Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Forced Interaction

There is Eve the story. It has four empire factions, multiple other factions, missions, needs, sales, and a story.

There is Eve the video game. Players log in, interact with the story line, shoot NPCs, get ISK, do things that the empires need done. Participate in events, and in general play.

There is Eve the metagame. This is where players interact with players and create the world around them.

Most of us play the video game to some level or another. We almost cannot avoid it. I will not give an absolute because there are many players who do avoid the video game part. Some play the story. They are a small culture in Eve but a rich one and their efforts of late have helped move the video game part forward and enrich it for others. And then there is the meta game. That is what Eve is famous for. It is the hardest, most frustrating, most rewarding, craziest part because it is all about people interacting with people.

People are hard.

Sometime, in Eve's near future Sov will be redone. One idea I have heard before is NPC's shooting Sov structures to make the owners respond to the area and defend their structures.


A NPC visited our POS a few days ago. He wandered off and vanished. A glitch perhaps. Or maybe he was curious.

Some people would find it interesting if NPCs interacted with player structures. Today, during a discussion about ESS it was said, "make NPC shoot the deployables." It made me wonder, is that what we want?

One of the most interesting things about Eve is that you can opt out of a lot of the video game parts. While the games core it is also optional. Many people spend their time playing with and against other players and only other players. NPCs are something that they have knowledge of but not interest in.

When you start Eve you can put everything down and charge into battle against other players within hours of starting. You can say, "No, Thank You." To the NPC content of the game. It gives CCP a complex dance of creating tools for players and supporting and moving forward their video game.

If NPCs were not avoidable, if they shoot player structures, if the players were forced to interact with them, how would it change Eve? If we did not have the culture where players could opt out of NPC content it would be a simple fall back. But, we expect players to shoot other players. NPCs are, honestly, laughable most of the time.

Except for incursions. In that one moment, incursions outside of high sec become death traps. They camp gates, snatch frigates, and in general ruin the area for the time that they are there. That is one of the few times that I can think of where you have to acknowledge NPCs in some way and mitigate their impact.

Now spread that out. Spread that to everything. It would change Eve as a game. It seems a small idea but it'd be a very, very large one if CCP were to force player and NPC interaction at that level.

Would it be bad?


Then I thought about our new, curious sleepers. Hmm....

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Rise and Fall of The Cougar Store

Eve is a game of failure and successes. It is one of the appeals. For everything that you accomplish you can also have failed. For every failure you may have accomplished something. mix that into a game where you create what you want to spend your time doing and it makes for a heady and addictive mixture of game play.

I am very proud of accomplishments in Eve. Truly proud of what I have done. That pride makes the failures all that much harder. And with any failure it'd be nice to shove it into a dark pit, roll a bolder over top of it and walk away. The problem is that I still know that it is there, in its bolder covered pit. Ignoring it, hiding it, pretending it did not happen will not make it go away. I am the type of person that has to work out their problems, cry out their hurts, and attack the obstacles in their path.

That's why sitting for the past three or so weeks, sad and hurt, has not been productive for me. In many ways writing my blog has been my way to work through the good and the bad times of playing. I've gotten used to chronicling my days and adventures and chewing over my thoughts.

So, let's face the failure. I closed TCS in Bosena and moved to Sujarento.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rambling: Where I Examine Why I've Been Sad

Earlier this weekend I started to wonder if I am too optimistic. My Eve weekend started out poorly. I hit Friday morning bright eyed and cheerful to have a full weekend of gaming and puttering around. I had an Eve mail that depressed me and a conversation that exhausted me and a discussion that made me log out and go and wash the dogs and clean the house instead.

CSM9 - Day 239

Things were rather slow making for a short update. However a few things did slip in before Christmas slowed everything to a halt.

On Tuesday, CCP Rise posted the first major edit to the recon rebalance thread which has passed 100 pages. In this revision the Pilgrim gets tweaked for neut range and strength, the resists are dropped to increase the general fragility, and the dscan immunity is staying. This has calmed some and upset others who wanted recons to have a viable, tanking, core fleet role.

Also, on Tuesday a module rebalance dev blog was posted. This was noted by CCP Seagull in her Proteus overview. I’d not seen any of the module rebalancing and a lot of this hits me in my Jaguar fit. CCP has taken a step back with the renaming schemes and is trying to preserve some of the creativity of the names. Making everything bland and tasteless makes sense in a way but it is boring. Science Fiction is supposed to be fun and creative and thoughtful and exciting. It looks like a few new modules are being added to the Ore and Syndicate loyalty point stores. Improving NPC nullsec LP stores and LP stores has been something that has been pushed for. The feedback thread is here.

While it is not busy, I’ve still found ample CSM things to do with my time. The summit is in a few weeks. I’ve sat down over the last few days and gone through my notes and my mailbox to fill out my From the Players to CCP document sections. These are questions, ideas, and concerns that come to me. I gather them up and the ones that I cannot get answered over time come with me to the Summit. I organize these by session and when they go, “Anything else?” I can whip out my notebook and make sure that I’ve touched on everything.

I’ve requested a few sessions and I think I will make another request or two. I’d like to check in the general health of low sec. I’d like to see how the capital changes are going. I want to talk about fighter assist. I really want to sit down with the UI team on points. I’d love to find someone to listen to some market and contract points and cleanup because that really did not get touched on last time. All I can do is prepare and do my best to get all of it on the table.

My CSMX interview with Cap Stable should be next weekend. The weekend after I’ll hold my monthly talk. That should get everything caught up by the time the summit starts.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Buttan?

I made a note for myself to write about Eve needing more buttons. I then had an impassioned speech about why I've become so focused on some type of social group support being added to the game that is not corporations. I then blended the two together because I was discussing the exact same subject in different areas.

It is about layers. Eve is full of layers. These come in basic forums like the right click menu and more advanced forms such as learning how to play the game. Wherever you go there are layers and half of the complexity of the game is learning that those layers exist.

I wondered, the other day, if we could solve some complexity issues with buttons.


On the right side of my HUD I have my modules. On the left side I have utility buttons that I use off and on. The Confessor got me thinking. It has three mode buttons. I have not heard people say that they are horrified by the location of the buttons or finding them hard to use. They may not always work but that is another thing.

Bringing the game out of menus and into the screen is important. And I wondered, why don't I just have a button for things like jumping and using my clone bay? Would that be better or would people consider it a step backwards. I know some games are moving away from the menu selections and such but is the obscure several things deep right click menu a good thing just for being obscure? Or, if buttons happened and the right click menus till existed would that be bad?

I don't care for screen clutter but as long as screen clutter is removable or customizable it may have a place.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Candy Cane

I was given a Stratios.


I wanted to say thank you. It was from one of my readers who also hangs out in chat and has listened to me sigh for the last six months over my desire to buy a Stratios. I have this plan where I would earn enough LP to buy one. I also have this plan where I will run drone sites and get a Sentient spawn that will drop the disc that I can trade in for one. In reality, I've mostly done other things and let the CSM eat up the time I used to spend making ISK with spaceships.

But I have dreams and one of them was answered by this contract. Happy. Flustered. Shocked. I went through the normal automatic responses where I wanted to reject it. To expensive. I don't deserve it. I should earn my own. But gifts are gifts. I know that I give things to people because I want to. But, eeep!

I think the Stratios is the most beautiful ship in the game. I suspect that some think I am in love with the Rifter hull. While iconic, it is the Jaguar as a ship that I love not the hull itself. When it comes down to the Stratios, the hull amazes me.

I will name him Candy Cane. I love peppermint and the abundance of it is one of the few things I like about the Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Nineteen



While released in March, Apocrypha's development and release really continued into the summer of 2009.  The last few changes included rig sizes and the level IV epic arcs for the empire. It was a very different release. CCP had created an entire new part of space known as wormholes. They had introduced new races and expanded upon Eve's lore. Instead of focusing on the warfare and fight of the empires they had moved into exploration and created a vast unknown. At the same time there was more fine tuning of Eve both in software and hardware. By July of 2009 CCP was ready to head towards their winter release.

The second Eve novel Eve Online: The Burning Life has been written and will soon be released. When it comes to Eve's expansion outside of the game CCP is also working on a social website called COSMOS. They do like to reuse words for things. Unlike the COSMOS missions this is planned to be a player portal of sorts.

