Monday, June 24, 2013

The Bitter Taste of Success...

~or, Noob to Bittervet in 2 and 1/2 Years...

I have never understood what people like Ripard Teg meant when they used the term, Bittervet. Ripard even has it in his Bio at the top of his blog, Jester's Trek;

“I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about five years. One of my three mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure. ;-)”

I have read about bittervets. The term comes up with older players occasionally and there are many references to players who have come and gone and then come back to EvE, and the ‘leaving’ times are mostly attributed to bittervettedness… but I simply never understood what they were talking about… until recently, and last night and this morning’s blog readings have sorta gelled in my mind to where I feel I may have caught the Bittervet disease, or at least a bittervet headcold. And I now think what ‘bittervet’ means is, the Thrill in PvP is gone. I used to HATE/LOVE/FEAR/WANT PvP.

I hated and feared  it because I sukked at it and lost ships I could ill afford to lose… because I got yelled at by corpmates and Allies when I got lossmails on our killboards… because I would get all confused and mentally overamped… I would get the shakes so bad I couldn’t use the mouse… and I was… afraid. I was afraid of pissing off my corpmates and Allies, I was afraid of losing a ship that would take me weeks, or months to make the ISK back for… but most of all I felt ‘fear’ during the fight. Real gut wrenching fear… in a game.

But I also loved and wanted it badly because the few times I had been on the winning side were such an incredible adrenaline filled RUSH! There was nothing that felt like winning at PvP in EvE pure and simple.

But, because I did suck at PvP I avoided it when possible and I often just caved to it when I couldn’t. There were, a few fights, that first year… when I actually took my hands off the keyboard and mouse before it was over and just let it all go… because I knew I was dead, I knew I couldn’t win, I sucked too bad and did not know how to effectively fight back and “he” (whoever) was soo effin good, orbiting me and scramming, webbing, neuting me and tearing my defenses off like tissue paper… and all the while laughing in local… at me. I’d never be that good. I’d never learn how to keep it together and not lose my shit and actually somehow ‘think’ of all the things you are supposed to think about while in a fight.

Then I got past the hump… a little. I joined RvB as Tur for a while and I have had an alt in there for over a year. That was where I learned how to get a grip on the shakes. I was flying cheap T1 frigs and Tur could afford, every now and again, to shove a few mil ISK to Hiril’s wallet and buy 10 or 20 pre-fit Rifters on ‘tract from Blue Rep. So the losses were not hard on me and being in fleet and one of 20 or 30 frigs, well, you were guaranteed not to be ‘primary’ every time, or even a lot… simply too many lemmings on the beach… so you could get in on kills and start to learn how to fly your ship in a fight. If you are not even targeted and yet flying and targeting and pointing and webbing and firing on ships… many many ships… you eventually learn how to think in the heat of battle.

And when you do get targeted and start taking heat, as you are in control of yourself already and the loss of one T1 fit Rifter (when you have 9 more sitting ready to go 2, 3 hops away) is nothing to you, then you learn how to respond with your head, not your adrenal glands, and even if you die (and once primaried in an RvB Frig Fest you usually do) the experience is not overwhelming. You find yourself planning on which gate to warp to when your ship pops… because that gate leads back to your station and mebbe, if you burn hard, you can reship and rejoin the fight before it is over.

So losing Rifters was not the ISK belly blow that losing my Loki was when we brought Mab into the hole that first time. Oh I was the one who decided to Leroy in, I dint have to. But, once again I just went in straight for the hostile, no thinking, no tactics, no working out what he was flying and its capabilities as compared to my Loki’s… I just went straight in and died. I still didn’t KNOW how to PvP and it was months before I was back in a Loki again.

But, I had learned that I could keep my self control and I had learned how to ‘think’, at least a little, during a fight. But as a corp, we still weren’t really a PvP ‘centered’ corp. We did live in Anoikis, and we did get PvP… but we focused more on running sites and making ISK and skilling up and keeping the POS going… than actively seeking out PvP. We sorta just let it come to us… and when you do that, you are always on the defensive and always at a disadvantage. When you let the PvP come to you they have scouted you and know your ships and fits and your online times and playstyle… and you know NOTHING about them… until they uncloak or warp in, and by then, it is hours or days wayyy too late… like when SYJ camped us.

