Member of the EVE Tweet Fleet

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So, I've checked my accounts, they all seem to renew in the month of august at different points in time.  Basically this gives me until mid August to make a decision.  That's fine, I don't really want to make a snap decision.  But with the way CCP is going (their wording on what they are doing is damning) it looks likely that at a mininum, my alts will be un-subbing and probably also my main.  They seem intent on ridiculous prices and eventually instituting pay to win (above and beyond the current pay to win philosophy of PLEX itself).

Like I stated yesterday, the fallout from the CSM meeting will be significant.  If it at all looks like they are being manipulated by CCP as a PR move it could very seriously backfire.  And the minute a CSM representative un-subs after the meeting?...

Either way, just waiting to find out which way it's all going to go.  But either way I'll be voting with my wallet.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wow... Clusterfuck of epic proportions

CCP has, in the past, managed to piss off the player base, fairly significantly even.  But this time they may just have crossed that line in the sand.  I've been holding off on posting about the shit storm because the iRabble (internet rabble - coining it if it's not been coined yet) is doing a great job of it.  Pitchforks and torches are being waved about and what not.  I suspect that CCP having had such a long string of success has finally lost touch with it's player base.  Reports of Perpetuum receiving a major influx of players could be rather telling.  Up until now you haven't seen people un-sub en-mass from EVE due to changes.  EVE has not yet reached an NGE moment.  But it's definitely walked up to the edge of the precipice.  We'll have to see if CCP can pull back from the precipice.  Or not.  The upcoming (this weekend) CSM meeting will be crucial.  If any of the CSM members un-subs and says they can't tell us why due to the NDA, THAT will definitely precipitate an exodus out of New Eden. 

Personally I haven't been on EVE much lately.  I'm still cogitating about sticking around or not.  Keeping the alts subbed in or not.  I've got time to make my decision before their subscriptions come up for renewal so if I quit it wont' be a rage quit - it'll be a much more calmly considered change of gaming venue.

The most amusing thing is that they could have so easily avoided touching match to powder keg.  This has been a game design/marketing failure of epic proportions.  Think about it.  There's a price/volume curve to goods.  Places like Walmart pander to the masses looking for cheap affordable goods.  Gucci, to the rich and the rich-wannabes.  Both have a place in the market place.  I suspect that Walmart's  net profits are higher than Gucci's though (quantity has a quality all it's own).  Due to the number of students and other "not rich" types who play EVE you'd guess that their mentality vis-a-vis price would be closer to the Walmart end of the curve rather than the Gucci end of the curve.  Then you need to realize that your average non-vet looks at the value of anything in game from the metric of their IN GAME income (which is level 3 missions or mining in a Retriever once they graduate out of newbiedom).  Until you've been playing this game for over a year or two anything in the price range of 400 million to 1.5 billion is "forget about it - it's one day in the distant future, not for now".

All CCP had to do to avoid the current crisis of confidence was make sure that the NEX (Nobel Exchange) was stocked with a mix of items ranging from relatively in-expensive to very expensive.  They could have kept the monacle at it's current price if they'd stocked the store with cheaper items.  The impression that they were pandering to the ultra-rich veterans and/or bot/rmt users was what pissed off most of their players (the ones it didn't piss off, have a firmer rooting in reality or were themselves ultra-rich - in game).  Admittedly they were impressive when they went for the jugular and broke the 25$ psychological barrier on virtual goods that seems to have been established by World of Warcraft.  But the way they did it just about guaranteed a shit storm.  This primed the powder keg.

Then they touched off the match.  Leaks showing that the direction they wanted to take the noble exchange were explicitly in the direction that the player base clearly stated they didn't want it to go.  CSM5 with Mynxee at it's helm was rather clear on this.  Nevertheless here we are.  Leaked documents showing senior developers arguing the position of greed vs junior statistician arguing that it would be a bad idea.  CCP Zulu can argue it was a document that was used internally to incite debate.  Who is saying what is damning in the extreme.  This was not two senior developers debating the pros and cons.  This was a senior developer (and CCP Soundwave is by now) exposing the game design point of view.  And a statistician saying "this may not be a good idea".  The subtext there is that "but I can't prove anything until after it hits the fan and we analyze the loss in the player base".  And we know from other sources that CCP is very much a "Clique" driven shop.  EVE's player base is not stupid (far from it - EVE is self selecting away from that).  They can read between the lines and can by now spot a scam at 1000 yards with their Eyeball Mk I's.

Then to add icing to the cake we've got more leaked information CCP Hilmar (the president) basically saying "don't worry about it, we've seen this before, it'll all blow over".  He even goes on to boast that they sold 52 monacles in the first 40h.  Um... Hilmar... you realize that's a pittance compared to what you should have made sales wise during that period if you'd set up the store properly with a range of goods instead of just the "high end"?  Such dismal performance should be embarrassing - not something to be proud of.  The tone of the e-mail indicates that he fully expected the player reaction to happen.  So the newly clarified direction EVE is taking is driven from the top.  The interesting thing is that the reaction CCP foot soldiers have taken basically seem to reinforce the position that these leaks represent the true position and direction CCP wants to take the game.  I have to tell you that should this turn out to be true, I won't long be in this game.  Which is a shame.

