Saturday, January 31, 2015

Surviving Eve Socialization

Next weekend there is a local gathering in falls Church VA for any who wish to attend. I will have goodies and some gifts striaght from Iceland. All players are welcome. I'm prepping for said event since I have things to give out. How I will give them out for fairness is always a concern of mine. I've come up with a method that I think will be fair and amusing and not overly complicated.

I never know how many people will show up. Because I am a planner I will have backup stuff that I don't plan to give out but will have in case numbers are more than expected. I don't expect many people. My goal is normally one. That is an accomplishment for me. After all, I don't do parties and hanging out. It means that I have no way to judge this.

And then there is publication. I'm bad at it. I'm uncomfortable with it. I feel annoying when I do it as if I am bothering and offending everyone around me. When do I start tweeting? Do I post channel things? Do I mail people? What do I do not to be an annoying attention seeker who sounds as if they believe everyone wants to hang out with them?

The thing is I am cripplingly shy. Social anxiety or whatever it is called these days. I'm that person that will go somewhere because they are invited and have a panic attack at the door and go home. I've politely told my co-workers not to invite me to anything. I won't go. I don't want to go. Hanging out places just to hang out places has no appeal. I think the only reason I am okay with these events is because I've been going to player meetups since I was fifteen. They are also not something to do just to do it. I can occupy my time just fine. But hanging out with other players of my game is a different experience. The rest is because I pour all of my anxiety into meticulous planning to give myself some control of the situation. But I am never comfortable until I've been there for a while and start to relax.

That's why I decided to write this. I've talked to many who are socially awkward or terrified. We play computer games and glean or socialization at our own pace. Real life meetings are outside of that comfort zone. That step from game to meeting people can be terrifying.

Your not alone.

And it's okay.

I'm not going to tell you that you'll just get over it. You won't. Nor will I tell you that there is a hidden extrovert inside of you. There probably is not. But it doesn't mean you cannot tackle these events on your own terms. It takes a lot to step out of that comfort level zone. I've done it and I'm glad for it but I also know how hard it is. One event a month is enough to drain all of my socialization energy for that month or longer.

I've been spending a lot of time reading about introversion of late. There are a lot of reasons for it. Some have to do with the CSM and things like my complete discomfort with pictures and video. I've had people tell me that I signed up for it and that I will take a negative hit by not placing myself into the view of others. It is a hard topic for me because I want to be the best representative that I can be. I've spent the last year pushing every social boundary that I have. But, I have limits. Not everyone is a gregarious outgoing social butterfly that spend their when's drinking. In fact that caused Rixx to suggest a socially awkward not a pub crawl pub crawl for the non-drinking and the shy quiet ones. We can all float about each other and slowly warm up into interactive points.

I think it's important to both talk about and bring to light that not everyone is comfortable socially. Not everyone wants to drink when social. And you can still come meet your space friends and family. But no, its not always easy.

I've spent a lot of time on the fringes of Eve gatherings. I was very much a wallflower at my first two trips to Eve Vegas and Fanfest in 2013. I still enjoyed myself if my experience was much quieter and not as monumental as others. Sometimes I look at those wild stories and tails and wonder if I'd like it but I know the answer is actually, no. I don't. I'm not happy in that situation and I am happy as a wallflower or quietly listening to things and taking notes. Not everyone enjoys loud and boisterous. Some of us enjoy just floating on the edge. At the last few local meets people have shown up, listened quietly with that look of pleasure that only happens when hearing other people passionately discussing internet spaceships and quietly slipped away when they were filled up on the social meter.

And I think that's great. One of the things gleaned from my social reading is that things like introversion and extroversion are on scales. Some introverts can socialize at various levels. We're not all cave dwelling hermits with traps on the path up to our lair. I find a lot of enjoyment in meeting other video game loving adults. It is a different pleasure from social gatherings for work or friends or traditional events.

I think its worth trying. Even if it takes a time or two to make it all the way into the door. Even if you come and immediately leave. I'll be there most of the evening until my own meter fills. And if you don't come, that too is okay. Maybe, you will another day. Maybe, another event. Mabye, I'll see you in game. We're not all social butterflies and that doesn't make us valueless people. But for those who want to come and hang out, see you next Saturday. And for those who may come the next time, we'll have another one in a month or two.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wandering a Winding Road

I think that I will make January the first month since I started PvPing that I will not kill anything. I find it very interesting to do. It is a bit of rebellion that means nothing to anyone but myself. I've spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder trying to be productive by various standards that are not my own.

There are a few reasons for it. One is that I am busy and the time needed to go out on a fleet is not time that I have at the moment. In a way, my time is ticking down. The new CSM comes into office in under two months. I need to finish some things up because there is always the chance that I will not be reelected. Then, there is the fact that I had the winter summit last week. Much of my time was spent prepping, travelling, and then doing. All in all, January has been a very busy Eve month.

I feel a bit guilty and a bit rebellious. Silly emotions but ones that are there. But, I'm tired and distracted and PvP has never relaxed me. It just wears me out and that is not what I am looking for at the moment. It is why I spend a lot of time debating what is contribution in Eve. So often I see it defined as ones participation in PvP. A lot of that is environmental. I do live in low sec which is a PvP environment and it stands to reason that many of those who live in the area would define everything by that.

But I am a great believer in Eve as a game with a lot of pieces. I have this vision of things where different types of people can create something. Silly, I know. But because of this I have lots of little things that I want to do. I've been spending a lot of time collecting my belongings and working on little projects that are not particularly large but are time consumptive. My blueprint collection is an example. I realize that I don't know a lot about where what is in the game. I have a general idea of things but as I've been slowly building my blueprint collection I'm learning where I can find rigs and drones and hull BPOs.

I also got the bright idea to get Chella involved in the research effort. She is heavily trained into industry. Not as much as my two capital ship builders but well enough. I was delighted with myself when I thought to use her. My other two have full research queues. One is copying capital blueprints as fast as she can. The other is researching my rigs and ships. That is slow going with it being a few weeks to a few months to research them to optimal. That means I was delighted when I undocked her and sent her to my research station. I transferred my huge stack of new blueprints and chortled to myself over how clever I was. Grandly, I switched to the material research tab and discovered that she could research exactly one thing. Oh.

Part two of my adventure was to go find a school station. I had a discussion earlier today on twitter about queuinga up skills and the general desire for it. I do agree but I also don't want to get rid of the concept of school stations. They are just one of those little experiences in life.

On my journey, I avoided the closest one. It was through one of the seemingly permanent gatecamps on a high sec to low sec system. I used to go on about how gatecamps were not a big deal. Then I moved to Sujarento. Gatecamps are a regional flavor but where they are camped its more like a campground with running water and electricity for the RV. And that is why Chella is currently training Laboratory skills and can proudly research three blueprints at the moment.

This is the other reason why I will never be able to train an optimal skill plan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

As Productive as Frozen Molasses

I logged into Eve Mentat and received a notification that it had been 11 days since I last updated it. Eep. I logged in my Jita alt and my cyno alts and got my jump freighter out of low sec and into high sec to stage. Next, I leaned over and peeped into the corporate wallet to find seven billion ISK sitting in there. Not bad, not bad. Seven billion worth of stuff sold over the last eleven days. I've been draining that wallet dry.

The good news is that both small Scorch and Dragoons were on this list. That decreases my massive small Scorch typoed to years ago pile further and takes the next step in sending my accidental Dragoon army out to battle. It means a lot of jumps and a lot of contracting. It is good activity for someone as tired as I am today and gives me a head start on gearing my activity levels back up.

I wound up failing at this. I was to damn tired. I started the task around 0900 and at 2100 I was just doing my first cyno jump. I'd been moving like molasses all day and letting other things distract me.

I often discuss that as seriously as I take things like my market, I consider myself to be a somewhat casual player by Eve standards. But casual does not fix. I'm not really a casual gamer when it comes to time and commitment. I'm also serious but I may not be serious by Eve standards. I feel the desire to make some new, useless hybrid of words to describe something that doesn't need to be described.

Mostly, I was thinking about this post over at Lost in Eve where he discusses being a completionest. I'm not a completionist. I've finished few games that I've started playing. I'll play for hours, months, years, and rarely ever finish a game because finishing the game has very little meaning to me. I can read the spoilers of a story or movie because my enjoyment comes from the reading or watching of something not the ending. It is one of the reasons that I struggle with the concept of an achievement system. I am not motivated by something just because its there or someone challenges me to do it. "Go fight three wolves with a cheese stick!" the game might command me. I'll just nod and go eat my cheese stick and walk down the road to admire the grass.

It was a good post and made me feel like a slacker. I've never opened my star map to see where I have been in the game. So, after I write this sentence I shall do so.

I don't have any resolutions about what I will do with said new knowledge. I've never been to the south of Eve. I just cut it off because it had nothing. Null sec is very much not my area of adventure and I am a home body.