And being actively, effectively and quite professionally camped by SYJ was why we asked to join them. We knew we had to be on the side that brings the fight, not the side that gets ambushed. And so we joined SYJ and it has been the (second) BEST thing that has ever happened to Tur, or HBHI (First was creating HBHI with my sons).

Now I am one of the reasons Anoikis is “deadly space”… I am one of ‘them’, the Orange (neut) then Flashing RED (killing you) icons streaming into the middle of your Sites Running Fleet and orbiting, scramming, webbing, neuting you and tearing your defenses off like tissue paper… I no longer get the shakes, ever. I no longer worry about losing ships, any ships… I have many. I have several of each type I regularly fly already fitted and in not just our POS but a full set in Empire too. Losing a Faction fitted Loki is now just a logistics issue of when can I bring in one from Empire and as for replacing the hull… I have that already in the wallet, or I will in a day or two at most.

I can’t remember the last time my hands shook during PvP… I have lost my fear… and in doing so, I have lost the Thrill. Yes, it is still ‘fun’… but the difference between Thrilling and just fun is really huge. I don’t like that difference… and I am somewhat, bitter, about it… and I guess, at two and a half years ingame, I can lay claim to the title Veteran… so, am I too, now a bittervet?

SYJ is a damn good PvP Alliance. We are a successful Anoikis Merc Alliance and in my time, limited though it is, we have yet to default or bail on a contract, and as Mal, said, “I do the job, then I get paid.” and we do. But this has meant, I feel, that our reputation may precede us a bit. It did for HBHI when SYJ camped us in our old C3. When we saw who we were up against, we made the decision to ransom, instead of fight, due to SYJ’s killboard and reputation.

So now I am a salted PvPer. When anything ‘happens’ I ship up asking what to bring, I am getting a rep for hero tackle, Hvy. and Lt. ‘Dictors… Devoters, Sabres, and tackle Loki’s, and I fleet up with some excitement, the hope of PvP, but, it is not like it used to be… I used to fear losing ships I could not afford… no longer, I used to fear getting killed and PODed… no longer, I used to fear being embarrassed, no longer… my only fear now is that they won’t be ‘there’ or they will be smart and have a cloaky scout and they will POS up or run or log off when he calls out…

“Ships landing on the hole!”
“Loki, Loki, Loki, Devoter, Tengu, Tengu, Sabre, Oracle times 4, Guardian times 5…”
“Surely You’re Joking Alliance.”
“Warp to POS, warp to POS.”

Of course, anytime a ‘Fleet’ lands on your hole, it doesn’t have to be SYJ to get that response… But there are them as know us… and seeing one of us in local or on grid is enough to get the same response…. because they know the other 15 or so ships are out there… somewhere.

I miss the hand-shaking-rush and the pit-of-your-stomach-fear… I miss playing my game our way only, even if that meant we got hot dropped occasionally. Instead now I often, not always, but often… (mebbe just a little too often for my taste…) find myself sitting on Mumble, listening as my Alliance mates shoot the shit or play DotA.

So I sit and listen, being a good little soldier, all safed up or docked up or cloaked up or even logged off … waiting… waiting… waiting… for that moment of opportunity when the ‘targets’ are open to attack. When our chances of winning are optimal and our appearance in local or on grid won’t end with them all slipping out of our grasp and leaving us with… the bitter taste of our success.

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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Mistake of Mammoth Proportions...

~or, Don’t Hate Her ‘Cause She’s Fugly…

Ahhh… The Matarii and their butt fugly, bailingwire and ducktape, rustbucket ships… you just gotta love em. Uh… well, unless you work for CCP, in the Art Dept. … the guys (ok, maybe not the SAME guys) who brought you the Mammoth in the first place.

My blog is not a Newz Blog, or a Metagame Blog (well, not usually) so I am jumping on this one a tad late in the day as twere. But, for them as dunt know it seems that part and parcel of the ongoing ship rebalancing act CCP is doing was this gem from CCP Rise in this thread, in which the Mammoth, the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fukker) and the backbone of the Minmatar Heavy Haulers was on the chopping block.