The social side of Eve is heavily on CCP's mind. One of the most conceptually true and influential trailers, The Butterfly Effect, was released.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shelves Overflowing

A year ago I accidentally purchased 5000 units of small Scorch ammunition for TCS. That was when my market was in a different place with a different environment. Today, I am buying small Scorch because someone tried to cripple the ability to refit frigates and destroyers in Sujarento.

Aw hell naw!

There will be none of that in a market I am managing. My hair on end and tail fluffed I stormed to the login screen for my Jita alt spitting in shocked fury. My market shelves were empty of hulls. It was a disagreace. As I ground my teeth and pushed an update to Eve Mentat I saw that it was a larger problem then I had realized.

T1 drones. Gone.

Small Rigs. Gone.

Small tanking mods. Gone.

T1 frigates. Gone.

T1 dessies. Gone.

It was unacceptable. Market warfare had landed a blow on my doorstep! I had not yet stocked the shipment that I brought in for the morning. My eyes wide and my fingers moving fast I began to buy the list. I needed to go to lunch shortly and hoped that my items would be moved by the time I got back. Normally I stock every few days. Today however, I had a restocking of the highest order.

The Gallante and Caldari have been fighting over and in Sujarento for several days. It has been interesting for me to watch as their fleets swarm in and out, fight on the plexes, battle on the gates, and wage war with each other. Sometimes Snuff Box joins in. Sometimes it does not. I had been pondering if Sujarento had any strategic significance because of my market or if I was elevating my potential level of importance. Now, I had been dragged into the fray. Important or not, Sujarento had been smacked about in such a way as that it could not help but be an assault against the other militia. I don't think anyone would try to kick Snuff Box by depriving them of T1 frigates and destroyers.

But no one shall be deprived in Sujarento! Like fire did I buy from Jita. Maybe too much fire. Because at some point I accidentally purchased a Dragoon army.

"How did I get 78 Dragoons?" I asked in puzzlement as I loaded my jump freighter. I knew I had purchused some Dragoons. I was sure the number was closer to 10 then to 78. But 78 had been unloaded into my hangar and I peered at the endless lines of shiny, brand new destroyer hulls and sighed. I had typoed. Again.

Now I have a Dragoon army ready to march out of Sujarento's shelves.

Rawr! Let there be warfare!

My Newest Ship

I came home to see boosters being assigned to Guardians in alliance chat. I was to tired for whatever excitement they were off to do. It seems they decided to go tangle with Specter Fleet's nestor public fleet. After twelve hours and my work weekend finally ending, I was a bit dead on my feet and in my mind. I find PvP to be an exhausting pastime. I also tend to go from tired to grumpy to full blown toddle tantrum quite easily when I'm worn out.

The previous evening, after that twelve hours, I was trying to put a Rorqual hull into build. I had picked up the last pieces and it was now ready for its final assembly. I sat there, clicking on my Rorqual trying to find the use blueprint button and not being able to. Click. Where is it? Click. What? Click. Is my stuff broken?

No. No. I was clicking on my actual, Rorqual. My Rorqual, Buttered Scone, who is fit and rigged. He is not a blue print but my tired mind had focused on the image of a Rorqual as my goal to click and build a blueprint. Hence, crossed wires and failure to produce.

This is Baking Sheet. 

Baking Sheet was just pulled out of the oven today. He is a Charon and he was born in a low sec station for the goal of helping with capital production. We decided to create him because this billion plus ISK ship is the cheap alternative.

How did I get here? How did I reach this land where I've decided to risk a billion plus ship as the smart and easy thing to do? The journey was rather easy when the other risk was six billion ISK ships if one used the jump freighters, two billion ISK ships if one used the Rorqual, or twenty some trips per build if one used the Deep Space Transport. I only have but one heart and it was having fits every time I warped a jump freighter about space, even from a station to a POS.

This is also a direct side effect to changes like Crius and Phoebe. Using the arrays to decrease my mineral cost is an important part of bringing reasonable prices to buyers. The refining changes have caused sourcing and moving materials to matter. The jump changes mean home grown capitals are suddenly a greater asset then ever before as well as the general uptick in capital usage usage that I've been seeing.

This part of Eve is important as well. I could only write about fleets and PvP. But there are so many things to do. So many people don't see low sec past its gatecamps and flashy pirates destroying everything. It is more. It can be more. It just takes people for it to be more. It is not that those things are a lesser thing. It is that they are one of many things that make up the every day. Most of my mornings are composed of a few cynos to get market goods into system. My afternoons installing and moving builds while I miscount minerals and make sure the POS fuel is topped up. It is almost amusing how much time it takes up. Almost.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CSM9 - Day 232

Here are the Rhea patchnotes. I recommend skimming these while your client launches to see what has been fixed or added. With the new UI came a flood of bugs. Fleet windows not working, chat tabs unblinking, lagging windows, shortcuts not saving, color schemes not switching properly, and then the general complaints about the new system. After a quiet release week Monday hit and the release bugs have started to get ironed out. Thankfully.

The POS Survey is out. Please fill this out. A lot of noise was made about POS being important to the player base. A threadnought was formed. This is a torch that has been passed from one CSM to another. I pray that we are now at the point of using that torch to set the old POS code on fire and I’m going to put my energy into watching that old code burn and something better happen. Please, please, please participate in this.

The Recon rebalance thread is here. It is here early and that is good. Back when CSM9 started I went out seeking feedback on recons for this eventual time. The good news is that helped me comment on the various points of making the Pilgrim useful. The Huginn did not receive missiles sadly and the Curse is even better than it was which has upset some. However, the bulk of the shock is over the dscan immunity for combat recons. That was not something I expected, so there was no, “What if force recons were dscan immune?” in my recon feedback file. I went through the first twenty pages of the thread before I gave up on trying to track who was for and who was against. It is pretty neatly tied with people in the same corporations and alliances actively disagreeing with each other over this feature.

How do I feel about it? I think it sounds interesting. It was one of the times when not being able to share potential changes is very hard. The changes affect groups differently in each area of space. This needs to be judged on what it will do to people. What it does not do is reward awareness. Your awareness which is what has kept you alive. Cloaking already causes this but there are moments when a cloaked ship uncloaks as well as delays associated with it. I’ve listened to a lot of arguments for and against over the last few days.

Suggestions made: Have them act as mobile dscan inhibitors. You see them but not their fleet. Having them appear on scan within 1-2 AU is another way to have them stealthy but not fully unknown. Have them not appear in local but appear in dscan. Have a dscan avoidance module so that they are under the same activation choices as covert recons.

Cons that have been listed: FW complexes with force recons inside or outside of them. DED complexes with force recons inside or outside of them. Unlike cloaks there are no locking delays for when they land on field. The breaking of third party dscan tools. The fact that being aware no longer means anything until they land on grid. Small groups get hit harder than small ones in low sec and wormhole space. They are too tanky.

Some people just absolutely love it and the changes that would come with implementation. It is a very big change with a huge amount of potential ripple effect. I want to believe that if it is broken as hell it would get yanked. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be so hopeful. Getting this out now, when Proteus is still almost five weeks away is very, very important. Please weigh in on this topic on the thread. I’ve had a lot of really good, well reasoned discussions. I’ve also received some amazingly curse word driven discussion. I am shocked my eve mail has not burst into flames. I’m going to be hopeful about the next tweaks.

The week was full of dev blogs. We have the on demand client coming. This is a new way of downloading Eve where you can start playing before the game is downloaded. It will then call resources as it needs them. It will get new players into the game faster but it will not change anything for our current patching system. There have been very good suggestions in the thread about opting out of features like high resolution textures for those with bandwidth limitations and those who are not interested in the higher textures.

A more focused dev blog on teams has been released. They are not what CCP wanted and instead of leaving them in somewhat broken and irritating they are pulling them. It is good that they are willing to say, “This is not working.” However teams are in use now and some areas and my main worry is that we’d see some area of the market controlled by a small number of people spiral out of control.

If you are into stuff the future Fanfest ships have been announced. There will be a triad of Quafe hulls hitting the market. The dev blog is not clear if those that purchase the live stream will be receiving the ships or a limited release. There is also the question of collector edition mystery code releases. It has been very, very, very, sparse in the things for the mystery code department. Disappointingly so.

The holiday gifts have been released. CCP paid homage to the community with this collection of reminders and nods to community figures. There are jackets for the fashion conscious. They are orange which makes me smile since orange was one of the colors that we were asked to ask for. They have given every active account 20 days of training for a second character on that same account. This will not extend your current account by twenty days. I have no idea what to do with mine but I need to sit down and make some good decisions.