A very tired homebody that accomplished very little today. I did get almost everything I needed jumped in at the end. Almost.

Darkness in Winter - Home Coming

Airplanes are good for watching bad movies. Robots was terrible. However I was glad to be watching it. After almost five hours of delays due to weather I was pathetically glad to be headed home.

 I woke up early on Sunday so that I could have breakfast with Corbexx who had to leave at 0930. We hung around and drank tea and talked until nine when he went to collect his things and I went back to my room. I had packed the previous night. I put those last things away, like a brush, and set everything together to go leave my room. It was 0930 and I didn't have to leave until noon so I did the reasonable thing and went and had a nap until just after 1100. My body clock has not adjusted fully and I spent a lot of time very, very tired.

With noon approaching and a late fee on the horizon, I gathered my stuff and went down to check out. This is an area where I struggle in Europe. I wait to be noticed and called to the desk so person after person just steps in front of me and catches the receptionists attention. Check out was simple and I gave them my bags to tend while I lugged my briefcase with me since it contains all of the important stuff.

I found Sion and we wandered in a few circles looking for lunch. The goal had been to go to the Laundromat which is actually a Laundromat as well as a cafe. It was full so we wound up at a place near by for some burgers. Sion owed me a meal so he grabbed a burger for me and I came across one of my deepest problems.

I forgot to ask him for no sauce. I forgot that sauce came on it. So, I receive this burger and it is dripping under the weight of their house 'sauce' on both buns and thickly coating the meat as well. This is not a squeeze bottle apply condiment situation but a generous ladle of horror. Sion got two burgers and dejectedly, I tried another place only to discover they were out of everything that I wanted.

Fine. I had honey nut Cheerios in my bag. I'd be fine. Progod surfaced from somewhere looking like a truck spent the night running him over. We idled in the hotel lobby and received an email saying our flights were delayed by an hour. That was frustrating but nothing tragic. Shit happens. Our ride came and we squeezed the four of us (for Ali was also heading out now) into the car and took the long ride to the airport.

Once there checkin was amusing. I had set up my suitcase so that I could pull weight. Indeed, I was 4 kilo over. I swiftly started pulling prepreared swag from the bag until I hit weight. I then readded a bit and found myself ridiculously pleased with my packing. Then I went to wander through the big shopping/food area that is before the terminals. They are redoing that area. I staggered through with my stuff and started the long walk down the endless coordinator towards my terminals.

The airport is long and slender with terminals at the end. The US bound flights are through a passport control area and down steps. There is another, smaller cafeteria down there and more shopping. To my surprise the customs area was taped off and it was closed. There were all sorts of people milling around, waiting. I found Ali, Sion, and Progod again and we just settled down into a pile on the floor and waited for about an hour for them to open up to let us go downstairs. The bathrooms down there are also weirdly cool and frustrating. Once in the 'Americas' section as I call it, you have to go down another flight of steps to the bathrooms which take up a full level under the terminals. The individual stalls are large, white rooms with Dyson dryers/taps so they wash and dry your hands in your little private softly lit white sanctuary room.

And then the delays kept going. We got downstairs and got delayed again. And again. High winds were the problem. You could hear them slamming into the building and rocking the equipment outside. Our gates were all cancelled and put on a to be announced. The area was filling up with people. I was getting hungry. I gave in to go buy something only to have the lady close the stand as I approached. Sigh. I called out of work and watched Ali play Magic the Gathering Online (no idea what was going on) finished a book, and finally around 1930 they announced a gate for my flight. I said buy to everyone and trundled over.

The original gate was 31. They moved it to 29 after the cancellation. Now it was 32. I got a good spot at the head of the line. The flight crew boarded. The winds had died down. Everyone cheered. Then the board over the gate flipped from Washington to Toronto. The line cried out. The lady checking us in said to wait! An announcement we couldn't hear happened. We waited while she talked rapidly in Icelandic to someone. Then the flight crew came back down and we had to go across the airport to another set og gates, this time 26.

My swag bag had started to rip earlier and now it was struggling. This is probably why you should not follow me on twitter because my twitter feed became a saga of my bags attempt to reach America full of its swag. The bag was just a cover. The actual swag was inside of three separate plastic bags so that if I lost control I'd be able to recover it.

Now we are in line for number 26. We had been in line for almost an hour at 32. It was another hour at 26 while I listened to the man behind me seduce the lady he was standing with. Finally we got to board. My bag was ripping with each step so I carried it in my arms as I climbed steps. For the first time ever leaving the airport there I used a jet-way. Normally they just open the doors and people stampede for the plane across the tarmac.

Once loaded and settled, I crammed into my seat and dreamed of ordering the curry chicken dish. Of course, once we were de-iced and took off and finally fed they were out of it. Sigh. I ate cereal and wished my shoulders were more narrow and watched a terrible movie, listened to my audiobook, and dozed badly and dehydrated while incredibly overheated. Miserable flight and we finally landed. I nursed my bag through the terminals and the bus ride, through global entry (which is amazing) and to baggage where I was able to get a cart and rest my swag bag, now in structure, on top of my baggage and go greet my husband sometime after midnight.

And thus ends this adventure. It will pick back up in seven weeks but I'll go back to writing about Eve stuff for a little bit. Thank you everyone who has followed along with my daily life.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

CSM9 - Day Iceland

The week has been a busy one and an interesting one. The Winter Summit sessions were held this week and a few dev blogs of interest have also been released. The Summit has been long days and short nights but it was productive and the minutes have been released.

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four

These are the minutes. There are no secondary set of minutes coming out.  It means we will be answering a lot of questions and fleshing out conversations that are condensed. Please remember that remote attendees did participate but their participation may not be equally represented because they mostly typed into the group chat vs spoke.

The ship skin dev blog was released and it discusses the future of ship skins. Someone mailed the CSM to express that they are displeased with the plans for skinning ships due to valuable, collectors ships. I think that topic was immediately raised by several people. The need to keep unique, rare, collectible hulls and their history intact is a topic that CCP is taking seriously. While making everything a skin would be easy, it would also be a mistake. They seem to understand the importance of the game history.

Next the stats for the Svipul have been released as well as its name. People are asking how it is pronounced seeing as that it is an Icelandic names. The pronunciation is, "Minmatar Tactical Destroyer." CCP Scarpia has taken pity on the Icelandic people's ears and put up a proper pronunciation on Soundcloud. It sounds very close to, "Minmatar Tactical Destroyer" in English if you ask me. The rest of the concept art has been released as well showing it to be a very flexible hull.

Inside of changes of the Minmatar Tactical Destroyer are small projectile weapon changes. Projectile weapons are one of those ugly and constant things floating about. This is, I hope, a first step in a broader look at projectiles.

I do not have a broad overview of the game for this week. I have spent very little time focusing on Eve stuff outside of the Summit. We had sessions during the day and I edited minutes at night and in the morning before the meetings for the day started. I am also walking away with a task list of things to do. Some developers asked for some feedback and projects to be done. Sion, Corbexx and I have discussed the need for more institutional knowledge inside of the CSM to smooth over communications issues and make the transition from CSM to CSM better so that they don't have such a long time when it comes to getting on board and productive. With the elections coming next month I want to get some of this done and other projects in a state that if I am not reelected these things will continue past me.

My last task here was to get Swag to give away at local meets. I accomplished this and walked away with a huge box of stuff that I am currently hoping I will get onto the airplane. I believe in my stuff. The local meets will have things handed out to them for many meets into the future. I just need to come up with a good distribution method that won't leave anyone feeling to disenfranchised for the bigger stuff.

Jet lag will be a terrible thing but it will be nice to be back home. At least, until Fanfest. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day Seven

Photo Album is updated.

Everything caught up to me and I missed out on writing about Friday because I got back to my room at 0330 and I was exhausted.

Day Three minutes.
Day Four minutes.

On Thursday night, Corbexx and I headed back early. We were tired and there was still another day of the Summit to go. I was a pile of nerves about having done my low session. The two of us had a nice dinner at a steakhouse that I enjoy and decided that we needed an early night. We both failed at going to bed early after working on Eve stuff and going back over minutes. I wound up working on sessions until midnight when I decided that I was to damn tired to be productive anymore.

Back up at seven and down to breakfast at seven thirty where I met up with Corbexx. We then headed into the office for nine although we didn't start stuff till later. That hour was good for going over the minutes again and comparing our notes from the previous day. My low sec session stresses me out. How did I do? Will people be pleased with my attempts? It is a session I ask CCP for and I pretty much lay information out to them. That is also rather intimidating but well received. Sometimes thou, this thing is over whelming. I just had to leave them alone and let fate takes its course.

