Thursday, May 30, 2013

Slowest Kid in the Class FTW!!

~or, “No Moar Lost in Space…”

This may be my very first ‘Oh dear gods is CCP stoopid’ post. A sentiment I generally do not believe or promulgate but while the WiS part of Incarna was an extreme management and foresight failure, THIS is an intentional bag-full-of-fail… and as such they do deserve the Stoopid tag this time. What follows is all pulled directly from this Dev Blog, “Probe Scanning and other Goodies for Odyssey” and its feedback thread.

CCP SoniClover gives details on Directional and Probe Scanning changes (amongst others) coming in Odyssey and the reasoning behind them… in a nutshell, “The goal was to try to make exploration as easily accessible in the early stages as (mining and missioning), as exploration allows players to experience better the unique flair of EVE than mining or missioning does.”.

That’s it. The main objective with the changes to Directional and Probe Scanning are to make it LESS DIFFICULT (IE nerf it) for noobs in order to give them another accessible venue for initial ISK making other than mining and missioning.

Here is my gripe…

I.   Magic Probes.

"The recall and expire options have been changed a bit – recall is now instantaneous and happens automatically on system jump or dock. Probes still have a timer, but instead of being lost when the timer is out, they automatically recall instead... No more forsaken probes in space!"

‘Magic’ probes are probes that do not ‘time out’, instawarp back into your hold and cannot be lost… This is IMHO, the worst possible change and the worst possible gameplay breaker in the Odyssey changes. The reason is it breaks Risk and Immersion.

This breaks ‘Risk’, making EvE ‘Safer’ because probes are the ONLY way to gain access to some (used to be many) sites in new Eden… among them the wormholes that lead to Anoikis. Without probes, no one can explore W-space, ever. This breaks the single biggest inherent Risk one takes when one jumps into a wormhole (and one of the reasons it is so damned exciting) and that is, getting back out again.

Because Probes are a piece of autonomous equipment, they have a definitive ‘life’ and as things stand now you really have to watch what you're doing because if you run out of ‘time’ your probes die AND if you dunt have more in your hold… you are well and truly screwed… all of which creates excitement and Risk and Immersion and without which we have the beginnings of WoW in Space… What’s next? Spells to stabilize wormholes and make them appear on Dscan as warpables so new players can’t ever get lost?

SoniClover says ‘no more forsaken probes in space’ like it’s a GOOD thing… How in hell can he feel that way about removing an inherent risk so badly? I can only assume the Great Nerf Creep has begun… the need to bring in and retain new players and open EvE to the mass market may now be the Clarion Call of CCP. This is a weather change away from the PvP oriented ‘Risk is Real’ sandbox ideal that the game was based on and that the current playerbase has grown up with.

If I sound bitter, it’s ‘cause I am about this particular change because it is not ‘needed’ in order to make the game more accessible to new players. It does not stop, nerf or change any form of Non-Consensual PvP, it only removes an acceptable and well documented risk taken by the player himself. This breaks Risk completely in this area of EvE and once you start down that road… once you say, come on, it’s just 'a little change’ here and ‘a little change’ there… then the end is written on the wall… one day we will wake to find ourselves in Trammel surrounded by hoards of 12 year olds… all playing EvE in God Mode... now won't THAT be just so much fun!

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Time of Holiday, a Time of Reflection...

~or, Coming Together by Going Away…

This past weekend is known as the Memorial Day Holiday where we Matarii pay our respects to those who have fought for our freedom and way of life. We have a deep seated belief in the honor, dignity and right to self determination that is the hallmark of a free people. The Minmatar especially have a reverence for these beliefs due to our long and continuing oppression by the godless Amarr.

There are those as will say the Amarr are not godless, that of all the races of New Eden they are the most fervent in their religion and religious beliefs… but that, to the Matarii, does not equate with being close to the gods… In the case of the Amarr, it is quite the reverse. They are religious fanatics who use their religion to enslave others and to control their own people.