The original idea was to totally revamp the Minmatar haulers… remove both and replace them with new ships… then the idea was to upgrade the lowly Whoredur (Hoarder but I vastly prefer the prior spelling…)… really? Uh may one ask WHY? Well, it seems the genesis of this line of thought in the rebalancing discussions was the Art Dept., the ART Dept… really? May one ask what they have to do with the coded mechanics of our ships? I mean these are the guys who gave us that Wonder of The Age, the POS Ship Maintenance Array that is SMALLER than a single Mammoth and yet it can hold, internally, 78 of the damn things!! Forgive me but I am very much of the opinion their concerns are not based on ‘balanced mechanics’.

So it seems the Art Dept., when CCP Rise asked why, responded thusly:

“I just checked in with Art briefly and they confirmed that they simply don't like the way the Mammoth looks."

OK, I get it to a degree. I mean they are graphics artists. I started my tech career as one. Like in any profession you spend a helluva lotta time doing whatever it is you do and that colors your attitudes about that thing. As a tech I often have joked when working with people who aren’t technically inclined, “Look it’s not like its computer science… uh, OK, so mebbe it IS computer science, but that’s not the point!

You see the art dept guys spend all their time LOOKING at the ‘stuff’ in EvE. Their focus is not on how it works but on how it LOOKS. And let’s face it, the Minnie haulers are just damn ugly. They look like rusted out abandoned freight containers that have been hobbled together with a massive number of ion drives just stuck on the ass end to get them moving…

If you fly them ingame at all, when you give the order to go to warp and she suddenly makes a hard port or starboard banking turn, you can actually find yourself unconsciously gripping the arms of your lazyboy in fear and anticipation that she just might break in half from the forces bearing on the bailing wire and ductape holding her together… and you silently tell yourself when you next dock up to have Scotty add another roll, or two… hundred, to the midsection… as, well you know, you can never have enough ductape on a Matarii hauler…

So, we are to lose one of, if not the Queen of Fugly in Space? Well, some would think this a good thing. I mean EvE is a beautiful game… a wondrous space full of awe inspiring nebulae, magnificent pulsars stars, mysterious black hole suns, glistening Golden Amarrian ships, gleaming blue-black Caldari ships sliding silently through the black… and… (WTF!) a Mammoth chugs past… a cloud of rust flakes and bits of… (was that a Primary Buffer Panel?) uh, bits of ‘ship’ silently break away and drift through the void in the wake of the massive hauler like red Minnie dandruff…

And some see removing her as a good thing? May I ask, how? I mean unless where CCP is heading is to open The Eve Gate to STO (Star Trek Online) and we are all suddenly to become peaceful and evolved and lovely and handsome and all our ships will be WHITE as WHITE can BE!!! And there will be no trash or clutter and even our toilets will use transporter tech to instantly whisk away anything smelly or unpleasant… uh, oh dear Gods please NO!

The Mammoth has a beauty all her own. You have only to fly her long enough and you will find, one day, that you have fallen deeply for this wallowing big old ugly ship… and the idea of flyin in New Eden, or on the other side of the sky… without her is simply not something you will even want to truly contemplate.

I can fly almost all the racial Hvy Haulers… and I know the Itty V is the Queen of T1 haulers… but you know what? I have 4 Mammoths and a Mastodon and as long as they exist in EvE, they will be my hauler of choice. Ye gods man! Getting rid of the Mammoth would be like… like… like… getting rid of Drunken Roams! or Griefing! or Scam artists! or even Jita local spammers… EvE has a gritty, dirty, smelly underbelly… and like RL, that underbelly is right out there with all of us every day.

The Mammoth is a reminder that even in the future, man may still be man… we will not be ‘perfect’ and ‘transcended’ and ‘godlike’… we will be just exactly who we are. There will be those among us who can afford gold-plated ships, and gold-plated toilets and slaves to wipe their asses, and there will be hedonists who’s only goal in life is the next high (and they will fly ships that look like they have already had too much) and there will be mindless droans bowing willingly to Authority and creating a society that is utilitarian and ships that reflect that culture… and then there will those who scrape by…

Proud, his head held high as he watches his crew slap on one more thin coat of rust inhibitor (that won’t work)… he breaks open one more case of Duvolle Labs 'ductape'…He wonders once again what in Bobs 'Verse that name stands for as he turns an experienced eye as to where it will do the most good in holding together his pride and joy. A Matarii Heavy Hauler, a Mammoth… Carrying him, his family, crew and cargo once more out into the deep black… and hopefully, safely back again.

