Sunday, September 27, 2015


~or “It’s All Profit and Loss… But What Do We Profit and What Might We Lose?”

From the Patch Notes for Vanguard, 6th heading down, Skills… 

All new characters will now start with approximately 400,000 skillpoints rather than 50,000.

I find this interesting and potentially… mebbe not smart. I do get the whole let’s make EVE easier to play for the newbs cause no matter how you look at it PCU is down, CCP stopped sharing any hard numbers on the subs a few years ago and no matter how you slice it or look at it, I don’t believe anyone can say the playerbase is growing… it’s not.

So CCP is making changes, as any good company would, to try and boost sales, secure their financial stability and increase profitability. Hence the increased focus on improving the NPE (New Player Experience) and refreshing the game by breaking the stagnation of nullsec and opening up those areas of the game for more players.

This change, a relatively large bump in new player base SP, is pretty obviously a part of the NPE strategy. Get players into a few T2 weapons and Frigate L5 on the very first day. There is debate on this and some hard feelings and others who feel it is naught but good.

Sugar Kyle said something that resonated strongly with me, in her CSMX - Post #29

It is a fine balance between helping new players invest without taking away rewarding first moments. I'm not convinced that skilling them into T2 weapons and Frigate 5 on day one is the path to go. For one, not everyone wants combat capabilities and for two, you  take away so many early accomplishments that your help can also hinder.

We who play, who write these blogs and argue these mechanics are vested in Eve. We have to invest new players first in the very concepts of our game.

Investment… I am vested in EVE. I have spent 5 years playing EVE, from a few hours a week to 5, 6 or more hours an evening. I started in Nov. 2010 and I had but the std. 50k SP. I, as we all have, worked my way up the skill tree, the vaunted Learning Cliff of EVE. I am proud of this, I am proud of my accomplishments.

As Sugar said, we have to invest new players to our game… not give them cart blanc, just hand them the power and abilities without any of the costs, consequences… and the wonder of exploring and the joy of discovery. Something handed to you for free is worth exactly what you paid for it… it is worthless, you have nothing ‘invested’ in it.

Let’s define this…

2. to devote one's time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.
…with the expectation of worthwhile result.” OK, what is a ‘worthwhile result’?

1. worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance.
…of value or importance.” OK…

We need to define exactly what it is we place value on or feel is important in the time we invest in skills in EVE Online. Is there actual value or importance in the Skill Points?

Obviously yes as skills are how one gets access to new ships and modules and activities in EVE. Access to almost everything is skill based and skills are accrued over Real Time, not Game Time as in so many other games where grinding while logged on is how one accrues skills and abilities.

And the dual crux for me is this…

EVE is such a complex game with so many paths that can be taken that not everyone necessarily wants combat capabilities right off the bat.
What if someone joins the game because his buddies talk about building ships and modules and the market… or even building Supers or Titans?
What about explorers who are mainly interested in scanning and searching covertly? What about players who come to EVE because of the market with no desire to ever undock again once they get to Jita?

And then there is this…

Just ‘giving’ such a higher number of SP at the start really does remove so many of the early accomplishments all the rest of us went through. I don’t know about anyone else, but as frustrated as I sometimes was back in my noob days… frustrated feeling I wasn’t keeping up, frustrated that I felt wasn’t really contributing to the group because of my low SP… even then I knew that it was OK, that this is how one learns and grows.

I look back now and I remember my noobhood as a fantastic and amazing time, one that I would not now change for the virtual life of me. This ‘gift’ of SP denies new players some of this experience… and as in real life the only thing we take from EVE, the only thing of real value… of real worth… is our experiences and memories.

I have a saying I try to live by…

“All you can take with you when you die is your memories… Pack carefully.”

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

See? Change is the only Constant.

~or “Here We Go Again!”

This is a quick one but I wanted to hit a few really interesting points from the Sept 17th 07 Show.
Big changes are coming to EVE, again…

CCP Seagull Bigger Picture and Changes
Start 0:31:30 to 0:33:52

In a concise and friendly little tête-à-tête CCP Seagull announced she wants ALL structures and infrastructure in new Eden to be as player created, destroyable, dynamic and driven as the market is.

She says that the fast 6 week cadence has “made it a bit harder to see the big picture sometimes” so…

They are bringing back Expansions

These will be a new hybrid form of Large, dare I say ‘Jesus Feature’ type of release… but they are also going to continue the now familiar smaller regular 5 week releases. The Expansions will be based on features that belong together and have a ‘bigger’ impact on the game as a whole. These will not have a fixed schedule as such but will be rolled out as and when it make sense and they are ready.

