Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fanfest 2015 - New Player Experience Round Table

A bit late considering but finally I'm chewing my way through my last round table. This is my last one that I can comprehend what I wrote. Or nearly so. Next time, bigger note pad.

Q: Other MMOs introduce the UI early into the game. Eve does not really do that.
A: We are trying to load less information. If we try to walk you through the UI first you will face a lot of not relevant information. We've discussed a similar overview or removing it at first. Also, the selected items window is not used at first. We want to slim it down in those first few minutes to not overload people. Tool tips are an example of where we are tying to go.

Q: Opportunities are only for half of the players starting. Can we get it somehow?
A: It is something that has to be for new accounts only to keep the testing results valid.

Q: Are you contacting previous trials to try again?
A: Team Homegrown is a team focused on player retention and that is one of the things they are working on.

Comment: Only the fleet window is useful. We need less excel in space.

Q: It needs to be the things that are essential. What is a Jita? That won't make sense to new players.
A: But we want them to be curious and want to find out what it is. It is hard to know where people need this.

Q: I feel we need to be introducing the UI a bit at a time. We don't realize how overwhelming it is.
A: We have to see where the best time is to give that UI information. Do we give it in an early session? Can we show it a little at a time?

Q: The tutorial requires you to read. That is bad for modern gamers. They don't read.
A:  We know that people skip the text. We want to move away from that. The first seven Objectives equaled about a thousand words. With the total now about fourteen it equals about two thousand words. That is down from about ten thousand with the old tutorial.

Q: We use team viewer to see new players screens. A mentor option to let you see what they are doing would be nice. It makes trouble shooting easier.
A: That is a good idea

Q: How about a spectator mode?
A: They hoped twitch integration might have been like that. The trick would not be to stream but would it be okay in a bigger picture?

Comment: Have you tried test players who have played MMOs before or no? From the tests it seems that the testers want Eve to be more like WoW.

Q: Other games have achievements. Can we have them?
A: Starting Tuesday you will get congratulation notices for things like the first time you die. We are leaning away from things like "kill 100 things". We are not decided in long term achievement systems.

Q: New players do not realize that the signs and notices that they receive in Eve are very real. We need to improve this.
A:  We are trying to allow people to access the warnings both before and after sot hat they can put them together.

Q: Any way to see about proactively asking for help? Like when you click around all over it notices that you seem confused?
A: Chippy? That would be hard to implement and probably annoy.

Q: Can experienced players get benefits from this as well?
A: We think so. There is endless room for expansion.

Q: When does the trial start training skills?
A: We are aware of it and addressing it on Tuesday towards training.
Discussion on preloading skills.

Q: What are you doing to explain sov to new players?
A: The complex systems are not what we are focusing on right now.

Q: You should teach them about armor and shield tank.
A: Fitting is one of the more complex systems to introduce them to this early on. These are still dealing with the first hours.

Q: Let experienced players make their own opportunities
A: The CSM feedback also went into this. It is a future path we can look at.

Q: I'd like to make some to help people learn complex systems
Discussion on how they will make this work with triggers and such to make them or create an internal mission system for corporations.

Q: Introducing players to organizations is the truck
A: As soon as we pitch specific corps we get in trouble. We need to work at letting new player groups position themselves to be seen.

Nuances of Self

When not arguing with Tal, I'm reading his blog. During the Fanfest week he wrote a post titled, "Who is your main?" I raised my hand and said, "Oh me me! Sugar is but there is so much more just like you wrote!" Only I was in Iceland and no one heard me and I didn't really have the time to respond to it. Tal did dive deeper into the subject of who and what a main is and he used himself for a test case. I decided to dot he same because I like breaking things down into their parts.

I've mentioned the blogs name before. Low Sec Lifestyle. I picked it because I was living in low sec and I really, really liked just living in low sec. This was before I could hunt or kill anything. I was a pest buzzing along behind experienced players like an excited puppy. I knew nothing but fear and awe for the most part. I picked the blog name to reflect what I was doing. Living in low sec.

I've said before that I didn't come to Eve to be a PvPer. I came to be an industrialist. I just came to be one in an environment that was hostile and dangerous. I wanted an environment where I was at risk. I wanted to be chased by pirates and gun them down and sometimes win and sometimes lost. That was interesting to me. It still is. It also makes my evolution from Chella Ranier the industrialist to Sugar Kyle the pirate and into Sugar Kyle the member of the CSM all the more strange.

Sugar is my main because Sugar kills people and killing people is one of the few measurable things one can do in Eve. When Sugar started to kill people she started to leave her name behind her on public killboards.  It is a trackable metric and one that I have watched over the course of my game play not to personally measure but to see how people react to it.

In Eve Uni chat, new players will see my sec status (-6.0 atm). The ones that understand killboards will see my activity. In fact, when you look into someone in Eve running their name through one of hte major killboards is a very basic step. Who is this person? What is this person? Do they kill or are they killed? What decisions do they make that you can see in this killboard. The fits. The fights. The fleets. They all tell a story about a person that you can read and gather some solid and true knowledge of them.

Inactivity brings its own responses. For every inactive period on my killboard I have a reason. You can see slumps for each Pod and Planet fiction writing contest I have entered. You can see vacations and these days, you can see the increased energy I have put into the CSM and the decreased activity of the killboard. That has led to people asking why I should continue on the CSM if I am inactive in the game.

In some ways activity can define a main. I am Sugar Kyle. But I am also a handful of other players. I am The Cougar Store and TCS is composed of four characters. They are not individuals. Their skills are pretty much mirrored on each other and their existence is to create and maintain a concept. That concept is a low sec market. In that, I am defined as a marketeer of some sort and type as a player. Sugar gains that title but Sugar cannot market. She has no skills for it.

Sugar is an almost seventy million skill point combat pilot. If I were to pick what ship I fly most it is probably one of my freighters. My freighter pilot has more in space time on her than almost anyone else. Yet, she is not my main. I'd never even consider her such. She is another aspect of Sugar. She moves items, she handles logistics, she builds things, and she markets my non TCS items. She is one of my most important and valuable characters when it comes to skills and moving forward my personal game of Eve but I'd never think of her as my main.

I do write about her adventures. I've learned a paranoid fear of red thrashers on gates and neutral Machariel's when I am in a freighter or Orca. I write about my market and industrial activities but they do not quantify the same way that PvP does. I have spun up billion ISK projects and learned the true pain of being a small scale manufacturer. I have struggled with spreadsheets and build freighters in low sec to handle the demands of my projects. I do these things in, for, and about low sec because that is the space that I love. It is my low sec lifestyle but it is not quantifiable. And thus, with a quiet kill-board I am inactive. For how can they prove what I do?

I think what makes a main is more than our personal view of it. It is the external view as well. I do not know Eve Hermit's main but I know his Eve Hermit character is not it. Yet I know Croda trades across multiple accounts and I'd call Croda his main because his tangible connection to me is through his blog where he recounts what he does for we have no other way of sharing it.

The complexity of a main comes into clear view when people start discussing the CSM in a breakdown of region. You buy the player when you select a candidate. I am a pirate, marketeer, industrialist, explorer. I am all of these things across many areas of space. But low ssec is what I put first yet it is not all that I am.

Am I the player or the character?

Like the rest of Eve there are layers within layers. We are the player, the character, and often the alts. It's one, textured expierence. But to put a name to it, that'd be Sugar Kyle, low sec resident.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cold Hard Cash?

I'll have to beg forgiveness for chewing on this topic. I'm probably asking questions out of order. Yesterday I dove into the center of a very complex question. At the end of it, I wound up with a lot of side questions to ask. As I sit here, stocking my market before I go to wheeze and gurgle my congested head upon my pillow, I cannot help but think of profit.

Why do a run a market? I don't run a market for the reason most people assume, which is making ISK. I do make ISK with the market but I've never considered it my personal ISK. The market is a project that has become part of my life. It's one of those things i randomly attempted that accidentally set me up to learn about parts of Eve I didn't know existed. But, I run it to help out other people because that's something I enjoy int he game. I play a weird game where I do most of my things alone but with the focus on helping those around me.

I've never considered myself an altruist. Sometimes I give people things but I do it for the same reason I give any gift, because I want to. I did try some altruist things at one point and I've never much discussed them. I didn't like the outcome at all. I may have picked the wrong path but when I look back on that entire situation I rather regret it.

Be that as it may, most of my actions in Eve gravitate around making ISK or gaining something. I'm not keen on losing ISK. I'm okay with breaking even. But, I don't like to lose even when my goal is to help and worth with others. At the same time, I don't function under any particular equation to give a cost or value to my time and energy. This makes me rather frustrating for those who want to measure out quantifiable sums for everything.

I don't mind donating to a cause. I've become a bit more picky over what causes I will donate to, but when I do I don't mind. But, that isn't everything. And yesterday, when I was wondering if Eve can actually support the independent industrial machines that it would need I skipped over the entire part where people got some type of payment for what they do. That went for everyone.

PvPers might be easy to pay. Give them what they need to go off and destroy things and they pay themselves with destroying things or making that effort. Yet, they still have subscriptions to pay. They may want to pay those with PLEX and free spaceships for ops and patrol are not PLEX.

An industrialist may get a major dose of satisfaction out of building things. I do. But I don't think that the joy on my corp mates faces is enough to pay for the mining and building everything that they destroy. An industrialist may also want to use PLEX.