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

At 9:40 06/20/14 CCP Rise tweeted…
“Art happy to allow us to leave the Mammoth as the largest hauler based on feedback. I feel kind of sad for the Hoarder, but oh well =)”

A good day indeed…  =]

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

To Boldly Go... to the Back of the Queue for the Next Site...

~or, To Seek Out New Content and New ISK Faucets...

The most recent Expansion to EVE Online is called Odyssey. It is touted as an Exploration themed Expansion… but, what is Exploration?

This thought occurred to me as I was reading a comment from helenakhan on Nosy Gamers blog in response to the post, “Odyssey - Living Up To The Name”. Helena dint say anything specific that kicked off this idea, it was moar general. You see a lot of the comments on bogs and the forums and such about Exploration in Odyssey have been quite negative, seems to me roughly half n half. I myself have written on how I believe Probing was badly nerfed in my first really negative CCP post, “Slowest Kid in the Class FTW!!” I have weighed in on this subject in comments on ”Jester’s Trek”, “Low Sec Lifestyle” and on “A Scientist Life in EVE” in which I summed up my feelings about as well as I can thusly: 


“I just had a revelation, I was responding to Scientist re his post "It’s the little things you miss" when it hit me... After Odyssey dropped I felt something was missing… now I know what it is...

I miss the little things…

I miss the fear, pressure and risk involved in the possibility of not recalling my probes in time…

I also miss the immediacy and the need to keep your head in the game that imminent probe loss forced on us… you looked away from your screen on pain of death… now you can watch whole episodes of Mad Men and your probes just take care of themselves…

I miss the trepidation, pressure and risk inherent in needing to be decloaked long enough to launch all 7 probes…

I miss working out the best probe configuration on my own… not having one that is just ‘meh’ good enough so that I no longer ‘waste’ time setting up my own patterns… and I fear for our poor noobs, who will believe that the one insta-launch 8 probe configuration is the BESTEST configuration ’cause CCP wouldn’t have put it in there if it wasn’t… right?

I miss launching just the number of probes “I” want to launch, and no more.

But most of all, most of all... I miss undocking, logging on or jumping a gate or a hole into a deep black forbidding mysterious sky… and NOT immediately KNOWING EVERYTHING around me without trying...

I miss exploring...

Strange to feel this way after an ‘Exploration’ based expansion drops huh? “ 


The root of that feeling, of missing Exploration, dint ‘gell’ until I was reading Helena’s comment… What is Exploration I asked myself? Several things came together at once for me…

(1) Exploration is journeying into the “unknown” to SEEK and FIND out what is out there;
(2) Exploration is dangerous; it has very high Risks, often for great Rewards… but not always.
(3) Exploration can be done solo, but some types of exploration cannot be successful without support;
(4) Exploration is endless; it does not ‘run out’ of content (there is ALWAYS something NEW to find);

Now I dint get these from a book or a google search, these are just my personal understanding or ‘take’ on what Exploration is. So, how does Odyssey’s “Exploration” stack up against my 4 point list?

(1) Exploration is journeying into the “unknown” to SEEK and FIND out what is out there;

Exploration in Odyssey is simplified right at the undock, there is no ‘SEEKING’, and you no longer have to “Open Scanner > select System Scan > Hit Scan” then wait a few seconds for a list of intriguing possibilities...

Now, you undock and there is it, all laid out in front of you. The Discovery Scanner sweeps and shows you all Anomalies and Signatures in the system, all right there on the main screen. Anomalies are just one simple click away from ‘warpto’ or ‘BM’ and Signatures show what celestial they are near, their scan ID, etc. It’s all just handed to you onna plate and forcefed right into your brain… whether you want it or not.

This is not seeking to find out, this is NOT ‘Exploration’. This is a Quest and the Dungeon Master (CCP) is doing ALL the work for you.

Score: -1

(2) Exploration is dangerous; it has very high Risks, often for great Rewards… but not always;

We all, I think, agree that Exploration is dangerous, but what are the dangers of Exploration? Well, you are most often out on your own, solo without backup or rescue nearby. Not necessarily true in EvE, but OK, this is still sorta there.