There is nothing else quite like EVE out there.  Should something come along that provides a modicum of similar sandbox features while pandering less to the griefers and botters, I'd be there in a minute.  There still isn't, so I'm loathe to abandon EVE just yet.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


15 bucks for a pixel skirt!?!


Technology Injection

Today is the day Incarna 1.0 (and it's subsequent immediate client patch #1) goes live on TQ.  The thing to remember amongst the disappointment of the spareness of the features being introduced is that this is mainly a technology injection into the EVE online universe.  The next 2 years will show if it's a success or not.  The canvas of EVE just got bigger.  There, however, is still much more to do.  What is good to see is that there are serious low level work going on in parallel. 

Please take the time to check out CCP Curt's new dev blog:  carbonio and bluenet: next level network technology.  This is something no other MMO company out there does.  They talk about their tech.  It's one of the reasons that come hell or high water CCP will probably be there down the road.  They push the tech as hard as they can.  In all probability they are a generation or 3 ahead of the competition as far as their server tech goes.  It will be interesting to see what happens once they have 3 games running on their server technology.

I must admit I'm amused by the bitter vet syndrome a lot of players have been voicing lately.  They should know by now that the status quo is never safe in EVE.  It always evolves.  Heck remember when blockade runners could not warp cloaked?  The speed nerf.  The graphics engine upgrades.  The days when a 200 man fleet was considered lag.  So EVE changes.  Adapt or quit, your choice. 

As a side note I'm amused by the idiots in fleet who think they are experiencing "lag" in a 100-150 man fleet.  Be part of a 250 man sub-cap fleet being ordered to jump into 600 in system already?  Been there, done that.  That was "LAG".  The minor hesitation we get when jumping gates as part of a 100 man fleet just doesn't count.  And for the idiots who insist they are getting DC'ed because of it, I've got news for you - I've never gotten DC'ed under the conditions you're describing so it's you, your connection or your computer that's the problem, not tranquility or the node we're running on.  Heck I've never gotten DC'ed even with an 800-1200 man fight either.  Lagged the fuck out, yes.  DC'ed no.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More testing out of the CQ

Ok, not quite as bad as I thought but note to all future users: the behavior of holding the right mouse button down is different from the behavior of holding the left mouse button down.  Still say that the lack of being able to change the point of view to the the point of view OF the avatar is a serious fuck up - especially once we start getting multi-user environments.  It also precludes doing things where you click on something that you are focusing on (because to focus on it you need to depress the mouse button to move the focus).  I still say it feels awkward compared to 80% of the other avatar interfaces out there in PC land.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Captain's Quarters

Well I finally broke down and installed the Sisi client on my home comp... And the server was down when I finished...

Later on I did manage to get on however and check out the parts of Incarna.

Looks: 9/10
  • Possibly the best looking avatars in MMOs going.
  • Stations appropriate to the setting.
Interface: 2/10
  • Hyper realistic avatars without a first person perspective? fail
  • Constant need to lift off the mouse button to change direction? fail
  • Context menus showing up when you can't click them? fail
  • Inability to choose which planet you're looking at when focusing on the PI screen? fail
  • I'll have to check again but I think there were some problems with looking up and down - more fail.
  • Head does not follow the view screen focus? fail
Ok seriously here you need your developers to go play something like FFXI for a few weeks switching between first and 3rd person perspective to see how smooth the interface should transition, and how smooth and natural the controls should be.  Achieving less than that (which came out about the same time EVE did) is abject failure 7-8 years later.  Seriously didn't you guys play any other of the good MMOs as far as 3d movement/interface schemes go?  The interface felt like it was designed by the guy who did the original resident evil interface.  Which made that game unplayable for me.  Someone needs a clue by four upside the head.  I mean seriously, one of the major immersion inducing aspects of playing FFXI was that when you were in first person perspective the other avatar's heads would look to what ever that person's field of view was looking at so if I was talking to someone and they turned to look at something else I could see their avatar's head move (withing it's limits of movement).  It's a small thing that gives a MASSIVE feeling of immersion.  Very few other games had that level of feel.  Your graphics are advanced - your immersion sucks due to some bad decisions at the interface and control scheme level.

Functionality: 3/10
  • Not much to do in the quarters - and we can no longer spin ships to distract ourselves.
  • It feels like a hotel room.  Appropriate, so that is the reason the functionality score is higher.
Turrets: 7/10
  • Nice upgrade looks wise (for the few times I'll be zoomed in enough to actually see the turrets)
  • Some bugs on turret and effect synchronization (Unless these are fixed internally already, they'll make it onto tranquility - look forward to a bit of bitching)
  • Some questionable turret placements (WTF are those turrets doing on top & bottom of the tempest!?! - expect MORE bitching)
  • Not enough gun flash on artillery (Please see Youtube videos of an Iowa class battleship firing it's main guns (406mm/50's) - personal complaint)
Aurum Store: 5/10
  • Works.
  • Nothing special.
  • Not going to have a lot of content at start, is it?
 Now I realize that this update is mostly to get the technology in place so that it can be iterated upon and improved, and multi-player interaction added (getting meeting rooms in place WILL BE WORTH IT - huff - puff).  But you really really need to get your heads out of your asses as far as the control scheme goes.  And apparently the current control scheme is an improvement over the original one - that makes me shudder.