Then there are all the little things. Skillbooks. Ships just because. Implants. And personal projects of every shape and size. All of these things have to be gained in some way and that way is normally ISK.

And there is that whole thing where many people do more then one thing with themselves. We have all of these 'careers' but many of us are jacks of multiple trades that occupy our attention and satasfy our goals and wants. We make a profit. We make a profit off of each other. We make it off of those who are willing to make less of a profit. Sometimes it is a matter of convince. Sometimes it is a matter of superior knowledge. Whatever it is, a lot of Eve rotates around making ISK and spending ISK.

And that will involve a lot of people. A lot of neutral people that consume and produce.

There are plenty of things that motivate someone beyond profit. Are they great enough to keep players a cog in a machine?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Oh Great Industrialists of Spreadsheets and Blueprints, Educate Me

There are many things about Eve that puzzle me. It is a game that is created with the goal of players working together. There are circles within circles. We can break down what is and what is not working together but directly or indirectly we do. I often wonder what made the next decision of forcing everyone who worked together to share. Was it the goal of a single shard where loss mattered? Was it an attempt are realism in the early structure? After all, if I take a contract from someone and my friend comes to help me the original contractor is not going to give both of us the reward that they agreed to give me just because I brought a friend.

It lead to a question. It was the type of question that crops up in a broader conversation and derails thought. The question was simple enough and I discovered I had no answer for that wish I wanted to ponder. 

Can Eve, in its current state, actually support a system where most groups create, build, and defend for themselves alone? Does Eve work on that level or does it only work on the level of many supplying the few?

This started as a discussion about removing the reliance of groups on places like Jita and creating an Eve where PvPers and Industrialists worked in harmony. One supported the other in symbiosis. The PvPer, cut off from Jita would need the Industrialist to gather and create. The Industrialist would need the PvPer not only to consume but protect. It sounds great. It seems as if that was how things were supposed to be. And then players and twelve years happened.

As I spin back up my own industrial machine to feed the relentlessness destructive maw of low sec, I wondered how feasible having fewer independents and more groups would be. Currently, there are thousands upon thousands of players that build things for whatever reason they happen to have and place those things on the market. The consumers who consume in a rather complete sense of the word gather from all of these smaller sources at a communal watering hole, and go and consume them. To change this, the consumer would need enough producers to produce.

But that means the producers reason to produce would change. Currently, people produce for many reasons. From the beautifully mapped out intricate sheets of profit tot he casual foray into creation, people produce. And at the core of that production is blueprints. If a group were to depend only on internal supplies for the bulk of what they need instead of the convince of Jita, where would they get it all?

Where would they get the industrialists to build and gather the supplies? And then the blueprints to build them all? I've been working on my own blueprint library since the summer. I'm through frigates and my haulers are almost done. I've started on ammo and modules. Now, I have cruisers to look at and that means not just the cost of the blueprints which near a hundred million ISK, but the months of research time for them.

In the current market I could go for copies. But to assume I am in the ends of space and reliant upon my land to feed me, I'd need to research my own. Or have my own researched. Then I'd need to make copies. Then I'd need the materials to build them. Followed by the time. I never thought much of the time it takes to build until I started trying to produce small stacks of frigates for TCS and learned that a small stack of frigates will still take half a day to produce. They could be consumed in minutes of use. 

I have my own sample to work from. I'm not a high volume producer so it may be a smaller task then it seems to me. Yet, I wonder if Eve now is able to fulfill that vision of Eve then. If the memories of the past are still possibilities of today or if the tint is to thick on those rose colored glasses. 

End goals are pretty things. They sparkle on the horizon like an Oasis in the desert. But there is a path to cross to get there. With the way production currently works in Eve, what it was molded off of and what is needed in it, will it thrive in a fragmented and insular community? Are there enough people to go around? Will they even want to be gone around with?

I haven't even touched on proft. This is straight up working for the team just to. Adding profit or some type of compensation into adds complexity. Nor am I pondering how much interdependence there should be in space be it sectors of space or even just regions. I do believe that should also continue. Even a hundred man corp takes a lot of energy to keep fueled. How much for a thousand? Or fourty?

CSMX - Post #02

Scylla was released on Tuesday. The patch notes are here. Also the Luxury Yacht won at Fanfest is redeemable until July. It comes as a blueprint. People really seem to enjoy them. I think they are mind mindbogglingly hideous. They are fast, tanky, and nullified. But ugly. So ugly.

The sessions and panels from Fanfest have been released under a Fanfest 2015 section of CCP's YouTube page. This includes ones that were not on the live stream.  I will be spending my next few days off playing catch up on everything I didn't see because I was nose deep in round tables the entire time.

CCP Yitterbium created the wall of dev blogs for structures. Please add your thoughts to them even fi you don't read what other's have left. A lot of the complaints that we heard post structure announcement we have already started to tackle. I did ask someone in Iceland to stop getting pissed off at his own imagination. Corbexx and I are looking to start with a wormhole structure soundboard as soon as CCP Nullabor can set up a time for it to start on some of the major concerns with wormholes and the new structures.

Structures are not set in stone. All space is not anchorable the same. This is still fluid stuff so work with me, please.

The CSMX election results are out with a dev blog by CCP Leeloo. For incumbents the flow from CSM9 to CSMX is seamless. For the new members they have mostly signed and returned their NDAs. Then they will get hooked into Confluence and can dive in the rest of the way. Their time table is similar to our own. At some point, I assume they will also get their forum badges. That is not as important as it was. Before, those badges gave access to the CSM section of the forums. That has been mostly dark for some months now. 

For outreach stuff, let's start with Eve Vegas because there is a dev blog. This is a full three day event now which is up from two. The tickets are already on sale but they are already sold out of early specials. Not bad in under a week. Fanfest 2016 tickets are also available. There is a change here and using PLEX to buy tickets for Fanfest will be going away after 2016. When CCP first approached the CSM about this change I pointed out that even with the small number of sales by PLEX they needed to phase out the option instead of doing a short change over. That small percentage will have been hoarding and planning to do their tickets with PLEX and I do not believe they should be cut off without warning.

I'm looking to start up my Open CSM Q&A's next month. They will be the same format where I invade Eve Uni Public Mumble and we chat about Eve with whomever from the CSM wants to come along. Install mumble! I will try to get my Eve Uni login fixed so that I can do proper forum announcements on their forums as well. These talks are not for Eve Uni only. As with last year I'm happy to run these on week days occasionally but I got almost no feedback on that in the end and stayed with the weekends.

Over this last week I have been transcribing my notes from the various round tables I went to. I'm almost finished. There is a lot that will be heading towards us for this summer. Things are buzzing along quite happily and it has been great get so many things out in the open for public response.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

And today, I made a rule

I am a bit wound up at the moment. I'm angry. I'm disapointed. Since Fanfest there has been a miasma of negativity that I cannot escape. I would guess that some is from the fact that major changes are coming in Eve and everyone copes with change in different ways. But really, Fanfest is just the icing on the cake of long term issues and today I've had my fill.

People in Eve treat each other badly. Not everyone. Never everyone. But to often discussions turn into no more then two entrenched fighters brawling over a nonexistent win. Nether side will back down. Many players are aggressive, competitive, and ready to wage battle for what they believe in. I do it myself here. I fight sometimes for things just because someone needs to champion them. But sadly, for the first time today I had to lay down rules in my chat room.

I had to ask people to calm the fuck down when they argue because they are chasing other people away. And that makes me unhappy. I'm a firm believer in individuality and individual opinion. But there are a lot of opinions and beating other opinions up will not make them vanish. They may go away but going away is only moving out of your reach.

But my chatroom is a little chunk of Eve I put my name on and asked people to come hang out if they want to talk. I don't want it to be yet another brawling ground of endless circular debate and opinion. So, when I got a mail from someone who is both sane and articulate that they don't feel comfortable talking because they cannot express an opinion without having their spine broken I got mad.

I am disappointed in myself. I should have caught it before it became a problem. I can only thank the person who left for speaking to me about it. In that moment I realized that I've been letting people chase me out of my own room too. Oh, I've given it excuses. I'm tired. I need to go to bed anyway. I've had a full day. People are passionate. I don't like to dictate people's behaviors. As true as they are, they are excuses.

I love my chatroom members. I love their passion and their opinions. I gain so many different views on Eve. I've been willing to let myself be a punching bag for them. I know that not everyone can gently discuss the topics that they care about. I know that some people consider polite language to be extra words, weasel words, or whatever other term. I figured that it was the least I can do is to weather those rough edges and try to pick up the message they are carrying.

But I can't ask that of others. I won't ask it of others. I won't ask them to get over it. I won't ask them to ignore the nastiness. I won't tell them that I'm sorry they are uncomfortable and they can message me at any time if they want to talk I'm always ready to listen.

There was a time not to long ago when I badly wanted someone to stand up for me. not because I could not stand up on my own but because when I was in a situation where someone was being abusive and cruel, I badly wanted one of the watchers to tell the other person that they were being unacceptable. Instead, I was told that they were just explaining themselves in their normal abrasive way. I was told to take my arguments to private chat. Or, eyes were just turned. I've been told to just ignore people who are cruel. I've been told, 'that's just them and how they are. I've asked, "Why is it okay for them to be nasty? Why am I told to ignore it and they are not told to change their behavior?" I was told that I was the problem. I'm soft. It's just words. I shouldn't let things get to me. So, I left.