The next one is going to be an Expansion… not a std. release. It is about Citadels, Structures and new changes and roles for Capitals.

Plus, we can look forward to Seagull being more active blogging and in video. And we have found that on the whole when she speaks, stuff happens.

Just after CCP Seagull’s fireside chat, we get some news about the AT Collusion Allegations
The Prizes have been seized and an investigation is ongoing… Ooooo  Drama in EVE? Nooo say it isn’t so!... right.

The last part that really got my interest was an interview with CCP Quant.
Start 0:58:40 to 1:00:55

As we all know, requests for the QEN, the CCP Quarterly Economic Newsletter, or for that matter ANY economic figures at all has been in perma-request mode since CCP stopped publishing the QEN. Well, CCP Quant is going to be putting out graphical financial information in the future.

But… These will be about New Eden’s Economy (not CCPs finances…)
Subjects such as ISK sinks and faucets, trade deficits by region or area, import/export figures, production/destruction figures. All interesting and for the good no doubt, but CCP KNOWS what we are asking for, what we really want is how healthy is the GAME? How healthy is CCP in financial terms… what do the PCU numbers really represent? What ARE the sub and account numbers for EVE Online?

I doubt we will get those though… we all know there has been signs and portent of decline in the playerbase numbers. We just don’t know how bad it is. And if I was Hilmar, you wouldn’t know either. No company helps itself or its image or finances with bad numbers. Bad enough people are asking… last thing I’d do is give the Chicken Little crowd ANUY hard numbers that could be used or even twisted, no matter how much or little, to bolster their negative views… or worse, their agendas.

There is a lot of other good info and some fun stuff on the 07 Show… it’s really worth a watch.

Fly wreckless and see you in the Sky…  =/|)=

Sunday, September 13, 2015

In a Constantly Changing Universe…

~or “The Only Constant You Can Count on… is Change.”

At Fanfest 2013 CCP Seagull announced the Next Science Fiction Theme for EVE... where she asked us to “dream with her”… about “Space Colonization” and “the Rise of the Capsuleers, taking over what the Empires used to control”… “imagine what could lie beyond the known, if only you could construct the right kind of stargate ”… which ended with the Big Reveal that we were going to once day build our OWN Stargates leading to New Spaces.

At Fanfest 2014, CCP Seagull expanded on this and gave us the Roadmap to Player Built Stargates.

And we have been living that dream and on that road and following the map she laid out that night ever since… And we have seen CCP do exactly what she promised.

First up on the Roadmap we had Rubicon, Nov, ’13, which brought us player owned Hisec customs offices, ghost sites (from which we understand we are to collect the BPs, materials, etc., needed to build the PBSGs) and new hacking mechanics among others… the first steps towards Colonization.

Then eight months later came Kronos, Jun ‘14. Small note; and the beginning of the new 6 week schedule… and one of the things we lost to that faster paced patch schedule was those amazing Expansion Trailers… but CCP instead gave us… this.

Kronos was slated to begin the Industry changes, but they were rolled back to Crius. A benefit of the 6 week schedule was the ability to do this… to roll back something that was not ready without forcing us to wait six moar months. But we did get the new Mordu’s Legion ships, low slots on Freighters, removal of the Lewt Spew™ mechanic and the Serenitization of the Moa among others… so this ended up being an interim patch, nothing directly required by the Roadmap.

Then Crius, Jul ’14, with the long awaited Industry revamp. Complete overhaul; of the Industry interface, Corp standing removal, Industry “Teams” among others. Required by the Roadmap.

Hyperion, Aug ’14, which was focused primarily on wormholes as well as their game mechanics plus things like the L4 Frig missions. An interim patch.

Oceanus, Sep ’14, Burner missions, lots moar wormhole stuff. An interim patch.

Phoebe, Nov ‘14, “Phase One” of the jump changes for Capitals and Supercapitals, introduction of Jump Fatigue, bookmarks in space, multiple sell orders and unlimited Skill Queue among others. Major requirement of the Roadmap.

Rhea, Dec ’14,  Complete overhaul of the Death mechanics… no SP loss and removal of Clone grades, 101 new ‘shattered’ wormholes, Thera, T3 Dessies and the Bowhead. I feel this is one was definitely on the Roadmap though not a ‘big’ waypoint.

Proteus, Jan ’15, Combat Recon scan immunity, Hi-end explo sites added, and lots of graphical work, an interim patch.

