Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Oceanus Nerf to Beauty

I finished my minutes. I am free! Free to write clever things. Deep, meaningful, clever things.

The problem is, my mind is blank. Maybe tomorrow, when I get over minute fatigue, I'll be better.

For now, I will whine about the Ishtar.

I'm not whining about any of the silly reasons people normally do. Who cares about that? There is a deeper issue. Ishtar are no longer blue.

Behold. This is exhibit one. This is an Ishtar photographed in its corral in six months ago. Note the luscious, rich, dark blue hide. Note the darker, navy accents and the sleek cyan detailing. Exquisite.


On September 30th, 2014, the Eve Online Release Oceanus v8.48 was released. There is a notice about the adjustment of the CreoDron ships to give them back their green tint. The Gallente are well known to enjoy the color green for their spaceships. That is fine but it is not unheard of for a T2 ship to be far away from the base color of its parent. Thus, the Ishtar as I have known it has always been blue.

Until today. One would think that a release named Oceanus would understand a blue blue.


Even if Oceanus is a Titan, come on.... he still liked water so like.. Oceans?

Let me move on.

Exhibit two. The same Ishtar only it seems to have been infected by some type of metallic insectiod color pallet.


The horror.

With this change, Eve has been lost a line of gorgeous blue spaceships. It is a horrific thing and the repercussions are only just starting to be seen. Awful. Just awful.  What an unnecessary nerf to beauty. What a nerf to blue.

What about the blue spaceships? Where is their CSM representation? My plate is full but I am always ready to stand behind a worthy cause. More blue spaceships, CCP! Let not this unjust harm to a primary color go unnoticed. Let not us accept this shimmering green with its yellow accents. Cyan lights are not enough to compensate for this.

Oh no. I will not forget. Do you remember when the Rhea was blue water camo? Well I do. I have not forgotten.


Eve must have blue ships.

Omph! My poor future wallet....

In twenty two days days Chella finishes Amarr Carrier V. I think that it is a good time to build her a carrier. I moved one of my main cyno alts, who also happens to be my secondary capital ship building alt, to my capital ship corporation's headquarters and blew the dust off of our blueprints.

I'm sitting on my last session of minutes to write. It will be my eighth and with what everyone else has done we should be finished before the weekend. That gives us time for our internal review where we try to catch typos and errors as well as double checking what others wrote (for we are all individuals and there are variances of style) and then we should have them to CCP on schedule.

I am quite happy about this. For one, I'm tired of writing these things. For the second, I can get back into my Eve life and building a few capitals seems to be a fine way to go about doing it. I do not think that I have the time for large scale work. However, with ore compression I believe that I will be able to move the materials I need to build what I want in my home station.

I started some blueprint copies. It will take a little bit to get all of the copies I want to make made. That isn't such a big thing. I'm not in a rush. It is just a side project. I've not taken Chella into combat as a carrier pilot yet.

While I was at it, I've also decided that I might as well get stuff together to build a Moros and train Pixie into that. Plus, she finished Amarr Battleship V, so I need a Redeemer.

Ugh.

I need to start making ISK again.

Monday, September 29, 2014

TCS: Expansion and Contraction

Before I settled in to start my Eve Work day off with working on the minutes, I decided to take a moment to do something in game that I have been thinking about. My adventures, of late, have been quite limited. I'm not undocking. Not because I am unhappy or upset but because if I have time to undock and kill things I have time to work on the Summit minutes. They will be done by the weekend and this short period of exile from space will be over. I consider it a fair trade off.

However, logging in and doing things is important to me. I've always advocated having more than one pastime in the game. One may find themselves with short periods of time to play or perhaps on the CSM writing meetings instead of flying around. These things just happen.

What I decided to do, over my breakfast of tea and coconut shrimp, was to move my third TCS alt out of Bosena and send them to Sujarento. The reason behind this came from the fact that TCS sits upon 5 billion ISK in unlisted stock. Some of this is recently delisted. A lot of it however is things that barely move in Molden Heath. Things that I have tried out or things that have been asked for that have not sold since the winter.

I have accepted that I cannot keep my markets at top top as I'd like. But, I can keep them healthy and productive. That means I'm keeping what does move listed and what is needed listed. This means faction ammo instead of T1 ammo. The T1 ammo barely moves if ever. Sujarento has the distinction of being in Faction Warfare space and I think these items will sell in those areas.

It is not a liquidation or a quitting its a maturation of the market. I've spent a long time working on Molden and I feel that I have a good understanding of how its market circulatory system. There is something depressing about items not selling for six months at a time.

I am using Galactic Hauling Solutions to move my stuff from Bosena to Sujarento. They have a flat, low sec fee and I can get about three billion ISK moved while I write. Then I will move my third TCS alt. This simply means that Bosena will only be able to carry 600 orders. Right now I'm floundering around 400-550 and that still occupied nearly thirty billion ISK in items.

Once that sells, I can move the TCS alt back to Bosena. My scanning alt's market training is going well and she will be able to step up and pick up the extra order load in Sujarento. This is not some announcement of breaking down Bosena. I'm more, refreshing TCS's coffers by liquidating static stock so that I can provide more to Molden in the future.

I also learned that you can only enter 200 items into a contract. I had entered 201.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

CSM9 - Day 147

Tuesday, September 30th will be the next release. This one is known as Oceanus. Here is a list of the associated Dev Blogs. They are also extending downtime on September 29th and the 30th.

Please keep giving me this lovely POS and team feedback. I appreciate what I have. I’m composing it into a condensed list, but more is better.

This news post went out back in May asking for comms and/or comms + footage. They’d like everything including mining ops. If you have a bit of fraps and the urge to record yourself do so and submit it.

I had some argument over the cyno displacement zone around starbases change where I was told I was wrong to approve of the edited version. Basically, I didn’t like the magical extra 25k of safety range that it gave. I disliked it becoming a mechanism that needed an overheated point or T3s on field to nab something playing shield games. I do not support things becoming a game of ‘even more people’ to do things. I was asked if I thought a frigate should be able to tackle a carrier. I absolutely think that a carrier should be able to be tackled by a frigate. I also think said carrier should have some means of support to deal with said tackling frigate if it is going to be floating around outside of the shields.

The module rebalancing thread is up. I'd suggest giving it a read and giving feedback. CCP Fozzie outlines how this is being approached. On one side I agree that the huge collection of meta modules that exist only for their mineral value is meh. Yet, most games have lots of 'trash' items in them. The goal of making modules all useful or interesting options is a good one. I've been listening to and reading arguments that worry about homogenization and a general blandness in the future for modules. It will be an over-arcing point to watch as these changes start to enter the game.

A Disturbance in the Force

CCP Veritas has created Dojos. These are arena fighting system on Duality. It was a project he put together in his last days.  I am not a fan of Arenas and I admit that I fear their implementation. This, however, is a prototype. An item that has been created and where the players are given access to it to use and poke about outside of Tranquility. It is not on Sisi. And yes it is a very contentious item ranging from, “How could you let this happen?” to “Finally, it took long enough for something to happen.”.

The concerns are about instanced fights and structured fights. As I understand it the ‘dojo’ is destroyable and the fight can be interrupted. The fight itself is somewhere out in space and not in an invulnerable instance of its own. The Dojo can be damaged and the fight interrupted and the process of the fights interrupted. That is different from third partying on the fight itself and that is the area that I struggle the most with. I am not comfortable with it.

What swayed my opinion the most and stopped me from standing up and denouncing this as true and pure evil, is the fact that structured fights do exist in Eve. That groups have created casual PvP. RvB is an example of this. There are currently various competitive leagues that have sprung up who could use an item such as this, outside of Tranquility, to create content for those who wish for this type of content. There are people who simply want to fight other people who want to fight them. Can we fling the idea of an unlimited sandbox and then reject tools to build in the sand?

There are positives. There are negatives. I am someone who has never had a dollop of interest in structured Player vs Player combat. I enjoy the unstructured unpredictability of living in the game world of Eve. I’m not every Eve player. So, I’ve sat down with people who do like this and talked to them. I need to understand what they enjoy and the potential that they see. This will take some thought.

Language 

French localization is coming. That is good. At the same time CCP is removing their supported language channels.

“With most of these languages having no official support from CCP, this means that investigating and answering tickets of this nature from these channels is sometimes not possible due to a significant language barrier. This is contrary to our policy of moderating and enforcing our terms of service (in particular the sections on player conduct) in persistent CCP hosted channels within the EVE client.”

The reason is clear and frankly, it makes sense. They cannot moderate their own channels and these channels are the ones that CCP lists as places for players to go. The problem is that the current chat channel UI does not have the ability to search for channels. Players can create new channels and advertise these channels on various language forums but that is not the same as having a searchable channel in the channel listing window.

We need a  channel searching and/or list functions or something so that the global population of the game is properly reflected.