Then day four started. There are some pictures and such done. I opted out. I have no fondness for cameras or video. I thought about it a lot. Some people may not feel that I have a right to opt out of being recorded in those ways but I decided that I'd take whatever negative publicity came to me. I've never been fond of being in front of a camera and if that is the thing that makes me bad in someones eyes I can accept it.

We ran through the rest of the day and tackled some bigger issues. The biggest one was the CSM itself. The discussion is there and it may be hard to follow because we are all over the place.

CCP Leeloo wants to remove permanent attendees. A lot of us would like to as well but there are several reasons why some do not think it is the best of ideas. Read the minutes if you are interested in the breakdown from the others. My issue is one of perception. I am told quite often about my Icelandic vacation. The CSM is also called CCP sympathizers and other such things. If CCP always picks CSM members the favoritism calls will be loud. There are some activities that do not translate well across the NDA and that is where things like the CSM holding itself accountable comes into play. There is such a goal of professionalism that people are being shielded when call outs need to be made. If people are happy with an inactive member or a member with poor activity levels that is fine but it should not be a guessing match as to who is and who is not active. We are elected by the players to function not by each other to be best friends.

And yes, we discussed ideas on how to remove inactive members. I believe that every CSM has had someone just go fully inactive after they joined. That is not the same as not being productive or having bad ideas, just never log in, never respond, never do a single thing after they collect their forum tag. I think that is a horrible situation. It is also a tough one because no one wants to disenfranchise the voters.

Areas such as removing Fanfest is to get more members over to the summits. Fanfest is a nice perk but it is a perk. It isn't like the summit with days and days of meetings and working over things. CCP is so busy preparing for fanfest that they could not if they wanted to. The goal is to get the most use out of the CSM and the budget for fanfest could instead be used for better summits or even longer summits.

Some have already come back and said that it is a reward and a cookie that may make people work harder. I don't think that is the point of the CSM and I say that as someone who is getting all of the trips. I want people to run for CSM because they want to run for the CSM and do the work and make the effort. Not to get a trip.

So that was a session... then the community team and their goals and plans. I asked for swag for my local meets and agreed to meet CCP Falcon the next day. Afterwards, we hung around the office because we were heading to dinner in an hour. Friday is a group dinner night. At the same time a group was touring the CCP office and having a conference after hours. No idea what it was about but it was fascinating.

So, off we go to the restaurant in cabs. Our reservation got confused so things got a bit messy but we had a good dinner, if long. Afterwards, it was onto the local bar. The development team had a group dinner as well so I walk into this bar and its full of people. Huge, bearded Icelandic developers grab Xander and start roaring at him and waving beer. I slink around to a somewhat clear spot and just stare at the noise which involved men singing R Kelley's "Ignition" in heavy accents. So weird. I did wind up chatting with CCP Masterplan for a while about stuff and when Corbexx said he was leaving I was ready to drop out as well. That was three thirty. I got back to my room, stared at my laptop, and dropped into the bed with the goal to sleep late.

I kind of did. Corbexx skyped me at like noon to go eat. So, I poured myself from the bed, found clothing, and went to have lunch. We then came back and spent a few hours working on the day four minutes with Sion. After that, I claimed them as pack mules and we trundled off to CCP to get my swag. I got a lot of swag. I am not sure how I'm getting it all home without going over my luggage weight right now but I think it can be done. I loaded Corbexx and Sion up with some for myself and we braved the howling winds and pelting snow to get back to the hotel.

From there, we started an adventure to find souvenirs and a bag. That didn't go as well as I might wish. I am used to just finding cheap duffle type bags around. I found bags costing a hundred USD that I might have spent thirty on at home. It was insane. So we kept walking. Sion got a magnet. I didn't settle on a shirt for my husband. I now need to do that in the morning.

The wind was blowing. Snow was blinding us, and CCP Leeloo had invited those interested to play Cards Against Humanity. We went looking for a soup shop that I had read about. We managed to pass it and only found it because Corbexx asked someone. I was busy hoping I'd just trip over it and looking for a large sign. Turns out the sign was more subtle and half covered in snow. Sion was blind from said snow and only the power of Corbexx saved us and got us amazing, hot, delicious soup.

The soup was described as chili soup with meat and tomatoes. It was in actuality a creamy slightly cheesy, chili pepper flavored, ground beef mixed, vegetable holding bowl of savoriness that looked like glop and tasted like heaven. It was in a bread bowl that was delicious. Corbexx has never seen a bread bowl somehow. The menu fascinated me. It was a very stylized black man. The decorations made me think someone had spent some time in Africa. And it was a tiny shop. Sion and Corbexx commented that the place was mostly full of locals which was a good sign. Whatever it was, delicious was part of it.

We headed back through the blowing, wind driven snow. I decided to stay in. Sion went to play cards. Corbexx went to pack and then play cards. I had this to write and swag to pack. I have no idea how I am going to do it but it will all make it home somehow in three bags. I have stuff to give out for months now. I'm so excited. I wont be taking this to one meet and tipping it all on the table for a frenzy. I'll have to figure out some type of distribution method. I have a lot of stuff so everyone will get something.

And its late and I'm tired. I've been listening to the minutes being gone over with Eve Radio. It is interesting listening to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day Five

It is early in the evening, just after 2100. I'm about to make some tea once my laptop charges a bit. The power in the room is keyed to the key-card which goes in a slot by the door. So, power is off when I am gone during the day. I'm in my pajamas and I decided that I was not going out. Today is day three of four and tomorrow is our group dinner with CCP which will be a long evening.

I am quite tired. Yesterday's minutes have been released.

The move from three days to four was good. We've pushed many sessions over time. We still have several more to go and long ones today.

I started with the low sec session so I dumped all of my energy into the morning. I was up on time and down to have breakfast with corbexx by 0730. We got to CCP's office early and then sat down and did another review of the minutes. The new format does not catch how long conversations can be. That means less for people to read but it makes some sessions short. But more on that later.

I started out the day and we had two sessions before lunch. Lunch was Fish and Chips and it seems that malt vinegar is not common in Iceland. It probably will not catch on if I continue to accidentally splash people with it. Sigh. It was quite good and it seems that fish and chips (french fries) is a very exciting thing. About as exciting as hot breakfast if one looks at the line.

Then we hit the evening meetings. I was not the star of these and had my most quiet afternoon. Which is a relief. I've talked a lot. The side effect is that I crashed a bit and got super, dooper tired. By the time we headed out for the evening (just before 1800) I was dragging. Some stayed to eat at CCP. They have dinner on Tuesday and Thursday. I convinced Corbexx to come find the restaurant I was looking for the other day and we changed out of dress clothing and wandered the streets until we found it.

So, I had a lovely steak. Corbexx had a pizza covered in rocket. I met rocket when I went to England in 2010 and I can't stand the stuff. Ugh. We talked and ate and decided to stagger back to the hotel for the evening and skip going out. The time zone changes are kicking my butt. Waking up in the morning is kicking Corbexx's. We tottered home like boring people. It's quite sad. We have minutes to edit and another day to make it through. That leaves me here, typing this as I work over sessions and add in my notes and details.

I took a few more night time shots with my phone. It does better with my phone but I doubt I will upload them tonight. I still have a few more sessions to read over and add to. I'm sorry that I don't have exciting adventures for you. I'm holed up in my hotel room, typing and whining that I'm tired.

Edit: It's midnight. I have to stop poking at things. And I messed up the numeric date for this blog post. I did the same yesterday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day Four

I woke up late. I woke up and realized that my alarm had not woken me up. I could not help but curse and check my clock to see that it was eight twenty and I needed to be at the office at nine. I'm glad I prepare everything and shower in the evenings. I rolled out,dressed, and made it out of the door by 0835 to make it to the office five minutes to nine.

We hit the ground running and I talked a lot. I feel as if I don't shut up sometimes and I'm not used to talking like that. However, it is why I am here, so I bite down my discomfort and just charge ahead and hope for the best. We are pushing every session to the max and sometimes over the edge of time. It seems that the questions and thoughts just bubble up and up and up. Our new combined access should be good to help fill in some of the gaps after this. I've been writing a lot of notes to help me fill in bits and pieces after things.

I was also super hungry at lunch and happily gorged after missing breakfast. It was a chicken pasta with broccoli, maybe an Alfredo of some type.

Back to meetings and a lot of information is good. As with last time, I find myself on both sides of arguments. It is not all about me the individual it is about me the representative. If I only discussed my personal interests  or likes, I'd have much less to say. That reflects on a question in my CSMX candidacy thread where I am ordered to answer a very large, complex question with a 'yes' or 'no'. I told them I could not answer. I can't. Maybe once I might have stood firmly on one side or another and in some areas I do. I'll brawl people about the stuff I am passionate about but so much of my time as a member of the CSM has become about representing people who are not me. I feel that it is my job to tell the entire story because I cannot always agree with people and they will not always agree with me. It is no longer a simple time where things are one way or another. After speaking to hundreds of people about a vast amount of things in the game things are complex and every situation has to be boiled down into its pieces and applied to the game by what it is, not what it sounds like or what may be.