Team Security released a blog with more details about the new policy changes and updates on their banning. It is good to see this information out there as well as some graphs for people to ponder the meaning of.

The feature list for Proteus was released in a Dev Blog from CCP Seagull. It is light weight. CCP’s offices are a ghost town from what we have been told.  I am not in love with the Exequror redesign. Yes its pretty. Yes it is not 100% symmetrical. Yes the old one was weirdly awkward and like two different ships. I liked that. The unique spirit and creativity of the asymmetrical hulls was amazing. I loved that Eve was not completely one way or another. I will continue to complain every time they nerf a hull into symmetry. I consider this a grudging nod to the complaints about asymmetrical hulls and I hope that some of them can be preserved.

We’ve had some of our regular meetings cancelled and some new ones added. The forums have been churning along. CCP Seagull promises some solid plans for null sec at the Summit. I do not know what those plans are.

CCP Punkturis has started a ‘corp little things’ project. For more information please check the thread. She will be discussing and interacting about the topic there. This is something she is doing so I’d like to direct people to it if they wish to comment or participate.

Corbexx and I had our first POS Soundboard. I say first because CCP Nullarbor said that he’d like another one sometime in January. Corbexx and I will make that happen. During the recording we discuss POS current and POS future. I try to cover a lot of ground in these things so we move on topics once we start to chew on them. I am also amused when I ask questions that have been sent to me, asked on the forums, or just to prod the conversation a bit and people think that they are mine. These soundboards are not for the CSM to discuss the topic with and before CCP but for the players to do so. CCP gets to hear me more than they probably want to. I want to use this time for other opinions to get airtime.

Clothing Soundboard, December 15th, 2014
POS Soundboard December 18th, 2014

I recommend giving the POS soundboard a go. Nullarbor discusses the future of reactions. The art team also discusses limitations and such in the Clothing Soundboard.

The holidays are around the corner. After the new year I have my interview for my CSMX campaign. Also the MD/VA/DC community is trying to schedule a get together for the locals for dinner and I guess drinks for those that drink. On my outreach side my next Open Q and A should be around the 10th or 11th.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and some outreach to gather in points, topics, and opinions for the summit. I will start condensing them down into my Summit Book tomorrow. I haven’t stopped my work on war decs. I just need to find time in the day for all of this stuff. The feedback and information I’ve gotten is great and I’m focused on laying it. I may just write up a large document. We will see. Sometimes organizing this information and thoughts is the hardest part of the process.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Reasonableness

And with changes come discussion of said changes. Over several topics in the last few weeks I have harped upon the idea of reasonableness in balance and decision making. When someone tells me that something is to strong if done in an exact way I ask is that method reasonable?

Reasonable

  1. fair and sensible
  2. fairly or moderately good
  3. not too expensive

Reasonableness is a very flexible concept. Something can be reasonable on many levels. Using a hammer can be reasonably expected to be done by an averge person. Using an electron microscope can be reasonable expected to be done by the average scientist. However, not being accessible to the average person does not make the complexity of an electron microscope unreasonable.

Reasonableness and accessibility are a bit different although they overlap each other. You can add in words like general and such but what is reasonable differs from person to person. In Eve, I often have a discussion where someone discusses a topic. They discuss that topic well and point out how strong or weak or complex or easy it is. My response is often, "How does the average, reasonable player play?"

Many of us who read blogs, forums, eft warrior, and engage in Eve outside of Eve are somewhat super users. We talk, think, judge, weigh, create, and indulge ourselves in the game. Are we a reasonable standard? This topic has come up recently in our POS chat. Is having to have third party tools to function on a sustainable level reasonable? Is having to have IT people in your corporation to help you manage well enough to play with others reasonable. Is that the standard that we want the game to be built and catered to?

I can keep lobbing out examples, but I'm tired. It's a simple enough thought without another thousand words of explination.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Screen Layouts

Nosy Gamer wrote about a program called Eve-O Preview which helps to manage windows without multiple inputs. For those interested in the discussion about multiboxing and the future ban of input broadcasting across multiple accounts at one time there has been a lot of discussion on this topic and Nosy is a good source to expand outwards about the discussion.

I'm a multiboxer and I keep seeing people say that multiboxing is being banned. It is not. It is one click to control all the clients that is going away. Managing software is still allowed. It was that management software that Nosy looked at that made me decide to take this picture.


That is my normal setup. I don't use multiple account management programs and never have. Four accounts is about my average and they are rarely doing the same thing. From right to left I have, my normal web browser with its tabs, Skype going, I'm on TS, a second set of browser windows to work on the history stuff, Sugar hanging out talking, my industrial alt just arrived from a jump, my TCS alt working the market and updating orders for the daily buys, and a cyno alt moving around and setting up some new positions for me.

If Sugar goes into combat, all of the other accounts will be logged off or minimized. The windows will change and move depending on what I am doing. I like layering and with twenty seven inch screens it is easy for me to have a lot of visual room for each account depending on what I am doing.

I know not everyone has three screens and space becomes limited quickly. The tile method is what I have always done. More screens has made it easier to do. However, every time I read someone say that CCP is nerfing multiboxers I wonder where such a broad and outrageous statement comes from. That is followed by the belief that they are building multiboxing software for people to use instead.

I started multiboxing pretty early. Sugar's earliest duties involved being Chella's hauler down in Derelik. She still owns that one. Later my multi-boxing was about scouting myself around and finally it just became me being my own little fleet. Then I expanded into industry and markets and it became my other accounts puttering around doing stuff as time allowed.

It has never occured to me to use software. Of course, I'm the person that didn't realize that gold farmers were really a thing or that someone would create an automated bot to play their game. Eve has taught me a lot but even in my multiple accounts I'm a pretty basic person at heart. I like my gaphics on high. I like to see the game through my menus. I still don't multibox combat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Constructive Use of Time

"You seem quite the industrial player to be in Snuff Box."

It was an interesting conversation and I found myself doing what I often find myself doing in Eve. I defended a part of my game play. "I am a combat pilot," I pointed out. I listed Sugar's abilities. I listed Chella's. I pointed out my dreadnought abilities. I added in my fully trained link and recon pilot. I explained that I am a combat pilot and one that people would find useful. It is just that I do a lot of other stuff as well.

Wex and I have been given the title of Carebear due to our industrial project. I suspect that is because we've demanded a corporate hangar just for ourselves, we've set up a POS for our efforts, and we've raised Sujarento's industry index with our project.

On my own I make boosters, run a market, do logistics work if needed, and talk to people in local. It is the same story that I discuss every day but I find in these situations I'm justifying myself. "I can manufacture capitals for my corporation! That is very useful post Phoebe. I can do this... I can do that..." it is a continual justification process on why I'm useful when I do all of these things that are not PvP.

It is one of the saddest things that I find myself doing more and more. I often find myself explaining why anyone would keep me around for doing other things beyond exploding people. I have to stack up reason to make it okay that I spend a lot of time doing other things.

Eve doesn't exist in a PvP vacuum. I'm also not bright enough to keep my other habits safely hidden away on alts where they will not smear my reputation as a bad ass pirate. That is my own fault. Due to not being intelligent about hiding it and the fact that I think the entire process is a lot of fun.

I live and operate in low sec because I like it not because it is hte smartest thing to do financially. It makes life a pain in the butt. Moving things in. Getting things out. My mornings are often composed of cyno after cyno. Jumping in. Jumping out. Loading in minerals or ships or modules for the market or capital building or booster making. Sometimes I have to replace things for Sugar or buy a new doctrine. Sometimes I ship things out for sale. All of that is part of my life in low sec. Not just the times when one ship touches another ship.

I love that you can make urban renewal projects and invigorate an area. It's like cleaning streets and painting fences. It is hugely satisfying to see the end effort. I know that it has value so I really have to stop apologizing to people for having other interests. I'm getting on my own nerves with that.

"I'm so sorry that I like to build the things we use in house. Please forgive me."

Maybe there will be more battle reports then industrial reports in the future. The two require different amounts of time and I miss fleets these days because I have to make a decision on how to use my time. Someone said they wondered how the CSM would affect my writing. It has affected it like this. My topics have changed as my time, experience, and interests have changed and expanded. I don't write blog posts with the volume that I have in the past. I probably write more then I ever have.