The CSM9 Summer Summit Minutes

CCP Leeloo announced the timetable that we have planned for the minutes. It involves them being released by the end of October. It also involves the CSM getting them written in about two weeks. This seemed reasonable to me. Technically, with fourteen members and twenty four sessions we each only need to do less than two. But, life never works that smoothly and I found myself excited about writing the minutes.

What are the minutes? They are an account of the meetings that we had in something between a transcript and a more technical meeting minute. The ones I write contain the conversation. What CCP said. What the CSM said. Who asked what. My goal is to let you see what each CSM member said and did.

With this being my work week that includes a weekend I decided to dive into the Minutes and make sure I had my fair share on the table in case the rest were finished over the weekend. On Wednesday I completed three sessions and submitted them for other CSM members to look over in case they felt that I had missed something or to wait for CCP to start the NDA check. I got two more done on Thursday. I picked up my sixth session, which is the longest session. It was originally two sessions back to back which merged into one larger. At two hours long I’ve been working on it in the evenings and should finish it Monday. I’ve been working on it in chunks over my work weekend. I'll see what is left on Monday and keep going. After listening to myself for hours I'm a bit horrified to hear that I quite often have a self conscious laugh.

I’ll say that a hour long session is taking me about 2-3 hours to write. I’ve picked sessions with a lot of discussion and that takes a bit longer to make sure everyone is credited with what they said in the correct order and typing out all of the names. We were reasonably good at not talking over each other but sometimes it is hard to hear what is being said. It has left the uncanny situation where what we type in Skype we can now hear in the author's voice.

Right now we have 16 of the 20 some sessions finished or owned by someone who is writing them up. I’m quite pleased.

Outreach

We may slip a Town Hall in before Eve Vegas. However, maybe we should wait till after the minutes are released. Or, maybe we should do both.

I need to get another Eve Uni session done. I had hoped to have one for last Wednesday but writing the Summit Minutes has become my all encompassing project.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I am mean


I've spent a bit thinking about this tweet. I've decided that it probably came from my somewhat frequent arguments with people in Eve Uni chat and my tendency not to back down. I also had no problem with nipping some people in the bud who tended to become abusive or vicious. It makes me sad that I have not had the time to spend just chatting in Eve Uni chat that I used to but that does not mean I am not there and do not engage in conversation as I can.

Still, I was tickled to be called mean. This is now my favorite tweet ever. It also has no relationship to the second part of this post.

I had an anonymous commentor say:
I would like to make this blog a one stop shopping site with links to some of the more popular Eve news sites - I notice that you don't have any linked here. For that reason I still visit Ripard Tegs blog - just for the links. I promise that if you'll link some of those sites here I'll make your blog my home page:-) 
Color me flattered. It did make me think about about the layout. I change it every so often. Of late, I've been wondering if my permanent pages along the top get used. I've been wondering if I should just do all my links on one side of the screen. I've been wondering if I should just flip over to a more website like feel with a front page. But, really, I wonder if anyone cares one way or another.

I try to lay out the blog clearly but the fact that I write daily gets drowned sometimes. I don't know if I should page break every page at the first paragraph... I don't know. I'm artsy but not a web designer for this type of information consumption. It may very much not be a thing.

As for adding the news sites, I've thought about it. Do I add them to be the aboves one stop shop? I've taken to avoiding Eve Media. I don't like the chase for the scoop and the .... uhh.... mmm... tendencies for stories to be very... err... focused. At the same time I understand that these sites are popular to others and often contain valuable interactions.

It's something to think about. But, not to hard tonight. I'm working at my sixth summit session which is a two and a half hour one that should last me through the weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TCS: 13 Days of Neglect

I get to see what neglect looks like for TCS. I opened Eve Mentat and found, to my shock that it had been thirteen days since I last updated it. I thought back, wondering how it had been so long and I remembered that my days before the Summit Week were composed of working on my document and going to work.

Oh.

I felt somewhat horrified, ashamed, and tired. This would be the longest stretch that I had neglected TCS. It was for good reason and valid reason. I nevertheless stared at the updating data with a bit of fret.

Thirty two expired orders. Forty three fulfilled orders. About five billion liquid waiting to be restocked. Not so bad. In some ways I have guilt over not keeping the profit rolling. I'm a bit ashamed that I've let so much flounder around. I also know that I don't have the time to put it back into perfect orders.

It is probably good that I am not a perfectionist.

Sujarento is not as densely populated with items compared to Bosena. When I refreshed I saw that it was also sitting at a two week point and that its had sixty one fulfilled orders. It made me chuckle in an overwhelmed tearful type of way. "People won't buy from Snuff's home station," I had been told.

Seems that they will.

So far, I have managed to get a chunk of Bosena back up and rolling. I see that I have a lot of competition on the market these days. I'm both pleased and irritated. The irritation is nothing more then selfishness and my sense of 'mine'. At the end of the day it is good that people are still getting what they need. I shored TCS back up and went to go work on Sujarento for a bit.

It is going to take me a while to get the stores back to where they need to go. Then, I will be off to Eve Vegas and I'm sure they will suffer from that as well. The good news is that my Minute writing is going well. I am on my fifth session!



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So... I have a Theory...

I have a theory when thinking about Eve game play. I consider human error to be a balancing point.

I didn't coalesce this into a theory until an argument about the medium micro jump drive happened where I felt it should have a distance of less than 100k and the other party said that breaking the distances down would make everything harder for the pilot. This was further exasperated by recent discussions about 'head shotting' fleet commanders and the subsequent end to the fight that it brings.

For anyone who does not know what head shotting a fleet commander (FC) means it is when the fleet commander is known or suspected and taken out at the start of the fight. The goal is to end the fight. Eve fleets are often controlled by one singular person. It is one of the many, many reasons that being a FC is stressful and being a good FC gives one a somewhat worshiped status. Some consider it poor sportsmanship while others point out that it is just another tactic when one is fighting a war to win vs fighting for fun.

My reaction when people suggest that something is introduced to stop or heavily discourage this mechanic tends to be incredulity. I understand the idea that when the FC goes down the fight is over and that is not fun but I put more than a little bit of the weight on the fleet. There should be more than one competent person in the fleet and if there is only one competent person then the FC is the fleets Achilles heel.

I'm a big believer in independent thought and action. Fleetwarp is a convenience not a necessity. I expect orders to be given and those orders followed. Is not that why we are in the fleet? If one chooses to not have independent abilities then one chooses to have that Achilles heel. If the desire is to have someone make the choices, think the thoughts, tell you what to do, with no input than simple button presses then one should also accept that if that person dies the entire operation goes down in flames.

I believe it to be an interesting balance measure. That if human interaction is required for an option to be used then automatically a certain amount of the time that interaction will fail and that option will not be used.

How many times have you forgotten to overheat? Or, a simpler case, forgotten to turn on a a damage control unit? How many times have we forgotten to turn off automation of Ancillary Armor or Shield boosters or undocked with the wrong modules fitted?

In many ways this wraps around my arguments over balancing for min/maxers when the majority of people will never be ether of these things. To stop Vov from Minmaxing would be to leave no content that I enjoy. There is another balance point outside of simple, raw numbers and that point is the nature of mankind.

Or so, my theory goes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It Should be Skittles

I gave my mother her bag of licorice to her delight. When I purchased it, Sion said, "But you don't like licorice." I said to him, "Correct. I do not. But my mother does. I'd never force my taste onto her and deny her the licorice that will please her."

I somewhat feel that way about the minutes. My days off this week are Wednesday and Thursday and I am going to start doing my write up for the summit this weekend. CCP Leeloo has announced the plans for the minutes. We have a few weeks to get them back to her where she will get them processed internally with a goal to have them released by the end of October.

We had around twenty two meetings over the course of those three days. The minute format as I understand it isn't a transcription of every cough and um but a goal to bring you the topics, the responses, and the questions and answers that came up. My goal is for you to know what we talked about and what the various CSM members said in response. I'd also like to get our side of it done as soon as possible.

I'm not a procrastinator.  To me, the topic of the minutes seems simple enough. Perhaps, I will be incorrect but considering that I can transcribe (if badly for I type in amazing ways) at full speed and did for my personal notes for about half of the sessions I'm not at this point worried about it. It is more of a challenge.

We will see how many I will finish by tomorrow evening.  My goal is three. For tonight, I will get some other things done to clear my mind. Tomorrow, it shall be cups of tea and my ignoring the sound of my own voice.

It is having to listen to myself that reminds me of licorice. I hate the sound of my own voice with a passion. It sounds high pitched and childish to me. But, I'm not listening to my voice because I enjoy doing so. I'm doing it because other people like licorice.


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Stretch of the Hozien

In a way I wondered how I would step back into my Eve life when I got home yesterday. I realized that I had an interesting division of time for the future. My normal Eve life was getting out of control. I have things to restock and new doctrines to buy. On the other hand I have the minutes to do and they pretty much trump everything in game.

