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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog Banter #33: The Capsuleer Experience

I read CCP Legion's DevBlog the other day and started to compose a forum post, but my response was lengthy.  Since Seismic Stan turned the question into a topic for blog banter, I decided this was a far more appropriate place to post those ideas. 

EVE has the most unusual new player experience of any game I've ever played.  CCP drops new players into the game in a useless ship, with practically no isk, no skills, a couple of chat windows with players that laugh at you when your ship blows up, and a few dozen tutorial missions to get you acquainted with the game.  Is it any wonder that only a handful of people who share CCPs sense of humor would continue beyond the tutorials?
But wait!  Now that you've endured the tutorials and have 10s of thousands of isk, a handfull of the most useless ships in EVE and no skills to speak of, you get to grind for months in the most monotonous PVE environments before you can make enough isk to pay for your first battle-worthy combat ship.  Soon after that comes the realization that support skills are more important than the skills that let you undock in a battleship followed by 6 more months of training and grinding missions.  Finally, 9 months after your 14-day trial expired, you reach the magical confluence of knowledge, skills, and wealth to take your first cruiser into low-sec (at which point you promplty lose it to the gate guns!)  A year in, your character is breaking 25m skill points, you have access to some of the more advanced ships and modules and you only have to spend about half of your time grinding isk to pay for your losses, you can finally start to enjoy the game!  Is it any wonder that the vets think that since they had to endure it, all the noobs should also?  Is it any wonder that if a player can endure the first two years of EVE that they're unlikely to quit?  Most importantly, is it any wonder that most players who try EVE don't make it past their 14-day trials?
Ok, you already know all that:  we've all already endured it.  What to do about it?

I.  Introduce a new tutorial system.  The new tutorial system is abbreviated, context sensitive, and happens almost entirely outside of mission space.  Yes, you will still have to grind rocks.  Yes, you will still have to hunt a few rats.  You will also get a lesson on how to adjust your overview settings and how to use the directional scanner.  You may even be assigned to melee missions with other players to introduce players to the concepts of aggression timers and PVP.  Also, Aurora should coach new players through the stereo system of your rookie ship rather than via tex messages.
II.  Re-invent the NPC corporation.  New pilots should not be assigned to a new corporation right away.  Aurora, having learned about the new pilots play style, assigns the pilot to smaller player corporations based on the pilots preferred language, when the pilot is most likely to be active, and what the player seems to like most.  The new NPC corp has an NPC CEO who assigns missions (both group and solo objectives - see III) and declares war on other NPC corporations.  Gradually, as the player and corp matures, the NPC CEO becomes a less active until he/she resigns his post, and either assigns the CEO role to the most active candidate, opens elections, or merges the corporation with another NPC Corporation (in case the NPC corporation is too small or inactive).

III.  Abandon missions for organic objectives that are more consistent with the player/corporations' objectives.  Missions haven't changed significantly in the three years that I've been playing EVE and frankly, they're boring, outdated, and create a class of players that are commonly referred to as 'carebears'.  There will always be miners, industrialists, marketeers, explorers, and mission runners, but new players should at least be introduced to the non-pve career paths.  This is an opportunity for some creativity.  Think pirate NPC corps, FW NPC corps, Sovereign NPC corps.

IV.  Accelerate new player development.  I think its unreasonable to expect a new player to play the game for an entire year before they get their first solo kill mail.  At month one, a new pilot should be able to fly a frigate with 90% of the ships maximum capabilities.  By month 6, a new pilot should be able to fly a battlecruiser with 90% of its maximum capabilities.  Some of the core fitting skills should be automatically acquired and acquired in tandem with development of ship and weapons skills.  To balance the new skill acquisition, the more advanced ships should be tougher to get into.