For the evening, we had a long session and finished up with the minutes for day one being published. Yesterday, I noted that this format means nuance is lost. It also means the minutes are going out super fast. There are pros and cons to both methods and while my information oriented self hums with distress, I'm currently sitting here at almost midnight working on today's session to try to add in some detail and make sure things are clear.

There are a lot of things being presented and done. Things that we have to tilt our chairs back on and think of how we'd use them, how others would use them, and what those implications may be. I'm rereading the days session and the size and scope of things is enormous. The CSM changes things. It changes the layout of the game. The summit only emphasizes that in some ways. And at the end of it I hope that people are pleased with my effort. I do not expect everyone to agree with everything I say or try to do. That cannot happen when I offer multiple viewpoints up. I do hope that I have held myself accountable and that my efforts have been adequate.

I got a lot of good feedback yesterday and I've picked up some more today. I'll try to get it all crammed into the sessions. If not, its a good starter point for our new tools with CCP. I've already picked up a project to work on over the next few weeks. And for now, its half twelve (as corbexx would say) and I need to get to bed. Tomorrow I need to be on my A game.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mutual Back Scratching

I've been rolling an idea about in my head for a bit for, scary enough, faction warfare. In my information gathering over the past few months I've picked up a lot of the same issues across various factions. I've also listened to hops and dreams, frustration and dejection, and some very honest and open commentary on why things are needed in some ways.

I had an idea slam into me the other week. I was responding to a question and writing up my low sec thoughts and everything coalesced at once to create an over arcing image that I will try to explain. I try to avoid having ideas but sometimes they happen and then I offer them up to others.

It started with a mail that reminded me that PvPers would like to be paid for killing people. Faction Warfare currently does this. But, truly, being paid to kill and only kill is a dream that many have. Some people have this. Ship replacement programs or ship replacement programs that pay above and beyond the cost of the ship recreate this. But, as I was writing out my ideas for faction warfare having an impact that people could care about in high sec I came up with the idea of war bonds.

War bonds are not the exact term for what I want to do but they invoke the general feeling that I feel. My ideas for facton warfare affecting high sec is full of carrots and not sticks. Sticks just irritate people but carrots are appealing. Many times people want players to come down and fight. It is a dream goal but it is also an unreasonable goal. The person who does not want to fight is not going to fight and you can only chase them away and maybe kill them but not make them fight.

War is fought by a small group supported by a whole. In my idea faction warfare would tilt areas of high sec in a favorable way sot hat the people would want their faction to have control. People are homebodies by nature and in these ideas I do not try to compensate for those who will move. I believe that if one can improve ones home, one will.

So, if war zone control some how tilted things to the better, be that taxes, or mission rewards, or something that makes sense, while it wandered back down to 'normal' if the faction is losing, and there is some in between state if they are at a tug of war that is better but not as good, noncombatants could donate to the war effort.

The idea of donating to the war effort is that it creates a pool that pays out a greater percentage of is or LP or some combo of the two to the faction warfare players when they kill members of the other militia. The incentive is that the people paying into the pool do it for their area to improve. As their area improves they are incentive's to keep it that way or to pay in less and the pool drains. The PvP pilot, when they are at their lowest state of war zone control gets the biggest boost. The thought is that they get this boost when they most need it and as the war evens out everything evens out.

With the ISK and/or LP coming from the player we don't have the same broken faction warfare issues before. Bounties are already a stepping stone for this type of system. Bounties are another topic but I feel they need better pay out.

My thoughts, in birthing this idea was to give some more gains to the pilots out killing, give noncombatants a reason to care about the war zone, and to give militias that has been kicked all the way down an extra boost on the way back up. It is people interacting with people but with NPCs in the middle which is already a precedent in faction warfare.

If people just want to run back and forth they too will meet a certain balance. There is the potential that no one would participate but it would be a tool more than anything else.

These are the kind of ideas running through my head.  It is not a fully formed thought but it is the start of an idea where people can interact with and support each other indirectly but positively. Hopefully it isn't too incoherent as I am falling asleep at the keyboard.

Darkness in Winter - Day Threec

Photo Album

Today started early. I set my alarm for seven but I was awake by six. That turned out to be useful because I wound up in a conversation with someone about PLEX prices and the economy. I walked away with a stack of things to discuss and think about PLEX prices. It was a good start to the day and I met Sion and Corbexx at breakfast. We had planned to go down there about 0730 but we all arrived right around 0700.

As we went outside I realized that I lost my hat. I don't know what I did with it but the poor thing is gone. Quite sad.

This trip has been harder to adjust to then before. With the darkness it feels like one and two in the morning. But, it was a balmy pitch black with no sun or stars to get us started with the day. We made our way to the CCP offices across black ice and frozen sidewalks. It was not as cold as the previous day without the rain and winds. We made good time and finished off breakfast with CCP as they celebrated bacon and eggs as a hot breakfast.

Meetings started at nine. What we learned last session is that the first session should be CCP Seagull giving us an overview. This was good and useful for several reasons. We got to discuss Eve's current future, its main future, and its broad overarching future. I got to ask important questions and satisfy myself that they are focused even as they work towards a more flexible and faster system. We also spent time addressing the problems with the new release cycle that has left the CSM feeling cut out of the loop and developing new, better practices which will better link the CSM into CCPs development.

With that out of the way, the day was a cascade of meetings and I talked a lot. At one point it was snowing. Our hot and stuffy room was hot and stuffy and cold and breezy at times as we opened windows and doors to manage the air quality. The snow stopped when the sun came up and it was a lovely, bright day that looked like sunrise had just finished. I got some photos of the mountain across the street.

Lunch was soup, cold sandwiches, and salad. I had more of the amazing brand of cranberry juice they have over here. You have to eat light because it was another five hours of meetings and we finished up a bit after six. It was dark again.

CCP Logibro is typing up the minutes. We're trying to get reviews done on scene. The side effect is that they will not be a transcription type minute which is what my ideal is. I know that not everyone is sold on having 200+ pages of minutes but I am and that is what I want to give to people. As much of a line by line who argued what presentation. It is not that the minutes are not complete. It is that I am a detail oriented person for these things.

Tuesday CCP has dinner so most stayed for dinner. I needed air, walking, and some time to myself. Heavy socialization is exhausting and I had been running full speed and chatter all day. I was going to find one restaurant but I couldn't figure which door was the front door and just kind of gave up and went wandering to another place that I vaguely remembered. It turns out that one moved and after an hour and a half of walking around I plodded dejectedly back to the hotel to be collected by Sion and convinced to stop dragging about and go to get dinner at the bar place where we meet up most evenings.

We had a lot of really, really good chats. I'm going to write up a bad idea next, before I go to sleep. I bailed at 2300. I'd like to be up by 0700 again.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day Two

Photo Album

I woke up around 0600, an hour before my alarm was due to go off. I sighed because I had woken up a few other times during the night. However, I just cuddled into my mound of down duvets and wound up in a discussion on twitter about some points to make for the summit. Once up I wandered down to breakfast as it opened and chatted with Sion and Corbexx for a few hours before we made the walk to CCP's office to pick up our badges and have a photo taken so that people know who we are as we wander about the building.

It was raining. A nice steady rain with wind behind it. Also the sidewalks are covered in ice and as we left the city center and headed towards CCP's office the ice just got thicker. It turned into a regular balance case as we slid across sidewalks, down little inclines, found dirt and snow to walk in, and tried not to get knocked sideways by the wind gusts or the rain smacking into you like pellets. It was pretty cool stuff I have to say and a few times I was able to relax back into the wind and just move my legs as it pushed me.

At the office IDs were obtained and photographs were taken. Then we toured the office. Office tours always make me feel like I am walking through someones work space. CCP's offices are cozy with couches and chairs everywhere. After the others elected to stay at the office for the day. I decided to leave and staggered back through the wind and rain. The wind was okay but the rain stung and was decidedly unpleasant.

But, I made it back and took some time to look up restaurants and look through my stuff and prepare for tomorrow. I caught Corbexx and Sion later and we wandered out to find pizza. I decided that I wanted to try Pizza out of the US because it isn't something I ever do. The pizza wasn't what I consider pizza but it was okay. After some hot chocolate and desert crapes as we talked before we headed back for an early evening. Sion did go and find the can in the alley that was banging around in the wind. We're on the same side of the building but different floors and the noise last night was awful.

Not exciting at all, today. I've finally got my photo gallery up. Being out in the shadowed light is fascinating. It does not get sunny and bright but more twilight or dawn with cloudy edges. Its also only during the day so we will get to the offices while it is dark and leave when it is dark.

