Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Seven

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous Entry: Cold War

There is an interesting blur effect across the Exodus and Cold War expansions that extends into Red Moon Rising. CCP has many plans and goals and they are often not able to meet them int he development cycle. They simply move these down, but that led to cries of missing features from Exodus even after Cold War was launched. They will have to juggle both the past, the present, and the future.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Social Soapbox

I suspect that I will write a history post for Wednesday. That is my current goal. My day was absorbed by my new motorcycle purchase. I shall share that this weekend when I go to pick him up. It has left me with less concentration than I like to have for Eve, but such is the side effect of exciting moments in life. I did however, make time to work on my markets.

My markets, something I picked up to give a try, have become a huge part of my life. Right now, I am behind. The deployment that was whipped up happened so fast I wasn't able to get my mobile market into gear fast enough. I'm also on my work week that includes weekends. Oh, and burn Jita. A perfect storm that hit leaving me not time to organize myself as I want. Hence, I just keep forgetting and missing stuff, leaving my mobile market a shambling shade of what it should be at this juncture.

I also need to tend TCS. I'm a bit frustrated. It isn't a bad thing outside of me whining some.

One of the things I like about Eve is the ability to build something in the game. I don't mean crafting in game items. I mean building empires in the sand. What you are going to build is up in the air. What you try to build and what you may build are different things. Projects sometimes take a life of their own. Others die in a terrible fire even as you attempt to breath life into it. Lots of people don't have projects. They enter into the game and live in the now. They use, live, and destroy, but their very presence is part of that project.

I may just wax poetic over something that only seems beautiful to me. Empire building is engaging. But, empire building is to grand a word for what many of us will engage in. Not everyone wishes to build empires in their sand. Some want to have sand fights and build sand angels. Others may wish to knock over empires. It is a field full of options.

Between Thursday and Monday TCS needed three billion ISK in items to be restocked. I've recently added heavy assault cruisers to the line up. They are selling well so I decided to add faction cruisers as well. Hulls are my smallest profit margin and I'm fine with that. However, recently I had a commentor point out how regional monopolies work quite well and bring in plenty of ISK. There is no need for reasonable prices when one holds the entire market.

I do know this. I don't hold the prices in Molden Heath where I do because I have to. I do it because I want to. It is an empire that I have started to build. I just happen to want to build one that focuses on a social issue. No one said that you have to build an empire of ISK and power. In my time in low sec I've become fascinated by how people do not work together yet maintain a communal identity. It is a small community and we brush against each other quiet often but the constant conflict tends to draw the residents.

Often, when I brave the forums I see comments about how to fix low sec. They often have bitter comments about 'pirates' who kill everyone. Often there are creative suggestions on how to get rid of us. I've written several times about a popular concept of kicking us out of empire space, permanently, the moment we do a criminal act. I often wrote against it but I feel less need to do so these days with the gate gun changes and Tags4Sec.

They were correct in one area. That is that some bad parts of low sec are social problems. The characteristic of Eve that allows us to create our empires allows us to attempt to effect this. I say attempt because many times the effort is focused behind an individual. But, one person can change things for many and no one said that it had to be a black and white, obvious goal. We often discuss how neglected we are by CCP. It leads me to ask, what can we improve on our own? CCP has given us many tools and while they may be sub-optimal, sometimes you start digging with a knife (This is a common action in the Lonesome Dove series).

My social soapbox of Eve says that if someone has to decide to improve the environment. For whatever reason they do so, the only way it will be improved is if someone gets up and does it. In a game where there is not an endgame casting off the normal process of focused, self gain turned out to be interesting. Eve is full of counter-intuitive activities from player run events to in game classes to learn game play. Against that spectrum a market is not such an odd thing.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Expansion Hints: New Front Screen

How many mining lasers does this venture happen to have?




Or this yellow Orca(ish) flat thing.


Hints from the new login screen for what we shall learn later this week. I have no idea but it's something to look at.

Plus, thank god, its blue.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

CSM: Running for Office: Week Ten

I've been waiting to write this particular post for quite a while now. Unlike every post before and every post after, this particular moment is very pure and allows me a unique opportunity for untinted honesty. It is not that I have not been honest. It is that voting is closed and the election will not be decided until next week. What I say now cannot be construed as an attempt to direct my election or a reflection of winning or losing.

Thank you for voting for me. Thank you for considering me and putting me on your ballot even if you did not pick me as your first choice. I cannot express how honored I am at the trust put in me and I appreciate that people took the time to follow through with me.

Next weekend my game life changes a bit. I either make it onto CSM9 and from thereon become a member of CSM9 or I do not make it and from thereon I become a person who failed their bid to CSM9. One way or another some will see everything that I say and do through that tinted piece of glass. Because I believe in something I have altered everything around me.

It feels weird.

This entire process is one that I entered without a clue. When I went to the MD/VA/DC meet Epi leaned over and said, "Off the record, why are you really running?" I looked at him like a deer in headlights. I knew what I was about to say would sound fake so I said, "I know that this sounds fake but there isn't any off the record. I'm really running for the reasons I listed."

That's because I am. I've discovered that I am not just passionate about low sec I am passionate about advocating low sec and my ideas and beliefs in general. I believe in myself and my concepts of Eve inside of low sec and out. I've been accused of running for eve-fame and attention. I hate when my corpmates call me a politician. I dislike that the things I write are looked at through the measurement of how I may be trying to work the election. My own words, my blog which I have tended for over two years became both my savior and my demon. It was nice that I could calmly tell people that they had two years to dredge through if they wanted to call me out on something I have said. It was awful because I started worrying about everything I wrote and how it would be perceived.

Tending my forum post was hard. I got hit with a lot. I was the first person to post and the first thing I encountered was resistance. A "Who are you?" to run. I asked my boys to back off from defending me. While their support is appreciated and if they had not supported me people would be puzzled, I needed to show that I could stand up for myself and deal with suboptimal situations. Not everyone is going to like me. Not everyone is going to support me. I needed to show people how I handled myself. I believe that I did so.

The questions where very staggering. Many of them are outside of the ability of the CSM. Often, my first reading rolled around my head something like, "Dear Sugar, how will you personally recode Eve, create cold fusion, and repopulate the baleen whale?" However, I looked at it not as a reflection of me as a CSM but an attempt to gain access to my thoughts, ideas, and ability to communicate. "That is not something that I feel CCP should worry about," was never my answer. I spent many evenings answering forum questions to the best of my ability. My writing has improved. I had a tendency to write in the passive voice a lot and I had to snip that out or else I diluted the confidence I felt in my own words.

When voting ended my thread had over 14,000 views. I have to admit, I wonder why I got as many views as I did and if it means anything.

I was told by one person to ignore the forum thread because it will not get me votes and instead work on contacting corporate leaders and getting them to endorse me to their corporation. That is not me. I did reach out to some groups and I asked people to help me reach out. I chatted, I had coms sessions, I answered mails and I did my best to be accessible. I have been on six podcasts over the course of the election. I have written blog posts and I have written thousands of words on my forum thread. I have let every single person that wished to contact me in game or out and interview me, interview me. I realized after a while that this was a job interview and that I was asking several thousand people to hire me. With that perspective it was easier to engage every individual every time and try to find out what they wanted of me.

Not everything was great and full of high points and self discovery. Some of it was bad. Such as the term, "If you want to win you will do anything."

I have personal and moral limits. I cannot do anything to get elected. That is not the type of person that I am. I understand that I cannot do anything if I am not elected. Yet, when I was told to find a bloc to vote me and to give them what I had to to get their support, I said no. When I was told to disregard the individual and focus on groups, I said no. When it was suggested that I use a complex dance of alts to get invited to places and things so that it would not seem that I was directly asking but that there was a significant interest in me in an attempt to convince people that I was a big deal, I said no. When I was told that I would have to give into the politics to be elected so I might as well start making contacts, I said no. When I was asked to endorse candidates that I could not honestly endorse personally or for any of my platforms, I said no. Maybe all of those nos are wrong but each one sat poorly with me. I want this but I do not want it with a bad taste in my mouth.

I believe that the people who voted for me are voting for me. The person and the vision and personality that I bring to the table. I can say that I did not betray their belief in me or my belief in myself. If this person that I am is not the person who attracts enough support from the Eve community to achieve a CSM seat I will have that answer.

But, before I get all self righteous, I have to make sure that I give it my everything. That is why the posts, podcasts, blogs, chats, and in general an effort to put myself out there. I am not the loud, boisterous, look at me type. I doubt I will go off on a rant or rage. I may do snarky. I may seem too mild tempered to some. That is something Kirth pointed out in his review of me and something that my podcast interviews showed was not the case. The relationships I have developed also show me that I was able to get across my personality and interests and what I cared about.