Yet, I cling to my in game activities. They ground me. Any time I wonder who am I and what am I spending some game time playing helps. After curling up and dumping my brain and concepts out over the last few days and dredging through my own thoughts as well as the ideas and opinions handed to me I felt very drained and very tired. I had this thought, "Will I have anything to write about again?"

It seems that the cure for soul crushing exhaustion is to get angry. Such was my state of mind when I wound up in an argument with someone that I have become quite fond of over one of the latest changes. And the argument was not about change insomuch as it was about our greater views of the game and what is and is not valuable focuses for the future.

I'm often amused at the shocked reactions of my 'youth' in Eve. Maybe when I am give that type of reaction will change. Still, I've spent many an evening sorting through the differences of player generations. It is not just a matter of personality and past experiences but it is also a matter of when we started playing that makes us up. My argument with him was no different from the argument I read as I wrote this post in Eve Uni between the PvPers and the Industry focused people.

What is Eve? My view of Eve does not match everyone's view of Eve. The things I find important are not things that everyone will find important. I try not to dismiss others views but sometimes we will clash and such was a clash over changes in what he considered complexity and I considered exclusion barriers.

One of my greatest loves of Eve is the horizontal aspect of it. Maybe it is because I am bad at Eve and tend to seek odd paths to reach common points. It may be a quirk of my personality that causes me to often not enjoy the most celebrated aspects of things. I feel that the lack of a laddered paths frees me even as it leaves me frustrated. Yet, my frustrations are my own. They are caused by me and they are solved by me.

I dislike exclusion for the sake of exclusion. It is not something that I forget. I see beauty in inclusion. I love that the value can be in the person being there and deciding to do something. I wonder if I was older in the game, or better at the game, if I'd understand the desire to exclude people more. Even as I wonder it I doubt it. I to often play games for the pleasure of playing them. Eve is no different. It may mean that I will never fully mentally align with someone with a goal of winning when I'm saturated in happiness just playing.

It may be that the argument was just the edge of a storm. I'm pretty comfortable with who and what I am but when I talk to people at times it seems that they do not see me. And now that I spend more time in the public eye it makes me wonder what people see. Have I lost my ability to clearly explain who I am? Or, have I become something that I do not even know without noticing it?

The chances are more likely that I'm over thinking everything. A little bit of organization will go a long way. So! I shall sleep. Then, I shall wake and go to work. Once my days of hit I shall work at catching up on my Eve life while starting to write my first summit sessions. And somewhere along the way Sugar Kyle the player and Sugar Kyle the CSM member should realign themselves properly with whatever new changes this last week have wrought on me. For, this path has not been one without change. Both wanted and unwanted the relentlessness of it cannot be denied. But I refuse to lose my view of the horizon during this process. And sunrise is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

CSM9 - Day 140

The week has been the Summer Summit for CSM9. That did not mean that the world stopped for us. Things in Eve moved forward because we have the Oceanas release coming on the 22nd.

CCP Fozzie has released a small interceptor tweak. Interdictors are also being retouched for fine detailing. The thread about it is up. This is not a rebalance where the ships gain complete new roles and identities. This is focused on fine tuning.

I have spoken up about the fact that the situation where Titans were being bumped out of POS shields was not acceptable to me. I’ve voiced my disagreement as have other players. CCP Fozzie has posted changes to cyno usage outside of POS force fields. I am not fully happy with this change. I am happy that it will stop the Titan bumping issue. I am not happy with not being able to light cynos on shields. I feel that it will negatively affect tackling ships hugging force fields and I have expressed that. The topic came up in one of our Summit Meetings with CCP Fozzie as he noted in the thread.

CCP Fozzie also put up the dev blog for the stats on burner missions. The concept of more burner missions, different types of burner missions, as well as different ways to access burner missions has not been forgotten.

The new notification system has been released on Sisi.

What have I been up to in Iceland? Welp, I’ve been talking. I feel as if I’ve been talking a lot. I’m tired of talking but I walk away from the Summit feeling that I did well. My personal view does not change but I’m not just carrying my personal view to these discussions. That means topic to topic and session to session changes as I work through all of the different views, thoughts and desires.

Three days of meetings have left me happy how productive that time has been and the seriousness and depth that CCP brings the CSM into the process.

CCP Affinity caught up with me and let me know the state of my PvE little thing project. I was quite excited. It lets me see some of my pet projects completed.

These will be November fixes:

  • Escalations are being fixed. CCP Affinity rolled up her sleeves and is cleaning up the spawning and escalation rates.
  • Adding in squad warp to escalation sites. 
  • The unrated DED site Guristas Hallucinogen Supply Waypoint escalation’s MWD restriction will be fixed.
  • Blood Raider Intelligence Collection Point is a 3/10 that still has a MWD restriction.
  • Microwarpdrives in 3/10 DED complexes that still have restrictions are being fixed.
  • Reference to Karin Midular being alive are being corrected.
  • COSMOS missions are being fixed. They ate broken in several ways and this pass by CCP Affinity should fix many of the complaints that I have received.

As for Epic Arc missions that are not giving standings? Please submit a petition about the fact that you did not gain the standings so that they can be properly applied.

“Sugar! What about all of the other things I sent you?” I get a lot of ideas for PvE and changes for PvE but right now I am presenting broken PvE to CCP.

We sat down with the team who built the new industry interface. We discussed what is still bothering people and still being requested. CCP posed a question to the CSM about teams usage and asked us to dig into it. What they would like to know is what makes you pick the teams that you pick or what makes you not pick teams if you do not pick them. What is appealing? What is not? What is the interpreted value of one team over another and their various gains and associated costs?

Response, write, comment, poke, post, or chat with me so that I can pull some of this together and see what we have and what we are thinking as players when it comes to this feature.

This particular bit of direct developer request for feedback from the playerbase on their usage came with our POS discussion. This is not a question about hopes and dreams it is a question about actual, current use.

  • What do you use your POS for?
  • How many?
  • Why do you use a POS?
  • What does POS ownership mean to you?

The other question was about POS shields and what that protected bit of space means to each individual. Is the POS a dock? Is it a ‘safe’ zone? Is it a fleet gather point? Is it storage? What is that shielded space to you? It is an opportunity for input into the process that I am running with. Corbexx has already received a huge amount of feedback which is sensible for wormhole space.

When I posed the question to one person, in an attempt to explain my wish to be told what a POS actually is I used an example of a POS that has a moon miner on it but it is really a parking spot for a super carrier. If that POS is just looked at its mining a moon for materials. Maybe for a reaction farm? Maybe for ISK? But, its owner may consider it their super parking spot instead.

We have what seems to be a solid process to get the minutes done, processed, and out to the public in good time. I’m looking forward to starting that on Wednesday and writing myself dry.

Eve Vegas is next month as well. I’ll be floating around for anyone that wants to say hi. For now I’m packing up and heading back home. I’ll say this week has been productive and well worth the time.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Summer in Iceland - Day Six

It is the final day and we have moved past Sion's shark consumption.

We left Cafe Loki and just strolled back through town. I wandered in and out of stores looking for soft gloves or socks. There are lots of gloves, socks, scarves, hats, and etc all over the place but most of them are made of wool and are as harsh and scratchy as anything I have ever seen. I wanted something soft and silky and amazing and I didn't find that which is okay.

The general game plan was to find this Ice Cream place across the street from CCP. It seems that they make their ice cream daily and it is the most amazing ice cream ever. So, we head to this ice cream place which is also near a grocery store and some museums. We go in and Corbexx orders some terrible concoction of salted peanuts and some candy that I hate. He said it was delicious.

I was stuck staring at the flavors and not knowing what anything was because I'm illiterate in Iceland. I also have an ongoing problem with catching the attention of servers at places. It seems that being very blunt and pushy is normal. However, I find myself feeling incredibly impolite and insulting to do so. This means I often wind up in this state of purgatory where they ignore me and chat with each other because all of my subtle, polite attention signs are missed.

Then, as I struggled to figure out what flavor yellow was and why Oreo was solid dark brown a wave of people came in and I wound up against the back wall, confused. It turns out there is a ticket system that I had missed while trying to wait around. With a wave of people there and more cramming their way in I just gave up and left, much to Sion's harassment and Corbexx's coaxing to hold my hand through the scary ice cream acquisition process.

It was to late for me. I had shut down. I get frustrated when I cannot communicate and I loathe being loud and pushy. Its easier not to get the ice cream I don't even need to eat. So, we went licorice hunting at a grocery store for Sion. That didn't go well because there was almost none. This place was very bare bones and utilitarian and free of licorice. That led us to go look at the Viking Museum while Sion tried to challenge me to get ice cream and brave the now ungodly packed store. I was no longer in the mood for such things and then almost got in trouble at the museum because you have to pay to go in but there is no sign that tells you that? Maybe its assumed? I don't know. My mood was somewhat foul when I left there. Well, not really. Most frustrated so we went to acquire Steve for dinner.