Back in the day if someone wanted to hunt down players in Anoms & Sigs he had to want to find you bad enough to learn the High Skill and Fine Art of The Probening… Now you can get attacked or ambushed in any of the new Insta-scanned Anoms (basically Anomalies are now the same as any celestial, they just don’t show up in the OV list is all and all Sigs can be scanned down in minutes) because ANY ID10T inna Catalyst can look at his screen and BM or warpto the same Anomalies just as easily as you now. So did the danger level go up? Yes… but in making it so, the competency and dedication required of the attacker has been lowered significantly.

So, with increased Risk did we get increased Reward? Well, IMHO no… but I live in a special place, not Empire, so going by the NoizyGamer (Nosy Gamer blog) my impression is yes but not great and now he says CCP is making noises about how “…the payout is too great…” so mebbe the Reward is there and it did sound like Noizy enjoyed it and felt he was getting his ISK worth outta it (“Odyssey - Living Up To The Name”) so I will take his word on it as I am not an Empire dweller and my ISK per hour expectations are Anoikis based.

Score: +1

(3) Exploration can be done solo, but some types of exploration cannot be successful without support;

The Data Sites seem to be a nod in this direction as the Lewt Piñata Minigame spews its treats out at a fair clip designed to be just fast enough, and the collection mechanic (a tractor beam none one knew was there on ALL ships regardless of class or fit) can only be (1) activated on one lewt can at a time and (2) only frees up after the can has been dumped in your hold, add this to the spreading out of the cans as they fly away into space and this pretty much assures that the solo player will not be able to capture 100% of the lewt hence flying with bros is recommended…

So you can either accept some loss of lewtz (though there are indications that you can scan and select the most valuable cans to go after, and I assume that means the cans you Hack not the cans you chase down… as I don’t know how you’d do that what with the clickfest that is part and parcel of the Lewt Spew… or you can get into the whole “Yea!, We got everything!” “So, split X ways, what’s that come to?” and again accept reduced profits… Six of one, half dozen of the other to me (I guess this would be dependent on your perception of the Reward level).

Score: 0

(4) Exploration is endless; it does not ‘run out’ of content (there is ALWAYS something NEW to find);

Exploration content in New Eden is finite… and, in truth, somewhat limited as the total number of sites by type, there are basically 6 site types and of those, only 2 are ‘really’ exploration (IE Hacking for ISK) centric:

PvE: (instant)
1 - Combat sites – Anomaly; NPC Combat -
Bounties/Loot & Salvage
2 - Ore sites – Anomaly; Mine - Ice or Asteroids

PvE: (probed)
3 - Gas sites – Signature; Mine -Gas
4 - Data sites – Signature; Hack w/ Data Analyzer – Loot (Anoikis only - NPC Combat – Loot & Salvage)
5 - Relic sites – Signature; Hack w/ Relic Analyzer – Loot (Anoikis only - NPC Combat – Loot & Salvage)

Travel: (probed)
6 - Wormholes; Signature; access to Anoikis systems; Anoms & Sigs; NPC Combat – Loot & Salvage; PI; Colonization.

Score: -1.

Overall score of the Exploration ideal behind Odyssey: -1.


Again I will turn to Noizy who plays a solo carebear Empire based game and Exploration is a solo(ish) carebear (ISK making not destroying) mechanic, he says, I feel quite tellingly:

…the system (scan + on screen Anoms & Sigs) is less exploration and more shopping.  I now think of the exploration sites as data and relic stores.  When I jump into a system, I automatically see the billboards for all the stores tempting me to visit.

Now, as he can immediately see all of the Discovery Scanner returns on screen he is more likely to drop probes and see what he can find. I agree that this sounds moar like shopping than Exploration (IE think roadside billboards) which means the “Hidden Stuff HERE! -->” Marketing Campaign is Working As Intended. Before Odyssey he probably would have just warped on through to his destination… and I will admit I too have popped through a hole or a gate and seen a sky full of ‘stuff’ and thought, “”Hmmmm, wonder what all that is?” a nanosecond later I remember and get all grouchy about CCP cluttering up the sky and ruining my roadside view…

So in this regard yes, the system scan changes may have made Exploration moar in-your-face as you have Big Loud Billboards that shout out that this system has hidden ‘stuff’ in it… (not really hidden though due to the Big Loud Billboard thing…) IE if you ‘see’ it, you might wanna go inside and buy the coolaid. So while I dunt like it much I dunt see it as quite as bad as the Magic Probes and from Noizy at least we have an upvote.

