Sparks

As I remarked recently, there isn’t anything particularly compelling that I feel like doing in EVE at the moment. I’ve been pondering that a bit lately, and wanting to mull over a few thoughts here. Don’t worry (or sorry), but this is not a bitter vet exit post.

For quite a while now I have used Exploration as the catalyst to get me undocked and interacting with the environment. It doesn’t matter if that part of my session lasts for 5 minutes or an hour, that first step normally gets me in the zone to make the most of my EVE time.

It seems obvious, but undocking in EVE is important. The other week I undocked to pick up some researched BPO from my POS. While in flight I noticed a Covert Research Facility site in local. After finishing my task I swapped to a Stratios to run the site. Once finished that I figured I would scan down the signatures in the system. There wasn’t much of interest, but I did find a Hi-Sec to Hi-Sec wormhole that I peered through, checking if the other end was anywhere near Jita or some of the assets or my Datacore sites that I have spread around the place. It wasn’t, but I had gone from logging in to do a simple task and ended up “playing” EVE. I have lost count of the number of times that has happened.

While I still like the unknown aspect of what you are going to find during exploration – I am getting tired of doing the same stuff over and over and over again. My EVE sessions are suffering from that lack of ignition. Working through my BPO research has helped a little, as shown above, but it is not as effective. I’m not sure what there is to replace it.

Getting bored of aspects of the game is of course nothing new. There are many areas that I have investigated, skilled up and tooled up for, played, then put aside as they became more of a chore than fun. Missions, Trading, PI, Mining and so on. For all the focus on EVE being a sandpit MMO, in the end it does have an underlying reliance on theme park mechanisms, especially for those of us who play solo.

In most regards it is impressive the game has kept my interest for so long.

So while I am in a bit of a rut, I need to go back to ticking off items on my EVE to-do list.

. I am thinking of buying a totally unnecessary and expensive hull to celebrate my 8th year in game

. I really need to fit and undock that Rorqual I purchased a while ago. I want to use a Clone Vat Bay for the first time. (I might have to fight through my inclination to park Capitals while playing solo.)

. I got a Worm and Garmur for the new burner missions, but I can’t force myself to grind Level 4 missions to get one. I might start by fitting them out.

Eight

I glanced down at the odometer yesterday in my car and realised it had just hit 100,000km. I never pay attention to the odometer, but it is uncanny how often I seem to focus on it at the exact time it clicks over a milestone figure. I presume that while you might not be consciously aware of the figure, subconsciously a part of your brain is.

It is the same for how many Skill Points my main Character in EVE has. Again I don’t really pay it attention, but I suddenly seem to be aware of it right as it clicks over each 10 million. It is the same again for in game birthdays. I opened my character sheet and for no obvious reason my eyes were drawn to the birthdate.

I turned 8 in EVE today.

It is not a real accomplishment within itself. You don’t achieve in EVE just by paying your subscription for years. It is instead an acknowledgement to CCP – for the game they have created and keep evolving. It is an acknowledgement to the community around the game. It is an acknowledgement to – I will put it kindly, my perseverance.

I thought I’d mark the occasion with a moment of nostalgia.

Best Memory

Taking part in Providence’s failed defence of D-GTMI. From a mechanical point of view the slideshow and totally unresponsive client showed a broken and unfair game. But that didn’t seem to really matter – it also showed just how amazing the possibilities were within EVE.

Worst Memory

The weeks after the Incarna release, a poor implementation of walking in cabins, over heating graphic cards, and the now iconic static image of the Captain Quarter door.

Favourite Ship

Strangely enough, that is probably the Orca. I loved being able to roam around in them carrying whatever you needed to be self-sufficient in a nomadic lifestyle. Being able to scan the Fleet Hanger and Ship Maintenance Bay put end to that, although the Transverse Bulkhead rigs now make it a more of a viable possibility now.  I have also loved just about anything that can fit a Covert Ops Cloak.

Favourite Feature

Exploration

Least Favourite feature

Not so much a feature, but the general feel that PVE content is not dynamic enough.

Most wanted little changes I’d like for my EVE birthday

I’d like more than 5 overview tabs; I’d like to be able to move Clones in ships and store more than one in a station, and I’d like ship skinning to be changed to a removable rig like slot, as having individual entries in the market place for each skinned ship is unnecessary.

Now let see how many more years I can get out of this game.

Time off does not mean time in game

I had last week off. I normally do 32 hours of paid work, so I thought I would end up with around 15 hours of uninterrupted downtime for myself across the three days were both kids were at school and kinder. That should have meant some good EVE sessions, but that did not eventuate. I ended up with only 6 hours of downtime, and spent most of that in DDO mucking around with a solo Swashbuckling Bard (splash of Rogue) that I’ve been finding amusing.

I realised that I am not a working professional who fits in Dad duties during the week, but instead a full time Dad who squeezes in paid work. I am not entirely sure how I feel about that distinction.

I also realised that EVE is not especially compelling at the moment where I can have a week off with so little extra time spent in it.

