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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Moving on ...

Ok, the drama surrounding the closing of Fanfest seems to have subsided a bit. It is really unfortunate that the last event detracted so much attention from some of the real issues presented at fanfest. Leave it to the drama queens to figure out how to upstage CCP at their own event - and thats the last word from me on that.

Here's what I took out of Fanfest 2012:

  • EVE has matured and CCP can let the players take over some of the NPC functions that were necessary early on in the game. (maybe we ought to re-think that?)
  • Inferno will be about war. As such, CCP is revisiting the war and crimewatch mechanics.
  • Ships will be rebalanced with emphasis on their roles and the skill tree will have to be re-worked to accomplish that.
  • World of Darkness is still being worked on and it will be dark!
  • Dust 514 is imminent.
  • Faction warfare will get some attention; the sovereignty mechanics will be brought in line with those of null-sec.
  • CCP has an opportunity to update the graphics in EVE, but it will require one year from a dedicated team and might delay other projects.
  • Between the sheets ... erm lines:  CCP is getting very cozy with Sony and Nvidia.  (Threesomes are fun especially when you're in the middle!  Be careful of jealousy though.)
I'm going to go back and review some of the fanfest videos over the next few days to see if there was anything really interesting there.  We really need to get back to FIS or even WIS and move away from the distraction of the last few days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jita will burn! (Wait, let me get my popcorn!)

When I got home from work this evening I saw the devblog.  It wasn't surprising.  I was prepared to move on and relegate this whole affair to the dust bin.  But then I read The Mittani's statement on EN24.

ROFL!!!! Poor Mittani!  Best tears ever!

I was entirely prepared to change my opinion of the poor bastard.

"Yet for CЅM7 I am going to refuse to accept the Chairmanship when CSM7 takes office‚ but not because of our enemіes trying to use my Fanfest fuckup for ingame political advantage."  Is the master of the metagame really complaining about his enemies tactics?

"Why did the shitstorm break out on Monday, when I was drunk on Thursday night? The hard fact is this: the gaming media hates CCP after the Incarna incidents..."  When you can't point the finger at yourself, the "media" is the next most obvious choice.  Read the entire paragraph here.  Is The Mittani taking credit for Crucible?  I was there.  The Mittani was conspicuously absent.

"As the profile of the CSM has raised due to Vile Rat and my successes on the Council‚ pressure has іncreased on CЅM members – and particularly the Chair – to be ‘upstanding citizens’ in Eve Online itself. An ‘upstanding citizen’ cannot lead Goonswarm."  That didn't stop him last year.  Not sure that anything has changed.  Oh Wait!  He got drunk!

"...but after what I’ve seen over the past few months and now at Fanfest, it is clear that I can either lead the CЅM or lead Goonswarm. "  Read:  "I didn't want that seat anyway"

" We need to get Razor a new home. "  How magnanimous of our dear (ex) chairman to give RAZOR a new home. 

"Jita will burn."  I'm going to get in my stealth bomber and head to 4-4 for the fireworks.  Can't wait to watch all those goonies get popped by the gate guns! Popcorn is already in the microwave.  Mittens is only 9 months late to the Jita Riots.  Someone should tell him its over.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Backed into a Corner

I've never cared for "The Mittani", his antics, or his alliance.  This post isn't about him.

The CSM chairman, a representative of the 'hardcore' EVE player base, publicly advocated the harassment of player that professed to being suicidal.  Whether or not the player was actually suicidal is not important.  The chairman realized his mistake and wrote and apology, and that's also irrelevant.

