Friday, February 12, 2021


~or "How the Frak am I Enjoying This?"

Limping into station, burnt up and smoking but still flyin'
In this post I am gonna start with an assumption or two...

1. That you, gentle reader, know something of and are interested in online gaming in general and
2. and that you know about and are interested in Star Citizen (SC), a SciFi Space Flight/FPS MMO(RP)G as envisioned by Chris Roberts (CR) and currently (for the last 9 years) in development by Cloud Imperium Games (CIG).

If the above two points are correct then you probably know that there is a truly EPIC amount of rhetoric, discussion, trolling, reasoned argument and some downright vitriolic hate surrounding SC and CIG over how SC has been developed and where it is going in it’s development. Most of the disagreement is over...

1. Money, IE: the crowdfunded business model and accountability, or lack thereof… and
2. That the game is still in active development for 9 years at this writing, with no definitive “publish” date set.

The main point I want to address in this post is the assertion that SC is a scam because it is not finished and polished, that it has not reached “Gold” standard and been published as Completed and Ready to Play for the masses. Specifically that there is no real “playable content”… and the assertion it is a scam because that there won’t ever be any.

I am NOT gonna get into any details and any long drawn out arguments, it’s simply not worth it to me when I can personally and completely honestly say these two things…

First, I have been a serious, devoted and dedicated player of EVE Online for almost exactly 10 years. EVE is indisputably one of the hardest, most beloved, and also among the most reviled MMO’s out there.

EVE holds all kinds of records, some recorded with simple numerical facts such as recently being awarded with two new Guinness World Records bringing the total to four.

After the 14 hour “The Massacre at M2-XFE” on Dec 30 & 31 2020, EVE Online was awarded with the following GWR’s. One for the Most Costly Video Game Battle and another for the Most Titans Lost in a Battle of EVE Online.

From "Titan Massacre at M2-XFE" by Wilhelm Arcturus

These were awarded in the wake of two world records earned in Oct of 2020 for the largest multiplayer video game PvP battle, with 8,825 players, and the most concurrent participants in a multiplayer video game PvP battle, with 6,557 active participants.

My point is that I spent 9 and ½ of my 10 years in EVE living, flying and dying in Anoikis, wormhole space, the harshest and hardest of EVE’s 4 levels of security… Hisec, Losec, Nullsec and what I call Negsec (Negative Security Space).

I consider the above, and ALL of this blog’s content from my first post back in Apr. of 2011 to my Goodbye EVE post in Dec of 2020 as my bona fides, my SciFi Sandbox MMO Resume, my Gaming Curriculum Vitae as twere.

That said, I’d like to address the one argument against SC that I consistently see over and over and over…

“Scam Citizen”. The primary argument that Star Citizen has no real content and never will because it’s a money making scam and that the proof is in the fact that it is still under development after 9 years.

I initially financially backed SC back in May of 2015. I started playing SC actively in mid Nov of 2020. I canceled my EVE account in Jan of 2021. I now exclusively play a game that, it is heatedly argued, has no content... and yet I login and play Star Citizen nearly every night and twice on weekends instead of playing EVE, which I think we can all agree does have a pretty rich history of developed and player created content.

So my second point is… I find it fascinating that after 2 months I still have yet to find this “lack of content” the detractors go on about. I’m just too busy playing the game to see it I guess.

Now... how do I boot up SC on this thing?
So, how is it that I am able to logon to SC, spawn into my character in whatever Hab or ship I logged out in last, and spend 2, 4, 6 HOURS doing “things and stuff” in a game without content? Am I making this up? Am I just what, hanging out in space or in a hangar? Just walking around my ship and I guess sucking my thumb?

NO… oh hell no I’m not.

Yesterday I logged on to SC in the afternoon… I am a member of a large org, so I joined the Org Discord, glad to see some of the 2000+ org members playing this no-content game with me. I decided I needed to make some credits because I had spent myself down under 1M aUEC by going on a bit of a buying spree last week.