I am however still logging in every day.

My blueprint research continues, with my count of fully researched BPO increasing from 270 to 390 over the last fortnight.

I have pulled the Medium POS down. Everything is now going through the Small POS. Whoever decided these things would have 20+ minutes of un-anchoring time was a sadistic so and so. While I understand the reasons, it was a nervous wait. Oh – and a tip, remember to bookmark them before they finish un-anchoring. You can’t warp to them afterwards.

My second Industry Alt completed the training required to perform 10 Science jobs at the same time.

My POS equipment sell off is on going, but the prices are progressively falling. I really burnt myself there.

Hyperion arrived and there wasn’t anything worth a full blog post on. I glanced at the market tooltips, looked at the extra items in the New Eden store for a couple of minutes, and smiled when the Scan ID’s didn’t change over downtime.

I have spent a lot of time trying to finesse my overviews. Thanks to a bug from CCP I lost my Main Toon’s overview settings so started from a clean slate. I have really appreciated being able to set up everything on the one client and then send an alliance mail with a link for my other Toons to just click on.

I’m not sure why they had to use two Share options – the one at the top of the Overview Setting window that only transfers the tabs and associated presets, and the one under Misc > Export Overview Settings, which allows up to 15 extra tab presets to be exported.

ehimg419

And speaking of Tabs – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CCP, GIVE US MORE THAN FIVE OF THEM.

ehimg418

I have currently settled for two travel tabs – safe and unsafe. The second doubles as a PVP overview. I have a third tab for PVE, one for POS related stuff, and a Run-To tab. I really need several more tabs to minimise the need to swap presets in and out, such as for Mining, and an extra two for PVE and PVP.

I also ran a few exploration sites – so I guess I have been a bit busy.

I had generally found Falcon’s amusing up until now

There are two boisterous segments of the EVE community that I do my best to ignore. The first are the piously obnoxious, and the second are the stridently uninformed.

Frankly I find them cringe-worthily embarrassing.

You can see perfect examples of both groups in this forum thread, which is the focus of multiple recent blogs and tweets and so on from the EVE community:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=369871

If you are feeling the slightest bit bitter about EVE, I suggest you don’t read the thread.

The abridged version is that a player accepted at least four separate courier contracts in Jita to move goods to a system 14 jumps away. While the contracts seemed to pay well, they required substantial collateral (a bit over 7B ISK from the screen captures posted to the thread).

The player chose to accept the contracts using the pilot who transported them, chose to move them all at once, and chose to move them (based on the time stamps) immediately after accepting them.

The target system was Ono – which lies at the end of a very easily monitored dead-end pipe.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to most readers than this story ended with the pilot in his pod under the guns of a Tornado, and more than 7B ISK poorer. I couldn’t force myself to read enough of the thread to verify the exact circumstance –but it was suggested the target station was one where you dropped just out of docking range when you warped to 0. (Something I have come across before.) It could also have been lazy flying or bumping or what not – I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care.

https://zkillboard.com/kill/40889925/

So he got scammed – in part through the smart use of game mechanics, social engineering and patience, in part through his own less than ideal decisions, and possibly in part through an almost bug where warping to zero doesn’t mean zero.

Now if he had posted the story to the forums as a way of highlighting his own mistakes and warning the rest of us, you’d be left thinking EVE is an interesting and unique sort of game.

But no – instead he came to the forums to cry about the situation and complain that CCP allows this to happen. As you would expect – a lot of the responses (of which there are 51 pages in the locked thread) were filled with mirth and derision. This swirling mass of the witless and the repugnant is enough to prompt any sane person to ask themselves why they associate themselves with such a game.

So how does the Community Manager, CCP Falcon, decide to respond?

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4958992#post4958992
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4964171#post4964171
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4964192#post4964192
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4964200#post4964200
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4964217#post4964217
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4966760#post4966760
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4967472#post4967472
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4972885#post4972885

With cheers of support ringing in his ears, he basically calls the player out for his stupidity and lack of understanding of the game.

Here are some selective quotes:

“Why should CCP provide protection for your haulage in high sec?”
“If you want your haulage to be safer, bring the guns.”
“Welcome to New Eden, you just learned a very valuable lesson”
“Being unprepared and putting all your eggs in one basket to make a nice juicy target for a suicide gank is the joke here, not highsec”
“I’d rather not be working on the project regardless of how many subscribers we had, than sell out the core principles that New Eden was built on”
“profit from someone who’s half-assed a ship fitting and AFK hauled across space with a sizeable chunk of ISK in their hold.”
“it’s not rocket science to protect yourself and fly with a little common sense”
“Sorry to burst your bubble, but EVE hasn’t changed in this respect.”
“Don’t need to buddy, what I said is fact. Sorry if you don’t agree”

I know they are selective quotes – but that is a summary of the tone I got from reading them. A touch of exasperation, a splash of scorn, a squirt of troll. It also seemed to mistake the core of this scam, which wasn’t about the drop from a suicide gank, but the profit from the collateral. Otherwise I don’t specifically disagree with the sentiment, but I feel the message was mismanaged and unprofessional.

