At the end of the day

To finish off my review of the Day 1 Fanfest Summary…

http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/fanfest-2015-day-1-in-review/

I am pleased with the CSM 10 election results. Some new blood to freshen things up, a core of proven hard workers, and the likes of Sugar and Mike to ensure the voice of reason for all types of players is heard.

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/csm-x-voting-results/

Sugar certainly deserved her permanent seat (and her day 1 Cosplay costume prize). It has been interesting following her blog and seeing her own personal development over the last year. I hope she finds strength in the clear and obvious support she has, and that it helps buffer her from the soup of negatively she has to wade through at times.

We should have two-factor authentication by the end of the month, although only if you use the launcher and not run the client directly. CCP seems to have been a little slow coming to that party – but then I realised very few accounts I have offer it, including my bank. I am looking forward to seeing the details.

CCP are reopening the submission process for Alliance logos. I think you have to have at least 100 members or more before you are allowed to submit a logo. Sadly I don’t feel my Hermit Alliance of one will ever quite reach the cut off.

Given I have already covered the new structures, the last thing of interest in the day one summary was CCP’s ability to now change the game world in a more dynamic way, and not always spelling out what they are doing.

I am pleased with how CCP have introduced the Drifters, which can be seen in this series of videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grNLMpiZvq0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prykUrUhDiQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3060a8NkOk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCZjvVxFLxI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFy2KTGYlYI

I like the concept of exploration – but if I happen to string a few sessions together I inevitable get burned out by it. It is the same thing repeated over and over. While there are different nebula and a wealth of landmarks to visit, the solo version of EVE can get very stagnant.

Having the environment change makes such a difference. I went and checked out the cloaked structures and the sleepers when they first appeared. I revisited the structures when they de-clocked. I was caught out by surprise when the Sleepers opened fire on me the first time and I had to scramble to warp away. I visited one of the wormhole sites, and looked at the damage being done to the observation towers as they started to be dismantled.

That makes the game world more interesting. It also means that state of some of the content is only available for a period of time before it changes again, and I like that concept of having to had to be there to see it, else the opportunity will be gone for good.

So far I have taken from Fanfest (which is quickly fading into oblivion for everyone else) some ship skins that have been put aside to become permanent, a rather cool cruiser sized shuttle, a good vibe about where CCP is with EVE development and the support they will get from the CSM, and an excitement about the way in-space-structures are heading and the arrival of a more dynamic and interactive backstory to the game. That all seems very positive.

The Art of New Eden

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I received the “EVE Universe – The Art of New Eden” book today (or yesterday by the time I post this).

I read the book cover to cover.  There were not all that many words and it was easy to devour over a sitting.  I didn’t notice any particular revelations in it, but it was interesting enough.

I will say it perfectly suits the purpose I purchased it for – a physical memento of a game I otherwise have very little to show for playing.  I could have achieved that though with just the standard edition.

The overall quality of the book was fine, although the feel of the black edge of the pages was odd.  I could never tell if I was turning one page or multiple, and kept having to thumb at the edge and double check the page numbers.

 

Keynote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOGnPAbHKDk

I watched the Fanfest 2015 Keynote on the weekend. It was run by EVE Executive Producer CCP Seagull (Andie Nordgren). She received a great reception at the start – a sign of how many fans she has within the player group.

In the past CCP Seagull has had an endearing lack of polish to her presentations, but she spoke with far more confidence here. Her enthusiasm and passion however were as clear to see as they have always been.

I am not going to go over everything in detail – it is old news and has already been covered by others. I am just musing over what I found interesting from my perspective as a solo / long term player.

The speakers and the transition between them were all fine, but for much of the presentation I felt it lacked a real Keynote vibe. It wasn’t until towards the end – with the discussions about structures that I felt it had been worth my while to watch instead of just sticking with the blog summaries others had already posted.

The keynote started with a short outline on how much CCP had accomplished over the last year within the game, and it was frankly impressive. I’d simply forgotten the half of it.

The next bit that I noted was a well presented section of Statistic Porn. While it covered the types of damage being done within the game and highlighted anomalies such as the battle in B-R5RB or the move to player owned POCO in High-sec, it was their graphical depiction of how they classify their players which I found most interesting:

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Less than 10% of players are considered to be the archetype of Aggressors. They are well outnumbered by Social players (who don’t undock much), Traditional MMO players (who tend to play solo or in small groups and interact more with the environment), and the Entrepreneurs (whose statistics fall more into the industry type tasks). I could almost crow that the people who yell the loudest in EVE are clearly in the absolute minority.