It is a culture of enabling and acceptance that I will not be a part of. In the past I have packed my bags and walked out of the door. In my chat room, little microorganism of socializes that it is, I have a responsibility to do something. I made a simple rule. Tone it back some. Disagree but you don't have to beat people down. And if I see it, I'll stop it.

Most of the time my chat is relaxed, friendly, and fun. I drop newbies in there. I have bittervets that will explain the most basic of things calmly. But of late the arguments have gotten darker and more passionate. I don't know if its just a side effect of the game itself or if its centered around me and the position of the CSM. I sadly, fear that it is more the later. I guess that is some of what a title can do. I cannot ignore it. I love having a free flowing open chatroom where people come and hang out. I value it deeply.
Channel rule (first one ever!) Tone yourselves back about 3 notches when you argue. The bickering is getting vicious and belittling to the point of chasing people off. It's not needed. There are enough places in Eve to be nasty for the sake of it. Skip it here. Thanks!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Only, ONLY

I'm almost done with the round tables. Almost. I've been reading a lot of discussions this evening and I wonder... what if I were to learn back in my chair and stretch out from a few hours worth of typing. Then, I leaned over to you and said, "Blogging. Blogging is the only way to play Eve. Writing about everything you do. Pondering the market in text. Taking that perfect screen shot to tell your story. Blogging is what drives a person to better themselves in Eve, to have a narrative in Eve. Nothing beats putting your fingers to a mechanical keyboard (because they are the best) and typing away at a furious rate as you recount the day or ponder thoughts. That's the heart and soul of playing Eve. That is why it all works."

I'd expect you to wonder what the hell was wrong with me after making faces and shaking your head frantically. A few might nod in agreement but I think people would go, "What?" It is such an outrageous statement. Who would believe it. It makes little sense. Blogging is something some do, some read, and other's do not participate in. I don;'t think that many would disagree.

Yet, I've been watching enough discussions to make me pull out my hair. People who say that no one PvEs or laugh when PvE is discussed as game-play people can like. I find that I am terrible disappointed when someone that I respected smirks at an entire game play style. Sometimes I misread people or never come across the topic.

The hardest thing about explaining Eve to someone is explaining what it is. It isn't a single thing. Not even the complexities of player interactions explains what Eve is because for some there are few player interactions. Yet, today, I watched Eve crammed into the smallest, most narrow glass I have seen in quite a while.

I muttered to myself and decided that I'd rage out a little through the wheezing and coughing.

If you find yourself saying things like, "The only way or reason to play Eve is..." remember that the only reason to play Eve is for writing extensive blog posts every day.

Fanfest 2015 - PvE Round Table

I missed the lore panel. It was in Rens and Dodixie which are the tiny, tiny, tiny, meeting rooms that I hate in Harpa. I'm sad that I missed it because cool things about world changes were discussed. Sigh.

Q: Give the new AI to  NPC haulers more drops so that they are worth killing and more interesting.
A: This is a general 'yes'. We are working on that. The start is the seekers and drifters.

Potentials on the current PvE roadmap

  • Convoys
  • NPC vs NPC battles in space
  • FW split into 4 factions with demilitarized zones in between
  • Convoys that travel between those areas as part of the FW mission system
Q: These PvE changes sounds exciting but what about wormhole space?
A: In this last year we have released exploration sites. We want to look at sleeper convoys in wormhole space. We'd like more variation. 
(Note: In the WH session there was a discussion about changing capital escalations)

Q" If NPCs kill you they should loot your wreck. Plus, they could "use" your weapons and modules. Or at least gain a stat increase. Feasible?
A: It is a large undertaking. Also, will players perceive that the NPC they are attacking is now stronger and harder to kill. But the goal we are moving towards is for AI to behave more like players.

Q: Will a new player who already died be able to get their items?
A: Changes do not have to be across all things. We could exempt low level missions and introduce the concept later.

Q: Missions have remained the same since the games release. Change the way they are done. Move them around or something.
A: We are looking into procedural generation. It is a large undertaking but it will have a high value. We want to redo the FW missions this year. It will be a good test spot for the new mission types.

Q: The increased escalations has caused the module market to decrease. They are half what they were and it now devalues the experience. Finding dead space items is no longer special.
A: It was a decision where we changed things that had a .002% change to escalate to release that content to the players.
Q: It feels to much that everyone is the winner. You have to be careful with letting people get items.
A: There are still chances to fail. You do not get an escalation or an item guarantied. But we can look at hte loot tables.

There was a little bit of a discussion from a player who has some disabilities as to limit his playing time. PvE is a very accessible thing to him and something he can do for the hour or two that he can play. He has felt very harassed by people attempting to force PvP upon him or taking away his PvE content in an effort to make him fight. He cannot respond well enough to do PvP activities but he really enjoys playing Eve but he has no way to escape them. Some suggestions were made from other players about relocation to avoid high sec PvPers.

Q: What was with the decision to put cheap ores in null sec?
A: A lot of this is currently being revisited with the sov design. Ores are being rebalanced in null.

Q: With the new AI can you make new mission types? Add in level 2 and 4 missions? The more missions the better.
A: Still working on the NPC behaviors. But we are working on that to let people add them in easier.

Q: Gurists 1/10 still has a gate key. They stay stuck for days sometimes.
A: To remove the gate keys and rework all of the keyed complexes is not as trivial as it sounds. We don't know when we will have the time. Our road map is quite hectic right now.

Q: I actually have three things. NPC never use drones. Trim frigates down and have htem use drones. Incursions are only done by Sansha. Can we change the protagonist finally?
A: Yes but not sure where we stand with that. Content wise I'd like to look at world events. We want space to feel more alive and busy. We are currently using the incursion system to run the new content. 
Q: How will we know what is going on in this busier universe?
A: We want you to go out and find what is going on. We don't want things to be neatly planned and predictable.


Q: How are the tools coming along?
A: The tools are the AI tools that we are discussing. We are now working the bugs out of them. It takes time.
Q: How much time is that?
A: It is now faster to put them toigehter and do more with them. We were going to start with fixing broken things but fixing awful things makes them still awful. Instead, we are trying to maintain quality of life fixes but more forward with better content for people to access.

Q: WH space. We have had the same 4 sites forever. When are you going to play with the cap escalations?
A: I don't have an exact date. It is on the roadmap. The roadmap is just very full.

Q: Storyline missions charged a bit back. They have changed to the closest. It used to be that it was the closest in the same security band.
A: We have not made a known change so if this happens again please file a bug report.

Q: Dynamic events need to be findable in a way similar to incursions.
A: We will work with Foxfour to see about API access and maybe some type of notice.

Cosmos - Can they become repeatable?
A: We are not a fan of content you only run once. Affinity wanted to rip them out. Bittek loves them and won't let her. They need to be redone but it is a balance of where we are going to put time.

Q: Can we use Concord in more ways so that we can fight them? Like in low sec or something?
A: Possibility. We've thought of police drones to chase after you. We've thought of letting players find contraband on other players and get rewarded for it. That type of thing.

Q: Is PvE getting attention on the main roadmap?
A: We are the PvE roadmap. What is being done is our decision as a team. No one is stopping us. No one telling us we cannot do PvE content. We are a real team of developers and PvE is what we do. We just do all of it.

Q: The rebalance of FW missions?
Q: Changes to the NPC AI will be more realistic. Also they will drop things related to their ships. We want this as part of path of NPC behaving more like players.

Q: Can we get a BPC for standings with SoE or Mordu?
A: Nope

Q: Can you increase the faction spawns in missions? They are so rare as to be mythical.
A: We will look at it. 

Q: New missions coming in can we have some options?
A: I am looking at things like burners as part of the new FW missions.

Q: More higher level missions for smaller ship types. We don't want to only fly battleships.
A: Maybe but it will involve a lot of scaling of content.

Q: Agent Quality was removed forever ago and really took something out of the game - Dynamic agent rewards to force people to move?
A: We have been discussing removing standings completely when it comes to picking missions so that people can go tot eh agent and mission type and level that they want to.

After the session I had a talk with a player who wanted to know what had happened to tools modeled the previous year by CCP Foxfour that would help write missions faster. That has evolved into the current blackboard NPC AI system and the PvE team is focusing on interesting and accessible content that will have a wide reach. Remaking missions or even adding to missions will create small pockets of quickly consumed content that people will get tired of in weeks if not days. As discussed through some questions during the round table they are trying for as wide impacts.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fanfest 2015 - UI Round Table

As with the others I skipped the session for the round table. This one had a table full of developers to discuss the UI. I also had scheduled a meeting with CCP Arrow and a player with some visual impairment problems afterwards. That is why I missed the Lore panel.

The questions started with a continuation from the panel.

Request: When a scout selects enemy spotted the FC can see their grid

Request: If we had a toggle button to truncate the overview to see the ship types group by player selected sorting.  Or if the UI allowed us to sort by ship type instead of group like cruisers and/or then gave us grouping abilities. We cannot sort T1 logistics ships for example. (This was followed by a discussion)

Q: Monochromatic icons drive me crazy. Can we have the old icons back?
A: No. We have discussed the reasoning of icon processing. By sorting them by color you recognize the color and not the icon and you will run out of color. We also want a clear separation between icons and the intractable items in the game. Do you all want color to particular icons? Would key bindings help? There is no perfect solution but part of these changes is using shapes to help with memory over color.

