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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Post Cruicible

What would happen to EVE if PVE and PVP were indistinguishable? Imagine fighting an incursion, but the incursion is made up of other players. Sansha (or other faction) rewards its champions with shiny loot or LP for taking a system, Concord (or Gallente, etc) rewards those who answer the call to defend similarly. While we're talking hypotheticals, what if a Gallente force could take Jita?

I know, it sounds like faction warfare, but let’s take it a step further. What if all missions affected NPC sovereignty? Your L4 agent might, for instance, send you to the front lines where you would be auto-fleeted with a small gang trying to take out another small gang. And maybe - just maybe, rats fill out the ranks. If you succeed, your agent gets to keep his office in Dodixie. If you fail, you might see an exodus of Fed Navy officials fleeing the stations.

If you are a successful fighter, Amarr might post a bounty on your head making you a more attractive target the next time around. If your bounty is high enough, you might get shot if you show your ugly mug in Amarr space (and not by faction police!).

What about null sec dwellers? How do they get a piece of the action? Alliance control of hi sec! You read it here first! Hi sec would remain NRDS. Of course, if you're going to try to take a piece of hi sec away from Caldari, you'd better be prepared to defend it! Why would an alliance want to take a hi sec constellation? Tax revenue generated by players AND NPCs. Fed Navy might pay an alliance to host their diplomats (allowing mission runners to do their thing).

Security status goes away. Your legal authority to be in a particular area depends on who controls the system and your standings with them. You increase your standings by fighting your host's enemies; your status decreases if you fight with the enemy.

No more static storylines! Minmatar will have the potential of winning Amarr space. The Gallente-Minmatar alliance is not a forgone conclusion. Caldari might find they have more in common with Gallente when faced with hostile Amarr. A new AI might guide the story, but the players will control the outcome.

Yeah, just daydreaming here. I think this might be one of those Jesus expansion thingies.

EDIOT:  Almost forgot...Sovereignty goes to the occupying force.  No nation in the world is established by planting a flag in the middle of the cornfield (desert, playa, savanah).  Also Sovereignty isn't suddenly re-assigned when that flag with its stupid tank is finally taken down.  Sovereignty is held by the people who occupy the land ....erm solar system.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A New Direction....

I did it!  No, not 10 kills in a Tristan. I left my NPC corp (again!) and joined a WH corp.  A couple of buddies of mine recently surprised me by their departure and invited me to join them.  After a brief interview with the CEO and a few minutes of introspection, I applied and was accepted to Fabulously Terrific Wonderment. 

Its a small corp with 10 or so members including 2 vets who returned after Hilmar's apology.  So far, it seems like a good mix of characters who are genuinely interested in enjoying the game on a smaller scale than the big null sec alliances.  The corp is fairly young, but our CEO has vision and experience and my new corpmates seem eager to explore EVE and enjoy themselves.  I am optimistic.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tristan Project

One down, 100+ to go.  I'm starting to rethink this project already.

A) Tristans are no match for destroyers.  I barely had my opponent's Thrasher half through shields before I popped.  I think the only damage I was dealing was with my rockets.  I was scrammed and webbed before I could close the range.  Six AC II's are going to do a lot more damage in 5s it takes to get in blaster range than a couble of rockets launchers are.  To add insult to injury, I paid the 30m isk ransom my opponent asked for to spare my 100m isk implants and 20m isk clone.  (Note:  be sure to use empty clone next time).

B)  I forgot to overheat weapons; I should have overheated weapons at the start of the 15s engagement, but I'm not sure that would have made a difference.  Also, my drone never the cargo bay - DOH!  But really, even if I had remembered to do those things, I'm not sure that I'd have had enough time to manually adjust my orbit.

C)  I spent three hours looking for a solo match near Amamake for Tristan #2.  All of the ships I found were T2 frigates or small gangs.  Solo kills are elusive, especially for the lowly Tristan.

As for my pledge - flying a Trsitan exclusively until I have 10 kills is not realistic.  I have the means to purchase 100 fitted Tristans, but getting even a small number of ships to another region without using my hauler just isn't reasonable.  Also, I've been invited a number of times to join other operations that require a bit more firepower than my Tristan can supply and it seems pointless to pass those opportunities up for the sake of the pledge.

No, I'm not giving up just yet.  I just have to be more realistic about my expectations.  I have an opportunity to take a few Tristans out to NPC null sec.  This opportunity comes at a time when I've been invited to join a WH corp.  If I join the WH corp, I will not likely have an opportunity to use my Tristans.  On the otherhand, I've been leaning toward life in the hole since I came back to EVE a few months back.  I'm drawn to the frontier and wild-west game play idea.  So, yeah.  I'm rethinking this project.  Meanwhile, if you happen to see me in a Tristan, grab a frigate and engage me, but don't expect me to pay more than 15m ransom for my pod.

On another note:  I need to stay away from EVE-O forums.  Its a poisonous environment with lots of rage from a lot of folks who think they know how to design a game better than the professionals.  Also, that bitter taste in my mouth is starting to become noticeable again.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

#10 - How Real is EVE?