The Reclaiming is a core tenet of the Amarrian faith.  This is the religion based conquest of all mankind to bring all of humanity under the Amarrian faith. The Book of Reclaiming is all the proof anyone needs that the Amarr have no respect or care for the beliefs of others. They have no brotherly love in them. The spirit of forgiveness and respect for others does not reside in the Amarr religion.

To Minmatar this is godlessness. To be without the grace of the gods, to be without love for all brothers and sisters in this verse… that is such a great sadness… and is the cause of the suffering the Matarii have, and continue to endure in our history in New Eden.

In this time of holiday, we Matarii gather with friends and family to thank the gods for what we have, and to ask them and our valiant ancestors who fought for our freedom and the great Republic we now have, to watch over us and help us keep our people and our Republic safe, and to bring our lost brothers and sisters out of oppression.

For my my part, I have brought my family to a world I discovered many years ago… It is called Uurth. There is a spot here, a lovely place I call Guarding Cove on the edge of a great bay where the waters of several rivers converge. It is a place free from the stress of daily life, and death, in New Eden… a place I can regroup and spend time with my family and our pets without constantly spamming Dscan.

I thank the gods for all who came before and fought, and those who died so we may have the life we do, and for those who stand on that wall for us today, ready, willing and able to answer the call if needed to defend us and our way of life.

I watch my ten year old daughter learning to stand on her own as she take the canoe across the cove on her own for the first time and I Thank you all.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Friday, May 24, 2013

EvE is a Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma...

And It Needs to Stay That Way…

First, this is in direct response to Ripard Teg’s post, “Mystery box”.  His post is about the juxtaposition between what is considered ‘Useful’ complexity as compared to ‘Useless’ complexity.  In it Ripard asks for some player input on this topic.

Second, please give it a read, it’s worth it, as usual… go on… I’ll wait.

He hits a few key points as I see it:
(1) There is little to no documentation on much of the mechanics in EvE.
(2) Much of what documentation is available to the players is often:
    (a) made by the players and
    (b) changes when patches (IE rebalancing) and expansions (new features/changes) drop.
(3) Players endlessly debate the underlying mechanics of the game.

Now for all those who dint actually read it, a few quotes…

“I've blogged endlessly on the difference between needless complexity in EVE and complexity that adds to EVE's rich game-play. Which do you think this is? When you have to endlessly debate… (insert any EvE game mechanic) …is that adding to the richness of the game?  Or is it complexity for the sake of complexity that should be simplified or removed?”

“…in my opinion, most of the rich complexity of EVE comes from how the combat system is applied, not the mechanics of the combat system itself.”

OK… my response.

First off, this is a purely subjective topic. As I have said afore and will say again… one man’s needless complexity is another man’s fascinating intricacy. For instance players who ‘enjoy’ mining & Industry for the most part love the complexity of the ores to minerals to P1 to P2 to P3 to P4 and T1 to T2 to T3 and mods to ships to etc., etc. PvP players love the complexity of the multiple ships/mods/fits/weapons/damage types/tank/buffer or active/ etc., etc.

Second off, life is complex. It’s not EASY, and sometimes, hell often, the not easy stuff is WHY life is worthwhile. It is what we struggle against, what we are challenged by, it is what makes us grow and improve. It life was easy it would be BORING. We learn nothing from success except that ‘that’ worked, we LEARN from failure… from setbacks, from adversity, from challenges.

Third, IMHO… Complexity = Richness / Simplicity = Lackluster. This is a general & subjective position and can be effectively argued in detail, but I am making a very generalized statement. In gaming Nerf = bad / Buff = good. Dumbing down any of EvE’s complexity without extremely good cause is an overall nerf.

One of the biggest reasons I love EvE is because of its seemingly (yet not) random and sometimes, yes, aggravating complexity… Because it is worthwhile to figure it out, to rail against it and to win over it… and learn, and grow and improve… and then, just like real life, things change and we have to start all over again… discovering, exploring, trying new things and failing… but the whole time “learning”.

