teleportation. These ships are known as capital ships and are very large. In the video you will see people shooting an Archon (a type of logistics and/or combat carrier) a Revelation (a type of dreadnought) and a Erebus (a Titan) laying the smack down.
The rest of us use stargates or wormholes to get around. Stargates link systems to each other giving us the ability to go from point A to point by by jumping through a gate, warping across a system, and jumping through another gate. Our teleportation or jump technology lets those specialized ships bypass.
The nerf has caused some sovereign empires to contract to protect their space, some to collapse, and new ones to rise or come back to life who where beaten down again. This is where politics and dealings have been happening like crazy. Ownership has changed and some groups appear to be gearing up to go to war against others for space or because they where paid to do it. But looks can be deceiving.
Its a huge, massive, complex player made story. There are groups, however, who take brand new players and teach them the game out here. Player organizations tend to be incredible with intricate out of game tools to manage thousands of people. Brave Newbies for instance has over 10k people in their alliance I believe. Some of these groups are at war. Some have treaties. The status changes by the day it seems to an exterior observer such as myself.
In the ongoing story of the game, a NPC group known as the Sister of Eve (they specialize in rescue and research) are doing some weird things. We, the players, are being given access to 100 new systems with some new features and abilities. This is coming in December.
CCP only gives us tools. The players make the story. For instance, I run two markets in low security space. I buy things from one of the larger trade hubs in the game (these trade hubs grew out of themselves. CCP did not make them and lay them down as trade hubs) and move it to low security space where I sell for a markup. This allows people who cannot go into higher security space due to their outlaw status to buy things locally to supply themselves.
My own pirate corporation has been in the middle of a series of defensive operations for property that we own (structures known as POS or Player Owned Starbases). We are fighting other local pirates and local militia who fight for NPC factions.
Eve is composed of thousands of solar systems in a galactic cluster. Roughly it is a series of circles. In the center is what we call high security space. This is the safest but not completely safe area in the game. There are various NPC (non player character) groups that patrol this space and attack players who preform criminal actions against other players. They will also attack players who have obtained criminal status due to attacking other players.
This high security area is separated into our four NPC empires that form the foundation for our games background. The various NPC groups do and do not like each other. A player can do missions for NPC groups. Doing these can cause players to attack other NPC groups. This decreases your status with the NPC group that you have attacked. If it gets low enough that NPC area of space (clearly marked) can become hostile to you if you enter it.
This is roughly circled by low security space which is similar to the wild west. There are no NPC police in this area. There are sentry guns on gates and stations. These guns will shoot at players who preform criminal acts in their sight. This area is owned by the NPC empires but they do not police it. It is a lawless ghetto full of pirates and faction warriors.
Faction warfare is where players can sign up to join an empire's militia and fight against players from other empire militia's for reward. It is its own type of game play. Player pirates also live in this area as well as misc third parties who are there for why ever they want to be there. Eve does not have instancing If you get in a fight with a militia another random group may come and join into the fight and turn it into a three way, or a four way, or more. I am a pirate. I live here.
Around that is what we call NPC null security space. Null in this case stands for no NPC security. It is owned by NPC groups that are not part of the four empires. We also have Sovereign null security space. This is player owned space where groups can set their flag down, upgrade systems, have player controlled stations. This is what people go to war over. This is where you hear a lot of big Eve stories come from. This is where player empires rise and fall. Where the two largest types of ship in the game are built.
Our fourth area of space is called wormhole space. Eve is full of wormholes that you can scan down using special equipment. Wormhole space is a place, somewhere else with no stations and no gates. All movement is through wormholes. Wormholes are not static. They collapse from age. They also have mass limitations. All spaceships have mass. So only so many spaceships can go through various types of wormholes. Wormhole space has six levels of difficulty. It gets very technical at this point but it is a very unique area of space with extreme logistic and combat challenges. Consider it something out of a Mad Max movie.
In Eve, spaceships are disposable. They seem to be your avatar but you must think of them as ammunition. We have a lot of ships that do all sorts of fun and exciting things.
Eve is also not a game of linear progression. Very small and fragile spaceships are useful in the largest space battles. The largest, most expensive ships are not pownmobiles. Many players who have played for ten years still fly the cheapest and most fragile ships into combat because they are the hardest to fly at a high level.
Some players don't fly spaceships at all. They play the market, they build and invent ships, ammo, and modules. Almost everything in Eve is player built. We have people who mine. We have spaceship truckers who fly gigantic freighters accepting cargo contracts to move items through the universe. There is no magic mail in Eve. People build it and people move it.
There are mercenaries. There are teaching groups who educate players and send them off into the game. There are groups who run missions to make in game money. There are groups who do nothing but try to kill people who do those things. There are pirates and heroes and empire builders. There are people who specialize in stealth strikes and people who live in wormhole space.
I play for all of the above. The people are fantastic. The gameplay is not FPS but strategy, empire building, world building, and whatever you the player create with it.
I'm going to spend most of the weekend in rookie chat. I've already walked a few people through some content that was confusing them. The third Aura mission, the Academy confuses people because they have to go to a new system. It teaches them to use jump gates but they get very stuck. CCP and ISD are flooding the channel as well as a lot of experienced players. Questions are rapid fire. I've been dragging people aside and walking them through confusing spots. Its a form of catch and release. The more people who get helped through those weird confusing parts the more potential players stay and learn how awesome Eve is.