The terms of the EULA are pretty clear when it comes to harassment and when the MOST visible player in EVE violates those rules, CCP has a few options:

a) Ignore the infraction and be accused of selective enforcement of the EULA.  This option weakens CCP's authority to enforce their rules and makes the EULA a meaningless agreement.

b) Enforce the EULA without comment, as it would with any other player.  The problem here is that the chairman is a very public figure and the incident was very widely publicized.  A discreet response by CCP would do nothing to quell the controversy outside of the EVE community.  Also, the EULA would be damaged because the perception would be that CCP does nothing to enforce the EULA (even if they actually did).

c)  CCP makes a very strong statement in a very public way by enforcing the EULA with a disciplinary action even more severe than what would ordinarily be considered for such a violation.  This preserves their moral authority, maintains the integrity of the EULA, and shows CCP's intolerance for that particular behavior.

d)  The chairman resigns which saves himself the embarrassment of being the object of disciplinary action, saves CCP from having to make a tough decision, reinforces the EULA, and possibly earns him a bit of respect (and possibly loses respect from like minded members within his alliance).

Really, option A and option B are not realistic options for CCP.  Option D is not something CCP can do (and might not be enough of a response if the typical response to this violation is to ban the account).  Option C is really the only option CCP has.  CCP has to defend its EULA and has to send a very strong message beyond EVE-O forums that harassment won't be tolerated. 

Whether or not "The Mittani" had any malicious intent and whether or not the subject of his 'joke' took it serious, CCP has an image to maintain and and EULA to enforce.  CCP wants to promote EVE's 'hardcore' image and has two products that will rely on this hardcore reputation to be successful.  CCP has to draw a line with respect to acceptable behavior and be willing to enforce their EULA or else face the possibility that the next violation might be more widely publicized and more tragic.

EDIT:  An anonomous poster pointed out that the EULA gives CCP discretion about how to deal with bad behavior and that the TOS absolves CCP of responsibility from players' bad behavior.  (Sorta lke a legal 'dec shield' I suppose).  No matter.  I stand by my assertion.  Bad publicity will force CCP to address the situation.  Nice call, Anon.  CCP apparently doesn't take responsibility for fostering bad behavior.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


You've all heard it before:  when you transmit a signal into a receiver from which the original signal originated and the signal gets retransmitted - over and over again.  If the original signal gets re-broadcasted at exactly the same amplitude, you hear an echo.  If the original signal is dampened, the signal echos, but fades with each cycle.  If the signal is amplified, you can create all kinds of problems (blown speakers, for example).

There is a special type of feedback; one in which the original signal matches the harmonic frequency of the transmitter.  The result is a harmonic oscillation.  The linked example is the result of 25 mph wind that caused the Tacoma bridge to swing back and forth at its harmonic frequency.  Its also important to realize that the bridge regularly withstood much higher wind speeds.  Here is another example of a harmonic oscillation.  In this case, the rotors of the helicopter are spinning at exactly the same harmonic frequency of the helicopter's body.  Ironically, the rotors were spinning within the normal operating speed of the helicopter, so you can imagine how scary it is to throttle this vehicle through that specific range of rotor speed.

There is a social analogy to this phenomena.  If one person, lets call him Hilmar, says something that provokes a response from another person, lets call him Pod Pilot.  Pod Pilot's response matches Hilmar's harmonic oscillation and Hilmar's response matches Pod Pilot's harmonic oscillation, the system amplifies itself until the two participants annihilate each other.  This doesn't even have to be a heated exchange. Even a small feedback loop can create a catastrophic event (bridges should be able to withstand a 25 mph wind).

I watched a small portion of Fanfest this morning.  If CCP doesn't pay more attention to the unintended consequences of their game design, they'll find themselves in this destructive feedback loop.  I'm not going to offer specifics because CCP didn't offer any specifics, but I'm starting to suspect that Incarna will be the first cycle in the feedback loop.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why do we PVP?

Corelin, author of Mad Haberdashers, posed a very timely question:  What is the point of PVP?

Corelin explains that in other games, PVP is rewarded with money, increased skill and access to better items.  EVE is very different in this respect; aside from the occasional loot drop, the reward for PVP in EVE is bragging rights.  I suppose there is also the satisfaction of executing a well planned strategy, or optimizing a fit for a particular role within a strategy, but the bottom line is that PVP in EVE is almost entirely about the ego boost.