The respect that I want from others I must also give to others.

If no one makes it onto the CSM to represent low sec it will be a shame. We are not organized like the null blocs and that is our weakness. One comment on an article was that the commenter did not want low sec to change. Well, a representative preserves as much as they try to enact change. And sometimes, no matter how much we want things not to change they will. Having a voice allows us to have some standing in this.

The STV system is both good and bad. it allows people not to 'waste' their votes. Vote wasting is a term I learned about last year where people do not vote for the person they want to vote for because they do not believe that person will make it. being able to pick other people allows them not to feel as if they wasted anything and vote more true to themselves. The reverse is that people vote for me lower on their ballot. The support is good but I still need a certain amount of top placements to make it through the elimination rounds.

I'm tired of worrying about it. I have been obsessed but not as bad once voting started. I felt that I had done what I could and now nature would take its course. Then things got even busier which surprised me. The continued interest was good and healthy. Even with voting closed I get mails and conversations. I'm delighted to share what I can.

What's next?

Well win or lose I'm still playing Eve. I have a deployment to supply, a history series to finish, a dreadnought to welp, and plenty of new topics to write about. There is no stopping me and I'll see people at Eve Vegas (whenever we get the dates). Anything past that we shall see.

Side notes:

I'm sorry to everyone who finds it weird to call me Sugar. I didn't think about it when I created the account. Sug or SK both work.

No one wanted to talk about PvP. Everyone wanted to talk about everything else to the point that some forgot I PvPed. I do not think this is bad but it was amusing.

I avoided promoting my blog on my forum thread. People don't want to click links.

I had to remember that repeating myself is okay. not everyone has seen or heard everything I have said. Bonus, for those who listen multiple times they will see that I am consistent.

My corp was fantastic in understanding that I might be logged in but I couldn't spend a lot of time in space.

Thanks to Wex for his grammar stick. My knuckles may be forever bruised but I am a better poster for it.

The greater Eve blog and podcast community was amazing.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Camped in the Station

The actual story:

It was a work night and I had logged in to spend a while discussing low sec with someone who wishes to dip their toes into it. I also had dinner to make and in general I was worn out. Floyde told me that he had some courier contracts from my high sec staging system that needed to come in. none of it was a big deal but it was the type of activity I could do while chatting and waiting for the next phase of dinner to finish.

I jumped my Rhea to my low sec border system and docked. I never warp from jump. I am too paranoid for that. As I was docking someone came and sat on my cyno without shooting me. I figured they wanted to see if anything else was going to come in. Then a Harbinger warped in all red outlaw like, and stared at me as well.

It is just my cyno Velator against a Stabber Fleet Issue and a Harbinger. The Stabber FI warps off and the Harbinger finally shoots me. I was sipping soup at the time and almost dropped it getting my pod out. I was slow and he did nail my pod but I warped out in a quarter structure (trained cyno alts for the win).

I went and checked the high sec gate and back to make sure no one was scouting my Rhea. I undock and the SFI appears as I start aligning. Now, I always stop as I align and I refuse to dock my Rhea in a kickout. When the SFI appeared I was not concerned until I saw him picking up speed and heading for me. No thank you. Ascendancy set and max skilks  or not I dont warp that fast. I redocked as he slammed into me.

Hmm.

We redid this a few more times over the next fifteen minutes. Brando came to scout himself out and commented that the SFI was a 100MN bumping fit that was cloaking.

Ahh. That made sense. As soon as he bumped me they'd come to assist or cyno in. Yuck.

Brando got himself out and Dave came to assist. However, Dave's brave Keres was taken down by a gatecamp. I decided to log off the Rhea. I didn't want to risk it with someone actively hunting me. Said SFI also logged off. About a half hour later I extracted my Rhea with no problems. I gathered up the contracts and found out they where to big for one fit. I nudged Brando who assisted with his jump freighter and we got everyone's stuff to them.

The dramatic reenactment:

Seeing Diz on Jabber, I decided to have a hysterical breakdown as to my stressful evening of having my Rhea camped into station.

Me:
Diz an evil 100000000000mn stabber fi camped my rhea into a station. I was just trying to do honorable logistics before bed. It was terrible. A villainous gate camp ambushed and tortured Dave as he came to assist!

-----------------------

I think the two are very similar.

This is My Burn Jita Post

This is a Goonswarm post. I figured that it would fit well during the weekend of Burn Jita. I don't discuss Goonswarm often. In fact, I tend to go out of my way to not discuss them even when the topic pertains to them. This is not because I have any particular love or hatred for Goonswarm. It is because their very name conjures a emotional hurricane that often clouds the topic. However, on a weekend of in game hurricanes I decided to indulge myself considering what happened and how amusing I found it to be.

Before I start, let me put a plug in for plo and his freighter service Galactic Hauling Solutions Incorporated. He used to work for Black Frog and let and started his own service for a 50 million flat free to do low sec jumps. We chatted when he'd be in space, lighting cynos.

And on with the rest of my post...

I was in Jita buying things for TCS when I received an eve-mail that left me in stitches. Often, in Jita it is random invites to channels. This time it was a mail and the mail was a Goonswarm recruitment scam. The recruiter, Mishirosen, was going down the name list in Jita and sending out a mass mail. It is well written and well presented.

The first stage is the hook. Once I reply with my excitement and API they would reel me in. If I were good at this type of thing I would have responded and seen what else he had to say. Instead I was quite delighted and amused. Some will get worked up and send nasty messages. As I understand it, members are allowed to do recruitment scams and the onus is on those who fall for them.

The actual steps to joining GoonWaffe are listed on the Goonfleet Wiki. They recruit from the Something Awful Forums. Some get vouched in but not many. A quick search will hit upon dozens and dozens of references to the Goonswarm recruitment scam. But, a huge sum of Eve's players do not seek information outside of the game's interface and they jump at the chance to join one of the biggest and best known groups.

I get a lot of search hits for corporation scams in Eve Online. This is one of the very well known. People, for some unknown reason, continue to give these recruiters all of their stuff and huge piles of ISK. It is one of those things about Eve where people can lie to you and take your stuff, even over corporations. If said response is amusing enough it is sent to everyone to enjoy.

I left the actual mail under the cut.


Friday, April 25, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Six

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous entry: Exodus

I defined the end of the Exodus era well before the launch of Eve Online: Cold War. Part of this is the simple fact the arc of development and release of the expansion happens both before and after the true launch date. While Exodus laid out the foundations of a lot of Eve Online it was not a stopping point for CCP. In fact, a clear division of front line development and back-line hardware emerges along with a robust team that does things that are not related directly to code. Eve is steamrolling forward for CCP and they are starting to make enough noise that the greater community is watching them.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions: Part Three Point Five

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

I was debating attaching this to part six. However, I feel that I have the right to create revisions and addendums as they are needed. The history project is growing at its own rate into its own shape. I am but the author.

The other day, Michael asked me if I had seen this. This being a news letter that references Shiva. Well no, I had not found this particular resource. I'll dig in and see if I can find the other ones to touch in on this.

This is Eve's first news letter written in February of 2004. I think it is quite interesting and it does mention Shiva.

Hurry Up and Wait

I've been back and forth about the industry impressions for a bit. I've been hoping that we would get some more Dev Blogs to finish the incomplete picture that we currently have. I do not like making prediction and guesses on inaccurate and complete information. My emotional and rational reactions are often quite different. I also suck at speculation. I'm a terrible guesser and I have no interest in gambling. I'm bad at these things.

I now expect we might get one more dev blog before Fanfest but I am doubtful. Some of the CCP devs on twitter have already sounded as if they are in Fanfest prep more than anything else. That means the Dev blogs will come after Fanfest and I expect rapid fire with more of their details mentioned during the various Fanfest presentations. All of the cat's will be out of the bed and busy lounging on the steps waiting to trip the unwary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Goodbye Sweet Newbie

[TL;DR: This is a sad post]
Mustic: BoysIIMen - It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

Anthony, my newbie that I adopted back in February, logged in today to tell me that he was unsubbing. I was not surprised. He has not been on for the better part of a month. The signs are easy enough to read. He took the time to wait for my normal login time and write me an Eve mail in case he missed me. I thanked him for that. Many will just vanish.

The reasons are simple enough. Life does not give everyone the time to cultivate internet spaceship gameplay. Like any MMO and more than many, Eve consumes a lot of time. It is not something that anyone has ever tried to hide. It is not a problem with the game. It is simply the truth and sometimes outside of this game in the world that truly controls what we do, one does not have the time to play.

