Saturday, May 24, 2014

Behold, The Prophesy…

~or “Can There Real Meaning in a Prophesy… Video?”

(This is now becoming a ‘thing’ with me… again)

Kirith Kodachi, of Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah… NinvayAhh… Ninvay… NIN-vee-aah? How in hell do you pronounce that anyway??? Anyhoo, he of The Unpronounceable Blog recently posted ‘Dissecting the Prophesy Trailer’, in which he takes his mental scalpel to ‘The Prophesy’, the EVE Fanfest 2014 trailer… a trailer which I am very very much liking.

Now what he does is kinda what my mind has been doing in the background as twere… I’ve been ruminating on the question… What can we take away from, learn from… glean from this trailer about events that are planned to unfold in EVE over the next year or so? What does this tell us, if anything, of CCP’s “vision” for EVE? I mean… it is a Prophesy after all.

Kirith’s take is… well, go read the post, it’s… interesting. It is definitely worth a read and in the end he basically sums it up this way…

- Capsuleers will build gigantic stargates that lead to new space with lots of resources to allow the alliances that build them to become independent of the Empires.
- The empires, or at least the Amarrians, are not happy about this.

Kirith posits: “Does this mean building stargates will have actual in game consequences for those alliances in empire space? HA! Probably not but one can hope.” and…
As for the prophecy itself, I find it very interesting and suggestive of a new NPC type, perhaps some rogue drone type AI that humans lost control of...

Im’a take a different angle, where he says,
“I'm going to ignore overall the Dust / Valkyrie / Capsuleer working together component in this post because part of me thinks it’s just marketing and pipe dreams and interests me less than what this trailer means for the development of Eve.”

Here I strongly disagree… I fully believe that Legion and Valkyrie are not just marketing and pipe dreams, I believe they are THE best possible new features that can come from the New Vision for EVE… that is the best features for solo, casual and small gang players… and no, I am not ignoring DUST or writing it off, it’s just that I am a PC gamer not a console player, so DUST is something I have never even tried out… for me, personally, to have that boots-on-the-ground or in station experience in EVE, it will be Legion or nothing.

I say this because you see, I recently received an email where it was pointed out that CCP Seagull had interestingly ‘side-stepped my actual question’… and on re-reading her response carefully… I think he was right. It WAS a well worded reply, and while she did say clearly that solo & small gang players were going to have a place in the ‘vision’ for EVE she did NOT say we all would have access to the Player Built Stargates and New Space… in my Open Letter after my 'question' I did say,

When the new Player Built Stargate is built, will it give ALL of “us” access to fascinating new space? or, will it be’ Go Null or GTFO’?” … by ALL of “us” I meant solo, casual, small, large and massive groups.

This is what “should” have been the ‘direct question’ and is the part he feels was side-stepped. What CCP Seagull did say was,
I want EVE to have more things to do for small scale groups and solo pilots - and all over space, not just in null sec.” and she talks about solo and small gang being important and to look for this to be visible in the upcoming Corp & Alliance changes… OK, I will, but dammit, he is right, she DID NOT say we would all have access to the New Space... so back to ‘tinfoil and CT’ on that I guess.

So in that light, unlike Kirith who feels the PBSG and New Space it the best thing to come out of this for the future of EVE, I feel that that may still possibly be only for nullsec as has been feared by so many, me included. So the new experiences, gameplay and such that those of us left in Old Eden might get will have to be Legion and Valkyrie… Cause if the PBSG’s do actually turn out to be a null only venture…

If those of us not in null are left to only read about the great new exploits and resources and such in Greater New Goonland… well, TBH, I’ll probably buy old Dimsdale a beer right after I unsub… so, let’s all hope and pray CCP aint really that stoopid mkay?

That said, let’s see what I get from this admittedly fascinating and very well done EVE trailer…

The Prophesy: "From the formless void, there springs an entity more primordial than the elements themselves. And its wake, it will follow a storm."