I would be wrong however. The largest group of players in EVE are the Professionals. These players basically do a bit of everything, including combat. If you consider a proportion of the Aggressors would have ISK generating Alts in the other classes, it would seem that around half the player base are the type who would occasionally check their killboard statistics. More than what I would have thought to be honest.

Not sure where I lie – my statistics might say Traditional. I don’t however ignore other players, I make a pointed effort to avoid being on their killboards. Maybe I am in the Entrepreneur bracket.

The next item I noted was reference to a new EVE site, where they will highlight up and coming changes, and keep an archive of past changes to the game. You can view it here. Worth bookmarking.

http://updates.eveonline.com/

We should see functionality this year called Ghost fitting – basically an EFT type clone in the client. From the example shown it won’t be as detailed as EFT, but it is functionality that EVE should have had years ago.

There was a longish section on new physical products, including the latest EVE related book “The Art of New Eden”. I haven’t mentioned it here, but I have already ordered the Limited Edition. I got a tracking email this morning suggesting it will be delivered today.

I have the EVE Collector’s Edition and the EVE Source Limited Edition books – but frankly I have to admit I have barely looked at them. I questioned myself on why I was considered ordering the Art book, and came to a somewhat surprising realisation. I have been playing EVE for more than 8 years now, and frankly there is nothing concrete to show for it. The books give me something physical to show my future self or others which give an indication of what I have been a part of.

CCP reiterated that they would be looking at the roles of Capital Ships – and I get the impression it could be a substantial change. However they said they would be aiming to make it worthwhile and aspirational to own them. I hope I am given reason and opportunity to undock my own capitals more often.

The section I found most interesting was about where In-Space-Structures should be heading. There is a blog covering the basics here:

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/back-into-the-structure/

I think it pays to listen to the presentation to pick up some of the nuance behind the explanations and ideas.

I have an active POS and a number of POCO. I have always found it aspirational – like owning Capitals – to have my own space homes. I would very much like more access to this sort of thing moving forward.

There are apparently 62,000 active POS in game, and 1,100 Player Build Stations.

While we should start seeing some of these new structures this year, it will be a long term process to introduce all of them. They will run the old and new structures in parallel to allow a transition. There will be a lot less restrictions on where you can place them (no longer just on moons for POS for example). They are looking at different sizes and personal, corporation and public use. The structures will be role based – Assembly Arrays, Research Laboratories, Market and Office Hubs, Drilling Platforms, Observatory Arrays, Gates, Administration Hubs and Advertisement Centers. They will have a fitting window like ships do with High, Mid and Low slots. You will be able to customise them further with Rig and Service slots.

They mentioned possible new game features such as Datacore farming on Research Labs, Belt mining with Drilling Platforms, Clone and Market services in the Office Hub and Player Locator agents in Observatory Arrays. Basically players should be able to replicate almost everything the NPC’s are doing. They will also be introducing the concept of docking in these structures – or mooring if your ship is too big.

It seems the larger structures will use a subset of the upcoming Sov Mechanics – specifically the Entosis link, as part of the process to take them over. If a structure is destroyed they will have a wreck mechanic to allow people to extract their assets which are stored in them. This is really a requirement to encourage people to accept using them.

I am going to be very interested to see how these changes are done, what impact they will have on Hi-Sec, and what parts I can be involved in from a solo point of view.

All told the Keynote speech left me with lots to think about.

Feeding

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This is where I spent last weekend – out hunting for a feed of ducks with my father on the opening of the season.

There are groups viciously opposed to hunting. I use that word deliberately. As each year passes they show their disapproval in more illegal, dangerous and immoral ways. While I would certainly not wish to smear all of those against hunting, there is certainly an element – champions for an enlightened society, which comfortably embrace the notion that the end justifies any means.

I expect, one way or another, they will get their way.

I hope my own children, if they have an interest, get the chance to experience hunting with me. I would like to be able to teach them about the long family tradition, the practicalities of being safe in nature and the appreciation of it and their quarry, the satisfaction of cooking and eating food you have gathered for yourself through effort and skill, and the huge responsibility that comes with being a hunter.

I was stalking this lagoon on the second morning. I took the photo while catching my breath and grabbing a drink after a long walk. I had been more focused on not standing on one of the numerous Red-Belly Black Snakes in the area than sneaking up on any ducks. With Sulphur-crested cockatoos making a racket above my head, and Kangaroos moving around me, I had one of those rare moments of peace.

I’m not sure if I have remarked on it here before, but I’ve described my life at the moment as furiously treading water. It is better than drowning, but it doesn’t feel as if I am moving in any direction. It was good catching my breath on the weekend and coming away a little mentally rejuvenated for it. You might have seen the consequences in my flurry of EVE posts.