I'm embarassed to say this.  Oh, not to you folks.  You all know!  But when my family or friends ask me what I did last weekend, I have to make up stories.  They don't understand what it means to go on a roam.  They don't know what an 'Incursion' is.  They don't know why you spend hours talking to people who's RL names you don't even know!

So when my co-worker starts to complain about how Europe is dragging down the U.S. economy because they're all communist/socialist nanny state welfare recipients, I have a hard time explaining that my U.K. friend ....lets call him Alex .... is unemployed because of the credit crisis that started in the U.S. and the injuries he suffered while fighting in Iraq!  Alex and I fly spaceships together and speak more frequently to each other than I do with some of my family members despite the fact that he lives 6000 miles away.

I can not begin to tell you the number of times that I've had to deal with a difficult customer and caught myself reflecting on the strategies I used to influence my corp's CEO.  I've chuckled during planning meetings because mobilizing our project was not too different from moving our corporation to a new region. I have to double check my e-mails to make sure I'm not using terms like 'ganked' or 'camped' or 'ransome' (that last one is very problematic).

EVE is real, alright.  And I'm better for it.  Just don't tell my boss where I learned my management skills!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Barrier to Entry

I wrote recently about the grind and its importance.  Over the last few days, I've been thinking about The Grind and I've been reading a bit about risk aversion. Here are some random thoughts on the subject.  Sometime soon, I'll organize them into something more cohesive.

It takes a better part of a week to grind through level 4 missions to earn enough isk to buy a ship worthy of combat.  It takes 30 seconds to lose that ship.

I do not pay real $ for isk.  Never have, never will.  That isn't a part of my game.  Frankly, I think this is a mechanic that should be removed, though I doubt very much that it will.
  • $ >>> isk allows people with more $ than time to fund players with more time than $.  This is a win-win-win.  The warmonger sells a plex and buys a Vagabond and a couple of Drakes for his weekend jollies.  The carebear who has just spent the last month running L4 missions buys his plex so that he can continue to run L4 missions.  CCP gets $20 and an account it might not otherwise have.  Change this relationship to much and the whole thing will collapse.
  • I pay my $20/mo to play EVE and I'm not interested in paying any more than that to enjoy the game.  CCP may choose to increase the price of a subscription and I will gladly pay it (assuming the increase is reasonable).  But I expect that my $20 pays for a certain amount of entertainment.  I'm not interested in spending $20 to log on and $20 for equipment.
  • There are cheaper MMOs with more readily available combat.  Combat is only one aspect of EVE.  It is a VERY important aspect, but it is just one. Industry and Mining do not generate the legends that EVE is famous for, but without those two aspects, the game would be as flat as the other instant on combat games.  The depth of the game is what keeps me spending my $20/mo, not the PVP.
I've been to null sec.  I wasn't impressed.

  • The logistics of moving ships to null sec are daunting and JF pilots who fund their PVP with plex have little motivation to move anyone elses ships but their own! 
  • General apathy and suspicion toward new recruits.
  • No mentors, no assistance with TS/VENT, No advice about intel channels, outdated forums, and yet, I was held accountable for knowing all of that information or risk being fined.
  • CTAs - You were expected to be in the target system wether or not there was a a scheduled operation.  Oh, no ratting (we're guests) and you must fly a ship/fit from the pre-approved list (on the outdated forums that you don't have passwords to, nevermind that you can't fly shield tanks)
  • No Ratting out of fear of increasing (decreasing?) true sec status.
  • No High Sec missioning - we won't have our alliance image sullied
  • Lag is a valid battle tactic.  PVP is 50+ vs 50+.  Winner is the one with the most cap ships.
  • You don't like it?  HTFU or GTFO!  This is FUN!

 Skills:  minimum SP requirements - 25m sp or about 1 year of game play (!!!)  Oh, yeah and good luck if you're the poor soul who trained armor tanks and Gallente ships (because there was some mistaken expectation that you were supposed to do that if you rolled a Gallente Character)

PST Time Zone - Even your East Coast friends are logging off just as you come on.  Recruit your West Coast friends to EVE?  What's EVE?  Oh you mean that spreadsheet game?  The one with the inverted learning curve?  The one that I have to grind for a year before I can do anything interesting?  The one where a fight means pressing a couple of keys, waiting and waiting 30s to find out who wins? The one with the broken PVE mechanics?  (My friends' arguments, not mine).

Yes, I know what your comment will be already:  "Why do you even bother playing EVE?"  When the shit hit the fan in June, I considered all of this.  By August, I biomassed.  I gave my stuff to a pilot that I flew with early in my EVE career, a fellow who lives 2000 miles away who I never met in RL.  He expressed true sorrow over my decission and my face was wet when I pressed the skull and crossbones button.  Honestly, I didn't even know what his RL name was when I left, but you can be sure I know it now.

I'm back in EVE now.  A GM was kind enough to resurrect my 40m sp character (or else I probably wouldn't have bothered).  I run L4 missions with a bunch of new pilots.  I help them with their fits.  I teach them the game mechanics.  We grind missions while patiently waiting for the skills to level up so we can fly those shiny T2 cruisers.  And every once in a while, we take frigates out and get blown up.  With any luck, they'll be pretty decent pilots next year.