Welcome to the reincarnation of my blog. This will be a public forum (why else would I publish it to a blog?) but mostly I plan to use this space to organize my thoughts about EVE Online and maybe a few random thoughts that are only peripherally related to EVE. I'm familiar with the characters on EVE forums, so comments will be moderated. Trolls, griefers, and those with nothing constructive to add will be ignored. I may also delete anonymous postings; I'm putting myself out here and showing you my face - the least you can do is show yours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Question #007 - What is your favourite Crucible Fluff

Question #007
What is your favourite fluff feature in Crucible?

As I stated in my previous post, I was really blown away by the new graphics.  The nebulae are beautiful and the stars are more than just points of lights in the background.  I nearly forgot about the fact that those stars are now more than just background.  Sure, yes, I know, they are still static.  I can imagine one day, hovering my cursor over one of those stars and having the system name pop up - possibly allowing me to set my destination.  Maybe jump gates will disappear and I'll be able to warp directly to those systems?  (That would be game changing though)

I haven't yet explored a WH since Crucible was released, but I wonder what the stars look like there?  Do those stars represent nearby systems?  If I happen to recognize a constellation, does that mean my WH can access that constellation?  Also,  do the stars change as WHs open and close?  (I'm probably overthinking this.)

Anyway, the new graphics are my favourite piece of fluff.  They create a truly immersive environment.

Bonus Response ... Is there anything in Crucible that isn't fluff?  Yes, some of the changes will require pilots to adjust their tactics.  Yes, PI ownership changes will have ripple effects in the market.  Capital nerfs and new anti-cap BCs (super ninja boats?) will demand adjustments.  BUT, there is no new content. WH's (Apocrypha), Incursions (Incursion), Sov changes (for better or worse - Dominion), were truly new content.  Crucible is just a bunch of great new toys.

I'm going to contradict myself just a bit here - the PI changes might not be fluff.  Ownership of Customs Stations is probably a prelude to DUST. 

Fly Safe (or not!)  07


Last week, my mother had surgery and I drew the short straw, so I get to play nurse.  For the last week or so, I've experienced EVE vicariously through other bloggers.  Wow, there are a lot of good writers out there!  (My mother is doing fine, thank you.)

In this forum post, players were trying to guess the name of the up coming winter expansion.  "Purgatory" came closest.  Its always fun to see how predictions play out.  Crucible, besides being a vessel used to mix ingredients (often very hot ingredients), also refers to a test of faith.  Both definitions are apt.

I had a brief opportunity today to see Crucible when I ran home to change my skill queue.  When I logged in, I thought I downloaded the Russian client by mistake.  It took my eyes a few seconds to register the characters.  Then I noticed my windows floating all over the place.  Ugh!  After I changed up my skill queue, I opened up the ship fitting window to see how my Megathron fared: the red and the blue bars were significantly smaller than I recall!  (Note to self:  revisit your Gallente fits!).  I nearly logged off, but remembered Nebulae!  I undocked.


CCP, you outdid yourselves!  The graphics are stunning!  And what are those big points of light up there - oh ya, the stars!  Bigger ones are closer so that must be, ummmm....  Lol.  I'm not a stranger to Sinq, but I couldn't tell you if my pod depended on it which way Dodixie is.  Oh!  and warp tunnels.  Off to the gate I go.  I just wish I had a planet to warp through.  Shimmering, distorted waves of light swam around me - beautiful!  I'm afraid me and hundreds of thousands of other capsuleers have been dupped into playing Atlantis Online though.  No, its not a complaint - just an observation.  Oh and before I forget, I must see the engine trails.  I approach the gate and orbit, full speed, at 290ish m/s  Blue light streams out the back of my Mega, but its just barely visible.  I change direction - nope nothing.  Then I see a concord cruiser burning toward the gate with a long fiery trail.  Very nice.  Presumably my mega is too slow to leave long trails.  Then I press both mouse buttons by accident and my camera does some wierd things!  What the hell is that?!  This is going to make for some great new vids.  No time to do any more exploring; I'm pretty sure my mother needs her toenails trimmed or something.

My Tristan project will be more interesting with the Gallente buffs.  I've seen some references to the Tristan being the new Rifter.  We'll see.  I get home next week sometime.

CCP, this is indeed your test. I doubt you'll see too many unsubs from font rage, or floating windows (and if you do, good riddance).  I saw a brief post in corp chat from someone who rolled a character just to see what the changes looked like.  I suspect you'll have a new sub soon.  Keep up the good work!

Monday, November 28, 2011

All the Cool Kids are Doing It....

Early in my EVE career, someone suggested that the best way to learn to PVP is to buy a bunch of frigs, take them into low-sec and shoot anything that moves.  I think my mentor must have a blog somewhere because in the last two hours, I found Project Rifter, and the more recent effort 100 Tristans.  So this isn't a very original idea, but I really should have done something like this years ago.

I love the Rifter, but I think that doing this in a rifter would be a cliche.  I could salvage some originality here and try the Punisher or Merlin, but I have very little experience with either of these two ships.  Also CRUCIBLE!  My understanding is that small hybrids won't be getting much attention, but what the hell.

