Saturday, August 6, 2016

Whar’s My Black Pearl?

~or “Remember CCP, Black Goes with Everything…”

I want a Black Ship. I want ALL my ships to be Black. I wan Glossy Black and dull non-reflective, light and radar and ladar and shmadar absorbing BLACK SHIPS!

Why do we not have ANY All Black SKINS??? As you can see above I finally caved and bought a PermaSKIN… the Sanctuary SKIN for the Astero. Cost me 386m ISK it did. Worth it? Not really… but as CCP has for whatever reason decided Black is not a “color” so the Sanctuary Navy Blue SKIN is a close as I am getting today so what the hell…

I do like it… I mean it’s the first SKIN I felt was anywhere near worth spending the ISK on. And being a wormholer and living by the cloak and scan, I have lived in one of my ‘stero’s except for combat and sites Ops since they were introduced.

Ya gotta admit… the details are very cool. But just imagine if she was as black as space…

Oh and one last thing. How incredibly cool would it be if they did offer a set of Black SKINS… One set shiney and purty… one set dull, no reflective and all ‘hidey’… and one set, the really expensive one, that is dull black, can turn off your exterior lights AND is radar/ladar/et.,/etc. absorbent?

IE a SKIN that makes you invisible to DScan. The trade off being you can’t use the Cov Ops cloak…  Hmmmmmmm… interesting possibilities huh?

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Adrenaline Junkies Online…

~or “A Case Against Trammelization…”

I have doubts this post will be taken or understood the way I mean it… it’s a complex thing I want to try and say, but I am going to try anyway cause I think it needs to be said.

There has been a lot of talk-talk of late about how EVE is Dying and how EVE PVE sucks midget donkey balls…

One, I disagree that EVE is dying. It is aging and changing as all things do, but I personally do not believe it is going to or will go dark in the foreseeable future and,

Two I also strongly disagree that PVE is being neglected and that and the general “horrid state” of EVE’s PVE is causative in this much vaunted mythical deathspiral EVE is supposed to be in.

If there is any chance for me to be understood some background is in order.

For them as don’t know it the core group of guys, many if not all, who created CCP in order to create EVE, were Ultima Online players back in the day. EVE was created to be similar to Ultima Online in some very important ways, while learning some lessons from some of the mistakes made in UO.

For them as don’t know Ultima Online was one of the early MMORPGs and as a matter of fact Lord British (Richard Garriott) the creator of UO was the guy who coined the term MMORPG. UO was an open world, unrestricted PVP, persistent virtual world. You could go anywhere, you could take part in and do anything in PVE that was available in the game mechanics… and you could attack and kill, or be killed by, anyone… anytime, anywhere… unrestricted and unforgiving Player versus Player interaction, both working together and in aggression.

Now as these things go, the vast majority of gamers then as today, prefer to play safer games. Games where they are always the winner, where they can’t lose their stuff or be griefed and scammed or basically, as they see it, bullied. Yet… there is a segment of the gaming population, a particular demographic if you will, of players who run the gamut from dyed in the wool carebears to complete asshole spawn camping griefers… all of whom prefer an unsafe game. This is a group of Adrenaline Junky Gamers who find safe PVE only themeparks too bland and boring to really enjoy… and we are not the majority.

Now, here’s the thing. Games like these, really unsafe dangerous risky games, can also be simply terribad or simply amazing neither of which is dependent on their unsafe nature but on the Dev’s and their vision and how the games is crafted and developed. In UO that vision was very good for its day and it captured not just the above mentioned Adrenaline Junkie Gamers but it also, of course, caught the attention of a lot of other gamers who were simply attracted to the game and its new PVE and gameplay mechanics.

Now a lot of these other gamers are not Adrenaline Junkies… and many of these players hated the Open Unrestricted PVP aspects of UO. Many, a LOT, left immediately or shortly after they ran into it. Some of those who stayed were actively targeted by that segment of players who are the Bully Griefers, who’s main enjoyment in the game was seeking out noobs and PVE only players and attacking them mercilessly, sometimes as if Mittens himself had given the drunken order.

Over time the hue and cry against Unrestricted PVP in UO made all the :words: ever posted against unrestricted PVP in EVE pale in comparison. So much so that Gordon Walton, former VP of Online at Origin Systems and Executive Producer of UO, made the decision to split the game space into PvP and PvE worlds. The original open world server it started with, now called Felucca and another mirror server with highly restricted PVP rules, basically a PVE only server called… Trammel.

Now… here’s the part where the PVE Only crowd will howl with glee…

The unrestricted PVP that made UO such an intense game was “…clearly driving away approx. 70+% of all the new players that tried the game within 60 days.

The following is quoted directly from this Reddit post by Gordon Walton;

“The good: After the change which broke the game space into PvP and PvE worlds, the player base and income nearly doubled (we went from 125k to 245k subs). So from a fiscal responsibility standpoint it was a totally winning move.