The reason there is little to no documentation about EvE is because CCP has not provided it. I mean it is, after all, A COMPUTER PROGRAM. It’s ALL code and CCP has to have not only the code but documentation about the code or they would be unable to work on the code. Unlike real life which has evolved and grown over millennia, over millions, billions of years, which just happened, and therefore cannot have ‘documentation’.

New Eden was ‘created’, written, by man. It’s all there in the language of computers, in the code and I personally believe that one way to keep things ‘real’ is why CCP has never released very much detailed information on the inner workings of the mechanics of EvE.

But if they did, imagine the situation, with a little hard work & study maybe some EFT/PYFAing and Boom… all the answers are known. Imagine if IRL ‘_______’ (insert deity of your choice) actually came down from the mount (arrived on a bolt of lightning, appeared in a puff of smoke, stepped off the tram…) and started handing out signed copies of a “Manual for Life”… all the details, how everything works, what to do, how to succeed, how to be happy… no questions, no worries, “everyone” who cares to read instantly becomes a Special Snowflake… oh yea… some fun then huh?

Ripard says in his opinion, and I quote again…

“In my opinion, someone very smart needs to take EVE's combat system, break it down and flow chart it, simplify it, and rebuild in a similar fashion to what was done with Crimewatch.”

“It wouldn't reduce the richness of the game at all if I could explain EVE combat in simple terms.”

No and Yes. No… Simplify = nerf. Sorry, but that is exactly how I feel. Reality cannot be simplified. Oh yes, we can create tools that ease the burden of labors, both manual and mental, but in the doing we add the complexity of those very systems to our lives.

EvE, IMHO, is the best virtuality that currently exists. Part of the reason for that is the complexity, the sometimes maddening complexity. Simplifying EvE for the sake of ease, for the sake of simplification is a nerf of the immersion, the exploration and the MMO famous learning cliff.

There is so much more to EvE than ships and fits… and learning, real life ‘learning’ is to me, a far larger part of EvE than just snapping together ‘stuff’ shown to us via the recycled electrons on the screen.

Can you explain IRL military ‘mechanics’ easily? You can generalize, or you can go into multiple levels of detail… MOS’es, Military Occupation Specialties are difficult. Skills are difficult, learning how to drive and command an MI Abrams Tank, or pilot and effectively fly a B1 Bomber… at night… at Nap of the Earth (treetop level) takes years of practice and intense training on highly complex man made systems and also on natural subjects such as aeronautics, physics etc. etc. EvE should be like this, and it is, to a degree. The skills we ‘learn’ take real time, they can cost lots of ISK, all as they should to reflect the complexity of real life.

Arguing the mechanics of EvE, CCP not giving us detailed How To Guides, no longer getting economy tweets from Dr. Eyjog, having to test and gather data on the details of how this works and how that works… the whole EvE is Harsh and Hard is part and parcel of the virtuality of EvE…

What I fear most for our always beloved and sometimes hated game is it getting nerfed down for the slowest kid in the class. The complexity can be frustrating, yes… good I say, it keeps the real mouth breathers and drooling children out. I have an ally who is under 20… I was quite surprised when I found out as he simply does not act or sound like he is that young. I have flown with one corpmate that was 16… but again, a far more mature person than his numerical age would suggest.

Ripard, please… dear gods please, consider carefully what you ask for before you go down that road. For every system where you feel frustrated and maybe ask yourself, “Could this be made easier?” please ask yourself instead, “Should this be made easier?” "Would simplifying it take away more immersion for the benefit of less clicking, less thinking, less learning?"

People all over the world, everyday, kneel, bow or make some form of obedience to their god of choice asking for help with the dread complexity of their lives… how would our world be if ‘_______’ (insert deity of your choice) actually answered? What if “He” actually gave us a paradise on Earth? How long before we are all back on our knees begging for something to Fight For, or Against?