Tonight's goal will be to finish the CSM Sunday post, have dinner, and answer newbies all night. Looks like a good night.

Friday, November 21, 2014

War Decs: Feet of Clay

War Decs: An Incomplete Triangle
War Decs: I'm Sorry That I Hurt You

I am introducing a new tool into this discussion. The comments have been a great ground for discussion but I'd like to expand this a bit more. I have gone to Steve who has gotten our 'things' websites together using SSO for authorization. I've asked him to give me a war dec subsection. These are things that I, the CSM, and CCP can see and read the results on and you the player can write and vote on. Comments are wonderful for discussion but as we move towards the Winter Summit in January, I plan to drag this topic kicking and screaming along. I'd like you all to come with me.

This is the third post in my open, crowd sourced, discussion about war decs.

From how it looks to me, as I've worked through Eve's history, the early days of Eve's development where geared towards war and the concept of space battles and players fighting each other as the focus of the game. The first six expansions, or three years where geared towards this goal.

 In its earliest phase, Eve had no gate guns, no station guns, and no Concord. These things where added later to balance out the game. CCP built war focused expansions and often discussed player conflict, player empires, and supporting the war machines out there through their corporation efforts. It was supposed to be hard. Players would work from the ground up building their spaceships to go to war in massive battles against each other.

The game was not about killing wolves for some rotten leather and better ability to stab with sharp sticks. It was about building empires and going to war with them.

Somewhere, something didn't go as planned. Shocking. Eve has changed. It has grown. It has evolved. What now exists is not something that could have been fully conceptualized ten years ago. Game play has changed. The player has changed. And as we as players challenge our game, CCP must do the same to continue to build Eve.

This was a different Eve and a different game development focus. However, we have to learn from the past and we are in a position where we have been working with the game design decisions of the past. I bring this up to discuss the fact that we try to understand war decs in our current game when the implementation was for a different world.

Why are we fighting? I am seeing a lot of why questions as we walk along this discussion that is war decs. They are quickly followed by discussions about objectives. Well, the objectives are the other players. The goal is for both sides to fight... we think.

I was going to start writing about objective war dec systems and non-objective war dec play styles. But, I think that is moving to fast across this topic. That is why I went to Steve to see if we could use his 'things' system some. That is why I am focusing not yet on the mechanics of war decs but on the reasons for war decs. We cannot simply rampage about and push for mechanical changes without understanding why and what we are trying to accomplish.

We cannot have objectives without a reason to have those objectives. And when I speak of objectives, I speak of game mechanics. Currently, war decs function on player objectives and purely player objectives. When people ask for reasons, when they ask for objectives, I first want to ask, "What are we fighting over?"

There is a problem of one size does not fit all. We could sit down and define the most fascinating, best sub game of objectives ever. However, I do not think that any of us or even a collective of us will come up with a way to give everyone objectives. We first need to figure out what are we fighting for and what part of that fight is an actual war dec.

Inside of the game mechanic war decs we have a whole host of things that may be going on.

  • Territory dispute
  • Revenge
  • Harassment
  • Logistics chain interruption
  • Profit
  • Mercenaries
  • For fun wars
  • Targets of opportunity
  • Structure removal
  • Gate gun/Station gun removal (low sec)
  • Sec status loss avoidance
  • Amusement
  • etc...

Not all of these make sense as something to go to war over. Most are good reasons to fight for those that want to fight. But a war isn't about want. A war is forced. How many of these common reasons for war decs under the current mechanics are actual for war?

Does this mean that we break down into different mechanics? We've had suggestions for area effects. There have been suggestions for players to defend territory for bonuses. There have been reasons to pool abilities together for greater gains. Many of these ideas provide fascinating conflict motivators that on their own would stand as interesting game play additions.

To discuss revamping war decs we have to not just discuss how we'd like a war dec to look. We also have to look at what we are affecting. There are people on both sides of this discussion and many more shoved in between. If I where to say, latch onto and campaign for war decs involving targets and a neat system, how many other players and play types would simply stop existing? I think I know what we could gain but it is as important to think about what we may lose.

I've been part of a marginalized group more then once as Eve has expanded. It is a terrible situation to be in. I do not think that we can stop that from happening fully. Change is exactly that, change. But, I want to look at them and make sure that people are not casually cast people aside.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another Person's Watched Pot

Time. It is the most powerful force in the game. Over this last week, I have had little of it. I've been in a class to become certified on the state level as an instructor. I had my presentation today and I'm rather worn out. It is a good class. I'm not fond of public speaking or being on stage. However, I'm comfortable with doing it and my presentations tend to go well. I do the smart thing and stick to subjects that I like. I was amused that I was able to tolerate watching and listening to myself during the review with the instructor much better then normal. After watching ten hours of myself talking and sitting on camera from the summit meetings, I have finally developed a tolerance for both my voice and appearance.

I still think I sound funny.

But, I am tired. I have been 'off duty' to some extent this weekend. I've focused on eve mails and keeping up with what is going on. I'm not going on fleets. It is eight in the evening and I'm ready to pass out. In one of my other monitors I am slowly, ever so slowly, stocking Bosena.

I've been building a dreadnought for someone. One of my predictions about the changes in Phoebe has started happen. Where a ship is matters as much as its cost. It was that one would go out and buy a ship for fifty million less and jump it home. With jump changes it could give you days of fatigue and take a day or two to get a ship home from its purchase point. That time vs cost is a very real factor now and suddenly people want home grown dreadnoughts and carriers.