Tomorrow is the hot breakfast at CCP. I'll be up around six so that I can put myself together and head out for the day.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day One

I worry for the future of this trip. Do you believe in ill omens? It started with my nails.

CSM9 - Day 260

 Last week I managed to forget to add in two things.

One has been some tweets made by CCP Quant. He has made some graph porn to show the damage by ship and weapon groups in game. It is a very interesting bit of data. This type of information is utterly fascinating and engaging to Eve players and it is an area I would like CCP to continue to share with the community.

The second was that CCP Sharq started a discussion about improving the fitting window. I have a list of fitting questions that have accumulated over the last few months that I will bring to the summit. I suggest participation in this thread so that the developers who have asked for the information, hear it.

A few questions have popped up about the collectors edition with the new year and christmas presents being opened. To point at dev posts, there is one by CCP Falcon about the future of the mystery code from the collectors edition.
“Going forward, the Community Team will be dealing with the mystery code and stuff that's awarded through it. 
We'll be sitting down right after the holiday season at the start of January to talk about what we want to use to release, so if you have any suggestions on stuff you'd like to see, feel free to fire away in this thread.“
There was an episode of the o7 show on Thursday the 15th.

The most reactive piece was where CCP announced what they have decided to do about the corp on corp aggression mechanics during the o7 show. The basics are that a corporation will be able to toggle aggression on and off. Its aggression state will always be visable to the public. CCP Masterplan wrote a response on reddit explaining a bit more about the changes to clear up some confusion.
Let's talk about this a little, just so we're all on the same page :)
Last year at the summer CSM summit, we introduced a few changes to corp mechanics that we were interested in pursuing. These included changing the kick mechanics and adding a corp->char invite system (both of which came to TQ by the end of the year). The other change we discussed was removing the legal ability of (player-)corp members to attack each other in empire space. Since then we've looked at the initial feedback and kicked the idea around some more, and now we're moving on to make it happen which is where last night's o7 chat came from. So here's the current plan for this feature that we're working on. (Normal disclaimers apply, things change, expect more details in a dev blog soon, nothing is final until TQ etc etc!)
  • A character in a player corp may freely attack a corp member or assets owned by the corp without any criminal penalty.
With this change:
  • The penalty for these actions may now be turned on or off, according to how the corp wishes to run. Specifically, a CEO/director can configure Friendly Fire by having it enabled or disabled. FF-enabled works exactly as on TQ now. FF-disabled would work similar to how NPC corps work - member-on-member violence in high-sec will result in a Criminal flag (or a Suspect flag in low-sec). Normal safety and limited-engagement mechanics will apply as expected.
  • All existing corps will default to FF-enabled on patch day. So if you're in a player corp and your management takes no action, nothing will change for you.
  • When creating a new corp, a checkbox in the UI will let the founder decide to start the corp with FF-enabled or FF-disabled
  • A CEO/director can initiate a change his corp's FF rules. These changes will trigger a notification to all members. The change then will take 24 hours to come in to effect, after which the new rules will apply (at which point a second notification will probably be sent). From then on, the corp will observe the new rules until such time as the management change it again. If this sounds similar to the timings around war-decs, that is somewhat intentional. In effect the corp is choosing whether or not to be in a perma-war with itself, or not.
  • The FF state of a corp will always be publicly visible to all.
  • RvB and other groups should be able to continue their free-for-all events if they choose. (TBH the worry of losing events such as this was always part of what made me slightly less keen on the initial version of this change)
  • In null-sec nothing changes whatsoever. As you were. Carry on killing greens and blues, and let your diplos sort it all out.
As I mentioned there will be more details in a dev blog soon, but since there was a lot of confusion about what was going to change, we thought you'd like some more specifics.”

The plans for ship skins has been announced. They will be licensed so once you have it you can use it on that hull at anytime in the future. People love skins but not losing them. One thing that has not been fully hashed out is special edition ships vs skins. The database wishes us to clean it up.

The Minmatar T3 destroyer concept art has been released as a nice, charcoal sketch. We are promised stats on this very soon. The sooner the better as it is scheduled for the next release.

Also, if you like making ads for your corporation, events, and activities CCP is looking for them for the o7 show.

A dev blog was released in which the CSM was invited to participate in writing about the CSM. I wrote my entry six weeks ago when it was asked for as a ‘what the CSM is up to’ post. It transitioned into a year in review blog and my entry did not transition with it. I should have rewritten the entire thing now that I look back on it. It was optional to participate and the responses from the CSM members range from happy, productive, to angry.

It brings in a larger question, now that we have brought up the communication issues between the CSM and CCP what are we doing about it? The entire topic came up some weeks ago. As I said, I wrote my section at the start of December. We’ve now had a few meetings with CCP Leeloo where we’re making sure the CSM is updated on where CCP is. We should all be on the same page by the time the summit is over. This is not a mistake that needs to happen a second time.

I’ll be travelling this next week to the winter summit. On the 7th of February we’re looking to have a local meetup which clashes a bit with a local meetup the week before. We’re going to go forward and I am going to try to find some time get it up on

Saturday, January 17, 2015

And Off I Go

In three hours from the time that I start this post, I am off to the Winter Summit. I've spent the last few weeks planning and the last three days in a frantic frenzy of last minute plans and actions. I am also painting my nails.

My book is done. I need to add tabs but I can do that at the airport or on the plane. I've packed. I have warm clothing. I've tamed my hair to something acceptable for the public. My nails won't dry due to the house being something similar to the interior of the refrigerator and that has me oddly fustrated.

On Eve side, I've managed to get my last Archon into build. I didn't restock TCS but I ran out of time for today.

I always have a weird excited apprehension when I travel for Eve. I'm excited. I'm also going to meet people that I have not met before. I've met Sion, Corbexx, Ali, and Xander before. Core and Progod will be new. It is not that I expect anything to happen. It is simply the act of meeting new people is always once that brings nervousness.

And, as I tend to do, I'll follow my Eve related Icelandic Adventures over the next week.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Social Independence

I had a cat named Qwill. He was my first cat and I lost him much to soon. I never doubted that Qwill loved me. People often call cats aloof and not affectionate. Qwill was aloof but he is what I considered companionably aloof. "I'll love you from over there." You see, Qwill would cuddle but it would be short and he'd then set himself a few feet away. One might think he was off doing his own thing. Yet, if I left the room he followed. He was at the door when I came home. He'd sit on the sink when I took a bath. He'd come hang out in the rain when I got home from work and in the evening, he'd come and kneed me as I fell asleep and once I was sleep he'd slip away to lay on the other side of the room. But, he'd not leave the room. He was not a stupid cat. He knew how to open containers and use levers. We had to get a twisting, vacuumed sealed container to keep him out of the pet food. He could open doors and we once watched him pull a stack of containers we had used to weight the lid of the cat container off, then pop the snap handles up, and eat from it. Another container, he opened, ate, and then closed after himself.

I thought of Qwill while responding to a fascinating e-mail yesterday. It was a discussion about market advice and low sec survival. I love these topics. I had Chella skill into a Blockade Runner at the end of her second month and as a reward Ender gave me his Viator that he no longer needed. I still have that Viator. But, I skilled into that Viator because I was moving salvage. Salvage mass was larger then and looting would fill my fully expanded Noctis. I made my first billions off of salvaging and looting level 5 missions and I needed to haul it out to Rens to sell.

How terrible I was at Eve finance. Worse then now and that is something.

So, there I was all equipped to answer these questions. Low sec market advice. Go. Moving items in and out of low sec as a career decision, together. And as I read and as I responded I crafted a series of potential pathways based upon this players particular needs and wants. You see, this player wanted to be a part of the breathing, living game, but they did not wish to do so in an overly social way.

They wanted to supply the market, take the risk of gatecamps and local pirates, buy and sell, but not do so in a sit on the couch type of way. Their joy was in going at it alone but interacting with it all and that intrigued me. I responded to it, I made suggestions on how they could work at it alone and contribute to Eve without doing so socially.

And I thought... some people will say this is wrong. They would want me to push the player towards social game play. Politics. Deals. Blues. Payments. Working with others to optimize sales and cater to clientele. But... I thought of Qwill. I thought about the lessons I learned over twelve years with an amazing companion. And I answered his questions to the best of my ability. I made some suggestions on how to gain knowledge from the quiet corner of the room but in terms of Eve play and interaction. I've spent a large part of my life unnoticed against the wall and I've often been happiest there.

Being social... interacting.. being a part of things is multidimensional. It is where an individual finds their productive place. Because productivity, enjoyment, the want to be there, are what matters when we play a game for pleasure. It let's us enjoy the choices that we make.

Some of us are our most involved when we are across the room.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How Much for that Player in the Window?

Idle thoughts on a busy night...