We went looking for one restaurant and found it after a long walk. Steve walks fast as hell. The menu was kind of 'meh' so we went to a place he has been to before. However, they had no tables and only reservations. The place right next door and down some steps looked good so there we had dinner and chatting before we went to the normal hangout for a little bit.

In the end I decided to turn in early. I'm tired and wish to sleep. I also had to pack. Now packing is done. Writing is done. And mostly, my trip to iceland is done. I'm going to fall asleep to the chatter of voices and clomping of heels outside of my window as the city parties for the weekend and sleep until I wake or at least in time to check out and catch my ride to the airport tomorrow.

Summer in Iceland - The Rotten Shark Post

Updated Album

I woke up at ten thirty. Tomorrow I head home but today is my last day to hang out.  I could have rolled back over and gone back to sleep but I said, 'naw' and checked my phone to make sure that it was indeed ten thirty. My internal clock is amazing. Sion and Corbexx had just woken up so we gathered together and went to look for breakfast.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer in Iceland - Day Five

Today was the last meeting day. I got in late and laid down around 0200. I was back up at 0730 and at the office by 0820.

The evenings are talking. It is nice that the developers come out with us and then it is just more talking. Some of the looser topics come up during these times as they explain their concepts and ideas and we explain ours. They pick our brains as to what we spend our time doing and how we do things in Eve. It is productive discussion and more relaxed and casual which is why we spend the evenings out as long as people are willing to be awake. Thursday night was our latest night so far but I couldn't stay awake till the bars closed.

Today contained two meetings that left me with questions to pose to the player base on Sunday. I wrote up a detailed summary for Sunday but one is about POS and the other is about Team usage in industry. POS are on the road map and they don't waste their time creating something that is cool and amazing that we would never want. Also they don't miss usage cases which has happened in the past. This is not what do you want it is what do you currently do. I'll write a tad bit more Sunday.

Lunch was meatballs and rice upon which I dumped a sweet and sour type of sauce. I added some tomatoes and drank a brand of delicious cranberry juice that they have here. It is not the mix of food that I would normally put together but then, I put together some weird stuff for myself.

With the home stretch in sight I was feeling energized. I've enjoyed myself and even as our last meeting ran towards 2000 hours,  that was okay. We had some feedback discussions and in general I'm ready to tackle the minutes. That entire process is planned out so I'm looking forward to it.

The week ended with a group dinner hosted by CCP. We went to a steakhouse which shuttled us off to a back room for large groups.

Ahh yes, another meal story. I have to admit that I don't know the proper use of various sizes of silverware. I've never had the interest to learn. That did not daunt me at.my selection of two knives and three forks.

 I used what I wanted.

I did decide to behave as a special snowflake. and get my steak rare instead of medium rare. At some point they delivered a sorbet that looker like a scoop of mashed potatoes which made me ask if it was mashed potatos in a glass. It was in fact an unsweetened sorbert that carried a heavy undertone of orange peel.

Also I saw the largest pepper grater ever which led me to ask why it was so large. The answer was that it was harder to steal. One way or another it was 3/4 the height of our server and looked like a club for when we misbehaved.

The dinner was nice and was followed by more talking and bar wandering. The icy ocean winds had been missing all week but they made sure to come back. In the end I made it until 0230 before exhaustion hit me and my sodas stopped fueling me. I decided to head back for the night. Some may feel I'm missing an opportunity and should stay out later and longer but I'm tired.

No alarm for me in the morning. I'm quite looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Summer in Iceland - Day Four

Steve and I had Sinful Pleasure and when we offered to Corbexx he is all, "No. I'll watch."


Up at seven thirty again and out to walk to the CCP office by eight thirty. It was not bacon and eggs for breakfast. But a cold sandwich was fine anyway.

We started at nine. The first session was the low session. I went in nervous but I had my list. We also had the null sec sessions today of which some tweets may be have been seen. That was a long session and heading to lunch was nice.

Lunch was a meat thing with potatos. And then back to meetings the patented open window helped with freshness and air movement. My notes are extensive and while the days are long I was burning with energy.

We had some CSM stuff st the end of the day and around 0715 we staggered off to dinner. It has been raining lightly but I was able to get a picture of the boat in the dry dock.

It is silly to not try different places in the city like this. That is how I indulged in Sinful Pleasure.

Then off to meet up in what has been our latest night so far. Null sec discussion is still ongoing where thoughts and opinions are discussed and I took the time to write as I listen. Do not confuse that with decisions made but learning how CCP sees things and sharing how we see or don't see the same things is good, even if it is now one in the morning.

The closest to drunken revelry we have had is Ali almost falling off her stool and launching it into a young lady.

I look forward to the minutes so far. I'm in day two and very happy. Day three is coming and hopefully it will be as interesting and exciting.

And a flood of Scottish Devs just came in who have been at another bar watching the news. I'm going to stick to a cell phone post so that I can go to bed when I get back. Sorry for the typos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Summer in Iceland - Day 3

I'm patching Eve on my slow ass connection.

will sadden some to know that there has been no crazed, naked dancing in the cold, northern ocean. Instead, evenings have contained a lot of good conversation with developers who are willing to brave our attention.

Wednesday started the actual official meetings. We hit the office at 0830 hours and had breakfast. I teems that a hot breakfast of eggs and bacon is a rare thing for CCP and happened due to CCP Leeloo's super powers. It meant a stack of happy bacon guzzling CCP employees cheering on the CSM for bringing them bacon.It is not a bad way to be known.

We wound up having breakfast with Hilmar and talking to him for our first hour or so before the meetings stopped and went hot and heavy. We even lost half of lunch for one of them which gave us twenty minutes to scarf down lunch and go back to our meeting room.

The meeting room has a camera that pretty much creates a surround view of everyone at the table. All I can say is ugh to seeing myself on the screen. I knew it would happen but it is still somewhat horrifying to live through. Although, as the day progressed it was easy enough to forget when dealing with the larger subject of topics and things that needed to be discussed. Still, I hate my picture being taken and I hate my image being recorded. I own no pictures of myself for a reason.

Sessions were back to back. I had an idea tht we'd have 10 or so minutes between each but nope. We kept people talking and questions rolling and kind of clawed every minute out of every meeting. The meeting room was rather stuffy by the end of the day. They  gave us a good room but we crammed a lot of bodies in that room for a long time. We took lots of notes and asked lots of questions and discuses many things. I chewed nicely through my document book.

Our meetings ran to 1900 hours. and we finished up around 1920.  A long day but it is what we signed up for. If it has to be longer then so be it. I'm not going to ask for a shorter day and less communication.

Then it was off to dinner where we finally went to Noni's which everyone keeps talking about. It appears to be a sandwich place. So, there I am staring at these sandwiches and to me they mostly look terrible. I like my cold cuts cold. Plus, everything comes with 'sauce'. So, I ask, "What is sauce?" and it turns out that sauce is a mayo and Dijon mustard mix. The horror. Complete horror.

I got no sauce. I finally default to a cheeseburger and french fries. So, the nice young man made my sandwich and he takes my bun to put toppings on it and he ladles on the 'sauce' to my horror. I'm kind of waving weakly at him going, "Is that the burger with no 'sauce' and teh young lady that took my order goes, "Oh no sauce".

Now I am high maintenance and they have to make me another bun. However, this is accomplished and I get my burger which is okay. I had expected god to descend from the sky and gift me with the pleasure of raw ambrosia for how people talk about this sandwich shop. Plus the fries had paprika on them? Kind of weird for me.

After we went off to wherever people keep drinking in the evenings. Nora's I think it is. It turns out that is where I went with Kaeda and Arianna and Siuil for fanfest. So we talked as we have been doing in the evening but everyone was tired. There has been no drunken binging and people barely able to walk. By 2215 we were tired and rolled out to come back to the hotel and get to sleep.

We may be an utterly boring CSM.

I will try to take pictures of the shop outside in the daylight. They are stripping its paint and touching it up. I haven't gotten permission to take pictures of stuff in CCP's office yet so I have no fresh pictures today.

It is surreal in a good way how this goes. We sit, as players and discuss Eve all day. We talk on coms and we chat to each other, we write blogs and programs and concepts. We theory craft and share and record and play and watch, yet doing it on the level where this company and the people who create and maintain the game join and to the discussion is super interesting and adds another dimension to everything.

I feel like I am getting a lot done and a lot said. I'm able to raise the points I want to raise and insert the views and reminders about the players that I am there for. And maybe my eyes glow a little bit as I go, "So, I have a list..."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Iceland in September - Day Two

Picture Album

There is now a boat in dry dock outside of my window which is better than the bulldozers and construction equipment.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Iceland in September - Day One

Album link here.