Tiamat, Feb ’15, Emergence of the Drifters and increased NPC interaction across Empire space, Svipul T3, corp friendly fire toggle… I am not sure if this is on the map or not. I can see the Drifters and the Sleeper lore and NPC behavior possibly becoming important in or leading to the New Space, especially if it is Jove Space as so many seem to think.

Either way, a hugely improved AI and increased NPC initiated interaction is, IMHO, nothing but good for EVE as a whole… I’m putting this one in the “CCP Seagull Sekret Roadmap” category.

Scylla, Mar ’15, mostly focused on EVE Launcher Improvements, download on demand, etc., NPE improved by the new “Opportunities” Ishtar/droan nerf… a solid interim patch if not actually on either The Map (or the Sekret Map), which it may be, too early to tell.

Mosaic, Apr ’15, Entosis Link introduced, SKINS, T3 rebalance among other changes. Definitely on The Map as the Entosis Link is required for the New Sov mechanics.

Carynx, Jun ’15, (sorry, the only goes to Mosaic so I have to use the moar graphical and hence a bit less bulletpointed site…) Carnyx brought us “Phase Two” of the Sov changes started in Phoebe back in Nov of 2014.

The core of the New Sov system… the Entosis Link module is the core of the new Sov plus the Asset Vulnerability Window and the Occupancy Defense Modifier, Cruiser Burner missions, moar SKINS, PBR graphics, Jackdaw T3, Drifter inhabited wormholes and the highly debated new OV Icons… Major requirement of the Roadmap.

Aegis, Jul '15, brings us "Phase Three" of the New Sov. the Entosis Link expands to all Sov structures; vulnerability windows take effect and constealltion-wide capture events and Freeport mode become active, a lot of balancing and the T3 Hecate. Again, major requirements of The Map.

Galatea, Aug ’15 (our most recent patch) Sov balancing and fixes, Drifters Invading the Throne Worlds, new SKINS, clothes & graphics… good stuff but an interim patch or on the edge of The Map.

And Vanguard is on its way, set to drop the 29th of Sept. only 16 days from this writing.

In Vanguard we are slated to get, Multi-buy, Jump Gate Cloak Invuln timer, WH Jump Polarization timer (Yea!), improved Probe scanning map, new Guristas Burner missions and more graphics enhancements… Plus in this Dev Blog, Next Set of Sov and Capital Movement Iterations by Team Five O we read…

Team Five 0 is hard at work on our next set of iterations to sovereignty (as well as some changes to Jump Fatigue)…”
“These are the second set of major iterations to the Sov capture system since Aegis, with the first set having been released in our earlier Galatea release.”
“The first of these changes is scheduled for the Vanguard release on September 29th, and the rest will be coming in the Parallax release on November 3rd.

Looks like Troll ‘ceptors will be a Thing Of The Past with ‘ceptors losing the ability to fit an Entosis Link, some really boring “numbers” and “words” about something called Passive Regeneration of Structure Capture Progress… OMFG… (I will NEVER understand nullsec or them as care about it…) anyway, this was cool… Ability to Self-Destruct Sov Structures…. FTW! And other changes they are not far enough along on to discuss ATM.

But it seems the Parallax release will also contain a significant iteration to the Jump Fatigue mechanic to “…reduce the damage that a character can inflict by overjumping, reducing the maximum possible fatigue from 30 days to 5 days.” This is so “…a player who is mostly active on the weekend will have fully recovered from one weekend by the next.

These changes (1) are definitely on The Map and (b) seem to me to be quite close to if not The Business As Usual of iterations, balancing and tweaks that CCP does normally in keeping EVE healthy and interesting.

So that is where we are now. If one were to graph (cause we all like graphs) completion indices on the Roadmap now, close to 2 years and 14 patches after the original announcement… I wonder if CCP Seagull’s looks something like this…

The above is my take on where we are currently in order to get to Stargate Construction and Control according to my reading of the patch notes and Dev Blogs etc. CCP is obviously done with Industry. We know they are on the way to the final tweaks and iterations on the Sov & Warfare changes.

As for that sliver of green I put on Corp & Alliances… I have seen a few iterations and tweaks here and there… expanded Corp size, bookmark sharing and improvements and overview sharing, Friendly Fire, improved Corp adverts… but nothing writ large so I feel while some work has been done, Corps & Alliances major changes are still to come. And of course, we are all eagerly anticipating the upcoming Station, Outposts and Starbases changes that have been the talk of the ether for some time now.