The thread should have been a page long, with a handful of replies saying “this is how that scam works”, “here are the mistakes you made”, “this is a more appropriate fit for your ship”, “this is how you might have been able to deliver the packages without loss”, and finally a comment from CCP saying “you fell for a well-planned and patient trap which was within the rules of the game”.  While I did see most of that covered in the pages and pages I read, it was buried and effective lost under the elitist diatribe.  It is hard to say who is more likely to kill EVE – CCP or the players.

(I would suggest you read the last link above. CCP Falcon redeemed himself a little with that image of EVE.)

Anchors

I finished the weekend off with my Main visiting the Hi-Sec island to run exploration sites (with no luck finding faction spawns) and my Main Alt back in the Low Sec pocket making extra bookmarks. It wasn’t about ISK, it was just making the most of the opportunity to undock and interact with the environment.

To achieve this both Toons had to clone jump to different regions. I have different bases of operation set up across Hi and Low-Sec with jump clones and stores of ships and assets to allow this. Often however I can feel disinclined to move my characters away from whatever my main focus of the month is.

I’ve felt this “anchoring” around many aspects of the game – Trade, PI and BPO Research stand out, where moving a character away halts or impacts the function they were being utilised for. The most obvious response to that is training up Alts.

My biggest anchors however are my +5 empire training clones. Every time I step out of them I see my skill training time increase by a noticeable amount, so I feel a subconscious desire to stay using them for as much as possible.

I have spent a lot of time and ISK setting things up so that I can flitter from one side of the galaxy to the other doing as many different aspects of the game as I want on a whim, yet I don’t tend to end up playing the game like that.

Will wonders never cease!

I actually managed to log in for a Saturday morning EVE Session – although it was only half-length. It was good to be able to actually do something in space.

I’m one month into my renewed BPO research, and it has been a bit of a godsend. Between setting the POS up that I wanted, and logging in daily to keep jobs ticking over, it has generated a surprising amount of in game activity.

Over the last fortnight I’ve moved from 200 to 270 confirmed BPO being at ME/TE 10. That leaves 500 odd more to go in my collection, and a similar number donated. I have more than a year worth of POS fuel stockpiled, so I should make a hefty dent in those.

I was careful not to over research my BPO when I first got them – but I am amazed (and slightly miffed) at just how many of them were converted with Crius to ME 9 and TE 9, requiring research.

There is one noticeable negative with this activity, it makes you inclined to leave your research characters in the vicinity of the POS, which could end up stifling your game a little. To that end I am trying to do the longer research times on my Main and Main Alt, leaving the shorter jobs to my Industry Alt who is generally around the POS’s location anyway. I also used a PLEX to start dual training on one of my accounts, to get my Second Industry Alt skilled up in the same area.

Now that the Small POS is all set up, I have mostly dismantled the Medium POS. The shorter offlining and unanchoring times for many modules makes this a far less arduous chore now. I’m just waiting for the last couple BPO to come out of its Lab before putting it offline and going through the nervous process of unanchoring it.

ehimg417

(Some of the defense that was mounted on the Medium POS)

I have also consolidated my POS equipment, and put up for sale the unnecessary gear I gathered during this process. I’ve been rushed and short on time, and my shopping efforts reflected that. I am still annoyed at myself for how much ISK I wasted.

(I also purchased quite a lot of stuff at abnormally high prices, and will take a bath on sales. Not much use sitting on them longer term either, I’m not likely to ever recoup at those prices.)

The last thing I managed to complete over this week was to move a couple more ships into my Low Sec home. I’ve been logging in my scouting Alt every so often to look for Wormholes to empire and check how busy the systems were. Pirate activity seems to have finally started to die down so I might try to spend some time down there. Today I found a wormhole that cut the trip to my home base from 28 jumps to 12, with only 2 of them through low sec, so I moved in a PVP Frigate and a Covert Ops.

Blink and unfortunately you won’t miss it

For self-preservation I’ve stayed away from the majority of the commentary deluge on Somergate 2014. I caught a couple blogs about the mechanics of it, and read the comments of a couple CSM members, but otherwise I’ve run a mile from the ranting and raving.

I’m not sure if it comes down to someone thinking they are being smart while being dumb, or someone deliberately setting fires, but either way I’m sure it will be dealt with. It doesn’t seem to be something you really need to get your knickers in a knot over – but people still are.

It has been the same since Incarna was released – vocal EVE players looking for excuses to be outraged. Ignoring the trolls, I think many of these people need to stop and ask themselves what is really driving their protests.

Unrelated, the other day Sugar Kyle remarked on the pleasure you can gain in EVE from all the necessary ground work required to play.

http://www.lowseclifestyle.com/2014/08/pleasure-in-planning.html

I sometimes find I get more out of the ground work than the actual result.