Plus, I like it. The other day I read Revi saying how hes crisping around the edges and he needed to take a step backa nd free himself up some. My personal balm has always been having multiple things to do. It also means I wind up looking forward to doing things. Another CSM side effect is that I want to do some of these cool things that have entered to game or that I've helped change... when I find the time. For now I pick up what I can with my split attention and prior engagements. Actually playing and not just using a fancy IRC client is very important to me.

And, if people get tired of me being too industrial... well too bad.

Snapping ISK At The Problem

neu·tral·i·ty - noun
  1. the state of not supporting or helping either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.; impartiality.
  2. absence of decided views, expression, or strong feeling.
I am a big fan of neutrals and wish it was conceptualized better in Eve. It often feels as if there is a 'them' and an 'us' in the game. But there are also 'those people'. Who are they all? Well, in a lot of ways they are the neutrals in Eve. Some are absolutely hostile. I've smirked a few times when I saw who I purchased something from. I can't not purchase from them. But we can't remove them from our pool of neutrals so its a bit of a mangled mass.

I've been asked a few times about Thera's market. Do I want to stock it? What do I think about stocking it? Will it thrive? Will everyone be rich?

Speculation isn't my favorite thing. I can't station trade to save myself. But things like market stocking for PvPers I am comfortable talking about. I have lots of little conversations with people who want to try to stock markets. I hug and pet them and tell them that they can do it. I did it and I had no idea what I was doing when I started. It isn't complex it is just a lot of work and continued effort.

I'm quick to say that my method of marketing is not the get rich way. I'm not a station trader. I don't buy low and move it to sell high. Instead, I commit to an area and work off of the fact that the community will have needs. A place like Thera will reflect and then magnify this concept. The market is a closed system with more consumers then producers.

The problem with setting up a market in Thera is getting the goods to market. You need haulers. You are working with wormholes. For reasons I have not yet come to understand, players love to camp. The concept of neutrality barely exists in this game.

This is the story of Eve:
"Hi! I'm coming through with a freighter of goods to stock your stations so that everyone can reship and continue to have good fights."
"PEW PEW FREIGHTER PEW PEW!"
Boom."Bring friends next time!"
And such another stare is instantly created and ended. I have no problem with killing haulers. It must be remembered that pilot may bring friends as suggested. Or, they may not try it again. One can say, "Use cloaky haulers" and "web them!" or some such thing. It isn't that easy. Those are an option but when we look at the consumption rate of a market for PvPers we have a simple problem of m3.

Space. Not the outside one full of supernovas.


I mean the space inside of our spaceship that we carry stuff in. I've lamented the woes of stocking a single low sec market. It can easily take two or three trips per session to move the amount of material that I need to move. There will have that problem and it will be harder.

Modules at least are small. You can fit huge amounts into agile ships. But when it comes to raw materials it is going to take a while, and I hope not a long time, for Thera to stock itself. Bringing hulls in can happen but it will not be feasible for more then a certain few groups.

There is this idea I keep bumping into where people go, "Oh you'll make so much money!" and then they stare at the market person with a huge, hopeful grin on their face. It is as if the entire moving of the stuff and risking of the stuff part just melts into the back ground if they snap their ISK together and demand a market.

It doesn't. That person is being asked to dedicate time, assets and a fat, wallowing helpless ship. They will need to have a character dedicated to listing that will probably live there. That character or character's would also need to have refining or building skills. Hopefully, wormhole people will discover a love of mining and compressing that ore and selling it in Thera. It will be interesting to see how and if it pressures the compressed mineral market vs other areas like... say... null.

"But Sugar, there is stuff there! It is just expensive stuff! Come get rich!"

Let me explain that there is a difference between a market of opportunity and someone dedicating themselves to stocking things for you. The former can happen with anyone passing by. They drop some stuff off, make some ISK, and never the path shall meet. The later will dedicate a large amount of time to managing and maintaining the market. It is absolutely a full time game to do. Add Thera into the mix and they need a large dose of creativity and ingenuity as well.

How many of them do we have? The chances are not enough. Those that do are probably committed to their projects. It takes a few months to skill up a solid market alt. Orders have to be maintained. It is not an overnight process.

Spaceship violence is one of Eve's draws. It is also one of Eve's greatest hurdles for itself. It is not bad it is just part of the game as well. When asking someone to put that much on the line it has to be worth it. Snapping ISK together and waving it at them does not equate to being worth their time.

Eventually? Sure. Thera will wind up with at least one well stocked station and probably two. 

For now I am helping people develop market lists and brainstorm how and what they can do to get things stocked. It is a challenge for those up to it. I think it could be quite fun. But I feel the fuddy-duddy, leaned back with my jump freighters struggling to shove all of my stuff in to get to low sec.

I salute those trying to get it done in Thera. I have no wise words and special tips. It will be hard, there will be loss, and it can be a lot of fun. I hope that an independent market type crops up. One that does it because they want to do it. One that enjoys the challenges and hurdles. And I hope that people recognize the work that these players will be putting into improving the game for themselves and other people because there are much easier ways to make ISK then supplying markets in hostile space.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Change and Preservation

Four weeks until the Winter Summit. A few more until the CSM candidates submit to CCP. My monthly talk had a split focus. Much was what is going on, thoughts, answers, and responses. Some is what will be going on and my opinion of things as a potential candidate.

One of the side effects of having an informal talk session is that I don't get to prepare for anything. So when Niden asked me about my feelings towards the investment of veterans I talked in circles for a bit and touched on a few areas of it. I thought a lot about why he asked that. A lot of my current writing and talks focus on what I do with new players. In a way he did a little check. "Sugar, do you care about veteran players? Will you care for them and their investment in the game?"

Its a fair question regarding my focus on new players. I tend to pick things up and start running with them. I don't often have high level plans and convoluted strategies. I rather dislike the meta and that probably causes me to start from scratch more often then I need to. But, this isn't about the meta it is about how enthuasem can accidentally obscure the complete picture.

Niden asked. I answered.

There are things like giving skill points to new players. This has its own movement. I'm not sure how broad this movement is. I'm not a fan of it. It makes me uncomfortable. I know that expierence packs and instant leveling are quite the fad in a lot of games. It allows people to enter into the game and cherry pick content.

But I like playing the game. I like it a lot. And, staring at this problem trying to think it over I sometimes feel we have Eve Online and Eve Online: PvP. They exist inside of the same game. The very open world where you can log in at six and a half seconds old and run off to join in a fight is also Eve's personal demon.

People want to feel successful. They don't just want to be able to do. They want to be able to do those things and feel as if they are successful at them. We don't discuss starting newbies at a higher skill point level because they cannot do things. We do it because they cannot do things successful and waht they cannot do successfully is PvP competitively.

They can PvP. They will probably die. At the start of the month I took a new account and did the tutorials and ran off to solo faction war. I died a lot. I killed one person. I fought off two. I died my other thirty or forty fights. I died knowing what to do. I died properly fit. It was not that I could not PvP, it was that I could not PvP competively against anyone who happened to warp in.

Eve has no levels and few restrictions. I love it. It also makes things hard.

"If you put two players in the same ship with the same skills one will probably own the other. Skill matters as much as skills." - Sugar Kyle answering Niden.
That is probably my biggest worry about the active skills. They still won't know how to fly their ship. If I take a five year old player who has never done combat, fleets, or low sec into low they wills till struggle. There are things that they have to learn that no amount of preset skillpoints will give them.

And people have to want to learn. Perhaps it is my age. I love the journey of playing. I used to run after the fleet in my Rupture as they all warped away and my horrifically poor skills made me the last one off the gate. I was only months old. But I was out there flying and trying. I learned during that time. I learned how to play the game and the game is more then who shoots who more successfully.

I hear suggestions to give them enough to get into a T2 fit frigate. What I don't hear is giving them enough to get into a T2 fit barge or a T2 fit mission Raven. What that says to me is that the problem that is being tackled is the accessibility to competitive and successful Player vs Player content at a very early age.

Often the focus is on solo or very small gang flying. That is some of the harder stuff to do int he game. I know pilot after pilot that scares me to death in space and when they slip by in an Atron or Incrusus I know I'll probably die. That didn't happen because of their skill points.

But some of it does happen because of their skill points. I think it is very easy to focus on that and ignore the rest of it.

And there is the fact that people do not want to feel devalued for their investment. One can roll their eyes at a PvPer but I see it elsewhere. I've talked a lot about high standings. Whenever I have these talks I have started to lay down that when we discuss repair we're currently not discussing devaluing the effort that has happened with gains. We're trying to get people back to zero not advance them to ten.