So… here’s the genesis of this post. The players who applauded CCP Seagull back in 2013 when she announced the Player Built Stargates and in 2014 when she showed us how we were going to get there… are all playing a quite different game than the one we all logged into back in ’13 and even in ’14.

You need to remember there was eight months between Rubicon on the old twice yearly Major Expansion cycle and Kronos and the beginning of the new six week Patchspansion cycle… and it has been a year and 3 months since Kronos dropped, 12 patches total in that time. On the old expansion cycle we would have seen just 2 expansions and even going back to Rubicon we would by now only have seen 3.

So where am I leading with all this background?… I was thinking of all the all the hoopla and hype over the idea, at that time, that Goons or at least nullseccers in the form of the Great Coalitions, were going to be the players in the best position to be the ones who were gonna build those Stargates and then force the rest of us to pay tolls or simply lock us all out and take ALL of the new space for themselves…

Kinda moot now dontcha think? I have spent a good part of this evening wondering just what the New Eden political and player starscape will look like in ’16 or ’17 when CCP get’s all those arrows green so we can ALL find out just what it will take to build “the right kind of stargate” and explore, discover and fight for whatever lies beyond the known…

CCP Seagull… You go gurl!

Fly reckless and see you in the New Sky =/|)=

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Back in the Black…

~or “So… How Do You Play This Game?”

I’m back, or really we’re back… or at least we were last night.

Got home a twee early last night, IE I left work on time for a change, because we have visitation with my 12yo son on Wednesdays, so after dinner, dropping him back off, and settling in afterwards I fired up TS just to see if it was still a ghost server and lo and behold actual live people were online! And not just any people but Sov and Tsra, our Fearless Leader himself himself and Le Banc! Oh frabjous day!

So after a bit of “Who the hell are you?” and other such trollery we ended up having enough people get on to actually consider running sites… especially as we now have a support Archon in our home. We did not build it for ratting, it is primarily a POS and fleet support carrier, but on those nights as we have enough people on and really solid hole control, we may occasionally use it for ratting cause, well… it’s a Support Carrier FFS.

So last night instead of flying in my usual logi role I was but one moar Ishtard Drone pusher applying my awesome droan DPS to fukkin UP some Sleepers and with Archon Logi... well, the Nefarious Forces of Naptime couldn’t even scratch our paint! But it was not about the ISK or the gameplay or the PVE… the fun was being back in the black flyin’ with my guys in the deadly skies of New Eden.

It’s funny… there is so much Elite Dangerous has that EVE doesn’t… a full 6 degrees of freedom in supraluminal flight, 400 BILLION stars, amazing detailed first person flight mechanics, actual Physics, a much more deeply interactive NPC community, the very real promise of landing on planets… with space Jeeps! Sol system and mother Earth just to name a few… but the one thing EVE has that E:D doesn’t overshadows it all…

EVE was envisioned and created as a social game and CCP has devoted the continuing development and support of the social aspects and interactions in EVE. And THAT makes it far far more than just a game.

I was seriously lookin’ at corp hoppin’ and joining Noir. Academy with Epigene… but as long as there are guys on TS and in the game like Sov n Tsra n Endy n Elru and the rest… well, I’m a wormholer at heart… and home is where the heart is.   =]

Fly reckless and see you in the Hole =/|)=

Friday, September 4, 2015

Days of Malaise…

~or “My Give-A-Damn May be Fixable…”

I have not been playing much EVE these past few, ok, threeish months… and in the last few weeks I have not even played much E:D either. I usually hate when RL gets in the way of my fun, but lately I have been wondering if it is that, or something else that stays my mouse finger when hovering over the “Login” buhtan.

IRL we are in the middle of a ‘space re-allocation’ at work. They have basically cut the IT User Support area into thirds and we are losing significantly more m3 than one of them. During construction we have been jammed into a much smaller, ¼ section of the same room. To say this has been little ‘disruptive’ is to say the EVE playerbase can be a little 'contentious'…  Add to this I have been putting in some occasionally serious OT and ‘ol Tur has simply been going to bed earlier then he has been used to and that cuts heavily into my gaming time.

That’s the RL side of my reduced gaming activity… but if I’m honest with myself, and you gentle reader, it’ not all of it. Looking back I realize there have been nights, more than a few, where I ran the launcher but then got into blogging and reading and even watching upcoming movie trailers and when I realized it was past my bedtime… there was the client, buried under multiple windows and ignored. Not forgotten… ignored. Seems at some point in the last month or so my gaming give-a-damn got broke and I dint realize it.