Q: NPC Icons - It is still not enough to differentiate them at 125% size increase. When the new icons come will there be more ways to magnify them?
A: They are looking at more ways to natively support resolution increases. With 4k screens becoming more and more common this is more and more important. Maybe a toggle that magnifies windows when you drag them? We know that it is also an accessibility issue.

Q: Maybe a super high contract option?
A: A color them for the color blind? Like red and blue? We have tried to move away from color as a way to define things.

Q: I want to pick my two color contracts to what works best for me.
A: Understood.

Request: When you change settings it goes to all of your accounts. We want to to have a setting per character instead of global.

Request: Asking for what is in inventory windows to not changed. Saved searches and fewer windows and popups that tell me what I can't do.

Request: Stack Splitting for multiple contracts instead of having to manually split them have the contract pull proper amounts.

Request: Stack splitting remotely without using the contract window.

Request: A way to prioritize local channels to find war targets or people with standings.
A: This has been looked into but it is a game design issue. Chat channels are also intelligence tools so it is not just about UI but about game design.

Q: Putting the UI into the players hands
A: Its a matter of maintaining. Right now it is technically unfeasible. There is a problem of third party designers no longer being interested in a program and when then peoples UI does not work because of updates to the game. That would lock people out of playing. Also the ascetic value and standards are maintained.

Q: Any plans to resize the default scale of windows? You can't even see MOTDs in many windows and new players don't know that they exist.
A: This is the type of information we are looking for to decide how the initial experience should be.

Idea: The overview... how about having a setting that uses a standardized three letter acronym system for faster ship identification? Such as HAC? Or STN for station to help with the sizes of windows and processing what is on the overview faster.

Request: That the game remember windows and resolutions. That would help resize with fixed windows.

Request: Chat tabs - the number of people in the chat window does not show up well.
Follow up request: Please don't let it show how many people are in alliance chat by default because of spies.

Q: Has there been thought of an Eve lite version of Eve where I can do the market and PI and such things?
A: Not in the works

Request: Show persistent folders on the neocom.

Request: Warp to icons - Can you add a number when the default is changed from zero so that we have a reminder?

Q: Can we get more feedback when we file bug reports to know that they have been closed?
A: Discussed to check in the account manager on the website.




Absorbtion of Technical Language

Looking at my notebook I still have a little bit to go before I fully surface from writing round table reviews from Fanfest and think of something else. I think I can get the last two major ones done today. My speed and mental agility have been in the toilet. This cold is a slow, exhausting type that leaves me rather lethargic. I often find myself just staring at the screen.

One thing that amused me was writing the ship and module session, yesterday was my comfort in Eve's technical language. Years ago, in a blog post I don't remember because I'm terrible at labeling them, I commented on Diz writing out a detailed description of a ship fit all in abbreviations. It amused me to no end that a mash of letters made sense to other Eve players and how there was a technical language to learn about Eve.

That technical language is one of the hurdles new players have to climb. Unlike many hurdles, I do not think that it is a harmful one. It is one that you absorb and at some point everything makes sense to you and as I looked at my own notebook I realized that I was using that same technical language to increase the speed of my writing. At some point I had left that particular hurdle behind and I don't remember leaping it.

When looking at my notes which are already badly written I will transcribe a section and have no understanding of what I wrote. However, when I let myself mentally flip over into my Eve understanding it is as if I gained a sudden literacy.  Oh! Of course that scrawl reads as a complex discussion about the logistical capabilities of tech 2 level ships vs tech 3 level ships for black operations and their jump capabilities. Naturally. How was I confused?

Of course my notes are a mixture of memory holders as much as preserved information. I recognize my own scrawl more than it being legible. I've always found if I want to make my handwriting beautiful, I just draw my letters. If I write it is a weird staggered bloby mess.

Hopefully, I'll have the copy over of that blobby mess finished this evening and then off to new adventures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fanfest 2015 - Ship and Module Round Table #1

I made it to the first Ship and Module Round Table but not the second. This came right after the sov session which I did not get to. I have a stack of sessions that I need to watch/listen to over the next week to fully catch up on Fanfest. As always this is short hand and highly condensed.

Q: For Miners - What do they have as a risk/reward matrix with the new sov changes vs the risk/reward for high sec miners? High sec mining is risk free.
A: As discussed in the null presentation they are increasing mining output in null. They are changing ores and changing anoms so that it should make a significant difference. Be careful saying that mining in high sec in a hulk is safe. From the ship balancing we have been doing we have given procurers and skiffs serious defensive abilities.

Q: Have you considered an ore faction mindlink?
A: That came up in the session earlier an I like it (Fozzie).

Q: Rorqual bonuses should focus on teamwork.
A: The entire concept of the Rorqual is showing its age. We want to improve it and give benefits and defensive options. We considered giving it strong bonuses for supporting on grid. Something like a 100% hull resist but they cannot move. It'd give time to get a defensive fleet on grid. Stuff like that is the type of ideas we have been throwing around but nothing is in the works.

Q: Letting the Rorqual into WH would put them at risk and get them used.
A: It has a lot of potential.

Q: Have things like the bastion module and the T3D modes changed how you look at ships?
A: I think we will do more things like that. Its now easier to build modules into ships. We want to investigate the possibilities.

Q: Small ice lasers for shattered wormholes.
A: We do like the idea. It is a tricky problem because of cycle times being slow and ice only coming in 1k blocks. But this is a long term goal for the Prospect line of ships.

Q: Have the mass inside of a ship increase the ships mass. Cargo increases a ships mass.
A: Right now we don't keep track of the cargo mass in relation to the ships mass. It'd be crazy and exploitable.

Q: Supers - Drone Control Mods have no cap cost. Just make them passive.
A: That is a design decision lost back in the days of super creation and rebalance. Cap usage can be revisited. It fits into the same area as the damage control unit which they wanted as passive but the module tech wasn't there at the time. That's why it uses so little cap.
Dev Q: What is the goal of wanting them to use cap?
Player A: I just want them to make sense. So make them passive instead of active with no cap usage.

Q: Introduce a capital neut?
A: That has to be done carefully.
Q: Well when capitals collide it is hard to neut each other out and that is ridiculous.
A: There is a lot of room to add new modules. Capital neuts and capital nos are not out of the question. We like the unique quality of the ECM burst. We want to do more things like that.

Complaint: With these changes caps will be big taxis.
A: For some. Others are doing well and using their caps. We want to give them more reasons to have good capital brawls. We did want to remove dog piling and we've been successful with that.

Q: Holding down supers in low is very, very hard.
A: We are looking into that and more ways for people to hold down supers, especially in low sec.

Q: Can we get hull resists and better hull reps? The current ones are super slow.
A: The design behind hull reps is that they are slower to rep because of the huge buffer ships can get. We are looking into having hull reps rep well outside of combat. Maybe attach it to the aggression flag. Its just an idea at this point.

Q: Autocannons - Medium autocannons. Why should I use them? Large are in a good place.
A: This is a tricky area. The statement that no one uses them is incorrect. RLML overshadows a lot of usage. Autos could use some buffs in some ways. The medium and small range weapons are in equal use across all players.

Q: Projected modules like a reverse stasis web?
A: We have to be carefully with this type of things. Speed breaks the game in odd ways. There was a prototype e-war that added mas for instance. You activated it on someone and they discovered that they could no longer term. Interesting things like that are cool. These types of things might be options for supers.

Q: Fighter assignment removal is good. They should be on grid.  Now bring boosters on grid.
A: We want to.

Q: Its still hard to break remote reps. The way to break them is alpha. That is not reasonable with small groups.
A: This has been an onging talk. Logistics in Eve are very strong. We don't want to over nerf them. We'd like to have more things and ways to deal with logistics.
Discussion: The idea of fall off for reps comes up.
A: I like that idea a lot and will bring it to the other designers. Three needs to be more granularity.

Q: Missiles. Heavy missiles. I can't get a HML ship to do anything.
A: HML are not in a great place and they are on our list to be revisited. The way missiles scale on smaller targets is unique to them. We don't want missiles to behave like turrets.

Q: Cloak MWD trick. I think they have plenty of ways to do this now with stabs and things like that. Even carriers can do it. Its dumb.
A: Its a very strong tactics. We debate it internally and we are very torn on it. No promises.

Q: T3D vs Assault Frigates. There is no reason to fly Assault Frigates.
A: T3D can be to strong. AF are a bit to weak. The solution is to relook at both. T3D should be fun but the power should come from the modules not the fits. We are looking at things like mass and oversize prop mods and the speed it gives them. Assault Frigates have not been touched in quite a while.
(Note: I started to quiver in fear and mouth "My Jaguar" as I sniffed back the tears of worry that it will become something I no longer love.)

Q: Bomb Launcher - Considered expanding the non DPS bomb lineup? Like a webbing bomb?
A: Yes. There are cases we could o. The AOE stuff is not yet ready
(Note: This is a brain in the box/dogma thing which is another session I didn't attend. Poke Fuzzy Steve about it)
Q: Non-DPS bombs in low?
(Note: I moaned in horror.)
A: We can look at that. There are a lot of crime watch implications involved in low sec.
(Note: I tried to stop moaning in horror. Failed.)