Value in Eve is stretches across unexpected things. I am very proud of my markets. I can gush about them for hours. I can discuss the ebb and flow of buying in low sec. I love discussing it. Markets. And I'll do it all flushed and talking at hyper speed because it is a success. It s something that I did.

When you have a game where people are told to go and make their own world, you have to then remember that they are going to create their own success points. It is too easy to step on those.

So things like skill points make me uncomfortable. I know that they don't everyone but they do me. Accessibility has many, many forms. But if someone is going to get bored they are going to get bored. It may be worth it to CCP to retain them for an extra month or two. That is a sub. But, I get to look at things from the eyes of a player.

I like playing the game. I may be old fashioned. I've told the story of how I was wrong to play Diablo to discover the story. Diablo was about collecting gear I was told. Not the story.

Silly Sugar.

Yes, I want Eve to thrive. I want our population to grow some. I want the community to be hear for me when I log in from work. I am willing to challenge old truths. Change is good. Some change is bad. And as much as we challenge these truths that our conceptual foundations are built upon we also have to challenge the ideas that come along.

"But, Sugar these things are stupid!"

Are they? Because it is very easy and very common in this game to drop the stupid card on those who do not play, think, or do as one does. That's part of defining a game as well but that does not make them, their ideas, or what they do in fact stupid.

A Scamers Choice

I've spent a lot of the weekend in Jita pricing things. Click upon click upon click as I price checked hundreds of items. Plus, there is stuff to buy to feed the maw of the capital ship machine that we have become. We've risen Sujarento's industry index a few points. Irritating but impressive at the same time.

I ignore Jita local on my market alts. They have no need for it. That means it was Wex that noticed something interesting happen in Jita local that involved his alt.


The ISK doubler Fly Yellowsight spams Jita saying that people have sent ISK and received ISK. That made Wex quite fascinated to see his alt's name on a list of people who had sent and received ISK. Fly has one of those BIO's full of colors with a line of tiny text at the bottom. It helps people who taste the gambling feel that they have been clever. But, over the course of the evening we saw Fly call out Wex not once but twice as a winner.

How fascinating.

I've never believed that these scams are real. It is interesting seeing how fake these are when it happens to someone you know.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

CSM9 - Day 225

I’ll call this last week busy and interesting if you have been keeping track of the Rhea release. It has also been a productive CSM week as well and there is more to do.

Rhea was released on Tuesday. The actual release went well. I was pleased to have it as a day off and woke up to a lot of changes. While the launch itself went well, Rhea is not without bugs.

On Tuesday night they had to take the server down due to a duplication bug. It is not common for CCP to do an emergency reboot. But this particular exploit was bad enough that they acted immediately. CCP Falcon released a news story detailing the exploit. 

The UI is buggy. It is laggy. There is no gamma correction. There are no personal UI colors. CCP has regressed and gone back to modal windows after they said they were going away from them and had started to remove them. This is the Rhea issues page. This is the Rhea feedback thread. The developers have bundled the first few posts with the problems. Flip through the dev posts and post your feedback. Please.

There are some PBR issues. It was pointed out that the high resolution shots are much prettier but the low resolution shots are much worse. A lot of people play Eve on low graphics. I’d love to see a better middle ground for low graphics that are a bit less mushy looking. The thread has been very active. CCP Darwin is new to CCP but a long time player and he is very active in these threads as is the rest of the art team.

Trial accounts are not being wiped until Monday the 15th.

If you have been following the in game news or lore a press release from the Sister’s of Eve has admitted that they lost a colony on Rhea’s release date. Concord has followed up with an official statement reference the apparent super Nova and the Sister’s of Eve colony located in a previously unknown system named Thera. If you like the game lore keep your eyes and ears open. Daniel Jackson has been keeping track of the star and  he has made an animated .gif of its expansion and explosion.

Opt ins: Remember, when trying out the new map you opt in under the escape menu. You will then get a new icon on your neocom that is the new map. F10 will still give you the old map. To opt into manual piloting you need to go to the escape menu -> shortcuts -> navigation -> assign the keys. I think we should opt in new players or at least some new players and see if they automatically use them when out in space.

There was an o7 show on Thursday. The link to the twitch recording is here. It is a recap of the last year with a lot of player interviews.

In general it is time to work on Rhea’s bug fixes and Christmas is around the corner. Things have been quiet on the CSM side of things with what CCP is up to. I’m happy to say that CCP Foxfour has heard some of the worries from people who are not comfortable with SSO and is looking into adding an official information page for third party developers to direct uncomfortable users to. This is something that came to me and I’m happy to see the work towards a resolution.

With four weeks until the summit I am shifting gears into information collection and documentation for the summit. I know that people will be out of the office over the holidays. Hopefully, player’s will be in game and I’ll continue to have the productive discussions that have been coming to me about things. It is an odd mix of working on current projects that will play out over the next few months and trying to write summaries for what I have done so far this session. There feels like that is so much more to do. More topics, reviews, the general health of low sec, PvE, new players, null, corps, POS, capitals, mining, industry, markets, contracts, writing the winter minutes on time, and more fill my thoughts going forward. It makes review harder than I expected even with the documentation that I’ve done since CSM9 was elected.

Corbexx and I had our Wormhole and General PvE soundboards. The method of these soundboards is for the players to sit down and discuss various topics. Do we agree? Do we disagree? Do we have a lot of different opinions? CCP Affinity listens to us work through our problems instead of guiding us and possibly not getting our reactions. My job was to bring up questions that I had and that had been sent to me by those who could not attend and to keep the conversation going. I slip a few of my own in there are well.

The recording for the wormhole PvE session can be found here. They discuss sites, life in wormhole space, how to have better sites, broken sites, scanning, and I ask questions about more shield love in wormhole space because someone asked me to ask.

The recording for the general PvE session can be found here. We talk standings corrections, lp stores improvement and decoupling from FW, we want group content, exploration, more access to npc nullsec, level five missions, more dynamic missions, don’t forget to leave content for people who are happy, spitball any idea that pops to mind and cover a damn good amount of ground in an hour.

Thanks goes to Silvonus of Sleeper Social Club for doing the recordings and putting them up on soundcloud.

We are looking into collecting some new players and having one for their impressions and thoughts on the game. Corbexx also has a clothing soundboard scheduled for tomorrow with some of the art team. Focused on hats? Tired of the same colors? So are other people and I expect this to be a lively discussion. It is both amusing, frustrating, and a very interesting fact that the clothing soundboard has received the most discussion and interaction so far.

My Open Q&A will run today, December 14th, at 1500 and 2200 GMT. I need to get my access to the Eve Uni forums corrected so that the calendar reflect this properly. I am planning for another one January 12th to get one last session in before the Winter Summit.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Blue Suede Shoes

Eve is a dystopian future where humanity has lost and regained technology and space flight It is a uuniverse full of war and destruction. From clone technology aided immortals in the skies and on the ground to crazed psychopaths riding in on their magic wormholes to invade space systems it is a dark, grim world.

But darkness does not have to also mean a lack of color. Eve is not a monochromatic world. From the luscious greens and yellows of Gallente Space, to the sparkling blue vistas of the Cladari to the sepia red tinge of Minmatar space, Eve is a bright hued world. 

Lasers anyone?

At the summer Summit we may have shocked the art team by announcing that we'd like some brighter colors and hats. "Hats?" "Yes. Hats." White and orange where two of the major color schemes we had been requested to request.  While that brings horrors of games such as Rift where obnoxious hats have become part of the game's reputation I believe that it can be done gracefully.

Clothing in Eve is a very excitable topic. It is more popular then people expect it to be. During the summer there was a push to get dresses without pants for Avatars. Before, all dresses where very short and pants had to be worn. CCP listened and dresses where added and bare thighs where soon seen in the Avatar full profile image.

In a game where we only see our avatar's when we choose to enter our captain's quarter one might think that avatar looks where unimportant. That would be a very incorrect statement. From complex profile images to large wardrobes, tattoos, piercings, and subtle changes to hair and makeup many of us sculpt our avatars.

Some of us press 'random' but not all of us. I'm not one to spend ISK on clothing but I have spent a lot of time playing with the default options. I've tweaked facial expressions and each of my character's has their personality expressed in their portraits.

