Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I'm back!

Well gents, I'm back! I resubscribed a little over a month ago. I'm still trying to get my bearings after a six-month break, but hey, it makes the game fun again. I hope I can publish something worthwhile very soon.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Reddit Project

Ok, ok, project is a pretty important sounding word considering the small effort I put into this. After hearing about bloggers posting links to their blogs in Reddit and getting a lot of hits (and hate). That's exactly what I did. Actually I received some hate, but mostly it was useful (if harsh, at times) feedback. In hindsight, it would seem I chose poorly on a post to start my "posting the blog to Reddit" career. It was an opinion piece. I got criticized for both linking too many other blogs and not supporting my statements with links (which to me are contradictory, but at least it was not one person making both criticisms). Now, for the traffic.

Weekly stats as of 9/23/13

All time stats as of 9/23/13

So, if you want to get some hits on your blog, a Reddit post is not a bad idea. Just expect a flame-blast of criticism. 

PS. The reason the stats are so old is because I wrote this post in September but never published it.

Born to be Down

I tried to quit EVE. It didn't work. I got fed up with a lot of things and unsubbed my accounts. However I had unfinished business. I had the rest of the Archons to build. I bought the materials to build six Archons and two Chimeras (along with the Chimera BPO). This was my first go at building cap ships were I was entirely self-sufficient. In my previous runs I had relied on on Parasoja (of EVE Fail Posting) for help on the hauling. This time it was all me. I didn't go from all of the minerals in Jita 4-4 to magically having them in my corp hangar. I had to buy, haul, compress, move, decompress, and start building. It was a learning experience, to say the least. Plus a bit of excitement when I jumped my freighter into a trap on the low-sec gate. Fortunately, despite some clumsiness on my part, the freighter and the webbing Rapier both got away unharmed. I think they were surprised as me.

Once I decided to finish the build project, I got myself involved in some more things while I was waiting. Put an alt in FW, did some more RVB, and started building some capital ship rigs. Then I decided it was time to get my main character back in the good graces of CONCORD, but not before I gave some "you need to fly a tanked mining barge" lessons to some rock-murderers. Unfortunately, this would come to bite me in the ass later, when I forgot about my kill rights. Well, I didn't really forget, when you have been playing as long as me, you start to get cocky and think "it will never happen to me." It will. Overconfidence is a problem sometimes. I know what can get me killed, but 

But, I'm still frustrated. I really want to PVP, and I want to do it in a fun, but organized group. Right now my PVP is mostly solo and nearly all frustrating. I roam for hours at a time and can barely ever find fights. Well, fights I can win (my little T1 frigate against your 2 destroyers and an Assault Frigate? no thanks...). Usually, here is my pattern: Fit a nice ship, kill some cheap meaningless shit (<10M ISK ships, cyno frigs), then get blown up, usually by a gate camp or something else equally shameful. Quite frankly I'm amazed my ISK efficiency is more than 50%. When I look at my killboard I often wish my kills were my losses and vice versa. I want to be able to fly nicely fit Taloses or battleships or HACs. But when I do put one together it dies horribly. I don't know that I've ever refilled the ammo on a PVP ship. That's sad. I would spend ISK on better ships, but I would like to do it somewhere where it makes a difference. 

Anyone looking for the services of a pilot with 80M+ SP that can fly every subcap ship (except blops, marauder and command ships) with full T2 fittings? I have done wormholes, incursions, high sec industry and missions, low sec pirating, null sec foot soldier. Pretty much everything. The only things I know for sure I haven't done is reaction farms and boosters.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What is Fun in Eve Online?

I'm not dead yet! I've been semi-AFK again because of some serious malaise. Real life factors and hitting a rut in EVE have really taken the steam out of my desire to play EVE. I have been building some carriers and a few other items as well as some low level trading. My trading has pretty much stopped after I lost my access to regular JF runs. The guy that owns the JF had RL hit him like a truck and hasn't been playing. I used Black Frog for another run, but paying that much for transportation caused me to need to raise prices quite a bit to compensate. Plus I seem to have some under-cutters right now. When I could be pretty sure of a constant (albeit low) margin and good volume, the time I spent maintaining the market seemed well spent. Now it doesn't really seem worth it. But, that's not what I want to talk about today.