Sion says I am cynical. That amuses me deeply. I don't feel cynical. Perhaps, however, I am. I'm not an innocent to life nor am I a pessimist. Still, the title amuses me. I informed him that I am in fact a small, walking sun full of sweetness and light.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CSM9 - Day 133

This last week has been quite interesting and I'm happy that some of the stuff on our table has become public.

CCP Seagull released more of the things coming in Oceanas in a Dev Blog this week. I like this style of Dev Blog. I’ve seen it done back in 2007 and 2008 as expansions were released. They are good, dense recaps that one can hand out.

There are a new type of burner mission coming. This is good but they are still locked inside of the level four mission pool. The desire for burner agents and levels 1-3 burner missions has been shared with CCP by both the CSM and the player base.

The first steps of metacide (module rebalancing) are coming.  Only a handful of items have been released so far. This will be a game changer because everything we know about why we fit things changes with each pass.

The wormhole effects should help with spot checking and decision making as to what is on the other side. Of course, you still need to know what each class has for its color code. I do want to go play in a gorgeous blue one one day. Drowning in beauty of that nebula would be amazing. Then I’d talk in local… anyway…

Yes, a full null sec revamp is in the future. CCP Fozzie released a Dev post touching on the gathering of information that has been happening. I've been biting my tongue whenever someone asked if CCP is even thinking about null sec. Its nice to be able to say that yes, they are. Yes, the CSM is. It will be interesting to see how these sessions go. I don’t have a grand fix for null sec. Instead, I have spent my time worrying about where things often connected to null sec intersect low sec. That is mostly in the usage of Supers and Titans.

The big CSM news is that Matias resigned and Asayanami was given the empty seat. CCP Leeloo made the announcement and then Matias decided to write formally to the player base and not just CCP in reference to his decision. He had his reasons for running and he found out during the first month that the demands of the CSM seat would not work with his schedule. We hit the ground running. Kronos was launching just a month after our term started and the six week cycles have had us in constant motion. Every CSM has had members who went AFK for their term. I am glad that Matias realized that he’d not be able to be active in the position and to resign instead of just holding the seat.

The decision to promote someone to the seat was a good one. We could have continued to be a thirteen member CSM. Not removing an inactive member is also important. The players do vote that person into the seat. While I’d like policies for the removal of people who are completely inactive, creating them will have to be done carefully. Who people cast their vote for matters. Even if it means they cast their votes for people who they know will not be active or will be actively destructive.  We can’t respect one and not the other even if one is unpalatable. At the same time it does not seem unreasonable for there to be a limit to complete inactivity.

Asayanami was selected. Some people agree. Some disagree. Foo wrote a nice breakdown and explanation of the voting formulas and various options to elect a new member. There were congratulations and angry posts all in one. There was agreement that someone else should be selected and disagreement over how the selection took place. He got his NDA signed and back and access to the channels where he has been actively catching up on things. He made it to our bi-monthly meeting. Now it will be up to him to forge his path with the player base as it is up to each member to do so.

Teams broke and went home a week early. This was fixed and CCP credited the time. It left a problem of that Teamless week where people lost a lot of ISK trying to compensate for a bug that put them in a very bad position. This has been brought to CCPs attention in an effort to do more than just have the time credited.

I do not like this “exploit is not an exploit” confused nonsense with bumping Titans in POS shields out of POS shields.

Last weekend was the CSM9 Townhall #2. The recording quality is not great. Xander’s connection was poor and DJ Wiggles had problems with Mumble and his sound card setup. The CSM was asked why we ran it during the Alliance Tournament Finals. The answer was because we did not want to not have it. The timing was not good for those who wanted to watch the finals as they happened instead of the available recording of the events and we
understood that. However, we didn’t want to just not have it as well and we made our decisions. We will try to have the next Town Hall before Eve Vegas in October. We’re looking into moving to Twitch for the live broadcasting for those who do not wish to connect to Mumble and still submit questions. I’ll have to dig into that when I return home and get that up and running.

I completed my Summit project.


I’ve tried to condense topics down into a few sentences and given myself room for notes. The main goal is to help me keep track of these great topics people bring to me and to get as many answered or thought about as I can. The questions range from UI features like drone control range, to camera speeds and off to duels and markets and contract questions or points.

This next week I will be out of the office but in the office.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

When Game and Life Mingle

It is about bedtime for me, tonight. Tomorrow, I get off of work early (8 hours instead of 12!) to get home, make sure I'm set, and head to the airport for my overnight flight to Iceland. I'll be landing around 0630 local time and then my week will start.

I don't know what to expect. I've been to Iceland before. I went to Fanfest, 2013. Still, going because of the CSM is different. I'm both nervous and excited. I'm looking forward to meeting some people. I look forward to talking about Eve. I hope to present myself and represent myself well. But, as always I never know how such things will go.

I'm not so much socially awkward as that I am an introvert. I do enjoy social stuff for my hobbies. However, my past with Eve events is a mixed bag of things often not being quite what I expected. But, unlike larger groups I'm expected to be here. I doubt it will be the wallflower experience that I have had at Eve Vegas and Fanfest.

The fun part about travelling for Eve is that I can indulge my travel blogging habit on my main blog. I may write normal Eve type posts. I may only write about what is going on and share pictures. It is a time when a reader can get to know more about me the person and see through my eyes or just skip over to next Monday when I'm back home. 

I assume I will have time to write. There is always a chance that I may not. However, unwinding from my day by musing over it is a pleasant way to end the day. As always I will share what I can. The rest will just be the impressions. I enjoy travelling to different places.

We will see how the week goes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Will Admit, I Do Not Understand

It is not an exploit if CCP has not deemed it to be an exploit. Yet, as I watched the latest Titan being bumped out of a POS I found myself not excited and thrilled but saddened. Somehow this thing that I was watching has been deemed okay. I'd love to say 'for now'. I hope that there is a 'for now' attached but I worry that is only hope.

I watched this. I was horrified. I watched this. I read this.

It looks like an exploit. It smells like an exploit. But, at the moment, it is not an exploit. I cannot, at this time, wrap my mind around why it is okay other than the fact that it has said to be okay. If someone came to me and said, "Hey Sug, let's go bump this thing out of its shields from outside of the shields," I'd assume that I would pick up a ban.

But not today. Not for this. Not for some reason.

Somewhere at the core I guess I can blame the POS code. I could blame the water physics of the game. I could blame the fact that spaceships are really circles with a pretty graphic in the middle. But blame isn't going to fix anything. Only a rule or a rework of some mechanic.


Can I expect people to self moderate themselves? With the recent drama going about, the answer appears to be no. In an ideal world of grape and strawberry skittles, the answer would be yes. In reality, as long as people can use something they will use it.

But what I find truly soul crushing is the outcome of this. With the mechanic not an exploit the groups that can use this will use this on each other. They will use it and push it and try to get CCP to come down as an exploit or change some aspect of the mechanics involved. Instead of decisive action now, we will have forced action after a trail of spaceship carnage exists. It will further damage faith in CCP. It will further reinforce the idea that the only way to get something changed is to abuse it until the change is forced.

How can I stand there and say people are wrong when they prove themselves right? I can say that there are other ways. There are, but those ways will be diminished. Rage and rampaging will seem to be more successful then reasoning and and waiting. Even if they do not they will seem to. And how would I be able to prove otherwise?

I suspect I know where the eventual outcome will go. I dislike the view of that future.

But everything must have a start. And in this, I have and will voice my opinion.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Fifteen


Previous post: Eve Online: Trinity

It is May of 2008 and CCP has started to structure Development Blogs that bring the full scope of the expansion in a neater package to hand over to the players. The summer expansion, Eve Online: Empyrean Age is bringing with it long made promises.

The original iteration of Faction Warfare will not allow alliances.
There are a number of reasons for this, technical and otherwise, the most important of which is that we just don't want the major power blocs to descend en masse and take over everything. It's obviously not a hard limit on the players involved, but it's designed to encourage the idea that if you're a major player on the nullsec political scene you're already doing something incredibly worthwhile and shouldn't let yourself be distracted by the petty machinations of the Empires.
This is not the Faction Warfare that we have now, but it is still its original shape. What CCP planned and what it will become is, as always, a different thing. Here it is clear that there is a desire for a clear separation of null sec and player driven content and the NPC/Player hybrid aspects. Littler do they know that years later, null sec groups would come to lick their wounds and refill their coffers thanks to the petty machinations of the Empires.

The other thing that is different about then and now is that CCP still has a focus of null sec being where everyone wants to go and low sec being not its own defined space, but a middle ground where people will prepare for their true player created life in null sec space.
 There are a lot of things that Factional Warfare could be. What it is, right now, is in its most basic form a gameplay bridge from high sec to null sec – from the safety of Empire to the wild lands of Alliance space. High sec and null sec have very differing communities of players with very divergent play styles, and while moving from one to the other is obviously possible, it's harder than it should be.
Factional Warfare provides a halfway house for players from Empire to get into the sandbox at the shallow end. It serves other functions too, for other types of player, but this is its primary function.
The game and the focus has changed but the foundations created during this time still populate the conscious mind of the game. In a way, this part of our past explains the growing pains and various problems of self identify in our future. What Eve is now and what Eve will be are two different games.