Q: Vision for Assault Frigate?
A: They will probably follow the same changes are HACS. Heavier and slower.
(Note: I hear the end of my Jagar and almost left the room in tears. I love chasing down dumb interceptors. The death kneels of my beloved ship made it hard for me to focus.)
A continued: With focus on electromagnetic strength.

Q: Just erase their roles and reimage them?
A: We are hesitant to do that. They are iconic. We'd like to do as we did with the HACs but not remake the Ishtar.

Q: The Cameleon is hard to fit.
(Note: I had to do a double take and wonder if we had really strayed into AT ships. Yes we had.)
A: I want to sit down and take a week or two to redo all of the AT ships but it is a low priority.

Q: It takes hours to rep a capital in the POS. It is to dangerous to go out of the POS for easier reps. Have you looked at a way to have a POS mod that repairs you?
A: See the structure presentation. This type of thing would be addressed there. We don't want to let you repair capitals for free but it  may be an idea.

Q: Blops jumps. The first jump ruins the fleet. You can't get up and do it again. There is no point to it.
A: Blops has been hit harder then we'd like. We have not had a chance to review them. Plus we need to rebalance them.

Q: Can we get some blops logistics? Right now the only choice is an Etana or a T3
A: We'd like to do that by making the T3 a better blops logi then by introducing a blops logi.

Q: But fitting fuel into a T3 is hard as well as the fact that a T3 is not optimal.
A: Decisions. Make them.

Q: Can the Rokh get a damage bonus? The Naga does more.
A: We have to be careful to not give the same thing to everyone. Potentially there is room for more long range options.

Q: My Aion is no longer a solo pawn mobile. Its not the right thing to bring to the fight anymore. It would be awesome if there was an officer mod that let supers tackle supers.
A: An idea bouncing around is maybe a mod. We are hesitant about removing the need to bring other ships to the field. But we know holding down supers is very hard.
Discussion: Caps to have more defensive resists to be more useful on grid.

Fanfest 2015 - Wormhole Round Table #1

I only made it to the first wormhole round table, not the second due to schedule conflicts. Some of this was 'see the keynote'. My handwriting eludes me sometimes. It actually gets better as I go through the week and get used to writing again. Some of this stuff is amazingly bad scrawl.

Request: A way to change clones in a wormhole
A: Keynote

Q: Mass Rigs: Can we have more sizes of them? (My handwriting eludes me this time. I do know that the topic was about more types of mass rigs on ships)
A: We have to be careful about these. Lower mass is a very hard to balance thing. We have no concrete plans to add more rigs along these lines.
Discussion: This was about the worries of allowing ships into wormholes they are not meant to be in because their mass has decreased to the point that they can slip in.
Q: How about wormholes that allow certain ships then?
A: Interesting thought.
Note: This entire segment was a bit hard to keep track of and hear because people had a hard time being quiet. I will also note that it was one of the very first sessions on the first day so excitement was high.

Q: Will the ore changes in sov change the ore in wormholes as well?
A: Yes. A lot of the changes will mirror.

Q: Polarization timer?
A: They have thought about it but it is very hard to show off what timer is what when there are multiple timers and multiple wormholes. Maybe show the longest? Or show one related to aggression timers?

Q: We'd like to repackage things in a wormhole.
A: Go to the keynote

Q: XL SMA divisions? People share ships. It is a lot to sort through to find the right one.
A: Keynote

Q: Can they assemble T3 in a wormhole?
A: We'd like to make that happen (Keynote).

Q: We'd like bookmarks to propagate faster. Currently it takes about five minutes for corporate bookmarks to update.
A: Larger corps cause a performance issue because the game has to tell everyone that there is a bookmark to update. They have looked into increasing the copy speeds even more but at the moment for these things no.

Q: Any plans or ideas for wormholes that CCP has?
A: No current plans to make chance but they are open to change. They want to hear the feedback from the players such as how JF and Freighters can get into Thera from low sec. They'd like to provide things like that for the sov changes but they have to figure out how to make it work.

Topic: (not sure who brought this up) They'd like to increase the use of the quantum flux generator to target a part of space without making it to strong.
Answer from the room - No.
Devs: It will be difficult to balance. Very hard to balance.

Q: Why no moon mining in WH?
A: It is to strong. Also there is a form of layers of where things come from. T3 comes from WH. T2 comes from kspace. They want to keep that separation.

Q: Can we make money from our own statics?
Devs: Shall we cause a shit storm?
Players: Yes
Devs: We may be doing a buff nerf to wormholes. We are looking at capital escalations and how they are farmed.  The goal is to give you escalations to do and complete and still receive somewhat similar (if less) then what you are doing now without farming the same four sites over and over again. They will look at the respawn timers as well. They feel that they can do similar things  with what is there. The farming is an invisible gameplay and that in itself is awkward.
Q: When are you looking to do this?
A: (I don't have anything written down :P sorry)

Q: Better repairing in a pos?
A: See the keynote

I then slipped out but it was mostly wrapping up and discussing what had been said.


Recuperation

I made cinnamon rolls this morning and I have started to plant my seedlings. Home from my flight yesterday evening I've picked up a cold of some sort that started laying me low on Saturday night into Sunday. I didn't fully realize I was sick until Monday and I didn't start taking anything until Monday night when I couldn't warm up. So, I'm going to take it easy over the next two days until I go back to work.

Expect more transcriptions from round tables to pop up over the next day or two. That is my main goal as well as getting my industrial machine back up and working and my store restocked and my Eve life resorted.

And writing some stuff. I have a stack of eve-mails to respond to about all sorts of different topics. It should be an interesting time in the near future.


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Exciting Path of the Introvert

You can almost taste the excitement of Fanfest if you hang around any of the social media of the members. Packing, flights, landings, arrivals, dinner, drinks, and city roaming are saturated with excitement and glee. The sights, the smells, the sounds, and the interactions of a small city on a small island, nestled in the cold depths of the Atlantic hum with excitement. It is vibrant enough to feel. Textured enough to touch. It is enough to call to the most introverted soul.

It is a sweet, fantasy. Fanfest is a lot of fun but that fun has to be taken by the individual. I've never been shy about my struggles with socialization. They dominate my life in very real, complex ways and times like Fanfest I can almost imagine that I will step off the plane in Iceland and become another person for a week. My own pocket sized video based fantasy will begin.

And then it comes crashing down. Only it will not. Lacking a romantic soul, I know that the energy that I am watching from afar will swamp me when I get there and make me head for the door. I've spoken with other, introverted souls who worry about going to Eve events. I've even offered to be their anchor. Having an neutral anchor is important. For me, it is my schedule. I've carefully laid out where I will be when and I will mostly stick to that. It gives me a stable point in what will be a maelstrom of activity that sings to the outgoing, social person.

Being social is an enticing, glittery thing in the distance. It is pretty to watch but reality is heavier than dreams. I listen with a bit of pleasure and a bit of envy. I will, hopefully meet people this week and enjoy their company. I will hear new things and have questions answered. It shall, I hope, be a fun and interesting experience. I suspect it will be.  

While I will not experience Fanfest in the same way as others, I will still have fun. I have often seen concerns about drinking and the intensely social atmosphere. It all depends on why you go. I go to enjoy Eve. I enjoy watching the presentations. I love documenting the round table discussions. There is plenty to do for the introverted soul that has nothing to do with large scale socialization or the consumption of alcohol.

....

This, I wrote on Tuesday before I flew out. I never posted it. Mostly because I forgot to and I was a flurry with forgetting small, random things that don't matter but bother you when you forget them anyway. I had a few of those this time which is unusual for me.

Fanfest itself was interesting. It was a bit calmer then some expected but that is because CCP did not build everyone up to a great reveal. Instead,they showed it and then we discussed it. In that, it felt more like Eve Vegas. Excited and bright and shiny but not hysterical. That didn't stop dramatic hings from going down both in Harpa and out of Harpa due to peoples behavior and choices.

Iceland is a very nice country. I am always fascinated by the way the city changes from busy, but not crazy so, city to a nightclub wonderland when the weekend hits. It makes me go hole up in my hotel room and feel at peace with myself for being out of the hustle and bustle.

I'm also surprised by the amount of smoking that I see. It is all outside but there is still a lot of it. And that, oddly enough, reminds me of the chewing gum on the ground. I don't understand people at times and on the black volcanic rock that they use for the sidewalks and streets the bright white chewing gum stands out.

It is something worth doing once. One time is magical. As you keep coming back it becomes familiar and comfortable. I do like it. The only thing that I wind up truly longing for at the end of each week is a large american style garden salad. Something with lots of romaine lettuce and mounds of vegetables and a good salad dressing.

I am very tired. I wound up out late most nights and up in time to grab breakfast. A full breakfast kept me out of the over priced food court at Harpa so I stuffed myself and probably looked like a pig in the mornings. I had many discussions with people I have known online, people who I have never met, and people who know of me and I don't know.

I have stacks of notes that I am trying to get out in good speed. I have thoughts that I will try to express. I have the information that happened to work my way through. There are some recordings of sessions floating around as well and I need to watch all of the ones that I missed and fill in the gaps. Sometimes people are down right noisy in these things and I missed questions or had to sharply cut the chatter into a line or two.