But, time. Dreadnoughts and carriers don't just make themselves. Without a production line running that is spitting out finished hulls at a steady rate, it is roughly a two week turn around to get that ship build and out the door. Now, when people are asking me if I build these ships I say, "Kinda."

I build things very casually because I enjoy it. With my other obligations, I cannot commit to people's needs. I've started getting inquires about building ships and how 'soon'. "Two weeks once I have the pieces, or so," is my response. "Oh," is what I often hear.

Yuppers. It is not an instant process. I learned back when I made boosters that when you produce a product people expect to receive the product when they ask for it. That a run of boosters will take around four days is a, "Oh". If I did this for my main income I'd keep a steady flood of product out but because I do not, people slam into the wall of time.

I leave the decision up to them. I am very pleased with what I can do in the game. But, what I cannot do is be everything everyone wants at every moment. If they want to wait a few weeks, I'll happily make it happen. If they want it now, I tell them what I believe their best options are. I've managed to start shedding the feeling that not being able to accomplish anyone's wanted the moment they want it is somehow a flaw on my part as a supplier.

Tomorrow is my last day of class. Then work on Saturday. Sunday, I shall try to restock my hangars, get Chella her implants, and start the week off. I'll crack the dreadnought out of the oven and debate spending the ISK to start the build on my own Archon.

I also managed not to burn the house down yesterday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Life and Times of Incompetent Cynoing

I'll come whine here about how terribly hard my life is. Utter trauma follows. Just terribleness. If I can recover from this intense woe and the bitter luck it will be a surprise.

I had everything so perfectly timed. I would light the cyno, do two jumps with my jump freighter and go and make dinner. There was myself and someone else in local. Then, as I eat I can stock Bosena which is well over due. I've been shipping things down there for a week but I've not gone down and stocked. Instead, I've been negligent and using my free time to be in fleets and work on some other projects instead.

Things where going pretty well. I had forgotten that I had shipped stuff down. Two trips would still cover it all. I got my jump freighter loaded in one window. In the other, I got Haibi loaded and ready to go. I undocked, warped off, and warped back to my cyno spot. As I did that, I undocked the Rhea. Once landed, I lit my cyno and went to jump my Rhea.

Cyno not found.

What? I peered at my Rhea pilot and saw that she was not in fleet. I had rejected my own fleet invite without noticing. Back to the other window I reinvite myself to fleet, accept, and then rebroadcast my jump beacon. Muttering, I jump, dock, unload my cargo, undock, and warp back to high sec.

In the other window, as I am staring at my jump freighter coming out of warp ever so slowly, my cyno pilot is killed and padded. I was not paying attention due to the hair raising event of my slow slide out of warp where I am sure that I will die every single time.

Damn it.

This time, I had her set to the right station next door in high sec. Last time she went back to her school system where she was born. However! I had learned from that experience. Thankfully, she was Minmatar at the time and running her back was only eleven jumps. Eleven inconvenient jumps. This time she was next door.

125k poorer to upgrade her 6M ISK beautifully market skilled clone, I sent her back to low sec. I sent her the one jump back to low sec. In the other window, my freighter pilot loads up the hulls she could not move last time and waits for her cyno.

I take the cyno pilot and plop her into another rookie ship. This is when I remember that she does not have cynosoural field theory trained to level IV. She cannot fit the ozone into a rookie ship without a expanded cargohold. That's not a big deal. I'll just get one. I don't find one in her hangar. That's fine, I'll just get one off the market. There are none avilable on the market.

Damn it! Who runs this market that they don't have expanded cargoholds on it? Oh yeah. I do. Damn. Damn. Damn. I hate not having corporate officers. I keep selling my own supplies. Okay, I can fix this. I look around my other alts that are logged in. Nothing. Right before I send her back to high sec I check the market order the freighter pilot had dumped off in the station but not traded over yet.

Expanded cargohold I and II. I'm amazing. So amazing.

Okay! I contract myself my stuff and get an expanded cargohold. I'm doing good now. I load up my liquid ozone, undock, warp off, warp to my cyno spot and notice my own wreck sitting there seeming to be unlooted. Oooh. Free stuff that was just mine? I putter the 4k over to it. Somewhere along the way I remember that I can look at my loss mail to see what dropped. However, I'm already moving so I just wait because let's continue to be sub-optimal. We're already on a roll.

In my wreck is my cyno and expanded cargohold. Hot damn. I wanted them! I then realized I had forgotten to fit a cyno onto my new ship during my quest to obtain an expanded cargohold. I then docked, dumped my ozone, and went back out, did my warps again, and came back. This time I landed on top of the wreck by some miracle. I greedily looted it and redocked. I fitted a cyno this time, undocked, warped off, warped back to my cyno position and lit my cyno.

My jump freighter jumped in. I then docked her, unloaded everything, and waited out my cyno cycle. I docked my cyno account. I decided not to take my jump freighter back to high sec. I was feeling a special type of incompetent today and something told me that pushing my luck would be bad. As in, no more undocking tonight.

Finally freed of my task, thirty minutes later then I expected to be, I went to start cooking. I promptly lost the cord for the fryer and had to find that. My husband asked me not to burn down the house. If I don't post anything in a few days... well... its his fault because he requested fried chicken for dinner.

The Textures of Interactions

It is the season for corporation change. Several blogs have popped up of late regarding social groups in Eve.