The bad: Without the "sheep to shear" the hard core PvP'ers were disenfranchised. They didn't like preying on each other (hard targets versus soft targets), and they became a smaller minority in the overall game. The real bad though, was that the intensity and "realness" of the game for all players was diminished. This was the major unintended consequence.”


Inherent in the UO brand was the fact it was a gritty, hard core world of danger. We were not successful in bringing back the (literally) 100's of thousands of players who had quit due to the unbridled PvP in the world (~5% of former customers came back to try the new UO, but very few of them stayed). We discovered that people didn't just quit UO, they divorced it in a very emotional way. But we did keep more of the new players that came in by a large margin, significantly more than than the PvP players we lost.

Now I am sure this will be an orgasmic "OH MY GOD! SEE!! SEE!!! CCP IS DOING IT ALL WRONG!!!!" moment for Angry and all who feel as he does. But I have read much over the years about the who and why of CCP and EVE and I firmly believe the people who run CCP, IE Hilmar Pétursson, Reynir Harðarson, Torfi Frans Ólafsson and company would all agree with this statement…

…the push for bigger audiences leads directly to more "accessible" experiences. (that's code for directed experiences, that are more forgiving, less intense games which cater a broader group of players). There are plenty of big companies out there making those types of games (and plenty of players who want them). WoW and every other themepark out there are the games that fill this need. WoW has 8 million players alone, the themepark model is being served.

CCP wanted to do something different. I quote from an old pcgamer article, The Making of EVE Online from Jan 24, 2011: ”Reynir explains how, at launch, mining – seen as overly passive – was designed that way: “There's nothing to it, there's no minigame to play. But when you're in dangerous sectors, you feel like you're trespassing, even if nothing happens. Hilmar leans in again with another take on it. “Because it's so passive, people have so much time to socialize and communicate. They're naturally filling the vacuum.” The mining mechanic is the perfect confluence of developer-led decision making and community-led chaos.”

Obviously, a PVE themepark was not the game CCP set out to make… and it is not the game they have made.  I believe totally that the following from Mr. Walton says it quite well here…

“We are specifically making our game for players who will like the kind of experience we will create, not trying to cast a wide net to get a mass market audience. We want the folks who will appreciate an intense gaming experience with real risk, winning and losing. While we want as many players who are engaged in our game as possible, we won't need millions of players to make our game work.”

“So our game won't be for everyone, and we certainly don't want people playing who aren't enjoying the experience. This is supposed to be an activity we experience as fun after all!

The guys who created CCP in order to create EVE Online were and still are just such gamers. They wanted to create a SciFi version of Ultima Online… UO had very simple security… In Felucca, you can be attacked, killed and looted by anyone anywhere outside of a town. Inside a town you can be protected by guards… if someone calls them... This is why EVE has multiple layers of security.

Highsec = High to Medium CONCORD response, Security Status penalties = Sec Status loss, Faction Police and Sentry gun response, restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles;

Lowsec = Medium to Low CONCORD response, Security Status penalties = Sec Status loss, Faction Police and Sentry gun response, restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles;

Nullsec  = NO CONCORD response; NO Security Status penalties = NO Sec Status loss, NO Faction Police or Sentry guns; NO restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles;

Negsec  (Anoikis)= NO CONCORD response, NO Security Status penalties = NO Sec Status loss, NO Faction Police or Sentry guns, NO restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles, NO local, NO gates, NO NPC Stations, NO Player Outposts.

Other than that PVP in all its forms… Simple roams, ganks, 1v1s, scams, market PVP, wars, War Decs, Fac War, miner bumping, et al. … is not only allowed but encouraged… strongly encouraged. It’s the point of the game.

Is PVE important to EVE? Damn straight it is. It needs to be interesting, engaging, fun and lucrative. It is how we all make money and how even Diehard PVP players (at least those who can’t throw a credit card at the game every time they need ISK) and all the rest of us make the ISK we need to pursue PVP or whatever it is we want to do in EVE.

Is PVE important to EVE? Yes, it needs to be interesting, engaging, fun and lucrative in order to hold the attention of all those players who are not themselves interested in PVP but also find they are bored and just not as engaged in “safe” themepark games… players who want the kind of experience CCP is working to create, not trying to cast a wide net to get a mass market audience. CCP wants those players who will appreciate an intense gaming experience with real risk, winning and losing.

Angry and all who feel as he does are welcome to play EVE or not that is up to them, as for me… I will login and play until one of 3 things happens… I die, CCP shuts down Tranquility or they Trammel it.

If I die, well, I hope one of my son’s will post something appropriate and keep my blog up until the counter winds down to “0” hits. If CCP shuts Tranquility down… I will post appropriately and probably log onto Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen (if it’s out of beta by then…) If, however, CCP ever Trammels EVE…

Then on that day I’ll probably sound a helluva lot like Angry Onions and Vince Snetterton do right now… for a while at least.

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