He apologized to me for wasting my time. I told him that it was never a waste of time. He was a cool dude and I had the pleasure of knowing him for a while. I adopted Anthony from Rookie Chat when I created my Faction Warfare alt. It started as just pulling him aside to answer a few questions he couldn't get answered in Rookie Chat and turned into full adoption. I can't adopt a newbie into my corporation. But, I did what I could and gave him as much support as an outlaw pirate with little high sec access can. We were under a series of wardecs around that time I believe and using Chella was also out of the equation.

I didn't adopt Anthony with an ulterior motive. I adopted him because I wanted to and I enjoyed his company. I also, sincerely believe that it is vital for someone to take a hand in helping new players into the game. Not everyone has to join a newbie corporation or a training corporation but almost everyone benefits from having someone to lean on for help. No commitments. No pressure. Just a place to ask questions and receive advice and opinions on all of the undocumented things in Eve.

Anthony's story, as I relayed back in February, was also one of recruitment scams. He was smart enough to see through the scam but it scared him off of corporations. And, how could I blame him for that? We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to retain new players and they are being sniped out of Rookie Chat and scammed faster than we can get them interested in the game. One of my problems with expecting them to know better is that the corporation scams that can and do happen in Eve really don't happen in other places. Suddenly, they can be killed by people for no reason other than their amusement and hopeful tears. And while that is not what happened to Anthony it almost did. It did happen to other new players in Rookie Chat with him.

And I don't know how to fix that situation. I don't know how to do it without suggesting we change the fundamental nature of Eve. I want to educate people better. I feel it is the most true to the game approach but you cannot force education down someones throat. All of the caution that they are told prepares few for the reality of the game and I don't know if that is something that can be fixed or what part of it is wrong.

I do not understand why people prey on the newest of characters. I don't mean alts. I don't mean newbies that wander into wormholes and low sec. I mean the ones who sit on the rookie station in a ship with a can and offer duels or try to get them to steal. I mean the ones pulling week old characters asking questions and looking for a corp out of Rookie Chat and getting them to come where they can kill them. Every time this question is brought forward it is met with people who blame people for their ignorance or want hard lines to define what is a newbie and who needs to be protected.

Asking people to have personal limits is too much. They come into a game to shed them. Who am I asking them to be nice to the new players? If they wanted that they'd be in a fluffy, loving, rookie recruiting corporation. I understand that. I don't want Eve to be easy. I've never supported completely safe Eve. Yet, newbies are eaten before they are out of their shell crawling across the beach for the ocean.

None of that is why Anthony left. He recovered from his worry. He has a life that is greater than games. Yet, I still wonder if I failed somehow. I think that my time knowing him has given me a lot to think about when it comes to new player retention. I asked him to fill out the exit survey to give CCP their statistics.

And such ends an Era. I'll miss him. You’re not supposed to be attached to a game. You’re not supposed to admit emotions in a competitive world. I can’t say that I care. My world is -1 friend today. And while he is not lost, he is gone. Things are a bit sadder today.

And he voted for me before he left, right before the polls closed. Ah damn. I do hope that I will do him proud.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

TCS: Downsides

I assign this under the TCS label of posts but it is not quite a TCS post. It is about markets however. When I write I try to write about both the good and the bad. It is easy to trim posts and filter events. But, I dislike that type of manipulation, even when it benefits me (In this case making me look like a market genius that never gets a thing wrong). I don't care for being wrong or unsuccessful but documenting my Eve life is going to have to include the bad with the good, silly, and random.

My market is successful. However, after we returned from Nalvula I noticed an unexpected price of success. Last year I noticed that people had moved into Bosena and randomly sold stacks of things. Often high volume items like fuel and ammo, undercutting my sales. Not being a trader, I do not use many of the tools that are available to hunt down where items may sell. That is when I discovered that Bosena had become a large enough blip to attract some market hunters.

What I discovered upon the return from our Nalvula deployment was that people were selling boosters as well. My booster trade has never been profitable but I built it up from begging people to buy them from me to selling them at a regular and steady rate in Bosena that paid for itself. I never asked more of it. I rarely do of my projects. This may be why I'm not rolling in the dozens of billions. But, it was after the Nalvula deployment that I realized my boosters were not selling at all. They had delisted while I was gone and when I went to restock them I saw that I had been undercut by someone else.

My Cult of Reasonable prices normally keeps me pretty even tempered about being undercut. The difference with my booster sales is that they are one of my personal projects vs a TCS project. The entire reason I first started making boosters was to create a steady supply for my corpmates. There are booster sellers out there but many shroud themselves with a cloak of mystery. None of said sellers were close enough for convenience and trying to find my way in the game and prove my value and worth as a corpmate, I undertook to make and sell boosters since it seemed to be a needed niche. Then someone told me that I'd quit because everyone quit. I didn't like that person very much. I also didn't like being told I'd fail at a project.

I'm still making boosters.

However, I also have to admit that I am hemorrhaging money on them now. I've had almost nothing move for three months. My researched BPO's are not moving that quickly and now the new industry changes mean that I will be paying to use my own research slots.

Yeah... no.

I'll have to accept the new ISK sink that is POS when it comes to making boosters. I'm not going to stop. I pretty much refuse to. I'm not particularly good at abandoning something I have decided to undertake (as in I won't). But, one must be reasonable. ISK does not pour from the heavens no matter how many rain dances I do try out. This means that I am going to go back down to a medium tower. I upgraded to a large for labs and flexibility to try other things. I don't think any of those things are paying the fuel bill. I've gone long periods of time without my boosters moving. This is not a new situation to be in. But, it is one that can continue for longer than is necessary.

My baseline goal is to have boosters available for the boys. My second goal is to have that at a reasonable rate. This may have been the founding seed of my market concept. With people undercutting me in my own market (how possessive I am!) I could undercut them back. However, I'd lose money. I am not part of the booster in crowd. I know it exists. I simply do not exist to it. I don't produce so much that I can buy in bulk or at huge discounts.

Instead, I will eat the cost of my own success.

It doesn't taste overly bad.

These are the side effects of a stationary market. No one ever said that it was a right to succeed in Eve. No project is guarantied to go as you wish it would go. It is something I've thought of a lot of late. My POCOpire may be under some heat in the near future. I'm not pleased at the prospect. My POCO are not my right to have. Not even for my glorious ideas of improving regions and making space more livable for others. If I want to have that goal I have to make it happen. That means that there is no obligation to anyone to leave my POCO alone just because I feel like having regional improvement projects. If their idea is glorious monopoly of market and POCO that is their right to have and their effort to create. Or, if they don't like my corp any asset with my corp or alliance ticker is a target.

My sandcastles are not kicked over. I will say I'm having a bit of an issue sculpting some of the turrets to my exact satisfaction. Yet, that is the appeal. The fact that I have these situations to deal with is a testament to what I have created. And, welp... that's the game of Eve that I play.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fieldtrip

I've never been good at forcing myself to do things that are not fun in Eve. In truth, I tend to become bitchy when I force myself into situations I don't want to be in. It is not a mood I enjoy being in. A cranky adult is an unpleasant experience. I should probably bve writing about the industry changes and some other stuff. I expect I'll work my way around to it.

Right now, I'm distracted. You see, for reasons I cannot fathom Siuil and Vov decided to do a bunch of 4/10 and 5/10 DED sites that Siuil found pooled in a back system. On most days it would be an amazing situation with five sites piled one on top of another in one place. This time it was far from that because earlier in the afternoon an incursion had hit the system.

Incursions are more than annoyances in low sec. People often move out of the area all together. Some groups do run these incursions to great results. But, when it comes to the day to day movement and activity they are, in my opinion, a nightmare.

Not that kind.

Every time someone in low sec complains about how horrible incursions are people tell us to suck it up and that they are not that bad. I can only roll my eyes. I have abandoned two ships two systems away and I will go and get them later. Dealing with the gatecamping blapablaping rats is not worth losing my ISK making boats. Getting into Isto is a trial and when the idea came up to go on a field trip we said, "Okay!"

So off we go to somewhere far away. I did a jump planner and saw that it would be several midpoints. I covered my eyes but I will survive. I've done this before and I've gotten damn good at it. Time is ticking down. I came home from work and started to get my things shifted. I'm just buying new boats instead of trying to make multiple trips out of Istodard. Maybe I will lose them all and shit up my ISK efficiency some.

The biggest part is balancing both my logistics and the sudden influx of corp logistics on each other while figuring out where my staging systems for things are going to be. I think I have it all figured out. This is why I love my personal chat channel. I will set the MOTD with all of the pertinent information. It takes me forever to learn new systems. Everyone else is rattling off names and I'm squinting at Dotlan in frustration.