Strategics decisions are important when deploying assets. My POS for instance is in the same system as my corporation's home station. Because it is a usage POS instead of a money making POS, its location in my home system where it can be defended to our best advantage is a sensible one. What wandered through my mind however was wondering about the interaction that players have with other's when it comes to ransoms, defending assets, or working together.

A request for blue status can often be met with a ridiculous price tag. It is understandable from a corporation that does not have blues, a regular thing in low security space. But, that type of price tag is often extended to everything. Some of it is the mixture of not wanting to deal with people. The high price tag causes them to not bother with you. 

But often, it is a real number. A number that is rather high when one looks at what the person would be making if the deal was made. Is it just our nature to ask for the sky? 100 million for a ransom. A billion for blue status. Five hundred million for a POS to not be shot.

It is easier not to deal with blues and treaties and having peoples assets cluttering up space. But, in a world where we did that, where groups made ISK by interaction with people beyond the results of turret fire, what are good prices for things? Prices that an industrial corp could tolerate and thrive? For ignoring a POS? What are good ransom amounts or will no price ever top the value of a kill? For all of those that try to buy PvP corps help and receive a silly price, is there a price or is there none?

Putting Plastic on the Furniture

It is Wednesday. I leave on Saturday afternoon and I'm becoming a little puttering mess to make sure I have what I need. Bags are packed. Documents are written. Blueprints are making copies. Archon hulls are cooking. I take my laptop when I travel. I For Eve related things I site down and write about my day. I'm around and available but not at the same level as if I was at home in my normal time zone doing things. But Eve does not stop just because we are silly enough to walk away from our normal schedule for a while and it can be a challenge to plan for it.

I have a blueprint copying mill going. The blueprints copy over 2-3 days and I pick them up on my days off and set a new set to copy. However, I realized that copying and running the across space and jumping them are the last things that I will want to do as I travel. I decided to be generous and put my next runs in with enough time to consume two weeks, allowing them to finish on my next day off after I return home.

Then there is TCS to tend. I will stock it until Saturday and then not until I get back. I find it stressful to know that it will deplete and things will look horrible and poorly maintained but stocking remotely is a terrible experience. Also, I should not have the time. Last time I was up by seven, groomed, fed, in the conference room by nine, out by seven or eight, fed, out to the local social spot, and in by one or so only to write up the day as quickly as I could and start again. None of that leaves time for TCS where it can take a few hours to buy, move, jump, and stock.

Back at the planning stage I'm trying to squeeze in one last Archon for the orders before I head out. The tower is fueled and tended so Wex just has to make components to his hearts content.

Do not my chores and planning sound so riveting?

The living, breathing real time aspect of Eve can be as frustrating as it is intriguing. It is so much fun to create and make and manipulate and then frustrating to maintain when one gets called away. It is an interesting limiting factor in doing projects alone. I do not play alone but I do many of my projects alone. And solving something as simple as being away from a week becomes more complex then expected.

What I have learned over time is that TCS will not fall apart. My builds will finish. I will have a few busy days when I return home and it will take a week or two to get everything back to smooth operations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lunchtime Musings : Mirror, Mirror

"Sugar, when are you going to push for bombs in low sec? I want to bomb things."

Such was a piece of my talk over the weekend.

All space is not created identically with all other pieces of space. Ideally, we want them to be different so that we have different places to go. Fantasy games will have forests and rivers and oceans and hell and heaven and chocolate factories. Eve has different types of space. I had this argument several times this weekend. The four (and a half) types of space that we currently have all work together. They have their pros and their cons, giving players choices and distinct features that they do or do not enjoy. When you live and fly and have had your experience in playing Eve matters. Not because one is better than the other but because they are all different and those differences will dictate your game view.

I once spent a lot of time bristling and growling when people bad mouthed low sec. How dare they call it a kiddy pool? How dare they call it a stepping stone for null sec? How dare they say only corps that could not succeed in null go to low sec. I've written about these grievances, huddled in my station in low with my darkened security status and glowing eyes. I did not want their area of space. I did not want the mechanics they lived with. I did not want sov. I wanted what I had. The assumption that I settled was beyond me.

Now, I've grown up some and taken my battle to a higher meta level to have low sec acknowledged as the unique area of space that I've always believed it to be. Because of this, my concept of Eve is grounded in the individuality of various types of space. I've even fought against the idea of making all of low sec, faction warfare. Why would we have everything the same when things are so wondrously different?

Different viewpoints are wonderful. It makes the game interesting. However, we have a habit of bringing our ideal game view with us when we change what we are doing in the game. This can be both good and bad and it is not something that i am exempt from. I jut try to notice if it is happening so that I can control the raging desire to edit core game mechanics to what Sugar likes to do and only what Sugar likes to do.

While all space is not created to be the same.I will not use equal because like balance it leads to the assumption that things should be the same. It is the differences in the various areas that bring their positives and their negatives. Yes, I said negatives. If you can only do a level of a game with the ability to survive that level, is it bad? To bring that into Eve, if mechanics work in some areas of space and not others, is that bad? Sometimes, something work better in some places when doing other things. One simple challenge that Eve allows us is that we can continue to try to do things in the method that we want to do them because few of the differences are hard coded into the game. But we need hard walls to brace against.

I believe that should be treasured. Low Sec is different from null sec because of gateguns and sec loss. There are no bubbles and there are no bombs. Yet wormholes are different from null sec even thought they share bubbles and bombs and no sec penalties because of the lack of gates and the mass limitations. High sec differs from low sec although they are both empire space because of Concord and Faction Police responses to aggressive actions as well as the increased penalties of security status loss. Some are cool. Some are annoying. All create the terrain of the area.

Finding myself in another argument (for it was a weekend of such things) about risk between null sec and wormhole space, I thought, "Why am I in this argument? I don't really belong here." However, I also pointed out that the two areas of space are different. Both carry separate types of risk that a player will have to deal with and potentially mitigate. But the key word is potential.

Out of all of our areas of space there is one common factor. Players are often our most dangerous and risky interaction, But that danger and risk is a potential. It is not hard coded into the game. Players are a random factor. They may or may not warp to your site. They may or may not hunt you down. They may or may not....

We can make tools and add features to mitigate and work for and against the presence of players. A site will despawn and respawn elsewhere to be done again in a region. However, it will also carry with it a random change of dropping loot. In a wormhole the sites may spawn and sleepers may pour forth from the sky but there will only be so many sites in a system and once harvested the players will have to decide to make a new series of decisions to get more, to wait, or to make another series of decisions to reap the end reward of their work and sup upon the succulence of sweet, sweet ISK.

I like gateguns because they force low sec to have choices. The choices may not be what we want. They absolutely inhibit casual frigate fighting. Considering that there is all of null sec and wormhole space to engage in such things, as well as the complexes of faction warfare spare I think that forces an interesting dynamic. It makes fleets make decisions. It means that interceptors are a committed choice. It gives more meaning to being an outlaw. As annoying as gateguns are and as stupid as they may seem to those who enjoy life in fully lawless regions, without them the entire dynamic of low sec would shift.

The case was made to me, in that earlier null sec vs wormhole argument I did not belong in, that DED complexes have gates and wormhole anomalies do not. I was not sure why that mattered but it was a equation about the potential risk vs reward of the end result of both things. In that one bubble of comparison it might make sense, but there is rarely a moment when Eve is a small direct bubble of comparisons for an event or action.

Things cannot be observed in a void and acted upon in a void when they do not exist in a void. Direct comparisons are rarely fair to the topic. The use of a Legion in high sec, low sec, wormhole, and null sec will always be different. The first time I saw a Sleipnir in high sec I had to check to see where I was. But that did not lead me to decide that the Sleipnir was broken because it was not a common ship in high sec.

We are approaching a lot of future changes in Eve. And as we approach those changes we will have to embrace change and shake off encrusted habits. But, as we do that and look to the future we have to remember to preserve the past. There is the type of past that you can bulldoze down and there is the type of past that contains the culture and diversity o f the players and areas that makes those things fascinating.

Nothing can touch change and not be changed, but the core can still be preserved and must be even in our most frustrated and bitter moments. Even when we are most excited and ready for the future.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Other Way I Fill Time

It is time for pondering. I'm finishing my Summit prep work. I ponder of my Eve life is empty of exciting adventures or if I've lost the ability to see what is going on. The true problem is that I struggle with the feeling of being boring to other people. It is one of the side effects of writing and knowing that people read my meandering thoughts at times.

This same thing happened in September. Everything narrows down into information gathering and consumption and reproduction in a nice, neat package. Toss in the elections and I've spent more time writing then normal but it is not stuff for this blog. I've had verbal and written interview stuff to do. I've finished one and have another, largish one to come. I've gone through my mail, and comments, and discussions. I've had my monthly talk which, as always, is an absolute birthing ground for ideas, needs, problems, and concerns.