As for not loggin into EVE that I feel is really due to 2 factors… (1) I have a lot (for me) of ISK now and the push, the need to grind sites or even just keep PI going so I can make enough monies to pay the bills so to speak is just not there. And (b) the guys I have always flown with are on sabbatical or taking a break or whatever it is that is keeping them from loggin in and they are the real reason I want to play anymore…

As for Fozzie Sov and other “things of great import” going in in EVE… I have no idea nor any opinion… There’s this Chairman Mao saying… (paraphrased) “Frogs at the bottom of the well, only see a part of the sky.” I live inna hole man.

As for my recent E:D malaise… this I am uncertain of. I still like the game immensely and I do have fun when I play and find it fulfilling and there is a lot I want to get into and explore and do in E:D… so why have done nothing except fill my cargo hold, several days ago, in prep for a Rares run I have yet to make? I have no idea… so I’ll talk about what I do when I DO login.  =\

On the E:D side…
I started working the “Rares” circuits. Rares in E:D for them as dunt know are items available only in one system what can be extremely valuable when sold many light years away from their origin systems. Basically the Rares mechanics are, (1) buy the tan highlighted items, (2) sell them a minimum of 120 LY from origin system and (3) reap approx. 800 to 900% ROI (Return On Investment)!

The chart below (SPREADSHEETS INNNNN SPAAAAACE FTW!!!) shows my last full Rares Circuit in which I spent a total of 105,674.00c to make 1,046,521.00c after investment recoup, a 980% profit… not too shabby for approx an hour of easy gameplay hm?

Much of the details of the Rares Trade Circuits and mechanics have, of course, been worked out by other players such as Commander Gid who provided the map below which I found on “Fingerbob's guide to Elite Dangerous Trading, Part Three” along with some of the best info and advise on Rare Trading in E:D.

That’s pretty much all I have been doing in E:D. I hit a few systems, load up on Rare goods and head out into the black. Oh and I always use the most economical routes. Routes that cover like 30 to 40+ hops. Why? Cause I won’t pay for gas anymore and I prefer to make even more credits.

Free Fuel… It is far far faster to scoop the small amount of fuel expended on a small hop than for one at the edge of my max jump range, that can be near a ¼ tank and take a few minutes orbiting the sun and I don’t like being ‘exposed’ to attack that long.

Moar Credits… At every system you pass through run a deep scan before you jump out… you can sell the data at systems at least 20+ LY on down your route. And the price goes up the farther out you get… if you wait till you get to your destination, say 180LY out, you can make from 50,000 to over 70,000c in addition to your trades… that alone usually covers my initial investment in my cargo.

Tonight I logged in just to show my son (AI, the one what got me into EVE who we’re visitin’ in Georgia ATM…) all about E:D. Gave him a basic run through, how fight n flight and such works… and even have a hold full of Rares to boot, half a mil credits just waiting for me to make the 165LY run to Zaonce… and yet after I boofed around showing AI how E:D works… I just docked up and logged off instead of making the run.

Now, as for EVE…
I have been keeping up on the blogs both player and Dev, the EVE-O forums (where and when applicable)(and stomachable) the Local News as reported by The SCOPE and suchlike… and I have my concerns. There seems to be a malaise the days in New Eden… seems like a lotta people beside me might has a broke Give-a-Damn.

Though… I did get a stirring deep in my EVE nethers recently… enough of a stirring that I actually logged on night afore last, scanned the holes in Home, found the pipe out to Empire and went and docked Tur up in Amarr. You see I “do” want to play EVE, I just don’t wanna do it solo and my guys in HELPeR are on a break or sabat or somesuch and there just aint much going on that I wanna take part in or much even TO take part in.

But… I read my friend Epi’s post, Into the Black, where he announces he has joined Noir. Academy one of New Eden’s most respected Merc Alliances and that got my attention. You see for them as don’t know me and mine, by that I mean my home corp HBHI, were once a part of SYJ Alliance in Anoikis. SYJ, Surely You’re Joking [HAHA] Alliance was an Anoikis Merc Alliance when we were with them, and at the time, a damn good one though not as… moral? honorable? decent? as Noir. But DAMN did we have some big fun and made mountains of ISK with them until they decided to leave Anoikis and head to losec with the idea of trying null out… at which time HBHI & SYJ parted ways.

So here I have Epigene, someone I have kinda always wanted to fly with, or against, either would be fun, joining a Merc Corp, a well-respected Merc Corp…
and I miss flying in EVE…
a lot…
and I miss being a merc…
a lot…
decisions decisions…

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