So here's my fit:

Highs:  Hybrid guns
Mediums: propulsion, tackle, e-war
Lows:  armor tank
Drone:  Yes
Rigs: probably

My goal:  10 kills.  My mode of discipline - I will fly no other ship but a Tristan until I've achieved 10 kills.  I'll be documenting my efforts here as well as following Poetic Stanziel's efforts (and anyone else who might undertake this sojourn)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Grind

MMORPG has a grind.  The grind serves two purposes.  The first and most obvious purpose of the grind is to sell game time.  In order to acquire items that advance game play, a player has to participate in repetitive, predictable and boring activity and is rewarded with either the means to acquire the desired items, or the item itself.  A fraction of the game time that the player purchases is spent on grind and the balance of the game time is spent achieving the objective. The grind is filler; it turns 10 hours of content into 40 hours.  The second, less obvious and grander purpose of the grind is to add value to the desired items.  The longer a player has to work to obtain the item, the more rare and the more valuable that item becomes.  These two factors translate the desireabiltiy of the item into real currency for the game developer.

In EVE, the grind is very complicated.  The 'sandbox' nature of EVE allows players to define their own grind.  Early in the game, only two paths are available to new players:  mining and missioning.  The isk that the young player earns gradually increases as his skills (also a part of the grind) increase.  Eventually a plateau is reached where the isk/hour rate does not increase with skill progression.  That currently happens at about 15m to 25m skill points (approximately 1 year of game play) with a plateau at 30m to 40m isk/hour.  The grind gets a little less well defined once the plateau is reached as players can, more or less, define their own grind (manufacturing, courier, mercenary services, thieving, trade) and the grind begins to look more like players' self determined end game objective. 

I know that when I say this, I will be contradicted: a productive capsuleer makes about 40m isk/hour of game time while grinding, regardless of the grind.  At that rate, a fully fitted battleship (as an example) takes between 3 and 6 hours to acquire (assuming 120m - 180m isk investment). For me, that's about half a week of game play which generates about $2 u.s. for CCP.  By contrast, a 150m isk battleship costs about about 1/3 of  a plex - about $6.70 u.s.   (That's an interesting disparity)

Why am I mentioning this?  Because at 40m isk/hour, some threshold is crossed at which point the sensibilities of some (presumably) null sec pilots is offended and the source of the isk is considered a 'faucet' that must be shut off.  Of course no one seems to be complaining about the amount of isk that a pilot can earn through manufacturing or mining moons.  To be fair, running null sec anomolies is somewhat riskier (though negligibly risky if the ratting is occuring in friendly territory) and should be rewarded at a somewhat higher rate than high sec missioning.

Does high sec need to be nerfed?  I don't think so.  Does Null sec need to be buffed?  Maybe just a tad. (The changes that will happen in the Crucible Expansion should address this).  I think the 'grind' is working as intended or needs to be tweaked slightly to the benefit null sec pilot.  Is there any justification to the whining complaints about the high sec isk faucet? That was rhetorical.  Is there some mechanic in place that is keeping 'carebears' in high sec?  That is a topic for another post.

Stuff I'm thinking about (in no particular order):
     The Grind and its implications
     New player experience
     High Sec, Low Sec, Null Sec
     Level playing field
          high sec pvp
          war decs bounty system
          Security status
          Player driven storylines
          (faction warfare?)
          pvp missions

Friday, November 25, 2011

From TW to EVE - 15 years of Internet Spaceships

I used to play TradeWars in the mid/late '90s on a dial-up TELNET connection to a local BBS. TradeWars, for those of you who are not familiar, was a semi-persistent, turn based MMORPG. TW was a text based game (GUI overlays were available from various third party developers) with a randomly generated universe. Like EVE, players built empires by grinding at trade stations, mining planetary resources, and conquering rival colonies. Players could chose to cooperate with ISS (think CONCORD) or play the role of a pirate, but the choice really only affected PVE. Unlike EVE, everyone was red. The game would last a few weeks until a predetermined win condition was met at which time the GM declared the and reset game. I LOVED that game!

A few years ago, I found myself with an unexpected amount of free time, so I set off to find out what happened to TW. As it turned out, TW still existed on a handful of obscure TelNET servers but there were too few players to make the game interesting. I considered re-writing the game for the internet, but someone beat me to it. This game, however, was only inspired by TW and after a few iterations, the publisher started to depart from the original version. Also, at the time I started to play, this version was a 'beta' with frequent resets and very few opportunities to achieve the winning condition.

I resumed my search. I'm not sure how I found it, but I came across EVE in 2009, shortly before the Apocrypha release. I signed up for a trial account, rolled a Gallente character and found myself in Center for Advances Studies (CAS) with a shiny new velator. I undocked and was amazed by the graphics and the familiar feeling of the game. This is exactly what I imagined TW would have become after fifteen years of iteration!

About a year ago, my game started to stagnate.  Many of the characters I started out with had moved on – it happens.  I joined a null sec corp because that’s where I saw my end game but I very quickly realized that null sec was not where I wanted to be.  It was about that time when the monocle rebellion emerged and I was caught up in the outrage over Hilmer’s disparaging remarks.  I unsubscribed, like many others, and deleted my main character.  It was time for me to move on.

I followed developments in EVE forums, mostly to see how it would play out.  CCP gradually started to adopt a more conciliatory attitude.  My attitude was changing also.  I started to realize that I was taking the game way too seriously.  The fact of the matter is that I very much enjoyed the game despite its flaws and there are no other internet space ship games that even come close to what CCP has achieved.  So when Hilmer apologized, I petitioned for the resurrection of my main character and the GM obliged.

When I logged Crash in, I found myself in CAS again with 0 isk and a shiny new velator. It’s a new start indeed!