And that is just for me. The question that often comes up is that no one can see all of the work and effort. No one else really get's anything out of it so why does it matter? It matters for the individual player. Some people are sculpting their character's for other's view but they are also expressing other things about them. They are showing off cybernetic arms. They are rocking monocles for the ultimate in smugness.

And that is why things like clothing color matters. I, for instance, love the color blue. I absolutely love the color blue. I'd probably pay ISK for blue things. They make me happy. I do not care about how other's feel. My avatar, my ships, the boots that Sugar wears are all selected to make me happy.

More color options can be added without turning Eve into a cartoon world. A light blue t-shirt that is more pastel than matte is not a ridiculous option. We can add options and choice to the game without wandering into the absurd. We can be tasteful yet varied. Colorful yet classy. And we can walk barefoot through our captain's quarter without a hookers walk.

January is around the corner and clothing will again be on the table. Corbexx has already started the assault with a Clothing focused Soundboard for Monday. Spaceships are serious business and so is fashion.

This post brought to you by Saftsuze.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Path Finding for Communication

"Well, I won't be able to fix it until I come back home. I need to go back to work now." Such was the message from my husband after a futile half hour of trouble shooting the server rack. Back in July, I was in this situation. Power was lost at home, the servers went crazy and my husband was out of town on a business trip. It took us several hours to get me back online, bypassing the servers and resetting the DNS addresses.

As he signed off I had to carefully lay my phone down on my desk and get up. The desire to throw it hit me like a shockwave. But, I needed my Nexus 5, and I put it down. He was not due home for ten more days and it was not acceptable that I'd just go without access due to his overly complex setup. I tried a few things myself to no avail and collapse in a puddle of misery for a while. Once I was able to crawl back to my feet I sent him a message asking him if I could at least bypass his entire server setup and go straight to the Fios box.

"Sure. I'll walk you through that tonight and we will get you around it." I stared at my phone. I found joy again. Mostly, I wondered why he couldn't have said that a bit sooner. Another sentence and I would not have wondered if I needed to divorce him.

I am not of the TL;DR generation. I type full words when I text such as 'you'. I communicate to pass on information clearly. I write so that when you are done you know what I was thinking and how. It never occupied to me to write less. I know that some say less is more but less can also be less. I have more then once wanted to scream in frustration for want of a simple bit of verbal or written communication about a situation.

In looking at Eve from the outside we have a problem of communicating to new players. Some people, such as myself, enjoy walls of text. Many people skip them and lose that vital bit of information. It is why I have been thinking about the fact that we need to present a lot of basic information in more then one way. Not everyone thinks the same and not everyone learns the same. We often discus people who learn by seeing, by doing, by hearing. Some people learn from trial and failure. Other's learn from example. You cannot educate them all in the same way and expect them to each learn. That is why current adult teaching methods tend to incorporate different pieces into the teaching system to give a broader approach to learning and information gathering.

Seeing another's thoughts is hard. Wex and I have spreadsheets for the Archons. With the entire process hinging on a bunch of numbers the spreadsheets are a nice way to see how much we will need for each project. However, during the first few days it was a struggle for me to understand the layout. It was not that Wex had created anything crazy. It was that I was seeing something that was clear and coherent for him and it was not the way that I'd arrange the information. I had to learn the flow of the information as well as the information itself.

The idea of multiple approaches to information sharing was the foundation for a question I proposed on Sunday. I wondered if a MOTD could also present itself as a floating box. I was asked, "Do you know that you can reload the MOTD?" My answer was that I did know that. But what I wanted to accomplish had nothing to do with reloading the MOTD. I was looking to solve a situation where people might not even know that a MOTD existed. With the default size of Eve's window and the amount of information contained in such channels as Rookie Chat along with the populace, information scrolls off the screen before the eye even looks at it. The MOTD is full of very valuable information however. A floating window? An automatic reminder? How do we show people that the information is there to access?

And how do we give it to them in a way they want to consume. I'm a wordy person. I've been asked to write shorter blog posts. I struggled over Foo's question to the CSMX candidates because he wanted incredibly succinct statements and I am not such a thing. That was a challenge to his question and not one that I struggle to accomplish. I've worked for years on clearly and fully expressing myself. TL;DR is my kryptonite. With a topic as important to me as the CSM snipping myself short or leaving the imagination to run wild with a statements is an unpleasant proposition.

Statements themselves can lead to problems if not properly done. I've answered a few quotes or interviews since the CSM term started. It is always my short responses that cause problems. While in other areas such as Dunk Dinkle's article on the current influx of new players I write out everything that I am thinking which often creates a miniature blog post of its own.

Communication is not a singular path. One of the simplest forms of multiply presented information that allows people to arrive at it is opening your cargo hold in Eve. You can use a short cut, select your ship and use a right click menu, select your capacitor, select the icon on the HUD when undocked, use the hanger in station services and right click, double click on your ship in the hanger, use the unified inventory to access it, and use a show contents through the asset window. I think that answers it all. What it does is create multiple paths to access something important so that players will fall into it dependent on how they have learned to interact with the UI.

I guess it may be UI bog to think the way that I am. I'm not a UI designer which means I get to live in the realm of dreams and perfect ideas. Information consumption I am familiar with. One of the worst work experiences I have ever had was when the person training me told me, "The only way that people learn is from failure. I will let you fuck up and then tell you what you did wrong."

One size rarely fits all.

Of course, I am the one who started writing as not to weigh others down with my meanderings thoughts. The blog is something of an opt in.

As for my connection? Later evening trouble shooting showed that the switch that controls everything upstairs had died. I used the wireless router and plugged cables into it. Then I reset the DNS addresses on all of the machines and things where good. I have cables snaked across the floor everywhere but I don't actually care about that. It was not the same problem as last time when one of the servers just wouldn't boot up. And I will again ask him to try to remember to indulge me with complete thoughts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chatting Over Coffee

I had an idea today while at work that I wasn't able to develop fully due to coming home and finding that the server rack was off and the DNS wouldn't work and my husband was off at a pool party in Florida while I was trouble shooting but...

My idea came from the Ancient Gaming Noob's Blog Banter #61 where he says:
"But there are times when we clearly aren’t just playing in different areas of the game, but it seems like we might be playing totally different games."
 What it made me want to do is write about my game. I then wanted to get other people to do the same. Kind of like a sub-banter but more casual perhaps. The idea worked around into a first person view of describing Eve.

When I talk about Eve I tend to get excited. I talk faster. I feel like I get flushed and bright eyed with that intensity that is not quite insane but somewhat creepy. And in that excitement I like to tell vaguely interested people what I do or my husband if he is being used as my neutral test. I start talking about my markets and running around and flying ships and roaming.

Eve does sound exciting. I find it exciting to play. Not in an adrenaline rush type of way. More in the accomplished things and I have this great vision of the future possibilities way. But it is true that we play very differently. And, what amused me more is that TAGN's examples almost all live and play in low sec.

But tonight is not the night to write this little description. I will have to write a coffee time chat soon.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Unfocused Patch Day Post

It is patch day. Like everyone else that runs a program to check their skill points and clones, I woke up to a very agitated smartphone informing me of my massive alpha clone wave of characters.

People are running around finding Thera. I somehow made friends with Matthew Geary who writes White Talon. He has started a corporation named Furtherance and they have established themselves in Thera. I've been living vicariously through them since Thera is not on my game-plan. Join 'Thera Local Chat' to harass him.

Patch day is normally about the expansion. It's been cool but my patch day was instead about all my normal day in and day our chores. Moving stuff, getting my POS in Suj up and running, reading, posting, and writing mails.

I had some CSM stuff to do.  Foo asked the candidates for CSMX to write a summary about themselves. I've also expanded the posting for my PvE soundboard to the Missions and Complexes forum.


My morning was busy. Not in a exciting and spectacular way. I did a lot of planning. I started a lot of builds. I moved a few million m3 of stuff. And now, it is evening so I settled my Skiff down into a belt while I started to wade through the feedback threads about the patch. That's when I got scanned by the sleepers that are wandering around.

It tickled. I had a few more wander in while I was outt here scanning everything around them. So cool.

With only market orders left to buy to complete my to-do list before bed, I opened up Rookie Chat to see what I could see. The numbers have been stead. There around 2.5k people in chat. Questions are being answered. I hopped in to answer a question and someone misread and explained to me how to mine. It was cute and I checked their age. Two weeks old. Over the next few hours I watched as much as I answered and I noticed that there are a good few two week old characters helping out the newer players with the basic questions that need to be answered every time.