The side effect is that I will probably spend more time thinking than doing exciting, spaceship adventures. My industry and markets have become my fall back. They are actually rather time consumptive but in a more malleable way than fleet work. Wex and I are doing great. I've kind of picked up my stride to try to be a bit more organized. It stops Wex from suffering and keeps the ships flowing into the hands of corpmates. I find capital ship manufacturing to be very satisfying. One thing I do feel, as I discuss ships and plans with people, is that the time investment is easy to over look.

At the end of 2012 I decided that I wanted to build an Orca. I had longed for an Orca since my first weeks of playing the game. It was so big and flat and bluish colored. I was in love. Being just under a year old when I started the project, I decided that building an Orca would be amazing and turn me into an industrialist. But, I would also mine the bulk of the minerals that I could source in high sec because that made it extra special.

What building that Orca did, besides make me happy, was open the door to Capital Ship construction. I did not think of it directly at the time. And in truth, it would not be for quite a while later until my hard earned skills became useful. Capital ship manufacturing is awkward, bulky, and time consuming. On one character it takes me a few days to build everything that one ship needs. I then put that build on a second character because the hull itself needs another 10-14 days after all of the modules. Unlike many other hulls it is not a fast turn around.

I do enjoy it. It is one of my most imaginative times in Eve. I can see the conveyor belts of minerals rolling into the refiners. The huge sections of hull plating being lifted and welded onto the incomplete skeleton. Thew drone bays in their unending, bottle necked glory, being installed one after another down the length of the ship.

It took about two weeks for us to go from start up to production. Now we're spitting out a hull every few days. My work schedule makes it hard. Even as I write this I'm moving items back and forth and trying to get another build started. But, time whispers in my ear and laughs when I try to catch it.

However, I have acquired my first capital blueprint that belongs to me and not the ones that I use that belong to my co-corporation. I am super happy about this acquisition. It is very high on the chortle while licking my fingers and giggling scale of happy.

My research to perfection task is also going well. My frigate hulls are almost done and I am working on haulers and rigs. Once those are finished I'll look at broadening my cruiser collection and maybe even (squeal) pick up another capital blue print or two if I can start making ISK again.

My Eve life isn't super exciting and I doubt it will be anytime soon. The Summit. Then the minute writing. Then the elections. Then fanfest. Then... whatever happens... but I have plans and stuff to do to keep me entertained and occupied.

Eeeheeeheee blueprints.... (chortle)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

CSM9 - Day 253

On Tuesday, Proteus will be released. It is the quickest and smallest release since the new cadence started. CCP Seagull’s dev blog from December 19th, 2014 covers the features. An In Development video starring CCP Rise goes over the various points of the release. The patch notes for Proteus have also been updated.

It was noticed that fighters had been changed on the test server. I urged CCP Fozzie to share the exact reasons for the change because there was confusion about what and why. This was not about the current debate over fighter assist. CCP Fozzie said:
"The primary goal of this change is to ensure that rapidly scooping and relaunching fighters and fighter bombers never gives a dps advantage. This practice has not been widespread thus far, but any possible advantage gained this way would both provide imbalanced DPS and cause significant server load so we want to nip it in the bud."
For those that have been involved in discussions about the current use of assigned fighters, CCP Fozzie goes on to say:
"I know that some people who are hoping for a major nerf to assigned fighters will be unhappy that this change will only have a small-moderate effect on that activity. We have been keeping a close eye on the way fighters are used ever since our recent rounds of drone rebalancing and we aren't ruling out any potential future changes at this time. However we are not going to rush into any larger changes to fighter mechanics."
 Thoughts and concerns on both sides of the fighter usage argument have come to the CSM and it is something that has been discussed. As CCP Fozzie says, there is not yet anything decided for the future of fighter assist.

Don't forget about the module change! CCP Terminus has been active in the thread related to the dev blog.

The new anoms for newbie systems to keep the Veldspar flowing are being released. I'd like to see how this plays out. Those of us involved in working with the new players in Rookie Chat brought forward the problem of the belts emptying and new players trying to find the ore they needed to mine. I'll be hanging out in chat and seeing how this fix shapes up.

The recon rebalance comes with Proteus as well. New asteroid environments will surprise those not expecting it and the Exequror's new symmetrical model has warp animations. The small size of this release has disappointed some but this was work finished before or done over the holidays.

The Eve Community put aside its game differences and stepped forward to help a fellow player. Thomas plays as DGSix_Kado and he stepped forward and asked the Eve Community to assist him in going to Fanfest 2015. He received a speaker slot from CCP Manifest and he wishes to speak to and of the community that has been an important part of his life. He has been in contact with CCP Manifest which is expressed in the reddit thread. His corporation mates also took to the forum to support him. It is a community that he will be leaving before he is ready to due to a diagnoses for a terminal illness. Within twenty four hours his goal was surpassed and people have added a bit on top. This is the core of why the Eve Community is as powerful as it is.

Last weekend I had my interview with Cap Stable for CSMX. It went live on Tuesday and can be found here for those who wish to listen in. I have been asked a few times when the election will be. They will be at the end of February and the announcement at Fanfest in March. The official call for candidates where passports are sent in and the official list released will come from CCP Leeloo at the end of January.

The Winter Summit starts on the 20th. I've gotten through a lot of my prep work. I've sorted and filed mail and topics. I've been receiving wonderful and detailed eve-mails from both my queries and players who wish to bring topics to attention. I can already feel the minutes needing to be typed.

I will be hijacking Eve Uni Public Mumble today at 1500 and 2200 GMT for my Open Q&A. I have to get my forum access fixed so that my talks can be properly documented on their forum and calendar. I'll be trying to collect last minute thoughts for the summit and chatting about Eve as we so often do.

Corbexx and I are trying to sort out a few more soundboards. We'd like another one for structures with some more focus and one for new players. Right now we are trying to sync up with the development teams as they come back into the office and get these scheduled. Right now it looks like they will be after Summit.

On the local outreach level, We've planning a get together in February for those in the MD/VA/DC area.

There have been some interesting and passionate discussions on Skype and we managed to slot in a meeting as well. The development teams are filtering back into the office and things should start ramping back up with the Winter Summit approaching and Fanfest right around the corner in March. It is rather amazing to realize that it has only been eight months since CSM9 came into office and so much has been done and changed in that time. It's been a busy session already and it looks like there is plenty more to come.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

TCS: Balancing Consumption

The module fairy flies out of his Nebula and into the hangars of capsuleers all over Eve. There he delivers random things that they need but not enough to fit a ship in any reasonable way. In a burst of capacitor dust he appears and leaves some meta 3 rocket launchers and a pile of depleted uranium beside the Atron with 1% left to its hull structure and no repair facilities, with a few dusty inertia stabilizers for good luck. With his duties done, the module fairy opens a jump portal and without fatigue or limitations heads off to his next delivery to a needy Tengu that he has the perfect set of torpedoes for...
A very common question I receive is, "Sugar do you go to people to get your goods for your market?" I often respond to this question by saying, "I wish that I did. I've tried and it rarely works out."

It is a common enough question that although I have addressed it before, I will touch upon it again.

I believe that Eve was originally sculpted around the idea of everything being an interconnected circle. We can call it the circle of life.

A very simplified discussion...

For many in Eve, success has come from specialization. The same environment that makes Eve a fascinating game also makes it one where people have to depend on themselves. A complete corporate concept that involves everything from miners to a crack PvP wing is a popular one that often fails to realize itself. And when it does realize itself, it is often a segmented and detached creation full of individual safties and singular opportunity.

Eve is also about volume. Huge amounts of ore is collected. Huge amounts refined. Hundreds or thousands of items are built. An industrialist once set up and rolling will churn out thousands of items. All of these items need to go somewhere and in an ideal world they'd go to marketers and people who need them. In an ideal, ideal world they'd do it through contracts and direct trade cutting out NPC taxes and broker fees.

To step out of my comfort zone of personal experience, I will note that mass scale, contained industry does exist in some areas of null. The corporations and alliances bu the ore, moon go, and products that the membership makes. Its poured back into the group or sold off. I do not have the experience to speak on it other than the bits I have gleaned from those that live it.

But others? Many produce so much that they cannot siphon it off in tiny bundles here and there. It takes contacts to sell everything locally and not everyone is good at making those types of contacts. There are not enough tiny marketeers such as myself running around. It requires coordination and communication and reliability of need. We have it in some places. Things like Faction Warfare can create vast networks due to the hard coded mechanics of allies. But in the end trade hubs prosper. People can buy what they need and all that they need. Commerce happens. Individuals create tremendous volume. The industrialists a place for all that they build and it vanishes down into the dark maw of... somewhere. And then it explodes.