Truenig1ght suggested that I listen to some podcasts by Kil2 and Sar Caid (Truen1ght, do you have a link to Sar Caid?).  I listened to all 8 of Kil2's recordings in one sitting.  Episode 2 (?) had an interesting discussion about the motivation for fighting, and specifically, what to do to counter loss fatigue.  (My words, not theirs).  This was a particularly timely episode, having lost 5 Tristans and a Bestower full of frigates and modules.  By Saturday night, one day after joining RVB, I was starting to doubt the wisdom of my decision and my motivation for playing EVE at all.

Any of my friends will tell you that I am not an ego driven person at all.  I get no satisfaction from external recognition of my achievements.  In fact, my friends often get annoyed with me for not mentioning milestones.  Needless to say, having my name at the top of the list on a Titan kill has no allure to me whatsoever.

So I spent this weekend thinking about this question.  The fact of the matter is that EVE has taught me so much about so many things.  I incorporate my online experiences into my RL experiences almost daily.  At the moment, I can offer no specifics - maybe that's a post for another time.  The bottom line is that every move I've made in EVE has resulted in a learning situation with practical RL applications. I expect PVP will have similarly useful results.

The lesson I learned this week is about persistence and motivation.  Learning something new is rarely easy.  You have to deal with a lot of people who are out there who take pleasure in obstructing your path.  Occasionally, you have to have to step back and ask yourself, what is it that you want to achieve?  Also, how much do you want to invest in the effort to achieve it? 

Now, imagine yourself in a Tristan and the FC has called the cruiser sitting within your point range primary. Shortly after you've aggressed the target, your overview starts blinking yellow, then red and damage reports start flashing on the screen.  Instinct tells you to align and GTFO.  You start thinking about how much of a pain in the ass its going to be to get another frigate out of Jita and how long you'll have to spend shooting at red crosses to pay for (another) loss.  Then, just as your low armor alarm goes off, the cruiser pops!  In an instant, you align to a tactical, pray that no one is scrambling you, and warp out with a trail of fire behind you.  All of the previously flashing red boxes disappear.  You collect your wits, take the kill in for a moment while aligning back to the newly primaried target, and do it again.

Yes, I lost another Tristan.  Yes, I'll have to spend 15 minutes ratting to pay for it.  No, no one even remembered who tackled that cruiser and no, no kill mails in my combat log (my name was at the bottom of the list of participants).  Victory?  Hardly!  But I STAYED, I TANKED, and the target was DESTROYED!

Now, back to RL.  Think of all of those moments, when you face a task - especially the little annoying ones:  the visit to the in-laws, fixing a leaking faucet, an oil change.  Now imagine crossing those things off your list:  No more wife agro, no more damage leaking into structure, no more blinking lights on your dashboard.  Victory? (!!!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Red Vs. Blue

I've spent the last few days thinking about what to do next in EVE.  I've done wormholes, I've done exploration.  I've done so many missions and incursions that the rats know me by name (incidentally, yellow box in rat speak means 'hello' and red box means lets play - they're very enthusiastic about playing, but their games are too simple now).  Mining, industry and marketing have no appeal to me (though I briefly played with planetary interaction when it was first introduced).

PVP is an aspect of the game that has been somewhat elusive to me.  I've gone on solo ventures, small fleet roams, lol roams, bombing runs, and blob engagements.  But the kill mails aren't frequent enough to reinforce my killing instincts and the loss mails are very discouraging.

I recently attempted to correct this with my plans to fly Tristans until I got 10 kill mails.  But I don't have a long enough attention span to hunt for the solo rifter in Ammamake. Also, Poetic Stanziel's experience with a similar objective made me re-think the objective.  (Tristans, despite the buff to hybrid turrets, are hampered by the fact that they can only fit two blasters; the two missile launcher hardpoints don't really supplement the damage enough to make this a killer frigate.)

My character is quickly approaching 50m skill points.  For the past two years, I've concentrated my skill plan on combat skills.  I have nearly perfect tank skills, nearly perfect fitting skills, and I can fly every sub cap ship in the game (except command ships).  I can use all t2 medium guns, t2 medium launchers are just a few days away (though Level 5 of a few important missile support skills are still a few weeks away).  36m of my 50m skill points are combat related.  This toon should be a much better fighter with a much more impressive kill board.