Susan Black wrote a lovely one focused on how we need more types of social groups. Mangala has written a bout this as well with a focus on third party communities such as the NPSI (Not Purple Shoot It) community. I've chatted about social clubs, a topic similar to Mangala's in that it would bring people another sticky social group that they could be proud of.

I think there was a time when the idea of a secondary, lesser type group to a corporation would have seemed redundant. However, Eve's social game has evolved. The age of the game has evolved us. Some players have friendships over a decade long. Paths, interests, and lives have diverted but the friendship has stayed the same.

When I first started playing, Ender introduced me to THC2s private chatroom. It was not corp chat it was larger then that. Previous members, friends from the start of the game, and alts all hung out in the channel. Corp chat was not used. It was not needed. The true core of the corporation lived within this chatroom and with people who had never shared a corporation ticker but shared friendships.

The idea of public events, public fleets, charities, and groups have grown out of Eve's organic culture and single world. I was discussing this on Skype the other day. That Eve has become as much of a social game as a video game and CCP has started to build tools for the players to use instead of structures for them to climb. That in this game we have created sub-cultures and butt up against what would be normal.

I feel that words define our perception of things. That corporations are called corporations and not guilds has helped structure how we run them. If corporations are corporations that is also how they should be run. But unlike a clan or a guild which might define us, a corporation is a job.

The reason I like the idea of a social club is that it is a sticky idea. Membership is a powerful thing. A group identify. A publicly facing group symbol. An internal group list all help retain someone. I once said that I felt people would find support from these groups that they currently do not have in game. If their corporation stopped undocking from a war dec they'd have a built in backup social situation to go to. Players would automatically form more social connections in the game. I can imagine how it would help me with my idea of helping newbies into low sec and connecting them with vets without committing ether side.

One type of coporation does not fit all. We want to have complex social interactions in Eve. We also want them to be flexable. Concepts like NPSI groups, charities, and even my store do not fit under the basic social group in a game.

In looking at the future of war decs, I believe that social groups may be a key as well. But for this, and for now, I am glad to see this movement inside of the community.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Lifecycle of Redemption Strawberry

A year ago, on November 17th, 2013 I stole a Proteus. I wrote the story. 7-2 had deployed to Solitude/Syndicate and I was doing the interceptor thing for our Ishtar fleet. This Proteus derped into us and the pilot ejected, leaving the hull. Being the interceptor in the Ishtar fleet, I got to grab it. Not a single thing on it was expensive.

I was fresh with my T3 skills. I had learned them just to learn them having little want to fly T3. I've always loved frigates for their agility. Without a hunger for DPS or an interest in doing top damage, I happily took on the role of tackle. I knew that I had a use in the fleet, my ship was fast, and I utterly enjoyed the game play.

Yesterday, on November 16th, 2014, I lost that stolen Proteus in combat. I was taking damage and decided to be a bit stupid and not warp out when I should have. I might have saved myself. I might not of. I was rather disappointed with my poor decision making in that situation. This would be the second time I've done something really stupid like not leaving when I could have and committing when it was dumb.

I also know it sounds silly to be unhappy in a DPS ship. It may just not be the place for me. I can't say that I find it satisfying like I did being the front line tackle frigate and Snuff does not need me in that way. It is not so much that I want to be important or essential. I need to buy Chella her implants and spend some time doing logistics and see if that is a better fit for me.

I used to believe that skill points where the answer. If I could just get enough of them I'd figure things out. While important, they are not the be all and end all of things. Losing one of my level five subsystems sucked. I cannot say that I enjoyed it nor that I am suddenly in love with T3 for the experience. It hurt less then I expected. I had prepared myself for some huge, jarring sensation and a sense of complete loss and irritation. I did wonder if it was worth it. I guess so?

I have a second Proteus that used to be my BlOps Proteus for 7-2. BlOps are another one of those things that I feel as if I should enjoy and do not. I'll refit that to replace the combat one that I lost. Snuff has a thing for using BlOps Battleships and I don't have a BS to V yet, nor do I have one scheduled for another three or so months.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Watching Helping

Some days, niceness is a soothing balm. I've flown more in the last few days then I have in months. My local window is firmly minimized and I've decided that the 'clear content' option would be perfect if I didn't have to have the chat window open to access it. Watching someone get help without any belittlement was nice. There was no, "What is that fit?" comments. No one told them that they where wrong and that they should fly something else that they did not want to fly. Instead, the time was taken to figure out how to get that person into a better position.

Said person was a player coming back after being gone from the game for two years. His Armageddon was no longer the ship he had once flown. He did not have the skills for what was now a drone boat. He was not a PvPer interested in its abilities as a baby Bhaalgorn. Nor did he have much in the way of ISK to buy another ship. He was trying to solve his own problem with what he had.

I very much enjoyed listening to the conversation. It was in Seamus' game mechanics class after the official class was finished. Eve has so many bits and bobs to learn. I wound up in low sec with people way above my skill and understanding so early that I missed parts of what I consider a normal players education. I learn vicariously. I live vicariously in some ways the type of play style that I have not yet experienced. Some may look down upon the high sec mission runner but I do not. They make more ISK then I do on average and they certainly tend to lose less ISK then I do.

So I listened to this guy try to solve his problems. There was no whining. He was not complaining. He was a bit frustrated about his ship but his solution was to try to work around it. He was out there trying and seeking help to do better and learn how he might improve. He was supported in finding his path.