I seriously gotta stay away from New Babbage, and TBH thank the gods Loreville is gone now… I spend wayyyyy too much in those places!! In just the past two weeks I have bought 2 ships (with aUEC I made IN GAME), a Drake “Herald” and an Anvil “Hawk”...

my Anvil Aerospace Hawk,  =]ISABEAU[=
I bought crap-ton of clothing and weapons & ammo and then ate too much at Whammer's...

Whammer's Burgers, Shakes & Fires

and drank way too much at Wally’s…

Wally's Bar
Nope, no “content” here.

I decided to spend my day lazily mining up some Quantanium. I know, silly me, there is no playable content here but… I did somehow fly out to HUR-L3 and burn hard for the edges of the rock garden that surrounds the station. 120km out I started scanning for ores… I get a hit and off I go!

Rock after rock, scanning, scanning, approach to within 1km, run a detail scan, decide go or no-go? More often it’s a no-go, but then you hit a 27% or a 39% rock and OH YEAH!  Oh, sorry, I know, I must be imagining all of this…

40.32% Quantanium... MMM MMm Mmm
So I settle down and start mining… Heating up the rock, carefully, oh so carefully to get it to that critical stage when it breaks just enough… and it doesn’t always go well. I’m so glad it’s only imaginary content… or the two times my ship was damaged by a too energetic split it would have been… um, uh damaged?

Anyway, so I pop the big rock, then carefully, oh so carefully pop the chunks and voilĂ ... several nice fat 100% Quantanium rocks ready to be nom-nom’ed up and so I do… well, I guess I imagine I do anyway.

I work my way through the purple rocks (rocks small enough to have their ores “extracted” have a purple outline) filling my ore bags with 100% Quantanium, 3,200cSCU (32SCU = EVE 32m3) and I IMMEDIATELY warp back to the CRU-L1 refinery before the Quant EXPLODES… Good thing there is actually no content like that huh?

Nom nom nom nom nom...
I get back to the station and land just like a leaf-on-the-wind… and yup, BOOM… seconds after touch down, as I’m leaving the pilot’s seat… no flashing Yellow and alarm, nope, straight to Fast Flashing RED… and BOOM…  <sigh>. Again, good thing there is actually no content like that huh?

So I sit a moment, take a breath then select repair & refuel and head back to HUR-L3’s rock garden with it’s amazing lack of stuff to do.

Burning out to the Rock Garden
By the end of the session, I had mined up four loads of Quant, one I lost on the landing pad (see above) and delivered three safely to the Refinery. And just FYI, I lost that load not to a 30K nor a glitch or bug and not to PVE or even PVP… nope I lost that load to the intended consequences of the Quantanium mining mechanics… you know, if they existed that is.

I mined and started 3 batches today, so now I have a total of 6 runs of Quant in the cookers. From ~1,000 to ~2,000cSCU per batch, with one at 3,131cSCU which is the highest amount of “Q” you can mine, deliver and process, with a Prospector, in a single batch.

Oh and just FYI… that 3,131 batch is worth ~275,000aUEC before refining costs, so call it something north of 250,000aUEC profit for just that one batch. How’s them apples huh? Four batches can potentially reap 1 Million aUEC if you do it right and Bob is smiling on you… Oh, sorry, you know IF it was actually realized content that is.

Starting a batch, 3131sCSU (32CSU) of raw Quantanium ore
So, here’s my point.

Take Point One at the top of this post, that I was a dedicated EVE Online player for 10 years speaks clearly that I have some understanding of what content is in a SciFi Space based MMO… Add to that the detailed description of the gameplay in SC that I personally experienced in the last 24 hours.

There is fully realized, deeply engaging and enjoyable content in Star Citizen right now, and is it amazing in it’s depth, breadth and detail.

IMHO Mining in SC alone far surpasses what EVE offers in this particular arena of gameplay. The Mechanics of Mining in SC are deeply visually and logically satisfying not just as compared to EVE, but as compared to ANY other similar gameplay I have ever personally experienced… and that is JUST mining.