Such is life. It will be interesting to see if the POCO war with Kelts will continue as well as other fires the boys have stirred up. My POCOpire may be in for a shaky time (as in my losing it all). We shall see. I think I have enough Data for an overall monthly look at my POCOs. I'll get that written up and it will help me see if I will rebuild my empire should it fall (I probably will because I am stupidly stubborn sometimes and I am very focused on these urban renewal projects of mine).

And if it all burns down?  Well, it can rise from the ashes. Someone has to have a Phoenix somewhere.

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Five

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous Entry: The Launch of Exodus

It is November, 17th 2004 and Exodus, the third expansion, has been launched. It is billed as an expansion of pure content. A year and a half after Eve Online's launch, CCP is ready to deliver major defining points to Eve(1).

Through the rough spots in 2004 Eve has begun to receive better reviews. Addictive, absorbing, and beautiful are often words used to describe it by both professional review sites and individuals who have played the game. Eve is not the game that we know of it today but much of the foundation is starting to set in.

But Eve then and Eve now are not quite the same.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

CSM: Running for Office: Week Nine

The end is near. Voting ends on Tuesday and then a week and a half until CCP releases the results. People often ask me, “How are you doing?” I tell them that I don’t know. None of us know. There is no count. Every guess as to who will win one of the fourteen seats is a guess. Some guesses are more educated than others but they are all guesses. I am getting a steady trickle of traffic from the CSM candidates page.

 I also did a podcast episode with DaeHan Minhyok (Click here to listen!). He is starting up a low sec podcast he is calling Low Expectations and he invited me on to chat with him for about an hour. We met at the local VA/MD/DC meet last month where he suggested the idea. I’m always up to discuss low sec. I know everyone else must be too. :)

 We will find out on May 3rd. I do have to say that CCP has not promoted this as I would like. I am very close to the election and it is a very large part of my game life right now. But we have had a few tweets for votematch, CCP Dolan has done some interviews, a Dev blog, a video, and links to the launcher. Susan Black brought up the fact that the CSM represents a small part of the player population due to the fact that so few players vote. I have attempted to convince people to invest a bit of time into the process and see if there is someone (me) who they could agree with. I know other candidates have done the same. Some have taken to spamming local or sending mail. Many are reaching out to each other. The players are the main method through which word of the elections is spread but we are speaking to a small circle. It is a very frustrating thing.

 But! Instead of worrying about how I will do I am taking advantage of all the communication I have received. I write a lot of Eve Mails. People have been sending me thoughts and ideas and one of the first things I like to do when I get on is answer any waiting mails that I may have. I personally hate when I send mail to someone and it vanishes without an acknowledgement. So I do my best.

 Some very interesting topics have been given to me. They will help fuel future blog posts. Some are large issues addressing the very nature of Eve. Other’s are thoughts and possibilities. My google document files needed a new layer of organization. I split my documents into folders labeled “ideas people bring to me” and “problems people bring to me”. When thinking about the future there are different things that need to be addressed. Someone asked about unfinished exploration missions in Mynnna’s CSM thread, for instance, and he dumped that into the lap of a Dev. Sometimes it is just a connection that needs to be made. Other topics are huge questions that look at the fabric of the game’s philosophy. I like to drop those on my chat room since I have a varied group of people in there and see what is said and why it is said.

 We’re down to the last call. Procrastinators, fence sitters, and those who haven’t voted need to make their final decisions. Encourage everyone. This is the players electing their player representation and only we’re going to make it happen. Next week I can start reflecting on the process and the week after… well… I have a lot of hope for that post.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Carebear-Intent

We have cast off our -10 (not that I ever had it but let's go with it) sec status. We have embraced the incursion that has hit our pocket! Forever shall the lurid green washed not really so red anymore Nebula of the Almur constellation focus our goals. Our hopes. Our dreams.

It shall be the Guardian, Abaddon, Napoc, Tempest, Vindicator, and whatever else we can shake out of the station to dock up in our fleets. Forever shall the rep drones over power the combat drones. Let each red cross be tagged and bagged as its wreck shatters across the sky!

The only gatecamps that matter are the ones that stand between us and our goal. ISK. No lure shall be held by the high sec, the war dec, because low sec is the best sec.

What was that fleet op? Warp to that beacon. That glorious beacon. Upon it is the holy font of ISK. Of glorious, glorious ISK. Let not your attention be directed. The cyno? We shun that. Rat-a-tat-tat goes the guns.


Isk! Glorious ISK! Let the sky sing!

Third Party

Hullo Ishtar! It is nice to get out in space and stretch my ships. The change in priorities, if anything, have taught me to appreciate my time in fleet. I haven't forgotten what to do!

The landscape of Molden Heath lately has been fairly active. When we returned from our Navaula deployment in the start of February we had planned to deploy again in a month or so. Often, when we've moved back to Molden Heath things have been bust for a bit and died down. This time, we had new neighbors to meet and lots of smaller corporation activities.

Our new neighbors left but they where replaced with old neighbors when Kelts Alliance moved back in. Our Russian neighbors have been gone for quite a while but their return has made things interesting. On top of that, Dust groups roam space and many seem to have settled in to stay.

When we headed out to a fight in Skarkon, I felt a big wave of homesickness for Klingt. It is like when you drive past a childhood home that you had good times in. Klingt was my childhood Eve home and I miss it. THC2 left for several reasons. We had mostly moved to Bosena. 7-2 was off somewhere else and Bosena was where the action was. Klingt is deep into the Molden Heath loop and it had little traffic because of that. But, when Planetary Conquest for Dust 514 came and Rise of Legion moved into Klingt we pretty much officially moved out. At that time they often had 40-100 in local and while it created amazing skirmish and kiting opportunities our corporation numbered about seven active people at the time. We officially moved out and its now been over a year. Yet, Klingt is not just a system we pass through and the nostalgia can be over whelming.

I also remember when I had a note pad to help me go the right direction because I didn't know how to use autopilot preferences and I still lived in high sec...

The Dust fights have been very active on the weekends. That means Dust fleets to support the Dust fights. And that means we are looking to second or third or fourth party (we are not picky) what we find. I love this. The unpredictable nature of low sec is enthralling. On one side I love to putter about making my ISK and doing my thing without a care in the world. On the other, I love knowing that mistakes and derpatude will cause me to lose everything. It is amazing, exhausting, and addicting.

I managed to just catch the fleet forming for the drop as I finished making dinner. I have an Ishtar fit that I am pretty happy with now and a little bit of flight time. I love my tackle boats but I need to spend a little bit more time inside of the core of the fight. So, off we went to slip in behind the fleets. Our eyes reported where everyone is and we warped in, dropped drones, and started clearing the field.

The Ishtar is a different type of boat. It is a heavy assault cruiser that we fly as a kiting nano setup. With our Scimitars on the field we went in and locked things down. Dust fights tend to be a more random fleet comp. It is not a kitchen sink set up so much as a defense setup. There where Scorpions, smart bombing Mallers, four Oneiros, a Hurricane, cruisers, and tackle.

We are also quite indiscriminate. I've told everyone that has approached 7-2 that we are neutral. Moments like these show it. We indiscriminately attacked everyone on the field.

https://zkillboard.com/related/30002411/201404190200/

The killboard is not yet updated. There was another Scorpion. He micro jump drive jumped away from us and warped to the sun. We sent our tackle off and he died before most could hit the grid with him due to being in structure. It was a very good fleet and a fun trip to space. We had to turn around and rush home to defend some of our POCOs. That is another story I shall get around to telling.

With drones I have four of the five weapon systems instead of three of the four. At some point I am going to have to give in and train missiles. But, don't tell my boys. Titus is already having to recover from my acquisition of a Dreadnought.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rambling: It Hurts to Help

[TL:DR:Nature vs Nurture written at work lunch time]


If I Pay Thee Not in...

Blog Banter #55

Last Blog Banter we talked about heroes in EVE Online. The followup to that topic has been provided by Wilhelm aka The Ancient Gaming Noob:

Write about somebody who is "space famous" and why you hate/admire them, somebody who isn't space famous but you think should be or will be, or discuss space fame in general, what it means, and how people end up so famous.
I'd like to add another take on the subject, is there a cost of being famous in EVE and if so, is it worth the price? - Kirith Kodachi Some people make interesting conversation pieces. I didn't think overly much about it until I put myself into a position to become the conversation piece of others. Seeing their opinions, thoughts, and reactions was strange. In a way, the way others react to you is a window into how you are seen. How one may present themselves and how that presentation is taken in can have startling differences.

In Eve there are people who become space famous and there are people who seek to become space famous. The two, while they may have similar results, are not the same. Some people shine. It may be their personalities, abilities, or the simple unexplained physics of chance. That shine may stay with little to no effort or they may grab it in both hands and spend each day polishing it. Space fame comes and goes, but for some it stays.

