Stuff To Read

Sunday, August 12, 2012


For the two or three of you that actually read this, don't expect many updates over the next month.  I'm currently in the process of moving and as such I won't have much time for gaming.  I'll be sure to pick up activity after everything has settled down. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WTFB: Be Careful With Drunk Forum Posting

You know those great ideas you have when you're drunk?  Like jumping off the roof of your house; yeah guess what, they usually aren't great ideas.  This continues to forum posting.  I've had a few instances where I posted something and the next day I just scratched my head and wondered why I was possessed with such stupidity.  It makes you look like you need to go back in the womb for a while and cook some more.  Those brilliant ideas that will fix the game forever, like completely removing CONCORD, usually aren't fully vetted in your mind when you've been drinking.

If you've got something important to say, and you're drunk, think about it long and hard.  Remember, the people reading it don't know your drunk, but they do know that you're an idiot.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fit Of The Week - Battle Burst!

This won't be you're average Fit Of The Week that many bloggers do; i.e. something I know works or a cool fit I found on a killboard somewhere.

Instead, each week I will fit out a ship in a way I've never done before and go out and see how it does.  Some will be serious, some lol, some off-the-wall, and some will probably make you think that I should probably stop playing this game and go suck on a pacifier.  When I am finished with my test I'll post the fit here and give you an AAR to tell you how it went.  Most of these fits will be solo, but there will be a few fleet fits as well.  Expect lots of failures and embarrassing loss-mails in my future.

To start it off, and in honor of the upcoming mining frigate changes I give you:

[Burst, Battle Burst!]
Damage Control II

Warp Scrambler II
1MN Afterburner II
Stasis Webifier II

150mm Light AutoCannon II , Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
150mm Light AutoCannon II , Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S

Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Projectile Burst Aerator I


The battle Burst is not a viable fleet tactic! :D  

I knew this ship wouldn't actually do anything worthwhile (duh...) but it was fun to fly around non-the-less.  I roamed around a bit throughout Syndicate, but due to my limited envelope of targets I wasn't able to find anything to kill.  At one point I did find myself caught in a bubble camp though, but I was able to successfully evade destruction, and to be completely honest, I consider that a win. :D  

After a bit of roaming, chasing an Itty III at one point, and not having any success, one of my corp-mates, Alistone Malkite, said he'd kill me with a Velator.  He succeeded.  3 Times.

It was a pretty simple engagement where in he sent his drones on me and proceed to kill me before I was able to kill him.  We tried two more times (because I had two more ships in my hanger) and the result was the same.  The last time I tried killing his drones before I went after him, but I was only able to get one drone to about 75% structure before I was killed. 

The slow speed of the Burst prevented me from closing the distance and inflicting the damage on his ship before the drones had done their work.  Combine that with the lack of a damage bonus (which the Velator recieves) and I was simply out-matched in a fight where he had the range advantage to start.  Had I been able to land at 0 on him (he clearly warped to 10 on each engagement) I might have been able to defeat him before the drones took me out.  

Just a bit of fun to see how I would do trying to fit out a mining frigate for combat.  It was a pretty worthless learning experience, even more so due to the upcoming changes, but in the end we both had a bit of fun on a slow night right before downtime.  Next time, I warp to 10.  >:)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

CSM Summit Minutes - Part 2

Page 105 -The Launcher- 
"We may also be able to do something like let people buy more slots in an account."

Interesting, as I would assume this would end up costing CCP some subscription money in the long run.  If you have 12 Industry alts spread over 4 accounts, wouldn't it be cheaper in the long run for you to move them all to a single account?  

Page 125 -Logistics Frigate-
The topic quickly bounced over to the idea of having a Frigate logistics class.
Elise rather bluntly stated that Frigate logistics would “be bad no matter what”.
CCP Soundwave countered that he liked the idea and didn’t think a balanced solution was impossible to find.
CCP Greyscale chimed in saying that extreme range would be a good solution for a Frigate logistics class.
At this point Hans interjected and stated that Frigate logistics would finally give people a reason to use all the faction small remote reps they get. On this like, Two step suggested there should be faction large remote reps, to which CCP Ytterbium was apathetic.