Hmmm… Kirith thinks it says, “In its wake, it will follow a storm.” I disagree, I listened to the clip over and over and over and my dottir says it's ‘AND its wake’ not ‘IN its wake’. In which case the wording does make sense as a storm does leave a wake behind, but it’s a Prophesy, not a business statement… so meh. I do like the lore he discovered about this prophesy… worth repeating IMHO…

From the 2nd episode of the new Hydrostatic podcast he learned that the prophecy is one in the description of the Erebus Gallentean titan which reads:

From the formless void's gaping maw, there springs an entity. Not an entity such as any you can conceive of, nor I; an entity more primordial than the elements themselves, yet constantly coming into existence even as it is destroyed. It is the Child of Chaos, the Pathway to the Next.
The darkness shall swallow the land, and in its wake there will follow a storm, as the appetite of nothing expands over the world.
From the formless void's gaping maw, there springs an entity.
Dr. Damella Macaper
The Seven Events of the Apocalypse

Now the Prophesy reading at the Council makes sense, “…in its wake there will follow a storm.” matches up quite nicely with, “And its wake, it will follow a storm.” Just kinda inna Yoda’ian way… my drift, if you catch. Hmmm…?

So I had some real fun with this and it turned into one of my more impressive walls-of-text, well, actually not text so much as PICTURES!!! with some text… So Im’a give my synopsis here and leave them as want to, to scroll down through the screen caps and descriptions after.

What I take away from this is,
1. Empyreans, and still most probably nullseccers, are gonna build massive new stargate(s) to SomewhereElse ™  (though I find the whole 1 man Hisec War Deccing Drekar Alliance building a Stargate… inna Deadspace pocket no less…  to be, somewhat fanciful. But I guess CCP might just be being careful about actually showing us a defending fleet with that stoopid effin BumbleBee logo on all their ships...)
2. The Empires are gonna get they panties inna bunch over this, in a big way.
3. Legionaries, Valkyries and Empyreans ARE going to work and play together in the same sandbox. (YEAH!)
4. When they try, CCP can make a damn fine video.

Unlike Kirith I’m not gonna make any predictions… just dunt have any in mind… I just WANT Legion and WiS and exploring Sleeper Stations and even bounty hunting… up close and personal like...  =]

That said, let’s move on to…

The Beginning is a very delicate time…

OK, so we start off at an Amarrian Theology Council Listening Post in Mamet in the Domain Region, in Null… orbiting WAYYY too effin close to Mamet’s M0 class Orange Radiant sun for my tastes… I mean I like summer but damn! We’re taking SPF5000 here… and I now understand those great huge arches… AC Units. Anyway, a Robed Faceless Sweaty One voice overs ‘The Prophesy’, and someone, sounds like Empress Jamyl Sarum to me, says “The Prophesy is true.” “The Heretics have constructed The Gate.” The Bearded Sweaty Faceless One says, “It must be Destroyed!”… mkay. Ya gotta wonder if the heat is making em cranky though…

From there we cut to the Drekar Alliance Command, Deadspace Construction Facility.
Drekar Alliance [DREKA] is, interestingly enough, real. An ingame Alliance… with a member count of… 1. And a description of: “High sec war dec corporation.” The lone member is ‘LF test’ who is a 10.10.12 toon, was in the State War Academy for almost 5 months then he went to Drekar and has been there since… I smell an alt.

Anyhoo… so this one guy, this lone Hisec War Deccer, seems to be building a Stargate... inna Deadspace. Now, I dunt know about you but the only way I ever get into a deadspace pocket is via a mission given out by an agent from an NPC corp… sooo... the new Stargates are missions??? Stranger and stranger it gets…

So, Mr. LF test is has this meeting with an unnamed DUSTer (Legionnaire?), Ran, the Leader of the Valkyrie and some random Empyrean dudes. He goes on a bit about Dawn, Keys, New Worlds, Wealth and Independence. Then he… (da da da DAAAA) Reveals The Gate… yea, like none of them saw the frakkin huge blots-out-the-sun thing on the way in… anyhoo, the Initiation Sequence is announced and a stand-by is called for Preliminary Evacuation… ooohh ahhhh… And ol LF test gravely announces that “Once the gate is active, it will change our world forever.” Well duh.

Cut to, Imperial Fleet Staging Area, Aridia Region… 80 systems, 10 Hisec, 42 Lowsec, 28 Nullsec. As there is a Titan in fleet, one can assume it’s in one of the 28 null systems. One of the Robed Faceless (not so sweaty now?) Ones is there with an Amarrian Lord (oooh ahhhh) and advises, in perfect cringing form, “The fleet awaits your command… my lord.” As troop transports load up DUSTers (or mebbe Legionnaires!) in a huge hangar bay on one of the carriers or supers… or mebbe that Titan… do Titans have hangar bays? I dunno, I’m but your humble reporter and I live in holes anyway and we dunt has Titans… so meh.