Hate and admiration are powerful words. I do not hate anyone in this game. Hatred is personal for me. It is reserved for those who seek to harm me or mine with malicious intent. Disgust, despise, distaste are emotions that I might claim. And even then, so much of it is a matter of opinion. Like with the prior topics of heroes, what I dislike another may love and what I may love another may sneer at. Inside of this game we are wrapped into layers of sub-societies. These societies affect our perception and reasons for the things that we do, want, and need.

Fame comes not to individuals but also to groups. Corporations and alliances hold reputations. Eve is a game where a corporation ticker is often more commonly known than a corporation name or where a coalitions title, something not placed into the game itself, is a definitive characteristic. And at times, that is used as a catapult for the personal goal to acquire a personal degree of space fame or space relevance.

Many others fall into their renown. Through the natural course of their talents or actions they find themselves in the spot light. For some it is comfortable and for others, not so much. The spectrum of famous in Eve covers those that thrive in the eye of their peers to those whom are known but never seen who do what they do because they will always do it. Fame drives some and comes to others. It is a tool and a fuel with intended and unintended side effects.

There are positives to Eve fame. People pay attention to thoughts and ideas tasks and events. Projects carry more weight and the power of reputation can be an amazing thing. But fame also has negative side effects. From scorn to attacks the more visible someone is the more opinions people will have about them. The fame itself can over shadow the person inside of it until they are but a caricature to their own publicly perceived self.

Then there is admiration. The people that I admire the most and whom I spend my days attempting to make proud of me are not people who are space famous. When I originally wrote this line I said, "I tend not to admire the famous. I do respect their considerable achievements."  I then took a moment to look up the exact use of admire. It turns out that my thought path was derailed. I do admire those that I respect the most. Admire, to me, is a more passionate word than respect and because of that, I avoid it.

The thing that makes me me unhappiest with the concept of space fame in Eve is how people with incredible things to contribute are overlooked for not being famous. A conversation from twitter surfaces into my thoughts where someone was looking for someone to interview and a person who was well educated and versed in that subject was suggested. That person was turned down for not being famous enough. That particular incident is burned into my mind and embodies everything I dislike about the casual concepts of fame in Eve. But then, I would select people for a task from their abilities and knowledge, not how many people have heard of their name.

At the end of the question that spurred this twisted response, Kirth asks about the worth and the cost. I think that question can only be answered by each individual. I do not think that they will always know that answer until it happens and that the answer will also be heavily weighted by the why of what they did. Can you compare those who seek and desire it to those who pick it up with the reluctance of responsibility?

Space fame will invigorate some and transcend them to a new game play. It will destroy others. But that there is fame should not be surprising. Not in a game where we all exist in the same place. Where we build worlds from nothing but our innate desires. Where you cannot run from who you are. Where your own actions in both knowledge and ignorance define your future. Space fame, if anything else, shows what a virtual world Eve is.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Balance and Motivation

There are some places I have never been.
"I think about unsubbing like once a week. Isn't that how most Eve players are?"
It was a joke with a serious edge in a conversation about losing motivation to play. I paid attention to it for a few reasons. For one, I never like when someone close to me starts running out of Eve fuel. For another, I've noticed it across a wide spectrum of players. It is a reverse spring fever and it happens every year.

Some of it I feel is Eve's reverse population habits. The adult population we enjoy commenting about has a side effect of being adults. My boys were commenting on how empty space has been the last two days. I pointed out that in my area it is spring break and all the parents are occupied with children off of school. It was not unreasonable to believe that spread further than my local area and was affection ships in space.

I do understand Eve burnout. I'm prone to withdrawing from my information consumption when the general metamood becomes too dark. I'm puzzled by those who spend their relaxation time wallowing in despair and darkness. Similarly, I am past my initial addiction. Yet, after two and a half years, I am more wrapped up in Eve than I have been before. The concept that I have been playing for a long time and shouldn't I do something else now doesn't come up for me.

A lot of that breaks down into personalities. I am logged into Eve almost all of the time that I am at home but I am not always actively playing Eve. I, for instance, cannot spend the entire day out PvPing. I have pets to feed, errands to run, floors to mop (this rain, those dogs), meals to cook, and the general trappings of daily life mean that I segment my game play into chunks. I often do meal prep in between systems as I move my freighter. Sometimes I do absolutely nothing but spin my ship and daydream.

Eve is time hungry. Just managing my market and logistics can consume an entire evening of moving stuff from one part of the game to another. I can understand how people feel that they have not accomplished something when something is a defined activity for the day. That is because Eve is work. There is no getting around it. I am not fond of the spreadsheet arguments. But then, I run most of my stuff off of memory. But, the game is work. Doing things is work. Moving things is work. Hunting things is work. It is one reason why accomplishment tastes so delicious. It is also another reason why people get burned out of playing a game.

I have many goals in the game. Sometimes my evening is just spent curled up on my chair reading and writing while chatting on coms and in game. I pull a lot of enjoyment from the social side of Eve. My game relationships matter to me. I have been to enough Eve events that the other players are people. Many are people I will have the pleasure to meet later. Other times I go and create my own sandcastles in space.

Do I think of ubsubbing? Nope. If anything, I'm more into and committed to my game play than ever. But, there is a healthy game and life balance that everyone has to reach. I think that because Eve is a game to many instead of the hobby that it actually is, the conscious decision to create that balance may not happen when it needs to. And thus, burnout, lack of motivation, or in general apathy.

Like being sleepy means you should maybe go to bed sometimes that blah feeling means a little Eve break is the best solution. Personally, I'd prefer people to take a step back than go into complete burnout and vanish from my life.

I'm selfish that way.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Four


Previous Entry - Shiva

Almost a year and a half old and Eve is stuttering. The game is being plagued by hardware problems and outages. The third expansion, Shiva, has not arrived. Patch after patch is applied from Castor and content is coming in but the game itself is starting to outgrow its own hardware.

It is August and Eve Online is not as physically healthy as CCP would like for it to be. There is lag and server outages. The strain of having thousands of players in the same world is starting to show.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pimp My Brain

I give in.

My attempts at finding a new method of shipping my stuff has not worked out as well as I have hoped. Red Frog again has my ISK for freighting through high sec. TCS is doing very well and mixed with my new, somewhat more occupied schedule, I have had to rely on them a lot. I don't move much over a billion ISK. TCS often has three billion ISK worth of orders that I need to renew. That means one to two Red Frog contracts as well as another for myself. They must recognize my route by now.

I am still doing some of my own shipping to compensate for the price changes. Being a space trucker is a good use of my distracted time. Still, it takes forever. And warp speed changes. How can I suffer so much for something I technically agree with. As much sense as it makes it sucks to live through.

I cannot live like this. I cannot stand to shudder as I slip into my freighter. I have no more tears to cry as I slip out of warp over hundreds of KM. Warp speed of 1.37 AU a second. It is a bad joke that never stops being bad.

I will buy a low-grade ascendancy set. But, let me tell the truth. I'm not buying it because of the intense suffering of freightering slow as hell across space. I'm buying it because someone told me they were down to 250 million. I was at a true, dark low and I needed this to be true.

I've always found the skill requirements to be a mild troll of low-grade implant sets. The Omega set calls for Cybernetics V while the rest are implantable with Cybernetics II. Many a pilot decides to dive into a low-grade set only to discover that they cannot complete the set. No one will know that private shame until a podding happens.

My freighter pilot has Cybernetics V. I got it for this exact reason and now is the time to indulge.

  • Ascendancy Alpha - 44
  • Ascendancy Beta - 50.4
  • Ascendancy Delta - 64.5
  • Ascendancy Epsilon - 100
  • Ascendancy Gamma - 72.5
  • Ascendancy Omega - 63
  • Total  - 394.4

Not quite 250 million but I was sold. I wanted it and life had to be better implanted up. Now, I know that the Eifyr and Co. 'Rogue' Warp Drive Speed WS-615 is a popular replacement for the Low-Grade Ascendancy Omega. But, that is eventually going to be fixed and other stuff that is really good reason for me to just get the full set.

One thing that made them easier to buy is the fact that I have been debating a set of Nomad's for almost a year. I never managed to cough up the ISK. This choice... well this one is a quality of life decision.

Yes, Eve. I know I cannot remove them without destroying them. Let me click that check box off and plug in sweet, sweet, warp speed.

1.83 AU a second.

It's better.

It's 400 million better.