Some people thrive in environments with negativity as a motivator. One of the people who trained me for my current job believed that people only learned from mistakes. He'd let you fall, yell at you, and then tell you the correct thing. I never learned well that way and the two of us did not function well together. In Eve, I've never learned from the lose ships until you figure out what is going on method.

I appreciate those who have taken the time to help me learn this game. Without them, I'd still be in my any gun I happened to have in my hangar, Catalyst. I dislike belittlement and I've always gone out of my way to avoid it in Eve. I've probably not been as adventitious as I want to be. Sometimes the weight of negativity is an enormous obstacle for someone to overcome. Eve is a game with so many technical right ways that the artistic soul can sometimes be lost.

I also have terrible taste in things. Jaguars, Revelations, Thanatos, Ares... I never do manage to pick or fly what is supposed to be good. The eye rolling and smirks are irritating. But then, I'm a noncompetitive person in a competitive environment.

It was nice seeing someone's questions answered for what they where. I flipped through a little mental question list. Should I offer help? With one donation his ISK problems would be solved. But I did not get the impression that was what was needed. He wasn't asking for ISK. He was asking how to correct his situation on his own and getting the support he needed to do so within his current capabilities.

CSM9 - Day 197

CCP Seagull continues to release dev blogs bundling up what is coming in the next release. This week was not limited to just her dev blog. Several blogs where released for Rhea as well as topics discussed.

I’ll again point to the fact that the UI changes are live on Sisi. There are some known bugs such as the fact that the right click menu can be invisible on lower video settings. CCP is not going to maintain the old UI in line with the new UI. While they have started beta testing and giving players the ability to opt out of features, this is not going to be one of them. There is a transparency slider in the works. The testing is also being based around the minimum specified graphics card abilities. What is not popular is the limitations to the color schemes. The ones listed are pretty for those who care for them. However, a broad pallet of UI themes are used by people for many reasons and removing that bit of personalization takes away from a player's experience. This is anger making for some and they have expressed their frustration.

Speaking about graphics, the new PBR (Physically Based Rendering) is incredible. Amarr is gold again or at least the gold parts are. Currently, the Minmatar textures are missing from the test server. Some of them are startling enough of a change to look like new skins.

The first dev blog for the week was about new sleeper sites and polarized weapons. They were once ‘blighted’. I’m pleased with the name progression. There is another aspect of these sites. They can pod you so I feel that its best to make sure people pay a little bit of attention to them.

CCP Fozzie released the detailed dev blog about Thera. It can also be directly reached on the test server through a special move channel. Many words have been said about Thera. What has come to me in my CSM capabilities is a general dissatisfaction on the focus on armor frigates in the small ship shattered systems. It seems a missed opportunity for some new type of small ship play. I agree. I love my shield frigates.

When I saw that CCP was adding keyboard flight control I felt a bit faint. This is a topic dear to my heart. It is not that I have been on the WASD bandwagon. I have complained for quite some time now that how to pilot in space was not explained anywhere in the tutorial. While it still is not, being able to use the basic movement keys is good. I hope that they opt in new accounts to the beta test to see how they handle it. I expect that they will naturally use the keyboard to control their ship and we will wind up with an interesting generational gap in the future. Yesterday it went live on Sisi. I have tried them out myself and they feel very good even with the tick. I had amazing control of my interceptor as I wove through the station. You will have to choose your keybinding. I chose WASD but for those that have any of those keys for other uses, they can choose another set. This video done by Nonoce from a Reddit thread shows off manual flying nicely.

There are other goodies in the coming soon. CCP is freeing up six million trial account names. If you have a beloved trial account name that you stare at fondly and point out the creation date, you may want to subscribe it. This is the first time CCP is doing a name purge like this.

Rhea launches in three weeks but Phoebe is just past us. I’ve noticed a vast change across low sec. Everything is changing. Behaviors are changing. Ships that would never have been undocked in a Phoebe world are heading into battle. Local groups are clashing with other local groups and the face of low sec is changing. I don’t think that is for the bad but I’m hovering over it anxiously and watching and listening. Capital bouncing has come up in discussion. I see it as a problem.

Another side effect of Phoebe is that exploration sites are escalating into high sec. This did not make me happy. Watching those delicious sites run off into the land of faction police was rather unhappy making. This has been addressed and should be corrected in one of next weeks patches.

I do not have any updates on module, recon, or Rorqual rebalancing passes. Sorry!

Outside of that, there has been a lot of conversation with CCP over different things. Skype has been busy. A few forum posts have gone up. Various concepts are being discussed. Meetings have happened. The productivity is high. People are more sold now on the release schedule. Now there are complaints that there is to much change, to fast.

I’m starting discussions about war decs. What they are. What we want them to be. How they work and all of that fun stuff. I want to hear opinions and thoughts about it. I’ve received a lot of feedback that war decs should be more objective based. What objectives and how that functions while covering the spread of things war decs do? It does not feel as if it addresses enough things to me. Why am I doing this? War decs are a topic that people often bring to me. I speak to everyone from the player in high sec who is deced to those who work as mercenaries and enjoy trade hub camping. I’d like to see what we come up with.