Looks like the verdict will be "meh expansion" with potential to be realized over the next few expansions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh, lookie there, Morsus is red

As you all know, I'm down with Cascade Imminent these days.  I've actually been able to get in fleets now that my ship situation is firming up a bit.  Got in on a carrier save, got a shinny new Saber (I don't expect it to last long - note to self - investigate making Sabers as the price seems a little high compared to other interdictors), missed some major kill fleets, but did go on ops.

One of the new surprises in the south was spotting a lot of Morsus Mihi guys floating around and finding out they hot-dropped one of our carriers and are now considered solidly red.  This should make their attempt to move into the area nice and welcoming.  Looks like they want back in the 0.0 club after getting their asses handed to them up north.  After throwing Magesta and Rage under the bus that is PL (and my oh my does Shadoo look smug whenever the conversation turns to supercapitals), they are in the process of loosing their own space.  Looks like they are putting feelers out in the south.  Bumbling ones.  Either they've already decided who they want as enemies down here or they've cut a deal with PL/DRF, we'll need to see.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some reflection on 0.0 life - and kills (yay)!

Been a bit of a blah week the last week has.  Been mostly on my alts doing PI in high sec.  Strangely enough this has been most of my char's income lately.  I think I'm still suffering from the shock of my first fail cascade.  I've gotten to FAIL space, did a bit of "get ships ready for operations" and then just hit a "blah" patch.  I'm loathe to setup PVE ships even though I know I need to do it to get some income generating.  Mainly it's the "Since I'll just need to evac them anyways" feeling left over from the R.A.G.E cascade.  That cascade really brought home the "keep your footprint light" necessity of 0.0 life.  Especially since I currently lack significant integral strategic mobility (read: I don't yet have a suitcase carrier or jump freighter).

This also has to do with the nature of FAIL itself.  It espouses a much more nomadic lifestyle for it's combat operations that I was used to when we were with R.A.G.E.  Again I'm feeling the lack of strategic mobility inherent in being a non-carrier capable pilot.  I am discovering that this is more of a major barrier to entry into null sec life than I had previously supposed.

It works like this:  Industrial presence in null sec consists of mainly 2 things:  Extraction and supercap construction with their associated infrastructures.  The only reason some of those are there is that they can't be done anywhere else.  That's it.  I'd estimate that 90% of null sec industrial presence consists of elements to support those two activities.  Except for some minor manufacture, just about everything else comes in from Empire.  The reason is simple:  High sec stability.  So long as it's relatively easy to ship stuff to 0.0, there's no reason to get serious about building stuff locally.  This is especially relevant with the vast shakeup that most of EVE is going thru (the "dodge the PL stomp" game the rest of us are playing currently).

So operationally and strategically I have to maintain my main character and the main alt's mobility.  This precludes getting into lucrative stuff like PI since starting and abandoning planets gets tiresome after a while.  Not to mention the lack of personal/corporate/alliance logistics for industrial purposes.  I may get my alt into PI pending the finishing off of his recon skills, but my main will be away too much to make it worth while.

My frustrations with this lack of logistics is a major part of the reason I haven't been posting much.  Or logging in for long periods of time for that matter.  The truth is my characters are about 2-3 months away from being logistically independent.  And then there's the "skill up for the flavor of the month".  Another barrier to entry in 0.0.  Once I get my logistics in place there will be a month or three of skilling up other faction ships and weapon systems.  In order to make things consistent for their FCs and simply the "buy kits in high sec and sell them in 0.0" style of logistics, most 0.0 alliances maintain "standard fleet fits" of a limited number of ships.  Again it's frustrating when you don't have the skills to fly the main fleet ships.  You marry this with the 0.0 attitude of "our way or the high way" and you have the reason 0.0 is so sparsely populated.  Frankly wormhole logistics were easier that being in 0.0 without a carrier.  I've now done both and I stand by that statement.

Regardless of the above, I finally got on when a decent roam was starting last night and managed to get in on the action.  Yay, got in on 6 kill mails. 

I'll stick it out for the nonce, but stay tuned to see if I say "fuck it" and head back to wormhole space while I wait for my skills to get to the point where they will make life workable in k-space 0.0.

Man over 4 years in game and I still don't have the skills to make life in 0.0 workable.  Crazy game.  (currently training Matari BS 5 - slog slog slog).  Ah well, such is EVE.  Although I can see why a lot of otherwise potential pilots say "fuck it" and never play or just dabble and then seeing the 4+ years it takes to become "useful" in 0.0 simply play another game where it only takes them 3-9 months to get to the end game.  CCP has made some rather bad design decisions from the point of view of attracting new pilots, but especially for moving those pilots from high/low sec to 0.0.  Or even retaining those that hit the 6 month slump.