I recently read the Brave Newbies Community Spotlight on the Eve Online website. I got there by way of Jester's post in response to the newest blog banter. I realize I'm a bit late to jump on that bandwagon, but that's ok, because I'm not actually jumping on it. I don't really care about the blog banter. In this post, I'm concerned about what makes EVE fun? Why do I keep logging in?


This is what keeps bringing me back. If I take a break and come back a year from now I still have 5 T1 cruisers, 2 Logistics cruisers, a carrier, etc (these are completely hypothetical). Sure the meta changes and some ships may be re-purposed/re-balanced, but I will still have roughly the same utility as I did. If you take a year off of wow, your gear is completely worthless in comparison to your competition and you may be several levels behind if an expansion has dropped. You can undock and pew pew immediately with more or less what you had before. I have all of the ISK I had when I quit. Granted, there is inflation, but if you buy assets and hold them you can offset this, at least partially. PLEX would probably be a good choice for this. This is what appeals the most to me and why I bother with industry or trading. Every ISK I make, I can keep. The market is real and player run, I can change what happens. The effects of my change could possibly be felt weeks or months after I stop interacting.


To me, what makes the game fun is the fights. 1v1 or in a fleet. Fights are what I will remember. I will have kill-mails to document them. I can look back at my kill-board and say "Oh, that's the time I went on a roam with Kaeda Maxwell and tanked my security status." Not fighting does not leave a mark. To me, the selection of a corporation hinges on where they live and who they fight. If I like the descriptions of their fights I will probably like their corporation. How the members work together and how they approach battle is a good indicator of what makes them tick as a group. Mining ops don't usually attract new members (unless you are a miner). Mining ops are pretty much a commodity. If you have Orca boosts in a decent location, you can exchange that for Orca boosts in another location. The only differentiator is the social aspect. Maybe a group's comms is really entertaining. Or not. It's hard to tell. Its hard to write a compelling story about bullshitting over some rock crunching.

TL;DR: Fights are what makes the game fun, but permanence is what keeps me coming back.

Monday, September 23, 2013



Has Taken My Sight
Taken My Speech
Taken My Hearing
Taken My Arms
Taken My Legs
Taken My Soul
Left Me with Life in Hell

--"One" by Metallica

One of the things I was thinking about the other day was features that seem to have been removed from EVE. I'm not sure if they are or aren't for sure, but one of the quickest ways to get information is to make a statement on the internet, because someone will correct you.

Which makes me think of this.

The features that I think have been removed:

  • Custom "Orbit" and "Keep at Range" distances by ship class / size. If I recall correctly, this was by size, so a T2 cruiser would have the same orbit as a T1 cruiser but not the same as, say, a destroyer.
  • Automatic drone retrieval. When the warp command was issued, drones were automatically recalled. As long as the drones could get back to you before you aligned and warped off, your drones were safe. I found mentions of this as early as January 5th, 2009.
Let me know what you think! If I missed anything, put it in the blog comments and I'll update this post.

Whither Anoikis?

So, there is the recent trend that I have noticed, that is really bugging me. It is calling Wormhole space Anoikis? When did this start? I have been playing EVE since wormholes were introduced and its only since some time in 2013 that I have seen this term. Even CCP uses it in the recent Dev Blog highlighting Tiger Ears' Blog (one of my favorite ones). It is a word that I just don't like. It just doesn't roll off of the tongue at all. At least not mine. It wasn't used at all in Templar One. It just seems to me after all this time of calling wormhole space a number of terms that aren't Anoikis, this strikes me as a bit of an affectation. Oh well, that's enough for that rant.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

Eve Online: Art in Motion (courtesy of  Eve Online Pictures)

Who can see the future?