Yesterday I had my Open Q&A. Corbexx and Asay came along for the first session and then Corbexx again for the second. I also got Sion to drop by for about ten minutes and answer a few questions about null sec that came up about twenty minutes into the session. The evening session went well. As happens each time they are vastly different from each other in flow, feel, and questions. One topic was the reluctance to post on the forums due to the environment. I do understand that but I also do appreciate those who close their eyes and post anyway. It is still read, even with the negativity around it. There was an interesting suggestion to allow parallel threads for when people want to escape the main thread but still wish to be constructive. Currently, the forum rules cause these threads to be shut down. This also led into a discussion on how to reach out to a wider Eve audience for helpful programs such as Eve Uni's classes which are open to the public.

It has been suggested that I run these talks on weekdays because people have to many commitments on the weekends. I have no idea how that will work out for people's schedules. I have an abnormal work schedule and always have. I have no idea what is convenient and picked the weekend because it is a relatively neutral time. I’m aiming to have my next one the weekend of December 15th.

A wormhole subreddit has also opened. Good luck to them.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

War Decs: I'm Sorry That I Hurt You...

I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

Last Tuesday, I started a conversation about war decs called, "The Incomplete Triangle".  I've since renamed it to "War Decs: The Incomplete Triangle" and added a label for ease of research, later. This is a continuation where I am attempting to wrap things up and move forward before we talk ourselves into circles. I feel that I am  attacking a topic that is to large for me alone. I'm okay with that. I'd distrust myself if I climbed on the stage and said that I had solved something this intricate with a few days of thought. It may be to large for those that I reach out to. But, I cannot help but feel that serious discussion needs to happen about the war declaration system and what we do with it in Eve. And, it is my job to some extent. War decs are a topic that come to me time and time and time again.

As the posts started to come in I have picked up a general trend. Some suggestions are complete reworkings of the war declaration system. These tend to do two things.

The first thing is to give the entire system a structured path and reason. It is a system within a system. Its own game and activity in a way. It is a mission, a task, something that has walls, corners, a floor and a ceiling. This is often an objective based system.

Next, I see many wishes to define the war declaration with meaning. There is a desire to define why the declaration happens. That reason is often founded upon what appears to be a rational why. It is similar to the first system in that there should be clear objectives and reasons. There is a tint of morality to this system and it firmly tries to move the system away from declaring war just for the amusement of what is often the attacker.

The fact that the dec must be accepted is a source of annoying to many. The war dec is heavily in favor of the aggressor. The defender is given a twenty four hour notification that Concord will no longer protect them due to another player group paying Concord off.

In here is the question should that be the way things work. Should the other corporation has a chance to counter pay Concord to retain their protection? For this situation mostly exists within high security space. In low security space paying for a war dec turns off gate and station guns. I do not add that in as a clause for the mechanic being good or bad. I add it in for completeness. It is easy to focus on high security space and the activities of war decs without looking at how they interact with other areas of the game.

Often often we trot out the sandbox to defend or attack a topic. War decs are no safer from this then anyone else. It means that if people want to do things just to do them, they should be able to. Conversely, that applies for both sides. If I want to declare war on you because I want to, whatever my reason, I should have the chance. But, that does not mean an uncounterable chance.

What I am see is the one sided nature of war decs and the lack of counters to war decs. And in that lays questions of what are war decs? Are they a system for one corporation to evade Concord? Are they there for corporations to battle over corporate goals? As many different reasons, ideas, and responses to war decs as I see all seek to understand what the dec even is.

The idea I dislike the most is where the war dec follows the individual. I believe that someone should be able to move themselves away from a situation. Just as I believe that people have the right to log off if they so wish to log off and do other things. Someone should be able to walk away. Not fighting should always be an option. I'd prefer if people did not want to walk away from the game because you have paid to have open season on them until you get tired of paying for it. There is one type of person that this effects and that person lives in high security space and rarely has much interest in combat.

Some say just get rid of it completely. But, is that type of impunity wanted? High sec may be a safer zone but it has its risks created by players. To just delete war decs would be to allow corporations who currently move large volumes of items through and around high security space to only be at risk to gankers. I am not in love with trade hub campers but they do cause people to but some thought into their asset movement or to lose it.

Some of this comes back to carrots and sticks. We can wave sticks at people to make them fight to our hearts content but what type of lack luster warfare do you get then? Something that involves no passion or reason only forced mechanics. Forcing people into situations causes them to avoid them. And currently, that means logging of. It makes war decs a large stick and the aggressor is often waving the stick an eating the carrot.

When I first wrote the opening paragraph of this blog I wrote that I was tackling a problem. Upon further thought I changed it to a topic. I did so because calling war decs a problem is ignoring all of those that love the current system. There are a lot of them and they feel that the system is fine as it is. Whenever any change is discussed in Eve there lays a large possibility of removing the play style of someone else. Change is a potential that we all face when we play Eve.

As I explore this topic there are two clear paths that come into these discussions. One is to prop up the current system with its mechanics of declaring war simply because you want to with more tools and resources for the defender. The second is to rip out the mechanic, kill the entire concept of war declarations as we currently know it, and restructure it into something based off of objectives and reasons.

The former is a fix. The later is a rebirth that would challenge us to look at what a corporation is and why it would maintain assets or if it simply must do so. All sides have huge, potential flaws. The former leaves many of the current aggressor mechanics in place. The later gives a powerful backdrop for high security activities to those that do not live in high sec. It makes me ask, would that be a reward? I know that objectives are unappealing to me. I dislike others defining my goals and focus. That may also be a me thing and I am very much aware of that.