The new player experience as it stands is flat, boring, and out of date.  If this is a players first experience with EVE, its no wonder they leave so quickly.   The new player experience should be tantalizing enough so that he will endure steep learning curve, the long skill queues and the isk grind to realize the depth and immersion of one of the best MMOs around.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hans Jagerblitzen - Turning the Tables

I've been reading a lot of candidate statements and old forum posts in the last few weeks.  Most of the candidates statements have no substance to them.  Also, it seems that the null sec alliances are extending their meta game to CSM. 

Most of the really important mechanics in EVE are broken and CCP is going to have to step up their game this year.  CSM7 will have to present a vision to CCP of how the game should look or we'll be stuck with an expansion similar to Dominion.  (Dominion is proof that the developers don't actually play their own game).  When I review a candidate, I'm looking for that vision.  Its unlikely that CCP will implement all of the ideas of all of the candidates.  Its not even likely that they adopt most of the ideas; CCP likes to come up with their own solutions.  But CSM has an opportunity to guide CCP in very specific directions and the vision of CSM candidates give folks like me a sense of what that direction is.

Hans Jagerblitzen did just that.  He made the effort to write some of his thoughts down in a 'manifesto'.  Though he bills himself as an "Empire Candidate" he is no carebear.  His manifesto presents some ideas about how to restore the war dec and bounty system, how to reinvigorate low-sec, and most important (for me) how to bring some balance back empire pvp.  He is not one of those griefers you see on the forums whining that  Empire is too safe, nor is he a carebear advocating rainbows and ponies.  His vision is fair and balanced and, if implimented, would go a long way toward freshening up Empire life.

Why should you vote for him? 

  • Empire residents:  He's got your back.
  • Faction Warfare:  He's one of you!
  • Low-sec Pirate:  You want more targets, right?
  • Griefers:  some of you may enjoy prey that fights back.  Tear collectors should vote for someone else.
  • Null Sec/WH Residents:  This plan offers a bridge between Empire residency and Null residency.  Seriously, some of the null bloc solutions I've seen will more likely to cause an empire resident to unsub than to move to null.  Null needs more cannon fodd...erm combat pilots and CCP needs more subs.  This guy knows what he's talking about and you can spare a seat at the table for him.
  • Industrialist:  Sorry Indy's....I don't share enough of your perspective to be able to tell you how this plan will work for you.
So we've established that Hans has a vision, but he has some hurdles he has to overcome.  A) He doesn't have a lot of exposure - yet.  CSM7 is too important for you to vote for a candidate who won't get a seat.  That being said, HE IS WORTHY OF YOUR SUPPORT! At the very least, he has the opportunity here to change the focus of the discussion.  B)  If (when) elected, he will likely be surrounded by delegates who are louder and have a different agenda.  He needs overwhelming support to legitmize his campaign.  MAKE IT HAPPEN!

I'll be following Hans's candidacy closely here.  He's got my interest and he really deserves yours.

Here are some usefull links if you want to show your support or learn more:

Blog:  http://hansshotfirst.blogspot.com/
Manifesto:  http://dl.eve-files.com/media/1202/Hans_Jagerblitzen_for_CSM7.pdf
Candidacy Announcement:  https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=66900&find=unread

EDIT:  Hans's candidacy announcement clearly shows that he has the support, his platform is legitimate, and he is electable.  Go for the Chair, Hans!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Dovinian opened his candidacy with a short introduction about his RL character.  He's young and married with no kids....yet.  The next important point to me is the fact that he joined EVE a few years prior, but left because the game was too complicated and had too few resources for him to get a firm grasp.  I can certainly relate to that.  I assume that since he mentioned the new player experience, that this is one area that he's interested.  He also mentioned that he thought that the POS and corporation management interfaces need some attention....Indeed they do.

His introduction was followed by a long list of Dreddit (the corporation to which he belongs) members endorsing his candidacy and a few Goons sprinkled in for good measure.  Most of the thread, however, was about 'beeping'.  The thread was apparently locked by a Developer, and then unlocked after which the discussion about 'beeping' continued.