I've been doing a bit of thinking about the future of EVE. About the game itself and my future in it. I wrote a brief reaction to Poetic Stanizel's quitting post and I just read Drackarn's take on Poe's post. I have to say I agree with him for the most part. There are some dissenters to Poe's view and some in agreement. I think James 315 had a well thought out analysis of the Eve Online Terms of Service (TOS) change. We need to think very carefully about the goal here, the desired endgame. And by we, I mostly mean CCP. We as players in general and the CSM in particular can make our opinion known, and attempt to influence CCP, but lets face it, we are not making the design decisions here. We provide the content, for the most part (more correctly, we are the content), but can not control the framework we operate in. We can opt out, we can rattle the bars of our cage a bit, but we can't stroll in to the Executive Producer's office and start giving orders. Who is CCP trying to attract? Theme parkers? Lets face it, there hasn't been much fresh new content added recently to make anyone want to resubscribe. In general, they have been making some good changes that improved our quality of life a bit and introduced some new "metas" (what ships we fly and how they are equipped), but the game is basically the same. The new content isn't really that compelling. Here is a post by a newer player describing his experience with the new exploration mini-game. I agree with almost all of what he wrote. Walking in station is a bust. Why was it so hard? Earth and Beyond did it in 2001.

What is good in EVE?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women... Oh wait, I'm thinking of something else.

What can I get in Eve Online that I cannot get anywhere else? Single shard MMO. Space combat simulator with consequences. Rich marketplace and economy. Player-driven content. Sandbox. No victory condition other than goals you set for yourself. No "gear treadmill" (the reason I quit World of Warcraft). By the last thing, I mean that there is minimal power creep (I'm not saying there is none, Titans, anyone?). I trained T1 frigates skills in 2009, I can still use a hull I bought back then to shoot stuff with. All of our existing ships are not relegated to the to the same level of usefulness of the rookie ships every six months. 

Basically, the game works because you can do whatever you want (fight, build, trade,etc), but all of your actions have meaning and consequences. If I have an accomplishment today it will be with me in a month or a year. Even if my brand spanking new faction battleship that I earned dies in a gate camp it was still something I had and I can lose it if I am not careful. There is risk in every thing you do. The things you do matters. To me that is what makes me spend the hours on this game instead of another game. It's something I have control of, that I can change.

This is where it falls apart

There has been a movement to dumb down the game, I feel, in recent years. Some of the changes were needed, because there were some really dumb game mechanics that were really confusing. CCPs document on how the old crime watch system worked was over 50 pages, if I recall correctly. So, some things come and some things go. I am just worried that the player base perceives that the atmosphere caters more to the care bear and theme park MMO crowd. Because that will make the veterans quit. EVE used to have much more of a "wild west" atmosphere than it does now. Or at least that is the perception. My fear is that in order to attract new blood, they will drive out the old players. This is not sustainable. This is what happened to WOW (the result, not the cause). To some degree it must happen, because not everyone is going to play your game for 10+ years. So there is always going to be an influx of eager rookies and a retirement of bitter vets. But you should not make that your business plan, to replace your current loyal, paying customers with theoretical people that have not even heard of your game yet, even though it is probably the only MMO that has a stable player base after 10 years.

To survive CCP must add new content, new things to do, without destroying the "flavor" of EVE. There is a reason that McDonalds still sells the Big Mac, even though many other burgers have come and gone since the Big Mac was introduced. Its the special sauce.

Part of that special sauce is CCP's relationship with their customers. Most other developers do not have that kind of relationship with their customer. It has been rocky at times, but it is close. How many other games have an equivalent of the Council for Stellar Management (CSM)? How many other games can get hundreds (if not thousands) of fans to fly to Iceland once a year to meet other players and hear news about the game, ten years after it was released?

They need to keep it fresh and they need to communicate with us to continue being successful  They really need to be honest about Dust 514. I'm really not sure what is going to happen there. I want to like it, but its pretty weak in many ways, compared to its competitors in the AAA console FPS market. Whenever I play Planetside 2, I am wishing that Dust was like that. If it isn't going to make money they need to pull the plug. 

Also, vampires. CCP has been teasing the public with the World of Darkness game that they have been dangling in front of us for a while. I really think that needs to happen. I think there is an audience for it built in, and that it could find a much wider audience if executed correctly. They need to figure out how to make that and get it made. Maybe start with not trying to reinvent the wheel every time they do something. There are plenty of game engines and development tools out there. Use them. With the game market the way it is right now, making your own development tools from scratch is like trying to use Kickstarter to start a car company to make cars that compete with the Toyota Camry or the Ford F-150. Not gonna happen. Just, no.

I hope they can do it, I really do. If they can't I'm going to have a lot more free time in the future.