I'm not sure I will ever have the fan fest that others have. I spend my time in the round table rooms taking notes because that is what makes me happy. I have no desire to present things. I just like to experience it. And that experience, I find, is worth having at least once if you are so inclined.

But I look forward to going home. My social meter is filled to over flowing and I need some quiet time. Spring has hit back at home and I'm going to get my seedlings started so that I can transplant them early next month. My husband purchased me a lovely raised and covered garden for my deck and I should plant early enough to have my watermelon and butternut squash ripen.

But first, for lunch on Wednesday if not dinner on the way from the airport on Tuesday, I am going to have a salad. A big one.

Fanfest 2015 - Master Account and Web Design Round Table

This is one of the many sessions that I wanted to go to that discussed things that people want that are happening. This was on the first day so they had to tell people to wait for the keynote. During the keynote the two factor authentication was announced for instance to the delight of those who have been waiting for it.

Now to start on the interpenetration of my mangled handwriting.

The web team had a small slide show to give some information to the players. They have twenty domains that they manage. Dust, Eve Online, and CCP games are covered under this. They are also moving into phase two of their website redo.

The Master Account Program is going to be implemented where they can support multiple user accounts under one main account.

What is on the roadmap?
  • Overhaul of the Eve Universe header
  • Update the ship viewer (they are completely aware of caldariprimeponyclub)
  • Update internal tools for the GM/ISD
What they want to do
  • New Eve mail
  • Standardize the item database
What do they prioritize? They check if this be useful for the player first. The updates page for example they made it so that the marketing team could populate it themselves. This freed up time for the web team so that they can work on other projects.

Q: Does the web team manage all of the account access pages?
A: Yes. Everything that your log into and the front end of secure.eveonline.

Q: There are a lot of sign in spots and you are still having to cross log in to get to places.
A: The log ins have been cleaned up a lot. However they are split with secure.eveonline

Q: Master Accounts, how are they going to be used?
A: First account will be the master for new accounts. Older accounts will get to select which account is the master. Then all other accounts are under them.

From the Web Team - What would you like to do with your Master Accounts?

Q: Master accounts have the characters or the accounts?
A: Both.

Request: A Master API?

Request: We'd still like to see what character is attached to what account. (This led to a discussion where people want all of their characters to be laid out in a page where they can work with them but to have their account name attached for quick knowledge for logging in and such.

Q: Will this allow multiple e-mails? There needs to be some way to recover your e-mail.
A: We can look into that. We're trying to bring things in under a blanket.

Request: I'd love to see all of the accounts payment and time statuses all on one page so that I can see what is due and what is coming up.

Request: Partial payments or some type of payment pool that we can spread across our accounts. Two days here, a week there.

Comment: On having all the accounts under a blanket we need to be able to pick what account is paid for when so that we don't receive one bill if we don't want it.

Request: Please do not remove eve.exe as a way to log in. The launcher does not support Linux properly.

Request: Saved settings per log in?

Q: Will Master Accounts allow one account from the launcher instead of multiple accounts?
A: They are not there yet. We are focused on the account management side at the time.
Discussion: The ideal situation is the launcher that has a play button saved by choice.

Request: Have the launcher auto patch by choice.

Q: Why cant patches initiate in the background for small things? We keep getting tiny patches.
A: It does for art work. The way Eve is coded we can't do it that way.
Discussion: Possibility of the launcher becoming a back up type of application that checks and downloads during the day.

Q: Expose patches to the API?
A: Interesting idea.

There was a lecture from Canada here that star citizens is going to happen. They need to consider this and clean up Eve. They need to bring better things or star citizen is going to destroy eve online. This is something that he has learned and wants to pass on as a lesson from a Canadian.

Request: Update the Fansite pack please?

Q: Does logging in show the IP?
A: Yes
Q: What about when people move around? (This person has all these VMs all over the world)
A: They have logged but haven't really checked. Now it will have a second level to check that you are logging in from the second place or a new place.

Q: Any knowledge on their being a mobile client coming? An Eve lite?
A: Not really although they are trying to improve usability on mobile.

Request: More promoting of third party apps?
A: They have talked about it and how to bring more of these things to player knowledge without officially supporting them.

Question to the players: How important is the in game browser? If they expose the information people use the in game browser for, will they bee able to remove it if they replicate that ability for third party functionality?

Response: We are not using it as a browser. Some people play in full screen and they don't want to be broken out of their game.

Discussion about the IGB automatically populating a window with your actual browser on top of your full screened window and how that may be okay. It is not that people want the IGB it is that they want to have the things they use it for in their Eve screens. If they don't, they don't use it now.

(I suggested they look at how many people use full screen vs windowed mode. Then they can look at how many are using their IGB and full screen. Spend some time to get some data sets for usage cases and let's revisit ways to keep functionality.)

Fanfest 2015: CCP Karkur's Little Things

I was a bit late to this session but not by much. CCP Karkur went through a brief overview of the little things initiative and what changes they have been doing with them.

I'll start with a note that CCP Karkur made. The CCPlease threads bug her. She is highly active on reddit, twitter, and her forum thread which is currently 'CCP karkur you are our only hope' on the forums. She emphasized her thread. She loves to read threads where players are discussing and working on the details of a need or problem. The CCPlease threads tend to be just a straight request that don't bring the same amount of valuable player to player discussion.

This was mostly request and some discussion around the request. It is all condensed down into my short hand.

Fleet window changes are not little things. The changes may seem little but interacting with them to make it happen is often big.

The request for characters to go to the log off screen has been mapped out and it is an estimated six months of time for a development team to change it.

The D-Scan hot key request comes with serious performance issues.

Things that are not little but were done:
  • Removal of skill queue limit
  • Shared over views
  • Multi-Sell
They are looking into or have done logging chat invites. I'm not sure which from what I wrote down.

Q: Can we add another color for the gate?
A: Do you really want the gate to be green?

Request: This request came from a split screen user. He uses two monitors to play Eve and anchors all his windows on one side and his other info on the other. He'd like the icons in space to recognize that he is using a split screen and to be given a 'playing window' that only affects his primary window that he plays in and doesn't cause in space icons to access his second screen because he only stores information on that side and in the current system he loses icons.
A: This wasn't really a little thing. Some discussion about design and usage cases.

Request: This was about putting less clicks in PI. It quickly involved into a complex discussion about routing PI materials, turning structures on and off and removing the click intensive aspects . (this was very long)
A: Karkur asked them to write it all out or post it. She was not familiar enough with PI to answer their questions to see if it'd be small or not. Some of this is also going to be game designs decision.

Request: When the fleet boss disconnects it goes to someone who may be AFK and the fleet has to dissolve and reform. Can we get something that lets us assign the next boss or something?
A: Maybe. She has heard this complaint and will have to look into what it needs.

Request: Travelling: Can the route be selected when you undock as it is after you jump through a gate? Reference spam on the Jita undock.

Request: That the market quick bar remember quantity.

Request: That autopilot highlights the next gate not every gate on your autopilot route that counts when you are using way points and cross jumping your route.

Request: In 2006 the max number of people in a fleet was introduced because of server load. Can we bump the number of people in a fleet up now?
A: This is not a little thing. This discussion has been had before and they have looked into it in the past.

Request: Shopping lists that we can just use to press 'buy' for other people and package it with their name and destination on it and deliver it to them.

Request: M3 on station service windows like you have on containers.

Request: That ship fits save cargo as well as ammo.
A: This is not a little thing. It would involve a rearrangement of how items are current listed when they are lost. It is something that can be done but it will change how killmails look.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

CSMX - Post #01

I am going to try to avoid weeks and days this time and stick to something I can keep track with and that is a bit more flexible when it comes to writing about the CSM side of things. With that, welcome to CSMX with your blogging host, Sugar Kyle. I'm sitting in Iceland still and it has been a very, very busy time. The CSMX elections were announced on Thursday at the Keynote.




I've been asked how I feel about the line up. I'm fine with it. I'm happy to have familiar faces and working partners back. I just want everyone to work because there is a lot of work to do.

Fanfest has released the changes to Structures, discussions about Sov, and some of the goals that we are headed to this Summer. I have more round table sessions to work out, the lore panel has left a miasma of fear and worry. Things are going to change in Eve Online and not just ship balancing and sovereignty structures. There have been hints of world sculpting, systems changing, and major disruptive events across the cluster. I wish I had been able to attend the lore panel but there is a list of notes out there I will try to hunt down for everyone.

The Fanfest day broadcasts are available on twitch. They should also be getting them uploaded to their youtube channel over this next week. It is a lot of information to process and absorb. I have not yet.

Structures - I've been sitting on the structures blog for a bit. I am really very happy with where it is. We're not yet at all the fine details but I will say that not all space has to be anchorable equally. Right now we have anchoring restrictions based on the type of space and there is no reason that cannot continue. Members of CSM9 raised questions about anchoring in wormholes, anchoring in null sec, and anchoring in general. What you are seeing is the large picture and then we will break it down further and get it tuned so that we keep current functionality and reason while gaining a better system.

This came out right before Fanfest and some may have missed it but the Buddy Invite system is getting a rework. It is getting greater flexibility and better tracking. We sat down with the team and discussed usage. We discussed how people use the buddy system and the rewards. Making this system better will enable people who use this system to help bring people into the game.