Honest.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Fair Trade

I was writing, as was common, on coms. Early in the morning for me is right into the EU time zone. Sugar, was settled in Bosena and I was slowly working through a cup of butternut squash soup with some tea on the side when someone saw a Fenrir warp from an Oddelulf station to the Istodard gate.


Say what? Who does that?  "Go tackle him," I said and stopped paying attention since my corpmate must be crazy. And then the Fenrir jumped into Istodard and we were scrambling to get ships on the field. They wanted tackle so I picked my trusty armor Throax. It is duel web and I've had it for over a year now. I used to use it to web my freighter in and out of Bosena.

Now my Throax was burning for Oddelulf and I was in space heading into battle! It was glorious. I haven't undocked much recently. The boys had locked down the freighter as it jumped into Istodard and they were bouncing to shake their gateguns. I landed and of course I am 30k away which is the perfect range to be useless. Hopefully, I burn in and immediately get ripped to shreds by the gateguns. I bounce to shake them and land back on grid in half armor to help finish off the Fenrir.

With the Fenrir down a Loki decloaked. Kelts, our Russian neighbors, have moved back in which has made for interesting times. The Loki points me and I decide to burn away. Somehow, this actually works. I get some 40k off of the Loki and the point drops. Thrilled, I realized I'm not aligned anywhere. I try to warp off, Aura tells me I'm in warp, and I get pointed again.

Yuck.

With a Crow on the field I am no longer doing quite so well. I decided to blap the Keres as I am dying. He damps me and runs off 18k away. Damn it. I'm also cap dry so I mutter and get ready to run away. Everyone is asking me if I am dying. "I am dying!' I snap as I pop. I warp off my pod and of course the Crow follows. We land on grid together. I spin about and warp off again to a safe spot to let my timer count down.

I dock and pour one out for my Thorax. That was a good little ship and survived a lot of fights. I should have kept burning for a bit more before that warp earlier. Still, I believe it was a fair trade and a fine death for such a loyal little boat.

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Three

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous Entry: Castor

The second expansion, Castor landed with barely a ripple in the water of Eve space physics. Eve Online was launched in the days of Ultima Online. Ultima was at its peak in 2003. World of Warcraft would not enter the scene until 2004 and EverQuest was king. But Eve was a spaceship MMO and it was churning through a world of uneven reviews while hitting its first year.

Currently, CCP is on a bi-yearly expansion schedule. However, there were eleven long months' between Castor's launch and the release of the next expansion: Exodus. Eleven months is a long time. Why so long? It turned out that the answer was not what I expected.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

CSM: Running for Office: Week Eight


Welcome to the second month of my CSM9 run!

 Five days ago voting opened. In nine days, voting will close. And in three weeks we will know the results. Nine more days my “Vote Sugar Kyle” logo will appear attached to my posts. I know that many of you have already voted and I thank everyone that has voted for me. However, this isn’t done until the polls close. There is no slowing down. There are no assumptions about results. I can take a day off on the 23rd.

 Things have become busier since polls opened. I was not sure what to expect. Activity in my thread has calmed down over the days leading up to the election. Recommendation lists had started to come out. Both CSM members current and past as well as individuals made their recommendations on how their CSM ballet would look and why they feel the way that they do.

 I recommend myself. However, there is a list of other ballots that also recommend me (and others) at the end of the post. I’ve been flattered by the things said about me. I believe that I have worked hard and been very focused on presenting myself to the voters at large. This has been a, “This is me, I hope you will select me to represent you,” time for me and it is an intense experience.

 Once the polls opened I started to get mails and conversations and invited to comms. I have penned letters, sent links, and done my best to explain who and what I am. I’m more than happy to keep it up. If you have people you think I should talk to or that you want to talk to me, I’m all ears. I’ve had a lot of help with this. From the German and Russian translations of my CSM platform to people helping me contact people. I don’t know everyone but I’m willing to try to talk to them.

 Speculation runs rampant across the metagame. People are doing math, looking at recommended ballots, eyeing voter turn outs and coming up with probability after probability. Sometimes they are exciting. Someone goes, “You are a shoe-in!” and other times they go, “I just don’t see that low sec can get enough representation against the null sec blocs.”

 I have mountains to climb. People are placing themselves in my care. They are giving me their voices to carry. It is a tremendous responsibility and it is one that I will do my best by. I’m honored, frankly, for all the belief, confidence and trust.

 I find that the CSM election blurs the line between the game self and the real self. In game I represent myself as I am but when I handed over my real credentials to CCP I handed over the person behind Sugar as well. Maybe for some it is the metagame and their Eve character. For me, what you get is the person who writes this blog and plays this game.

  I’m Melanie and I am running for the CSM as Sugar Kyle. I hope you vote for me.

 Here are some other opinions. I discovered that surfing the web for yourself feels a bit weird. The very first recommendation I’m going to point out because he met me IRL last month at a local Eve meetup. I think this may be of interest to some who are curious about meeting or dealing with me. https://splatus.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/csm9/

Also, Kaphine, who occasionally blogs on the General Tso’s Alliance blog realized that he met me at Eve Vegas last October. Small game. :)

 Some who have been kind enough to make endorsements:

 The Nosy Gamer - http://nosygamer.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-nosy-gamers-csm-9-election.html
Eveoganda - http://eveoganda.blogspot.com/2014/04/eveogandas-csm9-official-endorsements.html
Von Keigai - http://vonkeigai.blogspot.com/2014/04/csm-nine-voting.html
Susan Black - http://www.gamerchick.net/2014/04/duck-duck-goose.html
Jacob Anedalle - http://evechecklist.blogspot.com/2014/04/csm-9-elections.html
Kirith Kodachi - http://www.ninveah.com/2014/04/endorsements-for-csm9.html
Raziel Walker - http://razielwalker.blogspot.com/2014/04/eve-csm9-voting.html
Gevlon Goblin - http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2014/04/csm-election-recommendations.html
Ali Aras - http://warp-to-sun.tumblr.com/post/82107658604/this-post-will-be-hard-because-the-field-is-wide
Sala Cameron - http://theloveydovey.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/csm9_election_endorsements/
Ripard Teg - http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-polls-are-open.html
Neville Smit - http://nevillesmit.com/blog/2014/4/5/my-votes-for-csm9
Foo - http://foo-eve.blogspot.com/2014/04/foos-csm-9-recommendations.html
MoxNix - http://merchantmonarchy.blogspot.com/2014/04/csm-voting-recommendations.html
Steve Ronuken -  https://www.fuzzwork.co.uk/2014/04/07/csm-9-voting-list/
Drackarn - http://sandciderandspaceships.blogspot.com/2014/04/csm-who-gets-my-vote.html
Rhavas - http://interstellarprivateer.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/csm9-endorsements/
Malcanis - http://failheap-challenge.com/showthread.php?16445-CSM9-voting-starts-tomorrow
Mangala - http://mangala.rvbganked.co.uk/csm-9-the-mangala-recommendations/
Proc Diadochu - http://ragnarokalliance.com/?p=171
And don’t forget to check out my thread on the Eve Forums for more!

Thank you everyone! We are almost there. Week eight is done and week nine is coming in strong.

TCS: Conversion


Part of running a cult is the pleasure of initiating people into the inner circle. While that is one of the creepiest sentences I have ever written, I do amuse myself with my 'Cult of Reasonable Prices' concept. Instead of approaching the market from a pure business standpoint I approach it from a more social and interactive one.

It may not surprise anyone that I've met a lot of people recently. Some have asked me about my market and I've settled down happy and begun the first steps of converting people to my method of thinking. My most recent conversion, evil PvPer of great skill was somewhat restiveness. When I tell people that they will giggle in glee within a few days they are doubtful. After all low sec? Pirate infested systems? Who will buy from them?

The answer is, anyone. Right now, low sec is starving for stuff. I've experienced it on my own and now I am experiencing it through other people's efforts. There may be a day when I have become the Church of Lowsec but until that time, every little market that opens is an Oasis in a desert. Have a pirate infested station full of -10 PvPers that kill everything? People will still slip in and out and buy your stuff.

Yesterday I was discussing how I'm looking at T2 manufacturing. Markets, like industry projects, are things that you set up and then maintain. They have periods of hands free time. Right now, I'm neglecting Bosena more than I normally would. That means it is getting updates 1-2 times a week. It means that Altean guilt trips me on how he had to travel to Teon to buy missiles. But it also points to the sustainability of the market. You do have to maintain it just as you do an invention line, but you don't have that immediate right here results.

The trade off is that ISK comes over time depending on what you put into it. NPC Killing directly injects ISK into your wallet. A market (of reasonable prices) will pour a steady turn over of ISK into the wallet. And it will reward you over time and reward you for the efforts you put into it. For some of us that is fine. There is a lot of pleasure to direct ISK injections but the market plays to the slower movement of Eve game play. Where we invest into projects for returns over a period of time.