Really ask yourself… are we cut out for the easy life? in reality or virtuality? Do you really want the 'mystery' of EvE demystified? Because once you start down the path to nerfdom, the path that allows the Slowest Kid In Class to be a Special Snowflake… you doom all that makes EvE the truly unique niche game that it is.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's a TARP!!!!

Just a quicky, I been BUSY! IRL job, family, yard work n preppin for Jeep and sail season... and my time in Anoikis has been, if anything, busier!

Been on a bunch of Ops and Sites and in general raising hell where ever we go. We have been on a lowsec Op that my corpmate Mab did a great post (with Vid) on, and several great Anoikis ganks among which my ally Sai Talos has also posted this post (with Vid) on... and I have been learning the Tao of Fraps myself...

But... it seems that frapsing a whole Op can lead to very large .avi files... upwards of 30 to 50GB effin files, and of course, much of that is travel or boofing around or gate games etc., etc. ...

And the video editing software I have been using simply was not up to the task. So I have been diggin around the web and finally found VirtualDub (pre and post processing app) for .avi files. This allows you to crop and trim and compress the raw fraps footage to manageable sizes and then I found NCH VideoPad which I like a lot, though I am also taking time to learn Lightworks which looks to be AMAZING... but is not as intuitive to me. All are freeware BTW... 

Anyhoo... now that my system can handle the files I am making a large chunk of my time has been spent learning the new software and turning some of those 30GB files into 500MB videos I am willing to actually upload for all to see...

This one I call, "It' a TARP!"... we were rolling the static and found some Nulli guys who perked up, scouted our side to the static and, seeing no one around (as 21 of our 25 man fleet was off Dscan, alined to the hole and 4 of us were cloaked and inside the static) they decided to risk a quick ninja mass closing op... with 2 Orca's and an Archon...  =]

Things did not go quite as they had planned...

All in all... it has been a great month for me and my bros so far.

Fly safe and see you in the Sky. =/|)=

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sunday… Bloody Sunday.

~or, What I Was Doing While EvE Turned Ten.

Sunday, YC 115.5.5… or May 5th 2013 by the calendar of Earth that was… was the 10th year of the Empyrean Age in New Eden which began in The Year 105 of the Yoiul Conference, or YC 105. One Hundred and Five years after the Yulai Convention that established The Consolidated Cooperation and Relations Command, or CONCORD.

In the 10 years that have passed since New Eden has seen a steady growth in Empyreans, their corporations, Alliances and Coalitions.

In YC 111, the Seyllin Disaster, an apocalyptic event seemingly without known cause occurred and random, naturally occurring wormholes begin opening and closing throughout New Eden leading to uncharted and unknown space.

These two events are the genesis of my personal story… the story of Capt. TurAmarth ElRandir, Empyrean. A Minmatar of the Brutor Tribe and a permanent inhabitant of Anoikis, the strange, beautiful, wondrous and deadly space that wormholes lead to…

As a Matarii, family and tradition are at the core of our identity and what we are. I am lucky in that way, I became an Empyrean through the good graces of the gods and in the same way, I am in a corporation run by my family.

As I have written of before in my journals, we in HBHI decided to leave the never ending wars for profit and power that are tearing at the heart of the Empires of known space for the complete freedom, the adventure, and the opportunities for wealth, without Empire interference… in Wormhole Space, more properly called Anoikis as the Sleepers of old and the almost mythical Talocan named it.

“Hiigaran Bounty Hunters Inc.” [HBHI] is a private New Eden corporation in Alliance with “Surely You’re Joking” Alliance [HAHA], an alliance of 17 Empyrean corporations, with over 500 members, soon 2 new corps will be joining us, “Shockwave Innovations [MMD]” and “Gridbugs Research [GBR]” which will grow SYJ to 19 corps with over 700 members. This will make SYJ the single largest Empyrean Alliance in Anoikis.