Anyhoo, cut to… Cloaky Helios Scout (and BTW why dunt my cloakies have that nice shimmery effect?? I mean the whole wireframe thing is kinda spooky…) reports to Mr. LF test about the existence of the Imperial Fleet. He, in true damn-the-torpedoes style says “We’re NOT aborting the sequence.” “Prepare for battle.” Whilst on screen he is show the Priority Evacuation warnings with the EMP Ignition Zone mapped out as an area larger than the frakkin huge ass gate itself.

For them as dunt know it, EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse, basically EMP is a pulse of electromagnetic energy... I know I just defined a thing by saying the things name in a different way… you go read the Wiki sheesh. Anyway it’s really frakkin dangerous and at very high energy levels… say the kind you get from a great-frakkin-blots-out-the-sun-gods-damned STARGATE… its deadly to all life and incredibly destructive for kilometers in all directions… mkay? Hence the Evacuation Warnings mkay?

So, cut to… lots of people preparing for battle but not doing any of that evacuating stuff…  most ALL of em are in fact are running and flying to group up right around the thing what is gonna kill em before it  can make em rich. We see DUSTers/Legionaries running hither an yon, and Valkyrie old style Wraith Mark Is taking off with Ran leading Bravo Wing. Cut to scenes of the defense fleet prepping… comms chatter, gun and missiles readying… all good stuff, “All wings in position, blockade is ready.

Now all this is very cool, but what comes next is nothing but awesomesause… We get a nice look at that new Warp Effect, you know the Startrekkian Light Barrier Flash when a starship breaks light speed or drops below light speed. That great distant sound as if large artillery was being fired just at the edge of hearing… whump… whump… whump, whump, whump… whump, whump, whump, whump…

The Amarrian Fleet starts landing on grid, and then, the Pièce de résistance… that Titan bridges in… !!!WHAM!!!

And it immediately fires a Doomsday… (so no lock n load delay after cynoing huh, who knew?) I assume it’s a Doomsday… never seen one and TBH, can’t say I care to either… look what happened to that Hel FFS!

So, now the fight begins in Earnest… well, ok, we actually don’t know what system it is, you know it being a deadspace pocket and all… which of course, begs the question… how did they get the WHOLE fleet through the acceleration gate with one a them one-time keys? And I thought you could not bridge or cyno into a deadspace pocket? The whole deadspace thing is starting to sound like a ruse to me…

But, I digress…

Next we hear, clear as a bell… OK, well, staticky and rough, but still clearly, ”Valkyries, intercept those troop carriers.” Ah HAH!!! So we know for a fact that Valkyries are on the field and on the side of Drekar Alliance! Schweet! We hear Katee Sackho... uh, I mean, Ran respond, ”Multiple bogies inbound, launching fighters.

We watch as one of the Valks, strafes a Troop Carrier and the carrier burns and peels off… as the massive battle rages all around them. Then… “(garbled) field is online, clear the ignition zone now!” and our old buddy Mr. LF test of course, responds, ”Negative! We defend the gate!

The battle, if anything, intensifies… Then you see several of the Troop Transports moving in and you hear, “They’re getting through. Prepare for breach.” We see the Troop Transports land on the gate and begin cutting their way in…

Then… what I have been waiting for, hoping for happens… we watch as a boarding team runs in attacking a group of defending troops… they are in Drop Suits… could be DUSTers, could be Legionaries, either way they are FIGHTING IN THE STATION!!  WOO HOO!!! THIS, this is what I want most in EVE.

That deserves another look!

Hells yea! OK, so we leave the DUSTers/Legionaries to slug it out below decks and return topside to the main fight… “They’re closing in on us! Keep up the pressure.” We hear over comms, “On your six,I can’t keep em off… ” The voice trails away when we see the EMP pulse wavefront wash across a flight of Prophecies… (LOL Prophecies) as they get knocked out of the fight… as EVERY SHIP there gets knocked out and they all drift out of power and out of control…

Into that stunned silence we hear Aura announce, “Ignition complete.” and watch as the gate spools up to fire…

First, all the ships now drifting powerless in space and smashing into each other are drawn inwards, as the gates systems power up… then

Boom… the gate fires for the first time… hurling the dead and broken ships from both fleets away from itself…

And we are left… with the gate, active and ready to transport us to new worlds… surrounded by hundreds of ruined hulks and… thousands… of the dead and the dying who fought over it.