Welcome

Continuing my piecemeal and out of date review of Fanfest, I watched the “Welcome to Fanfest and the Future of VR” presentation tonight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-o4SgGD8n4

CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson’s speech really struck a chord with me. What follows is a clumsy paraphrase of part of his speech:

“For all intents and purposes, we are always releasing. It has unblocked so many conversations and led to a lot faster product delivery. It has led to a current in the team that I haven’t seen for the longest time on making deep fundamental changes to EVE. The same thing is happening to Dust. CCP is now in the best state that it has ever been. With this release cadence we have unlocked the next phase of EVE development.”

CCP is doing a much better job of managing the development of EVE.

Historically you had to take Fanfest with a pinch of salt. You could feast upon the vision of CCP, but you had to accept there was no guarantee of delivery.

This year I felt a fundamental difference in how I viewed the announcements. The scepticism was replaced by a level of belief and confidence in CCP to be able to deliver.

Their turn around in the last 12 to 18 months is admirable.

Racing Yacht

This is the abhorrent set up on the Malediction I used to visit every system in Domain:

[Malediction, Run]
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
‘Halcyon’ Core Equalizer I
‘Halcyon’ Core Equalizer I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
1MN Afterburner II
[empty med slot]

Prototype Cloaking Device I
Core Probe Launcher II, Sisters Core Scanner Probe
[empty high slot]

Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II
Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II

It is configured for a single purpose – to run. It is immune to non-targeted interdiction, is capable of 4,321m/s (6,160m/s overheated), has a warp strength of +3, a warp speed of 12.78 AU, 3.1K EHP and aligns / warps in 3 seconds.

Here is the abhorrent set up on the gift Yacht, to be used as a glorified shuttle.

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[Victorieux Luxury Yacht, Shuttle]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
‘Halcyon’ Core Equalizer I
‘Halcyon’ Core Equalizer I

10MN Microwarpdrive II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II
Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II
Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II

It is immune to non-targeted interdiction, is capable of 2,623m/s (3,754m/s overheated), can warp cloaked, has a warp strength of +3, a warp speed of 13.69 AU, 24.0K EHP and aligns / warps in 3 seconds.

While it does only carry 30m3 compared to the Maledictions 98m3, it is a surprisingly effective option to move quickly about New Eden.

Let there be luxury

If you haven’t already noticed, the Victorieux Luxury Yacht BPC is available in the redeeming system. The manufactured hull is selling at close to 180M ISK at the moment in Domain. Given the hull has a level of usefulness it will be interesting to see where the final price settles.  I assume it will drop a fair bit lower than that, but over time it might appreciate like the Leopard has.

(Thinking of some of the other special give away hulls that have use, the Gnosis (made available in greater numbers) currently sells for around 70M ISK, and the Leopard Shuttle for 100M ISK.)

Continuing my review of the Fanfest summary, the next item of interest were ship skins. It is possible the average Solo player would get more out of these – assuming they have a tendency to spend less time chatting in game, allowing more time to stare at the ships they are flying.

I’ve remarked before that I liked the idea of such customisation, but that I wasn’t really a fan of how they were implemented. Primarily I thought they made the market place unnecessarily complicated.

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/a-glimpse-into-the-future-of-ship-skins/

I am glad the direction of the new skins is to remove that permanent tie to the ship. It will make things less complicated. I am pleased the new system should be easier for CCP to add too – and note there will be about 4 times the number of skins available upon release as are currently in the store. I like the idea of skin licenses possibly being owned by Corporations, and maybe structures being able to be skinned. That is all good – and I can even suspend belief about how they can be turned on and off on the fly.

There is however a “but”. I don’t really like how they won’t be destructible once applied to a character.

Thinking about it, I would have preferred the complication of having an extra “skin” slot on each ship – like the rig, or high / medium / low slots. The skin can be applied or removed like a module. When you repackage the hull for sale the skin will drop like modules do. That way you can swap skins around, but you will always risk them when you undock.

It appears however CCP have their approach chosen, and I will still use it as they outlined.  Looking though my assets I found I only had a single skinned ship – a Rorqual ORE Development Edition. While I purchased multiple skins earlier on, they fell victim to my asset consolidation. (I sold them off because frankly they were hulls I did not use.) Aside the Rorqual I also have the three Fanfest Quafe skins. I looked at the New Eden Store for skins I liked and might possibly fly the hulls for, and purchased the Nugoeihuvi Caracal and Krusual Stabber.  I am guessing that once these become permanent assets that the costs might increase on them.