I'll stop here. Next War Dec post, I'm going to try to look at the two potential paths outlined above and the questions and thoughts related to them..

November Open CSM Q&A with Sugar Kyle, Today

I'm running one of these at 1500 (thirty minutes from this post) and another at 2200 GMT.

They are on Eve Uni Public Mumber. and in Lecture.E-UNI chat in the game.

I also advertise in twitter and in game. These are not serious things. Just some time to sit down and chat.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pod and Planet YC116 Entry: A Conscious Choice

A Conscious Choice 
Written for the Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden catagory
I am the destroyer of lives and a savior of humanity. Each day I throw away basic human decency and shatter the souls of other people. I rip their very souls from them and I do this at their request. I am a monster convinced of the greater good. Is one person more important than another? Is it an individual’s choice to destroy themselves or my responsibility to save them? Can I tell someone that they cannot sacrifice themselves for those they love the most? Should I?
I am a monster.
-Luka Pellan
I looked at the mural that covered the waiting room wall. The letters were graceful curves of white against the vibrant blue glow of a plasma planet deep in the velvet black of the Great Wildlands. It was as beautiful as it was morbid and it covered the entire back of the waiting room wall. The only thing that marred it was the simple, white door in the lower left corner. That was the door that everyone walked through, under the words of horrific truth.

I know those words by heart. We all did. I sometimes dreamed about them. Not exciting dreams. Not nightmares. More, dreams where they burned themselves into my mind. I could not answer the questions posed. I had met no one who could answer them. The weight, some days, was enough to crush me as I walked through the door to lead the next person to their destruction.

Across from the mural is the front door to the clinic. The entire front wall is glass. The mural can be seen from the hallway. Sometimes, as people walk by they stop and read it. Some may admire it. The words possess their own frenzied beauty that can only be gained by honesty.

I watched a woman approach the door. She stopped in the middle of the hall. Tall and slim, her dark hair was mere down across her head. High cheekbones and darkly lashed, almond shaped eyes gave her more beauty than any woman deserved. She stared at the words. I could almost read along with her, I knew them so well. There are tiny movements of head and eye that people make as they read. As they hit each phrase I could read it in their body language.

Sometimes, when they read those words, they don’t come through the door. They stand and read them. Sometimes they read them again and again. Their hand may lift. Their foot may move. Sometimes they move towards the door. Often they look at me. At that time, I look back. I don’t judge them.

Do they think that I will chase them if they leave? Do they hope that I will beckon them in? I cannot make this decision for them. I cannot help them make the decision they wish to make. I can only wait. I can be neutral. I can only be a witness to what inner struggle they may face.

She read the words. Then she read them again. I could see the flex of her throat as she swallowed and the tension that knotted her slender frame. She took a step, paused, and took another. They were long steps. Graceful steps. She had the grace of a dancer as her arm lifted and she pressed her hand to the door.

The doors do not stick. They do not swing. They are beautifully balanced and immediately flowed open to the small pressure she placed upon them. They are an invitation to some and a hungry maw to others. She paused on the threshold and then stepped over it. I could see the knotted muscles of her fine jaw. She had made her decision.

The words of Luka Pellan are not there to shame or upset. They are there so that people will know the choice that they make. So that they will know the choice other people have also made. I could see her decision in her eyes. It was in the clench of her jaw and the tension of her frame. I was not there to torture her. I was here to accept her decision.

I flowed to my feet. My gown sweeps down to the floor. It is a pale blue edged in white and gold. The sleeves extend past my hands and my hair is swept up in a simple, silver hair net. I was not so tall as she but I was tall enough that she was not uncomfortable. In many ways we matched each other. Our height and coloring are similar. Our builds are not identical but not so far apart as to be startling. In some ways she could see herself in me. An imperfect mirror. That was why I was selected to be the one who met her on this side of the doors.

“Rena Senn?”

“Yes.” Her voice held a rasp to it. A pleasant imperfect rumble.

“Welcome to the Inferno clinic. I am Fay.” I curtsied low. It is an archaic tradition, I know. Yet, it shows them that they are not just another patient led by another faceless clinician. We are both people. I respect the decision that she is going to make. Often, people wonder what their doctors and nurses think about them. What other’s think about them. Rena Senn had no reason to care about my opinion. But knowing that my opinion was at the very least, respectful, would help.

We cannot share our thoughts with each other. Oh, we can speak them. We can write them down. We can bare our souls as openly as we do our bodies. But those thoughts are always wrapped in our own mind. Those who we share them with must believe what is shared because they cannot experience it. That is why we add ritual to our words. In body, in speech, in movement, and in tone, we share ourselves with those who walk through our doors.

“I am your clinician. If you would like another we will have someone else assigned to you.”

“You’re fine.” Her response was brusque. “What do we do now?”

“You have signed all of your consent forms. Your appointment is for your transformation. Your team is being assembled. You will all have the same timers.” Coming to the clinic is the last step. The evaluations, the testing, the psychology, all of that is done before they reach us. It is a small mountain that they have to climb without any encouragement. We do not call them. We do not write them. They must seek every step.

“Do I meet them?”

“No.” The teams would not be decided until all of the current candidates finished their after testing.

She thought about that. “I won’t care, will I?”

“You will not.”  She would be beyond that, her mind too occupied with thought to quibble.

I watched her think about my words before she asked, “Will I care about anything?”

“When you have time.”

“I guess thirty days is not a lot of time. I can ask you questions forever, Fey. Let’s go.”