I like this idea, there are so many T1 frigates in the game that this could provide a useful beginneres mark for that play-style.

Pages 121-134 -Balancing-
I literally loved every single thing in here.  Only time will tell if it all pans out, and as I'm no game designer or ship expert I'm probably not the one to ask about it, but it still all sounded good to me.

Page 129 -Sniping-
On the subject of sniping, Greyscale tossed out a high-level idea for a fix to sniping. He asked for CSM input on one such idea, an interdiction probe that would be launched a certain range before the bubble would deploy. In essence it would work as a drag-bubble to protect the sniping fleet, or at least give it ample time to react and reposition.

This is an interesting mechanic.  It would totally re-work combat strategies.  Though it's difficult to tell if this would work, I like the idea in its general sense. 

Page 133 -Off grid boosting-
CCP Ytterbium addressed the concern of off grid links and simply stated “off grid boosting should not exist”

Truth spoken here.

Pages 135-140 -Player to Player Contracts-
I liked most of what they said here, but one question kept coming to mind, which I think Elise summed up nicely:

Elise Randolph added that the backstabbing element is fun as well, and should be considered.

All these changes seem like they would limit the scamming opportunities in the game, and let's be clear here, there should always be ways to scam stupid people out of their isk.

Page 145 -Cocktease-
With only a few minutes left in the session, CCP Affinity brought up a very high-level thought for the CSM to ‘sniff test’. While no specifics can be provided the general reaction from the CSM was that the intent was good but it had to be done incrementally and carefully. CCP will confer further with the CSM should the idea make it past the stage of just being an idea.

This is just mean and unfair.

I'm torn about the usefulness of the long wait for these minutes.  In my opinion a ballance needs to be found.  It's wonderful to see who said what, but frankly I don't care about all the jokes being said, and most of the information was completely outdated.  It was a good read, but in the future they need to be able to pump most of this information out in a couple weeks at the latest, this took far too long.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CSM Summit Minutes: Worth The Wait? - Part 1

I am currently reading all 165 pages of the CSM Summit Minutes. I'm about halfway through and there have been a lot of great things to read.  I personally feel like the wait was worth it.  I like being able to see who said what in so much detail.  I'll talk briefly here about what stood out to me from the first half.

Page 49 -Arenas-
Discussion then turned to Arenas, which were envisioned as a tool to promote some sort of organized PvP without ruining the game.

Terrible, terrible, terrible, horrible, very bad, no good idea!  The last thing that Eve needs is an arena!  This will destroy all casual small scale PvP in the game, leaving only the large fleet fights for territory left.  I'm actually amazed that they would even consider this.

Page 51 -Incarna-
Alekseyev Karrde (via Lync): Would like to see station establishments with war rooms and poker tables first as a stepping stone. Players need to have confidence in CCP’s ability to deliver WiS content before such an ambitious feature is launched. Otherwise buy-in will not happen."

I highlighted the part that stood out to me, will all Incarna features be MT based?  It could just be an innocent phrase, or it could be an indication of their payment scheme.  I don't really care either way, but it could be interesting.

Page 54 -Live Events-
CCP Goliath was happy with the response of the CSM and presented an idea that the Live Events team came up with, which is that there would be hidden event triggers and, if met, would cause a certain event to take place – or not take place. The players would then choose the outcome of the event and it would be written into EVE lore.

This would be a lot of fun.  Being able to affect the outcome of the lore would be a blast.

Pages 59-63 -Industry & Mining-

Everything they said about the new industry UI, automation, and mechanics I loved.  They mentioned "unicorn manure" and special resources to build more advanced ships (their example is a Titan vs. a Frigate), but I'd consider taking this a step further.  Say you find some of your "unicorn manure" and want to apply it to a batch of Rifters.  Why not have those Rifters be slightly faster than normal, or with a slightly higher tank, or maybe longer targeting range, or something improved over the sock ship?  Nothing game-breaking of course, but if someone wants to make a slightly better ship and charge a little extra, why not?  Don't know how this would work, but I think it's worth considering.