The other very interesting thing is that the 49 system region Black Rise was created for Faction Warfare. In particular for Caldari Faction Warfare because they lacked a good low sec area. It is the first region of space added to Eve since its creation in 2003. CCP PrismX did the bulk of the work.

But it is the end of May in 2008 and the results of the first CSM election is in. There are a few familiar names there.

In the days leading up to Empyrean Age the Dev blogs are coming hot and heavy to promote the newest content. The rank and combat systems for Faction Warfare are explained. They originally had amazing names for the ranks that they should have gone with. The combat system shows that faction warfare complexes were once anomalies that were scanned down and then spawned a beacon. There is also a goal to have embedded reporters and a constant information stream about the conflict in the warzone for people to read. This went away at some point and that is a shame.


 

Empyrean Age is released June 10th, 2008 and its focus is Faction Warfare. It is also linked to the first Eve Online Novel Eve Online: Empyrean Age written by Tony Gonzales which was released in January of 2008. I find it interesting that CCP chose Empyrean Age for the name of this expansion which is about warfare and destruction when the meaning of Empyrean is:
The Empyrean was thus used as a name for the firmament, and in Christian literature, notably the Divine Comedy, for the dwelling-place of God, the blessed, celestial beings so divine they are made of pure light, and the source of light and creation. 
With Empyrean age came a general PvE overhaul. Empyrean Age added one hundred and fourty faction warfare missions to Eve. In the midterm releases CCP announces that there are 220 PvE missions coming to the game over the next few months.

One of the very first patch notes reveals an interesting quirk of the war declaration system and the fix that was made for it.
Joining a Fleet with a player who is currently involved in a war will no longer make you a valid target in that war. CONCORD will now respond if a player who is not involved in a war is aggressed within a gang in High Security space.
The Omen Navy Issue, Osprey Navy Issue, Exequror Navy Issue, and the Scythe Fleet Issue are introduced to the game. The four faction warfare NPC corporations are also created for this expansion. The Magnate is also released, evening the Amarr ship line up's offering to the other factions.

A new POS role of Caretaker is added to allow people to empty silos. The Faction Warfare NPC corporations are given loyalty point stores that mirror the corresponding Navy or Fleet loyalty point store. There appears to be a plan for future individuality but this is the introduction of what will be a war of devalued loyalty points between Mission Runners and Faction Warfare players into the future.

CCP gives us the ability to align to a celestial allowing us to align to things not on grid. There are lots of tweaks to ships and modules. Corrections, rebalances, cargo added here and there. There is also an interesting note about tutorial missions:
Character Creation & New Player Experience
The Aura Tutorial will no longer prevent new or rookie players from engaging in combat in 0.0 space
The API is tweaked to allow for Faction Warfare information to be pulled.

CCP is making an effort to do something with Eve Story line. With a book written and an expansion focused on a complex play style full of politic sand intrigue the time is ripe for them to move Eve's story forward. Their goals are huge and if they accomplished them they'd create an amazing living story where player action and world events both grew and a shared history was created.

The Evelopedia is created. Before mid to end of 2008 there was only the various Wiki's created by players and whatever information was scattered around CCP's website. The Q&A team also took some time to write about their various tools and how they use them to test Eve. Yes, test.

CCP is still slowing Eve down. The age of nano has come and gone and you can no longer fit half a dozen microwarpdrives in your midslots. However, they need Eve to be even slower. Warp Scramblers are going to be changed in the near future so that they shut down microwarp drives. All webs used to do 90% reduction. That will be reduced and 90% webs will become a specialty to the Serpentis pirate hulls of the future. Nanos, overdrives, and polycarbon rigs are all nerfed as well.

CCP also develops a more consistent way to give data exports to the players.

As summers are, this one is very quiet. However, CCP sweeps back into action in August by buffing Concord and decreasing response times. The reason is because people are dying before Concord can get to them. CCP also introduces a harsher standing loss. Per the Dev Blog:
 It is too easy to gain back lost standing, taking only a few days to erase all the damage done by ganking. This is about to change. 
Before now security standings were static through the game and the security status of a system did not mean anything. This was reworked so that standing loss and security levels reflected each other. This is also the introduction of chain ratting for weeks to recovery standings losses for PvP. But, what is also clear to me is that low security space is not its own individual area. It is simply, lower security empire as reflected in the blog as well:
This means that 1.0 will now be the safest of places, where aggressions and kills will be severely penalized and can quickly outlaw the aggressor from higher security levels. Conversely, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 will see a decrease in penalty, but not a big step down. This should move most ganking to the lower security areas where it belongs. 
I have a lot of personal interest in this bit of information simply because it supports the fact that low sec became its own area of space outside of any plan or design. If anything the development of Faction Warfare and the security changes in this dev blog laid foundations for clear separation of low sec as its own, unique area of space with its own rules and actions beyond being lower security empire.

The preconfiguration for the autopilot to avoid Jita is introduced. At the same time CCP has looked at the world map and added a few new jump gates here and there to allow people to be able to move through space while never having to go through Jita to get anywhere else in Eve. Jita is also scrubbed clean of Agents and they have also given up hope on sending capsuleers to Jita for missions. To top it off, Jita is getting its own personal server attention to improve the quality of life while people shop and scam.

Empyrean 1.1 is here. CCP has taken action from the player wishlist they have created and added small quality of life improvements to the API such as:
  • Clone info to the CharacterSheet.
  • Roles and Titles on CharacterSheet.
  • Title lists for corporations 
  • Roles and Titles of corporation members 
  • Container log for corporations
  • Standing lists 
  • EVE API corporation shareholder list 
Seventy missions have been added for rookies and 100 new missions have been added to the rest of the normal mission pool. The warning message for jumping into low sec now only exists when jumping from high sec into low sec, not on every gate or in and out of null. Also POS killmails are now generated properly. But 1.1 is mostly a long list of fixes and corrections for typos, modules, skills, ships, missions, items, changes, and more.

The first CSM term is about to end. It's been almost six months and that is how long the terms were and why we are at CSM9 in 2014 when the CSM only started in 2008.

We're halfway to the next release. I'd love to keep writing but it is time for this collector of history to go to sleep and end the fifteenth installment of this series. Next time, we will finish the walk down the path that leads to Eve Online: Quantum Rise.

Resources

Official Eve Online: Empyrean Age Expansion Page
Eve Online: Empyrean Age trailer (YouTube)
2008 Eve Online Dev Blogs
Eve Online Patch Notes
Eve Online Evelopedia
Eve Online: Empyrean Age (Amazon)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TCS: The Unstated Stuff

I woke up a few days ago thinking about my market which may be attributed to the fact that I was working on it right before I went to sleep. I was thinking about one of the most common questions that I am asked which is, "How do I get started?"

It is not reasonable, to me, to expect individual characters to make three or four or five market accounts to run a market. Some people will do it. Many of the successful market bloggers have an army of characters to handle their market transactions. I also have my alt army that is dedicated to maintaining my orders but I do not believe that you can only be viable in a market with an alt army.

And no number of alts will give you time that you do not have. I find myself tighter than I used to be for time.. What would be a pleasant morning working through my stocks may take me a day or two to get everything purchased and shipped. Moving items myself beyond jumping it from high sec into low sec is almost unheard of these days.

It has made me think a lot about focuses of my market. My orders have condensed down some. I feel a bit of shame that I am not offering up as many items as I used to but I have to be reasonable. Two alts still allow me up to six hundred orders. That is plenty to keep people in ships and items.

What I've mostly dropped is meta modules. I keep the common metas and the rare ones have to go. What I dislike about this is that I feel as if I am excluding newer players who cannot T2 fit their ships. However, I have to make choices and during the time that I have run this market I can say that my meta items just do not more like my other ones except for missiles.

Meta missile launchers move. Yet, the entire issue with guns is that they cover such a large range of orders as do all of the ammo types.

I find that when people ask me "What" they should sell I don't suggest everything. In fact, everything is hard because what will sell, what may sell, and what did sell are all different things. Instead, I've of late been advising people who want to start a market to look into fueling capitals and exploration ships and modules. Combat ships should come when some capital is built up due to the expansive needs of fitting.

It would seem that combat ships are the lifeblood of a low sec market. Yet, people do more than PvP. People simply say all that they do is PvP. I've watched my sale of haulers and scanning frigates, cyno ships and warp core stabs for to long to believe that PvP is all that is in the heart and soul and need. The non-PvP areas tend to thirst for  the basic, utility needs in life.