I came up with a number of different options while considering my next endeavors, but becoming a better combat pilot is the first step to all of the things I want to do in EVE. This evening, I put in an application for Red Federation.  Let's see where this takes me.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What's next ...

A little while back, a couple of friends of mine invited me to join a small worm hole corp.  Initially, we were staged in a C3 with static low sec and C4 exits.  My two friends, bless their hearts, couldn't fly T3 cruisers yet and barely had the support skills to fly battleships. Needless to say, we didn't do too many ops until one of the two other, more experienced corpmates logged in.

While doing my nightly probing, I came across an unoccupied C5.  Not having much experience in WHs, I dismissed it as unimportant; our corp was too small and too inexperienced to have much use for it.  It turns out, the WH was a Pulsar and for my ignorance, I was awarded with "This Missing Link" medal; it was well deserved.

Shortly after, we found another class 5 and took up residence.  Our two green pilots had just acquired skills to fly a T3 cruiser (but not yet the skills to use T2 guns) and I thought it was a little premature to move into a C5.  My objections were duly noted and dismissed and we managed to set up shop just before christmas.  And then.....well, you can only probe so many anomolies before you start to go crazy.

January came....and went.  It was obvious someone was fueling the POS, but I never saw it happen.  My buddies are from U.S. east coast tz while i'm out here on the west coast.  That's never really been a problem because our work schedules were synched.  Occasionally, I saw my CEO who gave me a hard time about podding myself back to K-space; but I dismissed his complaints; I don't pay a subscription to track down wh's and anomolies that no one will use anyway.  After a sufficiently respectful amount of time passed, and as soon as I found a reasonably safe way out of the WH, I droped corp roles and started looking for the next thing.

I've been doing incursions since, but its only really a past time.  Incursions are the best PVE in EVE, but after you've run them a few weeks, like all of the other PVE, it become predictable and routine.

So now what? 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CSM 7 Vote

I intended to research the candidates and comment on my research here.  As the number of candidates increased I realized that wasn't realistic.  I did manage to read most of the candidate statements on EVE-O forums.  That is about as much research as I did on most of the candidates.  If the candidate's statement didn't have any clearly defined objectives, I moved on to the next post.  Surprisingly, there were quite a number of CSM6 delegates included in that group.  I also passed up any post with herd's of alliance mates supporting the candidate and paid closer attention to posts that were spammed by the alliance mates of the candidates opponents.

My three favorite candidates were Two-Step, Hans Jagerblitzen, and Mintrolio.  After all the research and all the reading, my decision boiled down to:
  • Who will be hardest working:  TWO-STEP. I followed the dev blogs and the csm posts through out the riots last summer.  Two-Step was clearly out in front doing exactly what he was elected to do.  The others were silent, added token comments, or were outright condescending toward the player base.
  • Who will represent the interests that I care most about in EVE:  This one was a tougher question to answer.  HANS JAGERBLITZEN wrote a very lengthy manifesto and I read every page of it in one sitting.  Many of his ideas are similar to my own and I even caught myself abandoning some of my own wishlist items in favor of his.  Not that any of this makes a bit of difference because the Developers will do what they need to do.  It was nice to see a vision that so closely matched my own.  TWO-STEP also qualified as a candidate who would represent my interests well, but he wasn't quite the clear cut match that Jagerblitzen was.
  • Who will provide the most comic relief:  Really, this was an afterthought.  But it also occured to me that sometimes the issues the CSM and CCP deal with are far too serious.  MINTROLIO reminds me that this is, afterall, a game and his style would go a long way to difusing some of the tension.
In the end, I cast both of my votes for HANS JAGERBLITZEN because I feel very strongly that he has some very useful ideas, communicates those ideas very well, and listens closely to what people have to say.  Those are very important qualities in a candidate.  TWO-STEP did not receive my votes, and for that I am very sorry.  TWO-STEP deserves to be re-elected and I happily endorse his candidacy.  MINTROLIO, keep poasting pleez.