"And its wake, it will follow a storm."

Fly in Fields of Wrecks... and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Worlds and Stations

~or “Leaving Old Eden..."

Recently I heard a rumor that a fellow Empyrean had made a trip to an alternate universe where Incarna had been rolled out with usable content… His experiences there made me wonder if I too could take such a trip… On a whim, I tried a little known hack whereby you fit the fastest Inty you can and burn towards the sun… but aim to just graze past it… if done right, this whips you into a time warp… I burned and burned… then there was a blinding light…

** discontinuity **

When I shook off the effect of whatever it was that just happened I was still burning at full speed, just heading away from the sun, no longer heading towards it… Hmm. I warped to the top station and, being in a hub system, it was busy as usual. The usual smack, scams and chat in local, ships docking and undocking, cans trashing up the spacelanes adverting corp recruitments and the usual scamcans… there were corpmates boredly shooting each other in the usual way, wardeccers camping in the usual way… I saw nothing unusual so I requested docking permission…

My ship was tractored in (still just went ‘poof’ from outside to the dock so THAT hadn’t changed…) and everything still looked normal… so I entered the CQ. The loading screen was much much faster than I remembered but otherwise again, all looked the same… as I turned and walked into the CQ and I noticed that my avatar seemed more… seamless, cleaner, more detailed and smoother… ok, nice. I entered the CQ, again all was as I remembered…

I was starting to  think my time warp trick was a bust when I saw the button on The Door… it was no longer red… it was green. I pushed… and it opened… cripes I almost jumped. After years of that thing taunting us all to have it just slide open as easy as you please was a bit of a shock to be honest…Well, it opened into a lift. I entered, the doors sighed closed and judging from the lighting effects, I believe I travelled forward and then vertically quite some distance though the trip was over quickly… The lift came to a stop and the doors slid open… I walked out into a vast open area and stood for a second, just taking it all in…

It was a large enclosed space, like an atrium, four stories high with a concourse approximately a hundred meters wide. In front of me, gently curving away on both sides, were shops and signs for Corps, Alliances, the four Empires, CONCORD, DUST, Legion and Valkyrie Offices… Even the factions had offices, Mordu’s Legion, The Angels, Blood Raiders… There were store fronts for it seemed like every manufacturer and business in New Eden… Tattoo parlors, bars, apparel, personal armor, Drop Suit shops and… firearms! Yup… gunshops by the gods!… that brought a smile to my tired old face.

I saw signs for Amarrian worship houses, Caldari restaraunts, Matarii meeting houses, Gallente bars… poker halls, gambling houses and gaming establishments of all kinds… And there were Empyreans, hundreds of them, walking by singly and in groups. Coming and going, entering and leaving the offices and shops and bars… I looked to my left and saw other Empyreans coming and going from the lifts to their CQs…

It felt very much like a large busy airport or train station concourse back home really. The air was warm and heady with the scents of hundreds of different styles of food… The ambient sounds were the murmur of a mass of people walking and talking, doors whisking open and closed, the sound of many types of music all mixed up with the faint steady thrum of machinery, the susurrus of the air systems and… in the background… there was something else…

I turned to the right and saw the windowall. The whole outer curved side of this great concourse was a wall of armored glassine… four stories tall… and it looked out over the undock. I recognized the ships I had seen outside on my way in, I was seeing what was actually happening right outside… and, to be honest, it saddened me to think that we, in our New Eden, have nothing like it.

There were chairs and sofas and tables scattered all along the windowall. I noticed several Empyrean Adjutant Lieutenants or A-Lts, usually called Alts, sitting or standing and watching the undock, some were talking, seemingly to themselves but probably via comms implants. They seemed to be reporting back on specific ship movements to their Empyrean Captains… ahhh, better than undocking an Alt to take a look around, good idea that.

I watched a freighter undock and instawarp away in a flash as one of the Alts turned and quickly headed back to his CQ… looked to me like he was going to ship up and scout the route for his Captain… Less than a minute later an Interceptor undocked and immediately warped away directly on the line the freighter had taken… bet that was the scout.