I led her through the door. I scanned the words of Luka Pellan as I passed under them. Rena keep her eyes in front of her. She was both pushed and pulled along this path. She wrapped both dread and determination about her like a cloak and walked under the words in complete honesty.

The next room is different from the first. It is a foyer that branches off into several hallways. I took us to the left. We passed soundlessly across the dark blue floor. The walls where a deep cream, separated by doors outlined in gold. Three doors down I stopped us and palmed open a door. I could hear Rena’s breath quicken as she looked inside.

The room itself is not disturbing. it is circular with a deep, white chair in the center. The injector is installed in the headrest of the chair. It was both a lounge and an examination room. The monitors are all retracted into the ceiling and floor. A couch is against one wall and a single door leads to a bathroom beside it. It is the potential that the room encompasses that scared her. It was the knowledge of choice.

At any time she could leave. She could turn and walk back down the hallway and go. I would not follow her. All doors that led out would open for her. Some make it all the way to this room before they bolt. Rena stepped over the threshold and relaxed. She had made her choice.

There are no cold metal tables and vats of preservation fluid. All of that is available if needed. It rarely is. We are far past the days of experimentation and frantic moments of existence. The modified Inferno would change everything about Rena but it would probably not kill her. Not unless you counted the death of the person that she was now. Was that counted by the person who would be born in this chair?

“Do I sit?” Rena stepped towards the chair but stopped to look back at me.

“You do. We’re ready to start whenever you are.”

“If I got up?”

“That is your choice. No door holds you here, Rena.”

“Fay, nothing is choice. Nothing.” Rena closed her eyes and walked to the chair she settled down in it and let it take her weight. It is a comfortable chair. Almost too comfortable but not quite. Her dark eyes held mine in a silent challenge. I met her gaze and waited for her terse nod. She was not challenging me. She was challenging her own decision. She was an intelligent woman. “Do you want to know why?”

“If you want to tell me.”

Her laugh had the same pleasant rasp as her voice. “They call you priests and priestesses you know.”

I smile. “I do.”

She blurted out, “Do you worship it? Worship what beings we become?”

“No. There is nothing religious.”

“Is it just a job?”


She took a deep breath. “That’s good. I… I think I am ready.”

She had to be ready. It was a small but subtle difference. She closed her beautiful, determined eyes and I asked the sequence key. “Are you ready, Rena?”

Her lips twitched and her jaw clenched as she struggled to unlock it. “Yes.”

“Vocalization accepted.” To myself, I told her goodbye.

I killed her. With a simple push of a button a needle slid out of the chair and slipped into the point where her spine and brain met. It pumped its modified Inferno deep into the brain stem. From there a wave of chemicals would carry it out into her brain and change her.

Rena’s mouth opened in a silent scream. Her body was still. The needle paralyzed her for now. All but her face. We had learned that giving people a way to express their pain helped them to endure it. She’d not remember it. Not in an emotional way. She was well on the way beyond that. Rena was well on her way to becoming who she now is.

We are often asked if we are some type of cult devoted to what we do. We are not. I am simply a woman, like anyone else. But I once sat where Rena is now and I could not make the decision that she made. I sat in the chair and I was consumed by fear. I did not want to die. In those last moments I knew that I could not kill who I was. Not to pay off my debts. Not to change the future. Not to be used by the whims of a Capsuleer’s industrial empire deep in uncharted space.

At the moment my vocalization was accepted I broke down. My mind snapped under the pressure and I met insanity. At the very edge of my existence I could not face that I had almost killed myself. And so I retreated into insanity for a while as my mind tried to accept that it had almost killed itself.

My reasons were not good enough. My personality not proper. In that one moment I understood that I was endlessly weak. I knew that I would never have the strength to become more than I was at that time. And during the months that they pierced my mind back together I wished to redeem myself.

That was why I was here. That is why I watched every agonized spasm as Rena’s brain burst into activity. I watched the monitor which told me things were normal. The Inferno had fully populated through her brain. The lilac traces through the holographic image of her neural pathway was beautiful. Blossoms of pale blue formed as synapses burst into existence, fueled by the nutrient broth that had housed the Inferno. That was one of the simplest solutions to the burnout. Fuel. Without fuel the mind consumed itself.

Rena’s eyes flickered open. She gasped and gasped again. She had never stopped breathing. The paralysis made it feel that way. As it wore off she started to suck in air at a furious rate. Her body felt that it was suffocating and it took a while for her mind to take control of her automated responses. I waited still as her thrashing slowed and her eyes cleared. Her lips moved a few times.

“Hello, Rena.”

“I...” she sounded as if she had never had water. Her tongue darted across her lips and they moved once more. “I am Rena.”

“You are. Would you like to lay down?”

After a moment she said, “Yes.” Her voice had its rasp still. She stood and moved like an automaton. Her body knew how to move and her mind knew how to move it, but that was all. She might regain her previous dancers grace. She might not. Perhaps, I would make a note in her file for her. A suggestion when she came back to us for therapy. For now, she learned what walking was, not just how to do it, in the dozen steps it took to cross the room and sink down onto the couch.

She would sleep and then need to eat. As long as the Inferno was active her calorie count would triple. Tomorrow, she would be assigned her team and by the following day she’d be off to some part of the cluster. But for now, I helped her to the couch and soothed her pained brow.

My name is Fay Isbel. I am a monster.