I do hope that they are staying. It was nice seeing it happen. I got combat drones explained to me as well do to my asking someone a question regarding their question. I smiled and shared on twitter along with some of the other fun stuff you tend to only get from people who just start playing.

What we are seeing is as it should be. They are learning from each other and sharing that knowledge. Now I get to stick to the more complex questions or hand holding. Someone asked what their jump clone timer meant. It said they could jump now and they wanted to know if they needed to do anything.

I have a whole stack of serious posts topics to work on. I just don't feel serious enough to do so.


Also, my UI is set to 'Plasma'.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Blog Banter #61 - Freedom Must be Taken

"What would we encourage ALL new players to do in their first month to get them to subscribe long term, if we had to give out one set of advice for everyone (which we do if we're giving general advice)?"

I also am not fond of absolutes such as 'all' or 'everyone' in Eve or in life. It turns a simple question into a challenge.  I'm not fond of telling people what decisions to make. I don't tell them what to eat, what to buy, what to like, or why they should do it. I'm not a salesman. I expect people to think about and make their own decisions. But, the best advice I have ever received was to make a decision even if it is the wrong one.

That's not the advice I'm giving because decision is to heavy a word for someone without the knowledge and background to understand what decision they are making. If this were important, sure, but its a game. It is a game that we are here to speed our time by choice, playing.

Don't worry. Start discovering you. It may take more than a month.

You will be advised to join a corp. This will work for some. It will have no appeal to others.

You will be advised to:
  • Pvp
  • Join a corp
  • Mine
  • Mission
  • Explore
  • Do it all
  • Steal
  • Gank
  • Scam
  • ...and more
Try it. Don't try it. But do what you think you want to do not what you are pressured to do. The hardest part is figuring out your game. The rest of the things are tools to help you play that game. And that game will change. It may change the moment you try something. Or you may play for years and one day decide it is no longer what you want to do. 

It is about you.

Think of yourself. Remember yourself. The lack of role play that is common to Eve does not meant hat you cannot discover an immerse existence as an Eve player. Never would I have thought hat I would become a marketeer. I'm an introvert and never thought that I would come to passionate love my Eve corporations. But don't let a corporation keep you down. If you try one and like it, great. If you don't there are others. 


Eve does not create you game so don't waste your time looking for it.

You are your game. Good things will happen. So will bad. The bad things make the good ones better. Some experiences can be so intense that they are almost intoxicating. That doesn't happen when there is no negatives in the world. Embrace them but you don't have to like them.

Use Google. Ask questions. The gaining of knowledge is not a linear thing. Even video game knowledge. It will all soak in and one day you will realize that you understand it.

Have fun. Don't let anyone define Eve for you. It is very easy to do so and it is one of the things that I do think of as a true mistake. Scream into the darkness and own your game how you want it. Kind of like this post where I failed to follow instructions. 

Own it. It's yours.

Minerals, Minerals, Everywhere

I was motivated.

I'd been invited onto the Derping through War Podcast and spent an hour causing the hosts eyes to glaze while I ran around chattering about building things, hauling stuff, and kind of defended null sec industry sorta. They asked! But I had fun and had to stop myself from rampaging all over the place which seems to happen when I get to talking about Eve...

Anyway! I just finished a work weekend and I had just chattered about building still and I was ready to build stuff. Then I remembered that I had a work class that would take up most of my day tomorrow. Bye, bye day off. Ugh. So, I went and got another piece of cake and debated how I would handle myself.

Over the last few weeks I have really been catching up with myself. In many ways the balance of game life and CSM life takes a bit to get. It is easy to tip to far in ether direction. Many of my projects had stalled out or where on shaky ground which disturbed me. I love my projects. I'm proud of them. I may not be the best at things but I'm proud of what I've done. I have many things that I can point at and say, "I made that happen."

But sometimes I do silly things. I've recently moved some characters around and I forgot to run Eve Mentat on the new characters. This means my Sujarento market will be a bit of a mess as I figure out what I forgot to list. Oh well, I'll work on that later. I've caught up with Bosena and Sujarento. Nether of them are as sparkly and perfectly groomed as before the CSM but both are reasonable and healthy. If one ignores the big mistake I made with Sujarento but that seems ignorable to me!

At the same time my boosters are gearing back up as is my capital ship building. I'm refinding myself and I am back to chortling over my numbers and my builds. It is more time intensive then many people realize. Market orders take time to buy, ship, and relist. I'm trying to be a bit better at tracking my cost and expenses this time around for my booster business and because I am building the capitals with Wex I have to keep track of cost.

But things are good. I have these personal projects and I'm not doing them completely alone. I mean, yeah, Wex still sometimes weeps over the entire POS thing but he is doing a good job of moving past that. Everything is anchored.

There is always the question of intel. I tell people what I'm doing. Will they gank my freighter? Will they shoot the POS? Should I announce that I'm building stuff? Well, people can always find this stuff out. The POS is out on dscan. My habits with my markets are easy enough to figure out if someone is watching. Sure, I could be even more secretive and such but do I want to be?

I mitigate my damages before they happen. I'd hate to lose my jump freighter. I'd hate to lose my hauler. Reinforcing my POS is irritating. But I can replace my jump freighter. I don't overload my POS with delicious goodness. My POS is in Sujarento which is about the best place for it to be strategically. I have a limit where I just want to play the game. So, I do!

Chatting tonight on the pod cast showed me how tilted I am towards my foundation in low sec, even in my industry. I do the low sec market thing which is more about supplying the pewpew then being a freeport for all trade. I build boosters and combat carriers instead of market runs of various items that are pulling in the best profit. I do my logistics based around how I'd try to kill myself and my knowledge of haulers and freighters that I have killed.

My little frigate and cruiser blueprint project is also going very well. Most of the smaller blueprints are all trained up.  The mining I do during my mining characters down time goes to build these hulls. That means less hauling of small, super cheap hulls into low sec. I can just build and list from the station. It is a faction warfare system so frigate hulls move. Plus, teh flexability of the system is great. I can, from a distance ask a blueprint in one container to use minerals from another to drop a hull in a third location. Lovely.

Someone asked me not to sell cheap hulls to people but my answer was, "No." There is already to much bias in this game for my comfort. I'll be damned if I join in. "Oh no, I won't build frigates for you because they are not good enough. Pah. Screw that. Frigates for erryone that wants one.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

CSM9 - Day 218

CCP has decided to sneak features into the last days before Rhea. The release is on Tuesday.

The insurance change was not slipped in unannounced so much as it auto updated and was noticed. When Crius was released mineral usage changed. Extra minerals were rolled into base mineral costs for hulls. In other areas mineral costs were smoothed out. This caused insurance costs to skyrocket. Some saw this as a great thing. It gave more ISK back to people who lost ships and incentivized them to buy more expensive hulls. Other’s felt that it devalued PvP and injected ISK into the game unsnessessarly. Some just hate insurance. It was suggested that it would be changed and the changes have now kicked in. The costs are not as low as they were but they are not nearly as high. My Jaguar before gave me a million ISK or so. After the buff it gave me nineteen million. Now a Jaguar loss is down to five if I insure it at the Platinum level.

CCP Seagull announced map changes. We have all been waiting to see what they are. CCP released a dev blog on Thursday along with the update on Sisi. The new starmap is an opt in feature under the escape menu. It appears as an icon on the neocom and you can create a floating, dockable window to hold your map. It is a work in progress but it is good progress that will create a functional map to match its beauty. However, I do not think an in game map will ever give the detail and depth that dotlan does. Nor does dotlan’s creator.

The new map turns into a floating window. I’ve been tossing around the idea of giving channel MOTD’s the ability to float freely. We store a lot of information in them at times. Mostly this thought started because of Rookie chat. The MOTD there is a fantastic source of information but it vanishes under the scroll of the channel. Of course that might be spam. Or something configurable. Or maybe just for rookie chat?

Sisi has also been remirrored. I lost my free titans. Much sadness was to be had for me but joy to be had for everyone that has been waiting for a remirror.

More colors have been added to the new UI but the colors are still not able to be personalized. Some of the icons have been improved for clarity. The graph icon for the market was changed for instance. I still expect significant unhappiness when this launches on Tuesday. I have been wanting a gamma correction and had someone ask me about that a few days ago but I do not think that is on this horizon.