There are surface needs and then there are deeper needs. It is amazing how often someone could really use a hauler. Like right now. Wow it'd be useful. Also, the deployable market is woefully neglected. The simple lack of availability causes lack of usage. It'd be nice to assume everyone prepared and shipped in and planned what they needed to do more then shoot other people but...

ahahahahhahahahahhaahhahahahaha!

*wheeze* Let me catch my breath. Tee hee. *gasp*

It is about what people need not always what they want. Otherwise, they will ask you to stock a Vindicator for that day they may want one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Would Break Eve?

Dirk MacGirk asked during the CSM9 Town Hall #2 if Eve was evolving or if CCP was moving towards an Eve 2.0. In my scattered attempt to share my bumbling path to using my Rorqual's Vat Clone Bay Zazz asked if removing standings for clones would break Eve.

I'd love to write a complex, technical post about standings but I don't have that post to write. I actually know very little about standings and how they work. The reason I know so little about them is because I've not had to deal with them to make things work. I do not have standings for my markets for instance because the ISK that I lose is well worth it to me not to grind for standings.

It is funny because I do not dislike PvE. I can accept that Eve's PvE is not stimulating or interesting. However, I don't mind it. What I mind is the grind. What I mind is being forced into the PvE. Give me an DED complex to do and I am a happy camper. Tell me that I need to grind two hundred and twelve missions to gain a .5 percent tax decrease or get jump clones and my attention is instantly transferred off to something that I find interesting.

That's a bad thing.

Last August I discovered that if you right click on your standings you get an option to show transactions. Selecting this shows you your standing loss and gain. I had no idea that this existed. It felt as if I should have known such a thing was there. It seemed as if that bit of information should have mattered to me some. But, I've meandered through without worrying much about standings. I think that is good that I can do that but I also think that I should be more motivated to learn, use, and work with them.

Now the easy thing might be for me to stand upon my pulpit and cast down standings as an evil to be purged. The thing is, I don't think that is the case. I don't think standings are evil. I think that standings are poorly done and don't make a lot of sense. They are not intuitive and one can find that they have tanked their standings before they even know how they are gaining their standings (see Faction Warfare). That would be okay if raising standings was not akin to a punishment and penitence. Decisions should matter and they should have consequence but what those consequences are need to be evaluated.

I know that what we have was something conceived almost a decade ago and the game and game play has changed but core aspects of the game have no flexibility. I also know that until we have better PvE tools on board none of this can be addressed. But still...

The question I have to ask myself is am I annoyed for a valid reason or just because I dislike something. Right now there are work around to standings for jump clones such as jump clone services and clone vat bays. They come with their own list of negatives and pros and cones. Devaluing the work people have put into their standings is not my goal. It has never been my goal. Those who learn the system and put in the work damn well deserve a stack of goodies. But those goodies should be valuable in themselves and help make that effort desirable and satisfying not a sigh and the pushing up of shirt sleeves while a week or two is dedicated to a grind.

We walk upon a line where Eve the player created game of content and Eve the coded video game with normal video game aspects lay on ether side and we dip our toe into one or the other as we see fit. I'd love for them to meld better. Can they? I'd hope so. Sometimes the videogame part of Eve seems to be but a means to an end. Series of hurdles and inconveniences to make the game sticky and keep people involved. But Eve is so deeply mired in what was and what will be that the old mechanics are more like lumpy oatmeal than a nice buffet to feed oneself on.

I like oatmeal well enough but I'd like to have a slice of melon as well, not just a big lump or a small one.

These problems that we face can be used to improve the game and broaden the choices and situations that people can and will make while giving things more depths and reasons. They should be used that way. At least in my opinion.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Obscure UI

Eve is confusing. It is very, very confusing. It is often very, very confusing in really ridiculous ways.

Buttered Scone is my Rorqual.

So cute!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

CSM9 - Day 126

The next release is Oceanus and it is already on Sisi. It contains the French Localization that CCP promised back at Fanfest as well as a number of graphic updates.

French Localization is live on the test server and CCP is asking for feedback from those who will read said French. I find the thread fascinating. I can’t understand a bit of the French but the english intertwined with it and the discussions over proper word usage are incredibly interesting to me.

There are some new features for importing fits from EFT's format into Eve.

The graphics team is in action. No, I do not yet have news about the new Dominix hull. However, they are adding interesting and unique wormhole graphics to give visual clues outside of 'show info' about the wormhole.

The new cloak and decloak graphics is very pretty. There is no mechanical change, just a graphical one. Cloaking will still be instant to other people. All of the pretty parts will be for you alone. When the graphics team released the new cloaking effect one of the first responses I read was an eyeroll and complaint that coding time was wasted on graphics instead of fixing something important. The graphics team does graphics. They would make a new outpost look amazing but they would not be revamping Sov.

However, CCP Greyscale did say that Sov is being looked at during his interview on the live stream during the alliance tournament. That is a topic that people have been asking about and the answer is simply, “Yes”. Force projection, projection in general, and Sov Null are major topics of interest and concern for CSM9.

Wormholes now have a bit more information in their show information. This was something asked for, looked at, and added. From the Patch notes for Hyperion 1.3 released on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Wormholes will now include extra information text in their Show-Info window about the size of ships that can pass through.
There is a bug with black screening multibox clients that CCP Masterplan is looking into. If this is happening to you, give him some feedback. I was surprised that it was not happening to me. I’ve caught most of the recent graphics bugs but somehow I managed to avoid this one.

Oceanus is shaping up to be a small but sturdy release. What are we doing? We've managed to slip another meeting into our month. It should become a regular one.  A lot of what we are looking at will be longer term projects that will roll into the fall and winter. The Summit is almost upon us and the seven members of CSM9 that are attending will head out next weekend.

That does not mean wormholes are forgotten. Corbexx has been writing and talking to people about it. I've been gleaning what I can from the people in wormholes that we know. There has been a lot of attention paid to the activity. Corbexx worries about the future for wormholes.

I’ve been going through my questions, ideas, and concerns for the Summit. I’ve been making notes at all of the things that have come up that have been answered and sending Eve Mails back to their original askers pointing out that the issues are resolved. It is surprising, in a good way, how much my list has decreased. My current document is about six pages long. I expect that to double and I hope to have it done by Sunday evening. Then I can make it pretty with areas for taking notes during the Summit itself.

From there I will continue to solicit thoughts, ideas, concerns, and problems from people until next Sunday and then we will see how the Summit goes.  Anything solicited after next Sunday go into my normal files of ‘ideas and problems people bring to me’ to be brought up, sorted through, and used as I can or readdressed for the Winter Summit. The Summits give us a lot of face time with the developers but a massive amount is accomplished during our day in and day out communication with CCP.

The second CSM9 Town Hall will be later today at 1900 GMT.

Steve is puttering along with his SSO work on the ‘Things’ project over at CSM9.orghttp://csm9.org/. Hopefully we will have something available to the public soon.

Last week I managed to get my numbers out of sequence for my CSM posts. I am shocked that it took that long. I suspect I am the only one that is bothered by it or noticed. Picking numbers instead of weeks was not the smartest thing to do but I didn’t let that stop me. I also updated my CSM9 page which helped me to catch the mistake and let me know that I forgot to hit save the last time I updated it.

I expect the next two weeks to be rather interesting.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rykki-Tikki-Archon

"No! No! Bad drones no!"

I found myself frantically scolding my drones as they eyeballed Wex. I called them back to me and apologized to Wex for their viciousness. We were on Grarr's Saturday Navy Vexor Roam and we had invited Rykki and her kittens to come along.

The tactics used in Snuff Box are different for me. I'm used to flying shield tanked ships by choice. Now, with flying armor, the mid slots are often full of ewar. I've never been into gatecamping and people using remote sensor boosters on their gatecamps is the sum total understanding that I've had for really using mid-slot ewar.

With the larger fleet sizes it is often a viability. Now, midslots change like we're looking for a good pair of shoes. It is a new part of my education but I find that I do not yet have a solid intuition as to using them and I get so caught up in the fight that I do things like leave Guardian Wex unsensor boosted because I'm a terrible person.

Rykki has become quite the confident fleet commander as she led her force down to Sujarento for the fleet. We had a nice little pack of pilots and wandered off into the depths of Saturday evening Eve Online to see who was out and about. Two solo ganks were followed by some roaming and then news of a battleship fleet.

"We'll take that," said Grarr. We landed on them and it was a few Megathrons, a Domi, an Armageddon, some assorted other things and then a cyno went up from a Loki and an Archon jumped in.

Cynos are interesting things and how each group reacts to a cyno is again interesting. Our Navy Vexor's could not fight battleships under triage reps. That was okay. The scent of blood was in the air and battleships were called on our side as a cyno was sorted and a counter drop prepared.


In the resulting confusion we lost one of the kittens. It was one of those times when you need to know how to care for yourself. We were jumping gates and picking off the Griffon that was jamming at some 70k off of everything. Once our triage landed we tightened everything up. They were committed, we were committed, and nothing was really dying. That was okay because we had some battleships join in and then things started tipping in our direction.