So, I don’t know about you but I think I’m just gonna ignore the naysayers, the butthurt, the Smart, but not-so-smart… and those just piling on cause being an anonasshat online is easy and fun for some poor sad people.

Me? I’m just too busy just enjoying the amazing sandbox that is Star Citizen right now to care what they say, especially in the face of the proof of content I experience every single day.

Fly it like it’s actually there…   =]

Monday, February 1, 2021

Sleeping With The Stars

 ~or "Home Schweet Home"

My Drake "Herald" Data Runner, =]SNOOPY[=

One of the things that I felt the strongest about in my years in EVE Online was the feeling of Home. I wrote on this specifically a number of times.

One of the things I loved most in EVE was when we, our small corp headed by my two sons and myself, decided to move and live full time, into Anoikis… wormhole space, or as I call, it… Negative Sec.

You see in EVE, Anoikis is the Wild West, the Outback, the Wildlands, the Deep Desert… on maps, Anoikis is that place where it simply says, “Here be Dragons”.

There are NO NPC Police, NO NPC Navy, NO gates and NO “local”… IE what happens in Anoikis, stays in Anoikis. You can podkill 10 players and immediately jump a wormhole directly into Amarr and the po-po just wave as you fly by…

Also, there are NO NPC stations in Anoikis. I do not count Thera as Anoikis, Thera is it’s own thing (which I never really liked or bought into). So for you to “live” in Anoikis you had to anchor, fuel, arm, support and maintain a POS, a Planetary Orbital Station. I know they are now called Citadels and those are different in some ways, but I’m vastly more familiar with the old, simpler yet similar POS system.

A POS is, well, was a Space Station you anchored in space near a moon, you had to keep it fueled and, well, you lived in it. In EVE of course this means effectively that your ships, modules, etc. were stored there in relative safety.

Serenity Station, HBHI's Home in Anoikis  (the forcefield is 30km wide)

Once the POS was anchored and the forcefield powered up, and the Warp Interdiction Bubble Wall was anchored, then you could anchor a wide variety of structures inside the forcefield. Ship Maintenance Arrays, Ship Factory Arrays, Refineries, Manufacturing and Research Arrays. And that was where your corpmates & allies could work and live together in “relative” safety.

And that safety was very “relative”… POSes are, of course as are ALL player owned/created things in EVE, not actually “safe”. They had a whole system of passive and active defenses but in the end, if a group wanted your POS dead… it would die. But it wasn’t “easy” and therein lay your security.

In EVE “perfect safety” is found ONLY in NPC stations in highsec, lowsec and nullsec… but there are NO NPC stations in Anoikis. Think about that. We lived in the Wildlands, we lived in the Deep Desert, we lived “Where there be Dragons”. And we loved it. Every second of it.

NPC stations in Star Citizen are pretty much the same. Your Ships are stored “somewhere” inside the variety of ports and stations and NO ONE can get to them (or any cargo or installed modules etc.) until YOU retrieve one to a Landing Pad or Hangar Bay, at that point are they “at risk”, but not until then.

Burning hard for the "safety" of a Lagrange Point Refinery Station

At this time in the game, ALL of the “things you own”, your weapons, armor, ship modules, etc. are not physicalized into the world while stored. Until retrieved and/or equipped they exist only in your “personal inventory”, not as an object in the verse that can be manipulated… and therefore stolen or destroyed.

So how does all this relate to my gameplay and desire for a Home in the UEE?

So the mechanics of being in First Person, in a physicalized human form all the time, changes how you go about things like logging off. In EVE, you either docked in an NPC or Player Owned Station or you “parked” your ship inside the Forcefield of a POS and, well, just logged off.

One thing I used to do in my early days in Anoikis, was to warp out to a deep bookmark and log off there. I mean your “body” was packed away inside a pressurized goo filled sardine can… you couldn’t “go to bed” if you wanted to… ever.  Meh.