Teams are being removed. I am torn on this one. I am glad that CCP is accepting that some things do not work and are admitting that they cannot work on it and removing features instead of leaving them broken and partially finished. However, teams do help some producers and I worry greatly that they were helping to subsidize some groups. I don’t know and this is now a topic I want to look a bit more into over the upcoming weeks. Then the question has to be asked where they stand if they are creating a balance point. Being willing to remove features is not bad. It should be encouraged just as not releasing unfinished features should be encouraged. Now to watch how this falls out with people who were using teams. It is something for me to dig into. As a side note, I wrote my Pod and Planet contest entry based off of the lore around teams. Bad choice on my part.

For those who are participating in Eve Probe, a new version has been released. Eve Probe gives CCP statistics from our machines about Eve’s performance. It also has beautiful graphic scenes to look at and an Eve themed screensaver.

Let’s discuss an interesting change in the patch notes. Joining corporations is changing a bit on the mechanical side. This will stop things like people joining corps while in space to avoid being flagged a war target. That particular action is an exploit. However, it is buried in the past news documents. Some of the CSM has an on going effort to create a clearer way for players to access policy topics such as this. The policy is good but accessing the policy is bad.

It was pointed out to me on Twitter that it makes it hard for super pilots to join corporations. However, they already had to leave to apply for a corporation. This moves where the pilot had to get out of the super and go to the station. Now it can be looked at with the opinion that super pilots should have holding alts. Like cyno alts they are somewhat the cost of doing business. But, would it be harmful, beneficial, or just a niche case for super pilots to be able to join corp while in space? It would decrease the amount of dumb things that some people will do when faced with decisions. Opinions?

Ships will now fall from the ship maintenance bay. I felt when the Bowhead was to be introduced, this was important and it was my first question about the ship’s introduction. These drops where fixed for the POS module and now they are here for hulls as well.

There is also a notification of a fix to some 4/10 complexes that let T3s in. That came to my attention a few weeks ago and the PvE team has corrected it. There are a lot of fixes to rookie mission little things. We found a lot of bugs with the hundreds of people doing Tutorials these last few weeks and many of them are being addressed. One that was very interesting to me had to do with blue print location and the interface not changing blueprint location when the blueprint was moved. Not understanding the interface, this has been causing a lot of “I have all the stuff and cannot build from it,” problems.

CCP Falcon has announced a competition. CCP wants its players to make their own version of “This is Eve”. The top videos will be shown during the Keynote at Fanfest in March. There are also other prizes to win.

Outreach:

I am looking for questions and topics for the January Summit. I have my collection. I’d like some low sec focused topics. I’ve been collecting war dec opinions and thoughts. I plan to request information from CCP regarding the general health of low sec, see how the capital ship changes are affecting us, how capital production is going, and discuss faction warfare. Phoebe has caused significant changes in low sec that have yet to play out.

Monitoring the overall health is very important so that we don’t wind up dipping in an unwanted direction when we’ve finally gotten some momentum going. I’ve gotten some good feedback so far on Faction Warfare as well. But, there is more to Eve than low sec, FW and caps, so questions and thoughts and ideas are welcome and I will do with them as I can. I got about 70% of what I took last time answered. Hopefully I will do better this time.

I have a Podcast session tonight with Derping Thru War. They ran through my home system and we got to talking and I was invited to their podcast.

On December 13th I’m following Corbexx’s wormhole sounding board with CCP Affinity with a general PvE one. More details can be found here. I am looking for participants.

I have my Open Q&A for December on the 14th at 1500 and 2200 Eve time.

My official running for CSMX announcement is also up on the forums.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Technical Bits

It is Saturday night and prepatch weekend. However, I was thinking about a question on Twitter. Miura was wondering why some of the portraits in local would go blank and I speculated that it was something to do with the portrait cashe. You know how it takes a day or two for a new players picture to upload and sometimes a day or two for a change to be noticed?

Oh? You don't look at portraits? Well, I do. I gleaned this knowledge from somewhere. I may be totally wrong. But it made me think about our interest in the technical whose and whats and whys of Eve.

I don't spend as much time thinking about the technical aspects of most games. I chortle at the ridiculousness of Just Cause 2 but I enjoy it. I immerse myself in the ridiculous reality of a grappling hook and unlimited parachutes.

Some of it is important. CCP Explorer announced the patch size on twitter. People have limited bandwidth, limited connections, time constraints, and computer restrictions. That type of technical information helps us to play our game. It is no different then monitors or the type of graphics card that you get.

But one of the most technically interesting things I have ever learned about eve was CCP Veritas' talk at Eve Vegas in 2012. He talked to us about server ticks and in that single discussion a lot of how Eve thinks and breaths unfolded for me.

I find that I play Eve in an odd mix of 'yay game' and expanded knowledge. It makes Eve different for me. I noticed it when playing other games where I don't try to gather technical knowledge. I don't try to learn spawning habits in Minecraft and I don't learn the AI in other games. I just play them. Eve, I do a good bit more but I think because the game is so much more then the physical simulation on my screen it works out.

You also have to have the ebb and pulse of things in Eve. I had to correct a returning veteran today. A newbie asked how far his seven million ISK would get him in rookie chat. This veteran said he couldn't even buy a T1 rig. I corrected him and he disagreed with me. I pointed out that one of the most expensive T1 medium rigs, the ancillary current router was down to about four million ISK. He takes a moment to check the market and then goes, "Oh. Ignore what I said."

Damn right ignore what he said. I disabled my pimp hand and went back to things. I did notice how easily I slipped into technical and denser Eve speak over what I normally try to keep to in rookie chat. This is such an interesting game.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part Eighteen

A Look at the History of Expansions



It is March of 2009 and CCP has just launched one of their most ambitious and game changing expansions, Apocrypha. Apocrypha has several interesting things about that that are clearly visible on retrospect. First, it came out only four months after Quantum Rise which, when looked back upon, appears to be a very quiet expansion developmentally. It is also a very early expansion coming two to three months before the normal May-July release period for summer expansions. Apocrypha added a lot of content to the game and its release was also timed along with some real time physical releases due to CCP teaming up with Atari.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Production: The Other Side of Distruction


Somewhere in the middle of this green box is a small area in the center of the arrows that you right click on to get this secondary menu which is not the main menu when you right click in space. Trying to explain to Wex how to find this box was me going, "So in the green box there are arrows and you right click inside of those arrows kind of because somewhere in there is the secondary menu. It is there. I promise." I wondered if I was making it harder by not using the anchor option on the POS management screen. I was sure that was general usage and I was correct it did not anchor them in space. Back to finding the box.

About three and a half minutes in Wex hated the interface. I felt bad. But, this is the sad reality of current POS management. My first POS was put up two and a half years ago and I was a tearful mess by the time Razor logged in to explain to me how to make my production lines work by clicking on things that I didn't know where buttons and dragging them around to places I didn't know needed buttons dragged.

I felt bad shattering Wex's reality of the POS interface. It is another one of those things that you learn to use and once you use it you are quite effective I've put up and taken down my share of towers over the years. Normally my own. Trying to coordinate and teach someone how to do it was harder then I expected. I had learned on my own and verbalizing what was a mixture of muscle memory and the end product of failures into understanding was hard and I found myself stuttering.

But, I will discuss adult learning and teaching people in another post. For now, I'm very pleased with being at the point of frustrating Wex.


I've been building a capital here and there for people with plans to build to my own needs. I've been watching the decisions people are making with capital purchuses. It used to be that you would travel across Eve to save fifty million. Now that is a day trip or two and local production has started to matter more. Wex proposed we start building for the corporation and with the booster manufacturers really not building I could do that too...

Why not? I love these types of projects. That industrialist focused newbie never went away. I checked out Sujarento on dotlan and noticed that we had a moon that would pretty much pay for the POS fuel in raw moon goo. The only problem was that someone else had a tower there.

That was a small problem.


I did have to alarm clock this op. It fell on a day off and sometimes I enjoy sleeping after 0900. However, I couldn't not show up for my own POS take down op. I got up, made breakfast and got everything together. It was a quick take down, the new tower was anchored and I started Wex down the path of misery.

I am buzzing with excitement to be doing production on this scale again. I get to play with Thukker arrays. Something I advocated for low sec Capitol production. This is casual gameplay for me. Puttering about mixing my things, building my blue prints and creating stuff energizes me.

Wex says that I can put his name down for, "Revamp POS."