I think it is fun to flip through all of the things that sell everyday. Those converted have noticed the same thing. Every wallet flash is something selling. Seeing the things moving is something I can only define as fun. It is not classic go outside and play fun but it is enough to make you smile and get excited and want to list a few things more. And a few things more.. and next thing you know it makes perfect sense to learn Wholesale with your main.

This is how the cult converts someone. Fun with markets. It is a real thing. I promise. It involves the stuff selling. Hence, one embraces reasonable prices. Then fun comes. Even for bitter, old pirates. Bitter old pirates who suddenly discover the glee of watching Nanofibers sell. Nanofibers! Amazing. What else sells? Invuls?

Lowsec. It's the gateway market.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Going to the University


In a scholarly mood from researching for my expansion history series, I caught an announcement in Eve Uni chat that Neville Smit was doing a class on T2 manufacturing. Eve University for anyone who has missed it is a teaching corporation. They are one of the unique, player made constructions that are created in Eve Online. A player corporation whos goal is to teach and educate other players about the game by and through playing the game and resources. And they've been doing it for ten years.

T2 manufacturing is one of those things that is on my radar. My alt is training the skills for it at the moment. I know many people who make their ISK in this area. So far I've stuck to simpler forms of industry with boosters, capitals, and moon mining. I have my labs and have been building a steady stable of blueprints for the future. I do not have the time to set anything up now. Not with the potential future of the CSM on my plate. But, I do have the time to set up the ground work and take an hour out to listen to some of the basics.

Eve University has a calandar of their classes. They also have a public mumble server. It is easy to set everything up and just drop in to listen. Announcements are on their public forum. And of course their Wiki is always available. They also record their classes and place those recordings in the archive for people to listen to later. There is a dedicated channel to the class for a Q&A session. Their teachers come from all parts of the game and they also open up this service for public events.

For those interested in T2 manufacturing, here is Neville's Guide. I was pleased to learn that I knew all the pieces, I have just not yet combined them together.

Why T2 manufacturing?

Well, it is interesting. I like building and making things in game. It was one of my earliest goals. Industry is the type of project that has a lot of time in setting up and change overs but allows freedom in between it. Income is always something that I think about in the back of my mind. It is easier to spend ISK than accumulate it. Intelligent investments are always important and T2 manufacturing has the potential to be an intelligent investment when done properly.

T2 manufacturing is also skill intensive. You can the manufacturing and industrial skills side by side with the combat skills and see that the two are an equal investment of time. Like many, I have an alt that does the industry side of things. Eventually, when (if) life slows down a bit I will restructure my POS and see what I can do when it comes to invention and construction.

With my habit of doing things just because I find them interesting, prehaps, I'll be able to build a few things on my own. That also means I need to finally learn how to do PI properly. I have my own POCOpire (post coming soonish about income from those) that I might as well use. For now, I'll stick to learning in the background.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Two

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

Previous entry: Second Genesis

Second Genesis is an interesting title for a first launch considering there was no Eve Online: Genesis. But, it spoke to Eve's backstory. Eve spend centuries in a type of dark ages where they had to rediscover interstellar flight. When Eve Online Launched it did not launch with the discovery of New Eden but millennium after the Eve Gate closed.

The second expansion, Castor launched on December 18th, 2003, seven months after Second Genesis. It brought with it T2 items, outposts and deep space regions controlled by player alliances. That means for seven months Sov as we know it did not yet exist. Before I look at what came with Castor let us see what happened during the seven months after launch.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part One

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

With my mind buzzing with CSM thoughts I sought the help of my chat room for non-CSM related topics to work over. I'm not quite the endless font of thoughts that I envision myself with. Things that I am highly vested in will consume my thought process. And while I'd like everyone to vote for me, I'd like not to only write about the CSM for the next two weeks.
[13:03:58] Michael Harari > i think you should do a series on old eve expansions
Michael made a very fine suggestion and one that will involve a lot of personal learning. I love history. I get caught up in the now because the now is what I play. I started right after Crucible was launched. But the past of Eve is also interesting. With the 20th Expansion (and its unannounced name) heading towards us, I think that I shall try to look at the history of Eve's expansions before the summer starts. And if I am very, very fortunate, I will get some vets to chip in when I hit their part of the story.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CSM: Vote Day

Today the polls for the CSM9 election open, and I'm so excited I can barely stand it! This
is the spot where I need to ask for your votes, so here it comes:

Please vote for me, Sugar Kyle, in the top spot on your ballot. Please do it for every account you own. I've worked hard to present a true and complete picture of who I am and what I believe in, and I think I've succeeded. So if my campaign platform and what I've said resonates with you, now is the time to help me win a seat on the Council of Stellar Management.

This campaign is the first time I've ever done anything like this, so it's been a learn-as-I-go affair. It's a wonderful, stressful, tiring task. But It's also completely and incredibly worthwhile. I love Eve, and I want to see our game continue to prosper and grow. And I would very much appreciate your support.

Internet spaceships are serious business. I bring a skillset to the table that ranges from my focus on all aspects of low sec to my investment in markets and ability and willingness to help new players. I want to function as a community voice for the issues I have seen gripping the game. I love low sec space like nothing else and no one loves low sec like its own residents. Be they a Faction Warrior, the most -10 of Pirates or those that find peace in a dangerous environment, they love low sec. A nod of acknowledgment is not the same as caring about the soul of the place. I don't want to read about CSM Summit without someone pushing for the recognition and awareness of low sec beside every other group. It is my foundation and it is my heart.

Low sec is not an after thought. I refuse for it to be treated that way.

Early on in the process, I was told not to sell myself short. Not to present myself as just a low sec player. Because I am not. I am gleeful over my market. I list it as one of my proudest accomplishments. I am not ashamed that I like to mine. I believe that the PVE video game part of Eve needs to be healthier for everyone. From the responses that I have read over the last few weeks I think that I have expressed the diversity of my thoughts about Eve. Low sec may be my foundation but I do not have tunnel vision. I see Eve as a game woven through itself. To ignore any single part of space is to damage and unbalance the delicate dance that keeps the game flowing. We bring representatives from all over the game forward because one person cannot be everything. It is a game about healthy, balanced wholes that when brought together will balance on their own tip.

That is my vision at least.

It is why I ask you to cast that vote for me.

And now, on to the mechanics of the election. When the polls go live I will add a badge right here that will take you to a spot where you can vote for me. Please use it so you don't have to spend the time searching for a path to the polls. Remember that each Eve account you have subscribed is eligible to cast a vote.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Contract Feedback

Contracts and their interfaces are up for attention. It is time to make your opinion seen. Special thanks to Foo for pointing this out. I've been buried in threads and didn't see this one advertised on twitter (where I pick up a lot of Dev threads).

CCP SoniClover would like our feedback on the contract system on the forums.
Hello Capsuleers. We're looking into what small improvements we can make to the contract system to make it more useful and trustworthy. We would love to hear any feedback from you guys on this. We're most interested in suggestions for UI/usability improvements and comments on pain points you encounter in using the system. The more constructive the feedback is the better; 'Get rid of the scammers' is for example not particularly helpful.
The entire thread is worth a read. I decided to express my opinions before I read through all of the pages. I saw lots and lots of stuff that I agreed with post after post after post. "Sugar, what do you think of the contract system?" I've been asked. I think quite a lot of it. As a Booster manufacturer the contract system should be very important to me. Boosters can not be sold on contracts but they can be filled if people make "want to buy" contracts. I've even written out how to make these before. They are not intuitive and many people do not even know that they exist.

But the contract process is bad. I write dozens of contracts each week. I write them between TCS and my jump freighter pilot. I write them between myself and corp mates whom I am dropping items off for. I write them to my own alts to move things around. I write them to hauling corporations to get things moved. And they are a pain in the butt, every single time.

If I go back to the start, all my items are deselected. I've written so many empty contracts that way. The entire interface needs to be better, with fewer tiny checkboxes and long, scrolling lists.

Want to Buy contracts need to be an obvious selection somewhere. Not a tiny check box that suddenly opens up a magical, hidden section of the screen. They also need to be more expansive. I said it and so did others, you should be able to Want to Buy fitted ships. It would create an entire field for people who could fill other's ship orders. We still need a better ship fitting UI that allows us to fit large groups of ships too, but a fit ship would be an interesting start.

Auctions need to be better. I've been in a few and they have so little information for what is going on.

As stated in the thread labels for what the contract is. "Multiple Items" is not helpful when it is ships on contract. It took me forever to learn I could hover for its name. I felt dumb. It is still a sub-optimal way to label contracts.