But, here is what I want to ask for/rant about…  Content. We have, in EvE, a very limited list of ALL the available sites, Anoms or Sigs, in or outside of New Eden and that aint Exploration. Hell once players start going to a new site, the highly detailed Reports & Guides start getting posted along with much of the details about how they spawn, work, what and how much drops, how to fit and hack/fight them, and how to ‘blitz’ them if need be, is all made available, etc., etc., etc… starting before the Expansion even drops onto TQ. It’s like IRL if I hear a sound like a Jet airliner, and I see a HUGE sign over the place I hear the noise at and I go there and I see airplanes landing and taking off… seriously, did I just ‘Explore’ and  ‘Discover’ the Airport? oh please…

Combat, Ore and Ice sites are kinda static ISK gathering situations. What I feel we need are truly ‘unknown’ NEW Signatures to spawn. We need Sigs that CHANGE over time, we need new Sigs added WITHOUT prior notice or documentation of “Hey get over on Sisi and try this out!” giving the players a chance to write up detailed EvE-Survival Reports before anything hits TQ. We need moar things, not BIG things… but small things, new things, unknown things…  We need Neverending Content.

Just Imagine…

You login and a patch drops, no biggie, skim the notes and nothing ‘verse shaking really catches your eye… Hey, they fixed that bug I hated in the thing I liked… sweet. You undock, the Discovery Scanner sweeps and you see a nice big red ‘TVY-725’ sig wayy out past the last planet… you drop probes, scan it down… scanning, scanning, Aura chimes in, “I am sorry Captain, I cannot resolve that signature, may I suggest Combat Probes?” uh… what? So, you drop Combats… scanning, scanning, scanning… Got it! You BM and warpto to 100km…

And what you see… you have never seen before… EVER.  WTF??

You go back to the Patch Notes… and there, kinda added as an afterthought, near the bottom it says, “Oh and a number of new Signatures have been added, but we’re ashamed to say, we lost the dev notes… please let us know what you find.” ZOMG!!!

Exploration should not be a ‘job’ with a steady if slightly fluctuating income… it should be a sweepstakes, a lottery, a spin of the Roulette Wheel… a turn of the cards… Day to day you should make just enough to keep it interesting with the ‘carrot’ of the very real chance, at low odds but real, of hitting it really BIG. Instead of a nice balanced drop, why not lotsa crap, or mediocre loot w/ a few nuggets of ‘real’ GOLD? I mean set a really random drop and have it pick from a table of 90% crap… carbon, scraps, mebbe some halfway decent stuff but that last 10% would be loot (single drop only) worth upwards of 20 to 100mISK each. Like a Faction POS BPC type items… just have the Nuggets drop only often enough to make it really worth checking under that next rock one moar time, JIC… enough that a ‘dedicated’ Explorer can make a decent living and rare enough to keep out the riff-raff, the immediate gratification types… To make a living as an Explorer you have to be willing to gamble your time for that Big Strike.

A few suggestions:

Randomize Exploration Sites:

New sites not in the current list… and not introduced with a parade and fanfare, just slipped in along with a normal patch with only the very slightest of mentions in the patch notes, and not mentioned AT ALL in the Dev Blogs…  until after…  =]

These would not be big sites like current Data & Relic, but smaller iterations on that theme…

Such as…

You scan down a Sig… on warping in you find a still smoking Abaddon, broken in half and drifting lifeless in space in a cloud of debris and corpses… Your Discovery Scanner shows there is a hackable sig in the forward section, Aura tells you that this is an Amarr Imperial Navy ship, last reported as heavily damaged and presumed lost. She was in the fleet that took part in the battle at the Core Freedom colony on the planet 'Pikes Landing'… the battle fought over the Imperial Templar technology… the tech behind the DUSTers… she must have somehow escaped from the battlespace but was unable to survive her massive damage… You gaze in wonder at what secrets she might hold... will the Relic Analyzer make you rich or barely pay the bills?