But you may have heard or seen how we in SC “wake up” on login. Meaning on login the first screen you get is a view from your “head” down to your feet as you lie in a bed in the last place you landed or logged in at.

Wakee, wakee, eggs and bakey... a Suite at The Nest in ArcCorp

IE you wake up in a bed, schweet! How immersive, how real-lifelike right?. So I’d like very much to “go to bed” when I’m ready to log off, it just makes sense right? But in the stations and cities and Habs and such, we can’t. At least not yet.

So as I understand it, in the future we are supposed to be able to have our own place in the verse. We will be able to rent a Hab unit in New Babbage, or one in Loreville, maybe one day BUY a penthouse in Arcorp! And the one I want most, one day we will be able to buy a piece of land and BUILD our own pioneer settlement!!

But today? Well, we do wake up in a Hab as a standard thing, but once you leave the Hab and that door closes behind you, the door locks. ALL the doors are locked because the rental/purchase mechanics are still to be implemented.

So where does one log off? I mean do you sit your character down on a random bench in the food court and just crap out like a homeless person? I mean you OWN A SPACESHIP FFS!! But we can’t go back to the Hab we woke up in, or ANY Hab…

Just ignore the sleeping Homeless Millionaire Spaceship Captain

But we can bed-log (lie down on and log off in a bed) in any ship that has beds! I immediately tried this and you wake up in the same bed in the same ship and at the same place you logged off in. This holds true even out on a landing pad (I have not tried this in a Hangar yet)... Except that so far in my testing when you login on a landing pad you have no more than 1 to 2 minutes until your ship is auto-stored, if that long. And that transports "you" instantly to the ASOP Terminals in whatever port or station you are at, awkward if you sleep in your skivvies...  =]

But... if you log off at some random place in space, when you log back in, you find yourself and your ship exactly where you logged off and NO Scotty the Snotty Traffic Controller to hassle you! The only thing that can mess with you is the inactivity timer, and that's not a bad thing.

I LOVE THIS. I have bought several ships now and ALL have beds and a few have wet heads (toilet/sink/shower combo) and food processing units… IE if it was REAL, you could LIVE in these ships as long as you had food & water.

On a related aside… I am a sailor. I crew on racing and cruising sailing yachts in the southern Chesapeake Bay during the regatta season. I grew up on the bay boating and sailing and it is one of my great lifelong passions. My lady and I are planning and working to buy and move aboard and travel on a 40’ bluewater capable (meaning it can safely cross oceans) sailboat.

So, I am very familiar with living in a small space in a vessel designed to travel far and wide, one that is designed for that very purpose.

And in Star Citizen… I get to do just that.

As I said I own several ships all of which have beds and most of which have at least minimal bathroom and galley facilities. I have tested a theory and found it excellent.

One other thing we do not have in SC (and I do not know if we will) is Bookmarking in Space. IE the ability to create a “bookmark” or an exact X/Y/Z coordinate location anywhere in space that you can warp to as one would a Sun, a world, a moon, an Orbital Marker or a city etc. So we cannot make bookmarks in space… and, as I understand it right now, there is no ability/mechanic for scanning down and finding ships in space… Hmmmm.

So at the end of a long day of mining Quant and getting it safely into the cookers, I put away my Prospector, and retrieve my Herald, I then take an elevator up to the landing pad and walk out, enter the ship and take off...

Done for the day...

…I set a warp to a random distant warpable, anything I can warp to will do, but it has to be more than 5 minutes out from where I am, and I then head out. I usually pick a random number (between 1 and 5) and manually drop out of warp after that many minutes of travel, then I pick a warpable as close to right angles from my last Rhumb Line (line of travel), I pick another random number and “Engage”… again dropping out after the requisite number of minutes has passed.

This drops me in a fairly random place in space. I am well off of the main spacelanes… and therefore… I am as safe as if I was not even logged in, as safe as in any NPC Station. I am in my own place, beholden and responsible only to myself for my safety and well-being and here… out here in the deep black, I am at peace.

My Home is in Space… where is yours?