Good Luck to all the candidates, but especially Hans and Two-Step.

EDIT:  I read some of the other blogs and forum posts prior to, during, and after writing this post.  This will be an exciting election!  It seems that EVE players have awoken to the importance of CSM - no doubt in response to events over last summer.  I'm particularly excited to see the support Hans Jagerblitzen has and Poetic Stanziel made a good observation:  with the number of votes being cast in this election, the bloc candidates aren't automatically assured a seat.  Candidates must have an appeal beyond their block.  That is very good news indeed for candidates like Hans, and must be a little frightening to The Mittani.

Also, CCP should be paying very close attention to this election.  The enthusiasm for the elections and who the players are voting for should send a very strong signal to CCP that they need to listen to their customers more attentively and to the aspects of the game that need attention.  If this election doesn't provide an outline for next summer's expansion, CCP will have missed the message (AGAIN).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Update your Clone!

I've had this drilled into my head since I started playing EVE three years ago.  This weekend, I came face to face with the possibility of losing skill points, skill points that I've been carefully accumulating and patiently waiting on.

I went on a bombing run organized by someone from the incursion community.  (Sorry, I forget the name at the moment).  About an hour in after our first attack, my HUD went red.  Twice.  (Damn bubbles).  I found myself back in hi-sec conveniently near one of the trade hubs where I quickly rebuilt my bomber and headed back to the fight.  In my haste, I forgot to update my clone.

My deficient clone didn't hinder me from my solo trek across 15 or so null/low sec jumps.  In fact, it wasn't until our second bombing raid, when my HUD went red again, that I realized that I'd forgotten something.  I made it out in my pod, but our FC didn't.  We were left to make our own way back across hostile territory.

I charted a course back.  The course I chose was not the most direct, but avoided some gate camps that we'd seen earlier.  I warped from gate-to-planet-to-planet-to-gate and avoided a couple of gangs until I reached the low/null boundary system.  The sovereignty here was being disputed and the current occupiers were camping the gate and had it clumsily bubbled.

I warped around and created a few safe spots.  Unfortunately, none of my safe spots were in d-scan range of gate (for that matter, nothing was in d-scan range of the gate).  At this point, I started to wonder how many skill points I was going to lose. 

Then it occured to me that I have a utility alt that I trained specifically for this type of situation!  I logged him in, put him into an empty but updated clone, and headed out to resuce Crash in a cloaky probing ship.  I easily crossed the mostly empty low sec regions.  When I came to the last jump, I took a deep breath and activated the gate. 

It was camped, of course, by half a dozen various ships.  Interestingly, my ship ended up outside the bubbles.  I broke cloak, aligned to the nearest planet, cycled MWD, and engaged the covert ops cloak.  But instead of warping to the planet, I changed course and headed straight down.  A couple of the intercepters took the bait and headed to the planet I was aligned to.  (I'm not sure what they were hoping to accomplish; I could have been at any of the belts, or moons for that matter, around the planet and cloaked on top of that.)

As I said, these guys were not particularly proficient at putting up warp disruption bubbles.  I made my way around the bubbles until I found a spot where the bubble provided minimal coverage over the gate, dropped a book mark, then warped to one of Crash's safe spots.  I logged Crash back in, warped to my alt, traded ships with him, and cloaked.  I warped my alt to the gate bookmark I created earlier.  Of course, the intercepters immediately headed toward me, but I was far enough away that it didn't matter.  I warped from the bookmark directly to the gate and found myself within activation distance!  My alt jumped through and proceeded back home.  Crash followed closely behind, his skill points protected only by a thin cov ops hull. 

Lesson learned:  Update your Clone!  AND Use the resources that are available to you. 

PS.  A corpmate would have been handy in this situation; anyone recruiting (50m intact sp toon looking for new opportunities here!)?  Also, use situations like this as a learning opportunity.  Finally, this was the most fun I've had in Null sec in a very long time (and thats just sad.)