You scan down a Sig… on warping in you find an abandoned True Sansha POS Control Tower. After a quick scan Aura informs you that this one was used by Sansha Koveki himself… The forcefield is down, several mods are anchored, a few defense mods are incapped… and there, in several of the modules are hackable sigs… On hacking them you get the Lewt Piñata but… all you get is a few almost totally worthless items, mostly carbon and metal scraps that won’t even pay for your fuel… but wait... when you hacked the last can a new can appeared inside the tower itself… could the Data Analyzer possibly give you access to unanchor that several billion ISK Faction Control Tower!?!

You scan down a Sig… on warping in you find a small Asteroid outpost… it is heavily damaged and Aura reports that is old, very old and, of unknown origin… there are hackable sigs in the outpost itself and in a few orbiting Modules… on breaching their computer defenses you get… what is this? Even Aura does not know… you will have to wait until you dock at a station but Aura says you will have to find a Duvolle Labs Research Station in order to determine what you have found… and its value…

All of the above could be based on current ingame mission sets with the necessary changes and  tweaks, yes, still a bit of work, and yes, over time the players would have them all written up, total available loot drops, etc., etc. would be measured and weighed and spreadsheeted… loled, whined over and praised… it’s what we do, so?

And while CCP cannot add new items every single patch and expansion they could add a few new items every 2 or 3 Expansions included in a batch of new sites (again existing, or new, small sites heavily & creatively revamped) and drop them in, unannounced as usual, replacing some of the older ones… creating new content we would not even know existed until we ‘discovered’ it on our own (<- EXPLORATION), and losing content we would know was gone until we realized no one was finding them anymore… thereby creating the illusion of… Neverending Exploration.

Imagine heading back to dock with a 3 billion ISK Faction Control Tower in your hold… and when you undocked, you couldn’t afford the Itty V (you had to borrow) to get it home. Now, if you can only get it there in one piece...

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

Thursday, June 13, 2013

THIS Is What We DO!!!

~or, What Pee-vee-Pee in Eee-vee-Eee Feels Like…

I have finally, after 2 and half years, learned how to control my reactions to PvP in EvE… sorta.

EvE players know all too well the intensity of Player v Player combat in EVE Online… and those who don’t… can’t… not ever. No other game, MMO or otherwise has ever caused as deeply instinctual a reaction in me to virtual combat as flying and dying in the beautiful yet disassociated, third-person, not-even-a-gods-damned-avatar spaceships in EvE.

A noob by the name of Lei Harper wrote a Reddit post on his fourth day on his trial account in EvE about his experiences thus far. If you haven’t read it yet, stop and do so now. It is truly worth the time.

He triggered an avalanche… First off, Lei writes very well. His style is easy and draws you in. His descriptions of action, setting and scenery are clear, concise and touching. He reached deep into the group psyche of EvE players, bitter vets and new players alike and pulled us along with him, especially the older players, to relive again some of the thrill, awe and wonder that we each felt when but a nubbins inna Noobship, flying out into the black, knowing not what was to come, fearful of, and terribly excited by, what little we had heard and learned, and yet fearless in our naiveté.

Do you remember the first time…
You jumped a gate? You landed at a plasma planet? You saw your first mining fleet operation? You saw the Moons of Nibia, the Antares Maelstrom and Perdition's flames… (wait, wrong ‘verse, sorry there…) Do you remember the first time you were targeted? The first time you target locked another ship? was fired on? and fired back? The first time you lost a ship… your first kill? Well, Lei touched that in many of us and the whole thing sorta went viral. The responses to his post were stunning to him to say the least.

He received over 3 billon ISK in player donations (that’s all he’s written about definitely, we can only assume it is a bit more than that when all was said and done) and only he knows how many ships etc. were ‘tracted to him as gifts. He was so moved by the hundreds of comments (469 to date) that he started a blog of his own… Rising Star where Lei has continued to share with us his exploits and adventures in EvE with the same captivating yet easy to read style.

This took me, as it has so many of us, back to my nubbin days... That word, ‘nubbins’ has a special connotation for me… You see the second time I got killed by a player was at a gate camp, but the guy who killed me then convoed me, gave me ISK, a new Rifter and apologized. He said he would not have attacked me if he had only seen how new I was. He didn’t believe in griefing noobs. I was invited to their chat and they were all chill bros, with only a little trolling… but what I remember most was him telling them “Back off guys, he’s only but a nubbins… we all were once.”