It went from a cruiser gang taking on a battleship gang who had an Archon triage through to the cruiser gang also having an Archon triage through with some battleships of its on and...


And this is how Rykki got involved in her first capital fight and kill with things dropping all around her, didn't die, and made it back to high sec alive.

http://snuff-eve.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=94648

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Being Wrong

One bit of Eve technobabble that has always driven me insane was the way fleet doctrins are named. We have fatcats and slowcats and batcats and mattecats. There are wrecking ball felets, and fleets named after songs, and fleets named after roosters, and fleets named after people and they all mean something.

That is all understandable enough but I, silly enough, spoke up one day in the past and said, "The names of all of these comps are kind of ridiculous and make the fit requested non-intuitive. Can we just use regular names for things?"

The answer was no.  It turns out that I am wrong. And when someone says, "Chocolate Omega Blizzard Watermelon fleet undock!" I should know what I am fitting up. It should make sense to me. My habit of naming thinking of my ships as 'armor projectile' and 'kiting shield cruiser' isn't the way to go. My 'Rawrcat doctrine' is a snarky response to how clear and coherent random fleet doctrine names are.

The topic drifted away from me. Fast forward to earlier, when I was reading a post and someone commented about some fleet comp. I realized that I had no idea what they were talking about.

I understand some of the reason why we name doctrines. The whole internal name code name aspect applies. But in truth, these become a thing. When someone says 'slowcats' that means a particular type of carrier fit. Saying something like sentry carrier isn't the way to go.

Therefore, I am somewhat amused that I understand naming fleet strategies. The wrecking ball fleet is a composition of several different ships and focuses. That makes complete sense to me. But naming every single fit after something cat is frustrating. I even did a web search where I picked up a reddit post about cat named fleet themes from 2012. At least I was not the only one who needed to be caught up on what all of these themes mean.

I may not be wired properly or perhaps I am not into Eve enough for these fleet doctrines to become my go to. I even created a cheat sheet that converted doctrines into real words that I could understand when they'd be called for because I got tired of asking, "What?" "This?" and having to have fits checked.

After all, if they are code names then my confusion is the exact intended result.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Past's Cracked Door

"Sugar," said the grizzled veteran as he leaned forward and eyed the hangar below. His heavy forarm was scarred and tattooed from finger tips to elbow. The other was cybernetic. I didn't know if it was choice or circumstance that had given him that synthetic arm. Capsuleer's can have odd tastes. But it was his voice, heavy with confidence and irritation that captured my attention. "You need to figure out a way to get real ships back in space." He looked at me for a moment, his eyes a startling bright silver under dark brows.
It was only a few weeks after I had been elected to the Council of Stellar Management. I was in a looking over a fleet of scared battleships in an atmospheric repair dock. It was not the first time that I had heard these words nor was this the more battle worn capsuleer I had heard it from. My own corporation was in system for repairs after a fight over one of ours mining starbases. That may have been what drew this veteran to come find me and deliver what he needed from me as a speaker on the Council. The only problem was...
One of the things that I do not think some people realize about my Jaguar fixation is that I chose to fly Jaguars. I chose to fly them to fill a particular need in the fleets that we flew in after Retribution nerfed the game of battlecruisers online. Before Retribution, Jaguar's were my belt ratting ship that I used to grind up security status. They were sturdy enough to take down a battleship and fast enough for me to run away from anyone that came to hunt me down.

The nerfing of battlecruisers came with the buff to cruisers and frigates and Eve as a game changed. Eve's meta changed and Eve's players changed, kinda.

The thing about people who are good at the game is that they are flexible enough to work with the changes of the game. Battlecruiser use decreased while cruiser usage increased. The rebalance of faction cruisers and T2 cruisers only accelerated that and battlecruisers fell to the wayside. Battleships started to see less use now that they were going up against cruiser packs. Counters, hard counters, and ISK are factors to a fight as well no matter how much I may like it or not. A cruiser gang could take out a battleship pack. Then with Rubicon came warp speed changes and battleships were sent back to the dock.

Now, this is a very loose history of my understanding of ship use in the low sec space where I lived. Molden Heath is not faction warfare low sec so these changes meant that cruisers became king. I selected the Jaguar because properly fit I sacrificed DPS for speed and tank. I possessed enough EHP to hold a tackle on a gate under gateguns. I once did that very same thing in a battlecruiser but now we were not facing battlecruisers and battleships but other cruisers and we needed to be faster.

I started to fly a frigate. Later, I moved into interceptors for more strategic off gate fights and null sec adventures. It was not until my CSM run that I started having people come to me and sigh about the swarms of 'shit ships' and the lack of 'real fights'.

While I was living in Molden Heath, over in Faction Warland the rebalanced had invigorated them as well. Mixed with some actual attention for faction warfare and depths of space became thick with frigate and destroyer packs. The rate of ship destruction in low sec accelerated and and the size of hull decreased across the entire spectrum. There were more fights, more explosions, and more destruction than ever before.

Move forward a year to my CSM run and the grizzled vetrins that I handed a saucer of tea to as they came to visit my hanger. With more kills and targets then ever I was meeting grumpy, angry, upset people who kept telling me that they where tired of people flying shit ships and they wanted real fights.
"What," I asked, "Is a real fight?"
"Battlecruisers. Battleships. Something that matters. A fight a man can get into and commit himself to. Everything is frigates. But people are tired of them. There should be places where only battlecruisers and up can go. You can let the T2 logistics in. Then we'd have real fights. Real fights that mattered." He wasn't looking at me anymore. I don't think he was even looking at the ships below us. He was looking at his own memories. But those memories...
How do you force mechanics? The most common suggestion that I have heard is for a restricted faction warfare complex. One that only allows battlecruisers and above and T2 ships. Real ships it seems cost a certain ISK value. If people want tackle they can allow T3s and recons in but they cannot have frigates.

What about exclusion? I've received some blank looks about that. In a game where we pride ourselves in horizontal gameplay when did we start slotting in vertical ladders? Can we beam in pride at the ability of a new player to get a few hours training and tackle something on field if we then tell them that they are not old enough/rich enough/fancy enough to come have this fight.

I don't care for exclusion. I understand that the core of the idea is to create the fight that the veteran used to have. It is not that they want to exclude new players but that they want people to fly something else. Something that is not a cheap, disposable frigate.

Now, I could dismiss them and for a while I was mostly shocked. However, as the topic kept coming back up and I started to listen a bit more I realized that they missed the past. In Eve's forward momentum it had left behind an era. It was an era that may not have been what CCP wished but it was an era of time where many current players grew up. And they have lost that and now have only memories.

 I've been told that everyone wants these new battlecruiser and expensive only ship restrictions. I have not found any basis for that outside of the circle that wishes for a particular type of combat. And, as with every type of combat out there we have a few problems.

  1. We cannot make people fly and fight in particular ways, we can only encourage it. 
  2. Sometimes some things do not exist in all types of space, equally. That includes our preferred types of fight.

One of the things that I miss most are the old blue explosions that ripped across your screen like a miniature super nova. They were gorgeous and the new golden puff swirls don't come close to the sheer brilliant instant of destruction that the old explosions once had. It is a little thing. Yet, over time, as little thing and little thing is whittled away we are left with a void full of intangible but fond memories and a reality of change accepted but not always loved.

The future is change and the past is behind us. Do we want to encourage people into bigger ships? I watched a four month old player plan his Vindicator purchase today for a PvP environment. To encourage larger ship usage through forced PvP game mechanics will only increase those types of situations. That is not a fight but a meat grinder of incapable pilots. If that satisfies the itch then I may not understand what a real ship is.

Fortunately, while I knew few who will say no to the meat grinder slaughter of poorly trained piloting, I do not think that is the over arcing goal of the requests that I have received. At the same time, I don't think they are fully fleshed out ideas insomuch as voiced desires and laments of change.

There is also a cost factor that I almost skipped. A few months ago I read a blog post that has sat in the back of my mind since then. The author was going to high sec to kill high sec players who did not expect it and destroy their corporations so that he could feel as if he had actual implact. Null sec. Low sec. Wormholes... all of those places expected loss and he gained no satisfaction from his opponents casual acceptance. In that I began to understand that expense, for ISK efficiency in combat is a much spoken upon topic, had become a measure. People were no longer hurt by simply losing they wanted to feel the destruction and gasp a bit when the loss totals slammed into their wallet.

But can we ever go home again? Back to the time when all loss hurt and all fights caused our hands to skitter across the keyboard? When the booming thud of capitals landing on grid echoed in the tunnel that our vision had become during combat? Can game mechanics ever bring that back?

In the end it does bring forward the fact that some ships are remarkably undesirable to pull out and fight in in low sec space. It may be balancing or environment, the meta or the market, but the rise of the cruiser and frigate hull has happened and they reign over our memories past.