There were several groups at tables… some playing poker, some just talking together. As I walked by I noticed one group sharing a holoscreen… I saw they were browsing the Neocom forums and that someone had been trolling them all a bit… making fun of the, as he saw it, weird way they talked. He said he was from another dimension and he seemed to think ‘they’ were somewhat bizarre… They were all laughing at this forum troll then one reached up and placed a nice bounty on the trolls head… “Let’s see how bizarre he feels when his POD is popped.” he said with a smile.

I grinned and moved on… Then I remembered something … a rumor I vaguely remembered from a long time ago… I stopped and stared up that the four story tiers of the business side of the concourse and wondered “How do I…?”  Ahh… I saw, spaced around the concourse, stations that looked like data kiosks… each just within eyesight of the next. I went over to the nearest one and yes, it was a station directory, cool. It showed the floorplan of the concourse in several views, but there were possibly hundreds of offices and shops all across all four floors of the interior… so, hmm….

I typed in the name I was looking for… and its location lit up in a recognizable fashion… it was yellowboxed! LOL, and, on the floor in front of me a glowing holographic yellow line appeared with a slowly pulsing arrow saying ‘follow me’… cool. It led me down the concourse then up to a bank of glassine enclosed maglevators that glided up the side of the wall. This took me up to the third floor where I stepped out onto a smaller though still quite broad walkway, railed on the side facing the windowall with chairs, sofas and tables looking out over the concourse, with the offices and storefronts and businesses on the other side. I followed the glowing yellow line to the doorway I was seeking as the guiding line faded from view… there was a simple sign, Duvolle Laboratories. I go in…

The reception area is nice in a very white and stark way, but it is a lab company… the agent at the desk smiles and asks how she can help me, I tell her I am looking for work to which she replies, “Please fill this out sir.” and hands me a data pad… There is a tab for available work contracts of many types, and a tab for goods and services offered. I select contracts, and then… yes, there it is, Heading: Exploration, subheading: Anoikis, sub-subheading: Sleeper Stations… Then there are 2 types, Shipboard and Away Teams… Away Teams! “Duvolle Labs is interested in purchasing any and all technology recovered from the interior of abandoned Sleeper Stations.”… Oh hells yes! I accept the contract and hand the datapad back. There is no payout, no bounties, no bonus… and no time limit. You make only what Duvolle Labs will pay for whatever you bring back… when you do… if you do… That is if you live to get out with an intact cargo. Yes, it’s dangerous as all hell but, if you do return, with cargo, the rewards can be… extravagant.

I walk back to the maglevators and I stand at the railing for a while… watching the ebb and flow of my Empyrean brothers and sisters… watching the ships, undocking and heading out into the black…to fight for what they believe in, to fight for glory, to fight just for the sake of the fight and to fight for the ISK, just as I was going to do.

I was going out to scan down a wormhole… and see if I could find a Sleeper Station… then find a docking port and hack the eons old security systems to gain entry… then, in a heavy antirad suit with limited time and air, explore, and fight my way past the ancient automated defenses to seek out the very valuable Sleeper and Talocan tech to claim for my own… and I would have to be prepared to fight against other Empyreans too… I was not the only one out there in the black exploring and willing to fight for my future…

As I gazed down on this huge concourse… one of many in all the stations in all of this New Eden… what I saw was business as usual. They’re still going out there, mining and fighting and ganking and hauling… It seems the ability to dock up and roam around a bit in your ‘skin’ doesn’t change the need to undock and take a chance to make some ISK, see something new, meet someone new… and kill them.

As for going back? You know, to that other New Eden… the one where we are stuck forever inside our PODs never to see the light of day with our own eyes… never to feel the warm air on our own skin… a place where, because of short-sighted and little-minded people, we are trapped inside cold, sensory depriving sludge filled capsules… dehumanized, mechanized… stripped of our feelings. I look at this wonderful fulfilling new world around me and decide, No… not for me thanks. I breathe deeply… enjoying the fuller and more immersive life I am going to have here.

Then, before heading back down to prep my Astero, I turn to find a kiosk… If I’m gonna be inna fight with my boots on the ground, and my skin in the game, I need some equipment those poor POD addled Empyreans don’t have in Old Eden… “I’m gonna need guns… lots of guns.” I think to myself with a big grin…  =]

Fly Wreckless and see you in the Station  =/|)=