Bulk contracts please! Anyone who has fit ships would like to write 5 or 500 identical contracts if the items are all there. Creating the same contract 500 times is not emergent gameplay. It is obnoxious and exhausting. Someone's entire day goes into that. This is a game of big operations and lots of people. Public roams, frigate free for alls, burn Jita, and other endless days of destruction that have to be fueled by some person, huddled in a closet weeping over their bleeding nib where their index finger once was for clicking. This is bad! People should not have to resort to prognostics just to get fleets fit up and contracts made. I may have wandered off topic but the two are interconnected.

Now, CCP SoniClover does make reference to a more trustworthy interface. When he uses trustworthy I hope we mean things like clarity of information. Scammers are going to scam. Jita is full of them from contract scams where the first two are closed contracts with a nice faction frigate for 1 million ISK and the third a hundred million or a billion that the greedy buyer grabs to the one that makes me grind my teeth a bit where the blueprint copy being purchased has 1 run left on it. That one I bump into quite regularly on the booster market and it is a due diligence situation.  It is like the Tengu or Orca scam where the Tengu subsystems are subsystem skillbooks and the Orcaless Orca. I like having to read my contract carefully before I click yes and throw my beloved internet spaceship money at it.

The one I do see vanishing is the PLEX scam. The PLEX scam works because of the contract systems set up. The PLEX that you buy is given to you and then taken away. If the contract system checked to see if you had the item first, as it does for money, it would never happen. That is why I believe this is a scam we will see going away when they overhaul the system. It reminds me of how the contract system used to not filter the contracts properly and people made oodles of money off of that until CCP fixed it. Player creativity I support. Badly implemented mechanics, I do not.

Now that I wrote all of this I need to go and write a secondary post with all of this in it. Go! Comment! Voice complaints and give dream solutions. User Interfaces seem to be very high on CCPs plate right now. We had the industrial survey. Now we have one about contracts. Rumor has it that the industry UI is getting a bit of attention to. Hopefully this all leads to a better, prettier, more usable Eve with less index finger trauma.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

CSM: Running for Office: Week Seven

A new layout for the start of the elections! Starting Tuesday and for the following two weeks the Vote Sugar Kyle CSM9 button will be in the upper corner of each post with a link to vote. I dislike being spammy and pushy but I am going to ask regular readers to bear with me for this time period.

I spent a lot of April 3rd refreshing twitter and the forum and the community site looking for the announcement of the official candidate list. Then April 3rd left and there was no candidate list announced. There were different reactions and different ways to handle it. I decided to go back to working on Votematch. The actual selection is not yet live. I checked my application a half dozen times over the week and double checked that my passport went to the right spot. Tired of worrying, I decided to turn my energy in a bit more productive direction.

Niden’s article went live on his Low Life column at Crossing Zebras. Seeing myself quoted is always strange. I think, “I wrote that!” Trying to get the word out to players about the election is an important topic for many. Showing some of the reasons why we have low sec as an important topic will hopefully help people understand our motivations. My full response to his question can be found here.

The candidate process requires attention. As an independent wildcard, I have to do everything I can to show myself to people. I have to ask for those votes and I do. But, I cannot relax and assume that people will find me as I hope they will. That is why my time has gone into my forum posts, my mails, conversations, and player outreach projects like Votematch.

Votematch is an interesting, player built, multiple choice candidate filtering tool.  When it opened up I sat down and spent my evenings working through the questions. A multiple choice selection is a very hard way to represent my views on many topics. That meant I had to take the additional time to fill in explanations for almost everything I selected.

A lot of the candidate process is letting people see how I think and handle things. The podcasts cover a lot of interesting basics about how well I am able to communicate when speaking to someone. I’ve had conversations with people, Q and A in my chatroom, and visited teamspeak servers when invited so that people could get to know me. I’ve written blog posts for some and answered the questions given to me by others. Votematch is another step in that process and I hope that my explanations will make it clear why I selected and ranked things as I did.

Saying that I am awesome is not exactly my normal approach. Yet, I need to do that. I have tried to do that. I have spent almost two months attempting to convince people that I am worth their time and energy and asking for them to put their trust in me. I am a communicator and I need to give myself more credit for that. There is a distinct worry that communication will lapse when CSM9 takes office.  If I make office these weekly updates of running for office will turn into weekly updates of being in office.

We’re at the final days. I’ve appreciated the words of support and encouragement that I have received over the last seven weeks. Hang in there with me. On Tuesday it will be time to cast those votes. Think of me for your #1 pick. Break out your alt accounts and vote with them as well. Being on recommendation lists is fantastic and flattering but it will be #1 votes that push me into office.

And that ends week seven and onto week eight!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rambling:Of Octagon Pegs and Pentagon Holes

Vov invited me to a 5/10 Angel's Red Light District just as I got home from work the other day. I tiredly gave in and went to do it. I logged in Chella and told him, "Fleet us."

"Fleet us." Beyond the vague questions of multiple personalities there is the fact that many of my PvE choices are tasks for multiple people. It just happens that I am the extra people as well. It was a matter of necessity.

There was a time when I was very lonely. THC2 was a very small corporation and I was off time zone for most of the day. While I had a corporation of supporting, affectionate people I was still lonely. I was also very new and I learned that I needed to help myself if I wanted anything to be done. The relationship I have with Vov didn't exist then. I often had to beg and wheedle and entice people out of my corporation to do content with me. The cost was half of whatever dropped which was fine for they helped. But, I couldn't do things alone. I hated that and it has molded a lot about the way that I play.

Eve is not created around being a solo game. I've often pointed out that the very simple term 'fleet' is speaking of more than one person. But, many of us play solo. Even as we play socially, we often do our PvE content alone. I compensated for that by becoming a fleet of my own. I started triple boxing at around five month's old. I flew a scanner, a DPS, and a logistics ship. That was what Ender did and Ender was amazing at making ISK so I used him for a role model. I always had my corpmates. I had text chats sometimes and originally, because I worked midnights I was able to stay up and get in my fleet and social time.

I understand that not everyone is going to have my path to take in the game. Not everyone is going to want to or have the time to or eventually develop the wildly varied but wonderful group that I consider my friends in the game. And that is okay. The more I play and the more people I meet the more I learn that corporation's are not for everyone. One thing my path taught me is that the social engagement of Eve can and does exist outside of the corporation. Such has been the rise of my chat room and my continual adoption of players. It is not something I can do in corp so I do it outside of it.

It is why I sent someone over to The Nosy Gamer the other day. he was looking for advice on surviving as a miner in low sec. I couldn't answer him as I felt he needed to be answered. My game path is PvP. My sec status hovers under -9 (I doubt I will ever hit -10 because I PvE regularly). Sometimes I get eve-mails. Some from readers and some who my boys send to me. I've learned that while I may enjoy a lovely, fairy tale story of an amazing social group, not everyone get's that roll of the dice.

How do I advise people? It is both a flattering and intimidating place to be in. For whatever reason they have decided to trust in me and ask for my thoughts. It is as if little pieces of the player retention puzzle is given to me and eventually they will snap into place. For now, I often just sit and talk to them. Sometimes it is just advice on where they can go that is safe. I have a handful of corporations that I recommend to new players and each time I recommend them based off of what that person is trying to do and I tell them that. Sometimes it is just contact and a need to have someone, anyone to bounce things off of. There are other things in game that we learn best from other people.

Those who have decided to stay in my chat know that I will drag them into these situations. There is so much I do not know. Therefore, I impose on others willing to be imposed on. It is a fine line giving new players access to veterans. In the perfect world vets to the game would advise the new and they'd swiftly pick up the basics to climb the learning cliff.

I was dealing with something the other day, at work. It was a situation where I wound up telling around a hundred people the same thing, one by one. More figured out what needed to be done without my help, but for those that didn't or couldn't, I told them. Over and over until I started to forget what I was supposed to say. A co-worker came to me and said, "I don't know how you deal with it. I'd make them go figure it out themselves." A bit pissed, I looked at him and said, "I don't like to not know things. I don't like to be talked down to when I don't know something or haven't had a chance to learn it. I don't like to be lost. I don't like to be ignorant. I don't like to be confused. I treat them how I want people to treat me in a similar situation. That's how I deal with it."

People call me patient and kind and such nice things. I don't agree. I don't care for my own memories of ignorance and the discomfort that I had asking for help and the responses that often came with a 'stupid' question.  Perhaps I should start making temp accounts for rookie chat and just log in with my laptop and answer questions on slow evenings. I also think I will develop an easy help link archive of sites, blog posts, and YouTube videos that answer a lot of the basic questions and problems that I hear. I've met very few people who wanted to be held by the hand.