Ring mining was all interesting, but "best case...Winter expansion 2013," is kind of disappointing. 

Page 63 -Starbases-

We've heard just about everything that they want to do with this already, modular, customizable, ectt..., but one quote really stood out

Seleene said, "I want to cloak my secret pirate starbase." Greyscale said that might be a possibility, then shocked the entire room by mentioning offhand, "I really, really, really want to let you put a jump drive on them." The whole room erupted into smiles. He then continued, "Not just right click cyno jump, but you put a beacon down and it takes something like 48 hours before you jump." He wanted to do this to allow small gangs to have a roaming base.

Seleene declared that, "This is a hero move! This is amazing!"


Everything else in that section was just epic as well, can't wait until it's fully developed and deployed!

So there's my wrap-up of the first half.  As my brain is about to melt I'll leave the second half for another day, but so far so good.

Blog Banter 38: Small improvements make a difference

 "In his recent "That's just the way it is" post on Jester's Trek, blogger Ripard Teg posits that the established EVE player-base has come to accept many of EVE's design idiosyncrasies, rarely questioning their purpose or benefit. Conversely, he also suggests that new players might not be so forgiving of these "quirks". In an interview with Gamasutra, Senior Producer CCP Unifex describes EVE Online's developers as "relatively hands-off janitors of the virtual world", underlining that he has only four content developers but "a lot" of programmers and engineers.

Has a culture developed where CCP has started to take player effort for granted - expecting the "social engine" to fulfil tasks that might otherwise be CCP's responsibility? Or should this culture be embraced as part of "emergent gameplay" with these quirks accepted as the catalyst for interaction?"

This is an interesting question, which is why I've waited a few days to blog about it.  The TL/DR of it is, yes, I believe that CCP does take player generated content for granted.

As we look at this though, it's not as simple as saying CCP needs to start pouring content into the game.  A sandbox, by its very nature, walks a fine line between the developers pushing their agenda and allowing the players to pursue theirs.

Imagine for a moment what would happen if CCP started focusing their development on storyline missions.  I'm sure we would get some great "quests," some great "raids," and everything else that every theme park MMO has to keep its player-base entertained.  Wouldn't it be fun if we could take part in this video:

Honestly, the story lover in me would love that.  We fly our ship and discover something, then we debark and explore it, get something valuable, and all of this within a well written narrative that keeps us engrossed throughout the end.  Honestly, in my opinion, this would be amazingly fun if done properly.

The problem with doing this lies in the amount of resources that CCP would need to put into it.  We wouldn't get PvP balancing nearly as often, probably no new ships (or one per new "raid" every year or so).  We probably wouldn't see mining, POS, and all industrial mechanics iteriated on for a much longer period of time.  CCP isn't EA or Blizzard, they don't have the resources to do it all.

So where is the razors edge in this?  Clearly putting content of that level is out of realistic reach of CCP (if they can even do it all at).

I ask you this question, what is the single most important thing to keeping players in the game?  It sure isn't the tutorial, nor is it the wonderful UI.  It could be the spaceships and the visuals, but honestly that will only take you so far.  I'm willing to bet big money that Eve University (and other noob-friendly corps) is probably the most important part of Eve's growth.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't still be playing this game had I not joined E-Uni when I started playing.

And there in lies the problem.  The single most important thing for Eve's continued success isn't anything CCP is doing at all, it's all with us, the players.  Simple things like convincing new players  to keep playing are completely abandoned by CCP and, in my opinion, that is a very telling sign.

So what should CCP do?  Again, they can't go WoWish with the content, but simple things they can do.  Create more engrossing epic mission arcs, infuse the Eve lore more into the daily game play (for example put more of the lore into ship descriptions, with links to further reading).  Voice acting.  Create a great NPC villain that everyone from day 1 can recognize (Sansha is a pretty poor villain from a game standpoint in all honesty).  Why not let the factions duke it out in highsec?  See faction navies fighting each other, and swapping territory (why can't Jita sometimes be in Gallente space?).  Do live events that span large areas and further the Eve story instead of just putting it in the expansion notes.