Killboards only tell a small part of the story of where stuff goes. In that vast red arc of somewhere is my market. If I am busy, I may have a week where I buy a hundred small armor trimarks. Now, this is a lot to me. A hundred? Phew. That's a whole lot of rigs. But for someone who is making their ISK off of production my hundred may be a drop in their bucket. I also need thirty Damage Control Unit II's for this week, or maybe this month. I don't know yet.

I have no idea where it all goes. Some goes right back into the market and a new career is born. Those who buy and sell and buy and sell again, changing prices and gleaning ISK as items exchange hands.

If an industrialist makes their ISK off of volume, I make my ISK off of variety. An industrialists would need a dozen marketers such as myself to consume their focused production. Each marketer would need a few dozen industrialists to create all the various things that they needed. It would be a great balance if it existed. But, it does not. We use Jita and Amarr or Dodixie and Rens as a over all place of exchange and consume what we need, sinking ISK out of the game in the process.

The market is more convenient. I've tried to buy from people but I cannot dictate what my needs will be. I've also tried to sell to people and I've struggled to sell boosters directly to my corporation mates. Yet, having them on the market caused them to sell and my production to increase.

It is convince and access with a healthy dose of unpleasant support tools. Corporate contracts are like to cause a man to claw his keys from his keyboard and throw them at the monitor. Time zones and the irritating interruption of our out of Eve life all combine into a big pool of frustration.

Buying things off of the market is easier. The accessibility is good but it could be more.

Avoiding the Optimal Way

I often have days in game that are busy and full of things to do but I suspect, boring. I like them. I'm not an adrenaline junky. I don't play Eve to get a hit or a fix of excitement. Exciting things happen and that unpredictability is one of the appealing things.

Today, I finished sorting through my eve-mail. I then started going through blog comments and picking things out of my weekly CSM posts. I assembled stories that people have given me into another document. Somewhere in between that I turned over a Capital build. But that part went slowly because it actually takes quite a bit of time for me to gather everything together for such things.

I play Eve in an oddly focused, careless fashion. I have projects and I love working on them and keeping myself busy. But, I don't ever seek the optimal path or do things by the known best way. Over the years that I have been playing, I've learned that the fastest way to chase myself away from a situation is to try to do things the right way as told by someone else.

My industry is a good example of that. Since I have been awake, I could have rolled over my capital builds and been done by the morning. As it is, I may finish them before I go to bed or I may just go to bed and finish them in the morning. Then the final build will be ready tomorrow evening instead of tomorrow morning. The optimal thing would be to have things ending and starting again with little downtime.

But... why?

It may be that I often play when tired and distracted with other things. It is also that things like that do not push my buttons. I very much play Eve to relax and enjoy myself and sometimes that enjoyment is in puttering about getting things complete. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.

I sound very noncomittal and that would be completely incorrect. I am somewhat obsessed with my projects. I may not undock every time someone has a butterfly but my hangar is stocked and my ships are fit and ready to go. I may not maximize the builds of my capitals but my POS is fueled and stronted and my materials where they need to be.

I'm not a procrastinator. I am that person that turns things in the day after they are assigned. But there is a difference between not getting something done on time and letting a build that does not really matter complete today or tomorrow morning. I am not disorganized nor do I think I am lazy. I just don't find my pleasure in chasing perfection. The ships will be built. The market will be stocked. My notes will be done. All with buffer time, even.

I used to be more tense.

One of the biggest differences between now and when I started is that I've found relaxation in my playing. I'm trying to shake out the last habits of justifying what I do and accepting that it is what I want to do and how I want to play.

And the best part is that it can still be productive, even if not perfect. Eve is a game that is very easy to plan to death and forget to play.

These thoughts are the rampaging side effect of a discussion about spreadsheets and my lack of using them to keep track of my market. At some point I think it is easy to accidentally kill the desire to do something by giving into the desire to do it perfectly. Something like writing I guess. It reaches the point where you just have to do it and get a result instead of planning it to death.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Toggle for Age

I'm sitting in chat and Tikktokktokk asked a damn good question.
Tikktokk Tokkzikk > Could you ask CCP to add a pink colortag and background for newbros on the overview?
Tikktokk Tokkzikk > Toggleable, of course.
Sugar Kyle > pink?
Tikktokk Tokkzikk > Pink is a fitting color for newbros, no? :p
Sugar Kyle > why?
Sugar Kyle > because its a boy color?
Tikktokk Tokkzikk > No, it's a cute color.
Tikktokk Tokkzikk > I think it's cute.  Like newbros.
Tikktokk Tokkzikk > Also all other colors are taken.
And so began our discussion into what each color of the overview is used for. It also was a discussion with several other questions.
  • Is this something players want?
In Eve you can make an effort to kill anyone you can get your weapons systems on. It is one of the core features of the game. Often times when newer players are killed they are upset. Why did they attack a new player? We do not have levels but we can see ages. Only, when out moving around many of us do nto check age until later if at all. And there are some that would prefer to avoid the newer players and let them ripen. I've had it happen to me before when people give me newbies. In fact, we had a 5 day old player join the conversation. He had been plopped into my chatroom by someone who killed him on his second day.
  • What is a new player in this case?
The definition of a new player is not a simple one. We have many experienced players that make new accounts. Our new player system has to be structured around the knowledge that these players exist. Without wandering into the vast plain that is the subject of defining a new player, for the sake of this toggle what age do we limit it to? A week? A month? Three months?

There are other technical questions but I won't worry about them right now. I'm more interested in the idea of an age flag for new players for older players that wish to be made aware without digging into their employment history and remembering what date it is.

Reference: When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? - Smithsonian 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Of Speech and Writing of Public Thoughts

The results for the Pod and Planet Contest came in. To my surprise, I placed second in the lore category. I'm very happy.

I'm not surprised in that, "I really wanted to win first and am writing the proper things because that is how society wishes me to conduct myself in public instead of going on about how I should have won," type of way. I am surprised that I placed at all. The story that I wrote was not exciting. It did not have a twist. I did not write the story to win. I wrote the story to write it and share a view of the game world.

What I wrote was a moment in the flow of New Eden that I envisioned the day that I read the Dev Blog for teams.  I like stories and world building. I do not read suspense or horror. I'm more prone to drift into multiple book sagas and high fiction. Heinlein fascinates me for the dialog of the characters. I hope to one day have that much control over the page and temperament of the story. That deep dive into the thoughts and reasons of the character enthrall me and when I thought of what I wanted to write that is what captured me.

I also did not write as much as I would have liked to have written. The past two years I have written multiple entries. From my first year where I had no idea what a short story was or how to incorporate Eve into fiction to my second year where I produced more matured visions. This year, when I sat down and tried to find that creative place to find more to write I didn't have it. That energy has been expanded on other things and other projects. I both accept and regret that fact. I can say that I am happy with what I wrote and I am utterly pleased that others enjoyed it.

I am comfortable writing for myself and for other people. I'm comfortable communicating in text as a medium and feeling that I can transfer my thoughts and ideas. That makes times when I break out of that mold uncomfortable.

I had my interview for CSMX with Cap Stable on Saturday. They put it up on Tuesday. Writing and speaking are different. I try to write as I speak but when I speak it sometimes seems as if I am rampaging out of control. The interviews are also set up in question and answer so I try to express my thought completely. I think that for some, hearing my speak has more impact than reading because I cannot edit and clean up what I say as I can my text. Little may they know that I rarely edit and clean up my text....

There is also the medium that people enjoy. I started reading for pleasure in the third grade (around nine years of age) and that has only accelerated. I watched television as a child but I had little access to it as I got older. My father controlled the television and when he came home he'd change the channel to whatever he wanted to watch. I learned not to become attached to programs and eventually I lost my interest in watching things that I'd never be able to finish. This was before streaming and on demand television.

The side effect was that I never developed the habit of watching television. I read instead and my mother would take me to the library on the weekend and allow me to check out 20 or so books on average which I consumed over the course of the week. In fact, I read so much that I out read my age section, then the science fiction and fantasy section, then the fiction section, and I moved onto history and classics developing a taste for the American Civil War while I was at it.

I often forget that not everyone enjoys reading as I do. My reading has slowed down as I've gotten older but that is because I am interrupted by things like work as well as the fact that I've taken to doing some writing. This blog has been a beautiful lessen in focus and writing discipline for me. Knowing that I can write every day is wonderful and gives me hope for my writing future. Having something to write every day is a bit harder. For something like the CSM where I am working with people, I have to step out of my personal comfort zone. I cannot assume that everyone wants to read blog post after blog post and so I do things such as the interviews and open talks in an effort to bring myself to people.

Hopefully it works, but it is never a comfortable thing. I speak reasonably well. I say the same thing that I would write and I say it in the same matter. It is still a strange thing,  to me, to do these voice chats. I don't think I'll ever get over that feeling. I was always told to hush when young. Now people tell me to talk. And so I shall, when there is need. I do not think it is something that I will soon become used to doing.