There are changes coming to Faction Warfare low sec. While not 100% locked into the development plan yet, CCP Affinity has allowed the goals to be shared. That is reworking the FW missions, changing FW space's shape, breaking up the alliances between the factions for a four way war. There are small other bits and pieces but these are some of the biggest and I'm happy to share it. I wanted to share it before Fanfest but I could not.  However, now I'd like to call up a review of the Winter Summit by Niden at Crossing Zebras. He wrote that it looked as if FW would be on the back burner. These potential ideas came right after the Summit by a few days and they would have been NDA anyway. Still, when he wrote his review I was sitting on my hands and biting my lip. My hopes for after summer and after Sov is a serious look into the potentials for piracy, contraband/smuggling, and what it can bring to non-faction warfare low sec.

Somewhere in there we need some love for NPC null sec as well.

There is a great amount of stuff to sift through now. There are some things that have been on simmer that we can now turn back up to boil. NDAs and confluence access will be sorted out for the members of CSMX over the next few days. Those of us still here will recover from Fanfest and keep at work.

Thank you for giving me the chance to continue my work on CSMX. If you don't mind videos please give the information a watch. If you do mind them the bloggers and news sites will be chewing through the information over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled. I'll be doing some of that myself. I'm very, very excited.

Fanfest - The Groggy Moment

I have a sandwich from Hlollabatar which I like much better than the other sandwich place Nonis. This sandwich place war is weird to me. Eat what you like. I eat my stuff with out their 'sauce'.

Fanfest is over. I expect I will do a write up of the last few days tomorrow. For now its two in the morning and I have a sandwich to eat and some tea to drink. I've been standing for six hours talking to people. The talking was pleasant and the standing was not noticed until I sat down. I've met people, had conversations, talked over things, and hopefully presented myself well to those who spoke to me and who voted forme.

Fanfest has been informative. I need to sit down over the next week and catch up on the presentations I missed. I hit round tables all day and I have almost filled my little moleskin notebook with notes from the sessions. I got the low sec ones done but I attended one of the wormhole ones, team security, pve, one of the ship and module rebalancing, the NPE, and so forth. I also have some stuff I started writing about fanfest before I left. In the middle I came up with another idea or two so this should be a full week.

I am sorry that I have not kept up day to day. I was busier than I expected.  It has been a good time but I am so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. I also know that I'll probably wake up at a stupid time but I am hopeful.

P.S. I feel asleep before I hit the publish button. However, I also have a very interesting video of some podcasters having a newspaper roll sparing match. I'll post that later.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fanfest 2015 - Low Sec Crimewatch Round Table

This is the second session for low sec. It was focused on the non-FW stuff. A lot was said. I tried to grab it all. It is somewhat condensed.

Q: How about adding more low sec between areas or just making each high sec area an island. To continue on that question expand some of the low sec pockets and the low to null boarder zones.
A: This comes up regularly. Changing the distribution of sec also comes up. Creating more barrier zones between major hubs comes up . There is nothing planned. World shaping tools improved with Thera and its a possibility. The last time a lot of low sec was added was black rise for faction warfare. It would mean that a clever trader and a skilled trader in the way the game works would be a profitable trader. The economic impact would have to be carefully examined.

Q: Boosters - A wish for booster mechanics to be properly understood. That production was understood. That use was understood. That boosters were revisited.
A: Its a poorly built mechanic that has not been touched in a long time. There is some option to revisit it as well as revisiting the contraband system.
Q: Would you rebuild from the ground up? Production is not much of an issue but sourcing is hard on low sec. It seems more of the dirty scummy pirate activity instead of something done in null sec.
A: It depends. Its an unfinished system and an obscure one.

Q: Crime Watch - I get kill rights on myself so that people will shoot me. People say they can't really see my kill rights can that be more obvious?
A: There was a bug that has recently been fixed and they should show up on the overview. Hopefully, that will fix the cases of not being able to see the kill right. We're going to check how this changes usage and then see if UI is needed.

Q: Have you thought about taking NPC out of their role of drug interdiction and faction police and replacing it with player mechanics?
A: Faction politics they would like to do more interesting things with. There have been ideas in the past of having players scan for contraband and report it or get a reward. They have discussed doing more interesting policing such as ones that chase you across multiple systems. But currently they have been removing what they consider game play blocks from the game and just taking out bad systems. There has been recent discussion on removing the legality system for now until something more interesting is developed.

Q: Kill right sales - Maybe change it a bit more. Cap the payment at the value of the kill right? People are doing kill right fraud at the moment by adding high value to kill rights.
A: The reason bounties are so low is to stop gaming of the system. It would be a tricky situation and potentially they need to update the way kill rights are processed.

Q: We used to have bigger ships in low sec fights. Have you thought about changing the minimum required sizes for FW complexes?
A: We had this conversation this morning. Yes, we may look at it.

Q: In 2003-2004 you could random people. Now the world is so lage that no one ransoms because reputation does not travel.
A: That sounds like a good idea for a 3rd party app or player created solution.
Q: Can we make a system of trust with feedback people can check?
A: Defiantly something for a 3rd party app.
Q: Maybe a mechanic that causes the aggressor to not be able to attack?
(Arguments that it prevents back stabbing. Discussion of reputation in the game and that it is possible to have one.)

Q: A mini sov system in low where you occupy the area of space you benefit from that?
(I muttered: Faction Warfare?)
A: Not really. It has popped up now and then under different names and ideas.

Q: Player built star gates in low sec? Things like the new structures?
A: They open a lot of opportunities for interesting things to happen.
Q: It would be nice to have a way to have people come for you.
A: Maybe now that the TCU is a 'come at me bro' sign we can do something with it.

Q: Crimewatch to broken. Can we fix the criminal and suspect timers for wrecks? How salvaging is okay but shooting the wreck gets you a criminal flag and stealing a suspect. They are all doing the same thing.
A: These mechanics all work on the same principle. Shooting things is a criminal flag. Taking things is a suspect flag. The item vanishing is no flag. Salvaging was designed to not cause a flag.

Q: Suspect timers are running out during a fight and we are taking gateguns. Example we engage a fleet. We are the aggressor. They are all suspect. Their timers run down. We start taking gateguns.
A: It would be a bit much to ask the game to know who liked who in that situation. If the timer is up the timer is up. That is working as intended.

Q: Crimewatch lets you engage with no sentry aggression. We'd like to see something similar to limited engagements to let people know who was fighting them.
A: You only get penalized once while you have a criminal or weapons timer. This is to much going on to ask the game to keep track of some of these details that you were not involved in to you, potentially.
(The discussion moved into awareness and keeping track of all of the people on the grid and everyone's aggression timers to everyone else and when its hidden and not.)

Q: People get a kill right and go to use it but don't know that pushing the 'make available' button makes it available to all instead of the single person.
A: Sounds like the killright UI needs a pass.

Q: Gateguns are a limiting mechanic and they don't behave like null sec gate guns. You can't be as proactive. Why would you let a frigate come within 9k of you?
A: They add game play options.
Q: But it gives nothing back to the pirate.
A: Piracy is a choice. The gate and station mechanics give fights that would not happen if they were removed.

Q: Are you happy with how different low sec incursion groups are right now?
A: This became a discussion about incursions being a community thing vs a gameplay thing. That low secs environment will always be dangerous. That groups who are used to low sec still do these things well because they are prepared. It is also why incursions allow higher limits in low to allow more cheap fits.

Q: Remote repairing someone with a criminal flag - Your suspect flag for RR the criminal will count down and leave you doing a RR with no suspect flag.
A: This convo lead to several different places and didn't answer that exact question. It went into criminal flags vs suspect flags with gatecamps.
Note; The orig question needs to be answered still. It was interrupted the first time around which made it not clear.

Q: Gateguns and station guns will start shooting you again
A: CCP Masterplan has been hunting down this bug and will take any suggestions that allow him to recreate it for testing.

There was more chat then I was able to capture. The general mood of removing contraband restrictions, looking at boosters, looking at the broader scope of piracy and pirate factions in low sec are all very good. This is the direction that I have been pushing in. As with anything, it comes to design time. With the big projects on the groups plates low sec will have to wait to get design time. But, Sov is coming this summer. Good ideas about what will enhance low sec are being mulled over by the developers. This is where my energy and momentum for low sec will turn.

In the previous post the changes to FW were listed. Breaking up the factions, revamping the missions, more effects and improved rewards. These are now on the radar. Yes, its taken almost a year to get there. That's one of the things I've learned about being on the CSM. Time sucks. I've been asked why isn't anything done. Why has it not been done right now? The answer is resources. The people who will work on it, the people who are in these panels discussing it, are the same ones finishing other projects. But Summer is Coming.

There is a lot of controversy about the health of low. I've spent my non round table time discussing low with different people. It is doing better. It is healthier. It is starting to stand up and brush its shoulders off. Now we need to get it walking down the road. And I think we're about there.

But time.. yeah it sucks.

Fanfest 2015 - Low Sec Faction Warfare Round Table

This is a lot of short hand and question condensing. I'm sitting in a chair and writing as fast as I can.