There are literally thousands of simple things that CCP can do to provide content on their end without destroying their core game philosophy.  Eve would be better for it.

How to begin FCing

If you're anything like me, you want to FC but you're terrified to do it.  You might be new to the game and not have the knowledge you need; you might be shy and afraid to make mistakes; you might be completely overwhelmed by all the information; or it could be any number of other reasons.  Hopefully this little guide can help you understand how I was able to do it, and can help you achieve it as well.

What this guide is:
  • A way to show you how to lead your first fleet out.
  • A way to overcome all the difficulties of starting.
  • A way to cope with failure.
  • A plan to improve once you've popped your cherry.
What this guide is not:
  • A guide on how to be a good FC.
  • An overarching treatise on tactics.
  • Something for those who regularly lead fleets already.
So you want to FC, but don't know where or how to start.  First off figure out what is holding you back?  Most people probably don't pick it up because they are either afraid of criticism, afraid of looking bad, don't know enough about the game to make sound tactical decisions, or most likely a combination of all of that.

Let me let you in on a couple of facts.
  1. If you tell people you are brand new to FCing, no one will make fun of you.  No one will be unduly harsh in their criticism.  People won't avoid you because you are new.
  2. Every single person who has ever FC'd sucked when they began.  They didn't understand tactics.  They didn't know how to bait properly.  They all got their fleets wiped.
When you keep these two things in mind, any fear you have of looking bad and being made fun of should go away.  People know this is a game and won't be an ass when you give them fair warning that you're new.  Now if you come across people who are assholes to you, ask this question:  "Do they lead fleets?"  If the answer is no, then remember that you are already ahead of them at FCing, as they can't summon the courage to try it.  If they do FC and they still do this, find another corp because those guys are beyond assholes.

A few tricks I used to get over the fear of leading my first fleet:
  • Know for a fact that you're going to make bad decisions and everyone will probably die.
  • Know that even a bad FC is better than station spinning.
  • Have something to eat.
  • Make sure you don't have to go to the bathroom.
  • Have a drink.  Don't get drunk, but a shot or two can help calm your nerves down just enough to be able to get over the hump.
  • Remember that you're playing a game, and everyone will have fun regardless of the outcome.
  • Lead a T1 frigate or cruiser gang, this will keep it cheap.
Now remember when I said you are going be terrible at it?  That doesn't mean you will fail.  Failure is not taking the fleet out in the first place; by simply taking everyone out on a roam you have already succeeded, I'd wager that 90% of Eve players never even reach that point.  So keep that in mind as you learn.

So now you're out there.  What in gods name are you supposed to do?  You surely don't want to go out and suck on purpose, but you have no idea what the next step is.  There are few things as debilitating to a fleet as inaction.  Inaction gets you killed and it's boring.  So for your first few roams follow these two simple rules:
  • When in doubt, warp the fleet to the next gate.
  • If you think you can take something on, go for it.
It's very simple, as long as you are moving and getting into fights people will enjoy themselves; and that's all you can ask for on your first few roams.

The next step should be a pretty obvious one; continue to lead fleets.  If you continue to FC you will improve your abilities and lessen the nerves.  I set a goal for myself after my first fleet that I would lead a fleet every Saturday.  In my first 5 weeks of FCing I lead 4 fleets.  Now unfortunately real life has severely limited my play time since then, so I've been unable to commit to any more.  I do fully plan on continuing with my commitment though once life has settled down.  The reason I set this goal is I've found that if I set a goal like this it helps me stay accountable to improving.  I'd recommend you do the same, though it doesn't have to be weekly, find a schedule that works for you.

If you do these things, I know from personal experience that you'll get better.  It takes a while, and at times you'll regress (my last roam was a disaster), but the nerves will die down and you'll begin to see yourself improving bit-by-bit.  Make sure to ask for constructive criticism so you are able to correct things you do wrong.  Often times you will know exactly where you fucked up, but other times you won't even notice.  Asking your fleet mates after the roam what you could have done better is something you should do every time, either in AAR format or by just straight up asking over coms.

Anyway, I hope this guide is able to help someone who's sitting on the fence about FCing.  Good luck and may your enemies cower in fear!