SYJ Alliance and its member corps live in a Class 6 Anoikis system we have named “Bastion”. As a Mercenary Alliance we earn our bread and butter by hunting down and destroying the Sleepers and savaging and recovering the highly prized technology they hold.. We also take contracts for mercenary work, from evicting unwanted guests, to coming to the aid and defense of those under threat in Anoikis. We concentrate our operation primarily in Anoikis, though we have been known to take contracts and undertake operation in Empire and in the outland of Nullsec.

This past weekend was, personally not quite business as usual though. Strigon Leader, my co-Director in HBHI and our Fleet Commander when HBHI runs Ops as a corp, was able to join with me IRL and we ran joint operations from my private offices together (during which we put paid to a bottle of Ol Goldschlagger, a potent yet smoothy smooth drink...)   =]

We setup and logged in Friday night, got plowed and in the process killed nothing and died to nothing… but we had a great time doing it.

Saturday, logged on in the afterhangoverish… Pell & Owl got a Falcon, Flycatcher and a POD… while the rest of us listened.

Then, finally… Sunday, bloody Sunday was upon us. . .  EvE Online’s Tenth Anniversary.

We all were discussing the gifts from CCP. There were some who didn’t know what was up, some who did. We were browsing the blogs and getting reports in from allies in Empire about the various events both player and CCP sponsored… Marlona Sky’s ‘Flight of a Thousand Rifters’…

CCP Devs were celebrating and roaming all over EvE getting killed in spectacular ways and dropping AMAZING lewtz!!

We talked about how CCP hoped to set a new PCU (Peak Concurrent Users) record and many of us logged in their other accounts just to have them online… and we did it too… 65,303!!

We rolled the static for a decent pipe and got luckyish, a hisec 12 or so from Dodie. I was happy as our Empire HQ is in a station two jumps over so I ran in and picked up all my gifts and ran home again.

Then things got real fun for Tur. I was in my brand new Sabre with a few allies keeping watch on the statics as we rolled them and… we got lucky! Bradford scouted us a Retriever soloing in a C6/C5… SOLO MINING inna C6 hole!!! Hooo boy!! We got a warpin, I and 3 others dropped in to say hello… I popped up a bubble, and we took down the Retriever and got his POD too… and I got last blow on the barge and solo on the POD!!! This MADE my day! I love flying in fleet and small gangs but getting last blow, it being YOUR killmail is simply the best!

Later that evening after rolling the static TWELVE times we got lucky again. Scouts called out a site gang getting ready to run sites in a C6/C4. The targets warped to the site and we staged at the hole. Finally the FC called for Hero Tackle (me and imsone in Sabres) to warp in to site tag “XYK”… but that landed us 65k below the Targets, with the Sleepers halfway between us and the targets who immediately started aligning…  shit. We both DIAFed trying to burn up into bubble range and we lost getting the Loki and 2 Archons but… SYJ’s 16 man fleet warped in got the Moros and his POD!!!  YEA!

My bro and ally Sai Talos over at “Shockwave Innovations” has a brief post on it, but he also has a vid!
ISK Destroyed: 7,703,700,000.00
ISK Lost: 0.00 (Sleepers killed the Sabers, so officially 0.00! That’s his story, and he’s stickin’ to it.)
ISK Reallocated: 1,270,830,645.00

As the night wore on into early Monday morning we kept on rolling the static… and got lucky one last time.  =]

We baited a group of Nulli guys into warping out to try and ninja mass close our static in two Orcas and an Archon. This time I was in my Tackle Loki and we had 25 in fleet. I was on the inside on the hole with imsone in his Sabre, both cloaked. The Orca’s and Archon went into warp, we bubbled up, they landed, got trapped in electronic stickyness as our fleet jumped the hole… all three died and were PODDED

Kills:       6
Losses:    0
Damage done ISK:         4.57B
Damage received ISK:    0.00B
Efficiency:                      100%

All in all EXACTLY the best possible way I could have spent EvE Online’s Tenth Birthday!

“EVE Online 10 Year Commemoration Video”

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=