Q: Entosis link - Is this something that we can see in FW warfare plexes as a way to force people to fight for them instead of being in cloaky stabbed frigates.
A: It is not ruled out. We want to see how it works in null sec before we do this. We may move towards using it for FW IHubs and how they are fought over. These ideas are borrowed from the capture point. No commitments.

Q: Rebalance medium FW complexes to allow BC to enter
A: We cannot bring back the glory days of BC fleets welping into each other with no logi. Rebalancing what is in complexes we can do. We've been looking at how T3D and recons are used since released. Maybe we can have new sizes. There are a lot of options.

Q: How do T3D in small complexes look?
A: No decisions have been made yet. We are watching and we'd like to have them all released in the game before we step back and do the rebalance.
A: What do you think? (Fozzie asks the room)
The room seems t be fine with T3D in smalls at the moment. It is noted that T3D are OP.
A: T3D are to good in general but that may be leading to the problems instead of the T3D as a concept being in small complexes. They are keeping an eye on it. Unless something dramatic happens they will not revisit it before the last one is released.

Q: FW PvP should be more viable as a way to gain loyalty points. How do you feel about it.
A: We've disucsed things like decoupling PvP from the Tier payouts and just capping it at level five payouts. (Fozzie asks what do people think and they like this). It is the most dramatic thing that we can do and not make it exploitable.

Q: How about a way to have PvP contribute to system control?
A: This came up in the null sec session about indexes. It is to hard to balance. How the game is supposed to know who is a friend and who is not and what  is a ship set out and what is not. The problem is that it lets you pay for system control with ISK and if that can happen someone will do it.

Q: Make all of low sec contestable space for FW and/or have Pirate Faction Warfare.
A: It is always good to have things to shake up the warzone. And here are some ideas we have had to do that is breaking down the current alliances between factions and letting factions attack each other. Allow the Caldari to take over Amarr space. We are concerned that if we allow all of low sec to be contestable tat it will dilute the warzone and dilute what makes FW what it is. It is also nice to have differences. People will feel that FW is being forced on them when they purposefully live and play and do things in non-FW space. However, having the pirate factions active in low sec in some way is very interesting.
Q: It is odd that hte pirate factions are all in 0.0. They should be near choke points.
A: It is something that CCP Bittek has always wanted to explore but it has been a question of time. Pirate factions and how they work would be interesting but it should not be a clone of FW.
(Note: I am against having all of low sec FW space)

Q: There is not a way to force FW people to fight. If we come into their complex they just leave and come back when we are bored. Could the plexes get HP so that we can destroy them and at least deny them their complex if they won't fight for it?
A: This is the type of thing that an Entosis link could help correct. They do not want to go in the direction of structure shooting.

Q: Suspect timers. Can we just get one for entering the complex?
A: Hesistant because it may not be clear to a new player. But then again, they are in low sec and anyone should be attacking them anyway.
Q: Maybe safeties control entry and exit. So if their safety will not let them be flagged they cannot enter?
A: Concerns that the sudden lack of access to complexes seemingly randomly will not be clear.
Q: How about just being able to flag yourself suspect?
A: Flagging yourself suspect was never an idea that took off when crimewatch was redone. Maybe.

Q: Health of non-FW low sec?
A: We have a non-FW low sec session for you to go to! We know that the two spaces are different and like that. We want good reasons for people to live in that space. Nothing is ever perfect but we have managed to get low into a better place. Its improved and it has improved in organic ways not designed ways. We are trying to nudge things forward and continue these improvements instead of coming down with a huge change that says 'this is how it is now'.

Q: Back to the pirate faction ideas. Would they be the current 'evil' pirate groups or other groups like Mordu or SoE?
A: That is hard to comment becuase that is far down the design path. It would be up for debate. We would start with just the 'main' pirate factions.

Q: Is there a special reason why there are no scout sites in low sec incursions?
A: No. It was just hat scout sites had no value before. We can revist that

Q: On the Entosis link: What if the size of hte ship it is on when used on the ihub affects the size of the plexes that spawn. A cruiser opens up cruiser sized complexes. It lets you pick the fights. It lets you not have to wait for plxes to spawn but force them. 
A: Interesting idea

Q: Can you remove WCS from low sec? At least make them cap intensive or rebalance them so that they penalize people and can't be used on frigates.
A: Restricting module usage by security status is always a bad idea. We need to look back to things like the Entosis link. It kind of addresses that type of gameplay issue and that is a direction we are watching. I want to see how it does in in null sec first. Stabs allow for interesting gameplay. We are trying to address the bad experience part.

Q: Are you concerned that the sov changes will negatively effect low? That people will leave low now that sov is in a better state? People who came to low to get activity they could not in sov?
A: We want people to live wherever they want to live. We want them to have reasons to live there. The sov people say that everyone is going to move to low sec. We expect a lot of movement but there is no number of people in any area that we are trying to hit.

Q: Have neutrals come in and mess with the factions that are plexing?
A: This is similar tot eh earlier idea of more ways to disrupt people.

Q:Data and Relic sits in low are not profitable. The loot needs to be improved.
A: If there are more sites or less sites that changes the value about things. We look more to find more things for people to consume and use up.

Q: Tiers only affect low sec. How about them doing something to high sec too?
A: The idea has been around for a while. We like it but it is about balancing. Team space glitter may have some bandwidth to work on revamping FW missions for instance but it is going to be bang for your buck type of work instead of a full restructure,

Q: People are wondering why we are having this war. What is the point? Or they don't even know its happening.
A: Visability is a huge problem. We are looking for more NPCs to move around. Things like convoys or ships having celebrations for warzone wins. We're looking to give it more life.

Q: Sites in low sec - The Wormhole people are complaining that LS sites are spawning in wormholes
A: We could decrease the spawn rates a bit. We would want to talk to WH people a bit to see how they feel. We could look at the number of spawns and what is being done.

Q: About security penalties. The only difference is if you agress someone you get a sec hit. There is no difference in the hit for where or why. Would you look into decreasing this a bit?
A: When we did crimewatch and the penalties for it, we discussed making low sec hits lower. It did not seem that they were very bad at the time. Then tags for sec came in and made this easier to change. If we do look a this we'd want to look at it in a broader way and add more depth to the sec scale and the reasons for having your sec where it was both good and bad at all levels.

Q: Docking in high sec and the stupid responses of the NPCs. Look at locks outs in high sec maybe?
A: We can look at this and maybe make changes to the NPC and their responses as well as examine lockouts.

Q: Some rolleback on plexes?
A: Do you want super fast active rollback or slower passive rollback or both? (Both with more energy towards super fast active.)

Q from Sugar: Faction Standings loss from militia/militia violance in null sec, such as warping out of a bubble. Do people like it or not?
A: Fozzie asks the room how they feel about standings loss for FW in null sec and wormholes. Do they think it would be a problem if in null sec there were no militia ruls anymore? Worries about overviews and stuff?
Response from the room was let anything go in null sec.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fanfest 2015 - CSMX

CSMX is a pretty amazing title.

Over the last few weeks I've had this little scenario play out in my head where if I got elected I'd write this whole trolling post about how awful I'd be. I decided that it'd be tacky and I'd not do it but I'd still talk about it anyway. It's late here, almost two in the morning and I need to get to bed but some words don't wait to be said.

You all helped me make it to the CSM for a second term. Thank you. You also gave me a permanent seat and I am staggered by that. I really can't comprehend all that it means right now and I'll let it sit and ferment for a bit.

Last year I said that my time on the CSM wasn't about me. It was about everyone else. I'm a conduit between the players and CCP. I feel that has been a successful and productive process for all of it and I see little reason to change what I have been doing in this last year. I do have some ideas to improve communication in some broader ways and I'll go over them later once they mesh in my head a bit.

I wanted to say thank you. Its such a small word for how staggering the entire situation is. I struggle to process all the kind things that you all have said about me. I had only hoped, a year ago, that I'd be able to bring about change and improvements for the players and for Eve itself. Its shocking that its happened and I look around at people so pleased with me and I almost don't know what to do. I never expected things to go as they have and its more than I can easily process right now.

In the middle of this something small but incredibly sweet happened. My husband sent me a message asking if the results were in and how I did. I told him that I had won and he congratulated me. Now, my husband is not an Eve player. He does not mind that I do the CSM stuff. He has been very supportive of something that I have been passionate about. He is also in Hong Kong which means he had to ether set an alert or just pay attention to the time to know that I'd find out about the results around now. He is a wonderful man but the story isn't just to brag about him. It's to let you know what this means to me and the knowledge those around me have of it.

I take the CSM seriously. It isn't always rainbows and butterflies. It can be very hard sometimes to deal with people in emotional and frustrated states. It can be a joy to deal with them as something that has chewed at them for years is resolved.  The CSM has absorbed most of the game of Eve for me but I'm okay with that. I gave you some of Eminem's lyrics a few days ago and they are very, very true for me.

This is a time where we have a chance to make a difference. This is not every day. It is not every player. It is not something that you waste. I'm not doing this out of habit or because I don't have anything else to do. I'm doing it because I have received the chance to try to save the world. I can't turn that down.

There is a busy year coming forward. There is a lot of good things on the table. I just want to remind you all that as you congratulate me remember to congratulate yourself to. This has never been about me. It has always been about you. I cannot do this alone. I am nothing without the time and energy you all give me to enable me to do things.

So keep it up. You all have a lot of work to do this year. Don't slow down on me now.