"We all were once…" Do you remember how PvP felt back then? How INTENSE it was… how you actually got the shakes so bad you had to let go of the mouse? How you felt overloaded by the sheer amount of information one had to track and the number of things you HAD to do, and in the proper order…

Identify your attacker; is there moar than one? What ship class is it? what is his speed/bearing/transversal & range? based on ship class is he moar likely to be setting up to kite you or is he going to close, tackle and brawl?
Do you have wingman(men); do you have corpmates/fleetmates/Allies on grid/insystem/a few hops out? Do you have your defensive mods ‘on’/offensive mods ready/droans launched/weapons loaded and don’t forget all the sage advice, ‘transversal speed can save you but it can also protect him’; ‘Scram FIRST Web SECOND’; what are the racial resistance holes for his ship class? Dammit what was the name of the ammo for those resists?…

Now, QUICK! based on ALL the above what is your best course of action? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your ship? What’s your best counter against his? Should you kite or tackle and brawl? Should you fly manually or set an orbit distance and concentrate on your defense/offence mods?
…and while you are trying to work your way through all of that… you explode.

At least, that’s how it was for me for like the first year or moar… Then you look back at the game logs… Huh. The logs show you trying to target the sun, the moon, then successfully targeting one of your own drones… you then scrammed one of your own droans... your ships speed was 0.0… and he killed you with 150mm Meta-1 guns… oh dear gods <facepalm>…

I wrote a number of posts on this in my first year… Wish I was James T. and Fighting BACK are two of my favorites. I struggled in vain against the shakes and the data overload. Well… in the time since I have discovered why Fleet fights can be much better for learning PvP than solo. Especially small gang fleets… When you are a member of a fleet, better, a small gang fleet, you are not ALONE. Yes, you can still get primaried and yes, you can still lose your ship but.. you are not going to get primaried EVERYTIME. And helping your bros with, for me, Hero tackle such as paper hull tanked fast dubble bubble Sabres with dual Faction webbers or Heavy ‘dictors like my armor Devoter with da big bubble and an infinity point… and a little extra DPS… is nothing but pure awesumsauce.

My experience in fleets and small gangs has helped me immeasurably in team and solo PvP, not that I have gotten into much of that at all but I have been far easier about the times that I have traversed losec solo on my way to or from an Op. I know if something happens, I am far better prepared and… I find myself hoping someone will be [RED] or [ORANGE] or simply… a Target of Opportunity… I find a small tremor in my hands still marks the possibility of a little player interaction, only now it’s… “An-ti-ci-paa,aa-shun, is making me shake!”

This brings me to the genesis of this post. As is true of most EvE players I am a SciFi buff. I first picked up the reading habit back in ’68 with paperbacks I swiped from my older brother’s bookshelf. I first lost myself in the worlds of the Grey Lensman series by E.E. ‘Doc” Smith and I was hooked. I became an avid reader of everything by Asimov, Clark, Van Vogt, Bradbury, Blish and, of course, R. A. Heinlein among many others. I watched every episode of the original Star Trek on the days they were first aired (and as such when I say I am a trekkie and some snot nosed thirtysomething tries to correct me and tell me, “It’s TrekkER.” I nod and give them all the attention they deserve...)...

I have followed everything SciFi, looking for good writing, characters, scenery, effects and stories. I loved the original Battlestar Galactica, so when BSG was reimagined in ’03 I was thrilled and have loved all the variants that followed, Razor, The Plan, Caprica and I was floored by the webseries Blood & Chrome.

Blood & Chrome follows William “Husker” Adama (that's Admiral Adama to you) as a FOB noob pilot on his first mission. This is an AMAZING piece of work. 10 episodes were released by Syfy on Machinima Prime in March of 2012. This is a failed pilot that went on to be a damn good webseries. The acting and writing is superb and the effects are on par with the whole BSG series.

Now, in it, there is a scene where Adama’s Raptor is jumped by three Cylon fighters. They kill two with weapons then the gun jams, they are out of missiles and Adama pulls off a bold and extremely dangerous piece of flying that saves their asses…

In the aftermath Adama yells out something that has resonated in my bones ever since. It deeply evokes the same intensity of feeling, the rush of battle and the thrill of victory we Empyreans feel when we  win through a good close fight in EvE…

Watch now and see if it reminds you of how PvP in EvE makes you feel..

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