Dreddit and TEST Alliance are primarily null sec outfits.  Null Sec interests are well represented throughout the list of candidates and, unfortunately, Dovinian did not distinguish himself. 

I didn't bother to look beyond Dovinian's candidacy post for insights because I don't take his candidacy seriously.  I will, of course, keep an open mind.

Good luck Dovinian.

Alekseyev Karrde

Alekseyev is the second CSM candidate that I'll review here.  I've read his candidacy post which is mirrored on his blog

Focus:  Mercenary experience.
Secondary Focus: War Declaration mechanics, small gang PVP
Tertiary focus:  broken game mechanics.

The Good: 

Member of Noir., a well known and respected mercenary corporation.  I haven't had any business with Noir. directly.  I may have ended up on some of their kill mails, but I don't really pay attention to such things and I certainly wouldn't hold that against them.  What is important is that I've heard of them and this is important because any viable candidate has to have some brand recognition. 

Member of CSM4:  This guy's been there before, he knows the players and he knows the process.  Experience is invaluable and he has already established relationships with CCP developers (for better or worse).

Platform:  War Declaration mechanics are indeed broken.  War declarations are far too easy to evade, and have little or no impact or consequence to the game.  If the war dec function was removed from EVE, I don't think anyone would notice.  That being said, Alekseyev didn't mention how he'd like to see the mechanic fixed (more later).

The Bad:

Area of Play:  Mercenary corporations operate in a small niche of EVE that was created as an indirect consequence of other mechanics in the game.  That in itself isn't bad, but the Mercenary experience is a very small aspect of EVE that affects only a handful of players.  Of course fixing the war dec mechanics is important to a mercenary corporation like Noir.  Unfortunately this platform alone is far too narrow to support another merc bloc candidate.

Over representation:  Selene and Elise apparently represent the Mercenary bloc on CSM6.  Selene has already announced and won a position on the CSM7 ballot.  Elise has not.   If Alekseyev's platform was a bit wider and if he had addressed a wider range of issues, I would have dismissed his association with the merc bloc as a non issue. Even one seat going to a single candidate with a focus on war dec mechanics and the mercenary experience is over representing that small group of players.

Specifics:  Alekseyev offered very few specifics in his candidacy announcement.  What's clear is that he wants to fix war dec mechanics, but he hasn't presented any vision for what his solution would look like.  I realize that CCP likes to come up with their own solutions to problems.  I think that the candidates idea of a solution is an important indication of how he will frame his argument. 

Communications:  A few questions were posted in Alekseyev's  announcement.  None were answered.  We already have too many non-responsive CSM members.

History:  A search of forum posts by Alekseyev yielded three posts, one of which was his announcement.  Apparently Noir. was involved in a dispute with another corporation over the terms of a contract.  The posts yielded no insight into this candidate's perspective.

Conclusion:  At this time I can not support Alekseyev for CSM7. While I agree with his assessment about war dec mechanics and I personally admire Noir., Alekseyev's platform is too narrow to deserve a seat on CSM7.

Good Luck, Alekseyev.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Character counts

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm starting to research the candidates for CSM7.  First and foremost, I will not be supporting anyone associated with the Goons.  I never really cared for The Mittani's snarky posts, his gamesmanship, or his ego.  I'm really not sure what he did on CSM6 or what his role was in resolving last summers standoff between CCP and its customers.  His role on CSM6 is unimportant to me; I don't like the guy.

I read this forum post.  The condensed version is that some poor noob got scammed while applying for membership with Goonwaffe.  Apparently this guy thought it was reasonable to pay billions of isk for the opportunity to apply to Mittani's corporation.  That was stupid.  Goonwaffe is renowned for this kind of scamming and openly brags about it.  In fact, this is the second post of this sort I've seen in the last few weeks.  Goonwaffe has no integrity.  Pay special attention to this post in that same thread by The Mittani.  Notice The Mittani's CSM label under his name and above the name of his Corporation. 

If you elect a scammer to CSM, you're asking to be misrepresented.